With its gorgeous waves, palm trees and serene views, the town of St Mary’s Beach in the south-west of Queensland is one of the most popular beach destinations in Australia.
But in the past few years, the area has also been plagued by the arrival of the virus, with residents being asked to leave the area.ABC Radio Queensland reporter Mark Jones visited the beachside town in July this year to learn more about the city’s tourism industry.
“It’s a town that’s been in decline for a number of years,” he said.
“I think that’s one of those areas that’s really had a big impact on the people’s wellbeing, because they feel a bit isolated.”
I’ve never really felt that isolation in St Marys.
It’s just like having your own little island, Mark Jones says.
“If you go to any one of these beaches in the state, you see a whole community that has a different sense of community.”
While the town has been in a downward spiral for some time, Mark says he’s still hopeful the virus won’t affect tourism as much.
“We’ve got to keep pushing ourselves and we’ve got a really strong community of people that have a lot of faith in each other and love each other,” he says.
St Marys Beach resident Kate Suckling is determined to keep working with the virus to keep the town’s vibrant community alive.
“The town’s in really good shape,” she said.
It’s also worth noting that the area is the only town in Queensland with no vaccination guidelines.
“Our main concern is that if we have any cases, we have a vaccine we can use, but we can’t make the population fully vaccinated,” Dr Jones said.
“We don’t want to see any community get any lower than they are right now.”