Weekender: 50 marathons

Bundaberg Physiotherapy to expand space and services

Megan Dean

A building which has been home to Bundaberg Physiotherapy Centre for the last four decades will be expanded following the approval of a development application.

The site, located at 28 Crofton Street, was once a residential home but has since undergone a number of remodels and extensions.

The latest extension, which was approved following a recent Material Change of Use application, aims to provide more space for the centre’s team of physiotherapists to offer additional, more specialised clinical services.

Bundaberg Physiotherapy Centre Principals Neil Petersen and Martin Giles said the expanded clinic would feature six new private consulting rooms.

“These rooms will provide dedicated individual treatment spaces to allow for more comfortable, effective, and private management of patients, particularly managing complex conditions such as chronic pain or women’s health complaints,” they said.

“The additional space will allow us to increase our clinical and reception staff numbers over the next 12 months.

“The redesigned original space will enable us to purchase additional rehabilitation equipment and weights resistance exercise equipment to then be able to offer a more progressive rehabilitation program for patients with orthopaedic and sports injuries.”

Another added feature of the development of the Bundaberg Physiotherapy Centre is its new modern design which includes easy entry to the building.

“It will offer a spacious reception area for both our patients, and our reception staff to work in,” the pair said.

They hope to start work on the building as early as January 2022.

According to the development application, the footprint of the building once the extension is completed will be increased by 102.2 m sq.

To find out more about the Bundaberg Physiotherapy Centre head to the website.

Reef guide shares love for ocean

Adele Bennett

Inspired by sharing her love for the ocean, reef guide Natalie Lobartolo is opening up the rocky shore with her new business Reef Connect.

Natalie is guiding Rock Pool Rambles and Citizen Science Snorkel tours during the Milbi Festival and plans to keep offering the tours in the future.

“My intention is really to focus on the education and the connection and just getting people out in [an] easy and simple way.”

“I just realise how important it is to have opportunities for people to connect with nature and animals.

“I remember the first time I went for a snorkel off these rocks.

“It looks quite dark and just blue, like there wouldn't be anything there, and my mind was just blown.

“The colours and diversity of coral and fish and other marine life is just incredible, and I think there's very little like it on the east coast of Australia in terms of a shore dive.”

But Natalie said people don’t have to get wet to enjoy the diversity of marine life, and those looking to explore the shore can join a Rock Pool Ramble.

“There's a whole bunch of life in the rock pools.

“And it's just incredible to see how excited kids can get when you show them a creature that seems quite simple, but if you tell a story or introduce some fun facts, they just get excited so easily and just really love it.”

Natalie said her passion for the ocean was sparked by a visit to Sea World when she was six years old.

“Since then that has set me off on my journey and I've come to work as a guide with dolphins in the wild and see how incredible it is in their natural environment.

“I'm not necessarily for animals in captivity, but I can recognise that it was that potential for connection that was really powerful.”

After many years working in marine research and as a Master Reef Guide on the Great Barrier Reef, she’s looking forward to sharing her knowledge with the community through her new business.

“Master Reef Guides are storytellers and interpreters, and they bring the reef to life… it's all about allowing opportunities for people to experience the wonder of the Great Barrier Reef.

“It's a World Heritage area, which means that there's nothing like it on the whole planet.”

Reef Connect focused on local marine environment

Natalie said the idea for Reef Connect came about through her work with tourism operators on the Great Barrier Reef and in the local community doing community snorkels.

Reef Connect is starting out with some local tours during the school holidays, then in coming months Natalie will be guiding trips to Heron Island on the Southern Great Barrier Reef.

“Reef Connect here in Bargara is really important because not everybody will have the opportunity to go out to the Great Barrier Reef.

“Having the programs here will provide the opportunity for people to see how amazing corals are and how amazing the reef is and all of the marine life, whether it’s straight off the shore or out on the Great Barrier Reef, there's just so much to see.”

Natalie said participants on the snorkel tour will also make a valuable contribution by collecting data as citizen scientists.

“Citizen science is really important because marine park managers and people at the management level can't be everywhere all the time.”

Using a colour chart developed by Coral Watch, participants will help to monitor coral health by submitting observations for ongoing monitoring, she said.

To find out more about Natalie’s tours, head to www.reefconnect.com.au

Dami Im to headline Milbi Festival Sunset Launch

Georgia Neville

Pop princess and X Factor Australia winner Dami Im will be touching down in Bundaberg to perform at the upcoming Milbi Festival Sunset Launch at Nielson Park beach.

Since winning X Factor Australia in 2013, Dami went on to perform at Eurovision in 2016 where she was announced runner up and has also released a number of award-winning songs over the years.

With experience performing on a global scale, Dami’s performance at the launch is set to be nothing short of spectacular.

She said she was excited to be showcasing her songs again after more of a slower start to the year.

“I've been wanting to come and perform in Bundaberg for a while now but it's taken longer than I expected,” Dami said.

“There have been limited shows this year due to COVID, so I am excited to get to Bundaberg and share my music with the beautiful music lovers there.”

Dami said she was looking forward to being able to perform at the upcoming festival, with guests in for an exciting yet intimate performance.

“This year I've been touring my Piano, Songs & Stories tour where I sing and perform solo with just my piano,” she said.

“The audience will get a taste of that where I sing some of my hits and favourites stripped back.”

Dami is a proud Queenslander herself and has local ties to Bundaberg with her brother and his wife recently relocating to the region.

“I have been trying to come and perform in Bundaberg for a while now, and now with my brother and his wife living there, it will be the icing on top to see them as well,” she said.

“He won’t stop telling me about the gorgeous beaches and great food, so I am looking forward to experiencing that for myself, along with meeting the wonderful community who I have heard have been very welcoming.”

The Milbi Festival launch event will also see traditional performances, the Dead Puppet Society March of the Reef, food vendors and local musicians entertain guests into the evening.

You can find more information on the event in the full program here.

Event details:
What: Milbi Festival Sunset Launch
When: Friday 29 October
Time: 4:30 – 6:30pm
Cost: Free
Location: Nielson Park Beach, Bargara

Growth Gym to launch in Burnett Heads

Adele Bennett

Improving mental health is just as important as improving fitness at Growth Gym, a new 24/7 gym set to open in Burnett Heads.

Owner Zak Menhennett said he wanted to open the gym after seeing the positive impact of fitness on mental wellbeing.

“I’ve been in and out of the fitness industry for a few years and seen the effects of mental health on people, and I’ve seen how fitness can change that,” Zak said.

“This gym isn’t about everyone looking like a bodybuilder or Instagram model, but by making a positive impact on mental health you impact relationships, and you save lives.

“Even changing one life makes it all worthwhile.”

Zak said he was inspired to take the leap and start his own business in the fitness industry after the birth of his daughter.

“One day I woke up and thought, how do I want my kids to see me?

“Happy. And what makes me happy? Helping others.”

Zak said Growth Gym would focus on families as well as fitness and he is bringing with him years of experience working in gyms and being an active member of the sporting community.

“Growing up we had a gym at the back of our house, and I’d be in and out daily annoying the owners and staff there by asking a million questions.”

He also spent eight years playing for Brothers and was the president of Pythons Rugby Union Club.

“My speciality is in rehabilitation as I’ve had quite a few injuries over the years, including to my wrist, knees, back, shoulder and ankle.”

Zak said the gym would also have other personal trainers available that specialise in areas such as weight loss and plans to incorporate boot camps and parent and baby classes.

With Growth Gym Burnett Heads expected to be opened in mid-October, Zak said he had been working to make it a first-class facility.

This includes installing a shower for clients, all-hours access swipe cards and top of the range equipment.

“We’ve got the best gear money can buy, with Life Fitness and Hammer Strength equipment, interactive computer screens on treadmills and cross-trainers, there’s everything you’d expect at a big gym.”

Zak has big plans for Growth Gyms with another two gyms to be constructed in Bundaberg over the next year to provide more options for members.

To celebrate the upcoming opening, Zak is offering a limited number of discounted memberships with no joining fee through the Growth Gym Facebook page.

Yvonne is Buxton's fundraising superstar

Ashley Schipper

Yvonne Garnham is a volunteer and fundraising superstar in the Buxton community, spending her time supporting others through the Buxton Friendship Association and Buxton Rural Fire Brigade.

It’s something she has always had a passion for and although she has worked many paid jobs throughout life including bar and hotel manager, Yvonne said she gets the most satisfaction out of volunteering and helping others.

“I started fundraising the day my kids started kindergarten, and my eldest is now 50 years old,” she said.

“It’s about the satisfaction that you get by helping others.

“If everyone was better at giving it would be a better place to live.”

Yvonne's profile is part of Bundaberg Regional Council Our People Our Stories project which aims to connect and celebrate the local community.

Yvonne has lived in Buxton for six years and helps to give back to the community by organising raffles and cent sales through her membership at the Buxton Friendship Association.

She has also fundraised enough money for the local rural fire brigade to purchase an extra vehicle.

“We hold four dinners a year that fundraise towards the rural fire fighters,” she said.

“All the leftovers get made into bubble and squeak and given to the oldies who can’t attend.”

Yvonne is also support worker for the Buxton Rural Fire Brigade and on Australia Day each year she gets great enjoyment out of helping to cook breakfast to make sure everyone is fed.

She was part of the team of supporters who were on hand to keep fire fighters from across the region hydrated and fed during last year’s Woodgate fires.

Yvonne said she would always be there to support others for as long as she could.

“I’m not giving up; I have no intentions of giving up,” she said.

“There is plenty to do if you want to do it and you’re never too old or too young to volunteer.”

Artisans 4670 helps Share the Dignity with local women

Georgia Neville

Artisans 4670 is taking part in Share the Dignity’s “It’s in the bag fundraiser” this November, asking the community to donate items for the much-needed cause which supports local women.

Share the Dignity is a women's charity in Australia, that works to make a real, on-the-ground difference in the lives of those experiencing homelessness, fleeing domestic violence, or doing it tough.

From the 19 – 28 November, Artisans 4670 will be a collection point for donations, with the community asked to donate an adult, teen or mum and bub bag filled with some basic personal care items.

Co-custodian of Artisans Elaine Kirk said they decided to put the call out for support of Share the Dignity as many people in the community who might need help don’t ask for it.

“I felt we needed to get behind this charity as there are women here in Bundaberg who need our support and these bags will be distributed locally to help those who are struggling in our own backyard,” Elaine said

“Many of us may not know of a woman or girl struggling at the moment, but we know that they are out there in our community.

“These people are in our silent minority, and most do not ask for help but if we can all manage to donate a few items or a bag of items, what a difference this will make to someone in need.”

Essential Share the Dignity items include:

- Shampoo
- Conditioner
- Roll-on deodorant
- Toothbrush
- Toothpaste
- Soap/Body wash
- Period products

Organisers have asked that donators make sure the items are all travel sized (including soaps).

Elaine encouraged everyone to play a part in the Share the Dignity campaign, no matter how big or small, as every donation would make a difference.

Participants can choose to donate an entire bag or just one or more of the items listed.

“Over the next month or so, when you are in the supermarket you can add a couple of essential items to your trolley,” she said.

“We will have a “Bag Drop Off Zone” located in our outdoor undercover workshop area that can be accessed 24/7.

“We know many of you will be kind enough to donate to this worthy cause, and we thank you in advance, for your generosity and thoughtfulness in supporting Share the Dignity – It’s in the Bag.”

Artisans 4670 is located at 100 Hughes Road, Bargara with Share the Dignity donations being accepted throughout the entire month of November.

The history and haunting of the Wintergarden Theatre

Megan Dean

Recent news on the Wintergarden Theatre has prompted local families to share their memories including a mother and son with a unique insight into its history and haunting.

The iconic Maryborough Street facility is back in the limelight after Bundaberg Regional Council announced it would convert the building, opened in the 1920s, to a community hub while maintaining its heritage characteristics.

Delsie Carswell knows better than most the history of the popular Wintergarden Theatre, having worked as an usherette from about 1949 to 1954.

“The Wintergarden was a beautiful building,” Delsie said.

“If you heard someone sing a song at the Wintergarden it sounded ten times better than it did out on the street.”

The now 89-year-old fondly remembers her time in the building which included sharing a cup of tea with the likes of famous Bundaberg songstress Gladys Moncrieff before a show.

“Anyone who was anyone came to the Wintergarden.”

Delsie’s son Danny recalls many an evening spent at the Wintergarden Theatre attending matinees from a young age.

But it’s the stories from when the Wintergarden Theatre was converted to a video store that have stuck with him the most.

“I've heard the stories about the Blockbuster video with the videos jumping off the shelves at the end of the night,” Danny said.

“Maybe it was the people that worked with mum in that era that were still going around cleaning up at the end of the night.”

In the first episode of a new podcast series that focuses on heritage buildings and infrastructure in the Bundaberg Region, Delsie and Danny have shared many more of their personal experiences.

Architect Tomas O’Malley, who has been engaged by Bundaberg Regional Council for the design of the new community hub, also shares what makes the heritage of the building so special.

Listen now:

What's on

Young ladies encouraged to join Gin Gin CWA

Emma Turnbull

Gin Gin CWA members have plenty of passion and knowledge to share with the next generation and are calling for new members to establish the Junior CWA Young Ladies.

All young females in the Gin Gin area looking to form friendships and learn new skills are encouraged to join the group.

Gin Gin CWA president Pam Rebbeck said the foundation laid by past Gin Gin CWA members would continue to strengthen as young ladies joined the association.

She’s now encouraging girls of all backgrounds to sign up.

She said Junior CWA Young Ladies was open to girls from the age of eight years through to young women in their mid-20s.

The sessions would be held after school hours on the second and fourth Tuesday of the month, at Gin Gin Youth Centre.

“Girls will be taught basic cooking and baking skills, along with an assortment of craft,” Pam said.

“We’ve held one session so far, and had a great turn out of five girls, and I expect more than 10 next week.

“The girls enjoyed making Christmas cards last week, and next week we will start Christmas baubles.”

Pam said the Junior CWA Young Ladies sessions were restarting in honour of the legacy left by late member Judith Manderson, who had previously held classes for young women in the Gin Gin community.

“We’ve had a bit of a recess since March this year, this was Judith’s legacy and we want to keep it going for her,” she said.

Pam said as most of the current members were 70 years of age and older, she hoped the next generation of women would take an interest in the local association.

The activities of each branch continue to be driven by the interests of the local members, and the unique circumstances in their locality and community.

Pam said Junior CWA Young Ladies activities ranged from education, cooking and craft competitions, workshops, fundraising and advocacy.

To find out more information phone Pam on 0498 226 812.

Keep count on local birdlife for annual event

Emma Turnbull

Bundaberg Region residents are being asked to raise their eyes to the sky next month to help keep stock of local birds in this year’s Aussie Backyard Bird Count.

The annual bird watching event, held between 18-24 October, is run by BirdLife Australia as part of National Bird Week.

It is one of Australia's biggest citizen science activities and helps to collect a huge database of feathered friends from around the region.

Bundaberg Regional Council environment portfolio spokesperson Cr Wayne Honor said Bundaberg was ideal for bird watching because of the diversity of its natural areas.

He said Baldwin Swamp was an example of one local area which was home to an abundance of birds, which made the environmental reserve one of the best locations to capture their beauty up close and personal.

“As there is a variety of vegetation types including lakes, wetlands, bushlands, vine forest and grassy areas, Baldwin Swamp makes an ideal area for birds to thrive, and there have been more than 130 species recorded here,” Cr Honor said.

“It’s a great place for families to visit, take a walk and try to spot as many birds as possible during this annual event.”

Cr Honor said other great bird watching locations included the Botanic Gardens, Barolin Nature Reserve, Black Gully Nature Reserve in Gin Gin and Russo Nature Park.

He said during the 2020 Backyard Bird Count in the Bundaberg Region there were more than 22,000 individual birds counted throughout the week.

“More than 200 species were sighted in the 4670 postcode area and more than 100 species were spotted in both Childers and Gin Gin,” Cr Honor said.

“Among the list, residents spied the vulnerable Glossy Black Cockatoo, seasonally migrant species such as dollar birds, Australia’s largest duck the Musk Duck and Australia’s largest bird of prey the Wedge-tailed Eagle.”

The count is in its eighth year and takes contributions of more than 100,000 citizen scientists to create a snapshot of the state of Australia’s backyard birds and the population of different species.

Cr Honor said the data gathered was invaluable as it would help Council, the community and other organisations to make informed decisions to improve the natural areas and ensure local activities weren’t having a negative impact on birdlife.

“For example, through continued involvement in this initiative we can keep an eye on trends and even see whether or not a tree planting or weed removal project has had a positive effect on biodiversity,” Cr Honor said.

“The more involvement we get this year in the Aussie Backyard Bird Count from the community the better our future will be especially for the birds and wildlife.”

During the Aussie Backyard Bird Count locals are encouraged to go into their backyard or a local park or beach and observe and count the birds they see for 20 minutes and record the information on the free Aussie Bird Count app.

Find out more here.

Lenzie’s practical garden one with nature

Morgan Everett

Lenzie Duffy has become self-sufficient after curating a vegetable garden and backyard orchard efficient enough to provide food all year round.

Lenzie said at the very first inspection he had visualised the garden in his soon-to-be Avenell Heights property.

The bare block allowed for the correct preparation and three years later the garden is now in full swing, with something always ready to harvest.

Being the eldest of six siblings, Lenzie said he started gardening at seven years of age as his responsibility was to feed the family.

“I learnt how to be very efficient, I also learnt the best way of growing things, the right angles and simply by practical application,” Lenzie said.

“I plant everything north south because you get maximum sun and better production.

“It's all part of the environment and if you set up the ecosystem right, all of these things work.”

Lenzie said everything you saw in the garden was recycled and what was thrown away by others now hosted a special place in his garden.

“When I first moved in, I used an excavator to dig 20 inches deep and found all the rubbish people had buried along with 200 bricks that I reused for the garden beds out the front,” he said. 

There are 64 trees that call Lenzie’s orchard home, with a range of international varieties.

“I've got a variety of from Peru, I've got one from South Africa and Indonesia,” he said.

“I've got fruit you won't be able to buy in the shop.”

To be able to grow such a diverse range of trees Lenzie said you must first create the right conditions.

“I changed the pH of the soil from 4.4 to 7.2, this gets all the pests out of their comfort zone,” he said.

“The soil here was .05 of organic matter, the soil is now up close to 20 per cent, I don’t need a digging fork to dig in my soil, that’s the difference.

“That holds the moisture and converts to all the nutrients your plants require, I don’t use fertilizer.”

The Bundaberg green thumb said everything in his garden was dual purpose as you’ve got to work with nature to get the best use out of it.

“All the walkways are waterways,” Lenzie said.

“The runoff from the neighbour’s yard continues down the waterways and waters the trees.”

“Companion planting is key, I plant flowers amongst the edible crops for the bees,

“I’ve got native bees here for pollinators.”

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School holidays filled with fun

There were plenty of activities on offer throughout the region to keep the kids entertained during the holidays, including the Ooze and Gooze science show with Dr Joe, art workshops and water bug fun at Baldwin Swamp.

Shaurya and Nirvaan Jain blowing bubbles.

Shaurya and Nirvaan Jain blowing bubbles.

Dexter Lawson, Jayden Lawson and Koa Nettlefold looking for bugs.

Dexter Lawson, Jayden Lawson and Koa Nettlefold looking for bugs.

Koa Nettlefold and Dexter Lawson netting bugs.

Koa Nettlefold and Dexter Lawson netting bugs.

Jayden Lawson at the Water Bug event.

Jayden Lawson at the Water Bug event.