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A BUSH CLASSROOM Connecting with nature through play Full story on pages 04-07

Educators Edition


A sheepish adventure

Meet the Bay artist behind a new children’s book


Full story on pages 20-21


STATE OF ART MODERN PROCEDURES FOR SKIN AND BODY Laser Treatment, Body Contouring & dermal filling right here in Hervey Bay

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Dr Benjamin Omowaire is a specialist General Practitioner, and a Fellow of the Royal Australian college of General Practitioners. He holds Bachelor degrees in both Medicine and Surgery, and has a post graduate degree in Paediatrics. Dr Benjamin has undertaken Skin Cancer training at the University of Queensland and Skin laser and cosmetic training at the American Academy of Aesthetic Medicine. He is an expert in skin rejuvenation, skin pigmentation, chemical peels, cosmetic injections, vascular disorders of the skin, and understands how best to utilize the state of the art technology he has at the Hervey Bay Skin Clinic to achieve the results his patients are looking for.

Call for a no obligation consultation with Dr Ben to discuss how to get the best face or body treatment and ongoing maintenance.

Laser Wrinkle Treatment

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Phone: 07 4124 6333 Book Appointment Online (opposite Hervey Bay Private and Public Hospital)

Suite 9 / 1-17 Hershel Court, Urraween 02

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Dermal Fillers & Injectables

EDITOR’S WELCOME When Education was flagged as this month’s theme, schoolteachers instantly came to mind.

They are first and foremost educators. They are responsible for equipping our children with the knowledge, skills and ways of thinking and working needed for their future lives so they can go on to be leaders, run their own businesses, care for others, or make important discoveries. I have the upmost respect for anyone who chooses this field as their profession. Anyone who can keep about 30-odd youngsters interested, engaged and well-behaved in the classroom is a superstar. That’s one tough gig!

However, the more I thought about the theme the more I realised that education is such an incredibly broad topic.

I thought of everyone who has fulfilled my thirst for knowledge over the years and the list is endless. I am still learning something new just about every day from my family and my peers. Even my eight-year-old surprises me with things I don’t know.

I came to the notion that education is both the act of teaching knowledge to others and the act of receiving knowledge from someone else, which starts the moment we are born. Babies teach us how to be parents by signally what makes them happy, and parents teach us to walk, talk, cloth ourselves, feed ourselves and guide us to become fully functioning human beings. My parents’ ethics taught me to be respectful, kind, and courteous. My husband and I gifted the same ethics to our son who is often praised for his manners, and that makes me proud.


education is an important part of this, no matter who is doing the teaching.

In this edition of Alive, we explore a few different examples of this.


We caught up with local mum-of-two Jess Palmer, who was inspired by a Year 2 project to later choose a career as a travel writer, illustrator and now - a proud published author - after the recent release of her first children’s picture book Imagine If: The Sheep Book.

We took a trip back to Terra Tribe Farm to find out what makes Elizabeth Pohlmann’s Forest School so unique.

What we found was amazing! The Forest Kindy and School Holiday program offers children an outdoor nature experience where they put down the screens and learn about nature, in nature. There’s no classroom, just a half-acre of natural bush settings, with a dam, slippery slide, farm animals, a resource shed and the freedom to let their imaginations run wild. We highlight the work of Carinity Education Glendyne Principal Dale Hansen, who is helping local youth overcome barriers to education and become valuable contributors to their community. A favourite in the eyes of his pupils at Aldridge High is music and PE teacher Adam Hodgkinson. Adam tells the story of his own journey into education and the passion he has for teaching students the importance of believing in yourself. There are some truly inspiring people on our pages this month, folks! Hats off to you all.

I could go on and on about the people that shaped who I am but ultimately, I believe LIFE is a massive learning experience in itself and

Founder / Creative Director JOY BUTLER



Advertising Manager LOUISE HOLMES Phone 0477 094 335

Advertising Executive DARREN STIMPSON Phone 0408 122 050

Advertising Representative KAREN WHITE Phone 0418 197 386

Head of Distribution JAMIE BUTLER Phone 0428 137 968

All editorial and advertising in Alive Magazine publications are published in good faith based on material, verbal or written, provided by contributors and advertisers. No responsibbility is taken for errors or omissions and opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher. All material in Alive Magazine is subject to copyright provisions. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written permission from the publisher.


I had an unbelievable writing mentor who saw my talent and helped me reach goals that I never thought was possible.


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10 Oct

FOOD ‘N’ GROOVE When: Friday, October 8, 4pm-9pm.

Where: Maryborough Showgrounds

The first Food n Groove was held at Hervey Bay’s Seafront Oval on October 1 to kick off ‘Get Ready Month’. This is now followed a week later by this event in Maryborough. There will be a variety of emergency services stalls, food trucks will be operating, and a band will keep your toes tapping from 4pm to 9pm.

20 Oct

09 Oct

What: The event expects to attract a large crowd of Australian Country Rock and Blues Roots fans and will run into the night from noon with plenty of food trucks to satisfy the appetites of all the country folk, and music from some of Australia’s most iconic artists. Cost: Visit for ticket prices

REGIONAL DISABILITY EXPO When: Friday, Oct 20, 9am-3.30pm Where: PCYC, O’Rourke St, Pialba

What: This is a truly unique event aimed at bringing the disability community together to celebrate life, age empower, learn, share, and experience latest technologies, products and services available in this region.

BUSH TO BAY MUSIC FESTIVAL Where: Bay Central Tavern, Pialba

Where: Brolga Theatre, Maryborough.

Cost: Tickets available from the Brolga Theatre website.

Cost: Free

When: Saturday, October 9, 1.30pm to 10pm (rescheduled due to QLD Covid-19 lockdowns)

When: Sunday, Oct 10, 3pm

What: Aldridge State High School Music will again entertain the Fraser Coast Community with industry standard student acts and amazing guest artists.

What: Get your dancing shoes ready – Food n Groove is back this October with events in Hervey Bay and Maryborough themed around getting ready for storm season.

08 Oct


Cost: Free

23 Oct


Where: Torbanlea Race track

When: Saturday, Oct 23, 9am to 5pm What: Gates open at 9am. There will be live entertainment thoroughbred, quarter horse and Arabian races, team tug-0-war, children’s entertainment, and food vans. Cost: See the Facebook for details.

Alive Magazine Wide Bay |


COVER S TORY by Kerrie Alexander


Terra Tribe

Back in the day when there were no screens to be found, kids would climb trees, swing off Hills Hoist clothes lines, build cubby houses, and ride to each other’s houses instead of sending a text message.


hey would search creek beds for tad poles and collect sticks to build forts or whatever came to mind. These are the good old days that Terra Tribe Farm owner Elizabeth Pohlmann wants to bring back to life.

In fact, Elizabeth was so passionate about the idea of her own five children being brought up in a natural environment, that she and her husband Matt pulled up stumps from a ½ acre suburban property in Dundowran and moved to a bare 12.5-acre property in Howard two years ago. With no water tanks, power or toilet, the family were “roughing it”, all living in a Jayco caravan, shed and a bus fitted out for their 15-year-old, the eldest of the four boys. All five children are home-schooled and all went cold turkey from using electronics after the move to the land, which is also home to lots of pigs, 40 chickens, 30 ducks, goats, sheep and a plethora of home-grown fruit and vegetable gardens dotted all around the family’s permaculture kingdom.

However, Elizabeth’s dream of buying the land and letting children being able to get outside, get dirty and let their creative minds run wild wasn’t just to benefit her own family. It was also to instil education about nature, while actually being in nature, into other Fraser Coast children through her very popular Forest School. “A lot of those opportunities that we had when we were younger don’t exists anymore because there were so many more nature spaces and it was safer to go by ourselves to


Alive Magazine Wide Bay |

do that,” Elizabeth said.

“So now I can provide a space where even though there are some risks, it’s a safe environment.” With a background in Education, Elizabeth believes the importance of nature play is key to any child’s success.

The Puggles Forest Kindy for two to six-year-olds, and her unique School Holiday program offers children from birth to 14 years the chance to put down the screens and learn the three values of permaculture; earth care, people care and fair share.

“It’s very popular in today’s curriculum but I don’t think a lot of kids get that opportunity to really get into nature these days,” Elizabeth said. “The importance of nature is in helping to build children’s values and morals and they can’t learn that in the classroom, they need to go outside.

“We bought this property because of the area I could host Forest School in, to give my own children more time in nature and to grow our own food.”

Elizabeth said the focus of the program is getting children engaged with nature, using natural bush surroundings as the basis of their play, while encouraging curiosity and empathy to connect with the earth around them. It also incorporates the permaculture farm with learning to growing their own food, managing food waste, sustainability, composting and worm farms, environmental protection and building confidence in bush settings.

I want children to bring their creativity and imagination into this space … this is their space. Alive Magazine Wide Bay |


“When you break down education and the curriculum, hands on skills will always win over someone standing in front of you teaching.

“If you’re doing it yourself and your out in nature and see the actual tree and leaning about the leaves, they will pick up the information so much quicker than just being in a classroom drawing a leaf.

“When the kids come out, they can get muddy in the dam, catch tadpoles and yabbies or climb a tree.

“They get to collect eggs, pat a goat, sheep and pigs … lots of people haven’t had that up close experience with farm animals before.

“We have bow and arrow workshops, woodworking, natural tie die using onion skins or turmeric to tie die clothes instead of using chemicals. “Now that the weather is warming up, the waterslide (slip and slide) will also be open.” Both Forest Kindy and the school holiday programs are child-led, Elizabeth simply facilitates the children with the tools to let their imagination run wild.

The best part, she said, is the resource shed that is filled with everything from hammers and nails to timber pallets, rope and so much more. “The children can go into that resource shed and get whatever they want, for whatever they want,” she said.

“I try and provide open-ended materials with no specific goal in mind. “I want children to bring their creativity and imagination into this space … this is their space.

“I’m not having control over the materials, and I don’t want them to ask me. I want them to take ownership of the space. “We might be doing wood working that day or making bird feeders, but they might come home with a chair … I think it’s so important to let the kids choose and that’s how we bring up our kids too.” Elizabeth has seen first-hand the difference time spent outside can make in children, especially those with learning difficulties or are on the spectrum.


Alive Magazine Wide Bay |

“I remember one mum who came with her son who had so much anxiety; he had the biggest smile by the time he left and said he just wants to come back every holidays. “Kids who have trouble in social situations also benefit because there’s lots of space, so they are not stuck in one area. They don’t have to do everything as a group. “We’ve got lots of children with ASD that come out. There are hammocks for time out and we have lots of repeat school holiday kids that come as well. “They know that they can build whatever they want and just love that freedom.” But be warned, don’t send your children in their Sunday best to take part. “They are guaranteed to be filthy.

“As much as they might say “I’m not going to get in the dam or the mud” I’ve had parents turn up and their kids are muddy from head to toe.” Parents are also welcomed to stay and join in the fun.

“We welcome parents as well, especially if their child is apprehensive about them leaving. I want the kids to feel comfortable so the parents might stay and have as much fun as the kids!”

There are full day sessions available during the school holidays from 9am to 3pm, which includes some cooking, or a smaller session from 9am to noon. The Puggles Forest Kindy runs from 9.30am-11.30am every Tuesday during teens 2 and 3 To sign up, you can contact Elizabeth on 0418873503 or email

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The key to a happier retirement When it comes getting older, there are certain things we know contribute to a joyful retirement. But it’s social connection that the experts agree is vital to health and happiness.

Commnity Clubhouse at Ingenia Lifestyle Hervey Bay

Of all the challenges facing many people, social isolation is the one that seems to be the most dominant. “I don’t see my grandchildren as much as I’d like to,” is a typical comment. “Our old neighbourhood isn’t the same anymore,” is another. Out of five main elements identified as being of importance to older Australians – fi nancial security, maintaining independence, keeping fit and healthy, having a sense of belonging, and not being socially isolated – it is the last one that research has shown to be integral to health and wellbeing.


like-minded people,” says Kate Melrose, General Manager Sales at Ingenia Lifestyle. Ingenia Lifestyle residents have access to resort-style facilities, such as a clubhouse, swimming pool, bowls green and games room, while Ingenia Connect offers assistance with wellbeing and support-service needs.

Creating a lively, inclusive and supportive environment is the core vision behind Ingenia Lifestyle.

By providing affordable retirement housing with modest overheads, Ingenia Lifestyle addresses many of the concerns felt by older Australians.

“Apart from the sense of security and fi nancial independence, our communities offer residents the chance to interact with

“Location, affordability and a feeling of community are the three biggest drawcards for our residents,” says Ms Melrose.

Alive Magazine Wide Bay |

“That combination of elements is what makes our model so attractive to downsizers. The idea of downsizing isn’t just about moving into a smaller home. It’s about ‘right-sizing’ to a home that is low-maintenance, safe, secure, supports independence and is fi nancially beneficial for the over 50s.” You’re invited to view the brand new clubhouse at Ingenia Lifestyle Hervey Bay and see for yourself how residents enjoy an active, relaxing and social lifestyle. Call the Ingenia Lifestyle Hervey Bay team on 07 4183 8444 or go to for more information.

Plan your future today Start your downsizing journey for 2022 Ingenia Lifestyle Hervey Bay is a master-planned over 50s community with modern home designs set within peaceful surroundings. With a brand new resort-style clubhouse and facilities now open, there has never been a better time to downsize. • No stamp duty • No exit fees • Keep 100% of any capital gains

Call the team on 07 4183 8444 to book a community tour today 2-20 ISLAND VIEW DRIVE, URANGAN | Alive Magazine Wide Bay |





*Eligibility criteria apply


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RTO 0275 CRICOS 03020E


Sam helps shape the future of the disability sector


or Samantha Smith, a career supporting at-risk youth and people with disability is something that has always been of great importance to her. Inspired by the experience of a family member whose child was born with Rett Syndrome, Sam is driven by the desire to see all people have the same opportunities to succeed. Sam started her career in the vocational education and training (VET) sector in the Northern Territory in 1997, working locally and with the Tiwi Island peoples to teach life skills and business in order to create opportunities for local employment.

She then moved to Karratha, where she worked on commercial projects for industry and worked with the Ngarluma people to teach their Indigenous youth and connect them with employment opportunities. It was a role that ignited a strong sense of social justice in Sam – a passion she brought with her when she eventually moved back into the disability sector.

Since then, Sam has dipped in and out of teaching, spending time across various areas within the disability sector to develop her own skills before returning to the VET sector to

pass her experience on to the next generation of disability workers.

From teaching young adults with disabilities to help them gain employment opportunities, to working on a board to support the disability industry, to taking on the role of service area manager for a disability service agency, Sam has experience across the many varied facets of the disability sector and has seen first-hand the transition for organisations into the NDIS. Now, Sam is passing her compassion and experience on to others as a trainer for the Certificate IV in Disability at TAFE Queensland’s Hervey Bay campus.

Over the last two-and-a-half years, Sam has delivered training across the state and in particular the Fraser Coast, to people looking to develop their skills within the disability sector, working primarily with people wanting to advance their careers to become support coordinators, supervisors and managers. To find out more about the Certificate IV in Disability, visit or call 1300 308 233, and see where TAFE can take you.



36 Torquay Road, Pialba

Phone 4128 4122 Alive Magazine Wide Bay |

















60 Years of Betta Chance to

OR A SHARE IN OVER 60K IN PRIZES* To enter simply: • Spend $30 or more in store • Enter via our weekly competition post on Facebook *T&Cs Apply – Full details on the Betta website.




Always better with Betta’s local Maryborough team MARYBOROUGH


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’ve been doing this column for a while now. I’ve met some of the most wonderful people and done some incredible things so far.

Few assignments, if any, filled me with as much excitement and dread as this month’s. You see, I would never classify myself as brave. Ever. I’m afraid of pretty much everything.

I’m not bold, or daring or even particularly selfless.

So being presented with the opportunity to peek behind the curtain of a workplace full of people who completely embody these characteristics was an actual dream come true. I mean, who wouldn’t want to be surrounded by a bunch of heroes and heroes in training?!

If you haven’t guessed what I was up to this month by now, I dropped in on the Hervey Bay Emergency Services Cadets, who were training out of the Torquay Fire Station.

I arrived just as the dusky twilight was setting in, and a group of navy-uniformed men, women and teens were assembling, ready for an evening of action and excitement. This night wasn’t just a ‘normal night’ for these lucky cadets. We were all fortunate enough to be participating in a rescue simulation designed for training *actual* firefighters.

I was keen as mustard, it has to be said. It was clear from the energy stirring amongst the group that I wasn’t the only one, either.

In teams of three in full rescue gear – breathing apparatus and all – we were to enter a pitch-black, smoke-filled shipping container in order to search for ‘people’ who may be trapped and retrieved. (Fear not, no people were harmed in the making of this simulation – just some very compliant rescue dummies…)

Before the main event kicked off, we gathered for a briefing. Each of the Adult Leaders spent some time talking to the group,

L I Z Z I E L E A R NS T O by Lizzie Macaulay

reminding them of the expectations and responsibilities attached to such a unique experience.

I was taken by the reverence these youngsters had for the whole experience, and the attention they paid to the task at hand. The moment that most struck me was the discussion of ‘challenge by choice’ by Local Cadet Coordinator, Angela Wilkins. Suddenly the joking stopped and the air took on a solemness as participants contemplated how far they wanted to push their own comfort zones during the night’s proceedings. Admittedly, I was pondering the question as well. Just how far was this scaredy-cat willing to go?!

With the briefing complete, the group reconvened around our custom-made ‘rescue container’.

Immediately the program’s most senior cadet, B’Jae Jansen stepped in to get things moving by sorting and setting up the breathing apparatus and coordinating the team. B’Jae had a calm authority about him and it was abundantly clear he would not be getting rattled by the evening’s activities. Supporting him were leaders Sonja Gorman and Bec Kruger. I took the chance to don my distinctive canary yellow ‘rescue apparel’ and chat to a few of the friendly people around me.

I’d love to say I was ‘just doing my job’ here, but the conversation was certainly taking the edge off my nerves which, I’m a little ashamed to admit, were building. I got to chat with Steve, the retired police officer, recently arrived in good old Hervey Bay and looking to put his skills to good use. Then with Craig, who currently serves as a QFES Inspector based out of Maryborough Fire and Rescue station. There was just something about both of these two highly experienced, completely humble gents that I was fascinated by. Both were so friendly, calm and confident. I got the impression that literally nothing would phase them. Given their careers of choice, that was probably an understatement.

Alive Magazine Wide Bay |


Another gent to add to this illustrious crew was firefighter Mick, who had near-hypnotic powers for setting the cadets (and myself) at ease, and getting us to push just a touch beyond our comfort zones. I’d be remiss at this point of mentioning some of the key players if I didn’t circle back to coordinator, Angela. I’ve known Ange for a little while now as a training buddy at the gym. And while I had previously had a tiny glimpse of her fortitude, to watch her in her element was truly impressive. I’ve never seen anyone in such complete command of a room before, and so effortlessly confident. As she spoke, it was written all over her face that while she meant business, she cared so deeply for her charges – that they learn, and grow, and become everything they have the potential to become. She even managed to stifle a laugh as I put on the helmet she so kindly lent me back-to-front. What a gem…

So, fully equipped in firefighter gear and ready to have my turn at ‘rescuing’ someone, I was introduced to Rob, one of our local firies who happened to be on shift helping out with the training.

Once again, I was struck by Rob’s calmness, and how it seemed to be rubbing off on me – if he wasn’t concerned about the job at hand, then I didn’t need to be either, right?!

As we approached the door to the container, I had one ear on Rob’s instructions and the rest of my brain in ‘don’t panic’ mode. I was conscious my breathing apparatus had limited supply and I found I was preoccupied by the thought, ‘what if I run out?’. And yes, even though logic and reason told me I was in a simulation only, I was still labouring under the possibility I might run out of air. What can I say, I’m a natural catastrophiser…

I crawled into the dark, cramped, smoke-filled space and started to feel around. The walls were slick and I clung to my thermal imaging camera like my life depended on it. The reality, of course, wasn’t lost on me. Firefighters like Rob had faced plenty of situations where his life had relied on a camera like that.

I was grateful for the party smoke, and the experienced company as I let my mind wander to what it would mean to be in this situation for real. I fumbled and bumped my way around the space, feeling my way along, keeping a hand out for ‘people’ to find, catching my oxygen cylinder on the occasional something or other.

The experience had its unsettling moments, but as I finally grabbed hold of my ‘rescue person’, the sense of achievement was palpable. I had only been in that room for a few minutes, but I was equally happy to be getting out, a successful rescue under my belt, no less. As I left the container, I managed to resist the urge to high-


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five everyone I came across and fling my very expensive breathing equipment off. I composed myself and got back into my civvies to watch the subsequent groups pass through.

It struck me as I soaked in the scene what an incredible leg-up the cadets initiative offered its participants for a successful future.

Whether they had intentions of a career in any sort of emergency services, or simply needed help with their confidence and social skills, this weekly gathering was sure to make a huge impact. Aside from the hands-on week-to-week technical experience, they also have the opportunity to participate in Certificate II Public Safety (SES), Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award, Emergency Services Cadets Games, National Fire Championships and ESCape Week, just to name a few. To think that all this happens for FREE (for participants), is fairly miraculous.

My only regret is that my rambunctious toddlers aren’t yet old enough to join.

If you’re local and have children between the ages of 12 and 17, I couldn’t more highly recommend the Hervey Bay Emergency Services Cadets initiative. Run by a bevy of incredible, experienced, caring volunteers, your kids are sure to get an exhilarating hit of reality mixed in with a boost to their confidence, leadership skills, community-mindedness and sense of kinship and belonging with their peers. In a world that suffers from disconnectedness and ‘me first’ attitudes, the Hervey Bay Emergency Services Cadets seems to be the perfect antidote.

With enormous gratitude to Hervey Bay Emergency Services Cadets and Adult Leaders, and to the Torquay Fire and Rescue Service for welcoming us for the evening. If you’d like to get involved as a volunteer, enrol your children, or make a donation to this incredible programme, call 07 3909 9555 or email For more info, head to:


The MaSSage










SHOP 13, PIALBA PLACE SHOPPING CENTRE | BOOKINGS: 0431 811 303 Alive Magazine Wide Bay |


WI S E WORDS by Kerrie Alexander


of the classroom W

hen students at Aldridge high feel like it’s just all too much there’s one teacher they know they can turn to.

Adam Hodgkinson is a clear favourite in the eyes of the Years 7 to 12 music students and it’s easy to see why.

Affectionately known to the students as “Hodgo”, the 39-yearold has a more mellow approach to teaching with the belief that providing a relaxed environment for the teenage students helps them to be more engaged and fosters confidence, teamwork and positive life-long relationships. Especially for those students who have low self-esteem and self-doubt, with negative outside influences like social media casting a shadow over their confidence.

“The one thing I’d love to change is definitely teenage self-doubt or/and self-esteem levels,” Adam said. “When starting out in the creative arts, I often show a few


Alive Magazine Wide Bay |

positive clips about the power of authenticity and straight away jump onto any self-doubt or comparisons they are making based on social media etc. ”So many students live with far too much self-doubt and if I can play the smallest role in boosting their confidence, I find that far more rewarding than any grade.” He wants to instil the message that their position in life will always find a way to work itself out and, while getting good grades is important, believing in yourself is also key.

Adam took some time to find his own calling, having gone from other full-time work as Retail Manager at Sanity Music, to TAFE fitness courses and then finally being drawn to teaching in 2006. He has since completed both a Bachelor of Secondary Education and a Diploma of Sports Development.

“I made the transition from 50/50 P.E/Music teacher to full time Music in 2010, and each and every day I work with the most

enthusiastic students who are supported by a number of fantastic Aldridge staff.

“To all the ATAR number lookerupperers (OP ranking) today and during these weird times I wish them to use the number/s and letters as they need it, but also remind them that their overall position in life is far more important. “I hope they each find the thing/things/pursuit/pursuits that THEY will enjoy on a day to day basis; whether that’s work, study, and everything in between.

“The key is … don’t stop swimming and create your own timeline for success by simply comparing yourself to no one!”.

Adam said the epitome of teaching was seeing students achieve at heights they didn’t think was possible.

“Working with talented students who aren’t yet aware of how amazing they are is the best part of my job,” Adam said. “My main message is often to not take yourself too seriously and hopefully demonstrate that in my teaching method.” He said being able to adapt to different situations was also an important role for teachers to play. “I’m known to have multiple characters that I adopt for stress-free moments and to apply some humour when needed.”

The key is … don’t stop swimming and create your own timeline for success by simply comparing yourself to no one!

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C OM MUNI TY CONNECT I O N by Kerrie Alexander



ate Wilson is leaving a positive mark in the world of disabilities by helping to break the cycle of discrimination and social stigma and educate others to see beyond a label.

The 24-year-old with a heart of gold has had compassion for people who have a disability from a young age, starting with her cousin Josie who is living with Prada-Willi syndrome; a rare genetic disorder affecting development and growth. In her hometown of England, Kate would see her cousin and other people with a disability pushed aside as outcasts at school and in the community.

It was that burning desire to make change happen that led Kate to a career as an Occupational Therapist now working in the disability sector.

“I have witnessed people treating others disrespectfully and laughing at them … to me it’s just the worst thing,” Kate said. “I saw this culture of people thinking “they can’t do much, they have a disability” and it just didn’t feel right to me. After gaining university qualifications to become an OT, Kate’s journey started at a hospital in England. Kate has a passion for working with people with disabilities who have limited verbal communication. After completing research and discovering 18

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the devastating statistics that on average 1200 people with an intellectual disability die prematurely in UK hospitals because of avoidable reasons, this led Kate to develop a disability awareness training program called Disability Redefined that she delivered to the allied health staff at the hospital where she worked.

She learned Makaton which was added to this training. Makaton is a unique language programme – popular throughout the UK - that uses symbols, signs and speech to enable people to communicate. It supports the development of essential communication skills like attention and listening, comprehension, memory, recall and organisation of language and expression. The idea was that teaching the allied health team would enable them to communicate basic concepts to patients who have an intellectual disability, who most likely would have learnt Makaton when growing up.

This would enable patients to express their needs using Makaton signing and symbols and be better understood. “Communication is a fundamental need for people,” Kate said.

“For me, starting the program was about trying to use empathy provoking situations to teach people about disability awareness.

“I knew Makaton was quite commonly taught to people with an

intellectual disability so I wanted to add that into the training to move our understanding as a team of health care professionals to the next level. “The overall hope was that this might help to reduce the amount of premature and avoidable deaths within hospitals by raising awareness of a common communication system that is used with this population.” It was found in research, that for people with profound intellectual disabilities who are commonly nonverbal, prognosis and diagnosis can be delayed which may lead to premature death.

“My cousin really inspired me … she is a wonderful woman, and a lot of people might disregard her because of her disability. “I think the whole idea of the Disability Redefined program was about having a conversation about disability and redefining the way the world sees people with a disability. “A lot of people have more skills than they are given credit for and it’s naturally so much easier for others to do things for people, I guess that’s why I became an OT.

“I love to see people encouraged and supported to engage in every aspect of life, accomplish things and to not be defined by a label.

Kate was interested in conveying to the staff the challenges of expressing choice when someone has limited verbal communication.

“We live in this fast-paced society where everything is ‘quick, quick I’ll do it for you because it’s easier’.

“We know the universal sign for drink but how could you go to the next step and say orange juice or coffee if you don’t know that vocabulary.

“Even if it’s just brushing teeth or making a sandwich, no matter how long it takes, I have seen the beauty of watching people be encouraged and supported to complete these tasks and feel a sense of accomplishment.

“Makaton isn’t the answer for all of this, but it was certainly useful as a conversation starter around disability awareness and how we can increase our understanding and skills as treating professionals.”

“I hope to encourage others to see behind labels and not be scared of disability, rather to actively engage in everyday conversations with people who may have a disability. We might just find that we aren’t as different as we thought.”

Looking to spread her wings and discover the world, Kate travelled to America and worked at a special needs summer camp where she coordinated the day to day program.

She then made the move to Hervey Bay over a year ago and is now a disability OT for Attain Abilities – a job she relishes in. During a two-week quarantine after the move, Kate took the Makaton program one step further and created a Facebook page called CommuniKate that now has over 740 followers.

Visit the CommuniKate Facebook page to find out more about Makaton and see just how passionate Kate is about making a change.

It’s a place where she can share her Makaton signing with the community by putting up videos of simple signs and the meaning.

“It’s typically used in the intellectual disability population or for people who are non-verbal or even pre-verbal … some people use Makaton communication with babies or more recently in the UK with people with dementia. “With Makaton, signs are used with speech in spoken word order.

“You usually sign the key-words whilst speaking the sentence. For example, if I’m saying ‘hello my name is kate’ I would sign it as ‘hello my name kate’ whilst speaking the sentence. This ensures that the speech and sign go together to create more information for the communication partner. Also, using symbols can help people who have limited speech and those who cannot, or prefer not to sign. “I really have a heart for communication, and this is just something that I know was commonly used in the UK so I wanted to learn it.”

Kate now thrives in her role as an OT and is continuing to be a passionate advocate for empowerment of people with disabilities, promoting individuality and independence.



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by Kerrie Alexander

Imagine if … you finally got to publish your own children’s picture book!


ucked away safely as a treasured keepsake in her mother’s draw is Jess Palmer’s first stapled book, she created in Grade Two with a silly story line and lots of shapes and scribbles.

Now, there’s another milestone piece of work to add to the collection.

That small assignment helped ignite the passion the 40-yearold Hervey Bay resident has today as a travel writer, illustrator and now - a proud published author - after the recent release of her first children’s picture book Imagine If: The Sheep Book, picked up by world-wide publishers Austin Macauley.

The same sense of freedom and creativity Jess felt at school has flowed on into her career as a children’s book author, where perfect is not expected and silliness is the norm. The story and the illustrations in the 30-page book were all the fruits of Jessica’s incredible artistic talents and big imagination.


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“The book (in Grade Two) was terrible and didn’t make any sense but I absolutely loved making it,” Jess said with a laugh. “I love the freedom of illustration, particularly children’s illustrations.

“A purple cow with a frog on his head wearing a yellow polka dot shirt would be totally acceptable in a children’s picture book. “I love writing children’s stories for the exact same reason.”

Jess has illustrated for other authors in the past but with travel writing slowing down during the Coronavirus pandemic, it was the perfect time to bring her own dream to fruition. She said seeing the final product and having it recognised by some of the best in the business was one of the biggest highlights in her career to date.

“I had written the words quite some time ago and when Covid-19 shut down the travel industry and my work as a travel writer slowed down to a trickle, I suddenly had the time to start

the illustrations.

“It had been a dream of mine for quite some time, so I just thought … why not? “I didn’t really have anything to lose except the time spent on it.

“It took about a year from start to finish, with the illustrations taking the longest as I had to squeeze them in around paid writing work and being a mum.” The bright blue whale, shooting a yellow sheep out of its blow hole on a waterspout, on the cover of the book leaves you wondering just what adventures are about to take place. Jess said the narrative was inspired by her own two children’s unwillingness to sleep in their younger years.

In the story, the children are told to count sheep when they complain they’re not tired. But what happens when those sheep have no interest in being counted? What happens when those sheep have some adventuring to do?

“My children could never be described as ‘’good sleepers’’ when they were little,” she said.

“The story begins with a mum telling her kids to ‘’just count sheep’’ but the children’s imaginations have the sheep going on all sorts of weird and wonderful adventures.” The book was put to the ultimate test with her two biggest critics, her six-year-old daughter and eight-year-old son, who gave an enthusiastic tick of approval even though it’s aimed at a predominately younger audience.

“My youngest loved it but my eldest is getting a little too old for picture books. “However, he did sit through it and I did get a laugh out of him when we got to the page where one of the sheep eats baked beans and ‘’blasts off’’ into space.”

‘Imagine If’ officially went on sale on August 31. To get your hands on a copy, visit imagine-if.





175 Lennox Street, Maryborough Book online or call Teresa on 0491 759 530

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BRIAN SPEIRS Have you always been musical? I’ve always been a singer, ever since primary school and then took up piano when I went to high school. It wasn’t until I left school though at 16 that I bought my first guitar and joined some bands and then started playing gigs and writing songs.

What/who are you/the bands musical influences? I have a very eclectic mix of influences and when you study and teach music you develop tastes of all sorts. I grew up listening to a lot of Prince, Stevie Wonder, The Beatles, David Bowie and 80’s Pop. When I was younger though, I always played in bands with older experienced musicians who would influence what I listened to as I went through my musical journey. I became a big fan of some Indie Rock bands like the Pixies and Smashing Pumpkins in the 90’s. Then when I moved to Liverpool to study music, I started listening to Jazz, Bossa Nova, Tango and a whole range of other World Music genres.


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What/who are you listening to right now? I listen to the radio a lot at home and in the car and dig what Rag n Bone Man, Post Malone and Dua Lipa are doing! Favourite line from a song? That’s a difficult one! Possibly ‘I heard the news today oh boy!’ I’ll leave it to the readers to work out what that line’s from? How often do you practice? I constantly need to learn songs to accompany my singing students at school and generally try to practice and learn a bunch of new songs during school holidays to keep my solo repertoire fresh. Which instruments do you play? My main instrument is voice and I also play piano and rhythm guitar. When at school, I will have some fun at times banging on a drum kit and playing bass, but pretty basic really and not when too many people are listening!


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What gig past, future or present would you like to have been to/go to? I would have loved to see Queen live with Freddie Mercury on vocals. He was such an awesome front man and showman. Adam Lambert does a great job keeping the band going at the moment and would have liked to have gone to their last show when they played in Brisbane. However, the stars just didn’t align for me to be able to go. Maybe next time! If you could play any gig or venue, where would you play? Since Covid hit, gigs with my band ‘Soul City’ have been few and far between due to restrictions on dance floors etc... My favourite gig with Soul City has been playing at Fisherman’s Ball upstairs in The Beach House. We played at that event for about five years in a row before Covid hit and the crowds have always been up for a great night. Unfortunately, it’s been cancelled the last two years. But, hopefully 2022 will provide another great opportunity for everyone to get their dancing shoes back on!

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Valerie McIntosh

by Shaun Ryan


howcasing her artwork and having other people view and interpret her favourite pieces is something Valerie McIntosh has always enjoyed.

The Maryborough local recently had a collection of her work displayed at the Portside Café and Restaurant overlooking the picturesque Mary River.

“Showcasing my art is something I have always done. Ever since we were at school teachers would be selecting artwork and hanging it on walls,” said Valerie. “It’s something you always have to keep practicing. Art came second for me for a while – I had other responsibilities like work and family.” But it’s often after the children have flown the nest that artists really refine their craft. “It’s also at that time that you don’t have ongoing work responsibilities and you can really get into it,” explained Valerie.

She said the local art scene in Maryborough was a vibrant one and the Heritage City had a way of inspiring artists. It could be the beautiful Mary River meandering its way towards the coast, the clocktower at City Hall or the natural fauna and flora just outside town.

“Artists are drawn to the area and there are so many different groups and societies that people can join if they’re creatives, interested in art or just new to the area.”

Valerie said she draws her inspiration from the environment

and representing local history.

For this reason, many of her pieces reflect native Australian flowers and animals, the importance of conservation and historic buildings.

The many galleries, cafés and restaurants that showcase local art play an important role in Maryborough’s identity as a creative city. Not only do they provide a wall for artists to hang their work, but the artists also help keep venues fresh and vibrant. It’s a two-way street.

“The cafés are basically decorated at no cost and the artwork is changed on a regular basis so they’re always fresh and exciting,” said Valerie. Venues offering a space for artists to exhibit their work also help newcomers to the scene prepare for what is expected. “When you show your work there is an expectation of how it should be done. Having your paintings nicely framed, for example, is important. Cafés and restaurants that support locals give them that taste of what it’s like to present your work at a gallery.”

Valerie urged people who are interested in art to reach out to their local art society.

“There is a sense of community among creatives and its not all about making sales. Selling a piece of art is the icing on the cake. It’s actually about getting out there, doing it, and learning on the way.”




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DUNGA DERBY by Kerrie Alexander

EASING STEPS TO RECOVERY A simple stomach-ache turned into a life-threatening illness and months of recovery for Maryborough’s Anna Pittard.

The mother-of-four’s world was turned upside instantly; not being able to care for her children or go to work to bring in an income. However, some of that financial stress was taken off the Maryborough family’s shoulders when Rally for a Cause stepped in to help.

Anna’s story was nominated to the committee, and they

didn’t hesitate to assist.

So, to all those individuals and business that donate or sponsor the Dunga Derby, the RFAC biggest annual fundraiser, this is the amazing way your funds are making a difference. A total of just over $1.8 million has now been raised for the Dunga Derby, which has helped 140 local families and individuals affected by life-limiting medical conditions or who have had their lives turned upside down by sudden death or disability.

ANNA’S story S unday, November 1 was just a normal Sunday afternoon enjoying an afternoon beer and swim at a friend’s place. We returned home later, feeling great.

During that night I started getting stomach pains and just dismissed it as something I ate. Come Monday morning I was still experiencing discomfort which gradually got worse throughout the day and come 3pm, I struggled to pick my kids up from school and could barely walk by the time I got home.

My partner arrived at my house around 5pm and insisted he take me to A&E at the hospital. I was put straight through for further testing. I was then transferred to another local hospital for a CT scan and ultrasounds and once I was there, I was given antibiotics an ultrasound and sent home the next morning. On Tuesday, November 3, being Melbourne Cup Day, I attempted to go to work but was sent home due to being too sick. 26

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Two days later the pain in my stomach became so severe that I was taken to my local hospital again, but by an ambulance this time. Minimal tests were done, no scans either when I requested it, and I was told I was better off at home than in hospital as stress can cause pain. I was told to see a counsellor!

Unhappy with the outcome, I went to my own GP the same day and was given some pain relief and continued taking oral antibiotics. A week later I was still feeling terrible and in pain. I struggled to complete my shifts at work. So back to my local GP where he sent me for a CT scan, once the results came in, my Dr rang me, told me not to go to work but straight to hospital in which I was admitted with an infection in my stomach. I was started on intravenous antibiotics, and a stomach drain was put in four days later. I then spent three long weeks in hospital with a suspected

Richard and Gwen welcome Matt to our experienced team perforated bowel and was told by doctors to wait as long as possible for my body to heal before they operate. After three weeks in hospital, I was sent home still with the stomach drain.

During my time back at home I was still in enormous pain and struggled to do daily tasks and care for my children. I could no longer work. I presented at A&E numerous times during the next three weeks and was sent home with more pain meds and antibiotics. I was still not getting better. Finally in January I had an appointment with a surgeon at the hospital. By this point I was in so much pain I had trouble standing or sitting. I was taken for emergency surgery that same day. Numerous parts in my stomach were removed due to infection and a stint was put in my kidney. The infection had now caused a blockage. During recovery in hospital the stint dislodged, and I was sent to Brisbane for a replacement. At this point I thought I was on the road to recovery; little did I know the worst was yet to come.

The next day I experienced the worst pain of my life, I was given everything possible for the pain, but I had no relief.

Further testing was done and later that night I was taken into emergency surgery again. Turns out I still had a perforated bowel caused by diverticulitis and had infection everywhere and by this point I had gone septic. I spent eight gruelling days in ICU and was extremely sick and lucky to be alive, but my fight wasn’t over yet. The amazing doctors worked tirelessly to find the right treatments to get me better. During this horrible life changing time in hospital, I was contacted by Rally for a Cause asking how I was I managing financially?

The honest truth was not good. After already being off work for a few months and no idea of when I was able to return, I was starting to get stressed out. It was hard being away from my beautiful family for so long, nearly losing my life, not being able to work, it was all very overwhelming. I was approved by Rally for a Cause for short term financial support during my recovery. I was so emotional I couldn’t believe how lucky I was to have such a wonderful caring organisation wanting to help me through this traumatic time of my life. Words cannot describe how grateful I was then and still am now. Without their help I would have suffered severe financial problems. I then spent another six weeks in hospital in Brisbane before I could come home to my family. I then had a long recovery ahead, but it was great to be back home.

The stress of not being able to keep up with my bills were lifted of my shoulders thanks to Rally for a Cause and the Dunga Derby participants and supporters.

I have had time to recover at home without having to rush back to work and ease back into normal everyday life. This would not have been able to happen without this amazing organisation and I am beyond grateful.

To find out more about the charity and how you can help families like Anna’s, head to www.rallyforacause. or Find them on Facebook under 'Dunga Derby by Rally for a Cause'

“I’m a husband and father of four girls. We came to Hervey Bay, essentially, to heal and to live a healthier and more relaxed lifestyle. I grew up in a very small town called Dunolly in central Victoria and my wife grew up in PNG and Cairns. Hervey Bay is the perfect blend of a city and a rural community, where we both yearned to be for too many years. I’ve been doing optics for more than 30 years. I started with seven years in a company called Vision Specialists in retail and then in their laboratory, where I became a qualified Optical Mechanic and Optical Dispenser. I’ve spent the last 23 years in an Optical Laboratory called CR Surfacing Laboratories, working and eventually being responsible for every different stage of glasses manufacture; from the calculations, to running the different manufacturing lines, to final Quality control and breakage management of the jobs. I’ve been very lucky to have that experience and be able to bring that back to the practice environment where I can help patients one on one. It’s the personal connections that I missed whilst doing Lab work. In the Lab, you’re helping people, but it’s just not the same as seeing the difference it makes face to face. I look forward to working with clients, old and new, at Richard Watt Optometrists.”

Richard Watt

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Optical Mechanic Optical Dispenser






Cert 4 Optical Dispensing

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Getting youth back on track

Supporting young people to overcame barriers to education and become valuable contributors to their community is what motivates Dale Hansen every day.

Since 2005, Dale has been a teacher then Principal at Carinity Education Glendyne, a special assistance school in Hervey Bay providing positive educational outcomes for disadvantaged students from Years 6 to 12. Amongst the school’s 130 students are at-risk and disengaged youth who have struggled to overcome personal challenges or had difficulty succeeding in traditional mainstream schools. The school at Nikenbah provides education, lifestyle enablement skills and vocational training. Dale commenced his career as an educator in Maryborough in the 1990s, working as a qualified skills trainer specialising in vocational learning.

Before arriving at Carinity Education Glendyne his experience included teaching in a private school and also a role that saw him educate Indigenous Australians and people living with disability around the Fraser Coast. Set on a former pineapple farm, the Glendyne school had recently opened as a vocational training centre with a handful of students who had experienced considerable disadvantage. Dale was initially engaged by the school to assist teachers to better deliver important literacy skills to the students.

He was offered a permanent role and, 16 years later, is still excited to help deliver positive educational outcomes for young people whose “hopes and dreams for the future were very cloudy”.

“Our teachers and staff get much satisfaction from seeing teenagers who arrived at Glendyne lacking direction, confidence, and hopes and dreams for the future, and seeing them develop into valuable contributors to their community,” Dale said. “I often see students who come from very disadvantaged backgrounds and some who have had significant traumatic experiences in their life. To see them, for the most part, overcome those challenges is what I really look forward to the most. Some of the first students Dale worked with at Glendyne are now parents who he often sees around town. He said seeing the life that they have come from, to the life that they’re living now, is considerably different. “One girl who joined the school early in my time at Glendyne was homeless when she came to us.

“She used to come to school with all her belongings because she was couch-surfing.

“Today, she’s working in a managerial role locally, she’s married with children, has bought a home and is doing well. “Seeing that cycle of disadvantage broken is really encouraging and gratifying.

“It’s a real joy seeing those students who have had multiple barriers in life overcome and achieve. It is these student destinations that keeps me here today.”

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by Scott Thompson and Jason England



few weeks ago, Jason and I (Scott), were chatting about well-known restaurants that we are familiar with (we’ve had the pleasure of dining at quite a few, as interested foodies and business owners) and contemplating the question of ‘how many restaurants in Queensland have a menu that changes as often as Odyssey?’

We’ve come to realise that what we are doing here in Hervey Bay is unique among dining establishments in Queensland and possibly even Australia. Working with a continually changing menu is a first for us and we have had to learn how to achieve this. Developing our dining concept has taken a considerable amount of trial and error to deliver a consistent product. In the beginning we created a five-course dining structure for our menu. We sourced specific producers and suppliers to create the imaginative and consistent quality of food we aspired to serve to our customers.

We continually aim to deliver our culinary promise of taking you on a journey that delights, challenges, inspires and excites, and we are fortunate to have a diverse and skilled team striving to achieve this. However, we realised that our staff had differing levels of skill, and that we would need to develop systems to assist with ongoing staff training.

Our Head Chef Neil oversees the culinary team, Chef Kelly and Apprentice Siobhon. Neil structures the kitchen by planning the menu, supervising the staff, and providing

additional support to educate and train. His approach to training is to explain the theory behind the task, encourage critical thinking or questioning and give feedback. Frequently new skills require repetition to improve the skill being developed, and Neil makes this enjoyable with his style of dry humour.

I often find myself listening to the kitchen conversations to further develop my own culinary understanding. Watching Neil, who has achieved an impressive C.V. by working in amazing restaurants, invest time into training and educating Siobhon and the whole culinary team is truly inspiring. Training staff is not always an easy task and can often be neglected within our industry. With a busy schedule and changes being made daily it would be easy for team members to be left behind. The planning and structure around what we are doing at Odyssey is subject to continual improvement. I was once cautioned by my first restaurant manager ‘A chain is only as strong as its weakest link’. This resonated with me, and I often recall the advice when developing and reflecting on our business. We are, by no means perfect, but we constantly strive to do better and be better. As leaders in our industry, it is vitally important for us to invest our time to educate, upskill and empower all our staff so they can achieve their goals. We believe that this investment on our part will be crucial in assisting us to achieve our goal, and in the end we will all, customer and employee share and celebrate our success.



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MERILYN WESTROP Teacher - Fraser Coast Anglican College In 2020, Mrs Merilyn Westrop was recognised for her exceptional work with a National Excellence in Teaching Award. Merilyn was one of only 12 award recipients from around Australia that was shortlisted from over 450 nominees. “As teachers, we pour our heart and soul into creating the most valuable and stimulating activities, and opportunities for our students” This ethos was on show last year when Merilyn and her teaching partner had to navigate online learning. “To be honest, I absolutely loved the chance to be creative and thrived in developing innovative ways to engage my students and make them want to come online and see what crazy things my teaching partner and I would be doing that day.” “However, I couldn’t wait for my students to be back in the classroom with me once again.” Merilyn shared a quote by Robert John Meehan that resonates with her: “Teachers who love teaching, teach children to love learning.” It is not just a job but a life’s work for this educator. Phone 4124 5411

KATHY FORGAN-FLYNN Director - Condy Park

Bach Ed (EC) Masters Ed (Leadership)

I have been Teaching and Lecturing within the Early Childhood Profession for over 25yrs, having been fortunate to work within the role of Director and Educational Leader of Condy Park Kindy for 9 of those years. My many roles that I have fulfilled throughout the state of Qld have enabled me to strengthen my commitment to providing high quality Early Childhood Education to all children and families. Early Childhood Education is the foundation to a successful, vibrant and connected community, we need to listen to our children and to be advocates for their future. Teaching is a privilege, one that I honour and respect by understanding the needs of our children, giving them time to learn, to discover and to play. The opportunities that I receive each day to see children grow, to learn and share in their journey at kindy keeps me excited and committed to my profession, Early Childhood really is the best place to be. Phone 4128 2786

TAMEIKA GRIST Principal - St Mary’s College Tameika’s leadership experience includes Head of School (Secondary) Xavier Catholic College Hervey Bay, Director of Pedagogy - St Mary’s College Hobart, and Deputy Head of Junior School - St Mary’s College Hobart and her qualifications include Bachelor of Education, Grad. Certificate of Education (ICT), Grad. Certificate in Theology/Leadership and Master of Education. Our College is fortunate to have a dedicated, professional and innovative teaching staff. They are committed to developing discerning, compassionate young women and men ready to engage and contribute to their communities and the world. Our upgraded classrooms allow for flexible learning and teaching spaces, integration of technology a range of specialised equipment. In addition to building students’ learning through a broad base of core learning areas, we also have fantastic facilities and opportunities for students to develop a love of learning through the Arts, Sciences, and various design Technologies. The constant drive for educational excellence for all has helped shape an outstanding program of learning and cocurricular opportunities for students in Years 7 – 12. Phone 4190 2200​ Alive Magazine Wide Bay |




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n life, most of us really just wing it and learn on the hop – yahoo for adulthood! Wouldn’t it be much easier if we also learnt from others shared experiences? Yet there are important subjects most of us do not like to share due to the pain and trauma of the experience, but it is these very subjects we need to be brave and openly talk more about so that we can help others navigate through their own journeys with more ease and confidence.

At this point in time, I am experiencing life as a fulltime carer.

Twelve months ago our world was forever changed when my husband was diagnosed with Stage 4 prostate cancer, since then I have been his fulltime carer and it has not been easy. Did you know….

• T here are over 2.7 million carers in Australia who provide unpaid care and support to family members and friends, that’s 12% of the population. • I n Queensland there are 533,200 carers, including more than 50,000 young carers; 272,000 carers are under the age of 25, which equates to around 1 in 10. • Carers provide 1.9 billion hours of care each year.

• More than two thirds of primary carers are female.

As you know, I am a forever learner and so I went on a journey trying to find out all I could to help me be the best

by Bec Dudley

carer for my husband while also ensuring I was tapping into resources that could also help me, because I also crashed and burned!

I understand not everyone has the skillset to search for what they are looking for or know what they are needing to know. So, this is why I put together this short course via my online bfree2be School. I am not reinventing the wheel as there is so much good stuff out there. I just want to help point carers in the right direction and give you a starting point. You can access The Beginners Guide to Being a Carer course here at The course is FREE and full of tips, links and advice. Remember your wellbeing is important!

If you find talking about your experience as a carer upsetting, you may want to talk to someone. Lifeline 13 11 14 and Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636 are two services that are both available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week if you need support.

The public health care system in Queensland also has local Nurse Navigators available to help in navigating and researching what your loved one needs in relation to palliative care, talk to your local Cancer Care social worker for further contact details. Your local Cancer Care social worker is also there for you too as the carer, talk to them, they are also there to assist you on this journey!

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ECO L I VI NG by Ingrid Gorissen


hen it comes to interior design, I often get asked if it’s a skill you learn or a creative flair that you a born with?

There is a lot to learn about Interior Design and, for me, one of the biggest challenges I face is trying to communicate my ideas and visions with clients.

How can you make them see what I see in my mind? So, they have to put their trust in me to implement the new and often unexpected into their homes. So, how can an Interior Designer help you, or how can you become one yourself?

It might be helpful to list all things that an Interior Designer can do for you or help you with.

You might have lots of ideas but bringing it all together is the hardest part of creating an interesting palette of colours and creating interiors that excite but also calm, are interesting but flow, are colourful but not over stimulating, are balanced but with emotion. Interiors that are beautiful to look at, good for your health and comfortable to live in.

In the end, you just want them to suit you and your family’s taste and lifestyle. Implementing a trend can look like an easy way of getting it right as there are lots of images showcasing that you are able to follow.

A trend is a general direction, often inspired by culture and/ or events and because the trend style is used all the time in advertising, most people like to follow because that’s what other people like … that’s how the brain works. But is that trend really in fashion? It can also go OUT of fashion!


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Finding your own style and not only following a trend can be a lot harder. INTERIOR STYLES

So, let’s break it down nice and simple. An Interior style is an overall look and feel created by a space and is influenced by history and culture. Generally, a home will have a cohesive style which may be based around the age of the home, the location etc. An example of this is a beach house with a coastal style, or an outback ranch with a modern farmhouse style. INTERIOR TRENDS

Interior trends refer to certain colours, styles, patterns, materials, or shapes that are popular or ‘trending’ during a certain time. Trends are often influenced by the season as well such as bright colours and greenery in Summer, florals in Spring and warm earthy colours during Autumn and winter. Trends can be heaps of fun, can add a new life to a dull space and give you a chance to play around with new colours or patterns. However, it’s so important to remember that unlike interior styles, trends change rapidly, and ‘micro’ trends are often not long-lasting. Some of the top trends for 2021 include: • Wall paneling and Aegean inspired azure blues • Joyful, playful designs

• Rose gold, copper, and brass

• Organic / Natural textures (rattan, wicker, timber and stone) • Earthy goodness colours • Light wood

• Lush outdoor rooms • Floral wallpapers

Our homes and what we choose to put in them are a representation of our personalities, feelings and moods. There really is no ‘one size fits all’ approach and what works for one family may not be right for you.

Finding your own design style can often mean incorporating two or more styles together to find the perfect mix. Maybe that’s a minimalist version of industrial, a shabby chic take on the Hamptons or a Scandi inspired Bohemian oasis. Hope that I have helped you with understanding a little bit more about Designing; Trends and Styles and how these two can work hand in hand together to create a style that is uniquely yours.

Have fun with your decor and spend time researching what works best for you and your family and most importantly, trust your instincts! Happy Styling!

I always like to have a look at what the trend is because this is what most people like but will try to give a big twist to it and bring personal colour and material preferences into this design. My top tips would be:

Don’t feel the need to follow trends fully. Be your own person and trust your own instincts. If you are drawn to certain things, try to use them and experience them while keeping the following in mind: • D esign style = large ticket items, Design trend = small ticket items. This means, keep larger pieces, furniture, wall colours etc in line with your design style. Add pieces that suit the latest trend through smaller décor pieces such as cushions or throws. This way, when the trends change, you won’t need to completely overhaul your home and won’t be out of pocket spending big bucks on the next trend.

• K eep primary items neutral where possible unless you feel confident and really strongly attached and attracted to a colour. This way you have a neutral pallet and can add colour, texture and pattern in your smaller décor pieces that suit the latest trend. • L ess is more. Sometimes a simple pop of colour or texture can make all the difference. Don’t feel the need to go all out with the latest colour trend. • K eep things removable! Floral wallpaper is in right? Consider removable decals or removable wallpaper so it can be easily changed once the trend has passed. This saves you time and money and makes updating your home even easier. THERE’S NO ONE SIZE FITS ALL...

Let’s remember one thing, Interior design should be FUN!




HE A L TH HUNTER by Rhian Hunter




ocial platforms and the rise of influencers upended the domination of gatekeepers across every industry, from beauty to education, from food to health, meaning more voices could get a seat at the

However, the question is, should everyone at the table deserve to be there? Success and authority in professions have quickly become more been aligned with follower size and popularity, rather than having any credentials or qualifications to make informed recommendations.

So, who do you call or turn to for professional help with your nutrition goals? Maybe to address hormonal imbalances, cope with a food intolerance, or to get expert advice on what to eat to lose weight? ‘Nutritionist’ might seem the obvious answer, but it’s not. In the past, both dieticians and nutritionists were required to do four years of chemistry and biochemistry, pathology, anatomy and physiology, clinical medicine, as well the full four years of nutrition; so essentially an Adv Dip. Nutritional Medicine, BSC. Health Science and/or BSC. Nutrition & Dietetics are a full four-year degree. But now, what’s frightening, is it that anyone that takes a short course: for example certificate IV in Nutrition, or fitness can call themselves, or behave like a nutritionist, recommending supplements, and offering dietary advice that may be beyond their scope of practice.

So how do you know if the person offering nutrition advice in the gym, or spruiking weight loss services via the internet is qualified? It’s not easy! With no single body that registers all practitioners with a nutrition qualification, the best bet is to check if they’re registered with one of the organisations below: Australian Natural Therapies Association

For accreditation, nutritionists or nutrition medicine practitioners need a qualification that complies with the association’s guidelines – generally a degree such as a Bachelor of Health Sciences (Nutrition Medicine) or a three to four-year Advanced Diploma of Nutrition or Nutritional Medicine. Naturopaths accredited with the Australian Natural Therapies Association can also offer nutrition services if they’ve majored in nutrition – typically through a degree such as the Bachelor of Health Science (Naturopathy).



Alive Magazine Wide Bay |

Dietitians’ Association of Australia

Accredited Practising Dietitians (who sometimes call themselves nutritionists) are accredited by the Dietitians’ Association of Australia. To qualify as an APD takes a minimum of four years’ university study in nutrition and dietetics. It’s the dietetics qualification that separates a dietitian from someone with a degree in nutrition science alone. Dietetics is the study of how food and nutrition are used to manage or treat health problems.

It pays to look into the credentials of any person offering to help you in the field of nutrition and health. Ask where they gained their qualifications on nutrition and how long it took them. Have they done a few days as part of an MLM supplement training? Or have they spent several years studying the body and the biochemistry of nutrients at university or college? And the next time an Instagram influencer posts a picture of them looking healthy in their active wear with some copy and pasted product facts in their caption, please dig deeper before hitting the shop now button.

It’s important to note that many Health Coaches or Personal Trainers who have completed a certificate IV in Nutrition can advertise themselves as a Nationally Recognised Nutritionist under NCA (Nutrition Council Australia) Scope of Practice, only. If you are confused by how that differs from the above associations, then the key words here are: SCOPE OF PRACTICE. People with this qualification are only able to provide advice to healthy clients who are deemed to be ‘no risk’ or who have been cleared of any current or potential health conditions or chronic diseases by a GP. They are not able to take detailed medical history or to interpret medical test results. They are able to design an athlete’s diet, support athletes to adopt principles of sports psychology, provide nutritional information to athletes, and assess and promote a client’s social, emotional and physical wellbeing. Your health matters so ensure you do your research when deciding who’s treating it, or influencing what you do with it.

H E A L TH Y RE CIPE by Rhian Hunter



FOR THE JACKFRUIT: 2 400g Tinned Jackfruit, drained, rinsed and pulled apart 2 tsp. Smoked Paprika, ground 1 1/2 tsp. Black Pepper, ground 3 tsp. Salt 2 tsp. Fennel, ground 2 tsp. Cumin, ground 1 tsp. Cinnamon, ground 1 tsp. Cayenne Pepper, ground 2 TBLS Olive Oil 1 Bay leaf *2 tsp. Liquid Smoke 375ml Vegetable Stock 3 Cloves Garlic, grated 1/3-Cup Apple Cider Vinegar 100g Tinned Tomato (whole or crushed) 2 TBLS of Rice Malt Syrup


1. Combine paprika, S&P, fennel, cumin, cinnamon, liquid smoke & cayenne pepper together in a small mixing bowl. 2. Massage spice mixture all through the jackfruit until fully coated.

3. Heat a TBLS of olive oil in a large non stick frying pan over a high heat, saute the garlic until fragrant and then add spiced jackfruit to the pan, cook for 3-5 minutes then add the stock, tinned tomato, vinegar, bay leaf and rice malt syrup. 4. Bring to a boil and then reduce to simmer for around 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. The Jackfruit will be ready once it has absorbed most of the liquid. 5. Cooking times may vary depending on what you cook with.


Divide Jackfruit among 250ml or 500ml airtight containers, allow to cool completely before storing in the freezer.

Alive Magazine Wide Bay |


SKI N CA RE by Abby Blanke

Pialba Place 38

Alive Magazine Wide Bay |

(Big W Entrance),

Hervey Bay | Ph 0409 266 966



he ABC’s of Vitamins in Skincare

There are three main ingredients that should be in your homecare routine when you are wanting to maintain healthy vibrant skin!

A is for Vitamin A: This plays such a huge role in maintain the function of the skin. I like to think of it like a conductor to the orchestra. It tells everyone their position and what they need to do.

Free Radicals (sun especially) breakdown our Vitamin A levels and we need to give it an extra boost. Especially if you are experiencing acne or premature aging. But it is VITAL for almost every skin concern, from pigmentation to rosacea. From the age of 25 you should be using some form of vitamin A in your home routine. Vitamin A is night time as it helps to repair and rebuild.

B is for Vitamin B: Fairly new to discovery in skincare, but man it is a goodie! This aids in healing, inflammation and helping to maintain a strong healthy acid mantle. Plus its great at reducing pigmentation. If you suffer from trapped congestion, pigmentation or redness that won’t go away, you really need to make sure this is in your homecare line up!

C is for Vitamin C: A natural antioxidant that helps fight free radicals during the day. It’s a hugely important ingredient to fight against pigmentation and help the skin cell fight against uv damage. The saying normally goes … Vitamin C in the day to protect and strengthen and vitamin A at night to repair and rebuild. Giving your skin an extra boost of vitamins through your home routine will help you maintain healthy, glowing skin.


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P 0431 136 810




by Andrew Chorley

Matthew with a lovely snapper caught off Arch Cliffs


hings are warming up this month with Barramundi, salmon and mangrove jacks on the target species list for many local anglers.

There are some great weeks ahead targeting those species! Let’s hope for some great weather now so we can get out and enjoy the beautiful waters of the Fraser Coast. Burrum

With things heating up, hitting the snags and deep holes with lures and live baits for barra and jacks is a great option.

Whiting will also be about in the lower reaches of the Burrum and if you can get some live blood worms or yabbies it will be well worth the effort.

Walking the flats out the front will be a good option for whiting also. Flathead can be found between the ramps on live baits with the odd chopper tailor also being reported. Out the front mac tuna and school mackerel can be found on the Burrum 8-Mile providing some great sport and have been in good numbers. Local Reefs

On the local reefs blue parrot, sweetlip and blackall have been the main catches. School mackerel have been active on the reefs on the western and central bay. In the shipping channels mac tuna can be found working, targeting them with small slugs and soft plastics has been effective. A few late season snapper will also be a worthy target.

Platypus Bay

In Platypus Bay, a few mac tuna and longtail schools have been trickling in.

For the reef fishos a few sweetlip, scarlets and blackall have been reported. Snapper are still about with one here and there but generally the snapper season is now finished. Wide Grounds

For those that ventured over Break Sea Spit, bar cod, pearl perch, job fish and snapper have been reported in the deep water over the past few weeks.

Around the 50m line parrot, hussar, red throats and coronation trout were reported. Closer to home the Southern Gutters has produced sweetlip, coral trout, hussar and trevally. Urangan Pier

Some great catches have been reported off the pier recently. Jew and flathead to 2kg and some good mackerel have been the best catches. Big elbow slapper whiting has been taken in the first channel with live yabbies working best. Sandy Strait

In the strait, Salmon have been active in the Mary River and Turkey straits with soft vibes, soft plastics and live baits working well. Barra have started to become more active with the midreaches of the river seeing the better fishing. Around the mouth flathead have been abundant when conditions have suited with soft plastics working well. Along the western side of Fraser Island whiting, fathead and grunter have been reported. Hervey Bay Fly and Sportfishing 40

Alive Magazine Wide Bay |


TELLING VERSUS TEACHING I t’s seeming these days that everyone is a personal trainer (PT). Maybe the allure of making $50-$100 per hour watching other people sweat is very attractive and just about anyone can do that. Every PT and group fitness leader is ‘qualified’ to TELL you what to do. How many of them can TEACH you what to do? Most of the time it comes down to qualification versus experience versus passion.

Australia’s registered training organisations (RTOs) are set up to fast-track Certificate 3 and 4 in Fitness while excluding the experience component. Making good money but not many good trainers. We’ve trained dozens of PTs as clients who have said they can’t remember the content of their 12-week online fitness course or even their multiple-choice exams. Looks like anyone can get a qualification these days and it seems the same story across a lot of industries. If you’re thinking of paying someone to help you with your health and fitness goals, it is not as vital to check their qualifications these days but rather their experience. Ok, you’ve found a qualified and somewhat experienced PT and you’re off and training! Have they consulted with you about your real goals, done an assessment, testing, discussed calories and macro-nutrients, meal planning and created a basic training program with progressive overload to start you towards some results? None or some of the above? Are you doing exercise you enjoy? Do you have support outside of your sessions if you need it? All of this stuff matters!

by Josh Hoodless

Sure, getting trained hard is cool – sometimes, your PT is great at instructing and counting your repetitions but are they educating you to WHY you are doing all of these exercises? What’s the reason? What’s the science? Why are you doing that technique or stance? You’re getting told what to do, how many to do and your PT is smashing you. Effective PTs educate their clients on the ‘why’ behind the training and health choices. This leads to your empowerment to make decisions on your own. Providing knowledge with physical results leads to a higher longterm success rate for you. Great coaches want to deliver amazing training programs, but they also want to educate you on what the best exercises are for your body, or what forms of training are best for your goals.

This is where passion comes in. If a PT is passing on true knowledge and their ideology, eventually you won’t need them anymore. They should be essentially doing themselves out of a job. That will not worry a great passionate coach because they understand the deeper relationship that is formed during this process. Knowing this comes from experience and a proven track-record of helping people. They care more about you than your money. No matter your industry, passionate people want to pass on knowledge so that their customers can take it wherever they go. A good measure of success is when your clients don’t need to train with you anymore, but they just really want to.

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Unfortunately our schooling system isn’t too savvy in the financial education department. Given that, I believe it is our jobs as parents to start teaching our children the fundamentals of money, how it is made and how it works.

by Kodie Axelsen

They need to understand the basis of money and how it is earned. Whether you are business minded or work for someone I think it is a great foundation for children to learn that to earn money you need to put the work in. That is where it starts.

I’m sure most parents can agree that children nowadays believe it grows on trees and you just swipe that piece of plastic and it is paid for. It’s our duty as parents to explain the worth of money that it isn’t as easy as just tap and pay.

Whether it is a million dollar idea or it is a job at Macca’s, there is still an exertion of energy and thought required to start the funds flowing. Once you get the funds it is then learning how to spend them wisely. If you have a goal then I find it is easier to save your funds to achieve that goal. When there is no carrot dangling at the end then they can wonder why they are supposed to put their money aside when they could be buying that new Pokemon card with it.

I personally break down the cost of living with my children so they understand that the house we live in costs money, the car we drive costs money and that light you left on all day, yep that also costs money.

Once they start connecting the dots and learning about cashflow it becomes quite a fun exercise. If they don’t do their jobs properly then chances are they won’t get paid or I’ll certainly let them know if they worked for me they’d have been fired by now. It also teaches them responsibility. When they have money in their hands you can watch them process their thoughts on whether they’re prepared to spend all that money on that ‘thing’ they want to buy because they know what they had to do to get it. They then start to learn the actual worth of it. It becomes tangible. I was as excited as hell when my son put something back because he just did not think it was worth his time and effort for what he had to do to buy it. He is the saver and the mathematician.

My daughter on the other hand is happy for me to fire her because she hates her jobs. Unfortunately in our household that is a part of her contribution to our family so her jobs are sticking. Welcome to resilience haha! I love money, I respect its worth and I want my children to grow up knowing that it can provide them with a fantastic lifestyle if they treat it well. If they spend it well it can also provide them with passive income to build the lifestyle they choose to live but that is a choice that is theirs to make.

Please don’t ever discount the value of financial education. In a world that is built on credit and borrowing what you don’t have, there is no better time that now to build a strong financial foundation in the minds of our young ones.

Side note... I invite all parents that want to educate their children financially to please reach out if in need. I am more than happy to provide some basic info to get started. @cofinancecompany Happy money making!










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Alive Magazine Wide Bay | Photos credit: Jessica Palmer and Boreen Point Camping Grounds

DE STI N A TIO N by Jessica Palmer


Boreen Point


The plan was to paddle all the way over to the other side of Lake Cootharaba and explore the narrow canals of the Noosa Everglades system, one of only two everglades systems in the world. The other is found in Florida in the USA.

However, things didn’t quite go to plan when my ambitious goals were quickly thwarted by my youngest. According to her, there were too many waves on the completely flat lake and she was starving, even though she had eaten both hers and her brother’s muesli bars in the last 10 minutes. Last but not least, her bathers were too wet, despite the fact that she was sitting high and dry in a kayak.

You know what? I was secretly relieved. I had completely misjudged how big Lake Cootharaba was and by the time I was three-quarters of the way across its expanse in the kayak, my arm muscles (or lack thereof) were already letting me know that we should head back and relax a little on the shores.

Whoever gave Noosa the title of the ‘Relaxation Capital of Australia’, has clearly never tried to get parking near Hastings Street or the Noosa Heads National Park. I’m convinced they must have spent a week at Boreen Point Campground, right on the shores of Lake Cootharaba instead. The Boreen Point Camping Grounds are located on the esplanade at Boreen Point, directly on the shores of Lake Cootharaba, the largest natural salt-water lake in Queensland. At only 30-minute drive from the hustle and bustle that is

Hastings St at Noosa Heads, it’s a great base to explore the Noosa area whilst avoiding the crowds.

Accommodation options consist of free-range camping spots set in the natural bushland as well as a foreshore area dedicated to tent camping. Powered sites suitable for caravans, campers, tents and even long RV’s are available as well as a camp kitchen.

More importantly, the showers were always hot and the toilets and clean for the entire 10 nights that we stayed. Watching the sunrise over the peaceful lake is worth dragging yourself out of bed for, but don’t worry if you can’t, there is plenty more to do here. Swim, kayak or enjoy a SUP on the lake, let the kids loose on the BMX track behind the campgrounds and play frisbee on a huge expanse of lush grass nearby.

A guided or self-guided kayak tour through the Noosa Everglades is a must, as is a visit to the Apollonian Hotel for the iconic woodfired spit-roast held every Sunday. Constructed during the gold rush era in the 1870s, this old hotel was moved from Gympie to Boreen Point in 1985 and still contains a lot of its historic charm.

At just under two hours of driving time from Hervey Bay, Boreen Point makes for a great relaxing weekend getaway. Got a long weekend coming up? Even better.

Alive Magazine Wide Bay |


FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHY & MUSIC FILM Love is a powerful thing, it gives me goosebumps. My heart is over-joyed to be able to create breathtaking keepsakes for you. It is a passion that lies deep within my soul that allows me to give you something special to adore. A moment in time, that is created through the beauty I see in you. It gives me such pleasure to sit with my clients and show them what my eyes saw through the lens and watch their faces light up when they too see, what I saw.






Alive Magazine Wide Bay |




P A RE N TING by Amanda Coop

e: “How was school today?”

The kids (in unison): “Good.”

Me: “What did you learn today?” The kids (in unison): “Nothing.”

Me: “Nothing? Not one single thing?” The kids (in unison): “No.”

Rinse and repeat, for the next 12 years.

I dare say I’m not the only parent whose kids expect them to believe they spend 30 hours a week at school and learn not one single thing. Nada. Never mind the fact we send them there (mostly) unable to read, write, do mathematical calculations and a whole multitude of other things that I don’t have the time or space to describe here. It’s like upon entering school for the first time they become part of some secret society that decrees you can never let your parents know you’re actually learning things or that – gasp – sometimes you even enjoy those things. If you happen to be a teacher or other staff member at my kids’ school and you’re reading this, rest assured I have no doubt whatsoever that they are learning many things during their time at our beautiful school. Sometimes Prep student Mr 6 will even slip up and run out excitedly to me at the end of the day saying “Mum! Guess what?! We learned a new sound today!” before remembering his apparent oath and reverting to his standard “ask me no questions” stance. I thought perhaps I was just asking the wrong questions so instead of asking what they learnt, I decided recently to ask them to tell me their favourite thing about their day. “Lunch time,” they said, I kid you not, in unison. I let out an exasperated sigh.

“And what was it you liked about lunch time?” I asked, determined to uncover some meaningful information about their day. “Well, eating lunch,” Mr 6 replied in an exaggeratedly simple tone. “Duh,” Miss 10 added.

She then proceeded to tell him about some hilarious thing that had apparently happened on the oval at lunch time when another student accidentally kicked a ball into a teacher, her little brother cackling at the hilarity of it all as he listened to the story. What was this? Only seconds before they’d told me eating lunch (the same old lunch they insist on me packing every day) was the highlight of their day. Now usually these children won’t shut up for love or money. They talk incessantly and even argue about whose turn it is to talk when they’re both firing some (non-school-related) story at me.

Maybe they’re just tired at the end of the day, I thought. Perhaps I need to give them a bit of downtime before questioning them. Until our neighbour popped over the other afternoon. “What did you learn in school today?” he asked Mr 6.

“We learned what a digraph is,” Mr 6 replied. “It’s when you have two letters that make one sound.” “Oh wow,” replied the neighbour, “you must really like school.” “I do,” Mr 6 said in his best earnest tone as I rolled my eyes. “And what about you?” he asked Miss 10.

“Well, we’re working on persuasive texts at the moment,” she said.

It’s fair to say I was surprised and also just a little salty at this willing exchange of information.

“How come you never tell me stuff like that?” I asked a tad accusingly. “I dunno,” she said, shrugging. “I guess you never ask.”

Alive Magazine Wide Bay |





ervey Bay, QLD: The 2021 Read Bears Project, a partnership initiative of the Hervey Bay Neighbourhood Centre (HBNC) and Education Queensland, was a huge success amongst Hervey Bay’s primary school students – and a very cute one! The program, aimed at improving children’s literacy skills, involved Year 1 students reading to hand-made Read Bears each day throughout Term 2 (April-June).

These bears were hand-made by Red Cross and community volunteers and come with a tag so kids could personalize their bear with a name. The students then reported back to their teacher in the morning if they read to their bear, and what they read. A total of 437 bears were distributed to five local primary schools, namely: • Yarrilee State School- 125 students

• Kawungan State School- 132 students • Torquay State School- 36 students

• Sandy Strait State School- 90 students • Pialba State School- 54 students

Participating schools handed out their Read Bears to Year 1 students in the first week of Term 2. Teachers recorded numbers on a data table, keeping track of how many students read to their bears each night. Teachers also filled out a short, anonymous electronic survey to capture observations and further feedback.


Alive Magazine Wide Bay |

Commending the positive feedback received, HBNC CEO Tanya Stevenson said, “The Read Bears project was an innovative initiative through the Fraser Coast Community Social Plan to address the significant reading issues that were identified in the Australia Early Development Census. It revealed that our local children in Hervey Bay are significantly higher in social vulnerability across all domains including reading”. Adding on, Youth Mentoring Coordinator Rowena Allen said, “The Read Bears Program is growing every year with more Hervey Bay Year 1 students than ever participating in 2021. We hope to keep expanding the program in 2022.”

The Read Bears program was designed to improve reading skills, provide parent/child interaction, increase language and comprehension skills, as well as wellbeing outcomes around increasing self-confidence and self-esteem. The idea is to encourage children to read more books by having a friend to read to, and to encourage parents and siblings to be involved in reading with the child at.

The program received positive feedback with 100% of teachers saying they would participate in the Read Bears Program next year. Throughout the 2021 program, students read to their bears a total of 7209 times. Overall, teachers rated the Read Bears Program a 4.3 out of 5 stars. For inquiries about the 2022 Read Bears Program, please call (07) 4194 3000 or email


THE POWER OF THE PARENT T his month’s Alive theme, with the focus on educators, is particularly personal, given I was a teacher of teenagers and adults for almost 30 years.

Today, I share some insights on the power an inspiring teacher can have in our lives, and just as importantly, how you, if you are a parent of school aged children, can help teachers bring out the best in ‘their’ students.

It was because of two teachers that I was brave enough in 1976 to leave the small country town where I had lived my entire life, and go to university in Brisbane. Back then, it was still unusual for a girl from Childers to go to university. However, I knew that high-school teaching was my calling and I had to go to the University of Queensland to pursue it. My first inspiring teacher entered my life in late primary school.

My love of reading and creative writing began in Mr. Ogden’s classes. He unlocked my understanding that being an individual was okay, and because a love of poetry was an unusual hobby, I needed him to validate I was not as weird as the other students thought I was. The second teacher to inspire me was my Grade 12 English teacher, Mrs. Ginn. She gave me the gift of selfconfidence and promised I would thrive at university. She was right. Simple words of encouragement gave me the courage to follow my dreams. Now that I’m on the other side of the student-teacher relationship, I’d like to offer some advice to parents who want teachers to bring out the best in their children.

It was not unusual for me to teach about 130 students each week. Every one of those students deserved and needed my attention, and whether they liked it or not, I pursued them for the best effort they could offer. I emailed students in the evenings to remind them they had assessment due, and I corrected essay-drafts late into the night and most weekends. That was standard stuff.

by Michelle Robinson Bach. Counselling. Dip. Clinical Hypnotherapy

Yet, more could be done to enhance the students’ progress, and this is where you, as a parent, can help your child. Show interest in your child’s progress.

Contact the teacher or teachers. Let them know if you have concerns about your child or if there are challenges at home. Contact the school’s guidance or counselling service if you are seeing a lack of motivation, and ask for a case-conference to discuss support strategies. Be involved, and even more importantly, make sure the teachers know you care and want to know any time that teacher has a concern. Nothing focuses a teacher’s attention on a student more effectively than a parent who would like a meeting. Suddenly, there is a sense of immediate accountability. It makes a teacher reflect on how that student, in this very moment, is travelling.

I once had a parent confront me at school because she had not slept all weekend and was sick with worry. Apparently, I had given her son a C minus on his first Year 11 English assignment. Apparently, he simply could not fail English because he wanted to join the police force after grade 12 (two years away).

“How could this happen?” she demanded to know. “Should she send her son to a private school? Could she speak to my Head of School about this?” This is a true story, without exaggeration.

It is fair to say, that in addition to the significant care I offered every student that year, my awareness never left this young man’s career path, and he passed year 12 English with a Sound Achievement. Just.

Great educators surround us and I salute them all. Great parents also surround us, and in the intersection between the parent’s child and the teacher’s student, lies tremendous potential. If you are a parent, I hope you use it. Until next time, Michelle

Alive Magazine Wide Bay |



OCTOBER inspiration

by Alison Dunlop

Alison’s Guidance this Month:

With our hectic world of today, it is so easy to get carried away in the stresses and busyness of life. Here are my tips for a peaceful life: Slow down / keep your life simple / heart connect See you next month!

Capricorn Dec 22 -Jan 19

Cancer June 21- July 22

Aquarius Jan 20 - Feb 18


There is something new on the horizon for you this month Capricorn. You are being encouraged to take that opportunity that comes your way. There will be some important learning from this. Business growth could also be highlighted.

Have you been overwhelmed, or crazy busy of late? This card suggests slowing things you can recover. There is no hurry , so go with the flow.

This is no time to second guess yourself. This month you are being encouraged to just go for it! So get on your bike and strive for what you want.


Aug 23 - Sept 22

Aries Mar 21 - April 19


Sept - 23 - Oct 23

Aries, you have intuitive capabilities, but do you trust this knowing?? This month reach for the stars because great things will happen if you trust in yourself.


April 20 - May 20

Wow! This month is going to be awesome. You are exactly where you are meant to be. Stay true to who you are because the universe is on your side.

Gemini May 21 - June 20

Job prospects are looking good for you this month Gemini, so start handing out those resumes. There may also be a promotion in the wind, or some other changes on the work front.

Alison Dunlop Kinesiologist. Find out more at: (This month’s cards are drawn from The Modern Oracle by Katy-k) Alive Magazine Wide Bay |

July 23 - Aug 22

Pisces Feb 19 - Mar 20

Pisces this month suggests a bit of stagnation. You might feel as if you are swimming against the tide. Message here, is to take a deep breath and keep persevering.


There is an opportunity for you this month for you to really shine and show your true colours. Don’t hide your talent, surround yourself with colour, and get your creative on!

Have you been battling with your emotions Virgo? Sometimes we can be our own worst enemy. Take some time out for quiet reflection, so you can see your situation with more clarity.

This month, you are being encouraged to have some patience. We cannot always control our life journey, so take your hand off the steering wheel. Things will take as long as they need to. Enjoy the ride.


Oct 24 - Nov 21

Time to lighten up and have some fun Scorpio! Are you all work and no play? This month get grounded, and spend sometime outdoors. Take the kids to the park or beach. Enjoy!

Sagittarius Nov 22 - Dec 21 Have you have had a rough time of late. Perhaps worries or anxieties. It is now time to control your fears. Be brave, you have got this. You are being encouraged to keep moving forward.


Crosswords of the month


Find a word that will go either before both, or after both clue words, or after the first and before the second, that will give two other words, names, phrases or common expressions.

Last month’s solution

Digital Art by Livi Butler

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The region’s #1 adventure tour!



NEW! BUCKET LIST EXPERIENCE Relax on island time, immerse yourself in the crystal-clear fresh water and laze along the pristine white sands of the destination’s most iconic swimming spot! Enjoy lunch at Kingfisher Bay Resort, a guided 4WD coach tour transfer and an afternoon of leisure spent at Lake McKenzie.




A FULL DAY ADVENTURE IN PARADISE! K’gari (Fraser Island) is a UNESCO paradise with ancient shifting sand dunes, over one hundred freshwater lakes, and subtropical rainforests growing in the sand. Join the local experts for an all-inclusive, small group 4WD adventure (maximum 24 guests).


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