Weekender: Eats and Beats

Aussie Snake Wranglers greenlit for second season

Adele Bennett

A Bundaberg-based filmmaker has been given the greenlight on a second season of new reality show, Aussie Snake Wranglers.

The deal was made after a positive response to Season One, which rated number one on Foxtel for factual programming and follows the day-to-day adventures of Australia’s biggest snake catching team.

Associate Media founder Dave Quarrell said the idea for the show came to him after a chance encounter on the set of a fishing show.

“Five years ago, I was filming for a fishing show and the host was able to line up filming at Weipa [Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve] with the Irwin’s for a week,” Dave said.

“I met one of their crocodile handlers, Stuart McKenzie, who was starting a Sunshine Coast snake handling business.”

Dave said he went along on a snake catching call out and immediately saw the potential for a television series.

“It turned out to be a massive eastern brown snake. It came straight at us and we had to jump over playground equipment to get out of its way… it was a massive adrenalin rush.”

Each episode in the 16-part series follows a core cast of snake catchers as they respond to distress calls from the public between Brisbane to Gympie and west to Kingaroy.

Dave said they never know what species they will find when they arrive and try to get to the properties within 30 minutes of being called as snakes disappear so quickly.

Now with a second season in the pipeline the crew is hard at work filming six days a week, with Dave putting their success down to two key ingredients.

“What I think the magic of the show is, there’s a couple of things, one is its location in sunny Queensland. Beaches, rainforest, real people.

“Then also the fact that we’re protecting people, native animals, and pets.

“Plus, the show doesn’t waste time with unnecessary fluff, it’s just bang, bang, action the whole way through.”

“The only negative feedback we’re getting is that the show is too short!”

Dave sold the show idea to Breakout Productions in partnership with the South Australian Film Corporation, with the stipulation that he remains on the crew as a shooter-producer.

Breakout Productions producers Colin Thrupp and Steve Geddes are also originally from Bundaberg, as well as camera operator Johnny Nicol.

“In season two the whole challenge will be to take what we did last year and make it better.”

Aussie Snake Wranglers Season One is currently on-air Tuesday nights at 8.30pm AEST on National Geographic or available on-demand.

Enjoy Sunset Eats + Beats at Riverfeast

Emma Reid

Welcome the weekend and relax with friends as the sun sets across the Burnett River at Sunset Eats + Beats at Riverfeast.

Soak up the laidback atmosphere while dining on seafood inspired delights, as the unique venue comes alive with entertainment from eight-piece funk-soul band Madison Kat.

Riverfeast owners Karen and Greg Wittkopp said they were excited to be part of the upcoming Milbi Festival activities.

“We are extremely proud to be given the opportunity to participate in this year's Milbi Festival,” Karen said.

“It has been a pleasure working with the organisers to deliver a really unique event. 

“We have always considered Riverfeast a special place on the river where we encourage community groups to utilise it to bring locals and visitors to the area together in many varied ways.”

Karen said sharing the night with the audience is what Madison Kat do, and their visual energy and crowd involvement will be sure to entertain the crowd.

Madison Kat is known for playing new, forgotten and obscure covers mixed with their original material in a bold performance.

“I’ve been listening to Madison Kat, and their performance at Riverfeast should be amazing,” Karen said.

She said with Madison Kat’s infectious energy, and their onstage antics, they would lure the audience to participate in a night of good vibes.

Karen said Sunset Eats + Beats would have local beverage companies Ballistic Beer and Kalki Moon collaborate, along with a number of local food vendors providing the community with an evening of delectable food and drinks.

“We have Tasty Street Food and our regular food vendor Ashleigh Bowman cooking up delicious seafood inspired dishes for family and friends to enjoy together,” she said.

“Tasty Street Food signature dishes are Baja fish taco and crispy prawn boa – yummo!”

There are a range of activities happening throughout the week as part of the upcoming Milbi Festival which can be found here.

Sunset Eats + Beats is a free community event to be held at Riverfeast, 1A Scotland Street, on Friday, 5 November from 5pm.

Council commits to net-zero target by 2030

Megan Dean

As net-zero targets make national headlines, Bundaberg Regional Council has committed to its own 2030 target to be achieved alongside a circular economy.

Council has committed to introducing a circular economy and achieving a regional net-zero carbon target by 2030.

The announcement, made at the Waste and Resource Recovery Queensland conference last week, comes as Council prepares to release its 2022 Advocacy Priorities.

The circular economy, described as an innovative system for rethinking the way we use products and services, aims to reuse and recycle waste so that products and materials are kept in use for as long as possible.

Mayor Jack Dempsey said everyone had a responsibility to protect the environment and leave the planet in better natural health for future generations and a circular economy would play a critical role.

“This is crucial in the transition to net zero, slowing climate change and reducing pollution,” Mayor Dempsey said.

“The circular economy and renewable energy sectors represent important opportunities to create jobs and benefit the environment.”

One of the impediments to growing the circular economy is knowledge and access to waste, industrial by-products and feedstock.

To overcome this, Mayor Dempsey said Council would introduce new tools to support a resource exchange that would help to create new local economic value.

“Our vision is that by 2030, the regional economy will practise circular economy principles as a matter of course,” he said.

The region’s agricultural sector will have a key role to play with Council and industry already advocating for product stewardship schemes for trickle tape and other agricultural materials with an aim to recover close to 100 per cent of this material.

Roadmap to reach net-zero target by 2030

Mayor Dempsey said significant planning was underway to develop a road map to cut carbon emissions across the entire Bundaberg Region.

“The circular economy is one important aspect of that roadmap which will support industry in reaching this target,” Mayor Dempsey said.

“Other pieces of the puzzle include looking at the ways in which Bundaberg Regional Council can decarbonise its operations, whether that be through solar, hydrogen or other offsets.

“And, of course, the ways in which we as a community can address household consumption to reach a collective net-zero carbon target.”

Biohub opens door for sustainability and circular economy

Working with Utilitas, Council has led the establishment of a biohub in Bundaberg for bio-manufacturing and to produce green hydrogen.

“This opens the door to an entirely new and sustainable industry and contributes to the circular economy,” Mayor Dempsey said.

“Organic waste from local farms can be used to produce clean, green energy.

“Suddenly agricultural by-products become a commodity, not a burden on the community or the environment.

“The future is certainly looking greener with sugar cane tops and sweet potato seconds potentially fuelling hydrogen vehicles and other initiatives.”

But he said Council couldn’t go the distance alone and credited local businesses which were actively seizing the initiative and pressing ahead with innovative projects.

Some of those businesses were highlighted as part of the waste conference site tours, including:

- Greensill Farming Group which has launched Green Solutions to enable the free disposal and re-use of domestic green waste.
- Superior Pak which manufactures and supplies Council garbage collection trucks and is an established national leader in its field.
- The recently expanded Oreco facility at Childers which is producing sustainable garden materials, which is diverting waste from local landfills.
- Bundaberg Rum which has established a successful zero waste to landfill policy.

“These are just some examples of how we can cooperate and innovate to develop the Bundaberg Region’s circular economy,” Mayor Dempsey said.

Bundaberg Regional Council will host its second Bioeconomy Conference from November 2 – 3.

Team effort sees Manta Bargara make Gold List

Georgia Neville

Manta Bargara has been recognised for its high standard of accommodation which saw the resort named on the Queensland Tourism Industry Council's 2021 Gold List.

Awarded on behalf of QTIC, in partnership with Star Ratings Australia, the award acknowledges the high standard of service and facilities provided by resorts and hotels across the country.

The award came as a surprise to managers Chris and Warner Banks who took over the management of the resort in December 2019.

Warner said they credited the recognition to the fantastic team behind the scenes which ensured the maintenance and upkeep of the property and facilities on a daily basis.

“To obtain a star rating you have to maintain a consistency of standard for each unit and everyone who works as part of this team have been great, including all of the individual apartment owners,” Warner said.

“Our housekeeping team and the gardener have kept the units and the grounds clean which is very important.

“There are a range of other projects underway at the resort, with new decking around the pool area as well as resurfacing of the pool to begin early in the New Year.”

Queensland Tourism Industry Council Chief Executive Daniel Gschwind said the Gold List acknowledged those accommodation providers who are working hard to maintain a high standard of service.

“The Star Ratings Gold List recognises some of the best accommodation providers available to visitors in our state,” Mr Gschwind said.

“Being acknowledged and awarded as a Gold List provider demonstrates to visitors that those listed tourism operators have provided a consistently exceptional service to guests.

“Importantly, the Gold List also gives accommodation operators much-deserved recognition for their dedication and hard work in making sure guests across our state have an enjoyable experience.

“Gold List operators set the standards and keep Queensland competitive.”

Star Ratings are an internationally recognised symbol for quality accommodation standards, used in more than 70 countries around the world.

“It is important that holiday makers rely upon the star rating because to achieve this rating you have to meet and maintain these criteria,” Warner said.

“It is good to be able to rely upon a known standard particularly if you are coming from overseas.”

Warner said the recent COVID lockdowns had only had a positive impact on their bookings, with a number of Queensland residents who live in driving distance visiting Bargara for the first time.

“We have been exceedingly fortunate as traditionally our market is a five-hour drive radius market, so given the restrictions that COVID has seen, all of those people living from the Gold Coast out to Toowoomba and up to Rockhampton have still been able to visit,” he said.

“Most of these people have been exploring new places due to the restrictions and there are a lot of people coming to Bargara for the first time who really like what they see and they will return.”

The Gold List is exclusive to Star Rated properties and recognises the properties that have achieved the highest Travellers’ Rating over a 12-month period using Review Pro’s guest intelligence solution.

By making the Gold List, accommodation providers are demonstrating their commitment to consistently exceeding guest expectations.

Properties receive a rating of up to five stars, calculated according to standards across three key assessment areas:

- Quality and condition

- Facilities and services

- Cleanliness

Find out more about Manta Bargara Resort here.

Passion for collecting shared over two decades

Ashley Schipper

From rare coins to model cars and kits, superhero figurines, comics and more, the shelves of Coins and Collectables have been filled with plenty of unique and interesting items for the past two decades.

Owners John and Dehlia Felesina have recently celebrated 20 years of operating the popular CBD business, which was initially established from John's passion for collecting coins.

“I have loved coins all my life and started collecting them when I was 15 years old,” John said.

“I always wanted to be a coin dealer and enjoy coin collecting because you never know what type of coins you are going to see from around the world – it surprises you every day.”

During his earlier years John joined his father's coin business in Earl's Court before a career change led him and Dehlia to the opposite end of the CBD.

“Before Coins and Collectables, my wife and I had a business called Sweet Moments where we sold chocolates, gift baskets, helium balloons and party supplies,” John said.

“We operated that for about seven years but I really wanted to get back into coin dealing which is what I was doing with my father beforehand.”

John said he decided to pursue his passion for coins once more and opened the current space on Bourbong Street.

“Because the shop is so big we decided to sell other items as well to fill the space, which is how we came to retail model cars and pop culture items,” he said.

“We also sell a great deal of gold or silver bullion bars which people buy for investment.”

John said there were plenty of popular items in store that often flew off the shelves as soon as they arrived, including the new release coins from the Royal Australian Mint.

“Many people are collecting the coloured two dollar coins- it is the in thing at the moment,” he said.

“The Australian V8 Supercar models are also very popular as is some of the pop culture stock.

“People have admired certain characters all through their life and as different fads come and go, so do these unique items.”

The couple said their shop was a fun place to work, with plenty of stock arriving each month.

“It is always exciting because our stock is always changing,” John said.

“I love unpacking all of the boxes!”

Dehlia added the businesses had also helped to blossom many friendships over the years.

“I love working here because of the customers,” Dehlia said.

“We know everyone by name and we have some people who come in to see us every day.

“It is really about having that rapport and relationship with customers who we actually call friends.”

Coins and Collectables is located at 180 Bourbong Street. More information can be found on the Facebook page here.

Robbie Robinson proud to stand tall for veterans

Ashley Schipper

It's hard to miss Childers man Robbie Robinson.

The self-proclaimed “loud and noisy” local stands at six foot one and can always be found wearing his trusty hat.

But his larger-than-life personality and appearance are not what Robbie is best known for – instead, it's his unwavering support for the veteran community.

Robbie has been profiled as part of Bundaberg Regional Council's Our People Our Stories project which celebrates local people and their achievements.

The local likes to give back to the community through Legacy, RSL and Vietnam Veterans Association and is always proud to share the history of Australian’s fallen heroes.

He said it's because it is a subject close to his own heart.

“My father was a WWII veteran in the British Army and he went to Belgium with the British expeditionary force, came back by water and then went over to Malaya,” Robbie said.

“He was a Prisoner of War for three years under the Japanese and he met quite a few Australians during this time.

“As a family we immigrated to Australia in 1957 and we ended up in Sydney.

“I joined the army at 17 and stayed for 22 years.”

Robbie said when he got out of the army, he realised just how much he missed the comradeship.

“When I came home from Vietnam in 1970 my priority was to play sport and have a few beers – nothing much has changes expect for my knees,” he laughed.

“I joined the RSL in 1980 and then Legacy in 1990 to give back to the community.”

As part of his role with the organisations, Robbie said he had become an advocate for veterans and their families to help support them in many aspects of life, including socialisation.

“In Childers we have 23 war widows,” he said.

“We have initiated a monthly morning tea for the Legacy ladies and we go to a different café each month.

“It gives them an opportunity to get out because it's hard if they don’t get the support, even if it’s just a phone call, we are there for them.

“It’s a sense of duty to give something back.”

Passion for community runs in the family

Ashley Schipper

Providing support to others runs through the blood of Gin Gin’s Felecity Manderson, with the proud local walking in the steps of her mother and grandmother as a community champion.

The strong female influences Felecity has had throughout her life have helped her develop a tireless work ethic which she puts into practice throughout multiple volunteer organisations.

Felecity’s passion for community has been shared as part of Bundaberg Regional Council's Our People Our Stories Project, which aims to bring people together through a connection to community.

Third generation Gin Gin born-and-bred, Felecity has recently taken on a role with the Gin Gin and District Historical Society and brings a fresh perspective with her years of knowledge that was passed down from her mum and grandmother.

Her grandmother, Daph Saunders, was a community hero in her own right and her legacy lives on through Felecity’s commitments.

“She was known as the Grandma of Gin Gin and she started the Gin Gin District Historical Society which held a lot of community events,” Felecity said.

Alongside her parents and grandmother, Felecity has helped numerous local organisations, including spending decades within the local Scout Group and with Masonic body, Order of the Eastern Star.

Felecity said community service was almost a hobby for her and volunteering was something she enjoyed from a young age.

As a child, she recalls her mother stepping in to help when she realised the local scout group could close its doors due to lack of volunteers.

“My brother was a youth member and when he got to cub scouts, the leader at the time had to step down,” Felecity said.

“They called a parent meeting and said if we can’t get help, we will have to fold so my brother came home and begged, even though my mother ran two businesses and a farm.

“Mum put her hand up and when I was 16 I became a cub scout instructor to be her offsider.

“When I was 18, I trained to be an assistant cub scout leader. I have clocked up 25 years in varying roles.”

Felecity said her life had been enriched through her willingness to take on various roles within organisations and she encouraged others to become involved in a local group or two to keep the community spirit alive.

She also said for those already involved, be willing to change with the times. For those who are not, “get involved so that we don’t lose our community spirit for future generations”.

Childers Police VIPs serve for 22 years

Wayne Heidrich

Childers Police has embraced the assistance offered by local VIPs for more than 22 years.

While these Childers VIPs are considered “very important people”, the VIP acronym actually stands for Volunteers in Policing.

Childers has had an impressive cohort of VIPs since the volunteer service was first introduced into the local police station in May 1999.

Officer in Charger of Childers Police Sergeant Geoff Fay said the VIPs are an incredibly valuable resource for police.

“The idea for VIPs originated in the United States and Canada but has successfully transferred to volunteering within the Queensland Police Service.

“Back in 1999 it was my pleasure to welcome the first Childers VIP, Bernard McCarthy, a retired local businessman.

“Bernard had a strong business background and was heavily involved in the local community through organisations like the Chamber of Commerce.”

Childers Police VIPs help with administrative roles

Sergeant Fay said the VIPs had continued over the years with participants undertaking administrative roles that provided sworn officers with additional time to pursue police matters of a higher priority.

“They do not perform dedicated police work and are required to exhibit a high degree of confidentiality when it comes to sensitive and privacy issues.

”Childers currently has two VIPs in Barry Cochrane and well-known local Donna Duncan OAM. Barry attends the station on a Tuesday to perform his volunteer hours while Donna assists police with the regular sitting days at the Childers Courthouse.”

Barry Cochrane has been a VIP for more than 11 years with 10 years service with Childers Police.

The position is unpaid and requires participants to undertake a training course.

Community liaison, assisting with vehicle and property security initiatives and customer service are frontline duties for VIPs.

According to Barry, Police appoint VIPs on an “as required” basis.

“Usually it involves someone providing an expression of interest and they can be assessed and called upon if and when positions become available.

“I really enjoy my hours with Childers Police. They are an incredible team of men and women and Geoff would be one of the most inclusive people its been my pleasure to meet,” Barry said.

“The role is varied and I am often utilised when we have events like the Childers Festival and the recent Read To Me Day where a more informal police presence is required.”

Barry said his career in IT as well as a short stint as a prison officer and a more extended period with the RAAF had taken him to different parts of the world and had provided a good background in personal and community relations.

Decades old police records copied

 “One of my first tasks as a VIP was archiving. It involved copying all the old written records which dated back to 1944.

“I would turn up with my chair at the old cells at the back of the old police station - which were chock-a-block with old files - and steadily transferred all that information.

“That took me about 18 months and countless antihistamine tablets to cope with the dust,” Barry laughed.

On a more regular basis Barry assist the station’s administration officer Celeste Bettridge with numerous administration tasks.

“There are things like a local business key register that regularly requires updating. It’s these resources that provide police with the information to contact relevant people if access is required to premises.

“Both my wife and I are keen volunteers. We like the fact that it keeps you in touch with what is happening in your community and you have a sense of worthwhile contribution.”

Barry has no intention of stepping away anytime soon from his Childers Police VIP duties.

He said being able to utilise the skills learned from a working life into retirement years really benefitted not only those receiving the benefit.

“From a personal perspective its rewarding knowing those skills continue to serve a useful purpose.”

Halloween in Bundaberg

Houses on Sims Road and Belle Eden Estate are getting in the spooky spirit for October 31.

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Ann’s knack for gardening blossoms with flower power

Morgan Everett

A sea of floral colour brings  Ann Riseley’s garden to life and, while not a natural green thumb, she isn’t afraid of taking risks on delicate blooms.

Along with her husband, she started digging in two years ago to upgrade both the front and back yards.

“Our ideas are just colour and flowers, so we are buying pretty plants all the time,” Ann said.

“My husband is good at organising and doing the manual labour such as the lawn and digging out old plants.”

Ann said while she had never been much of a gardener before, she had always loved flowers and experimenting in the garden has now led to success.

“A coffee on the chair looking at the garden is the best, along with enjoying it with my husband and family,” she said

“It gives me pride and it looks lovely.”

Ann said although she loves the colour flowers provide, she also likes to feature tropical plants on the back patio, a vegetable patch, and native and citrus trees in the backyard.

“Last year there was a raised veggie garden made,” she said.

“We have chilli, coriander, tomatoes, lettuce and watermelon growing.

“My husband tends to the lawn so he’s currently adding a soil top layer and fertiliser to it.”

Hardy and heat loving flora is a must for Ann.

She said she does like to take risks with plants such as fuchsias and orchids.

“I love sweet peas and roses for the scent, geraniums for their vibrancy and hardiness, fuchsias for their delicate beauty and my maidenhair because it is doing so well,” Ann said.

"Our German Shepherd likes to pounce on lizards and butterflies amongst the flowers."

Ann said the garden was a constant work in progress as she had many ideas to continue transforming it into the future.

“Hopefully our camellias will grow, and I would like to add an arbour with a climbing rose,” she said.

“I would also like to grow a jade vine which I’m on a waiting list for.  

“My dad is going to build me a potting table and I am going to grow seedlings of different varieties that I can’t buy here.”

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Felicity first female to coach seniors AFL team

Ashley Schipper

Felicity Tankey has always loved AFL and will be looking to build up a passion for the sport in others through her role as Brothers Bulldogs Senior Women's Coach for 2022.

The newly appointed position is one that also crowns her the first senior female coach of a community club within the whole Wide Bay region, something that Felicity said made her very proud.

“It is great, I am excited to try and further the women's side of AFL within the region,” she said.

“I would like to bring us up to scratch and run alongside with the men eventually.”

Felicity said she grew up playing AFL after being introduced to the game at school in Geelong, Victoria.

She then went on to play women’s football in Darwin from 2004 to 2016, captaining her team for the last five seasons which included the club's first women’s premiership.

Felicity said she loved everything about the sport.

“What isn't there to love?” she laughed.

“Mainly, I think it is the bringing together of women from all different backgrounds who are all working towards the same goal.

“It brings out the best in people, passion, confidence and more.”

Women's coach first step in driving participation
The local AFL enthusiast said she would work hard to promote women in sport within her coaching position.

“A lot of women aren't confident that they will be able to play, and so they don't try out,” she said.

“I want to change all of that and show people that whatever skill set, fitness level or age that you are, there is always a place for you and something out on the field that you are going to be good at.”

Felicity will start promoting women's AFL at a football clinic at St Luke's Anglican School next Saturday.

“The clinic is for 14 years and over and is simply a come and try afternoon where we work on some skills and take those steps to build up some confidence,” she said.

“Just head along from 3 pm – anyone is welcome and it will be a great opportunity to see if you like AFL.

“Games then officially start in February next year but once the team is fully established, we do plenty of pre-season work to get everyone bonding.”

With Felicity named the senior women's coach, it makes her the third female coach or assistant coach that Brothers Bulldogs has announced in its push to build women's sport in the region.

She follows on from Wendy Timms, 2021 Under 10.5's coach, and Kieranne Zunker 2021 Under 8.5's assistant coach.