Skytrans Blog

Archive for August, 2012

Windorah Sports Camp in it’s 22nd year!

Friday, August 24th, 2012

The annual Windorah Sports Camp was held from 18 to 22 June. This camp proves an opportunity for outback primary school children to receive specialised instruction from professional sports coaches. Skytrans has been involved for the last three years in providing travel, free of charge, for these coaches to Windorah.

This is the 22nd year for the camp which had its inception in 1992.  The camp enables hundreds of students in Western Queensland the chance to develop their physical, social and personal skills.  Rural and remote schools often experience difficulty in gaining regular access to specialist physical education teachers as well as the hardships experienced when teaching team sports to a school with low enrolment numbers and children spanning every primary school year level! 

Professional, accredited coaches were sourced to provide the best possible coaching and included baseball, athletics, touch football, cricket, gymnastics and tennis for the 2012 camp.  The coaches came on the Skytrans flight from Brisbane to Windorah for the week long camp. 

Ninety-two students were in attendance ranging in age from 5 to 13 years, with participants travelling up to 500 km to attend the camp.  Students came from Windorah, Jundah, Stonehenge, Bedourie, Birdsville, Isisford, Muttaburra, Jericho, Mount Isa, Longreach and Charleville Schools of Distant Education.

The camp continues to provide students with valuable educational and social experiences, irrespective of the tyrannyof distance and geographic isolation.




“Hey Brother”

Thursday, August 23rd, 2012

Alwyn Owens and Rod Lucas have combined their talents to bring us the children’s book, “Hey Brother””. This quirky rhythmic story celebrates the universal themes of mateship & fishing, with a lively local feel.

Author Alwyn Owens grew up in his home town of Croydon, with both his parents of the Takalak tribe from around the Croydon area. He has a bachelor degree in Adult Education from the University of Technology in Sydney & and an Advanced Diploma in Community Management from the Macquarie University in Sydney. Alwyn now resides in Normanton, and has taken an interest in writing children’s stories and poetry.

Illustrator Rod Lucas grew up in Gulf country where his father worked on cattle stations. He now resides in Karumba where he is a respected artist, painting on canvases, murals and writing & illustrating books.

If you’d like to get a copy of “Hey Brother” and support local Indigenous talent, you can purchase a copy online from Black Ink Press.


Rodeo Fever Hits Mount Isa

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

 Skytrans has been a major supporter of the Xstrata Mount Isa Rotary Rodeo for some time now and the event continues to go from strength to strength.

The rodeo is the largest event of its type in the southern hemisphere with approximately 20,000 people attending the three day event.

The Isa Rodeo Festival is one of the highlights of the outback Queensland events calendar – packed full of world class rodeo action, live music, Mardi Gras, Queens Quest, Brophy’s Boxing Troupe, markets, sideshow alley, Rodeo Ball, Mailman Express, Bush Poets Breakfast, Best Dressed Premises Awards and more!

The Xstrata Mount Isa Rotary Rodeo draws tourists and participants from all over the world, attracting much welcome tourism opportunities and dollars into the local economy. Skytrans continues to support the event and contribute to its growth and benefit to the North West community.

The Mount Isa Rodeo is held over the second weekend of August each year. Make a note in your calendar for August 2013, it will be bigger than ever and Skytrans will be there again.




Pictured Above:

  • Christopher Palmer Skytrans Sales Manager, Martha De Best Xtrata Mount Isa Rotary Rodeo Charity Queen, Colin Jackson Editor at Large of Blues Country Magazine, Steve Jones Skytrans Commercial Manager & Andrew Dineen Project Manager Parker Travel Colleciton.
  • Steve Jones & Andrew Dineen with Rodeo Mascott ‘Chainsaw’




Skytrans Inaugural Toowoomba to Sydney Service!

Monday, August 20th, 2012

A chilly July morning in Toowoomba saw passengers rugged up in readiness for the Inaugural Toowoomba to Sydney flight. This newest of Skytrans routes has been in the planning stages for over a year now, and has been highly anticipated.

Toowoomba Lord Mayor Paul Antonio and several other Toowoomba dignitaries officiated in a cake cutting ceremony in what is a turning point in Toowoomba’s history, witnessed by 39 passengers set to board the inaugural service.

Television, Press and Radio were at the forefront capturing every moment and a journalist from the Toowoomba Chronicle accompanied us on the flight recording every exciting moment.

Clear blue skies paved the way for a smooth flight to Sydney while Flight Attendants Hayley and Sam attended to passengers every whim.

Touch down in Sydney was met with applause and a great sense of pride, and being part of such an historic moment could be felt by all. Two fire trucks delivered the traditional water cannon welcome as the plane made its way down the taxiway and capped off the realization of such a memorable flight.

A very warm welcome by the CEO of the Sydney Airport and other dignitaries brought home just how important this service is, and the long term benefits it generates for Toowoomba. This is the first regional interstate service operated into Sydney airport, illustrating the emergence of the Downs region as a strong economic performer for Queensland.

An enthusiastic group of passengers boarded for the flight from Sydney to Toowoomba. Once again we were blessed with blue skies and the flight to Toowoomba went smoothly and without a hitch.

The commitment by all concerned in the preparation and execution on the day resulted in a highly successful launch and one which impressed all who attended.


Mud soaked stars of the NPA

Monday, August 20th, 2012

If there is one thing that is sure to bring the communities of the NPA together, it’s the promise of drivers throwing their four wheel drives into the squelching depths of the mud rally track. One of the main highlights of the NPA Show in August, their latest mud rally didn’t disappoint.

At a first glance, the course might seem simple enough, with a few crests, turns and straights– but after being soaked overnight and topped up with bubbling muddy water, the hidden track is a test of four wheel drive capabilities, driver concentration and most importantly; a total disregard for the final state of your vehicle.


Open to locals and tourists alike, each competitor did their best at emptying the track, with wings of muddy water flying from the spinning wheels. There was no telling anyone apart once they reached the finish line, each returning with skin stained the colour of deep red mud. Local driver Alfred Nona offered his mud veteran vehicle Yellow Marn, to any drivers willing to take on the track, saying “it’s just a pig hunting vehicle now,” as he watched his vehicle trump the course over and over again with a muddy grin.

As each vehicle assaulted the track, storms of mud flew from their take off at the starting line, covering NPARC officials and emergency servicemen with red freckles, as they stood watching with baited breath. In an arena where drivers push their vehicles to the limit, drowning engines and losing doors and wheels over the hidden bumps and pot holes, it seems amazing there was only one roll over. Though not even a quick dunk in the muddy water dampened spirits, as emergency vehicles rushed to the horizontal car, the driver and passengers were already standing on the roof having a giggle at their newly acquired face paint.


After a day of heats and another round for the finals, the winners were surely in need of a swim and some true rest and relaxation, looking forward to enjoying the first prize, a return trip for two to Cairns, donated by Mud Rally sponsor, Skytrans.

In the wake of another fantastic show thanks must go to this year’s generous sponsors; Northern Peninsula Regional Council (NPARC), QLD Government Torres Strait Regional Authority (TSRA), Sea Swift and Skytrans, as well as our supporters QLD Ambulance, QLD Police, NPA Rural Fire Brigade and Emergency Services, Torres News and the vibrant entrants and supporters of the NPA Communities.



    Article & Photos Courtesy of Jessica Saxton, NPARC Media Officer



“Deadly Story” Justin Lee-Walker

Friday, August 17th, 2012

Justin Lee-Walker is a softly spoken man who has for many years understood the importance of maintaining culture and looking after Country.

Born in Mareeba in 1978 Justin grew up in Coen as a young lad with his mother’s family.

As a Wik-Mungkan man, Justin has lived and worked at Merapah Station, which is an outstation north west of Coen.

It was here, through the mentoring of his grandfather, that he learnt the teachings of culture, language, dance and the importance of being a warrior.

Justin is an Information and Inspection Officer with the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries at Biosecurity Queensland, where he helps the government’s effort to prevent, respond to, and recover from pests and disease that threaten the economy and environment.

Where were you born?

I was born in Mareeba in 1978 and my traditional country is Wik-Mungkan in the Merapah area.

What have been some of your biggest achievements?

My biggest achievement is learning my culture, language and song from my grandfather and learning the knowledge of looking after country.

I am a medicine man and a warrior, something that I take seriously and something that is close to my heart.

Who have been your biggest influences in your life?

My grandfather taught me my culture, language, song and dance and he has been the biggest influence in my life.

He has been my mentor and role model and when some of my family passed away I realised that I needed to go back out bush and listen to the spirits and the old people (Ancestors) for direction in my life.

What are your plans for the future?

I have been working with Biosecurity Queensland (Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry) for seven years and I would like to stay there for a few more years, but ultimately I want to take my cousins and grandsons out to country and teach them their culture and show them their future.

What advice do you have to help our young people succeed in life?

My hopes for the younger kids is to make sure that they speak their language and learn their culture, whether it be through shake-a-leg (dance), songs, fishing or cultural stories.

For me, it’s about raising them to be warriors.


The deadly stories campaign celebrates the many achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their communities.

What’s your Deadly Story?

Check out other Deadly Story’s at


Skytrans Take Pride Holiday Clinic

Monday, August 6th, 2012

Junior Rugby League players from throughout the Gulf and Cape regions joined their city slicker cousins when the Skytrans Take Pride Holiday Clinic got underway in Cairns in early July.

Now in its fourth year, the Holiday Clinic is hosted by the Take Pride Program and features Northern Pride players and coaching staff passing on the lessons which have helped the Pride become heavyweights of the Intrust Super Cup competition.

Held at Barlow Park in Cairns, Skytrans provided the flights which allowed 12 players from the remote communities of Mt Isa, Mornington Island, Northern Peninsula Area, Aurukun & Pormpuraaw to join the Cairns based players tolearn a range of skills from their illustrious coaching staff.

Held over three days, the Clinic hosts players from 5 years of age to 14, with all participants receiving a football, kicking tee, t-shirt, hat, water bottle and boot bag, while learning all the secrets of becoming a great footballer.


NPA Artists Showcase in Cairns

Friday, August 3rd, 2012

In June artists from the Northern Peninsula Area showcased their works in the very first exhibition focusing solely on the art of the NPA, at UMI Arts in Cairns.

The exhibition entitled Ngalpa Mura Tjar’a Tjera Apudthama represents the cultural background and journey taken by each of the artists, and is a blend of Saibai, Mapoon & Injinoo language meaning ‘Our Journey Together’.

Skytrans were proud to support the artists in this milestone exhibition by providing discounted airfares and freight to Cairns, for the preparation & opening of the exhibition.

Ngalpa Mura Tjar’a Tjera Apudthama was the culmination of many months of work and development through the UMI Arts Exhibition Ready Program, which assists Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander artists in gaining the skills and experience required to prepare art works for professional exhibition and sale.

If you missed the opportunity to get in and see these beautiful artworks during the Ngalpa Mura Tjar’a Tjera Apudthama exhibition, remaining works will be showcased from 15 August to 26 September in the Pathways Exhibition at UMI Arts.  Or you can visit the NPA Art website at



Photos courtesy of Jessica Saxton, NPARC Media Officer:
  • Vincent Babia, mayor of NPA Bernard Charlie, Neville Reys, Marsat Newman (in the back), Ron Kelly-Peter, Roy Solomon, Agnes Mark and George Warria, Arone Meeks, Dom Johns, Susan Kennedy, Geraldine Yorke, Liz Hunter and Anzac Newman –opening night
  • A guest at the exhibition opening night. (Please note this image has been used as a feature image in NPA News issue 38)
  • NPA Artist Vincent Babia at his home in Seisia, working on his piece Ait Koedal. The work tells the story of his clan group from Saibai Island.
  • Roy Solomon, Johnny Mark and Susan Kennedy, looking at Roy’s semi finished work Breastplate. Taken in the weeks before the exhibition opening, at the NPA Arts Centre in New Mapoon.
  • Teho Ropeyarn (UMI Arts Indigenous Development Officer, former Injinoo resident) and NPA Artist Geraldine Yorke from New Mapoon. They are preparing her painting to be hung, in the exhibition room of UMI Arts.