A taste of the mayorship
ABIGAIL Noli has officially become the second mayor of the new Douglas Shire Council.
While mayor Julia Leu is on leave, deputy mayor/councillor Noli stepped up to the job, chairing council’s meeting on Tuesday.
During the meeting, she announced her own mayoral minute: “That council agrees to meet in a workshop at the earliest opportunity with Mr Bob Norman, chair CHHHS, in regards to the Diwan Health Clinic with the view to progress discussions for the mutual benefit of the community and all parties and also with the view to scheduling a special meeting in the very near future to confirm terms for a lease for the new facility.”
Ms Noli said she made the motion to show council’s support for the development of a new purposebuilt health care facility north of the Daintree River. “I wanted to reiterate council’s enthusiasm and the importance of trying to achieve this good outcome for the upgrade of the clinic. We will do the best we can to secure that,” she said.
Overall, being the acting-mayor Ms Noli said has been fun and very busy, and in the last couple of weeks she has learnt more than in the last eight months of being a councillor: “And I learnt a lot in eight months!”
“It is so rewarding, the whole idea of why I wanted to become a councillor in the first place is because I love the area and want to see the best possible for the area,” she said.
“As a councillor, to be an acting-mayor is one step closer to doing the best I can. It’s very strange being this influential, although I am the most powerful person in the Shire, I actually feel the opposite ‒ I am the servant of the people.”
Ms Noli said that with the top job comes more responsibility and more of a workload. “Even though I have thoroughly enjoyed myself, when Julia comes back I will be happy to hand back the reins!”
IN the same week that Wonga Beach got its name officially recognised, the little town lost one of its most valued names ‒ Kathy, the owner of the Wonga Beach Servo.
Mrs Jordison and her husband Ron have sold the service station on the Daintree-Mossman Rd and after they sell their other servo at South Mossman they plan to retire.
No one begrudges the hard working Kathy a bit of a break after 22 years of running the servo and shop which since the demise of the Crossroads eatery nearer the river has become even more of a precious fuel and food stop.
She’ll be missed, as the couple of dozen locals who turned out for her surprise farewell gathering on Saturday testified.
In Kathy’s hands the Servo was a bit of a sanctuary. Ever modest and the last to want the spotlight on herself, nevertheless the acts of kindness and care toward the community over so many years mean there are plenty of people ready to pay tribute.
They know that during the couple of cyclones, most recently Ita, that have threatened the area in recent years Kathy kept the servo open.
“How she did it, I don’t know,” one of her staff told the Gazette.
For some she’s been the last port in a storm, putting in a few bob of her own money when they didn’t have enough.
Or, when in the aftermath of Ita, for example, she quietly fed the workers from Ergon and the others, every day for weeks, sending them food up to the Daintree from her shop. Not that she told anybody about that, like so many things.
Kathy and Ron have just bought a house at Rocky Point.
“I can’t get away from the area,” she said. “I like it too much. The community around here is just fantastic, everyone really looks after one another.
“Ronald and myself would like to thank very much the wonderful customers that we have served over the last 22 years as owners of the Wonga Beach Service Station as well as welcoming the new owners Ken and Helen Willey and wishing them the very best in their new venture.”
Her send off was a secret all over Wonga Beach ‒ the schoolkids had even distributed flyers ‒ but the ever-busy Kathy didn’t know about the extent of it until Saturday morning.
At the farewell gathering of course were the new owners, Ken and Helen Willey, who moved to Wonga Beach nearly 10 years ago.
“I didn’t like retirement very much,” said Helen, “so when this came on the market we decided to have a go. But Kathy’s are very big shoes to fill ‒ she’s an amazing lady.
“After working with her for the past 10 days the things that she does, the people living in the village just wouldn’t understand, the behind the scenes things that she does for people, little things like when they don’t have enough money she puts it in out of her own pocket.
“And she doesn’t stop ‒ she gets here every day at 5:30 in the morning and she’s go go go, on her feet the whole time and never stops. Amazing, she is.”
Deputy Mayor Abigail Noli stood in at the farewell as Mayor Julia Leu is currently overseas. She read a message from Mrs Leu.
“Andre and I are really disappointed that we can’t be there this afternoon to say farewell and best wishes to Kathy and Ron, and also welcome the new owners.
“Kathy and Ron are both such wonderful and generous people and we are really sad to see them leave Wonga Beach, but also pleased that they are going on their own terms, and want to wish them both the very best for the future.
“Kathy and Ron have been so much part of everyone ‘s life at Wonga Beach for so long, that it is hard to imagine the Servo without them. If there is an award for Australia’s best “Servo people” it should definitely go to Kathy and Ron.
“We bought our Wonga Beach property in 1991 and met Kathy and Ron when they took over the servo.
“They have been a huge part of helping make the community of Wonga Beach what it is today ‒ a caring community, that looks out for each other and of course is such a great place to live.
“The Servo is the hub of the community and thank you for generously allowing the display and advertising of local events, school events and raffles, local petitions and community and notices.
“Andre and I have always been so impressed with the calm, cool and collected manner that Kathy and Ron displayed often under quite extreme circumstances. Think about cyclones and bad weather, the endless questions and phone calls, eg is the road open to Mossman? When will it stop raining? Is Raldini’s over? etc.
Finally, we will all miss you but thankfully you will not be too far away in Mossman. We want to wish you both the very best for the future as you most definitely deserve it.”
Abigail Noli standing in for the mayor on Saturday
Rebecca Smith, Ron Jordison, Paula Martin
Kathy Jordison: 22 years, seven days a week
Valerie Lahey, Caroline Thompson and Cheryl Reay
Brad Gully, Kassie Thompson, James Gully and James Lahey
New Wonga Servo owners Helen and Ken Willey
Ray Jordison and Margaret Mitchell