Whitsunday Region Community News

KITCHEN GARDENS  Norina Jane  Whitpro

KITCHEN GARDENS Norina Jane Whitpro

Occasionally, despite best intentions, things get missed in my vegie patch. Consequently, I’ve had a couple of plant issues to deal with of late, so I thought I’d talk vegie garden problem solving over the next few weeks.

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That Ringing In Your Ears?

That Ringing In Your Ears?

Many of you may have heard about tinnitus or personally experienced it for yourself. Tinnitus is when you experience ringing or other noises in one or both of your ears. Some people experience a hum, buzz, cricket or high-pitched squeal which may be constant, intermittent and can sometimes change in tone, pitch or intensity.

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Race To Be Mayor

Race To Be Mayor

Race To Be Mayor 1. What would a council under your Mayorship do to help its constituents in relation to raising interest rates? 2. If you weren’t running, which candidate would you be voting for? Why so? 3. How would you use your platform to secure more support from state and federal government for the region?

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Biggest Book Bonanza Ever

Biggest Book Bonanza Ever

Paperbacks were flying off the shelf in July for Proserpine Museum’s Book Bonanza with the local institution reporting this year was its best ever, both in terms of donations and funds raised.

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Coral Sea Marina Named ‘World’s Best Superyacht Marina’

August 11, 2022

One of the Great Barrier Reef’s most popular and awarded destination marinas has claimed another award: the ‘World’s Best Superyacht Marina’ 2022 in the prestigious ACREW Superyacht Business Awards last week.

Coral Sea Marina Resort won the title in the ACREW Superyacht Business Awards – which are considered globally to be the most recognised award program in the Superyacht industry.

The selected finalists are voted on by ACREW’s extensive network of over 15,000 captains and crew across the globe.

“When I purchased the marina from the receivers in 2013, my vision was to create the Monaco of the South Pacific,” Coral Sea Marina owner, Paul Darrouzet said.

“I expected the transformation to take five years. I did not envisage enduring a major natural disaster or a global pandemic, but throughout it all, we have survived and thrived.”

It adds another jewel to Coral Sea Marina Resort’s crown, which includes Australia’s Marina of the Year in 2017/2018, 2019/2020 and was entered into the Hall of Fame in 2021.”

“Being awarded the world’s Best Superyacht Marina just as we have entered our tenth year of operations, is not only the ultimate accolade – it is a vision realized,” Mr Darrouzet said.

International marina finalists in this category were Porto Montenegro, Rhodes Marina, Marina Genova, Limassol Marina (Cyprus), and Coral Sea Marina Resort.

The award acknowledges the marina with the highest standard of facilities, services and hospitality in the world.

“The past few years have dealt our business some major losses, which makes this win all the more meaningful,” Kate Purdie, CEO of Coral Sea Marina said.

“I could not be more proud of the dedicated and passionate team I have the privilege of working with every day and their seamless delivery of transformational guest experiences.”

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“Whoever Comes To Me Will Never Go Hungry”

August 12, 2022

Two local pastors are utilising the platform of their church to make positive change in the community, one bag of groceries at a time.

Whitsunday Impact Church pastors Sam and Josh Faltinsky began their ‘Community Pantry’ six weeks ago, distributing food to “those who need it most” in the small sugar town.

Taking in donations of canned goods, vouchers, groceries, and more from locals, their Community Pantry has quickly taken off – both on the donation and collection front.

People from “all walks of life” have dropped by in their time of need to receive food assistance, as well as drop off astounding donations.

“We’ve had people drop by a full $500 dollars’ worth of groceries for donation, and we’ve had up to $1500 in vouchers for those in need, too,” Pastor Josh Faltinsky said.

His wife and co-pastor, Sam Faltinsky, said the idea was to help the community originally through crisis care - helping a few people find a room for the night.

It quickly became apparent locals needed more help than just housing, and Sam said it was now “a way to help people eat every week.”

“The cost of living has gone crazy, and we were helping these people with rooms, but what they really needed a lot of the time was food,” she said.

“We started collecting donations as a church: non-perishable items that we’d be giving out.

“It just grew from there, and now we have a huge collection of food that comes in every week, and then disappears when we open up our doors on a Tuesday. People in the community pop by for their free bag of food, no questions asked.”

Josh said it was a way for their church to “fill the gap” that was being felt in Proserpine, with the town’s extremely limited options for assistance of this type.

“We’re kind of the third party that is distributing the generosity. We’ve found a real need, and we’ll fill the gap. We want to keep growing it,” he said.

“Now, we’re wanting for our community to rise up as well and take responsibility of those less fortunate.

“I can see it being open more than one day soon – we just need more volunteers – and it could be a whole warehouse of food for those in need eventually.”

Whitsunday Impact Church Community Pantry is being run as an entirely volunteer operation each Tuesday, opening at 9.00am to 12.00pm at the 202-204 Bruce Highway church.

“Our biggest heart as a church is: what can we do for our community. How are we giving back and impacting our community,” Sam said.

“You can come in, no strings attached, it’s just if you need a hand, come in and get a bag of food.”

Local pastors in Proserpine, Sam and Josh Faltinsky, have begun a ‘Community Pantry’, donating grocery goods to “those who need it most”

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August 12, 2022

Today - August 12 - marks 125 years since the first police station was opened in Proserpine.

Before our first “permanent” police presence:

In the early days of settlement, police protection in Proserpine was scant indeed. Members of the Colonial Police Force were responsible for patrolling huge areas of land throughout Queensland. Such was the case for Ferdinand Tompson who travelled by horseback with an aboriginal tracker scouting ahead of him. His police district encompassed all the land bordered by settlements of Proserpine, Cairns and Georgetown and he would take twelve months to cover the district. In the course of his travels, Tompson often stayed at Goorganga (then known as Bromby Park) with his sister, Rebecca Bode. His final resting place is in the Proserpine Cemetery.

Finally, an official police station of our own:

• On August 12, 1897, the Proserpine Police Station – if one could call it that – opened on two acres of land purchased from Proserpine Central Mill directors at £7/acre. It consisted of two duck tents (12 foot by 10 foot) and flys – one for an office; the other for a dwelling. The lockup was primitive - prisoners were chained to a large, heavy log under a massive Moreton Bay fig.

• Constables Tasker and Sherlock and a tracker, patrolled the district on horseback.

• On February 3 1898, a cyclone destroyed the station but requests for a building were ignored.

• In October/November, a police hut was completed after three District Justices of the Peace complained about the inhumane act of chaining prisoners to a log and that police were still living in tents.

• By the end of 1898, the Proserpine district was declared a place for holding Court of Petty Sessions and with a growing population, residents felt a building was appropriate.

• By 1899, a combined police station and courthouse had been erected on the corner of Main Street and what is now known as Mill Street.

When the “silent cops” came to town:

Did you know that Proserpine had two “silent cops” back in 1935? And no, these were not shy recruits.

• Traffic domes made from stone, concrete, metal or other substances were installed in the centre of the road, rising above the road’s surface. They were fitted with reflectors and painted to improve visibility.

• These domes replaced a policeman who, in earlier times, was on point duty at some intersections to direct vehicles in heavy traffic areas. They took on the nickname, “silent cop”.

• Proserpine Council installed two domes, one on Main Street at the Chapman Street intersection and the other at the junction of Mill Street. Drivers had to keep the “cop” on the right when making turns.

     It was hoped these would minimise accidents at these corners.

• The “silent cop” disappeared from Queensland roads on Monday, October 1 1962.

Moving forward:

• Over time, there were alterations and extensions to the police station/courthouse built in 1899 – most notable was in 1938 when a major addition saw the complex extended further down Mill Street.

• On June 9, 1967, a new complex consisting of two separate buildings was opened. The police station was built in its current position in Mill Street approximately on its original site while the courthouse was built in Main Street where it still exists today.

• In response to growth in the district, the Cannonvale Police Station, built as a two-officer station, opened on November 30, 1979. Then, in June 2009, a new $11.9 million building including a modern eight-cell facility on site and a major incident room was opened beside the original station.

How times have changed.

Story and photo courtesy of Proserpine Historical Museum

Police station and courthouse complex cicra 1950s

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Coral Coverage On Reef At Record Levels

August 12, 2022

Some areas of Great Barrier Reef are reporting their highest amount of coral coverage in 36 years of monitoring as it recovers from past storms and mass-bleaching events – including reefs in the Whitsundays.

Coral coverage is the proportion of the reef covered by sponges, algae, and other organisms – which has improved significantly in the northern and central sections of the 2300-kilometre reef.

Coral cover has reached record highs according to new data from the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS), part of a three decade-long monitoring mission.

Dr Paul Hardisty, CEO of Australian Institute of Marine Science, said he would categorise the story as “good and bad news.”

“The good news is obviously the north and central areas have reached record coral, and that signals the reef is resilient,” he said.

“The not so good news is the recent bleaching events in 2020 and 2022 signal the reef is in a different era than it was 36 years ago.

“The easy thing to take away from this story is: coral cover is as good as it was in the 80s. But are the conditions the same? No. We’re walking a tight-rope and that recovery isn’t going to continue unless we act to turn it around.”

Dr Mike Emslie, who leads the AIMS’s long-term monitoring program, elaborated: “the resurgence could be short-lived with the increase driven by fast-growing Acropora corals that are highly susceptible to bleaching, wave damage associated with cyclones and outbreaks of crown-of-thorns starfish.”

"This isn't the first time the Great Barrier Reef has recovered. It's been seen before. The rate of increase has been seen before. But all it takes is another summer of bad bleaching or a cyclone, which we haven't had for a while, and things can change,” he said.

The latest monitoring report is based on surveys at 87 reefs between August last year and May this year. About half of that work was done before this year's bleaching event.

Dr Hardisty said there were three things we could do.

“Bring global emissions down as quickly as possible, continue to protect the reef’s resilience through crown-of-thorns starfish management, water quality, and the third thing is help the reef adapt to climate change,” he said.

“If you give the reef a chance, it can recover. If the disturbances like cyclones and bleaching come too frequently, it won’t.”

The Great Barrier Reef is showing its resilience in the face of increasingly frequent coral bleaching events, but scientists say it still needs our help

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Bogie Tragedy: Alleged Gunman Faces Court

August 11, 2022

The man at the centre of a Queensland cattle property triple-homicide which shook a small rural town between Collinsville and Bowen appeared in court for the first time on Monday.

He did not appear in person - instead via video-link from the Cannonvale Watchhouse - due to concerns for his safety following the assessment of the security facilities at the Proserpine Magistrates Court.

At the hearing, Darryl Valroy Young, a 59-year-old, long-time resident of Bogie, was charged with three counts of murder and another count of attempted murder.

The matter has been adjourned to a location closer to the alleged triple homicide: Bowen Magistrates Court on November 1.

In the aftermath, the town of Bogie is reeling from an incident that could “only have happened in the United States, not here”.

Police allege the incident occurred in the early morning of last Thursday.

At 9.00am, Thursday, August 4 Police allege they received a report that three people had been fatally shot at a property on Shannonvale Road, and another man, Ross Tighe, suffered a gunshot wound to the abdomen.

Police said Mr Tighe, 30, managed to flee the scene in a red ute and alerted them to the shooting. Police and Ambulance services arrived, as well as RACQ CQ Rescue Helicopters, who flew Mr Tighe to Mackay Base Hospital where he received life-saving surgery.

Police soon announce a Public Safety Preservation Act (PSPA) covering a large swath of Bogie, one which they later revoked in favour of a smaller area centred around the actual site of the shooting.

The victims of the alleged shooting were soon identified as Ross Tighe’s family members - stepfather Mervyn Schwarz, his mother Maree Schwarz, and brother Graham Tighe – all of whom were shot dead at the front gate of the cattle property on Shannonvale Road.

Police Detective Inspector, Tom Armitt, said police received confused reports about where the crime scene was located as the properties were “tens of thousands of acres” large, which led to an almost day-long traversal of the crime scene.

“[Police had] no idea who or where the [alleged] shooting offender was,” Detective Inspector Armitt said.

But believed he was armed with a rifle, meaning officers were “in danger of being shot from any distance.”

“So that was slow and meticulous work and extremely brave of the officers who were involved.”

The investigation and travel through the rural country of Bogie lasted into the night, until three persons of interest were arrested – later identified as Mr Young, his son and a female member of the family - along with two members of a power company who had been working on the property but were not believed to be involved in the dispute.

None of the party had any idea that the murders that had taken place until police arrived.

After giving statements, all were released except Mr Young, who was taken to Bowen Police station and charged on Friday afternoon with the triple-homicide.

Police will allege a “conversation” between the victims and the alleged shooter occurred the night before (Wednesday, August 3) the incident. This conversation then led to a meeting at a gate between their properties on Thursday.

“What we do know is that all parties are neighbours, some conversation has occurred between the parties and resulted in a meeting up at the party’s boundary line earlier that morning when the incident occurred,” Detective Armitt said.

“We understand that there was a conversation the night before and that was the reason they met the next morning.

“There was an invitation for them to go there and discuss.”

Police will allege Mr Young then murdered the family at the front of the Shannonvale Rd property over an ongoing dispute about land boundaries.

Mr Young is due to appear in Bowen magistrates court on 1 November.

Two of the victims of a triple-homicide in Bogie were identified as Maree and Mervyn Schwarz

The other was identified as Graham Tighe

Ross Tighe (R) was the sole survivor of the event and underwent lifesaving surgery at Mackay Base Hospital, having been shot by the alleged gunman in the abdomen

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Coral Coverage On Reef At Record Levels

August 11, 2022

Some areas of Great Barrier Reef are reporting their highest amount of coral coverage in 36 years of monitoring as it recovers from past storms and mass-bleaching events – including reefs in the Whitsundays.

Coral coverage is the proportion of the reef covered by sponges, algae, and other organisms – which has improved significantly in the northern and central sections of the 2300-kilometre reef.

Coral cover has reached record highs according to new data from the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS), part of a three decade-long monitoring mission.

Dr Paul Hardisty, CEO of Australian Institute of Marine Science, said he would categorise the story as “good and bad news.”

“The good news is obviously the north and central areas have reached record coral, and that signals the reef is resilient,” he said.

“The not so good news is the recent bleaching events in 2020 and 2022 signal the reef is in a different era than it was 36 years ago.

“The easy thing to take away from this story is: coral cover is as good as it was in the 80s. But are the conditions the same? No. We’re walking a tight-rope and that recovery isn’t going to continue unless we act to turn it around.”

Dr Mike Emslie, who leads the AIMS’s long-term monitoring program, elaborated: “the resurgence could be short-lived with the increase driven by fast-growing Acropora corals that are highly susceptible to bleaching, wave damage associated with cyclones and outbreaks of crown-of-thorns starfish.”

"This isn't the first time the Great Barrier Reef has recovered. It's been seen before. The rate of increase has been seen before. But all it takes is another summer of bad bleaching or a cyclone, which we haven't had for a while, and things can change,” he said.

The latest monitoring report is based on surveys at 87 reefs between August last year and May this year. About half of that work was done before this year's bleaching event.

Dr Hardisty said there were three things we could do.

“Bring global emissions down as quickly as possible, continue to protect the reef’s resilience through crown-of-thorns starfish management, water quality, and the third thing is help the reef adapt to climate change,” he said.

“If you give the reef a chance, it can recover. If the disturbances like cyclones and bleaching come too frequently, it won’t.”

The Great Barrier Reef is showing its resilience in the face of increasingly frequent coral bleaching events, but scientists say it still needs our help

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Glamping To Arrive At Lake Proserpine

August 12, 2022

choice will soon be yours with new Lake Proserpine caretakers, Red Cat Adventures, announcing glamping will be added to the ever-improving tourism locale.

Only new as custodians of Lake Proserpine, Red Cat Adventures Director, Julie Telford, said her business – a famed Whitsunday tourism operator - wasn’t resting on its laurels, and have already been in proactive planning for the future, which included the addition of this new tourism offering.

“We are excited to announce that we aim to be offering “Glamping” tents in time for the September school holidays,” Ms Telford said.

“Lake Proserpine will still be a relaxed outback environment, it will still be bush camping, but by adding the option of “Glamping” visitors can now choose the type of experience which suits them.”

“We will also use our extensive experience and knowledge of the tourism industry to raise the profile of Proserpine as a destination which will have a flow-on benefit to the town’s local businesses.”

Glamping, a portmanteau of glamorous and camping, describes camping with amenities not usually associated with traditional bush camping – think luxurious tent-living.

Ms Telford said they were confident on expanding the Lake Proserpine experience even further.

“[We want to] improve on the land and water activities,” she said.

“There are also plans to introduce low-impact water sports, so it is timely for Red Cats to expand and invest in new land-based projects in the region.”

Ms Telford said it was a “slice of paradise” and the new caretakers Ilze and Mark Huston, are passionate about their roles and enthusiastic about meeting and greeting visitors daily.

Acting Mayor John Collins said it was exciting to have the multi award-winning Red Cat Adventures onboard and helping to grow the Lake Proserpine experience.

“Regional tourism is booming and we look forward to the exciting initiatives that such a proactive local tourism stakeholder like Red Cat can bring to make Lake Proserpine a must visit for tourists,” Acting Mayor Collins said.

A new tourism offering ‘Glamping’ is coming to Lake Proserpine courtesy of its new caretakers, Red Cat Adventures

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Election Day This Saturday

August 11, 2022

On August 13, thousands of Whitsunday residents will cast their vote in the Whitsunday Mayoral by-election at voting booths across the region.

More than 4000 people have already taken advantage of early voting ahead of the Saturday mandatory vote, according to the Electoral Commission of Queensland (ECQ).

They expect up to 12,000 more people could cast their vote at one of four early voting polling booths in Bowen, Cannonvale, Collinsville, and Proserpine before Saturday.

Electoral Commissioner Pat Vidgen said Whitsunday early voters were making the most of early voting options, including voting in person at early voting centres, via postal votes or telephone voting for those eligible.

“We still expect around 40 or 50 per cent of votes to be cast before Saturday’s polling day,” Mr Vidgen said.

“We know the last couple of days before election day are always busy so we encourage anyone interested in voting early, to get in early to avoid queues.”

Early voting booths are open daily in Bowen, Cannonvale and Proserpine from 9am to 5pm, except Friday when they close at 6pm. Collinsville opens today until Thursday from 1pm to 5pm and from 1pm to 6pm on Friday.

• Bowen PCYC, corner Hay St and Queens Rd, Bowen

• Whitsunday Shopping Centre, shop 150/226 Shute Harbour Rd, Cannonvale

• Collinsville Community Centre, 11 Conway Street, Collinsville

• Proserpine Whitsunday Freemason Lodge, 29 Chapman St, Proserpine

Voters have until midday on Saturday to register for telephone voting and can vote up until 6pm on election night. To register phone 1300 912 782.

Telephone voting is available to those who meet certain criteria, including having to isolate due to a COVID-19 diagnosis or those who are interstate or overseas.

Where To Vote On Election Day:

Five polling booths will be open from 8am to 6pm on election day, Saturday 13 August:

• Cannonvale State School, 56 Coral Esplanade, Cannonvale

• Collinsville Community Centre, 11 Conway Street, Collinsville

• Father Tom Guard Hall, St Catherine’s Catholic College, 90 Renwick Road, Proserpine

• Hamilton Island Resort, Hamilton Island

• Bowen PCYC, Corner Hay St and Queens Rd, Bowen

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No Serious Injuries In latest Bruce Highway Car Accident

August 9, 2022

Authorities have confirmed that there are no serious injuries in the road incident which took place between a vehicle and truck on the Bruce Highway at the intersection of Sawmill Dr and Myrtlevale this afternoon.

Queensland Police Services were called at 1.14pm this afternoon and were told that a female was stuck in the car.

Queensland Fire and emergency Services were the first to attend at 1.30pm this afternoon and a spokesperson said that equipment was used to remove the door of the vehicle as the passenger was ‘encapsulated’ but not trapped.

A Queensland Ambulance Services spokesperson said that Paramedics transported four patients to Proserpine Hospital including a male teen for precaution, two female children - one with a minor head injury and the second for precaution – as well as one female in her 20s with head, neck and hip injuries that are not serious.

The highway was closed in both directions and re-opened at 2.30pm. Police are still investigating the cause.

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“Cone-gratulations!” The Inside Scoop On Airlie’s New Gelateria!

August 4, 2022

A newly minted gelato store on Airlie Beach’s main strip is churning freshly made authentic gelato in store - both classic and inventive - since opening on July 14 and is fast becoming a favourite for the locals.

Gelatissimo Airlie Beach is serving Whitsunday residents and tourists alike with gelato made “for the flavour obsessed”.

Drawing customers with its gorgeous storefront that screams modern gelato parlour and harkens an authentic Italian gelateria, Gelatissimo is pulling in passers-by with its aesthetic, and keeping them with tasty treats.

The gelato franchise, which started in King Street, Sydney in 2002, may have stores across the globe nowadays, but franchisee of Gelatissimo Airlie Beach, David Lim, said it was, in its creamy heart, an artisanal gelato store focused on community.

“Gelatissimo is a business about small moments; it’s a business about making Australians smile over a scoop of gelato,” Mr Lim said.

“Whether that be in Gelatissimo itself, in a park – or here in Airlie Beach by the lagoon, that’s the beauty of gelato.”

Gelatissimo has been wanting to bring its famous gelato far north – and Airlie Beach seemed like a match made in heaven.

“We thought: Airlie Beach, with its tourists and local people, and its weather, is perfect for gelato. They deserve a brand that’s made for the seekers of indulgence, and flavour cravers alike here in Airlie,” Mr Lim said.

With over 30 flavours in total available at Airlie, it’s easy to see why they’re the cherry atop the gelato world, with popular flavours like award winning Mango sorbet made with Australian Kensington Pride Mangoes, and Deluxe Wicked Double Choc Brownie that just won gold at the Australian Dairy industry Awards.

“Things like perfect texture, flavour, and hard work makes us different from any other gelato or ice cream shop,” Mr Lim said.

“We introduce new and exciting flavours monthly. They’re creative and have a touch of localisation; for example, we have an exclusive Airlie Beach Tropical Sunrise flavour that’s a refreshing Passionfruit and Yuzu sorbet.

“That’s reflected in the store. We want customers to feel really welcomed and to feel free to explore flavours, rather than getting the same every time.

“We want them to be happier when they leave than when they came in; for us, it’s a dream job. No one is angry when they come in to get gelato – but we want them to be even happier because that puts a smile on our faces.

“I see that Airlie is a tight-knit community and I know that when I treat them well, that is treating the community well.

“Whatever we can do, we want to give back to the locals.”

Gelatissimo Airlie Beach has been open for just shy of a month, but the gelateria is already raking in the approval from satisfied locals!

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Bucket Brigade Saves Town

August 4, 2022

At 1 am on October 19, 1949, an early morning wake-up call shook the residents of Proserpine as a disastrous fire swept through the wood and iron buildings in Main Street. Residents were awakened by the glare or falling glass. Most business people living away from Main Street were wakened by the Post Office exchange ringing their homes, or the railway engine incessantly blowing a warning signal.

The fire started in Exelby's building (Filby’s side of the street). Mr Exelby was sleeping on the premises, upper level, and fled in his night attire after waking his co-worker, Mr Cole, who slept on the veranda. He stated that at the end of the evening, there was fire burning in his stove at the rear of the cafe. Being in the habit of allowing the fire to burn out, he was awakened by the heat and smoke.

The fire soon became a raging inferno covering a 40-yard (36.5m) frontage to Main Street as the south easterly wind intensified with the advance of rain. It burnt through three other businesses - Briggs & Mazlin’s (auctioneers and commission agent), Gillespies’ Mercery Department (owned by Mr F. Wilson) and Foxlee’s Butchery. (This area extends from the site of the current café next to the Metropole Hotel to the newsagency in Main Street)

At the time, there was no official fire brigade and no reticulated water but the fire was eventually controlled by 3 am thanks to a bucket brigade. Almost 100 people, some in their pyjamas, fought the fire for two hours - buckets, copper boilers, basins, a baby’s bath and tubs were used; anything that would hold water. Rain water tanks were smashed open with axes to increase the flow of water. Hoses were coupled to wind-mill water tanks to supplement the rain water supply.

Fanned by the breeze, the flames reached out across Main Street to Faust Bros’ Hardware and John Maltby and Co. businesses. Plate glass windows were cracked and paint blistered and peeled. Newly built businesses with brick walls on either side of the burnt-out buildings prevented more damage. These were the Co-operative Society store to the east and Mr A J Dobbins’ premises occupied by Mr P Casey (barber) and Mr. Viv Ball (billiard saloon proprietor) to the west.

Daylight showed burnt twisted sheets of iron and charred wood. The council cleared debris from the street and extinguished smouldering debris. Electricity was restored by 7.30am and work commenced to replace the awning in front of the Co-op which was torn off to prevent the spread of fire. Damage was estimated to be between £20,000 and £30,000. Fortunately, all businesses were insured.

It was almost twelve months before, in September 1950, the Council advertised for a part time Fire Chief and land for a Fire Station and residence was purchased in Main Street. But there was still no reticulated water in town so an 800-gallon tank mounted on a truck was purchased and supplemented by tanks belonging to local businesses and the Sugar Mill. Twelve auxiliary firemen were recruited, paid for attendance at fires and had uniforms supplied. An alarm siren was installed on a 30-foot pole at the CFO’s house.

It would be another three years (1953) before approval was given to build the station and another four years (1957) before Proserpine had reticulated water with the completion of the water tower. This fire station was closed down in 2018 with a new Disaster and Emergency Centre being built in Hinschen Street.

Story and photo courtesy Proserpine Historical Museum

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Explained: What Does Optional Preferential Voting Mean?

August 4, 2022

The race for the Whitsunday Mayorship continues to heat up ahead of the August 13 election date; electioneering is in full swing with candidates canvassing across the region.

Early voting began on Monday this week (August 1), and a divide in opinion is playing out between the six candidates – one that may have a tactical tilt to it.

Candidate Mike Brunker has been the most outspoken of the six candidates on his choice to not hand out How-To-Vote Cards – but why?

Mr Brunker says he’s doing it “out of respect for voters intelligence” and that they have to “only vote 1” for him, should he be their mayoral candidate of choice.

Other candidates - Jan Clifford, Phil Batty, Peter J Hood, and Julie Hall – have opted for their own How-To-Vote Cards, each of which lists Mr Brunker as their sixth preference.

Candidate Al Grundy has chosen not to allocate preferences, instead telling voters it’s “their choice”.

This is where the confusion lies for voters: unlike the recent Federal Election, which was full preferential, the Whitsunday Mayoral by-election is optional preferential.

Electors can choose to “vote for one, vote for some, or vote for all” candidates on the ballot paper on election day.

The way this is done is by denoting your first-choice candidate, second choice, third, and so on. Or, by simply selecting a single choice and voting one – the beauty of the ‘optional’ in optional preferential voting.

So, why have some candidates listed preferences on their How-To-Vote cards while others have not? It could be what are known as “preference deals” between the political candidates.

When voting is counted, polling officers will begin by tallying all first preference votes – those numbered 1 on all ballot cards.

Once those are tallied, and there is no clear winner (a candidate must receive more than 50 per cent of the vote) the candidate with the fewest votes will be excluded.

If you voted first for that candidate, your ballot paper will be re-examined and your second preference will receive your vote.

Here is where preference deals come into play: if candidate A numbers candidate B second on their How-To-Vote card and vice versa, it affectively gives the pair of them more chance of taking the mayoral office.

This is where Mr Brunker’s claim that candidates Hood, Clifford, and Hall are swapping preferences (a preference deal) and “working as a team” are born from.

If they are, are they gaming the system? No. Preference deals have long been an accepted part of Australian politics – namely for one reason: electors do not have to follow How-To-Vote cards to a tee.

On election day, or beforehand if you are early voting, your vote is your own. Candidates can vote 1 for their preferred choice or vote for all six – it is an individual choice.

The only preferences that count are the numbers written on ballot papers by voters themselves. All candidates can do is try to influence what voters write.

The Whitsunday Mayoral By-Election Day is August 13. More information can be found here: https://bit.ly/3OKXyKc on the Electoral Commission Queensland Website.

The Whitsunday Mayoral by-election is fast approaching, but residents have been confused by optional preferential voting – so what is it?

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“Tourism Boom”: Shute Harbour Open For Cruise Ships While Airport Soars

August 4, 2022

Whitsunday Coast Airport travel numbers have radically increased since March 31 to date, with tourism figures totalling more than 100,000 people transiting through the terminal in the past three months.

The news comes in the same week Whitsunday Regional Council announced that Shute Harbour Marine Terminal will welcome back cruise ships from October.

Council documents state that “passenger movements through the terminal totalled 100,397, this generated a revenue increase of 32 per cent to the previous quarter.”

“Airline load factors across all airlines and routes averaged at 76.33 per cent with Sydney and Melbourne routes averaging 82 per cent,” the documents read.

Whitsunday Council Chief Operating Officer Aviation & Tourism, Craig Turner, said the airport was soaring.

“What we’re seeing is really solid business from all airlines into the Whitsundays, which is also equalling revenue,” he said.

“It’s driving revenue, it’s driving passengers, and the great thing is those passengers are then heading to town and through the region and spending more.

“Not only is the airport performing well, but that means for businesses in the region they’re getting the benefits of that.”

Council was also extremely pleased that cruise ships returning to the region can now ferry between their ship and Shute Harbour Marine Terminal.

“Having cruise ships back to the Whitsundays is a sensational return to where we were pre-Covid,” Mr Turner said.

Cruise ship passengers will have the opportunity to step off the ship in Shute Harbour – an additional option to the already existing agreement many of the ships entering the region have with Cruise Whitsundays.

Whitsunday Regional Council expect the additional location will increase the region’s capacity to host cruise ships.

Up-market cruise ships Silver Seas, Royal Caribbean, and Celebrity cruise liners will be calling Shute Harbour their “home port”, with the region able to expect in the vicinity of 2500 guests per vessel.

In the first year – which expects 40 visitations – that totals up to 100,000 visitors.

Volunteer Cruise Ship Ambassador, Brian Richardson, said it would be fantastic.

“Both for passengers coming in and leaving,” he said.

Cruise ships tendering into Shute Harbour can expect bus transfers into Airlie Beach, as well as opportunities to trip to the islands from Shute Harbour.

“We’re going to have 100 thousand people come to the Whitsundays, experience it, and then who knows, they might come back for a seven-day holiday,” Mr Turner said.

“It’s a great opportunity for the Whitsundays.”

Whitsunday Coast Airport has recorded figures in excess of 100,000 passing through its terminal in the past three months

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Race To Be Mayor

August 4, 2022

Julie Hall

The Whitsundays has a shortage of accommodation, housing, rental, and Holiday. This was largely enhanced by the Southern migration and holiday apartments being sold for long term housing or rentals. The current WRC development culture with excessive headworks charges and approval timeframes must be reviewed immediately to move forward out of this crisis.  

This August council has three plus cases against it by ratepayers for not meeting its own guidelines. In one case, this is not only holding up a much-needed housing development project, but it could also cost the rate payers over $5million on top of the recent five per cent rate hike. We must work closely with the community and credible developers to manage design and council costs and avoid expensive and timely court actions.

For each Region: Airlie Beach Holiday units have been sold off as residential apartments, creating a shortage of visitor accommodation. Airlie future prosperity will depend on addressing this shortage with community consultation and also addressing the road and parking issues.

Collinsville is an exciting town to explore, active coal mining, great pubs, proposed gas pipeline and Dam will provide new opportunities for industry and development.

Bowen, Is the beaches and amateur fishing capital of the Whitsundays, Bowen is positioned well to be the centre for new diverse industries. Priorities, international export port and Marina development.  

Proserpine, our Sugar Cane capitol is blessed with many growth opportunities, the crossroads of Rail, Bruce Highway, Airport and freight centres, creating a transport hub for the Whitsundays.  Continued development of Foust Dam with enhanced RV facilities.

One million grant: Our hospitals need additional birthing centre facilities and more help for our Community Centres that are feeling the pressure as people struggle with the current economic environment and costs of living.

Mike Brunker

We are proactively confronting the housing crisis in the whole of the Whitsundays by firstly reviewing our planning scheme to see what we can do to encourage more construction of social and affordable housing; we are also looking at delayed payments of headworks charges and asking the community to have there say on smaller block sizes of land and bigger unit developments in the suburbs

We have also been successful in getting the Australian Local Government association to call for a national summit with state federal and local governments to seek solutions from all levels of Government.

For Airlie Beach progressing with the Skyway project to have land-based activities, in Proserpine its continuing to improvements of Lake Proserpine at Peter Faust dam for expanded camping use.

Collinsville is to refurbish our Mainstreet out there to make it more prosperous for the businesses and visitor experiences.

In Bowen its all about improving the state Development area so that we can get more Projects like Gilmore Space to diversify the state development area

If I had a 1-million-dollar grant, I would build some units for the victims of Domestic violence in a central location to assist with re housing and removing families from this toxic environment.

You only have to Vote 1 if you choose too, I am not handing out HTV cards out of respect of voter intelligence and the increase COVID risk so respectfully asking you to just Vote 1 Michael Brunker for Mayor who has the experience to get thigs done

Philip Batty

The first thing I would do is make it a priority, find solutions, tackle it, get on with it starting now.

The housing crisis is one of the most significant issues facing the entire region today. It can be separated into two categories, the social housing challenges and the residential/rental supply issues.

In some respects the social housing is the easier of the two to improve. We have a moral and social obligation to care for people in the region who are doing it tough.  We are the most supportive caring family in the Whitsundays always there to step up when someone needs us. So the answer to social housing is, build more, make it better and keep caring.

The residential and rental markets are just as simple really but the scale is the barrier, well the barrier from some. The effect of not taking on this challenge is to delay growth and prosperity for the entire region by restricting employment, relocation, retention, and attraction of our populous which almost every business and hundreds of families are experiencing right now.

There is a solution, not total, but big enough to have a serious impact on the problem. It is a solution I have researched, costed, risk profiled and thought about for some time. It is not however a detailed plan which I could share publicly yet, it would involve Local, State and Federal government cooperation to achieve therefore any detailing now would be counterproductive. It would of course be fully disclosed publicly. I believe I can make this happen.

If I had $1m to spend on something I would not “spend” it, I would invest it.

There is currently $87 BILLION dollars in grant support funding available from the federal government. I would invest in some expertise to tap into these funds turning the $1m into $10m, $100m, $200m or more to spend on community improvements. But thats just council getting funds to improve the region, the $1m investment will also provide every business in the region with a resource which will help source apply and win grant funding opportunities for them to plan and grow their business and the economy.

Jan Clifford

As the Chair of the Whitsunday Housing Company, I am acutely aware of the Housing shortage which is not just confined to the Whitsundays.

It is a national issue which must be addressed at all levels of government. Social housing is a State issue and Tax Incentives are a Federal Issue and I will use my extensive experience and

contacts within those levels of Government to ensure any possible solutions are sought for our region.

Proserpine: To continue to encourage visitors by providing the free overnight stop and continually upgrading the Lake Proserpine facilities

Bowen: It’s about livability; making sure that the parks and gardens etc. are kept to a high standard and upgraded as necessary and allowing and promoting appropriate development.

Collinsville: To continue providing the Community with infrastructure that enhances the livability of the town. The Waterpark is a great example.

Airlie/Cannonvale: To lobby for funding to build a multi-story carpark on Waterson Way which will double as a place of Safe Refuge in the event of another cyclone

In reality, $1M is not a lot of money in the scheme of things with Council applying for and receiving many millions of dollars’ worth of grants each year for targeted projects. If this was a windfall grant, I would properly use it to install Solar Heating at our Aquatic Facilities across the region or put it to the communities of the region for their suggestions.

Peter J Hood

It’s not just the Whitsundays, it’s a problem across Queensland and Australia. However, Council can make it a little easier and here’s a few suggestions on how we can improve the current situation:

1) A quick housing audit so we know what we’re dealing with – owner-occupied, long-term rentals, short-term rentals and unoccupied housing;

2) Streamlining Council processes for residential housing approvals that have no objections; and

3) Changing WRC rating structure to shift unoccupied housing stock and short-term rentals into long-term rentals.

2. In one sentence for each, what are the priorities for the region’s diverse townships? Proserpine, Bowen, Collinsville, and Airlie Beach.

We always seem to leave out places like Dingo Beach, Gumlu, Shute Harbour, Conway Beach, Lethebrook and the islands, as well as the other small communities. While there are local issues that are important, it’s the big picture priorities that cut across our whole region – jobs, housing, transport, disaster planning, crime, the environment and accessibility. Some of those are issues that WRC can deal with directly, some of them Council needs to push with the State and Federal governments. At the heart of it is a simple question – “What kind of Whitsundays do you want for your kids, your family and your community?”.

3. If you received a $1 million dollar grant to use for the region any way you wanted, what would you do with it and why?

While a million dollars seems like a lot, for most government spending it’s just a rounding error. Even putting it into an essential project like flood-proofing our roads wouldn’t get you past the initial study.

I’d ask all our wonderful community groups to apply for seed funding up to $10,000 on something that would make a real difference. That would provide survival funding for at least 100 local groups that don’t always get the support they need.

It could be something as simple as a new belt sander for the Bowen Men’s Shed, a few computers for Collinsville Connect Telecentre, some money to enable the Whitsunday Social Craft group to continue or fuel for the fantastic work that Whitsunday VMR do. All with a simple application and a quote with Council paying the suppliers directly.

Al Grundy

Housing Shortage: The housing shortage has been building for a number of years, and Covid has bought it to a head. We cannot wait for the Federal or State Governments to hold a summit. We should look at every local possible opportunity, working with the community, council, developers, agents, housing companies, builders to find a local solution/s.

In the short term all options should be on the table from temporary camps or a tiny village to incentives to encourage granny flats or second dwellings on existing lots. With the current housing shortages, council can pursue a temporary local planning instrument with the State, to deliver solutions that would not normally be allowed in our town plan.

In one sentence, what are the priorities for each township: For Collinsville, to support projects that encourage families to want to live in the town. Projects such as the recently built water park, and the soon to be completed main street upgrade.

For Bowen, to encourage investment in new developments, including the marine engineering precinct and to further promote and facilitate opportunities in the surrounding areas including Abbott Point.

For Proserpine, to protect our sugar cane industry from urban sprawl through appropriate land planning and to continue to promote Proserpine as an important administrative, schooling and medical area.

For the Beach, to carefully manage the growth, so that the impacts from a quickly growing population does not lead to unintended consequences, such as social problems or infrastructure pressures, eg. Congested roads, or lesser visitor experiences.

One Million Dollar Grant: with the current housing shortage, I would employ a Project Manager to co-ordinate a program to implement a housing solution(s), working with local builders, developers and community. I would also allocate some budget to expand programs in cooperation with our libraries, programs such as the First Five, which assists with improved literature outcomes for children up to five.

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KITCHEN GARDENS Norina Jane Whitpro

August 4, 2022

As I pull up the last of my carrots, deplete a bed or two of lettuce, remove one of my original tomato patches and mourn the loss of my basil (well for ten seconds, then pulled it out and got excited about what seeds to put in next), I looked at my soil.  

Soil is the foundation of my vegetable garden (well my entire garden). Over time I have built up a loose, light soil that fungi and bacteria, worms and other ground dwelling insects are thriving in.  So how is that achieved and what is the soil made up of?

A healthy growing medium has tiny air pockets that allows for root penetration, water filtration and give worms a space they can move through.  Much of our Whitsunday soil is clay and rock, so building up your soil is essential.  

Compost, mulch, compost, mulch and more compost and mulch is my secret weapon.  Whether it be compost you have made yourself from gardening pruning’s, grass clippings, kitchen scraps and manure and your worm farm castings or you use bagged mushroom compost (I love this product), poultry manure and aged tip mulch, you need to add organic matter to your soil. Please note, I said aged tip mulch.  Freshly ground mulch must be put aside, left to heat up and be turned regularly.  This is for two reasons, firstly (and I would argue most importantly) because you do not want to introduce weed seeds into your garden beds, these need to be cooked (at least 55 degrees, 63 degrees is ideal) and secondly, while your mulch is initially breaking down, soil bacteria will use nitrogen to breakdown the woody matter, therefore leaving the soil temporarily.  Complicated?  OK just don’t do it.


If that all sounds too hard, then come into the Whitpro yard and purchase our ready-made garden soil. Erect raised beds (out of anything – tree logs, concrete blocks, straw bales, stacked rocks or garden bed kits) and build your soil up – on top of your hard Whitsunday clay soil. (We did not benefit from the Glacier melt down – we were above it!).

Before I pop in my new seeds (this time I am sowing – spinach, parsley, yes more basil, zucchinis because we eat a lot of those, melons and cucumbers), I am adding a layer of compost and very lightly mixing it through. Don’t over dig your soil, you will only disturb the microbes and insects. Let your worms do the digging for you!  Then straight on with the sugarcane mulch.  Don’t leave your soil exposed to the elements for too long.  Letting it dry out is not a good practice as it will see worms and insects vacate and kill off those beneficial micro-organisms (bacteria, fungi and algae) that contribute so much to the health of your soil (so look after them).

Interesting Fact:

Australian soil is considered some of the oldest on the planet, although that sounds impressive, most Australian soils are composed of weathered rock and are quite infertile. Here in the Whitsundays the land is built on volcanic activity from well over 100 million years ago.  In more recent years, Thomas Abell decided to grow (wait for it) FRUIT AND VEGETABLES in 1904! Hence “misspellt” Abel Point – x2 “L’s” not x1. Can someone correct that please.

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Trace Your Past With Family History Month

August 4, 2022

A local heredity group is celebrating family history month by inviting locals to visit their library in the Proserpine Community Centre.

The Whitsunday Family History Group will be displaying its local family trees over the month of August and the public are invited to come along and view their extensive family history library on Thursdays and Saturdays between 10am and 2pm.

The library has over a thousand family history books collated over the group’s own extensive history.

Established over 30 years ago, the Whitsunday Family History Group was started by four historically inclined locals who grew its collection of information considerably in the three decades.

Group librarian Linda Thorogood is one of a few of the groups founding members who still play an active role.

“It’s an addictive hobby, and over 30 years later there’s still so many of us going. There’s always more and more coming up online – you’re never finished with knowing your family’s legacy,” Ms Thorogood said.

“You can trace your family worldwide, but we try to focus locally. You’re finding out something new all the time, which is so interesting.

“I myself don’t have any convicts [in my family tree] but we have one member who has five, and you never know what you’ll find! It’s very exciting.”

Ms Thorogood said that family history tracing brings back to life the stories of the past, as well as giving you a greater sense of personal identity.

The Whitsunday Family History Group also offers membership, which includes access to its extensive records and the guidance from its expert Librarian and other members.

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Bowen’s Space Age Daydream Closing In On Launch

August 4, 2022

Whitsunday Regional Councillors joined Acting Mayor John Collins for a tour of progress at the Gilmour Space Technologies Bowen Orbital Spaceport last Wednesday

Gilmour Space Launch Operations Supervisor Adam Williams thanked council for its support and told Councillors all was on track for the first rocket launch later this year.

Construction on the orbital launch facility – one of Australia’s first - at the Abbott Point State Development Area is well underway with contractors working on the construction shed and launch pad.

Councillor Mike Brunker said that the site was still working through its approval processes, but was looking extremely exciting.

“What was very interesting were the figures on how it actually propels up into space and how fast it’s going – I’m no space cadet but it had me wrapped,” Councillor Brunker said.

“It’s exciting times for our space launch facility, and I can see myself watching from up on Flagstaff Hill with a beer while a rocket launches.”

The rockets will be manufactured at Gilmour's Gold Coast manufacturing hub before being transported to the Bowen launch site.

Gilmour Space predicts that up to 92 rocket launches annually could be conducted from the Spaceport by 2032.

When the facility becomes operational, rockets carrying small satellites will be the most common item launched into low-Earth orbit.

Satellites forming part of broadband internet constellations are expected to make up a sizeable part of those launches.

Whitsunday Regional Councillors visited the Gilmour Space Technologies Bowen Orbital Spaceport last Wednesday

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“I’m A Tomato Farmer From Bowen”

August 4, 2022

Andrew Willcox, Federal Member for Dawson, started off his maiden speech to parliament in Canberra last week in typical style.

His first week in Canberra as the Member for Dawson saw Willcox take the Oath of Office as part of the opening of the 47th Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia before delivering his “down to earth” maiden speech.

His speech brimmed with the country axioms and colloquialisms that made him such a cool-handed and charismatic Whitsunday Mayor – a position he held for six years.

The “farmer by trade, raised on the land” reminded his constituents that he was the first Bowen-born representative for Dawson at the federal level, and that he couldn’t have done it without them.

“I am forever grateful to the people of the Whitsunday region for putting their faith in me,” Mr Willcox said.

“Local government is the level of government that is closest to the people, that is why I will be pushing to see the Federal Assistance Grants to Local Government program’s return to one per cent of taxation.

“This funding is critical to the people of rural and regional towns.”

Mr Willcox made explicit reference to his hometown, mentioning the Gilmour Space Orbital facility in Bowen, as well as the Top Shelf International agave farm, as well as the regions tourism operators.

It was also an opportunity to espouse his vision for Dawson – infrastructure for the north, particularly its farmers by renewing his commitment to the Urannah Dam project.

“A pumped hydro-electric scheme would provide clean, green, reliable energy that can be connected straight into the north-south high voltage grid, which feeds the national network,” he said.

“Surely water stored at height must be one of the best batteries in the world.”

The newly minted Member for Dawson promised to unashamedly push for a fair share for his electorate which is “a powerhouse region that punches above its weight.”

“A fairer Australia will benefit the nation and all Australians,” he said.

Member for Dawson, Andrew Willcox, was officially sworn in this week and gave his maiden speech to parliament

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Tracking Proserpine’s River Residents

August 4, 2022

Proserpine River’s crocodile population will be tracked as part of a monitoring program by Department of Environment and Science who hope to keep tabs on the animals’ movements in relation to public safety.

The river is one of the country’s highest density habitats for crocodiles with “a lot of big crocs in a short area” according to Department of Environment and Science Program coordinator Matthew Brien.

"The Proserpine River has the highest density of crocodiles anywhere in Queensland; it's got five-and-a-half crocodiles per kilometre,” Dr Brien said.

“We’re doing that to get a better handle on the crocodiles in that system, particularly the big crocodiles.”

The monitoring program is planned for October or November this year.

The program is part of Queensland’s crocodile management plan, which was recently found to be “world class, and highly effective in reducing risk to public safety while conserving populations in the wild.”

It famously brought the crocodile population in Queensland back from the brink of extinction in the 1970s while keeping a “number one priority of human life.”

Dr Brien said this was the idea behind the monitoring of a river with so much density – that as well as the “anomaly factor”.

"The average [density] in Queensland is one crocodile per kilometre, and the next highest is about three-and-a-half per kilometre,” he said.

Dr Brien said there is “little to no indication that crocodiles are venturing out onto the islands and into places like Airlie Beach, or not very often” but it was still important to know where the crocs were heading.

Local tourism operator, Steve Watson, who has been running Whitsunday Crocodile Safari on the Proserpine River for more than 20 years, said the human interference may hurt his business.

"My main concern with that if humans start mucking around with them by trapping them, that can impact what our guests are going to see," Mr Watson said.

Dr Brien said that was not the case: “The tagging that’s been done in Australia to date tells us that they resume normal behaviour, normal movements in about a week.”

Overnight traps will be used to attach trackers to the animals, which will gather data over one-to-two years.

It will be the first time satellite tracking is used on crocodiles in the Proserpine River by Department of Environment and Science.

Crocodiles in the Proserpine River will be tracked in a first time ever study of the river system by the Department of Environment

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Staying Healthy In Cold And Flu Season

July 28, 2022

With all types of sicknesses ‘going round’ at this time of year, a top up of supplements has been on the cards for Whitsunday locals looking to keep themselves in tip-top shape – and there’s no better place than Goodness Gracious.

Owner of Goodness Gracious Health Food & Supplements, Helen Pike, said that this was the time to act on preventative care and to get your holistic products that support the immune system's health.

“We should be eating fresh fruit and veggies, lots of juices, and to add to that, we have a good immune system boosting vitamins in store,” Ms Pike said.

“It’s very important this time of year to stay on top of that system, and through healthy eating that can be addressed, but for that extra protection I have two products.”

Those products are the Astra 8 – an enhancer for the immune defences which helps decrease the frequency of common colds – and the ActiViral, which helps once you’ve already fallen sick.

But now is the time to be building your immune system, Ms Pike said, there’s no point in waiting “until it’s too late.”

“It reduces the severity because you’re already taking something, and then if you back that up with a healthy diet, you’re in the green!” she said.

“You should be protecting yourself as much as you can – there are some nasty bugs going around at the moment.”

But that’s not all that Goodness Gracious offers at its Whitsunday Shopping Centre storefront. The long-standing Health Food store has just that – healthy foods galore.

“We reinvented ourselves and added those food products; big gluten free and keto ranges that are a nutritional haven,” Ms Pike said.

“People are very surprised about the treasure trove of health foods we have when they come in.”

Goodness Gracious is open 9.00am to 5.00pm Monday through Friday, and Saturdays and Sundays 9.00am to 1.00pm.

Drop in and buy yourself a treat, or keep that cold at bay.

Helen Pike from Goodness Gracious Health Food & Supplements

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Nutrition Tips From The Experts

July 28, 2022

Proper health and nutrition can get confusing and hard to follow, especially when life can get so busy balancing other work and family commitments. Good nutrition is a critical part of health and development, improving health at any age and lowering the risk of disease. While there are plenty of different approaches one can take to improve their nutrition, there are some simple steps anyone can take to get the ball rolling.

We ask the experts, if you could give one piece of nutritional advice, what would it be?

Hayley – Airlie Health Hub

Consume a balanced diet of organic wholefoods, fruit and vegetables. Your body will thank you for it.

Selena – Bottoms Up Colonics Whitsunday

Upon waking every morning, it’s a great idea to flood our bodies with at least 500mL to 1L of good quality filtered room temp water before having anything else.

We generally wake dehydrated, and this is often mistaken for hunger. The suggested daily intake of water is 1L per every 22kg that you weigh. Colonics offer instant cellular hydration at a therapeutic level which is not always achieved through just drinking water orally. Water is the elixir of life. Have you reached your daily intake of water today?

Rowena – Kissun Clinics

Healthy eating is the easiest way to give your body the fuel it needs to excel in life and prevent disease.

It's simple - eat things that our ancient ancestors would have recognised: fruit, nuts, seeds, veggies, lean protein rice etc.

Avoid or reduce the intake of foods that contain chemicals, hormones, preservatives or added sugar.

Make water, sleep, and laughter a huge priority, and remember to share your food, enjoy meals together and stay away from diets or fads.

Helen – Goodness Gracious Health Foods and Gifts

Keep your immune system boosted. There’s so much sickness around – Covid, the flu – so if you do get anything, the duration won’t be so bad if you’re looking after your health. What would you do in a normal flu season, let alone a tough one? Top up your vitamins, make sure you’re eating well, and you’ll feel better for it.

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Back to the Future IV: The 2022 Mayoral Election

July 28, 2022

Over the next 3 weeks the residents of the Whitsunday Regional Council area have a decision to make. A decision which will determine the future for the region. Do we want to go back to what we have seen over the last years or do we want to move forward and create a future for our families and their children to come?

Who do you want to be mayor?

According to some news reports: “we need someone experienced behind the wheel”… “now is not the time for a learner driver”. It seems council is a vehicle, a vehicle to transport you to higher office.

Experienced? Experienced in what?

Twenty plus years of increasing the rates? To make them the highest in Queensland.

Twenty plus years of driving the ratepayer funded car and getting paid to do so?

Twenty plus years of using the car to elevate himself to another job? A failed attempt to get out of this job when trying for federal parliament standing for the Labor party, two failed attempts to try for state parliament standing for the Labor party.

Twenty years of experience in failure

Years of missing Council’s budgeted results by $30 million dollars each year. Is this the experience we are supposed to need?

Years of “knowing better” what the community they represent wants and needs.

Approving a high-rise development on the foreshore contrary not only the planning scheme but clearly against the community wishes.

“Development has only one way to go and that’s up” according to some, just like the rates in the future.

Experience in secrecy and behind closed doors deals.

Experience in inaction.

Little wonder a career politician - and a failed one at that - is rattled by the challenge of new blood. And can only resort to trite and tired old scare tactics about learner drivers. Seems the only one scared is Mike.

You can vote Batty 1 with full confidence in the future-you won’t be putting a learner driver to any test; my only P plates stand for Progress and Probity.

Time to bring 40 years of global commercial experience to the wheel.

Time to bring 40 years of managing budgets for hundreds of millions of dollars to the wheel.

Time to bring 40 years of leading teams of thousands of people.

Time to bring in 40 years of getting things done and making things happen.

Phil batty may be just a “member of the public” but one who has made several more significant contributions to the prosperity of this region than any current councillor in recent years.

Vote Phil Batty for Mayor in this election and let’s not go back to the past.

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Candidates Meet Community, Ballot Announced

July 28, 2022

Five of the six candidates in the running to be the next mayor of Whitsunday Regional Council spoke to the community and answered their questions on Monday, July 25.

The Whitsunday Coast Chamber Of Commerce’s Meet The Candidates event was the first of two in the region, allowing locals a first-chance opportunity to scrutinize the potential politicians.

Mayoral candidates Michael Brunker, Philip Batty, Peter J Hood, Jan Clifford, and Julie Hall attended the event, with Al Grundy an apology on the day.

Initially the candidates were given three minutes each to introduce themselves, their experience, and their ideas for the region, before being asked a series of supplied questions from Whitsunday residents.

The event also coincided with the official nomination deadline day set by Electoral Commission Queensland, which was met by 12pm, and followed by an official ballot paper order draw.

The candidates in ballot paper order are: Michael Brunker, Jan Clifford, Al Grundy, Peter J Hood, Philip Batty, and Julie Hall.

Electoral Commissioner Pat Vidgen said there are plenty of voting options for the more than 23,600 enrolled voters in the Whitsunday council region.

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

Early voting polling booths are open 9am-5pm daily from 1 to 11 August 2022 (excluding weekends) and 9am-6pm on 12 August 2022 at the following locations:

•Bowen PCYC, corner Hay St & Queens Rd, Bowen

•Whitsunday Shopping Centre, shop 150/226 Shute Harbour Rd, Cannonvale

•Collinsville Community Centre,11 Conway Street, Collinsville

•Proserpine Whitsunday Freemason Lodge, 29 Chapman St, Proserpine

The Collinsville voting centre will open from 1-5pm on 8-11 August 2022 and 1-6pm on 12 August 2022.

On election day on 13 August 2022 there will be five polling booths.

Postal vote applications are open until 7pm on 1 August 2022. You can apply online via the ECQ website or phone the ECQ on 1300 881 665.

Telephone voting registrations are open 9am on 1 August 2022 until 12pm on 13 August 2022 and people can vote by phone up until 6pm on election day.

Further details on the Whitsunday mayoral by-election can be found on the ECQ website.

Four of six Whitsunday Mayoral candidates attended the ballot paper order draw on Monday, Julie Hall, Jan Clifford, Philip Batty, and Peter J Hood

Candidate Michael Brunker at the Whitsunday Coast Chamber of Commerce Meet The Candidates event

The event was well attended, with roughly 70 filling out the Reef Gateway function room

Candidate Jan Clifford speaking at the Meet The Candidates Event

Candidates Philip Batty and Peter J Hood

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Meet The Mayoral Candidates

July 28, 2022

Chamber Chat

On Tuesday July 25, the Whitsunday Coast Chamber hosted their "Meet the Mayoral Candidates 2022" event at the Reef Gateway Hotel. All six candidates committed to attending, however Al Grundy was a late apology due to illness and will be given an opportunity to answer the same question posed to the other candidates on the night.

I gave a brief welcome, outlining the format and rules for the evening and reinforcing our desire for positivity and respect from both the candidates and the packed room. Annette Harm from the Chamber then took over proceedings as moderator and following an opening statement by each candidate, she presented a series of pre-submitted questions followed by several questions from the floor. None of the candidates were given notice of question so it was a genuine test of knowledge, preparation and ability to think on the spot.

The questions spanned most of the significant issues affecting the region – with the candidates outlining their policies, positions and solutions to housing shortages, short term holiday letting approvals, town planning and building height issues, the Shute Harbour Marina Resort proposal, environmental issues and recycling, local laws and traffic issues.

The event was recorded and will be up on our FB page and website as soon we can record Al Grundy answers to the same questions.

The evening showed that we have some high quality yet very diverse candidates to choose from in this election. And in a region as diverse as the Whitsundays, each candidate will appeal to voters in all parts of the shire. It really does reinforce the fact that as this is an optional preferential election, just voting 1 won't give us the most preferred candidate.

You can vote 1, number every box or any combination between. I strongly encourage all voters to number every box – we are at the cusp of further financial challenges but there will be massive opportunities. We need a leader who will unite, represent the entire region and most importantly, has the support of the region behind them

Written by Whitsunday Coast Chamber of Commerce President Allan Milostic

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Race To Be Mayor

July 28, 2022

Whitsunday Life’s Mayoral Election Coverage is kicking into gear this week, and we sat down with the region’s six candidates to ask them the questions that matter to you.

1.Why are you interested in the position of Mayor of the Whitsundays?

2.What qualities make for an effective mayor?

3.If elected, what is the first thing in the region that you would strive to change?

Julie Hall

I have chosen to put my hand up for Mayor because I believe our communities are no longer being listened to or heard by the Whitsunday Regional Council and I am standing to offer the Whitsunday region someone who represents the people, A peoples Mayor.

I believe it is time the Whitsundays had representation whose focus is on unity, integrity, and prosperity of all, where everyone benefits not just a few.

A good mayor should be approachable and personable, cares about people and has great leadership skills, someone who has initiative, who sees challenges as opportunities to grow and who is a good team player and a hard worker.

Whilst the current counsellors have more direct Council experience, please don’t underestimate the value that someone like me can bring to the table. I have a large cache of transferrable skills that are easily adapted to government. I have run a successful business for over 16 years, worked as a sales and marketing manager for a large construction company, I have served on the Building and Construction Advisory Board and represented the board on the Regional EVE Committee for Education and Training.  I’ve made many contacts in both federal and state government through running in the last federal election and I have gained a wealth of knowledge and experience into the workings of government and politics. Most of all I am a people person who genuinely cares about others because everyone deserves a fair go and to be listened to and heard.

The first thing I will strive to achieve is looking at where we are wasting rate payers’ money so we can reduce costs and ensure we can rein in where council is putting even more pressure on the cost of living for our locals.

Michael Brunker

I have been in Local Government since 1994 as a councillor for Collinsville, then three years later became Queensland’s youngest Mayor at the age of 30 years. I held that Mayoral position as Mayor of Bowen and Whitsundays until 2008, and returning as a councillor in 2012.

I am as passionate about our communities in the Whitsunday region now as I was as a young man back in 1994. I love to have my say on issues brought before council and you’ll always know where I stand. I call a spade a shovel, and certainly don’t say one thing around the council table and another out in the community.

Our job is to set the strategic plan and corporate plans that will eventually link to our annual budget. The mayor’s role is to make sure that when councillors have taken a position or decision that it is carried out by the CEO and our workforce in a timely manner.

Economic development will be crucial this term to encourage industry and government, and I believe I am well positioned to bring in that support from both sectors.

This election will be optional preferential, so you only have to vote 1. I respect the intelligence of the voters and will not be handing out (how to vote cards), so if you support the most experienced candidates in the field, please just vote 1 Michael Brunker.

Phillip Batty

What can a Phillip Batty-led council do for me? There are two answers to that overriding question: offer management of proven ability and integrity, and bricks and mortar pledges of early actions.

First, you will have a council led by a former industry executive who brings 40 years of commercial experience, budget management skills, and proven team leading ability.

A mayor who will pledge to keep rate rises at the lowest possible level while still maintaining all those services a council is charged with providing. And a mayor who ensures he and his fellow councillors will consult regularly and often with our ultimate bosses: you, the ratepayers.

The office of mayor is to do a specific and clearly defined job - consult and act in the best interests of the community. Not make unilateral decisions that may be the product of hidden political or personal agendas.

What I can bring to the office of mayor is what I will not bring to it. There will be transparency in all dealings within allowable regulations, there will be no private agendas, secret deals or going back on my word.

The Mayor needs to be financially literate, passionate about the job and the region, innovative, bold, relentless and focussed. I will strive to be this and more, the effort will be 100%. I am not nor ever have been a member of any political party.

But you then say that talking fine words is easy, what actual issues will you implement or act on first? For starters, a Philip Batty mayoralty will challenge and closely examine the council decision to support the high-rise development on Airlie Beach foreshore.

But there is much more to the WRC responsibilities than just Airlie. I will outline initiatives addressing other issues across the council areas in the coming weeks.

Jan Clifford

As someone who believes in the Whitsundays and its prosperity, I feel that running for mayor is the right thing to do for the region as I have no outside business interests, I do not belong to a political party, I have no family commitments and am available to the community

I am a people person who is passionate about the wellbeing of the community and its residents. I have a diverse working background and have completed all the modules for my Diploma of Local Government. I hold a Diploma in Management and am a Director of Regional Development Australia – Mackay, Isaac & Whitsunday.

I am also a Director of the National Rural Women’s Coalition, The Whitsunday Housing Company Limited and The Greater Whitsundays Community Boards. I openly encourage appropriate and sustainable development and am acutely aware of the critical affordable housing shortage which is the main inhibitor for further growth and sustainability in the region

My aim would be to be more engaged with the community by reintroducing Community Catch Ups along with Town Hall Meetings on important issues such as post budget and major changes or amendments to things like the planning scheme.

Peter J Hood

People have asked me why I put my hand up for mayor. I believe that the whole of the Whitsundays needs a voice and the position shouldn’t be just looked on as a steppingstone once you’ve become bored with being a councillor. It’s not about the perks, it’s about doing the best you can. I’m putting my money where my mouth is and have committed to returning half my mayoral salary back to the community – and that process will be completely transparent.

We have some of the highest rates in Queensland but do you really think we are we getting value for money?

That’s something else we need to talk about. As an accountant and business owner most of my job is about making everything as clear and open as possible. I can’t say our council operates the same way and one of the things that needs to change is the culture. Councillors should be free to speak up and openly argue for their beliefs. Yet there has been a view that WRC is all about getting everyone to agree with the majority and not rock the boat.

Sometimes that majority view is wrong and often it is harmful. And it’s in the area of town planning that most of these harmful decisions impact on us.

So how do we fix it? I’d like to start identifying areas of unmet need and encourage residents, community organisations and businesses to engage with that process. Working with councillors and WRC staff we can look at how we can streamline council’s processes while still being able to stop inappropriate development.

There’s a shopping list of infrastructure improvements we can work on, starting with the way we get around. The roads are average at best and dangerous whenever the weather changes.

We can do better.

Al Grundy

Three years ago, being a Councillor was not even on my radar, let alone running for Mayor. However, while I was chair of Tourism Whitsundays, Mayor Andrew Willcox joined the Board.

At this time a lot of what Tourism Whitsundays was working on was related to developing opportunity across the region.

We were also working closely on the recovery projects post the cyclone so got to understand each other.

After 28 months as a Councillor, I have learnt a lot about local government and the legislative frameworks.

With this position, I want to continue the journey of unifying our towns, indeed my slogan is “4 towns making 1 great community”.

I see potential for positive balanced growth, delivering economic prosperity, supporting existing industries and growing new.

In 2006, I was voted onto the Tourism Whitsundays Board and from 2016 to Oct 2019 I was the Chairman. In many ways, the skills of Chairman are similar to that required to be a mayor, in particular providing strategic direction to the CEO.

The position also requires experience to ensure good governance, financial management, audits, and transparency in decision making.

Media skills to be positive, even in tough times you must keep your head up, show empathy, balanced with ‘Can Do’.

Forging strong relationships and partnerships. Remaining independent, ‘A’ political and work with whoever is holding government. Community Engagement, to be a good listener and to encourage community conversations.

First thing I would strive to change would be to seek opportunities locally to meet our housing shortage.

We should look at every possible opportunity, working with the community, council, developers, agents, housing companies, builders to find local outcomes.

We are a small council, spread over 24,000 sq kms with only 19,000 ratepayers and we need to balance our community service obligations against good financial management.

Projects from the installation of solar panels, to improving commercial practices that realise returns from the council business units. Every dollar from a commercial activity, is a dollar not taken from general rates.

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Committee Elected And Cheques Presented At Lions Meeting

July 28, 2022

A new crop of office bearers was elected for 2022-23 when the Proserpine Lions and Lions Ladies Auxiliary had their annual changeover night earlier this month.

40 people attended the meeting held at the Whitsunday Leisure and Activity Centre on July 2, including acting Whitsunday Mayor Mike Brunker and Councillor Al Grundy.

Proserpine Lions Club member Horace Lowbridge says the newly elected office bearers keenly put their hands up for their new roles.

“People are really keen and interested in the club,” he said.

The meeting was also an opportunity to present cheques from funds that were raised through a number of initiatives including the weekly Goose Club, Whitfunday and Proserpine Show catering as well as numerous other barbecues held throughout the year.

The funds raised are then donated to local organisations at the suggestion of members.

Donations of $1000 each were presented to the Girl Guides for kitchen renovations, Blue Care for a men’s shed, The Proserpine Nursing Home for an internal men’s shed, Whitsunday Leisure Centre for trips and activities, Meals on Wheels, The Boy Scouts and the Proserpine Museum.

Horace says the new committee will continue the great work the Lions are known for in the community including catering events, donating funds back to the community and facilitating the Youth of the Year Program.

Horace joined the Lions in 2000 after moving to Australia in 1999 and has served as the club’s secretary and president in the past.

He says he joined to meet new people as well as their families in the area.

“The Lions is every walk of life,” he said.

“If you join your local club, any club, it gets you into the community by making friends and socialising.

“That was really good for me.”

Proserpine Lions and Lions Ladies Auxiliary always welcome new members.

Visit proserpine.qld.lions.org.au/joinnow for more information.

Newly elected office bearers Tim Mcbride (Secretary), Steve Thompson (President), Sue McLeod (Secretary Lions Ladies), Linda Bullock (assistant Treasurer Lions Ladies), Lorraine Daly (Vice President Lions Ladies), Sue Dair (Lion Tamer Lions Ladies) and Damien Mott (Treasurer).

Cheque recipients Maria Strohfeldt (Girl Guides), Susan Blyth (Proserpine Nursing Home), David Hinschen (Lions), Helen Deighton (Whitsunday Leisure and Activity Centre),Tracey Tully (Blue Care), Margaret Perkins (Meals on Wheels), Sue Dair (Lady Lions). Photos supplied: Horace Lowbridge

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Lindeman Back Up For Grabs?

July 28, 2022

Lindeman Island, the once-site of a Club Med Resort, has been put back on the market after ten years’ worth of planning by its owners came to nothing.

China-based firm White Horse, who purchased Lindeman Island around 2012, have said in statement this week that it is “with regret that after 10 years of ownership, White Horse has made the decision to divest Lindeman Island”.

White Horse purchased the island which sits 40-minutes from Airlie Beach a decade ago for $12 million and are now seeking a $20 million return.

Local representative of the firm, Michael Dawn, said this was despite having successfully completed the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) component of the redevelopment.

That EIS was for a $583 million dollar masterplan to redevelop the abandoned site - but those plans are now up in the air, and it is unknown whether a future owner would continue with the already drawn-up scheme or come in with their own ideas.

The marketing agency in charge of the island's sale and expression of interest campaign said the island was a “blank canvas”.

The plan includes a variety of four to six-star accommodation offerings, with 325 suites villas, suites and apartment, an eco-tourism education centre, restaurants, bars, beach club, nightclub, conference centre, arrival centre, retail shops, sport and recreation centre and a staff village.

Original concepts had believed the resort would be finished by 2022.

“White Horse hopes that the new owner continues with its vision to redevelop this once great island resort and restore it to its former glory,” the statement said.

The proposed redevelopment was originally floated almost seven years ago – with construction originally pegged to begin in 2017 - but Lindeman now joins a string of other islands in the Whitsundays Archipelago in a development limbo.

Those include islands like Long Island, which was recently purchased by Oscars Hotels, as well as the Meridian Australia purchased Hook Island, and South Molle Island – an island owned by China Capital Investment Group.

An artist Impression of the Lagoon pool at the new look Lindeman Island, which was due to be finished by 2022 but will now potentially never see the light of day

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Pontoon “Still A Problem”

July 28, 2022

Local fisherman and 81-year-old retiree, John Anderson, was ready to set off on a day of fishing with his two grandchildren when he was severely injured using the Shute Harbour boat ramp and pontoon.

The pontoon and boat ramp, installed in July last year for $1.4 million by State Government, was the scorn of Whitsunday boaties upon completion, who claimed it would be “impossible to be opened without somebody getting badly hurt.”

They claim that the design, which sees the pontoon fixed in place, is dangerous – but Minister for Transport and Main Roads Mark Bailey said in July last year that the design was “special, glass fibre polymer” and was built as such to withstand cyclonic conditions.

Member for Whitsundays Amanda Camm MP slammed the design at the time, claiming it was “sub-standard”.

Since then, reports of injuries have flown into the offices of local Councillor Jan Clifford, as well as Member for Whitsundays Amanda Camm MP – both of whom were strong advocates against the ramp.

The latest injury toll was Mr Anderson.

“It’s a disaster, an absolute disaster. I’m not the first person to be injured on it either,” Mr Anderson said.

“My hand is broken; I was covered in bruises and cuts. I was standing on the pontoon, trying to get into the boat, and with the ramp on an angle and the pontoon on angle, it’s impossible.

“The boat stays level and if the boat moves while you’re trying to get in, you’re gone; you’re either in the water or the boat. I was flung into the boat and next minute I was on the deck.”

Mr Anderson said there were so many complaining about how dangerous the pontoon is “and here’s proof.”

“That pontoon should either be knocked out or permanently closed to the public. It’s a hazard, a public hazard, and its waiting for more injuries to come,” he said.

Mr Anderson took the issue to Councillor Clifford as well as the Member for Whitsunday, Amanda Camm.

They are pursuing the issue with relevant state bodies.

John Anderson suffered severe injuries at the Shute Harbour boat ramp and pontoon, which included a broken hand and widespread bruising and cuts

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Outspoken Doctor Leads Protest

July 28, 2022

Dr William Bay brought his State Undemocracy Tour to Mackay last week calling for a “return to democracy and medical freedom”.

Dr Bay is a registered GP practicing in Brisbane and recently founded the Queensland People’s Protest, a Christianity-led organisation aiming to end the Queensland State of Emergency and related vaccine mandates.

“We’re here to stand for freedom, we’re here to stand for truth, we’re here to stand for justice,” Dr Bay said addressing a small group of supporters at the Mackay Council Chambers on Wednesday morning.

Dr Bay requested to speak to Mackay Regional Council Mayor Greg Williamson and was told by a staff member that the mayor was unavailable.

The group then congregated at Bluewater Quay where they were joined by state member for Mirani Stephen Andrews.

“We need to have freedom of choice, we need to be able to understand what the situation is, of what we’re actually doing and what the government’s proposing,” Mr Andrews said.

“Everyone needs to understand what’s going on, we should’ve looked into this a little bit deeper.”

“The only mandate we need in this state and our country is freedom.”

“As a doctor, I was committed, and still am, to allowing my patients freedom of choice for any therapeutic or vaccine or anything they wanted to put in their own body,” added Dr Bay.

“It is your body, it is your choice, it is your right.”

The group took particular opposition to the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2022.

The bill, which was introduced on May 11, 2022 by Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Yvette D’Ath, implements a range of reforms that aim to update and improve the regulation of Australia’s health professions.

The Bill’s main objectives are to strengthen public safety and confidence in the provision of health services, improve the governance of the National Scheme, and enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of the scheme.

“It’s a very confronting bill to think they may gag health practitioners going forward,” said Mr Andrews.

“Everyone should have the right to say whatever, doctors as with scientists.

“Humanity changes, diseases change, and doctors should be allowed to talk about this to get it out into the broader community to ensure that people can react quickly and safely to help their families, help their loved ones, help their friends.”

Dr William Bay led protests throughout the streets of Mackay last week

Protests took place outside the council chambers and the office of state member for Mackay Julieanne Gilbert

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Line Dancers Give Back

July 21, 2022

A line dancing group in Proserpine have thanked both the venue that hosted them and a national charity this week with two separate donations.

Out Of The Blue Line Dancers handed over $500 dollars each to Bloomsbury’s Soldiers Memorial Hall and the Cancer Council Australia on Tuesday.

The Proserpine-based group held a line-dancing get together at the Bloomsbury Hall in June in what was originally a celebration of one of its members moving house.

At the last minute, the idea came to the organisers that funds from the day should be given to Cancer Council Australia, as well as to the hosts for their hospitality.

“We thought, so many people here have been touched by cancer in this group, so why not give back to the organisations that do such brilliant work in relation to that disease,” organiser Debby Shannon said.

“Everybody knows someone who has had cancer, so it made sense to give back, and the hall has hosted so much for us that we just wanted to give them something back, too.”

The local hall runs almost entirely on donation, and Gina Passfield from the Soldier’s Memorial Hall said it had been a true honour to host the group.

“They were so wonderful, and for them to then turn around and donate these funds has truly been a blessing,” she said.

“We’ll have them back anytime!”

The event was sponsored by a number of local businesses, including Dittmann Bulls, as well as Gary Poole.

Cancer Council Representative Edith Force thanked the group on behalf of the organisation.

“You’ve done a fantastic job, thank you girls. I’ve only heard good things about the event – I’ll have to come next time!” she said.

Out of The Blue Line Dancers Proserpine donated $500 dollars to Bloomsbury Hall and the Cancer Council this week

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What Are Macros?

July 21, 2022

You may have heard of bodybuilders and dieters counting their macronutrients, but what does that mean and should you be doing it, too?

Macronutrients, often shortened to macros, are the nutrients that your body requires in large amounts.

You’re almost definitely already familiar with the three macronutrients: carbohydrates, protein and fat.

Other familiar nutrients include fibre, vitamins or minerals such as potassium and calcium. These are considered micronutrients that your body still needs but in smaller doses.  

The amount of protein, carbohydrates and fat you should eat every day varies from person to person.

Factors like gender, body size, body weight and fitness or weight goals all influence how much of each macro you should aim to eat, but here’s a rough guide.

Keep in mind, each macronutrient is measured in grams but the calories per gram of each macronutrient aren’t the same: protein and carbohydrates have four calories for every gram while fat has nine calories for every gram.


Aim for 10% to 35% of calories from protein each day.

That's 200 to 700 calories or 50 to 175 grams per day for a 2,000-calorie diet.

Protein is important because it's the main structural component of all of the cells in your body and is needed to build cells and repair them, among other key body processes.


The largest portion of your diet is dedicated to carbs.

The recommendation is to get 45% to 65% of daily calories from carbs.

That's 900 to 1300 calories or 225 to 325 grams per day for a 2,000-calorie diet.

Your body prefers carbohydrates and likes to use them as a primary energy source - especially your brain.


20% to 35% of your calories should come from fat each day.

That's 400 to 700 calories or 44 to 78 grams per day for a 2,000-calorie diet.

Saturated fats (the less healthy fat found mostly in animal meats and full-fat dairy), however, should be limited to less than 10% of calories

So where does one find these macros in the grocery store?

Meat, eggs, fish and seafood, dairy, legumes such as lentils and beans, whole grains, nuts and seeds are all high in protein.

You’ll find carbs in grains, fruits, dairy, legumes and starchy vegetables.

Foods high in fat include oils, butter, nuts, avocado and fatty fish like salmon and tuna.

Counting macros can be a more flexible and healthy way of eating and a sure-fire way to get your essential nutrients.

This week in our nutrition feature, we take a look at what macronutrients are

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KITCHEN GARDENS with Norina Jane

July 21, 2022

There is nothing better than freshly picked herbs from your garden added to your meal.

Not only do they enhance the flavour of your meal, it is very rewarding picking them out of your vegie garden / pot and grabbing only what you need (have you ever thrown out the wilting remains of the bunch of herbs you “paid for” last week) and not having to run down the street and pull out the credit card. Actually, if I had to do that, I wouldn’t bother and the meal would suffer for it! And… so would the experience of preparing food for the people I care about (and myself!).

But herbs offer a whole lot more then just flavour (although that would have been enough for me).  There are over 40,000 plant species used in traditional medicine today!   From anti-oxidants, anti-inflammatory to relief from sunburn.  Have you ever seen an English tourist (before Covid) white as a ghost, lying half naked on Airlie Beach foreshore and been tempted to put a pot of Aloe Vera beside them, knowing that they are really going to appreciate it at about 6pm that night!

NOTE: To treat sunburn, spread a layer of pure gel extracted from the inside of an aloe vera leaf over sun burnt skin.

Herbs you can grow in your garden in the Whitsundays for medicinal purposes include:

Dill – Great for abdominal discomfort (I eat this every morning as I water)

Eucalyptus – For infections

Ginger – If you are a boatie you already know this one! – “nausea”

Rosemary – Memory (I need to eat more of this) & circulation


Basil, Chillies, Chives, Coriander, Parsley, Ginger, Lemon Grass, Turmeric and Mint just to name a few.

Indigenous Australians use Myrtles for healing and wellbeing.  Plant a Lemon Myrtle today!

If you have the space, then planting herbs in the garden is a great option but be mindful, in the Whitsundays we have hot, wet & humid conditions in the summer, so plant in raised beds for drainage and we have frost free conditions in the dry season, so read your seed packet and know what to plant in which months in the tropics and water regularly in the dry season (which is now – even if it is a little wetter then usual).

If you don’t have the space or don’t have a garden at all! Then herbs are a fantastic pot option either on a veranda or a windowsill.  Plants indoors are not subjected to the same bugs and natural climate changes as plants in a garden BUT they also don’t have than advantage of a deep soil reservoir (nutrients/water).   They are totally dependent on you.

What does that mean? Three things: Water / Food / Light

Water regularly and feed often (liquid fertilise with Seasol), and make sure they get enough light by a windowsill.  Herbs give back 10 fold.   They give you flavour, good health and a daily ritual that is good for everyone’s wellbeing.

Gardens heal. Coriander anyone?

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My First Colonic with Michael McCann

July 21, 2022

It was a bit daunting going for a first colonic, considering that – for the entirety of my life – my bowels have been a one-way street.

For those not in the know, a colonic is a procedure where water is infused into the colon to flush out toxins and built-up collected plaque.

Bottoms Up Whitsundays owner Selena Daly explained to me that a colonic was akin to teeth cleaning, but for your colon.

“Colon cleansing can have widespread health benefits. The toxins that gather in your colon can cause a variety of health problems.”

Although not major issues, I ticked the boxes of bloating and irregular bowel movements on the New Client form. Upon discussion of these symptoms with Selena my mind was put at ease as she explained, these are extremely common with certain dietary patterns (thanks, coffee).

The Colonic

Selena talked me through the process and eased my anxiety about the procedure: a roughly one-hour session, beginning with the speculum being inserted into where the sun don’t shine. Albeit not that far up the track, I got over the initial discomfort after we repositioned onto my back where I relaxed and let the good times flow.

The colon hydrotherapy unit was turned on and warm, filtered water flowed and filled the different parts of my colon. I viewed it on the screen in front of me and it proved a better watch than New South Wales’ performance in the Origin decider.

I watched as toxins and faecal matter, which had built up, flushed away. As the saying goes: better out than in.

Once you get over the idea, you really do feel a sense of a deep clean taking place.

The Results

Over the first few days, physically, I felt lighter, more mobile. Selena told me that colonics can increase your overall energy levels. I had ticked off my gym work and soccer training without a second thought.

A colon working inefficiently, blocked by excess waste, can make you feel tired and sluggish – feelings that dissipate after you participate in a colonic. This was true for me – I felt as though I was working at a higher capacity; like I was less full of sh*t than normal.

I can tell multiple colonics would improve other facets of my life. Although I underwent this process with no major symptoms, I would highly recommend it for anyone wanting to freshen up, increase energy levels or looking for new ways to clear your headspace.

Michael McCann

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Bowen’s Aboriginal And Pastoral Histories Remembered

July 21, 2022

The Bowen Historical Society has celebrated the Indigenous history of the Whitsundays northernmost point this week through the museum’s Aboriginal displays.

The year-round displays have themselves a long history at the museum, having been originally transferred from the Bowen School of Arts – they include historical artifacts such as weaponry like cudgels, reed bags, tools, and even metal medallions.

The section pays homage to the Juru, Bowen’s traditional owners who hold title for the land northwards from Bowen to the Burdekin River, near to Home Hill.

Much of the history at the museum focuses on the Juru people and their relationship to figures like Bowen’s early day pastoralists and colonialists like Captain Henry Daniel Sinclair.

Sinclair, along with George Elphinstone Dalrymple, are in the section adjacent to the Aboriginal one, and Bowen Museum’s Alan Jurgens said they would love to expand both sections.

“We have some good displays on Bowen’s Aboriginal past and some really thorough ones on the port of Bowen’s founders, but we’d love more,” he said.

“There’s much more history that the Indigenous lived before we arrived, and I think the museum would benefit, as well as Bowen, from learning more about it.”

The Bowen region was widely inhabited by the Juru at the time of Sinclair and Dalrymple – but the history of its pastoralists, like much of Australia, is unfortunately tethered with bigotry and genocide.

“It is a history we can’t hide from. It must be told, and to do so we need volunteers and donations,” Mr Jurgens said.

Bowen Museum is open 9.30am to 12.30pm, Monday to Friday.

Bowen Museum volunteer Alan Jurgens in the museum’s aboriginal section

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Art Society Exhibition Around The Corner

July 21, 2022

A Bowen-based group of art enthusiasts are eagerly preparing for their next exhibition at the Community Hall on the corner of William and Leichardt Streets next weekend.

The Bowen Art society has been collating its collection of local paintings for the last year, much of which was painted at their studio in Archer Street.

This year will be the society’s 61st exhibition.

Over three days from July 31 to August 2, the exhibition will be judged by artist Rosemary Payne, a local who studied at the Birmingham College of Art and the Southampton University in the U.K.

Ms Payne has taught at Mackay Tafe, and is currently teaching at Art Space Mackay. She has won numerous awards and prizes for her painting and teaching skills.

President of Bowen Art Society, Margaret Gaul, said the group has been steadily planning the event for the past month, as well as creating the artwork for display.

“The studio is always packed this time of year with our southern members coming up; it’s such a beautiful place to paint,” Ms Gaul said.

“We’re quite spoilt for wonderful artists here in Bowen and the exhibition reflects that. We’ve been dithering away getting it all prepared and we’re quite excited – this will be my first exhibition as President.”

Ms Gaul said the Society’s Secretary, Judith Potts, was in charge of the exhibition this year, and that there was an excellent range of water colours, pastels, oils and acrylics being displayed at the event.

“It will be quite the show,” she said.

The Society meets every Wednesday at their studio on Archer Street, a building that has almost as much of a storied history as the group itself.

Once the first Queens Beech State School, the old, wooden building has now become home to Bowen artists.

“We’re very lucky to have a building like this, and I think all of the Society’s members know that,” Ms Gaul said.

“That, combined with our artists, is why this group produces some incredible work. To watch them progress during the year is something very magical.”

At the Society’s exhibition in late July, artwork will be sold, as well as prizes and awards distributed to some of Bowen’s creative crop.

Ms Gaul said if anyone would like to join the Bowen Art Society, they should enquire at their premises at 18 Archer Street on Wednesdays when they host studio sessions.

When: Saturday, July 30 3.00pm to Tuesday, August 2 9.00am to 4.00pm

What: Bowen Art Society Annual Exhibition

Where: Community Hall,

Tickets: $10 on Saturday, Free on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday

Bowen Art Society President Margaret Gaul and Secretary Judith Potts at the society’s studio in Archer Street. Images: Declan Durrant

The society will be displaying work from artists based in Bowen as well as interstate

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On Ya Bike

July 21, 2022

With the price of fuel on a seemingly unending uptick, there’s not been a better time to put on a helmet and re-kindle a favourite pastime than now.

Scott Raisbeck at Bowen Small Motors and Cycles said his store on Williams Street, Bowen – a mechanical-haven for all things garden equipment – is seeing a corresponding uptick in bike sales.

A spike that’s helped by being the only bicycle shop in town.

“It’s becoming very popular again with the price of fuel, and with Bowen such an accessible place for biking it’s really a great time to start riding again,” Scott said.

In what was originally an auxiliary part of the business, the cycle portion of Bowen Small Motors has become a favourite amongst Bowen locals.

Both offering bike repairs and bike sales, they have a range of push and battery bikes: children’s bikes, mountain bikes, racing bikes, and folding bikes – as well as tubes, tyres, and more.

They also have electric bikes which can travel up to 25 kilometres per hour or more, getting around 50 kilometres distance before a recharge.

And, anything they don’t have, they can get specially ordered in.

“We can get anything they want; we have lots of bike fanatics now and we’re really welcoming them at the store,” Scott said.

“It’s nice and flat, the roads are so wide, and it’s great for families – you can buy yourself one and get the kids into it as well.

“Come in and take a look, have a chat, and maybe you’ll end up riding home!”

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Bowen’s Formula 1 Superstars

July 21, 2022

Bowen State High School Year 8 and 9 students travelled to Mackay as part of their F1 Academy Classes, a program which sees them design and race their own miniaturised Formula 1 Race Cars.

The local students have been taking part in the STEM based program over the past year, starting in term 1, and travelled to the F1 in School’s Regional Finals in mid-June.

Teacher Leigh Middleton’s Year 8 class entered a total of eight teams in the Cadet Class, while Mr Kayne Fayolle’s Year 9’s entered six teams in the Development Class.

This is the first time Bowen State High has ever entered the competition.

Mr Fayolle said the program not only gets students working in teams, it also provides them with industry applicable schools, most notably through the use of industry-level programs.

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

“In this instance, over the course of Term 1, they were creating cars, collating the data, testing it, and making a better design for competition.”

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

For the grade 9 students, they were also tasked with looking at the business side of F1 – things like team uniforms, business cards, and expenditure.

Mr Fayolle said the students competing in Mackay did exceptionally well.

“It was so pleasant to have so many of our students make it through into state level in Brisbane,” he said.

“We’ll have four teams heading there on October 31 and they’re so pumped about that! The program has already been successful and I think students are getting so much from it.”

Bowen State High School students performed exceptionally at their F1 Academy Classes, which saw them design miniaturised Formula 1 Race Cars

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A Convenient Speed Clean

July 21, 2022

Bowen’s Bubble N Sudds Car and Dog Wash owner Shane Clohesy said you’d be surprised how many people don’t know how to use the self-serve bays at car washes – nor how convenient they are.

“It’s both cheaper than other types of car washes, and, once you get the hang of it, it’s really simple and saves you a lot of time,” Shane said.

So, for those out there a little confused, here’s a quick, three step guide on an easy variation of clean:

1- Pop a coin in the slot and wash away: Press the “wash” or “water” option on the control panel of the main machine and grab the spray pipe. This is for a little ‘pre-clean’ to wash away any muck, as well as put on a light soaping solution mixed with the water. Wash your car’s exterior properly and don’t forget to clean the tyres too.

2- Soap it up: Grab the brush – it looks a lot like a broom – and start applying the soap after you’ve pressed the soap button. This is the most thorough step – really dig in there!

3- Rinse off the soap: Once you’ve soaped your vehicle, it is time to rinse it off. Press the button on the panel and start taking off the soap. This will be a high-pressure wash and should get rid of any bug-splats not caught by the brushing.

And that’s it! Simple, quick, efficient. The self-serve bays at Bubble N Suds can be fast, or they can be a deep-clean where you use some of the brush and sprays other settings like buff, wax, and more!

Give it a go yourself this weekend.

Shane Clohesy using one of the self-serve baysat his business, Bubble N Suds

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Meet Our New Designer, Taylor

July 21, 2022

When Taylor Trewartha was two years old, her family relocated from Adelaide to Airlie Beach chasing the sunshine and blue waters. She’s fundamentally Airlie Beach through and through and is the newest member of the Mackay and Whitsunday Life team, joining as our specialist Graphic Designer.

Taylor has always loved art of all forms. Her most frequented medium is digital design, but she also dabbles in drawing, painting and watercolour when the mood strikes. She entered many art competitions growing up and in 2017 she won the Lady Potter Young Australian Artist of the Year award which saw her travel to Melbourne to present a speech on national TV.

Taylor was a regular at Smart Arts Studio in Cannonvale, where she would take lessons before ultimately being asked to give them. She taught manga lessons and thrived in sharing the skills of her craft. She also worked at McDonalds while she studied her way through a Bachelor of Digital Design at CQU, graduating last year.

Taylor is a gamer, preferring the more intricate, creative indie games over multi-million-dollar Halo-esque epics. She aspires to be a game designer herself, with a vision for telling stories through immersive simulation games. With Virtual Reality becoming more and more prevalent, she hopes to utilise the technology to its fullest.

A lover of animals, Taylor has a conure named Prisma and a border collie named Spirit. These two demand much of her love and affection which she is more than willing to give.

Keep an eye out for Taylor’s creative handiwork every week in Mackay and Whitsunday Life.

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Top 5 Tips to retaining staff

July 21, 2022

Did you know current research suggests 70% of all staff would consider leaving for better work conditions? And that includes your long-term, loyal team-members. Global engagement entities are now teaching us not only how to attract staff but how to REATTRACT your current long-term staff. If you haven’t changed how you engage your workforce by now, they may already have one foot out the door.

1. Flexibility – This is the #1 factor of influence when workers are seeking their new employer. Are you offering flexibility in regards to work hours, workdays, & remote working (work from home)? Many businesses globally have taken on a hybrid workspace where team-members are offered a choice of home & office days to suit both the individual and the business needs.

2. Having a voice – Do you include your team-members in decision-making? Do you ask their opinion on upcoming or current changes? Feeling heard & like we have the capacity to make a difference makes us far more emotionally connected to your brand & your goals.

3. Humancy – Gone are the days of telling your team to “park your emotions at the door”. Workers are looking for a better work/life balance and are putting their family needs before their employers. Include family members in social activities and take an interest in your workers’ families, friends & pets! Showing you care creates a reciprocal effect that results in increased loyalty and longevity in the workplace.

4. Feedback & recognition – Saying ‘thanks’ at the end of the day isn’t enough. Taking time to provide your team-members with an update on how they’ve been performing, and thanking them specifically for a task or job they have just finished shows you value them, you see the difference they make, and you care enough to take time out of your day to show appreciation.

5. Coaching conversations – Most workplaces have discarded the annual ‘performance review’ in favour for quarterly coaching conversations. These are a 2-way conversation which discusses progress, provides 2-way feedback, and motivates through the ‘what’s next for you’ discussion. These discussions are far more positive and no longer include the negativity of opinion-based metrics – which are disputable and unreliable. They provide a confidential and transparent platform for your team-member to have a say in their development as well as give feedback on what they feel they need to succeed.

Contributed by Shiift’s Judy Porter

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Ill Traveller Winched Off Whitsunday Island By Chopper

July 21, 2022

In a three-hour mission, RACQ CQ Rescue winched a person with a serious medical condition off a remote beach on Whitsunday Island last Thursday.

The 31-year-old was travelling on a 13-metre catamaran in Hook Passage just after lunch when they began suffering seizures and required immediate medical evacuation.

RACQ CQ Rescue was tasked by Queensland Health about 1.30pm to retrieve the patient from the vessel located 120km north of Mackay, near Hook Island.

After making radio contact with the boat, a decision was made by the helicopter crew to winch the patient off the rocky shoreline of Cairn Beach, on the northern end of Whitsunday Island.

The ill man was transferred from the catamaran to the beach by tender, accompanied by two others from the vessel.

The Mackay-based helicopter orbited the island before winching the RACQ CQ Rescue rescue crewman down onto the shoreline as the aircraft hovered about 15 metres overhead.

The patient was assessed and secured into an Air Rescue Vest and winched up into the helicopter accompanied by the rescue crewman before receiving further treatment from the doctor onboard.

The winch and safe retrieval of the patient was completed within 20 minutes of arrival on scene. The patient was then flown to Mackay Base Hospital in a stable condition arriving about 3pm.

A31-year-old patient suffering seizures was winched off Cairn Beach onWhitsunday Island yesterday by RACQ CQ Rescue

RACQ CQ Rescue

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SOUTH MOLLE The BAUER Family (1937 – 1971)

July 21, 2022

Over the years since the first lease taken out by D C Gorton in 1883, South Molle Island has witnessed many owners come and go. But the Bauer’s tenure was by far the longest and one of the most successful.

In 1937, when Ernest (Ern) Bauer observed islands for sale in the Whitsundays, he chose South Molle with its north-facing bay and permanent water supply.  He wanted to provide a healthy environment for his eight children and figured twenty guests per week would sustain their needs. Since their home was already a focal point for young people to gather socially, there appeared little adjustment necessary.

Ernest took over the lease from Henry Lamond who possessed the island since 1923. The purchase involved a swap of the family’s dairying property in Brisbane with a large furnished family home for the island, livestock, primitive dwelling with no electricity and a pit lavatory. Enter the pioneers: daughter, Ruth, recalled, “My mother cried. We children thought we were in heaven. The water was so blue, clear and warm - nothing could keep us out of it and we became as brown as berries.”

The arrival of the weekly Correspondence School course, however, put an end to their little games. But there was great joy when the electricity generating plant arrived by cargo ship, which also homed their pony, “Star”, who was lowered over the side to swim ashore behind the boat.

While existing resorts had corrugated iron bungalows with coral for the floors, the Queensland Government Tourist Bureau insisted that Ern build fibro cabins with wooden floors before they would be included on the books.  These building materials had to be shipped from Brisbane.  The cabins and a large central complex of lounge, dining room, kitchen, shop, office and family accommodation were eventually completed, and a slow trickle of guests began to arrive.

Ernest and Anna became far too busy to supervise their children’s schooling, so Anna took a house in Proserpine where the children attended school and went home weekends to help.  Ruth especially remembered peeling potatoes around an iron tub as their contribution to the Sunday influx of day visitors who dined on roast dinners, plum pudding, fruit salad and island cream.

The Bauer’s self-sufficiency included home-grown lamb, pork, fresh vegies, milk, cream and butter.  Sheep had to be rounded up for shearing, the wool baled in the woolshed and shipped to Dalgetys in Brisbane.

Progress was steady and each year extra cabins were constructed.  Guest numbers increased to the extent that shipbuilders had to be commissioned to construct a 72-foot TSMV (named “Crest”) suitable for both cruises and transport. Even with these larger numbers, the Bauers were still able to retain the “family” atmosphere.

When the Pacific War was declared, shelters were dug in the hills and provisions cached there. Since Japanese luggers had called in for water supplies, the family feared they would return.  However, the only “invasion” was from army personnel from a camp outside Proserpine and Air Force personnel from Bowen-based Catalinas which landed in the bay on R and R.  The Navy’s presence in Cid Harbour and manoeuvres down the passage were a comfort to the family.

Reg Ansett’s purchase and development of Daydream and Hayman Islands heralded the entrance of “Big Business” to the Whitsundays, an area previously operated by family units. But under the Bauer family’s ownership, South Molle remained a “Mecca” for families and young people.

It is indeed sad, today, to see this once popular island languishing.  

Story and photo courtesy of Proserpine Historical Museum and recollections from Ruth Dunstan (nee Bauer)

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How Much Do We Need To Retire?

July 21, 2022

This is a question we get asked all the time.

Statistic – ‘For a couple aged 65 today there is a 50% chance that one person will still be alive at age 95.  Source ABS.

A sobering thought when you’re working out much you need in the super and investment nest egg to retire.  Generally, people fall into one of two camps when it comes to retirement planning: 1. Those fortunate enough to have built such a large nest egg that it represents up around 20 times their required annual retirement income.  I.e., They want $70,000py and have built up over $1.4mill.  For these few people, their nest egg will grow throughout retirement as they will only spend a portion of the interest earned; 2. The more common scenario is those whose nest egg represents around 15 times their required income.  I.e., They want, say, $60,000 per annum and have around $900,000 built up.  This is most people, and they will be gradually eroding their nest egg to meet their income requirements and will eventually run out of money.

The key to good retirement planning is to do all the smart things to maximize your financial position throughout retirement and try and have your money run out when you think you will run out.  It is no good running out of money in your early 70’s but it’s also no good scrimping and saving, not enjoying your retirement and having heaps left in your 90’s.  

As an example: we recently reviewed a couple’s situation, Jim and Mary (names changed for privacy) decided they wanted $800pw or $41,600py as a pension from their super.    This coupled with part Age Pension entitlements of around $26,000py would get them up to $67,000 odd per year income in retirement to cover living, hobbies and travel in today’s terms.  We projected they were currently on track to build up around $450,000 in super and investments by their preferred retirement age.  As ‘balanced’ investors, expecting 7%pa after fees and costs, this meant their nest egg would run out in around 14 years, after allowing for inflation.  As Jim and Mary were 50, and planning on retiring young at 60, they weren’t comfortable with running out at age 74.  We implemented strategies to put away an extra $1,000pm tax effectively to ensure they built their nest egg up to over $700,000 which should now provide their required income and last them until age 90.

If you’d like a cost and obligation free review of your retirement projections, give us a call.

Written by Justin Butler, Managing Director Eclipse

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Hospital Staff Train Their Trauma Response

July 21, 2022

Clinicians across the region enhanced their emergency trauma skills with the latest round of Rural Emergency and Trauma Simulation Training last week.

Collinsville, Proserpine and Bowen hospital staff each attended the simulation sessions which focused on non-critical and critical trauma presentations.

The training also included skills stations which honed clinicians’ approaches to managing unexpected complications and intraosseous – directly into bone marrow - needle insertions.

The participants faced a number of scenarios, utilising the Telehealth Emergency Management Support Unit (TEMSU), as well as a Mackay Base Hospital senior Emergency doctor.

The Telehealth Unit assisted virtually with treating the fractured elbow of a 14-year-old patient, following a fall from a tree, to ensure safe reduction of the fracture in a first scenario.

The second challenge the groups faced was a critical scenario with a 29-year-old patient involved in high-speed motorbike accident.

The patient had been under the influence of drugs, and sustained thigh injuries and contusion of left lateral chest and abdomen.

Participants used their existing skills and knowledge to stabilise the patient with the assistance of Retrieval Services Queensland (RSQ) who provided virtual oversight of ventilation, intubation, fluid resuscitation and subsequent retrieval.

“Skills stations provided an opportunity for participants to refresh their critical thinking and review their own practice to consider various approaches to procedural sedation and to anticipate complications,” a Mackay Hospital and Health Services spokesperson said.

For authenticity, rib meat models were used to perform intraosseous needle insertion into real bone and place intercostal needles and tubes.

“Many of our rural clinicians are highly skilled in dealing with trauma emergencies, however it’s reassuring for them and junior staff to know they are supported by teams who provide a crucial link to consult with specialists when needed,” the spokesperson said.

Proserpine, Collinsville, and Bowen hospital staff took part in trauma simulation training over the past week

The training helped the staff hone their skills in emergency trauma situations in a safe environment

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Proserpine Hospitals Four Decade Veteran

July 21, 2022

Advanced Practice Enrolled Nurse Debbie Phillipson first walked through the front doors of Proserpine Hospital 40 years ago and she hasn’t looked back.

She was only 21 and on a trip around Queensland with a friend, having just finished training at St Vincent’s Hospital in Toowoomba. That friend stayed on in Mackay at the Base hospital, while Debbie travelled north to Proserpine.

After an interview with the Proserpine Hospital’s matron, Debbie, to her surprise, received a phone call to say she was starting that night.

“There was no orientation, I just walked in the front door and started night duty,” she said.

“I came in and never left. I soon fell in love, got married and had children so this community is definitely my home.”

Aside from a year off after the birth of her two children, Debbie has worked continuously and still holds court across the wards and in the operating theatre as a scout nurse and also attends to the sterilising.

Debbie says she has no regrets about spending four decades in the same workplace.

“Everyone says ‘gee you’ve been here a long time’ or ‘you looked after my mother’ or I see children I saw being born having their own children and I think, they are right, I have been here for a while,” she said.

“It’s a lovely connection, most people know you are a nurse and relate to you for something in their life. You feel close to everyone even though they are not your family”.

Debbie says one of the qualities of a good nurse is always doing your best to look after people, and she has no plans to retire as one of the hospitals longest serving nurses.

Debbie Phillipson, an Advanced Practice Enrolled Nurse, has been at Proserpine Hospital for forty years

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Election Called

July 21, 2022

A by-election to vote in a new Mayor for Whitsunday Regional Council will be held on 13 August 2022 according to Electoral Commission Queensland (ECQ).

Currently there are six candidates running for the office: Jan Clifford, Al Grundy, Mike Brunker, Peter Hood, Julie Hall and Phil Batty.

Two separate Meet The Candidates Events will be hosted by Bowen Chamber of Commerce and Whitsunday Coast Chamber of Commerce respectively.

Bowen Chamber of Commerce will hold their Special Mayoral Candidates Meeting on Wednesday, August 3 at 5.45pm at the Larrikin Hotel. Whitsunday Coast Chamber Of Commerce will host their Meet The Mayoral Candidates Event on Monday, July 25 from 6 to 8pm in the Reef Gateway Function Room.

ECQ Commissioner Pat Vidgen said there were a number of ways people could vote.

“Don’t worry if you can’t make it on polling day, we have several options available including telephone voting for people who meet the eligibility criteria - like those who have tested positive to COVID-19 and anyone interstate or overseas,” Mr Vidgen said.

“There will also be two weeks of early voting and postal voting and both of those options are open to everyone.

“We know there are more than 23,600 registered voters in the Whitsunday region and we want to make voting as quick and easy as possible for every one of them.”

Postal vote applications are open now and close 7pm on 1 August 2022.

Early voting starts at 9am on 1 August 2022 and finishes at 6pm on 12 August 2022 at three early voting centres in Bowen, Cannonvale, and Proserpine.

On election day there will be five polling booths in Cannonvale Beach, Proserpine, Collinsville, Bowen and Hamilton Island.

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

Candidates may still nominate for the seat of Mayor until Monday, July 25.

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An Interview With The Last Bush Poet

July 21, 2022

Campbell Irvine’s face underneath his iconic, well-worn hat, framed by thick grey beard and hair, is of “Never-give-in, of bright heat and of help-your-mate,” as Henry Lawson would have said.

One of Australia’s last bush poets, the true essence of Waltzing Matilda, has been wandering up and down the country’s coast for the last four decades.

He regularly stops in near Mackay, and on a recent trip through Airlie Beach where he performed poetry at the Airlie Beach Foreshore Markets, our Whitsunday Life reporter caught up with one of the country’s last swagmen.

Wearing blue jeans and a red button-down, Campbell the Swaggie had five or more festival bands on his wrist — he pointed to one and said it would be gone soon, replaced by another.

He hunches when he walks from years of carrying heavy swags and billy kettles on the road — as well as being born disabled up one side — but when he sits down there is an instant ease and gladdening.

With a swag, a few bags, and his hat, the Swaggie has trekked most of Australia. He’s performed countless round-trip tours of the country, taking part in festivals in South Australia, Victoria, Queensland, and Darwin in a life under the stars.

He’s become an icon of folk Australia – although a New Zealand born Mauri – since he arrived in the country in 1975 following a band, The Bushwhackers. It was a first infatuation with the cultural history and character of the lucky country and most importantly its swagmen.

“I’m a bard, I guess you could say. An Itinerant, nomadic, traveller,” Campbell said.

“It was Waltzing Matilda that drew me to the swaggie’s life; and I’ve been doing it for 40 years now, living life on the hoof.”

Famed Australians and poets Henry Lawson and Banjo Paterson would have called him a swagman. Others have called him a walking storybook and the embodiment of the bush ballads and poems. He performs the poetry of Australia’s past, as well as his own originals, and has made friends across the regions.

Especially in Airlie Beach, where most know him for his performances at Wintermoon Festival near Calen.

“I love the Whitsundays; it’s the Great Barrier Reef for me that is so special. I’ve only been there once but that was enough to know how important it is,” he said.

“There’s the bush side to it too: tramping the stock routes outback Queensland, I was reborn and raised into the whole thing from the Bushwhackers band and Australian folk music — that was back pretty well in the early ’70s and ‘80s,” he said.

“An apprenticeship between learning to love the land and being a swagman on the old routes of cattle musterers in Winton and places like that. I take on that character and tramped those routes.

“It bore down to a love of pretty much everything that’s Australian; I hold dearly to it and celebrate it, that sort of thing. I came here at about the age of 23 and I’ve never left this country — it’s been 47 years, now.”

Appearances at festivals have kept the storyteller on his chosen path, as well as busking in between those gigs to make ends meet. That keeps his pockets filled and the damper cooking — although he once claimed a government allowance but has not done so for more than 25 years.

He said it was a love of poetry that kept him travelling.

“It’s a history. It’s education, that’s the way I see it, you know,” he said, “it’s about my home, my new home that I’ve nearly been in for 50 years already.”

He said being a swagman, a traveller and to recite poetry on the road was “like bringing things to life.”

Campbell is 70 now, but still recites his poetry by memory, as well as hoofing it much of the country.

As if he weren’t extraordinary enough, he uses much of his busking money — as well as festival hauls — towards charities like the Flying Doctor’s Service and Australian Conservation.

“Old bush legends like me,” he said.

He also wants Waltzing Matilda to be the national anthem: “It has more to do with Australia than that other song we’ve got,” Campbell said.

Campbell will be travelling through Airlie Beach once again in the coming weeks, dropping by to see some old friends, recite some poetry, and have a laugh.

His final message for the people of the Whitsundays was “I’ll catch up with them on the road.”

Photography and story by Declan Durrant

Campbell Irvine is one of Australia’s last swagmen, a bush poet who regularly travels up the country’s coast, including Airlie Beach

Campbell the Swaggie’s iconic hat. Two torn wide brims on top of another, held together by tarn and cloth

Campbell’s only belongings when he’s hoofing it up the coast reciting poetry for a living

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Council Plan To Address Whitsunday Housing Crisis

July 21, 2022

The Whitsunday housing crisis is set to be tackled by local council who have come up with sweeping reforms to ease the issue crippling the region.

Working both alongside Whitsunday Neighbourhood Centre and Bowen Neighbourhood Centre, Whitsunday Regional Council have adopted a consultation plan to determine what measures will have the best results.

According to council documents submitted at the July 13 Ordinary Meeting – a Housing Affordability Literature Review - the Whitsunday region is well above the statewide rate of 45.6 persons per 10,000 homeless, with a rate of “59 per 10,000”.

Director Development Services, Neil McGaffin, said the crisis was nationwide.

“As everybody should be aware, there is a housing affordability squeeze everywhere in the country,” he said.

“Alongside Neighbourhood Centre’s in the Whitsundays, we have come up with some potential solutions that could ease that.”

Councillor Jan Clifford said that, even within the council, they’ve been struggling with staff shortages due to the housing availability.

“The housing crisis is endemic across the entire nation. There is nowhere for anyone to live; it’s a crisis and it’s getting worse and worse every day,” she said.

Releasing their Housing Affordability Community Engagement Plan, council suggest seven potential changes for public consideration.

These include potential changes to the planning scheme, such as granny flat floor sizes and dual occupancy on measured lots, as well as revising minimum lot sizes.

“Council wants to know if there is anything the community is disliking about the planning scheme in relation to housing and the development of housing,” the document states.

Council will seek community feedback through email, Facebook, and other social media as well as in local newspapers.

Whitsunday Neighbourhood Centre have previously said that the crisis has seen families living in caravan parks, cars, and in tents.

Councillor Clifford echoed those sentiments.

“I have families living in my division who have been sleeping in cars and there has to be something we can do,” she said.

“This is a step in the right direction for that.”

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Come Join In

July 21, 2022

A group of Proserpine State High School Students didn’t think twice about letting Lochie Tucker join in on their pick-up basketball game at the Cannonvale courts.

Little did they know that it would mean the world to both Lochie and his mother Renee Tucker, who said, after her son came home that night, she had to wait until he’d fallen asleep to “just bawl with tears”.

“Lochie has Asperger’s – he just doesn’t fit in at mainstream schooling – his social cues are not there, which I love; he dresses how he wants, but he sees the boys down here and he always wants to join in,” Ms Tucker said.

“We’ve been down here to the courts so many times and these were the first bunch of boys that have ever let him join in with them.

“He was rapt when he came home; he was just so happy and he’s smiling all the time when he’s with them. Usually they’re forced but he’s just smiling for real.”

The Proserpine State High School Grade 9 students, Elijah, Will, Niall, Jason, Kody, and Chaz, said it was just a normal thing for them to include everyone.

“It’s good for him to see a group of good young men,” Ms Tucker said.

Sarah Post, a mother of one of the boys said they “didn’t think anything of it, that’s just how they are.”

Lochie said it felt very including to play with the boys.

“It was just really nice,” he said.

“I think we’ll come down and make it a regular thing!”

The boys at the court, Elijah, Will, Lochie,Niall, Jason, and Kody

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Editor's Note - On Deck with Declan

July 21, 2022

Hi, Constant Readers.

We can all feel a bit stressed sometimes. But, within those times, there’s an opportunity for great personal growth. I’ve certainly felt a bit under the pump lately – as is to be expected running a newspaper – but I already know I’ve learnt so much.

My time as Editor has been such a horizon expanding experience, to coin a phrase. I’ve certainly had some knocks along the way, like any new role, job, or responsibility. And there’s still (by my estimation) three weeks left.

I’m hoping the challenges keep coming and that I can keep hurdling them. Should I stumble, though, I know there’s plenty of people in my corner to come pick me up again and dust me off.

I’ve struggled in the past with mental health issues like depression and anxiety and learning to live with those things presented its own challenges, too. I look back on how far I’ve come, and I want you all to look back on how far you’ve come in your own personal journeys.

We should all take a moment in our day to just reflect on how we got here, who helped us, and where we want to be. There’s one thing we should always strive for: to be better than yesterday.

Stick with me here: there’s a line from BoJack Horseman that I always think of.

One character says to BoJack: “It gets easier. Every day it gets a little easier. But you got to do it every day. That's the hard part. But it does get easier."

In that instance, he’s talking about running, but he’s not really; take it as being about life.

Whatever you’re doing, keep the momentum. Keep doing it every day because it gets easier. One foot in front of the other. And if you haven’t begun, there’s no time like the present.


Quote Of The Week:

“It's the job that's never started as takes longest to finish.” – J.R.R Tolkien

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A New Guide To Bowen And Collinsville

July 21, 2022

The more than 41,500 people visiting the Big Mango Visitor Information Centre and the information booth at Bowen’s front Beach in the past financial year can pick up a copy of the new Bowen and Collinsville Visitor Guide.

The guide was recently launched by Bowen Tourism and Business and is currently being distributed to Visitor Information Centres in Queensland as well as some in NSW.

It is a complete guide to Bowen and Collinsville with sections on where to eat, where to stay and what to do.

The business is hoping its new guide will capitalises on those visitors and the further 1,100 that passed through the centre in the first week of this financial year.

Manager of Bowen Tourism and Business, Leanne Abernethy, said those numbers are not expected to slow down any time soon with data showing strong forward bookings for accommodation providers in Bowen in coming months.

“We’re noticing the number of overseas visitors had been increasing each month since the opening of the international borders,” she said.

“In January this year, we only had 10 international visitors for the entire month but in June, we welcomed 177 people from overseas.”

The guide includes maps of Bowen and Collinsville as well as a regional map of the Whitsundays.

There is also a farming map with a QR code to be scanned by those looking for farm work.

There is a story about when the Big Mango was stolen as part of a publicity stunt and about the movie “Australia” being filmed in Bowen when Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman called the town home for several months.

The Summergarden Cinema, Queensland’s longest running movie theatre, is also featured as well as sections on the walking trails and lookouts around Bowen.

Aside from at the centre, it is also available at various business throughout the Whitsundays.

The 60 page A4 full colour guide is also available online by going to www.tourismbowen.com.au and clicking on “Holiday Planner” at the bottom of the home page.

Bowen Tourism and Business staff Melissa Beuzeville and Beverley Adams reading the new Bowen and Collinsville Visitor Guide

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A New Acting Mayor

July 21, 2022

A special council meeting was held on Wednesday this week to appoint a deputy mayor of the Whitsundays, with previous deputy, Mike Brunker, stepping down.

Councillor Brunker is one of six candidates campaigning for the role of mayor, and as such saw it fit to step down so there was no conflict of interest, perceived or real.

Councillor Brunker was filling the role of acting mayor with the office left vacant after now Member for Dawson Andrew Willcox was elected to the federal seat in April.

With there still no current council mayor, the role of deputy takes on status as acting mayor until the election appoints the position after the August 13 vote.

Councillor John Collins was elected to the role in a 6-0 landslide.

Now acting mayor John Collins was first elected as Councillor for Division 3 on Whitsunday Regional Council in 2012 and was returned for his third term at the 2020 Local Government Elections.

He has been a member of the Proserpine community since the age of four, when his family relocated to the region, with his father transferred as the local police sergeant. John completed his schooling at the local St. Catherine’s Catholic Primary School and Proserpine State High School, and currently lives in Proserpine with his wife Jill and four daughters.

“I would like to acknowledge the work of Councillor Brunker, who rang me after the federal election and said he was happy to step down there and then,” Acting Mayor Collins said.

“I’d like to thank him for what he’s done both in the budget and in the past months. Until the election I’m going to be calling upon my fellow councillors to delegate work to them.

“I’d like to thank everyone for their confidence.”

Councillor John Collins has been voted in as deputy mayor of the Whitsundays this week, giving him the role of acting mayor until a new mayor is sworn in

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“Everything In His Stride”: The Cody Gibbs Effect

July 21, 2022

Cody Gibbs passed away in early July after 11-months of treatment for a cancer which had manifested as three tumours on his brain and spine.

The 15-year-old Airlie Beach boy had originally been diagnosed with Pineoblastoma in 2018 – an aggressive, rare form of the disease in the pineal gland in the brain’s centre.

He was 11 at the time and spent nine months fighting the malignancy in hospital – four operations, chemotherapy, and radiation - which ended in clear scans for a period of two years.

In 2021, the cancer returned, and with the support of the community and his family, a second outing of “Cody’s Battle” began, but would sadly end in a Brisbane palliative care ward.

His mother Donna Davis said cancer is not the thing that defines who her son was, although it may have claimed his life in the end.

He was an avid Aussie Rules footballer, a larrikin with a self-deprecating sense of humour, and as a little boy he was “high adrenaline, high octane; he was on and he’d go and go and go, then he’d fall asleep just where he was.”

“I think his generosity and kindness defined him. He always thought of others before himself,” Donna said.

“I think I was pretty hard on him when he was little and it paid off. He was kind and had respect for others, but he was cheeky and loveable. He had that smile that you’d say: ‘You’re just trouble, mate!’

“You just want to hug him, and I think he affected everyone he met. He was funny, he loved to dance, and he loved making people laugh at his own expense.

“Those that knew him relayed it to others who didn’t. People knew he was a really good kid and that he didn’t deserve to have this disease.

“He never, ever once complained about anything or got upset with having cancer. We always thought he’d break at some point but he never complained about anything.

“I think that’s why everyone loved him and supported him so much. He never let it get to him.”

Over the course of the two cancer diagnoses and subsequent treatments, separate fundraisers and GoFundMe pages raised tens of thousands of dollars for Cody’s Battle.

Some of those events included an Airlie Beach Rodeo, raffles and auctions at businesses across the region: The Metropole Proserpine, Kazza’s Barber Shop, Domino’s Airlie Beach, Jubilee Pocket Tavern, Hay Point Hotel, and Ray White Whitsundays.

Parts of those funds raised helped with treatment, while others sent Cody skydiving in Airlie Beach – a dream he’d always had - on a Jetski trip, and Jet Boating.

And some of them eased Cody’s journey close to its end, putting him in a comfy hotel room away from the hospital beds where he could lay in a bath and float, “finding the weightlessness he craved” when the pain was too bad.

His faithful local AFL team, the Whitsunday Sea Eagles were chief amongst those fundraisers. Cody had found Aussie Rules not too long before the second diagnosis but had made an indelible impression on the club.

They hosted an enormous Kickathon Fundraiser for him in 2021 on top of already donating to his Battle, which included an auction with signed guernseys from clubs across the country, giving club members an outlet for their desire to help.

But no actions were more touching than, in solidarity, when upwards of 15 of Cody’s mates in grade 9 at Proserpine State High School whipped off their hats to reveal they had shaved their heads in 2021.

“It was beautiful. The boys, that group of his close mates that he met through the Sea Eagles, they were wonderful,” Donna said.

“They were always telling each other they loved one another, and that’s hard for boys of that age to do.”

Donna said he made the most of every day and that he left an indelible mark on everyone he interacted with, which is why she believes there are so many whose lives he touched.

“His attitude was that he never sweated the small stuff and made the most of everything.”

“I know there are so many people out there who did something for him - things that we don’t even know about – but we’ll learn about them in the coming weeks.

“There are too many people who have become family and helped Cody in his journey. I can’t thank this community enough for what they’ve done for us.”

If you would like to attend The Cody Effect, a celebration of Cody’s life at Whitsunday Sailing Club on July 24, please RSVP at the link: https://forms.office.com/r/Yx2QCWQawD

Cody Gibbs passed away in early June after almost a year of treatment for Pineoblastoma

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Protect, Serve, And Meet

July 14, 2022

Ten of the region’s emergency services will connect with the community at the end of this month in an annual event celebrating its second year.

Organised by Whitsunday Police, the Emergency Services Field Day is a free entry, annual event inviting locals to have a chat with the personnel that protect them.

From 8am until midday on Saturday July 30, over seven divisions of the Queensland Police will attend, including Queensland Police Highway Patrol, Dog Squad, the local PCYC, General Duties Officers, Crime Prevention Unit, Recruiting, and Water Police.

Other emergency services meeting with the community on the day will be the likes of Queensland Ambulance Service, Queensland Fire and Rescue, Rural Fire Service, Australian Defence Force, Marine Safety Queensland, Volunteer Marine Rescue, Claytons Towing, Whitsunday Council Disaster Management, SES and Central Queensland Rescue.

Whitsunday Police Station Constable Jessica Leech said the event presents an opportunity for the community to see what emergency services have to offer them.

It’s a great place for us to interact with the community, as well as for them to see and learn what we do for them,” Constable Leach said.

“And for anyone wanting a career in any of those areas they can talk to firies, ambos, police and get to know what the jobs are about.

“It offers a multitude of opportunities and it also, for little kids, lets them get a photo with the firies!”

Ms Leech, who is organising the event, said the field day will host a program of events for its morning runtime along with its regular group of food stalls.

“There’ll be a series of demonstrations, with the really exciting ones like the QPS Pipes and Drums, a marching band with bagpipes and percussion instruments - they’re fantastic,” she said.

“We’ll have walk on viewings of the Volunteer Marine Rescue Boat down at the Marina, and a demolition car from Claytons Towing which will be cut open with the jaws of life.”

Constable Leach said the program, which is new this year, came into place because people were eager to see what those services were really like.

“You don’t really get to those sorts of things ever,” she said.

“We’re very excited to show the community what we’re all about.”

WHAT: Emergency Services Field Day

WHERE: Coral Sea Marina Lawns

WHEN: July 30

The Defence Force will feature at this year’s “bigger and better” Emergency Services Field Day

This year there will be live demonstrations by services like Claytons Towing, who will be cutting a car open

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Ocean Rafting In Top One Per Cent Of Tours Worldwide

July 14, 2022

Local tourism operator Ocean Rafting has once again been recognised as one of the top 10 per cent of tours and attractions worldwide, as well as breaking into the top one per cent.

The local company was awarded as one of Tripadvisor’s '2022 Travelers' Choice' winners, recognising them for receiving consistent five-star reviews, as well as “maintaining a high-level of customer experience.”

Not content with making it just into the top 10 per cent, Ocean Rafting were awarded with as one of the “Best of the Best” tourism operators in the Tripadvisor award – counting them as one of the top one per cent of tours on the planet.

Ocean Rafting owner Jan Claxton said it was a testament to their mantra that “you’re only as good as your last day out there on tour”.

“I always say to my tour guides to treat every day as if it’s the only day someone experiences the Whitsundays,” she said.

“I always tell the team: this is your award, we’re the ones in the background making the tours go ahead, but at the end of the day the people who are most impressive are the guides giving people such a great experience.”

In a tough few years for the tourism industry, Ms Claxton said it the most wonderful part of it is the fact the awards are voted on by people that came on tour with them.

“As soon as the school holidays are over, we’ll head to Northerlies for a few drinks,” she said.

“I think the thing is, we’ve been around for 25 years this year, and we’re making sure we’re always improving and never be complacent.

“I have to say thank you to my team and to all of you guests who made it possible.”

25-year veteran of Whitsunday tourism, Ocean Rafting have cracked the top one per cent of tours in the world on Tripadvisor

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Get Naked Whitsundays

July 14, 2022

A group of naturists will be experiencing utter liberation this week as they nude up onboard a cruise across the Whitsundays.

In a two-day trip led by contemporary naturist group Get Naked Australia (GNA), 32 soon-to-be nudists from across the country will strip off and sail the Coral Sea in a first time ever for the organisation.

Started in 2016, Get Naked Australia has grown exponentially into one of the country’s biggest naturist groups, running events to offer a fun way to “take the plunge and experience naturism for the first time.”

Get Naked Australia’s Queensland Coordinator Rikki Yeowart is leading the group in their debut Whitsunday outing.

“We ran our first Gold Coast cruise earlier this year – a majority of our events have been in Sydney, our base of operations – and this is our first time in the Whitsundays,” Ms Yeowart said.

“It will also be our first ever multi-day cruise, so we’ve got people coming from across the country. On the boat we’ve got things like a six-metre inflatable water slide, a bar, paddleboarding, board games and card games. Even the option to do naked scuba diving!”

The trip will leave on Friday afternoon aboard a True Blue Sailing Vessel, before returning on Sunday in a two night, one full day and one-half day experience.

“It is weather dependent [whether we’ll be naked the whole time]; because, if it’s cold we won’t do it out of spite,” Ms Yeowart laughed.

“But if the suns out we’ll be naked as much as within reason.”

Ms Yeowart said that the freeing nature of naturism helped her overcome her own body image struggles.

“For me, it was a body image struggle that naturism helped me with. With a lot of women, getting naked in front of a group of other women is a terrifying thought. A lot of us are brought up to feel shame with our body.

“I was on a journey to find acceptance in my own body, and nude yoga helped me transform my relationship with myself.”

The GNA demographic is quite young and hip according to Ms Yeowart, with everyone being extremely welcoming. They also make sure that there is always a balance of genders.

“It’s the community aspect of it - it’s a tight knit group of positive people wanting to go on adventures,” she said.

“Meeting people in your natural state, it’s so liberating.”

Get Naked Australia will host a multi-day nudie cruise this weekend

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It’s A Bowen Mango Sorbet Kind Of Day

July 14, 2022

Bowen’s famous mango sorbets, available for sale at the Big Mango Visitor Information Centre on the Bruce Highway south of Bowen, are again proving more popular than ever.

More than 40,000 tourists and locals visit the Information Centre and the information booth at Bowen’s Front Beach each year – and almost half of those bought a mango sorbet in the past 12 months.

Bowen Tourism and Business Manager, Leanne Abernethy, said a total of 18,500 sorbets were sold in the past financial year – smashing the previous year’s record of 17,000 sorbets.

“We know how popular they are but these figures are staggering,” she said.

“We sell them all year round and this is the closest thing you will get to a fresh Bowen mango when it is not mango season.”

Bowen is the birthplace of the famous Kensington Pride mangoes, also known as the Bowen Special, and the sorbets are 100 per cent natural – simply pureed and frozen.

They are produced by long-term Bowen resident, Patrick Martin, who sources the Kensington Pride mangoes locally and they are sold by Bowen Tourism and Business as well as by Patrick at the Airlie Beach markets on Saturdays.

Mr Martin said he was very excited that another record had been broken and it was because “Bowen mangoes are the best mangoes in the world”.

“It is a pleasure to continue to supply the Big Mango with the sorbets – as I have been doing for the past 11 years,” he said.

“When Bowen Tourism and Business sold 17,00 sorbets last year, I thought that was the best numbers we would ever get as the international borders had been closed due to Covid and we had more domestic visitors travelling around Queensland.

“But the state and international borders are open and we have smashed the sorbet sales record again.”

Sorbet connoisseur Patrick Martin and Bowen Tourism and Business Manager, Leanne Abernathy are happy that almost 18,500 sorbets have been bought over the last year

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Stranded Whale Buried

July 14, 2022

The sperm whale found stranded in a remote bay in the Whitsundays two weeks ago has been buried by decision of Queensland Parks and Wildlife.

The 18m male whale had originally been stranded alive in Sinclair Bay, Cape Gloucester, on Wednesday, June 15 but unfortunately passed away overnight, before washing up on a beach directly in front of private residences.

Queensland Parks and Wildlife rangers relocated the carcass over the next week, estimated to weigh around 50 tonnes, to a more suitable burial location close to the initial stranding site.

Rather than removing the carcass from the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area, the decision was made to bury it for environmental, cultural, safety, and logistical reasons.

Wildlife officers said this significant feat wouldn’t have been possible without the support of the local landowners, Whitsunday Regional Council and a local earth-moving contractor.

Reef Joint Field Management Program Senior Conservation Officer Natalie Sands said this incident was a rare occurrence in Whitsundays.

“Sperm whales usually inhabit deeper offshore waters,” she said.

“We do sometimes see sperm whales in Queensland waters including the Great Barrier Reef, but for one to live strand on the inshore coast is unusual.”

Queensland Parks and Wildlife Rangers first were alerted to the whale while it was stranded alive in Sinclair Bay

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For Little People With Big Dreams

July 14, 2022

The Whitsundays is gearing up for the comfiest day of the year when they’ll don their PJs and create change for National Pyjama Day next week.

The day all about wearing your favourite pair of jammies to help The Pyjama Foundation raise much-needed awareness and funds for children in foster care is fast approaching on July 22.

Supporters from across the region are getting ready to rock their PJs at work, school and everywhere in between, including Proserpine Hospital staff.

Proserpine Hospital Executive Support Officer Christine Neilson said that this was the fifth year the hospital would be taking part in the charity event.

“The hospital had started participating in Pyjama Day from request of our intern group five years ago,” Ms Neilson said.

“We usually have quite a large group participating each year. It’s a bit of fun for the staff, because who doesn’t like to wear comfy PJS to work!

Ms Neilson said, aside from the fun side of the event, it was important to raise funds and awareness for the cause.

“The foundation provides educational resources and learning skills for those children; it’s a great cause,” she said.

“It’s a great way to start the conversation about the important work that the Pyjama Foundation do and you get to wear comfy clothes to work for the day!”

National Pyjama Day is vital to the success of the Pyjama Foundation’s Love of Learning Program which is offered to children in foster care - Australia's lowest performing educational group.

Businesses and individuals can register or find out more about National Pyjama Day at nationalpyjamaday.com, as well as donate to Proserpine Hospital’s page at https://bit.ly/3Rk7dK6

Proserpine Hospital are gearing up for their fifth year of raising funds on National Pyjama Day

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New Marina Resort Inundated With Buyers

July 14, 2022

The Whitsundays’ first major resort development in over a decade has piqued plenty of interest with a deluge of eager buyers getting their names down for a slice of luxury living.

The stage one release of the $350 million Shute Harbour Marina Resort has generated more than $21.5 million in sales contracts issued and over 600 enquiries following the project’s market launch eight weeks earlier.

Established business owners, sea-change seekers, retirees, and avid boaties have led the charge on the 58 land and berth packages up for grabs.

A South Australian-based consortium is behind the project, with local agents Taylors Property Group helming the sales portion of the project. Principal of Taylors Property Group, Rob Taylor said the immediate market response has been incredible.

“We knew we had something special on our hands here, but we have been simply inundated with genuine interest – it’s been a whirlwind,” Mr Taylor said.

“A large portion of these purchasers are boating enthusiasts who recognise the rarity in such a premier berth location, or those from southern states who have been enticed by the lifestyle offering presented by the resort.”

The most significant transaction to date is the $2.55 million sale of a land and 35m berth package.

Once complete, the Shute Harbour Marina Resort will encompass a world-class 395-berth marina, 58 freehold land allotments, a 100-plus room resort hotel, including function and meeting rooms, bars, restaurants, swimming pool and undercover parking, and 100 managed apartments with resort club facilities.

Development of the first stage of Shute Harbour Marina Resort, which will include the marina and the stage-one release of land and marina berths, is expected to take two years to complete with construction targeted to commence in 12 months.

The Shute Harbour Marina Resort will include 58 managed resort dwellings with private marina berths, a retirement resort

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Election Date Set, “Meet The Mayoral Candidates” Event Coming Up Chamber Chat

July 14, 2022

The Electoral Commission Queensland have called an election date of August 13 for our next Whitsunday Mayor. And all the newspaper articles, social media posts and general community activity is reflecting the fact that Mayoral Electioneering is in full swing.

The Whitsunday Coast Chamber of Commerce (WCCC) was planning to host a "Meet the WRC Mayoral Candidates" event on Thursday, July 14 at 6:30pm at the VMR in Cannonvale, however, in response to concerns raised and to err on the side of caution, The Chamber had decided to postpone the event until the election had actually been called – which, will now be held on Monday, July 25.

This free community event will be open to all Chamber members and residents of the greater Whitsunday region. Each of the six (current) candidates will be in attendance and there will be a strict set of rules and guidelines by which candidates and guests must abide. Respect must be maintained at all times – this is about making the right decision for our entire region.

The Whitsunday Chamber of Commerce is an apolitical business organisation focused on improving the region for its members and community at large. The Chamber has a particular focus on advocacy for local businesses and their employees and the long term growth and viability of the region.

The Chamber is completely independent of the Whitsunday Regional Council, although on a 12-month cycle on rotation, a WRC counsellor from Division 1 and Division 2 is invited to attend all committee meetings throughout the year with the aim of maintaining and improving two way communication between each organisation. In the interests of transparency, the current council representative on the Chamber is Jan Clifford.

Chamber members are invited to submit in advance, to the chamber secretary, any general questions they would like the candidates to address on the evening. This can be done via email admin@whitsundaycoastchamber.com.au or via the link emailed out to members, or shared on our Facebook page

Annual membership for the chamber is $99. This entitles the individual/business to direct lines of communication to a multitude of authorities on matters of interest to local community (advocacy). In addition, we hold 6 networking events throughout the year, a great opportunity to promote your goods or services. These events also have a topical guest speaker or organisation.

Every attendee at this event will receive a bonus ticket to attend our next networking event in August.

See you at the VMR

Written by Alan Millostic

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Ticket To The Whitsundays

July 14, 2022

A star-studded film shot in the Whitsundays and helmed by the likes of George Clooney and Julia Roberts released its trailer last week.

Shouts from locals of “I know where that is!” sang out with the release of Universal Pictures debut trailer for Ticket to Paradise.

Filmed across Queensland last year, the romantic comedy was talk of the town during its November to January film shoot on islands including Hamilton Island.

It’s not the first time the Whitsundays has had a starring role in a Hollywood flick – the 2008 film ‘Fools Gold’, featuring Mathew McConaughey and Kate Hudson, and ‘Australia’, famously shot in Bowen with Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman, were both Whitsunday cinema darlings.

But it may be the most expensive and with the biggest stars, which put the region in the spotlight during filming and hopefully again on release.

The Ticket to Paradise stars were spotted filming on locations including Haslewood Island, luxury Qualia Resort, and tourist hotspot Catseye Beach, as well as Long Island and Cid Harbour – each of which acted as Bali stand-ins during the shoot.

Clooney and Roberts play opposite each other as a divorced couple teaming up to stop their daughter making the same “mistake” they made 25 years ago.

The film is set for release on September 15, and no one is more excited than Tourism Whitsundays, who had a helping role in location scouting for the film.

“It is fantastic to once again see The Whitsundays shine on the big screen,” CEO of Tourism Whitsundays, Rick Hamilton said.

“Having a major Hollywood film with A-list stars such as George Clooney and Julia Roberts will put The Whitsundays in the global spotlight as a destination for future films.”

Mr Hamilton said the movie is “hitting the screens worldwide at the perfect time”.

“[It’s] reminding our overseas visitors of our world-class destination and award-winning experiences,” he said.

“It will also help to remind Aussie’s of the beauty they have on their doorstep; they don’t need to travel abroad – the perfect tropical break is right here!”

Tourism Whitsundays worked closely with Working Title Films and operators over the past two years, finding the perfect locations to help secure this film for The Whitsundays.

“Thank you to everyone in The Whitsundays who was involved in bringing Ticket to Paradise to the screen,” Mr Hamilton said.

Director Ol Parker, Julia Roberts, and George Clooney filming Ticket to Paradise on Hamilton Island

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Author Visits Whitsundays

July 14, 2022

Annie Seaton has penned almost 65 novels in her chosen genre, with four taking place in the pristine beauty of the Whitsundays, and the author made a return visit to one of her favourite settings last week.

Stopping by at Whitsunday libraries across the region, Ms Seaton spoke to locals about her newest novels: Outback Roads – The Nanny, Outback Sky – The Pilot, Larapinta, and Osprey Reef – a novel set here in the Whitsundays.

She spent seven weeks in the Whitsundays – a place she’s visited for the past 11 years - travelling from their New South Wales home up the coast in a camper with her husband, which the pair have made a habit of in their retirement.

Annie writes on the road – another habit – and said she’s always had a dream of writing “ever since I was four years old.”

Annie writes romantic-suspense novels and took the opportunity to speak at Cannonvale, Proserpine, Collinsville, and Bowen libraries to fans and aspiring writers of the region.

“I talked about the research and how I did that locally, especially for Whitsunday Dawn, which focuses on Airlie Beach and the Cannonvalley in the 1940s,” she said.

“I also want to write another big one set at Bowen called Bowen River, which will be a murder-mystery. So, that will be my big focus next year.”

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Bowen Neighborhood Centre Close To Completion

July 14, 2022

The new Bowen Community Centre building is getting close to completion, with contractors now at the fitting out stage.

The new centre on 34-38 Gregory Street – which will be the future base of operations for Bowen Neighbourhood Centre - is now seeking donations from locals.

The non-for-profit said donations will be used to fit out the building’s features, including new technology, furnishings, and other resources necessary to ensure full function and responsivity for the needs of our community.

Along with new facilities, the new centre will home a Cooinda Family Centre, as well as a Tuckerbox Food Shop, a Bowen Community Op Shop – just like its current locale on Williams Street.

Coordinator Bowen Neighbourhood Centre Stephanie Cora said it would be a “one-stop shop” for providing the community with everything needed to enjoy both its already existing services and activities, as well as new ones.

“The new building will continue to provide support to those members of our community experiencing hardship such as homelessness, family violence, and food insecurity,” Ms Cora said.

“At Christmas time alone, more than one hundred and sixty families and individuals, including our elderly, receive gift hampers funded through the Bowen Community Op Shop.”

Other services to be offered at the new centre will include no interest loans for essential items including fridges, heaters and car parts and assisting our clients to access the range of resources and services available through other support agencies.

Chairperson of the Bowen Community Council Inc., Christine Coventry said having a new purpose-built Neighbourhood Centre in Bowen is going to “open up so many extra opportunities for our community.”

“We thank the Dept of Communities for their foresight in recognizing the need in Bowen, and we thank community members who have already donated,” Ms Coventry said.

“To have all the existing activities like Cooinda Family Centre, the Bowen Community Op shop, The Tuckerbox Food Bank, plus so much more, all on one site, will be such a benefit to the whole community.”

All donations made to support the new Bowen Community Centre are tax-deductible and receipts will be issued for all donations received.

If you would like to financially support the fit-out of the new Bowen Community Centre you can donate here: www.gofundme.com/f/the-bowen-community-centre

The new Bowen Neighbourhood Centre is closing in on completion, with fitting out stage now taking place

A markup of what the Centre will look like upon completion

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July 14, 2022

“Middle-Ground For Mackerel”

A proposed years-long closure plan for Queensland’s Spanish mackerel fishery has been dropped by state government this week.

In a win for local fishermen, Queensland government have ceded their position that mackerel farming would go into complete closure for a period of years after data found mackerel stocks had dropped by 17 per cent of original ‘unfished’ levels.

Those figures were rebuked by fishermen across the state, who sent in more than 1400 submissions contradicting the claim.

Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries and Minister for Rural Communities Mark Furner said it had been ruled out because of the impact it would have on fishers, jobs, and communities.

Mr Furner said that, overwhelmingly, the fishing community wants action taken to rebuild these stocks for the future, but not through extended closure.

“At the request of the commercial fishing industry, we held direct meetings with commercial fishers and charter fishing operators who are most likely to be affected by future management changes to rebuild this fishery,” Mr Furner said.

“We have now carefully assessed everybody’s input to develop more detailed rebuilding options, which are needed to ensure the long-term sustainability of the fishery.”

The government is now seeking final feedback from fishers on options for rebuilding the mackerel – options which include reducing recreational and commercial catch limits, and seasons of closure to protect spawning fish.

Member for Whitsundays Amanda Camm picked up the torch on the issue from local fishermen back in early May.

Ms Camm said the current solutions Queensland Government have floated are a “sensible outcome” which protects sustainability but listens to industry.

“I think what it demonstrated is that once we as a community stand up with a strong voice, government will listen,” Ms. Camm said.

“They wanted in particular the science behind the governments claims to be validated, because what they were seeing was not what was being reported.”

Queensland Government have stuck by their data which indicates the drop of 17 per cent, and Minister Furner said mackerel were at “historically low” levels.

“No decision has been made but doing nothing is not an option,” he said.

“If we don’t take steps to rebuild their stocks it could be the end of this important fishery.”

He asked stakeholders to consider the options carefully and identify which would work best for their circumstances.

A final decision and announcement on management actions will be made following this next consultation period, with management actions expected to be implemented from October.

Have your say at https://daf.engagementhub.com.au/spanish-mackerel-2022 . Consultation is open until Friday August 5.

Local fisherman Trevor Draper alongside his wife, Tina, met with Member for Whitsundays Amanda Camm in May to discuss the state governments plan to close Spanish mackerel fisheries across Queensland

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$9.3M Upgrades For Whitsunday Emergency Services

July 14, 2022

The Whitsundays is set for a double-boost with progress being made on delivery of both a replacement fire and rescue station and an upgraded police facility with $7 million- and $2.3 million-dollar commitments from state government.

Police and Corrective Services and Fire and Emergency Services Minister Mark Ryan said Airlie Beach and Cannonvale have changed and grown significantly in recent years, spurring the need for a new station.

“The Fire and Rescue Service has determined that a replacement station is required at Cannonvale to improve fire response capability to meet community demand and the Fire and Rescue Service will be discussing this with the community in coming months,” Minister Ryan said.

And announced for the first time is a $2.3 million upgrade of the police facility at Proserpine.

Proserpine was one of a number of towns and regions across the state to benefit from the record $3 billion-plus police budget that featured funding to progress new and upgraded police facilities.

Mr Ryan said the government was committed to boosting resources in those sectors.

“The Budget [had] record spends in police, corrective services, fire and emergency services as part of our commitment to improved services, good jobs and ensuring we are able to retain the lifestyle we have come to expect in Queensland.”

QFES Commissioner Greg Leach said an upgraded fire station would be an important asset for the service, especially with Airlie Beach and Cannonvale’s growth in the last few years.

“Our crews do an exceptional job working with the community to prepare for and respond to a wide range of challenging incidents and disasters,” Mr Leach said.

“A new, modern facility will allow our firefighters to continue to deliver a high-standard of fire and emergency services to Airlie Beach, Cannonvale and surrounding areas.”

Mr Leach said Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) will continue to engage with the community on the project, with final completion anticipated in 2024.

Central Region Assistant Commissioner Kev Guteridge said the upgrade to Proserpine Police Station would help service the needs of a growing local community and police workforce.

“With a growing population, demand for policing services continues to rise in the Whitsunday Region,” Assistant Commissioner Guteridge said.

“This is a significant upgrade to the Proserpine Police Station which will ensure we have modern facilities for officers to carry out their duties and service the local community.”

Airlie Beach Fire Service have received $7 million in funding towards their new, central premises alongside a $2.3 million promise to upgrade the Proserpine police facility

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Community Fundraiser For Edwards-Bland Family

July 14, 2022

community dinner was held last weekend to raise funds for the Edwards-Bland family who tragically lost their 12-year-old son, Stirling, in a car accident in May. Businesses reached out in a show of solidarity, offering items to put up to auction, and the event held at The Creek Whitsundays was a huge success.Locals supported locals in what many called a “community-wide hug” as the stunning venue played host to tributes of love and support in difficult times.
The community rallied around the Edwards-Bland family last weekend in memory of their son

Edwards-Bland Family Fundraiser at The Creek Whitsundays

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July 8, 2022

This cold snap caught me by surprise.

My basil was growing in abundance until last week when the temperature got down to around 10 degrees at night.  What was growing well with beautiful green healthy leaves, then turned black and inedible.  So out it came out and in went spinach seeds!

What I should have done, is one of two things:

1: Collect it all and make pesto before the cold snap!

2: Cover the basil plants with plastic buckets while the cold snap hit and ensure the plants were surrounded by plenty of mulch to help keep the soil warm

However, the tomato plants growing nearby are doing very well.  

You can still plant tomato seeds throughout our tropical winter. Tomatoes are hungry plants so make sure your soil is well fertilised before you get seeding, you can dig in compost, well broken-down manure or grab a bag or two of our vegetable soil improvers.

There are literally hundreds of different tomatoes you can chose from, so think about what you will use the most of.  Small cherry tomatoes like Riensentraube, Kotlas and Black Cherry

that you can pick off the plant and eat or cut in half to add to salads or larger varieties like Daydream, Grosse Lisse, Costoluto Fiorentino, Break o day (to name a few) that can be used for salads, for preserving, for tomato sauce and pureed ready for many evening meals. We have all these seeds and more available now.

I tend to over seed and then pluck the weakest looking seedlings after they have grown their second set of leaves, leaving 30-40cm between each plant.  If they are all looking healthy, remove them carefully and give them to friends.

Staking is important and I prepare this before seeding. My favourite staking technique is wrapping two intertwined lengths of cloth tie between stakes or sticks or whatever you have available to you, at different heights.

As the plant grows you can simply separate the two strands and weave the plant through them.  As your tomatoes grow, prune off the laterals (little side growth between the larger branches) and once they have reached a manageable height, I like to keep them there by cutting off any new growth at the top of the plant.

When your tomatoes flower, make sure you feed them, they are about to give you an abundance of produce.

Did you know:

There are over 1,000 varieties of tomatoes, they all taste different, with various textures textures – why not try something you have not before.

The first tomatoes were not red, they were yellow, you can also grow black, white and pink tomatoes!  The largest tomato ever picked was 3.5 kgs.

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Cannonvale Skate Park Upgrade Underway

July 8, 2022

The much-anticipated upgrade of the Cannonvale Skate Park will commence this month with stage one expected to be complete as early as mid-August.

During construction, the skate park will be closed but the basketball court adjacent to the site will remain operational.

Demolition of the old skate park commenced this week and will pave way for stage one of the upgrade project which will include a street style skating area designed to suit beginner and intermediate skaters.

A second stage will expand the skate park offering and will include an intermediate to advanced competition skate bowl which is expected to host events and attract more skaters to the park.

The tender for this section of the project has now closed and will be awarded in early July.

The two skate parks will offer greater choice to skaters who can enjoy the popular activity at their own skill level.

An artist’s impression of the new Cannonvale Skate Park facility

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Bailey Pini Inquest Could Change State Rules

July 8, 2022

The tragic death of 13-year-old Bailey Pini in June last year could change guidelines at residential care homes across the state following findings at the inquest which detail how increased staffing and safer procedures could have prevented his death.

Bailey died in a car accident when the vehicle he had stolen from his residential care home in Sarina came off the road and set alight a few blocks away from his grandmother’s house in Bowen.

The teen had been staying at this supervised facility following some behavioural issues which are believed to be related to the tragic death of his mother following a short battle with cancer the year before.

His family hoped he would receive the help he needed from the state-run facility but instead his behaviour worsened when he stole the keys to a staff vehicle.

During the recent inquest into his death, Coroner Nerinda Wilson found that better security measures and more staffing could have prevented the tragedy, stating that if the keys hadn’t been available, Bailey would not have died.

“I ultimately determine that the use of key safes should be mandatory,” she said.

The inquest also investigated the level of supervision at the residential home and pointed out that just one person on that night was not sufficient, asserting that better funding needs to be provided.

“It should not be the case that the system is stretched to the point that one 63-year-old woman becomes the last bastion between the residents and car keys,” said Ms Wilson.

At this stage, the findings will only create change at the residential house in Sarina where Bailey had been staying but it is hoped that new guidelines could soon be approved statewide.

Bailey’s family hope that his death and the choices he made on that fateful evening will in some way create positive change so no other young lives are lost in the same way.

Bailey Pini in happier times

Bailey Pini with his mum who tragically passed away a year before he did

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The Whitsunday Spirit Locals Open Hearth And Home For Stranded Passengers

July 8, 2022

With unseasonal rain bathing the region this week, almost all flights were cancelled at all Whitsunday airports, but none more high-profile than Monday night’s Jetstar Australia flight JQ 849 from Hamilton Island.

Over 150 people were left stranded in Airlie Beach after an engineering issue cancelled the flight, leaving its passengers without accommodation during one of the region’s busiest times of year. Whitsunday residents took it upon themselves to help out, opening their homes and businesses to get the marooned holidaymakers out of the rain and cold, and get them fed.

An Impromptu Whitsunday Storm Shelter

Jetstar Flight JQ 849’s cancellation at the hands of an engineering issue left over 130 people stuck in Airlie Beach with nowhere to stay on Monday night.

The flight was set to take off from Hamilton Island before Jetstar technicians determined a technical fault would leave the plain non-airworthy.

Ferried back to Airlie Beach at the request of Jetstar, the passengers arrived at Port of Airlie unannounced, with no accommodation booked and no availability due to school holidays filling both the mainland and Hamilton Island.

A spokesperson for Hamilton Island said they were “dismayed” at the cancellation.

“Passengers were left without alternative travel arrangements or accommodation at the Port of Airlie,” the spokesperson said.

“Hamilton Island sends its heartfelt thoughts to all the guests affected”

The spokesperson said Jetstar opted to send the passengers to the mainland, “where alternative accommodation or travel arrangements was to be arranged” by Jetstar.

But alternative accommodation didn’t come from Jetstar, it came from Whitsunday residents and Whitsunday Councillor Jan Clifford.

Councillor Clifford swooped in to organise free bus transfers onboard Whitsunday Transit from Port of Airlie to Whitsunday PCYC.

PCYC Branch Manager and Police Sergeant Billy Li stayed overnight at the PCYC alongside his unexpected guests and said Cr Clifford called him to open the doors to “give people somewhere to sleep.”

“There was plenty of people here, both people turning up from town to pick up folks and give them a place to stay. There was Fish D’vine and Dominos bringing free food,” Sergeant Li said.

“It ended up with only about 20 people left here to stay overnight - that’s how many people opened their homes.”

Fish D’vine owner Kevin Collins said they were glad to provide the food and “turn a disaster into an adventure.”

Councillor Clifford said that Dominoes, Fish D’vine and the PCYC – as well as the people of town who put up the passengers – were “the real heroes”.

“Whitsunday Transit did a wonderful job and other people around the place did a wonderful job, I’m so proud of this town,” she said.

“If it could possibly go wrong, it did, and the way everyone around town rallied, that’s why I love this town.”

Cr Clifford said she was hoping to send a certificate of appreciation to everyone that helped.

Red Cat Adventure owner Asher Telford was on Hamilton with his parents, Shirley and Terry, who were passengers on the cancelled flight.

He said they spent hours ferrying people to local accommodation, as well as organising pickups.

“That’s why we live here. It’s the people that make the place,” he said.

Whitsunday Transit operations manager Edward Deakes, Fish D’vine CEO Grant Wilson, Police Sergeant Billy Li, and Asher Telford

The Whitsunday PCYC became a home for stranded Jetstar passengers thanks to the hospitality of locals

Local businesses like dominoes donated upwards of forty pizzas for free to the hungry group

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Celebrate The ‘Great Eight’ These School Holidays!

June 30, 2022

Encourage your children to get creative over the school holidays by making a masterpiece for the upcoming Cruise Whitsundays Great Barrier Reef Festival.

Held from August 4-7, the 22nd annual festival will bring colour, fun and fiesta to Airlie Beach with a range of exciting events, many of which you can contribute towards yourself.

Here are some ideas:

•Construct an inflatable raft for the recyclable regatta – all rafts must be made from recycled items aside from the ores.

•Design a piece of wearable art out of recycled items

•Build a lantern for the lantern parade

•Get your workmates together and create a costume or float for the street parade

Anyone in the community is invited to get creative and contribute their unique piece of art – this year the theme is the ‘Great Eight’ - clownfish, giant clams, manta rays, maori wrasse, potato cod, sharks, turtles, and whales.

Festival Chairwoman and ‘Immerse’ concept designer, Margie Murphy, said your artwork can be inspired by any of these incredible marine creatures.

“Just as an African safari has its ‘Big Five’, our Great Barrier Reef’s ‘Great Eight’ are a checklist of the reef’s most mesmerising marine creatures and should provide ample inspiration for costumes and floats for this year’s Rotary Street Parade,” she said.  

“We’re also looking forward to seeing reef conservation innovatively expressed through our Wilmar Wearable Art and Anything Environmental Recyclable Regatta entries, so the time to get creating is now!”

WHAT: Great Barrier Reef Festival

WHEN: August 4-7

WHERE: Airlie Beach

Create some wearable art over the holidays!

Construct an inflatable raft out of recycled items

What are you going to create for the street parade?

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Top Foods For Healthy Skin

June 30, 2022

Did you know that your skin-health can be directly related to the types of food you choose to eat? Here are a few ideas for giving you fresh, clear skin all year round:

•Tomatoes – A great source of vitamin C which can help boost collagen production, they also fight cellular damage which can prevent fine lines and wrinkles

•Fatty fish - A source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for maintaining skin health - salmon, mackerel and herring are all excellent choices

•Quinoa – This super food has amazing skin benefits - it is packed with nutrients - Vitamin A, calcium, zinc, protein, manganese, fibre, iron and essential amino acids

•Green Tea – It contains powerful compounds called catechins and can protect your skin from damage and ageing. It is also anti-inflammatory, reducing skin irritations

•Avocado - High in healthy fats, avocados can do wonders for your skin. Getting enough of these fats is essential to help keep skin flexible and moisturised

•Carrots - Carrots are filled with antioxidants loaded with beta carotene that works on healing scars and blemishes on the skin

•Broccoli - This green tree goodness is full of zinc, vitamin A, and vitamin C

•Strawberries – Containing lots of antioxidants, strawberries are good at stopping your pores from becoming blocked and preventing spots from developing

•Walnuts - They contain a large number of polyphenols, which are compounds known for their antioxidant properties that fight skin damage and prevent ageing

•Greek Yoghurt – Containing natural anti-bacterial properties, yoghurt can help prevent acne breakouts and ensure glowing and healthy-looking skin.

Information sourced from bulk.com.uk

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Immerse Workshop Next Week

June 30, 2022

This year at the Cruise Whitsundays Great Barrier Reef Festival, the Immerse art installation returns with a Vivid-style sculpture and animation theme.

Award-winning multi-media artists Donna Maree Robinson and Margaret Burgess have been working with local creators Brigitte Peel, Anita Pender, and Liz Knight to produce marine-themed digital projections and sculptures for a foreshore trail from the Lagoon to Fairy Tree Park in downtown Airlie Beach.

Donna Maree Robinson said festivalgoers could expect to see all manner of vibrant reef life animated onto building facades, rock walls, bridges, water, and an iconic fig tree, using specialised stop-motion techniques.

“This is something many people may not have witnessed before – it’s an immersive experience that brings to life quirky areas throughout the space we’re working in, creating a sense of wonder and awe about the reef, and also hopefully raising awareness about the need to protect it,” she said.  

The series of sculptures incorporated into the trail are being created at free workshops which are being held in communities across the region thanks to Regional Arts Development Funding (RADF).

Airlie Beach is next on the list, with the Immerse Workshop due to take place at the Whitsunday Neighbourhood Centre in Cannonvale on July 10, from 10am until 3pm.

“You don’t have to be an artist – you can have an interest in the environment, want to get creative or be somebody who just wants to connect with other people – it’s free of charge, and all the materials will be supplied, as well as the instruction,” said facilitator Margaret Burgess.

WHAT: Immerse Workshop

WHEN: July 10, 10am-3pm

WHERE: Whitsunday Neighbourhood Centre

The stunning ‘Immerse’ art installation from 2021

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Chamber Chat

June 30, 2022

End of financial year is upon us and with it the usual rush of last minute claims and financial manoeuvres. Take some time with your accountant and financial advisor to plan ahead for the next twelve months – with inflation rising and the costs of everything spiralling upwards, there will be challenging times ahead.

In the meantime, school holidays have arrived along with the influx of families enjoying the Whitsunday Winter. Add these to the Cruise Ship visitors and there is certainly a buzz in the main street again, particularly on weekends.

The Queensland State Budget was handed down this week with some welcome payroll tax for small and medium businesses (SME). This means SME's will be able to employ more people to meet the need of their customer base – around the limitations of ongoing staff and accommodation shortages. There were also positive measures in mental health support, regional infrastructure spend, and continued small business support programs.

With local mayoral elections just around the corner, the Chamber has organised a Meet the Candidates event to be held at the VMR Building, 6pm on Thursday, July 14. With most of the candidates already confirmed it will be sure to be an interesting evening. There are an unprecedented number of candidates in this election, it will be held as an optional preferential vote and Council have requested a postal election which is yet to be approved by the Queensland Electoral Commission.

If this goes ahead, it has several ramifications. It is expected that only 50 per cent of residents will vote and the vote will be fragmented amongst the candidates. Voters can just vote 1, or place a number against every candidates (or any combination in between)

The Chamber strongly recommends putting a number against each candidate to ensure the regions gets the most preferred mayor – not just the one that gets the most votes.

From Allan Milostic, President of the Whitsunday Coast Chamber of Commerce

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Debutante’s Dazzle In Bowen On Saturday Night

June 30, 2022

Young ladies in dazzling white gowns and long elegant gloves were formally ‘introduced to society’ last Saturday at the St Mary’s Parish Debutante Ball in Bowen.

Following months of training which involved learning many ‘old-time’ dances taught by a host of local volunteers, a total of 10 debutants and their partners presented.

The Grade 11 students were greeted at the church where they received a blessing.

They were then taken by bus to the Bowen State High School where they joined the official party of more than 200 people and were presented to Bishop Timothy Harris from the Townsville Dioses.

Federal Member for Dawson Andrew Willcox was in attendance along with Acting Mayor Mike Brunker and Parish Council Representative Maureen Baxter.

The debutantes and their partners performed the ‘Deb Dance’ and then cut the ‘Deb Cake’.

After this, the bishop gave a speech and following dinner, all guests enjoyed dancing to live music performed by Hot Hot Hot from Mackay.

Organiser Raynee Bidgood said that the event was made possible with the help of many volunteers and that they were all happy to see such a fantastic night unfold.

“It was a very proud moment to see it all come together,” she said.

“They all looked beautiful and did a wonderful job!”

Andrew Willcox said that it was a pleasure to see them enjoy their night.

“These young ladies and gents work hard for weeks leading up to the big night, learning their presentation routine plus ball room dances,” he said.

“Well done must go to Raynee Bidgood and her team for the many hours of organisation and dance lessons that went into bringing this wonderful event together.”

The Debutantes and their partners attending the St Mary's Parish Debutante Ball in Bowen last weekend. Photo credit:  Photographer Kerri Smith

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Hidden Treasure Of The Whitsundays - Where Is The Wreck Of The “Heroine”?

June 30, 2022

The schooner, “Heroine”, was owned and commanded by Captain Martin McKenzie. In the 1840s, it was employed trading between south-east Asia, Port Essington and Sydney, being one of the earliest vessels to pass through Torres Strait from west to east, then beating her way south outside the Great Barrier Reef.

“Heroine” was involved in two mishaps – the first one on August 5, 1845 while travelling west through Endeavour Strait.  She struck an uncharted rock and, though damaged, was able to proceed. McKenzie reported this to Lieutenant Yule, RN in HMS “Bramble” who was in the area conducting surveys but Yule found this hard to believe having carried out a detailed survey of the Strait in 1844. However, in June 1846, Yule investigated the report and found an isolated rock in the position reported by McKenzie.

Yule's report was published in the “Sydney Morning Herald” October 14, 1846. By coincidence, the second mishap – this time resulting in the sinking of the schooner – and which occurred on April 24, 1846, was reported on the same page as Lt Yule’s report. Consequently, the two incidents were confused as one and the same and so arose the mistaken belief that the wreck of the “Heroine” was in Endeavour Strait.

But the wreck actually occurred near the Cumberland Islands. At 1 am on April 24, the schooner was near the Cumberland Islands/Gloucester Island when it struck a reef with such force that she began to sink immediately, disappearing within ten minutes and allowing no time for boats to be lowered.

It was fortunate that “Heroine” had been towing a boat for delivery to Post Essington and twenty-six of her complement had taken refuge in it. Nevertheless, nine people died, two of them the young daughters of McKenzie. He had been forced to take to the water with his younger daughter, an infant and spent five hours swimming before being rescued. Sadly, his daughter died and he had discarded her body.

Some of the crew swam to a small sand-bank from which they were picked up next morning but one of the remarkable features of the story is that four people, a priest, McKenzie's Timorese wife and two Malay women who had been clinging to the topmast of “Heroine” were rescued by a Newfoundland dog, Nelson, which had taken them individually to the sand-bank. Sadly, Nelson was later to be taken by a crocodile at Port Essington.

As to the precise location of the wreck of “Heroine”, the following clues give some indication.

While abreast of the Cumberland Islands, McKenzie calculated they were about five miles off, it being apparent they had chosen to pass to the east of the group. However, according to Rae, chief mate, they were in fact twenty /twenty-five miles off and this makes it likely, indeed inevitable, that the reef “Heroine” struck was in the area of today's Hook/Hardy/Bait Reefs. Weight is added to this theory by the fact some of the crew swam to a small sand-bank before being rescued. This perhaps was the small cay on today's Triangle Reef. It is not improbable the cay could have existed in 1846 because some further south, reported by Matthew Flinders in 1802, still exist today.

Further, the “Sydney Morning Herald” October 14, 1846, reported the sinking as being on “The Cumberland Reefs, the island bearing south by west.” Another mentions it was “off the Cumberland Islands in latitude 20S.” Hook Reef's southern edge actually lies on 19.50S.

To add a little spice to the story, Rae reported that as “Heroine” was sinking, McKenzie rushed to his cabin to retrieve 300 gold sovereigns but found the cabin half full of water and the coins remained where they were.

Obviously, treasure lies out there somewhere. The real surprise is that no efforts have been made to recover the schooner’s valuable cargo from its watery grave near the western end on Hook Reef. Now where did I leave my snorkel?

Story and photo courtesy of Proserpine Historical Museum and “The Whitsunday Islands - An Historical Dictionary” by the late Ray Blackwood.

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Rates Rise Is “Less Than A Cherry Ripe!”

June 30, 2022

Passing the second rate rise in as many years, Whitsunday Regional Council have delivered what Councillor John Collins coined ‘the hardest Budget I’ve seen in 10 years at Council’.

This year’s Budget was announced at a special meeting held at the Bowen Chambers last Friday morning and included a four per cent rate rise, equating to $3.71 per household per week.

“This is less than a Cherry Ripe or a cup of coffee,” said Acting Mayor Mike Brunker when delivering the budget.

With inflation running at six per cent in Queensland, Council had faced increased costs while also having less money coming in through reduced Federal and State government grants.

Cr Brunker said that there have been many robust debates between Councillors since Budget discussions commenced in April and that the finance team has created the best possible outcome in terms of maintaining our standard of liveability during tough times.

“We strive to reduce costs where we can so we can spend it where we must,” said Cr Brunker.

“This is a balanced Budget that continues to deliver services and enhance the liveability of our region, without compromising our future financial sustainability.”

Rates and charges account for $96.3 million out of Council’s $137 million operating costs and the majority of this is put into water and sewerage as well as maintaining roads and footpaths.

While ensuring liveability and services are maintained within the region, Council have also guaranteed sound financial management with a $227,000 operating surplus and are committed to debt reduction by allocating $5.4 million to reduce current loans.

Key Points:

•Inflation and reduced government support means rates have risen by 4 per cent or $3.71 per week per household

•Council will end the next financial year with a debt of less than $70 million for an asset base of $1.2 billion, in simple terms that compares to effectively owing just $70,000 on a $1.2 million home

•The Whitsundays has one of the most generous pensioner rates concessions in Queensland

•Council has a procurement policy that ensures the majority of work is awarded to local business so that money stays within the region

The Finance Team -  L-R: Julie Moller Manager Strategic Finance, Leah Bradley Manager Financial Services and Katie Coates Management Accountant with Acting Mayor Mike Brunker (centre)

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An Uncertain Future For Bowen Jetty

June 30, 2022

A Bowen icon is thought to be in danger according to local Chamber of Commerce, who believe it could either fall into disrepair or even be demolished.

President of Bowen Chamber of Commerce Bruce Hedditch said the Bowen Jetty, which is currently under commercial lease by North Queensland Bulk Ports (NQBP) Corporation, could soon have no use for the company.

“We’re focused on saving it, because once the tugs leave and go up to Abbot Point, North Queensland Bulk Ports have no further use for it,” Mr Hedditch said.

“[The Chamber] understand – whether it’s true or not – that the council have no interest in it either.”

NQBP currently use the jetty and wharf for tugboat operations at Port of Abbot Point, and recently completed $3.6 million worth of works programs on the wharf.

Those works repaired the worst timber sections to “ensure it remains open for public access and available to meet commercial needs of the tugs”.

Mr Hedditch said – as the chamber understood it – NQBP would be moving their tug operation exclusively to Abbot Point port to limit expenditure, which he “understood entirely.”

Rumours have swirled in past years that the 154-year-old jetty heritage listed site has become too costly to maintain, and should NQBP move, no one would pick up the expensive slack.

An NQBP spokesperson said the company “knows how important the wharf is to the Bowen community” and they were working with key stakeholders to consider “long-term infrastructure options for the Abbot Point tugs.”

“We plan to engage with all relevant stakeholders at the appropriate time when considering the future of the Bowen Wharf as it relates to the Abbot Point towage infrastructure,” the spokesperson said.

“This will involve ongoing consultation with Whitsunday Regional Council, Bowen Collinsville Enterprise, Bowen Chamber of Commerce, our shareholding ministers, and, of course, the community.”

Mr Hedditch said the Bowen Chamber were hoping to come up with a plan to turn the jetty into a tourism venture.

“It’s very early days, but we just can’t let it get knocked over. There are not many tourist attractions in Bowen, so if we can turn it into that, it would be lovely,” he said.

“We’re going to come up with a concept that will create a lot of interest, that’s our next move.”

Bowen Chamber believes the iconic Bowen Jetty could be soon vacated by North Queensland Bulk Ports leading to a potential demolition

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Food For Thought

June 30, 2022

Just six months ago, Airlie Beach welcomed its first organic bulk food store, offering locals and tourists alike the opportunity to purchase pure natural products while reducing single-use plastic along the way.

Owners of Airlie Health Hub, Hayley and Paul Moran, had been planning to open the store for almost a decade and said they finally felt the time was right.

“It’s a store to help everyday families live healthier, more sustainable lives,” said Hayley.

“That’s exactly how I shopped when I was a kid, and we wanted to introduce the same concept here.”

Customers are invited to browse the unique ‘scoop’ display shelves that allows you to personally pick and measure the produce to your exact specifications.

This flexible way of shopping is both interactive and economical.

“You can buy as little or as much as you like – so there is no limit – if you’ve got that recipe that you’ve been always been wanting to make, you don’t need to go and buy every single product,” Hayley explained.

“You can buy a teaspoon of spice if you like!”

Simply come into the store, which is located at the shopping complex on the corner of Stewart Drive in Cannonvale, and the team will assist.

You are welcome to bring containers with you or use one of the many jars that have been kindly donated by local businesses and meticulously cleaned by Paul.

One of the team will be on-hand to guide you around the store where you can scoop up a range of delicious products.

With over 300 products in stock, choose from dried fruit, grains, pulses, superfoods and spices as well as a range of pastas including chickpea and mung bean fettuccini.

Airlie Health Hub also stock a range of Australian made plant-based cleaning products including the Kin Kin washing detergent which was developed by a man who worked at Omo for 20 years.

Each re-fill container saves over 900 plastic bottles.

“The biggest thing we are trying to do right now is reduce food waste and plastic waste,” said Hayley.

“There is too much single use plastic and we really need to minimise it!”

Airlie Health Hub also cater to a lot of dietary requirements including gluten free, celiac and keto.

“So come and share your story and we’ll find out how we can best help from there,” said Hayley.

Hayley and Paul Moran from Airlie Health Hub

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“Not Time To Play Politics”: Climate Change Doesn’t Make The Cut For State Budget

June 30, 2022

Queensland environmentalists are celebrating a state budget with unprecedented funding for new national parks, while others are frustrated by its “big fat zero” in addressing the climate crisis.

The government announced a Queensland state budget with a commitment of $262.5 million in protecting more land – the lion’s share of which was going to land acquisition and capital works.

The Worldwide Fund for Nature said the spend is the “largest single investment” in expanding the national park estate in the state’s history.

But the environment spend ends there in a budget comprised of 2032 Brisbane Games planning and catch-up health spending, and conservationists across Queensland have said there’s “nothing for climate” in this budget.

Whitsunday Conservation Council Vice President Tony Fontes said there is “zero money in [the budget] for mitigation of climate change”.

“In a time where we’ve had terrible flooding in Queensland, and a mass coral bleaching event in Queensland, it’s simply not good enough,” he said.

Mr Fontes said that, especially for the Whitsundays, the Great Barrier Reef’s sixth mass coral bleaching event in March this year should act as a wakeup call – even more so considering it was the first ever during a La Nina weather cycle.

The spend on climate has drawn significant ire from Queensland conservationists who have pointed to the Palaszczuk Government’s three-time election promise that they would act on the climate crisis.

Mr Fontes said that those have, thus far, been empty promises, and didn’t reflect a populous who only recently changed its federal government because of its inability to act on climate.

“That 2030 emissions reduction target doesn’t look so good anymore when compared to Victoria and New South Wales cutting their targets by 50 per cent in the same time,” Mr Fontes said.

“The Federal government are aiming for 43 per cent by 2030, and Queensland need to put their hand up with the rest of the country and say we’re with you.”

Mr Fontes said the state government need to approach the issues they’re facing now “holistically” – particularly in reference to the Great Barrier Reef.

“They need transition plans for coal communities and to bump up that emissions target, because those need to be big ticket budget items,” he said.

“The number one goal holistically with reef protection is to mitigate climate change first, then reef restoration second, if you have to put one over the other.”

The state government’s 10-year energy transition plan is scheduled for release later this year.

Queensland’s state budget has a mammoth $262.5 million commitment to national parks, but a conspicuous lack of climate crisis spending according to conservationists

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June 30, 2022

Lost And Found

Two adventurous dogs, Glock and Winx, went missing in mid-June from their home in Jubilee Pocket, leading their owners on a five-day chase across the Whitsunday suburb before a teary reunion.

Glock, a black Staffordshire terrier, and Winx, what her owners Jessica Fricker and Brad Mitchell call a “bitsa”, were accidentally let out from the back garden of their Erromango Drive home on Saturday, June 18.

The dogs travelled from Erromango all the way up to the highest heights of Jubilee Pocket, mounting Moonlight Drive and eventually venturing out into the Conway Ranges – unbeknownst to their owners.

Over five days, Brad and Jessica, along with Jessica’s two children – Lincoln and Indy – worked their way around the suburb calling out the dog’s names and even leaving clothes at a few sites, hoping to entice the dogs to stick around the area.

They were joined in the hunt by Whitsunday residents and good Samaritans from as far afield as Bloomsbury.

The only clue for the local parents came from an older gentleman named Chris, who said he had seen the dogs the night they went missing. They had been barking in his back garden on Moonlight Drive, just 800-or-so metres from where they would eventually be found.

They stayed lost for five more days.

“Every day from the moment we dropped the kids off at school, we were out looking for them, calling for them,” Jessica said.

“I was driving up near Moonlight and luckily, I knocked on Chris’s door and asked him if he’d seen them, and he said: ‘Yeah, they were trying to eat my dogs last night!’”

That glimmer of hope dimmed over the next few days as no further sightings were reported. No one was more devastated than the 11-year-old Indy.

Indy shares a special bond with Glock, who acts as an emotional support dog for her disability.

“I could get her a thousand other dogs, but it wouldn’t be him,” Brad said.

“That’s why we had to find him. And they certainly know they’re loved now.”

After five days with no news and as many sleepless nights, the family received a call from Chris, who said he had heard the dogs near his property again on Wednesday morning.

“We got there, we called out for them and they howled back. I said: ‘That’s them’ and we just walked straight through the rainforest,” Jessica said.

Brad and Jessica trekked through thick brush and winding rock paths into a gully and around 120 metres of elevation in the Conway Ranges to follow the sounds of Winx and Glock.

“The SES said to us later, ‘How did you get through this?’ and they had come up in long pants, boots. We were wearing thongs – which we both lost our pairs of, so we were barefoot - and shorts!” Brad said.

They found Winx and Glock at a three-tiered waterfall. Winx had fallen into the lowest tier pool, while Glock was watching over her from the top.

Jessica said that, when she saw they were both together, she “went to water”.

“I just cried and cried – I couldn’t stop and Glock tried to come over to me. He almost fell off the rocks!” she said.

The dogs were wet, scrawny, and shaking, but “elated”.

The family was partially reunited; now they just needed to get home.

Brad and Jessica had been in contact with friends, updating them continually on the journey. Brad reached out to his mother to contact Whitsunday Police, who filed a report to alert the local SES branch.

The pair found Winx and Glock at around 3.00pm – they’d began their own trek at around midday, and it was 9.00pm before they heard the team of five SES operators coming up through the rainforest.

Whitsunday SES Controller Mark Connors said they hadn’t performed that kind of rescue operation for some time – especially one with dogs.

“In the Conway, it gets extremely dense so it was pretty rough going for all of the operators,” he said.

“We were able to get an exact location, but we just had to work out a way to get there. We took some food up for the dogs because we knew they were undernourished, and we just had to walk them out.

“They were hoping for a helicopter but with the dogs that just wasn’t possible.”

Mr Connors said it is always a great feeling when a mission ends as a good news story, but as an animal lover, he was particularly pleased.

“One of the dogs came out first with the first part of the team and promptly sat down on my foot!” Mark said.

“It was also, for some of my guys, their first search and rescue and they loved every minute of it.”

Jessica and Brad arrived back home by 10.00pm, opening the door to a sleeping Indy, who woke up with some sloppy wet kisses from her favourite dogs.

Glock and Winx, who usually sleep alone on a bed in the living room, have been joined every night this week by Indy curled up on the couch nearby.

“It meant more to her than it did to anyone else,” Brad said.

A Facebook post on a local group, Whitsundays Chat, alerting locals the dogs were home has since received upwards of 1000 likes and overwhelming positive feedback.

Winx and Glock are finally home, a little skinnier, but safe after their rainforest adventure.

Jessica Fricker, Glock, Winx, and Brad Mitchell unified at last

Jessica Fricker, Brad Mitchell, and their two dogs were helped down from the Conway Ranges by local SES after rescuing their lost pups

Jessica and Brad found Glock and Winx near a waterfall one kilometre into the Conway National Park

The SES trekked through the same tough terrain that Jessica and Brad did to find the quartet

Jessica’s daughter, Indy, with Glock, who acts as an emotional support dog

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Woman Dies From Cardiac Arrest Snorkelling In The Whistundays

June 28, 2022

A woman has died after developing chest pain and difficulty breathing during a snorkelling trip in Whitsunday waters.

The 53-year-old woman is understood to have been snorkelling near Hook Island with a commercial tour operator from Airlie Beach when she suffered a cardiac arrest.

She returned to the commercial tour vessel which then immediately re-routed to Coral Sea Marina where Queensland Ambulance paramedics and police met them.

It is understood her condition worsened once onboard and crew attempted to revive her through first aid.

She sadly passed during transit before the vessel arrived at the Marina at 12.30pm.

Whitsunday Ambulance Station Officer In Charge Steve Thurtell said the woman’s heart had stopped while she was onboard the vessel.

“The crew determined she had stopped breathing and the boat immediately high tailed it to Airlie Beach,” Mr Thurtell said.

“While we have great med-evac plans in place and it was good the tourism operators could perform CPR, unfortunately the distance was working against them.”

Mr Thurtell said a team of four paramedics took over at the scene once the vessel arrived.

“I think the team onboard the tour operator performed above and beyond expectations and did well on all accounts,” he said

“But unfortunately, despite all treatments, she passed away.”

It is understood the woman was on holiday with her partner and friends, who were also onboard the vessel.

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Whitsundays’ Respect Graduates Head To Whitehaven

June 23, 2022

A group of state high school students travelled to Whitehaven Beach on Tuesday to graduate from a new program which hoped to guide them in making better life choices.

Operation RESPECT brought together the grade 9 Proserpine State High School students and Police Sergeant Billy Li in a ten-week Police Youth Mentoring Program.

The local PCYC Whitsunday Manager and Police Officer taught the students alongside the state high school’s behaviour support teacher, Chris Lang.

Along with nine students, Sergeant Li and Mr Lang boarded the Whitsunday Water Police vessel Damian Leeding to enjoy a casual graduation on the silica sands of Whitehaven.

The group of boys had been promised that, at the end of their ten weeks of Operation RESPECT, they would travel aboard a policeboat to enjoy a barbecue and games at the famous beach – as well as a day off from school.

Sergeant Li ran the program which utilised interactive learning, leadership skills, decision making and problem-solving exercises, resilience training and family inclusive principles to guide his group.

The State School students spent two hours of the week with Sergeant Li undertaking activities that focused on topics from conversation skills, personal presentation and hygiene to healthy eating and mental fortitude.

This is the first time the program has been run in the region, with the group of Proserpine boys its first Whitsunday graduating class.

Sergeant Li said he has seen a change in behaviour in his RESPECT alumni now that they’ve completed the program.

“They all have improved concentration, behaviours, and found respect for themselves and other people, which is fantastic,” Sergeant Li said.

“They’ve commented on their behaviours being better at school and there’s also the positive interaction they’ve now had with a police officer.”

State High School teacher Mr Lang said this first iteration of the program – which ran over six months – had imparted different things for the nine “very different boys”.

“They’ve all gained something from the program, but how much you can’t quantify. But I think even the respect they have for Billy and the police now is something they can benefit from,” Mr Lang said.

“Having a good relationship and a good male role model, as well as seeing police as protectors of the community, those are real benefits.”

The group spent two hours at Whitehaven playing games, catching up on some RESPECT revision, enjoying Hill Inlet, and a sausage sizzle as part of their graduation reward which included a tour and ride of the Damian Leeding police vessel.

Student Cameron Heard – who took part in RESPECT– reflected the group of boy’s consensuses on the program.

“It really helped me gain respect, as well as discipline and I’m enjoying school more now,” Cameron said.

Sergeant Li said RESPECT will continue – likely as soon as next term - with the plan to take on an all-female group in the next instalment.

Sergeant Billy Li, his first Operation RESPECT graduates, and Behaviour support teacher Chris Lang onboard the Whitsunday Water Police vessel Damian Leeding

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Own The Choice, Own The Outcome

June 23, 2022

In 2012, Peter and Melissa McGuiness’ son was driving above the speed limit, and under the influence of alcohol and marijuana when his vehicle ploughed into a broken-down car on the highway, which contained five other teenagers.

It killed four of them instantly as well as their son Jordan.

Determined to change their despair and grief into a journey of hope, the pair have spent the last ten years spreading a powerful message of road safety, by inspiring other teenagers to make the right choices before getting behind the wheel of a car.

Last week, they brought the You Choose Youth Road Safety Program to the Whitsundays, visiting three schools in the region.

Through highlighting their son’s choices and the tragic aftermath, the pair are dedicated to creating positive social change in how youth view driving and accountability.

Over the past decade, they have seen more than 100,000 young Australians at schools across the country in their nationally award-winning program.

When the McGuinness’ visited Bowen State High School, Whitsunday Christian College, and Proserpine State High School they received a great response.

The program is formatted in two parts: a 60-minute presentation, followed by 30 minutes of survey and engagement regarding leadership, student body traditions, and school community action plans.

Peter said the first portion of You Choose is road safety, accountability, and love viewed through the story of their sons’ actions.

“It’s a story that makes teenagers reflect on their choices and their own families,” Peter said.

“Jordan was coming home from his first ever work Christmas party and was over the blood alcohol level limit, driving 30 kilometres over the speed limit when he collided with a stationary vehicle.

“He wasn’t a hardened criminal by any stretch of the imagination, but he made some reprehensible decisions.”

The narrative of the McGuinness family tragedy has one goal: for students to reflect on their own family and friendship groups.

“The messages that are behind our mission are making connections between your intentions, your choices, and your loved ones, and how to act on those connections. Those messages always impact the students most at risk,” Peter said.

“They look at each other around those friendship groups and make connections with each other to make change.”

Peter said he and his wife were “uplifted and energised by young people around the region”.

“Their enthusiasm to change the world for the better is really impressive. It strikes you that one of the ways they can make those connections between choice and their loved ones is through being a passenger,” Peter said.

“Road safety provides an example for what good decision making looks like in life.”

With support of QPS, the program has been an enormous success. Peter and Melissa hope to continue to spread its message and make a difference. They also hope to return to the Whitsundays in the next 12 months to do so.

Melissa McGuiness and Sergeant Nigel Dalton introduce the You Choose Program to local schools

Jordan McGuiness who tragically died on the roads after making wrong choices

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Come Collect A Cuppa Coffee With A Cop

June 23, 2022

An opportunity for community members to interact with local law enforcement in a casual setting over a cuppa is fast approaching.

The annual Coffee with a Cop event is inviting locals to communicate with the region’s protectors for its third year running and is hosted at Whitsunday Plaza on June 30.

Police Sergeant Billy Li said this iteration will still be a regular “come and have a chat” event, but with two new facets added.

“We will have Braking The Cycle attending alongside us at Whitsunday Plaza this year, and we’ll also be chatting about police recruitment,” Sergeant Li said.

“It’s an opportunity for a casual chat, because you never really get that experience unless you’re in trouble, and then you don’t want to speak with us!”

Sergeant Li said he wanted to thank Whitsunday Plaza for providing a space for the event, as well as sponsoring its free coffees – which last year totalled almost 100.

There will be at least eight officers attending from across Whitsunday Police Station divisions, which Sergeant Li said will allow anyone interested in joining to learn about different departments.

“We’ll also have district recruiting officers attending as well for people to just learn what it’s like to be a police officer and what opportunities are available,” he said.

Braking the Cycle coordinator Declan Coull will be attending with volunteers on behalf of the PCYC-based program which pairs experienced drivers with learners to help them achieve their mandatory 100-hours of supervised driving.

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Firies On Track To Get New Home

June 23, 2022

The Airlie Beach Fire and Rescue Station could soon move into the heart of Cannonvale thanks to new plans that will place one of our key emergency services at a location where it is needed most.

A vacant plot on the corner of McArthur Drive and Shute Harbour Road has been selected.

Currently located in Jubilee Pocket, the old station was built in 1974 and Station Officer Rees May said it has served the community well but due to the increased population, it is no longer central.

“There’s been a lot of add-ons over the years but essentially we’ve got to the point now where the station is too old and we’ve outgrown it,” he said.

“It is no longer a central location to support the community’s needs hence why we are going further into the community - it is going to improve our response area and the response time to incidents.”

Two years ago, the fire station increased its permanent staffing to 13 full-timers who work a seven/seven shift commencing at 6am and finishing at 6pm.

The station also has a pool of over 20 Auxiliary Fire Fighters on-call throughout the night.

Currently servicing from Shute Harbour to Brandy Creek, the new location will enable the response area to extend to Proserpine.

This will hasten response times to any incidents on the highway.

In addition, the new station will have the capability to become an instant command centre during natural disasters.

There will also be potential for more fire trucks as the new site will have three bays and a host of other modern facilities.

Officer May said that residents living close to the new location do not need to worry about any excessive noise.

“It won’t be that noisy after hours – we don’t leave the station with the sirens blaring late at night – if it’s in a residential area we are considerate to the residents and put sirens on at an appropriate time.”

The new location is currently in planning stages, pending final approval.

Fire Fighter Blair Mitchell, Station Officer Rees May, Fire Fighter Andrew Neil, Station Officer Paul Pfeifer and Fire Fighter Nick Bellinger are excited about the move

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State Budget Breakdown With Amanda Camm

June 23, 2022

Touted as the budget that puts health care first with an impressive $23.6 billion dedicated to the sector, Member for Whitsundays Amanda Camm MP said that without doubt hospitals and allied services will benefit from Tuesday’s announcement.

She is concerned, however, that many allocations for the Whitsundays are reannouncements that were already in progress.

Despite this, she is pleased that both Proserpine and Bowen hospitals will receive improved facilities with over $10 million allocated.

Ms Camm said that the extra funding will make a big difference in the Whitsundays, especially in mental health care.

“I know we have some challenges with mental health access in our region, so I welcome the funding,” she said.

“But I am disappointed to see nothing for boat ramps at Midge Point and Shute Harbour.

“There is also no new money for social or affordable housing – we are in a housing crisis at the moment and experiencing staff shortages too – it all flows on when attracting staff – what do we do if we don’t have anywhere for them to live?”

Ms Camm was also frustrated that no money was allocated for the tourism industry at a time when she believes it needs help.

“It’s very disappointing, especially on the back of COVID,” she said.

“People are now travelling and small businesses need support – it is still challenging times for them, especially with staffing shortages.”

In addition, with the budget introducing new royalty rates for the resource sector, Ms Camm fears that mining companies will need to cut-back on local community spending to afford the levees.

“Big business employs 40 per cent of the people in the private sector,” she said.

“When they have to pay those extra levees it has a flow on effect – I am worried that the money will never return to the region.”

Attending parliament throughout the week, Ms Camm said she would continue to fight for the Whitsundays and command a fair share for our region.

What Does The Budget Mean For Our Region?

Bowen Hospital - $5.2 million for construction projects to improve facilities at the Bowen Hospital site, including a new Computed Tomography Scanner.

Flagstaff Hill - $400,000 to build a conference and cultural centre at Flagstaff Hill. Part of the Building our Regions program.

Bruce Highway (Proserpine - Bowen), Ten Mile Creek to Yeates Creek - $15 million towards safety improvements on the Bruce Highway. Delivered in partnership with the Australian Government.

Salisbury Plains Industrial Precinct - $500,000 to help establish significant industrial developments and provide for the establishment of essential services and infrastructure corridors.

Airlie Beach Fire Station - $750,000 to commence replacement of the permanent and auxiliary fire and rescue station at Airlie Beach.

Proserpine Hospital - $5 million for the refurbishment of the clinical assimilation training area, and acute primary care clinic upgrade.

Whitsunday Islands National Park - $1.8 million to extend the Ngaro walking track in the Whitsunday Islands National Park.

Urannah Dam - $650,000 to complete a detailed business case, approvals, environmental impact statements and cultural heritage and Native Title review of the Urannah Water Scheme.

Bowen State High School - $868,000 to provide new skills development and training facilities.

Strathmore Transformer Reinforcement - $3.2 million to add additional transformers at the Strathmore substation to preserve network strength in the vicinity to Strathmore.

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The First Cruise Ship Arrives

June 26, 2022

A sea of happy faces disembarked the P&O Pacific Explorer last Friday morning and they were greeted with a fanfare of excited local representatives who were all eager to show them a good time.

The first cruise ship to arrive in over two years, this vessel was the beginning of a regular flow of tourists who are now able to travel by sea, visiting ports up and down the east coast of Australia.

Previously injecting $20 million a year into the local economy, watching the first passengers disembark was symbolic of a promising new era for our regional tourism where one in three jobs are directly related to the sector.

The cruise ship was carrying 1,800 passengers and the onboard security officer estimated 1,500 disembarked for the day.

The first passengers set foot on Airlie Beach soil at 8.30am and the return transfers were at 2.30pm.

The Lions Airlie Beach markets on the Foreshore were a popular destination for many, while others ventured off on local tours or explored the town.

The ship left later that afternoon, sailing overnight arriving in Cairns the morning.

The second cruise ship arrived on Tuesday this week and the third will be pulling into local waters next Tuesday.

An estimated 60 ships will be visiting the Whitsundays during the course of the remainder of the year and in November alone a record 17 ships will be arriving in one month.

All crew are required to wear facemasks and they recommend that passengers do the same but they no longer need to enforce it.


60 cruise ships will arrive in 2022

17 ships will visit in November alone

Cruise ships inject $20 million a year into local economy

The first passengers arrive at the Cruise Whitsunday terminal

The Volunteer Cruise Ship Ambassadors turn on the charm!

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New Bride Dies In Tragic Golf Buggy Crash

June 23, 2022

A 29-year-old New South Wales woman, who was only days into married life, died in a golf buggy accident while honeymooning on Hamilton Island earlier this week.

Marina Morgan, from Sydney, had been a passenger in the vehicle which her husband, Robbie, was driving.

It is understood that the battery was running flat and Mr Morgan was trying to complete a U-turn at an intersection when the vehicle rolled over.

Mrs Morgan was not wearing a seatbelt at the time.

Queensland police Inspector Anthony Cowan said there was no indication of alcohol or dangerous driving.

“It’s just tragic that the golf buggy, maybe through inexperience driving those types of vehicles, has rolled on its side while turning,” he said.

Bystanders rushed to help, removing Mrs Morgan from the golf buggy and administering first aid but tragically she died at the scene.

Mr Morgan was not physically hurt.

The incident took place at 4.30pm on Monday, June 20 at an intersection on Whitsunday Boulevard which is at the north end of the island.

Hamilton Island released a statement on Tuesday morning.

“Our deepest thoughts and condolences are with the family and friends of the woman involved in this tragic incident,” read the statement.

“Our highest priority is the safety and wellbeing of our guests, residents and staff and we are working closely with Queensland Police to investigate the incident.”

Golf buggies are the primary mode of transport on the island and only permitted to travel at 20 kilometres per hour.  

They are also required to be operated in accordance with Queensland Road rules and requirements on Hamilton Island.

This news comes a week after a Townsville man was air-lifted from Hamilton Island with severe head injuries following a golf buggy crash.

Six years ago, two families were involved in a similar incident while being driven to the airport by an island employee on a six-seater buggy.

A nine-month-old girl, who had been sitting on her mother’s lap received serious head injuries.

Following that incident, six-seater golf buggies were removed from the island.

This leaves about 600 two- and four-seater buggies currently in use.

Marina and Robbie on their wedding day

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June 26, 2022

Sperm Whale Stranded At Billy Creek

The whale carcass located close to the mouth of Billy Creek south of Bowen has caused a stir amongst the region’s residents who raised theories why a Sperm Whale was found not just in Whitsunday waters, but so close to shore.

Whales are a common sight in the region’s waterways from May to September as Humpbacks migrate in the thousands up the Australian coast from Antarctica to birth their calves in warm waters – but not Sperm Whales.

Local expert and Master Reef Guide, Crystal Lacey said that although this species are uncommon sights in the Coral Sea, largely because they are solitary animals that do not breach, it does not mean they are not there.

“Sperm Whales can be seen all around the Australian coastline, including the Great Barrier Reef and amongst the Whitsundays with at least one sighting every few years,” she said.

“Although this is a sad ending for this particular whale, it is all part of the circle of life and an extremely rare occurrence within the Great Barrier Reef Whitsundays region.”

The whale is now slowly decomposing on the beach and the Department of Environment and Science are reminding people to stay away from the site at this time, in particular to avoid the water as both sharks and crocodiles are present in large numbers.

Ms Lacey said it’s uncertain what will happen to the carcass, but that it is likely to be left where it is.

“Depending on the state of the deceased whale, it may be taken to a secluded location for the natural process to continue, uninterrupted by people,” she said.

“However, once a large whale like a Sperm Whale is beached, it is extremely hard to move off the sand. Other options are to bury, however there is no distinct decision at such time.”

The last event of this kind occurred in the Whitsundays in 2016 when a Minke Whale washed up near North Queensland Cruising Yacht Club in Bowen.

On that occasion the Whitsunday Regional Council buried the mammal.

A stranded whale dies on a Whitsunday sandbank

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Copper Makes Moranbah Boy’s Day

June 16, 2022

River Robertson is obsessed with police, or as he likes to call them, “coppers”.

Two weeks ago, at the Moranbah State High School Under 8’s Day, four-year-old River’s dreams came true when he met Senior Constable Dale McIntyre.

“It was extremely exciting,” said River’s mother, Deiya Robertson.

Mrs Robertson says River has a developmental delay, autism and ADHD and typically struggles when interacting with new people but took to SC McIntyre immediately.

“He was so patient with River because River usually doesn’t like new people,” she said.

“I’ve never seen River sit on anyone’s lap at all that he doesn’t know.”

River got to wear a police vest and hat and got tours of a police car and fire truck from the friendly police and fire service staff, even getting to sit in the back of the paddy wagon.

“It was just a really, really nice moment for him, he’s still talking about it.”

Mrs Robertson says River can have a hard time navigating safe and trustworthy people.

“Having such a positive experience with someone that he looks up to gives my husband and I a lot of comfort as parents, that if anything was to ever happen that River can identify a police officer as a safe person he can trust,” she said.

“There were literally hundreds of kids there but they made sure that each child got their own time and they treated them all with respect.”

“They really made all the kids feel really special.”

“We are extremely thankful for the Police in our community and for their dedication to the children.”

Although only four, Deiya is already predicting a career in law enforcement for River.

“I definitely think that River would probably aspire to be a police officer or a fireman,” she said.

“This is an obsession he’s had since he could recognise what they were.”

Police-obsessed River got to meet one of his heroes

River was given tours of police cars and fire trucks and even got to sit in the back of the paddy wagon. Photos supplied: Deiya Robertson

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Parkour? No, It’s FreeG

June 16, 2022

Whitsunday gymnasts were given the opportunity to experience a new and dynamic form of their sport in early June by learning ‘FreeG’ at Mackay Gymnastics.

Local Whitsunday PCYC youth gymnasts jumped at the chance to attend the Gymnastics Australia program which focuses on freestyle.

The program was officially launched by Gymnastics Australia as the “most exciting initiative to hit our shores” in the sport for some time and has travelled around the country in past years.

First developed by British Gymnastics to help clubs retain their crop of gymnasts, FreeG caters for young people looking to participate in “adrenaline fuelled freestyle sports” – think of something akin to the early 2000s craze of parkour.

FreeG and parkour have two common threads: the rigidity of gymnastics is replaced by free-flowing, movement-based athleticism.

Six Whitsunday gymnasts from the local PCYC branch’s Ninja program – a similar amalgamation of gymnastics and parkour – joined the session of FreeG at Mackay Gymnastics.

The session was coached by high level freestylers from Gymnastics Australia, who have travelled to gyms across the state teaching the style.

PCYC Branch Manager Police Sergeant Billy Li said the initiative was not only excellent for students, but also for the PCYC’s coaches.

“It was an opportunity to upskill our coaches and was a really unique experience for our gymnasts,” Sergeant Li said.

“You don’t always get visiting coaches regularly coming to teach workshops, so this opened our coaches’ eyes in how to do things in different ways.”

Sergeant Li said the Whitsunday PCYC is currently working on having the Queensland Gymnastics FreeG coaches travel to his Jubilee Pocket branch.

Whitsunday PCYC gymnastics coach Jessica Ferguson said it was extremely rewarding for coaches and athletes.

“It was a good experience for our gymnasts to be coached by one of the elite trainers from Gymnastics Australia,” Ms Ferguson said.

The six Whitsunday students with gymnastics coaches Tara Brady and Dominic Di Benedetto at their FreeG introduction in Mackay

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Under 8’s At Cannonvale State

June 16, 2022

A cold windy start to the morning did not deter the Cannonvale State School community from enjoying their annual Under 8’s Day on the school oval last Friday.

School children excitedly ran from one fun activity to the next - getting their hands covered in slime, painting a masterpiece, ducking under the colourful parachute, combatting the obstacle course and lining up to get their faces painted.

Local community groups were also in attendance with firefighters and police officers entertaining children by sounding the sirens and the SES handing out colourful stickers.

The P&C also cooked up some delicious snags for all to enjoy.

School mascot Bungaroo made an appearance

Children meet the local firefighters

A young Picasso

The P&C manning the sausage sizzle

A pink fairy charms the crowd

Blow me a bubble

Children race underneath a colourful parachute

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Above And Below For Five Years

June 16, 2022

Iconic local gallery, Above and Below, has rebranded in the run-up to its fifth birthday and its owner, Brooke Miles says she is excited to broaden its horizons.

“The gallery has always been more than just a photography ‘shop’, so it was important to ensure that the rebrand reflected this,” she said.

Changing part of the name from ‘photography’ to ‘gallery’ further cements the boutique gift store’s reputation as a must-see destination, offering a more extensive range of unique and original imagery for sale as prints, as well as jewellery and other unique souvenir items.

Above and Below Gallery boasts an array of incredible photography from ‘above’ aerial views of the region to ‘below’ stunning underwater shots that capture the true essence of the Whitsundays.

The gallery is personally curated by owner Brooke Miles who is a well-respected local photographer and many of the images feature in households across the world.

“To know that there are beautiful Whitsunday landscapes in the living rooms of people from New York to London is the ultimate dream for me,” she explained.

“I feel extremely lucky to share my home and beautiful backyard with the world over.”

Along with the name change, Brooke has introduced a refreshed logo design blending the existing design with a bold, new look.

“I am really proud of the personal connection I have to the new logo, with the design including images from some of the first collections which have been adapted into graphics,” she said.

For further details or information, visit www.aboveandbelowgallery.com.au or immerse yourself at the gallery from Wednesday to Sunday at the Port of Airlie.

Well respected local photographer and curator of Above and Below Gallery

The rebranded store-front at Port of Airlie

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Chamber Chat

June 16, 2022

This week the chamber breakfast meet was held within the Coral Sea Marina complex, with amazing morning views over the marina precinct. A big thankyou to Coral Sea Marina for your ongoing support.

We had two guest organisations visit to meet our members and discuss opportunities. Maddy from Bowen River Utilities provided details on the Urannah dam project, this included the opportunities available for local businesses in the area, plus opportunities on how they can support local community organisations.

Our second guest was the team from IDCARE in Australia and New Zealand. They are a national identity and cyber support service, free to the small businesses and the larger community. Their service has helped thousands of Australian and New Zealand individuals and organisations reduce the harm they experience from the compromise and misuse of their identity information by providing effective response and mitigation.

Please reach out directly or through the chamber to either of these organisations should you see value.

In other news it is an exciting week for a number of our members with the return of cruise ships docking in the Whitsundays. This should have a very positive economic impact for those within the main street precinct and tourism operators, plus the flow onto local industry supporting these consumer facing businesses.

If you would like to connect with other business owners, please come to one of our bi monthly events. If you would like to inform the local business community about your business, please reach out. If you have a business matter that you need or want action on, please connect with us so we can advocate across our network.

From Allan Milostic, President of Whitsunday Coast Chamber of Commerce.

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Great Barrier Reef Festival Set To Cruise

June 16, 2022

The Whitsundays’ annual celebration of living in the Great Barrier Reef typically brings the reef to Airlie Beach, but this year plans are to take Airlie to the reef instead.

The Great Barrier Reef Festival’s four days of mainland activities will be paralleled by tours aboard Cruise Whitsundays, beginning with the launch of a vessel travelling to the company’s Reefworld facility in an “unprecedented” tour.

The tourism operator snapped up this year’s festival naming rights and have doubled down on their partnership by offering an exclusive Cruise Whitsundays and Master Reef Guide-hosted outer Great Barrier Reef experience.

It will be the first time a group of Master Reef Guides will collaborate for an on-water community engagement event, and just one of the company’s special tour offers over the festival calendar.

Beginning on festival launch day, August 4, the Cruise Whitsunday partnership hopes to “increase the Whitsundays community’s connection with the Great Barrier Reef”.

Cruise Whitsundays Sales and Marketing Manager, Renee Branton-Brown said the opportunity for festivalgoers was “unprecedented access to some of the company’s flagship products and ultimately the outer reef.”

“The likes of which has never been seen across the entirety of the reef,” Ms Branton-Brown said.

“Our Reefworld facility at Hardy Reef will be dedicated to the festival, providing a boutique, intimate reef encounter for those aboard our custom vessel travelling direct from Airlie Beach.

The tour will host at least 10 Master Reef Guides onboard.

Great Barrier Reef Festival committee member and Master Reef Guide, Crystal Lacey said guides have never met for the “specific purpose of delivering an immersive, story-telling experience for the general public.”

“From our perspective, this is going to be an invaluable opportunity for us to share knowledge and understanding of one of the world’s natural wonders,” Ms Lacey said.

The edu-tourism event is capped at 200 guests for a full four hours at the platform and includes activities like snorkel safaris, semi-submersible adventures, Eye On The Reef monitoring experiences and practical, in-water photography and videography sessions.

Tickets cost $220 per adult and include lunch, morning and afternoon tea, and all activities except scuba diving.

Renee Branton-brown from Cruise Whitsundays, Margie Murphy from the Great Barrier Reef Festival and Crystal Lacey from Little Fish Tourism Development Consulting

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Investors Flock To Shute Harbour Marina Resort

June 16, 2022

The new $1.75 million land and berth packages at Shute Harbour Marina Resort have proved popular among a mixture of veteran boating enthusiast, first-time boat owners, or future retirees who have been among the 520 individuals who have expressed their interest in the new development this month.

Rob Taylor from Taylor’s Property Specialists said that the immediate market response to the resort has been incredible.

“We knew we had something special on our hands here, but we have been simply inundated with genuine interest – it’s been a whirlwind,” he said.

“We’re already in the process of converting many of these enquiries into contracts for our future Shute Harbour Marina Resort residents - many of these buyers have been long awaiting a marina project of this calibre to arrive in the area.”

Construction of the first stage of Shute Harbour Marina Resort is due to commence within 12 months and is expected to take two years to complete.

Once complete, the site will encompass a world-class 395-berth marina with individual berths ranging from 10m to 30m on a 99-year lease and private berths ranging from 25m to 45m.

The project will also deliver 58 freehold land allotments; a 100-plus room resort hotel, including function and meeting rooms, bars, restaurants, swimming pool and undercover parking; and 100 managed apartments with resort club facilities.

Land-and-berth prices start from $1.75 million. Expressions of interest are also being taken on future stages which will include marina loft apartments and plaza terrace homes.

An aerial view of Shute Harbour Marina which is due to commence construction within a year

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Schoolyard Initiative To Reduce Whitsundays Carbon Footprint

June 16, 2022

A new waste education program for schools in the Whitsundays will aim to educate the region’s youngest citizens on how to reduce their carbon footprint.

The new program focuses on broader efforts to help protect the Great Barrier Reef in relation to reduction of organic waste going to landfill.

The School Waste Minimisation Program is being delivered by Whitsunday Regional Council and EnviroCom Australia to support schools in taking a bigger step in reducing rubbish and food waste.

Acting Mayor Mike Brunker said that implementing a program like this in our region’s schools aims to change behaviours around waste from an early age.

“[It] helps students develop good habits and of course take those ideas home to share with the family,” the Acting Mayor said.

“This program provides a fantastic opportunity to show our children how to make the right choices when it comes to waste with a focus on the reduction of food and garden waste to landfill, and how to prevent waste in the first place.”

The program promises to teach students about waste minimisation through activities like conducting a school waste audit, and the setting up of a goal-oriented Waste Management Plan, and organic waste diversion systems.

It hopes to implement these as ongoing programs.

“Living on the doorstep to the Great Barrier Reef, it’s exciting we can provide them with the tools they need to implement ongoing sustainable waste management practices and help protect our environment now and into the future,” Mr Brunker said.

Whitsunday schools will soon be asked to complete an Expression of Interest to participate in the program anticipated to commence in Term 3.

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Prossie Mill Celebrates 125th Crush

June 16, 2022

The steam on the horizon symbolises the prosperous season for Proserpine as the local sugar mill begins crushing - cane farmers are recouping some of the rewards of their dedicated labour and the energy of the expanded workforce creates a bountiful buzz.

After a challenging maintenance season which was blighted by labour shortages and supply chain issues, the crews have been working around the clock to finalise capital works following two successful steam trials.

The factory is now on track to begin crushing on Tuesday.

“It’s been a difficult year for labour availability and procurement of essential equipment,” said Mackay Regional Operations Manager Craig Muddle.

“Like many businesses, we’ve been impacted by COVID-related supply chain issues, which were exacerbated by the flood events in southern Queensland and New South Wales earlier this year.

“I’m proud of the way our crews have responded to these challenges and worked through a massive capital and maintenance program.”

Steeped in history and on-track to complete its 125th crush this year, the Proserpine Sugar Mill employs 100 permanent staff.

This workforce increases to about 150 during the crushing season.

It is estimated that the mill will process 1.64 million tonnes of sugar cane this season and although dictated by a number of factors such as weather, mill performance and size of the crop, it is anticipated that crushing will conclude mid-November.

“It’s always exciting to start a new crushing season. Our people work really hard to get the mill ready for the start of a new season, and there’s always a lot of anticipation around the start up,” said Mr Muddle.

“The start of the crushing season brings a different energy to the town. It means money is being generated, farmers and millers are getting paid for the cane and the sugar they produce, and the local economy gets a boost.”

Mike Porter, Manager of Canegrowers in Proserpine said that they are looking forward to a prosperous season ahead.

“The growers are very excited about the 2022 crop, which will certainly be a bit better than last year, they are more optimistic,” he said.

“The rain has been very good over the last few months. The CCS is an unknown quantity, and the cane is probably a bit green but there are more tonnes.

“This cooler weather has definitely helped as that is when the crop starts to produce more sugar.”

Last year Proserpine’s sugar quality was one of the highest in the state with a season average of 14.3, it is hoped it will get as high as 14 again this year.

Preparing for the start of the 2022 crush at Wilmar’s Proserpine Mill are, from left, Process Improvement Engineer Tom Badger, Assistant Production Superintendent Jamie Bell and Production Superintendent Damien Kelly

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