Wendy Nash is a passionate advocate for improved transport infrastructure in the town, running a fast-growing Facebook group called Get Around Cabo Carfree.
Soon after Wendy Nash came to live in Caboolture in 2022, she decided to take the bus downtown. She describes a subsequent tour of suburban Caboolture as "a trip to the moon and back" that transformed a simple shopping errand into a half-day expedition. She had taken a bottle of water with her that day but wished she had packed a lunch for the trip.
“Over those 70 years, members of the community who can't drive have suffered a gradual decline in their capacity to travel around easily.”
Wendy then decided that getting places on her bicycle would be a simple alternative to the bus. But cycling came with obstacles like narrow or non-existent shared pathways and dangerous on-road bike lanes.
These early disappointments were a jolt for Wendy, who had enjoyed a big city transport network before living in Caboolture. She soon started to think seriously about improving transport in her adopted hometown, not just for herself but for people who could not drive due to their age, ability or financial status.
These days she is a passionate advocate for improved transport infrastructure in the town. She runs a fast-growing Facebook group called Get Around Cabo Carfree.
Wendy recently met with Moreton Bay Regional Council representatives to lobby for improvements to Caboolture's transport network and expects to do more of this work in the future.
Not always on her bike, Wendy has previously owned and driven motor vehicles, large and small, and has been an avid fan of fast cars and big motorbikes. She has now beaten the car habit and uses public transport, her bike and her legs to get places. She calculates this move is saving her about $12,000 every year.
The objective of Get Around Cabo Carfree runs much deeper than helping negotiate thinly spaced bus timetables and bumpy bike lanes. Wendy wants to promote liveability by getting more walkers, riders and people on mobility scooters onto local roads and paths in a safe way and by boosting public transport as a way forward to a better-bonded, closer community.
Her Facebook group builds on the underlying idea that town planning has gradually lost its way over the last 70 years, advancing the interests of motorised transport to the exclusion of others.
The aim of Wendy's Facebook group is hardly revolutionary. It is, in fact, supported by the Queensland government, who share a vision in their Transport Strategy for "safe, efficient, accessible and sustainable transport for every Queenslander."
Caboolture used to be a much different place. The bustling self-contained dairy and small crops town of 70 years ago has disappeared. Its CBD now devolved into a paved area with no strong identity. Some would say the town has become hollowed out, just another suburb like so many other places situated on the fringe of larger cities.
"Over those 70 years, members of the community who can't drive have suffered a gradual decline in their capacity to travel around easily," says Wendy.
"When I was a kid, we cycled and walked to school. These days it's harder to do this safely because the roads are busier. Nowadays, about a third of the urban landscape is taken up by the car, so there is less room for everything and everyone else."
Wendy believes an essential part of the way back to a more livable community is changing how everyone sees roads and pathways, stating that they should be "genuinely shared spaces for drivers, mobility scooterists, riders and pedestrians".
"A few lanes marked with an occasional bike stencil, filled with parked cars on one side and a white line on the other, aren't safe for a ten-year-old to get to school, sport and friends," observed Wendy.
If Wendy Nash's mission sounds like activism, it certainly is, but not the radical kind where people glue themselves to bus shelters or wave signs outside government buildings.
Wendy wants change for Caboolture and Morayfield and is engaging with the community and local government as a first step. She wants to plant a seed and nurture it.
Her Get Around Cabo Carfree Facebook group is a learning and sharing tool for anyone who wonders if Caboolture and Morayfield have missed the bus over the last 70 years and would like to be part of a more liveable future for the town.