A Q&A with councillor Russell Wantling

Get to know new Southern Downs councillor Russell Wantling.

We heard about his politics over the course of the election but now it is time to learn about him as a person. This week we learn a little bit more about newly elected councillor Russell Wantling.

What’s something people may not know about you?

I am a qualified cheesemaker and have won awards for Camembert and Haloumi at the Queensland Cheese Awards some years ago.

How do you like to spend your free time?

There is nothing more enjoyable than having my three daughters and six grandchildren come home to our farm and spending quality time with them. Nothing beats family.

What is your favourite part of your involvement in the community?

It would have to be working alongside so many enthusiastic volunteers who are so committed to making a difference in their community. Volunteers are one of the most important parts of our Southern Downs community and without them, I shudder to think of how much we would lose. On that note, I encourage people to put their hand up – sign up, and be a part of something – not only will you be giving back, but you will be rewarded with a sense of purpose and connectivity.

What is a message you would like to tell your younger self?

Don’t listen to people who tell you that you aren’t good enough or you can’t do something. You have to dream big and challenge yourself to step outside of your comfort zone.

Who is an inspiration to you?

There really isn’t just one person who serves as my inspiration. Instead, it’s the ordinary individuals who have embraced life with style, manners, respect and simplicity. I find inspiration in the generation of my grandparents, who embodied these values along with a never-say-no no attitude. These are the people who built our region and paved the way for the life we all live today.

Which six guests, dead or alive, would be invited to your ultimate dinner party?

They say the secret to any good dinner party is great food, smooth drinks, timeless music and free flowing conversation. That being said I would have to invite Paul Hogan… just to throw another shrimp on the Barbie; Jack Daniels… everything goes well with bourbon; Bob Seger… I could listen to ‘Like a Rock’ on replay; Henry Lawson… I’m a sucker for a great Australian Bush Ballad; Marilyn Monroe… there are just so many unanswered questions. And finally my wife…just to keep everyone in line.

What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?

When I started the water charity I called Brendan ‘Bumpa’ Farrell who ran the Burrumbuttock Hay Runners for some advice and he told me, “Never let a little red tape get in your way. If you are doing things for the right reason and helping your community, there will always be someone who will bail you out”

What are you most passionate about?

I am most passionate about my community. We are fortunate to reside in one of the most stunning regions in the country, perhaps even the world. Every corner of the Southern Downs holds an incredible surprise, whether it’s our diverse scenery or the richness of our culture. Going the extra mile for our community is part of my DNA, and I’m committed to making sure of its bright future.

What is your biggest achievement?

While being elected to represent the Southern Downs community is certainly an honour, if I were to reflect on my greatest achievement, it would undoubtedly be my children. They are my legacy, and knowing that I’ve contributed to making the world a better place through their existence brings me a huge amount of pride