Weekender: Lifesavers honoured

Big plans for old fire station

Bridges Health and Community Care has purchased the old fire station in central Bundaberg. They have big plans to create a relaxed community space to help continue their work in mental health, while acknowledging the history of the building.

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Unique Christmas displays showcase local creativity

Georgia Neville

With the aim of creating a display with a difference, local resident Arthur Usher has spent the past three years building on his Australian-themed Christmas decorations for all to enjoy.

Creating every piece of the display by hand, Arthur was looking for a point of difference to the common light shows that are on display across the region.

Arthur said the idea to do an Australian-themed display came to him when he was thinking about how lucky we were to call Australia home.

“The idea came to me mainly because most people have light displays, and I thought I should do something different to change it up,” Arthur said.

“Instead of having lots of lights, I have created a display that shows an Aussie Christmas.”

Arthur said he couldn’t put a time frame on how long it had taken him to produce the display, as it was an ever-growing project that he continued to build on each year.

“This particular set up has been going for three years,” he said.

“The biggest challenge is putting all the pieces into place as it takes around a month to put together, and especially getting the pieces onto the roof.”

Not only has Arthur built and designed all of the pieces of the display, he has also created moving pieces.

“I have used small motors to create movement throughout the display,” he said.

“For example, the mother kangaroo moves up and down, the Santa on the roof lifts his arms up and down with the reigns and the six kangaroos go backward and forwards.

“I have also used a programmed computer board so that the koalas out the front are playing soccer, the first koala kicks and then the lights act as a ball before the other koala kicks the ball back.”

Arthur said his main reason behind putting the display together was to bring joy to others.

“I just want everyone to enjoy it,” he said.

You can find Arthur’s Aussie Christmas display at 26 Greatheads Road, Kepnock.

You can find out more about Christmas displays around the region via Facebook.

Playground fencing opens world of opportunities

Georgia Neville

The Bundaberg Botanic Gardens playground fencing is now complete and has been welcomed by parents, with one family now having the opportunity to spend more time together outdoors.

As a result of consultation with parents of children with special needs, a fully enclosed destination playground was identified as a high priority and has since been installed at the Botanic Gardens playground, just in time for school holidays.

Local mother Crystal Tanzer has been involved in the consultation process from the beginning, saying the fence provided endless opportunities to not only her family but other families in a similar situation.

“Our son Dylan is five years old and nonverbal, autistic, so he has no knowledge of safety of cars,” Crystal said.

“To be able to have the opportunities to play with Dylan in a playground and for him to play with his cousins or his little brother is something we would not have been able to do prior to Council installing the fence.

“So, for us as family we are now able to spend time as a family outside our family home, and we are very grateful.”

She said while it may not seem like a lot, this fence provided opportunities for children with special needs.

“I am very grateful to Council for getting this fenced playground and behind the scenes spending the time to make it work,” she said.

“The fencing gives opportunities for kids like Dylan to be able to have normal opportunities that other children get to have.

“It gives Dylan and other children like him the chance to play alongside neurotypical children so that he has the opportunities to just be a normal kid.”

Crystal said while the fence doesn’t mean there is no need to watch your children, it means Dylan can play freely.

“For us, we are still here and present while the kids are playing, but it gives us the opportunity to allow them to play unhindered and without us being attached to him,” she said.

“It has been several years since he has had the opportunity to play locally so this give us the opportunity to have a birthday party in a playground.”

The fencing will provide a secure, safe and inclusive playground to be enjoyed by children, parents and carers alike.

The local team at Complete Barrier Solutions have completed the project, with the playground now fully open again.

Barbie-inspired nail and beauty salon opens in CBD

Georgia Neville

Mai Nguyen has always had a dream of owning her own beauty salon, which she has now turned into a reality, opening Chill Nails and Beauty Salon in the CBD.

After moving to the region over nine years ago, Mai said she can never see herself leaving.

She had always planned on opening a salon in town and was just waiting for the right moment to arise.

“This is my dream job and I have always wanted to be a beautician and wake up every day and love what I do,” Mai said.

After six months of looking for a space, the transformation of the shop on Bourbong Street began, taking two months to complete.

“I love Barbie and so the shop has been decorated like it would be if it was from a Barbie scene with all the pink colouring,” she said.

“There are still some areas we are continuing to work on to bring them to life which will be completed shortly.”

Mai said Bourbong Street was the perfect location to open the business, being right in the middle of the hustle and bustle of the city.

“It is very fun being in the main street with people always walking past and up and down the street,” she said.

Mai has three staff working with her and is currently looking for more staff members to join her team.

The salon is located at at 124 Bourbong Street, find the salon on Facebook for more information.

Matt a passionate supporter of community

Ashley Schipper

Local Bundaberg man Matt Griffiths is an advocate for social development, empowerment and the community.

His passion for helping others has seen him become heavily involved in multiple organisations and he has dedicated his life to not just Bundaberg, but also the global community at large.

Matt's dedication within the community and beyond has been highlighted as part of Bundaberg Regional Council's Our People Our Stories initiative, which celebrates local residents.

As a single father of a 15-year-old boy, Matt said he had a keen interest in youth development through education, which had spurred him to promote a range of student development programs and opportunities.

In 2022, he will host the Road Safety Young Driver Awareness Program alongside Bundaberg Police to teach students in Year 10 how to behave behind the wheels.

“RYDA features a highly engaging and memorable one day workshop which front-loads students’ understanding of road safety,” he said.

“It gives them the tools, habits and motivation to take action and stay safe on our roads.”

Matt was born with a birth deformity of his right femur which was amputated at age 15, but this does not slow him down.

Instead, it drives him to make a difference and help communities to achieve their potential.

He is also a passionate supporter of the Seven Women Foundation in Nepal which supports disabled and disadvantaged women through education, economic empowerment and social development.

At the outbreak of our current pandemic, Matt was in Kathmandu on a humanitarian tour with Seven Women and just made it back to Australia before the global shutdown.

He said he didn’t go to Kathmandu to watch, he went there to do, and so managed to climb the 1000 steps of the Monkey Temple.

A supporter of Volunteer Marine Rescue Bundaberg, the Royal Flying Doctors Service, BushKids and a Director of the Bundaberg Field Day Society, Matt said his life was never boring.

“Whether it is floods, fires, famine or drought I am always willing to lend a hand and offer support…and a sense of humour!” he said.

Get ready for school holiday fun

Georgia Neville

As another year finishes, Bundaberg Regional Council has a range of activities to keep kids occupied throughout the school holidays.

With everything from arts and crafts to summer reading clubs and outdoor adventures, there are a number of activities being hosted across council operated facilities.

Amongst the large number of activities on offer, there are a number of new activities these holidays including escape rooms across the region’s libraries.

There are a number of different themes, rotating through the libraries providing everyone the opportunity to take part in different challenges.

The purpose of these rooms is to provide kids the chance to learn a range of new skills, from teamwork right through to problem solving skills and communication.

The Moncrieff Entertainment Centre is getting everyone in the Christmas spirit showing a number of Christmas movies including:

  • It’s a Wonderful Life
  • Miracle on 34th Street
  • White Christmas

In Childers, the Paragon will see The Last Minute Christmas performance on stage which is a fun and interactive show with something for everyone.

If you are looking to get your kids adventuring in the great outdoors, the Rocky Shore Ramble activity is back again these holidays.

As part of the Reef Guardian Council program, kids will join Council’s Natural Areas team and local marine expert, Natalie Lobartolo, to explore the rocky shores at Bargara.

The Gardens Holiday Booklet is also back at the Botanic Gardens, with a number of activities for kids to complete while exploring the gardens.

Activities will continue into the new year, with a number of arts and crafts activities happening at both Bundaberg Regional Art Gallery and the libraries.

Storytime with Deano Yipadee is also an online resource available for parents to make use of at home, with lots of rhymes, stories and fun to enjoy in each episode that can be watched repeatedly during the summer holidays.

See the full school holiday program here.

New cockatoo friend for George at the zoo

Ashley Schipper

George is a well-known and much-loved resident of Alexandra Park Zoo but soon he won't be the only Sulphur-Crested cockatoo on the block.

The popular character will have a new play mate when his female counterpart is introduced next week.

Coming from Flying High Bird Park in Apple Tree Creek, the female cockatoo will be added as a new resident in Bundaberg to provide company to George.

Bundaberg Regional Council's parks and gardens portfolio spokesperson Cr Wayne Honor said it would be a positive change for the Bundy boy.

“The zoo staff are hoping that by providing George with another companion of the same species, it will assist to promote positive welfare outcomes for him,” he said.

“The female cockatoo has been in quarantine and will be on display on Monday of next week.

“She will initially be housed in the aviary next to George for a period of time so they can see and hear each other and get acquainted over time, prior to a trial introduction.”

It's been a while since George has had a companion and zoo staff are excited to see how he reacts to a female close by.

“If everything appears to be going well, staff will introduce the two birds into a spare aviary to avoid any territorial aggression, and closely monitor them,” Cr Honor said.

“If the introduction is smooth, they will remain together and if not, they will be housed in separate aviaries that are adjacent to each other so that they can still talk to one another and socialise.”

Owners of Flying High Bird Park Ian and Tanya Dodds said they knew their female cockatoo would be in good hands at Alexandra Park Zoo.

“The main reason why we wanted to help out George is because cockatoos are flock animals and need to have company,” Ian said.

‘Plus, we have 27 cockatoos at our park that have either been donated or come from all sorts of backgrounds so we are happy to help out the zoo with one of our own.”

Ian said the female cockatoo had been at the park when he purchased the business three years ago.

“As for her age, I would be guessing she is about 15 to 20 years old,” he said.

“Cockatoos can live to 100 so she definitely isn't an old girl.

“She is quite affectionate and would often cuddle up to us, she loves attention.”

Ian said cockatoos were highly intelligent birds and not only liked to mimic sounds, they could also learn to dance and could become quite emotional.

“They can be very bipolar at times,” he laughed.

“They sing and dance a lot, the birds we have here often imitate phone calls that they hear.

“One thing that we want people to appreciate is that these birds each have their own individual personalities and are exceptionally smart.”

The female cockatoo, which is yet to be named, will be officially unveiled to the public on Monday at Alexandra Park Zoo.

What's on

Kevin’s tropical oasis a place of relaxation

Morgan Everett

More than 20 years of gardening has led Kevin Berghofer to the creation of a foliage-filled garden, with views from the veranda which create an at home oasis.

Hearty foliage has been planted throughout the gardens with red flora popping out among the green, as the garden continues to flourish since adapting to the Bundaberg climate.

“The house was moved here in 2000 from the Bingera mill plantation and was transported on the back of two semis and reversed to the back of the block and restumped,” Kevin said.

“The block was full of the original scrub as it hadn’t been touched since it was purchased in the ‘70s.

“We put the pathway in and started planting the shrubs that would supposedly grow well in the area, but found as time went on, with the lack of rain we had to go for more natives and succulents.”

The green thumb said tending to your own jungle comes with its own challenges, as the garden has seen many phases over the years.

“We lost a lot of trees in 2017 when we had a powerful storm uproot many of the gums and a large fig in the creek,” he said.

“This changed the garden greatly because it removed the canopy that had developed over the years and opened it up to the sun.

“Now everything is growing back after a good pre-spring prune and a good layer of mulching.”

The outdoor space also features a large mermaid statue and more than eight beehives, which are appreciated by many.

“We spend a lot of time in the garden with friends and family, and I also have a market garden where we grow fresh produce for our family, neighbours and the Second 2 None charity,” he said.

With wife Sonia running a bowen therapy business from home, Kevin said he enjoyed seeing people unwind in the garden before their appointment.

“The most loved part of the garden is the swing that I built myself.

“Once you are on it, it's hard to get off as it is so relaxing,” he said.

“The garden looks great from the veranda and gives the feeling that we aren`t really in town, it’s our own little oasis.”

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Bin collection to continue over Christmas period

Ashley Schipper

Bundaberg Regional Council's waste collection services will continue to operate over the Christmas holiday period, including through the public holidays.

Waste and Recycling portfolio spokesperson Cr Tanya McLoughlin said Council was asking residents to place bins out for collection the night before or by 5am on the day of collection.

“Thanks to our wonderful staff, bin collection services will continue right through the Christmas break,” she said.

“While kerbside collection days will remain the same, pick-up times may be earlier-than-usual, so residents are asked to please place bins out the night before.”

During the holiday period, Council's waste facilities will also operate as normal with the exception of Christmas Day.

All public waste facilities will be closed on Christmas Day but will operate on all other public holidays.

Cr McLoughlin said, because the amount of rubbish and leftovers could increase over the festive period, it was a good opportunity to put recycling habits into practice.

“There's plenty of recyclable rubbish that comes from the festive season, including gift wrap, presents, decorations and more,” she said.

“Instead of overfilling your bins with waste, we have compiled a list of recycling options to help you reuse items for other purposes.”

Christmas waste collection


Carboard boxes and wrapping paper: These are perfect items to throw in the yellow-lidded bin because they break down easily and can be transformed for other purposes at waste facilities. However, boxes and paper are also great items for kid’s craft for over the holidays, and storage options too.

Christmas food leftovers: While food scraps can’t be recycled in the yellow bins, there are other ways you can get rid of leftovers without throwing them away. Try to compost as much as possible or use your scraps for pets or worm farm food. 

Plastic wrapping and packaging: Soft and scrunchy plastic items can be recycled through the Redcyle program. Just take your items to any Coles and Woolworths store and look for the Redcycle bins. Find out more here https://www.redcycle.net.au/what-to-redcycle/

Plastic bottles, jars and glass bottles: There are a number of Containers for Change sites around the Bundaberg Region that will take these items off your hands and pay you in return. Just a reminder, make sure you remove all lids before you take them in! Find out more here: https://www.containersforchange.com.au/qld/where-can-i-return


Tinsel and foil wrapping paper: This is a big no-no when it comes to recycling. Tinsel has small foil particles that can’t break down easily and can also get stuck in machinery. Foil wrapping paper cannot be recycled.

Fairy lights: Featuring many small electrical pieces and long cords, fairy lights cannot be recycled partly due to the risk they pose in being caught in conveyor belts.

Plastic plates and cutlery: Instead, try looking for alternatives such as bamboo cutlery and paper plates, which are recyclable and biodegradable.

Sticky tape: Cannot be recycled so make sure you rip sticky tape off your wrapping paper before placing in the yellow bin.