Nightclub transforms into ocean oasis for Milbi Festival

Creative Regions chair Michael Dart with artist Lyn Barton and Sugarland Tavern manager Jody Heiniger showing off the creations for the Cavern of Wonder.
Creative Regions chair Michael Dart with artist Lyn Barton and Sugarland Tavern manager Jody Heiniger showing off creations for the Cavern of Wonder.

What was once a pumping nightclub in Bundaberg West will soon be transformed into an underwater oasis as part of the Ergon Energy Cavern of Wonder for Milbi Festival next month.

The project has been organised by Creative Regions and involves local artists and about 300 community members who have been making sculptures of ocean animals to display at the event at the old One Nightclub.

Creative Regions chair Michael Dart said the idea behind the Cavern of Wonder was to showcase the region's amazing sea life to align with the theme of Milbi Festival.

“It's all about environmental sustainability, looking after wildlife and, as we are here at the southern gateway of the Great Barrier Reef, we thought it was a great idea to put a highlight on the wonderful sea creatures we have,” he said.

“At the Cavern of Wonder you will see turtles, sharks, stingrays, corals and whole range of other animals on display.”

Michael said another section of the space would include rock pool art installations created by various Bundaberg Region schools and sponsored by Macadamias Australia.

“They will be showcased as part of the Cavern of Wonder so there will be quite a few different things for people to see when they enter this amazing event,” he said.

Giant manta rays woven to life for Cavern of Wonder

Artist Lyn Barton, who operates Fibre and Clay by Lyn, has been hosting workshops with the public in the lead up to the event to create woven manta rays which will be displayed in the Cavern of Wonder.

Lyn said weaving was an art-form practiced by many cultures over many hundreds of years.

“People of all ages have been enjoying the workshops,” she said.

“The whole idea was to teach them some different techniques in weaving so they can start practicing the art, begin to enjoy it and also have something to put into a community project.

“We have been weaving many manta rays, with one the size of a kitchen table.”

Lyn said to create the manta rays, workshop participants had to learn a few different weaving techniques.

“There are two techniques- the four stranded twist made of rope and then a basic weaving stitch that all cultures use to join weaving together,” she said.

“There is more to it than the actual craft, it is the feeling of joy knowing that you can make something that will be used. It is also very relaxing, the tactile feel of the materials used.

“I have found it fabulous to share this with so many people.”

Old nightclub to come to life

Michael said specialised lighting will highlight the materials and colours of the artwork when the space comes to life next month.

He said the event was all made possible through the Sugarland Tavern, who provided the building to Creative Regions for free especially for the event.

“It is great to know the history of this space, it used to be the Outer Limits nightclub and then One Nightclub,” he said.

“It's a nice dark space which will make it really lovely for the underwater theme.”

The official opening of the Cavern of Wonder will be held at One Nightclub, next to Sugarland Tavern, on Sunday, 17 November from 11am to 3pm.

It will continue into the week from Monday to Thursday from 11am to 6pm and then will be open for the final time on Friday, 22 November from 11am to 3pm.

The cost to enter the Ergon Energy Cavern of Wonder is $2 at the door. No bookings required.