Diane Krause, Sharon Brower from South Texas and Caroline Considine.
Diane Krause, Sharon Brower from South Texas and Caroline Considine. Gregor Mactaggart

Wave of people in Proserpine

PROSERPINE turned on its finest as 493 cruise ship passengers from the Viking Orion hit town on Friday.

Main Street was abuzz with displays and activities for the visitors, who mainly hailed from North America.

Businesses right along the major thoroughfare sported signs and the atmosphere was one of relaxation as the cruise ship passengers soaked up the rich history Proserpine possesses.

 

Finn Hansen with his Clubman.
Finn Hansen with his Clubman. Gregor Mactaggart

Proserpine Chamber of Commerce president Bob Bogie said the day was a significant one for the town.

"This is not the first cruise ship to visit Proserpine, as they head to the museum and coffee farm, but it is the first time they have come to the Proserpine CBD," he said.

"It ties up with the Destination Tourism Marketing-Tourism Whitsundays plan for the region which has identified Bowen as the food bowl, Collinsville as the outback, Proserpine as history and heritage and Airlie Beach as entertainment.

"If all our 493 visitors spend $50 today that would be close to a $25,000 economic stimulus for the town in one day.

"Money is made round to go around."

 

Bob Bogie and Karen Vloedmans.
Bob Bogie and Karen Vloedmans. Gregor Mactaggart

From the moment they left Airlie Beach on buses bound for the history-rich town, the cruise ship passengers were educated about Proserpine's farming history from cane farmers who become tour guides for the day.

In all, 14 buses made the trek to Proserpine and the visitors spent up to 90 minutes savouring what it has to offer.

Members of the Proserpine Uniting Church handed out visitor bags, donated by the Chamber.

 

Members of the Uniting Church Proserpine handed out welcome bags for the cruise ship visitors. Jane Bettridge, Daphne Fuller and Reverend Jenny Potter.
Members of the Uniting Church Proserpine handed out welcome bags for the cruise ship visitors. Jane Bettridge, Daphne Fuller and Reverend Jenny Potter. Gregor Mactaggart

A series of classic cars adorned Main Street thanks to the members of the Whitsunday Automotive and Restoration Club, including Doug Brotherton.

Mr Brotherton's blue 1946 Ford Deluxe utility proved popular with many.

"I spent seven years restoring it and we've had on the road since 1991," he said.

 

Doug Brotherton poses with his 1946 Ford Deluxe Ute. Model number 51A-67.
Doug Brotherton poses with his 1946 Ford Deluxe Ute. Model number 51A-67. Gregor Mactaggart

Members of the Proserpine Community Centre Men's Activity Group reported good business with their brilliant woodwork items and alongside them were members of the Proserpine Museum.

 

Proserpine Community Centre Men's Activity Group members Howard Barnett and Ian 'Jock' Melham.
Proserpine Community Centre Men's Activity Group members Howard Barnett and Ian 'Jock' Melham. Gregor Mactaggart

Other community groups who sported displays included Quota International and the Country Women's Association.

 

Quota International's Nicky Dyer and Ria Gascoyne.
Quota International's Nicky Dyer and Ria Gascoyne. Gregor Mactaggart

CWA Proserpine Branch member Lillian Orr said it was a top day for the town.

"It is a great thing the Chamber has done to be able to organise this visit and we're just pleased to be involved," she said.

 

CWA Proserpine Branch members Lillian Orr and Elaine Fieldman.
CWA Proserpine Branch members Lillian Orr and Elaine Fieldman. Gregor Mactaggart

But it wasn't just the visitors who soaked up the atmosphere as Sandra Marriage, who along with Sally Davison ran the stall featuring some magnificent Aboriginal art, said.

"It's been a good day, we've had some visitors, but we're also seeing a lot of locals too, which is great," she said.

 

Sally Davison and Sandra Marriage enjoyed their Friday.
Sally Davison and Sandra Marriage enjoyed their Friday. Gregor Mactaggart

As you moved further down to the street towards the Proserpine Entertainment Centre, there was a familiar face in Irene Sanders, selling raffle tickets for the Proserpine Lions Club outside of the Prince of Wales Hotel.

"I've been doing it every Friday and Saturday for the past 16 years and only have a month off during Christmas," she said.

 

Irene Sanders has been selling tickets for the Proserpine Lions Club every Friday and Saturday for the past 16 years.
Irene Sanders has been selling tickets for the Proserpine Lions Club every Friday and Saturday for the past 16 years. Gregor Mactaggart

There were a few cruise ship passengers who sought relief from the heat with a cold ale or soft drink in all of the local pubs along Main Street.

A cool spot was also on offer at the Proserpine Library, which cornered the market both inside and outside.

The outside display was marshalled by Robyn Batman and sported a special gift for the cruise ship passengers.

"This is withdrawn stock which we've gift wrapped and we're giving them away," she said.

"On the gift wrapping we've written down different genres, so it's not quite a lucky dip, but they don't know the specific title of the book they are getting.

"Hopefully they will read them and share them with their fellow passengers on the ship."

 

Proserpine Library's Robyn Batman at the book display for cruise ship travellers last Friday.
Proserpine Library's Robyn Batman at the book display for cruise ship travellers last Friday. Gregor Mactaggart

Proserpine Chat and Patch welcomed the visitors to town at Pioneer Park, including Sharon Brower.

"I'm from South Texas, a place called Padre Island and I'm a quilter," she said, much to the delight of members of the club.

Friday's visit was close to six months in the planning following a successful meeting between the Proserpine Chamber and Intercruises.

 

Proserpine Museum's Ailsa Reinke and Bernardine Stevens
Proserpine Museum's Ailsa Reinke and Bernardine Stevens Gregor Mactaggart

Chamber secretary Karen Vloedmans was optimistic the visit would not be a one-off.

"Hopefully today is the first of many similar visits," she said.

"It has something we've been working on since late last year and we're delighted it has finally arrived.

"We've had great support from community groups, businesses and individuals, it is on days like this where Proserpine really shines."

 

Musician Bob Barford strums the guitar in Proserpine.
Musician Bob Barford strums the guitar in Proserpine. Gregor Mactaggart

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