LOCAL LEGEND: New councillor embodies country values and class
TELEVISION personality and philanthropist Oprah Winfrey once said, "Each of us has a personal calling that's as unique as a fingerprint. The best way to succeed is to discover what you love and find a way to offer it to others in the form of service and hard work, allowing the energy of the universe to lead you."
Oprah could well have been talking about Kylie Bourne. This is how Kylie, one of our new members of council conducts her life. Kylie is passionate about serving her community, sharing her skills and raising her family on the Western Downs. It's a place she's called home for all of her life.
Kylie grew up in the Drillham district, on a family farm that raised stud Hereford cattle. She boarded in Toowoomba for her high school years. It was a time she remembers as being terribly homesick for the things she left behind; the land, her family and her Mum's home cooking.
After studying teaching at University, Kylie was sent teach in rural areas. Through mutual friends, she was re-acquainted with long-time friend Steve Bourne from Miles and found herself marrying a man from her own backyard.
Kylie was back in her old stomping grounds west of the range once again. Living in rural Queensland, rearing cattle was where Kylie felt most at home. "Back on the land and starting a family with Steve was a very happy, contented time for me," says Kylie. From this happy place, Kylie found the time and energy to explore, be inventive and imaginative.
"I had always known my family were gifted people; my Grandmother was an artist and I considered my sister to be a very creative person. For some reason I didn't think that extended to me although my Dad has always insisted he knew I was artistic. My art teacher at school would not agree!" A situation arose one day that caused Kylie to reconsider.
The presence of the septic tank in the back yard inspired Kylie to put her latent talents to use. The ugly cement tank had been annoying Kylie for months and one day she decided to tackle the problem head on.
"Something had to be done so I took on one of the most difficult tasks a mosaic artist can attempt. I covered that unsightly tank in hand cut glass and mirrored mosaics, cutting my fingers to shreds in the process! It was a painful experience but also a very fulfilling one and I was hooked on the art form."
For small beginnings, Kylie experimented, challenging herself to discover new processes, materials and structures. Her craft evolved and she was drawn to making functional art for the outdoors like pots and garden features and hanging pieces for interior design.
"I love to weave a story into my art and my 'mirror trees' allow me to create beautiful functional art with meaning. My latest piece is going to the Czech Republic. It was commissioned by an Australian family who spend time there visiting family. This piece represents the time their father spent in Australia, symbolised by wattle and the Southern Cross," says Kylie.
"Local artists supported and encouraged my work and in the past 10 years I've had 3 solo exhibitions, shown my work in regional galleries and co-exhibited with fellow artist, Kylie Drury. I love sharing my passion for mosaics with others and have been running workshops for anyone at all interested in learning."
For over 20 years, Kylie has maintained a strong connection with community, at one time being a member of nine different committees. She has been a long time member of the Chamber of Commerce and the Miles Historical Village.
"It was a natural progression for me to stand for Council. I felt a little daunted when I first nominated but I'm excited and honoured by the amount of community support I received. I have already worked for local council and have some understanding of how things are processed," Kylie says.
"I didn't start off by making promises I can't keep. The important thing is for our council and other councils in the area to have a united voice. By working together we can ensure practical and realistic outcomes for the Western Downs."
"As a person with a rural background, I understand the need for water security and making opportunities for job creation in the bush. I hope that as a Council, we can encourage increased economic development in our region and support local projects and events that promote spending in our area."
"Tourism is an important way to share who we are with visitors. It gives them a taste of our region, maybe even encourages them to think of our community as a great place to live! The Western Downs is a very diverse and productive area with a great deal to offer."
Kylie remains optimistic for the future of our region; despite unprecedented challenges our council is debt free. She knows there is much to be achieved with hard work and vision. We can be confident in Kylie's ability to guide our region into the future.