The regions most influential people.
The regions most influential people.

POWER 30: Gympie's most influential families

SOME great achievements take a team effort, and some of them are from families who have left an indelible mark on a place.

This is the spirit behind four of Gympie's most influential families; two were voted into this year's Power 30 as a group and others are an extended effort of which one has made a big impression.

#4 Corbets (#24 on list)

Andrew Corbet.
Andrew Corbet. Craig Warhurst

LEADER of the Corbet's Group, Andrew "Aussie” Corbet is instrumental in not only driving major growth and industry in the Gympie region, but carrying Gympie's name across Australia.

As general manager of the enormous Gympie enterprise, Mr Corbet has jumped up from 29th place on Gympie's Power 30 list last year to 24 this year.

He is responsible for a 40-year-old sawmill and engineering business that has evolved into one of the largest Australian multi-industry companies; now operating in transport, land clearing, water processing, storage, equipment hire and landscape supplies.

The company provides 300 jobs in the Gympie region, including FIFO workers to major mining sites.

The transport section of the Corbet's Group, made up of a fleet of 120 trucks running from Melbourne to North Queensland, recently added a 30m A-double road train to their fleet.

It was the first of its kind to run the Bruce Highway, and Mr Corbet's push for approval with the state and federal government over a two-year period before he piloted the first truck in June, has opened the door for the Queensland transport industry.

Two more are on order for the company, while other transport companies are already following suit. The growing innovation will change the face of Queensland trucking, as larger haulage capabilities cuts the number of trucks on the road.

Heat has surrounded one of the company's latest expansions, following approval of a controversial quarry and concrete batching plant near the Mary Valley Link Road that will generate up to 50 Gympie region jobs.

While the latest project - a controversial quarry and concrete plant expansion - has been green-lit that will generate new jobs in the region, it is being appealed in the planning and environment court.

Crucial Corbet's Group sponsorship is responsible for the livelihood of Gympie's A-Grade rugby league team, the Gympie Devils.

An avid motor sport fan, Mr Corbet almost single handedly saved the Mother Mountain Speedway after injecting a significant amount of time and sponsorship into the sport.

While "Aussie” might be the best known, he is not the only member of the family who has played a key part in the region's development.

Perry Corbet's work at the Gympie Timber Company has also shaped the region's economy, including being the first Australian business to order a PureCycle Organic Rankine Cycle unit in 2011 - technology which was at the forefront of the renewable energy push at the time.

Also not to be overlooked is the business acumen and impact that Tony, Alissa, and Wes Corbet have had on the region over the years, too.

#3 Callaghans (#12 on list)

Chris Callaghan.
Chris Callaghan. Renee Albrecht

GYMPIE magistrate Chris Callaghan holds the power when it comes to sitting in judgement on wrong doers in the region.

But even he disagrees with the term "mandatory sentencing”.

As president of the Magistrates Association, he says a lot of his colleagues, in particular female colleagues, have been unfairly castigated by the media, with "a populist view that magistrates are soft, but we're not”.

"I and my colleagues send people to jail regularly when the situation requires it, but at the end of the day, our job is to protect the community.

"And sometimes the community is better off if a person doesn't go to jail.

"For instance if they've got a job, they're doing well and you can tell they're stable and making progress and contributing to the community.

"Do I want to send them to jail, pull them out of the job and then ultimately return them to society, desperate for money, idle and depressed?

"You can lock someone up and that works to protect the community as long as they're in jail. What happens when they're released? Yes some may be deterred from committing that crime in the future but in my experience a great many criminals don't consider the consequences.

Mandatory sentencing is part of what he calls a "tough on crime auction” that over-simplifies the issues. "You can't have 'one size fits all',” he says.

Some penalties, including jail and even mandatory loss of a driver's licence, can have devastating consequences.

"It's different in Brisbane and the Gold Coast, where people can take public transport. But how is a farm worker going to get to work without a licence?

"Someone moves house, doesn't get their mail and misses a payment on their SPER account, they can lose their licence.” And in the regions, he says that often means they lose their jobs, hurting the whole community.

To keep that up and to deliver justice fairly and efficiently, it is important the courts have a working relationship with the police, especially with prosecution officers, to keep cases flowing through.

"But that's where the relationship must end. We get a lot of work done and get a lot of co-operation from prosecutors, as we also do from the duty lawyers who also do an excellent job for their clients in the limited time they have with them.”

Mr Callaghan came from private practice as a criminal defence lawyer, defending some serious criminals.

He was admitted in 1980 to practice as a solicitor on the Sunshine Coast.

He went to the Bar in Brisbane in 1991 until 1995 and was a solicitor/advocate primarily in the criminal courts until his appointment as a Magistrate in 2007.

In addition to sitting on the Gympie courtroom bench, Mr Callaghan is in charge of keeping the wheels of the law turning over a huge regional area.

In fact, he runs the show when it comes to justice from Hervey Bay and Maryborough to Caloundra and west to Kingaroy, administering a system that handles 3500 matters a year, or about 70 cases a week.

While Mr Callaghan has had a direct impact on the region's judicial system, not to be forgotten is the wider effect his sister Bernadette Callaghan has had from afar.

Know for her soft touch on sentences (which raised the ire of the media and victim advocates on many occaisons), Ms Callaghan's passion for a fair system played a key role in balancing the scales.

#2 Madill Family (#9 on list)

John Scott Madill, Garth Madill, Adam Madill and John Madill.
John Scott Madill, Garth Madill, Adam Madill and John Madill. FILE

AN ICONIC Gympie family with as much passion for their community as their motoring business, the Madills land inside the top 10 of the 2018 Power 30 list for a second straight year.

Brothers Tom and Alex Madill founded the company in 1935, before Tom's sons Garth and John began building on their father's legacy in 1966 when Garth joined the Madill Motor Group as a trainee, before John came on board in 1975.

Three generations of the family have worked with passion and tireless dedication to create one of Gympie's biggest business empires, with John's son Adam and Garth's son John Scott now playing significant roles in the continued success of the Madill brand.

What began as two dealerships in '75 grew to become seven today, with Holden, HSV, Toyota, Isuzu Trucks, Mazda, Honda and Suzuki all brands sold under the Madill name.

Their Isuzu Trucks brand at Forest Glen supplies vehicles to the entire Sunshine Coast.

Last year the family became owners and operators of RACQ Roadside Assistance services through Caloundra to Noosa and insurance officers from Maroochydore to Noosa.

Maintaining around 60 employees in the Gold City and a further 60 at Madill dealerships in Noosa and Forest Glen, the Motor Group family uphold teamwork above all other factors in their formula for sustained success.

They also own the Gold Nugget Service Station at the entrance to town, and credit their loyal employees and managers across all of their business ventures for playing a role in their longevity.

An ever-present name in various Gympie- based causes, annual events and organisations, the Madills have kept their strong belief in giving back to the community they have worked so hard in.

The Madill Motor Group continue to serves as prominent sponsor of Gympie Turf Club, with tickets available for a winner's choice giveaway car available at every race day on the calendar.

The lucky winner has the choice of a Suzuki Swift, a Mazda 2, a Toyota Yaris or a Holden Barina.

Earlier this year, Madill Mazda sponsored the People's Choice category at the 2018 Gympie Chamber of Commerce Business Awards, which was won by Victory College.

John Madill Toyota continues to sponsor Roadcraft, an initiative the family have been involved with since Tom served in an executive role during the Driver Education program's formative days.

Garth is heavily invested in the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia committee, and the PCFA is a major beneficiary of the Madill Motor Group.

John and Garth are both recipients of the Paul Harris fellowship in the Rotary Club of Gympie and Cooloola, and John is the president of the Salvation Army Noosa Region Red Shield Appeal fundraiser.

Adam serves as chair of the Gympie Salvation Army Red Shield Appeal, and represents the Madill Motor Group as a member of the Chamber of Commerce.

The Gympie Vets Golf group, Little Haven Palliative Care, the Tin Can Bay Coast Guard and the Rattler Railway Company feature as just some of the regional community groups the Madills remain affiliated with.

#1 Nolan Family (#8 on list)

THE NOLAN FAMILY: Michael, Tony and Terry Nolan have cemented their family business as one of the most iconic in the history of the Gympie region.
THE NOLAN FAMILY: Michael, Tony and Terry Nolan have cemented their family business as one of the most iconic in the history of the Gympie region. Josh Preston

A NAME synonymous with the history of Gympie and its business sector, the Nolan family retains its spot inside the top 10 of the 2018 Power 30 due to its continued expansions - and its status as one of the region's biggest employers.

Now more than 70 years on from patriarch Pat Nolan's first foray into the Gympie meat trade as an apprentice in an Apollonian Vale butcher shop in 1945, Nolan Meats continues to go from strength to strength as one of the best producers, distributors and exporters of quality meat products around the globe while maintaining its headquarters in the heart of the region.

Pat and Marie Nolan's three sons, Terry, Tony and Michael, have honoured the spirit of what started as a small family butcher shop in 1958, spearheading and shaping its transition into a global empire.

With more than 400 staff on the books, the Nolans are well known as one of the largest local employers in the region, while their products are sampled in 30 countries including Japan, Korea, United States, Malaysia and Indonesia.

They are steadfast in their support of local farmers, giving them access to overseas markets by buying local cattle, and their 'Private Selection' signature brand of beef has been branded through Woolworths and featured on the Breakfast Creek Hotel menu.

The company's year so far has been highlighted by securing a major $9.95million expansion to be rolled out at the East Deep Creek facility during the next five years.

The expansion, which included $4.97million in Federal Government funding, is expected to create 200 jobs and 45 more during construction.

Tony said the expansion would occur all over the plant and will allow the company to double its production from 550 to 1100 cattle a day in future.

Terry added the expansion projects would also enhance the plant's infrastructure and design.

Another recent big-scale addition at their East Deep Creek facility saw their Dematic automated storage and retrieval system, which forms part of their muti-million dollar cold distribution facility, become the biggest in the southern hemisphere.

Ever present in the community they love, all three Nolan brothers have received Paul Harris fellowships in the Rotary Club of Gympie and Cooloola.

Tony has served as chairman of the Gympie Music Muster and the family remains involved in the local Apex Club.

The Nolans continue to sponsor the Muster Cup, which is the biggest race day on the Gympie Turf Club's calendar, along with long-term sponsorships of the Gympie Show Society and "fairly well established work programs to introduce young people into the workforce”.

Terry said there were about 45 Gympie students working at Nolans after school hours to establish themselves with potential career options.

The family lost its matriarch with the passing of Marie earlier this month, and held a celebration of her life at St Patrick's church to commemorate her passion and dedication to the family business and the Gympie community.

The promise of additional expansions on the local and international scale ensures the iconic Nolan family will honour Marie's legacy and remain a Gympie powerhouse for years to come.

Gympie Times


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