Singer Caitlyn Shadbolt was nominated for Female Artist of the Year at the 2018 CMC Music Awards.
Singer Caitlyn Shadbolt was nominated for Female Artist of the Year at the 2018 CMC Music Awards. Lachie Millard

13 faces missing from this year's POWER 30 list

ALMOST half of the people on Gympie's Power 30 list this year were new faces.

So who did they replace from last year's Power 30?

Some prominent names such as Carl Green, Maxine Baldwin and Darrin Edwards moved away from the area, while others may have been overtaken by the next generation of rising influencers.

Top players John Cochrane (number 9 last year) and Destination Gympie Region's Andrew Saunders (number 11 last year) have disappeared from the list, with the biggest exit from Gympie Regional Council CEO Bernard Smith who fell the hardest from spot number five last year.

Below are 13 of last year's most powerful people in the region, who are no longer on the list:

13. Carl Green (#30, POWER 30, 2017)

Carl Green from Green RV in Gympie has built his empire from a small car-yard to a multi-million dollar caravan and motorhome dynasty.
Green RV's Carl Green, was previously ranked the 30th most powerful person in the Gympie region. Renee Albrecht

WORTH more than $30 million a year, Carl Green started from humble beginnings.

He was born in Gympie in 1965 and raised on farms in the Gympie area.

From the age of 18 he started selling cars for Gympie Carworld.

It was soon after this he met his wife Judy (also born in Gympie) and they had two children.

Soon after, the couple built a new child care centre at Jones Hill and then bought five acres on the northside of Gympie.

Muster Chairman Carl Green says the Muster main stages iconic red sign will be changed to yellow this week to match new major sponsor Optus's corporate branding.
Carl Green at the Gympie Music Muster. Craig Warhurst

After building a number of commercial properties on the site, Mr Green started a motor vehicle retail yard in November of 1997.

He now has five Green RV Dealerships, worth more than $30 million a year, which retail, repair and service caravans and motor homes.

In addition to Gympie he has dealerships in Brisbane, Sunshine Coast, Windsor and Melbourne.

In the near future Mr Green has plans to develop a 150-lot residential subdivision on Ranson Rd and is also in the process of getting approvals for a 20-acre industrial complex on Langton Rd.

In addition to all of his business dealings, Mr Green served as a Gympie Apexian for 15 years and was involved in running the Gympie Music Muster for several of those years.

12. Ruth Modin (#28, POWER 30, 2017)

Ruth Modin in Rainbow Beach.
Ruth Modin at Rainbow Beach. Renee Albrecht

THE Gympie region would not be complete without the unofficial major of Rainbow Beach, Ruth Modin.

Mrs Modin has been in business in Rainbow Beach since the 80s with late husband Milton, who both moved to the area from Alberta, Canada.

In addition to Mrs Modin's business savvy she is a self-made community activist whose fearless championing of all things Rainbow has helped make the town what it is today.

One her greatest achievements to date helped transform the town in the 1980s, when she came up with the idea for the Rainbow Beach Fishing Classic.

Tired of seeing fishermen calling through on their way to the then big Fraser Island fishing competition, she thought Rainbow Beach should have its own.

Interviewed during last year's classic, she recalled the inspiration.

Ruth Modine of Rainbow Beach Newsagency and Foodworks. Photo: Greg Miller / Gympie Times
Ruth Modin at Rainbow Beach Newsagency and Foodworks. Greg Miller

"I thought, why can't we do one of these? Only I'm going to include women and children and make it a family thin."

A lot of people met Rainbow Beach thanks to that one idea, in the 1980s.

In October of last year, a fire, which appeared to start in the cafe section of the building, burnt down both the cafe and Mrs Modin's store.

But Mrs Modin fought through the hardships and after six months the cafe and her store were rebuilt.

That means the seaside town once again has its newsagent, early morning convenience store and a cafe next door.

"So I'm still here and in businesses, after 35 years," she said.

11. Geoff Walden (#26, POWER 30, 2017)

Dr Geoff Walden has been instrumental in helping the careers of many local country music performers.
Dr Geoff Walden has been instrumental in helping the careers of many local country music performers. Greg Miller

THE face of Gympie's music scene has been irreversibly changed due to the efforts of one man.

Dr "Rock" Geoff Walden has been teaching music for more than 50 years.

He started teaching at Gympie State High School in the late 1980s and one of the first things he did was to inspire his students interested in contemporary music, to check out country music.

Dr Walden recalls several of his contemporaries pooh-poohing the idea, saying that he'd never get kids interested in country music.

And so the Country Music School of Excellence was born.

Preparing for Gympie's woodNmusic festival being held at the AICM Hall, 26 Channon Street, Gympie on May 29, 30 & 31st.  Dr. Geoff Walden strumming on a base guitar.  
Photo Greg Miller / Gympie Times
Geoff Walden previously preparing for Gympie's woodNmusic festival being held at the AICM Hall. Greg Miller

Dr Walden was at the head of this community organisation, which, after his retirement in the early 2000s, continued on to become permanent tenants in the Australian Institute of Country Music, something which Dr Walden also played a large role in establishing.

"I had hoped to make the CMSOE a tertiary course, (post school) but it didn't happen," he said.

It hasn't stopped young and up-coming musicians seeking his tutelage at the AICM and some of the most famous graduates include Caitlyn Shadbolt, Graham Rodgers and Alice Benfer.

Along with other members of the AICM, Dr Walden has helped students focus their talents to go on and perform at places like the Gympie Music Muster and the Tamworth Country Music festival.

Currently the Dennis Sisters, recent contestants on reality show, The X Factor, are learning from Dr Walden who said his passion at the moment is teach the girls how to master the guitar.

10. Caitlyn Shadbolt (#25, POWER 30, 2017)

Bush To Bay Music Festival at Bay Central Tavern -  Caitlyn Shadbolt.
Caitlyn Shadbolt plays at the Bush To Bay Music Festival. Alistair Brightman

IT WAS inevitable Gympie's most recent export, Caitlyn Shadbolt, made the cut last year, sliding into position number 25.

Long before she came fifth on reality TV show The X- Factor in 2014, she was fronting the Gympie High School Band, and making a name for herself locally with her powerful country music vocals and guitar.

Since her national exposure, her career has gone from strength to strength starting with an exclusive record deal with ABC/Universal Music Australia in July 2015.

Two of her singles 'Maps Out The Window' and 'Shoot Out The Lights' hit number one on the Country iTunes chart, Airplay chart and CMC Video Charts.

Soon after her self-titled EP was the highest selling CD at the Gympie Music Muster in 2015, taking it into the Top 10 on the Aria Country Albums Chart.

Since then she's been nominated for several Golden Guitars, has performed with country music greats both in Australia and overseas in Nashville, Tennessee, won the CMC New Oz Artist of the Year in 2016 and has performed at two CMC Rocks events with international artists such as the Dixie Chicks, Little Big Town and Kip Moore.

Throughout her career to date, she has been proud to call Gympie home, and extols the virtues of her small town upbringing at every opportunity.

9. Darrin Edwards (#22, POWER 30, 2017)

No Caption
Darrin Edwards

DARRIN Edwards will be the first to say he is proud to have been principal at James Nash State High School for 12 years.

James Nash became the largest school in the wider Gympie area while under his control with enrolments now capped at 1270 students.

Under his guidance, James Nash was recognised as a state leader with the school winning the 2016 Peter Doherty Awards for Excellence in science, technology, engineering and mathematics and the North Coast Region's Showcasing Excellence in Education-Leadership Award.

Executive Principal of Mountain Creek State High School Darrin Edwards.
Darrin Edwards. Craig Warhurst

Mr Edwards said at the time; "These acknowledgements, along with our status as an independent public school and our international school accreditation, certainly recognise that we are moving well towards our goal of being a hub of educational excellence for all learners."

Also under his guidance, the school became one of the highest performing secondary schools in the region for Year 12 outcomes with all of the graduating seniors of 2016 awarded a QCE/OP or VET qualification.

8. Craig Mathisen (#18, POWER 30, 2017)

Muster board member Craig Mathisen from Gympie.
Craig Mathisen was previously on the Power 30 list. Renee Albrecht

CRAIG Mathisen began his Muster career cooking chips at the Webb Brothers first Muster.

It was a far cry from where he would wind up in his 35 year commitment to Gympie's iconic music festival, as he now a Board Director for the Muster, holding the Marketing and Sponsorship Portfolio in 2017 and the position of deputy chair in 2016-17.

And his lifetime spent dedicated to country music does not stop there.

Describing himself as a "very novice and frustrated blues harmonica player", he was a founding member of the Australian Institute of Country Music, eventually moving on to become a board member and treasurer of the AICM and, most recently, the organisation's president.

The dedication to music is not the only tune of Mr Mathisen's career, though.

A land surveyor in Gympie in the early 80s, he has been influential growing the region's tourism economy through the Cooloola Regional Development Bureau, and working in the Queensland public sector since 1998 to help economic development grow in the Wide Bay Burnett and South East Queensland regions.

At present, he is the regional director South East (Wide Bay Burnett and South East Queensland) for the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (Queensland).

7. Reg Lawler (#13, POWER 30, 2017)

Hydro Pool meeting at Gympie Civic Centre on Sunday (Sept 27). Reg Lawler.   
Photo Contributed
Reg Lawler.

"I DON'T talk to The Gympie Times, " Reg Lawler said when asked about his part in our Power 30 series last year.

We hope they are not the last words we report from the former high school teacher and long-time campaigner noted for David and Goliath wins on issues like saving Inskip Point camping from harassment by over-regulation, including in one case a compulsory evacuation, in the face of a cyclone which was nowhere near the area.

Mr Lawler's determination and repeated wins preserved an important tradition.

Reg Lawler wants to talk divisions before the next local election. Photo Craig Warhurst/The Gympie Times
Reg Lawler has disappeared from Gympie's Power 30 list. Craig Warhurst

His Planning and Environment Court win against Rainbow Shores Stage 2 means Rainbow Beach still has a wilderness-based tourism magnet on its northern side, instead of a rival town.

Mr Lawler says The Gympie Times portrayed him unfairly in a court case over a pig farm near the Mary River.

He claims he won important concessions. The proponent says they were already on offer.

But there is no dispute over Mr Lawler's contribution to the region.

6. Jellina White (#12, POWER 30, 2017)

No Caption
Jellina White.

CAREER banker Jellina White is the owner and Manager of Bank of Queensland Gympie.

It was in 1987 that Ms White began her banking career at the BOQ Gympie (where she was born and raised). In a male dominated industry she worked hard to climb the corporate ladder, working in numerous branches throughout the state until she became the only female Regional Manager in Australia, travelling throughout, NSW, Victoria and the ACT, working closely with new BOQ franchisees.

During her time with Corporate BOQ , Ms White was awarded the Managing Directors Award, Branch of the Year and Branch Manager of the Year.

With a young family and many years of Australia-wide franchise coaching under her belt she took the opportunity to return to her home town of Gympie in 2009, and convert the local BOQ branch from a Corporate branch to a franchise.

A massive believer of giving back to the community that supports her and her business, the chance to provide significant support to local clubs is considered a career highlight similar to the many executive awards given during her corporate career.

Ms White has also been awarded Gympie Women in Business awards of Top Gun Woman of Excellence, Employer of the Year and Business of The Year.

As the major sponsor for the Gympie Junior Rugby League and Junior Development Program for the past seven years she has seen many improvements as a direct result of the monies she has contributed, and has helped support and raise funds for Little Haven Palliative Care, Valleys Cricket Club, Gympie Hockey, Bush to Beach Lions Project and Gympie Aero Club.

She also gives her time freely to talk to local primary and high school students regarding budgeting and banking.

5. Andrew Saunders (#11, POWER 30, 2017)

No Caption
Andrew Saunders

IN HIS current role, Andrew Saunders manages all operations of Destination Gympie Region in south-east Queensland, the official tourism organisation for the region.

Born in Melbourne, Mr Saunders represented Australia in athletics and is still an active athlete in his spare time.

He moved to the Sunshine Coast in 2003, and before his role in Gympie, he had amassed over a decade in the tourism industry.

Armed with a master in management and marketing, he has worked with a number of state tourism and major event bodies as well as large companies Australia-wide.

Mr Saunders has held notable positions, including Senior Manager of World Championship events including World Road Cycling Championships and World Triathlon Championships and was also a business development manager of Noosa Springs.

Destination Gympie Region.  Tourism Development Manager Andrew Saunders.
Photo Tanya Easterby / The Gympie Times
Destination Gympie Region's Andrew Saunders. Tanya Easterby

Mr Saunders was the Chair of Legacy Group of Sunshine Coast Steering Committee for Embracing 2018 Commonwealth Games and sat on the board on the The Gympie Music Muster.

As a result of his position Gympie's performance in the growing domestic and international tourism economy is driven by Mr Saunders, and he knows a thing or two about selling Gympie to the rest of the world.

The proof is in the pudding with the Gympie Region, which was named the fastest growing tourism destination in Queensland for both domestic and international visitor nights for the period of 2015/16.

During his time at the helm, Rainbow Beach has spiked as a popular coastal holiday destination and the Gympie region has promoted the paddock to plate philosophy to take advantage of the wonderful food and produce on offer.

4. John Cochrane (#9, POWER 30, 2017)

John Cochrane unhappy with the milk situation in Australia.
John Cochrane is a big name missing from this year's Power 30 list. Renee Albrecht

HE IS one of the more recognisable faces in the Gympie region.

If you don't see an image of John Cochrane on one of the several massive Gympie Regional Realty billboards in town, you would see it on a multitude of for sale signs.

Some would argue John Cochrane is the face of Gympie, and as a result he landed himself inside the top 10 in Gympie's Power 30.

Ever since he can remember, Mr Cochrane wanted to milk cows.

John and his wife Marg, have come from humble beginnings to build a

dairy and real estate

empire that employs over 100 staff between the two ventures.

John Cochrane overlooking Mary Valley property about to be listed on the maket. Photo Renee Albrecht/Gympie Times
John Cochrane overlooking a Mary Valley property. Renee Albrecht

Their acquisition of the Kenilworth cheese factory is one of their latest expansion moves, sealing their heavy-hitting status in the local dairy industry.

Mr Cochrane has served on numerous dairy industry boards and is a staunch advocate of local dairy production.

He pulled through the Traveston dam saga in spite of overwhelming financial challenges to become one of the most successful dairy farmers in the valley.

It is through his farming advocacy, business success and commitment to the Gympie region that John Cochrane made number nine in Gympie's Power 30.  

3. John Madill (#8, POWER 30, 2017)

John Madill with award. Photo Renee Pilcher / The Gympie Times
John Madill. Renee Pilcher

WHILE John Madill did not make this year's Power 30 list as an individual - the Madill Family did make the list at Number 9.

John Madill is one of Gympie's most community minded business owners.

A Gympie State High School graduate, Mr Madill and his brother Garth built on the legacy started by his father Tom, and becoming an integral part in a family business which has become an icon in Gympie.

He joined the family business as a trainee in 1975 and grew into a board position.

John Madill new business premises, Bruce Highway, Gympie. 8th September, 2014.  Pictured, John Madill.  Photo Patrick Woods / The Gympie Times
John Madill at the his new Bruce Highway business premises in 2014. Patrick Woods

Under strong and passionate leadership, the Madill Motor Group grew from two dealerships in 1975 to seven dealerships today with a monthly wage bill of nearly one million dollars.

Mr Madill has stated he likes to reinvest in our people and our community and our business and has been heavily involved in community organisations.

He became a life member of APEX Club of Gympie in 1992, then moved to the Gympie Cooloola Rotary, and is a Paul Harris Fellowship recipient.

Mr Madill has done considerable work with Roadcraft's Driver Education organisation and has been a major sponsor for over a decade.

He is current President of the Salvation Army Noosa Region Red Shield Appeal fundraiser, a member of the Gympie Chamber of Commerce and the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

John Madill Toyota supports local charities and sports groups, including Gympie Vets Golf group, as John is an avid golfer himself.

John and his wife's son Adam now works alongside him.

2. Maxine Baldwin (#7, POWER 30, 2017)

Former Gympie Magistrate Maxine Baldwin moves after 9years.
Former Gympie Magistrate Maxine Baldwin. Renee Albrecht

MAGISTRATE Maxine Baldwin's influence was not only integral to the wheels of justice turning in the Gympie region but went far beyond.

Mrs Baldwin was continuously recognised in her evolving career that began as a high school teacher before moving into law where she was a highly-respected family lawyer and one of only two dual family law/mediation-accredited specialists in Queensland.

As the first female accredited family law specialist outside Brisbane, Mrs Baldwin mentored young female lawyers and was awarded Queensland Female Lawyer of the Year in 2005.

As an Honorary Solicitor she worked tirelessly in community groups who were reliant on her support and assistance in issues surrounding women, aged care and migrants.

Real estate Maxine Baldwin selling her house in Gympie.
Maxine Baldwin moved on from Gympie. Renee Albrecht

In 2007 Mrs Baldwin was appointed to the Queensland judiciary as Magistrate where she has committed to providing justice and rehabilitation options including the safe choices program for perpetrators of domestic violence and court ordered driver programs.

Mrs Baldwin made up one of 'Australia's 1000 brightest and best' during the 2020 Summit held in Canberra in 2008 and in 2015 was awarded Life Membership of the Queensland Law Society for her contributions to law.

Mrs Baldwin has touched innumerable lives, and made a significant, long-lasting contribution to her community.

1. Bernard Smith (#5, POWER 30, 2017)

Bernard Smith returns from the Ironman World Championship, Kona, Hawii.Photo Patrick Woods / Gympie Times
Gympie Regional Council CEO Bernard Smith. Patrick Woods

BERNARD Smith oversees the day-to-day business operations as the chief executive officer of the Gympie Regional Council.

In the role, Mr Smith has a handle on the Gympie Regional Council's $96.5million budget and, as a result, an indirect influence on the lives of about 50,292 people who live within the region.

Mr Smith has a strong background in regional local government across a range of positions in three states.

After obtaining a degree in civil engineering, he undertook a range of roles at the City of Berwick in Melbourne's outer east before going to the City of Sandringham in Melbourne in a director level position.

Gympie Council Bernard Smith.
Gympie Regional Council CEO Bernard Smith. Renee Albrecht

Following amalgamations in Victoria, Mr Smith was then appointed as director of environmental services at the newly created City of Greater Bendigo.

In 2000 he was appointed general manager of Port Macquarie Hastings Council, a position he held until 2008.

Mr Smith joined Gympie Regional Council in 2011 as chief executive officer and considers himself fortunate to have experienced local government in both the regional and metropolitan context.

Mr Smith last year said he enjoyed playing a role in continuing to develop an organisation that provided high-quality services to the community and to assist the council in its most important responsibility of planning and delivering for the Gympie region's future.

What do you think about Gympie's Power 30?

SOME could argue money is influence, and in some cases, they would be right.

Others could argue sports stars hold greater influence than, say, artists and charity workers.

Both could be right, or wrong, because that's the subjectiveness of power.

Let's start a conversation.

Email your thoughts to or leave your comment online at