We're for you: The Gympie Times commitment
THE Mary River floods regularly, but it was a potential man made flood that caused the biggest stir in the Gympie region in recent years.
In 2009, when then Federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett killed the plan to flood a great swathe of the most beautiful and fertile parts of the Gympie region, the community breathed a collective sigh of relief.
His decision was made at the end of three years of passionate campaigning against the Traveston dam by The Gympie Times.
One campaigner called it a win for "the world's greatest optimists, who would never give up," -- an unexpectedly effective amalgam of farmers, retirees, property owners and conservationists.
The Times' then editor, Michael Roser, committed the paper from Day 1, backing a Mary Valley community which the state government seriously underestimated. He was succeeded by Nev McHarg, who as a reporter broke the dam story on our front page the morning before Premier Peter Beattie flew in to announce it.
What became a long and ugly fight ended suddenly with the veto from Midnight Oil lead singer/politician Peter Garrett.
The cheers from the Kandanga Hotel, where the announcement was being watched live in a packed public bar, were also captured by television cameras, so big had the fight become.
It was about as famous as Kandanga has ever been.
Those involved in that campaign were just some of the many outstanding and intriguing characters who enrich our region.
We have plenty here who make us laugh, gasp and cry over our morning cuppa. They are men and women, girls and boys who live amongst us, work with us, play gigs at the local pub, volunteer at the Muster, drive our taxis and jog along our roadsides.
Their dreams, triumphs and challenges are the great Australian stories that make history and are shared through the pages and on the website of The Gympie Times.
Men like the humble and gentle Adam Whitehouse and Graeme Spillman, both awarded bravery medals for saving one young life and desperately trying to save another during that tragic day at Tin Can Bay last year when little Riley Cheetham drowned.
That story touched and broke our hearts.
We campaign now on behalf of Riley and the children before him, whose lives could have been saved by compulsory school swimming lessons #saveourschoolkids
We're for celebrations. Of women like beautiful and talented home-grown country music darling, Caitlyn Shadbolt, up for two awards at this year's Country Music Channel awards and keeping it real as her Gympie-born-and-bred star continues to rise.
Then there are local larrikins like fitness guru and dad Adam Cross, about to entertain Australia on the Spartans TV challenge and show the country what dedication, perseverance and man hair should look like.
These are just some of the many thousands of stories told by The Gympie Times since the first edition came off the press on February 15, 1868.
We tell them because we are for you.
That has been taught to us by the many great people who have owned, run and worked at The Gympie Times.
Great editors like Walter Woolgar, Terry Ramsey, Michael Roser and Ian Pedley, reporters like Lisa Millar and Peter Atkinson, and photographers like Keith "Flashbulb" Brown and Craig Warhurst, who climbed the corporate ladder and now edits our big sister, The Sunshine Coast Daily.
Their teachings were why we celebrated when Wide Bay MP Llew O'Brien announced the fast tracking of the detailed design of the Bruce Highway's Coora to Curra bypass.
It meant construction is likely to happen sooner than initially planned and lives will be saved.
We're for a fair go.
Campaigning on behalf of our readers helped secure an on-site CT scanner for the Gympie Hospital last year, health technology we know will create better outcomes for stroke victims in our region.
We campaigned successfully against a proposal by the electoral commission to split the Gympie electorate in half, and dump our coastal communities in with Noosa.
Every week more than 32,000 people read The Gympie Times.
We may be small, but the quality is undoubted. For three out of the past four years, including last year, it has taken out the PANPA Community Newspaper of the Year, outshining daily newspapers from throughout Australia and the Pacific region.
These days of course, you get the news 24/7 thanks to the website and app.
We're there for you when you need us. When the rains come and the roads close, you can trust our news deliverers. We allow you to "follow" topics and writers, meaning their stories hit your inbow first. We've just bought a drone, meaning even more great video will start to feature online.
In 2017, The Gympie Times experienced 58% growth in mobile traffic, 47% growth in mobile unique users, and a 36% growth in website traffic accompanied by 136% growth in unique visitors to our website.
Digital subscriptions in January this year alone grew by 64%.
As The Gympie Times celebrates its 150th birthday this year, we look forward to another 150 years of recording history, entertaining, informing, campaigning and being an integral part of this community.
We are The Gympie Times. We're for you.