Weekender: Chelsea saddles up for rodeo queen

Bundaberg Recreational Precinct wins award

Ashley Schipper

Work to the entrance and Main Pavilion of the Bundaberg Recreational Precinct has taken out a top spot in this year's Master Builders Wide Bay Burnett Housing and Construction Awards.

Local company Murchie Constructions was recognised in the Community Service Facilities category for the Bundaberg Regional Council facility, with upgrades to the site finishing in October last year.

The completed project features modern ticketing booth facilities, an impressive Main Pavilion, meeting rooms and landscaping.

A pedestrian-friendly avenue was also created with space to install public art, historical images, banners, event-specific displays and information.

Andrew and Julie Murchie said they were thrilled with the outcome of the project.

“It is always exciting to be involved in the refurbishment of an existing building, especially one such as the recreational precinct which is such and important community space for the residents of Bundaberg,” Julie said.

“This project by Bundaberg Regional Council improves the functionality of the Recreational Precinct by providing a weather proof event space with ticketing offices that will be well utilised for numerous large events for many years to come.

“We are honoured to have been chosen as the head contractor on this project and to have had an impact on the region's history through the delivery of this community space.”

Julie and Andrew said many local businesses were involved in the construction.

“As usual, we aim to engage as many local subcontractors and suppliers as possible, usually only outsourcing those which are not available in the Bundaberg Region,” the duo said.

“There were 23 subcontractors that worked on the project, four of these were from out of town and the rest were local.

“There were up to 30 workers on site at any one time.

“The success of all of our projects is testament to the high quality of workmanship provided by our staff and subcontractors.”

Big year for Bundaberg's Murchie Constructions

Julie and Andrew said the Master Builders award was the cherry on top of an exciting year for the team.

“In 2022, Murchie Constructions celebrates 56 years in business, and 55 of these as members of Master Builders Queensland,” Julie said.

“We have appreciated all the support we have received from the Master Builders over the years, and are always honoured to be recognised by the association at both regional and state level.”

Bundaberg Region Mayor Jack Dempsey congratulated the Murchie Constructions team on the award.

“It is fantastic to see not only a Bundaberg Regional Council building but also a local business highlighted in the Master Builders Wide Bay Burnett Housing and Construction Awards,” he said.

“The revitalised recreational precinct is a fantastic community facility and it will now be showcased at a state level.”

More than 25 builders, projects and individuals were recognized at the awards event held at Bundaberg Multiplex on Friday 5 August.

Chelsea’s quest for National Rodeo Queen

Emma Turnbull

Childers local Chelsea Whitaker is throwing her hat in the ring to become National Rodeo Association Queen and she hopes to inspire others along the way.

The 22-year-old was born and raised in the Bundaberg Region and, although she didn’t grow up in the world of rodeo, her robust passion for the sport is commendable.

“I ride and compete my big off-the-track thoroughbred, known as Lucifer, to the rodeo world and formally as Latitat on the track whom I was a stable hand for in New South Wales,” Chelsea said.

“I’m a 22-year-old single mother, born and raised in the Bundaberg Region, I did the majority of my school at Childers primary and Isis high.”

Chelsea was inspired to saddle up for the National Rodeo Association Queen competition after being involved in Miss Showgirl Junior in Childers as a teenager.

“The showgirl quest definitely boosted my confidence and love for supporting the communities and sports that I love,” she said.

“I have decided to run for National Rodeo Association Queen as I’m extremely passionate about the sport of rodeo and educating our public on the rodeo world.

“Also to extend a hand to those who weren’t fortunate enough to be born into rodeo, I wasn’t, and to help them get into rodeo and chase their dreams.

 “I encourage so many young women to reach out to their show committees and give it a go.”

Between following her passion and motherhood Chelsea finds the time to capture amazing images of the rodeo circuit, through her photography business, C Whitaker Rodeo Photography.

“The National Rodeo Association is an Australian rodeo association founded in 1966 with the first goal to create fair prize money and judging,” Chelsea said.

“Now the NRA hosts close to 100 rodeos a year with over 600 competitors, creating a circuit easily accessible for those with full time family or work commitments.”

To follow Chelsea’s quest to become National Rodeo Association Queen follow her on Facebook.

Give or take from The Clothes Basket

Ashley Schipper

A Bundaberg church has started a new monthly initiative called The Clothes Basket which will provide free bags of donated clothes to people in need.

Pastor Kelvin Rowland from the Church of the Nazarene on Steffensen Street said the project was all about community members helping each other.

“The idea of The Clothes Basket is a way for us, not just as a church, but as a community, to get in and help people who are at the moment homeless or in need,” he said.

“It's a way we can look after the people of Bundaberg.”

Pastor K, as he goes by at the church, said residents were encouraged to donate and then once a month an open day would be held for those in need to collect bags of clothes.

“What we're hoping will happen is people will be able to, for the next few weeks, donate to us any clothing for any age or size,” he said.

“It doesn't matter if it's from babies right up to, you know, your 90 year olds.

“Whatever it happens to be you can bring it in here and we will then sort it into size and age appropriate bundles.

“Once a month, we will hold an open day where people in need can come in and collect bags of clothing.”

Pastor K said donations were now being taken for the first open day to be held on Saturday 27 August.

“We will open the church doors at 8 am,” he said.

“People can come in, collect their bags and also enjoy some free tea and coffee and we'll have cordial for the kids and biscuits and cakes

“Everyone in our church is so keen for this to happen.”

The Clothes Basket is an initiative that Pastor K said came about after his work operating the Street Outreach Service van.

The van regularly tours the region to support people who are experiencing, or are at risk of, homelessness to access services, provide food or even just a friendly chat.

“The Clothes Basket is an opportunity to provide for these people and for others who may be couch surfing or staying with friends or family while they struggle to find somewhere of their own.”

He said for those wanting to donate to The Clothes Basket, Church of the Nazarene would be open each day from 9 am to 5 pm.

“You can drop off you clothing at the church or you can contact me through our Facebook page or by calling 0412 160 778,” Pastor K said.

“Goodstart Early Learning Centre over on Takalvan Street have also been helping us out by taking in donations from families.”

Pastor K said he had great expectations for the initiative after getting to know just how caring the Bundaberg Region community could be.

“I have been here in Bundaberg for five years now and I know that the locals here are extremely passionate and caring of their community,” he said.

“With The Clothes Basket, it's about not having to have the biggest ideas in the world to make a huge difference.”

Donations of clothing can be made to Church of the Nazarene at 33 Steffensen Street seven days a week.

The Clothes Basket will launch on Saturday 27 August.

Follow the Facebook page here.

Natures Emporium family’s 30 years of passion

Emma Turnbull

Business is booming for Nature's Emporium as the generational family-owned store celebrates 30 years of trading in the Bundaberg CBD.

Owners Chris and Tina Dimes’ passion for not only the small business but the lifestyle it incites has them waking each day with delight.

The alternative lifestyle business continues to prosper, 30 years on from when Chris’s parents, Bill and Karen, founded Natures Emporium in August 1992.

Since then, it has changed owners three times within the family, as Tina’s parents Allan and Anna owned it during the early 2000s, before Chris and Tina took over Natures Emporium in 2010.

“Chris has been here the whole time, he started working here as a teenager,” Tina said.

“We went to Shalom together and met there.

“But I remember walking through the doors for the first time when I was 15, and I thought one day I’d love to work here.”

That dream came true for Tina in 1999.

“Both Chris and I took a sabbatical and ventured into other careers of childcare and farming, but we always circled back.

“We have adult children now and they do their own thing, but they both always say, ‘never say never’.”

For 30 years, Natures Emporium has been known as a tranquil place, where customers can learn about other cultures and ancient traditions.

Tina thanked returning customers for their loyalty, saying some customers were adults who first visited the store as a child decades ago.

“The biggest thing for us has been able to trade for so long – it’s definitely a highlight,” Tina said.

“To do what we love is a highlight.

“It’s not just a job for us – it’s an expansion of our lifestyle.

“The greatest gift is to get up each morning to do what you love, it’s amazing.”

Tina said the memories of the three decades were fondly remembered.

“We have so many special memories, and it’s difficult to break down our favourite,” she said.

“We have great staff, including Amanda who has been with us for 10 years now, and actually we have seven staff at the moment, which is the most we’ve ever had at one time.

“Now, Natures is at the best it’s ever been.

“It’s actually exceeded our vision and it’s so exciting.

“What started out as just bricks and mortar, has grown so much.

“We are looking forward to continuing for another 30 years here in the heart of Bundaberg.”

Natures Emporium stock everything from sterling silver jewellery, books, home decor and furniture, essential oils, crystals and much more.

Green focus gets attention for local macadamias

Emma Turnbull

Macadamias Australia’s recent carbon-negative accreditation and environmental focus has drawn the attention of a profit-for-purpose organisation now showcasing Bundaberg Region produce in an innovative way.

 The Bundaberg-grown macadamia nuts have become the hero ingredient in a new vegan cream-based liqueur.

Forward Drinking has partnered with Macadamias Australia to produce the macadamia liqueur, which has proven popular as the first batch sold out within two months from its release date.

Macadamias Australia sales coordinator, and third-generation family member, Jason Steinhardt said the locally-grown nut was so versatile and they were excited to supply not only Forward Drinking but also the world with the amazing product.

“Our macadamias make their way through Australia and all over the world as more and more countries and cultures discover their fine taste, quality and health benefits,” Jason said.

“Because they’re so versatile, it’s always a joy to see how our bulk and export customers end up using them.

“We supply the booming new nut milk market, chocolate and baking industries, major food processors and everything in-between.

“We were very impressed to see something as unique as a macadamia liqueur from Forward Drinking come to life.”

Jason said Macadamias Australia had recently been accredited as a carbon-negative farm and processing facility, which gave both clients and the end user that extra bit of faith in what they were investing in.

Forward Drinking’s Luke Date said the idea to create an Australian, dairy-free version of an Irish whiskey and cream liqueur began as a dinner table conversation.

“In late 2020, after countless experiments with different plant-based milks, we started to think there was a genuine possibility we could bring this dinner conversation liquid to life.

“Macadamias were a key part of our testing and naturally stood out thanks to their incredibly smooth texture and creamy colour.

“The resulting liquid they produced was no different. The Macadamia provided a beautiful, rich base for this liqueur – and with the addition of nutty, chocolatey roasted wattle-seed, it found its final form.”

Forward Drinking is a profit-for-purpose spirit producer committed to encouraging forward thinking attitudes through products that inspire conversation.

Luke said Forward Drinking prioritised a strong focus on their ingredient procurement and partnering with Macadamias Australia was the right fit.

“We undergo rigorous sourcing from organisations who are positively impacting society, the environment and share similar values to Forward Drinking,” he said.

“We decided to source our macadamia nuts through Macadamias Australia due to their carbon-positive status, implementation of multiple best practises including an active Indigenous bee program designed to support native biodiversity and reef protection program.

“They also produce delicious nuts!”

Jason said they answered questions from Forward Drinking during the procurement process “about our farming practices, the land and culture with keeping in mind our respect for the local Goreng Goreng and other local Indigenous communities”.

“There is a definite trend occurring with suppliers looking for sustainably sourced ingredients.”

Abbotsleigh Citrus donates proceeds to school

Georgia Nevile

Abbotsleigh Citrus is supporting the next generation of local farmers, donating proceeds from the Taste Bundaberg Farmers Markets to Gin Gin State High School’s agricultural department.

When invited to attend the markets, Abbotsleigh Farm Manager Craig Estens said the local farming team thought it would be a great chance to sell direct to their customers while also having supporting the community.

“We decided that this would be a great opportunity to showcase our beautiful fruit locally, as most of our product is sold through larger retailers and wholesale markets,” Craig said.

“We thought we would donate the proceeds back to the community in some way.”

Craig said they were committed to supporting the local community and giving back wherever possible.

“We were aware Gin Gin High School have an agricultural program and we wanted to support the next generation of farmers by helping contribute towards this,” he said.

“We value the connection we have with our local community and try to support the local schools, businesses and sporting teams where we can.

“Some of our employees attended this school or have children that attend and we also have high school students work at Abbotsleigh during the school holidays and weekends.”

Craig said the team at Abbotsleigh believed it was important to provide the next generation a pathway into food and farming.

“We feel it is important that the next generation gain an understanding of where food and fibre comes from and to expose them to opportunities that may exist within the agricultural sector,” he said.

“By giving them a connection to agriculture at a grass roots level, this will help ensure we have future generations of farmers, passionate about agriculture.”

Gin Gin State High School Principal Paul Stebhens said the donation from Abbotsleigh Citrus would assist the school to continue to grow its agricultural department.

“The school has just completed installation of an irrigation system bringing water from the nearby channel into the school,” Paul said.

“The next phase is the purchase of a permanent water allocation which will then be used to irrigate the orchard and small crop gardens.

“The money raised will offset the school contribution to this purchase.”

What's on

Local author releases The Not-So-Far Pa

Georgia Neville

Gin Gin author Lauren Corvino is set to release her second story called The Not-So-Far Pa following the success of her first children's book The Nearby Nanna.

The new read is all about finding a grandfatherly figure close by and follows on from her original theme of exploring the importance of inter-generational relationships.

Lauren said the idea for the book was based on her own grandfather and the relationships he had with more than just his immediate family.

“After I published The Nearby Nanna my best childhood friend contacted me to tell me how much her children loved it,” she said.

“She said it reminded her of my grandfather, who she affectionately called Papa Joe, just as I did.

“It had not even occurred to me that my own grandfather had taken on the role of a surrogate grandparent to other children in our community.

“He was a wonderful person and our biggest lemonade stand and garage sale supporter growing up.”

Lauren said following on from the success she had experienced with The Nearby Nanna, which was released earlier this year and made available through Dymocks, she looked forward to seeing how The Not-So-Far Pa was received.

“The feedback has been amazing from The Nearby Nanna,” she said.

“It has been incredible getting messages on Instagram from strangers across Australia and abroad.

“The story has really resonated with so many people, at a couple of the readings some parents have even teared up listening to it.”

Through social media, Lauren said The Nearby Nanna had gained the interest of influencers who were posting content about the story.

“A reading of The Nearby Nanna by an Instagram influencer clicked over 20,000 views on YouTube,” she said.

“I also do a puppet show with Lil' Nanna.

“She sings, dances and now has her own TikTok page.

“I have absolutely loved the library tours I have done, having visited the Hervey Bay, Gladstone, and Rockhampton Libraries too which has been such fun.”

The Not-So-Far Pa available soon

Lauren said a digital copy of The Not-So-Far Pa would be available on Kindle from next week, with the book to be launched at The Book Boutique in early September.

“The book launch will be at The Book Boutique in Bundaberg on the Saturday 3 September at 10 am.

“The paperback will be available at the Moore Park Beach Arts Festival.

“It will also be for sale at the Gin Gin Courthouse Gallery, Bundaberg Regional Galleries and The Book Boutique in Bargara and Bundaberg as well as online through Amazon and Kindle and my website.”

The book is aimed towards children ages 0 to 12 but is described as a great read for any age.

You can find out more about Lauren and the books here.

110 years of Bundaberg State High School

Emma Turnbull

Bundaberg State High School has a proud 110-year history and over the years has seen students go on to become leaders, scholars, professionals, Olympians and more.

In the 110 years Bundaberg State High School has grown to meet the needs of the community and most recently a new three-storey learning centre was opened as part of a $12 million upgrade.

Bundaberg State High School opened on 1 January 1912 in premises initially erected for the Sugar Bureau on land bordered by the Burnett River, Maryborough Street and Quay Street.

As the gates opened for the first time there was 59 students enrolled, today there is more than 1500 students currently enrolled at the school.

When first opened, because of the school's position, pupils often arrived in the horse-drawn cart which brought the daily supplies of milk to the nearby butter factory.

On 20 December 1920, Bundaberg State High School was transferred to its new site and was officially opened with a public ceremony on 24 January 1921.

At the time there was only one course, the Professional or Academic Course and subjects taught included English, Latin, French, German, Mathematics, Algebra, Geometry, Physics and Chemistry.

Current Bundaberg State High School principal Chris Gill said memories of the old school yard were treasured by the community.

“As one of the first five high schools in Queensland, Bundaberg State High School has always had a prominent place in the history of education in not only the Bundaberg community but also more broadly across the state,” Mr Gill said.

“Over the decades we have had an incredible array of staff and students pass through our gates which have made an amazing contribution to our community, and I am proud to say that contribution is ongoing.

“In 2022 we have seen reunions return to the school from the graduating classes of 1961, 1962 and 1972, and to a person they speak with great appreciation and fondness of their time at Bundy High and of the wonderful opportunities they were provided with.

“Many of these graduates become notable figures within Queensland, Australia and internationally and it is wonderful that more than half a century after their graduation they maintain such a strong bond with the school.”

During the centenary of Bundaberg State High School in 2012, the thirteenth principal Raelene Fysh said on reading the school’s history it was evident the quality of teachers and school principals attributed to the success of the students and the school.

“For the first 45 years the schools had only two principals, so a level of consistency, community trust and resilience in difficult times was evident,” she wrote.

“During this time, former students returned to teach at the school for anything up to 46 years and were important in establishing sporting and cultural programs that became important community events.”

By the time the high school had reached its centenary, it had outlived all of its earliest students, outgrown its original structures and acquired a reputation and character of its own.

Mr Gill said the school held a gallery of proud history and it continued to flourish.

“One hundred and ten years since our commencement, the recent opening of our new building has provided us with a great opportunity to reflect on the interesting history of the buildings at Bundaberg State High School, a number of which formed the original Bundaberg Technical College,” Mr Gill said.

“The school itself is a museum into educational architecture over the decades and a project in the pipeline is to bring together our archive materials to create a Bundy High Museum where the many wonderful artefacts we possess can be on display for all to see.

“This will enable us to continually celebrate our history and inspire current and future generations of Bundaberg children.

“This will be a constant reminder to us all that we have plenty to be proud of at Bundy High.

“Happy 110th Birthday Bundy High!”

Got You Covered library column

In Our Garage with Craig Webb's 1967 VW Beetle

Adele Bennett

Craig Webb purchased his 1967 Volkswagen Beetle as a surprise for his two sons who loved watching
the movie Herbie.

How long have you had your vehicle and why did you buy it?

Well, it's a 1967 Beetle.

We've had it for a little bit over 14 years. My youngest son, who is 16 now, he wasn't quite two when we got it.

My other son is now 18.

Yeah, too many Herbie movies and one day I find myself bidding on eBay and got one.

What was their reaction?

I was trying to bring it home as a surprise, without my sons seeing it, and was just going to park in the driveway then beep the horn in the morning.

But it didn't quite work out because it sort of broke
down at Childers.

They were pretty ecstatic, they used to love driving in it when they were younger.

What condition was it in?

It was all original still, but the paint was all falling off of it, and surface rust was all over the roof and
the guards and everything - but everything was there.

Seats were pretty well had it and we had to reupholster the seats and new carpet and that sort of thing and obviously we rebuilt the motor.

What are the specifics of the engine?

It's just a 1916, they call it 1916-1915.

That's the cubic capacity, the exact cubic capacity of the
motor, twin carbys, extractors.

I've done a lot of fiddling, experimenting to try and get really good fuel economy plus performance.

I've managed that.

The original motor would only give about 38 miles per gallon and now I can get 48 miles per gallon.

Do you drive it much?

This one's been to Adelaide and back, the Great Ocean Road and everything.

Occasionally I'll park up in town and I remember this one instance this very elderly man.

He was on a walking stick, I reckon he was mid-eighties, and he was just all hunched over, walking along.

All of a sudden he just saw the car parked there and he just like, almost stood up straight and he was looking at the car and he smiled.

Memories obviously flooded back to
him then.

What do you love about beetles?

They're small, they are air cooled, no radiator and they are simple, very simple.

Not like modern cars with computers.

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

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