Weekender: Jasmine headed to World Transplant Games

Beach clean-up a Milbi Festival success

Georgia Neville

A total of 87 kilograms of waste, including 326 cigarette butts, 73kg of brick and concrete and 56 plastic lids were collected from Oaks Beach in Burnett Heads during the Milbi Festival Tangaroa Beach Clean-up event.

The beach clean-up was an important part of the festival and promoted the benefit of rubbish removal for the region’s nesting turtles.

The waste collected has now been entered into Australian Marine Debris Initiative (AMDI) Database and included:

- 326 cigarette butts

- 85 hard plastic remnants

- 81 soft plastic film remnants

- 56 plastic lids

- 35 miscellaneous paper scraps

- 32 plastic food packaging

- 31 bits of foam

- 28 metal lids and pull tabs

ReefClean Project Coordinator Gladstone Region Ian Anderson said it was fantastic to see the community take part in the Milbi Festival event while gaining knowledge on why keeping the beaches clean was so important to the environment.

“It was such a pleasure to be able to come down [to] Oaks Beach again and witness the enthusiasm of the local community in maintaining a clean environment,” he said.

“I stayed on at Mon Repos after the event for the weekend and as luck would have it, I got to witness the first nesting turtle for the season.

“She was a very old flatback turtle who has been nesting at Mon Repos for the past 42 years and obviously she appreciated a clean beach.”

Ian said events like this beach clean-up were an important part of the organisation’s work, with the ongoing cleanliness of the environment critical to nesting turtles.

“All members of the community have the opportunity to get involved and learn more about the impacts of marine debris and what we can do to prevent it getting there in the first place,” he said.

“Clean beaches are important particularly for the Bundaberg Region for our nesting turtles, shore birds and marine life.”

You can find out more about the Tangaroa Blue Foundation here.

Jasmine sets sights on World Transplant Games

Emma Turnbull

Jasmine Storey was two years old when she received a liver transplant and more than two decades later she's headed to the World Transplant Games to raise awareness about organ donation.

Next year the Bundaberg resident will jet off to Perth to compete in the World Transplant Games, along with other athletes who all have one thing in common – they’ve all had a successful organ transplant.

Jasmine said the World Transplant Games was an amazing way to celebrate organ and tissue donation, along with 55 other countries, on the world stage.

She said being an organ transplant recipient had not only changed her life, but it also gave her life.

“It has given me life,” she said.

“I was born with a condition known as biliary atresia.

“It is a very rare condition, affecting only 1 in 15,000 infants, so I really don't know a life where I didn’t need a new liver.”

Although Jasmine was too young to remember the time before her liver transplant, she said she knew it was her only chance at surviving.

“I would have absolutely died,” she said.

“Even as it was, we were buying as much time as possible with smaller procedures and treating nasty infections.

“I was lucky to live as long as I did while waiting for the call that there was a donor match ready for me.”

It was touch and go as Jasmine and her family eagerly awaited the phone call to say an organ donation match had been found.

“I don't remember anything from life (pre) transplant, but my family does,” she said.

“My first operation was a Kasai procedure at eight weeks old and from then, all the way up until I got my new liver two years later, it was one surgery after another.

“I spent most of the first two years of my life in the hospital.

“Since I've received my transplant, I have been able to live a full, relatively normal, life.” 

Jasmine said organ donation was so much more than the gift of life for one person.

“Organ donation is such a selfless act that truly changes lives of not just the recipient but all of those around them,” she said.

“The Transplant Games and everything it stands for would not be possible if it weren't for organ donors.

“If you're thinking about becoming an organ donor, or even if you have already registered, make sure you have the discussion about your decision with your close friends and family as at the end of the day, they will be the final ones to give the okay when you pass.

“I think some people think ‘I'm too old or my body is too worn, I won't be able to help anyone’ but that's simply not the case, the body is made up of a lot of moving parts, you never know whose life you're going to change for the better with your donation.”

World Transplant Games a first for Jasmine

This is the first time Jasmine will compete in the World Transplant Games, after planning to take part when it was held in Australia in 2009 but being prevented by injury.

“There's so many emotions toward participating in the World Transplant Games,” she said.

“It's exciting and I'm absolutely thrilled to be able to represent my country, but I'm also nervous, I haven't competed in any games since 2014 and, even then, only nationally.

“This is the first time I will be up against people from all over the world and that's hard to wrap your head around.  

“I was lucky enough to attend the World (Transplant) Games the last time they were in Australia (2009), however I had broken my foot in three places six weeks before the competition, so I was hobbling around on crutches the whole time.

“I am steering well clear of anything that could cause injury this time around!” 

Jasmine said she was looking forward to the World Transplant Games to be held on Australian soil again, and she will compete in all of the swimming and track events.

“The games are always such a beautiful experience, and Australia is such a beautiful country,” she said.

“I'm excited because not only does it mean the competition is far more accessible to me in terms of costs and travel, but it also means people from all around the globe are going to be able to come to Australia and explore while being supported by people that understand their transplant situation.” 

To help Jasmine get to the World Transplant Games recently she held a cupcake day where she raised close to one third of the cost.

For more information or to assist Jasmine click here.

Locals dig in to aquatic centre earthworks

Ashley Schipper

Local contractors are carrying out earthworks on the aquatic centre site, helping to make the process more sustainable with thousands of kilograms of recycled materials.

More than 34,000 square cubic metres of dirt and 1000 kilograms of recycled, crushed concrete is being moved to the site by local contractors in the coming weeks.

Stripping of topsoil and levelling the ground is currently underway and environmental controls are in place to prevent stormwater from impacting the site while construction continues.

Council has been stockpiling material onsite from other projects to reduce costs and assist with the bulk earthworks.

There will be almost three metres of fill used in some parts of the site, with a total of 34,000 cubic square metres of soil placed overall as part of the major project.

Towards the end of November equipment will arrive to begin driving large concrete piles into the ground.

The pools and the buildings associated with the Aquatic Centre will be founded on the piles, which range in length from six metres to 15 metres.

Woollam Constructions has been assigned as lead contractor for the project while local sub-contractors will be used throughout the build.

So far, Kleicon, LCB Civil and Gorlicks Excavation have been engaged to undertake aquatic centre earthworks support and Insite SJC are surveying and setting out the works.

Bundaberg Region Mayor Jack Dempsey said it was exciting to see the works progress.

“Through this construction, Council is taking advantage of a low interest rate and a fixed contract price that will benefit the project as a whole,” he said.

“The vision of a facility that caters for all abilities, all skillsets and all ages is slowly but surely coming to life.

“Not only is this project about attracting athletes to train here, but it is also about providing the very best for our community now and into the future.

“The benefits of the Aquatic Centre will be felt by community members for many, many years to come.”

About the Aquatic Centre

The Bundaberg Aquatic Centre aims to deliver a year-round, modern facility for fitness, education, therapy and recreation users.

A new, FINA standard, covered, 50m, heated competition pool will support regional and state level events and training camps. Additional indoor heated pools and multi-purpose rooms will be available for fitness, teaching and therapy programs, creating a facility able to offer a range of comprehensive health and fitness services.

Council has elected to deliver the project in a single stage over approximately three financial years.

With work underway on aquatic centre earthworks, find out more about the project here.

Bundaberg fishing store tackles recycling

Georgia Neville

Tackle World Bundaberg is doing its part for the environment by providing a place for the community to recycle old or broken fishing gear.

Rig Recycle is a program developed to reuse, repair and recycle recreational fishing gear and packaging, helping to divert from landfill and reducing marine debris.

Products including hooks, sinkers, swivels, hard plastic lures, plastic floats, hard clear plastic tackle packaging, monofilament fishing line (not braid), plastic fishing line spools, handline spools can all be recycled through the program.

Tackle World Bundaberg now has a Rig Recycle station at the shop on Quay Street, encouraging locals to bring in their gear and place it in the bin provided.

The new recycling avenue is being brought into focus as part of National Recycling Week held from 7 to 13 November 2022.

Tackle World recycling initiative inspired by ReefClean

Tackle World Bundaberg Director Lenore Hanks said the idea to take part in the recycling initiative came about when the team attended a recent fishing show.

“We attended the AFTA (Australian Fishing Trade Association) Show in August this year on the Gold Coast and the ReefClean team had a site at the show with a Rig Recycle Bin,” she said.

“Of course, we were keen to host a Rig Recycle bin in our store to reduce the flow of rubbish pouring into our environment.”

Lenore said she was very conscious of the impact plastics had on the environment, encouraging the community to also think about their actions.

“I’m conscious of the devastating effects plastic and other debris can make in our waterways,” she said.

“If our rubbish is not disposed of thoughtfully, it can be blown or washed into rivers and oceans and end up hundreds of kilometres away, polluting coastlines and becoming a problem to ecosystems and wildlife.

“We need to be conscious of our actions so future generations can enjoy this beautiful planet.”

The items placed into the bin will be sorted to be reused, repaired or recycled.

“The repaired items are given a second life in tackle boxes which are donated to charity groups for less fortunate anglers to enjoy,” she said.

“All hard plastic is diverted to a recycling facility which turns the items into new products which are made to last several lifecycles.

“By getting involved in our Rig Recycle Program, you’re showing your support for reducing the amount of fishing litter getting into our waterways and out of landfill.

“We need to lead by example and together we can all make a difference!”

The program started as part of the ReefClean program, delivered by Tangaroa Blue and funded by the Australian Government’s Reef Trust.

Find out more about the program which is enabling Tackle World recycling here.

Santa Paws fundraiser coming to town

Ashley Schipper

Santa Paws is coming to town with new business Pup Culture Pet Grooming hosting a fundraiser event for Red Collar Rescue offering Christmas-y snaps with your pet.

Shelby Veitch opened Pup Culture Pet Grooming five months ago, operating from Calavos.

The event will take place on Sunday 27 November from 2 until 4 pm at 5 Wolfended Road, Calavos, with a number of local businesses also attending.

Funds will be raised for Red Collar Rescue through a raffle with tickets $2 each, and prizes including a collar and lead set, Christmas dog cologne, a pet air purifier, Raw for Sure treats and the list goes on.

Shelby said the event would be the perfect opportunity for the community to get ready for Christmas with photos perfect for Christmas cards while also having access to a range of other local businesses.

“The event is a chance for people to get a pet photo with Santa but Daniel from DTM Photography will be here and able to offer a more professional snap, for those that are keen to pay him, for the family Christmas card,” she said.

“Because Pup Culture is a dog grooming service we will have other dog minded businesses here to showcase their products and services including Native Magic, Cruisin K9’s, The Dog Sitter, Indulgence Bandannas and Bows, as well as other small operators here on the day.”

Shelby is looking forward to hopefully making this event an annual occurrence.

“This is the first event I will be hosting as my business is brand new,” she said.

“It is my intention to have Santa photos each year and I hope to draw other like-minded pet businesses along with me to make it an event on the calendar.”

Shelby said after completing her training on the Sunshine Coast she was excited to continue to meet new furry friends.

“I am excited to really start spunking up our Bundy fur friends!”

You can find out more about the upcoming Santa Paws event on Facebook here.

School sells baubles to spread Christmas cheer

Georgia Neville

Mayor’s Christmas Cheer Appeal baubles can now be purchased from a wider range of locations with schools and charity groups among those helping to raise funds.

In 2022 Bundaberg Regional Council launched the new Christmas initiative for those in need, The Mayor's Christmas Cheer Appeal, to bring the community together and assist a range of service organisations during the festive season.

Each bauble costs $10, with all proceeds going to the appeal.

A donation can also be made directly to the appeal via the website here.

The funds raised will go towards buying food hampers for local residents who need a helping hand to make their Christmas special.

The hampers will be distributed by Salvation Army, St Vincent de Paul (Bundaberg and Childers), Angels Community Group and Childers and Gin Gin Neighbourhood Centres.

Kolan South State School is one local school participating and selling the baubles, doing its part in supporting families in need this Christmas.

Kolan South State School’s Business Manager Chery’ O’Donnell said the opportunity to take part in selling the baubles was a great way to spread the joy of Christmas within the local community.

“The Christmas Cheer Appeal seemed to be an easy way to be involved in a community project while helping share the joy of Christmas to those within our region who are less fortunate,” she said.

“Schools are a significant part of communities, so having the baubles at school makes fundraising more accessible to all within those communities.

“We would encourage others to get involved to help widen the fundraising network as every little bit helps.”

Baubles can be purchased from Kolan South State School’s administration office between 8.30 am and 3.15 pm Monday to Friday.

The school accepts cash payments only.

Other new stockist include the Bundaberg Services Club and Sandhills Sports Club.

You can find a full list of locations where the baubles are available for purchase here.

So far, the appeal has raised $15,022.66.

What's on

Gardens set to be Merry and Bright

Georgia Neville

The Bundaberg Botanic Gardens will once again be illuminated with festive cheer as the Merry and Bright event takes over.

The gardens will light up from Thursday 8 December until Wednesday 14 December for residents to experience the magic.

There are two options for exploring the enchanted gardens including Christmas Village, which is a paid experience taking place for the first four nights, followed by three nights of the free Light Night event.

Santa will be visiting the Christmas Village and is looking forward to hearing all the children’s Christmas wish lists.

Hinkler Hall of Aviation will also light up, with an illuminated artwork by artist Tim Gruchy set to be projected onto the side of the building.

Council’s Arts, Culture and Events portfolio spokesperson Cr John Learmonth said the events were a great opportunity to get out and explore the Botanic Gardens in a different way.

“The Merry and Bright event has been a favourite since it started and we look forward to another great event,” Cr Learmonth said.

“From exploring the gardens under the bright lights to seeing Santa and his reindeer, there is something for all ages at this family friendly event.”

In support of the Mayor’s Christmas Cheer Appeal $5 from every family, $2 from every adult and $1 from every child Merry + Bright Christmas Village ticket sold will be donated to support families in need this Christmas.

Tickets for Christmas Village and registrations for Light Night open at midday on Wednesday 16 November.

You can find the full Christmas program here.

The two offerings for Merry and Bright include:

Christmas Village

Step foot into an enchanting Christmas Village as the Botanic Gardens are transformed for this year’s Merry and Bright.

Make your way around the dazzling light display and enjoy the many delights of the Christmas Village event. In the village you can meet Santa and Mrs Claus and try to avoid the Grinch if you can!

There will be entertainment from Spark Starter performers, Christmas alpacas, reindeer and even a snow globe photo booth!

Food and drink will be available from a variety of food trucks on the night and Café 1928 will be open.

Date: 8 – 11 December
Time: 5.30 – 8.30pm
Cost: $30 family (2 Ad, 2 Ch) | $15 adults | $7 children (3-12 years) | children under 3 years free (ticket still required)
Location: Bundaberg Botanic Gardens

Light Night

Take a relaxed stroll through the Botanic Gardens transformed into by thousands of twinkling lights for our Merry and Bright event.

In this free version of the Merry and Bright event the beauty of the twinkling lights in the lush gardens take centre stage for Light Night.

The mesmerising light display – which is the highlight of Merry and Bright event – will stand alone on Light Night.

Café 1928 will be open to the public for food and drinks.

Date: 12 – 14 December
Time: 5.30 – 8.30pm
Cost: Free – bookings essential
Location: Bundaberg Botanic Gardens

Kepnock teacher wins entrepreneurial award

Georgia Neville

Kepnock State High School teacher Nicole Amey has been named a joint winner of the Australian Entrepreneurial Educator of the Year Award at the Teens in Business awards.

The award acknowledges an educator who is championing entrepreneurial education and having an impact in their school but also on other teachers, nearby schools, or their community.

Nicole said she was nominated for the award by a colleague and was looking forward to the opportunities that she now had after being announced a joint winner.

“To win the Australian Entrepreneurial Educator of the Year Award is positive recognition and achievement for the hard graft and drive that has been a focus for the last three years at Kepnock State High School,” Nicole said.

“It has taken extensive networking to build creative entrepreneurial learning pathways which has been done with the assistance of local and national industry, partnerships with Young Change Agents and the Ingenium Award with alumni Jamie Olsen and the commitment of excellent educators in our team.

“Winning the Entrepreneurial Educator Award will provide a scholarship to attend E3 again in 2024 as well as the opportunity to forge stronger collaborations with individuals in the entrepreneurial space.

“In 2022, I attended E3 Unconference in Adelaide with 40 entrepreneurial educators across Australia and presented on building an ecosystem in your community.”

Nicole said the award was not only a recognition for her work personally, but an award for the work being done throughout the region.

“This award is an acknowledgement personally but also for our school and region,” she said.

“I invite educators and industry to collaborate to strengthen the partnerships across schools and community to further leverage opportunities to build a coherent culture that integrates social enterprise with entrepreneurial education.

“We can provide the opportunities for our ‘raw regional talent’ to empower our emerging leaders with the toolkit to transform outcomes for societal change.”

Moving forward, Nicole said she would continue her work in the space and collaborate with others in the industry.

“I will continue to advocate and drive youth innovation,” she said.

“I am passionate about developing entrepreneurial mindsets and believe that voice of youth is the catalyst in driving change in our modern landscape.

“I enjoy the collaborations and learning with educators at our school, in our local community and at a national and global scale and transferring these skills to leverage creative learning and voice for our youths.

“Daily interactions and forging relationships with families, community and educators is pivotal in my role and I truly enjoy the shared ethos of empowering our youths to succeed.

“Entrepreneurial education is an important mindset as it is about developing our students' ability to create social, cultural, or economic value.”

Find out more about the award here.

Got You Covered library column

Elizabeth rows to represent Australia in Namibia

Georgia Neville

Growing up in the Bundaberg Region Elizabeth Newell was encouraged to follow her passion for rowing and she will soon represent Australia in the sport in Namibia.

Elizabeth will join two other athletes, Morgan Hodgson and Marcus Della Marta, who have been invited to represent Australia at the upcoming 2022 Commonwealth Rowing Association (CRA) Beach Sprint Championships held at Walvis Bay, Namibia from 2 to 4 December. 

Elizabeth was invited based on her performance at the 2022 Australian Coastal Rowing and Beach Sprint Championships. 

This is the first time Rowing Australia has selected athletes to compete at an international coastal rowing regatta. 

Elizabeth said she started rowing at St Luke’s Anglican School and also rowed for the Bundaberg Rowing Club, which she said were both instrumental in helping her succeed in the sport.

“I took part in a Learn to Row Program at St Luke’s when I was in Year 7 and really enjoyed the sport,” she said.

“I continued rowing for both St Luke’s and Bundaberg Rowing Club and in this time, I was fortunate to be coached by fantastic coaches including Ford Carson, Berry Brown, and John Pressler.

“They gave me an enormous amount of time and advice and helped develop my rowing and my passion for the sport.

“Mr Pressler provided opportunities for myself and other rowers to attend a number of different events including State and National Championships and events in New Zealand.

“Attending these different competitions increased my love for rowing and desire to achieve within the sport.”

In 2020 Elizabeth was selected in the Queensland Youth Eight, but unfortunately due to covid the national championships were cancelled.

In 2021 she was reserve for the Queensland Queen's Cup crew and this year she was selected in the crew rowing in the bow seat.

Elizabeth recently won four gold medals at the Australian Coastal Rowing Championships, securing her place in the international event.

“This year I competed in the inaugural Australian Coastal Rowing Championships, which were held in Noosa in August,” she said.

“I competed in a number of different events including singles, mixed doubles, and mixed quads, coming away with four gold medals.

“From these championships, Rowing Australia has invited myself and two other rowers to represent Australia at the Commonwealth Coastal Rowing Championships in Namibia. 

“I will compete in solo and mixed double events. Coastal rowing is a new rowing format in Australia which is growing in popularity across the world and will be included in the Commonwealth Games in Victoria and possibly in the LA Olympic Games.”

The regatta will be hosted by the CRA in conjunction with the Namibian Canoe and Rowing Federation. 

“I have never competed for Australia before and I am looking forward to the challenge of rowing against other Commonwealth competitors in Namibia,” she said.

“I will be competing in the Open Beach Sprint events in both a single and mixed double.

“Beach sprints involve starting on the beach, running to your boat, racing out 250m around buoys and back into the beach running back to the finish line.

“Unfortunately, Rowing Australia is not providing financial assistance for the competition and costs will be self-funded. A Go-Fund Me has been created to help the other athletes from UQBC and myself.”