LOOKING BACK: Former journalist Philippe Coquerand reading a previous edition of The Times. Picture: Contributed
LOOKING BACK: Former journalist Philippe Coquerand reading a previous edition of The Times. Picture: Contributed

Burnett journo looks back on ‘best decision’ he’s made

JUNE 25 marked the final print edition of the Central and North Burnett Times, honouring more than 50 years we’ve been in the community.

To celebrate the years in print and our move to digital yarns, we reached out to several former journos about their tenure with the paper.

Mundubbera journalist Philippe Coquerand writes about his time in Mundubbera, being the “best decision” he’s ever made.

MOVING to Mundubbera to work at the Central and North Burnett Times in February 2017 was one of the best decisions I have ever made.

I had only recently graduated from the Queensland University of Technology with a Bachelor of Journalism when I received the call to say I had got the job in the North Burnett. The next step was to google where Mundubbera was, some 360km from Brisbane, but as a fresh faced 22-year-old, I was ready to embrace the next chapter with open arms.

From covering local shows, campdrafts, school formals, sporting events and important milestones to local community issues, the Central and North Burnett Times have always been there and will continue to represent the community even after our last print edition stops. We’ve had some achievements over the years with addressing NBN problems, phone reception issues and working with the North Burnett Regional Council or upgrading roads, bridges and infrastructure as well as working with Mark Postle and his team to address the Boyne River irrigation crisis.

During my time at Central and North Burnett Times, we worked closely with the local police on getting road safety messages out to the community. In one instance, we were told by residents that the majority of motorists weren’t stopping at the stop signs located at the intersection of Leichhardt and Bouverie street. We reported it. Within a day, council workers repainted the lines and police were pulling motorists over if they did not stop at the stop signs. The issue was quickly resolved and this goes to show the influence of local media. For me though, it was a joint effort between the CNBT, North Burnett Regional Council and the Mundubbera Police.

READ MORE:

FLASHBACK: 17 huge stories we’ve covered in print

Biggenden’s unsung hero gave town a voice

Paper is about the community says ex-Burnett journo

I also enjoyed my weekly trips to Eidsvold covering the local news and chatting to Dianne and Andrew of Eidsvold On The Corner about the local happenings and visiting the Eidsvold State School to do stories on the Yumbin program with school principal Preston Parter. I found it really important to connect with the community and to understand the history of the North Burnett region.

I’ve kept a number of paper clippings including a front-page story I did at the Mundubbera Show when I was in the rodeo ring while the opens were on. As the bulls were coming out of the chute, I was there with my camera to capture an engaging shot of a bull mid buck. It was an exhilarating moment and one that will stick with me always. I survived to tell the tale.

Another story I enjoyed covering was the Eidsvold Charity Cattle Drive in 2018 which involved 530 head of cattle crossing the river along with 25 riders and two head drovers Ned Neumann and Ron Bligh. This was a very exciting experience. The committee worked tirelessly to ensure its’ success, with money raised going to LifeFlight, Rotary Lodge and the Royal Flying Doctor Service.

I always love talking about my experience in the beautiful North Burnett and will forever remember playing golf, darts, touch and cricket and the friendships that were made.

If it wasn’t for starting out at the Central and North Burnett Times, I would never have been given the opportunity at The Gympie Times and now as a Communications and Content Officer with Anglicare Southern Queensland.

I look forward to reading about the local news on the Central and North Burnett Times website and supporting community news, done by local journalists. Although it’s goodbye to the printed edition, the Central and North Burnett Times will still be here, just in a different format.


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