Peel Island’s Future

A Google Earth Image of Peel Island

Currently, control of the island is gradually being handed over to the Quandamooka People, so the future is in their hands. As I see it, the island would make a wonderful showpiece for their culture and traditions, as well as for the historical remnants of European occupation. The Quandamooka may however decide to ‘close it down’ to tourists. I hope not, because Peel offers a unique learning experience for anyone visiting the Redlands, of which Peel is an important part.

The main obstacle to its tourism prospects is the lack of access to the island. As previously narrated, the jetty was demolished in the 1990s, and finding the money for a replacement has proved a hurdle since then.

There is one hope, though, and this lies in the closing of the mineral sand mining on nearby Stradbroke Island.  To help compensate for the loss of the island’s main source of employment, the Government is making $27 million available to boost tourism. Surely some of this money could be made available to constructing a jetty on Peel Island and so include it in tours of North Stradbroke Island.

Alternatively, a landing barge could be used to run up on the beach at Horseshoe Bay, and from there a minibus could transport visitors quickly around the island.

Peel’s future depends on such decisions that have to be made in the coming years.

a landing barge of the type that could be used at Horseshoe Bay

Talking Peace

Leanne Simon – Loganholme’s Rotary Peace Fellow

Recently the guest speaker at our Toondah Probus Club was Leanne Simon, Rotary’s Peace Fellow for 2016/17 who spoke about her life and how she became an ambassador for communicating for peace.

Of Native American, Greek, and Irish Quaker backgrounds, Leanne was born in North Carolina and grew up in West Virginia in an impoverished family. She escaped from her poor home life by reading books, and developed her own writing to communicate with adults. At the age of 14 she left home and was homeless for the next decade, during which time she travelled across the US,

Canada, and the UK sharing both good and bad experiences with people she met on the way. She learned that her sharing of stories, skills, and information served to humanise her and to bring her together with other people. As well as communicating to others, Leanne also learned to listen to them as well.

The birth of her son was an epiphany in her life and she went to a women’s shelter where she was put into the care of a Social Worker named Travis. Theirs was a combative relationship for the first month, then in just one day, after a session of talking frankly about their own pasts, they both suddenly learnt about the way we each view other people, and their differences we resolved.

Then Leanne met her future husband and had another baby. She joined the American Friends Service Committee (Quakers) and went back to school where she obtained two degrees in Spanish and Child Rights. She then did an internship in the subject of Child Labour in the US, and realised the power of narrative through her newspaper articles and films, in particular on the international impacts of US policies. Her “Story Harvesting” has taken her to Mexico and many South American countries, Fiji, and now Australia. Story telling, she maintains, is what separates us from beasts, is how we pass on knowledge, and is what forms our identity. If wars can start with stories, then so can peace. Leanne is currently working on homelessness and housing in Logan. Her future projects include Bougainville and the Solomon Islands.

Leanne finished with a memorable line: ‘I didn’t set out to write my life’s story, my life’s story wrote me.’