FOUR GENERATIONS: Former Wambaliman newsletter editors Pam Soper, John Sinclair, Jenni Watts, and current editor Rodney Jones, paid tribute to 50 years of the publication with a gathering at Botanic Gardens recently.
FOUR GENERATIONS: Former Wambaliman newsletter editors Pam Soper, John Sinclair, Jenni Watts, and current editor Rodney Jones, paid tribute to 50 years of the publication with a gathering at Botanic Gardens recently.

Wambaliman producers celebrate 50-year milestone

IN JULY 1967, the first Wambaliman Newsletter was produced by John Sinclair to report on news and information on the Maryborough Field Naturalist Club and the Maryborough Branch of the Wildlife Preservation Society of Queensland.

Now just four editors later, members of the Wildlife Preservation Society of Queensland, Fraser Coast branch, hosted a 50-year celebration of the product at the Botanic Gardens last month.

Former editor Jenni Watts also released an informative booklet on the night to mark the milestone called This Wambaliman Life, which details the history of Wambaliman from its early days to today.

It also encompasses many of the battles fought by local conservationists, including sand mining and logging on Fraser Island, Walla Weir and Paradise Dam on the Burnett River, and Traveston Dam on the Mary River.

In the booklet, Ms Watts wrote that it was an "extraordinary achievement" for a handful of volunteers to continue publishing the newsletter for all those years.

"The newsletter is still produced as a small booklet printed black on white, as it was in the beginning," Ms Watts said.

"There are still nature notes and articles highlighting local conservation issues and reports on outings and meetings.

"We now have workshops, speakers, walks and library talks."

Back in a time when computers, printers and the internet weren't available, Ms Watts recalls using the manual typewriter and manual cutting and pasting as part of the production process.

"These days we can choose from a selection of digital photos ... in the past maybe someone submitted a hand-drawn sketch.

"The first Wambaliman was posted, or delivered, to around 50 people."

Four out of the five past editors of the publication attended the celebrations including Ms Watts, founder John Sinclair, Pam Soper and current editor Rodney Jones.

Well known Maryborough identity Fay Smith, who was the second editor, died in 1993.

Now produced quarterly by Wildlife Queensland, Fraser Coast branch, president Peter Duck said about 30 members, many who have been contributors over the years, attended the celebration.

"Each (editor) spoke about the experience and how it had shaped their lives," Mr Duck said.

"The current editor Rodney Jones reminded those at the gathering that the longevity and regard that Wambaliman has, is largely due to the quality of the contributions received from local naturalists and environmentalists."

Copies of the booklet are available at local Fraser Coast libraries, by phoning Mr Duck on 0432 250 213 or by email at ggduckz@gmail.com.



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