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Joe Mate finds adventure looking at positive side of life

Joe Mate
Joe Mate has never let his disability stop him from doing what he wants, including getting his pilot licence and becoming an aerial acrobatic.

Growing up with a disability has never impacted Joe Mate and his glass-half-full personality.

In fact, the local Gin Gin man has lived his life exactly how he has wanted to and filled it with plenty of adventure and fun, which has been highlighted as part of the Our Stories Our People project.

The Bundaberg Regional Council initiative profiles local residents with the aim to celebrate the community.

Well-known for his local taxi service which operated from 1992 to 2003, Joe has been a familiar face around town for many years.

He was diagnosed with Kypo Scoliosis at the age of two and explained that he never needed sympathy, only an opportunity to thrive.

In 1966, at the age of 21, a disability pension provider invited Joe to participate in pioneering spinal research for scoliosis treatment.

He spent six months flat on his back and after the treatment was successful, had to teach himself how to walk again.

It was after he was able to move again that Joe realised his passion for planes.

In 1984 he had completed a trial instructional flight where he fell in love with flying.

Joe was encouraged to buy an aeroplane and went on to learn aerial acrobatics.

Joe Mate
Joe Mate has never let his disability stop him from doing what he wants, including getting his pilot licence and becoming an aerial acrobatic.

In 2018, Joe was recognised for his extensive community service with an Australia Day award, highlighting the role he played as a proactive resident who influenced change and created activity within the town.

It was in the same year that Joe had an accident in which he fell through the roof of his shed, breaking his vertebrae in four places. 

Instead of the injury getting him down, Joe chose to look at the incident like he looked at most things in life, with a glass half full.

“There is no time in life for hate or bitterness, hate destroys the body and destroys your health,” he said.

The first 10 stories created under the Our People Our Stories project have been released and are available to read here.

Stories will be published on a regular basis over coming months.

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