Biggenden’s unsung hero gave town a voice
AFTER 43 years of writing the yarns of her home town of Biggenden, Erica Murree has seen it all.
Starting her journalist career in 1977 for the Central Burnett Times, she endeavoured to have her town's voice heard across the North Burnett.
Whether it was writing about the Biggenden Shire Council's centenary, or writing about the devastating floods, Erica never strayed away from a yarn.
"I was there at Paradise Dam when the first sod was in the ground, and I welcomed Peter Beattie out there one day when he visited," she said.
"Water has always been a common theme in the paper throughout the years."
Her only experience prior to this was being the magazine editor for the Biggenden State School in year 10.
Never in her wildest imagination did she think she would spend most of her life writing for the paper.
Whether it was QCWA meetings, market reports, or the latest socials from the local swimming carnival, Erica tackled every challenge, week in, week out.
Years later in 1986, after the sale of the Biggenden Weekly to the Collyer family, Erica started writing for the now Central and North Burnett Times.
Some of the stories that will stick with her during her tenure with the paper were the accounts of those taken too soon on our roads.
"The young ones who've gone too early, I'll always remember them, there was Aaron Aberdein, Mark Elliott, my cousin Morrison Marshall, and recently young Josh Rackemann," Erica said.
"Those will always stand out to me."
Spending two thirds of her life in the community as the "social pic queen", Erica will miss the constant stream of conversation coming through her sleepy Biggenden office each day.
"It's the people coming off the street, you're not here just to write a story, but you're here to chat to people," she said.
"I've met some interesting people over the years, whether they were visitors, or new people moving to the area."
Some weeks were harder than others according to Erica, recalling one week where she didn't have a lead story for the paper.
"This particular week was a challenge as I just didn't have anything for the front," Erica said.
"Low and behold some people got lost at Coongarra Rock.
"I ended up spending the day up there with SES people, getting photos and everything.
"Just goes to show how not one day is the same in this job."
Erica said it's been a privilege for her to put her town on the map for more than four decades every Thursday in print, and everyday online.
With The Times moving online, Erica said the community should embrace the leap into the digital realm.
"Change is part of everyday life, and this week's move online is something to be excited about and greeted with open arms.
"This is your paper, and as a journalist I have felt honoured to bring the news of the community to your homes each week."