Weekender Molly

Program to help businesses and customers Think Food Safe

Megan Dean

Discounts and incentives will be offered to local businesses meeting food safety standards as part of Bundaberg Regional Council’s Think Food Safe program.

Up to 30 per cent discount on food licence fees will be available for those businesses which meet or exceed the food safety standards.

Higher licence fees will apply under the Think Food Safe program for businesses failing to meet the minimum food standards, due to the additional officer time required.

These premises will not be able to display the Think Food Safe signage.

Bundaberg Regional Council Health and Food Safety spokesperson Cr May Mitchell said the reinvigorated program would help to ensure positive dining experiences for all.

“The Bundaberg Region has a great reputation for our unique culinary experiences and the diversity of choices our hospitality industry offers and food safety plays such an important role in supporting that reputation,” Cr Mitchell said.

“Through this program local businesses will be equipped with the tools and advice they need to improve their compliance with food safety standards, with the assistance of our Environmental Health Officers.”

Think Food Safe replaces the Eat Safe program which had not been embraced by most food businesses or their customers. Eat Safe, which operated under a star rating system, was frequently confused for food quality standards rather than food safety.

The program allows good food operators to proudly display artwork with a ‘Think Food Safe, we do here!’ sign so customers can dine or purchase with food safety in mind.

Any compliant businesses would also receive a 10 per cent discount on licensing fees.

Cr Mitchell said for food premises that exceeded the standards, further incentives were available.

“All businesses with exceptional food hygiene will get a 20 per cent discount while the businesses that also have excellent record keeping practices will be eligible for a 30 per cent discount.”

The new program also aimed to address non-compliance, with penalties for businesses that consistently failed to meet food safety standards.

If Environmental Health Officers identify food safety breaches that pose a high risk to food safety and consumers, a 50 per cent or 100 per cent licence fee increase may apply.

“Council staff work closely with local businesses to ensure compliance but we believe the risk of absorbing the additional costs incurred by Council to provide increased one-on-one support will provide an incentive for non-compliant businesses to quickly rectify any concerns.

“The program allows good food operators to quickly rectify incidental or low risk issues, confirm this with the Environmental Health Officer and retain or improve their incentives.

“This not only benefits businesses, but the community, by ensuring that whenever you eat out in the Bundaberg Region you know our businesses Think Food Safe.”

Each Council Environmental Health Officer has now also been assigned geographical area to ensure food businesses can develop ongoing relationships with assessors.

Think Food Safe

Wirraway to take to the sky for Anzac Day

Ashley Schipper

The same model of war plane which was once used to train Australian pilots during World War II will take to Bundaberg Region skies as part of Anzac Day commemorations.

The Wirraway will be piloted by Ross Parker on Sunday, 25 April and will make flights across the region to honour those soldiers who fought for their country.

Ross said Wirraways began production in 1939 and continued until 1945.

“The design is based on an American design from the North American Aviation Company but was modified to Australian specifications and wholly made in Australia at the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation,” he said.

“This particular Wirraway was built in 1945 and served with the RAAF until 1957.”

According to Ross, the plane was completely restored in 1997 and has flown around the region for various events spanning 20 years, including many appearances on Anzac Day and at air shows.

He said he had been honoured with piloting the Wirraway for 24 years after a long career with the RAAF.

“I joined the RAAF straight out of high school and have been flying since 1973,” Ross said.

“During my 14 years in the RAAF I flew Caribou aircraft and was a pilot in the VIP Squadron based in Canberra flying the Prime Ministers and Governor General as well as being involved with the Royal Tour of the Prince and Princess of Wales in 1983.

“I then flew commercial aircraft for 30 years and now in semi-retirement my company, Warplanes Pty Ltd, flies this Wirraway aircraft and other warbirds.”

Wirraways a challenge for pilots

Ross said there were many features that made the Wirraway so unique.

“The Wirraway is quite a conventional training aircraft for its time although many say it lives up to its aboriginal name which means ‘challenge',” he said.

“It is quite a demanding aircraft under certain circumstances and it unfortunately claimed many lives during its training days with the RAAF.”

Ross said aside from the “challenge” of mastering such an aircraft, he loved the incredible heritage associated with it.

“I enjoy displaying the aircraft to the public on the air and on the ground so we can all share the history and personal stories of the brave servicemen who flew in these aircraft,” he said.

“It is a great reminder, especially on Anzac Day, of the sacrifice and courage shown by Australians during these times of conflict.”

This Anzac Day, Ross and his Wirraway will once again be bound for Bundaberg Region skies.

“I will conduct five separate flights to help ten of the local towns and districts to commemorate their various services,” he said.

“This includes areas such as Woodgate, Bargara, Elliott Heads, Burnett Heads, South Kolan, Gin Gin, Childers, Buxton, Moore Park and of course, the Bundaberg memorial.

“Warplanes Pty Ltd is proud to be part of the region’s Anzac Day commemorations and we consider our aircraft to be almost part of the local aviation community.”

For those wishing to view the Wirraway up close, Ross said there would be an opportunity for public flights in the days leading up to and after Anzac Day.

To find out more, visit the Warplanes Facebook page here or head to the website here.

Transport hub adds to Oreco growth

Wayne Heidrich

Oreco Group’s reputation as a developing mega business for the Bundaberg Region has been further enhanced with the pending finalisation of a 6000 square metre transport hub.

Located adjacent to the Isis Central Sugar Mill near Childers, Oreco is Australia’s largest producer of a range of mulch related products catering to garden and livestock feed requirements.

Business Development Manager Amber Gilbert said the company had come a long way since the days when it sourced local cane trash for conversion to sugar cane mulch.

“With the factory now producing a catalogue of over 100 products, storage and transport are key areas where we are lifting our efficiencies," Amber said.

“We recognised this some time ago and even though the transport hub was planned as a future addition to the factory site, we have been able to bring construction ahead by three years.

“The hub is a part of the $20.8 million expansion the factory has undergone over the past couple of years. Support funding has been made available through both the State and Federal Governments.

“Having this transport hub provides a dedicated, all-weather site where we can ship and, in return receive, backloads of items required for production or even assist other local industries with the transport and storage of their goods.”

Transport hub manager Ash Murphy said the transport hub, which can house more than 8000 pallets of product, would operate on a 24 hour basis.

“Construction commenced in November last year and we expect completion by the end of next month,” he said.

“In this hub we have a facility where we can simultaneously service four B-Doubles with three of those under cover and handle 30 vehicle movements per day.

“We have our own fleet of seven b double trucks servicing our customer outlets and transport distribution centers to the north and south of the state.”

Among the new products recently developed at Oreco are chopped lucerne and cereal hay stock feeds. The product is available as a 220kg mega bale, down to a tiny 2kg bale, and producing all sizes in between.

“All forage feed products are supplied locally from Greensill farms,” Amber said.

“We recently installed a de-barking machine which strips bark off logs allowing for cleaner pine shavings for use in various products.

"The bark is recycled into our potting mix products, and the log is shaved and repurposed into animal bedding.”

As Oreco gears up for the pending crushing season, Amber said a current focus of the company is sales and marketing for its new products.

While Bunnings remains a major client Oreco is currently looking to bring on board other major retail customers.

"Watch this space is all I can say,” Amber said.

Amber said Oreco Group is aware of changes in the sugar industry with production seemingly on a northwards drift.

"We have a great arrangements with growers around this region but should we need to source increased quantities of cane trash, opportunities exist up around the Mackay area which we currently utilise.”

Amber said the company was extremely proud of the footprint it has been able to establish in the Bundaberg Region.

“We currently employ in excess of 60 mostly local workers and the new hub is going to offer further job opportunities.

“Oreco has a long-term investment here and it is here in the Bundaberg Region where the company will continue to be based.

"We have a commitment to this area which is as solid as the hundreds of metres of concrete that support this site.”

Oreco Transport Hub
Chopped Lucerne Hay
Product on pallets
What's On

Childers Festival stallholder fee waived for locals

Ashley Schipper

Members of the Friends of the Festival are urging Childers businesses and local tradespeople to apply for free stallholder registration for the 2021 event.

This year, stallholder fees will be completely waived for 4660 residents in an effort to showcase more of the region's local talent.

Friends of the Festival member Jenny Woodman said the new initiative was open to all creative locals, businesses or groups, no matter the theme.

"We have a lot of people in our region who are very creative in craft, art and more and lots of groups who have something to offer," she said.

"This is a great opportunity for these locals to show off their skillset, their wares and their businesses."

Friends of the Festival is a group of locals from diverse backgrounds from within the Childers area who have partnered with the Bundaberg Regional Council Events team over many years.

The group meet regularly to discuss new ideas and initiatives and are this year imploring more locals to get involved in the festival.

Jenny said the waived stallholder fee would provide businesses with more of an incentive to attend the main event, and in turn, would create a fantastic day of trade in the region.

"In the past, Childers businesses may not have wanted to sign up for the festival due to the costs involved," she said.

"Now, with those fees waived, it gives our local people a chance to show off their wares in a festival event that is all about celebrating our region."

Divisional representative Cr Bill Trevor said he was thrilled with the new initiative and said it would provide many benefits for locals.

"What a fantastic opportunity for our wonderful businesses to enjoy a superb weekend of trade, as well as the chance to get their name out there, as part of the Childers Festival," he said.

"This festival encapsulates everything great about our region and I urge all local people with something to offer to sign up for a free stall space.

"Whether it is art, craft, sewing, baking, growing, quilting and more- we want you!"

Expressions of interest applications have been extended until the end of April.

To apply for a free stall in the Childers Festival click here.

Friends of the Festival Member Jenny Woodman is urging locals to apply for a free stallholder spot at the Childers Festival.

Friends of the Festival Member Jenny Woodman is urging locals to apply for a free stallholder spot at the Childers Festival.

Christ Church a beautiful feature more than 90 years on

Ashley Schipper

Standing tall on the corner of Woongarra and Maryborough Streets, Christ Church Anglican Church has been a prominent structure in the Bundaberg CBD ever since it was first constructed in 1927.

Featuring a gothic style with characteristics including pointed arches with mouldings in porches, windows and arcades, the Anglican church is heavily influenced by English and European architecture.

Photos depicting the church from its early construction stages show just how much effort the build required.

Local man and church member Ken Parsons is the current owner of the historic photos, who said he was gifted them by a neighbour some years ago.

Ken, who was married in Christ Church and who is a also a member, said the photos served as a reminder to the community of the significance of the building.

“These photos show just how hard it was originally to build the church,” he said.

“It really is something special- just the age of it, the stained glass windows, the colour of the bricks and the inside of the building is beautiful.”

The Bundaberg Regional Libraries’ heritage research team published an article outlining the history of the site and the effort that went into the build.

The construction of Christ Church was first established after the Bishop of Brisbane, W.T.T Webber, visited Bundaberg in 1886 and promised the people of the parish that a permanent church would be built.

The structure was completed in 1927 after more than 40 years of planning and preparation, but fittings and interior were not completed until the mid 1930s.

The design and plans for the church were drawn by the Diocesan Architect Mr J Hingeston Buckeridge of Sydney and showed a simple but spacious and beautiful building which would accommodate up to 600 worshippers.

The cost was estimated at 6000 pounds with extra funds for the construction raised by subscriptions, appeals, bazaars and individual donations from Bundaberg residents.

Christ Church build a mammoth effort

Due to various reasons, the building of the church was delayed until after Wold War I and saw Mr F.H Faircloth appointed as architect.

The original plans, first drawn by Mr Buckeridge, were adapted to allow for the use of bricks and concrete as the primary building material.

The foundation stone for the church was finally laid on August 9, 1920 by Bishop Le Fenu.

Construction of the church was a rigorous day labour task, with workers using rope pulleys, blocks and tackles as the main mechanisms for the build.

The open roof was constructed in Oregon pine and was the only section built by contract labour.

The Christ Church grand reveal

Christ Church was officially opened on Sunday, 20 February 1927 by the Archbishop of Brisbane, the Most Rev. G. Sharp.

In 1928 the Rev A. H Osborn became the new Rector of Christ Church.

It was during his incumbency that much of the interior of the building was designed and installed, with many of the interesting features a direct results of the Reverend's trips to England and Europe.

The Lychgate and Wayside Cross were erected after 1930 and the creeper vine covering these structures was grown from a cutting brought back from Glastonbury Abbey.

Rev. Osborn also collected the remains of several stained glass windows from overseas for Christ Church.

Many of the other features of the building have been donated by pioneer families in Bundaberg.

The fine wooden reredos in the sanctuary were donated by the Buss family, who were also responsible for the cost of building the church tower.

One of the more spectacular features of Christ Church is a brass lectern with the figure of an eagle attached, which was donated by Miss Tanner in memory of her brother the Rev. E. Tanner, who was the first ordained Anglican priest in Bundaberg.

The lectern was made in England and is acknowledged as one of the finest lecterns in Australia.

Restoration works a first for Christ Church

In 2019, the church underwent multiple restoration projects for the first time since it's construction.

The steeple was given a fresh coat of paint and the window glass was removed and re-worked earlier in the year.

Six Peace Bells were also introduced to the building and the original organ was transformed back to its former glory.

The pipe organ, which is housed in an organ chamber built over the north side of the church, has been a feature of the church since 1927.

It is one of only three in Australia and is unique in that it is mechanical rather than pneumatic.

Moncrieff launches new winter edition program

Ashley Schipper

An intimate afternoon with singer-actor Melissa Western was the perfect backdrop for the Moncrieff Entertainment Centre's winter program launch at the weekend.

The high tea event was enjoyed by about 40 guests who were presented with the new program upon arrival.

According to Arts, Culture and Events portfolio spokesperson Cr John Learmonth, the new winter program highlighted fantastic, free events and outstanding performances for everyone to enjoy.

“The winter edition of Moncrieff's program includes 38 shows across a wide-range of themes and genres,” he said.

“From comedy acts, opera performances, live music and more, there is certainly something for everyone at the Moncrieff Entertainment Centre over the next few months,” he said.

While Covid restrictions had hampered much of the Moncrieff Entertainment Centre's program last year, Cr Learmonth said it didn't stop the team from working hard behind the scenes to make sure the next program would continue to feature stellar acts and events in a high-class venue.

“During the six-month COVID closure last year, Moncrieff Entertainment Centre staff took the opportunity to give the centre a major revamp, with work being undertaken on the foyer, bar and auditorium,” Cr Learmonth said.

“It was in October when the Moncrieff was able to open its doors to the public once more, which followed with some fantastic performances and large audience numbers into 2021.

“I know the team are very excited to continue providing the region with a great event line-up through their upcoming Winter program.”

The new program is now available at the Moncrieff Entertainment Centre.

Cr John Learmonth with the Moncrieff Entertainment Centre's new winter program.

Cr John Learmonth with the Moncrieff Entertainment Centre's new winter program.

Liza's sentimental garden a place for family

Morgan Everett

Liza and Ryan O'Donnell's garden has seen 19 years worth of transformations, with the space growing and evolving alongside their family.

“As we moved through our lives from young enthusiastic owner builders, to brand new parents, to our current status of middle-aged parents of teenagers, our garden has evolved with us,” Liza said.

“It has been a wonderful journey that has seen the spaces change from entertaining friends, to entertaining toddlers, then energetic children and now it is my husband and I that take the most enjoyment from our garden.”  

Ryan worked in landscaping while living in New Zealand and, being a farmer’s daughter, Liza said they both enjoyed getting their hands dirty.

“There are a couple of my favourite plants that will stay because they are special to my sentimental soul,” Liza said.

“The big Madagascar Palm in the back yard was the very first plant my husband and I bought together, when we had no wrinkles or grey hairs!” 

The couple’s Bargara property is on a long and narrow block and each section has been transformed to flow with the journey of life.  

“As the boys grew and didn’t need the garden space as much, we replaced all the grass with landscaping and the garden has become three distinct zones,” Liza said.

“The backyard stream and pond is only about 18 months old and I look forward to seeing the trees grow and it become more natural.

“The vegetable beds are also in the back section of the yard and were built on top of the old multipurpose court at about the same time.   

“The middle section is mostly potted plants that love the cover, this is dedicated to entertaining.”

Outdoors is a place of relaxation for Liza and her family, with the highlight being an outdoor bath.

“The outdoor bath is a hit in winter and all the plants surrounding it makes it very private,” she said.

Liza said the garden has become a place to not only create memories but also preserve them.

“This yard has been our only home together and I can’t see us ever parting with it,” she said.

“I would like to think that our sons will come together with their families here someday.”

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Past and present Origin players to take to Bundy streets

Queensland's State of Origin team and legends of the game will arrive in Bundaberg on June 1 for the Maroons Fan Day and street parade.

Queensland Rugby League announced the annual Queensland Maroons Fan Day will take place in the region, where the Maroons have a strong connection.

Felise Kaufusi and Mal Meninga are among a prominent list of current and former stars to have played junior footy in Bundaberg.

The latest Bundaberg junior to crack the NRL is young hooker Ben Marschke, who made his debut for the Sydney Roosters this month.

The June 1 visit by the 2021 Maroons adds another chapter to the QRL’s proud history of taking fan days to regional Queensland.

There will be free entry to the Bundaberg Multiplex Sport and Convention Centre from 9am, giving footy supporters a chance to meet their favourite Maroons players.

Throughout the day, a number of events and activities will be accessible for fans, including a chance to:

- watch the Maroons street parade mid-morning

- access free rides and face painting for the whole family

- enjoy entertainment from the Today Show and live musicians

- purchase Maroons merchandise and apparel

- be a part of the Auswide Bank community activation

All fans will need to register their attendance, as part of the event’s COVID-Safe plan to ensure the health and safety of all players and fans.

For those that want to be even closer to the action, there is an opportunity to be a part of the Maroons fan day lunch which will be held inside the Convention Centre from 12noon.

Maroons coach Paul Green emphasised the importance of regional fans and the impact they have on the team and staff.

“We can’t wait to get to Bundaberg and visit such a proud and passionate rugby league region,” Green said.

“Everyone involved with the Maroons loves the chance to give back to local communities who continue to provide so much support.”

The QRL would like to acknowledge the Bundaberg Regional Council and the team at Auswide Bank for supporting the visit to Bundaberg.

Bundaberg Region Mayor Jack Dempsey said it was a great opportunity for local fans to meet some of their heroes and share the State of Origin experience.

“I encourage everyone who loves rugby league to show their support for the mighty Maroons,” Cr Dempsey said.

“Bundaberg and the Maroons are the two best-known and most iconic Queensland brands.

“I hope everyone who is able to get along does so to give the team a fantastic Bundaberg welcome.”

While in Bundaberg, the Maroons players will be participating in a range of community activities, supported by Auswide Bank.