Save the date for Milbi Festival 2021

Megan Dean

The Milbi Festival will return in 2021 featuring exciting new events, including a collaboration with the popular Lighthouse Festival.

The 10-day program will this year be held between October 28 and November 7.

An annual celebration of all things arts, culture and environment, Bundaberg Regional Council events portfolio spokesperson Cr John Learmonth said Milbi Festival 2021 was an event for the entire community to enjoy.

“From cultural dining experiences to free family fun, Milbi Festival offers unique and meaningful experiences which connect community and culture and celebrate this incredible place we call home,” Cr Learmonth said.

“Centred around marine turtles, for which our region is internationally renowned, the festival promotes awareness, inclusivity and togetherness.”

Cr Learmonth said the Bundaberg Regional Council event was made possible through a partnership with the Port Curtis Coral Coast Trust, Bundaberg Tourism and a range of local businesses and organisations.

“We are so excited to this year bring what has traditionally been known as the Lighthouse Festival into the Milbi event and create one big community celebration.

“There are many new elements to the 2021 program which we are excited to launch in just a few short weeks.

“Some exciting announcements are yet to come, so watch this space.”

The newly formed River Nations Dancers will be performing at a number of Milbi Festival 2021 events.

River Nations CEO Norelle Watson said the group formed in February this year and was made up of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students from schools throughout the region.

After already making their debut at major events, including the Taste Bundaberg Festival and NAIDOC events, the troupe is excited to participate in the arts and culture focussed festival.

“Each student dances with a deep pride in their Indigenous heritage that has shone through in a number of events since the group’s formation,” Norelle said.

“The students have represented their schools with dignity and pride, displaying a deep sense of culture in each of the presentations in the public arena.”

Norelle encouraged residents to participate in Milbi Festival 2021 events for the opportunity to see the River Nations Dancers in action.

“Each student’s commitment and consistency throughout each presentation is a joy to watch. 

 “Twenty-seven students are involved in the program, representing their families, school and community in a culturally inclusive and spiritually strong presentation at each event they perform.  

 “The Indigenous Elders of our community are proud of the way the students conduct themselves and they are capturing everyone’s hearts and attention with every performance. 

 “The students dance with purpose and passion, sharing the traditional songlines of their ancestors. 

 “Most importantly, they have fun, they are totally immersed in their culture and walk away from each performance, steeped in the knowledge of who they are and where they come from.”

 The Milbi Festival 2021 program is set to be launched within the next three weeks featuring a range of free and ticketed events.

Wonderland Movement finds a new home

Georgia Neville

Alexa Young opened her pilates studio, Wonderland Movement, in Bundaberg just over a year ago and has recently moved from the Woongarra Laneway to Bingera Street to keep up with class demand.

The new studio offers plenty of space to allow for more participants in pilates, barre, yoga classes and more.

Alexa said she had been overwhelmed with support since opening Wonderland Movement 12 months ago.

“We had a month of around 90% capacity and I thought, while this is great as a teacher, this isn’t really great for everyone who is trying to book in a class and can’t find a spot!” she said.

“We have been open just under a year now and when we started I didn’t think we would ever want to move and I actually wasn’t sure that we would ever be popular enough to need to move.”

Alexa said she had always had a passion for pilates and the numerous health benefits it provided.

“The benefits of pilates begin at decreasing lower back pain, tight muscles and improving flexibility and have the potential to take you from strength to strength, if you allow it,” she said.

“Both pilates and barre are low impact, high intensity workouts that can benefit people at every level.

“The power of movement comes through our awareness, appreciation and love for our bodies – all things we champion”

With the hope of being able to welcome new members to every class, Alexa said making the move to 31 Bingera Street had been the perfect decision for her business.

Wonderland Movement now has a timetable consisting of around 20 classes per week and four teachers, including Alexa.

“Our classes include barre, mat pilates, reformer pilates and a couple of HIIT classes,” she said.

“Earlier this year I also decided that I needed another teacher.

"I put the call out and was lucky enough that one of the girls, Tiffany, who had been attending the classes for a few months put her hand up.

“She has almost finished her training and will soon take on more classes - it has worked out perfectly.”

You can find out more about Wonderland Movement, pricing and schedule on the website.

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Three years to Snap Send Solve thousands of requests

Megan Dean

More than 5800 Snap Send Solve requests have been resolved by Bundaberg Regional Council in the three years since the app was introduced.

Making it easier and more convenient for residents to lodge an issue with Council, it’s as simple as snapping a picture, clicking send and being notified when it has been solved.

To mark the anniversary of its introduction in August 2018, statistics on the most reported issues have been revealed, helping Council to solve:

● 695 overgrown vegetation reports
● 522 requests related to water and sewerage
● 694 pavement requests
● 648 reports regarding roads
● 269 incidents of dumped rubbish

Organisational Services portfolio spokesperson Cr Steve Cooper said Snap Send Solve had provided residents with a valuable and convenient tool to report issues to Council.

“The Bundaberg Region stretches across almost 6500km sq, so to have hundreds of residents lodging thousands of reports through Snap Send Solve means these issues come to Council’s attention more quickly,” Cr Cooper said.

“Our staff can’t be everywhere at once, but by receiving these detailed, visual and accurate reports we can ensure we prioritise the right projects and get them fixed as soon as possible.

“The convenience of the application has been another driver for increased reports and we know this avenue of contacting Council has been welcomed by many residents.”

Cr Cooper said, depending on the type of report, Snap Send Solve could also help to improve efficiencies.

“If the report is sent at the same location where the picture of the issue was taken, we receive the exact coordinates of the reported issue which in some circumstances can be a real time saver.

“It’s also beneficial for our maintenance staff to be able to view a photo of the matter of concern and often means they can arrive on site with all the tools and material required to provide an immediate fix.”

Snap Send Solve CEO Danny Gorog said they are excited to be celebrating the platform’s three-year partnership anniversary with Bundaberg Regional Council this month.

“Snap Send Solve is a free app that allows Council to quickly receive specific information from its local residents and visitors on issues of community importance, and to track customer satisfaction levels,” Mr Gorog said.

“Since Bundaberg Regional started implementing Snap Send Solve in 2018, Council has received 5871 reports from its local residents and visitors through the free Snap Send Solve app.

To find out more, head to Council’s website or download Snap Send Solve for free on the App Store or Google Play.

Jetts Bundaberg expand to offer new opportunities

Georgia Neville

Jetts Bundaberg opened the doors to its new gym this week, moving to a bigger location to provide members with more opportunities to reach their health and fitness goals.

Jetts has operated in Budnaberg for 11 years and its new space, next to BCF off Johanna Boulevard, is fitted out with more machines and new equipment.

Manager Keegan Lankowski said having a range of new machines and a larger space would allow them to better service the community’s fitness and health needs so they could achieve their goals.

“We have incorporated some new equipment including more cardio and strength equipment which allows our members to also focus more on their lifting and strength side of training,” he said.

“We will be able to bring classes back with Covid slowing us down due to the space we previously had and different requirements, so we look forward to facilitating those again.”

Keegan said the gym had seen a consistent flow of business since last year’s lockdown and he was looking forward to continuing to welcome new members into the club.

“We went through lockdown, and we came back with a big influx as everyone was keen,” he said.

“It has continued to be really steady since then and we hope to see some fresh new faces joining us here.

“We are aiming to create an evolved product that the community in the area will want to visit moving forward.”

The gym is looking forward to providing arrange of new class sessions in their new space including:

- Burn
- Hustle
- Booty Bootcamp
- Box Fit
- Lift
- Social Saturday

The gym is open 24/7 for the convenience of their members.

You can find out more about the Jetts Bundaberg on Facebook.

Sew Quirky stitches a new style

Georgia Neville

With the hope of changing the perception that sewing is for older people, Mandy Murray has been bridging the gap between art and sewing through her business Sew Quirky.

The name Sew Quirky represents exactly what the brand is about, with a range of products that mix textures including fabrics, vinyls and pom poms, re-imagining the concept of traditional sewing.

Mandy said the business was launched with the aim of inspiring young people.

“I started Sew Quirky because there wasn’t really anyone young and modern doing something different, so I really wanted to inspire the younger generation to sew,” she said.

“I have always had a passion for sewing and when I was younger it was like no one sewed, it was really a grandma thing so I wanted to make it cool.

“Developing my own sewing patterns gives me the opportunity to spread my love of creating with not only my local community, but the whole world.”

Over the past few years Mandy has taken Sew Quirky around the globe.

“I have travelled around the world to the UK with Sew Quirky and to the USA and exhibited over there as well,” she said.

“I remember my first trip to do a show in the USA and I was so nervous about it.

“The response to the brand has been so cool and I can’t believe it.”

Mandy is launching her book, Applique the Sew Quirky Way, which provides a range of patterns and techniques for people to teach themselves how to make a variety of designs.

“My book provides a more in depth version of the patterns which all go with each other and help people a bit more,” she said.

“I’m very excited for everyone to get their hands on it.”

There are also a range of downloadable patterns available for purchase online.

“I have sewing patterns that are a document that you can download online and it explains to someone how to make it, so someone else can do the same sort of techniques as me,” she said.

Mandy attended the weekend’s Bundaberg Quilters show with a range of products on display.

“It was great to be at a local exhibition and share my works with the community,” she said.

Mandy encouraged everyone to pursue their passions.

“Never be afraid to try something new and find something that inspires you and give it a go,” she said.

“I definitely think trying something new is great for people in the current circumstances and keeping busy.”

Sew Quirky products are available online and you can keep up to date with the brand on Facebook and Instagram.

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Tianni's Paragon Theatre mural inspired by people

Ashley Schipper

Childers artist Tianni Hooper has her artwork proudly displayed on a large mural at the Paragon Theatre, a project she said was a dream come true.

It's one of the biggest commercial pieces Tianni said she had ever created and was an amazing opportunity to put her skills to the test.

Tianni said her love for drawing began when she travelled around Australia with her family.

Her artwork has been highlighted as part of Bundaberg Regional Council's Our People Our Stories project, which profile's local residents and celebrates the community.

Born in Townsville, Tianni completed grade 6 before her parents decided to pack up their things for life on the road.

She was home-schooled while travelling across the country, meeting many people from all walks of life and taking in the sights.

It was what gave her inspiration for her art and education.

“You learn so much more about people through travelling, each day gave so much variety,” Tianni said.

“I have always loved drawing and through travelling I was self-taught.

“While we were travelling I would just draw lots of the things that I saw…it started out as a hobby.”

When Tianni was in Grade 10 her family decided to settle in Childers and she soon began finding other outlets to allow her creativity to grow.

“I kind of realised I could do something with my art during high school and when I graduated I got my first commercial project,” she said.

“Owner of The Paragon Theatre, Merissa, gave me the opportunity to paint a mural which was awesome.

“When we moved here The Paragon stood out to me the most because it's the biggest building here in Childers and the opportunity to paint the mural was a dream.”

The 19-year-old said she was always looking at new ways to showcase her art and said her biggest inspiration was people.

“I love drawing people; I don’t really know why. I think people connect to people more,” Tianni said.

“I love oil painting because you can layer it and I think because all the original masters used it.

“I started off using oil paint and drawing with charcoal pencil, then I got to high school and discovered all these other materials so I started playing around with everything else.”

Tianni said her travels and her love for art had taught her something special, to always be yourself.

“I think a lot of people struggle with that because they try to fit in,” she said.

“There is always a bigger world out there… don’t be scared, just be bold and be you.”

Robyn shares bond with students at special school

Ashley Schipper

At just 18 years of age Robyn Dunn was one of 300 people to apply for a cleaner position at Bundaberg Special School.

She got the job and has never looked back.

Robyn's work has been highlighted as part of a Bundaberg Regional Council project called Our People Our Stories, which shares the stories of residents and celebrates the local community.

Employed at the special school for 36 years, Robyn said she loved everything about her role and the beautiful people she got to work alongside every day.

“Each student is special, they touch a part of you,” she said.

“I’ve grown a lot in life through this job. I’ve learnt a lot. This school has shown me the way and opened my eyes.”

Robyn said she knew the name of every student at Bundaberg Special School and loved to have a chat with them, sharing in their stories of the day.

She said she even kept in touch after graduation and enjoyed watching the children grow and blossom into adulthood.

“I’ve even had a first beer with the students once they are old enough,” she laughed.

The special bond Robyn shares with the students comes from a place of love and compassion she has experienced within her own life.

Robyn said she was adopted as a baby and had always felt privileged to have been able to find a loving family to call her own.

“I was adopted, born in Brisbane and left at the Salvation Army Hospital,” she said.

“After six weeks my adoptive mum and dad chose me – Gladys and Les Dunn – and I also have an adopted brother who is two years older than me.

“We are the special ones. I like to refer to myself as the chosen child because I feel very lucky that someone chose me.”

Affectionately known as Miss Robby by students and her peers, Robyn said she would always have a connection to the students of Bundaberg Special School.

“The one thing that makes me come to work are the kids. I love to just have a chat,” she said.

“If I can put a smile on their face when I walk through the gate, it’s made my day and if a student can put a smile on my face, I’m good.”

The first 10 stories created under the Our People Our Stories project have been released and are available to read here. Stories will be released on a regular basis over coming months.

What's on

Nationally acclaimed artist brings exhibition to Bundaberg

Georgia Neville

Kyra Mancktelow, who was recently awarded the 2021 Telstra NATSIAA Emerging Artist award, will be hosting the Sitting Down Place exhibition at Bundaberg Regional Art Gallery later this month.

Kyra is a Quandamooka woman with links to Mardigan, Kabi Kabi and South Sea Islander peoples.

Sitting Down Place is a unique exhibition that speaks to the history of Minjerribah by referencing the Myora Mission and the resistance and resilience of the Quandamooka people.

Through her use of sculpture and printmaking, Kyra tells many stories, with heritage and family central to her practice.

Kyra's unique style uses garments and printing techniques to tell a story.

“The exhibition consists of garments made of the 1896 uniforms as well as prints which are impressions from these garments,” she said.

“It is talking about the attempt of assimilation and then further to that recognising the history and talking about the strong cultural practices that were kept during the mission.”

Her technique of design and printing was developed through trial and error before Kyra said she fell in love with the style.

“It first started out as an experiment, and then before long I fell in love with it,” she said.

“I have continued to expand on it, finding more stories to tell through the printing to show the different history.”

Council’s Arts, Culture and Events portfolio spokesperson Cr John Learmonth said securing the Sitting Down Place exhibition was a credit to Bundaberg Regional Galleries, providing the community with an opportunity to see such a high level of art.

“This is an incredible exhibition to have in Bundaberg and I credit the hard work of our galleries team in ensuring that the community has access to view these wonderful artworks,” Cr Learmonth said.

“This is a very different exhibition and I encourage the community to visit the gallery to have a look for themselves.”

The exhibition has only been on show at the Logan Art Gallery previously.

Having just been awarded the 2021 Telstra NATSSIA Emerging Artist Award, Kyra’s work has now been recognised at a national level.

“I feel honoured to have won the award,” she said.

“Especially amongst all the other amazing finalists, it was great to be recognised.”

Sitting Down Place will be on display at Bundaberg Regional Art Gallery from Saturday, 28 August until Thursday, 7 November.

For more information head to the What's On website.

Gallery worker finalist in prestigious small scale art award

Maria McMahon

Working at Bundaberg Regional Art Gallery is a dream come true for Vanessa Christi who was recently a finalist in the prestigious Lethbridge 20 000 Small Scale Art Award.

Vanessa’s joy and passion for art is reflected in the way her face lights up whenever she speaks of it.

Working at Council’s Galleries on a part-time basis is a dream job for Vanessa, allowing her to be surrounded by what she loves.

As an artist in her own right, painting under the name of Vanessa Allegra, she was thrilled to be named a finalist in the prestigious small scale art award.

The award is open to national and international artists for small-scale artworks, and works are judged on their creativity, originality and skill.

Vanessa’s submission was a portrait of colleague Rachel Weldon.

Vanessa was inspired to paint Rachel after she noticed how the lighting captured her face while she was curating artworks within the gallery.

“Sometimes I will see a face or object and catch a glimpse of where the light hits in a certain way,” Vanessa said.

“I am struck by that and want to capture it within my artwork.

“In Rachel’s case, my painting shows how the light from above her shone on her cheeks, nose and her beautiful, almost aqua eyes.

“I’ve added brush strokes across her mouth representing a mask which tells her story of not being able to visit her family interstate during COVID.”

Council’s Gallery Director Rebecca McDuff said she was proud of Vanessa’s achievement.

“This is a prestigious prize and it is exciting to see one of our regional artists, who is also a Gallery team member, to be chosen as a finalist,” Rebecca said.

Vanessa comes from a long line of artists with her great-grandmother, grandmother, mother and sisters also loving to paint. 

She said her mother and sisters were always happy to offer advice and give her honest feedback on her work.

Studying at the Atelier School of Fine Arts has also introduced Vanessa to some of the best in the art world.

“Being surrounded by them and their work, and seeing the way they paint, was truly inspiring,” Vanessa said.

“Applying what I’ve learnt and becoming a finalist in a prestigious award like this one, helps with the value of your work.

“To be able to sell my entry on the opening night of the Award’s exhibition was extremely satisfying.”

More of Vanessa’s work can be viewed on her website

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Joanne’s coastal garden a tropical retreat

Morgan Everett

Joanne Whitby has transformed her Coral Cove garden into a tropical haven after moving to the Bundaberg Region from Lancashire, England nine years ago.

Chasing warmer weather, Joanne moved to Coral Cove with the hope of creating a tranquil retreat in her own backyard.

After years of hard work, her dream has come true.

“What really stuck out to us was the palm trees, as you can imagine coming from England, we didn’t see many palm trees, if any at all,” Joanne said.

“We’ve finally ended up with three and love them to bits!

“The back garden was large bushes around the edge and lawn to which we found out was hard yakka in the glorious Queensland heat keeping it trimmed.”

A trip to Bali pre COVID-19 had inspired the design of the garden as Joanne said they wanted to bring a piece of it home with the vision coming to fruition once the pool was installed.

“We just knew we needed to bring some interesting plants and reduce the lawned areas,” she said.

“We couldn’t believe that with many plants you can take cuttings and they grow.

“It was exciting to see our little ideas come to life as we put our individual stamp on the gardens.”

Joanne said she enjoys the calming nature of the garden, especially after a busy day of working at the hospital.

“I am totally at peace in my garden, I find it so calming around 5 pm as the birds are settling down,” she said.

“I would wonder out into the garden with my coffee and that’s just magical.”

When something doesn’t go to plan Joanne said it doesn’t change her plans, she has learnt to be innovative and try new ideas.

“I cannot tell you the number of plants that just gave up on life when I planted them!” she said.

“When I first started gardening in Queensland, I didn’t realise just how dry and hot the summer sun is but have now learnt from many mistakes.”

The passionate green thumb said there’s always new and exciting ideas to take on along with finding new places to sit back and enjoy the view.

“At present my favourite plant are the two palm trees,” Joanne said.

“I just cannot believe we have them and when you sit out the back garden and can see them towering high over the roof and realist how tall they are.”

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