the Breeze

STREET LIBRARIES

ROBBIE AND IAN KIRK: ISLAND ‘DOERS’ MAKING A DIFFERENCE WITH ISLAND STREET LIBRARIES

There are two types of people when it comes to getting and not getting results: Gunners and Doers!

Gunners go to meetings and talk about it; Doers just go out and get it done.

Macleay Island couple Ian and Robbie Kirk are definitely in the ‘Doer’ category.

They have lived on Macleay island for the past 22 years, after discovering the islands via their 25 ft yacht and previously living at Lennox Head and starting life out in the suburbs of Brisbane.

Recently the couple have introduced a Street Library program to the islands.

It is an exciting community concept that is perfect for a cluster of islands off the coast of SE Queensland.

This is Robbie and Ian’s latest venture following a host of other island activities that have produced some wonderful results.

Robbie was the instigator, with author Desmond Kelly, of the influential writers group and recently produced an outstanding island anthology.

She has also been heavily involved in a number of other activities, most recently International Women’s Day.

It was only natural that Robbie was attracted to Macleay Island all those years ago because her mother, Isabelle Dunsmore, was born on Macleay and the family’s Lovell farm is etched in island history.

Ian, similarly, has been a highly visible ‘doer’ and the driving force behind the now famous Renegades group.

He started out in the car industry with Toyota involved with executive sales back in the day.

In recent years he joined up with a cluster of men, the Renegades, on Macleay Island who have so far built and located 12 wonderful community timber seats in some spectacular island locations for the community to enjoy.

“We decided to locate them in some special spots so any islanders could go and enjoy and reflect in a waterside location within walking distance of nearly all island homes on Macleay.”

He has also been a strong advocate and planner, with others, of the island trails program on Macleay and has been a keen fan of the Wooden Boat Association that has seen the establishment on the islands of selected camping areas for visiting kayakers and small craft.

The couple’s latest efforts, however, has taken it up a gear.

They have brought the Street Library program to Macleay Island.

They have established the first of five more to follow, in Dalpura Street.

Ian got to work with his carpentry skills and has produced a lovely cabinet and accompanying sign, ‘Robbie’s Street Library’ where local residents can either borrow books, swap them, or provide books.

It is a form of valuable recycling that can also contribute to community literacy and it is also a great way to meet neighbours and to make friends.

The concept originated in Oregon in the US and there are now 35,000 community libraries world wide.

There are just 50 so far in Australia, but the program is expected to expand rapidly here. Robbie’s is registered as No. 770. The next is likely to be outside Suzanne’s Pike’s Revamp in Francis Road.

Robbie and Ian, using his Renegades, will establish a further five on Macleay Island in the coming months and they will all be different, imaginative and definitely colourful.

“It is a great way to unite communities and neighbourliness on the islands,” Robbie said.

It was no accident that Robbie’s Street Library was launched on Neighbour Day in late March.

Ian and Robbie have a family saying that they adhere to: ’Spirit of Generosity’.

Clearly that is there for all to see via the Renegade seats and the street libraries.

And watch out for a Bush Tucker Garden some time in the near future!

• Robbie and Ian Kirk and Robbie’s Street Library in Dalpura Street.

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