In today's episode we learn about local events moving forward with COVID-19 restrictions lifting, the Cochrane Artificial Reef, Childers Visual Art Group and more.
Local news highlights include the Spotted Dog Tavern and Federal Backpacker Hostel fire, Endeavour foundation workers return to work, and Leanne Kemp's visit to the region.
- If you missed it, here is last week's episode.
Dana Maggacis 0:05
Hello, and welcome to the weekly Bundaberg now podcast. I'm Dana Maggacis from Bundaberg Regional Council. Today we have another interesting programme filled with news and information from around the Bundaberg region. Soon will hear how local events can move forward with COVID-19 restrictions lifting. Learn more about the history of the Cochrane artificial reef, reflect upon the ideas and conversations webinar and learn about the children's visual art group. But first, here's Trish Mears with the news headlines.
Trish Mears 0:41
Making news this week, a fire gutted the Spotted Dog Tavern and Federal Backpacker Hostel in Bundaberg on Monday night. Thankfully, all 62 backpackers were evacuated safely. More than 60 workers at the Endeavour Foundation's facilities in Bundaberg returned to work this week and the chief entrepreneur Leanne Kemp came to Bundaberg on Wednesday as part of her Grassroots Tour to talk to indigenous tourism operators and business leaders. Back to you, Dana.
Dana Maggacis 1:11
Thanks Trish. First up today, here is Mayor Jack Dempsey to talk about the Federal Hotel and Spotted Dog fire.
Jack Dempsey 1:19
Jack Dempsey, Mayor of the Bundaberg Region. I'd like to thank the emergency services, the volunteers, Council staff, who worked as a well oiled machine overnight at the Spotted Dog and Federal Backpackers fire. All 62 backpackers were evacuated safely and taken to the Bundaberg Civic Centre, then moved to accommodation houses. Another big thank you to all the staff in these facilities for the work that they did through those early hours. All the backpackers were quickly offered beds around Bundaberg and we offer a big thank you to the accommodation houses who have taken in the backpackers and are looking after them. The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and now working on official paperwork for the backpackers, most of whom have lost everything. Queensland Fire and Emergency Services and Council are continuing to work on the structural assessment of the building and we'll continue with that over the coming days. We would ask that people keep away from the area as much as possible so that the authorities can get on and do their job safely. The owners, workers and backpackers are in everybody's thoughts today and in the coming weeks as they come to terms with what has happened. Their health and mental wellbeing are our main priority as we continue with all the other government agencies that are already in place and have stepped up to do a great job for the Bundaberg community. I know that a lot of people in the community want to help and the best way is by supporting local charities who will be helping the backpackers with whatever their needs. Please be patient when you're driving around the town areas. We hope that we can get these matters sorted in the coming days while we look after our most valuable asset, the people and visitors to this beautiful region. Thank you.
Dana Maggacis 3:08
Thank you, Jack. Now, I'll hand over to Sue-Anne Chapman, Council's manager of tourism and events, who is here to chat to us about how the local events can go ahead with the lifting of the COVID-19 restrictions.
Sue-Anne Chapman 3:20
Thanks, Dana. Today I want to talk about the easing of restrictions in Queensland specifically, what this looks like for our community and our event organisers who want to hold events. Before I deep dive into this space, let's take one step back to what stage three restrictions mean. Queensland's roadmap to easing restrictions (the roadmap) outlines which businesses can operate at which stage and what patron limits apply on premises. All businesses will need to undertake some planning to ensure they keep their business, their staff and their customers safe. At all stages of the roadmap, all businesses should have their work health and safety plan in place, up to date, and include strategies to manage COVID-19. With reference to the roadmap, the events industry was able to develop a framework holding events presented by Queensland Tourism Industry Council, Griffith University and mass gathering collaboration, the industry framework for COVID safe events in Queensland reflects the public health restrictions applicable in Queensland, as set out under the roadmap to easing COVID-19 restrictions. This industry framework for events is subject to change in accordance with public health requirements, workplace health and safety risk management processes must be revisited to identify and manage any new or changed hazards that may have arisen as a result of the implementation of the industry framework for events. This framework serves as a guide for event organisers for events in Queensland. It sets out public health principles and provides strategies to assist event organisers deliver events in the context of COVID-19. Event organisers remain responsible for adhering to all applicable Queensland public health directions, and for obtaining relevant approvals pertaining to their events. The framework for events is publicly available on the Queensland Government COVID-19 website which is www.COVID-19.qld.gov.au. Bundaberg Regional Council has compiled this information in one easy location, and you are welcome to visit www.whatsonbundaberg.com.au/eventresources. You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone on 1300 883 699. We would love to hear from you and help you navigate the framework and help simplify the process. As always, please keep your distance and wash your hands.
Dana Maggacis 6:04
Thank you Sue-Anne. We're now going to hear again from Paul Donaldson and Alan and Brenda Cochrane, for more history about the Cochrane artificial reef.
Paul Donaldson 6:12
What other major structures do we have on the artificial reef?
Alan Cochrane 6:17
Well there was another side if I may intrude this subject upon it. And the other subject was we agreed with Dr. Eddie Jebreen, a marine biologist in Brisbane, that we would fill the southern half of the reef with various modules manufactured out of excess concrete, steel from Austoft welded into triangles, and he was thrilled to bits with them so we placed them on the southern half of the reef, and they produced red emperor, they produced almost everything in there, but we kept it secret where things were placed so that people couldn't go out there and spear them. We didn't want spearing.
Brenda Cochrane 7:04
Because the fish just sit there. But the other major things that we put down that were the two lightships that we got from the Australian maritime something or other.
Alan Cochrane 7:17
Brenda Cochrane 7:19
So they were ships, one used to be on the in the Fraser Island and not sure where the other one came from. So we had those at Port Bundaberg for a few months and that was a mammoth job because everything had to be pulled out. There were hundreds of D size gas bottles. The tops of the turrets because we knew that we had to have seven metres over the top that low water at all times we had to cut the tops of the turrets off get a crane in and then lifted onto the deck so we didn't waste them, we welded them onto the deck. But that took months and months, but you know all the planking in the bottom or had to be pulled out. So all the wiring, all the timber.
Alan Cochrane 8:07
And then we had to place ballast in them to make sure they would be down with all the weight removed that they were safe for deployment.
Brenda Cochrane 8:15
We towed those out and deployed them exactly where we wanted just buy opening seacocks and flooding them.
Alan Cochrane 8:23
And taking plates off the side.
Brenda Cochrane 8:25
And they were big boats.
Alan Cochrane 8:26
Yeah, they were a few hundred tonne each and they are a magic dive because you can dive down through the hatches, we widened the hatches, you could come up the turret and stick your head out which I've had my photo taken once I think, I stuck my head out and they snapped my photo there. The turtles absolutely love going underneath these light ships for some reason just to snug in and have a bit of a snooze and I had to discourage some people from grabbing hold of the poor devils. I said “How would you like to be grabbed hold of in your pyjamas underwater and say, giddy up we're going for a ride.” So we finally got that habit out of them, but the light ships were absolutely magic and we got wonderful assistance from the Bundaberg City Council. We also placed 1000 tonnes of concrete pipes and Bundaberg City Council loaned their drivers and their trucks to transport them down to our deployment storage site. We have done another landing craft, we called it TB in the end and people say where do you get TB out of landing craft? I said it was called The Bitch because she sank three times of its moorings waiting to get deployed. We had to go down and pump it out. So TB it's called.
Brenda Cochrane 9:54
And that was retrieved from mangroves on the Burnett River. So, we had big backoes there hauling it out.
Alan Cochrane 10:01
We ended up with Council graders because the backhoes weren't strong enough, so the Council lent us two big graders, drivers, chains on and pulled it out. We patched it up.
Brenda Cochrane 10:11
Goodness knows how it ever got in the mangroves in the first place but it was big army land.
Alan Cochrane 10:15
I know the story but we can't always tell the story.
Brenda Cochrane 10:18
Well we won't then.
Dana Maggacis 10:20
Thank you Paul, Alan and Brenda. Now he's Jolene Watson to catch us up on what happened at the second Ideas and Conversations webinar for Arts Bundaberg.
Jolene Watson 10:31
Hi, I'm Jolene from the Moncrieff Entertainment Centre. Arts Bundaberg hosted the second Ideas and Conversation series webinar on Monday this week. The topic was industry crisis and recovery. A conversation with guest speakers Pat O'Neill and David Berthold about how the arts industry can recover through the impacts of COVID-19. Pat O'Neill was the army major who helped Bundaberg through its 2013 flood crisis. He has a deep understanding of the local community, it's resilience and our ability to recover. While David Berthold is a well known theatre and festival director, recently finishing his tenure as an artistic director for the Brisbane Festival. So David speaks the same language as our arts community. This recent webinar was a chance to workshop ideas about the impacts of the current crisis and to talk about positive ways to move ahead. It was a great opportunity to talk about what's going on in our local community and take advantage of the knowledge of our guest speakers.
Dana Maggacis 11:26
Thanks, Jolene. Let's hear briefly from Patrick now.
Pat O'Neill 11:29
Arts and artists are our storytellers, they're the people who help us understand ourselves, help us understand each other and there's never a more important time than when we're going through crisis and hardship for the arts to be telling those stories so that, you know, we can have that shared experience, particularly with people being at home by themselves, feeling isolated, it's the arts and artists who create the narratives, who share the stories, that collectively bring us together and give us that sense of meaning, and belonging even if we're in our own homes by ourselves. I think that one, it's what artists like to do to connect and tell those stories and two, they're really important. But it's the understanding of those stories that will, you know, create the sense of urgency that people need to do stuff. If you can tell a good story, if you can connect with people, then that's what leads to action. So I think it's looking for whatever channels, whatever mediums are available, using the talents and doing the things that people love, to tell those stories to connect people, and then that's what's spurs people to action.
Jolene Watson 12:52
Our next free Ideas and Conversation webinar will be held on Wednesday, the 26th of August and we'll be speaking to local ambassadors for the arts Trudy Lego, and Shelley Pisani. This session will help to provide the motivation you need to get more savvy when it comes to creative business. Trudy and Shelley will share examples of projects and businesses that have successfully pivoted during the pandemic. And they will be also sharing practical tips on how to strengthen your business skills and thinking. Everyone is welcome to join the webinars and you can find out more information online at artsbundaberg.com.au. The series of webinars will culminate in a panel featuring leading local arts industry professionals. We're hoping that we can stream this panel discussion from Childers Art Space during the exhibition entitled Art as an Act of Optimism in late August. In the meantime, all of the Ideas and Conversation webinars are recorded and can be accessed on the Arts Bundaberg website.
Dana Maggacis 13:49
Thank you Jolene. Finally today, I'll hand over to Wayne Heidrich, Council's senior media advisor who is chatting with Alice McLaughlin about the Childers Visual Art Group.
Wayne Heidrich 13:59
Alice, thank you very much for the invitation and inspiration station here today. It's an absolutely gorgeous day and obviously a great day for the creativity for your people. Just looking around this magnificent property of yours and the amount of art you've got here. How long have you been here in Appletree Creek and how long have you been creating art?
Alice McLaughlin 13:59
Oh, we've been here about 24 years going into 25 and I've been creating art since before I can remember. It's just been a natural thing with me.
Wayne Heidrich 14:32
Alice, I read a little bit, but I understand that you really didn't have any formal knowledge of art and so forth, you virtually took an online course. Is that right?
Alice McLaughlin 14:42
Yes, I did. Well, it actually it was before the online came in. So it was a correspondence course with the Technical College in Perth, and it really got me on my feet. Yeah, it was great.
Wayne Heidrich 14:56
Okay, so obviously now you've evolved into lots of facets of art and so forth. So what do you basically follow? I know you've got some beautiful watercolours and your pottery and your ceramics and so forth. But can you just tell us a little bit about what you do?
Alice McLaughlin 15:14
Yeah, I love pastels. So my favourite thing not as popular of course with the public as the acrylics and oils are. I leart oil painting so that was my first beginning. I began with the oil painting and then I've taken up pastels later in life and just love them as a fun thing to do.
Wayne Heidrich 15:40
Now obviously, people come along here each week. A bit of a social gathering, also a bit of a learning experience for a lot of people. So what do you actually do here on a Thursday?
Alice McLaughlin 15:53
Okay, well people come here once, some of these people have been coming here for quite a long while. 10 years or so and they're getting up there now with their work. We do have a competition every year for them that the most improved student that improves most throughout the year in their personal space. So that is an incentive for them to work hard, especially getting towards the end of the year. We've got painters, we've got people who just sit there and crochet and knit and do things because they just like to be involved in the arts with the others.
Wayne Heidrich 16:34
Just getting back to your property here Alice, there's a great emphasis on fun and colour and just exciting things. Every time you turn a corner you will see something different. What kind of inspired you to do this sort of artwork.
Alice McLaughlin 16:50
I just like fun around me, I'm a big kid. So you know when you see the little kids putting their hands in the paint and splashing on a wall and that, well I'd like to do that too but I can't get away with it. So I do what I'm doing and the stuff you see around us most of it's fun, for my own pleasure
Wayne Heidrich 17:14
On the way into your property we noticed there's a lady in a blue dress sitting underneath a tree, obviously doing some artwork. So how long has she been there and working on that piece of art?
Alice McLaughlin 17:26
Well, I think she's been sitting there for something like five years. I don't think she's got very far there's not much on that board. To finish it, no, she's never gonna finish.
Wayne Heidrich 17:44
Looking around your garden, you can see wonderful bugs, dragonflies, dragons, painted tyres, frogs, toads, a bit of everything here isn't there really. So this has been all created over the 20/25 years you've been in this particular location.
Alice McLaughlin 18:03
Yes, everything's been done here on site. Sometimes it's my idea, sometimes it's someone else's idea that they actually do things like the masks on the wall were done by students. Some of the other things around have been done by them.
Wayne Heidrich 18:17
And obviously the tree of knowledge, can you tell us a little bit about the tree of knowledge?
Alice McLaughlin 18:23
Well, they do so much talking and arguing out under that, but you know, the tree must be getting very knowledgeable.
Wayne Heidrich 18:33
All right. That's really good. Thanks so much, Alice.
Alice McLaughlin 18:36
Dana Maggacis 18:37
Thank you, Wayne and Alice.
That's all for today. We hope you enjoyed the programme. Join us next week for more news and stories from across the Bundaberg Region.
Bye for now.