Community Champion: Graham Creagh

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Rockhampton has gained a new community champion in Graham Creagh, a passionate individual who works in Rail Specialist Improvement for BHP Mitsubishi Alliance. Despite his demanding career, Graham manages to find time to engage in meaningful volunteer work that positively impacts the community.

Graham’s journey began in Barcaldine, where he was raised in a humble sheep-shearing family. After completing his education in Barcaldine, he joined Queensland Rail in 1972 and embarked on a remarkable 40-year career. Throughout his time with Queensland Rail, Graham held diverse roles.

“In 1991, I came to Coppabella as an Assistant Station Master before obtaining a promotion to Station Master Dysart in 1994,” shared Graham.

Shortly after that, Graham commenced university studies and over the next 9 years, he obtained two undergraduate business degrees from CQU majoring in Marketing and Management, plus a Graduate Certificate in Logistics from Victoria University.  

“After studying I was appointed as the Operations Manager for the Goonyella & Newlands rail systems in 2004, a position I held for 5 years until I transitioned across to the role of Customer Services Manager for Coal North.

“In April 2012, I received an approach to go to Mozambique and start up Rio Tinto’s rail operations on the Sena Line (for their mine at Tete to the port at Beira). This was originally for 3 months but ended up being extended a further 3 months. 

“In 2016, I commenced employment at Hay Point for BMA Rail. I am currently employed as a Rail Specialist which has been an immensely rewarding position.”

When asked about his first foray into volunteering and community work, Graham recalls his time in Pentland in 1982 and 1983, where he contributed to the construction of the town’s golf course. Since then, he has been actively involved in various community initiatives, including serving on Dysart school P&C committees and a Dysart Community Support Group.

One notable organisation that Graham has been deeply involved with is VMR (Marine Rescue QLD). He joined VMR Mackay in 2016 as the squadron’s Secretary, a position he held for six years before stepping down due to his impending retirement and relocation to Rockhampton.

However, Graham’s dedication to VMR goes beyond administrative responsibilities. He actively supported the organisation’s mission of preserving life at sea by contributing to the squadron’s front-line rescue operations and marine radio watch activities. As an executive member of the management committee, he engaged in strategic planning, decision-making, and represented the squadron at public events.

Recalling some of his most memorable experiences, Graham shared the challenging rescues of two round-the-world racing yachts and the rescue of five men from a fishing trawler stranded on Cockatoo Reef. The latter incident led to an upgrade of marine radio coverage, with VMR Mackay successfully obtaining approvals and funding for a new radio repeater on Penrith Island. This significant improvement extended marine radio coverage to the Great Barrier Reef, enhancing safety for boaters venturing far from Mackay.

Balancing his volunteer work with VMR alongside other commitments was demanding at times, but Graham managed it with meticulous planning and coordination. Sometimes dedicating up to 40 hours per month to VMR activities, Graham appreciates the support of his patient wife who helped him strike that balance between work, family responsibilities, and volunteering.

Apart from his involvement with VMR, Graham engages in other volunteer activities and community work. For the past four years, he has coordinated support at Hay Point for Domestic and Family Violence victims through Mackay Women’s Services. This initiative involves employee donations for purchasing essential items and recycling for funds. Over the years, Graham’s efforts have raised over $40,000, making a significant impact on supporting those affected by domestic violence.

“I firmly believe that contributing to one’s community strengthens its social fabric and enhances everyone’s lives. Volunteers, being the backbone and heart of the community, play a pivotal role in fostering positive change and collective well-being,” said Graham.

“DV is close to my heart because of the tragedy that surrounds it. No person, be it an adult or child, should be the victim of systematic abuse in its various forms in their home. Especially little children who must be terrified when they witness this abuse unfolding. As a community we need to speak out about it and lobby Government to provide more support for victims, especially emergency housing so women and children fleeing these abusive relationships don’t end up living in cars or on the streets.” 

Graham’s volunteer work has seen notable success stories and moments of impact. During his time with VMR Mackay, the squadron’s membership has grown by 25%, funds have surpassed $1.2 million, and major improvements, such as a new Noosa Cat vessel and an upgraded Mackay Rescue 5, have been accomplished. These achievements directly contribute to safer rescue operations in the region, accommodating the increasing number of boaters venturing further afield. He was also recently awarded a lifetime membership for his contributions.

Looking ahead to retirement and his relocation to Rockhampton, Graham plans to continue his volunteer efforts. He intends to maintain his commitment as a Red Cross Lifeblood donor where he donates plasma every two weeks and just hit his 174th donation! Also having a soft spot for man’s best friend particularly Dalmatians, Graham hopes to give support for animal welfare support organisations like Capricorn Animal Aid. Graham is eager to explore new opportunities and contribute to the Rockhampton community once he settles into his new home.

Graham Creagh is an exemplary community champion, a dedicated professional, and a compassionate volunteer. We commend Graham for his outstanding work and wish him continued success as he embarks on new volunteering endeavours in Rockhampton.

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