Patterns echoing the old Cherbourg Emu Farm are featured on this fabric design by Yolandie Gadd

October 31, 2023

Confident, colourful and creative … this was the face of Cherbourg’s young people on show at the official opening of the community’s new “YAG Shop” on Friday.

The shop,  at Bert Button Lookout, is the latest project of Cherbourg’s Youth Advisory Group (YAG).

It sells floral arrangements, fashion items, handmade candles and jewellery, all designed by younger members of the Cherbourg community.

The business is an expansion of a project which YAG members began earlier this year after taking workshops with Murgon florist Felicity Aitken.

The aim is for more workshops in both floristry and digital design to be held at the centre in the future.

Elders at the opening ceremony were presented with floral “crowns” which they wore with pride.

The young Wirri-Wakka group also performed a series of traditional dances.

However, the highlight of the morning was the fashion parade, with formal wear, beach wear, scarves, wraps, bags, umbrellas – and even shoes! – modelled by community members.

Designs by Martina, Yolandie, Wawida and Karla were digitised and then sent away to be incorporated into fashion items.

Bundaberg businesswoman Julie Appo, who runs her own fashion shop on the coast, guided the process, led the design workshops and compered Friday’s parade.

“I want us to have something where you could actually make a living from this,” Julie said.

She said having retail outlets where the items could be sold was really important.

The fashion items will be available to purchase at both the YAG Shop and at Julia’s business in Bundaberg and, hopefully eventually, overseas.

The old Emu Farm building, which houses the YAG Shop, and surrounding lookout area also received a makeover thanks to the RACQ Foundation.

RACQ Chief Executive and Foundation Director David Carter said the Foundation had brought up 18 volunteers to work in the Cherbourg community for a week.

They did painting as well as tidying up the gardens and barbecue area.

The group also helped out at The Ration Shed with some archive work.

Another 18 RACQ volunteers – mostly current office staff or retired employees – are working in the Cherbourg community this week, helping out with upgrades and repairs at the football oval.

David said the Foundation had been doing volunteer projects in regional Queensland since 2016.

They aim to complete three projects every year.

This was the second time they had worked in an Indigenous community.

 Cherbourg Council Community Services Manager Edwina Stewart said the aim was for the YAG Shop to be open a couple of days every week as a trial.

This week, it would be open on Thursday and Friday.

It would also be open when workshops were under way, such as candle, soap and jewellery-making.

Orders could also be taken for the clothing as well as floral items.

For more information – and to check opening times – contact Yolandie Gadd on 0498-882-337 or Wawida Collins on 0467-803-992.

Murgon florist Felicity Aitken with jewellery maker Brittney Bond
South Burnett councillor Kathy Duff with store manager Yolandie Gadd and some of the “pink” purchases she made on the day
Elders wearing their floral crations … at back, Aunties Belita Gadd, Mayleah Bemrose and Daisy Carlo; at front Aunty Ada Simpson
Aunties Myra Duncan and Martina Jacobs

The YAG Shop is officially opened!

Cherbourg Mayor Elvie Sandow at the opening

Black Snake resident Eugene Bargo runs a floristry business on his traditional country

RACQ Chief Executive David Carter was interviewed by Cherbourg Radio’s Arlene Langton
Cherbourg Council CEO Chatur Zala, Deputy Mayor Tom Langton and South Burnett Acting Mayor Gavin Jones
As well as fresh flower arrangements, the YAG Shop can organise beautiful dried arrangements
The shop was crowded with people lining up to make purchases after the opening

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Gallery Of Photos

A performance by the young Wirri-Wakka Dancers was followed by the fashion parade:

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Video by Cherbourg Aboriginal Shire Council:




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