Community urged to report invasive Parthenium weed
Parthenium outbreaks in neighbouring regions has Bundaberg Regional Council calling on the community to report sightings of the invasive weed.
The Parthenium weed (Parthenium hysterophorus) is native to North America and was first discovered in Queensland in 1955.
It’s infestation has spread to more than eight million hectares of growth in Queensland and can be found alongside roadsides, railway lines and in pastures.
Parks and Gardens portfolio spokesperson Cr Wayne Honor said the plant had been recognised as a Weed of National Significance and with the recent rainfall, there was a chance it could spread in the region.
“The South Burnett Regional Council have had an extensive infestation of Parthenium around Murgon recently,” Cr Honor said.
“With recent rains in the South Burnett and North Burnett areas this could lead to large amounts of seed material being washed into the Burnett River.
“While Bundaberg already has some localised infestations being treated, Council is seeking assistance from the community by asking residents to report this weed so officers can keep on top of ongoing monitoring over the summer period.”
Cr Honor said residents could report sightings of the weed to Council by calling 1300 883 699.
He said the plant could not only heavily impact the farming industry, it could also cause problems for people’s health.
“Parthenium is a real threat to our farming sector, invading pastures which end up costing animal and cropping industries millions of dollars per year,' he said.
“The weed can also create health issues as the pollen contains potent allergens that can cause reactions such as dermatitis and hay fever in humans while animals can also have allergic reactions including dermatitis.
“Parthenium also produces chemicals which inhibit the growth of other plants (for example sunflowers and sorghum).”
With one plant producing 20,000 seeds per year, Cr Honor said maintaining its infestation was vital.
“The community can help keep an eye out for this weed by checking heavily stocked areas, in paddocks, along roadsides or fence lines and in places where new soil or compost has been delivered,” he said.
“If you do come across the weed, please keep a safe distance and do not touch with bare hands. “
Mabel Matthews hits tee-riffic milestone
Local resident Mabel Matthews will celebrate her 100th birthday this weekend, crediting her long life to being active, social and spending her spare time on the golf course.
Mabel was born in Boompa, 40 miles from Maryborough, and said some of her most-loved memories included her time growing up on a farm as well as her long teaching career and playing golf.
“My favourite memories include living on the farm as a child and growing up riding horses and feeding the poddy calves,” Mabel said.
“Teaching was a big part of my life, this included everything from running a one teacher school in the war years to then teaching for 19 years at Walkervale.”
Mabel’s career spanned many years, teaching at a number of regional schools including Noola, four miles from Brigalow, Monogorilby and Mundubbera before she retired after becoming pregnant.
After 12 years away from teaching and raising the family, Mabel went back to the profession, spending 19 years at Walkervale State School from 1963 until 1982.
In recent years, Mabel has moved out of her family home in Thorburn Street to live closer to the golf course, which filled many happy hours on the green while creating lasting friendships.
“In my spare time I have spent many hours playing golf with memories in Mundubbera and at the Bundaberg Golf Club,” she said.
Mabel said she loved living in Bundaberg, having called the region home for more than 60 years.
She moved to the region in 1960 with her husband Boss and two daughters, Joanne and Christine.
“I love the simple life the Bundaberg Region allows for,” Mabel said.
“The people are very sociable and it is so easy to get around with everything being close and the traffic isn’t bad.”
Mabel is looking forward to celebrating reaching the milestone with her family and friends this weekend.
Find love on Valentine's Day with IDSS speed dating
If you are looking for love this Valentine’s Day Integrated Disability Support Services is hosting its first speed dating event in the Bundaberg Region.
The fun-filled evening will be open to all residents that identify as having a disability and their support person.
Integrated Disability Support Services’ Jamie McGraw said he was excited to bring the IDSS speed dating event to Bundaberg after the popularity of last year’s event at the Sunshine Coast.
“We held the first speed dating event at the Sunshine Coast last year and it was really successful – there is actually a couple together still from the night,” he said.
“There will be conversation cards to help spark the conversation and to help those who may get tongue tied.
“These include questions such as: what’s your favourite hobby? What’s your favourite kind of music? Just to help keep the conversations flowing.
“No pressure at all, it’s all about getting out there, having fun and meeting new people.
The matchmaking process has the purpose of encouraging eligible singles to meet a number of new potential partners in a very short period of time.
Jamie said interest from community members for IDSS speed dating was slowly starting to build and by Valentine’s Day he hoped to have a full house of participants looking for companionship.
“So far we have six registered participants, which includes five gentlemen and one lady, so we are definitely keen to have more people RSVP,” he said.
He said it would be a simple and comfortable evening which would give people a chance to mingle, with games and finger food supplied.
“There’s no pressure at all – we’ve got a heap of games to jazz it up a bit,” Jamie said.
“It’s all about meeting new people.”
IDSS speed dating will be held at Integrated Disability Support Services hub, 42 Bourbong Street, Bundaberg from 6 pm to 8 pm on 14 February.
The event is free for IDSS clients, and $10 for non-clients.
A bus will run from Childers for IDSS clients.
To register phone 1300 4377 669, or pop into the local hub.
New digital café launched
The team from At James's Place is bringing new Korean cuisine to the region as they launch a digital café with a takeaway and catering service.
Managing director James Lee said traditional Korean cuisine called kimbap and cupbap would now be available through the business.
“Kimbap is Korean sushi with the same principle of being ingredients wrapped in rice and nori (seaweed) but the flavours are very different,” he said.
“Cupbap is a traditional Korean style of takeaway food featuring a cup of rice with Korean marinated meats and sauces, perfect as a grab and go snack for anyone.
“What makes this type of food so great is the taste, the convenience, the heritage, the popularity, and of course that they're from my home country of Korea.”
The cupbab was now available to order through the business's digital café, which is operated on the At James's Place app, Menulog, Doordash and Deliveroo.
James said kimbap was available to purchase via wholesale only, for parties, canteen orders and more.
“We decided to venture out with the Kimbap and Cupbap digital cafe as it is something which isn't really available in Bundaberg and we believe it could be really popular,” he said.
“So after seeing how the Korean menu At James's Place had done both in store and through online platforms, this was the natural next step in expansion.
“It is just another way of bringing a bit more of my Korean culture here!”
James said he also wanted to offer a catering service to provide a unique option of cuisine for events.
“We also have been contacting local schools as we believe it would be really beneficial for the children to try another cultures food and expand their palate,” he said.
“Plus, most importantly, the dishes are quite healthy making them a great new thing to try without any consequence.”
James said kimbap and cupbap were very important parts of K-Culture, something which had been on the rise worldwide.
“This is along with K-Dramas and K-Pop such as BTS, Squid Game and more,” he said.
“We would just like to do our part to help the spread of K-Culture.”
At James's Place is located at 112 George Street, Bundaberg.
Find out more about their online ordering here.
In the Grove recognised in Australian Wedding Awards
Local wedding venue In the Grove has been named the winner of Wedding Venue – Garden at the recent Australian Wedding Awards.
The awards recognise wedding businesses from around regional Australia that have excelled and or exceeded in the expectation of wedding planning.
In the Grove was judged against criteria based on professionalism in surpassing all expectations of newlyweds, plus excellence in the business practices that are used by the wedding businesses with their internet business presence through social media and websites.
Owners Ian and Sandy Hatton said they had not expected to win the award and were proud to have been recognised at such a high level.
“It was definitely a surprise when we were announced as the winner for our category as we knew we were up against some stiff competition,” the duo said.
“We couldn’t be sure the standards we set for ourselves would be at the same level the judges wanted from the winning venue.
“It was lovely to be recognised and to know that our standards are definitely up there with others in our field who we look towards for inspiration.”
Surrounded by plantations of macadamia trees, Ian and Sandy operate their wedding business from their family-owned property called Pinegrove, located at 295 Rosedale Road, Oakwood.
The homestead is situated on five acres of established gardens that are graced with tall hoop pines, palms, Moreton Bay figs and numerous other trees that have created a beautiful, green and shady garden venue.
Winning this award allows the venue to know they met a standard that exceeds what couples expect on their wedding day, with In the Grove attracting attention from clients all across Australia.
“From awards like this we see an increase in the number of couples who are not local that are choosing our venue over venues within their local region,” Ian and Sandy said.
“For example, we are currently working with couples from Townsville, Port Hedland in Western Australia, Gladstone, Biloela and Brisbane.
“What we have must have something special as we are getting increased enquiries for weddings from couples that don’t call Bundaberg home.”
Ian and Sandy work with the couples right up until their wedding day, with this being a point of difference which they believe sets them apart from other venues.
“Our point of difference has always been that we work with our couples right up to their wedding day, so that all they have to do is come and enjoy their time with family and friends without having to worry about anything,” they said.
“We love what we do and enjoy working with all the couples who choose to get married and have their reception with us.”
The couple said they had received a range of positive feedback on their venue.
“Everybody tells us our venue is a hidden paradise with the tall hoop pines, fig trees, palms, expansive lawn area and tropical gardens,” they said.
“We had comments from a couple of Scandinavian backpackers who compared our tall pine trees to their homeland scene and that is lovely to know that we have a European aspect in the look that we offer.
“We are often told that Bundaberg is very lucky to have a venue like ours that can match, and at times exceed, any of our southern counterparts.
“It's comments and awards like this that motivates us to keep getting better at what we do.”
Like any other events-based business, Ian and Sandy have been no strangers to navigating uncertain times over the past couple of years
“2021 was difficult managing the covid mandates, lockdowns and border closures, however we survived and managed our way through with very few disruptions for our couples,” they said.
“2022 has the promise of recovery, however every day is fragile without knowing what will come next from this disease and the control measures that we have to implement.
“We have had to provide a lot of reassurance for couples who are worried that something will affect the day that they have planned and our response has always been that at the end of the day they will marry the one they love and nothing will change that.”
Remaining optimistic, the couple are looking forward to another busy year full of events in 2022.
You can find out more about In the Grove here.
Bohdi named RFDS Local Hero Award winner
An impressive fundraising effort inspired by personal experiences has seen Bohdi Wochnik crowned the RFDS Local Hero Award winner for Bundaberg.
The Royal Flying Doctor Service (Queensland Section) announced nine regional Local Hero Award winners for 2021, each representing one of its base locations.
The annual Local Hero Awards recognises Queenslanders who have donated their time and energy to give back to keep the Flying Doctor in the air.
Inspired when three of his family members required RFDS transfers, Bohdi has raised more than $25,000 for the Flying Doctor in almost 10 years of fundraising.
Bohdi’s younger sister was retrieved by the RFDS after she was bitten by a king brown snake, his grandad was transferred after he lost a finger, and his uncle was also flown by the service following a helicopter accident.
His fundraising efforts have amassed from dam boat races that he has staged over the years at his property.
“I am always thankful for what the Royal Flying Doctors Service do,” Bohdi said.
“That's why I always hold this event to make sure I am doing my little part to help.”
Now that 20-year-old Bohdi is working on a farm near Gin Gin, he intends to pass the organisation of the event to his little sister to continue the incredible work.
RFDS (Queensland Section) Chief Executive Officer Meredith Staib congratulated Bohdi on winning the 2021 RFDS Local Hero Award for Bundaberg.
“While each of our winners has a diverse background, they are united in the fact they have all found a unique way to give back to the RFDS,” Ms Staib said.
“Several have their own personal motivation for fundraising, with the RFDS saving the life of a family member,” she said.
“On behalf of the RFDS, I would like to congratulate all of the winners and the nominees for their tremendous efforts to support our service.
“Without the unwavering dedication from community members, we couldn’t perform the job we do.”
Ergon Energy Retail Executive General Manager Ayesha Razzaq said the business was honoured to recognise these extraordinary Queenslanders.
“This is our sixth year as a proud partner of the awards, and I’m still blown away by the effort, kindness and passion shown by all the nominees,” she said.
“These awards are an opportunity to say a big thank you to Queenslanders who inspire us.
“As a Queensland owned company, we’re proud to have partnered with the RFDS in Queensland for almost 22 years, raising close to $17 million for the charity and helping deliver vital healthcare to regional, rural and remote Queensland.”
Ms Staib invited Queenslanders to now vote for the overall 2021 RFDS Queensland Hero who will receive a $7500 grant, courtesy of Ergon Energy Retail, to promote healthcare in their community.
“Each regional winner’s story is showcased in a video package on the Local Hero website.
“Queenslanders are encouraged to watch these online and then vote for the person or group they believe should be crowned this year’s Queensland winner,” she said.
Bohdi is now in the running to be named 2021 RFDS Queensland Hero. You can vote for the RFDS Queensland Hero here.
Kindness Rock Garden spreads joy in Gin Gin
A special garden at the Gin Gin Community Hub is spreading messages of kindness through rock art and residents are being asked to take part.
Staff at the hub established the garden as part of The Kindness Rocks Project in 2019 and due to its success, have continued on with the initiative.
The national project is aimed at promoting random acts of kindness for others by writing and painting positive messages on colourful rocks.
Council's Community Services portfolio spokesperson Cr Tracey McPhee said the garden had been a community effort and continued to provide positivity and a creative outlet for residents.
“The Gin Gin Ladies Woodwork Guild created the garden sign and plenty of locals have contributed some beautifully painted rocks over the years,” she said.
“The idea is to take a rock for inspiration and leave one for motivation to help the garden grow.
“It's a nice reminder to everyone that kindness matters and makes a difference to people’s lives.”
Cr McPhee said now more rocks were needed to fill the garden space.
“The hub is getting low on rocks again so if your group or organisation is interested in contributing some painted kindness rocks then please add them to the garden,” she said.
“The garden is situated at the entrance of the Gin Gin Community Hub.
“Staff hope these rocks continue to inspire and connect our growing community.”
To find out more about the Kindness Rock Garden phone the Gin Gin Community Hub team on 4130 4630 or visit the hub at 4 Dear Street.
Esme Gollschewsky’s life as a writer
Using a pen name bearing only her initials Bundaberg-born writer Esme Gollschewsky spent her early years often mistaken for a man.
It was Esme’s love of the land and passion for adventure that was encapsulated in each of her stories.
To those who only knew her through her cleverly crafted short stories, including the editors to whom the stories were submitted, it was assumed that only a man could write with such authority on this subject.
Research undertaken by Bundaberg Regional Libraries Heritage Team shares Esme's history as one of Australia’s most respected short story writers.
Born Esme Strathdee in Bundaberg in 1917 she began writing at a young age.
Encouraged by her parents, she had published stories and poems in the local newspaper by the time she was 10 years old.
Bundaberg Library's heritage research paper collated in 2006 states that growing up as one of the youngest in a large family, Esme often heard tales of the region's early days.
“The legends, people and way of life were told and retold by her parents and relatives until they were as familiar as bedtime stories,” it reads.
Growing up in the Bundaberg Region, Esme's father inherited Maudsleigh in 1915, a large property between Rubyanna Creek and the Burnett River which she would later detail in a short story titled Jibber.
“Sunday afternoon at Maudsleigh, towards the end of summer. Sailing boats skidding over the silvery flatness of the Burnett River…”
In the 1940s, when Esme was married with children, she began sending stories to various women's magazines, including The New Idea for Women and The Australian Woman's Mirror, under the names Esme Strathdee and Esme Gollschewsky.
But she would use the pen name E A Gollschewsky for submissions to masculine journals such as Overland and The Bulletin.
Esme believed by using multiple names she could submit two or three times as many stories to editors.
In 1943 Esme, with husband Harold and their children, moved to Deepwater where they farmed bananas for several years.
In the years to follow it is believed Esme wrote some of her best work, and by 1946 she was recognised as one of Australia’s leading short story writers.
The same year an annual publication Coast to Coast compiled 10 of Australia's best short story authors and included her piece Hans and the Bull.
Esme’s fishing story The Salmon remains highly regarded internationally. In the 1970s, many of Esme’s short stories were published overseas in collections of Australian literature, with some being translated into other languages.
While many of her works are now out of print and difficult to find, Esme's talents are still recognised as being among the finest in her field.
International year of glass celebrated at BRAG
Bundaberg Regional Art Gallery is set to host an upcoming exhibition featuring one of Australia’s most influential and leading glass artists Tom Moore in recognition of The International Year of Glass.
The JamFactory Icon Tom Moore: Abundant Wonder exhibition, which opens on Saturday, 12 February, will showcase his engaging, sophisticated, and technically challenging hybridised animal and plant sculptures.
Not only does Tom’s work feature the sculptures, but it also focuses on the worlds these hybridised creatures inhabit.
Artist Tom Moore said the exhibition had taken years to create and featured a range of unique sculptures including one so large it required a team of five people to make.
“The exhibition has many unusual glass objects that took approximately four years to put together,” he said.
“Many of the objects have intricate patterns embedded in the glass, inspired by ancient Venetian techniques, with the exhibition designed to be absurd, chaotic and amusing.
“Even the simplest sculptures take a lot of planning and preparation over several days, some of the complicated ones take a month or more.
“Final assembly of all the parts needs a team of skilled glassblowers working together, with the largest pieces requiring a team of five people to make.”
Tom said his exhibition would be of particular interest to local art lovers.
“People in Bundaberg might enjoy it especially because it shows strange interactions between humans, plants and animals and the local region has an interesting mix of nature, agriculture and industry,” he said.
Tom said the process of making the sculptures was quite a long one with many different varieties of glass featured in each piece of work.
“Every one of them starts as a drawing, then the patterned rods are made, the small parts are made and finally everything is heated and assembled,” he said.
“Being neither truly a liquid nor a solid good, glass is good for making artworks that explore in-between states of being.”
Not only are people able to view the glass sculptures within the exhibition, but Tom said he had also worked with an animator to bring the sculptures alive in short movies.
“The glass objects have also been made into short movies that are playing constantly on several screens throughout the exhibition,” he said.
“I collaborated with the animator and musician Jonathan Nix to produce these short films, it adds another dimension to the show; seeing how the glass creatures might move and hearing the sounds they might make.”
International Year of Glass perfect time for exhibition
Tom is one of Australia’s leading glass artists and over the course of his career has carved out a singular voice within Australian glass art making.
Council’s Art, Culture and Events portfolio spokesperson Cr John Learmonth said he encouraged people to visit the exhibition to see the works.
“It is fantastic to see our gallery being given the opportunity to host an artist of Tom’s calibre,” Cr Learmonth said.
“I encourage everyone to take the time to see the exhibition, a fitting one with 2022 being the International Year of Glass as decided by the United Nations.”
You can find out more about the upcoming exhibition here.
JamFactory Icon Tom Moore: Abundant Wonder is a JamFactory touring exhibition.
JamFactory Icon Tom Moore: Abundant Wonder is supported by funding from the Australian Government’s Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications through Visions of Australia.
Tom Moore acknowledges the assistance of the Australian Government through the Department of Premier and Cabinet.
Flowers flourish in Buss Park
Buss Park, historically known as the Market Square, has been in the heart of Bundaberg since the 1930s and displays beautiful flower arrangements for the community to enjoy.
It's a project of pride for the Bundaberg Regional Council CBD Parks team in charge of beautifying the area, who work each day to maintain the lawn and gardens to keep it in pristine condition.
Leading Hand Travis Hinton said there were three plantings per year all lasting around four months.
These plants are chosen based around the seasons and what will thrive best in local conditions.
“One is a winter variation where we plant a very colourful display of winter suited annuals and the other two are very similar where we plant a display of marigolds,” Travis said.
Travis said during winter a colourful display was planted including species such as chrysanthemums, petunias, snap dragons, phlox, pansies, cosmos and helichrysums.
Then for summer and spring a variation of yellow and orange marigolds were planted.
Prior preparation of the garden beds was crucial to maintain the flowers growth after planting according to Travis who said the team has a weekly schedule in place to ensure the health of the flora tended to.
“A mix of fertiliser and soil conditioner gets rotary hoed into the garden beds before they are planted with the crop,” he said.
“We maintain a schedule of weekly fertilising with soil conditioner and fertilisers.
“Also aerating the soil where possible with a scarifier and keeping on top of all the weeds.
“The CBD crew consists of six specialised horticulturists, all of which assist in the initial garden bed preparation and planting with one to two providing care for the rest of the annuals’ lifetime.”
Buss Park has always been a place for the public to enjoy and Travis said the CBD Parks crew were a passionate team and who worked hard to keep it that way.
Blake Powter chases NRL dream
Strapping on his football boots as a seven-year-old, Blake Powter never imagined that – less than a decade later – he’d be heading to training camps for the Bulldogs.
The Shalom College student has been given the opportunity of a lifetime after signing a two-year development contract with the NRL team.
At just 15 years of age Blake and his family never thought he’d be given a chance so young.
It's an opportunity that has him on the right track to play rugby league at a national level.
After spending last weekend on the Gold Coast training at an invitational development camp Blake said it was good experience and he enjoyed being with the other Queensland squad players.
“I’ve played footy pretty much forever,” Blake said.
“Going to the Gold Coast was a good experience – Gus Gould gave us our jerseys, which was unexpected and really cool.”
Blake said he was grateful for the opportunities extended to him through Shalom College and the Bulldogs.
“I hope to make it all the way now that I have been given the opportunity and I’m on the right path to do it,” Blake said.
“I dedicate a lot of my time to training – four or more times during the week and a game on the weekend.
“My goal is to one day play for the Bulldogs.”
Positioned as fullback Blake is the last line of defence and he enjoys being able to support the forward line.
Blake’s mother Nakita said her son was said to be one of the fittest on ground at the developmental camp and the future looked bright for him.
“Growing up Blake made the rep teams for his age every year, he’s passionate, and it is his dream,” she said.
“So, I said to him ‘no matter what mate, I will help’, but neither of us expected it to happen so soon – it’s amazing.”
Nikita said it was fortunate that NRL Bulldogs Football Club board director Andrew Gifford lived in the Bundaberg Region and had seen her son in action.
He became the missing link to help Blake achieve his sporting dream.
“Blakey was just a little country boy from Delan, and we didn’t think he’d be noticed this early – we always knew he’d be seen but we never expected it to be this fast,” she said.
“Blakey started at Woodford (Stanley River) Wolves in Under-7s, before we moved up here and he joined Under-7s with Brothers – he has always had talent, he may seem little, but he is stocky and very fast!”
Blake Powter a natural talent
Andrew said the young Shalom College student showed a lot of potential, and he described Blake as “naturally talented”.
“Blake was put on my radar by Joe O’Driscoll, a trainer at the Waves,” he said.
“The traits that made Blake stand out for me is firstly that he is a naturally talented league player.
“He is quiet natured off the field, and he listens to his coaches and the people around him.
“He is the captain of the Brothers side and though quiet natured off the field (Blake) leads by example and he rallies his team for the full game on the field.”
Andrew said as Blake had a lot of talent he was often targeted in defence.
“When asked how he reacts to that he says it just makes him more determined to run harder and faster and tackle harder.
“Along with being a tough competitor, Blake has the right attitude and the attention to detail that is needed to progress in his journey to the NRL,” he said.
“Blake will stay and finish his schooling and continue to play in Bundy, however he is now in the Bulldogs pathway system and will follow our training and fitness and diet programs.”
Subsequent to the Bulldogs signing Blake, they have announced that they will bring a home game to Bundaberg this season on Round 21, 7 August 2022 at 2pm.
“The Bulldogs will look to invest in the Bundaberg area and will identify some areas of opportunity that will be of benefit to the local Bundy rugby league community,” Andrew said.
“On the back of that, I would like to see the club be able to develop more homegrown Bundy kids as future Bulldogs.”