Whitsunday Region Community News

Gold, Bronze And A Finalist! Three Gongs For Three Top Tourist Towns

Gold, Bronze And A Finalist! Three Gongs For Three Top Tourist Towns

This is the third year in a row that Airlie Beach has been awarded Gold in the Top Small Tourism Town category, with a population between 1,500 and 5,000. The town will now enter the Hall of Fame and will go into contention for the Best Small Tourist Town in Australia at the national awards held later this year. Over 16,000 people voted in the awards and Queensland’s top holiday destinations were announced from a shortlist of 16 finalists. Whitsunday Regional Council Mayor, Ry Collins said he

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Editors Note

Editors Note

Hi Everyone, For those of you who follow this column regularly you will know that I have a healthy fear of public speaking – one that I will once again embrace tomorrow as an invited panellist at a Whitsunday Chamber of Commerce and Industry Event. I am writing this on Wednesday and, by the time you are reading this, my very public contribution on the subject of ‘Get Free Media for Your Business’ will be complete. For those of you who missed my moment in the spotlight, here is a snapshot of

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Rock Of Hearts

Rock Of Hearts

Doing good in the community can be as subtle as creating a piece of art which brings a smile to someone’s face and adds a unique flavour to an already beautiful landscape. Head down to Cannonvale Beach when you get a chance and see if you can spot the heart made out of rocks which sits resplendently upon the flat section of the beach and is exposed at low tide. As the water climbs the beach at high tide the rocks are submerged and when it recedes again, they are exposed once more. It appears

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State Budget Tackles Cost Of Living

State Budget Tackles Cost Of Living

The Queensland Government 2024/2025 State Budget was released on Tuesday afternoon and it features several allocations that target the cost-of-living crisis with measures that will directly affect the back pocket. From discounted car registration to cheaper public transport, this pre-election budget is aimed at creating real change, although several measures are conveniently due to expire just after the State Government election which is due to take place in November this year. A total of $11.

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Drone Cargo Delivery Trialling In Whitsundays

June 13, 2024

A drone company dedicated to supplying regional and remote communities with cargo deliveries of up to 55 kilograms is set to trial the devices across the Whitsundays in July and August this year.

The long-range Uncrewed Aerial Systems (UAS) are able to fly up to four hours without recharging - aiming to link regional areas like never before.

The trial has been made possible by a $5.3 million Australian Government grant designated for the exploration of alternative transport systems.

RevAero is the company behind the invention and a spokesperson said they are looking forward to demonstrating how the distribution of goods and services can be achieved at scale.

With these clever devices they hope to be able to bridge the gap created by Australia's vast distances and enhance connectivity for regional communities.

“We aim to provide reliable cargo delivery into remote or infrastructure-limited areas,” said the RevAero spokesperson.

“Our service bridges the gap between established long-mile logistics and remote or regional endpoints that are disadvantaged by inadequate or absent infrastructure.

“This capability is also suitable for urgent response scenarios such as Humanitarian Aid and Disaster Recovery (HADR).”

The upcoming trials in the Whitsunday islands will feature flights around Shute Harbour, Proserpine, Daydream Island, and Hayman Island.

The drones can carry up to 55kg and travel up to four hours non-stop. Photo supplied

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Australia Welcomes New Citizens In Heartwarming Ceremony

June 13, 2024

The Proserpine Entertainment Centre buzzed with excitement and pride as 57 new Australian citizens were welcomed in a heartwarming Citizenship Ceremony held on Tuesday 11 June.

The event marked a significant milestone for the conferees hailing from eight different countries, symbolising the rich diversity and multicultural spirit of the community.

Conferees from Canada, the United Kingdom, South Africa, the Philippines, New Zealand, Taiwan, France and China took the pledge of commitment to Australia, embracing their new identity with joy and gratitude.

The ceremony was attended by dignitaries, family members and friends who gathered to celebrate this momentous occasion.

The event featured inspiring speeches, cultural performances and the official swearing-in ceremony.

The Mayor of Whitsundays, Ry Collins, delivered a heartfelt address, emphasising the importance of unity, diversity and the shared values that bind the community together.

The Citizenship Ceremony included a rousing rendition of the Australian national anthem, followed by a reception where attendees mingled, shared stories and enjoyed refreshments.

For more photographs check out our website mackayandwhitsundaylife.com.

Daniel Heggie and Lucy Seddon-Brown, Stories In Light Imagery.

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Bowen River Rodeo

June 13, 2024

The Bowen River Rodeo saw 3000 people attend over the weekend and the entire event was a huge hit.

The rodeo had 200 competitors and the camp drafting had 220!

Friday night live music entertained rodeo lovers too.

There were lots of activities for the younger kids to enjoy, including the Flag Race, Bounce Pony, Barrell Race, Snakes & Ladders and more.

Bowen River Committee Secretary, Sally Fry said “The Bowen River is now 136 years old and I think that’s quite special.”

“Bowen River Rodeo associated with Buck Off Melanoma and proceeds from the raffle and Calcutta is split between Buck Off Melanoma and CQ Rescue Helicopter.

“Thank you to our wonderful sponsors, without them we wouldn’t be able to hold this wonderful event.

“And thank you to our hard-working committee and volunteers who work so hard over the weekend to make our event such a success.”

Mayor Ry Collins and his family at the Bowen River Rodeo
The rodeo was a huge success over the weekend
Photos supplied

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Local Councillor Receives OAM

June 13, 2024

Much-loved local Councillor Jan Clifford was awarded an Order of Australia (OAM) on Australia Day this year and last month she attended a special ceremony to collect her medal at Parliament House in Brisbane.

A Whitsunday Regional Councillor since 2008, Ms Clifford is now serving her 5th term and was uncontested at the recent Local Government Elections.

When asked what she believes were the reasons for her nomination and subsequent recognition, Ms Clifford said “you’ve got to go above and beyond”.

“I think it’s a lot to do with the things I do for rural women and all the community efforts I’ve put in over the years,” she shared.

It is well known that Ms Clifford volunteered graciously throughout the Cyclone Debbie recovery period and has been giving up her own Christmas Day to assist at community events for those in need.

Since 1995, Ms Clifford has been an advocate for the Whitsundays region, working within the tourism sector for many of those years.

She started attending Council meetings in 2000, becoming interested in the process and then going for election.

Flash forward to this year and Ms Clifford said it was an absolute honour to receive her OAM.

“It was absolutely awesome!” she said.

“It was like you’d been dreaming about something and all of a sudden it happened!”

Councillor Jan Clifford received her OAM at Parliament House in Brisbane on May 16. Photo supplied

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Meet Queensland Emerging Philanthropist Katelyn Aslett

June 13, 2024

Local businesswoman, Katelyn Aslett, was awarded Queensland Emerging Philanthropist of the Year at the Queensland Philanthropy Awards which were held in Brisbane last Friday night.

The founder of a charity organisation called My Giving Plate, Ms Aslett uses her skills in event management to facilitate dinner parties, both large and small, with all proceeds going towards worthwhile charities.

Over the past year, My Giving Plate has raised almost $180,000 and since its inception four years ago it has raised over $600,000.

The idea for the charity began when Ms Aslett felt a calling to help those effected by the floods in Townsville, a place she had previously resided and where she still had friends.

With a desperate desire to help raise money to help her friends, Ms Aslett held a dinner party where she accepted donations.

Its subsequent success inspired her to spread the concept far and wide by creating a platform that funnelled the money raised through a more streamlined system.

This is when she created the My Giving Plate platform which has now hosted more than 50 dinner parties.

The process is simple and can be adapted to dinner parties of any size, from a gathering of 10 friends to a large-scale event for hundreds of people.

The idea is that, by skipping the cost of venue hire and hospitality staff and holding an event in your own home or backyard, you can absorb the food costs as well and so much more money can be raised and then given to the charity of your choice.

Ms Aslett guides each person through the process and can help with any questions along the way.

An entrepreneur at heart, Ms Aslett had her own art and design label for over 20 years.

“If your business is going well, you’ve got the ability to give back,” she explained.

“It’s amazing to be amongst so many incredible people doing so much good, and I couldn’t do half of it if I didn’t have such an amazing team.”

“It was an honour to accept this award and I love that it has lifted the profile of what we’re doing so that more people will now want to get involved – we can make a lot more happen and I would love to raise half a million dollars a year, which I think is possible!”

Katelyn Aslettt with her mother and husband at the Queensland Philanthropy Awards in Brisbane last Friday night. Photo supplied

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Bowen Community Centre Thanks Volunteers

June 13, 2024

The Bowen Community Centre proudly celebrated National Volunteer Week by honouring 20 of its dedicated volunteers.
This special event highlighted the vital importance of volunteers to the centre and the broader community.
During the celebration, volunteers were recognised for their selfless service and the significant impact they have on the lives of those who need it most.
Their efforts help the Centre to expand its reach and enhance the quality of services provided, from support programs to community events and educational workshops.
"We are immensely grateful for the dedication and hard work of our volunteers," said Stephanie Cora the Executive Officer of the Bowen Community Centre.
"Their contributions are invaluable, and they truly embody the spirit of community and compassion.
“Without them, our mission to support and uplift the most vulnerable members of our community would not be possible."
The event was a heartfelt tribute to the volunteers who give their time, skills, and energy to make a difference.
It also served as a reminder of the power of volunteerism and the positive change it can bring to society.
Volunteers are the backbone of the Bowen Community Centre, and their contributions enable the centre to provide a wide range of free services to their most vulnerable members.
Without the volunteers unwavering commitment and generosity, the Bowen Community Centre would not be able to function or offer the support that so many in our community rely on.

Volunteer Dee Jastremski and Executive Officer from the Bowen Community Centre Stephanie Cora
Photo supplied

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AWB First Aid First: Keeping our community safe

June 13, 2024

Welcome to this month’s Member Spotlight organised by Whitsunday Chamber Of Commerce And Industry.

This month’s article showcases our diverse businesses community.

AWB First Aid First owner-operators, Andrew and Wendy Barker, are passionate for first aid.

AWB First Aid First has been supplying the Whitsundays with professional first aid training, first aid kits and supplies, and volunteering first aid services at local events since October 2009.

They are motivated to train the community as a way of making our community safe.

In recent years they have seen the need for everyone to be capable of delivering lifesaving first aid – from workplaces, schools, community groups, public events, and even in our homes and families.

While a critical skill, they have seen their clients and the community struggle with taking the time to learn first aid.

They urge the community to ensure all our first aid skills are up-to-date.

As proud local business owners, their advice to other businesses is to:

   • Connect in with a business coach so you can stay focused on goals and what’s important.
   • Continually work at building a good, reliable network of other businesses and professionals around you.
   • Know your numbers and regularly review income, costs, and your financial position.

As Chamber members they enjoy seeing what is happening in the Whitsundays through the Chamber’s communications and events, getting support when needed, and meeting other local businesses through networking.

Visit their website to learn more about upcoming courses and services: https://www.awbfirstaid.com.au/

AWB First Aid First owner-operators, Andrew and Wendy Barker. Photo supplied

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Bowen’s Newest Mural Is Finished

June 13, 2024

After six weeks of hard work, artist Glen Gillard is thrilled to have finished the latest of Bowen’s murals and is extremely happy with it.

“It is probably the longest that I have ever spent on a mural,” said Glen.

“I am glad to see the end of it, and I’m happy and think the results are pretty good.

“Everybody's saying how wonderful it is and magnificent, but most of the comments I get is that it’s beautiful and that's what I'm really happy about.”

Glen joked that his favourite part to paint was the end, adding his signature at the end.

Secretary of the Mural Society Heather Skinner, President Josie Tons and Treasurer Marcia Land are over the moon with it and describe it as “Fan-bloody-tastic!”

This mural is of Herbert Street and the Mural Society have plans to extend it, adding additional buildings from Herbert Street on the blank spaces next to the newly finished mural.

This mural would not be possible without Bowen Hire, supplying scaffolding and the Mural Society express a huge thank you to them.

Glen would also like to add that he loves green tree frogs, and he likes to add them into his murals – see if you can spot one!

“This mural here has three Green Tree Frogs which people have to find before they go home,” Glen laughed.

Glen Gillard in front of his finished mural
Treasurer Marcia Land, Secretary Heather Skinner, President Josie Tons and Artist Glen Gillard

Photo credit: Daniel Heggie

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Have You Played Keepy Uppy? 

June 13, 2024

Queensland’s new favourite game has taken the state by storm as a part of the launch of Tourism and Events Queensland’s biggest campaign in over a decade.

On the second of June, Queensland officially set the record for the Worlds’ Biggest Game of Keepy Uppy, with games happening concurrently across the whole state.  
The Whitsundays played along with a game on Whitehaven Beach, on a boat around Heart Reef and on Hamilton and Hayman Island to feature in a campaign centered around the hit animated TV series, Bluey.

Now live in five countries, the campaign introduces Queensland ‘Bluey’s World, for real life’ to inspire international and domestic travelers to experience our incredible state.  
Supported by a huge media buy, including a TV commercial fronted by Robert Irwin, the campaign is expected to reach tens of millions across Australia, New Zealand, United States, United Kingdom, Japan and Singapore.

If you are travelling outside of Queensland, keep your eyes peeled for Bluey! 

Contributed by Laura Knipe, Marketing Manager, Tourism Whitsundays  

Photo supplied

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Did You Know?

June 13, 2024

Our local libraries in the Whitsunday Region offer much more than just books! Hosting over 200 free events annually, they provide a variety of tech and literacy programs suitable for all ages. They will also be running a range of children's activities during the upcoming school holidays. Be sure to visit libraries.whitsundayrc.qld.gov.au to discover what's happening at your local library and make the most of these fantastic resources and events!

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Our Annual Show

June 13, 2024

As the 2024 Whitsunday Show approaches, it is interesting to consider what the annual show was like a century ago in the 1920s.
It is fascinating to read the publication, “Show Whitsunday Celebrating 100 Years” published on the occasion of the show’s centenary. Covering ten decades of annual shows in our district, it provides an absorbing insight into what has changed and what remains the same.  
In the 1920 -1929 segment, the writer noted that the Proserpine A P & I Association Show was “moving into its second successful decade of community support”. This is one factor that has certainly stayed the same. Such support remains integral in contributing to the success of shows and we are indebted to community of volunteers who work tirelessly behind the scenes to provide the venue that is the Show.
So, let’s turn back the clock to the 1920s to see what else has remained the same and what has changed …  
An excerpt from the “Proserpine Guardian” (August 27 1921) tells the story …
“Show dances were becoming increasingly popular, many held at the Tivoli Hall during Carnival Week.
There was a large number of visitors for the carnival during the weekend and the excursion train from Bowen on the last day of the show carried a very large number of passengers and there must have been a record number of visitors in attendance which no doubt was due to the local association having their annual event include the northern circuit and thus everyone was afforded the opportunity of witnessing the local fixtures without any fear of counter attractions elsewhere.
The side shows too were numerous and with a few exceptions they were the “cheap jack” class. On the ground Mr R C Traill who is R.V. Mackay’s local agent had a number of farm implements and keen interest was displayed by the farmers in the various implements exhibited.
The sugar cane display showed some nice cane and the exhibits from Banana Pocket were of a very high class. The quality of the cane displayed was a splendid advertisement for Banana Pocket and goes to prove that the land at that place is most suitable for the cultivation of sugar cane.  
There were also some splendid potatoes, maize and cigar leaf that came from the pocket which is further proof that the land is one of the very best. …
The Grand Parade on the last day of the show was well worth witnessing. Some fine exhibits were to be seen, some of which carried prize ribbons from other shows. A notable feature was the large number of cattle that took part in the parade and this was the first occasion that such a large number of animals were led round the ring which made the parade all the more attractive.
The competition in the ring events was keen and, in the majority of classes, there were a good number of exhibitors. The younger generation who took part in the riding events caught Mr P Salmon’s eye (a champion rider from Natal Downs) and he remarked that the riding of the youths from Proserpine was equal to if not better than he had seen anywhere in the north. These remarks are very complimentary more especially when they come from a gentleman who attends practically the whole of the shows in North Queensland.”
In 2024, the 111th Show is certain to deliver something for everyone just as it did a century ago. So, mark the dates in your calendar. Your support is important if the show is to go on …

Story and photo courtesy Proserpine Historical Museum

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Young Mariner Nominated

June 13, 2024

A Year 12 Proserpine State High School student has been named as a top three finalist for the Queensland School-Based Apprentice/Trainee of the Year Awards and will find out if he’s won during a special ceremony held in Townsville in July.

Rio Withyman is currently undertaking his Certificate III in Maritime Operations with local tourism operator Sealink and is being recognised for his commitment to his formal studies at school and in the workplace.

Growing up onboard a sailing catamaran for three years with his family sailing the Queensland Coast, Rio set his sights firmly on pursuing a career in the Maritime Industry.

“The experience I am gaining through my traineeship and hands-on work on large vessels is equipping me with the skills and knowledge to pursue my dream job,” he shared.

“My goal is to undertake my practical assessment of skills towards the end of this year. This will see me completing my Master 24 training and qualification in under two years, while the usual timeline for a school-based trainee is four years.”

Rio works on Sealink’sHayman Island boats every Friday as part of his traineeship and he also works for Red Cat Adventures on the weekends.

He is focusing on finishing year 12 and completing his traineeship that will see him a fully qualified Vessel Master (Captain), able to skipper commercial vessels up to 24m.  

After graduation he is looking forward to work with Paspaley Pearls on their pearling vessels out of Broome for the pearling season.

In his spare time, he is either out on the water free diving or fishing, or playing AFL with the local Whitsunday Sea Eagles U17 team.

Rio Withyman has been named as a top three finalist for the Queensland School-Based Apprentice/Trainee of the Year Awards. Photo supplied

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Prisoner Of War Shorts Survive And Arrive In Proserpine

June 13, 2024

The Proserpine Historical Museum have been honoured to accept the donation of a significant artefact; a handmade pair of shorts worn by William Dalziel Rudd from 1942 – 1945.

William Rudd wore these shorts during his years as a prisoner of war (POW).

William preserved the shorts throughout his life and his family has now donated them to the museum.

William Rudd was born at Hughenden 14th April 1914 but later lived in Proserpine and at the age of 26 enlisted in the Australian Army.

Shortly after Singapore fell to the Japanese on 14th February 1942, William became a POW until 5th September 1945.

He served as a slave in brutal conditions on the Thai-Burma railway and the Changi POW camp.

The brutality of the Japanese is well documented, 15,000 Australians were POWs and there were 7000 deaths.

Researcher at Proserpine Historical Museum Ailsa Reinke said some of Williams’ relatives still live in the region and are happy the shorts are at the Proserpine Museum.

“They finally arrived here and we're very privileged to have them and the family are happy to have them here as well,” said Ailsa.

“We just think it's a real privilege to have them because there's such few things that survived all that time.

“It might have been the only shorts he had because, they wouldn't have been issued with clothing.”

In addition to the shorts, Proserpine Historical Museum have included post cards from William to his family back at home.

William Rudd’s Shorts,
William Rudd

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Charity Screening At Bowen Summergarden Cinema

June 13, 2024

Bowen Summergarden Cinema often hosts charity screening events and everybody is welcome, the films are usually true stories and suitable for all ages.

Their next charity screening is of ‘Unsung Hero’, hosted by the Bowen and Collinsville local Chaplaincy Committee charity.

Bowen Summergarden Cinema owner Ben De Luca is looking forward to this showing.

“It’s based on a remarkable true story, a mum's faith stands against all odds and inspires her husband and children to hold onto this,” said Ben.

The charity screening costs $15 and food and drinks are supplied by the Chaplaincy Committee, additional food and drinks can be purchased from the cinema.

“They usually have nibblies, sometimes depending on the size of the charity they put on some fairly lavish plates of food and that sort of stuff,” said Ben.

Tables are set up in the foyer for the food and drinks, raffle tickets are also available.

The charity screening is always previewed in the biggest theatre and there are additional tables set up in the theatre with more refreshments.

Ben has owned Bowen Summergarden Cinema for 62 years and he still works as the cinema’s projectionist.

He loves his work and said that, 62 years on, it is still a bucket of fun.

What: Charity screening of ‘Unsung Hero’
Where: Bowen Summergarden Cinema
When: Monday 17 June, 6.30pm
Tickets: $15

Ben De Luca, the owner of Bowen Summergarden Cinemas for the past 62 years. Photo credit: Daniel Heggie

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Youth Encouraged to ‘Drop-In’   At PCYC Bowen  

June 13, 2024

Young people of Bowen are invited to come to PCYC Bowen Drop-In sessions where they can meet other people their age, connect with worthwhile community events and enjoy sport and activities. 
On Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, young people in the Bowen area aged 12-18 can join the PCYC Drop-In sessions. 
Every day has a different activity, with Tuesdays from 3pm – 5pm an opportunity for attendees to go to Queens Beach for pizza and fun. 
On Wednesdays the PCYC Bowen Youth Leadership Team meet to discuss upcoming events and activities they are planning in the local community.  
Thursdays, 5pm – 7pm, the group head down to Bowen’s Skate Rink where PCYC offer a Basketball After Dark activity.  
Acting Sergeant Ann Davies co-ordinates, the Drop-In sessions and said it’s important the children can see the police as not just law enforcement. 
“It gives a chance for them to get to know police and not be scared of us but actually know that we are real people,” said Ann. 
“Drop-In sessions give our local young people a fun, safe activity to participate in as an alternative to potentially anti-social behaviours." 
“Coming to PCYC Bowen is a positive choice our young people can make to engage in their local community in a really worthwhile way.” 
Community Development Officer, Josh Peters runs the Basketball session, offering pointers to help players improve their game.   
Young people from the PCYC Bowen Drop-In group and Youth Leadership Team also attend Friday evening’s Skate Night. 
The Skate Nights are an extremely popular Friday night activity in Bowen, around 200 people attend and it’s a great activity and fun way to start the weekend.  

Bowen PCYC Drop In Basketball, Photo supplied

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A Smooth Transition To Year 7 At Whitsunday Christian College

June 13, 2024

At Whitsunday Christian College their vision is to see students develop as life-long learners of faith, character and purpose, achieving personal excellence and cultivating community through service. 

They seek to educate the whole person, with a focus on the head, the hands and the heart.

They encourage student to have strong minds, develop practical skills and cultivate character, instilling Christian values.

Mrs Kylie Langshore the College Principal believes, “Middle School is an important phase of learning and development for our young people from Years 7 - 10.”

“It is a time when they discover more about who they are, what they enjoy and what they are good at.”

In Years 7 and 8, students study core subjects and explore a range of additional subjects.

In Year 9, while continuing study in core subjects, students select electives to explore. In doing so, they commence their learning pathway which will ultimately lead into Senior Secondary and beyond.

For families desiring a values-based Christian education in a community that fosters character growth, academic excellence and a supportive environment for Secondary education, Whitsunday Christian College invites you to the Year 7 Twilight Tour.

The Year 7 Twilight Tour which will be held on Wednesday 24th July from 5pm – 7pm. This is an opportunity for parents and children to experience Secondary School and gain an insight into the different learning structures and subjects on offer.

School tours will be held in small groups and operate from 5pm – 6.30pm.

Students will engage in subject specific experiences relevant to Secondary School life.

Come along and meet the Leadership Team, Secondary teachers and students and share in a free sausage sizzle.  

To conclude, at 6.30pm, an information session will be held in the Hall for all families to discuss important aspects of Year 7 in 2025.

All enrolled students for 2025, are then invited to the Year 7 Step Up day which is due to take place in October.

Students will experience and follow a Secondary timetable to prepare them for transition from Primary to Secondary school, moving through a range of different specialist subjects while meeting staff and students.

This is an important day in preparing students for the change and opportunities of their next educational phase, helping them build confidence and familiarity with the new environment.  

Whitsunday Christian College invites you to explore Secondary school opportunities.

To register your interest, please contact Administration by calling 4948 5100 or email mail@whitsunday.qld.edu.au . There are limited spaces remaining in Year 7 for 2025.

WHAT: Year 6 into Year 7 Twilight Tour
WHEN: Wednesday 24 July, 5pm – 7pm

Photos supplied 

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Be Confident, Be Woman With Novella Health

June 13, 2024

Are you struggling with the changes in your body after giving birth? Are you worried about participating in activities in case your bladder leaks? Are you constipated or have trouble in the bathroom? Have you been diagnosed with prolapse or feel a bulge and don’t know what to do?

If so, all these concerns can be managed with the help of Pelvic Health Physiotherapy. This unique area of physiotherapy encompasses more than just the pelvic floor as it looks at the whole person; your symptoms, general health, emotional health and wellbeing.  A therapist in this field can also help with issues of frequency, urgency, and pelvic pain conditions such as endometriosis and with symptoms of painful intercourse or pelvic/back pain that seems to have no origin.

We are fortunate in the Whitsundays to have Camille from Novella Health practicing locally in Proserpine, Cannonvale, and Bowen. Camille has 25 years’ experience in a diverse range of healthcare settings and several tertiary qualifications as well.

Years prior to starting Novella Health, Camille experienced birth injuries that took a mental and physical toll. Working through these injuries, Camille realised she had a calling to help women, of all ages, in her community of the Whitsundays with their private pelvic concerns and began taking advanced courses in the field of Women’s Pelvic Health Physiotherapy.

Now, with a concentration in Women’s Pelvic Health and Children’s Bladder and Bowel Incontinence she is proud to help people feel comfortable in their body.

“I have long appointment times to give the patient time and space to tell their story and be heard,” explained Camille.

“I see the patient as the expert of their body. My job is to explain the condition and set up a practical treatment plan to reach their goals.

If you would like to discuss your concerns, confidentially, please book online or call to book.

Referrals are welcome but not necessary.

0422 743 230

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Elevated Efficiency Major Grants Program Gives a Boost to Sugarcane Grower, Paul Dray by assisting in the purchase of a high-rise spray tractor

June 13, 2024

Paul Dray, a grower in Proserpine, is thrilled to have acquired a high-rise spray tractor that will grant him flexibility in the timing of his herbicide application. This flexibility enables him to use less harmful herbicides (knockdowns) reducing his reliance on residual herbicides.

Paul was able to make the purchase assisted by Reef Catchments through the Major Grants Project under the Mackay Whitsunday Water Quality Program (MWWQP) The MWWQP is funded by the partnership between the Australian Government’s Reef Trust and the Great Barrier Reef Foundation.

Paul’s family has deep roots in the Proserpine region, with the farm’s history spanning three generations and more than 100 years. The farm is more than just a business; it’s a legacy that Paul and his entire family are committed to preserving.

For Paul, this farm is a genuine family enterprise, with multiple generations actively participating. His parents, brothers, uncles, cousins, and now his son all play integral roles in running the operation. If you spend even a short time on the farm with Paul, you will notice there is always someone from the family stopping by to check in.

The Challenge
Timing is critical when it comes to weed spraying. If the cane grows too tall, traditional spray rigs can’t navigate through the crop. As a result, Paul had two options: he could use residual herbicides before the cane grew too tall, or he could hire contractors with high-rise spray tractors. However, these contractors were often delayed or unavailable because of scheduling conflicts. Although Paul hired drones to spray for vines, this solution didn’t address the problem with grasses, which continued to grow unchecked as the cane got taller. This led to higher labour costs and reduced crop quality, as weed management was not effective.

The Solution
To improve his farm’s pesticide management, Paul opted to work with agronomists at Farmacist. They developed a pesticide management plan that recommended alternative chemicals to reduce the risk of chemicals running off into waterways and persisting in the environment. The plan decreased the dependence on residual herbicides and encouraged greater use of knockdown herbicides.  

A key part of the plan involved Paul’s investment in a John Deere high-rise spray tractor. This advanced piece of equipment provided him with the flexibility to spray when needed, without having to rely on external contractors. The high-rise design was essential in being able to adopt the management plan put forth by Farmacist. They advised Paul on the best nozzles to use with his new sprayer, minimising chemical drift and will continue to support Paul with the management plan that has been given to him.

The new spray tractor also came with innovative technology that improved efficiency and precision. It has integrated GPS that automatically adjusts spray rates based on the tractor’s speed, reducing waste and overlap. Additionally, the built-in weather station monitors weather conditions during spraying, preventing the process if the wind was too strong, thereby minimising drift. The cloud connectivity feature automatically uploads all spraying data, including weather information, to a cloud platform, streamlining record-keeping and reducing paperwork for Paul.

With Farmacist’s expert guidance and the high-rise spray tractor’s advanced capabilities, Paul was able to implement a more efficient and environmentally friendly pesticide management strategy.

Commitment to Water Quality
Paul is dedicated to sustainable farming practices and works closely with Farmacist not only regarding his pesticide management but also for conducting soil tests, managing Nitrogen & Phosphorus budgets and selecting fertilisers and chemical sprays. By doing this, he is able ensure that he is using the right amount of inputs needed for his crop at the right time. This reflects Paul’s commitment to leaving the farm in great shape for future generations and reducing the risk of farm inputs ending up in local waterways.

Paul’s farm is a prime example of how innovation and sustainability can work together. By accepting support from agronomists, adopting advanced technology and investing in high-quality equipment, Paul has improved his farm’s efficiency and demonstrated a commitment to improving his practices on farm.


Paul’s investment in the high-rise spray tractor has brought significant benefits to the farm:

   • Increased Control: Paul can now spray when needed, without waiting for contractors, ensuring timeliness.
   • Reduced Environmental Impact: The precise spray technology minimises runoff and allows for alternative chemicals (knockdowns) to be used reducing the risk of chemicals reaching and persisting in local waterways.
   • Improved Crop Quality: Timely and accurate spraying has led to cleaner fields and better cane.
   • Cost Effectiveness: By reducing contractor costs and losses due to runoff or drift, the farm operates more efficiently.

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Truck Roll Over Blocks Bruce Highway At Foxdale

June 11, 2024

The Bruce Highway is currently blocked at Foxdale near Quarry Road following a truck roll over.

The incident has resulted in lane closures and reduced traffic flow in all directions, causing significant delays for motorists.

Emergency services are on the scene and additional units are en route to manage the situation and facilitate the clearance of the highway.

Authorities are advising drivers to expect delays and consider alternative routes if possible.
Motorists traveling in the area are urged to stay informed through local traffic reports and to adhere to the instructions given by emergency responders and traffic controllers at the scene.

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Give Your Feedback On New Bowen Jetty Designs

June 6, 2024

The unveiling of two Jetty designs for the new Bowen Jetty showcase ideas and features generated from the feedback of the people living within the region.

North Queensland Bulk Ports (NQBP) CEO Brendan Webb said putting the community first was a key part of their planning stage.

“We could not have asked for more from the community when it comes to them sharing their passion, local knowledge and great ideas,” Mr Webb said.

“More than 770 people have gave their feedback through our first survey, workshops and pop-up sessions in March.”

NQBP developed the two new designs by listening to community ideas when creating the two concepts and now want feedback.

Details about the design options and artist impressions are available on the project website and will be available at upcoming information sessions in Bowen.

“This will be the last opportunity for the community to have their say on the concept design by completing the online survey. So, I encourage everyone to provide their feedback during June,” Mr Webb said.

“Your feedback will help our project team refine the final jetty concept design, which we’ll share later this year.”

Built-in 1867 the Bowen Wharf structure is an iconic local landmark that is nearing its end of life.

“The State Government’s $50 million commitment to replace the jetty will provide the Bowen community with a sustainable structure boasting a 100-year design life,” Mr Webb said.

The jetty is imagined as a versatile hub connecting with the Bowen foreshore, with recreational fishing activities, leisure strolls and picturesque views of Bowen’s scenic coastline on offer.

“We asked the community what they valued and wanted to see in the future Jetty, and we have heard them loud and clear,” Mr Webb said.

Key features of the concept designs include:

   • Ample shade and seating for relaxing and socialising

   • Toilets and water bubblers

   • Dedicated fishing areas equipped with modern amenities

   • Accessibility provisions to ensure inclusivity for all members of the community

   • Environmental consideration to preserve local ecosystems

   • Integration of Juru people artwork and cultural elements to celebrate the region’s rich heritage.

During June, the project team will be in Bowen to talk with the local community.

Come along to displays and chat with a team member:

   • Bowen PCYC, Friday 14 June, 4pm to 6pm

   • Centre Point Plaza Shopping Centre, Saturday 15 June, 9.30am to 11.30am

   • Bowen Community Markets, Sunday 16 June, 7am to 12pm

   • Bowen Show, Tuesday, 25 June

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Editors Note

June 6, 2024

Hi Everyone,

I was out on Cannonvale Beach with my son one morning, taking our excitable Border Collie, Finn, for a walk when I began watching two men at work planting little shrubs in the nearby garden beds.

One of the men had a massive drill and was drilling into the soil, up-rooting much of it and breaking deeply into the beds before plopping a plant into the hole he’d created.

The other man had a shovel in his hand and was gently scooping away the soil - slowly, quietly and lovingly he created the right home for each plant and then gently placed them in there.

I couldn’t help but notice that, although the result was the same (all the plants were indeed planted in an orderly fashion and will continue to grow), there was something very different about the methods the two men took.

When we first started, we had no experience in producing a weekly newspaper, but over the years we’ve carved out our own unique method.

I like to think that we’ve achieved this by slowly and respectfully digging a hole in the soil of the community, delicately planting ourselves in the middle of it and slowly establishing roots, from which we have had the support to grow, thanks to all our readers and advertisers.


Quote of the Week: “Do the best you can until you know better. Then, when you know better, do better” (Maya Angelou)

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Big Crop For Charity

June 6, 2024

We are blessed to have a vibrant sugar industry here in the Whitsundays, and even more blessed to have an annual event which raises incredible amounts of money for invaluable charities such as the Royal Flying Doctor Service.

The Cut Out Party took place again in March this year - a celebration of the sugar industry and also a fundraiser – the event raised a staggering $53,000 for the Royal Flying Doctor Service.

The Cut Out Party committee recently travelled to Townsville to deliver the cheque to the Royal Flying Doctor Service.

Treasurer Amanda Hadlow said the sugar industry can be generous, but this exceeded her expectations, and she is overwhelmed.

“We couldn’t do it without help from community,” she explained.

“We’ve all had a friend or family member that has needed their service and I hope it will help at least one person in our area when they’ll need lifesaving treatment the most.”

Amanda added that the Cut Out Party was a fantastic success again this year and that  people enjoyed themselves.

The committee are looking forward to next year already and are yet to decide the service or community organisation they will raise donations for next year, and Amanda joked, “this year is hard to top, but we can only try.”

Cut Out Committee donating the $53,000 cheque to the Royal Flying Doctor Service in Townsville. Photo supplied

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B Kinder In 2024

June 6, 2024

A much-loved annual community event which spreads the word of kindness and remembers the life of an inspiring young girl, is taking place across Australia once again this June 22.

Billie Kinder was a Whitsunday local who, at just 12 years old, sadly lost her life in an accident while horse riding.

Her mother, Danny Mason-Kinder found her daughter’s paintings and poems that illustrated incredible insights into kindness and empathy, and she has since used these to create a book using her daughter’s work.

Seeing how this book inspired others, Danny created the b kinder Foundation and the broader b kinder day, to help spread kindness and combat bullying in the community and within schools.

It is now part of Billie’s legacy to help thousands of children discover the power of kindness through various programs.

Every school in the Whitsundays celebrated b kinder day last year and Proserpine Kindergarten, Proserpine High School and now Proserpine Primary School have all become b kinder schools.

“Proserpine has become Proser-kind!” said local b kinder day organiser, Mel Turner.

“All Proserpine State schools now not only celebrate b kinder day but have also taken the step to being b kinder schools with a year round student lead program!”

Last year 146 schools and over 200 businesses were involved in b kinder day.

The main activity on the day is for everyone to write a kind message in one of the b kinder day cards and give it to someone they care about. 

b kinder day cards are $1.00 each and orders over 40 cards include b kinder day posters and biodegradable b kinder day balloons. 

To date, over 120,000 b kinder day cards full of kind messages have been sent around the world.

In addition, b kinder programs, designed by teachers, have been introduced into the syllabus at many schools – each of them actively teaching students about how to be kind every day of the year.

“We would love schools, businesses and the community to get involved and help spread kindness,” expressed Ms Turner.

“The ultimate goal is to weave a tapestry of positivity, kindness and compassion that blankets schools and communities throughout Australia.

“b kinder day addresses what it means to be kind and amplifies the power of kindness, connection and thoughtfulness.  

“Reaching out and connecting with others can literally have a life changing impact on those around us.”

This year, Proserpine State High School has been named the first secondary school in Australia to become a b kinder school.

Six student ambassadors have been announced and they will lead initiatives to help their peers continue to spread kindness within the school community and broader Whitsunday community alike.

Year 11 and 12 students Mia Vloedmans, Abbie Green, Savannah Lamont, Hurley Diessel, Nathan Richards and Holly Perrin have the honour of being the school’s first b kinder ambassadors.

Principal Don McDermid said it was a great privilege to work with the b kinder Foundation on a journey to ignite empathy, compassion, resilience, and confidence in students from Years 7-12.

“It’s an opportunity to spread some kindness and reflect on the power of positive actions towards someone else,” he said.

Proserpine State High School’s six b kinder student ambassadors. Photos supplied
Proserpine State School celebrate b kinder last year
Subway in Bowen also celebrates b kinder day

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One-Millionth Visitor Welcomed By Volunteer Cruise Ship Ambassadors One-Millionth Visitor Welcomed By Volunteer Cruise Ship Ambassadors

June 6, 2024

The Volunteer Cruise Ship Ambassadors have been greeting cruise ship visitors as they arrive in Airlie Beach for the past 20 years, and last week marked a special milestone.

According to records, they have just welcomed their one-millionth visitor into Airlie Beach, a moment that was 20 years in the making and an amazing achievement.

Lyn Blanche, Coordinator of Volunteer Cruise Ship Ambassadors said it’s a great feeling to have welcomed the one-millionth visitor and that its terrific for businesses in the area.

“We try to get the cruise ship passengers to engage with the local businesses and spend a bit of money in our area, that's what we want,” said Lyn.

As Coordinator, Lyn organises the group of volunteers that will greet the ship, and they work in a rotational roster.

All cruise ship ambassadors are volunteers, and welcome holiday makers into Airlie Beach.

“We welcome them to the area, we've got some little maps that we give out, so they know where they're going,” explained Lyn.

“We chat about what they want to do, many of them have got an idea already of what they would like to do, so we can point them in the right direction.

“Others just say, well, we don't know what we want to do, so tell us what we can do and we try and fit something around they what they might like.”

Lyn added that “We get fantastic support from the Whitsunday Regional Council, and from Tourism Whitsundays”.

“We couldn't do this without them!”

Chief Executive Officer of Tourism Whitsundays, Rick Hamilton said this is an extraordinary achievement.

“Welcoming 1 million visitors to Airlie Beach is a truly remarkable milestone for our Cruise Ship Ambassadors,” said Rick.

“These passionate volunteers help to create an unforgettable experience for every single person who steps ashore, leaving a lasting impression of the region.

“Their efforts help to make Airlie Beach such a special destination, and we are incredibly grateful for their service, today and every day."

Volunteer Cruise Ship Ambassadors, Photo credit: Daniel Heggie

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Get Set Program Top 3 Finalist

June 6, 2024

PCYC Whitsunday’s Get Set for Work Program has become a top 3 finalist in the Queensland Training Awards.

The award is part of the Community Training Initiative of the Year category in a North Queensland regional area.

The awards ceremony takes place in Townsville on Saturday 20 July, 2024.

With testimonies from parents, and students, PCYC Brand Manager Sergeant Billy Li believes they’ve put in a strong application and they have a strong chance of winning.

If they win, the Get Set for Work program will be selected as a state finalist and will attend the state final awards night in Brisbane on Saturday 7 September, 2024.

Winning either award would create an opportunity for PCYC to grow their program.

Billy believes winning the awards will create better awareness for the program, which is currently only known about through word of mouth.

With greater awareness, participant numbers can grow and with high numbers Billy wants to see kids from other areas have access to their program.

The PCYC Get Set for Work program is dedicated to disengaged kids or young adults who need extra support to create better employment pathways.

The PCYC Get Set for Work program coordinator, Scott Lynch said “We help participants build resumes, cover letters, we help them obtain industry entry level certifications, so things like construction white cards and responsible service of alcohol.”

Get Set for Work is one of eight programs that make up the Queensland Government’s Skilling Queenslanders for Work initiative.

PCYC Get Set for Work program coordinator, Scott Lynch and PCYC Brand Manager Sergeant Billy Li, will be heading to the awards in Townsville soon. Photo supplied

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No Phone Reception! Collinsville's Telecommunication Crisis

June 6, 2024

Collinsville has been experiencing subpar telecommunication coverage for several months, with many constituents reporting they’ve been unable to obtain service unless connected to home Wi-Fi.

Federal Member for Capricornia, Michelle Landry, is calling on the Minister for Communications, Michelle Rowland, to urgently address the severe telecommunication issues plaguing Collinsville.

“Telecommunication issues with Telstra were brought to my attention in March and I have been working closely with representatives of Telstra to resolve the issue,” Ms Landry said.

“Upon my escalation, Telstra dispatched a service technician to assess the issue and make the necessary repairs. Upon review, the technician was able to identify and I was advised that the problem had been resolved.

“Despite some constituents reporting their service had been restored, many people were still unable to utilise their phones outside of their homes.

“Telstra is now informing customers that they cannot provide further assistance while also attempting to sell their new Starlink package.

“This effort to convince residents, who are already paying a premium for Telstra's substandard service, to spend even more each month has rightfully angered many constituents.

“I have written a letter to the Minister for Communications to advise her of the substandard service the Collinsville community is experiencing and the lack of assistance being provided and have requested immediate support in resolving the matter.”

The 2024 Regional Telecommunications Independent Review Committee is currently conducting a survey to better understand regional, rural and remote Australian’s issues with accessing and using telecommunication services.

The 2024 Regional Telecommunications Review survey can be done by visiting rtirc.gov.au.

Ms Landry strongly urges everyone that is affected by poor telecommunication services to complete the survey.

Federal Member for Capricornia Michelle Landry, advises everyone with impacted phone coverage to take the independent survey.  Photo supplied

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Sportspark Stress As Future Of Club House Questioned By Stakeholders

June 6, 2024

The future of the $8 million Whitsunday Sportspark Club House known as ‘Club Whitsunday’ is at a crossroads due to conflicting opinions within the eight different committees who operate the five different sports played at the public facility.

For the past eight years the Hospitality Club has been under planning and construction, with various extenuating circumstances responsible for several delays.

During this time the dedicated and hardworking committee, led by Chairman Justin Butler, have been resolute to complete the project and open  Club Whitsunday for all the community to enjoy.

From the beginning, the plans have been to open a large bistro and bar area with TAB and gaming to provide a community owned, integrated offering like the commercial hotels and service the hundreds of people that come through the facility each week.

For the past two years, however, they have been waiting for a liquor licence which finally came through  last month.

This means, the facility has now reached the stage where it can fulfill its original plan and become a fully functioning Club House with commercial kitchen,  extensive dining areas, gaming room and a sports lounge.

To enable this to happen, however, Club Whitsunday will need to borrow additional funds and are currently liaising with a Specialty Hospitality Lender to arrange.

It is set to cost a further $3.5M to fit out the facility, which was always part of the plan.

There are, however, some additional costs that have accumulated over the years.

Since the facility’s completion, $4000 a month has been accrued in ‘holding fees’ which are largely from insurance and electricity, despite the Club not operating and having no money coming in.

This, coupled with the usual building cost overruns means  a further $1.5M will need to be borrowed.

This means they will need a total of $5M.

At this current stage the Sportspark Club House committee have very limited money in the bank and are calling for the Whitsunday Regional Council to help if they can.

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Buck Off Celebrates 10 Years At Bowen River Rodeo

June 6, 2024

Bowen River Rodeo and Campdraft is taking place right now and running throughout the weekend, the exciting event once again supporting highly regarded charity Buck Off Melanoma which is celebrating its 10th year this year.

The charity’s founder, Janice Brown, has been a passionate advocate for Melanoma Research following her son’s Melanoma diagnosis and, over the last decade, has raised over $150,000.

A self-funded charity, 100 per cent of the proceeds go directly to the QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute to assist in the research for a cure for Melanoma. 

Over the years, life-extending drugs have been made available, and helped people living with Melanoma to live longer.

Janice would like to thank all the different community events over the years that have been benefactors for Buck Off Melanoma.

“Thank you so much for all your help and thank you to every person that has supported us over the years,” expressed Janice.

Back in 2016, the scientists from QMIR Berghofer Medical Research Institute came to Bowen for a special community walk to raise awareness for using sunscreen to prevent Melanoma.

This year, Janice is pleased to report they are back and will be attending Bowen River Rodeo and Campdraft this Sunday to meet people and to answer any questions in regards to Melanoma. 

In fact, Sunday at the Rodeo is all about Buck Off Melanoma with all the riders wearing special branded shirts that raise awareness for the cause.

This is thanks to Scotty Prosser from Liberty Fuel who has kindly contributed to the shirts this year.

There are 60 shirts in total and the whole event will be themed with the special branded shirts for the whole day.

According to ABS data, of the Australians living with cancer in 2017-18, nearly one in three (30.8%) had skin cancer, making this the most common type of cancer.

It is estimated that at the end of 2018, there were 216,408 people in Australia living with melanoma who had been diagnosed between 1982 and 2018.
At least 2 in 3 Australians will be diagnosed with skin cancer in their lifetime, and the risk is higher in men than in women.

Prevent Skin Cancer By:

   • Slip on some sun-protective clothing that covers as much skin as possible.
   • Slop on broad spectrum, water resistant SPF30 (or higher) sunscreen. Put it on 20 minutes before you go outdoors and every two hours afterwards. Sunscreen should never be used to extend the time you spend in the sun.
   • Slap on a hat – broad brim or legionnaire style to protect your face, head, neck and ears.
   • Seek shade.
   • Slide on some sunglasses – make sure they meet Australian Standards.

WHAT: Bowen Rodeo and Campdraft
WHEN: 6-9 June
WHERE: 41 Mt Wyatt Road, Collinsville

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A Night With Legends  Suicide Prevention Fundraiser At The Reef Gateway Hotel

June 6, 2024

The community is invited to come down to the Reef Gateway Hotel next month for a special event which is set to raise awareness and funds for the Whitsunday Suicide Prevention Network.

Not only does this event support a meaningful cause, it is also hosted by some well-known sporting heroes and other inspiring role-models who will share their own journeys in mental health and finding fulfillment.

A Night with Legends is your opportunity to hear from ex professional sports men, interact with them, learn from their stories and connect with others.

NRL legend, Shane Webcke, former AFL player Peter ‘Spida’ Everitt, Brant Webb one of the miners trapped at Beaconsfield Gold Mine in Tasmania in 2006, and Rob Payne owner of Mark Twain yacht, all talk about their experiences and their belief in perseverance.

The evening will include raffles, auction items, live music, and food and drink.

All proceeds from the evening go towards funding activities and events for Whitsunday Suicide Prevention Network.

The Network provides free counselling for those effected by suicide, it also offers free weekly Breathing Sessions which are open to all community members, and many other incredible services.

What: Whitsunday Suicide Prevention Fundraiser
When: Saturday 13th July - 5.30pm till 9.30pm
Where: Reef Gateway Hotel
Tickets $125 + booking fee, Tickets available online https://bit.ly/ANightWithLegends

NRL legend, Shane Webcke
Former AFL player Peter ‘Spida’ Everitt

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Bowen’s “Little Mango” Is Ripe

June 6, 2024

The Little Mango at Bowen’s Front Beach has had a facelift.

The six-metre high Little Mango has been repaired and re-painted by Martin of Gwada Murals.

The structure is a smaller replica of Bowen’s 10 metre “Big Mango” on the Bruce Highway south of Bowen.

Manager of Bowen Tourism and Business, Leanne Abernethy thanked Whitsunday Regional Council for ensuring the Little Mango was ripe again in time for the busy winter tourism season.

“The Little Mango is located right near the information booth manned by our volunteers – and they were very pleased to see the structure has been repainted,” said Leanne.
In 2014, Bowen’s 10 metre ‘Big Mango’ was removed and news of it being stolen made international headlines.

It was mentioned in more than 3,000 media reports and reached over 25 million people worldwide.

It was then revealed the restaurant chain Nando’s was responsible for the stunt as a promotion.

Bowen Tourism and Business had worked with an advertising agency to organise the removal and hiding of the mango during the night. 

The stunt moved to Melbourne where Nando’s released a 6-metre replica in Federation Square with the launch of their Mango and Lime Product. 

That ‘Little Mango’ is now located at Bowen’s Front Beach.

Volunteers Margaret Hurst and Marie Bailey with Martin from Gwada Murals at the Little Mango at Bowen’s Front Beach.

Photos supplied

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Fun Day Show Day! 2024 Show Whitsunday

June 6, 2024

This year marks the 111th year of the annual Show Whitsunday.

Starting in 1912, the show has always been a cornerstone of local life, a time when the community gather and celebrate the lifestyle we love here in the Whitsundays.

With horse shows, cattle grading, garden produce competition, two-days of wood cutting, a poultry pavilion, a local sugar cane exhibit and many more, the rural life of our region is on display for all to see.

Children can cuddle a chicken or play with a baby goat at the friendly petting zoo, they can be amazed at the strength of the competitors at the wood-chop and watch as the horses race around the equestrian ring.

For the thrill seekers, there are classic show ground rides for those seeking that rush of adrenaline.

Zoom around on the bumper cars, spin your heart out on the zipper, or scream out loud of the ‘Surge’.

Explore the fun house, get an aerial view of the bright lights from the Ferris Wheel and explore the sideshow alley.

Catch a yellow duck, throw a ball at clown, fire a shot at a target and see what prize you could bring home with you.

With so much action, you’ll never want to go home!

Tickets are available now to purchase, buy the two day pass and save!

What: Show Whitsunday
When: Friday 21 June & Saturday 22 June
Where: Proserpine Showgrounds
Tickets: Available via Show Whitsunday Facebook and Website

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Whitsundays Writers Festival Announces Local Author Line-Up

June 6, 2024

The Whitsundays Writers Festival is thrilled to announce the featured local authors of this year’s pen-dropping event which is happening this September.

Festival President, Karen Jacobsen says “We are excited to be showcasing the creative talent and diversity of the region’s writers and there are many ways local authors can get involved.”

Featuring among the esteemed line up of local authors is Rachel Armstrong, North Queensland award winning contemporary romantic fiction author, who loves writing about rural small towns, stirring up the suspense with terrifying villains, and placing paranormal shifters in an everyday world.

Joining Rachel is Bec Russell, a long-term Whitsundays local. Having lived in the area for most of her life she feels blessed to have grown up in a beautiful, small, yet vibrant community. A holistic health coach and yoga teacher, Bec loves exploring her creativity.

Adding to this list of engaging local authors is A.L. Tippett. Having written her first novel when she was twelve, this passionate writer almost abandoned her dreams after deciding that being an author wasn’t a “real” job and not worth pursuing. Thankfully, she rediscovered her passion for storytelling and has published The MINATH Chronicles.

Meanwhile, Jo Nightingale is local author and Airlie Beach local. In 2013 she was travelling through India when she felt compelled to record her journey. Unbelievable events were taking place that needed to be shared and her first book — Finding the Quietness Within — was born. This began her trilogy following her journeys around the world with the second book Finding the Stillness Within.

“We can’t wait for Festival attendees to meet our local authors by discovering their stories through our bookshop and taking time to meet them and learn more about their work and writing journeys,” said Karen.

A.L. Tippett almost gave up on her dreams of becoming an author but has now published the MINATH Chronicles. Photo supplied

Rachel Armstrong is a North Queensland award winning contemporary romantic fiction author. Photo supplied

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Zonta Clubs Gather For Whitsundays Event

June 6, 2024

Zonta Clubs from all over North Regional Queensland gathered in the Whitsundays in May for a weekend of friendship, fun and activity.

The weekend started with welcome drinks which were held at the Coral Sea Resort on Friday 17 May.

This was followed by the Area 5 meeting which was conducted in Coral Sea Resort’s function room on Saturday.

The meeting began with an opening by the Whitsunday Regional Council Mayor, Ry Collins.

During the day, District Governor, Lyn Agnew gave several presentations on various topics including, ‘Achieving More in 2024’, ‘Zonta Australia Caucus’, and ‘Zonta Convention Brisbane 2024’.

Other Zonta presentations were given by Sue Wicks from Mount Isa.

Sue formed a group discussion about ‘The Zonta Spirit’.

Jenni Ziesemer, the Zonta Foundation Ambassador, spoke about the various options for donations.

In addition, each Club gave a presentation about the work they had done over the year and plans for the future.

44 members were able to attend on the day, including District 22 Governor Lyn Agnew, one guest and three guest speakers.

Following the meeting, a casual dinner was held at Paradiso Restaurant in Airlie Beach.

The next Zonta meeting will be on June 13 at 5.30pm, if interested call 0418 787 300.

Photos supplied

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Local Community Bank Turns 12! Bendigo Community Bank Cannonvale-Proserpine Celebrates Milestone

June 6, 2024

This week, the Bendigo Community Bank Cannonvale-Proserpine celebrates 12 years of serving the Whitsundays community.  
The locally owned and operated Branch opened its doors 5 June 2012 and is one of 322 community banks across Australia.
The Bendigo Community Bank model is unique.
“Our success is based on our profit-with-a-purpose model which sees around 50 per cent of the profits generated by our independently owned and operated Community Bank branch invested back into the community” said Community Bank Cannonvale-Proserpine Chairman Mark Henry.
The establishment of the Branch was backed by local shareholders who saw the value of the Community Bank model and raised $800,000 locally to establish a branch in the Whitsundays.
This journey started in 2009 where a passionate group of locals formed a Steering Committee to undertake work to assess the feasibility of establishing a community bank and help raise necessary local investment. This group worked tirelessly delivering flyers, newsletters, hosting information stalls at local supermarkets and cafes, canvassing businesses and community groups, holding public meetings, and conducting media interviews to gather support.
In 2011 the Whitsundays Community Enterprises Limited (WCEL) formed and appointed owner-operator of the Branch, with Jeff Law appointed the inaugural Chair, Anton Yuskan Secretary, and Krys Halsey Treasurer.
Today, the WCEL Board is Chaired by Mark Henry (since 2019) along with long-standing Treasurer Krys Halsey and Board members Cait Fleming, Ross Hughes, and Kim Porter.
“We thank our shareholders for backing the Whitsundays community and providing an essential banking service, and all the passionate local Directors past and present for their hard work and dedication,” said Mark.
This year the Branch welcomed Amanda Anderson as its new Branch Manager.
“She is a welcome inclusion for our Branch team – joining Chantelle, Danica, Kristy, Kareen, and Natasha – and we look forward to their contribution in 2024 and beyond,” said Mark.
Over the past eight years Bendigo Community Bank Cannonvale-Proserpine has invested just over $201,500 into local schools, social programs, sporting groups, arts and culture events, conservation initiatives, and community prizes.

Most weekends Whitsunday locals will also see the Branch’s fully equipped Community Trailer and BBQ out and about at sporting and community events.
Applications for sponsorship and the Community Trailer are now open. Email the Branch’s Board Secretariat on secretary@whitsundaycel.com.au for more information.

Bendigo Community Bank Cannonvale-Proserpine’s Board: Ross Hughes, Mark Henry, Cait Fleming and Krys Halsey. Photo supplied

Bendigo Community Bank Cannonvale-Proserpine’s dedicated team: Kirsty, Kareen, Amanda and Danica. Photo supplied

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Did You Know?

June 6, 2024

The Freight Distribution Centre at Whitsunday Coast Airport offers a streamlined one-stop-shop for all types of freight, simplifying the shipping process from start to finish. Notably, pet owners can now transport their pets directly from the Whitsundays, avoiding trips to Mackay or Townsville, thanks to the centre's full-service capabilities. Whether it's perishable goods, general cargo, or precious pets, the Freight Distribution Centre at Whitsunday Coast Airport makes shipping and receiving more accessible and efficient. For more information visit www.whitsundaycoastfreight.com.au

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A Minute With The Mayor Ry Collins

June 6, 2024

I have been in Brisbane since Wednesday for multiple meetings with Queensland Government Minsters to advocate for funding and turn a spotlight on priority issues for the Whitsunday region.
It is my belief that the relationship between local, state, and federal governments should be a partnership built on mutual support and shared goals rather than always criticising a lack of funding.
I have had high-level meetings with multiple Ministers over the past two days and some of the issues discussed include confirmed funding for Hamilton Plains flood proofing and Shute Harbour boat ramp; advocacy for the Skyway project and other major projects; infrastructure funding to support the fast growing Whitsunday Coast Airport; infrastructure planning support for the Bowen Pipeline and Water project; lack of affordable social housing in the Whitsunday region; and increased funding for Yellow Crazy Ants and feral pigs and dogs control.
One of the most critical areas where state and federal funding is indispensable is in infrastructure development with regards to water, waste, and sewage.
These projects are often costly and beyond the financial capacity of local councils alone so by working together with all tiers of government we can continue to improve the lives of our residents and build a brighter future for all.
Addressing environmental challenges requires significant resources so state and federal funding supports local initiatives aimed at reducing carbon emissions, protecting natural habitats, and promoting sustainable practices.
For instance, grants for renewable energy projects or conservation programs enable Council to implement green policies that might otherwise be financially unfeasible.
Asset management remains a key focus for Council because by looking after our assets, we are looking after our community and ensuring that Council can continue to deliver the services for future generations.
However, the ability for Council to deliver these responsibilities effectively depends significantly on the financial support they receive from both the state and federal governments.
Investments from state and federal governments also help stimulate our local economy by funding projects that create jobs and attract businesses.
An example are regional development grants that can be leveraged to improve local amenities, making our communities more attractive places to live and work.
This, in turn, leads to increased investment, tourism, and economic opportunities for our residents.
The funding provided by state and federal governments is not just about direct financial assistance; it is about ensuring that diverse regional councils like the Whitsundays have the resources needed to build vibrant, resilient, and sustainable communities.
It is my intention to make these visits to Parliament House in Brisbane, and to Canberra, regularly to ensure the Whitsunday region is always front of mind for the Queensland Government with regards to funding and partnership opportunities.

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Whitsundays Shine At Australian Tourism Exchange

June 6, 2024

Tourism Whitsundays headed to Melbourne last week, making a splash at the Australian Tourism Exchange (ATE), which is Tourism Australia’s largest annual trade event.

ATE brings together all Australian tourism businesses with global distribution partners for business appointments and key networking events.

Industry Development and Trade Manager, Cait Fleming, and Marketing Manager, Laura Knipe had a whirlwind week, securing over 100 meetings with international travel partners.

From tour wholesalers and airline representatives to travel agents, they showcased the Whitsundays' experiences and beauty of the region to key partners.

The two were joined by thirteen local operators who participated in presentations, industry briefings, and networking events and allowed operators to connect directly with the travel industry.

Public Relations and Social Media Executive, Rosanagh Gallivan also played a key role at the International Media Marketplace, forging connections with influential travel journalists.

By promoting unique Whitsundays stories and product offerings, Rosanagh aimed to secure positive media coverage and shine a spotlight on our region. 
 Contributed with thanks to Cait Fleming, Industry Development and Trade Manager, Tourism Whitsundays.

Tourism Whitsunday, Industry Development and Trade Manager Cait Fleming, Public Relations and Social Media Executive Rosanagh Gallivan, and Marketing Manager Laura Knipe, Photo supplied.

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Get Free Media For Your Business!

June 6, 2024

Would you love more media coverage for your business?

Don’t know where to start, or want to try something different?

Getting quality media coverage is a vital part of building your business brand and sales. But many businesses of all sizes often don’t know how to get noticed by the media or think they don’t have a newsworthy story to tell.

Plus, journalists are constantly trying to find interesting people to write about and talk to – your business could be one of them!

Mark your calendars for 7:30am-9:00am Thursday 13 June at Whitsunday Green Golf Club on ‘Getting Free Media for Your Business’.

Hosted by the Whitsundays Chamber of Commerce and Industry, regional media outlets and specialists will answer your questions on how to get free publicity for your business, top tips for maximising your media exposure, and how to respond to media enquiries. 

Our expert line-up includes:

   • Rachael Smith, Editor in Chief of Mackay and Whitsunday Life Newspaper.
   • Deb Friend, Editor of Whitsunday News.
   • Paul O’Connor, General Manager of Star 101.9, 4MK and Kix MACKAY.
   • Tegan Philpott, former Chief of Staff for ABC Tropical North and current Stakeholder and Sponsorship Manager for CQ Rescue.

Start your day with like-minded local business owners and Chamber Board members and team, who will provide an update on Chamber activities and hear your views on current business priorities.

This event is open to everyone.

When: 7:30am-9:00am Thursday 13 June
Where:  Whitsunday Green Golf Club 
Register: Free tickets for Chamber members; discounted tickets ($18.25) for members of Tourism Whitsundays, Bowen Chamber of Commerce, and Bowen Gumlu Growers Association; and non-members $25. Register today. Visit the Chamber website or email admin@whitsundaycoastchamber.com.au

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Meet The Head Chef San Maere At The Palms Restaurant & Bar Colonial Palms Motor Inn

June 6, 2024

Originally from New Zealand, San Maere and his family emigrated to Australia when he was six years old.

It wasn’t until San moved to Airlie Beach in 1993, however, that his love for food and passion for cooking was ignited.

In the early 90’s, San joined some of his friends and they all began their cooking journey together on Hamilton Island.

Hamilton Island was in a very progressive stage at that time and San was lucky enough to work alongside some prestigious Master Chefs who inspired him and taught him work ethics that keep him humble to this day.

“When I started my culinary journey on Hamilton Island, I spent many years over there so that kept me grounded during those infant years of cooking and from that I was able to scale then be sent across this country,” said San.

“Rubbing shoulders with some great chefs, gave me the confidence to grow and then travel south.

San travelled through Melbourne and Adelaide before arriving in Perth.

It was two years ago when San returned to Airlie Beach, bringing with him all the skills and experience he developed from travelling the country and working at some incredible restaurants.

Gaining experience in Australia’s biggest hotel chains, QANTAS airline catering, and in the mining industry, San has now joined the team at epochal Hotels - Australia’s newest hotel brand - with iconic venues along the east coast of Australia from Freshwater to Manly, Merewether, McMahon’s Point and the Whitsundays with Colonial Palms Motor Inn and their new Hook Island Resort Development, opening soon.

Now, Head Chef at Colonial Palms, San has been in this position since February and loves sharing his insight and experience in the kitchen.

The Palms restaurant kitchen has three chefs, and with a combined 107 years of experience the food is immaculate, especially with San’s new menu which has been created with local produce in mind.

“The menu itself is going to reflect some great dishes that have been fine-tuned,” said San.

“It’s the history of meals, we are just recreating the same thing over and over and it's keeping within the cultural lifestyle of Airlie Beach.

“Cooking is always refreshing ideas that have worked in the past, it's taking traditional techniques and bringing them into 2024, 2025, springing them into this new era.”

With a diverse team of different nationalities, San said they are able to grow as a team and he is continuing to learn, despite having all this experience.

“You’re always a student of the industry, you’ve got to absorb, got to be able to change when the time has changed,” San added.

“Cooking also bridges the gap, it brings families to the table, it brings people to connect - you have meaningful relationships and food expands people, it changes the behaviour of people, that's what food does.”

San Maere, Photo credit: Daniel Heggie

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Date Night Coffee More Than A Whisper!

June 6, 2024

A sultry blend of beans that speaks to the romance of a menage a trois, the Date Night coffee now being served at Whisper Gin Bar and Restaurant is made by combining three different beans in a match made in heaven.

The strong, dominant Columbian bean is nestled within the softer Papua New Guinea notes and enhanced with the sweetness of an Ethiopian bean.

This magical mix is created by passionate coffee-roaster Dan Shaw who began his journey as a hobby-roaster in Western Australia 15 years ago.

“I am one of those lucky people that have been fortunate enough to turn a hobby into a business and I have so much gratitude to the community and suppliers for supporting us.”

For the past five years Dan has been operating Primal Coffee café and espresso bar in Mackay along with a Barista Training Academy.

He also distributes his coffee to 52 outlets up and down the coast and just last week, had his biggest ever roasting week, producing an impressive 590 kilograms of coffee.

The Date Night Coffee is an award-winning combination, having recently received a bronze award in one of the biggest roasting competitions in Australasia.

You can get this special brew at Whisper Gin Bar and Restaurant.

What do you love most about coffee?
With great coffee, comes great conversation

What’s your favourite coffee to make?
The Bee Sting – a single espresso poured on a bed of honey

What’s your favourite coffee to drink?
Cappuccino on oat with our Soul Mate blend

Master-roatser Dan Shaw supplies Primal Coffee to Whisper Gin Bar and Restaurant

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Queensland Day The Whitsunday Way

June 6, 2024

Queensland Day at the Proserpine Entertainment Centre was a huge success last Sunday 2 June.

Mayor Ry Collins was in attendance and conducted a Welcome Speech, followed by live music performances by Luella and Shayne and Skyhigh Juggling.

Food stalls and activities kept everyone busy.

Everyone was in high spirit and enjoyed the wonderful Whitsunday winter weather.

The day was celebrated the Whitsunday way.

A celebration of Queensland’s birthday; it marks its official separation from New South Wales as an independent colony in 1859.

It is an important celebration of our state’s culture, heritage and an opportunity to reflect on what Queensland means to you.

To get a copy of one of these photos head to – mackayandwhitsundaylife.com

Photo credit: Daniel Heggie

Raphaelle Faust
Ses Howard, Ava Howard
Oleina, Amanda and Uthyr
Mahlia, Melissa, Lee and Lidiia
Kendall and Nicole
Isaiah, Nataliya and Zemes
Abigail, Isabelle and Reuben

Melanie Collins and Mayor Ry Collins
Skyhigh Juggling – Dan and Roo
Harison, Nathan, Izzy, Charlie and Lisa
Jo Green, James Borg and Tracy Staniland
Harry, Maggie-Laurie, Daniel and Lachlan
Craig and Kayla
Jazz and Priscilla
Kirby Clarke and Jordan Hinton

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Feeling Thrifty! The Pre-loved And Vintage Clothing Markets At Kipara Rainforest Retreat

June 7, 2024

Hundreds of people flowed through the doors of the inaugural Pre-loved and Vintage Clothing Markets which were held in the large function room at Kipara Rainforest Retreat on Sunday.

Dozens of stalls hosted by enthusiastic fashionistas created an Aladdin’s cave of delights where attendees could explore the racks of colourful clothing and discover hidden gems to add to their own collection.

Photo credit: Rachael Smith

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Spitfire Crashes On Proserpine Farm

June 6, 2024

June 10 1944 1400 hours

It was a quiet Saturday afternoon in Proserpine. Walter Magnetti was getting ready for his wedding and a young Ivo Botta recalled that many men were away playing bowls.

With the sound of a plane crashing into a cane paddock in the Foxdale/Up River area, locals could be forgiven for thinking the war had arrived at their door.

The plane was a Spitfire (A58-345) on transit from Amberley to Darwin with Flt/Lt Alan Edward Davison 9106931 at the helm. An hour and a half after departure, the plane suffered engine failure. The formation was above 7/10th cloud at the time. Davison headed for the coast and eventually crash landed at 1400 hours.

Newspapers of the day did not report the event.

But unofficially …

Walter Magnetti recalled, “I was getting dressed for the church and, still in my underwear, when I saw the plane hit the ground. There was a large explosion and ball of fire that could be seen eight miles way. I took off to see how the pilot was. When I got there, my cousin, Wilma, who was also in just her underwear, was already there. Luckily, the pilot had been thrown clear. He kept saying, ‘Keep clear of the plane!’ then he passed out.”

Others reported that Livio DeAndrea was first on the scene and when he arrived, the pilot still had the presence of mind to ask him to turn off the controls. There were reports that the plane was loaded with ammunition.

Despite his young age, Ivo Botta had very clear memories of the event. “After the Spitfire crash … I remember the pilot being brought up to the house. (Even though) the men were away … the women were home. They offered him brandy. Neighbour, Walter Dodd, arrived and advised them against this, saying alcohol was dangerous as the pilot was in shock and he told him not to drink any. The pilot had other ideas, grabbed the brandy himself and gulped it down.”

Ivo’s father, Mario Botta, was a partner on Magnetti and Co’s farm where the crash occurred. Years later, Ivo positioned the crash site as 13.5 kms by road or 6.6 air miles WNW from Proserpine Post Office on the northern side of Proserpine River. This farm is now owned by the Orr family. Because people had begun to souvenir parts of the plane, Eddie Maloney stood guard over the wreck with a .303 rifle until the Home Defence Guard arrived. These guards were based in the farm barracks until the wreckage was removed.

Davison was in hospital for some time and after his release he stayed at the Dobbins’ residence until his return home to England. Mrs Arthur Dobbins, who was an aircraft “spotter” during the war, recalled how when she gave him a cup of tea, his hands would shake so violently that he spilt practically all of it.

Families who had befriended the pilot, were saddened to hear that he was killed in a sortie shortly after his return home. However, this was discounted years later when Mrs Joan Clay, whose husband, Phil, also flew Spitfires in the war, provided this information from RAF Personnel Management Agency (Gloucester) “He (Davison) survived the war, and after re-enlisting as an airman, left the service in 1958.”

(Note: While there are discrepancies in these reports, nonetheless their “stories” are interesting.)

Postscript: And what of the wedding? Well, not surprisingly, Walter was late. The bridal car kept driving around town, stopping at the church and asking, “Has he arrived yet?” He eventually did!

Story courtesy of Proserpine Historical Museum and “La Mia Vita My Life” by Walter Magnetti.

Photo courtesy of the late Tom Dobbins.

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Queensland Police Seek Public Help In Locating Missing Woman

June 4, 2024

Queensland Police have issued an appeal to the public for assistance in locating Celeste McGain, a 40-year-old woman reported missing since Saturday 1 June from the Whitsundays area.
Celeste McGain was last seen on Paluma Road in Woodwark around 2pm on Saturday 25 May. Since then, there have been no sightings or communications from her.
Concerns for Celeste's well-being are heightened as her disappearance is considered out of character by family and friends.
Described as Caucasian, approximately 175cm tall, with brown eyes and curly brown hair, Celeste was last seen wearing a blue skirt and a white shirt.
While she was last seen in Woodwark, Celeste is known to have connections to the northern New South Wales area.
Queensland Police are urging Celeste to make contact or for anyone with information regarding her whereabouts to come forward immediately. Assistance from the public in such cases can often prove crucial in locating missing individuals and ensuring their safety.
If you have information for police, contact Policelink by providing information using the online suspicious activity form 24hrs per day at www.police.qld.gov.au/reporting or call 131 444.

Celeste McGain

Photo Supplied

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BEST FREE NEWSPAPER IN QLD! State Awards Validate Your Local Paper

May 30, 2024

The team at Mackay and Whitsunday Life Newspaper are beyond thrilled to announce the news they have just taken out three top gongs at the annual Queensland Country Press Awards which were held in the Sunshine Coast over the weekend.

The accolades include Best One-off Commercial Feature, Best Locally Produced Advertising Campaign and the most significant award of the night, Best Free Newspaper.

Back row: Cadet Journalist Daniel Heggie, Sales and Social Media Representative Ruby Gorlick, Graphic Designer Taylor Trewartha. Front row: Junior Graphic Designer Lara Moss, Editor in Chief Rachael Smith and Production Manager Crissy Bottrell. Photo credit: Norina Jane.

Big Awards For Small Passionate Team

Representatives from Mackay and Whitsunday Life Newspaper headed down to the Sunshine Coast last weekend to attend the annual Queensland Country Press Awards.

This was the third year in a row the team attended the awards, returning last year with one gold, a silver and two bronze accolades.

This year, they were elated to discover they had won the top gong, bringing home the award for Best Free Newspaper, along with Best One-off Commercial Feature for Mackay Life’s Fergus Builders Feature and Best Locally Produced Advertising Campaign for Burdekin Life’s My Pets Rural advert.

Rachael Smith, Editor in Chief of Mackay and Whitsunday Life Newspaper, commented that representing the team at last weekend’s awards was one of the best moments of her life.

“Best Free Newspaper in Queensland is the award I was always hoping we’d get but I honestly thought it would take us another couple of years to get there,” she explained.

“We are a newspaper that is very much ‘out of the box’ and I didn’t think judges really knew how to take us! But hearing that they loved our newspaper as much as we do, and our community does, is real validation for what we’ve been doing over the past four years.

“The judges commented that our passion for community really shone through, and that is something I am most proud of.”

There are 60 Queensland newspapers which are registered members of Queensland Country Press and the award for Best Free Newspaper was judged by industry experts who viewed six consecutive issues of the newspaper.

“What I love about the judging process is that every aspect of the newspaper was commended, from the designs to the page layouts, the editorial content to the advertising sales – our whole team earned this award and everyone contributed!”

Owner and Publisher of Mackay and Whitsunday Life, Rebecca Douthwaite, has been the driving force behind the publication since its inception and the creator of the now-infamous flip-book format.

She said she was extremely proud of the whole team and thrilled with the awards.

A real highlight for her was to be sat in a room full of newspaper professionals, some of whom had been publishing news for over 100 years, and to be recognised among such revered experts in their field.

“To get the nod from the Queensland Country Press Association at such a high level was very exciting for such a small regional newspaper that started on the back of News Corp shutting down all local newspapers and us feeling the need to bring the community back a free voice in print,” she expressed.

“When you look at a big corporate organisation, compared to the small passionate team we have, it’s very different and vast in what’s available – we’re just so lucky to have such great human beings, real human beings serving our community every day.”

Mackay and Whitsunday Life Newspaper was launched in July 2020 by Core Life Publishing, a company which produces Core Life Magazine and Tripping Magazine.

Bringing together their passion for photography, eye for vibrant graphic design and aptitude for compassionate storytelling, the weekly newspaper was launched.

With no formal training in newspaper production, the team created their own rules and delivered weekly news on their own terms, carving out a unique formula which focused on heart-felt 100% local stories.

They are now thrilled to call this an award-winning formula that is not only proving popular with the local community but also leading to state-wide accolades and commendation from print industry leaders.

“we’re just so lucky to have such great human beings, real human beings serving our community every day.” Rebecca Douthwaite

The Mackay and Whitsunday Life Newspaper representatives standing with Opposition Leader David Crisafulli at the Queensland Country Press Awards last Friday night. Sam Gillespie from Burdekin Life Newspaper, Rebecca Douthwaite Founder and Owner of Life Publishing Group, David Crisafulli Leader of the Opposition and Rachael Smith Editor in Chief of Life Publishing Group. Photo credit: Samantha Wantling

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Biggest Cook Islands Morning Tea

May 30, 2024

Proserpine Community Centre hosted their Biggest Morning Tea event last Friday.

The theme for the event was ‘Come to the Cook Islands’ and bright colours and traditional Cook Island ‘ei katu or flower crowns were all in sight.

Every guest was greeted with a handmade flower crown, the room was filled with them, and Tivaevae quilts adorned the walls, coconuts and flowers decorated the tables, all items bringing together a vibrant tropical theme.

During the morning, there was of course morning tea as well as a fashion show, music and more.

All this was organised and hosted by 15 local ladies, calling themselves The Tivaevae Mamas, and they were thrilled with the success with over 60 people attending the lively event.

This morning tea, however, wasn’t just a nice afternoon full of fun and laughs, it was a charity event which raised $2,700 for Cancer Research, an outstanding amount of money that will go to a great cause.

The morning concluded with a give-away, spreading more joy to the Proserpine community.

A raffle for the Tivaevae quilt decoration, flowers, a set of cushions and Lucky Door prizes all went to a new home to be enjoyed.

Colourful handmade flower crowns were the theme of the day. Photos supplied

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No Crisis Accommodation In Bowen

May 30, 2024

Stories of a family with a newborn baby living in a tent in Bowen have compelled Member for Burdekin Dale Last to call for urgent assistance to the current housing crisis that is sweeping the nation.

Mr Last is asking for the issue to be addressed immediately, demanding a response to a recent Question on Notice from the Housing Minister which, he believes, proved the people of Bowen had been left with broken promises in their hour of need.

“We have waited for this response from the Minister in the hope of having a clear indication of what help is actually out there for people seeking crisis accommodation in Bowen,” he said.

“Unfortunately, the response from the Minister confirmed our fears that there is no crisis accommodation available in Bowen.”

“This is the same town in my electorate that I spoke about in Parliament where, sadly, a local family with a newborn baby were living in a tent.

“You would think their tragic story alone would trigger the Minister to pull whatever strings are needed to fund crisis accommodation in the Bowen area.”

Mr Last stated that the housing crisis is having knock-on effects, contributing to staff shortages with workers unable to find accommodation locally.

“We are already seeing detrimental impacts of this housing crisis in other areas of our electorate with potential new teachers turning down jobs in Bowen due to a lack of housing,” he states.

Do you have a story about how the housing crisis is impacting your family – let’s spread the word and create action – email rachael@lifepublishinggroup.com.

Stock image, illustration only

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National GP Shortage Blamed For Bowen Surgery Closure

May 30, 2024

The latest victim of severe staff shortages in the medical industry is the Bowen Herbert Street Family Medical Centre which announced this week that it will close its doors at the end of June.

Over 200 GP clinics in Australia have closed down in the past year, many of them citing the same reason – they simply cannot get enough GPs.

Bowen Herbert Street Family Medical Centre is operated by the Girudala Community Cooperative Society, which is a non-for-profit organisation which predominantly overseas the welfare of Indigenous and South Sea Islander community members.

Since 2010, Girudala has been operating the Medical Centre and they welcome all patients, with more than 2,000 people registered on their books.

When they close their doors on June 30, there will only be two other medical centres in Bowen, servicing a population of over 10,000 people.

Bowen Herbert Street Family Medical Centre was also the last service to offer Bulkbilling to all patients.

The other Bowen GP clinics offer Bulkbilling to pensioners and children under 16, but there was a huge demand to fill the gap for vulnerable people that did not fit that age-bracket.

Bowen Herbert Street Family Medical Centre filled that gap.

The closure of this much-needed medical Centre will put immense pressure not only on the other GP clinics but also Bowen Hospital.

A spokesperson for Bowen Herbert Street Family Medical Centre, Jean Andersen, said they are appealing for help.

“It’s been a really hard decision to close the doors and we’ve been trying to reach out to the government for some kind of support,” she explained.

“We’ve gone through everything we can think of and now we’ve made the decision, our primary focus is to refer our patients onto other health services.

“I’m sure every rural and remote community is crying out for GPs as well; we are asking the government to help us in any way they can – is there any funding to attract doctors here?
“We need a resolution soon and I really hope we can find one.”

For several years, the Bowen Herbert Street Family Medical Centre has been surviving with locum GPs who work at the clinic for short periods.

A few years ago, they had two permanent doctors, but there are now no regular GPs to fill the huge demand and the service simply cannot cope anymore.

“This is a national crisis and governments are failing remote communities like Bowen, who simply cannot afford to pay for doctors,” stated Ms Andersen.

“The closure of Herbert Street will place extreme pressure on health services in the area and we’re calling on local governments, namely local, state and commonwealth to work together with us and with the community to develop a sustainable long-term and viable medical health solution.”

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Reconciliation Week Across The Region

May 30, 2024

Local events to mark Reconciliation Week took place across the Whitsundays this week, beginning with a special ceremony hosted by Whitsunday Regional Council and held in Proserpine on Monday.

Mayor Ry Collins was in attendance and said he was honoured to participate in the ceremony held at the Proserpine Entertainment Centre, which marked the beginning of National Reconciliation Week. 
"The ceremony was a poignant reminder of our shared history and the importance of reconciliation," he said.
"During this week, it is important we all take time to educate ourselves, to listen, and to engage in meaningful conversations about reconciliation. 
“I would like to thank all those involved in the ceremony, including Yooribaya Cultural Experiences and representatives from our local schools, who came together to share their messages celebrating Indigenous culture and promoting understanding on the journey of reconciliation.”

National Reconciliation Week (NRW) provides an opportunity for every Australian to delve into our collective pasts, cultures, and successes, while contemplating our individual roles in fostering reconciliation across the nation.

Make sure to visit the Airlie Beach Foreshore tonight, Friday 31 May, from 5pm onwards for a Welcome to Country, Smoking Ceremony, Traditional dance, songs and workshops with Yooribaya Cultural Experiences.

The night ends with a showing of ‘The Last Daughter’ a documentary film about Aboriginal woman Brenda, that remembers growing up with her loving white foster parents before suddenly being taken away and returned to her Aboriginal family.

Along the way she uncovers long-buried secrets, government lies, and the possibility for deeper connections to family and culture. 

Watch Brenda’s journey to unearth the truth about her past, and to reconcile the two sides of her family.

In Bowen, Reconciliation Week continues with The Reconciliation Week Twilight Markets starting at 4pm, Friday 31 May at Hansen Park. This event will showcase traditional cultural arts and customs such as a Welcome to Country, smoking Ceremony and traditional dance.

Mayor Ry Collins at the PEC giving a speech to mark the beginning of Reconciliation Week
Uncle Robert Congoo conducting the Smoking Ceremony

Photo credit: Daniel Heggie

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Doco On The Dock Coral Sea Marina Launches Documentary-Style Series

May 30, 2024

As part of World Boating Day, Coral Sea Marina are launching their own documentary series which will showcase the Whitsundays and display why it is the ultimate cruising destination.

There will be three episodes and they’ll all be relevant to anyone interested in boating in the Whitsundays.
The first episode, “Your Whitsunday Home Port”, explores the top-notch facilities and services offered at Coral Sea Marina, as well as delving into what’s on offer in Airlie Beach and the surrounds. 
Episode 2, “A Local’s Guide to Cruising the Whitsundays” features Sharon Smallwood, a seasoned sailor and long-time resident of the Whitsundays, as she offers viewers an exclusive glimpse into her favourite cruising spots, hidden gems, and must-see locations throughout the Whitsunday Islands. 
The episode includes breathtaking footage of Smallwood’s own sailing expeditions onboard her yacht, Brilliant II, showcasing the diversity of experiences available to boaters in the Whitsundays. From tranquil sunsets to exhilarating hikes, viewers will be immersed in the magic of exploring the region on the water. 
The third episode, “Discover the Great Barrier Reef”, is a deep dive into UNESCO World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef. Experienced Master Guides Crystal Lacey, James Unsworth, and Brent Chatterton, offer invaluable insights into the natural wonders of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park with their extensive knowledge and expertise in marine biology, reef ecology, and sustainable tourism. 
“We set out to create a series of videos that would educate and inspire people to cruise the Whitsundays and Great Barrier Reef region and have hopefully achieved that with help of some industry experts sharing their knowledge and passion with the viewer”, explained Joscelyn O’Keefe, Head of Marketing and Business Development for Coral Sea Marina. 

Coral Sea Marina, Photo supplied

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Leading The Way: The First Social Enterprise Conference

May 30, 2024

Two forward-thinking local individuals and leaders in their field have brought their industry together by creating the inaugural Social Enterprise Conference which took place in the Whitsundays last week.

Inviting 120 Neighbourhood and Community Centres from across Queensland to the conference, Bec Woods of Whitsunday Neighbourhood Centre and Steph Cora from Bowen Neighbourhood centre Cora led the inspiring two-day event.

Beginning with a day in Cannonvale, participants were involved with a series of workshops and information sessions.

“We wanted more professional development opportunities closer to home, and we thought, why not host an event ourselves?” Ms Woods explained.

“We are stepping into new territory [delivering a conference] but we are excited to show our peers what we can achieve.”

The second day of the event took place at Flagstaff Hill Conference Centre in Bowen.

“It was really important that we showcased the whole region,” Ms Woods said.

“We want to showcase our communities and the best way to do this was to host the event in each location,” Ms Cora added.

“Facilitating 120 attendees to spend time in our region is one of the best ways to support our towns.”

An opportunity for professional development, the conference made inspiring movement toward social enterprise models and less reliance on funding from the government and charity to deliver community development.

Eight knowledgeable speakers were brought together to lead a variety of workshops and lectures on relevant subjects.

The conference has been supported by industry peak body Neighbourhood Centre Queensland, Abbott Point Operations and Whitsunday Regional Council.

Rebecca Woods from Whitsunday Neighbourhood Centre speaking at the inaugural Social Enterprise Conference. Photo credit: Daniel Heggie

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New Health Facility Well Under Way In Proserpine

May 30, 2024

Work on a refurbished community mental health facility at 32 Chapman Street in
Proserpine is progressing well with contractors now busy on the internal fit-out of the Greater Whitsundays Mental Health, Alcohol and Other Drugs service.

Currently operating out of the Proserpine Hospital, this service will now re-locate and have its own space on Chapman Street, creating a hub for assistance within the community.

Meanwhile, the vacated space at Proserpine Hospital will now make way for a new Renal Dialysis Unit, with construction set to commence in August.

The internal works under way at present are the framing and sheeting of internal
partitions and the installation of internal ceilings.

The relocation of this service is part of a broader $7 million capital project that includes construction of the Renal Dialysis Unit at Proserpine Hospital and staff are looking forward to adding renal haemodialysis to the services provided locally.

Patients in the Proserpine, Cannonvale and Airlie Beach area who currently require
dialysis travel to Bowen and Mackay two or three times a week for care.

The Proserpine renal unit will be a satellite service supported by the Mackay Base
Hospital Renal Unit and will be for stable patients.

Contractors Taylor Builders Townsville advise that they are on track for completion in August 2024.

Chief Executive Susan Gannon said “This is a positive step forward to increase space for those seeking mental health and AODS support, and it will provide access in a purpose-fit building that is separate to the Proserpine Hospital.”

Team Leader Greater Whitsundays Mental Health and AODS Elise Dawson, Taylor Builders construction manager Alexander Dzidic, Acting Operations Director Mackay Mental Health and AODS Catherine McLaren, project supervisor Clay Pearce and Director of Nursing Proserpine Hospital Nicola Young. Photo credit: Daniel Heggie

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New Bike Track In Collinsville Is Complete

May 30, 2024

The much-anticipated new Collinsville Pump Track in Darcy Munro Park is complete and open for public use.

This welcome community activity will see the youth of Collinsville enjoy outdoor recreation at this purpose built facility.

Pump tracks are similar to BMX tracks and the new track provides opportunity for enthusiasts of any age to use the track at their leisure and hone their skills.

It’s a great place to create new friends that share a similar passion for bike riding.

The circuit is designed for users to apply a push-and-pull technique rather than pedalling to make their way over a series of rollers, jumps, and berms.

The installation of the new Pump Track was part of the Whitsunday Regional Council’s ‘Shaping Collinsville’s Future’ consultation.

The Whitsunday Regional Council designed the track to challenge a range of skillsets, most suitable for beginners and intermediates.

The Whitsunday Regional Council would like to thank the Bowen Rail Company for their funding contribution towards the pump track.

Collinsville Pump Track in Darcy Munro Park, Photo supplied

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At The Shirtfront Of Business Branding ShirtFront Solutions Celebrates 15 Years

May 30, 2024

Emblazoned on the colourful team shirts proudly worn by our local sporting teams, fashioned for striking work uniforms across multiple business sectors and adorning our adorable children as they head to school each day, you will have seen countless ShirtFront Solutions’ creations over the years, each of them playing a central part in the fabric our community.

At the beating heart of business branding, every aspect of ShirtFront Solutions’ diverse services and product range is conducted from their friendly shopfront in Cannonvale. Whether it be an item of branded clothing or a piece of merchandise, the team can coordinate seamless and cohesive branding solutions that will make your small business, community club or even personal endeavour, pop!

Operated by well-known local couple, Kev Fancke and Kylie Allen, ShirtFront Solutions first began as a small screen-printing business 15 years ago. With 20 years of screen-printing background behind him prior to this, Kev knew he could devote this expertise to his own business. Meanwhile Kylie, a talented graphic designer, brought her creative passions to the table. Adept at business branding, she could provide stunning designs for her clients which were then printed by Kev and the Team on a multitude of fabrics and merchandise.

A perfect partnership soon unfolded.

Over the years the team has both expanded and evolved. They now employ five dedicated team members and are constantly investing in the future of the business, both by expanding their stock range and purchasing new equipment. Incorporating a dedicated embroiderer to the team marked a significant moment and, with high-tech in-house multi-head embroidery machines, ShirtFront Solutions can offer a quick, efficient and high-quality local service for both garment creations and alterations.

And while the art of ‘old-school’ screen-printing is still very much relevant and utilised for specific jobs to this day, the methods by which ShirtFront Solutions can brand clothing has diversified over the years. Always staying abreast of the trends and eager to offer our regional community the most modern, high-tech services, Kev and Kylie are constantly reinvesting in the most up to date machinery.

Digital printing and transfers have become a popular offering, and the team are excited to soon welcome a new direct to film garment printing machine which will elevate their services to the next level. Previously, they had been outsourcing this to another Australia-based supplier, but with the ability to do this in-house, they anticipate it will be a highly sought-after service.

At ShirtFront Solutions they offer so much more than many people realise – from branded pens to stubby holders, sunglass straps, and business cards to stickers – almost all your branding needs can be solved right here in the Whitsundays!

In addition, with every product comes over 30 years of experience in the industry. This means their personalised service includes a ton of free experience which can often save you money, hassle and time. Talk to one of their friendly team members and hear about the different options that could make your branding experience much more streamlined, engaging and ultimately more effective. Not only that, but you are supporting a local business who is actively giving back to the community with the sponsorship of several local sports clubs.

If you haven’t called into ShirtFront Solutions yet, then make sure you take a browse - the business is located at 17/3 Commerce Close, Cannonvale next to Tackleworld. Whether you are looking for new work uniforms, hi-vis PPE gear, team sport kits, kids school clothes or want to have a more in-depth chat about overall business branding or merchandise – they will have the perfect solution for you!

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A Rewarding Role With Accounts Manager Jaime Deakes

May 30, 2024

With 25 years in the field and 15 years of experience as the accounts manager, Jaime Deakes finds working at ShirtFront Solutions very rewarding.

Specialising in organisation with a profound talent and passion for making people laugh, Jaime is loved by her work-colleagues and customers alike.

Having been with the company since its inception, Jaime now dedicates one day per week to completing payroll, managing accounts, assisting with quotes and tackling any additional tasks that arise.

Originally born and bred in Moranbah, she moved to to Airlie Beach in 1998, at which time she decided she was firm on never marrying a Coal Miner…until she fell in love with one and decided to marry him. They have now been happily together for 25 years.

Her three adult children have all moved out to live with their own partners as they begin their own journey towards a prosperous life and, now that they are “empty nesters”, Jaime and her husband enjoy the company of their toy poodles which she says “are like my babies now.”

As an honoured colleague, devoted mother, loving spouse and cherished friend, Jaime's versatile nature extends to her deep appreciation for the outdoors.

Camping trips hold a special place in her heart, yet she also treasures moments of down-time on her property, where she often likes to plug in her earphones, put on a bit of country music and hop on the zero-turn mower.

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Quality Control With Workshop Manager Darren (Yogi) Smith

May 30, 2024

“It’s interesting and no two days are the same”, according to Darren (Yogi) Smith, the warehouse manager at ShirtFront and the person who organises everything behind the scenes of the store to ensure a smooth running in all aspects of production.

Yogi had known Kev before ShirtFront was established and the two make a formidable team, both through innovation and fast-paced efficiency.

From managing the warehouse to receiving stock, unpacking all the orders and ensuring that everything is running in tip-top shape, Yogi is at the beating heart of production.

Having relocated from his home town in Geelong to North Queensland 33 years ago, Yogi remained dedicated to his profession ever since. With decades of experience in the field, he brings great value to his role at ShirtFront, contributing to the company's continued success and growth.

In his spare time, Yogi enjoys crafting his own brews at home, casting his line into the tranquil waters, or scouring the earth for precious gems.

“My hobbies are home brewing and fishing, I also love gem fossicking in my spare time,” he said

Yogi’s hobbies reflect his love for the outdoors and relaxation, intertwining with his perspective of his own personality, which he describes as “cool, calm and organised.”

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The New Generation Junior Staff Member Fletcher Shumski

May 30, 2024

The youngest member of the team, Fletcher is a calm and confident achiever who is soaking up all the knowledge in his first ever job. Electing to pursue an interest in everything from screen printing to digital transfers, this young man is learning a broad spectrum of skills.

At just 14 years of age, Fletcher spends some weekends and weekdays after school helping out this family business and learning skills from the ground up.

“I peel back the transfers so they’re ready to print, I’ve also tried screen printing before and peel a lot of tape off screens – anything I can do to help out really,” explained Fletcher.

“I love this job because I am always doing different stuff and learning skills that I’ll keep forever – I get to learn how to do a lot of different things.”

Fletcher has lived in the area for the past four years and attends St Catherine’s Catholic College in Proserpine.

Prior to this, he travelled Australia with his family, having many adventures along the way.

In his spare time, he likes to play AFL and go fishing or camping.

Kev and Kylie love having a young apprentice on the team. Not only does he bring a vibrant young energy to Shirtfront Solutions, he also represents the continuation of skills that are now being passed onto a new generation.

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Embroidery Expertise With Embroiderer Jennifer Horsford

May 30, 2024

Bringing with her over 60 years of sewing experience, Jenny started learning how to sew at a very young age from her mother who was a skilled tailoress. She can remember sitting under her mother’s feet for hours as a child, watching her sew and absorbing knowledge which she still uses to this day.

For many years, sewing was a much-loved hobby for Jenny, and one that led her to receive significant acclaim. An international prize winner, Jenny’s talent for quilt making has seen her receive world-wide appreciation.

It was just four years ago, however, that Jenny turned her hobby into a profession. Prior to this she worked within the schooling system, having risen in the ranks from teacher’s assistant to school registrar. After purchasing a domestic embroidery machine, however, she discovered a new and exciting avenue to explore. Harnessing her computer savvy knowledge from years in administration, Jenny became proficient in machine operation, and was able to apply these skills to the industrial embroidery machine at Shirtfront Solutions.

She started with the business four years ago and has since taken the helm of this vital section of the company. With a passion for turning drawings into digitised creations, Jenny can generate precise and refined finishes that give your branding a look of finesse and quality workmanship. She is also a highly skilled seamstress, offering everything from alterations to hemming and everyday jobs like fixing zips.

If you are looking for a quality, internationally award-winning seamstress then make sure you call into Shirtfront Solutions today!

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Custom Made Creations With Office Manager Michelle Baker

May 30, 2024

The friendly face that greets you as you walk into the Cannonvale storefront, Michelle is the Office Manager at Shirtfront Solutions.

Adept at answering all your questions, Michelle can guide you through their product range and the different methods of branding your clothing or piece of merchandise. From uniforms for school children to a wide selection of workwear which includes high-vis, health care, corporate and more – Shirtfront Solutions have you covered.

“We take a lot of custom-made orders, and we can create almost anything for anyone!” said Michelle.

“We can mix and match colours and styles, and when someone walks through the door, I can help them work out exactly what they want.”

Michelle started working at Shirtfront Solutions in 2017 when she moved to the Whitsundays from Melbourne with her family. They originally came to the region while on holiday, falling in love with the area and, after 25 years in the pharmaceutical industry, Michelle was ready for a change.

One day she walked through the doors to Shirtfront Solutions to purchase a school uniform for her children and began chatting with Kev and Kylie about the local AFL sporting club. By the end of the day, she not only had a footy team to join, but also a job and career she has come love.

On the weekend you will find Michelle at the footy field with her family, but during the week you will see her at the front desk, ready to take your enquires at Shirtfront Solutions.

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How Do I Find Good Staff These Days?

May 30, 2024

This month’s Ask An Expert with Whitsundays Chamber of Commerce and Industry asks: How do I find good staff these days.
Two Chamber members responded. 
Rachael Anderton of ExecuHub believes finding good staff needs a strategic approach. 
“First, clearly define the role and desired qualities. Next, post targeted job ads on relevant platforms and social media channels, customised to the specific skills you require. Consider whether your ideal candidate is more likely to search on LinkedIn, Seek, or local Facebook job boards. 
Additionally, leverage your network and encourage employee referrals. Collaborate with local employment services, schools, TAFE, and community groups to connect with potential candidates who share your interests” she says. 
Maree Franettovich of CareerForce Australia agrees with the power of clear and accurate job profile, referrals from existing employees, and targeted social media advertising. 
“Research suggests for two of the most active generations in the workplace now – millennials and Gen Z – 48% applied for jobs they found on social media,” said Maree. 
She offers two other strategic steps to take to help attract the right staff.
“Firstly, look within. What is your Employee Value Proposition? What makes your business a great place to work? Why would a jobseeker pick you? Pay is important but it’s not the only criterion.”
“Also, review and refine your business profile. What does your online presence and socials tell a potential candidate about you and your business?”. 
Rachael and Maree agree – if what you’re doing is not working, try something else. 

Rachael Anderton of ExecuHub
Maree Franettovich of CareerForce Australia

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A Minute With The Mayor

May 30, 2024

On Monday I had the honour of attending and speaking at the first of many National Reconciliation Week events across the region. The Proserpine Entertainment Centre played host to a Flag Raising Ceremony, Welcome to Country and Smoking Ceremony followed by a short film by Yooribaya Cultural Experiences on the cinema screen.
During this week, let us all take the time to educate ourselves, to listen, and to engage in meaningful conversations about reconciliation. Whitsunday Regional Council remains committed to fostering an inclusive and respectful community. We will take steps to support cultural heritage projects and support initiatives that celebrate Indigenous culture, promote understanding, and create opportunities for all.

As we embark on this journey of reconciliation, we recognise that it is not a task for a single week or a single generation. It requires our ongoing commitment and dedication to change and that advocates for equality and healing for generations to come.
Last week, I attended the Civic Leaders Summit on the Gold Coast, where elected members and CEOs from across Queensland gathered to discuss current local government issues, represent their respective councils, and enhance the skills necessary for effective community leadership and growth.
At the start of this new term, meeting with like-minded individuals—both newcomers like myself and seasoned leaders - provided valuable perspective and helped establish a strong foundation for achieving our priorities over the next four years.
On Wednesday, we held our monthly Ordinary Council Meeting at the chambers in Bowen, where we addressed the usual council business. If you're interested in staying informed about Council activities, you can watch a recording of the meeting on Council’s YouTube channel at any time.
If you aren’t doing anything this Sunday, why not join us at the Proserpine Entertainment Centre for our Queensland Day celebrations?
Queensland Day is officially a celebration of Queensland’s birthday (6th June) and marks the state's official separation from New South Wales as an independent colony in 1859.  But the essence of the day is to celebrate and reflect on what Queensland means to you and what makes you proud to be a Queenslander—whether it be our people, places, opportunities or lifestyle.
For me, I love the weather and spending time with my family at the beach with Conway Beach being one our favourites!  We live in an amazing and diverse part of the world that deserves our appreciation, so no matter what you choose to do, make it something you love!
Last week, we celebrated National Volunteer Week, but I believe that recognising our volunteers is something we should do more often. Volunteers are the backbone of our communities, contributing to everything from sporting groups and events to essential support services. Without their dedication, we would not have the resilient and vibrant communities that make life in the Whitsundays so enjoyable. Let's continue to appreciate and support our volunteers, whose efforts enhance our lives and strengthen our community.
Have a great weekend everyone.

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Did You Know?

May 30, 2024

Whitsunday Regional Council offers a range of Community Assistance Grants to support local volunteer-based organisations, including sport and recreation clubs, facility managers, and other community groups. These grants recognise the vital role these groups play in our community and provide targeted financial support. Additionally, there’s special funding for Junior Elite Athletes under 18, who represent North Queensland, Queensland, or Australia in official events. This support helps cover participation costs and acknowledges our young athletes' dedication and achievements. If you're part of a local group or a young athlete, consider applying to help further your goals!

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Out & About With Jade From Tourism Whitsundays 

May 30, 2024

In our ‘Out And About’ segment with Tourism Whitsundays, we showcase the team and share how connected they are with local tourism. 
In this feature Jade Richardson, from Tourism Whitsundays invites you along with her as she takes trips around our beautiful region and shares her experiences with you.
In Tourism Whitsundays Out and About segment this week, Jade enjoyed visiting Oh Deere Farm Stay in Calen.

This farm offers camping and experience-based activities focused on the Cane industry.

Visitors can learn about the industry in-depth, including sugar cane preparation, growth, and harvesting. But what makes Oh Deere Farm Stay remarkable is its owner, Karinda Anderson.

Her story of resilience and determination is truly inspiring and reminds us to chase our dreams, cherish every moment, and find strength in adversity.

The farm also boasts a John Deere Collective Museum, a cane maze, a love swing with a breathtaking view of the outback scenery, as well as an awesome little gift shop.

Overall, Oh Deere Farm Stay offers a unique and educational experience for all, where you can learn about the cane industry and be inspired by Karinda's story while appreciating life's precious moments.

Jade was thrilled to visit and highly recommends the experience to anyone looking for an experience that inspires and educates. 
Contributed with thanks to Jade Richardson, Membership Coordinator Tourism Whitsundays

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Indulge In Wuisan Chandra’s New Menu At Whisper Restaurant And Gin Bar

May 30, 2024

Full name : Wuisan Chandra
Position : Executive chef

Every fine restaurant deserved a refined chef at the helm, someone to guide the way, inspire the menu and select dishes that will transform a delicious meal into an experience you will remember.

Indonesian Chef, Wuisan Chandra, understands this first hand, having started his own culinary journey in 2006 in Australia.

He worked in Sydney for a few different restaurants over a period of four years.

But home was calling for Wuisan and he decided to go back to Borneo, Indonesia.

Using the skills he developed in Sydney he opened a restaurant in his home country.

“I was privileged to open a restaurant with my friend in 2010, it was a beautiful menu comprising of modern Japanese dishes,” he said.

After working in his own restaurant for some time he was offered a position as Executive chef with Arma Resort, Chapung Sebali resort in Ubud, and a beach club in Jimbaram Bali.

During his time at the resorts Wuisan developed his skills as a chef, but the urge to open his own restaurant was too strong, and in 2019 he took the leap and opened his own restaurant in Seminyak.

His hard work and delicious food did not go unnoticed, and it wasn’t long until one of the biggest hospitality companies in Australia offered him a head chef position at a rooftop bar.

Drawn to new challenges and wanting to express himself as a chef by cooking Indonesian dishes, Wuisan decided to bring his career to the Whitsundays.

Recently hired as Executive Chef at Whisper Restaurant and Gin Bar, Wuisan said he wants to add his personality to the new and exciting menu.

“I love to cook Asian food with a western twist,” explained Wuisan,

“My aim is to stamp my personality on the Whisper lunch and dinner menu, to give our customers a dining experience they won’t forget, highlighting my delicious unique signature dishes.”

Wuisan is loving his new life in the Whitsundays and said “Starting my day looking at the beautiful views from the Mirage Resort doesn’t get boring and breathing the fresh Whitsunday air.”

Wuisan Chandra, Photo supplied

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This Queensland Day Celebrate The Whitsunday Way

May 30, 2024

At the Proserpine Entertainment Centre enjoy the fun activities whilst honouring what Queensland has to offer.

Enjoy a range of activities, including. Live music, free craft workshops, exciting games, delicious food vans, creative face painting, thrilling wildlife encounters and heaps more.

There's so much more in store for you to discover and enjoy.

This spectacular event is brought to you by the Whitsunday Regional Council and proudly sponsored by the Queensland Government.

Don't miss out on this fantastic afternoon full of celebration for our beautiful state!

Queensland Day is an important day to celebrate the state and recognise the state’s culture and heritage.

It is an opportunity to reflect on what Queensland means to you and what makes you proud to be a Queenslander, whether that be the people, place, opportunities or lifestyle.

WHAT: Queensland Day
WHERE: Proserpine Entertainment Centre
WHEN: Sunday 2 June at 10am

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Whitsunday United Weekly Football Highlights

May 30, 2024

The Sportspark saw an impressive display of football over the weekend, with Whitsunday United netting a total of 24 goals across senior matches, conceding only 2. Unfortunately, the youth teams did not fare as well.
Senior Men’s Division
The Divisional men faced the Wanderers in Mackay on Friday night. The Division One team fell just short in a closely contested game, with a goal from Caleb not enough to avoid their first loss of the season. However, the Division Two Men claimed their third victory of the season, with goals from Ali and Tate securing a win and moving up the ladder.
Youth Teams’ Challenges
The U13 Division had a bye, but the FQPL team faced a tough match against the Rangers. After an early equalizer from Sam, WUFC struggled against the Rangers' relentless attack, eventually losing 8-1. The U15 FQPL also had a challenging game against Lions in Mackay, suffering an 11-1 defeat despite their effort.
Afternoon Success at Home
The FQPL U23 Women started strong against the Wanderers, showing excellent communication and play from the kick off. Nicole's standout performance at left back, combined with solid midfield support and relentless forward pressure, led to a 5-0 victory. Goals were scored by Imo, Franny, Mabel (twice), and Keely.
The Premier Women also dominated their game against the Wanderers. With early pressure from Willow and Steph, supported by Dom and Emily in midfield, Dom opened the scoring, followed by Steph. Jess H. and Monique’s wing runs kept the pressure on, and Willow added a third just before halftime. The second half saw Jess W. orchestrating play, with Dom and Steph each scoring again and Monique sealing a 6-0 win.
Men’s FQPL U23 and Men’s Premier
The Men’s FQPL U23 team had a tough match against the Lions but broke through in the first half with a trademark long-range shot from Smithy. Goals in the second half from Lewis Elder, Lincoln Fricker, and Andres Vega secured a 4-0 victory.
The Men’s Premiers, seeking revenge against the Lions, showcased their prowess from the start. They went into halftime with a commanding 6-0 lead thanks to two early goals. Despite a stronger second-half showing from the Lions, Whitsunday wrapped up the game with a 9-2 victory. Jake Kenna scored five goals, Simon Rohan-Jones added a hat trick, and Alan O'Donnell rounded off the score with a bullet header. This victory solidified their second place in the league, keeping them within striking distance of the top spot.
The weekend at Sportspark was a mixed bag for Whitsunday United. While the senior teams delivered dominant performances, the youth teams faced significant challenges. The club looks forward to building on these results as the season progresses, with the senior teams aiming to maintain their strong form and the youth teams working to bounce back from their tough matches. The community remains hopeful and supportive as Whitsunday United continues to compete with determination and skill.

Contributed with thanks to Allan Milostic.

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Looking For A Career Change? The Tourism Industry Want You

May 30, 2024

Whether you’re looking to change career paths, want to work fewer hours and have more flexibility as you wind down, or want to get back amongst the action in retirement, the tourism and hospitality industry could be the perfect option for you.
With roles ranging from tour guides, drivers and receptionists to caravan park maintenance, hotel housekeeping and restaurant servers, there is something for everyone.
At the Mature Australians Career Seminar which is due to take place at the Proserpine Entertainment Centre today, you will hear from industry experts, industry employers and employees on the benefits of working in the tourism industry.
It is an opportunity to learn the new conditions that allow you to work without impacting your pension and for the opportunity to network with tourism businesses looking to employ mature-aged Australians.
The tourism industry offers some of the country’s most flexible and social working conditions, and mature-aged workers have been identified as a target group for new employees.
Register your spot today here.

WHAT: Mature Australians Tourism Career Seminar  
WHEN: Friday 31 May 2024, 9am – 12 noon
WHERE: The Proserpine Entertainment Centre, 16 Main Street, Proserpine

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Local Talent Shines Bright On Billboard In Times Square, New York

May 30, 2024

Roze is a rising star from The Whitsundays, and she has graced one of the most iconic billboards in the world; Time Square in New York.

This is the second time this year she has been featured on the dazzling display for the Met Gala Fashion production by Belle Le Chic.

The talented Holley Webb Creative brilliantly executed the photographs, capturing the essence of her poise and elegance.

Roze has quickly become a name to watch in the modelling industry, proving that dreams can come true with hard work and dedication.

Roze's parents, who are filled with an indescribable sense of joy and pride, shared their excitement.

"To see Roze, our daughter, representing our town on such a grand scale is a feeling that words cannot capture,” said her mother.

“Roze has set her sights on big goals, and we believe she has the potential to achieve great things. This is just the beginning of her journey."

The Met Gala, renowned for its extravagant fashion and star-studded guest list, is a global event that brings together the world's top designers, models, and celebrities.

To be featured in its promotions, particularly in a location as prominent as Times Square, is a testament to the high regard Roze holds in the fashion community and the magnitude of her success. 

Let's keep our eyes peeled for this local gem as she continues illuminating the world's stage with grace and charm.

Roze on a billboard in Times Square, New York.

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May 23, 2024

A mother and her calf are officially the first two humpback whales to have been spotted in the Whitsundays, marking the beginning of the season, the first as a formally declared Whale Heritage Site.

The early sighting was claimed by a group of seafaring locals who were out filming near North Mackerel Bay on the North-eastern end of Hook Island on Tuesday this week.

A mother and calf Humpback whale were the first of the majestic mammals to be spotted in Whitsunday waters this season. Photo credit: Phil Gordon from Riptide Creative

The Whales Have Arrived!

A filming expedition on Hayman Island’s brand-new day boat, Osprey, was made even more significant with the group being the first to spot a mother and calf Humpback whale playing in the cool Whitsunday waters.

Asher Telford, the General Manager of SeaLink and former owner of Red Cat Adventures, led the maiden voyage on Osprey.

“It certainly got everyone revved up!” he expressed.

“It’s almost a month early and we were very surprised.”

Asher speculated their early arrival could be due to the cooler than usual start to the winter months.

“Everyone on board was really excited to check it out,” he shared.

“And it’s always a buzz to be the first to spot the whales at the beginning of the season.”

Phil Gordon from Riptide Creative was filming on the day and excited to generate some impressive footage of the illusive mammals in their natural habitat.

“We first saw the baby as it did a full breach out of the water,” he explained.

“Then we waited until it surfaced again and that’s when we got the photos.”

From June to September each year thousands of Humpback whales travel from the icy temperatures of the Antarctic and come to the warmer waters of the Whitsundays to give birth and nurture their calves during the first few months of their lives.

The Whitsundays tour operators, Traditional Owners and broader community are known for respecting and encouraging the global best practice in the preservation of these protected creatures along with other cetaceans.

There are several citizen science programs operating and a dedicated group called Whales of the Whitsundays (WOW) which all help to provide a safe environment for the migrating mammals.

It is thanks to the efforts of WOW that the Whitsundays was officially named a Whale Heritage Site by the World Cetacean Alliance in March this year.

The Whitsundays is only the second such site to be designated in Australia and the first to be designated inside the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and the only site in the world to be in a UNESCO World Heritage Area.

The certification puts the region on the map with Hervey Bay, the only other designated site in Australia.

Following the early sighting this week, it is expected that more Humpback whales will be arriving any time now.

The first two Humpback Whales made a surprise visit during the maiden voyage of Osprey. Photo credit: Riptide Creative

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Editors Note

May 23, 2024

Hi Everyone,

As we approach the 200th issue of this fabulous newspaper, we would like to say a huge thank you to you all for taking the time to flick through the pages, read our stories and engage with our advertisers each week.

Over the past four years, thanks to all of you and the dedicated work of our incredible team, we have created a fantastic print media platform that is keeping local story-telling alive.

We have been privileged to experience significant growth during this time and we really appreciate your support in getting to where we are today.

Some of the highlights have included watching our online presence grow – we now have 22,000 unique viewers per month – each choosing to read their weekly news on our website.

This is in addition to the 15,000 printed copies that are distributed around the region each week.

Last year represented another huge milestone moment for the business when we were honoured to be invited by the Burdekin community to launch a new newspaper in the region.

We have now been printing a weekly newspaper for the Burdekin since September and we are pleased to report it is running successfully as well.

Another major highlight was winning four state awards at the Queensland Country Press Awards last year – this included one gold, a silver and two bronze awards - spanning various categories from editorial campaigns to advertising features, and of course the infamous ‘Jenny and Steve’ ad.

This weekend marks a year since we received those awards and a small contingent of the team will be heading down again this weekend – wish us luck!

Regardless of whether we win, however, I feel like we have won already!

Serving the community with local news each week, being privileged to preserve the ongoing history of our beautiful region and meeting so many amazing people along the way – this is our reward.

Each morning I wake and think how lucky I am to do this job and work with this team of awesome people in a community I love.


Quote of the Week: “If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life” (Mark Anthony)

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Hair For Good

May 23, 2024

A young Whitsunday resident has chopped off her lovely long locks for charity, raising an impressive $2,100 along the way.

Seven-year-old Maya Murphy decided to donate her hair to help sick kids following a conversation with her mum, Shannon, who had heard of Variety Children’s Charity, Hair With A Heart.

The initiative encourages people with long hair to “take the chop and change lives”, stating that “your lovely locks will be turned into wigs for people who’ve lost their hair from cancer, alopecia or other medical conditions”.

After a little consideration, Maya announced that she would like to do it and, with the help of her family, set up a charity page through the organisation, asking people to sponsor her ‘Big Chop’.

It wasn’t long before Maya watched the money roll in and the initial target of $750 was smashed almost straight away when they hit $1000 within the first 24 hours.

By the time she took the chop, Maya had raised an incredible $2,100.

A total of 20 centimetres of Maya’s hair was cut off and it has now been sent off so that a wig can be made from it.

Maya said she enjoys having short hair and was pleased her long hair was going to help sick kids.

“I just wanted to help them,” she said.

Shannon added that the whole family were very impressed with Maya’s giving nature.

“We are super proud of her!” she said.

“She’s that kind of kid that has a good heart always.”

Young Maya rocking her new short hair and holding her long plaits which she will donate to sick kids. Photo supplied

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Whitsunday Uber Coming Soon!

May 23, 2024

Good news for taxi-riders following the announcement this week that Uber will soon be coming to the Whitsundays, opening up the region and meeting the need for increased demand.

More than 3.9 million Australian’s are already using the ridesharing app and Uber is now ready to expand its business model into the regional areas.

The company, which has been operating in Australia for the past 12 years, is now looking for Uber Drivers and appeals for those interested to register.

Whitsundays Mayor, Ry Collins, welcomed the upcoming launch: 

“We know many of our residents have long requested another transport option to get from A to B, so I was excited to hear of Uber’s plans to launch here in the Whitsundays,” he said.

“Any business that makes the lives of locals easier, while offering another earning opportunity, is certainly welcomed in Whitsundays. It is an exciting development for our community.”

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Donate Your Phone It Could Save A Life

May 23, 2024

As part of Domestic Violence Prevention Month, Whitsunday Regional Libraries are bringing awareness to their ongoing partnership with DV Safe Phone.

This collaboration aims to raise awareness and encourage the community to contribute their old working phones to DV Safe which collects, repairs, and offers them for free to front-line services as a safe phone for victims in domestic violence situations.

Phone drop-off points are currently located at all Whitsunday Regional Libraries in Cannonvale, Proserpine, Bowen and Collinsville.

Mayor Ry Collins said that it’s not uncommon for people to have old mobile phones tucked away at home and, by donating them to one of the collection boxes at our regional libraries, residents can potentially help people in very traumatic circumstances.

“Part of Council’s role is to promote healthy and safe environments for our community to live in, and we are well placed to promote this initiative through our public spaces such as our regional libraries,” he said.

“We’ve had collection points in our libraries for approximately 12 months now and we want the community to know that we can all make a meaningful difference to people in need through the simple act of a donation.”

Founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of DV Safe Phone, Ashton Wood, expressed sincere appreciation for the partnership, emphasising the pivotal role of community engagement in addressing domestic violence.

"We extend our heartfelt gratitude to the Whitsunday Regional Libraries for their invaluable support," remarked Ashton.

Councillor Jan Cliiford, Mayor Ry Collins, Councillor Clay Bauman and, Nikki Firmin from DV Safe Phone, donating their old phones at the collection points.

Photo credit: Daniel Heggie

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Poisoned Tree On Cannonvale Beach

May 23, 2024

A big, beautiful fig tree on the parkland adjacent to Cannonvale Beach has been poisoned according to recent information given by Whitsunday Regional Council.

Evidence asserts that drill holes have been discovered around the base of the tree and poison could have been inserted into the roots which has then poisoned the tree itself.

The tree has now lost over half its leaves and the remaining structure is brown and frail looking.

A Whitsunday Regional Council statement on the matter reads as follows:

“We regret to inform the community of the loss of a beautiful fig tree on the Cannonvale Foreshore,” it said.

“Over the past two weeks, deliberate damage has been inflicted upon the tree, evidenced by drill holes strategically placed around its trunk, indicating a poisoning attempt.

“Over the weekend, fresh poison holes were found, and the tree has taken a turn for the worse. Unfortunately, an arborist report has confirmed the tree cannot be saved and will be removed to ensure public safety. We will look to replant a new tree in its place.”

Sadly, the statement, which was released on Council’s Facebook Page, soon garnered unfavourable attention from community members throwing accusations at the neighbours of the nearby apartments, claiming they had poisoned the tree to get a better view.

“Pretty clear who it was. Their unit is in the background of the photo!! Need to just plant another bigger and denser tree to replace it and put in camera surveillance,” Paul Jukes commented on the post.

Appalled apartment owners have since come forward in defence, stating they would never poison the tree, nor do they know of any neighbours in the tight knit community that would do so.

“I’ve been living here 12 years and there’s no way I’d poison the tree and, while I don’t know everyone in the units, I am the Chairman of the Body Corp and I wouldn’t think anyone would do it,” said resident, Alistair Gourlay.

“We’ve got such a lovely view, and the tree is beautifying the parkland across the road, I don’t see why anyone would want to destroy it.”

The incident has now been logged with Queensland Police, and Council are encouraging anybody who may have information about the act of vandalism to contact Council or the Police.

A beautiful old fig tree on Cannonvale Beach has been poisoned. Photo supplied

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New Mural Underway In Bowen

May 23, 2024

Bowen is recognised as the Mural Capital of Australia and with almost 30 murals adorning the walls around the town, it is no wonder.

Bowen was once destined to be the capital of North Queensland and this incredible history is reflected in the new mural of Herbert Street which depicts imagery of the town in the 1930’s.

The murals show the old wide streets of Herbert Street, the very first Supreme Court north of Rockhampton, and the old Commonwealth Bank.

Painting the murals is highly acclaimed Brisbane artist Glen Gillard.

Glen has been painting murals in Bowen since 1989 and has consistently travelled up to complete them as the years have gone by.

Painting this current mural for the past three weeks, Glen is expecting to finish his latest masterpiece before the end of the month.

He is impressed with the progress of the current mural and can’t wait to finish and let his newest work flourish by the Bowen Foreshore.

After he has finished the paintings, he will include names and dates of the buildings so the public can learn about the buildings and their history.

Secretary of the Mural Society, Heather Skinner said they have more exciting plans for the future.

“Down the track the plan is to get QR codes but we’ve got to get the money for that,” she said.

“But with the QR codes, people could click and get the extra information.”

The murals in Bowen are all about history and Heather said they are very effective in informing people about Bowen.

“It's great because it means we don't just get the local people learning about the History we get people from around Australia and even overseas,” Heather said.

Glen says he feels privileged to be given the opportunity to show the history of the area, and that he loves Bowen and is very grateful for the amount of the work it has provided for him over the years.

Secretary of the Mural Society, Heather Skinner and Artist Glen Gillard

Glen adding touches to his mural

Glen standing in front of his yet to be finished mural

Photo Credit: Daniel Heggie

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Business Abuzz! At Inaugural Whitsunday Business Conference

May 23, 2024

More than 50 business-minded individuals attended the inaugural Whitsunday Business Conference which took place in Cannonvale last week.

An initiative of the Whitsunday Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the event was a melting pot of inspiration and activity, with a diverse range of guest speakers, panel discussions and interactive sessions where all attendees were encouraged to participate and contribute.

Member for Whitsunday Amanda Camm MP opened the event with an inspiring speech and, following the main agenda, the event culminated when Whitsunday Regional Council hosted special guest, Queensland Small Business Commissioner, Dominique Lamb.

Mayor Ry Collins said the region was privileged to host the Queensland Small Business Commissioner for a two-day visit.
“The Commissioner engaged with the local business community and budding entrepreneurs, providing valuable insights and support tailored to the unique challenges faced by small businesses in the area,” he said.
“There is a considerable amount of support available through the Office of the Queensland Small Business Commissioner designed to help businesses succeed, ranging from financial advice, upskilling and training, navigating disputes and government legislation to wellness checks.
“These initiatives are crucial in fostering a resilient small business community in the Whitsundays and I encourage everyone to use this fantastic resource.”

Whitsunday Chamber of Commerce and Industry said it was thrilled with the response and looks forward to it becoming a marquee annual event for the region’s business community.

“The event was a hive of buzzing energy, new connections, ideas, and great discussions,” said a Chamber spokesperson.

“The Chamber wishes to thank everyone who participated, our speakers, and sponsors for bringing the Whitsunday Business Conference to life!”

Councillor Clay Bauman, Queensland Small Business Commissioner Dominique Lamb and Whitsunday Mayor Ry Collins.

Whitsunday Chamber of Commerce and Industry Liaison Officer Julia Evans addresses the audience

Member for Whitsunday Amanda Camm gives inspiring speech

Whitsunday Chamber of Commerce and Industry Liaison Officer Julia Evans with Chamber President Alan Milostic

Tolita Dukes, Cait Fleming and Mark Henry

Trevor Rees and Councillor Clay Bauman

Wendy and Andrew Barker

Jody Mulholland, Victoria Payne, Michaela Krutz and Kristian Mulholland

Joscelyn O’Keefe and Mark Powell

Heather Batrick and Cindy Baker

Photo credit: Daniel Heggie and Rachael Smith

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A Minute With The Mayor

May 23, 2024

The Queensland Small Business Commissioner (QSBC), Dominique Lamb, visited the Whitsundays last week to engage with the local business community and budding entrepreneurs, providing valuable insights and support tailored to the unique challenges faced by small businesses in the area.

Council’s Economic Development Team hosted an event for the Commissioner to showcase the extensive support available through the QSBC to help businesses succeed. This includes financial advice, upskilling and training, assistance with navigating disputes and government regulations, wellness checks, and a variety of other tools.

Approximately 40 people attended the event held in Cannonvale and the Commissioner then travelled to Bowen to have one-on-one meetings with some local businesses there.

Initiatives such as these are crucial in fostering a resilient small business community in the Whitsundays and I encourage everyone to use the QSBC as it’s a fantastic resource.

I represented our region at the Greater Whitsunday Council of Mayors meeting which is a partnership between Whitsunday, Isaac and Mackay Councils to identify joint opportunities for innovation and collaboration across the region.

This group works together to address regional issues, promote sustainable development, and advocate for the interests of our communities at state and federal levels. By pooling resources and expertise, the aim is to get better leverage when advocating for the region.

Over the recent weeks my fellow councillors and I have been through a new council induction which has included updates on changes to legislation and planning for mandatory training to be completed over the first six months of the term. We’ve also been in discussions about the upcoming budget with our attention drawn to the intricate balance between meeting community needs, recognising the cost-of-living pressures and maintaining financial responsibility. We are looking to adopt the budget in late June with information to be provided to the community in due course.

The Disaster Management Team kicked off their visits to primary schools across the region for Under 8’s Day! Under 8’s provides us with a unique opportunity to educate our youngest community members about the importance of disaster preparedness and safety. As a father myself I know that kids are great for sharing their knowledge and teaching their parents a thing or two from time to time!

They also enjoy saying hi to our disaster mascot Turbine and have had fun completing activities in our disaster preparedness activity book, which helps them prepare for disasters in a fun way.  While we aren’t officially in storm season anymore, disasters can strike at anytime and it’s important our community is prepared all year round.

From Mayor of the Whitsundays, Ry Collins

Councillor Clay Bauman, Queensland Small Business Commissioner Dominique Lamb and Whitsunday Mayor Ry Collins. Photo credit: Daniel Heggie

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Did You Know?

May 23, 2024

Whitsunday Regional Council promotes responsible pet ownership to enhance community safety and enjoyment. Always keep dogs leashed in public spaces such as parks, reserves, and foreshores, except in designated 'off lead' areas. This practice not only ensures everyone's safety but also allows all community members to enjoy these spaces worry-free. For those times when your dog can roam freely, check the Council’s website for detailed maps of approved off-leash areas where your pet can safely explore and play!

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Local Artist Receives National Nomination

May 23, 2024

Celebrated local artist, Karen Jacobsen, has been nominated for an Australian Independent Record Award in recognition of her Misogyny Opus masterpiece.

The Mackay-born artist, known widely as the ‘Voice of Siri’, moved back from America with her family several years ago, electing to make the Whitsundays her home.

Since then, Karen has been cultivating a career in Australia, becoming a popular personality and talented artist both locally and nationally.

The acclaimed pop orchestral work, Misogyny Opus, recites word for word Julia Gillard’s historic speech and is performed by Karen who is accompanied by musicians from the Queensland Symphony Orchestra.

Nominated in the Best Independent Classical Album or EP category, the song is vying for the award against The Australian Chamber Orchestra among other prominently known performers.

Karen says she feels deeply honoured to be seen alongside these incredible musicians.

“I truly feel like I have already won!” she expressed.

“The other nominees in comparison are very well-known, it’s such a boost to be alongside them and flying the flag for female composers.”

Karen said she would like to thank the Mackay Entertainment & Convention Centre (MECC) for being her co-commissioning partner, along with Mayor Greg Williamson, MECC Acting Manager Jemma Carey and the rest of the team.

The news of the nomination could not have come at a better time for Karen who has just released a new album, The Slipstream, which features 10 cinematic, timeless, melodic, piano-driven songs which were written and recorded remotely between Airlie Beach and New York City.

Karen Jacobsen has been nominated for an Australian Independent Record Award in recognition of her Misogyny Opus masterpiece. Photo supplied

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Time To minimise your tax

May 23, 2024

It’s that time of year again when those who are looking to build wealth are reviewing strategies to minimise their taxation expenses prior to the 30 June deadline. Whether you own a successful business, are on a good salary or have had a once-off taxable transaction such as selling an asset and triggering a capital gain, there are a variety of legitimate, legal strategies to help minimise your tax bill or boost your refund.
Tax minimisation is all about creating tax deductible expenses to offset taxable income and therefore reduce tax payable. If an individual is in the top personal tax bracket, they are paying 47% income tax and therefore any tax-deductible expenses are really only taking 53 cents in the dollar out of their pocket as the Government is funding the remainder.
Spending a dollar to save 47 cents tax only makes sense if the expense is part of a logical, broader investment strategy that will deliver an acceptable return to the investor on the 53 cents they have contributed. This return may be in the form of capital growth on a portfolio of traditional passive investments such as shares, bonds and property, or in the form of income streams from investments at a later stage. The science is in researching and finding tax deductible expenses which have a realistic prospect of delivering the required return with an acceptable level of risk.  
Common strategies include utilising the superannuation tax structure, negative gearing programs or prepaying expenses. Superannuation is a simple savings scheme so you can retire after 60 years of age with huge tax benefits when you contribute. Negative gearing is borrowing to invest into shares or property, which is inherently riskier than a saving plan but suits some people. Pre-paying might be a farmer topping up their fuel or fertiliser account or pre-paying interest for 12 months on your tax-deductible loans to bring the extra interest into this year.
30th June is just around the corner. It’s time to get serious about your strategy.
For a free consultation with local people who understand the complexities of these or any other financial matter, contact Eclipse Financial Planning at Cannonvale on 49467359 today or visit www.eclipsefp.come.au

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I’m An Imposter!

May 23, 2024

“Who do I think I am talking and advising about leadership? Wait til someone realises I’m not the expert in this field . . . Wait till someone discovers my past epic failures.”

This is the little voice in my head I’ve come to fear and now finally befriend after many years.

This voice follows me around most days and is either so small I can hardly hear it, or booming through my ears loud enough for me to think everyone around me can hear it.

Imposter Syndrome is feelings of self-doubt and negative self-talk, resulting in missed opportunities. 

If you weren’t aware, the majority of humans suffer from this at some stage in their life. It most commonly occurs when starting something new – a new job or a new role.

We often fear we are out of our depth and people will realise we don’t know what we are doing or are not as capable as they assume we are.

We believe the worst-case scenario may be realised, our fear of being seen as a failure.

The negative: It stops you from reaching your potential.
The positive: It spurs you on to become more knowledgeable, competent, experienced; it can be a catalyst for personal and professional growth and development.

Exposing your Imposter Syndrome to the light and sharing your fears with good friends helps alleviate any beliefs these thoughts are real.

Your peer group will help challenge this negative self-talk and dilute its potential power over you.

Don’t let Imposter Syndrome hinder your ability to reach your potential. Identify it when it creeps in, understand it’s a normal human response, and use it to push you forward.

Contributed with thanks to Judy Porter From Shiift.

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National Volunteer Week Tourism Whitsundays Thank Volunteer Cruise Ship Ambassadors

May 23, 2024

This week is National Volunteer Week, and Tourism Whitsundays is celebrating the incredible Whitsunday Volunteer Cruise Ship Ambassadors.

Since 2004, their tropical shirts and warm smiles have become synonymous with arriving in Airlie Beach.

These passionate volunteers are the first to greet cruise ship passengers, offering a wealth of local knowledge and ensuring a smooth start to their Whitsunday adventure.

These volunteers have already welcomed over 44 cruise ships and nearly 77,000 passengers in 2024 alone. 

Their dedication goes far beyond their cruise ship duties. With a love for their region that shines through, they also volunteer at the Whitsunday Visitor Information Centre. You'll also find them lending a hand at community events like the Lions Markets, the Airlie Beach Marathon Festival, and the Great Barrier Reef Festival. 

The Cruise Ship Ambassadors are a testament to the true spirit of The Whitsundays, they are welcoming, knowledgeable, and deeply invested in their community, ensuring every visitor feels welcome within our region.

This National Volunteer Week, we offer a heartfelt thank you to the Cruise Ship Ambassadors, and all volunteers who dedicate their time and passion to making our region a vibrant and unforgettable destination. 

Contributed with thanks to CEO of Tourism Whitsundays, Rick Hamilton

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Anchored In Excellence

May 23, 2024

Fuel your sense of wonder and excitement at Coral Sea Marina, where every visit promises unforgettable experiences.

Nestled in the wondrous Whitsundays, Coral Sea Marina is the heart of adventure and relaxation for travellers seeking an extraordinary winter escape. Renowned as the region's premier tourism hub, this marina is a treasure trove of experiences, promising endless adventures and unforgettable memories. As the temperatures drop elsewhere, Coral Sea Marina emerges as a vibrant tropical haven, teeming with life and excitement.

In 2023, Coral Sea Marina celebrated a decade under the visionary leadership of Paul Darrouzet, marking a milestone of transformation and innovation. Awards such as "Best Community Support" and recognition as a finalist for "Superyacht Industry Service Provider of the Year" elevated the marina's commitment to excellence. These accolades are a testament to Coral Sea Marina's unwavering dedication to providing unparalleled experiences and fostering connections, both locally and globally.

One of the marina's most captivating initiatives is the Superyacht Donation Hub, which returned in 2024 following a successful pilot scheme. This program embodies Coral Sea Marina's ethos of giving back, facilitating the collection and distribution of essential supplies to remote island communities in the South Pacific. From sporting goods to medical supplies, these donations provide much-needed support and solidarity, bridging the gap between communities and fostering a sense of global responsibility.

Coral Sea Marina's commitment to education and engagement is exemplified by the Coral Sea Academy, an innovative platform designed to connect people with the wonders of the Whitsundays. Through digital expansion, the Academy offers enriching experiences, from virtual tours to educational resources, ensuring that visitors can immerse themselves in the region's natural beauty and cultural heritage.

But perhaps the true magic of Coral Sea Marina lies in its atmosphere—a vibrant tapestry of sights, sounds, and sensations that captivates the senses and ignites the spirit. From the moment you set foot in the marina, you're enveloped in a sense of wonder and possibility. The waterfront pathways, shaded meeting areas, and lush marina gardens beckon you to pause and soak in the beauty of your surroundings.

For boat owners, Coral Sea Marina offers a premium range of shore-based facilities and services, ensuring a seamless and enjoyable experience. From world-class berthing facilities to attentive guest services, every aspect of the marina is designed to exceed expectations and provide a home away from home.

For visitors, Coral Sea Marina is a gateway to adventure and discovery. Whether you're embarking on a day tour to explore the Whitsunday Islands or chartering your own vessel for a week-long odyssey, the possibilities are endless. Thrill-seekers can indulge in jet ski rides or scenic helicopter flights, while those seeking relaxation can simply watch the boats go by with a drink in hand.

And let's not forget the culinary delights that await at Coral Sea Marina's array of cafes, restaurants, and bistros. From waterfront dining to sunset cocktails, each venue offers a tantalising array of flavours and experiences to savour. Live music and vibrant ambience add to the allure, creating the perfect setting for unforgettable moments with loved ones.

This is where you discover that Coral Sea Marina is more than a marina.

It’s a sanctuary of serenity and a hub for excitement where dreams are realised and memories are made.

With so many award-winning businesses calling Coral Sea Marina home, it really has become the tourism mecca of Airlie Beach, and the ultimate base from which to explore the Whitsundays and Great Barrier Reef.

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Celebrating Women in Maritime With Ocean Rafting

May 23, 2024

Observed on 18 May every year, International Maritime Organisation’s (IMO) International Day for Women in Maritime celebrates and recognises women in maritime, with this year's theme "Safe Horizons: Women Shaping the Future of Maritime Safety".

As a multi award-winning, high standard marine operator, Ocean Rafting has been showcasing the Whitsundays for 27 years, always with women at the helm, so to speak, in some shape or form.

International Day for Women in Maritime celebrates women in the industry and is intended to promote the recruitment, retention and sustained employment of women in the maritime sector, raise the profile of women in maritime, strengthen IMO's commitment to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 5 (gender equality) and support work to address the current gender imbalance in maritime. 

Owned by long-term locals, Peter and Jan Claxton, not only is Ocean Rafting 50% female owned, but the ratio of female staff to male staff stands at 58% to 42% respectively.  
From Skippers, Eco Hosts and Master Reef Guides to Front Office, Accounts, Sales and Marketing, Groups, Catering, HR and Maintenance, females are peppered throughout Ocean Rafting’s core structure.
“Our ratios are very complimentary, which creates a dynamic and gender equal workplace, where support and encouragement for growth and development is strongly supported at all levels of employment,” said Jan.
“We promote internally and truly believe it is based on the individual’s personality, performance, passion and desire for growth. This mindset has allowed us to support the personal development of our female staff, who work with us in both shore-based and sea-going posts.
“Our structure and values reflect a strong culture of gender equality, and we are proud to support women with their unique capabilities. It goes without saying that we are extremely proud of all our staff,” said Jan.
For enquiries and bookings, call Ocean Rafting on 4946 6848, email tours@oceanrafting.com.au or visit your local agent.

The amazing team at Ocean Rafting. Photo supplied

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Five Years Of Stunning Sunsets

May 23, 2024

It’s time to celebrate sunsets, sea views and decadent dining with two of the best local Whitsundays’ restaurants both marking five years in business this year. The iconic Italian inspired eatery, Sorrento's, and the enchanting Garden Bar, both located at Coral Sea Marina, and both owned by the same family, are popular with locals and tourists alike.

In April, Sorrento Restaurant and Bar reached its five-year milestone and it was time for owners, husband and wife Iyas and Mandy, and sister Penny to reflect back on how far the business had come. The renovation of the Ocean Deck was a highlight, enabling Sorrento’s to welcome guests for an à la carte dining experience with ultimate uninterrupted 180-degree waterfront views of the Coral Sea. This newly upgraded space also opened opportunities to offer a function space which has become popular for everything from weddings to events.

Over the years, awards have also been won including 2nd place at the Australian Wedding
Industry Awards (1st in The Whitsundays/Mackay) this year and 5 Star Certificates of Excellence four years running, Best of Qld Experience Program and Best Italian Restaurant.

While the upstairs Ocean Deck is a refined dining experience, the downstairs bar area offers a more casual atmosphere where stunning views of the Whitsundays are accompanied by live acoustic music daily.

The Garden Bar, located just a short stroll from Sorrento’s overlooking the Marina’s super yachts, offers a similar high standard of delicious cuisine, stunning sunsets, marina views and vibrant atmosphere, but with its own unique twist. This venue, which was featured on Jetstar, celebrates five years in November. Since the family took over they have completely transformed the menu, provided casual, intimate dining and also expanded to offer function spaces, specialising in group bookings and now offering Weddings in The Garden.

A contemporary cocktail bar set right on the waterfront, Garden Bar offers fresh, signature cocktails and a simple yet superb menu infused with influences from across the globe. Blending comfortable seating and stylish design, lush tropical greenery and incredible marina views, Garden Bar is simply a special venue.

Iyas, Mandy and Penny would like to thank the Coral Sea Marina for their constant support, as well as the venues long term Managers, Chefs and Staff; it’s a team effort.

Mandy, Iyas and Penny celebrating their 5 years. Photo supplied

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Explore The Whitsundays With Airlie Boat Hire

May 23, 2024

For just over a decade, Airlie Boat Hire has been giving its customers the freedom to explore the Whitsundays independently by becoming the captain of one of the vessels they have for hire.
Their exceptional personalised service, selection of quality vessels and the convenient extras, such as their range of water activities and eskies, make Airlie Boat Hire an easy, exciting and affordable way to get out on the water.
Airlie Boat Hire sits securely at the heart of Coral Sea Marina surrounded by floating pontoons and an efficient floating office.
This rapidly expanding business began with two boats in 2014, and now operates with over 10 vessels in their fleet.
Customers possessing a recreational boat license are able to hire a vessel on a self-hire basis to enjoy a day on the water or an extended hire period, which can include multiple days indulging in all the Whitsundays has to offer.
Those without a boat license can still join in on the fun with relaxing day trips and fishing excursion in the protected waters of the beautiful bays running alongside the mainland. Airlie Boat Hire conveniently hires out fishing rods, tackle boxes, snorkeling equipment, stinger suits, solar powered phone chargers, sunshades, and much more to further ensure both their travelling and local customers get the most out of their experience.  
New to the fleet are the McLay CrossXover and an impressive 7-meter Yellow Fin which stand as luxurious boats to provide an elevated environment with closed cabins and extra shade covers for long days spent in the open ocean.

One of the boats available for hire from Airlie Boat Hire. Photo supplied

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Bowen Hospital Thrilled To Receive Award

May 23, 2024

On International Nurses Day hospitals and nurses were awarded for their hard work and contribution to the world of nursing, with Bowen Hospital recognised amongst the winners.

James Cook University (JCU) awarded Bowen Hospital for Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning for Nursing and Midwifery.

Students from JCU said they experienced great opportunities, were treated respectfully, encouraged to be involved and felt supported by the registered nurses (RN) at the hospital, whilst completing their placement at Bowen Hospital.

The hospital staff do not know who nominated them for the award, but they imagine it was the students.

Since the early 1990’s Bowen Hospital has welcomed JCU students to their hospital to complete their placement.

Placements are essential and have to be completed by the students in order to get their degrees.

On placement, students see and learn from real life experiences.

At Bowen Hospital, the small size and rural setting provides students with a broader range of practical services, more than what they would experience in a CBD hospital.

“You’re a jack of all trades here, you don’t just get to do one area of health,” said Director of Nursing Facility Manager, Julie Minogue.

“You’re working with mental health, paediatrics, adults with respiratory disease, you're working in trauma and emergency, cardiac and resuscitation.

“We try to expose them to everything we possibly can.”

Bowen Hospital understand that it can be quite confronting but say it is important for the student nurses to learn as much as possible while they study.

Nurse Student Manager, Anne Buckingham said they train over 10 student nurses a year and that the students become a real asset to the team, helping to ensure smooth operation of the whole hospital.

In addition to students taking their placement, Bowen Hospital offers them paid work.

“At Bowen, we actually encourage students to work here during their time, while they’re doing their training,” said Ms Minogue.

“Once they've done their first year, they can come here, as a student in nursing, they're employed like an assistant in nursing, and are paid for their hours.

“They work at a lower level, so they can't make the decisions they make when they're registered nurses, but in third year, they start to get some patients allocated to them under the supervision of a registered nurse and we start to develop them.”

Director of Nursing Facility Manager, Julie Minogue and Nurse Student Manager, Anne Buckingham holding the award from JCU.

Clinical Nurse Jayde Knight, previous JCU Student and RN Georgie Guest, previous JCU Student and RN Stacey Harrex, RN Amanda Glazebrook, RN Amy Cunningham and Nurse Student Manager, Anne Buckingham. Photo credit: Daniel Heggie

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Discover The Whitsundays With Red Cat Adventures

May 23, 2024

Experience the thrill of a Red Cat Adventures, an award-winning tour orbiting the Whitsunday Islands in a single day. Explore iconic destinations like Whitehaven Beach, Hill Inlet lookout as well as snorkeling spots on the Great Barrier Reef. Departing from Airlie Beach, this all-inclusive package welcomes families, couples and groups seeking unforgettable adventures.

Meet Reece Fearnside, a seasoned skipper with Red Cat Adventures, who has spent the last 18 months orchestrating memorable maritime experiences.

For Reece, the decision to pursue a career on the water was a calling deeply ingrained in his soul.

“I’ve always wanted to work on the water, I absolutely love the ocean – it’s where my heart is at,” he shared.

Since joining Red Cat Adventures in September 2022, Reece has witnessed the business flourish, particularly with the introduction of the new Outer Reef Snorkel Adventure, where he took on the pivotal role of skipper.

At Red Cat Adventures, he excels in the realm of underwater knowledge, specifically in relation to coral and aims to showcase the vibrant underwater life while providing a personalised experience for all involved.

Originally from North Stradbroke Island, Reece's journey to the Whitsundays was fueled by the allure of paradise and the chance to merge work with recreation.

"What brought me to the area was the opportunity to work and play in paradise," he enthused.

When he’s not at the helm of the waves, he’s back in nature, engaging in adventurous hobbies such as camping, freediving and seeking out hidden treasures in waterfalls.

Reece describes his personality as "Patient, driven and honest," which undoubtedly contribute to his success as a skipper along with his ability to create memorable experiences for others.

Now that you’re acquainted with the skipper, jump on board and take an exhilarating journey around the Whitsunday Islands, that promises adventure, scenic marvels and unforgettable encounters with the wonders of the Great Barrier Reef.

So what are you waiting for? Book a Red Cat Adventure today!

Reece Fearnside

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Whitsundays On Show In Townsville

May 23, 2024

The Whitsundays was on show at the Townsville Expo last weekend.

Three team members from Bowen Tourism and Business and a representative from Tourism Whitsundays all attended the expo, along with several Whitsunday operators.

Manager of Bowen Tourism and Business, Leanne Abernethy said all expos and trade shows were a great way to showcase what we have to offer in the region.

“We spoke to thousands of people who were interested in visiting our piece of paradise,” she said.

“Growing the drive market is a very important part of what we do.

“We were able to provide people from Townsville and surrounds with information about Bowen, Collinsville, Airlie Beach and Proserpine.”

The expo is held annually and is the region’s largest and most successful event of its kind.

There were more than 100 exhibitors at this year’s Townsville Expo.

The Mackay Expo is being held this weekend, May 24-26, at the Mackay Showgrounds.

Glenn Womal representing Bowen Tourism and Business and Carolyn Bromley representing Tourism Whitsundays. Photo supplied

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Winners Announced For Bowen’s ‘Design Your Dream Jetty’ Art Competition

May 23, 2024

The winners of North Queensland Bulk Port’s (NQBP) ‘Design your Dream Jetty’ art competition were announced last week.

There were close to 100 entries in the competition, with the youth of Bowen submitting their designs in a special art competition which invited them to highlight ideas for a future jetty.

There were three categories - Lower Primary, Upper Primary and High School, and each category had two winners, the Winner and the Encouragement Award.

Piper from Bowen State Primary School won the Lower Primary School award.

From Queens Beach State School, Matilda won the Upper Primary School award and Elsie won the Lower Primary School Encouragement Award.

Ella from St Mary’s Catholic School won the Encouragement Award in the Upper Primary category.

Winners of the High School category were Sarah and Isaac.

All winners received a cash prize.

NQBP Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Brendan Webb said the competition provided Bowen youth with an opportunity to create artwork to represent their ideas for a future Jetty.
“We’ve received fantastic ideas from the young people of Bowen,” Mr Webb said.

“The entries showcased not only creativity in their designs but also practical safety and accessibility features, such as lighting,”

The competition is part of the government-owned port authority’s project to develop a concept design for the Bowen Jetty.

NQBP have been utilising the Bowen Jetty for tugboat operation for some time but are soon due to move this service away leaving the Jetty redundant.

To future proof this historic community asset, they have kindly coordinated a variety of outreach projects to source ideas for its next purpose in life.

Mr Webb said acknowledging history, public amenities and the opportunity for recreational activities will be core considerations in the design.

“Dating from the late 1860s, the current structure is nearing its end of life,” he said.

“However, thanks to a $50 million commitment from the State Government, the future of the jetty has been assured.”

NQBP CEO Brendan Webb with Lower Primary School winner Piper and Bowen State Primary Principal Christien Payne.

NQBP Senior Advisor Stakeholder Engagement Stacey Gibson with Upper Primary Encouragement Award winner Ella and St Mary's Catholic School Principal Alicia Ninnes.

Queens Beach State School Acting Principal Nadine Gibbons, NQBP CEO Brendan Webb and General Manager Infrastructure Tim Lewis with Upper Primary School winner Matilda and Lower Primary School Encouragement Award Elsie.

High School winner Sarah and Encouragement Award winner Isaac with NQBP Project Director Nawar Spear, CEO Brendan Webb and General Manager Infrastructure Tim Lewis.

Photos supplied

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From Paradise To Paris With Local Model Gizelle

May 23, 2024

Gizelle Lee, a beautiful young Whitsunday resident is about to head to Paris Fashion Week, having been selected by a Sunshine Coast Based modelling agency to represent their brand.

Gizelle is just 16 years old, and, for over a year, she has been pursuing a career in modelling.

Following her first modelling experience with Belle Le Chic, Gizelle was selected to be their signature model at the widely known fashion week.

Belle Le Chic also included a picture from the shoot on a billboard in Times Square, New York, and Gizelle has truly hit the ground running.

Modelling comes naturally for Gizelle who has been praised for her work in front of the camera.

Travelling to Paris Fashion Week, however, is a self-funded experience and Gizelle needs to raise money for herself and her mother as she is underage and cannot travel alone.

Determined to raise as much funds as possible Gizelle has been working at Little Vegas Burger & Bar to save for the travel costs.

To help her in her endeavours, Little Vegas Burger & Bar owner, Tristan, is preparing an in-house fundraiser whereby a portion of every special Gizelle burger sold will be donated towards her trip to Paris.

In addition, Gizelle has already organised car washes at her family business BASE 51, sausage sizzles and an event, all in hopes to raise enough for her to feature in the fashion week, which would be a huge scouting opportunity for her.

Gizelle is also in the development stages of creating a juice stand at the Airlie Beach Markets.

Called Coco Hut, Gizelle will be selling tropical drinks to thirsty customers.

In addition to all of Gizelle’s hard work, a GoFundMe has been started to further help with funds if needed.

Gizelle Lee on billboard in Times Square, New York

Gizelle Lee

Photos supplied

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May 23, 2024

When it comes to transport today, we are fortunate to have considerable choice in our means of travelling from point A to point B but not so in the early 20th century.
In the 1920s, there were initially only two cars in Proserpine – one belonging to Mr A J (Jack) Setter and one to Mr Laurie Fox. It is said that lots of school children paid 6 pence to have a ride in Mr Fox’s car.
Mr Setter had the first car in 1913 – a Studebaker and later two others including an Overlander. He established a livery stable in a two-storey building next to the Great Northern Hotel (now Metropole) where cars, horses and sulkies could be hired. It was usual in those early times for taxis to meet every train that pulled into the Proserpine Railway Station. On one occasion, Mr Setter picked up a southern couple who were not very impressed with his driving and complained. Imagine their horror when, while driving along, he lifted off the steering wheel, handed it to them and told them to drive. What they didn’t know was that the steering wheel was on a groove sprocket and could be lifted off. Setter had welded on a bar just below this by which he could steer the car. Not surprisingly, the couple reported him to the police.
Percy N Cornish, a forward thinker who saw a need in the district for more flexible transport options, was possibly the first to make car hire a full- time job beginning his business in 1922 driving a 1921 Overlander.
His father came to Proserpine where he bought the ABC Café which he later sold and moved to Home Hill to retire, however, Percy stayed on in Proserpine with his hire car business.
In those early days when the railway line was under construction, the railway workers would come in to Proserpine to enjoy their weekends. On their arrival, they would deposit a couple of pounds with the publican to pay their car hire. This was to ensure they would return to work on time, by way of Percy’s Hire Car.
Percy also transported most brides to church. One past local recalled a particular wedding where the groom was very agitated as the bride was half an hour late. She lived on the other side of town and the taxi had been held up by a train across the road.
Mr Cornish was renowned for his steady, safe and dependable driving which earned him the nickname of Second-Gear Percy, quite an achievement when one considers how rough the dirt roads were in those earlier times. Percy Cornish served for 27 years before ill heath compelled him to retire in 1949.
On December 22 1948, the “Proserpine Guardian” published details of the district’s businesses who advertised in the paper. Among those listed was Mr Jim Fraser, son of Mr and Mrs W Fraser. Jim took on farming in his early career then cane-cutting and dairy farming but owing to an accident to his hand, was forced to give up farming. He subsequently took over the taxi business from Mr Sorohan.
Also listed was Mr Bill Usher, another of Proserpine’s well-known taxi drivers. Bill arrived in Proserpine in 1925 and after varied jobs from cane-cutting to undertaking, took up the job in March of that year.
No doubt these forerunners in the car hire “industry” would be astounded at the availability of the hire car options we have today.  Hats off to them for their enterprise.

Story and photos courtesy Proserpine Historical Museum

Percy Cornish and his hire car
Bill Usher’s advert

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May 16, 2024

3 Towns, 3 Medals Up For Grabs!


Three towns in the Whitsundays are in the spotlight this week having all become finalists in the Queensland Top Tourism Town Awards.

Bowen, Airlie Beach and Collinsville have all been nominated in a different category so it is possible that all three could come home with a gold award if they receive the most amount of votes.

Tourism Whitsundays, Bowen Tourism and Business, Whitsunday Regional Council (and your favourite weekly newspaper!) are all asking everyone in the community to cast their votes today before voting closes at 5pm so the Whitsundays has a chance of bringing home triple gold!

Vote Now And Vote For All Three!

Voting for the Queensland Top Tourism Awards closes at 5pm today (Friday 17th May) and all residents are encouraged to take the time to vote for all three towns so the Whitsundays has a chance to bring home three gold medals in their respective categories.

Bowen has been nominated for the Top Tourism Town award because it has a population of more than 5000.

This is the fourth time Bowen has been a finalist for this award and it is hoped this will be the year they bring home the accolade.

Meanwhile, Airlie Beach is a finalist in the Top Small Tourism Town Award category for a population between 1,500 and 5,000.

Having won gold in this category for the last two years in a row, it is hoped this year will be a trifecta.

Finally, this is the first time Collinsville has been nominated and it is a proud moment to see them immediately become a finalist in the Top Tiny Tourism Town Awards, for a town with a population under 1,500.

Bowen Tourism and Business was instrumental in putting the submission together for Collinsville and are hoping the small town will get the recognition it deserves.

Jenn Honnery, Chair of Bowen Tourism and Business said they are very proud to see both Bowen and Collinsville make the finals as top tourism towns in Queensland.

“Over the past few years Collinsville has become a favourite stop for RVs and truly punches above its weight when it comes to delivering a rich and engaging experience for visitors,” she said.

Manager of Bowen Tourism and Business, Leanne Abernethy agreed, saying she hopes all three towns bring home an award.

“We are proud of our towns and our entire region and would be super excited if the three Whitsunday towns could all come home with Gold,” she expressed.

Tourism Whitsundays CEO, Rick Hamilton encouraged locals and visitors alike to vote for The Whitsundays towns. 

“We have the opportunity to claim all three titles!” he said.  

“Winning all three categories would highlight the incredible diversity and unforgettable experiences The Whitsundays offer and put us, once again, on the national stage." 

Mayor Ry Collins added that he’s thrilled to see the Whitsundays' towns represented across all categories in the Queensland Top Tourism Town Awards. 
“This recognition not only celebrates the beauty of our region and the unique experiences we have to offer, but also the dedication of our local community and businesses in creating unforgettable memories for visitors,” Mayor Collins said. 
“I urge everyone to cast their votes and support our towns as we aim for a clean sweep in showcasing the best of what the Whitsundays has to offer." 

Queensland residents and visitors are encouraged to cast their votes for their favourite destinations before voting closes on Friday May 17th at 5pm.

Presented by the Queensland Tourism Industry Council (QTIC), the awards recognise outstanding regional communities that excel in providing exceptional visitor experiences.  

Queensland winners will be announced in a function in Brisbane on June 7.

State winners will progress to the national Top Tourism Town Awards later this year.  

Last year Airlie Beach tourism operators gathered to celebrate the announcement that Airlie Beach had won the Top Small Tourism Town Award for the second time in a row. Photo credit: Rachael Smith

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Editors Note Whittsundays

May 16, 2024

Hi Everyone,

I was at the gym chatting to a fellow step-class participant earlier this week when we got talking about volunteering for committees.

She told me a hilarious story about a P&C sausage sizzle committee meeting years ago when her children were young – the group of volunteers were all fussing and overthinking the little details so much that she asked a simple question:

“How much are we aiming to fundraise?”

To which she was told, $150 – and, without thinking, she whipped out her purse and handed over $150 to the shock and awe of the rest of the volunteers.

“There you go!” she said, before walking out with a smile on her face.

Despite this lady’s calamitous experience volunteering, we all know how rewarding contributing to our community can be – in fact, if you have any spare time there are many local groups, events and charities that would appreciate your support.

One of these is the Great Barrier Reef Festival which is holding a Meet and Greet at Boaty’s in Airlie Beach this Tuesday at 5pm – go along to find out more!

Over the years I’ve been part of the Whitsunday Writers Festival committee which sadly lost its founder Gloria Burley when she passed away several years ago.

Last year I was approached by a small group of people hoping to re-start the festival and I was thrilled to re-join what I think will be an amazing revival of a special local event.

A big thanks to Richard and Julia Evans for being the festival convenors and doing the majority of heavy lifting to re-establish this fantastic event – they have created an incredible ‘festival model’ which will be used now and into the future.

They have also been able to secure some amazing authors including the popular Sally Hepworth who will be hosting a special festival High Tea.

Early bird tickets are selling fast so make sure you gather your book-loving pals and reserve your spot by visiting whitsundayswriters.com.

We’d love to see you there!


Quote of the Week: “Think before you speak. Read before you think” Fran Lebowitz

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Free Seedlings From Plant Girl

May 16, 2024

For four years now Oceana Little has been selling plants for pocket money and her entrepreneurial spirit has become quite well known in the community, giving her the affectionate nickname of ‘plant girl’.

Growing almost any variety of plants and vegetables, Oceana has grown lettuce, tomato, capsicums and many others.

When they reach a good size, she then sells her plants for $1 or $2 for some pocket money and she loves doing it.

With her reputation for loving plants, many people in the community have started donating plants or seedlings to Oceana so she can continue her legacy as ‘plant girl’.

This kind gesture, however, has left Oceana with an over-abundance, so she decided it was time to spread the love of nature within the community by offering some of the plants and seedlings to anyone who might like them.

She has started to give her seedlings away for free to either kids or adults, whoever wants to take them!

Oceana has grown up knowing that it’s good to give and it was entirely her idea to give the seeds away for free.

Her mother said, “it’s good to pass things on when other kids could make use of it, and she’s grown up knowing that.”

Oceana’s mum posted on Facebook advertising the giveaway and they still have some left if anyone would like any.

Oceana Little is giving away some extra plants and seedlings to members of the community. Photo supplied

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New Whitsunday Mayor Attends Bowen Chamber Event

May 16, 2024

By Paul Gellatly

Bowen’s harbour and foreshore area, and Abbot Point, will be priority areas in master planning for the region by the new Whitsunday Regional Council.

Mayor Ry Collins, a month after being sworn in, was addressing Bowen Chamber of Commerce's May meeting to describe his vision for the Whitsunday region in his first term.

The new mayor is planning to bring his considerable experience in agriculture, construction, the public sector and industry to bear on his new role and says he has identified opportunities in the Whitsunday region.

He also says there is considerable scope to increase the level of co-operation between the council with industry, government and business for the benefit of the entire region.

"This region is not a collection of towns but a vibrant community," he said.

Mr Collins said the new strategy for the region was being readied in the lead-up to the state election later this year, with a focus on economic development. He said there was an "appetite for partnerships" in new projects.

"We want to see development opportunities progress," he said, with Bowen Harbour being one of the major priorities.

Also of concern for the strategy was Abbot Point, where the Gilmour Space rocket base and a hydrogen production facility were located.

Chamber Chairman Bruce Hedditch had complained that Gilmour Space's Eris rocket launch from the spaceport "is being held up by paperwork."

"Bowen is becoming frustrated and is looking to the new council to support projects," Mr Hedditch said.

Mr Collins said there "is continuing opportunity around our harbour and foreshore area, and around Abbot Point," while Mr Hedditch noted that "Bowen Harbour businesses are yet to get an extension of their leases to 2033 as part of the new mayor's town plan strategy, which currently is being formulated. It is heading in the right direction."

Mr Collins said the relationship with the State Government would be a major priority of his new council. He also said he would head to Canberra in July in an effort to step up engagement with the Federal Government.

He would travel to Brisbane in early June to meet with the Transport Minister and the Premier to discuss issues including the Bowen jetty project, presently being considered by jetty leaseholder North Queensland Bulk Ports (NQBP), which is leading the plan to redevelop the jetty as NQBP prepares to open a new tug base closer to Abbot Point. Mr Hedditch said the chamber is concerned about the direction that the project is going. "We wanted to keep what we have and rebuild it," and he appealed to the new council for any  help.

New Whitsunday Mayor Ry Collins visits Bowen. Photo credit: Paul Gellatly

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May 16, 2024

• Federal Government released Tuesday night
   • $9.3M surplus announced, 1st back-to-back in a decade
   • Power Bill Relief – all households receive $300 rebate
   • Cost of Living Relief - Tax Cuts on average $1,888
   • Publicly Funded Paid Parental Leave increases $106 a week
   • Rent Assistance - $250 a Fortnight for welfare recipients
   • Reduced Prescription Costs - no-one pays more than $31.60
   • Student Debt Wiped - $3 million debts removed

Big Budget Spends
While Whitsunday Region Sidelined

Tax cuts set to ease the cost of living, $300 energy bill rebates, rental assistance for welfare recipients and reduced costs of prescription medication – these are just some of the key outcomes of the Federal Budget released by Treasurer Jim Chalmers on Tuesday night.

Despite these national game-changers, Federal Member for Dawson Andrew Willcox, is frustrated that our region has once again missed out allocations that were awarded to other areas.

The biggest point of contention for Mr Willcox is the Bruce Highway, where funds were given for upgrades both north and south of the region and to a new in-land highway, but nothing to fix the issues we currently have on our main road.

“The Bruce Highway is how we get our products to market and how we get our supplies up from the city, it’s a lifeline for us,” expressed Mr Willcox.

“They’ve given money for the Bruce north and south and money for the new inland Bruce, but I want to fix what we’ve currently got.

“Our section of the Bruce is rated the worst in the whole of the Bruce Highway, so I’ve been pushing for some money for that but, once again, we’ve missed out.”

Another budget decision which will directly affect the Whitsunday region is the Environmental Management Charge (EMC) which will see tourism operators having to incorporate this new fee into their prices.

“They’ve increased the EMC so that’s going to make it more difficult for our tourism industry in making our visitors pay more,” he explained.

“The tourism operators are world-class operators, but they have to pass their costs on.”

Despite his disappointment, Mr Willcox says that he will continue to constantly push for projects and funding to explore every avenue he can.

“I’ll be going through the whole of the budget and trying to identify what buckets have the money to then see if I can get some of that for my people. They contribute so much, we deserve to have some of that money coming back,” he stated.

“I’m not putting the white flag up or giving up, I’ll be constantly trying to look for what we can do, putting business cases forward and lobbying for my people to make sure we can get our fair share.

“I’m not being greedy here, but I want something. We’re the biggest sugar growing area in the country and 80% of our sugar is exported, that’s export dollars growing Australia’s economy.

“We’ve got over half a billion dollars of horticultural crop in Bowen, there’s export there too. That’s money for the country, so where is the money generated here coming back to us?

“Even though this has been a slap in the face for us, I won’t be giving up. I’ll be following this through and, every time there’s an opportunity to stand up for the people of Dawson, that’s what I’ll be doing.”’

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Banjos Blues Much-Loved Venue On Cusp Of Closure

May 16, 2024

Rumours have abounded about the impending closure of much-loved local venue, Banjos Bar and Grill which has been a staple for residents of Cannonvale for many years.

Speculation has been rife about this sudden news with staff allegedly being given notice just weeks before the closure.

A representative from business, however, confirmed this week that they are hoping the matter could be resolved if the right lease agreement comes into place.

Negotiations with the landlord, Whitsunday Shopping Centre, are currently underway.

Due to this uncertainty, Banjos will indeed close this Friday 17th May, but it is hoped this will be a temporary measure before a new lease can be agreed upon.

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Mackay Cutters Rookie Cutters Clinic

May 16, 2024

Kids from around the region had the opportunity to meet and get a free coaching session from their local heroes at the Mackay Cutters Rookie Clinic which took place at the Whitsunday Sportspark last Friday.

At the Clinic, the kids were coached by players and were put through drills to sharpen their rugby skills.

The afternoon was filled with laughs and knowledgeable insight for the youngsters before ending the session with a fun game of touch and a free sausage sizzle.

The Cutters were in Airlie Beach ahead of their Saturday night match against the Burleigh Bears which saw hundreds of people attend to show their support.

The sunset created a beautiful backdrop for the start of the match in front of the Airlie Beach crowd.

Burleigh Bears pulled an early lead in the match but the Mackay Cutters narrowed the gap with a converted try.

The Cutters displayed some great defence in the second half but unfortunately couldn’t hold the Burleigh Bears out forever.

The final score was 12-28 to Burleigh Bears.

The Bears now sit top of the table and the Cutters are in sixth.

The Mackay Cutters hosted a Rookie Clinic at the Whitsunday Sportspark last Friday.
Photo credit: Daniel Heggie

It was all action in the match between Mackay Cutters and Burleigh Bears
Photo credit: Mackay Cutters, Ben Van Moolenbroek.

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Whitsunday Represents At Mackay Mayor’s Ball

May 16, 2024

More than 400 people attended the Mackay Mayor’s Ball on Saturday evening, including Whitsunday Mayor Ry Collins who said he was thrilled to be a part of the event.

He also announced that the Whitsunday Mayor’s Ball will likely be held at the Proserpine Entertainment Centre in September, and that Mackay Mayor Greg Williamson will of course be invited along with the new Isaac Mayor, Kelly Vea Vea.

Federal Member for Dawson, Andrew Willcox MP and his lovely wife, Raylene, were also in attendance on the night along with four members of the Mackay and Whitsunday Life team.

The theme of the evening was Iconic Mackay and Channel 7’s Weekender host Chris Parsons was the evening’s emcee.

In addition, Luke Curtis from Century 21 Mackay, was the event’s auctioneer who did a fantastic job in hosting the charity auction.

Last year the event raised over $100,000 for charity and organisers are hoping to raise more this year, with final figures expected to be released next week.

Funds raised at the event will be donated to two incredible local charities this year – the Australian Street Aid Project and Grapevine Group.

While charity was at the event’s heart, so too was a night of dancing and merriment.

There was entertainment by Mango Junction and then ball-goers enjoyed further live music by the world-class Elton John Experience.

Raylene Willcox, Federal Member for Dawson Andrew Willcox, Rachael Smith Editor of Whitsunday Life Newspaper, Mackay Mayor Greg Williamson, Mackay Deputy Mayor Belinda Hassan, Whitsunday Mayor Ry Collins with his wife Mel, and Ruby Gorlick from Whitsunday Life Newspaper. Photo credit: Liz Andrews

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