Ann Augusteyn was remembered by loved ones on Friday morning after passing away earlier this month.
Ann Augusteyn was remembered by loved ones on Friday morning after passing away earlier this month. Contributed

Central Queensland remembers Capricorn Caves' visionary

ANN Augusteyn had a zest for life that was evident in her love for travel, innovation, photography, dancing, a glass of red, and above all, her family and friends.

Ann was known for her ever-present smile and positivity.

She was a social butterfly, who was known to be the first on the dance floor and the last to leave it, even if she was dancing alone.

Ann and her son Robert were in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, attending a safari tour en-route to the International SKAL Conference in Mombasa when she passed away peacefully in her sleep.

Read: Leading CQ tourism operator dies suddenly on family holiday

Hundreds came together at the Baptist Tabernacle on Friday to remember Rockhampton's beloved 'Dancing Queen'.

Service for Ann Augusteyn.
Service for Ann Augusteyn. Allan Reinikka ROK021118aauguste

Ann was carried out by her pall bearers under the glimmer of fairy lights, past a Caves Rural Fire Brigade's Guard of Honour, and to the classic ABBA song.

Born in a small town in England in 1944, Ann came from "humble beginnings”.

Her intelligence and dedication was evident even in her younger years, when she excelled in her studies, going on to obtain a Bachelor of Arts in History with Honours, and a certificate in education.

She also represented her county in hockey and tennis.

She soon to burst out into the world, and began her lifelong love affair with travel.

It was during her travels that she met the love of her life, Ken.

While Ken worked as a foreman on a gas plant, Ann worked as a teacher.

Service for Ann Augusteyn.
Service for Ann Augusteyn. Allan Reinikka ROK021118aauguste

A fellow traveller, Ken joined Ann on her travels, and together they explored Canada and Europe before marrying in England in 1971.

In 1973, the couple began their new life in Brisbane, where Ann continued to teach and Ken started his own plumbing business and built their new home at night.

Things weren't always easy sailing, as their move to Australia coincided with the 1973 Brisbane floods.

However, shortly afterwards Ann gave birth to her eldest son, John and then welcomed Robert two years later and their only daughter, Helen, another three years later.

Ann took to motherhood effortlessly, and her kindness, creativity and "endless energy” made her a devoted mother.

In 1988, Ann's wanderlust stirred once more, when she and Ken attended the Brisbane World Expo.

John Augusteyn at his mothers service.
John Augusteyn at his mothers service. Allan Reinikka ROK021118aauguste

When Ken was reading the Courier Mail one morning, an advertisement that read "Batman was selling his cave” appealed to them.

They packed up their things and headed to Rockhampton to begin their journey operating Capricorn Caves which spanned nearly 30 decades.

Read: 'Passionate' tourism operator leaves her mark on community

For what Ann and Ken lacked in knowledge about caves, they made up for with "enthusiasm and hard work”.

With the help of their children, the family transformed the Caves into a multi award winning tourist destination.

Despite the endless hard-work, Ann still enjoyed having a laugh with her children.

They would often brush her leg with a stick when walking through the bush to frighten her, knowing her fear of snakes.

Ann Augusteyn's children John Augusteyn, Robert Augusteyn and Helen Harmsworth.
Ann Augusteyn's children John Augusteyn, Robert Augusteyn and Helen Harmsworth. Allan Reinikka ROK021118aauguste

That prank would continue on through her grandson, who also enjoyed seeing his grandmother's reaction.

Ann was also adored for her "gullible” and at times "ditzy” personality traits.

Once while going on a family outing, with Ann navigating, Ken was led down a precarious road.

It turned out that she had been leading them towards a stain on the map she believed was a park.

She relied on her son Robert to handle the I.T. side of things, after failing to correctly book a hotel room and in turn having to sleep in a hotel lobby.

Ann loved to cook and talk, and would often ask others 'tell me if I've already said this to you' when she happened to repeat herself.

Her grandchildren often got the best of her with prank calls, which showed her endless desire to help others in need.

Humble and light-hearted, Ann could always see the humour in her gullibility.

When Ken died nine days after John's wedding at the Caves in 2008, Ann was devastated.

However, she showed her true strength in character by taking on the business reigns and catapulting the family business to even greater heights.

The expansion of the Caves to include "adventure caving, climbing, camping, caravan park facilities, tours, weddings, opera performances, eco and geo-tourism innovations” were just some of the things Ann brought to fruition in her bid to share her passion for the "environment, education, the tourism industry and her home”.

Ann adored being a grandmother, or as she was affectionately called, a 'mama', to her five grandchildren.

She always clapped the loudest when she would watch her eldest grandchild Katie perform on stage, loved exploring the Caves and nature with Jade, was heartened by Jake who stayed by her side while bushwalking in Tasmania, to make sure she was alright, enjoyed Riley's massages and cuddles and provided words of support when he was frozen with fear while rock climbing and shared her love of flowers, dancing and cheeky moments with Elise.

Ann "loved deeply, gave generously, cared thoughtfully and lived passionately”.

Her legacy continues on through her relatives, friends and extended Capricorn Caves family.