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BUSHchat Issue # 01 - 9 April 2015

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Welcome to the inaugural edition of BUSHchat - issue # 01, released on 9th April 2015.

We have covered a lot of ground in our first newsletter and look forward to your feedback!
You can read the full newsletter below, or you can download the PDF (850kb / 3pp) here

   Empowering communities
Pathways to Resilience Trust BUSHkids and the passionate people at the Pathways to Resilience Trust are synergising their complementary work with children and families, and embarking on an empowering partnership as 2015 unfolds, to deliver a rolling program of educational workshops across Queensland.

Pathways to Resilience Trust is a charitable organisation which was established in August 2007 with the specific aim of promoting social and emotional learning and resilience in children, adolescents and families and to assist in the prevention of anxiety, depression and youth suicide.

This is achieved through education, mental health promotion, and working with schools and communities – particularly with people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, of indigenous heritage, and in rural, remote and regional areas, including those affected by drought or natural disasters.

BUSHkids’ General Manager Carlton Meyn said that the work of the Pathways team is a natural fit with our organisation’s model of care. “We are both working in similar areas – socially, developmentally and geographically – and it was Pathways’ first Regional Tour program across Queensland in 2014 which excited our interest in sharing our efforts and collaborating efficiently in the future.”

Emerald and the Central Highlands were the first stops on the joint Pathways / BUSHkids 2015 program, during 9-13 March. The week of workshops, conducted for parents, teachers and health professionals, was a resounding success – you can get a feel for the topics and content here.

This augurs well for the second stage of the tour, in Bundaberg and the Wide Bay / Burnett region, in the week of 11-15 May 2015. This program, and its registration information, will be posted on both organisations’ websites very soon.

   Around the ridges
Freya Ostapovitch and Lawrence Springborg at fundraising breakfast

The ‘Stretton Breakfast Club’ resumed its regular gatherings on Brisbane’s southside on Monday 30 March with a fundraiser to assist drought-stricken farmers.

BUSHkids was among the organisations supporting keynote speaker the Hon Lawrence Springborg MP, Member for Southern Downs and Leader of the Opposition. 

Left: Freya Ostapovitch (L) with Lawrence Springborg (C) and other breakfast guests. (Photo: Stuart Hindle)

Freya Ostapovich, former MP for the Queensland seat of Stretton, has renewed her monthly event, which to date has raised more than $9,000 for a wide range of community groups and deserving causes.

Freya’s inaugural breakfast for 2015 gathered funds to help the Calamvale branch of the National Seniors’ Association, which is collecting its second annual donation of goods, to be delivered by the truckload to farmers and rural families out in the state’s desperately-parched southwest. Freya said the gathering was honoured to have Lawrence Springborg as the breakfast’s guest speaker: “As the Member for Southern Downs he knows first-hand the plight of our farmers.”

BUSHkids representative Louise Moeller gladly accepted Freya’s invitation to follow-up with a short briefing about our ongoing work with the families and children whose lives have been similarly affected by the dire weather conditions right across the state.

Right: Louise Moeller and Lawrence Springborg, with Niki Dowding from John Paul College. (Photo: Niki Dowding)

Louise Moeller, the Hon Lawrence Sprngborg MP, Niki Dowding (John Paul College)
   A special visitor
A bloke by the name of Charlie Wilson dropped by the BUSHkids Brisbane office in Toowong on Monday 30 March, and it was an historic moment for everyone present.  Why so?  Charlie is the grandson of our founding president, Queensland’s 15th Governor, Sir Leslie Orme Wilson. 
Charlie Wilson visits BUSHkids Brisbane Sir Leslie Orme Wilson, 1942

It surely doesn’t get much better than this – well, it did, actually! Thanks to a lucky find by volunteer historian and writer Adrian Harrison, deep in the archival catacombs a week or so before, we discovered a precious recording of a Bush Children’s appeal made by Charlie’s grandfather, which was broadcast on radio in about 1939-40!

The vintage, thick-vinyl LP was digitally re-recorded and the file played to a very silent, and rather awestruck, audience. The MP3 version has since found its way to the UK, where Charlie’s cousins Ginnie and Sally (descended from Sir Leslie’s daughter Marjorie) were thrilled and delighted to hear this priceless piece of history!

Charlie said: “My wife, Kaye, listened to the recording and was amazed at my grandfather’s vision and commitment to this wonderful humanitarian cause. It has made me reflect as well, and he really was a man of great integrity and compassion.”

The connections continue today, for the 21st century Wilsons live not far from the site of one of the former QBCHS Homes at Emu Park, on the central Queensland coast. Charlie has enthusiastically offered his support to as many of our 80th anniversary year events as he is able: “It would be very fitting that I should be of service to the wonderful organisation my grandfather was so passionate about.”

   Illuminating history

Five years after the founding of the Queensland Bush Children’s Health Scheme, Brisbane’s iconic Story Bridge was officially opened in 1940 by Sir Leslie Orme Wilson.

On 15 April, this historic connection will be illuminated in BUSHkids colours.

Below: 7th July 1938: Governor Sir Leslie Orme Wilson (L) inspects progress of the construction of the Story Bridge
with the bridge’s designer, Dr John Bradfield.
(Photo: Queensland State Archives image 2793)

That Wednesday evening, BUSHkids will officially launch 2015’s 80th anniversary year program of events and activities across Queensland. In 1935 the Lord Mayor of Brisbane, Alderman Alfred Jones, was a pivotal supporter of Governor Sir Leslie Wilson’s vision for medical care for Queensland’s bush children. The initial public meeting was held in the Lord Mayor’s Reception Room (‘the Oak Table Room’) in Brisbane City Hall, as were many of the subsequent meetings of the QBCHS.

It is a fitting tribute that Brisbane City Council has kindly agreed to illuminate its shared history with us, by lighting-up the Story Bridge in BUSHkids’ red-orange-blue-white colours on the night we officially launch our 80th year program – and our Friends of BUSHkids Brisbane group.

Keep an eye out, if you’re walking around or driving in the inner city!

   Did you know ...?

In the past five years (2009-2014), BUSHkids has assisted more than 5,300 Queensland children, over more than 31,800 individual and group sessions at our Centres across the state.

How does this compare with our efforts in the previous 75 years?

Back in 1960, the organisation’s 25th birthday, a total of 9,015 Queensland children had been brought from the Outback to the seaside for medical treatment. This number more than doubled in the next 15 years, with the 20,000th child – a 7 year-old girl from Hughenden with extensive burns on her hands and feet – received for treatment in 1975, the 40th anniversary of the Bush Children’s Health Scheme.

A decade later, the total number of Queensland kids who had received care and treatment exceeded 29,580 in our Golden Jubilee year, 1985.

What’s the overall total today, in our 80th year, 2015?

Well, we’re still adding up the figures from a wide range of sources in our archives. Remember that BUSHkids’ model of care delivery has changed a lot in 80 years – groups of kids no longer come by train to coastal Homes for treatment; in the 1990s everything changed and we began delivering services directly out across regional Queensland.

So, all the data which had been collected ‘changed direction’ (a bit like the changeover from pounds, shillings and pence to decimal currency in the 1960s!) and it’s taking a while to do the maths.

We’re working on it, and will let you know before the end of this year!

  Mystery photos ...
On our journey towards compiling 80 years of rich Queensland history into a commemorative book, we’re coming across all manner of fascinating stuff in our dusty archives.

Of the many thousands of images collected over the years, only a minority, sadly, has been accurately labelled or captioned.  On one hand, it’s amazing that previous generations of BUSHkids staff, volunteers and clients have left us with this treasure trove of rich resources.  On the other hand, it’s immensely frustrating that, with so many images, we have very few clues about the people, faces, places and dates of most of them.

One of our connections had the clever idea (thanks, Col!) of scanning some of these photos and uploading them to the internet, so we could try a little ‘crowd-sourcing’, That’s something we’re going to do on our new website, when it goes live in the near future.

In the meantime, any ‘railway buffs’ and other historians out there might like to rise to the challenge of helping us learn more about this red image.  All we know is it shows one of the wonderful Red Cross volunteer escort ladies with one of her young charges, at the start or end of a train journey. Perhaps the last three digits (687) of this Queensland Rail “red rattler” wagon might provide some clues?

Please get in contact if you can shed some light!







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