Last weekend Stacey McCarthy and I visited some of our current and new 2021 families in Moura and Biloela. We very much enjoyed spending time and chatting with our parents and students in a relaxed, social setting. Like everywhere else I have visited in Central Queensland, everyone we spoke to in both townships greeted us warmly and made us feel very welcome.
I am very grateful for the opportunity to go on these trips as they allow us to see the towns and areas from which our boarders come. Having not driven through the Banana Shire before, I was struck by the beauty of the region and interested in the local industries – cattle, agriculture and mining were all clearly visible from our car as we drove along. On Saturday morning the roads still showed signs of the recent rainfall and everything looked fresh. Stacey and I reflected on the recent years of drought and how we were sure the farmers would be appreciating the water for their crops and their livestock.
In Moura we also took the time to look at the memorial to the miners. Coal mining has been a part of the Moura community for around 60 years and we could see open cut pits from the highway. The memorial honours the lives of men who lost their lives working in nearby mines, and it was certainly touching to read about the young men, fathers, brothers and sons who were tragically killed.
Driving into Biloela, its role as the administrative centre of the Banana Shire is immediately apparent. Pastoral and agricultural enterprises line the wide streets and there are also signs of the local coalmines. We enjoyed driving through town, observing all the services and businesses available to the region. I would like to thank the Fraser family for inviting us into their home for dinner – we had a fantastic evening of Biloela hospitality.
Over the weekend, we also passed through other towns where a number of our girls live: Banana, Jambin, Dululu and, much closer to home, Mt Morgan and Bouldercombe. In two weeks, Stacey and I will be taking a few of our boarders home to Rolleston and Springsure for the weekend and we are looking forward to the hospitality of the Priddle family who have invited us for dinner. I am excited about my first visit to these townships and to returning to Emerald on our way home.
We are always looking for families who would like to host us or meet with us in their towns. I have not yet had the chance to visit the Mackay region and there are many towns in the south Burnett region I am keen to see. In October, we have a trip to Roma scheduled for the Isolated Children’s Parents’ Association State Conference and we hope we will be able to meet with more families along the way. With any luck, in the coming years, we will be able to visit our families in North Queensland and maybe one day in Papua New Guinea. If any of our boarder families would be interested in hosting a get-together, or just meeting us for a coffee and chat, please do not hesitate to contact me on email@example.com.
(New Families Morning Tea - February 2020)
Likewise, I would like to extend an invitation to our day families – please let me know if you would like to get together or meet for a coffee. Whilst restrictions are in place it has been difficult to host traditional events at the School, but I am interested in getting to know those families who may not have yet had a chance to meet with me and understand that school hours may not always suit the work and family commitments of our parents.
At last week’s P&F meeting I proposed a number of different ways our P&F Association and our parents could be involved in the school community. I have proposed a range of activities associated with community building, engagement in learning or fund raising. Some ideas are quite relaxed, such as a morning tea once a month. Others will rely on the generosity of people who are able to commit time and enthusiasm for planning and organisation. I look forward to working with the P&F and to providing more information to parents as soon as restrictions ease and we are able to promote more opportunities for our parents to engage in the School.
Mrs Deanne Johnston