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Mount Isa Corps brings remote Urandangie to life

Mount Isa Corps brings remote Urandangie to life

Mount Isa Corps brings remote Urandangie to life

3 September 2019

Movies under the stars in remote Urandangie was just one of the highlights of the Mount Isa Salvation Army pamper day and community weekend.

By Simone Worthing

A pamper day, family movie night under the stars and church on the pub verandah were just some of the highlights of a weekend of community outreach in the isolated Queensland outback town of Urandangie on 24-25 August.

The Salvation Army in Mount Isa, led by Lieutenants Natalie and Simon Steele, ran the fourth annual Dangie Pamper Day and other activities, supported by Lieutenants John and Karen Jackson (rural chaplains based in Longreach), corps volunteers and teams from the Townsville Riverway Recovery Mission.

Church in the pub Sunday morning at the ‘Dangie Bush Resort’.

Natalie, Mt Isa Corps Team Leader, and Simon, flying padre with The Salvation Army Outback Flying Service, have been travelling to Urandangie, 180km south-west of Mt Isa, since Christmas 2008, delivering Christmas hampers and toys for children, and running a church service. They also lead an Anzac Day service each year and attend the annual cricket day, led by the local publican, Pam Forster, which raises money for the Outback Flying Service.

“The pamper days started because we really wanted to do something for the ladies, both in the town and on outlying properties, and their children,” said Natalie. “Pam suggested a pamper day and activities for the children while their mums were busy, which is what we did.

“What started as the ‘Bush Pamper Day’ now includes mini pedicures and manicures, massage chairs, facials, a pop-up market, a cafe with real coffee and a morning tea. We’ve had a hairdresser or a stylist some years, but it really depends on who is available with what skills, and the budget. Every year we have activities for the kids, and this year the local school paid for a jumping castle as well.”

Lieut Simon Steele (right) with MaryEllena and Greg from a local property.

The event takes place at Pam’s pub, the ‘Dangie Bush Resort’.

Volunteers from Mt Isa, including from the corps, and occasionally other churches, assist with setting up and running the various activity stations.

For the second year, volunteers from The Salvation Army Townsville Riverway Recovery Mission assisted with the event. Captains Brad and Helen Whittle, team member and leader respectively at the mission, had brought a team of residents from the rehabilitation centre to work in and around the Mount Isa Corps for three days in the week leading up to the pamper day. The Whittles and some mission volunteers then joined the Urandangie team to serve over the weekend. They also brought clothes and supplies for the pop-up market.

Auxiliary-Lieutenant Phil Stark, Youth and Young Adults Secretary, North Queensland, also brought some young adults to the town to be a part of this unique community outreach.

“Pam is very community-minded and generous of heart and loves bringing people together who we have partnered with,” said Natalie. “Some ladies travelled for two hours just to get to Urandangie for the pamper day. Another lady, who manages a large station, was told by her jillaroos about the pamper day and has had it in her calendar for months.

The dirt road to Urandangie, 180km from Mt Isa, is long and straight.

“It used to be mainly ladies who came, but now more fellows are coming too. They like the real coffee and massage chairs!

“Another young couple at the movie night kept telling us what a great idea it was, and how they loved watching a movie under the stars and having popcorn.

“Getting the locals together, and us coming into their community to serve them, has such value. We love that the Townsville and local teams jump on board to help; and it’s also a great experience for them to get out of their space and connect with and serve others. The camaraderie between our teams is very special.”

Pam, and Mount Isa Corps member Anne, during the pamper day.

Brad said bringing the residents to volunteer in such a geographically isolated place provided a unique experience for them.

“This mission trip prior to Urandangie was one of practical support where the guys did basic renovations and landscaping at the corps,” he shared. “One of our recovery services staff also did some training for the staff at the Mt Isa Recovery Services.

“The ministry opportunities are rich out there and connecting with the Mt Isa team gives the guys a sense of needs that exist there.

“Those of us who went to Urandangie were really motivated to serve and it was a blessing to give people a nice and positive experience and a sense of being valued and connected to others.”

The population of Urandangie fluctuates and, this year, although the numbers were slightly down, everyone had a great time and are already looking forward to next year.




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