2021 Events

REP Hosting – students from Yeronga SHS, January cancelled, later dates to be advised

Christmas Lunch
Saturday December 4th 2021
Twin Waters Golf Club
Download invitation and booking information

November Breakfast - 2021
Celebrating Indigenous and Multi-cultural Australia
Was held on Saturday November 6th 2021
Headland Golf Club – Golf Links Road, Buderim

We all enjoyed a sumptuous breakfast on Saturday 6 November. Norma, our archivist & memory keeper, told us about our 30 years as a group raising money for the education of women & girls. She focused on the challenges and joys of the last five years. She and Libby are foundation members. Our Indigenous bursary winner, Rachel Taylor, spoke movingly about her life of giving to others as a pastor and her future goals in indigenous child welfare.

Certificates were presented to members for 30, 25, 20, 15, 10 & 5 years of membership.

Libby & Norma are seated beside President Bev (in blue) in photograph of all recipients

Rachel Taylor - with bursary certificate and bursary committee

Speakers at 2021 November Breakfast

Norma McMichael - Life Member, Archivist and Memory Keeper

Mealat Gehrehiwet - REP Tertiary Bursary Recipient

Rachel Taylor - Indigenous Tertiary Bursary Recipient

Bursary Presentation Brunch - 2021
Was held Saturday August 28
Innovation Centre, USC Sunshine Coast

For more information please visit us on Facebook:

Recipients of 2021 Undergraduate Bursaries

Alana Colton - studying dietetics

Heidi Osbourne - studying Civil Engineering

Jaclyn Tahu - a nursing student

For more information please use the following link:

GWQ Sunshine Coast Branch - 30th Anniversary
Was held Sunday August 8th 2021

Celebrating 1991 - 2021

For details please use the following link:

MARCH 1996

Our first bursary winners and the Executive Committee, 1st May 1996

We celebrated 5 years of growth. The SC University College had just enrolled its first students. How exciting was that! We held a Birthday Breakfast (cost $15) at the Buderim Ginger Mountain Resort (now the site of many townhouses). The speaker was the new Dean of Arts, Dr Robert Elliott. Betty Vawser’s summary in the newsletter is fascinating to read today. The committee that year included old-timers Norma McMichael, Libby Burge, Bev Hinz, Margaret Welshe and Dianne Weeks. Our Past President Sylvia Hovey received one of the first bursaries at a Bursary Breakfast catered by a team of members under Chef Bev Hinz. The President of AFUW Qld accepted our invitation to address us that morning 25 years ago

MARCH 2001

AFUW National President Jenny Strauss blows out 10 candles at our 10th Anniversary, March 2001

AFUW national President, Dr Jennifer Strauss, from Melbourne, blew out 10 candles with assistance from SC Branch President Libby Burge and inaugural SC President Margaret Blackburne. Margaret Welshe had ably coordinated volunteers for the distribution, fitting and return of gowns for the first USC graduation ceremony in April 1999. The Branch was thrilled to receive $8 per gown from the Fellowship Fund. Two of our Bursary winners won Chancellor’s Medals. The Archival Millennial project, An Educated Woman, edited by Betty Vawser, was launched later that year at USC by the VC, Prof. Paul Thomas. Desley Goggin was President. Bursary awards continued. Book Sales raised funds. Two book groups flourished. Membership increased.

JULY 2006

Executive Committee with Governor of Qld, Her Excellency the Hon. Quentin Bryce, May 2005

Teenage years – 15 years old. ‘The Naked Italian’(!) at Twin Waters hosted our Celebratory Birthday Breakfast.  President Marilyn Keelty had commenced The Special Project in 2004, led by Dr Jenny Hughes, to assist the education of refugee women in Qld - ESL classes at USC, Home Hosting, Mini Bursaries and swimming lessons. $24,500 was awarded in bursaries during these five years, underpinned by the income from ‘Gowning the Grads’ organised by Sue Tranter and Dr Jenny Hughes among others. Bursary procedures were updated by Marilyn. Bursary Presentation Breakfasts held at USC were outstanding and attended by VC Prof Paul Thomas. Her Excellency the Honourable Quentin Bryce, Governor of Qld, attended a special International Women’s Day function.  The Tsunami appeal was generously supported.  80% of members received the Newsletter by email. Fellowship flourished at social functions. The state body in Brisbane supported the still young, but maturing branch.

Our first fifteen years initiated and developed activities that continued over the following ten years. See the next Newsletter to refresh memories of those years. And for the last five years make sure you reserve your seat for the 30th Anniversary Celebratory function!

Norma McMichael, Archivist

Welcome Members Morning Tea -
Was Held on Saturday June 12th - Twin Waters Golf Club

Morning tea at Twin Waters Golf Club was enjoyed by a happy group of new members welcomed by existing GWQ Sunshine Coast members. Delicious food, great service and of course superb company. President Bev welcomed our new members.

May Breakfast - 2021 -
Was Held on Saturday May 8th - Headland Golf Club

Guest Speaker – Stephen Vagg

Topic: “But what happens next?" A lighthearted look at writing for soap operas.

Meet Stephen Vagg, Bachelor of Commerce, Bachelor of Arts (Media Studies) and Bachelor of Laws (Honours), University of Queensland, and MA in Screenwriting and MA (hons) in Screen Studies, Australian Film Television & Radio School

Stephen is a writer and historian based in Brisbane.  For over three years he was story producer on the internationally screened serial drama “Neighbours”, supervising the writing department and helping plot over a thousand thirty-minute episodes. Prior, to that he was a story producer, writer and script editor for several years on the serial drama “Home and Away”. He wrote the feature films “Jucy” and “All My Friends Are Leaving Brisbane”, earning an AFI Award Nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay for the latter. He won an AWGIE Award for his “Neighbours” script for episode 6857, the first time the show had won in that category in a decade

He is the author of the biography, Rod Taylor: An Aussie in LA, which was turned into the documentary, “Rod Taylor: Pulling No Punches”, in which Stephen appeared as an interviewee. He has always worked as a journalist, script editor, researcher and consultant, and is the author of several plays which have been performed around the world, including the AWGIE-nominated “Friday Night Drinks”

What a superb breakfast we had on Saturday 8 May 2021. Lovely food and a marvellous speaker. Stephen Vagg took us through the development of a possible new soap called Paradise (as shown in the photo).

For more photos of the event, please visit our Facebook page:

International Women’s Day Breakfast - 2021
Held Saturday, March 6 - Alexandra Headland Surf Club

Guest Speaker – Professor Helen Bartlett, Vice-Chancellor and President USC, addressing the audience

Over 70 people, including 3 brave men, were present at the wonderful International Women’s Day Breakfast on Saturday 6th March 2021.

Ruth Howard - Bursary Recipient thanking GWQ SC members for the bursary and their hospitality.

A bursary was presented to refugee student Ruth Howard who has commenced her Social Work degree at QUT. She aspires to helping others from similar backgrounds as she was helped. She spoke with joy and gratitude about her 2 weeks on the Sunshine Coast staying with members of GWQ SC.

Professor Helen Bartlett, the new Vice Chancellor and President of the University of the Sunshine Coast, then told us of her journey from student through academic positions in the UK, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Australia. Gerontology has been her research focus, and she described what she’d gained from working with people from other cultures. She talked about the attributes of good leaders and how she sets goals in each position and is then “relentlessly focused”. A very enjoyable morning. This writer even won a raffle prize!!

Janet Sweatman, Refugee Committee Chair, presents bursary to Ruth Howard

Founding member & archivist, Norma McMichael with husband Dr Mel McMichael and Professor Helen Bartlett

Ruth with husband, Blessing, and Professor Helen Bartlett

Professor Helen Bartlett with GWQ SC Chair Bev Hinz

International Women’s Day Breakfast - 2020
Was held on Saturday, March 7 - Headland Golf Club

Guest Speaker – Dr Gail Crimmins, SFHE

Senior Lecturer and Program Area Coordinator for Creative Industries at the University of the Sunshine Coast.

International Women’s Day (IWD) Breakfast
- was held on March 2019

Commodore Sarah Sharkey RAN CSC

Director General Garrison Health Operations

Director General Navy Health Services

Commodore Sharkey has served as a Medical Officer in the Royal Australian Navy for more than 20 years. CDRE Sharkey began her service under sponsorship while an undergraduate medical student at the University of Queensland and has since enjoyed a range of postings both at sea and ashore with her clinical background mainly in submarine and diving medicine.

In her more recent career she has enjoyed serving at the Director General level in Joint Health Command and as the Head of the Navy Health Community.


Previous May Breakfast - 2019

Guest Speaker – Dr Bridget Boyle

Bridget is a co-founder of debase productions - www.debase.com.au

Bridget spoke on the highlights and challenges of forging a career in the creative industries.
‘Everyone has a story’.


Bursary Presentation Breakfast 2019

Was held on Saturday July 6

Recipients of 2019 Undergraduate Bursaries

Kylie Gordon Bachelor of Environmental Management
Loretta Wilkinson Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting)
Georgia Moore Bachelor of Biomedical Science
Annaleesa Hinchcliffe Bachelor of Nursing

International Women’s Day (IWD) Breakfast

Dr Katie Seidler & GWQ SC President Bev Hinz

Katie presented: “The Psychology of Violent Crime: Lessons from the Inside"

The IWD breakfast at Maroochy Surf Club was a function to be remembered. In addition to members, we had a large group of guests, in total, 64 members and guests.

Our guest speaker Dr Katie Seidler was able to present a complex topic in a way that everyone could understand. As Member Robyn Nolan wrote: Our amazing speaker, Dr Katie Seidler, addressed “The Psychology of Violent Crime: Lessons from the Inside”. She wowed us with her twenty years’ experience as a Forensic Psychologist working with the violent and abusive people that others fear and avoid, whether they’ve been in prison, are in danger of incarceration or have been released. She has provided rehabilitation to murderers, violent and sexual offenders, and offers ongoing support after release. She explored the development of criminality from prejudicial childhoods, marked by poverty, abuse and neglect, or socialisation, into crime, by poor role modelling or conditioned by learning; or some or all of these factors. Her professional opinions are welcomed by the courts, media and Police. Her enthusiasm and optimism for the benefits of the work to society were impressive.

We were finally able to formally acknowledge the REP success at the 2017 Community Access Awards. Everyone in attendance was able to have a close look at the stylish trophy – the cheque for $2500 was already in the bank and being used!

A visual presentation on IWD breakfasts past provided many interesting and wonderful memories – from the almost debacles (weather and gales when Senator Claire Moore visited) to the inspirational women that have spoken to us with wisdom and love.

Marie Gracey, Elaine Wise, Barbara Campbell, Donna Lyden

Members Yvonne Koster, Nnenna Ike, Jan Dopson and guest Maureen Turner.

Members Coral Usher, Marilyn Keelty and Kayla Szumer.

The raffle (put together by Jan Leaks-Jones from member and other donations) raised an amazing $372!

Funds raised from this breakfast are directed toward our bursary program for the education of women and girls, including:


Bev Hinz Christmas 2018
President Bev Hinz

Bev Hinz with the GWQ SC Christmas Tree, as part of St Mark’s Anglican Church Buderim, Festival Of Christmas Trees.

Book sale November 2018 breakfast raised $257.55. It was organised by Bernice Anderson (seated).

Through the sale of paintings inspired by her recent trip to Central Australia, Sally Chandler has raised over $3,000 to fund a study bursary for indigenous women.

It’sinthebag# - Three shopping trolleys full of donations. The collection was organised by Judy Allinson, to provide women in reduced circumstances (e.g. homeless or in crisis accommodation) with personal items.

May 12 Breakfast

Captain Jan Becker
photo courtesy - beckerhelicopters.com

Guest Speaker was Captain Jan Becker, midwife, CEO Becker Helicopters Pilot Training, 2017 USC Alumnus Student of the Year, and QLD Woman's Telstra Business Owner Winner. Jan combines her role in the family business with her humanitarian work in Tanzania, assisting mothers and babies.

Australia Day Lunch - 2018

Linda Boyle and Acrostic Winners 2018

The annual Australia Day lunch was held at Palmwoods Hotel on January 15. Many attendees participated in the Acrostic competition, demonstrating that creativity and wit does not just reside in the young. The overall winner was Betty Vawser (right), who admits to being over 90


The 2017 International Women’s Day Breakfast
was held at The Yacht Club, Mooloolaba

Dr Bridie Scott-Park and member Val Ross

The Guest Speaker was Dr Bridie Scott-Parker (Senior USC Research Fellow, National Health and Medical Research Council)

Dr Bridie Scott-Parker leads the Adolescent Risk Research Unit (ARRU) at the University of the Sunshine Coast. As leader of ARRU, Bridie is also interested in adolescent health and wellbeing generally and includes risk taking and the influence of personal, social and structural influence upon risky behaviour.

Theme for 2017 is “Be Bold For Change” – help forge a better working world, a more inclusive, gender equal world.

Bursary Events

2017 Bursary Recipients

Left to right: Committee members Janet Sweatman and Robyn Redknap with Bursary recipients Julie Reeves, Kate Whitaker and Eliza Berry with two other committee members Marijke Boonstra and Committee Chair Judy Allinson


The 2017 Bursary Presentation Breakfast
Was held at the Innovation Centre, University of the Sunshine Coast on 1st July.
Our successful under-graduate bursary winners shared their education journey.