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There is no doubt about, they really know how to throw a party of Karragarra Island. They are famous for it. From all reports, their recent Christmas Party at Karra was a really fun and friendly event.  The food was delicious: Ham, chicken and three different salads followed by pavlova, fresh fruit salad and ice cream. Yummo! The bubbles were also free flowing as was the chatter and laughter.  It was a special afternoon that made all feel happy to be SMBI islanders. Good to see. Go Karra!


The bid for a Botanical Gardens on our islands has now been on the boil for an amazing seven years! The concept and effort has been conceived and supported by your Friendly Bay Islander along with the Bay Islands Conservation group. It is indicative of its progress that this time last year we wrote in our January 2023 edition: “It is also ‘hoped’ final lease approvals will happen for the Botanical Gardens project. It is another one that has been a long time coming!” We also commented 12 months ago: “ Things at Weinam Creek are certainly hotting up, with work about to start on the new road system that will prevail in the PDA precinct.” Also we said: “Toondah Harbour is in its last throes of approvals, it would seem, but will it progress to a start of the project?”. Keen observers will know that the Botanical Gardens project is in exactly the same place it was last year, on some legal department’s desk at the Department of Education!.” No progress whatsoever. Weinam Creek didn’t hot up too much with the roadworks and infrastructure change starting and slowly progressing and looks like it is in the run on a long haul. As for Toondah Harbour, hasn’t moved one iota that we can see in the past 12 months. Surprise, surprise!


There is no doubt there are a high proportion of smokers on our islands. It seems to go hand-in-hand with low socio-economic circumstances. Clearly, health messages don’t seem to have an impact on hard-core smokers, and clearly the price of a packet of cigarettes doesn’t encourage too many to realise that they can’t afford the ‘habit’. One new direction we have noticed of late has to do with ‘smell’. A poster we recently noticed declared: IF YOU SMOKE YOU STINK! Breath stinks, hair stinks, clothes stink, car stinks, house stinks, you stink! Yuk, Don’t kiss me you stink! Definitely different, but just could be effective in a whole new way! 


There was some great Christmas events and happenings around our islands. It wasn’t just all happening on Karragarra! The Lions Christmas Parade on Macleay was again a smash hit with major contributions from the car club and Running Wild. The markets on the day were also fantastic. Santa also rocked up to Willow and Oak for island children in a ‘first’, helped along by Anne Webber and the crew in the complex. The Macleay Vista Group also held an outstanding Christmas event, with the new island Big Band orchestra playing their second-only concert! It was Christmas Crazy at Club Macleay with something Christmassy happening almost every day, and no-one celebrates Christmas like the golfers at the Bay Islands Golf Club. It was similar on Lamb Island at the Rec Club with plenty of Chrissy fun, whilst the Christmas Play at the Russell Island Bowls Club was definitely different and fun. The free community lunch and the big Christmas raffle at the Russell Island RSL Club went down a treat as well. We mustn’t forget the big Christmas parties by the two island art groups, RICARTS and MIAC. They really do hold terrific events. If we missed any, we apologise!


The formal dinner held just prior to Christmas for Returned Veterans at the Russell Island RSL Club was a big ‘hit’. It was great to see the veterans and their partners dress in dinner suits and some lovely dresses for this event. It adds a certain amount of style to our island community and it would be great to see more of these type of formal activities on our islands. They were held regularly at the club for several years in the days of Anthony Gleeson as president, with the Covid pandemic impacting these type of events. Great to see current president Keith Vellemen bring back the tradition. Let there be more of it!


After 20 years in Local Government, 12 of them as Mayor of the Redlands, Karen Williams is calling it a day! She recently made a public announcement she will not be standing for council at the Local Government election in March. And what a shame that some will judge her contribution solely on her misdemeanour involving a driving incident. It seems in public life, unlike ordinary life, you are not allowed to make a mistake. Karen Williams owned up to it and accepted it, but she didn’t resign, as others probably would have. She wanted to ‘finish her program’ and so she toughed it out. We have to say that were it not for Mayor Williams and outgoing councillor for Division 5, Mark Edwards, the islands would not be where they are today. Our roads would still be a dusty mess and we would be paying to travel inter-island on our ferries if some others over the years had stayed on council. Their contribution will be difficult to replicate.


So Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has finally fallen on her sword and resigned. And it seems the unions had plenty of say in her resignation and her successor being Deputy Premier Steven Miles and Cameron Dick to be his deputy. Another possible candidate, Shannon Fentiman, pulled out of the race when she realised she didn’t have the ‘numbers’. We reckon the unions have got it ‘wrong’. We would like to have seen our Member for Redlands Kim Richards in the role. Looks good, great speaker, intelligent, but no, she doesn’t have the backing of a union. From a marketing and performance point of view, Shannon Fentiman should have been a ‘shoe-in’. A very capable lady for the future we would have thought, and that’s where she might make a resurgence! As for Premier Palaszczuk, her nine years was an extraordinary achievement, no matter what side of politics you may support.


The International Day of People with a Disability was recently celebrated at the Macleay Island Community Centre with a community afternoon tea. There was also entertainment, participant stalls, activities for young people including a jumping castle, disability information booths and carers’ space. It was all about getting all to work together to make the world better and fairer for people with a disability. It was a very well attended and supported event. it was coordinated by Brenda from il Support and Dale Thrive, both members of the Bay Island Disability Collective.



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