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Central West Queensland since 1923
Central West Queensland

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22 July, 2021

Factory Fleece to Commissioner of Corrections

Legendary western rocker is now the Commissioner of Corrections

By Michael R Williams

Factory Fleece original members, Peter “Doodit” Fickling on bass guitar, Ian “Boofie” Cameron on drums and Paul “Stewie” Stewart on lead vocals and guitar – now the Queensland Commissioner of Corrections. PHOTO: Supplied

 ONCE a figure in a legendary western rock band, Paul Stewart has climbed the ranks of the Queensland Police Force to become the Commissioner of Corrections.   

Comm’r Stewart moved to Longreach in 1972 when he was in grade eight after his father attained a job in the Council Lands Department.   

He attended Longreach High School until Year 11 when he moved to Dalby, and later, Brisbane.  Comm’r Stewart would go on to serve in the Queensland Police Service for 35 years with most of his time specialised in forensic science and community conduct.   

But he still calls Longreach home.  

“Longreach is a fantastic place to go to school, you make so many friends, the culture and the atmosphere is just wonderful,” Comm’r Stewart said.    

Some of those friendships were with fellow Factory Fleece band members Peter “Doodit” Fickling and Ian “Boofie” Cameron. 

The band has also included other musicians such as Tony Wiggan and David O’Brien; and most recently, they have introduced, Isaac Stewart, Comm’r Stewart’s son. 

The band - once one of the most coveted bands in the west - has been going on and off for 40 years now.  

Along with Boofie and Doodit, Comm’r Stewart was a founding member of the band — its lead singer and lead guitarist.  
“Being a part of Factory Fleece was some of the best times in my life, it was just great to perform all around the west, at weddings, balls, and other major events; it was lovely to be a part of the joy in other people’s lives,” he said.   

“It was great to be able to provide that for the community –  some of those initial contacts have been my friends for life. 

“Longreach is quite isolated from things, and I remember the ability people had to be able to support one another —that’s what life’s about.”  

The most recent band reunion was held at a meet-and-greet at the Longreach RSL, when Peter Fickling recalled the audience still begging for an encore at two in the morning.   

Mr Fickling said “when Paul comes to town, the band does not need to practice”.  

“He gets off the plane on Saturday, we play Saturday night, and he flies off Sunday morning,” he said.    

Comm’r Stewart did not disclose when the next Factory Fleece reunion would occur.  

“We’ll just have to wait and see,” he said.   

“Might be a while, life’s a bit busy at the moment as you could imagine.”  

Mr Fickling said Paul Stewart was the kind of man who would sit by the poorest bugger but also mix it with the king and queen.   

“That’s why ‘Stewie’ will go so well in his job,” he said.     

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