ANDREW POTTS | Gold Coast Bulletin
Mr Bellairs, originally from Victoria, lived on the Gold Coast for more than 35 years and was well known as the patron of the annual Kokoda Challenge and a driving force behind the funding and creation of the Kokoda memorial at Broadbeach's Cascade Gardens, which was opened in 2008.
His son Gary flew from Victoria to be with his father in his last days and said he would be missed by his family and the wider community.
"My dad lived a long and full life and for him, family meant a heck of a lot," he said.
"There was an endless stream of people coming to see him while he was in hospital at Alamanda and it made us realise the impact he had on other people in the community.
"To us he was simply Dad and we never saw that other side of him but in the last week it really hit home with us how many people he knew and whose lives he'd touched."
Mr Bellairs was born in August 1917 and enlisted in the Australian Army in 1941 when he was assigned to the 39th Battalion.
He was just 24 years old when the battalion arrived in PNG in 1942 and within months was fighting Japan's forces on the treacherous Kokoda Trail.
In his last interview just two months ago, Mr Bellairs said his memories of the conflict were strong.
"People must remember all the dangers which have faced our beautiful land," he said.
After the war he married the love of his life, Joy, and had two sons, Gary and David.
He worked as a bookmaker until his retirement in 1977 before moving to the Gold Coast in 1978.
In the past decade he worked tirelessly to give veterans greater recognition as well as lobbying the federal government to build a permanent memorial to the Kokoda Trail on the Gold Coast.
He was a well-loved member of the Broadwater Southport Rotary Club and attended his last meeting just one week before his death.
Mr Bellairs will be farewelled at a service at The Southport School chapel tomorrow at 4pm.