Mackay Region Community News

Damien Saves The Day

Damien Saves The Day

When Kyle Danns and his family became the victims of a scammer, they were left $4,000 out of pocket with a torn-up garden and nowhere to turn. “We’d been meaning to do something with the backyard for a while,” said Kyle. Through a miscommunication, Kyle paid someone he thought was trustworthy to do work on their backyard before the scammer did a runner with his money.

Read the full story
Mackay Doctor Suspended Among Hygiene Concerns

Mackay Doctor Suspended Among Hygiene Concerns

A controversial Urologist who had previously made headlines across the country for incompetence and unconventional practices has now shot into the spotlight once again following an incident which saw him suspended from duties at Mackay Base Hospital.

Read the full story
Council Thanks Clean-Up Volunteers

Council Thanks Clean-Up Volunteers

Four sets of stairs, car tyres, six shopping trolleys and a mouthguard were just some of the unusual items collected as part of Clean Up, The Mackay Region. More than three tonnes of rubbish was collected across 11 sites with an impressive 97 volunteers attending.

Read the full story
Regional Forum Round Three

Regional Forum Round Three

Renewable energy, regional services, economic diversification and housing accessibility were on the agenda at the third Mackay-Isaac-Whitsunday Regional Community Forum for 2022, held on Monday. The forum, chaired by Member for Mackay Julieanne Gilbert, began with site visits to the Mackay Substation Project and Resources Centre of Excellence where forum members learnt more about the Stage 2: Future Industries Hub.

Read the full story
Advertising Banner

A Club Built On Volunteers

September 30, 2022

Image: Kinglsey Theiber says Wests couldn’t operate the way it does without volunteers Robyn Stevens and Alexis Lake. Photo credit: Sam Gillespie

It’s often said that volunteers are at the heart of every community.

While volunteers can sometimes go underappreciated, Wests Leagues Club cherishes its volunteers, particularly Robyn Stevens and Alexis Lake.

“Both ladies are integral to our club operations,” said General Manager Kingsley Theiber.

“Clubs don’t operate without volunteers and these ladies have been with the club for numerous years.

“They don’t have children who are playing sport, but they have the club at heart and just continue to support.

“I can’t speak highly enough of what they do for our venue.”

Close friends for over 40 years, Alexis and Robyn have been involved in Wests since the 1990s.

Robyn began volunteering in the late 1990s, first getting involved through her sister-in-law.

“My nephew played football and my husband’s family come from Marian, they grew up in Marian, so they’ve always been Wests Tigers,” she said.

“We just got interested in the club and started to volunteer at the canteen, that’s how it all came about.”

Robyn has previously filled the role of club secretary and board member but now spends her volunteering time in the canteen.

A life and foundation member of the club, Robyn says she has made lifelong friendships through volunteering with Wests.

“I just feel I want to help while I can, because I’ve been honoured with that life membership, I would still like to do volunteering for the club,” she said.

“I just love it, I just love the club.

“It’s like part of the family.”

Close friend and fellow foundation and life member Alexis is formerly a Manager of Wests Leagues Club, a role she filled for six years before leaving to travel.

Upon returning, Alexis joined the Board of Directors and has been in the role for the last eight years.

“With that job, you’ve also got to do a lot of voluntary work so that’s when I just kept going and doing voluntary work for the canteen,” she said.

“It’s just a very friendly, very family-orientated club.

“They’re just a good bunch, we love it.”

Friends through thick and thin, Robyn and Alexis will be volunteering together in the Wests canteen until the end.

“We always say we’re going retire, Robyn and I,” said Alexis.

“We’ve got a pact: when one retires, the other one is going to go with them.”

Read More

Big Plans For The Future Of Pioneer Valley Sport

September 30, 2022

Image: Kingsley Theiber plans to deliver a multi-sport facility to the Pioneer Valley community. Photo credit: Sam Gillespie

For decades, Wests Leagues Club Mackay has been a social and sporting hub for the communities in the Pioneer Valley and beyond.

With the valley’s population growing and the demand for sporting facilities rising, the club has big plans in the works.

“The club acquired a farm that’s directly behind our current facility, over 60 acres we purchased, with the vision to create a multi-sports complex out here in the Pioneer Valley,” said General Manager Kingsley Theiber.

“Unfortunately, there is a massive lack of facilities out in the valley so the club’s taken it upon themselves as part of their vision to complete and construct a multi-sports facility for all residents in the valley and surrounding communities.”

The club currently incorporates two fields which support junior and senior rugby league and soccer and senior soccer as well as a set of cricket nets adjacent to the fields coupled with an undercover bowls green.

The construction of the multi-sport complex will include additional fields to support AFL and cricket, netball courts, more cricket nets, lighting, security, community facilities such as a men’s shed, covered seating, unisex dressing rooms and canteen and bar facilities.

The project will provide a first-class sporting facility for multi-sports in Walkerston for all of the Pioneer Valley, something Mr Theiber says the community is hungry for.

“We have had feedback from our members that have junior children driving into town for training and it’s an hour into town back and forth for some of these people and people are time-poor as it is, which then turns into children not getting opportunities to participate in sport,” he said.

The project is expected to create 160 jobs during construction, 19 full-time club and 30 permanent part-time club positions and bring the community together in more ways than one.

“It’s an essential part of the community, not only for the sporting side of things but from a social aspect as well,” said Mr Theiber.

“Obviously, coming out of Covid, that had a major effect on people’s mental health not being out and social.

“Our role in the community is to be able to provide that social aspect, not only to our sporting codes but to all members of the public.”

The next step is to secure funding for the project.

“All of this is going to be reliant on funding from state, federal and local governments to work in partnership with the club,” Mr Theiber said.

“We look to support from all levels of government to make sure we can create this and make it a reality.”

What Will The Expansion Bring To The Pioneer Valley?:

• Provide a first-class multi-sport sporting facility in Walkerston

• Engage community and enhance the community spirits

• Provide opportunities for all in the region

• Promote and increase participation in sports, through the provision of universally designed facilities

• Be an inclusive club where everyone is welcome

• Develop facilities for girls and women in their chosen sports

• Fill the void in quality sporting and training facilities in the community

• Provide further opportunities for future heroes and role models to be homegrown from the region

Read More

Stay Active While Working From Home

September 30, 2022

With more and more businesses allowing flexible working options which often include working from home, it can be easy to fall into a routine of laziness and simplicity when the work desk is mere metres from the bed. On the contrary, working from home allows the freedom and flexibility to take exercise and leisure into your own hands. Read on to discover tips and exercises to incorporate into your routine, making the most of your workdays.

Start Your Day With A Walk

Starting your day with a walk is a great way to boost your energy first thing in the morning. Put on a podcast, catch up on current events or spin some bangers to get yourself moving and begin your workday already exercised, motivated and ready to go.

Depending on your schedule, you can also break your day with walks before, during and after your workday. Leaving the desk and the house is a great way to reinvigorate and re-energise your body and mind as well as avoiding the dreaded cabin fever.

Stand During Calls

Sitting for long hours can be terrible for your blood pressure, back, posture and more, especially when sitting on the couch or at the kitchen bench. Regularly standing or walking will decrease your sitting time and doing these things while working will integrate them into your workday seamlessly. Walk around the house or the block when on a work call or stand at your desk when on a Zoom call. Investing in a standing desk or finding somewhere to properly prop up your computer can help you get up out of your chair and boost your concentration and focus.

Turn Your Office Equipment Into Gym Equipment

With enough space, your desk or chair can serve as push up equipment to help you exercise from home. All you need is something stable to be able to complete push up exercises, including:

• Tricep dips: keep your arms bent at a 90-degree angle on your chair while pushing up and down.

• Desk push ups: place your hands on your desk in a push up position and push up and down.

• Wall push ups: again, place your hands in push up position on the wall and push back and forth.

Make sure to keep your legs at an angle and your entire body in a straight line for best positioning and results.

Read More

Pilates And Yoga Unite

September 30, 2022

A popular new fitness offering in Mackay that provides both Pilates and Yoga in one place is becoming a huge hit. So much so that its owners have just opened a second location to meet rising demand.

When Madeleine Snaith and partner Jake Salomone moved up from Brisbane in July last year, they were surprised to discover this combination was not yet available in the region.

Eager to share how these two disciplines could work together to enhance both physical and mental wellbeing, the couple opened their first studio, Contro Pilates and Yoga in January this year.

With their Rural View location frequently booking out and a wait list of three weeks, they decided to investigate their client list. They quickly noticed clients were often travelling from the other side of Mackay to participate in classes.

Deciding to make it more convenient for their growing clientele, the couple decided to open a second studio on Shakespeare Street in Mackay City earlier this month.

With a total of 12 instructors spread over two rooms at each location, Contro offers a wide range of class options including Reformer Pilates, Matwork Pilates, Yoga, Hot Yoga and Barre.

A maximum of 10 people per class ensures a relaxed and intimate environment, enabling instructors to build positive connections with each and every client.

“It’s such a beautiful community that we’ve built, a lot of clients have now become our friends,” said Madeleine.

“We’re all about making people feel special for an hour and I always tell my staff to remember everyone’s names plus a fast fact about them – that way we have a personal connection.”

The membership structure at Contro has been flexibly designed and purposefully priced to meet the needs of everyone.

Enquire now to find out how Pilates and Yoga can work together to challenge your strength, stability, flexibility and inner wellbeing.

Image: Madeleine Snaith and partner Jake Salomone from Contro Pilates and Yoga

Read More

Get Connected At The Seniors Expo

September 30, 2022

Seniors of all ages and stages are invited to come together at the Big Shed on the Mackay Showgrounds later this month for an event that promises to offer a wide range of opportunities to maximise quality of life during retirement years.

The annual Mackay Seniors Expo is a popular event which often attracts upwards of 2000 people who enjoy browsing over 75 different stalls.

There is plenty to see and do - discover avenues to volunteer your time to charity organisations, sign-up to sporting activities such as pickleball and learn about your health options including managing hearing loss or how you can receive Meals on Wheels.

Mayor Greg Williamson said the expo is a great place to connect with others.

“This expo is all about making connections, whether with a group you’d like to be part of or a sport or hobby you’d like to try, or maybe just with old friends that you haven’t seen in a while,” he said.

“We’ve found that community members are interested in learning more about leisure and lifestyle activities as well as the more ‘practical’ considerations of growing older and staying active and healthy.

“This expo really offers a tremendous mix – in the Big Shed this year you will find everything from senior-friendly sports and hobbies to retirement living and healthcare services.”

The event forms part of the Queensland Government’s state-wide Seniors Month celebrations which aim to improve community attitudes towards older people, facilitate community participation and activity by older people, and enhance community connections and inter-generational relationships.

WHAT: Mackay Seniors Expo

WHERE: The Big Shed at the Mackay Showgrounds

WHEN: Tuesday, October 11 from 9.00am to 1.00pm

Read More

Let Your Creativity Flow

September 30, 2022

Do you have an exciting creative idea and need a bit of financial assistance to get it off the ground?

Mackay Regional Council is here to help you through the Regional Arts Development Fund (RADF), offering almost $95,000 in grants during the latest funding round.

RADF Committee Chair Councillor Fran Mann said this round of funding was again offering three different categories to promote creativity across the Mackay community.

“RADF will again offer General Arts grants, as well as the Youth Arts grants which aim to support young people to pursue creative career pathways,” Ms Mann said.

“There will also be Green Arts grants available, which will support initiatives that focus on environmentally based arts and cultural practice and that highlight issues relating to our unique local biodiversity.

“Creativity makes communities connect, and RADF promotes the role and value of arts, culture and heritage as key drivers of diverse and inclusive communities and strong regions.”

This funding round of RADF (round one for 2022/23) is open now and applications close Wednesday, October 5, 2022, for projects commencing after Monday, November 14.

This round will offer $46,000 in General Arts grants, $33,934 in Green Arts grants, and $15,000 in Youth Arts grants.

Previous RADF grant recipients have used the funds to publish books, record music, hold art exhibitions and more.

Council is also looking for new RADF committee members and you or your arts organisation can still apply for RADF funds if you are a RADF committee member.

To apply for a RADF grant, visit

Read More

New Mural Makes A Splash

September 30, 2022

One of Mackay CBD’s many laneways is now a whole lot brighter thanks to local artist Cynthia Gregg.

The space next to Sam’s Singapore Restaurant on Wood Street has been transformed, with Cynthia spending a week painting the whole wall white before creating her masterpiece last week.

Cynthia, who is also a Crossroad Arts Wearable Art Co-Facilitator and performer, created the artwork using water-based exterior paints to celebrate the deep blue waters of the Pioneer River.

“The mural consists of a human silhouette spreading outwards into a large dynamic splashing of droplets in aquamarine blue hues,” Cynthia said.

“This form will suggest a welcoming river spirit, inviting the audience to interact.

“The themes are playfulness, vitality, appreciation of and engagement with arts and the natural marine environment.”

Brightening the street, the artwork invites passers-by into the laneway to interact with the piece.

“This type of painting is designed to engage its audience with photo shoots and selfies,” Cynthia said.

“It consists of shapes designed to smoothly frame and uplift the appearance of a person standing directly in front of the mural.

“In photos, it will appear as though the person featured is one with the painting and wearing wings of splashing water rising, encouraging a cultural embrace with the river and street arts in Mackay.”

Cynthia was able to complete the mural after receiving an Activate My Place! (AMP!) program micro-grant from Mackay Regional Council to create this new work.

She also had the support of Crossroad Arts and Horizon Clubhouse.

With the whole wall now painted white, Cynthia hopes to secure more funding to fill the wall with similar figures.

Members of the local community are invited to take part in photoshoots with the completed mural, encouraging connection and share to social media using the hashtags #BlueRiverSpirit and #MackayPride.

Read More

Hard Labour Pays Off

September 30, 2022

By Kevin Borg, Chairman, Canegrowers Mackay

Looking north, and seeing the deep troubles experienced in other growing regions in sourcing labour to transport cane to the mill, the Mackay region cane growing community is thankful for a couple of factors that have served us well this crush.

Canegrowers Mackay, working with our CQ Queensland Agricultural Workforce Network officer, went out hard and early, recruiting workers not just from within our community, but across the country. We used electronic billboards, social media and online jobs boards focused on backpackers and grey nomads. We ran ads in local media, and state rural press.

We even went old school, with posters and flyers delivered to roadhouses and caravan parks.

Beyond that, Canegrowers Mackay is almost unique among Queensland’s milling districts in that part of our recruitment strategy is to actively train haulout drivers. The course is led by growers and harvesters and a registered training organisation. This year, we had 20 trainees, 19 of whom passed the course and were work-ready by the end of their four-day training course, with some good in-paddock experience.

We think it’s important, to help raise skill levels of new workers to the industry, and thereby improve safety and productivity. That’s why we are currently applying for funding to run two courses in 2023.

This year, the course also taught us something. The majority of the trainees were older workers, looking for seasonal work to supplement their early retirement income. Many had experience in other ag sectors and were looking to apply these to cane harvesting. It’s interesting and gave us a pointer on places to focus efforts in 2023.

Overall, taking this multi-pronged recruitment approach has been a good success, thus far, with a list of people seeking work updating on our website jobs board, and members, for the most part, are not flagging that they are having difficulty sourcing labour.

However, with the crush now expected to extend into January, the sector will need to ensure that we can retain the labour needed to see the crush through, or if not, attract new workers. It’s a hard call, but many farming operations unfortunately end up relying on family members to scrape through that end part of the season.

We are lucky that, for the majority of harvesting operations in this region, a C-class licence is all that is needed to be a haulout driver. Like many regions, the sugarcane industry can suffer attrition to the resources sector. It can’t be helped – those are high paying jobs in an affluent industry.

But what the sugarcane industry can offer is a worksite that’s a green paddock, not a black and brown hole. And to be home with your loved ones every day. There’s a good lifestyle trade off.

Read More

New Lead Agent, Same Great Service

September 30, 2022

Headspace services in the Mackay region will now be delivered by North and West Remote Health (NWRH) as the remote allied health service took over as lead agent on September 12.

NWRH is a not-for-profit organisation providing mental health and wellbeing, outreach allied health, aged care and disability services across regional, rural and remote Queensland and will now deliver headspace services to Mackay as well as the Sarina and Whitsundays headspace satellite sites.

Based in Townsville, NRWH service from Mornington Island to Birdsville and from Emerald to Ingham but Executive Coordinator Simone Campbell says Mackay is a new region for the organisation.

“We just wanted to be involved in Mackay because it’s not an area we’ve looked at or been in before,” she said.

Earlier in the month, NWRH board members visited the region to meet with members of the headspace consortium.

The NWRH Board and Chief Executive Officer hosted a meet and greet with local headspace staff, traditional owner elders from the Yuwi and South Sea Islander Communities, The Village Leaders, the Mackay Hospital and Health Service staff as well as other community service providers.

The NWRH team then met with Mackay Regional Council Mayor Greg Williamson, Deputy Mayor Karen May and Councillors the next day.

“What we want to do is start a consortium partnership with some of the local people … so we could start meeting and getting involved in the community to promote headspace, to promote NWRH’s other services to see what else we can do down there and how else we can get involved,” Ms Campbell said.

“The board is very interested in getting to know the community down there and see what they can do to help.”

While headspace may have a new lead agent, they still provide the Mackay region with the same great services they always have.

Headspace Mackay offers free confidential counselling services for young people aged 12 - 25 across Mackay region, making sure young people have the best support, information, and services for their health and wellbeing including physical health, mental health, drug and alcohol issues, employment and education support.

Headspace Mackay can be contacted on 4898 2200, headspace Sarina 4842 6750, headspace Whitsundays 4842 6760.

Read More


September 30, 2022

Whether it’s a sea change or a tree change, there is a movement away from the big cities to regional areas and Mackay is one of the beneficiaries.

Recent figures show that populations across regional Australia grew by 70,900 or 0.9 per cent in the 2020-2021 financial year and the population figure fell by 26,000 or 0.1 per cent in capital cities.

Covid-induced border closures are now well and truly behind us and there is a feeling that this trend will only increase.

High-profile real estate identity John McGrath’s latest McGrath Report, quoted in The Australian newspaper, said big city escapees look for a cheaper destination, not something that is as expensive as where they are leaving, when choosing their sea or tree change.

McGrath pointed out that a sea change to Noosa Heads does not look so enticing when the median price is $2 million compared to regional Queensland’s $569,000 median price.

One of the reasons people make the change is to reduce debt and financial stress. Yes, people want good weather, access to beaches or other forms of natural beauty, reliable services and medical facilities but cost is a big part of it.

McGrath has noticed how those factors have led to an increase in property sales and price rises in our part of the world.

“Central Queensland, where many city dwellers from the southern states have moved, recorded the largest uptick in sales volumes of houses of 42.9 per cent in the year to February 2022,” the McGrath Report said.

It also pointed out that sales volumes in the Greater Whitsundays, which also includes Mackay, were up nearly 41 per cent.

The on-the-ground evidence at open homes and buyer inquiries absolutely confirms that Mackay is very much on the list of those wanting to make the change.

Our average house price is in the low $400,000s, there is virtually no unemployment, we have beautiful beaches and rivers, lovely hinterland bushland, easy access to Whitsunday Islands, good health and educational facilities and we’re a short flight to Brisbane.

One change that has been created by technology improvements and spurred on by Covid is the trend to work from home.

There are now people who work in the digital world who pretty much work from home all the time.

The organisation you work for might be based in Sydney but in many cases you can work from home in Manly, the Gold Coast or Mackay.

Whichever way you look at it there are positive signs for real estate in Mackay.

Read More

Looking for a job?

September 30, 2022

Have you considered working for Mackay Regional Council as an option for a rewarding career?

With about 1200 employees, we have a huge variety of roles with endless possibilities.

As a councillor I get to interact with staff on a daily basis; they are a dedicated bunch, it doesn’t matter whether I get to the office at 6.30am or I am leaving at 6.30pm, there is always someone there.

I see our workforce as proud of the role they play in working to improve our region for their family and future generations, and when I ask staff for the reason they work for council, they are quick to answer:

• “I get a lot of satisfaction when I work with a team of people who want to help provide services to the community.”

• “Council offers me the ability to have a great work/life balance.”

• “Council provides me the opportunity to gain new skills and undertake further training to advance my career within the organisation.”

• “Working at council provides a lifestyle and flexible arrangements for me to be home each night and on the weekend so I can enjoy time with my family and volunteer at various sports our family is involved in.”

Like all businesses in the region at the moment, we are struggling to fill roles because prospective employees are spoilt for choice.

We currently have 183 vacancies, of which 31 are currently advertised, and this affects our ability to deliver services to the community in a timely manner and puts stress on other employees to fill the gaps so we can continue to be proud of our region.

The available positions cover all aspects, from working in our parks and gardens so we can keep them looking great, to a role as a principal development engineer that helps plan the layout of or region into the future.

Applying is easy with vacancies listed on council’s website –

If any of this has sparked interest in you or maybe you know a school leaver who needs a start, or an out-of-town family member who is considering moving town or state, please contact them and say, “Have you considered working for Mackay Regional Council?”  

Cr Laurence Bonaventura

Mackay Regional Council

Read More

On Monday There Will Be Tears

September 30, 2022

Plenty of tears.

Monday is the D Day for kids as they have to head back to school after the spring holiday break and I reckon there will be a handful of kids and parents alike that won't be happy with it.

My suggestion is if you're heading to the shops tomorrow to do your monthly shop, maybe grab an extra box of tissues just to be sure.

I know over the past couple of weeks we've had some fun.

I ran the Sydney Marathon two weeks ago, plenty of families have had fun camping at Eungella and water skiing at Kinchant Dam, whilst others have had a chill out session in front of the TV watching Netflix and watching footy.

Whatever you've been doing I hope it's been fun.

Can I make a suggestion though before Monday? Get the whole family together this weekend, grab some pizzas and some cans of fizzy drink and all sit down together and nut out what you want to do in the Xmas holidays. They will come around quicker than you think.

The decorations are out on the shelves now so that means our minds are tuned to the festive season and all that it brings. Tinsel, trees, presents and holidays in the summertime.

Does it mean an overseas holiday is in order now that the premier has thrown away the pool gate key now? Does it mean you can relax with the whole family in the car driving down to Brisbane and spend some quality time with the cousins?

Whatever you choose to do, start organising it now. Don't put it off because the next thing you know it will be too late and you'll be kicking yourself that you didn't listen to Uncle Rob.

Write down what you want to do, where to go and how you're going to pay for it all. Stick it on the front of the fridge so it reminds you each day of what you are doing, then in a few short months you will be relaxing with thousands of others at the best time of the year.

Oh, one other thing. Lose some weight. You will want to look your best at the beach in that one-piece orange bathing suit. I know I will.

Have fun.

You can join Rob Kidd from 5am weekday mornings on 4MK 1026 AM in Mackay and Proserpine, 91.5FM in Airlie Beach or just ask your smart speaker to play 4MK on iHeartRadio!

Read More

From Town To Country

September 30, 2022

Long-standing Mackay Real Estate Agent Noel Durnsford has re-opened his doors and is now taking clients for well-established Noel Durnsford Town and Country Realty.

Renowned for professional service with an emphasis on communication and personal connection, Noel pays careful attention to detail and focuses on customer requirements.

“We take the time to get the best possible price for a property, that the market will allow,” said Noel.

“I know the region intimately from cane farms to coastal grazing blocks, as well as all types of residential properties, and that’s the reason we are called Town and Country Realty.”

Born and bred in Mackay, Noel operated a cane farm at Yalboroo (located just 70 kilometres north of Mackay) for over 30 years before moving into the city with his wife, Robyn.

His father and uncle moved to the farm in 1927 from Nebo and it has been in the family ever since.

Noel’s two sons are now third generation farmers on the property, along with his 26-year-old grandson.

Poor health saw Noel step away from the real estate industry for some years but 12 months ago he re-opened the doors under the same name and with the same service.

“We’re homegrown so I do understand the circumstances in Mackay, whether that be rural or town properties and I understand the layout of the land from Sarina to Proserpine,” he said.

As the principal of his agency, Noel is the person you will talk to for all business dealings regarding comparative market analysis, the listing process, settlement and everything in between.

For all your real estate needs, reach out to Noel Durnsford Town and Country Realty and experience some good old-fashioned service.

Image: Noel Durnsford and his wife Robyn from Town and Country Realty

Read More

Mackay Students Enter The Space Race

September 30, 2022

Image: Former NASA astronaut Susan Kilrain was the guest of honour as STEM Punks launched their Space 2101 program in Mackay last week. Photo Credit: STEM Punks Education

A total of 50 local school students got a taste of working in space as the Space 2101 program launched globally in Mackay last week.

The five-day program was facilitated by world-leading STEM education providers STEM Punks, teaching students skills in coding, design thinking, 3D design, innovation and creativity, all with the theme of living and working in space.

“We’re putting the kids into the future,” said STEM Punks CEO Michael Holmstrom.

“It’s all about giving them STEM skills in the context of space and then we use something called design thinking to get them to transform ideas into outcomes really fast.”

The students were given the scenario of producing a new module for a futuristic space station.

“In the end, they get a really creative mindset,” Mr Holmstrom said.

“It’s about problem-solving, and they basically use those STEM skills in a problem-based learning scenario to produce an outcome.”

The program also featured former NASA astronaut Commander Susan Kilrain who flew in from the USA to present with STEM Punks.

“She was there as a mentor, as a validator of the ideas, and to share her inspirational story about being blasted off into space,” Mr Holmstrom said.

Grade eight student Olivia Pearce has always wanted to be an astronaut and says meeting Ms Kilrain was inspirational.

“It really showed me that I could be an astronaut and that it is possible and if you do well in school and join clubs you’ve got opportunities,” Olivia said.

“I had quite a good chat with Susan, and she really told me that I could do it and it’s really good that I’m a female because that’s bringing more females into the field.”

Fellow grade 8 student Hunter McGeary agreed.

“That was amazing,” he said.

“First astronaut ever to come to Mackay apparently.

“I’ve just loved space and coding and programming, and I heard there was a lot of that with this program.

“We’ve mainly been learning programming, but we’ve done a bit of circuitry and 3D design which is cool.”

The Mackay program is the launch of a world tour for STEM Punks which will now head to Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Bahrain, UK, India and the USA.

Read More

Inaugural Long Table Laneway Art Dinner

September 30, 2022

Holding a culinary feast within an immersive art gallery at an award-winning laneway sounds both ambitious and fascinating – it is also something that Crossroad Arts are introducing to Mackay next month.

The inaugural Laneway Art Dinner promises to be a cultural masterpiece where a nationally acclaimed guest artist will showcase his work, while guests enjoy a locally sourced hand-picked food offering.

Located at Fifth Lane in the heart of Mackay, watch how the stage will be set with an art gallery vibe for a two course-dinner which will further stimulate the senses.

The all-inclusive outdoor experience will feature dinner and drinks by Goanna Brewing and Joval Wine Group along with live music by Ruby Sue Music and a Crossroad Arts wearable art parade.

During the evening there will be a live art auction with works from a variety of renowned artists including Archibald Prize Finalist, Digby Webster who will also be the VIP guest on the night.

A Sydney-based artist with a career spanning 10 years, Digby Webster is an inspiring young man who has had is work exhibited as far afield as Japan.

He was also commissioned by Taste Media to paint images of the South Australian landscape which were then incorporated into the winning logo for the Special Olympics which was held in Adelaide in 2018.

Painting in the mediums of oil pastels and acrylics, his work reflects strong evocative colours together with an expressive visual language of his own.

An advocate for equal opportunities for people living with disabilities, Digby is also a member of Front Up, a disability led Arts and Cultural program initiated by Ability Options.

Through this program, he has exhibited several of his works at Barangaroo as part of the 'I Am Still Here' emerging artists exhibition.

Artbank and Australia Council for the Arts have also included his works in their collection.

Digby will be guest of honour at the Laneway Art Dinner and Artistic Director Alison Richardson says she is looking forward to introducing him at the event.

"Our Laneway Art Dinner is the first of its kind in the city heart's award winning Fifth Lane,” she said.

“We're excited to have accomplished Sydney based artist Digby Webster in attendance and we look forward to an evening in celebration of art, music and food!”

All proceeds will be directly re-invested into the Mackay community through Crossroad Arts inclusive arts events and artistic programs, helping them to expand and enrich their annual program of workshops and events in regional and remote Queensland.

Tickets are $165 per person, and they are selling fast so get in quick to secure your place.

For further details including how to book tickets visit

WHAT: Laneway Art Dinner

WHEN: Friday, October 21st – 6.30pm to 10.30pm

WHERE: Fifth Lane, Mackay CBD

Read More

A Walk For Charlie’s Heart

September 30, 2022

The whole community is invited to join the Quakawoot family for the annual HeartKids Two Feet and A Heartbeat charity walk which takes place in October.

Attendees can choose between a four and eight kilometre walk which will help raise both money and awareness for people living with congenital heart disease (CHD).

CHD is one of the leading causes of death of Australian babies under one and one of the most common birth abnormalities affecting one in every 100 births.

Eight Australian babies are born with the disease each day and four sadly pass away each week.

Mackay locals, the Quakawoot family, have been living this traumatic experience since their son Charlie was diagnosed with CHD when he was born.

The little guy spent six weeks in hospital after his birth and will require expensive ongoing medicine twice a day to keep him alive.

Charlie’s mum, Robyn, was just 28 weeks pregnant when the midwife picked up a rapid heart rate of about 300bpm.

She was told to go to Townsville hospital straight away where they put her on two different heart medications to try and get Charlie’s heart rate down.

This was a very scary experience for Robyn and the family as Charlie had started to go into heart failure.

Fortunately, after a week of treatment, Charlie’s heart rate returned to normal but his parents had a nervous wait until he was born.

“It was a very stressful time during the hospital stay which lasted 6 weeks. It was also a very anxious time when we were able to bring him home,” said Robyn.

“When Charlie was five days old, he had his first SVT (supraventricular tachycardia) episode outside the womb.

“To try and revert his heart rhythm, the doctors tried dunking his head in an ice bath and when this didn’t work, they administered a drug through an IV, which worked thankfully to reduce his heart rate,” says dad Andrew.

Navigating a new life with Charlie’s condition has been both traumatic and expensive for the family who have had to dig into their savings to pay for his ongoing medicine.

HeartKids have been a lifeline during this time by providing in hospital emotional support and meals to them while Charlie underwent treatment at Queensland Children’s Hospital.

Mackay’s upcoming Two Feet and A Heartbeat charity walk is an opportunity for HeartKids supporters, friends and families to come together to support families like Charlie’s.

Tickets to the event are $30 for adults, children under 15 are $15 and an infant under one is free.

Each participant will receive a pair of socks and a flag representing their journey.

Blue for the kids living with CHD, white for those that have lost a loved one and red for supporters, friends and family.

The event will begin with a minute’s silence for those lost and this will be followed by your choice of four- or eight-kilometre walk.

Afterwards there will be a BBQ and a range of other activities.

WHAT: HeartKids Two Feet and A Heartbeat charity walk

WHEN: Sunday, October 16 from 3.30pm – 6.00pm

WHERE: Old Mulherin Park, Mulherin Drive

Read More

Fox Trapping Underway

September 30, 2022

Residents are advised that a region-wide fox trapping project has now commenced and will cover all areas from Calen to West Hill.

The Mackay Regional Council initiative is designed to reduce the numbers of a fox species that prey on agricultural and native species alike and can carry diseases.

The European Fox is a Restricted Invasive Animal under the Queensland Biosecurity Act 2014.

Conservation dogs have been used to detect dens and a Council workforce have laid out a series of overnight foot traps in some areas; these are non-lethal and signage will indicate their location.

During the project period, which takes place until October 11, residents are advised to avoid the following areas on the following dates as foot traps will be present:

East Point – September 30 and October 1

Blacks Beach Reserve – October 1

Hay Point and Louisa Creek beach frontages – October 5-7

The 2022 Fox project is a partnership between Mackay Regional Council, Turtlewatch, Reef Catchments, Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal Pty Ltd, North Queensland Bulk Ports, BMA, Department of Environment and Resource Management, QPWS, and Sarina Landcare via the Queensland Government’s Community Sustainability Action grant.

Read More

“Lucky To Be Alive” Car Plunges From Bridge

September 30, 2022

A couple in their fifties are recovering after their car swerved off the Bruce Highway at Bakers Creek south of Mackay, plummeting three metres from a bridge and onto the riverbed below.

Their Ford Ranger landed on its roof and paramedics said they were “lucky to be alive” because the tide was out at the time, otherwise their vehicle could have been submerged.

The incident happened at around 3.30am on Friday September, 23 and Queensland Ambulance Services (QAS) were first to arrive on the scene at 3.47am.

Less than ten minutes later, Mackay Fire and Rescue arrived with Area Commander of Mackay City, Mark Ashford saying that it took his team 26 minutes to extricate the couple from the upturned vehicle.

“Surprisingly the car was not that damaged,” said Commander Ashford.

“There was no cutting needed, we were able to get them out through the doors.”

QAS were on hand to assist the couple, the man was reported to be in a serious but stable condition having received head and chest injuries.

The woman was stable with minor chest injuries.

It is understood that a wild animal running across the road had caused the driver to swerve to avoid a collision.

Paramedics advised that motorists should always resist the natural urge to swerve when possible.

The Forensic Crash Unit is now investigating the exact cause of the accident and are appealing for any witnesses or anyone with dashcam vision to contact police.

The couple are undoubtedly relieved to survive what would have been a very scary experience.

Image: The vehicle plunged three metres onto a river bank

Read More

Campaign Raising The Voice of Young People

September 30, 2022

Image: Andrew Willcox is one of over 70 Federal politicians taking part in the Raise our Voice Australia Campaign. Photo credit: Sam Gillespie

The 2022 Raise our Voice Australia Campaign is giving young people a voice in parliament and Federal Member for Dawson Andrew Willcox is calling on people under 21 to get involved.

“This year I am excited to participate in the Youth Voice in Parliament campaign which aims to increase the political literacy of our young voters and voters-to-be,” Mr Willcox said.

“The Raise our Voice campaign asks people under 21 to write a 90-second speech, the best of which will be read out by their local member in Parliament from 21-24 November 2022 for Youth Voice in Parliament week.”

Young people are tasked with writing a speech on the topic of ‘What should Australia’s new parliament accomplish?’

Last year’s campaign saw 603 speech submissions and approximately 130 speeches read in parliament.

Mr Willcox said that 60% of participants said it was the first time they had engaged with Australian politics or a politician, with 92% saying that taking part made them more likely to engage in politics in the future.

“Anything I can do to encourage young people to take an interest in Politics I will take part in,” he said.

“It is so important that our future leaders start having their say, I am honoured to be able to amplify the voices of the young people from Dawson by reading their vision for the future in our Federal Parliament.”

Read More


September 30, 2022

Hi Readers

My name is Sam and I work alongside our Mackay editor Amanda, whom you would usually see here. Our hardworking editor is enjoying a break in America, so I’ll be sharing my thoughts in the opening pages of the paper until her return. Here goes.

I moved to Mackay in February, deciding to leave Brisbane after eight years. Life was good but I was in a routine. Things needed shaking up. I decided to move to Mackay for a lifestyle change, making the decision with no real job or plan other than to move into my cousin’s spare room. I was unbelievably lucky to land a job with the paper you hold in your hands.

This job has allowed me to achieve exactly what I had hoped for when leaving Brisbane. I wanted a career that would see me do more than sit in an office for eight hours a day. I wanted a profession that would allow me to explore the region and experience new things. I wanted a job where I could meet a variety of people and feel part of my community. In my seven-ish months in the gig, I feel I’m on my way to doing it all!

I’ve come to really appreciate the Mackay region in this time. The people are friendly. There are so many stunning natural surroundings to explore. The weekends are constantly jam-packed with plenty to do. Just this weekend, I spent a day watching people of all ages absolutely shred the Sugar Bowl at Rumble on the Reef, followed by an evening of music at Rhythm and The Reef that I probably wouldn’t have expected to see in Mackay before I moved here. You can see my photos on pages 18 and 19. My friends down south are constantly surprised at how happening Mackay is when I tell them my weekend plans!

I’ve had heaps of fun so far and I can’t wait for a summer of gigs, sport and unique events throughout the community.

If you have an event coming up please reach out to me!


Read More

New CEO Announced For Mackay Isaac Tourism

September 30, 2022

A Whitsunday Regional Councillor has been named as the new Chief Executive Officer of Mackay Isaac Tourism following a gruelling interview process which saw applicants from across the country vie for the job.

Al Grundy, has 26 years’ experience in tourism, operating an extensive charter boat company for much of the time and more recently becoming Chair of the Board for Tourism Whitsundays.

He was elected as division two councillor for Whitsunday Regional Council two and a half years ago and has now resigned from the position to pursue his dreams of leading a team and creating change within the industry.

Having already been equipped with the right skillset and his strong passion for the tourism industry, Mr Grundy says he is raring to go and already has a clear direction on how he will steer the organisation and region to greater heights.

“I am excited to be given this responsibility of leading the region and the team at Mackay Isaac Tourism,” he said.

“I hope my years of experience will be an asset and I look forward to meeting the industry and working closely with them to shine a spotlight on the best of what the Mackay Isaac region has to offer to the world!”

Al is no stranger to the Mackay Isaac area, having worked on a number of local Committees including the Mackay Isaac Whitsundays Healthy Rivers to Reef Partnership for seven years and the Greater Whitsundays Council of Mayors Suicide Prevention Taskforce for 18 months.

“I already have links with Mayor Baker and Mayor Williamson, which really helped with my decision to take this role,” he said.

“I am looking forward to working within both Council areas, growing memberships and new opportunities both coastal and outback.”

Mackay Isaac Tourism Chair Councillor Justin Englert said he is confident the new appointment will bring tremendous strengths to not only the organisation but also the region.

“With new ideas, a fresh approach and innovative concepts, backed by a strong tourism marketing and business background, the organisation is in good hands,” he said.

“The board of directors at Mackay Isaac Tourism is excited about this new appointment and with Al’s significant background in the tourism industry, I am sure his ability to identify new opportunities will drive growth for our Mackay Isaac Region.”

Starting his role on Monday October 17, Al will reside in Mackay during the week, returning to the Whitsundays to be with his family on the weekends.

Current interim Mackay Isaac Tourism CEO Tash Wheeler will be finishing shortly after Al commences the role.

Image: New Mackay Isaac Tourism Chief Executive Officer Al Grundy

Read More

School Camp Like No Other

September 30, 2022

Image: Sony Camp provides unique opportunities to children with a disability. Photo credit: Sam Gillespie

Sony Camp wrapped up earlier this week with a show day incorporating rides, face painting, a petting zoo and smiles all around.

Mackay Sony Foundation Children’s Holiday Camp is a unique program for young people in our region who have a disability hosted by Whitsunday Anglican School (WAS).

Running from Saturday to Monday, it provided 16 Mackay campers the opportunity to go ‘on camp’ for three days of fun-filled action including swimming, dancing, remote control car racing, gymnastics, a visit from fire fighters and police officers, drumming, games and finishing with show day activities.

Sixty WAS students between years eight and 12 volunteered over the weekend, with year 11 students taking on the crucial and exciting role of primary companions and carers.

WAS Dean of Service and Global Learning Trisha McHugh says this time provides their families and carers valuable reprieve and much-needed time out.

“It’s (the opportunity for) our students at WAS to provide some respite to our community for people who have children with a disability,” Ms McHugh said.

“They have been looking after the camper as if they were a brother or sister.

“We appreciate the fact that parents are entrusting their children to us to look after, and I also appreciate the fact that our students have given up so much and parents have given up so much of their time so that we can run the event.”

Now in its eighth year, WAS Principal Andrew Wheaton says the weekend was a success apparent through the smiles on the faces of the campers.

“We feel that it’s a true transformational service opportunity where our students are really giving back to the community and providing that much needed respite for families of students with a disability,” Mr Wheaton said.

Year 11 student Clancy Morgan volunteered at Sony Camp last year and took the opportunity to step up as a companion this year.

“It has been a great experience,” she said.

“I’ve been looking after Cooper … and just seeing the smile on his face, it’s been amazing.

“He’s very independent, which is good, but if he needs anything we’re always there.

“It’s just amazing to see what some families have to do every day.”

Read More


September 30, 2022

Breaks World Record By Running 50km A Day For 15 Days

Well-known Sarina mum of three, Sammy Coles, has just smashed a world record, completing an Ultra Marathon every day for 15 days and earning herself a place in the Guinness Book of Records.

With the motto that “life just happens” and “it’s never going to be the right time”, Sammy embarked on the challenge (which took her eight hours a day) while also simultaneously working full time, raising three kids and walking the dogs.

Image: Ultra runner Sammy Coles (right) with Billy and Courtney who officiated running times

An Ultra Marathon World Record Breaker

Last Thursday Sarina mum of three, Sammy Coles, broke the world record for running an Ultra Marathon every day for over two weeks.

In a twist of fate, her title was overtaken by another opponent just one day after she secured the record but despite this, Sammy said she was thrilled to accomplish such an incredible feat which saw her run a total 795 kilometres (53 kilometres a day) for 15 days.

Still pumped from her victory, Sammy says she is eager to see how far she can go with besting the new record which is now set at 22 days.

“I’d love to beat it!” she said.

“My body held up so well and I paced myself the whole way, I knew I had the fitness to do it and I would love to go longer next time.”

While most competitors would train and set aside time to achieve a challenge of this magnitude, Sammy worked full time taking classes at the gym.

She would then race home to start each Ultra Marathon which would take her on average eight hours a day, jogging along a 10 kilometre circuit around her home.

“Life just happens!” said Sammy.

“There is no perfect timing, you’re never going to be in the mood, you just have to do it!”

Sammy was only allowed to break for a maximum of eight minutes after each round and often took the dogs for a run while she completed one of her circuits, she also found the time to feed her children and take her son for a spin to clock up some hours on his P plates.

This was not her first taste of endurance running, Sammy had previously competed in the Irrational East challenge which saw her run for 98 hours straight, 330 kilometres through the Wilderness in Adelaide.

“I had the fitness level to do this too, but you never know how your body will hold out and on that occasion, it was the second toe on my left foot that cramped.”

Next-up Sammy is looking forward to conquering the Triple Crown – which involves completing three 200-mile races within a six month period.

Despite the massive amount of endurance, physical ability and mental strength it takes to run this far, Sammy said that she thinks anyone can do it.

“I honestly feel like this is something anyone could do,” she said.

“You just have to believe in yourself.”

Sammy would like to say thank you to her closest supporters: Lauren Matthews, Sarah Brown, Tammy Vaiga and her partner Thian Bardnard.

Read More

Pilates And Its Many Benefits

September 23, 2022

There are countless benefits to making Pilates part of your health and wellness routine for both your body and your mind.

Pilates is for everybody, regardless of gender, age, race, size, ability or fitness level.

The Pilates Method is made up of over 600 exercises and variations meaning there’s something for everyone, whether you have a sedentary lifestyle, are a weekend warrior, are pregnant, are undergoing rehab, have anxiety or are a professional athlete.

Studies have shown that Pilates improves quality of life by having a positive effect on depression and pain, most notably decreasing back pain.

Pilates is an exercise program that benefits your core muscles, including your abdominal muscles, lower back, hips and glutes.

These muscles will be strengthened and become leaner as you continue with your Pilates Journey.

You will also notice increased flexibility in your body.

As your muscles become toned and fat dissipates, you can expect to feel more energized throughout the course of the day.

When you strengthen your muscles, you also increase your resting metabolic rate, helping you lose weight and stay toned even when you’re not exercising.

Though there is an emphasis on core work, core strength alone is not the end goal.

Rather, using that core strength to develop functional and sustainable movement patterns throughout the body is the goal.

“Pilates aligns your entire body’s overall structure and supports its joints,” said Core Defined Pilates and Fitness Studio Instructor Unica Estabillo.

“What appears to look simple can be deceptively challenging and incredibly effective when done correctly with good form.”

The optimal strength gained from a consistent Pilates practice is nonrigid, balancing strength with mobility and flexibility.

It helps you move and breathe through your daily activities with more freedom and power and less pain.

And it’s not just about physical health — Pilates has benefits for your mental wellbeing too.

The benefits overlap and are the result of the influence and connection of the whole body.

Core Defined Pilates and Fitness Studio offer Pilates classes taught by qualified instructors, who will ensure you follow your individual program whether in a one-on-one or in our group "All Levels" class.

“Whether you’re seeking to feel better, tone up, build muscle and bone density, Pilates can positively affect your quality of life,” said Unica.

To find out more, jump online and book now at

Image: Pilates can help you shape your body and core and help you feel better and have more energy in your day-to-day activities. Photo supplied: Unica Estabillo

Read More

Day Care Dilemma

September 23, 2022

Getting your kid into day care has become like the hunger games in Mackay!

Who knew I would feel like I had won the lottery when I got the call to say my daughter had been accepted into a day care.

Are we all just getting a little freakier in the sheets these days so there are more babies around? Or has it always been like this and I’m only just learning about it?

The good news for those who live in the Northern Beaches is that there is apparently a new day care being built in between the millions of petrol stations out there, woohoo! Also, the days of taking your first child out of day care while you were on maternity leave for your second are gone, unless you want to risk losing your spot completely and moving to the bottom of the list.  

The other day I made a phone call to a local school to ask about enrolments even though my daughter is at least three years away from starting school, yes, I’ve gone crazy. But with the day care situation the way it is around town, I’m wondering what happens when all these babies grow up!

Will getting them into school be just as difficult?

If anyone has any tips on best schools, and ways to get your child into a decent one, please feel free to ring the show and share your wisdom, I need it!

Read More

Property Point

September 23, 2022

A former colleague of mine used to love telling the story about his pathway to becoming a journalist.

In his last year of high school his parents, worried about his lack of apparent talent or skills in any particular area, went to see a wise older family friend and asked what he thought their son should do for a career.

“Is he any good at anything?” The family friend asked. “No, he is no good at anything,” the parents replied.

Friend: “So he’s no good at maths, science, no good with his hands? He can’t make things, he can’t fix cars or shine at anything?”

Parents: “No, he can’t do anything.”

Friend: “So, he’s completely hopeless. He’s absolutely useless at everything?”

Parents: “Yes, he’s absolutely useless.”

“Well,’’ the friend said, “there’s nothing else for it … he’ll have to be a journalist.”

The family friend helped arrange an internship at a local community newspaper.

There are certain careers that have unorthodox pathways and real estate is definitely one of them.

Most people go into real estate after having a career doing something else. At Gardian we have a former school teacher, a former travel agent, a former mechanic, a former veterinary nurse, a former pharmacy CEO and a former pub manager among others.

Those who find their way into real estate and succeed tend to be good communicators who get on well with other members of the human race. They want to get a good result for their clients.

It is a difficult career to break into because it is a commission-based model and if you don’t sell properties you don’t make money … and sellers don’t usually want to use someone inexperienced. A vicious cycle.

One way around that is working as a buyer’s agent. As a buyer’s agent, you don’t have the pressure to get listings …  you need to find the buyers.

I work with a young woman, Skye Bettridge, who is a buyers’ agent who works hard to try and match our properties with buyers.

Skye works closely with me and with the buyers, answering their questions and getting them the information they need. She does a lot of the leg work, going with buyers to different properties, constantly sending them information.

It’s my job to get the listings and help her with buyers but, as she gets more experienced, she has started to come across buyers who also want to sell and we can help them both buy and sell a property.

It’s great for buyers because as a team we can do much more, great for sellers who have a team actively looking for buyers for their property, great for me because Skye helps me reach many more buyers and great for Skye because she gets to break into an industry and learn about it as she goes without the pressure of having to get listings.

There’s definitely a career pathway for bright young people.

Read More

Burning Question

September 22, 2022

Rarely have we seen a growing season as good as over the past few months. In the sugar industry, crop tonnage is considerably higher than estimated. This greater than usual mass is not confined to crops. All vegetation is of far higher density than we are accustomed to.

This is where our problem lies. As cold weather has led to much of this vegetation dying off and the oncoming hotter conditions may be combined with drier conditions. We are left with a potential catastrophe with regard to fire.

With such a huge fuel load, an ill-judged spark can cause a conflagration of epic proportion. It was not so long ago that the “red steer” was running wild all across our region. This is a situation that I, for one, have no wish to face again.

So, what to do?

We should all try to reduce the amount of flammable material around us. Tall grass, weeds, undergrowth and leaf litter all need to go. Clear property boundaries and roof gutters. In rural areas, a water source and a means of pumping that does not require electricity is a very good idea. These are just some measures we should take – there are others – now is the time for thinking. When a fire starts, it’s action time and a plan is essential.

The best way of fighting fire is not to start it. Listen to warnings. A total fire ban is TOTAL.

Be wary of anything that can throw a spark, such as slashing and mowing. Think very carefully before undertaking anything that can. If things go awry, it can cost massively in property and, as bitter experience shows, lives.

If you do need to light a fire, protect yourself and others by obtaining a permit from your local fire warden.

Not that we burn cane before harvest much anyway around here, but it is a good idea to get that permit even for this.

Stay safe over the next few months.

Cr Martin Bella

Mackay Regional Council

Read More

Pioneer Valley Buzzing With Business Mentoring

September 22, 2022

Image: Douglas Cannon, of CannonBee, provides a guided hive inspection with Michaela Pritchard. The inspection advises on natural beekeeping practices showing how to conduct a routine hive inspection, what to look for regarding hive health; any sign of pests or disease, analysing overall health and vigour of the bees

Things are buzzing in the Pioneer Valley, especially for local business CannonBee.

The family-owned and Eungella-based business uses natural beekeeping practises to produce raw honey and beeswax products, including Eungella Raw Rainforest Honey and Propolis and Raw Honey Face Polish.

Business owner Janine Cannon recently participated in the second round of council’s one-on-one tailored mentoring program for small business owners.

Mrs Cannon said the program offered a fantastic opportunity to learn how to leverage off the growing tourism market in the Pioneer Valley.

“We are mostly a product-based business, so it has been wonderful to get some expert advice on how we can move into more education focussed aspects such as hosting tours and workshops on beekeeping,” Mrs Cannon said.

“The flexibility of the program - to do it via Zoom - as well as its structured delivery, made it very worthwhile,” she said.

“My mentor was able to provide real-world information such as resources and tools for tourism businesses and databases we can access which will be directly applicable to expanding our business

“With this we will be able to take advantage of the increase in visitor numbers generated by the new Mountain Bike Trails.”

Mayor Greg Williamson said this current round of the program had been aimed at existing businesses, as well as start-ups with a business idea that supported the Pioneer Valley Mountain Bike Trails.

“Council is investing in the program as part of our ongoing commitment to growing the visitor economy and ensuring the Mackay region continues to grow as a highly-regarded leisure destination,” Mayor Williamson said.

“We want the Mackay region to be front of mind for travellers seeking nature experiences and we want to offer a high standard of experiences for them to enjoy while visiting,” he said.

Council offers a free five-part webinar series focussed on business development for businesses in the Pioneer Valley. They are available on the council’s website at

The Small Business Mentoring Program is designed and facilitated by independent mentors, business and tourism experts, Sparrowly Group on behalf of Mackay Regional Council.

Read More

A Space To Express For The Region’s Youth

September 23, 2022

Students at Mackay State High School are leaving their legacy on a local art studio as part of their Creative Arts Academy.

Bottletops & Brushes has been operational in Victoria Street since January and, with unutilised space upstairs, co-founder Margaret-Mary Robinson reached out to schools to offer the space to the region’s youth.

“We noticed that young people don’t have very many places to go so we wanted to encourage young people to express themselves in art,” she said.

“We had Mackay State High School who have initiated an art initiative which is why we have three teams doing art on the walls expressing themselves with what they feel is important to them.

“We’re wanting young people to embrace art, to express themselves and have an opportunity to do something in the Mackay city heart, to take ownership of their place here.”

The school’s Creative Arts Academy is in its first year after the school’s principal recognised the creative talent and potential in the students.

“We’ve essentially been grabbing every arts opportunity by the horns and running with it,” said Mackay State High School Creative Arts Coordinator and Senior Visual Art Teacher Anita Pritchard.

“Earlier this year we had a group who actually participated in the Wonder Rooms project with Mackay Regional Council as part of the Festival of Arts.

“Being our pilot year, I’m really stoked with the opportunities we’ve had so far.”

The academy caters to instrumental students, drama, media and visual arts, with students participating in the mural competition all from the school’s extracurricular XL Art program.

“Our Creative Arts Academy is for students who want to extend themselves further and be able to work with likeminded students,” said Ms Pritchard.

“For XL Art, we have students from grade 7 all the way to year 12 … it becomes a bit of a peer mentorship.”

Five students across years 8, 9 and 11 began work on their murals at the start of the week including year 8 student Sophie Van Essen who says the school’s Creative Arts Academy has opened her up to opportunities she never thought possible.

“I’ve been really focussing on that art since about grade five and this year when the Creative Arts Academy opened up that was really the perfect gateway for me,” she said.

“It’s teaching me a lot about art and I’m learning a lot of things that I wouldn’t have learnt without it and I think that’s a really good opportunity to have.”

Sophie’s mural features a large golden heart and incorporates some of her own characters.

“The entire thing is supposed to represent that there can be innocence and good within a really bad place,” she said.

The murals are to remain in the upstairs studio permanently.

Read More

Revealed – The Impact Of COVID-19 On Women’s Health And Fitness

September 23, 2022

The toll that COVID-19 has taken on Australian women’s health and fitness is laid bare in the 2022 Jean Hailes National Women’s Health Survey, where nearly one in five women reported loss of fitness, weight gain, and muscle and joint pain.

The survey, which was conducted in March-May and attracted more than 14,000 respondents, revealed that 30 per cent of women said they were less fit, 28 per cent said they had gained weight, and 20 per cent said they had muscle and joint pain.

The findings are not surprising. Women assumed the greater shares of housework, childcare, home-learning, as well as managed their own work after the arrival of the pandemic. This burden of care in addition to the closures of facilities meant that many had to abandon their usual fitness regimes like working out in a gym, swimming, doing yoga or Pilates.

Those closures had significant effects on women’s health. Queenslander Penny Conlan says that doing aqua aerobics several times a week is integral to her level of mobility and keeping the pain of her osteoarthritis under control.

“The lockdown meant I had no access to the pool, and I had significantly more joint and muscle pain and was incredibly stiff,” she says.

Anita Hobson-Powell, CEO of Exercise and Sports Science Australia (ESSA), says women often struggle to put their own health first. The demands on their time during COVID-19 meant it was hard for them to fit movement into their daily lives.

“Regardless of their health status and stage of life, every woman can gain significant benefits from being active. My message to all Australian women is that to take care of others, you first need to care for yourself. It isn’t selfish to prioritise your health and take time to get the right advice when it comes to exercise.”

CEO of Jean Hailes for Women’s Health, Janet Michelmore AO, believes it’s important for women to acknowledge the challenges of the past two-and-a-bit years and to give themselves permission to look now to their own needs.

“We know that we as women are resilient and in the coming months, we will slowly but surely work our way back to better health and fitness,” she says.

“Like all journeys, this one will begin with a step.”

Jean Hailes for Women’s Health is a national not-for-profit organisation dedicated to improving the health and wellbeing of women across Australia.

Read More

Fresh Hope For Shandee

September 22, 2022

There is fresh hope that the murderer of Shandee Blackburn will soon be brought to justice following a revelatory podcast that brings into question the quality of the forensic evidence processing by the state-run laboratory.

The podcast, which was produced by investigative journalist Hedley Thomas from The Australian, found that lab results from DNA testing were likely mis-handled.

In the podcast Dr. Kristy Wright advises that there had been 17 incorrect results released from the laboratory.

A former forensic biologist also called the handling of the case a "forensic train wreck".

This evidence combined prompted the coroner to reopen the coronial investigation into Shandee’s death.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced the inquiry in June and it will be headed by the former President of the Court of Appeal, retired judge Walter Sofronoff.

Shandee Blackburn was murdered in February 2013 in the early hours of the morning as she was walking home from her workplace.

She was stabbed in multiple places including her chest and crawled to a nearby gutter where she was heard by a neighbour - Ringo Tapim - who called emergency services.

Shandee was then taken to hospital where attempts were made to resuscitate her before she was pronounced dead.

In 2014, John Peros was arrested and charged with her murder but found not guilty in 2017 when nothing was shown that directly linked him to Shandee’s murder.

In 2019 at a coronial inquest the court heard evidence against John Peros, which showed CCTV footage of a Toyota Hilux of the same age and colour as one he owned nearby the scene of the crime, six minutes prior to the murder.

In August 2020, coroner David O'Connell gave his findings that John Peros was indeed responsible for the murder of Shandee Blackburn - despite being acquitted three years prior.

The refreshed media coverage in the podcast ‘Shandee’s Story’ which mention the forensic lab failures has now brought about the inquiry into the processes of state DNA lab testing.

On Wednesday, two Queensland Government-run DNA testing laboratory senior employees who worked in the forensic unit were stood down pending the outcome of the inquiry.

Thousands of cases, including Sharnee’s will now be re-examined.

Image: Shandee Blackburn was murdered in 2013

Read More

Perfect Position Overlooking The Pioneer For A Passionate Foodie

September 22, 2022

Photo Caption: Council is looking for creative tender ideas for the commercial premises at Bluewater Quay, formerly operating as Ashtart

An exciting opportunity exists for a passionate foodie to snap up a prime waterfront position.

Mackay Regional Council is seeking proposals for a key waterfront commercial tenancy at Bluewater Quay.

The call for tenders, which will be released last Friday (September 16), is for the fit out and operation of food and beverage opportunities from an existing premises at the riverfront location.

Mayor Greg Williamson said the premises, which formerly operated as Ashtart, was beautifully situated on the Bluewater Quay looking over the Pioneer River and formed part of the Mackay Waterfront Priority Development Area.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for someone with vision to come in and set up a distinctive food and beverage business that will take advantage of this amazing space,” Mayor Williamson said.

“It would be great to see some really creative tenders that provide a new and unique destination for locals and visitors alike to enjoy our riverfront,” he said.

Mayor Williamson said the Mackay Waterfront project had been developed by council to improve the tourism aesthetic, liveability and economic activity in Mackay’s CBD and waterfront areas.

“Council’s Mackay City and Waterfront team are working with the community and local businesses to roll out a series of placemaking and activation activities across the city centre and waterfront areas.

“This premises is perfectly situated between the Mackay city centre and the revitalisation area, acting as a key connector and community hub.  

“And the team would be keen to work with the future operator to identify opportunities for this space that complement the PDA works,” he said.

Interested parties can refer to QTenders for more information.

Read More

Changes To Mackay’s Bus Services

September 22, 2022

From Monday, September 26, there will be some changes to Translink fares and zones in the Mackay and surrounding regions, making public transport simpler and fairer.

Translink said “The new fares and zones will make using and paying for public transport simpler, fairer and more consistent, ahead of the future rollout of Smart Ticketing throughout Queensland.

“Fares will be consistent across networks in regional Queensland with a simplified zone structure that extends outwards from your town centre, making it easier to calculate the cost of your journey.”

Smart Ticketing is an innovative ticketing technology that enables more ways to pay for public transport across Queensland.  Over time, more and more Queenslanders will be able to pay for travel with contactless payment methods using a Visa, Mastercard and American Express debit card, credit card, smartphone or smart device.

Translink added on its website that the timetable wouldn’t change.

Visit or download the mytranslink app for updated maps and fares.

Read More

Interim Chief Executive Named For Mackay Hospital

September 22, 2022

Mackay Hospital and Health Service has welcomed Paula Foley as interim Chief Executive.

Paula joined the Executive Leadership Team this week and will remain with the health service until the recruitment of a permanent Chief Executive.

She is an accomplished health professional and senior clinician with 29 years of experience in hospitals and health service.

Paula has held many leadership roles within Queensland Health and most recently was Chief Operating Officer – Mater Health, South Queensland, responsible for overseeing public and private hospitals.

Prior to that, Paula worked at Metro South Hospital and Health Service, where she was the Director of the Clinical Improvement Unit, Director of Nursing and Deputy Surgical Stream Lead from 2011 to 2021.

Paula holds a Master’s in Project Management/Clinical Redesign, a Bachelor of Science (Organisational Psychology) and a Bachelor of Health Science-Nursing.

She has been awarded Hospital and Health Service Board Chair Awards, including Empowering People, Excellence in Patient-Centred Care, Shaping our Future and Innovative Strategies in Improving Patient Access to Elective Surgery.

When she’s not working Paula can be found spending time with family and friends and relaxing with a good book.

Read More

Crowdfunding Campaign Established For Nanna’s Bench

September 22, 2022

A petition to rename a Slade Point park in honour of a beloved former resident has been denied by Mackay Regional Council, with a park bench being recommended and agreed upon instead.

The petition to rename Seagull Street Park was lodged with council in August 2021 following the death of Nolear ‘Nanna’ Ramsamy, aged 103, by Nanna’s grandson John Ramsamy.

Documents from council’s ordinary meeting held on Wednesday September 14, 2022, read “noting that renaming of a Park itself wouldn’t fit under Council’s Policy, options allowed such as installation and naming of park infrastructure (ie: park bench seat with plaque) were discussed.”

“It is recommended that in line with Council’s adopted policies, it does not rename the Seagull Street Park as requested, and rather the Council agrees to the installation of an appropriate piece of park infrastructure at the applicant’s cost with the appropriate plaque recognising Nanna Ramsamy.”

Councillor Alison Jones, a friend of Nanna, has since started a crowdfunding campaign of her own volition, aiming to raise $3,000 for a park bench seat to be installed at the park.

“It’s not just the Ramsamy family that would want her remembered in that way,” said Ms Jones.

“There is a large number in the community that would want to remember her as well.

“If we did a GoFundMe, that would give everybody an opportunity to put some money together, and we would be able to pay for the chair that way.

“Therefore, it’s not on a particular family member, it’s a community remembrance.”

Ms Jones said Nanna’s 103 years were filled with love, family and community.

“The one thing that was always very, very dear to Nanna’s heart was her family,” she said.

“The way she would embrace community was just outstanding.

“She would make everybody feel welcome.

“She’s just an all-around amazing lady and she has a huge amount of respect in our community, not just in Slade Point, but the greater Mackay community as well.”

Ms Jones said the park and the creek held significance to Nanna and the Ramsamy family who have called the Slade Point area home for generations.

“The family that lived close to the creek would take her (Nanna) down there in her wheelchair in her later years and just sit there and allow her to watch everybody else catching fish,” she said.

“As long as she was down there at the creek, that was her happy place.”

To find out more about the GoFundMe campaign, visit

Read More

Charitable Collinsville

September 22, 2022

Mackay not-for-profit organisation RACQ CQ Rescue was amazed when they opened a donation moneybox collected from Collinsville.

The fundraising team was flabbergasted to find the moneybox loaded up with notes where just loose change would normally be found.

“Small communities often have the biggest hearts,” RACQ CQ Rescue wrote on Facebook.

“They also help inspire the greatest change.”

“How incredibly generous of such a small community who are obviously grateful for the difference our service and crew make to those who live and work so far west,” the post reads on.

“Every cent counts when it comes to saving lives.

“To all our Collinsville supporters, our enormous thanks for helping ensure we can be the difference in a time of dire need to you and the rest of Central Queensland.”

As a community-funded rescue helicopter service, RACQ CQ Rescue is a lifeline to anyone, anywhere at any time across Central and North Queensland.

Thanks to the dedicated staff and generous supporters, RACQ CQ Rescue has rescued, transferred, retrieved and winched thousands of people who say their lives would be extremely different today if the helicopter wasn’t available to help them when they needed it.

Often a patient’s only lifeline, RACQ CQ Rescue offers aeromedical and search and rescue assistance to those in dire situations.

To find out more or make your own donation, visit

Read More

Bye, For Now (Editors Note)

September 22, 2022

There is a smorgasbord of events on the horizon happening in Mackay, and I’m sad to be missing them all!

Rumble on the Reef, the WBBL, PBR and more, it’s going to be an action-packed September and October.

Our weekly event guide is almost overflowing this week and it never fails to get bigger. Pay close attention to it over the coming weeks as there is a lot happening in sport, art and entertainment.

Don’t forget that it’s free to list an event in our guide for not-for-profit clubs and organisations, simply drop us an email with the details and we’re happy to include it.

While I’m sad to be missing so many great local events, I have a few of my own to make up for it, including baseball at Dodger Stadium, NASCAR at Talladega, Joe Rogan in Atlanta and if this rocket launch with NASA is delayed much longer then I might be able to time a visit to Cape Canaveral with an actual space launch. Only if it doesn’t clash with my Disney World day, of course.

In case you’re into ‘space stuff’, NASA’s "mega moon rocket" (Artemis 1) is now scheduled to make its third liftoff attempt on September 27. I think that’s pretty darn cool and a lot of the world will be watching.

When this edition comes out, I’ll already be in Los Angeles helping my husband prepare to compete in the Masters World Track Cycling Championships.

After the competition is when I get a holiday. While I’m driving across the southern states of North America, our Mackay journalist Sam will keep you up to date on each edition. And thanks to our trendy new online flip book, I won’t miss an edition while I’m on the road.

You’ll see me again in the first edition for November.

So, it’s bye for now, but I’ll be back before you know it. There’s no place like home!


Read More

Mackay Welcomes New Citizens

September 22, 2022

Australia’s newest citizens were welcomed to the Mackay region on Tuesday evening to celebrate Australian Citizenship Day.

73 people from 22 countries became Australians, welcomed by Mackay Regional Council Mayor Greg Williamson, councillors and members of parliament.

“There’s no doubt that Australia, today, the Australia we all enjoy, is one of the most prosperous, peaceful and wonderful places in the world that you could call home,” said Mr Williamson.

“We truly are a vibrant multicultural nation.”

Dale Martinez and his son Jaron were two of those welcomed to Australia on Tuesday.

Mr Martinez moved to Australia in 2016 to pursue a career in nursing, leaving his family in The Philippines.

After completing his course in Melbourne, he relocated to Mackay where his family joined him two years later.

“Weather-wise, it’s basically almost like back home in the Philippines: most of the time it’s hot,” he laughed.

Mr Martinez and his wife Maria Kristine both work in Mackay as nurses and have since built a house in the northern suburbs.

“Where we’re working, they’re really supportive of us career-wise and, of course, family-wise,” Mr Martinez said.

“It’s great, life is great, but of course, through hard work.”

Mr Martinez says he’s proud to become an Australian citizen.

“I couldn’t actually put it in one word,” he said.

“Being here from a different perspective, a different culture, is actually an eye opener.

“The way I see the world a few years back and the way I see it now is way different.

“I’d like to say thank you mainly to Australia for welcoming us here, having an opportunity stay here and live here and giving us the opportunity to be one of the people of here.”

Read More

VC Recipient Attends Queen’s Funeral

September 22, 2022

Mackay resident and last living Australian recipient of the original Victoria Cross (VC) medal Keith Payne VC AM was invited to attend Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral in London this week.

Mr Payne was among four VC recipients to be invited to the ceremony alongside Mark Donaldson, Ben Roberts-Smith and Daniel Keighran, as well as George Cross recipient Michael Pratt.

“Keith is an icon of Mackay and we’ve got to remember his contribution in the Vietnam War and since, not just around here but all over Australia really and probably around the world,” said RSL Mackay Sub Branch President Ken Higgins

Mr Payne had met the Queen many times and admired her greatly.

“He had quite a few meetings with her over the years,” said Mr Higgins.

“It’ll be a great experience for him and (the Queen was) a woman that he greatly admired, too.

“He really admired the Queen and said that quite openly and quite often.”

“We are absolutely delighted in him being invited to go to the funeral services and we’re very proud of his history and him representing the veterans and the RSL.

“We just hope that he has a safe and healthy trip with the support of his veteran mates all around Australia, particularly from Mackay.”

A memorial has been set up in the RSL Mackay Sub Branch incorporating portraits of Queen Elizabeth II, King Charles III and Mr Payne.

“We’ve had quite a few discussions about it since she passed and, yeah, it’s a big thing, a big thing for the country,” said Mr Higgins.

“As veterans and as an RSL, it’s a change, it’s a massive change.

“The whole military structure changes now.”

Mr Higgins represented the RSL Mackay Sub Branch alongside fellow veteran Col Benson at a service held at Holy Trinity Church on Sunday, September 11 to farewell the Queen.

The service was agreed upon by the Queen herself and her favourite hymns and prayers were shared.

“It paid tribute to her and the actual announcement of King Charles now being our king,” said Mr Higgins.

“It was an honour for us to be there representing the town.”

Read More

Global Diversity Celebrated Through Song And Dance

September 15, 2022

Whitsunday Anglican School (WAS) held its Global Learning Day last Thursday with colourful displays of song and dance representing the different nationalities and cultures that make up the Junior School cohort.

Students from diverse backgrounds joined their classmates to share information and perform dances, stories, songs and poems from varying nations and cultures.

Now in its 14th year, each class represented a different nationality including Bangladesh, China, France, Germany, India, Jamaica, Ireland, Italy, Vietnam and more.

Gracie and Cruz are both in the year 3 class that prepared a song and a story to represent Zimbabwe.

They’ve been preparing their performance in class for about three weeks while learning about the country.

“It’s a landlocked country in Africa,” said Cruz.

“And there’s five national animals,” added Gracie.

“The buffalo, lion, elephant, leopard and rhino,” they listed together.

WAS Head of Junior School Mick Martin said Global Learning Day started out as a small event to recognise the school’s diversity and multiculturalism.

“It’s a great recognition of the growing cultural diversity at the school and Mackay too,” said Mr Martin.

“We’ve got about 52 different nationalities represented in the junior school along through the families and staff so it’s a great way to give those children and parents an opportunity to be involved as a community and show off their culture and nationality.”

“It’s very important that we are promoting tolerance, inclusion and really celebrating that diversity,” added WAS Principal Andrew Wheaton.

“It’s wonderful to see all the students that are here so proud of their backgrounds and their diverse cultures that we see represented here at Whitsunday Anglican School.”

WAS Head of Junior School Mick Martin and Principal Andrew Wheaton with year 3 students Gracie and Cruz

Junior school students told the stories of different cultures through song and dance at WAS’s Global Learning Day last week. Photo credit: Sam Gillespie

Read More

Property Point

September 15, 2022

These days there are experts in virtually everything and those experts are always happy to voice their options, bestow their knowledge.

I am finding there has been a sudden increase in property market experts.

I was going to say the list of experts extends to Every Man and His Dog but that is a sexist exclusion of half the human population and does not take into account the feline opinion.

Everyone has an opinion about property markets generally and there is no lack of noise in the national media about “the market”. One of the things to consider is that the national media is pretty much focused on Sydney, Melbourne and the other state capitals.

But there is no lack of local opinion about the Mackay market. Some buyers will tell you it’s cooled off and they are hoping it has.

I have noticed that activity continues to be strong. Some people who were “doing research” and popping into open homes for a bit of a look this year have taken a “wait and see” approach.

There are some buyers who are being cautious, listening to the media reports and taking their time with their purchase.

But there are plenty of buyers out there and plenty of properties are being sold. And that’s because, in terms of the fundamentals, nothing has changed.

Unemployment is virtually non-existent in Mackay, rental vacancies remain under 1 per cent and our resource sector-driven economy is performing extremely well and helping power the state.

Renters who discover their rent has gone up again are deciding that buying is still the best option and people moving to town are still seeing that it is very difficult to find a rental and many of them are still buying.

The other group that continues to grow is the southern investor.

People in NSW and Victoria are very aware that their markets are falling and many have discovered a much more affordable option in Mackay with low rental vacancies and a far better rental yield than is available in their home states.

Those investors come from cities where prices are in the $800,000-$1.5m range and are picking up properties in Mackay in the far less-riskier $200,000-$450,000 price range. Importantly they are able to positively gear their investments because of the very good rental returns in Mackay.

I am not going to predict what will happen to the Mackay market but the fundamentals that have been driving our strong market have not changed and rising interest rates on our much smaller mortgages don’t have the impact that they are having in Sydney and Melbourne.

Plenty of people are seizing the opportunities and I am looking forward to a strong finish to the year.

Read More

Isn’t it just common sense?

September 15, 2022

At our council meeting on August 24, Cr Martin Bella and I were proud to bring forward a Notified Motion, which saw Mackay Regional Council adopt a Councillor Alcohol and Other Drugs Policy.

The policy received unanimous support from all councillors present at the meeting. For me, there was no question about introducing a policy – if it’s good enough for our staff to participate in random drug and alcohol testing, then it should be good enough for councillors.

The objectives of the policy are to provide a safe, healthy and productive workplace, and it focuses on eliminating risks associated with the adverse effects of alcohol and other drugs in the workplace by:

• preventing, where possible, drug and alcohol related incidents

• ensuring that councillors adversely affected by substances do not create a negative perception of council

• ensuring councillors are in a fit state to undertake their official duties.

In doing research prior to the formulation of the policy, it appears Mackay Regional Council is one of only a handful of 77 councils throughout Queensland to take this step, and residents of our region have suggested to us that State and Federal government MPs should also hold themselves accountable and introduce policies.

Our residents deserve nothing less than full clarity from the leaders and decision makers of this region. If you see something about a councillor’s behaviour that leads you to think they are impaired by drugs or alcohol, report it to council.

I had the pleasure of speaking with Luke Bona from Triple M Night Shift about the policy and he was astounded that we were only just introducing it now. He, like a lot of people, thought that a staff Drug and Alcohol Policy would automatically cover elected officials. This is not the case, as we are not classed as employees.

It’s very simple. Where a councillor is not undertaking official duties, the policy does not apply.  However, councillors, as the primary representative of the council, are still required to comply with the “Code of Conduct for Councillors in Queensland” and any other legislative provisions.

Cr Fran Mann

Mackay Regional Council

Read More

Security Systems For Home And Business

September 15, 2022

Established in the local community for over 18 years and with over 40 years of combined industry experience, you can count on Roy Powell Security to find the best security solution for you.

Roy Powell Security provides advice, installation and maintenance services for every aspect of security from your home, business and even vehicle.

Their services encompass security alarms, alarm monitoring services, CCTV, intercoms, boom gates, automatic gates, access control and many more, so you’ll rest easy knowing your premises are safe and secure.

“Our solutions can start from a basic home security system to a fully automated and customised solution,” said Roy Powell Security Office Manager Kelli Powell.

“Imagine hitting one button on an app on your phone that turns your alarm system off, your lights on and aircons on, knowing that you can walk in and your house is ready for you to be at home.”

Roy Powell Security can offer a certified data and fibre solution for your business as well.  

With the industry’s technology ever-evolving, Roy Powell Security strives to stay at the forefront with innovations including thermal cameras, intercom systems, key trackers, GPS trackers, solar camera/boom gates and facial recognition software.

The team at Roy Powell Security can advise you on the security system products to suit your home or business and strives to offer a cost-effective, professional service each time.

Find out which level of security best suits your needs and speak to their consultants today.

Call 07 4952 5334, email or visit the team at 3/52 Margaret Vella Dr, Paget.

The team at Roy Powell Security has more than 40 years’ experience in security services and is up-to-date with the latest systems to provide better, protective solutions to your home or business. Photo credit: Alyce Holzy

Read More

A Breath Of Fresh Air

September 15, 2022

Recently relocating to Mackay from Cairns, Isaac and Sharon Tredrea of Mortgage Australia are excited to share their skills as passionate property investors and mortgage brokers with their new community.

“We help busy professionals buy more investment properties using equity in their home” they said.

Mackay’s newest mortgage broking team brings a breath of fresh air and years of experience to Mackay.

Isaac says, when he started his career in finance, he never predicted how passionate he would get.

“What I found was that I was passionate about education and providing knowledge to people,” he said.

“I love the challenge of showing people how they can beat the banks and pay their mortgage off years sooner!”

“While I think that it is important for a mortgage broker to have a strong knowledge of how home loans work, it is also important for them to be passionate about helping families,” added Sharon.

“Especially if you are a mother of two who will do everything to create passive income investments to save more time for family and give them the life they deserve.”

While Isaac and Sharon can assist with any loan, they specialise in home loans, investor loans and refinance loans.

Backed by a team of deal managers and both having their own assistants, they can make the home loan process fast and smooth.

On average, they save their clients $89,148 and reduce their interest by .41% and slash 4.8 years of their home loan.

They also review your loan every year and make sure you’re still getting the best deal.

Their involvement in the industry has seen them both being nominated as State Councillors for Queensland for the Finance Brokers Association of Australia.

Sharon will be the Far North Queensland representative for female mortgage brokers Queensland and is heavily involved in her community through women’s mentoring.

Isaac and Sharon have also co-written the book “The 7 Easy Steps to Mortgage Freedom & Building Wealth Through Property”, which is available for free.

Their after-sales service is a cut above the rest with special Rewards Club competitions offering prizes such as monthly day spa visits, monthly dinner vouchers and a yearly trip to Hamilton Island.

With Isaac and Sharon, you can rest easy knowing that they are a part of the country’s largest broking company, which happens to organise one in every 10 home loans nationwide, every month.

As the new local Mortgage Australia Brokers, maintaining a great reputation in and around the community is crucial to the continued success of Isaac and Sharon’s business and their standing in the community so you can rest assured knowing they are here to help now and into the future.

For more information, contact ‭1800 950 271‬ OR Isaac on 0414 264 234 & Sharon on 0414 017 009.‬‬‬

Read More

Weekly Sugar Market Overview

September 15, 2022

Raw Sugar prices

● Overview: Raw sugar futures suffered under the macroeconomic headwinds of global inflation and recessionary fears last week. The prompt Oct22 ICE 11 contract traded from a high of 18.52 USc/lb on Tuesday, down to a low of 17.89 USc/lb on Wednesday before closing the week at 18.15 USc/lb.

● Brazil: Brazilian petroleum giant, Petrobras, announced a further reduction of wholesale gasoline prices by 0.25 BRL/litre (7%) on Friday. The reduction comes as West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil traded to a two-week low and closed the week down 5% at $US88.30/barrel, driving ethanol parity sub-14 USc/lb equivalent. Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has also stated that he will not reinstate taxes on gasoline if he is re-elected in October, indicating that sugar is unlikely to receive any strength from ethanol prices in the foreseeable future.

● India: The Indian monsoon continues to operate on two speeds, with both the Maharashtra and Karnataka states receiving well above average rainfall while the Uttar Pradesh state's cumulative rainfall is tracking well below average. However, the India Meteorological Department has stated it expects showers in September to provide some relief.

Read More

Positive Steps To A Bio-Economy

September 15, 2022

A strong bio-economy will prove to be an important way to value-add to our already vibrant sugar industry, and to diversify the regional economy.

This week, we have seen Mackay region’s role in Queensland’s emerging bio-economy validated, with the staging of the Life Sciences Queensland Bioeconomy Forum held at Mackay Entertainment and Convention Centre on Monday.

The forum brought together Queensland’s key stakeholders across industrial, agricultural and environmental biotechnology, in a program that included keynote presentations and panel discussions.  Some major players that were included in the event included Nick Hazell of v2food, a major player in plant-based protein production, and Ben van Delden, Head of AgriFood Tech and Circular Economy Advisory at KPMG Australia.

Visitors to the region were joined by State Government department representatives and regional industry leaders, including Mercurius Biorefining CEO Karl Seck, Mackay Sugar CEO Jannik Olejas, and GW3 CEO Kylie Porter.

The forum discussed approaches and technologies that support our growing local bio-based economy to meet global demand for more sustainable energy, processes and products.

It’s exciting stuff that tailors to the value-adding and diversification ideas contained in Sugar Plus, the sugar industry roadmap developed by key sugar industry organisations. But what does that really mean for growers? Ideas about value-adding have been mooted for years: how is now different?

Sometimes, great ideas have their moment, and now is that moment of critical mass for a bio-economy to emerge in the Mackay region. As the world looks for better, more sustainable solutions to energy, fibre and food, and sugarcane is at ground zero for that.

The crop already occupies a sizeable footprint not just here in Mackay but along Queensland’s coast, but Mackay has that perfect capacity of a strong sugarcane growing sector and an abundance of world-class engineering firms. Our small city has the space to develop a greenfields site for new processing and research facilities, and what is more, there is the will to make it happen across our industry and across the region’s economic and political leadership.

CANEGROWERS Mackay is committed to making sure that our members get a good deal in any emerging bio-economy, and that cane growers get a place at the table in any industry deals. It is not enough to have a top-down approach: if a premium industry is to develop in this then it is equally important that there is good benefit for the growers of the base material – sugarcane.

It is also essential that we have a voice in the emergence of our regional bio-economy, and to that end, CANEGROWERS Mackay CEO Kerry Latter takes a place at the discussion table, representing members at the Greater Whitsunday Biofutures Leaders Group and the Mackay-Isaac-Whitsunday Agribusiness Future Alliance Project.

CANEGROWERS Mackay has plans to host an event for growers and bioeconomy players post-crush season.

We will continue to speak for the betterment of our growers.

By Kevin Borg, Chairman, CANEGROWERS Mackay

CANEGROWERS Mackay Chairman Kevin Borg with SRA District Manager - Central Dylan Wedel at the Life Sciences Queensland Bioeconomy Forum. Picture: Contributed

Plant-based protein has a growing presence in the market, sourced from plant stocks such as sugarcane or legumes. Mackay has been slated by the Queensland Government as a centre for development in this production space. Picture: courtesy CSIRO

From Queensland Government Department of Agriculture and Fisheries Ram Mereddy, Michael Brown and Paul Burt with CANEGROWERS Mackay CEO Kerry Latter and Chairman Kevin Borg at the LSQ Bioeconomy Forum. Picture: Contributed

Talking ahead of the forum, from left, GW3 CEO Kylie Porter, with Jarrah Steen GW3 decarbonisation project, CSIRO Main Sequence commercialisation and venture capital unit’s Phil Morle and Gabrielle Munzer. Picture Contributed

Read More

Nominate An Inspirational Rural Woman

September 15, 2022

Australia’s leading award to celebrate and acknowledge exceptional women from rural industries and communities is now open for applications.

Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries and Minister for Rural Communities Mark Furner said “The State Government proudly supports the AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award and encourages women working on a project or business that is positively contributing to rural industries and great lifestyles in regional communities to apply.”

“Thanks to the generous sponsorship of Westpac, the Queensland winner of the Rural Women’s Award will receive a $15,000 grant to further their work and represent Queensland at the national awards where they have the chance to win an additional $20,000 grant,” Mr Furner said.

“Our new State sponsor, the University of Queensland, is providing a $2000 grant to Queensland’s finalists.

“For women who feel they are not quite ready to apply for the Award, the Rural Women’s Acceleration Grant provides a bursary of up to $7000 for professional development.

“Applications for the 2023 awards close at 10pm AEST Wednesday 19 October 2022 and I encourage emerging female leaders who want to innovate and make a difference to rural and regional Australia to apply for the Award.”

Managing Director of AgriFutures Australia John Harvey said the Award empowered and celebrated the inclusive and courageous leadership of women involved in Australia’s rural and emerging industries, businesses, and communities, now and into the future.

“The Award provides a platform to inspire and support Australian women to use and develop their skills to benefit their industries and communities, and can open doors to professional development and Alumni networks,” Mr Harvey said.

Westpac Regional General Manager Queensland Peta Ward said the Award played a significant role in acknowledging the change makers in our rural industries and communities.

“The AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award is an important platform to shine a light on innovative women like Queensland’s 2022 winner, pioneering child health nurse Rebecca Bradshaw,” Ms Ward said.

“Rebecca truly exemplifies the rural and regional women whose leadership today is going to continue to make a difference to the lives and families in our rural communities for years to come.

“It truly is inspiring to be able to recognise the work of women who are responding to some of the biggest industry and community challenges being faced by many of us.”

More information about the AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award is available at

Information about the Rural Women’s Acceleration Grant is available at

2022 Queensland AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award Winner Rebecca Bradshaw. Photo credit: Jessica Howard

Read More

The Pull Of Magnetic Island

September 15, 2022

Year 6 Walkerston State School students were drawn to the magnetic attraction of one of Queensland’s best island vacation spots for their school camp earlier this month.

On Magnetic Island off the coast of Townsville, the Walkerston students combined learning with epic fun, from life skill learning such as building shelter and rafts and fishing, to overcoming fears with abseiling and kayaking.

Photo source: Walkerston State School

Read More

Walkerston Student Wins Public Speaking Competition

September 15, 2022

Speaking in public is something many of us fear, but Miley Weller from Walkerston State School is showing there’s nothing to be scared about.

The student took out the Pioneer Valley Primary Schools' Public Speaking Competition in its 16th year.

The competition was initiated by the Rotary Club of Walkerston in 2007 and remains a hotly contested event.

The Rotary Club of Walkerston conveyed their congratulations to Miley and the other participants.

“Getting out there in front of an audience and speaking so well is undoubtedly not an easy task,” a club spokesperson said.

“Congratulations also to each student's support crew of teachers, parents and families.

“Brilliant presentations!”

Photo source: Rotary Club of Walkerston

Read More

It was a race night like no other to raise money for a local charity making a difference.

September 15, 2022

We were always taught in school PE to warm up and cool down before and after exercise but it is easy to fall into the habit of skipping these routines. Going through a complete warm up and cool down is a simple way for athletes to maximize their athletic performance and reduce the likelihood of injury and soreness. Pre and post workout exercises play a crucial role in preparing the body for activity and assisting in full recovery.

Warming up is the process of increasing blood flow to the muscles that are to be engaged in the planned exercise. Heightened blood flow to muscles means an increase in oxygen delivery to tissues and the removal of carbon dioxide, a harmful toxin for muscle performance.

Before exercising, do about five to 10 minutes of light aerobic exercise to loosen up your muscles. This could include walking briskly, marching, jogging slowly, or cycling on a stationary bike. Make sure you don't rush your warmup. Dynamic stretches like walking lunges, jumping jacks or opposite toe touches are good ways to stretch the muscles as well.

On the back end of a workout, cooling down can be extremely beneficial for maximizing athletic performance and speeding up recovery. Cooling down is an important step in helping an athlete’s muscles clear lactate and other waste, while loosening tight muscles.

A cool down will usually include gentler cardiovascular exercises and stretching movements, which will help the body dispose of any harmful toxins that can cause muscle aches and stiffness. The main goal of a cool down is to slowly decrease the body temperature, lower an athlete’s heart rate and reduce injury. If athletes choose not to participate in a cool down, they are more susceptible to blood build up in their veins and soreness the next day. A light jog or walk is a simple way to wind down the body after exercising, but stretching can address the particular muscles you want to cool down. Stretches such as upper body stretching, seated forward bend hamstring stretch, standing quad stretch and lunging calf stretch can help you avoid the dreaded soreness the next day.

Read More

Riding For A Cause

September 15, 2022

It was a race night like no other to raise money for a local charity making a difference.

Mackay Riding for the Disabled held a Race Night called Riding for a Cause. It had all of your race-favourite activities including Fashions on the Field and betting, but with a difference.

The sell-out audience who attended the inaugural event last Friday at the Metropolitan Hotel, were entertained by an array of activities, including fashions on the field, mystery balloon pop and a trivia quiz. It was also an opportunity for the charity to share the story about the magnificent horses at the centre of its organisation and what they bring to the participants life, which is hope and joy. Punters bid on races with funny money watching faux races on a television screen, with as much exuberance and enthusiasm as the real deal.

Riding for the Disabled makes a huge difference to the lives of children and adults living with intellectual, physical, sensory and learning disabilities.

Mackay Riding for the Disabled was recently awarded the Centre for Excellence among its national group of Riding for the Disabled organisations.

Proceeds from the fundraising night were donated to Mackay Riding for the Disabled.

The inaugural Riding for a Cause Race Night was a sold-out event held at the Metropolitan Hotel on 9 September

Read More

Ease Arthritis Pain With Movement

September 15, 2022

When arthritis threatens to immobilize you, exercise keeps you moving.

Exercise is crucial for people with painful joint conditions. It increases strength and flexibility and it can reduce pain.

Understandably, once you are suffering from stiff joints, the thought of moving might be overwhelming. But you don’t need to do strenuous exercise to get results. Even mild movements can help to reduce pain while also helping you to maintain your overall health.

There are more than 100 different types of arthritis, but all are painful and can lead to joint deformity and a loss of function if not managed.

Top Tip – Try Pilates

Pilates is a great form of exercise for arthritis patients who shy away from exercise, which they feel they cannot do. Pilates is gentle; it does not stress your joints or add burden to ligaments and cartilage that surround the joints.

The Arthritis Foundation says exercise is one of the best ways to keep joints healthy in the first place. As little as 30 minutes of exercise five times a week helps joints stay limber and strengthens the muscles that support and stabilize your hips and knees.

Top Tip – Try Strength Training

These exercises help you build strong muscles that help support and protect your joints. Rest a day between your workouts, and take an extra day or two if your joints are painful or swollen.

Walking, gardening – even scrubbing floors – count. But the greatest results come with a consistent and progressive exercise program adjusted for your age, fitness level and the activities you enjoy most.

Top Tip – Try Yoga

Yin yoga is good option if your goal is to reduce chronic arthritis pain by reducing stress, muscle tension, and anxiety in the body. This type of yoga focuses on matching breath to movement during a flowing sequence of poses.

No matter what type of exercise you choose, listen to your body. If you have pain after a workout that persists more than an hour or two, do less next time and take more breaks.

To avoid injury, go slow until you know how your body reacts to a new activity and don't repeat the same exercise every day.

Read More

Meet Mackay’s Newest Radio Star

September 15, 2022

Since April, Jacob Nicholls has been guiding Mackay and Whitsundays listeners through their mornings with infectious energy and positivity on hit100.3 Mackay.

Jacob has joined the team as Announcer & Operations Manager and is loving every minute of it.

“I’m very lucky to do something that I genuinely love doing every day for a job,” he said.

“It’s pretty surreal to be here.”

Growing up in Brisbane, Jacob started in radio about four years ago after calling his local station Bay FM in the Brisbane bayside suburb of Thornlands.

“I basically called the local community radio station and thought, ‘I reckon I’d be ok at that,’” he said.

After eight weeks of training, Jacob secured an on-air role and volunteered at the station for about three years while studying and working part-time.

“I really didn’t know what sort of career path I wanted to take so I was sort of filling in time for a while to make a bit more of an educated decision,” he said.

Paid opportunities in the industry were rare thanks to the pandemic but Jacob eventually joined the Street Team with B105 and Triple M in Brisbane, working there for nearly 12 months when he was told by multiple people that there was a job going in Mackay that he’d be well suited for.

He applied and was stoked to learn he got the job, moving up from Brisbane within nine days of learning the news.

Jacob says he’s found Mackay to be a friendly town where people are always up for a chat.

“It’s just been the good community feel, it sort of reminds me of a big country town,” he said.

“I really want to do a bit more exploring around town and make the most of it here, because we’re just lucky to live in north Queensland.”

As Announcer & Operations Manager, Jacob is on-air from 9AM to midday daily and spends his afternoons preparing for the rest of the week, saying every day is different.

“A lot of my morning is taken up trying to bring some positive energy to the people of Mackay and The Whitsundays,” he said.

“I always think that energy is infectious so if you’re upbeat and positive and happy and spreading those sort of vibes, the aim is to hope that it translates to the listeners as well and at least make their day slightly brighter than what it was when they woke up in the morning.”

Jacob Nicholls started on the air with hit100.3 Mackay in April

Read More

Children’s Charities Urged To Apply For Flagon And Dragon Grants

September 15, 2022

The Mackay community fired up for the recent 30-year celebration of Flagon and Dragon, the region’s bi-annual fundraising luncheon which aims to better the lives of sick and disabled children.

Dressed in ornate oriental patterns with a Chinese theme, the Flagon and Dragon fundraising lunch held at the Manta Marquee on July 15 raised an impressive $210,000 for local charities. Now, the Flagon and Dragon committee are calling on local charities to apply for the grants.

Groups and organisations who are dedicated to the health, well-being and future of Mackay’s local children are urged to apply. Applications outlining the purpose of the donation requests and the beneficiaries of the money donated will be taken into consideration and viewed by the Flagon and Dragon committee.

The recipients of the last Flagon and Dragon grants include Mackay Hospital Foundation, All Abilities Mackay, Ronald McDonald House Charities, and the Children’s Ward at the Mackay Mater Hospital.

Eligible applications will need to meet the following criteria:

• Funds will be used for medical health-related equipment / resources / activities primarily for children or young people

• Those children or young people live within the Mackay & surrounding district

• Equipment and/or services must benefit a large number of children or young people (Funding not available for equipment/resources for individuals)

• Where appropriate, details of equipment to be purchased and a minimum of two (2) quotes must be provided (if such equipment can only be sourced through one agency, please clarify)

• Resources or equipment are not otherwise available to children or young people in the Mackay & surrounding district

• Provision of these resources or equipment will serve to enable children or young people to remain in their own environment with family close by

• Provision of these resources/ equipment will provide an immediate & lasting benefit to children & young people in the Mackay & surrounding district.

Images from the 2022 Flagon & Dragon Fundraising Luncheon

Read More

Stay Safe This Magpie Season

September 15, 2022

As we rapidly approach the peak of magpie season, Mackay Regional Council is reminding residents that we share our parklands and reserves with many native bird species, including a small number that display aggressive behaviour at nesting time.

A study has shown that only nine per cent of magpies are aggressive towards people and this small proportion of magpies usually swoop between July and November.

Earlier this month, a five-year-old attending a birthday party in Mulherin Park was swooped upon by a magpie causing scratches to her face and head, highlighting the importance of magpie awareness.

A magpie will usually only defend the area within 110m to 150m of its nest, called its ‘defence zone’.

Some top tips for staying safe while outdoors include:

• wear a broad-brimmed hat and sunglasses or shelter under an umbrella to protect your face from swooping magpies (painting or sticking large ‘eyes’ on the back of your hat can also deter magpies—but this won’t work for cyclists)

• if a magpie swoops while you are cycling, it will probably stop swooping if you get off your bike and walk

• avoid “defence zones” by taking alternative routes during the breeding season

• if you must enter a “defence zone”, magpies will be less likely to swoop if they are watched constantly, or if people walk in a close group

• waving sticks or umbrellas in the air or attaching a brightly coloured flag on a long pole to your bicycle can stop magpies from swooping.

Magpies are only defending their families, so make sure to be magpie-friendly and don’t fight back.

Throwing sticks and stones or yelling at a magpie are likely to make it more aggressive next time anyone enters the defence zone around their nest.

Residents are encouraged to report any concerns they have about swooping birds in council parks or reserves so that council can provide information on how to avoid being swooped and look to place warning signs in the location.

There is also a community-run website,, where residents can provide and receive alerts about swooping magpies Australia-wide that’s well worth checking out.

Read More

Fatal Traffic Crash Claims Life Of 19-Year-Old

September 15, 2022

A 19-year-old Mirani man died following a two-vehicle crash in Marian last week on September 10.

Police reported that preliminary information indicates a truck and motorbike were travelling on Marian Eton Road at approximately 8am when a collision occurred. The rider was pronounced deceased at the scene.

The truck driver was physically unharmed. Police added that the Forensic Crash Unit is investigating.

Can You Help Police With This Calen Crash?

Also on September 10 police and emergency services were called to a single vehicle crash on Buthurra Station Road near Calen.

The single occupant, a 45-year-old man from Mount Ossa, of the Hilux Utility was trapped and emergency services had to work hard to remove him from the vehicle.

Once he was extricated from the crash he was transported to hospital.

Investigations are ongoing as to the cause of the crash.

If you have any information that will help with the investigation, please quote QP2201558077 when talking to police.

A ute was involved in a single vehicle crash near Calen on September 10

Read More

New Orleans Couple House Hunting In Mackay

September 15, 2022

A couple relocating to Mackay from New Orleans has enlisted the assistance of American reality TV series House Hunters International to find their perfect Mackay home.

Filming for the episode took place throughout the region earlier in the month, showing audiences the sights of Mackay.

In each episode of House Hunters International, individuals, couples or families who are relocating to a new country search for their new home with the assistance of a local real estate agent.

Buyers are shown three homes in their new location and are tasked with picking the one that suits their needs best.

The New Orleans couple, who have relocated for a job at Mackay Mater Hospital, were shown houses in South Mackay, Sarina and Slade Point.

Filming also took place at Cape Hillsborough National Park, Reg Dog Brewery, 9th Lane Grind, the sugar cane fields, Marina Harbour Breakwater and the Mackay Region sign at the south entrance of the city, showing international audiences what makes our region great.

Mackay Isaac Tourism (MIT) assisted producers by providing recommendations on beautiful locations within the region and members they could work with.

The MIT team says one of the many perks of being a member of Mackay Isaac Tourism, as Reg Dog Brewery and 9th Lane Grind are, is that they always push for members to feature in any media opportunities that will help showcase the destination as a place to visit.

If you would like more information on how to get involved in future opportunities, contact MIT Tourism Development Manager Andrea on

The episode of House Hunters International will be aired in America in about three weeks and in Australia a year from now.

American reality TV series House Hunters International filmed an episode in Mackay earlier this month, showcasing the natural beauty of the region

Local businesses were also given the spotlight including Red Dog Brewery and 9th Lane Grind. Photos supplied: Mackay Isaac Tourism

Read More

Mackay Barista Named Coffee Club’s Best

September 15, 2022

If you’re a regular Mackay’s Coffee Clubs, you probably already know you’ve been drinking some of Australia’s best coffee made by some of Australia’s best baristas.

Now it’s official as the Coffee Club has excitedly revealed their Barista Champion of the Year, Mackay’s Janice.

After 100s of entrants served their most brew-tiful cups of coffee on local and state levels, Janice took home the title of Barista Champion following their performance which blew judges’ socks off.

Janice will now compete in the Coffee Club International Barista Competition taking place this October.

Janice has scored a trip to India where she will get to experience the ultimate trip for a coffee lover: a tour of the sprawling coffee fields that grow The Coffee Club's award-winning Signature House Blend.

More information on the International Barista Competition is to come.

Mackay Coffee Club Barista Janice has been named Australia’s best. Photo supplied: The Coffee Club Australia

Read More

RSL Donates To Local Cadets

September 15, 2022

The RSL Mackay Sub Branch has made donations to local army, air force and navy cadet units as part of an RSL Queensland initiative to support youth development.

Every year, RSL Queensland makes funds available for youth and cadet development, distributing funds throughout the districts to be further dispersed into the community.

Mackay 122 Army Cadet Unit Commanding Officer Major John Zimmerman said the Mackay Sub Branch contacted the cadet unit giving them the opportunity to apply for a portion of those funds.

“We put in an application to the Mackay sub branch and it was received favourably at district level,” he said.

The Mackay Sub Branch then sponsored the application that was made at the district level.

Major Zimmerman said the funds will be put towards the purchase of new formal uniforms for the cadets.

“Each year, the unit has a formal night,” he said.

“The unit generally has had enough of those uniforms donated over the years, but last year, we were actually short.

“We’ve got so many people at that higher level, at the moment, that we just didn’t have enough uniforms.

“So, we thought, this year, that would be a good thing to put in for, so that we have enough uniforms for all of the people in that category to be able to come dressed in the appropriate uniform.”

Major Zimmerman said the cadets rely heavily on fundraising for these sorts of purchases and appreciate the RSL’s support.

“The fact that the RSL does make these grants available for youth development, it’s really important,” he said.

“There would be so much over the years that we simply wouldn’t have if the RSL didn’t have this youth development program.

“They (RSL) made a point of coming to ask and asking if we want to apply for the funding…They are really keen to get the money out to the cadets…and we’re most appreciative.”

A donation was also made to 105 Squadron Air Force Cadets to purchase equipment for the cadets to use in their training.

RSL Mackay Sub Branch President Ken Higgins said the sub branch are proud to support local cadets.

“The Mackay RSL continues to support all of our cadet units in Mackay and the district,” he said.

“It’s an ongoing funding that we’re very proud and happy to continue for the foreseeable future.”

Mackay RSL President Ken Higgins and Secretary Nichole Hood presented the Mackay 122 Army Cadet Unit with a donation last week

Mr Higgins and Ms Hood presented Fiona Andrews and the 105 SQN City of Mackay Air Force Cadets with a donation. Photos supplied: Graham Jackson

Read More

London Bridge Is Down

September 15, 2022

The Commonwealth was rocked last week by the sudden yet peaceful passing of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, the UK's longest-serving monarch.

Her death touched people across the world in more ways than many thought possible. A cherished sovereign, she was largely ‘untouchable’, indeed it had to be a very special occasion for one to catch a glimpse of the Queen, let alone meet her.

Yet, she found a way into many hearts, whether through her unwavering dedication to duty, her bravery as a teenager during World War II, or her candid love of photography. As we saw recently in her famous Paddington Bear encounter, or her role in the 2012 London Olympics where James Bond escorted Her Majesty to the Opening Ceremony, she had quite the sense of humour.

For me personally, she reminded me of my grandmother, both in looks and mannerisms. A few years ago, I put two photos of two women in their twenties on Facebook and asked my friends to ‘guess the Queen’. One photo was of Queen Elizabeth II and the other was my grandmother. Most people chose the photo of my grandmother as the Queen, their likeness was quite uncanny.

It's the beginning of a new chapter for Australia and its relationship with the monarchy. In this edition on page 3 we talk about what the Queen’s death means for Australians.

One thing is for certain, a reign like hers could never be repeated.


Read More


September 15, 2022

In the death of Queen Elizabeth II, the international community mourns the loss of a beloved mother and family member, Sovereign of the member states of the Commonwealth of Nations, and an active woman of Christian faith whose steadfast devotion to duty arose from her deep Christian conviction and commitment.

Her role as Defender of the Faith, which, from the political union forged in the early 1700s, has included support for the Church of England and the Church of Scotland, involved a personal commitment to spread the gospel.

Well-versed in questions of Christian unity, when in 2001 my husband the Rev. Prof. James Haire AC, who was then president Uniting Church in Australia, met the Queen at the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, she could talk intelligently and with interest about the relatively recently-established Uniting Church in 1977.

Her favourite text was the Parable of the Good Samaritan, in 2016 with the Bible Society she published a gift book entitled, The Servant Queen and the King She Serves, and through her Christmas messages broadcast throughout the world she gave explicit personal testimony of the role of faith in her life thus living out the Great Commission recorded in Matthew 28: ‘go and make disciples of all nations.’

History may record that, during a time of secularisation, of retreat of the voice of the Church from the public sphere, it was a woman and a lay person, who personally studied the Bible, attended church regularly, and sought to express faith in action in daily life, who served the world as one of the greatest evangelists of the C20th and C21st centuries.

In her first Christmas broadcast in 1952 she called for prayer for wisdom and strength, and her Christmas message for 2008 included the reflection: ‘I hope that, like me, you will be comforted by the example of Jesus of Nazareth who, often in circumstances of great adversity, managed to live an outgoing, unselfish and sacrificial life…He makes it clear that genuine human happiness and satisfaction lie more in giving than receiving; more in serving than in being served.’



Read More

Your Council Libraries Deliver More Than Books

September 8, 2022

Gone are the days when libraries were silent, dusty places, with rather stern looking women shushing even the slightest noise. Modern libraries are busy and vibrant centres for knowledge and community. This is certainly the case with our local council libraries.  

Our libraries deliver more than books. Our library spaces are increasingly being used for activities over and above collection use and study.

Why not try these different, unique activities during September at our libraries (head to for venues and dates)?

• Participate in our adult therapeutic colouring in sessions to colour away your stress, or just relax in our Relaxation Corner

• Learn to play the bass guitar (no experience required and instruments are provided for ages eight and above)

• Learn techniques that can help explore calmness and mindfulness at our Breathing and Meditation classes  

• Enjoy craft?  Come along to create and chatter with our likeminded and imaginative craft group. Library members can also enjoy unlimited access to thousands of online art and craft classes. Watch classes anytime, anywhere. Since classes never expire, you can start and stop projects at your own pace

• Interested in joining a book club? We have several book clubs available to members across the region

• Home Library Membership (offered to residents or carers unable to visit the library). Items are selected by library staff and delivered by staff and library volunteers

• Mackay Regional Council Libraries have developed all-abilities programs that provide opportunities to meet other community members in friendly and fun environments.

September school holidays are fast approaching.  Our school holiday programs are specifically designed for children aged five to 12 years and young adults aged 12 to 18 years. Programs include:

• Shadow Puppet Workshops (discover, investigate, design, and create this traditional, theatrical form of entertainment

• Write With Kat (aimed at young adults, Grade 7 to Grade 12, these workshops provide an opportunity to encourage young people to embrace their writing creativity)

• Sensational Spring Sand Art (create colourful sand art designs inspired by spring, the season of colour, joy and growth)

• Movie Matinee - Turning Red (join us for an afternoon movie and popcorn) Rating: PG.

All these activities (and more), along with print and digital collections, are free to our library members.

Our amazing, friendly and knowledgeable staff will be thrilled to meet you and discuss the services we provide.

Cr Pauline Townsend

Mackay Regional Council

Read More

First Look At The Pioneer Valley Mountain Bike Trailhead Design

September 8, 2022

The final design for the Finch Hatton Trailhead has been unveiled and it is packed with features you would expect from a world-class trail network.  

Mayor Greg Williamson said council went the extra mile and conducted extensive community consultation with the Pioneer Valley community and industry experts.

“We needed to ensure the design met the needs of both the local community and visiting mountain bikers,” Mayor Williamson said.  

“This trailhead site will be a place where you start and finish your mountain bike adventure and enjoy a family day out,” he said.

“There’s a pump track suitable for all ages and riding abilities, plenty of picnic shelters, amenities and some local historical features.

“The historic features include the bin shop where cane trains were repaired and the old Cattle Creek Mill Administration building, which has been restored back to its former glory.

“This building will likely be used for tourism information and events.

“The area will be nicely landscaped, offer plenty of parking and feature footpaths and connections to the mountain bike trails and the township.”

The Mayor said community consultation had also lead to the inclusion of a landscaped buffer zone between the local residential properties and the trailhead site.

The design has been included in a development application that will now be considered by council and the State Government over the coming months.

Council will hold another community update session before the end of the year.

Member for Mackay Julieanne Gilbert said the State Government had invested $500,000 in the Pioneer Valley Mountain Bike Network.

“The State Government’s $500,000 investment in trail design elements delivers on an election commitment and brings this wonderful project a step closer,” Ms Gilbert said.

“I want to thank Mackay Regional Council for its dedication to this project that will put the region on the world map for mountain biking,” she said.

“The Finch Hatton Trailhead will enhance Queensland’s great lifestyle and help to create more secure jobs for the region’s visitor economy.

“It’s the beginning of a new visitor experience that will attract riders from Australia and overseas and give local families more options for staying active.”

To stay up to date on this project, please subscribe to project update emails at

The Queensland Government have contributed towards design elements of the project, including the detailed design of the trailhead and environmental assessments.

A concept design of the Finch Hatton Trailhead

A concept design of the Finch Hatton Trailhead showing shelters and picnic tables. Images supplied: Mackay Regional Council

Read More

You Should Have A Hobby

September 8, 2022

Just recently we were talking about hobbies on Star Breakfast, and the more I thought about it, having a hobby makes you more interesting, gives you an escape from work… and home if you need it.

It’s never too late to get a hobby, or, add a new one.

Paddling a kayak is one I only discovered in 2007 after friends took me out for a paddle down Cattle Creek at the tail end of wet season. It’s a great one to have because we have a few hidden creeks where you can sit in and paddle for hours, and see Platypus, but there’s nobody around.

Get a cheap camera, there’s another great one. Photography costs you a camera at the start, but then with digital photography you can take thousands of images for practically no cost, other than driving to a location like Cape Hillsborough.

Cheap hobbies are good. Expensive ones are better, and more fun though. Unfortunately, along with astronomy and astrophotography, which require equipment, which is expensive, every little bit, expensive; I’ve managed to stumble into home brewing in the last few years.  

Initially just dipping the toe in the water, or beer, with home brewing isn’t too bad. But then like with every hobby, you want more, you want better. Hobbies start with basic gear and before you know it your 5-bedroom home is a 4-bedroom home.

My home brew hobby is a cracker though, when you can have a beer as good as anything from the shops, made yourself on your back deck, it’s a real treat. It started with a 35L plastic bucket, but it’s now graduated to my own micro-brewery with 3 kegs of home brew chilled and poured from 2 beer taps on my own kegerator. Weekends are great.

Over the last 12 months though, twice I’ve been given giant Lego projects as a present from my wife and kids, one was the International Space Station, which was 2-3 feet long, and the other a NASA rocket about nearly 1 metre tall.

Not being a collector of Lego or a builder, the only thing I can take from these gifts is that my family don’t like me much and want me to leave them alone for several hours at a time.

If I receive a Millennium Falcon at Christmas or a giant Hogwarts, then I’ll know this to be true.


Read More

Catch & Snap Fishing Competition Launched

September 8, 2022

It’s time to dust off those rods and reels – Mackay Isaac’s Lucky Catch & Snap competition launched last Saturday on September 3.

Over 30 days through September and October, Mackay Isaac Tourism is proud to host the inaugural family-friendly fishing event which is set to be one of the most innovative in Australia.

Mackay Isaac Tourism Interim Chief Executive Officer Tash Wheeler said after years of analysing the region's fishing strategy, Mackay Isaac’s Lucky Catch and Snap was an opportunity that was not to be missed.

“Our long-term vision is to build community pride, gain feedback and grow as a destination event that will attract visitors from right around the country over the coming years,” she said.

Mackay Isaac’s Lucky Catch ad Snap organisers are anticipating that the annual fishing event competition will deliver and pump millions of visitor dollars in the Mackay Isaac region economy.

Mackay Regional Council Mayor Greg Williamson said fishing competitions like this really enhanced the visitor experience and help to build repeat visitation year after year.

“This is a really innovative initiative that we think will take visiting families’ holidays to the next level,” Mayor Williamson said.

“We can see that the competition will create quite a buzz – you can imagine that there will be plenty of banter and friendly rivalry at our coastal tourism parks as families vie to catch different species and get their entries in,” he said.

Winning this catch and release photo competition will be a game of chance. Everyday prizes will be picked based on the type of fish caught, where it was caught and how big it was.

With daily cash prizes, merchandise, and prize packs (potentially a large cash jackpot at the end of the 30 days) it promises to be a fishing event like no other.

Read More

Hello from Zonta Mackay!

September 8, 2022

As a member of the Zonta Club, I am delighted to let Mackay & Whitsunday Life readers know about our activities and events each month. But first, I would like to address some of our most frequently asked questions…

What is Zonta?

Maybe you have attended our International Women’s Day Luncheon, or you have noticed some of the ‘Orange Lady’ figures around town. Perhaps you haven’t heard of Zonta at all – you are not alone.

The Zonta Club of Mackay is a not-for-profit group comprised of local women, who are passionate about addressing women's issues, both in our community and worldwide. Since the Mackay club was chartered in 1992, our members have volunteered their time to address education, health and economic needs in the Mackay region. This year, we are excited to celebrate our 30th birthday.

Our club is one of 1,200 Zonta clubs globally. The first Zonta club was formed in Buffalo, New York in 1919. 'Zonta' is a derivative of the North American Sioux Indian word, meaning 'honest and trustworthy'.

What does Zonta do?

Locally, some of our activities include:

• Service projects, such as assembling birthing kits for developing countries and sewing breast cushions for patients in the post-operative stage of surgery;

• Raising awareness of important issues, such as the Zonta Says No to Domestic Violence campaign;

• Collecting donations for vulnerable women in our community, including expectant mothers in need;

• Fundraising activities, such as the annual International Women’s Day event, sausage sizzles, raffles and cent sales;

• Fostering leadership skills and community involvement in high school and university students via Z Clubs, scholarships and awards; and

• Encouraging connections within our local community through networking and social events, in partnership with Mackay Women.

We also have the following event coming up, and we would love for you to be involved.

Zonta Monthly Dinner Meeting

Event Details

• Date: Tuesday, 20 September (Third Tuesday of each month)

• Time: From 5:30pm

• Location: Ocean International, Mackay

We welcome guests at our meetings – if you are interested in attending, please contact us as soon as possible for catering purposes.

Karlee Box

Zonta Club Board Member

Read More

Services Help Farmers Keep Track Of Fall Armyworm

September 8, 2022

Caption: Fall armyworm on sweet corn

Growers dealing with fall armyworm (FAW) can now access the latest online resources using the new FAW engagement eHub, which features information on pest management, moth activities and research results.  

Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries and Minister for Rural Communities Mark Furner said since the exotic plant pest arrived in far north Australia in early 2020 it had spread across much of the south, west and east of the country.

“As part of providing better services to industry, the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries is leading research and extension through Queensland Government and Hort Innovation-funded projects to co-develop an integrated FAW management strategy,” Mr Furner said.

“This involves field surveys and monitoring, control strategies, new techniques, compiling a literature review, and an economic risk analysis for horticultural crops in Australia.

“We have developed the eHub to share the outcomes of this work, including regular video and results updates from demonstration sites, event information, moth activities, insecticide resistance results, and to allow growers to engage in discussion.”

For all your fall armyworm information, visit

Fall armyworm is a tropical migratory pest and is expected to be present year-round in warmer areas, and for part of the year in temperate zones.

In Australia, FAW has been mainly attracted to grass species with whorls, including sweet corn.

Fall armyworm on sweet corn

Read More

Council Saves Sarina Residents Bucket Loads

September 8, 2022

Using innovative techniques and their world-class expertise, Mackay Regional Council’s Water Treatment team has saved ratepayers about $1 million in capital replacement costs.

Major upgrades have recently been completed at the Sarina Water Recycling Facility, which processes sewerage for the Sarina area.

The works at the facility involved a ‘slack adjustment’ on the membranes which filter recycled water and ensure it is of high quality for agricultural use or release back into the environment.  

A slack adjustment refers to the tension under which the membranes, which filter the water, are held at. When the membranes are not held at the correct tension, they fail to filter harmful bacteria and suspended solids.

Mayor Greg Williamson said the project highlighted the great teamwork within the department and the level of technical expertise we have both at council and in the Mackay region.

“In general, the expected life of the membrane is seven years, but the ones at Sarina Water Recycling Facility are eight years old and we are looking at getting close to 15 years based on their condition,” Mayor Williamson said.  

“Membranes are very expensive, close to $1 million to replace, so to get double the life expectancy and save those costs is a credit to our treatment team and highlights the care and attention the team gives to maintaining our assets,” he said.

Mayor Williamson said it was essential that this project was undertaken to continue to provide the best outcome for our water recycling scheme and to future-proof it for the growing population of our region.

“The project took place over only a week but took months of planning as it was a huge team effort between contractors, council’s own maintenance operations teams and our environmental and laboratory staff,” Mayor Williamson said.

“The slack adjustment overhaul was a technically challenging and labour-intensive process,” he said.

“However, it was done by our own operators and engineers, with the assistance of contractors, and was planned and completed on time and within budget.”  

The project involved high risk activities with exposure to raw sewerage, working at heights and overhead loads.

This marks the third major project completed this year by council’s water team.

Over the past twelve months the team has completed the repair of the Southern Rising Main on Paradise Street and major maintenance upgrades of both the Mackay South Water Recycling Facility (MSWRF) and more recently the Mackay North Sewerage Treatment Plant.

Staff work on the membranes as part of the slack adjustment works at the Sarina Water Recycling Facility

Read More

Celebrating The Men Of Mackay

September 8, 2022

International Men’s Day and Shed Happens share similar values and goals: to celebrate the positive impact men have on society, and the role they have in developing boys into quality young men.

These values will be top of mind when Shed Happens Mackay hosts the annual International Men’s Day breakfast on Friday, November 18, 2022, at the Ocean International Hotel, proudly sponsored by DGH Engineering.

The winner of Mackay Man Of The Year, proudly sponsored by Hastings Deering Mackay, will also be announced at the breakfast.

Community members are encouraged to nominate men of all ages who are doing amazing things in our community - men that are passionate about making a difference and never seek any recognition.

Nominations close on September 30, 2022, with nomination forms available through the Shed Happens Mackay Facebook page and

2021 Mackay Man Of The Year Don Leckenby is a man who has applied the pillars of International Men’s Day in his day-to-day life consistently through the years.

“Celebrating International Men’s Day is most important as there are many support services for women but not so many for men,” Mr Leckenby said.

“Shed Happens is a place where they can offload and learn at the same time.

“When they talk with me, they listen.”

There are some fantastic prizes on offer for the Mackay Man of the Year, with a prize package including 12 months membership to Muscle Garden Gym and a $1,000 travel voucher courtesy of Helloworld Travel.

The award will be presented at the breakfast with a perpetual trophy and personal momento for the winner.

The two runners up will also be announced on the day.  

Other pillars of International Men’s Day are to promote positive male role models, and to pursue gender equality.

International Men’s Day focuses on men’s health and wellbeing and works to create a safer and more equitable world.

In the words of the founder of Shed Happens, Ian Watson, “No bloke ever went backwards with encouragement”, and this is the ethos of Shed Happens.

WHAT: International Men’s Day Breakfast

WHERE: Ocean International Resort

WHEN: November 18, 2022 from 6:45am to 9:45am

CONTACT: Frank Cowell - 0434 908 968

Mackay Regional Council Mayor Greg Williamson and 2021 Mackay Man Of The Year Don Leckenby at last year’s breakfast. Photo supplied: Shed Happens Mackay

Read More

Mackay Mums Make Finals At National Awards

September 8, 2022

Two local women making a positive impact on the lives and wellbeing of others were recognized at last weekend’s 2022 AusMumpreneurs Awards held in Sydney.

Mother-of-four Deidre Schill is making a difference to the mental and emotional wellbeing of other mums in the region and proving that online education has no barriers, especially in the new post-covid world, while CEO of Kickass Women and women’s advocate, Jo Sainsbury has once again found herself on the national stage being recognised for her passionate work empowering women to succeed - without limits.

When Deidre Schill launched ‘My Beautiful Self’ and organised her first free Women’s Circle, she hadn’t anticipated the response and attendance she would receive for her coaching that focuses on women’s topics including body image, social isolation, financial struggles, habits, and self-worth.

Nominated in the category of ‘Online Education’ and the People’s Choice 'Making a Difference (Health and Wellbeing)' at the 2022 AusMumpreneurs Awards, Deidre said that she was initially apprehensive about being nominated but had since realised it was more about acknowledging her clients’ progress.

“I’m truly honoured and feel blessed to have my clients and coach Caroline Bellenger in my corner. They were instrumental in getting me into the finals – and win or not, it’s a reminder that my work is making a difference in people’s lives,” she said.

With record increases in mental health concerns in households across Australia, My Beautiful Self is also about bringing to light the need for emotional support and inner work - particularly with the shift towards remote working.

“People are craving connection, especially after experiencing lengthy isolation periods and now working from remote locations. The amazing thing about the world we live in is that our voice and passion is not restricted to geographic locations,” she said.

In addition to her free monthly Women’s Circle and support group ‘MBS Action Takers’, Deidre also offers online programs and one-on-one coaching for women who need support for challenges or to reset habits that are holding them back; like through her Shedding to Shine (S2S) Program with Holistic Health Expert, Kylie Smith and Registered Nurse, Catherine Schill.  

“Women often come to me with intense feelings of despair, overwhelm, grief, or loss of direction, but on the flipside of that, some of my clients just want help to navigate their position in the world,” she said.

With over 30 years’ experience in the Heavy Equipment, Earthmoving and Rail Industries, Jo has first-hand experience with gender stereotyping and breaking through gender barriers, which has contributed to her becoming a 2022 AusMumpreneur finalist in the ‘Women’s Champion’ category.

“I’m really honoured to be nominated again for an AusMumpreneur award. It’s a very humbling experience, especially when standing up next to some of the most inspiring women in Australia.

“My work is about showing other women that they are worthy of the career they want, the life they deserve, and the recognition they receive. I’ve accepted this award nomination with all women in mind,” Jo said.

The winner of the 2021 ‘One to Watch’ Award, Jo is once again being recognised on the AusMumpreneur stage for her extensive women’s advocacy, including her recent Shades of Women event and performance in Dancing CEOs that fundraised over $600,000 for Women’s Legal Service.

“There are so many factors and influences on women, not only self-driven, but also gender-bias and society’s general expectations. My goal is to address the challenges that we’re seeing within the community, to create a ripple effect and empower women to embrace the community around them. It certainly takes a village,” she said.

Deidre Schill

Jo Sainsbury

Read More


September 8, 2022

This week I’m going to talk about trauma. This behaviour is an emotional response to a terrible event in someone’s life.

The causes of trauma are many and can be a vehicle accident, a violent act or even a natural disaster. Some people have even been traumatised by the public tumult surrounding COVID-19.

The way hypnotherapy sees trauma is that, after a traumatic event the subconscious mind develops a protection mechanism. Basically, it attempts to steer the person away from the terrible event happening again by setting off alarm bells every time something it sees as a similar threat is sensed.

Trauma can be incredibly debilitating, and the person can be set on edge and live in fear of many situations which in fact are not going to be harmful. You might say that the person’s inbuilt alarm system is on a hair trigger.

This over-protective behaviour is seated in the subconscious mind – and it is incredibly difficult to change a subconscious pattern. This is because once the subconscious enacts a behaviour that it believes is working to protect you, it will continue that pattern.

Through hypnotherapy, we are able to reach the subconscious and work to change the pattern with one that is more appropriate.

This process does not include taking the person back to the event that caused the trauma. That would have the effect of re-traumatising the person. Instead, through direct communication with the part of the subconscious that oversees the traumatic response, we are able to change that pattern.

As humans, we are constantly changing – are you the same person you were as a child? As you were two years ago? No, we are constantly learning new behaviours to adapt to whatever life throws our way!

The good news is that unhelpful behaviours are learnt. Therefore, new and more helpful behaviours can also be learnt.

Next time, I’ll talk about hypnotherapy for panic. Until then, remember: You CAN change!

David Lornie is owner and principal hypnotherapist at Frontier Hypnotherapy in Mackay. Dave is also the only qualified Australian practitioner of the Control System. He can be contacted on 0401 223 780 or W:

Read More

You Can’t Pour From An Empty Cup

September 8, 2022

Hey there, cu-tea.

Have you done something today for you?

Hopefully you’re taking five to catch your breath amid a hectic schedule. Self-care is one of the most important parts of your day.

When you discover something that nourishes your soul, do it as often as possible.

Unfortunately, sometimes we view self-care as a luxury, rather than a necessity. Consequently, we can be left feeling overwhelmed, tired, and irritable.

You can start to look after yourself by creating a routine of regular activities that foster and support your well-being and personal growth. Something as simple as tea can be used as an antidote to many of life’s stressors and promote wellness from within.

1. Take some time for tea

Different varieties of teas may boost your immune system, fight off inflammation, and even ward off cancer and heart disease. While some brews provide more health advantages than others, there's plenty of evidence that regularly drinking tea can have a lasting impact on your health and happiness.

2. Deep breath and relax

In Mackay and the Whitsundays, we are blessed with a plethora of outlets designed for relaxation. Yoga, meditation, floating, hypnosis and reiki… the list is extensive. Start by taking at least 10 minutes each day, in a quiet space, to close your eyes and focus on breathing. It’s incredible how this calms your inner space.

3. More movement

Regular exercise can transform your life. As Richard Branson says, one hour of exercise equals four extra hours of productivity. It can be as simple as going for a short walk around your neighbourhood, a sunset stroll on the beach or even squats in your living room during ad breaks.

4. Wine with friends

Wine-not? Our soul is nurtured by physically spending time with those we adore. Take time to catch up with your friends and make an occasion out of it. Use the fancy glasses, you only live once. Of course, it doesn’t have to be wine. Sparkling apple juice or a fruit smoothie would be a delicious alternative for those saying no to alcohol.

Self-care is about nourishing five aspects of our well-being: physical, intellectual, emotional, social and spiritual. Pay these aspects of your life attention every week, and soon you’ll be brimming with love and care you can afford to pass on to others.

Read More

Mackay’s Best Walks

September 8, 2022

It’s well known that exercise and movement are beneficial for the body and mind but completing these exercises in nature increases the mental benefits tenfold.

Whether it be better concentration, more rapid recovery from illness or reduced feelings of anxiety and depression, taking time out in nature is proving time and again to be the ultimate tonic for today’s technology-dependant society.

Make sure to get outside this weekend and explore our region’s excellent walks.

Bluewater Trail

The Bluewater Circuit is a scenic bike and pedestrian-friendly link of trails that ring around Mackay's city centre, making it the perfect start to exploring the city’s most picturesque spots. Along the walk, you will find popular sites to stop and explore including the Mackay Regional Botanic Gardens, Bluewater Lagoon, Bluewater Quay, Sandfly Creek Environmental Walk and the Iluka Park All Abilities Playground. The route is also very popular among ‘twitchers’, so bring your binoculars and keep an eye out for the birdlife. The route can be started from a variety of locations and incorporates the Bluewater Trail, Lagoons Bikeway, Catherine Freeman Walkway, Pioneer Environmental Walk, Pioneer Promenade and Sandfly Creek Environmental Walkway.

Slade Point Reserve

At the south end of Lamberts Beach is Slade Point Reserve where you will find a network of sandy tracks among the dunes waiting to be discovered. The tracks weave through untouched beach, bushland and paperbark wetlands. There are access points onto the beach along the tracks, providing the perfect opportunity to explore the best of Slade Point’s underrated nature.

Kommo Toera Trail

This short walk near Slade Point explores a unique ecosystem and wetlands area, following underneath the shade of large Melaleuca trees. It is also popular for birding, with bird observation structures throughout the track. A perfect spot to explore after work.

Mackay Regional Botanic Gardens, one stop on the Bluewater Trail

Slade Point Reserve

Kommo Toera Trail

Read More

Message Not Getting Through To Peak Downs Speedsters

September 8, 2022

Last Friday, numerous members of the public were left with lighter wallets after Highway Patrol Officers clocked drivers at dangerous speeds.

In the 100km/hr zone on the Peak Downs Highway, at least two drivers had recorded speeds in excess of 135km/hr.

Frustrated law enforcement officers say more policing will occur on the section where these offences were detected, between Eton and the Eton Range.

To add to insult, it was raining heavily when these incidents occurred.

The Peak Downs Highway is notorious for drivers travelling at high speed and unfortunately many deaths and injuries have resulted from poor driving habits.

Read More

MAKE A SPLASH IN SEPTEMBER Region’s Pools Are Re-Opening

September 8, 2022

Two popular swimming facilities are re-opening to the public, with the Bluewater Lagoon set to re-open on Saturday, September 17. The Memorial Pool opened earlier this week on Monday, September 5.

Due to staff shortages, the Memorial Pool will temporarily operate with reduced hours until more staff can be recruited and trained.

This means the facility will be open from 5.30am to 12.30pm on weekdays, and 8am to 12.30pm on weekends.

Meanwhile, Lifeguarding Services Australia Pty Ltd has been announced as the successful applicant of the tender to operate and manage the Bluewater Lagoon over the next two years.

Mayor Greg Williamson said council was pleased to secure a new operator in time for the September school holidays.

“Council is facing the same challenges as the rest of the country when it comes to staffing and resources,” Mayor Williamson said.

“As a result, the process of awarding the contract has taken longer than expected, and we are unable to reopen the facility on September 1 as initially planned,” he said.

“The Bluewater Lagoon is an important community asset and we need to ensure that it is run professionally, and that the successful applicant can provide the highest standard of safety to the public.

“Lifeguarding Services Australia Pty Ltd has plenty of experience when it comes to ensuring the safety of swimmers, and we are confident they will do a great job managing this facility.”

Winter maintenance work was completed during the annual shutdown to ensure the facility is in good working order for residents visiting the lagoon over the summer period.

The Bluewater Lagoon’s operating hours will be 9am to 5.45pm daily when it reopens on September 17.

Residents are advised that all of council’s aquatic facilities are currently experiencing staffing shortages.

Council is encouraging residents who are interested in a new, exciting and rewarding career to consider completing a lifeguard course.

Reef Training will be running lifeguard courses at the Mackay Aquatic and Recreation Complex on September 24-25 and October 15-16 from 9am to 4pm each day.

To register your interest, contact Reef Training on 0403 956 753 or email

Bluewater Lagoon will reopen to the public on September 17

Memorial Swim Centre

Read More

Grants Help Provide More Than A Meal

September 8, 2022

Pam Armstrong says volunteering for Meals on Wheels is an extremely gratifying experience.

“Everybody should go and do deliveries one day in their life,” she said.

“There are some wonderful people out there, some of them in different conditions, and they’re always happy to have a chat and say hello.

Meals on Wheels have received Volunteer Grants from the Australian Government for the last three years, with the grants going towards the cost of fuel.

“(The grants) provide us probably with about a quarter of what the costs are of reimbursing our volunteer delivery drivers every day, so we would really struggle at times without it,” said Pam.

“It is a way of keeping our volunteers and giving something back to them for all the work they’re doing for us.”

Expressions of interest (EOIs) are now open for the Government’s 2022-23 Volunteers Grant and Federal Member for Dawson Andrew Willcox is urging organisations to apply.

“Please help us help the volunteers,” Mr Willcox said.

“The volunteers are so important, all community-based organisations, and these grants can be used for everything from buying a laptop or a tent.”

Grants from $1000 to $5000 are available with applications closing on Friday, September 23.

Interested parties are asked to contact Andrew Willcox’s office at the corner of Victoria and Brisbane Streets or call 4944 0662 for an application form.

“Volunteers, not just in Mackay but the whole electorate of Dawson, the volunteers keep us moving,” said Mr Willcox.

“The message is, allow us to help you.

“Please contact my office, fill out these forms and keep volunteering.”

There are over 80 people currently volunteering with Meals on Wheels, helping them make and deliver over 70,000 meals in the last financial year, but that number has dropped from over 200 volunteers before the pandemic.

Pam says they are always looking for extra hands to deliver meals and say hello to clients.

“There are some people out there who we are the only people they see each day so it’s very rewarding,” said Pam.

“We would love to see them; we’re always looking for drivers.”

Federal Member for Dawson Andrew Willcox and Meals On Wheels Volunteer Pam Armstrong. Photo credit: Sam Gillespie

Read More

Body Found In Mackay Treated As “Non-Suspicious”

September 8, 2022

A body was found under the Fursden Creek bridge, between Foulden and Glenella, on Tuesday, September 6.

Police were made aware after a cyclist saw the body at about 12:30pm Tuesday.

Police recovered the body soon after, reportedly belonging to a man aged in his 30s to 40s.

There was a red sedan located at the creek which police believed to be linked to the man.

A Queensland Police Service spokesperson has confirmed police are treating the death as non-suspicious.

“Police are treating this as a non-suspicious death, a report will be prepared for the coroner,” the statement read.

Read More

History Buff’s Needed

September 8, 2022

Are you passionate about the region's heritage, culturally significant places and buildings?

Did you know that council has a Heritage Reference Group (HRG)?

The group is comprised of volunteer community members with demonstrated experience in local heritage matters, as well as council staff who lead and advise council on local historic and cultural heritage matters within the Mackay region.

They are now calling for new members. The membership is for two years, until 2024.

To nominate, visit

Read More

Mackay Man Wins The Lottery, Literally

September 8, 2022

A cool $2 million win has made a Mackay man in his 20s the region’s newest multi-millionaire after the weekend’s Saturday Gold Lotto draw.

The man held one of the 10 division one winning entries nationally in Saturday Gold Lotto draw 4291 on Saturday 3 September, each division one winning entry scoring $2 million.

Speaking to an official from The Lott, the winner recounted how his weekend was rocked by the win.

“I was just poking along on Sunday when I thought I’d have a look at my ticket on the app,” he said.

“At first, I just thought, ‘nah, it isn’t real’.

“Things like this just don’t happen to me.

“As soon as I saw it was $2 million, I just started shaking.

“I even tried to have a drink of water but just couldn’t stop shaking.

“It’s just bloody unreal. Holy s***!

The man says he’s been playing Gold Lotto for a few years now and usually picks his own special numbers but opted for a QuickPick on this occasion.

“I don’t know what made me decide to change, but I’m glad I did now!

“This has just come at the best time. I want to set up my young family and also do some renovations around the home.

“I’ll still be turning up to work this week too!”

Across Australia, there were 10 division one winning entries in Saturday Gold Lotto draw 4291 – five from Queensland, three from Victoria and one each from Tasmania and Western Australia.

So far this year, six division one wins have landed in the Mackay region worth more than $14.3 million.

Read More

Port Of Mackay Pulls Ahead With New Tug Facility

September 8, 2022

The Port of Mackay now boasts a new multi-million dollar purpose-built tug berth facility, with Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey saying the $8.5 million investment shows how well positioned Mackay is for imports and exports.

“The Port of Mackay has smashed out a record year of trade, proving just how strong Queensland’s export market is,” Mr Bailey said.

“Having the new tug berth facilities on site will position the Port to be able to take advantage of the new and diversified trade opportunities in the region, including rail and renewables.

“Construction also utilised local and regional contractors to ensure the economic dividends of this multi-million-dollar project are returned to regional communities.”

North Queensland Bulk Ports (NQBP) Chief Executive Officer Nicolas Fertin said North Queensland-based Pacific Marine Group Pty Ltd (PMG) had recently completed the new facility, supporting local jobs along the way.

“The use of regional and local contractors throughout the construction of the new facility was a focus,” Mr Fertin said.

“In total, around 60 regional jobs were supported during the project, almost triple the amount originally estimated,” he said.

The dedicated tug berth facility is located inside the secure port area and will cater for the existing tug fleet and provides flexibility for future growth. The facility includes a floating pontoon and gangway which can berth up to two tugs. The berths can also accommodate bigger and more powerful tugs. Two pilot boat berths have also been included.

It is the largest in a series of recent, significant investments totalling $17 million aimed at boosting the port for current and future trade.

PMG Operations Manager Christo Wessels said the team was proud of the successful delivery of the project.

“Our team did a brilliant job considering there were a number of challenges along the way including a period of COVID shutdowns which placed a strain on material supply chains and availability of qualified tradespeople,” Mr Wessels said.

Works also continue to progress on the Port’s $4 million Wharf 5 upgrades.

Queensland-based contractor V2R Projects are replacing the western access deck after 35 years of service.

Tug berth facility facts

• $8.5 million investment

•  60 regional jobs

• 35 metre floating pontoon

• Pile length 38 metres

• 42 metre gangway

• 260 tonnes steel used

• 4 km cable installed

Read More

Ill Indian Sailor Winched In Windy Conditions

September 8, 2022

RACQ CQ Rescue winched a seriously ill foreign sailor off a bulk carrier anchored at Hay Point last Saturday, battling blustery conditions.

The 51-year-old Indian sailor from the vessel MV Darya Moti was suffering a serious cardiac condition upon the ship’s arrival in Australian waters early Saturday.

The vessel, which departed China on August 16, proceeded to anchor at Hay Point about 30km south of Mackay.

The rescue chopper was tasked by Queensland Health about 10.30am and, with a doctor and Critical Care Paramedic on board, arrived on scene within 10 minutes of take-off from the Mackay airport.

The aircraft crew quickly made radio contact with the ship to make plans for the patient’s safe retrieval and transport to medical care.

The helideck on board the bulk carrier wasn’t rated heavy enough to land the five-tonne rescue aircraft, which meant the patient needed to be winched off the ship.

After further discussion with the crew and several orbits of the carrier, a rescue crewman and paramedic both completed a ‘hover exit’ of the aircraft; they exited the chopper as it hovered less than a metre above the ship’s helideck.

The rescue helicopter medical team took about 10 minutes to assess and secure the patient into a harness. After more radio contact between the team and the aircraft, the ill sailor was accompanied by the paramedic as he was winched up from the ship’s deck into the aircraft hovering about 20 metres above.

The rescue crewman then followed up into the helicopter and the patient was flown to Mackay Base Hospital in a stable condition.

An Indian sailor from the bulk carrier MV Darya Moti was winched by RACQ CQ Rescue on Saturday and flown to hospital. Images supplied: RACQ CQ Rescue

Read More

Retirement Village’s Thoughtful Donation

September 8, 2022

A small group of thoughtful, committed citizens has played their part in changing the world and contributing to the excellent work of RACQ CQ Rescue.

RACQ CQ Rescue was very humbled to welcome representatives from Carlyle Gardens Retirement Village this week to visit their hangar and hear about the lifesaving work they do.

These passionate citizens also came with a gift, donating $5,000 to RACQ CQ Rescue’s vital rescue helicopter service which had been raised throughout the village.

“Unfortunately, we are all vulnerable to unexpected injury or illness – you just never know when you or your loved ones will need help,” RACQ CQ Rescue wrote on Facebook.

“Those who share the burden of responsibility and assist others to overcome these obstacles must be applauded and acknowledged.

“Thank you to the wonderful residents of the village for your ongoing incredible support of our service.

“Today you’re helping make an enormous difference to this community and to all those who live, work and visit our region.

“We are incredibly proud to be a lifeline when it’s really needed most.”

Residents of Carlyle Gardens Retirement Village rallied to raise $5,000 to be donated to RACQ CQ Rescue. Photo supplied: RACQ CQ Rescue

Read More

We Love Our Sport

September 8, 2022

Mackay constantly bats above its average when it comes to impressive sporting achievements.

I can honestly say it’s a challenge keeping up with the diverse range of sports we have here in Mackay, as well as the incredible achievements of our local sportspeople. Not only that, but Mackay has also garnered a reputation since the COVID-19 pandemic as being ‘the place’ to host major sporting events, so we are spoiled for choice when it comes to seeing top class athletes in our own backyard.

As a publication, our focus has been on the community, so we’re just as happy to report on a 10-year-old’s soccer game as we are an NBL1 final, or an over-70s game of pickleball alongside a game of NRL. Sometimes, it’s those stories closer to the heart of locals that matter more.

This edition is a particularly big one for sport, yet I still feel we barely scratch the surface when it comes to the hundreds of games played weekly throughout the region. We have football and rugby league, basketball and track cycling, squash and bowls, athletics and trail running, golf and bridge; just to name a few, in this edition alone.

If you’re associated with a sporting organisation and you would like to find out how your club or team can receive newspaper coverage, please send us an email. Being locally owned and community loved means we’re here for all sport.


Read More

ALDI To Confirm Construction Timeline

September 8, 2022

With whispers of supermarket chain ALDI hoping to open a new store in Mackay by the end of 2022, a lack of development on the earmarked site has residents asking questions.

The German retailer lodged an application with Mackay Regional Council earlier this year to build a new store in the Andergrove Lakes precinct on a vacant block between Cutler Drive, Beaconsfield Road East and Superior Boulevard.

Mackay Regional Council Development Services Director Aletta Nugent says council is committed to supporting ALDI with their development.

“Council continues to work with ALDI and is providing them with support in relation to their operational works applications for this site,” she said.

“We hope this process can be finalised soon and ALDI will be able to provide the community with an update on when construction can take place.”

ALDI had no further updates to provide.

“ALDI continually looks for opportunities to expand into new locations,” a statement read.

“While Mackay is an area of interest, ALDI has no updates to share at this point in time.”

Read More

Cotter’s First Father’s Day

September 8, 2022

North Queensland Cowboys player Reuben Cotter has spent his first Father’s Day with daughter Sunny, who gifted him a personalised book for them to one day read together.

Cotter, 23, said his three-month-old had given him and partner Mackenzie Falco “so much love and happiness” since her arrival on June 11, at Mater Mothers’ Private Townsville.

“I don’t remember what things were like without her,” Cotter said.

“Fatherhood has been exciting and challenging at times, but I wouldn’t change it for the world.”

Cotter cried “tears of joy” following the birth of his baby girl, just three days after making his Maroons debut earlier this year.

He said he loved watching Sunny play with her toys and swinging on her play swing, laying outside and pulling funny faces at each other.

After sustaining a hamstring injury and recently undergoing eight weeks of rehabilitation, Cotter said he was able to spend every day with his precious daughter.

“That was the silver lining,” he said.

“Looking back now I think it was important I was able to see her grow over the first eight weeks of her life.”

Falco said watching Reuben become a dad was always going to be her favourite part of the parenthood journey.

“Sunny is the luckiest little lady in the world to have a dad like him – he would do absolutely anything for her,” Falco said.

The family of three went out to breakfast on Sunday morning to celebrate Father’s Day.

Mater Mothers’ Private Townsville Business and Midwifery Unit Manager Rebekah Barrie said it was exciting to hear how the hospital’s first-time dads were celebrating such a special day together with their loved ones.

Cowboys player Reuben Cotter, Mackenzie Falco and baby Sunny

Cowboys star Reuben Cotter with baby Sunny

Read More

Rats Of Tobruk Remembered

September 8, 2022

A biennial commemoration of the siege of Tobruk was held at the Rats of Tobruk Memorial in Queens Park last Tuesday, August 30.

Four schools, Mackay North State School, St Patrick’s College, Victoria Park State School and Whitsunday Anglican School, assist in organising the Rats of Tobruk Commemoration Ceremony each year.

“These schools, they do a rotation each year, different schools prepare and deliver the service and we (RSL Mackay Subbranch) support it along with descendants of Rats of Tobruk,” said RSL Mackay Subbranch President Ken Higgins.

Wreaths were laid by the RSL, descendants and representatives from each of the schools.

2022 marks 81 years since Australia’s first major battle in the second world war.

The three Australian services were continuously in action throughout 1941 as their actions and campaigns were fought in the Middle East and the Mediterranean.

Australia’s troops led a series of impressive Commonwealth successes against the Italians in Libya, but the rapid German defences quickly reversed these victories.

All that stopped the Germans march on Egypt was the defiant garrison of Tobruk.

For eight long months, surrounded by German and Italian forces, the men of the Tobruk garrison, mostly Australians, withstood tank attacks, artillery barrages and daily bombings.

Living in dugouts, caves and crevices, the soldiers endured the desert’s searing heat, bitterly cold nights and hellish dust storms.

The determination, bravery and humour of the men became the source of inspiration during some of the war’s darkest days, achieving lasting fame as the Rats of Tobruk.

“It’s a story that we admire, a history that we admire as veterans,” said Mr Higgins.

The Rats of Tobruk memorial was unveiled in Queens Park on March 4, 2001, displaying and honouring names of 120 of the defenders of Tobruk.

“It was a great thing because Mackay’s a big town and these memorials are a memorial to remember the sacrifice that these guys and girls made all those years ago,” said Mr Higgins.

“It’s up to us veterans and ex-service organisations to continue that push to make sure that they’re never forgotten.”

Victoria Park School

hitsunday Anglican School

St. Patrick’s College

North Mackay State School

Front L-R: Judy Stewart, Marian Delaney, Jo Williams, Margret Hall, Back L-R: Ian Dean, Col Benson, Steve Haidle, Ken Higgins OAM, Robert Begozzi

Mackay North State School students paying respect

Victoria Park State School students paying respect

Whitsunday Anglican School students paying respect. Photos supplied: Graham Jackson

Read More

When was the last time you rode your pushbike?

September 2, 2022

This weekend there will be plenty of deadly two wheeled bikes riding for charity and we love it!

The annual River to Reef bike ride raising money for the local CQ rescue chopper is a chance for thousands of people to ride for fun and raise money for an organisation that helps us every day of the year.

Over Saturday and Sunday there are rides around town, rides out on the highway, and rides that go for so long that you wish you brought a packed cut lunch and a swag. To everyone who is jumping on the saddle, we wish you well and I certainly hope all goes well. If you are doing the ride on an e-scooter, I hope you have charged it the night before and you have plenty of credit on your phone to pay for it. Do not forget to put the hard hat back and make sure it is parked in the right area.

One of the other grandiose things happening is on Saturday when the Mackay Hockey grand final is on. Hundreds of people will be down at Harney St to cheer on their favourite teams, but just so you know before you head down, I will not be playing. My team lost in the first week of finals so we will not be there on the pitch. You will find me at the bar. Come and say hello.

Finally, Sunday it is all about the dads of Mackay. Father’s Day will be an exciting time for kids to say thank you for all that dad’s do for their kids around Mackay and the Whitsundays.

You will want to get out of the house and go exploring after you open the boot load of presents you will get. Maybe drive up to Eungella and have a bite to eat at the Chalet. Maybe even have a swim at Finch Hatton. Then have a swim on the way back at one of a hundred or more swimming holes.

As you can see it is a busy weekend.

Enjoy it. I know I will. Oh, by the way, if my kids are reading this. I like chocolate. Especially chocolate that is bought from any of those shops at Canelands. There are heaps to pick from. Just saying.

You can join Rob Kidd from 5am weekday mornings on 4MK 1026 AM in Mackay and Proserpine, 91.5FM in Airlie Beach or just ask your smart speaker to play 4MK on iHeartRadio!

Read More

Leadership and Relationship Building

September 2, 2022

Leadership can be displayed in lots of different ways. A true leader is someone who can gather people around a shared vision and purpose. We know that when we work together, we can achieve great things.  Leadership is like a promise you undertake, and you must deliver.

The following are essential ingredients for good leadership.

Respect – listen well and respect that everyone has a voice; everyone has an opinion. Treat people how you would like to be treated.

Communication – you must be clear with your message, yet be willing to change your communication style to suit your audience.

Passion - needs to flow through in everything we do. You want people to connect with you and share that passion.

Reputation – always act with integrity. In my role, having a good reputation is paramount and ensures I have a strong voice for the people of this region.

Unconscious or personal bias – once you are aware of your bias, you can learn how to manage it.  Too often bias is allowed to dominate conversations at the expense of the outcome.

Fear and self-doubt – don’t let the noise in your head limit your ability to perform at your best or stop you from taking opportunities.

Honesty and integrity – it’s so easy to slip below the line, particularly in this day and age of social media.  It takes a lot of tenacity not to play in that keyboard coward space and help others rise above that as well.

Trust – Trust is built overtime. Always being honest, say it how it is, respect others and others will come to trust and respect you.

Building relationships- Good relationships enable opportunities to come your way. Solid relationships give meaning and richness to our work and to our lives.

Opportunities- It is important that when opportunities do come, we are ready to take them on. If you don’t back yourself, how can you expect others to back you?  

I would like to finish with a few messages:

● to have a friend, you need to be a friend

● on this journey of life, we must make sure we look after ourselves and others around us

● ensure that you recognise and be courageous enough to accept the opportunities that come your way

● take time to celebrate your successes

● most importantly, wake up every day and be the best possible version of yourself.

Cr Karen May

Deputy Mayor

Mackay Regional Council

Read More

Child Protection The Theme Of Action-Packed Fun Day

September 1, 2022

Keep the kids busy while supporting a good cause!

Mackay Family Support Alliance (MFSA) are holding a family fun day at Caneland Central next Thursday, September 8.

The fun day will run from 10am to 7pm and, with approximately 20 stalls planned, there will be something on offer for everyone.

The event is being held in line with Queensland Child Protection Week, happening September 4 to 10.

This year’s theme is “Protecting Children is Everybody’s Business”.  

“This year, the alliance will host a free event to help promote awareness in our community,” Mackay Family Alliance Member Alex Whippy said.

“It will be a day of fun and free activities for the little ones, young people and families.”

The day will incorporate story time sessions, puppets, balloon twisting, face painting, kids’ yoga, Sensory Circus, fairy floss, dancing with Patrick Thaiday and ball drills with the Mackay Cutters.

Mackay Community Services will be present with a host of information stalls to answer questions about accessing supports and services for their families and free giveaways.

The event is free and no bookings are required.

The Mackay Family Support Alliance (MFSA) is a large group of government and community-based organisations working together to support families.

Mayor Greg Williamson says council is proud to be part of MFSA.

He says the alliance did a tremendous job of promoting the value of children and focusing attention on the issues of child abuse and neglect.

“This will be a great event and I hope families come along and make the most of all the games and attractions on offer,” he said.

WHAT: Mackay Family Support Alliance Family Fun Day

WHEN: Thursday, September 8 from 10:00am to 7:00pm

WHERE: Caneland Central

This is a free community event.

Maria (pictured) will be hosting kids’ yoga at the Family Fun Day. Photo supplied

Read More

Property Point

September 2, 2022

I’ve sold houses on busy roads, across the street from noisy factories and next door to a neighbourhood junkyard.

Other properties have had large, manicured blocks or ocean views or been peacefully located alongside a bubbling brook.

Some were in town, others in a rural setting surrounded by nature.

The point is that there is a property for everyone. It’s a matter of priorities and finding that property that meets a buyer’s key priorities.

For some people it is about getting into the market and paying as little as possible, hence those sales near a factory or on a busy road.

Often a buyer won’t mind a busy road (“Mate I know it’s a busy road but I grew up next to a train line so I don’t care”) and they focus on other attributes the particular property might have, say its big block with a shed or terrific side access for vehicles. It’s a matter of priorities.

For other buyers it is about having a stylish contemporary home with the latest fittings and fixtures, such as those in the modern estates of Richmond or Erakala.

Others need size and “value for money”: four bedrooms, two bathrooms, two living areas, side access and room for a shed. Andergrove, Glenella or Mt Pleasant will be on the cards there depending on the budget.

For me, it’s about location.

Location means different things to different people. For some people, it’s about being near a school or close to work. For others it needs to be near the beach (welcome to East Mackay, Bucasia and Shoal Point). Some people just want to be close to everything they need; the CBD, schools, shops etc, which is why Mt Pleasant, Glenella, North Mackay and South Mackay are so popular.

I live in West Mackay and it is largely about location and character. It’s close to everything but it’s also got a stylish sense of history.

We live a couple of minutes’ walk from the Botanic Gardens, which I have got to say is a wonderful feature of this town. I run through the gardens, take the dog for walks along its pathways, went riding there with the kids on weekends when they were young and whenever I am there it is a calming, uplifting experience.

There’s the Shamrock Hotel and a couple of bowls clubs for entertainment and a meal, Parkside shopping, a few cafes … and it’s about four kilometres to my CBD office.

We’ve got a big block and a pool but it’s not a large, modern home. Again, it’s about priorities and, for me, it’s about having the outdoor lifestyle I want at my doorstep and convenient, super-quick access to everything I need.

Everyone has different priorities and one of the fun things about selling real estate is that I know that whatever house I have got to sell on a given day there will be someone who will have their reason for wanting it.

My job is to get that person and that house together.

Read More

Hibiscus Coast District Gather For Cub Scout Camp

September 2, 2022

Under clear, crisp winter skies, 40 Cub Scouts and 20 Leaders and parent helpers from across the district made the journey to Rowallan Park for the first District Cub Scout camp in many years.

The theme for the weekend was ‘Wild West’ and, after a frantic land grab and assignment of positions, the boisterous group enjoyed a variety of games and activities fitting the theme.

In their rush to get to camp, the group discovered that some vital camping equipment was lost.

The first activity of the weekend was a wide game to scour the local area for paddle pop sticks which had their equipment written on them.

A construction activity had the Cub Scouts building their part of a corral to yard their ‘cattle’ in.

They also needed to build their herd, so some cattle rustling was in order (i.e. Rob the Nest).

Once everyone had an established ranch, they had to come up with a name for their property and a brand for their beasts.  

In traditional wild west fashion, prominent features of the surrounding area were used for ranch titles.

The Cub Scouts enjoyed a tumbleweed relay and collecting some firewood before afternoon tea and tried their hand creating a plaited keyring, with varying amounts of success.

At the end of the day, they enjoyed time around the campfire with a yarn, a song and time for reflection on the day’s activities.  

Most of the camp enjoyed a good night’s sleep, but a shower of rain caused some issues for a few.

The camp was up and about early on Sunday morning with everyone looking forward to a hearty breakfast.

The Cub Scouts, and some Leaders, learned how to cook eggs in a zip lock bag to accompany their bacon and toast.

A hike was on the cards after breakfast, and once everyone had returned, the Cub Scouts set about packing up their gear while the Leaders participated in a Seeonee.

After morning tea, another wide game was conducted, and the Cub Scouts participated in some compass instruction.

Their task: to follow the compass trail, collect all the letters from each checkpoint and work out what the scrambled words were.

Lunch time introduced everyone to another fun cooking activity, hotdogs in milk cartons which proved to be a great hit.

With tummies full, everyone set about completing camp break.

Goodbyes were said with promises of doing it all again next year.

Cub Scout Benji Spann from the Proserpine Group showing the clove hitch. Photo supplied: Mary Wallace

Read More

Exciting Upgrades To Walkerston Parkland

September 2, 2022

Alsatia Park in Walkerston is set to undergo exciting upgrades this financial year, with a detailed concept plan released today (Friday September 2).

The design is based on feedback that was gathered during the community consultation period in February/March this year.

Mayor Greg Williamson said the consultation period revealed support for the children’s playground to be moved away from the skatepark and for the playground to be larger and more visible.

“It was feedback we received loud and clear,” Mayor Williamson said.

“The children’s playground will be relocated to the opposite side of the park, and it will be increased in size to cater for a wider age range (0 to 14 years),” he said.

“Shade was also a major focus of community feedback, so the area will be fitted with new shelters offering covered seating for parents and shading to the small children’s play equipment.

“The half basketball court and skatepark will also get a facelift and football posts will be installed in the park’s open space.”

Other works planned for the park include:

• a ‘hang-out space’ for older kids, complete with a table tennis table

• drainage works

• extension and restoration of the skatepark’s half-pipe

• new and more accessible footpaths

• additional seating, bins and fencing

• a drinking bubbler and dog bowl

• additional shade trees.

The project will now move into detailed design and construction is expected to be completed this financial year, weather permitting.

Federal Member for Capricornia Michelle Landry said the Australian Government had contributed $700,000 towards the Alsatia Park playground upgrade and it was money well-spent to benefit the community.

“This funding has provided a vital boost to our local communities where the need to back local jobs and boost economic growth has never been more important,” Ms Landry said.

“I want to congratulate Mayor Greg Williamson for ensuring the needs of locals are being met in challenging times brought on by COVID-19, bushfires, floods and other events,” she said.

The Alsatia Park concept plan

Read More

Balanced Education On Cane Industry Matters By Kevin Borg, Chairman, CANEGROWERS Mackay

September 2, 2022

When our kids look out the bus window at cane fields while heading to school, what do they see? Do they see opportunity and renewability, or just another problem around chemicals and the reef?

In a lot of ways, it comes down to education: from schools, from the media, in the home.

CANEGROWERS Mackay can see a growing future for cane. We have a whole host of possibilities open to us as an industry, across farming, agronomy, science and technology, engineering and manufacturing as we begin to reach into biofutures. There are opportunities across renewable energy and fuels, food and fabrication.

Sugar Plus is the Sugar Industry Roadmap, developed in collaboration across milling, research, government and grower representative organisations.

But it isn’t just about the sugar industry. It’s not just about growers, or millers, or innovators

It’s a journey for our whole regional community, proud of our industry.

If we want to see a regional economy that has diversity, we need generations of young people to see the positivity and possibility of the cane industry for our region, and want to work within it, whether it’s in the field, in processing, in the lab.

That comes down to education. Our industry is working to support teachers, not just in the agricultural education courses, but across the spectrum, helping young people learn about our industry, how we grow and what we are doing in terms of Best Practice, and its place in the economy.

There are programs such as the geography/science curriculum-aligned resource Sugarcane: One Plant, Many Products. Designed for Years 5-8, the six-lesson resource is a collaboration between CANEGROWERS and the Primary Industries Education Foundation Australia (PIEFA). It combines information about how the sugarcane industry works, but also the place of value-add products.

If teachers or parents are interested in this free resource, head to and find student resources under the Resources menu.

Also available there are videos and factsheets that can be useful for careers advice or as source materials useful to many subject areas that offer insight into our industry.

We are pleased to say that by December, CANEGROWERS and PIEFA will release a Year 9-12 resource


This curriculum-aligned teaching resource will be joinedby one aimed at senior secondary students later this year. Picture: Contributed


Read More


September 2, 2022

Farmers now have a new biocontrol tool to help fight one of Australia's most challenging agricultural weeds, flaxleaf fleabane, which causes grain crop revenue losses of more than $43 million each year.  

Researchers from Australia's national science agency, CSIRO, are piloting the release of a fungus from Columbia to help farmers tackle the weed.

Flaxleaf fleabane (Conyza bonariensis) is a fast-spreading weed from South America that damages cropping and grazing areas across Australia and impacts the livelihoods of many farmers.  


CSIRO weed ecologist, Dr Ben Gooden, said flaxleaf fleabane is one of the most difficult-to-control weeds in grain cropping systems, and is estimated to affect nearly three million hectares of land in Australia.

“As flaxleaf fleabane has developed resistance to some herbicides, we hope that the biocontrol agent will be effective in reducing its populations across the country,” Dr Gooden said.  

“We identified a rust fungus called Puccinia cnici-oleracei in Colombia which infects flaxleaf fleabane and restricts it from growing by destroying the plant’s tissues,” he said.  

The fungus was imported into CSIRO’s high-security quarantine facility in Canberra where scientists studied it extensively to determine if it would be safe to introduce to Australia as a biocontrol agent.  

“Our research found the fungus can only infect flaxleaf fleabane, while all non-target plant species tested were resistant to it. Based on this research, the fungus is deemed to be safe and has been approved by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry for introduction to Australia,” Dr Gooden said.  

Flaxleaf fleabane grows up to one metre and is a prolific seed producer. Each plant can produce over 100,000 seeds and these can disperse long distances with the help of wind, water, animals, and vehicles, explaining its rapid spread not just within local districts but into southern and western cropping and grazing regions in recent times.  

The Grains and Research Development Corporation (GRDC) was one of the supporting organisations for the research. GRDC Manager Weeds, Dr Jason Emms, said grain growers had been battling flaxleaf fleabane for many years as the weed competed for soil water across multiple stages of the crop cycle, which directly impacts production.  

“Flaxleaf fleabane can run rampant during the fallow phase as there is little competition for light or moisture. Once established it is very difficult to control,” Dr Emms said.  

“A biocontrol agent for this problematic weed is very exciting as it may help to reduce overall populations when integrated with existing weed management strategies,” he said.

Dr Ben Gooden, CSIRO research scientist, surrounded by fleabane weed. Image: GRDC

Read More

A Close Watch On Lumpy Skin Disease

September 2, 2022

Lumpy skin disease (LSD) is a highly infectious disease which affects cattle and water buffalo.

Originally limited to Africa, the global distribution of LSD is increasing the risk to Australia. Since 2019, the disease has spread through China and Southeast Asia. In 2021 the disease was confirmed in Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia. In March 2022 it was officially reported by Indonesia on the island of Sumatra.

The disease is spread primarily by biting insects such as certain species of flies, mosquitoes and possibly ticks. It can also be spread by fomites through such things as contaminated equipment and in some cases directly from animal to animal. It does not pose a risk to human health.

The disease causes painful body lesions and would significantly impact animal production if it were to enter Australia.

Signs to look out for include:

• Firm, raised nodules up to 50mm diameter around the head, neck, genitals and limbs.

• Scabs in the centre of the nodules. When the scabs fall off, large holes are left which may become infected.

• Swollen limbs, brisket and genitals.

• Fever.

• Watery eyes.

Biosecurity Queensland is asking farmers to report suspected cases to the Emergency Animal Disease Watch Hotline immediately by phoning 1800 675 888.

Learn more about lumpy skin disease online:

A cow exhibiting signs of lumpy skin disease. Source: Biosecurity Queensland

Read More


September 2, 2022

Every day we face choices.

Few of those affect the safety of our life and that of our families

Understanding what is covered by your car insurance policy can help you avoid unexpected costs in the future. So, how do you know if you have the right cover for your vehicle? Read below to see what factors come into consideration, so you can be confident in your decision.  

Comprehensive Insurance offers the highest level of protection.

However: there is a wide range of policies on the market, careful consideration is required to get what best suits you and your family.

Some Key Points to look for besides the price

* Choice of Repairer – best to retain this option so that you can select a repairer that has completed all the correct training and equipment necessary, to do the job right.

We would also recommend a little research here. Look for a repairer with a great reputation  

In a Preferred Repairer Option your insurer will make this decision on your behalf, your request or opinion may not be considered

Compulsory Third Party (CTP) insurance is a legal requirement for all drivers in Queensland and is attached to the registration of your vehicle. CTP covers the cost of third-party compensation claims if you, or anyone driving your car, causes an accident in which someone else is injured. You are also covered if you are Not At Fault – Partially covered if you are.

Third Party Insurance offers cover for damage caused to someone else’s vehicle or property if you’re liable for it.  

It does not cover your vehicle, property or medical costs.

Some factors that can affect the Premium cost include

• Location or Postcode

• Previous Claims History

• Where the vehicle is stored e.g., Behind a fence or in a garage

• Age: young drivers = higher risk, older drivers’ slower reaction time

It may be possible to include people in these higher risk groups to another policy such as a parent or guardian.

Next Month we look at Options on policies

Andrea McCarthy

Read More

Tagged Barramundi Released At Kinchant

September 2, 2022

At the Sunwater Kinchant Dam Open Day on August 20, members of Mackay Area Fish Stocking Association (MAFSA) transported 200 barramundi to the dam for release.

These fish were purchased by MAFSA using funds generated by the INDT 2022 World Sooty Championship event held at Eungella Dam on the May Day weekend. MAFSA runs this event annually (Covid permitting) and the funds raised supplement those grants obtained under the Stocked Impoundment Permit scheme and all funds are used exclusively in the Mackay area.

The 200 barramundi averaged 330mm in length and were purchased from a local supplier.

It is unusual to release large fish, but as the fish were tagged MAFSA decided to use larger fish to increase their chances of survival to legal (580mm) size or better. In that way better data should be able to be obtained.

MAFSA Chairman Tim Swann said, “This is the first tagged barra release in Kinchant Dam and we are seeking data on growth rates of barra in the dam.

“Each tag has a dedicated ID number and if any angler catches a tagged barra they should take a photo, record the length of the fish, date of capture and if the fish was again released. That info can be phoned through to the mobile number on the tag.”

Kinchant dam is a fairly stable impoundment, that rarely overtops the wall, so these tagged fish should stay in the dam for many years and hopefully grow to over a metre in length. Anglers who catch them and record the details will be assisting MAFSA gather better knowledge of the results of the stocking in the dam.

The numbers of huge barra over 1200mm long already in the dam have proven to be a major drawcard for locals and visiting anglers alike. Kinchant dam has featured in many national publications and is part of the ABT Barra Tournaments each year.

“MAFSA also has a dedicated catch data app for Eungella Dam, Kinchant Dam, Teemburra Dam and the Pioneer River weirs.

“We stock these with various species mainly barramundi and sooty grunter, and this info is vital so we can build a data bank on them all. Any fishing in these areas should be logged on the app, even doughnuts, as the more data we have the better we can target stocking rates,” Mr Swann said.

Tagged barra have been previously released upstream in the Pioneer River and tag returns show some of these barra migrate to saltwater during floods. Records show they migrate north and south of the Pioneer system and a recent return provides further proof that MAFSA is improving Mackay’s saltwater barra fishery.

“Darcy MacFarlane caught a 1150mm barra in Constant Creek almost seven years after it had been released by MAFSA above Marian Weir when it was a 243mm fingerling,” Mr Swann added.

“I urge anyone catching a tagged fish to report the details and all anglers should use the MAFSA App in our stocked fisheries.

“For further info on tagging, fish stocking, sooty grunter spawning membership, contact us via our Facebook page or through the local tackle shops.

“Help us live up to our motto ‘MAFSA for a better fishing future’.”

200 barramundi were released into Kinchant Dam by members of Mackay Area Fish Stocking Association. Photos supplied

Read More

Exercise Improving Everyday Life

September 2, 2022

Personal training is often associated with professional sport and weight loss, but there are many everyday benefits to personal training and group fitness that can improve your lifestyle and prolong your mobility.

Results Personal Training Management (RPTM) offers a variety of different classes, exercises and sessions catering to all fitness levels. Classes are never the same and change each session, including weights, cardio, kettlebell, circuits, ropes, tyres, body weight activities, boxing, HITT and much more.

“They’re all really designed to get people moving outside of their normal movement patterns, but it all benefits their everyday movements as well,” said RPTM Owner Linda Rankin.

“Any kind of resistance training, be it body weight or physical weight, it’s going to increase that lean muscle mass which, in turn, is going to benefit the way you can move as well as have a positive impact on the rate at which you burn calories.

“The more muscle mass you have, the stronger your body is to be able to do everyday movements like walking, bending and lifting things, even just lifting the groceries or the kids.”

RPTM can cater to whatever your fitness dreams are and, no matter the reason, they guarantee a safe and secure environment.

“We try to create that space where we’re very welcoming and non-judgemental so people feel they have that safe space that they can work out in and they can feel good about themselves,” said Linda.

The qualified and talented team at RPTM knows how to get the best out of exercise and has expertise in training, strength and conditioning and other exercise fields.

“Myself and one of my other coaches, Billie, are both national placing athletes in our own sports so that helps us in knowing what our bodies are capable of,” said Linda.

“It helps us to bring that more personal level to our clients, in that we are just everyday women and if we can do it, everybody can achieve whatever they want to achieve.”

RPTM understands that fitness is a personal commitment and offers a two-week trial for $39.

“If you’re getting into fitness and want to give it a real hot go and make it part of your lifestyle then you need to find something you like in an environment you feel comfortable,” said Linda.

“No obligations afterwards, just come and see if we’re the right fit for you.”

To find out more, visit or phone Linda on 0403 520 544.

The team at RPTM can help improve your everyday fitness and achieve your fitness goals. Photos supplied: Linda Rankin

Read More

Council Frustrated With Lack Of Respect For Fragile Ecosystem

September 2, 2022

Environmental vandals have caused considerable damage to environmentally significant Melaleuca trees along the Shoal Point foreshore, with Mackay Regional Council saying it will take stern action to rectify the illegal breach.

In all, 11 trees were damaged in front of 100 Hodges Road, with three trees, including one cluster, being removed completely.

Deputy Mayor Karen May said this damage to the foreshore vegetation was classified as “extremely significant” and council would deliver the full weight of its vegetation vandalism policy.

“This is a real shame – those Melaleuca trees are iconic to Shoal Point and are very, very old,” Cr May said.

“It looks as if someone has used a chainsaw to clear the view of the beach, and in doing so have removed several trunks and major limbs, which will leave those surviving trees susceptible to disease,” she said.

“We will be replanting the area at a rate of three-to-one, meaning 33 new plants for that location, and we will be installing a 1800 by 3600 millimetre billboard sign to educate the public on the importance of our coastal vegetation.”

Development Compliance officers are currently investigating a registered complaint in the area. As part of the investigation, they interviewed the adjacent developer, however no evidence was obtained to assist with the vegetation vandalism investigation.

Also at Shoal Point, a group of at least 10 trees look to have been poisoned in front of Belangason Way.

Council will be replanting the area at a rate of two-to-one (20 plants) and, because of the remoteness of the location and time since the suspected poisoning, a medium sized educational sign (600mm x 900mm) will be installed.

Anyone with evidence or information relating to these acts of vegetation vandalism is encouraged to contact council’s Health and Regulatory team on 1300 MACKAY (622 529).

Coastal vegetation has been vandalised in front of Hodges Road, Shoal Point. Image supplied: Mackay Regional Council

Read More

Communication For All Thanks To Communication Boards

September 2, 2022

With Speech Pathology Week wrapping up last week, there is no better time to highlight the work of speech pathologists and the breadth of the services they provide.

Haley Moran-Green is a Speech-Language Pathologist in the education sector working with schools all over the region.

Ms Moran-Green has assisted these schools to introduce communication boards, supporting students with complex communication needs, severe speech difficulties, younger siblings or kindy students not yet at school.

“It helps with comprehension and providing language input at their level and trying to bridge that gap,” said Ms Moran-Green.

“Sometimes if they’re not quite understanding what you’re saying, visuals can help with that.

“We’re trying to support people with communication difficulties, which can come about for anybody; anybody can have a communication difficulty at any point in time.”

Beaconsfield State School was the first to introduce communication boards to encourage interaction between peers, staff and students.

“Lots of kids took to it without us even realising we have quite a few students with what we would call complex communication needs,” said Ms Moran-Green.

“Initially, we saw kids leading other kids over to the board trying to talk to each other.

“I think it’s just become second nature because we’ve also spread the use of visuals throughout the school.

“It’s just expected that you will see it in the school now and when there is that communication breakdown everyone knows there’s something close by to turn to.”

The boards came about after a discussion between Ms Moran-Green and Beaconsfield State School Principal Lisa Laird.

Other schools in the region are now working towards getting boards installed, including Eimeo Road State School, Victoria Park State School, Mackay West State School and Mackay District Special School and Ms Moran-Green is advocating to have more signs installed in local parks.

Ms Laird says she has received amazing incidental feedback.

“We had a non-verbal child attend a kindy transition who couldn’t speak, they went to the board to indicate that they wanted a drink by using the pictures, so it’s the incidental that’s fallen out of this,” she said.

“Parent feedback is amazing…it’s all those fallout effects from something that we were trying to do to introduce communication to peer-to-peer and adult-to-student.”

The boards were custom designed by speech pathologists and school staff with simplicity, purpose and sentence flow in mind.

The signs were then manufactured by a local signwriter and can be found throughout the school available to students of all ages.

“Most of our students with these communication difficulties are in our lower year levels but we wanted to send out a message that we want you here the whole time so this is available in all of our year levels,” said Ms Moran-Green.

Ms Laird says Speech Pathology Week is an important time to recognise the services of speech pathologists in the school community.

“We are so lucky to have the services of Haley,” she said.

“We’re finding the need for a speech and language pathologist is of utmost importance and it starts, basically, at that prep foundation level.”

In the education department, Ms Moran-Green works with students and staff to improve communication skills.

“I feel like I do as much work with staff as I do with students, which I think has also led to a lot of the success of the communication signs as well,” she said.

“Everybody’s really embraced it.”

Speech-Language Pathologist Haley Moran-Green and Beaconsfield State School Principal Lisa Laird with one of the school’s many communication boards. Photo credit: Sam Gillespie

Read More

Your FREE Voice In Print


Locally Owned. Community Loved.

Subscribe Free