Weekender: Wildlife photographer call Bundaberg home

New shade and playground upgrade completed

Emma Turnbull

Friends and families are invited to enjoy the new equipment and shade sails at McCarthy Street Park playground after a recent upgrade.

Featuring interactive educational panels, two slides, a climbing wall and new shade sails, the upgrade will ensure hours of fun for all visitors.

The McCarthy Street Park playground upgrade was identified as part of Bundaberg Regional Council’s Asset Renewal Program.

Mayor Jack Dempsey said the Parks team approached the community last year to gain an insight into what upgrades they were looking for.

“The feedback received from almost 70 residents in the region showed the community was keen to see young children take advantage of the setting to learn as they requested educational panels,” Mayor Dempsey said.

“Along with the three interactive educational panels, the team has included a space for younger children, and also ensured sun safety with new shade sails installed above the play equipment.”

Mayor Dempsey said in addition to children using the playground it was an area where friends and families liked to meet and was used in the popular times before and after school by families.

“From the survey we can see the popular playground, next to St Mary’s Primary School, is not only used by parents and grandparents to take their children to a safe place to play, but friends utilise the area to catch up with one another,” he said.

“The playground services many residents in Avenell Heights and Thabeban.

“Having areas for recreation and play in our region is essential in helping to keep our community healthy, safe and thriving.”

The second stage of the McCarthy Street Park playground upgrade will be delivered in the 2022-23 financial year and will include a new path that connects to the playground and the installation of a new shelter.

A life of travel leads to home in Bundaberg

Georgia Neville

With a camera in hand and a goal of capturing photos of incredible marine life, Rebecca Griffiths has spent the past five years visiting many beautiful places and now she officially calls Australia, and Bundaberg, her home.

The wildlife photographer celebrated becoming an Australian at Bundaberg Regional Council’s Citizenship Ceremony at the Multiplex on Friday.

She said she was proud to be a Bundaberg Region resident after moving to the country from Weymouth in Dorset.

Rebecca is no stranger to travel, spending her time visiting every corner of the globe as part of her career before moving to Bundaberg five months ago.

Her travels have taken her from Mexico to Peru, West Africa, the Galapagos Islands and Faroe Islands, although she said the “hidden gem” of Bundaberg had surprised her.

“I feel like Bundaberg is a hidden gem as Goreng Goreng country has so much incredible nature and wildlife,” Rebecca said.

“To have the privilege of living in such a beautiful country with so much cultural history and diverse landscape is incredible.”

Rebecca has lived in Australia for eight years and said recently settling in Bundaberg had opened her up to even more opportunities for her photography.

“To be able to be on the Southern Great Barrier Reef in under an hour from home, or to be able to see turtles hatching down the road at Mon Repos is amazing,” she said.

“I really feel like I am living amongst nature here and it is pretty special to be able to immerse yourself in it.”

Rebecca said she found her love for photography five years ago and the Bundaberg Region had so much on offer for her to continue to capture into the future.

“Bundaberg has so many amazing things to photograph,” she said.

“I am ocean obsessed so every chance I get I am in the water and love heading to Lady Musgrave or Lady Elliot Islands where there is always an abundance of wildlife to photograph.

“I love photographing the marine wildlife like whales, turtles, sharks and rays because they are so important in our eco system and I have the opportunity with my camera to show people the amazing wildlife we share this planet with.”

Rebecca said the journey to becoming a citizen was special to her with the chance to live in Australia providing her many opportunities she otherwise wouldn’t have had.

“The citizenship ceremony was the final step in what has been a long and emotional journey in setting up a life for myself in Australia,” she said.

“It was such a momentous achievement and to be considered a citizen is pretty special.

“There is so much opportunity here and I wouldn't have ever been able to do the things I am doing today if I still lived in England.”

Find out more about Rebecca’s work here.

Kepnock Scouts among groups to benefit from NRL game

Megan Dean

The Bulldogs’ NRL season may be over but the benefits from its round 21 home game in Bundaberg continue with thousands of dollars raised for groups like the Kepnock Scouts.

The sold-out game was an opportunity for a number of local community groups to get in some much-needed fundraising, including the Kepnock Scouts which collected rubbish after the game, raising $1100.

Kepnock Scouts Chair of the Parent Support Committee Matt Gees said it was a daunting task at first for the small band of volunteers.

“This was one of our biggest clean up exercises where we collected over 1000 aluminum cans and other recyclables and returned Salter Oval to a much better condition by cleaning up rubbish as well as recyclables,” Matt said.

“Our clean-up was done over two days with a dozen people (adults and youth) putting in four hours on the Sunday night and then four adults (including a grandparent) doing another six hours on the Monday.”

He said the Kepnock Scout group was no stranger to fundraising, relying on fundraisers and donations to maintain their home base.

“…our grounds and buildings do cost to maintain. We also have insurance, rates and land rental costs that have to be paid

“The money raised through fundraising activities like the clean-up from the NRL match allows us to ensure that money is set aside for these costly items, but also continues to update and replace worn equipment such as ropes, tents, cooking equipment and offer our members the best possible scouting experience.

“Plus the more fundraising we can do or donations we receive, the more opportunity we have to explore the diverse options of interests that contribute to a young person's physical, mental and emotional growth.”

 The Mayor’s Christmas Cheer Appeal also benefited from the game, with the Rotary Club of Bundaberg helping to sell raffle tickets on the day, raising $3335 with the funds raised to be used to provide food hampers for families in need during the festive season.

 Mayor Jack Dempsey said the historic game was a huge success and he looked forward to seeing the relationship between the Bundaberg Region and the Bulldogs grow.

 “Salter Oval has successfully hosted its first NRL game played for premiership points,” Mayor Dempsey said

“Anyone who attended or saw the Foxtel broadcast will attest to how wonderful our grounds looked and what a terrific job the entire delivery team did, between Council, the Bulldogs the NRL and the many local organisations that were instrumental in making this happen, including the BRL and local police.

“Not only was this national and international exposure priceless for our region, the many community groups which have also benefited is another great example of what this partnership with the Bulldogs can achieve for our region.”

He said there had been some lessons learnt in the operational delivery of the game and the organising committee would take on the feedback provided and work towards improving and building this event into the future.

A Well Loved sauce wins two awards

Georgia Neville

Mark and Bronwyn Welbeloved’s Well Loved Worcestershire Sauce has once again won over judges at the Mr Chilli Awards.

After taking home a win in 2021, the couple decided they could go one better in 2022, receiving two awards in this year’s competition.

The Mr Chilli Awards aims to highlight the best of the best chilli products from around the globe.

The local Gin Gin company won a first and second place in the Worcestershire Sauce category with their hot sauce coming first and extra hot sauce a close second.

Mark and Bronwyn were pleased with the win, which they said cemented the fact that they were on the right path with their sauces.

“It is just confirmation and reassures that it was not just a lucky win, having now won two years in a row,” Mark said.

“What we enter in the competition is exactly what we sell and what people can buy off the shelves in the stores that stock the product.”

Mark said they had different heats of sauce available, with each customer liking a slightly different temperature.

“We find that everyone has different chilli flavours that they prefer, especially when they are doing taste tests at the markets - everyone seems to find the perfect heat for them,” Mark said.

“The original recipe was one that a friend of our mother’s gave to Bronnie, and we have pretty much stuck to the recipe, despite a few alterations along the way.”

Mark said after ten years in business, they were continuing to produce more than ever and were receiving orders from right around the country.

“We have shipped orders to Western Australia and Tasmania, so our sauce is going everywhere,” he said.

“Our business is twofold as my sister also does it up in Cairns and she covers from Mackay north and has been doing so for the past six or so years.”

Mark said his Gin Gin-based business had seen great success thanks to the local community.

“We couldn’t do what we do without the support of the locals,” he said.

“We have been here for 30 years and we love it.

“It is a great community and there are a lot of people living out here that are doing the same as what we are doing.

“As remote as we are, the community all come together and support each other.

“We have shops in Adelaide through to Weipa, but our heart is in Bundaberg.”

Find out more about Well Loved Worcestershire Sauce here.

Pies baked in paradise win gold

Emma Turnbull

Chicken mango, lamb rosemary and beef stew are just a few of the pies that helped Paradise Bakehouse in Moore Park Beach win gold in the Great Aussie Pie Competition.

The local bakery won a total of 11 medals, including six gold, at this year’s event.

The long-running competition began in 1989 and has provided the official industry-backed endorsement of the greatest pies and sausage rolls in the country.

Paradise Bakery owners Lam Khong and Huyen Nguyen moved to the Bundaberg Region last year, and when it comes to creating delicious pies and pasties, the couple have already made their mark and won a number of national awards.

They successfully gained the Great Aussie Pie champion title last year for the best gourmet pie in Australia with their dancing scallop pie, along with the best gourmet poultry pie for their creamy chicken pie and the best gourmet game pie in Australia for their red curry crocodile pie.

Lam said they were thrilled to bring home a swag of awards again this year, and he thanked his loyal customers for their ongoing support.

“We are so happy to achieve the awards,” Lam said.

“We would love to say thank you to all family, friends and customers; without them we couldn’t (have) made it.

“Every pie we make with our love and we learn and get feedback from customers, therefore, we can improve our goodies.”

Buffalo now on the menu at Paradise Bakery

Always looking to improve their pies with new flavours, Paradise Bakehouse takes on recommendations from customers, and most recently they added buffalo to the menu.

Currently the Moore Park Beach bakery team makes 35 varieties, including the new buffalo Bundaberg Rum pie.

“At the moment we have over 35 varieties of pie: beef, buffalo, chicken, lamb, scallops, fish and prawns,” Lam said.

“Especially new is (our) buffalo Bundaberg Rum pie, which (has) really good feedback from customers so far!

“We try our best to make customers happy and we are happy too.”

Paradise Bakehouse Great Aussie Pie awards include:

Great Aussie Pie competition gold awards:

Chunky Mince Pie

Chicken Mango Pie

Chilli Cheese Pie

Beef Stew Pie

Lamb Rosemary Pie

Beef Pepper Pie

Great Aussie Pie competition silver awards:

Chicken Mushroom Pie

Creamy Scallop Pie

Beef Curry Pie

Chicken Thai Green Curry

Great Aussie Pie competition bronze award:

Red Curry Scallop Pie

Unity Mandala takes shape in gallery

Georgia Neville

Spiralling through Bundaberg Regional Art Gallery’s ImaginArts space, the Seeds of Unity Mandala is ever-evolving.

A number of different community members have played their part in helping the mandala come to life, with the project continuing to see support from locals.

It has so far engaged the entire Bundaberg Region through pop-up stalls and workshops, utilising the abundant supply of leopard tree pods from the area to culminate in the large-scale display.

Over 1500 residents and visitors have so far contributed a painted pod to be included in the Seeds of Unity Mandala installation that will continue to grow during the life of the exhibition.

The community is also able to take part in the activity in their own time, with schools and local community groups able to pick up an activity kit from Bundaberg Regional Art Gallery to start their own mandala.

Council’s Arts, Culture and Events portfolio spokesperson Councillor John Learmonth said it had been great to see the community come together, with the mandala a reflection of the connections the project had built.

“The mandala is a reflection of collaboration within the community,” he said.

“When we create a ripple effect that shapes connections, we become a part of something greater than ourselves.

“The vision for this project has always been to reach out to community though creative arts, inspiring improvements in social connectivity and mental health and I think it is doing a fantastic job of this so far.

“I encourage everyone to pop into the gallery and take a look at the mandala and paint their own seed pod if they haven’t already.”

Find out more about what is happening at the Bundaberg Regional Art Gallery here.

The Seekers Tree to grow with community

Georgia Neville

A new initiative has been launched by the Family Relationship Centre in the hope of enhancing the support it provides to local families and the Bundaberg Region community.

The Seekers Tree project started two and a half years ago and aims to support families and develop a community where seeking help is normalised.

Family Relationship Centre Community Development Worker Becky Spruce said the idea came about from a collaboration with families in need, the wider community and other local organisations.

“The Seekers Tree was born from families reaching out and asking us where they could go for help,” Becky said.

“We designed this resource in consultation with both families and community and partnered with Uniting Care, River Nations Aboriginal Corporation, Wide Bay Kids and Family Law Pathways.

“We worked alongside River Nations and they helped us to put a cultural lens across the tree and provided some beautiful Goreng Goreng language.”

Becky said she hoped the resource would assist families in understanding that asking for help was okay and was an opportunity for them to connect with different services.

“We designed this resource for families knowing that sometimes it really is difficult to maintain the strength in your family,” she said.

“We wanted to normalise help seeking, so The Seekers Tree is all about connecting to your community at the right time that you need that service, in a way that resembles strength and connection.

“We are hoping it will cross cultures and regions and that this tree will help our community feel better connected.”

Becky said in response to the growing need in the community for ongoing support, and many questions being asked regarding where to receive support, the tree would be a beneficial resource.

“We developed this interactive tree where children can put messages of hope, messages about family, they can write their name, they can be creative,” she said.

“We wanted to create a beautiful experience where the community could contribute to the tree and make it look more alive by putting leave on the trees.

“It is important to us that families understand it is normal to ask for help and look for help.”

The group is hoping to make the resource widely available to those within the community, with a book on the tree having also been produced.

“The book is a representation of the tree, and we use the branches of the tree to resemble the sectors where families can reach out for help,” she said.

“We are hoping to get this out into community groups, schools doctors’ surgeries and other public spaces.”

Find out more about the Family Relationship Centre here.

What's on

Food and art to bring seniors together

Georgia Neville

As part of Queensland Senior’s Month, Bundaberg Regional Galleries is looking forward to hosting a number of workshops in partnership with Bundaberg Art Society, themed around the Art of Good Food.

The connection of food and art will be celebrated as part of the workshops, which are free to the community, and will also highlight the Senior’s Month theme of social connections.

Throughout October people of all ages, cultures and abilities will come together and connect, celebrating the essential roles that older citizens play in our communities.

With the support of a grant, Bundaberg Regional Galleries was able to facilitate a series of workshops to encourage seniors to come together and learn a new skill.

Each participant will choose their favourite recipe and bring along one key ingredient from that recipe to use as a still life object.

Under professional arts tuition, participants will be guided over two-hour specialised workshops from 10 am until noon.

A collective book of recipes and artwork will be produced at the conclusion of the program for each of the participants.

The workshops will be hosted by Bundaberg Art Society, with one session being held a week for the month of October.

5 October – Pen and Wash Watercolour

12 October – Advanced Printmaking

19 October – Pastels and Smudging

26 October – Graphite Drawing

Council’s Arts, Culture and Events portfolio spokesperson Cr John Learmonth said the workshops were a fantastic way for the community to enjoy both art and food.

“The Art of Good Food: Arts Workshops celebrates Seniors Month and invites seniors to come together for a culinary journey, to share their delicious heritage, traversing food memories, family recipes, cookery, and history,” he said.

“Whether you practice art regularly or have never picked up a paintbrush before, these sessions will provide the opportunity to learn many different art techniques while also meeting new people.

“The book that will be compiled at the end of the sessions is a fantastic resource for the entire community, with people sharing their greatest family recipes.”

The sessions will be held at Bundaberg Art Society Inc, 95C Walker Street, Bundaberg West.

To book into your session, contact Marilyn Batty on 0487 324 291 or email her at battymarilyn@gmail.com.

This project is funded by Queensland Government and supported by COTA Queensland.

Rock the weekend away at Carina Speedway

Georgia Neville

It will be all systems go at Carina International Speedway when cars and monster trucks fire up their engines and world class acts including Daryl Braithwaite take to the stage.

The three-day Rock and Rumble showcase kicks off on Friday 30 September with a range of events taking place before the fun wraps up on Sunday 2 October.

Manager of the Autobarn Speedway Barry Pearce said the event had something for everyone, with each of the three days showcasing something different.

“The first night is a music concert, the second night is a monster truck show and the third day is a big all-stars burnout competition,” Barry said.

“We have a wide range of musicians performing with artists for both the younger demographic and the older demographic, including Daryl Braithwaite.”

Barry said tickets for the event could be purchased for all three days, while also having the opportunity to purchase a ticket for just one of the events.

“You can buy a three-day ticket if you are into everything, or you can buy them individually to either do one or two different things,” he said.

“We have plenty of parking onsite and people are also welcome to bring their motorhomes and caravans to stay for free.”

The event line up is as follows:

September 30 – Music concert featuring Daryl Braithwaite, Brad Cox, The Black Sorrows, Caitlyin Shadbolt, Melanie Dyer and Nathan Bedford

October 1 – Monster Truck show

October 2– Allstars Burnout Competition

Event organiser Matt Smith said he couldn't wait to see the concert come to life with some of rock and roll's best artists.

“We're super lucky to have rock and roll royalty coming to the event and while they have been to Bundaberg a couple of times, it has always been well received,” Matt said.

“We hope that this concert is a great mix between Aussie rock and Aussie country, making the concert a hybrid between the two worlds.

“It is going to be a high-energy concert, that's for sure!”

Purchase tickets for the event here.

Got You Covered library column

Netball carnival to bring plenty of visitors

Ashley Schipper

Up to 1,800 visitors and netballers will begin to arrive in the region next week to take part in the Primary Schools Cup, with projected benefits of more than $800,000 to be injected into the community.

The major sporting event will take place on 24 and 25 September at the Bundaberg Superpark Netball Complex on Enid Ethel Drive.

It will be the second time in four years that the competition has been hosted locally, with Bundaberg Regional Council providing sponsorship funding of $15,000 to support its delivery.

President of Bundaberg Netball Association Matt Leighton said it was one of the biggest competitions on the local sporting calendar with plenty of benefits to come from the two-day event.

“There are 54 teams registered which means there is 540 players, 54 coaches, 54 managers and approximately 60 umpires,” he said.

“With spectators added to that, it is estimated that there will be a total of 1800 visitors to Bundaberg due to this competition.

“These visitors will be staying up to two nights in local accommodation, visiting food venues for dinner and much more.

“Suppliers of food and drinks to Bundaberg Netball will also benefit as lunch and snacks are provided to all the players, coaches, managers and umpires at the courts.

“Being school holidays there will be some who will extend their stay to visit the tourist destinations of Bundaberg.”

Matt said for local players, the competition provided a great opportunity to enhance their skills while going up against some of the best in the state.

“There are nine Bundaberg teams from six schools playing in the competition, four of the teams are competing in the championship division and five teams playing in the challenge division,” he said.

“For some of our players it is their first netball carnival so they get to experience playing multiple games in a day against a range of different players of varying ability.

“One thing is for certain, they will all benefit from playing netball against the different schools from across the state.”

Matt said he was looking forward to what the weekend would bring.

“It is always exciting to see the courts full of netball players and the sidelines full of spectators,” he said.

“With the exposure from this carnival there is always the possibility that Bundaberg Netball Association and the Bundaberg Regional Council could host a Netball Queensland state age carnival, which has 150 to 220 teams participating.”

Bundaberg Regional Council has provided funding support for the second time, with Sport and Recreation portfolio spokesperson Cr Vince Habermann stating the Primary Schools Cup was a huge drawcard for visitors.

“The majority of participants will travel from outside of Bundaberg and will stay a minimum of two nights for the carnival, with the option to extend their trip to sightsee in our wonderful region” he said.

“Bundaberg hosted the same event in 2018 which provided an estimated direct spend into the community of $760,240.

“As past experiences have shown us, this event provides a huge economic boost, and we are estimating the 2022 Primary Schools Cup to provide a minimum direct spend of $860,000.”