Meet Kingaroy’s most inspiring women
In celebration of International Women's Day 2021, the South Burnett Times asked 10 influential women to share their career journeys, passions, and contributions they've made to the Kingaroy community.
Throughout their lives these women have trampled gender stereotypes and ventured beyond expectations, proving that women really can have it all.
With 2021 already proving to be a transformative year for women nationwide, there's never been a better time for us to "Choose to Challenge" perceived limitations and sexist stereotypes still rife in Australian culture.
As the Chief Executive Officer at South Burnett CTC, Nina Temperton is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to fighting for our most vulnerable.
Ms Temperton founded the CTC back in 1992 with just five employees and a few contracted teachers.
"Janet Champney - who is now the deputy CEO and HR manager - and I realised very early on that employment preparation and practical skills aren't good enough for people to get back to work if they have problems at home or with mental health or physical health," Ms Temperton said.
"So, we gradually brought in more and more services and it spiralled from there."
Now, throughout the South Burnett, the CTC has grown to 125 full time equivalent staff and 190 staff all up.
Ms Temperton was attracted to social work through a sense of injustice and recognition of the privilege she and many others have enjoyed in life.
"I think social work attracted me mainly out of a sense of enormous privilege that I've always had, which isn't to say I've had an easy life or was born rich," she said.
"However, I had fantastic parents, fantastic support, a great education, and every opportunity to make the right choices."
"I've always just felt really strongly that everybody deserves that."
Ms Temperton said this mentality was triggered through her experiences as an exchange student in the United States in the 60s.
"I was an exchange student and from my stable, privileged and sheltered German upbringing, I went to a place called York in Pennsylvania," she said.
"It's an industrial town of about 100,000 or so people and absolutely torn with racial strife. The most incredible discrimination."
"I just witnessed lots of things that were just so incredibly wrong, that ordinary people were not doing anything about."
Unsurprisingly, Ms Temperton said her favourite part about her job is seeing the incredible success stories - showing young people, who've come from horrifically traumatic backgrounds, that there is a bright future in store for them and providing them with the necessary tools to get there.
The one-woman powerhouse behind some of the South Burnett's biggest tourism projects, Kristy Board has worked her magic again to score Kingaroy its long due spot in Australia's 'big things' hall of fame.
Beyond securing the peanut capital of Australia's very own big peanut, Ms Board wants to showcase the town's history in a creative and beautiful way, reminding us where we came from as we grow and prosper.
On the subject of BaconFest, despite a tough year for community events, as Chief Baconeer Ms Board is in the process of building a bigger and better event than ever before.
"I worked through the most awful year for everyone last year, trying to go through the motions of what to do with the festival, which like the rest of the world we had to cancel," she said.
"But it was really important to me to keep the festival visible during that time as well, so we ran an online version of BaconFest."
Though a seemingly impossible feat, the team still pulled through, and has already secured celebrity chef Miguel Maestre for this year's event.
Passionate about helping Kingaroy's food scene flourish, Ms Board is a committee member for the Farm 2 Fork Collective, which improves the accessibility of locally grown and produced food.
After completing the Red Earth Community leadership program in 2018, Ms Board also returns as a volunteer each year to facilitate action learning and deliver the local produce showcase for the region's future leaders and influencers.
As a woman and mother in business, Ms Board puts a great deal of energy toward lifting other women up and assisting them in their own ambitious endeavours.
"Supporting and collaborating with other women within this community yields amazing results, it's what keeps me going in many of the organisations I am involved with," she said.
"Individually we are one drop, but together, we are an ocean. I am fortunate to have a wonderful family, husband and children that support me in all my crazy endeavours, but many women do not have that luxury."
"I see them out there achieving, giving and contributing and I have such respect and admiration for them. They are the kinds of women who inspire me to keep going."
Despite COVID restrictions coming down hard on community pools, Terry Dunn had a few tricks up her sleeve to keep her athletes in tip top shape for nationals.
"We couldn't get them in the outdoor pool, but we were allowed to use the indoor pool, so we tethered them to bungee cords," Ms Dunn said.
"It took me two weeks to make them all a set of cords, which attach around poles so they can do some tether work."
"We also did some Zoom meetings with them for mental work. Lots of different things to keep them mentally and physically going."
Going beyond her duties as the pool manager, 'learn to swim' coach and lifeguard, Ms Dunn invests a great deal of time and emotional energy into ensuring her athletes the best chance at success - while simultaneously making sessions an enjoyable social experience.
With 30 years of coaching under her belt, Ms Dunn can spot a rising star from a young age and will provide them with all the necessary resources and guidance to push them beyond their perceived limits.
Once an aspiring athlete herself, Ms Dunn's dreams of becoming an elite golfer were struck down when she was hit by a car.
Rather than letting that defeat her, she harnessed her skills and knowledge for the benefit of others, and in a month's time will see several young swimmers off the nationals.
"I was doing some teaching part-time and I loved it. I got under the wing of a really good head coach and learned my craft," she said.
"I've met some beautiful children, who I still know. I taught them to swim at four and took them to nationals at 13."
"And then to see them grow up, as they get older and have their own families. It's just the best job in the world."
Arriving in the region just four years ago, Olivia Everitt is already a well-known name within the Kingaroy community.
One of eight Central Queensland artists who participated in CQ RASN's artist "at home" residency program, "Tough and Tender Beauty", Ms Everitt 's Art Trail Exhibition came out of the initial stage of lockdown - a time that bore down hard on artists nationwide.
"What I did is create a series of works that were a combination of a collage and found materials, which were then digitised and turned into vinyl decals, and placed into shopfronts around the Kingaroy CBD," Ms Everitt said.
"There was a trail of eight artworks that you could access on foot, it was a 20 minute art trail walk with a map that you could follow."
Ms Everitt said the idea behind the project was to bring art to the residents of the South Burnett at a time when all the local galleries were forced to close their doors, as well as assist local businesses in a way that did not put further pressure on owners.
"It was about how else we can access and interact with art at this time, and at a time when businesses were heavily impacted as well," she said.
"It was a way to get the business community involved that wasn't time intensive on them as business owners."
"But they could get involved in something that was obviously picked up by the media and across social media as something you could do on foot, socially distanced throughout the CBD."
A key component of what makes Ms Everitt's work so captivating is its autobiographical nature, often encompassing pieces and photographs from her own childhood.
"There's a certain kind of vulnerability because you are sharing that on often a very public platform, but I think it's about trusting in the process and hoping that everyone will take something different from it."
This year's Ms Everitt's courage and creativity in times of adversity did not go unnoticed, scoring her the Cultural Award at this year's Australia Day Awards Ceremony.
Well known in the Kingaroy community, Tanya Barron is the lady behind the speedway - and thereby some of the region's biggest tourist-attracting events.
Despite a difficult year for the Speedway, the team has jumped back to action, running the first event for 2021 over the weekend.
"We did cancel our big meeting in January, so that was a big blow to us, but we've been in contact with Queensland Health to make sure we're on the right track and keeping everything going," Ms Barron said.
"It's good to see the community being able to look forward to these events again."
While the annual Kings Royal weekend, which lures in revheads from across Australia, had to wait another year, Ms Barron's passion for the region has only encouraged her to go above and beyond at next year's event.
In celebration of the Speedways 10th anniversary, Ms Barron would ideally like to hold a multi-day event, which will encourage more tourism to Kingaroy and enable visitors to explore and spend, showing the nation what we have to offer and pumping cash into the local economy.
Despite the enormous amount of effort that goes into planning Speedway events, Ms Barron and the team never fail to put on one hell of a show.
"It's just massive. The big ones, you're planning it for 12 months," she said.
"We have a little group of volunteers. We complain we get tired, but we are so proud of what we've achieved and what the past committee has also contributed, especially here in little Kingaroy.
In addition to being the driving force behind the Speedway, Ms Barron juggles running her business, Kingaroy Equipment Sales, and raising her six-year-old daughter.
"It's a bit of a juggling act but I wouldn't have it any other way.
Cheryl Dalton has been the Chief Executive Officer at South Burnett Care for more than seven years and has led her hard working team through a period of massive growth and reform in age and disability care.
After working as a local councillor for 17 years, Ms Dalton said "the stars aligned" when she found her place at SB Care.
"Because of the reform that was happening in age and disability care, they were looking for someone that understood Community and Social Service, and parallel to counsel, I had a career in business with my husband," Ms Dalton said.
"I'd also been involved in a lot of community and government committees, so that all crystallised in this role."
"I suppose it's like you're moving along through life and you end up in the place you're meant to be."
A woman who is passionate about people, Ms Dalton said she is incredibly proud of her team and gets a lot of joy out of seeing the impact SB Care has on the lives of so many people in the community.
"We make a difference to people's lives. I just feel so proud and humbled to be part of what we do here," she said.
Ms Dalton said the dementia program is particularly hearting and has completely changed the quality of life for countless people.
"We had one lady, who came here about four years ago. She couldn't talk, she couldn't write, and she wouldn't participate with other people," she said.
"Today she can talk, she can write on a whiteboard, and she participates with other people."
With the limited time she has to spare, Ms Dalton spends as much time with her grandchildren as possible and is on the board for St John's Lutheran School.
Ms Dalton has been shattering gender stereotypes all her life, becoming the first female pre-apprenticeship cabinet maker in Queensland alongside 1200 men.
"I didn't think anything of it at the time, that there was anything unusual or rare about this," she said.
"I was just excited to be doing something that I thought I wanted to do."
Reflecting on the "Choose to Challenge" theme, Ms Dalton wants to encourage all women to challenge gender stereotypes and live life on their own terms.
As the weather heats up and the fire danger rating skyrockets, Kingaroy is lucky to have local business owner Michelle Hansen on its side.
Despite clocking tireless hours into Hansen Kitchens and being a mother, Ms Hansen will not hesitate when the call-out comes for a fire.
"Being a small-business owner, if I get a call I'll literally stop what I'm doing, go to the fire and I'll come back," she said.
"If it's nine o'clock at night, I'll have a shower and go back to the office and work till late. Somehow you have to find the hours to catch up."
Now part of the Malar-Booie Rural Fire Brigade, Ms Hansen was inspired to join the crew following a fire at her own Kingaroy property.
"My husband and I had a fire on our property that got away. We were inexperienced and we were scared," she said.
"It was a difficult situation and when the rural fire brigade turned up, it was the greatest peace of mind."
"After that incident, both of us decided to join. It was a way we could give back to the community."
In addition to fighting fires head on, Ms Hansen also assists in recruiting new members for the ageing brigades - volunteering as a firefighter and community educator.
"It's about educating the community in how to reduce the risk of fire on their properties and bushfire safety," she said.
"And some of it's about recruitment and trying to show people the benefits of volunteering."
Inspired by the heartache witnessed during the 2019/20 bushfires, Kingaroy author Chrys McDuffie was determined to help in any way possible.
After a bushfire threatened to decimate her own property, Ms McDuffie witnessed first hand the terror and environmental impact of one of Australia's worst natural disasters.
"I'd drafted my first series of children's books and I just couldn't concentrate on them at all," she said.
"I felt compelled to do a little bit more, so I'd actually written a poem and that's how it started."
"Just to recognise what people were going through."
Ms McDuffie's launched "Daddy's Little Hero" at the end of last year, a children's book which tells the story of a six-year-old boy who wants to be just like his firefighter father.
The two main characters are based on her son-in-law, who is a rural firefighter, and her grandson who aspires to be like his hero dad when he grows up.
Wanting to get her message out into the community, Ms McDuffie teamed up with local filmmaker Tina Torrens, musician Rob Fitz-Herbert and his daughter Lily, who turned the original poem into song lyrics, and Phantom Studios owner Tony Cisneros, who recorded the father daughter duo singing and created a CD.
Simon Neal also assembled a website for Ms McDuffie, which can be found HERE.
All proceeds for the book and CD, which was illustrated by former Kingaroy State High School student Amber Fitz-Herbert, went to the local fire brigades and Wildlife Rescue.
Ms McDuffie's career as a children's book author began nine years ago, when she and her daughter co-authored a book about her dog.
"I jokingly said to her you really should write a book about him and that's what we did," she said.
As a mother of three and grandmother to five, Ms McDuffie draws inspiration from her loved ones and her career as the HR Superintendent at Meandu Mine.
As the Head of Department for Senior Schooling and the RTO manager, in addition to overseeing all vocational education and training, Kingaroy State High School teacher Leanne Krosch has her hands full.
Ms Krosch's 45 year long career as a teacher speaks to her passion for the job and all the young lives she's guided into adulthood.
Seeing the year 12s through COVID related school closures and ATAR anxiety, Ms Krosch provided a great deal of support to students as they battled the toughest year of their young lives.
"The teachers worked very hard to make sure the students weren't disadvantaged, and their results were exceptional this year," she said.
"A lot of people worked really hard and the kids worked really hard, so they really stepped up to what was required of the external exams."
Previously teaching ancient history, Ms Krosch now primarily teaches vocational education and training.
"The students here aren't all academic, so you've got to look at lots of pathways for them and provide for them," she said.
"Their talents often lie in different areas."
Ms Krosch started her teaching career in 1976 and has been at Kingaroy State High School since 2003.
"I love it. The people you work with, the students you meet - there are some amazing young people in the world and I think keeps you in touch," she said.
Oftentimes her students will come back to visit, which Ms Krosch said is one of her favourite parts of the job - getting to see how they've flourished as adults and gone on to have families of their own.
"You put so much time and effort into them and we don't always get to see the outcome of that," she said.
Outside of school, Ms Krosch and her husband are also passionate about actively showing their support for community organisations they're passionate about.
"We support a lot of community projects like RSPCA, Life Flight and the South Burnett Community Orchestra," she said.
"I've always loved animals and try to support the environment."
Leading a dedicated team of nurses, Jeanette Walters is the Acting Nurse Unit Manager for the Inpatient Unit at Kingaroy Hospital.
"Our nurses care for a huge array of patients, such as medical patients, surgical patients, and rehab patients," she said.
Having worked as a nurse for about 15 years, primarily in Kingaroy, Ms Walters said the most rewarding part of her job is witnessing the healing process - assisting in the physical and mental recuperation of her patients and seeing them go from strength to strength.
"I love it when we're able to get those patients well again and to the point where they're able to go home to the life they had before they got sick or injured," she said.
"It can be really rewarding. Some people go through some horrific situations and spend a really long time in inpatient care, even in the intensive care unit in surrounding areas."
"Those step down patients, when they're in Brisbane and Toowoomba, all they want to do is get home, and when they're transferred back to us that's another step closer to home."
For patients like these, Ms Walters plays special attention to their mental health, ensuring they stay positive and motivated throughout the healing process.
In a challenging year for medical staff worldwide, Ms Walters said the COVID-19 pandemic has really brought to light just what healthcare can entail and the critical role it can play in people's lives.
"People who previously would not have thought much about infectious disease or how things are spread, they are now becoming much more aware of it," she said.
Reflecting on the teams she has worked with, Ms Walters said she's enjoyed meeting and working alongside so many inspirational women and nurses, who serve as a critical support system for one another during the toughest times.
"No matter what, they walk through those doors prepared to care for their patients, even with whatever else is going on in their lives," she said.