Message in a bottle


They’ve been turning on the waterworks for the past 25 years. Meet the Capricorn Coast family who have struck liquid gold.

There’s a quirky quote on the wall of Janette Heintze’s modest office which says, “I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink.”

Little do visitors to Aussie Gold Natural Spring Water realise just how apt this is.

For the past 25 years, Janette’s family has been providing some of Australia’s purest water to the Capricorn region after her father, Trevor Luck, realised they were sitting on liquid gold at their 10ha Mount Barmoya property near Yeppoon.

The water itself comes from Karingal Springs, which means “happy home” and it’s been fortuitous indeed for the Luck family.

“I spent many years as a service engineer in the mining industry. When we arrived out here 34 years ago, we had a natural spring up the mountain and people would visit, drink the water and say, ‘you ought to sell it’,” Trevor says.

“For a long time, I laughed it off, but then found out that Australia was starting to accept the concept of bottled water. So, I decided to give it a go.

“I built my own equipment, UV light and filters, and I got going. I visited local businesses and began to build the business one relationship at a time.

“My two eldest kids, Janette and David returned home to be close to family and wanted to help to grow the business and the factory was built. It’s been very successful.”

Trevor says the property has a natural aquifer, or underground water supply at 33 metres, which is similar to a bore, but provides quality drinking water.

So plentiful is this supply, that it has been tested to produce 10 mega litres a year, and this company currently only uses 3 mega litres a year.

The water is pumped into two big tanks and undergoes a series of UV processes and filters to kill bacteria before it is bottled. Even the bottles themselves are hand washed for quality assurance.

Trevor says the water on his property is so pure, it could be bottled without any of these processes.

Janette, who runs the company with her husband Justin, and brother, David Luck, says they produce 2.5 million litres of water a year.

“It is one of the purest single origin spring waters in the country,” Janette says. “It is only drawn from one aquifer. Think of it like a single malt whisky or single origin coffee.”

“Quality is our number one priority. It is quality, service and price in that order. If you look after the first two, the third follows,” said Janette.

Capricorn Enterprise CEO, Mary Carroll is thrilled to have a local water solution within our destination.

“So successful is Aussie Gold, it is now a multi-million-dollar business which employs 16 staff and supplies to major tourism operators in the region such as Great Keppel Island and Rockhampton’s Empire Apartments as well as major mining companies in the Bowen Basin, who rely on bottled water on their sites,” said Ms Carroll.

“The Capricorn Coast is such a pure part of the world, and to have a local spring providing naturally pure water throughout the region, we are extremely lucky.”

While Janette is aware of the environmental concerns surrounding plastic, she says there is an even greater need for water among some of her clients, particularly in remote regions.

“There are certain places, such as the mines and on Great Keppel Island, that if people didn’t have our water, there wouldn’t be any water,” she says. “It fills a need and if they didn’t have this, they would go without.”

“I care about animals and the ocean, but humans can’t go without water.”

While Janette acknowledges that glass bottles would be a better recycling option, they simply cannot be easily transported, particularly on rough seas or bumpy roads. At the same time, the closed loop solution provided by Aussie Gold come in the form of the big bottles they supply to their major clients which are multi-use and can last up to 15 years.

“We are aware of our social impact and are corporate supporters of Save The Children and have so far donated $60,000 from sales of our big water bottles,” she says. “Our family is so blessed to have a resource we can sell.”

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