Remembering Our Anzacs

By | Community, Local Life | No Comments
Background Image: Statue of Duncan Chapman in Queens Park, Maryborough. The first man to have stepped onto the shores of Gallipoli in World War I.


Anzac Day is the annual commemoration of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) on 25 April. Two types of morning services are hosted by the Returned Services League (RSL) Club throughout the Fraser Coast region. The dawn service is a solemn service where the local war veterans reflect upon the landing on the beach of Gallipoli in April of 1915. The general public are welcome to attend the main service and parade where wreaths are laid and citizens pay respects to those who have fought for our freedom.

President of the Hervey Bay RSL Sub-Branch Brian Tidyman and secretary Kevin Collins are primary organisers for this year’s Anzac Day in Hervey Bay. They host many events to support local veterans including Remembrance Day, Korean Veterans Day, Peacekeepers Day, Vietnam Veterans Day, and a Digger’s lunch for 80 or so members. Brian explained how the welfare team looks after the veterans who are ex-service people. Their new location will be at 1 Bryant Street, Pialba.

“Our doors are always open, you can come and see us anytime,” Kevin said.


In February, 1916 the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) raised a new military unit called the 47th Battalion for the doubling of the infantry during World War I. The unit consisted of men mostly from Queensland and Tasmania; approximately half of new recruits were Gallipoli veterans. They adopted the title Wide Bay Regiment in 1927. Their motto defendere non Provocare means to defend and not to challenge, and their unit colour patch was a blue and brown. The Battalion headquarters was located in Maryborough and various depots were situated throughout the Wide Bay-Burnett region.

The infantry fought in the Western Front trenches in Poziѐres, France and later switched to the Ypres sector in Belgium, taking part in the battles of Messines, Passchendaele and Bullecourt. The Battalion disbanded in May 1918. Leonard Joseph McDonald was the last custodian for the 47th Battalion of Maryborough and Buderim, who passed away in late January this year at age 99. The 47th Battalion rugby league football match is hosted annually at the Central Division 47th Battalion carnival in commemoration of the army unit.

An officer from the Battalion, Sergeant Stanley McDougall (23 July 1889 – 7 July 1969), was awarded the Victoria Cross in 1918 by King Henry V at King George Castle. The Victoria Cross is the most prestigious award given to members of the British Armed Forces and can also be awarded posthumously as a military declaration of gallantry in the face of the enemy. It was during World War I when MacDougall single-handedly attacked the enemy, killing several men. He captured an enemy machine-gun and turned it against them. Utilising the enemy’s guns, he killed many more men, including an officer, and made it possible for over 30 enemy prisoners to be held hostage. His actions prevented the enemy line from advancing, as well as saving his own line.

Hervey Bay School Strike for Climate

By | Community, Environment | No Comments

You are never too small to make a difference

A group of Hervey Bay children and adults have become part of a global grassroots network calling for climate change action. On Friday, March 15, local families and other concerned members of the community joined an estimated 1.5 million young people in 125 countries calling for world leaders to move away from our fossil fuel dependency and transition to renewable energy.

The global strikes were inspired by 16-year-old Nobel Peace Prize nominee Greta Thunberg who has protested outside the Swedish parliament every Friday since August 2018.

At a local level, our school strikers have three demands for Australian political parties: stop the Adani coal mine in 2019, commit to no new coal and gas projects, and transition to 100% renewable energy by 2030.

Organiser of the Hervey Bay strike Charmaine Savage, who is not aligned with any political party or environmental group, said time was running out for politicians and parties to rise above their differences and listen to the climate scientists.

As an applied scientist with a career in environmental management spanning more than 26 years and a Masters in Climate Change Adaptation, Charmaine said she felt compelled to step up to help the children.

“I can’t look at this next generation of people and not do anything. Adults and politicians need to listen to our young people’s demands, otherwise we are leaving it to them to fix our mess,” Charmaine said.

“Modern young people have unlimited access to information and many are aware of the effect that the burning of fossil fuels, current agricultural practices and land clearing are having on our environment.”

A 2018 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change stated human activity had already caused 1°C of global warming. The IPCC’s team of climate scientists have outlined the climate impacts resulting from a 1.5°C increase and the significantly more severe impacts resulting from a 2°C increase. The IPCC believes at the current rate, and doing business as usual, the planet’s temperature will sail past the 1.5°C limit by around 2040.

“We are already experiencing the effects of global warming. In Australia, a 1.5°C increase will result in more extreme weather events, including heatwaves, droughts, bushfires and storms, plus rising sea levels. At this point, 80% of coral reefs will have disappeared.”  

In 2015, Australia joined almost 200 other countries to sign the historic Paris Agreement, making a commitment to keep global warming well below 2˚C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the increase to 1.5°C.

“The IPCC believes limiting warming to 1.5˚C is possible but this would require a global shift towards renewable energy sources. It’s an unprecedented challenge but it is possible if we take action now,” Charmaine said.

“It’s heartening to see the groundswell of support lead by community, but unfortunately we’re not seeing enough action from our government. Ten years ago we appeared to be moving towards renewable energy sources, but I thought we would have implemented more changes by now.”

Countries such as Sweden, Germany, Scotland, Costa Rica and Nicaragua are leading the way by embracing solar, wind and geothermal energy. Sweden is on track to achieve its goal of eliminating fossil fuels from electricity generation by 2040, while Costa Rica has produced 95% of its energy from renewable resources over the last four years.

“Obviously Australia is much larger than these countries and we would have to adapt differently, but we have our own unique geography – we just need our government to make a commitment to our environment,” Charmaine said.

“The young people who are taking part in the strikes have done their homework and are wondering why we aren’t limiting fossil fuel and moving over to renewable energy.”

Our young people are just getting warmed up – the 2nd Global Strike For Climate is scheduled for Friday, May 24, 2019. Community members of all ages are invited to attend.  Follow the School Strike 4 Climate Facebook page for more details.

Vox Pops – Why is this strike important to you?

“I want our planet to survive and be healthy.” Sam, 10

“I think it is important to let politicians know about climate change so we can change the future and make sure it doesn’t get worse.” Iluka, 9

“I am going to be a vet and I care about all creatures. We need to help the world’s creatures and also cut down on plastic use.” Tahlia, 9

“I care about animals and I want to help them.” Jemima, 9.

“I think it is ok to use plastic now and again but we need to be better people.” Dailigh, 12

“Plastic doesn’t break down and its around for a long time.  If it gets inside turtles they die.” Taliesin, 10

The Great Duck Rescue

By | Community, Local Life | No Comments

The mother duck and her two offspring were in serious trouble. They were in the gutter of the roundabout at the intersection of Main Street and Boat Harbour Drive, Hervey Bay.

As we rounded the corner on our way home from the beach with two very exhausted dogs, we were shocked to see the situation.  We thought she was trying to cross the road and was likely to get hit by a car. So we quickly exited Main Street and parked the car. My brother and I ran to the scene. A young couple arrived around the same time and told us there were ducklings down the drain. By then the mother had taken refuge in the bushes with the last two ducklings.  We could hear the frantic peeping of the ducklings but couldn’t see them down the deep drain.

The wildlife rescue was called and said they would be out as soon as they could. While we waited, the four of us made sure the mother duck and her ducklings didn’t try to cross the street again.

It wasn’t too long before the fantastic volunteers from the wildlife rescue organisation turned up and took charge. The grate was lifted from the drain and a male volunteer jumped down with a net.  The drain was dark and deeper than he was tall. We worried that we might have to find a ladder to get him back out.

But within a few minutes he was passing up ducklings – one, then two, until we had six tiny balls of feathers safely contained in a cage.  They were no more than a few days old. Turned out, getting the ducklings out of the drain was the easy part – catching mum was a much bigger challenge.  It was all hands on deck as the mother and ducklings went running in all directions. The two ducklings were caught but the mother flew across the road. Using the basket of her peeping babies, we coaxed her down the bike path towards the fields beside Main Street. She was exhausted and had to stop to rest several times, but the sound of her ducklings spurred her on.  When we reached the field the mother went into the big drainage area hoping to find water but had to continue on.

She was frightened and at one point flew off out of sight. Eventually she flew back just as the volunteers were about to give up as it was getting dark.  It was decided that it was best for both the ducklings and the mother to be put in the field where there was a bit of water and protection.

A joyous reunion of mum and ducklings followed, which was amazing and well worth the hours it had taken to conduct the rescue. Knowing that these ducklings were back with their mother made it all worth it.

Apology 11

By | Community | No Comments

National Apology Day 2019

On 13th February 2008, Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd addressed parliament and the nation with a national apology that formally acknowledged all the wrongdoing and the decades of abuse and suffering caused by racial policies that saw children taken from parents, indigenous people isolated on reservations and generations lost. The apology stopped the nation with both indigenous and white people gathered in public places crying and hugging each other as the speech opened some wounds and cauterised others, the Australian people listening and watching the momentous event live from wherever they could. The speech detailed atrocities against Indigenous Australians that occurred from the time of white settlement until a generation or two ago. It was a moment in Australian history that should be remembered. A moment that should be talked about and discussed.

On the 11th anniversary of the Apology, The Beacon went to the Brolga Theatre, Maryborough to hear Butchulla (Badtjala) Indigenous Elder Aunty Karen tell her story. She began by saying that the day was important as it was a time for all to reflect on the past mis-treatments and take the first step in creating mutual respect. She said that the former government policies had affected her immediate family members self-esteem, experiences in society, and cultural identity.

The national Apology was a forward step in reconciling our nation, but it should not be accepted that this is by any means the end of the journey. Although the government and Australian people have slowly begun to acknowledge and react to the injustices made to indigenous Australians, there is still a long way to go before full reconciliation can occur. The atrocities of the past cannot so easily be forgotten, nor should they. The government has work still to do. The Aboriginal Deaths in Custody Report in 1991 and Bringing Them Home Report 1997, are some measures taken but there is still much that needs to be done.

Conversations and the telling of stories is an important part of both understanding and healing as Aunty Karen so eloquently states, “I have been asked why we keep talking about something that happened 200 years ago. I’m not connected with the Jewish community but I will always respect and recognise the trauma they had to experience during the war. It is important to bear witness. When we can tell our stories and not be met with that question, when we are met with someone that says; “Yes I understand that hurt,” then maybe our stories will be heard less and our healing will be acknowledged and accepted.” It is important to note that much of the injustice recognised in the apology happened as recently as the 1960’s. As part of her speech Aunty Karen read from a document called a Certificate of Exemption which was given to Indigenous people to allow them to leave a reservation or mission and live in towns. It stipulated that in order to walk freely through town without being arrested, Indigenous people were prohibited from speaking in their native language, associating with fellow indigenous people, including their own family members, dancing and other native customs. They could enter into a shop, but shop owners could choose whether or not they would be served.

“This” Aunty Karen states as she points to a copy of an Exemption Certificate, “Is dated 1951, so I love it when people say this was happening 200 years ago,” she said. “Our family members, our aunts, our uncles, and our grandparents were affected by this in different ways.” Looking around the room, many of the audience members nodded in acknowledgment. Aunty Karen said each Indigenous person had stories to share about personal, family and community experiences, and called on them to share their stories.  “Do not dwell on them but do it to recognise the pain that was sometimes and is still experienced,” she said. “Share with those that can listen and acknowledge – yes I feel that pain. Together we can support each other to heal and move forward.”

“It’s amazing that people didn’t know what was happening to our aboriginal communities.” In the 1970’s Australian white children learnt of apartheid in South Africa, with no knowledge of the segregation and abuse being given to our Indigenous Australians only a few years earlier. Exemption Certificates only stopped in 1969. It is not that white Australians are all racist, but many are still ignorant. It is here where remembering and acknowledging the anniversary of the Apology is important for all Australians as through the sharing of stories and histories, understanding grows and ultimate healing is achieved.

We cannot change the past but we can and must learn from it. To remain ignorant without acknowledging our mistakes, leaves room for these atrocities to reoccur. There is strength in talking about that pain. There is strength in listening and acknowledging that pain. There is strength in apologising and strength in forgiveness.  As Aunty Karen said in her speech, “I share these stories on behalf of my community. My life and my community have given me the opportunity to see, hear and show pride in the resilience of our people. I hope in time we will hear from others that have strong important stories to tell.” So let us all, listen and listen well, for every story worth telling needs ears willing to stop and hear.

Derek Smith – Another Side

By | Community | No Comments

Most of us around the Fraser Coast know Derek F. Smith for his incredible voice and guitar playing. The Beacon however are very excited to introduce you today to another side of Derek F. Smith.

As we drove up the long driveway on Derek’s eight acre block of land, surrounded by horses, chickens and ducks, and with storm clouds brewing noisily in the distance, we were met by the intriguing sight of Derek F. Smith, sitting in a weather-worn timber lean to shed at an old potters wheel….potting.

We had entered the remarkable new world of Derek F. Smith – Potter!

As Derek’s hands expertly started moulding a lump of undefined clay into his next creation, he spoke quietly of his love of pottery and the relaxation it brings him. Having done a few workshops in  Mudgeeraba 8 years ago, Derek developed his skills further by watching YouTube videos and with long hours of practice. Derek admits that as of late he has not been spending as much time on his pottery as he would like, but with a new 10 week old baby girl and increased music commitments one cannot blame him. He still however manages to produce anything up to 18 items a week which he sells through the Dreaded Potter Instagram and Facebook sites.

‘People have just been snapping them up!’ Derek says proudly, ‘I’m finding it hard to meet demand.’

Derek is a great believer in sustainability, with a keen interest in finding ways to help reduce the amount of waste we produce. His passion is to create a series of reusable coffee cups that will replace and help reduce the number of disposable coffee cups used. The cups he has already produced are truly beautiful and have taken a great deal of patience and technique to create.

Understanding the clay and its levels of shrinkage not only through the natural drying process but also through the firing in the kiln has been a great challenge perfecting. His old but reliable kiln has also added its own hardships to the process, as much of the timing and temperature levels are done manually needing Derek’s constant attention and checking to ensure firing times and heat levels are accurately maintained to guarantee the products quality and integrity.

Being travel mugs, the tight fit of the pre-made food grade silicone lid is imperative and through much trial and error, and the incorporation of a small lip around the edge, Derek has achieved a remarkably tight and safe lid fixture.

These reusable travel mugs are nothing if not beautiful. The glaze work is incredible! It would be the greatest of joys to produce one of Derek’s wonderful travel mugs each time you purchased your takeaway coffee!

Derek of course makes all types of other pottery ranging from normal mugs through to bowls, plates and vases. He is only limited by time. Derek is very keen to ensure that pottery at this point in his life remains purely a hobby, a way for him to get away from the stresses of life, especially now that music- his previous hobby, has become his occupation. He regards himself as lucky to be able to do what he loves to earn a living, but also needs a break from it and pottery gives him that escape.

Derek loves the idea that he is using substances directly from nature, ie clay, to create lasting and useful works of art. Pottery is a craft that goes back centuries- one whose techniques have changed little over time. It is also an art that has been telling stories of history throughout the ages, as it reveals itself through archaeological digs around the world.

The thought of someone digging up his pottery in a thousand years time and trying to determine it’s history and maker is one that gives Derek great joy. Making something from materials straight from the earth, that has a purpose, is beautiful, unique and most importantly reusable is important to Derek. The thought of permanency, of sustainability, of someone finding his work in the ground years later to become a part of history puts a mischievous grin on Derek’s face as he says,

‘I like the idea of someone finding my work in years to come and wondering, ‘who made that!’’

You can follow Derek through his website  and social media pages and

Tres Salsa

By | Community, Local Business, Local Life | No Comments

Jemima fell in love with hospitality when she was just 14 years old and has been working in the industry for 15 years. She always knew hospitality was her passion and dreamed of opening a café in Hervey Bay but quickly realised that it was a market that had already been cracked. She spent the last few years saving away on minimum wage to make her dream into a reality.

It was while she was in London refurbishing and managing a café turned Mexican restaurant tequila bar that she fell in love with the food, people and culture. She decided to save up and travel to Mexico.  Staying in Mexico for two months and loving every second of it. Eating, drinking and researching as much as she could, soaking up all of the Mexican culture.

When she returned to Hervey Bay she realised that a traditional Mexican cantina is just what the region was missing. While there are already a few Mexican restaurants Jemima says they are the same cuisine but slightly different. Jemima wanted to create a restaurant that provided locals with affordable but good quality Mexican meals with great local produce. Tres Salsas opened its doors on the 13th of December and has been doing well ever since, serving happy locals and visitors to the region.

Tres Salsas delivers simple, delicious and healthy Mexican meals for the whole family in a great atmosphere right on the esplanade. The salsas all made from scratch in house and the meats are all marinated on site. Jemima created the menu from her time in Mexico and collaborated with a Mexican friend to ensure it had that traditional twist. Portions of food are generous and simply delicious!

Tres Salsas offers different levels of heat for all customer preferences – they understand that everyone has different levels of spice tolerance. They range from full of flavour but totally safe, to let’s go a little touch of heat, ending with a blow your mind and taste buds sensational heat. What a wonderful solution to adding just the perfect touch to enjoying your meal just the way you like!

Tres salsas is open 7 nights for dinner and Thursday through to Sunday for lunch from 11am. They welcome you to pop in and immerse yourself in the passion.

Address: 13/416 The Esplanade, Torquay Hervey Bay
Phone no: 07 4125 6237