1 Jun 2021

Hundreds of Bowen school students were inspired to make positive choices by their footy heroes last week thanks to a special partnership between North Queensland Bulk Ports Corporation (NQBP) and the North Queensland Cowboys.

Cowboys life member Matthew Bowen and Mackay-born hooker Reuben Cotter shared messages on respect, teamwork and working hard with Queen’s Beach State School, Bowen State High School, St Mary’s, Bowen State School, and Merinda Primary School during their two-day visit to Bowen.

NQBP CEO Nicolas Fertin said the annual Bulk Port Blitz program promotes positive changes in the Bowen community through school visits and a networking event.“We’re very different organisations, but we both believe when everyone has an opportunity to participate, we can make a positive impact in our North Queensland port communities,” Mr Fertin said.

“NQBP was also proud to host business and community leaders at an event celebrating Reconciliation in Action ahead of National Reconciliation Week (27 May – 3 June).

”About 70 people attended the event, which showcased both NQBP’s and the Cowboys’ reconciliation journey.The event opened with a Welcome to Country and a traditional dance, provided by local Traditional Owners Juru.

Mr Fertin highlighted NQBP’s commitment to reconciliation through our Reconciliation Action Plan, while Juru Enterprises Limited (JEL) CEO Ricky Dallachy and team leader Jess Vakameilalo talked about the range of opportunities and activities that were being delivered in partnership with the port.

Mr Dallachy said JEL was extremely proud to partner with NQBP to advance Bowen’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.

“Through our relationship with NQBP, we’ve realised some great outcomes, particularly in terms of training and employment opportunities, cultural and heritage awareness, and traditional land management practices,” Mr Dallachy said.

Watch the video from the visit to Bowen

Guests were also inspired by keynote speaker Rochelle Jones’ passion for changing lives in her role as head of NRL Cowboys House, looking after the education and wellbeing of 105 Indigenous youth from 28 remote communities. Ms Jones was joined at the event by Cowboys legend Matthew Bowen and player Reuben Cotter.

Mr Fertin said the Cowboys partnership is one of NQBP’s largest and longest and promotes positive social outcomes.

“Like the Cowboys, we’re passionate about leading positive change in our communities and fostering strong partnerships with our Traditional Owners.

“Through our Reconciliation Action Plan we will take practical steps to contribute to reconciliation both internally and externally within our port communities under the key focus areas of relationships, respect, opportunities and governance.”

At the “Reconciliation in Action” event, a signed Cowboys 2021 Indigenous jersey was presented to Bowen State School to assist them in their future fundraising efforts.

Bowen State School Community Education Counsellor Karenne Williams accepted the jersey on behalf of the school and provided guests a touching glimpse into her life as an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander person.

The final stop on the 2021 Bulk Port Blitz program is Weipa, which will take place in August.Since it was launched in 2016, the NQBP and Cowboys partnership has engaged thousands of school children and community members.

Images for download

  • Bowen State High School: Bowen State High School Year 12 students with Cowboys legend Matthew Bowen.Bowen State School: (L to R) Bowen State School students Edie Jackson, Charlotte Southern and Sophie Brazil with Cowboys player Reuben Cotter and NQBP Community Relations Advisor Lorelei van Dalen.
  • Merinda State School 1: Merinda State School students (L to R) Jett, Leiam, Makenzie, Archie with Cowboys legend Matthew Bowen and NQBP Community Relations Advisor Lorelei van Dalen.
  • Merinda State school 2: Merinda State School students - (L to R) top row – Connor, Zachary, Ethan, Charlie, Makenzie, Darcy, and Jett, middle row – Lucas, Aylah, Juru, Shanli, Paige, Holly, and Clancy, and front row – Eli, Leiam, Jannali, Archie, Dempsey, Trixie-Grace, and Slade with Cowboys player Reuben Cotter and NQBP Community Relations Advisor Lorelei van Dalen.Queens Beach State School:
  • Queens Beach State School: Student Hayden with Cowboys legend Matthew Bowen.
  • St Mary's Catholic School: St Mary's Catholic School students (L to R) far back – Cody Busch, and Ostin McMahon, back - James Finn, Ashton McMahon, Ahkeem Byers, Domingo del Solar, Ryan Guy, and Chase Lowcock, middle - Darcy Matheson, Wyntah Fogarty, Matilda Smith, Annalicia Shultz, Andrea Firth, Aislinn Ninnes, and Daniel Szollos, and front - Lucas Poljakovic, Isacc Roberts, Kenzie Anderson, and Mica McVeigh with Cowboys legend Matthew Bowen and NQBP Community Relations Advisor Lorelei van Dalen.
  • Reconciliation in Action 1: (L to R) Juru Enterprises Limited CEO Ricky Dallachy and Team Leader Jess Vakameilalo with NQBP CEO Nicolas Fertin.
  • Reconciliation in Action 2: The Juru Dance Group entertains guests with a traditional dance at the Reconciliation in Action event.
  • Reconciliation in Action 3: (L to R) Cowboys legend Matthew Bowen, NQBP CEO Nicolas Fertin, Cowboys player Reuben Cotter and Juru Enterprises Limited CEO Ricky Dallachy.
  • Reconciliation in Action 4: (L to R) NQBP CEO Nicolas Fertin, head of NRL Cowboys House Rochelle Jones present a signed Cowboys 2021 Indigenous jersey to Bowen State School's Karenne Williams.

North Queensland Bulk Ports Contact:
Lorelei van Dalen | Community Relations Advisor
0459 788 235 | lvandalen@nqbp.com.au