Festival founder and director: Wendy O’Hanlon
Wendy is a journalist, photographer, book editor and reviewer, poet, playwright, thespian, event organiser and passionate environmentalist with more than 30 years’ experience in Australia and overseas. Wendy’s dream to create this Sunshine Coast festival was inspired by her attendance at the Ubud Writers & Readers Festival in 2011 and 2015.
Eileen Walder: USC Bursary Mentor and International and National Travel Manager
Eileen is a journalist, teacher, thespian and passionate crusader for the environment and the worldwide community. She wears many hats which include being the founder of Boots for Bali, vice-president of Queensland Koala Crusaders and a life member of Noosa Arts Theatre. Eileen has won numerous awards over a variety of fields (acting, directing and teaching) and is determined to make a positive difference to those who need help.
Jaye Featherby: PR and Media Programmer
Born and bred on the Sunshine Coast, Jaye is a 4th-year financial planning student at the University of the Sunshine Coast, an event manager, a pyrotechnician with KC’s Fireworks Displays, an active surf lifesaver at Marcoola SLSC, a mad-keen surfer and world traveller. Jaye began reviewing books for the Sunshine Coast Daily’s dedicated literary/arts pages when he was just six years old. He is still an avid reader.
Robin Fleming: Infrastructure Manager
Robin is a Coolum-based surfer, photographer and environmentalist; a past member of Coolum Arts Theatre – and plumber extraordinaire.
Gaye Williams & David Pocock: Community hub extraordanaire!
This dynamic duo are long-time business owners in Coolum Beach and huge supporters of community events and fundraisers including the popular Flicks in the Park free family movie events. Their business, The Shop Foodstore, is a hub of community interaction with their ‘round table’ the venue for many informal meetings over an excellent chai latte or latte.
Jordan Cullen: 'Photographer Out of the Box'.
During his time at the University of the Sunshine Coast, Jordan worked as a journalist and press photographer across a number of publications. He now works as a property writer and photographer, as well as shooting weddings and commercial jobs. Jordan loves the Sunshine Coast for its beaches, relaxed atmosphere and its thriving creative element. It’s not often that he is seen without a camera and he enjoys spending time with his Labrador x Staffy dog called Bear.
Barry Betts:The original bush poet
Better known as Bazza the Bush Balladeer, Bazza is an iconic figure in the Sunshine Coast region as he performs at festivals and fairs with his heart-felt renditions of Australian bush poetry classics from Henry Lawson, Banjo Paterson, Dorothea Mackellar and more.
John Emmett: Documenting our Journey
John’s outstanding media career began in London in 60s and 70s. For decades he has made his mark in the Sunshine Coast region as a photographer, videographer and TV cameraman for media outlets such as ABC-TV, Channel 7, The Courier-Mail and The Sunday Mail. He has many stories to tell about his adventurous and colourful career. John is currently writing a novel (with photographs), revealing his insights into human behavior on this planet, which will be published next year.
Colin Beard: Most Iconic Photographer in Australia
Colin is one of Australia’s foremost, award-winning photographers. He began photography in the mid-1960s as a founding member of Australia’s first rock ‘n’ roll magazine Go-Set which lead to a whirlwind career throughout the 60s and 70s photographing rock legends such as The Rolling Stones throughout the UK and USA. He is a founding photographer of Australian Geographic, co-author and photographer of (in collaboration with Sydney-based author James Cowan) The River Men, The Mountain Men, Sacred Places and Starlight's Trail. His work has appeared in numerous leading fashion magazines such as Vogue, Dolly and Cleo. He began teaching in 1977 as a founding member of the staff of the Sydney College of the Arts and later joined Sydney’s Design Faculty of The University of Technology. He now lives in Imbil.
Lyndon Davis: Such an ambassador
Lyndon is the founder of the Gubbi Gubbi Dance Troupe (1997), an Indigenous presenter, performer, educator and artist. He was born and raised on the Sunshine Coast, and is a Traditional Custodian and representative of the Local Gubbi Gubbi/Kabi Kabi people.
Lyndon works extensively within local schools, universities and the community presenting an exciting and informative Aboriginal Cultural Education Program. He has vast knowledge of our region’s Indigenous culture and history, Gubbi Gubbi language, traditional song and dance and the arts. Lyndon is a true ambassador for his people travelling overseas on many occasions to South America, South Korea, Vanuatu, Europe, South Africa, Canada and the USA. He has performed for Queen Elizabeth II at CHOGM, the official opening of the Goodwill Games, 2000 Sydney Olympics, Woodford Folk Festival and The Dreaming, and in 2011 welcomed His Holiness, the Dali Lama. In 2011, Lyndon was awarded the Honorary Senior Fellowship Award from the University of the Sunshine Coast.
Ubud Co-Organiser: Kat Thannhauser
Kat is an Ubud-based, Australian-born entreprenuer and environmentalist who has fallen in love with Bali and its people. She was inspired to join our foundation committee after attending the 2015 Ubud Writers & Readers Festival and is liaising with the Ubud festival on behalf of our festival.
Mark Sidaway: Liaison
Mark works tirelessly for Indigenous youth throughout Queensland in sporting and educational programs. In 2015, he organised the first Aboriginal bowls championships based at Coolum Bowls Club.
Phil Jarratt: Nailed him down for this new festival
Phil is a journalist, author and publisher. A former editor of Tracks, Surfer and Australian Surf Journal, he is regarded as one of the foremost authorities on surfing and has worked in surf publishing for over 40 years. He has written over 20 books covering largely sport-related biography, surfing and surf history including A Cup of Tea With God; Bali: Heaven and Hell; Salts and Suit; Kelly Slater: For the Love; Hottest 100 Surf Legends; Surfing Australia: A Complete History of Surfboard Riding in Australia and That Summer at Boomerang. A three-time recipient of the Australian Surfing Hall of Fame Media Award, Phil lives between Noosa, Bali and Hawaii or wherever the surf's up! Phil is also the founder of the Noosa Festival of Surfing.
Professor Ian Lowe: What's ahead for Australia?
Professor Ian Lowe AO is an outstanding Mudjimba-based writer, academic and environmentalist. Apart from the following, he is also Queensland’s fastest Over 60s cricket bowler and a member of the Noosa Chorale. Prof Lowe is emeritus professor of science, technology and society at Griffith University in Brisbane, as well as being an adjunct professor at the University of the Sunshine Coast University and Flinders University. He is the author of 20 books and more than 500 other publications including his latest book The Lucky Country – reinventing Australia. Prof Lowe’s contributions to environmental science have won him a Centenary Medal, the Eureka Prize for promotion of science, the Prime Minister’s Environment Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement, the Queensland Premier’s Millennium Award for Excellence in Science, and the University of NSW Alumni Award for achievement in science. He was made an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2001 for services to science, technology and the environment; a member of the Australian delegation to the 1999 UNESCO World Conference on Science and has served on many advisory bodies to all levels of government. He was president of the Australian Conservation Foundation from 2004–2014, and in 2009 the International Academy of Sciences, Health and Ecology awarded him the Konrad Lorenz Gold Medal. In 2015, Prof Lowe was appointed to the Expert Advisory Committee for the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission in South Australia.