Logan City: stories of community, diversity, and empowerment

L-R: Sandra, Krish Ravipati, Alexis Matthews-Fredericks and Em outside the iconic Kingston Butter Factory
L-R: Sandra, Krish Ravipati, Alexis Matthews-Fredericks and Em outside the iconic Kingston Butter Factory

By Sandra Taylor, Chief Editor

Head south on the M1 from Brisbane, take a right onto the Gateway until it becomes the Mt Lindsay Highway and you’ll come across the city of Logan. As a city, it’s more a collection of little hamlets that have spread out to form one of the fastest-growing regions in Queensland. 

It’s often had the reputation of being the poor relative of the surrounding regions of the Gold Coast, Brisbane, and the Scenic Rim, but on a recent visit, Emmagness and I found Logan a vibrant, diverse, and welcoming community.  

The visit came about with the encouragement of our friend Liz Irvine, who lives and works in Logan. Her role as the economic and community development lead at the Social Policy Group has enabled her to see firsthand the great work being done in this unique community.  

“Logan is a unique ecosystem because we genuinely care about each other,” says Liz. 

“I love Logan and I really believe that I am home in Logan. I’ve never seen a community that cares so much.” 

With an endorsement like that, how could we not go and check it out ourselves?

Em is impressed by the quality of work produced by Esperance (pictured) and her team.
Em is impressed by the quality of work produced by Esperance (pictured) and her team.

Womens Power of Inspiration

Our first stop was to an unassuming row of shops in Logan Central, just off the roundabout. Here, in a former hair salon, we met with Esperance, who runs Womens Power of Inspiration. WPI provides a place for migrant women to gather, learn new skills, and connect with each other in a safe and supportive environment. 

A skilled tailor, with experience in remedial healthcare and nursing, Esperance uses sewing, knitting, and other textile crafts to empower others. As well as learning practical skills like dressmaking, sewing, and weaving, women can have conversations, and receive employment support and self-care advice. 

While we chatted, a steady stream of mentees strolled through the doors – representing Logan’s diverse mixture of cultures. In all, twelve different languages are spoken across WPI’s group – including several African dialects, plus French, Portuguese, Spanish and English.

Possibly, the most beneficial aspect of what WPI achieves is enabling conversations. Discussing personal matters, such as domestic violence, or seeking help from others is not encouraged in many cultures. Esperance is aware of the isolation often experienced by migrant women and strongly believes that empowering and supporting women supports the whole family, and ultimately the community. 

WPI is largely self-funded through the sale of crafted items as well as donations from the public. They are also always on the lookout for volunteers to help out with their activities or with administration. See their website or get in touch with Esperance to find out more.

Running desperately late (but not too late for Em to get measured up for a new outfit), we left the busy scene behind and headed to our next appointment at the Logan Central Plaza shopping centre.

Illiaz, Rasia and daughter Aisha proudly show off their Logan Plaza thrift shop.
Illiaz, Rasia and daughter Aisha proudly show off their Logan Plaza thrift shop.

Guardians of Tomorrow

Here, in a bustling thrift shop, we met with Illiaz Mohamed and Razia Ansari, the founders of Guardians of Tomorrow, a charity they formed off the back of their successful textile recycling business, Rais Industries

Guardians of Tomorrow changes lives by helping the homeless, empowering women, and addressing the educational needs of indigenous children. Through various community projects, and with support from their volunteers, they work to break the cycle of poverty and provide hope for the future.

Illiaz and Razia were keen to tell us about the FRUITBITE program that provides free fruit to children in schools who would otherwise go hungry. As a Fijian immigrant from a large family, Illiaz recalls how tough things were for him growing up. This experience forms part of why he and Razia are so committed to giving back to their community. 

Listening to Illiaz and Razia, it’s easy to see their passion for the community and the work they’re doing. Through sales at their two opportunity shops, they fund the various programs to directly help people in their community. Additionally, they provide free food to anyone who needs it and run additional support programs to address specific needs.

As we stopped for a last-minute photo opportunity, we asked how people could support the great work that’s being done. Donations of food or money would always be welcome, as well as volunteering at one of their worthwhile and impactful programs. Even stopping by one of their stores and making a purchase of pre-loved quality clothing will make a difference. 

“Every single contribution, regardless of its magnitude, carries the transformative potential to draw us nearer to our aspirations.”

Kingston Butter Factory Cultural Precinct

Kingston Butter Factory Cultural Precinct


We couldn’t visit Logan without a stop at the iconic Kingston Butter Factory Cultural Precinct. Truly the heart of Logan, this dynamic hub was transformed from a historic butter factory into a vibrant cultural centre. 

It hosts a diverse year-round program of art, culture, and entertainment, showcasing the city’s rich heritage and talent. The precinct includes venues like the Butterbox Theatre and Outdoor Stage, the Living Museum of Logan, and the Logan City Historical Museum, offering a range of experiences for visitors. 

A restored workers’ cottage houses Devon Pixies, a charming eatery with a daily menu and high tea options. It was there we met with some local business people to hear their insights on living and working in the region. 

Arwen, Alexis, and Krish, all of whom were born overseas, are advocates for developing Logan’s economic potential. Through their collaboration with the Logan City Council and Chamber of Commerce, they understand the clear link between community development and economic development. 

As Liz puts it: “If we’re helping people find jobs or become social entrepreneurs themselves if they’re employing people and then that’s economic development.

“There is so much work going on with Logan City Council leading the way with education. Empowering students to feel they can be what they want to be and at the same time providing opportunities to keep them in Logan”.

Arwen, the smiling host of Devon Pixies and president of the Logan Chamber of Commerce.
Arwen, the smiling host of Devon Pixies and president of the Logan Chamber of Commerce.

There’s a strong sense of pride in Logan’s diversity. Alexis points out that there are over 250 different cultures represented in the region. “We take great pride in saying that we are the number one city outside of New York City in terms of our multiculturalism.”

In Logan around 90% of businesses have 20 employees or less, so small business is incredibly important to the region’s economy. 

Through working with local businesses and listening to the community, Liz looks through the lens of opportunity, rather than barriers. 

One example of where this has been successful is Logan’s community midwifery hubs. These hubs were co-designed with Logan women as part of community-wide consultations to give women access to quality care outside of the formal hospital system. 

To sample what the Logan business community has to offer, we were urged to visit the Butter Factory Breakfast Markets. An initiative by the Logan Chamber of Commerce, the markets aim to showcase local small and micro businesses, as well as not-for-profit services to the community.

On the second Saturday of each month, visitors can shop for unique products, including handicrafts, fresh produce, clothing, antiques, and artwork. There are also food stalls, local art, and performances. Find out more.

After our delicious Devonshire tea, we headed off to our last stop for the day.

L-R George and Rasha (centre) with their daughter Angelina (left) and Dimi (right)
L-R George and Rasha (centre) with their daughter Angelina (left) and Dimi (right)

Kan Zman Cafe

In the thriving Underwood Marketplace shopping centre, you’ll find Kan Zman Cafe. Liz introduced us to business partners George and Dimi who co-manage Kan Zman with their families. 

George and his wife, Rasha, fled Syria as a result of the civil war that started in 2011. After the tragic loss of his twin sister in a bomb attack, George moved with his family to Lebanon to seek asylum and relocation to somewhere safer. After six years in Lebanon, they made their way to Australia, where George, a trained chef, worked in various manual jobs to support his family. 

Originally employed by the cafe as a pastry chef, George became the co-owner through unusual channels. After the original owners closed the cafe without warning, George and Dimi were asked by the shopping centre management to take over the lease to keep the business alive. It was the power of community support that prompted the offer, which even included six months rent-free to get started. Since then the business has thrived and recently celebrated its third birthday. Community and family are at the heart of this business. This is evident in the huge numbers of repeat customers and long lines outside at opening time. 

Key to their success is understanding their customers. Being in a primarily Muslim area, they made the conscious decision to serve only halal foods. As Rasha says, “Why wouldn’t we, if that’s what they want?” So, while you can’t get bacon on your sandwich, you can enjoy a range of sweet and savoury treats and wonderful coffee – plus warm and friendly hospitality. 

Life hasn’t always been kind to George, but his determination to look after his family and succeed against the odds shines through. Despite the hardships, he describes his life as ‘blessed’ and is making his community a better place, one delicious meal at a time. 

Logan City, often overshadowed by its neighbouring regions, has revealed itself to be a vibrant and diverse community. Logan’s multifaceted nature, from its rich cultural heritage to its thriving small business community, paints a picture of a city with immense potential and resilience. With its diverse cultures, strong community ties, and entrepreneurial spirit, Logan stands as a testament to the potential that lies within every community, waiting to be uncovered and celebrated.

Fast facts about Logan 

  • Home to the Yugembah people for over 60,000 years
  • Settled by Europeans from 1849
  • Previously Logan Shire, it was declared a city in 1981
  • It has a total population of 363K
  • Almost 25% of residents were born overseas
  • Logan boasts people from over 234 different cultures
  • It covers an area of 959 square km, including the suburbs of Logan Central, Logan Village Beenleigh, Woodridge, Shailer Park, Browns Plains and Springwood  


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