Weekender: 50 marathons

Take what you need, share what you can with community pantry

Ashley Schipper

A new community pantry filled with non-perishable items has been made available just outside of the Gin Gin Community Hub, giving those in need access to food 24/7.

The Gin Gin Community Pantry, which was originally located inside the Hub, has provided donations of food to many individuals and families over the past few months.

Recently, with the help of the Gin Gin Men's Shed, a brand new all-weather pantry was crafted so it could be stationed outside of the hub to allow for easy access.

“The food pantry relies on community donations to provide a helping hand to those doing it tough,” Bundaberg Regional Council Community Services portfolio spokesperson Cr Tracey McPhee said.

“People can donate non-perishable items directly to the food pantry or hand them to the Neighbourhood Centre staff to be added.

“We ask the community to donate long life items, and non-perishables such as tinned food, packet pasta, rice or long-life milk etc.”

Local businesses, community groups or clubs can get on board by organising group donations to the pantry or individuals who have items to spare are encouraged to drop them in.

Cr McPhee said the initiative had been rolled out by the Gin Gin Neighbourhood Centre through the help of funding and support from other local organisations.

“The generous and talented Gin Gin Men’s Shed members created the food pantry for the Gin Gin Neighbourhood Centre initiative, which is funded by The Department of Communities, Housing and Digital Economy,” she said.

“Rob and Rob from the Men’s Shed have enthusiastically taken on the challenge and provided the community with beautiful craftsmanship and even colour matched it to the Community Hub logo and surrounding green space.

“They didn’t stop there and even installed a tin roof and Perspex door to protect the pantry from the elements.”

Divisional representative Cr Wayne Honor said the pantry was a fantastic addition to the Gin Gin Community Hub and praised staff at the Neighbourhood Centre and members of the Men's Shed for their involvement.

“What a great project that shows how just what can be achieved when the community comes together to help out those in need,” he said.

“This pantry promotes the message of ‘take what you need, share what you can' and will benefit so many local people.”

The Gin Gin Neighbourhood also provides financial assistance through its emergency relief program.

If you or someone you know are experiencing hardship or crisis, visit the Gin Gin Neighbourhood Centre located inside the Community Hub for advice, information, and referral.

Or you can call the Neighbourhood Centre on 4130 4630 or email ggnc@bundaberg.qld.gov.au for more information.

50 years of Bundaberg Junior Cricket at Kendall Flat

Emma Turnbull

For 50 years Kendall Flat has been home to Bundaberg Junior Cricket and in that time thousands of boys and girls have developed a love for Australia’s national game.

Through the dedication of countless volunteers, the area has been transformed into one of Queensland’s best cricket facilities.

Local cricket legend Jim Deem OAM, 87, was there when the pitches were rolled for the first time and now, half a century later, he reflects on what junior cricket at Kendall Flat means to the community.

“It’s one of those things Kendall Flat that has more or less kept the dream alive,” Jim said.

“What we have today is unbelievable; we had good people through the association and also in the community, including retired cane farmers who came in and did the mowing, people came out of the woodwork to help make the grounds what they are now.

“I spent a lot of hours here and I have no regrets, I enjoyed it and would do it again for another 50 years.

“It was teamwork that made it happen and it will be teamwork that keeps it going.”

Jim said in 1968 the junior association was up and running in Bundaberg with more than 250 eager young cricketers in more than 40 teams ready and waiting to hit a few boundaries in the new competition league.

“We (the junior association) formed in 1968, when there were only two others, Toowoomba and Gympie, at the time that I knew of,” he said.

“For the first three years we had nowhere but schools to play and I will always pride myself knowing we left the school grounds in great condition, and we never had one complaint from a principal!”

Jim said three years later the junior association moved to Kendall Flat and it had gone from strength to strength.

“Kendall Flat is a household word around Queensland – we held the first ever state championships here in 1976,” he said.

“That was under-12 through to under-17.

“Kids enjoy themselves and that’s what it is all about.

“There is no better feeling than to drive passed and see the ground full of junior cricket players and their families.”

Last Saturday marked the start of Bundaberg Junior Cricket season with Kendall Flat crowded with eager young cricket players, some stepping out on the green for the first time, and others who return year after year.

Gin Gin State High School student Zach Hamel, 13, has been playing local cricket for six years and he said he was keen to get back into it.

“I play for Norths, and have been playing for six years, it’s really good and I really love it,” Zach said.

For Bundaberg YMCA junior James Baker, it would be his first innings at Kendall Flat after signing on for the first time.

James travelled from Gayndah to take part in a sport he is certain he will love.

Bundaberg junior cricketers have not been the only players to enjoy their sport at Kendall Flat, with the fields also hosting senior cricketers at the top level in country cricket and local Aussie Rules competitions.

As the region continues to move forward plans are progressing to further develop Kendall Flat, to be a premier sporting destination.

The design of stage one and two of the Kendall Flat Enhancement Plan is set to kick off soon, transforming the grounds into a hub for cricket and AFL.

Bundaberg Regional Council has allocated the funds for the design work in its 2021-22 budget.

Coastal playgrounds set for upgrades

Ashley Schipper

Three coastal parks will get new playgrounds in coming months featuring modern equipment to enhance community spaces and provide plenty of fun for children.

Seagulls Park and Life Savers Park, both in Elliott Heads, and Gorman Park in Burnett Heads will all undergo an upgrade as part of Bundaberg Regional Council's Asset Renewal Program 2021 – 2022.

Parks and Gardens portfolio spokesperson Cr Wayne Honor said all three playgrounds were being replaced due to their deterioration over the years.

“All three parks will undergo the removal of the existing play equipment later this year, with each new playground to be completely constructed by the end of 2021/2022,” he said.

“The new play areas within each park will be designed to cater for children aged between two and 12 years old and new signage will also be added to the playgrounds.”

Cr Honor said Council was committed to supporting the recreation needs of the community and providing well-maintained open spaces for all to enjoy.

“Our coastal areas are such beautiful places for families to get together and enjoy the great outdoors,” he said.

“By providing modern and well-maintained parks, the community has plenty of opportunity to get out and about, to exercise, picnic and more.

“The added benefit of these playground upgrades mean children will have new places to explore and let their imaginations run wild.”

Cr Honor said the upcoming coastal playgrounds works were part of a number of Council park projects planned for 2021/2022.

“There are plenty of works underway or already completed around the region,” he said.

Apple Tree Creek Community Park is about to be upgraded, the Baldwin Swamp Shelter Shed is being revitalised and at Christsen Park, Bargara, Council is currently in the midst of sourcing a food van operator to visit the area,” he said.

“These are just some of the ways Council is working towards enhancing our beautiful open spaces.”

Create your own healthy flavours with IM Poké

Ashley Schipper

Isaac Baldry and Marvin Dellomos are the creators behind new business IM Poké, providing locals with delicious and fresh poké bowls delivered direct each week.

The duo said they had always loved the health benefits and flavours of poké bowls and wanted to share their passion with the community.

“We wanted to create and share something that we both love to Bundaberg locals,” Marvin said.

“We believe that they will love it as well because our poké bowls are made fresh on the day, they are packed with nutrition, and full of different flavours in one bowl.

“We are very motivated to level out the playing field by providing a healthy option.”

Poké, pronounced poh-keh, is a Hawaiian word meaning to cut or slice.

Poké bowls are filled with portions of produce and meat to create a fresh and healthy lunch or dinner alternative.

Isaac said IM Poké offered the option for customers to create their own bowls through an ordering process, which would then be delivered at announced times each week.

“The type of poké bowls we create depend on our customer’s preference,” he said.

“We offer them a selection of their base – white rice and brown rice, protein – chicken, salmon and tofu, and an assortment of greens our customers can choose from.

“Our order times and delivery dates are announced weekly on our Instagram and Facebook page then, we provide a link to an order form that our customers fill out.”

Isaac and Marvin said while they had only started operating their business as of last week, they were already experiencing plenty of support from locals.

“Our current intention is to figure out if there is a market for poké bowls in Bundaberg but with the overwhelming love and support that we have received from the community, we have concluded that there is a definite love for poké bowls here!” the duo said.

Currently operating out of their newly renovated kitchen space, the team said they had future plans to expand the business if all went well.

“Ultimately we intend to open a shop in Bundaberg Central to provide locals with a healthy option through IM Poké,” Marvin said.

You can find out more by following IM Poké on Instagram or Facebook.

New mix of Kebabs and Spuds to satisfy tastebuds

Emma Turnbull

Kebabs and Spuds has opened in Kensington and offers all of the traditional favourites along with some unique new options.

Located at the Coles Kensington complex, Kebabs and Spuds manager Evie Olsen said the new eatery was serving up both traditional kebabs which meet Halal guidelines along with a new non-traditional range of kebabs which included the use of bacon and pork.

“We are introducing for the first time anywhere pulled pork kebabs,” Evie said.

“Streaky bacon or bacon bits options and brekkie kebabs which has a hashbrown, streaky bacon with chicken or doner meat and ‘baconnaise’ – which is bacon flavoured mayonnaise!

“Our menu has two main offerings, one being kebabs and one being spuds – loaded baked potatoes – with additional specialty items to satisfy all tastebuds.

With several years’ experience working at local kebab businesses, Evie, 19, is excited to bring an enhanced offering of both kebabs and spuds to Bundaberg.

“We have four toppings included with our kebab offering: lettuce, tomato, onion, plus one additional salad,” she said.

“All the standard offerings you expect from our kebab range, such as snack packs, kebab in a box, chips, chipabs, gluten free and vegetarian options (and) of course bacon salt for your chips.

“We have superb toppings for our spud offering, such as Bolognese, nacho, pulled pork, chorizo, bacon, chicken and doner along with a build-your-own spud option.

“With either one of our baked potato or sweet potato options, including spud balls which are .. baked then fried mashed potato balls in both potato and sweet potato.”

Evie said supporting locals was essential to running a small business, and with a handful of new employees raring to go, she was excited to have now opened the doors.

She said the team was excited to introduce their new products to the region.

“We know everyone will fall in love with them.”

Evie said Kebabs and Spuds would be able to feed the entire family in one go with a menu that looked after mum, dad and the kids.

“You won't need to stand and wait at our store – we have a lot of seating while you wait for your order to be freshly prepared, or you can order online for pick-up,” she said.

“Kerbside pickup is where we run it out to your car when you arrive at our store.

“Delivery options using our delivery partners, MenuLog and DoorDash.”

Spuds and Kebabs is open 8 am to 10 pm seven days a week.

For more information check out their Facebook page.

Arts pave the way for Milbi at the Lighthouse

Georgia Neville

Milbi at the Lighthouse will pave the way for arts activities with the return of an art and photography exhibition and the Chalk the Sidewalk event.

The events are being hosted by the Burnett Heads Progress & Sports Association in conjunction with the Bundaberg Regional Council music festival event.

Children will be encouraged to Chalk the Sidewalk at the Historical Lighthouse with over $500 worth of prizes up for grabs.

There is something for all ages, with the activity open to children up to 18 years and split into three different age categories.

All those entering who are 14 years or younger must be accompanied by an adult.

Burnett Heads Progress & Sports Association President Daniel Walshaw said they were looking forward to a great line up of events for this year's Milbi at the Lighthouse.

“This event will set the scene for what is sure to be a fantastic afternoon of entertainment with plenty for the family to do,” Daniel said.

“At the conclusion of this event, Milbi at the Lighthouse and the Gladstone Ports Corporation Arts and Photography Exhibition will begin, with both events providing plenty of diverse things to do and see across the day.

“In 2019 there were just over 60 entries for Chalk the Sidewalk and we hope to at least double the entries this year.”

The Burnett Heads Art and Photography Exhibition will showcase a range of different artwork and photography with pieces available for sale at a special meet and greet event the night before the exhibition.

From 4pm to 6pm on Friday 29 October, locals will be able to meet artists at the Burnett Heads Community Hall.

Judging of the artworks will be completed by an expert panel prior to the exhibition with winners announced on the day of the festival at the hall.

You can find out more about both events here.

Chalk the Sidewalk

Date: Saturday 30 October
Time: 9am – 11am
Cost: Free
Location: Historical Lighthouse – Jack Norgate Oval, Burnett Heads
Winners: Prizes will be awarded at the front of the community hall at approximately 12pm.

Art and photography exhibition

Date: Saturday 30 October (Continuing online throughout November)
Time: 11am – 6pm
Cost: FREE to View. Artwork entry is $10 for an Adult, $5 for a Child.
Location: Burnett Heads Community Hall, Burnett Heads

Assistance animals like Harvey play important role

Emma Turnbull

Assistance animals like Bundaberg’s Harvey the Tamaruke play an important role in the community and undergo training to support people with special needs.

Assistance dogs perform specific tasks related to their owner’s needs, assisting them to develop independence and confidence, and to participate in various areas of personal and public life.

Integrated Disability Support Service (IDSS) client liaison officer Shelly Anderson, who is one of Harvey’s handlers, said there were many situations where animals assisted people living with disability and mental health issues such as anxiety, PTSD and depression. 

Shelley said Harvey the Tamaruke was fully trained and he was even a unique breed of dog specifically used as a therapy or assistance animal because they’re hypoallergenic, well-tempered, intelligent and easily trained.

Harvey joined the team in July last year when he was just 10 weeks old, and he now works at the IDSS hub.

“Harvey is really beneficial to everybody, he can even tell when someone is having a bad day – it’s like he is attuned and can sense it, and he knows something is up even before us as other humans do,” Shelley said.

“Whether it’s a physical disability or a hidden disability such as mental health, Harvey has a way of supporting people.”

He can often be found supporting clients in various roles in the community, including spending time at local business The Deli, supporting employees.

Integrated Disability Support Service participant Leticia Pope enjoys her time working at The Deli, and she said knowing Harvey wasn’t far away made it easier.

Leticia said she enjoyed taking Harvey for walks, and she said he would help her interact with other people.

“To have Harvey in the IDSS hub makes a lot of people happy,” Leticia said.

“He likes to meet new people and he likes to have pats; he can be a little bit cheeky.

“Harvey is one of my best friends.”

Shelley said Harvey had full run of the hub and enjoyed spending time with clients as much as they enjoyed their time with him.

“You know if somebody is quite stressed, they will verbalise it and you’ll hear a loud noise or screaming, he will go out to the hub and find that person and try to sit with them and give them lots of love and kisses, and then he will stay with them for quite a while,” Shelley said.

“The hub has a lot of activities for people with disabilities and mental health activities, he has full run of the hub, and he is in and out with participants – hanging out enjoying the day with them.

Shelley said Harvey greeted clients and mentors each morning and had become part of the IDSS family.

“He greets everybody as we all come in in the morning,” she said.

“Most people, if there is a behaviour happening that they’re anxious and need that calming down, he will sort them, have a bit of a cuddle and you can really see the whole de-escalation happening for them, because they’ve got him.

“He offers kisses up very freely as well; he is very affectionate, and it makes a huge difference easing the anxiety.”

Shelley said Harvey’s role in the community was a little different to a guide dog, as he was able to interact with community members while on the job.

“Being a therapy assistant dog is a little different, you can give him a pat... as he is different to a guide dog that needs to be working the whole time.

“It is important to have him go into a shop comfortably.”

Animal assisted therapy can:

- Teach empathy and appropriate interpersonal skills.

- Help individuals develop social skills.

- Be soothing and the presence of animals can more quickly build rapport between the professional and client.

- Improve individual’s skills to pick up social cues imperative to human relationships. Professionals can process that information and use it to help clients see how their behaviour affects others.

Mayor's awards sparking innovation and bright ideas

B-Jay Malaluan

Kepnock State High School student B-Jay Malaluan says the Mayor’s Telstra Innovation Awards helped students to develop skills and grow ideas in his first-person account of participating in the program.

B-Jay was a member of the Kepnock team Izvan Okvira which presented its innovation project, the bushfire reconnaissance drone.

The account, written as part of a school project, provides a unique perspective to the awards program, through the eyes of the students involved.

Read B-Jay’s story here:

He walked stiffly onto the stage, his hands shaking as he held the microphone. His heart thumped loudly in his chest as everything around him became a distant echo. He looked towards the audience, teammates right beside him and he closed he eyes as he took a deep breath.

Have you ever dreamed of becoming an entrepreneur after leaving school, or just had that innovative idea that could solve so many problems?

Maybe you have an idea for a new app or technology, but don’t know where or who to present your idea to?

The Mayor’s Telstra Innovation Awards, or MTIA, has brought together a handful of eager students from all around the Bundaberg Region, which gave them the opportunity to foster their innovative skills.

Separated into teams, the students worked together to create, collaborate and innovate towards a pitch that showcased a new and creative use of technology or technological idea that could have the potential to solve a community, environmental or business challenge.

“MTIA was a fun learning experience where I learned how to build and sell my ideas to a group of people,” says Zander Ephraims, a team member from Kepnock State High School.

Throughout the sessions the teams collaborated and developed their bright ideas in preparation for the big event that was the Final Pitch, in which they presented their ideas towards a panel of judges.

However, it wasn’t just the students that noticed this change in their skills and the growth of their ideas.

Many of the staff including the teachers were beginning to notice the potential of the ideas that their students had.

According to Mrs Amey, “MTIA is a unique experience for students to take a risk, collaborate as a team, share ideas and build a solution focused proposal to enhance community.”

Although the teams from Kepnock State High didn’t secure their victory for the awards, they gained invaluable skills and experiences from participating in the awards.

“Being able to work with my wonderful team, learning from one another and collaborating, has helped us grow our skills as people and as team members,” says Lakaya Wolff.

Though they didn’t win the awards, they are taking a big step towards the future of entrepreneurship and innovation.

Maybe you can too, as anyone from grade seven through to grade twelve can join.

So, what are you waiting for? Go out there and make your ideas come true!

Bundaberg Region schools can register an interest in participating in the 2022 Mayor's Telstra Innovation Awards by emailing mtia@bundaberg.qld.gov.au.

Former Childers postie Alan White to celebrate 100 year birthday

Ashley Schipper

Alan White has met many faces on delivery routes throughout his four decades as a postie in Childers.

At almost 100 years old, the passion he had for the job is still evident in his voice when he talks about the good old days.

Alan delivered parcels and letters on his trusty push bike around the region for more than 40 years after moving on from helping out on the family farm.

“My parents had a farm in Childers, they grew sugarcane and had cattle too,” he said.

“My great grandad had it before my grandad, who then passed it on to my father.”

Alan said he switched up farm work and school books for his first job as a messenger at the local post office at just 14 years old.

It was the start of a career that spanned the majority of his working life.

“It was good, I liked it and I loved meeting and talking to people,” Alan said.

“Half a day I would spend on the push bike and the other half I would go on to the counter.”

Alan said his career also took him to other parts of the state, including Woolloongabba in Brisbane and Yarraman in the Toowoomba region where he worked as a postie in between his time in the army.

“The post office and the army has been all of my life,” he laughed.

“I went to Darwin just when the bombing was nearly finished and I finished up a corporal.”

He said he also lived at Woodgate Beach for periods of time.

“I had a holiday home there for 20 years,” he said.

“Woodgate is really great!”

In 1980 Alan retired from his post office role at just over 60 years old and began tinkering.

“I did odd jobs on the farm- there's always plenty of work to do let me tell you,” he said.

“We used to do it all by hand with hoes and horses as not many people had a tractor but now there are lots of tractors.”

While the Childers man never married or had children, he said he was blessed to have plenty of relatives in his life within the local area, Bundaberg and beyond.

He said while his upcoming 100th birthday on 7 November wouldn't be a big affair, he may just enjoy a beer or two to celebrate.

What's on

Gardening to mend a heavy heart

Morgan Everett

After losing her husband to lung cancer, Katrina Weismann threw herself back into gardening to create a beautiful oasis.

When moving into the property five years ago, the established gardens did not suit the vision Katrina and her late husband Royce had.

“We tidied up the gardens and removed gardens and palm trees,” Katrina said.

“The gardens were Royce’s area as I worked.”

Katrina said she really dug in last winter as spending time in the garden helped her through the past 18 months.

Both the front and back yards have undergone a huge transformation.

“Hedges, old shrubs, donkey’s ears, agaves, garden edging, pavers and rocks were all taken away,” she said.

“I had a ute and a chainsaw and what I could not manage I then had help with.

“The paved section is now turf.”

Katrina said growing up in a large family made gardening a staple in her younger years, with her garden now a space that her grandchildren could enjoy.

“There are animal statues hidden in the gardens which the grandkids love,” she said.  

“I added a grandpas memory garden and I find this is a nice spot to sit and think about how I am managing.”

With the garden becoming a haven for Katrina, she said it was where she loved to be, often foregoing housework in order to spend more time in the garden.

The outdoor space now features bromeliads and a lily and geranium garden, all providing a splash of colour.

“Where shrubs were removed native shrubs were added and ground cover which is attracting birds and an abundance of bees,” Katrina said.

“There is a spa area, potted garden and undercover shaded plant area.

“This is beautiful at night lit with solar lights.”

Katrina said the gardens are a labour of love, but she had enjoyed giving her outdoor space a new life.

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Spring into free fitness classes across region

Georgia Neville

Whether it’s a high intensity workout or a more peaceful wellness session, the Be Active Be Alive spring program has free fitness activities for everyone.

Bundaberg Regional Council has launched the latest Be Active Be Alive program for the new season, with classes commencing on Monday 18 October and running for eight weeks.

With a variety of classes from H20 to boxfit, there is something for everyone across a range of times and venues throughout the region.

Council’s Sport and Recreation portfolio spokesperson Cr Vince Habermann said Council’s Be Active Be Alive initiative encouraged the community to get involved in physical activity and keep fit and healthy.

“The Be Active Be Alive program was initiated by Bundaberg Regional Council back in 2012 and consists of a number of free programs that are run throughout the year to encourage the community to keep active and healthy,” Cr Habermann said.

“There are many activities on this spring including yoga, boxfit, tai chi and pilates which are on offer at local parks, as well as H20 sessions at the four major pools throughout the region with sessions running at a range of times.

“Be Active, Be Alive is a fun and free program that people of all ages and fitness levels can take part in.”

A range of local providers have come on board to host the free fitness sessions during the eight week program, including Raw Awakening’s Tataina Quinn who will be facilitating the boxfit classes.

“Raw Awakening is all about helping the community, so we are excited to get out there and help by offering boxfit as part of the Be Active Be Alive program to encourage keeping fit and healthy,” Tataina said.

“Boxfit is something that everyone can get involved in, it doesn’t matter what age or fitness level.

“It is a great all over body workout, it doesn’t matter if you are new to fitness as you work at your own pace.

“It is a great cardio as well as muscular exercise.”

The program will run until Saturday 11 December.

You can find free fitness activities in the full spring program here.