2022 … and 2021 is a memory

With the start of the New Year, I felt it was time to get back into blogging. It has been a rough trot since leaving my job in mid-2019, and with COVID striking, it was difficult to settle down to assess my path.

So with the New Year comes new hopes and motivations.

Study

I have now been studying for a month through Curtin University and Open Universities Australia. I am aiming for a BA (Geography) and my first two units are Academic and Professional Communication and Cultures to Cultures.

Academic and Professional Communication

This unit is a preparatory unit in utilising the APA 7 referencing system and how to build assignments, going from finding the articles providing arguments to the assignment topic, to creating a thesis statement from each article researched, sub-arguments for the thesis statement, then putting it all together into a 1500-word piece for submission. Even shown how the TurnItIn system works in assessing the work for potential plagiarism and ensuring all references are correct.

Cultures to Cultures

This unit is very interesting to me as it explores what a culture is, if the term ‘culture’ should really be used, do we need to label each person and put them into a box, stereotyping, prejudice, essentialism, non-essentialism and othering.

The unit will gradually turn to indigenous people and being able to self-author acknowledgement of country, plus fully understand communication and other issues. This will help me greatly as I move forward consulting indigenous groups for my project.

Community Involvement

I am involved with a number of organisations, in various roles, which I absolutely love to immerse myself in.

Glasshouse Bushwalkers Club Inc.

While I have been President of the club for nearly 30 years, there is time for a change in the wind. I don’t mind being President, but I feel the club is getting old and tired and needs a gee up. One thing I am considering of bringing to the members is a change of name.

Why a change of name? When the club was formed in 1992, it was decided to base in Caboolture Qld. However the club could not be called the Caboolture Bushwalkers Club due to another group of the same name, so we decided on Glasshouse Bushwalkers Club Inc. after the iconic group of mountains located north of Brisbane and a short distance from Caboolture. At the time also the Caboolture Shire was in existence, and there was already a Sunshine Coast Bushwalking Club, so a finite locality was chosen.

Over the years, however, there have been a few changes in the landscape:

  • Caboolture Shire Council merged into Moreton Bay Regional Council (and now moves are afoot to change to Moreton Bay City Council)
  • A few projects regarding outdoor recreation and trails in the Caboolture Shire/ Moreton Bay Region have always asked for club input into the proposal, but the club name suggests we have no real idea of the area.
  • Inquiries to the club are looking for a club that encapsulates the area we walk, and not look like we are just experts of the Glass House Mountains. Even though our objects reflect working with Sunshine Coast Regional Council, Moreton Bay Regional Council and Somerset Regional Council, the name doesn’t reflect that at all.
  • New perspectives in post-COVID times.

It is hoped that this will inject much needed membership and service to our members.

Bushwalking Queensland Inc.

I am currently Secretary of Bushwalking Queensland Inc., the peak body of the bushwalking clubs in Queensland. I am striving to bring the organisation onto a modern footing utilising technology as far as possible to facilitate progress on work by the organisation.

I have found Google Drive to be the best for this so need to educate the other committee members as to its use and being able to work collaboratively, more efficiently and effectively. I am also bringing Trello into use as I find it to be a great way to track ideas, agenda actions and the like and keep a good record of the status of everything.

The current main aim of Bushwalking Queensland Inc. is to create a network of trails throughout Queensland, so any person can go from any point in Queensland to any other point in Queensland using a trail. This would enhance the health of the community as outdoor recreation places are made more available and reduces the conflict with motorised vehicles.

Bushwalking Australia Inc.

As Secretary of Bushwalking Queensland Inc., I am also a delegate to Bushwalking Australia Inc., the peak body of the bushwalking State federations, representing the bushwalking clubs Australia-wide. We are in a transition stage with this organisation as we work towards the newly developed strategic plan. The main aim of Bushwalking Australia is to provide an affordable insurance scheme for bushwalking clubs, and foster inter-club activities regardless of the origin State of the clubs.

Bushwalking NSW Inc.

I have been appointed as Administration Officer of Bushwalking NSW Inc. and providing administration support to the Executive Officer of that organisation. It gives me a chance to undertand the gaps in the administration of Bushwalking Queensland Inc. as well as utilising my skills in developing both organisations.

Queensland Walking Alliance

Bushwalking Queensland Inc. is part of the QueenslandWalking Alliance formed under the Queensland Walking Strategy developed by Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads. This alliance works towards the objectives of providing walking infrastructure across the State, safety of pedestrians, and aims to remove conflict with other users.

This group brings together a range of user groups, town planners, councils, and the like to a great forum to improve the health of Queenslanders and safety.

Friends of Brisbane Valley Rail Trail Inc.

Recently I was elected to the position of Secretary of Friends of the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail Inc. which is a great opportunity in getting the organisation off the ground post-COVID and work with stakeholders and councils along the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail to address issues.

Projects

Through the above organisations, I am involved with a number of projects.

Boonah Ipswich Trail

This trail was first mooted under the SEQ Active Trail Strategy in 2007, but was abolished by the Newman Government in 2012 as part of its move to cut costs, and sell assets owned by the government. After the loss of the Newman Government at the next election in 2015, a review of plans was undertaken and the Boonah Ipswich Trail has been brought back to the table. Due to the gap in the time, land use changes and the like have occurred on the route, so ground-truthing needs to be undertaken to update the status of the route and determine if the route as originally planned is still viable or alternative routes need to be identified.

Obstacles at present are land owners encroaching on the easement for the trail, Inland Rail passing through the Wild Pig Creek Road section, so a crossing location needs to be identified and infrastructure installed as part of that project.

Also there is the push for the Bethania to Beaudesert Rail Trail to be completed, plus the plans for the Salisbury – Beaudesert Rail passing through Undullah, which provide opportunities for linking trails to the Boonah-Ipswich Trail.

Great Escarpment Trail

This trail is being developed a joint project with Bushwalking Queensland Inc. and Bushwalking NSW Inc. and links the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia from Barrington Tops to Scenic Rim Region in Queensland. This trail is about 1500 km long and the total elevation is 4 times the height of climbing Mount Everest. The trail would take about 100 days to complete, but can be walked in various sections at different times. A proposal is to produce a “passport” recording sections walked as a record , with a badge for completion given.

I am currently finalising mapping of this trail and then distributing out to interested parties to ground-truth. I ahem also been in contact with a variety of stakeholders about the project and they are in full support.

Other trails

I am also keeping a keen eye on other trail developments in Queensland with the view to linking them as per the objective of Bushwalking Qld Inc.

Reflection

Reflecting on the past two years, seems to be what was meant to happen. I am free to work for my passions and although it doesn’t bring in much money, I am grateful for the opportunities that have been presented to me, and I so look forward seeing all this being worth the effort upon completion.

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