Our Blog

Liliana De Sabbata

Liliana De Sabbata is a Mother, Grandmother and Lover. Her default setting is positivity and peacefulness. She lives surrounded by bush with her loving partner. Their family is mixed and blended, a true melting pot of cultures and vibrant personalities.

She has spent most of her life living in rural Far North Queensland, surrounded by the abundance and beauty of wildlife.

While she has no formal qualifications or professional career expertise, working in the retail/customer service industry most of her adult life has provided the opportunity to work with, meet and serve a variety of people from all walks of life.

Poetry was never Liliana’s passion, but something “gifted” to her after making a major lifestyle change. Blessings come in unusual ways, sometimes painfully, but if we do the work required then we reap the rewards.

She enjoys the peace and quiet of Mother Nature. Bushwalks, camping and travel have broadened her view on the world and life in general. She loves to garden, read, crochet and tend to her chickens.


Adam Reddicliffe

Adam Reddicliffe is an author and illustrator living in Cairns, Australia. This is Adam’s first published book. His ambition is to adapt his book into an ABC TV Series. Adam also enjoys his café job, playing Nintendo games and reading books in his spare time.


Jason Belgrave

Jason Belgrave was a member of the Australian Army from 1989 to 2014 and spent 12 years in the Royal Australian Armoured Corps on the Leopard AS1 and Armoured Command Vehicles, followed by another 12 years in the Royal Australian Army Ordnance Corps in the Repair Parts Store.

Jason also served overseas as part of Operation Catalyst in Baghdad in 2007 as part of the Force Level Logistics Asset Baghdad.

Jason has worked at the Australian Armour and Artillery Museum in Cairns since 2014. He can describe his job as a hobby as he is given the privilege of being able to drive all the running vehicles in the museum.


Dr. Neil S I Gordon

Dr Neil Gordon is a practising Urologist in Cairns, Australia. He trained in Urology in Scotland, Adelaide and Melbourne. Dr Gordon is a pioneer in Urology in Australia, especially with regard to carrying out advanced Urology procedures in a regional city. Dr Gordon has published widely in leading medical journals in his field. His book, “Common Sense Urology” (Cairns: Bydand-Steadfast Publications, 2007), came about as a result of many queries from junior doctors, nurses and medical students about the patients in their care, and covers the processes of history-taking, examination, investigation and management of common Urological conditions. This enables the readers to develop an understanding of the subject and confidence in the care of their patients.


Nouk Sanchez

Born in Australia, Nouk originally worked in the cosmetics industry and developed a method for “self-esteeming” cosmetic application. Having blazed a path in this field, Nouk retired from the cosmetic industry, moved to New Mexico in the United States and dedicated herself to pursuing and teaching about ego-release. In 1990, after being introduced to “A Course in Miracles”, Nouk embarked upon a spiritual journey. Her personal experiences led her to develop a simple method for removing the obstacles to love in our lives. This resulted in the publication, with her co-author, Tomas Vieira, of a book entitled “Take Me to Truth: Undoing the Ego” (Washington: O Books, 2007).

For more information about the book and to obtain a copy, please click here.


Henry Gobus

Henry Gobus is a psychologist working in Cairns, Queensland, Australia. He was born in the former Dutch New Guinea and lived in South America and Holland before emigrating to Australia. After a career in both the Dutch and Queensland police services, Henry became a mature age university student, gaining a BPsych and a Postgraduate Diploma in Psychology. His interest in psychology led him to contemplate the evolution of human intelligence and thence evolution in general.

The result was a ground-breaking book, “Human Ascent”, on the evolution of emotional capacity, published in 2009. In 2014 Henry published a self-help book, based on the evolutionary model contained in “Human Ascent”. The book, “It’s Always the Love”, is available as an e-book.

To find out more about Henry’s books and obtain copies, please click here.


Helena Webb

Helena Webb grew up on the shores of Lake Illawarra near Dapto, New South Wales, Australia, spending most of her early years in Kanahooka Road, Dapto. She experienced the Depression years when her father was in and out of work for a long time, as well as World War II when her elder brother, Bobby, served in the Australian Navy.

Helena published her first book, “Kanahooka Memories”, at the age of 85. Her excellent memory enabled her to write a fascinating account of the first seventeen years of her life and provide a first-hand glimpse of everyday Australian life during the years between 1926 and 1944.

Helena now lives in Kiama, New South Wales. She has six children and a large number of grandchildren and great-grandchildren.


Gabriele Phillis

Gabriele Phillis grew up in Cologne, Germany, and now resides in Townsville, Australia with her husband and Afghan hound. Gabriele’s first book, “To Catch a Butterfly You Need a Net” (Durham: Strategic Book Group, 2011) is a thriller set in Australia and Germany.

Gabriele has also published a series of children’s books, based on the adventures of a canine character called Rosco. Many of the books are also illustrated by Gabriele. Titles include “Rosco Undercover”, “Rosco to the Rescue” and “Rosco on Safari”.


David Hollands Curran

Adaptation to change has been David’s primary survival technique. He attended eleven schools, lived in over sixty-five residences, and had five main employers, ten occupational titles and over twenty work locations. David has travelled pretty much all over Australia. He had with him his total possessions on two epic journeys, and fate could have made every stop a destination. David has had over twenty best friends as his life has taken him to repeated brand-new chapters. These experiences have helped create more skills, develop insight into personal relationships, understand the pulse of what defines being Australian, and identify more about his life purpose.

Experiencing Uluru with his Mother, flying from Cairns to Thursday Island in the single-engine mail plane, flying with his helicopter pilot brother over Sydney Harbour Bridge and surviving three near-death experiences have been life-changing and defining events.

All this in a relatively short life-span has fuelled thought and introspection and created a mind which is always active. There is much more creativity in David seeking an outlet. The first instalment is his book, “Ever Essence”, which is available from Amazon.


Chris Shaw

After he retired from his fifty-year-long career as a pharmacist on three continents, Chris Shaw embarked on another career as a writer. Was it because his wife, Rebecca, is a librarian and their home is filled with books? Or was it because Chris’s creative talent had been suppressed all those years, and the stories just came bursting out when he had the time? In any case, the results are fascinating.

Chris published one book of short stories written during his travels overseas, entitled “Stories to Shorten Your Travel Time”. His second book, “Hey, Guys! Here’s How to get More ‘Nooky’!”, was published in 2011. It is sure to make some waves as Chris generously shares his knowledge in an attempt to help men get the most out of the relationships with their wives, girlfriends and lovers (or all three together in the one person!).

Chris’s recent books include “Warspite” (2012), “My New Country” (2013) and “Never Let the Truth” (2014).


Noela McNamara

Noela McNamara began writing poetry and stories while she was a teenager living on the farming outskirts of Brisbane. She studied literature as a mature-age student, gained several degrees and certificates, and tutored at James Cook University Cairns in English and Indigenous Australian Studies. Now both retired, Noela and her husband share time with their children and twelve grandchildren in Cairns, the Sunshine Coast and Canada. A large family with accompanying laughter and tears, as well as umpteen notebooks of “scribblings” squirrelled away over many decades, inspire her lively imagination to continue to create poems and stories.


Kiri Newton

I came to earth angrily, the product of an odd marriage. My parents were allegedly too old for this caper, my mother 42 and my father 60. I quickly grew into a mouthy, opinionated child, thirteen going on thirty, a bit of a loner and yet oddly extraverted at the same time. Not much has changed, really.

At a very young age I developed a love of books and reading. By the time I reached senior school, I read everything I could get my hands on, in every possible genre and by a galaxy of different authors. It wasn’t until JK Rowling and the Harry Potter phenomenon that I considered writing myself. I began to write, sharing my stories with my friends. I wrote about talking cats and other nonsense, but they loved what I wrote. My school teachers, though, were not amused, often finding random chapters of my stories scribbled in school books instead of my overdue homework.

Today I write fantasy, with “Undertow” being my first book published. Although my genre is fantasy-fiction, I don’t see it as fantasy because I believe every word I write.

“Find something you like, be passionate about it and make it your life. If you enjoy what you do, you will be good at it,” was the advice my father left me with. My ultimate dream is to be a professional writer, sharing my kooky stories with the world.

Undertow has been published globally through Bookpal and is available from Amazon.

For Kiri Newton’s website click here.


Antonietta Allotta

Antonietta Allotta was born on the Island of Sardinia in 1937. Along with her family, Antonietta suffered great deprivation during the war years, with the family later moving to Milan. She married her first husband and moved to Australia. Her first husband died, and she remarried in Australia. She now lives in Nowra, New South Wales, Australia.

Now in her seventies, Antonietta has decided to share with others the profound spiritual events she has experienced ever since she was a child. She has written two books about her spiritual experiences: “Communion with Heaven” (2013) and “Communion with Heaven, Book 2” (2014), both published by Jabiru Publishing.


Sharon Wilson

Sharon Wilson is the driving force behind Emerald Creek Ice-Creamery, one of North Queensland’s most highly respected food manufacturers. When she is not making world-class ice-cream, sorbet and fresh fudge, Sharon indulges her other passion – writing. Sharon’s love is children’s picture books, and she has teamed up with qualified teacher and graphics artist, Tracey Beikoff, to create the “Walter Bear” series of books.

Their first book, “Don’t Chew Gum and Don’t Lie to Mum”, is available from www.WalterBear.com.


Wayne Ellis

Wayne Ellis grew up in Victoria before travelling around Australia and finally settling in Cairns, North Queensland. He currently manages a warehouse for a local power company. His love of writing began at school and has continued until today.

Over the years he has written numerous short stories and four novellas in “The Transformation Chronicles”. The two most recent novellas are “The Will of the Three” and “Beyond the Great Juncture”. His books are published as e-books by Obooko. His favourite writing genre is Science Fiction Fantasy.


Kasthurie Govender

Kasthurie Govender was born in Durban, South Africa and raised in Lenasia, Johannesburg, where she completed her schooling education. At the age of nineteen she moved back to Durban to continue tertiary education. In that year, she married and later had two children who brought joy and laughter to her life.

Kasthurie was motivated to write her first book, “Little Rosy Lost Her Way”, out of a desire for all children to hold onto their innocence and purity. Her delightful children’s book was published first by Xlibris and later by Jabiru Publishing in 2014.


Rob Ryan

Rob Ryan was born and grew up in Kenya. After completing secondary schooling in Kenya, he studied Geology at Oxford University. In 1955 he left England to start his first job – in Australia. Here he worked in remote regions of Western Australia and the Northern Territory. His work has since taken him to many parts of the world looking for mineral deposits.

Rob’s second book, “Beats Working for a Living”, was published by Jabiru Publishing in 2014. It tells of his early years in Kenya, his educational years in England, and amusing experiences while coming to terms with living in Australia in the 1950s.


Hazel Menehira

Born in London and educated in Letchworth, Hertfordshire, Hazel Menehira became a New Zealand citizen after emigrating to the North Island in 1956. An Associate, Licentiate and Fellow of Trinity College, London, Hazel is an internationally recognised speech and drama teacher, examiner and adjudicator.

A Life Member of the Wanganui Branch of the Theosophical Society New Zealand, Hazel’s background includes fifty years in journalism and writing of educational text books, short stories, reviews and poetry, as well as a thirty-year career in professional theatre. She founded the Wanganui Rainbow Theatre for Youth and directed it for ten years. Hazel is a book reviewer for the Media/Culture webpage of Queensland University.

Living on one of the tropical northern beaches of Cairns, Hazel continues to be a mentor for new and aspiring writers and a workshop tutor. She has forty direct descendants, twenty of whom are her great-grandchildren.

Hazel has published 16 books, including “Nothing as Posh as a Memoir”, which she published to celebrate her 80th birthday. Her most recent publications are the companion books, “Beyond a Time” and “Below a Time”.


Andrew Matthews

Andrew Matthews, author and cartoonist, has published numerous self-help books over many decades. These include the million-dollar best-seller, “Being Happy”, the second edition of which will be released in 2015. Andrew’s books have had great success, both internationally and in Australia. Andrew is also a very popular presenter at seminars and conferences, having addressed over a thousand international corporations on five continents. He lives in Cairns, Australia.

Andrew’s other books include “Happiness Now”, “Being a Happy Teen”, “Follow Your Heart”, “Happiness in a Nutshell” and “Happiness in Hard Times”. His books have helped countless people throughout the world to improve their lives. Andrew’s books are published by Seashell Publishers and available from their website.


Susan Alley

Susan Alley was born in Gordonvale, Far North Queensland, but grew up and was educated in Babinda, which is just half an hour south of Gordonvale. As she wanted to broaden her horizons, Susan moved to Sydney, to London, and then back to Australia to the northern rivers area in New South Wales, finally returning to Babinda where she now lives. She has written two other family history books: “Battle of the Bar” about her great-grandfather, Lachlan McKinnon; and “Flamin’ Donny!”, a book about her childhood on a sugar cane farm and her tormenting brother, Don, who was named after his uncle, Don Mitchell. Susan is already planning her next book.

Susan’s latest book, “Cheerio, Don”, will be published early in 2015.


James Farrell

James Farrell has worked as an educationalist, first in primary teaching in Perth, Australia, followed by teacher training in Papua New Guinea, studying in the United States and lecturing at the Brisbane College of Advanced Education (now part of Griffith University). Following his “retirement” in 1989, his employers were the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, UNESCO and the German and Australian governments.

James has worked in 33 different countries, providing a wide range of consultancy contexts: from the ease of Swaziland to the discomfort of Albania; and from the placidity of post-Amin Uganda to the risks of the Northwest Frontier of Pakistan.

His next book, based on his extensive travel and work experiences, has the intriguing title of “Headmaster Not Eaten”. The book will be published early in 2015.


Robert Reid

Robert Reid is an award-winning investigative journalist and author who has reported news from North Queensland for more than three decades. He has published a wide range of articles and stories in newspapers and magazines, both nationally and overseas. Beginning his career as a fiction writer, Robert has published short stories in several Australian magazines and an anthology of Queensland authors.

Robert’s other books include “Third Party to Murder”, “Third Party to Murder: The Sequel”, “Under a Dark Moon: True Murders and Mysteries from North Queensland”, “Croc! Savage Tales from Australia’s Wild Frontier” and “Shark! Killer Tales from the Dangerous Depths”. Robert’s writings have appeared in the true crime anthologies, “Justice in the Deep North” and “Crime on My Mind”. His story, “Tiger by the Tail”, about marine scientist and shark expert, Richard Fitzpatrick, was selected for inclusion in “The Best Australian Science Writing for 2011”.

Robert’s next book, to be published in 2015 by Blue Heeler Books, is “Legends of Australia’s Wild North”. The book will be available from their website


Gisela McIntyre

Born in Germany, Gisela McIntyre has had an amazing life, living in three continents and having many exciting adventures along the way. These included living in Germany after World War II, at a time of hazardous journeys across the border between East and West Germany.

Gisela married an Australian and settled in Australia. She now lives in Queensland.

Gisela McIntyre’s books include “Fleeting Moments”, published by Xlibris in 2015, and “So Many Stories to Tell”, self-published in 2010.


Helene McCarthy

Helene McCarthy has two university degrees, after beginning her studies at the age of 48 years. As an Army wife for many years, Helene lived with her husband and family in Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand, as well as in all the eastern states of Australia. She and her husband have travelled to many places in Australia, giving Helene the opportunity to take thousands of photographs. She has been a swimming instructor and a remedial tutor. She has published two books: “Voices of Dementia Carers” (Jabiru Publishing 2015 ); and “A Quiet Hero”. Helene has four children and eleven grandchildren, and now lives in Cairns, north Queensland.


Jennifer Coffison

Jennifer Coffison was born in Queensland, Australia in the 1950s. She began writing poetry as a young girl and soon realised that her love of the humble word inspired her to travel the long journey into publishing her work. Her early years were full of writing, marriage, raising children and working, in common with many of us in this full and amazing life. Poetry is her forte, with each book capturing her truth spoken in ink.

Jennifer’s previously published works include two poetry collections, No Indication of Splinters and As if I Were Here, both published by Jabiru Publishing. On Elephants and Cotton Wool is Jennifer’s third book of poetry, once again proving her love of the humble word.



Noel Humphreys

Noel Humphreys was born in 1947, the third of four children. As his parents led a nomadic lifestyle, Noel was educated in several New South Wales schools.

Noel worked a few years for the New South Wales State Rail Authority before following his eldest brother’s lead and enlisting in the Army. His twenty-year career included two tours of Viet Nam during the conflict in that country. The first tour was shared with both of his brothers.

He married when he was nineteen years old, and he and his wife, Heather, had two daughters and adopted a son. They are still happily married, and in 2016 will celebrate their Golden Wedding Anniversary. Noel and Heather now live in Caboolture, Queensland.

“This Homeland of Mine” is Noel’s first book, to be published by Jabiru Publishing, Cairns, Australia in 2015.


Stephen Chong

Stephen Chong M.Ed. is a highly sought-after personal development coach, keynote speaker and author. Over the past twenty-five years he has provided guidance and motiv-ation to countless people by means of his inspirational messages and his ability to bring out the best in people. Stephen is a very gifted “story-teller”. His wise observations of modern work and personal life will provide you with in-sights into how to realise your highest potential through a rich and fulfilling life.

Stephen’s 4th book, “The Power and the Possible”, has been published by Jabiru Publishing.


Jenny Lawton

Jenny Lawton was born in Home Hill in North Queensland. She later moved with her family to central New South Wales, and later to Sydney. After finishing school at Sydney Girls’ High School, she completed a course in Primary School Teaching and began her lifelong career as a teacher. She met Doug Lawton, a high school Industrial Arts teacher, while she was still at Teachers’ College, and they subsequently married.

As teachers, they enjoyed the same holidays as their sons. Camping was a favourite holiday, with one of Doug’s demonstration boats which he made at the same time as students at school.

Jenny and Doug spent seven years cruising the South Pacific. They were able to make their cruising dream a reality by careful planning and determination. Their sailing adventures wildly surpassed their expectations. Their only troubles came with Doug’s eventual illness, but he had fulfilled his dream, for which Jenny was ever thankful. Jenny still lives in Cairns.

Jenny’s first book, “The Cruising Dream”, has been published by Jabiru Publishing.


Brenda Pearson

Brenda Pearson is from Yarrabah and Hopevale, in Tropical North Queensland, Australia. She now lives in Cairns. Brenda has a great interest in observing the natural environment. She wants to help conserve the beautiful wildlife found in this part of Australia.

In 1996, Brenda went on a journey, recording what she saw, drawing and painting pictures, and writing stories about her travels and about the environment and the wildlife she saw. “Travel to the Bushland” is the story of her travels. Brenda uses her creativity to produce stunning designs in her artwork, inspired by the countryside and wildlife that she loves.

Her desire is that her book will be a learning tool for all ages, so that people can read Aboriginal cultural stories.

Brenda’s book was published by Jabiru Publishing.


Robin Swift

Robin Swift was born in Nairobi and spent his early life in Kenya working on coffee and sisal plantations. Later he worked in agricultural and earthmoving machinery sales in Zambia, Rhodesia and Botswana before migrating to Australia with his wife and daughters in 2004.

He sourced the material for this book from his diaries and numerous photograph albums. Other valuable sources included his father’s war-time letters and the writings of his great-uncle, Randall Swift.

After arriving in Australia, Robin found employment in the plumbing section of Bunnings Warehouse in Brisbane, Queensland. After six years he reluctantly gave up this job, as his arthritic knees complained far too much.

Lost for something to do, Robin decided to write his autobiography which he called “A Kenya Beginning”. This book was published by Jabiru Publishing and is available from the website, www.jabirupublishing.com.au, “Book Store”, “Memoirs”.


Lenka Wagner

Lenka Wagner lives with her family in Cairns, Queensland. She grew up in a small European country town and moved to Australia in her early twenties, initially settling in Canberra. She has a background in financial planning and funds management compliance, but it was the creative side of these jobs, such as writing financial plans and business reports, that she enjoyed most. From her early years she has been a passionate reader, writer and illustrator, and now she would like to pass the love of books and reading to others, especially children.

Lenka’s first book, “Tommy Learns a Lesson”, was published by Jabiru Publishing in 2017.


Clive Richmond

By the time Clive Richmond was eleven years old, he had lived in nine different houses and attended eight different schools, in three different countries. Perhaps he was already a gypsy? If not, he certainly became one, as did his wife, Mandy. Clive grew up in Carnarvon in Western Australia where he became a qualified mechanic and welder. Here he met Mandy, who was already wandering. Together, they tossed a coin and took to the road. Some normal things followed: marriage, children, working hard and keeping the dream alive, like most of us do. However, “normal” doesn’t really equate to the way they have lived their lives. They have spent most of their lives on the road, travelling around Australia, living for the most part in remote areas and working on cattle stations. Clive’s book, “Southern Cross Gypsies”, is an inspiring and interesting book, full of freedom, dreams and throwing your hat in the ring. Clive is a singer/song writer, poet and now an author. He has a great love of the Australian bush and believes Australia to be the greatest country in the world.

Clive’s book, “Southern Cross Gypsies”, was published by Jabiru Publishing in 2017.


Denise Petersen

Denise Petersen (McCallum) was born in Jamestown in 1949, and lived in Caltowie, a small town near the grain belt of South Australia.

She now lives in Cairns with her husband and adult children. She still works happily at the Cairns Hospital.

As a child in the 1950s Denise was asked many times, “What would you like to be when you grow up?” Aunty Mavis, her mother’s sister, was a much-travelled nurse, who would chat extensively about her great adventures travelling overseas and her many stories of nursing experiences. Denise always answered she wanted to be “a nurse like Aunty Mavis”.

The family moved to Port Augusta. After a difficult time in school due to her dyslexia, Denise commenced nursing training at the Port Augusta General Hospital in 1966. This began her journey with nursing, from the fun days of training, where the nursing students learned compassion and camaraderie, to the hard work of a nurse’s life. This led to Midwifery training, remote nursing out on the Nullarbor Plains of Australia, and to patrol work and home deliveries in Papua New Guinea.

Denise Petersen’s book will be published in Cairns, Australia, by Jabiru Publishing in December 2017.


Amanda Wiltshire

Amanda was born in Melbourne and at a young age her family moved to Mission Beach, living a beach and island lifestyle. Amanda’s family life was centred around her mother’s painting and art gallery which was part of the family home. Amanda moved away to study Law at University and raised a family before continuing her career in Law. After the death of her mother, choosing to change career paths and a divorce all taking place within a couple of years Amanda is now very happily living back in Mission Beach.

Amanda has written and illustrated a self-help motivational book, “Fly”, published by Jabiru Publishing (www.jabirupublishing.com.au). This book is available from the Jabiru Publishing Book Store.

A children’s book, “Nanny Teapot and the Lost Golden Crown”, is in the process of being published by Jabiru Publishing.

Amanda has found a way to live simply and happily and through her writing can share this gift with others.


Celia Berrell

A regular contributor of verse to the Commonwealth Scientific Industrial and Research Organisation (CSIRO) children’s science magazine, Double Helix, and Australian Children’s Poetry, Celia Berrell artfully combines science and rhyme. The poems from The Science Rhymes Book have been shared around the world, through school textbooks (in Australia, Canada, Ireland, India and Malaysia) and via the Science Rhymes website (www.sciencerhymes.com.au).

Born in Cambridge, England, Celia spent her school days in Yorkshire, later gaining a Certificate in Education from University of Oxford Delegacy for Educational Studies.  After four years as a Mathematics and Science teacher, she left cloudy England to sky-dive in the sunshine. Arriving in Australia on a work visa in 1978, she later became an Australian citizen and considers life in Queensland as the perfect working holiday!

Childhood poetry icons include AA Milne, the author of Winnie-the-Pooh, and Edward Lear, the author of The Jumblies.  She created her first poem, The Moon, at the age of four and has used poetry as a way of capturing snapshots of her world ever since. In 2008 she started combining snippets of science with poems as an educational resource. By 2010, with help from her alter ego, The Alien Queen of Science Poetry, she was encouraging young writers to create their own poems about science, for publication on the Science Rhymes website.


Mario Calanna

Mario was born in Cairns and grew up on his father’s cane farm. When Mario decided to pursue his aunt’s profession as a pharmacist, his parents began to sub-divide the farm. Mario graduated in 1970. In 1975, the Calanna Medical Centre was built on the land where the family farm house had stood for over fifty years. The Calanna Pharmacy Woree was opened in 1976.

The Calanna Pharmacy Group, known as Calanna Whole Health Pharmacies, has expanded to eleven sites, all with a mission to provide pharmaceutical and complementary products, support and advice to each customer. Mario has built his business and his reputation by focusing on helping and guiding people so that they can improve their health, their lifestyle and their mindset.

Mario has been heavily involved in community service clubs since 1971 and been President of Jaycees, Rotaract and Rotary.In 1989 he won the Jaycees National Oratory Geoff M King Contest. In 2004 he was named Cairns Regional Council’s Volunteer of the Year. In 2006 he was the Queensland Australian Institute of Management’s Owner–Manager of the Year. In 2017 Mario was the inaugural Legacy Winner of the Cairns Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Awards. He has served in Board positions for Anglicare North Queensland, the Pharmacy Guild of Australia Queensland Branch, the Australian Institute of Management, the Cairns Hinterland Hospital Health Board and the Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation. Mario is currently a Fellow of the Australian College of Pharmacy, a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management, and a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Mario is married to Linda, and they have a son, a daughter, and a grand-daughter. They all live in Cairns.

Mario’s memoir, “Design a Goof Life: From Farm to Farmacia to Whole Health”, was published by Jabiru Publishing.


Graham Burridge

Graham Burridge, aka “Buzzy”, was born in the United Kingdom and migrated with his family to Australia in 1968. He did terribly at school, excelled at athletics, joined the Queensland Police Force in 1977 and was inducted in December 1978, serving throughout Queensland. He was shot at five times and stabbed twice. His spine is held together with a titanium plate.

Graham writes as he speaks. He is an accomplished public speaker, radio and TV presenter and possesses a quick wit, and a funny bone to match. He has had police meal rooms and audiences in stitches while recounting the tales of his long and distinguished career. The tales have translated well to the written word and exemplify the manner in which Buzzy presents his stories.

“Piggy Tales” will make you giggle and guffaw, cry and catch your breath. He has been an ordinary man doing extraordinary things.

Graham’s book, “Piggy Tales”, was published by Piggy Tales and is available from its website.


Isobel Hubbard

Doctor Isobel Hubbard is an occupational therapist, academic researcher, author and company director. Isobel has researched upper limb recovery and brain activation after stroke, return to driving after stroke and stroke in older women. She convenes the Master of Health Science program in the School of Medicine and Public Health at the University of Newcastle, and coordinates the stroke specialisation in that program.

Dr Hubbard’s eminent career in the field of stroke recovery has resulted in her seminal book, Changing Stroke: Radical Rethink of Recovery. This book challenges health professionals and others working in the field to rethink their ideas about methods for helping people recover from stroke.

Isobel’s company, CPDLife, offers online professional development courses and the opportunity for Professional Development Educators to offer their courses online. https://www.cpdlife.com


Desmond O’Neill

I have come from past days of assembling wooden furniture on dusty factory floors, where a rampant imagination day-dreamed away production hours; to a retired life, trekking rainforest trails of mystery, discovering a world of Atherton Tableland wonders.

From hostile friction, where bullying and aggression led to confrontation by workers confined within those production walls; to the crescendo of waterfall flow, the tranquil scenes of rainforest gleaming after the rains, and the peaceful fiction they provide.

From a time where thoughts and ideas were dismissed by the knock-off siren; to Cairns Tropical Writers and Ravenshoe Writers Group, where words are gathered and harnessed, and stories of imaginative delight are assembled in place of furniture.

The University of the Third Age (U3A) and the photography group, Happy Snappers, taught me the use of modern cameras, away from automatic settings. The thrill of bird photography captured the focus. Imagination now had a new partner, with the view-finder being the words-minder.

These sources of creativity inspire me both to write stories and to take photographs to illustrate them. My book, “Timid Drip”, is a product of this creativity.

“Timid Drip” was published by Jabiru Publishing in 2019.


David Howard

After mediocre results in secondary and tertiary agricultural education, David Howard’s mediocrity continued when putting this education into practice. He was employed as a jackaroo, learner ringer, station hand, livestock agency employee, train drover, seismic survey “juggy” (surveyor’s assistant) and labourer. A visit to the ABC’s Perth Rural Department on a Thursday saw him start work there the following Monday. (Back in the mid-1960s there was a labour shortage affecting even the ABC). Demonstrating that he was nothing but consistent, his mediocrity persisted through relieving posts in Geraldton, Bunbury and Port Pirie, and permanent posts to Brisbane and Rockhampton. He was posted to Longreach temporarily for six weeks. That posting lasted six years.

Whilst at Longreach he was able to travel extensively. His listening area was officially bounded in the east by the Great Dividing Range south to Alpha, and then south to Cunnamulla. In the north was the Gulf of Carpentaria, and in the west and south were the respective State borders. His earlier experiences in some of the more remote parts of pastoral Queensland were of benefit. He was able to meet with both sheep and cattle producers with some degree of familiarity. His book reflects situations seen personally or referred to by others in both environs.

In his time as a broadcaster he has associated with several top journalists, but has never regarded himself as a true “journo”. He prefers to be known as someone who helped others tell their stories. He now lives in retirement in Cairns, north Queensland, with a patient and loving wife and friendly dog.


Maria Dalmon

Maria grew up in the western suburbs of Sydney. As a small baby, she was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. With the love and support of her parents and two older brothers, Maria enjoyed a happy childhood. She has accomplished much in her life.

Maria was educated and received treatment at the Spastic Centre of NSW (now known as the Cerebral Palsy Alliance). She later worked and trained at their sheltered workshop as a computer operator.

In 1990, when the government decided that people with a disability should be integrated into the general workforce, Maria secured an administrative position at a Returned Servicemen’s Leagues (RSL) Club. She retired in 2009 and now enjoys sailing, swimming, going to the gym, doing jigsaws on her computer and many other activities.

Maria married Lindsay in 1986. Lindsay was also born with cerebral palsy. Together, Maria and Lindsay live life to the fullest. The couple own their home, have travelled extensively, and sail regularly with Sailability. The pair have competed in many Australian and international sailing regattas, winning many titles.

Maria enjoys life; she can’t imagine it without cerebral palsy.

“Don’t Tell Me I Can’t” is available from the Jabiru Publishing.


Jeannie Little

Born in Mapoon, on the western side of Cape York in North Queensland, Australia, in 1941, Jeannie lived at the Mapoon Presbyterian Mission. It was home to Aboriginal and Pacific Islander people, her father was from Vanuatu.

Jeannie writes of the different cultures blending together there to form a unique community. Her childhood days were largely idyllic as she imbibed knowledge of the land, learned about land and ocean creatures and the surrounding bushland. When she was twelve years old, the family moved to Thursday Island, where she spent her teenage years, experiencing what she called “apartheid” for the first time.

She initially studied as a Nurse’s Aide on Thursday Island, and later did her nursing training at St Andrew’s War Memorial Hospital in Brisbane. As a nurse she travelled throughout Australia, working with the Federal Government’s Drug and Alcohol Foundation. She provided training in prevention of alcohol and other drug problems to both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people. She travelled to Paris, London, Berlin and native Canadian homelands, attending conferences and learning about alcohol and other drug prevention programs in different countries and cultures.

Jeannie later moved to Cairns where she worked with Queensland Health. Now retired, she is settled in Cairns, but returns to Mapoon to spend time every year.



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