Alive Magazine - Edition 27 - October 2022

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OCTOBER 2022 EDITION #27 Magazine WIDE BAYalive 01Alive Magazine Wide Bay | ALIVE& FREE A BEARY BIG QUEST Ted earns a ticket to travel Full story on pages 04-07 A family journey Meet the founders of Campedia Full story on pages 12-15 ONLINE MAGAZINE - WWW.ALIVEMAG.COM.AU FOLLOW US @ALIVEMAGWIDEBAY 100% LOCALLY OWNED & OPERATED Adventure Edition

Dr Benjamin Omowaire


Dr Benjamin Omowaire is a specialist general practitioner and a Fellow of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners. He holds bachelor’s degrees in both Medicine and Surgery and has a post graduate degree in pediatrics. Dr Omowaire has undertaken skin cancer training at the University of Queensland and Skin Laser and cosmetic training at the American Academy of Aesthetic Medicine. With interests in all aspect of general practice, skin cancer, cosmetic and therapeutic skin lasers and rejuvenation. For more information on skin go to

Dr Henry Sabondo Dr Sonia Joseph
MBBS FRACGP Dr Flor Rodriguez MB.BS. ; FRACGP.Fellow of the Australian College of General Practitioners After hours emergency medical services Dr Joseph Elengikal Dominin MBBS MD DNB FANZCA DCH SACRRM FACRRM Newpatientswelcome! Phone: 07 4124 6333 Book Appointment Online (opposite Hervey Bay Private and Public Hospital) Suite 9 / 1-17 Hershel Court, Urraween GENERAL HEALTH • General Health and Wellbeing • Children’s health • Men and Women’s health • Implanon Insertion • Chronic Disease management –(Asthma, Emphysema, Dibetes, Arthritis) • Mental Health • Travel Medicine and Vaccination • Pre-employment medicals • Work cover and Insurance medicals SKIN CLINIC • Skin Cancer Clinic • Automated Full Body Skin Scan • Advanced Skin Cancer Surgery • Cosmetic Injectables – Botox and Fillers • Skin Laser Treatment and Rejuvenation • Skin Products – Authentic Obagi

The not-for-profit club is part of international organisation that takes shy, nervous, and introverted people like Mathew and empowers them to be leaders with greater self-confidence, personal growth, and great listening skills.

His journey is truly amazing!

We also met Nathaniel, the Backpacking Bear, who seems to be living a better life than most of us could ever hope to imagine.

He carries a passport and liberally hands out business cards to his many admiring fans. As a member of the local Riverbend Medieval Society, he is in character and costumes well.

Have you ever dreamed of shrugging off the shackles of a materialistic lifestyle and taking off to have fabulous adventures and travel around our great country?

Meet Hervey Bay’s Greg Hollier and his wife Donna who are the founders of Campedia; a travel website and app where you can easily search and compare camping and caravan facilities and activities all on one site, plus find food and fuel stops along the way.

The family sold up everything to fulfill their dream of travelling around Australia with their three children while home schooling and working fulltime on the business.

The family prove that it is possible to give up your home, job, and financial commitments to

fulfil a dream of swapping the everyday grind to make life-long memories and experiences.

We also had a chat to the fabulous and dedicated crew at Volunteer Marine Rescue Hervey Bay who give up their time to provide a rescue service for local boaties.

The crews can be faced with everything from simple activations to life and death scenarios and training is vital to ensure the safety of both the lives they are saving and the rescue team.

It’s a major operation that is vital to Hervey Bay and wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for the volunteers and sponsorship by local businesses and organisations.

Have a wonderful month!




Founder / Creative Director



Deputy Editor


Digital Editor


Advertising Manager


Advertising Executive DARREN STIMPSON Phone 0408 122 050

Advertising Representative

KAREN WHITE Phone 0418 197 386

Advertising Representative KIM HARRIS

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. Feedback or suggestion? Send to:

October 7 & 14


When: Friday, October 7 & October 14

Where: City Park in Pialba (Oct 7) & Maryborough Showgrounds (Oct 14)

What: Food and Groove Fridays are returning to the Fraser Coast and to launch these delicious summer afternoons a special free ‘Get Ready’ themed events will be held.

The Get Ready event is a QLD gov initiative designed to help get QLD residents ready for summer and storm season.

October 12


When: October 12, 1pm to 6pm

Where: Maryborough Showgrounds

What: The showcase is a one-stop employment shop that aims both to fill immediate vacancies and help people on a longer-term pathway to skilled local jobs, by bringing employers and trainers together with current jobseekers and those on the hunt for a new career.



Aviator Samuel William Hecker was a foundation member and president of the Maryborough Aero Club. His historic 1928 Gipsy Moth was the first aircraft to fly under the Sydney Harbour Bridge and was flown to Maryborough in 1931. Sam was a flying officer and aeronautics instructor in the RAAF. A lifelong interest was the maintenance of various privately owned aircraft and the restoration of veteran cars. Sam was the Queensland winner of the ‘Round Australia Redex Final’ in 1953 and a provisional winner in 1955. A dedicated businessman, he managed a family owned General Motors Holden Dealership for fifty years, and held official positions in may local organisations with active community involvement.

October 28


When: October 28, 12pm to 3pm.

Where: Neighbourhood Hive, Boat Harbour Dr, Pialba

What: ‘Tis almost the season to be jolly! Join like-minded crafters in a relaxed social environment. Enjoy a leisurely afternoon tea, swap ideas, see what other people are making and make some new connections. Bring your materials and projects and have a chat with like-minded people.


Featured in this month’s edition is Mathew Eyles, who recently experienced the USA after travelling abroad for an international toastmaster’s competition. KERRIE ALEXANDER - EDITOR
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Neverhad I ever imagined an adult would attach to a soft toy or a teddy bear. The fact that I couldn’t, demonstrates how naïve I am. A study into our attachment with childhood toys conducted by Professor Bruce Hood from the University of Bristol discovered that one in three people still sleep with their teddies. Apparently 44% of adults held on to their childhood teddies and dolls, and at least 34% still sleep with a soft toy every night.

Never had I ever, also imagined, that here on the Fraser Coast I would meet a bear who is a celebrity in his own right. Nathaniel, the Backpacking Bear seems to be living a better life than most of us could ever hope to imagine. At last count he had over 150 Facebook followers and countless more online engagements and overseas connections.

This dapper little Scottish Lord of landed gentry has a wardrobe of tailored suits, ties, sporting apparel and accessories. It’s an impressive collection. I admit to being a little envious. Nathaniel has an outfit for every occasion. He carries a passport and liberally hands out business cards to his many admiring fans. As a member of the local Riverbend Medieval Society, he is in character and costumes well.

Overseas travels have taken him from Spain to Antarctica and many places in between. In Australia he prefers trains, but equally loves ‘roughing it’ in the camper hire van. More recent online posts declare him as a serious food critic. It seems that his palate has become somewhat sophisticated the more he dines out.

So how did his rise to fame eventuate? It is a Cinderella story. After spending many lonely years on the shelf of his mum Sue Crickitt’s cupboard, he received an invitation he couldn’t refuse. A plane flight to Perth. And, as they say, the rest is history.

Nathaniel, a new Settler Bear straight out of Melbourne, was a gift to Sue who was working as a paralegal and conveyancer.

“When I left work in Townsville, he was a farewell gift from my officer manager. That was 21 years ago,” Sue said.

During the intervening years Sue encountered many burdens as she nursed her late husband Brian through

multiple cancer treatments. Nathaniel wasn’t forgotten, it’s just that he took a back seat to the many trials and tribulations Sue navigated, together with Brian’s health battles.

“It started with prostate cancer years ago and then he got a lump on the side of his face. He had radiation therapy, and his face did alter. I nursed him for some time until I couldn’t anymore. He ended up in Maryborough Hospital. That’s life. He opted for no chemo and died,” Sue said.

She tells me that it was a big readjustment to a life without Brian but that his life insurance policy afforded her the means to recommence travelling - something they loved to do together. The first step was the hardest.

“I wanted to visit my brother in Western Australia and got myself all organised. Checking in online the day before

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I left, I had a panic attack. I thought, ‘I’m doing this by myself.’ Brian had always taken over and even though I had everything organised I was worried. A little lightbulb went on. I went and got Nathaniel out of the cupboard and put him in my backpack,” Sue said.

That first trip was a great success. So much so they organised many more together. They’ve taken international flights to Europe, including Spain, Portugal, Greece, and Morocco on an art tour. Sue tells me the 12-hour scenic flight across Antarctica was thrilling. Then there was Norfolk Island and Tasmania where they enjoyed a slow drive around the island in a hired campervan enjoying sumptuous foods and sights along the way.

“I travel with a list. Before I go, I check out what I want to see. We worked our way around the list of places and stopped at the end of the day at caravan parks. Not knowing what to expect, it only took us a day and a half to get from our last destination to my girlfriend’s place at Pipers River. We enjoyed it thoroughly,” Sue said.

Sue tells me they haven’t been anywhere since Covid locked us all down but assures me that travel plans are simmering away. I note that the list is long.

“We want to cruise around the top of Australia from Perth to Cairns. When we get to Cairns we can come home on the train.

“I would love a ticket to the Ghan. I’ve always been a train person. I would love to do the Canadian railway with a cruise attached. I would like to do a riverboat cruise through Europe.

“I’m starting to get twitchy. I want to go to Eungella in North Queensland. I would like to stay at the chalet up there because it’s so high in the mountains in the rainforest of the National Park. I think Nathaniel would like it,” she said.

While Sue fills me in on their prospective travel trails Nathaniel sits patiently to one side observing our conversation. Today he’s decked out in a khaki loafer

suit and sports a Loch Ness monster badge – as homage to his heritage.

Nathaniel’s eyes are that soft glassy teddy bear brown which appear so deep they are fathomless. His quiet gaze is intense. I wonder what he thinks of me until I catch this thought and place it in my pocket for another time. I check in with Sue and ask about his personality. After all he’s her travelling companion. She looks at me with a mischievous smile and winks while announcing.

“I’m 72 and I travel with my 21-year-old companion. Nathaniel has quite a personality. He is a celebrity in his own way. If somebody (who knows us) sees me without him they ask, ‘Where’s Nathaniel?’ He goes to Portside. Fran (the owner) and her daughter Nadia always greet him, and Fran gives him cuddles.

“When we go places, I pose him for (photographs) certain things.

“He likes food and is getting an alter ego as a gourmet food critic.

“It’s more fun to tell the story through his point of view,” she said.

Sue is a self-confessed eccentric. You only live once – right? Well then, she backs the sentiment up with.

“My children are cool (with it). I told them I was old enough to be as eccentric as I like and I’m going to live long enough to be a problem for them.

“My youngest grandchild is 16, then 18 and 21. They love Nathaniel. The major problem is who I can leave him to?”

We discuss the possibility of Nathaniel continuing his career and becoming a tourism ambassador. I’m finding it plausible. He does travel quite a lot!

I ask if I can take a photo. Sue tells me many people ask. She says that he is good natured and always obliges.

“People come up to me and ask if they can take a photo and I give them his card.

“On our way to Perth I was having a cup of coffee at

Alive Magazine Wide Bay |

the airport, as you do. There were kids everywhere running around and this lady came up behind me. ‘I wish my grandchildren were as well behaved as that bear.’ And I responded that he doesn’t give me any trouble at all,” Sue said.

We scroll through his Facebook page where Sue points out the stories she posts – always in Nathaniel’s voice. After all, it is his page. He is the celebrity. I note there are photos where Nathaniel is decked out in some very chic attire. Then Sue whips out his made to measure backpack which she slips neatly across his shoulders. She tells me she made it herself from upholstery fabric. It’s so finely sewn and detailed it looks like it was made for that movie Honey I Shrunk the Kids – a miniature version of a serious Kathmandu trekking backpack. I can see from a photo that he also has a personalised secure harness for the car seat. I mentally tick off the list of Sue’s many accomplishments before I ask about her creativity.

It seems that she was born with a creative gene. Dressmaking is a breeze. She’s been doing it, since forever.

“My niece Lilli was into Barbies. I made all the dresses. She still has them.

“Next, I’m going to make him (Nathaniel) a baby carrier so he can go on the front and he can see forward when we travel.

“Pinterest is wonderful and there are many bears clothing patterns available,” she said.

Sue shows me a photo of a t-shirt Nathaniel wore around Tasmania which sports the Tassie Isle logo.

“I asked for permission to use it and made an ironon transfer and printed it myself,” she said.

Sue’s attention to detail is outstanding however when she shares photos of the many artworks she has completed I am left flabbergasted and in awe. This is where she becomes serious, and her true humility resides.

“I am at the privately owned Wide Bay Gallery in Maryborough on Thursday and Fridays. We have an art shop, supplies, gallery and online shop. I am teaching pastels, gouache and watercolour,” Sue said.

The portrait of Brian her late husband is sentimentally beautiful. I announce my admiration as Sue brushes me off and says she not that good. I disagree. Her other completed works are even more masterful. They should be hung in a gallery.

Sue segues back to travel, and I’m transported to an arrival point where she tells me the security team run a bomb detection wand across Nathaniel while they laugh declaring that there’s no need to do a cavity search on him.

Lucky for everyone all round because, despite the self-confessed eccentricities, they both look innocent enough for Nathaniel not to be declared a drug mule. Just a wicked thought! Well, he has travelled extensively and has the means but probably not the motive.

Sue Crickitt, the artist adventurer, is quite an irreverent and inspirational individual who colours our world with her own brand of broad, bold brushstrokes. Along with her multiple talents, she is most certainly, the woman who audaciously abetted a bear to do more than sit on a shelf.

07Alive Magazine Wide Bay |

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Ray was full of compliments when I returned to shore, I eFoiling. Ray was cautious at first, much like my attempt

Greg was a super intuitive instructor. He can read what we just wanted a fun date together. Greg explained that doing the experience as a surprise birthday gift from his

09Alive Magazine Wide Bay |

Ray and I went out together for the next attempt. Greg was always in the water with us… cruising around nearby making sure we were safe and guiding us on the safest passage to travel if we looked like we were straying. Ray and I felt like we had nailed the technical stuff on try 1, feeling more confident on the board. Ray was up on his knees in no time, it wasn’t long after he was standing up eFoiling and flying above the water, which resulted in some cool stacks!

There were some good laughs watching Ray get dunked and get back up grinning. I had a few stacks of my own and was able to get some air on this attempt. It was an exhilarating weightless feeling. Kind of like snowboarding or surfing but also uniquely different. After falling off a few times it made me realise there is nothing to fear which improved my confidence on the board.

Ray was nailing it! He was flying for longer periods of time and perfecting the skills, working on learning to corner and control the board effectively. He said that taking it slow and getting a feel of his body movements was key to the progress. “Once you find your feet and master the trigger then it feels ok to give it a bit more throttle”.

We were both super impressed with each other’s newly acquired skill and went back to shore like happy drowned rats. We all felt quite bonded after the shared experience and hung around to chat with Greg and the crew. Greg told us about his passion for the business

and how he loved seeing all ages of people have a go and enjoying themselves.

Being a surfer, you could tell Greg loved being at the beach and sharing the experience with Hervey Bay locals and tourists. “Summer Holidays are hectic, we have sessions booked back-to-back all day, every day, it’s hard on the body being in the water all day but I love it”. HOVER Hervey Bay operates three tours a day, seven days a week.

Alive Magazine Wide Bay |
THE OUTSTANDING SCHOOL, WITH OUTSTANDING OUTCOMES (07) 4190 2200 St Mary’s College Maryborough has been recognised as ONE OF QUEENSLAND’S TOP 150 SCHOOLS ENROLMENTS NOW OPEN FOR 2024 & 2025 Discover The Small School Difference

Ray and I did 90 minutes which flew by fast. We would not have got as much enjoyment from 45 minutes I think, as our confidence and ability grew steadily and slowly. 45 minutes is available for those who want to have a shorter go or are already experienced. Greg and the HOVER team tailor make all experiences, so have a chat to see what suits your circumstances.

If you are looking to put together a date that will connect you both and make an impression, I can guarantee you this will get you both laughing, talking, and having a good time. Ray and I had an awesome experience. It was a day we won’t forget!

Happy adventuring.

Are you considering orthopaedic surgery?

Dr Anthony Murray is a highly experienced and innovative orthopaedic surgeon who is now consulting from Hervey Bay and Bundaberg.

Dr Murray specialises in minimally invasive total hip replacement, knee replacement, orthopaedic trauma and sports injuries.

Contact us today to discuss your treatment options. No wait times. Phone: 07 5493 8038 |

Dr Anthony Murray Orthopaedic Surgeon by Kerrie Alexander Photo by Greg Hollier

It was two years ago that Greg and Donna Hollier gave up their jobs, sold the family home and almost all their worldly possessions to travel around Australia with their three children.

The adventurous Hervey Bay couple decided that the traditional 9-5 fulltime jobs and mainstream schooling for their children, now aged 15, 13 and 8, just wasn’t for them anymore.

Greg was the owner of a local photography and marketing business, and Donna was a full-time mum and accounts keeper for both her father’s and Greg’s business.

However, for eight years prior to taking the big leap, Greg had also been working on a website and app that has now changed the course of how Australian traveller’s search and compare caravan and camping facilities and bookings, plus find exciting activities, and things to see and do all on one site.

Greg and Donna are the founders of Campedia.

The couple have always been passionate about travelling and the exceptional experiences it offers their children but over time found it difficult to navigate user-generated apps that often lead them to camping area that didn’t exist or weren’t dedicated sites at all.

One horrible incident set the wheels of Campedia in motion.

“The app we were using was user-generated so a lot of the backpacker market were putting a lot of gravel pits and dirt tracks in as campgrounds,” Greg said.

“We pulled into one with our caravan travelling north and got met by a very angry farmer with a shotgun slung over his shoulder because we pulled over to feed the kids.

“The free apps can be fantastic but when it allows someone to put a campground on someone’s

private land, that is just crazy!

“There was a trucking bay for this guy to load his cattle in the mornings and he was having no end of dramas at 4am because he couldn’t get his truck in to load his cattle.

“It was full of backpackers and caravanners that had stopped in there thinking it was a free camp for the night.

“So, I thought there had to be a way to vet locations to make sure they are real but also then from the caravan park and campsite owners’ perspective, give them the ability to have control of their photos, descriptions, what facilities they have and their pricing.”

Greg focused on developing Campedia on the side until six years later when it came time to either stay as they were in Hervey Bay or make the ultimate decision to sell everything, live on the road and work on Campedia fulltime.

They decided on the latter!

“We were a normal Hervey Bay family with a house, and kids going to school, and all while developing Campedia I had a photography and marketing business.

“We got to the point where we needed to get out into the caravan and camping world, so we decided to hit the road and go and speak to travellers, get amongst the industry, and find out what’s happening.

“We wanted to get into the industry and experience it for ourselves.

“One of the biggest reliefs we felt was once we packed up the house and pretty much sold 90% of our possessions. We felt free of having all this stuff!

“We have everything we needed or wanted and then to get out there and explore and enjoy everything we’re doing, has been amazing!

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“It was a massive step for us though, especially with three kids.”

The couple’s mission was to make the App and Website easy for members to use while searching and comparing camping and caravan facilities all on one site, plus adding their own real-life experiences of the places they visit.

Donna is the data entry and accounts whiz and Greg is the digital guru.

With their hard work and dedication, the website now has over 6000+ businesses registered across Australia.

Members are also contributing to the Campedia community by adding YouTube and TikTok videos of the locations, adding photos and sharing content with friends on social media platforms.

Campedia appeared in 233,000 online searches just last month.

“Our guests now have a one-stop-shop to look at availability, check rates and make bookings without having to go to each individual caravan park website to make the booking.

“I will go and look at what’s been added during the day by our followers and users and then we verify that it’s a real location.

“I might call the local council and ask if there’s an RV area there, and if its’ 24 hrs etc. They might say no, we’ve been trying to shut that down or it doesn’t exist and then we don’t approve.

While there’s plenty of stories out there about families selling up and living the great Australian dream of travelling full-time, Greg said it’s not always “rainbows and sunshine”.

He said living, working full-time and home schooling in a caravan with a family of five certainly comes with its challenges.

“We weren’t the most popular parents around, taking the kids away from their friends to start with.

“It did take about four months to settle into a routine and shake off the feelings of our old lifestyle.

“You have five people living in a box effectively. Personal space disappeared and privacy disappeared.

“Everything seems to get amplified. When it’s good it’s really good but then when it’s bad, it seems really bad because you are in a little pressure cooker with five people in a caravan.

“Say if you get four days of rain everyone is getting a bit antsy, sometimes Donna and I send each other to time out,” he laughed.

“I’ll say here’s the car keys I’ll go to a café and work half a day from there and you take the car and get away.

“It’s about working out that balance and communication. In between the home-schooling, working full-time, travelling, and exploring and managing socials, it is full-on and that can sometimes run a bit of interference.”

If you take a peek at the Campedia Facebook page, website and Instagram posts you will see that there are of course more good times than bad.

Since leaving the driveway of their old home two years ago the family has travelled more than 20,000km, waking up in different locations across our great country every few days.

The sunsets in Kakadu, swimming holes and waterfalls in Litchfield, Cape Tribulation, The Daintree, Berry Springs and the incredible countryside of Darwin and Broom are just some of their favourite destinations.

Greg said they have also made life-long friends along the way.

Alive Magazine Wide Bay |

“We met one of the guys that were racing in the Finke Desert race last year and got invited to go out and stay on a farm and watch the cars getting tuned up.

“It wasn’t an experience that we planned; it was spontaneous because we got the invite from someone we met at a roadhouse on the way to Northern Territory.

“The kids got to meet a whole new group of people that we’re still friends with now.

“It’s a whole sense of community out there for people that are travelling full time.

“It’s amazing how many people are actually doing it.”

Their eldest daughter Sienna has also been recognised through the @_SiennaHollier Instagram account with various companies sending the 15-year-old clothes to promote on her travel posts. Greg said they would do it all again in a heartbeat.

“It’s been a great lifestyle and experience and it’s funny; it would almost be hard to go back to living in a house.

“Having the ability to wake up in a different location every couple of days is amazing.

“This country has so much to offer, there’s so much to see and there are so many people out there that are like-minded and are about the alternate lifestyle of living and working remotely that you’re certainly not alone in doing it.

“The Daintree, Berry springs, getting to see crocodiles in Kakadu, Litchfield with beautiful waterfalls and all the history of the places we visit, you can’t learn that from school. This is life experience!

“Do your research, plan it well, realise there will be an adjustment period and just take it all in.”

Follow the family on any of the Campedia social pages on Instagram and Facebook and be sure to visit to plan your next adventure.

Photos by Greg Hollier
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Eyles has lived with profound dyslexia since birth, and as a child struggled with literacy and short-term memory loss.

So how did the Hervey Bay father-of-three deliver a seven-minute speech in front of a crowd of thousands at the prestigious semifinals for the World Speaking Championships in Nashville Tennessee last month?

Nine years ago, he found Fraser Coast Toastmasters.

The not-for-profit club is part of international organisation that takes shy, nervous, and introverted people like Mathew and empowers them to be leaders with greater self-confidence, personal growth, and great listening skills.

Mathew is one of the true success stories of the simple program used by the club to start with baby steps, walk in your own time and run when you’re ready.

He has sprinted across the finish line to become President of the club and won each of his speaking competitions at central, district, divisional and area in the last 12 months to qualify for the international semi-final. He was in the top 28 of 30,000 competitors.

Plus, the adventure saw Mathew take an extra three weeks to see New York, Yellow Stone Park, San Francisco, and more.

He is a highly sort after Master of Ceremonies with his crowning achievement being chosen to open the World Masters Games in Tasmania in front of a 20,000-strong crowd.

He now also works in building resilient communities with disadvantaged people and business.

The passionate speaker has enjoyed a morning walk for many years on Hervey Bay’s foreshore but for the last 12 months, it has been his classroom.

by Kerrie Alexander
17Alive Magazine Wide Bay | HOME GROWN

The inspirational speech based on the impacts of COVID-19 and isolation, was learnt by listening to a recording rather than reading.

“Instead of watching beautiful sunrises and dolphins I started using that hour of a morning to solely practice my speech,” Mathew said.

“Plenty of people stopped and ask me what I’m doing because I’m walking backwards and forwards practicing my speech on the beach, staring out to the ocean. I get a few funny looks,” he said with a laugh.

“If I do get some really weird looks, I’ll tell them what I’m doing.”

While he didn’t make it to the finals, Mathew said he took away some hints and tips to put into training for next year’s semi-finals in Barbados.

“I was nervous, but I used to be terrified,” he said about performing and being live streamed to the world during the speech.

“You don’t just stand at a lectern; you use the stage.

“Toastmasters has given me the confidence to say I can do it but also the humility to know there was a lot of work involved.

“I felt really good. You are amongst friends and everyone there is supporting you so in a way it wouldn’t matter if you got up there and forget every line, they would have clapped you and supported you and probably given you a hug and

Phone: 4124 1919 79 Boat Harbour Dr, Pialba (Fraser Shores Shopping Centre) Opening Hours: Monday – Friday 6.30am - 6.30pm Closed public holidays • Qualified experienced educators • Kindergarten program • A Local Family Owned Business • Cater from birth to 12 years old • Registered Sunsmart Centre • Meeting the National Quality standard We offer: A place wherechildren can play,learn and together.grow Alive Magazine Wide Bay |

say better luck next year.

“I got to hear the people speak that made it to the finals and you always learn better when you watch people deliver their speeches live.

“Learning to be more relaxed, calmer and to speak more personally to the audience is what I took away from that.”

Mathew’s toastmasters journey started when he gave up competitive paddling to spend more time with his children.

He also wanted to be a better father, a better speaker, a better leader, and open pathways to a better career.

“I used to be an ocean canoeist and represented Australia, and I didn’t want to keep paddling because it took hours and hours to stay fit enough to do that, and I was 40!

“I’m a very private person and enjoy portrait painting and gardening. I’m not an expressive out there person and needed the skills to better myself in my workplace and be a better communicator with my family.

“Being a new dad, I wanted to communicate better with my children.

“There’s nothing worse than having a dad that locks himself in a room and paints portraits.”

As well as constant love and support from his wife Meagan, Mathew said toastmasters changed the course of his life and helped overcome some barriers of living with dyslexia.

“Personally, what toastmasters has done for me is huge!

“It’s made a massive difference in my career and how I get information across. It has a much better impact.

“It has massively changed my life and given me so many more opportunities that I would have said no to before. I have come miles when it comes to confidence.

“I can read a room quickly and understand what I need to tweak, to get that message across.

“I can’t see printed words on paper; it’s like a white river to me and I’m even worse on a computer screen, so I had to find ways to be able to function in life.

“I always wanted to be successful, to have a house and a family and I didn’t want to sit around and say, ‘oh me the victim’. Now I apply that to everything. See

a problem. Fix the problem.”

Toastmasters is open to anyone of any age or background. All you need is an open mind.

Mathew said all five clubs in Hervey Bay and Maryborough are warm and welcoming and open the doors to everyone without any expectations.

There’s a mix of word lovers, small business owners, retirees, professionals, and people who just have a special speech they want to deliver perfectly.

“It’s a friendly and encouraging environment and you’re not forced to participate. If you’re nervous already the last thing you want is to be forced to do something.

“You just do everything in your own time.

“Once you realise everyone are friends it’s really easy to get up there and talk because of the safety net of friendship.

“There is no pressure whatsoever. Just come and enjoy it!”

Fraser Coast Toastmasters meets every Monday from 6.30pm at 17 Cypress St, Torquay.

You can find out more by finding them or one of the other clubs in the Fraser Coast on Facebook.

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Price MARYBOROUGH . HERVEY BAY . GYMPIE . SUNSHINE COAST 1300 795 625 ACN 094 728 686 QBCC Lic 1057231
19Alive Magazine Wide Bay |


“When they see our boat pull up alongside with rescue written along the side, they know they are in good hands and that’s a very satisfying feeling knowing that they feel that way about us.”
Photos by Marine Rescue Hervey Bay
Alive Magazine Wide Bay |

Aday out boating on Fraser Coast waters conjures up images of soaking up the sunshine, catching a feast of fish and taking a dip in our pristine waters.

However, for Volunteer Marine Rescue Hervey Bay it can be a vastly different experience.

Meet Commodore Graeme Davies who has been with the service for six years and - like all the other incredibly passionate volunteers - is dedicated to saving lives at sea in predominantly not-so-favourable conditions.

“The difference between VMR and recreational vessels is that ‘rec vessels’ go out in the best of weather, stay in waters that are safe and maintain a healthy distance from other vessels,” Graeme said.

“Rescue vessels, as a result of the tasks they are called to undertake, are often called out in less than favourable weather conditions and often those boats that are in trouble are in shallow water or challenging places.

“We have to go into those conditions to render assistance, and to do that we have to get alongside the boat or at least get it on a tow rope.

“That is why we have to have well-trained crew.”

The volunteers of the not-for-profit rescue organisation each have their role to play, with radio operators on location in the Urangan base for 12 hours a day, from 6am to 6pm, 365 days a year.

The afterhours radio is monitored by a radio room in Gladstone and calls for help from Fraser Coast boaties between 6pm and 6am will activate local radio operators, skippers, and crew.

Graeme said the crews can be faced with everything from simple activations to life and death scenarios and training is vital to ensure the safety of both the lives they are saving and the rescue team.

On average, the crews are called out 300-400 times a year, including medical evacuations off K’gari (Fraser Island) assisting Queensland Ambulance Service and search and rescue operations with Queensland Police Service.

“Typically, we will get two to three search and rescue activities in conjunction with Queensland water police each year.

“Either someone is in trouble, and we don’t know where they are, or someone didn’t come back in time, and we have to go looking for them and it’s a structured search and rescue exercise.”

Radio operators and crews undertake separate courses that are both nationally recognised qualifications that give them the skills and knowledge required to be effective in their role.

The radio operators learn VHF radio and the VMR systems, then take on supervised shifts in the Urangan VMR office before being authorised for operational duties.

The crew train in both theory and practical skills to give them a broad knowledge of how to be safe on a boat and how to be part of a rescue vessel crew.

“There are assessments to make sure they can be safe both on the vessel and if something terrible happens and they need to look after themselves in the water, they can.

They also learn all the things we need to do on a rescue vessel like how to tow a boat, how to tie up alongside them, how to conduct a medical evacuation.

“Once they are authorised, they are what we call competent crew.

“Then there’s opportunities for advancement to senior crew and with more experience and more training they can become a rescue vessel skipper.”

Graeme said there’s plenty of reward for doing the hard yards with training including putting a nationally recognised certificate with your resume and putting the training to use to help boaties in need.

“The one word I would use is ‘satisfying’,” Graeme said.

“More often than not there are people on board that boat that are concerned for their welfare and safety.

“When they see our boat pull up alongside with rescue written along the side, they know they are in good hands

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and that’s a very satisfying feeling knowing that they feel that way about us.

“We see an instant look of relief.”

Graeme recalls one activation that he’ll never forget.

“There was a young family a fair way up the island that had got into trouble in a little tinnie, and it was already dark, the sun had set well and truly, and they had a young child on board when they called for assistance.

“They were on the last dregs of their mobile phone battery and didn’t have all the right safety equipment with them and the only light that they had was on their mobile phone.

“When we came alongside them and seeing the look on the mum’s face, knowing that we were there and that they were in safe hands, that was a particularly special moment for me.

“That is without a doubt the thing that brings people through our gates to join and the thing that keeps people with us is that sense of provision of service. “There’s a great sense of satisfaction every time we do it.”

Graeme said a major aspect to successfully funding MRHB is for those boaties in the community to take up an annual membership. For a small annual fee, boaties receive on-water assistance (free up to a certain value) if they break down or get in trouble.

Marine Rescue Hervey Bay will always respond to boaties requiring assistance whether they are members or not, but due to the expenses involved, non- members pay to help cover the costs of the capability.

“By joining MRHB in effect you have RACQ on the water.”

Graeme encourages all boaties, whether members

or not, to log-on with Marine Rescue Hervey Bay either by radio (VHF Channel 73) or by phone (07 4128 9666) before you head out on the water. Boaties travelling to Bundaberg can also log on with Bundy VMR by phoning 4159 4349.

“When you log-on, you nominate a time you plan to be back and if you don’t come back, efforts start being made to find out where you are.

“It’s also vital that you have a radio and its working … if you don’t log on or your radio doesn’t work then we don’t know if you are in trouble or where you are.”

MRHB recommend not relying on mobile phones when out on the water as coverage is not reliable once you head out into the bay.

This radio monitoring is a free service that could save your life.


The organisation has come a long way since starting in 1972, when a group of like-minded people used their own vessels as rescue boats.

Turn the clock forward 50 years and the team took possession of a $1.4 million purpose-built rescue vessel 12 months ago.

The 12-metre vessel was five years in the planning with a huge amount of research being undertaken by a special team and presently is the only one of its kind in Queensland, and possibly Australia. The team did a serious amount of fundraising during that time to help pay for the boat, relied on community support, and an incredibly generous donation of $400,000 by Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of the Freemasons Queensland. To celebrate the 50 th anniversary of MRHB, the team have published a book with stories and photos of current and former volunteers’ adventures. For more information about this vital service and how to get a copy of the book, follow them on Facebook or visit the website at

23Alive Magazine Wide Bay |

In1773 explorer and writer Samuel Johnson said “The use of travelling is to regulate imagination by reality, and instead of thinking how things may be, to see them as they are”. This phrase hit a chord for intrepid artist and traveller Bill Sargent and spurs him to see the world as it really is. To truly achieve this, Bill and his trusty travelling companion, his lovely wife Sharon, head off the beaten track as the two happy nomads discover the incredible trueness of the world.

Bill is an avid travel photographer. His stunning images capture the glorious details that he finds in the patchwork of the places he has visited. From outback Australia to Europe, from Spain to Asia, Bill has journeyed, explored, traipsed and meandered, all the while seeing the world through the eyes of an artist. His travel journals consist of sketchbooks and watercolour paints with which he has finessed the art of quickly capturing on paper what he sees before him. The fast sketches capture a moment in time of the mood of his surroundings, and like his photographs, he has an eye for detail and a knack of understanding the soul of a place. He explores for months at a time, traveling to places that aren’t in glossy travel brochures – his own quiet, casual character yearns to observe the true heart and character of a community, it’s

terrain and its inhabitants.

With an idea of where they are headed, and a loose plan for their trip, Bill and Sharon are happy to throw caution to the wind and go with the flow. Their free spirit, gypsy souls mean when things don’t go to plan, they embrace the unexpected and consider it an opportunity to add to the adventure! Bill’s travel blog is a beautiful catalogue of images and tales of their adventures, often humorous and unexpected with the twists and turns of the landscape and encounters with the locals.

For Bill, to watch the adventure unfold before him is a beautiful opportunity to capture a scene, a moment in time through the eyes of the explorer and artist alike. His camera, sketch book and paint tin are never far from him and he enjoys urban sketching no matter the location. Bill is an explorer at heart, to the very core. To truly submerge himself in a culture he has mastered the art of watching, deeply observing, acquainting himself with the aesthetics. Like Samuel Johnson said, he has undeniably embraced the reality of travel by seeing things how they really are, and that is an artform in itself.

Photos by Bill Sargent
25Alive Magazine Wide Bay |
Alive Magazine Wide Bay | THE BOBKATZ LOCAL MUSICIAN 577 Charlton Esplanade, Urangan, Hervey Bay (corner of Pier Street & the Esplanade) Open Monday - Saturday from 9am 4TH BIRTHDAY! Bigger & better location THE LARGEST HAT COLLECTION ON THE FRASER COAST.

How did you get your band together?

I met Sarah’s father Garry in the late 90s at a blues show featuring Phil Manning. We were both picked to play with Phil Manning in his last set. We decided to form a band which originally did covers. Until we adopted songs Garry had written which show the formation of the Bobkatz.When Garry sadly passed away in 2019, Sarah stepped into Garry’s shoes as lead singer which Im sure he is very happy with.

What inspired you to start playing and making music?

I loved music from the 70s such as Daddy Cool and Skyhooks. Inspired by these bands I learned to play guitar as a teenager. I practised an average of five hours a day everyday. I guess you could say guitar was an obsession. Being able to work on Garry’s original material in The Bobkatz has been the pinnacle of my music career & led me to opening my own recording studio working with artists from all over Australia. I’ve produced over 140 albums over the last 16 years or so including most of The Bobkatz albums. What instruments do you play?

Guitar, bass, mandolin, mandola, ukulele , piano, banjo & bouzouki. Almost anything with strings. Tell us about your favourite performance in your career?

Playing the big stages at Tamworth and The Gympie Music Muster.

Which qualities do you think make a great musician?

Dedication to music itself is so important along with being true to yourself about music. It is also important to not feel as though you are in a heircahy of who is better than who, that’s just so unimportant & unhelpful when it comes to creativity & growing as a musician. What’s your upcoming gigs?

We have a series of house concerts here in Hervey Bay in October and November. These shows best suit our story songs and we have had great success with them here in the Bay and in Bundaberg. We are off to Tamworth in January 2023 to perform in the big festival & are planning gigs in Albury and other regional areas soon.


For bookings:

What inspired you to start playing and making music?

I can never remember a time when Dad wasn’t playing his bass and singing in bands. We spent weekends at his rehearsals, sleeping under pub tables, jumping up to sing harmonies from about the age of 10… Music was always pulsing through my veins, and dad made music come to life and feel so right to me. To watch him turn from the cover band man, to a self penned writer of songs that told stories of all things and more that I felt at home with, Music was always going to be part of who I was and am today.

What instruments do you play?

I was the kid who if I cant pick it up or master it straight away, Ill throw it to the side and try something else I might be able to be better at. I self-taught myself Keyboard when I begged Santa for a keyboard, and then the poor town of Howlong NSW (growing up) had to sit through me playing the National Anthem at Friday Morning Assembly at school. Those poor people!

For a few years, I played some fairly “ordinary” guitar in a cover band here in the bay, and spent some “rock and roll” years as lead vocal for a few local bands.

I have only just recently (againnn for the 50th time) have decided I need to commit some time to learn some more guitar. Singing was always my thing. Harmonies were something dad taught me from a young age, and I am blessed to have been taught such skills.

Tell us about your favourite performance in your career?

Music hasn’t really been about performance to me. Music, gigs, stages and sweat, beer, and cover songs in local pubs were what I found in my music career. I loved every minute of it.

The first time I actually realised how much I adored and felt like myself, was being on stage at a sit down, respectful, quiet and supportive audience in 2020 when we did our tribute Show for my dad Garry Koehler at the Tamworth Country Musci Festival. I don’t think any gig will match that evening. #Doinitfordad Which qualities do you think make a great musician?

I think if you have that love for music that sits in the centre of your being, and that when you perform and be up on that stage singing/playing and feeling every word that leaves your lips or resonates from your instrument… You just have to love what you do… its not about fame, its not about fortune… Its about loving what you do, and who you are when you are doing it

Robert Mackay Sarah Koehler
27Alive Magazine Wide Bay |
Alive Magazine Wide Bay | October 12, 2022 1pm – 6pm, Maryborough Showgrounds DISCOVER YOUR NEW CAREER AND FIND THE PATHWAY TO GET THERE. • Connecting employers and trainers with today’s jobseekers and tomorrow’s workforce • Live demonstrations, hands-on experiences and opportunities to chat to industry experts • Featuring sectors including manufacturing, defence, health and emergency services, agriculture and education Fraser Coast INDUSTRY CAREERS SHOWCASE &

Action-packed showcase ‘like speed dating for jobs’


of us have been there before – you start a job you’ve been wanting for ages, and all of a sudden you realise it’s not quite like the brochure promised.

But while work experience and placements are great for secondary students, real-world job exposure tends to be less common – and less practical – for most adults for a variety of reasons.

Cue the free, all-ages Fraser Coast Industry & Careers Showcase, set to be staged at the Maryborough Showgrounds on Wednesday, October 12.

Jobs Fraser Coast project officer and showcase organiser Jared Crooks said the committee behind the indoor-outdoor showcase was determined to provide a broad array of hands-on opportunities so jobseekers could get real-world insights into local industries and roles.

“Right now our region is booming, and we need to take some serious steps towards building our local skills base,” he said.

“We’ve got more than 60 local employers and organisations coming from a range of sectors including trades and manufacturing, timber and agriculture, health and aged care, police and emergency services, support agencies and more.

“And they’ll all be aiming to show why working for them is a great choice. Think of it like speed dating, except for jobs.”

For the fans of big toys, Jared said the action-packed showcase would feature a multitude of large equipment including logging and crane trucks, train components, GPS-guided tractors, fire tankers and irrigation equipment.

“There’ll also be drone and virtual reality headset demonstrations, computer-aided design desks, welding simulations, road crash simulations, and the chance to get hands-on with medical models and resuscitation scenarios,” he said.

The showcase doesn’t stop there, though.

More than just a chance to play with impressive toys, it aims to bring jobseekers of all ages into contact both with the training and education institutions who can help them on to a job pathway, as well as the people who might be hiring or working alongside them.

“Jobseekers and visitors will be able to talk to industry experts and people working in key roles – not just recruitment officers – and then get advice from training and education providers about what they need to do to get on that job pathway,” Jared said.

“For some, there will be jobs filled on the day, while others might require some extra qualifications.”

The showcase is the creation of the Fraser Coast Regional Jobs Committee, which is funded by the Queensland Government with the goal of growing and developing a strong, capable and skilled workforce in the region.

“We’re taking a holistic approach to this event,” said committee chair Michelle Hay.

“Alongside employers and trainers, people will also find organisations who can provide them with funding options, wellbeing support, mentoring, and jobreadiness skills. It’s really about looking at the whole person, what the best fit is for them, and what they personally need to succeed.

“So our message to people of all ages is to come along and see what opportunities are out there. There’s nowhere else they’ll find such a broad variety of organisations under the one roof, all with the one goal of helping people into local jobs.

“It’s often said it takes a village to raise a child. Well, sometimes it takes a village to get someone a job too – and we’re determined to achieve that for as many people as possible.”

The Fraser Coast Industry & Careers Showcase will run from 1pm-6pm at Maryborough Showgrounds on October 12

29Alive Magazine Wide Bay | CAREER


“What is your definition of adventure? Oxford defines it as, “An unusual and exciting or daring experience”.

This definition nicely envelopes my reasons for starting this column.

I’ve published photos to magazines before and I’ve contributed writing before, but never together as one, unified, work of expression with a byline that encompasses both passions.

This month’s column happens to be on the author of ‘Beyond the Portrait’, that’s right, the guy in the photographs who is usually only taking the photographs.

Hi, I’m Russ! I thought it would be a good time to introduce myself. I’m currently based in Hervey Bay on the magnificent Fraser Coast.

I’m a photographer, illustrator, writer, men’s leadership training facilitator, coach, and consultant.

I love sports, food, travel, art, people. Those are a few words that point to a few ideas, but the truth is, like you, I am so much more than just those labels.

Recently I discovered the refined version of my current life purpose and that is to experience a full human life; observe, appreciate, and capture the beauty of my planet, and to inspire others to follow their purpose and passions.

Checking back into the services I’m currently offering, I’m excited to report that we have a match!

I’m definitely not perfect but that’s the point! We’re all works-in-progress, there’s no final destination, just incremental steps towards our best version.

My life hasn’t always been aligned like this and I have quite an adventurous story that led to this version of myself.

It was 2017 when my reality crashed! It was a near perfect day, I was on Whitehaven Beach shooting a wedding elopement with a really lovely couple. This was a typical day at the time. I thought my intense headache was one of sunstroke. Maybe I hadn’t had enough water? Once I was finally home and allowed myself to stop, I knew something wasn’t right. My headache turned to a migraine, complete with flashing auras. Usually these last a few minutes and are a sign of incoming migraine.

Two days later my vision had still not returned. After a few weeks of doctors and specialists I got my results. It was a stroke.

Again, just easier to read and more concise. You don’t want the reader to get lost in an over explanation.

At the ripe old age of 35, the stroke caused partial loss of vision due to brain damage. This was devastating news for a visual artist. At the

Alive Magazine Wide Bay | BEYOND THE PORTRAIT

time I was in disbelief.

It wasn’t until much later that I could see the pain with gratitude and turn it into a positive. It led me to become the man I am today.

This experience led to massive changes.

It was around the time I joined a men’s group which offered unparalleled support and wisdom. I started to see how far out of alignment I actually was (irrespective of how perfect my life looked ‘on paper’), and it was time.

One of the first adventures I took on after politely ‘resigning’ from my old life, was my first 10-day Vipassana.

It’s an ancient meditation technique that has centres all over the world. When have you ever had 10 full days completely to yourself to do nothing but go in? Facing myself was monumental in moving towards the wisdom Socrates promises in his work on ‘Know thyself”.

I said earlier that my reality crashed. This was (again in hindsight) completely necessary. The reality I had constructed wasn’t serving me and it was time to create one that did.

Shortly after a brief stint in Melbourne, I found myself living in Bali. My journey was leading me to continuing my transformation.

It would be frivolous to attempt to list all the ways that year of my life impacted me.

It’s when I stepped into the leadership role in my men’s group, reconnected with self, aligned myself with so many like-minded people and I think most importantly, learned it was possible to heal my brain. Bali also reintroduced me to my love of photography, especially drone art.

For as long as I can remember, I have been asking the big questions and constantly contemplating life, the Universe and everything.

Now I had felt presence of direct experience. I had proof! The philosophies I’d been studying were becoming embodied.

I was able to see the true nature and subsequently, the power of a human being.

I was able to recognise that we have an ego, but we are the not the story it creates.

It’s similar to how we have a body, but we are not just that.

Once I could understand myself, I was infinitely better at understanding others.

I could see past their words and hear their truth. I was able to recognise their own hero’s journey and where they were on it. This made stepping into coaching an unexpected yet logical step.

Delivering a wedding that the couple love is one of the most rewarding feelings I have been blessed to experience; shifting someone’s reality so they can switch from survival mode to thriving is on another level.

The decision to start a monthly column has opened up so much for me. It’s reintroduced me to writing, my first passion, and created a vehicle to incorporate my photography, interest in people and writing into a single form of creative expression.

Throw in a little discipline via deadlines with the monthly battle with perfectionism and you have the definition of adventure, which is an unusual and daring experience.

I’m grateful for so much in my life. I’m grateful for the opportunities I’ve had, especially to travel.

As I write this, I am reflecting on all my adventures around Australia and abroad.

From my first real solo travelling experience through the America I picked up the quote: “Bad decisions make good stories.” If this is true, then there is no such thing as the ‘wrong’ decision because even if it wasn’t the ideal situation you at least get a sweet little souvenir in story form.

From all of my trials and tribulations I am certain about one thing: No single, isolated adventure I have had, holds a candle to the ultimate adventure of life itself!

Being a human on earth is certainly unusual, exciting, and daring.

Some eastern philosophies tell us that we are in fact spiritual beings choosing to have a human experience.

Accepting all the rules (gravity, food and water, ego etc) diving in ready for the ride. Alan Watts describes us as “The aperture through which the universe observes itself”. I like this. Sometimes I like to allow my mind to go off and explore the concept that only the present moment is real and that in any moment I am one part of all of time and space. In that moment, I am whole!

The truth is, we’re always that; whole. It’s only our individual stories that draw a line. In the same way your blood cells aren’t not you, too. I digress.

At the beginning of this piece, we identified the official definition of adventure, but I believe there can be as many definitions as there are people on Earth at any given time and space.

We all have the opportunity to choose adventure in our lives and what exactly looks like is up to what we decide it to be.

I can tell you that writing my own story has been the most challenging adventure in a very long time! If you made it this far, I want to thank you for stepping a little inside my world.

Thank you for hearing me. Thank you for allowing me to use my gifts to fulfil my purpose. Thank you for joining me on this illustrious adventure called life!

If you’d like to learn more about Russ or see more of his work head to: or @russbenningphotography on Instagram.

31Alive Magazine Wide Bay |

Halloween in Australia: Trick or Treat?

Halloween is becoming increasingly popular in Australia!

In 2019 we spent $159 million on chocolate and lollies (According to The Mars Group), around $22 per person. We have a long way to go to catch up to our American friends who spend on average $102 per person or $10.14 billion in 2021.

Australian retail stores are increasingly offering a wider variety of spooky themed treats, dress up costumes, and ghastly home decorations to both scare and delight for the October 31 celebrations.

Growing up in the 90s I didn’t experience Halloween. I avidly read the American based books ‘The Babysitters Club’ which saw the characters ‘trick or treat’, as well as embarking on spooky adventures during the Halloween season.

I remember feeling envious and curious of the super exciting but foreign time of year. I believe many of our readers may have felt a similar way.

I certainly didn’t understand the meaning or reason for Halloween but knew that it wasn’t going to happen for me living rural without neighbours on a property. I recall Halloween being characterised as a made-up American event, to make money for the big companies and sometimes compared with Valentine’s Day.

Nonsense notions fabricated to sell cards, useless products, and chocolates to the gullible.

‘Sign me up’ I thought back then. I feel the same now.

Dressing in a fantastically fun themed costume, spending time with family/friends eating lollies, pretending to be someone different, how playful, creative. It’s completely silly fun just for a couple of hours!

Halloween dates back around 2,000 years with origins said to be from Irish Celtic folklore.

Originally Samhain, a festival of fire associated with death, and the beginning of the darker half of the year. Cattle were sacrificed, the communal fire was sharedparticipates took a flame home to light for winter.

Around the world many countries have adapted their own traditions and beliefs for Halloween with a common theme being to remember and celebrate the dead and give thanks for the last harvest before winter. The special night was said to generate a thinner veil between the living and deceased. Offering increased physic abilities and communication with the dead.

Christianity associates with All Saints Day, or All Souls Day held on November 1, the honouring of the deceased Saints and Martyrs dating back to the 8th Century. Medieval England termed the period from October 31 – November 2 All Hallows, with the eve Halloween originating from the English.

In Europe offerings of soul cake (food) and milk was

extended to the spirts to ward off evil. The poor were given food in exchange for their prayers. Candles placed roadside to guide the deceased. In Ireland and England people carried lanterns carved out of turnips or potatoes. It’s a tradition which was adapted to pumpkins by European settlers in America which is still popular today.

Mexico and Latin American observe Día de Muertos translated as Day of the Dead. The celebration can span from October 31 – November 2. Massive celebrations to honour one’s deceased relatives on November 2. The origins are debated but said to be based on All Souls Day which was introduced by Spanish invaders, as well as traditions aligned with indigenous Aztec beliefs. Graves are cleaned and decorated with masses of flowers, candles and gifts. Home shrines are created offering an abundance of food and drink to the dearly departed. Painted Skulls are a key symbolic feature.

Catholicism is strongly featured in the Mexican Halloween style rituals. Each country in Latin America (and many countries around the world) have their own Halloween based traditions and rituals which can be similar but also very individual to the region.

Living in southern hemisphere one can’t fully grasp the tradition or experience portrayed in books and media for Halloween or the other religious holidays depicted in the Northern Hemisphere.

We sing songs about ‘Dreaming of a White Christmas’, consume Christmas imagery of snowflakes, log fires, warm snuggly jumpers, pine trees - Santa dresses entirely inappropriately for the Australian climate in December.

Easter cards and gifts frequently depict Spring; tulips, green grass, baby chickens and bouncing bunnies.

Halloween for ‘them’ is the start of Winter and imagery of the orange and amber autumn leaves, rambling pumpkin patches, big spooky, old mansions, streets flooded with young children trick or treating, epic ghoulish house parties for the teenagers!

‘They’ were right, it is a trick – Australia doesn’t appear to have an authentic connection with Halloween? I suppose we just want to join the party, tag along, do as they do in the movies. Just like I wanted to do when I was a kid. A joyous treat!

When asked to make a Halloween DIY Home Project for the Alive Readers I was super excited. One of the quirkiest projects. I totally enjoyed brining ‘Sunny Scarecrow’ to life in my living room. Sunny will watch over my just planted sunflowers and the imminent arrival of Hungry King Parrots.

I don’t suppose you would like to make a Halloween Scarecrow… just for fun? If you do, we would love to see it!

Drop a message on FB or Instagram.

Happy Creating!

Alive Magazine Wide Bay | HOME PROJECT


Garden Trestle with stakes: Many sizes available. I used diamond shape

Coat hanger: Attach to trestle with ties to make shoulders. Assorted sizes of zippy cable ties

Foam ball: Cut slit at bottom (Stanley knife) squeeze foam ball on trestle to form head, cover head with a hessian piece big enough to make a 360-degree bib, zippy tie around neck

Hessian fabric 3+ metres

Fabric for farmer style shirt 0.5m: Cut slit big enough to slid overhead like a poncho, attach to coat hanger shoulders with staples. Cut long strips for layered appearance.

Hessian garland ribbon: Rip, tear, pull apart to appear worn

Raffia: Unevenly poke out of pants and hat

Stapler to attach fabric: Pucker up fabric to create pleats in pants and dimension/ folds in hat

Thick cotton rope: Belt and necktie

Bamboo sticks (garden stakes) x 2: Secure firmly with zippy ties to make arms, hang garland hessian, torn fabric from arms

Big Buttons for eyes: Wrap wire in X to create spooky effect –attach with hot glue gun

Paddle pop stick mouth: Attach with hot glue gun. Wire cut into small pieces attached with glue to paddle pop stick - creates stiches in mouth

Old pot planter or yoghurt tub:

To create the frame of hat. Make any shape you like. Hold in place with pegs or office clips, once correct, staple and or glue to secure. Remove pegs once dry. Optional feather, flowers, and paint splatters

33Alive Magazine Wide Bay |

Add accessories to your adventure


is nothing like planning a trip and looking forward to it with a mounting sense of excitement.

Whilst travelling overseas to explore new and exotic locations definitely qualifies as an adventure, something more modest can suffice. Take a road trip to Tin Can Bay, catch the barge over to Fraser Island; you’ve had an adventure!

Try out a new cafe in Childers, walk the Esplanade from the Urangan Pier to the Marina; again, an adventure. And when it comes to fashion, this month we are suggesting some very practical bags and totes to take with you. So whatever pursuit you choose, be it far away or just in your local neighbourhood, you’ll have the perfect fashion accessory.

Alive Magazine Wide Bay |
1. Suede leather tote with leather handles 2. Linen full lined cross-body bags in greg and natural 3. Danim clutch or cross-body bag with removable chain metal strap 4. Large canvas tote with outside pocket 5. Black leather ‘weekender’ bag with handle or shoulder strap 6. Small plaited leather bag for a few essentials 7. Tiny beaded money purses 8. Leather and canvas cross-body bag 1. 2.

“We recently purchased a motor vehicle for work, the team at Co Finance were very professional with seamless service, all the hard work is taken away from you. We look forward to working with Kodie and team next time. Thank you from the team at Fraser Coast Food Service.”




a bad habit of leaving my holiday packing until the very last minute. It’s not that I’m not excited to be going away, it’s just that I hate packing and I’m terrible at it!

I usually pack nothing I actually need and everything I don’t!

One thing I am good at packing though is my toiletries bag! Even when I was trekking through Nepal I still carried a toiletries bag that would make any product enthusiast envious. I know there are a lot of ladies who love the chance to go makeup free whilst on holidays but I am a little on the vain side so will always travel with my favourite basics.

Decanting your favourite products is a good way to travel a little lighter but you will find most products will sell the same in a travel size version. I’m loving Medik8’s try me sizes they have recently brought out. They are smaller versions of their best sellers and fit well into any toiletries bag without maxing out your carry on weight. I usually travel with a facial sunscreen, cleanser, day cream, night cream and a hydrating spritzer (may seem excessive but when you have small sizes why not!) My absolute favourite pick to travel with is Mesoestetic’s Melan 50 pigment control sunblock. It’s

a fantastic sunscreen that gives excellent protection, inhibits melanin production (stops pigmentation from forming) and has the added bonus of a tint so you can still go on that adventure holiday and look glam whilst doing it!

Exposing oneself to the elements can also be a breeze if you travel with the right products. As well as using a great sunscreen, another essential is lip balm. Inika Organics offer great purse size lip balms that have a hint of colour offered in four different shades. These add a touch of colour whilst keeping the lips nourished. They are that clean of chemicals you can literally eat them, handy if you get lost in the bush with no food, hey, you never know where you’ll end up on an adventure holiday! If you still have a bit of room left in that toiletries bag, another great product I love is Payot’s gradual tanner/moisturiser. For those of us who just can’t do the sun this is a go to for building a natural looking tan whilst moisturising the skin at the same time.

So before you go on that next adventure pop in and visit us for all of your travel product needs, we’ll also throw in a few samples that will take up no room and keep you looking your absolute best no matter where your travels take you.

SKIN CARE by Kirsty Chenery
37Alive Magazine Wide Bay | @mineralearthhb The Oaks Resort Urangan (Enter through Hibiscus street) 07 4194 9860 Gift vouchers availableonline and in-store Buy 4 get 1 FREE Medik8 ‘Try Me Sizes’ range is ideal to trial products and great for travel. Try Me Sizes
Alive Magazine Wide Bay | LOCAL EVENT Restore More Gala Fundraiser We have provided professional, quality Accountancy and Taxation Services to the Maryborough and Fraser Coast Community for 25 years. Income Tax Preparation Business Activity Statements Auditor – Clubs & Associations Business Advice Management Accounting 263 Albert Street, Maryborough Phone: 4121 5588 Email: GET READY FOR TAX TIME


if you can, getting the awful news that you have breast cancer quickly followed by news of treatment options which include having one or both of your breasts removed. As a woman (or her partner) we can relate to how stressful and scary this would be. Most of us know a friend, colleague or family member to whom this has happened.

However, what if we could help woman understand and consider all treatment options including partial breast removal (lumpectomy), or if one or both breasts had to be removed, that there are reconstruction options to help look and feel as “normal” as possible.

Now for the difficult truth : if you are in Queensland in a regional area you are much more likely to NOT be offered the option to save your breast(s) and after breast removal will most likely NOT (up to 40% UNlikely) be offered any sort of reconstruction options. Even those who are offered a chance at reconstruction often face up to 5 years of waiting for surgery on public waitlists.

Dr. Emilia Dauway, a breast surgeon trained in the USA who now works in Hervey Bay, has identified this problem and is working to help change this. She has started a non-profit organisation called ‘Restore More’, which works to educate regional women about up to date options and to provide funding to help them access reconstructive treatment which often includes travel to cities and accomodation costs.

Recently, in conjunction with a group of supporters, Dr Dauway has organised a gala charity event on October 22nd at The Hervey Bay Boat Club to raise funds for ‘Restore More’. This event sold out in weeks and we are delighted that our generous Hervey Bay Community has rallied to buy tickets and many generous local businesses and individuals have donated prizes to be raffled and auctioned on the night.

‘Restore More’ donates ALL money raised to educate and help fund women to access private reconstructive options which are costly but are timely - providing access for women within weeks or months rather than years.

Many who live in regional Queensland are shocked (as I was) when they learn that this is the truth of what women with breast cancer face when they don’t live in large cities. Even more shocking perhaps is that regional women are not provided enough information that breast conserving surgery is often possible and has similar survival outcomes to mastectomies in

many cases. For this reason ‘Restore More’ is working to educate regional women by providing information that outlines their options which then allows them ask informed questions and potentially save their breasts.

If you would like to support the work of ‘Restore More’ there is a GO FUND ME page for the charity hosted by Mark Aranjo, where you can donate; all donations are tax deductible. You can be sure that ALL funds donated go towards the education and support of women as fundraisers and board members volunteer their time to keep overheads to a minimum.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank Dr Dauway for her care and concern for Queensland women and for starting and donating her time to this wonderful organisation which supports them. Thanks too to all who have supported the upcoming Gala on October 22nd and who have already donated via the Go Fund Me page.

It is truly wonderful living in such a caring community.

39Alive Magazine Wide Bay |
Shine bright like a diamond RESTOREmore Fundraiser $150 perticket SATURDAY OCTOBER 22 6:30PM HERVEY BAY BOAT CLUB INCLUDES A WELCOME DRINK 3 COURSE DINNER ENTERTAINMENTS SOUL CITY + AL DAVIES SILENT + LIVE AUCTIONS RETOREmore supports regional women with Breast Cancer Tickets available from the Hervey Bay Boat Club Reception or phone 4128 9643



focus on the word adventure! An unusual and exciting or daring experience or an undertaking usually involving danger and unknown risks.

Whatever its meaning I think I had more than a brief encounter with adventure this past week floating around the islands of Fiji.

Bula Vinaka good people of the Wide Bay. Fiji is the setting for my first adventure in five long years.

Another first was boarding the cruise ship MV Reef Endeavour for a 7-night voyage on the Remote North Discovery Cruise to the Lau group of islands. Never before had I entertained the possibility of boat travel as I’ve struggled with seasickness my entire life.

Covid-19 must have wiped the memory from my brain. So starved was I for excitement that when a girlfriend said she had a spare ticket and a stateroom booked, I shrieked with delight. Once my bags were packed, I suddenly recalled that old queasy feeling and trepidation took hold. I grappled with my anxiety yet set it aside, eager for a new challenge and unknown risks.

Captain Cook Cruises promise that passengers will discover islands and reefs rarely visited by tourists. That the village children will treat you to songs and dances. Snorkelling, glass bottom boat tours and diving will feature daily. You will stand on the 180th Meridian which is the arbitrary dateline between today and tomorrow. Island nights of kava, meke and a lovo feast are all a part of the deal.

Sure, it all sounds like the perfect travel brochure blurb but somehow the words didn’t do the experience justice. I got all this and so much more. What I experienced was a welcome into a world so removed from my western first world life that it exposed the treadmill upon which our daily grind is based. The divergence was striking.

The first difference is in time. Fijians all live on Fiji Time; a phenomenon acknowledged world-wide. It doesn’t exist as a time zone on the world clock, and it is not measured. That’s the point. Despite the fact that Fijians don’t clock watch at all, things still get done. Fiji time is actually a cultural philosophy. It is the notion of things getting done eventually, or not at, without the stress of time. Fiji Time is living life and not rushing it. A long meditative exhale helped me adjust. After all I was on holidays and my calendar

was clear.

Fiji Time aside the itinerary was met. From September 10 to 17 we set sail from Port Denaurau and made our way to Tivua Island. Next stops were Makogai, Vanuabalavu, Fulaga, Yagasa, Vuaqava, Kabara, Totoya, Vunisea, Nalotu and back. Each island we visited was prefaced by the presentation of a gift of Kava to the chief before we were welcomed ashore.

The kilometres we covered was astounding. And the scenery was outstanding. To categorise the multiple hues of blue between sky and sea is beyond my abilities. The sunsets were striking. The seascape breathtaking.

My fellow passengers all agreed. We documented our trip in photos. My friends of action frantically ran from one activity to the next. I was happy to passively enjoy and journal. To observe and to note the people and their customs. The most striking of which is that Fijian people are happy and love to make others happy. Their smiles are reflexive; ample and wide. Not surprising that slogan is featured by Fiji Tourism - Where happiness finds you.

I noticed that situationally the villagers’ experience of their environment varied according to their resources and ability to survive. Despite a reliance on subsistence living, I believe it is proud heritage of deep cultural roots which presents as cohesive strength. The fundamental understanding of knowing where they’ve come from gives them a resilient identity – one they are happy to share with the world.

While I developed my sea legs with the assistance of some pharmaceuticals with the self-same name, the physical momentum of the swaying sea stayed with me a few days after disembarkation.

So too does the experience and the knowledge that despite their difficulties Fijians are uniquely joyful people.

Fellow on-board passengers included Tourism Fiji CEO, Australian expat, Brent Hill and his beautiful wife Kellie as well as celebrity Andhy Blake, Fiji’s most popular television personality. Both men were on holidays, so we didn’t realise we were in esteemed company. Their passion for Fiji inspired us further and their presence added another layer to an authentic Fiji experience.

Alive Magazine Wide Bay | LIFE WRITING

Wehave had some typical spring weather of late with November being one of the favourite months of the year for pelagics.

This time of year can also catch people off guard with the northerly winds often picking up in the afternoons.

Planning your trip carefully and keeping an eye on the weather is very important. If the pesky northerlies are blowing, try the inshore waters off the Sandy Strait and rivers and creeks.


The Burrum has been a great option for those with smaller boats.

Mangrove jacks have been turning it on in the upper reaches with live baits and small hardbodies have been getting the bites. Around the islands, fishing for whiting on the flats on the run-in tide with live blood worms is doing the trick.

Wild Grounds

Over the Break Sea Spit has been fishing well for red throats, coronation trout, rosy job fish, Maori cod, hussar and more. Coral trout have been on offer closer to home at the southern gutters, along with some big sweetlip.

Some big blue marlin have also been taken outside Breaksea Spit which is great for the local game fishing scene.

Platypus Bay

Platypus Bay has been active with tuna schools of late as they move in on the abundance of baitfish. Small metal slugs have been needed to get the bite. Reef anglers have reported parrot, blackall, golden trevally and sweetlip on baits.

Local Reefs

Cod, coral trout, squire, sweetlip and blackall have been reported coming from the Artificial Reef, the Channel Hole, Sammys and the outer banks.

For those fishing closer to home, try the reefs of Point Vernon for school mackerel, sweetlip, coral trout and blackall.

Urangan Pier

The Pier has seen some good garfish and whiting in the first channel. Golden trevally, giant trevally, jew and flathead have also been reported coming from in from the deeper water.

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Darcy hooked this solid coral trout that was perfect for the dinner plate.

Our family would like to invite you to visit our Art & Craft Gallery & Herb Farm here at Takura, Hervey Bay. Recognised as one of Australia's leading Arts & Crafts Galleries, you are sure to be impressed by the range & quality of the Arts & Crafts & the talents of the local artists & crafts people who have created them.

Specialising in old fashioned & forgotten culinary, medicinal & fragrant herbs, unusual fruit trees & rare edible plants, the Herb Farm is a delight for the senses.

We have a fantastic range of 100% locally made, quality Australian gifts perfect for giving to family & friends in Australia or for sending overseas.

Alive Magazine Wide Bay |
403 Torbanlea Pialba Road, Takura, Hervey Bay - Home of "The Pink Cow" Closed Wednesdays - Ph 07 4128 7430 ESTABLISHED IN 1991 COTTAGE CRAFTS & HERB FARM We are a family run Cottage Industry & make about 80% of the Arts & Crafts ourselves. Fraser Coast Gift Cards Welcome!


Whenconsidering what to write about in this column, I often find myself drawn to a personal experience that I hope has relevance to a wider audience. This month is no exception. I’m discussing the importance of joy, or more specifically, the importance of creating joyful moments that enrich our lives.

When life is stressful, busy, or turbulent, the possibility of feeling joyful often seems out of reach. ‘Joy’ implies very high levels of happiness, and for many people, me included, sustaining joyfulness in every moment is unrealistic and unachievable. What is sustainable and achievable is to create, recognise and celebrate joy in many moments, without feeling like a failure on the days we struggle to find the sunshine in our lives.

Adding joyful moments into our lives is extremely helpful for our mental health. When we accept responsibility for doing so, we help heal any parts of us that may be anxious, stressed, or depressed. No-one else can do this for us, although a good friend or family member can be the catalyst to get us started.

I didn’t realise how much my life had narrowed since giving up full-time work. It slipped my attention how long I was spending at home, without the friends I’d previously loved spending time with. I didn’t even notice that I was becoming less social, less communicative, and less interested in

the outside world. That was, until I realised, I hadn’t laughed (really laughed, where I felt joyful and carefree) in a long time. Of course, I’d had moments of happiness with those I love, but overall, my joyfulness score was low. This was out of character. It was time to act.

I did one very big thing – I adopted a puppy, as my August Life-Chat described. However, for several months, I was even more tied to the home than before. Until she was fully vaccinated at four months of age, Bonnie was not allowed to leave our yard. Caring for a puppy was not an immediate antidote to my social isolation.

Adjusting my mindset, going for daily walks, singing more, celebrating the beauty of nature, and reaching out to friends I hadn’t seen in ages gradually brought many moments of joy back into my life. The most important thing I did was to recognise that I needed to make changes and create these moments of joy for myself.

If you find yourself feeling a bit flat, then consider whether you could benefit from adding moments of joy into your life, and just choose little things (or larger things) that make you truly happy. It worked for me.

Finally, if you would like to stay connected with me to receive positive tips for life each morning, feel welcome to join my free Facebook group “Your Intuitive Gifts At Work.”

45Alive Magazine Wide Bay |


Adventure for me is getting out of my comfort zone and trying new things. Most of us are creatures of habit and tend to stick to the familiar. My general advice is to be brave, take a chance, and a leap of faith. Adventure opportunities will lead to personal growth and satisfaction!

Capricorn Dec 22 -Jan 19

A detox is indicated for you Capricorn. This month is a great month to get back into shape on all levels. Delete or change things that do not serve you, including toxic relationships/friendships, social media, foods and mindset. Once you have decluttered toxic energy you will feel so much better.


Jan 20 - Feb 18

You are being reminded to tread carefully. Be sure to avoid chaos by being prepared. Whether that is by literally planning with lists, or by doing your research before venturing forward. My advice, in times of pressure step back and check in on what your intuition tells you. Your intuition is your inner wisdom.


Feb 19 - Mar 20

I get the feeling Pisces that you may be feeling like you are a bit disconnected, or unravelling. Don’t despair! Stop and breathe. Write down all the jobs or things you need to do. Ask yourself, what will make you feel whole again? Be honest. Find time for stillness while you work this out. Stillness allows inspiration to come into your consciousness.

Aries Mar 21 - April 19

Hopefully, house work is not suggested for you this month! Seriously, I feel it is time to tidy things up somehow. Sorting thoughts, jobs or other things that have been procrastinating on so you can move on. Things will improve for you once you do that. So get moving!

Taurus April 20 - May 20

Things have the potential to be magical for you this month! Do what you can to improve the love energy around you. Make extra effort with those loved ones in your life. Raise the love energy in your living space, with shades of pink, candles, and plants. Enjoy!

Gemini May 21 - June 20

Things are pointing to signing some paperwork or entering into a contract this month Gemini. Possibly for a different job or even a house contract. There are good feelings around this contract, so go for it making sure you check the fine print first before committing.

Cancer June 21- July 22

Have you been seeing red lately? Instead of being possibly frustrated, this month you are encouraged to change your perspective because there is an opportunity here for you to truly shine and show people your potential! This can be a great time for you.

Leo July 23 - Aug 22

It’s blue skies ahead this month for you Leo. You are also being reminded to please keep your thoughts and words positive. What you put out, you attract big time. If you have been pondering if you are on the right track, the answer is YES!

Virgo Aug 23 - Sept 22

It is suggested this month to show your feminine side. This can mean finding more patience, trying some nurturing to yourself and others or even communicating in a gentler way. Ladies, time to make yourself feel special. Treat yourself to a new outfit, hairstyle, or even makeup.

Libra Sept - 23 - Oct 23

Breathe a sigh of relief Libra. It has been a hard road for you, but great news, you are on to the next phase. There is also a reminder, to take the lead. You do not need to follow anyone else’s path. Congratulations!


Oct 24 - Nov 21

With the warmer weather Scorpio, you are being urged to get out in the sunshine and enjoy the new season. There is a feeling that things have been a bit chaotic around you lately and now it is your time to recharge your body battery. Kick your shoes off, stroll on the beach, collect shells, read a book, and wind down.


Nov 22 - Dec 21

There is a possibility you are in two minds about something, or weighing up a situation. Remember, you are supported by the universe here so chill. Instead of being weighed down and stressed, look up to the stars, literally, for answers. The universe won’t let you down.

Alison Dunlop Kinesiologist. Find out more at: (Cards drawn from The Modern Oracle of Essential Oils by Katy-k)
Alive Magazine Wide Bay |

Crossword of the month


We are the Maryborough Qld chapter of Urban Sketchers!

The Urban Sketchers mission is to raise the artistic, storytelling and educational value of on-location drawing, promoting its practice and connecting people around the world who draw on location where they live and travel.

“See the world, one building at a time”. More info please go to our Facebook group: Urban Sketchers Maryborough Qld

Wharf St, Maryborough - by Kerry Harrison
128 Boat Harbour Drive, Pialba Starts Oct 13 Starts Oct 20 RECLINE YOU DESERVE IT Ask box office for more details Starts Oct 13 47Alive Magazine Wide Bay | READERS’ GALLERY
Last month’s solution
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