Coast makes most of whales
EVEN the theft of $500 in donations to whale conservation failed to dampen spirits as 25,000 people converged on Hervey Bay for arguably the most successful whale festival ever.
Organisers and whale conservation groups were disappointed by the robbery of gold coin donations collected at the first Live Whale Aid Concert on Saturday night, after teenage thieves struck near the end of the night.
“When it became darker, they came over and knocked over flyers and books and then tipped over a table, spilling its contents across the ground to distract us,” Vanida Petts from the Fraser Coast council’s events crew said.
“While our backs were turned picking up the table and flyers, another group on the other side reached around and grabbed the cash box before they all fled in different directions.”
Donations can still be made at the council’s customer service and visitor information centres.
The council’s executive manager for tourism and marketing, Lisa Stephenson, hailed the festival as a triumph with numbers up notably on previous years.
“We refocused the event this year so everyone knew what we were celebrating,” she said.
“It was a better quality event. Our objective is to raise the event to a standard where we can market it outside the region.
“We need to look at the festival as an event we can use to target visitors to the Fraser Coast.”
Ms Stephenson said the visit of renowned conservationist Bob Irwin who went whale watching for the first time on Tasman Venture was a major plus.
“He couldn’t believe how great it was or what this community has done for the whales.”