Kirby Roulstone was a colourful, huge-hearted man. His sudden passing hit all of us with pain and disbelief.
Kirby’s bond with the Curly Flat “family” goes much further back than the vineyard itself. His adored wife-to-be Margot had grown up at Main Beach. New South Welshman Kirby moved to the Gold Coast with Marg and was soon one of the Main Beach surfers. So was Robert Kolkka. That was forty-five years ago. They became, and always would be, best mates.
Fast forward 20+ years. Kirby, who could turn his hand to whatever needed a true eye, brain and muscle, was now a master bricklayer. He had built the Gold Coat house which was, in 1997, voted Home of the Year. Robbo meanwhile had joined his sister Jenifer Kolkka at Curly Flat. When it was time to restore the old homestead, Kirby was the only man for the job. With his skill and attention to detail, it became Vintage Hall, the property’s stately focal point.
Later, in 2002, Kirby returned to build the new winery – the distillery and ‘engine room’ of Curly Flat. This critical project involved a vast number of bricks, but Kirby’s creativity and foresight extended beyond that to the windows, the corner stoning, the date keystone, in fact the unique character of the whole building. It was five months of stoic work, the load made lighter by Kirby’s gift for friendship and laughter.
The winery may have been his biggest project for us but his handiwork jumps out at you everywhere at Curly Flat: thegarden walls and paving around Vintage Hall, the entrance gates and much else. His greatest strength, was and has always been Margot, who often laboured alongside him and, with her own glowing spirit, kept him and all of us going.
But more than that is the imprint of the man himself. There was no facade – what you saw is what you got. And what you got was a beacon of generosity, infectious energy and an outrageous, endless sense of fun. Who can forget that character and his memorable expressions such as “stand back or lose a hubcap!”, “throw a leg over it”. Kirby was real.
Thank you, mate. You were a life force. You still are! Robbo has a final word. “How can you imagine life without Kirby?”