Lost liquor a win for charity

While duty free alcohol might take up the most space in Brisbane Airport’s ‘lost and found’ collection, it’s often sharing space with misplaced false teeth, cash, crutches, hearing aids, and, notably this year, ‘Uncle Russell’s Ashes’.

Reuniting lost items with owners from around the world is a daily challenge for the Airport Ambassador volunteers at Brisbane Airport’s Domestic terminal.

Jenni Greaves, of Southern Queensland Tourism, who manages the Airport Ambassadors program at Brisbane Airport, said the lost property issues at the airport make some shifts more interesting than others, and often more rewarding.

“Nothing surprises us anymore! We’ve had baby birds, lost toddlers, odd shoes, expensive suits and designer dresses all handed in.

“Our Airport Ambassadors try their utmost to reunite items with their owners and there are a lot of people grateful for our efforts and for those people who were honest enough to hand in lost goods,” she said.

The majority of lost property that is not claimed is held at the airport for two months before being donated to charity or sold at charitable auctions.

Unopened duty free alcohol that is either unclaimed or accidently left behind in the International Terminal is offered for sale via regular silent public auctions at Kedron-Wavell Services Club with all proceeds again donated to local charities.

Stephen Goodwin, General Manager Operations Brisbane Airport Corporation Pty Limited (BAC), said the amount of valuable things left behind by travellers was significant.

“In some cases it’s virtually impossible to find the rightful owners for these items so we store them for a period of time before selling them for charity rather than destroying them.

“Last financial year alone BAC raised approximately $20,000 from the sale of unclaimed lost property in our terminal so we’ve managed to turn someone’s loss into a positive gain for charity,” Mr Goodwin said.

This year $5000 will each be donated to the Royal Flying Doctors Service, Youngcare and two other charities chosen by BAC staff.