Whitsunday Region Community News

SeaLink Sets Sail To Airlie Beach Race Week

SeaLink Sets Sail To Airlie Beach Race Week

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

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A Festival Of Ice Cream By The Water

A Festival Of Ice Cream By The Water

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

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Whitsundays Arts Festival Fast Approaching

Whitsundays Arts Festival Fast Approaching

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

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

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

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

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Whitsunday Police’s Special Visitors

July 29, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

“It wasn’t all about education though.”

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

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

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

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

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

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Be A Superhero

July 29, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Story and Images by Declan Durrant

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Markets That Give Back Good Deed Feed

July 29, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Pony Club Needs Your Help

July 29, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You can find the clubs petition here: https://www.change.org/p/whitsunday-regional-council-help-save-proserpine-hack-pony-club

Image and story by Declan Durrant

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Come On Cody Gibbs – We Are With You!

July 29, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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It’s A Queensland Olympics!

July 29, 2021

The Olympics Sets Sail to The Whitsundays

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Drink Beer To Save The Reef

July 22, 2021

On Tuesday last week, Ballistic Brewery Whitsunday and Commander-in-Chief David Kitchen dropped in at Eco Barge Clean Seas (EBCS) with a case of beers and a $2500 dollar cheque to support

The specially created ‘Reef Beers’ - a Reef Pale Ale and a Reef Lager- which are available exclusively in regional Queensland and are part of Ballistics support of the restoration and research efforts along the length of the Great Barrier Reef.

Ten cents from every can of these beers sold at Whitsundays Ballistic is donated to Eco Barge.

EBCS Founding Chair Libby Edge said the funds from Ballistic Whitsundays would be used to feed and medicate sick and injured turtles at the Whitsundays Turtle Rescue Centre.

“We are extremely grateful for this support, which will help alleviate the cost pressures of caring for these majestic creatures,” Libby said.

“I love the fact that people can enjoy a tasty beer while knowing their money is going to a good cause.”

David Kitchen said that visitors to Ballistic Whitsundays could also donate their spare change to Eco Barge Clean Seas through a collection point at the venue.

“Regional communities are the beating heart of Queensland, and we know that if we want to become Queensland’s favourite craft beer, we need to expand beyond Brisbane and support causes that are important to locals, like protecting the Reef,” David said.

Tourism Whitsundays Chief Executive Officer Tash Wheeler said the new range of Reef beers were a refreshing addition to The Whitsundays Region and would go a long way to support The Whitsundays Turtle Rescue Centre.

“It is great to have another local business so passionate about supporting the restoration and research efforts of the Great Barrier Reef,” Tash said.

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Sushi Returns To Centro

July 22, 2021

Bob Zhang assisted his wife in achieving a lifelong dream this past week, helping her open her own store, Airlie Sushi House at the Whitsunday Plaza Shopping Centre last Thursday, just across from his own stall at Linphone.

It’s a romantic story, as Bob is just a short walk from his wife Linghui Li and her store, and for Linghui being in the kitchen means the world to her, she loves cooking and certainly loves being head chef.

“She likes being in charge,” Bob laughed.

“I think she missed cooking though, and I know she’s really great at it, so this is a perfect opportunity for her.”

Linghui moved with Bob from China many years ago and cooking fell by the wayside but, when the previous sushi store in Centro closed, Bob had an idea.

“People were really missing having the sushi here; but the thing is, we also have bubble tea and bento boxes; it’s not the same as the previous store - there’s much more diversity.”

Bob helped to get the new chic and elegant store ready and watched on from his own store as customers packed around for the soft opening.

It has a range of sushi options for a quick bite, and the bubble tea is certainly the highlight – a style of cold tea that contains tapioca balls.

Bob now just has to walk five or so metres to see his wife any time he wants.

“And I get to have sushi for lunch now every day!”

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Flagstaff Hill Is Coming Back

July 29, 2021

The construction of a new tourism venue, cultural centre and function facility at Flagstaff Hill is progressing quicker than anticipated and workers on-site said that they are expecting to complete the project within eight weeks.

Initial plans projected an October 2021 completion date so the project, that began in March this year, is well ahead of time and Harrison Godfrey from Hutchinson Builders said that all aspects of the project have been running smoothly.

“Progress has been steady the whole way through but now we are starting to pick up the pace quite quickly – in only eight weeks we’ll be finished” he said.

With up to 20 subcontractors working on-location most days, the roof sheeting will be completed this week, water connection complete and plumping is already roughed in.

During construction, a 25-tonne excavator was used to combat a strong rock barrier at the foundation level and a mass concrete slab design was used, extending the slab to 750 mm deep in the perimeter.

Upon completion, the building will cater for up to 200 patrons and will host a café, kitchen, gift shop and an amphitheatre. With sections of floor to ceiling glass, the new building will showcase the spectacular 360-degree views.

There will also be an indigenous cultural offering with details yet to be finalised.

The previous café on Flagstaff Hill was badly damaged by Cyclone Debbie in 2017 and demolished in 2019 once it was deemed unsuitable for repairs.

The project is funded by Whitsunday Regional Council, the Queensland Government's Building Our Regions program and the jointly funded Queensland and Australian Governments’ Tourism Demand Driver Infrastructure Program as part of the recovery measures for the region post ex-Tropical Cyclone Debbie.

A launch date is expected to be announced soon so that the community can enjoy the new facilities which promise to boost the tourism offering in the Bowen.

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Building A Better Bowen

July 22, 2021

Starting out six years ago, Bruce Hedditch got together with a group of like-minded people and began the Bowen Chamber of Commerce, which has seen an astronomical growth in such a short time.

Now host to over 85 members, the meeting regularly draws in a smorgasbord of impressive and qualified guest speakers like Member for Dawson George Christensen, Whitsunday Regional Council Mayor Andrew Willcox and, last week, Senator Malcolm Roberts.

Chairman of Bowen Chamber of Commerce Bruce Hedditch is proud to have hosted each of these esteemed guests and reflected on the previous meeting and Senator Roberts short talk on the topics of government.

“He spoke a lot on how they’re handling issues – water, COVID, dams. He was somewhat concerned about the water infrastructure for Queensland,” he said.

“He was extremely focused on that and the need for the government to address those in the long term, not just the short term.

Bowen’s Chamber of Commerce is a vital part of the framework in Bowen, and Bruce and the entire Chamber are working hard to make Bowen a thriving and vital place.

They address issues that are important to the entirety of Bowen and work hard to remedy those issues.

Particularly, the Chamber wants to improve Bowen’s response to the new world of online shopping as well.

“It’s a question of how we stop it from eroding our businesses,” he said.

“We can’t say that we can’t have it, but the thing we have to do is have smaller businesses in countries utilising those tools.

“We need the government to support us with that and whether that’s technical support or grants, we just need assistance.”

The Chamber meets again at the Larrakin Hotel on August 18 for their Annual General Meeting, and they want to help to build up the Bowen and its businesses.

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A Shucking New Oyster Industry

July 22, 2021
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Cuppas On The Cape Celebrates One Year!

July 22, 2021

A regular feature on Bowen’s Front Beach, Cuppas on the Cape is a quirky little mobile café which has quickly become both a local’s favourite and a visitor’s delight.

The business is owned and operated by Emma Dahl who unites her passion for the outback with her enthusiasm for feeding hungry folk who are looking to rest and replenish.

Having spent many years mustering in remote areas, Emma adapted her trailer to include a bed and a kitchen so that she could park almost anywhere in the country, sleep comfortably, and cook for the camp.

Just over a year ago she decided to update the trailer even more and brought together a brand-new concept – creating a mobile café – with a design steeped in tradition and sentiment.

Originally from her home of Nosnillor, about 100km south of Charters Towers, Emma used timber from the Cape River to construct the cabinetry and utilised corrugated iron from the original sheds of the property to create the bar.

The result is an authentic country design with a creative, destressed look that gives it a modern edge.

Starting out at the highway between Bowen and Collinsville, Cuppas on the Cape greeted the local trades people and farmers as they passed by.

Emma also spent time over the school holidays at the Bowen Mango information centre on the highway before finding her home on the Bowen Foreshore, with majestic ocean views and plenty of public seating where her customers can relax.

Cooking everything at home, Emma brings fresh hot ‘smoko’ treats to her menu – from cakes to muffins, biscuits, slices and even pies – there is a delicious treat sure to sate your morning or afternoon tea desires.

With slushies for the kids and barista coffee for the adults, everyone is fed and watered at Cuppas on the Cape.

Also available for private hire at events, one of the unique features of the mobile café are the beer taps which transform the café into a trendy ‘bar for hire’ – the slushie machine can also be set to cocktail-mode and produce delicious daiquiris ideal for any party or gathering.

So, next time you are in Bowen, make sure you head to the foreshore for morning tea and say hello to Emma and the girls!

You can follow Cuppas on the Cape on Facebook for daily updates.

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Most Tourism Reliant Region In Queensland

July 22, 2021

The Whitsundays has just been announced as the most tourism reliant region in Queensland with statistics showing that 22.3 per cent of jobs directly relate to tourism.

This figure is the result of a Regional Tourism Satellite Accounts (RTSA) study which evaluates tourism industry activity and performance within tourism regions.

The RTSA measures both the direct and indirect impacts of tourism on the economy and include metrics such as gross regional product and employment.

With 40 per cent of Great Barrier Reef tourism passing through the Whitsundays and one in three jobs supported by this sector, Tourism Whitsundays CEO Tash Wheeler says this accolade is no surprise.

“For a small region in the Heart of the Great Barrier Reef, the tourism sector punches well above its weight,” said Ms Wheeler.

“The role tourism plays in The Whitsundays is not just one of bringing visitors to the region but also goes a long way towards promoting the many wonderful reasons why you would live, work and play here!  

“These statistics highlight once again; how important it is to ensure we focus on supporting and investing in the tourism industry through the stages of recovery of COVID.

“Each time there is a lockdown or impact due to COVID, it does not just affect the tourism industry but every business and resident within our region.”

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Chamber Chat

July 22, 2021

As lockdowns are extended in NSW and Victoria, and restrictions exist elsewhere across our nation, the sun continues to shine on beautiful North Queensland and it is – miraculously - business as usual, with seemingly only transient impacts from border restrictions felt locally.

The question needs to be asked: how long can this miracle continue? With cases still growing down south despite restrictions, is the genie out of the bottle? It is interesting to note that the UK has lifted all restrictions from this week as it is now able to cope with the less severe disease resulting from COVID infection due to Vaccination and exposure to disease.

In the meantime, further grants and assistance have been announced by the Queensland State Government in the form of Business Boost Grants of up to $15,000 for eligible businesses with turnovers between $300-$600k. And in a win for common sense, State and Federal governments are working together with joint stimulus packages for small business in COVID affected NSW and VIC regions. Likewise banks are pausing repayments for affected entities in these regions.

It is a sobering indication of just how tough it is for businesses and individuals in these COVID affected areas and how instantly the business landscape can change. We cannot underestimate how lucky we have been in the region as amongst all this travel drama, we welcomed our first Qantas Flights into Proserpine this week thanks to the hard work of Craig Turner and his team.

The next Chamber Event and AGM will be held on Thursday 12th August, 6pm at The Ballistic Beer Brewery. Nominations for committee positions are welcomed and guest speakers will be confirmed shortly. Look forward to seeing you there.

Contributed by Allan Milostic

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Port Of Airlie Multi-Storey Car Park Approved

July 22, 2021

A Meridien multi-storey car park was approved at Whitsunday Regional Council’s Meeting Thursday last week, with 394 car spaces, 11 motorcycle spaces, and room for shops, food and drink outlets, and offices at the Port of Airlie.

The approval had been previously tabled while Council pursued legal advice.

Council’s legal advice confirmed that the 99-year lease for the car park and the Development Permit approved last Thursday are separate documents.

“The Lease entitles Council to 171 car spaces on the ground or in a basement,” Whitsunday Regional Council Manager Development Assessment Doug Mackay said.

“The development permit for the parking facility does not provide 171 spaces on the ground, meaning that the terms of the lease will need to be re-negotiated before construction commences on the building.”

Councillor Jan Clifford was the only council member who voted against the development.

The car park is planned to be operated as a paid, public car park, and will provide vehicular access and exit via the existing access easement within Lot 115, via separate, boom-controlled entry and exit lanes.

Council have stated that the car park will not exceed the 12m building height designation in the area, and the third level with 114 car and three motorbike spaces will be unroofed.

The parking facility will provide a total of 394 car spaces and 11 motorcycle spaces.

Ground level will incorporate retail tenancies and food and drink, and separate pedestrian accesses will be provided at the north eastern and south eastern corners of the car park building.

The documents submitted to council propose that the multi-level car park is not considered to unreasonably detract from the amenity of the locality and is a common sense location for further car parking in Port of Airlie.

Meridien believes the range, scale, and intensity of the business uses proposed will not compromise the role and function of existing centres within the region.

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Cannonvale Fete On This Weekend

July 22, 2021

Cannonvale State School oval will be transformed into a wonderland of festive family fun this weekend as the annual school fete takes place on Saturday.

With dodgems, super slides, jumping castles and fairy floss the children will be squealing with delight as happy parents look on.

Every student in the school has the opportunity to be involved with some running stalls and others hosting activities.

The year six students will be in-charge of food while the year one students are looking after the face painting and hair styling.

President of the Cannonvale State School Parents and Association (P&C), Sabrina Mitchell was excited to be able to have the event back after missing out last year due to COVID.

“There’s more to do than just rides, and it’s not just for Cannonvale State School teachers, students and parents,” Ms Mitchell said.

“It’s about community and family fun.”

Unlimited ride tickets can be pre-purchased for $30 dollars or on the day for $35.

Entry is free and the fete will run from 10am to 2pm.

All proceeds for the event go back to the school.

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Supporting Meals On Wheels

July 22, 2021

This week’s good deed goes to the Ladies’ Lions of Bowen who kindly donated $500 to the Bowen Meals on Wheels following their annual cent sale.

Secretary of Bowen Meals on Wheels, Chris Storrie, said that after a tough year with COVID restrictions limiting the amount of fundraising local groups could do, the kind donation meant even more to the non-profit organisation.

“The Lions make regular donations and have done for many years,” she said.

“They help us keep our overhead costs down so we can keep the charges to our clients at a minimum.”

Each year the Ladies’ Lions donate $4000 to local charities and member Jan Goodman said that they like to support local community organisations.

“We like to help our local charities out,” she said.

Bowen Meals on Wheels send out over 100 meals a week and have 30 clients to attend to with 30 volunteers and one full-time employed chef who cooks up a storm each day in the kitchen.

The kind donation is much appreciated by all at Meals on Wheels.

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Battleground Bowen

July 22, 2021

Training Exercise Based In Bowen This Weekend

One of the biggest military exercises in Queensland is holding an ‘Amphibious Operation’ in Bowen over the next few days as part of the state-wide Exercise Talisman Sabre 2021 (TS21) which sees 17,000 troops from seven different countries participate in a variety of combat readiness missions.

Exercise Talisman Sabre Comes To Bowen

Large armoured vehicles, amphibious vessels, military helicopters and ground soldiers are embarking on a six-day exercise in Bowen this week and are in town from Tuesday 20 to Monday 26 July.

The operation takes place on King’s Beach and involves troops from Australia, the US, Canada, Japan, UK, Korea and New Zealand.

It is the largest bilateral combined training activity between the Australian Defence Force (ADF) and United States (US) military and is designed to test forces in planning and conducting Combined and Joint Task Force operations to improve the combat readiness and interoperability between Australian and US forces.

Director of TS21 Air Commodore Bellingham said that locals can expect to see amphibious vessels landing on the beach, troops moving at speed and helicopters flying above.

“It should be a pretty good spectacle for the locals,” he said.

“We have been working with the local police, officials and Council to make sure the public are safe – public safety is number one, as well as the safety of our participants.”

There will be designated areas where locals can view the exercise, and everyone is advised to listen to directives and stay in the correct zone.

“There will be large armoured vehicles, troops and helicopters moving at speed and we do not want people to get mixed-up with that,” said Air Commodore Bellingham.

“It is a big event and we really appreciate the support of local authorities, Council and residents.”

The exercise in Bowen this week, precedes a larger amphibious exercise which is due to take place in Ingham next month.

Bowen was chosen to host the first event because of its location.

“The beach is favourable for the activity,” said Air Commodore Bellingham.

“It supports the exercise in terms of geography and what we need to achieve.”

This is the ninth exercise of its type to be held bi-annually in Queensland and the planning has taken 18 months.

“Ensuring Covid-safe practices is something we have worked extensively on with the planning,” said Air Commodore Bellingham.

“We have worked closely with the government to follow direction and manage forces with rigorous Covid-safe practices.”

Troops are staying out at sea on military ships or camped on the outskirts of Bowen or flown in from Townsville to complete the mission.

This weekend promises to be an action-packed adventure for spectators and an opportunity for collaboration between our armed forces to further increase preparedness and cohesion.

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Bowen Space Project Receives $61 Million Investment

July 15, 2021

Plans for the rocket launch site at Abbott Point in Bowen received a boost when Gilmour Space Technologies, who are the business behind the project, were awarded the largest private equity investment raised by any space company in Australia.

The $61 million funding unites both Australian and American investors and brings the tally up to an enormous $87 million.

It is anticipated that the first rocket will be launched from the site in mid-2022 and groundworks will commence in the next few months.

Gilmour Space produce orbital-class hybrid propulsion technologies, small rockets that transport satellites into low earth orbit and use safer and lower cost fuels than traditional chemical propulsion rockets.

Gilmour Space CEO and Co-Founder, Adam Gilmour said that it has been fantastic to see the global support for his mission to build and launch lower cost rockets and satellites to orbit.

“This new investment will give us runway to launch our first orbital rocket in 2022,” he said

“It will help us develop multiple Eris vehicles, grow our team from 70 to 120 in the next 12 months, build our sovereign space manufacturing capability for rockets and satellites, and facilitate a commercial spaceport in Queensland.”

Caption: Small rockets are set to launch into space from Bowen

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Be Bowel Cancer Aware

July 15, 2021

Residents between 50 and 75 are urged to complete their bowel cancer screening kit when it arrives in the mail. When caught early enough, this illness which sadly claims the lives of 5,000 Australians annually can be successfully treated in 90 per cent of cases.

It was Bowel Cancer Awareness Month in June, and 53-year-old Jane Patterson from Cannonvale shared her story to remind others of the importance of early detection.

“Not long after my 50th birthday I received a reminder to complete my first screening test, but I did what you shouldn’t do – I put it in the drawer,” Jane said.

“A few weeks later I completed the test, and I received a negative result meaning that no further action was needed at the time.”

Her next routine test arrived in the mail 18 months later and this time she didn’t hesitate to complete it.

“My brother had been diagnosed with colon cancer after he experienced symptoms, but I did the test thinking I would just receive another clear result,” Jane said.

“I sent the test back and about two weeks later I received a letter stating that blood had been detected in my samples and I needed to contact my GP for a colonoscopy referral.

“I instantly went in to panic mode. My doctor gave me the referral and I booked in straight away for a colonoscopy at Proserpine Hospital.”

Fortunately for Jane the results from the colonoscopy revealed eight polyps which were removed and thankfully were not cancerous.

A polyp is a small growth attached to the bowel wall. These are common in adults and are usually harmless, but some can develop into cancer.

All eligible Australians between the ages of 50 and 74 are invited by the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program every two years to do the free screening test.

Screening tests are sent by the program to the address listed in Medicare records.

If people are outside the program’s target age group and have concerns about bowel cancer or bowel habits, they are advised to speak to their GP who can advise about bowel screening kits.

Image: Jane Patterson took a bowel cancer test, and it may have saved her life

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Plastic Ban, Be Prepared

July 15, 2021

From September 1, 2021, certain single-use plastic items will be banned in Queensland; plastic straws, stirrers, cutlery, plates, bowls and expanded polystyrene cups and containers among them.

To help businesses prepare, Queensland Government in conjunction with Boomerang Alliance will be conducting a series of evening forums across the state to answer your questions, with our own Whitsunday events being held in Bowen on Tuesday, 20 July and Proserpine on Wednesday, 21 July.

Boomerang Alliance are a not-for-profit organisation that has been actively involved in the design of Queensland’s Single-use Plastic Ban, and running the national Plastic Free Places Program, which works in communities to assist retailers to transition away from single-use plastics.

Whitsunday Regional Council encourages all business owners who provide takeaway food and drink, and even community groups that provide those as well as part of their community and fundraising activities, to attend the events, as you may be affected.

Half of all plastic produced in the world is designed to be used only once and then thrown away. This contributed to the 300 million tonnes of plastic waste created every year, almost equivalent to the weight of the entire human population.

At the information sessions, you will be provided with a take-home brief on the ban, a procurement guide, and details of sources for further information, such as what items are included in the ban? What alternative products can be used?  How can my group adapt to comply with the ban?

The sessions are free, and for venue information and to register, please visit https://bit.ly/3hhC8XA

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Red Cats Give Back

July 15, 2021

For many people living with a disability, the azure Whitsunday waters are often something that they look at from the shoreline.

That is until the amazing volunteers at Sailability Whitsunday came along, offering regular opportunities for people living with varying disabilities the chance to learn sailing at the Whitsunday Sailing Club.

Their amazing contribution is valued by so many.

A few weeks ago, committee member for Sailability Karen Mahood was called unexpectedly by Red Cat Adventures who offered to take the whole group out on the water for some fun and excitement.

Karen was blown away by their generosity and immediately agreed.

“They did it all out of the kindness of their hearts and it hits a tender spot for us,” she said.

“We normally go close to the shore area, so this experience gave them a different perspective. Just being out on the water, going fast with the wind in our hair and feeling free – it was amazing.”

23 clients and seven staff went out on a one-and-a-half-hour adventure with the Red Cats and during the trip they saw native wildlife such as turtles and sea eagles.

“The staff were just brilliant!” said Karen.

“They were very accommodating, friendly and great people – giving clients one on one time and lots of high fives – it was a fantastic day!”

Image: The Sailability group enjoy a fast boat ride

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Bowen Celebrates NAIDOC Week

July 15, 2021

The Bowen Soundshell came alive with NAIDOC day celebrations last Saturday as hundreds from the community gathered to pay homage to the cultures and communities that make Australia unique.

NAIDOC Week is an opportunity to acknowledge the lived experiences, centuries of resilience and ongoing contributions of Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Brent Warlon was crowned Mr NAIDOC following his nomination which said he was a happy go lucky individual who is known by many and always has a smile on his face.

“Brent does not let his disability stop him from living his best life,” said the nomination.

“He is living evidence that ‘it takes a village to raise a child.’”

Other award winners include 17-year-old Dudley Dotoi for his Rugby League achievements, 16-year-old Rodday Viti for her sportsmanship which led her to the Townsville Blackhawks Academy and Janeen Prior who has been a local foster carer for 20 years.

The NAIDOC celebrations were attended by Mayor Andrew Willcox as well as over 300 community members.

Live music was played by Alisa Querro and there was a didgeridoo performance as well as a smoke ceremony and a Jiru dancer.

Attendees could enjoy arts and crafts, with children decorating wooden cut-outs of boomerangs and kangaroos, there was also face painting, market stalls and BBQs for everyone to enjoy.

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Breathing New Life Into Church

July 15, 2021

The Whitsundays welcomes a new church and a new family to the Whitsundays with Pastor Andrew Clout, his wife Kathy and their 12-year-old daughter Miriam arriving last week and conducting the first local church service at the Whitsunday Christian College on Sunday.

Andrew spent 20 years in Ministry at a small community near Nowra in NSW before taking a break and working in underground mining in Emerald for ten years.

The family have now moved to Airlie Beach and Andrew said that he felt ‘a strong pull to return to church ministry’.

At the same time, New Life Church were looking to open a campus in the Whitsundays and the two aligned perfectly to bring Andrew and his family here.

New Life Church has a central ‘headquarters’ in Mackay and four other campuses – Sarina, Northern Beaches, Thailand and now the Whitsundays, as well as an online church.

“This means we have the resources of the other four churches backing us in doing this - so we’ve been able to start with a bang!” said Andrew.

“New Life is a contemporary life-giving church and that’s the experience people will expect. We have contemporary music, contemporary teaching, and a contemporary outlook on the community and the way we interact with others.

“The sermons are serious but also practical and applicable to life – so people will come and feel they will get something to take away and use.”

Another point of difference is that New Life Churches reach out to the community and actively seek ways they can assist and engage.

“We are here for the community; we are here to serve the community – every aspect of our church life will be outward focused and of benefit to the Whitsundays,” said Andrew.

“Most Christians will move to a community like this if they know there are appropriate activities for their families and that’s not just schooling and work, that’s church as well.”

The Church Services takes place at the Main Hall at the Whitsunday Christian College at 5pm every Sunday. Afterwards there is a social dinner activity, and everyone is welcome.

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Faulty Boat Ramp Considered Dangerous

July 15, 2021

“I’ve never seen anything so stupid in my whole life”

Shute Harbour Public Boat Ramp Considered Inadequate

The State-owned facility has recently been completed and provides a single-lane boat ramp with a pontoon walkway attached to poles.

Bob Spees from Whitsunday Fishing World says that the walkway is fixed and does not float meaning it simply disappears underwater at high tide.

“It just doesn’t work,” said Mr Spees.

“The boat ramp is faulty; it is not safe and it should be condemned - I’ve never seen anything so stupid in my whole life!”

Mr Spees was the driving force behind the Altmann Road boat ramp near the VMR in Cannonvale and campaigned tirelessly to provide this service to the community.

He says that in 18 years there has only been one public boat ramp constructed to service a growing residential population as well as increase in demand from visitors to our region.

“We live on tourism, yet you ask people to come up on boats and trailers and they don’t want to come because we don’t have the infrastructure here.”

Member for Whitsunday Amanda Camm MP agrees, saying that the finished works at the Shute Harbour boat ramp are inadequate and calls on Mark Bailey from the Department of Transport and Main Roads to improve the facility.

“They fall short of the expectations of the recreational fishing community and broader community,” she said.

“I am urging Minister Bailey to come and visit the Shute Harbour Boat Ramp facility, to work with Whitsunday Regional Council and the community to deliver the necessary improvements.


“The Whitsundays represents one of the largest boat registrations in Australia. These fees contribute to Queensland revenue and local infrastructure - residents should not have to settle for substandard boat ramps.”

In addition to inadequate boat ramps, Mr Spees is alarmed to see there is no additional car and boat trailer parking provided for the facility and says that boat owners have to park along the side of the road.

Mr Spees believes that the area next to the boat ramp in Grubby Bay could be reclaimed and the land used to provide a 300-space car and boat trailer parking area, a four-lane boat ramp with amenities and wash-down facilities.

With over 1000 signatures on a petition which support the demand for a feasibility study into the potential solution, Mr Spees urges the government to listen to the community.

“We call for a feasibility study to claim the land adjacent to the current boat ramp,” he said.

“This is something that will go well into the future because right now we have nothing.

“I am calling on Palaszcuk and Bailey to turn around and make the commitment to conduct the feasibility study of Grubby Bay – that’s the whole point.”

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The Flying Kangaroo Is Back!

July 15, 2021

After 20 Years Qantas Flights Return To The Whitsundays

Daily Qantas flights between the Whitsundays and Brisbane were announced last week, and after a 20-year hiatus, this means the Flying Kangaroo will finally return, bringing thousands of tourists to our warm Whitsunday waters.

This expanded connectivity to our region will generate an extra 50,000 seats annually and drive tourism further towards the magic 500,000 visitors per year, smashing our previous records.

Qantas Lands In The Whitsundays

Following a deal made between Whitsunday Coast Airport (WCA) and Qantas airlines, daily flights are expected to start landing on Whitsunday soil from September, just in time for school holidays.

Whitsunday Regional Council Mayor Andrew Willcox said it had been a dream of his to lure the flying kangaroo back to WCA and offer more choice for the corporate and premium leisure market.

“A lot of networking and collaboration has gone on behind the scenes to seal this new deal and our airport team continue to kick goals and build key industry relationships,” Mayor Willcox said.

“Ease of connectivity between our three eastern seaboard capital cities is so important to deliver increasing visitors numbers into the region.”

Whitsunday Coast Airport Chief Operating Officer Craig Turner said this new deal means the Whitsundays brand continues its transformation from a simple backpacker experience to a premium tourism destination for couples and families.

“This is a significant deal, and will help increase capacity by over 30% on our 2019 numbers which to date, is our highest year on record,” he said.

“We will continue to build relationships with all our airline partners and the community can be confident that Whitsunday Coast Airport will continue to work with all brands to further increase capacity.”

Tourism Whitsundays Chief Executive Officer, Tash Wheeler praised Council and the Whitsunday Coast Airport team for securing the exciting deal with Qantas.

“The announcement of Qantas flights from Brisbane to Whitsunday Coast Airport is a fantastic win for the Whitsundays and showcases that our collaborative marketing efforts are cutting through domestically and driving visitation to the region,’ she said.

Qantaslink CEO John Gissing said that flights from Brisbane to places such as Cairns and Townsville have been incredibly popular and he expects the new route to Whitsunday Coast Airport will appeal to the many Queenslanders as well.

“COVID has meant we’ve seen demand for travel within the Sunshine State soar in the past year,” he said.

“These new flights also open up the Whitsunday region to Qantas customers across the country who will be able to seamlessly connect through Brisbane from our extensive domestic network.

“We’ll be promoting these new flights and the Whitsundays to millions of our frequent flyers across the country.”

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Great Barrier Reef Officially ‘In Danger’

July 1, 2021

A Last Warning For The Reef

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has recommended that the Great Barrier Reef should be placed on the list of world heritage sites that are “in danger” with its final decision to be confirmed later this month.

The issue was first raised in 2015 when UNESCO officials were deeply concerned about the environmental impacts on the reef.

After negotiations and strong lobbying by the Australian Government, it was agreed to offer a ‘watch and wait’ period with strict criteria to assist with improving the reef ecosystem.

Despite efforts of many local and government groups dedicated to protecting the reef, not enough improvement has been seen and UNESCO are expected to change the classification at their next meeting.

Spokesperson for the Whitsunday Conservation Council Tony Fontes said that we need to see this decision for what it really is, a last warning for the Reef.

“No doubt, the UNESCO recommendation has surprised a few people, particularly the Australian government,” he said.

“But UNESCO is simply responding to the science which has been telling us for the past decade that the health of the Reef is deteriorating, primarily due to climate change but also poor water quality.”

Climate change has resulted in three coral bleaching events within the last five years, and more are expected to follow if nothing changes.

At its current trajectory it is expected that the water temperature will rise by two degrees which would mean no coral could survive.

The Great Barrier Reef supports 64,000 jobs, contributes $6.4 billion to the national economy, and has an economic, social, and iconic value of $56 billion.

On a local level, tourism provides one in three jobs.

Mr Fontes believes that the only way to protect the reef is to gain control over our greenhouse emissions and stop using fossil fuels.

“Our government needs to urgently lift its ambition on climate change and take action now,” he said.

“Australia should be cutting its emissions by 75% by 2030 (based on 2005 levels) and reaching net zero by 2035.”

Image: Tony Fontes from the Whitsunday Conservation Council

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Intravenous Vitamins – A First For The Region

July 1, 2021

People living with cancer, chronic diseases, arthritis, fatigue, depression and anxiety now have a revolutionary new way of improving their overall health and combating their illness thanks to the new TGA approved intravenous (IV) vitamin therapy which is now available right here in the Whitsundays.

Leading Integrative Medical Practice, Kissun Clinics, now offers this important treatment option which is the first of its type in the region.

Director, Rowena Kissun, said that her patients had previously been flying down to urban centres to receive IV therapy and, after completing a rigorous certification process, she was really pleased to be able to bring the service to the Whitsundays for her client’s convenience.

“IV vitamin therapy is fantastic for cancer patients and, because we specialise in oncology here, many of my cancer patients are already lining up to have their IV,” said Dr Kissun.

“It is scientifically proven to be a more direct way for vitamins and minerals to enter your body - when you inject into the person’s system it goes straight into the blood and can immediately do its job.”

High doses of intravenous vitamin C are used in both Australian and overseas clinics as they may have a cytotoxic effect on cancer cells which means it may assist in killing cancer cells.

Dr Kissun works closely with Oncologists as well as other Doctors to create a support system which tests each patient’s pathology, determining the correct protocol of vitamins, minerals, amino acids for a personalised IV prescription.

These ingredients could include Vitamin C, Iron, Zinc, Magnesium, Taurine, Glutathione and many other natural supplements.

“There is plentiful evidence based research to show that certain vitamin deficiencies can lead to disease,” said Rowena.

“The IV treatment sits in your system for up to 90 days, so it is fantastic for people who don’t like to take tablets”

Kissun Clinics are expanding to incorporate an Intravenous Centre which includes a dedicated nurse, integrative practitioners and doctors to administer the IV in a relaxed and calm environment.

Patients will spend between 20 to 45 minutes sitting on a leather recliner in a quiet room where they can sleep or read a book to enjoy some personal time.

Afterwards, they can expect to feel energised, have better mental clarity, improved muscle recovery after sport or improved outcomes with their chronic disease state.  

The treatments start at $249, a third of the price charged in cities, and additional vitamins can be added for around $35 each.

Image: Dr Rowena Kissun, patient Karen Filby (Oncology Counsellor) and Nurse IV Practitioner Michelle Little

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Latest Australian Blockbuster Filmed In Bowen

July 1, 2021

Over ten years ago, Andrew Traucki was in Bowen directing his first film as a writer and his second ever feature-film ‘The Reef’; a 2010 Australian horror film about a group of friends who capsize while sailing to Indonesia and encounter a deadly shark.

Now, a decade later, Traucki and his team are back in Bowen, filming ‘The Reef: Stalked’ with the help of Australian production group Thrills and Spills Productions.

Filming will span six weeks and features four new stars: Teressa Liane (The Vampire Diaries), Ann Truong, Kate Lister and Saskia Archer.

The group is facing down a great white shark in an exploration of resilience and overcoming trauma, and much like the first film, Bowen is passing itself off as a remote Pacific Island.

Thrills and Spills Production, led by Michael Robertson and Neal Kingston, have been living and shooting in Bowen for just over four weeks now, with this coming one their last in our beautiful region.

Michael helped Traucki produce the first film and remembers fondly the time he spent in Bowen back then as they filmed the finale of the ‘The Reef’.

“Andrew always believed we could do the whole thing in Bowen, so here we are!” he said.

“It’s very similar in a sense [to last time], but there’s different elements: the water is different depths as opposed to Harvey Bay, where we shot a lot of the first film.”

This time, there have been challenges, ones that film crews have been contending with since the beginning of time: nature.

“One of the biggest problems is the tide, it’s so aggressive, from high-tide to low-tide, you could talk one hundred metres of [difference],” Michael said.

“We’ve had issues with animals too; stingrays, snakes and lots of bugs.”

Michael was proud that ‘The Reef: Stalked’ would be a part of the newest chapter of Australian filming in Bowen.

The film will be released in 2022 and Bowen will once again be on the dazzling lights of the silver screen.

By Declan Durrant

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Don’t Struggle In Silence, Rev Your Engine

July 1, 2021

Pop The Hood And Tell A Mate How You Feel

On the front grass of Whitsunday Sailing Club, over 60 cars spilled out across the lawn, adorned on all sides by marquees and stalls for the Full Metal Health Open Day, which urged even the most taciturn of men to express the way they feel in a safe and welcoming space, while raising funds for men’s mental health organisations.

The message of Full Metal Health Open Day was simple: you are not alone, there is no need to be silent.

“We wanted to create a safe space where you can enjoy and talk about your passions with similar, likeminded people,” said Victor Pozzoli, franchisee of ENZED Cannonvale and organiser of Full Metal Health Day.

Famous V8 Supercar Driver Cam Waters was in attendance and spoke to any passer-by with the Monster Energy Show car a feature in hundreds of selfies and photographs.

There was an all-star cast of local racing talents as well, with Declan Coole, Keelan O’Brien, and Cody Vanberg.

From Real Mates Talk to Fussea Buggers Catering providing the food, there were stalls galore, a simulator challenge, a myriad of motorcycles, the “Punch On for Kick On” boxing tent, and prizes to be won.

The event’s two organisers, Victor Pozzoli and Steve Knox, joined forces after learning some devastating statistics about men’s mental health.

Griffith University’s 2020 annual report on suicide in Queensland stated that men accounted for 75.4 per cent of suspected suicides in 2019, among residents in Queensland.

The event raised money through a gold coin entry fee, as well as a raffle, which combined brought in $1,850.

Victor said Cam Waters was a true professional.

“It was an awesome opportunity for some of our race car drivers to get a chance to talk to someone who’s made it.

“Cam is very grounded but forever the professional – he’s a brilliant ambassador to the sport.

“It’s showed us what kind of interest there is in this sport – every boy is dreaming of becoming a race car driver now,” Vic said.

If you are in an emergency, or at immediate risk of harm to yourself or others, please contact emergency services on 000

Crisis support numbers: Lifeline: 13 11 14 ; Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467 ; Beyond Blue: 1300 22 4636

You matter.

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St Cath’s Students Enjoy June Formal

June 24, 2021

Year 12 students at St Catherine’s College in Proserpine celebrated their school formal at Coral Sea Resort last week, with 28 students attending.

Parents were invited to join the graduating class for welcome drinks and then departed, leaving the seniors to enjoy a fine-dining dinner followed by music and dancing.

School Principal, Luke Thomson said that they decided to bring the formal forward this year so students can focus on their studies towards the end of the year, with no distractions.

“We are holding the event in June to provide clear air at the end of the year for our students to focus on our final exams which in the new ATAR system can account for up to 50% of their mark,” he said.

"I'm very proud of our Year 12 students. It's a great night for them to let their hair down and enjoy each other's company before they knuckle down and head towards the finish line in their final year of schooling.”

Caption: Year 12 students making their grand entrances to the glamorous school formal in some stylish outfits

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Prossie Markets This Sunday

June 24, 2021

Proserpine Community Markets are back with their quarterly collective of home-made gifts, crafts, beauty treatments and jewellery as well as food vans and fun activities for the children.

Known for promoting small independent businesses, the markets are a great place to discover new and exciting products.

From hand-knitted items to unique arts and crafts, market coordinator Tarnia Patton says there is plenty to browse.

“We have more amazing stall holders this year,” she said.

“Some are back with new amazing products, and we also have some fabulous new stall holders, with lots of first timers amongst them as well.”

The market will be raising funds for the Whitsunday Volunteer Marine Rescue (VMR). To contribute, attendees can take part in a raffle with many donated items from stall holders up for grabs.

“As always, we have plenty to keep the kids engaged with Mr Poppa's Balloons roaming around the market between 10am - 12pm, making heaps of balloon animals for the kids - free of charge!” said Tarnia.

“Airlie Amusements will also be there with their jumping castles, and we also have face painting available.”

Previously car parking has been an issue for some, so organisers are introducing a shuttle bus around Proserpine between 10-12 to help ferry people back to their cars, so they don't have to walk far with their purchases.

There will also be a stop drop and go area out the front to assist with elderly and so families can offload and pick up.

For more information and to check-out the competitions head to the Facebook page.

When: Sunday 27 June

Where: 69 Marathon Street Proserpine - Old St Catherine's Junior School

Time: 9am - 1pm.

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New Hoist At Bowen Flexi Care Makes All The Difference

June 24, 2021

Bowen Flexi Care Inc have two new wheelchair hoists, purchased with a $20,000 grant from QCoal Foundation’s Community Grant program, which make the services they provide to members of the community with disabilities infinitely easier.

The two new wheelchair hoists are both attached to the Flexi Care’s help vehicles, which they use to transport members of the community with disabilities and physical impairments to and from appointments, the shops, and many other locations to assist them with their daily lives.

The hoists clip onto a wheelchair before raising it safely and securely onto the roof of the car, providing Flexi Care with the ability to transport clients in heavier-duty wheelchairs and also to take multiple clients in wheelchairs, which was often a struggle before.

“It’s made such a difference –it does take a little to set it up, but once you’ve done it it’s just instant and you say, ‘wow, it’s that easy,’” Faileen James, said.

Flexi Care provide a ‘whole-of-life’ approach to support their clients, and the QCoal grant has immensely improved their ability to provide these services.

“Helping people with their daily needs: showering, medication assistance, right through to activities to get them out into the community - everything like that, the hoist helps make any of that transport so easy,” Ms James said.

They often take their clients to community and social activities, which are just as important for Flexi Care, who believe that pursuing goals and aspirations are as much a part of daily life as going to the grocery store.

“This staff group is one of the best I’ve come across – they’re really respectful and they’ll go that extra mile to meet a client’s needs.”

The ability to provide vocational, educational, and medical services with ease through the use of the hoists is an invaluable commodity.

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New Yarning Circle At Bowen School

June 24, 2021

Bowen State Primary School were the recent benefactors of a donation, receiving seven pylons that had been removed from the Bowen Jetty during the current restoration works.

The pylons and the school have a historical connection: the pylons were sourced and placed at the jetty at the same time as the construction of the Bowen State Primary School.

It was through this historical gift that the idea for a Yarning Circle at the school was born.

A yarning circle is a place where you speak and listen from the heart; you speak spontaneously from your own experience, in a concise and to the point manner while the others listen with an open heart, without judgement or preconceived ideas.

The group sit together in a circle and pass a ‘talking piece’ around, which helps identify the speaker.

The Primary School received financial and in-kind donations from local businesses and organisations, and they reached out to Juru Body of Elders, seeking their approval for the design of the Yarning Circle.

The pylons will be situated around the Circle, painted in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander designs, with a story plaque stationed in front of each pole that details the meaning of the artwork.

Three flag poles will be installed within the Circle and will fly the Australian, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island flags.

Council have agreed to fund these flag poles, and Whitsunday Regional Councillor Michael Brunker wants to host a meeting at the yarning circle in the future.

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Bowen Students Are Reaping The Rewards Of Hard Work In The Garden

June 24, 2021

Life on a farm is a school of patience, and Bowen State School have brought in a healthy yield of crop after a hard-working six months – filled with zucchini, tomatoes, corn and more, as part of ‘The Enviro Club’ and Pick of The Crop, a Health and Wellbeing Queensland initiative that’s making kids healthier one vege at a time.

Pick of the Crop was started as a part of Health and Wellbeing Queensland’s initiatives to not only improve the health of children within the state, but also to give them an understanding of the processes around farming.

Most kids eat more than enough fruit, but studies have shown time and again that children are not eating enough of their vegetables, which is where Pick of the Crop comes in.

Schools across Queensland were given the opportunity to participate with a $5000 dollar grant to step up and start planting – which Bowen State School started doing in January of this year.

Students have been planting and learning as part of the Enviro Club at the State School, as well as tending the garden through weeding and planting of new crops.

Project Coordinator Olivia Gordon has been at Bowen State School for just over six months and has seen the successful growth of both the vegetables and the students.

“They’re very excited and they appreciate what they’re accomplishing since the start of the year; it’s been amazing,” Ms Gordon said.

“It’s so important because it teaches them patience and gives them a real insight into farming and all of that hard work.”

The school has been running programs alongside this one, including taking students on field trips to local farms, encouraging them to take an interest in horticulture.

The kids have been absolutely loving the experience – both because the vegetables taste so much sweeter when you’ve put in the hard yards, but as well as the benefits of learning about the environment.

“It’s important to know about the environment, because it’s all around us,” Enviro Club students told our reporter on Wednesday.

Ms Gordon and the school plan on using the vegetables grown in the garden at their tuckshop, showing kids the full cycle farmers go through, from “field to market”.

Enviro Club students are joined by senior teacher and Pick of the Crop Champion Mrs Julie Groves, as well as Principal Christian Payne, who have both been eager contributors to the project.

It’s been a successful crusade for Bowen State School, and the good news keeps popping up as the Pick of the Crop initiative has been slated to continue for another 12 months with support from Ms Gordon and Queensland Health and Wellbeing.

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Bowen Aquatic Centre Closed For Building Works

June 24, 2021

Grimsey’s Aquatics Bowen closed for the foreseeable future last Sunday as demolition has begun on its previous amenities’ buildings, which will be upgraded over the next two months into disability capable bathrooms.

A State government grant was given for the amenity buildings, and construction contracts were granted to local Bowen construction companies, which will cost just over $581 thousand dollars.

The construction will be undertaken as part of Underbudget Works for Queensland and Infrastructure capital projects.

The two previous toilet blocks are being knocked down to build fully-equipped and proper disabled toilets.  Pool director Trent Grimsey was excited about the prospects the new bathrooms will bring.

“It’s going to be really good when the schools come in and the different community groups, like Flexi Care and places like that,” Mr Grimsey said.

“It’s going to be fantastic once it’s all done.”

The facilities will provide the traditional Aquatic centre with more modern services, which will allow those with disabilities to enjoy a wonderful public, social environment with fewer issues.

Grimsey’s Aquatic has apologised for any inconvenience the closure will cause.

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Reef Heroes Discover Dumping Ground Under The Sea

June 24, 2021

When the Reef Search team undertook a series of underwater clean-ups around the Whitsunday Islands last month they had no idea they would be embarking on a mammoth sea-bed litter picking mission.

Reef Search and Red Cat Adventures Safety and Environment Specialist Deb Duggan said that on one survey site near Border Island the team collected 55 bottles as well as a large amount of fishing nets, fibre glass, anchors, masks and snorkels.

“It was quite shocking that day,” she said.

“A bit of rubbish is expected but we don’t quite realise how much falls off the side of boats – we are finding a lot of rubbish down there.”

Reef Search first began last year when they received a $102,000 funding from Great Barrier Reef Marine Parks Authority (GBRMPA) as part of the Tourism Industry Activation and Reef Protection Initiation grant.

The grant was to assist with projects that would actively protect the environment whilst keeping tourism staff in work during the COVID pandemic.

Forward-thinking local operators, Red Cat Adventures, secured the funding and have since initiated 21 surveys which include monitoring the reef health and water quality as well as Crown of Thorns and Drupella Snail removal.

Ms Duggan said that the program has not only helped the environment, it has also inspired many of her colleagues to get educated about the reef - knowledge which they are now passing onto passengers across all their tours.

“Getting involved with Reef Search enables staff to be much more educated from first-hand experiences and they can then share this with our guests - without education nothing can be fixed,” she said.

The program has also evolved into other initiatives which include the underwater clean-ups, island habitat monitoring, inshore dolphin monitoring and immersive learning projects for school groups as well as taking the Traditional Owners Reference Group to Nara Inlet.

Caption: Red Cat staff uncover a treasure trove of rubbish under the sea

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From Forest to Sawmill. One of our Earliest Industries

June 24, 2021

Over 150 years ago, grazing families came to this area and set up cattle stations. At this time, the countryside consisted of dense scrub and forest with giant Blue Gums, Cedar, Moreton Bay Ash, Tea Tree and other species. Soon more settlers arrived building homes along the banks of the Proserpine River.

Settlers used the procedure of pit sawing for their timber requirements. This entailed one man standing in a long pit, placing a log over the pit and then using a double end rip saw to cut timber lengthways. The unfortunate man in the pit inhaled all the sawdust!

As settlement expanded, so too did the demand for sawn timber. The initial sites for timber getting were Whitsunday and Long Islands. Records suggest that Eugene Fitzalan may have been the first timber getter on Whitsunday Island when he set up a camp there pre 1861. With the establishment of Bowen in 1861, demand for timber was great with focus on top quality hoop pine found on the islands.

Mr John Withnall set up a small steam-powered sawmill to cater for the 1884 cyclone damage in Bowen and built Amelia Vale Homestead with red cedar, eventually working from Cid Harbour (Sawmill Beach) on Whitsunday Island. Once cut, the timber was towed by barge and dragged up the slip to the sawmill. The Withnalls returned to Bowen in 1904.

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Endeavour Foundation Celebrates 70 Years

June 24, 2021

People with disability, their families, and support workers celebrated a huge milestone last week, with a celebration and screening of a “Battle of the Bands” in honour of Endeavour Foundation’s 70th anniversary.

During the post-war baby boom of the 1950s, classrooms were full and children with intellectual disability were excluded from mainstream schools by the government, denying them their basic right to an education.

Parents formed an association that would later become known as Endeavour Foundation to fight for the rights of their children and build specialist schools.

Cannonvale Site Manager for Community Services Jody Flaherty said today Endeavour Foundation is ‘all about turning possibilities into reality for people with disability’.

In Cannonvale Endeavour Foundation supports 20 adults from the age of 16 with services including community access, one-on-one support, and Supported Independent Living, funded under the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

“We also have two newly refurbished accessible homes with vacancies at the moment,” said Ms Flaherty.

“We encourage anyone to give us a call, so we can support you through the referral process and help you understand your eligibility.”

Endeavour Foundation also offers a Learning and Lifestyle day service, which operates from 9am until 3pm Monday to Friday.

At the service, people living with a disability can learn life skills and participate in recreational activities such as sailing, cooking, gardening, and golf, or gain their first aid certificate and complete other learning modules.

People are also given community access opportunities through volunteering with local businesses such as Butterfly Effect Nursery and local charity Eco Barge Clean Seas.

“Volunteering shows what a fantastic contribution people with disability make to our community,” said Ms Flaherty.

During the 70th anniversary celebration last week, everyone enjoyed watching The Future Is Bright – Battle of the Bands – which is a variety of musical performances from Endeavour Foundation services across the country.

“I liked the Music and signing in the Battle of the Bands and getting set up ready for the 70th party, making the decorations and cupcakes,” said Endeavour Foundation customer Jenny Atkinson.

“I like finding friends and doing the programs in L&L, especially the volunteering at Eco Barge – talking to other volunteers, introducing myself to other people in the community – getting out in the community.”

If you would like to find out more about how Endeavour Foundation can support you, call 1800 112 112 or email hello@endeavour.com.au.

Caption: Endeavour Foundation in Cannonvale enjoying the 70-year celebrations

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Mobile Breast Screening Comes To The Whitsundays

June 24, 2021

Local women are now able to get their breasts checked at a mobile screening truck and anyone who is over the age of 40 is encouraged to take advantage of the free service, even if they do not have any cause for concern.

Health Promotion Officer, Renae German, said that the service is for non-symptomatic women and is designed for monitoring and picking up anything in its early stages.

“We are trying to take the service to the people,” said Ms German.

“Having to travel can be a barrier for some people so we come to you!”

The mobile breast screening service offers a mammogram free of charge to anyone over 40 who has a current Medicare card.

Women who would like to make an appointment are advised to call 13 20 50 and enter their postcode, at which point they will be transferred to a nurse who can book them a time.

The scanning process takes roughly 20 minutes in total.

Images are then sent to two separate radiologists who both give independent recommendations and if there is a concern, the patient will be given a phone call and a letter within two weeks.

Patients without a concern can expect to receive a letter confirming the ‘all clear’ within two weeks.

“It is a completely free service and an all-female service,” said Ms German.

“We want to raise awareness and would like to encourage friends and family to mention the service to loved ones.”


Proserpine - Hospital grounds

Now until 9 July

Cannonvale – Whitsunday Plaza

12 July – 21 August

CALL 13 20 50

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Tourism Leader Resigns

June 24, 2021

The Whitsunday tourism industry will soon be missing one of its strongest advocates when CEO of Tourism Whitsundays Tash Wheeler steps down in September.

After eight years representing tourism in our region, Ms Wheeler said that she and her family would be moving down to Redcliffe in Brisbane so they could be closer to loved ones.

“When we moved here, we only intended to stay for 12 months – it has now been eight and half years - we always knew that someday we would move back down south,” she said.

“On a personal level these past eight years have been some of the most rewarding, and toughest in my life, and I will be forever grateful to have called this beautiful region home and been surrounded by some of the most incredible tourism leaders and community one could hope for.”

Ms Wheeler said that Tourism Whitsundays is in a strong position and continues to punch well above its weight in terms of driving outcomes.

“I wanted to make sure I leave the team and the industry in the best possible position I can,” she said.

“We are currently performing better than we had been before cyclone Debbie - the organisation is in a strong position with an incredible team and my departure doesn’t change that.”

Ms Wheeler will finish up in September and intends to head down the coast with her husband and three children, stopping at her home-town of Agnes Waters for a holiday, before re-settling in Brisbane.

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Ambassadors Greet Tourists With Holiday Dollars

June 24, 2021

With the Whitsunday Holiday Dollars campaign finishing-up at the end of this month, a proactive group of volunteers have been dedicating their time to ensuring all new arrivals at Whitsunday Coast Airport have the opportunity to take advantage of the government incentive.

Whitsundays Holiday Dollars began at the beginning of June and offers any Queensland resident over the age of 18 a $200 voucher which entitles them to 50 per cent off eligible tours and experiences in the Whitsundays.

There was a pool of 6000 vouchers available and residents had to redeem their vouchers and then book a tour to activate their holiday dollars.

CEO of Tourism Whitsundays Tash Wheeler said that her team always knew the challenge would be to translate redeemed vouchers into bookings.

“The feedback we have received from operators is overwhelmingly positive,” she said.

“What traditionally has been a quiet time of year has been significantly stronger because of the Whitsundays Holiday Dollars campaign.

“We always knew that distributing was the easy part, it was ensuring the redemption that was the tough part, however The Whitsundays Holiday Dollars has exceeded our expectations.”

With the upcoming June cut-off, the Cruise Ship Ambassadors are offering their time to meet new arrivals at the airport and tell them about the vouchers.

Cruise Ship Ambassador, Wendy Downs, said that for the purposes of this, the Holiday Vouchers were extended to non-Queensland residents arriving in the Whitsundays.

“The interest was pretty good, and we have had some great interaction,” said Ms Downs.

“We love the Whitsundays; we love what we do, and we love to pass that on – it’s all about talking to people and making them happy.”

“It’s working out for everyone and we love keeping busy!”

Usually, the Cruise Ship Ambassadors would volunteer their time to meet the several cruise ships that used to arrive in the region each week prior to COVID.

Since this came to a halt many have been choosing to give their time to other tourism related activities.

“The Whitsundays Volunteer Ambassadors have been helping in a number of capacities over the past 12 months,” said Ms Wheeler.

“Some at our Visitor Information Centre in Proserpine, some at events – they are an incredible bunch so it made sense in the first instance to see if any volunteers would be interested in assisting us, in assisting the tour operators with the final stage of this campaign.”

Caption: The Cruise Ship Ambassadors offering holiday dollars to new arrivals at the Whitsunday Coast Airport

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The Show Samaritans (Good Deed Feed)

June 24, 2021

The Proserpine Show was host to more than just carnival games, horse riding, and a firework display last Friday, as a group of Good Samaritans may very well have saved a life with their swift actions.

Kris McDonough and her partner Nathan were strolling around the show when Nathan fell to the ground.

Kris was in complete shock and was frozen still while her partner had a “massive seizure” on the ground.

A small contingent of good natured and fast-thinking show attendees rushed to his aid, providing him with much needed medical assistance before the ambulance arrived, likely saving his life.

They placed him in the recovery position and calmed Kris while waiting for medical professionals.

Nathan’s group of guardian angels on that day were complete strangers to the couple, who never caught any of their names.

Nathan has since been at home recovering and Kris says that he will be “back to his antics in no time” thanks to the help of those anonymous strangers and their quick thinking.

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PCYC Bowen Need Your Help To ‘Brake’ The Cycle

June 24, 2021

The ‘Braking The Cycle’ program has been running at PCYC Bowen since 2019, yet many don’t know anything about the program which helps young people who currently face barriers undertake their mandatory 100 hours of supervised driving to obtain their licence, as well as independence.

The program connects volunteers – many of them retirees - and young members of the community who may not have the resources to learn the valuable skill of driving.

Arthur Burrell has been working with PCYC Bowen PCYC in the program since its inception and has found it an incredibly rewarding experience.

“A lot of them have a one car family and both their parents work, or they’re too tired to take their kids to drive and that’s where we drop in – as far as I’m concerned, it’s been really good,” Mr Burrell said.

“We talk to these kids, work with them and get them through a lot of their dilemmas while getting better drivers on the road.”

PCYC Bowen has struggled recently as a few of its mentors have dropped out of the program due to time constraints.

“We want to remind people that the opportunity is there to volunteer – [the number of participants] has increased just as the mentor numbers have gone back!” said Kate Hickey, Braking the Cycle program coordinator at PCYC Bowen.

The program has been an extremely rewarding experience for volunteers like Mr Burrell, who says that the feeling of helping out the next generation is a reward unto itself.

“We are new in these kids’ lives, we don’t know their problems, we have no preconceptions, and we’re not as easy to get around as mum and dad.”

“It helps them so much and we pick up a good friendship with these kids.”

You can call for more information or sign to volunteer with the BTC program at PCYC Bowen (07) 4786 1383.

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Sausage King And Queen Win Regional Comp

June 24, 2021

Two local butchers have returned from Townsville with a plethora of prizes from a regional competition, reinstating their names as the reigning champions of meat in our region.

The Australian Meat Industry Council’s North Queensland sausage king, best burger and smallgoods competition was held at the Tiny Mountain Brewery in Townsville last week and Master Butchers secured a whopping 10 gold medals as well as numerous second and third places.

The prize-winning items include first place with their traditional pork sausage, beef sausage, gourmet chicken, Australian lamb as well as bacon, ham on the bone and their popular Cabana.

Don Cameron and Karen Rix operate Master Butchers Whitsunday, MBW On the Barbie and MBW at Marian as well as their newly opened wholesale and bulk store in Cannonvale.

In 2015 the pair took their infamous continental sausage, the Italian Casalinga, to nationals and won first prize, securing the title of best sausage in all of Australia.

After a year off, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Karen and Don are excited to get back into the competitions with their eyes on nationals again this year.

“We’re looking forward to going to state and hoping we win at least one first there so we can get to nationals,” said Karen.

“Nationals is good for the butchering industry and great for business!”

The pair will be heading down to the State Championships held in Brisbane on the weekend of 9 October and if they secure first place in any category, they will head to the nationals in South Australia in February next year.

Caption: Don Cameron and Karen Rix from Master Butchers

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Bodhi’s Battle Eased By Kindness

June 24, 2021

Gold Coast Family Receive Amazing Donations From Whitsunday Businesses

Little Bodhi and his parents received a warm Whitsunday welcome thanks to the kindness and generosity of many local businesses who opened their hearts and provided an experience or a tour while they visited the area this week.

16-month-old Bodhi was diagnosed with a rare and life-limiting disease in January this year and his parents decided to take him on an extended Queensland-based holiday to create precious memories while they can.

A Warm Whitsunday Welcome

For the past week Bodhi and his family have enjoyed several Whitsunday experiences courtesy of our local tourism and hospitality operators.

Staying at BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday, the family also enjoyed a day trip to Whitehaven on Red Cat Adventures, a tour to the outer reef pontoon with Cruise Whitsundays, a family photo with Norina Jane and a baby art session at 3 Little Birds Espresso.

All businesses kindly offered the experience free of charge for the family following an appeal in Whitsunday Life Newspaper which came about from a phone call with 89-year-old, Ron MackRodt who had heard about their travels.

Bodhi’s dad Trent Hole said that these experiences meant so much to his family and helped create memories they would treasure forever.

“I just wanted to say a huge thank you,” he said.

“Having a small business ourselves we know it’s easy to see something in a newspaper and flick through the pages and move on – for these businesses to offer us this – well, we will never forget their generosity and will very much pay it forward ourselves one-day.”

Bodhi was six months old when his parents noticed some developmental delays and the doctor confirmed it was unusual for him not to be able to hold his head up at that age.

Despite this, genetic testing gave him the ‘all clear’ and it wasn’t until a few months later when Bodhi was taken to hospital choking and gasping, that his parents knew something was seriously wrong.

The doctors then recommended genome testing which takes three months, so Trent and his wife Alicia waited an agonisingly long time to receive the results that no parent wants to hear.

In January Bodhi was diagnosed with a rare form of mitochondrial disease, known as complex III deficiency, due to mutations in his BCS1L gene.

There are only four cases in Australia and just 30 in the world.

There is no treatment and no cure which means he has a limited life expectancy and is unlikely to live past childhood.

“Within a week of discovering this we decided to go away,” said Alicia.

“The test results gave us the closure we needed and because his life is limited we wanted to make the most of our time with him.”

Four the past four months, the family have been travelling Queensland, visiting family and enjoying as many experiences as possible.

From Fraser Island to Kuranda, they have explored and had adventures along the way.

They stay close to hospitals and Alicia and Trent are able to give Bodhi daily physiotherapy as well as liaise via Zoom with health professionals so that he remains as healthy as possible.

Despite his condition, Bodhi is an extremely happy child who is always smiling and enjoys engaging with anyone he meets.

The family will be staying in the area a few more days before heading back down the coast.

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No Tree Too Big, No Palm Too Small

June 17, 2021

From coconut tree de-nutting to palm removal and scaling large trees that are hanging over buildings, in the last five years, there are not many trunks Arborist Jake Hansen hasn’t climbed.

While he loves his job and admits part of the thrill is the height and the adrenaline of each climb, Jake knows the only way to operate is with both skill and safety at the forefront of his mind.

“You need a different mindset to get into the trade,” said Jake.

“There are lots of things to consider, from heights to insects to chainsaws. I like doing extreme things, but I always find the safest way to do anything.”

Originally from Cairns and growing up in Port Douglas, Jake first came to Airlie for his 21st birthday and a month later he was back, but this time to live, embracing the Whitsundays.

Jake is one of the youngest Arborists in the area but co-owner of Whitpro in Cannonvale, Tim Perkins, says he is level headed and has a great future ahead of him in the Arborist world.

“Jake has plenty of energy and not only embraces each challenge, he is efficient and excels when it comes to customer service – our customers rave about him,” he said.

“Climbing trees and working from heights takes great skill and fitness and Jake has both.”

Qualified as an electrical Arborist able to work around power lines, Jake can complete both complicated jobs as well as get back to basics with spikes and a harness, a skill not all Arborists possess.

If you have a tree you want removed or trimmed, make sure you give the team at Whitpro a call.

Image: Jake Hansen, the highly-skilled Arborist at Whitpro

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A perfect Job For Retirees At The Whitsunday Sportspark

June 17, 2021

From whipper-snipping to weeding, painting fences to general tidying, Whitsunday Sportspark Chairman Justin Butler says “there are thousands of little jobs to do” at the Sportspark that would be ideal for local retirees looking to do something for the community.

At 73-years-young, Bob Corskie has been volunteering his time at the Sportspark for the last three years and says he absolutely loves it.

“It’s the best thing for older people - it keeps me going! I’ve got something to get up for in the morning and it makes me feel part of something bigger,” he said.

“There was a bad need for extra work to be done so I stuck my hand up and volunteered. I give my time completely and we are now looking for people like me who want to give their time for something good for the community.”

Justin agreed, saying that with the Sportspark redevelopment underway - the new amenities block opens on 10 July and the Hospitality Club opens in December - they will be looking for more people to help out.

“From our perspective there’s so much to do and they are little things, not big jobs” he said.

“As Directors we are trying to look after the big picture, but we can’t take our eyes off the little picture either.”

“Anyone who is over 60 and receiving JobSeeker benefits can fulfill their JobSeeker diary requirements if they are doing 15 hours per fortnight of community work.”

Bob says the team are also looking for someone to become an Accredited Supervisor to facilitate the Queensland Correctional Service workers who complete community service at the Sportspark.

“You can do as much or as little as you like,” said Bob.

If you are interested in volunteering a few hours a week or more, please contact Bob on 0429 946 571 or Justin on 0418 622 224. Alternatively, send a private message through the Sportspark Facebook page or email president@whitsundaysportspark.com.au.

Image: Volunteer Bob Corskie with Sportspark Chairman Justin Butler

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A Need For Social Housing For The Over 50’s

June 17, 2021

Single women over 50 are a demographic most at-risk from the affordable housing crisis and the team at Whitsunday Housing Company are hoping the State Government will help fund construction of more budget housing in the region.

Having received 35 applications for affordable housing since January this year, a 54 per cent rise from the same period last year, COO of Whitsunday Housing Company Joanne Moynihan says there is nothing on the rental market for low or no-income earners.

“It’s getting quite desperate,” she said.

“The Whitsunday Regional Council has land for us; we simply need the Government to approve funding for construction.”

Recently the Whitsunday Regional Council has indicated its in-principle agreement to donate or enter into a long-term lease with the Whitsunday Housing Company for the purposes of developing accommodation for homeless women over 55, subject to the successful obtaining of funds to construct the dwellings.

It is hoped that the State Government will fund four, one-bedroom, single-level cottages on the site, and Member for Whitsunday Amanda Camm is working with Whitsunday Housing Company to get the development underway.

“The community housing sector can move far quicker than government and understand the local context and need,” said Ms Camm.

“I will continue to advocate to the State Government to co-invest to meet the need.”

Tim Mander MP, Shadow Minister for Housing and Public Works attended a meeting with Ms Camm and Ms Moynihan last week and agreed.

“One of the best ways we can respond to the housing crisis is to have an increased partnership with the community housing sector,” he said.

Image: Tim Mander MP, Amanda Camm MP, John Harris from PRD and Joanne Moynihan from Whitsunday Housing Company

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Excelling In High-Pressure Situations

June 17, 2021

BlastH20 started over 10 years ago and has been growing fast, since its inception in 2010 when Fred Quod quit cane farming and moved into his own cleaning business, specialising in hot-water pressure cleaning.

“Aesthetic, how you present it, entry into places is so important – I emphasise with my workers that if it’s a comprehensive clean making it an attractive, clean business then you’re off to a great start,” Fred said.

“People a have a funny psyche about cleaning – I implore with people, why don’t you make pressure cleaning regular maintenance – it has to be done in tropical North Queensland.”

Fred says he and his wife Peta Smail get huge satisfaction from owning a local business.

“I like that it makes me think on my feet and it’s hard work!” he said.

The couple look after resorts, homes, and businesses from Rockhampton, out to Moranbah– even as far north as Townsville, concentrating on the Whitsundays, with their hot-water pressure cleaning.

Blast offers an extraordinary number of services, with residential exterior cleaning, rainwater inner tank cleaning, paint preparation and mould inhibitors.

“We’re really proud of the mould inhibitors, we’re the only business who do that,” he said

“The tank cleaning too, we can do it with minimal water loss; we work from the manhole, and we can see and clean the bottom – people are very happy with the minimal water loss.”

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Under 8’s Celebrated in Cannonvale

June 17, 2021

Cannonvale State School came alive with fun activities, children’s laughter and a sea of community volunteers at the Under 8’s Day last week.

Hundreds of children and their parents enjoyed an action-packed morning touring the various stands and enjoying the different projects.

From creating edible necklaces out of fruit loops to exploring sensory play with coloured pasta, creating mobile paper snakes, face painting, and hand-made kites, there was plenty for the children to do.

School Principal Angie Kelly said that the Under 8’s Day is one of her favourite days in the school year.

“And it’s an absolutely perfect day here in paradise!” she said.

“Under 8’s Day is a celebration of early childhood and it’s the most critical time in people’s lives, it is the foundation of everything to come.

“There are so many people here – there is definitely joy in the air!”

Image: Under 8’s enjoy a morning of fun activities at Cannonvale State School

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Come And Have a Coffee With A Cop

June 17, 2021

The community are invited to have a casual chat and a cup of coffee with our region’s friendly police officers in an opportunity for us all to initiate conversation and develop a familiar relationship with our local law.

The Coffee With A Cop morning kicks-off at 10am on Tuesday, 29 June, at Whitsunday Plaza in Cannonvale and it’s the school holidays so children will be more than welcome.

There will be a police car taking centre-stage and representatives from the Police Citizens Youth Club, Road Police, uniformed officers, Whitsunday detectives, Mackay Crime Prevention Unit and Volunteers in Policing from both Mackay and the Whitsundays will be attending.

Sergeant Billy Li from Whitsunday PCYC instigated the event to bring the community together and open a conversation.

“We invite the community to have a social chat with us,” said Sergeant Li.

“It’s often bad news when the police turn up to your door, so it’s good to chat with the police when nothing’s wrong.”

There will be complementary coffee sponsored by Whitsunday Plaza and residents are encouraged to use this opportunity to ask any questions they have.

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Frog Rock Management Plan Hops On

June 17, 2021

Frog Rock Reserve covers around 8.5 hectares of the western side of Cape Gloucester, being host to a plethora of important ecological sites, such as the endangered littoral rainforest in its borders and nesting grounds for turtles.

The Cape Gloucester reserve has been an area of note for Whitsunday Regional Council for some time, with the recent design of a draft plan which was brought to members of the community for their thoughts over the last month as part of Your Say Whitsunday.

There has been an increase in tourist activity in recent years at Frog Rock, with day, and sometimes illegal night visitors, damaging the area through erosion, littering, trampling of vegetation and often disturbing turtle nesting habitats.

The Council are creating a management plan to better operate visitation to the reserve; identify areas of the reserve to rehabilitate; restore the littoral rainforest vegetation; identify areas for future recreation; and plan for improved protection of the site’s cultural heritage.

The management plan will begin immediately, and the proposed actions will address all of these issues.

It’s going to look very different by the end of it, with dedicated carparks, installation of bollards to reduce vehicle access, revegetation activities, informative signage about regulations, and signage about habitats, which hope to educate tourists and day visitors.

The Your Say Whitsunday consultation period identified what the community thinks are the most important goals for Frog Rock: protecting the turtle and vegetation ecosystem.

Coordinator Natural Resource Management and Climate Scott Hardy said that there were some people who were concerned about losing the ability to launch their boats, which the council understands.

“[We’ll be] having a chat with Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads about boat launching facilities in that area.

“We’re really happy with the plan. We don’t want people to stop using Frog Rock, we just want to manage it.”

Whitsunday Regional Councillor Gary Simpson said that because of the areas increasing popularity, it was becoming more important to look after the area’s pristine condition.

“Our role as Council is to look after the environment and keep it for others in the future.”

It’s a place that is brimming with life, from animals like turtles to us humans, who use the area as a social and recreational site on a regular basis and trying to find a balance in between those who frequent it is the most important aspect of the plan.

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Funding Needed To Protect A Safe Night Out

June 17, 2021

Alcohol related violence could soon be on the rise in Airlie Beach if applications for funding remain suspended for the Safe Night Precinct (SNP), which currently operates in our lively holiday town.

Currently funded through the Department of Justice and Attorney- General under Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation, this Queensland Government initiative aims to reduce late-night drug and alcohol-related violence in key entertainment areas across the state.

Following COVID, this funding stream was suspended and, although our local SNP has managed to stretch funds for the past year, they are due to elapse at the end of the month.

At the moment, the SNP pays for two roaming security staff to patrol the streets on a Friday and Saturday night and SNP Secretary Margie Murphy said it provides a vital service to the community.

“There has unfortunately been an increase in assaults and anti-social behaviour in the precinct recently and this has been largely attributed to a change in visitor demographics - more regional and less international tourists - as well as the impacts of Coronavirus restrictions on patron behaviour,” said Ms Murphy.

The roaming security guards are not only the first step before the police are called, but they are also providing essential protection for the Rest and Recovery Unit staff.

“The Rest and Recovery Unit provide first aid and support to intoxicated and drug affected patrons within the precinct on weekend nights,” said Ms Murphy.

“The unit staff, who are generally females, are vulnerable working unprotected and have been reporting a rise in abuse and assaults to their staff due to the change in SNP patron demographics as noted previously.”

Member for Whitsunday Amanda Camm MP is assisting with talks and is calling on the State Government to reinstate funding for the Airlie Beach Safe Night Out Precinct.

“As a tourist region, the vital service provided by the Safe Night Airlie Beach CBD Precinct ensures patron and community safety for all visitors,” Ms Camm said.

“The termination of funding for the Safe Night Precinct in Airlie Beach would have a major impact on the level of safety provided within the CBD.”

“There has unfortunately been an increase in assaults and anti-social behaviour in the precinct recently…”

Image: Safe Night Precinct Secretary Margie Murphy with Member for Whitsunday Amanda Camm MP

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The Humble Wooden Cane Truck

June 17, 2021

With the annual sugar cane crushing season about to commence, mechanical harvesters, cane trains hauling 10 tonne bins and haul out gear will become a regular site. But, in days gone by, harvesting the crop and transporting the cane to the mill was a much more arduous process than it is today in our highly mechanised industry.

From the first days of production until the start of the 1970s, wooden cane trucks were used to transport whole stick cane to the Proserpine Sugar Mill. Walkers Ltd was contracted to build the first wooden trucks – 100 in total - in readiness for the proposed first crushing in 1896. For a variety of reasons, however, smoke did not rise from the stack of the Proserpine Central Mill until February 3, 1897.

Initially horse-drawn, a wagon which carried a cane truck with a 30 hundredweight or 1 and ½ ton capacity was used to transport the crop. The wagon was mounted on cane rail track (often portable rails) that allowed it to be rolled on and off at the siding. Each siding was equipped with a pit in the ground which the wagon passed through, leaving the back wheels remaining in the pit. The truck could then be loaded and unloaded at ground level.

After the sugar cane was cut by hand, the whole stick was loaded onto the truck. The canecutters were super fit men. They would swing the knife; lay the cane flat, then lift the bundles of cane weighing as much as 50 kilos over their shoulder and onto what some referred to as the “woodie”. When the truck was full, the load was then held on by a wire rope or chain over the top. The chain was attached to a roller (or ratchet) at the other end and tightened by a large truck key.

The timber for Proserpine’s trucks was high quality hardwood from Maryborough. All spare parts for the trucks were made by the tradesmen at the mill and, at times, the carpenters built batches of complete trucks.  All steel work, with the exception of the large chain which held down the cane, was made by the blacksmiths.

Over the years, improvements were made to the humble cane truck such as the use of ball bearings. Prior to using these, the axle boxes which had a reservoir filled with steel wool to hold thick oil had to be renewed before each return trip. A few trucks were converted to ballast trucks which were then used for carting sand and gravel for repair work on the tram lines.

In earlier years, seats were often added to the trucks to transport parents and excited children to picnics around the district – an occurrence which would definitely not happen in more modern times. This means of transport was also a common part of the celebration for the end of the crushing season, much to the delight of residents.

Wooden cane trucks were used in Proserpine up until 1971 when the district converted to 100% chopper harvesters. If you would like to see for yourself what these wooden cane trucks look like, visit our local museum where there is one on display as part of the impressive sugar exhibit.

Story and photo courtesy of Proserpine Historical Museum.

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Whitsunday Local Wins Million Dollar Suburb

June 17, 2021

Midge Point local, Georgia Jeffcoat was the lucky winner of Star 101.9’s Million Dollar Suburb which was announced last week and, although she did not win a cool million, she did walk away with a tidy $10,000.

Georgia said that she was at work at 121 Childcare Centre in Cannonvale when Sam and Rach called out Midge Point and she immediately decided to call up.

Managing to get into the top 100 with a chance to win the million-dollar prize, Georgia attended the Star FM live broadcast event at Blue Water Quay in Mackay last Friday.

Here, she was given a little white ball with the number 12 on it and placed it in the barrel where it was spun around with the others before one was selected at random.

Waiting impatiently to see if her number would be called, Georgia said she was stunned to hear she had the lucky number in her hand.

“I was in shock!” she said.

“Out of all the people that were there, I didn’t expect it to be me!”

Walking to the front to meet Sam and Rach, Georgia then asked to pick a number between one and 100 and she chose 37.

“My sister told me she had a good feeling about 37, so that’s why I chose that number,” she said.

Unfortunately, number 37 did not hold the lucky million, it was in fact 61, but Georgia said she would never have chosen that number, even if she hadn’t followed her sister’s advice.

Disappointed, Georgia went to return to her family when the presenters said they had another surprise for her.

She was told to pick a number between one and 10 and selected number seven – this was the moment she won the $10,000.

While the figure is not life-changing, it is certainly a nice amount for Georgia who says she will put it in the bank for now and aims to use it to go on holiday to Tasmania over Christmas period this year.

“I am very grateful for the opportunity and the experience,” said Georgia.

“It was wonderful meeting the whole radio crew.”

Image: Winner Georgia Jeffcoat with the Star FM radio crew at the Million Dollar Suburb announcement last week

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Collinsville Doctor Receives Award

June 17, 2021

Much-loved Collinsville medicine man, Doctor Myint Soe has been presented with the Royal Flying Doctor Service Spirit of St John Award following years of dedicated service which has seen him attend to both hospital patients as well as community members who present to the GP clinic.

Doctor Soe has been working in Collinsville for the last 15 years and was nominated for the award by Naomi Findlay who he treated after she became unwell with pneumonia and required the Royal Flying Doctor Service.

Thanks to Doctor Soe, Naomi was able to make a full recovery.

Mackay Hospital and Health Service Dr Soe has been an integral part of the Collinsville community and a valued member of the team.

Image: Doctor Myint Soe (second from right) and Naomi Findlay (second from left)

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New Heart Monitor Comes To Bowen Hospital

June 17, 2021

Up to 25 additional cardiac patients per month will now be treated at Bowen Hospital thanks to a newly expanded service which allows a special devise to be fitted to an individual so that it can monitor their heart and check for irregularities.

The Holter Monitor is a portable battery-operated device that measures and records cardiac activity continuously for 24 to 48 hours.

Bowen resident Paul Kiddy was among the first to receive the monitoring system and said he was very grateful the service was provided locally and that he was quickly reassured all was well.

“Having the results reviewed while I was in hospital was very reassuring,” he said.

All data is downloaded under the supervision of a Brisbane cardiac scientist via Telehealth and sent electronically to the Royal Brisbane Women’s Hospital cardiology department to analyse, interpret, and report within 24 hours of the recording.

Director of Nursing Julie Minogue said the introduction of the new telehealth service meant people no longer had to travel to Mackay or Townsville.

“Bowen Hospital has all of the equipment, protocols, and training to offer the new service,” she said.

“The cardiologist signs off on the results which are forwarded to the requesting doctors in Bowen.”

Any abnormal readings are reported immediately and treatment either commenced by the senior medical staff at Bowen Hospital or with referral to a cardiologist in Mackay.

Image: Mr Kiddy receives reassurance about his heart issues thanks to new monitoring system

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Good Deed Feed

June 17, 2021

This week’s Good Deed Feed goes out to the group of builders who were enjoying their ‘Thirsty Thursday’ afternoon beers at Banjos in Cannonvale on Thursday, 3 June when they saw a broken-down vehicle blocking the intersection and decided to help.

The vehicle was towing a 7-metre fibreglass boat and two of its passengers had jumped out so they could push it to the side.

Chris Bond from Ben Doolin Builders was one of about eight men who were sitting at Banjos when the situation unfolded.

“The traffic was busy, so we had to get it out of there,” he said.

“We pushed him out of the way then had to catch our breaths before wetting our whistles again.”

The good Samaritans did not stop to be thanked and it wasn’t until Whitsunday Life called the vehicles owner, Glen Mansfield, that they were able to reconnect.

“I was trying to find out who they were so I could buy them a beer!” said Glen.

Apparently, when Glen’s mates had jumped out of the vehicle to push while it was still rolling forward so they could use the momentum, he hadn’t realised there were another ten blokes behind until much later.

“When they got back in, I said, ‘Jeez, you pushed that quick!’ - I didn’t see the other guys who helped!” he said.

Glen was very grateful to all of the men who were from Ben Doolin Builders and Abel Morris Builders and he is looking forward to buying them a beer.

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Could Hostels Be A Solution To Hospitality Worker Housing?

June 17, 2021

An immediate solution to our affordable housing crisis could be closer than we thought thanks to an innovative idea to turn hostel accommodation into basic housing for hospitality workers.

Last week Mayor Andrew Willcox, CEO of Tourism Whitsundays Tash Wheeler, and Nomads Operations Manager for North Queensland Jack Fantini met at the Airlie Beach Nomads Backpacker hostel to discuss options for changing dorm rooms into flexible accommodation for couples, or groups of friends who have hospitality jobs in the area but are struggling to find a place to live.

“The rooms will be a steppingstone so you can get in and get your feet on the ground,” said Mr Fantini.

“We want to do everything we can to get more hospitality staff in the area and accommodation is often the first hurdle that puts people off.

“The people are here; we just don’t have the staff to serve them.”

The solution will work two-fold, as Nomads Backpackers is currently down 85 per cent in occupancy due to its reliance on overseas tourists, so this initiative will enable them to pivot their business model.

Nomads Airlie Beach is located on 13 acres of green land right in the heart of Airlie Beach.

They have capacity for 800 guests but last week only had 186 people staying.

Mr Fantini said that initially they will turn 12 six-share dorm rooms into flexible accommodation that could suit couples or groups of friends.

They are all en suites with basic cooking facilities.

If this is successful more rooms will be made available for hospitality workers and Mayor Willcox thinks the location of the site is ideal.

“This place isn’t full and it’s a really good location,” said Mayor Willcox.

“Tash has done a great job of getting extra people into town, now we have to provide for the workers.”

Ms Wheeler said this would be a solution that could assist tourism, hospitality and the agriculture sector while we wait for the return of international business and the working holiday maker.

“This is a great initiative led by the Mayor, looking at our accommodation properties that might be still struggling with the closure of international borders can ‘pivot’.

“We know that there is a need for workers, which means there is also a need for affordable housing for these workers to relocate to.”

“We want to do everything we can to get more hospitality staff in the area…”

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Bailey Pini, Gone But Not Forgotten

June 17, 2021

A teenage boy tragically lost his life in a road accident in Bowen last week, less than a year after he sadly lost his mum following a short battle with cancer.

13-year-old Bailey Pini was mourning his mum’s untimely death and had been experiencing behavioural issues as a result of his grief.

He had been living in a state-run care home in Sarina, where it was hoped he would receive counselling and support to work through his emotional issues.

In the early hours of Wednesday morning last week, Bailey was driving along with a 14-year-old friend in a stolen car, believed to have been taken from a carer at the home, when he lost control of the vehicle causing it to roll-over multiple times.

The passenger was taken to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, but Bailey died at the scene.

An outpouring of grief followed and the Bowen community as well as students and staff at Sarina State High School are mourning the tragic loss.

His sister Troydon Pini said that he will always be remembered as a fun-loving kid with a heart of gold who loved fishing, hanging out with friends, camping, crabbing, boating, anything outdoors.

“Bailey was the kid that would greet everyone with a big huge hug,” she said.

“He would always say please and thank you when he asked for something, even as little as a drink of water from the tap.”

Following some negativity on social media, Troydon said that rather than throwing accusations at her family she hopes this will be a lesson for the community, a tragic story that can educate the young people.

“I'd just like to express that Bailey was overall a good kid, yes his behaviour spiralled after our mum passed away, but never did I think it would be to this extent,” she said.

“So many kids these days make bad decisions but unfortunately in this case Bailey lost his life therefore didn't get the opportunity to learn from his.

“Bailey was not a repeat offender and had never done anything like this prior to his accident, he made one bad decision which resulted in his death.”

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Let The Crushing Begin!

June 17, 2021

Proserpine Sugar Mill Is Due To Start Crushing In Two Weeks

Steam trials are underway this week as workers from the Proserpine Mill commissioned the boilers to mark the start of crushing at the steam-driven sugar plant.

The official start date for production is Tuesday, 29 June and this year’s Proserpine crop estimate is 1.64 million tonnes of sugarcane – slightly up on last year’s total throughput of 1.54 million tonnes.

New Equipment Improves Production At Prossie Mill

Workers at Wilmar Sugar’s Proserpine Mill are excited to start the crushing season with two newly installed pieces of equipment, a new pan and a new store, which will not only improve efficiency but also the quality of the sugar.

The biggest capital project for the site this year was the $6.1 million No. 6 pan vessel which has a 115-tonne capacity and was designed, fabricated and installed in-house.

The bottom cone was fabricated at Proserpine Mill, the pipework was fabricated at Plane Creek Mill and the top cone, body and calandria were built at Wilmar’s Burdekin Centralised


Proserpine Mill Production Superintendent Damien Kelly said the new pan is a key piece of equipment where the sugar crystals are grown, and it will improve sugar production rates as well as sugar quality at the mill.

“It’s always exciting to see these improvements come online and gains made as a result - many of these projects are three to four years from inception to delivery,” he said.

“To see major pieces of equipment like Pan 6 being replaced with a brand-new vessel – with the works performed by our in-house tradespeople and project teams – is a big deal. It truly is growing jobs, skills and pride within our local workforce.”

The crop estimate for this year is 1.64 million tonnes which is below the factory’s 2 million tonne capacity but is a 100,000 tonne increase on last year.

This translates to a total of 230,000 tonnes of raw sugar produced this year.

“Wilmar has a commitment to continuous improvement and sustainable operations with the added challenge of fluctuating world sugar prices,” said Mr Kelly.

“The entire team at Proserpine deserves special mention for executing a well-planned maintenance season, safely and efficiently. The team’s now looking forward to kicking off the crush and having a safe and successful crushing season.”

Once the manufacturing process is complete, the sugar is transported by rail to the Port of Mackay, from where the bulk of it is exported.

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Whitsunday Shines Bright

June 11, 2021

Shine Bright Whitsundays celebrated local artists and talented performers at Coral Sea Marina last weekend, as part of the Central Queensland Regional Arts Service Network (CQ RASN).

The Shine Bright festival was hosted in cooperation with Coral Sea Marina and CQ University to give local artist across Queensland an opportunity to perform in the new Covid world.

“The whole purpose is to employ local artists in local regional towns,” said CQ RASN project officer for Mackay, Whitsunday and Isaac Region Wanda Bennett.

“We offer two levels of support: providing employment and promoting central Queensland artists.

“Part of CQ RASN is creating cross regional partnerships – where there’s need, we put organisers in contact with people.”

The Shine Bright Festival has been working its way across Queensland in a winding path, bringing more bespoke, smaller and intimate events to Queensland regions in an effort to help out smaller artists who struggled during covid.

The Whitsunday iteration of the festival was host to Skyhigh Juggling, Gypsysoldiers and Jacob Tully, who performed during a beautiful sunset at the marina.

The night featured a new collaborative digital artwork created over six weeks by six artists from across Queensland as well – with special mention to our very own local artist Brigette Peel.

The animation was a ‘Lord Of The Rings’ parody, where indigenous Australian animals that represented artists took the places of the Fellowship, trying to find a place in the covid world before creating the Shine Bright festival.

Skyhigh performed some daring acts in their ‘Caution – don’t try this at home’ fire show, where they twirled flaming torches in choreographed dance as the sun set behind them.

They were accompanied by the rhythmic harmonies of Gypsysoldiers, who can be caught at Airlie Beach Festival Of Music soon, and then the chill tunes of local musician Jacob Tully on the acoustic guitar.

The event was organised by Margie Murphy, Director of Airlie Events.

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Ballistic Brew Up A Storm At World Beer Competitions

June 11, 2021

Ballistic Beer Co has taken home a bounty of medals at the world’s largest beer competition: The Australian International Beer Awards (AIBA) in Victoria.

Conducted by the Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria, AIBA is the largest annual beer competition in the world, assessing both draught and packaged beer.

Ballistic have exploded into the craft industry in their five short years, being awarded five silver medals and three bronzes at the highly coveted annual event this year, which attracts entries from around the globe.

Earlier this year, Ballistic expanded from their Brisbane venues in Salisbury, West End and Springfield, merging with two regional craft breweries to create Ballistic Whitsundays.

Their new base of operations at Ballistic Whitsundays in Cannonvale are looking forward to entering their Whitsundays beer in the AIBA competition next year.

David Kitchen, commander-in-chief at Ballistic said that the medal haul that Ballistic have won this year brings their AIBA total to six gold, 17 silver and 11 bronze medals.

“We are incredibly proud that our beer has been recognised alongside some of the world’s best brews,” Mr Kitchen said.  

“AIBA medals are an industry seal of excellence; recognition from some of our most respected peers spurs us on to keep innovating for our loyal, long-standing customers, as well as those who are only just discovering Ballistic.

“Regional communities are the beating heart of Queensland, and we know that if we want to become Queensland’s favourite craft beer, we need to expand beyond Brisbane.”  

This year there were 2502 entries from 402 breweries over 21 countries, with 261 of the breweries coming from Australia.

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Still Giving At 85

June 11, 2021

It is local volunteers that are the driving force behind so many community organisations and there is no-one that understands this better than John Langford who, at the refined age of 85, is dedicating his time and often his petrol to helping people.

As the Regional Director of Anglicare as well as a trained Counsellor and Psychotherapist, John oversees a broad range of services in both Proserpine and Mackay.

Each week he spends a day in Prossie, offering his counselling services to people navigating issues such as domestic violence and anger management - seeing up to nine people on each occasion.

In addition, Anglicare operates a low-cost food store where people living on a low income or benefits can access non-perishable items to fill their pantry.

“It’s surprising how many people pick up the opportunity,” said John.

“There are people that are fed well now that didn’t know what a good meal was like before.”

The food is brought up to the region on a train by Food Bank and then distributed to the two outlets, one of which is on the Bruce Highway in Proserpine, right next to the museum.

Local businesses can purchase food vouchers from Anglicare and distribute them to anyone in need.

“For about $5 people can often get $50 worth of food,” said John.

The organisation is currently inviting people to donate to their annual appeal which is hoping to raise $100,000 again this year.

“We are dependent entirely on the generosity of the community whom we serve,” said John.

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Iconic local bakery Celebrates 35 Years!

June 11, 2021

Whitsunday Bakery in the heart of Proserpine is celebrating a milestone this year – not only have its owners Stephen and Lorella Cassells been married for 40 years – their business has also been operating for an equally impressive 35 years.

The couple first opened the bakery at a site down the road and moved to their current location 28 years ago. They also operated the bakery at Whitsunday Plaza for seven years but opted to focus their talents in Proserpine and have been bringing locals fresh bread, cakes and baked goods ever since.

Stephen starts at 7pm most days, baking beautiful creations all night long until Lorella takes over at 3am to open the café and bakery – both working opposite hours to keep the business running.

“We’ve got four children though, so I guess we saw each other at some point,” jokes Lorella.

As the only bakery in town that bakes fresh bread every morning, Whitsunday Bakery is a popular place for customers to get a sandwich or salad roll and often grab a treat for afternoon tea while they are there.

Opening at 4.45am every day, Whitsunday Bakery is a favourite with the early-birds who can grab a hot barista-made coffee and a freshly baked pie on the go.

Lorella is also known for her cake decorating skills and is frequently asked to create special celebration cakes for the community.

With 35 years of experience and 40 years of married bliss, you can be sure you are in safe and loving hands when you visit Whitsunday Bakery.

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Family History Uncovered

June 11, 2021

Family history is kept pristine and precious by a local group of history lovers who meet three times a week at the Proserpine Community Centre, offering a service that helps anyone reconnect with their ancestry.

The Whitsunday Family History Group formed in 1987 and over the years expanded to 40 members in its hay day, dropping to a modest 20 in recent times.

Boasting over 1000 books on family history as well as cemetery records, CDs containing information on births, deaths and marriages, census records, Proserpine Guardian copies dating back to 1911 and even an old film projector that can read shipping rolls, their depth and breadth of knowledge is vast.

Linda Thorogood is one of the founding members of the group and she is known to be able to find almost anything when put to the task.

“It’s an addictive hobby!” said Linda.

“Everything is out there somewhere; it’s just knowing where to look for it!”

New club members are welcome to join at $40 per year membership fee and a one-off joining fee of $10.

For those that simply want to discover some information about their family history, for a small fee they can use the facilities and even some of Linda’s expert detective skills.

The club’s resource room is open from 4-7pm on Tuesdays and 10am-2pm on Thursday and Saturday at the Proserpine Community Centre.

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Chi Chiz In The Heart Of Prossie

June 11, 2021

Having spent 14 years working for the Council and Aboriginal Corporations in the outback, Diane Nona made a huge life change four years ago, swapping her work boots for a kitchen apron and serving up hot food at Chi Chiz café in Proserpine so she could live closer to her father as he gets older.

Born in Proserpine, this straight-talking lady has completely transformed the vibrant café in the centre of town since she took ownership in 2017 and now operates an efficient, modern business with a freshly renovated premises.

This is a big change for Diane but one she said was necessary after spending some time applying for positions in her field but having no luck.

“I applied for jobs everywhere!” said Diane.

“But apparently, it’s not what you know or what you can do, it’s who you know – so I bought myself a job!”

Determined to bring out the best in her new establishment, Diane repainted and introduced new signage, purchased brand new equipment and entirely renovated the casual dining area.

The results are impressive and noticeable the second you walk in the door – with a colourful, airy and vibrant feel - the clean countertops and new appliances give the café a new look that is proving popular with guests.

The cake and sandwich fridge are favourites, as well as the salad bar and brand-new coffee machine.

From burgers with the lot to fish and chips, right through to cakes, milkshakes and gluten free options, Chi Chiz has a huge variety of tasty treats to eat in or take-away.

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More Than Just Meals

June 11, 2021

With 25 volunteers travelling the region each week and bringing freshly cooked meals to the homes of those in need, Proserpine Meals on Wheels is a dynamic local service and a lifeline to many.

Coordinator Helen Maynard-Turner has been with the non-for-profit organisation for 18 years and says the bond born from a lovingly cooked meal often stretches beyond the practicalities of a ‘decent feed’ and extends into a unique friendship that gives everyone involved a deeper connection with the community.

“You meet lots of lovely people and lots of lovely people that become lifelong friends,” said Helen.

“The sad part is when someone passes on, which happens a lot in our line of work.”

First established in 1974, Proserpine Meals and Wheels operated in the old Methodist Church before moving to its current location on Marathon Street in Proserpine.

With a commercial kitchen and spacious parking, this site is ideal for pumping out up to 200 meals each week.

Although they have a reputation for servicing the older members of the community, Helen says Meals on Wheels cater for any age-group and any level need.

We are open to anyone – from our NDIS clients through to women coming out of hospital after having a newborn bub,” said Helen.

“It doesn’t have to be long-term; it is simply a service for anyone who is finding it hard to cope right now.

“They can call the kitchen and we can fill in the necessary paperwork for them.”

Subsidies from the government are offered for some clients and others pay a fee for the service.

The menu is in a six-week rotation and all meals are delivered just before lunch. Proserpine residents can receive meals five days a week and those in rural areas or down ‘the Beach’ can get fresh meals three days a week and frozen meals for the other days.

Simply call 4945 1733 to arrange your Meals on Wheels!

Fundraising Events

Musical Bingo – 25 June

At Buttercup Lane - 6pm arrival for a 6.30pm start and hosted by Peter O-Toole from the Grandview Hotel in Bowen who is volunteering his time. $10 entry.

Annual Trivia Night – 23 July

At Proserpine Lawn Tennis Club - 6pm arrival for a 6.30pm start.

$100 Board

$2 tickets are on sale every week with a chance to win $100 each week. Go to the Facebook page or Proserpine Community Centre for tickets.

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What’s On At Show Whitsunday

June 11, 2021

The 108th Show Whitsunday is taking place next weekend and organisers are excited to bring the community a host of fun activities, events and competitions with an agricultural theme running throughout.

First-up on Friday morning from 8am are the Equestrian events with horse jumping and other disciplines on display.

After this, the popular chook exhibit takes place with proud breeders showing their prized birds to onlookers, the best of which will be awarded by the panel of expert judges.  Judging criteria is serious business with every breed having a judging standard.  Areas of judging include shape, colour stature and feather quality.

The Arts and Crafts display opens at the Daly Thomas Pavilion at 10am showing a mixture of old handicraft and modern creations as well as home-cooked jams, pesto and chutney.

Another crowd-favourite – the Wood Chop Event is up next, with competitors coming from all over the country to battle out the two day competition.

Stud cattle is also paraded for all to admire, and an Industrial area exhibits items for sale such as boats, four-wheel drives, mowers and tractors.

The cane competition is another iconic event with farmers bringing their stalks of cane to display for judging. The local sugar mill will run testing on the cane to discern which has the highest sugar content and the winner will be announced that day.

Of course, the Whitsunday Show would not be complete without a host of fun family activities including side show alley and the fantastic fairground rides.

From the dodgems to the zipper, the giant slide to the teacups and boat rides for the little kids, there is plenty for the whole family to enjoy.  Side show alley opens at 12 noon.

This year, back by popular demand the Dinosaur Explore roving entertainment attraction will entertain and interact with the crowd allowing everyone to get up close and personal with the realistic animatronic dinosaurs.

A formal opening of the newly constructed Pavilion will take place at 3pm with George Christensen and later a band from Proserpine State School will perform.

Guy McLean and his performance horses will be in centre ring both days at lunchtime and on Friday evening. The fireworks display takes place at 8pm on Friday evening.

Saturday morning kicks-off at 8am to more of a relaxed pace, a perfect environment for families with younger children to enjoy.

Make sure you call into Melville’s baby animal farm to get up close to some cute fury friends!

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Rain, Hail Or Shine, The Show Must Go On

June 11, 2021

The Proserpine Show pavilion is something of an institution; a fundamental part of the annual show that has been held in Proserpine for more than 100 years and has brought joy to generations of families.

This institution dates back prior to 1900 when the women of the town visited each other for company and would often compare their home remedies, needlecraft and gardening. A competition between these ladies developed, which in turn led to the first Proserpine Agricultural, Pastoral and Industrial Show held in 1899 at Mr J Compton’s farm, (the present site of the Uniting Church). According to Port Denison Times, exhibits were housed in a thatch roofed building near the stables.

Such was the growth in the number and popularity of these exhibits, that soon it was necessary to find a bigger place. The Oddfellows’ Hall in Chapman Street, the current site of Porter’s Plumbing and Hardware, was used for this purpose and so too the old sugar room at the mill until a pavilion was built at the showgrounds.

The first official show was held on its current site in 1910 and members of the community have maintained the tradition of displaying their arts and crafts, their flowers and farm produce, and the schoolwork of their children every year apart from 1919, when there were no exhibits due to restrictions during the great flu epidemic; the two years during World War 2 and last year, 2020, during the lockdowns necessitated by the global Covid pandemic.

Given the significance of the pavilion as a focal point of the show, it is not surprising that there was much delight expressed about the construction in 1947 of a new, more spacious pavilion by Mr J P Muller of Proserpine. But it would be another two years before electricity was connected.

For the past seven decades, this pavilion played host to not only the annual show displays but also to many community events and organisations; to schools and clubs. It has hosted weddings and wakes; dances and fancy dress balls; 21st birthdays and other milestone celebrations; school camps and excursions; karate and gymnastics training and competitions; the line dancing group and many of their socials; annual sporting awards night presentations and staff Christmas parties; even a Jehovah’s Witness Convention in 1966.

In 1976, the pavilion was made available for Patch; a possibility that was facilitated by the building of a ramp for wheelchairs. Patch operated from there until 1982 when they acquired their own building.

Over the years, there were several improvements such as a new roof and guttering in the late 1990s; the removal of the kitchen from the side of the pavilion and in 2010, the replacement of the ancient wire netting with colourful ropes allowing clearer and closer observation of exhibits.

But improvements could not withstand the might of Cyclone Debbie which destroyed this iconic part of the show in 2017. However, thanks to the tireless efforts of the current Show Committee Executive and their remarkable crew of volunteers, as well as a Federal Government grant, sufficient funds have been raised to enable a new pavilion to be built, ready for Show Whitsunday 2021 and for the benefit of subsequent generations of families.

Story and photo courtesy Proserpine Historical Museum.

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Jubilee Pocket Man Acquitted Of Mum’s Murder

June 11, 2021

After almost three years in custody, 54-year-old Whitsunday local Christopher Britton was given a non-guilty verdict, leaving Mackay Magistrate Court a free man last week, acquitted of murdering his mother in her Jubilee Pocket home 24 years ago.

It was March 1996 when Dorothy Britton was shot in the head with a single barrel shotgun while she was folding laundry.

The prosecution alleged that Mr Britton was upset with his mum because, after separating from his dad because of his dad’s affair, he believed his dad would be worst off in the divorce settlement.

The defence asserted that this was simply circumstantial evidence and after a brief nine-day trial, with evidence from over 40 witnesses, the jury deliberated for just three hours before delivering the non-guilty verdict.

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Chamber Chat 10th June 2021

June 11, 2021

There is a chill in the air as we race towards the end of one of the strangest financial years ever.

And, whilst it is important to wrap up the end of year finances properly, it is even more critical to plan for the upcoming year. Never more so than for FY2022.

Businesses are facing unprecedented challenges in this bust to boom economic environment, having to survive everything from complete shut downs to massive booms and everything in between with lock downs adding another level of difficulty. Add to this staff shortages, increasing prices of raw materials and supply chain shortages and it is a business landscape in which we have needed to tread carefully and be prepared.

With the State budget being handed down next Tuesday 15h June, businesses will also need to take into account how government policy and incentives will affect their planning and what opportunities Government stimulus will present.

Locally, businesses would be hoping for strong investment in infrastructure in the local region. Roads such as Hamilton Plains, projects like Whitsunday Sky Rail, school facility upgrades and a new school in the Cannon Valley area to help cater for population growth, better public transport and a genuine effort to address the lack of social and low cost housing are all overdue for solutions and need to be addressed now. With luck, the State government will deliver.

Our June breakfast networking event has been postponed to 10th July when the Chamber will host Peter Raffles from Conflict Solutions, followed by a workshop focussing on conflict resolution and negotiations following the breakfast event. Further details will be available on the chamber website soon.

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Locals Schools Learn To Be Kinder

June 11, 2021

As   b kinder day approaches, organisers have engaged with every school in the Whitsunday region and are confident they will have the entire student population participating in a day that actively promotes kindness and positive mental health.

Alongside this, the flyhighbillie  charity has produced b kinder workbooks and units of work for teachers to empower and inspire students in grades 2, 4, and 6.  The 10 week program designed by teachers and psychologists are full of real stories and activities that help children to develop compassion, kindness and empathy towards others.

Mel Turner from the flyhighbillie charity said that teaching children these skills early in life will embed these important messages.

“The b kinder workbooks are unique, positive, interactive and tangible resources that address what it means to be kind,” said Mel.

“Teachers wear so many hats – doctors, nurses and psychologists – so much of what they are dealing with are the issues of life. Having this type of program that focuses on the wellbeing of kids is incredibly important.”

Last year flyhighbillie held their inaugural “walk for a kinder world” fundraising event.  The money they raised will be used to donate the b kinder workbooks to every Whitsunday School.

“The proceeds have funded the workbooks – which is about $15,000 worth of resources,” said Mel.

“This means all local schools can have the workbooks for free. We hope the students who participate in the program this year will take part in the “walk for a kinder world”.  ‘

“This way they can  pay it forward so other students can enjoy free workbooks next year, we would like every child to have access to these wonderful kindness resources.”

The “walk for a kinder world” event takes place throughout October and November each year and is open to anyone in the community from schools to work places and community groups.

Those interested simply need to register, set a goal and ask people to sponsor them. The fundraising platform will be open from July 2021.

The flyhighbillie charity  was formed in honour of Billie Kinder, an incredible young girl who tragically lost her life in a horse accident in 2016 when she was 12-year-old.

After her passing, Billie’s mum, Danny Mayson-Kinder decided to create a book from her daughter’s work, bringing together her poems, stories and artworks.  

The feedback Danny got from Billie’s book “hope” was incredible. Billie’s words were instigating conversations with children on deeper issues and creating a huge impact.  

It was this feedback that inspired Danny to create the flyhighbillie charity to spread love, kindness, and compassion around the world to reduce mental health issues, bullying and suicide.

b kinder day is Tuesday, 22 June and the main activity is to write a message of gratitude or kindness to someone you care about.

Purchase your b kinder day cards and packs along with posters and balloons at flyhighbillie.org.

For more information, please call Mel Turner on 0438709233

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The State’s Biggest Classroom – The Great Barrier Reef

June 11, 2021

School children from across the state will soon have the opportunity to engage in exciting and educational excursions, immersing themselves in the natural ecosystem of our beautiful reef environment and giving much-needed trade to local tour operators.

Thanks to a new government subsidy which launches in term three, schools will be eligible to receive $150 per child for an excursion that includes an educational reef experience.

With $800 million in the kitty, the incentive is forecast to run for three years, or for as long as the funds last.

Expressions of interest from tourism operators closed last week and Tourism Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said they will be assessed according to their ability to provide an educational tourism experience for students.

“We want to offer a quality experience to school students, so operators will need to be recognised as a High Standard Tourism Operator by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority or a Best of Queensland Experience by Tourism and Events Queensland,” he said.

“To be eligible for the program, reef tourism operators must have a COVID Safe plan in place, a Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority permit to operate in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area, and appropriate Blue Cards.”

Applications will open soon for Queensland primary and secondary school excursions so before long the Whitsundays can expect an influx of school groups taking up the opportunity to visit the region.

Assistant Tourism Minister and Member for Cairns Michael Healy said The Reef Education Program will deliver a boost for the reef tour industry as well as accommodation providers.

“For some 6,500 Queensland students, the Great Barrier Reef Education Experience Program will turn the reef into the state’s biggest classroom and increase bookings for local reef tour business,” Mr Healy said.

“There’s no better way to learn about the about the biology and protection of the reef than snorkelling the reef, sea kayaking or taking in a glass bottom boat experience with a Queensland tourism operator.

“It’s an initiative that works on many levels from stronger community understanding of the reef to inspiring a new generation of Queensland students to aim for careers in reef sciences.”

“We want to offer a quality experience to school students"

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A Good Driving Tip (Good Deed Feed)

June 11, 2021

Airlie Beach Hotel’s courtesy bus drivers kindly donated their tips to a good cause this week, turning what could have been a bonus for them into an act of kindness with far-reaching impacts in the community.

$2000 was raised and donated to Blokes in Business who in-turn donated it to Whitsunday Suicide Prevention Network (WSPN).

The funds will be put towards community projects that actively raise awareness for suicide prevention or assist with family and those affected by suicide.

WSPN President Ron Petterson said he was humbled by the kindness of the bus drivers and looks forward to putting the money to good use.

This is not the first time the courtesy bus drivers have raised money for local causes, in fact driver Wayne Fairbrother said they had been giving their tip money for years.

So far, they have donated $3,000 to a chill-out garden for autistic children at Whitsunday Christian College and a further $1,500 to Cannonvale State School to place in a fund and offer financial assistance to kids who can’t afford to go on camps.

At a special ceremony this week, the courtesy bus donation was formerly accepted along with almost $3,500 from Airlie Beach Hotel who matched a dollar for dollar spend from two successful Blokes in Business events.

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Editor's Note Issue45

June 11, 2021

Hi Everyone,

Our region is steeped in history and full of people who care about preserving the past which is one of the reasons we are so special.

This week I had the pleasure of spending the day in Proserpine and while I was there, everyone I met was passionate about their culture and their unique country way of life.

Donna Rogers was telling me that the Whitsunday Show Committee had managed to save the wooden floorboards from the old Proserpine Showgrounds Pavilion, bringing a valuable piece of history into the new building.

Meanwhile, our history columnist Larraine Biggs, took the time to send me a write-up from the Bowen Independent about the Show Ball in 1910 where it was amazing to see the journalist describe 50 dresses of the ladies attending.

Everyone is doing their bit to preserve the past and like Linda Thorogood from the Whitsunday Family History Group said – “All you had to do back then was turnaround and you’d get your name in the paper!”

Of course, print media is changing and our glossy style publication with modern website is evidence of that. But as print media changes, I think it is important to bring what we value from the past, preserve the best bits and hold them close for future generations to enjoy.

Did you know that births, deaths and marriages are free to put in the paper? Simply send 50 words and photo to production@mackayandwhitsundaylife.com and your milestone moments will become recorded in history.


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The Whales Are Here! First Whale Of The Season Spotted In Whitsunday Waters

June 11, 2021

Whales Arrive A Month Early

Usually expected to arrive around the end of June, the first whale to reach Whitsunday waters was spotted on Thursday 3, June by a Red Cat Adventures vessel which was taking a group of tourists on a daytrip around the islands.

One large whale was seen near Langford Island and both crew and passengers celebrated this rare sight, realising the enormity of both the moment and the mammal.

“The first whale spot of the season is always the best,” said Red Cat Adventures Owner Julie Telford.

“We were beyond excited! This is so good for tourism and so good for the season!”

An estimated 30,000 humpback whales migrate from Antarctica each year, travelling a 10,000-kilometre round trip and completing the longest mammal migration in the world.

They come to Whitsunday waters to mate, calve and nurture their new-borns and can often be seen frolicking in the ocean, breaching and producing waterspouts to the delight of on-lookers.

Thousands of tourists flock to see this incredible sight and are often treated with some up-close encounters and rare experiences of a mother and her calf in nature.

“They’re here and they’re a bit early this season so we should all get a good run through winter,” said Julie.

“We are over the moon and really excited for the region.”

With just a few weeks left to claim your Whitsundays Holiday Vouchers, CEO of Tourism Whitsundays Tash Wheeler says there is no better time to jump on a local charter boat and get out on the water.

“Each year, the sighting of the first whale of the season brings so much joy to not just our industry, but the community,” she said.

“It is such a special time of year to visit – especially when most of our day tours turn into a complimentary whale watching tour, what more could you ask for?”

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Meet Our New Journalist Declan Durrant

June 4, 2021

Hi, my name’s Declan. I’m entirely new to the Whitsundays, and entirely new to the paper here at Mackay and Whitsunday Life, as well as Tripping and Core Magazine. I’ve been writing for the paper remotely from all the way down in cold and windy Adelaide, South Australia for the last six weeks.

We made the plunge and slowly wandered our way up through the highways and little dirt roads from Adelaide to Airlie over the course of a week, to our new little house here in Cannonvale. It’s been emotional, leaving behind my parents, friends, family and of course, my dog Archie, who couldn’t make the trip up with us.

My partner has made an even more insurmountable trip, hailing from Bordeaux, France. In a joint decision - that was almost ten seconds long - we decided that living in the Whitsundays would probably be one of the most incredible things we would ever do, so we trundled our way up here on the one-week drive.

I studied in Adelaide at the University of South Australia, before completing my Bachelor of Journalism and Professional Writing in 2020. I’ve always had a passion for writing, as well as meeting new people.

I’ve joined up at the Whitsunday United Football Club and will be making my debut this weekend for the side! I’m an enormous football fan, as well as enjoying every sport – you’ll see me out covering most of the home games here in Airlie, taking photos and jotting notes.

Don’t be afraid to come and say hi if you see me out there and I’m so excited to be a part of this amazing community!

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Controversial Port Of Airlie Development Steams Ahead

June 4, 2021

Port of Airlie developers are inching closer towards approval for their 12-storey international hotel following the Council Ordinary meeting last week where five out of seven councillors voted to support the motion, approving the controversial six-lot subdivision.

This does not give permission for the 46.7 metre luxury hotel, as this is out for public consultation until June 7, but it does open the doors for developers, Meridien Airlie Beach, to move forward with their other plans.

The Port of Airlie (PoA) masterplan development was approved as a state-significant project by the Queensland Coordinator General in the early-2000s.

Since then, they have completed land reclamation works, the installation of roads and services as well as the construction of community infrastructure.

This includes Boathaven Beach, the public boat ramp, council carpark, Airlie Beach bus terminal, the marina boardwalk, associated connecting pathways and landscaping, as well as the development of The Boathouse Apartments.

Development of the PoA marina has continued and now boasts over 170 private marina berths, ranging from 10m to 50m, along with the world-class Cruise Whitsundays maritime terminal.

After a 20 year period, market forces have seen updates to the original PoA masterplan.

There are currently multiple development applications at the site which the Council will address on a case-by-case basis.

If the full development goes ahead, it is forecast to create over 600 jobs locally, generate 86,000 overnight visitors each year, bringing in $3.6 million of tourism annually.

Plans for the luxury new tourist precinct include an international branded hotel, state-of-the-art apartments, shopping facilities, restaurants and entertainment activities, including a cinema and bowling complex.

Murry Offord, Head of Balmain Asset Management (appointed by Meridien) is elated to be part of the regeneration of the tourist hot spot.

“The Whitsundays is one of Australia’s most iconic holiday destinations and the development of the Port of Airlie (PoA) precinct will be designed for both tourists and locals alike,” he said.

“The hotel will provide much needed conference and function facilities to the local and tourist markets, a day-spa, restaurants and a roof-top bar.”

Mr Offord said that the hotel’s 12 storey design is the only development that exceeds height restrictions and it has been designed this way to attract a premium international hotel brand.

The construction of high-rise hotel is opposed by the Save Our Foreshore group who have several hundred submissions to council expressing their objection.

“The previous plans for this site of an integrated 3-5 storey resort complex was generally accepted by the community. But this proposed high-rise building is totally unacceptable,” said Faye Chapman from Save Our Foreshore.

“It may be economically necessary for them, but it certainly, as proposed, isn't necessary for our community.

“Or to risk destroying our unique low-rise low key brand by setting a precedent for high rise development along the whole Airlie Beach foreshore. Our current brand is very successful and attracts 1000's of visitors to Airlie Beach.”

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Proserpine Hospital Worker Receives The Golden Boot

June 4, 2021

Health care workers from across the region have been honoured in a special ‘Let’s Celebrate’ event which recognises long-term staff and shows appreciation for their individual services.

The Mackay Hospital and Health Services received 149 nominations from their staff members who were eager to applaud their peers and give credit for their dedication.

On the list was Proserpine local Kevin Nolan, who ensures the hospital grounds and building is maintained, jumps in whenever he can to address equipment and building breakdowns and is also known to be a dab hand at the staff barbecues where he volunteers to cook.

Mr Nolan is the winner of this year’s Golden Boot Award in the Mackay HHS staff excellence awards.

This award recognises operational and support staff who are the backbone of the health service and put in many foot miles to ensure clinical staff have what they need to do their job and that facilities and patients are also well looked after.

Mr Nolan’s winning nomination said that his role at Proserpine Hospital is to maintain the hospital's grounds and gardens plus general maintenance, however he does so much more.

“Not only does Kevin ensure the grounds and gardens are immaculate at the hospital but he works with the Building Engineering and Maintenance Service (BEMS) and Biotechnology Service (BTS) teams who are based in Mackay to ensure both equipment and building break downs are actioned immediately.

“Having Kevin as part of 'our team' has prevented many theatre lists from being cancelled due to his ability to problem solve with the BTS team and fix simple problems with essential equipment.

“Kevin's communication with the BEMS team has saved this team countless hours of driving to Proserpine to deal with break down issues and has ensure the hospital has continued to function.

“He does this all with a smile on his face. Kevin loves a chat especially with our long- term patients who look forward to seeing Kevin around the hospital and walking around the grounds.”

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Prepare Yourself For Bushfire Season

June 4, 2021

The Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) and Rural Fire Service set up a marquee so Whitsunday locals could inquire about the Community Bushfire Management Plan at a community information stall last Sunday.

Whitsunday Regional Council put together five Bushfire Management Plans in consultation with the fire services, each in areas like Woodwark, which was determined as high risk due to the heavily wooded nature of Dryander National Park.

Coordinator Natural Resource Management at Whitsunday Regional Council, Scott Hardy, was present on the day, answering locals’ questions on how their own homes are affected by the bushfire plan.

Getting the communities feedback, as well as participation, is integral for the bushfire plan that only offers guidelines as each individual property owner is responsible for their own management of bushfire hazard reduction and preparedness.

In what was the only sunny spot on a rainy Sunday lunch time, the QFES lined up their fire trucks and emergency vehicles, fielded questions and illustrated the plan in explicit detail, leaving no stone unturned for locals seeking advice.

In the following weeks, the QFES and other fire services will be visiting properties of note in the Woodwark area to make sure they are bushfire prepared.

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A Plaque That Unites Cultures And Generations

June 4, 2021

A memorial plaque has been approved for placement at Rose Bay, Bowen for two extraordinary members of the Bowen community.

The late William Nicol, who passed in 1966 at the age of 72, and Mary Emily Nicol, aged 80 at the time of her passing in 1984, were Aboriginal Juru Traditional Owners and stalwarts of each community they were involved in.

The two had nine children together in Bowen, owned property on lower Inverdon, Delta and a farm at Euri Creek, before they retired.

Their family has and continues to be a longstanding pillar of the Aboriginal and Bowen Communities.

The Juru people were recognised in 2008 as traditional owners of the land from Bowen down to the Burdekin River, and Juru today are descendants of one of eight native title holders.

William was born at Euri Creek, Bowen in 1894, the son of Aboriginal Juru woman Rosie Wake and Scotsman William Nicol.

William Joseph Nicol lived and worked under the Aboriginal Protection and the Restriction of the Sale of Opium act 1897, which gave him provisional ability to work in the community.

William worked first on Adam John Hallscott’s property, before going on to Strathmore and others in the area. Mr Hallscott advocated and supported William in his application for his certificate of exemption letter, which meant his future children would not be born under the 1894 act’s constraints.

William met Mary, who was of Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander descendant and the two married in 1921.

The legacy of William and Mary Emily Nicol was the advocation for the rights and better life-outcomes of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in both Bowen and Collinsville communities, which their family continues today.

There efforts saw the progression and establishment of the Whitsunday Community Co-Operative, the first Aboriginal community-controlled organisation in Bowen, later becoming the Girudala Community Cooperative Society.

The plaque is an acknowledgement; a step towards a greater and significant partnership between council, the broader community, and Aboriginal Juru descendants and families.

The placement of the plaque is hoped to be a rock on Rose Bay Beach, which has been a meeting place for Aboriginal families for generations.

Families would meet there to hunt for winna (fish) or gungoo (turtles), as well as bumeringun (dugongs), as the water is so calm it made an excellent place to fish.

It was also a place where song and ceremony would occur; a time of sharing and gathering to celebrate culture, family, and community.

The Nicol family’s quest to have a plaque at Rose Bay will be a positive symbol of coming together as one group of Aboriginal Birri-Gubba Juru people, making Bowen a place where culture, community and family can coexist.

By Declan Durrant

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Beaches Off-Bounds To All Vehicles

June 4, 2021

On-the-spot infringement notices will be issued to anyone carrying out illegal activities on beaches and the foreshore areas in the Whitsundays.

After a recent spate of complaints from the community regarding cars, motorbikes and quad bikes driving on the beach and foreshores, Whitsunday Regional Council officers have launched a strong campaign to crack down on these activities.

Council officers will be patrolling the areas regularly and there will be a strong focus on Dingo Beach and Nelly Bay areas.

Driving a 4WD, quad bike or even a trail bike on a beach can damage the natural beach environment, native animals and endanger other beach users.

Vehicle use can disturb the wildlife affecting their survival, potentially damage fragile sand dunes causing erosion and cause disturbance to bird and turtle nests.

Other issues include damage to marine plants at salt pans and an increase in noise causing disturbance to wildlife and nearby residences.

If you witness vehicles unlawfully accessing or using beaches or causing damage to Council property, we encourage you to make a complaint to Whitsunday Regional Council or contact the Queensland Police Service

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Woman’s Best Friend (Good Deed Feed)

June 4, 2021

When Tracey Lorde was driving down the dark highway between Calen and Mt Ossa late one evening, she saw a dog on the side of the road and, unable to leave it there, decided to turn around and bring it home.

This act of bravery and kindness did not end there as, once she brought the dog home, she could see it was desperately unwell.

“She was in a really bad way and had hardly any blood left in her,” said Tracey.

“She must have been bleeding for months.”

Upon closer inspection, the little dog had tumours on the outside of her body, and it became evident the vet bill was going to cost thousands.

Looking for help from the dog-loving community, Tracey put up a post on Facebook and was amazed by the response.

$4,500 was raised and paid directly to Proserpine Vet Surgery, and local vet Kelsey used her own dog, a Rottweiler named Big Rex, to donate his blood for a blood transfusion before operating on the tumours to save her life.

The team of carers used an old identity chip to discover the little dog is called Lily and, at 12 years old she is looking for a forever home.

When Tracey took Lily down to Pet Stock in Cannonvale, she was amazed that people recognised her.

“Someone bought her a blanket, someone else got her a jacket and another person got her a bed,” said Tracey.

“She has everything she needs now, even credit at the vet, and she gets her stitches out today - all she needs now is a forever home.”

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Can You Help Create An Experience Of A Lifetime For Bodhi?

June 4, 2021

Whitsunday tourism operators are invited to extend their hands to a young family by helping them create precious memories for 16-month-old Bodhi who is living with a rare and life-limiting disease.

A call came into the Whitsunday Life office last week from 89-year-old, Ron MackRodt, who had heard the plight of Alysha Martin and Trent Hole, whose son lives with a rare form of mitochondrial disease, known as complex III deficiency, due to mutations in his BCS1L gene.

There are only four cases in Australia and just 30 in the world.

There is no treatment and no cure which means he has a limited life expectancy and is unlikely to live past childhood.

Alysha and Trent decided to turn this devastating news into the only positive they could envision – an opportunity to enjoy as much quality time with their son as they could.

Taking leave from their business, CrossFit Coorparoo, they started travelling Queensland, staying close to medical assistance if needed, while enjoying as many experiences in our beautiful state as possible.

So far, they have visited Australia Zoo and many natural wonders such as waterfalls and beautiful beaches.

“Nothing too extravagant,” said Trent.

“As we are trying to keep the funds and the trip going for as long as possible.”

Currently in Cairns with family, Trent, Alysha, and Bodhi will begin their trip back down the coast in the next few weeks.

Along the way, they will be stopping in the Whitsundays and the team at Whitsunday Life have offered to put a call out on their behalf, for any local businesses who would like to offer them an experience, tour or accommodation while they are here.

If you would like to offer something to this beautiful family please call our office on 0429 035 046 or email production@mackayandwhitsundaylife.com.

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Cowboy Legends Join Reconciliation Journey

June 4, 2021

Bringing Our Cultures Together With Reconciliation Week

As Reconciliation Week was celebrated right across Australia, a local initiative in Bowen brought together Cowboys legend Matthew Bowen and player Reuben Cotter with members of the Juru indigenous community to honour and respect our first nations people.

Reconciliation Week first began in 1993 as a week of prayer and in 2000 Reconciliation Australia was formerly born. That same year 300,000 people walked across Sydney Harbour Bridge to show their support for reconciliation.

Now, events are held in schools, businesses and communities across the nation from 23 May to 3 June every year.

‘Reconciliation in Action’ Event Unites Cultures

Last week 70 people attended a ‘Reconciliation in Action’ event in Bowen which showcased the journey of reconciliation between North Queensland Bulk Ports (NQBP) and the Cowboys.

Working in a collaborative partnership to honour and respect Indigenous and South Sea Islander cultures, the ongoing partnership brings together community leaders to share knowledge and ideas.

The networking event opened with a Welcome to Country and a traditional dance, provided by local Traditional Owners Juru.

After this, Juru Enterprises Limited (JEL) CEO Ricky Dallachy and team leader Jess Vakameilalo talked about the range of opportunities and activities that were being delivered in partnership with the NQBP.

“Through our relationship, we’ve realised some great outcomes, particularly in terms of training and employment opportunities, cultural and heritage awareness, and traditional land management practices,” Mr Dallachy said.

Guests were also inspired by keynote speaker Rochelle Jones’ passion for changing lives in her role as head of NRL Cowboys House, looking after the education and wellbeing of 105 Indigenous youth from 28 remote communities.

A signed Cowboys 2021 Indigenous jersey was also presented to Bowen State School to assist them in their future fundraising efforts.

Since it was launched in 2016, the NQBP and Cowboys partnership has engaged thousands of school children and community members.

NQBP CEO Nicolas Fertin said the annual Bulk Port Blitz program promotes positive changes in the Bowen community through school visits and the networking event.

“We’re very different organisations, but we both believe when everyone has an opportunity to participate, we can make a positive impact in our North Queensland port communities,” Mr Fertin said.

Mr Fertin said the Cowboys partnership is one of NQBP’s largest and longest and promotes positive social outcomes.

“Like the Cowboys, we’re passionate about leading positive change in our communities and fostering strong partnerships with our Traditional Owners,” he said.

“Through our Reconciliation Action Plan we will take practical steps to contribute to reconciliation both internally and externally within our port communities under the key focus areas of relationships, respect, opportunities and governance.”

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Local Legend Wins Australian Swim Teacher Of The Year

June 4, 2021

Airlie Beach Local Danielle Shea, owner of the Airlie Beach Swim School by Danielle won an extraordinary accolade on Sunday night: The Swim Australia Teacher of The Year for 2020.

The Australian Swimming Coaches and Teachers Association (ASCTA) Virtual Awards were held over Zoom on Saturday night, while Danielle sat with her family and staff at home, eagerly awaiting the results.

Interestingly, as her family and friends sat around her, Danielle was aware that she had been awarded the Swim Teacher Of The Year Award, but couldn’t tell anyone until it was formerly announced.

“I actually knew already, but I couldn’t speak about it,” Danielle said.

“It’s an amazing experience, really, that I’ve won; we had a night at my house with all my staff and family!”

When the announcement was made, the champagne was popped and Danielle teared up, hugging her family and friends.

“I put my heart and soul into this job; it’s just my passion. I can’t thank you guys enough for this award,” she said.

Danielle’s exceptional achievement comes on the back of her win last year at the ASCTA Awards, where her school was given the SwimSAFER Award.

Airlie Beach Swim School by Danielle has operated at their pool at Whitsunday Airport, next to Flame Tree, since 2012, teaching babies right through to adults.

Even before she had won the award, Danielle was diving headfirst into new and exciting opportunities as a keynote speaker for Swim Australia in Cairns and Townsville, giving a series of presentations.

She’s been a swimming instructor for 26 years and was thrilled to be recognised on an Australian level for her service to the community of Airlie.

Deeply passionate, kind and caring towards her swimmers and swim-families, all children, as well as their parents, look forward to their lessons with Australia’s Swim Teacher Of The Year.

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Proserpine Nurses Trek For Charity

May 27, 2021

Two nurses from Proserpine Hospital are about to embark on a 225km trek to raise both money and awareness for Type 1 Diabetes, a lifelong illness which affects 120,000 Australians, some of which live here in the Whitsundays.

Siobhan Barlow and Troy Wake are both chronic disease nurses and Siobhan’s 16-year-old son was diagnosed with the illness nine years ago.

“I love helping people and I can empathise with parents who have a child who has been newly diagnosed,” said Siobhan.

“No-one knows where it comes from or what triggers it – we are all very hopeful for a cure.”

Type 1 Diabetes is not caused by eating too much sugar and being overweight, it strikes when your pancreas stops working properly and can be life threatening, a cause and a cure are yet unknown.

People living with Type 1 Diabetes must inject insulin 7-8 times a day and make upwards of 180 decisions each day about the health. This might involve the type of food they eat, exercise, hormones and work commitments.

Siobhan says any advances in treatment are about reducing the daily burden.

This could soon be possible through stem cell research which will implant cells that make insulin. Also, advances in technology such as making a pump that would automatically inject and monitor insulin levels more readily available.

The two nurses will begin their week-long Trek Larapinta from Alice Springs on 23 August this year, joining by 20 other like-minded people who are raising money for the same charity.

Each participant needs to raise $7000 to qualify so the ladies are holding a Drinks and Nibbles Night at Northerlies on Friday 11 June.

Tickets are $65 and include a welcome drink, canapes, an auction, raffles and of course entertainment.

Tickets can be purchased through Whitsunday Tickets.

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Sewerage Plant Helping To Keep Bowen Green

May 27, 2021

Nutrients that would normally make their way from Edgecumbe Bay to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park are reduced by up to 98% as a result of recycled water from the Bowen Sewerage Treatment Plant.

Whitsunday Regional Council’s Whitsunday Water team installed over five kilometres of mains and pipelines as part of the Greening and Growing Bowen project last year.

Whitsunday Regional Councillors recently made a site visit to the upgraded plant, which is one of five that council manage in the region.

Council’s Treatment Operation Manager, Peter Stapleton, took the councillors on a tour, explaining the primary treatment area of the process where all of the inorganic solids and grit are removed so that the biological treatment can't break down.

Mr Stapleton explained that from here, the sewerage goes through an advanced treatment process that can treat up to 3.5ML per day.

This produces a safe effluent that is then pumped to be used on Council and privately owned parkland to assist in greening Bowen.

New smart irrigation systems have been installed in many public green spaces across Bowen, including the Bowen Cemetery, the Bowen foreshore, Mullers Lagoon, the Bowen sportsground, Gideon Pott Park at Queens Beach, Hansen Park and Case Park.

Mayor Andrew Willcox said the high-quality recycled water was reused to irrigate and green Bowen’s parks, sports fields and golf courses.

“This project is a fantastic innovation and a big step forward in greening and growing Bowen for future generations,” he said.

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Chamber Chat

May 27, 2021

Workforce challenges and shortages continue to be one of the biggest issues facing every business in the Whitsundays. In fact, that can be extended to all of Regional Queensland – all industries, not just Toursim are dealing with chronic staff shortages and an inability to find suitable workers.

This is a state wide problem and whilst there is much activity and Government intervention in order to try and alleviate the problem, how well thought out are these plans and incentives?

The shortages are partially caused by the reduction of young international travellers on working visas. These workers were happy to stay in hostels and very basic accommodation in the short term.

Governments are focussing on, and incentivising Australians to move to regional areas to "Work in Paradise" – which is terrific - if only they had somewhere to live. The accommodation and infrastructure shortages need to be immediately addressed.

Getting staff here is only half the battle. They need to be able to stay and until there is a genuine focus on producing more social housing or appropriate short term accommodation options (perhaps along the lines of a workers camp), the staff shortage issue cannot be resolved with half a solution.

Queensland Small Business Month is underway and in conjunction with CCIQ, the Chamber is hosting a Better Business Event focussing on building a more resilient business. There will be a focus on reviewing operations and maximising savings through adopting sustainable practises to significantly reduce energy, waste and water costs

The free event will be held Monday 31st May, 5:30-7:30 at Coral Sea Marina Resort. Go to www.whitsundaycoastchamber.com.au to reserve your spot.

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Pony Club Receives Big Grant

May 27, 2021

The Proserpine based Hack and Pony Club have received an exceptional $22,000 grant from the local government last week, through the Gambling Community Benefit Fund Round 107.

The Proserpine Hack and Pony Club are planning to use the allocated funds to purchase a new trailer, mower, and other valuable equipment like a jump set and portable dressage area.

“The Grant is extremely important, because we’re a small non-profit club and we try to encourage community engagement to keep running,” said treasurer Helle Harris.

“The equipment makes it so much easier because taking it out pole by pole is quite strenuous and takes up a lot of riding time.”

The equestrian club recently celebrated its 60th birthday, and over the club’s lifetime has provided many opportunities to horse lovers and enthusiasts throughout the region.

They regularly hold large events and competitions like jumping and rallies, which draw participants from all across Queensland to Kelsey Creek.

“I would like to congratulate them on securing these funds, which will go a long way to assisting their facilities and operations,” said Member for Whitsunday Amanda Camm MP.

The member visited the club on Thursday, 20 of May, presenting them with the grant money in check form.

The club is also looking for assistance with leasing new grounds before their current lease expires and if you can help would like to ask you reach out through their Facebook page.

L-R Helle Harris, Amanda Camm, Sue Greenhalgh

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Protecting Our Marine Turtles In The Whitsundays

May 27, 2021

Marine turtles in the Whitsundays will have a better chance of survival thanks to a grant received by Whitsunday Regional Council.

The $83,820 grant was provided by the Queensland State Government under Round 6 of the Nest to Ocean Turtle protection program.

It will allow for aerial shooting of feral pigs, the installation of community signs and the development of more marine turtle protection devices.

Whitsunday Regional Council’s Co-ordinator of Natural Resource Management and Climate, Scott Hardy, said there was a problem will feral pigs and wild dogs eating marine turtle eggs.

“Once feral pigs and wild dogs get the taste of turtle eggs, they teach the younger ones to go to the nests on the beach and we can lose 40-60 eggs at once,” he said.

“This has a big impact on the marine turtle population so if we can take out the feral pigs, it helps to maximise the survival rate of the hatchlings,” Mr Hardy said.

The installation of the signs is for the purpose of community information and they will be placed around key foreshore areas.

The protection devices are cages which will be placed over the turtle nests to protect them from predators around coastal urban areas, with the help of community members.

The aerial shooting will take place south of Midge Point, around Abbott Point and south of Home Hill.

There are seven species of marine turtles in the world and six of them are found in Australia.

The most common marine turtle species in the Whitsunday region is the Green Sea Turtle which is a protected species.

The turtles in the Whitsundays are known to lay eggs on Whitsunday beaches from November through to February.

The Federal Government’s Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment lists the Green Turtle, Hawksbill Turtle and Flatback Turtles as vulnerable which means that they may become endangered if threats continue.

Marine turtles are believed to have been around for about 150 million years.

Mr Hardy said the protection of marine turtles and their nests was important and that the state government grant would go a long way towards ensuring the survival of them in the Whitsunday region.

He said the sole purpose of the grant was to protect marine turtles and their nests.

Image: Feral pigs eat turtle eggs

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Eco Barge Clean-Up Day Success

May 27, 2021

Eco Barge Clean Seas, as part of their ongoing Partnership with Cruise Whitsunday, launched off on Sunday morning to collect rubbish that litters the roadsides of Airlie Beach.

The goal for the non-profit was to continue the stream of their successful Marine Debris Removal Program, which had a successful Clean Up Australia Day in November last year.

The group has totalled an enormous 200,000 kilograms of removed marine debris and litter from the Whitsundays since July 2009.

Last Sunday, twenty members of the community signed up for the marine debris removal day, collecting over 230 jugs, as well as other garbage, in their land-based clean-up.

Each volunteer was given an Eco Barge garbage bag and pair of gloves, then marched off in all directions to help keep the coastlines clean.

The group of volunteers began their mission at 9am, meeting at the Cruise Whitsunday Terminal before heading off along the roadsides and beachfronts of Airlie.

They returned at 11.30am with welcome arms from the Eco Barge team who provided a morning tea while the group counted their tally of collected rubbish.

The clean-up day coincided with World Turtle Day, which brings attention to, and increases the knowledge of and respect for, turtles and tortoises, and encourages human action to help them survive and thrive.

If you would like to know more or register as a volunteer for Eco Barge, please visit their website www.ecobargecleanseas.org.au

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More Holiday Dollars Up For Grabs

May 27, 2021

The release of an extra 2000 vouchers for Whitsunday Holiday Dollars last week has been welcomed by local tourism operators.

As soon as the first 6,000 Whitsundays Holiday Dollars went out the door, Tourism Whitsundays opened up another 2,000 vouchers.

The vouchers allow Queensland residents over the age of 18 to take advantage of a discount of up to 50 per cent (up to $200) off local tours and experiences.

Julie Telford from Red Cat Adventures said the initiative had been a great success and she welcomed the release of more vouchers.

“It really has been incredible for Red Cat. It has been one of our biggest months for bookings since Covid. It has helped us get through an historically low part of season and allowed us to keep our staff employed,” she said.

“We are very grateful and thankful to Tourism Whitsundays and of course to the state government for the initiative.”

If you don’t have a voucher and you are a Queensland resident over 18, you should email holidaydollars@tourismwhitsundays.com.au with a photo of the front of your Queensland drivers’ licence and postcode as soon as possible so you don’t miss out.

Chief Executive Officer of Tourism Whitsundays, Tash Wheeler, encouraged people with vouchers to book as soon as possible.

“If you have a voucher, but have not yet booked your tour or experience, book ASAP.

“You can travel anytime between now and June 30, but if you don’t book and the bucket of voucher funds runs out, you might miss out,” she said.

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St Cath’s Enjoy Beautiful Day Of Fun At Under 8’s Celebration

May 27, 2021

St Catherine’s Catholic College hosted it’s Under 8’s Day last Friday morning for kids from day care, school, playgroups and the community to come and celebrate.

The schoolyard was littered with marquees at St Cath’s Junior Campus, each hosting activities for the kids to enjoy; from instruments to arts and crafts, and a dinosaur play station with stegosaurus and t-rex toys to name a few.

These booths were backed by SES Whitsundays and Proserpine emergency services like the fire department, Proserpine Police, and Aviation Fire Rescue, each of whom brought emergency vehicles for the kids to sit behind the wheels of.

A year 6 flash mob rushed to the centre of the playground to the sound of The Weekend’s ‘Blinding Lights’, showing off their choreographed dance to proud parents as well, before rushing off to enjoy a sausage sizzle, and fruit from Airlie Woolworths.

Principal Luke Thomson was proud of how the day turned out, with the excellent array of activities for kids and parents to enjoy.

Mr Thompson noted the importance of days like this for St Cath’s, as it shows off the schools’ excellent new facilities that some locals may not know about, like the school’s new kindergarten.

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Resilience Project Inspires Local Youth

May 27, 2021

Representatives from the NQ Cowboys came to the Whitsundays last week to launch the Resilience Project at Proserpine State School.

On Monday afternoon school children listened to inspiring words by sports star Ray Thompson who introduced the project in a meaningful way by sharing his story of coping with disappointment through the three key resilience strategies of gratitude, empathy and mindfulness.

Principal Rob Templeton said the students were in awe of how Ray managed to turn setbacks into positive life lessons by following the strategies.

“These are stories the kids can connect with and delivering them through the Cowboys, who shared their real life stories, made them even more engaging,” he said.

“The Resilience Project is now embedded in our health program as well as positive behaviour for learning and will become part of our school culture for students as well as staff.”

Over 1000 schools across Australia have participated in the Resilience Project since its inception in 2008.

Hugh van Cuylenburg created the project after a volunteering expedition to North India where he was blown away by how happy people living in impoverished communities were, despite having very little.

After watching their behaviour he learnt that the three key principals of gratitude, empathy and mindfulness were being used every day in these communities and so decided to bring these powerful strategies back to Australia to help teachers, students, parents, workplaces, community leaders and sporting clubs.

Proserpine State School teacher Lucy Robinson-Tillett was so inspired by the project and everything it stands for that she believes it would benefit almost anyone in the community.

She decided to turn a school mural into a gratitude tree with blackboard leaves so that different classes could write what they are thankful for each week on a rotational basis.

“I was so impressed by Ray as a facilitator,” said Mrs Robinson-Tillett

“He wasn’t talking about it just as a concept, it had obviously had a big impact on his life as well.”

Principal Templeton said the program will be rolled out for years four, five and six and was also adopted by the Proserpine State High School last year. This means the two schools are now aligned through a common language which will help as the students’ progress through the years.

“Gratitude, empathy and mindfulness are three simple words but put together they create a powerful message,” said Rob Templeton.

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Under 8’s Big Morning Out At Prossie State

May 27, 2021

Proserpine State School celebrated the national Under 8’s Week with a ‘Big Morning Out’ event last Thursday morning and over 500 people attended.

Choosing the theme of ‘children celebrating outdoor play and learning’, the school came alive with fun and activity which saw different community groups as well as older students host activities for the younger children to enjoy.

From face painting to rubber duck fishing, rice play, hands on science, pasta necklaces, indigenous games and fence painting - there was an enormous variety of interactive pursuits for all to enjoy.

Also in attendance that morning were the emergency services – Police, Ambulance, Fire and Rescue, the Rural Fire Service, the SES and Aviation Fire Service.

Many of these had mascots who wondered through the crowd entertaining all the children.

Coordinator Sue Connors has been with the school for 35 years and organising the event for 15 of those years. She said that by 11am they had  given out 550 sausages and iced 300 biscuits.

“I love this event because there is no pass or fail,” said Ms Connors.

“It’s all about the experience and having fun!”

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Celebrating Small Business Month

May 27, 2021

Finding staff is one of the key challenges facing small business in the area, according to the Member for Whitsunday, Amanda Camm.

As Small Business Month comes to an end, Ms Camm has reflected on the feedback she received from small owners in the Whitsunday region.

The State Member held events in Airlie Beach and Proserpine during the month of May to connect with people owning and operating small business.

“Small Business Month was an opportunity to thank businesses for hanging in there,” she said.

“It was a chance to connect with them and make them aware of current grants.

“The main issues that small business owners raised with me was the difficulties in finding staff, due to the lack of affordable housing in the area.”

Ms Camm said it had been a difficult 12 months for many in our business community, especially those in tourism.

“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and I will always advocate and support our operators in the community,” she said.

Meanwhile, the Queensland Government has announced three new small business grant programs worth $25 million over two years.

The Business Basics, Business Boost and Business Growth Fund grants will target specific groups.

More information on these grants is available on the Business Queensland website.

Small business owners should also be aware of several announcements in the recent Federal Government Budget.

This includes the temporary investment tax incentive that has been extended for a further 12 months until June 30, 2023.

Businesses with a turnover up to $5 billion will be able to deduct the full cost of any eligible asset they purchase for their business, including the cost of improvements to existing assets, until June 30, 2023.

Image: Member for Whitsunday Amanda Camm with the team at Buttercup Lane in Proserpine

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Coral Sea Marina Sails Home With Marine Industry Honours

May 27, 2021

The ASMEX Australian Marine Industry Awards 2021 were hosted last week at Intercontinental Sanctuary Cove just south of Brisbane, which took place during the 2021 ASMEX conference.

The event is the marine industries night of nights, celebrating the achievements of the last year for businesses and individuals working in Australian Superyacht, Commercial Marine and Marine Export Industries.

Coral Sea Marina Resort was awarded the Superyacht Industry Service Provider of the Year at the gala dinner, an award contested by 10 superyacht industry service providers across the country.

The award recognises a business’ services to the Superyacht sector with the category judged by an experienced panel of marine industry leaders.

Coral Sea Marina Resort has long shown a commitment and passion towards building a destination marina that attracts superyachts.

“We are honoured to be recognised with this prestigious award,” said Coral Sea Marina CEO, Kate Purdie.

“Visiting Superyachts are an integral part of the Whitsundays’ economy, and delivering outstanding service is a true team effort.’

Roxanne Bowden, Coral Sea Marina Brand Experience Manager said that the superyacht sector has a huge impact on the local economy, from the provisioning of food to florists, decorators, entertainers and marine services, not to mention the arrival of crew and charterers, boosting the accommodation industry.

“By placing ourselves as a vibrant superyacht hub, at the gateway to the Whitsunday Islands and Great Barrier Reef, we are shining a light on Airlie Beach on an international scale and showcasing the Whitsundays region as a destination of choice,” Ms Bowden said.

The Whitsunday and Great Barrier Reef regions were impacted by the domestic and international travel restrictions proving a challenging year for Queensland tourism.

Coral Sea Marina is hoping the award will help with the recovery of the region as they host a range of Superyachts migrating north over the winter charter season

Image: Front and centre, Joscelyn O’Keefe from Coral Sea Marina alongside the other award winners

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