Author Archives: Cheryl

A Jubilee Ride by Deborah Gower

Category : General News

“When my Uncle passed away a few years ago, I found an old rusted bike hanging from a rafter out in the shed.  Intrigued by the word “jubilee” that I could just make out above the peeling red paint, and with a vague memory about the bike being “special” I went in search of old newspaper articles.
Trove revealed the long forgotten story of Commonwealth Jubilee bicycle courier Les Cecil who in 1951 (at the age of 50) cycled from Cairns to Canberra – 2250 miles through deeply corrugated roads, strong head-winds and flooded creeks – collecting some 100,000 messages of loyalty to the Crown along the way.”
When my Uncle passed away he left me a shed full of treasures to unearth.  One of those treasures was hanging – tied securely to a rafter in the form of an old bike rusting away along with its story of jubilee from 1951.
Being inquisitive, I did some research on this bike. I had a vague memory of my Uncle telling me about stopping to help a pale man slumped in a gutter at the Ekka (Brisbane Exhibition) in the 1980’s.  While people trailed past with fairy floss in their teeth and sample bags on their arms, only my Uncle stopped to ask the man if he was ok.   He wasn’t.  As they waited for the ambulance Uncle Ernie and the man (Mr Cecil) discovered they only lived a few streets away and so began a strong (if short) friendship between the two men.
Before he died, Les Cecil gave Uncle Ernie a gift as a reward for helping him when everyone else walked on by.  Modestly all he said was that he had ridden the bicycle as part of the Jubilee celebrations in 1951. After researching National Archives, Trove and some old newspaper clippings I discovered this was no ordinary bike, it was no ordinary ride and Les Cecil was indeed no ordinary man.

Sydney Herald 31st December 1950 carried the story that in 1951-£350,000 would be spent by the Australian Government “to commemorate the founding of the Australian Common- wealth fifty years ago tomorrow. It will be a year of great public rejoicing-with bands, flags, guns, bonfires, fireworks, and military parades . . . historic plays and pageants . . . religious and cultural festivals . . . athletic games“ and a bike ride.

The Jubilee Bike Ride involved four main riders who cycled from Darwin, Perth, Adelaide and Melbourne to deliver some 300,000 messages of loyalty to the Prime Minister Robert Menzies in Canberra on 8 May 1951.  Sergeant Vic Waltham, Western Australian Police set off from Darwin with a rifle strapped to his back to ward of wild buffalos.  Jack Montgomery, of Sale, Victoria, set out from Alice Springs, Eddie Baron, rode across the Nullabor Plain from Perth and Les Cecil set off from Cairns.  Along the way they connected with some 10,000 courier riders and 200,000 cyclists who escorted them into “every available city, town and hamlet” “hundreds of remote stations, tribes and centres” that they passed along the way.
All have their own tale to tell but I stood in the shed looking at the rusty old bike in my shed.  Imagine – that bike had made that journey from Cairns to Canberra in 1951.
According to the old press reports, Les left Cairns on 9 April 1951.  He was 50 years old, just over 5ft tall, weighed 9 stone and was about to ride some 2250 miles across some of the roughest roads in Queensland and New South Wales.
The bike had been made by members of the Queensland Wholesale Cycle and Manufacturers Association to specifications given by Cecil.  He trained on a diet of green vegetables and grilled steak. A brewery worker by day and Specialist Cyclist by choice, Cecil knew what he was doing.  He had ridden with and against the great Sir Hubert Opperman (Oppy) OBE  M.B.E., O.B.E., K.C.S.j., Champion racing cyclist, R.A.A.F. Officer, Politician and Diplomat.
On his trip from Cairns to Canberra, Cecil collected some 100, 000 messages of goodwill and loyalty to the Crown. Two army trucks accompanied him with two trained signal sergeants from the 51st Battalion. The trucks carried spare parts for the bicycle, the bulky messages of loyalty from towns and cities on the route, and a two-way wireless transceiver.
April 11 Cecil reached Cardwell where he “lay in a tub of methylated spirit tonight easing his aches after a 65-mile bone-shaking ride from Innisfail. Cecil rode over 40 miles of deep corrugated road against strong headwinds. He left Innisfail at 9 am and arrived at Cardwell at 4.30p.m, 15 minutes ahead of schedule. ‘It was the first methylated spirits bath I have  taken—but it was certainly one of the best baths I have ever had,’ he said … Cecil will have to sleep in his riding gear to-night— the army truck carrying his clothes and money broke down at Ingham…. ‘I don’t mind sleeping in my riding gear for one night, but I only hope the car catches up with me to-morrow.’
Cecil rode in trunks and a red and white silk jumper refusing all offers of lifts on the road. In North Queensland he insisted on personally carrying his bike across creeks.  The two 3-ton army trucks serving as tenders for Cecil’s Jubilee mail were disabled on the bush track part of the Bruce Highway. The roads were so rough that the special radio telephone truck intended for Jubilee communications could not be used. “Road corrugations between Tully and Cardwell were 10 inches deep,” Cecil said today. “The corrugal HOBS were so deep that my  pedals touched the ground.  They shook me till I felt sore all over.”
North Queensland proved quite a challenge to Cecil. He ran into dust a foot deep between Cairns and Townsville.  He had to dismount and wait while a huge rock python crossed the highway in front of him.  Between Bundaberg and Childers a 5 ft. black snake tangled itself in his pedals and he had to kick it free.  I have often heard people say they breed them tough north of the border – and when I read the old newspaper reports about Les Cecil I see why.
On April 13 Cecil reached Ayr “after a rough ride from Townsville. At one stage, between Woodstock and Giru, he was paced by a Hereford Bull which finally veered across the front wheel, and almost caused an accident.”
April 17 Cecil, was escorted into Mackay by the largest number of cyclists to greet him so far on his trip from Cairns to Canberra. The procession, which was led by a ‘penny farthing’ bicycle, comprised more than 1,000 boys and girl cyclists. What a sight it must have been in some of the towns along the route.
April 21 at Yamba, Cecil was met by members of various Rockhampton cycling clubs. From Moore’s Creek he was escorted by nearly 2000 school children displaying courier’s badges on their cycles, scouts and guides and sports club members. The riders were six abreast and stretched for two miles. Together they rode to a civic welcome from the Mayor (Mr H Jeffries) at the Town Hall.
April 25 Cecil was farewelled from Bundaberg by his wife who had driven 258 miles to see her husband. Later she drove behind Cecil, and they lunched together at Childers. Cecil then continued on his journey alone.
April 26 preceded by fire engines with shrieking sirens and accompanied by hundreds of cyclists, Cecil arrived in Maryborough. Cecil, who has now completed exactly half of the journey, declared he was feeling as fit now as when he began his long ride.
April 27 Cecil was in Gympie being greeted by his two brothers and “a married sister” – their first reunion in twenty years.
April 30 Cecil reached Brisbane escorted by 110 Brisbane cyclists in racing rig, rode into the Brisbane Exhibition grounds where The Premier (Mr Hanlon) gave Cecil three messages for the Prime Minister. The Jubilee declarations of loyalty to the King from Mr Hanlon, the Anglican Archbishop (Dr Halse) and the Roman Catholic Archbishop (I Duhig) were added to the already collected messages many of which were given to Cecil by settlers living in lonely parts of the North, some of them in bark huts.
From Brisbane to Tenterfield, Gyra, Tamworth, Scone, Newcastle, Sydney, Goulburn and then he cycled onto Canberra.
May 8 1951 after some 30 days and some 2250 miles, delayed by bad weather and bad roads on the last lap, Cecil hit the worst section between Mittagong and Canberra.  He battled cold 40-mile-an-hour cross-winds and despite sprinting over the last 14 miles of his trip in 41 minutes with a police escort, newspapers reported that Cecil rode into Canberra 30 minutes too late to accompany the other three jubilee cyclists from other States to present loyalty messages to the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies).
Former world champion cyclist Mr. Opperman, M.H.R., led the other three Jubilee cyclists to a reception at three o’clock. “Mr Menzies paid tribute to the cyclists and Message sticks, carved in an aboriginal motif, and carried hundreds of miles in four message carriers, excited much interest at the ceremony”
Although he was late for the official ceremony, Cecil had achieved a monumental task – to collect messages of loyalty from all manner of persons, riding a bicycle from Cairns to Canberra and faithfully delivering those messages to a Nation’s Capital.
Epilogue from Courier Mail BRISBANE, May 9.-“The day after finishing his 2400-miIes bicycle ride from Cairns to Canberra, the jubilee courier cyclist. Les Cecil, came home to Brisbane by plane and began mowing his lawn. He plans to take a week’s rest after his strenuous ride.”

Personal Thank You from Cheryl Gaedtke – Councillor – Somerset Regional Council

Category : General News

How do you individually thank each and every person who voted for you?

I never expected to receive the number of votes that I did, so from the bottom of my heart I want to thank everyone who marked the ballot paper across from my name.

Sincere thanks to my “How to Vote Card” Supporters – Jo Jeppesen, Pamela Ham, Debbie and Linsie Dawes, Kevie Miller, Margaret Van Breemen, Naomi, Anne Barradeen, Margaret Leggett, Ron Beruschi, Don Barram, Elaine and Noel Kammholz, Suzy Robinson, Naomi Martin and John Gaedtke. Election Day was as the weather forecast – hot, and standing for most of the day made the hours go very slowly, so I understand and appreciate the invaluable assistance given freely by all of the people nominated above.  I also wish to thank both local newspapers for your professionalism –  a big thank you to Melissa (Kilcoy Sentinel Community News) and Scott (The Somerset).

My election campaign platform included values such as open and two way communication always, and I will ask you as residents of our region to ensure that I can always advocate for your needs. You can do this by contacting me and at times, you may wish to email me and include photographs to assist the communication process.  I welcome your contact.

DSC_0035My contact details are: email:; phone: 0428 408 227; website:



Council Team – 2016 to 2020








Swearing In Ceremony –  Post Election Meeting

Wednesday 13 April 2016





My Suggestions and My How to Vote Card – Your Choice

Category : General News

This is my suggestion only, please choose the Candidates who you believe would make a great team to lead our region for the next four years:

jpeg Cheryl How to Vote


I am looking for equal representation of gender with merit, equal representation of location within the region and Candidates that will work tirelessly, productively and positively as a TEAM for the next four years.

Please give serious consideration to the current status quo and if you want a fresh change, I urge you to make the hard decision now.  We need Councillors with a dynamic and innovative approach to shape our region and to reach an achievable goal  “Lead in the field of Local Government by example.”  I know we can be that Council!

Sean, Otis and Bob represent the southern part of our region and they all have sound knowledge and experience in the government arena.  The boy’s club mentality will be removed by giving these Candidates your vote.

Helen, Carmel and I represent the northern part of our region and whilst Carmel will be new to Local Government, she is by no means new to our region and what is needed to push our great region forward.  Helen is a sitting Councillor and has been with Somerset Council for four years.  Helen was the highest polling Candidate in the 2012 Local Government Elections.  I put myself up with over 30 years knowledge and experience of Local Government.  I know that we can work as a team and develop immeasurable outcomes.

Finally, I look for Candidates with experience and knowledge, along with passion and commitment, and who will be a team player and kick off from day one to work hard to govern our beautiful region.  We need sound decision makers!

“Let us elect a team that will take our Council, businesses and communities forward with fresh and new ideas.”

You may wish to change some of my suggested Candidates; I will leave that decision to you.

Meet the Candidates Nights held at Lowood & Fernvale

Category : General News

Delivering my three minute speech at Lowood – Tuesday 1 MarchIMG_8557







The eighteen Candidates at the Fernvale Meet the Candidates Night – Wednesday 2 March 20160302_182641

My three minute speech – Tenth Councillor Candidate of the Ballot Paper

Category : General News

I would like to share with you, as residents of our region, my three minute speech which is delivered at the Meet    the Candidates Nights:

Mr Chairman, Fellow Candidates, Ladies & Gentlemen.

My name is Cheryl Gaedtke, and I am the tenth Councillor Candidate on the ballot paper.

The reason I am standing for Council is to achieve identified goals, and to improve the overall operation, and image of Council. I have the commitment to deal with conflicting demands, I have aspirations, and possess logical thinking, to secure the best results for the community as a whole.  I am passionate about our region, and believe that we live in an area that has the potential to develop more successfully, with long term vision, an intellectual approach, a sincere attitude and sound management strategies.

There is a need to develop a strong partnership with all levels of government and as well as other local government, and adopt a communication pathway to avoid bad decision making. Bad decision making is alive and well, and we need to plan with our eyes open.

I commend Council on its achievements over the past term – However, there is always room for improvement.

Items that have made my radar include:

  • Road Maintenance Policies
  • Unsupportive & at times arrogant display of Attitude
  • Management of Land Use and Sustainable Development
  • Transport & Connection Between Towns and Major Cities
  • Management of our Natural Environment
  • Building a Strong Economic Base
  • Strengthening Tourism
  • Acknowledging that Agricultural Business and Industry is a major employer in our region

To enhance our region, future collaborative planning should include the feasibility of establishing:

  1. A higher Educational Facility
  2. An RV Friendly Home Base
  3. A Retirement Village, and other levels of Aged Care Facilities
  4. Regional Government Offices

And in addition:

  • I want Councillors to actually listen to their Communities and Share Concern of the Smallest Issue
  • I want Affordable Community Venues
  • I want Each Councillor to Champion Planning Documents
  • I want Council to continue Addressing the Social Needs of our Communities, in partnership with Other Levels of Government
  • I want Better use of our Recreational Facilities, by examining the Performance of Current Management
  • I want Council to continue to Reap the Benefits of a Strong Investment Strategy
  • I want A Council that Supports One Another and Works As A Team
  • I want this region to be Lead by its Board of Directors, and that is the Mayor & 6 Councillors

Operational Challenges for our Council include:

  • Cost shifting from other government levels
  • Maintaining current grant and subsidy allocations

In Conclusion

I invite you to contact me if you wish to discuss any Local Government related issue or just to say hello. I welcome feedback and I also welcome your point of view.  As I have boasted in my election campaign Two Way Communication Always!  Empowerment & Pride for the Region, for the People







Councillor Campaigning Trail Cheryl Gaedtke – Moore, Toogoolawah, Lowood & Kilcoy

Category : General News

The Candidates’ Draw was conducted at Toogoolawah on Wednesday 17 February and my name appears as the tenth candidate – please look for my surname down the list of a total of fifteen candidates. Voters must mark their choice of Councillor Candidates from number one through to number six in the box beside the candidates’ name.

On Saturday 20th February, I took a pleasant drive over to Moore and attended the Moore Markets after savouring a lovely cup of coffee from Allison, the owner of Kai Lounge.  Many visitors called in as they were driving through this quaint little town.  I purchased a book about policing from a retired Sergeant, the book was called “Inside Story – A Cop’s True Tales”. I chatted to the author, Brian Stallworthy and later advised him that “this book would be given as a birthday present to someone who probably escaped the “Cops” many a time as a young local lad, and around the time that Brian was an active Police Officer”.  The Moore Hall Supper Room was full of life with guests enjoying homemade cooking.  The Principal’s Cottage held a massive sale and there were many customers making their way between it and the Old Church Gallery.  I was interested to learn of key issues that locals spoke about during my visit.  Some of the issues however were not within the jurisdiction of Local Government.












The beautiful Moore Soldiers Memorial Hall – the community and the tireless workers who keep this hall in such top conditon need an enormous pat on the back.

At 5:45pm the Somerset Regional Council Mayoral and Councillor Candidates were invited to attend the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail Users Association’s “Sunset n’ Moonlight Ride n’ Dine” bike ride and were welcomed with champagne and canapés. Eighty-Two bike riders were also enjoying the refreshments as well as the art exhibitions and other attributes of the Condensery.  .facebook_1456310265025

Many of these riders made their way to the region to experience the hospitality, food, art and enjoyment of the region’s natural assets.  The event was held at the Toogoolawah Condensery Art Gallery and catering was provided by the Toogoolawah Historical Society.  The evening was well supported by the Candidates, and it was a lovely opportunity for the Candidates to meet, and also meet with these passionate and somewhat fit people.












I attended the Lowood Bunyip Twilight Farmers Market on Friday night 26th February and enjoyed some really interesting conversation with some of the locals.  I also caught up with Ray Hopper, who has some interesting experiences in State Government to share.   It was a very hot day and the number of happy market hunters reflected this.  I also popped into the Lowood & Fernvale Community Bank branch and said hello to the staff.  Kilcoy is working toward its own community bank and is working closely with Bendigo Bank.  I believe our steering committee has done well after two years of campaigning we have over 230 pledgees and over $620,000 worth of pledges.  We cannot wait to get to the second stage of the five stage process.

I also attended the Kilcoy Yowie Markets on Saturday 27th February and chatted to many people and some that I haven’t seen for the past 25 years of more.  I can truly say life is great and how lucky we are to live in this wonderful country and how blessed we are to enjoy a rural lifestyle and the friendship of irreplaceable people.  I am recording the issues as residents speak to me and issues that I believe I can explore at local government level and provide a suitable outcome to.  Please see me if you would like to share any local government related issues, and even good stories are much loved.  I welcome the opportunity to learn from you and your comments and perspectives.Campaign_Trial_-2










It was lovely to catch up with other Candidates at the Kilcoy Yowie Markets:

Helen Brieschke, Ronda Williams, Nicole Lincoln, Ray Hopper, Graeme Lehmann and of course Otis Ogg and wife Bronwyn.

I will be extending my campaign by visiting different towns in the region over the next two weeks.

 I also look forward to meeting you and discussing your particular issues, comments, or just to say hello, at the Meet the Candidates Nights, or at one of the region’s markets on the following dates:

Market Venue Date and Time
Esk Country Markets Saturday 5 March 6:30am – 11:00am
Toogoolawah Railway Markets Saturday 12 March 6:30am – 11:00am
Fernvale Country Markets Sunday 13 March 6:00 am – 11:00am


Why is Cheryl Gaedtke nominating as Councillor for the Somerset Regional Council?

Category : General News

The old cliché that “life wasn’t meant to be easy” is one which has more relevance to the office of Councillor than it does to many other occupations or callings.  The office of Councillor is a political office. Council decision-making is a political process.  That means that it is about dealing with and assessing different and often conflicting demands, aspirations and philosophical perspectives in an attempt to get to an outcome for a particular matter which, in the individual Councillor’s personal opinion, represents the best result for the community as a whole, consistently with the Councillor’s duty under the Local Government Act 2009.untitled-20

During my career with Kilcoy Shire Council, I had a very amicable professional relationship with our Councillors. I experienced a great deal of professional satisfaction as a team member of a small rural Council by balancing its annual budget and providing the best possible service to its ratepayers.  My ambition has always been to stand for Council.   After 30 years of Local Government experience I understand entirely the “glue” that holds a community together.

I am passionate about our region and believe that we live in an area that has the potential to develop more successfully with long term vision, correct approach, approved attitude and sound management strategies. I want to see our region encourage business growth, encourage two way communications and acknowledge and reach community expectations.  I advocate for benchmarking and tracking our communities’ overall satisfaction with our council’s performance in areas such as:- basic services and infrastructure; community lifestyle services; managing the region; customer services/communication; and qualities of council.

As your Councillor, I understand that making decisions will affect our community and it is therefore important to have effective decision-making skills. University has broadened my outlook and given me a much wider perspective on diverse social matters.  As President of the Kilcoy Chamber of Commerce & Community Inc. over the past 2 years, I understand the needs of local businesses and the expectations of our local community.  My length of service to Local Government provides me with invaluable leadership skills, experience and knowledge.  I also understand and respect values such as integrity and empathy.

Women and Local Government

Category : General News

Is it important to have women involved in Local Government?

From my first two weekly press releases, you are now aware that I am local born and bred; I am a woman; I am a wife; I am a Mother; I am a Grandmother; and I have thirty years plus Local Government experience and knowledge. There is a great deal of information about 50:50 vision for A National Program for Gender Equity for Local Government, implemented in 2009 and just after Queensland Council amalgamations. The report marks a new phase in implementing the National Framework for Women in Local Government. It launches a range of initiatives under the banner 50:50 Vision. The Australian Local Government Women’s Association (ALGWA) sees the strategy to be a decade-long program to advance gender equity in local government.

National Statement of Commitment

We will work towards increasing the representation of women in local government, both as elected members and as senior managers and professionals. We will undertake ongoing reviews of policies and practices to remove barriers to women’s participation and to engender safe, supportive working and decision-making environments that encourage and value a wide range of views.


To increase the participation of women in Australian local government so that Councils more accurately reflect their communities. This will be evidenced by continuing growth in numbers of women councillors, mayors, chief executives and senior staff in all States and the Northern Territory and in all types of Councils.


  • To create Councils and communities where all participate and actively share their skills, knowledge and experience.
  • To engender inclusive Councils where a full range of opinions is sought, respected and taken into account in decision-making
  • To ensure effective leadership in implementing the strategies set out in this Framework
  • To expand training and networking opportunities that will support

The Local Government Association of Queensland states that of the 512 councillors in Queensland, just 150 (29 per cent) are women and only 11 per cent of council CEOs are represented by females. The statistics do not sit well with many females involved already with local government, as there are countless women in the state who merit senior civic roles.


I believe and support most importantly that candidates are not elected on gender basis only, but also on individual merit.


The 2012 Regional Arts Development Fund (RADF) Committee consisted of all women, and was a very productive group.  I was employed at the RADF Liaison Officer by Somerset Regional Council.

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Cover for Cheryl Gaedtke Retired Councillor SRC
Cheryl Gaedtke Retired Councillor SRC

Cheryl Gaedtke Retired Councillor SRC

I believe in open communication, active listening and a common sense approach, always.
After 39 years in Local Government, I have enjoyed my journey and understand the importance of Local Government as the grass root level of government.

Come celebrate the diversity of Somerset by attending the second annual Kilcoy Multicultural Carnival on this Friday. 😀💃🌏🪇The event will get underway in Yowie Park at 3pm and continue to 7pm. The carnival will be a vibrant celebration of diversity, featuring cultural acts and demonstrations and it's FREE. This family friendly event will feature performances from various cultural groups, showcasing their traditional dances, music, and customs. This event is proudly brought to you with funding by the Queensland Government, Sponsored by Kilcoy Global Foods and organised by Somerset Regional Council. ... See MoreSee Less
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