Hurricane Harry heads for Coast


HURRICANE Harry, parish priest, raconteur and furniture restorer extraordinaire, is hurtling out of Murwillumbah in as big a whirlwind as he arrived more than a decade ago.

Anglican priest Fr Harry Reuss blew in from Portland, Victoria, in 1994 and promptly set about stamping his personality on his adopted parish. Now Hurricane Harry, as he's known to friends, is off to his new parish in Southport and is making a hectic round of farewells.

"I'm going to miss this," he says pointing to his capacious workshop below the rectory and waving about a recalcitrant belt sander.

Fr Reuss has built up busy antique restoration business sandwiched into his already full schedule.

"I get stuck into it on Mondays that's my day off . . . if there's no funerals," he says.

Fr Reuss' dynamism has brought him into touch a broad cross-section of the community.

A packed harvest festival service last Sunday saw tributes being paid by former mayor Max Boyd, Tweed MP Neville Newell and keynote speaker, Richmond MP Justine Elliot - all of them personal friends.

Part of his duties has been offering the prayer at the beginning of Tweed Shire Council meetings.

And when a civil emergency erupted five years ago with flash floods blocking the Pacific Highway stranding many motorists, Fr Reuss was the man emergency services turned to. At a moment's notice he had the church turned into emergency accommodation.

"In the finish we had about 150 dossed down here," he recalls.

"Many of those helped still keep in touch," he says.

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