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One of the many visitors to the lovely Memorial Park on Russell Island got to visit the area for the first time, following the island fire tragedy. They told The Friendly Bay Islander of the overwhelming ‘feeling of peace’ that overcame them whilst visiting the park. “What a wonderful initiative the memorial park is on the island,” they said. Well, we can tell you that the park was put there by Redland City Council several years ago, at the initiative of Cr Mark Edwards, following a story in The Friendly Bay Islander about the only area for the placement of ashes and burial on the islands, was the Catholic Church on Macleay Island. And the Wall of Remembrance was the initiative of island Catholic priest stalwart, Father Jim Brown. Cr Edwards played a role in selecting the site, because of the lovely trees that already prevailed in the area.


The initiative by Mayor Karen Williams to set up an information centre for islanders who wanted to remember the six family members who tragically died in that epic island fire on Sunday, August 6, has been a wonderful gesture. The information centre was fully manned and a tree with six branches served as a fitting place for members of the public to leave mementos, messages, flowers and gifts. By the time of the final Memorial Service on Wednesday, August 16, literally hundreds of islanders had visited the site and the information centre. It was manned by volunteers and a number of chaplains providing information and helpful comfort. Well done to those who voluntarily manned the site and provided assistance and comfort.


In a little over 20 years, South East Queensland will be heaving under the weight of 2.2 million extra people. The Queensland State Government's new draft South East Queensland Regional Plan forecasts 900,000 new homes which will be needed by 2046. The government is preparing for the Sunshine Coast population to grow by 206,400 extra people, the Gold Coast by 381,200 and Noosa by 19,100. In total, that's more than 606,000 people in 23 years. And they have not taken into consideration the number of people who will be coming to live in the Redlands. A drive from Redland Bay to the M1, no matter what direction, will reveal the huge number of subdivisions that are springing up. Even on our islands building is still strong. All councils are under pressure to provide regulated housing according to State Government edict. And a National Conference of Premiers and the Federal Government are to allocate billions of dollars to build more homes. From SE Queensland’s point of view, the outcome is considerable, given most Australians it seems want to relocate to this part of Australia. Guess we can’t blame them!


New Macleay Island resident, is one of Australia’s foremost actors, Noni Hazlehurst. And we hope she doesn’t mind telling islanders she has recently been, once again celebrated by none other than Australia’s most famous art prize, The Archibald Prize 2023. Her portrait has been described as ‘realist’ and is by Melbourne artist Jaq Grantford. The People’s Choice award carries a special prize of $5000. Held annually at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, the portrait of Noni is the second portrait the artist has painted of Hazelhurst. Titled Through the Window, the winning works pays homage to the Logie Hall of Fame inductee and her enduring work on Play School. It has been described this way: “An impishly smiling Hazlehurst gazes out at the viewer from a rain-streaked foggy window upon which it appears she has been doodling’. Hazelhurst has played some of the most famous roles on Australian television and film. She has won or been nominated for almost two dozen film and television awards, most recently winning the Film Critics Circle of Australia award for best supporting actress in the film Ladies in Black.


Check out Russell Island author Lynda Nilsson’s third book in her Mangrove Sands trilogy. It is featured in this edition of your Friendly Bay Islander. It is Mangrove Sands–The Enchanted Sea World: The Epic Journey which follows five children with challenges who are brought together to go on an undersea adventure together. Lynda’s inspiration for The Epic Journey came to her when she discovered she was going to be a first-time grandma. “I wrote this book for my beautiful Australian grandson who has a Swedish heritage”. All the characters in this magical story are engaging and interesting. There are also several important educational aspects in this book such as environment and overcoming adversity. Lynda says: “However, the most important for me was for children to be open to learn and respect other cultures.” Lynda is currently at the tail end of writing her fourth book of the series; taking the readers and characters to the origins of the Enchanted Seaworld, a world in a fourth dimension.



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