Weekender: Bruce on track for Special Olympics

Superior Pak hydrogen truck drives innovation

Ashley Schipper

Australia’s first hydrogen-powered garbage truck, built at Bundaberg's Superior Pak, has been showcased to industry representatives from around the nation at a recent truck and machinery expo in Brisbane. 

Superior Pak is a leading manufacturer of world-class mobile waste collection and compaction equipment based in Bundaberg North.

Through an introduction by Bundaberg Regional Council, the company recently partnered with Hyzon Motors to develop the Hydrogen Powered Sideloader, an electric vehicle which runs entirely on hydrogen and produces zero emissions.

The heavy-duty waste collection truck has been designed to compete with the performance of a standard diesel side loader.

Superior Pak‘s National Market Support Manager Ross Burgess said the innovative project required plenty of skilled local workers.

“Our engineering team worked extensively with Hyzon Motors to firstly come up with the ideal truck layout so that we could maximise the pay-load capacity of the vehicle,” he said.

“We then created a hybrid vehicle body, customising and adapting it to the hydrogen truck unit.”

Ross said the truck utilised the latest in technology and could potentially transform the industry in the future.

“Regular garbage trucks are powered by a diesel engine but, with the hydrogen truck, it utilises a hydrogen fuel cell instead,” he said.

“On board you have tanks that contain hydrogen gas which moves through to the fuel cell to create its own electricity.

“That then powers a patented-designed electric motor and transmission which in turn replaces the conventional gear box.

“Unlike electric vehicles, the hydrogen truck does not need to be powered by large battery packs or recharged after every use.”

Bundaberg Regional Council supports innovative project

Mayor Jack Dempsey congratulated Superior Pak on the Hydrogen Powered Sideloader invention and said the project had put the region on the map.

“By showcasing the vehicle at the Brisbane Truck and Machinery Expo, there has been plenty of interest created which has highlighted Bundaberg as a region capable of producing state-of-the-art work,” he said.

Council has been working with both Hyzon Motors and Superior Pak for a number of years and we are very supportive of fostering great relationships between innovative businesses.”

The Hyzon waste collection truck is a first of its kind and will soon be trialled at REMONDIS Australia, one of the world’s largest recycling, service, and water companies.  

Ross said Superior Pak was proud to have been part of such an innovative project within the Bundaberg Region.

“This is a whole new type of concept in a developing industry,” he said.

“It is very exciting as this type of emerging technology provides more job opportunities, diversifies careers and offers more local employment.

“Innovation is key to our company, we love moving with the times.”

Bruce set to shine at Special Olympics

Ashley Schipper

Bundaberg man Bruce Gossner will travel to Berlin next month to represent Australia at the Special Olympics World Summer Games as part of the country’s athletics team.

Bruce's impressive journey to the World Games has been underway for some time, qualifying for the Australian team last October at the National Championships in Launceston.

He will be one of 64 athletes with an intellectual disability to wear the green and gold and represent Australia at the games.

Ann Gossner, Bruce's proud mother, expressed her heartfelt pride and gratitude.

“I couldn't be prouder of Bruce and his remarkable achievements,” she said.

“He has worked tirelessly to reach this point, and his dedication is truly inspiring.

“The whole community has been incredibly supportive, and we are grateful for their unwavering encouragement.

“We know that Bruce will give it his all at the Special Olympics World Games, and we will be cheering him on every step of the way.”

Bruce has been involved in athletics for just four years and has proven himself as a force to be reckoned with.

Having been involved with Special Olympics for 12 years, he has also represented Queensland in Basketball at a previous Special Olympics National Championships.

An NDIS participant with IMPACT Community Services, Bruce has been working hard to fund his participation in the games through a range of fundraising activities.

This includes collecting cans and drink bottles, which he plans to cash in at IMPACT’s Containers For Change Container Refund Point, converting recyclables into much needed funds.

Bruce's vibrant and active lifestyle reflects his ongoing pursuit of excellence.

Alongside his athletic endeavours, he participates in 10-pin bowling, weekly beep tests, one to two long runs per week, regular training sessions at the athletics track, gym workouts, and basketball training.

Chatting to Bruce, it’s clear to see that he loves what he does.

“I like meeting new friends from all over Australia,” he said.

“[On Tuesday] I was very happy to meet the Queensland Governor, Dr Jeannette Young, who presented the uniforms to Queensland athletes in the Australian team.”

IMPACT Community Services Managing Director Tanya O'Shea expressed her immense pride and admiration for Bruce's accomplishments.

“We are incredibly proud of Bruce and his outstanding achievements,” she said.

“His journey to qualify for the Special Olympics World Games is truly inspiring, and he serves as a shining example of determination and perseverance.

“Bruce's dedication to his athletic pursuits and his unwavering spirit have touched the hearts of our entire organization.

“We are standing firmly behind him, cheering him on as he represents Australia on the global stage.

“Bruce's success embodies the transformative power of sports and the indomitable spirit of our participants.

“We are honoured to be a part of his journey and remain committed to empowering individuals like Bruce to overcome barriers and achieve greatness.”

Bruce’s fundraising efforts continue both online and offline, with the final tally yet to be determined.

You can donate to help Bruce get to the Special Olympics World Games by making a tax-deductible donation here.

Reconciliation award: Milbi Festival commended

Megan Dean

The contemporary message stick and Welcome Home Elders program, held as part of Bundaberg Regional Council’s Milbi Festival, has been highly commended at the 2023 Queensland Reconciliation Awards.

The Milbi Festival is an annual celebration of arts, culture and the environment, centred around the beginning of turtle nesting season for which the Bundaberg Region is world-renowned.

Since 2021 these initiatives have been held within the event program, delivered by Council in partnership with the Port Curtis Coral Coast Trust, Bunya Mountains Murri Rangers and Gidarjil Development Corporation Land and Sea Rangers.

In the Welcome Home to Elders program Bundaberg Regional Council identified 16 apical families who were traced to Wooribinda and Cherbourg Aboriginal Shire Councils which were formerly Aboriginal mission settements.

Those Elders represent the family bloodlines of people forcibly removed from their families and tribal homelands of Bundaberg under the Aboriginal Protection Act (1897).

These VIP Elders were invited to celebrate the opening weekend of the Milbi Festival.

A contemporary message stick, crafted by the Bunya Mountains Murri Rangers paid homage by travelling the song-lines travelled from the Bunyas to the beach before being presented to the local Gidarjil Land and Sea Rangers at the event.

Mayor Jack Dempsey said it was a great honour to have these initiatives recognised as highly commended in the community category at the 2023 Queensland Reconciliation Awards.

“It was important to Council to provide respectful and meaningful recognition to the four Traditional Owner groups of our region as part of the Milbi Festival,” Mayor Jack Dempsey said.

“We received wonderful feedback from the participants and wider community in response to this initiative and have plans to expand upon the concept for the 2023 Milbi Festival to be held from 27 October to 5 November 2023.”

Garbutt Magpies Sporting and Cultural Association for Mariakarti Nyawa, Kurranyu Nyinama – Look Back If You Want To Go Forward took out the top spot in the 2023 Queensland Reconciliation Awards community category.

Read more about the finalists' stories and successes here.

Bundaberg Regional Council acknowledges the traditional Country of the Taribelang Bunda, Gooreng Gooreng, Gurang and Bailai Peoples and recognise that this Country has always been and continues to be of cultural, spiritual, social and economic significance.

Ecotourism attraction on the way at Turtle Sands


Turtle Sands Holiday Park at Mon Repos will soon be transformed into a year-round ecotourism attraction, with the sod turned and new trees planted on site during World Environment Day to mark the occasion.

The partnership project between NRMA Parks and Resorts and the Queensland Government will see a $28 million revamp to the iconic holiday destination.

Queensland Tourism Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said the project was estimated to attract over 90,000 visitors and generate more than $13 million in overnight visitor expenditure a year.

“This is a terrific partnership with NRMA Parks and Resorts who see the value in delivering more quality-based tourism infrastructure, to give visitors that extra level of comfort when they come to immerse themselves in this very unique holiday experience,” Minister Hinchliffe said. 

“Tourism operators tell me there’s a strong global desire for more meaningful ecotourism experiences and Turtle Sands Holiday Park ticks all the boxes, while creating over 70 good construction and operational jobs,” he said.

Mon Repos is home to the largest colony of nesting marine turtles on the eastern Australian mainland, including the most significant nesting population of the endangered loggerhead turtle in the South Pacific region.

The overarching vision is to create a tourism experience that is both a great year-round holiday destination and a unique nature and cultural experience.

NRMA is already working closely with Gidarjil Development Corporation to plan a program of cultural experiences and considered nature encounters.

NRMA Parks and Resorts CEO Paul Davies said the preservation of this unique natural location, a critical nesting ground for one of Australia’s most important marine animals, was key to its operation.

“The new Turtle Sands will offer an immersive accommodation tourism experience celebrating and supporting the conservation of marine turtles in their natural environment,” Mr Davies said.

“The NRMA recognises the responsibility in working adjacent to the environmentally sensitive Mon Repos Conservation Park and a comprehensive set of Federal, State and Local Government environmental and design approvals guidelines are in place for the development.

“The design and operation of the Turtle Sands Holiday Park will adopt best practice environmental standards to protect this unique location, especially during the nesting season for turtles, including night-time light controls and restricted beach access.”

Mayor Jack Dempsey congratulated the NRMA at the official sod-turning event.

“It's very significant to be here on the 50th World Environment Day to turn the sod for a new NRMA facility, with members from our indigenous community and tourism sector coming together to celebrate,” he said.

“As we look over the beach we see waves of change and oceans of opportunities ahead for this exciting project, for new tourism ventures and for more cultural opportunities.”

Included in the plan is an interactive education program and guest activities that encourage participation in hands-on conservation initiatives.

Essential to the plan for the destination to have year-round appeal for guests is the consistent protection of the dunes and rookeries where the turtles nest.

Sugar mill chairman to hang up hat


Lifelong Childers farmer Darren Harney will hang up his Isis Central Sugar Mill Chairman hat as he retires from his position on the Board of Directors this month.

Mr Harney completed his boiler maker trade at the Mill and has served on the Board for 22 years.

He said the local sugar industry had a strong history and a lot to look forward to, guided by the current Board of Directors.

The Mill crushed its second highest throughput tonnage of 1.423mt during the 2022 season.

“When I was elected Chairman in November 2020, I vowed that we would get back to basics, and focus on increasing our supply and making the Mill as efficient as it can be,” Mr Harney said.

“I believe we have made significant progress on that front.

“I am particularly pleased we have resolved the Maryborough Cane Supply Agreement during my tenure.”

“I thank my fellow Directors for their service, and have every confidence in their ability to ensure ICSM’s ongoing success.

“The company is in good hands.”

ICSM CEO Peter Hawe said Mr Harney’s decision to retire before the end of his term was a planned transition by the Board.

“The Board is accepting of Darren’s decision to retire to focus on his family business, and wish him the very best,” he said.

“Darren is to be commended for his 22 years of diligent service to the Mill and local sugar industry.

“His steady hand guided the company through what have been some very difficult years.”

Directors subsequently conducted a skills audit to ascertain where the Board could be strengthened.

Mr Hawe said the Board was delighted Bundaberg corporate communications consultant and political advisor, Debbie Leis, had accepted their invitation to fill the casual director vacancy created by Mr Harney’s retirement.

“Mrs Leis has three decades of experience in business and all three levels of government,” he said.

“She is a managing director of two local businesses.

“She will add a different and welcome skill set to the Board, bringing fresh ideas and new perspectives.”

Mrs Leis will stand for formal election by shareholders at the 2023 Annual General Meeting.

The Board will elect and announce a new Chairman in due course.

Council grant supports Trauma Teddies

Emma Orford

The Bundaberg branch of the Australian Red Cross can keep knitting thanks to a Council Partnership and Sponsorship Grant for their Trauma Teddy Program.

The funding will help supply stuffing, labels, wool and other materials so that community volunteers can continue to get together and create these beneficial bears.

The Trauma Teddy Program launched in Australia in 1900 with the establishment of the Bundaberg branch in 2001.

Since then, a dedicated team of local knitters has provided teddies throughout the region in times of disaster but also to give comfort or reduce stress wherever needed.

Australian Red Cross Trauma Teddy Convener Wendy MacDonald said the teddies were not only given to children but also to the elderly and disadvantaged members of the community in times of need.

“Closer to home, the Red Cross Trauma Teddies were used at both the 2011 and 2013 floods here in Bundaberg,” Wendy said.

“In 2006, 467 Trauma Teddies were handed out to hospitals, pathology labs, physios and schools.

“This has greatly increased to more than 2,000 over the years with them being provided to three local hospitals, multiple pathology clinics, doctors surgeries, a domestic violence centre and the local ambulance, plus a few others.”

Wendy said they currently had approximately 50 volunteers who all played an integral part in the Trauma Teddy Program.

“There are the knitters, those who stuff and fill them, sew on labels, give them faces and finish off assembling our Trauma Teddies throughout the community,” she said.

“Even though we have this magnificent number of volunteers, new volunteers and members are always welcome and needed.”

Wendy said that while the teddies themselves provided comfort to those in need, the program also served as a social outing for those who enjoyed craft and a chat with others.

“[It] provides a necessary comfort when everyone around you seems to be busy or you are alone in hospital and missing your family,” she said.

“It can also fill in time at home and keep the mind motivated and the hands active and also gives a sense of achievement and satisfaction of knowing you are helping others in their time of need and stress.”

The Partnerships and Sponsorships Program reflects the philanthropy of Council and its commitment to improve the wellbeing of the community of the Bundaberg Region.

To find out more about the Trauma Teddies Program or to join, click here.

To find out more about Council's Partnership and Sponsorship Program, click here.

Friendships formed with Ability Diverse Program

Emma Turnbull

Bundaberg Library Ability Diverse Program participants were warmly welcomed at the Gracie Dixon Centre last week as the program expanded with its Let’s Make Friends initiative.

The Ability Diverse Program provides an opportunity for locals to experience the power of inclusivity and community engagement at a monthly event, which has grown in popularity since its inception in July last year.

Council’s Arts, Culture and Events portfolio spokesperson Cr John Learmonth said for the first time the Ability Diverse Program ventured beyond the library's walls with participants mingling with Gracie Dixon Centre patrons and making new friends.

“By bridging these two exceptional community spaces the program aims to create an environment of shared experiences, understanding and connection,” Cr Learmonth said.

“The library program has been running for almost a year now and is open to everyone.

“It’s specifically aimed toward individuals with diverse abilities offering them an opportunity to engage more meaningfully with the library and its resources.

“The event is carefully crafted to foster a sense of belonging and empowerment, providing a platform for patrons to interact with the library facilities and staff in a supportive and inclusive setting.”

Cr Learmonth said Bundaberg Library Ability Diverse sessions were held on the last Monday of every month at 10 am and included a range of activities from robotics and virtual reality to engaging stories, arts, and craft.

“These sessions are inclusive to a range of various abilities so that Bundaberg Regional Libraries are serving as much of the community as possible,” he said.

“There is no cost involved in attending these programs, which have been transforming lives since its inception in July last year.

“The focus is solely on creating an environment where individuals can thrive, discover new passions and build lasting connections within the community.”

Ability Diverse Program

When: Last Monday of each month at 10 am
Where: Bundaberg Library

What's on

Riverfeast to hold Upmarket Upcycle Sale Day

Natasha Harth

Riverfeast is busy getting ready for a massive day of vintage, upcycled and preloved stalls at its first Upmarket Upcycle Sale Day.

Riverfeast Events Co-ordinator Lisa Gallwey said it was a chance for everybody to clean out their wardrobes, and to sell the designer clothes and knickknacks that they’ve collected.

“It's a garage sale on steroids!” she said.

Riverfeast Co-owner Karen Wittkopp said the Upmarket Upcycle Sale Day was a new venture for the venue, which had been focussing on their events and functions business for the past few years.

“Our markets came and went with Riverfeast Friday nights, but we’ve not had a dedicated one like this for people to bring all their worldly goods,” Karen said.

“It's our chance to just go through all of my props and make a plan for moving forward.”

Interest from potential stall holders has already been high, with vintage clothing, furniture, homewares and upcycled lamps among the planned stalls.

Part of the inspiration for holding the sale has been Riverfeast’s own eclectic collection of props that have accumulated over the years, including over 1,200 costumes.

“We are running out of space from lots of different events and things like that, and we are wanting to [get] our space ready for an exciting 2024,” Lisa said.

“It's been really popular (with stall holders), so it might be something we do every six months.”

The sale will include some new items, but mainly focused on upcycling, in keeping with Riverfeast’s ethos to reuse and be creative.

“At Riverfeast, we've always loved to recycle, the whole venue, everything pretty much is recycled and upcycled,” Lisa said.

With pre-loved furniture, hundreds of metres of new fabric, and craft materials to clear out, the sale will include plenty of items buyers can then refurbish and renew with their own creative skills.

Karen and Lisa encouraged buyers to see the potential in pre-loved items.

“Why buy new?” Karen said.

“Let’s get creative!” Lisa added.

Riverfeast Upmarket Upcycle Sale Day will be held on 17 June, 8 am to 2 pm.

Stall holders can book a site for $25 and bookings close 10 June.

Contact Riverfeast for more information.

TEN Tenors to perform Greatest Hits at Moncrieff


The TEN Tenors will perform their Greatest Hits tour featuring all the fan favourites when they return to the Moncrieff Entertainment Centre on 25 June.

The Tenors are renowned for their dynamic performances of some of the great songs of all time, accompanied by spectacular Broadway-style choreography.

The Greatest Hits tour will feature the most loved and requested songs the Tenors have performed across a 28-year-history and from across multiple genres of music including opera, pop and rock.

Fan favourites include Bohemian Rhapsody, Hallelujah, Perfect, In my Life, Here’s to the Heroes, Shallow, Pearl Fishers Duet, Funiculì, Funiculà, Largo AL Factotum and, of course, Nessun Dorma.

TEN Tenors producer D-J Wendt said the group was known for its fun musical melodies, which could play for up to nine minutes and include up to 23 songs mashed up together.

“The camaraderie and feeling of being a Tenor can be likened to the combination of the best parts of a strong family bond, a football team and a secret society rolled in to one,” D-J said.

“This Greatest Hits tour is a celebration of the history and achievements of The Ten Tenors and an opportunity to say thank you to fans and music lovers across the world who show their love and support by coming to our shows time and time again. 

“Pulling this show together has been a nostalgic trip through history, looking back at some of the more than 3500 shows the Tenors have performed over the years.

“We can’t wait to bring this new show to audiences across Australia and relive these highlights.” 

Since the group's inception in 1995, The TEN Tenors have worked passionately and toured extensively to bring unique shows to audiences at home and abroad.

First touring Australia in 1997, the Tenors then took their show to Europe in 2001, thrilling audiences in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, and they have graced the Moncrieff Entertainment Centre’s stage multiple times and are excited to return next month.

TEN Tenors Greatest Hits Tour

When: 1.30 pm on 25 June
Where: Moncrieff Entertainment Centre
To purchase tickets: Click here

History of the Alexandra Park rotunda


The Alexandra Park rotunda – or bandstand – has been a permanent fixture within the popular recreational space since 1911.

Located in an open grassed area and boasting a grand architectural design, the structure has hosted many community celebrations in its 112 years.

Listed among Bundaberg Regional Council's Local Heritage Places the rotunda was built after plans were approved at a Council meeting on 15 December 1910.

Prominent local architect FH Faircloth produced drawings for a “…handsome and roomy bandstand”.

Mayor Alderson Nielson donated £50 (his Mayoral allowance) towards the cost of the bandstand while other funds came from government parks and gardens grants.

Tenders for the building were called for soon after the Council meeting, on 16 December, to be ready for the next meeting on 11 January 1911.

Mr John Heaps won the tender with a quote of £160 for a rotunda with iron railings or £158 for wooden railings.

The quote for a rotunda featuring iron railings was accepted.

The bandstand was officially opened to the public on the evening of Wednesday 8 November 1911 with a crowd of 400 to 500 present to hear the Naval Band play.

Mayor Alderman Nielson had died suddenly on 11 October 1911 and the new rotunda was “…regarded as a memorial to Alderman Nielson – fitting that he should be remembered in the gardens and his name should be on the bandstand”.

He had been a great supporter of the Naval Band and of the construction of a bandstand.

Alexandra Park rotunda a great community asset

Today, the locally heritage-listed rotunda is still used for many community events and occasions in the centre of Alexandra Park.

The free-standing, elevated, timber-framed pavilion is set on a concrete and brick base, with turned timber columns and an octagonal steel roof.

A marble memorial plaque is attached to the brickwork on the north-eastern side of the bandstand which reads: ‘erected to the memory of the late Alderman Peter Nielson by the citizens of Bundaberg in recognition of his services as chairman of the Parks Committee 1912”.

A flagpole sits on a steel base adjacent to the steps.

On the western side of the bandstand, concrete steps lead down to a storage area.

In 2001, funds were set aside for works to be undertaken to the bandstand, which included painting the entire structure, replacing timber, repairs to the wrought iron balustrade and more.

A boulder with an attached plaque reading ‘In memory of all those who have fallen in all wars’ is located next to the band rotunda.

Photo: Rotunda in Alexandra Park. Picture Bundaberg, Rattray, Doug, date unknown, bun01231

In Our Group with
Bundaberg Poultry Fanciers Club

Emma Turnbull

Bundaberg Poultry Fanciers Club plays an important role in keeping chicken breeds viable.

Publicity officer Greg Chamberlain believes keeping and breeding poultry is a fantastic hobby and he encourages young and old to give it a go.

Tell us about Bundaberg Poultry Fanciers?

Bundaberg Poultry Fanciers Club is a group of people who like poultry - it is as simple as that.

Why is the group important to the Bundaberg Region?

The group is important to not only Bundaberg but to everyone because we help to keep breeds alive, as do all other poultry clubs.

Without poultry enthusiasts, breeds disappear and this reduces the genetic pool to just the commercial varieties.

Without clubs ensuring the continuation of a great range of varieties then we place all our eggs in one basket (dad joke) and are not able to change to the demands of the future.

Poultry can not only supply fresh eggs for the household but also show our kids about the stages of growth, how animals need to be cared for and the natural cycle of life and death.

What’s the history of Bundaberg Poultry Fanciers?

The club has been going for more than 90 years and has had an eventful past.

While one of the main functions is to run a show, this has resulted in many notable events.

The biggest was when it hosted what is believed to be the world’s largest show for old English game birds with over 750 entries.

The other role the club fulfills is to encourage and instruct anyone wanting to learn more about caring for poultry.

This is done both formally in seminars and during meetings as well as providing a knowledge base from the more experienced members, some of whom have been breeding and caring for birds for more than 60 years.

What significant event do you celebrate during the year?

The main event this year will be our annual show in July.

This will be held in conjunction with the Wyandotte Club of Queensland and will be the state show for that breed.

We will have all the other classes as well, so it will be a big day with over 600 birds entered.

It will also be our first annual show where we have a special competition for pet chickens.

This is open to all birds not covered by the Australian standard – that is a flash way to say it’s a backyard chook with a varied heritage.

There will be special prizes for this section as the main show is for birds which are judged by the Australian standard.

How can the community become involved?

We meet at Bonna Road, Branyan every second month and details can be confirmed with Greg on 4157 4021.

We are open to everyone and have members from 16 to 80 years old.

All you need is an interest in poultry.

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