Category Archives: Front Page

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Boomerang Bags Gallery

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Blog: Boomerang Bags February Update

Hi Boomerang Bag crew,

Thanks so much to everyone who came along to our first sewing bee. For those who weren’t able to make it we look forward to meeting you soon!

The numbers are in for the first sewing bee:

Item Tally
Complete bags 8
‘Very, nearly, almost’ complete bags 14
Bag pieces with pockets pre-attached 10
Cut bag pieces 65
Printed pockets 86
Sewn or ironed handles 20 sets
Cut handles 60 sets
Cut tags Lots and lots and lots

Boomerang Bags national recommend that each community should reach a ‘critical mass’ of 1000 bags before launching them into the community. So we have a few to go if we aim for this target but I’m sure each sewing bee we will get more and more efficient!

Drawing on the learning of the first meet up we’ve had a few ideas to streamline the process that we’ll implement at the next sewing bee:

  • Have a designated cup of tea/chat break half way through: we aren’t machines after all 😛
  • More of a production line with sewing machines/overlockers: piles with different stages of bag and assigning each machine a role
  • More irons and ironing boards for pockets and handles
  • Make up bag kits for people who can’t attend meetings to take home and sew
  • Make the sewing station larger (and use limited space better)
  • Making the instruction sheets for each station even bigger and clearer and assigning a volunteer to keep an eye over each station and how it’s going
  • Getting non-sewers who would like skills to sit with sewers and learn
  • Better rotation for those who want to try out different things.
  • Start at 4.30 instead of 4.00
  • Make sure the aircon isn’t temperamental again
  • Better explanation and clearer signs of where materials are: thread, scissors, extension chords etc.

We want your feedback: what creative ideas do you have to build Boomerang Bags Cairns? What ideas do you have from the first meeting? Let us know in this survey: (It’s anonymous!)

Thursday 2nd March 4.30pm – 7.30 pm (that’s next week!)
Where: Downstairs of Cominos House 27-29 Greenslopes St, Cairns North
Facebook Event:
What to bring: sewing machine or overlocker (if you have one), recycled fabric, snacks to share, or just yourself 🙂

A lot of people asked if they should bring their machine (or overlocker) along: yes, if you do have one then bring it along as it seems the back log in our production line so far has been the sewing stage. In saying this if you don’t have a machine don’t let that stop you from coming at all: there are so many other tasks that need to be done Eg cutting, printing, ironing, sorting, organising chatting 😛 You can also sit in with a sewer and learn.

Can’t come along but still want to help?

Do you have any fabric at home that may never be used? Donate it and we will turn it into Boomerang Bags. Anything will do so long as it isn’t overly thick or stretchy, even old sheets can be chopped up to be given a second life. We will also be gladly accepting donations of thread and any sewing accessories. Please bring in to the CAFNEC office (we will also have a donation box on the veranda for when office is closed).

One more thing:

In case you missed it: the Queensland Government has committed to banning single-use plastic bags in 2018 – hoorah! A discussion paper has been released and public input is being sought  via an online survey into what a ban may look like in practice. To help you out the Cafnec Marine Response Team have put together some points which may help you guide your response. The survey closes on Monday 27th March so have your say now!


  1. Join ‘Boomerang Bags Cairns’ Facebook group:
    (Don’t worry if you don’t have Facebook – I will continue to communicate via emails also)
  2. Feedback on first sewing bee:
  3. ‘Like’ our Cairns and Far North Environment Centre page (
  4. ‘Like’ our CAFNEC Marine Response Team page (
  5. Have your say on the Qld Governments plastic bag ban survey: closes Monday 27th March
  6. Have a friend who is interested? Get them to sign up for the email list here:

Further reading: check out the national website or join the national Boomerang Bags Facebook group as a great place to get ideas on how others are running Boomerang Bags (

If you have any questions don’t hesitate to contact Bess, Community Engagement Coordinator at CAFNEC on 4032 1746 or

Flyer 1pg any date

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Congratulations to our raffle winners!

Category : Front Page , Marine Team , Raffle

This year’s Marine Response Team Raffle 2015 has been a successful fundraiser for the team, thanks to all involved! Special thanks to the local businesses that donated prizes. Click here to see our generous sponsors!




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Join us on Facebook

Category : Front Page

Please like us on facebook for all the latest team and marine conservation news!


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Tribute to Paris Chadburn

Category : Front Page , Marine Team

Reef Rally-23


Tribute to and in Loving

Memory of

Paris Chadburn


Paris was one of our youngest and cherished team members. Her contributions to the Marine Response Team will remain here for the years to come. Paris was a young girl who could see the importance of the reef in her future. Standing alongside Bob Irwin at the 2014 Reef Rally in Cairns she helped to inform, inspire and rally the people of Cairns to take action for The Great Barrier Reef.

Unfortunately Paris left us early and we pay tribute to her efforts for marine conservation and continue to draw inspiration and dedication from her loving memory.

Rest in Peace Paris,

You will never be forgotten

We continue to celebrate your passion and inspiration through our work here at the Marine Response Team

DSC_0020Chris Robson-26_2000

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What We Do

Category : Front Page , Marine Team

Raise Community Awareness 2 logos

Save The Reef Rally– Protect Our Inlet

On April 6th 2014 the Cairns and Far North Community came together to express their concern with proposals to dredge to expand Cairns Port, and other dredging / port expansions along the Queensland coast.

This highly successful event was attended by a broad range of community members and featured talks from Bob Irwin, Josh Coates, June Norman and Paris Chadburn, music and a march through town.

Click here for more information on this event.

Provide The Facts About Proposals

The Marine Team puts large amounts of time in to establishing what is proposed and providing that information in simple terms. Also the team puts together many other resources that will help community members understand the proposals and what they mean for our marine ecosystems.

Cairns Proposals

Tackle the Issues


What is the Future of The Great Barrier Reef? – Community Survey

Cairns Port Dredging proposal (Cairns Shipping Development Project)

The results of the community survey indicate an overwhelmingly high level of concern regarding the proposal to dredge over 5 million cubic meters of mud to expand the shipping channel into Trinity Inlet.

When survey participants were asked how concerned they were about the proposal over 95% of respondents indicated they were concerned and  75% stated they were ‘very concerned’.

85.5% of respondents support a ban on dumping of dredge spoil in Great Barrier Reef waters.

Read more…