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OCTOBER 2022

YOUR FRIENDLY BAY ISLANDER CELEBRATES 11ITH BIRTHDAY MILESTONE The Friendly Bay Islander has been delivered to the Islands of SMBI, Coochiemudlo and North Stradbroke Islands continuously every month for the past 11 years. It is a remarkable achievement for a publication that has watched others throughout Australia crumble around them. When the first edition came out in October 2011, the Southern Bay Islands in particular were not in a very safe place. Our island representatives (Mayor and councillors at the time) didn’t live here and knew little about us, and some actually worked against us at the council table. And whilst we were an island group, there was little island inter-action because there was a ‘fee’ attached to travelling inter-island. There had been a number of attempts to establish island publications; all failed. No experienced writers or journalists were involved. Change was desperately needed. Managing Editor of the Friendly Bay Islander Gerard Thompson and his wife Glenda moved to Macleay Island in 2009 from Port Macquarie, NSW where they owned and published successful newspapers and magazines for more than 30 years. We had no intention of getting back into publishing again, until we saw the crisis that then existed on the SMB Islands. There was low island esteem and morale, and there was hardly a good word ever said or read about our islands; even though we lived in this unique pristine environment just an hour away from a major capital city and Australia’s best known playground. You could buy a block of land for less than $10,000, and it just didn’t seem to add up or make any sense. We chose the name The Friendly Bay Islander name for a reason. We went glossy and full colour to again add to the feel of ‘positivity ‘about our islands. By delivering to all the Southern Bay islands, and later to Coochiemudlo and North Stradbroke Islands, we started to learn more and more about each other. We supported causes in favour of our islands, particularly the Go Card changes of 2013 that saw Translink take over the running of our passenger ferries and free inter-island travel, that was introduced. Our then new Mayor Karen Williams and new Division 5 Councillor Mark Edwards played significant roles along with the then LNP Redlands member Peter Dowling and the new LNP Government of Campbell Newman. That State Government didn’t stay around for long, but it did bring about this major initiative that changed our islands forever. We went on to launch Radio FBI, which also has continued to grow providing wonderful music and island information from the pages of the Friendly Bay Islander; it is unique. Over the years we have worked closely with our Federal, State and Local Government representatives and it has gradually brought about major change, particularly regarding the ‘perception’ of our islands. A major player here has been our Division 5 councillor representative Mark Edwards who has opened doors and brought about changes that would never have been possible without his excellent representations and astute negotiation skills. Today, having a Labor Redlands representative in Kim Richards in a Labor Government, is also helping our islands in ways that were not previously possible. We could not have done it, without their support, and the support of our wonderful advertisers and the readers of our islands who have given The Friendly Bay Islander unique status in a world of diminishing print media, whilst we have continued to grow. We also thank others who have helped behind the scenes including early helpers Michelle Evans and Steve Morgan, who still is involved with us to this day. Our graphic designer and daughter, Elissa Grant, has been a stalwart for each and every edition. And we couldn’t have done it without the help and support of correspondents Ian Rowland on Coochiemudlo Island, Deb Longland originally and Loraine Buks currently on Lamb Island as well as original proof reader Geoff Fitzgibbon and currently Lesley Kraemer along with Posties’ Glen Talbot and Frank O’Rourke. Those who have played a part in accounts include Paris Gordon, Glynis Enright and Brooke Boyett. For anyone we have overlooked, we sincerely apologise. The Friendly Bay Islander is proud of our 11th year milestone and we will continue to give unflinching support to our wonderful island community.