Toy & Book Appeal
Help 12,000 children join in the spirit of Christmas

Not all children get an equal start in life. Today, one in 10 Australian children are living in jobless families, where even life's basics are hard to come by and with the festive season fast approaching The Smith Family is calling on generous Australians to help collect and donate new toys and books to allow 12,000 disadvantaged children to share in the joy of receiving and opening presents this Christmas.

The national education charity’s annual Toy & Book Appeal aims to gather 36,000 new toys and 23,500 new books to deliver to disadvantaged families across the country by 20 December.

“For a child living in disadvantage, Christmas can be an incredibly isolating experience and a reminder of what sets them apart from their friends and peers,” The Smith Family’s Steve Macready said.

“We are relying on the kindness of the public to donate new toys and books, or run their own collections to support our Toy & Book Appeal.

“This is a simple way to help them to feel included in the joys of Christmas.”

In December, hundreds of volunteers will deliver the donated toys and books to more than 5,500 families who receive educational support from The Smith Family throughout the year.

The Smith Family has had a long and proud association with Christmas since it was founded in 1922 when five businessmen delivered gifts to orphans on Christmas Eve. While today the charity’s year round focus is on helping disadvantaged children to thrive at school, giving toys and books at Christmas is a nod to the organisation’s heritage and its care for the families it supports.

There are three simple ways to donate to the Toy & Book Appeal:
Donate a new toy or book, or register to run a collection in your community
Purchase a gift online through The Smith Family’s website
Make a financial donation online or by calling 1800 024 069

To register, donate or find out more visit

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WIN cash prizes in our Christmas Colouring Competition

This year we're giving away three cash prizes of $100 to spend however you wish!

So kids, grab your colouring and decorating gear and give Santa some colour! There are three age groups and a winner will be selected from each. The age groups are: 3-5, 6-9 and 10-13.

Get your entries in by Monday November 30, don't forget to put your details in the space provided, and good luck!

Find the colouring page at the back of the magazine or download and print the colouring page by clicking here (PDF,100kb)

Privacy Statement The Messenger complies with the Australian Privacy Act 1988 in safeguarding your privacy. No information submitted here is collected or used in any other way than for purposes of the competition. Your information is not collated, kept or distributed in any way.


New Feature
Renovation advice

There's no doubt about it, renovating is one of Australia's favourite pastimes and our new regular columnist Jane Eyles-Bennett knows a thing or two about renovating. An interior designer and renovation consultant by trade, Jane's credentials are impressive.

In her professional life, Jane provides detailed design advice and renovation action plans so clients can keep their project on-goal and on-plan to achieve the desired renovation goal successfully. She's consulted on over 550 interior and exterior renovations, won several awards, written a bunch of articles for paid magazines and guest designed on TV.

With this passion and natural gift for the often tricky process, she's offering our readers free advice for their upcoming projects.

Here's how it works, you send Jane a good quality photo of the area of your home you're planning to renovate, along with a description of what you want to achieve and Jane will provide professional advice to help you achieve it, right here on this page, free of charge. Send your home improvement and/or interior design question to along with an unaltered photo and we'll get to work.

Jane doesn't waste any time, so we'll take her lead and jump right in this week with Rebecca's question about an exterior upgrade on a tight budget.

Rebecca from Mango Hill asks: I want to modernise the outside of my home but don’t want to spend too much and I don’t want to render! Any ideas? (pic above)

Read Jane's advice in the Messenger


First Moreton Bay Rail station complete

Last Wednesday saw the official unveiling of the completed Mango Hill train station, the first in the new Moreton Bay Rail Link (MBRL). Unveiled, rather than opened, because trains won't run the lines until mid next year and a big deal because this is the first beared fruit of a billion dollar project that has been talked about for 120 years.

Originally dreamed up in 1895 (not a typo) but of substantially greater need now in one of the fastest growing areas in the country, the line will run from Kippa-Ring to Kallangur and connect to the greater rail network via Petrie Station.

The MBRL will service the more than 375,000 people calling the Moreton Bay region home, a crucial ligament of infrastructure given that the region's population is set to exceed 500,000 by 2031.

The MBRL will of course be stopping all stations through our absolutely exploding region via six new stations; Kallangur, Murrumba Downs, Mango Hill, Mango Hill East (the station formerly known as Kinsellas Road), Rothwell and Kippa-Ring.

Despite the best efforts of our tireless bus network, more than half the region’s population currently departs the area every day to work, with the vast majority of commuters (83%) using a private vehicle for their journey...

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Better Road Safety at Bounty Boulevard State School

Moreton Bay Regional Council is continuing to work with the Queensland Government, parents and students to improve road safety and the availability of car parking at Bounty Boulevard State School.

Division Four Councillor Julie Greer said it was important for the community to work together to manage ongoing demand and safety, particularly during school drop off and pick up times.

“As one of Queensland’s fastest growing communities, cooperation and flexibility are crucial to protecting the safety of our students outside of the school gate,” Cr Greer said.

“We all have a role to play.

“I understand Education Queensland is planning for an increase in the number of car parking spaces available at Bounty Boulevard State School following feedback from local parents, but it is only part of the solution.

“Later this year council will also be making further improvements at the intersection of Bounty and Aurora boulevards for a safer road environment to cater for the growth in school enrolments and vehicle movements in the area.”

Cr Greer said the location of state schools, school car parking arrangements and student numbers were decided by the Queensland Government, not council.

“However, council and the Department of Transport and Main Roads are working cooperatively on several travel and road safety programs around State Government Schools across the Moreton Bay Region,” Cr Greer said.

“Bounty Boulevard State School is one of 10 in the Moreton Bay Region taking part in tailor-made school traffic management programs including the Active and Safe School Travel Program, the Travel Choice Schools Program and the Safer Schools Travel Program,” Cr Greer said.

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School holidays and term dates for 2015

The Department of Education, Training and Employment sets the term and school holiday dates for all Queensland state schools.

Independent schools and Catholic schools base their holidays on the state school dates but these can vary from school to school - check with your school for details.
Queensland term dates - 2015

Term 1 Tuesday 27 January - Thursday 2 April (10 weeks)
Term 2 Monday 20 April - Friday 26 June (10 weeks)
Term 3 Monday 13 July - Friday 18 September (10 weeks)
Term 4 Tuesday 6 October - Friday 11 December (10 weeks)

Staff professional development days for 2015
• Thursday 22 and Friday 23 January
• Three additional days within the Easter holiday or other negotiated flexible arrangements
• Monday 19 October

Year 10 and 12 finishing dates for 2015
• Year 12 - Friday 20 November
• Year 10 and 11 - Friday 27 November

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