HomeNewsBundaberg Now Podcast #13

Bundaberg Now Podcast #13

In today's episode we learn about Cotton-top tamarins, more on the Cochrane Artificial Reef, the exhibition ‘A Bridge Through Time' and the second song from Art as an Act of Optimism project funded by the Regional Arts Development Fund, featuring local artist Charlie Williams.

Local news highlights include a proposed nature-based tourism and camping venture, a proposed 100MW Solar Farm, Bundaberg CWA Drive-Through Scone Day, and the Mayor's call for an air-tanker to be based at the Bundaberg Airport.

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Podcast transcript

Dana Maggacis 0:05
Hello and welcome to the weekly Bundaberg podcast. I'm Dana Maggacis from Bundaberg Regional Council. Today we have another interesting programme with news and information from across the Bundaberg region. Soon, we'll hear about Alexandra Park Zoo's cotton top tamarins, an upcoming exhibition, A Bridge Through Time, the final instalment of the Cochrane Artificial Reef history and more. But first, here's Michael Gorey with the news headlines.

Michael Gorey 0:36
Thank you, Dana. A nature based tourism venture has been proposed on the Kolan River at Moorlands, including the construction of seven camping sites. The planned camping area is on a cleared portion of land separate from existing cropping activities. Council will consider the flood risk issues when determining the application. In other development news, a proposed 100 megawatt solar farm at Isis River has potential to create up to 250 jobs during construction and power 24,000 homes. The site on Buxton Road is near an existing substation. It's envisaged the solar farm will later include on site battery storage. Approval would confirm the Bundaberg region's growing reputation as the solar capital of Australia. Scones were selling like hotcakes at the Bundaberg CWA drive through scone day this week. 140 dozen scones of all types and flavours were sold as part of the fundraiser to celebrate 98 years of the Country Women's Association in Queensland. Here's Bundaberg branch president Lyn Tucker.

Lyn Tucker 1:45
After we had that scone day last year, it became The scone day for August the 11th which is CWA's birthday. Following that we sort of thought h, we could have a scone day – oh no, we can't because we you know we can't come in here. Oh, what a bit of drive through one. Some of the ladies were up at four clock making the scones. I thought it was only about 100 dozen but now it's like 140 dozen.

Michael Gorey 2:05
In other news, Mayor Jack Dempsey has called for a large air tanker to be based at Bundaberg airport during the coming summer fire season. Mayor Dempsey says Bundaberg has the facilities and the location to serve most of Queensland.

Jack Dempsey 2:20
To be able to have the state government to come on board and position their main air tanker here would be a great asset not just to this region, but for all Queenslanders. We've got the airport we've got the infrastructure, our teams of SES and rural fire workers have done the training. We've got over 30 of our officers trained and it also value adds to already a growing airport that we have in the Bundaberg region.

Dana Maggacis 2:45
Thanks Michael. Monica Banks is a keen visitor to the zoo, regularly bringing her young family and today she talks to zookeeper Laura Billing about the new world monkeys, the cotton top tamarins, who make their home at the zoo.

Monica Banks 2:59
Laura this is one of my favourite exhibits when we come to the zoo. My kids always love looking at the cotton top tamarins when we come in the weekends. Can you tell me a little bit about them?

Laura Billings 3:09
So we have two female cotton tops. So we've got Salita, who turned 22, had a quarantine birthday this year. And then Turbo who turns 10 in September, so a mother and daughter. So they both came from Perth Zoo in 2015 they moved to Bundaberg. So we're basically a little retirement village for them at the moment.

Monica Banks 3:29
Oh, wonderful. And so I've noticed that just while they're jumping around, they like to hang on with their tails. Is that predominantly have a hang on to the branches.

Laura Billings 3:40
These guys use that tail,mostly for balance. So they won't properly wrap that tile around like other monkey species will. So these guys as they run and jump, you'll see their tails poking out and they use it more for that balance rather than grip.

Monica Banks 3:53
Okay. They're very interesting looking aren't they with their little white hair on their head. They're quite cute. So,

Laura Billings 4:01
Yeah, they're very much noticed by their mohawks or little Einstein haircuts that they have going on. So yeah, very small little faces. And then this big hairdo matches their personalities.

Monica Banks 4:12
Very good. And what do you usually feed them? What do they eat?

Laura Billings 4:16
So these guys are omnivores. So they eat fruit and vege. But also they would eat little skinks that come into their enclosure, little geckos and a range of different insects. They also in the wild would eat a lot of sap from trees.

Monica Banks 4:30
So how many are there in the wild?

Laura Billings 4:32
So in 2005, 2006 Proyecto Tití did a populations survey just to get an idea of the numbers and found about 7500 at that point in the wild. Due to this, they then in 2008, went to put them on the critically endangered list and then 2012 they did another population census and found that over those years, the population was decreasing by 1.3% in the wild in Columbia.

Monica Banks 5:01
Wow, that's a huge decrease, isn't it? It's a shame for them.

Laura Billings 5:06
There's definitely more of these guys in captivity trying to breed that population numbers back up than there are in the wild, which is quite sad to see.

Monica Banks 5:14
Wow and I've heard that there's a special day coming up for these guys soon. Is that right?

Laura Billings 5:21
Yes. So 15th of August is World Cotton Top Tamarin Day. So yeah, big celebration and trying to basically get that conservation through education out there a lot more, celebrate these guys and bring those populations back up just make make people a lot more aware of what's going on with them.

Monica Banks 5:37
So by having these cotton tops here in the zoo, what does that do to contribute to their conservation?

Laura Billings 5:43
So with our guys these are exotic critically endangered primates. So because of this, they are a managed species. So under Australasian species management programme, we are currently a retirement village. So mum is 22 years old, which is very old and they lived till 13 in the wild. About 24 – 25 is the record in captivity. So once she eventually passes on, we would like to get in a male to continue helping with the breeding programme of these guys build those numbers back up. Until then we do a lot of talks with the public and just try and do that conservation through education. So our main purpose is to get out the message out there about why these numbers are declining and the importance of them in the wild.

Monica Banks 6:23
So when can members of the public come to the zoo and view the animals.

Laura Billings 6:27
Due to COVID at the moment days are moving here and there. So definitely check out Discover Bundaberg page on Council's website. And that'll give you the most accurate and up to date information about when to stop by.

Monica Banks 6:39
Wonderful. Thank you for your time this morning.

Laura Billings 6:42
Thank you.

Monica Banks 6:42
Thanks, Laura.

Dana Maggacis 6:44
Thanks, Monica and Laura. We're now going to hear again from Paul Donaldson and Alan and Brenda Cochrane, for the last instalment of the history of the Cochrane Artificial Reef.

Paul Donaldson 6:54
Tell us about some of the people you have taken down there and their experience and how it impacted on their lives?

Alan Cochrane 7:02
Well, there were two for instance, who at the time of taking them out, did not scuba dive. One was a girl who ended up as an instructor at Salty's as it was in Bundaberg at the time. And prior to her during this course, she'd only ever come out, I was on one of the towing vehicles, skippering it. And these two girls came out with us. And I talked all the way out because they asked questions all the way out. And one of the other girls became so interested in marine biology that she was – how old at the time, Brenda? About a 16 year old? A 16 year old girl that she ended up finishing her high school and went on to study marine biology which absolutely thrilled me to bits. All our committee's hard work had achieved. So if it only achieved that one thing that was tremendous.

Brenda Cochrane 8:06
Well it did inspire a lot of students who wanted to do marine biology because the Christian College then took on a course. So it did inspire a lot of people and overseas people were absolutely blown away.

Paul Donaldson 8:19
How do you feel now after achieving the whole journey knowing that the artificial reef is out there for eternity?

Alan Cochrane 8:27
That was one of the phrases ironically Paul that I used that people said the wrecks are going to rust and crumble. And I said as they crumble, they'll take pieces of coral that are formed with them. They'll form other coral mounds and soft corals and they'll provide food sources for various species. So I personally feel and Brenda and I have discussed this many times. I wish we'd been able to continue but 20 years was a fair whack out of us – seven days a week.

Brenda Cochrane 9:02
Took over our lives.

Alan Cochrane 9:04
It did. But for what we have seen, and the pleasure on people's faces when they describe what they've seen, the parliamentarians daughter who went for her first qualifying dive, dived on one of the lightships wasn't it? I think it was one of the light ships or Ceratodus and she saw turtles plural. Large numbers, which…

Brenda Cochrane 9:27
I think basically, since we're since we're sorry, I think since we've left the committee, it's sort of faded over the years. But whenever we look at any footage and get reminded of it or someone brings it up, we think wow.

Alan Cochrane 9:42
What an effort Bundaberg did.

Brenda Cochrane 9:44
That our mob did. And it was it was a mighty effort, mighty effort. And we got OAMs, because we…

Alan Cochrane 9:55
Which I initially refused because

Brenda Cochrane 9:58
He wanted he wanted me to get it. Other people in the committee.

Alan Cochrane 10:02
But I was persuaded that if I didn't accept it, I was not representing the rest who didn't get it. And after that I put someone else proposed Brenda for an OAM so six years later she had one also.

Paul Donaldson 10:17
Thanks, guys. Look, it's been really great talking to you and getting to know the background behind the artificial reef.

Dana Maggacis 10:25
Thank you, Paul, Alan and Brenda. Now, here's Robert McLellan from Bundaberg Regional Galleries. Joined by a special guest to chat to us about the upcoming exhibition. A Bridge Through Time.

Arts Bundaberg Advertisement 10:36
The Moncrief Entertainment Centre. Bundaberg Regional Galleries and Bundaberg Regional Libraries. And together we're Arts Bundaberg. We love the arts just as much as you do. And whether you're a book lover, an art lover, or a theatre lover, the arts and cultural services of the Bundaberg Regional Council are connecting locals all in one place. To keep up to date with the things you love, jump online to artsbundaberg.com.au.

Robert McLellan 11:06
I'm down here at the Bundaberg Regional Art Gallery and I'm having a chat today with TJ from TMR. How are you, TJ?

TJ 11:15
Good. Thank you. How are you?

Robert McLellan 11:16
I'm good. So, tell me about your role at TMR.

TJ 11:23
So I'm the senior cultural heritage officer for the Department of Transport and Main Roads. And so I cover the Wide Bay Burnet district. So I'm in charge of all things heritage for road building in this district, so that also includes looking after the heritage components of our state heritage listed structures. So in Bundy we've got Burnett and Kennedy bridge, so I'm in charge of those.

Robert McLellan 11:50
Awesome so we've got a pretty exciting exhibition coming up soon, haven't we about all the bridges and stuff and I suppose – can you tell us a little bit about why you approached the gallery to have this exhibition about our bridges around Bundy?

TJ 12:08
So in 2011, we had conservation management plans drafted for both bridges. And part of the recommendations is that we need to share some of the information with the community relating to the maintenance works we undertake, the rehabilitation works and so basically Transport and Main Roads and RoadTek manage the heritage recommendations relating to the bridges. So in my role, when I say I'm in charge of the bridges, I mean, I'm in charge of the heritage aspects of the bridges, not, you know, running the bridges. So RoadTek undertake all the maintenance works on our bridges, and we just thought that to kind of implement the conservation management plan recommendations and to highlight what a great job TMR and RoadTek are doing in maintaining the heritage values of these structures that an art gallery exhibition showcasing the works we're doing and the history of the bridges would just help the public understand the works we're doing and why we're doing it and show that, you know, we basically want to partner with the public in sharing the history of these structures.

Robert McLellan 13:26
I suppose to it's one of those things that maybe not everyone around the place actually knows about the history of the bridges and all the stuff that's involved in keeping them maintained and running. So I suppose it will be a good opportunity to come and sort of learn all of that stuff as well.

TJ 13:46
Yes, I think it'll be an amazing opportunity to come and see all the artwork and the photographs. And we also have some of the original designs for the bridges on display. Not the actual original ones, we've copied them. So obviously the originals are a bit precious. But the bridges are so important to the history of Bundaberg through flooding events, through royalty being here for the opening of them. There's just so much history around these bridges. There's such an important social aspect of the very kind of nature of Bundaberg that we really wanted to showcase this. And we've used a lot of photographs from the national galleries, from the Bundaberg library and from the State Archives, as well as some of our own. So I really hope people will come along and check it out and learn a little bit about what we do as well.

Robert McLellan 14:43
Awesome. Well there it sounds like there is plenty to see. It sounds like a really exciting exhibition. I'm certainly excited to see it. To all of our listeners, make sure you come along and check it out. And thank you for coming to talk with me today, TJ about the exhibition.

TJ 15:01
Thank you very much. It's been very enjoyable.

Dana Maggacis 15:03
Thanks Robert and TJ. And to finish off today, we've got another great tune. The arts and cultural services team have been working with local artists through the Regional Arts Development Fund to showcase their original work right here on Bundaberg Now's podcast. A total of 11 artists will be featured through the upcoming weeks. This week we'll hear from Charlie Williams.

Charlie Williams 15:25
Hi, everyone. My name is Charlie Williams. And this week, I'm the featured artist for Bundaberg Now. Take A Breath is all about just stepping back from what's happening around us and to enjoy it. More specifically from the perspective of a partner calming down their loved one, which someone has done for me when I haven't been able to stop worrying or even hyperventilating. Kate's lyrics really differently and truly did connect to me on a higher level and helped me realise the importance that if you do have the right people around you, all you need to do is take a breath.

Song 16:15
Take A Breath – Charlie Williams

Robert McLellan 19:30
Art as an Act of Optimism the podcast series brought to you by the Regional Arts Development Fund. A partnership between the Queensland Government and Bundaberg Regional Council to support local arts and culture in regional Queensland. Keep listening to the Bundaberg Now podcasts to discover more talented artists within our region. To keep up to date with all things arts, jump online to artsbundaberg.com.au.

Dana Maggacis 19:58
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.

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