HomeCouncilBourbong Street beauty returns to heritage colours

Bourbong Street beauty returns to heritage colours

69 Bourbong Street Ben Neilson  Bourbong Street heritage
Mayor Jack Dempsey with 69 Bourbong Street owner Ben Neilson. Photo: Morgan Everett.

A Bourbong Street building façade will be repainted to restore its historic charm and add to the heritage character of the Bundaberg CBD main street, where it has stood for over 100 years.

Owner of 69 Bourbong Street, Ben Neilson, received a grant for $9,025 under the Bundaberg Regional Council’s Our Stories Our Places grant program to repaint the building’s exterior in a traditional colour scheme of white and grey.

Our Stories Our Places is a Council initiative that supports private owners undertaking heritage or character improving works on eligible places.

By undertaking the work, Ben said he wanted to help foster a sense of cultural identity and pride among Bundaberg residents.

“The preservation of Bundaberg's heritage character and buildings is an investment in the community's future,” he said.

“It creates a sense of continuity, fosters civic pride, and enriches the quality of life for residents while attracting visitors who appreciate the unique charm and history that Bundaberg has to offer.

“Preserving these structures also fosters a greater understanding of the challenges and triumphs faced by previous generations.

“It allows for the recognition of diverse cultural narratives and histories that have shaped the community.

“By valuing and safeguarding these assets, Bundaberg ensures that its cultural heritage remains a living, integral part of its identity.”

Bourbong Street Bundaberg Bourbong Street heritage
Bourbong Street Bundaberg – Picture Bundaberg – Wood, John, donor – BRN 181490.

Under the program, Council will contribute 50% of the cost of the conservation works up to a maximum of $10,000 per project.

Ben said he appreciated the opportunity to be supported by Council to complete the repainting.

“The local Council acts as a capital partner and their willingness to contribute suggests they too are interested in preserving and enhancing the unique character of Bundaberg,” he said.

“We are deeply appreciative of the support and resources provided through this grant, which will undoubtedly have a lasting positive impact on the character and charm of our region.”

Mayor Jack Dempsey said the repainting works would make a valuable contribution to the heritage profile of Bourbong Street.

“It’s fantastic to see the work being done with the support of Council’s Our Stories Our Places grants will have such a positive impact to the streetscape,” Mayor Dempsey said.

“We appreciate the commitment of heritage building owners, like Ben, who are preserving and enhancing our region’s unique character, and for ensuring these buildings continue to play a role in civic life.”

Bourbong Street heritage researched

The colour scheme planned by Ben was the result of his research into the history and former appearance of the building.

“We used research through access to local archives and historical records to help identify the most critical aspects requiring attention to retain the initial characteristics that have been forgotten over time,” Ben said.

“It can be seen in many of the historical main street photographs and has played host to various businesses over its time.

Bourbong Street Bundaberg Bourbong Street heritage
Bourbong Street Bundaberg during 8 hour day march, 9 May 1910 – Goleby, Kathleen, donor – BRN 289637. Photo: Picture Bundaberg.

“It was the original Bundaberg supermarket in the mid-1900s and still has the original crane used to lower supplies down into waiting carts.

“Out the back (Quay St entrance) we have maintained the original brickwork and hitchrack where folks used to tie their horses before entering town, today it is often used as a popular location for wedding photos.”

The repainting is just part of the heritage-sympathetic changes Ben has planned for the building, including removing advertising signage in the upper windows.

“She boasts beautiful hardwood floors, and the entire upstairs area is about to undergo a major renovation to bring it back to its original setting and make the most of this relaxing space,” he said.

“These buildings often embody architectural styles and craftsmanship that reflect the values, aspirations, and skills of the communities that built them.

“In addition, heritage conservation contributes to sustainable development by promoting adaptive reuse of existing structures.

“It serves as a tangible link to the past, allowing current and future generations to connect with the history and cultural identity of the region.”

Applications for Our Stories Our Places grants will be accepted on an ongoing basis until 31 May 2024, while funding remains available.

Bourbong street historic photo Bourbong Street heritage
Undated photograph of Bourbong Street with number 69 visible on right hand side. Photo: contributed.



  1. ^Church Pharmacy burnt down & moved next to Burson Autoparts for a while before shutting down. A chain Chemist Discount center brought the old spot the building is themed after there uniform standard. You will find all of there shops look similar.

    The new owner is commemorating the old building in there windows.

  2. All of the ugly signage,eg: Silly Sollies, Rivers should be totally removed from facades throughout the main street of Bundaberg. Signage should be the subject of a DA

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