COMM12016 Citizen Blog 4 – Mackay Big Boys Toys Expo

Figure 1: The Facebook banner Source: Big Boys Toys 2016

On Saturday, 17th of September I visited the Big Boys Toys weekend event in Mackay, held in the local showgrounds. The event was dedicated to showing off many of the ‘toys’ that men generally like.

A large number of both old-fashioned cars and contemporary styled cars were on display, with visitors being allowed to touch and enter some to experience being inside of them.

Figure 2: A lineup of older cars Source: Big Boys Toys 2016

There was a competition called the JCB Excavator Skills Challenge, where competitors dug into the ground with machinery to win beer.

Figure 3: An excavating machine Source: Big Boys Toys 2016

Boast and fishing gear was also prevalent.

Figure 4: A boat Source: Big Boys Toys 2016

Technical and artistic hobbies such as model helicopters and planes and art printing were also put on display by enthusiasts, along with other people showcasing desirable items like spas.

Some people cosplayed as iconic characters from media like Stormtroopers from Star Wars.

Inflatable rides were also present for the little kids to enjoy.

Figure 5: An inflatable ride Source: Big Boys Toys 2016

At the back of the Showgrounds was an area dedicated to motorcyclists performing stunts for the crowd, which was held by the Make A Wish foundation.

The Big Boys Toys group also maintains a Facebook page where they advertise the event and share photos and videos of the event (Big Boys Toys 2016). Facebook is a social networking site that connects individuals and organisations together (Bainbridge, Goc & Tynan 2015, p.75). Groups like the Big Boys Toys organisers use Facebook to both advertise their event and connect with their customers.

Figure 6: A Facebook post discussing the events, reminding people about the tickets and prizes Source: Big Boys Toys 2016

Attendees are encouraged to visit the Facebook page and like the various posts and the page to go into the draw to win special prizes. Ticket holders who win are able to claim these prizes if they present their tickets.

Figure 7: Tickets from the events Source: Big Boys Toys 2016


Bainbridge, J, Goc, N & Tynan, L 2015, Media and journalism New Approaches to theory and practice Third Edition, Oxford University Press, Melbourne

Big Boys Toys, Mackay Big Boys Toys Expo 2016, viewed 16th September 2016,


COMM12016 Citizen Blog 3 – The Mackay Orchid Extravaganza

Figure 1: A display of orchids. Source: Mackay Orchid Extravaganza 2016

On Saturday, 17th of September I went to the Mackay Orchid Extravaganza, held at Queen’s Park and showcasing an incredibly wide variety of beautiful flowers. This year was the fourth time the event was held since it began in 2012 (Mackay Regional Council 2016). Hundreds of species of orchids were displayed at the event, both to admire and to purchase. The displays were created by council workers, local orchid societies and orchid enthusiasts.

Orchids, or Orchidaceae, are a large and varied family of colourful flowers that are widely grown. There are both natural and artificial hybrid types of orchids (Magrath 2015).

Figure 2: An orchid. Source: Mackay Orchid Extravaganza 2016

The Orchid House, a great hall filled with orchid flowers was one of the main attractions. A gold coin donation was required for entry.

Figure 3: Inside the Orchid House. Source: Mackay Orchid Extravaganza 2016

Inside the house was a number of beautiful displays and card sheets carrying information on the various types of orchids.

Figure 4: An information card on orchids. Source: Mackay Orchid Extravaganza

Outside of the Orchid House was numerous market stalls with many orchids for sale along with other flowers, produce and gardening- related items. Tables, chairs and drinks were also available for people to relax and admire the orchids.

There were a number of workshops, information sessions and live demonstrations for audiences to inform them on how to properly grow and maintain their own orchids in Queensland and in general conditions.

Figure 5: The area where workshop demonstrations take place. Source: Mackay Orchid Extravaganza 2016

Finally, there was also an auction held for a variety of orchids and other types of flowers, with the items contributed by the organisers and volunteers.

The event was also an opportunity for people interested in horticulture to mingle and share ideas, a gathering that was part of the broader Mackay’s publicsphere. Chatting casually and putting up physical displays and signs are methods of communication in the publicsphere, rather than the mediasphere of the internet, radio and so on (Bainbridge, Goc & Tynan 2015, p. 13).

It was very enjoyable overall.


Bainbridge, J, Goc, N & Tynan, L 2015, Media and journalism New Approaches to theory and practice Third Edition, Oxford University Press, Melbourne

Mackay Regional Council 2016, Mackay’s Orchid Extravaganza, viewed 15 September 2016,

Magrath, L, 2015, ‘Orchids‘, Salem Press Encyclopedia of Science

COMM12016 Citizen Blog 2 – The Sarina Coconut Festival


Figure 1: A banner celebrating the event. Source: Sarina Coco Fest 2016

On Saturday, 3rd of September I attended the inaugural Sarina Beach Coconut Festival, held at Sarina Beach, with a number of activities dedicated to coconuts and showing some of the talented people in the Sarina area. Coconuts aren’t really a staple of Australian diets unfortunately but the trees they grow on are appreciated for their aesthetic value (Foale 2011, p. 30).

The event featured performances from musicians Will Anderson and Tia Gostelow. There was also live demonstrations of cooking, basket weaving, oyster shucking and other coconut-related activities.

Figure 2: Signpost directing attendees to the various activities. Source: Sarina Coco Fest 2016

Market and food stalls were set up along the beach front, along with some artistic displays, such as this sand sculpture of a dragon, which had its nostrils lit aflame by the creator.

Figure 3: Sand sculpture of a dragon. Source: Sarina Coco Fest 2016

There was also a small train carrying excited children and their parents along the beachfront so they could see the whole festival.

On the beach were a number of fun activities that attendees were able to enjoy.

Kite flying. The huge number of fishlike kites flying in the air was particularly impressive in person.

Figure 4: Kites flying on the beach. Source: Sarina Coco Fest 2016

Camel riding. Three camels were giving rides to a large number of people.

Blow-kart racing. There was a section of the beach dedicated to the karts where people could ride around freely.

Figure 5: A blow-kart. Source: Sarina Coco Fest 2016

The event was primarily advertised on the radio and its own official website, as well as the local council’s websites (Schofield 2016). The hashtag #MackayPride was also used to promote this event as well as a Facebook page. The increased used of advertising in the mediasphere to draw in attendees is a sign of how influential media advertising is now in growing communities (Bainbridge, Goc & Tynan, p. 13). What would normally spread through word of mouth is now advertised on the internet.

Figure 6: Pamphlet for the event. Note the hashtage #MackayPride. Source: Sarina Coco Fest 2016

Overall, it was a very enjoyable event.


Bainbridge, J, Goc, N & Tynan, L 2015, Media and journalism New Approaches to theory and practice Third Edition, Oxford University Press, Melbourne

Foale, M 2011, ‘The coconut palm – its place and potential in Australia’, Agriculture Science, vol. 23, no. 3, pp. 29-34

Schofield, S 2016, Sarina Beach Coconut Festival, viewed 1st September 2016,

COMM12016 Citizen Blog 1 – The Spirit of Anzac Centenary Experience at Mackay


Figure 1: Poppy memorial wall Source: Australian Government 2016

On Thursday 28 July I was able to attend the Centenary Experience hosted at the Mackay Entertainment and Convention Centre. Tickets are pre-booked and free for everyone. The Experience is a travelling exhibition that started in September 2015 and is going through 23 major cities and regional towns, showcasing a collection of artefacts, short films and memorials devoted to the ANZAC soldiers who fought in World War 1 and other Australian soldiers (Australian Government 2016).

The ANZACs (The Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) are a well renowned and admired element of Australian culture. Many Australians are proud of the legacy of the soldiers who fought during the first World War and Gallipoli is a popular tourist spot and memorial in remembrance of the infamous Gallipoli campaign (Donoghue & Trenter, 2015). The Centenary Experience take visitors through a timeline of Australia pre-World War 1 through to the present day, with sections dedicated to;

  • Pre World War Life

  • Recruitment

    Figure 2: A map on the wall showing various country’s interactions Source: Australian Government 2016
  • Egypt and training

    Figure 3: Camera showing a photograph of soldiers sitting on an Egyptian pyramid Source: Australian Government 2016
  • Gallipoli and trench warfare

    Figure 4: Model of a soldier sitting on a battlefield Source: Australian Government 2016
  • Nurses and hospitals

    Figure 5: A mannequin wearing an old nurse outfit Source: Australian Government 2016
  • Life at home

    Figure 6: Text plate describing the Australian political division regarding conscription in the World War 1 Source: Australian Government 2016
  • Life and recovery after war

  • A touching memorial to fallen soldiers, with special attention to soldiers who were local to the region

  • Present day Australian soldiers and a timeline of Australian involvement in other conflicts

The Centenary Experience makes use of a variety of special effects and digital tools to enhance the tour and make it a memorable event. Each visitor is provided with a handheld touch device with headphones that plays narration and audio into the wearer’s ears.

Figure 7: The re-purposed phone and headphones used on the tour Source: Australian Government 2016

Narrator and Voice Actors read scripts assigned to each section of the tour, changing as the visitor walks through the Experience.

Figure 8: The devices playing audio narration Source: Australian Government 2016

In addition, there are many displays that have a small red button attached to them.

Figure 9: A display with a red button Source: Australian Government 2016

Touching the device to one of these buttons will send an article of information related to the display to an email that the user specifies at the beginning of the tour, although I have yet to receive any emails.

Figure 10: A device receiving an item from a button Source: Australian Government 2016

There are also lighting effects and projected film to create an interesting atmosphere for the tour. Preserved artefacts and documents are also on display for visitors to observe.

The Centenary Experience also made use of social media services for attendees to engage with the experience online. On the webservice Twitter, the hashtag #spiritofanzac is used by both the organisers and customers to share messages and photos. Twitter is a website where users can share short messsages and images and has come to be used in a wide variety of ways, particularly by organisations looking to promote their service (Bainbridge, Goc & Tynan 2015, p. 77).

Figure 11: A poster for the Centenary Experience showing Facebook, Twitter and Instagram advertisements Source: Australian Government 2016

An ‘app’ is also in place for customers to use during and after the Experience. Apps are computer programs designed to run on mobile devices and are a fairly new concept in social networking (Bainbridge, Goc & Tynan 2015, p. 496)

Figure 12: A poster advertising the Centenary Experience App Source: Australian Government

The Spirit of Anzac Centenary Experience was one of the most fascinating and memorable tours I have ever attended thanks to the unique special effects, use of digital technology and impressive collection of artefacts.


Australian Government 2016, The spirit of Anzac centenary experience, viewed 27th July 2016,

Bainbridge, J, Goc, N & Tynan, L 2015, Media and journalism New Approaches to theory and practice Third Edition, Oxford University Press, Melbourne

Donoghue, J, Tranter, B 2015, ‘The Anzacs: military influences on Australian identity’, Journal of Sociology, vol. 51, no. 3, pp. 449-463.