An Irish tourist who drowned near Anglesea on New Year’s Day was in Australia to visit his daughter, who had recently relocated from Ireland.
John Holland, 63, from Ballyragget in County Kilkenny, died after becoming caught in a rip at Hutt Gully on Monday.
According to the Irish Times Mr Holland, a grain merchant who was well known in his local community, was still getting over the loss of his wife in 2022.
Fianna Fáil councillor Michael McCarthy told the Times Mr Holland was unable to escape the treacherous conditions.
“He wasn’t able to get away from it,” Mr McCarthy said. “I believe his daughter was very lucky, she escaped.”
Close friend and parish priest Fr Eamonn O’Gorman said Mr Holland seemed happy to be in Australia with his daughter Emma.
“A holiday of a lifetime but little did we think that we’d be bringing him home dead,” said Fr O’Gorman.
He told the paper Mr Holland would have been a strong swimmer but had been unwell in recent months.
“He was just a lovely gentleman who would help people out,” said Fr O’Gorman. “He had great love for his family and his family came number one.
“He had great love for his wife Marie and Marie’s passing, he said – it doesn’t get easier as the time moves on.”
It’s understood Mr Holland’s family is receiving assistance from the Irish Consulate.