Weekender: Model train open day on track

Business has eye on Christmas appeal support

Ashley Schipper

The first business has signed on to sponsor the Mayor's Christmas Cheer Appeal which will see hampers delivered to 20 families in need during the festive season.

The team at The Optical Superstore Bundaberg have thrown their support behind the appeal, pledging $1300.

The appeal raises funds to buy food hampers for local residents who need a hand to make their Christmas special.

The hampers will be distributed by Salvation Army, St Vincent de Paul, Angels Community Group and Childers and Gin Gin Neighbourhood Centres.

The Optical Superstore Bundaberg owners Andy and Karen Christiansen are the first business to sign up to support the cause through a bronze Mayor's Christmas Appeal sponsorship package.

The duo said, as locals themselves, they understood the importance of giving back to the community that had supported them over the years.

“We want to acknowledge the need to support, in particular, those among us who are less fortunate,” Karen said.

“To make changes to improve the health and wellbeing of everyone in our community, we need to understand that support can make a big difference.

“We wish to thank the community for their support of our business over the years and also our wonderful staff.

“Hopefully we can make a positive change to those in need during the festive season through this appeal.”

Bundaberg Region Mayor Jack Dempsey thanked Optical Superstore staff for their involvement.

“It’s this type of generosity that the Bundaberg Region is so well known for and why I’m so proud to be part of this wonderful community,” he said.

“The appeal is an innovative concept which would see our community rally together for residents less fortunate than ourselves.

“But more than that, it provides support to the charities whose volunteers and staff work tirelessly year-round to fundraise for this and many other causes.

“It shows these charities that we recognise and appreciate what they do and brings us together as a community.”

Find out more about Mayor's Christmas Cheer Appeal sponsorship options and inclusions here.

Railway enthusiasts invited to club open day

Emma Turnbull

Railway enthusiasts, family and friends are invited to check out the second oldest model railway organisation in Queensland at Bundaberg Model Railway Club’s open day.

To be held at the Bundaberg Model Railway Clubhouse visitors will see detailed miniature locomotives in action and they will also have the chance to find out some of the history of the long-running organisation.

Bundaberg Model Railway Club promotion officer John Bonnett said this year they would have a new track, which had been under construction for some time, up and running.

“There will be six layouts running on the day with club members on hand to welcome visitors and answer questions,” John said.

“Many changes have been made to the landscaping since our last open day.

“Also, the new N scale layout is under construction and is at a very interesting stage.”

John said the club’s open day attracted people from the wider community to stop by and say hello.

“Children as young as two or three years old enjoy watching trains go by, as do their parents, grandparents and other family and friends,” John said.

“The open day is free to attend, and just a great way to promote the hobby.

“People can come along any day of the year that we are open, but these open days draw in more people.

“We hope there will be as many visitors as possible on the day to enjoy our hobby and help make our open day a success.”

Bundaberg Model Railway Club is the second oldest model railway organisation in Queensland, and the open day will give the community a chance to find out about the long-running history of the club.

Bundaberg Model Railway Club’s open day will be held between 9 am and 3 pm on 13 August, at the old showgrounds, with entry via Kensington Street.

To find out more click here.

Guy shares skills in weed spotters role

Maria McMahon

Volunteering as the Bundaberg Regional Coordinator for Weed Spotters Network Queensland has seen Council Land Protection Officer Guy Hancock share his expertise to combat invasive plants.

In this role for a little over two years now, Guy has assisted local members of the group and the general community with species identification and liaison with Queensland Herbarium and Biosecurity Queensland.

After learning about the group’s need for a Bundaberg regional coordinator, Guy thought joining weed spotters would complement his Council role with providing advice to interested environmental enthusiasts.

“The queries I receive generally fall in within my work as a Land Protection Officer where I deal with a large number of requests and questions relating to invasive species identification,” he said.

“It’s another way of being on the front foot for identifying and flagging potential new invasive species incursions and outbreaks in our region at the earliest opportunity, as well as spreading awareness and education.

“It’s also a way I can increase my weed identification knowledge and liaise with other Regional Coordinators on potential new incursions that may threaten our immediate region.”

Guy recommends a variety of ways we can all play a part in helping to eradicate invasive plants.

“Avoid purchasing and planting introduced species by choosing natives instead and buy through reputable nurseries,” he said.

“There are also some fantastic apps like Weeds of South East QLD where keying in features of a plant identifies if it is an invasive species.

“The Weed Spotters Network Queensland has also introduced an e-Learning course on understanding weeds and how to report a potential weed for identification.”

Council’s Land Protection team is also available to help.

If in doubt, just send them a photo and they will assist in identifying the plant.

More information about pest plants and the work Council’s Land Protection team is doing can be found here on Council’s website.

This includes information on the Plant Swap Program where residents receive free native plants in exchange for removing environmental weeds from their backyards.

Find out more about he Weed Spotters Network Queensland here.

Avocado exports surge as best avo toast named

Emma Turnbull

Simpson Farm avocados are gaining momentum in the export market but they're still beloved locally, helping to secure the title of Australia’s Best Avo Toast.

Australia’s Best Avo Toast competition initiated by Avocados Australia had entries from all over Australia, but there could only be one winning dish that emphasised the flavours of the fruit.

“The high calibre of all the dishes that were entered made judging particularly difficult,” Avocados Australia said.

“However, in the end, the choice came down to the quality of the avocado and how well avocado was heroed in the dish.

Little Hideout Café, based in Balmoral in Brisbane, was named the winner of the 2022 Australia’s Best Avo Toast competition with their stunning avocado dish, using avocados grown by Simpson Farms.”

Simpson Farms General Manager Marketing Brent Chambers said they were delighted their produce was used to help name Australia’s best avocado on toast.

“It’s great to see that our fruit is recognised as being used for a wonderful dish that has taken out the title, as a local Bundaberg grower it means a lot that our hard work is rewarded,” he said.

Avocado exports increase

Brent said there had been a lot of movement in avocado exports recently, but there was plenty of produce to go around.

“The season has been a little bit tricky with rain and market conditions slowing packing at times,” he said.

“We have gathered significant momentum in export markets which will see more local avocados being sent internationally than ever before.

“Don’t worry there is still plenty to go around!”

Simpson Farms is the largest avocado farm and supplier of quality fresh and prepared avocado products in Australia, and they have been doing so for more than 50 years.

“We are a family run business at Simpson Farms and have well developed environmental management systems with a long-term sustainable approach undertaken,” Brent said.

“Including irrigation scheduling and soil moisture monitoring, mulching, waste recycling, nutrition monitoring, integrated pest management and groundwater and off-site water monitoring to ensure that our farming operations are sustainable.

“We take every care with picking and packing our avocados to ensure the consumer receives the best product possible.”

Australia’s Best Avo Toast was announced in time to celebrate National Avocado Day on 31 July.

“National Avocado Day – we believe everyday should be avocado day – was a great opportunity to buy a few more avocados and support local growers and create and taste amazing dishes both at home or at a café,” Brent said.

Kellys Beach Resort always thinking green


One of the businesses leading the way in the Bundaberg Region's bid to gain Eco Destination certification is Kellys Beach Resort and its focus on connecting people with nature.

Nestled on a creek, just a block back from the famous Bargara beach, Kellys Beach Resort gained eco-certification through EcoTourism Australia in 2015.

Internationally recognised, this certification allows guests to relax in the knowledge that the resort is doing everything it can to protect the natural beauty of the Bundaberg coastline and the waters of the Southern Great Barrier Reef while they holiday.

Loni Hammond, who helps run this family-owned business with her mother and sister, moved to Bundaberg 18 years ago.

She was immediately struck by the beauty of the region and a desire to protect the natural resources at the heart of Bundaberg Region life.

“We have a real sense of responsibility, as business owners, to do our bit to promote the conservation of how beautiful it is here,” she said.

The family embeds caring for the environment into every aspect of their business, reducing their carbon emissions by 35 per cent over the past eight years as a result.

While the resort reduces its energy, waste and water use behind the scenes, staff also ask guests to ‘think green’ wherever they can.

“At several touchpoints guests are invited to make a positive difference during their stay,” Loni said.

“At the point of booking, guests are invited to plant a tree with Kellys through Greenfleet.

“At the rubbish bin, guests can contribute to Containers For Change and recycle in a way that provides money to the local Sea Turtle Alliance organisation.”

Loni said the key was connecting with guests and working together to make an impact.

“It's us doing it together (with guests) that brings about positive, sustainable change,” she said.

“The response from guests is overwhelmingly positive.

“There’s a lot of people who thank us for what we are doing!”

Eco-cleaning keeps waterways clean

Nothing is more important to guests than checking into a clean and tidy room.

Kellys keeps its eco-villas clean and green by avoiding harsh chemicals that can build up on surfaces.

German-designed fibreglass cleaning cloths and bicarb-based cleaning products keep the villas sparkling for guests.

Not only are such methods beloved by asthmatics and people who can’t tolerate fragrances, Loni said this approach led to a superior clean.

“It actually breaks up dirt and germs rather than just putting a chemical on top of it, which more germs stick to!” she said.

She said this kind of cleaning helped to protect the waterways that flow into the Southern Great Barrier Reef.

“A lot of the water goes straight out to that creek, so the less chemicals there are, the better,” Loni said.

Get your business Eco Certified

The ECO Destination Certification Program is a world first by Ecotourism Australia and Council’s goal is for the Bundaberg Region to become certified as an ECO Destination.

Bundaberg Regional Council is offering local tourism operators the opportunity to strengthen their appeal to high yielding, environmentally conscious visitor markets, by becoming ECO Certified through Ecotourism Australia by way of a cash subsidy to offset the first annual certification fee.

The ECO Destination Certification program assures travellers that certified destinations are backed by a strong, well-managed commitment to sustainable practices and provide high-quality nature-based tourism experiences within the region.

You can find out more here.

Scouts take flight in Air Activities Day

Emma Turnbull

More than 130 scouts had the chance to spread their wings in a day of air activities based at Bundaberg Airport.

Scouts Queensland Air Activities organised the event, which involved flight simulations and also provided some scout youth with the opportunity to take in a bird’s eye view of the Bundaberg Region.

Scouts from Kepnock, Millbank and Moore Park Beach were all thrilled to take part in the activities, saying a standout moment was having the helicopter and other aircraft available.

“Knowing this is one of the most dangerous adventure activities we can do with scouts is challenging but exciting,” Kepnock Scouts Group Leader Emily Ayling said.

“Everyone who got to enjoy a flight got out of their choice of aircraft with the biggest grins.”

Moore Park Beach joey member Beth said she was unsure of how she would feel flying in an aircraft at first, but found the experience to be out of this world.

“I was nervous of the helicopter blades, but I kept my head down and then we took off like a rocket,” she said.

“I liked wearing the headphones so we could talk to each other because it was very loud.

“The cars looked like little ants!”

Cub member Robb said he enjoyed taking in the sights of Bundaberg that he normally wouldn’t get the chance to see on the ground.

“I loved going in the front of the helicopter next to the pilot because I could see for miles and miles,” he said.

“I liked when we flew over the three bridges and then we saw the top of Coles and Maccas which was cool because I've only seen them from the road.

“My friend said he saw us fly over in the helicopter and now he wants to join Scouts too because we do so much cool stuff.” 

Gecko member Jude agreed saying the view was unbelievable.

“Getting to see the patchwork of fields and farms around Bundy was spectacular,” Jude said

“It's a big place and going over the Hummock and seeing out to sea was very special.

“The pilot was amazing with the young Scouts, really friendly and fun.” 

Air activities a chance to learn about aviation

Air Activities branch commissioner Craig Luxton said Scouts Queensland was a youth lead organisation with groups dotted across the state, and members enjoyed the Air Activities experience at the Bundaberg Airport on Sunday 24 July.

“Although based in Brisbane the team of volunteers travelled up to Bundaberg, the home of famous Australian aviation pioneer Bert Hinkler, to educate and inspire the local youth members in all things aviation,” he said.

“Over 130 youth members attended and enjoyed learning about how aircraft fly, built model gliders, took control of one of our flight simulators and even took to the sky in either a fixed wing or rotary wing flight experience around the airfield and over Bundaberg city.

“For some, it was the first ever time in an aircraft, and for all, it was an amazing day for a bird’s eye view of the beautiful Bundaberg city.”

Craig said the Air Activities Day at Bundaberg Airport was deemed a success and he thanked the volunteers along with the community for the support.

To find out more about Scouts Queensland or the Air Activities click here.

Bundaberg’s View from Above touring Australia

Emma Turnbull

View from Above, an intricate and collaborative Bundaberg Quilters patchwork depicting red soil paddocks, rows of sugar cane and beautiful beaches, is touring nationally.

The patchwork of colour represents the Bundaberg Region perfectly and it was chosen to be exhibited around the country in this year’s travelling Australian Quilt Show.

Bundaberg Quilters Inc members Carol Ann Ferguson and Sandra Sullivan co-ordinated the efforts of the collaborative piece, with Carol Ann saying it was one of the club’s biggest achievements.

“Whether you are flying into Bundaberg or you go up to the top of the Hummock you see a patchwork of colour, the farms, the sea, the beaches,” Carol Ann said.

“Our quilt, View from Above, captures the essence of this area.

“The quilting lines represent the rows of trees and sugar cane, the agriculture in our area.

“Then the circles represent our water sources.

“Rich red soil peeps out amongst sugar cane, sweet potatoes, macadamias, avocados, and other crops, while sandy beaches claim their place too.

“This quilt aims to capture this scene.”

Carol Ann said the idea for the View from Above quilt was initiated during the middle of Covid-19 lock downs and was completed within 12 months.

“We started planning the collaborative quilt in August 2020 and it was completed by June 2021,” she said.

“We wanted to reflect on some of the local area to the broader community.

“The original idea for this quilt came out of an invitation to members to submit their ideas about what we should focus on with the quilt.

“This quilt is very much a modern style.”

The View from Above quilt has also been on show at the Ekka and the Queensland Quilt Show, it is currently on display in Sydney, and it will return to Queensland in October.

“We have seen a different approach to quilt competitions compared to how they were in the past,” Carol Ann said.

“The competition provided the opportunity for a broader range of styles and a wider range of quilters to enter.

“This is the first time as a group that we are at this level, and we are quite proud.”

What's on

Artists Bloom in new Bundaberg exhibition

Georgia Neville

Flowers will be in focus for the Bundaberg Regional Galleries curated Bloom exhibition which will include traditional and modern artwork alongside an exclusive mural.

The Bloom exhibition will open at Bundaberg Regional Gallery on Saturday 20 August.

Curated by Bundaberg Regional Galleries, Bloom celebrates the flower and will see a number of local artists featured, as well as exclusive pieces from the galleries collection and some from the private collections of locals.

Council’s Arts, Culture and Events portfolio spokesperson Cr John Learmonth said the exclusive exhibition would have something for everyone, with the mix of contemporary and traditional art pieces.

“The exhibition lends a modern, playful filter to this more traditional subject matter,” Cr Learmonth said.

“As the exhibition is curated by our galleries team, and only able to be seen here in Bundaberg, I encourage everyone to take the chance to visit the gallery and see it for themselves.”

A specially painted wall mural will set the scene for the exhibition which will be created by local artist Jay Feather.

This painting will be put together on-site over a three-day period and symbolises the fleeting nature of flowers, as unlike the other permanent works on display, it will only be in bloom for the duration of the exhibition.

Bloom also gives a nod to the vibrant arts community that has long existed in Bundaberg, with the inclusion of works by Sheena Hazzard, Mark Dutney, Althea Deeley, Caryl Plant, Betty Searle, Frederick Bates and Ann Warnes – an artistic peerage of over five decades.

The pairing of Ellis Rowan watercolours from the late 19th century, with the hand-coloured ochre by Yuwi, Torres Strait and South Sea Islander artist, Dylan Mooney, or the exquisitely painted oils by John Honeywill, reminds the viewer of the ongoing fascination with flowers for artists across artforms, culture, and time.

The Bloom exhibition will be on from Saturday 20 August until Sunday, 16 October.

You can find out more about the upcoming exhibition here.

Artwork: Jay Feather

Killer Queen and David Bowie at the Moncrieff

Georgia Neville

Tribute performers The Killer Queen Experience and David Bowie are coming together for one night only at the Moncrieff Entertainment Centre on Friday 19 August.

The show will see the performers showcase the greatest hits of Queen and David Bowie, with special guests “Paradiso Strings” string quartet.

Eleven cast members will perform as part of the show, performing the greatest hits firstly from Jeff Duff as David Bowie.

The second half of the show will see Killer Queen hit the stage with a bang and smash out Queen hits for an hour before being joined by Jeff for the encore with all 11 cast members on stage.

Killer Queen’s Wayne Vitale said they were looking forward to performing at the Moncrieff again.

“We are really excited to be back in Bundaberg as we always get a great crowd response, when we performed at the Moncrieff Theatre in April 2019 it was a sell out,” Wayne said.

“We hope that you can come out and enjoy a night of great songs and entertainment.”

Wayne said Jeff’s costumes were set to impress, with his extensive background in performing making for an entertaining show.

“His costumes are amazing, and you never know what to expect from Jeff on stage,” he said.

“He has been performing since the 1970s and was the most invited artist on The Midday Show in the 70s and 80s.”

One show emerges from two great performers

The upcoming performance came about when Killer Queen front man John Blunt and Jeff decided Queen and David Bowie should share the stage.

“John Blunt always wanted to perform with Jeff Duff and decided to just call him one day with the idea that Queen and David Bowie would be a great show,” he said.

“Then Paradiso Strings were contacted as we just loved their renditions of Queen songs and they all said yes, they would love to do it.

“It came together quite quickly; rehearsals were scheduled, and we did our first show in May this year.”

Paradiso Strings are a Brisbane based String Quartet who play Queen songs in Cathedrals and will join both Jeff and Killer Queen to add another dimension of sound and vision through the show.

“This type of show has never been attempted and we may not get the chance to do it again with everyone's busy schedules,” Wayne said.

“We have stripped back a song from each set to feature just the strings and vocalists.

“Freddie Mercury and David Bowie never had the chance to perform live together, and John Blunt and Jeff Duff are the closest to their counterparts, they have both been recognised around the world for their looks and voices.”

You can find out more about the upcoming show here.

Podcast: Old Bundaberg Fire Station

Adele Bennett

Welcome to the Hidden Histories Podcast: Old Bundaberg Fire Station, the eleventh episode of series two of the Bundaberg Now Podcast.

There’s nothing quite like the nostalgia of an old fire station.

You can imagine the rush of activity when a call came in, the noise of the sirens, and the bravery of those people who chose to run towards a fire instead of away from it.

The old Bundaberg station is on the corner of Woongarra and Tantitha Streets and was purpose built in 1958 for the Queensland Fire and Emergency Service.

The property was impacted by flood water during the 2013 flood event, and has been vacant since the new Queensland Fire and Emergency Services facility opened in Thabeban in 2018.

In 2021, the property was purchased by Bridges Health and Community Care who have big ideas for converting it into a space that will once again serve the community.

“The plan is to turn the fire station into an arts, cultural and wellbeing precinct open to the public so that they can actually enjoy, I suppose, the experience of coming into what was a fire station,” Bridges CEO Sharon Sarah said.

Part of that plan is documenting stories of past Fire and Emergency Service personnel in an audio exhibition.

“Our intention is to capture the history of the fire station and so that people can enjoy that as an experience.

“We'll use it, I suppose, down the track once the fire station is open to tell the history and capture the history from their voices and their lived experience of what they did,” she said.

Listen now to hear more about the plans to pay homage to the old fire station, and current and former emergency personnel:

In this series we shine a spotlight on the heritage buildings and infrastructure in our region.

Listen as we uncover memories, mysterious ghost stories and bizarre facts about some of our most iconic structures.

You can also listen on Google, Apple, Spotify, TuneIn or your favourite podcast app.

Got You Covered library column

In Our Garage with Marc Obrowski's 1963 Pontiac Bonneville

Morgan Everett

Mark Obrowski loves everything about his classic 1963 Pontiac Bonneville and said it was great for relaxed cruising.

How long have you had your vehicle and where did you get it from?

We bought it about 10 years ago in Melbourne.

It's a 1963 Pontiac Bonneville, and I think there's only one or none of this kind in Australia.

Have you modified the car at all?

No changes at all.

This is an original car and I want to keep it this way.

It is perfect. It doesn't need to be improved.

I will not lower it. I will not change anything.

I just keep it in good repair, in good condition.

What are the specifics of the car?

Under the bonnet is a 6.4 litre V8 and that was the smallest engine you can buy with this car.

It has a 303 horsepower.

It is a high compression engine, which means unfortunately it needs the most expensive petrol.

What I like about the engine specifically, it's very strong, it's very big and it's perfect for driving, very relaxed and very slowly.

It's not a loud engine, it doesn't have a loud exhaust system.

It is a car for leisure;y and relaxed cruising.

Why do you love the Ponticac Bonneville?

I have always loved American cars since I was a little child and I've had a few!

I bought some in America.

I had one here before and I went overseas and I sold the car and I thought, it's stupid to have big cars like that.

Then I found myself almost every night looking at the classifieds for big American cars.

I found this beauty here in Melbourne.

To have your vehicle featured in In Our Garage email us at news@bundabergnow.com

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Taryn smashes goal at Commonwealth Games

Georgia Neville

Bundaberg’s Taryn Gollshewsky has smashed a personal goal at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, placing fourth in the discus throw finals event this morning.

The local athlete was the only Australian to compete, throwing 56.85m – just 14cm behind third place.

It was a special moment for Taryn, who told Bundaberg Now in June that she wanted to achieve her personal goal of improving on her result from the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in 2018 where she placed fifth.

Speaking to Channel Seven after this morning’s event, Taryn said she was happy to have the opportunity to compete at the games and had only started properly training six months ago after overcoming injury setbacks.

“I broke my leg last year, so just to be here is amazing,” she said.

“I was not allowed to throw for eight months after breaking my tibia and fibula and so I only got back into throwing in February this year so even to qualify and get to the Commonwealth Games was amazing

“I am not done yet!”

The three time Commonwealth Games representative took to Facebook last week highlighting just how amazing it was to be competing at such a high level.

“A year ago, today I was 10 weeks post-op and re-learning how to walk,” she said.

“I could not stand for longer than 10 minutes, could not walk more than 100 metres and experienced severe nerve pain.

“Today, in Tonbridge, I received my first item of Australian team uniform for the 2022 Commonwealth Games.”

School supports Miss G

When she isn't showcasing her athletic abilities on the field, Taryn goes by the name of “Miss G” at St Patrick's Catholic Primary School where she teaches PE.

According to Director of Catholic Education Diocese of Rockhampton Leesa Jeffcoat, the whole school community had been very excited about her exceptional performance this morning.

“All the students and staff at St Patrick’s are absolutely thrilled for Taryn and very proud of their PE teacher Miss G, as she is fondly known,” Leesa said.

“That excitement is echoed around the diocese, all of us in Catholic Education have been cheering her on every time she stepped up to the plate.

“Taryn’s journey is remarkable and her determination in the face of adversity following her injury last year is inspirational.”