Camryn Newton-Smith from Greenbank to Make History at Paris Olympics

Did you know that Camryn Newton-Smith from Greenbank is set to make history at the Paris Olympics as one of Australia’s first heptathlon representatives in 16 years?

Newton-Smith’s qualification marks a significant milestone for Australian athletics, breathing new life into the nation’s multi-event presence. Her journey to this point has been marked by both triumphs and challenges, reflecting the dedication required to compete at the highest level.

Early Beginnings

Newton-Smith’s athletics career began at the Jimboomba Little Athletics Centre, where her older siblings inspired her. Her brother Lindsay, a national-level decathlete, played a crucial role in sparking her interest in combined events.

As a teenager, Newton-Smith dominated the domestic heptathlon scene, claiming national titles across various age groups. Her talent earned her a spot on the World U20 team, competing in Tampere, Finland in 2018.

Overseas Development

Following her success at home, Newton-Smith pursued her athletic and academic goals at Arkansas State University in the United States. During her five-year stint, she faced numerous challenges, including the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and a major Achilles injury in 2021.

Despite these setbacks, Newton-Smith’s determination shone through. She returned to form in her final year of college, finishing eighth in the heptathlon at the 2023 NCAA Championships with a personal best of 5887 points.

Upon returning to Australia, Newton-Smith’s performances have been nothing short of exceptional. She claimed her first senior National title in April 2024, scoring an impressive 6180 points – the highest score by an Australian in 16 years. This achievement was followed by victory at the Oceania Championships in Fiji, where she overcame challenging conditions to secure the title.

Olympic Implications

Newton-Smith’s qualification for the Paris Olympics marks a significant moment for Australian athletics. The last Australian to compete in the Olympic heptathlon was Kylie Wheeler in 2008, making Newton-Smith’s appearance a long-awaited return to the event on the global stage.

Her upcoming Olympic debut is a personal achievement and a source of pride for her hometown of Greenbank and the broader Australian athletics community. As she prepares to compete on the world’s biggest sporting stage, Newton-Smith carries with her the hopes and support of a nation eager to see the return of Australian excellence in multi-event athletics.

Published 15-July-2024

Sight-Saving Surgery in Springfield Transforms Lives of First Nations People

Over 1000 First Nations Queenslanders have successfully had their eyesight restored through cataract surgeries, as part of a groundbreaking partnership between the Institute for Urban Indigenous Health and Mater Private Hospital Springfield.

The program began in 2016 and now facilitates about 150 publicly-funded operations annually at Mater Private Hospital Springfield. It aims to address the higher rate of severe sight deterioration among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, who often experience vision loss earlier than non-Indigenous Australians.

Holistic Approach to Eye Care

IUIH CEO Adrian Carson highlighted the program’s comprehensive support system: “By working collaboratively across the region and health system to ensure our people are diagnosed and well supported before, through and after treatment, we have reduced demand on the system since patients can be treated earlier, supporting better long-term health and community outcomes.”

The program offers:

– Pre and post-operative care
– Transport
– Personal support on surgery day
– No additional cost to patients or the healthcare system

Mater Private Hospital Springfield
Photo Credit: Peter Wallis/Supplied

Improving Access and Outcomes

Dr Sunil Warrier, Director of Ophthalmology at Mater Hospital Brisbane, explained the program’s significance.

“We know a lot of First Nations people lose their vision around the age of 50 to 60 years, a lot earlier than Caucasian people, who tend to be around the age of 60 to 70.”

“Our patients already know and feel comfortable with our team because they’ve been engaged with their local clinic and optometrist, and the opportunity to be together and connected with each other and us throughout the day makes it a positive shared experience,” Celia McCarthy, IUIH Eye Health Services Manager, added.

Mater Private Hospital Springfield
Photo Credit: Peter Wallis/Supplied

“Watching television and doing simple household chores including cleaning have become frustrating due to my deteriorating vision. I’m looking forward to seeing normally again,” Gordon Cowburn, 75, a Wakka Wakka Elder, said prior to the cataract procedure.

“I had a check-up the other day and things are great. My life has improved and I’m much happier now,” Ian Delaney, 70, a Quandamooka man, said.

The program continues to significantly impact the lives of First Nations Queenslanders, restoring not only their sight but also their independence and quality of life.

Published 13-July-2024

Ipswich Everyday Hero Inspires Nominations for QBANK Awards

The unwavering spirit and dedication of Queensland’s frontline workers and volunteers will be recognised for a 10th year with nominations for the 2024 QBANK Everyday Heroes Awards now open, inspired by last year’s Ipswich winner.

Highlighting Ipswich’s Own Everyday Hero

Last year, Ipswich’s own Margaret Langdon was honoured as a finalist in the QBANK Everyday Heroes Awards, making her community proud. Margaret, a dedicated volunteer, and sewing enthusiast, was celebrated for her outstanding work in helping community service participants learn new skills in a safe and engaging environment.

Margaret runs the Brisbane North Community Corrections Quest for Quilts group, which repurposes Queensland Corrective Services (QCS) uniforms into high-quality quilts for those in need. Her initiative, Quest for Quilts, allows participants to perform community service while learning valuable sewing skills.

Margaret Langdon Everyday Heroes QBank
Photo Credit: Supplied

“I worked with a group of people who mostly had never seen a sewing machine and it soon became obvious to me that making clothing was a hard place to start,” Margaret explained. “I then conceived the idea of Quest for Quilts, which was perfect as new workers could start on simpler tasks and as they gained more confidence and experience, I would teach them new sewing skills.”

Margaret’s Impact on the Community

Margaret’s program provides a welcoming space for individuals from all backgrounds to come together, learn new skills, and support each other. “Not only does it let people complete their community service hours, it provides a safe place for people to gather, learn new skills, and feel a sense of pride and confidence knowing they are doing something worthwhile to give back to the community,” she said.

Margaret expressed joy in seeing participants gain confidence and new skills each week. “It has really surprised me the number of males, some of whom have done time in prison, who are thriving in the group and demonstrate amazing determination, learning all the skills involved to create the quilts and provide lots of fun banter to keep the group alive.”

2024 Nominations Now Open

Nominations for the 2024 QBANK Everyday Heroes Awards are now open and will be accepted until 31 August. 

QBANK Chief Executive Officer Byron Fuller highlighted the importance of these awards, saying, “For the last 10 years, we have put more than 54 frontline workers, dedicated volunteers and young people in the spotlight for going above and beyond the call of duty to support and uplift their communities.”

The awards recognise individuals and teams across Queensland in six categories: Achievement, Ownership, Dedication, Working Together, Excellence, and the Young Everyday Hero Award. Winners will be selected by a panel of highly respected judges and will receive $2000 deposited into a QBANK account and a further $2000 donated to a charity of their choice.

Mr Fuller encouraged Queenslanders to nominate deserving individuals or teams.

 “We are calling for more Queenslanders, from the top end to the south-east, to nominate individuals or teams across a range of sectors so we can say ‘thank you’ for their outstanding contributions,” he said.

Finalists will be announced in September, and winners will be recognised at the annual awards dinner at the W Hotel Brisbane on 11 October 2024.

Published 10-July-2024

Woman Sentenced for Serious Crash on Centenary Motorway

A Springfield Lakes woman has been sentenced for causing a serious crash on Centenary Motorway in 2021 while attempting an illegal U-turn.

Lali Nagaraj, 53, appeared in Ipswich Magistrates Court on Tuesday, pleading guilty to dangerous operation of a vehicle. The crash on Centenary Motorway occurred on September 30, 2021, when Nagaraj, then 51, missed her usual exit due to roadworks.

The court heard that around 10:20 PM, Nagaraj stopped her car on the 100 km/h motorway and attempted a three-point turn across double white lines. Her vehicle ended up perpendicular to oncoming traffic.

An eastbound driver, travelling at approximately 90 km/h, collided with Nagaraj’s car despite attempting to brake. The victim suffered nine fractured ribs, a sternal fracture, and lacerations, resulting in a week-long hospitalisation and subsequent physiotherapy.

Magistrate Robert Walker acknowledged Nagaraj’s remorse, nearly clean driving record, and letter of apology. However, Nagaraj received a nine-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, and a six-month driving disqualification. Convictions were recorded.

Published 25-June-2024

New Report Reveals Queensland Schools with High Exclusion Rates

A recent annual report revealed that primary schools in South East Queensland issued 155 exclusions to students, with Springfield Central State School ranking among those with the highest exclusion rates.

Read: Scott’s Farm in Ripley: A Century-Old Legacy Hangs in the Balance Amidst School Development Plans

The school reported 10 exclusions, a significant 244 short suspensions, and 10 long suspensions, based on the 2023 School Disciplinary Absence (SDA) data released by the Queensland Government. 

Exclusion, the most serious disciplinary action, involves a student being required to leave a school or specific state schools in Queensland for a period of up to one year, or permanently. 

Photo credit: Google Street View 

It’s reserved for instances where other consequences fail to address persistent disobedience or behaviour that threatens the well-being of other students or staff. This measure, though severe, is sometimes necessary to maintain the integrity and safety of the school environment.

Suspensions, on the other hand, serve a dual purpose: they act as a consequence for inappropriate behaviour and provide a valuable period for school staff to devise strategies to help students re-engage positively with their education. A short suspension ranges from 1 to 10 days, while a long suspension spans 11 to 20 days, both aimed at addressing and mitigating the underlying issues contributing to disruptive behaviour.

The Queensland Association of State School Principals highlights that physical violence and bullying are primary reasons for suspensions in the State.

The professional association assures the public can be confident that principals will make decisions in the best interests of the entire student body and, in certain cases, to ensure their safety. 

Proactive Measures at Springfield Central State School

Photo credit: Google Street View

Springfield Central State School is tackling these issues head-on with initiatives like the ANCHOR program. After play breaks, students participate in a 10-minute self-directed activity to refocus on learning and report any bullying to their teachers. This approach empowers students and helps address issues before they escalate.

Although the data on exclusions and suspensions might initially appear concerning, they reflect a broader commitment to safety and positive student engagement.

Read: Ipswich Incident: An Elderly Woman Killed in Random Car Park Attack by a Teenager

Springfield Central State School’s efforts to address and prevent bullying through programs like ANCHOR show a dedicated approach to fostering a nurturing and secure educational environment.

Published 23-June-2024 

Wimbledon Welcomes Back Springfield Tennis Legend Ash Barty

Former world No. 1 and Springfield-raised Ash Barty is set to make a highly anticipated return to Wimbledon this July, nearly two years after her shock retirement from professional tennis. The 28-year-old Australian tennis legend will participate in the invitational doubles event, marking her first appearance on the hallowed grass courts since her triumphant singles victory in 2021.

Read: Springfield Lakes Mum Raises Over $4500 in Fundraising Concert for Cancer Research

Invitational Doubles comeback

Wimbledon officials recently announced Barty’s participation in the legends invitational doubles event, scheduled to begin on July 9.

Barty will team up with her former doubles partner and close friend, Casey Dellacqua. The pair, affectionately known as “ABCD” (Ash Barty and Casey Dellacqua), have a history of success, including reaching three grand slam finals together.

The legends tournament will feature two groups of eight pairs competing in a round-robin format. The top pairs from each group will advance to the final, vying for a share of the ~$64,800 first-place prize. All participating pairs are guaranteed a minimum of ~$45,800 between them.

Ash Barty, legend of tennis

Ash Barty’s 2021 Wimbledon victory ended a 41-year drought for Australian women at the tournament, following in the footsteps of her mentor and idol, Evonne Goolagong Cawley, who won in 1980.

The Woodcrest State College alum also claimed grand slam titles at the 2019 French Open and the 2022 Australian Open before her surprise retirement announcement in March 2022.

Since stepping away from professional tennis, Barty has embraced family life. She married her partner Garry Kissick and welcomed their son, Hayden. Despite occasional calls for her return to the professional circuit, Barty has consistently expressed contentment with her current priorities. “I absolutely love being a mum. There’s nothing else that I prefer to do,” she said.

Dual role at Wimbledon

In addition to her participation in the invitationals, Barty will also serve as a commentator during the Wimbledon tournament.

This dual role allows her to remain connected to the sport while maintaining her retirement from professional play.

Read: Scott’s Farm in Ripley: A Century-Old Legacy Hangs in the Balance Amidst School Development Plans

The Wimbledon tournament, including the legends invitational event, is set to begin on Monday, July 1, offering fans a chance to see their hometown hero back in action on one of tennis’s most prestigious stages.

Published 22-June-2024

Springfield Lakes Community Transforms Healthcare at Mater Private Hospital

Mater Private Hospital Springfield is set to receive nearly $1 million worth of state-of-the-art medical equipment, thanks to donations from Mater supporters across Queensland.

This substantial contribution is poised to revolutionise patient care at the hospital, enhancing treatment precision and efficacy across various medical disciplines.

The upcoming additions include a sophisticated robotic surgery system designed specifically for knee replacements, alongside advanced imaging technologies tailored to elevate the accuracy of breast cancer and orthopaedic surgeries. These innovations promise not only to streamline procedures but also to significantly improve recovery times and patient outcomes.

Photo Credit: Supplied

Scheduled for Wednesday, 26 June 2024, Mater Giving Day aims to rally further support from the community, leveraging matched donations to maximise impact. Mater Foundation underscores its commitment to funding essential healthcare advancements, with plans to recruit a specialist Breast Care Nurse as its next priority for Mater Private Hospital Springfield.

The General Manager of Mater Private Hospital Springfield highlighted the crucial impact of community-funded equipment in enhancing local healthcare. She pointed out that investing in cutting-edge medical technology is vital for delivering high-quality patient care. The new equipment will support life-saving interventions for breast cancer patients and provide transformative joint replacements, ultimately benefiting the overall health of the community.

Photo Credit: Supplied

Among the new additions is the Velys orthopaedic robot, renowned for its infrared optical tracking system facilitating precise surgical cuts during knee replacements. Additionally, the C-Arm scanner will provide orthopaedic surgeons with real-time, high-resolution images during procedures, while the Faxitron radiography system enhances breast cancer surgery outcomes by delivering detailed intraoperative x-rays.

Mater, Queensland’s largest not-for-profit healthcare provider, manages an extensive network of hospitals and is currently spearheading the construction of Mater Public Hospital Springfield in collaboration with the Queensland Government. 

This initiative, slated to open in 2026, will bolster local healthcare infrastructure with 174 beds, an emergency department, an intensive care unit, and maternity services.

The CEO of Mater Foundation praised the community’s instrumental role in driving healthcare advancements. He noted that Mater Giving Day exemplifies the collective effort to support life-saving medical innovations. This year’s triple matching pledge highlights the profound impact of community donations, moving closer to the goal of providing dedicated support for cancer patients in Ipswich and Springfield.

Donations for Mater Giving Day can be made online at until 26 June, offering individuals an opportunity to contribute directly to vital healthcare initiatives that benefit the entire community.

Published Date 21-June-2024

Springfield Lakes Mum Raises Over $4500 in Fundraising Concert for Cancer Research

A Springfield Lakes mother has hosted a fundraising concert after her husband was diagnosed with cancer, raising over $4,500.

Rina Sandford, 60, organised her second fundraiser for Cancer Council after her husband Michael Sandford was diagnosed with cancer three years ago.

Michael had been going for regular blood tests every year on his birthday. His doctor noticed that his PSA number, an indicator of prostate cancer, was slightly elevated. After a series of referrals and tests, Michael’s cancer diagnosis was confirmed.

Rina’s “Kick Cancer to the Curb” concert occurred in Springfield Lakes on 1 June 2024. The event featured live band music, a photo booth, and a raffle. 

Local band Brit Beat Mania performed for free. Founder and guitarist Gary Allen, a cancer survivor himself, said the band is committed to supporting such good causes. Gary expressed the band’s dedication to helping in any way possible, highlighting the challenges cancer poses and the importance of contributing to funding for cancer research.

Local businesses donated raffle prizes, which Rina purchased using her Flybuys points. She and her husband, both retired, aimed to support the community without incurring significant personal costs. The raffle was designed to engage the community and make the event more appealing, as everyone enjoys being appreciated.

Michael was fortunate to recover quickly after surgery, thanks to the early detection by his GP. Within two months of the diagnosis, he underwent a robotic surgery that successfully removed the cancer.

The concert showcased the community’s support and highlighted the importance of early detection and research in fighting cancer.

Published 21-June-2024

New Direct Bus Route to Connect Springfield and Ipswich

The Queensland government has announced a new direct bus route linking Springfield to Ipswich CBD as part of a $70 million investment in bus network upgrades across the state.

This development was unveiled in the state Budget released on Tuesday, aimed at improving public transportation options and reducing travel times for residents.

Currently, Springfield residents face a lengthy journey of about an hour to reach Ipswich Central via public transport, requiring a transfer and often taking longer than travelling to Brisbane City. The new route will run from Springfield through Redbank Plains to Ipswich, significantly cutting travel time and improving connectivity between the two areas.

This initiative is part of a broader Bus Services Investment Program, which seeks to enhance community travel options through funding for new bus services and infrastructure. The program will be implemented over three years and includes several other improvements:

  1. New services to growth areas including Redbank Plains, Collingwood Park, Augustine Heights, Bellbird Park, Springfield, Deebing Heights, and Karalee.
  2. Improved service connectivity to the Ripley Valley Priority Development Area.
  3. Extension of existing routes in areas north and south of Ipswich, Springfield Lakes, Camira, and Spring Mountain.
  4. Enhanced connectivity to rail services and Ipswich Hospital.

Deputy Premier and Treasurer Cameron Dick said, “We are doing what matters for the Logan and Ipswich communities by making bus links to their communities stronger with more services and more affordable with our 50c fares”.

    Transport and Main Roads Minister Bart Mellish expressed optimism about the initiative’s potential impact. “These initiatives will hopefully attract more and more people to public transport so they can experience the benefits, which in turn eases congestion on our roads,” Mellish said.

    Published 14-June-2024

    Scott’s Farm in Ripley: A Century-Old Legacy Hangs in the Balance Amidst School Development Plans

    A proposed new primary school development may save the beloved 130-year-old Scott’s Farm in the Ipswich area that has served as a rural haven for generations of community organisations.

    Save Scott's Farm
    Photo Credit: Save Scott’s Farm

    As the clock ticks down on a government petition to safeguard the farm from development, family spokeswoman Belinda Lowe has rallied locals to lend their support.

    The petition, due to close on June 9, is seen as a crucial tool in maintaining pressure on Economic Development Queensland (EDQ) following the dismissal of a previous petition as officially unrecognised.

    Scott’s Farm, which serves as a vital wildlife corridor and acts as a buffer between new housing and industrial areas in Swanbank and New Chum, became a focal point in the recent March local government elections. The property, which has housed ten generations of the Scott family, stands as one of the last remaining working farms in the region.

    Scott's Farm in Ipswich
    Photo Credit: Save Scott’s Farm

    While there are currently two schools operating in the Ripley Valley, projections indicate that this number could surge to 16 by 2041.

    In a recent positive development, the family received communication from State Development Minister Grace Grace, affirming that EDQ and Education Queensland would explore alternative, suitable sites for the school. However, the family has yet to receive correspondence from Education Minister Di Farmer’s office.

    Ms Lowe expressed cautious optimism, stating, “We are hopeful that the review will recommend relocating the school from our farm to another location within the Ripley Valley Priority Development Area, but there are no guarantees.”

    Photo Credit: Save Scott’s Farm

    She emphasised the abundance of available land in the Ripley Valley, underscoring the feasibility of relocating the school to a more suitable site.

    Local state MP Jennifer Howard has reportedly communicated to Ms Lowe that she has engaged in discussions with both Ms Farmer and former Education Minister Grace Grace regarding the matter.

    Furthermore, the family recently convened with local federal MP Shayne Neumann, Ipswich Mayor Teresa Harding, Ipswich City Council planners, and state officials, among others.

    Scott's Farm in Ipswich
    Photo Credit: Save Scott’s Farm

    Ms Lowe highlighted the widespread support for preserving the farm, stating, “Shayne Neumann, Council, and the state politicians are all fully supportive of saving the farm.”

    She further emphasised the community’s sentiment, stating, “We have gathered over 8,600 signatures on a petition to save our farm, but unfortunately, the Minister of Education did not consider this when making their decision about the school.”

    In response, a Department of Education spokesman confirmed that officials had visited the farm and engaged with the family in recent weeks. He reiterated that the department considers various factors when planning for new schools, including population growth and capacity within the existing school network.

    The spokesperson also noted that a 2022 review identified a shortage of schools across the Ripley Valley, prompting the identification of additional sites for three state primary and two state high schools.

    While guidelines suggest one new state primary school per 3,000 new dwellings, and growth in the Priority Development Area is projected to necessitate a total of 16 primary and seven secondary school sites, the fate of Scott’s Farm hangs in the balance as the community rallies to protect its legacy.

    Published Date 05-June-2024