Look out firefighters, a 'Women of Queanbeyan' calendar is coming
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Look out firefighters, a 'Women of Queanbeyan' calendar is coming

Just across the border in NSW, an unlikely group of women is coming to terms with their new roles as 'calendar girls'.

The first Women of Queanbeyan calendar is well underway and will star more than 50 women in suggestive - but tasteful - poses. All for a good cause, of course. The calendar is a fundraiser for cancer support group Rise Above, formerly the ACT Eden-Monaro Cancer Support Group.

Calendar girls Anna Tsakalos, Gillian Southwell, Pauline Leake and Jen Amey in the first shoot for the Women of Queanbeyan calendar.

Calendar girls Anna Tsakalos, Gillian Southwell, Pauline Leake and Jen Amey in the first shoot for the Women of Queanbeyan calendar.Credit:Ashlee Coombe

The calendar will be shot early this year and feature groups of prominent Queanbeyan women in beautiful - and slightly suggestive - portraits for each month of 2020.

Mayoress Nichole Overall is in. Talented sporting sisters Jane and Finau Vucago are in. And so is one Bree Element, lifestyle editor of The Canberra Times. (Lawd knows I hate the spotlight.)

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The calendar is the long-time dream of Queanbeyan women Gillian Southwell and Pauline Leake, who are hoping to raise $20,000 for Rise Above. The calendar itself is dedicated to Yvonne Cuschieri, who founded the ACT Eden-Monaro Cancer Support Group in Queanbeyan in 1986, and is sadly battling cancer herself.

Gillian also wants to use the calendar to showcase the amazing strength and beauty of women in her hometown.

"There are just so many incredible women in Queanbeyan," she said.

"We're not just an amazing sporting city. We have creative women, leaders and women heavily involved in the community.

"I'm so proud to live here and have been blown away by the women who've agreed to star in the calendar.

"And the support we're getting from local businesses is the icing on the cake."

Jen Amey, Anna Tsakalos, Pauline Leake and Gillian Southwell  behind the scenes of the first calendar shoot.

Jen Amey, Anna Tsakalos, Pauline Leake and Gillian Southwell behind the scenes of the first calendar shoot.Credit:Ashlee Coombe

The list of women set to appear in the calendar reads like a roll call of Queanbeyan royalty. From Ameys, Fainga'as and Winchesters to Weinhonigs and Langis, more than 50 women will feature in the calendar in groups scenes creatively directed by the calendar team.

Some months will feature generations from the same family.

Gillian's daughter Ashlee Coombe is the photographer for the Women of Queanbeyan calendar, while make-up artist Tracey Lee Hunter is donating her time to make the women super glam.

The only man involved in the calendar, rugby league legend Rocky Burnell, has been "a Godsend" in securing sponsors and encouraging women to be brave and take part.

But Gillian admits the team is looking for volunteer photographers to help out with all of the imagery required for the 2020 calendar.

"If there are professional photographers who can lend their talent to us, to take one of the 12 photos we need, that would be wonderful."

An initial run of 2000 calendars will be printed in time for Christmas 2019, with huge framed photos for each month being auctioned at a special event at Hotel Queanbeyan in August.

If you know a photographer who may be able to help the Women of Queanbeyan calendar team, please contact Gillian via the launch event Facebook page.

Bree Element is the life and entertainment editor at The Canberra Times

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