Supporting communities in need

During the 2019/20 Kangaroo Island Bushfires, on the first night when families and holidaymakers were being evacuated from the western end of the Island to the township of Kingscote, Christine Rourke’s street and home were teaming with people.

As the night progressed, while listening to the stories of the evacuees, the words of The Island started to form in Christine’s head.

“In the afternoon of the following day, I sat down in a quiet corner and the words poured out of my head onto paper, and the melody started to form in my head.”

A few weeks after the worst of the fires had hit, Christine was back jamming with her local Uke group, The Rogues, and she shared her song with them.

A few months passed, and while working a shift at Amadio’s Wine Bar, Christine spied Aussie music legend John Paul Young unobtrusively enjoying a meal at the Kingscote venue. Slightly starstruck, she approached him to invite him to jam with The Rogues, with the goal of boosting morale, particularly as one of the members had lost their farm in the fires. JPY agreed to spend 15 minutes with them, which turned into a 2½ hour session that naturally included a rendition of his hit song, Love Is In The Air. As he was about to leave, members of The Rogues encouraged Christine to perform The Island for him.

Sometimes you hear a song and it means something to you straight away, that's what happened with The Island when I heard it. Christine has written a lovely song with real meaning, and it was written at a very difficult time for everyone on KI. I sincerely hope everyone gets behind the cause.

John Paul Young

With thanks to JPY’s unswerving dedication to this project, there is now a recording available to share with the world. JPY has generously donated his time to this project on the proviso that proceeds from the sale would go to the Island Community and that no artist – Christine included - would personally make money from the sale of this song. Christine’s passion for her beloved Island community made the decision to agree to these conditions very easy.

The original intention was for the funds to go towards the Kangaroo Island community alone, however, with the Island’s neighbours currently experiencing the impact of devastating floods along the Murray River, Christine decided that 50% of funds raised would be donated to the Riverland. JPY happily agreed to this proposal.

The funds raised will be donated to Our Town, a mental health initiative funded by the Fay Fuller Foundation, implemented in partnership with The Australian Centre for Social Innovation and Clear Horizon. This initiative supports places like Kangaroo Island and the Riverland to define what’s right for their respective communities, to provide a local voice, and reclaim the mental well-being of their own.

Christine acknowledges The Hospital Research Foundation (THRF) for their ongoing support of this project. Members of the THRF team visited Kangaroo Island with Magda Szubanski, and after hearing Christine perform the song, they did not hesitate to offer their support when approached.

Kangaroo Island Tourism Alliance is proud to support the Fire & Flood Fund, the proceeds of which will go towards the provision of support for mental health services for communities, through Kangaroo Island Our Town, and also to Our Town Berri and Our Town Mid Murray, in support of those communities recovering from the recent floods.

About Our Town