BEAT IT group discovers USQ’s outdoor gym


Fraser Coast councillor Robert Garland tries the headstand trainer in USQ’s outdoor gym, watched by fitness trainer Kim Polglase (centre front) and BEAT IT members. Photos: JOCELYN WATTS

LOCAL participants in the Australian Diabetes Council lifestyle program BEAT IT made an exciting discovery recently when they learnt USQ Fraser Coast’s outdoor gym equipment was available to them 24/7, free of charge.

BEAT IT trainer Kim Polglase and Fraser Coast Regional Councillor Robert Garland brought the health and fitness group to USQ’s gym as part of a 12-week program tailored for people living with or at risk of diabetes and other chronic lifestyle-related diseases.

“The group-based program is about creating a supportive environment of people with similar health issues while also introducing them to community fitness facilities that are easily accessible,” Ms Polglase said.

Officially launched in 2010, USQ Fraser Coast’s outdoor gym includes 19 pieces of equipment providing 27 stations, with a soft fall surface and shade sails. After dark, security lights automatically turn on when sensors detect movement in the area.

USQ Fraser Coast Executive Manager Brett Langabeer said the outdoor gym was designed to help students, staff and members of the community get into shape and keep fit.

“Community fitness groups are also welcome to use the outdoor equipment,” Mr Langabeer said.

The gym is located at the Hervey Bay campus, 161 Old Maryborough Road, Pialba, near the city library.

Ms Polglase said the next 12-week BEAT IT program would start in about two weeks.  Classes are run twice weekly, with each class including a combination of aerobic and resistance training exercises.

For more information on BEAT IT visit the Fraser Coast Regional Council’s website at:


Fitness trainer Kim Polglase (centre front) and Fraser Coast councillor Robert Garland (black singlet) introduce BEAT IT members to USQ Fraser Coast’s outdoor gym.

USQ lecturer seeks answers to poverty in Nepal

RESEARCHING the effects of integrated microfinance in the poverty-stricken areas of Nepal is more than academic for USQ Fraser Coast’s Ratna Paudyal – it’s also an act of passion.

The university’s associate lecturer was born to illiterate parents in a remote village in Nepal. He and his 12 siblings shared a room with their parents, sleeping four to a bed. Now a world away from that lifestyle, the award-winning business and law lecturer is on a mission to find answers to his native country’s poverty.

On a recent journey home, he had three goals in mind – introduce his two-year-old son to relatives, talk with impoverished people and present his research paper at the Nepalese Academy of Management’s 2nd international conference on Reshaping Organisations to Develop Responsible Global Leadership.

“My family had never seen my son before,” Mr Paudyal said.

“I was also working on my doctorate studies, which includes research on Nepalese organisations that implement health and development work to improve quality of life for impoverished people.”

Mr Paudyal’s thesis on Integrated Microfinance is about how education and income generating activities in Nepal could contribute to the development of social capital in that country and hence assist in overcoming poverty and its related issues.

“I interviewed five case workers from Nepalese institutions that were offering those services talked with five community members and 20 recipients about how the services had changed their lives,” he said. “I am also looking at the possibilities of implementing integrated microfinance into Australian context.”

Mr Paudyal said that while microfinance was often used in developing countries as a poverty relief tool, recent research has identified problems with the system brought about by the apparent misuse of loans by the recipients who have found themselves compelled to use the money to fund necessary health care and other basic needs.

“Increasing evidence suggests that minimal support is not enough to assist impoverished people,” he said.

“This is because the causes of poverty are multidimensional – it may be a lack of good health, education or training, or they may have no social networks and rely solely on family members. In many cases, the recipients need more than finance to break the poverty cycle.”

Mr Paudyal’s research paper was one of 105 papers presented to 500 international delegates at the conference.

Aldridge high wins back-to-back titles

By Jocelyn Watts

Aldridge State High School has won this year’s USQ Fraser Coast Science and Engineering Challenge regional title for the second consecutive year.

The team of Years 9 and 10 students clocked up 1164 points throughout the day to edge out Xavier Catholic College (1083) and Fraser Coast Anglican College (942) for the chance to compete at the Super Challenge Series in Townsville later this year.

Aldridge’s head of Science Department Iain Carson said he was thrilled this year’s students had continued the school’s winning streak of three out of four years (2010, 2012 and 2013).

“Congratulations to all our students and thank you to everyone who participated.”

In the bridge-building section, Aldridge State High School team of Natasha Donnelly, Jessica Karrasch and Rahni Smoother took out first place, narrowly beating the efforts of the community team – USQ Fraser Coast’s campus executive manager Brett Langabeer, Robert MacGibbon from Engineers Australia, Fraser Coast Mayor Gerard O’Connell and Rotary exchange student Emma Hansen from Denmark – whose bridge would have won had it been just four grams lighter.

USQ Fraser Coast event co-ordinator Stephanie Bayley said “This year’s regional challenge was a fantastic event. It was great to get feedback from volunteers that our students were enthusiastic and focused on their tasks.”

The day started early with volunteers from the combined Rotary clubs of Hervey Bay helping USQ Fraser Coast and University of Newcastle staff to set up.  At 9.30am everything was ready for the students to arrive.

Mr Langabeer and Ms Bayley thanked all those involved in the challenge, in particular the University of Newcastle and the combined Rotary Clubs of Hervey Bay.

The challenge is recognized, both at home and abroad, as an innovative way of raising young people’s awareness of the career opportunities in science and engineering. In 2003 the challenge was awarded The Sir William Hudson Award for Engineering Excellence and it has since been recognised by the International Institute of Physics based in London.

Aldridge State High School has secured a prestigious prize indeed.

2013 Science & Engineering Challenge

St Mary’s Catholic College students Dannielle Tarlinton (left), Annie Tanwan, Elara Crook and Caitlin Fergus build their bridge.


Robert MacGibbon from Engineers Australia, USQ Fraser Coast’s campus executive manager Brett Langabeer and (back to camera) Rotary exchange student Emma Hansen from Denmark and Fraser Coast Mayor Gerard O’Connell work on their bridge.


Xavier Catholic College students watch nerviously as their bridge is tested.

This Inspiring Australia initiative is supported by the Australian Government through the Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education and supported locally by Engineers Australia, Tony McVey Pty Ltd, Wide Bay Water, Fraser Coast Regional Council, and Opus.


Hervey Bay High School students Kaitlyn Bates (left), Monica Boulton and Louise Court on the Electra City activity. Photos: JOCELYN WATTS