Cunnamulla welcomes new service leaders

Cunnamulla is the epitome of ‘outback’ Australia, an isolated town surrounded by red dirt, bushland and native Australian animals. There is more to this town than meets the eye and this close-knit community has won over the hearts of Joshua and Jane Marks, the new childcare centre manager and kindergarten teacher at Cunnamulla Early Childhood Service.

Jane was a Residential Youth Worker with Churches of Christ when she first received an email seeking interested and qualified people to join the early childhood team. Recently completing a Bachelor of Primary Education, Jane was looking to take the next step in her career and prayed 2019 would open doors for her and her family. Joshua worked as a relief teacher in primary schools recently completing a Bachelor of Primary Education.

It was an email from Chief Executive Officer Gary Edwards just before Christmas which tugged at Josh and Jane’s heart strings.
“We recognised it as a sign, and if it was where we were meant to be, the journey would be easy,” Jane said.
“As a family we discussed how we could make it work, and decided to apply and left it in the hands of God,” Josh said.
The rest, as they say, is history.
Josh and Jane said farewell to family and friends and with their children loaded the cars and drove 800km to their new home.
Since commencing their roles, Josh and Jane’s partnership has enlivened the local community.  
“Cunnamulla has an unwavering community spirit, and investing ourselves in it has helped us become a part of it in the two months we have been here,” Jane said.
Staying connected to family and building connections in their new community has been important to Josh and Jane.
“We video call our two children back in Brisbane regularly and look forward to seeing them soon on holidays,” Jane said. “It will be a new experience for them when they visit, which I think they will enjoy.”
“There have not been many days where we have just our own children in our house, it takes us back to an era where kids come knocking at our door, go for bike rides or walk to school together. Everything is within a stone’s throw,” Josh said.
“When you have a big family, it attracts more children and our house has always had that, and it’s continued here,” Jane said.
The social nature of the town sees Jane and Josh attend social bowls on Saturday evenings, host movies on the grass for the community in their backyard, and weekly board games night with their family.
Josh and Jane have also supported the centre with the recent introduction of online sign-in and a digital communication platform for parents and teachers called Kinderloop.
Children, Youth and Families Regional Manager Rachel Robinson said Josh and Jane’s passion has been endearing.
“Being the only childcare provider in the region, people rely on the service so they can continue in their roles at the local health services, schools and services that help to keep the town alive.
 “I love Cunnamulla, it is a hidden gem and has a great sense of pride when it comes to community,” Rachel said. “Jane and Josh are courageous and compassionate people and we will continue to support them in their new roles.”
Jane and Josh have been awed with the amount gratitude from parents at the service.
 “You’re filled with an overwhelming amount of compassion when the community is so welcoming and value your roles,” Jane said.
 “Settling into the role has not been easy, but it’s been so rewarding,” Josh said.
“It’s a matter of perspective, and people can look at things as either a challenge or an opportunity. We take life by the horns and hope to instil that attitude in our children,” Jane said.
There are so many people that want to go out into the world and go on mission trips to make a difference, but we have communities in our own backyard who need the Aussie helping hand.
“We are here because there was a need. When you are fulfilling a need, you are often more fulfilled than what you give.”
If you would like to know more about employment opportunities at our Cunnamulla Early Childhood Service please contact Joshua Marks on 07 4655 2888


Posted April 16, 2019 in Networking blog