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Mary Ann’s priceless nameplate comes home

A priceless piece of Queensland’s railway history has reappeared after 127 years.

Ipswich railway enthusiast Merv Volker, who visited the Maryborough last week, has donated the nameplate from the original Mary Ann locomotive to the Whistlestop museum where its replica locomotive is housed.

Mary Ann was the first steam locomotive built in Queensland by John Walker & Co. Ltd. in 1873 for William Pettigrew and William Sim.

The timber pioneers used the loco to haul logs in the Tin Can Bay area but she vanished in 1893 after a Mary River flood and fire at the Dundathu sawmill where she was stored.

In 1999, Maryborough engineer Peter Olds launched a full-size replica that he and his team at Olds Engineering built using just three historic photographs to guide its creation.

The Mary Ann replica is now an iconic attraction in Maryborough, regularly chuffing her way through Queens Park pulling carriages filled with enthusiastic sightseers.

Where has Mary Ann’s nameplate been for 127 years?

Mr Volker, a former Granville resident and now volunteers at the Ipswich railway museum, said he bought the solid brass curved plate bearing the name ‘Mary Ann’ from a long-time friend in Gympie.

“He had it for some years before I bought it from him 23 years ago,” Mr Volker said.

“I don’t know how he came to have it and I don’t want to say how much I paid, but it wasn’t a lot.

“Several times I’ve been going to bring it up to Maryborough but I’ve had doubts about its authenticity.

“I couldn’t give the museum something that was a reproduction. Peter can make his own reproductions – I don’t need to give them one.”

Is it the original nameplate?

Mr Olds said he was thrilled to receive the “priceless” railway artifact from Mr Volker.

“It has to be the genuine plate,” he said. “You just can’t put a price on this type of history.”

Telltale signs include it having a reverse curve and no grooves on the back.

“We also got a piece of plate off an old boiler that’s three-foot six diameter and it fits exactly.

“And, the shape of lettering on the plate is identical to the lettering shown in the old photographs.”

Mr Olds said the nameplate would have been attached to Mary Ann’s original boiler with two screws.

“There’d be steam pressure on those screws and they wouldn’t come out too easily. Whoever took it off would have had to do so with great care.

“It’s amazing the plate is still in such good condition, apart from being slightly bent.”

What will happen to the historic nameplate?

Mr Olds said the Maryborough City Whistlestop committee was planning to fix the original nameplate to the Mary Ann replica.

“It’ll be on the rear end of the engine so passengers can see the plate from the front carriage, touch it and take photographs.”

Mary Ann

Railway enthusiast Merv Volker (left) donates the nameplate from the original Mary Ann to Peter Olds on behalf of the Whistlestop museum in Maryborough, Qld.

Why donate it now?

When asked what prompted him to donate the plate now, Mr Volker said that being 76 years of age, the time had come to downsize his collection of railway memorabilia.

“There comes a time when you have to clean up after yourself,” he laughed.

“I have a large collection and if I was hit by a bus tomorrow, (my sister) Marilyn (Jensen) would have to clean it up.

“It’s a hell of a job. It’ll take me all year to dispose of it. We’ve been going a couple of months already and there’s still so much other stuff.

“My collection includes a lot of Queensland Railway china. I’m not letting that go, but the rest can go.

“Marilyn knows that if something happens to me, she’s to give the china to the railway museum at Ipswich because there are pieces in there they haven’t got.

“Different people who are involved in collecting railway history have different prime subjects. Some people collect tickets only. Others collect things such as lamps and uniforms.”

Call for more relics and photos

Mr Olds said the Maryborough City Whistlestop committee was keen to accept more donations of other local railway relics and photos, including the second locomotive made by John Walker & Co. Ltd, Mary Ann’s sister ‘Dundathu’.

To contact the committee phone (07) 4121 0444 or email

For more on Mary Ann’s history, visit and

Young couple re-open historic pub

Arguably the youngest couple ever to run a pub in Australia, Emma Hurley, 21, and Hayden Rimmington, 22, wanted to run the backpacker hostel at the Globe Hotel in Bundaberg, but they also needed to be licensed publicans.

So now they are! They quickly learnt how to pour beer and opened for business on September 1, 2019.

“I always wanted a pub but never knew we’d do it so young,” Hayden said.

“If anyone had asked us three years ago where we thought we’d be now, we couldn’t have imagined this, Emma having been in retail and me a farmhand.

“The most nerve-wracking thing was being of a younger age and thinking people wouldn’t take us seriously for the venture we’ve undertaken.

“It was quite overwhelming at first but having the locals and new people coming in encouraging us made things easier.”

Great spot for backpackers

The Bundaberg-born couple said the Globe was an excellent spot for backpackers, many of whom come here for their required 88 days of regional work.

“We have just 16 beds; we know everyone by name and can have a yarn and a laugh with them. They can even meet our beautiful pub dog Bessie.”

Emma said backpackers could find jobs all year round, picking small crops and packing fruit sheds.

“Early each morning, Hayden drives the backpackers to the farms and greets them again at the end of the day,” she said.

“At the Globe, backpackers have access to facilities such as kitchen, bath, showers and washing machine as well as a common room and big outdoor area.”

Old world charm in the city centre

Hayden said the Globe was one of only a few country pubs left in the centre of Bundaberg.

“There aren’t many places still around that have kept their heritage atmosphere.

“We want to spruce it up with some fresh paint but keep its old colouring and features such as the old timber-lined cold room; that’s what people like to see.”

What’s next?

Emma and Hayden are yet to decide what new services they’ll introduce at the Globe.

“We already have a wedding and wake booked in but otherwise it’s about testing the water and seeing what people want,” Hayden said.

“There are no poker machines; no gambling. Please come in for a cold beer and a yarn!”

Emma Hurley, 21, and Hayden Rimmington, 22, re-open the historic Globe Hotel in Bundaberg.


Fraser Island Native Title Consent Determination

Cheers and tears of jubilation filled a temporary federal courtroom on Fraser Island (K’gari) on October 24, 2014,  as Justice Berna Collier officially recognised the Butchulla people as the island’s native title holders.

It was an emotional day for the 450 Butchulla people who gathered to witness the historic occasion.

Butchulla elder Fiona Foley said the decision had been 18 years in the making.

“We’re very excited to finally get this recognition and see so many Butchulla people here at once,” Aunty Fiona said.

“I never thought this day would happen in my lifetime.”

The Native Title Consent Determination recognised the ongoing traditional laws and customs of the Butchulla people, while also specifying native title rights and interests over about 1640 square kilometers of the national park.

Excluded zones include Kingfisher Bay and Eurong resorts, Orchid Beach and Happy Valley.

Some of the Butchulla people’s rights and interests included maintaining areas of cultural significance, teaching and participating in rituals and ceremonies.

Queensland South Native Title Services CEO Kevin Smith said this momentous occasion closed the chapter on a long struggle for legal recognition and opened another that involved the management and leverage of recognised legal rights.

“Today is a day of celebration but the work starts tomorrow with what the Butchulla people will do with their native title,” Mr Smith said.

“It could be as simple as coming for song and dance or it could be working on eco-tourism.”

Mr Smith said a decision on the island’s name would be made sometime in the future.

“Locals might still know it as Fraser Island but affectionately the traditional name K’Gari needs to catch on,” Mr Smith said.

Courier Mail Photo Gallery

Son says Aunty Olga here in spirit

AUNTY Olga Miller’s spirit was sure to be smiling over yesterday’s proceedings, according to her proud son Glen Miller.

“I’m a member of the Wondunna clan and we’re in the middle of Wondunna country now,” he said.

“Mum filed the first native title claim on Fraser Island 18 years ago and the Butchulla clan filed a year later.

“We’ve been waiting 18 years for this decision, so it’s a pretty historic day.

“As the judge said, it’s sad that some of those elders are not here today to share this with us but I’m sure they’re with us in spirit.

“Ever since I was a child and could understand English, Mum talked about the island and what it meant.

“Finally Butchulla people are recognised as traditional owners. I know it’s symbolic but symbolism means a lot to Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people alike.

“This decision gives us a foothold on which to go forward.

“Unfortunately the native title claim process is ridiculously lengthy, so to finally get this under such difficult circumstances makes today even more special.”

The late Aunty Olga Miller was a well-known Fraser Coast historian, author and artist. Her work is featured in many of the Fraser Coast’s public places.

Fraser Island native title agreement rights

The Butchulla People’s Native Title Consent Determination includes non-exclusive rights to:

  • Access, be present on, move about on and travel over the area;
  • Camp, and live temporarily on the area as part of camping, and for that purpose to build temporary shelters;
  • Hunt, fish and gather on the land and waters of the area for personal, domestic and non-commercial communal purposes;
  • Take, use, share and exchange natural resources from the land and waters for personal, domestic and non-commercial communal purposes;
  • Take and use the water for personal, domestic and non-commercial communal purposes;
  • Conduct, and participate in, rituals and ceremonies, including those relating to initiation, birth and death;
  • Be buried on and bury native title holders within the area;
  • Teach the physical, cultural and spiritual attributes of the area;
  • Hold meetings in the area;
  • Light fires for personal and domestic purposes including cooking, but not for the purpose of hunting or clearing vegetation.

Originally published in the Fraser Coast Chronicle, Saturday, October 25, 2014.

Turia Pitt brings a message of resilience to Maryborough

Turia Pitt, who lived when she was expected to die from horrific burns to 65% of her body, shared her story of survival, courage and optimism with Fraser Coast people at the Brolga Theatre in Maryborough on June 6, 2015.

Her visit, courtesy of the Rotary Club of Maryborough Sunrise and other Rotary clubs of the Fraser Coast in conjunction with Interplast, was the rescheduled event after being postponed in February due to local flooding.

Rotary Club of Maryborough Sunrise president Robyn Dowling said Ms Pitt’s story of survival against extraordinary odds was a testament to the human spirit.

“In 2011, Turia was a 25-year-old mining engineer competing in an ultra-marathon through Western Australia’s Kimberley region when she was caught in a bushfire,” Mrs Dowling said.

“Turia escaped with suffered burns to 65% of her body. While in an induced coma she fought life-threatening infections and has since undergone many operations.

“Despite facing a future with multiple challenges, Turia is optimistic. She is driving again and studying for her Master’s degree. She is walking in marathons and would one day like to run again.

“Above all, the burns survivor, motivational speaker and author wants her story to make a difference. Her mission is to make the skin a more prominent organ in the repertoire of donated organs.”

Ms Pitt was named Cosmopolitan’s Woman of the Year for 2013, short-listed for this year’s Young Australian of the Year and won the recent New South Wales Woman of the Year Awards.

She worked as a model before landing her dream job with Rio Tinto at their prestigious Argyle Diamond Mine and moved to Kununurra with her partner Michael.

Ms Pitt undertook her MBA last year and hopes to compete in an Iron Man competition one day. She is excited to have a family with Michael and has aspirations to study medicine.

Her memoir Everything to Live For was published in 2013.

Ms Pitt is a passionate ambassador for Interplast, a charity that provides free reconstructive surgery to people in developing countries.

In 2014 she raised almost $200,000 for this cause with a team of women. This year she will lead another group to the Inca Trail in Peru.

For over 30 years, Interplast has worked in 25 countries and implemented over 600 surgical and allied health medical program activities across the Asia Pacific region.

The program provides free reconstructive surgery for patients who would otherwise not be able to afford access to such services and empowers local medical personnel by building their capacity to act independently.

Interplast has supported over 70 surgeons and nurses to continue part of their training in Australia, sent over 600 volunteers on medical programs, provided over 37,000 consultations and performed over 21,000 life-changing operations.

Turia PItt

Turia Pitt signs books for Roni and Lara Hood of Hervey Bay.

Turia PItt

Turia Pitt presents at the Brolga Theatre, Maryborough, Qld.

Turia Pitt signs books for Roni and Lara Hood of Hervey Bay.

Turia Pitt presents at the Brolga Theatre, Maryborough, Qld.

Turia Pitt

Turia Pitt poses for a Fraser Coast Chronicle photo with Rotary members and school children who came to her presentation at the Brolga Theatre, Maryborough, Qld.

Photos by Jocelyn Watts.

Algae bloom hot spot a fish feeding magnet

Fraser Coast seas have been identified as an algae bloom hot spot and fish-feeding magnet by researchers at the University of Southern Queensland and Griffith University.

Caused by ocean upwelling, a spectacle that involves the wind driving nutrient-rich water towards the ocean surface, the phenomenon plays a crucial role in the fishing industry by producing a readily available food source for yellowfin tuna and other marine species.

University of Southern Queensland Associate Professor in Climatology Joachim Ribbe, PhD research student Daniel Brieva and Griffith University scientists have been able to identify, document and name the ‘Southeast Fraser Island Upwelling System’ for the first time.

In their recently released academic paper titled ‘Is the East Australian Current causing a marine ecological hot-spot and important fisheries near K’gari (Fraser Island), Australia?’ the scientists show that the strengths and variability of the East Australian Current are the main cause of this upwelling system.

Dr Ribbe said that on average about eight algae blooms occurred each spring/summer season, occupying large areas of the continental shelf southeast of Fraser Island.

“They cover an area about the size of Hervey Bay or about 2000 to 3000 square kilometres. Each algae bloom lasts about one week.

“Algae only bloom if nutrients and light are available. Usually, the surface ocean is low in nutrients but ocean upwelling delivers nutrient-rich water from deeper parts of the ocean back to the surface.

“Basically, ocean upwelling is fertilising the surface ocean and consequently algae start to grow and become available to the ocean food chain.”



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Key ecological area

Dr Ribbe said the high marine productivity appears to support a valuable fisheries area.

“This key ecological area located southeast of Fraser Island is one of eight along the east coast of Australia.

“The surface ocean waters to the east of Australia are usually characterised by very low marine productivity. The supply of nutrients in very distinct regions leads to very high marine productivity.”

Dr Ribbe said more work was needed to investigate the biodiversity of the region and the overall impact the algae blooms were having on the ocean environment.

A hot spot for fishing

A push to market Fraser Coast as Australia’s home of fishing took a step forward in February 2015 when USQ  Associate Professor in Climatology Joachim Ribbe met with Fraser Coast Opportunities acting Tourism Manager Tas Webber.

Associate Professor Ribbe, PhD research student Daniel Brieva and Griffith University scientists recently identified the seas near Fraser Island as an algae bloom hotspot and fish-feeding magnet.

Caused by the ocean upwelling, the formation of algae blooms plays a crucial role in the fishing industry by producing a readily available food source for yellowfin tuna and other marine species.

Mr Webber said Fraser Coast Opportunities already had a recreational fishing strategy in place that proposed to market the region as Australia’s home of fishing.

“The research by Joachim and his fellow scientists gives the credentials for this region to back itself as Australia’s home of fishing,” Mr Webber said.




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Estuaries feature in Springer’s book

If you’d like the head’s up on how Hervey Bay’s estuaries will look 40 years from now, have a read of Springer’s new book Estuaries of Australia in 2050 and Beyond.

In it, University of Southern Queensland’s Associate Professor Dr Joachim Ribbe joins other leading Australian estuarine and coastal scientists in presenting detailed reports of 20 iconic estuaries and bays.

“Most Australians live near the coast and human activity has impacted on about 500 Australian estuaries including Hervey Bay,” Dr Ribbe said.

“The estuaries here will have some limited impact from activities such as fishing, aquaculture, farming and urban development, but overall, Hervey Bay is a very special region, an almost pristine environment, and its uniqueness is reflected in being part of the UNESCO declared Great Sandy Biosphere.”

As part of Springer’s Estuaries of the World series, the book suggests what Australian estuaries will look like in 2050 and beyond, based on socio-economic decisions that are made now and changes that are needed to ensure sustainability.

“It is the scientific knowledge as presented in this publication that underpins natural resource management and aids future sustainable development of our coastal environment,” Dr Ribbe said.

Book reveals Hervey Bay’s oceanography

The new book also reveals how Hervey Bay’s physical oceanography works and how climate variability impacts.

“In the future, we need to better understand how the Bay interacts with the waters of the Great Barrier Reef to the north and the ocean to the east in a varying and changing climate.

“Scientific research, in particular continuous routine monitoring, needs to be funded to understand the functioning of coastal environments such as Hervey Bay.

“But there is little investment in these activities by government and industry.

“Yet, it is long-term monitoring and the data from these that underpins decision-making processes enabling future sustainable development of human activities such as aquaculture, tourism and urban expansion.

“There is little gained from one-off research activities as often required in the context of environmental impact assessments. We lack the long-term base studies that would provide a framework.

“In the context of Hervey Bay, I propose that industry and the local council could charge a $1 levy per day on excursions and overnight visitor accommodation, which could be channelled into research for sustainable futures.

“With over 600,000 tourists to the region, that would provide a good funding basis for research activities and long-term monitoring.”

For more information on Estuaries of Australia in 2050 and Beyond visit

Step closer to understanding severe storms

More accurately forecasting and warning of impending severe storm events such as the 2011 Toowoomba “inland tsunami” is now a step closer thanks to an Australian Research Council Linkage Grant.

The grant will fund research by USQ Professor Roger Stone and Dr Shahbaz Mushtaq in collaboration with Monash University’s Dr Stephen Seims who is the CEO of the project. The Suncorp Group has provided strong support for this project.

Professor Stone said the central objective of the research would be to employ a wide range of field observations to better understand the physical processes, synoptic environment and climatology of severe storms and precipitation events across heavily populated regions of Australia.

“We’ll then use these findings to evaluate and improve numerical and computer simulations of such storms, which will improve our ability to forecast and respond to these types of weather events,” Professor Stone said.

Severe storms are poorly understood

He said severe storms are one of the most poorly understood natural hazards in Australia, even though there is a long history of these events causing the profound loss of life and property.

“The storms of southeast Queensland during the summer of 2010-2011 included flash flooding in the Lockyer Valley that claimed more than 20 lives and the overflow at Wivenhoe Dam led to widespread flooding in Brisbane with the economic damage having been estimated to be in excess of $10 billion.

“This research will lead to an improved physical understanding of severe storms over major Australian cities, which in turn will lead to the ability to more accurately forecast and warn people about these weather events.”

Professor Stone said the first phase of the project will develop an objective radar-based climatology of severe storms using the Bureau of Meteorology’s network of Doppler radars.

“We will then extend the analysis of these severe storms to their synoptic-scale precursors and undertake numerical simulations employing the radar observations, as well as other available observations as a means of evaluation.

“This analysis will assess the ability of simulations to accurately predict the location, timing and intensity of severe storms in major metropolitan areas.

“We’ll then explore the sensitivity of these simulations to the physical parameters with the intent of improving their skill.

“A further objective is to employ a wide range of field observations (in-situ cloud microphysics, weather radar, the dual-polarised (CP2) research radar, ground-based and satellite-based) available from the Queensland Cloud Seeding Research Program, the Bureau of Meteorology and elsewhere to better understand the nature of the interaction between precipitation and cloud microphysics.”


Surprise, Honey! We’re getting hitched, today, at your dad’s grave!

Steven McIntosh didn’t just pop the question. He was so confident of a positive response that he surprised his long-time partner with an all-arranged graveside ceremony to promise a lifetime of love.

Lynne Prowd hates surprises, so for her long-time partner to choose her father’s grave for the ceremony and invite family and friends, and without her having the opportunity to dress for the occasion, was a brave, brave move.

However, this was one surprise that, after first expressing a few profanities, Lynne said she would treasure for the rest of her life for all the right reasons.

The gesture was so typical of the man she loves – Aussie larrikin on the outside and wonderfully sentimental on the inside.

Love at first sight, 11 years before the graveside ceremony

Steve said it was love at first sight when they met 11 years ago.

“Having both been married previously with unhappy endings, we had lost the taste for wedding cake and all the fanfare that goes with it. Not to mention the enormous costs involved.

“We have always planned to have some form of ceremony to substantiate our relationship, with the view that it would be simple and discreet. It would be very personal, with no legalities, vows or holy matrimony – easy, just like our relationship.

“During the Christmas period just passed, we were in country Victoria to share the festivities with family and friends.

“In secret, with the help of Lynne’s mother Judy and our daughter Kylana Ruby, I planned to have the ceremony next to Lynne’s father’s resting place.

Steve explained that soon after meeting Lynne he told her father, Fred Prowd, he would someday ask for his daughter’s hand in marriage.

“Sadly, Fred Prowd passed away suddenly a few years ago. He was, and always will be, extremely close to us all,” Steve said.

So it was fitting their commitment ceremony was held at a place where Fred was sure to be nearby.

“The tricky thing was to arrange for our closest friends to be there for the graveside ceremony.

“My friend Anthony and his wife Kylie from Melbourne, as well as Lynne’s friend Silvana and her husband Shane from Cairns, made a huge effort to meet us at the small Lang Lang Cemetery in Southeast Gippsland.

“When I asked them, they both said they wouldn’t have missed being there as our unofficial Best Man and Matron of Honour for anything so I hastily met with and organised a civil celebrant to perform the graveside ceremony. Amazingly, it all came together perfectly.

“The most remarkable thing about this wonderful event was that it was all arranged in two days and we kept it secret from Lynne for the next two weeks while we holidayed in Tasmania.

“The day after we returned the weather was stunning. At 9 am on December 22, Lynne, Judy, Kylana and I went to the cemetery to pay our respects to Fred.

“At 9.15 am, Lynne was totally astounded and extremely delighted when she glanced around to see our friends with the celebrant Elizabeth, walking up the main path through the tiny cemetery toward us. Tears flowed freely.

“It was truly magnificent. Under a stunning blue sky, we exchanged single red roses and smiled adoringly into each other’s eyes throughout the entire ceremony. Lynne’s sweet tears of joy when we kissed will linger on my tongue forever.

“We all celebrated in the car park afterwards with charged glasses of cold champagne and plenty of chocolate-dipped strawberries. Superb.”



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Jocelyn Magazine acts as a source of inspiration to help you tantalise your taste buds and indulge your curiosity while also discovering history and culture—all that Australia offers.

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