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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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

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.

   • 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

‘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;

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

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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:

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

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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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April 11, 2024

Simon Hood
Wilmar Manager Grower Marketing

This time last year, post the annual Dubai sugar conference, there was a reasonably consistent view that the market had upside potential on supply constraints. In effect, the fundamentals played out for most of the year and the speculative money helped push prices to record highs. This spectacularly unwound at the end of our season, and we are now in the mid to lower end of last year’s trading range.

The views this year are much more two sided.

The Brazilian crop is obviously the primary focus, and we will soon start to see some results as the dry period for February and March allowed for an early start to harvest. Recent forecast of rain may be viewed as a short-term positive for the market, as it will delay harvest output.

It is early in the 24/25 season and global production and consumption forecasts are very contingent on a few key variables. With Brazil providing around 80% of the global raw sugar trade, the focus is rightly on the expected Brazilian cane tonnage, ATR, and sugar mix, which will be driving expected change in global raw sugar stocks.

Wilmar is currently forecasting a reduced crop, from the record 665 million tonne crop harvested last year, of more than 600 million tonnes. This, combined with an increase in the sugar to ethanol mix of over 50%, results in a sugar make not unlike last year’s record sugar production.

In addition, there has been a supply response in the mid-tier production countries with Russia, Ukraine, and the EU all seeing an increase in sugar beet production, as the economics stack up against a depressed wheat and corn price.

Likewise, China is expected to increase sugar beet production for the same reasons.

By adding half a million tonnes here and there around the globe, the supply total creeps up. As underlying demand or consumption is expected to increase its relentless rise at roughly 1.5-2.0 million tonnes a year, the supply total needs to creep up.

The period of sustained high sugar prices last year did little to erode this momentum.

Currently, we are forecasting a small surplus of stock for 24/25 season which will keep global sugar prices under pressure. This is contrary to many other trade house views around the world who forecast a more bullish outlook.

As noted, it is early days and a small change in one of the key assumptions around Brazilian output can have a significant effect on the market in either direction - so nothing is assured at this point.

Growers will need to have their risk management hat on this year as we are likely to see a more volatile market as opposed to the one-way traffic we enjoyed last year – until we didn’t!

For more information, please get in touch with your local Grower Marketing consultant.

Sugar price movements over the last two years

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Burdekin Community Garden To Host Open Day

April 11, 2024

Burdekin Community Garden is looking forward to inviting the community to its Open Day on Monday, April 15.
The garden provides a safe space where members can gather, interact, build friendships and enjoy the garden.
Everyone is welcome to visit the garden anytime, while visitors are invited to join every Monday morning from 9:00am to 12:00pm for a cuppa and a chat – weeding the garden is optional – starting from Monday, April 15.
2024 is the Burdekin Community Garden’s third year of operation, providing a place for all members of the local community to meet for a chat in the outdoors.
The group grows fruit and vegetables that are distributed free of charge to the local community.
To find out more and to get involved, contact

WHAT: Burdekin Community Garden Open Day
WHEN: Monday, April 15 from 9:00am to 12:00pm
WHERE: Burdekin Community Garden, Lot 23, International Road, Ayr (behind the Burdekin Community Church)

Burdekin Community Garden is hosting an Open Day next week. Photos supplied

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Faces Of The Races Revealed

April 11, 2024

Burdekin Race Club has revealed the 2024 Faces of the Races in the lead up to next month’s Burdekin Growers Race Day.
Loyal patrons Colin and Brittany Bauer and Gianna O'Brien and Chris Tapiolas have been announced as the 2024 Faces of the Races.
“We genuinely appreciate the support we receive from these avid race goers who are at almost every race meeting we hold,” Burdekin Race Club said.
“We cannot thank you enough and look forward to working with you in the lead up to Burdekin Growers Race Day.”
Taking over the Burdekin Race Club on Saturday, May 18, the Burdekin Growers Race Day is well known as the premier social event on the Burdekin’s calendar with thousands of locals and visitors flocking for the event.
Featuring six highly competitive races, the event is more than just a race day: the Fashions of the Field are also hotly contested amongst race goers with thousands of dollars’ worth of prizes up for grabs throughout the day.
The event celebrates local horse racing, fashion, mega prize draws, super bets, live music and more, and attendees will even receive a free box of fresh fruit and vegetables, so everyone leaves a winner!

WHAT: Burdekin Growers Race Day
WHEN: Saturday May 18 from 11:00am to 9:00pm
WHERE: Burdekin Race Club, Home Hill
TICKETS: On sale soon, visit Burdekin Race Club on Facebook

Colin and Brittany Bauer and Gianna O'Brien and Chris Tapiolas have been announced as the 2024 Burdekin Race Club’s Faces of the Races. Photo supplied

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Roosters Endure Rough Opening Round

April 11, 2024

“That was a game we should have won and threw it away with our handling letting us down badly,” said Burdekin Roosters A grade coach Steve Lansley after seeing his team go down by just 2 at 24 - 22 to Western Lions at the RLTD grounds in Townsville last Sunday.
“It was a game we should have won by at least four tries.”
While the coach was critical of the way his team respected the ball, he did say that he could not fault their effort.
Lansley thought the forwards were dominant but dropped ball cost them.
“I thought Rhett Williams had a good game controlling the rucks and giving his big forwards room to move while lock Kali Nauque played a good tough match,” the coach said.
Lansley also added Lachlan Shepherd was also dangerous in the forwards.
He added that Dylan Doak is a smart five eight while Jones Munro at fullback could not be faulted.
Luke Russell, Ethan Hagarty, Lachlan Shepherd and Jeremiah Matuata scored tries with Dyland Doak kicked 3 goals.
In other A grade games Souths def Herbert River in Ingham 22 - 12, Brothers beat Centrals 12 - 10 while Charters Towers were too good for Norths in the Towers by 44 – 12.
In a game they should have won, the reserves went down 30 - 22 after the Lions had lead at the break 26 – 6.
Had the reggies played the first half like they played the second the win would have gone to the Roosters.
It was as though two different teams were on the paddock with Roosters jerseys on.
The first half saw dropped ball and missed tackles the order of the day with the Lions allowed to dominate.
In the second session the defence became as it should have been with the attack also improved.
Coach Chris Perry said we were too generous with giving away possession first half and we were not sharp in defence.
Perry said the care factor was back second half and we were unlucky not to come away with a win.
The coach singled out Beady Horan and Brody Ferguson as two of his better players with Caleb Noah dangerous.
The two French players Wassine Mauhuli and Paul Meryl showed enough to look for better things in the future even though both boys were severely affected by the humidity.
Meryl did show plenty of speed in scoring a 70 metre try first half.
In other reserves matches Centrals beat Brothers 24 - 6, Bowen beat Charters Towers 44 - 4 and Souths beat Herbert River 40 - 18 with Norths on a bye.
Hens coach Anita Hagarty praised her girls for their efforts after going down to Western Lions 44 – 12.
Three-time premiers the Lions lead by only 16 - 8 at the break but size and experience told second half.
“We have not had many training runs and our young team acquitted themselves very well against a team of premiership players who have also picked up some players from the runners last year, Centrals,” the coach said.
Anita said she thought Abby King and Mckenzie Hatch with Alekah Heron, Kezzia Lammon and Talisha Bulgarelli stood out.
She also praised Tamara White who put her hand up to help out.
Kezzia Lammon, Martina Monday, Toni Daisy scored tries
In other matches Centrals beat Brothers 20 - 12 and Charters Towers beat Norths 24 - 4
This Sunday the Roosters are away again to Souths at the Old Bindall grounds in reserve and A grade with the Reserves at 1:30pm and the A grade at 3:00pm.

Contributed by Brian Carnes

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Sit Down With Sam

April 4, 2024

Hi readers
Another long weekend has come and gone, so, whatever you found yourself getting up to, I hope you enjoyed it.
I saw this long weekend as an opportunity to explore and headed north.
My plan was to explore the Tablelands region, an area that has been at the top of my list for many years.
I found a motel nearby at Bramston Beach that would allow the perfect combination of proximity to the Tablelands while also providing a relaxing homebase at which I could chill when I pleased.
I departed Home Hill on Friday morning, my first stop was a visit to a friend in Ingham, before checking out towns like Cardwell and Tully and exploring nearby lookouts, waterfalls and swimming holes.
Saturday was a day of relaxation spent between the shores of Bramston Beach, the motel pool and the couch.
Then, feeling recharged and ready to go, I embarked on a day trip on Sunday travelling between the towns of Ravenshoe, Innisfail, Yungaburra and Gordonvale, stopping at as many waterfalls, swimming holes and landmarks as I could.
Of course, there is way too much to cram into a day in that region, but I feel like I made the most of my day and ticked plenty of spots off the list while still taking the time to appreciate the beauty of the area.
Driving between these destinations through the rolling green hills was a particular highlight, the weather toing and froing between cloudy and sunny.
Monday was spent making my way back to the Burdekin after checking out Babinda Boulders where I saw only the second cassowary I’ve ever seen in my life.
Other highlights throughout the weekend included Josephine Falls, Tchupala Falls, Mount Hypipamee, Lake Eacham and a swim at Mission Beach on the way home.
I certainly had a full, yet refreshing long weekend of adventure and relaxation and I hope you did too.

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Free Drop-In Program Powers Up Youth Engagement

April 4, 2024

A free activity aiming to engage the youth of the Burdekin is being implemented by PCYC Burdekin between Home Hill and Ayr.
The Drop-In Program is a free program typically provided to ages 12-18 to engage high school aged students in a semi-structured activity after school.
The program involves a refurbished entertainment trailer, which houses three television screens and three PlayStation 4s as well as equipment to hold external events like discos and outdoor movie nights.
PCYC Burdekin Branch Manager Andrew Sherrington started the program before the school holidays, taking the trailer to Home Hill’s Watson’s Green recently.
The program will continue after the school holidays, being held on Thursday afternoons from 3:00pm, alternating between Home Hill and Ayr each week.
“The ideal outcome is building up a rapport with QPS,” Mr Sherrington said.
“Local officers will attend and engage as well so, ideally, it’s all about youth development, building up those relationships with local police, and, more importantly, addressing any youth related issues or providing any support they might need.”
The program will also involve other games, sports and activities to engage the students for the afternoon.
“My role here with the PCYC is to provide programs for youth engagement, so with that, there are crime prevention models where you try and guide the youth to make the right choices,” Mr Sherrington said.
“That’s where the relationship works really well.”
Keep an eye on the PCYC Burdekin Facebook page for more information.

PCYC Burdekin’s Drop-In Program involves video games, food, sport and activities to engage school students after school. Photo supplied

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Teens Hospitalised After Car Rollover

April 4, 2024

A teenager was airlifted to Townsville Hospital over the weekend after a car rolled over in the early hours of Saturday morning, May 30.
Three people in their late teens were in the vehicle when it rolled over Beach Road, near Alva.
A Queensland Ambulance Service (QAS) spokesperson confirmed that QAS was engaged at 12:05am on Saturday, March 30.
One female patient sustained significant pelvic injuries and was transported to Ayr Hospital by ambulance in a serious condition before being airlifted to Townsville University Hospital by helicopter.
Another female patient in her teens was transported to Ayr Hospital by ambulance in a stable condition having suffered a minor head injury.
Another female in her late teens suffered back injuries and was transported to Ayr Hospital by ambulance in a stable condition.

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Burdekin Catholic Parish Meets At Mount Inkerman

April 4, 2024

Over 80 parishioners of the Burdekin Catholic Parish met at the top of Mt Inkerman on Friday March 22 to walk the steps of Jesus through the 14 Stations of the Cross.
Fr Manoj and Fr Truong led the congregation through a moving spiritual reflection.
Parishioners from all four parishes attended the event being Ayr, Home Hill, Giru and Clare.
The afternoon ended with a shared supper and gorgeous views of the Burdekin region.  

Contributed by Lisa Sarri

Burdekin Catholic Parish took to Mount Inkerman for a special service. Photos supplied

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Marine Rescue Volunteers Left In Uncharted Waters

April 4, 2024

After a promise of a new way forward in marine rescue, thousands of volunteers have been left in uncharted waters with no clarity on the future according to Shadow Minister for Emergency Services Dale Last.
As the July 1 deadline for the first VMR squadrons and AVCG flotillas to transition to the new Marine Rescue Queensland approaches, Mr Last said crews, radio operators and skippers had been left in the dark about what the transition would look like and how it would operate.
“It’s been more than five years since Campbell Darby handed down his report into the marine rescue sector and since then we’ve seen volunteers offered lip service, the services of marine rescue moved from QFES to police service responsibilities and countless pie-in-the-sky promises from this state government,” Mr Last said.
“Despite the changes to the responsible agency, there has been a consistent minister at the helm of this ship for the last four years who has failed to provide any sort of clear direction forward for volunteers, let alone the communities that rely on their services.
“The Minister has stated on several occasions that July 1 would see the new marine rescue entity commence but volunteers are yet to be provided with transitional agreements for consideration and legislation governing the new entity is still to be debated in parliament.
“At the heart of all of this is volunteers who go out in rough conditions to save lives at sea and the communities who for years have supported and fundraised for new boats and assets.”
Mr Last said after hearing first-hand from both Australian Volunteer Coast Guard members and Volunteer Marine Rescue it was clear that a lack of consultation and direction had left a sour taste in the mouths of crews and leaders within both blue water rescue organisations.
“While the government may have us think that the transition to bring about one entity for marine rescue in Queensland is smooth sailing, what we are seeing at the coal face could best be described as nothing but shifting goal posts and lip service by this state government,” he said.
“We are lucky in Queensland to have some of the greatest coastlines to enjoy but, just as we do if we got into trouble on our roads, we need assurances that if tragedy strikes, help is on the way and that falls squarely in the hands of the Minister.”

Burdekin Marine Rescue boat; Photo supplied

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Marine Sting On Cape Upstart Leaves Teenage Girl In Hospital

April 4, 2024

A 13-year-old girl was stung by a jellyfish near Cape Upstart over the weekend and was one of three people hospitalised due to jellyfish stings across the state over the weekend.
A Queensland Ambulance Service spokesperson confirmed the female patient in her teens was transported by boat from Cape Upstart to Gumlu after suffering a marine sting on Sunday, March 31.
Bowen paramedics met the patient on the shore and assisted in transporting her to a rescue helicopter which flew her to Townsville University Hospital in a stable condition.
That same day, a female in her 40s was transported to Proserpine Hospital in a stable condition after suffering a marine sting on Hamilton Island.
A male child was also transported to Rockhampton Hospital following a marine sting on Kemp Beach, Rosslyn.

Bowen paramedics and a rescue helicopter safely transported a 13-year-old girl to Townsville University Hospital after a marine sting. Photo supplied: Queensland Ambulance Service

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P!nk Gets The Party Started

April 4, 2024

American popstar P!nk wrapped up her record-breaking Summer Carnival Australian tour in Townsville last month, with the benefits being felt throughout north Queensland thanks to the tens of thousands of fans flocking for her two concerts.
Held at Queensland Country Bank Stadium on Friday, March 22 and Saturday, March 23, the concerts attracted over 65,000 punters across the two nights, breaking the Stadium attendance record previously held by game one of the 2021 State of Origin series.
Millions of dollars are said to have been injected into the local economy from the concerts, with Burdekin Shire Council confirming over 120 rooms across the region were booked by concertgoers and turning Ayr’s Queen Street fountain pink to celebrate.
Before P!nk took to the Townsville stage, the tour’s promoter, Live Nation, revealed nearly one million tickets had changed hands throughout the tour, making P!nk’s Summer Carnival Australian tour the biggest for any female headliner in Australia by far.
“Nobody else has ever played 20 stadium shows across Australia and New Zealand in a single tour, but we just did it together on the Summer Carnival Tour,” P!nk wrote on social media.
“The ticket sales for the Summer Carnival Tour are the biggest for any tour by a female artist in Australia.
“We’ve sold over 3.1 million tickets during six tours here - that’s the most career ticket sales ever achieved by an international performer in Australia and New Zealand.
“We’ve grown up together over the last 20 years.
“And we’ve danced, laughed, screamed and cried together, too.
“You’ve always been there for me, but this week I learned just how great your support has been.”

P!nk finished her record-breaking Summer Carnival Australian tour in Townsville on the weekend. Photo supplied

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Rita Island Easter Fundraiser Launches Progress Association

April 4, 2024

The Rita Island Progress Association (RIPA) has recently formed to promote a sense of community and good fellowship with the people of Rita Island, a small rural farming area just out of Ayr where they can get cut off from the mainland during floods.
Having good neighbours in those times of need and hardship really makes a difference, so we aim to bring everyone here closer together through social gatherings and fund-raisers that will hopefully help fund a central meeting point and recreational area for the locals of the island and general public.
The association has just completed their first fundraiser, a whopping Easter raffle which was a great success, and wonderful to see a huge response from the Burdekin and surrounding communities in the purchasing of tickets and the many businesses who donated prizes for the cause.
Congratulations to Keith Frew, Michelle Briant and Jay Patterson on their prizes, and we'd like to thank all of the sponsors for their generous donations.
A huge thank you goes to Burdekin Distributors, Braddy's Quality Seafood, William Quirk, Butcher On Queen, Star Liquor, RG Customs NQ, SWERVE Surf & Ski, Kathleen Brabon, 2BU Nutrition, Intersport Ayr, Fuel me up Cafe, About Town Bait and Tackle and Burdekin Printers.
The Association would also like to thank Kylie Horan for organising the raffle and all of the members who spent their time selling tickets.
We can't wait to see what comes next for us and our amazing little community here on Rita Island, thanks again for your support Burdekin!

Supplied by Shantelle Ehmann

Emily Shearman, Jeff Pyott and Shantelle Ehmann of the Rita Island Progress Association

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New Fresh Food Tax Will Drive Up Cost Of Living Warns Member For Dawson

April 4, 2024

Opinion Piece
Legislation on a new fresh food tax has been introduced in Parliament, a move that Federal Member for Dawson Andrew Willcox says will increase the cost of living and hurt families, farmers, and food producers throughout Australia.
Mr Willcox said the Government’s biosecurity protection levy will charge Australian farmers for the biosecurity costs of importers bringing their product to Australia.
“These costs to farmers will inevitably be passed onto the consumer, hurting individuals and families who are already struggling with immense cost of living pressures,” he said.
“Labor is treating Australian farmers with contempt.
“We don’t know which producers are going to be charged, and the Department has said they will formally advise industries on their rate in the coming weeks or months.
“This tax is meant to come into effect as of 1 July 2024, it’s now March.
“Our farmers deserve more warning than this.”  
Mr Willcox explained the policy follows a disingenuous consultation process and is expensive, confusing, risky, and flawed, putting the entire voluntary levy system at risk.
“It is expected that it’s not just farmers that are captured under this new tax, but also fishers and foresters,” he said.
“If this is true, we can almost say goodbye to Australia’s world-class fishing industry completely, especially after Labor’s announcement to ban commercial gillnet fishing.
“This could destroy the entire fishing industry in our electorate.
“First the Labor Government want to take away our fishers’ ability to catch fish, they now want these fishos to foot the bill for their international competitors to bring their supply to Australia.
“It just doesn’t make sense.
“I will stand shoulder to shoulder with our farmers and fight to get rid of this outrageous tax, after all, without farmers, we all starve.”

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Burdekin Barra Barbecue On The Lawns Of Parliament House

April 4, 2024

Burdekin-based father-daughter fisher duo Neil and Sienna Green recently took to Canberra’s Parliament House to prepare fresh Burdekin-caught barramundi for politicians and press.
The barbecue and press event was hosted by Shadow Minister for Northern Australia Senator Susan McDonald and the Queensland Seafood Industry Association to raise awareness of the impacts of banning net fishing in Queensland on both industry and consumer.
“I invited fishers to Canberra to cook barramundi burgers for politicians and journalists to highlight that the wild-caught variety of this fish – a table favourite around the country, especially on Good Friday and Easter – will be more scarce and more expensive because of this net ban,” said Ms McDonald.

Burdekin fishers Dale Vener, Neil Green and Sienna Green joined Shadow Minister for Northern Australia Senator Susan McDonald to cook Burdekin barramundi in Canberra last week. Photo supplied

Fishers Fight Back Against Gillnet Ban
At Canberra Barra Barbecue

Shadow Minister for Northern Australia Senator Susan McDonald and Queensland seafood identities have warned that feasts of fresh fish are under threat after the State and Federal Government announced a phase out of gillnet fishing on the Great Barrier Reef.
Ms McDonald has been campaigning against the bans since mid-2023 and invited impacted Queensland fishers to Canberra to discuss the issue last Wednesday, March 27, including Burdekin-based Sienna Green who was recently named the Queensland Seafood Marketers Association’s ‘Young Achiever’ for her work publicising the sustainability of net fishing.
“The Queensland Government – with the full support and encouragement of the Federal Government – has rushed to do the bidding of UNESCO and completely ignored the people involved in the industry, the jobs it provides and the regional communities it supports,” said Ms McDonald.
“This is appalling overreach and it’s not backed by the federal Fisheries Research and Development Corporation which lists all the main net-caught species as sustainable on Queensland’s East Coast.”
According to the Queensland Government, “The use of gillnets is being phased out to better protect the threatened, endangered and iconic species of the Great Barrier Reef in keeping with its world heritage status.
“The phase out is being implemented as part of commercial fishing reforms led by the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) to support sustainable fishing in Queensland, and is one of the commitments to UNESCO to protect the outstanding universal value of the Reef.”
Sienna’s fisherman father, Neil Green, said banning net fishing was an overreaction that would have severe impacts on fishers, consumers and retailers.
“There is no net fishing anywhere near the Great Barrier Reef, and the creeks, rivers and foreshores that are fished make up just 0.2% of reef waters,” Mr Green explained.
“This leaves 99.8% of the world heritage waters closed to net fishing.
“Barramundi licences in Queensland this year have been reduced from over 90 to 23, robbing consumers, restaurants and retailers of wild-caught barramundi.
“It will potentially deny them the opportunity entirely after mid-2027 when these 23 licences expire.”
Mr Green said the phase out is a warning to other primary producers after UNESCO advised the Federal Government that all food production in reef catchments must be further regulated.
“All primary industries and associated businesses in regional and coastal areas of Queensland need to band together before the government comes after them,” he said.
“We’re calling on the government to reverse this net ban and stand up to UNESCO before this and other important food producing primary industries are sent to the wall.”
Queensland Seafood Industry Association chief executive David Bobbermen said the Queensland Government had ignored fishers’ input and the industry’s moves to reduce impacts on non-target species and improve sustainability.
“There is a lot of science that supports the use of gillnets as one of the most targeted and low carbon emitting fishing methods,” he said.
“Many small regional and remote community economies are struggling, and the loss of net fishing is simply another nail in their coffin.”
Mr Green and Sienna’s partner Dale Vener were two of the 23 to be granted restricted NX licenses earlier this year, allowing them to continue to use gillnets to catch barramundi under strict conditions.
These licenses are due to expire in mid-2027.

L-R Normanton businessman Noel Scott, Burdekin fisher Sienna Green, Shadow Minister for Northern Australia, Senator Susan McDonald, Leader of the Federal National Party David Littleproud, Queensland Seafood Industry Association chief executive David Bobbermen and Burdekin fisher Neil Green. Photo supplied

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Applications Open For Get Set For Work Program

April 4, 2024

On Wednesday March 27, PCYC Burdekin had eight students graduate from their current Get for Work Program.
The program is for 15-19 year olds looking for work and have finished their schooling journey.
During the course, the students completed a certificate II in Vocational Pathways and Employment Skills, first aid certificates, RSAs and gained their learner's licence.
The students also participated in a range of actives to enhance their employability including cultural and historical awareness, team building, budgeting and cyber security.
Enquiries for next program are now open.
Contact Rowan Scott if interested on 0448 686 648.

Contributed by Tamara Kemp

L-R Rowan Scott, Jake Post, Jake Richardson, Sharni Cragie, Lilly Scutt, Lincoln Chatfield and Tamara Kemp. Absent: Riley Watson, Thomas McCammon and Zjkya Stockham-Boyd. Photo supplied

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Rescue Pet of The Week Meet Hades

April 4, 2024

Rehoming fee: $450

DOB: 15/03/2022

Sex: Male

Breed: Staffordshire Bull Terrier

Kid friendly: Yes

Cat Friendly: Untested

Other dogs: Yes

Fences: 6ft

Don’t be alarmed by the name! Hades is actually a bit shy when you first meet him but it doesn’t take long for him to warm up to you and when he does, he has so much love to give.

Despite his young age Hades is very relaxed and chill but when it comes to play time, he will never stop.

His favourite game is fetch and he will play for as long you are willing to throw the ball.

And when play time is over he loves to show affection by resting with his head in your lap. Hades would love to be someone’s lapdog getting loads of cuddles.

Hades is currently on heartworm treatment.

If you are interested in taking home Hades, Please fill out an animal enquiry form at:

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On The Beat

April 4, 2024

At 3.35am on Saturday 9 March, Ayr Police located a vehicle on Robertson Road, Brandon. As a result, a 25yr old Burdekin man was issued a Notice to Appear (NTA) for being in charge of a motor vehicle while under the influence of liquor, .166. He appeared in the Ayr Magistrates Court on 25 March.
At 8.40am on Saturday 9 March, Ayr Police were called to the local hospital regarding a male wishing to make an assault. It was alleged he was punched in the face then bitten on his nose by a male associate in Parker Street, Ayr around 2.30am. Ayr Police located a 28yr old man at a residence in Ayr and he was subsequently charged with one count of assault occasioning bodily harm whilst adversely affected by an intoxicating substance. He was released on conditional Police bail to appear in Ayr Magistrates Court on 8 April.
At 8.00pm on Thursday 14 March, Ayr Police intercepted a vehicle on Drysdale Street, Ayr. As a result, the driver, a 69yr old Burdekin man, was issued a NTA for drink driving, .072. He is due to appear in the Ayr Magistrates Court on 8 April.
At 12.15am on Thursday 21 March, Ayr Police were called to the intersection of Chippendale and Ross Street, Ayr in relation to a disturbance where it was reported a male person was yelling and hitting road sign and power pole with a mailbox and shovel. Patrols located a 29yr old Burdekin man a short distance away allegedly in possession of a mailbox and he was issued a NTA for going arm in public and is to appear in Ayr Magistrates Court on 8 April.
On 22 March, a shop stealing was reported from a local Queen Street business. Subsequent inquiries led Police to an address at Home Hill where a 52yr old Burdekin woman was issued a NTA for one count of shop stealing and is due to appear in Ayr Magistrates Court on 8 April.
At 8.00pm on Friday 22 March, Ayr Police intercepted a vehicle on Chippendale Street, Ayr. As a result, the driver, an 18yr old Burdekin man, was issued a NTA for drink driving, .029. He is due to appear in the Ayr Magistrates Court on 8 April.
At 9.00pm on Saturday 23 March, Ayr Police intercepted a vehicle on Railway Street, Ayr. As a result, the driver, an 22yr old Burdekin man, was issued a NTA for drink driving, .052.  He is due to appear in the Ayr Magistrates Court on 8 April.

Snr Sgt Steve Barton

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On The Hunt for Butts In The Burdekin

April 4, 2024

After two successful Big Cigarette Butt Hunts in Cairns, thanks to funding from Queensland Gives, No More Butts is now expanding the events to four new locations including right here in the Burdekin.

No More Butts is taking action against cigarette butts, the single biggest contributor to litter in Australia and around the world, holding its first event in 2022 where more than a dozen volunteers picked up 4,500 butts in just under an hour.

In 2023, 20 volunteers from several different organisations and businesses joined forces to comb the streets of Cairns and, after one hour, had collected a total of 10,350 butts.

The success of this event saw two further events held in December 2023 in partnership with the Sea Shepherd Marine Debris Campaign, Rye, Victoria and Surfers Paradise played host to the groups, who picked up more than 14,000 butts.

“Partnering with councils, businesses, local rangers and other like-minded groups is having a great impact,” said No More Butts Executive Director Mr Shannon Mead.

“Although our ultimate goal is to ban plastic cigarette filters, for now, we need to spend a lot of effort on education and prevention, as well as picking up these toxic nasty plastic parcels.”

Jumping into the “butt mobile” in April, No More Butts founder Mr Mead will travel from Innisfail to Mackay to participate in the four events across two weekends.

Identifying hot spots, based on previous visits and community feedback, Mr Mead is optimistic that others may join him in the hunt for as many butts as possible.

Although some essentials will be on hand, participants are encouraged to bring their own gloves, suncream, a hat and a water bottle.

WHAT: Big Cigarette Butt Hunt
WHEN: Sunday, April 7 from 8:30am to 10:00am
WHERE: Beach Park Road, Ayr
MORE INFORMATION: or scan the QR code below

20 volunteers picked up 10,350 butts in one hour in Cairns. Photo: stock image

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Get Behind The Mic With Sweet FM’s Presenter Training

April 4, 2024

Have you ever wanted to learn what it takes to become a radio presenter?
Your chance is fast approaching thanks to Sweet FM and the Burdekin Shire Council’s Regional Arts Development Fund (RADF).
Sweet FM will be hosting presenter training later this month aimed at anyone from novice to experienced presenters.
The course will provide the unique opportunity to discover the inner workings of Sweet FM, learn about local radio and a presenter’s legal responsibilities, and gain experience with presenting, producing and using the equipment.
Sweet FM Station Manager Charlie Scuderi said this is the first time Sweet FM has applied and been successful in receiving a RADF grant, funding the opportunity to train new and existing presenters.
“It’s a good opportunity to see how a radio station works,” Mr Scuderi said.
“We’re fortunate to have a district of this size with our own radio station staffed entirely by volunteers.
“If you want to get involved in radio, come along.”
Sweet FM has invited Jason ‘Wolfy’ Wolfgram to present the training.
Wolfy has decades of experience in radio and media and specialises in compiling and delivering media workshops covering all aspects of radio broadcasting including program content, media law, emergency preparedness and interview techniques.
Burdekin Shire Council CEO Terry Brennan said the RADF is a partnership between the Queensland Government and Burdekin Shire Council to support local arts and culture in regional Queensland.
“RADF grants are very important to the Burdekin community as evidenced by the Sweet FM project,” he said.
“The application fitted within the guidelines and was considered an important opportunity to provide an upskilling opportunity for the valuable volunteers of Sweet FM.
“Of recent times RADF funds have been provided to projects such as the 2024 Gospel Music Festival, a regional highland dancing workshop, attendance by a junior band member at the Queensland Youth Band Development Camp in Brisbane and the completion of sculpture installation with vinyl cladding of images of pioneers of the district.”
RADF applications are invited in two rounds each year, with the next round to be advertised in April for projects to be undertaken the second half of the year.  
Sweet FM’s presenter training is free and open to everyone, not just existing Sweet FM presenters, and there is the opportunity to utilise learnings from the training in an ongoing volunteer presenter role at the station.
Attendees are asked to RSVP to by Wednesday April 10 for catering purposes and notify of any dietary requirements.
Lunch is provided; all you need to bring is something to take notes in.

WHAT: Sweet FM Presenter Training
WHEN: Sunday, April 14 from 8:30am to 4:00pm
WHERE: Sweet FM Studio, 134-136 Eighth Avenue, Home Hill
RSVP: Email by Wednesday April 10

Sweet FM Station Manager Charlie Scuderi

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April 4, 2024

Give and take, back and forth, exchanging energy, you only get out what you put in. However you want to say it, creating a vibrant, healthy, and strong community requires effort from everyone involved.  

Our Burdekin community is unique and has its own set of strengths, needs, and challenges that should be considered when developing strategies to address our requirements. To do that, all hands are needed on deck.

We believe in working together to identify our community’s strengths, prioritise community needs, and develop solutions tailored to the Burdekin community. Empowering every community member to actively shape where we live, work, and play creates a better future for ourselves and our families. By working together, we can achieve great things.

We are asking the Burdekin community to put some thought around and feedback to us about:
   • What issues are important to you?
   • What are your unmet needs?
   • What energy do you have to contribute to solutions?

Based on last week’s article, #letsgettalking, we have had several people identify that it would be great if there was some way that our community members from a non-English speaking background could get practice in having conversations to improve their English, share stories, culture and decrease isolation.  

We love this idea! Does it interest you, too? Would you like to be part of creating a new social connection?

At the Neighbourhood Centre, we know that people are the bosses of their own lives and that they have the solutions to most of the things happening in those lives.  Our role is to provide opportunities for those conversations and support the solutions.

Here is some more food for thought:  
   • Dementia Friendly Community Activities
   • Opportunities for Community Physical Wellness Activities
   • How do you? aka Adulting (because – let’s face it – it’s hard!)

There needs to be more than one voice in creating solutions – please reach out to us – we really do listen!
Call in at 40 Chippendale St and have a chat with us!

The Team
Burdekin Neighbourhood Centre

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Did you Know? Burdekin Shire Council

April 4, 2024

Did you know that the Burdekin Shire Council offers interest free loans to not-for-profit sporting, cultural and community organisations that want to upgrade their facilities or purchase specialised equipment.

This policy aims to encourage the social, cultural and sporting development of the Burdekin Shire area by supporting community organisations’ initiatives. The loans are subject to eligibility criteria, repayment terms and a maximum amount set by the Council. Applications can be for projects that create permanent improvements or items considered to be fixed to a structure erected on Council owned or controlled land.  This includes structural improvements of a fixed nature.

Applications can be for projects to purchase large items of specialised plant or requipment to a value greater than $20,000, such as tractor, mowers and the like, to be used for the purpose of enhancing the activity of the sporting/cultural/community organisations.

If you are interested in applying for an interest free loan, you can find more information on Council's website,

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Easter Hat Fever Takes Over Home Hill Kids

April 4, 2024

On Tuesday, March 26, St Colman's Catholic School held their Easter Hat Parade and were joined by Home Hill Community Kindy.  
There were so many fabulous hats created by the students of all ages and we thank our families for coming along and supporting the children.  
Winners were selected from each class and the judges said it was such a hard task trying to pick a winner.

Contributed by St Colman's Catholic School

Students from St Colman's Catholic School and Home Hill Community Kindy took part in an Easter Hat Parade. Photos supplied

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Elders Named Australia’s Most Trusted Agribusiness Brand

April 4, 2024

Elders has been announced as Australia’s Most Trusted Agribusiness Brand in Roy Morgan’s inaugural Trusted Agribusiness Brand Awards following an exceptional year garnering high levels of trust, and exceedingly low, or negligible, levels of distrust.
50 brands were measured as part of the study involving surveys with over 1,000 Australian farmers, with Elders claiming the top spot in the Agribusiness Products and Services category and the ‘Best of the Best’ Most Trusted Agribusiness Brand for 2023.
Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine said Elders’ success can be attributed to five factors: strong customer relationships, good customer service, experienced and knowledgeable staff, long-standing presence, and reliable products and services.
“While its historic roots are in agriculture, today Elders’ diverse business operations cover rural services, real estate, insurance and much more,” Mr Levine said.
“For 185 years Elders has been embedded in the fabric of Australian agriculture and played a key role in rural and regional communities by employing local people and servicing local farming families.”
Farmers interviewed in the study, praised Elders, saying, “Any dealings I have had with them were completed efficiently and in a straightforward manner,” and, “Comprehensive insurance and banking services underpinned by local support.”
The Awards recognised the outstanding levels of trust built up by eight brands across a range of different industries and services including Animal Health, Agribusiness Banks, Chemicals and Fertilisers, Farmers Co-op, Grain Companies, Industry Groups, Stock Feed, and Agribusiness Products and Services generalists.
“When customers trust a brand, they continue buying its products or services, they recommend it to others and remain loyal to the brand,” Me Levine said.
“So trust is the underpinning foundation of brand reputation.
“This is especially important in the farming and agribusiness industries where building and maintaining trust is a key pathway to developing business and personal relationships within this competitive sector.”

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Get To Know Graphic Designer Lara Moss

April 4, 2024

While you may not have had the pleasure of meeting her personally, you have most definitely seen her amazing work showcased within the pages of our Burdekin Life and Mackay and Whitsunday Life newspapers.

Lara Moss is one of two graphics designers on our team and while she has only been on board with us since late last September, she is a remarkable asset to the team and is amazing at what she does whilst bringing a cheerful and vibrant personality to the role.

Whilst Lara was born in Townsville, she grew up in the serene surroundings of the Whitsundays her whole life and after spending eighteen years of living in the pristine, laid-back atmosphere of the region, she still admires the beautiful community and unique balance, where it’s not too crowded like a city but not too rural either.

“It’s a happy medium,” as Lara would describe.

Lara attended Proserpine High School and after having a passion for working in the art field, her school recommended her when Mackay and Whitsunday Life were advertising for a designer last year.

Lara expresses gratitude for the way things fell into place, leading her to her current position in graphic design.

“Things just kind of fell into place and I’m very grateful for that,” she said.

She now crafts captivating article layouts as well as eye-catching designs for both advertisements and general publications. With a keen eye for innovation, Lara is always on the lookout for fresh, intricate ideas to elevate our publication to new heights.

Green and purple are her top favourite colours and as an Aquarius, she embodies qualities of creativity and independence, which shine through in both her professional and personal pursuits. She doesn’t necessarily live by a particular quote as she claims that she doesn’t find them to be too sentimental but in her free time, she enjoys doing all things artsy, playing with her adorable and much-loved dog Rosie or listening to alternative, heavy metal rock music.

Lara brings an array of skills to the team and is a valued employee within the walls of Burdekin Life and Mackay and Whitsunday Life.

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Farm Financial Skills Workshops Coming To Ayr

April 4, 2024

Primary producers in the Burdekin have the opportunity to expand their knowledge, free of charge, at a series of Rabo Client Council workshops.
The workshops are designed to help provide the financial skills essential to managing an agricultural enterprise and will provide farmers with an opportunity to both upskill and network.
The initiative has been spearheaded and funded by food and agribusiness banking specialist Rabobank’s Rabo Client Council, a group of the bank’s farming clients who volunteer their time implementing programs that contribute to the sustainability of rural and regional communities.
Offered free of charge to participants, the interactive workshops provide practical, hands-on advice for understanding financial statements and banking requirements and explore topics such as taxation versus management accounting, essential business management ratios and understanding key components of a business’s financial profile.
Northern Queensland & Northern Territory Rabo Client Council member and Mackay-based accountant, Tony Olsen said “financial skills are important for our producers and the next generation of producers.
“Many of our next-generation farmers may be highly educated, or have extensive on-farm experience, but understanding financial reporting and banking requirements is often foreign to them which is why these workshops are so valuable,” he said.
Mr Olsen said the workshop content would consider cash flow implications of a variety of enterprises and there will also be a focus on preparing annual cash flow budgets.
He said the content had been specifically tailored for the workshop locations – focusing on beef and sugar enterprises at Mackay and sugar and horticulture operations for Ayr.
“The workshops have been designed so couples and family members can attend together – it is a really valuable opportunity to get away from the farm for the day to take in the same information and develop an understanding of financial reporting together,” he said.
The workshops, limited to 30 participants each, are not restricted to the bank’s clients and will be presented by director of Hudson Facilitation, Tony Hudson.
The workshop will be held in the Burdekin Theatre Loft, Ayr, on Wednesday, April 10 from 8:30am to 3:30pm.
To register to participate, visit
Morning tea and lunch catering will be provided.

Northern Queensland & Northern Territory Rabo Client Council member Tony Olsen

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The Evolution Of QCAR Continues Cane Supply Agreements And Other Organisational Activities

April 4, 2024

With cane supply agreements underway across the state, Queensland Cane Agriculture & Renewables (QCAR) continues to fulfil its promises made to the industry and its members.
QCAR CEO Panikos Spyrou said Cane Supply Agreement negotiations are well underway in the Herbert, while in the Mackay region, negotiations are nearing full completion as QCAR strives to achieve innovative outcomes for its members across the state.
“We are satisfied that we have been able to achieve the desires of our membership as specifically requested by them to us,” Mr Spyrou said.
“We’re feeling quite comfortable that we’ve made some very significant progressive steps and that is very indicative of how a commercial negotiation should take place.”
QCAR has also been approached and chartered by individuals to commence cane supply agreement negotiations in the Plane Creek and Proserpine regions.
Mr Spyrou said QCAR ensures to engage in negotiations in accordance with the requirements of the Sugar Industry Act and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).
“Each grower and miller must engage in a Cane Supply Agreement in order to be compliant with the Sugar Industry Act with regards to the supply of sugar cane to a factory,” he explained.
“The sugarcane industry is quite unique in the regard that the Parties are compelled to have a Cane Supply Agreement in place prior to any supply and receival of sugarcane to avoid contravention of the Sugar Industry Act.
“Our role is to prepare, negotiate, draft, review and provide aftercare services throughout the negotiation and term of the Agreement.”
The ongoing negotiations are yet another example of QCAR’s commitment to advocacy for growers across the state.
Meanwhile, Mr Spyrou said he is impressed with QCAR’s Burdekin members who have embraced the organisation’s growth to include farmers from across Queensland.
“Our Burdekin members have allowed this growth to happen by welcoming others with open arms and allowing us to expand resources and spread our time and efforts across multiple regions,” he said.
“That’s a true testament to the Burdekin farmers in this organisation.
“We are a progressive organisation with a very progressive board who are consciously making positive and continual restructures as the evolution of QCAR continues.”

Examples Of QCAR’s Commitment To Ongoing Growth And Support For Queensland Cane Farmers
   • Establishing representation across the state of Queensland
   • Changing the organisation’s name to Queensland Cane Agriculture and Renewables to reflect a statewide focus
   • Continual collaboration with likeminded and progressive thinking organisations
   • Establishing an office and personnel in the Herbert with Senior Agricultural Technical Officer Lawrence Di Bella alongside Administration Officer Anna Di Bella driving membership in the region
   • The negotiation of cane supply agreements in the Mackay region
   • Growing in the Mackay region with the establishment of an office and the hiring of a Central Queensland District Manager
   • Assisting members mainly across the Herbert and Burdekin who have been audited by DES (The Department of Environment, Science and Innovation)
   • Developing a harvest/haulout drivers course with HR license compliance across Herbert and Burdekin regions and facilitation of multiple in-house Driver Pilot/Escort Accreditation Courses
   • Supporting and advocating for members with regards to harvest grouping applications, siding access issues and potential capital works for infrastructure upgrades
   • Engaging with incumbent sugarcane millers as well as emerging companies such as JetZero and the like working towards QCAR being the preferred underlying sugarcane provider for the raw feedstock required for Sustainable Aviation Fuel plants and other green energy project initiatives which support  QCAR’s Circular Bio Economy strategy
   • Working with agronomy businesses to assist farmers and members manage their cost of production through input cost procurement programs
   • Writing comprehensive submissions and participation in various government and non-government hearings to a suite of critical matters directly impacting members
   • Developing Nutrient Management Plans and aftercare assistance to QCAR’s entire membership through Senior Agricultural Technical Officer, Mr Lawrence Di Bella
   • And the list goes on!

Pictured is QCAR’s very humble and down to earth CEO hard at work behind the scenes at QCAR Central
QCAR have erected billboards throughout north Queensland

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Things To Do The Charm Of Charters Towers

April 4, 2024

Charters Towers is a hidden gem waiting to be explored. Steeped in history and surrounded by stunning landscapes, the charming destination, an hour and a half from Townsville, offers a myriad of activities for visitors. Whether you're a history buff, nature lover, or adventure seeker, Charters Towers has something for everyone.

Explore The Historic Stock Exchange Arcade
Start your Charters Towers journey by delving into its rich history at the Stock Exchange Arcade. This heritage-listed building showcases the town's prosperous past as a gold mining hub. The arcade is now home to retail shops, offices and a coffee shop. Wander through the charming arcade, marvel at the ornate architecture, and immerse yourself in the tales of the gold rush era. Don't forget to snap some photos of the iconic clock tower.

Step Back In Time At Zara Clark Museum
Dive deeper into Charters Towers' history at the Zara Clark Museum. This treasure trove of artifacts and exhibits provides a comprehensive look into the town's pioneering days. From antique furniture to vintage photographs, the museum offers a fascinating glimpse into the lives of those who shaped Charters Towers. It's a must-visit for history enthusiasts and families alike.

Take A Tour Through Venus Gold Battery
Relive the excitement of the gold rush by touring Queensland’s oldest and largest surviving gold Battery. Nestled amidst picturesque surroundings, this site was once a crucial part of Charters Towers' mining operations. Join a guided tour to learn about the gold extraction process, a “must-do” experience for visitors to the Towers. It's an interactive and educational experience for visitors of all ages.

Embark On A Nature Walk At Towers Hill
With its summit 420 metres above sea level, the rocky pinnacle of Towers Hill is the very best spot to catch a sorbet sunset over the town. A short drive from the town centre, this natural reserve offers breathtaking panoramic views of Charters Towers. Explore the walking trails that wind through the rugged landscape, keeping an eye out for local wildlife and diverse bird species. The sunrise and sunset vistas from Towers Hill are particularly spectacular, providing a perfect backdrop for avid photographers.

Cool Off With A Dip
There are plenty of opportunities to take or dip or indulge in some water sports in Charters Towers thanks to its proximity to the mighty Burdekin River. Whether you have a fondness for swimming, fishing, canoeing, kayaking, boating or even bird watching, popular spots on the river include the Macrossan Bridge, Dave Chapman Recreational Park, Burdekin Falls Dam or the Burdekin Weir Park.

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School Holiday Fun In the Burdekin

April 4, 2024

Wink and Blink
Every school holiday our local libraries create two activity booklets for children to take home free of charge. Wink is the booklet for younger children and Blink is for older school aged children. The booklets are available from the weekend that holidays start and can be collected from the desk at either Burdekin Library Ayr or Home Hill Branch Library.

Visit Coutts Park
Coutts Park in Ayr features a playground, picnic shelter and barbecue area, half basketball court, exercise equipment as well as ample parking and public toilet facilities.

Burdekin Art Trail
Following the Burdekin Art Trail will enable you to experience a truly unique collection of murals, sculptures and installations which depict stories of our region’s culture and heritage. In recent years unassuming spaces around our towns have been transformed into vibrant works of art by a number of renowned and emerging artists from across Australia. The trail currently stretches across five towns and can commence from either Giru in the north or Home Hill towards the south. The whole community are invited to spend a couple of hours exploring the Burdekin’s continuously evolving collection of street art.

Visit Arch Dunn Memorial Park
The Arch Dunn Memorial Park in Home Hill features a playground, picnic tables and barbecue area as well as ample parking and public toilet facilities. 
The Arch Dunn Memorial Park was dedicated in the memory of the Dunn family, who were prominent business people in Home Hill and Arch was a foundation member of the Home Hill Rotary Club. The park was upgraded in 2007 as a joint project by the Home Hill Rotary Club and the Burdekin Shire Council.

Ayr Nature Display
The Ayr Nature Display has been a part of the community since 1966 and is one man's incredible collection of Australian Nature. The Ayr Nature Display is Australia's finest, preserved collection of butterflies, moths, beetles, crustaceans, sea shells, reptiles, rocks, timber, Aboriginal stone implements and fossils, especially ammonites, all under one roof.

Bird Viewing - Horseshoe Lagoon Conservation Park
The park's permanent freshwater lagoon is close to major tourist routes and intensive agricultural areas. It's unique freshwater vegetation and abundant birdlife provides an unforgettable experience for bird enthusiasts.
Horseshoe Lagoon is about a 30-minute drive north of Ayr. The Burdekin Shire Council has provided a bird hide on the edge of the lagoon, which allows bird watchers a sheltered environment from which to view the various bird species living at this habit.

Plantation Nature Play
Plantation Nature Play is a state-of-the-art nature-based play area at Plantation Park with all-abilities swings, a fortress-themed lookout, and rock and rope climbs. It also features a variety of activities such as an accessible fortress themed lookout, rock and rope climbing and fossil digging.

Plantation Park
Plantation Park in Ayr is a popular stop offering shady areas for picnics, access to the Juru Walk and the state-of-the-art Plantation Nature Play. Plantation Park is also home to a 60m carpet snake sculpture, Gubulla Munda, which was built by the Gudjuda Reference Group in 2004 to celebrate and promote indigenous culture.
The park follows the flowing creek with a number of lush, shady trees which surround the number of great facilities on offer. The facilities include public toilets, picnic tables, BBQ facilities and caravan parking.

Alva - Playground

Enjoy an afternoon playing at Alva Park! The recently upgraded playground features old favourites such as slides and swings, as well as instrument-inspired installations including slap pipes and a four-note drum. The park also has picnic shelters, BBQ facilities and a new half basketball court as well as ample parking and public toilet facilities.

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Ayr Bowls News

April 4, 2024

Wednesday March 20 winners were Barry Hewson, Col Essex and Mario Milan who defeated Bob Young, Dino Poli and Lew Stidston.
Runners up were Reno Lazarin, Alan Jones and Ron Soper who defeated John Hall, George Nixon and Henry Hazle.
Saturday March 22 winners were Sandra Darwen and Ron Soper who defeated John Pirrone and Rob Garner.
Runners up were Lorraine Wolffe, Vince Beitia and Blake Hyden.
Social Bowls on Tuesday March16: Betty Schultz, Heather Jorgensen and Sandra Stidston defeated Isabel Cislowski, Beryl Cornford and Pam Power.
Competition Thursday 28 Open Singles: Dot Cutting defeated Heather Jorgensen and Beryl Cornford through on a forfeit.
Wednesday Night March 27 winners were Evelyn Wiltshere, David Burt and Sam Caltabiano and in the pairs game, Margaret McLaughlin and Gary Pearce.
Wednesday March 27 winners were Bob Young and Col Essex who defeated Margaret Chapman and Chris Berkery.
Saturday March 30 winners were John Pirrone, Rino Lazzarin and Ron Soper who defeated Alan Jones, Linda Guimelli and Ron Soper.
Competition games Sunday 7/4 - Championship Singles - G. Pearce vs C. Pearce (m) L. Stidston.   V. Beitia vs S. Caltabiano (m) J. Grabbi. Championship Pairs - R. Young/C. Essex vs R. Garner/W. Coonan.

Contributed by Michael Parravicini

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Home Hill Bowls Report

April 4, 2024

Wednesday night barefoot bowls was won by Paul and, for the first time, Nev. Four bowls pairs was the game played.
Thursday’s game had 23 players turn up to do battle.  The winners of the day were Trevor, Alex and John. Thanks to sponsor Blinds 2 U. Tuesday Trimmers is going well and BINGO Thursday mornings is a bit of a hit. Until next week, good bowling.
Contributed by Stephen Doig

Paul and Nev

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Home Hill Junior Open Results

April 4, 2024

The juniors were lucky with the weather, taking to the green on Saturday, March 23 for the Home Hill Junior Open and just finishing their comp and presentations before the rain set in.

3 Holes
Gross winner - Sonny Hutchinson
Nett winner - Ella Church
Nett R/U - Hudson Suficiencia
NTP - Sonny Hutchinson

6 Holes
Gross winner - Rheanna Bain
Gross R/U - Curtis Borellini
Nett winner - Lyla Land
Nett R/Up - Kyle Wilkie
NTP - Curtis Borellini

9 Holes
Gross winner - Cody Webster
Nett winner - Ikie McGrath
Nett R/Up - Reid Martin
NTP - Jordan Manno

18 Hole Girls
Gross winner - Hayley Jenkins
Nett winner - Amaya Mahoney
Nett R/Up - Zoe Brooks
NTP - Hayley Jenkins

18 Hole Boys
Gross winner - Elio Di Bella (won in a playoff)
Gross R/Up - Marcus Yasso
Nett winner - Jim Breen
Nett R/Up - Jack Hayes-Williams
NTP 4 - Dallas Douglas
NTP 9 - Elio Di Bella

The winners of the Home Hill Junior Open. Photo supplied

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Sit Down With Sam

March 27, 2024

Hi readers
I’ve returned from a wonderful weekend of exploring with mum and dad and have bid adieu to them once again.
After a weekend spent in the Burdekin, that included sunrise up the hill, a night of bowls, and a couple of beers with the neighbours, the three of us headed west, spending our first night on the road in Ravenswood.
Although I don’t have any ghost stories to share, the town had a historical eeriness which I loved.
The remaining buildings were just beautiful to look at and I was fascinated by what was left of the town.
The next day we went on to Charters Towers after a quick drive out to Burdekin Falls Dam.
Lunch at the Stock Exchange Arcade was a must do, as was perusing the Arcade’s bookstore.
We went for a wander downtown, taking plenty of photos of the beautiful old buildings.
We also explored the history at the Zara Clark Museum and admired the birdlife at Burdekin Weir before taking in the vastness of the area from Towers Hill.
These were all areas I’d never been before, so I was glad to have been able to make the trip while mum and dad were up.
While at bowls last week, Trevor offered to take a photo of us “for the paper,” so I thought I’d include it here.
With the long weekend approaching, I’m taking the opportunity to do some more exploring, so I’ll report back here next week with tales of my next adventure.
I hope you all have a great weekend and enjoy the read!

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Queensland Pride On Display Dale Last Presents Brandon State School With New Flags

March 27, 2024

The Burdekin likes to fly its flags proudly, but the north Queensland sunshine can certainly take its toll.
That’s where Member for Burdekin Dale Last came in, providing a new set of flags for Brandon State School earlier in the month.
Mr Last presented students and staff with the flags on Monday, March 11.
“Like all schools throughout the electorate, the Brandon State School takes great pride in flying their flags,” he said.
“Thanks to the North Queensland weather, the school’s flags were looking a bit worse for wear but, yesterday, I delivered a full set of new flags.
“The principal and students are looking forward to hosting them up the flagpoles so everyone can see how proud they are to be Queenslanders and Australians.”
Most organisations and not-for-profit community groups are eligible for a free Queensland flag and as Member for Burdekin, Mr Last would be honoured to present the flag at your meeting or event where possible.
Those eligible include schools, tertiary institutions, Scouts, youth organisations, service associations such as Rotary and Lions, welfare and ethnic organisations, sporting clubs, historical societies, museums, show societies and local fire brigades etc.
To find out more, visit

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Alva Fisher Receives State Recognition

March 27, 2024

Alva fisher Sienna Green has been awarded the Young Achiever Award at the Queensland Seafood Industry Awards after being nominated for making “a positive difference to the seafood industry.”
26-year-old Sienna is a third-generation fisher who has been operating her own fishing business for the last six years.
When the State and Federal Governments announced a ban on the use of gillnets on the Great Barrier Reef in June last year, Sienna and her father Neil embarked on a nine-month battle for the rights of their industry.
“We’ve obviously had a massive nine months following everything with the gillnet ban, so I was just over the moon to be awarded,” Sienna said.
“I was up against some strong competition, so to come out on top, especially representing wild caught, was just awesome.”
Being a third-generation fisher, Sienna grew up helping on the boats with her dad, Neil, and her mum Leanne.
“I’ve been on the water all my life,” she said.
“It’s something I never thought I could or wanted to do, being a professional fisher, but after school, nothing really stood out to me.”
Sienna took a gap year to work with her parents, taking on more responsibility and growing her skills and experience.
“I thought I might just give it a go myself and see how I go and there was a massive difference from being in the deckhand’s seat to being in the skipper’s seat and I absolutely loved it,” she said.
“I’ve been operating my own fishing business for just over six years, and I haven’t looked back.”
Driven by the needs of the seafood consumer, Sienna is passionate about providing fresh, wild caught seafood, and appreciates the unique nature of the line of work she’s chosen to pursue.
“They’re the ones who rely on us to catch their share of the resource out there, and being a third-generation professional fisher, that’s in my blood,” she said.
“You’re working in the most beautiful environment out there on the water.
“Every day is different, there’s never a roster or a routine, and you’re always learning, and that’s the part that keeps me keen and excited.”
Travelling to Brisbane for the gala dinner on Friday, March 15, Sienna used the opportunity to represent the wild caught inshore net fishery she is a part of.
“We had Fisheries Queensland and some managers in the room as well as the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries, Mark Furner, so I was very honoured to receive the award having them in the room,” she said.
“I wouldn’t have been able to get as far as what I have without our local community’s support.
“The local traditional owners and the council, politicians, we wouldn’t be where we are without them, so we’re very grateful for all of that support that we’ve received over the past nine months.
“I hope by winning the award, I have done our inshore net fishery proud, and that with an award of this significance, I hope it can showcase our industry.”
Sienna and Neil are currently in Canberra where they prepared barramundi on the doorstep of Parliament House, hoping to showcase what will be taken away should gillnet fishing be banned in 2027.

Alva fisher Sienna Green was awarded the Young Achiever Award at the Queensland Seafood Industry Awards. Photo supplied

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Government’s “Unforgiveable Broken Promise” Energy Prices On The Rise

March 27, 2024

The Australian Government has found itself in quite a pickle after breaking its election promise to reduce overall household energy bills by $275. The draft of regulated electricity prices was released on March 20 after the national energy regulator pledged to intensify efforts in safeguarding consumers.

Dale Last, Member for Burdekin, remained reluctant about the proposal, raising major concerns that it wouldn’t be enough to ensure regional customers can afford to keep the lights on in their homes.

Upon the release of the Australian Energy Regulator's draft decision, it appears that Queenslanders who are unable to seek alternative suppliers will face a $53 hike in the coming months.
Mr Last said the draft decision was another kick in the guts for regional customers at the mercy of a monopoly energy market.
“The fact that a report by Energy Queensland found more than 50 per cent of customers were concerned they would not be able to pay their upcoming power bill should be ringing alarm bells not only with regulators but the Minister,” Mr Last said.
“For years we’ve seen promises of rebates and cheaper electricity only to find when the bill arrives that those rebates, concessions and promises are sucked up by the soaring prices we are left to pay.”
“The draft Default Market Offer has confirmed that the Government has fallen short by up to $1,027 of its promised price reduction for everyday households, equivalent to a 37% increase.”

As a sign of the suffering faced by everyday Australian households, startling new numbers from the AER have also revealed 116,753 people have been placed into hardship due to their skyrocketing energy bills and 192,459 people are now in energy debt.

Federal Member for Dawson Andrew Willcox said the skyrocketing price of energy was consigning local people to energy poverty.

“Labor was elected on a promise that it would reduce household electricity bills by $275 but instead Australians are now paying among the most expensive bills in the world,” Mr Willcox said.

“This is simply unaffordable for residents in my community who are already suffering.”

The Shadow Minister for Climate Change and Energy Ted O’Brien said Labor’s broken promise on energy prices was “unforgiveable”.

“The Australian people deserve nothing less than a complete and unreserved apology from Prime Minister Albanese for making households and businesses pay for his failures,” he said.

Prior to its election, the Australian Labor Party promised to create jobs, cut power bills and reduce emissions by boosting renewable energy.

“This plan will bring cheaper renewable energy to Australian homes and businesses,” said the Australian Labor Party statement. 

“It will cut power bills for families and businesses by $275 a year for homes by 2025, compared to today.”

The draft DMO, released by the Australian Energy Regulator, sets the ‘reference price’ for electricity bills for the 2024-2025 period and will now be consulted on before the final determination is made in coming months.

The final 2023-24 DMO recorded increase in the overall cost of electricity, throwing into the question the likelihood of any substantial changes before the final determination for the 2024-25 DMO is made.

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Three Decades Of Leadership

March 27, 2024

One of the Burdekin’s longest serving members of Local Government is walking the halls of the Burdekin Shire Council chambers for the last time this week, having been first elected over 30 years ago.

Lyn McLaughlin has risen from local Councillor to Mayor of the region during this time and despite being unsuccessful in her bid for another term in the hot seat, she said she is harnessing the optimism and integrity she is known for, taking the new life direction in her stride.

No stranger to local government, Ms McLaughlin’s father Robert Rossi served as Councillor and Deputy Chairman of the Mulgrave Shire in Far North Queensland for 23 years, something that inspired his daughter to follow in a similar direction.

“In 1976 I first moved to the Burdekin as a teacher at Home Hill State Primary School – and my love for our region has grown every day since then,” Ms McLaughlin said.

“18 years after moving here I was first elected Councillor, as I wanted to turn my passion into action and serve the community that I loved.

“Since then, I have been incredibly privileged to serve as both Councillor and Mayor for 22 years.”

Ms McLaughlin said she is proud of all the positive change she has driven within the region during her tenure and would like to thank all the elected representatives she has been fortunate to work with over this time.

“It is with much sadness that I walk the halls of Burdekin Shire Council for the final time: I’ve been incredibly lucky to work with a dedicated and enthusiastic team of both indoor and outdoor staff over the past three decades,” she said.

“I wish the incoming Council and new Mayor success in supporting our community and continuing to progress the Burdekin Shire.”

Ms McLaughlin is looking forward to more time with family and friends and supporting local organisations, including Burdekin Netball Association and Lower Burdekin Landcare.

“Our son will return home from working for the Australian Antarctica Division at Macquarie Island this May, so my husband Matt and I are looking forward to spending time with him,” she said.

“I’ve always enjoyed my time outdoors, whether it’s on the sidelines of the netball court or in the garden, and I am looking forward to having more time pursuing these passions and volunteering where I can.

“We have recently seen the formation of the Burdekin Catholic Parish – the coming together of the former parishes in Home Hill, Giru, Clare and Ayr – and I look forward to being an active member of their community.

“You will see me across the Shire regularly supporting local events and community organisations, so please don’t be a stranger.

“As I start a new chapter in my life, I want to thank all Burdekin residents for their faith in me: serving you over the past three decades has been the greatest honour, and I will never forget it.”

Lyn McLaughlin will step down as Burdekin Regional Council Mayor this week. Photo credit: Marni Hine

Lyn McLaughlin during her first term as Mayor. Photo supplied

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North Queensland's Future Flows Bowen Pipeline Project inches closer to approval

March 27, 2024

The approval of an underground pipeline corridor connecting Bowen with the Burdekin River is now in the final stages of Federal and State Government assessment and support, as pre-construction activities for the Bowen Pipeline Project continue to advance.
Developed by the Bowen Pipeline Company (BPC), the community led and funded Project is a 182 km underground water pipeline commencing 16km upstream from Home Hill and moving south through to Gumlu, Guthalungra, and on to Bowen.
The development of a secure, high quality and cost-effective water resource, such as the Bowen Pipeline Project, is vital in unlocking the economic potential of these regions.
The project will allow the creation of a reliable, secure water supply to an area that produces one fifth of Australia's vegetables and is Australia’s largest winter vegetable growing area, currently growing some $650 million of fruit and vegetables each year (over 250 million kg).  
The Bowen Pipeline Project is a community led and funded project with over 40 grower, individuals and industry investors who have to date invested some $2.5 million.
“We particularly value the commentary of local stakeholders including growers who have noted the need for increased reliable, quality water; First Nations Peoples such as the Bindal and the Juru; transport, logistics and manufacturing entities; and experienced locals who see the merits of innovative technologies developed in Australia being used more in Australia,” Bowen Pipeline Company Director Sean Brown said.
“We are very confident that the Project stacks up economically and environmentally in a sustainable way.
“The company is very proud to be the first project of this kind working towards becoming a Net Zero project in line with the Commonwealth Government’s Climate Change legislation and the State Government carbon reduction goals.
“We continue to have strong bi-partisan support as all sides of government understand how important water is for the economic sustainability and growth in our region, not only for the farming community but for the broader community in general.
“As soon as the funding milestone arrangements are achieved, construction is expected to commence 12 months later, targeting September 2025.”
The Project will provide approximately 200 jobs during construction and up to 1,200 jobs through the growth of existing and future industries when operational.
“As to our employment targets, we are seeking to employ and train as many locals in the Burdekin and Whitsunday Shire as we can,” Mr Brown said.
The $600 million project will generate significant expenditure in North Queensland.  
“Townsville, Ayr, Home Hill and Bowen will realise potential opportunities for the supply of materials, consumables and accommodation during the two years of construction, and then into operations,” Mr Brown said.
BPC’s policy will be Locals First, and we will be holding community meetings as soon as the final hurdles are finalised.
Existing available water allocations from the Burdekin Falls Dam will be secured from Sunwater and local water allocation owners.
The pipeline will generally run adjacent to the Bruce Highway, mainly on private land and unformed road reserves.  
The pipeline will transport up to 100,000 ML per year with 60,000 ML for horticulture, agriculture and aquaculture.
The pipe has been designed to allow for 40,000 ML to be supplied to the Abbot Point Green Energy Export Hub for the production of green hydrogen, ammonia and fertiliser.
“Pi R squared is amazing,” Mr Brown said.
“The initial design of 60,000 ML required a 1,600 mm pipe diameter but by increasing the pipe diameter by a hand’s width to 1,800 mm, this increased the volume supplied by over 60% to 100,000 ML.
“We have now future proofed the critical water supply to fast track and assist the Green Energy Hub to become a reality for the national and multinational companies looking to develop supply for the fast-growing Asian markets.”
To help to minimise the pipeline’s carbon footprint, the Project will use world class Australian technology for the onsite extrusion of the High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) pipe in 100+ metre lengths, generating a reduction of some 5,000 B double truck movements, and reductions of over 5 million kilometres of road transport.
The longer lengths of HDPE pipe also result in 90% less welding (i.e. potential failure points) compared to steel or concrete piping, creating construction and cost efficiencies.
BPC has consulted with local horticultural and aquaculture producers as well as future green energy companies which fits in with our mandate to achieve our goal of making the project Net Zero.
All groups agree that with additional water they would materially increase production to service emerging local and rapidly growing offshore markets.
Existing cleared Class A & B Good Quality Agricultural land used for cattle grazing could be converted to high value irrigated land, increasing employment.
No flood irrigation will be permitted.  
All 15 of the major and high value rivers and creeks will be underbored to ensure the riparian zones and cultural areas are protected.
As the core value of this community led project, BPC is committed to promoting a vibrant economy whilst also maintaining a strong commitment to the local environment.

Bowen Gumlu Growers Association President Carl Walker, Juru Elder and Chair Trevor Prior, Minister for Water Glenn Butcher, and BPC Director Sean Brown
The Bowen Pipeline Project will run from Kirknie, near Home Hill to Merinda Pump Station, near Bowen

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Home Hill Chamber Of Commerce Gets Educated On Chaplaincy

March 27, 2024

Home Hill Chamber of Commerce held its second Social and Networking Event last Wednesday, March 21, inviting Scripture Union School Chaplain John Mackay to address the business community.
John has 17 years of experience as a school chaplain and currently works at both East Ayr State School and Clare State School.
He said the biggest role of the school chaplain is to care for the students within the schools.
“More than that, we also care for the staff and the families there too, so we’re trying to make the schools a good place for the kids to come,” he said.
John’s role is varied and involves sitting in on classes, assisting students with their work, and playing educational games with them, but one of the most significant initiatives he’s implemented at both schools is ‘breaky club’, offering students fruit, toast and cereal before school.
“Lots of kids end up not being fed properly before they come to school and if the tummy’s not happy then the kids can get restless, so the kids love it,” he said.
John is one of six chaplains who work across nine schools in the Burdekin, and he said he was pleased to be invited to speak to the Home Hill Chamber of Commerce members to share the work of the chaplaincy.
“It’s good to find out the things that are happening in the community and I’d like the business community people to know about chaplaincy because it’s their kids, their grandkids, who we’re trying to love,” he said.
Home Hill Chamber of Commerce Secretary Robert Antoniazzi said he invited John to shed light on the work of chaplaincy in the community.
“I know how much he’s done at the schools, and I wanted to share that information with everybody, because he does make a difference to schools and troubled school kids,” Robert said.
If you are interested in learning more about becoming a chaplain, contact Scripture Union District Manager Brooke Sorbello on 0427 291 540.
Home Hill Chamber of Commerce’s next Social and Networking Event will be held at the Home Hill Community Sports Club on April 17 from 5:30pm, where Tony Goddard of the Ayr Rotary Club has been invited as a guest speaker.

School Chaplain John Mackay and Home Hill Chamber of Commerce Vice President Uli Liessmann

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Rescue Pet of The Week Meet Checkers

March 27, 2024

Rehoming fee: $195

DOB: 1/07/2022

Sex: Male

Breed: DOH

Kid friendly: Yes

Dog Friendly: Untested

Other cats: Yes

Indoors/Outdoors: Indoors

Checkers is relaxed and looking for a relaxing home.

He is super chilled and tolerant, making him perfect if you have children around the house.

Checkers doesn’t just chill in his own world, he is renowned for cuddles and loves attention.

Checkers is desexed, microchipped, up to date on vaccinations and is tick, flea and worm treated.

If you are interested in taking home Checkers, Please fill out an animal inquiry form at:

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Revving Up Resilience Offroad Racing Offers Adrenaline Therapy For Burdekin Veterans

March 27, 2024

Ian and Justine Baker are two of the Burdekin’s newest residents and when they moved here from Ipswich, they brought with them a rare opportunity for local veterans to experience offroad racing.
Although new to the Burdekin, the Raemus Rover Racing program has been operating in southeast Queensland for over 10 years, a method of adrenaline therapy utilising the highly dynamic genre of racing and combining it with a peer-to-peer counselling and support program.
The program’s origins trace back to 1976 when it first started as a trade training activity using ex-Vietnam war stock out of Puckapunyal, Victoria.
“It was then used as a cross training activity, and they used to compete in the state and national championships,” said Ian.
“It was a good platform at the time to entertain the troops, a lot of them ex-Vietnam, to entertain them while they were basically posted in the middle of nowhere.”
Once the program had served its purpose and the vehicle and team were no longer required, the vehicle went into storage at the Bandiana Army Museum where it remained for 22 years.
“When I was an apprentice at Puckapunyal Workshop, I played with Raemus Rover,” Ian said.
“I’ve gone through a lot of time in service, been deployed multiple times, and the regiment I was in at the time had a permanent, established group rotating through Afghanistan for 11 years straight, and we were starting to really see the effects of continual rotation of deployment and combat.
“My guys needed a distraction, and they came to me and asked about the old Raemus Rover.”
The therapeutic potential of offroad racing became clearer and clearer before Ian, who had been in the Australian Army for 33 years since the age of 15, and Justine, who worked in defence as a public servant for 30 years, built the program into what it is today.
“We found this adrenaline therapy research and that’s the basis of the program,” Ian said.
“We utilise a genre of motorsport that isn’t widely understood; it is the most dynamic and aggressive form of motorsport that looks like you’re going to die, but you’re not.
“It’s extremely safe and it has an enormous amount of suspension.
“At the heightened state of adrenal flow is when people are more likely to open up, accept suggestion and talk about issues, so we purposely put them into a heightened adrenal flow state utilising something that’s sexy to them, race cars, we get them to that point, and we sit down and talk.”
The Raemus Rover Racing program has discharged military counsellors, nurses, trained combat medics, psychologists and padres either on staff or on call, providing a safe and familiar space for other veterans to take part.
“If we weren’t on that tour with you, we know someone who was or we’ve been to the same area and done the same things, so we can automatically build a rapport and we can start to talk about things,” Ian said.
The program involves weekly drop-in sessions, inviting veterans to come in and help work on the vehicles; trackside program days, where veterans and families are able to get in the vehicles and race; as well as racing events, where those looking to further their racing can compete in official offroad racing events.
“It’s all about building that support group that understands and will help them through it, because it’s not going to be a fix, it’s just building up the confidence that they can keep coming back and nobody’s judging them,” said Justine.
“A lot of people, when they leave the military, they don’t realise the transferrable skills they’ve got.”
“We get veterans engaged and valued,” added Ian.
“For a lot of them, the issue is the lack of self-value or self-recognition.
“Once you get out, you don’t know where you fit and you can’t find your tribe.
“By having all of these little avenues of engagement and letting them show what they can do, nine times out of ten, they display how valuable they are within an area that they never would have been exposed to unless they came out.
“I don’t care how broken you are, you can do this.”
The program is sponsored by RSL Queensland and is currently being researched by the Gallipoli Medical Research Foundation, which could lead to the program being grown and adapted further afield.
The team are preparing for their first north Queensland program day at the Burdekin Offroaders track in May.
Ian and Justine are seeking interest from local veterans to get involved in weekly drop-in sessions at their Burdekin workshop.
To find out more, message RSL Raemus Rover Off-Road Racing.

Raemus Rover Racing invites veterans to utilise and develop their skills in offroad racing. Photo credit: Alan McIntosh Sports Photography

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Coral Bleaching Confirmed On Great Barrier Reef

March 27, 2024

The Great Barrier Reef is amidst its fifth widespread coral bleaching event in just eight years, aerial surveys have revealed.
The surveys, conducted by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS), observed over 300 reefs between Cape Melville north of Cooktown to just north of Bundaberg and confirmed the event.
Reef Authority Chief Scientist Dr Roger Beeden said the results of these surveys are consistent with the patterns of heat stress that have built up over summer.
“The results are consistent with what we have seen with above average sea surface temperatures across the Marine Park for an extended period of time,” Dr Beeden said.
“Aerial surveys of the Reef have revealed prevalent shallow water coral bleaching on most surveyed reefs.
“It is important to note, that the heat stress has not been even across the Reef, and the coral bleaching observed is variable.
“Monitoring the health of the Reef is a year-round effort for the Reef Authority, and it’s critical for us to understand what is happening on the Reef so we can target our management actions to protect the Reef and strengthen its resilience.
“Climate change is the greatest threat to the Great Barrier Reef, and coral reefs globally.”
AIMS Senior Research Scientist Dr Neal Cantin said that the aerial surveys provide a visual indication of the extent of bleaching.
However, assessing the severity to coral colonies requires in-water surveys.
“Aerial surveys are a crucial tool for a reef ecosystem as large as the Great Barrier Reef and show that this coral bleaching event is widespread, or what is commonly called a mass coral bleaching event,” Dr Cantin said.
“We now need to combine the spatial coverage captured from the air with in-water surveys to assess the severity of coral bleaching in deeper reef habitats across the different regions of the Marine Park.
“We will continue to conduct in-water observations with our research teams and management partners.”
The Reef Authority will continue to work closely with research and other science partners, Traditional Owners, and the tourism industry to monitor conditions on the Reef.

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The Burdekin Creative Writers Anthology

March 27, 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 Mighty Burdekin
by Anne McCubben

The Burdekin’s a river and it’s known throughout the State
‘The Mighty Burdekin’ they say (in flood, at any rate);
If it is in a placid mood, the fishing’s rather good,
But as in everything I guess, not all goes as it should: -
There’s awesome power and wonder when you hear the river’s roar
In flood time as its torrent with its banks would seem at war.
The water frothy, yellow, and with debris riding fast
Tears madly to the ocean till its level drops at last.

From two farms off you hear it at its height in times of flood
And if it leaves the riverbed, it spreads abroad its mud.
When times are dry the river drops, sometimes below its sand
Or lies in weedy, murky pools one can’t describe as grand,
Yet water from the Burdekin brings life to sugar cane
And other crops depend on it through irrigation drain.
The riverbed has miles of sand – it’s coarse but there’s a lot.
A paradise for children at each favoured picnic spot.

The Burdekin’s a river with its water, sand and mud.
It’s useful yet there’s damage that it causes when in flood.
The lifeblood of our delta as its waters irrigate
The crops the farmers plant each year, the early and the late.
I’ve always known our river for I’ve lived here all my life,
Saw cane trucks pulled by horses and the cane cut by a knife.
I’ve picnicked in our riverbed, gone swimming to get cool,
Seen boats cross flooding waters and caught fish where there’s a pool.

I saw the cattle wagons lying strewn along its bed –
They’d left the bridge as water rose, became a thing of dread
The truck with bricks though, didn’t roll, just dropped off straight and sank.
The engine of that railway train was safe upon the bank
I’ve sat above its waters flowing underneath my house.
Seen croc’s slide in the water when out boating with my spouse,
Camped on its banks near Sellheim and run races on the sand,
Walked over on the rail-bridge once, before the new bridge spanned

And almost tamed our river – well, enabling us to go
From one side to the other with the water high below.
The Burdekin’s my river and I like to tell my friends
That I am from the Burdekin – I like her curves and bends,
The shadetrees on the riverbanks or in the riverbed,
The water clear or full of silt and almost thick instead.
The Burdekin’s my river though she goes through many moods,
Yet has so many uses as her waters grow our foods.

The Burdekin’s a river sometimes full yet often dry
Her tributaries help her flood or also empty lie.
Belyando water’s very slow in flowing on its way,
The Bowen’s faster, Bogie too, can fill it in a day.
Campaspe, Suttor, Clark and Cape, the Fanning and the Star,
The Broken River waters too – they come from near and far.
They join the mighty Burdekin, when they’ve been filled by rain
It is a giant watershed that all these rivers drain.

Between twin towns Home Hill and Ayr, the river makes its way,
On through the delta to the sea to end in Upstart Bay.
The Burdekin’s a river, that’s deceptive when there’s drought
But there’s might and roaring power when a cyclone’s been about

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 Ayr branch of the Burdekin Library on Wednesday, April 10 from 9:30am and the Home Hill branch of the Burdekin Library on Wednesday, June 12 from 10:30am.

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You Matter

March 27, 2024

This week, we wanted to share with you something that comes up a lot at the Neighbourhood Centre. We often hear people say – “not that my opinion matters”, “I don’t have anything to offer”, “I am just… xyz”.

One of our core values at the Centre is that EVERYONE has something to offer, EVERYONE has had life experiences that can help others, NO ONE is JUST anything…. You are You – and YOU MATTER.

People often get caught up in the expectations and opinions of others, leaving little space for self-discovery and self-acceptance.

If you are struggling to recognise your self-worth here are some things to think about:

   • Appreciate your unique talents, skills, and experiences. Don't compare yourself to others. Celebrate your achievements, no matter how small.

   • Be kind to yourself. Treat yourself like you would treat a good friend. Accept your flaws and be gentle with yourself. Try not to be too hard on yourself. You deserve kindness and respect, especially from yourself.

   • Set boundaries in your relationships with others. This means knowing when to say "no" and making your own well-being a priority. It's okay to communicate clearly and assertively with others about your boundaries, even if it might feel uncomfortable at first. By doing this, you'll be taking an important step towards building healthy relationships with yourself and others.

   • Take care of yourself.  It helps you to feel good and value yourself. You can do this in different ways, like getting enough sleep, eating healthy foods, exercising, practising mindfulness or meditation, or seeking professional help when needed. By taking care of yourself, you are telling yourself that you are important and you're worth the effort.

   • Positive people around us can greatly impact our self-esteem. It's so important to surround ourselves with supportive individuals who uplift us. This means letting go of toxic relationships and finding like-minded people who share similar values. Creating a positive environment promotes personal growth and well-being.

It inspires us every day to see Burdekin community members recognise their self-worth and then go on to help others do the same. Working together and creating opportunities that we all can benefit from helps our community grow.  

Wishing you all a great week!

The Team
Burdekin Neighbourhood Centre

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Did you Know? Burdekin Shire Council

March 27, 2024

Did you know that the Burdekin Shire Council has an Arts and Cultural Strategy 2021-2030 to support the vitality and diversity of arts and culture in the region?

The Arts and Cultural Strategy 2021-2030 strategy is based on contemporary cultural planning principles and is informed by evidence and community values. It aims to promote a cultural vitality that will enrich the liveability and appeal of the Burdekin Shire and is designed to integrate with other Council planning mechanisms and be consistent with overarching community values. 

The strategy consists of five strategic themes: Creative Communities, Cultural Vitality, Animated Places and Spaces, Connectivity and Sustainability and Heritage, Identity and Sense of Place. It outlines a series of actions, outcomes and indicators for each theme, as well as a monitoring and evaluation framework. This plan is for the whole community. It embraces the diversity of the region irrespective of geography, age, ability, gender and cultural or social-economic background. It respects the past, acknowledges the present and looks to the future.

The strategy is supported by the Regional Arts Development Fund, a Queensland Government and Burdekin Shire Council partnership to support local arts and culture in regional Queensland. You can view the strategy online by visiting Burdekin Shire Council’s website

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Celebrating Harmony Day In The Burdekin

March 27, 2024

Burdekin School Celebrated Harmony Day with social games, allowing students to explore different cultures and create pieces of a group mural. Photos supplied: Burdekin School
Burdekin Community Association Inc. Community Services Officer Aimee Cursio and local resident Allan Lee celebrated Harmony Day 2024 with a market stall on Queen Street. Photo supplied: Burdekin Community Association Inc.
Burdekin Christian College marked Harmony Week, the celebration that recognises diversity and brings together Australians from all different backgrounds. Photo supplied: Burdekin Christian College

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From Dream To Reality The Community- Led Establishment Of Home Hill's Beloved Kindergarten

March 27, 2024

In mid-1983, Marie Finn was sitting in the waiting room of Dr Joyce’s surgery for the six-week check of her fifth child, flicking through the latest edition of the Home Hill Observer when she read of the closure of a local kindergarten operated by Mrs Williamson.
“Coming from Cairns and driving there regularly, I had often seen beautiful buildings that provided kindergarten facilities and hoped that Home Hill could one day have the same,” Marie said.
“Perhaps this was the opportunity, so I sprang into action.”
Marie met with then councillor Seb Vecchio over a cup of tea at her kitchen table to discuss the possibility of a C&K Kindergarten in Home Hill, and she said the idea had this support. A week later, almost 30 people attended a public meeting, some in opposition to the proposal, favouring another backyard kindy to replace Mrs Williamson’s. A week after that, a steering committee was appointed to investigate the possibilities and the work involved. Council was contacted about a suitable building, while the committee planned for its first Christmas Carnival with the support of the community, families and organisations.
“Forty local businesses supported the carnival either with goods or ads in the paper,” Marie said.
“It was thrilling, and we knew that our idea would be a resounding success!”
Ann Winter discovered that the CWA flats, originally Iyah State School, were up for sale, that purchase setting in motion the establishment of the Home Hill Community Preschool and Kindergarten Association as it was then known. Furniture was sourced from Mrs Williamson and the Home Hill State School, but challenges ensued when obtaining a phone, electricity, pest control, fire extinguishers, vinyl and carpet flooring, mirrors, toilets and other items and services for the kindy. Parents assisted in painting the building and equipment, pulling out bindis, building a fence and sandpit, all to be ready by the end of January 1984.
“Where would the money come from?” Marie posed.
“Our estimates were that it would cost $5,000 to bring the building and equipment up to meet the high standards required to have affiliation with C&K Queensland.
“The proposal at Council was led by then Chairman, Dr John Trace, and supported by three Home Hill councillors.
“However, the whole only just passed at 5-4.
“Nevertheless, they agreed to allocate $5,000 to be repaid over ten years and dedicated to our expenditure.”
The kindy commenced operation in January 1984 with Miss Sandra Slater as Director and Miss Lorelie Bapty as Assistant. Dr John Trace later performed the official opening of the centre on March 15, 1984, where Sandra and Lorelie were presented with engraved goblets by the committee of management as foundation staff and students were presented with foundation certificates. The centre was given the slogan:
“This centre runs on parent power.”
In its infancy, three people contributed generously to the kindy’s upkeep: Ray Kluver, who mowed and whipper snipped weekly; Jo Weeks, who voluntarily cleaned the kindy all year; and Alan Weight, who assisted with the gardening and kept the bindies at bay. Within a short space of time, it became apparent that the life of the building as a C&K centre was, unfortunately, limited.
“By the middle of the year, thought was given to a new building much sooner than we at first anticipated, and negotiations were entered into with the Burdekin Shire Council,” Marie said.
Three blocks of land were considered, including the block where the kindy stands today. Plans were drawn up by Barrett and Associates and had approval by the C&K Building Committee in Brisbane. The float in the Harvest Festival later that year evoked high interest from the parents with a good turnout to put it together. And, with another Christmas Carnival, the highly successful and tumultuous first year came to an end and the Home Hill Community Kindy was here to stay.

Foundation Staff
Director: Sandra Slater
Assistant: Lorelie Bapty

Foundation Committee
President: Marie Finn
Vice President: Damien Joyce
Secretary: Mary Hurney
Treasurer: Peter Hogden
Committee Members: Cheryl Goodman, Norelle Weight, Isabel Stubbs, Annette Michelin and Delphine Baker

Foundation Students
Group A: Katrina Piva, Andrew Finn, Carly Bradley, Rowan McDowell, Travis Davenport, Nicole Watson, Ross Elton, Christopher Field, Andrea Mann, Cherie Durso, Jason Torrisi, Peter Bartlett, Danien Michelin, Justin Elton, Rachel Woods and Stacey Harding
Group B: Stewart Baker, David Vass, Daniel Vass, Calum Boland, Janay Lewis, Josh Santacatarina, Isabel Stubbs, Joanne Woods, Alison Woods, Christopher Williams, Michael Hogden, Michael Weeks, Claire Joyce, Roderick Taylor, Ann Grimshaw, Magella Hurney, Danielle Goodman, Scott Heatley, Phil Garner and Nev Norris
Group C: Shea Baker, Justin Young, Andrew Piva, Trudy Eckstein, Amanda Bonanno, Lillian Simeoni, Adrian Chapman, Frank Barbagallo, Peter Rossato and David Todman

Group A
Group B
Group C

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Four Decades Of Nurturing Young Minds At C&K Home Hill Community Kindergarten

March 27, 2024

In 2024, C&K Home Hill Community Kindergarten proudly commemorates 40 years of childcare excellence. Since inception, the kindy has been committed to providing a dynamic and enriching educational experience for children aged three to five, prioritising play-based learning where every moment is an opportunity for exploration and discovery. Supported by passionate educators, the program instils a love for lifelong learning in each child. With purpose-built facilities and expansive outdoor spaces, the kindy fosters holistic development within a caring community environment.
But the journey isn't just about education—it's about community. C&K Home Hill Community Kindergarten embraces strong ties with the Home Hill community, welcoming parental involvement and participating in various events and initiatives.
As C&K Home Hill Community Kindergarten celebrates 40 years, those involved in its inception reflect on past achievements and look forward to a future filled with boundless opportunities for growth and learning.

Read on to discover the story.

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40 Years Of Building A Legacy

March 27, 2024

In the 40 years since its inception, Home Hill Community Kindy has grown to become an integral part of our small community.
The Centre has educated thousands of local children, providing them with wonderful preparation for the commencement of their formal education. The Centre is a vibrant, welcoming space which allows children to grow and develop into curious, capable and collaborative learners.
Director, Sue Amore, together with Educator Jodie MacDonald and the other staff implement the C&K early childhood curriculum Listening and Learning Together at the Centre. They are passionate about nurturing healthy minds and bodies and celebrating each child’s individual strengths to support their participation in the program and realise their full potential.
The play-based learning is reflective of our Home Hill community, so learning happens in ways that is meaningful to the children. The Kindy recognizes and respect the traditional custodians of Australia and embraces and celebrates the diversity of the children and families in our community.
In 2015, the Kindy made the decision to move away from traditional Kindy days and hours to offer an extended service.  Currently, 44 children attend the Centre over four days, group A on a Monday and Tuesday and Group B on a Wednesday and Thursday.  The hours of 8:15am to 5:15pm are more practical for working families and have ensured the longevity of the Centre.
In 2024, kindergarten has been offered free across Queensland to all families. This initiative will ensure that hopefully no child throughout the state misses out on experiencing the truly wonderful year that kindy is for children.
The current staff and committee of Home Hill Community Kindy are proud to be continuing the legacy of the original founders of the facility in providing a quality education to the children of Home Hill.  With the ongoing support of the Community this will continue for many years to come.

Meet The Teachers

Sue Amore

After coming across the Burdekin on a gap year in the 1980s and loving the warmer weather, director and teacher Sue Amore relocated her family from Victoria to the Burdekin in 1993. It was while in the Burdekin that Sue began studying early childhood, working in local schools throughout 2005 before taking on the role of director and teacher at Home Hill Community Kindy in 2006. Over the years, Sue has liaised with committee and community members, mentored students, and navigated a shift in working hours but said her and her team were “determined to do whatever we needed to do to keep this community-based kindy up and running.”
“Here we still are in 2024 with full numbers and still being supported by our families and our community,” Sue said.

Jodie MacDonald

Assistant educator Jodie MacDonald has lived in the Burdekin most of her life, growing up in Ayr and Gumlu before moving to Home Hill where she has lived for 24 years. She said she had never considered working with children before having her own, working in administration before having children.  
“I became interested in relief work during the years my own children were attending the kindy and after being on the committee for a few years, began studying my certificate III and then Diploma,” Jodie said.  “I have worked at the kindy for almost 9 years.”

Jodie and Sue

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From Steel Fabrication To Retail Powerhouse

March 27, 2024

For over four decades, Rural Quip has supported the industrial and agricultural sectors of the Burdekin with passion, knowledge and experience. Established in 1982 initially as a steel fabrication business, the company has since undergone a remarkable evolution, transitioning into a comprehensive retail hub catering to the diverse needs of local industries.
Under the leadership of Managing Director Robert Oar, whose extensive experience spans 45 years in agricultural and engineering sectors, Rural Quip has adeptly navigated shifts in market demands. Recognising the necessity to adapt, the company has expanded its offerings beyond fabrication to encompass retail, steel sales, and industrial supplies.
A key aspect of Rural Quip's success lies in its commitment to customisation and customer satisfaction. Equipped with state-of-the-art machinery including steel presses, guillotines, and hole punches, the company ensures that each product meets the unique requirements of its clientele. Furthermore, its affiliation with the national buying group, Australian Industrial Supplies, for over 25 years underscores its dedication to providing competitive pricing without compromising quality.
With a team of approximately 18 experienced staff members, Rural Quip offers expertise across various product areas from cutting and pressing steel in the steel department to the diverse range of goods in the retail section. Moreover, its local delivery service facilitates the transportation of steel to site, enhancing convenience for customers.
Visitors to Rural Quip's premises are often astonished by the extensive stock available, reflective of the company's unwavering commitment to serving the Burdekin community since its inception. As the agricultural heartland of North Queensland, the region's reliance on reliable suppliers like Rural Quip remains paramount, ensuring continued growth and prosperity for years to come.

Rural Quip Managing Director Robert Oar

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Cultivating Growth In Agriculture And Beyond Ayr Hosts Influential Women Community Leadership Forum

March 27, 2024

A cohort of women in agriculture attended a three-day leadership forum in Ayr last week designed to develop leadership skills, personal confidence and be empowered to make future focused decisions to drive a positive change in their communities.
The Influential Women Community Leadership Forum, held from March 19 – 21 in the Burdekin Theatre Music Loft, was supported by Tropical North Queensland Drought Hub as part of their commitment to enhancing the skills and capacity of agricultural communities in North Queensland, which invited ten women from a variety of backgrounds and careers to take part.
Forum facilitator Heather Ellis of Blue Wren Connections guided the participants through three days of group and individual activities to learn about different leadership roles, teamwork, adapting to change, understanding personal values, and self-care to achieve work/life balance.
“The first few days are looking at self and personal mastery, what are our goals and where do we want to go, and then the last day we come together to look at different roles in teams and the benefits of getting the most out of your team,” Ms Ellis said.
“What’s important in terms of self-leadership is continually honing our skills and being open to learning and growing.
“When you invest in people, amazing things can happen in businesses, so it has economic benefit down the track.  
“When people have self-confidence, amazing things can happen for the region.”
The ten participants varied in age, background and careers, ranging from agriculture, business, education and nutrition.
“What’s been lovely to see is the cross pollination of knowledge and wisdom sharing,” Ms Ellis said.
“It’s pretty exciting in terms of creating spaces for people, particularly with an agricultural lens, thinking about grower industries, because that’s the heart of the economic development in this region.
“I think we’ll see the women who have participated, grow into the future and do amazing things.”
Shantelle Arratta is an Agronomist at Nutrien Ag Solutions and took part in the forum to develop her leadership skills and networking opportunities.
“Through my career, I’ve had a lot of great mentors, and they’ve donated a lot of their time and skills, and hopefully in doing this and honing in on my own skillsets, I’ll be able to return that favour to the next lot of people coming through agriculture,” Ms Arratta said.
“There are a lot of incredible women and the diversity in the room is incredible.
“I’m already wanting to take what I’ve learnt in the last few days and get out there and use it.”
Ms Arratta said having an opportunity like this hosted in Ayr is “thrilling”.
“We’re often having to travel away to get this kind of expertise,” she said.
“To have them actually come to us, in this small group setting where people have the confidence to speak up, being surrounded by likeminded people, having this here in our own backyard is just wonderful.
“I’m already thinking about who I’m going to be telling about it and recommending it to and, to be honest, I’d probably come back again to let some of the stuff sink in.”
Tropical North Queensland Drought Hub Program Lead and forum organiser, Dr Jane Oorschot, said the event was the second of its kind to be supported by the Drought Hub.
“We piloted this forum last year in the Gulf Savannah region and received extremely positive feedback on how inspired participants felt about contributing to their local communities,” she said.
“This forum is firmly rooted in rural Queensland, reflecting the unique challenges and opportunities faced by rural women.
“By supporting the skills and capacity within the agriculture sector, together we can become more drought and climate resilient and build flourishing, sustainable communities equipped to make future focused decisions.”

Ten women attended the Influential Women Community Leadership Forum in Ayr last week

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Burdekin Graziers Attend Workshop

March 27, 2024

Local graziers attended an informative workshop at Warrawee Station to learn how to achieve optimum reproductive performance for their breeder herds.

This two-day workshop focused on the theory and practical skills of pregnancy testing and foetal ageing in cattle, and how to integrate skills and information to make decisions about livestock efficiency and performance.

Eiren Smith, Dreghorn Station, said pregnancy testing was a valuable management tool to monitor reproductive efficiency and detect problems early in the breeding season.

He said discussions about pregnancy rates, patterns of conception during a mating period, and what that data meant for future planning and management, was helpful.

Eiren also said the course focused on how to optimise pasture use to maximise the kilograms turned off per hectare while maintaining the resource base.

“The productivity of our business is reliant on the number of weaners we can turn off per year and not the number of cows we run,” he explained.

“Running less cows for the same amount of weaners means less input costs, better land condition and better profitability.”

North Queensland Dry Tropics Senior Grazing Field Officer, Chris Poole, said a challenge for the northern beef industry was to find ways to expand output and improve the quality of livestock despite the constraints imposed by a highly variable climate.

“While graziers can’t change rainfall or land type, they can manage coverage of P3 (perennial, palatable, productive) pastures in their country and increase water use efficiency and pasture production,” Chris said.

The workshop was supported by The Herding Change Through Grassroots Recovery project, funded by the partnership between the Australian Government’s Reef Trust and the Great Barrier Reef Foundation. The project aims to strengthen graziers' capacity to increase perennial groundcover at the end of the dry season, and reduce run-off of fine sediment to the Great Barrier Reef lagoon.

Photos supplied

Presenter Ian Braithwaite is flanked by Dreghorn graziers Eiren and Tegan Smith

Merricourt cattleman Jacob Gallagher and Warrawee grazier Kellie Healing preg-testing a cow

Ian Braithwaite uses a cow's pelvic bone to explain the physiology
Photos supplied

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Don’t be an April Fool Only One In Ten Aussies Test Their Smoke Alarms

March 27, 2024

Just as leaving your doors unlocked poses a risk, neglecting to install and maintain smoke alarms in your home can jeopardise the safety of yourself and your loved ones.

With more Australians dying in residential fires on average than by all natural hazards combined, it’s sparking a renewed call from experts for Australians to protect themselves with a working smoke alarm. Smoke alarms provide a critical early warning to give you and your loved ones time to escape, so testing and maintaining them plays a crucial role in the device’s purpose, saving lives.

While Queensland has the most stringent fire safety laws in the country, the latest data shows just 73% of households tested their smoke alarms last year. While nearly two in three (62%) of those who do not have interconnected smoke alarms installed say they are likely to install them in the next 12 months.

Research from Brooks Australia reveals that the majority of Aussies (90%) don’t test their smoke alarm to the recommended standard – which is once a month.

Furthermore, a stunning one in five (22%) Aussies that have disabled their smoke alarms admit to never having replaced the battery when it ran out.

Cathy Brand, CEO of Brooks Australia, says testing your smoke alarm isn’t a task, it’s a responsibility.

“Smoke alarms are the most effective early warning sign when there is a fire, but if they aren’t tested and maintained properly it can put you, your family and your home at risk. Unfortunately, our research has found that households across Australia don’t regularly test their smoke alarms, placing Aussie families at significant risk,” Brand says.

“We’ve seen in recent months just how important smoke alarms are in saving lives including the escape of a family on the Gold Coast earlier this year.”

The absence of working smoke alarms can increase the possibility of a fatal fire by 60%.

Brand says testing your smoke alarms should be a regular maintenance routine of Australian households.  

“While the recommendation is to test your smoke alarms once a month, cleaning the device to remove any dust, insects or cobwebs every six months can minimise false alarms and help smoke reach the internal sensors easily,” Brand says.

“Testing smoke alarms is a lot simpler than people might expect, just remember 10 - smoke alarms need to be less than 10 years old, take less than 10 seconds to clean and less than 10 seconds to test. That’s why we are encouraging Aussies to set a reminder every month to test your smoke alarm.”

Smoke alarms are a crucial safety feature in every household, but they can only protect you if they are working properly. To ensure that your smoke alarms are always functioning correctly, Brooks Australia recommends performing regular maintenance checks.

Brooks Australia is urging all Australians to check their smoke alarms once a month by joining #TestitTuesday where on a Tuesday during the month, households set a reminder to test their smoke alarms. To find out more about it, head to

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Sit Down With Sam

March 21, 2024

Hi readers

My mug has once again made it into the sport pages of Burdekin Life after the team I play cricket with, Guardian Pharmacy, took out the Home Hill Cricket Association grand final on the weekend.

You’ll find a photo of the team on the back cover and a report on page 29.

It was only my fourth game of the season, but I started to find my radar with the ball in these last few games and I was happy to be a part of the win.

Congratulations to my teammates on the win, to the other two teams on a terrific season of cricket and to the administrators and volunteers of Home Hill Cricket Association – it’s been a pleasure to write these reports all season and I look forward to experiencing my first Canefield Ashes in a few weeks!

You’ll also see my name mentioned across the page on page 28 it Stephen’s Home Hill Bowls Report, so it would be remiss of me not to mention my stellar bowls form at the moment.

I seem to be finding the jack consistently enough and, along with some other talented bowlers and teammates, have had a few wins in the last few weeks.

Most importantly, I’m loving my sport at the moment and enjoy getting out, meeting new people and having a crack.

Lastly, I must congratulate the talented performers who took the stage on Saturday for the NQ Fast Track Talent Showcase.

The level of talent on that stage absolutely blew me away – you can find results and photos on page 19.

I hope you enjoy the read this week!

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Dalle Cort Likely To Be Declared Next Mayor Of Burdekin Shire

March 21, 2024

It is likely that Ayr travel agent Pierina Dalle Cort will be declared the next mayor of the Burdekin Shire Council after Burdekin residents hit the polls for the local government election on Saturday, March 16.

At the time of writing, 84.85 per cent of the 12,248 enrolled electors’ votes for mayor had been counted, with 52.92 per cent of those going to Ms Dalle Cort and 47.08 per cent going the way of incumbent mayor Lyn McLaughlin.

Although close, Ms Dalle Cort is expected to be declared the next mayor by the end of the week and said she received a phone call of congratulations from Ms McLaughlin on Saturday evening.

“It was tight to start with and I didn’t expect to get a call from Lyn,” Pierina said.

“I’m excited, the phone hasn’t stopped ringing and, basically, I can’t wait to get in there and start work with the new Burdekin team.”

Ms Dalle Cort served as a councillor on the Burdekin Shire Council for 12 years before being voted out in 2016.

She then unsuccessfully ran for mayor in the 2020 local government election, saying Covid-19 restrictions affected the reach of her campaign.

“I’ve always been interested in council, I’ve been in business for 42 years, been the president of the Chamber of Commerce, I’ve always been involved,” she said.

“I’ve got a very supportive partner who said he’ll support me through this, so I needed to do it, and if I didn’t do it, I would’ve lived with regrets, and they always say don’t live with regrets.”

Ms Dalle Cort said she is eager to improve communication between council and community.

“We need to work together to go through some of the problems that have been facing our community for some time and what’s been holding up our process,” she said.

“I’m there to listen.

“Me and the team (of councillors) have been selected by the Burdekin and we want to hear your message and want to listen to you.”

At the time of writing, 84.79 per cent of the 12,248 enrolled electors’ votes for councillor had been counted, with Amanda Hall, Michael Detenon, Max Musumeci, John Furnell, Fina Vasta and Callan Oar likely to fill the six seats on the Burdekin Shire Council.

In the ten days of early voting leading up to election day, 7,502 residents casted their in-person vote at the Burdekin Sports Club Hall.

Meanwhile, 567 postal votes were issued throughout the shire 365 of those being returned and 337 accepted.

10,190 formal votes for mayor had been accepted at the time of writing while 202 informal votes were received.

Ms McLaughlin had been contacted for comment.

Caption: Pierina Dalle Cort is likely to be declared the next mayor of the Burdekin Shire Council

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Clean Up

March 21, 2024

Students and Staff gathered at Home Hill State High School in the heat to help reduce the impact of rubbish to better their school and community on Sunday March 3.

The school thanked all staff and students involved in Clean Up Australia Day including Jack Srisoongneon, Cheynne Worland, Ava Protstat, Zoe Bonanno, Grace Ogomeni, Maliq Ogomeni, Rowen Petersen, Saxon Petersen, Eli Ogomeni, Lucy Young, Louise Hayne, Bridget Zimmerlie, Daniel Hayne, Cruz Torkington, Sean Phayre-Leung, Sharni Smerdon, Faryn Poli, Saelym Poli, Ashlyn Poli, Adam Young and Talin Poli.

Staff involved were Bruce Gall, Lisa Todeschino and Julie Young.

Home Hill State High School thanked everyone involved and said thanks to Tony and the Crown Hotel for the discounted pizza and garlic breads.

Since it’s beginnings over thirty years ago, over twenty million Australians have stepped up and donated their time to improve the environment for Clean Up Australia Day.

The cause’s focus is as much on preventing rubbish entering the environment as it is on removing what has already accumulated.

Clean Up Australia Day is on the first March of every year and everybody is encouraged to participate to help reduce waste in Australia and your community.  

Caption: Home Hill State High School students participated in Clean Up Australia Day earlier in the month. Photo supplied

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Burdekin Students Get Road-Smart

March 21, 2024

High school students from four Burdekin schools have been equipped with potentially lifesaving tools following the delivery of Road Safety Education Limited’s RYDA (Rotary Youth Driver Awareness) workshop last Friday, March 15.

The program included a full day workshop of six practical, interactive and powerful sessions about road safety for students at Burdekin Catholic High School, Home Hill State High School, Burdekin Christian College and Burdekin Educational Engagement Program, delivered at the Burdekin TAFE Campus.

RYDA Coordinator for the Burdekin Tony Goddard said the program lays the foundation for safe road use throughout their lives and challenges students to think about the role they play in road safety.

“It gives people an awareness of what can go wrong when driving a motor vehicle for the first time,” he said.

“That’s why we’re targeting drivers that are either about to get their Learner’s or are on their Learner’s or maybe they’ve already progressed onto their Provisional license.

“I think there’s been a dramatic decrease in the number of road crashes on our roads … so we hope the program’s working and the message is getting across.”

The program was coordinated by local Rotary clubs, with up to 12 volunteers from Ayr and Home Hill Rotary Clubs assisting on the day.

Sessions were delivered by driving instructors, teachers, police officers, Rotary volunteers and crash victims, with a particularly impactful session coming from guest speakers Lorna and Raymond Abde.

Raymond was left with a brain injury and years of intensive rehabilitation after an incident on May 15, 1998, just nine days shy of his 18th birthday.

Since then, he and his mother, Lorna, have advocated for road safety at events across north Queensland.

“Raymond was a similar age to the students when he had his accident and you can see that the students connect with that while also getting a better understanding of what can happen as a result of road accidents,” said Member for Burdekin Dale Last, who was a police officer based in Charters Towers at the time of the incident and was one of the first on the scene.

“The RYDA Program encourages young people to take a more responsible attitude and Raymond’s story definitely helps in sharing that message.”

Caption: Guest speakers Lorna and Raymond Abde with RYDA Coordinator Tony Goddard

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Concerns Raised Over Government’s Proposed Family Car And Ute Tax

March 21, 2024

Opinion Piece

In a bid to reach a supercharged carbon emissions target, the Federal Government has just announced a proposed Family Car and Ute Tax, which is said to cause extra financial strain for families as well as complications within the automotive industry.

Federal Member for Dawson Andrew Willcox met with several car dealerships within the Dawson electorate this week and said that a major concern is spreading throughout the industry.

“We know this policy is going to have consequences, and those include higher vehicle prices, both new and old, decreased market choice, as well as the very real possibility that consumers will become disincentivised to upgrade their vehicle,” Mr Willcox said.

“These dealerships contribute to the local economy in an enormous way.

“Not only do they employ hundreds of people in the regions, but they give back to the community by supporting multiple charities and sporting clubs.

“During a Labor created cost-of-living crisis, families and individuals in our electorate of Dawson are already hurting and struggling to make ends meet.

“We know that the cost of Australia’s most popular SUVs and Utes will rise by up to $25,000 and in some cases that could push the price up so much they will incur the luxury car tax on top of that, but vehicles as small as a Toyota Corolla will increase in price as well.

“Electric vehicle mechanics are also already in short supply.

“Less than half of all advertised EV technician jobs were filled last year, so even if an individual or family can afford to upgrade their vehicle under this scheme, how are they going to get it serviced?

“We need a sustainable approach to lowering our emissions and this ill-advised policy is not the answer.

“The Coalition believes in a common-sense approach to protecting our environment, but we cannot stand for anything that is going to make it harder for families to manage their budgets, especially during a cost-of-living crisis.”

To have your say and stop Labor’s Family Car and Ute Tax visit to sign the petition.

Alternatively, if you have any concerns about the proposed changes, please contact my office at

Caption: Andrew Willcox MP addresses the potential issues that will affect both the community and automotive industries

Photo Supplied

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Millaroo’s New Rural Fire Station Officially Open

March 21, 2024

The long-awaited Millaroo Rural Fire Station was officially opened over the weekend more than 12 months after it was announced.

The new $1.8 million home for the Millaroo’s rural firies has provided volunteers with an expanded space, new amenities and a training room for volunteers.

Member for Burdekin Dale Last said the new facility for the rural fire brigade was both a credit to the brigade volunteers and an achievement the community could pride itself on.

“For a number of years now the Millaroo Rural Fire Brigade has operated out of a limited facility that was not meeting the demands of the brigade so it’s fantastic to see this community receive a rural fire station it can be proud of,” Mr Last said.

“Ensuring our firies have resources on the ground as soon as possible during an emergency is the difference between whether property and lives are lost or not, so it’s vital that our rural firies receive the investment they need to keep communities like Millaroo safe.”

Mr Last said the fact that Millaroo Rural Fire Brigade had managed to enlist three new recruits was commendable.

“At a time when the number of our frontline volunteers in many areas have been left to dwindle, the fact that Millaroo Rural Fire has recently welcomed three new recruits is a credit to first officer Wayne Ferguson, Kate and the rest of the brigade,” he said.

“I have no doubt that having a new training area will mean that not only are new volunteers able to learn the skills they need to fight fires but ensure further training opportunities are also available for current volunteers.

“We know that when it comes to living in rural areas of our state there is added risks and whether it is bushfires, cyclones or floods it is our volunteers that answer the calls for help.

“No matter where they are in Queensland, our front-line volunteers deserve to have facilities and equipment that will keep them and their community’s safe.”

Caption: Member for Burdekin Dale Last said the opening of the Millaroo Rural Fire Station is a credit to the brigade volunteers

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Rescue Pet Of The Week Meet Vixen

March 21, 2024

Fast Facts

Rehoming Fee: $450

DOB: 12/07/2023

Sex: Female

Breed: Bullarab Cross

Kid Friendly: Yes

Cat Friendly: Yes

Other Dogs: Yes

Fences: 6 Foot

This confident and sociable lady is looking for her forever home. Vixen is a lovable and playful girl, who enjoys adventuring and exploring the world around her. She is so sociable that she would suit a home with another dog, to let her be playful and tired with another animal.

Vixen is a queen of routine and loves her regular walks, with her lead training progressing well.

Vixen loves her toys, and is always ready for a play with her foster siblings. She is a people orientated dog, and thinks that everyone is her friend, so she can be a little too enthusiastic with new people and other dogs.

She is still learning to sit and wait for her food, but she is crate trained and sleeps well with her foster siblings.

Vixen is desexed, microchipped, up to date on her vaccinations, flea, tick and intestinal worm treated, and is on heartworm preventative.

If you’d like to schedule a meet and greet, please complete and submit an animal enquiry form at

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Building Bonds Beyond Age Heartwarming Friendships Blossom Through BCA Volunteer Program

March 21, 2024

Lena Courtney has lived in her Ayr house for 68 years.

It’s where her five children grew up and where her family calls home.

But after Lena’s children left and her husband passed away, she longed for more social interaction and involvement with her community.

That’s where Fiona Tomarchio came into her life, thanks to Burdekin Community Association’s (BCA) Aged Care Volunteer Visitors Scheme (ACVVS).

The ACVVS is a national program funded by the Australian Government allowing community organisations like BCA to improve the quality of life for lonely and isolated people living in residential care or living at home with support from Home Care Packages.

Lena was introduced to Fiona by BCA Volunteer Service Manager Rita Quagliata over four years ago and, since then, a beautiful friendship has blossomed.

“She’s been a wonderful friend,” Lena said of Fiona.

“Having a person like Fiona to talk to is very nice, because we can communicate to one another and that’s something great.

“I can open up to her and Fiona opens up to me; it’s just like being a sister.

“I miss her when she’s gone.”

Fiona became a part of the ACVVS to give back to her community and has established a loving friendship with Lena in the process.

“She has no family present in the Burdekin so, in a sense, she has become part of our family,” Fiona said.

“She’s met all of my family, some of my girlfriends, she’s had coffee with them, we’ve had endless amounts of laughter.

“Lena is a very strong lady and I love that; she has all of her faculties and she’s allowed me into her life.”

In Rita’s 20 years as a Volunteer Service Manager for BCA, she has met amazing, compassionate, caring people and seen many wonderful friendships develop.

When Lena needed someone to visit her, she looked for a suitable match and came across Fiona four years ago.

“Ever since then, their relationship has developed immensely and they’ve got such a special connection and a special bond,” Rita said.

“For Lena, Fiona’s like an extended family member, they’ve become that close.

“Most of our community visitors, they all develop this special bond with the people they visit, it’s just beautiful.”

For Lena and Fiona, their weekly visit often involves going out for lunch, coffee with friends and family or simply a chat and a laugh over a cuppa at home.

For other visitors, spending time with their clients could mean playing cards or board games, working on a joint hobby like gardening, taking a walk, or watching a movie.

“Some people want only an hour a week or an hour a fortnight, but some, once they’ve developed a wonderful relationship, like to spend a couple of hours a week and do more together because they do become very close,” Rita said.

Rita will look at things people might have in common when matching a client with a volunteer and is always looking for friendly, outgoing people who have at least an hour a week to spend with their client.

“With the ACVVS, we have a lot of people like Lena who want visitors, but the problem we have is trying to get volunteers, so I’m constantly promoting the service, looking for people and asking people if they know of someone,” she said.

Fiona recommended volunteering to anyone looking to give back to their community.

“It warms your heart; Lena warms my heart,” she said.

“I think it’s really rewarding, and I think, if you do have some time on hand, give it a go.”

To find out more about the ACVVS, contact Rita Quagliata on 07 4783 3744 or

Caption: Lena Courtney and Fiona Tomarchio

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Millaroo Leadership Induction

March 21, 2024

Millaroo State School’s Leadership Induction was held on March 13.

Congratulations to Harris Petersen who was inducted as the new School Leader for 2024.

Harris has been a student at Millaroo since Prep and said that after watching all the leaders inducted, he’s very happy to be getting a badge himself.

Thank you to the parents and community members who attended and a special thanks to Constable Brendan who attended from the QPS.

We are looking forward to the rest of 2024!

Contributed by Gillian Harris

Outgoing P&C President  Kerrie Cervoni presenting Harris with his badge

Constable Brendan giving Harris some leadership advice

Photos supplied

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150 Years Underwater Home Hill Man Unveils Great Barrier Reef's Shipwreck Saga

March 21, 2024

A Home Hill cane farmer who was involved in the discovery of one of the Great Barrier Reef’s most horrific shipwrecks has revisited the tale almost 150 years on from her demise.

On the afternoon of Saturday, June 10, 1967, 17-year-old Peter Rubiolo joined two friends for a spot of spearfishing off Cape Upstart.

“They liked to go spearfishing so I went with them with a small dinghy so they could hop in, have a rest, take the fish off and reload the gun before going back over the side again,” Peter said.

“They were fishing along there and when the sharks would come up, they’d jump back in the dinghy until it quietened down again.

“This time around, they both got out, there were a few sharks around, and one of them had a look and spotted the clipper bow of a boat underwater.

“He went down with his spear and tapped steel on steel and heard that ringing sound, and he said, ‘Do you know there’s a wreck down there?’ and I said, ‘Not that we know of.’”

Over 18 months later, the shipwreck was identified as that of the SS Gothenburg, an iron-hulled sail- and steamship that was built in England in 1854.

The ship originally sailed between England and Sweden and then between Australia and New Zealand before she was rebuilt in 1873 and began operating in the Australian coastal trade.

The Gothenburg was chartered by the South Australian Government and regularly sailed between Adelaide and Port Darwin.

She had left Port Darwin on February 17, 1875, with a number of dignitaries and government officials onboard.

On the evening of February 24, 1875, the ship was heading south along Queensland’s east coast when it encountered cyclonic weather conditions.

The captain, Captain Robert George Augustus Pearce, altered the course of the Gothenburg when it struck a reef.

After attempts by the passengers and crew to lighten her load and float free of the reef, the ship eventually went down.

22 people survived the wreck while up to 112 are believed to have been killed.

It wasn’t until Peter and his mates went fishing that fateful day, over 92 years later, that the Gothenburg was rediscovered.

“We discovered the wreck on Saturday afternoon and on Sunday the boys went out spearfishing again, went a bit further north and found an anchor and chain with nothing on the end of it,” Peter said.

“There was no name on the bow – over a period of time, it would’ve come off – so how we identified it was by the government arrows on the porthole.”

The Member for Bowen at the time was Peter Delamothe, a history buff himself, who directed Peter and his friends to Brisbane based shipwreck historian Commander Norman Pixley.

Commander Pixley used markings on the porthole and the coordinates of where the shipwreck was found to identify it as the SS Gothenburg a year and a half after it was discovered.

“He worked it back to that era and that’s how we came up with the Gothenburg,” Peter said.

Since the discovery, Peter dived the Gothenburg himself and even still owns a porthole retrieved from the wreck.

“It was nothing out of the ordinary at the time,” Peter said.

“After that, I went and got some scuba gear and dived it myself a few times.

“We weren’t out looking for a wreck, we were just spearfishing along when we came across it.”

Today, the Gothenburg is a protected wreck and provides food and shelter for a variety of marine life including soft and hard corals, anemones, clownfish, coral trout, cods, sea perch, black tip reef sharks and other reef fish.

Caption 1: Peter Rubiolo with a porthole retrieved from the wreck of the SS Gothenburg. Photo credit: Sam Gillespie

Caption 2: SS Gothenburg docked at Port Adelaide wharf in 1873. Photo supplied: John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland

Caption 3: The stern of the SS Gothenburg shipwreck. Photo supplied: Dive into History – Queensland Shipwrecks, Department of Environment and Science

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Burdekin Community Association Access Community Services And Get More Involved In The Community

March 21, 2024

Did you know that Burdekin Community Association Inc (BCA) can help you to access community services and get more involved in the Burdekin community? We offer a very wide range of services, under 36 programs, for people of all ages and backgrounds. Most services are FREE.

Our team is very well qualified and experienced and can provide you with information and/or help you to access local and outreach services. For example, aged care, disability care, housing, crisis accommodation, financial coaching, social activities and support, psychological counselling, rehabilitation and exercise programs, domestic and family violence services, essential food and toiletries, telehealth, legal services and much more.

You may also be interested in joining our “Community Connections Group” and/or “Make It Happen Life Skills Group”. Meetings are held at our Burdekin Centre for Rural Health and are a lot of fun! Great off-street parking and disability access.

For information on community and health and wellbeing services and being more involved in our community, please contact Burdekin Community Association Inc. on Ph 4783 3744, visit the Support Centre, 130 Queen Street, Ayr, Email or

Debra Cochran

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The Art of Conversation #letsgettalking

March 21, 2024

Have you ever been lost for words or not know how to start or conduct a conversation?

You are not alone - it happens to us all at one time or another.

So, what is the Art of Conversation? Good conversation involves being able to connect with others, share thoughts and ideas, actively listen to what they have to say, and being respectful by not interrupting or making everything about yourself.

Conversation is a work of art – there is more than one creator!

We all can communicate or converse; sometimes, we just need to practise. Have you ever heard of Human Libraries, Death Cafes, Conversation Clubs, or Speed Dating? These are all examples of social activities where conversation is a way of getting to know someone or of hearing their stories.

Recently, community members have approached us asking if there is anywhere in the Burdekin where people can practise their English. We would love to get a Conversation Corner happening at the Centre where community members can meet to practise their conversation skills, improve their English, decrease their loneliness, and increase their confidence. Helping each other is an excellent way of improving our well-being.

The Burdekin Neighbourhood Centre is happy to offer a place to meet, help, and support groups interested in starting a new project or activity. If you are interested in joining a group or starting one, please let us know. We would love to hear from you and provide you with the necessary support. Please call the office on 07 4783 4243.

The Team at the Burdekin Neighbourhood Centre values conversation and welcomes the opportunity to converse with the community. So, come on in and have a yarn with us. Let's start a movement -#letsgettalking.

Wishing you all a great week!

The Team

Burdekin Neighbourhood Centre

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Did you Know? Burdekin Shire Council

March 21, 2024

Did you know that the Burdekin Shire Council has a set of local laws that cover various aspects of community and environmental management?

Local laws are rules and regulations that are made by Councils to address specific topics, issues and challenges. Local laws complement the broader laws and regulations of the State and Federal Governments and help Councils to manage their local areas in a way that meets the needs and expectations of their communities. Local laws are made and enforced under the Local Government Act 2009 and are necessary or convenient for the good rule and local government of the area.

The local laws govern areas of interest in the community such as parking, waste management, animal management, and the use of council-controlled areas and facilities.

The local laws also include subordinate local laws, which provide more details and specifications for each topic. You can find the list of current local laws and subordinate local laws on the council's website or inspect them at the Council Chambers at 145 Young Street Ayr. The local laws are specific to the Burdekin Shire Council and reflect its unique characteristics and needs as a thriving agricultural region with abundant resources and opportunities.

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Boating In The Burdekin With Ayr Marine Services

March 21, 2024

In the heart of the Burdekin, where fishing and boating means so much to the community, Ayr Marine Services ensures local boaties have access to top quality products and dedicated and trustworthy service right here in Ayr.

Founded by Aidan Slatcher, Ayr Marine Services began as a part-time venture back in 2018, and by 2021, Aidan had transitioned to full-time dedication, laying the foundation for what would soon become a local favourite. Aidan brings over 15 years of outboard experience to the business as well as a passion for boats and a vision for exceptional customer service. With a keen eye for quality and a knack for going above and beyond, Aidan has cultivated a loyal customer base that appreciates the personal touch he brings to every interaction.

The last couple of years has brought new partnerships for Ayr Marine Services with renowned brands like Makocraft boats and Suzuki outboards. Since stocking Makocraft boats last year, the business has expanded its offerings to include a diverse range, from compact car toppers to robust 7.5m plate boats. This year, Ayr Marine Services proudly introduced Suzuki Marine to its lineup, featuring a comprehensive selection and providing the Burdekin with a wider range of brands and products to choose from.

Together with full time apprentice Jaycob, the small but mighty team ensures that each customer receives personalised attention and expert guidance, whether they're in the market for a new boat or seeking repairs and maintenance services. From assisting with customisations to facilitating made-to-order boats, Ayr Marine Services are equipped to handle every aspect of the boating experience.

As a locally owned and operated business, Ayr Marine Services takes pride in serving the Burdekin community. With a fully equipped mobile service vehicle and service trailer, Aidan and the team ensure that customers receive prompt and reliable assistance wherever in the Burdekin they may be. Whether you're a seasoned boater or a newcomer to the waterways, Ayr Marine Services is your trusted partner for all your marine needs.

Caption: Jaycob and Aidan of Ayr Marine Services

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Burdekin Chamber Chats nbn

March 21, 2024

The Burdekin Chamber held its second event of 2024 on the morning of Tuesday, March 19 at Home Hill News and Coffee, inviting guest speaker nbn Local North Queensland Community Ambassador Carly Crompton to address the members.

Ms Crompton provided an update regarding the Regional Connectivity Program, saying Fibre to the Premise will be available to eligible homes and businesses by the end of 2025 in Ayr, Home Hill and Brandon, replacing the copper telephone lines with fibre.

“Having completed the initial build of one of the largest infrastructure projects in Australian history, nbn is now focused on the next stage in the planned evolution of the nbn network,” Ms Crompton said.

“The purpose of the Regional Connectivity Program is to further enhance broadband services for rural and regional households, businesses, and communities to help meet growing and diverse needs of Australians living in regional areas.”

Ms Crompton said benefits of Fibre to the Premise include faster upload and download speeds for homes and businesses with access to over 150 retail service provides; faster streaming making it easier to work from home; No 3pm drop-outs when kids get home from school; and flood resiliency.

Burdekin Chamber President Leigh Kefford said nbn’s recent notification of an upgrade for the Burdekin region is massive for business.

“It allows the ability for an increase in speeds, and it will increase productivity for businesses, so it was a no-brainer to invite them along to give an update,” Mr Kefford said.

“Hopefully it educates a lot of the members on what the future holds, as well as the possibilities that the over 150 retail service providers bring.”

Works should get underway mid-year and completion is expected by the end of 2025.

Residents and business owners can visit to check their address and register to receive the latest build information.

The Burdekin Chamber plans to hold a marketing summit for small business owners in May in celebration of Small Business Month.

Caption: Burdekin Chamber President Leigh Kefford and nbn Local North Queensland Community Ambassador Carly Crompton

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Empowering A Path In Agriculture

March 21, 2024

Burdekin Life readers may remember Home Hill State High School teacher, Louise Nicholas, who was nobly nominated for the Queensland AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award.

Her efforts were recognised for her ‘Grow Your Own’ initiative as she advocated for agricultural changes and empowered young students to engaged in the industry.

Louise highlights the importance of encouraging students to pursue a career in agriculture as she showcases the diverse industry opportunities that are available to students, while fostering growth and success in their own communities. 

“There is so much out there,” Louise explained

“There is a lack of trained workforce in industry and agriculture, and to encourage our students to pursue careers in industry, we have partnered with local industry and agricultural businesses and farms to show students what’s on offer.”

“Exposing students to the diverse and various aspect of industry and agriculture is critical and it encourages students to enter a career in industry that they may not have known was an option,” she said.

Although Louise didn’t bring home the prestigious award for 2024, she spoke on her admiration and gratitude from the opportunity. She reflected on the successes of award winner Kate Lamason and acknowledged the dedication showcased by rural business women where they have driven such passion into their businesses.

Louise claimed this year to be a lesson of development both personally and professionally and she will continue to thrive towards change in agriculture as she leads younger generations into the field.

“I am proud that I was able to spread the word about the importance of agriculture education, raising the profile of building school to industry connections and inspiring our young people to consider a career in agriculture,” she said.

“Congratulations Kate Lamason from Little Tuna, Cairns!

“Kate is a dedicated rural business woman who is driven to showcase their Australian product showcasing wild caught tuna.

“I am looking forward to the day that I can purchase Little Tuna from my local supermarket as I have a son that just loves tuna so no doubt your product will be in our house very soon!

“Thank you AgriFutures Australia, Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (Queensland), Westpac and Queensland Country Women's Association (QCWA) for the incredible opportunity.

“Thank you also to my Burdekin Community and the QLD Agricultural Teachers Association for getting behind the "Grow Your Own" networking and engagement initiative.

“It has been a great journey so far with these ladies and such a privilege to be an AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award finalist with Kate, Tash Kocks and Kylie Martin Hollonds.

“We all now join the AgriFutures Rural Women’s Alumni community of over 300 strong and proud women!”

Photos Supplied

Caption: Louise Nicholas with Nominees of the Queensland AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award

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Wet A Line For Justin

March 21, 2024

Anglers from across the region took to the waterways of the Burdekin for the Burdekin Communications Justin Scott Fishing Classic.

Held from March 15-16, the annual fishing tournament was established in 2020 in honour of Burdekin local Justin Scott who passed away in 2019 after a boat crash.

The event was established as an opportunity for Justin’s friends, family, those who searched for him and the wider community to come together and celebrate his life.

This year’s event was made possible by Naming Rights sponsor Burdekin Communications and Platinum sponsors Burdekin Printers, About Town Bait and Tackle, Next Gen Renewables, Coral Coast Marine, Vactrucks (NQ), Nomad Interior Linings, Piccobooks, Tinting North Queensland and Superior Mine Maintenance.

Cover Caption: Silly Pillies, consisting of Eric Pedersen, Rye Wyper and Joshua Corradi dressed as Scooby Doo, Velma and Fred respectively, won the Best Dressed Award. Photo supplied

Justin Scott Fishing Classic


Champion Team (longest 5 Barramundi caught)

Team: Happy Hookers

Anglers: Brodie Lam & Deon Darr

Lengths: 83cm, 92cm, 98cm, 102 cm and 111cm

Longest Barramundi - Male

Team: Salty Willies

Angler: Kerrod Wilkie

Length: 109cm

Longest Barramundi - Female

Team: Gabiola

Angler: Jessie Gabiola

Length: 96cm

Enzo’s Metre Club


111cm: Brodie Lamb: Happy Hookers

109cm: Kerrod Wilkie: Salty Willies

106cm: Ben Caspanello: Salty Willies

102cm: Brodie Lamb: Happy Hookers

101cm: Rhegan Falco: River Rats

101cm: Adam Krogh: Gabiola

Mystery Length Barramundi

Team: Killing & Grilling

Angler: Chris Griggs

Length: 69cm (8 caught at this size, Chris was first to nominate his at 6:57am on day one)

Longest Mangrove Jack

Team: Bar Runners

Angler: Wayne Grabs

Length: 48cm

Longest Fingermark

Team: McLean Ups

Angler: Scott McLean

Length: 88cm

Longest Grunter

Team: Reel Catch One

Angler: Kris Codega

Length: 62cm

Longest Cod

Team: Compleat Anglers

Angler: Troy Great

Length: 84cm

Longest Bream

Team: Wasted Seaman

Angler: Luke Watson

Length: 34cm

Best Dressed

Team: Silly Pillies

Anglers: Eric Pedersen, Joshua Corradi, Rye Wyper dressed as Scooby Doo, Fred and Velma respectively.

Hope Ya Jokin’ Award


Anglers: Krystie & Seth Schultz

Caption 1: Champion Team: Happy Hookers

Caption 2: Longest Barramundi - Male: Kerrod Wilkie

Caption 3: Longest Barramundi - Female: Jessie Gabiola

Caption 4: Enzo’s Metre Club

Caption 5: Mystery Length: Chris Griggs

Caption 6: Longest Mangrove Jack: Wayne Grabs

Caption 7: Longest Fingermark: Scott McLean

Caption 8: Longest Grunter: Kris Codega

Caption 9: Longest Bream: Luke Watson

Caption 10: Best Dressed: Silly Pillies

Photos supplied

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Talent Teeming Out Of The Burdekin At NQ Fast Track Talent Showcase

March 21, 2024

Over 50 talented performers took to the stage at the 2024 NQ Fast Track Talent Showcase, some travelling from as far as Sydney and Melbourne.

Performers competed in heats throughout the day on Saturday, March 16 to narrow down the finalists to perform in front of special guest judges Taylor Henderson and Ethan Beckton.

The one-of-a-kind event exclusive to Queensland delivered a diverse lineup of North Queensland’s finest talent showcasing their skills in singing, dancing, music, comedy and more.

The expertise of local judges Cultural Venues Manager Glenn Arboit, Thom Pickersgill from Burdekin Singers & Theatre Co. and Jaye Mustard from The Voice Singing School also contributed to an event that celebrated talent in its most genuine form.


Best Overall Talent – Riley, Eliza and Lauren (singing trio)

Runner Up Best Talent – Leyla Sabo (singer)

Best Group Performance – Slippery Gypsy (band)

Fast Track to Fame - Lucas Smith (singer)

Best Musical Performance - Sofia Sarri (violinist)

Talent Encouragement Award – Myla Jerkic (singing/dancing)

Rising Star Vocal Performer – Jenny Bonner (singer)

Best Overall Presentation – Madison Crase (singer)

Audience Favourite – Big Joe (singer)

Special Mention – Laney Ahearn (singer)

Caption 1: NQ Fast Track Talent Showcase finalists with special guests Taylor Henderson and Ethan Beckton

Photo credit: Saskia Photography

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Ayr Bowls News

March 21, 2024

Social Bowls Tuesday March 12 Winners were Deslie Olsen, Betty Schultz and Heather Jorgensen defeating Merle Nixon, Beryl Cornford and Sandra Stidston. Pam Power and Katarina Stuckler defeated Karen Page and Dot Cutting.

Competition Thursday March 14 Open Rinks Winners were Merle Nixon, Karen Page, Thelma Klopper and Sandra Stidston defeating Katharina Stuckler, Elaine Young, Heather Jorgensen and Mary Poli. Ruth Moore, Isabel Cislowski, Joy Comollatti and Irene Wilson defeated Deslie Olsen, Trish Achille, Beryl Cornford and Pam Power.

Wednesday March 13 winners were Rob Garner and Ron Soper who defeated Tony Battaglia and Anthony Bull.

Other game results were John Pirrone, Terry Feakes and Lew Stidston defeating Barry Hewson, George Nixon and Phil Marsden.

Margaret Chapman, Dino Poli and Maurie Power defeated Jim Murray, Joe Papale and Happy Horan.

Alan Jones and Wayne Coonan defeated Vince Beitia and Henry Hazle.

Saturday March 16 winners were Karl Rummeny/Jim Murray, Sandra Darwen and Henry Hazle who defeated Joe Papale/Val Edwards, Beryl Cornford and Thelma Klopper.

Runners up were Paul Vass, Betty Schultz and Anthony Bull who defeated Lorraine Wolffe, Margaret Chapman and Mick Olsen.

Other game results were Merle Nixon, Bob Young and Happy Horan defeated John Pirrone, George Nixon and Lew Stidston.

Rick Kelly, Alan Jones and Pam Power defeated John Hall, Joe Grabbi and Maurie Power.

Results of competition games - Singles - V. Beitia 26 R. Garner19.  Pairs - M. Power/R. Soper 26 J. Pirrone/A. Bull 11.

Contributed by Michael Parravicini

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Football Matters with Cyclops Jnr

March 21, 2024


Burdekin FC Prems have been playing well for this early part of the season and confidence was high to travel to Warriors and get a winning result. Despite having players missing through injuries and circumstances the team was able to focus and maintain their composure to play a high quality, high tempo game.
The first goal came from a corner late in the first half and was a just reward for continued pressure from good attacks down both sides of the field. The second half started brightly, and it wasn’t long before more goal scoring chances were being made. The second goal was put away well by Matthew Kolb. Burdekin continued to maintain control of the game, with only a handful of occasions for our keeper Jarrod Camer to be called into action.

With 10 minutes to go there were two young players given their Premier League debut, Jhett Jones and Cooper Kross. These two boys were eager to get on the field and contributed immediately to the good performance of the side. They both show great promise with great combinations working together with Cooper putting together a mean cross for Jhett who only narrowly missed scoring a goal on debut. Both had chances to score but the third goal came from a Matthew Walker special, a free kick from inside his own half sent into the top corner as the keeper watched it sail over his head. Two wins from two games is a great start to the season.

Burdekin FC Reserves made the trip to Warriors and put in another strong effort as a young and developing team. Despite the hot and humid conditions both teams played an open and fast game. It was an arm wrestle for most of the match although Warriors had the best chances it was nil all at half time. The second half was much the same as the first and it took an unlucky deflection to give Warriors their winning goal. The Burdekin boys kept trying hard but couldn’t score the goal they deserved for their effort. 

The ladies arrived at Melrose Park with only 9 available to take the park. The ladies battled hard in the heat of the day with Warriors pushing hard to break through the strong defence within the middle of the park. Eventually, Warriors were successful taking a shot from outside the 18- yard box and another soon after. Just after a water break, the game was cut short due to a Burdekin injury. The game was abandoned due to the wait time for the ambulance to arrive on the scene. The game will be rescheduled to be played at a later date.

The Funks had their first hit out for the year on Friday with a new like side away at Rebels. After a frantic start to the game, the Funks found themselves out of legs early and Rebels took advantage scoring 3 goals in 10 minutes. Some fresh legs and positional changes made the difference, and the funks were able to get back into the game with a goal through Alec Contzonis. The second half was an even contest with both sides creating chances, but Rebels would eventually seal the match with a late goal and the game ending 4-1.


Juniors first games for the season went off with a bang on Saturday.  It was so great to see so many kids, parents, grandparents and friends down at the grounds! The little under 5's were so cute playing their first games and already can see some talent in those kids!  The all girls teams 8/9, 10/11 and 12/13 all played amazing and they all love playing together and with each other.  Games will be on again this Saturday, then will break for Easter and school holidays. See you down at the grounds Saturday!

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Sit Down With Sam

March 14, 2024

Hi Readers

I finally got back out onto the cricket field on Saturday for the first time this year and only the third time this season.

As is often the case, I’ve found my form at the pointy end of the season, taking a catch and a wicket and, most importantly, I didn’t bowl any wides.

My team got the win on Saturday and have made it into the grand final this weekend, so hopefully I can continue this form and help the boys to a victory.

Flick to page 47 for a recap of last week’s game and come on down to the Home Hill Cricket Association complex on Saturday for some grand final action.

Saturday will also bring the campaigning to a close for 15 Burdekin individuals as we hit the polls for the local government elections.

If you haven’t already voted, make sure to get down on Saturday and have your say.

Flick to pages 8-10 to hear from the candidates one last time ahead of the big day and jump on our Facebook page to watch some interviews I conducted with the mayoral candidates – a special thank you to Lyn and Pierina for their time and to the Burdekin Theatre for providing a fine venue to shoot.

Next in a big day for the Burdekin is the Fast Track Talent Showcase, happening on Saturday at the Burdekin Theatre.

This event, hosted by the Burdekin Shire Youth Council, is the only talent showcase of its kind in Queensland and is open to performers of all ages and talent genres.

I certainly look forward to seeing the vast array of talent on display and you can find out more on page 16.

Lastly, I’ll be welcoming my lovely parents back to the Burdekin next week, so if you see us out and about, make sure to say g’day!

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Grilling For A Good Cause Donation Made After Men’s Shed Barbeque Efforts

March 14, 2024

The Burdekin Men’s Shed was invited to volunteer their time to operate the barbeque at a recent event and have been presented with a donation in recognition of their efforts.

AGnVET Rural Ayr hosted its annual grower barbeque, an event to say thank you to its customers, last Wednesday, March 6, where volunteers from the Burdekin Men’s Shed manned the barbeque and fed the 180 attendees.

A different local not-for-profit organisation is invited each year to operate the barbeque, and this year the Burdekin Men’s Shed were happy to be involved.

“We’re delighted to be able to be here,” said Burdekin Men’s Shed President Rob Ritchie.

“AGnVET is a business in the Burdekin who have recognised us, they’re supporting us, so we’ve come along to support them.”

Six Men’s Shed volunteers were involved in the evening.

“We weren’t short of volunteers to come, they all want to be involved with it, and it’s good to be in the face of the community,” Rob said.

Wayne Squires of AGnVET Rural Ayr said getting not-for-profit organisations involved helps the wider community.

“Money’s hard to come by these days and a lot of these clubs don’t get a hell of a lot, so it frees up our staff, and if we can give them a donation and they come along and enjoy the night, it’s just a nice thing and it spreads a few bucks around the town,” he said.

Rob said the donation was appreciated and will go to a good cause.

“I’d just like to thank the guys here for coming out, giving up their time, helping out and putting the Men’s Shed in the face of the community,” he said.

Caption: Burdekin Men’s Shed President Rob Ritchie and Wayne Squires of AGnVET Rural Ayr

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Rabobank Roadshow Reveals Sweet Insights Into Sugar Market

March 14, 2024

A recent roadshow through north Queensland invited growers to hear from Rabobank’s experts on what the organisation believes the future holds for the sugarcane industry.

Pia Piggott is an Associate Analyst in the research division of Rabobank, RaboResearch, who presented to growers in Ayr on Thursday, March 7 at the Burdekin Theatre.

Based in Sydney, Pia’s role includes public speaking at events, recording RaboResearch podcasts and publishing various reports, generating widespread media coverage that resonates beyond the agriculture industry.

“I cover sugar and horticulture, so I meet with clients, research the industries and provide insights into the commodities,” Pia said.

Pia presented at events in Mackay, Proserpine, Ayr and Ingham, aiming to provide a knowledge update from the bank on what’s happening in the sugar industry while it’s experiencing a down period for growers.

“It’s a good time to meet with growers and find out about what their interested in, what their looking at, as well as providing Rabobank’s view on the sugar price, the opportunities in the industry and global economics,” she said.

“The rain has been really positive, the humidity has been really positive, so the crop looks good and hopefully there’s no cyclones or extreme weather events in the next few months that could impact that potential.”

Pia spoke to growers about what’s happening in the major markets and major suppliers of sugar worldwide and how this can affect sugar prices.

“We overviewed what’s happening in India with their export ban and what that means for the potential sugar production in India; what’s happening in Thailand and how these prices are affecting area expansion of sugar cane; and most importantly, an update of what’s happening in Brazil, because Brazil is the largest producer and exporter of sugar in the world so we talked about how, last year, they experienced a record sugar crop, and that’s part of what has caused prices to fall to where they fell last year,” she explained.

The recent announcement of a sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) production facility in Townsville was also discussed, along with the opportunities if presents to growers in the Burdekin.

“SAF could provide a domestic demand-base, which is really positive as it removes a lot of the volatility of international markets,” she said.

As the world’s leading food and agribusiness bank, Rabobank’s supports the innovative farmers and agribusinesses who put food on our tables every day to do so sustainably.

Members are equipped with exclusive reports, monthly overview and other resources to improve the prosperity of farmers and rural communities across the country.

To find out more, contact Rabobank’s Ayr branch on 07 4790 2200.

Caption: RaboResearch Associate Analyst Pia Piggott

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Petition Draws Thousands In Crime Fight

March 14, 2024

Thousands of Burdekin residents have called for their local police to be bolstered and funding for security patrols in an overwhelming response to a petition supported by Member for Burdekin Dale Last.

More than 3,000 business owners and residents fed up with soaring youth crime in the Burdekin put pen to paper over recent weeks with Mr Last now assuring the community that this was not the end of the action.

“This community has sent a clear message to this state Labor government that the current approach to youth crime isn’t working and they aren’t willing to sit on their hands while young offenders run rife through their town,” Mr Last said.

“Now that the petition is closed, it will be tabled in parliament with a response from the Minister and I know that nothing short of what is being called for will be accepted by this community.

“I want to personally offer my thanks to Steve Wagner who has worked tirelessly to ensure that anyone who wanted to sign the petition had the access and ability to easily do so.”

The petition, which began in early February, called for a permanent increase in police officer numbers, including plain clothes officers stationed at both Home Hill and Ayr in a bid to provide increased patrols with fully funded security patrols to occur until the additional police officers were assigned.

Mr Last said with night patrols having already proven to be effective in other North Queensland communities and a huge response to the petition, it was now up to the minister to explain why the Burdekin shouldn’t expect any less than what was being asked.

“Since this petition began, we have already seen the Federal Government stump up funds to continue night patrols in another North Queensland community and there is certainly no reason why the same can’t be done in the Burdekin,” Mr Last said.

“This community deserves to know that their local police have the resources they need to keep the community safe and if that means funding private security patrols to assist police efforts then there’s no excuse why that shouldn’t happen.”

Caption: Member for Burdekin Dale Last and Steve Wagner. Photo supplied

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Local Festival Among Best In The Country For Travelling Grey Nomads

March 14, 2024

The Burdekin’s Sweet Days Hot Nights Festival has been named as one of the best Festivals or Events in the country after receiving Silver at the Grey Nomad Awards.

Hosted in Home Hill from May 26-27, 2023, the biennial festival showcases and celebrates the rich agricultural lifestyle of the Burdekin, with highlights including the first cane fire of the season and the Australian Hand Cane Cutting Championships.

Burdekin Shire Council Chief Executive Officer Terry Brennan said being awarded and recognised on a national scale is a significant achievement for the festival and the entire region.

“The 2023 Sweet Days Hot Nights Festival achieved great success with the support of dedicated volunteers who generously contributed their time in the lead up to the festival and during the two-day event,” Mr Brennan said.

“The support from local businesses through sponsorship and the active participation of the local community played a crucial role in making the festival one of Australia’s best festivals.

“(The award) not only highlights the shire’s destination appeal to grey nomad travellers, but also raises the profile of the community across Australia.”

The Grey Nomad Awards shines a light on the best places for older travellers to stay and play around the country.

The Awards are judged by tourism leaders from across the country who offer valuable insights and detailed feedback to each entrant, ensuring nominees have practical tips to improve their tourism offering for the future benefit of their business, their community and visitors.

Mr Brennan said the 2023 Sweet Days Hot Nights Festival attracted over 4,000 attendees over the weekend with 70% attendees from the Burdekin region while the remaining 30% visited from out of town.

“Its uniqueness draws in a diverse crowd, from those who wish to immerse themselves in cultural performances to spectators keen to witness a cane field set alight for the First Fire,” he said.

“Spectators and participants are also passionate about keeping our sugar cane heritage alive at the Australian Hand Cane Cutting Championships.

“The Sweet Days Hot Nights Festival is set to grow even more in 2025, attracting more out of region visitors, offering an exciting entertainment program, and fostering greater community engagement.”

The Sweet Days Hot Nights Festival will return from Friday May 30 to Saturday May 31, 2025.

Follow @sweetdayshotnights on Facebook and Instagram to receive the latest festival announcements and updates.

Caption: Sweet Days Hot Nights Festival received the Best Festival or Event in Australia Silver Award in the 2023 Grey Nomad Awards. Photo supplied

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Family Rebuild After Home Hill Fire

March 14, 2024

A GoFundMe has been started after a Burdekin family lost their Home Hill home to fire last week.

Jimmy McGrath and Tan-gina Campman, along with their three children, returned from a shopping trip on the afternoon of Friday, March 8 to find their Hurney Road home engulfed in flames.

Fire crews were unable to contain the blaze before the house was destroyed.

A friend of the family, Angie Williams, started the fundraiser to raise funds for the family.

“All funds raised will be put towards things like new housing, furniture, household appliances, clothing, shoes, linen, towels, food, school supplies, basically all things that are needed to start over new,” Ms Williams said.

“Jimmy and Tan-gina have three beautiful children, their youngest is only a few months old.

“Tan-Gina's father was also residing at the home and all of his belongings have also perished.

“Thank goodness no one was home when the fire started as, above everything else, their lives are the most important but have no home to go back to and no belongings.”

Facebook posts sharing the GoFundMe have already been met with comments offering the donation of funds and goods like washing machines, dryers, tables and chairs, but Ms Williams said no donation is too small.

“I am reaching out to our amazing community for support to help out this family who are in need of our help,” she said.

“Any donations including second hand items like children’s clothing, toys, household items, appliances and furniture would be greatly welcomed.”

To find out more, visit

Caption: A fire has destroyed the home of Jimmy McGrath, Tan-gina Campman, their three children and Tan-Gina's father. Photo supplied

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Burdekin Mayor Hits Back At Allegations

March 14, 2024

Opinion piece

Burdekin Shire Council Mayor Lyn McLaughlin has hit back at claims that Council is denying landholders entry to their properties, and defended Council staff involved in the activities following recent media surrounding the Giru properties.

Ms McLaughlin condemned advertisements published by the complainant likening Council’s Chambers to the Kremlin and officers labelled as ‘untouchables.’

“When we are in a period of time where many residents in our own community are impacted by wars happening around the world, to compare our organisation to the Russian government is disrespectful and uncalled for,” Ms McLaughlin said.

“While I have signed up to be in the spotlight as an elected representative, Council staff have not – but are regularly the ones bearing the brunt of criticism from people such as the complainant whether they are members of our Customer Service, Events, Finance, Cultural Venues, or Outdoor teams.

“These people are ratepayers too; they are mums, dads, soccer coaches, highland dancers – they are people.

“They work tirelessly because they are as passionate about this Shire as I am and I will not stand for them being insulted by thoughtless keyboard cowards.”

Ms McLaughlin responded to an article published in the Townsville Bulletin last week, clarifying that the complainant’s issues should not be with local or state government, but with the property developer.

“In 2022, Council received an amended proposal to the original planning application for the developer to provide alternative access to the Haughton River from the original conditions being accepted, with all conditions the responsibility of the developer,” she said.

“When a person or persons expect Council to pay for planning approval conditions, it’s really them requesting all ratepayers pay for their own private gain.

“Is it fair to ask ratepayers to pay for access to a private development?”

Authorised by Lynette McLaughlin, 22 Lookout Road, Mount Kelly, Ayr for Lynette McLaughlin (Candidate).

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March 14, 2024

Queenslanders will go to the polls this Saturday, March 16 for the 2024 local government elections.

In the Burdekin, two people are vying for the position of Mayor of Burdekin Shire Council, while 13 people are campaigning for six seats on the council.

On Saturday, you will be asked to place the number 1 next to the mayoral candidate you’d like to vote.

You will then be asked to place the numbers 1 to 6 next to the councillor candidates you’d like to vote for – the order of these numbers has no affect on your vote.

In Burdekin Life’s final election feature, we’re getting to know the candidates on a more personal level.

Read on to discover their responses and grab next week’s edition of Burdekin Life for the results.

Where To Vote On Saturday


   • PCYC Burdekin, 164 MacMillan Street

   • East Ayr State School, 43 Ross Street

Home Hill

   • St Colman's School, 94 - 100 Eleventh Avenue


   • Clare State School, Larkin Street


   • Giru CWA Hall, 9 Carey Street

Where To Vote Early

   • Burdekin Sports Club Hall, 142 Wickham Street, Ayr (open Thursday March 14, 9:00am to 5:00pm, and Friday March 15, 9:00am to 6:00pm)

*breakout box*

Your Mayoral Candidates

   • Pierina Dalle Cort

   • Lyn McLaughlin

Your Councillor Candidates

   • Amanda Hall

   • Michael Detenon

   • Scott Worlein

   • Michael Fraser

   • Jayson O’Keeffe

   • Delfine Marisa Vasta (Fina)

   • Llewelyn Davies

   • Max Musumeci

   • Michael Backo

   • Mark Haynes

   • John Furnell

   • Warren Francis

   • Callan Oar

(Candidates listed in the order they will appear on the ballot paper)

Warren Francis

Councillor Candidate

Tell us about where you have lived over the course of your life:

I was born and grew up in the Brisbane bayside and southern suburbs. I moved around quite a bit with Queensland Police. After I finished at Queensland Police, the opportunity arose to work for Burdekin Shire Council as the Disaster Management Officer. With my love of water, boats, and my previous connection to the Burdekin, it wasn’t a hard choice to make. We have lived here five and a half years.

What careers, education and experience has led you to this point?

As a Boilermaker, I worked a six-month contract at the Inkerman Mill. At age 19, I joined the Australian Army as an Infantry soldier and was deployed overseas for five months. I spent 37 years with the Queensland Police. I currently work as the Disaster Management Officer at Burdekin Shire Council.

Tell us a bit about you:

I have two boys – the eldest is a Detective Inspector in the NSW Police, the younger is a Guidance Counsellor in Catholic Education in regional Queensland. My partner and I have two small dogs. In my free time I volunteer with Burdekin SES where I am the Local Controller

Here’s your 80-word elevator pitch – what makes you the best candidate for the job?

All the candidates bring something unique to the table. My insight into the workings of Local Government will be helpful to me especially in the initial days settling into my new role as a Counsellor. My experience as a Queensland Police Officer has given me skills in dealing with people in high pressure and sometimes tragic situations.

Pierina Dalle Cort

Mayoral Candidate

Tell us about where you have lived over the course of your life:

 My parents were cane farmers, and I am the eldest of eight children – five brothers and two sisters. I am second generation born and raised here in the Burdekin.

 What careers, education and experience has led you to this point?

I was educated here in the Burdekin. I don’t have an academic degree, but I do have a Q.B.E. – Qualified by Experience. I worked with the Department of Justice at the Magistrates Court House, Ayr for 10 years before going into business, Helloworld Travel Ayr. I have had 12 years’ experience as a councillor, so I do have the runs on the board for the position of Mayor.

Tell us a bit about you:

I have a wonderful supportive partner Trevor and our Pomeranian fur baby ‘Della’. We love watching movies and going down the creek to chill out. Over the years I have been involved with many organisations, Ayr Show Society, Tourism Association, Zonta Club to name a few. I was president of the Ayr Chamber of Commerce for six years.

 Here’s your 80-word elevator pitch – what makes you the best candidate for the job?

I believe the Burdekin has not reached its full potential and change is overdue to rebuild the local population and economy. If elected I will be delivering positive and sustainable change across critical areas including housing shortages, growth, and development. With a team of elected councillors, I want to drive together meaningful change that will keep the spirit of Burdekin Shire alive for generations to come. 


Mark Haynes

Councillor Candidate

Tell us about where you have lived over the course of your life:

My family moved from Brisbane to the Burdekin when I was three. My parents took over the general store in Brandon. Along with sisters Debbie and Julie, I attended St Francis Primary School then onto Burdekin Catholic High School and Ayr High School. I bought my first house in Home Hill, then moved to Brandon, built a house and have now been living in Ayr for the past 10 years.

What careers, education and experience has led you to this point?

After finishing school, I commenced an apprenticeship with Bill Peach Motors as a Motor Mechanic.  When this was completed John Dwyer offered me a car salesman’s position with his Ford dealership.  This started a 20 career in car sales, business management and finance, working at local dealerships.  I then decided to have a change and moved into the Disability Employment Services sector.

Tell us a bit about you:

Together with my partner Jill Vettovalli, we have four adult children Trent, Shanyn, Harrison and Bryce and two beautiful grandchildren, Nettie and Jack. I enjoy fishing, both creek and reef as well as watching Rugby League and Rugby Union.

 Here’s your 80-word elevator pitch – what makes you the best candidate for the job?

I previously served on local council for eight years, being Deputy Mayor for four years. I have a Diploma of Business Management, am a Justice of the Peace (Qualified). I have chaired and sat on regional boards at State and Federal levels. I am currently CEO of NQ Employment, I secured the containers for change contract through NQ Green Solutions to bring a recycling facility to this area.


Lyn McLaughin

Mayoral Candidate

Tell us about where you have lived over the course of your life:

I grew up on a cane farm near Gordonvale and attended Mt St Bernard’s College at Herberton, before moving to Townsville to study education. I moved to Home Hill in 1976 as a teacher at Home Hill State Primary School. After marrying, my husband Matt and I moved to the family cane farm at Clare and are now settled at Mt Kelly – I have been a proud Burdekin resident for 48 years and have always been a proud North Queenslander.

Tell us a bit about you:

Our son, Adam, is currently working for the Australian Antarctica Division at Macquarie Island. My favourite hobby is gardening where I can enjoy nature while exercising. I love injecting myself in the community and getting involved in local sporting, school and community associations. You’ll find me helping out at Lower Burdekin Landcare, Burdekin Netball, or St Colman’s Parish – and on weekends, enjoying time with my nieces and nephews at the Home Hill Ninja Warrior Course, Burdekin Water Park or Alva. 

Here’s your 80-word elevator pitch – what makes you the best candidate for the job?

I have a strong track record, solid and strategic plan for the future, and experience advocating at state and federal levels to secure the best outcomes for our region. A range of shovel-ready projects will commence construction as soon as funding is secured to expand on our Shire’s infrastructure. I have a positive approach, effective communication skills and understand the need to collaborate with Councillors to ensure the Burdekin remains the best place to live, work, play, visit and invest.


John Furnell

Councillor Candidate

Tell us about where you have lived over the course of your life:

Born North Sydney, grew up in North Balgowlah, went to school in Manly (St Mary’s Immaculate followed by Christian Brothers). Following school I went to the ‘Australian College of Physical Education’ in Sydney. A holiday with friends to North Qld landed us on South Molle Island where I was fortunate to gain a job and meet my wife Lisa and subsequently move to Ayr in 1986

What careers, education and experience has led you to this point?

Burdekin Swim School currently 30 years, a Registered Nurse Ayr Hospital since 1992, Paramedic Ayr 20 years (medically retired), Captain - Australian Army Reserve Nursing Corp 10 years – Medically Retired.  

Tell us a bit about you:

I have a wife called Lisa, children and their partners – Ryan and Jamie have daughters Milla (2) and Summer (6 months), Sarah and Matt with twins Abby and Olly (2), and Joshua and Brittany with Ali (2) and one on the way.

We had a dog ‘Pepsi’ and a cat ‘Cola’. In my free time I like to be with family, swimming, a good movie and watching The Cowboys.  

Here’s your 80-word elevator pitch – what makes you the best candidate for the job?

I see myself as just a candidate. I just try my best and the people of the Burdekin will determine the outcome. My motivation – Grandfather William, away WWI just under 4 years, had one son Douglas, who died from effects of war aged 30, Father Douglas, away WWII over 4 years, five children, died from effects of war aged 47, I was 8.

Callan Oar

Councillor Candidate

Tell us about where you have lived over the course of your life:

Been in the Burdekin for the whole 39 years of my life. Born at the Ayr Hospital. Never really had the urge to leave like most of my school friends. Love the area and what it has to offer.

 What careers, education and experience has led you to this point?

Finished high school in 2002 and started my Fitting and Turning apprenticeship at Palmco Engineering. Tried the mine life for a few years. After marrying and having kids, I couldn’t handle being away from home. Decided to start Coar Engineering. Building the business from scratch. Teaching myself and doing my own bookkeeping, accounting, BAS, admin and all the other “actual” work that gets charged out. Also have been Treasurer, Secretary and Junior coordinator at the Ayr Golf Club and am currently the President of Golf North Qld.

Tell us a bit about you:

 Married to my lovely wife Kristy. Have three young children, Parker, Hunter and River. two dogs and one bird. When not running around after the kids at footy, swimming, cricket, netball, golf, music, dancing or gymnastics, we like to chill out down the creek hut at Plantation creek. 

 Here’s your 80-word elevator pitch – what makes you the best candidate for the job?

Well anyone who knows me, knows that I say it how it is. I will not be pushed around. I do my own research. I am willing to learn. Willing to listen. I will speak up if I am not happy. But I can, and will, work with all types of people. I think the perfect councillor stands up for what they believe in, but works with others to get the best outcome no matter what.

Amanda Hall

Councillor Candidate

Tell us about where you have lived over the course of your life:

Born in Home Hill, I attended St Colman's Primary School and Home Hill State High School. I started my working life at McCabes Newsagency. I briefly moved to Townsville where I worked as Secretary to the CEO of the NQ Society for Crippled Children but the Burdekin was home, so I returned. I moved to Clare when I married my husband Peter Hall in 1993. 

 What careers, education and experience has led you to this point?

Having had a variety of jobs since leaving High School, I settled into the NAB as a Business Development Officer for 10 years prior to starting my family. When my youngest was in year 6, I re-entered the workforce at Sunwater's Clare office before switching to Optical Assistant at Stacey and Stacey Optometrists in Ayr. I now manage our cane farm with Peter. We have four wonderful children, Lachlan, Jacob, Connor and Meggan and a German Shepherd called Laya.

 Here’s your 80-word elevator pitch – what makes you the best candidate for the job?

As Secretary of the Burdekin SEC and Vice Chair of the Dawson FDC, I am comfortable engaging with Politicians from all parties. I am conscious of the need for Council to be fiscally viable and managing our cane farm books. I have the knowledge on how to run a successful business - and Council is a business. I also believe all areas of the Shire should be treated equally. People pay high rates and have every right to expect something in return. This is one thing I stand firm on. 

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Search Continues For Missing Home Hill Man

March 14, 2024

The search to locate a 42-year-old man missing from Home Hill since Sunday, December 10, 2023, is ongoing as police are continuing to appeal to the public for assistance.

Phillip Malayta was last seen driving a green Toyota Avalon sedan near a sugar cane property near Rita Island Road, Jarvisfield, on the morning of December 10.

The vehicle was recovered by police along Richard Street, Ayr that afternoon.

SES volunteers and Queensland Fire and Emergency Services RPAS drone pilots joined the Townsville PolAIR helicopter R521 and police in a land search of Rita Island Road, followed by a search of Plantation Creek conducted by police divers in January.

No items of interest were located and police are continuing to investigate the man’s whereabouts.

Mr Malayta is described as First Nations, around 165cm tall, with a proportionate build, brown eyes and black hair.

Police and family hold concerns for his welfare as he has a medical condition and his disappearance is out of character.

Anyone with information that may assist in the investigation and efforts to find Phillip is urged to contact Police.

If you have information for police, contact Policelink by providing information using the online suspicious activity form 24hrs per day at

Report crime information anonymously via Crime Stoppers. Call 1800 333 000 or report online at

Quote this reference number: QP2302094564

Caption: 42-year-old Phillip Malayta has been missing since December last year

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Stolen Car Charges Relating To A Vehicle Stolen From Ayr

March 14, 2024

Police have charged three people in relation to an alleged Nissan Patrol which was stolen from a residence in Canberra Street, Ayr during the night of Saturday March 9, 2024.

This vehicle was located in Townsville and was subject to a tyre deflation device deployment near the Willows Shopping Centre in Kirwan

As a result, an 18yr old Townsville man was charged with unlawful use of a motor vehicle, dangerous operation of a motor vehicle and unlicenced driving as well as other property offences alleged to have been committed in Townsville.  His first appearance was in Townsville Magistrates Court on March 11.

A 15yr old Townsville male juvenile was charged with one count of unlawful use of a motor vehicle as well as other property offences alleged to have been committed in Townsville. He appeared at Townsville Childrens Court on Monday March 11.

A 16yr old Mackay female juvenile was charged with one count of unlawful use of a motor vehicle as well as other property offences alleged to have been committed in Townsville.  She is due to appear at Townsville Childrens Court on Thursday March 15.

Anyone with relevant information that could assist with investigations is urged to contact police.

From Where I Sit

At 2:35am on Saturday February 24, Ayr Police intercepted a vehicle on Cislowski Road, Ayr. As a result, the driver, a 38yr old Burdekin man, was issued a Notice to Appear (NTA) for drink driving, .163, and appeared in the Ayr Magistrates Court on March 11.

At 5:35am on Tuesday February 27, Ayr Police intercepted a vehicle on Eighth Avenue, Home Hill.  As a result, the driver, a 66yr old Burdekin man, was issued a NTA for drink driving, .144.  He was also issued a NTA for public nuisance after a disturbance earlier that afternoon at a store in Ayr. He is due to appear in the Ayr Magistrates Court on March 25.

At about 10:45am Wednesday February 28, Ayr Police were called to a local fast food store in relation to a male person creating a disturbance. As a result, a 44yr old Burdekin man was issued an infringement notice for public nuisance.

At 8:20pm on Friday March 1, Ayr Police intercepted a vehicle in Lando Street, Ayr.  As a result, the driver, a 39yr old Burdekin man, was issued a NTA for driving with a relevant drug in his saliva, possessing a dangerous drug and possessing a drug utensil. He is due to appear in Ayr Magistrates Court on April 22.

At 9:30pm on Friday March 1, Ayr Police were called to a disturbance at a licenced premises in Queen Street, Ayr. As a result, two men aged 22 and 25yr old respectively were issued infringement notices for public nuisance and each were also issued a Police Banning Notice banning entry to any licenced premises in Ayr for 28 days.

At 2:30am on Sunday March 3, Ayr Police were conducting patrols around Queen Street, Ayr when they saw a 25yr old Cairns man punching then kicking windows of a store, causing damage. He was charged with one count of wilful damage and is to appear in Ayr Magistrates Court on 25 March. As a result of his behaviour in a licenced premises a little earlier, he was issued an infringement notice for public nuisance as well as a Police Banning Notice banning entry to any licenced premises in Ayr for 28 days.

Snr Sgt Steve Barton


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From Homelessness To Home Ownership Mother-Daughter’s Dog Grooming Hustle Paves The Way To A Secure Future

March 14, 2024

Facing homelessness for the second time in five years, Jenny Harper and her daughter Katie were running out options.

Upon finding a secure rental in Home Hill, the mother-daughter duo turned to their unique skillset of dog grooming as a way to save money to buy the house.

Jenny, who lives with a disability, and Katie, who is also Jenny’s carer, were living in Townsville when they were evicted from their home for reasons out of their control.

They returned to the Burdekin where Jenny grew up, finding a house in Ayr when, three years later, it happened again.

“We couldn’t find anywhere, and the only other option was to live out on the street,” Jenny said.

“I was just gutted, absolutely gutted.

“That feeling of homelessness is just the most degrading, gut-wrenching, horrible feeling.”

With limited options available, Jenny weaved through the streets of the Burdekin looking for vacant houses and asking neighbours if they knew the owner.

Eventually, she got in contact with the owner of a cottage in Home Hill, four doors down from where Jenny’s father lives.

“When I rang David and he said we could have the house, it was such a feeling of relief,” she said.

“It’s not pretty, but it’s a roof over our heads.”

The house required upgrades before the pair moved in, from scrubbing and repainting walls to replacing the electrics, but with the help of the landlord, Jenny and Katie were up to the task.

“The fact that we’ve moved in and taken over that has taken a weight off his shoulders, too, so he’s been the best landlord ever,” Jenny said.

“Now I’m hellbent on getting this place.

“It’s somewhere that I can call mine and no one can sneak up behind me and kick me out.”

Jenny lives off a disability pension, and Katie a disability carer’s pension, but the pair have gone into business together to raise extra money to purchase the house.

Katie learnt how to groom dogs and started acquiring equipment to care for their own dogs when she was 17 and, now 24, she is offering her services to the whole community.

She had begun a hairdressing course at TAFE while in high school, however dropped out of school in year 11 to care for her mother and father, who has since passed away.

“Katie learnt to groom because we had that necessity, and she was just good at it,” Jenny said.

“That’s why we’ve put ourselves out there in the grooming business, because that’s the talent that we have, that we can utilise.”

They have been building the business, Katie’s Klippers, up over the last 12 months and now have loyal customers throughout the Burdekin and Townsville.

“We try to provide an affordable service for people, because sometimes people leave it and the longer you leave your dog ungroomed, the worse it gets, and then the more expensive it gets,” Jenny said.

“We’re in a situation where we can provide a service at a little bit less, so people who may not normally be able to afford it can afford it a lot easier.

“We have no overheads, we’ve been collecting our equipment over the years, now it’s a case of providing some extra income because we want to buy this house.”

As well as saving up for the house, Jenny sees the business as a future-proofing plan for Katie.

“Katie quit school halfway through grade 11 to stay home and care for me and her dad, who we lost to cancer,” she said.

“All she’s ever done is be at home caring for me, she’s got no qualifications whatsoever, so if something were to happen to me, she’d lose her carer’s pension.

“It’s giving her a talent that, if she needs to, she can fall back on to look after herself.

“She cares for me, it’s my way of looking after her.

“She’s my kid; that’s just what you do.”

Contact Katie’s Klippers on 0457 412 308 or 0481 738 818.

Caption: Jenny and Katie Harper and their dog Tilly

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Crocodile Sighting Confirmed At Rollingstone Creek

March 14, 2024

An eerie shadow spotted in video footage taken by a mother of her children swimming in Rollingstone Creek, north of Townsville, has been confirmed to be the outline of a saltwater crocodile.

Wildlife officers have used photos and videos, captured on Saturday, March 2, to confirm the presence of an estimated three-metre crocodile in the Rollingstone Creek swimming hole, while the presence of three crocodiles was later confirmed in the creek system well downstream from the swimming hole.

Senior Wildlife Officer Tony Frisby said the mother had submitted a QWildlife crocodile sighting report, including a photo, to the Department of Environment, Science and Innovation (DESI).

“The person told us that she had been swimming on a floatation device and taking underwater photographs of the clear water below,” he said.

“When she returned home and reviewed the photos, she saw what she thought was a crocodile and did the right thing by submitting a report.

“This person, and anyone else who was swimming in that section of the river at the weekend can consider themselves quite lucky.”

Days later, on Tuesday, March 5, three crocodiles were observed during a land-based survey of the creek, well downstream from the swimming hole.

Mr Frisby said the swimming hole was searched along with and areas of the creek upstream and downstream of the Bruce Highway.

“Two of the crocodiles were larger than three metres, while the other was approximately three metres in length,” he said.

“We found no evidence of crocodiles upstream of the swimming hole and saw no crocodiles in the swimming hole.

“The three-metre crocodile we saw well downstream from the swimming hole may be the same one photographed and videoed on 2 March 2024.

“None of the crocodiles we observed exhibited any concerning or dangerous behaviour, and they will not be targeted for removal.”

Mr Frisby said this is a timely reminder for people in the greater Townsville area that Rollingstone Creek is crocodile habitat, and they are in Croc Country.

“People are responsible for the own safety in Croc Country, and we’re asking people to make sensible choices around the water,” he said.

“Crocodiles are highly mobile and can be found in streams and waterways throughout north Queensland, even if there are no warning signs.

“Crocodiles are especially active now, given the recent heavy rains and elevated stream levels and are mobile.

“We’d like to remind people to report all crocodile sightings to the Department of Environment, Science and Innovation as soon as possible”.

DESI encourages anyone who spots a crocodile to report the sighting as soon as possible. This can be done by using the QWildlife app, completing a crocodile sighting report on the DESI website, or by calling 1300 130 372. The department investigates every crocodile sighting report received.

People in the greater Townsville area are urged to be CrocWise, which includes:

   • Expect crocodiles in all waterways even if there is no warning sign

   • Obey all warning signs – they are there to keep you safe

   • Be aware crocs also swim in the ocean and be extra cautious around water at night

   • Stay well away from crocodile traps – that includes when fishing and boating

   • The smaller the vessel the greater the risk, so avoid using canoes and kayaks

   • Stand back from the water’s edge when fishing and don’t wade in to retrieve a lure

   • Camp at least 50 metres from the edge of the water

   • Never leave food, fish scraps or bait near the water, at camp sites or at boat ramps

   • Never provoke, harass, or feed crocs

   • Always supervise children near the water and keep pets on a lead.

Caption: Rollingstone Creek swimming hole is approximately five kilometres inland from where the creek meets the ocean at Balgal Beach

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Did you Know? Burdekin Shire Council

March 14, 2024

Did you know that the Burdekin Shire Council has a comprehensive set of animal regulations?

Council’s animal regulations are designed to protect the health and safety of animals and people and to promote responsible pet ownership and community harmony. There are local laws that specify the minimum standards for keeping different types of animals, such as birds, poultry, horses, cows, sheep, goats, and more. Depending on the size of your property and the number of animals you want to keep, you may need to apply for an approval from Council.

Residents are required to have all dogs and cats over the age of 3 months registered and microchipped. There are strict conditions on owners who breed dogs, those who have dangerous dogs and restricted dog breeds. Council also offers a subsidised dog and cat desexing program, to assist residents in preventing unwanted or additional animals. 

More information on desexing your pet, barking dogs, impounded animals and other pet and animal related issues can be found on Council’s website. You can also find out more about the animal regulations by visiting:

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