Magnetic Island North Queensland
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A young koala's beach adventure

March 26th 2008
Latest Friends of Magnetic Island newsletter

Friends of Magnetic Island is an on the Island and off the Island organisation set up so that lovers of Magnetic can get in touch for fun and friendship and also to provide a little help with Island affairs when needed. Magnetic Times proudly supports Magnetic's Friends and, following, is the latest edition of their newsletter "Curlew Calling"

Curlew Calling: Friends of Magnetic Island, No.5 / Feb 2008

This is our first Friends Newsletter for 2008. We hope it finds you all well following a nice festive and holiday season. Some of us are already planning our return to the Island, while others who are there permanently are enjoying [we hope] lots of rain. The following items will be known to some but hopefully others will find something of interest in this newsletter. Please see Fees Renewal/Rejoin/join form below.

We held a very successful Friends Beach Party at Picnic Bay on 22 August 2007 with over 40 people attending. The "Community News" advertised and posters were distributed around the Island inviting people to attend and it was nice that some visitors came along to our free sausage sizzle.. We used the gathering as an opportunity to ask people to make suggestions for issues that Friends could take up and some of the following items were the result.

Our very active member Rosie Whalen successfully arranged, in consultation with the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service [QPWS], for a very prominent sign to be erected on the roof of the shelter near the old barge terminal at Bremner Point, Arcadia. The sign was donated and erected by 'FantaSea Cruising Magnetic' [the barge company]. Rosie had long been concerned that tourists and others were feeding the wallabies the wrong food, particularly bread. Preferably the animals should not be fed at all and while the sign does say that, it also lists suitable food and unsuitable food for wallabies. Over 50 animals inhabit the area near the shelter and we are told that to prevent competition and distress between the animals that the area is only suitable for three to four animals. A special thank you to Rosie.

We had earlier suggested to the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service[QPWS] that they undertake a wider public education program on the Island concerning the feeding of native wildlife which sadly appears to have come to nothing. As a follow-up to Rosie's sign it might be an issue that Friends can take up later in the year.

Friends donated $100 to assist Tania Schuett. Tania has long published information brochures concerning the feeding of native wildlife, particularly curlews at her own cost so we wanted to help her in this way. You will have met Tania at her stall at the various markets held on the Island.

As a result of our call for suggestions we wrote to QPWS and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority [GBRMPA] concerning inadequate signage at Bremner Point and the Picnic Bay jetty relating to illegal fishing activities. The following is the relevant bit of the reply received from QPWS Conservation Officer Andrew Murrell [ 07 47225207]:

"Currently the QPWS have an active compliance program focussing on illegal fishing activities in the Townsville area, including Magnetic Island. This is conducted through vessel and terrestrial patrols of popular fishing locations. In regards to appropriate signage QPWS work cooperatively with GBRMPA to ensure adequate signage is present in key/popular fishing locations and boat ramps. The zoning signs at Bremner Point and Picnic Bay jetty are in line with other zoning signs throughout the Townsville area. Also present at the Picnic Bay Jetty are four Yellow Zone signs explaining the limited fishing that is allowed at this site. While I appreciate your concern regarding limited signage, QPWS feel the signage is adequate in these areas. When erecting signage QPWS not only takes into account the need to provide information, but also to ensure the aesthetics and natural values of the area are not compromised. "

Again a suggestion received where we sought comprehensive management programs from QPWS and Townsville City Council [TCC] for control of feral animals on the Island. The following are the relevant bits from Andrew Murrell's reply:

"Currently the QPWS have an active feral animal management program to control cats. This is conducted in cooperation with Townsville City Council's Land Protection Officer, where trapping of feral cats is undertaken on QPWS managed estate and Council lands. QPWS are also supporting the re-introduction of Townsville City Council's local law 10.1, which aims to further control domestic animals on Magnetic Island. All persons found bringing domestic animals onto QPWS estate are managed accordingly through an active compliance program. QPWS also reports all stray dogs to the Townsville City Council for further management and action. "

Another suggestion of concern - Appropriate authorities were approached with the suggestion that the feral kangaroos and wallabies be possibly transferred to another island eg one of the Palm Group. The response was that the cost of transporting the animals would be well beyond their budget and that wallabies in particular do not relocate well.

Another suggestion - further correspondence was directed to the Townsville City Council [TCC] concerning the speed humps on Armand Way. A local business person had described the hump outside the Newsagency as "an accident waiting to happen" - words which we included in our letter to Council. The following are the relevant bits of the reply received from John Teague, Technical Services Engineer, TCC:

"FLAT TOP SPEED HUMPS - ARMAND WAY - There are two flat top speed humps on Armand way, fronting Alma bay, which reduces the speed of vehicles in a section of road, where there are pedestrians on the road and manoeuvring vehicles. Standards require advisory speed signs for motorists, so that vehicles do not cross the hump above the design speed, and pavement markings on the face of the hump to enhance visibility of the device to an approaching motorist. The pavement marking consists of a series of alternate long and short lines, at approximately half metre spacing, running up the face of the hump. Most people would know that this is not a zebra crossing marking, which has white stripes, 600 mm wide and generally 3.5 m long. Also supporting this is the fact that there are no signs indicating this is a zebra crossing.

"PEDESTRIANS GIVE WAY TO TRAFFIC SIGN - These signs have been installed at specific locations, where conflicts may occur between pedestrian and vehicles. However, this is no longer an approved traffic sign, and they are being taken down across the city. The signs on Armand Way will be removed in the near future. It has been our experience that the Pedestrians Give Way to Traffic sign provided very limited road safety benefit, with pedestrians generally ignoring this information sign. There is no appropriate replacement sign. The Road Rules require the pedestrian to give way to a vehicle at these speed humps, and motorists to drive to prevailing road conditions.

"ZEBRA CROSSING - The provision of a zebra crossing must meet certain requirements before being installed. The requirements are very strict and relate to the number of pedestrians crossing and the number of vehicles using the road. In short, there needs to be sufficient number of pedestrians for motorists to have an expectation that they will need to stop, and there is sufficient volume of traffic that a pedestrian would not normally be able to find a gap in the traffic to cross. Experience has shown that installation of a zebra crossing in contravention to the requirements can be hazardous for both motorists and pedestrians. Some pedestrians also tend to place undue faith in the protection afforded by a crossing and place themselves at risk by stepping onto the roadway with less caution. On Armand Way, the requirements for a zebra crossing would not be satisfied due to insufficient numbers of pedestrians or vehicles. Hence, you request for zebra crossings at the speed humps on Armand Way is not supported. Notwithstanding the above, the safety of pedestrians crossing Armand Way is improved by the presence of speed humps, because vehicle speeds are reduced in the vicinity of the device, but pedestrians jay walking across the road is beyond the control of council."

The Magnetic Island Ratepayers and Residents Association are proposing that a high water, all year swimming lagoon be built in the area in front of the toilets at Lions Park, Nelly Bay as part of the marina. Their committee headed by Colin Foley is being advised and supported by Dr. Rick Braley. It is proposed that the pool could be stocked with fish, coral and giant clams.

On 4 November, 2007 a rally of about 500 residents was held at Horseshoe Bay to demonstrate support for the owners of the Red Baron, a small biplane which has been available for joy flights around the Island. It appears that a small group of residents have objected to the aircraft operating out of Horseshoe Bay on the grounds of noise and safety and have taken their grievances to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. This is obviously a personal 'for or against' issue and one which Friends, as a group, would probably not wish to take sides

The 'hole in the ground' adjacent to the Nelly Bay ferry terminal is to be developed by Tweed Heads developer Dan Black. It is planned that the 3 storey development will include a tavern, a retail component and 68 units on the site.

This year U3A has expanded to include Japanese and French Language classes.
Further information - please contact: Don Kinsey 07 47581349.

* a native wildlife feeding public education campaign
* a 'keep the Island tidy' project involving individuals and the TCC.
* a beach party and free sausage sizzle in June/ July.

Let's hear any suggestions from you.

John Marlton:
Ph: 02 48464095/ 07 47785717
Kelly Marlin-Zwa: Ph: 07 47581426



(Please print and return to address below)

Thank you for your ongoing support of Friends.

We invite you to renew, rejoin or join Friends. Membership is now due for 2008.

Please fill in your details as follows:


Postal Address:

Magnetic Island residential address (if applicable):

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Please renew this membership as a full household at $33.00
and return this form with a cheque/money order made to

'Friends of Magnetic Island'
12 Granite Street, Picnic Bay
Magnetic Island Qld 4819.

Thank you for your support.
Date of Issue 01 March 2008

To add your comment, see below

Latest Friends of Magnetic Island newsletter
Bruce Williams
March 26th 2008
Curlewis Calling: The Latest Friends of Magnetic Island should be aware that there are already several organisations on Magnetic Island attempting to fulfill some of the functions of the new (incorporated?) body. As the fledgling arrival has a Socially sharing objective for those in need of that function, the old bird (not worthy of capitals) rushes to point out that there are already several organisations representing the Magnetic Island interest. Curlewis can only speak for the Magnetic Island Ratepayers and Residents Association (meets first Saturday of each month at the RSL Hall in Arcadia at 10.00am). This organisation is certainly sociable, if not social. As the above article mentions, we have a big job on currently, one of several we feel are important for The Island's future character. These projects necessitate an emphasis on Work (worthy of a capital). Curlewis (a dithery old bird from well into the last century) suggests that recent arrivals examine their needs, and consider the W function as well and the S. The rest is Up To U.
Tanina Connolly
March 27th 2008
Dear Friends of Magnetic Island,
I would like to add to a more balanced perspective and correct some of the facts in your statement re the Red Baron.

1.The numbers quoted re the 500 island supporters are not correct - more like a hundred (just take a look at the Bulletin photos), the rest were tourists. At the victory celebration I counted 6 people.
2.It was not a "small group of residents that objected" - over a hundred residents who are directly affected by the noise or concerned re the noise put their names on the counter petition within a day. We stopped taking names as we were advised by GBRMPA that no weight would be given to this and only to the merits of the case. A further 17 people and 2 organisations had voiced their objections to GBRMPA. Two Real Estate Agents supported the Red Baron. We felt that as GBRMPA wasn't listening and kept on reiterating that the Red Barons noise equated to an outboard motor noise we had NO choice but to appeal to the AAT because we felt that noise was not conducive to a world heritage area as this noise reverberates throughout the bay and the national park walking tracks.
3.We proved that the plane noise, measured at 1200 metres away, is at least 12 times louder than all other noise put together in the bay proving GBRMPA's analogy to an outboard motor ridiculous. The noise at point of operation is considerably more times louder, than that yet again. than the ambient noise in the bay.
4.This is not an issue of Connolly versus the Red Baron seaplane - it is an issue of noise and the rights of others to peace and quiet. If the plane can fly quietly and not disturb others then go for it - we're not against any business operation or development -- just keep it quiet and move out away from the residents and other public users who may not be so enamoured by the intrusive nuisance noise. If people can't have peace and quiet in a world heritage area and a national park then god help us all. The majority of visitors/tourists/residents to this island come here for the wonderful natural beauty and nature to be enjoyed in peace and quiet as was proven in recent reasearch conducted by island scientists. I do not know of any other world location in which unnecessary noise is encouraged and is a called a "tourist" attraction. Even New York and LA have stopped joy flights over the city and the Hudson river.
5.We realise that the operation does not affect the other bays and that our Bay has been sacrificed for tourist development with no research or evidence to prove that the noise nuisance will outweigh the benefits. Has anyone else noticed the rapid decline in visiting yachts?
March 28th 2008
Thanks to 'Friends' for their contribution and the MagTimes for carrying it. I realise that some parts of the newsletter are a bit 'last year' but the roundup helps remind this writer of what's just gone past.
Interestingly, the MIRRA proposal for a salt water 'lagoon' swimming area at the Lions Park 'beach' at the bottom of Mandalay Avenue coincides with a debate about the Magnetic Island Marina (MIM) - a business offshoot of Blue on Blue - which happens to be located at exactly the same place as this swimming proposal. A representative of MIM claims that the inner lobe of the Nelly Bay harbour is a 'separate area' from the rest of the harbour and subject to a different set of regulations. I reckon this is incorrect.
Checking at the beach area I have noticed that the Townsville City Council has erected a public notice there, right in front of the public toilets, advising that there should be no swimming. I don't believe that this restriction is applied because it is a marina. I believe that because this area is managed under the Canals Act with specific regulations under the Local Government Act, the Council must abide by the State laws which prohibit swimming (and liveaboard boaties) because the water is known to be polluted with faecal coliforms - sometimes at levels well above the accepted standards. We know that. It has been tested many times.
So how can MIRRA (a ratepayers association) promote swimming in this specific place when the Council is required by law to prevent people from swimming there?
Bruce Williams
March 29th 2008
Charlie, control your imagination. You are on the wrong track. Please don't let your phobias get in the way of the community benefit.
March 31st 2008
Oh hell, wrong track again! As in, "Don't you worry about that". Or, "Don't tell me about boats". So what is wrong this time? Have I identified the wrong place? Is MIRRA talking about another "separate area"? Or is it that, with the passage of time, short memory syndrome has kicked in and hardly anyone can remember anymore what a hopelessly compromised harbour deal we ended up with? And before you get any big ideas about digging up that 'beach' to create some sort of Strand-like lagoon, dial-before-you-dig. The high grade acid sulphate soil from the mangrove excavation is buried right underneath that spot. Oh yes. They knew what they were doing.
Peter F. Hughes
March 31st 2008
Bruce Willaims said, 'Curlewis (a dithery old bird from well into the last century) suggests that recent arrivals examine their needs, and consider the W function as well and the S. The rest is Up To U.'
Bruce, in some Australian's eyes,all white Europeans could be considered 'recent arrivals'.
Take a look at the April page of the History Society's callendar. Here we see the early settlers playing golf at the Burrell residence in Arcadia. circa 1959.
At the same time, some Palm Island people were working without wages and freedom at the Arcadia Hotel. Not that long ago really.
Peter F. Hughes
Waurn Ponds
June 18th 2008
Bruce Williams
September 3rd 2009
An interesting comment, Peter. Yes, there were such (allegedly) underpaid indigenous people working at the Arcadia Resort during various times in our Island's history. Some (one named Peter Murkden) came from Palm Island, and taught local kids how to manufacture fish spears and how to deploy them. but there were also descendants of "blackbirded" Solomon Islanders from the Mackay area working on the basic wage on Horseshoe Bay pineapple farms at about that time. My now deceased mate, Harry Fatnowna was one of them. Further, some people reputed to be of Japanese origin worked on Bright's Mandalay Guest House in the 1930's, some with domestic tasks, others weaving the coconut thatched roofs of the various buildings. To the modern mind, "black" implies "aboriginal". It is our shame that the rich history of European North Queensland has little surviving oral history and less of the written variety. The same is certainly true of reliable indigenous history. The expansion and publicisising of such information is urgent and important.
Marion Healy
September 30th 2009
How true, Bruce. The man you talk about as Harry Fatnowna was my dad and yes it was hard times.

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