Families bring Jamaican groove to Gladstone
JAMAICAN culture and traditions are being shared across central Queensland, thanks to one local group.
Gladstone Jam Comm has attended local cultural events and festivals since 2011.
Members recently took part in the Gladstone and Rockhampton Multicultural Festivals, selling delicious slow-cooked meats and presenting traditional dances on stage.
And thanks to money raised from these events, $2500 was donated to the Morningside Primary School in Jamaica to go towards a new computer project.
Members Leighton Forsythe from Jamaica and Australian Mike Routledge enjoy sharing the culture and traditions of Jamaicans.
"What I enjoy most (about the multicultural festivals) is sharing the Jamaican food and the culture, especially for our young kids who may have forgotten about that," Mr Forsythe said.
Mr Forsythe moved to Gladstone in 2011 with his family for work.
They are one of up to 15 families who hail from Jamaica and call Gladstone home.
"The bulk of those families arrived here late 2010/early 2011," he said.
"We all moved for work, either in the bauxite or alumina industry because Jamaica is rich in bauxite," he said.
Mr Forsythe described Gladstone as a very "friendly" place.
"Aussies take it for granted. As soon as I get on a plane to go to the US or Canada, or even just the big cities like Brisbane, you find people are not as friendly as they are in Gladstone," he said.
"I feel safe here and my kids feel safe.
"Jamaica is full of excitement and I can always go back there but in terms of raising a family and feeling safe and stable, it's Gladstone."
Mr Routledge has been involved in the group since its beginnings, after he and Mr Forsythe met through work at QAL.
"We went and played a game of golf together, and he ran away from a goanna," he laughed.
"Leighton's family came around to our place and we haven't been able to get rid of them since."