Hugh Collins was born in Brisbane and as a young boy he had the good fortune to have several other lads of his own age living close by. This group of young boys also were very lucky in that they had a substantial patch of bush and a small creek relatively close to their homes. This was the ideal “playground” for this group of little boys and they played “Cowboys and Indians” and built cubby houses to their heart’s content.
Believe it or not, they even constructed a small canoe out of a sheet of corrugated iron and some scrap timber. What is more amazing is that the canoe actually floated and the boys enjoyed many long hours paddling their hand-made craft up and down the creek. This experience commenced a life-long love of boats and the water for Hughie, and as a young man he went on to do a lot of competitive sailing in the sixteen footer class on the Hamilton reach and also the Coronation Drive reach of the Brisbane River.
Hugh Collins left school at a relatively young age and immediately gained employment as a “Telegram Boy”. This position earned him the right to have a special “Telegram Boy’s Bicycle” and a smart uniform of which he was very proud. He later worked for Telecom.
In his late teens, Hugh was very keen on dancing and obviously was quite talented in this regard as he very quickly graduated to become a jive instructor. He became well known around the Brisbane ballrooms and dance studios some of which were Sandy Robertson’s Ritz Ballroom, Cloudland Ballroom, Dick & Nola Orchard’s Dance Studio, and the O’Connor Boathouse.
As most people know, Hughie was a great historian and collector. He joined the Redcliffe Historical Society and became the President of that organisation. Other associations of which Hugh was a member included the “Queensland Permanent Artillery”, “Queensland Colonial Re enactors” as well as the 11th Light Horse Caboolture Troop.
Together with his great friend Marle Juster, Hugh was a regular participant in the “First Settlement Landing Re enactment” at Redcliffe for many years.