Weekender: Chelsea saddles up for rodeo queen

Turtle nesting cage a community effort

Emma Turnbull

Endangered sea turtle hatchlings along the Woongarra coastline will have a better chance of survival after the installation of a turtle nesting cage in Burnett Heads.

Bundaberg Regional Council has teamed up with the Sea Turtle Alliance, the Lighthouse Hotel Burnett Heads community raffles members and local volunteers to help conserve the region’s sea turtles.

Sea Turtle Alliance committee member and turtle volunteer Carly Sugars said the cage would help to protect the nests from predators and environmental factors such as the heat from the sun.

“Council, with assistance from the Conservation and Ecosystem Management trainees from Impact Community Services, recently installed a turtle nesting cage at Burnett Heads to help protect loggerhead turtle hatchlings,” Carly said.

“The cage was funded by donations from the Lighthouse Hotel community raffles, Sea Turtle Alliance and Council.”

Carly said shade cloth would be added to the top of the cage prior to the commencement of the nesting season which would assist in regulating nest temperatures.

“In recent years, hatchling success has been impacted by high sand temperatures, resulting in hatchling deaths prior to emergence,” she said.

“The cage was designed with input from marine turtle specialist Dr Col Limpus from the Department of Environment and Science and will also function to prevent predation of nests by foxes and dogs.”

Bundaberg Region Mayor Jack Dempsey said protecting the region's turtles was an important initiative which Council had been championing in several different ways.

“Our coastline hosts the largest concentration of nesting marine turtles on the east coast of Australia and is home to 50 per cent of endangered loggerhead turtle breeding activity in the South Pacific Ocean” he said.

“Through our Reducing Urban Glow initiative, the Bargara Pedestrian Pathway Smart Lighting Project and now this nesting cage, we are always looking at ways to keep our turtle population in good health and thriving in their natural environment.

“I would like to thank the Sea Turtle Alliance team, Impact and the The Lighthouse Hotel raffle members for their partnership in this very important project.”

The endangered loggerhead turtle nests along the Woongarra Coast between November and February.

“Local turtle volunteers registered with the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service monitor turtle activity throughout the season,” Carly said.

“When turtles lay nests in unsafe areas, volunteers relocate the nests to a safe location on the same beach, as eggs inundated by high tides or impacted by dune erosion have a significantly reduced chance of developing and hatching.”

The new cage at Burnett Heads will hold up to 32 relocated nests.

Prior to installation of the cage, the community volunteers and the Impact Community Services trainees also weeded the dunes to make way for the cage and to encourage native species to regenerate.

Snakes Downunder home to albino kangaroo

Georgia Neville

An 18-month old kangaroo with stark white fur has found his forever home at Snakes Downunder Reptile Park in Childers.

George the albino kangaroo is the newest addition to the zoo and although he mixes with the other grey kangaroos in their enclosure, you can definitely pick him out from the crowd.

His genetic mutation makes him unique with only one in every 50,000 to 100,000 kangaroos carrying the albino gene, according to mammologist Mark Elderidge.

Snakes Downunder Zookeeper Julianne Nugent said George was moved up to Childers from Victoria and was settling into his new home.

“He is an albino and he is a bit different, he needed a home and so we were happy to give him one,” she said.

Julianne said in the wild and in the enclosure the bright colour of George’s fur posed a risk to other kangaroos and so his new friends at Snakes Downunder were taking their time to welcome him.

“The kangaroos do not fight, and they are slowly accepting him, but in the wild something of this colour would pose a danger to the kangaroos because it can be easily seen,” she said.

“In the enclosure the other kangaroos will let George be in the general area, but he will not be sitting right beside them.”

According to National Geographic albino colouring occurs in mammals when an individual inherits one or more mutated gene from both parents that interfere with the body’s production of melanin.

Melanin is the main pigment that determines the colour of the skin, fur, and eyes.

Julianne said although the rest of the eastern grey kangaroos at Snakes Downunder were slowly warming up to George, visitors to the park had taken a quick liking to him.

“He was here during the July school holidays and a lot of people have said how cool he is!” she said.

You can find out more about Snakes Downunder here.

New skate facility for Elliott Heads

Megan Dean

Work on a new skate facility is set to kick off this year as part of the Elliott Heads Recreation Plaza.

Specialised contractor Trinity Skate Parks was recently awarded the tender for the construction of the skate facility component of the plaza proposal.

And it’s not the company’s first project within the region with Trinity also responsible for the newly opened Walla Street Skate Park redevelopment.

While the contractor was still finalising its construction program, Trinity had indicated it would be on site in November.

Mayor Jack Dempsey said the need for the new skate facility and recreation plaza was identified through a community petition in 2017.

“It’s fantastic to see some progress for this much-anticipated project,” Mayor Dempsey said. 

“The work to provide play and recreation opportunities for all ages follows Council’s recent redevelopment of the Elliott Heads foreshore streetscape.

“Not only are these works delivering terrific outcomes for the local community but it’s highlighting Elliott Heads as a must-visit destination in our beautiful region.”

The Elliott Heads Recreation Plaza will be located on the foreshore between the kiosk and the community hall, co-locating the new skate facility with existing facilities such as the toilet block, playground and basketball court.

Divisional representative Cr Tanya McLoughlin said the community had been consulted extensively throughout the Elliott Heads Recreation Plaza project which had experienced some unforeseen delays.

“Securing specialised skate facility contractors and designers has proven difficult but I know the community will be happy to see the project underway at last,” Cr McLoughlin said.

“In order to move forward without further delay, we’ve reduced the scope of the project to construct just the skate facility portion of the Elliott Heads Recreation Plaza at this stage.

“The original concept plans shared with the community also featured parkour elements which are not included in the current works program.

“However, the plaza has been designed in a way which ensures this aspect can easily be added on in the future when budget allows."

The skate facility work set to kick off this year will feature a range of rails and ramps constructed on the coastal side of the pathway which currently runs through the Elliott Heads Recreation Plaza site.

Within the concept plans the parkour elements were designed to be situated on the western side of the pathway ensuring that, by undertaking the work in stages, the design would not be compromised.

The contractor has ensured its activities will be undertaken in a manner sensitive to the surrounding natural environment.

To stay up to date with progress on the construction of the new skate facility within the Elliott Heads Recreation Plaza, head to the project page.

Rashays to open Bundaberg store

Georgia Neville

New restaurant Rashays has served up 50 local jobs as it prepares to open its doors to the community on Tuesday.

The restaurant’s menu caters to everyone, with a huge selection of favourites including pizza, pasta, burgers, salads and a range of desserts.

Rashays Queensland Operations Manager Tiana Pennington said the opportunity to open a restaurant in the region came about after the business was looking to expand its horizons.

“Rashays does not stop in one destination, and one day we expect to be across the country,” Tiana said.

“The Bundaberg community can definitely expect fast and friendly service in a warm and welcoming atmosphere with delicious, modern Aussie favourites.

“We are excited to be opening in Bundaberg and are really looking forward to meeting and serving our new community.”

Tiana said the restaurant was family orientated, with each store across the country providing the same high-quality service.

“Rashays prides themselves on being a family orientated restaurant by always making the families comfortable when eating out with their children as we all know how challenging this can be at times,” she said.

“Something that is different about Rashays is that no matter what store you go to across the nation, everything should always be the same.

“From the fun party atmosphere to the delicious food and how it is put onto the plate and served, everything about Rashays should be uniform across the board.

“If you don’t come and try Rashays, you will be missing out!”

The restaurant has provided jobs for 50 locals, with the opportunity for more to become available as time goes on.

“As it stands, Rashays has hired around 50 people for the Bundaberg store,” she said.

“We are an inclusive company, where no one is left out and everyone has opportunity.

“With growth, we anticipate we can give many more people opportunities to work within the Rashays community.”

You can find the restaurant next to Zaraffas, off Takalvan Street.

The full menu is available on the Rashays website here.

Childers Nature Camp sets eco goal

Ashley Schipper

The family behind Childers Nature Camp is putting eco-tourism and sustainability at the top of their to do list after signing on to become one of the region's eco-certified businesses.

Matt and Reen Roberts operate the local tourist park and said the chance to gain extra credentials through Bundaberg Regional Council's ECO certification incentive was something they had jumped on.

The aim of the incentive is to grow visitor economy and promote ecotourism by providing a 50 per cent cash subsidy to eligible businesses/operators to offset the first annual certification fee payable to Ecotourism Australia.

“It assists us to build a better eco sustainable tourism business for future generations to enjoy,” Matt said.

“Eco-certification means a lot to our business and community because it means we can help preserve nature rather than destroy it.

“It helps guide our business practices in the right direction and helps us grow and co exist with nature and for everyone to enjoy.”

Childers Nature Camp is situated at 264 Cooks Road, South Isis and was established in 2018.

“We wanted to create a place where people can come and enjoy nature at its finest,” Matt said.

“Particularly people with a disability as there was not a lot to offer people around the area at the time where you can get away from technology and the busy town or city life and go to and learn and experience nature.”

Since then, Matt and Reen have been establishing a range of processes to protect their surrounding environment at Childers Nature Camp.

“We currently recycle most of our customers' waste by supplying a bin for each waste product such as bottles, cans, paper, cardboard and compost bins,” Matt said.

“We also have a tree planting program and have planted over 300 native species around the camp to date and our koala habitat area has been planted out with 100 blue gum trees.

“All our camp is off grid, solar powered and we collect and store rain water in large tanks and dams to provide for the camp's wildlife and the day to day operations.”

Matt said gaining eco-certification was another step in continuing to create a space that celebrated the environment.

“Childers Nature Camp is about getting back to your grass roots enjoying what we have created for others to enjoy, preserving what little natural surroundings we have left,” he said.

“We are passionate in what we do and it reflects on how we strive to provide a memorable and educational experience showing people how fragile our ecosystem is and how it needs us to do the right thing now and into the future.”

Bundaberg Region to take part in R U OK? Day

Georgia Neville

Community members are encouraged to reduce the stigma of mental illness and take part in a local R U OK? Day 2022 event.

R U OK? inspires and empowers everyone to meaningfully connect with the people around them and start a conversation with those in their world who may be struggling with life.

On Thursday 8 September Bundaberg Regional Council and local organisations are coming together to show support to the community on R U OK? Day with a range of events on offer.

Gin Gin Neighbourhood Centre

What: Learn about visiting outreach services and how to check in with friends, family, and work colleagues.
Where: at the front of Gin Gin IGA
When: between 9 am and noon

Childers Neighbourhood Centre

What: Community morning tea with local businesses are encouraged to wear yellow to show support on the day.
Where: Childers Neighbourhood Centre,
When: 9.30 am, to RSVP phone 4130 4690.

Bundaberg Regional Council, community groups

What: Spreading the R U OK? Day message
Where: CBD Pavilion, Bourbong Street
When: All day

R U OK? Day and Fly the Flag free tradies' breakfast

What: Hotondo Homes has partnered with Mates in Construction to raise awareness around mental wellbeing and suicide prevention for construction workers
Where: Kendall Flat cricket grounds
When: 7 am to 9 am

To find out more about R U OK? Day click here.

Event Connecting Creatives in film industry

Georgia Neville

Aspiring film industry enthusiasts will be in for a treat when the upcoming Connecting Creatives session, with local guest speakers, will unpack the charm and challenges of working in film and television as a profession.

The session, to be held at Woodgate Community Hall on Saturday 17 September, will host a panel of guest speakers including television educator Warren Duxbury and producer, filmmaker, and cinematographer David Quarrell.

The special event, in partnership with Bundaberg Regional Council and Central Queensland Regional Arts Network (CQRASN), is aimed at bringing the regions’ arts industry together for a morning of information sharing and networking.

Council’s Arts, Culture and Events portfolio spokesperson Cr John Learmonth said it was great to see events like these being held in Woodgate, to assist in supporting the creative community and providing accessible education sessions.

“The Connecting Creative’s events are a fantastic way for the community to meet like-minded people while learning about different industries,” Cr Learmonth said.

“I encourage anyone interested in the film and television industry, or who would just like to find out a bit more, to attend the session.”

CQRASN’s Trudie Leigo said the theme was chosen to provide people in the region insight into working in film and TV.

“This event is aimed at people working in the creative industries, or people wanting to get into the industry,” Trudie said.

“Careers pathways in the film industry can include cinematography, animation, film production, screenwriting and distribution, to name a few.”

“This topic was chosen because in recent years there has been very few events held regionally to support conversations and networking between people working in the film and TV industry.

“It is a challenging sector, that is largely metro based and yet we have people with incredible experience in our region who are willing to share their learnings with others.

“The conversation will provide an understanding to how broad the opportunities are in the industry.”

“While the session will be very educational for artists, creatives, arts workers, film makers and students, everyone is more than welcome,” she said.

“People will have the opportunity to ask questions and learn about some of the pathways into a career in film and television.”

“We cannot wait to share with the audience the depth of experience and fascinating background stories of our guest speakers.”

Connecting Creatives film event guest speakers include:

  • Warren Duxbury, Film and Television Educator
  • David Quarrell, Producer, Filmmaker and Cinematographer
  • Jolene Watson, RADF Officer, Bundaberg Regional Council
  • Trudie Leigo, CQRASN

Registrations for the event are essential by Monday 12 September, with refreshments to be served.

You can find out more about the event here.

What's on

Cane Fire Tours sweet event for Childers Rotary


The Cane Fire Tours continue to burn bright as one of the must-see events during the recent annual Childers Festival.

This year the tours, which showcase the sugar industry in and around Childers, again attracted a capacity crowd of 300 over two nights.

It also marked the first occasion Council had stepped back from hands on running of the event and handed the organisation to Childers Rotary Club members.

President Geoff Fay said the club had successfully negotiated with Council to take over responsibility for organising the event.

“Normally Rotary partners with Council and provides the end-of-tour barbecue dinner for participants,” he said.

“But the prospect of Rotary handling the event was raised with Council early this year and we were able to provide assurances the club had the resources to safely and effectively run the Cane Fire Tours,” he said.

“The Isis Central Sugar Mill management and its staff play such an incredibly important role in bringing this spectacle to people interested in seeing just how the sugar industry works.

“They provide us with a workable itinerary, allocate the staff, the venues, machinery, commentary and ultimately the fields where part of a cane crop is burned.”

A rare insight into sugar industry

Geoff said that even though people in the Bundaberg Region are surrounded by the sugar industry, many have very little insight into just how the crop ends up arriving as crystals in the household sugar bowl.

“Our Club has great members, some of who are associated with the industry and who can act as commentators on the buses for the benefit of tour participants,” he said.

“We have a modest membership and it is quite a task to ensure we have risk assessments, insurances, buses booked, food ordered and the required personnel to ensure the tours go without a hitch.”

Geoff said the Council Events team were extremely helpful in seeing the tours transitioned seamlessly to the control of Childers Rotary.

“The support from Coast & Country Buses, Childers IGA and Biggenden Meatworks allowed our club to maximise the funds we were able to raise this year. This event certainly ranks as our major fund raiser,” he said.

“The aim of the tours is always to leave participants better informed about a major local industry, ensure they are delighted with the variety involved in the event and totally satisfied with the catering provided in conclusion.”

Geoff said the funds raised are targeted towards supporting local and international Rotary projects.

“We were happy to provide a group of PCYC Emergency Services Cadets from Biggenden with a donation of $500 when they attended as tour participants,” he said.

“It was just a way of assisting the Cadets in meeting the cost of an educational tour."

Geoff said the 2022 Childers Festival had again been an outstanding event.

“It provides not only the centrepiece Festival on the Sunday but a broad range of activities during Festival week that showcases the diversity of our community.” 

Lochlan McGovern joins Spark Starter

Georgia Neville

Lochlan McGovern is a local musician who is hoping to kickstart his career with the help of Bundaberg Regional Council’s Spark Starter program.

The all-new program gives local talent the opportunity to work with project coordinators to showcase their performance talents, network with likeminded people, attend free workshops with professionals, work within the industry and fast track their careers.

Lochlan said the opportunity to meet new people and gain more experience was a driving factor behind him applying to be part of the program.

“I applied for the program because I saw it being hosted around town, and it caught my attention and my experience with music made me want to progress with that,” Lochlan said.

“I am looking forward to gaining more experience in the music industry and interested in gaining new skills with my guitar.

“I am also interested in meeting new people and working with them.”

Having grown up with music in the family, Lochlan was inspired to take it up himself, having played guitar for about seven years now.

“What got me into music was, when I was young, my uncle had his own gig and played at many events from weddings to parties.

“I have been playing my acoustic guitar for about seven years and have enjoyed every adventure with music.

“I play three instruments including acoustic guitar, classical guitar and piano, and I also am currently taking part in singing and guitar lessons.

“I am now a very experienced guitar player looking to take my singing and guitar playing to the next level.”

Lochlan said he loved seeing how music could bring people together and express themselves.

“When I think of music I see it as bringing people together and allowing them to let their emotions out,” Lochlan said.

“I love everything about music, and it will be amazing to have a job that I love doing as listening to music makes me feel happy and helps develop my confidence.

“This program is great for all the young performers out there in Bundaberg wanting to express their true talent they have hidden and develop their experience and new skills and to also meet other artists.”

You can find out more about the Spark Starter program and the artists performing alongside Lochlan as part of the program here.

The Spark Starter project is supported by the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland.

Got You Covered library column

In Our Garage with Maryanne and David Tallent’s 1976 Mini Leyland

Morgan Everett

David and Maryanne Tallent have owned their 1976 Mini Leyland for five years and said it was the colour green that sparked the unique Mr. Bean theme.

 Tell us about your car?

It’s a 1976 Mini Leyland.

We've gone with a Mr. Bean theme.

It seems to get a fair bit of attention when it's on the road.

What condition was it in when you first got it?

It was a wreck.

The windows were pushed in. It was wet inside.

I only took the wheels and the motor out of it and the rest went to the tip.

How long did restoration take?

It took me 11 months to pull it apart, strip it completely, cut out all the rust and weld in new panels.

Every nut and bolt was pulled apart.

I just did it in 11 months. I really enjoyed that.

I could see myself driving it even before I'd finished it, so I knew it was going to get done.

What modifications were made?

The colour started the Mr. Bean look, everybody started calling it Mr Bean as we were making it.

The door cards are recovered and the roof lining I put it in upside down while it was on the rotisserie, so gravity helped there, and the sun visors are original.

The dash is original except for the radio.

I went to the expense of trying to buy an old radio and all you get is horse racing on it.

There is a whopping great air horn under the mudguard that won't fit inside.

What makes it Mr. Bean themed?

I got the Mr. Bean plates and the teddies, I suppose.

I was going to have it orange, but someone else decided on the green.

We've also put the sticker on the back with Mr. Bean.

We were in England and we found an original Mr. Bean Little Teddy, so we brought that back as well.

So it's pretty special.

What is the public reaction?

I've had a few experiences where I could be driving down the road in Darwin and I've been handed a can of Jim Beam actually through the window while we're driving

So that was fairly good.

Every time it's parked somewhere, you'll have the parents coming up with the little kids and can we have a photo, please?

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

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Pink Flamingos encourage women to ride

Georgia Neville

Two passionate cyclists have started a local group called The Pink Flamingos to inspire and encourage women of all ages to enjoy the benefits of cycling.

Trixie James and Delise Lutz are the locals behind the newest riding community, hoping to encourage women to get peddling.

Trixie said it had always been her plan to start a group for like-minded women and she was looking forward to seeing where she could take it.

“It has been on my mind to encourage other women to get involved and find the enjoyment that I have found through the physical act of riding and in developing some beautiful friends along the way,” Trixie said.

“Cycling in Bundaberg is a growing sport and is a great way to build fitness and get out on the open roads and enjoy our beautiful countryside.

“Women often cite time and family commitments, plus the uncertainty of riding on the road, as reasons why they are unable to take up cycling as a sport. 

“Yet cycling offers so many benefits, least of which is fitness and cardiovascular health.”

Trixie said the Pink Flamingos' vision was to empower women to enjoy the sport of cycling whether in a competitive sense or simply social riding.

“To begin with we will be meeting at the crit track, near Lake Ellen, on Sunday afternoons at 2 pm,” she said.

“The goal is to have all level of riders join us with those aged 13 and over invited along.

“We will help beginners to build their confidence on their bikes and intermediate riders to gain power and fitness. 

“Women are welcome to ride road bikes, mountain bikes or even e-bikes. 

“Once a month we will organise a social road ride which, of course, will take us past a coffee shop or something just as delectable.”

“We had 22 women join us for our first gathering and I know this cycling community is going to continue to grow.”

Trixie is also looking for any local businesses who would like to support the riding community.

“There are many ways that businesses can align with us and help to support this growing movement,” she said.

“It’s not always about asking for donations, but it could be they have a service they can offer.”

The group is also hoping to increase the confidence of riders when cycling on the road.

“It can be daunting riding on our local roads as some drivers may display aggressive behaviours, so we are hoping to help build the confidence of new riders when they take to the road through this group,” she said.

“When riding in small groups, it is safer for riders to ride double abreast, and this is allowed.”

If you would like to know more about The Pink Flamingos contact Trixie James or Delise Lutz on Facebook.