Big response to book launch
"BILOELA is special to me and it always has been."
These were the words of former mayor John Hooper, who was overwhelmed by the response to his book launch this week.
About 60 people attended the launch of Recollections of an Interesting Life on Monday.
The book took Mr Hooper more than three years to write and is so popular he is considering a second print run as it is almost sold out.
The author was born and bred in Biloela and is former shire clerk, chief executive officer and mayor of Banana.
He was shire clerk for 24 years and his father Jim Hooper was shire clerk before him for 40 years.
Mr Hooper told the crowd on Monday he wrote the book from a personal perspective and said he hoped people enjoyed reading it.
"I hope it is a snapshot of the history of the time I have spent here," he said.
Mr Hooper spoke of his love of the town and the region before people lined up for signed copies of the book, which was launched by former councillor Maurice Hetherington.
Mr Hetherington described Mr Hooper as a man of total honesty and integrity.
Among the crowd were former and current council employees, the current mayor Ron Carige, current CEO Ray Geraghty and friends and supporters of Mr Hooper.
He made special mention of two of his former staff, Wendy Nutley and Debbie Heuschele, who are still council employees.
Mrs Nutley recalled she originally worked with MrHooper when he was the rates clerk and later during his time as shire clerk, CEO and mayor.
Mrs Heuschele described him as a true gentleman.
"He was a good boss and was always fair," she said.
Mrs Nutley agreed, saying he was the best boss they could have asked for.
After the launch, MrHooper said the response was much bigger than he expected.
"I was very touched that people came along to support me with their well wishes and smiling faces," he said.
He particularly wanted to thank MrHetherington, who had read the book draft and given him words of wisdom before its publication.