Meet The Locals: Geoff McDonald
Born and raised in Toowoomba, Geoff McDonald is a fifth-generation business owner.
His family company, Cracker Print and Paper, has traded since 1901. He also has a long history of community involvement including being a patron, ambassador, board member, and life member of a number of business, community, sporting and charitable organisations. He’s also Toowoomba’s Deputy Mayor.
We recently spoke to Geoff about his love of the Toowoomba Region and his commitment to continually improving its lifestyle, economy and global standing.
You were born and raised in Toowoomba — what do you love most about the area?
There are many things I love about Toowoomba and the region. The four distinct weather seasons, the abundant gardens, street trees and open space, the accessibility to capital cities by road or air, the world-class health and education sectors. But most of all I love the generous spirit of our community to look after those in need.
How and why is local community involvement a big part of your life?
My family has always been involved in the community at various levels. I am thankful that I was taught early on by my parents that being involved in the business, sport, social groups, local shows and so on are all part of contributing to a better community.
Tell us a bit about your family?
My wife Lisa and I celebrated 26 years of marriage this year and I pinch myself every day on what a lucky bloke I am to have such a supportive, talented and understanding life partner.
I have been blessed to be raised in a loving family with community-minded parents. Growing up in a family of eight, there was always plenty happening. Looking back, I marvel at how Mum and Dad juggled family and work life. Dad reached the highest level as a player, coach and administrator in rugby league, only spending three years out of the family business while he was playing for Manly in the NSW competition from 1969-71. One of the many highlights was watching Dad coach Queensland in the first State of Origin in 1980. Queensland won that all-important match 20-10 and started the phenomenon that is State of Origin 40 years on. Mum has always been an amazing support to Dad, they are a formidable partnership.
How did you come to be involved in local politics?
Interestingly, I have never seen myself as a politician, unlike my eldest brother Jim who is the State Member for Lockyer. Getting actively involved in the Toowoomba Chamber of Commerce for half a dozen years was the catalyst for wanting to contribute as a Councillor on the Toowoomba Regional Council in 2012.
As Deputy Mayor, where do you hope to take help Toowoomba in the future?
The greatest success for us all is to leave the world a better place than when we arrived. The Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport, Toowoomba Second Range Crossing, and proposed Inland Rail project all provide long term benefits for our region.
Fundamentally, I hope that the decisions we make as Councillors enhance the liveability in this beautiful part of the world.
And, if there is one major benefit of COVID, it has been the “forced” press of the pause button to realise what’s important in our lives.
Your family business has a long history. What have been some of the highlights?
Lisa and I are fifth-generation owners of Cracker Print and Paper, which began its life as J McDonald Printing and Stationery in 1901 on the corner of Club Lane and Margaret Streets.
We were very pleased to be inducted in the Toowoomba Chamber of Commerce Business Hall of Fame in 2017. This accolade really recognised the personal commitment of the family and staff for over 115 years.
Our business has needed to be transformational to survive. From metal type to large format digital printing, listening to our customers and providing a service and product that is relevant to today’s society have all been interesting opportunities along the multiple generations.
How do you spend your spare time?
Lisa and I enjoy gardening and cooking and sharing the “fruits” of both with friends and family. We love being involved in our community and try to get along to as many community events and activities as we can.
Staying physically active is a major part of my daily routine. During COVID it has been fantastic to enjoy our wonderful walking trails across the region and I can be found with many others walking and running Picnic Point trails early Saturday mornings.
We live in a fantastic region with steady population growth, a strong diverse economy and a very bright future. There is simply no other place I would rather be.
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Photo credit: Cracker Print and paper Facebook page