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Roy Deicke (1929–1995)

by Joseph Dowling

Queensland's business sector is mourning the passing of Mr Roy Deicke, one of the State's true corporate gentlemen, after his sudden death early yesterday.

 Mr Deicke, the popular chairman of the Queensland Industry Development Corporation, died after a heart attack. He was 66.          

 Mr Deicke enjoyed a 40-year career in the State's sugar industry, which culminated in his appointment as chairman and chief executive of Bundaberg Sugar Company Ltd. 

In that role, he had a long and happy relationship with the nation's corporate elite until Bundaberg was subsumed by British group Tate & Lyle in 1991. 

Mr Deicke was also a director of GIO Australia Ltd and Howard Smith Ltd. 

Tributes flowed in for Mr Deicke last night. 

The State Treasurer, Mr De Lacy, expressed deep regret at his passing and said his contribution to Queensland had been "enormous". 

State Liberal Party Leader Ms Joan Sheldon described him as "a bastion of Queensland business". 

Throughout his career Mr Deicke demonstrated the highest levels of integrity and statesmanship with an approach characterised by sincerity and a down-to-earth attitude, one that stemmed from his humble origins in North Queensland. 

Born in Herberton, in the heart of the State's sugar belt, he was educated at local State schools before moving to Brisbane to study industrial chemistry at the University of Queensland. 

His involvement with the sugar industry dated from 1955 when he became a research officer with the Bureau of Sugar Experiment Stations before joining Bundaberg's predecessor, the Fairymead Sugar Co, in 1960. 

After the merger of Fairymead and Gibson & Howes in 1972, which formed Bundaberg, Mr Deicke became chief executive – a position he held until 1987. 

He continued as non-executive chairman until his retirement in 1991. 

A Companion of the British Order of St Michael and St George, Mr Deicke served on numerous sugar industry representative bodies over the years, had been a member of the Business Council of Australia and at the time of his death was vice-president of the Committee for Economic Development of Australia and chairman of the University of Queensland Foundation. 

He is survived by a son.

Original publication

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Citation details

Joseph Dowling, 'Deicke, Roy (1929–1995)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 24 May 2024.

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