Weekender: Dorothy's blast from the past

Neil hopes to leave NDRL in good hands

Emma Turnbull

Inadvertently stopping in the Bundaberg Region 10 years ago, Neil Redfern has played a pivotal role in Northern District Rugby League.

Now a decade on, and after illness, Neil will roll up his sleeves and make the final checks as he and his wife Gail are set to return to their dream of travelling Australia.

Neil wants to leave the NDRL in good hands and he hopes to find passionate people to step up to the helm and replace him as chairman and secretary.

It was during the 2013 floods when Neil and wife Gail packed up their home in New South Wales to take on the adventure of travelling Australia.

Not long into the trip the pair became stranded at Gin Gin.

Little did they realise they would make the region home and spend the next 10 years following Neil’s passion for community and rugby league as he built on the camaraderie of the local sport.

Initially they became caretakers of the Bucca Rowing Clubbefore Neil’s love for rugby league got the better of him.

“We fell in love with the work at the rowing club, the climate and the people of this great community,” Neil said.

“We get our caravan next week and we’re really keen to return to that adventure we started 10 years ago while our health can allow it.

“But I’ll still be available to help the committee to ensure it continues to succeed.”

Neil Redfern's passion for sport flows from family

The 71-year-old said he had never played rugby league himself and his passion for the sport started as a parent watching from the sidelines before he stepped up to help when his son’s club needed it more than 34 years ago.

Becoming NDRL Chairman in 2016, Neil said the competition had grown from strength to strength during the past seven years.

His efforts were awarded when he received the Queensland Rugby League V-Power Shell Volunteer of the Year award for 2021.

Neil said during the past five years the NDRL had triumphed and introduced Women’s League Tag, All Abilities and Indigenous All Stars to the competition.

“It’s been quite a journey and we’ve achieved a hell of a lot,” he said.

“I’m proud of what we have achieved; from the All Abilities through to the Indigenous All Stars, both of these are hugely successful.

“I have always tried to encourage a strong feeling of inclusiveness in the NDRL.

“We’ve had that feeling of the ‘little sibling’ sitting in between Gladstone and Bundaberg when it comes to rugby league – but the NDRL punches well above its weight!

“We formed our own identity to take the game to each of the rural communities, from Gin Gin and Avondale to South Kolan, and Miriam Vale to Agnes.

“There’s a country feeling and community spirit at each of our games.

“Everyone rolls up their sleeves to make it happen and we did each and every time.”

Striving to set the benchmark high, Neil said the NDRL competition had good structure and experience and it was supported strongly by Queensland Rugby League Wide Bay.

“We’ve got good grounding to help new executives come on board,” Neil said.

“Until we get the executives in place we can’t take that next step, but because of the enthusiasm from players and their teams I am already working on the draw.

“We have this unique competition and I think as a whole its very inspiring.

“Our clubs are looking very good – we’ve got the manpower and I think it’s set to by one of the best seasons we’ve seen.

“We just need our executives in place in order to move forward tick the boxes and get the competition rolling.”

For more information on how to become involved with the NDRL email Neil Redfern at chairperson@ndrl.org.au.

Dorothy, 101, reunited with grandfather’s car

Emma Turnbull

Just shy of her 102nd birthday, Dorothy Collishaw has relived a fond childhood memory as she was reunited with Bundaberg’s first registered car, the 1904 De Dion Bouton.

Dorothy is the granddaughter of the original 1904 De Dion Bouton owner, William Parry, and she recalls fond memories of the motorcar that was extravagant for its time.

But she never imagined the day would come when she would return to sit front and centre of the veteran vehicle.

It was eight decades ago when Dorothy last saw her grandfather’s car and on Monday, she was delighted to not only be reunited with it, but also be given a ride around Bundaberg Botanic Gardens in it, thanks to the Bundaberg Vintage Car Club.

“It’s been a long time since I sat in this,” she said.

“I’m 101 now and its lovely to see it – they’ve looked after it so well.

“It’s really an honour, I had grown up with this car. It was my mother’s father’s car.”

She recalled memories of driving to the beach with her grandfather in his 1904 De Dion Bouton.

“Every time we went up (to see him) we would go somewhere in the car,” she said.

“People used to line along the footpath and laugh and giggle at this funny little car.

“We had a lovely time in it, we would always go to the beach and have a picnic lunch and then come on home.

“We have got a lot of lovely memories around this car.”

As Dorothy sat proudly in the passenger seat, she was asked if she’d like to take the wheel one last time.

“No! They’ve kept it in one piece, and I still want to keep it that way!” she laughed.

It was Dorothy’s long-time friend Ray Miller who played a vital role in the reunion.

“I saw the Bundaberg Now article on the car, but I didn’t want to say anything initially to Dorothy, so I actually contacted Council,” Ray said.

“I just got hold of Dorothy on Saturday just gone, and we were able to organise this quickly with the lovely owners and the group of car enthusiasts.”

Today, the 1904 De Dion Bouton is owned and cherished by local Chris Sorensen who was honoured to share the experience and history with Dorothy.

Chris said in 1904 Mr William Parry was the manager of Bundaberg Foundry and he sent his foreman to London to purchase the vehicle, which was then shipped to Bundaberg.

“We took it to London in 1989,” Chris said.

“It’s still the same colour and is exactly the same as it was – I just keep the brass polished.

“It’s very exciting to reunite Dorothy with her grandfather’s car.”

Chris said he first set eyes on the car as a young boy when it belonged to Queenie Hinkler and he dreamed of a day when he could call the car his own.

“It’s very special and its like you’re not actually the owner, but more the custodian because there is no way I will outlive it – it will outlive me,” he said.

“Every time I go to polish it, I think about its history; I drive it over the Burnett River Bridge and I wonder to myself about it and ask how many times have you driven over this bridge in your lifetime.”

The Art of Hair opens doors in Bundaberg

Ashley Schipper

Specialising in balyage and blondes Kari Holloway has brought her hair expertise to the region, recently opening The Art of Hair on Maryborough Street.

Originally from England where Kari trained to very high standards in the industry, she then made a home and career in Hervey Bay before deciding to move to Bundaberg.

“I've been in the industry for 18 years,” she said.

“I moved here permanently just over a year ago after living on a 7/7 roster within Hervey Bay where I was a hairdresser and personal trainer.

“The opportunity to open a salon in Bundaberg arose so I took the bull by the horns and thought, why not?”

Kari opened The Art of Hair last month and said she loved everything about being hairdresser, especially making people look and feel their best.

“There is something special about making women look and feel great,” she said.

“If your hair is off, you can guarantee everything is off!

“Being creative is what I do best.”

After taking a break from hairdressing while on maternity leave, Kari said she was thrilled to be back with scissors in hand doing what she loved.

“I've got a beautiful little girl, Xanthe, who just turned one years old three days before Christmas,” she said.

“My clientele prior to maternity was all Hervey Bay based so I was a little nervous venturing out solo!

“I am so thrilled with how the opening weeks have been here in Bundaberg.”

The Art of Hair opened in January and is located at Shop 3/106 Maryborough Street.

Check out the Facebook page here.

Kate gets creative for TradeMutt

Ashley Schipper

Bundaberg artist Kate Neal has partnered with Australian workwear company, TradeMutt, showcasing her Aussie summer-themed designs on shirts and bucket hats.

TradeMutt is an Australian workwear company started by two Aussie blokes who's goal is to help reduce the suicide rate of blue collar workers.

They create loud and vibrant workwear as a conversation starter, with the intent to reduce the stigma around mental health in the workplace.

TradeMutt also funds TIACS, a not-for-profit mental health service available in Australia.

Kate said the opportunity to work with the brand was a dream come true.

“I reached out to TradeMutt as I love what they stand for and the impact they are making and as an artist I have always wanted to collaborate with brands such as theirs,” she said.

“A few months later I received an email back saying they'd love to collaborate on a shirt design.”

Kate said the team at TradeMutt decided on a theme and some design ideas, with a brief of ‘Aussie Summer'.

“I was asked to create nine to 10 different illustrations using a specific colour palette and was given a list of ideas for things that they thought represented summer in Australia,” she said.

“They had the idea of having Aussie animals doing human things so I decided to run with that and illustrated a kangaroo cooking shrimp on the barbie, a pelican in a lifeguard outfit, a koala sun tanning next to a beach umbrella and galahs swinging off a hills hoist.

“I then created some other illustrations such as a beach cricket set, a pineapple, a mango, a gumtree, some gum leaves and a pair of thongs.”

Kate's creations are now featured on TradeMutt's shirts and bucket hats.

She said the response had been overwhelmingly positive.

“The shirts sold out within 24 hours!” Kate said.

“I really enjoyed creating these illustrations as they're lighthearted, fun and something that hopefully many Aussies can relate to.

“Seeing it all come together on the shirts and hats has been an amazing experience and I'm really proud of how it turned out.

“It's always been one of my goals as an artist to collaborate with different brands so I'm hoping to have the opportunity to do more of this in the future.”

Workshops help club secure community grants

Emma Turnbull

For 14 years Bundaberg Bowls Club’s Alan Edgerton has been helping to secure funding to benefit the not-for-profit organisation by writing community grants applications.

During this time Alan said the local club had purchased equipment and upgraded infrastructure because of attending Bundaberg Regional Council’s grant writing workshops to learn how to write a successful community grant.

“A number of grant allocations received have been the result of the Bundaberg Regional Council Community Services Grants, made available to not-for-profit clubs and organisations such as ours and without which we, and many others, would struggle to continue viable operations,” he said.

“The Bundaberg Regional Council Community Service Grants, and other State and Federal Government Grants, are essential for financing our club to continue as a viable, well equipped and affordable venue for our bowlers and the Bundaberg community.”

Alan said without support from bowlers, the Bundaberg community and successful grants it would be difficult to sustain the club.

“The Bundaberg Bowls Club is a ‘stand-alone' bowls club, which does not have an overarching sporting body, gaming machines or restaurants, etc, as additional sources of revenue and support,” he said.

“We rely on our members and associates, sponsors, successful grants and the hiring of our complete premises to the Bundaberg community for our sustainability and continuance as a bowls club and as a social hub for a wide range of bowls-sports and community events.”

The Bundaberg Regional Council Community Services Grant provided $3000 to the Bundaberg Bowls Club, to purchase and install kitchen equipment.

“Stoves have provided an essential and reliable service to our community's needs for events catering, food cooking and food warming for a wide assortment of functions over many years,” Alan said.

“But in recent times, (the stoves had) proven unreliable and inefficient and we had been advised both stoves have reached the end of their serviceable life and should be replaced as soon as possible.

“To this end, our BOM (board of management) committee determined the need for replacement and sought the finance to do so.

“Bundaberg Regional Council timely announced the availability of a ‘community service grant' which would, if our club's submission was successful, finance this supply and install project.

“As a result, and in due course, the Bundaberg Bowls Club's submission was announced as successful permitting the ‘hoped for' to become the ‘reality' and two new stoves were purchased accordingly.”

To find out more about Council’s community grants click here.

Attend one of Bundaberg Regional Council's February workshops to find out more about submitting a successful grant application in Bundaberg, Gin Gin or Childers.

Mum and daughter host Makerspace workshops

Emma Turnbull

Gin Gin mother-and-daughter duo Melissa and Brandy Bayntun invite the community to take part in one of their Makerspace workshops this month.

The event is part of the Gin Gin Neighbourhood's Makerspace Series which focuses on bringing the community together to create and make.

It’s the first time either woman will host a workshop and both are excited about sharing their passions with the local community.

With more than two decades as a paramedic under her belt Melissa understands the importance of selfcare, and her workshop Myself and a Shoebox revolves around this.

“My workshop comes from my passion of mental health and the individual,” she said.

“I am a paramedic of 22 years and still going, within the service we have a priority one program, which is about the selfcare and support of officers.

“It’s my first time hosting a workshop, but my whole life I have been about community and connecting.

“Sewing masks, bags, fundraising or just giving my time when needed. Without community there is no connection which creates sadness and loneliness.”

Melissa said the workshop was a great activity for people to show their true self along with how they though people perceived them.

“When I started being a peer support officer in the recruitment course we did an exercise with shoe boxes,” she said.

“We had to decorate the inside of the shoe box to symbolise the inside of us, our passions, thoughts and things that we hold dear.

“Then on the outside of the shoe box we decorated with the things that we interpreted how people saw us.

“It’s all about the individual, there is no pressure to share.

“It’s about creating a safe space to connect with others and try and make sense of why we think the way we do.”

Brandy said her workshop combined two of her favourite past times, art and gardening.

“I find them both to be creative outlets to spend quality time with either myself or friends and family,” Brandy said.

“Art is an activity you can do with someone without out the pressure of conversation or being judged.

“You get to be in each other’s presence, be yourself and let whatever you’re feeling, or thinking, flow through to your fingertips.”

Brandy will guide the workshop participants through decorating a terracotta pot to make their own.

“Gardening brings a sense of community, accomplishment and excitement,” she said.

“You plant a little seed in some dirt, water it and give it sunlight and in return it produces something beautiful – a fruit, vegetable or flower.

“It always feels so rewarding, using a pant you grew, in your cooking, sharing with the community or simply admiring.

“I hope the people who attend leave with this same freeing and rewarding experience that I do.”

Both Makerspace workshops will be held at Gin Gin Neighbourhood Centre.

Brandy’s create your own terracotta pot will be held Tuesday, 7 February at 2 pm, with a cost of $10 which includes a light morning tea, seeds, potting mix, paint and a terracotta pot.

Mel’s Myself and a Shoebox workshop will be held on 22 February at 9.30 am, at the Gin Gin Neighbourhood Centre.

Bookings are essential, to RSPV to either workshop contact Gin Gin Neighbourhood Centre on 4130 4630.

Boating and fishos market set to test the waters

Emma Turnbull

VMR Bundaberg will be testing the waters with its very first boating and fishos market to raise money for the local rescue organisation.

The boating and fishos market will be held at Burnett Heads on Sunday 19 February and is set to have a wide variety of stalls.

VMR Bundaberg committee member Campbell Hair is organising the inaugural event and is encouraging sea lovers, fishermen and the community to jump on board.

“This will be the very first market of its kind,” he said.

“We’re dipping our toe in the pond to test the water for regular markets – but this is a one-off to start.

“We’ve had a dedicated response from stallholders so far, with a mix of private individuals and businesses looking to hold a market stall.”

Campbell said for some time there had been interest in a fisherman's market, and this was a good opportunity to provide it to the community while raising money for a good cause.

“People and businesses can donate $10 and register to have a standard-sized market stall,” he said.

“We will have fishing gear and clothing, food vendors and boating stalls coming from far and wide.

“All money raised will go to helping us upgrade our inshore rescue vehicle and help us continue to save lives at sea.

“Raising money at events like this helps make our job a bit easier.

“Our plan is a market with anything from a fishhook to a cruise ship. 

“Jump on board and support us at this fundraiser for the local community – you might just find that bargain you have been looking for!”

Campbell said there would also be a fundraising sausage sizzle and an ice cream van on site, and he said any other interested food stall holders, fishing and boating vendors or private individuals could apply by clicking here.

VMR Bundaberg's boating and fishos market will be held at Burnett Heads on Sunday 19 February next to the VMR.

What's on

Kickstart your fitness goals with Be Active Be Alive

Ashley Schipper

From tennis to swimming, yoga, boxfit, pilates and more, there will be plenty of free fitness classes and activities available throughout the community when the Be Active Be Alive program kicks off next week.

Initiated by Bundaberg Regional Council in 2012, the award-winning free parks and pools program was commenced with the help of State Government funding.

The program continues to be developed and refined under Council's ‘Healthy and Active' charter to provide an inclusive mix of activities across the region's parks, pools, open spaces and participating gyms and halls.

Round 1 of Be Active Be Alive for 2023 begins on Monday 6 February to Friday 31 March.

City Fit's Denise Williamson said this year BABA participants could get fit through dance with an all-new class called Pound Rock.

“We love being able to participate in community events and sharing the group fitness love,” Denise said.

“Pound is the ultimate rock workout that uses ripsticks (like drumsticks), so you can become part of the music.

“Why wouldn't you take part?– It's free, there's something for everyone and it's fun!”

Denise said the City Fit team was excited to return to the Be Active Be Alive program after a massive turnout by community members during 2022.

“Last year was amazing,” she said.

“We glowed our heart out with Clubbercise.

“When it comes to exercise, you have to find something that makes you feel good.

“Then it's for the love and not a chore.”

Sport and Recreation portfolio spokesperson Cr Vince Haberman said BABA was a great opportunity to try something different or kick-start your health and fitness goals for the year.

“What a great time to sign up for BABA and get those New Year's resolutions underway,” he said.

“From swimming, dancing, pilates and more, there is sure to be an activity available to suit every age, skillset and fitness level.”

Round 1 BABA 2023

Where: Pools and parks in the Bundaberg Region

When: Monday 6 February to Friday 31 March

No prior registration required, just turn up and sign on for the free activity

View the program here.

In Our Group with SES

Emma Turnbull

The Bundaberg Regional SES Unit comprises of seven groups in the area, all of which have a number of dedicated volunteers who are there to help the community in times of need.

Elliott Heads SES Group Deputy Group Leader Annette Farrar shares the importance of the local organisation and how community members can become involved.

Tell us about the organisation?

The SES is a volunteer-based organisation that provides a co-ordinated response to non-life-threatening emergency situations during storms, floods and other similar events.

The SES also provides assistance to other emergency agencies such as the Queensland Police Service and Queensland Fire and Rescue.

The SES offers a wide range of experiences and training opportunities to prepare volunteers with the skills required to deliver a professional response to emergencies and natural disaster situations.

Uniforms, full PPE and nationally-accredited training is provided to members to ensure they have the appropriate knowledge and equipment to undertake their roles safely and efficiently.

Some of the many training opportunities available include chainsaw, traffic control, land search, flood boat operations, swift water rescue, mapping and navigation, radio communications, storm damage, working safely at heights, first aid and CPR.

Why are SES groups important to the Bundaberg Region?

The SES is the primary emergency response agency for storms and floods with approximately 100 volunteers giving their time across the Bundaberg Region to ensure the safety of people, properties, and communities as they prepare, respond to, and recover from severe weather events and emergency situations.

The SES is instrumental in building stronger, more resilient communities by empowering volunteers to help themselves and others.

This is only possible through the selflessness, dedication and commitment shown by our volunteers.

Without our volunteers we would not be able to offer such a high standard of assistance to our community.

In addition to storms and floods the SES are often called upon to assist with land and forensic searches, traffic control, air base operations, swift water rescue and a range of other non-emergency activities like community events and public awareness and education.

Volunteers on call to support community

For the SES, providing an operational response is our first priority and can often happen without warning or notice.

Our members can be deployed to other locations throughout Australia to assist when larger scale emergencies unfold.

Members from the Bundaberg Regional SES Unit were deployed to support our counterparts in Southeast Queensland and New South Wales during the widespread and prolonged flooding events experienced last year.

It is a timely reminder to plan and prepare for severe weather events by doing simple things around your home such as trimming trees, clearing rubbish and debris, organising an emergency kit and signing up to receive disaster and emergency related alerts through the Bundaberg Regional Councils Disaster Dashboard.

Over the coming year we are focusing on delivering comprehensive training opportunities for our members to ensure they are operationally ready and capable.

Many forms of training are supported, including nationally accredited courses, large whole-of-unit scenario-based activities as well as coaching, mentoring and practicing skills informally through participation in group training.

Exposing members to real-life situations in a supportive training environment helps to develop skills and build confidence, ensuring members are well equipped to face any situation they come up against.

How can the community get involved?

Volunteering is a rewarding way to positively contribute to the community and the Bundaberg Regional SES Unit is currently welcoming enquiries from prospective members across all groups.

Members must be at least 16 years of age, with anyone over 18 required to hold a current Blue Card and undergo a criminal history check as part of the application process.

Members are required to have a certain level of fitness depending on what roles and functions they perform.

Roles vary in intensity from land search, flood boat and storm damage operations to communications, administration, community awareness and education.

Once the application has been approved, members serve a probationary period where they are welcome to participate in group training, undergo inductions and complete their initial e-learn courses.

Once the member has served the probationary period and been approved for active membership, members can undertake further training, respond to activations, deployments and work towards progressing through the rank structure.

If you are willing to attend training regularly, challenge yourself, learn new skills and respond to the community in times of need, contact us through the Bundaberg Regional SES Unit Facebook page for further information.

When and where do the SES groups meet?

The Bundaberg Regional SES Unit comprises of seven groups providing capabilities across the entire Bundaberg Region with groups located in Woodgate, Childers, Moore Park Beach, Bundaberg, Gin Gin, Bargara, and Elliott Heads.

Bundaberg SES Group trains at Kendalls Road, Bundaberg on Monday nights at 7.30 pm.

Gin Gin SES Group is located at 11 Flanders Street, Gin Gin and members train the first, third and fifth Wednesday of each month at 7 pm.

Moore Park Beach SES Group trains at Murdochs Road on the second Saturday of each month at 9 am.

Childers SES Group is located at 3 North Street, Childers and trains every second Monday at 7 pm.

Bargara SES Group trains at Potter Road, Bargara on the second Thursday of each month at 6 pm.

Woodgate SES Group is located on Acacia Street and trains the second Wednesday and the last Saturday of each month.

Elliott Heads SES Group is located on Welch Street, Elliott Heads and trains on Tuesdays at 7 pm.

The SES is on call to assist 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, either by calling 132 500, online here or by logging a request through the SES Assistance QLD app.

How to YouTube

Beach Volleyball Tour returns to Elliott Heads

Emma Turnbull

The Queensland Beach Volleyball Tour is set to return to Elliott Heads for another year of serving up a heated competition on the sand.

Each the event attracts hundreds of competitors and their families to the coastal location for an action-packed weekend.

Event promoter and competitor Shanon Zunker said he enjoyed bringing the state competition to the Bundaberg Region, which had one of the most attractive locations on the tour.

“I have been coming to Elliott Heads with the tour since 2017, having staged the event at Nielson Park Beach in 2016,” he said.

“We moved around to Elliott Heads chasing flat beaches and softer sand.

“The natural landscape of the river mouth provides for ample space for multiple courts and the location is convenient for players with accommodation walking distance.

“Now the event has grown to require at least eight to 10 courts there is nowhere else for us to hold it – not that we want to leave!

“It really is one of the most picturesque locations on our calendar.”

Shanon said the Queensland Beach Volleyball Tour had stopped in the Bundaberg Region for several years with each gaining more momentum.

“The Queensland Beach Volleyball Tour is the highest level of beach volleyball in the state,” Shanon said.

“There are 14 events spread across Queensland between September and March with the Bundaberg round being our major regional event for the past several years.”

Shanon said the tour catered for both senior and junior beach volleyball players. 

 “Any registered volleyball Queensland players can enter,” he said.

“There are two senior divisions; premier, which is the highest level and challenger for more developing players, and Under-17.

“I encourage local Bundaberg volleyball players to have a go.”

Queensland Beach Volleyball Tour’s Round 11 will take place on 11 and 12 February at Elliott Heads.

For more information or to register click here.

Photo: Volleyball Queensland