Weekender: Chaplains keep watch on CBD

Pile driving begins at aquatic centre site

Megan Dean

Bundaberg Aquatic Centre construction is underway in earnest as work begins on its foundations, featuring more than 800 driven concrete piles.

There has been plenty of action on the Walker Street site in recent weeks as earthworks progressed, but Mayor Jack Dempsey said the concrete pile installation was the start of “construction proper”.

“The new aquatic centre will be founded on over 800 driven concrete piles which range in length up to 18 m long,” Mayor Dempsey said.

“The piles will support the facility which will feature an Olympic sized, FINA-standard pool and two 25 m pools targeted at learn to swim and rehabilitation opportunities.

“From here we will start to see the aquatic centre taking shape as we move closer to the completion of this state-of-the-art facility.

“This centre will boost jobs, improve social and health outcomes for all and spur economic growth.

“It’s certainly a very exciting day to see construction officially underway.”

Work to drive the concrete piles will continue throughout January, February and into March however will not be occurring on the weekend.

Weather permitting, the concrete pile installation is expected to be completed in March, after which construction of the pools themselves will begin.

Council will be monitoring the noise and vibration from the site throughout this period.

“We sincerely apologise for the construction noise which will be created during these periods for what, in the long-term, will be a significant project for the entire community,” Mayor Dempsey said.

“Once the project is finished it will incorporate gardens and facilities for the community to enjoy.

“With any project of this magnitude there is always a need for extensive construction to be undertaken and I can assure residents that sound and vibration levels will be monitored to ensure compliance with all standards.”

Engineering behind concrete pile foundations

Following extensive investigations into the best site for the new Bundaberg Aquatic Centre, the Walker Street location, which had historic use as a landfill, was chosen.

It was the preferred location due to its proximity to the Multiplex with the added advantage and cost saving of already being owned by Council.

The concrete piles, which will form part of the foundations, range in length up to 18 m and take into account the depth of the former landfill.

While a detailed design was not complete for any of the other sites, driven piles would almost certainly have been required at any site due to the weight of the pools and the highly reactive nature of the soil found throughout the region.

The Bundaberg Aquatic Centre has been funded with support from the Queensland Government Works for Queensland program.

ChaplainWatch Bundaberg to open its doors

Emma Turnbull

ChaplainWatch Bundaberg will soon open its doors in the Bundaberg CBD to ensure people stay safe on a night out.

ChaplainWatch Bundaberg team leader Frank Fiorenza said the initiative had been a mobile operation in the area for a few years.

Now they're looking forward to providing a safe place on Bourbong Street.

Operated by trained volunteers, ChaplainWatch reduces drunk and disorderly behaviour in the Bundaberg CBD on weekends.

Frank said as the facility neared completion, they had a soft opening at the beginning of December, which proved popular with the community celebrating the Christmas and New Year period.

“We’ve been running for a few years with foot patrols,” Frank said.

“It was always the plan to have a facility – we really see the benefit for the community in it.

“Since opening in the first week of December we have had people in most nights – we operate Friday and Saturday nights from 10.30 pm to 3.30 am.”

ChaplainWatch takes situations off street

All members of the ChaplainWatch program, conducted in designated Safe Night Precincts throughout Queensland, are trained in CPR, first-aid, mental health and managing aggression, and hold a blue card in order to work with people under the age of 18.

“ChaplainWatch provides a safe space,” Frank said.

“During the New Year period we were able to help a few people, some who had mental health struggles by having a safe space for them to be in.

“We are able to take situations off the street – deescalate the situation and help people make it home.

“It maybe they just need something simple, as they’ve lost their phone or don’t have a charger, so we help to get them home safe.”

ChaplainWatch Bundaberg call for volunteers

Frank said there were currently 10 people involved in the ChaplainWatch Bundaberg and more volunteers were always welcome.

“Our role is always chaplains first, who can also provide first aid when needed,” he said.

“We have specialised training. Our chaplaincy work consists of problem solving, and we have safety intervention training.”

ChaplainWatch Bundaberg is located in the Safe Night Precinct at 57 Bourbong Street, near Natures Emporium. 

Australia Day Awards nominees revealed

Ashley Schipper

The efforts of community members from across the region will be recognised at the official Australia Day Awards ceremony in Bundaberg, with more than 30 people and groups nominated.

The Bundaberg Regional Council-run awards recognise actions and abilities of groups and individuals that have enhanced the social connectivity of the community through personal contribution or through an event that has added value and enjoyment to the lives of others.

This year, nominees will be in the running for Citizen of the Year Award, Young Citizen of the Year Award, Senior Citizen of the Year Award or Community Group or Event of the Year Award.

The winners have been chosen by an independent, community-based Australia Day Awards committee, consisting of up to seven members from right around the Bundaberg Region.

Resident Teena Mammino has been involved as a committee member for three years and said each time she was blown away by the nominations.

“This is actually my third year and choosing the award recipients is a hard task every time,” she said.

“There are so many people in our community who go above and beyond, whether they volunteer for Meals on Wheels, help out at local sporting clubs, clean up our region and so much more.

“All of the nominees deserve recognition for their outstanding efforts.”

The official Australia Day Awards ceremony will be held at the Bundaberg Multiplex, 1 Civic Avenue from 4.15 pm on Wednesday 25 January.

Registration to attend is mandatory. Click here to register.

The Australia Day Awards nominees are:

- yourtown Bundaberg

- Moore Park Beach Arts Festival 2022

- All Abilities

- Bundaberg Players Incorporated

- Bundaberg Mad Cycologists

- RAW Awakening

- Gin Gin Community Broadcasters Inc

- Lighthouse Rock

- Zonta Group

- Bundaberg 2022 Options Day

- Wide Bay kids

- Chloe Johnson

- Matthew Parker

- Grace Eggmolesse

- Hannah Leggett

- Jessica Steiner

- Nikkiya Broome-Tiger

- Paige Hogan

- Betty Hawkins

- Charlie Garwood

- Irene Youell

- Jennifer Marian Waldron

- Sharlene Peterson

- Shirley Antrobus

- Gail Denise Zunker

- Carolyn Wood

- Sasha Job

- Trish Mears

- Heather McMahon

- Loni Hammond

- Steve Patterson

- Michael Tooley

Each of the Australia Day Awards nominees are in the running to win one of the region's four 2023 Australia Day Awards. To find out more about the process, click here.

Light of Asia opens as couple follows dreams

Emma Turnbull

Clinton Baker switched his busy lifestyle working in the mines to follow his dreams and open new restaurant Light of Asia with his partner Pramila Dangol.

Located at Moore Park Beach, Light of Asia opened its door on 30 December and the couple has been blown away by the positive feedback and support from the community.

New to owning a business, Clinton said they both had a passion for cooking Asian food and their dream to share it with locals was coming true. 

“I’ve been cooking Chinese food for some time, and everyone seemed to enjoy it,” Clinton said.

“This is the first time we have been in business, but we are very excited and loving the feedback we’ve received.”

Clinton said the opportunity to open Light of Asia arose at Moore Park Beach and, although they resided in Kepnock, they jumped at the new business venture.

“We’re a small restaurant that can sit about 28 people, and we have takeaway,” he said.

“We have hired five people so it’s a boost for employment in the area too.

“Moore Park Beach is a good little food spot and I think people will envy it.”

Light of Asia offers a variety of cuisines, including Chinses, Nepalese and Thai food.

“Our motto is that if the food is good, then people will come back,” Clinton said.

“The community needed different food choices, so we thought we would be busy.

“It’s a little overwhelming I guess, but we’re really enjoying it.”

Pramila agreed with Clinton’s sentiment saying they strived to make each meal enjoyable.

“Cooking makes us happy,” she said.

“It makes people happy, and we can only do our best when we do both and share it.”

To find out more about Light of Asia check out the Facebook page.

End the holidays at Xmas in the Skate Park

Emma Turnbull

End the summer school holidays with family and friends at the rescheduled Xmas in the Skate Park event.

Hosted by Bundaberg Regional Council in partnership with yourtown, the teen-focused event will be held at the newly upgraded Walla Street Skate Park on Thursday 19 January.

Xmas in the Skate Park will showcase local youth-based services, an ephemeral street-art battle, and a free sausage sizzle for community members to enjoy.

Bundaberg’s yourtown group leader Skye Zielke said the group welcomed the opportunity to join in the fun of Xmas in the Skate Park.

Skye said they were excited to support the youth-focussed event and provide fun and free entertainment for the school holidays.

She said there would be music and prizes for the best dressed in Christmas theme.

Two local artists, Bec McPherson from Bexylum Art and Taylor Klaasen, will battle it out using chalk pastels to promote the skate culture in the Bundaberg Region.

“I am pumped to be part of an event that promotes inclusiveness within a community consisting of so many youths,” Bec said.

“It is so important for future generations to be progressive and accepting of one another regardless of who they are and what walk of life they are from.”

Bec and Taylor have known each other through the art community for years, and they’re both excited to battle it out at Xmas in the Skate Park.

“I am excited to go against such an amazing local artist,” Bec said.

“As a huge fan of Taylor’s work, I am so humbled to work alongside her. Funnily enough, my favourite piece I have from Taylor is a skateboard deck.

“I believe we both have super different styles when it comes to our art.

“Art is personal for everyone, and I feel we both have unique features and signature elements that make our art identifiable.”

Bec said Xmas in the Skate Park would help bring the community together.   

“It’s crucial events like this happen in our community as it brings awareness and progressiveness to all generations,” Bec said.

“The world is a better place when people feel included and are reminded that they matter. This event promotes just that in a positive, creative, and dynamic setting.”

Taylor agreed saying Xmas in the Skate Park would help unite the community.

“I think it’s really important to have events like these as it brings the community together and showcases the great things we have here in Bundaberg,” Taylor said.

yourtown keeps youth engaged

Skye said yourtown helped young people to find their strengths through training and development.

“We believe it’s imperative to keep youth engaged in local events to create friendships, to assist with their mental wellbeing and to showcase the many local community organisations that are available to support our youth,” Skye said.

“yourtown works together with young people to uncover and supercharge their strengths, providing the practical training and skills development they need, when they need it. 

“Local youth aged 15 to 24 years of age can turn to yourtown for practical support to secure a job, refer to education or training, find local job opportunities, or connect with local community services.

“yourtown offers a wrap-around service to create meaningful pathways for local young people.”  

Xmas in the Skate Park will be held at Walla Street Skate Park between 10 am and 4 pm on Thursday 19 January.

What's on

Kids art exhibition Superpowered on Tour


A new travelling exhibition will allow children to explore the concept of real life heroes through the interactive projects of four Australian artists.

Superpowered on Tour is heading to the Bundaberg Regional Art Gallery from 21 January to 26 March and features projects for kids, developed by First Nations Australian artists in collaboration with QAGOMA.

The annual ‘Kids on Tour’ program provides this content free of charge to communities throughout Queensland.

Tony Albert (Girramay/Yidinyji/Kuku Yalanji peoples), Gordon Hookey (Waanyi people), Vincent Namatjira (Western Aranda people) and Kaylene Whiskey (Yankunytjatjara people) are leading Indigenous Australian artists who use their voice and their art to empower Aboriginal people and create inspirational imagery for all children.

Together they have created interactives that focus on strong empowering messages and humour, and invite young audiences into a world full of amusing and courageous characters.

Tony Albert

Tony Albert often works closely with other artists, communities and organisations.

He believes that one of the best ways to learn from and connect with people is to live and work together.

Albert’s activity in the Superpowered exhibition is Warakurna Warriors.

It invites children to create their own superhero identity and they can design their own costume using a template and trace a selection of outfits adding details and colour.

This activity was inspired by Albert’s photographic series Warakurna Superheroes 2017, made in collaboration with children from Warakurna in Western Australia.

“When I think about heroes in my life, it is not necessarily storybook heroes or superheroes,” Albert said.

“Heroes to me are everyday people, family members that have made a difference in my life and the world that I live in.”

Gordon Hookey

Gordon Hookey’s artworks are inspired by Australian history and everyday life, often using native Australian animals to represent Indigenous Australians.

Hookey’s interactive is Make a Roo, and it invites children to choose from a number of kangaroo mask templates.

Children can customise their own design, wear the mask and ‘hop into character’.

Hookey said he often found the extraordinary in the ordinary.

“There's always something that ordinary, everyday people say or do that can be quite inspirational,” he said.

Vincent Namatjira

Vincent Namatjira paints lively, expressive portraits of historical figures, international heads of state, and public figures.

His activity, Power Portraits, invites children to adopt ‘power icons’ such as crowns and hats in the form of paper props and pose for a photograph in front of a fun paper backdrop.

Kaylene Whiskey

Kaylene Whiskey’s colourful, humorous paintings celebrate strong kungkas (women).

Whiskey often paints images of herself and her heroes — pop culture icons such as Dolly Parton and Wonder Woman — having fun in her remote community or engaging in traditional activities like collecting bush tucker.

Children can draw a Super Party picture, a scene featuring their own heroes using coloured pencils and cut out pictures from a collage sheet.

Find out more about the Superpowered on Tour exhibition here.

Got You Covered library column

In Our Group with Bundaberg Art Society

Emma Turnbull

Bundaberg Art Society president Marilyn Batty shares the 80-plus-year history of the local art group and invites new members to join.

Tell us about the group?

Our group was formed in 1939 with Egmont Schmidt as President, members were mostly art collectors and those interested in discussing art.

Towards the end of 1940s it became more artists orientated.

We have a wealth of history of our group, from small beginnings to holding exhibitions and running the Arts Festival for many years.

Why is the Bundaberg Art Society valued in the community?

We are very important to the region and (we) helped get us the Bundaberg Regional Gallery.

We continue to support all local arts events and most importantly local artists.

How can community members become involved?

We have lessons two mornings a week with two of our stable of artists and hold many workshops throughout the year.

We have a new workshop set up for mat-cutting and printmaking and (there is) a huge collection of art books in our library.Life drawing is held the last Saturday of every month and we have four models on our books.

Members get a newsletter once a month and for $30 per year as a member you can make use of our air-conditioned facilities, hang your work in our exhibitions or even have your own exhibition once you are a participating member.

Our local artists will give you tips if you ask, or you can attend one of our paid classes in watercolours Monday or Friday. For more information check out the Facebook page.  

When and where do you meet?

We meet at our Hazzard Gallery the second Tuesday of the month and are open every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, 9 am – noon.

Hazzard Gallery is open to the public, and members can use the studio on the days we are open and participate in workshops or lessons.

What significant events will take place this year?

We hold five exhibitions per year, where any members can display their work or put their smaller art and crafts in our gift shop.


Junior bowlers set for state championship

Georgia Neville

Junior bowlers from around the state are descending on the Bundaberg Region to take to the greens for the Bowls Queensland Junior State Championships.

Almost 90 juniors will compete in the Queensland Junior State Championships in singles, pairs, triples and fours categories, showcasing their talent and skills as they vie for the top trophy in six days of competition.

Hosted at Burnett Bowls Club, district junior development officer Des Kemp said the elite event was a highlight on the annual calendar and it was wonderful to hold it in Bundaberg.

Des said this year a new under-12 competition had been introduced for the first time and younger players and their families were excited.

“After seeing a lot of younger players come through last year in Toowoomba, I suggested to Queensland Bowls to put an under-12 singles on and they did, which is just fantastic,” he said.

“Previously the little guys had to come up against the nearly 15-year-olds, so to me it seemed we didn’t cater for them as much as we could have.

“Now they will go up against their peers instead of the older, more experienced players.

“It’s been well received by everyone, and I think it will continue for future years to come now.

“In bowls you make lifelong friends, and those friendships will carry on forever.”

Ten local junior players will give the competition their best shot and Des said they had a hometown advantage.

“We are looking forward to the week and showcasing what Bundaberg has to offer,” Des said.

“Families are travelling with the juniors, and I’m sure they will all have a fantastic time here in Bundaberg.

“It’s also great for our local players who get to rest in their own beds, so they have that rested advantage.”

Bowls a family affair for Alex

Competing in the new Under-12 singles local junior Alex O’Brien, 11, started playing bowls after following in his great-grandfathers footsteps.

“This is the first time I’ve played in the competition, and I am really looking forward to it,” Alex said.

“Bowls is about the mindset – you have to have a good mindset in order to play well.

“I know I’ll get to meet new people and then go on to play them again next year and the year after.”

Alex’s mum Karen O’Brien said it made her proud to see her son follow his great-grandfather’s passion for the sport.

“Bowling is actually a family affair for us,” Karen said.

“Alex’s great-grandfather Robert Barritt won a lot of competitions here back in the ’70s and ’80s. He actually had his own spot at the bar and ‘Bob’ was well known around the place.

“It’s a big thing for Alex, he has a passion for bowls, and he wanted to play when he was eight, but back then they wouldn’t allow them until they were older.

“We are the only junior club in town, and bowls is known as ‘such an old person’s game’, but it’s opened up so much for Alex.

“To get the kids involved teaches them how to not only work on their own strengths but also how to work as a team.

“So, these changes are really wonderful, and Alex is really excited to compete against his peers. It will be good fun and great experience.”

Bundaberg Regional Council provided $5000 in funding to support the 2023 Junior State Championships.

Support local junior bowlers

The six days of the Bowls Queensland Junior State Championships starts on Sunday, with the event live streamed through Bowls Queensland.

Bowls Queensland is encouraging people to go along and watch the 2023 Junior State Championships at Burnett Bowls Club, Across the Waves Bowls Club and Bundaberg Bowls Club, to find out the schedule click here.