Carlton Meyn, BUSHkids general manager, Allison McLean, chair of the 80th year celebrations, and chairman Dr Neil Bartels, slice a cake at a Brisbane function to mark the launch of the 80th anniversary celebrations for BUSHkids.
Carlton Meyn, BUSHkids general manager, Allison McLean, chair of the 80th year celebrations, and chairman Dr Neil Bartels, slice a cake at a Brisbane function to mark the launch of the 80th anniversary celebrations for BUSHkids. robyn.wallish

QCWA to host bush brekkie for BUSHkids celebration

THOUSANDS of eggs will crack open on a morning in November at a state-wide Big Bush Breakfast that will symbolise the birth 80 years ago of the Royal Queensland Bush Children's Health Scheme.

The south-eastern division of the QCWA, based on the Gold Coast, along with other branches, Rotary clubs and communities will play host to the event which will be staged simultaneously across the state on November 28.

Divisional president Mandy Clements said members would get a "good work out" in preparation for the big breakfast when they cooked and prepared lunches and teas in the QCWA 'restaurant' at the Gold Coast Show from August 29 to 31 - to be held at a new venue the Gold Coast Turf Club at Bundall.

The show attracts more than 60,000 Gold Coasters and the SE QCWA division hopes to have some younger members competing in the Miss Gold Coast Showgirl Quest.

Mandy, an aged and disabled care worker at Coomera, said the 10 branches in her division were welcoming new QCWA members of all ages. More than 200 members were spread across branches at Southport, Coomera, Eagleby, Beenleigh, Wonglepong, Beaudesert, Coolangatta, Nerang, Mermaid Beach and Springbrook-Mudgeeraba.

"We're excited that young women are showing an interest in QCWA and we're opening a young set club for women 21 years of age and younger to include camping trips twice a year," Mandy said.

BUSHkids chairman, Gold Coast-based GP Dr Neil Bartels, said change, as ever, had been the hallmark of the organisation's activities.

"As we approach our significant anniversary, we will be honouring our visionary founders 80 years ago with an organisation well-structured and focused on delivering 21st Century health care support to communities throughout rural, regional and remote Queensland," Dr Bartels said.

It has been 80 years since Queensland's 15th governor Sir Leslie Orme Wilson led the charge to create a health service to help children living in isolated Queensland areas.

Since then, Queensland Royal Bush Children's Health Scheme (better known as Bushkids) has helped tens of thousands of rural children access life-changing health care. Many of these children came from isolated areas or disadvantaged homes, and were unable to access care in their own communities.

Today, Bushkids works from centres in Bundaberg, Dalby, Emerald, Inglewood, Mount Isa, Warwick and Brisbane, where staff provide a range of allied health-care services including speech pathology, occupational therapy, psychology and family health support.

For many years, Bushkids has been funded largely by the Queensland government - and the organisation has strived to match every dollar of government funding with its own contributions.

From this year, an additional five-year program of Commonwealth funding will enable Bushkids to extend its outreach services across regional Queensland.

Bushkids 80th Anniversary program manager Matt Tesch is co-ordinating a packed program of events to mark the milestone year - and said the events would largely be about education.

"Although we have much to celebrate, we wanted to take the opportunity to put some education programs back into the community so that we can help empower families and give them the tools to deal with issues before they become significant problems," he said.

"We plan to host or partner in the delivery of a number of professional development and community education events to share and increase knowledge, as well as showcase what our teams are doing on the ground."

Mr Tesch said the birthday celebrations also aimed to link the organisation back to the many groups who helped to make it successful over the years.

And QCWA provides this strong link.

President Robyn McFarlane said because of its long history, QCWA was happy to join in the celebrations of BUSHkids' special anniversary.

"We'll be hosting community breakfasts at the same time and same date in all towns and districts across Queensland on Saturday, November 28," Robyn said. "Can we set a new Guinness Book of Records world record for the most breakfasts held at the same time? Would you like to join us?"

Mandy Clements said south coast readers of Seniors Newspaper were invited to join the QCWA SE division.

The Southport branch meets every Tuesday from 9:30 am at the Kathleen Rawlins Hall at the corner of Young and Garden streets, Southport.

New members are welcome. Phone Mandy on 0412 173 459 or email qcwasouthport@gmail.com.


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