The most influential people to me…

Role models have an astounding effect on the lives of young people in our society. A role model has the ability to shape the views, ideals, and actions of a young person. Role models help youth to discover how they wish to become in the future. The influence that role models have over young people is tremendous. It is important for role models to be positive and responsible in instilling good morals and values because future generations are directly dependent on the role models of today. By examining the influence of role models, role models in the community, and role models in the media, we will be able to determine the true effect that role models have on the lives of youth.

Wait a minute… let’s all laugh at ‘youth’ hahaha! I am currently 27 But hey – I lost a few years of my life after my accident, well didn’t really loose them I just can’t remember them. Best thing, I don’t want to remember them – always looking forward, never looking back – you can’t change yesterday, but you can start changing tomorrow, today!

There are a few influential people in my life at the moment that are quite inspiring to me. So let’s start with the people that are residents of the Hinchinbrook Shire.

1 – My dad – Big Al – So if anyone out there hasn’t read the piece I wrote on dad I suggest you do…. IT’S FREAKING AWESOME! I surprise myself sometimes!

https://aquoonline.com/2019/12/04/my-dad-big-al/

My dad is a legend for reasons I can’t bring myself to discuss – I’m crying on my keyboard as I write this. He’s been through a lot in the last decade and is come out the other end swinging. When you’re a kid at school, and they ask you what you want to be when you grow up – I want to be just like my dad.

Dad with my eldest son Jack

2 – Karen Venables – Karen is the owner of JK’s deli in Ingham and has been a great support, whether she knows it or not, for me in discovering who I really am and how powerful I actually am. Karen is a bloody superhero – I have no idea how the hell she gets as much done in a day as she does! And on top of running a successful business (with amazing coffee and some of the best food in the Hinchinbrook Shire) she has raised three absolutely beautiful daughters and married a man that reminds me so much of my dad it’s not funny.

I recently had Karen signed one of us that she put me on to right when I started out, and it means so much to me because in years to come when I am taking over the world I can look back and read the message Karen wrote me. Karen is one of the most loving, humble, successful women I know. “I’m nothing special lovie.” – Um correction yes you freaking are!

From left to right – Kaitlin, Aimee, Karen and Lauren Venables

3 – Rachel Finch – So someone who’s not too far from home, she’s actually from Townsville! I’ve met Rachel a few times at modeling gigs when I was younger.

Rachael was born on 8 July 1988 is an Australian TV host, model, and beauty pageant titleholder. She was awarded the ‘People’s Choice Award’ for the 2006 Miss Teen Australia and finished as 3rd runner-up at Miss Universe 2009.

Since 2011, Finch has worked for Seven Sport as a roving reporter at events such as the Australian Open, Melbourne Cup and Olympics.

I read her book ‘Happy Healthy Strong‘ and it hit pretty close to home. Rachel proves that it doesn’t matter where your from, you can become anything you want to become.

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Rachel Finch

4 – Louise Hay – Dubbed “the closest thing to a living saint” by the Australian media, Louise Hay is also known as one of the founders of the self-help movement. Her first book, ‘Heal Your Body,’ was published in 1976, long before it was fashionable to discuss the connection between the mind and body. Revised and expanded in 1988, this best-selling book introduced Louise’s concepts to people in 33 different countries and has been translated into 25 languages throughout the world.

Louise’s book and dvd set ‘You can heal your life” has helped me turn my life around. From being a typan full of the deadliest venom (I was cranky) to now the most positive version of myself – I really have healed my life! My cousin put me on to it after an incident happened with a friend’s father when I was younger. I never understood how powerful Louise’s material was until recently – and WOW!

This link will take you to Louise Hay’s official website.

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Louise Hay

5 – Bethany Hamilton – Another influential person to me is Bethany. Bethany Hamilton (born February 8, 1990) is an American professional surfer who survived a 2003 shark attack in which her left arm was bitten off but who ultimately returned to professional surfing.

She wrote about her experience in the 2004 autobiography Soul Surfer: A True Story of Faith, Family, and Fighting to Get Back on the Board. In April 2011, the feature film Soul Surfer was released. She now has a new movie called, Unstoppable, where she shows the struggles and happiness of her family. Hamilton has been in the WSL league for quite a few years. Her best friend, Alana Blanchard, is also a pro surfer.

So like me – She only has one functional arm BUT her other arm was bitten off! She will never regain any kind of movement, it’s not there – at least I still have my arm, no matter how functional it is. She also has two beautiful little boys, as do I… Boys rock!

This link will take you to Bethany Hamilton’s official website.

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Bethany Hamilton with her family

6 – Leanne Hall – Is a Psychologist who has been in private practice for over 15 years. She has a Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology, as well as qualifications in both nutrition and fitness.

In addition to her clinical practice, Leanne has held various academic teaching and research roles. She has particular expertise in illness and disease prevention and early intervention, as well as working with people suffering with anxiety, depression and body image issues. Leanne’s holistic approach to health means that she also works with patients experiencing chronic and acute health issues and lifestyle diseases; such as IBS, Crohn’s disease and colitis, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and auto immune disease.

When I was a few months in on my fitness journey, I bought her book ‘Head first health fast.’ It was all about changing your whole mindset from wanting to loose weight to achieving sustainable health. It helped me change my mindset on the way I look at food and exercise to enable me to change my life for the better.

This link will take you to Leanne Hall’s official website.

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Leanne Hall

These 6 individuals all played a part in helping shape me into the person I am today a completely different person I was 7 years ago. “When you are enthusiastic about what you do, you feel this positive energy. It’s very simple.” Paulo Coelho

Aquo Xx

My dad – Big Al…

Mr Wilson, Big Al, Al Aquo are just some of the nicknames dad has acquired over the years. My dad is the most amazing human being on this planet, he means the absolute world to me. He is the strongest, most kind hearted bloke I have ever met – and dad, It’s ok, I know I’m your favourite. See that’s a joke between my two sisters, my brother and I. They always call themselves mum’s favourite – It’s ok, cause I’m dad’s.

Here’s a fun fact – not many people know this but when he is really angry his eyes turn yellow. Like a freaky daemonic yellow you see on Supernatural.

Dad and I at The last Race Meet in Ingham before my accident…

Until my accident I was dad’s shadow – “I’m going to do farm work.” “Riteo, I’m coming.” I’d yell at mum through the house “mum, I’m going farming with dad.” Over the years we have become professional singers, but… Only in the harvester. Every Morning by Sugar Ray, Copperhead Road by Steve Earle, any song by The Eagles and pretty much every Dixie Chicks and Pink songs, were just some of tunes we would bust out to. After Zio Jon passed, Drops of Jupiter by Train and Comfortably Numb by Pink Floyd became some of the most popular – As they were Zio’s favourites.

People could say that the perfect father does not exist, I actually do not know if that is true, but what I surely know is that my father is perfect for me. Dad has always been able to keep me level headed – he can always, always calm ‘the angry bird’ – as I put it. BECAUSE he says it how it is!

I consider myself so blessed because I can’t think of a way I could improve upon my relationship with my father, except for perhaps by spending more time with each other. I have always been close with my Dad, and as each year I grow I find that I am becoming more and more like him, which makes me happy. Dad and I are still close, but life gets busy… especially when the sugar cane crushing season starts. It’s now too hard for me to take both the boys out to where dad is cutting and go for a ride in the harvester and after he finishes he’s too tired to come in and visit. I get it… I didn’t say I like it… But I get it.

BUT – The first thing I do when mum’s free is drop my Harry off and take Jack for a ride with dad. He loves anything farming, especially with Nonno.

My father has taught me to have strong moral values, personal responsibility, honesty and trust. He has shown me how to be compassionate and to be a respectful person in life. He taught me the value of education, and how to make good decisions in life. I’m not saying I make good decisions in life but dad did teach me about them haha. While he showed me how to have fun and to laugh, he also has taught me the meaning of hard work, and the meaning of love. He did this by being a nurturing father, coach, along with being a loving parent.

My father has always been there to share with me moments of joy and times of hardship. He has generously given me his personal time, so that I may grow up to face this challenging world full of courage, hope and faith. My father is not perfect, and like every human, he has his faults, struggles and weaknesses. He taught me, however, how to face these problems and challenges with a positive attitude and a strong will. I remember when I swamped his six wheeler in Christie’s Creek – All dad cared about is if everyone was OK, he stripped the six wheeler to let it dry out, he measured a meter of water that went through the vehicle but thanked me for killing the ants nest that had been in there for ages. This example and all the other memories I have shared with my father will be everlasting and have a positive influence on my life.

Our family is unified, we work together nurturing our love to keep it positive and in full force against any opposing force that would tear down our family unit. We are a very close family woven together by difficult times, learning from our experiences and pursuing peace and harmony.

I believe I need to keep forgiveness strong, peace active, love appropriated and strength exercised. I pray to god to give my father the will to pull through any rough times he faces and be bless him for his love, strength and wisdom. My dad has to be the most humble man in the world – I have so much respect for him.

Congratulations again dad on operating a harvester for 40 years. We are all super proud of you and wish you all the best for the future.

Love,

Number 1 Xx

Dad and I at the 2014 Race Meet…
Something I started before my accident – dinner and drinks in front of a fire…
Always with dad…
I planned dad a little gathering for his birthday 2015…
Dad and I on my wedding day 2018…
Dad and I at Ben & Jess Barbi’s engagement 2018…

Aquo Xx

Sir Arthur Fadden…

The Hinchinbrook Shire has an extremely rich history so I’ve decided to dig a little deeper and extend my knowledge on our little slice of paradise!

Sir Authur Fadden

Sir Arthur William Fadden was an accountant and prime minister. He was born on 13 April 1894 at Ingham, Queensland, eldest of ten children of Irish-born parents Richard John Fadden, police constable, and his wife Annie, née Moorhead. The son of a Presbyterian minister, Richard had served in the Royal Irish Lancers before emigrating to Australia; he joined the Queensland Police Force and, about 1900, took charge of the station at Walkerston, near Mackay. Educated at the local state school, at 15 Artie began work as billy-boy to a gang of cane-cutters and soon became office-boy at the Pleystowe mill.

As a young man he participated enthusiastically in social and sporting activities. He excelled at cricket, Rugby Union football, boxing and foot-racing, and performed in amateur theatricals as an original member of the Walkerston ‘Nigger Minstrel Troupe’. Exhibiting a flair for figures, in April 1913 he was employed as a clerk with the Mackay Town Council. Three years later he discovered defalcations in the books kept by the town clerk; the man was dismissed and Fadden appointed in his place. He married a milliner Ilma Nita Thornber on 27 December 1916 with Presbyterian forms at her mother’s Mackay home; they were to have four children.

On 20 January 1918 a cyclone hit Mackay, wrecking the town, killing more than twenty people and cutting off help from outside. Fadden and his family narrowly escaped being drowned. As a member of the cyclone relief committee, he worked tirelessly and effectively to find shelter for the homeless, and to distribute food, clothing and building materials. Having qualified in accountancy through a correspondence course, he resigned his local-government post in September and set up as a public accountant at Townsville. He became a member (1921) and fellow (1928) of the Commonwealth Institute of Accountants (Australian Society of Accountants). His business prospered and he was to establish the firms Fadden, Sutton & Co., Townsville, and A. W. Fadden & O’Shea, Brisbane.

So – it’s not mind blowingly exciting or anything, but it’s good to know where we are from. A bit of knowledge never hurt anyone…

Aquo Xx

Once bitten Aquos not shy…

For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Aquo. I’m outgoing, impulsive and straight down the line – most of the time. Two years ago, I started the blog Once bitten Aquos not shy… where I write about my accident, injuries, how I’ve rebuilt myself (into a freaking awesome human being if I must say so myself) and more recently about the wonderful businesses, places, people and history of the Hinchinbrook Shire.

I had a horrific quad bike accident on 14th September 2013, maybe you saw me on the news, in the papers, or maybe you were following Aquo’s Page on facebook. I would love to be a support system for others that have similar struggles to me, or those that are going through a hard time that need a bit of respite.

Fast forward five odd years and my speech & language skills have developed in leaps and bounds. My behavior has advanced in leaps and bounds – because I had a traumatic brain injury (TBI) as a result of my accident, it took me back to being like a 12 year old child. My speech, my behavior – everything. It was hell to say the least.

Throughout this journey my family and I lost the support of our extended family and most of our friends, personally & collectively. I guess they just couldn’t deal with the dramatic changes that were happening at the time, depression, anger, you name it. Thank you to these people, you have taught the six of us to be better people, and you have showed us how strong we really are. We are now the closest we have ever been, it’s an amazing feeling.

I personally have lost 75% of the people I called ‘friends’ before my accident and I’ve come to realise that that’s ok. I have rebuilt myself up and I’m now a better person than I was before, I’m stronger both mentally and physically and I’m a hell of a lot more successful. I’m so much more mature now, and thinking about it, the people I did call friends before my accident, I wouldn’t have anything in common with now.

Now – I’m a positive influence in the Hinchinbrook Shire – I hold no grudges, malice or anything like that to my past, present or future – I’ve been given a second chance and I’m going to use it in the most positive way I can to make the Hinchinbrook Shire a better place for the greater good.

I focus more on the Hinchinbrook Shire to do my part (and hopefully more!) to make this b.e.a.utiful part of Australia flourish again – for the greater good! I understand everyone is ‘doing it hard’ – trust me I understand fully – last week my marriage was about to crumble like dry dog poo; this week Andrew and I are stronger than ever! BUT… If we all actively try to improve our district, start to work together and put all the negative BS in the past, we can do incredible things!

If you choose to follow me and a post catches your attention, please, please drop a comment, I’m not going to hide behind my blog. I want to be involved with the people, the community. On the main page you can also sign up to receive updates on my blog.

I’ve started dropping business cards around Ingham so that you can contact me and we can catch up and discuss the History, people, places or events held in the Hinchinbrook Shire. I would love to hear from you!

“Successful people do what unsuccessful people are not willing to do. Don’t wish it was easier; wish you were better.” – Jim Rohn.

Help me to make this adventure great!

Aquo Xx

Aquo pre accident, 2012.

Aquo was almost not even a thought… Almost…

My great grandfather Bertie Peri, my great grandmother Carmelina Peri and my grandfather Jack Aquilini and my grandmother Beattie Aquilini went up to Innisfail in the ute to look at purchasing a farm. They stayed overnight in Innisfail where they were ready to do the deal. In the morning when they woke up, my great-grandfather said something wasn’t right and he didn’t think they should go ahead with purchasing that farm. My grandfather agreed with him and they decided to come home to Ingham and forgo the 2000 pounds they put down to secure the deal.

Not long after returning home, Peter Alali rang to say Marcus Johnson wanted to sell his farm on Bruce Highway just south of Ingham. Something told my great grandfather not to buy that farm in Innisfail. Both grandfathers went Down to Mackay with their were looking at buying a produce agency.

While they were away, Peter Alali rang nanna and informed And informed her That Marcus Johnson wanted to sell his farm, it was late in 1960 and nonno and nanna moved into that MASSIVE farm house in January 1961 – nanna still resides there to this day! it’s been remodeled inside since those days, And my father and his brother built a big silver shed right beside it.

Nanna has been alone in that house for the last 10 years nominal passed away in 2010. My great grandfather passed away in 1974 and my great grandmother passed away in 2002. In all the years that Nanna has lived there she has done 37 years of fundraising for the Hinchinbrook Shire. Mainly for the Queensland Cancer foundation and the nurses quest The Endeavour foundation.

So there you go. Aquo was almost not a thought – ALMOST. How much sadder would this world be without me, like seriously!

Aquo Xx

Our Stories – Part 2…

After many years of having the horses pull the plow, the family had enough money to buy a D2 Caterpillar tractor from the United States. My great grandfather, Bertie Peri, was proudly driving his new tractor up and down the paddock when a big black car comes driving in from Master’s Road, Toobanna towards him.

A Government Official got out and nonno Peri thought they had come to intern him to the camp as he was an Italian refugee, he said to the man, “I’m already packed, just come up and the wife will fix you a cup of tea and I’ll have a shower and get ready. The Government Official replied “Oh no Mr Peri, we’re not here for you, we have come to commander your tractor for the war effort.” Nonno Peri replied “Oh no, please take me, but not my tractor! As he started to cry.

The Officials didn’t give Nonno a piece of paper regarding the war effort, but returned a week or so later and they told him that it was going up to Papua New Guinea to flatten the forest to build air strips for our planes.

Nonno never saw his beloved tractor again, nor did he ever find out what had happened to it. It was back to using horses for quite some time. At this time, my grandmother, Beattie Aquilini, was seven and Nonno decided to sell the farm and bought a general store and bakery at Toobanna.

When my grandmother was eight, she learnt to drive the only truck they had – a 4B2 army truck that my grandmother had to drive to deliver the bread to the railway station to be bought further south.

Gosh! I love all of nanna’s Stories, she seems to have a never-ending list that she enjoys telling the world.

Aquo Xx

My son – the farmer…

Farming has been apart of Jack’s life since he was born. Both myself & his father, as well as most of his grandparents and some of his great grandparents were also born into the farm life in the Hinchinbrook Shire – Being Townsville Road just past Andy’s Road House (BEST Hamburgers ever!), the Aquilini farm then out Warren’s Hill, Blackrock the Irvin farms. So yeah it really does run in our blood. I believe that’s why I personally, have an enormously large passion for the sugar industry in the Hinchinbrook Shire.

This may be the reason why since a baby he would sit in front of the TV and watch harvesting videos on YouTube and if you were to turn it off – God help you! Whenever we have gone out to mum and dad’s if dad is mowing Jack HAS to go mowing to. Dad still has the little 90 quad bike that he bought my sister and I when I was five years old. It has never been rebuilt and it still has the original tires on it – Jack just thinks it’s the best thing. There is no way I would ever let him ride it himself after everything that’s happened, but I have full trust in my sister and my brother, even though my sister is wayyy too overconfident at times, she’s always safe with Jack.

Jack can tell you what every switch and button does in dad’s harvester (John Deere 3520), he watches everything! He watches where dad’s hands are positioned on the sticks (and sometimes when nobody is looking the harvester mysteriously moves) and he makes sure the elevator flap is positioned correctly. I have no doubt in my mind he could do a full day in the harvester with Nonno. He loves it!

During the sugar cane crushing season, my boys go wild! All I hear is Harvester, Train, Haulout, Train, Bins, Units, Mill, sometimes it drives me insane… BUT I love it! This season when Andrew is in one of the Greaves, I take both the boys for a ride and they both don’t want to leave. It’s pretty cool how we can fit all four of us in there – AND there’s still room.

My dad has had Case Maxi-hauls since the early 2000’s and I’ve always thought they are the ducks nuts, they go faster however there is no way you could fit two adults, a toddler and a baby as well as all the crap you have cart along. AND THERE GREEN! Jack says “Greaves – not a Deere” Deere being for John Deere., it is possibly the cutest thing ever!

Harry is only six months old, but because his brother is, he will probably be sugar industry mad also. I’m unsure what the future holds for Andrew and myself, but he has always just wanted to be a farmer – so I guess that makes me a farmer’s wife.

Aquo Xx