In this week's Bundaberg Now podcast we hear again from former local journalist Paul Cochrane about his podcast series on the Childers Backpacker Hostel fire.
We also hear about the Multiplex Sport and Convention Centre, and learn about the rare species of macadamia trees found in our region.
Local news includes community members recognised in the Queen's Birthday Honours, upgrades to North Isis Road and an update on the region's COVID-19 cases.
Here's the transcript of our weekly podcast for 11 June 2020. Please check against delivery.
Dana Maggacis 0:06
Hello, and welcome to the weekly Bundaberg now podcast. I'm Dana Maggacis and today we have another interesting programme with news and information from across the Bundaberg region. Soon, we'll hear from former local journalist, Paul Cochrane, about his podcast series on the Childers Backpacker Hostel fire 20 years ago; we learn more about the $30 million Multiplex Sport and Convention Centre and the history of the local macadamia industry.
But first here is Michael Gorey with the news headlines.
Michael Gorey 0:40
Thank you, Dana. Two Bundaberg region residents were recognised this week in the Queen's Birthday Honours. Turtle researcher Dr. Col Limpus and local blood donor Robin Murray both received medals in the Order of Australia.
Bundaberg Brewed Drinks is expanding and diversifying to sell it's world famous ginger beer in cans. CEO, John McLean says the 200 ml cans were launched due to consumer demand.
Upgrades to North Isis Road near Childers have been completed and the roadway opened this week to general traffic. The work by Council involved widening the road, improving drainage and upgrading culverts.
There have been no new cases of Corona virus in the Bundaberg region, since a Victorian man was confirmed positive last Friday. Extensive contact tracing has been undertaken.
Dana, back to you.
Dana Maggacis 1:35
Thanks, Michael. We're joined again this week by Paul Cochrane, a former local journalist who covered the Childers Backpacker Hostel fire when it occurred 20 years ago. So Paul, can you give us an insight into what motivated you to produce this podcast series, ‘Childers – The Full Story'.
Paul Cochrane 1:52
The podcast series really came about out of me sort of sensing that I felt there was so much more to tell about Childers. It – news being news, I you know, I was once a newspaper reporter and then I was a television reporter and, you know, a newspaper story might be 500 words, which you know, opens itself up to a handful of quotes really, a couple of minutes conversation at the very most verbatim and then in television, you know, 90 seconds is sort of a minimum, usually with a with a story and, you know, someone a talking head might appear twice, maybe three times at the most 10 seconds at a time. So 30 seconds, it really doesn't lend itself to the opportunity to be able to really tell a story properly and fully.
I was obviously in Bundaberg and in and around that Childers area for three years when I worked up there in 2000 to 2003, and my parents live in Childers now and have done for the last 10 years – so I've been in and around Childers in particularly that Memorial there for 13 of the last 20 years and I, and I pop in every time I'm back there and pay my respects and it really struck me that there's a – we've started to develop a generation gap on the story of Childers and its legacy and I really wanted to ensure that that story continued to be told, continued to be understood and the victims continued to be honoured, but not just the victims, the community volunteers, the excellent governance that took place at the time and the 69 survivors, that what they went through and their ordeal really does have a platform to be told more fully and I thought a podcast platform would open up that door.
You know that there's an opportunity for people to have a very engaged and open conversation and really articulate what they went through. A lot of people have never had that platform before which I particularly pursued some some people who I knew hadn't had the opportunity to, to try and tell that story before. And also the podcast platform is a free option for people and it, it has no global restrictions. So you know, there's a very international international mix of, of people involved in the Childers story from survivors and obviously the 15 people who lost their lives so having the opportunity to be able to put it on a platform where people no matter where you are around the world can tune in at their own pace and their own time and get a better understanding of what happened, I thought was really important and you know, if a podcast can make people take be a bit more aware of what happened, stop into the town, pop into the memorial, pay their respects, and you know, pull over, grab a sandwich, grab a coffee, you know, give back to that town that gave so much to those to those people at the time in in some businesses did it really tough at the time.
If 20 years on, we can give back to that community and by people stopping in and paying their respects and you know, spending a few dollars where required. I think that's really important as well.
Dana Maggacis 5:09
Thanks, Paul, for that great insight into why you decided to create the Childers – The Full Story podcast to provide a platform for those stories. Tune in next week for the next instalment of our interview with Paul. Next, we're joined by Sue-Anne, who is going to talk to us about the Multiplex's role in the business events industry.
Sue-Anne Chapman 5:28
Hello, it's Sue-Anne Chapman, Manager Tourism and Events again with you this week. Today I'm going to talk about business events and specifically the Multiplex, Bundaberg's Sport and Convention Centre.
Business events in Australia is a $30 billion industry and Bundaberg is well placed to secure a percentage of that potential income with the development of a business and marketing plan maximising the region's purpose built Conference Centre, the Bundaberg Multiplex Sport and Convention Centre. The $30 million Multiplex was purpose built in 2017 to cater for all sports, events, conference and meeting requirements, small and large. Over the past 12 months, the Multiplex has been paying dividends for the region, with the world class facility hosting a range of major events. From sporting championships to gala dinners. event organisers have been taking advantage of the versatile venue. Centrally located on the doorstep to the southern Great Barrier Reef, the Bundaberg Multiplex Sport and Convention Centre is an easily accessible venue, only ten minutes from the Bundaberg Regional Airport and railway station.
At the beginning of 2020, the venue was well on its way to achieving financial and visitation goals when COVID put the brakes on our positive trajectory. In December 2019 and February 2020, representatives from the region had taken the venue to national and international professional conference organisers events to promote the facility and beautiful region. As a consequence of the strategic marketing and networking, two conferences were booked for May. As heartbreaking as it has been to cancel conferences, gala dinners, charity events and community activations, we're working hard with industry representatives to rebook the activity for 2021. With a detailed COVID safe plan in place, we are confident of our staff and guests safety when we open our doors, and this is actually going to happen on Monday the 15th of June.
Now through our relationships with and membership of the Business Events Council of Australia and venue Management Association, we have accessed the most current safe practices and best practice plans. As of Monday, June 8, the business events and entertainment industries came together to form the Live Events Industry Forum, and this is to guide venues in the transition from crisis to recovery to the Australian Venue Management industry. As a collective of Australia's biggest promoters of entertainment and sport, venue managers, the venue Management Association and other industry peak bodies, live events industry forums aim is to build confidence in our industry's preparedness to operate safely, flexibly and sustainably.
The Multiplex will open its doors on Monday 15 June, and we look forward to hosting you at our venue in the near future. In the immediate future, if you have 20 guests or less we have the venue space for you and can provide an extensive range of spaces and configurations with state of the art tech support to assist keeping you COVID safe.
Dana Maggacis 8:51
Thanks Sue-Anne for showing us how the Multiplex Sports and Convention Centre is leading the way in business events. We'll hear now from Rod Ainsworth about an exciting new project
Rod Ainsworth 9:02
Hi, I'm Rod Ainsworth, Manager Arts and Cultural Services at Bundaberg Regional Council. We've talked over the last couple of weeks about our digital hashtag arts Bundy at home programme which has been really connecting with people all over our region and beyond during the pandemic shutdowns, especially for our galleries and theatre.
So I'd like to highlight one special part of this programme. It's a project called the space between. So we recognise that this is an incredibly significant historical moment. There hasn't been a pandemic of this magnitude for 100 years. So collecting people's stories from our region is a really important thing. We've created a space for you to tell your own stories. What the pandemic has meant to you, whether that's a story of hope, of hardship, of change, or transition, or of silver linings, whatever you'd like to tell us, you can enter your story online and it's completely anonymous. There are no rules, no character limits, it can be as long or as short as you like. We only ask that you keep the language appropriate.
Responses will go into a digital archive and only specific staff will read them. Then down the track, we're hoping that we can use these stories as part of our community's recovery, to tell some real stories about what happened. You'll find the space between and all the details on the Arts Bundaberg site, www.artsbundaberg.com.au. You go to the site, click on the search function and type in the space between it'll be the first thing that comes up on your search.
We'd love to hear from you, your families, your friends. Do share it around. We've already started to get some great submissions and we'd love to read yours. Again search the space between on artsbundaberg.com.au.
Dana Maggacis 10:34
Thanks Rod. I can't wait to hear the stories that come out of this project. Now, we hear from Brice Kaddatz about macadamia species within our region. So tell us Brice, what is your role regarding the wild macadamias?
Brice Kaddatz 10:47
Well in terms of the wild macadamia population we're a member of the macadamia Conservation Trust and have been since its formation – served as the inaugural Chairman of the trust, recently stepped down from that and the illustrious Paulo here has taken over Paul is ex-DPI. He's taken over that role now. But I've been serving on that trust now for quite a few years.
Dana Maggacis 11:14
We have a selection of macadamia species in the Bundaberg Botanic Gardens. What do you think of this range? And just how important are they?
Brice Kaddatz 11:21
Very important and probably critically so in some regards. I had the pleasure of being here the day the trees were planted, and they were planted for a purpose, and that is to contribute towards the conservation of the four species of wild macadamias. And they're all represented here. Integrifolia, which is the common nut that's utilised in the commercial industry. Tetraphylla, which is the southern equal to that, grows mostly in New South Wales, not much in Queensland. And then there's a ternifolia which is a bitter nut, not edible on its own. And then the latest find, of course, which is it's as rare as the Wollemi Pine. That's the macadamia Jansenii . It was only discovered north of here in the Gin Gin area in the 1980s. Sixty trees in the original batch of them that was found recently. Thankfully, one of the two fellows who was involved originally has located another small family of the same trees. So we were a little better off than we thought we were.
Dana Maggacis 12:25
So we have one of the rarest trees here. What's the significance of having this rare tree in our gardens,
Brice Kaddatz 12:31
These wild macadamia trees are still got a major role to fill in terms of developing new cultivars, new varieties into the future. And that's one of the primary reasons that we want to see them conserved. Many Australians aren't aware of the fact that macadamias are native to Australia, regardless of where you find a macadamia anywhere in the world, it had its beginnings right here, and the recent publicity relating to the mother tree, the mother of all macadamias has now being established to a big tree just to the west of Gympie. And that tree still exists. And that's where they collected the original seed nuts, took them to Hawaii back in the 1800s and Hawaiians developed the first commercial cultivars from it.
Dana Maggacis 13:17
You must be pretty proud to know that we have some of the oldest and rarest species in the world right here.
Brice Kaddatz 13:22
We have got the oldest and the rarest. No one else has them. If there's a macadamia tree anywhere in the world, and I suspect that these days they would be approaching – this is a guess, but 150 to 200 million commercial macadamia trees in the world. They all began their life right here in Queensland.
Dana Maggacis 13:22
You mentioned some of the specifics of what we have here. What's the difference between the macadamia trees we have here in the gardens?
Brice Kaddatz 13:53
Well, there's quite a difference if I take, if you like, the lessor nut first, the ternifolia, it's not used commercially. It's nut is not edible in its raw form. It could be used for crossbreeding but there hasn't been much done with that particular nut. It's a member of the macadamia family and it exists. It's noted for its beautiful foliage when it puts out a flash. Lovely foliage and very pretty flowers. So aesthetically, it's a pleasant tree. But it's an important member of the family.
You've got the integrifolia, which is the common nut that has formed the basis of the commercial industry. And that's the Queensland known commonly as a Queensland nut a bottle nut by traditionalist and it's that nut, or hybrids of that, that form the backbone of the industry.
The tetraphylla is the southern equivalent, if you like to the integrifolia. It's not as favoured in the macadamia industry and by and large, its shell is a bit thicker, smaller kernel size. Doesn't quite yield as well as integrifolia, and it's not favoured by processors because of that reason. Its a thick shell, rough shell nut.
Then of course, you've got the jansenii, which is the other end of the spectrum. It's a very small nut the size of your thumbnail. But the advantage that its got, well, there are two advantages. One is it has a very thin shell. The second one is it was found in a very dry, hot, lonely gully in the Gin Gin area. And we believe that its characteristics will enable it to be used for cross breeding purposes, to actually allow macadamias to be grown in areas that currently they haven't been grown in up to this point. So it actually potentially expands the areas that macadamias will be grown in. There has been some crossbreeding done with it by the specialists and they produce some edible kernel crossbreeding with a 60% kernel recovery. That is 60% of the weight of the nut was kernel rather than shell. And that's opposed to an industry standard of about 33%. So, in the future they will play a big role.
Dana Maggacis 16:18
Thank you Brice for that interesting look at the macadamia species we have in our region.
We hope you enjoyed listening to today's programme and that you join us again next week for more news and stories from the Bundaberg region.
Goodbye for now.