The Champions of the Douglas Shire

Every now and then an extra special job comes my way.  In honour of International Day of People with a Disability a booklet to celebrate people who make a difference to our community was released.

I was lucky enough to photograph portraits of the Champions of Douglas for the Cairns Regional Council.  In doing so I met all these wonderful and inspiring people. I feel truly humbled and lucky to have these people in my commumity, and to be part of a community who celebrates them.

Clarence Swindley defied all odds since birth and is an absolute delight to be around.  He is a director on the board of Goobidi, works hard for the Kuku Yalanji people, has a fantastic sense of humour and laughs alot.

Kay Creek is a beautiful woman.  Her strength is apparent in the first meeting.  I met Kay at the raintrees in Mossman where she has a market stall and photographed her amongst the great trees.

Angelica Maffey-Stumpe has the most beautiful smile I’ve seen in a long time.  She was hard at work when we met her, and continued to work through the shoot.

Grant Chandler – this smile says it all.  He’ll have you laughing within 5 minutes of meeting him.  “Life is all about choices – victim or survivor, it’s your choice.”

Etta Haslam, Jody Marsh & Ilonka Pitt are the dedicated teacher’s aides supporting students with disabilities at Mossman High School.  There is a whole lot of love in this room.  We were greeted with hugs and offers of coffee.

Billie-Ray Czygan is Mossman High student with a beautiful smile and the most amazing blue eyes.  We photographed her holding her Joshua Goodall Ambassador for Inclusion award for 2010.

David Buchanan is a respected elder of the Kuku Yalanji nation.  Throughout his term as chair of Bamaga Bubu Ngadimunku Corporation if he could not understand government officials speaking technical English he would speak to them in his language until a compromise was reached.  In the image below, he is holding a photograph of himself.

Geneva Gilbert is a little energetic bundle of joy.  I had a fantastic afternoon with her when she finished school.  She’s inquisitive and delightful. She loves AFL and presented a medal at the Grand Final in Melbourne and played Auskick at half time on the MCG.

When we’d had enough of taking photos we went down to the creek for a swim.  Geneva wanted to go in my car so I wouldn’t have to drive there by myself.

We met Ted Thorburn at the Mossman Community Centre where he is often helping out.  His involvement with local committees has led to many changes for people in the community living with disabilities.

David Wane’s vision deteriorated in 2006.  He enjoys getting out and about and loving life.  We photographed David at the bottom of the Bump Track where he is in training to hike the Kokoda Track in PNG next April.

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  1. theresa says:

    Great photos. I love the anecdote about David Buchanan – clever tactic!

  2. This may be this blog’s greatest blog on the net..

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