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Second Leg of The Queensland Road Trip to Reduce Illicit Firearms

Greg Beale and Andrew Jones, directors of Crime Stoppers Queensland, head back out on the highways of regional Queensland to raise awareness about the Firearms Amnesty and to let more people know what they can do to make their communities safer. Read on for Greg's blog about their trip.

27.09.2021 EventsFirearmsNews

Firearms Campaign Blog

Greg Beale and Andrew Jones, starting Townsville 21st September 2021

22 September

22nd September 2021 saw the beginning of a new trek for Andrew and Greg. In the words of the great and semi-immortal Willie Nelson, “We were on the road again and had to be on the road again”, so they could deliver the message that there is a current Firearms Amnesty and that illegal and or illicit firearms should be handed into the police or supporting gun dealers.

The day started in Townsville, nice and early (as usual) so that Andrew and Greg could leave town and head towards Mt Isa for the first phase of the road trip. The trek however did start the day earlier on the 21st when Carmen (the CEO), Andrew and Greg left Brisbane and flew to Townsville. Carmen and Greg did a pop-up stall at the Annandale shopping center to educate the locals on the terms of the amnesty, whilst Andrew did some Crime Stoppers administration duties to support the new Townsville volunteer area committee. The pop-up was really effective as Channel 7 were there to interview both Carmen and Greg and were able to televise their message to their local audience.

Following on from Andrew and Greg’s start on the driving trek, they left Townsville and headed to the thriving metropolis of Charters Towers where they stopped for a late breakfast and then a meeting with the police. What a great team with a very positive approach to policing. It was a real pleasure to spend time with Neil (the OIC) and meet some of his team. After Charters Towers, they headed onto the highway towards Mt Isa, however had a couple more stops on the way to drop off information brochures to police stations.

Andrew and Greg finally arrived at Hughenden, a town with about 1200 residents a few of whom they met and were impressed with their warm and encompassing welcome. Some very different but exciting scenery as the trip opened up, as whilst this is still a vast countryside, it is also very different from further south as there are open areas and then mountains then gorges just to confuse the geographic imbalance.

23 September

An early start from Hughenden and on to Richmond, to the police station there to hand off some brochures and NIFC literature. What a lovely little town, warm and inviting. From there Greg and Andrew moved on to Julia Creek and again, a very friendly town.  It was very obvious to both Greg and Andrew that there was very little livestock and wild animals on the road, in the fields or anywhere to be seen. Where in the south of the state there would have been pigs, kangaroos, emu’s, goats and other wildlife, there was nothing resembling that in this part of the state that was so ravaged by 2019 floods.  The floods not only killed around 500,000 cattle but also almost the whole wildlife population in this region. Absolutely heartbreaking seeing the nothingness in this space.

Moving forward towards Mt Isa, the road got a little windier as well as hilly and with the constant flow of road trains, it is understandable that there are severe road crashes that result in fatalities. Julia Creek is an interesting town as is Cloncurry and the police presence in both those towns is admirable. After Cloncurry, Andrew and Greg drove onto Mt Isa to meet with the OIC Mt Isa police and introduce themselves prior to the pop-up stall at the local shopping center the following day.

24 September

Well, the pop-up in Mt Isa was very interesting, with the many and varied members of the Mt Isa population giving Andrew and Greg their stories involving firearms and Crime Stoppers involvement in the call taking and crime solving. On the whole, the people of Mt Isa were very warm and accommodating. Both Andrew and Greg visited the underground hospital, where the temperature was considerably cooler than out in the open above. It was a little different having a Mid-Western American as our tour guide with that particular drawl telling them of the history of the region.

Whilst it is in the center of a natural crater and is relatively dry Mt Isa also has a beautiful green belt a little North West, being the Lake Moondarra region at the end of the Waggaboonyah Range that supplies the town with its fresh water. A greener and lusher oasis would be hard to find. Later in the early evening, Andrew and Greg headed off for dinner and it was suggested that the Irish Club was the place to go. The taxi driver gave them an extended tour with local history commentary and enlightening them as to the story behind the club.  The support from the Mt Isa police was again really important as the locals could see first hand the combined unity and the stand against illicit and illegal firearms.