Our font of wis­dom

Central and North Burnett Times - - OVER 50S - Sue Har­ris sue.har­ris@cnbtimes.com.au

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.

PHOTO: SUE HAR­RIS

COM­MU­NITY MINDED: Colleen Whe­lan con­tin­ues to make a huge con­tri­bu­tion to the Mun­dub­bera com­mu­nity and wouldn't live any­where else.

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