These days, we’re all familiar with the world wide web. But what about the ecological world wide web?

What do you know about the threads of communication that hold our natural systems together?

On Friday March 29, a group of diverse scientists and artists participating in the Mary Cairncross BioBlitz will come together for a special Q&A evening and share their insights into biocommunication.

Environment Portfolio Councillor Jenny McKay finds these questions fascinating and said this panel event aligns with Sunshine Coast Council’s vision to be Australia’s most sustainable region – healthy, smart, creative.

“The Forest Feedback discussion is a wonderful opportunity for our community to learn more about how interconnected the natural world is,” Cr McKay said.

“I believe it will be the pinnacle of the four-day BioBlitz event.

“We are incredibly fortunate to have so many expert scientists with such varied specialties come to our own backyard to participate in the BioBlitz survey and share their knowledge through this educational evening panel.”

Representing the Queensland Mycological Society (QMS), mycologist (fungal biologist) and Woodfordia’s Environmental Projects Officer, Dr Sandra Tuszynska, is excited to discuss with fellow scientists the concept of the forest as a superorganism.

“As biologists, we tend to look at the miniscule intricacies of how an organism works, often under a microscope,” said Dr Tuszynska.

“However, we should be collectively looking at the broader picture.

“If we work together and study how the rainforest’s flora and fauna species communicate with one another, we’re likely to find many more answers about both their interdependence on one another and their individual crucial role in the forest.

“This BioBlitz will provide an opportunity for us to not only research and potentially discover new varieties of species living in this beautiful rainforest, but also to collaborate on understanding how they are all connected and constantly ‘speaking’ with one another.

“My focus is on the mycelium, the vegetative part of root symbiotic fungi, which consists of a vast network of fine threads or filaments, made up of individual fungal cells living symbiotically on and within most plant roots. 

“While delicate and largely unseen, the mycelium acts as a communication and nutrient transfer superhighway across entire forests, giving rise to the concept of the ‘wood wide web.’

“Yet, it is literally only one example of biocommunication in this large rainforest.”

At the Forest Feedback panel, Dr Tuszynska will join six scientists and artists, including Dr Barclay and Jinibara Traditional Owner Jason Murphy. Together with the audience they will discuss these networks of mycelium beneath the forest soil, insect acoustics, how country signals to its people and other modes of communication the rainforest uses on a daily basis.

All are welcome to the Forest Feedback discussion on Friday March from 6-9pm at the Maleny Community Centre. Tickets are $15 and registration is required. Head to council’s events website to secure your spot.

Wildlife enthusiasts should also mark the other BioBlitz events in their calendars, including sunrise pademelon counts, nature journaling, and a night-time bat walk, from March 28-31. To learn more, please visit council’s website.

The Mary Cairncross BioBlitz is funded by gold coin donations from visitors to the reserve.

Cotton Tree Park will be transformed into a welcoming and vibrant global village for the Voices of Harmony event on March 23 where multicultural groups will connect with the community through song, story, dance, food, traditional games and activities from 10am to 3pm.

Community Portfolio Councillor Jenny McKay said people are encouraged to wear orange to the Voices of Harmony event which is jam-packed with a diverse range of multicultural performers originating from Fiji, Africa, Indonesia, Africa, Iran, India, Romania and the South Pacific to name a few.

“To commence the celebration, Kabi Kabi community leader Brianna Hanson will perform the Welcome to Country and talk about connecting to country and caring for traditions,” Cr McKay said.

“This will be followed by the Inspiration Choir who will perform a beautiful Acknowledgement of Country and invite the community to warm up their vocal chords for the day.

“Well known Sunshine Coast based singer-song writer Andrea Kirwin, with Fijian heritage, will entertain the crowd with her feel good island style blend of folk, funk, roots and reggae on the main stage at 10.45am.

“Some people may have seen Samoko perform at the Woodford Folk Festival where he connected the community through a fusion of ancient traditional African and modern Afro grooves and now he will be joining us on the main stage at noon.

“There will be a special performance from the USC School of Music students at 12.40pm who will perform their original anthem written for Harmony Day entitled We Sing One Song.”

Cr McKay said attending the Voices of Harmony day will be like travelling around the world experiencing different cultures at one colourful event.

“Throughout the day people will have the opportunity to sing along to a wide range of world music from Hot Ginger Chorus, New World Rhythm and Cool Harmonies and enjoy a range of cultural dance performances,” Cr McKay said.

“Besides the main stage acts, there will be all-day activities including traditional games, weaving, storytelling, children’s activities, art and crafts, a Global Hub Fashion Parade and display of unique traditional outfits and so much more.

“All this entertainment will certainly create a healthy appetite and we have that covered as well with an array of multicultural cuisines taking people on a cultural feast.

“There is no doubt our diversity helps makes the Sunshine Coast a great place to live and we invite people to visit the Harmony Day ‘Everyone Belongs on the Sunshine Coast’ photo booth to celebrate our region’s cultural diversity.”

Sunshine Coast Voices of Harmony community event

10am – 3pm on Saturday, March 23

Join in the Voices of Harmony celebrations – a day of cultural respect for everyone who calls Sunshine Coast and Australia home. Wear orange to show your support for cultural diversity and an inclusive Australia.

Join in the conversation on council’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram by sharing images and the hashtag #harmonyday.

Sunshine Coast Council will begin its ‘Our Resilient Coast. Our Future.’ community consultation process tomorrow (Friday March 15) to assist in developing the Sunshine Coast Coastal Hazard Adaptation Strategy.

The project seeks to develop a long-term strategy that proactively plans for the future management of our coastal areas while building on our existing knowledge.

Over the next 18-24 months, council will carry out a detailed assessment of current and future coastal hazards along our 60km coastline.

Planning Portfolio Councillor Christian Dickson said developing a long-term strategy would build awareness of the potential impacts of climate change.

“By using the best available science, we’ll improve our understanding of coastal hazards and how they are likely to change over the next 80 years until 2100,” Cr Dickson said.

“Our coastline is dynamic and always changing. Residents will be familiar with beach erosion, shifting sand and periodic inundation of low-lying areas from high tides and storm events.

“Through our community consultation, residents can share their collective experiences and knowledge of our coastline, as well as details of how our coastline has changed over time.

“This will help build our knowledge, and to understand what is important to residents. It’s important that our work aligns with our community’s expectations and values.”

Professor John Martin, Independent Chair of the Community Advisory Group and Emeritus Professor at La Trobe University, said there were a number of ways for the community to take part in the consultation.

“It’s easy to be involved. We’re inviting community members to share their photos, their memories and what they value about our coastline. They can do this in person at our events or through our interactive online map,” Professor Martin said.

“We are particularly interested in photos and stories of historical events that represent how our coastline has changed over time.

“Anyone who loves the coastline should head to council’s website and subscribe to receive project updates, including notifications of our community events.

“We’re also looking for residents to join our Community Advisory Group, which will play an integral role in the formation of council’s strategy.

“The formation of a Community Advisory Group is a tried and tested approach.

“When council and residents work closely together – as they did for the national award-winning Maroochy Groyne Field Renewal Project consultation – positive outcomes can be achieved.

“We need people who are passionate, have an interest in the future of our coast and a range of skills or technical expertise. They should also have a genuine desire to create positive change.

“If this sounds like you, or someone you know, please consider applying.”

Residents interested in the Community Advisory Group can download an Expression of Interest form from council’s website. Applications for the Community Advisory Group close on Friday April 5, 2019.

To learn more about ‘Our Resilient Coast. Our Future.’ visit  


Image credit: Noel Brady

More than 15 kilometres of trail networks have been linked thanks to Sunshine Coast Council’s works at Eumundi Conservation Park.

Members of the Sunny Coast Trail Horse Riders Club yesterday (March 7) joined Divisional Councillor Stephen Robinson to view and experience the completed trail network near Allendale Rd at Eumundi.

Cr Robinson said this trail and others throughout the Sunshine Coast contributed to our community’s natural and physical wellbeing, and aligned with council’s vision to be Australia’s most sustainable region – healthy, smart, creative.

“Across the Sunshine Coast, we have more than 600 kilometres of trails that offer a diversity of experiences for horse-back riders, mountain bikers, hikers and families looking for a leisurely outdoor stroll,” said Cr Robinson.

“Eumundi Conservation Park offers more than 15 kilometres of trails that are all linked up thanks to these recent works.

“This project’s goal was to provide a solution for about 500 metres of trail that was notoriously wet and impassable, to horse riders and hikers.

“This section of unmade road reserve separated the north and south blocks of the park, essentially dividing the park in two.

“Our council crews worked with Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service to provide better drainage and to build a reliable trail surface that will remain passable, even in wet weather conditions.

“The conservation park is now joined and visitors will enjoy a full trail network amongst the beautiful mix of eucalypt open forest and high value rainforest.”

The Eumundi Conservation Park has always been popular with the region’s horse riders, including Sunny Coast Trail Horse Riders Club President Chris Bourne who shared her admiration and appreciation for the completed trail network.

“As our club members are frequent riders in this park, I am grateful to see the trail extended thanks to this project’s completion,” Ms Bourne said.

“Previously, any wet weather inhibited us from fully enjoying this expansive park, and now we can take advantage of lengthier horseback rides.

“I encourage more community members to visit the Eumundi Conservation Park and experience its beautiful trails, whether you’re with a horse, on a bicycle, or simply on foot.”

Over the past few years, Sunshine Coast Council has also improved access conditions at both the southern and western entrances to allow for better access for all community members to explore this bushland area.

Time is running out for not-for-profit groups to apply for a Sunshine Coast Council community grant.

Applications for three grants programs are now open:

  • Community Grants – Major Grants
  • Community Grants – Minor Grants (Community Events category only); and 
  • Environment Levy Grants.

Major Grants of up to $30,000 are available through a range of categories for projects, activities and events that benefit Sunshine Coast communities.

Minor Grants of up to $2000 are available for community and regional events and celebrations.

Environment Levy Grants of up to $5000 are available for projects that make a positive and ongoing contribution to the region’s biodiversity and waterways.

Applications for council’s Community Grants and Environment Levy Grants programs will close on Monday, March 18.

Visit for eligibility criteria and application forms. For further information or to discuss your project, contact a grants officer on 5420 8616.

After a sell-out event during Horizon Festival 2018, former UK slam champion and change-maker, Joelle Taylor will return to the Sunshine Coast as a part of Bunker Down, Speak Out on March 6 and 7.

Presented by The Bunker Collective and Horizon Festival, Bunker Down, Speak Out is a new quarterly event that provides a platform for local poets and writers to perform their work and an opportunity for newcomers to begin their own journey with the genre.

Direct from Adelaide Writer’s Week, Joelle will perform a range of works including those from her new release collection, Songs My Enemy Taught Me.

Joelle is a powerhouse performer on stage and echoes that strength as an educator in her uniquely crafted workshops.

Don’t miss this fantastic opportunity to learn from the best and give it a try yourself, book now for a workshop with Joelle and register for the open mic night.

Spoken Word Workshop with Joelle Taylor

Designed for emerging and established performance poets and writers, this is an exciting opportunity to learn from one of the world’s best.

Date: Wednesday, March 6
Time: 6-8pm
Location: SunCentral building (downstairs), 9 Golf Street, Maroochydore
Tickets: GA $45, plus booking fee, Conc $35, plus booking fee

Bunker Down, Speak Out – Open Mic Night

Come along and see UK slam champ Joelle Taylor take the stage alongside home-grown local spoken word talent. This is a one-off performance not to be missed.  

Date: Thursday, March 7
Time: 7pm
Location: Solbar, Maroochydore
Tickets: $15, plus booking fee pre-sale, $20 on the door / free for open mic performers 

Open Mic Registration 
We love seeing our locals up on stage! Register to perform at the open mic night for a chance to win a cash prize, plus the kudos of performing alongside Joelle Taylor.

Get tickets and register for the open mic night at

Bunker Down, Speak Out is funded by the Regional Arts Development Fund, a partnership between the Queensland Government and Sunshine Coast Council to support local arts and culture in regional Queensland.

Sunshine Coast Council, in partnership with the Sunshine Coast Multicultural Network Group, invites the community to wear orange and head to Cotton Tree Park on March 23 from 10am to 3pm for the Voices of Harmony event.

The event will include live performances including Andrea Kirwin, community choir sing-a-longs, cultural dance and performances, workshops, games and an array of multicultural cuisines taking people on a cultural feast around the world.

Members of the Sunshine Coast multicultural community are also invited to display their unique traditional outfits and join in the Global Hub Fashion Parade.

Mayor Mark Jamieson said the Sunshine Coast Voices of Harmony event is a time to celebrate and reflect on the rich cultural heritage of the Sunshine Coast.

“The Sunshine Coast Multicultural Action Plan highlights our region had a diverse and growing multicultural population, with one in every five residents born overseas, representing 156 countries, 45 faiths and 96 languages,” Mayor Jamieson said.

“It also identifies the importance of recognising, respecting and embracing diverse cultures and striving to strengthen the resilience and prosperity of our multicultural Sunshine Coast.

“Events like Harmony Day enrich understanding and inclusion in our diverse communities.

“By valuing our diversity and providing equal opportunity to all, we are realising our vision for the Sunshine Coast to be Australia’s most sustainable region – healthy, smart, creative.”

Community Portfolio Councillor Jenny McKay said by participating in Harmony Day, we are celebrating the many cultures who call the Sunshine Coast home.

“The message for Harmony Day is ‘everyone belongs’, reinforcing the importance of inclusiveness to all Australians,” Cr McKay said.

“There is no doubt our diversity helps makes the Sunshine Coast a great place to live and we invite people to visit the Harmony Day ‘Everyone Belongs on the Sunshine Coast’ photo booth to celebrate our region’s cultural diversity.

“We have secured some fantastic live performers and entertainment and I encourage friends and family to come together at Cotton Tree Park to connect, to share, learn and appreciate our communities’ diversity.”

Harmony Day coincides with the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

Sunshine Coast Voices of Harmony community event

10am – 3pm on Saturday, March 23

Join in the Voices of Harmony celebrations – a day of cultural respect for everyone who calls Sunshine Coast and Australia home. Wear orange to show your support for cultural diversity and an inclusive Australia.


·         Welcome to Country.

·         Andrea Kirwin, an earthy blend of folk, funk, roots, reggae and soul infused songs from the heart.

·         Samoko, a fusion of ancient traditional African and modern Afro grooves.

·         Join community choir sing-a-longs with Hot Ginger Chorus, Inspirational Choir and Cool Harmonies.

·         USC School of Music perform the Sunshine Coast Harmony Day Anthem.

·         Enjoy cultural dance performances and music from Indonesia, PNG, Fiji, Persia, Africa, Tonga, India and many more.

·         Join a workshop, play traditional games from around the world, hear stories and discover customs.

·         Men, women and children are invited to display their unique traditional outfits and join in the Global Hub Fashion Parade.

·         Local stallholders will provide an array of multicultural cuisines taking people on a cultural feast around the world.

Join in the conversation on council’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram by sharing images and the hashtag #harmonyday.

Caloundra Music Festival brings the music and the benefits

Future funding for the Caloundra Music Festival which attracts 30,000 attendees over four days will be considered by Sunshine Coast Council at Thursday’s (February 28) Ordinary Meeting.

An independent tourism report on the 2018 Caloundra Music Festival confirmed a 17% growth in attendees since 2016.

The festival generates more than $4 million in economic benefits for the region and an additional $1 million for Queensland.

Division 2 Councillor Tim Dwyer said the Caloundra Music Festival had been providing significant benefits to the community, music sector and economy on the Sunshine Coast since it started in 2007.

“Since the Festival began, a number of other music festivals have started on the coast demonstrating the health of the industry,” Cr Dwyer said.

“The festival’s growth and our community’s pride in it, combined with high levels of attendee satisfaction ratings, has proven the value of having a music event like this on the Sunshine Coast.

“Recent nominations in the Queensland Music Awards for Festival of the Year – two years in a row – is also testament that this is not only an event for our region but also for South East Queensland. 

“As an all ages, family-friendly event, Caloundra Music Festival ticks the social, economic, community and cultural boxes, reflecting our vision to be healthy, smart and creative and provides a platform for high calibre local, national and international talent.

“Quality live music played alongside spectacular geography, showcases the Sunshine Coast as a destination while delivering direct economic impact and tourism benefits.”

At today’s Ordinary Meeting, council will consider referring an operational budget of $250,000 to the annual budget process for three financial years (2020/21-2022/23).

Caloundra Music Festival 2019 will be held from October 4-7.


Tickets are selling fast for the first of four In Conversation events designed to empower the Sunshine Coast community on International Women’s Day at council’s Venue 114 at 11.30am on Friday, March 8, 2019.

Join inspirational speakers, Seven Network presenter Jillian Whiting and Vanessa Fowler, Chairman of the Board of Directors, The Allison Baden-Clay Foundation raising awareness on the prevention of domestic and family violence.

Vanessa is sister of the late Allison Baden-Clay, a victim of domestic violence in 2012.  Since Allison’s death, Vanessa and her family have been committed to the formation and growth of the Foundation.

For her tireless work campaigning on domestic violence, Vanessa was recognised with a Pride of Australia medal in 2018 and most recently announced the Ipswich Citizen of Year at an Australia Day Awards ceremony.

Vanessa said she was excited to be attending the first In Conversation event at Venue 114 on International Women’s Day and celebrating the theme of ‘More Power Together’ which very much aligns with our Foundation values.

“The Foundation encourages everyone to be an effective bystander and stand up against domestic violence,” she said.

“I am honoured to be a guest speaker alongside respected journalist and presenter Jillian Whiting and to have the opportunity to share the Foundation’s mission.”

In Conversation will include a delicious grazing table style lunch by Something for Catering and beverages followed by a Q and A session and quality entertainment.

All attendees are encouraged to wear a splash of yellow, which is the Foundation’s colour.

There will be four In Conversation events in 2019 featuring inspirational speakers from all walks of life, who will deliver engaging, in-depth conversations about real life issues in our Sunshine Coast community.

Grab your 2019 diary to lock in the following dates:

  • Friday, March 8: Celebrating International Women’s Day  
  • Friday, June 21: Disability Sector
  • Thursday, September 12: R U OK Day
  • Friday, November 22: Celebrating International Men’s Day.

Sunshine Coast Council will provide any profitable proceeds to each worthy cause featured throughout the In Conversation series to assist in the development and awareness of these programs.

Ticket price is $120 per person, table of 8 for $110 per person and special seniors and students price of $80 person. Price includes food, beverages and entertainment. Prizes to be won for the best dressed.

To book visit or call 5413 1400.

In Conversation is proudly supported by Seven Network, Hot FM and My Weekly Preview.

Venue 114, formerly known as Lake Kawana Community Centre, is located at 114 Sportsmans Parade, Bokarina and limited parking is available.

Creativity, Community, Culture