By Margaret Strelow, Mayor of Rockhampton Regional Council
IT WAS a deeply satisfying and encouraging moment. I was listening to the conversation and enthusiasm as two couples talked about their love for Rockhampton, about the heritage and culture and the lifestyle.
I quietly cheered.
I love the fact that I hear these conversations more and more often. A little bit like our immense pride at being Queenslanders, there is no doubt that the vast majority of locals are deeply proud of their city.
But the second strain of the conversation was equally true and that is that we don't promote the positives enough.
I'm not just talking about where there might be new businesses or new job opportunities, this newspaper has been an excellent positive influence in supporting our business community in the last few years.
But the area where we (all of us) need to be more vocal is wider and deeper than that.
The fact that the Premier stood in our art gallery a few months ago and said she had not known of the treasures hidden there until a few months earlier was sobering.
We are far too good at keeping secrets to ourselves.
We frequently hear of visitors and newcomers who didn't know about our Botanic Gardens or about Mount Archer or about the extraordinary buildings on Quay St.
This is a cue for improvement. My companions on Thursday evening didn't know that Mount Morgan had a cave with dinosaur footprints in the roof. Did you?
We will always be proud to have the beautiful beaches of Yeppoon and Emu Park so close and they are a strong promotion tool, but we all need to lift our game in promoting the greater depth of our region.
And in the same way that the fans 'cheering on' the maroons gives courage and helps the players to dig deep for that final push - together we must cheer on our community as we strive to kick goals.
(PS no one can get in to the cave to see the dinosaur footprints at Mount Morgan mine at the moment because of legitimate safety concerns. Time to sort this out!)