#53 – Al & Verne Lowson

Al and Verne

This week we meet Al & Verne Lowson, who started a running group that has grown from strength to strength, called Blood, Sweat and Beers. You may have seen the shirts around the area.

It is a wonderful group of people of all capabilities that enjoy organised runs and training together (pre-covid). They are also qualified coaches that assist you with your goals, whether getting a little quicker, running with less injuries and pain and the get to a distance you don’t think you can make. All with a caring attitude.

They are very selfless people, who in the early days were paying for drinks, lollies, and food out of their own pocket for the joy of seeing people coming together, exercising in our beautiful surrounds, all with a smile [I know, I didn’t think I could ever enjoy running, but this group taught me I could]

At the start of the Jetty

What brought you to the area?

Born in Zimbabwe, we left when we got married and ended up living in New Zealand for 10 years. We had always planned to have kids and settle somewhere family friendly, but when we realised we couldn’t have children, we decided to make the most of our circumstances and move somewhere exotic! Exotic ended up being Airlie Beach in North Queensland. We spent six months in Airlie Beach (Al loved it, Verne … not so much!) and then moved down to Brisbane to be near Al’s sister, who was pregnant with her second child.

She lived in Manly, so we looked for a house within a certain radius, ended up in Wynnum and have never looked back! Best decision ever.

2015 Early days of BSB
Whilst Al and Verne help oldies like me, they love helping the younger crew improve

Do you have any interesting or memorable experiences in Wynnum that you would like to share?

It would have to just be all the wonderful interactions with the local community. When we first started running, we’d see a few familiar faces that we recognised from parkrun (the incentive to start BSB and bring us all together!) and now we can’t go far around Wynnum without seeing someone we know. We are both lucky enough to work fairly locally (Al couldn’t get much closer to home at Iona and Verne is at 99 Bikes in Capalaba) and just being part of this wonderful community brightens every day.

You will see them at the waterfront, do say hi!

What would you love to see in Wynnum?

Al’s first choice is a cinema (so that’s good, coming soon) and for Verne it would have to be a running track. He would even settle for a grass track, so if anyone influential is reading, the area up by the softball fields at Wynnum North would be great ūüėČ

Best time of the day!

Any link to a website that you would like to share?

There is a website in progress (but it’s been in progress for a while, so …) and in the meantime: www.facebook.com/bloodsweatandbeer

matchy matchy

Who or What would you like me to cover in future posts on When in Wynnum?

Would love you to interview the wonderful Trish & Neil from Lime & Myrtle and more recently The Running Duck Effect.

Thanks Al and Verne, a couple of final things, BSB is free, yep just turn up and join in with the other members from our community.

And I needed to share this, we had one of the BSB crew spot us as he ran by, I managed to capture Adam in the 3 seconds he was there for ūüėā

Adam the photo jogger

#36 – Wynnum Manly Boomerang Bags

January 31, 2019

This week we meet the wonderful people from Wynnum Manly Boomerang Bags. You may have seen shoppers sporting their boomerang bags at the grocery store, well now we can see a little bit more about where they came from.

The Wynnum Manly Boomerang Bags group is a fun group of volunteers working to create bags from scrap material and help make Wynnum plastic bag free! 

Different stations where all the tasks come together to a finished bag

I met with the group last year at their library location for their Saturday working bees. They now have another location at the Waterloo Bay Leisure Centre, where they meet on Thursdays at 12:30.

A display case of items created by the group
My favourite bag, I love the repurposing of tea towels

The group also make produce bags, one of mine is shown on the right in the picture below.

I purchased the bags above, and always keep an eye out for fellow boomerang bag holders

The group is free and we welcome everyone regardless of their sewing ability and 

In a library meeting room on a Saturday

Donations of fabrics, ribbon or elastic are very welcome.

Cutting out from donated material

The bags are available to purchase on the 4th Saturday at the library, as well as
Joan Pease office, Crystal Rose Gallery, Frankies Coffee shop, Wynnum 
Heritage Society and Bike Obsession in the city.

You can see some great information and even better pictures at the groups facebook page https://www.facebook.com/groups/WynnumBoomerangBags/

Pop in and say hi to the crew, I can attest that they are a very welcoming group!

#31 – Bethania Street Community Garden

February 22, 2018

Today we visit the Bethania Street Community Garden, located in Cox Park, Bethania Street, Lota.  I was welcomed by Linda and the rest of the group at their weekly get together on Wednesday mornings.

I had heard about the garden but never visited, and it was a wonderful spot, with a variety of fruit trees, vegetables and herbs.  The garden was started in September 2011 and is operated under a licence from Brisbane City Council.

Council supporting the group

Signing in for the day

Today’s plan

The crew that were available for a photo

I am a hopeless gardener, though I wish it wasn’t the case. I received some great tips when I asked specifics that could help us at home, including the homemade fly trap recipe, vegemite, who knew?¬† The group had a great feel about it, and it is a great community initiative.

It was time to get into the work for the morning.



Composting is an important part of a great garden, and the group takes their composting very seriously!

Local businesses such Dramanti and Perry’s fruit market, pass on their organic waste for compositing. Some even leave nice messages with the pickups.

There is a fruit orchard, which is quite impressive.

When you stop and take in the garden, there really is a lot going on in this space!

The friendly group

You can find out more about the garden on their facebook page and website links below.



There are some great events coming up, have a look on the events page of their website, hope to see you there!

#29 – Lota parkrun

November 20, 2017

Last Saturday was the launch of Lota parkrun, a free, weekly, timed 5km walk/jog/run at 7am every Saturday. Open to all ages and abilities. Organised entirely by volunteers. Friendly and fun.

Link to the Lota parkrun page

Lota joins sister suburb Wynnum in running a parkrun in our area.  I would say that through my participation in parkrun, I have gained a great sense of positive community feeling, meeting lots of new people (now many are good friends), as well as kicking off the weekend in such a great way.

The Lota course has a variation in surfaces: grass, concrete paths, gravel and possibly mud ūüôā

I have included some photos from the launch, as well as 2 videos, one on the ground, and another of drone footage from 2  talented creatives, Nick and Hennie.

Hope to see you out there!

Event Directors Kurt and Victoria

Nick gets ready for some drone footage


so hot right now

Some many great crew came down to celebrate the launch.

Territory Director gets things underway (see post 1 for more on Alan and Roisin)

The next few photos are at the first turn around point near manly harbour.

So, how does one navigate the next leg without getting muddy? 



Scanning barcodes time

Volunteers were superb on the day, as always!

The following videos are superb, one from terra firma, and one from up high.

On the ground with Hennie


In the air with Nick

#27 – Savoyards

8 October 2017

This week we take a look behind the scenes of the Savoyards production, The Producers.  It was fantastic  to experience the friendliness and camaraderie of the cast and crew.

Now, confession time for me, I haven’t attended a performance by Savoyards before, and can only say that I had seen their signs, and knew that they were a local amateur¬†theatre.¬† My experience blew me away with the professionalism of the group, and I am very thankful that¬†Sherryl-Lee showed me around, behind the curtain if you will.

It really struck me how much of a community feel, and more so a family feel that this group had.¬† There were many relatives amongst the cast, crew and supporting team.¬† My guide,¬†Sherryl-Lee, was behind the scenes soon after she was born, with her mum treading the boards in the 1960’s.¬† I heard that marriages have come out of the relationships formed within the group.

We first had a look at the stage around an hour before the show starts.

quite the roll call

so many marks on the stage

pre show discussion

sets getting moved in readiness for the performance

 in joke with the cast

This play’s premise is based on producing a play that is so bad that it will be a flop.¬† The play selected¬†was “Springtime for Hitler“.¬† Whilst I did recall this fact, it was still a reflex for me to double take when I first saw the Nazi banners and costumes.¬† I did hear on the day about having multiple browser windows open researching various Nazi information could be a red flag if someone else happened to view your screen.

radio microphones charged and at the ready

each of the cast getting their specific mic for the show

So much support backstage!


I was then allowed into the dressing rooms to see the cast getting ready for the show.  They were all so lovely and welcoming and having a lot of fun together.  I was able to share a pre-show drink in the male changing room, which was very generous, and really set the tone that continued with the openness and friendliness in which I was received.

makeup time

Into the male dressing room, where there was lots of singing and fun conversation.


Apparently, there is a ceremony just before curtain time with the rod below, by the male cast members. I didn’t witness, but I love that the tradition is carried through from show to show.

This staff has every show performed since 2002  

I then headed up to the catwalk with the lighting rigs and a couple of the “follow spots” are operated.

The orchestra pit just in front of the stage

final checks

follow spots nest

It was a great perspective of the theatre from the catwalk

It was then off to the lighting and sound area, where I met the crew having a catchup before show time.  I was fascinated when talking with Allan how the lighting and sound come together in design, setup and during the performance. So much so, that time got away and I heard the call that the audience will be coming in, in a couple of minutes.

View of the stage from the lighting desk

The lighting control was incredible!

Each mic is tested preshow, some funny interpretations of songs were done

Sound desk crew checking each of the mic’s


Best seat in the house

A lot of tech used, I kept saying to myself amateur theatre? No way!

looking back to the sound and lighting crew

My final stop on my tour was to the orchestra pit.  The theme continued with the friendly welcome and community feel, and I enjoyed watching the various musicians warming up, and chatting with their peers.  I loved being able to visit, as I always knew there were the musicians in front, but lower then the stage in these productions, but to see the setup, and the economy of space used, whilst producing the incredible quality of sound that I heard a little later was fantastic.


gorgeous saxophone

warming up

The audience started to roll in, and due to copyright, I wasn’t able to take photos of the performance, but it was so good.¬† It was great to see the acting, singing, dancing interspersed with some funny moments that gave great life to Mel Brooks’ play.

I must say that I was disappointed in myself that I hadn’t seen a Savoyard production before, but I now won’t have any hesitation in buying season tickets for 2018 as soon as they are available (next month), and with Les¬†Mis√©rables and Chicago the productions for next year,¬† I can’t wait to see such quality productions, in our community.

I am hopeful of being invited back, to see the early stages of one of the shows next year, from the set design, prop construction and costume making.

More details about Savoyards can be found at their website and facebook pages below.




#23 – Wynnum Greys


August 18, 2017

This week we cover a community group, the Wynnum Manly Greyhound Owners. ¬†We are very much dog lovers in our family, but our 4 legged family members have been labradors. ¬†I haven’t had much experience with greyhounds, well except for the time our neighbour was fostering Tony, who had a great nature, and I thought where did I get the stereotype that they weren’t great pets?

I must say that they have a beautiful demeanour, and they loved the attention and pats that I was enforcing on them at last Sunday’s meetup.

Megan from¬†the¬†group contacted me to¬†see if¬†I¬†could¬†meet up and¬†cover one of their monthly get togethers. ¬†It¬†was¬†fantastic to see¬†around¬†50 dogs, behaving so well together and¬†their owners¬†sharing a common bond. ¬†You can visit their facebook page here. ¬†Last Sunday’s walk went from the bandstand park to Manly and back, and didn’t the Brisbane winter put on a show!

Friendly and good natured greys

I asked Megan the regulation questions below.

What brought you to the area?

We were looking for a block of land and we had seen a block of land online. Wynnum wasn’t on our radar though we thought we would go for a drive and take a look. We fell in love with the place instantly.


Do you have any interesting or memorable experiences in Wynnum that you would like to share?

I certainly have to say 50 greyhounds walking along the esplanade ūüôā


What would you love to see in Wynnum?

I think it is beautiful the way it is though I would like to see a few more BBQ’s and shade gazebos along the waterfront and a pool like Southbank.

Quite a spectacle seeing the group enjoying the waterfront

Any link to a website that you would like to share?

Want to adopt or foster a greyhound? Click here. 

Who or What would you like me to cover in future posts on When in Wynnum? The Wynnum/Manly Men’s Shed ¬†website

Thanks for letting me come and meet the crew (and their owners)!