Weekender: Talk Like a Pirate

Students, Council collaborate on environmental project

 Ashley Schipper

Students at St John's Lutheran Primary School were recently given the opportunity to collaborate with Bundaberg Regional Council on an environmental project.

Council's Washpool Creek Naturalisation project team engaged with the Grade 6 class to collaboratively discuss how they would like to use the Washpool Creek corridor space, develop design ideas and learn about the benefits of green infrastructure.

Between Ford Street and Bundaberg Creek, the Washpool Creek corridor is currently comprised of a concrete channel and large open grassed areas with sparse mature trees.

The innovative project will deliver an integrated public open space that balances its technical stormwater drainage function while also delivering significant water quality, ecological and environmental benefits.

Council's senior engineer program management officer Tim Fichera said collaborating with students on the project provided Council with a fresh insight.

“It's important to understand how the younger generation want to use this space so we can provide the appropriate facilities to attract the public,” he said.

“It's also important to educate the younger generation on the value of green infrastructure and how it can help restore biodiversity and ecology in Washpool Creek.”

St. John's teacher Aaron Bakker said 27 students were involved in the workshop and were excited to take part in “life worthy” learning.

“The benefits of students participating in a project like this is that they get to be exposed to a variety of professionals in the community that are solving real-world issues,” he said.

“It allowed them to have input into the design of a space that is relevant to them and our school community.

“This makes their learning have more meaning and engaging for the students because they can see a reason and the application of their skills in new contexts.”

To find out more about the Washpool Creek Naturalisation Project click here.

Volunteering a passion for Helen with Hank by her side

Ashley Schipper

The benefits of volunteering at the Guide Dogs Queensland Bundaberg Op Shop is something local resident Helen Willett is passionate about.

Helen is visually impaired and, along with her guide dog Hank, volunteers once a week to give back to the charity that has provided her so much support over time.

It's a job she has been doing for seven years and one Helen said she absolutely loved due to the people she got to meet and work with every week.

“I work one day a week on a Thursday, my Hank comes in and assists by sitting out the back, watching everything and keeping an eye on us all,” she said.

“I enjoy working here because I have made a lot of friends, we are like a little family.”

Helen lost her vision due to multiple complications with macula degeneration, glaucoma, retinitis pigmentosa and Charles bonnet syndrome.

“With losing my vision I had to leave work and then through Guide Dogs I had white cane training so I could get around,” she said.

“Then, when I moved to Queensland, I got adaptive technology that helps me, as well as Hank.”

Helen is one of 20 volunteers currently assisting the op shop but there are more people needed to keep operations running smoothly.

She said having Hank by her side had allowed her to take up the opportunity of volunteering, which had in turn allowed her to regain some of her independence.

“Hank is one of the reasons why I volunteer here,” Helen said.

“With him by my side, I can now catch the bus to the op shop to volunteer as well as do many other things like go for a walk, go to town and more.”

Helen said 90 per cent of the money raised at the Bundaberg op shop went towards the training of dogs just like Hank, which is why she was so passionate about her volunteering position.

“There is nothing Hank can't do,” she said.

“He can find the mailbox, he helps with the washing and I even go to dancing twice a week and he sits there patiently waiting for me to finish.

“He has given me my independence.”

Volunteers needed to keep op shop going

Guide Dogs Queensland Bundaberg Op Shop retail manager Nerida Hepple said there were plenty of volunteer opportunities available at the local store.

“Our op shop is purely run by volunteers and we need plenty of them because it is quite a big place,” Nerida said.

“At the moment we need about 10 more volunteers in areas including front counter, retail, warehouse and delivery drivers.”

Nerida said volunteers were the backbone of the Guide Dogs Queensland Op Shop and the sole reason why the local charity had been able to operate for 14 years in the region.

“Our volunteers are why we can do what we do,” she said.

“They are essential to us and not only do we love their help, they love coming here.

“Volunteering at the op shop is not only an opportunity to make new friends, it's also an opportunity to make a difference to those with vision impairment with funds raised going towards the training of the guide dogs and much more.”

If you have five hours to spare each week, contact the team at the Guide Dogs Queensland Bundaberg Op Shop on 4331 5000 and apply for a volunteer position today.

The op shop is situated at 15 MacLean Street, Bundaberg South.

Liberty service station opens in November

Megan Dean

Bundaberg’s new 24-hour Liberty service station, located on Airport Drive, is set to open in November with a focus on fresh food.

Liberty has revealed plans for the service station’s internal layout which include a dining area and food outlet.

General Manager Rocco Pratico said the Bundaberg Region was targeted by Liberty for investment as part of its national rollout plans.

It’s the second Liberty service station for the region, with the first located in Bundaberg North.

“We’ve been working on this for the last three or four years now.”

He said the location of the new service station was ideal, situated on the Childers Highway and close to the airport.

“It will be good for the airport too. If people want to sit around and wait for their plane they can.

“We’ll have community tables and booths.”

Rocco said Liberty was “a bit different to a normal service station” thanks to the food options provided.

“We do a lot of food,” he said.

“We do our own pie, it’s going to be introduced in the next few weeks across Australia.

“We have a chef on board doing all the recipes. It’s all fresh cooked.

“There will be fresh sandwiches daily. We’re going to try and get the freshness into it.”

He said the menu at each of their service stations was unique and customised to each location.

“Every service station we build is different,” Rocco said.

“Every state is different and we cater for every town.

“We try and put in everything the town wants.”

Rocco said the research that went in to developing the new Bundaberg Airport Liberty service station was a result of decades worth of experience.

Liberty Directors David Wieland and David Goldberger each have 50 years’ experience in the industry which Rocco himself has also worked in for 30 years.

The new Bundaberg Liberty service station is expected to open in the first week of November.

Local contractors helping to deliver new service station

Megan Dean

Work has taken off on the site of the new Liberty service station which has started taking shape on Airport Drive.

The approved development consists of a fast-food outlet in addition to the service station component which will feature eight bowsers and sixteen fuelling spaces.

Local contractor KDW Civil was engaged to undertake a number of aspects of the build, including the pad, stormwater drainage, roadworks and exits and entries to the new service station.

Owner Kurt Youngberry said he had been working closely with Liberty and other contractors to complete the project.

Kurt started his business as a sole operator less than 10 years ago, originally called Kurt’s Dirt Works, and built it to what it is today.

“As I was cruising along my way I was getting more and more demand to do more work,” he said.

“I changed it into a company and employed more locals and off we went.”

He said he enjoyed working on bigger projects like the Liberty service station.

It’s not the first service station project KDW Civil has been involved in, also working on the BP on Sims Road and another at Forest Glen.

Kurt said that experience had served his team well on this project and he was looking forward to taking on more like it in the future.

“There’s a bit involved.

“As a smaller company … I’d be the youngest in the civil side of things as companies go.

“I’m a lot younger … and were firing up.

“It’s good to be part of a project we can move forward with.”

The Library Bar set to shake up the CBD

Georgia Neville

Local residents Jayden Baldwin and Jeremy Irwin are opening The Library Bar coffee shop on Saturday, offering residents a new space to enjoy a premium coffee and a good book in the CBD.

Located at 126 Bourbong Street, the business will initially open as a trendy coffee shop before an expansion reveals a whisky and cocktail bar further into the space, to be completed in the coming weeks.

Serving exclusively Veneziano coffee, Jayden and Jeremy said that they wanted to create an atmosphere similar to a Melbourne coffee bar in the centre of the Bundaberg CBD.

“We are using Veneziano coffee roasters who started in Melbourne, and we will be the exclusive shop to get this coffee in Bundaberg,” Jayden said.

The duo said the name of the new venue, The Library Bar, was centred around a theme of books with a small book exchange service also featured in the coffee shop space.

“The books here are able to be taken if there is one that catches your eye,” Jeremy said.

“We just ask that you bring in a book to swap to make sure there is always something for everyone.”

Both Jayden and Jeremy have varying business backgrounds which they say is helping to bring very different but complementing skillsets to the new shop.

“Neither of us have worked solely in hospitality, we have both been in the industry here or there but have explored other options as well,” they said.

“We love the idea of creating a great atmosphere and being able to meet and connect with new people on a daily basis and just make that happy moment for people.

“No two days will ever be the same here at The Library Bar.”

The duo have plans to also provide a late night coffee offering, something they said was currently lacking within the city.

“We look forward to being able to open up further seating and possibly extend our trading hours to provide a late-night coffee service,” they said.

“The option to get a good coffee late at night isn’t something that Bundaberg currently has.”

Jayden said the next section of the space was due to be launched in the coming weeks.

“There also aren’t many places to go in town that have a whisky bar or a city vibe, where you can go and chill and listen to great music and have good drinks, so we will see what happens there,” he said.

The coffee shop opens at 7am on Saturday, 28 August at 126 Bourbong Street.

Find out more here.

Bundaberg Ability Ball celebrates fun for all


Get your legwarmers on and step back in time with the upcoming retro 80s and 90s party as part of the Bundaberg Ability Ball.

As a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to the provision of innovative, best-practice services to people living with disability, Community Lifestyle Support strive to create new and exciting ways to foster community inclusion.

Each of the organisation's Ability Balls, now annual events in both Bundaberg and the Fraser Coast, constitute our signature efforts in this regard.

The Bundaberg Ability Balls is designed to bring the entire community together to celebrate people’s abilities.

While the benefits of providing a genuinely inclusive opportunity for people with disability to dress up and celebrate diversity are significant, the community awareness benefits of such an event are also enormously powerful.

“We believe that by providing people with disability, the general public, local businesses and the community sector with an opportunity to engage in a positive shared experience, we have found an ideal way to promote inclusion and understanding” CLS CEO Damien Tracey said.

This year the theme of 80s and 90s aims to allow all to forget the stresses of the past 18 months and to dress up and have some fun.

That 80s and 90s Band will have everyone on the dance floor at the Bundaberg Ability Ball with lots of crowd favourites from that era.

“It was so disappointing last year to have to cancel the ball and you can feel the excitement in the air as we lead up to this event,” event coordinator Trevor Sands said.

“Some will dress up in 80s and 90s costume and some will wear the traditional ball outfits.

“Either way we just love to see everyone come together as one and enjoy a genuine night out.”

The Bundaberg Ability Ball is the highlight of the calendar for many people and tickets are selling fast.

The event will be held on Saturday 11 September at the Bundaberg Multiplex.

Tickets for the Bundaberg Ability Ball are available via Trybooking or in person at Community Lifestyle Support Office Ashfield Road, Kalkie.

What's on

Celebrate Father’s Day with a duathlon

Georgia Neville

The region's residents are encouraged to get active this Father’s Day with the Bargara Triathlon Club hosting the Kalki Moon Duathlon at Mary Kinross Park.

Bargara Triathlon President Troy Austin said the family-friendly event was one for all ages and abilities.

“It’s an all ages family fun event, everyone is welcome so is walking or running,” Troy said.

“Anyone can join in whether you’re riding a BMX, road bike or mountain bikes.

“You don’t have to be a professional to race this event as it’s put on for the families so there is a playground for the kids and coffee for the mums and dads.”

The race routes include a run up to the rotunda at Innes Park followed by a bike ride along Rifle Range Road, Woongarra Scenic Drive, Watsons Road and Hughes Road.

The number of laps vary based on race distances, including:

The Turtles event: an event for seven to 12-year-olds and is a 500-metre run, 2km bike ride, followed by another 500-metre run.

Give It A Try: an event for 13 years and older and is a 2.5km run, 9km bike ride and 2.5km run.

The Sprint event: an event for 14 years and older, and is a 5km run, 20km bike ride and 5km run.

Troy thanked Kalki Moon Distilling and Brewing which he said had been a long and strong supporter of the club and were sponsoring the event.

“Kalki Moon has been supporting Bargara Triathlon Club for a long time,” Troy said.

“The owner, Rick is really supportive of us and he’s always helping out with anything.”

If you don’t want to miss this great family day out, you can register here.

First Nations artist wins CQU art award


Bundaberg First Nations artist Llewellyn Swallow’s ability to bring Indigenous culture to life on canvas has again earned her the Indigenous Art Award prize at the 2021 CQU Creates Art Awards.

Llewellyn has now won the Indigenous Art category of the awards five times since CQU Creates was launched in 2014.

Llewellyn is a proud Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander woman of the Kabi Kabi people. Born on Mamu lands of Far North Queensland, she now lives on the lands of the Taribelang Bunda of the Wide Bay region in Bundaberg.

“Winning the CQU Creates Indigenous Art Award gives me the greatest pleasure. I am always surprised and thrilled when my name is read out,” she said.

“Winning this award provides me with the confidence to keep painting and telling indigenous cultural stories through my art. This provides me personally with the platform to bring these stories alive.”

Llewellyn has won the category in 2016, 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021.

CQU Creates Art Awards judge Veronika Zeil spoke highly of Llewellyn’s painting, “Sun Woman, Moon Man”.

“This work has intricate detail and patterning, and bold colour and design. It depicts a traditional Indigenous story, as well as a universal theme of the interwoven unity of opposites: day and night, summer and winter, yin and yang, male and female,” Veronika said.

Llewellyn said the painting told the story of the accidental finding of fire and how it had influenced First Nations cultural history.

“Everyone knows the story of how to make fire with two sticks,” she said.

“Most Indigenous cultural stories have a male influence, as does this story to a lesser degree. The legend goes that Purukupali (the first man in the world) and his friend Japara discovered fire quite by accident. What captured my attention was that Purukupali gave the large torch of blazing bark to his sister Wuripuranala and the smaller one to his friend.

“When the creation period came to an end and the mythical people were transformed into creatures, plants and natural forces, Wuripuranala became the sun woman and Japara became the moon man.

“This immediately sparked my interest as it bought Wuripuranala (a woman) to the fore. My motivation in painting this particular story therefore lies in the ever-challenging dominance of male versus female.”

She encouraged emerging First Nations artists to pursue their own stories.

“Art is mostly a purely selfish individual pursuit. My advice is to keep trying no matter what adversities you encounter,” she said.

“My art is a way of keeping my culture alive. If it is important to you never give up. Seek advice, experiment….but keep going.”

Rockhampton CQUniversity Visual Arts teacher Patrick Connor took out the major CQU Creates Art Award with his digital photographic portrait, The Ambassador and Friends. Oral Health student Tara Windley won the Student Award with her painting, Unwanted Wisdom.

Watch the CQU Creates Art Awards HERE

Garden facelift fills the Youngs with joy

Morgan Everett

Rachelle and Luke Young started digging in April to fill their property to the brim with succulent and cactus varieties, giving the garden a facelift in just four months.

Rachelle’s passion for plants sprouted young with a cacti collection in full swing at just 14 years old.

She has now been collecting succulents for about three years.

“The garden is only four months old, apart from three plants that remain from the original plantings, Rachelle said.

“We began removing the existing plants in April, restructured the soil combinations and planted almost every succulent and cacti that I owned.

“I had no idea that this established garden would soon become home to my many, many pots of gorgeous succulent babies.”

Rachelle said it was exciting to see her dreams come true although creating a thriving space meant removing old plants that were root bound and in poor health. 

“When I put my plan to Luke, he was more than happy to help this plan become a reality,” she said.

“Luke pulled out all the large plants and does all the heavy work shovelling and prepping the soil.”

Rachelle said gardening was a hobby she couldn’t live without and tending to her large assortment of plants species was sure to keep her on her toes.

“I enjoy the massive variety of plants that I have all in the one place, I can watch them grow and flourish,” she said.

“I love keeping check on all my babies, seeing new varieties thrive and spending time with my children who love propagating and selling the succulents.”

The green thumb said Bundaberg provided the perfect growing conditions for the succulents in her garden.

“They can survive on very little watering,” she said. 

“I only need to use systemic treatments for some pests which can spoil all plants.”  

For Rachelle, she loves adding to her ever-growing variety of flora.

“I didn’t realise how many different varieties I could fit in one garden bed,” she said.

“I love sharing my succulents with friends and visitors, most people don’t go home without a few babies to nurture.”

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Homegrown hero Emma Zielke brings AFLW Premiership Cup to Bundaberg


With the AFLW Premiership Cup secured safely in her carry on, football superstar Emma Zielke is bound for Bundaberg, for a weekend of footy celebrations in her home town.

The Premiership winning Brisbane Lions AFLW Skipper, who grew up in Bundaberg, is a guest of honour at the AFL Wide Bay end of season awards.

“It’s great to be heading home to Bundy to share the AFLW Premiership Cup with everyone, and importantly celebrate another fantastic year of footy in the Wide Bay,” she said.

“I am particularly excited to meet with the girls who are part of the newly formed Brisbane Lions Wide Bay Youth Girls Academy and I’m thrilled to see how far women’s football has come since I was a teenager in Bundaberg.”

Earlier this year, AFL Queensland with the support of AFL Wide Bay, launched the first ever Youth Girls Development Program in the region.

36 girls, aged 14-16, took part in two teams based in Bundaberg and Hervey Bay.

“We had such a great response from young girls from across the Wide Bay take part in the development program this year,” said Kieron Hyndman, AFL Queensland Development Coordinator.

“Their skills and passion continued to grow every week which led to the inaugural Brisbane Lions Wide Bay Youth Girls Academy launching.

“The Academy provides a clear talent pathway for girls who dream of playing footy at the highest level.

“A squad of 12 girls from the Academy have been selected to be part of a joint team with Darling Downs to play in three games during the first week of the September school holidays.”

A special part of Emma’s tour to Bundaberg, will include a session with players from the Academy and Youth Girls Development Program.

“Emma is an inspiration to every girl who plays, or wants to play footy in the region,” said Mark Mason, AFL Wide Bay Sponsorship and Community Relationships Manager.

“We’re really proud of how far we’ve come growing female football participation in Wide Bay, but even more excited about the future, with more and more junior girls taking up the sport.

“When Emma was growing up in Bundaberg she wasn’t able to play in a dedicated female competition, but now there’s opportunity, enthusiasm and a pathway, for girls to play and compete.

“The feedback from the youth girls during their programs has exceeded our expectations and having role models like Emma sharing their experience, will only serve to fast track growth and development even quicker.”

Bundaberg Region Mayor Jack Dempsey is among the many locals excited to welcome Emma home and, in recognition of her contribution to sport and her representation of the Bundaberg Region community on a national stage, he will appoint her Honorary Mayor for the day.

As AFL Wide Bay celebrates its end of season awards, Emma will be on hand to present the Best and Fairest Medals, including the prestigious Stedman Medal.

As part of her whirlwind tour, Emma will also visit Kendall Flat, a project earmarked for development of two new AFL ovals, with funding support from AFL Queensland.

As part of the masterplan, new female friendly change rooms will be built, ensuring more and more women and girls can continue to play footy in Wide Bay.