Company collapses, human remains stole late 2018 limelight
FROM hailnados, a devastating bushfire and the identification of human remains found near Normanby Bridge, the local headlines, images and video of the last few months of 2018 provided some compelling and powerful reading and viewing.
Saturday, September 1
WHY WERE WE IGNORED?
MARY Street traders said yesterday they were outraged at plans to relocate the iconic Gold Rush street parade to Mellor St.
The council announced on Thursday the street parade would this year start at the top of Mellor St and finish near the library car park. It would not go into Mary Street at all.
Tuesday, September 4
PEOPLE POWER PREVAILS
PEOPLE power has ruled the day, with the shock decision to exclude Mary St from this year's Gold Rush Parade reversed after public backlash. Wednesday, September 5
Wednesday, September 5
4WDs AND BEACHES
A SUNSHINE Coast academic is calling for a community discussion on allowing 4WD access in national parks with beaches, after researching the damaging effects it has on the environment.
Thursday, September 6
'ENOUGH IS ENOUGH'
A PUSH to introduce a national 10c per litre Drought Levy on milk has been cheered on by Gympie's dairy farmers who fear that without change the industry will dry up.
Friday, September 7
'HE OWES US AN APOLOGY'
THE last sitting president of the Gold Rush Committee has demanded an apology from Mayor Mick Curran after he called the festival "dead in the water" before council took over.
Saturday, September 8
ACCUSED STABBER IN CUSTODY
A 35-YEAR-OLD East Deep Creek man has been remanded to a November committal hearing after allegedly stabbing another 35-year-old man while drunk in Gympie overnight.
Tuesday, September 11
RATTLER IN SEARCH OF A NEW LEADER
ANOTHER Mary Valley Rattler general manager has departed before the train reaches its destination. Lisa Raklander is gone after less than five months in the job, forcing the Rattler Railway Company to go on the hunt for its third GM in less than a year.
Wednesday, September 12
POLICE IDENTIFY HUMAN REMAINS
POLICE have revealed some details behind the human remains found in Gympie beside the Mary River in June. The remains have been identified as from a Wellington Point man aged 41 when he was last seen in early 2016.
Thursday, September 13
SUPPORT is building for a multi-disciplinary health centre on the Cooloola Coast. A public meeting will be held at Tin Can Bay this weekend and a petition is circulating calling for coast residents to support the idea.
Friday, September 14
HOW MUCH CAN THEY BEAR?
HAVING copped a 70 per cent rate rise as part of amalgamation eight years ago, Lagoon Pocket farmers John and Jennefer Cameron have been left wondering why they've been slugged with another huge hike this year.
Saturday, September 15
RUSH TO SERENITY
THEY say everybody likes the quiet, and Gympie's property market is proving that with a surge in house prices in the region's semi-Rural areas driving the market.
Tuesday, September 18
VIOLENT STRUGGLE ROCKS LOCAL COURT
A YOUNG woman's desperate escape from Gympie Magistrates Court lasted only seconds before she was recaptured. Elizabeth Marie Burns, 27, struggled and swore at police as four officers wrestled her to the ground before escorting her back to the watchhouse.
Wednesday, September 19
CALL FOR TEEWAH OVERHAUL
EASTER traffic "overkill" of the Noosa and Cooloola "North Shore" beaches will see formation of a united front of local authorities aimed at curbing recreational excesses.
Thursday, September 20
HORROR: 60 cattle, horses dead on just one property at Woolooga
TERRIFIED Woolooga residents were sent into an afternoon of panic yesterday as a fierce bushfire raged through around 700ha of grazing land and barrelled towards properties in the township.
Friday, September 21
GET OUT NOW
THOUSANDS of hectares burnt out, distressing scenes of panicked cattle running into the flames, courage, selflessness and the resilience of the people who live in the bush - these were all elements of the terrible fury of the Woolooga fire that has raged since Wednesday morning and is estimated to have an economic price tag running into the millions.
Saturday, September 22
'WORST FIRE IN MY LIFETIME'
WITH the final toll of the devastating fire that ripped through Gympie's northwest still to be confirmed, the State Government has been called on to help the more than 1300 affected residents.
Tuesday, September 25
7.5M-DEEP SINKHOLE SWALLOWS PART OF INSKIP
POPULAR tourist hot spot Inskip Point became a little bit smaller yesterday when a 7.5m deep sinkhole swallowed up the beach.
Wednesday, September 26
WOOLOOGA FIRE WAS NO DISASTER, SAYS STATE
WOOLOOGA'S worst wild fire emergency in living memory was not officially a disaster and victims may not qualify for assistance.
Thursday, September 27
FIELD OF DREAMS
ALMOST six years to the day since it was derailed, the iconic Rattler will make its triumphant official return trip to the Mary Valley.
Friday, September 28
BAY'S NEW $220K PARK
TIN Can Bay's new $220,000 playground at Les Lee Park will have an aquatic feel and a "sea life" theme.
The new playground at Norman Point will feature multiple slides, climbing bars and an enclosed tower.
Saturday, September 29
GYMPIE'S POWER 30
IT IS difficult to achieve anything without a vision, and the Gympie region's most influential person, Wide Bay MP Llew O'Brien's is clear: a better life for the region's future residents. Voted #1 in this year's Power 30, he is well on the way to delivering on that promise.
Tuesday, October 1
YOUTH WORKERS RUN OFF THEIR FEET
GYMPIE'S youth and crisis management workers are being run off their feet, with youth homeless numbers worryingly high, according to Shadow Minister for Youth and Child Safety Stephen Bennett.
Wednesday, October 3
SECOND CLASS CITIZENS
THE State Government's legacy in Gympie was nothing but "wasted years", LNP MP Tony Perrett said yesterday in a scathing attack on the ALP in which he accused the party of ignoring voters.
Thursday, October 4
SHORT BUT POWERFUL
IT'S lights, camera, action today as the Heart of Gold International Short Film Festival returns for the 11th time - and it could be the biggest and best yet.
Friday, October 5
IS THIS THE END?
GOLFERS' days on the Gympie course could be numbered with most of the property's potential buyers looking to shut the course to the public.
Saturday, October 6
BLOODBATH FINALLY OVER
THE biggest property bloodbath in the state's history - which has cost Queenslanders a staggering $318 million - is officially over. Almost a decade after the Federal Government blocked a con-troversial move to dam the Mary River, the last lots acquired for the project have been sold.
Tuesday, October 9
FLASHER DAD EXPOSED
48-YEAR-OLD father of five Shawn Wade Green has admitted to being a serial public masturbator who exposed himself to women multiple times in a Gympie carpark.
Wednesday, October 10
ICE DEALER DUCKS JAIL
A CARPENTER'S catastrophic drug relapse and decision to sell ice put him at risk of going to jail this week. But lawyers for Gympie man Daniel Curtis Bryers said the young man's work ethic was among good reasons to give him another chance.
Thursday, October 11
OUT OF THE ASHES
DAMS black with soot and a charcoal ground tinged green might be a dystopian nightmare landscape for some. For Woolooga residents, though, it is "hope".
Friday, October 12
MONSTROUS thunderstorms wreaked destruction throughout the Gympie region and left more than 5000 homes without power yesterday afternoon.
Saturday, October 13
'WE'VE LOST IT ALL'
SCENES of Thursday afternoon's "Hailnado" left farmers all over the Gympie region reeling and lost for what to do next. Jason and Kim Lewis of Cooloola Berries at Wolvi said they were "completely obliterated".
Tuesday, October 16
COUNTING THE COST
STORMS that cut a swathe of destruction across the Gympie region last week have left a damages bill that is expected to go into the millions.
Wednesday, October 17
END OF 'FOWL' PLAY
A MAJOR RSPCA investigation into an alleged southeast Queensland cockfighting ring came to an end in Gympie yesterday when Widgee man and former Oxford Game Fowl Breeders Association president Frank Robert Huskisson, 62, pleaded guilty to possessing material related to the blood sport.
Thursday, October 18
PERRETT SLAMS 'TICK AND FLICK' ABORTIONS
GYMPIE MP Tony Perrett has spoken strongly against new abortion legislation, which he said would allow the termination of "little humans on the brink of viability".
Friday, October 19
FAMILIES' dreams have been turned into nightmares in Gympie with the liquidation and building licence cancellation of Stirling Homes Qld in the past week. It's a chain of events which has left families like Jessica and John Baker in the lurch, with nothing to show for their hopes but an empty frame.
Saturday, October 20
$325K BOOST TO BUSINESS
SMILES over the Mary Valley Rattler have extended beyond the passengers, with the Great Eastern Motor Inn looking at a $325,000 boon over the next year alone thanks to its return.
Tuesday, October 23
HUGELY expensive dispute in Gympie's Planning and Environment Court this week will help determine the region's industrial, farming and environmental future. The proponent, Corbet Quarries Pty Ltd, is part of the fast growing Corbet Group. Opponents are Mary Valley Community Group Inc and Peak Events Pty Ltd, owner of the neighbouring Garapine education facility.
Wednesday, October 24
SERVING UP THE FUTURE
A 24-HOUR rest and recharge roadhouse, complete with fuel, food outlets and electric vehicle charging infrastructure will be built on the Bruce Highway at Traveston.
Thursday, October 25
UNITED WE FALL
THE liquidator of a property development company that collapsed owing $8 million will apply for a public examination of "key persons" involved in the operation of the business. United Project Partners Pty Ltd, part of the United Group, was a Gympie-based project manager and funder of property developments across Toowoomba and Gympie.
Friday, October 26
GHOST TOWNS LAID TO REST
NO WATER, no sewerage, no power connections, no built roads and no lawful use - western Gympie's grandly named "historic villages" never did amount to much. But although they cannot be used and have no services, they still attract a council rates bill - and some people still want to own property there. Cinnabar, near Kilkivan, and Goomeri district's Tansey and Manyung localities have never been substantially developed and today have populations mainly consisting of livestock.
Saturday, October 27
PREGNANT women are opting to travel to Kawana's Sunshine Coast University Hospital to have their babies instead of attending the Gympie Hospital's maternity ward. The $1.8 billion hospital opened last year and has 450 beds, with plans to grow to 738 beds by 2021. There is a concern that if numbers continue to dwindle at Gympie services could be lost.
Tuesday, October 30
LONG-STANDING Gympie business John Buckley Electrical has gone into liquidation, leaving more than 20 staff and apprentices without a job. The electrical contracting business ceased trading last Friday, ending a 37-year-old enterprise renown for its domestic and large-scale projects and investment in apprentices.
Wednesday, October 31
AGED CARE NURSES RALLY
GYMPIE nursing home nurses and carers will rally outside Cooinda Aged Care this afternoon to demand better pay and more nurses to properly care for residents.
Thursday, November 1
COOINDA DENIES QNMY CLAIMS
A 50-STRONG crowd of Gympie's aged care staff united for a vocal rally out the front of the Cooinda Aged Care centre in protest of "poor conditions for elderly residents and those who care for them" yesterday afternoon.
Friday, November 2
GYMPIE Regional Council has confirmed it has offered "snout bounties" turned in by local hunters "for some time" - and at double the price proposed by Queensland councils lobbying the State Government to try to decrease feral pig numbers.
Saturday, November 3
CHICKENPOX typically increases in spring, but in the Gympie region so far this year the number of cases of the virus that can lead to chickenpox and shingles has almost doubled.
Tuesday, November 6
THE Tin Can Bay Coast Guard is back in the water after what looks like a quick backdown by its federal management body, which had previously warned its skippers not to put to sea. The body, Australian Volunteer Coast Guard, had ordered the Bay flotilla out of the water, amid allegations
the rescue boats had not been subject to an appropriate Safety Management System report.
Wednesday, November 7
PIGS FLY ON CUP DAY
WHILE an early Flemington deluge threatened to derail Australian racing's biggest day, stifling conditions at the Gympie Turf Club forced a strong crowd to contend with the weather spectrum's other extreme.
The main local attraction came in the form of Noah's eight lightning-fast Thoroughbread Racing Pigs.
Thursday, November 8
OUR SURPRISE BOOM SUBURB
ALMOST 70 Queensland suburbs, including three in the Gympie region, delivered double digit growth over the 12 months to June, according to the latest REIQ research from the Queensland Market Monitor report.
Friday, November 9
THE $77M INDUSTRY WE DIDN'T KNOW WE HAD
AS DEBATE about Gympie's economic future beefs ups, prominent graziers and producers hope a $77 million industry isn't carved out of the picture.
Saturday, November 10
HYPERSONIC TRAVEL PLAN
THE Cooloola coastline could rocket Queensland's space program into the future with leading researchers tagging the region as an ideal spot for a launch site.
Tuesday, November 13
KANDANGA'S $330K DILEMMA
A MARY Valley tourism advocate is calling on Gympie Regional Council to ensure the future of Kandanga's free RV park which she says pumps more than $330,000 into the town each year. Former councillor Jan Watt has said the campsite is too vital to the town's success to lose, especially with rumblings that some residents may be worried about RV levels in the town or eye the campsite for a future park expansion.
Wednesday, November 14
FROM JAMES NASH TO THE OZ OPEN
FORMER James Nash State High School student Charlie Dann has his sights on the top 60 as he prepares for the 2018 Australian Open, which gets underway in Sydney tomorrow.
Thursday, November 15
HIGH COST OF ISOLATION
LONELINESS might be a rising problem in aging populations, but it's putting Gympie's youngest demographic at risk too. When it comes to the social and physical readiness for school for children aged 0-4 years, the Gympie region scores worst of all Wide Bay and Sunshine coast regional areas.
Friday, November 16
MADDY JOINS HOME AND AWAY
A RISING Gympie actress has put her foot in the door of what might be the world's most competitive industry by beating out more than 150 peers to score a paid internship on the set of iconic Aussie soap opera Home and Away.
Saturday, November 17
TOO MANY TEENS AT RISK
NEW data shows 26 per cent of teenaged girls in the Gympie region are not getting vaccinated against the potentially deadly human papillomavirus (HPV).
Tuesday, November 20
GYMPIE region residents were were left with another big mess on Sunday morning after a dangerous storm changed direction and slammed the region late on Saturday afternoon.
Wednesday, November 21
CASANOVA TRUCKIE'S 38 CHARGES
A MAN whose predation on vulnerable women earned him the tag "Casanova Truckie" faces more than three years jail after his appearance in Gympie Magistrates Court yesterday. Magistrate Chris Callaghan said only a higher court could adequately punish David Maxwell Moore for the damage he caused to people who trusted him, particularly the women he met through online dating sites.
Thursday, November 22
BOOM TOWN NATS
GYMPIE MP Tony Perrett has revealed his vision for Gympie in State Parliament, outlining key projects that need to happen if the region is to be a part of the economic and social "boom" that is coming.
Friday, November 23
TWO violent storms that lashed the Gympie region in just over a month, one so forceful and unreal in nature it was dubbed "hailnado", may be a taste of what's to come.
Saturday, November 24
107 CREDITORS WANT THEIR $1.4M
THE collapse of Stirling Homes Qld has left a significant financial hole in the region with the business allegedly owing more than 100 companies when it went bust. Information obtained from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission has revealed that as of October 23, the Gympie building company was allegedly in debt to 107 companies.
Tuesday, November 27
TRAIN BACK ON COUNCIL TABLE
GYMPIE Regional Council will meet for the last time this year tomorrow, and waste, money, the Rattler and council divisions are all on the agenda: Here's a look at what are likely to be the hot topics.
Tuesday, November 28
IN THE RED
GYMPIE Regional Council has found itself in the red once again with the latest annual report revealing an operational deficit for the second time in three years. Despite forecasting a $2.6 million surplus in their 2017-18 budget the council instead ended the financial year with a $1.9 million deficit thanks to less revenue and higher costs than the previous year. It follows a $5.1 million deficit in 2015-16, and a $323,000 surplus in 2016-17.
Thursday, November 29
IS THE council divisional debate a matter of importance or a media beat-up? A motion calling for community consultation on whether to remove the region's divisions left councillors split
at yesterday's meeting, with debate stalled amid questions of cost, timing and need.
Friday, November 30
2 STABBED IN VIOLENT HOME INVASION
BLOOD on the footpath and police tape marked a crime scene in a normally quiet street yesterday.
Police were investigating a violent eruption between three men late Wednesday night in a Gympie home, where two men in their 20s were allegedly stabbed.
Saturday, December 1
POLICE are searching for a second man who was allegedly involved in a stabbing in Gympie on Wednesday night who could be armed and on the run.
Tuesday, December 4
IN THE LINE OF FIRE
A GROWING and unpredictable bush fire that jumped containment lines in the Great Sandy National Park on the weekend, yesterday changed direction and headed for Rainbow Beach and Cooloola Cove.
Wednesday, November 5
TOO MUCH IN RESERVE
ONLY the Gympie Regional Council can tell us what the Queensland Treasury Corporation said about its deficit budget outcome. Mayor Mick Curran and Cr Bob Fredman expressed widely different views of council spending priorities, with strongly implied criticism from Cr Fredman and on how QTC advice should be interpreted.
Thursday, December 6
FARMERS ON CLOUD 9
THE fresh green shoots of recovery yesterday symbolised the spirit of Woolooga - the disaster-hit Gympie region district that would not give up.
Friday, December 7
GUN FIRED IN STABBING
HOT on the heels of a second arrest made over a violent Gympie home invasion last Wednesday night, police have revealed a gun was fired during the incident that left a man critically injured. A young mother and her three-month old baby were also in the home at the time, police said, but neither was directly involved in the serious allegations.
Saturday, December 8
BLAST-OFF FOR QUARRY
QUARRY opponents have had a court setback but say the battle over a Traveston development is not over. Corbet Quarries wanted to add a hard rock quarry and concrete batching plant to its operations near the Bruce Highway. And yesterday, Judge Richard Jones√ said the proposed concrete batching plant was needed.
Tuesday, December 11
DUMPS SHAKE-UP ON CARDS
THE region's dumps could be in for another shake-up, with this year's dump survey revealing Amamoor could get the axe and hours at the Mary Valley facility might be extended.
Wednesday, December 12
FISHERMEN and travellers could soon have a big win, with Gympie Regional Council asking for federal government help to fund the two multi-million dollar projects. The council wants half the costs of the Tin Can Bay jetty and the Gympie Transit Centre to be covered by the Building Better Regions program, with an official application expected to be endorsed at this morning's meeting. If successful, the federal government would chip in $5.1 million for the two projects. The rest would come from council coffers.
Thursday, December 13
LONG SHADOW OF THE RATTLER
THE Rattler and Norman Point might be more than 50km apart, but the train's shadow was clearly visible on the coast yesterday as Gympie councillors questioned the cost of the proposed Tin Can Bay jetty. The historic train's multi-million dollar blow out formed the undercurrent of a debate over endorsing staff applications for federal help in funding the jetty and Gympie Transit Centre, with some left with cold feet over the timing and price tag.
Friday, December 14
ECONOMIC GROWTH SURGE CLOSES GAP
THE long-awaited economic future boom appears to be here, with new data revealing the region's economic growth outpaced Queensland's largest cities in the past year. New figures show the Gympie region's GDP grew 3.6 per cent, besting the Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast and Brisbane. It was also higher than the regional Queensland average of 3.3 per cent.
Saturday, December 15
16 MULTI MILLION DOLLAR PROJECTS
MORE than $4 billion in work is slated to break ground or wrap up in the region next year, continuing the region's promising positive swing. The projects come on the heels of the Gympie region's 3.6 per cent GDP growth in 2018 that outstripped that of Brisbane, the Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast.
Tuesday, December 18
BLAZE DESTROYS HOME DAYS BEFORE CHRISTMAS
A GYMPIE man was relaxing on Sunday night with a drink at his Main St property at 7.15pm when in a split second his house was ablaze. The man escaped his property unscathed alongside his dog. Within minutes the inferno engulfed his home and it could not be saved.
Wednesday, December 19
COURT SAYS NO TO SECRECY
PROMINENT Noosa environmentalist Ian Russell Trew (pictured) yesterday pleaded guilty to damaging trees in a Gympie region national park. Gympie magistrate Chris Callaghan rejected prosecution and defence
requests to suppress details of the case or Trew's identity.
Thursday, December 20
THE MIRACLE THAT IS TRISTAN
THE miracle might be cliche at Christmas, but there is little doubt it reflects the amazing progress Rainbow Beach teenager Tristan Sik has made since a horrific accident changed his life. And it is the word chosen by
his mother Carolyn Elder, who said the 15-year-old is a "completely different child" to the one who was released from hospital exactly one year ago today.
Friday, December 21
ON THE RUN FOR 30 YEARS
YESTERDAY, the law finally caught up with the former Kuranda man Warrack John Nieass, who fronted Gympie Magistrates Court on an ancient dangerous driving charge brought under laws which no longer exist.
Saturday, December 22
DRAMATIC RESCUE AT RAINBOW
THE dramatic rescue of an unconscious man from the Rainbow Beach surf yesterday has prompted calls for holidaymakers to take care over the break.
Wednesday, December 26
12,000 YEARS TOO LATE
LOST for 12,000 years and only about 40km out from Rainbow Beach, a sand island from the Ice Age has been discovered, amazingly well preserved and about 60m down.
Thursday, December 27
OUR RURAL GOLDMINE
PROPERTY owners struck gold on the outskirts of Gympie city this year with the median house prices in rural residential lifestyle areas surging well ahead of the rest of the region.
Friday, December 28
FLIP-IN' GOOD NEWS
A NEW generation of Tin Can Bay dolphins is coming in to Tin Can Bay's Norman Point dolphin feeding centre, helping visitors from around the world celebrate new state government approval of a significant local institution. Yesterday, Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch gave the institution another five years.
Saturday, December 29
'WE'VE LOST EVERYTHING'
CHRISTMAS cheer has been in short supply for the Fuller family, whose struggle to help their son battle extensive medical problems has cost them dearly.