Whitsunday Region Community News

Whitsunday Coast Airport Wins National Award

Whitsunday Coast Airport Wins National Award

The dedicated team at Whitsunday Coast Airport (WCA) is celebrating after being voted the “Best Large Regional Airport” at the Australian Airports Association Annual Award in Adelaide last Friday night.

Read the full story
Editor's Note

Editor's Note

Hi Everyone,This week I took a trip down to Mackay and went on a tour of our recycling plant so I could see firsthand where all our recycling goes – it was informative, educational, and also fun!

Read the full story
No Gesture Too Big, Or Too Small

No Gesture Too Big, Or Too Small

Last week in the Good Deed Feed we told the story of a kind stranger who paid someone’s $280 shopping bill at a local supermarket.The other customer’s bank card was not working, and the good Samaritan simply reached forward and used his card to pay the enormous bill saying only: “I got you mate”.

Read the full story
On The Beat

On The Beat

Police charged a 41-year-old man in relation to the alleged discovery of a large number of e-cigarettes/vapes at a property in Jubilee Pocket.During the execution of a search warrant at a Jubilee Pocket Road address on November 18, Police allege the finding of a large quantity of the devices in the property’s garage.

Read the full story
Advertising Banner

Flying Fox Plague: “The Worst I’ve Seen In 30 Years”

November 24, 2022

At its peak, there were over 26,000 Flying Foxes roosting in trees throughout Collinsville and although this number has now dropped to as little as 3000, Collinsville resident Graham Buckley said the issue remains a big one.

“Council have been successful at moving them out of the yards, but on public land they are still a nuisance,” he said.

“Kids can’t use the play park and we are all still disturbed by the noise and the smell, having to wash everything.

“If they are going to come back again next year – what is Council going to do to help? – what they’ve done so far is just a temporary fix, we want to get rid of them permanently.”

Scott Hardy, Manager Natural Resource Management and Climate for Whitsunday Regional Council said that Flying Foxes are causing issues in towns along the Queensland coast.

In recent months, his team have been in contact with other Councils to share experiences in managing Flying fox roosts but, unfortunately, there does not seem to be an easy or quick answer to the problem.

“Pelican Park is a roost site,” he said.

“However, once the flying fox leave in the next few weeks, the council will put in place a number of actions for when they return to deter them.

“Once the first flying fox are sighted next year, Council will undertake smoking and install the inflatable wavy men to deter the Flying fox scouts from settling.”

Both these measures have proven successful this year and Council are hoping that implementing the measures prior to numbers soaring will mean Flying Foxes will move on and not settle for the season.

In the meantime, Mr Hardy said that Council staff have re-commenced the mowing and maintenance activities in the park.

“Council is also considering a smoking action in the park to move them out, however, the risk is that they will go into residential properties,” he said.

Read More

Christmas Carols This Week!

November 24, 2022

With Christmas inching forward every week, so are the community celebrations that we hold dear at this time of year.

Bringing us all together with song and sentiment are our annual Christmas Carols which are held in separate events across the region.

This year make sure you save the date for an event closest to you:

Bowen Soundshell – Saturday, November 26 from 6pm to 10pm

Proserpine State High School – Wednesday, November 30 from 5pm

Airlie Beach Foreshore – Sunday, December 4 from 4pm

Collinsville Lions Park - Sunday, December 4 from 6pm to 8pm

Read More

“Persistence And Pressure” Get The Bruce Moving

November 24, 2022

Major Bruce Highway upgrades that were abandoned in February have finally begun moving again as a new contractor is appointed and work commences after a nine-month delay.

The $68.85 million worth of contract works across three sites between Ayr and Proserpine have recommenced this week as the Queensland Government replace previous contractor WBHO Infrastructure.

The South-African company entered voluntary administration in the early stages of 2022, downing tools on its Australian worksites and leaving the State Government holding the bag.

Federal Member for Dawson Andrew Willcox announced the appointment by the government’s Department of Transport and Main Roads of a new contractor to complete the Emu Creek to Drays Road and Bowen Connection Road to Champion Street construction after “persistence and pressure” on his part.

Alongside State Member for Burdekin Dale Last, Mr Willcox campaigned on behalf of the region’s road users to see the Bruce Highway Upgrade continue.

Mr Willcox said a new contractor has begun the Emu Creek and Drays Road section as of November 21, with a separate contractor due to finish the Bowen portions of the upgrade.

“A second contactor will be coming on board to complete the Bowen Connection Road and Bowen Connection Road to Champion Street with construction expected to resume in early 2023,” Mr Willcox said.

“We are one tiny step closer to a road that we deserve, and I'll be watching this progress with interest.”

In comments earlier this year, Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey apologised on behalf of the Queensland Government and said they “hoped” the work could be completed in 2023.

Federal Member for Dawson, Andrew Willcox said a new contractor will begin works on the Bruce Highway upgrades in Bowen in early 2023

Read More

Who Stole Santa?

November 24, 2022

A creation that was full of good sentiment and festive cheer has been vandalised just one week after it was placed outside a property on the Bruce Highway, 24 kilometres north of Proserpine.

A group of residents had spent weeks planning and crafting the Christmas display which includes a Christmas tree out of recycled timber and recycled decorations.

Much of the display is hand-painted, home-made and created with love.

Once complete, Santa took pride of place, sitting on a reclaimed chair at the centre of the display and bringing Christmas joy to hundreds of motorists who would pass by each day.

Unfortunately, just one week and a day after it was finished, the heart of the display was destroyed when vandals ripped poor Santa off at his torso and stole him.

One of the display’s creators, Zano Thorpe, said that she is disappointed that their festive cheer was destroyed by such a Grinch.

“We wanted to do something to make people smile, to make people happy as they travel up and down the road,” she said.

“It was just a simple gesture to make people smile, but now it is gone without a trace.”

Imploring the culprits to come forward, Zano said that if they bring Santa back, they will not be in any trouble.

“Leave him on the ground next to the chair with a note of apology – we don’t need to know your name – Christmas is still a while away – it’s never too late to bring Santa back.”

The Christmas display in its full glory before Santa got stolen

The display after it was destroyed by vandals

Santa has lost his head over this!

Photos supplied

Read More

Beep! Beep! Volunteer Drivers Wanted!

November 24, 2022

Up to eight patients without their own transport need to travel from their homes in the Whitsundays to Mackay Base Hospital each day and a brand new mini-bus will allow them to travel with ease – it just needs a reliable driver.

Are you retired or can you spare some time to volunteer?

By simply holding a regular driver’s licence, you can sign-up to offer your services for as little time or as often as you want.

The new LDV mini bus has been purchased with funds provided by Whitsunday Regional Council with plans to operate the service on a daily basis commencing in January.

All fuel, maintenance, insurance and registration costs for the vehicle are covered by Mackay Hospital Foundation and generously supported with funds from Macrossan and Amiet Charitable Foundation.

There will be three central pick-up locations in Cannonvale, Proserpine and Bloomsbury commencing early morning with departure from Mackay Base Hospital by 3.30pm each day, making the final drop-off point at Cannonvale around 5.30pm daily.

All patients will be fit to travel and be able to board and exit the vehicle without assistance.

While in Mackay, drivers will have an area in the hospital to sit, relax and enjoy a cup of tea or coffee, or they are free to visit family and friends or carry out errands while waiting for patients.

If you’re willing to donate some time for a good cause, have a current drivers’ licence, live in the Whitsundays, and are interested in being a Patient Transport driver, Mackay Hsopital Foundation would love to hear from you.

For all enquiries, please contact Brenda McFadzen at Mackay Hospital Foundation on 4885 5924 or 4885 5915. Email Brenda.McFadzen@health.qld.gov.au.

To find out more information about Mackay Hospital Foundation, visit

https://www.mackayhospitalfoundation.com.au/

The new LDV mini-bus has been purchased with funds provided by Whitsunday Regional Council

Read More

Division 2 By-Election - What you really want to know

November 24, 2022

Andy Camm

As a real estate agent, do you think people will consider your role as Councillor to be a conflict of interest?

That is my biggest concern that I am an agent, and the public will see that as being a problem. At Council meetings, if something is brought up about development, I have to leave the room, and I like that policy because then there is no conflict. I can still give my opinion, but I’ve got to leave the room when they make decisions about planning.

Also, no-one can take any donation from a developer, it’s the number one thing on the ‘no-no’ list and I was happy when I read that because I have had a property person come to me and say they wanted to back me and I told them they couldn’t. That’s just how it is.

Your cousin Amanda Camm is the current state member for Whitsunday, do you think this gives you an edge over the other candidates?

I’ve always had an interest in politics, last year when Andrew Willcox ran for Dawson, it was thrown at me to put my name in for Mayor and I said no – that’s a full-time role and I can’t do it. But Amanda has always said – at least have a go at local government – she’s always been an advocate for that. Amanda has done a lot with local government before she went to state, so I will absolutely lean on her for advice.

Can you confirm where you live? If not in Cannonvale, how do you expect to serve the people in that zone?

I live in Conway at the moment, but you don’t have to be living in your seat to run, you only have to be living in the Whitsunday region. Having said that, I do believe the candidate should live in the area they are representing. In fact, I’ve got a block of land under contract at Whitsunday Lakes which is in Division 2. In addition, since 1998 my wife and I have owned six properties in Cannonvale. My postal address is Proserpine at the moment though.

We have recently published articles about local councillors working full time in another industry while receiving 70K p/year to work as a Councillor part-time. Given people in our community are working 40 + hours per week on a minimum wage, where do you sit on this?

Really good question. I’ve already spoken to the other Councillors to find out what sort of hours they are doing and it ranges anywhere from 10 to 30 a week. I am lucky because real estate is a very flexible job, if I was to become the new Councillor for Division 2, I’ve just got to be better with time management and I’ve got to work more hours. If I need to work seven days a week I will. I don’t want people to think this is a part time role, because it is not going to be.

As Tourism is one of our largest industries, what knowledge do you have of our local reef, its current condition and what is being done to help it?

It is critical that the natural beauty of the Whitsundays is managed properly. As the town has grown there doesn’t seem to be much management and planning. I would like to see us get people out of this district to see how other towns have been managed – Noosa is a good example.

Chris Harvey

As Tourism is one of our largest industries, what experience of that sector do you have? What knowledge do you have of our local the reef, its current condition and what is being done to help it?

Tourism is the main industry in both Division 2 and 1, I’d be keen to learn more about it for sure and where I can help. I have volunteered before with the Great Barrier Reef Festival and other events down here. I’ve also run on Whitehaven Beach with a Hamilton Island event. If we can get more people in to see the beauty of the reef, the islands, and the location then I’m all for it. It brings in extra money and extra jobs.

Can you confirm where you live? If not in Cannonvale, how do you expect to serve the people of Cannonvale and understand the issues in that zone?

I live in Proserpine, but I’ve always had a tie to Airlie Beach, my family is fourth generation from the area. My mum had shops in town when I was growing up and this is just an extension of Proserpine to me. It’s just another township that I’ve come to three or four times a week, running along the boardwalk, things like that.

Working in the trades industry, how does any experience you have relate to the business of politics? How do you think you will manage to have a voice in the local government?

With all the volunteering organisations I am part of, I feel like I’ve got a good basis of ground support where I can hear problems and ideas from the community. I am not just isolated to one organisation. I am part of the SES, Ambulance Committee, and others. There are so many good resources here in the electorate that I’ve got great ties with.

We have recently published articles about local councillors working full time in another industry while receiving 70K p/year to work as a Councillor part-time. Given people in our community are working 40 + hours per week on a minimum wage, where do you sit with this?

Financially, where I sit right now, I need to keep working. I’ve always worked two jobs; I am an auxiliary firefighter too. Being a Councillor would enable me to free up more time away from my full-time job to attend meetings and see people in the community. Instead of a seven-day roster, I’ll do a three day roster a fortnight so I get more hours in the day to be a Councillor. I would love to do it full-time but financially at the moment I can’t.

You mentioned in your last Q&A that you would like to see more footpaths and electric car charging points? Given the rental/living crisis our entire region is facing, do you think focusing on this issue is as important?

It kind of goes hand in hand, there’s a lot of people who can’t afford things like fuel in their car to travel. If you give them another means of travelling that doesn’t cost them anything, like riding a pushbike on a footpath. That’s one way they could save a lot of money to afford to live a good lifestyle. This makes the environment cleaner and it makes people healthier and live longer.

Clay Bauman

Where do you live, and do you believe it’s important for a Councillor to live within their electorate?

I live at Eshelby Drive in Cannonvale and Division 2 starts at the roundabout at the end of Eshelby Drive. So I am in Division 1. It is still a boundary but I live in Cannonvale, I am right there every day and I would have to live with the consequences of the decisions I make.

As Tourism is one of our largest industries, what knowledge do you have of our local reef, its current condition and what is being done to help it?

When I first came here, I did a lot of work on the Maxi Ragamuffin – when we went into Mackerel Bay for the first time, I started picking up rubbish. Then by the end of it, all the guests were picking up rubbish too. We took about 14 large bags of rubbish off! That was the sentiment of the tourists who used to come here.

In the 2017 Economic Development Plan we were promised a report on how many people can live in the area, and we need the same to happen out there too. We need to know when we are going to reach full development and then start planning from there back.

We need to spread the load, have other spots to take the tourists to. You cannot overload what’s out there and think you’ll be able to keep the quality up.

We have recently published articles about local councillors working full time in another industry while receiving 70K p/year to work as a Councillor part-time. Given people in our community are working 40 + hours per week on a minimum wage, where do you sit on this?

I already put at least 30 hours a week commitment into volunteering for the community and I already go to Council meetings regularly in my own time. It is very much a commitment that I already have that, if elected, I would be building upon. I do freelance video work, but I’ve always been lifestyle balanced. I also manage private sailing boats to get away from the computer, but I’ve already started to thin those out and delegate some away. As a freelancer I can choose to take on what I want to and being a Councillor would become my primary gig.

For many years you have been fighting against Council on causes that often dominate Council meetings. How do you think you can change your mindset so you can work effectively as a team member with the rest of the Councillors and Mayor so as not to get bogged down in the detail?

I’ve always gone in there with the intention to improve the quality of the information that is being given to the Councillors to make their decisions. I’ve always been in accordance with the local government act working for them to try and improve themselves.

I will go in and confront them when I think a recommendation has been made that I find hard to agree with. I’ve stood by my guns, but I’ve always been polite and respectful no matter how long I’ve been drawn out trying to get responses from Council. I’ve always accepted it’s just patience and commitment, it’s not about getting angry and demanding a response.

Dan Popovich

You are the only candidate that lives in the Division 2 electorate, how important do you think it is to be living within your electorate?

I think it is very important and very relevant standing as a Councillor that you are from the very Division that you intend to represent. I think it shows you have commitment and ‘skin in the game’. That doesn’t mean to say that candidates that don’t live in the Division do not have some value and worth, but I do absolutely think being a resident within the Division itself is very important.

We have recently published articles about local councillors working full time in another industry while receiving 70K p/year to work as a Councillor part-time. Given people in our community are working 40 + hours per week on a minimum wage, where do you sit with this?

I am going to be allocating half my time to my day job and half my time during the week to the Councillor role. If face-to-face meetings are required we will have a couple of days a week where they can be facilitated and if there are other things over the weekend I will be available for those also.

When Julie Hall was voted in as Mayor, you donated to her campaign. How did that unfold and was that influential in your decision to run for Councillor?

I contributed to Julie Hall’s campaign because we thought she would be a fresh face within the shire. I don’t feel there is any conflict of interest in that. The fact that we supported Julie and her campaign is just part of the process and we are pleased that she got elected.

I think it shows there is a change in our community, maybe a bit of a changing of the guard, and if that’s the case then I am a similar sort of person to bring some change in the community and represent the new views as well.

Given that you donated to Julie’s election campaign, what can you say to those who may think you would be a yes-man to anything she votes for in council meetings?

I will absolutely be my own man and I am there on behalf of the rate payers in my Division. Ethics and professionalism is what I do in my daily job and it’s the sort of thing that would carry through to my role as Councillor.

During COVID you were vocal about not getting vaccinated, to the point where you turned away clients who had been vaccinated. Can you please explain?

I was not anti-vax, I am pro-choice. It’s important that we have bodily autonomy and that’s something that is enshrined in international law and Federal law that we cannot be coerced or blackmailed, even in times of national emergency, to undergo a medical procedure that we do not consent to.

The issue about treating people who have been vaccinated is a clinical decision based on State and federal health information and guidance which indicates that there is a risk, albeit a rare risk, that vaccinations can cause micro-clots in the body and therefore manual therapy could dislodge a micro-clot and have some consequence that we wouldn’t like to be responsible for.

It was a very hard decision to make because we had been treating many people for years, but we felt it was best practice and best interest for the patient and the practitioner.

Read More

Collinsville’s $7.5 Billion Wind And Solar Power Plan

November 24, 2022

Over 180,000 hectares across multiple grazing properties near Collinsville will soon be transformed into a Green Energy Hub, utilising the power of the sun and wind to create up to 3,000 megawatts of clean energy, while still utilising the land for pasture and complementing its pre-existing purpose.

One of the largest projects of its kind in Queensland, the Collinsville Green Energy Hub is an initiative of major renewable energy company Ark Energy.

Playing a significant role in the Queensland Government’s goal of sourcing 50 per cent of the state’s energy needs from renewable sources by 2030 and the Australian Government’s Climate Change Bill 2022 to reach net zero by 2050, this project hopes to be a game-changer for local industry.

Set to generate $1 billion in local and regional expenditure, the Green Energy Hub will create 350 jobs during construction and 15 to 30 jobs for operation thereafter.

Having recently been toll-gated to the next stage of the feasibility study, referred to as the final development stage, Collinsville locals can expect to see a range of significant studies take place in the coming months.

These include civil and electrical design, installation of meteorological masts, deployment of additional mobile wind monitoring units, ecological surveys, initiation of planning and environmental approvals, and plans for grid connection.

This follows early feasibility studies including landholder engagement, Autumn ecology surveys, wind resource monitoring, and conceptual civil and electrical design.

Ark Energy is engaging with a broad cross section of stakeholders as part of detailed stakeholder and community engagement plans, and the proposal will be subject to a rigorous assessment process under both the Queensland Government and Australian Government.

There will also be a permanent information centre for the project at 47 Railway Road in Collinsville which will provide convenient access to a local point of contact and extended members of the project team.

This Saturday, Ark Energy will be hosting a community connection event at the information centre and everyone is invited to come down and find out more about the Green Energy Hub.

This is an opportunity to ask questions, learn about how you can get involved and see how we can all work together to maximise the benefits of this project.

There will be a breakfast cart sausage sizzle plus an impressive LEGO wind turbine set to be won.

Project updates will also be issued regularly and there will be plenty of opportunities to provide input through local information sessions.

The Ark Energy team can also be contacted directly at any time by phone on 1800 731 296 or email to info@collinsvillehub.com.au.

Fast Facts:

• Set to generate $1 billion in local and regional expenditure

• 350 jobs during construction and 15-30 jobs for operation

• Target investment decision: 2025

• Target completion: 2030

• Capacity of up to 3,000 Megawatts produced

• Result in a net reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of 3,000,000 t CO2-e / yr.

WHAT: Collinsville Green Energy Hub Community Event

WHEN: Saturday, November 26 from 8.30am and to 12pm

WHERE: 45 47 Railway Road Collinsville

Read More

Scooter Sensation Arrives In Airlie Beach

November 24, 2022

You might have spotted a new tourism experience coasting around Airlie Beach, the sun glittering off their vibrant chrome finish.

Local business ‘Scoot In Style’ launched this week, renting out its vespas armada of 30 chrome scooters from various Airlie Beach locations, their stylish colouring hoping to capitalise on the town’s party and paradise atmospheres.

Owner of Scoot In Style Mohammad ‘Mosey’ Nahas said the business plan was born when Whitsunday locals would ask him where he got his own chrome, turquoise scooter. The answer: The professional car wrapper had fixed it up himself. And that was when the idea hatched in the owner of ProPaintworks Airlie Beach’s mind.

“Everywhere I went on my scooter, there would be a person asking. I’d be driving down the middle of Airlie Beach and someone would shout out: Where’d you get that scooter from!” Mosey said.

“And I thought about it. When you go to Thailand or Bali, you have to get a scooter. In Airlie Beach, I thought, there’s all boat tours, everything on the water, but nothing here on the mainland. That’s where the idea came from.”

The custom, unique scooters were soon coined Scoot In Style, and Mosey fitted them with a chrome finish, white, crocodile skin seats, and whitewall tires. The target audience: anyone on a party of any variety, whether it be bucks, wedding, or birthday.

But Mosey said the major demographic Scoot In Style’s appealed to was tourists.

“Driving down Airlie Beach esplanade on coloured bikes, each with unique names like our Arabian Copper wrapped scooter nicknamed Chewbacca, or a silver bad boy with the title of Silver Surfer, there’s nothing like it,” Mosey said.

“We wanted something funny, fun, cool, and that makes you smile.

“There’s nothing like it in Airlie Beach. These 50cc, 60-kilometre-per-hour scooters that you can take around to Shute Harbour, get photos with, and just enjoy yourself. Anyone can drive them.

“You ride these scooters, people look at you; they point at you. And when you’re in a gang with others on their pink, green, white, silver, you’re having an absolute blast. You can’t help but smile and people are smiling at you when you ride past them.”

Mosey, who moved to the region alongside his partner, has lived and worked in Airlie Beach for eight years. And the car-wrapper by trade is celebrating the anniversary in his own style.

“We’re going to be everywhere in Airlie Beach – people have been calling me up like crazy already, asking where they can get them,” he said.

“We’re already thinking about where they can go next. Maybe Yeppoon or the Gold Coast; places that are a bit like Airlie Beach where you don’t need to be anywhere else.

“The bikes are perfect for that. Everything you need is at your fingertips and that’s it, you’re set once you’ve put that helmet on.”

Scoot In Style vespas are rentable from various locations across Airlie beach.

Mohammad ‘Mosey’ Nahas has launched his new tourism business this week, sending his fleet of rentable chrome scooters out on Airlie Beach

Read More

Get A Pre-Christmas Dental Check Now

November 24, 2022

Jingle bells, a gum that swells, could ruin your Christmas break!

Ensure your holiday plans don’t get sidelined by sickness this Christmas.

The human immune system is the thing that keeps us free from infection. Scientists, Doctors and Dentists are always trying to get a better understanding of it. What do we find? It is a very, very complicated place. Often, they find the links behind the most unlikely of events.

Did you know that effective brushing can reduce pneumonia, a leading cause of death in hospitals, by up to 50 per cent!

New studies show that the more furry your teeth feel, the more likely you are to be susceptible to viruses like Covid. One common bacteria causing gums to swell and bleed, P. Gingivalis, has also been found to leave the mouth open to virus attack.

Bleeding gums are a sign that the balance of health is failing. A check-up and clean can get you back on track.

Get your dentist and hygienist to fix holes and check your cleaning technique is keeping the bugs to a minimum.

Make use of your benefits from health funds, before they run out, to get your mouth fighting fit.

Giving yourself the best chance of being healthy this Christmas starts now and we at Airlie Smile Care wish all the community a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Contributed by Dr Cormac Farrell and the Team at Airlie Smile Care.

Don’t let your holiday plans be ruined by tooth ache, be proactive and ensure your teeth are good to go this Christmas!

Read More

The Art of Listening?

November 24, 2022

Are you willing to have your mind changed?

If only we listened with the intent to just listen. Unfortunately, we have been hard-wired with the intent to reply – which doesn’t make us that effective at listening at all.

Neuroscience tells us we speak at an average of 125 words per minute, listen at 400 words per minute and think at 900 words per minute.

If so, how do we master the art of quietening our mind to truly listen to someone?

True listening starts with the willingness to have our mind changed – not to be ‘right’ or perceived as the smartest in the room.

When we open up our mindset and invite others’ opinions, perceptions and experiences we are truly creating a learning environment for us and those around us, whilst simultaneously demonstrating empathy and respect.

Surely the world would benefit from more learning environments and less opinion-based environments.

So, let’s all demonstrate empathy, respect and promote learning environments by learning the art of really listening.

Contributed with thanks to Judy Porter from Shiift

Read More

Zonta Annual Scholarship Awards “More Than Worthy” Recipients

November 24, 2022

Four Year 12 graduates from the Whitsundays were announced as the recipients of a series of local Zonta Club scholarships which will help them pursue tertiary schooling across the country.

St Catherine’s College Proserpine graduates Ella Crossley, Sienna Sobott, and Annabel Danvers were awarded with $1,000 Zonta scholarships each, while Maddison Scott Fitzgerald was awarded the Laura Morrison Scholarship.

The Laura Morrison Memorial Bequest Scholarship of $2,000 commemorates the gift's late namesake, Laura Morrison, a previous treasurer of the Zonta Club of the Whitsundays who passed away suddenly in 2020.

Remembered for her generosity, love of the Zonta Club, and desire to support the education of women, Mrs Morrison’s legacy lives on as part of the scholarship package, which has been awarded annually since her death.

President of the Zonta Club of the Whitsundays, Dianne Truman said this year’s process to determine what is normally a singular scholarship expanded into four separate grants.

“Maddison was a class above the rest in representing the values of the Zonta Club and what we were looking for in a Laura Morrison scholarship recipient,” Ms Truman said.

“But each was so worthy on their own right that we simply could not overlook them. We had the funding, and so now we have four very talented, beautiful young women receiving our support.”

Each graduate will be utilising their funds to study tertiary education in either Sydney or Melbourne.

Maddison Fitzgerald, who is also a founding member of the St Cath’s Z Club, said the feeling of receiving the Laura Morrison Scholarship was a “massive relief.”

“It’s such a weight off my shoulders. Two grand is a lot of money and this will cover a large amount the expenses for my study,” she said.

Maddison will be studying Forensic Psychology with the funds.

Zonta members, Award Winners Annabel Danvers, Ella Crossley, Bridget Patullo, Maddison Scott Fitzgerald, Sienna Sobott, and Year 12 Teacher at St Catherine’s College Shantae Ryle

Read More

Swimming Pools, Bra Fittings, Music, And More…

November 24, 2022

What does it mean to own a pool?

To some it can mean a place to cool off; somewhere to relax throughout the day. It can be a place for exercise. For family.

To Sue Martin, having a pool has been an entire life aspiration. For her, water was “peace, calm, and tranquillity.” And a place for her husband David Dalzell and son Cam to cool off after a long day.

David and Sue purchased the business from Tony and Tracey Bazzo, then known as ‘Bowen Pools and Pumps’, and have rebranded it to Bowen Pools and More – a business offering opportunity to help others maintain what, in North Queensland, is an oft-prized possession.

David and Sue have a strong community passion. A community thrives and grows when a community works together and plays together. Where they can they use local trades and suppliers.  And that rings true in their products: The pool salt they use comes from Bowen. If an item or skill can’t be sourced locally, then they look for Australian made and owned.

“As a previous swimming teacher, I’ve always had an affinity for the water. With Bowen Pools and More, I’ve been able to work on something I’m passionate about,” Sue said.

“We have anything anyone could need relating to a pool or spa if it’s not in stock we can get it in. We do repairs, maintenance, water testing, pumps, and cleaners. We do it all.”

For Sue and her husband, the business is also an opportunity to capitalise on Sue’s other passions, which is where the ‘and More’ comes in.

“It’s a lot of my passions mixed into one business. I’ve taught musical instruments over the years, and that’s part of the business, I also have bra fittings and wardrobe curations as part of the business!” Sue said.

“People can take out of the ‘More’ whatever they would like: If it’s spas, water filtration systems, bras, music, it doesn’t matter. The More is that someone will walk in the door and ask if we stock something, and if there’s enough interest, we will.”

Bowen Pools and More is a new, family-owned business open now at 14 Herbert Street, Bowen.

Owners of Bowen Pools and More, Sue Martin David Dalzell and Son Cam outside their family’s new store front on Herbert Street

Read More

New Community Grant Program Backs Bowen

November 24, 2022

One of Bowen’s biggest employers has launched a new community support program, providing funding to not-for-profit organisations and community groups through purchases of small assets to “make a big difference.”

Bowen Rail Company (BRC) commenced the first round of its Community Partnership Program in November, making “positive financial contributions” to communities where the company’s employees live and work.

Each year, the Program intends on offering two rounds of funding for community groups and not-for-profit initiatives, projects, and programs with a maximum of $2,000 per applicant granted per round.

The program’s inaugural grant went to Bowen State High School, assisting them in sending 27 budding engineers, mathematicians, and roboticists to Brisbane to compete in the F1 In Schools Challenge.

Students acted as car manufacturers as part of a team-based state-level competition, designing and building cars from balsa wood in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) school program.

Bowen Rail Company’s Community Partnership Program was integral in helping the students build their car and make the trip to race it in Brisbane, according to the local school as well as the company itself.

BRC General Manager Brendan Lane said the students’ experience was an example of the community outcomes the business wanted to deliver.

“This is something the BRC team has been wanting to do for a while, and now that we’ve moved into operations, we’re really excited to be able to give back to our community in a new way,” Mr Lane said.

“The program is purposefully designed to help with the purchase of the small assets that can make a big contribution to what makes Bowen such a great place to live and work in.

“Tangible things like a new oven for the P&C tuckshop, kickboards for swimming training, or new football jerseys to help players get on the field and make new friends are what we’re looking to support.”

Mr Lane said the Company - which planted its tracks in the Far North town in late 2020 and forms part of the Carmichael Mine resource chain – will run the program annually, awarding it on a bi-annual basis in May and November with applications for the first round open now.

Bowen Rail Company (BRC) launched their new Community Partnership Program with the inaugural grant heading to Bowen State High School to support the school’s F1 In Schools Challenge

Read More

Local Dancers Bringing The Nutcracker To Life

November 24, 2022

A local Whitsunday professional dance school is taking its students to the stage for a classic Christmas performance next weekend.

Adore Dance will perform ‘The Nutcracker’ at the Bowen Summergarden Cinema on Saturday, December 3, telling the story of one girl's journey to a magical land on Christmas Eve.

Following Clara, a girl gifted with a Nutcracker doll by her Uncle Drosselmyer, a magical toy maker, the Nutcracker “brings Christmas to life”.

When Clara falls asleep that evening, she awakes to a new world, one filled with the sounds of battle as the Mouse Queen fights against the Nutcracker Prince for control of the kingdom.

Clara and her new toy, The Nutcracker, then visit the land of the snowflakes, flowers, and sweets where Clara can't believe her eyes.

Soon, the tale comes to a climactic finale, and it is time for everyone to bid Clara and the Nutcracker Prince farewell. The tale of adventure is one of ballet’s most famous and impressive performances, and the Whitsunday-based studio is up for the task.

Bowen Summergarden Cinema owner Ben De Luca said the performance is a perfect way to ring in the Whitsunday’s Christmas season.

WHAT: The Nutcracker

WHEN: 7.00pm to 9.00pm on Saturday, December 3

WHERE: Bowen Summergarden Cinema

Adore Dance will perform ‘The Nutcracker’ ballet at the Bowen Summergarden Cinema next week

Read More

A Fresh Caught Christmas

November 24, 2022

If there’s one Australian Christmas tradition that grew out of Australia’s climate, it’s the food. We once slaved in the kitchen cooking thick, European meals a generation or two back, turning our kitchens into saunas

But since the nineties, we’ve turned al fresco: Fresh, local ingredients, straight from the sea. We have a blue border as a skirting line down all our coastlines - the Pacific, Southern, and Indian Oceans, the Timor, Tasman, and Coral Seas – and that means we have a penchant for one thing: “Throwin’ a prawn on the barbie”.

In Bowen there’s plenty of fresh fish, crustaceans, and oysters coming in from the boats, especially at one of the town’s longest-running food establishments and an institution of seafood, Bird’s Fish Bar.

Owner Chloe Bauer said Christmas was a special time of year for the store, which also functions as Bowen Fisherman’s Seafood Company, bringing in fresh-caught produce from the Great Barrier Reef.

“Every year, we have lots of fresh, local fish coming in for Christmas; great packs and deals that include the Australian staples,” Chloe said.

“Because of this climate, it’s always nice to have cold prawns with a salad. Things that are forever popular. We have so many people over the years who come and buy a whole fish for a centrepiece, cook it all together around the barbecue. That’s what Christmas is about!”

Bird’s Fish Bar has a range of local, wild-caught fish available all the way until Christmas Eve, with specials available including the chance to go into the draw to win five-kilograms of Bowen prawns.

“For me, our Christmas is always fresh prawns, prawn cocktails, bugs on the barbie with sand crabs, and a whole baked fish,” Chloe said.

“A bit of lemon, lime, chilli – it’s so special.”

Aside from the food, Bird’s is also available as a Christmas party venue – whether it be for work, family, or friends, don’t miss your chance to enjoy one of Bowen’s most special spots. Give them a ring!

Owner of Bowen Fisherman’s Seafood Company and Birds Fish Bar Chloe Bauer with some of their fresh, local-caught range of Christmas delights

Read More

Keep Your Pet Cool This Summer

November 24, 2022

As temperatures in the Whitsundays rise, reaching their often uncomfortably high levels, pets are likely to struggle with the heat as much as people do – if not more, according to local experts.

Greater Whitsunday Vet Services veterinarian Doctor Jason Mansfield warns of the impactful North Queensland heat’s effect on all pets, even one that might seem to revel in the heat.

“Even for snakes or lizards, this time of year can be extremely challenging for them. Which is certainly saying something, considering their cold-blooded nature,” Dr Mansfield said.

“But in particular, we need to be mindful the most of our furry, warm-blooded friends who have trouble self-regulating heat like humans do.”

In the Whitsundays’ far northern extremity, there is a high chance that your pet can experience, at its worst, heatstroke, which, according to scientific reports conducted in the United States, sees over 50 per cent of dogs taken to the vet with severe heatstroke die.

“That’s why it’s so important to follow some basic rules and thought processes during the summer months in the Whitsundays,” Dr Mansfield said.

The basic rules Dr Mansfield highlighted were for dogs and cats.

“With your dogs, if they’re being left outside during the day, you need shaded areas. Some people tie their dogs up during the day, and I do not recommend that at all – it can cause stress, which exacerbates the symptoms of the heat,” Mr Mansfield said.

“We are wanting to not overstress any animal as that will have issues with overheating them. We need them to have plenty of water and in some cases even electrolyte solutions, which can be purchased explicitly for dogs. You then need to keep that water out of the sun.

“The general rule of thumb is: If you’re hot, your animal is very likely hot, too. Think of the lollipop lady. She’s out in the weather all day with shade provided by her clothing, extra water, electrolytes. We can’t give animals clothing, so we need to remedy that in other ways.”

Although it may seem minor, heat-stress and heat-related illness is almost the opposite, according to Mr Mansfield. It is an important consideration for any pet owner, particularly as part of their duty of care to another living creature.

“There are a great number of ways pets can overheat – The obvious being the weather, but it’s also coming into the silly season and they may get a bit of Christmas ham, which can cause inflammation which can then cause vomiting, diarrhea, causing dehydration, which exacerbates heat issues. Sometimes it’s the things we don’t think about,” Dr Mansfield said.

“The best thing we can do is get them out of the heat. Shelter, water, and reduce stress if your pet is anxious.

Dr Mansfield said Greater Whitsunday Vet Services was available for heat-related illnesses in any domestic animal, and had many more tips for keeping your pets safe in the hottest part of the year.

Greater Whitsunday Vet Services veterinarian Doctor Jason Mansfield said this time of year was the time to be most vigilant regarding our animals overheating as a pet owner

Read More

Stories Of The Reef

November 24, 2022

The stories of the wildlife and the incredible diversity of species and habitats are just some of the reasons that the Great Barrier Reef is so inspirational to visitors.  

At approximately 350,000 km2 in size and stretching 2,300 km along the Queensland coast, the Great Barrier Reef is the only living ecosystem on Earth that can be seen from Outer Space.

Comprised of 2900 coral reefs and 1050 Islands and coral cays, the Great Barrier Reef is home to all of this:

• One third of the world's Coral species

• 6 of the worlds 7 species of marine Turtles including; Green, Hawksbill, Loggerhead, Flatback, Olive -Ridley, and Leatherback

• One of the world's most important dugong populations

• Giant clams that are more than 120 years old

• More than 1500 species of fish

• More than 3000 species of molluscs (shells)

• 630 species of echinoderm (starfish and sea urchins)

• 14 breeding species of sea snakes

• 215 species of birds, including 22 species of seabirds and 32 species of shorebirds

• 30 species of whales and dolphins

• 133 species of sharks and rays

• And it is bigger than the country of Italy!

Over the next three months you have the chance to see:

• Turtle's nesting and hatching

• Fish spawning

• Jellyfish, sea squirts, salps and siphonophores which fill the water column and are fed upon by fish and turtles

• Whale sharks (which are the world’s biggest fish!)

The Great Barrier Reef is one of earth's greatest Natural wonders, and we are privileged to have it right on our doorstep.

Each and every living thing on it, has its own tale to tell, and I encourage you to choose one thing, each time you’re on the reef, and find out its story.

By doing so it will not only educate but you will appreciate, how truly amazing it is.

So don't forget to tell people how special it is and how proud we are to call it home.

Contributed by Brent Chatterton.

Read More

Growers Show Off Agtech

November 24, 2022

Students from across the region took to Bowen in early November to learn about the latest technology in one of the Whitsundays’ major industries.

Bowen Gumlu Growers Association’s (BGGA) Innovation Field Day held at the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) research station in Bowen was a “huge success” according to organisers.

Attracting over 150 producers, industry stakeholders, students, and agricultural businesses from across North Queensland, the event was both an opportunity for locals to learn about one of the region’s economic drivers, as well as businesses to see the improvements in ‘Agtech’.

BGGA Chief Executive Officer Ry Collins highlighted the attendance of over 60 students from Bowen, Home Hill, and Proserpine High schools who saw first-hand what kinds of Agtech are emerging in the industry.

“The field day was a great opportunity for industry and our community to come together, share information and learn about new technologies and advancements in the horticulture sector,” Mr Collins said.

The event hosted a comprehensive program of speakers, displays and demonstrations, including the autonomous Robotti and GUSS units that demonstrated robotic weeding, seeding, spraying, and slashing as well as automated packing from LYRO robotics.

Mr Collins said it was a key business priority for BGGA to collaborate with industry and provide growers with information and access to the latest agtech products and services that helped them improve on-farm efficiency, reduce input costs and remain profitable.

“It is vital that we continue to pursue new ways to meet and adapt to challenges, be more productive and sustainable and ensure our industry is able to continue to be prosperous into the future,” he said.

Bowen Gumlu Growers Association hosted industry stakeholders, locals, and school students at an open day highlighting new agricultural and horticultural technology

Read More

Did You Know Your Recycling Is Worth Money?

November 24, 2022

Recycling is not just about the environment, it is also about repurposing a valuable resource, selling it onto markets and then circulating back into the economy.

Every year we make roughly $500,000 from recycling in our region, but general waste that goes directly into landfill costs us around $8 million.

Councils are working very hard to flip that statistic by educating people on the way we view our recyclable materials.

When we stop looking at items as objects and start looking at them as materials, this completely changes how we interact with our recycling bins.

Glass, metal and plastics are just some examples of materials we use every day that are worth money and can be on-sold to companies that will repurpose them into valuable products.

Did you know that glass can be used as an alternative to gravel when making bitumen?

Every week, all the yellow bins from across the Whitsundays are emptied and transported down to the Mackay Material Recovery Facility for processing.

Receiving roughly 60,000 tonnes of recyclable materials each week, the team of 10 dedicated staff work long hours to process all the items, repurposing as many as possible.

A high level of contaminates, roughly 17 per cent of what arrives at the station, will be transferred onto landfill and the rest will be directed into holding bins where it is stockpiled until its market value increases and it can be sold for profit.

Materials are moved across a slow-moving hopper, under a trundle wheel and over a conveyor where they are manually pre-sorted.

They then run past a magnet and through a green machine computer with Artificial Intelligence which takes photo of every object dictating where each item goes.

Glass is then used by Mackay Council for house levelling and roads, steel is sold to business Raw Metal Corp., who operate nearby, and plastic is sent to Brisbane where it is on-sold to China.

But what happens to it after this?

An important part of the recycling process is that the product it becomes is then bought and used by everyone – from big business to Councils and households right across Australia.

“It’s the recycle cycle,” said Alyssa Zammit from Mackay Regional Council.

“We need to be buying back what we sell - it’s all well and good that our plastics get recycled but we need to then be making a conscious decision to buy something that is a recycled product to create a circular economy.”

Mackay Regional Council work with a company called Replas who make items such as bollards, seats and park benches for the region.

Plastic Forest and Close the Loop are also excellent companies to buy recycled items from.

On a smaller scale, we can all make sure we look at what we purchase at the supermarket.

Mackay Regional Council offer free tours of the recycling plant which are open to everyone, from individuals to school groups.

The tours are informative and fun, with bookings available through Council.

Recycling Tips

• Wash out all containers first

• Never recycle batteries, they are highly flammable

• Recycle lose items – anything in a bag will go to landfill

• Do not recycle shredded paper

60,000 tonnes of recycling passes through the Mackay Material Recovery Facility each week

Once sorted, items are stockpiled until market value goes up and it can be sold for a profit

Read More

The Best Time To Plant A Tree Is Now

November 24, 2022

A garden of trees commemorating Queen Elizabeth the Second’s Platinum Jubilee were unveiled in an intimate ceremony at Cannonvale State School last week.

The end-of-project event - which received funding from the State Government’s Planting Trees for the Queen’s Jubilee Program - saw students, teachers, Parents and Community Association (P&C) representatives, and Whitsunday Regional Councillor Jan Clifford plant the project’s last tree: a lychee.

Led by the school’s Principal Angie Kelly and Health Teacher Erin Moore, the event concluded the planting of the Cannonvale State School’s “Queen’s Jubilee Fruit Forest”, which hosts 26 various species of plants.

“It’s time - not tomorrow, not well into the future – but now that we rewrite the future we have, and the future we have for our children, and our children’s children,” Principal Kelly said.

“We know there is no place better to start than here. It seems so little – this garden – but to me it is so big.”

The Garden stretches between the school’s pool and tennis courts and was spearheaded by Health Teacher Erin Moore.

Ms Moore said having an active garden of fruits coincided with the school’s ecological message of sustainability.

“It is a great privilege to receive this very worthwhile government grant which will honour the Queen for her remarkable 70 years of service,” Ms Moore said.

“The Queen represents longevity, and I hope these trees will experience that too. My hope is, in another 70 years’ time, these trees will continue to provide shade, beauty, purification of the air, and a range of delicious fruits for school children.”

The completed Garden also aligns with the school’s Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden – a hands-on learning program delivering food education to primary students.

“A lot of the fruits are things the students may not have tried before. It exposes them to a range of foods now and shows them the growing process,” Ms Moore said.

“Already, we’ve been making food in our Kitchen Gardens from fruits grown at the school, and this will only improve that.”

Councillor Jan Clifford presented a lychee tree as the final addition to the Queen’s Jubilee Fruit Forest on behalf of Whitsunday Regional Council.

Cannonvale State School P&C President Sabrina Mitchell, Whitsunday Councillor Jan Clifford, Cannonvale State School’s Enviro Captain Airlie Fisch, Health Teacher Erin Moore, and Principal Angie Kelly unveiling one of 27 trees in the school’s new Queen’s Jubilee Fruit Forest

Councillor Clifford and School Enviro Captain Airlie Fisch planting a lychee, donated by Whitsunday Regional Council

Read More

From Japan To Proserpine – Rare Sword Finds New Home

November 24, 2022

A Proserpine World War II veteran, Private Edward ‘Eddie’ Charles Lade, returned home to the sugarcane farming town after two years’ service in the Pacific Theatre of War, bringing with him something incredibly special.

In a ceremony at the Proserpine Returned and Services League (RSL) Subbranch last week, Edward Lade’s nephew, Ian Lade, bestowed the local chapter with his uncle’s special spoil of war: a guntō – a Japanese, ceremonial sword produced for the Imperial Army and Navy.

Forged by Japanese swordsmith Chounsai Emura, the guntō was officially left in the care of the RSL for display by the Lade family on Remembrance Day.

Ian Lade, who had travelled with the sword on behalf of his cousin Janet, said his uncle had come into possession of the sword whilst in active service in the islands of Papua New Guinea during the Second World War.

“I feel very proud and honoured to present this to the RSL and [Proserpine RSL Subbranch President] Jason Raiteri on behalf of the Lade family. I didn’t know Eddie all that well, but what I do know is he was a bit of a larrikin,” Mr Lade said.

“Just like anyone who spent time in active service, you could see he suffered from it. This RSL meant a lot to him. I’m honoured to leave his sword here.”

Chounsai Emura, the Chief Warden of Okayama Prison during the 1940s, purportedly forged hundreds of swords within his prison walls, donating them to Imperial Japanese Armed Forces Officers.

“The legend of the sword is that this prison warden [Emura] had his prisoners forge the swords and sharpen them,” Mr Lade said.

“It was believed only one of his swords was ever brought back to Australia by a Lieutenant Colonel who passed it onto the Australian War Memorial; but I’ve got a little bit of a story for them that it’s not the only one!”

The sword now joins other war artifacts displayed at the local RSL, which the RSL Subbranch President Jason Raiteri said was an exceptional honour.

“On behalf of the RSL, I would like to thank Ian for allowing us to be the caretakers of this sword for as long as the RSL is here,” he said.

Ian Lade donated a Japanese guntō sword to Proserpine RSL and its Subbranch President Jason Raiteri

The sword was crafted in the 1940s before coming into the possession of World War Two veteran Edward Lade, a late Proserpine resident

Read More

A Breadth Of Excellence Celebrated At St Caths

November 24, 2022

On Thursday last week St Catherine’s Catholic College students were recognised for their academic, sporting, cultural and community achievements at their annual Awards Ceremony.

Parents, carers and community members were invited to attend one of the biggest events in the College calendar.

College Principal Mr Luke Thomson said it filled him with pride to once again see so many students recognised and rewarded for their efforts and achievements in 2022.

“Our College value of excellence is something that we encourage all students to strive for, however this will always be measured differently for different students,” he said.

“We talk of students achieving their ‘own excellence’ and in doing so we extend this expectation to all aspects of College life, with students achieving across a breadth of fields and that is what was celebrated at the ceremony.”

Mr Thomson congratulated all of the award winners for their commitment, diligence and consistency they have demonstrated this year.  

Staff were also recognised for their years of service, with 10-, 20-, 25- and 35-year milestones celebrated.

St Catherine’s Year 12 cohort also completed one of the few remaining rites of passage that we have in society today - their high school graduation.

This year they have a senior class of 46 students, their largest graduating cohort to date.

Mr Thomson congratulated each of the students on their successful completion of high school.

“We all look forward to hearing about their adventures and journeys in the years to come,” he said.

“Some may be leaving the region to chase their dreams, while we hope others will be more regular faces within our College for years to come.”

Graduation Photo

Back: Ryan Taylor, Max Molloy, Luke Pegg, Peta McMahon-Neale, Casey Lade, Sebastian Hill, Klayton Frazer-Moore, Stella Duggan, Oscar Doland, Estrella del Solar, Darcy Burgum-Johnstone, Ella Crossley, Amy Burgum-Johnstone, Roy Blain, Charlotte Brown, Dylan Beale, Danielle Brazil, Louie Archer, Tegan Ganter, Jack Pini, William Preat

Read More

On Deck With Declan

November 17, 2022

Hi, Constant Readers.

I would say, for most of us in the Whitsundays, we’re all from somewhere else. There are few of us who were lucky enough to be born on the sandy shores and sun-starched grass of North Queensland. Sure.

But for most, it is a chosen home rather than a given.

With leaving home comes something you might not always tend to: The family garden. We can neglect our siblings, our parents. I know I’m guilty of it. I’m sure some of you reading it are too.

I don’t often speak to my sister; I should more. I don’t message my parents as much as they message me; I should more. I think - certainly in a world we believe is so hell-for-leather, so high-octane - that we forget to slow down and appreciate the people who supported us in getting to where we are.

We can lose touch with family and take things for granted – the most profound relationships you can have with someone might fall by the wayside. Little things like the progress of life can inadvertently harm others. You’re busy doing your thing, they’re busy doing their thing.

Sometimes I think about how it was in the early 19th century, where the only means of communication between a family half-way across the country might have been through letters. You might not hear from each other for months, years on end. I think one of the few good things to come from the Internet age is instant communication. I can speak to my mum over the phone, see her face, see her smile.

We’re lucky to be able to do that. I’m going to give my mum a ring. I think that speaks for itself.

Declan

Quote of the Week:

“Family is not an important thing. It’s everything.” – Michael J. Fox

Read More

By-Election Candidates Nominate, Ballot Order Announced

November 17, 2022

Four candidates will run for the currently vacant Division 2 Councillor seat of Whitsunday Regional Council, which was vacated by previous Councillor Al Grundy in early October.

The Electoral Commission of Queensland (ECQ) hosted nominees at an official ballot paper order draw on nomination deadline day, Monday, November 14.

The candidates were drawn in the following ballot paper order: Daniel Popovich, Christopher Harvey, Andrew Camm, Clay Bauman.

The nomination deadline was the first time both Andrew Camm – cousin of current Whitsundays Member for State Parliament Amanda Camm and PRD Real Estate agent - and Christopher Harvey - a local Whitsunday electrician - have made their candidacy expressly known to Whitsunday voters.

Clay Bauman announced his candidacy three weeks ago and Dan Popovich came forward last week.

Electoral Commissioner Pat Vidgen said it was good to see candidates keen to represent their community ahead of what will be a December 3 by-election.

“Now that electors know who is running, they can start to decide who they want as their new councillor and think about their plan for when they will cast their vote.

“If they can’t vote in person there’s still time to apply for a postal vote, and telephone voting is available to people who meet certain criteria, including having to isolate because of COVID-19.”

“There are plenty of voting options for the 4,000 enrolled voters in the division, Mr Vidgen said.

Early voting polling booths at Shop 15, Whitsundays Shopping Centre, 226 Shute Harbour Road, Cannonvale will be open from 9am until 5pm daily from Monday 28 November to Thursday, December 1, and will also be open until 6pm on Friday, December 2.  

Election Day voting will also take place at Shop 15, Whitsunday Shopping Centre on December 3, from 8am to 6pm.

Postal vote applications are open until 7pm on November 21. You can apply online via the ECQ website or phone the ECQ on 1300 881 665.

Mr Vidgen reminded people in the Whitsunday region voting is compulsory and failure to vote fines increased to $143.75 from 1 July 2022.

Further details on the Whitsunday Regional Council Division 2 by-election can be found on the ECQ website.

ECQ have updated the location of voting day polling stations. There will no longer be a station at Whitsunday Christian College. There will be one location: Shop 15, Whitsunday Shopping Centre on December 3, from 8am to 6pm.

Whitsunday Regional Council Division 2 Councillor candidates Dan Popovich, Chris Harvey, Andrew Camm, and Clay Bauman

Read More

The Good Deed Feed

November 17, 2022

“I’ve Got You Mate”

When Proserpine resident, Richard Wheeler, was at the counter at Drakes Supermarket, he tried to pay his for his weekly shopping bill but his card refused to work.

Frustrated and a little embarrassed, he went outside to call the bank but unfortunately couldn’t get through, with the bank stating they were receiving ‘extremely high calls’.

Richard returned to the store and spoke with the check-out attendant to see if he could put his shopping somewhere safe while the money issue was sorted.

Just then, the unexpected happened, a voice called over his shoulder – “I’ve got you mate” – and before he could blink, the kind stranger had used his own card to pay the entire bill.

“I tried to tell him it was $280 but all he said was that next time I see someone in need to make sure I help them out too,” said Richard.

“$280 is no small sum! And all he said was his name was Beau – I don’t even know his last name!”

Afterwards, Richard tried to track Beau down to say thank you, but he could not find him anywhere on social media. His true identity remaining a mystery.

The kindness of his gesture, however, has touched the hearts of the whole community.

“I’m the sort of guy who always helps people out,” said Richard.

“It’s something I’ve always done anyway but it’s normally $20 or $30 - to have someone do this for me now is incredible!

“Beau you are an amazing person - the world needs more like you - I am eternally grateful for your kind act.”

Stock image, illustration only

Read More

Who Will Get Your Vote?

November 17, 2022

As polling day approaches for the Division 2 Councillor seat, we offer each of the candidates a public platform to tell us a bit about themselves and the reason they think they would be the best for the job.

1: Describe your personality in three words:

2: What qualifies you for the position?

3: What is the reason you want to be a Councillor?

4: What key projects would you support?

Clay Bauman

Coming to the Whitsundays to pursue a passion for sailing, Clay has lived in the area for 15 years. He has produced and directed numerous films and video productions, locally, nationally and internationally.

1: Friendly, conscientious, and reliable

2: I am familiar with coordinating the entire budget across multiple departments and leading a diverse team towards a common goal. I am directly involved with sporting clubs and community groups and have been lobbying Council for the past six years.

3: Since attending my first Council meeting six years ago, I have seen the direct affect Council decisions have on our daily lives and budget. I want to help create change and be at the Council table representing not only Division 2, but conscientiously acting to ensure the best outcomes for our entire region.  

4: The current major amendment to our town plan is very important to ensuring we maintain a high quality of life, liveable suburbs, and a prosperous future. There are also several committees I would like to be appointed to as a Council representative.

Christopher Harvey

A long-term local of the Whitsundays, Chris is an electrician by trade and loves the outdoors - running, tennis, football - and is a big fan of the North Qld Cowboys.

1: Outgoing, approachable, friendly

2: I have been volunteering with different community organisations, such as Whitsunday SES Group and Local Ambulance Committee. I was awarded Whitsunday Regional Council Citizen of the Year in 2018 for my years of volunteering and my work after Cyclone Debbie with the emergency services.

3: I would like to bring a voice to the Council not just from the people in the community but also to the many organisations that I am a part of.

4: I would like to see more paths/lanes that are user friendly not just for walkers and runners but also for scooters and bikes. I would also work towards getting more charging stations for electric vehicles installed around the region and improved safety for everyone in the form of better roads, more footpaths, wider bike lanes and more street lighting along paths.

Dan Popovich

Originally from the UK, Dan moved to the Whitsundays with his family 15 years ago. He operates a home-based practice, Peak Body Mechanics, in Woodwark with his wife, Karen.

1: Cool-headed, organised, articulate

2: My previous professional roles include business coach and trainer, delivering management and leadership training to businesses, Councils and Department of Premier and Cabinet in Tasmania. I’m confident that my professional experience in a combination of strategic thinking and project management combined with small business, large enterprise experience and commitment to the Whitsundays would be a positive contribution to the community.

3: Government of any level is there to serve the people - not for the people to serve government, and our community is owed transparency on council business affairs, and I stand to listen to and voice community concerns and aspirations.

4: I believe we need a strategic plan for the Shire, and I believe the proposed high rise Airlie Beach developments should not pollute our skyline and turn our town into a Gold Coast 2.0.

Andy Camm

Having grown up on the family farm in Bloomsbury, Andy eventually moved away from the region before recently returning from 11 years living in the Sunshine Coast. His time away saw him spend some years playing Rugby in Canada before beginning a career in real estate in 1994. He said his greatest pride are his three children.

1: Very approachable person

2: I have worked in three local industries - farming, building and real estate. During my time I have been a team leader, manager and business owner. Having played team sports, plus worked in large organisations both locally and in Southeast Queensland, has taught me the importance of working together with others to achieve great outcomes.

3: With so much natural beauty to enjoy here, we truly need to make sure that all future developments are correctly managed to maintain this.

4: I would like to see an over 50’s village built here, plus a retirement village in the area. Road congestion is a real concern as well. I also do not understand why there is a proposal for a cluster of traffic lights between Paluma Rd and Macarthur Dr.

Read More

“I Thought We Were Going To Drown!” Plane Crash Survivor Shares Story

November 17, 2022

Embarking on his usual Sunday morning flight, Rogin Taylor never imagined that shortly after take-off his two-seater plane, Savannah, would plunge into the ocean, leaving him fighting to breathe in a cabin that was quickly filling with water.

78-year-old Rogin has been flying for 54 years and has a commercial pilots license which had only ever used to fly recreational aircraft.

Part of ‘Whitsunday Flying Friends’, he has been joining a fleet of up to 12 other aircraft each Sunday morning on scenic flights down towards Bloomsbury.

On this particular morning, however, Rogin had taken a different path, eager to show his passenger some crocodiles in the Proserpine River.

Unfortunately, during this process the plane had started to lose altitude and before he could pull-up it suddenly hit the water.

“It made a huge bang and I actually thought we’d hit a boat,” explained Rogin.

Within minutes the plane started sinking into roughly three to four metres of water, in choppy ocean about 150 metres from the coast near Conway Beach.

“We couldn’t get the doors open and the plane started to sink,” said Rogin.

The external pressure was holding the doors closed and the pair used all their strength to try and push it open but to no avail.

Watching as the water started to rise past their feet, and then their waists, and finally up towards their chins, it wasn’t long before they realised they might drown.

“We both looked at each other and thought we might drown; it got up to our chin and then to our mouth and we took our last breath of air – the cockpit was completely full and totally submerged.”

In that moment, when many would think the panic would consume them, Rogin said the opposite happened.

“I was as close to death as I’ve ever come and at that point the terror and the panic went away, and I felt totally calm.

“I realised we were going to die, but neither of us were in any pain.

“When I spoke to my passenger afterwards, he said he felt the same, we had both accepted that we would drown and experienced a sense of calmness and tranquillity – it was so peaceful and there was no fear.”

Resigned to his fate, Rogin decided to take one giant gulp of water and thought that would be the end, but just then a miracle happened.

With the plane now completely submerged and water entirely filling the cabin, the pressure equalised and the door slowly opened.

Fortunately, Rogin was able to move fast.

He grabbed his passenger and the pair escaped through the door, swimming a few metres to the surface.

“At the surface we took a big gasp of air, and it was absolutely wonderful!” he said.

Sitting on the wing, which was still floating above the water, the survivors soon realised that the fight was not yet over, this was just a small reprieve.

They still needed to swim 150-metres to shore, fully clothed and passed a treacherous stretch of ocean known for its jelly fish, sharks and crocodiles.

Minutes later, the wing also sunk to the bottom and the pair were left alone in the ocean.

It took them over half an hour to reach the shore, swimming in choppy ocean and miraculously avoiding any hazards.

“When we reached the beach, we were pretty finished,” said Rogin.

“We crawled up the beach and just lay there. After a while we started walking around the point.”

Fortunately, someone had seen the incident and had already raised the alarm.

When the ambulance arrived, however, Rogin and his passenger were in shock but otherwise in good health and were permitted to return home.

“I will go flying again this week!” laughed Rogin.

“I asked my passenger too and he said he would go up in a plane again with me anytime too!”

Within three hours of the incident three planes from Rogin’s flying group had flown up from Mackay to search for the submerged plane.

Five other pilots came to the beach to help as well.

“The camaraderie and concern from the other pilots was just amazing and overwhelming,” said Rogin.

“The following day the plane was spotted, it’s tail coming out of the water like a breaching whale!”

Able to bring it to shore, Robin has now spent most of this week retrieving useable parts from the wreck and says he will likely have nightmares for years to come but is very grateful to have survived.  

By Rachael Smith

The two-seater recreational plane, Savannah, with a motto emblazoned across the side saying ‘nothing ventured nothing gained’. Photo credit: Paul Douthwaite

Read More

Coles Cannonvale Unveils New Look

November 17, 2022

The team at Coles in Cannonvale launched their fresh new look at a special ribbon cutting event on Wednesday morning with their bright red branded truck setting a vibrant backdrop to the festivities.

For the past two months, the store has been receiving a complete refurbishment, as well as the addition of several new concepts which are set to increase the customer experience.

The new bakery will see flatbread made fresh and ‘flipped’ in-store and a brand-new baked artisan sourdough adding to the extensive range.

Those with a sweet tooth can enjoy the delicious dessert treats from the patisserie range and the mouth-watering frozen dessert bar, including mochi, mini gelatos and macarons which have already become extremely popular.

There is also a big cheese section for entertainers and new deli meat case.

Coles Cannonvale Store Manager Andrew McIntosh has worked at Coles for almost 12 years and said he was excited to provide an enhanced shopping experience and 30 additional local jobs to the community.

“The store has transformed immensely from what it used to look like,” he said.

“Coles is proud to be continuing to invest in the Cannonvale community and we have started recruiting to further grow our already strong team of around 100 team members, some who have been with us since we opened our doors in 2006.”

Local shoppers will have also noticed that new shelves and fridges have been added, and while many items have been moved to different locations, Andrew assures us that they have been laid out to align with our shopping habits.

Coles is also launching home delivery for time-poor customers and the convenient and complementary shopping service Click&Collect will expand.

Additional car parks will be added as well as new shades covering the collection area, just in time for summer.

The new store also champions sustainability, partnering with the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation and SecondBite to donate unsold edible food to disadvantaged Australians.

The Coles team celebrate the new-look Cannonvale Store on Wednesday

Read More

Cruise Whitsundays Meets “Bona Fide Hollywood Star”

November 17, 2022

Whitsunday audiences were greeted with a wonderful surprise when they tuned into their televisions this week to see a local tourism operator in the spotlight alongside Hollywood star Zac Efron.

Journey Beyond’s Cruise Whitsundays announced their participation in the newly released season of Netflix series ‘Down to Earth with Zac Efron’, which became available on the streaming platform late last week.

For its second season, Efron headed Down Under alongside wellness expert Darin Olien to travel Australia, learn about sustainable living practices, and experience Australia’s culture and beauty.

When natural splendour is being sought in the Antipodes, it’s unsurprising that Cruise Whitsundays’ Reefworld would feature heavily in the Great Barrier Reef episode of the series.

Focusing on the environmental factors facing coral reefs within the world’s largest reef system and the restoration techniques being used to try and restore and sustain the natural wonder, the episode ended with Efron and Olien spending a night at the Cruise Whitsundays Reefworld.

The Reefworld facility is Cruise Whitsundays award-winning, permanently moored pontoon found 39 nautical miles from the coast of Airlie Beach at Hardy Reef on the outer Great Barrier Reef. It is most famed for its ‘Reefsleep’ for overnight guests, as well as receiving a recent gold win as Major Tour Attraction and Gold for Unique Accommodation at the Whitsundays Tourism Awards.

Cruise Whitsundays Sales and Marketing Manager, Renee Branton-Brown said the episode gave a “perfect balance of reporting tough environmental facts, while also providing great insight as to what is being done to mitigate those challenges and gives hope for future generations.”

“Cruise Whitsundays is incredibly proud to be involved with this production,” Ms Branton-Brown said.

“This episode highlights how lucky we are to live and work on the Great Barrier Reef, and why it’s so important we do what we can to protect it.”

Ms Branton-Brown said that Zac, who has been diving globally for over 15 years, was in awe of the beautiful patch of nature at Hardy Reef, which elicited genuine excitement and enthusiasm.

Tourism Whitsundays Chief Executive Officer, Rick Hamilton thinks this is a fantastic coupe for the region at such an important time for international markets

“What an incredible opportunity for Cruise Whitsundays to be featured on a global platform like this. Now more than ever it’s crucial for The Whitsundays to be front of mind for international holiday makers,” Mr Hamilton said.

And, as if the recent accolades and the global exposure weren’t enough to convince travellers to book a night at Reefworld, Efron gave a stunning endorsement of the site for good measure.

“I will relive this moment in my head forever and ever. It’s truly one of the coolest experiences of my life,” Efron said.

“I’ve never seen coral that alive and thriving and so many different colours.”

Zac Efron spent a night at Cruise Whitsundays’ Reefworld as part of his series ‘Down to Earth with Zac Efron’

Reefworld has been raking in the successes in recent weeks, both with international recognition on the Netflix series and as a double Gold winner at the Whitsundays Tourism Awards

Read More

Husband Charged With Hamilton Island Buggy Crash Death

November 17, 2022

The husband of a woman who died in a golf buggy crash on Hamilton Island has been charged in relation to the fatal incident which occurred in June this year.

Police allege Robbie Morgan – a 30-year-old New South Wales man - was driving without "due care and attention" during the crash which claimed the life of his 29-year-old wife Marina Hanna

Days after their marriage, whilst honeymooning on the famed resort island, the couple’s holiday ended in tragedy.

Following an “extensive investigation,” Mr Morgan is now being charged with dangerous driving which resulted in his new wife’s death.

The allegations also state the 30-year-old man was using a mobile phone whilst driving and that neither he nor his wife were wearing seatbelts.

Mr Morgan will appear in Proserpine Magistrates Court on December 5.

The incident had made national news when, on June 20 at approximately 4.30pm, police were called to a traffic crash involving a registered golf buggy on Hamilton Island’s Whitsunday Boulevard.

According to police, the buggy rolled during an attempted U-turn.

Mrs Hanna, the passenger, suffered critical injuries and died at the scene, despite attempts by an off-duty firefighter, doctor, and dentist to save her life. Mr Morgan was not physically injured.

In days after the crash, Mr Morgan took to Facebook, writing: “My heart is broken and my world shattered with the tragic loss of the most beautiful girl in the world.. my angel.. my saint.. my wife Marina Hanna.”

“I will love you forever and ever and EVER!”

Marina Hanna and Robbie Morgan at their engagement party in 2019

Image: Facebook

Read More

Chamber Chat

November 17, 2022

An amazing month for businesses in the Whitsunday region – with no sign of the doom and gloom being discussed across all media. Harder times will come but currently, business in the Whitsundays is booming.

The Music Festival last weekend was a massive boost to visitation to the region with literally thousands flocking to the party. Airlie Beach was certainly alive and jumping to the beat of multiple bands in multiple venues. What a buzz! Congratulations to Butto and his team of tireless workers and volunteers. With accommodation full and eleven cruise ships scheduled for November, the tourism sector and associated hospitality and retail will enjoy a solid end to 2022.

Similarly, all businesses in the region are ramping up with the end of year rush and thrown into the mix is the Whitsunday Regional Council Division 2 Councillor by-election. Again, this election will be done using an optional preferential voting system, meaning you can number one, some or all of the ballot boxes in order of your preference. Again, the Chamber encourages everyone to number every box to give us the most preferred candidate, not just the one that get the most first votes. The Chamber is looking into options for a small meet-the-candidates forum and wishes all the candidates good luck.

Labor’s divisive Fair Work Legislation Amendment (Secure Jobs, Better Pay) Bill 2022 was passed by the lower house recently with the government now looking to pass the bill by December 1. The bill is aimed at closing the gender pay gap, expanding multi-employer bargaining and bringing in flexible rostering rights - workplace reforms established at the recent Jobs and Skills Summit.

These industrial relations reforms will accelerate wage growth and if passed, the legislation will significantly affect every small business in Australia both financially and in terms of increased compliance and bureaucracy. It is hard to imagine how the thousands of small business people will suddenly be able to comply with the complexities of meeting industrialised wages and enterprise bargaining agreements given they are stretched to the limit already.

Business advocates have asked for an amendment to the bill excluding employers with 50 employees or less. Hopefully common sense will prevail

The Chamber Christmas Party will be held on Thursday 1 December, 6pm at the Gin Bar, Mirage Whisper Bay. If possible, we will incorporate a meet the candidates evening subject to availability and will advise should that be the case.

Contributed with thanks to Allan Milostic from Whitsunday Coast Chamber

Read More

School Students Find First Job Success On Hamilton Island

November 17, 2022

One of the country’s most famous island resorts is now working with local youth, offering a range of job opportunities to school students between the age of 15 and 18 years old.

Hamilton Island is increasingly becoming a valued source of employment to many people residing on the mainland in the Greater Airlie Beach Area as it is a short and scenic ferry ride away from home.

Making this regular commute across the turquoise waters, are local teenagers Foxx LaMonica, Zavier Goswell and Lukas Allen-Fancke.

The three young men are all 15 years old and have worked in the food and beverage department at Sails Restaurant for the past two months.

“Working on Hamilton Island gives us something unmatched anywhere else,” said Zavier.

“It provides a learning experience and real-world skills that you can’t find anywhere else.”

Foxx agreed saying they had a “great environment to work in”.

“I love working in paradise and working with an amazing team,” he said.

“It teaches great life skills that we can take everywhere and, unlike other venues, Hamilton Island teaches professionalism.”

Lukas says he enjoys the calm ferry ride to work, the island’s natural beauty and meeting people from all over the world.

“Everyone is nice, kind and welcoming,” he said.

“It’s a fun place to work and I have learnt way more than I thought.”

With a variety of job roles on offer, including the island’s IGA, a porter at the hotel and food and beverage staff, Hamilton Island is a great way to gain experience in a number of areas and build towards a future career, or at the very least a solid resume.

CEO of Hamilton Island Peter Brulisauer was involved in setting up a similar ‘Junior Recruitment Program’ in his previous role at Perisher Resort. He said that as well as providing junior staff with ‘real life’ skills the young workforce  brings a fresh breath of air to the workforce.

“The teens have brought their youthful energy to the team, are diligent and hardworking and have fast become valued members of the team,” he said.

“It is a great opportunity to employ these young members of the community and nurture our homegrown talent and help set them up for their future success.”

Each new member of staff begins their tenure with a full day orientation led by the People and Culture team before entering a four-week outlet specific orientation related to their job area.

Each week of the four focuses on a specific skill as part of their job each week.

In addition to the training, students can engage with Robert Oatley College, which is a great resource that provides the Hamilton Island community with the opportunity to train or cross train in a number of areas.

For example, students can complete a Barista or Premium Wine course or get a forklift license for a role in logistics or even an exemption 38 or Coxswain qualification for Sea Service.

“The students have quickly become members of the close-knit staff community on Hamilton Island,” said Mr Brulisauer.

“And we look forward to welcoming more students to the island community as we move closer to the festive season.”

The opportunities are endless at Hamilton Island and first-job seekers who have a can-do attitude and willingness to learn are encouraged to apply.

Applicants simply need to be between 15 and 18, have a Queensland or National Responsible Service of Alcohol certificate and in some cases a driver’s licence.

Hamilton Island is a tourist hot-spot and an ideal location for your first job

15-year-old staff members, Lukas Allen-Fancke, Zavier Goswell and Foxx LaMonica

Read More

Legal Costs Soar To $150,000 To Stop Airlie High-Rise

November 17, 2022

Local action group Save Our Foreshore (SOF) will be facing over $150,000 in legal costs when they head to the Planning and Environment court hearing in March 2023.

The procedural hearing on November 9 allowed the team to inch forward in their goal of fighting against the Whitsunday Regional Council approved development plan which will see a 47.7 metre high-rise resort built on flat land at Port of Airlie.

SOF have been campaigning since 2006 to keep the “small village feel” of Airlie Beach and this latest battle has seen them accrue over 2000 signatures on a petition against high-rise development.

SOF President Suzette Pelt said the legal fight was a “long and daunting community process”.

“We’ve always been able to work through it, but never before has a Council so blatantly gone against the community, the town plan and their own policies by failing to properly acknowledge over 2000 submissions objecting to the proposal.”

Suzette says that in one case, the Planning and Environment court overturned a decision where the judge was found to have made an error in law with regard to the community’s expectations on building heights and she hopes they will do the same in this case.

“To maintain the famous character of Airlie Beach with its low-rise, village atmosphere, we will continue fundraising to meet the $150,000 target,” she said.

“In the New Year, keep a lookout for an online art auction where local artists are donating works to help fund the community versus a private receiver’s court appeal to fight for Airlie.”

Protestors say no to high-rises in Airlie Beach

Read More

Bridget Ryan

November 17, 2022

As is the case with many rural towns, Proserpine has its fair share of strong women who have contributed significantly to their district. One such remarkable character was Bridget Ryan, affectionately known as Granny Ryan.

In response to the enticement of free land, newly married James and Bridget Ryan, aged only 16 and 18 respectively, decided to leave Ireland for Australia. James was a coach builder and Bridget was a school teacher – an achievement of no small means in an era where few were educated. Bridget described the perils of their long voyage at sea on the Zamora”: “It wasn’t just the battle of the waves, but one’s very survival in crowded, unhygienic conditions.”  

Arriving in Brisbane, they found that the streets were not “paved in gold” and work in James’s trade could not be found, so they travelled to Sydney. Bridget took work as a housemaid for a pastoralist in the Blue Mountains and James worked as a station hand. When that work ceased, they travelled to Brisbane. James worked for a number of years in his own trade as a coach builder but there was no real continuity of work. In 1894, they were forced to take their family of six by boat to Bowen. Here the last link of the northern railway was being completed and James found work there.  

In 1904, with a large family of nine to care for, the Ryans moved by wagon to try their luck farming in Proserpine’s Preston district. This proved a disastrous step. James was unaccustomed to farm life and land had to be cleared and cultivated with none of the modern implements and methods of today. Life became a struggle. But like most women of her era, Bridget was tough, resilient and resourceful.

According to the stories Bridget told her family, there would have been no recycling problem. Clothes were handed down; sugar bags were made into “woggas” covered with patches of clothing; flour bags were used for aprons, tea towels and bandages; home remedies catered for illnesses.  Nothing was wasted - curtains made from rolled and pasted jam labels or newspapers were hung in doorways. Kerosene lanterns provided lighting. (Bridget remained terrified of electricity until the day she died).

The family battled for many years and when four of the eldest sons enlisted in World War 1, Bridget decided that they’d had enough of “that Godforsaken hole” and, virtually facing starvation on tea, flour and sugar rations from the police station, they moved to town.  Bridget received a special military award for her four sons who fortunately all returned home from the war.

In Proserpine, James obtained employment as a blacksmith at the Sugar Mill and a home was built where Ampol Service Station now stands, the site known as “Granny Ryan’s Corner” until her death at the age of 95.

Life in town was much easier and more enjoyable. Bridget often spoke of the excitement at election times when they and their neighbours decked out their horses, dogs and cats with ribbons of their political choice and also at the St. Patrick’s Day processions when Bridget marched carrying a green umbrella. These days were greatly anticipated; a relief from the hardship of life. Granny Ryan joined women such as Mrs Jupp and Mrs Maltby in raising funds from bazaars, fetes and the annual ball and serving hot meals in the streets.

Bridget Ryan remained fiercely independent until her death. She read without glasses; recited her catechism and said poetry in public – and throughout her life always retained a yearning for “dear old Ireland.”

Bridget had twelve children, two of whom died in infancy.

Story courtesy of Proserpine Historical Museum and photo courtesy of Bridget’s granddaughter, Colleen Byrnes (nee Ryan)

Read More

“Off To Work We Go”: Collinsville Students Pick Up A Trade

November 17, 2022

Local students pulled on their hardhats and steel-capped boots for two days of work experience at a Collinsville Mine Site on Wednesday, November 2.

The grade 10 and 11 Collinsville State High School students took to the mines for a tour, as well as a trades-focused workshop courtesy of Glencore Coal.

Coordinated by the Queensland Minerals and Energy Academy (QMEA), roughly 20 students went behind the scenes at the site, exploring firsthand the mine’s varied local career opportunities on offer.

QMEA Director, Ms Katrina-Lee Jones said the students rotated through hands-on trade activities under the guidance of Glencore Coal representatives, getting a feel for what skills are needed to pursue a “rewarding trade-based career in the resources sector.”

“This unique two-day experience strategically incorporates the most valuable aspects of work experience and life experience, helping the students bolster their professional and manual skills in a real-world context,” Ms Jones said.

“Integrating a school excursion with a skills-based workshop allows these bright young men and women to see how the activities they’re learning translate to in-demand, highly-paid jobs in a local industry.”

Human Resources Manager at Glencore Coal, Anthony Exelby said the two-day experience connected students with some of the company's most knowledgeable tradespeople, who can also provide personal insights into the extent of career pathways available.

“Each year, Glencore Coal brings on a new cohort of recruits for its four-year apprenticeship program, and we heavily rely on the talent pipeline that comes from local high schools to fill roles like electricians, mechanics, and boilermakers,” Mr Exelby said.  

“We want these students to experience some of the cutting-edge technology and innovative practices we have at our sites, helping us make our operations safer and more efficient.”

Collinsville State High School Principal, Mrs Anna Reeves said students greatly benefitted from learning new skills under the guidance of experienced industry professionals.

“Not only did the site tour and workshop show our students the different types of exciting career possibilities in their hometown, but it helped them make new professional networking connections,” Mrs Reeves said.

“The activities were also an excellent opportunity for them to apply their life skills like teamwork, problem solving, and critical thinking.”

QMEA, as Australia’s largest and most successful industry-led education and schools training initiative, said they seek to “broaden student and teacher knowledge of career opportunities in resources.”

The academy encourages a talent pipeline of employees into vocational and professional careers, with a focus on female and Indigenous participation. The QMEA currently engages with 90 schools and is a partnership between the Queensland Resources Council and the Queensland Government under its Gateway to Industry Schools program.

Students at Collinsville State High School headed to the mines to participate in work experience thanks to Glencore Coal

The Grade 10 and 11 students took part in a trades-focused workshop, as well as enjoying a tour of the Collinsville Mine Site

Images: Supplied QLD Minerals and Energy Academy

Read More

Shute Harbour Safe Haven Solves Marina Berth Shortage

November 17, 2022

After Almost two decades in the making, Shute Harbour Marina Resort is forecasting a start of construction for the middle of next year, with plans to be fully operational by 2025.

Offering 395 private berths and 24 waterfront land and berth packages, the development is forecast to provide a ‘safe haven’ for boat owners.

In the past two years Queensland has experienced a doubling of boat registrations which is touted as potentially leading to a shortage of marina berths.

This is coupled with insurance companies requiring owners to seek permanent berths for their vessels, especially in cyclone prone areas like the Whitsundays.

These factors, combined with the natural beauty of the area, led to Adelaide developers choosing Shute Harbour to become a unique and modern marina, the first one built in the region for over 10 years.

Shute Harbour Managing Director, Sam Wade, said that over 450 jobs will be provided in the two-and-a-half-year construction phase and a further 250 in operation thereafter.

Taylors Property Specialists are working with developers to sell the lucrative berth and land packages, with Principal Rob Taylor saying they have received over 3000 enquiries and half are already sold.

To celebrate the successful project and connect with the community, Shute Harbour Marina Resort hosted a special event last week which included a talk by well-known researcher Peter Bell from Aurelius.

He presented his report findings and outlined the need for a marina of this calibre in the Whitsundays.

“Over half (57 per cent) of marinas in Queensland had a waiting list for boat storage spaces during their peak seasons,” said the report.

There are 10,678 wet berths in Queensland, with 61 per cent of these located in the state’s south-east.

North of Bundaberg there are 4,117 marina berths, and just 49 are for sale, leaving just 1.2 per cent of the supply available.

Attending the special event, held at the Volunteer Marine Rescue Centre in Cannonvale, were a mix of marine operators, professionals and local councillors.

After the presentation, a panel took questions with the central theme being the environment – where the dredge spoil would be taken and whether water quality would be affected.

Mr Wade reassured the community that water quality measures would be taken and that the dredge spoil would be removed from the area.

Shute Harbour Marina Resort is owned by a 100 per cent Australian consortium and has a small group of shareholders making decisions.

The development will cost $350 million and will be one of the biggest residential-resort projects for North Queensland in more than a decade.

Shute Harbour Marina Resort Developer Sam Wade, researcher Peter Bell and Rob Taylor from Taylors Property Specialists

Over 30 people attended the special event held in Cannonvale last week

Read More

Yacht Share Viewing Coming Soon

November 17, 2022

The new yacht share syndicate which has been creating conversations across the Whitsunday region, is hosting an open viewing event at the end of the month and everyone is invited to come down to Sorrento’s at Coral Sea Marina.

A unique concept in luxury boat ownership, Yacht Share Marina offers a syndicate of eight investors the opportunity to own shares in a vessel and spend up to six weeks a year sailing around the Whitsundays and the east coast.

The Bali 4.4, named Aleka, is the first of its kind in Australia and boasts 85 square metres of useable space on the main deck.

Known for its luxury, style and comfort the catamaran has an entire side dedicated to the master suite, where the owners can relax in comfort and privacy while their guests enjoy the other ‘wing’.

The galley and saloon areas are akin to a sumptuous lounge setting with all the modern fixtures and fittings you would expect from a vessel of this calibre.

All eight syndicate options for Aleka are already sold but a new Bali 4.4 is due to be delivered to the region next May.

In the meantime, anyone interested in taking a look is invited down to Sorrento on Wednesday, November 30 from 5pm until 7pm.

There will be drinks and nibbles served and an opportunity to find out more about the opportunity.

Anyone interested in touring the vessel, which will be berthed a short walk away, will need to make a booking to receive a time slot.

WHAT: Yacht Share Boat Viewing

WHERE: Sorrento, Coral Sea Marina

WHEN: Wednesday, November 30 from 5pm until 7pm

VIEWINGS: Call Trevor on 0412 296 656

The Bali 4.4 is the only one of its kind in Australia

Read More

Bowen Students Race For Top Spot

November 17, 2022

A group of Whitsunday students travelled to Brisbane to compete in a state-level STEM contest that saw their school raise $20,000 in sponsorship for a region-new program.

Bowen State High School Year 8 and 9 students travelled to the Queensland capital for the F1 in School’s State Finals from October 30 to November 3.

In their first time entering the competition, the local school saw several of its F1 Academy Classes – who participated throughout the year in a program which saw them design and race their own miniaturised Formula 1 race cars – qualify for state level at the F1 in School’s Regional Finals in mid-June in Mackay.

Teachers Katie Broomfield, Ben Davies, and Kayne Fayolle travelled with the students to Brisbane for the program which Mr Fayolle said the program “not only gets students working in teams, it also provides them with industry applicable skills, most notably through the use of industry-level computer programs.”

“They use Computer Assisted Design and a CNC Router Machines where anything they’ve designed in the program can be automatically cut, milled or anything like that,” he said.

“In this instance, they were creating cars, collating the data, testing it, and making a better design for competition.”

The F1 competition involves teams designing their own F1 car model with consideration given to Newton’s Laws of Motion, Aerodynamics, weight, friction, and other key principles of physics.

For the program’s success astounding success in its first year, Bowen State High School’s Senior School Head of Teaching, Tim Close, said they needed to thank both minor and major sponsors who helped them raise $20,000 dollars towards the F1 classes.

Mr Close said the students at the event made an outstanding effort and represented the school in perfect fashion, especially as it was their first year in the program.

“There are some schools who have been a part of it for 20 years, from the inception, and we were up there competing with them in our first year,” Mr Close said.

“We had a strong performance and the positives are that we can hopefully go again next year and send them through to nationals.”

The competition took place at Queensland University of Technology at the Gardens Point Campus with 27 students competing across the program’s distinct Development and Cadet in their self-named teams: Nitrous, Fast Finishers, C-TA, Rapido, KG Racing, Wescon, and Apollo Racing.

Mr Close said the school was extremely proud of the students and of the teaching team as part of a “massive, whole school effort.”

“The commitment by the actual classroom teachers with six-months of pedagogy and other staff members who have stepped in, as well as the students is exemplary,” he said.

“We are very excited to improve these programs in the future and produce the quality of the cars and the quality of their presentation in years to come.”

Bowen State High School Student’s headed to Brisbane for the State Finals of the F1 in School’s in early November

The school hosted a sponsorship night for its major sponsors and minor sponsors who raised $20,000 dollars towards the program’s implementation

Read More

Recycle Right, Whitsundays!

November 17, 2022

The way we dispose of our waste is changing - methods are improving and technology is enabling us to streamline processes - there are countless options to recycle almost anything from car tyres to batteries and mobile phones.

The Whitsunday Regional Council is at the forefront of this change and Manager of Waste Services, David De Jager, said they are currently developing a new Waste Management Strategy which will be rolled out in the coming months.

In the past year, 27 per cent of all waste received as landfill has been diverted, but David said that the biggest problem in regional areas like the Whitsundays is finding a company to purchase and then re-purpose the waste.

“We have no local markets,” he said.

“We have to find markets, and this often means transporting waste off-site which starts to stack up financially.”

Most importantly, though, David said it all starts with us. By adopting sustainable practices in our own households, we can contribute a small part of the bigger picture.

WHERE DOES MY RECYCLING GO?

While some in the community believe that all recycling gets put back into landfill, this is a myth – local recycling is sent directly to Mackay for processing.

“It heads straight to the Material Recycling Facility in Mackay where it is sorted,” said David De Jager.

“A company called Re-Group sort it, remove all contamination, find markets for it and then it is turned into new products.”

YELLOW BINS

While many households have yellow recycle bins, most apartment complexes do not. These locations often do not have the space for an additional bin on the premises, but Council are hoping to address this as part of the new strategy.

SATELLITE TRANSFER STATIONS

There are 15 Satellite Transfer Stations in the Whitsundays and Council is working to transfer as many as possible into kerbside waste pick-up. So far this year, they have managed to close two stations by expanding areas serviced by garbage trucks.

FOGO

No, this is not an acronym for ‘Fear Of Going Out’, it actually means Food Organics Garden Organics – these waste products represent 42 per cent of what we put in our household rubbish and they are the next big focus in our national waste management plan.

We are all encouraged to use our food waste as fertiliser in our veggie patches or in worm farms. If you don’t have these, then find a friend who does and donate your scraps to them.

One day there will be a third kerbside collection bin for FOGO, in fact, Townsville Council are already trialling one.

BIGGEST PROBLEMS

• Solar panels that were installed 10 years ago are largely ending their working life and we do not have a local market for them yet, they are currently taken to Townsville

• Soft plastics – Coles shut down there REDcycle program last week. This had been a donation point for ‘anything you can scrunch’, so there is nowhere to dispose of this waste anymore

RECYCLING RULES

• Follow the instructions on the label, if it has three arrows pointing towards each other in a triangle then it is recyclable

• Never use a plastic bag to recycle – remove contents and place them ‘nude’ into bin or tip

• Only recycle paper, cardboard, metal cans, glass jars and bottles, plastic containers, milk and juice cartons

• Rinse well before placing in recycle bin

Recycle your mobile phone here:

• Your local library

• Your local tip

• Your local phone shop

• Your local Council offices

Recycle old batteries here:

• Your local Bunnings

Read More

Storm Preparedness

November 17, 2022

Every location has its negatives, and in the beautiful Whitsundays, those come in the form of storm season running from November to April each year.

Tropical cyclones are a fact of life in the region when the gorgeous beaches and sunny skies turn dark and cloudy, and now is the month for residents to begin natural disaster preparedness according to Whitsunday Regional Council’s Disaster Management Coordinator, Sandra Black

“Now is as good a time as any; a time before we all start breaking for Christmas,” Ms Black said.

“The last things we want to be doing once our family arrives and we take on a holiday mode is pack up a house. It’s time to look over these things this month before we relax within that Christmas break.”

Ms Black said, for every household, the best place to start is with the basic of ensuring your gutters are cleaned, because storm season doesn’t always mean tropical cyclones, it can also mean inclement, severe rain and wind.

“Things like making sure before the season that your outside area is cleared of items that could become projectiles are great first steps,” Ms Black said.

“And in terms of purchases or items, generators, and batteries as well as an emergency kit are integral. Emergency kits include things like non-perishable foods for four to six days, first aid kits, batteries for radios – items you’ll find when you’re going camping.”

As well, the importance of familiarising yourself with storm season information is key. More information is always available at Council’s ‘Cyclone Sunday’ events, which will be hosted in Airlie Beach on November 27 at the Airlie Beach Foreshore and at Bowen Markets on November 20.

“The Whitsundays is very transient, so many people in the area who are not used to this weather and have never been in a cyclone before,” Ms Black said.

“These events are pivotal to getting the information out there about how warning systems work, how we can look after our households, our families.”

Ms Black said templates of Emergency Plans were available within Council’s Whitsunday Disaster Dashboard, as well as its customer service desks.

“The plans are good to complete with your family; get the kids involved and let them be part of it,” she said.

“I find at home, if I was ever getting ready, I would get my daughter to look after the animals with water, food. It gives them a job to do when you might be concentrating on other stuff. Let the whole family including kids be involved with little jobs.”

More information is available at both the Council website as well as the two community events on November 20 and 27.

WHAT: Cyclone Sunday (preparedness event)

BOWEN: Bowen Market, November 20

AIRLIE: Airlie Beach Markets, November 27

Read More

First Aid And Storm Season

November 17, 2022

Having a substantial first aid kit for the Whitsundays’ cyclone season – which occurs annually off the Queensland coast from November through to April – is paramount, according to local experts.

It’s as pivotal as wearing a seatbelt.

In a year where the likelihood of any tropical cyclone is above average, the month before a predicted four weather events occur in Australia’s Eastern region is a time of preparation.

Qualified First Aid Trainer and owner of AWB First Aid First, Andrew Barker, said first aid kit maintenance was key at this time of year, and that the first step for any individual, business, or household in the Whitsundays, was in accessing their own needs.

“Whether it’s a whole family or a personal kit, they need to be appropriate for the risk level of where they’re living,” Mr Barker said.

“If they’re living in town, the risk level is different to living somewhere like Strathdickie which might be cut off in a storm event. What is needed is to have a first aid kit that is going to both give you the ability to perform basic first aid, but also more serious stuff in a situation where emergency services may not be able to get to you for up to 24 hours, such as during Cyclone Debbie.”

Mr Barker said most people buy their kits off the shelves, and in most cases, these kits are substantial and can cover all bases, but using them is another matter.

“It’s like buying a car and not having a license,” Mr Barker said.

“People may not know how to use them, and of course, we run first aid courses and we say to anyone: if you’re going to buy a kit, you need to know how it is used.

“What I advise for everyone when they buy a kit is to take it home, put it on the kitchen table and unpack it. Put it all on the table and have a look at it and understand it. Each kit comes with a list of its contents, which is used for restocking. As well, kits have an expected life expectancy of three to five years and need to be restocked or replaced.

“If there’s ever any confusion, you can come in and see us and we’re more than happy to discuss it with you.”

AWB First Aid First supplies the Whitsundays with professional first aid training, first aid kits and more.

Wendy Barker from AWB First Aid First with some of the business’ first aid kits, suitable for the tropical storm season in the Whitsundays

Read More

Farmers Find New Ways To Boost Farm Results And Reef Health Through $22.2 million Program

November 17, 2022

A proactive collaboration between local sugarcane growers and the Great Barrier Reef Foundation is starting to reap benefits, making a big difference in how we farm our land and protect the Reef.

Funded by the partnership between the Australian Government’s Reef Trust and the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, a large-scale $200 million water quality program is enabling projects to improve the quality of water entering the Reef, with $22.2 million being invested to support projects in the Whitsunday and Mackay region.

Mid-way through its four-year project period, the Mackay Whitsunday Water Quality Program has engaged with multiple growers, investing in initiatives across 40 per cent of sugarcane land in the Pioneer and Plane Basins.

With farmers spending a significant amount of money on inputs to grow their crop, many have been eager to hear how precision ‘smart farming’ can reduce costs while leveraging increased profitability.

Program Manager for the Mackay Whitsunday Water Quality Program, Chris Dench, said that the interests of the farmers are at the forefront of the project.

“Improving on-farm productivity and profitability is key, while increased water quality is an outcome of this improvement,” he said.

“Everyone wants a healthy Reef – a lot of growers spend time out on the Reef, it’s close to everyone’s hearts – but you have to maintain a profitable business as well.”

Through a series of funding streams that provide agronomic advice and equipment that assists with adopting environmentally sustainable practices, many farmers have jumped at the opportunity to trial initiatives.

Adopting practices such as planting soy or mung beans can allow growers to reduce the amount of synthetic Nitrogen being applied, which can result in big cost savings. Equally, identifying and addressing soil constraints such as pH can reduce the cost to the grower and the amount of fertiliser required.

Other growers involved in the program have focused their attention on better application of pesticides. Through the fabrication of a high clearance spray tractor and GPS rate controller, one grower has reduced pesticide usage by 15 per cent.  

These are just two examples of what is currently underway within the nine different project areas of the Mackay Whitsunday Water Quality Program.

“It’s been incredible to see the willingness of growers to get involved, give things a go and trial innovations,” said Chris.

“Farmers take their stewardship of the land seriously and we enjoy working with them for the benefit of everyone.”

The Mackay Whitsunday Water Quality Program is funded by the partnership between the Australian Government’s Reef Trust and the Great Barrier Reef Foundation and is locally managed by Central Resource Services and coordinated by Reef Catchments.

If you are a grower in the Pioneer, Plane Creek, Proserpine or O’Connell catchments and would like to find out about opportunities to be involved, please visit www.reefcatchments.com.au

This high rise boom sprayer was fabricated and enabled one grower to reduce pesticide usage by 15 per cent. Photo supplied by Reef Catchments.

Read More

The Miracle Of Life A “Snowstorm Of Baby Corals”

November 17, 2022

One of the region’s great natural phenomena began to unfold this week as the annual coral spawning cycle commenced.

The yearly reproduction event began on Monday, November 14, with coral across the Great Barrier Reef synchronising its breeding by releasing millions of tiny egg and sperm bundles into the water.

The bundles containing the elements for life erupt from coral across the reef in unison, covering the sea in colourful clouds which rise slowly to the surface where fertilisation begins before settling to the ocean floor to develop into coral.

In the Reef’s outer stretches, coral spawning occurs during November after a full moon, normally lasting from a few days to a week.

Master Reef Guide and skipper of Kiana Sail and Dive, Brent Chatterton experienced this year’s spawning event firsthand on a five-day four-night trip to the Reef.

“We had the pleasure of seeing the coral spawning; it was amazing. Sunday night we saw the initial evidence of the spawning where they began to release the sperm and the egg,” Mr Chatterton said.

“[On Monday night] it was incredible when at around eight o’clock, the coral spawned before our eyes. It’s like an amazing snowstorm of baby corals under the water.”

Mr Chatteron said he saw different species of coral spawn over a period of days, with his tour witnessing the ‘bushies’ and Acropora corals spawning first.

“It is such a critical event, not only for coral but for fish species. It provides a tremendous amount of nutrients for small and big fishes to eat,” he said.

“The quantities are so vast to allow for it to be eaten, as well as migrate in the ocean currents to settle in other reefs as well, giving the chance for biodiversity to spread through the coral reef system.”

The Master Reef Guide said it signified a few things: “That the lifecycle of the coral is rejuvenating, ready to resettle on systems damaged by cyclones and storms.”

“Storms and cyclones are part of the coral lifecycle, the break and build. From an operator’s point of view, it’s refreshing to take tourists from all over the planet to see the health of the reef in an exciting time where the coral can be reborn and grow,” he said.

Coral Spawning is being utilised by Australian Institute of Marine Science for a project in the Whitsundays known as The Boats4Corals Program which collects spawn for resettling on places where reefs have become denuded.

In 2022, Boats4Corals will commence during this week’s spawn.

Coral spawning began across the fringes of the Great Barrier Reef on Monday, November 14

Images: Maddie Gablehouse aboard Kiana Sail and Dive

Read More

Remembrance Day

November 17, 2022

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;

Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.

At the going down of the sun and in the morning

We will remember them.

On November 11, 1919, King George V inaugurated the first Remembrance Day, marking the end of, what was at the time, the worst conflict in human history: “The war to end all wars”.

To mark those who did not return – “The Fallen” - The Great War’s end on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month became a commemoration for soldiers and service personnel who lost their lives.

Now each year, to commemorate all who died while serving in conflicts and peace-keeping operations in conflicts since World War One, people across the globe observe Remembrance Day through a minute’s silence and a sounding of the Last Post.

Proserpine

Proserpine’s Returned and Services League of Australia (RSL) Sub-branch hosted a Remembrance Day Ceremony, honouring all who were lost, including Proserpine Servicemen who were killed during World War One, World War Two, Korea, and Vietnam.

Proserpine RSL Sub-branch President Jason Raiteri led the proceedings, making special note of the Australian participation in ending The Great War.

“From the summer of 1918, the five divisions of the Australian Core were at the forefront of the Allied advance to victory,” Mr Raiteri said.

“Victory for the Australians had come at a heavy cost: They suffered almost 48,000 casualties in 1918 alone. The four years of World War One 330,000 Australians served overseas, and 60,000 died.

“Today, we remember the over 100,000 Australians who did not come home over all wars. From World War One, World War Two, Malaya, Korea, Vietnam, Rwanda, Somalia, Afghanistan, and Iraq, and all the other operations Australians have been involved in across the globe.”

Wreaths were lain at the foot of the Proserpine Cenotaph by representatives from Proserpine RSL, Whitsunday Regional Councillor Gary Simpson, ex-military servicemen, and local schools, before a minute’s silence was observed.

The well-attended ceremony ended with a playing of ‘The Last Post’ before local’s travelled to the Proserpine RSL to continue a day of remembrance.

The Proserpine Cenotaph was the scene of a touching Remembrance Day ceremony

The event was well-attended by veterans, to whom it means so much

Proserpine Returned and Services League (RSL) Sub-branch organised the day and saw many of its members observe the ceremony

Members from various ex-service groups took part in the RSL-led service

Proserpine RSL Sub-branch President Jason Raiteri conducted the rites of the day

Bowen

Over 80 people attended the indoor service at the Bowen RSL last Friday, including Mayor Julie Hall who stayed to speak with war widows and other guests after the ceremony.

“It was a lovely turn out,” said Bowen RSL President John Eyles.

“We had a very good day as a club.”

The attendees comprised ex-servicemen, families, guests, and friends of the RSL, with the Country Women’s Association putting on a delicious afternoon tea for all to enjoy.

Wreaths laid to remember those that served

Volunteers Rob Byles, Faileen James, Robyn Burrell

Cannonvale

There were roughly 50 attendees at the Cannonvale Cenotaph to commemorate Remembrance Day this year and Airlie Beach Whitsunday RSL Vice President Carl Brown led the service.

Father Jose gave a shirt address and requiem which was followed by the prayer of Remembrance.

President of Airlie Beach Whitsunday RSL Dianne Trueman laid the first wreath followed by Amanda Camm MP’s representative Jacqueline Spruce and Councillor Jan Clifford.

They were followed by ex-service men, local police officers and students from nearby Cannonvale State School.

Jenni Borellini sung the New Zealand National Anthem and Airlie Norton sung the Australian National Anthem.

The flag was lowered and a minute’s silence observed to the emotive sounds of ‘Last Post’ played by Bryce Fraser.

Service concludes with wreaths laid and flag at full mast

Councillor Jan Clifford, President of Airlie Beach Whitsunday RSL Dianne Trueman, Amanda Camm MP’s representative Jacqueline Spruce and RSL Vice President Carl Brown

Read More

Hamilton Island Yacht Fire Investigation Still Ongoing

November 17, 2022

The Hamilton Island luxury yacht fire in late October is still being dealt with by insurance companies.

A stunning Sunseeker 82 motor yacht known as Time Out caught alight on the morning of October 24 this year, before emergency services attended the scene at Hamilton Island Marina which lasted approximately 10 to 12 hours before sinking.

The fire onboard caused the yacht to sink to the seabed which indicates its intensity, as well as the severity of damage the fire incurred to the hull.

Marina staff were integral in efficiently and effectively working with firefighters to contain the flames, with crew from the yacht having provided critical first response.

In days after Time Out’s eventual total submergence, the vessel’s owners were approved with an insurance claim sum in excess of $1,500,000.

A Loss Adjustor and Marine Surveyor, Michael Lieberman, from Nautilus Marine Insurance has been attending the marina to manage the post-incident site and minimise any environmental impact.

Within such a pristine environment this was of immediate concern to the insurance team who had immediately organised professional divers to secure any potential for pollution damage.

Assisted by a range of photos provided by the yacht mechanic, the diver operation was “very successful with the required lines being blocked and the fuel contained.”

The site is still being monitored with additional resources being utilised as soon as required.

“As a professional I have attended many salvages and none of them are ever the same, Mr Lieberman said.

“Being a large vessel resting on the seabed the issues with this salvage are manifold and, like all incidents in marine locations, must be carried out with an abundance of caution and consideration for the environment and local community.”

A vessel named Time Out caught fire in late October

The emergency event at Hamilton Island Marina saw insurance claims awarded of $1.5 million

Read More

Editor's Note

November 10, 2022

Hi Everyone,

This week we finally hit ‘print’ on the last issue for the year of our bi-monthly sister publication, Core Life Magazine, and it feels great!

After a mammoth effort from everyone involved, we are now on the home-stretch gliding smoothly into the festive season to recharge, re-energise and reinvigorate in preparation for another exciting year ahead.

Despite what you may think, we are a relatively small team here at Core Publishing.

There are just 10 of us full-time staff who produce, on average, 80-pages of quality community news per week for this newspaper you are holding.

Somehow, we also find time to publish about 100-pages of premium content for Core Life Magazine, which has been coming out every two months for the past 11 years.

It’s pretty cool!

This edition of Core Life is due to hit the stands next Monday and animal-lovers in particular will enjoy the first annual Pets in Business Feature.

When we launched the feature, we were overwhelmed by the amount of people who were eager to get involved and we quickly realised how much pets mean to local small business owners.

They bring joy, a sense of ‘home’, a comforting paw and a little entertainment to any office space.

We experience this first-hand with our boss’ pets here in the office – her two playful German Shepherd pups and a docile blond Labrador who come in almost every day.

These are just three of the 45 pets from across the region that share their story in Core Life’s Pets In Business special – make sure you grab your free copy when it comes out next week.

Rach

“Remember, you can’t buy love, but you can rescue it” - Unknown

Read More

Flying Fox: Problem Solved

November 10, 2022

In September Collinsville was inundated by a swarm of over 26,000 Flying Foxes who over-ran trees, parks and gardens, decimating on almost every surface of the town and becoming a noisy nuisance.

At the time, Whitsunday Regional Council forecast that the ‘bat plague’ would soon end when the Little Red Flying Foxes naturally migrated to their next food source.

Fortunately for Collinsville residents, this predication came true with the population now reduced to 3000 and forecast to soon reach its normal levels of between 200 and 900.

To encourage the bats to move on as quickly as possible Whitsunday Regional Council worked with local residents on a variety of measures.

These included placing six-metre high ‘Wavey Men’ near the trees (which act in a similar way to scarecrows), playing loud music at certain times of the evening and burning incinerators to deter them with smoke.

At one point there were 42 trees impacted, many of which were on private property.

There are now only a small amount left on public land.

“Thank you to everyone in the community that assisted,” said Julie Wright, Director of Community Services for Whitsunday Regional Council.

“It’s good news for all involved and hopefully the rest will move on as well soon as it will get too hot and too uncomfortable for them.”

Read More

Where’s My Teddy?

November 10, 2022

Usually ‘Teddy’ would stay at home while Sofia Catoni and her 18-month-old son go to the local shopping centre but on this particular day, he came along with them to give some extra comfort to little Frankie who had an ear infection.

The trio headed to Whitsunday Plaza, where Sofia was hoping to settle Frankie who had been grizzly and ill all morning.

Eventually the walk soothed the little guy and Sofia decided to return home, tucking Teddy under her son’s arm in the stroller.

When she arrived home, however, she looked down and suddenly realised Teddy was gone!

Panicked, Sofia knew it would be impossible to settle Frankie without his much-loved soft toy who he’d been sleeping alongside since he was four-months old.

But Teddy was more than just Frankie’s comforter, he was also Sofia’s best pal since shortly arriving to Australia from her home country of Argentina.

Their friendship began when Sofia was rushed to hospital for an emergency operation and Teddy was given to her by a dear friend.

For the past few years, Sofia had been sleeping with Teddy by her side and had now given it to her own son.

Realising Teddy was missing that day, meant Sofia was devastated.

She raced back to the shopping centre and asked everywhere, even checking under cars.

Other mums saw her plight and joined the search.

Shopping Centre staff announced it over the loud speaker and a message was posted on social media.

Eventually, after the community rallied around, a message came through Facebook that Teddy had been located.

“I would like to thank everyone who helped,” said Sofia.

“We are new to the area and haven’t made a lot of friends yet, but I really felt the love of the community that day.”

Sofia, Frankie and Teddy

Read More

Celebrity Eclipse Debuts At Shute Harbour

November 10, 2022

Shute Harbour Marine Terminal has become a welcome additional access point for a vibrant industry which regularly sees between 50 and 60 cruise ships a year bringing their passengers to Airlie Beach.

Contributing around $10 million to the local economy, Shute Harbour is now perfectly poised to help with the growth of this sector.

Chief Operating Officer of Aviation and Tourism for Whitsunday Regional Council, Craig Turner, said that the Council owned facility is focusing on attracting new cruise ship businesses.

“These cruise ship companies have never been here before, they are brand new to the region,” he said.

“There will be days when there are two to three cruise ships arriving in the Whitsundays and we are adding opportunities to the destination.”

Negotiations have been taking place for almost four years, and Mr Turner said he is thrilled to report that 20 cruise ships will be bringing passengers to Shute Harbour from now until June 2023.

“This is another step forward on our recovery from COVID,” he said.

“Every visit gives passengers a site inspection of the Whitsundays – they can touch, feel and have a little taste of what we offer which is better than a brochure and hopefully encourages them to return.”

On Wednesday passengers were greeted with live music, market stalls and food vans as they disembarked at the brand-new Shute Harbour facility.

Mayor Julie Hall attended the opening and spent time talking with representatives from the cruise ship.

“I am so excited to welcome the first ever cruise ship, Celebrity Eclipse, to the new Shute Harbour Marine Terminal,” she said.

“The safe return of cruises is an important milestone in our region’s economic recovery and the revitalization of the tourism and hospitality sectors.”

Celebrity Eclipse arrived at Shute Harbour on Wednesday bringing 2900 passengers ashore

Cruise Ship Ambassadors Brian Richardson, Whitsunday Regional Council representative Brooklyn Clarke, Cruise Ships Ambassadors Lyn Blanche Woodham and Eddie Bennett

Read More

New Candidate Steps Forward

November 10, 2022

Whitsunday resident Dan Popovich has announced his intention to run for the division two seat, joining candidate Clay Bauman, who announced his candidacy three weeks ago.

A United Kingdom expatriate, Mr Popovich has lived in Woodwark for the past 15 years and raised his family in local area.

“We live here and work here in this division and we love the place,” he said.

“I feel this is a call of duty to some degree, this area’s been so good to us, and I thought it was an appropriate time to offer my skills, service and experience to the community.”

Mr Popovich has a broad career history as a strategist for a global company, involved with many infrastructure and development projects, as well as being a qualified surveyor, civil engineer, and project manager.

While living in Hobart he was also active in the local progress association working between interest groups and the local council.

Mr Popovich says he now wishes to use all these skills to create more transparency.

“It seems like there is a big divide between the community and the Council,” he said.

“I’d like the people to have a closer relationship and to feel that the Council is there for them and not them for the Council.”

Tackling issues such as “the rash of traffic lights becoming an epidemic in the area”, Mr Popovich says that he hopes to help create a vision for the town.

“It all just seems very ad hoc - we need a strategy and we need a vision – there seems to be too many conflicting powers and influences and as a rate payer I don’t feel included in this,” he explained.

“At the moment I feel the tail wagging the dog – the Council’s got it’s fingers in so many pies and it forgets that it’s the rate payers that should be looked after fist.”

Dan Popovich is running for the Whitsunday Regional Council’s division two seat

Clay Bauman announced as a division two candidate three weeks ago

Read More

Bowen Mason’s Fund Life Support Mannequin

November 10, 2022

Medical professionals aboard our region’s life-saving service, RACQ CQ Rescue helicopter, will now be even more prepared for every eventuality thanks to a kind donation from the Kennedy Masonic Lodge No 11 of Bowen.

A total of $15,756 was gifted to the invaluable local service and was put directly towards funding an advanced life support mannequin that will help train doctors and Critical Care Paramedics on RACQ CQ Rescue missions.

The life-size and interactive mannequin, named ‘Kennedy’, coughs, wheezes, breathes and even screams – in fact the mannequin makes an array of heart, breath and bowel sounds as well as speech and even has pulse and blood pressure simulator plus skin and veins.

Providing the trauma team with interactive training scenarios and practical experience in airway/intubation training, the life-like device also simulates cardiac related skills, circulatory skills, IV drug administration, trauma and bleeding control, first aid, cardiac defibrillation, pacing and ECG interpretation of over 100 rhythm variations.

RACQ CQ Rescue Media and Communications Manager Naomi Noy said the mannequin was helping educate and improve the competency of the chopper’s medical team by delivering “highly-effective simulation-based training”.

“As medical professionals in varied and high-pressure scenarios, the challenge to deliver continuous and consistent quality patient care requires proper training,” Ms Noy said.

“This mannequin incorporates consistent simulation scenarios into clinical training curriculums helping the doctors and paramedics on board our chopper correct any potential clinical errors.

“Ultimately, the mannequin helps ensure our helicopter medical team are better trained and have more practical experience in the variety of missions we face.”

Kennedy Masonic Lodge Master Ian Barrett said they were very pleased to assist in funding the mannequin and were thrilled it offered such benefit to the medical crew, service and in turn, the community.

“This mannequin is incredibly realistic – it’s also durable, rugged and made to withstand years of use,” he said.

“The multiple modules it features will accommodate a wide range of training needs for this team for years to come and this will greatly assist their training for the emergency situations they face every day across this region. Ultimately, it will help save lives”.

This kind donation is just latest part in the $36,000 funding support given to RACQ CQ Rescue by Kennedy Masonic Lodge over the past decade.

Kennedy Mason Lodge Bowen members, from left, Adrian Tilney, Neville Jones, Ian Pott and Ian Barrett with RACQ CQ Rescue rescue crewman Chris Muffett with ‘Kennedy’ the interactive and advanced life support mannequin they funded. Please credit: RACQ CQ Rescue

Read More

Nominations Now Open For Amazing Aussies

November 10, 2022

This January Whitsunday Regional Council will once again be celebrating amazing Aussies in the 2023 Australia Day Awards which means now is the time to put your fellow community members forward, with nominations closing at the end of this month.

Do you know someone who deserves to be recognised?

This could be a young achiever, local environmentalist, a kind volunteer, cultural ambassador or senior hero who always gives their all and goes above and beyond to contribute to the local community.

There are eight categories to choose from and Mayor Julie Hall encourages everyone to take the time to nominate a worthy recipient.

“Each year we have so many fantastic nominees that are tremendous contributors to our community. Their efforts bring us closer together and inspire us all,” she said.

“It is these nominees and many other volunteers in our community that work tirelessly without recognition and I’m sure everyone will know someone, young or old, who is an inspiration in their community.

“Let’s applaud these amazing individuals who have served their community and achieved incredible things by taking the time to nominate them for an Australia Day Award.”

Categories include:

• Citizen of the year (aged 26 years and over)

• Young Citizen of the Year (aged 16 - 25 years)

• Senior Sports Award (over 26 years of age)

• Young Sports Award (aged 16 – 25 years)

• Arts & Culture Award

• Environmental Achievement Award

• Community Event of the Year

• Volunteer of the Year Award

Nominations close Sunday, November 27 and can be made online at Your Say Whitsunday - http://yoursay.whitsundayrc.qld.gov.au/ .

PDF copies of the nomination can also be printed from the Your Say website or you can collect one in person from any of Council’s Customer Service Centres.

For enquiries, please call Council’s Events and Community Sponsorship Officer, Hayley Borg, on 1300 WRC QLD (972 753).

Read More

Stinger Season Now On!

November 10, 2022

Residents are advised to always wear stinger suits when swimming in the ocean from now until May as jelly fish, that predominantly favour warmer temperatures, become prevalent in our local waterways at this time of year.

Julie Wright, Director of Community Services for Whitsunday Regional Council said that each year they wait for James Cook University to “give the nod” before the region’s two stinger nets are brought out and placed at their permanent locations.

One stinger net is positioned at Cannonvale Beach and the other is placed at New Beach.

There is also a swimming enclosure, which is a permanent structure, located at Dingo Beach.

Irukandji, box jellyfish, bluebottles, and other dangerous species can be found throughout the Whitsundays and, if they come into contact with people, they can cause severe reactions.

Serious stings can cause cardiac arrest and intense pain, which makes them especially dangerous for young children, babies and the elderly.

Ms Wright said that while stinger nets prevent larger jelly fish from entering the area, the smaller Irukandji variety are the size of a thumbnail and can easily pass through.

“Stinger nets will not keep out all the problems in the ocean,” she said.

“That’s why we suggest and strongly urge stinger suits to be worn at all times.”

Swimmers are also encouraged to stay away from the perimeter of the nets as sometimes botanicals from the box jellyfish can be caught up in the net and still sting if someone brushes up against them.

Dog owners are also advised to keep their dogs from swimming at this time of year.

How to treat a jellyfish sting:

• Rinse the area with vinegar, for at least 30 seconds

• Remove tentacles from the skin with tweezers

• Once the tentacles are removed, soak the area in hot but not scalding water for 20 to 45 minutes

• If hot water is not available, apply a cold pack to help the pain

The stinger net at Cannonvale Beach is now in place and open to the public

Read More

ON REMEMBRANCE DAY – SALUTING FATHER GARD (MBE)

November 10, 2022

“THE PRIEST WHO STOPPED THE WAR”

Major Thomas Gard, Rat of Tobruk, is better known to the people of the Whitsundays as Father Gard, parish priest in Proserpine from 1966 until his retirement in 1988 and as a beloved coach to many young football players and cricketers in the area. But to the men of the 2/43rd Battalion, he was regarded as a legend in his own time. His award of an MBE was fitting recognition for this man renowned in military circles as “the priest who stopped the war”.

In 1933, Thomas Gard was ordained in the Sacred Heart Cathedral, Townsville and served in a number of North Queensland parishes. When war was declared in 1939, he sought his bishop’s permission to serve his country by providing for the spiritual needs of troops. So began an illustrious career as army chaplain with the 2/43rd Battalion.

On March 25/26, 1942, his battalion arrived at Tobruk joining the 20th and 26th Brigades of the 9th Division. After an initial settling in period, and getting accustomed to the vermin, heat and flies, the 2/43rd and 2/28th Battalions received orders to attack five heavily fortified German field positions at 3.30am, August 3.

By dawn of that day, it was apparent that the casualties were very high. Of the 129 men committed, only 23 returned unscathed. The wounded lying in No-man’s land could be heard calling for help. An audacious plan was devised to recover the wounded and dead.

Tensely watched by thousands of eyes behind the wire on either side, a truck bearing the Red Cross flag drove slowly into No-Man’s land. On the bonnet stood Padre Thomas Gard, flanked by Sergeant Wally Tuit waving the flag and another stretcher bearer, Private Keith Pope.

The truck was halted a couple of hundred metres from the German stronghold. A German officer appeared, ordering the party back but Father Gard walked forward, offering the German a cigarette. After talking for a while, the officer ordered a path to be cleared through the minefield to allow them to reach their dead and wounded. Enemy soldiers produced cigarettes and drinks as the task of collecting the men went on; soldiers waved from both sides.

The recovery was almost thwarted by the sudden burst of artillery shots. Father Gard calmly and insistently pledged his word to the officer, explaining the Australian artillery was not responsible. A message was urgently relayed to the Australian trenches and despatched by field telephone to British Headquarters. The firing ceased. The recovery resumed – 5 wounded and 28 bodies – every man accounted for.

When the mission of mercy was over, the peace that had fallen ended – the machine guns recommenced firing.

“To drive unarmed by day across no-man’s land in a motor truck under the Red Cross flag to ‘test’ the feeling of the Nazi frontline regarding the collection of Australian dead and wounded is as hard a task as any man can set himself in war. (Padre) ‘Tommy’ Gard … carried it off successfully – and regarded it as nothing out of his line of duty.” (“The Courier Mail” January 4, 1945)

Father Gard was a man who was loved and respected by thousands from all walks of life and from all generations; a man who was humble about his wartime achievements. When asked about the strange, unplanned, unofficial truce in Tobruk, he would always brush it aside by saying, “We could not have done it without help from above…”

LEST WE FORGET

Story courtesy of Proserpine Historical Museum; T.M (Marty) Doyle and “The Proserpine News 1939-1945 WW11” by Lyn Burke and Lloyd Fox.

Painting of Father Gard done by a local lady, Mrs Verla Dries.

Read More

State School Students Contribute To Seagrass Study

November 10, 2022

A Coastal Marine Ecosystem Research Centre (CMERC) study enlisted the help of Cannonvale State School students and Whitsunday locals last weekend with the goal of educating the community on the importance of seagrass.

The Seagrass Restoration Community Event led by a CMERC PHD student, Anna Hegarty, took place in the shallows of Cannonvale Beach on a day of low tide last Saturday, November 5.

The university invited the group of volunteers to help harvest seagrass flowers, which contain 30 seeds, for both research and for rehabilitation by helping grow new seagrass in damaged areas.

The project focuses on seagrass seed dispersal in dynamic environments - namely places which can experience severe tropical storms, such as the Whitsundays, which can damage the ecosystem.

The seeds, which are podded within seagrass flowers, or spathes, are collected for CMERC laboratories to be stored until a dispersal in the event of severe weather or in locations which could benefit from seagrass.

Ms Hegarty said seagrass is evident on every continent apart from Antarctica with the genera trend that it is decreasing worldwide.

“What we’re doing with my project is part of a bigger Whitsundays project alongside Reef Catchments and Coral Sea Marina Resort, as well as Coastal Marine Ecosystems Research Centre (CMERC) who have received funding for from Great Barrier Reef Foundation’s Island Initiative project,” she said

“When you head somewhere like Bunnings and buy a seed packet, you have instructions for growing conditions: light, water, time to grow. But we don’t know those things for seagrass. That’s why we need to harvest, study, and experiment with the seeds and flowers gathered through this project.”

The Seagrass harvesting event in the Whitsundays saw around 20 people – both adults and children – working in a seagrass meadow of Zostera muelleri seagrass and was as much about community education as actual seed gathering, according to Ms Hegarty.

“Coming from Ireland myself, no one in my university degree was taught what seagrass was. Ocean ecosystems focus on mangroves, coral, but people aren’t introduced to seagrass. Much of the time, people are just out there walking on it and think it’s algae or seaweed,” she said.

“That’s where the education aspect comes into it with these activities. Seagrass is extremely important as an ecosystem. It is 35 per cent more of a carbon sink than a pristine tropical rainforest.”

Limited research into seagrass has shown its importance as a water purifier for the Great Barrier Reef, a source of food for dugongs, turtles, waterfowls, and crabs, as well as a habitat.

“The seagrass meadow at Cannonvale Beach and the Pioneer Bay area is a great source for other meadows through dispersal in the currents so it’s quite important to keep it thriving,” Ms Hegarty said.

“Our goal is to get as many seeds as possible at The Whitsundays, but also to get the community involved too at the same time, which is invaluable. Understanding is how we come to appreciate.”

Over the week, CQU harvested roughly 38,000 seeds in the Whitsundays, with a total annual goal for both Gladstone and Cannonvale of one million.

Interested parties can email CMERC-Admin@cqu.edu.au to find out how you can volunteer with CMERC at their next seagrass event.

CQUniversity’s Coastal Marine Ecostystem Research Centre (CMERC) PHD student Anna Hegarty at Cannonvale Beach harvesting seagrass flowers with locals for study and planting

Seagrass harvesting focuses on the flowers which contain 30 seeds

Students from Cannonvale State School, their parents, and locals helped harvest the seagrass in a meadow, which is the muddy sediment which seagrass grows within

Read More

Local Lad Wins Townsville TAFE Apprentice Of The Year

November 10, 2022

Taking out the top prize at the TAFE Queensland 2022 Townsville Trade Excellence Awards, local Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Mechanic, Connor Spence, has been named the 2022 Outstanding Apprentice of the Year.

Selected from 1,400 of his peers to receive the prestigious title, Connor was also awarded the Refrigeration Apprentice of the Year title.

Currently working at HJC Refrigeration and Air Conditioning, he is completing an apprenticeship while attending block training at the TAFE Queensland Townsville Trade Training Centre.

The north region TAFE Queensland Director of Trades, Mark Patterson, said Connor was an exemplary student.

“Connor is an exceptional mentor to his class and workmates and takes advantage of every opportunity to improve his skills and industry knowledge,” he said.

“I’d like to congratulate him for taking out the Outstanding Apprentice of the Year title.”

Unable to attend the ceremony in Townsville on October 27, Connor said he was very grateful and that the announcement came as a complete shock.

“It was unreal to know that out of so many people who were nominated, I ended up winning. It was very humbling and I feel honoured,” he said.

“I started my apprenticeship straight out of high school. I didn’t know anything about the trade, I just kind of fell into it and thought I’d give it a go.

“I really enjoy the variety of jobs within my trade, there are so many different aspects to the domestic, commercial and industrial side of the industry, so there’s always something to learn.”

Connor Spence, TAFE Townsville Apprentice of The Year

Read More

Whitsundays Represent At Queensland Tourism Awards

November 10, 2022

More than a thousand tour operators, both big and small, gathered at the Queensland Tourism Awards last Friday to celebrate a bounce-back year which saw intra-state tourism numbers rise by 21.5 per cent, totalling $12.4 billion.

Queensland Tourism Industry Council (QTIC) CEO Brett Fraser said this was the year that the 37th annual Queensland Tourism Awards celebrated Queenslanders supporting Queenslanders.

“In true Queenslander spirit, we are embracing the difficulties we face together by re-connecting and discovering places in our own backyard, as together we are drawn to holidays within our home state,” he said.

“Collectively, this year’s recipients are a testament to the strength and calibre of the state’s tourism operators, and I applaud this great industry and its people for the innovation and resilience they have displayed.”

A total of 78 awards, including 31 Gold, 26 Silver and 20 Bronze Awards were presented across 30 categories and the Whitsunday region walked away with nine of these prestigious accolades.

This years’ awards represented a poignant moment for the tourism industry, celebrating the resilience and tenacity of operators who had all beat the odds to not only survive but also thrive in the new post-pandemic world.

“The past two years have re-defined how people live, work and travel, and the intrastate tourism we are experiencing is directly correlated to this,” said Mr Fraser.

Tourism Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said the Queensland Tourism Awards celebrated a remarkable year.

“It has been terrific to see Queensland domestic tourism bounce back so strongly with a nation leading $19.6 billion in overnight visitor spending,” Mr Hinchliffe said.

“We owe much of Queensland’s achievements to the hard work, resilience and innovation of the State’s tourism operators, some of whom are recognised by the 2022 Awards.

“Congratulations to this year’s award winners and finalists for delivering world-class visitor experiences and making Queensland a destination of choice.”

Queensland Tourism Award Winners:

Tourism Retail & Hire Services

Silver: Whitsunday Coast Airport

Bronze: Shute Harbour Marine Terminal

Major Tour and Transport Operators

Silver: Ocean Rafting

Adventure Tourism

Gold: Ocean Rafting

Caravan and Holiday Parks

Gold: Big4 Adventure Whitsundays Resort

Unique Accommodation

Bronze: Cruise Whitsundays – Reefstays

Self-Contained Accommodation

Silver: Pinnacles Resort

Bronze: Mirage Whitsundays

3-3.5 Star Accommodation

Gold: Magnums Accommodation Airlie Beach

Chief Executive Officer of Tourism Whitsundays, Rick Hamilton and Elizabeth Hackett from Magnums Accommodation

Peter and Jan Claxton from Ocean Rafting

Greg McKinnon and Tanya Cran from BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort

Read More

GOLD For BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort At 2022 Queensland Tourism Awards

November 10, 2022

Last Friday BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort was awarded top honours at the Queensland Tourism Awards with a Gold win in the ‘Caravan and Holiday Parks ‘category.

This spectacular result progresses the team to the Qantas Australian Tourism Awards, due to be held in March 2023.

BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort has been owned by the McKinnon family for 29 years, with three generations of family, and the resort’s managers, attending the evening.

“We are unbelievably proud to have won gold at this level after an ever-changing few years. While there has been ups and downs, we have rolled with it as effectively as possible, with the ultimate aim, as it has always been, to always offer our guests that very special holiday where they can disengage with the everyday and really connect with family and friends,” said owner Greg McKinnon.

“The Whitsundays is a very special place and we are just grateful that holidaymakers the world over choose Queensland, and our resort, as their precious holiday destination.

“Winning this award reflects the offerings of our quality tourism product, our ongoing development and our exceptional standards of customer service.

“We are very aware of always exceeding our guest’s expectations so it is really wonderful for our family, managers and our incredible team to receive this award.

“We could not have ever achieved this without the support of our guests, many who return time and time again, so we thank them sincerely,” continued Greg.

“A huge congratulations to all the other winners and entrants, and to the Queensland Tourism Industry Council for putting on a wonderful night for the industry.”

After purchasing the run-down caravan park 29 years ago, BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort has been transformed by the McKinnon family into the ultimate Whitsunday family holiday destination. This year saw a focus on enhancing accessibility for all, with the introduction of vision-impaired accessible cabins to complement the resort’s existing accessible offerings, as well as its autism sensory room, a popular and much-loved retreat for guests with children on the autism spectrum.

“We have put everything into the resort over the past 29 years and continue to grow to make it the multi-award winning and nationally recognised destination to escape to with family and friends in the Whitsundays,” added Greg.

“Our resort is all about connecting with each other by offering an environment where everyone can enjoy the many facilities and activities on offer, relax in quality accommodation and just all come together.”

BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort offers a range of accommodation, from tropical landscaped camp sites through to self-contained studios, one-, two- and three-bedroom cabins, providing options to suit every taste and budget. With over 15 onsite activities including a big, huge, mega waterslide park, lagoon style pool, mini golf, outdoor cinema, Kid’s Club, year-round activities program and much more, BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort offers the ultimate holiday escape.  

Three generations of the McKinnon family were present on the night. L to R Molly, Greg, Jan, Jack and Josh McKinnon

L to R, Andrea Mearns, Catherine Paterson and Tanya Cran

Read More

Award Winning Tour Company Launches November Sunset Special

November 10, 2022

Cruise Whitsundays is celebrating a successful award season by launching a November special exclusive for Turtle Club members on their popular Camira Sunset Cruise.

With its exclusive all-inclusive drinks package, Camira is known as one of the best value tours in town and their new November special will really get the festive season started.

Built for comfort and speed, Camira is an 85-foot catamaran that boasts a large indoor space with seating and two outdoor netted areas where guests can sit and chat while watching the Whitsunday waters glide by.

The sunset cruises set sail at 6pm and return at 8pm, departing from Port of Airlie and tracking a scenic route around Pioneer Bay to watch as the sun sets below the horizon until the night sky emerges, a sprinkle of sparkling stars illuminating the tranquil ocean vista.

Departing every Friday and Saturday afternoon, this tour is an ideal way to begin a weekend with friends, workmates or even your partner.

The largest commercial sailing catamaran in the Whitsundays, there is lots of room for guests to enjoy a lively party or discover a quiet corner to sit back and take in the incredible scenery of Pioneer Bay and the lights of Airlie Beach.  

Cruise Whitsundays is one of the largest tour companies in the region, offering full and half-day trips to Whitehaven Beach.

They also operate Reefworld, a purpose-built pontoon located 39 nautical miles from land in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef.

Guests can travel out to Reefworld for a daytrip and enjoy activities such as scuba diving, snorkelling, semi-submersible tours and an underwater observatory.

Reefworld contains Australia’s only underwater hotel, offering two luxury rooms with a unique underwater view like no other!

The pontoon location also offers a Reefsleep experience with glamping pods on the deck under the stars with no other light for miles around.

Guests are transported to these exciting locations on one of Cruise Whitsundays high-powered, air-conditioned catamarans. Travel in speed and comfort and choose to enjoy the sea breeze from the ocean deck or sit in the cool lounge setting.

From sunset cruises to Great Barrier Reef experiences, it is easy to see why this impressive tour company won awards both locally and state-wide this month.

Taking home Gold for Major Tourist Attraction for Reefworld at the Whitsunday Tourism Awards as well as Gold for Unique Tourism Accommodation, then backing this up with bronze for Unique Tourism Accommodation at the Queensland Tourism Awards, Cruise Whitsunday is riding high on the wave of success.

Sunset Cruise November Special:

Adult tickets $99 and children $79

Turtle Club price $69 for adults and $54 for children

Cruise into sunset with Camira

Spacious deck, perfect for relaxing in comfort

Read More

Ocean Rafting Win Gold At State Awards

November 10, 2022

Celebrated local tour company Ocean Rafting have returned from the Queensland Tourism Awards this week with a gold award for Adventure Tourism and a silver in the Major Tour and Transport Operators category.

In addition, their sister company, Ocean Safari which is based in Cape Tribulation, came home with a silver award in the Adventure Tourism category, coming second only to Ocean Rafting.

Capping off a fabulous 25 years in operation, owners Jan and Peter Claxon say they are very proud of the team and look forward to many more successful years to come.

“Both Ocean Rafting and Ocean Safari offer such unique experiences for guests, and they are constantly evolving and growing,” said Jan.

“Our staff play such a big part in all of this and absolutely love what they do and the beautiful natural playgrounds they visit every day.”

With three generations of the Claxton family working within the company, Peter said that the recognition means so much to everyone involved.

“On behalf of the Ocean Rafting and Ocean Safari teams, we must thank our supportive family and friends, which includes our staff, to the traditional custodians of the land and sea country which we are grateful to share, to our loyal agents, fellow tourism operators, industry and government partners, and especially to our incredible guests who we share the beauty of the Whitsundays with every day, we thank you,” said Peter.

“While there has been ongoing evolvements for many tourism operators, it was wonderful to see so many Queensland tourism businesses come together to celebrate what this beautiful state has to offer and we pass on our congratulations to all the other winners and finalists.”

Ocean Rafting will now head to the Qantas Australian Tourism Awards in March 2023.

With eight custom-built bright yellow vessels that operate day-tours around the Whitsundays, Ocean Rafting have been fine-tuning their unique offering over the years.

They are a coveted Ecotourism Australia Hall of Fame member for being continuously Advanced Ecotourism Australia Certified for 20 years or longer and a TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Best of the Best award winner in the Top one per cent of Tourism Businesses around the world and Top 10 Experiences in Australia.

They have also won a swag of awards including multiple gold wins at the Australian, Queensland and Whitsunday Tourism Awards.

The only company in the Whitsundays with four Master Reef Guides, who are recognised as the world’s leading reef guides, interpreters and story tellers, Ocean Rafting have a team comprised of Marine Biologists and Eye On the Reef trained Eco Hosts.

Despite two COVID-impacted years, the business managed to grow and evolve, introducing a seven-seater Australian-built Airvan plane to the fleet.

Flying into operations in May, the new plane adds to the pre-existing Fly Raft package offering scenic flights over Whitehaven Beach, Hill Inlet and famous Heart Reef.

This new addition creates an iconic triple-whammy providing the ultimate Whitsunday experience in just one day.

Owners of Ocean Rafting, Peter and Jan Claxton with Sales Captain Nathan Fleming

Three generations of the Claxton family

Read More

Farmers Frustrated As Sugar Season Runs Late

November 10, 2022

The Proserpine Mill will continue crushing until January and it is looking likely that there will be a ‘stand-over’ of sugar cane still left in the fields following a disappointing season that has been marred by the mill’s unplanned maintenance issues and worker shortage.

Growers hoped for a bumper season with high sugar prices and a larger than usual harvest creating renewed positivity and the promise of recovery from several years of below average production.

Mike Porter, Manager of Canegrowers Proserpine said farmers are “frustrated” and some are becoming “annoyed” by complications that have caused massive delays over the season.

“Factory performance hasn’t been great this year and it is disappointing to be lower than normal,” he said.

“After five years of below average crop, which has largely been to do with Cyclone Debbie, growers had been looking forward to finally getting a decent crop and with the potential to make more money with better sugar prices.”

On average, the Proserpine Mill can expect to process two million tonnes in a 22-week period or around 1.5 million tonnes in about 19 weeks.

This season’s crop is larger than the last few years, at 1.78 tonnes, but it has also taken a lot longer to process.

Proserpine Operations Manager Sebastian Foti said that the extended season is mainly due to unplanned factory stops, wet weather interruptions and labour force challenges.

“We also got off to a late start as a result of COVID-related supply chain issues and skilled labour shortfalls,” he said.

Minimising delays where possible, the team utilised any wet weather stops to perform necessary maintenance, thereby reducing the need for scheduled maintenance stops.

“We are focused on processing the whole 1.78 million tonne crop and are working closely with the growing and harvesting sectors to achieve this,” he said.

Despite this, growers remain disappointed that this year will see the first ‘stand-over’ of crop since 2010.

The crop left on the fields will not contain the same sugar quality as it would have yielded in this year’s harvest and the rest of this year’s crop quality will decrease as the temperatures rise over the next month.

Unfortunately, when the hardworking industry should be celebrating with their annual cut-out party, they are instead working an extra six to eight weeks on a crop that will not yield much.

In addition, Mr Porter said the growers may experience staff shortages as workers return to their families over the Christmas period.

Annual Cut Out Party

Organisers of the annual Cut Out Party are inviting the community to attend the festivities this January, celebrating the hard-working individuals from across the industry at the end of a challenging season.

All are welcome, from cane farmers to mill workers, local affiliated companies and anyone in the community who wants to support the local sugar cane industry.

The first event of its kind was introduced last year, and its huge success prompted an expanded committee to organise the second iteration.

Last year, $12,000 was raised, and this year, proceeds will go to RACQ CQ Rescue.

The Cut Out Party will be held at the Proserpine Showgrounds and attendees can expect a fun night out with live music, a slideshow from the season, charity auction, fire pit, and of course an open bar.

WHAT: Cut Out Party

WHEN: Saturday, January 14

WHERE: Proserpine Showgrounds

Read More

Proserpine Bull Riding Final Next Week

November 10, 2022

One of the state’s biggest annual rodeo events is bringing its bucking bulls to the Proserpine Showgrounds, taking its world-class show back to the sugar town for the first time in more than a decade.

Get your spurs, your boots, get your Stetson and your bolo tie: The Central Rodeo Cowboys Association (CRCA) Finals for 2022 will arrive in Proserpine on November 19.

Some of the country’s best riders have competed across the association’s yearlong calendar of rodeo competitions, fighting for points to place in the top 10 spot and qualify for the culmination in a weeks’ time.

The professional sport final will be the first time in more than 10 years that the CRCA have hosted a rodeo event in Proserpine according to the association’s President, Danny Borghero.

“Proserpine used to have rodeos with CRCA all of the time, so it will be great have one back there,” Mr Borghero said.

“It should be good. We’ve got a lot of bull riders and contractors there around the Proserpine area, so it’s a central rodeo area that really enjoys the events.”

Mr Borghero said the event was filled to the brim with the traditional rodeo categories for spectators to enjoy: Bullride, open saddlebronc, bareback, ladies’ barrells, barrel racing, and a string of junior events.

“It should be a great night; we’ve got some of the best bullriders in Australia coming,” Mr Borghero said.

“Clayton Brayden, one of the best saddleback riders in the country, and Jack Bowen, who’s leading three different associations will both be there. The quality of riders is probably the best in Australia.”

Winners for each category are in store for prize monies as high as $1,500.

Mr Borghero said the event is “what the cowboys have been competing for all year and what it’s all come down to.”

Aside from the bucking bulls, the event will be home to a DJ, food vans, kids’ entertainment and activities, a bar, and more side entertainment.

The final has seen wide-scale support from local organisations including Dittman Bucking Bulls, Reef Gateway Hotel, Peries’ IGA Proserpine, Whitsunday Regional Council, and more.

Tickets are available online at Eventbrite via the CRCA Facebook page.

WHAT: 2022 CRCA Finals

WHEN: Saturday, November 19 from 4.00pm

WHERE: Proserpine Showgrounds

The 2022 CRCA Finals will see bucking bulls return to Proserpine Showgrounds next weekend

The event is one of the first the association has run in the local town for more than 10 years, with their most recent local showing in Airlie Beach last September

Images: Declan Durrant

Read More

Learn About Your Community Centre

November 10, 2022

A community association is inviting interested locals along to participate in its annual general meeting (AGM) where they can learn about its groups, services, and passion for its town.

Proserpine Community Centre will host its AGM on Wednesday, November 16, at 7pm at 36 Gardenia Street. Locals will have the opportunity to listen to a series of reports on the local incorporated centre.

Coordinator at the centre, Ingrid Ruck said the meeting presented locals with input into a vital service within the community.

“Positions on the role – the chair, vice chair, secretary, and treasurer – will be re-electing for their positions this year, but a decision for more community input can see the appointment of three members of the community,” Ms Ruck said.

“Those people who are active in the community can contribute to what we do here.”

Ms Ruck said that people often ask her what exactly the community centre staff “do”.

“In the simplest terms, we help people,” Ms Rusk said.

“Whether it’s a client, a colleague, peer support, or whether it’s someone new to the area, they can ring us. We try to keep our whole community in Proserpine up to date with what’s happening. Our question whenever someone walks through the door is: ‘How can we help you?’

“Sometimes, it is just about listening and showing a bit of kindness.”

The Proserpine Community Centre AGM begins at 7pm next Wednesday at the Centre itself and will provide a light supper. Everyone is welcome.

Read More

“Final Fruition”: Proserpine Dam Thriving

November 10, 2022

Lake Proserpine has experienced exceptional financial growth as a tourism venture thanks to major redevelopments which have capitalised on the famed site’s natural splendour.

Since the first quarter of the financial year, when new caretakers Red Cat Adventures commenced their tenure at the facility, more than 5,500 people have visited the Dam’s campsite, generating a total of $95,474.76 in revenue - an increase of 64 per cent compared to the previous quarter.

In financial terms, the $2.9 million dollar Dam development – budgeted at $3.1 million, with the difference being award to construct the grey water system – has been a major success for Whitsunday Regional Council.

And in social terms, the transformation of Peter Faust Dam has seen it become a major tourism experience for travellers and locals alike, and it is certainly becoming a source of incredible pride for locals, especially Councillor John Collins.

When Councillor Collins initially ran to maintain his seat of Division Three in 2016, much of his campaign focused on developing tourism opportunities at what was previously reserved as solely an infrastructure site.

“I feel proud to have been a part of a Council that brought this to fruition,” Councillor Collins said.

“Ever since the dam was built, locals have always said it would be a perfect place to pack up and go camping and exploring on weekends. Now this has finally happened.”

Mr Collins and Proserpine locals would not have to wait long before plans began moving for the Dam. Council struck an agreement with SunWater – who run the Dam’s water operations – for approvals of a tourism upgrade, and then began drafting a Master Plan which would receive grant funding in 2017.

The Plan is now in its final stages and Councillor Collins has lauded it as one of his great achievements as a member of local government, and residents and travellers seem to agree with him.

“You only have to look at the record numbers of people staying here over the last quarter to see it,” he said.

“[Those numbers] have a great flow on effect to the businesses, not only in Proserpine, but the wider Whitsundays Region. Everything at Lake Proserpine is a great addition to the wonderful Whitsunday Region.

“It’s a land-based destination, which is totally different to the beaches and islands, and caters for a completely different kind of holiday maker.”

The development saw a slew of upgrades and additions: camping sites, upgraded recreational facilities and overflow parking areas, pontoons for enhanced access between the water and landslide areas, an enhanced arrival and information facility, upgraded boat ramp and parking areas, and accessibility to rationalised water-based recreation areas.

It also is host to ‘Glamping’ Tents for “camping glamorously”.

And that’s not all: Into the future, Mr Collins said Council intend to construct cabins, powered sites, and multiple communal barbecue areas, depending on additional grant funding.

Lake Proserpine Caretakers Ilsa Belska and Mark Houston have seen the influx of guests firsthand and said “they’re hearing the talk.”

“We are finding that locals who have never been here before, they’re hearing the word of mouth throughout town,” Ms Belska said.

“We’re getting a lot of daytrippers, a lot of locals, return customers heading north who stop in. People coming for a ‘tree-change’, and it’s a dream gig for us.”

Councillor Collins said Lake Proserpine had always been known as “the home of the one-metre barramundi” for fisherman, but the dynamic is changing.

“I’ve been down here countless times in my life. Every time, I stop for photos,” he said.

“Some of the most spectacular sunsets. It has everything; just sit back, enjoy the perfect view, the perfect escape.”

Whitsunday Regional Councillor John Collins and Proserpine Lake caretakers Ilsa Belska and Mark Houston at the lake, which has seen major redevelopment and success

Mark Houston and Ilsa Belska at the visitor kiosk at Lake Proserpine

Lake Proserpine is one of the region’s most spectacular tourism sites

Read More

Therapy Is Expensive, Talk To Your Hairdresser!

November 10, 2022

This funny slogan is something you may have seen outside a hairdressing salon, but its message has a much deeper meaning, one that Whitsunday Counselling and Support (WCS) are hoping to explore at their upcoming workshops.

Hairdressers and beauticians are in a prime position to help their clients with more than just a fresh look, they can often be the trusted confidants for a range of serious issues such as domestic and family violence.

WCS are hoping to leverage this by running a series of local workshops to better educate people who work in the beauty sector, giving them the tools and resources to help women who could be living in a domestic violence situation but do not know how to get help.

An informal setting in a safe environment, like a salon, could be the best place for someone to disclose personal information, in fact in several American states, it is mandatory for beauty workers to take a short course similar to this.

“We don’t want to see a missed opportunity,” said WCS Manager, Amanda Jensen.

“A salon seems to be a safe space where perpetrators will allow victims to attend, just about everyone will see their hairdressers at some point and by upskilling their knowledge, they are in a prime position to help.”  

WCS are running two-hour information sessions for hairdressers and beauticians, salons and home-operators to give them skills to gently enquire and then advise their clients on the best support services available.

We are very fortunate this opportunity is available here and WCS encourage everyone in the industry to attend. Dates and times are listed in the ad below.

Signs to watch for:

• A change in behaviour from bubbly to withdrawn

• Stories of partner name-calling

• Broken property like mobile phone

• Bald patches or neck aches over the basin

• Constant calls/texts which cause your client stress

• Missing appointments

Remember:

• You won’t get in trouble for asking

• Make your enquiry gentle and caring

• Do not offer advice, just remind help is there

If you are anyone you know would like to talk to a professional here are some free helplines:

1800 RESPECT

DVConnect 1800 811 811

DVConnect Mensline 1800 600 636

Whitsunday Counselling and Support free service 4946 2999

WCS Manager, Amanda Jensen will facilitate the information sessions

Read More

Find Your Purpose - Improve Your Mental Health

November 10, 2022

We live in a world that is more connected than ever, in an age where distance means little and we can reach the other side of the world in an instant from a device in our pockets. So why do so many people feel so disconnected from their family, friends, and community?

In searching for answers to this question, we came across the Japanese concept of “Ikigai” (ee-key-guy). Ikigai combines the meaning of life and worth and the pursuit of finding purpose. Ikigai is all about a life well lived by being in a state of wellbeing that comes from everyday activities that bring joy and fulfillment.

Something we can all learn from, this Japanese philosophy is the importance of focusing on things in our life that you love and are good at as well as bringing a benefit to those around you.

This is different to the concept of “living life in the moment” or “you only live once”.

How Ikigai differentiates is that it places personal purpose and fulfillment in life on not only oneself but on others and society in general - it adds a layer of service and contributing to the good of others.

Your Ikigai lies in the centre of four overlapping spheres which are covered by:

• What you love

• What you’re good at

• What the world needs

• What you can get paid for

Finding purpose is one of the cornerstones of suicide prevention and whilst this concept may not resonate with everyone, we encourage you to find more information on Ikigai as it may help spark a desire to find your purpose and in discovering your purpose improve your sense of connection with others and your mental health.

Contributed with thanks to the Whitsunday Suicide Prevention Network.

Find your Ikigai with the help of this diagram

Read More

Adopt A Family This Christmas

November 10, 2022

Whitsunday Neighbourhood Centre are launching their annual Christmas Gift Appeal again this year, inviting local residents to purchase gift vouchers for people doing it tough to make the burden a little lighter at this happy time of year.

Rebecca Woods, Executive Officer of the Whitsunday Neighbourhood Centre said that traditionally they had seen largely families nominated for their annual appeal, but this year it was different demographics most in need.

“Purchasing gift cards and vouchers is especially helpful, because we see a lot of people who are presenting as homeless,” she explained.

“It doesn’t help them to be given a present when they’ve got nowhere to put them.”

Another section of the community that is experiencing hardship this year is local pensioners.

As the cost of living rises, many are finding it hard to afford any extras.

“Pensioners are really feeling the pinch,” said Rebecca.

“Particularly with the prices of everything going up – they are a generation that would rather do without, and this can often be at risk to their health.”

Businesses and individuals are encouraged to reach out to the Neighbourhood Centre and pick a family or an individual to ‘adopt’ this Christmas.

You can purchase vouchers from any local business, whether that be from BIGW or the local butcher, a beauty or massage voucher or perhaps even a local tour, experience or restaurant.

Here is the list to choose from – simply select a family or individual from the list below and call the Neighbourhood Centre on 4946 7850:

Read More

Editor's Note

November 3, 2022

Hi Everyone,

Firstly, a huge congratulations to everyone in our local tourism industry – we live in one of the most beautiful destinations in Australia and this is made even better by every individual who works to enhance visitor experience through tours and experiences in our region.

It was great to see the industry get together at the Whitsunday Tourism Awards last weekend – and congratulations to all the winners.

Read our special 10-page feature inside!

This edition also celebrates the 10th annual Airlie Beach Festival of Music and we have put together 7 pages for the second of our Special Features for you.

Inside you will find interviews with bands, both big and small, a festival map guiding you to local venues and a history snapshot featuring an interview with the festival founder.

Music Festivals always remind me of the first rock concert I went to when I was just 15 years old.

My parents had bought my friend and I tickets to see Bon Jovi at the Milton Keynes Bowl in England.

It was 1997 and I had my bedroom wall entirely covered with Bon Jovi posters at the time, there was not even a gap to see the colour of my wall paint!

When we arrived at the concert there were 65,000 people there and I was so excited that I took the lead, pushing all the way to the front.

Once there, however, I very quickly realised that I was way too young (and short!) for the mosh-pit and so ran all the way back out again!

Despite this, watching my rock idol perform live on that day was a moment I will remember forever.

Fortunately, these days I am tall enough for the front row so I can’t wait to get to the Airlie Beach Festival of Music and in amongst it this weekend!

If you are heading down to the main stage, I might see you there!

Rach

“I'd much rather eat pasta and drink wine than be a size zero” Sophia Loren

Read More

Coin Counting And Teen Spirit

November 3, 2022

In years gone by, when we think about a teenagers’ attitude, we are likely to imagine a grumpy, unhelpful and often silent individual that wishes the world would go away.

This stereotype, however, is thankfully changing and teenagers these days seem to be enthusiastic, spirited and happy to help others.

This was certainly the experience of one Whitsunday local, Brett Shaw, who called into the McDonald’s drive through in Cannonvale last week.

Brett was so happy with an interaction he shared with a teenage staff member that he took to Whitsundays Chat social media platform to tell everyone about it and received over 500 likes from other users.

When Brett went to pay for his McDonald’s at the drive-through he asked the young server if he could use the loose change in his centre console.

The young man, who Brett estimates is about 15 years old, agreed happily so Brett started counting out $14.25 in coins ranging from five cents to dollars.

To his surprise, the young man eagerly took the loose change and began counting out the money quickly and proficiently.

When Brett complimented him on his ability, the young man said:

‘’That’s ok I took the hardest maths at school, so I need to practice.”

Hearing this made Brett feel even more impressed which inspired him to let the community know about his positive experience.

“There is so much doom and gloom on the internet these days,” said Brett.

“The world needs to be a happier place, so I thought I’d share.”

Read More

Notorious Docks At Bowen Harbour

November 3, 2022

The southern hemisphere’s only historic recreation of a 15th century explorative vessel -which would have been used by the likes of Christopher Columbus - is now docked at Bowen Harbour and open to the public all weekend.

Notorious is a hand-crafted vessel that was researched, designed, and built by Graeme Wylie over a period of eight and half.

The full-time labour of love was completed in 2011 and has been sailing around Australia since 2012.

Graeme and his wife, Felicite, live aboard the vessel and spend their days sailing along the coastline, calling into ports and opening the beautifully crafted timber boat up for viewing whenever they can.

They have previously travelled between Tasmania and Port Douglas, but have spent the last few years in Queensland.

The 15th century Portuguese caravel is made with 300 tonnes of reclaimed timber and has been constructed to look exactly like its predecessors, none of which exist today.

“Children see a pirate ship and can’t wait to get onboard,” said Felicite.

“And Shipwrights see an amazing wooden vessel.

“Everyone loves it, especially families!”

Notorious will be docked outside Birds Fish Bar and Manager Chloe Bauer said she is glad to welcome the ship back after five years.

“The last time they came here was in 2017 and it is great to see them again!” she said.

Visitors can climb the gangway and explore onboard and below deck, kids can pretend to be pirates and take a few photos as keepsakes of a memorable day.

Notorious will be in Bowen Saturday and Sunday this week and it will be open to the public from 10am until 4pm.

Adult admission is $6 (over 15) and children (2-14 years) are $3.

Graeme and Felicite Wylie welcome guests to explore their Portuguese caravel

The recreation of the 15 Century caravel is the only one of its type in the southern hemisphere

Read More

Remembrance Day Next Friday

November 3, 2022

At 11 am on 11 November 1918, the guns on the Western Front fell silent after more than four years of continuous warfare.

The allied armies had driven the German invaders back, having inflicted heavy defeats upon them over the preceding four months.

In November, the Germans called for an armistice (suspension of fighting) to secure a peace settlement.

They accepted the allies terms and surrendered unconditionally.

The 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month attained a special significance in the post-war years and became universally associated with the remembrance of those who had lsot their lives serving as well as those who returned, forever changed.

This important date is marked next Friday, October 11 in the following locations:

Cannonvale Cenotaph

The community is invited to meet at 10.30am at the Cenotaph at Bicentennial Park on Coral Esplanade, between Logan’s Playground and Cannonvale State School. A minute’s silence will be observed at 11am followed by laying of the wreaths. Drinks and nibbles will then be provided at the Jubilee Tavern.

Bowen RSL

The community is invited to attend a special Remembrance Day ceremony in the air-conditioned RSL on 38 Williams Street, with the bar open from 10am. Everyone will take their seats by 10.50am and a minute’s silence will be observed. Mayor Julie Hall will be in attendance and afterwards the Country Women’s Association will kindly provide a luncheon.

Read More

Thank You For Sixty Years At The Summergarden

November 3, 2022

The owners of a historic Bowen institution were honoured for six decades of continued service and contribution to community last week in a morning tea celebration.

Summergarden Cinema owners Ben and Phyllis De Luca were congratulated on 60 years of operating the famed theatre by Zonta Club Bowen at the Garden Club Hall on Saturday, October 29.

Known locally as “Ben’s Baby”, the Summergarden has become fundamentally linked, alongside the family themselves, with the fabric of Bowen.

“They have been associated with Bowen for 60 years and this is a huge achievement worthy of celebrating,” Zonta Club Bowen member Kerry Moloney said.

“Throughout those years, Ben has supported community groups – such as Zonta – with fundraising activities, and we have benefited immensely, with the profit enabling our club to support our community.

“This is for those funds, for everything, and for all the entertainment provided to Bowen and the Whitsundays for six decades.”

Federal Member for Dawson Andrew Willcox was joined by distinguished guests from Whitsunday Regional Council, including Mayor Julie Hall, Councillors Jan Clifford, Gary Simpson, and Michelle Wright, as well as Bowen Gumlu Growers President Carl Walker, to applaud the achievement.

The Member for Dawson, who has lived in Bowen all his life, recalled how much the Summergarden Cinema means to not just his family, but to the town itself.

“What a great man he is; 60 years providing entertainment to all of Bowen. it’s an iconic destination and tourist attraction in its own right,” Mr Willcox said.

“My early memories, and Mr De Luca will attest to this, I was a very good patron. My wife on the other hand played up a bit, and I would never have done anything like that! In fact, we have Carl Walker here and he would throw popcorn around, but he’s grown up now too.

“I can remember being at school and working with the P&C, he would donate vouchers for people, he kept his prices low, because people in Bowen didn’t have a terrible amount of money. If you went to the city, you would see that those prices would be four and five times the amount. But he always looked after the community.

“I spoke to my parents today, and they recalled some of their times at the cinema. We’ve had three children and they’ve all been through there. My own son has just married and his first date with his now wife was right there in the Summergarden – with mum sitting two seats behind!

“As a town, we are honoured and blessed to have the De Luca family for everything they’ve done. Thank you very much on a personal note and thank you so much for the community.”

Mr De Luca thanked all attendees on behalf of his family, with Phyliss an apology on the day.

“Everyone here is so important to us and to me over those years. That’s why I love to greet you all when you come around to my place, because you’re all very important,” he said.

“We are the only cinema in a big, wide area now and we have the movies the same day as Sydney! I can’t thank you enough and hopefully we have a few more years to go.”

Federal Member for Dawson Andrew Willcox congratulating Ben De Luca on 60 years of owning the Bowen Summergarden Cinema

Mr De Luca was presented with an honorary plaque by the Zonta Club Bowen

Whitsunday Regional Council Mayor Julie Hall and Ben De Luca

Councillors Michelle Wright, Gary Simpson, and Jan Clifford with Ben De Luca

Read More

The Sky Is No Longer The Limit" For Bowen Students

November 3, 2022

Bowen State High School is shooting for the stars as it officially becomes an Aerospace Gateway to Industry School, allowing its students to take their first small step towards the final frontier.

The school will begin offering a Certificate III in Remote Piloting next year within its senior school thanks to the State Government Initiative which transitions students from school to industry.

Senior School Head Of Teaching Tim Close said the program sees the governing body of Aerospace Gateways to Industry liaise between schools and stakeholders to create a partnership which sends students directly into work.

“One of their key roles is creating that partnership with an industry body and a business, which is now formalised and solidified through that program,” Mr Close said.

“Next year, we will see the implementation of a Certificate III in Remote Piloting for the first time. Students will be able to exit grade 12 with the capability of being a fully qualified drone pilot.”

Integral in the program is a partnership with Gilmour Space Technologies, a Gold Coast-based venture-funded Australian space company who are constructing an orbital launch facility out of Abbott Point State Development Area.

The State High School - which already offered smaller-scale Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (S.T.E.M) programs on rocketry and droning within its curriculum - was gifted with Civil Aviation Safety Authority certified flight simulators in partnership with Gilmour Space in December last year.

Initial introductions to the Aerospace Gateways Program were facilitated by Gilmour Space Technologies in July of last year, with the school now progressing to official aerospace status for its 2023 curriculum.

James Gilmour, co-Founder and Head of Launch Site Operations at Gilmour Space said the program was a key aspect for the company to grow alongside the region.

“Gilmour Space has already invested over $3.5 million into the local community, and we are working with local manufacturers to buy more systems associated with launch and develop local supply chains to support our ongoing operations,” he said.

“We're extremely excited about the future opportunities that space, and particular launch, will bring to the region and Australia. We want the sky to no longer be the limit for any students! Students and industry can be bold and dream big.”

Mr Gilmour said the company are organising speaking engagements with the school to talk about the different career pathways to space, which now exist in Australia.

In coming years, the school hopes to implement further opportunities, according to Mr Close.

“Future opportunities the program presents in conjunction with the flight simulators, the strength of our relationship with Gilmour, implementation of the Certificate III, we now have opportunities for our students on top of what we already have,” he said.

“We look forward to continuing to grow our Aerospace capability within our school and are very excited for the future of Bowen as we move towards becoming space ready.

“Thank you to Gilmour for their continued support and funding for our S.T.E.M in school and the assistance by Atherton State High School and Senior Experienced Aerospace Teacher, Jon Collins.”

The far north school southwest of Cairns lent information and assistance to Bowen State High School, including an insight into what the future can hold for an Aerospace school.

“We could have students potentially taking part in Aerospace Skills as a general subject, which can see them gain their pilot’s license,” Mr Close said.

The program will be delivered independently by a registered training provider at the school’s independent learning centre for three lessons a week.

Senior School Head of Teaching at Bowen State High School Tim Close, Aerospace Gateway to Industry Schools Mrs Natalie Allen, Operations Manager for Gilmour Space Industries Mr Scott Shimmon, and Senior Experienced Aerospace teacher from Atherton State High School Jon Collins

Read More

Japanese Exchange Opens Doors For Local Ag

November 3, 2022

Representatives from our local agriculture industry have spent the last five months passing on knowledge to a team of dedicated foreign trainees as part of a Japanese Agricultural Exchange Program.

Coordinated by Bowen Gumlu Growers Association (BGGA), the initiative saw Japanese trainees spend time with a range of local growers, producers and associated agribusinesses, including Marto’s Mangoes, Eden Lassie Agave Farm and Koorelah Farms.

The exchange program culminated in a visit from the Japanese Consul- General, Masuo Ono, who took a tour of the farms, met the trainees and local growers then spent some time with Mayor Julie Hall and local government representatives.

BGGA Chief Executive Officer, Ry Collins, said the association had been working closely with the Japanese Consulate and exchanging information and updates about the program since the trainees arrived in Australia in April.

“The Japanese Consulate’s visit provided a great opportunity for Mr Ono to meet the growers and trainees and see first-hand where they have been living and working,” he said.

Mr Collins said the Japanese Agricultural Exchange Program was an important international education, trade and regional promotion initiative helping to create conversations about new agricultural export and trade opportunities for local growers with Japan.

“BGGA addressed the need to remove existing regulatory and market access barriers that currently restrict some of our produce from entering this important Asian market,” he said.

“Our discussion also highlighted the wealth of trade opportunities in North Queensland through other industries including aquaculture, manufacturing, mining and tourism.”

Our region is the largest producer of winter vegetable crops in Australia generating farm gate production worth approximately $650 million per annum.

Key commodities produced include tomato, capsicum, mangoes, cucurbits, beans and corn.

Local growers employ approximately 1,500 workers throughout the year with an additional 2,000 during the harvest season which means that one in every five workers living in the region are supported by this sector.

Local produce feeds the nation and is exported to more than a dozen countries.

Mr Collins said that the wealth of knowledge embodied in this vast agriculture sector was imparted on the trainees who will now take their new experiences back to Japan.

“BGGA is pleased with the success of the program to date and thanks the growers who have been contributing to the trainees’ agricultural knowledge,” he said.

“BGGA also acknowledges the trainees’ dedication to their learning and farm work as well as the support from the Queensland Government for their contribution to the program.”

(left to right): Sawaka Kasuga (trainee), Chris Monsour (Prospect Agriculture and Eden Lassie Agave Farm owner) and Mizuki Oki (trainee) at Eden Lassie Agave Farm

Robert Lee (Koorelah Farms) with Consul-General, Masuo Ono, at Koorelah Farms

3:Japanese trainees with Whitsunday Regional Council Mayor, Julie Hall, Consul-General Masuo Ono, and Consul, Ms Harumi Narita, at a networking event at Grand View Hotel on 25 October. Photos supplied

Read More

Inspiring Stories Feature In New Book

November 3, 2022

The highly anticipated first book in the series ‘Campfire For The Heart’ has been just been released by local Airlie Beach author Natalie Stockdale.

By bringing together stories of trauma, tragedy and resilience, Natalie shows us how we can all overcome life’s curveballs and move forward into a brighter future.

Using inspiring, true stories of recovery after experiences of loss, injustice, natural disasters, war, terror, illness, injury, abuse, and disability – life experiences shared by all humanity – the book aims to help improve mental health by giving others hope.

“By learning how other people have converted their darkest times to personal growth and success, we can discover how we too can grow from hardships - and help others in theirs,” said Natalie.

A total of 30 storytellers are included in Campfire for the Heart, most of whom are unknown heroes of their personal journeys.

Others are well-known champions of resilience such as Lindy Chamberlain-Creighton, celebrity chef Matt Golinski, and Gayle Shann, a horrific farm accident survivor.

Early next year, Natalie will be bringing out the second book in the series, ‘Campfire for a Woman’s Heart’, which features the remarkable stories of 25 international women.

This includes an Australian Paralympian champion, a gutsy barrister who stood up to ICAC, a legendry ice-water swimmer from the UK, a brave young student from Afghanistan, a mother from war-torn Ukraine, a former First Lady of Timor Leste, and many other extraordinarily resilient women.  

The first in the series, Campfire for the Heart is available now online through the publisher (Big Sky Publishing) and at local book shops, news agencies, and some post offices.

Local author, Natalie Stockdale

Read More

Chamber Chat

November 3, 2022

Blink and it’s November already. The Summer heat has hit, Airlie Beach Music Festival is this weekend and Christmas parties are being arranged as we speak. Time flies. A crazy reflection on how busy we all are.

A huge week for businesses in the Whitsundays last week with the Federal Budget being handed down and the Whitsunday Tourism Awards returning after a three year absence. This year, the Tourism Awards incorporated the Chamber Sponsored Business Awards. Our congratulations to the Winners in every category – it has been a hard job to just survive these last few years. To overcome all obstacles and excel in the process is a testament to effort, resilience and quality of the business owners in the region.

Notable winners in the People’s Choice Tourism Experience category were Ocean Rafting, whilst Big4 Adventure Caravan Park took out the People’s Choice Accommodation. Congratulations to Crystal Lacey on her Young Achievers Award and special note to Michael and Elizabeth Hackett recognised for the efforts with the Bob Porter Award for outstanding contribution.

In the business categories, it was fantastic to see a mixed of established and new businesses. The awards were based on a nomination process and the Winner of the Businesses of the Year award went to the hard-working team at Magnums. Congratulations to the winners of the Outstanding Business awards: Shift for Service Businesses, Whitsunday Creative for Retail, Fish D’Vine for Hospitality Venue and Airlie Beach Tourism for Booking Agents.

Not much room to comment on the Budget, but it was certainly a Federal Budget focussed on delivering on its election promises, tempered with warnings about “awful” times ahead – factoring in massive increases in cost of living – especially electricity prices. There is cost of living relief factored into childcare, cheaper medicines, more affordable housing however, inflation will outpace wages growth for now. To try and contain inflation, the Government has pumped very little back into the economy.

Read More

Whitsundays A New Home To World-First Coral Nurture Program

November 3, 2022

A worldwide, unprecedented research and tourism partnership has expanded to the Whitsundays, launching the Coral Nurture Program to help local reefs recover with a plan for long-term Reef stewardship.

Initially pioneered in the northern Great Barrier Reef, Cairns-Port Douglas region, the program has now dived into the Whitsundays thanks to a partnership between University of Technology Sydney and local tourism operators.

Successfully completing its first mission to establish new coral nurseries in Whitsunday reefs, the program saw the planting of more than 1600 healthy corals at three locations.

Through the Great Barrier Reef Foundation’s Reef Islands Initiative, the ‘Whitsundays Coral Nurture Program’ is bringing “unique Coralclip technology to three new sites in the region – an innovative device that allows corals to be planted roughly 10 times faster than before.”

Great Barrier Reef Foundation Managing Director Anna Marsden said the Whitsunday project builds on the success of its first iteration’s early days in Cairns and Port Douglas – particularly its partnership with tourism operators.

“Bringing together science and tourism is key to this project’s success,” Ms Marsden said.

“By combining the knowledge of our marine science experts with the experience and resources of the tourism operators who are out on the Reef every day, we can accelerate the natural recovery of local reefs at a greater scale and faster than we’ve seen before.”

Ms Marsden said the Whitsundays Coral Nurture Program aims to assist the recovery of three ecologically and economically important reefs through use of the unique Coralclip technology – a Queensland invention.

“[The clips are] a game-changer for coral restoration at this local level because it offers a fast and cost-effective solution to out-planting corals at larger scales,” she said.

The first Coral Nurture Program has achieved outstanding results in north Queensland with over 75,000 corals planted to date.

Ms Marsden said the program hopes to create a legacy through tourism operators and the local community.

University of Technology Sydney lead researcher Professor David Suggett and Coralclip inventor, Wavelength tourism operator John Edmondson, travelled to the Whitsundays to train local tourism operators in the Program’s technique.

“We worked with three Whitsunday tourism operators – Red Cat Adventures, Kiana Sail and Dive, and Ocean Rafting – to showcase how our innovative approach works and provide the skills to take the lead in rebuilding coral reefs at the sites they frequently visit,” Professor Suggett said.

“The beauty of the Coral Nurture Program is that it’s community-led and science-backed.”

Tourism operators will act as stewards on the front line, working to grow and plant the corals and then check back in regularly on their health, according to Professor Suggett, with those results being independently and scientifically validated for their positive impact.

Tourism operators will head back to the coral nurseries in November to check and report on progress.

A new Coral Nurture Program has arrived in the Whitsundays

Image: Great Barrier Reef Foundation

Read More

Charity ‘Camp And sCare’ Weekend Raises $10,000

November 3, 2022

BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort raised a staggering total of $10,009.64 for RACQ CQ Rescue through its annual ‘Camp and sCare’ charity event last weekend.  

The popular Halloween family “minibreak for a good cause” sold-out the holiday park’s cabins and sites, with over 1,000 excited children and parents enjoying the spooky fun.

Each year, the annual charity event chooses a charity, individual or business to support and raise funds for, with this year’s heading to RACQ CQ Rescue.

The emergency helicopter service covers the Whitsundays and surrounding regions between Townsville, Rockhampton and the Galilee Basin to 200 kilometres off-shore to the Great Barrier Reef.

On average an hour in the air costs CQ Rescue $10,500.

“With the Whitsundays making up 41 per cent of RACQ CQ Rescue’s regional tasks, we really wanted to support them with our fundraising this year,” BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort Marketing Manager Tanya Cran said.

“The reality is that any Whitsunday resident or holidaymaker may need their services at some point in time, so it is an organisation that the McKinnon family [who own and operate the resort] and our team really wanted to support.”

Camp and sCare is always a big event for the business, according to Ms Cran, but this year’s fundraising total was a record for the most they have ever raised.

RACQ CQ Rescue were extremely grateful that BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort put in so much work for their guests, and with their help, raised such an incredible amount.

The BIG 4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort’s annual ‘Camp and sCare’ charity weekend for locals raised over $10,000 for RACQ CQ Rescue this year

Read More

Local Mum Honoured On Teachers Day

November 4, 2022

A young woman who left the workforce to have children and feared it may have been too late to return, is being congratulated by TAFE Queensland for her inspiring work teaching young people in Bowen how to find employment.

As part of World Teachers Day, which was celebrated in Queensland last Friday, Bowen local Elizabeth Watson shared her story of success.

“It wasn’t until I had my children that I realised I wanted to make a change, challenge myself and pursue a teaching career,” she said.

“I was worried about how I would balance work, study, and raising a family. The balancing act wasn’t always easy, but I realised how much I wanted to support students to achieve their goals.”

With experience as an adult learner, Elizabeth is able to impart first-hand knowledge onto those she is assisting at the Skills for Education and Employment (SEE) program in Bowen.

Using both cultural and practical education to inform and inspire her students, she is able to create a real difference in the town.

“Every Wednesday we discuss different topics such as preparing cover letters and resumes, attire, body language, practice interview questions, watch videos, have guest speakers and work through worksheets,” Elizabeth explained.

By giving her students the right tools, she has found they have the confidence to pursue a career they love.

Recently a mature age student who speaks English as a second language found employment.

“I encouraged and assisted her in applying for jobs,” said Elizabeth.

“A few weeks later, this student sent me an email letting me know how happy she was in her new job.

“I felt so honoured to be part of her journey to such personal success.”

TAFE Teacher Elizabeth Watson

Read More

Great Barrier Reef Festival Win Gold

November 3, 2022

After 21 years producing one of Airlie’s favourite community events, the dedicated team of organisers and volunteers finally took home Gold for best Festival and Event at the Whitsunday Tourism Awards last weekend.

Event Coordinator, Margie Murphy said that they had been a finalist and a silver award winner several times, but that it was a wonderful feeling to receive Gold.

“This is the first time we’ve cracked the Gold!” she said.

“This is testament to the hard work of the combined committee who always do a fantastic job.”

The 2021 Great Barrier Reef Festival received the award and Margie said she is excited to enter the 2022 event next year as she believes that was the best yet.

“We’ve progressed even further since then” she explained.

“I think the 2021 event caught the judge’s eye because of the quality of the events, our awesome re-brand and our increasing link to the Great Barrier Reef through our educational experiences.”

The Great Barrier Reef Festival takes place in Airlie Beach on the first week of August each year.

Dozens of events bring the community together for fun and festivity – they include the Recyclable Regatta, Lantern Parade, Immerse Art Installation, Comedy Gala, Wearable Art Show, Rotary Street Parade and of course the fireworks.

The Great Barrier Reef Festival team at the awards on Saturday night

Read More

A Glamourous Night At The Tourism Awards

November 3, 2022

Last Saturday saw tourism operators from across the region come together for the first formal awards ceremony in the Whitsundays in two years.

The last event of its kind took place in 2019, and industry leaders were thrilled to be back celebrating their achievements amongst their peers.

Held in a big-top at the Whitsunday Sailing Club, the Whitsunday Tourism Awards saw 330 guests dressed to impress in a circus-themed black-tie dress code.

A total of 24 awards were handed out on the night and Tourism Whitsundays CEO, Rick Hamilton, said it was great to celebrate the significant contribution the tourism industry makes to the Whitsundays region.

‘The process of compiling an awards submission isn’t an easy feat and it was designed this way to encourage operators to really look at what they are doing in their business and how that flows onto the customers, locals and region,’ said Mr Hamilton.

‘We have one of the most cohesive and successful tourism industries in the country, this night is an example of that, everyone is here celebrating their achievements, their competitors’ achievements and the overall achievements of the tourism industry.’

Mayor Julie Hall also attended the awards and congratulated the winners.

“The awards night was all about our amazing tourism stakeholders and honouring their efforts to make the Whitsundays the most popular tourism destination in Australia and the world,” she said.

“I am proud of the collaborative and productive working relationship my Council has formed with Tourism Whitsundays.

“We will continue investing in improved infrastructure across the region to position the Whitsundays for strong future growth in tourism.”


Mackay and Whitsunday Life Advertising Account Manager Mike McCann with his partner Demie Wigham

Read More

Good Yield For Mango, Worker Shortage Remains

November 3, 2022

Bowen mango growers are in for a strong season of good prices, according to local growers and the industry’s peak body.

Conditions have been excellent for farmers across the state, meaning a high yield is expected which could drive down prices as demand lessens.

Picking season in North Queensland commences in November, running for roughly four to six weeks on average, and local farmers are currently expecting between $40 to $45 dollars per seven-kilogram tray, depending on species/variety/ and tonnage.

The industry’s peak body, Australian Mangoes Industry Association, are forecasting a strong outing from Bowen and the Burdekin of roughly 1.1 million mangoes from November through to late January – a large contribution to the country’s 8 million tally.

But with an excellent yield, prices could drop due to supply and demand. But that’s if the industry – which is still reeling from the sheer drop off in backpackers, who usually fill the role of picker – can find workers.

The launch of the recent Pick Paradise campaign – which sought to lure agricultural workers to the region – in September is what the industry hopes will be a lifeline.

The fruit picking season in the southern states has already reported being left short-handed, with much of the industry in Victoria falling behind, and in some cases, leaving fruit to rot for lack of seasonal workers.

Bowen and the Burdekin are the fourth largest producers of mangoes in the country.

The industry is expecting an excellent yield after favourable conditions, but who will pick the crop?

Read More

Three Of The Best For Ocean Rafting

November 3, 2022

It was a golden night at Saturday’s Whitsunday Tourism Awards for the region’s most awarded tour operator, Ocean Rafting, who took home the top spots in Major Tour and Transport Operator, Adventure Tourism, and the People’s Choice Award.

The Whitsundays’ original tour operator celebrated their three golds, as well as a runner up finish in Whitsundays’ Business Of The Year, just a month after celebrating their 25th birthday in October.

Owners Peter and Jan Claxton were ecstatic to receive the awards, which were proudly shared with their team on the night.    

“We are honestly very humbled and honoured to take home three awards,” Ms Claxton said,

“We are so proud to be recognised and rewarded for our team’s ongoing passion, dedication and commitment to sharing the wonders of the Whitsunday Islands and the Great Barrier Reef Park.”

Ms Claxton extended her thanks on behalf of the Ocean Rafting family, to each and every business, family member, friend, guest, and team member who enabled them to be where they are now.

“Receiving the Major Tour and Transport Award and the Adventure Tourism Award are true reflections of our products, which offer the adventure of a lifetime around the beautiful Whitsunday Islands, surfing the waves and feeling the rush on the boats we have designed especially for this purpose, then up to the sky with our scenic flights and Fly Raft package,” Ms Claxton said.

“The People’s Choice Award was won based on voting from our guests and industry colleagues and the recognition is a testament to our team and our product, so we couldn’t be any prouder.”

Having successfully been in operation for two and half decades as one of the Whitsundays’ most loved on-water experiences, and with three generations of family actively working in the business, the Ocean Rafting team are renowned for always “taking it to the next level”, a whole company approach which reflects their long-term success and continuous growth over the years.

Despite the last two COVID-impacted years, Jan and Peter circled back to Peter’s aviation roots in 2022, adding not another “duck” to the existing fleet of eight custom designed vessels, but a plane: Ocean Rafting’s 7-seater Australian-built Airvan which took to the skies in May.

While Ocean Rafting’s Fly Raft packages and scenic flight touring options have been offered for several years, this added investment has allowed for more available seats on scenic flights over Whitehaven Beach, Hill Inlet and famous Heart Reef, resulting is an iconic triple-whammy providing the ultimate Whitsunday experience in just one day.

This past year also saw the launch of Ocean Rafting’s own 'Research' vessel, which is used for the company’s many environmental initiatives, Reef Seeker Edutourism programs and charters.

The ever-expanding business has brought in award after award for their innovation and desire to always be improving, even when at the top of their game.

Ocean Rafting had an exceptional evening at the first Whitsunday Tourism Awards in two years, claiming three of the highest echelon awards at the Saturday night event

Read More

BOWEN WINS TWO GOLD AWARDS

November 3, 2022

Bowen Tourism and Business won Gold twice at the 2022 Whitsunday Tourism Awards on Saturday night.

The Visitor Information Centre won Gold in the Visitor Information Services category and then backed it up when the Big Mango was named the top tourist attraction.

Bowen, at the top of the Whitsundays, is a real hidden gem and the heart of secluded beaches.

Bowen Tourism and Business is a not-for-profit organisation with more than 200 member businesses who are based in Bowen, the greater Whitsundays region and other parts of Queensland.

The small team of dedicated staff work alongside a very passionate team of 15 volunteers to operate the Big Mango Visitor Information Centre and the information booth at Bowen’s Front Beach.

Bowen Tourism and Business (BTB) is responsible for destination marketing, ensuring visitors are aware of the incredible experiences on offer in Bowen and the wider Whitsundays region.

This is carried out daily through interactions with visitors as well as through print, television, radio and online platforms.

Chair of Bowen Tourism and Business, Jenn Honnery, said winning two Gold awards was testament to the dedication and passion of the staff and volunteers.

“They work tirelessly and pride themselves in exceptional customer service,” she said.

“Bowen has so much to offer with beautiful beaches, fringing reefs and country hospitality.

“The BTB team ensure every visitor is aware of what Bowen and the greater Whitsunday region has to offer.

“As a booking agency, our organisation supports many of the tourist operators in Airlie Beach,” she said.

Manager of Bowen Tourism and Business, Leanne Abernethy, said the team was absolutely thrilled to win Gold in two categories.

“The staff, the volunteers and the committee are all so very passionate about Bowen so we were all very proud to be named the best in two categories,” she said.

AT A GLANCE

VISITOR INFORMATION CENTRE

*The Bowen Visitor Information Centre is open seven days a week and welcomes more than 40,000 visitors per year

*The centre now stocks an expanded range of merchandise and local produce including many mango products – sorbet, chutney, jam, chilli sauce, body products, candles and even mango daquiri mix.

*The centre has more than 300 brochures on display including 102 regional guides, 94 brochures from Bowen businesses, 70 Whitsunday brochures and 52 brochures from out-of-region operators.

THE BIG MANGO

*The Big Mango was built as part of a community campaign to revitalise the local community and boost tourism.

*Built in May 2002, plans are already underway for a 21st celebration in May next year.

*The Big Mango is located at Mount Gordon, 5km south of Bowen on the Bruce Highway.

*It cost about $90k to build and is 10 metres high

*It is painted in the lush colour of the Kensington Pride mango that was introduced to Bowen from India in 1871.


The Big Mango wins top tourist attraction

Read More

Little Fish Wins Big!

November 3, 2022

One of the Whitsunday’s most innovative business offerings, Little Fish Tourism Development Consulting, took out two accolades at last weekend’s Whitsunday Tourism Awards – Gold for New Tourism Business and winner of the Young Achievers Award.

Owner and founder, Crystal Lacey said that she still couldn’t believe it.

“I almost didn't even enter into the awards, so to win was phenomenal!” she said.

“There are a handful of people who I have worked with over the years who have always believed in me, mentored me and inspired me.

“Through the process of creating my own business they have always been in my corner, cheering me on, helping to build the pathway I am walking upon and I will never be able to express the level of gratitude I have for that continual unconditional support.”

Crystal has worked in the tourism industry for 16 years and was selected in the first Great Barrier Reef Marine Parks Authority (GBRMPA) Master Reef Guides Cohort.

She is also a Dive Instructor and Underwater Photographer, and as an Eye on the Reef Surveyor she helped execute the largest natural coral transplant on the Great Barrier Reef.

In August she became the first environmental coordinator for the Great Barrier Reef Festival.

“Immersing and educating the wider community on our World Heritage Area through life changing experiences is undeniably my absolute passion!” she said.

“Developing Little Fish Tourism Development Consulting was a natural progression to enable myself to access the industry who want to develop and deliver guest experiences that are inventive, educational and interactive.”

Crystal’s business works alongside tourism operators to offer a range of specialised services that enhance their offering.

These innovative immersive educational adaptations are unique and fit-for-purpose to tourism businesses throughout the Great Barrier Reef, providing practical and relevant training, product development, guest experience training and business development to tourism business.

Little Fish offers business and product developments and enhancements, workplace training, marine education training, interpretation and immersive storytelling training, event coordination and event presentations, extensive stakeholder connections and much more.

When asked why she thinks the judges chose her and her business, Crystal said it was likely the passion she puts into everything she does.

“I hope it was the passion!” she laughed.

“The passion I have to engage, educate, inspire and deliver the wonder and excitement of the World Heritage Great Barrier Reef through interactive educational immersive guest experiences by engaging with the tourism industry to innovate and develop leading edge unforgettable experiential experiences for each and every guest, energizing the world stage about our incredible Natural Wonder.”  


Crystal Lacey from Little Fish Tourism Development Consulting at the 2022 Whitsunday Tourism Awards. Photo credit: R Jean Photography.

Gold for New Tourism Business and winner of the Young Achievers Award. Photo supplied.

Read More

Double Win For BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort

November 3, 2022

BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort has been awarded top honours in two categories at the annual Whitsunday Tourism Awards, held on Saturday night under the big top at the Whitsunday Sailing Club.  

Winning gold in the ‘Caravan and Holiday Parks’ category, the resort also won the consumer-voted ‘People’s Choice Award for Accommodation’ at the gala industry awards.

The resort has been proudly owned by the McKinnon family for 29 years and was represented on the evening by 20 of the resort’s now 75-member strong team, who enjoyed a night out celebrating the Whitsunday tourism industry’s night of nights.

“We are so very proud and grateful to have won both of these awards,” said resort owner and operator, Greg McKinnon.

“Both awards reflect the offerings of our quality tourism product, our ongoing development and our customer service, which is a testament to our forever growing team who are incredibly deserving of this award.

“They are a huge part of making the magic happen. And of course, our guests - we truly thank them for choosing us to enjoy their precious family holiday.”

“We would also like to extend a huge thank you to Tourism Whitsundays for hosting another brilliant event and for all of their incredibly hard work in promoting and celebrating this beautiful part of the world we are lucky enough to live in.

“It’s also so important for us to recognise our local community, industry partners, agents and suppliers who have supported us throughout.

“The resilience the region has shown throughout the last couple of years is unwavering and it certainly is time for everyone to shine again.”

“Last but not least, a massive congratulations to all of the other Whitsunday winners and entrants - what a wonderful night to share with our industry friends - it's been far too long and it was definitely worthy of huge celebration, which was most certainly had by all it seems.”

Over the years, the McKinnon family have been passionate about continually reinvesting into the business in order to offer the ultimate Whitsunday mainland holiday resort.  

“We have put everything into the resort over the past 29 years and continue to grow to make it the multi-award winning and nationally recognised destination to escape to with family and friends in the Whitsundays,” Greg contnued.

“Our resort is all about connecting with each other by offering an environment where everyone can enjoy the many facilities and activities on offer, relax in quality accommodation and just all come together.”

This year has seen further development of the resort, with a particular focus on accessibility needs.

To complement the resort’s existing accessible cabins, facilities and Sensory Room, vision-impaired cabins were recently added to the inventory to more broadly cater to guest’s specific needs and provide them with an unforgettable Whitsunday holiday.

BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort offers a range of accommodation, from tropical landscaped camp sites through to self-contained studios, one-, two- and three-bedroom cabins, providing options to suit every taste and budget.  

With over 15 onsite activities including a big, huge, mega waterslide park, lagoon style pool, mini golf, outdoor cinema, Kid’s Club, year-round activities program and much more, BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort offers the ultimate holiday escape.  

For more information visit www.adventurewhitsunday.com.au


The BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday representatives at the awards on Saturday

The huge waterslide park

A friendly welcome

Read More

A Winning Standard Of Tourism Transport

November 3, 2022

Whitsunday Regional Council are congratulating their team’s success following the Tourism Awards on Saturday evening which saw Whitsunday Coast Airport and Shute Harbour Marine Terminal take out the Tourism Retail, Hire and Service Category.

Craig Turner, Chief Operating officer Aviation and Tourism, and his team at Whitsunday Coast Airport won Gold, while Shaun Cawood, Shute Harbour Coordinator, and his team at Shute Harbour Marine Terminal took home Bronze in the same category.

“The gold win for the airport was a great reward for the hard-working team as they have been kicking numerous goals for our region’s post Covid recovery,” said a Council spokesperson.

“Our airport recorded the highest ever monthly passenger totals in April this year, with 47,384 passengers transiting through the terminal.

“The previous highest monthly total passenger count for April was 37,486 in 2019 so too eclipse that by nearly 10,000 proves that the Whitsundays is one of the fastest growing regional airports in Australia.”

Connectivity is key to making it easy for visitors to explore the Whitsunday region and the flow on economic benefits to Bowen, Proserpine, Collinsville, and other areas is huge.  

Over 220 flights monthly equate to more passengers and visitors to stay and play, all the while supporting our region’s tourism and business stakeholders.

Meanwhile, the Shute Harbour team took home bronze for their efforts in reactivating the new Shute Harbour Marine Terminal which will welcome the first of many luxury cruise liners docking in the marina in November.  

Celebrity Eclipse will dock on November 9 followed by the Royal Caribbean’s 4000 passage ship, Quantum of the Seas on November 20.

Shute Harbour is home to a multitude of operators including Sealink, Cruise Whitsundays, Explore Group, Ocean Rafting, Salty Dog Sea Kayaking, Scamper, Pioneer Adventures and Elysian Resort.  

Explore 74 Café will open in the coming weeks and will be a welcome addition complete with a bar and off-premises liquor available.

Shute Harbour is an ideal location for functions and conferences due to its proximity to Airlie Beach and the Islands.  

The well-equipped 344m2 function space is located on the upper floor of the terminal building.

The fully air-conditioned space can accommodate 120 guests and up to 250 guests in a luxe cocktail formation.

The integrated Wi-Fi and private amenities allow for a fully immersive conferencing experience.

Council wishes to congratulate all the nominees and winners of this year’s Whitsunday Tourism Awards and applauds all their efforts in making the Whitsundays the one of most popular tourism destination in Australia and the world.


Marianne Goldman from Whitsunday Coast Airport, Whitsunday Regional Council Mayor Julie Hall, Amy Humphries Terminal’s Officer and Craig Turner, Chief Operating officer Aviation and Tourism

Whitsunday Coast Airport’s innovative departure’s lounge aquatic feature

The newly revitalised Shute Harbour Marine Terminal

Read More

Kiana Claims Gold Because They “Live And Breathe The Reef”

November 3, 2022

“Waking up at a different pristine reef every day, 145-kilometres offshore” is just a small part of why local business Kiana Sail and Dive won big at the 2022 Whitsunday Tourism Awards on Saturday night.

Claiming two wins and a finalist recognition at the region-wide awards, Brent Chatterton and his team at Kiana were ecstatic with the results, especially in their first year entering the esteemed competition: Gold in Ecotourism, Bronze in Unique Accommodation, and a Finalist in Adventure Tourism.

The win in Gold Ecotourism is something close to owner and master of Kiana Sail and Dive, Brent Chatterton’s heart.

“I was shocked when they called our names; I was stunned like a mullet! My team were so ecstatic for me,” Brent said.

“I’m humbled by it because we’ve done a lot of work in the Reef space – rehabilitation, work in the Whitsundays, restoration and giving our own time and money to the reef we love so much.”

A tourism company named after its vessel, Kiana specialises in unique tours out to the Reef for three and five day overnight trips, but is also a key voice and activist in reef restoration – a factor that undoubtedly played a role in its Gold win.

They have been involved in placing restoration frames as part of Project Refresh at Bait Reef, the recent Coral Nurture Program in the Whitsundays, Reef Bags as a separate project, and the Coral Reseeding Project.

“What it’s about is giving back. We give back to places so important to us as key, top tourism sites, which have economic, cultural, and social benefits and significance,” Brent said.

“We impart that to our guests too, that stewardship of the Reef. I tell the story of the Great Barrier Reef on the second night of our tours: how it was formed, the interconnectivity, the size, the fun facts.

“But I also let them know that now they’ve seen it and fallen in love with it, they must protect it.”

Alongside their Gold win, they placed Bronze in the Unique Accommodation category, which Brent attributes to their tours being “further than any other operator. You wake up every day on an exceptional and different reef.”

Kiana nabbed a finalist spot in Adventure Tourism as well, an extremely strong category in the Whitsundays, which Brent said was “fantastic to be up there with esteemed colleagues like Ocean Rafting.”

The Gold win sees the business gain direct entry into the Queensland Tourism Awards, but staying on brand, Brent said he will be unable to physically attend.

“I’ll be heading 200-kilometres out where there’s not much data on the health of the reef for a Great Reef Census,” Brent said.

“Although business is important, it’s more important that we’re out there doing stuff in those undiscovered places, even if it’s at a great cost to the business. I think it’s important to do these things because we live and breathe and love the place we work in.”

Read More

An Award-Winning Mirage

November 3, 2022

On Saturday night luxury accommodation providers, Mirage Whitsundays, were thrilled to take home an award for the fifth time in a row.

Having entered into the Hall of Fame at the 2018 Whitsunday Tourism Awards for bringing home Gold three years in a row, the team were glad to be back after COVID put a halt to the awards, making the 2022 occasion even more special.

This year they took home Gold in the 4-4.5 star category.

General Manager Jeanette Harris said that she had recently joined the team, having worked over on Hamilton Island for the past eight years, and that it was wonderful to see all the great work they had been doing.

“The team were really proud!” she said.

“It was really fantastic to be among other industry participants in the region and really exciting to be with other excellent operators on the night.

“I would like to give special thanks to Connor Davis who is our Front Office Manager and Mick Bennett who is our long-serving Maintenance Manager who knows the place inside and out and keeps it running.”

There are 104 luxury apartments at the complex and Mirage Whitsundays manages 85 of them as Holiday Rental Apartments.

Ms Harris says that people comment most about the palatial feel of the large and modern apartments and Villas which have full kitchen facilities and spacious lounges. The Villas and Executive and Penthouse Apartments also each have their own private plunge pool.

“They also love the sea views!” she said.

Mirage Whitsundays offers a hot buffet breakfast each morning from the on-site Whisper Gin Bar and Restaurant, and their signature Bottomless Brunch is held every Sunday morning.

General Manager of Mirage Jeanette Harris with Maintenance Manager, Mick Bennett

Read More

A Peninsula Perfect Experience

November 3, 2022

A couple that are bringing their own unique style of guest experience to the region were thrilled to take home the Excellence In Customer Service Award at the Whitsunday Tourism Awards on Saturday night.

Paul and Fran Tuddenham, who took over their first property management role at Peninsula in Airlie Beach in July last year, have transformed the local business and have now received recognition for all their hard work.

“We simply treat people the way we want to be treated and try to do little extras wherever we can,” said Paul.

From leaving chocolates on pillows for guests when they enter their rooms to keeping a secret stash of kids’ toys, like bubbles and bracelets, under the counter to give away and organising honeymoon hampers wherever possible – it is easy to see why their guests always give them excellent reviews.

“If you have happy kids, then you have a happy holiday!” laughs Fran.

But it is more than just gifts that create a customer experience, nothing is too much for Paul and Fran and their positive enthusiasm is infectious to everyone they encounter.

“We are all about customer service,” said Paul.

“People come here happy, and our job is to maintain that.”

Originally from Robina, the couple worked in Banking and Management for over 20 years before starting a Mortgage Broking Business which they also operated for 20 years.

When they came to Airlie Beach on holiday, they took a tour of Peninsula and fell in love with the area and its stunning sea views.

Now, just 12 months after taking over the business, they have grown from 12 units to now managing 21 units on the property.

They were also awarded Resident Managers of the Year at the ARAMA national awards in July.  

Paul and Fran Tuddenham from Peninsula Airlie Beach at the Tourism Awards last weekend. Photo credit: R Jean Photography

Read More

FEDERAL BUDGET AXES URANNAH DAM

October 27, 2022

A $483 million project that has been over 20 years in the making and was forecast to deliver water security for our region, has been axed following the Federal Budget which was announced on Tuesday night.

Federal Member for Dawson, Andrew Willcox says he is disappointed to see the Urannah Dam project on the chopping block.

“Urannah Dam is planned and ready to go. It’s a dam shame,” Mr Willcox said.

“It was the only dam that has been through Infrastructure Australia and has private equity partners ready to go.

“Urannah Dam ticks all the boxes, provides water for agriculture, tourism, mining, and urban use as well as pumped hydro which will put clean, green electricity directly into the north south grid.”

Member for Whitsunday, Amanda Camm, agrees saying that Urannah Dam would have provided a secure water supply.

“This project is one of the most advanced in approvals for our State and it's a deceptive move by the Government to not support this project,” she said.

Meanwhile the Mackay Conservation Group say they welcome the government’s decision to stop the project.

“This project has the potential to damage our region’s precious waterways, the Great Barrier Reef and wildlife while returning as little as 26 cents in economic benefits for every dollar it costs,” said Mackay Conservation Group dams campaigner, Imogen Lindenberg.

“The water from the Urannah Dam will be used to wash coal but the industry in our region has a limited lifespan.

“Without demand from coal, this dam will become a stranded asset in decades to come, costing taxpayers even more money.”

Meanwhile, the state government recently announced a new pumped hydro project in the Pioneer Valley, just north of Mackay.

While it is set to supply 50 per cent of the state’s renewable electricity, it will also displace local residents with the need to remove 50 houses in a small rural area called Netherdale.

Mr Willcox suspects the hydro project is an unsubstantiated decoy.

“Labor’s Pioneer-Burdekin Project is nothing more than a thought bubble that is set to wipe out local homes,” he said.

Read More

First Labor Budget Delivered In 10 Years

October 27, 2022

Treasurer Jim Chalmers announced this years’ Federal Budget on Tuesday night, aiming to address cost of living issues in a number of ways.

Promising to build one million new homes, increase paid parental leave to 26 weeks, provide cheaper prescription medicines and an additional $4.6 billion boost to childcare subsidies, the new budget will undoubtedly make a big impact on living costs around the country.

Member for Dawson Andrew Willcox, however, says he is concerned that there is not enough set aside for his electorate which spans from Mackay to Townsville and includes all of the Whitsundays.

“Prime Minister Anthony Albanese promised if he won government, there would be “no one held back, no one left behind”,” he said.

“In Labor’s first Budget, 30 per cent of Australians who live in regional and rural areas, including Dawson have been held back and left behind.”

Expecting drastic increases in grocery bills, Mr Willcox states that the average family worse off by at least $2000 by Christmas.

“Groceries are eight per cent higher, not just because of natural disasters, but also because of Labor’s foolish political decision to scrap our Ag Visa,” he said.

“Supply has been slashed because farmers and processors are only working at around 60 per cent capacity, which has put upward pressure at the checkout for families in Dawson.

“Retail electricity prices are predicted to go up by 50 per cent, while the $275 promised by Labor to reduce electricity bills is now gone.”

SNAPSHOT

• 1 million new homes built

• Paid parental leave increased

• Cheaper medicine available

• Bigger childcare subsidies

• Tax rates flattened to 30 per cent for people earning between $45,000 and $200,000

Read More

On Deck With Declan

October 27, 2022

Hi, Constant Readers.

Professionals, tradesmen, and business owners in the Whitsundays are more than familiar with the characteristics of a small team: can do attitudes, grit.

And, often, being in a small team means doing the odd job around the workplace.

Those can range from things like vacuuming to – in my case – distributing newspapers across Proserpine last month.

That extra-vocational outing took me on a morning drive through the sugarcane town to, in effect, deliver the newspaper to you, Constant Reader.

That was one of two times recently where I was shown how much the newspaper means to people in the region – especially Proserpine.

As soon as bundles went onto the shelf at places like IGA, they started flying off again; there was even a queue developing at one point. Lots of people had two copies furled under their arms or popped into the trolley – one for them and one for their neighbours, mostly.

Sometimes you can’t see the scale of a thing until you spy its smallest part.

That was one of the sentimental moments in the past month that’s underpinned this profession with sweetness for me.

The next week, I was back in Proserpine chasing a story and ended up in the Museum’s archive room. It’s filled with boxes on boxes of Proserpine’s history, and amongst them I found hundreds of copies of Whitsunday Life newspaper.

When I saw that in amongst issues of the long-since gone Proserpine Guardian, it put into perspective what our paper means to people.

To become an integral part of people’s lives here when they read our paper each week, and a part of its history - that is a feeling I can’t express.

Thank you.

Declan

Quote Of The Week:

"There is a history in all men's lives.” – William Shakespeare

Read More

Could You Be The Next Volunteer?

October 27, 2022

In this week’s Good Deed Feed our local Whitsunday member, Amanda Camm MP, is encouraging others to volunteer their time at Proserpine Meals on Wheels.

This vital local service has been struggling to find volunteers since COVID and they are currently operating with a team of just 21 people.

This means that the staff that kindly donate their time are having to work longer hours to ensure the needs of the community are met.

“Meals on Wheels Proserpine provides healthy meals which are cooked on site, to clients from Midge Point to Dingo Beach and from Proserpine to Jubilee Pocket and all the rural areas in between,” said Ms Camm.

“The service isn't just for seniors as many think, and they provide for anyone who is unable to prepare a meal or shop for themselves.  

“They currently have clients of all ages who have differing circumstances like recovering from hospitalisation, living with a disability, or major injury or are in their senior years.

“The service not only provides nutritional support but also an important contact point for members of the community - community connection is very important to mental health and plays a big part in any recovery or way of life.”

The kitchen is open Monday to Friday and people can volunteer in the kitchen preparing meals from 6.15am to 10am or volunteer as a driver delivering the meals from 10am to 12pm.

If you have some spare time to help, please call Helen a Proserpine Meals on Wheels on 4945 1733.

Amanda Camm with the kind staff at Proserpine Meals on Wheels

Read More

Vessel Burns In Hamilton Island Marina

October 28, 2022

A luxury yacht moored at Hamilton Island Marina was ablaze for more than seven hours on Monday, October 24.

The 25-metre Sunseeker 82 yacht began billowing smoke and flames just before 11am taking emergency services until after 6pm that night to quell them, when the vessel began to finally sink.

No persons were onboard when the fire began, and the cause is now under investigation.

Paramedics remained at the scene due to reports that members of the small island community were heading to the marina to look at the blaze before suffering from smoke inhalation.

Whitsunday Volunteer Marine Rescue President Mal Priday said resident firefighters on Hamilton Island fought the blaze all day and his vessels were tasked with transporting relief Queensland Fire Service crews to the island from Airlie Beach.

“We arrived there about half-past five and it had been burning already for seven hours – a large amount of smoke could be seen well before we arrived at Hamilton Island,” Mr Priday said.

“After seven hours there were still flames coming out; some of the flames were three to five metres high.”

Mr Priday said, although investigations into the cause were still pending, firefighters were of the belief that the fire had started in the ship’s bow.

“When we arrived, the boat had sunk at the back. That was part of the problem for the firefighters: they couldn’t get at it because of the small portholes and windows, so they just decided to monitor it overnight.”

Volunteer Marine Rescue left the scene at roughly 8:00pm and the bow was still out of the water at an angle, leaning to the starboard, smoking and alight.

Neighbouring boats in the marina reported damage from smoke and heat, mostly those downwind of the 30 knot conditions.

A 25-metre Sunseeker 82 – a luxury yacht – caught fire in Hamilton Island Marina on Monday morning and blazed into the night

Read More

Bonza Blazes Our Way

October 27, 2022

New budget airline, Bonza, is gearing up for take-off following a series of test flights which took place over Whitsunday airspace earlier this week.

The Sunshine Coast based airline, which had postponed launch dates due to delayed delivery of its brand-new planes from America, is now taking to the skies with the latest test flights an indication that the official launch is imminent.

The next stage in the process is the final tick from Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA).

Whitsunday Regional Council Chief Operating Officer of Aviation and Tourism, Craig Turner, said that he is excited to welcome Bonza Airlines soon.

“We can’t wait to get notification from Bonza when the official date will be,” he said.

“We promise them a huge welcome to the Whitsundays when they arrive and look forward to an ongoing partnership.”

Dates for the first Bonza flight expected to be announced soon

Read More

Why Build Storage Sheds When We Need Houses?

October 27, 2022

This is the question a local couple are asking following news that the land in front of their house is currently being re-zoned to accommodate 550 storage sheds.

Robin Weaver and his wife came to the Whitsundays two and a half years ago, moving into the property they had bought in 2018 with the knowledge that the adjacent 3.8-acre vacant lot was zoned for low-medium residential development.

When this site, located at 82 Shute Harbour Road, sold for a million dollars three years ago, Robin believed that eventually a developer would put residential houses on-site.

That was until he saw a sign go up stating there had been an application to ‘Reconfigure the Lot’ with a ‘Material Change of Use’ development application submitted to Council detailing plans for a storage shed complex.

“We are all very aware of the acute shortage of residential accommodation in Airlie Beach and Cannonvale,” he said.

“A 3.8 acre, almost flat block of land on the main road, offers the opportunity for the lowest cost development of such land, for whatever purpose, including that for which it is currently zoned - residential accommodation!

“This is prime residential land and should not be wasted for such an unnecessary, unsightly, unpleasant and unwelcome project.”

The storage shed complex will extend 175 metres along Shute Harbour Road and will be brightly coloured, it will also have a tall boundary chain-link fence and bright security lights.

Mr Weaver believes this is an inappropriate use of the site and that it will impact on the liveability if the area.

With two industrial estates located in Cannonvale, he asserts that there are other viable options that would be more in keeping with the surrounding zoning.

Appealing for other residents to take action against this development, Mr Weaver has taken the time to examine the development application set before Council and analyse, what he believes, are inaccuracies.

He is now posting his findings to surrounding neighbours hoping to gather further support.

Local resident Robin Weaver does not want to see 550 storage sheds take up prime residential land in Cannonvale

Read More

Local Airport Simulates Emergency Situation

October 27, 2022

Whitsunday Coast Airport practiced a real-life response to a plane crash earlier this week with over 60 volunteers and emergency personnel taking part in the enactment.

Using a bus to act as a plane, the premise saw an ‘aircraft’ come off the runway and clip its wing following high winds at the point of landing.

Volunteers were given fake injuries that needed attending to and a sea of emergency personnel all worked together to rescue injured passengers, ensure the scene was safe and manage the airport during the event.

Whitsunday Regional Council Chief Operating Officer of Aviation and Tourism, Craig Turner, said that while this occurrence is extremely unlikely, it was really beneficial for the team to ensure best working processes were in place.

“It was fantastic to see the communication between all the stakeholders in real time,” he said.

“It allowed us to experience a full timeline of events and to identify things that could have been done better.

“We’ve learnt so much and taken on improvements to make sure we stay up to speed.”

These improvements include the purchase of new powerful radios that ensure communication is clear and also the placing of dedicated emergency packs with checklists at all control stations.

The Aviation Rescue Fire Fighting Service, Queensland Police Force and the State Emergency Service were all present on the day as well as ground handlers and the airport safety team who all worked together to provide an efficient and seamless response to the emergency simulation.

Whitsunday Regional Council Chief Operating Officer of Aviation and Tourism Craig Turner and Manager of Hamilton Island Airport Paul Watson

Aviation Rescue Fire Fighting Service Officer

Emergency service personnel. Photo credit: R Jean Photography

Read More

Brunker Still Serves The Community

October 27, 2022

In last week’s edition of Whitsunday Life Newspaper we printed a story which stated that Councillor Mike Brunker would be ‘leaving the region’ to work a new full-time position in the mines while still retaining his role as Councillor.

Following a conversation with Cr Brunker we have now been made aware that he is in fact working at a Collinsville mine and therefore staying within the region.

“I will still have access to phones and emails after work,” he said.

“I’ve also arranged my swing so that I’ll be able to attend every Council meeting, it was part of the condition of taking the job.”

Cr Brunker is a fourth-generation miner, in fact his father is the only still-living survivor of the 1954 Collinsville mining disaster.

“I started working in the mines when I was a kid,” said Cr Brunker.

“After 25 years working in an office environment, now it’s time to be back into the workforce – I am sure this will give me a new outlook on life.”

Read More

$1.2 Billion Plan To Protect Reef Gains More Support

October 27, 2022

The Federal government has promised an additional $204 million towards protection of the Great Barrier Reef, upping its total spend on the world wonder to $1.2 billion.

Minister For Environment and Water Tanya Plibersek outlined the government’s vision for the future of the Reef last week in a joint statement with special envoy for the Great Barrier Reef, Nita Green.

That vision highlighted much of the work already being done through the Reef 2050 plan, as well as what the additional funding would address.

The $204 million is set to fund immediate action, tightening critical gaps in the long-term sustainability plan of the government major Reef 2050 project and speeding up reef protection activities.

Much was spoken of replanting efforts in parts of the reef with new corals, catchment restoration, working with fisheries and a new research centre in Gladstone.

“Together, we hope these measures can start to turn around the health of the reef, it is still a beautiful wonder of the world,” The environment minister said to the ABC.

“We’ve got a little breathing space in the last couple of years; we’ve seen some of those corals come back because we’ve had cooler weather and we need to build on that to protect.

Ms Plibersek said the funding will protect the reef itself as well as river systems and animals that are part of its wider ecosystem.

Alongside Queensland government, the newly announced funding tallies Australia’s total reef investment to more than $4.4bn from 2014-15 to 2029-30.

The Reef gains more financial support to fund vital projects

Read More

Your FREE Voice In Print

SARINA -  WALKERSTON – MIRANI – MARIAN – PAGET – OORALEA – MACKAY CITY – MACKAY NORTH – SLADE POINT – ANDERGROVE – BEACONSFIELD – NORTHERN BEACHES – FARLEIGH – MT OSSA – SEAFORTH – KUTTABUL - CALEN – BLOOMSBURY – PROSERPINE – CANNONVALE – AIRLIE BEACH – BOWEN – COLLINSVILLE – NEBO – MORANBAH

Locally Owned. Community Loved.

Subscribe Free