Weekender: Lyn grows community kindy

Evelyn Bury awarded OAM for service to music

Georgia Neville

After working in music for the past 60 years, Evelyn Bury has been awarded an OAM for her service to the industry.

The Bundaberg country music singer has received some of the highest honours awarded to the Australian country music fraternity, now adding an Order of Australia Medal to her list that already includes a Golden Guitar.

The award came as a surprise to Evelyn, who said at first she thought the email was a joke.

“Wow, I mean at first when I saw the email I thought it was someone having a laugh but being recognised with this award means a lot to me,” Evelyn said.

“I have been in the music business for almost 60 years and so to get an award for something you love is amazing, I was blown away.

“Looking at the list, I am in some amazing company; I don’t quite feel I fit in with the crowd to be honest.”

Evelyn said she had called Bundaberg home for many years now and was not able to ask for a more supportive community.

“Bundaberg has always been such a supportive community and I wouldn’t choose to live anywhere else,” she said.

“I want to thank everyone for the wonderful response they have given to my music and since the OAM award has been announced.

“I also want to say thank you to my friends and family who have supported me every step of the way, even when my ideas may have been a bit out there.”

Connections and Golden Guitar highlights for Evelyn Bury

Evelyn said she has had many highlights during her time in the music industry and said that it was hard to pick just one standout.

“It is hard to pick a highlight as a lot of it has been the people that you work with and the people you meet,” she said.

“I was lucky that I was in an era where I was working with people like Smoky Dawson and Chad Morgan and that was quite surreal because I had looked up to them since I was a kid.

“I am going back over a long period of time but the Golden Guitar was a major highlight for me, as well as the song writing awards.

“They are also very nice to get because I recorded 40 of my own songs but for someone else to pick them up or get an award for them.”

Having entered the industry when she was just 16 years old, Evelyn said she had played across a number of genres with a wealth of experience behind her.

“I started when I was 16, mainly back then it was the local dances or the jazz clubs so you sang a variety of music like the wool shed dances it was always country,” she said.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed every part of the journey though.”

Evelyn said the recent Covid pandemic and the change to digital music streaming had changed the way the music industry operated.

“Once Covid hit, it made it very hard to tour as once you left one state, you couldn’t get back in and vice versa,” she said.

“It has forced me to start to put my feet up, but I feel for the younger generations who are trying to make a living.

“I feel blessed that I was in that era that I was in, as it is getting harder and harder.

“For example, there are hardly any record shops that sell CDs these days, instead you now put a single up on iTunes for $1.69.”

Evelyn Bury had one piece of advice for those who were trying to make it in the music industry with all the challenges in today’s world.

“My advice would be to hang in there,” she said.

“If you have that talent, you will get through.”

Construction skyrockets across region in 2021

Megan Dean

Construction in the Bundaberg Region skyrocketed in 2021 with the value of new home builds alone hitting $342 million and a number of major projects approved.

Major developments given the green light during 2021 included the Bargara Village Shopping Centre, an expansion of Marquis Macadamias and the new Kalkie Heights Estate.

There were numerous new service stations approved and the region saw the green light given for a number of renewable energy projects, including a new battery storage at Windermere and a new solar farm in the Isis.

Other major projects, like the Spring Lakes Resort at Avoca, the Childers cane transloader facility, the RV Lifestyle Village Oceanside at Burnett Heads and the Liberty Service Station within the Bundaberg aviation precinct, were also opened during the year.

Mayor Jack Dempsey said the development activity was more proof the region was going from strength to strength.

“Investment in the Bundaberg Region is at an all time high,” Mayor Dempsey said.

“There’s so much momentum in the region, whether it’s new families calling the region home or multi-million dollar projects forging ahead.

“On top of this significant commercial investment Council is leading the way with major projects including the Bundaberg Regional Aquatic Facility and Anzac Park redevelopment locked in.

“We tend to focus on the future but the reality is we’re building a better today and that gives us confidence for tomorrow.”

Construction 2021 statistics

Drilling down to the stats, 771 new detached dwellings were approved throughout the year.

The total value of building works approved was $342 million, which was up 56 per cent from $271 million in 2020.

Almost 600 new residential lots were approved with operational works approval issued for a further 300 lots.

There was also about a 20 per cent increase in development interest, with 933 applications of all types processed by the team.

Mayor Dempsey said the year-on-year increases were impressive but were even more incredible when compared with 2019.

“The Covid-induced exodus of major cities and southern states has certainly put the spotlight on our piece of paradise.

“I believe that’s a combination of people being attracted to our enviable lifestyle and the recognition that there is already a lot of positivity and confidence within the region.

“This is more clearly demonstrated when you look at the increases over the past two years, with some figures more than doubling since 2019 including new dwellings which went from 319 to 771 in that time and new lots approved up from 158 to 597.”

Bundaberg Regional Council’s development group was “hammered” in 2021 as a result of the increased interest, fielding 4215 customer requests and conducting 1557 building searches – up by 37 per cent when compared to the year prior.

Council’s Building Bundaberg Region 2020 development industry recovery scheme also wrapped up in 2021.

By 30 June Council had provided targeted assistance to 42 developments which, when complete, will deliver a $102 million investment in local construction and building, 107 new residential units, 12,000 m2 of new commercial floor space and 16,400 m2 of new industrial buildings.

The Barn Wholefoods focused on healthy organic food

Emma Turnbull

The doors of Bundaberg’s newest health food store, The Barn Wholefoods, have opened with a focus on organics.

The Barn Wholefoods offers an organic and healthy range of food, including fresh organic produce and pantry items along with takeaway organic coffee.

Shaylea Small and her dad Brendan Coan came up with idea to open The Barn Wholefoods during a family dinner, and they’re excited to share the healthy new business with the community.

Born and bred in Bundaberg Shaylea said opening a small grocery store was something new for them both, and the local support they had already received had blown them away.

“As a nutritionist and a bit of a foodie I noticed that Bundaberg didn’t have a large range in the way of healthy, plant based and organic products,” she said.

“So, I really wanted to be able to bring that here.

“It was a bit of a leap for us – as neither of us have done this before.

“It was actually a bit of a shock to see the interest on Facebook before we’ve even opened.

“I worked at Woolies for a couple of years, and I’m really excited about this new venture.”

The 24-year-old said as the doors opened for the first time on Friday, 28 January, they served takeaway coffee and they would add smoothies and cold-pressed juice in the coming weeks.

“We will be offering a variety of products which are focused on organic, and supportive of specific dietary requirements,” Shaylea said.

“People can expect a friendly and helpful environment, we have a large range of products to suit a lot of individual needs.

“As well as a coffee window serving takeaway coffee and clean treats, with plans for cold press juice and smoothies also.”

Shaylea said anyone with an interest in both health and retail could drop their resume in.

“We are always open for anyone who has a passion for health, organics, or sustainability to apply or come in for a chat,” Shaylea said.

The Barn Wholefoods will be open seven days at 62 Takalvan Street.

Bargara a perfect spot for Seashells Coffee Bar

Ashley Schipper

Seashells Coffee Bar will be serving up delicious takeaway brews plus plenty of sweet treats when it opens in Bargara from next week.

The new business is a dream come true for Letali Berrier who said plans to create her own shop had come about last year after her family moved to the region from the Sunshine Coast.

“We thought it was the best place to get a head start and begin new ventures,” she said.

“My whole family loves Bargara and we would often come for bike rides and walks along the waterfront and one day my Mum and I came across a tiny space and decided to take the risk and start a business.

“Almost a year later we have turned that space into my dream little coffee bar.”

Letali said she had worked in the hospitality industry since she was 14 and was now excited to bring her own flair to her first-ever business at Seashells Coffee Bar.

“It’s always been a dream of mine to open a coffee shop,” she said. 

“Baking and making coffee is a big passion of mine and I’ve always wanted to share this with everyone, but in my own space.”

Seashells Coffee Bar will open its doors to the community on Tuesday, 1 February with plenty of food and beverage options to choose from.

“I’m using a delicious blend from Seven Miles Coffee Roasters, it’s called Belaroma – Octavia,” Letali said.

“There will be all other hot and cold drinks available as well such as, hot chocolates, chai lattes, tea, milo, baby chinos for the kids, puppachinos for your pooches, iced lattes and more.

“I will be offering a range of sweet treats including, cakes, slices, cookies which will mostly be baked on site, plus pastries – gluten free and vegan options.

“Seashells Coffee Bar will be takeaway only at the moment, but I will have a few tables and chairs for customers to sit at outside.”

Letali said her doors would be open seven days a week and she was excited to welcome locals and visitors alike to her coffee bar while enjoying everything else that Bargara had to offer.

“I absolutely love Bargara and the community and was glad I was given the opportunity to bring something new to the area,” she said.

“I’m looking forward to being a new face in the community and to bring something a little different and new to town.

“Plus, you can never have too much coffee around!”

Seashells Coffee Bar is situated at Shop 1/5 Whalley Street, Bargara and will be open Monday to Friday 6 am to 1 pm and Saturday and Sunday 7 am to 1 pm from 1 February.

Follow the Facebook page here.

Tattersalls Hotel award recognises inclusive hiring


Tattersalls Hotel, or Tatts as it's known locally, has recently been recognised for its commitment to diversity and inclusion in the workplace through Epic Assist's Supportive Employer Recognition Award.

The award comes after director of the business Rohan Hill worked with the disability employment service provider to hire three staff members with disability, making equal opportunity employment a priority.

“It started off in cleaning. That was where we were looking, for cleaners in the accommodation business,” he said.

“From there we moved to maintenance and found a guy and it just kept going. We haven’t looked back.”

Working with a DES provider to hire staff with disability was something Rohan had never considered before taking over Tatts Hotel but since making inclusion a priority, he said he had found lifelong staff members that were proactive and independent.

“It’s been fantastic,” Rohan said.

“The staff are very well mannered. They put more effort into their work. I feel they actually want to be here.

“At first, they were very nervous, they didn’t talk much but now they think for themselves and will come up to me and say I can do this or that.”

Like many businesses, the hotel has had a rough trot over the past couple of years.

In July 2020 a tragic fire ripped through the corner pub, destroying the old hotel’s upper level in one clean sweep.

Rohan was determined to support his staff and keep them on the books during the hotel’s closure.

He scavenged up any work he could find so they wouldn’t be left behind – whether that be painting or doing general tasks.

Now, the team are back at work in the newly renovated pub and backpacker’s hotel.

“We’ve kept the same people on that we started with and they’ve just transitioned into our new business,” Rohan said.

For Rohan, he said one of the biggest advantages of working with EPIC Assist had been the personalised support.

“They are very supportive. They come around, visit us at least once a week, if not at least once a fortnight,” he said.

“They talk to the guys out here then come back to us if they have any problems.

“Or if we have any problems, we can ring EPIC and they’ll come out and solve the problem if there is one.”

Rohan said there were many benefits in working with a disability service provider.

“Inclusive hiring is good for every business,” he said.

“There’s a lot of roles you can use for people with disability. It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in. There’s lots of different jobs around.”

EPIC Assist helps businesses to prioritise diverse and inclusive hiring.

2022 Australia Day Awards

Megan Dean

Mayor Jack Dempsey has congratulated the 2022 Bundaberg Region Australia Day Award winners who were recognised in a special ceremony this week.

The annual Bundaberg Regional Council awards ceremony recognises groups and individuals that have contributed to social connectivity and whose actions have enhanced the community.

2022 Australia Day Award winners included Citizen of the Year – Dale Rethamel, Senior Citizen of the Year – Judi Giarola, Young Citizen of the Year – Isaac Cooper and Community Event of the Year – Oceanfest.

Mayor Dempsey said each of the award winners were nothing short of inspirational.

“Each year the Australia Day Award winners help to confirm what I’ve always known – the Bundaberg Region is the most generous and giving in all of Australia, if not the world,” Mayor Dempsey said.

“We are living in the most challenging times in recent history and yet, despite the impacts of Covid, the citizens of Bundaberg have continued to donate, give and achieve.

“On behalf of the entire community, thank you to our award winners for the time and dedication you have shown to the Bundaberg Region.”

View the video below.

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Free Bridge Club lessons to keep mind active

Georgia Neville

Trevor Gallety has been keeping his mind active for many years by playing bridge and now, he and the rest of the members from the Bundaberg Bridge Club are inviting others to test out their skills by offering free lessons to the community.

Trevor said while the game is an easy one to learn, it was difficult to master but great for keeping the mind active.

“Bridge is actually a very good game for your mind and there have been studies that have told us that it even helps against dementia, so there are many benefits,” he said.

“Bridge is a fun game; it is a challenge mentally.

“We are encouraging people to come along to our free lessons, improve your brain function, make new friends and enjoy the social side.”

People of all ages are encouraged to attend the lessons which will run for a duration of six weeks commencing at 6.30 pm every Thursday.

“We encourage new players to go online to abf.com.au/education/getting-started/ and view six short videos, each about three to six minutes long,” he said.

“This will allow you to see what the game is about and give you a jump start at the lessons.”

The lessons are open to all ages, with the club hoping to get a group of younger people involved.

You can register your interest in free Bridge Club lessons by contacting Trevor on 0417 196 315.

The Bundaberg Bridge Club is located on Kendall’s Road, at the Bundaberg Recreational Precinct.

More information about the club can be found on their website.

Learn to play Bridge:

Where: Bundaberg Bridge Club,
When: Every Thursday for six weeks, commencing Thursday, 3 February
Time: 6:30pm
Cost: Free

RADF 2021 rollout helps locals capture creativity

Emma Turnbull

Sixteen artistic initiatives that had locals creating, thinking and making in the Bundaberg Region throughout 2021 shared in more than $123,000 in Regional Arts Development Fund (RADF) grants.

Whether it was Dancing In The Rainbow, creating an Indigenous inspired mosaic or taking part in one of many summer programs making puppets or creating public artwork, the program ensured community members had the chance to let the artist inside shine throughout the year.

The Arts Queensland partnership between Bundaberg Regional Council and the Queensland Government helped fund 16 quality arts and cultural experiences with RADF grants totalling $123,857.50 last year.

Of the 16 RADF grants, six were part of a new Quick Response Grants program which provided up to $2000 to an individual project.

Local photographer Sabrina Lauriston said she was successful in receiving the Quick Response Grant for her upcoming exhibition I am Woman, which will open on International Women’s Day on 8 March in the School of Arts building.

Sabrina said the grant allowed her the opportunity to explore the lives of local women and photograph them in their true essence.

“‘I am Woman, a photographic project, is a reflection of what women have become today as the result of the rights won from the battles of the suffragettes of past generations,” Sabrina said.

“Women today live with those rights but strive for different needs and dreams.”

Choosing 14 women to be the subjects of the exhibition was a tough job for Sabrina.

“I have used 14 Bundaberg women as a sample, but there were hundreds and hundreds of women that could tell their stories.

“Each of them of a different age and have a different background – from a doctor in a hospital, a student, an artist, one with a PHD, a mum and even a drag queen who shares her right to feel like a woman.”

Living in the Bundaberg Region after moving from Italy 15 years ago, Sabrina said she was grateful for the opportunities that allowed her to create such artistic exhibitions.

“The grant helped with the expenses such as prints and installation,” she said.

“This exhibition is a bit of change for me, I do a lot of black and white photography, but this is a celebration of colours.”

RADF 2021 supports range of projects

Paul Perry’s Dugg'un: Rainbow Water Snake Mosaic project and Judith Stutchbury’s children's chapter book Hatch were also both successful in receiving Quick Response Grants.

Portfolio spokesperson Cr John Learmonth said the Regional Arts Development Fund helped emerging and established artists and arts workers to turn their visions and initiatives into reality.

Cr Learmonth said many Bundaberg Region artist and community groups helped provide social contributions within the community through the grants.

“The Bundaberg Region has a wealth of creativity and many artists and community groups have been able to share their passion and projects with the help of RADF assistance,” he said.

“This funding helps to promote the role and value of arts, culture and heritage in a diverse and inclusive community.”

Cr Learmonth said RADF complements the Bundaberg Region Arts+Culture Strategy 2019-2023, which provides an overarching vision and direction for the delivery of Bundaberg Regional Council’s arts and cultural facilities, programs and services.

Funding for the monthly Quick Response Grants will continue until June or until funds have been expended.

The Open Round of funding will close on Friday 25 February for projects commencing after 25 April.

Local creatives are encouraged to apply online at www.artsbundaberg.com.au/radf or contact the RADF Officer on 1300 883 699 for more information.

Vanessa Allegra photographed by Selina for her I am Woman exhibition.
What's on

Culture blooms in Chinese Gardens

Morgan Everett

With Chinese New Year celebrations just around the corner learn more about the cultural elements showcased within the region’s Chinese Gardens.

Located in the Bundaberg Botanic Gardens,  it was established in 2008 to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the region’s sister city relationship with Nanning.

Local resident Enya Xu has been visiting the Chinese Gardens since its beginning and highlights the elements of cultural significance.

The significance

Enya said a love of gardens came from the representation of harmony and balance between nature and culture. The aim is to create a beautiful garden highlighting the wonders of nature with a human touch.

The lotus flower

The lotus flower is important to Chinese culture as it represents a lady’s pure character.

“This is because lotus seeds will fall into the bottom of the river and go into the mud and although it’s very dirty in the mud, when the lotus flowers, they’re just so pure and beautiful,” Enya said.

The traditional gentleman

Carvings can be seen on each side of the bridge when entering the Chinese Gardens.

“These carvings represent four types of plants that traditionally resemble traits of a typical gentleman, which include honesty, being pure and not showing off,” Enya said.

“The plants featured include the chrysanthemum, bamboo, orchid and peach blossom.”

We are united

The large rock originates from Nanning and was split in two so that each side could feature the same inscription in both languages.

“It’s meaning is that we came from two continents, different cultures, but basically we are the same,” she said.

“We are united.”

The dragon and phoenix

The top of the gate at the entry of the Chinese Gardens represents the dance of the dragon and the phoenix.

“Looking closely, you can see the dragon and phoenix facing each other doing a dance because they are so symbolic in the Chinese culture, it’s like a totem for us,” Enya said.

The river of Nanning

“As you go through the gate, there's a really big red Chinese character on the floor,” she said.

“It says Yong, which is the name of the main river that goes through the city of Nanning.”

Lady of the garden

“There's a really, really big rock at the end of the bridge and it was selected by one of the officials for Bundaberg,” Enya said.

“It is one big piece of rock, and it resembles a beautiful lady looking over the whole Chinese Gardens.”

The sounds of hope

During Chinese New Year Enya said people would go to the temple and ring the bells 100 times to make the sound of hope.

“I think the resonance of the bell is kind of like the history and the past and as the sound goes further away it also carries the meaning of future and hope,” she said.

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Recipe - omelette
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Hannah bowls over competition in state final

Emma Turnbull

In a nail-biting competition Burnett Bowls Club’s Hannah Ogden has been crowned the U18 Girls Junior State Singles Champion.

Seven local junior bowlers and three coaches travelled to the 2022 Bowls Queensland Junior State Championships in Toowoomba for six days of competition.

The final match between Hannah and her rival, Chloe Runge (Glasshouse), was a spectacular end to the competition as family, fellow bowlers and their coaches watched on in suspense.

Junior development officer for Burnett Bowls Club and Bundaberg District Des Kemp said it was fantastic to watch such a competitive game.

“It was very close all the way through – a quality game that was shot-for-shot all the way,” Des said.

Hannah takes win in nail-biter

During the enthralling match, Chloe took the lead early before Hannah clawed her way back to level the green.

It was then shot-for-shot until Hannah pulled through, with her last bowl in hand she remained calm, and just after her bowl collided with another of her own drawing fear inside the 17-year-old, she nudged in front and took the win with a final score of 21-19.

“This match definitely meant a lot to me as it’s my last year of junior competition,” Hannah said.

“It took a lot of concentration, with the conditions I had to remember the wind, and also worry about what Chloe’s next move would be,” Hannah said.

“I was tired by the end of the match.

“I was hoping to draw-in with my last bowl and the breeze took it, but it wasn’t until I approached the end that I realised and thought ‘oh, wow! I did it – it was so good’.”

Hannah said playing bowls was in the family, with her sister and cousins all playing and it was nice to have them on the sideline with her mum and aunt watching her in her final match.

“There are a lot of emotions, especially when you realise how hard you’ve worked to get there,” she said.

“I’d definitely recommend bowls to other young people.

“I think sometimes it’s a bit underestimated but when you go to the carnivals and have new experiences and meet new people from all around, they are definitely experiences you don’t forget.”

Des said the Bowls Queensland Junior State Championships continued to get better year after year, with strong juniors making their way up the ranks from all over Queensland.

“All our kids performed really well,” he said.

“It was a great competition, where we got to see the up-and-coming talent from all over Queensland.

“Some players and their families travelled from as far as Weipa and Cooktown, that’s 29 hours travelling in the car, so it shows the dedication to the sport.

“The games are livestreamed, and they receive a lot of views, and this really helps.”

Des said next week the Wide Bay Challenge for senior players would start, with the first game held at Burnett Bowls Club, and as Hannah Ogden turns 18 this year they looked forward to her joining in.