Rotary in Biloela: Making a difference and having fun

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Immediate Past President Gail Rodda shares the highlights of 2021 for the Rotary Club of Biloela

Well, 2021 was definitely a good year for the Rotary Club of Biloela and we enjoyed being back in the swing of having fun whilst making a difference to the lives of others. We welcomed new member Adam Campbell and farewelled Chris
Godwell and her husband Ed as they headed off to retirement on the coast.

We celebrated 100 Years of Rotary in Australia and New Zealand in 2021. A Baton Relay was held in District 9570 with the Baton spending a busy two weeks in Biloela visiting some of the many projects completed by the club over the

After a hiccup or two we were finally able to host our Pride of Workmanship Awards evening with a wonderful 27 employees nominated by their businesses. The nominees embody the theme of Pride of Workmanship, “Do It Once – Do It Well. Build a Better Australia”.

The plaque was unveiled for 2017/2018 President Judy Pender’s project of planting 60 trees at the 48-hour rest stop at Queensland Heritage Park. We are happy to report that all 60 trees are alive and thriving.

We headed over to Gladstone in April for the final conference for District 9570. In July, Districts 9550 and 9570 merged to create District 9560 which encompasses Maryborough to Bamaga to Darwin and across the sea to Timor-Leste.

We hosted our annual Careers Market Day giving local high school students an opportunity to connect with potential employers and advanced education providers. It is always a great day of learning for everyone involved.

In May we were excited to be back at the showgrounds for the Callide Valley Show where we served up over 1000 burgers, 400 sausages, 270kg of chips, 100kg of chicken chips and copious amounts of cold drinks and alcoholic beverages over the two nights. A great deal of fun was had by the Rotarians and volunteers over the weekend which is what makes it one of our favourite events.

This year’s ‘Old Bags’ High Tea was an outstanding success. Guest speakers were photographer and author Al Mabin, Rotarian Debbie Daley (sharing her Rotary adventures) and Cathy Booth, founder of Umoja Orphanage Kenya. The Live
Auction was very animated, the Silent Auction proved popular as always and the ‘Upcycling Challenge’ made judging tough with more than 30 entrants. We were pleased to announce that our goal of raising funds to purchase a new medical treatment chair for the Cancer Care Unit at Biloela Hospital became a reality.

Rotarian Ron Poulsen from the Pioneer Valley Rotary Club provided us with $5000 to use for ‘Christmas in July’ to provide children from drought-affected families with vouchers from businesses in the Banana Shire. This also included
a request from Ron that some of the funds were used to send a doll each to
Tharni and Kopi – these were received with heart-warming smiles. Tharni and Kopi are the daughters of Nades and Priya, the family taken from their home in Biloela and placed in detention.

2020-2021 President Gail Rodda had the pleasure of presenting Paul Harris Fellows to PP David Mowat, PP Judy Pender, Di Morris, Murray Davis and Robert (Bob) Harriman in recognition of all they do.

Immediate Part President Gail Rodda handed over the reins to President Kim Campbell at our Annual Handover Dinner and Kim hit the ground running with the first event for her year, local music festival ‘Winterfest’ which ran over
three days and gave us a chance to test out our work-in-progress trailer.

We joined the Callide Valley Men’s Shed Car Boot Sale and sold some superb quality cow manure (and did some shopping – pretty sure not too many Rotarians left empty handed).

We enjoy being able to support other organisations around town and its always a fun day at the Thangool Cup helping to keep the punters watered. You would have struggled to miss Rotarian Noel Bates in his eye-catching suit as MC
for Fashions on the Field.

It was great to have Autofeste run this year after it was cancelled in 2020. This event would not be possible without the hard work of the Callide Valley Auto Club and, car lover or not, you appreciate the work and passion that goes into the cars, utes, trucks and bikes.

Have you noticed the ‘Blue Tree’ that appeared in Melton Park? This was an initiative of the Biloela State High School Interact Club. What is the Blue Tree Project? Their mission is to help spark difficult conversations and encourage people to speak up when battling mental health concerns.

President Kim had the pleasure of presenting Rodney Muston and Mark Simpson with a Sapphire Paul Harris Fellow.

We supported the local ‘Walk for Daniel’ event this year, cooking a sausage sizzle for the walkers and selling cupcakes with the proceeds going to the Daniel Morcombe Foundation.

The end of October was time for our annual Market Day and everyone had their wallets ready. There was something for everyone and even things you didn’t know you needed! If you got a bit peckish, St Joseph’s School had plenty of options to refuel the tank for another tour around the stalls.

Once Market Day was finished, we started the countdown to Christmas. It’s a wonderful time of the year where we get to interact with so many members of the community at so many joyful events. We kicked off with the QNP Christmas Party, making sure everyone was well looked after. Next on our dance card was the Annual Seniors Luncheon which we hosted in conjunction with the Callide Valley Lions Club. Thank you to Trevor Shaw for entertaining the attendees with his poetry.

The end of November was burger time again at the Biloela Christmas Festival hosted by Biloela Enterprise at Lions Park. We loved seeing so many of the community out enjoying the entertainment, amusements and food (and grabbing those purchases they missed at the Market Day from the various stall holders).

IPP Gail was excited to catch up with Sue from the Cancer Care Unit at Biloela Hospital recently and inspect the medical treatment chair when it arrived. It is now in use with a formal presentation scheduled for early 2022.

This year we worked with Judy Mazzer to host a new event for the dementia carers in our community with a movie, lunch and even a visit from Santa! Those that attended expressed their heartfelt thanks for recognising them.

Our final community event for the year was the Christmas Carols which was held at the Redeemer Lutheran College due to all the beautiful rain that we’d had. Hot chips, cold drinks and carols is a wonderful way to round out the

We finished the year out with our Christmas Party at the Biloela Hotel with family and friends to celebrate what a terrific year it had been along with a secret Santa and some humorous awards for members.

The Rotary Club of Biloela would like to thank the Biloela Anzac Memorial Club for hosting our Thursday night meetings, all of our guest speakers who gave their time for us and to those who opened up their businesses to us giving us an insight into what you do and how you do it.

President Kim Campbell said, “I would like to thank the Rotary members for their support because without them nothing is possible. I would also like to thank Jen Gourley for sharing our news with the community and everyone who has helped and supported us during this time. On behalf of the Rotary Club of Biloela, I would like to wish everyone a great New Year.”

David Mowat takes the R100 Baton on a tour of Callide Dam.
Gail Rodda and the baton drop into Little Market Co in Biloela to do some browsing.
One of the beautiful table settings at the ‘Old Bags’ High Tea.
Autofeste 2021.
Careers Expo.
Tharni and Kopi with their dolls.
Keeping the punters watered at the Thangool Cup.
Rotary’s Noel Bates was an eye-catching MC at the Thangool Cup.
The Blue Tree at Melton Park.
Rotary cooking up a storm at the Christmas Festival.
President Kim Campbell and Helen Fitzgerald serving with smiles at Carols By Candlelight.
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