Weekender: Lyn grows community kindy

Power cubes keep community connected in disasters

Ashley Schipper

Nbn Hybrid Power Cubes will be installed throughout the Bundaberg Region to increase the resilience of the telecommunications network during natural disasters.

Ten power cubes are set to be installed over the coming months and will work as a ‘back-up' to nbn Fixed Wireless Towers that become compromised during wild weather or emergency events.

Bundaberg Regional Council has received $1,342,000 for the installation of the specialised equipment through the Bushfire Resilience Hybrid Power Cube Project as part of the Federal Government's Black Summer Bushfire Grant.

Local Disaster Management Group Chair Mayor Jack Dempsey said during past natural disaster events, Council had worked with nbn teams to keep impacted communities connected using interim solutions while offline services were restored.

He said by having the advantage of the nbn Hybrid Power Cubes, connectivity would be automatically “backed-up” without requiring ongoing maintenance from crews.

“In emergency scenarios where grid power often becomes unavailable, such as a bushfire, the cube will utilise redundancy power to ensure the community stays connected,” he said.

“These cubes will be proactively deployed alongside nbn fixed wireless network towers in areas which are often either impacted or at high risk of being impacted by disaster events.

“This innovative technology will work to immediately restore power to an impacted tower, allowing broadband services to continue.”

Nbn Queensland's Kylie Lindsay said the cubes would see the average outage time reduced from 44 hours to near zero.

“The power cubes keep the power on for the local nbn™ Fixed Wireless network during an emergency power loss.”

The nbn Hybrid Power Cube is environmentally friendly and sustainable, using solar panels to generate power and recharge its battery.

When the power is insufficient the equipment then relies on a backup battery and can also switch to diesel to operate.

Each cube generates lower emissions and has smoother operational and running costs compared to conventional generators, making them a better solution during natural disasters and outages.

The cubes are among 524 projects to be funded by the Federal Government under the Black Summer Bushfire Grant.

“Anyone that has been through a natural disaster knows how important it is to be able to communicate with loved ones and it's an important resource for emergency responders,” Federal Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt said.

“The cubes will be deployed across the nbn fixed wireless network in areas in the Bundaberg local government area either impacted or at risk of being impacting by bushfire events.”

Bundaberg Youth Orchestra to celebrate 50 years

Emma Turnbull

Bundaberg Youth Orchestra is one of Australia’s longest running regional youth orchestras and will this year celebrate its 50th anniversary.

The Youth Orchestra will launch its 50th anniversary celebrations with a showcase concert at the Moncrieff Entertainment Centre on Friday 11 March.

Assistant conductor Delwyn Ainsworth said Bundaberg Youth Orchestra’s Senior Orchestra (BYO1) would join an ensemble from Queensland Symphony Orchestra (QSO) together with four former members of BYO, along with Bella Canna Strings in the concert.

“This is the first of many events planned in 2022 to celebrate this significant occasion with both current and past members of the orchestra,” Delwyn said.

“Queensland Symphony Orchestra is also celebrating their 75th anniversary this year, so they are excited to be sharing these milestones together with a combined performance.”

Queensland Symphony Orchestra will also feature past BYO member Ashley Carter, who is now associate principal trombone, in the concert.

“Ashley is one of many past members of Bundaberg Youth Orchestra who have gone on to professional careers in music both performing and teaching,” Delwyn said.

Other past members include Liam O’Malley, who is now associate principal trombone in the Western Australian Symphony Orchestra, and Alex Morris who is principal bass clarinet with Sydney Symphony Orchestra.

Delwyn said many instrumental music teachers in the Bundaberg Region also began their performing careers in Bundaberg Youth Orchestra.

She said that both BYO1 and BYO2 formed in 1975 and each still rehearse on Wednesday afternoons every week during state school terms under the direction of Robert Rotar and Megan Hoban.

“Robert is musical director of BYO and conductor of BYO1, and he celebrated his 30th year conducting this orchestra in 2021,” Delwyn said.

“Robert also conducted Bundaberg Municipal Band for 21 years and has been guest conductor for Bundaberg Orpheus Singers and Bundaberg Sinfonietta.”

Robert believes that every music student should have the opportunity provided by groups such as BYO.

“Not every student who learns an instrument will be out to have a career as a musician, but they should have the option of playing music for the rest of their life,” Robert said.

“For students in regional areas there is often not enough exposure to a variety of teaching, involvement in positive playing experiences, or exposure to positive role models in making music, including performers on other instruments”.

Bundaberg Youth Orchestra aims to provide members with these experiences, as well as the chance to make lifelong friendships with fellow musicians.

Megan is a past member of BYO, having joined Bundaberg Youth Orchestra as a member in the early 2000s.

She was appointed as the conductor of the Bundaberg Youth Orchestra’s training orchestra at the end of 2019.

Delwyn said past members of Bundaberg Youth Orchestra were encouraged to maintain their association with the orchestra, and she said performances involving past members were planned for September and November this year.

Past members are also invited to share their stories with the BYO Committee who will feature those on their Facebook page throughout the year.

As well as the alumni concerts Queensland Youth Orchestra will tour to Bundaberg in June to join BYO in their celebrations.

For more information about Bundaberg Youth Orchestra’s 50th anniversary click here or email byo.committee@gmail.com

Thumbs up as Bonza visits Bundaberg Region

Emma Turnbull

Bonza’s plans to fly directly from Bundaberg to Melbourne have been given the thumbs up as Bonza Chief Commercial Officer Carly Povey visits the region.

In her first stop on the Bonza regional tour last week, Chief Commercial Officer Carly Povey said they were excited to visit the Bundaberg Region with plans now taking off.

“Bundaberg is the first stop on my tour of Bonza’s new regions – it’s a fantastic place to start,” Carly said.

“This week is part of the largest launch announcement in Australia aviation history. We announced flights between Melbourne and Bundaberg twice a week.”

Carly said when Bonza launched in October last year Bundaberg was the perfect choice from the start as it’s an ideal leisure destination.

“Bundaberg is absolutely the right choice for Bonza, the support from the community and Mayor Dempsey … and the airport team, meant that from pretty much from day one we’ve been engaging on how to make these flights possible,” she said.

“Melbourne is just the start – we are very, very keen to grow the partnership with Bundaberg and we are already actively talking about what next.

“Our focus right now is let’s make Melbourne work and let’s give people the chance to travel to Bundaberg to explore the southernmost part of the Great Barrier Reef and from there I think absolutely we can look at other options for growth.”

Bundaberg Mayor Jack Dempsey said it was brilliant to see the enthusiasm from the community after the Bonza announcement last week.

“Tell your family and friends in Melbourne to come to beautiful Bundaberg with Bonza and enjoy our southern Great Barrier Reef, our distilleries, our community, our food and the beautiful lifestyle we have right across the region,” he said.

“It’s a great partnership and we are very thankful for Bonza for this commitment to Bundaberg to Melbourne.”

Mayor Dempsey said the feedback since the launch had been outstanding from not only the local community, but from as far afield as Melbourne with people keen to have a taste of Bundaberg.

“People are chomping at the bit to get on Bonza, and get from beautiful Bundaberg to Melbourne,” he said.

“We’ve had many enquiries from Melbourne not just to get to Bundaberg with Bonza, but what they are going to see here in Bundaberg, and also looking at how they are going to invest in Bundaberg as well.

“So, now people will be able to get a taste of Bundaberg – see our beautiful liveability and lifestyle and how they can still be connected to family and friends with a short flight back and invest in our beautiful region.

“Having budget flights gives us an enabler to grow our region.”

Bundaberg Tourism marketing manager Ellie Tonkin said the announcement by Bonza was very exciting as it provided the Bundaberg Region with a fantastic opportunity to expand more into the Melbourne market.

“We have run some campaigns over the past six months, particular tied to our incredible reef product, and have received a large amount of interest and traction,” Ellie said.

“They have been locked up and they are very used to cold grey winters so the opportunity to present to them direct flights to the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef, our incredible products.”

Ellie said as more southerners moved to the Bundaberg Region, Bonza would encourage their family and friends to visit Bundaberg and in return help boost tourism to the area.

Australians are encouraged to download the app “Fly Bonza” on the Apple App Store or Google Play now and keep an eye out for updates as new functions are added.

Flights are due to go on sale within the next eight weeks, pending regulatory approval.

Ninja warriors take on new challenge at Gymfinity

Ashley Schipper

A new obstacle course is providing a fun challenge and a unique way for young ninja warriors to develop their strength, coordination and balance at Gymfinity.

The gymnasium, which is celebrating its tenth anniversary this year, provides a range of classes for toddlers to teens as well as hosting holiday programs, birthday parties and more.

Director's Tracy and Tony Hogan said their new Ninja Warrior Course was installed recently and featured obstacles similar to those seen on the popular Ninja Warrior television show.

“The new rig is 3.5 metres high and currently contains eight sections each,” Tracy said.

“Equipment includes suspended bridges, a fly wheel, cargo net, salmon ladder and more.

“The obstacles require balance, coordination and upper body strength as well as the ability for swinging and climbing.”

Tracy said due to the growing popularity of Gymfinity's Ninjazone Program, which combined gymnastics, martial arts and freestyle movement, it was decided that more specialised equipment was needed.

“With the growth and interest in this area we wanted to provide more challenges that encourage children to get stronger, swing bigger and jump higher,” she said.

“This new course provides a dimension that brings even more thrills and sense of achievement as they develop the skills to be able to overcome the challenges.

“We also saw this as a wonderful activity for children to participate in during school holidays and as an option for birthday parties, not just for classes.”

Tracy said the new equipment followed Gymfinity's ethos in teaching children how to reach their goals, all while building confidence and gaining techniques they could use in other aspects of life.

“Being able to complete a challenge is great but Gymfinity is more about developing the persistence to keep trying and learning skills that can be adapted and enhanced to allow children to be successful in whatever challenge is before them,” she said.

“We are making use of the new equipment in many different ways across our entire range of programs.”

Tracy said the installation of the new equipment was one of the many exciting projects that the business had planned for this year as they mark their 10th anniversary.

She said part of those plans would be to expand their ninja course further, into the rear end of the building, as well as host Ninja Warrior competitions.

“This will be open to our members and other ninja-style programs from other clubs ,”she said.

“We also have some interest from other gymnastic groups to be involved, so start training now!”

Tracy said many milestones had been reached in Gymfinity's 10 years, not only for the business but also for its members.

“During this time we have been successful in our competitive program, both regionally and at state level,” she said.

“We have had regional and state champions in overall and apparatus events and state representatives in both girls and boys divisions.”

Find out more about Gymfinity on the website here or Facebook page here.

Locals spread self worth message with Pride Festival

Emma Turnbull

‘Be proud in yourself' is the message two young locals hope to spread as preparations get underway for the inaugural Bundaberg Pride Festival.

Ethan Peno and Wade Smith share the belief that everyone should have a strong sense of self-worth and they hope to spread this across the community.

“Our Pride Festival will give people the chance to show pride in themselves,” Ethan said.

“It’s a celebration of diversity – an inclusive event for all ages and not necessarily for just LGBTQ – it will be a chance for people to take pride in themselves and being, no matter their lifestyle.”

The Year 11 student said after coming up with the idea of the festival last month there was an overwhelming amount of support from the Bundaberg community.

“Wade contacted me after my initial post, and it all went from there,” Ethan said.

“Not in my lifetime, let alone while I am in high school, did I expect to see this amount of support from the community to create a festival – it’s already so popular.”

The two-day event will be held on the last weekend of September, with members of the community already meeting to brainstorm.

“Pride Festival will be an inclusive place showing support within the community,” Ethan said.

“As a young person I think this shows other young people that if they want something bad enough joining together with other people can make it happen.”

Council will light up the Multiplex fig trees in support of the Pride Festival on 24-25 September.

Mayor Jack Dempsey praised the two young men for showing initiative to help connect the community.

“The Bundaberg Region is a wonderful and inclusive community,” he said.

“The pride of the community will be on display at the first Pride Festival and Council will illuminate the fig trees in support.

“I look forward to catching up with Wade and Ethan in the future to discuss the Pride Festival.”

To find out how to be involved in the Pride Festival click here.

Walla Street Skate Park upgrades near completion

Emma Turnbull

The multi-million dollar redevelopment of the Walla Street skate park in Central Park is nearing completion and is set to revitalise the area.

The design for the Walla Street skate park underwent extensive community consultation, with skater and park users, and it will now offer something for beginners right through to advanced skaters.

Mayor Jack Dempsey said the new design would give locals a place to skate and enjoy for many years to come.

“This is going to be a fantastic youth space, not just for our young people, but for the many opportunities to bring state and national titles here to Bundaberg,” he said.

“The new skate park has something for everybody. The skating, the blading and the other youth activities.

“It’s an investment in our youth and I just encourage everybody to take ownership and look after this multi-million dollar skate facility, which is going to be an asset for our young people and an attraction to the region.”

The diverse recreational space has three separate skate areas, featuring multi-level ramps and stairways, and will offer plenty of shade for community members to enjoy the great outdoors.

Bundaberg Regional Council’s Brett Kronk said with the new park skaters, rollerbladers and bike enthusiast were getting a lot of new elements within the same area.

“The key features of the new skate park – there is a beginner bowl, an intermediate bowl and a street section,” he said.

He said there was already a lot of interest in regards to when Walla Street skate park would be open, with the project due for competition at the end of April, weather permitting.

The Central Park ‘Walla Street Skate park’ upgrade is a joint initiative of Bundaberg Regional Council and the Queensland Government.

Goanna scales building for best views of Bundaberg

Ashley Schipper

A gutsy goanna is reaching new heights to source food by scaling the walls of the Auswide building in the CBD.

It's no small feat for the lizard, with Bundaberg Regional Council staff capturing footage of the animal taking a rest on its way up to the roof of the six-storey building twice this week.

Staff have nicknamed their new friend Hugh and said they estimated it to be about 1.2 metres long.

Hugh's journey up the building features some of the best views of the region, with iconic landmarks such as the Post Office and Burnett Traffic Bridge also captured in the background of the photos.

Staff said the lizard climbs with ease, using a pole to navigate his way up and down the structure.

According to Bush Heritage, goannas are great climbers and will often try to get up high to capture their prey.

“Monitors eat just about anything they can catch and swallow whole,” the article states.

“Prey is dependent on the size of the goanna but includes insects, birds, eggs, small reptiles and mammals.”

Did you know:

- There are 27 extant species of goannas in Australia
- most are carnivorous
- goannas are fast runners and will sprint short distances on their hind legs
- goannas have venom glands similar to snakes

Jill on to next chapter as she retires from library role

Maria McMahon

When Jill Fulcher began her career at Council in 1979, she was tasked with helping to set up the new library in the historic local building which is now the art gallery.

On her first day she was greeted with a room full of books spread out on the floor ready for her to paste pockets and date due slips into each new book.

Clocking up approximately 34 years, the Coordinator for Library and Technical Services has worked on both a casual and full-time basis in various library roles, working with four managers during that time.

Jill said she had thoroughly enjoyed her work in the library, especially the opportunity to form relationships with staff and customers over the years.

“I’ve met some lovely people,” she said.

“Sadly, some of our customers have now passed away and there are others who I remember coming in as children and are now adults.”

An achievement for which Jill is most proud is the successful implementation of the Radio Frequency Identification technology introduced in 2016 for borrowing items.

“When we were teaching the customers, they were at first a little daunted with using it and worried it was taking our jobs,” Jill said.

“We were able to explain that this wasn’t the case and the new system freed us up to do other work within the library.”

For the last three years, Jill has been the person behind Picture Bundaberg posts on the Bundaberg Library’s Facebook page. 

Posting historical photos from the collection and seeing the community’s reaction and comments is something she’s found particularly rewarding.

There have also been some memorable moments for Jill, and she recalls the time she arrived at work to find a ‘Wildlife enclosure – enter at own risk’ sign on the microfiche room door. 

“I thought this was a joke, so I opened the door to find a very distraught wallaby hopping wildly around the room,” she said.

Thankfully she was able to capture the frightened animal, wrap it in a blanket and deliver it to a carer.

“We’ve also had other animals and birds find their way in which has proved interesting.”

Other surprising moments were finding strange bookmarks as books were returned to the shelves. 

“We’ve found quite a few over the years including a $100 note,” Jill said.

Grateful to Council for her employment, Jill said management is to be commended for the professional development opportunities offered to staff both inhouse and externally. 

She is now looking forward to sharing retirement with her husband who retires on the same day, doing more travelling and spending time with family.

Passion for gardening sees business flourish

Emma Turnbull

Mick Lawrance’s enthusiasm for gardening was seeded at a young age while spending time in the garden with his grandmother.

This passion has inspired Mick to follow his heart and combine his love for the outdoors to start new business Bargara Homes and Gardens.

“I just love gardening, the outdoors and renovating. It seemed like the perfect way to blend my passions with a new career, here in this beautiful part of the world,” he said.

“I guess I have always been a bit of an outdoorsy guy. My grandmother taught me to garden from a very young age and I have grown up with a family who are all in the building industry.

“I remember the first house I renovated was a little beach shack at Mudjimba on the Sunshine Coast, and then an old dairy shed that I turned into a one-bedroom bungalow on a small eight-acre property in Armidale, New South Wales.”

Mick said Bargara Homes and Gardens offered services including lawn mowing, landscaping, and handyman work.

“To be honest, I think it is just about being active and working with my hands,” he said.

“It helps me feel connected and I love seeing the end product and the smiles on my customer’s faces.

“There are so many wonderful people in our region, and it is lovely being able to meet and work with them to not only help them achieve their visions but also provide them with, in some cases, prolonged independence and/or freedom to enjoy their days off in our beautiful slice of paradise.”

The 42-year-old moved to the Bundaberg Region five years ago with his fiancée and their four children and is a dedicated patrolling member of Bundaberg Surf Lifesaving Club.

“My fiancé grew up in Bundaberg having attended Bundaberg North High School before moving away for uni, work and travel,” he said.

“I grew up on the Sunshine Coast. We relocated here about five years ago for Bec’s work, she’s now the deputy principal at Bargara State School, and (we) have loved the relaxed, friendly and community feel of the region.”

To contact Mick at Bargara Homes and Gardens click here or phone 0438 205 072.

In our garage: Rob Bickmore's HR Holden Premier

Paul Donaldson

For as long as he can remember, Holdens have always been a big part of Rob Bickmore’s family.

His father had Holdens and it was the make of his first car.

But Rob’s passion for Holdens really revved up seven years ago when he saw a rare 186s 4 speed Premier glistening in the sunlight.

He instantly fell in love and purchased the vehicle.

Q. Tell us about your car

A. My car is a 1967 HR Holden Premier. I've had it for about seven years.

It's fairly original.

It's got the original engine, gearbox and all the mechanicals are all originals.

 It's the original paint colour, although it's had a repaint on the outside.

It was a 4-speed gearbox in this one from the factory, which was fairly rare for a HR at the time.

It had a horrible habit of jumping out of top gear on the highway, so I had to drive along holding it most of the time and it wasn't very nice to drive so, I ended up getting that rebuilt.

Q. What condition was the vehicle in when you got it and what work have you done to it?

A. The condition was pretty good, it had the paint job and things like that done already.

The brakes didn't work terribly well because it had been sitting, and the clutch, you nearly needed two feet to push the clutch.

I've had to replace all the hoses, belts and things like that and had to rebuild the heater in it because it was leaking.

It didn't have a radio in it when I got it.

Thankfully no one had butchered the dash or tried to put anything fancy in there, so it was quite simple to get a standard radio and put it in.

It had just ordinary tires on when I had it and they were getting a bit old, so I decided to put the white wall tires on to fit the Premier look.

A lot of Premiers had white wall tires in the day.

Q. Why did you purchase the Holden HR Premier?

A. I've always been a Holden person.

I grew up with Holden, my father always had Holdens, so I always thought I'd like to get an old Holden.

My first car was a HR Holden, but not as nice as this one.

It was pretty much sold when I saw that because it actually looked better sitting in the sun than it did in the photos.

Under the bonnet in those days, they used to stencil the car sales yard where it was actually bought. it's fairly faded but it was Coggins Car Sales in Sydney sold the car originally.

My son's partner is actually a Coggins, I think it was her great uncle that was the car dealership.

They actually sold the car all the way back then, what are the odds of that!?

Q. What do you love about restoring cars?

A. They need to be preserved as part of the heritage of Holdens and as part of the history.

There's a lot of reaction when you drive around, you get a lot of waves and when you do put the car on display there's always someone who says their uncle or granddad had one.

It is a good social activity because we meet with different clubs as well and different makes and models.

You generally get to do a lot of chatting about the old Holdens and HRs in particular which I enjoy.

I'll stand there all day talking about it if someone's willing to listen.

Last week's vehicle: Kerry’s Kosman Kawasaki drag bike

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Brothers Kyle and Zac Laybutt in Cowboys trial match

Emma Turnbull

Pulling on a Cowboys jersey wasn't the only special milestone for Kyle and Zac Laybutt in last weekend's trial match against the Rabbitohs, with the game being the first time the brothers have played together.

The squad was made up of the Cowboys’ emerging talent and top players from the club’s three Queensland Cup feeder teams – Northern Pride, Townsville Blackhawks and Mackay Cutters.

Growing up in the Bundaberg Region Kyle and Zac attended Bundaberg State High School, before Kyle’s NRL dreams started to come true when he joined the North Queensland's NRL squad in 2016.

His younger brother Zac followed in his footsteps and last year he was contracted in the Cowboys’ Hasting Deering Colts Grand Final.

Both Laybutt brothers play for Townsville and Districts Mendi Blackhawks and in an interview before the Cowboys v Rabbitohs trial match they told the club they were looking forward to competing alongside one another.

Mendi Blackhawks Five-eighth Kyle Laybutt said it would be a different playing field compared to the old days in the backyard of their Bundaberg home.

“Because of the age difference we never got to play any footy together, so this will be our first official game together,” Kyle said.

“A lot of our games used to end in tears, because of the age difference and me being competitive I never let him win!”

Zac said it was amazing to be given the opportunity to play alongside his brother for the first time, but he never thought it would be for the North Queensland Cowboys.

“I didn’t think we’d really get that opportunity playing for the Cowboys, we obviously thought for the Blackhawks, but it’s a really exciting opportunity,” Zac said.

In the Cowboys v Rabbitohs trial match Zac, 19, showed what he was made of as he scored a try and helped down the Rabbitohs 24-12 in the pre-season trial at Barlow Park in Cairns.

After the match on Saturday evening Cowboys head coach Todd Payten said the trial game was good experience for the players from the feeder clubs, and he said they should be ready for what the future could hold.

“As part of the message I just spoke about in the sheds, is that we are of the expectation that anything can happen this season,” he said.

“We have permission from the NRL to dip outside our top 30.

“So, I just urge them to be ready.”

Also making the interchange for the trial was Patrick Kaufusi, who grew up in the Bundaberg Region and attended Shalom College.