FITTEST TOWN IN THE NORTH

Townsville Bulletin - - FRONT PAGE - EVAN MOR­GAN evan. mor­gan@ news. com. au

WITH a pop­u­la­tion of just 400, the small out­back town of Ju­lia Creek is on a mis­sion to be­come the fittest com­mu­nity in Aus­tralia

The venue for the an­nual iconic Dirt N Dust Triathlon, the town has just opened a coun­cil- op­er­ated 24- hour gym and 65 peo­ple have al­ready signed on as mem­bers.

The $ 367,000 pro­ject is fur­nished with the latest equip­ment in­clud­ing tread­mills, sta­tion­ary bikes, free weights and as­sisted weights sta­tions.

It was funded in part­ner­ship with South32 Can­ning­ton mine, the Queens­land Gov­ern­ment and McKin­lay Shire Coun­cil and named af­ter the late Daren Ginns who served as shire coun­cil­lor and mayor.

Mayor Belinda Mur­phy has no doubt Ju­lia Creek is al­ready one of the na­tion’s fittest com­mu­ni­ties.

“I would not doubt we are up there as we have a bunch of coun­cil­lors who do the triathlon. I have done some crazy marathons,” she said.

“We do a lot of rugby and touch football, we have a new triathlon club and, of course, the Dirt N Dust Triathlon.

“I have re­ally seen the change over the last few years and def­i­nitely when the weather starts warm­ing up there are just so many peo­ple walk­ing or run­ning or rid­ing their bikes and I think we are on the way to be­ing a very healthy com­mu­nity.”

Cr Mur­phy is not sur­prised that so many have al­ready joined the gym and with gym mem­ber­ship set at $ 20 a month ex­pects many more McKin­lay Shire res­i­dents to be sign­ing on.

“I would ex­pect a lot more too and to see that num­ber al­ready be­fore we had opened was a re­ally great re­sult and showed the de­mand was there,” she said.

Calem Fe­gan, 18, nephew of North Queens­land triathlon leg­end Max Fe­gan, has al­ready

the gym just al­lows part of the com­mu­nity to come to­gether

CALEM FE­GAN

done his gym in­duc­tion and sees the fa­cil­ity as a great as­set for the com­mu­nity.

“It means a lot to us as a com­mu­nity as a lot of younger peo­ple are co m i n g back but there has not been a lot to do in the past – but now football is com­ing back and the gym just al­lows part of the com­mu­nity to come to­gether,” he said.

Calem plays rugby in Mount Isa and says the gym will help him keep in good shape. “I drive about 600km on a week­end to play rugby in Mount Isa dur­ing the sea­son, play a game then get back here at 2am,” he said.

Pic­tures: EVAN MOR­GAN

UP­LIFT­ING EX­PE­RI­ENCE: Calem Fe­gan ( above) Annabelle Har­ring­ton ( right) are among the many Ju­lia Creek res­i­dents to jump at the chance to join the out­back town’s new state- ofthe- art gym.

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