Weekender: create your Message in a Bottle

Local bowlers support Bundaberg Sleepbus

Ashley Schipper

Elliott Heads Bowls Club has thrown its support behind the Bundaberg Sleepbus fundraiser, donating $200 to the initiative which will help those needing a safe space to sleep in the region.

Members raised the funds through the intake of their “wrong bias” tin, which is contributed to by bowlers who falter on the greens.

Vice president Steve McLellan said it was a fun way to make some money to support the region.

“When you play bowls you have a side that the bowl curls to and that is the side called the bias,” he said.

“Sometimes, when you are not paying attention, you send the bowl down the wrong side and it goes high, wide and handsome and disappears off into the distance.

“When that happens people let you know in a lighthearted way, we have a lot of fun.

“If someone does a wrong bias they have to ring the bell and put a dollar in the tin.”

Steve said two years of wrong bias collections had made up the $200 Bundaberg Sleepbus donation, an initiative members were more than happy to support.

“We think it is a wonderful concept for the town,” he said.

“It is normally something you see in the big cities and for us to get it here in Bundaberg, it's massive, it's really big.”

The Sleepbus fundraiser is an initiative of the Bundaberg Housing and Homelessness Forum, supported by Bundaberg Regional Council and other local businesses.

Currently, the bus is being built in Melbourne and will be transferred to Bundaberg in winter to provide a warm and safe space for the region's homeless each night.

The bus will be fitted out with sleep pods, each one containing a toilet, climate control, reading light, USB chargers and free-to-air digital television and support services channel.

Anyone seeking a safe bed for the night on the Sleepbus doesn’t need a referral or to book ahead, they just turn up between 8.30 pm and 10 pm.

Pets are also welcome in sleep pods with their owners.

Steve said the Elliott Heads Bowls Club was proud to support the Bundaberg Sleepbus.

“As a club, we really liked the idea and are all really impressed that Bundaberg is able to facilitate something like a Sleepbus,” he said.

“Homelessness is normally something you would associate with big cities but it is becoming more and more apparent that we have a problem here as well so we want to do what we can to help.”

Divisional representative Cr Tanya McLoughlin thanked members for their donations.

“It's fantastic to see the community getting behind such an important fundraiser,” she said.

“The money raised by the Elliott Heads Bowls Club will go towards keeping the bus operational when it reaches our region.

“Thank you to the club members for their generosity and support.”

Find out more about the Bundaberg Sleepbus here.

Community connects with Message in a Bottle

Emma Orford

Community members have been capturing a moment in time through the Message in a Bottle installation at Bundaberg Regional Art Gallery.

Instead of being tossed into the sea, glass bottles filled with anonymous messages from the public now adorn the ImaginArts Space.

The project will continue until 27 August with plenty of time for locals and visitors to add their contributions to the piece.

Traditionally, a message in a bottle was a way to send a letter without ever knowing who would receive it and if it would survive the journey.

The installation is a nod to this tradition of hope and reaching for help in traumatic times.

It aims to create a safe place where people can capture their thoughts and emotions while having a sense of connection with their community.

Creative recovery

Bridges Health and Community Care Business Manager and experienced local artist and mentor Shelley Pisani said installations like these were important community conversation starters.

“It encourages people to share their stories and feel valued and connected with other people with similar experiences and perspectives,” she said.

“Provocations like this get people thinking, talking and sharing which is so important in bringing communities together and allowing people to feel included”.

Shelley said she believed art offered a safe and effective space to engage with mental health issues and that this kind of sharing could be cathartic.

“This is a considered and intimate way of allowing people a moment of release whilst in a contemplative space like a gallery,” she said.

“Art offers a way of expressing yourself in word, song, on stage or through a paint brush that gives you time to consider your message, refine it and share it.

“It is a way of expressing an opinion that allows people to connect with your story as the creator and asks them to consider your point of view.

“Sometimes it is easier to share a message through art.”

Message in a Bottle

When: Mon to Fri 9.30 am – 5 pm and Sat + Sun 10 am – 2 pm

Venue: Bundaberg Regional Art Gallery

Cost: Free

Find out more here.

Bundaberg Aquatic Centre work progresses

Ashley Schipper

More than 30 local businesses have been involved in the build of the Bundaberg Aquatic Centre as piling finishes at the site and the next stages of construction commence.

Head contractor Woollam has been overseeing the project which, once complete, will deliver a year-round, modern facility for fitness, education, therapy and recreation users.

Project manager Richard Ash said piling works began in January and were the beginning of “construction proper”.

“Piling was completed three weeks ago with more than 800 concrete piles installed to provide the foundations for the pools and buildings,” he said.

“Moving forward, the concrete base of the 50-metre pool has been completed, with pouring of the base of the 25-metre pool and program pools commencing this month.

“Construction of the pool walls will follow.”

Richard said early-morning works were being undertaken during this time.

“There may be times over the next couple of months where work commences earlier than usual to allow for weather conditions and to ensure the safety of workers,” he said.

“The adjustment of working hours is primarily centred around concrete works, as this is a time and labour-intensive activity.

“These works will be conducted over the next couple of months and nearby residents will be regularly updated on progress.”

Local traffic management plans have been developed to ensure construction activities are closely managed to reduce impacts on local roads and the community.

About the Aquatic Centre

The Bundaberg Aquatic Centre will provide the community with a new, FINA standard, covered, 50m, heated competition pool to 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.

Find out more about the project here.

Gain an understanding of weight loss with Ruben

Emma Turnbull

Professionals are invited to absorb a new understanding of weight loss and metabolism at one of the Eat, Breathe, Move development workshops with Ruben Meerman.

The professional development workshops are intended for health care and active industry professionals who want to gain a new perspective on how the body works. 

Ruben said participants would learn how the human body gains and loses mass at the atomic and molecular level in an easy-to-understand format. 

“Most people know how to count calories but cannot explain how or where the kilograms go during weight loss,” Ruben said.

“Knowing how the atoms we eat, drink and breathe flow through our bodies unlocks the secret to maintaining a healthy weight, building muscle mass and gaining or losing fat.”

Ruben is the scientist behind the Bundaberg Region’s newest health and lifestyle program, Eat, Breath, Move, which recognises the connection between metabolism, breathing and movement.

Sharing his knowledge with professionals in the field of health and exercise, Ruben hopes there will be a better understanding of what goes in and how it comes out of the human body, when people eat, breath and move.

“The workshops are very much hands-on and start at the very beginning, with atoms,” he said.

“Atoms are the basic building blocks of the body and all the foods we put into them. 

“Participants who found science boring or terrifying at high school will absolutely love this. 

“They will learn the difference between a vitamin and a mineral and find out how calories and kilojoules fit in.

“They'll learn where food atoms go and how they all come back out after they're swallowed.

“By the end, they’ll know what happens to every atom they ingest and inhale.”

Ruben has a decade of knowledge on human biochemistry that he will share with workshop participants.

“This workshop is based on ten years of experience as a guest lecturer in human biochemistry at the University of New South Wales and is definitely aimed at adults,” he said.

“But be prepared to have some fun because there will be liquid nitrogen!

“Everybody with an interest in health and wellbeing is welcome, however, first preference will be given to people who work in these industries.

“If demand is strong, we may repeat the workshops for people who missed out.”

Eat Breathe Move is a Building a Healthy Bundaberg Alliance program funded by Bundaberg Regional Council along with the Department of Tourism, Innovation and Sport and Health and Wellbeing Queensland under Round 2 of the ActiveKIT program.

Professional Development Workshops

Cost: Free to attend but registration required by clicking here
Where: Bundaberg Multiplex
When: Two workshop – 5.30 pm on Tuesday, 2 May or 11 am on Wednesday, 3 May.
For more information: Visit the Eat Breathe Move project page

Creativity to shine at Artisan Twilight Markets

Emma Turnbull

The popular Artisan Twilight Markets at Bundaberg Regional Art Gallery is set to be one of the biggest yet, with 35 stalls taking part on Friday, 5 May.

The popular market will be the ideal place to find a unique gift just in time for Mother’s Day, or perhaps it will the perfect opportunity to spend the evening browsing the wonderful selection of local handmade goodies.

Local stallholder Ezra Steindl of Vintage Soul said it would be the second time she had been part of the Artisan Twilight Market and after such a good experience the first time, she was looking forward to it.

“I am very excited about the upcoming market, especially after my first experience having my stall there (at) Christmas just gone,” Ezra said.

“The organisers of this little jam-packed street market do such a wonderful job; they are so accommodating and helpful.

“It was an absolute pleasure to be a part of (it).

“The other stall holders there were ever so friendly too, such a great vibe going on.”

Born in Bundaberg, Ezra said she had always dabbled in art, and it was four years ago when her small handmade business Vintage Soul became a reality.

“After designing, building and decorating my own custom home over 10 years ago, I decided to explore fibre arts and quickly became obsessed with the art form,” she said.

“I am a completely self-taught freestyle fibre artist and I specialise in custom design. 

“I’m not great at following rules, especially the ones that don’t make sense to me, and I’m not methodical in the way I work.

“I love to have a few pieces on the go at once, to keep me my creativity flowing. Freestyle designing is ‘my jam’ and my happy place.

“I sell all kinds of things, all 100 per cent handmade by myself – I’m proud of that!”

Council’s Arts, Culture and Events portfolio spokesperson Cr John Learmonth said the Artisan Twilight Markets provided a fantastic atmosphere for a night out and also a great opportunity for the community to support local businesses, like Vintage Soul.

“The Artisan Twilight Markets capture all there is to love about markets – talented local artisans, perfect Autumn twilight weather, great atmosphere, and you can view the Gallery exhibitions and browse the Gallery shop after hours,” Cr Learmonth said.

“There will also be beautiful live music from local musicians Abigail Williams and Nathan Bedford, which will encompass the laid-back atmosphere.”

Artisan Twilight Markets

When: 4 pm to 9 pm on Friday, 5 May
Where: Bundaberg Regional Art Gallery, 1 Barolin Street Bundaberg
For more information: Click here

Community grant supports Step Up Step Down

Emma Turnbull

Mind Australia, Bundaberg Step Up Step Down residents can now relieve anxiety and stress thanks to the funding of a Bundaberg Regional Council Community Grant.

The local organisation received a grant of $1800 in October to purchase a massage chair to support clients through meditation.

Service manager Bre Williams said the massage chair was added to the sensory room and had helped residents greatly.

“This has benefited the residents since the minute it was functional,” Bre said.

“Residents have lined up and used this chair for the purpose of relieving anxiety, depression, and pure relaxation.

“The room also has mindfulness music playing and it is used for tai chi and yoga.”

Bundaberg Regional Council's Community Grants aim to provide assistance to local community groups or organisations who make positive contributions to the quality of life in the region.

Bre said without the support from the Community Grant the organisation would not have been able to purchase the massage chair.

“Mind Australia is a non-for-profit organisation that functions throughout Australia working in mental health and disability services,” she said.

“This particular site here at Step Up Step Down works in collaboration with Queensland Health to provide therapeutic support for those in recovery regarding mental health issues/diagnosis.”

Residents stay at the Bundaberg Step Up Step Down service after a referral from Queensland Health, with the focus of introducing them back into community after a stay in Bundaberg Impatient Mental Health Unit (MHU).

Bre said the service was also used as a support system so a resident did not have to attend the MHU.

“Step Up Step Down is a 28-day recovery services that accommodates 10 residents at a time,” Bre said.

“Here we provide a safe, homely environment providing two psycho education groups per day – including a gym program and now the massage chair addition to our sensory room.

“Residents are provided with workbooks upon entry that have all (the) relevant information for the groups that they are able to complete and take home with them as part of their support network.

“During their stay assessments are complete that may identify additional support services that we as a team, with consent will engage the resident, (use) for ongoing support upon their exit from the program.”

Bundaberg Step Up Step Down is a free service to support community members.

Bre said residents were provided with a single room that has an ensuite, air conditioning and smart television.

She said there were also nightly in-house activities and weekend activities for those who remain onsite over the weekend.

To find out more about Bundaberg Regional Council's Community Grants click here.

What's on

Toni Childs shares her story at the Moncrieff

Emma Turnbull

It was more than three decades ago when Toni Childs became a songwriter known for her powerful voice, spirit, and inspiring storytelling.

Now the Bundaberg Region community will have the chance to see her up close and personal as she performs her Retrospective concert at the Moncrieff Entertainment Centre this month.

Toni will take to the Moncrieff stage for a special two-hour performance as she celebrates her life’s musical works, and she promises the audience they will have “dessert first”.

“We will definitely have dessert first – all the fan favourites will be performed first,” Toni said.

“Then we will clear our palate with a drink and a chat before we delve into three new songs.

“I will be dropping three singles and it’s all beautiful.

“For me I really enjoy ‘pollinating the love’ when I perform.

“I’ve been writing music for a very long time – I am a storyteller.”

Toni will perform hits and fan favourites from Union, House of Hope, the Woman’s Boat and Keep the Faith in the first hour of her show.

The second hour of her performance will be an introduction to Toni’s new music, from two very special albums, It’s All a Beautiful Noise and Citizens of the Planet.

Toni said during her music career she had taken a decade off from performing after becoming ill and it was during this time she was inspired again to be the voice for women around the world.

“I had mercury poisoning, and I had 10 years taken out of my life, but the deep and beautiful thing to come from this was that I was living on beautiful island in Hawaii,” she said.

“This stirred the pot inside me.

“I met Eve Ensler and started raising money for domestic violence.

“Eve asked me ‘what are you doing on this rock?’; she talked to me about her documentary called Until the Violence Stops, and I wanted to be part of that.

“I asked myself what would be the first thing that would need to happen to end the violence and for me the first thing would be to stop the violence we, women, inflict on ourselves first.”

Toni said it was a turning point in her life and she started writing again.

“This put a fire under my belly,” she said.

“I started singing and touring regional tours to tell women, to share the connection, as I felt they needed to know they are beautiful.

“I am all about pollinating the love with sound.”

Toni Childs Retrospective concert

When: 7.30 pm on 22 April
Where: Moncrieff Entertainment Centre
To book: Click here

Anzac Artist Talk with Captain Julian Thompson

Emma Orford

In recognition of Anzac Day, Bundaberg Regional Art Gallery will be hosting an Artist Talk with Captain Julian Thompson.

Captain Thompson will join Gallery Director Rebecca McDuff to speak about his current exhibition Accretions of History: ANZACS in Iraq on Wednesday 25 April at 5.30 pm.

These powerful artworks capture moments during Captain Thompson’s deployments to Iraq in 2016 and 2019.

The compelling visual imagery and symbolism aims to give a voice to his own experiences as well as those whom he served alongside.

An accredited professional landscape painter, Captain Thompson completed these artworks in his private capacity to represent the visual reflections of an environment the public rarely gets to see.  

“’Accretion’ is a term for the building up of layers (usually used in geology) and it seems an apt term to me for the way the history of both a nation and its army accumulate,” Captain Thompson said.

“Because conflict and protection are so important to the history of a nation, I think a nation’s army reflects the national character in a fundamental way.

“Army is built of individuals who together make up a whole, so I am interested in how individual histories add up to do this.

“In my paintings there are many images of people walking into the distance – I see these people as walking through their own histories and lives and because they wear the uniform they contribute to army – and thus Australian – history.”  

Home from home

While this is Captain Thompson’s first time exhibiting in Bundaberg, he has a strong connection with region, owning local property and visiting often.

His hope is that locals will see something of themselves in his work.

“I think the regions contribute disproportionately to Australian identity as these are the areas where the connection to landscape and community is strongest and people are often the most settled,” he said.

“There may be several generations who have had a continual presence in a small town and in this way the local character seeps in.

“This in turn is brought to army when people enlist, serve and may then return at the end of their careers.”

Captain Thompson said the exhibition aimed to allow people to reflect on the individual experiences of those who serve currently.

“Every year Anxac Day reminds us of historical conflict and the news media outlines world events – but it is comparatively difficult for personal stories in the here-and-now of army to be part of the public consciousness,” he said.

“The visual imagery of army has fascinated me since I joined after my earlier career as a full-time artist, and it has been a great privilege to paint what I have seen.

“I would like to thank the Bundaberg Regional Art Gallery for giving me the opportunity to exhibit the resulting works.”

Artist Talk with Captain Julian Thompson

Where: Bundaberg Regional Art Gallery

When: Wednesday 26 April, 5.30 to 7 pm

Cost: Free event, no bookings required

Accretions of History: ANZACS in Iraq

Find out more about the exhibition here.

In our Group with Dance Unique Clogging

Emma Turnbull

Dance Unique Clogging’s Merril Gardner shares the benefits, including helping mental health and reducing stress, of the local dance club and she invites the community to join in.

How can the community become involved?

Clogging encourages participation for all ages, as young as eight to 88.

It has a more relaxed atmosphere, with a focus on good mental and physical health and above all having fun.

Adults benefit from reducing stress and depression, increases energy and serotonin, improves flexibility, strength, balance endurance, strengthens bones and boosts cardiovascular health, increases mental capacity by exercising our cognitive processes.

For children, clogging is also beneficial for brain development such as counting, music, and movement, engages many parts of the brain and helps to improve learning.

Tap shoes are similar to a percussion instrument; develops coordination and gross motor skills with the combination of movement and sound, promotes teamwork and social skills.

There are no dance exams or expensive costumes.

Friendships are formed not only in our local area but Australia wide, with numerous workshops throughout the year in each state and a national convention is held each year in a different state.

Clogging classes are held on a Monday afternoon starting at 4 pm, at the Caledonian Pipe Band Hall, Victoria Street in East Bundaberg.

All are welcome to just drop in, to see for themselves what clogging can offer them.

Tell us about the group?

The clogging club is called Dance Unique Clogging, which is only small, but (we) would like to see it grow.

The dances are cued, which means each step is called, we do not have to learn an entire dance only the step names - unless we are performing demonstrations and even then, some dances are cued.

Why is the group important to the Bundaberg Region?

Why clogging? Why not clogging!

Clogging is the perfect alternative to exercise in a relaxed atmosphere.

It is also a great place to meet people and develop new friendships.

Clogging is our extended family; we make sure and ask the question - are you okay? if someone is having a difficult time.

What motivated you to share clogging with the community?

On numerous occasions my aunty tried to get me to come along to a clogging class.

Along with most people, when I heard the word clogging I imagined clogging was danced in wooden clogs – how wrong I was!

It wasn’t until I saw a demonstration of clogging at my aunties 70th birthday party that I realised not a wooden clog was seen, but tap shoes with a little difference.

The taps have a double plate instead of a single plate, which gives clogging its distinctive sound. 

I first started clogging in 2011 and joined the Australian Clogging Association soon after.

I started my own club teaching juniors in 2015.

I gained my gold accreditation in 2020 with the Australian Clogging Association, which is a five-year process.

How to