Weekender: Ruby named Speed Queen ambassador

SES better equipped thanks to Council support

Emma Turnbull

The local Bundaberg Regional SES Unit has had another reason to celebrate this year's SES Week thanks to an equipment upgrade from Bundaberg Regional Council.

SES volunteers respond to a range of disasters and emergencies including floods, storms, searches, road crash rescues and more.

The vital support provided to the community in times of need is priceless.

Recently Bundaberg Regional Council returned the favour and provided the local organisation with 25 computers to enable the SES to better respond to disasters and emergencies.

Local Disaster Management Group Chair Mayor Jack Dempsey said after recent meetings between the Local Disaster Management Group and the SES it was decided to upgrade the SES devices to more current machines as existing devices reached end of life.

“We all know how important the SES is within the community,” he said.

“The dedicated volunteers are there in times of need and having reliable tools and equipment is essential.

“The IT equipment the local SES had was reaching its end of life, so providing the groups with new devices will benefit the whole community in times of need.”

Bundaberg SES Acting-Deputy Local Controller Annette Farrar said the group was grateful for Council’s contribution which would enable them to provide essential training to members and essential services to the community.

“Council has provided us with four laptops and 21 desktop computers across the whole Local Government Area,” Annette said.

“The desktops will be used for group leaders and deputy group leaders to help them with administrative tasks.

“Laptops are utilised when we set up our emergency operation centre, so when we have a bigger emergency event we can set those extra IT resources and have people in the office entering all the information needed to help.

“These laptops will be used right across the Bundaberg Region, from Gin Gin, Bundaberg to Elliott Heads, so people will benefit right across the entire area.”

Annette said storm season was only weeks away and now was a good time to step up and show an interest in volunteering in the organisation.

“Currently we have about 120 volunteers, but quite often they are working and have other commitments so we are always trying to recruit and build up our numbers so we have that support for our community in the times of need,” she said.

“We accept members from 16 years of age, with parental permission, to start skilling up until they are 18.

“Storm season generally runs from October to April and at the moment there is a lot of activity around fire.

"While we don’t actively help on the fire ground we do get called in for support around traffic control and air base.

“Now we are busy preparing and training our members for the upcoming storm season so they are well prepared for anything that does come up.

“We also have a training weekend for our new recruits coming up at the end of September.

“Our new recruits do a lot of training online so we can utilise these new laptops to support our new members during their probationary training as well.

“I would really like to thank Bundaberg Regional Council for the support, we have a really good working relationship with Council and we couldn’t achieve what we do within the community without this support.”

SES Week runs until September 17 and is a chance for the community to say "thank you" for the hard work and commitment the volunteers provide in the community.

To find out more about the SES click here.

Mother and son proud of citizenship

Natasha Harth

Mother and son Cathy Wiap and David Wiap Woodford were happy and proud to be become Australian citizens this week, having made Australia their home since 2017, and Bundaberg home since 2019.

The pair from Papua New Guinea are two of 40 people who received their Australian citizenship on 15 September at the Bundaberg Multiplex.

The day was both happy and sad for Cathy, as the citizenship ceremony fell on the same day as her brother Abel’s birthday, who passed away earlier this year.

“My late brother, he was born in September the 15th...so I said maybe he gave me the good luck to get my Australian citizenship,” Cathy said.

“I'll be sad and happy at the same time.

“I tried all this just for my son, and I'm so happy to become a citizen.”

Cathy’s son David suffered from abdominal tuberculosis and underwent surgery as a child at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Brisbane.

He is now an active sportsman, playing football with West Panthers and soccer with United Park Eagles, while also attending Bundaberg State High School.

David credits his friends in Bundaberg with helping him to improve athletically and said he feels good to become an Australian citizen in the same week as his 16th birthday.

“I told some of my friends in school, and they're all proud of me and happy, and I thank them for being there for me,” he said.

Cathy was born in Port Moresby and lived just outside of the city with her family which included seven sisters and two brothers.

“[I have] many nephews and nieces,” Cathy said.

“They're very happy for tomorrow, they're all waiting to see the certificate.”

Cathy met her now-husband Donald Woodford while she was working as a stock controller in PNG in 2003 and adopted her son David in 2007.

David’s health problems meant he spent long months in hospital in Brisbane for treatment, and he and Cathy regularly travelled between Australian and PNG on temporary visas.

David said he has happy memories of PNG.

“I have lots of happy memories playing with my cousins and my family at the river we used to go to,” he said.

“We jump off a big cliff into a river, it's so fun.”

Cathy and Don married in 2016, and Cathy and David were granted permanent residency to stay in Australia in 2017.

Mother and son now both love the proximity of Bundaberg to the beach and have made good friends in the local community.

“There's too many lovely people; old people, young people, very nice people,” Cathy said.

“This is lovely, Bundaberg, love to stay here.”

“Same as my mum, I like the beach, hanging out with my new friends,” David added.

“We go to the beach, go bowling, and then football on the weekend.

“I feel like I'm a part of the community, from football, my football career and my soccer.”

Cathy works at Mortimer Farm in Bargara and is proud to have bought a property in Bundaberg two years ago.

Cathy said it was a long path to citizenship, and she was looking forward to travelling on her new Australian passport and showing it off to family in PNG.

“That's it, I've done it so I'm free now, I can relax,” she said, smiling.

“I'm so happy.”

There were also 12 people from the United Kingdom, six from the Philippines, four from South Africa, three each from Bangladesh and New Zealand, two each from Indonesia and Sri Lanka, and one each from Canada, Finland, Republic of South Korea, Netherlands, Pakistan, and Hong Kong who received their citizenship at the Bundaberg ceremony.

Bundaberg selected for Equity and Excellence trial

Emma Turnbull

An innovative Educational Precinct trial will soon take place in the Bundaberg Region to provide students with more opportunities as part of the Department of Education’s Equity and Excellence strategy.

Educational Precincts focus on community, with local schools working together with local industry, to make sure young people have the skills needed to enter the workforce.

It’s a major boost to schools across the Bundaberg Region, which was named alongside Mount Isa, as home to one of two exciting Educational Precinct trials.

Bundaberg State High School Principal Chris Gill said the trial would provide more opportunities for students and the wider community.

“State schools, industry and our community stakeholders across Bundaberg are all very enthusiastic about opportunities to enhance student and family engagement from Prep to Year 12 to ensure our young people have the best start to their lives,” he said.

“We are incredibly well placed to build on the tremendous spirit of cooperation that exists across Bundaberg as well as the very effective partnerships that are intertwined throughout our community that can facilitate an innovative approach for students to engage in learning and pathway opportunities whilst at school and beyond school.”

He said more than a dozen local schools were co-designing the specifics of the trial.

“This is an exciting opportunity for the Bundaberg community to capitalise on the excellent work that is already being done linking schools, industry, further education and various government sectors in providing pathways and support for our young people,” Mr Gill said.

“At this early stage the project is in the design phase so there is a level of anticipation about the opportunities that will be forthcoming.

“The great news is that the specifics of the project are being co-designed by the 15 schools across the Bundaberg Region in collaboration with the Department of Education and our community partners.”

Mr Gill said the Educational Precinct would also improve students’ transition from primary to high school.  

“From the Bundaberg State High School perspective, having additional resources to enhance the transition from primary school to secondary school will be of great benefit to enable those young people to understand the tremendous opportunities that exist in our state secondary schools in Bundaberg,” he said.

“I also look forward to providing further opportunities for our school leavers to be even better equipped for their chosen pathway beyond school through enhancing collaborative opportunities whilst at school.

“Another significant opportunity exists to enhance relationships and cohesion between the school and our wonderful community support agencies to provide assistance to students and families and enable students to have every opportunity to engage in education or a meaningful pathway.”

A Department of Education spokesperson said the innovative new Education Precinct model would see groups of schools work more closely together to deliver better outcomes for communities.

“In Bundaberg, the initiative will connect a total of 15 schools, with 11 feeder primary schools, one special school and three high schools,” the spokesperson said.

“The schools will share staffing expertise, facilities, resources and ideas and support for the precinct will include the temporary appointment of a precinct coordinator and staff who will guide this precinct for the first 12 months.

“The Bundaberg precinct trial brings an opportunity to collaboratively plan localised responses to ensure that educational and vocational pathways for young people in the area address the skills and workforce needs of local business and industry.”

Schools work together in Equity and Excellence

Part of the Department of Education’s Equity and Excellence: realising the potential of every student strategy, the Bundaberg precinct is part of an $8 million, five-year investment to trial and evaluate Education Precincts at 10 locations across Queensland.

The trial precincts will be established throughout the remainder of 2023, with schools not only working with each other, but with local industry and the broader community, to give young people the best start at life.

Local schools included in the Department of Education’s Equity and Excellence Education Precincts include: Bundaberg State High School, Bundaberg North State High Schools, Kepnock State High School, Walkervale State School, Thabeban State School, Norville State School, Bundaberg West State School, Kalkie State School, Bundaberg Special School, Bundaberg South State School, Bundaberg North State School, Bundaberg East State School, Bundaberg Central State School, Branyan Road State School and Avoca State School.

Further information on the Equity and Excellence strategy is available here.

Welcome to Bundaberg connecting community

Toni Schuch

Wide Bay Kids has released the Welcome to Bundaberg magazine, a new annual publication geared towards making the region’s newest residents feel at home.

Described as a community connection project, Welcome to Bundaberg was developed by Wide Bay Kids Community Incorporated to bring the region to support new and existing residents.

From a welcome pack, magazine, website and application Welcome to Bundaberg features resources to assist people in finding a home and job, connecting across neighbourhoods and navigating Bundaberg’s diverse business and industry landscape.

Welcome to Bundaberg also assists businesses and industry with new tools to support their new resident employees.

Angela Stedman from Wide Bay Kids said moving to a new place was an exciting adventure but could also be overwhelming and isolating, especially for new residents who may not know anyone in the area.

“Welcome to Bundaberg aims to help those people feel like they belong in our community,” she said.

“Issue one of the Welcome to Bundaberg magazine was released in August, with 10,000 copies printed and distributed to locations around the region.”

“Something we've added to this magazine is the road to relocating.

“It's seven steps to feel like you belong.

“We run through the different stages that people go through when they're thinking about moving to a new place and then after they arrive, what sort of things they can try and do within that community.”

Angela said when looking at information for the magazine, it was really apparent to them that there were three details new citizens wanted to know.

“People want to know where the neighbourhoods are,” she said.

“They're also looking for a place to educate their children.

“And they are looking for health care providers.

“We've included all of these topics in this magazine.”

“The magazine is published annually with the next edition hitting the shelves July next year,” Angela said.

“It's available at the Bundaberg and District Neighbourhood Centre, some counselling facilities, real estates, schools and day-care centres.

“You can also view the magazine online.”

The Welcome to Bundaberg magazine is free and more information about the project can be found here.

Respiratory specialist returns to Bundaberg


Dr Rebecca Byrnes is determined to make a difference in the lives of respiratory and lung patients across Wide Bay, after returning home to Bundaberg to work at Mater Private Hospital.

The respiratory and sleep physician has relocated from North Queensland with her young family to develop a new lung cancer service for the community.

“Bundaberg is where I want to work – it’s under-serviced and I want to make a difference here,” Dr Byrnes said.

“It’s important to me that people in regional centres have equitable access to healthcare.

“I love Bundaberg and fortunately my husband loves it too – we are here for the long haul!”

Dr Byrnes said lung cancer was very common.

“More people die of lung cancer than any other cancer,” she said.

“It’s the fifth most common cancer and biggest cancer killer in Australia.”

After completing her respiratory and physician training, Dr Byrnes worked in Townsville for five years at hospitals including Mater Private Hospital Townsville.

Describing respiratory medicine as a 'procedural specialty', Dr Byrnes said there was only one other respiratory clinician in Bundaberg.

“I have been working closely with Mater Private Hospital Bundaberg to bring equipment and services to this community,” she said.

“When someone is sent to me with suspected lung cancer, I have been trained to do the procedures.

"I can diagnose the cancer and don’t have to send it to someone else to make a diagnosis.

“There is much less fragmentation of care and a smoother cancer journey for patients, and that’s the appeal of respiratory care to me.”

Mater Private Hospital Bundaberg General Manager Catherine Hackney said the hospital was proud to improve access to high-quality care for the Wide Bay community.

“Mater is proud to welcome Dr Rebecca Byrnes home after gaining extensive training in respiratory medicine, which she is now able to provide to the Bundaberg community,” Catherine said.

“This is a family affair for Dr Byrnes, whose parents both trained as GPs and who is now sharing a practice with her brother Dr Sean Byrnes across the road from Mater.

“We are very excited to welcome her home and for the Wide Bay community to be provided with a broader range of compassionate care close to home.”

Dr Byrnes urged people experiencing symptoms including a persistent cough, coughing up blood, or an unexplained shortness of breath, to see their GP who can assess whether a referral is required to see her.

Dr Byrnes’ practice is located at 310 Bourbong St, Bundaberg Central, opposite Mater Private Hospital Bundaberg.

White Cane luncheon to raise awareness

Morgan Everett

The annual White Cane Safety Day Luncheon aimed at raising awareness for those who are visually impaired will be held at the Young Australian Hotel on Saturday 14 October.

The event will commence at 11.30 am and is open to community orientated people and those who are visually impaired, including carers and their families.

Bundaberg North Lions Club President Michael Brown said the club had been running a White Cane Safety Day Luncheon, with support from the Bundaberg Talking Newspaper Association, since 1989.

“15 October is the internationally-recognised White Cane Safety Day, that recognises blind and visually impaired people's achievements and the importance of the white cane,” he said.

“The white cane is an important symbol of blindness, the user’s skills and talents and a tool of independence. 

“It also allows a sighted person to recognise that the user is visually impaired.”

Michael said White Cane luncheon and Safety Day gave Lions International the opportunity to increase awareness within the community of white canes and associated traffic safety laws.

“It is important to recognise the movement of our visually impaired citizens from dependency to full participation in society and to celebrate the achievements of people who are blind or visually impaired,” he said.

“Each year one person is chosen by the Visually Impaired Support Group to receive the Lions Harry Buchbach Memorial Award that is presented on the day.”

History of the white cane

Michael said since 1930, Lions Clubs from around the world had been undertaking projects on 15 October for the visually impaired.

“The white cane was initially developed and put into use as a measure of safety, especially in traffic situations,” he said.

“It signifies that the pedestrian using it is blind or visually impaired, alerts motorists of the need to exercise special caution and provide the user the right of way, alongside symbolising independence.

“Bundaberg Talking Newspaper Association work closely with our local Visually Impaired Support group and run support programs.”

The Big Sing for World Mental Health Day


To highlight the importance of mental wellbeing, Bridges Health & Community Care is bringing The Big Sing to the Moncrieff Entertainment Centre for World Mental Health Day 2023.

Well-known local musician and choir leader Christie McLucas will bring together a mass community choir on the evening of the 10 October which is World Mental Health Day.

“You don’t need any level of singing experience to join in a community choir event like this,” Christie said.

“You don’t need to be able to read music.

“We will be learning part harmonies to a very well-known song and then coming together at the end to sing together.

“It will be an amazing uplifting experience.”

The song chosen for the event is ‘Better’ by the Screaming Jets, who will be performing four days later at the Lighthouse Rock Festival.

Bridges Health & Community Care CEO Sharon Sarah said the mental health service organisation was running the event because it saw participation in arts and culture as essential to wellbeing.

“We want to provide opportunities for people to engage proactively in their mental health and singing is ideal for this,” Sarah said.

“Among the many benefits of singing, it stimulates the vagus nerve that improves heart rate, relaxation and gut health; relieves stress by reducing cortisol; creates natural endorphins and importantly brings people together.”

The Big Sing is one of many arts, culture and wellbeing programs being produced by Bridges as they await funding to transform the old Bundaberg Fire Station into an Arts, Culture and Wellbeing Precinct.

Two tickets will be given away to a lucky participant of The Big Sing through a seat raffle on the night with thanks to Lighthouse Rock.

Tickets are $5, available online and from the Moncrieff Entertainment Centre ticket box during open hours.

The event is open to anyone 16 and over who is keen for a great night out singing.

The Big Sing

Where:            Moncrieff Entertainment Centre, Bourbong Street Bundaberg

When:             Tuesday 10 October 7pm

Cost:                $5

The Big Sing is presented by Bridges Health and Community Care in partnership with Ergon Energy, Bundaberg Regional Council, Moncrieff Entertainment Centre and Lighthouse Rock Festival.

What's on

The Sunshine Club beams into Bundy


Acclaimed musical The Sunshine Club is set to warm up the Moncrieff Entertainment Centre with a performance on Saturday 23 September.

Set in 1946, the show tells the story of Aboriginal soldier Frank Doyle who has just returned home to Brisbane after serving in World War II to find that while the world may have changed, some attitudes and prejudices remain the same.

This realisation fills Frank with a strong desire to change things for the better and so he sets up The Sunshine Club, a place where everyone and anyone can gather to laugh and dance the night away.

Created by HIT Productions with assistance through the Australian Government’s arts funding and advisory body, The Sunshine Club is touring around the country, having originally opened at Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC) in 1999.

Since then it has been heralded as a “brilliant new landmark in Australian musicals” by The Australian and achieved a range of accolades including a Matlida Award and a Deadly Award for Excellence.

Writer and Director Wesley Enoch said that while the original show had been tailored for touring, the message remained the same.

“I initially wrote this as a way of bringing people together, especially in the reconciliation movement, this notion of black and white dancing together and the stories of our history, especially post World War II,” Wesley said.

“In this post or living with COVID world, it’ll be even more important to see that cultural bonds can be formed by gathering as groups and dealing with social issues together.”

The production builds on HIT's work with First Nations artists and is a great successor to The Sapphires.

The cast includes five performers from the 2022 QPAC season alongside experienced acting veterans.

Garret Lyon stars as Frank Doyle with Claire Warrillow playing the role of Rose Morris.

The show also features a live five-piece band as well as over twenty original songs.

The Sunshine Club

When: 23 September, 7.30 pm

Where: The Moncrieff Entertainment Centre

Cost: $39 (adult), $35 (concession), $20 (child u/20)

Book your tickets here.

Tony Osborn's soup-er 100 year milestone

Toni Schuch

Well-known for his community contributions and a published author of local history, Tony Osborn celebrated his 100th birthday recently surrounded by family.

Tony came to Bundaberg as a four-year old when his father, the Reverend Harold Osborn, was appointed minister of the Christ Church Anglican Church.

Tony’s daughter Sue Grother shares her father’s fond memories of growing up in the Bundaberg Region.

She said Tony had worshipped at the Christ Church Anglican Church in the old rectory on Bourbong Street and he had a wealth of knowledge about the parish.

“Realising he was the keeper of much of the parish history Tony started to record a book in his 90s,” she said.

“The result was the publication, Pioneers, Parishioners and Priests of the Anglican Church Bundaberg, which was printed when Tony was 92.”

Soup-er contribution

Tony was also the brains behind the now popular Lenten Soup Night concept which has been running for 27 years.

In the lead up to Easter each year, the event sees a group of local men cook a basic meal of soup to recognise the season of Lent and the community is invited to join in.

Working life

After attending Bundaberg West State School and then Church of England Grammar School Tony started his career life as an apprentice fitter and turner at Fairymead Mill.

Working on the Fairymead’s plantations in the Solomon Islands he was responsible for the maintenance of the machinery.

Sue said after returning to Bundaberg in 1950 and marrying Marjorie Fagg, the daughter of well-known Sharon farmers, Tony was reluctant to return to the Solomons with his young bride.

“It was then he decided to leave Fairymead and commence working at the Bundaberg Foundry,” she said.

“He worked there for some years before accepting the position of maintenance manager at Bundaberg Technical College situated in the Bundaberg State High School grounds.

“However, farming was Dad’s first love and in the early 1960s he and Mum moved to her family farm, where he became a sugar cane farmer until his retirement in 1996.

“Dad still lives on the property and enjoys getting his hands in the soil.

“He can usually be found in his greenhouse or tending to the fruit trees he planted.”

Tony has always believed in giving back to the community and enjoyed being an active member of the Hinkler Lions Club.

He was a scout leader for many years at the Bundaberg Boy Scouts in Quay Street near the old butter factory before they moved to their new home in North Bundaberg.

Two of Tony’s sons played Australian Rules in the early 1970s Bundaberg competition.

He didn’t hesitate to help establish the North Bundaberg Australian Rules Club, now known as Across the Waves, holding various positions on the committee including president.

Tony said he had seen many changes during his 100 years.

“I remember Bundaberg when there were only a few bitumen streets, no traffic lights or roundabouts,” he said.

“You had to ring the telephone exchange and give the switchboard operator the number you wanted to contact.

“I’ve seen the sugar industry move from cane fires and hand cutters to green harvesting and complete mechanisation.”

Tony Osborn 100 year birthday

Sadly Marjorie, whose birthday was the same date as Tony’s, passed away in 1992.

Tony’s family includes five children, 10 grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren.

Tony said the secret to living a long and happy life was to ensure he was surrounded by family and friends while always keeping a look out for new adventures.

Another birthday celebration will take place this weekend with the parishioners of the Christ Church joining him for a morning tea and birthday cake following the 7 am service.

Cordalba Cemetery reflects district’s history


The Cordalba Cemetery has had continuous use as a burial place for more than one hundred years, and is an important record of the history, cultural patterns, and life in the district.

Cordalba was one of the first village settlements in Queensland, having been selected for the Land and Works Department scheme in 1887, with settlement beginning in 1888.

Under the scheme, participants took up 40 acres on which to erect a residence, clear and make improvements, and in return they received an allotment in the village.

The establishment of Knockroe Sugar Mill nearby in 1890 encouraged local farmers to focus on growing sugar cane.

Development of the village took off from 1894 when the Cordalba Hotel was built on the side of the current Commercial Hotel and a provisional school opened.

A blacksmith, butcher, baker and store opened soon after, and the Royal Hotel opened in 1895.

Residents and farmers around Cordalba were instrumental in the establishment of the Isis Central Co-Operative Mill which began operating in 1896.

The construction of the Cordalba railway branch from Childers in the same year led to closer settlement of the district, and Cordalba developed to become the principle village in North Isis.

To respond to the needs of a growing population, the Cordalba Progress Association applied for a cemetery site in 1896 which was soon gazetted and cleared on the north-western outskirts of Cordalba, on Irwins Road and Cemetery Road.

Cordalba Cemetery, which includes the graves of early settlers in the district and reflects the diverse national and cultural origins of the residents, is listed among Bundaberg Regional Council's Local Heritage Places.

Among the early 1900s settlers were Russian nationals who fled the dangers of the Russian civil war and took up sugar cane farming in the district, some later going on to enlist in the Australian armed forces during World War I.

In 1913 Cordalba was connected by rail to Booyal and Dallarnil, and by the 1920s the district had grown to a population of around 1,000 people.

The village grew around this time to include four churches, three hotels, a post and telegraph office, a motor garage and workshops, a railway station, multiple stores, newsagents and cafes with public amenities including a recreation ground and a racecourse.

The Cordalba Cemetery covers approximately four hectares, with only part of the area along Cemetery Road containing marked graves.

The cemetery is divided by a stand of native trees, with a general section to the front and a Catholic section to the back.

The majority of the graves include rendered or concrete surrounds and plates, with some featuring wrought iron and timber fencing, and a number of more elaborate monuments.

The burials reflect the diverse ethnic backgrounds of settlers in the district including English, German and Russian nationalities.

Explore our Region: Gin Gin Nature Park

In Our Group with Childers Visual Arts

Get creative with paint, pastel, pottery and more at the Childers Visual Arts group, as president Ian Glenwright explains how to join.

Tell us about the Childers Visual Arts Group?

The group has been going approximately 20 years and we currently have 30 members.

There is a variety of arts practices happening each week, there is no actual class just everyone getting together as a group.

Some people do pastels and water colour, its up to the individual.

There is a lot of clay work being done at the moment, acrylics, a vast selection of works being done.

Anyone can join the group, we’ve got an elderly group here but we do have a couple children attend who are home schooled and they love it.

We meet at 10 Hebbards Roads every Thursday from 9 am to 3 pm.

How are you involved in the community?

For every Childers Festival we do Art in the Park on the Saturday and that gets everyone in the community involved.

We get a lot of adults and kids wanting to paint and that’s just part of what we do for the community.

We also do murals and help tidy up buildings with a lick of paint within the Childers area and surrounds.

For example we did the mural for the Apple Tree Creek pub.

What does your club bring to the region?

We’re diverse in a lot of ways and I think anyone that does art is good for any region.

Art is one of those things where anyone can look at it and feel something.

We all see each other as equal and love coming together to feed off one another and help with each other's personal progress.

For information and updates you can out find more on our Facebook Page.

To have your group featured in In Our Group email us at news@bundabergnow.com

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