In today's episode we learn about Boreham Park upgrades, the Cochrane Artifical Reef, Childers Library Read to Me Day and local business, the Seafood Smokery.
Local news highlights include the Qld Premier's visit to Bundaberg, the announcement of the site of the new Bundaberg Hospital, the first eScript in Queensland, and the roll-out of the Bundaberg Jobs Committment.
Dana Maggacis 0:08
Hello and welcome to the weekly Bundaberg Now podcast. I'm Dana Maggacis from Bundaberg Regional Council. Today we have another interesting program with the news and information from across the Bundaberg Region. Soon we'll hear about the exciting upgrades that are going to take place soon at Boreham Park, learn more about the history of the Cochrane Artificial Reef, and the Childers Read to Me Day and hear about the local delicacies available at the Seafood Smokery. But first here is Trish Mears with the news headlines.
Trish Mears 0:44
Making news this week, the Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk visited the Bundaberg Region on Wednesday, announcing the site of the new Bundaberg Hospital at Thabeban covering 60 hectares. The Premier was also briefed on Council projects during her visit. The first electronic prescription or e-script in Queensland, was dispensed here in our region on Tuesday at Bargara, via Best Practice Software and Councils Jobs Commitment Program to support future young professionals has been rolled out at Shalom College with more high schools to follow. Back to you, Dana.
Dana Maggacis 1:19
Thank you Trish. First up today. He is Roana O'Neill and Brett Kronk from parks to tell us about exciting things happening at Boreham Park.
Roana O'Neill 1:28
Hi everyone, it's Roana from the parks, sport and natural areas branch and we're talking with Brett Kronk, coordinator parks planning and policy about some exciting upgrades to play equipment at Boreham Park. Brett, Boreham Park is such a popular park in Walkervale, can you tell us how this project came about?
Brett Kronk 1:46
Thanks Roana. The project came about initially through feedback we got during our parks and open space strategy and also we were fortunate to receive funding from the Queensland Government under their Works for Queensland Program.
Roana O'Neill 1:58
And I understand that you've undertaken extensive community consultation. Can you tell us what kind of work that's been done in that area?
Brett Kronk 2:05
We undertook a visioning day in October last year on site at Boreham Park with the community to go through different options and elements that could be used as part of this upgrade. We also did two sessions at the Thabeban State School and Walkervale State School to talk with the kids about what they'd like to see built as part of this upgrade.
Roana O'Neill 2:25
And I understand that the concept design was also released to the public for feedback.
Brett Kronk 2:30
Yeah, the concept design was released in December last year to the public and was quite well received. So we are positive moving forward that we'll be able to deliver a good upgrade for the community.
Roana O'Neill 2:41
So I'm really excited to hear about what kinds of play equipment the community can expect to see. Can you talk us through that?
Brett Kronk 2:47
Yeah, so there'll be three key pieces of infrastructure that will go in. There'll be an adventure tower. So that adventure tower will include a large slide as well as some challenging climbing elements. There'll be a zero depth waterplay element, so that will simulate a natural creek. So there'll be a mixing area as part of that as well as some creative elements such as Archimedes screws and water gates as well for the kids to really show their creativity.
Roana O'Neill 3:12
So can you tell us what an Archimedes screw will do?
Brett Kronk 3:15
So Archimedes screw will allow the kids to move water from a low point up to a high point and let it drain back down to the creek. So it really gets them involved in the play.
Roana O'Neill 3:26
And when can the community expect to see the work start?
Brett Kronk 3:29
So the works are looking at starting in early 2021, with the aim to have them completed in May 2021, just in time for the mid year school holidays.
Roana O'Neill 3:40
And so obviously, there'll be some closure to some sections of the park. Do you envisage that the public will still be able to use areas of the park?
Brett Kronk 3:48
Yes, large of sections of the park will be closed during construction for safety purposes, but there will still be a few sections that will remain open around the flying fox and a barbecue area and the toilets for the community to continue to use.
Roana O'Neill 4:01
And I understand that this project is actually quite special. Can you talk us through some of the unique characteristics it has.
Brett Kronk 4:08
So the elements that we talked about earlier are unique to the region, it's really starting to bring some of the better elements that are going in throughout the country to a regional town. So we're really excited to bring this to the community and can't wait to see the community get out and use the park once it's finished.
Roana O'Neill 4:23
And how can the community stay up to date with what's happening with the project?
Brett Kronk 4:27
So the community can go to Bundaberg Regional Council's website and search for Boreham Park upgrade and we're also in the process of installing some on site signage to overview what the project is to keep the community up to date. And the community is always welcome to give Council a call and discuss the upgrade as well.
Roana O'Neill 4:46
Sounds like a really exciting project. Thanks, Brett.
Brett Kronk 4:49
Thanks Roana. Cheers.
Dana Maggacis 4:50
Thanks guys. Sounds like an exciting project. Now, I'll hand over to Paul Donaldson who's joined again by Brenda and Alan Cochrane, to chat more about the history of the Cochrane Artificial Reef.
Paul Donaldson 5:01
What impact has the artificial reef had on the marine park, but also the region?
Alan Cochrane 5:08
May I answer that question first Brenda, that as I went with the government scientists to do the original cross checking of the area we were proposing point 0.8 of a kilometre by 0.4 of a kilometre, I saw the life that was on the bottom, and I did all of the dives that all the scientists did. And we did not see one fish on that site in the whole two days we dived. So there were starfish, etc, but nothing else. So we now have, I believe, 189 species of fish with the last count that we know of and that's a little while ago. And the variety of them, and may I comment on the soft corals and the hard corals. I did a radio interview the next day and the lady asked me “and how soon will the growth begin Mr. Cochrane?” And I said it's already begun and Brenda is in the background saying “you're a lier Alan.” And I wasn't because I'd had to dive to retrieve some stuff that afternoon and the slime had already formed on the stainless steel rails on it, so it had already begun. Fish numbers, I think I've told you Paul, the yellowtail scad are there in the millions literally that the professionals have been harvesting them.
Brenda Cochrane 6:41
At our last knowledge anyway. They used to go there and catch them by the hundreds.
Alan Cochrane 6:48
Thousands Brenda, thousands. The variety, there are large coral trout. By large I mean eight or nine kilograms. Parrot fish, the same, there is one that visited there all the time I have a photo of he had a groove in the back of his head where someone who tried to spear him and it's about that deep. And we saw him time and again.
Brenda Cochrane 7:16
Huge gropers out there.
Alan Cochrane 7:18
May I talk about the gropers? I've dived with one that was called, not Kombi, Kombi was the biggest one, probably somewhere in the vicinity of close to 300 kilos. And we ended up with five of them. The next one, because we're doing it in the VW range. We named the next one VW, VW Kombi and the four little Beatles, the little Beatles for about as long as Brenda and you always had to watch your step because they'd go down inside the wreck and if you dive down in there, suddenly you're confronted by these eyes about this far apart, and a big open mouth like this. So we always warn people and some people came up with virtually empty tanks because when they came face to face they gasped. We loved them and we protected them. We told anyone that if they harmed them in any way or went for them, that they would end up down there as fodder for them.
Dana Maggacis 8:37
Thank you, Paul, Alan and Brenda. Now to tell us about Read to Me Day, here's Denise Rapkins from Childers Library.
Denise Rapkins 8:45
Childers Read to Me Day started in August 2016 with the aim of improving literacy levels in the community, by encouraging families to read together every day. Focusing on children from birth to year three, Read to Me has a different theme each year to keep the event fresh and interesting. So far we've been to the circus, explored the seven seas, travelled the world and had crazy adventures in Fairyland. And we've given away over 1000 books.
This year we'll explore Australia's faces and places, from kangaroos to giant gumboots we hope to bring Australia alive. This ISIS District High initiative usually happens on the last Wednesday in August when Churchill Street Childers comes alive with almost 300 children from six schools, playgroups, kindergarden daycare centre, and mothers with babies and toddlers. They move from one reading station or activity to another. Millennium Park is full of children watching a show where ISIS High students are the stars and other students lend a hand in so many different ways. And of course, many of the visiting children are also eager to admire their own handiwork used to decorate the different buildings, businesses and trees lining the Main Street. Some visitors have been so impressed with the artwork, they've asked if they can take some home for grandchildren. So who knows what part of Australia our students artworks are now on display. It has to be said that some staff and the participating businesses enjoy the day just as much as the children. Just ask the staff from the Commonwealth Bank how much they loved being in Italy last year. Or the NAB staff who allow us to decorate and use their beautiful veranda each year. The Queensland Police Service also bring something special to the event each year. Constable Michael Schmidt is part of the organising committee and is enthusiastically joined by other officers who host their own reading station. On duty officers always manage to turn their uniforms into an interesting costume to suit our theme. From Arabian Nights to clans, our local officers have supported us all the way. And as Childers is on the Bruce Highway, the reaction of visitors is always interesting. On one occasion, a large truck paused in the middle of the road as 20 odd clowns walk through town together. So I'm sure that was a very interesting story he had to tell. And families have interrupted their journey to join in the reading fun and chaos as well. But this ISIS High initiative will be slightly different this year due to the current restrictions.
So being the very innovative people that we are, this year, we're taking the event out to the schools. So allowed the schools won't join together for the day this year, we will make sure the event is still full of fun with reading and craft and other exciting activities. Reading is a habit we need to instil in our children from a very early age, Walt Disney said there is more treasure in books than in all the pirate loot on Treasure Island, and that's a wonderful gift to give to your child.
Dana Maggacis 12:12
Thanks, Denise. And finally today, we're chatting about a local delicacy with co-director Luke Truant from the Seafood Smokery. So Luke, what is the Seafood Smokery about?
Luke Truant 12:25
So it's a concept that Lincoln and I started together so we want to use local sustainable fish, scientifically sustainable, ethically caught and handled and smoked using local timber. So we want to use all Australian products, local fish and keep everything as local as we can to control the product and get the best quality product we possibly can.
Dana Maggacis 12:46
And what makes your seafood so special?
Luke Truant 12:49
What makes it special is probably the fact that we can trace it literally from the fishermen right to the plate. So the fish are caught locally by small small time fishermen, there's nothing tralled, we don't have any mass caught fish, and we can tell you the day it was caught. We get the fish usually within a few hours of capture and then we process them straight away. We can tell you the origin of the timber, because we hand shave it ourselves, we collect it in the local area ourselves. So everything that you get, we can we can tell you the exact origin and if you want to know the whole story from, you know, paddock to plate, from sea to serve, then we can tell it.
Dana Maggacis 13:30
What about the flavour you produce in the fish?
Luke Truant 13:33
So the smoke profile that we produce in our fish is completely unique. The reason it's unique is Lincoln has developed his own smoker (smoke generator) that is unlike anything else on the market. So we've spent a few years in research and development on that particular smoker to impart this particular smoke flavoured, smoke profile. So all the feedback we've had from butchers and from chefs is that, this is something that we can't do, you know, you guys are onto something big.
Dana Maggacis 14:04
Now you guys are obviously locals?
Luke Truant 14:06
Yes. So I grew up in Bundaberg. I spent 17 years living out of Bundaberg, 12 years overseas in Europe travelling through 40 odd countries and I wanted to develop something, I wanted to give something back. Something I've learned through my travels and that's how the conversation started.
Dana Maggacis 14:26
Bundaberg is a unique location. Can you tell me how it's helped you to develop the concept for this business?
Luke Truant 14:32
Bundaberg, the location is fantastic. You can talk about it from a multitude of directions. From a business perspective, from us, we're at the start of the Barrier Reef, we've got this gorgeous fish stock that really starts in Bundaberg. We've got a great local supply of fish. You want to talk about the business for macadamia, we use macadamia timber, we're in the macadamia capital locally. Also the weather, you know, talk about how good it is to live somewhere, come to the most stable climate you can possibly get. It's great for business, it's great to live. When we had children you only think of coming back to one place and that was Bundaberg.
Dana Maggacis 15:15
And Luke, where are people able to purchase the Seafood Smokery products from?
Luke Truant 15:19
Well at the moment you can buy it through a range of outlets through the Sunshine Coast, Bundaberg Hervey Bay up to Yepoon, down into Brisbane. Soon you're going to be able to buy it from Cairns to the Gold Coast and hoping to move into the southern states very soon.
Dana Maggacis 15:37
And finally, has the Bundaberg Region being a good location to have a headquarters when you're wanting to launch a nationally recognised product.
Luke Truant 15:45
The name Bundaberg sells products, there's no doubt about it. Just coming from the Bundaberg Region, we're known as the food bowl of Australia. It definitely helps and if you look at the name of our product we put in as the Seafood Smokery Bundaberg.
Dana Maggacis 16:01
Luke, thanks so much for chatting with us about your fantastic local products.
That's all for today. We hope you enjoyed the program. Join us next week for more news and stories from across the Bundaberg Region. Bye for now.