Welcome to Ingham…

The place where there is more sticks of cane than people – yeah Ingham! My hometown, the place where the sugar industry is 8th largest sugar industry in the world and the place where if you stop to talk to every person you know in Woolworths, you will never leave! We have a population of 4,357 people in Ingham according to the 2016 census.

The world’s Sugar Industry

10 LARGEST CANE SUGAR PRODUCERS
(2016 – in mln metric tonnes, tel quel)
1Brazil38.991
2India24.792
3Thailand9.263
4China9.084
5Mexico6.095
6Pakistan5.616
7Australia4.627
8USA3.518
9Guatemala2.909
10Indonesia2.23

My hometown is the best. We are located in the Herbert River Valley just north of Townsville and just south of Cardwell. We have an awesome 360 view and some of the best barramundi in the world. Our local beaches, the Great Barrier Reef, Wallaman Falls, Hinchinbrook Island, Mungalla Station, Tyto Wetlands, Mercer’s Lane Mosaic, Broadwater National Park, Tyto Art Gallery, Crystal Creek, the must-sees are endless! I have lived in this district my whole life and to date I have never seen Mungalla Station – But I hear Jacob Cassady is doing amazing things for our tourism industry!

I love Ingham, because it is a small town with a passion for all that is homegrown, sustainable and community-oriented. We are famous for our Sugar Cane Industry, our fishing (The brainwashing started in grade 5 from my teacher, Mr Gori), our wog culture, our amazing art and music scene. Ingham is actually home to some wonderful musicians – Joe Geia, Paul Tabone, just to name a few. It’s got a rich history and is also a bit rough around the edges.

I love where I live because of the combination of the laid back lifestyle and the amazing fishing spots. I remember somewhere at the start of 2013, I was asked to go fishing and the fish were going crazy! I was put in charge of making sure we stuck to bag limit. We were fishing for barramundi and mangrove jack that both have a bag limit of five – so ten of each fish… awesome I can do that! Yeah – no. One of the others checked when we got back to the hut and there were 10 jacks and only 9 barras! 9! You had one job missy!

You can drive 20-30 minutes from the main street of town (yes – we have one main street) to almost anywhere in the district. Pretty much any delays to the traffic in this town is due to a derailment (bins full of sugar cane come off the line – sugar cane everywhere!).

Certainly your attitude about where you live makes a huge difference. Ingham is the sort of place where you can walk up to a complete stranger up the street and ask them where anything is – if they can’t tell you, chances are they weren’t born here!

This is why I love where I live…

Aquo Xx

Dear: – The Residences of Hinchinbrook Shire…

Photo by tyto.com.au

It has recently been made apparent that there are literally so many small and not so small things we can do to improve our beautiful little rural shire. I’ve decided to make a list, as my limitations are currently preventing me from pulling them off – CURRENTLY. Give me a bit and I’m a million percent positive that I will be able to accomplish everything that is put in front of me in one way or another.

One of the biggest problems this shire faces is how the kids aren’t receiving the stimulation they require so they are creating havoc around the place because they are bored. That’s not to say it’s 100% their fault, I believe as a parent you should want to know the whereabouts of your kids – It’s instinct for all parents isn’t it? My two year old goes next door but I follow him until he goes inside – it’s maybe, maybe 10m. They need more to do in this shire, I’m more than happy to work with any Hinchinbrook Shire committees to pull this off.

I have the best idea for a carpark party – for the grown ups! I’m thinking ‘the races’ without the horses – the atmosphere is awesome! – Every year. Setting the scene:- A casual mixer for business houses to network. Imagine the car park behind JK’S Deli, with a stage and run it as a professional event, laid back, but professional. Have a dj, a barbecue and drinks. It would be great to have more events a year for the business houses to attend. Possibly hold a workshop focusing on advertising their own businesses?

We could host a neon party in Rotary Park. Include a sausage sizzle and a little canteen. Focus on attracting the youth of the town (10-17) to reduce the crime that occurs because there’s nothing in place to provide them with the stimulation they require. We need to be able to make things exciting, to give the youth in our shire something to look forward to – but if they misbehave, get into trouble with the police etc, these events we plan for them get taken away. The youth in the Hinchinbrook Shire need to respect that these events are planned for them and we’re not going to waste our time if they can’t do the right thing. That’s not ‘the bottom line’ however… THE PARENTS also have to be accountable for their children.

Photo by Crossfit Sanitas

The rest of these ideas, they’re just ideas – I have no plan or clear direction for them, but I believe they can be developed into something great!

  • Businesses could run drawing competitions that children can enter and the prize could be that they could be in charge (within reason) of planning a community event. The best thing about this idea is it’s free.
  • Have a movie marathon in a different park around the shire monthly.
  • Start a group of Ingham kids that meet once a month and brainstorm different ideas to improve the town – Sometimes, kids have some really interesting ideas we would never come up with.
  • We could easily use amazing scenery photos from around the shire to have printed on shirts and sell them at the Tyto Information Centre. This is a project we could possibly get the secondary schools art departments involved – this would cut costs whilst teaching the kids a different skill.
  • Make use of our empty store fronts. I know this is already being done but is there any way to improve this???
  • We could start our own car free day. Where there are no cars to be driven down lannercost street. It’s a great way to fight pollution, if only for a day. I think this could even bring fun back into business.
  • Get to know your neighbours – I know, it’s the Hinchinbrook Shire but there are so many new families that have relocated to the shire. we all need to look after each other and stop being so complacent – we do live in a small town but it’s not the same place as it used to be in the early 2000’s. That’s not a good nor bad statement, it’s the honest truth.
  • Set up a ‘community table’ something like speed dating but have it monitored and have rules about keeping it strictly community based conversation. I could see this being a proactive event that could be the early stages of some great ideas to boost our shire.
  • stage a scene – like they do on the movie ‘friends with benefits’. This could be a fun creative activity.
  • Shop local – Simple! Support local businesses so we all win! Possibly have a workshop teaching people how to budget their money properly.
  • Mobile produce market – kind of like the home ice cream truck.
  • Write a letter to council – If you’ve got a good idea, share it. If you want to change your neighborhood, start building a coalition. Explain your plans and help build grassroots support.
  • Smile – Smile all the time, about everything, at everyone – you could just change someone’s day!

This town needs more proactive, like minded, young adults, young parents like myself that want to see a better future for our kids. I want my boys to have the option to want to stay here when they grow up. People are probably thinking “bet she’s getting paid to boost her shire.” My response to that is “I’m not getting paid a single cent. If the opportunity one day pops up to make some sort of income – great.

I refuse to run affiliate marketing for something that doesn’t exist in our shire. I’m here, doing this, using my time that could be used playing with my boys, but – I WANT TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE!

FOR THE GREATER GOOD!!!

Aquo Xx


How sugar cane grows and how much fun growing up on a cane farm is…

Video by Farming Media – YouTube

In our house – our big boy when he turned one would carry on until we turned harvesting videos on and he would sit on one of his tractors or his harvester and would not move! Probably the reason why he drove nonno’s harvester last season. Dad was playing around with his GPS – next minute the harvester started moving. It was hilarious! Our German Au Pairs were amazed how he could tell them exactly what was happening and what everything is.

Sugarcane has been my life – since the day I popped out. Essentially sugar cane is the main industry that fuels our town. I’ve recently been researching the production process and things like that… I’ve got an idea, but I can’t explain it – so I teach myself, the internet is the most powerful tool in the world you just need to know what you’re looking for.

sugarcane is a tall tropical perennial grass that grows to between 2-4m high. It’s used to make heaps of different processed foods, drinks and things like molasses and golden syrup. The biofuel ethanol can also be produced from sugarcane which can be used as a fuel for vehicles in its pure form but is usually blended with gasoline to improve vehicle emissions.

Sugar cane has heaps of nicknames like sugar bush, sticks, there are so many different things we call it. Sugar cane needs 1.5 m of rainfall each year if not more or access to irrigation to survive. Sugar is made in the leaves of the sugarcane plant through a natural process called photosynthesis. Photosynthesis occurs when a plant, using energy from the sun, transforms carbon dioxide (CO2) and water (H20) into oxygen (02) and glucose (sugar).

The plant absorbs water through its roots and oxygen from the air through the pores in its leaves. Sugar is created when this process is combined with the help of a substance called chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is green and gives plants their colour. It allows plants to absorb the sun’s energy more readily. In the same way that animals store fat, the sugarcane plant stores energy that is doesn’t need. This extra energy is sugar and it is stored as sweet juice in the plants’ stalks.

When ripe, sugarcane stalks are harvested (the fun part!) and taken to a sugar mill and converted into raw sugar. In the Herbert River district we have two sugar mills – Victoria and Macknade Mill. Victoria mill produced 3330 million tonnes of sugar in 2007 being the mill that produced the largest amount of sugar in Queensland.

In Australia, sugarcane can be seen growing along 2,100 kilometers of coastline between Mossman in far north Queensland and Grafton in northern New South Wales. Because of their proximity, many cane growing families spend their weekends outdoors riding motor bikes/quads and fishing. Cane growers go out of their way to manage the land so it is still in excellent condition for their children and grandchildren to enjoy for many generations to come.

I miss the days were we would burn cane in the Herbert. Black snow (ash) everywhere! I still remember the smell… I wouldn’t let mum wash my shirt for a week after it… #Farm kid. There is nothing better than growing up on a farm! I remember finishing my homework so quick so I could go mowing, ride the quad bikes/motorbikes or go and chat to dad in the shed. I remember my old headland bomb – cheers uncle Micky! My cousins and siblings helped me paint it – I strolled off to the shed – noone there, it’s all good, a drum of John Deere green paint, i’ll take that! We painted it with rollers and ended up banging it up pretty bad.

I can’t remember if I got away with murder or I just didn’t listen… You know – a regular teenager! I made friends with the kids that lived out my way and we used to run amuck. I remember one had a go kart OMG – so. much. FUN. Dad still has the same quad that we have had since 1997 – It’s never been rebuilt and it still has the original tires. I don’t know how it’s still alive – we flogged that thing… Good ole Honda.

Here are some of my favourite photos:-

My nonno (Jack Aquilini) back in the day with a python he killed – Photo by Beattie Aquilini
My nonno – Photo by Beattie Aquilini
My Nonno & Dad down in the Burdekin – Photo by Beattie Aquilini
Dad & Douggie – Photo by Beattie Aquilini
Cane fire south of Ingham – Photo by Beattie Aquilini
When the Maxis first came on the scene – Photo by Beattie Aquilini
When the Maxihauls were new and dad still had the ’97’ Cameco ‘Pac man 2’ – Photo by Beattie Aquilini
The transporter ‘Fat Boy’ in action – Photo by Beattie Aquilini
One of the days I went hauling back in 2012 – Photo by Amy Aquilini
Dad ‘Big Al’ – Photo by Amy Aquilini
During my recovery, this is where I loved to be – with my daddy! – Photo by Amy Aquilini
Sunrise at our farm – Photo by Amy Aquilini
My sister-in-law Katy Irvin and I at the field day – Photo by Allen Aquilini
John, Andrew & Jack and Allen & Amy Aquilini, Irvin – Photo by Amy Aquilini
The day my boy drove the harvester – Photo by Amy Aquilini
Our wedding day – Photo by Rachelle Angela
It’s in our blood – Photo by Andrew Irvin
My big boy and I – Photo by Amy Aquilini

Aquo Xx