by Aden Stokes
BATON BEARER: Gemfields man Peter Brown, along with his wife Eileen, have put a lot of time and effort into boosting the profile and community of Rubyvalle.
Mr Brown has been involved with the Gemfields community for more than 30 years.
He was president of the Gemfields Progress Association for more than 20 years. During that time, he was in charge of organising the Gemfields Ironman Wheelbarrow Derby, which ran for 20 years.
He also co-owns the Rubyvale Gem Gallery, alongside his wife, which they established in 1988 and still mines regularly for gems, in his own mine, to cut and turn into fine jewellery.
Mr Brown, who has been named as a Commonwealth baton bearer next year, said he and Eileen worked on committees and fought hard to protect all aspects of the community.
"We fought hard and attended big meetings with the government in Brisbane to make sure the Fossicking Act was developed,” he said.
"When you look back on it, if we hadn't fought like that, a lot of these fields would probably have been dug out.
"I point out to people today that if we hadn't fought to protect these areas, this place wouldn't exist, there wouldn't be the pub, there wouldn't be the various shops or the tourist lines we have had over the past 30 years.”
Mr Brown, who moved to the Gemfields in 1975, said he felt privileged to be a part of the historic baton- carrying team as it made its way through regional Queensland before arriving on the Gold Coast for the opening ceremony.
"I was really excited to find out I was going to be a baton bearer,” he said.
"I think it will be a really great thing to be a part of and the fact the baton is coming through this region is wonderful.”
Mr Brown said he and his wife were sitting in a clinic when she nominated him without his knowledge.
"She knows we both spend a lot of time in the community and it came up on Facebook and said you can nominate someone who has been a big part of the community, so she sent in my nomination,” Mr Brown said.
"I appreciate it and it will be one of those moments that I will never forget.
"To show the community in a really good light and being a part of the Commonwealth Games Relay, you can't ask for more than that.”
Nowadays, Mr Brown has put his time and effort into working on the Gemfields Interpretive Trail Committee and is physically helping to build the new art installation at the Anakie crossroads.
"The region has got so much history, so much intrigue, famous stones and stories,” he said.
"We decided that we needed to enhance the visitors experience by showcasing a lot of these stories, so we have done it by doing an interpretive trail.”