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TIME N TIDE September 2023


MEMORIAL SERVICE ATTRACTS 500 PEOPLE TO REMEMBER AND REFLECT Around 500 people attended the Russell Island memorial for island father and his five children who were killed in the tragic Todman Street house fire. It was held on Wednesday, August 16 at the Memorial Gardens on Russell Island. Māori community members came from as far as New Zealand and Western Australia for the memorial, remembering Wayne Godinet and his five young boys, eleven-year-old Zack, 10-year-old Harry, four-year-old twins Kyza and Koah, three-year-old Nicky. The memorial was held at the Bay Islands Memorial Garden, only two streets away from the disaster that occurred 10 days previously. The mother of the boys Samantha Stephenson — who managed to escape the blaze along with her sister, Connie Campbell, did not attend the event, with a family member stating: “she isn’t ready’. Another sister, Christina, gave moving tributes whilst supported by her father. She spoke fondly of her nephews' cheekiness and sense of fun, pointing out their different personalities. Mr Godinet's uncle, Dennis Polsen, thanked the community for all the support and donations they had received since the tragedy. "We're proud to be Russell Island residents," he told the big crowd. There was a huge traditional Maori influence in the service, with the famous Haka performed by male family members. Most island businesses closed their doors to attend the memorial, or sent representatives. MESSAGE FROM THE PM AND PREMIERState Member for Redlands, Kim Richards, read a special message from the Prime Minister the Hon Anthony Albanese and Premier of Queensland the Hon Annastacia Palaszczuk at the Memorial Service on Wednesday, August 16. The message: “Australia and Queenslanders mourns with the community of Russell Island for the tragedy that occurred last week. The terrible tragedy your community has suffered has touched the hearts of all Australians. Our nation mourns with you today as we remember Wayne Godinet and his five children Zack, Harry, Kyza, Koah, and Nicky. We are all thinking of you their loved ones, their family, their friends, their classmates and teammates. Their community. The people who loved them and the people they loved. May you find strength in each other. May they rest in peace”. ADOPT A FIRE HYDRANT When Russell Island volunteer fire fighters went to attend the horrific Todman Street fire, that were confronted with a dilemma. There appeared to be no fire hydrant in the street close to the burning inferno. Fortunately a neighbour directed them to one further down the street, about 50 metres away. They soon ‘connected’ and hurled thousands of litres of water onto the blaze. What they didn’t know was that there was a fire hydrant directly out the front of the blazing home. Unfortunately it had become overgrown with grass and the attending post, had fallen into the long grass and could not easily be identified. Later it was found, uncovered and used in the mopping up process. What many islanders do not know that there are fire hydrants across the islands approximately 50 metres apart in most island street. Some time ago a special program was introduced across the islands called The Fire Hydrants - There has always been a push to have residents to " ADOPT A HYDRANT”. It needs to be reactivated following this horrific event. Island residents are encouraged to find the nearest Hydrant to their property and have the metal cover cleared of grass and debris so that it can be easily found in cases of emergency. If possible, ensure the marker post is still standing and can also be seen from a distance. Some of the residents in the past have actually repainted the hydrant top and post in the yellow colour, makes finding a lot easier. Let’s start doing it again! OUR ISLAND VOLUNTEER FIRE FIGHTERS You will notice the front cover tribute of this edition of your Friendly Bay Islander. It is of five Russell Island Rural Fire Brigade members who were part of the crew who were so heroic in being first on the scene to put out the horrific Sunday August 6 fire, that soon became a tragedy. The five on our Front Cover tribute are (L to R): Kevin Gillard, Ryan Roarty, Robert Doyle, Caine Ward and Matt Guy. Not all who were part of that heroic crew were available for the cover photo. The other Volunteer fire fighters at the scene were First Officer Larry Hoffman, Greg Silman, Kane Oakenfull, Maria Wiringi, Sean Pitts, Josh Mayne, and Tony Stephenson. The story of their bravery and fire intelligence is recorded elsewhere in this edition. ISLAND BIKE RIDERS Am amazed at some of the scenes on our roads with bike and scooter riders. Why are some people riding these items still not wearing helmets! We noticed a bike rider (without a helmet) the other day riding down Chanel Street reading his mobile phone! Another rider we noticed on the mainland riding one of those unicycle contraptions on the main road. It seems extraordinary that many such riders either don’t care, or aren’t aware of the laws involving these modes of transport.

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