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Alison Coleman runs towards retirement in style

19 December, 2018

If you see a white-haired lady driving a black mustang and sporting a mesh hat decorated with cockatoo and emu feathers you can bet its Alison Coleman having a hoot in retirement. 

The Fraser Coast Regional Council’s long-time street cleaner is retiring on her 70th birthday this week after 30 years and eight months on the job.  

CEO Ken Diehm congratulated Alison, saying it was wonderful to see Alison had dedicated so many years to Council and the community. 

“It’s relatively rare today for people to stay in one job for more than 30 years,” Mr Diehm said. 

“Her achievement is testament to the TRAITS (Trust, Respect, Accountability, Initiative, Teamwork, Service) values that all Council employees are encouraged to apply in their lives.” 

Mayor George Seymour said Alison was well-known and popular for her work in Maryborough and individual sporting achievements.

“Nearly everyone has seen what Alison does to keep our city beautiful. She has done a remarkable job and we wish her the best in retirement,” Cr Seymour said.

Councillor Daniel Sanderson said that as well doing her assigned tasks, Alison had also acted as a city ambassador helping residents and visitors with directions and information.  

“Alison meets a lot of people in her daily work; Council and the community really appreciate everything she has done,” Cr Sanderson said. 

Alison’s distinctive feathered hat has drawn much attention from many people over the years.  
 
“I’d not long got the mesh hat when some people at the Maryborough markets gave me a red-tail black cockatoo feather,” she said.  

“I put it in my hat and then started adding more including pheasant, parrot, emu and guinea fowl feathers. People said they liked my hat and took photos, so over the years it gained a life of its own!” 

Alison started work with the former Maryborough City Council on 11 April 1988. 

Already well-known for her sporting prowess, she was appointed with the words: “Turn up on Monday in your shorts, t-shirt and running shoes, and bring your lunch, and I’ll sign you up then!”

“To know I had a permanent, secure job was wonderful. I’ve been able to pay off my mortgage and I’ve recently bought my reward – my beautiful black mustang,” Alison said. 

“I wanted a special car to retire with so when I saw a black mustang for sale I had to have it.”

Alison intends to continue jogging and walking in retirement. 

“I still love it as much as I always did – to be out in the fresh air and keeping active.” 

Her running career started in 1979 when a 30-year-old Alison and a friend started running around Ululah Lagoon. 

“We thought we’d get fit and lose half a stone in weight. It wasn’t long before I could jog the whole three kilometres. My body adapted to it and I started running to Teddington Weir and back.”

Alison went on to compete in many national and state marathons, including about 34 Gold Coast marathons, and collect many accolades in the process.   

In March this year, in recognition of her success, Alison was selected as a baton-bearer in the prestigious Queen's Baton Relay ahead of Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.