Community News

SeaLink Sets Sail To Airlie Beach Race Week

SeaLink Sets Sail To Airlie Beach Race Week

This year’s 33rd annual Airlie Beach Race Week has a new and surprising addition to its fleet – a 280 seat spectator boat which will allow guests the opportunity to get up close to the action and view the event as it unfolds from the water. SeaLink’s MV Nancy Wake is a 28-metre catamaran and its captain, Shane McNally says that the ship has the capability and the speed to fly alongside the race from the start through to waiting on the finishing line, giving guests the best views in the house.

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A Festival Of Ice Cream By The Water

A Festival Of Ice Cream By The Water

Cold Rock is back next Friday, just in time for you to grab a cold ice cream and wander around the night markets at the Great Barrier Reef Festival, sit down by the lagoon, as well as enjoy the fireworks! After a brief hiatus during the moving process, locals will be able to enjoy some of the best ice cream that Airlie Beach has to offer on the 6 August, as Tammy Smith opens the doors to her beautiful new ice creamery.

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Whitsundays Arts Festival Fast Approaching

Whitsundays Arts Festival Fast Approaching

It’s only eight weeks out from The Whitsundays Arts Festival (WAF) 2021 taking place from 17-19 September on the Airlie Beach foreshore, and it’s set to be an enormous event this year. This year’s festival is heating up, with movement workshops from renowned Townsville dance company Dancenorth Australia on Sunday, theatre performances by Astronomical – Full Throttle Theatre Company on Saturday evening, as well as puppet shows for the whole family just some of the smorgasbord of events.

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“Thankful To Be Home, Thankful To Be Here” One Prossie Local’s Dip In Croc Infested Waters

“Thankful To Be Home, Thankful To Be Here” One Prossie Local’s Dip In Croc Infested Waters

On Monday June 28, Albert Withers, his 25-year-old son Brayden and his mate Connor Redshaw, disembarked for a crabbing trip on the Proserpine River, the most densely crocodile populated river in the entirety of Queensland. It’s a normal fishing spot for locals, and on his boat ‘Shiver’ Albert was ready for a good day out near Flying Fox Islands, when shortly after they had arrived at their spot, the boat tipped over, capsizing and sending the three men overboard.

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Whitsunday Police’s Special Visitors

July 29, 2021

Two very special Police Officers made their way to Proserpine and Whitsundays over the past week: Police Dog (PD) Griffin and his handler, Sergeant Jacob Bates.

When the chance to make their way up from Mackay arose, Sergeant Bates grabbed the opportunity to work in our large police district.

PD griffin jumped at the opportunity with all four paws and was an excited boy to have been able to enjoy our beautiful region and a nice little getaway – even if it included some work.

“It gave us the chance to reach out to divisions outside of Mackay and demonstrate how we work in different scenarios and situations,” Sergeant Bates said.

“Hopefully by doing so it leads to more requests for deployments outside of Mackay.

“It wasn’t all about education though.”

The two teamed up with both Proserpine and Whitsunday officers, patrolling the Safe Night Precinct in Airlie Beach on a late rostered shift.

“We saw it as an opportunity to assist with liquor enforcement and public order patrols – we are hoping to be involved in these situations more regularly as time goes by as well.”

Officers from both Proserpine and the Whitsundays appreciated the opportunities that this visit bought.

Sergeant Bates said that both he and PD Griffin were happy to have had the chance to meet face to face with officers from both police stations who ordinarily wouldn’t be able to do so.

PD Griffin didn’t have much to say, but from his expression you could tell that he was a happy boy.

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Be A Superhero

July 29, 2021

What do you want to be when you grow up? A Police officer, astronaut, some kids even say spiderman – or maybe even a firefighter? Well, Airlie Beach Fire Station is giving you the opportunity to step up and live your childhood dream by helping you become an auxiliary firefighter.

It may sound daunting, and it may be difficult to see yourself as one of those heroes that don’t wear capes, but that’s the very essence of it – they’re people just like you and me.

Emily Roe is a mother of three, Justin Buhagiar just welcomed his first son into the world three weeks ago, and Chris Vernon is a deck hand on Cruise Whitsunday boats.

The full-timers go home and the auxiliary step in from 6pm to 6am and they live their lives aside from fighting fires, and you certainly can too.

“If you want something, you make it happen, and I’ve always wanted to do this since I was a young girl,” auxiliary firefighter Emily said.

“Understanding that I have young kids and other priorities, [the team] help me; they’re like my big brothers.”

Becoming an auxiliary firefighter requires you to respond to emergency situations when the need arises.

There is the beautiful camaraderie that these individuals feel towards each other; and with that comes a sense of belonging, and of course fulfilment.

“Every time you go out and have helped somebody, it’s the best feeling you could imagine,” auxiliary firefighter Tom Derham said.

There are seven spots available at Airlie’s Fire Station.

It is important to know too that auxiliary firefighters are paid for their time and that the position does require permission to attend emergencies from your employer.

You’re on call 24 hours a day; you may be at home or at work one moment and the next be needed to respond to any kind of incident.

Put yourself out there for their training this coming Monday and you might just find that it’s one of the best decisions of your life – you can be a hero too.

You can also call the station (07) 4965 6623 or put through an expression of interest via the QFES website careers tab.

“Do it, you won’t be disappointed; you’ll have awesome fun,” Tom said.

Story and Images by Declan Durrant

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Markets That Give Back Good Deed Feed

July 29, 2021

Tarnia Patton runs the Proserpine Community Market, a quarterly market that started out to support Proserpine during COVID, specifically aiming at ‘mum and pop’ businesses, giving them a platform to promote their trades and crafts.

Everyone is invited, and the best thing about it is the altruism behind it.

“We don’t receive any profit associated from the market and any profit gets sent to local charities each time,” Ms Patton said.

“We run raffles every week to donate those funds to the charity of choice that gets picked each quarter.

“Because of that we get a high amount of people through the gates, they’re more than happy to come support charities.”

At the most recent market the Whitsunday VMR was the recipient of the funds raised from charity raffles and they also attended the market, holding their own stall.

“Their presence was the most amazing part and we then donated with the raffles $900 hundred dollars with exposure and it’s our best result yet because of the people on the ground,” said Tarnia.

Supporting the market not only supports the local community, it supports local charities, so get yourself out to their next one coming up on the last Sunday in September, and there’s also going to be a Christmas market.

The Markets are located at 69 Marathon Street which is the old St Catherine’s junior school.

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Pony Club Needs Your Help

July 29, 2021

To the dismay of the Proserpine equestrian community the Proserpine Hack and Pony Club is at risk of closing as Council move to act on an Environmental Protection Order (EPO), expanding the Kelsey Creek Landfill, on directions of Queensland Government.

The club celebrated their 60th birthday this year, and has a long history in Proserpine, with almost ten years at its club facilities on Kelsey Road, but has had issues finding a new location for the club and is now at risk of shutting down if they can’t.

The lease of the current Kelsey Road home base for the Pony Club expires at the end of this year, and Whitsunday Regional Council has plans to expand the Kelsey Road landfill into that very location.

Council was issued with an EPO by Queensland Government, which requires them to make several site remediation activities, with the land at Kelsey Creek Road among them.

Whitsunday Council says that The Pony Club agreed to these terms back in 2017 when they extended their lease to 2022.

“The emails, the meetings, [regarding the landfill] have been going on for five or six years and it’s almost gone from being ok, to being worse,” Hack and Pony Club Treasurer Helle Harris said.

“We’ve been asking for a list of possible lease areas; we have been hassling and have had so many excuses as to why they can’t give us the list.

“Now it’s at the point where they have said we have to go.

“We feel like we have been deserted by the council.”

To try to change council’s decision, or to receive some help from council in leasing new grounds, the club have launched a petition, which at the time of writing has just under 1,200 signatures.

Member for Whitsunday Amanda Camm visited the club in May and was made aware of the issues surrounding the leasing.

“She said to us that as a community non-for-profit, the council should be helping us,” Ms Harris said.

“We’re not trying to start a fight with council, we just want them to help us.”

You can find the clubs petition here:

Image and story by Declan Durrant

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Come On Cody Gibbs – We Are With You!

July 29, 2021

Last week the Whitsunday community was rocked by the devastating news that 14-year-old Cody Gibbs had been diagnosed with cancer for the second time.

Since then, however, Cody’s friends, his school, the Sea Eagles AFL team where he plays, and many local businesses have rallied around to show support and encouragement for the battle that lays ahead.

Cody was first diagnosed with brain cancer in October 2018 and, following four surgeries, five weeks of radiation and several rounds of chemotherapy over a nine-month period, Cody went into remission and was able to live a relatively normal life for the last 18 months.

Over the last few weeks, unfortunately symptoms returned when Cody regularly felt dizzy and nauseas. Then, on Tuesday last week, the family were given the news that no-one wants to hear – the cancer had come back and he had two tumours in his brain and two in his spine.

Cody will now need to go to Brisbane for further treatment and, at the point of writing this, his family were waiting to find out the plan from the specialist medical team who will be looking after him.  

Returning to the Whitsundays until this plan became available to them, Cody and his mum Donna were greeted with overwhelming support from the community.

It had been one of Cody’s lifelong dreams to skydive and, while they were in Brisbane, friend Maz McDougal took the time to organise it for him. Work colleagues of Donna’s at Ray White along with the local skydiving company all assisted and Cody’s dream to jump out of a plane, became a real-life experience over the weekend.

In addition, his team – the Sea Eagles – played a match in his honour.

Then, on Monday morning Donna received a call from some of Cody’s school mates asking if he could attend school that day – so he caught the bus into school like he had done so many times before.

When he reached the school, however, he was asked to go out to the school oval where a group of his friends, all wearing beanies, were gathered and waiting for him.

As soon as Cody got closer to them, they removed their winter hats, exposing freshly shaven heads which they had all shaved as a tribute to their friend and to show their support.

“It’s overwhelming how nice people are,” said Donna.

“He has a lot of amazing friends and it has been so nice that we have been able to come up here to see everyone before he starts treatment.”

If you would like to help support the family as they work through this challenging time you can go to GoFundMe and search for Cody’s Battle.

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It’s A Queensland Olympics!

July 29, 2021

The Olympics Sets Sail to The Whitsundays

Both the Whitsunday Sailing Club and Hamilton Island have been in discussions for some time with the relevant sailing bodies, bidding to the International Sailing Committee.

If the Whitsundays is successful in hosting the sailing portion of the 2032 Olympic Games, it will significantly benefit our region, tourism operators, sporting organisations and local businesses.

Research by KPMG predicts that hosting the 2032 Games will deliver $8.1 billion in benefits to Queensland including a $4.6 billion economic boost to tourism and trade and $3.5 billion in social improvements such as health, volunteering, and community benefits.

“The Whitsundays ticks all the boxes as the perfect location to host the sailing portion of the 2032 Olympic Games, with annual events such as Airlie Beach Race Week Festival of Sailing and Hamilton Island Race Week the Whitsunday Islands provide beautiful scenery and protection for these events,” Tourism Whitsundays CEO Tash Wheeler said.

“Our annual events are great examples for the International Sailing Committee and highlight how The Whitsundays is the best destination to host the sailing events!

“Hosting the 2032 Olympic Games will showcase the region to an international audience and put The Whitsundays in the spotlight, increasing awareness and visitation to the Heart of the Great Barrier Reef.”

As Australian Olympic Committee President John Coates said in Australia’s final presentation, the Brisbane Olympics will be “the together games”, and it will certainly bring together the entirety of Queensland – potentially to the Whitsundays.

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Film Festival’s Grand Finale

July 29, 2021

The 9th Mackay International Film Festival is in full swing, culminating in a fantastic finale of flicks this weekend.

Two multi award-winning films feature this weekend, including Minari, playing on Friday, 30th July, and Another Round playing on Sunday, 1st August at BCC Mt Pleasant.

The gala film, Minari is the endearing story of a Korean family settling into regional USA. The film won Golden Globe and BAFTA awards in 2021, as well as Academy Awards for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for Youn Yuh-jung who plays the role of the newly arrived grandmother. Tickets to the gala event include a post-screening light supper and drinks.

The closing film, Another Round, is a Danish comedy starring Mads Mikkelsen, whose characters drunkenly stumble their way through a social experiment that is bound to go wrong.

Full program and ticket details can be found on FAM’s website or on their Facebook page.

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Beachside Bliss In Bucasia

July 29, 2021

With more than 30 beaches in Mackay to choose from, it can be hard to know where to begin.

A cluster of the region’s most popular beaches can be found scattered throughout Mackay’s Northern Beaches, a collection of bustling beachside communities with an enviable coastline and a relaxed, carefree lifestyle.

History Spot

Bucasia was named after Father Pierre-Marie (Paul) Bucas (born in 1840 in Saint-Jean-la-Poterie, Morbihan in France), the first Roman Catholic priest in Mackay.

It was originally called Marara, and was then later named Seaview. In 1938 it was decided that there were too many places called Seaview, so it was renamed Bucasia after the priest.

Father Bucas owned 1,680 acres of land in what is now known as Bucasia, where he established a community for displaced Aboriginal people. He also established the St Joseph’s orphanage, but due to malaria concerns the orphans were relocated to Rockhampton.

In 1988, a memorial to Father Bucas was unveiled on Bucasia Esplanade.

Sublime sandy shores, sparkling blue water and the fact that the region’s beaches are usually quiet and serene are what attracts visitors to experience the peaceful nature of the Northern Beaches.

Local’s Tip - You can fish off the beach! Ally Bexton shared this picture of Bream being caught using prawns for bait.

Pockets of natural melaleuca forest, delicate sand dune ecosystems, mangrove-fringed creeks and an ever-changing coastal vista, combine to create a playground in nature. Who wouldn’t swoon over being immersed among this tropical milieu?

Bucasia Beach presents an air of peaceful serenity. Life moves at a leisurely pace here. Quiet and unspoilt, the beach is sublime.

Local’s Tip: Beachfront Bar and Restaurant lives up to its name. With an enviable location on Bucasia Esplanade, diners enjoy the ocean breeze as they choose from the extensive menu of cleverly curated cuisine. From coffee to cocktails, it has it all. A lazy Sunday breakfast followed by a stroll on the beach may just become your new weekend ritual.

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Fitness For The Family

July 29, 2021

A personal trainer and exercise physiologist has created a welcoming environment for people from all walks of life in his Northern Beaches gym, where families are encouraged to put down the technology and pick up a healthy new habit.

Stu has more than 30 years of experience as a personal trainer and has recently taken his knowledge to the next level with a degree in Clinical Exercise Physiology. He was formerly the Strength and Conditioning Coach for the Capras rugby league team, but his passion is helping everyday people better their health through functional fitness.

He says a common misconception is that children are too young for gyms, but he believes developing healthy habits early is a key to long-term wellness with children-specific programs suited to their growing bodies.

“Northern Beaches 24/7 Health, Fitness and Wellness Centre is a local gym with a community focus. Friendliness, fun and family are key components to our fitness, we believe a welcoming atmosphere where people feel comfortable to work on themselves is a top priority. This is why we’re popular with first-timers or people who haven’t been to the gym in a while, because there’s no expectation on fitness. We’re here to help people from all walks of life.

“A fundamental part of being a community gym is encouraging families to exercise together. We have a creche for parents to be able to work out without worrying about the little ones, and for children who are old enough to enjoy fitness, we can tailor some fun exercises for them to do, to form those beneficial functional movements from a young age.

“This is why we offer a discount when two people join up together, because they’re more likely to keep each other accountable and we see a higher chance of people succeeding.”

Stu is backed by a team of more than 10 instructors and support staff, who strive to help everyday people achieve their health and fitness goals.

“Jodi Menzies is our Manager and a Personal Trainer. She’s well known throughout the region a real asset to our team.

“Jenny Sanders started as a member and then joined our team in administration. She then became a qualified trainer. This is what we love to see among the team, people who have room to grow and pursue dreams into careers they may not have thought about previously,” Stu said.

“This also happened with Mel Calkin, she started in our creche before stepping across into administration and then became a qualified yoga instructor and group fitness instructor. She leads some of our group fitness classes.

“Jenna also started as a member and is now studying her level 3 and 4 Certificate in Fitness. Ella is a junior who is gaining valuable experience. Then we have a team of passionate group fitness instructors and personal trainers; Bec, Alix, Ree, Kate, Julie and Stacey; offering everything from Aqua Fit to HIIT, Pilates, Yoga and Meta Fit.”

Although it’s a 24-7 gym, Stu said it’s based on the foundation of customer service.

“It’s locals looking after locals. The environment isn’t intimidating at all, it’s very welcoming. Regardless of where you’re at in your fitness journey, this is a place for everyone. You’re never too unfit to make a start, that’s the key message we want people to know.”

As well as a range of classes and modern exercise equipment, Northern Beaches 24/7 Health, Fitness and Wellness Centre being located at the Kohuna Resort has the added advantage of a swimming pool for Aqua classes and rehabilitation work.

Being beachside also opens a world of opportunity for outdoor training.

“If our clients prefer, we can take personal training sessions or classes outdoors along the beautiful Bucasia tracks or onto the beach. It’s got the advantage of having the best location with a beautiful ocean breeze,” Stu added.



2 weeks FREE!!

Special membership offer on 12 month memberships: HALF PRICE joining fee PLUS 6 WEEKS FREE! OR  join with a friend and pay NO JOINING FEE!

*Terms and conditions apply - email Northern Beaches 24/7 on to find out more.

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Roadmap Developed For Regional Resilience

July 29, 2021

Identifying a clear and robust vision for the Greater Mackay region was the focus of a workshop hosted by Regional Development Australia Mackay Isaac Whitsunday (RDA MIW) last week.

As part of the Australian Government’s commitment toward long-term regional development, the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications contracted RDA MIW to work with regional stakeholders to create the region’s Development Strategy and Roadmap.

RDA MIW has received support through a working group guiding the development of the Strategy and Roadmap. Working group members comprise of representatives from the Greater Whitsunday Councils of Mayors, Whitsunday Regional Council, Mackay Regional Council, Isaac Regional Council, Greater Whitsunday Alliance, Department of State Development Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning and Department of Premier and Cabinet.

The first workshop in this two-part series set the scene, with stakeholders putting forward a regional vision. Attendees were presented with information and context of economic priorities and had the opportunity to offer their input toward the information, outlining any challenges opportunities, potential projects, and next steps for the way forward.

RDA MIW Committee Chair Pierre Viljoen said the Economic Development Strategy and Road Map is a vital part of identifying development priorities toward infrastructure aspirations, policy wants, and program needs for the Mackay Isaac Whitsunday region.

“Engaging local leaders in our community allows us to make the best possible decisions to build on the existing strengths of our region,” Prof. Viljoen said.  

“Collating and discussing this direct feedback helps us identify key priority projects and opportunities that will act as a stimulus for our local economy through job creation, services and productivity growth, and improved living standards for business and community.

“The first workshop was a major success in our book, and we would like to thank everyone for their involvement.

“This will be a big step towards creating a resilient economy, environment, and community for our region.”

The second workshop will be held in August this year, providing attendees with an update following the findings of the first workshop. A draft report for the first workshop will be provided to all attendees, allowing another opportunity for feedback which will be considered and updated at the second workshop.

To keep up with the latest RDA MIW initiatives and developments, visit

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Students Plant Seeds For A Sustainable Agrifuture

July 29, 2021

From bush tucker plants, geese and chooks to a greenhouse filled with lettuce to plots of land to regenerate soil – Mackay North State High School looks like any farm in the MIW region.

However, the high school has started to pave the way for more innovative agricultural studies to grow future industry skills.

Since its introduction to the curriculum in 2019, the subject is growing from strength to strength with more than 80 students from year 9 to 12 studying.

Recently students showcased their work in agriculture to Agrifutures Education and Program director Leigh Morgan and their modern farming methods, in particular their small aquaculture set up of raising red claw crayfish.

Agrifutures Education and Program director Leigh Morgan said the students have an incredible system for raising red claw crayfish, so they understand how the multimillion – dollar aquaculture industry works.

“One of the things I love about ag students is that they see a problem and come up with an innovative solution.

“That’s the type of critical thinking that moves a business forward towards an environmentally sustainable future,” Ms Morgan said.

Mackay North State High School Agricultural Studies Teacher Jannie Jarret said the students study a wide variety of innovative and sustainable practices to grow crops in the region’s climate.

Jannie said they have recently applied for a Sustainable Table grant to get their mushroom farm up and running and hope to build on the foundations of a circular economy model.

“The idea with the mushrooms is to use shredded paper already produced by the school as a medium. Another student group has a project that shreds all the documents in the school, which currently goes to landfill.  There is no end point for it for the paper, so my aim is to take that shredding and turn it into mushroom medium.

“The next step will be to grow the mushrooms on it and then use the mushroom compost on the paddock to regenerate the soil.”

Jannie has a passion for agriculture growing up on her family cane farm at Te Kowai, before studying Agricultural Science with honours at the University of Queensland. She said part of the role of Agricultural Studies was about getting students to think outside the box.

“At the moment everything is limited, our budgets and time, so that means we have to search out very economic and productive ways of doing things.

“We are trying to expose students to varies technologies that are used within the industry,” Jannie said.

Did you know that GW3 is home to the Agribusiness Futures Alliance project?

The purpose of the project is to develop a robust agribusiness sector for the future. The project’s focus is about connecting regional export capabilities, apply for funding that aligns with supply and value chain collaboration along with attraction and preservation strategies for the agricultural workforce.

For more GW3 regional inspiration, visit Transformation Region’s website

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Stunting Stillbirth A Focus Of Safer Baby Bundle

July 29, 2021

A new program providing education and awareness designed specifically to reduce rates of stillbirth across Australia has been launched at Mackay Hospital and Health Service.

Mackay HHS Women’s Health Unit clinic coordinator Fiona Bohn said the aim of the program is to reduce stillbirth rates after 28 weeks gestation by at least 20 per cent by 2023.

“Each day six families across Australia experience the heartbreak of losing their baby to stillbirth, a rate that has changed little in two decades, Ms Bohn said.

“Stillbirth changes so many people’s lives and we see firsthand the devastating impact it has on families. Sadly, on average, one baby each month is stillborn across Mackay HHS.

“The Safer Baby Bundle ensures best practices are in place to identify and manage the risks that can result in a stillborn baby.”

Ms Bohn said the program’s elements inform women and encourage them to reflect on their habits and actions.

“We know that educating and providing the right information to our expectant mothers will help them make informed choices for themselves and their babies.

“The program supports clinicians in the provision of best practice care by having conversations around the Safer Baby Bundle elements and personalising care throughout the mother’s pregnancy.

“This collaborative approach will help women have a safe and positive pregnancy, reducing the risks of stillbirth.”

The Safer Baby Bundle program focuses on five crucial elements of antenatal care expectant mothers should follow to minimise the risk of late gestation stillbirth.

These elements are smoking cessation support, detection and management of fetal growth restriction, awareness of decreased fetal movement, side sleeping after 28 weeks and shared decision making around timing of birth for women with risk factors for stillbirth.

Ms Bohn said that the Mackay HHS Safer Baby Bundle project team has been working closely with women’s health clinicians to implement the program.

“Clinicians have undertaken a suite of evidence-based educational resources on the latest clinical best practice in stillbirth prevention,” she said.

“The educational program covers each element of the bundle and includes both face-to-face skills development and eLearning.”

The Safer Baby Bundle has been adapted from a similar suite of resources delivered in the United Kingdom that achieved the 20 per cent reduction in stillbirth.

“Queensland’s safer baby bundle includes three from the UK (movement, restriction and smoking) and adds two elements – sleep position and timing,” she said.

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Nurture Your Health In Nature

July 29, 2021

Photo: Group fitness classes will be held on the Sarina Range as part of the Active in the Regions program.

Are you ready to get pumped in Paradise? From group fitness classes on the Sarina Range to yoga and pilates at Finch Hatton, there are a multitude of ways to get lean for less.

It’s all part of the Active in Regions program, where subsidised fitness classes are available in rural localities.

The classes are subsidised by Mackay Regional Council, with all classes only costing $5 each (excluding pool entry where applicable), with fees paid directly to the service provider.

Council’s representative on the North Queensland Sports Foundation Board (council’s funding partner for this program), Cr Laurence Bonaventura said it was fantastic to be able to combine the natural beauty of our rural areas with these subsidised fitness programs.

“Being able to make these classes accessible to our rural communities is great,” Cr Bonaventura said. “And at $5, it’s affordable to anyone in the community and will save residents considerably on the cost of driving to town for classes.”

He said there was also a real need for our region to shape up when it came to health and fitness.

“Rural residents have less access to trained fitness providers, so this is a fantastic initiative that helps provide some affordable fitness options to folks in some of the far corners of our region.”

Subsidised classes include child-friendly group fitness at Sarina Range, pilates and yoga classes at Finch Hatton, group fitness at Dows Creek Hall, aqua fitness at Sarina Pool and aerobics at the Sarina Field of Dreams. The program will run from July 12, 2021 to March 31, 2022.

For a full list of providers and locations and a timetable, head to

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Swap Puppy Treats For Puppet Tickets

July 29, 2021

Photo: Combining puppetry, live action and animation, New Owner takes audiences on a world of adventure through a dog’s eyes.

It’s not often you can swap dog treats for a theatre ticket – but that’s exactly what’s happening this week at the MECC.

The MECC is now a donation drop-off point for RSPCA Mackay.

Even better for pet lovers, if you donate (either at the MECC or RSPCA) the Box Office team will give you one free ticket to New Owner, a sensitive new show for all ages about the adventures of Bart, a boisterous puppy.

Combining puppetry, live action and animation, New Owner takes audiences on a world of adventure through a dog’s eyes.

Deputy Mayor Karen May said the RSPCA in Mackay did amazing work and this was a fantastic way council could support the organisation.

“This month marked four years since a rehomable dog was euthanised and two years since a rehomable cat has been euthanised at council’s animal management centre,” Cr May said.

“Without the tireless work of the RSPCA and other animal welfare and foster groups, this result would never have been possible,” she said.

“There will be a big drop-off box in the foyer and the MECC team will gladly accept non-perishable pet treats – like liver treats, biscuits and chews – grooming supplies, pet toys and dog waste bags.

“Of course, cash donations are always welcome.”

New Owner is on show at in MECC Auditorium on August 4 (6pm) and August 5 (9.30am) and is part of the DBCT Kids’ Theatre Season.

Limited tickets are available. Tickets are non-refundable. Terms and conditions apply.  

New Owner is by Arielle Gray and Tim Watts and is presented by The Last Great Hunt.

It is part of the DBCT Kids’ Theatre Season proudly supported by Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal.

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Dig Into Mackay’s Prehistoric Past With UNEARTHED

July 29, 2021

Do you know what dinosaurs roamed around our region?

Unearthed will dig deep into Mackay’s prehistoric past in a celebration of science this weekend, with a FREE event at the Mackay Entertainment and Convention Centre (MECC) on Sunday 1 August.

Presented by Queensland Museum and BHP as part of their Project DIG partnership, the free community day will bring an action-packed program of STEAM inspired activities, demonstrations and performances for the whole family, including an exhibition of fossil discoveries made in the region unique to tropical Australia.

The event kicks off from 9am with a range of fun activities from robots to virtual reality, Minecraft competitions, holograms, origami and even the opportunity to pet a virtual dinosaur.

Leading researchers and scientists in the field of palaeontology will showcase a range of real and replica megafauna fossils that were found locally at South Walker Creek, near Nebo.

Megafauna are extinct supersized species of mammals, reptiles and marsupials and they have been uncovered at South Walker Creek by Queensland Museum and BHP scientists during annual digs over the past decade.

Queensland Museum palaeontologist, Dr Scott Hocknull has been leading the South Walker Creek expeditions with a team of staff and volunteers including geologists from BHP for more than a decade.

“The South Walker Creek site is one of a number of sites around the state that is being studied by Queensland Museum palaeontologists to learn more about this history of the Fitzroy River Catchment, one of the largest river systems in Australia that has flowed for millions of years and how it has changed the species over millennia,” Dr Hocknull said.

“My team and I are very excited to be bringing our fossil collection to Mackay and to demonstrate how new digital technologies such as photogrammetry, 3D scanning and 3D modelling are revolutionising the way we conduct our research, allowing us to reveal new data that can be shared with visitors and researchers worldwide.”

Dr Hocknull said it was a great way to introduce children to science.

“We aim to make it immersive, that the kids go away and feel that science is fun and interesting. A career in science is something they may never have thought of,” he said.

“One of the cool projects we were working on was with the Alligator Creek school to put their own fossil displays out. It will be fun to see their display and how they engage with the sciences in their own ways.”

Dr Hocknull said his love of dinosaurs as a kid led to a career in palaeontology.

“I’ve always loved dinosaurs. It was an engagement that I had with a palaeontologist when I was young that got me to pursue that.”

“If there’s a way that we, or I, can do that, then we’ll have done our job and that goes for any of the sciences – not just palaeontology.”

He said that Mackay had a huge amount of volcanoes while large dinosaurs roamed the Queensland outback.

“There were a huge number of volcanoes all the way down to Rockhampton from the Whitsundays. They spewed out ash and all sorts of materials that filled up the inland sea which is what’s preserving the fossils of the large dinosaurs that roamed inland.”

“The whole eastern seaboard plays a very important role in understanding the dinosaurs that lived in those open plains – especially in a highly volcanic region.”


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