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On a fine and sunny day the Saunders Beach Action Group celebrated the charm and beauty of Saunders Beach by holding a Fun Day at the Cay Street Park and in front of the Holiday Units (then operated by June and Winston).

The year was about 1992 and since 1989 the Action Group had been fighting a move by Queensland Nickel to build a 1.35 kilometre long jetty off Saunders Beach into Halifax Bay. As part of the plan two 90,000 tonne ships (some newspaper reports say 60,000) would be permitted to unload nickel ore onto barges in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. The barges would then transport the ore to the seaward side of the jetty. From there a conveyor belt would take the ore into the refinery.

In 1990 the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority vetoed the jetty plans on environmental grounds. Queensland Nickel appealed. On the 8th August 1992 the Canberra Times reported from Townsville that the Administrative Appeals Tribunal had ended Australia’s longest-running and most expensive civil law case without making a decision on whether nickel ore could be unloaded on the edge of the Great Barrier Reef. Queensland Nickel had wanted to withdraw from the case in June 1992 and on 7th August Justice Peter Gray of the Administrative Appeals Court decided the company was entitled to do so.

If you want to read more on this – The Canberra Times, Saturday 8 August 1992, page 6. National Library of Australia, Trove. http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/137171037/13976628?zoomLevel=3

Queensland Parliamentary Debates (Hansard), Legislative Assembly Tuesday 11 April 1989. http://www.parliament.qld.gov.au/documents/hansard/1989/1989_04_11.pdf This is a 162 page .pdf document. If you decide to download it the section relating to Saunders Beach starts at .pdf page 42/162.

With that overriding theme, Pricey from the breakfast show on 4TO was master of ceremonies for the day. Steve Price currently writes a regular column for the Townsville Bulletin and in 2013 celebrated 30 years behind the microphone. On the Saunders Beach Fun Day his microphone was on the back of a truck.

Children enjoyed a Ferris wheel and jumping castle and all ages took part in a treasure hunt. In muddy sand they searched for film-roll canisters (for old style non-digital cameras). These containers held slips of paper with the prize on them.

The sandcastle competition attracted entries from near and far. James Cook University students arrived with their paint brushes to put the finishing touches to their creations. The winner was titled Fast Food.

An auction of an original painting by Ludo Collingwood attracted spirited bidding.


Thank you to all for your generous contributions of photos and article content. If you have more to add, your comments are welcome below.

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