Weekender: Talk Like a Pirate

Angels create haven for those in need

 Ashley Schipper

Angels Community Group will be able to provide a hot shower and laundry services to those in need once their new support centre is up and running in the next few months.

The building, situated at the former Stewart and Sons coach terminal in Targo Street, has been a massive project for the not-for-profit organisation but one the team is very excited to get underway.

Angels Community Group executive officer Sue Tasker said the new hub would provide a range of free services.

"We are going to have a dedicated support centre where we can provide emergency hampers, a sit down area so people can have a cup of coffee and some food, as well as a shower and laundry," she said.

"At the moment we know there are a lot of people living in their cars and tents with the rental situation who will appreciate these facilities.

"Having a warm shower is a basic human need and being able to provide a place where people can clean up and feel safe is something I have always wanted to be part of."

Angels Community Group was formed in 2015 when founding members Kerri Savidge and Sue Tasker realised the power that comes from giving people a purpose.

The passionate team is dedicated to giving back to the community through their range of social enterprises, support services and charitable projects.

The group provides hampers, schools supplies, Christmas gifts, food, haircuts, training programs and much more.

Sue said the building that would transform into their support services hub was currently being renovated and hoped it would be ready for opening within the next few months.

"The construction side of things should be finished soon and then we will get in there and start painting, building a disability ramp and more," she said.

"It's been a long process but we just go for it and it seems to work out somehow, it's exciting."

She said the decision to move to a bigger location meant bigger overheads for the not-for-profit group, but that was something she was willing to sort through.

"Where we are located now, we just don't have the ability to have a designated support centre and the services that we can offer is very limited which is why we needed to expand," Sue said.

"It is very scary for us because it is a big investment and we are increasing our rent by a lot but I think it is very important to provide these types of spaces in the community."

Sue said the support centre would be combined with the mini mart that was currently located at Walla Street.

The second-hand store will remain in the area and double in size once the mini mart moves.

Locals offer support for Angels' new venture

Local groups have been showing their support for Angels and their big move by providing donations to the organisation to help with their upcoming plans.

Sons Of The Southern Cross SMC Widebay Chapter Inc recently handed over a cheque of $1500 to the volunteers.

"This was such a pleasant surprise, we have a lot of expenses at the moment with our move fast approaching," Sue said.

"We appreciate it so much and it’s going to make a big difference."

To find out more about the Angels Community Group and the many services they provide click here.

Talk Like a Pirate to fight childhood cancer

Georgia Neville

The Cook family is encouraging the community to support Talk Like a Pirate Day this year, after experiencing firsthand the effects childhood cancer has on a family.

Talk Like a Pirate Day raises funds for Childhood Cancer Support, an organisation that the Cook family knows all too well.

Rhiannon Cook said her daughter India was diagnosed with a rare liver cancer at just seven years old, prompting the family to contact the organisation.

“We started investigating precocious puberty in my daughter when she was seven years old and after a few investigations we found out that she had liver cancer,” Rhiannon said.

“The type of cancer that she had is paracellular carcinoma, which is more often found in aged alcoholics and it is very rare for a child to get it, so it is a slight variant.

“We got in contact with Childhood Cancer Support and they put us up in accommodation in Brisbane which was absolutely phenomenal.”

The services provided to the family by Childhood Cancer Support helped them to get through trips to Brisbane and supported the family in many different ways.

“We had our own self contained unit and we had our own social worker who was there to give us a hand and there were beautiful food donations bought in as well,” she said.

Not only was the accommodation and support provided fantastic, but Rhiannon said the opportunity to live in an environment where the other people understood what you were going through, and what the kids were going through, was a big help.

“You lived in your own little community with people who are going through very similar circumstances, all with different childhood cancers,” she said.

“You could all go out into the playground and everyone understood what you were going through and everyone understood what the kids' needs were so it was really beautiful to be there together.”

Fortunately, the family have come through the other side of the treatment and India is recovering well.

“India is fantastic now; she has been to her twelve month scans and thankfully nothing has come back,” she said.

“In saying that, we aren’t out of the clear for another three or four years but we have only four trips to Brisbane rather than every other month.”

The family remain in close contact with the team at Bundaberg Hospital, who are this year hosting a fundraiser of their own on Talk Like a Pirate Day.

“The Bundaberg Hospital has been amazing, we get regular contact from Kobi as she rings to check on you,” she said.

“When we would go in the team were always really supportive and understanding that these experiences are really traumatic for a child.”

Rhiannon encourages the local community to support Talk Like a Pirate Day, as it is a great way to raise awareness of childhood cancer and raise much needed funds for Childhood Cancer Support to continue its great work.

“Talk Like a Pirate Day raises much needed awareness for childhood cancer and raises funds for Childhood Cancer Support and if we can be ambassadors for that, it is great.

“Everyone should get involved, it is very easy and kids look amazing.”

Talk Like a Pirate Day is held on September 15, with the Bundaberg Hospital this year hosting a fundraiser of their own.

The Bundaberg Hospital paediatric department is raising funds for Talk Like a Pirate Day, supporting families that come through the hospital affected by childhood cancer.

The hospital’s paediatric department see firsthand the positive support the Childhood Cancer Support organisation is providing to local families, urging them to get together and raise funds for Talk Like a Pirate Day.

Bundaberg Hospital Paediatric Nurse Amy Slapp said the fundraiser was important to the team as they understood the support required for families who are going through childhood cancer diagnosis and treatments.

“This is important to us on the ward as we have patients going through cancer treatment which is difficult enough without having the added pressures of finances or the child being separated from their family during treatment,” Amy said.

“This organisation helps keep families together in a stressful time when they need each other.”

Amy said the hospital was looking forward to hosting a range of activities on the day to raise funds and were currently on the look out for any donations that could be used for raffles.

“We are running the fundraiser on Wednesday 15 September which will consist of a continuous raffle, a money board and hopefully a barbecue,” she said.

“We would be happy with anything we could put towards our raffle or if we end up with bigger donations we could hold a silent auction.”

Anyone can donate directly to the Bundaberg Paeds fundraiser page ahead of the day or for those who can’t be there on the day can do so here.

Incentive scheme launched for businesses willing to eco certify

Megan Dean

Local tourism operators looking to tap into the billion-dollar ecotourism industry are being given a helping hand through Bundaberg Regional Council’s Eco Certification Incentive Scheme.

The policy offers eligible tourism operators within the Bundaberg Regional Council area, who wish to become ECO Certified through Ecotourism Australia, a 50 per cent subsidy on the first annual certification fee.

Mayor Jack Dempsey said eco certification was one of Council’s advocacy priorities and had the potential to grow local visitation rates.

“Ecotourism is one of the fastest growing sectors of global tourism and when you live in a region as naturally diverse and stunning as ours, it just makes sense,” Mayor Dempsey said.

“By attaining destination certification, we will not only have a positive impact on the environment, we’ll support our local economy by boosting visitor numbers to the region.

“For local tourism operators becoming eco certified is a significant commitment so Council wants to support them through this process.

“The Eco Certification Incentive Scheme is one of the ways we are offering that support.”

In addition to the cash subsidy, Council’s incentive scheme will offer promotional benefits to eco certified businesses and will see them included in an established network of authentic and sustainable visitor experiences.

Bundaberg Tourism also showcases eco certified businesses through its website including sustainable travel itineraries.

According to Tourism and Event Queensland’s recent Nature Based Tourism strategy, the sector is a significant contributor to the state visitor economy, with pre-COVID estimates placing the value to the economy at $5 billion per year.

The strategy also credit sustainable tourism practices as leading the way in post-COVID recovery for domestic travel.

Bundaberg Tourism CEO Katherine Reid encouraged eligible operators to seek certification and take advantage of the Eco Certification Incentive Scheme.

“The eco certification is for tourism products with a primary focus on nature (tours, accommodation, attractions),” Ms Reid said.

“It assures travellers that certified products are backed by a strong, well-managed commitment to sustainable practices and provides high quality nature-based tourism experiences.

“Having completed several submissions myself for nature-based tourism experiences over the years, it is quite extensive, but the benefits of the program and the commitment to sustainable practises, far outweighs the work! 

“This accreditation program can be transformative for your business and your visitor experience, with a holistic look at how your operation connects, contributes and celebrates the surrounding environment and community that it supports.”

She said local businesses should explore either the eco certification or the climate action certification.

“I also congratulate Bundaberg Regional Council for taking the challenge head on with their commitment towards ECO Destination accreditation and hope that real, authentic change is implemented across the region for the future of our people, place and planet.” 

Eligibility criteria to seek eco certification:

  • The tourism operator’s customers activity time must be spent within a natural area or with a focus on the natural or cultural values of the area.
  • The products to be certified will help customers to directly and personally experience nature in a sustainable manner.
  • All necessary licences, permits and approvals are obtained from relevant authorities and agencies.
  • The tourism operator consistently meets customer service expectations and has defined customer service procedures and is committed to delivery of a quality tourism experience.
  • Economic, social and environmental sustainability principles are core to the operation of the business.

More information on eligibility for eco certification is available through Ecotourism Australia’s ECO Essentials Guide.

For more information about the benefits of eco certification or how to access the associated benefits, head to the project page or contact Council’s Eco Tourism Officer on 1300 883 699.

Gina's freeze dried strawberries bursting with flavour

Emma Turnbull

Biting into a Gina’s Table freeze dried strawberry releases a burst of flavour in the mouth with the delicate crunch of the locally grown fruit.

With a bumper strawberry season underway in the Bundaberg Region SSS Strawberries has value added with Gina’s Table freeze dried strawberries.

The freeze dried strawberries are perfect eaten as a snack, added to desserts or salads, or crushed to make a bright red strawberry flavoured powder.

SSS Strawberries general manager Gina Dang is the brains behind the new product, that is made from 100 per cent fruit with no additives.

Gina said they had been looking into the product for a few years to reduce waste, and allow them to have their strawberries available to the community year-round.

“We have been here for 15 years in Bundaberg and every strawberry season we have opened our shop for the locals to come here and have fresh strawberries,” Gina said.

“This year our goal is to have more varieties of products, so we can do more and give more to our community.

“Freeze dried strawberry is a product that we have been a number of years working on, to see how we can improve our big productions of fresh fruit.”

Gina said the new product allowed them to use all of the fruit, including the strawberries that were not suitable for market.

“We had waste with the fruit that had little marks on them, and we could not market,” she said.

“A little bit over ripe, under ripe, too big or too small, we can not market, we had a lot of those.

“So, we looked for an option to value add to those products and something that was very amazing that we can use as well.

“And that’s where freeze dried strawberries came along.”

Gina said strawberries were made from 90 per cent water, and by freeze drying the fruit it removed the liquid and left a flavoursome whole strawberry.

“You can have it anywhere in your handbags, backpack, travel, any time you have that as a whole fruit or a piece,” she said.

“And it can be eaten straight away as snacks or can put on cereal.”

Gina’s Table freeze dried strawberries are available at the new SSS Strawberries shop located at 11 Rosedale Road, Bundaberg North.

Zest Bundaberg’s first Sustainable Salon

Georgia Neville

Zest Hair has become Bundaberg’s first recognised sustainable salon, with 95 per cent of its waste now being recycled through the national program.

Salon owner Colette Smith first came across the Sustainable Salons initiative at a conference on the Gold Coast and has since been committed to becoming an accredited salon.

Colette said she saw the opportunity as a chance to give back what she could to help the region work towards a cleaner environment.

“Since moving to the region 10 years ago, I have found that Bundaberg has a very positive environmental attitude,” Colette said.

“I wanted to see what else we could do to contribute towards helping the environment with all the salon waste.

“We are now committed to more waste being recycled and less landfill as we do our part in creating a cleaner environment, reducing our ecological footprint and helping to achieve zero waste.”

Colette said that she hoped, by taking this approach, it encouraged more salons to get on board and implement sustainable practices.

“I am looking forward to helping create a cleaner environment for my family and the wider community and hopefully by doing this, it will encourage others to do the same,” she said.

“I love that we can recycle all our waste, for example our plastic bottles can be recycled into glasses frames and the hair can be recycled and used to soak up oil from the ocean or to make wigs for cancer patients or for people with hair loss.”

The recycling process starts in salon with four different bins provided to the salon, allowing for recycling to be split into paper, metals, plastics and hair.

Colette said that the separated bins allowed for every bit of packaging to be broken down and recycled, for example, when they get a tube of tint.

“A tube of tint comes in a box, so the box gets put in the paper bin for recycling, the tube gets recycled into the metal bin and the plastic screw top lid gets recycled in the plastics,” she said.

“This means we are making sure that each part of the product gets recycled.”

There are a range of products from these bins that are then sold for recycling, with the money raised being donated back to OzHarvest and KiwiHarvest.

Sustainable Salons also work closely with Mylestones in Queensland to create jobs for those with disabilities, providing them work within the material collection and processing streams.

Colette has been a hairdresser for 33 years, having moved to Bundaberg 10 years ago from the United Kingdom after wanting a change of lifestyle for her family.

She bought the salon in 2014 and rebranded to Zest Hair, growing the salon from a team of two to a team of eight.

Kolan Community Park opened in Gin Gin

Ashley Schipper

A new playground surrounded by lush landscaping in the centre of the CBD has been officially opened in Gin Gin.

Bundaberg Regional Council Divisional Representative Cr Wayne Honor said Kolan Community Park was created after the former library and neighbourhood centre at 39 Mulgrave Street was demolished.

"These two services have been added in to the new Gin Gin Community Hub, leaving a nice, open space available," he said.

"Council saw an opportunity to transform the area into a park featuring beautiful landscaping, lush trees, child play set and seating for the community to enjoy."

Cr Honor said the area was expected to be popular for both travelling visitors and for community events and activities associated with Gin Gin Community Hub.

"Families can enjoy the space which provides an area for the kids to expel some energy and a great spot to sit and have a bite to eat or relax," he said.

"The area will also benefit the many community events that take place including the Seniors Expo, Play Group, Community Barbecue, RUOK day, Teddy Bears Picnic and more."

Cr Honor said the playground had been named Kolan Community Park to acknowledge its cultural significance.

"Kolan is the old shire and region name and is believed to be derived from the expression 'kalang' in the Indigenous Kabi Kabi (Gubbi Gubbi) language, indicating 'good'," he said.

"Council also recognises that the landscaped area was provided for the community and will be used for events and activities in conjunction with the Gin Gin Community Hub."

Kolan Community Park is located on the corner of Mulgrave and Dear Streets.

The landscaping project was funded by the State Government COVID Works for Queensland program.

Joe Mate finds adventure looking at positive side of life

Ashley Schipper

Growing up with a disability has never impacted Joe Mate and his glass-half-full personality.

In fact, the local Gin Gin man has lived his life exactly how he has wanted to and filled it with plenty of adventure and fun, which has been highlighted as part of the Our Stories Our People project.

The Bundaberg Regional Council initiative profiles local residents with the aim to celebrate the community.

Well-known for his local taxi service which operated from 1992 to 2003, Joe has been a familiar face around town for many years.

He was diagnosed with Kypo Scoliosis at the age of two and explained that he never needed sympathy, only an opportunity to thrive.

In 1966, at the age of 21, a disability pension provider invited Joe to participate in pioneering spinal research for scoliosis treatment.

He spent six months flat on his back and after the treatment was successful, had to teach himself how to walk again.

It was after he was able to move again that Joe realised his passion for planes.

In 1984 he had completed a trial instructional flight where he fell in love with flying.

Joe was encouraged to buy an aeroplane and went on to learn aerial acrobatics.

In 2018, Joe was recognised for his extensive community service with an Australia Day award, highlighting the role he played as a proactive resident who influenced change and created activity within the town.

It was in the same year that Joe had an accident in which he fell through the roof of his shed, breaking his vertebrae in four places.

Instead of the injury getting him down, Joe chose to look at the incident like he looked at most things in life, with a glass half full.

“There is no time in life for hate or bitterness, hate destroys the body and destroys your health,” he said.

The first 10 stories created under the Our People Our Stories project have been released and are available to read here.

Stories will be published on a regular basis over coming months.

What's on

Kate Ceberano books Bundaberg performance

Megan Dean

Kate Ceberano is officially booked to perform in the Bundaberg Region after COVID restrictions left the popular Australian performer unable to headline the Childers Festival.

Her Night At The Paragon Theatre event, scheduled as part of the Childers Festival, was much-anticipated by residents and quickly sold out.

While scheduling conflicts means the show can no longer be held at the Paragon Theatre, Kate will now hit the Moncrieff Entertainment Centre stage on Wednesday 24 November.

Anyone with tickets to the original Paragon Theatre event has been refunded and will be offered the first opportunity to purchase tickets for the Moncrieff event, prior to the general release of tickets.

Based in a Sydney hotspot, Kate and her band had voluntarily chosen to isolate in Melbourne to give themselves every opportunity to make the Childers Festival but unfortunately, these efforts were not enough.

Now with an opportunity to deliver her performance, which she describes as a “sonic hug”, to her Bundaberg Region fans, Kate said she was so excited.

“I think I’ll cry!”

Kate said the impacts of COVID on the industry, and even her own family, had been difficult but her customary positivity still shines through.

“It’s been a trial to overcome the losses and stay positive, especially with a teenage daughter,” she said.

“But, there are silver linings!

“Family connection is strong, we have been all pivoting like crazy monkeys, painting, podcasting, recording and writing songs.

“I have learnt many new skills regarding broadcasting and my daughter has recorded an entire EP of originals!

“So we have learnt to swim under water.”

Bundaberg Regional Council Arts, Culture and Events portfolio spokesperson Cr John Learmonth said it was pleasing to be able to secure Kate’s Moncrieff performance for local fans.

“There was so much excitement around the original show that we just know this event will be well attended and much appreciated by local fans,” Cr Learmonth said.

“It seems silver linings are the theme of the industry at the moment as, while the Paragon Theatre with its heritage charm would have been an amazing venue, we are now able to release more tickets thanks to the Moncrieff’s larger capacity.”

Cr Learmonth said the Paragon Theatre had been incredibly accommodating and understanding during the difficult circumstances, making every possible effort to reschedule the event.

“COVID restrictions and ever-changing circumstances are making for very challenging times not just for performers but for venues too.

“There are upcoming cinema events at the Paragon which are an excellent alternative opportunity to view this beautiful building and enjoy a great night out.”

Events coming up at the Paragon Theatre and Espresso Bar include:

Some Like it Hot – 22 August

The Rocky Horror Picture Show – 4 September

Take Me To Paris – 9 October

Find out more here: https://paragontheatre.com.au/buy-tickets/

Residents can see Kate at the Moncrieff from 7.30 pm on Wednesday 24 November.

Tickets will be $65 or $55 with concession and go on sale at 9 am on Monday 23 August.

For more information head to https://www.artsbundaberg.com.au/theatre.

Doreen's floral wonderland 63 years in making

Ashley Schipper

Girraween, meaning place of flowers, has been a labour of love for Isis South resident Doreen Cole.

On most days you will find her in the garden “head down, bum up” while her husband tinkers in the shed.

Her passion for gardening has been highlighted as part of Bundaberg Regional Council's Our People Our Stories project which showcases local residents and celebrates community.

Doreen proudly states that each one of her plants at Girraween Gardens started off in a six-inch pot or as a small cutting.

Her overflowing garden is nearly 63 years in the making, which she said made it easy to feel overwhelmed by so many beautiful and sweet-scented plants.

Originally developed as a plant nursery, Doreen has hosted weddings, catered for bus trips and morning teas and been a part of the Australian Wide Open Garden Scheme at Girraween.

Over the years her property has been devastated by hailstorms and wild weather, but Doreen has always rebuilt what was lost to nature.

"It has been a labour of love for decades," she said.

Doreen's passion for plants is the reason she has a beautiful, thriving garden - a true hidden treasure of the Bundaberg Region.

Just like her passion for gardening, Doreen also shares a love for history and keeps the stories of early Buxton alive through the book ‘Buxton by the Burrum’.

The memoir is lovingly written by Doreen and features 50 years of memories as told by her grandmother and mother.

“People sometimes undervalue the things old people know," she said.

"Never be afraid to ask an older person something.

"I believe if the younger generation could have seen the 40s and 50s, after the war years, they would appreciate life more”.

Doreen's Girraween Gardens is located at 438 Butchers Road, South Isis.

Julie’s Balinese garden a place for leisure

Morgan Everett

Julie Ann has spent the last two years creating a relaxing foliage filled retreat in her own backyard.

With leisure at the forefront of the plans, the garden surrounds an outdoor shower, fire pit and deck all handcrafted by Julie and her partner who has adopted the nickname of ‘Handy Andy.’

“The neighbours on this street are all friends and we love to get together to enjoy the garden,” Julie said.

“The big shed is a men’s shed with a pool table, darts, TV and karaoke while the ladies chill on the deck and around the fire.”

While the outdoor area didn’t always look this way, Julie said she had enjoyed seeing it come together and had plans to continue work in other parts of the garden.

“The first thing we did was clear all the rocks.

“The dog couldn’t lay there, and we couldn’t walk on them, so we just cleared them off,” she said.

“Then it was gardening, taking out plants I didn’t like and putting in plants I did like.

“The firepit was the next project which led into giving the garden edges dimension with higher bricks and the deck which was built just two months ago.”

Julie said her neighbours couldn’t believe how fast they’d transformed their space and seeing it all come together had been amazing.

The sloping terrain called for an innovative solution, and Julie said she loved working with the varying levels to create a safe pathway to and from the backyard.

“We just go with it because I think that’s what makes this property different and unique because it’s got all those different levels, and it’s the same inside so we like it,” she said.

The green thumb said her aim was to create a Balinese themed garden and enjoy the lush greenery the plants’ foliage provided all year round.

“With Cordylines, when they get tall enough you can just chop them off and stick them into the ground and they will then grow roots and continue to grow,” she said.

“The cutting will then double or triple, so you’ve got multiple cuttings and then you just keep doing that until they thicken up.

“I love Cordylines for that reason and obviously all the different colours you can get.”

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