Community News

New Boat Bolsters Burdekin SES

New Boat Bolsters Burdekin SES

The keys to a new flood water rescue boat were handed over to the Burdekin Shire Council last Friday, April 5 for use by the State Emergency Services (SES) Burdekin Unit. The boat was replaced as part of the Flood Boat Replacement Program, funded through the SES Major Equipment Grants, and is the third to be replaced in the region in the last 12 months. The 5.3m Swift Marine Barge has been modified to suit the needs and requirements of local SES volunteers. “They’re a very capable boat and reall

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Sit Down With Sam

Sit Down With Sam

Hi readers Let me tell you, working on this edition’s feature about the Canefield Ashes has certainly got me keen for a weekend of cricket. The concept of a social, family friendly cricket tournament in which generations of teams come together once a year sounds like a dream come true. I’m expecting a lot of fun to be had on the cricket field but I’m sure a few beers, some roast pork and a bit of live music won’t go astray either. I’ll be alternating between camera and cricket bat in hand, so

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Heartfelt Efforts To Save Injured Cockatoo

Heartfelt Efforts To Save Injured Cockatoo

Burdekin native bird carer Matt Killeen has taken to social media to thank members of the public for their role in the rescue of an injured bird. On Thursday, March 28, Matt assisted in the rescue of a Sulphur-crested Cockatoo that had hit a barbed wire fence and sustained “some terrible injuries.” “Members of the public found the bird last night and kept it in a warm, dark, quiet room overnight,” he said. “They contacted me via this page first thing this morning, I picked it up and rushed it to

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Guess Who’s Back! By Chelsea Ravizza

Guess Who’s Back! By Chelsea Ravizza

Hello again! After concluding my internship with the Burdekin Life Newspaper in early March, I was more than grateful to receive a phone call offering me the opportunity to come back and undertake a cadetship! Throughout my time working alongside Sam and the team, I fell further in love with print journalism and solidified my passion for sharing people’s stories through my work and I am beyond excited to pick up where I left off. As I near the end of my Bachelor of Communications and Journalis

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Housing Crucial To Burdekin Economy

April 11, 2024

Stories of few rental properties available and blown out waiting lists for social housing in the Burdekin have caused Member for Burdekin Dale Last to sound alarm bells, fearing consequences will be far reaching across the rural community.
While images of people sleeping in tents or lining up for rentals in larger city centres were being seen right across the state, Mr Last feared that smaller rural towns like the Burdekin had slipped through the cracks.
Mr Last said for regional areas like the Burdekin, the ability to attract people to live and work in the region was crucial when it came to securing the town’s economy.
“My office has been contacted by families who have been forced to consider moving away from the Burdekin or sleep in farm sheds simply because there isn’t the housing available here for them,” Mr Last said.
“The issue of housing is growing right across the state but in rural areas like the Burdekin where we rely on being able to attract and retain people here for employment opportunities, there needs to be accommodation for that employee, and potentially their family, to live in.”
Mr Last said the LNP had already called for more to be done to unlock more land for housing and encourage investment.
“Sadly, there are currently more than 3,500 people on social housing waiting lists in our region alone,” he said.
“Not only have we seen the state government fail to build social housing, they have also refused to work with private and community sector groups that want to build social housing and demonise owners of rental properties.
“We’ve seen plan after plan, roundtables and a summit when it comes to addressing housing by this government and little action, particularly when it comes to smaller townships like Ayr or Home Hill.”

Stock image

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New Members Appointed To Townsville Hospital And Health Board

April 11, 2024

Three new faces have joined the Townsville Hospital and Health Board following the appointments of Professor Kunwarjit Sangla, Dr Erin Waters, and Graham Pattel announced by Health Minister Shannon Fentiman last month.
Townsville Hospital and Health Board Chair Tony Mooney, was also reappointed for another term and said he was delighted to welcome the new members and the wealth of experience and wisdom they would bring to the table.
“I’m delighted that the health service has been able to attract such experienced, knowledgeable, and well-respected leaders to the Board,” Mr Mooney said.
“All three new board members have already made significant contributions to the people of north Queensland in their chosen fields, and I’m sure they will make a positive impact to healthcare in the region through their new roles on the Board.”
Mr Mooney also congratulated the five current Board members - Michelle Morton, Debra Burden, Nicole Hayes, and Georgina Whelan - who have been reappointed for another term.
“All five will continue to bring their rich professional and industry experience to the Board,” he said.
“Over the past four years, our Board has consistently delivered a surplus budget and more services and treatment innovations to where our patients and consumers need and want them.
“Michelle, who remains as deputy Chair, is a managing partner in a local law firm; she has extensive experience in risk management, regulatory compliance, and public sector governance.
“Debra is currently a member of both the Board’s audit and risk and finance committees where her financial and accounting acumen comes to the fore.
“Nicole is an experienced project manager with a strong background in education, marketing, and youth engagement.
“Georgina has more than 30 years of nursing experience, principally in specialist oncology, and she has a strong focus on equity of access for patients living in regional, rural and remote communities.”
Local hospitality and property businessman Luke Guazzo is a continuing appointment on the Board.
Mr Mooney thanked and acknowledged the contributions of outgoing Board members Danette Hocking and Donald Whaleboat.
He said he was looking forward to the Board’s next term where the focus would remain on developing services that treated patients closer to home, seeing more patients within clinically recommended times, and overseeing the delivery of a multi-million-dollar major capital infrastructure program.
“I’m proud of what has been achieved so far and I’m looking forward to our Board doing more for the people of north Queensland who use and rely on public health services,” he said.

Chair Tony Mooney (centre) and Board member Debra Burden (left) have been reappointed onto the Townsville Hospital and Health Board alongside three new Board members

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PLAY OUR WAY PROGRAM NOW OPEN

April 11, 2024

Organisations across the Dawson electorate are encouraged to apply for funding under the Play Our Way Program which has been designed to make sports more welcoming for women and girls.
 
The funding program will run over three years and aims to deliver long-term benefits and improvements that address participation barriers faced by women and girls in sports.
 
Federal Member for Dawson Andrew Willcox believes this grant opportunity will make a lasting difference to the communities within Dawson.
 
“Unfortunately, in rural and regional areas, sporting clubs and facilities are underfunded and under resourced,” Mr Willcox said.
 
“This funding is crucial to ensuring our future sports stars aren’t continually disadvantaged to make do with substandard sporting infrastructure.”
 
The funding program is open to applications from local governments, community organisations, not-for-profit organisations, and sporting organisations.
 
Successful grant recipients will use the funding to provide safe, inclusive, quality and sustainable facilities, equipment and initiatives, while helping women and girls to remain involved in sport for life.
 
“I know of a few clubs in my electorate that rely on fundraising activities to maintain and improve their facilities,” Mr Willcox said.

“This grant program will provide a much-needed boost to these fundraising activities, giving our local communities the sporting infrastructure that they need and deserve.”
 
Applications close Monday April 29 at 2pm.
 
For eligibility criteria, or to apply, visit www.health.gov.au/our-work/play-our-way-program.

Federal Member for Dawson Andrew Willcox is encouraging organisations across the electorate to apply for funding under the Play Our Way Program. Photo supplied

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Short Term Closure For Major Regional Rail Maintenance

April 11, 2024

A temporary closure of Queensland’s North Coast rail line, which runs the length of Queensland's coastline from Brisbane to Cairns, has begun as Queensland Rail crews gear up for a mega maintenance project.
Among the maintenance work includes resleepering works on the rail line between Ayr and Home Hill.
Queensland Rail Head of Regional, Scott Cornish said the eight-day closure of the line, from April 9 to 17, would allow for track upgrades at key locations, bolstering the safety and resilience of the vital freight and passenger network.
“Crews will be undertaking a wide range of upgrades in April, including replacing old track and sleepers, building new rail bridges, maintaining signals, and refuelling station works," Mr Cornish said.
“We will also see the completion of our $77 million North Coast line passing loops project, which has enabled longer freight trains to travel between Rockhampton and Townsville, delivering more essential items to regional towns and cities faster.
“Projects like this are vital to ensuring our rail network can continue to support Queensland's rapidly growing population."
Mr Cornish said to ensure the safety of all workers and provide them with undisrupted and continuous access to the rail corridor, the line was required to be closed to rail traffic while works were underway.
“Through consultation with freight partners and customers, we've aligned rail works with major maintenance closures across the Aurizon rail network through Rockhampton, and train-free periods at mine sites connected to the Port of Gladstone, to deliver the most efficient outcome while minimising impacts to supply chains,” he said.
“The closure also coincides with significant changes to South East Queensland train services on the Beenleigh and Gold Coast lines from 29 March to Sunday 14 April 2024 to allow for crucial Cross River Rail works and Queensland Rail maintenance."
Mr Cornish thanked long distance travel train customers, freight partners and communities along the line for their patience to allow this work to be completed safely and efficiently in the rail corridor.
“Queensland Rail long-distance travel services will be replaced with road coaches or have altered operations during the planned closure," he said.

WORKS BEING COMPLETED
   • Completion of $77 million North Coast line passing loops project with commissioning works at Mount Ossa
   • Works on Berajondo timber bridge project with the demolition and replacement of three timber bridges with steel and concrete structures between Berajondo and Baffle
   • Rerailing works between Ilbilbie and Koumala, Bloomsbury and Thoopara, Storth to Nome, Partington and Oonoonba to Townsville
   • Resleepering works between Ayr and Home Hill
   • Bridge repairs between Aminungo and Kuttabul
   • Signalling maintenance between Elalie and Ilbilbie
   • Track relaying at Tully
   • Painting works at Johnstone River Bridge
   • Timber bridge works between Bundaberg and Meadowvale
   • Track maintenance between Tamaree and Theebine
   • Track formation repairs at Yaamba​

Resleepering works are to be conducted between Ayr and Home Hill this week. Photo supplied

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On The Beat

April 11, 2024

On March 21, a shop stealing was reported from a local Queen Street business. Subsequent inquiries led Police to an address at Ayr where a 52yr old Burdekin man was issued a Notice to Appear (NTA) for one count of shop stealing and is due to appear in Ayr Magistrates Court on 7 May.
At 10:15pm on Friday March 19, Ayr Police located a vehicle on Queen Street, Ayr. As a result, a 21yr old Burdekin man, was issued a NTA for drink driving, .105. He is due to appear in the Ayr Magistrates Court on April 22.


At 9:20am on Sunday March 31, Ayr Police intercepted a vehicle on Queen Street, Ayr. The driver, a 29yr old Burdekin man, was issued a NTA for driving with a relevant drug in his saliva and possessing a drug utensil. He is due to appear in Ayr Magistrates Court on May 27.
At 9:20am on Monday April 1, Ayr Police intercepted a vehicle on Albert Crescent, Ayr. The driver, a 26yr old Burdekin man, was issued a NTA for disqualified driving and is due to appear in Ayr Magistrates Court on April 22.  


At 10:20am on Friday April 5, a disturbance occurred at a business on Young Street, Ayr. As a result, Police attended and a 32yr old Burdekin man was charged with one count of common assault and is due to appear in Ayr Magistrates Court on May 27.

Snr Sgt Steve Barton
OIC AYR

‘Police Station On Wheels’
Returns To The Burdekin
Home Hill and Ayr Police Stations have been working hard to put together a Community Connection initiative.  
A part of this initiative will be the deployment of the QPS Mobile Police Beat (MPB).  
The MPB is a significant move towards bolstering community safety and accessibility to law enforcement services.  
This state-of-the-art mobile police station, dubbed the ‘police station on wheels,’ provides a high visibility police presence, which can be strategically deployed at short notice where needed most, responding to changes in crime, trends and community concerns.
Local Police and Townsville Crime prevention officers will be there on the day helping with Crime prevention advice and listening to the community concerns and any queries they may have.
So, bring along the family for a chat.
The MPB will be back in the Burdekin on Saturday April 27, set up at IGA Home Hill from 8:30am to 11am and then at Woolworths Ayr from 11:30am to 2pm.

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Burdekin pet of the week Kingsberry

April 11, 2024

Rehoming fee: $185

DOB: 1.07.2020

Sex: Male

Breed: DSH

Kid friendly: Soft hands

Dog Friendly: Yes, slow Introduction

Other cats: Yes

Indoors/Outdoors: Indoors

Kingsberry’s name says it all. He is a royal man and has a liking for fine dining and treats.

When alone he is nearly always found napping on the top bunk and at night time he brings out the cuddles, everyone knows he loves scratches and head rubs.

He is in foster care with his sister Layla, who is also looking for her forever home, but Kingsberry would still be okay being adopted on his own.

Since being in foster care, he has encountered puppies and kids whom he is fine with, but he does not like loud children that screech, pull his ears and poke him in the eyes.

Kingsberry is looking for his forever home so he can be loved and treated in a way that any handsome royal man should be.

If interested please fill out a form at; https://www.angelpawsinc.com.au/blog/kingsbery

He is available for adoption DESEXED, MICROCHIPPED, up to date VACCINES and FLEA/TICK/WORM treated.

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CRACKING DOWN ON YOUTH CRIME AND ONLINE NOTORIETY IN DAWSON

April 11, 2024

In an attempt to combat youth crime, the Federal Coalition introduced the Crimes and Online Safety Legislation Amendment (Combatting Online Notoriety) Bill 2024 into Parliament last month, seeking to crack down on youth crime by making it illegal to post social media material that glamorises violence and criminal activity.

The bill also provides the eSafety Commissioner with specific powers to require such videos and material to be taken down.

Federal Member for Dawson Andrew Willcox said it was time to get serious on young criminals who seek to highlight their criminal activity on social media.

"The escalating rates of youth crime through parts of my electorate from Mackay all the way up to Townsville demand urgent attention and decisive action from this Government,” he said.

Leader of the Opposition, Peter Dutton said the Federal Government had a role to play, and it was vital for the Government to play its part in cracking down on this behaviour which glamorised violence and kept the cycle of crime going.
 
“We are putting forward a proposal to deal with this scourge,” he said.

“We need to do all we can to keep our community safe and deter young criminals from doing the wrong thing.

“This is the perfect opportunity for the Government to get on board and support us on this important, commonsense policy, which will keep our community safe.”

The Coalition’s Crimes and Online Safety Legislation Amendment (Combatting Online Notoriety) Bill 2024 will:

   • Introduce a new Commonwealth offence to deal with the increasing use of social media to promote or publicise criminal activity.
   • Include a sentencing measure in the Crimes Act to ensure that as part of the sentencing process, courts are able to prohibit persons who have been convicted of the new offence from using social media for up to two years.
   • Amend the Online Safety Act to specifically empower the eSafety Commissioner to order the removal of such videos from social media and other digital platforms.

Andrew Willcox MP and Peter Dutton MP

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Silver Screens Shattered Beloved Drive-In Theatre To Rebuild After January Cyclone

April 11, 2024

Home to Queensland’s oldest operating drive-in theatre, the Burdekin was one of the few Queensland communities where residents and visitors could still experience the magic of a movie under the stars at the drive-in.
That was before the destructive winds of Cyclone Kirrily struck, peeling off the sheeting of the screen at Ayr’s Stardust Drive-In Theatre.
The screen has now been completely removed and, with plans to rebuild, Owner Suzzi Jerkic hopes to preserve the experience of the drive-in for generations to come.
“It used to be the place to go,” Suzzi said.
“Many a night, you would come and get turned away because there were so many cars.”
Stardust Drive-In Theatre was built by Reg Hunt who opened it in September 1964.
The theatre changed hands throughout the years, from Birch Carroll and Coyle to the Stanleys to the O’Sheas.
Meanwhile, Frank Jerkic, originally of Mount Isa, was climbing the ranks at the theatre, starting as a groundsman in 1975 and progressing to a casual projectionist.
One fateful night, Suzzi went to the movies with a friend and was introduced to Frank.
The couple eventually married and went on to buy the theatre in 1989.
“I love movies; that’s why I came here that night, I just love movies and Frank loves movies too,” Suzzi said.
“He was already working here, and the O’Shea’s were going to close it down and we thought we’d give it a go.”
Nostalgia for a bygone era draws crowds from the Burdekin, Townsville and Bowen to experience a film under the stars.
Suzzi said blockbusters like ‘E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial’, ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ and ‘Barbie’ have been popular hits, but “it’s not like it used to be”.
“It’s a social thing,” she said.
“With your family, your mates, teenagers, whatever group you’re with, it’s a party atmosphere in your own car or outside your car with your camping chairs.
“It’s under the stars, it’s outdoors, it’s amazing.”
Stardust Drive-In Theatre has weathered many a cyclone throughout the years, but none as devastating as 2024’s Cyclone Kirrily which struck the Burdekin on the evening of Thursday, January 25, 2024.
Suzzi and Frank were sitting in the theatre’s café, Silver Screens ‘n’ Coffee Beans, watching the cyclone roll through.
“It was starting to get into the evening, the wind was blowing and we were sitting there watching as a tree fell down first,” Suzzi said.
“Then the wind started to move around behind the screen, and we had two really big gusts.
“That first one just peeled off the screen, we watched it and heard it.”
The screen and supporting posts have now been completely taken down, with Suzzi hoping for insurance to cover a quick rebuild starting after the holidays.
It’s also led Suzzi to investigate where the log posts came from and who installed them, with a tip off leading her to the name Vern Miller.
“I can’t seem to find out what happened there, because we don’t have those sorts of trees here in the Burdekin,” she said.
While the 360-car capacity drive-in theatre remains out of action for the foreseeable future, Frank and Suzzi are still delighting audiences with movie showings at the neighbouring Galazy Cinema.
The café is still open for business as is the complex’s movie-themed mini golf course and secret fairy garden.
Suzzi hopes that audiences will flock back to the theatre when the drive-in is back up and running.
“I don’t know when, but I’m really looking forward to getting it going again,” she said.
“There aren’t a lot of drive-ins and it is different.
“You can go to a town and there’s a cinema there and you think, ‘We don’t need to go to the movies,’ but if there’s a drive in, it’s different and people make that point of staying overnight and experiencing the drive in.
“When we’re back, come on out; it’s the best thing to do on a weekend night.”

L-R Karen Doyle, Jorja Rainbow, Myla Flower and Suzzi Jerkic. Photo credit: Sam Gillespie
The screen at Stardust Drive-In Theatre was destroyed by destructive winds in Cyclone Kirrily. Photo supplied

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Rotary NQ Field Days A Success For NQ Rotary Clubs

April 11, 2024

Townsville’s Reid Park became an agricultural hub last week as Rotary NQ Field Days brought hundreds of exhibitors and visitors together.
The Rotary Clubs of Townsville, the Burdekin and surrounding districts proudly hosted the 2024 NQ Field Days from April 4-5, showcasing best practices in all avenues of farming, agribusiness, and all other relevant industries.
The profits made from Rotary NQ Field Days will go directly back into the local Townsville, Burdekin and regional communities.
Member for Dawson Andrew Willcox MP attended the event alongside some of his colleagues, giving him the opportunity to keep abreast of both local agricultural developments and the needs of his constituents.
"It's an event where the city meets the country and country people from all over the region came to have a look at the equipment and innovation on offer," Mr Willcox said.
"It was a fantastic opportunity for me to meet up with people from all over the electorate.
“One of the highlights for me was chatting to the Jurgens who have drones that drop beneficiary insects over land so farmers can stop using so many chemicals – it was very cool to see what they've got going on.”

Exhibitors, visitors and special guests enjoyed two days of agricultural excellence at the Rotary NQ Field Days in Townsville. Photos supplied

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Burdekin Community Association Did You Know?

April 11, 2024

Did you know that the Burdekin Community Association Inc. (BCA) has delivered the ‘Be Connected Program’ to Seniors over 50 for more than 14 years? Our Volunteer Tutors have provided hundreds of seniors with the essential digital skills to get online safely and with confidence.
With so many aspects of life now online, from healthcare and government services to finding a job and staying in touch with loved ones and the technology we use changing very quickly, it’s super important that you get online and increase your digital literacy and feel more connected.
Our tutors can help you to use a personal computer or your mobile phone, laptop or iPad. Perhaps you would like to do online banking, access information, videos or movies, set up an online account, use social media or email to feel more connected to your friends and the community reducing loneliness and isolation etc.
To learn more, make a booking or become a Tutor, please contact the Team at The Support Centre, 130 Queen St, Ayr.  Ph: 4783 3744.  E: bca@bcaburdekin.org.au.


Debra Cochran
Chief Executive Officer
Burdekin Community Association Inc (BCA)

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Navigating Change

April 11, 2024

Buddha tells us ‘That the only constant in life is change’.  Henry Ford says, ‘If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got’.  They are certainly not wrong.

Change is one of the big things we are always navigating here at the Neighbourhood Centre. In the last couple of weeks, we have been presented with a possible big change for our operations, and it got us thinking: How do we work through this change, what are our options, and the big one—how do we feel about changing?

While embracing change as an opportunity for growth and improvement, we recognise that navigating change can be challenging.  

We invite you to Google the Küblar-Ross Change Curve. It shows that change is a cycle—each event has a beginning and an end.  Is that at all helpful?  We think so!

For any event in our lives, the Kübler-Ross Change Curve can give us a general map of where we might be sitting. The progression of change is different for everyone, and as a community, we strive to be accepting of each other and of our particular journeys.

Neighbourhood and Community Centres can play a significant role in peoples’ journeys, as it doesn’t really matter where on the curve we engage people – we can accept them and adapt our work so that we may be a positive influence on them moving forward.

We can all learn something from someone else – a perspective, a skill, a story. These only come from change and the circumstances we experience.  It is only when we stop and listen that we can truly hear and appreciate the value of these experiences.  

The Team
Burdekin Neighbourhood Centre

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Did you Know? Burdekin Shire Council

April 11, 2024

Did you know that Burdekin Shire Council actively seeks feedback from the public on various projects and initiatives that affect the local community and the future development of the region?
Council has many processes and activities that involve the public in education and sharing of information. While it is not possible or effective to consult with the community on every issue, Burdekin Shire Council engages the community to enhance Council’s decisions and to facilitate well-informed community participation in policy, plans, programs and service levels.
Community engagement plays an important role in the planning and delivery of Council services and facilities and for shaping the future of our shire.
The Burdekin Shire Council values the input of the community on projects and strives to create meaningful opportunities for the public to engage in the decision-making processes.
You can find more information on current and past Community Consultations and Surveys on Councils website burdekin.qld.gov.au.

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Air Raid Shelters Of The Burdekin Shire 1939-1948

April 11, 2024

Ayr had three Air Raid Shelters. Home Hill had two. These were known as Surface Air Raid Shelters with a floor above ground, while the Trench Shelter is a covered trench or tunnel below ground. The latter was to be used in Schools and household gardens.  
World War II was declared on September 1, 1939, and by September and October of that year, authorities were already establishing Air Raid Precautions (ARP), with emphasis on Air Raid Wardens, their duties and construction of Air Raid Shelters in Australia and Queensland. The Ayr Shire Council (Burdekin Shire Council) were discussing air raid shelters for folks of the district, firefighting and health services. This included Air Raid signals as well.
Sometime in 1940, people of the shire were given a model for constructing their own air raid shelters. Ayr’s model Trench Air Raid Shelter was to be constructed in Ayr ANZAC Memorial Park by the Wardens. The model for the Home Trench Air Raid Shelter was built in the grounds adjoining the Home Hill Police Station. This was seven feet below the surface, twelve feet long by eight feet wide, lined and sealed with timber with a further two feet of soil over the top. This shelter was prepared by the Home Hill Police. The public were asked only to be familiar with the construction of the shelter but not to build it yet.  During 1940-41 there were various visits from ARP officials giving lessons on dealing with Air Raid Shelters, dismantling bombs and grenades.
By the end of 1941 and beginning of 1942, the war with Japan was getting closer to our shores and the Air Raid Shelters and Slit trenches were being built. The three Air Raid Shelters of Ayr were built. One was in the middle of  Mackenzie Street beside the Ayr Police Station, One in Young Street in the middle of the street near the Post Office  and the Electric Power Station where the Burdekin Singers are today and one in the middle of Edward Street between what was once Coutts shopping centre and the Bank of New South Wales of today, on the other side of the street. Home Hill’s two air raid shelters were in Eighth Avenue on the railway side. At one end of Eighth Avenue near where Malpass & Co had a fuel depot, closer to the Home Hill Post Office and the other end opposite the IGA building of today. Probably in the vicinity of George & Kerry McAllister’s Carrying Co. The Council also provided six stretchers and tools for the demolition squad to use. It is interesting to note that when the Home Hill Air Raid Shelters were being built in January 1942, they had labourers from Ayr to carry out the work and the Home Hill people complained. The trenches for the Home Hill Schools were being dug at the same time. People were also digging their own private trenches around the Ayr and Home Hill districts. There is no evidence in the papers of Giru having Air raid Shelters but I suspect the citizens to that district were also busy digging their Air Raid Shelters as well.
There was a continuing struggle between the Government and Council about who would pay for the construction of these air raid shelters as well as the demolition of the air raid shelters at the end of the war. One time the Government was to pay half, but I think the Council ended with a loan from the Government and they had 12 months to pay it off.
All businesses with glass windows fronting the main streets had to be made shatterproof with sandbags and taped windows the order of the day. Schools in February had not opened for pupils because of the threat of invasion. In March, the children were back at school.
In March, the Ayr Hospital was being built and the boiler room of the hospital became the air raid shelter as well. The room measured 30ft by 20ft by 8ft deep. The rails were bricked in and a roofing 15 inches thick was provided. There was an outcry of brown outs as the lighting was stopped. You could not even use the lights from the vehicle to see your way.
Hand air raid sirens were used at first but soon became electrified. The police were in charge of using the sirens. On a Sunday and Tuesday, the drill of the air raid sirens was carried out. There was one siren for going into the nearest Air Raid Shelter and one when it was all over. By the way, Brandon and Kalamia had their own Air Raid Trenches. Brandon had acquired a hand held siren Senior Sergeant Sproule advised that on hearing Air Raid Siren sounding all people except wardens were to move to the public and private shelters provided and if insufficient or not available the people were to move to the nearest government building or business houses. The business houses were to remain open for that purpose. The drivers of vehicles will drive their vehicle outside of the main street to the side street, park them and take cover. Horses in horse drawn vehicles were to be tied up in a safe place and not left in the shafts of the vehicles. Hospital patients and children at schools to take cover in the shelters provided. Remember that fuel for vehicles was rationed so it was back to the horse and wagon stage. The butcher shops in Ayr and it could have been in the other towns of the shire stopped delivering meat, because of fuel rationing. Listening to folks of the time, I should say the Black Market was thriving.
Sometime in 1943, the threat of air raids in Queensland had passed. As early as January 1945, discussions of what would be done to remove the Air Raid Shelters from the Ayr-Burdekin Shire. The end of war arrived September 2, 1945 and still much talking went on as to the removal of the Air Raid Shelters in the town areas of Ayr and Home Hill. One suggestion was that the Air Raid Shelter in Young Street near the Post Office and Electric Power House be turned into a shelter for the bus stop. The buses of the district picked up and delivered their passengers here. That was not to be. It was not until 1947-48 that the air raid shelters of Ayr and Home Hill were finally demolished. On the Ayr side of the Burdekin River, some of the air shelters were used as road fill at Pfitzenmaier’s Crossing on the road to Phillip’s Camp (a fishing place on Ana Branch). The Home Hill shelters were removed to a lagoon just past the Home Hill Golf Course.  

Contributed by Glenis Cislowski

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The Burdekin Creative Writers Anthology

April 11, 2024

In February 2017, eleven people climbed the steep stairs at the Burdekin Library in Ayr. Beginners and experienced writers alike, they dreamed of novels, family histories, memoirs, anthologies and children’s stories. They sought a group of like-minded individuals who would inspire and encourage their creativity. From that meeting, Scratchy Scribblers was formed. Over the next six years, the group changed names and meeting locations multiple times. Members and partnerships came and went, but, throughout it all, the goal of the group stayed the same.
Burdekin Creative Writers is a welcoming space for writers to share their words, find encouragement and advice, enhance their literary skills, and have fun creating new things with only a pen and their imagination.
Because of this group, members have entered short story competitions and been published in anthologies. They have created newsletters, judged writing competitions, and learned to interview notable people in the community. They have written dozens of stories and poems and challenged themselves to write things they never would’ve created on their own.
In 2023, the group published their own anthology, an assortment of stories and poems from the members of Burdekin Creative Writers and Burdekin Night Writers. Burdekin Life is proud to share some of the work from this anthology.

The Blue Dress
by Elizabeth Tudehope


What dress shall I wear when we go to the show?
I have many to choose from, I really don’t know.
Come to my wardrobe and help me to pick
Some are quite old, but they’re still in good nick.
There are plain ones and floral, with long or short sleeves
Straight through or waistbands, ones down to my knees.
Short, long or wrap style, pleats or soft falls
Collars or collarless, I have them all.
Here’s the black one that’s strapless which I wore last year
Remember Joe stumbled and sprayed me with beer?
My bare skin felt sticky for the rest of the day
If I wear it and see Joe, I’ll turn right away.
The red frock is pretty, sexy and bold
But I’m thinking that really I might be too old
To wear such a colour amongst women I know
They’ll gossip about me when I turn to go.
Then I have this green floral. I wear it a lot
Because it fits well and makes me look hot
With my high heels and handbag I could look okay
What do you reckon? What do you say?
Oh! Here is the blue dress you always admired
I suddenly know what to wear, I’m inspired
I’ll accept the invite now I know what to wear
We’ll have fun together if we go as a pair.
You in your white dress, my dearest young girl
And me in my blue dress, white hair in a whirl.
Your beauty and youth will make you shine
As we walk in together, granddaughter of mine.

To find out more about the Burdekin Creative Writers, contact George Venables 0407 105 950.

Writers From the Burdekin Creative Writers and Night Writers Groups will read a selection of their pieces from the Anthology at the Home Hill branch of the Burdekin Library on Wednesday, June 12 from 10:30am.

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Young Farmers Tour The Burdekin

April 11, 2024

Automated irrigation demonstrations, the Inkerman Mill and the Tassal Prawn Farm in Bowen were all on the agenda when fourteen members of the Proserpine Young Farmers (PYF) group recently toured the Burdekin.
The group took the opportunity to share knowledge and compare regional operations and practices with Burdekin growers both young and old.
The young farmers got to see and hear about some of the automation technologies being used by a Burdekin grower and also two other systems located on Wilmar’s Stockham Road farm and Farmacist’s Research farm.
The group also got to see the diffuser set-up at Inkerman Mill and, on the final day, travelled to Tassal Prawn Farm.
After a tour of the hatchery, ponds and control centre, the growers ended the tour at the production building where Tassal were kind enough to provide a feed of prawns.
“It was really great to see another industry and how they operate,” one of the young farmers commented.

Fourteen members of the Proserpine Young Farmers group recently toured the Burdekin. Photos supplied: Canegrowers Proserpine

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