Maraka Festiveal…

This year marked 60 years of the Maraka Festival in Ingham at the Rotary Park in the Hinchinbrook Shire so I thought I would take my boys down to the end of the street to watch the procession. They were both so well behaved which made it easier and Jack made some new friends – he’s usually alone dinosaur.

The procession was awesome! some awesome tunes played – I can’t wait till my boys are old enough to go on their school float! I don’t understand the random cruisers and patrols in the procession though? I get all the hotted up cars but if there’s utes in the procession don’t they have the Maraka queens and princesses on them?

I didn’t get one photo! ME who takes a million just to make sure there there for all of maybe half hour! BUT we had to go play on the swings on the way out, which we can do all the time haha.

So I was hoping this was going to be a write up on the event that would cop a million hits… But that’s just not the case sorry peeps!

It’s 8.00pm now and I’m sitting on my veranda listening to the festival and watching the fireworks. I’m contemplating walking back and getting ravs (My favouritist food in the world ever) and like a dozen canoli (like my second favouritist food in the world ever), but I’m sitting here thinking both my boys are FINALLY asleep and I’m not going anywhere!

So I made a tea… more like a rum and coke… Watched the fireworks and listened to the tunes pumping and went to bed. There’s always next year, and I promise if I’m able to there will be 20 million photos and a pretty smashing write up to boost our shire!

Aquo Xx

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My hometown – Ingham…

I’ve decided to change the direction I’ve been writing lately to a subject I am extremly passionate about – my hometown – Ingham. The small town (that is rapidly growing) is situated approximately 110 kilometres north of Townsville and 1,437 kilometres north of the state capital, Brisbane. The town is positioned about 17 km inland within the Herbert River floodplain where Palm Creek drains the low-lying lands. The North Coast railway line passes through the town, which is served by the Ingham railway station. The Bruce Highway also passes through the town.

So there’s a bit of a geography lesson for you… haha I actually learn’t something at school – sorry that I gave you guys a hard time (teachers).

Ok – moving on… Ingham has been my hometown my whole life… Well – except for when I left school and hated everything… You know – that rebellious phase most of us go through, well… some of us. The suborn, hard-headed, independent little shits seem to be the ones who go far – look around. There’s no need to bring up anyone’s past, BUT, we all have a past. Ingham is the sort of town where some people forget their past and are possibly the most judgmental people you will find.

Ingham is the sort of place where there is more positives than negatives. Look at the support the town gave my family and I at the time of my accident, and still 6 years later they will lend a helping hand when need be. The 4 kids that live next door to me have become part of our family. My boys just love them – to the point my two year old yells out talking to them through his bedroom window – everyday… People need to change their perspective on the world. I would love for my boys to grow up here, to continue to build the empire their father and I are trying to build. What’s here in Ingham at the moment is unacceptable!

I’m not leaving the town the way it currently is – I want better for my boys. The best way to be in life to get what you want is to get out there and work bloody hard for it! That’s what I’m doing… Me – who suffers 24/7 chronic pain. I don’t want your pity… I want you to join forces with me to turn this town around! I love being busy! Being busy means I’m not focusing on the pain.

Optimism is a happiness magnet. If you stay positive, good things and good people will be drawn to you. – Mary Lou Retton

Aquo Xx

Calling the citizens of the Hinchinbrook Shire!

How about a coffee and a bit of conversation! – who would say no to a free coffee right? I’m currently writing about Ingham but I would love to make it more personal. I would love to hear your stories about the Hinchinbrook district’s history!

Contact me via Facebook or WordPress and we will make a time to sit down for a chat!

Who wouldn’t love this place!

If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you probably know what I’m all about by now. Help me to build a platform that surrounds the Hinchinbrook Shire with a bubble of positivity and make our whole community flourish again.

Once people realize that changing the world is difficult, they begin to give up on those dreams they had. They let those dreams wash away and replace them with “realistic” goals that other people give them. Maybe you’ve even experienced this yourself. Let’s start today with a pledge to move past “knowing” and into doing. Because knowing may be cool, but it’s doing that will change the world.

I no longer ‘feel’ that those around me see me as “Amy Aquilini – The quad bike accident survivor.” I am now Amy Irvin, Aquo – Nice to meet you! I have been through the hard yards to be at where I am in life today, so now my next mission is to take on the world. The people that know me know that I can’t keep still!

“Maybe I can’t change the world, but I can affect the people around me; and if they in turn do the same, and affect those around them, then together we can change the world.” —Aaron Sheppard

It’s no longer about us – it’s about our kids! Let’s change the world for the better!

Aquo Xx

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

My scenery snaps over the years…

Something many people take for granted is how beautiful their hometown is until something serious happens. Take me for example – I just lived in the Hinchinbrook Shire fishing, camping and riding – living subconsciously – kind of like I was on autopilot. I never really considered how beautiful this area, The Hinchinbrook Shire was until the inevitable happened.

I say inevitable because before the 14th September 2013 came around, I lived life in the fast lane. A fast-paced, full of life, don’t care what anyone thinks of me but kind of cares what people think about me, loved Bundaberg Rum, loved to party, loud 21 year old female. P.S – I still love my bundy rum!

I had four near misses before my accident, the most serious being coathangering myself on an electric fence in the dark – I’m super lucky that the big fella upstairs had bigger and better things for me in life. Luckily it wasn’t turned on and must of been old because it snapped as I rode through it. I did fracture my wrist though, my mate at the time took me up to ED, it hurt so bad!

It wasn’t until I had my second child 6 years down the track that my mother said “There comes a time in life when you need to stop requiring validation from others and simply live your best life.” Ever since then I’ve started drinking, eating, living consciously, and it has changed my life for the better.

I went back on all my old photos and decided I would post unedited scenery snaps that I have taken over the years in the Ingham district. I would love for you to share one of your scenery snaps that were taken in the Hinchinbrook Shire!

My friend and his boat down Taylors Beach – Boxing Day ’07’
Bronte Beach
Bronte Beach
Gentle Annie
Broadwater Lookout
A farm up Stone River
Whale season – Gentle Annie ’13’
Early morning down the main headland on the Aquilini farm
Driving home from Forrest Beach
Gentle Annie
Gentle Annie
Gentle Annie
Bronte Beach
Bronte Beach
Bronte Beach
Beautiful sky down Kirkwoods Rd, Blackrock
Clement State Forest Beach
Mr Perserval (Storm Boy) down Lucinda Beach
Early mornings on the farm are the best!
Angry Skies are so pretty!
Beautiful night down Taylors Beach…
How nice is a fire on a cool night? so mesmerising…
Whale season down Lucinda…
Maxi’s at sunrise out Bamberoo…
There’s nothing better than the old school cane fires in the Herbert…
Pretty Sky down Bronte Beach…
Chillin in the harvester with dad…
I love sunrises that are this gorgeous!
When you need a change of scenery to write something great! Forrest Beach…
Sunrise Townsville Rd South…
Angry skies in the Hinchinbrook Shire…
My ‘Renee Vine’ looks amazing when it flowers!
Sunrise down Taylors Beach…
Sunrises down Taylors Beach…
Sunrises from Clay Street, Ingham…
A lovely day down Bronte Beach…

Aquo Xx

My favourite place in the world – Bronte Beach…

Bronte Beach became my stomping ground when I was about 13 years old when we would tell dad we were going for a ride, and ‘of course we were just riding around the farm.’ – We would tell him with our fingers crossed behind our backs. In all seriousness, we were lucky nothing serious ever happened while we were down there back then.

My best friend’s family had a hut close to main beach so we would always be down there, even if it was just for a day trip. Over the years, I have been down pretty much every track leading down there through Blackrock farms, there are millions!

The last photo of me down Bronte before my accident…

Fast forward five years and I would go down every weekend, even if it was just for a ride. I love that place! Pack up the quad, make sure you have more beers than food and meet us at the gates. If it rained heavily throughout the night you would have no chance in getting down there, it was a bit of a challenge even for bikes. I didn’t say impossible, I said a bit of a challenge. haha challenge accepted!

My now husband knew how much I love Bronte, so for our first Valentine’s Day together, he took me down at sunrise. Before kids I so was not a morning person, in fact, it was probably best not to converse with me until I had my morning coffee. There is two, only two things in this world I would be awake before the sun rose for, sugar cane harvesting and Bronte.

What an amazing place!

I would have been married down on the beach front if it wasn’t such a challenge to get down there. Actually, if it was possible to marry places, I’d marry Bronte!

I have so many awesome memories down there, many involving something completely stupid we could have killed ourselves doing – like swimming at the mouth between Cassidy Beach (smacks self in the head).

I feel sorry for kids these days, they will never experience half of what we used to. One being going camping down the hut! Some of the laws that have come into play lately make me so mad, but I’m sure that will one day be another story, and I’ll try not to make it sound like too much of a downer.

Humans have five senses – touch, sight, hearing, smell and taste. There is nothing better in this world than waking up to the sound of the ocean crashing against the beach; Nothing better in this world than the SMELL of the ocean in the morning; Nothing better in this world than FEELING the breeze against your skin first thing in the morning; Nothing better than SEEING the sun rise as you look out onto the beach and NOTHING better than all of that entwined with the TASTE of your first cup of coffee in the morning.

Not a very clear photo, but this was my life – brews and bikes with the blokes – I was the biggest tomboy ever!

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