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IF THERE’S something in Mundubbera you need information about, Colleen Whelan is a reliable first port of call and is always willing to help.
Colleen was born in Mundubbera and, apart from a year spent attending St Patrick’s School in Gympie, has lived in the town all her life.
Helping out where she can began in earnest for Colleen at age 10 when her mother’s death meant helping her father and grandmother care for her three younger siblings.
She has been an integral part of the close-knit community for many years and this was recognised in 1992 when she was presented with the Mundubbera Citizen of the Year Award.
At age 15 she joined the QCWA Younger Set where she held many positions before going on to be state leader for three years.
“I feel girls today miss out on a lot not belonging to as group like the Younger Set,” she said.
“We learned many life skills and took part in plays and concerts.”
Colleen’s involvement with the youth branch of QCWA carried on to the parent body in which she was very active for more than 30 years and received a service badge in recognition of her contribution to the organisation.
Always eager to foster the improvement of Mundubbera in the early 1960s, Colleen took on the role of secretary for the first Mundubbera and District Tourist Association and for the Mundubbera Shire Council Swimming Pool Committee.
The pool committee’s hard work paid off when the town pool opened in 1969.
In the 1960s Annie and Frank Nelson had a shop in Mundubbera – in one end was Mrs Nelson’s hairdressing business and the other was her husband’s electrical and radio repair shop – and Colleen’s first job was working for them doing pricing and bookwork.
Frank McCauley and Co was her next place of employment.
She worked there for many years as a shop assistant and as a Helene Rubinstein beauty consultant.
After some time at the florist shop, she began work at the newly established Spinning Wheel Boutique in 1995 and is still there today.
People who need a JP’s signature know where to find her and many others seeking information about what’s happening in town are often advised to see her.
In the week following the flood, Colleen supported her sister-in-law Cr Faye Whelan in the task of ensuring that everyone was safe and had access to food and shelter.
She is a committee member of Mundubbera Community Development Association, secretary of both the Archer Park Advisory Committee and the Local Ambulance Committee.
In 2011 Colleen was presented with a life membership badge for 40 years of involvement with the Mundubbera Catholic Women’s League where she holds the position of treasurer.
“Since my teenage years I’ve always been involved in community projects,” she said.
“I love our town and wouldn’t live anywhere else.
“My motto has always been: help people where you can, enjoy life and don’t dwell on what you can’t change.”
At weekends Colleen can be found volunteering in the canteen for any sporting group that needs a hand and watching the children.
COMMUNITY MINDED: Colleen Whelan continues to make a huge contribution to the Mundubbera community and wouldn't live anywhere else.