Weekender: Lyn grows community kindy

RFDS pilot training facility soars with $3M in funding

Ashley Schipper

A $3 million funding commitment has boosted plans for a new, world-class aviation training facility in Bundaberg.

The Royal Flying Doctor Service welcomed the QCoal Foundation funding while outlining features of the new facility, which is set to be constructed next to the existing RFDS Bundaberg Base.

The facility will house the only full-motion Beechcraft King Air B350/360 flight training simulator outside of the United States.

RFDS (Queensland Section) Chief Executive Officer Meredith Staib said the announcement was an extension of its long-standing partnership with QCoal Foundation and further evidence of their commitment to supporting health outcomes for regional Queensland.

“The B360 aircraft will be introduced into our fleet this year, and the new facility will support the ongoing training of our highly-skilled pilots and pilots from right across Australia and Asia,” she said.

“With $15 million in support from the Australian Government already committed to the facility, under the Hinkler Regional Deal and administered through the Community Development Grants Program, this additional funding will help secure the future of this
essential project for Queensland and Australia.”

Chair Christopher Wallin said the QCoal Foundation was delighted to be forming a new social venture partnership with the RFDS that was also another example of Government, philanthropy and not-for-profit collaboration.

“Like our work with the Dental Service, we are extremely proud to again be partnering with the RFDS to deliver a ‘first of its kind’ initiative which will deliver enormous benefit to regional Queensland,” he said.

“This is about much more than frontline health service delivery, this initiative will support economic diversification in the Bundaberg region and will provide a sustainable commercial opportunity for the RFDS.”

RFDS pilot training a boost for community

Mayor Jack Dempsey said the establishment of the flight training facility in Bundaberg was a classic case of “build it and they will come”.

“Council has been pleased to be involved in supporting this project which will provide many benefits to the region” Mayor Dempsey said.

“Through strategic planning, Council invested several million dollars into the development of the Bundaberg Regional Aviation and Aerospace Precinct and improving the airport taxiways.

“This paved the way for the aeromedical facility to be established here in the Bundaberg Region and has seen it become a cornerstone project for RFDS and Lifeflight.

“Last year, Bundaberg Regional Council donated the land for this pilot-training facility to go ahead, valued at $405,000.

“We are so very thankful to RFDS for their commitment not just to rural and regional health services but to the Bundaberg Region.

“It was pleasing also to welcome Federal Government Minister for Regional Health Dr David Gilliespie to the region to see firsthand the fantastic outcomes being achieved through the aeromedical base.”

Mayor Dempsey said when fully operational, 75 pilots would spend at least two weeks each year at the simulator.

“This equates to almost 1100 nights of accommodation in the region each year,” he said.
“This is on top of the $6.5 million that our Bundaberg aeromedical base and patient transfer facility currently injects into the regional economy each year and the 50 FTE jobs that it supports.”

Minister for Regional Health Dr David Gillespie said the RFDS was an incredible, iconic organisation that goes above and beyond for Australians each and every day.

“That is why the Australian Government, on behalf of Australian taxpayers, is proud to be a longstanding funder of the RFDS to deliver emergency primary aeromedical evacuations, GP and community nurse primary health clinics, and dental and mental health outreach services,” he said.

“This investment will ensure that the RFDS teams are ready to provide healthcare when and where it is needed.”

Federal Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt welcomed the announcement and congratulated QCoal Foundation on its continued support of the Royal Flying Doctor Service.

“The Royal Flying Doctor Service plays a vital role in the provision of health services in regional Queensland and right around Australia,” he said.

“Through the Hinkler Regional Deal I was able to secure $15 million for the aviation training facility and it will see RFDS pilots from all over the country come to Bundaberg for their training.”

Jacob Last set to represent Queensland

Emma Turnbull

Jacob Last’s parents were told their son may never walk or talk, but he defied the odds and now, 12 years later, will represent Queensland in the Australian Little Athletics Championships.

Jacob is one of 50 from around the state chosen to represent Queensland, and it is the first time multi-class athletes have been selected to compete at the event.

“I am a surviving twin born at 25 weeks gestation,” he said.

“I have Cerebral Palsy and hydrocephalus, (and I was) told I may never walk or talk but here I am kicking goals.”

Jacob discovered his passion for athletics in 2019 while attending Walkervale State School, when he was selected to represent the Bundaberg Region in the Queensland Schools Track and Field Championships.

Jacob’s mum Kellie Last said as she watched her son overcome multiple challenges in life, she never expected him to become a record-breaking athlete.

Every single time he takes to the field her emotions are high.

“It may seem funny, but every time I see Jacob run – I cry,” she said.

“Jacob didn’t start walking until he was four years old and since that moment he has pretty much ran, he was always on the go.

“He was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy at 18 months, doctors couldn’t guarantee he would walk or talk – he used to shuffle around on his back to get around.”

Since then, Jacob has continued to defy the odds and through West Bundaberg Little Athletics he enjoys both running and field events, with discus being his favourite.

It is Jacob’s dream to become a para-athlete and represent Australia at the Olympics.

He is well on the way after attending his first state athletic competition last year where he made four Queensland records in T-35 athletes U13 age group.

Cerebral Palsy affects the Bundaberg State High School student’s balance, coordination, fine and gross motor skills.

But he said he was determined to succeed on the track.

“My legs and hamstrings are tight. My left arm is tight, and my hand is hard to use,” Jacob said.

“I don’t walk or run like other kids but maybe after my operation later this year I might.”

Kellie said it was wonderful the multi-class division was now included in the Australian Little Athletics Championships.

“Inclusion for these kids in sport is so important,” she said.

“To have them included for the first time is really exciting. They all shine in their own way.”

Joining Jacob to represent Queensland in the Australian Little Athletics Championships is Xavier Blair from Bundaberg Little Athletics.

Xavier will make his way to Melbourne to compete in high jump, shot put, walks and javelin.

The Australian Little Athletics Championships will be held in 23-24 April, to follow or support Jacob’s journey click here.

Boreham Park monorail repurposed for bridge build

Ashley Schipper

A much-loved monorail track which was once stationed at Boreham Park in Avenell Heights has been given a new purpose by featuring in a bridge design at the Botanic Gardens.

Bundaberg Regional Council found a way to recycle a part of the monorail after it was removed when the popular park was upgraded in 2021.

Parks and Gardens portfolio spokesperson Cr Wayne Honor said staff had decided to reuse some of the track in a bridge project.

“The Botanic Gardens team were looking to increase footpath connectivity within the gardens from the Thornhill Street entrance through to the Woodworkers Guild,” he said.

“This project contributes to an extra kilometre of footpath and with the construction of a bridge now complete, visitors can now easily move between these areas.”

Botanic Gardens monorail bridge a unique feature

Cr Honor said the bridge featured a timber walkway and design, with monorail parts making up the railing on either side.

He said it was the finishing touch to a three-year project in the gardens.

“This project involved planting endangered Macadamia jansenii near the Thornhill Street entrance as well as creating new embellishments for the Woodworkers Guild area including pathways, a carpark, park furniture and plant signage,” Cr Honor said.

“There has also been more pathways installed to the neighbouring Friendship Grove to improve accessibility for visitors and the gardens team worked with the Australian Sugarcane Railway to complete a pedestrian rail crossing at the end of the bridge.

“The bridge and pedestrian crossing were the final stages of the project and it all looks absolutely fantastic!”

Cr Honor said the project was a fine example of how recycling could be beneficial in a number of ways.

“Not only does the monorail track provide the perfect shape and structure to form these solid bridge railings, it also gives the bridge a very unique look and features a little bit of our region's history!” he said.

Find out more about the Bundaberg Botanic Gardens here.

Merissa takes on sole ownership of Paragon

Emma Turnbull

For the first time in the Paragon Theatre’s 114-year-history the building now has a sole owner.

The building that stands proudly on the main street in Childers is wrapped with sentiment for Merissa Craft as it has been in her family for 60 years.

The mother-of-three has fond memories of growing up, and now raising her own family, in the grand old building that she calls home.

“The owners have always been husband and wives with some being collaborations with other couples,” Merissa said.

“I, myself, have shared ownership with previous partners, and I am forever grateful for their contribution, but I was blessed to start 2022 with new beginnings as the sole owner.

“This is the first time in its history that an individual has owned it and I guess being a woman is a little special as I’m sure the previous owners over the years could never have imagined such a thing.

“For me though, it is life as normal as this old girl has been my love, and hate, since I was in my early twenties, and I have been running it for many years.”

Originally built by the Gee family and known as Gee’s Hall in 1908, it was converted to a theatre by that family in the late 1920s.

In the 100-plus year history of the Paragon Theatre, Merissa said only five families had owned the building, including her grandparents.

“The Paragon was converted into a theatre in 1927,” Merissa said.

“My grandparents and great-grandparents purchased it in 1962, and I purchased it from them in 2007.

“Up until the last film in 1998, it was the longest running cinema in Australia – operating continuously from 1927 to 1998.

“It was then closed for many years until 2014 when I restored it and reopened as an entertainment venue.”

Paragon a big part of Merissa's life

This year Merissa has sole ownership, and she reminisces about the building that helped sculpt her into the person she is today.

“I grew up in Childers and I remember when I was little, sneaking a look behind the curtain when my grandparents were screening Chucky, and I’ve never been able to watch the movie – I was too scared!” she said.

“I also had my first kiss in the back corner when I was 13, hiding from my brothers, cousins and my nonno who used to walk the isles with the torch – the joy of being the youngest and the only girl in a Sicilian family.

“Living on site has also provided many lovely memories for my three small children and me. Many birthdays and special occasions.

“It’s not a bad thing to have a theatre as a home.”

Merissa said the outbreak of COVID-19 had impacted the business.

“I know most, if not all small businesses, are feeling the same though,” she said.

“For the first time in a long time, I’m unsure of the future of The Paragon, but I am hopeful that with some changes to the business to adapt to a ’new normal’, we will be able to continue operating.

“The arts have been hit hard and it takes venues, performers and patrons to all come together to move forward, as one doesn’t work without the others.

New eisteddfod committee to help grow talent

Emma Turnbull

For more than 40 years passionate community members, eager to see arts and culture grow locally, have formed a committee and dedicated their time to the annual Bundaberg Eisteddfod.

The Bundaberg Eisteddfod provides an opportunity for performers to share talent, gain confidence and receive constructive feedback while celebrating their strengths.

This year Bundaberg Eisteddfod is sure to be outstanding with more than 600 entries in the vocal, speech and drama, instrumental and music categories.

Bundaberg Eisteddfod sponsorship coordinators Suellen Cusack-Greensill and Hannah Jacobs are busy ensuring the long-standing legacy of the week-long competition continues.

“Learning an instrument, music, or speech and drama creates connection, it teaches the individual discipline,” Suellen said.

“By working in ensembles, orchestras, and in groups, it encourages teamwork and people skills.

“It encourages a human to emote and to be able to interact, communicate, and express themselves well with others. 

“It also instills self-worth and self-esteem with individuals, allows participants to gain confidence.”

New eisteddfod committee ready to revitalise event

This year Bundaberg Eisteddfod has a new committee made up of life members along with fresh faces ready to bring the stage to life and revitalise the event.

“2022 sees the rebranding of Bundaberg Eisteddfod with the new committee working hard to revitalise the event to inspire the next generation of local performers and musicians,” Hannah said.

“We have a brand-new committee for 2022, full of talented local people who are passionate about the arts and culture within our community.

“Our aim is to bring the Bundaberg Eisteddfod to life, revitalise the event, and inspire the next generation of performers in our region.”

Original Bundaberg Eisteddfod members continue legacy

Original members Robyn Edgar and Alison O'Malley have played an integral part in the committee since its inception in 1975.

As a vocal teacher, classroom music teacher and conductor of the Bundaberg Youth Choir, Robyn said she had seen many students take to the stage, and she was pleased she had been able to help guide many to successful careers as both professional musicians and music teachers.

Alison has also had a connection with the Bundaberg Eisteddfod since moving to the region in 1976.

“At that time, the eisteddfod catered for both adult and junior performers, so I competed in vocal and piano sections,” Alison said.

“I formed the Bundaberg State High School choir who competed in the choral sections for some years.

“I have loved playing for the music students of Bundaberg over the years, whether young beginners, or advanced musicians, vocalists, string, woodwind or brass players.

“The Eisteddfod has, importantly, offered students wonderful performance opportunities, and ensured they received useful feedback from the adjudicators.

“I feel it is also has a social function, where the young people make friendships with like-minded students from different schools.”

The adjudicators for 2022 Bundaberg Eisteddfod include Kate Schirmer for vocal, Dr Fletcher Mitchell for instrumental and Kyle Walmsley for speech and drama.

Bundaberg Eisteddfod will run from Friday, 29 April to Friday, 6 May, with a gala evening on Saturday, 7 May.

For more information visit the website.

0Waves players and club support Tonga Appeal

Ashley Schipper

Local rugby league players and The Waves Sports Club have banded together to donate almost $8000 to the Tonga Appeal.

The Waves Tigers have put their match fees from their first game towards the appeal to show their support to the community and to coach Antonio Kaufusi, who was born in Tonga.

The appeal was launched last month through a partnership between Bundaberg Regional Council and Shalom College, where Antonio is a teacher.

It kicked off with a $10,000 donation from Council and $2000 from Shalom Markets before other members and organisations jumped on board to boost the fundraising efforts.

Now, the total raised has come to $31,450 with $27,450 already reaching Tonga Apifoou College via international transfer.

Waves Tigers captain Reece Maughan said when the team found out about the Tonga Appeal, they jumped at the chance to help out.

“Our coach has represented Tonga and has family over there and we are all one big family here so I feel like the boys just wanted to give back a little bit, it was the least we could do,” he said.

“Our president came to us with the idea of donating our match fees and it was a straight up yes from everyone, the decision was unanimous.

“We wanted to do anything we could to help the community or schools over there that have been impacted.”

To add to the rugby league players donation, The Waves Sports Club has also put funds towards the Tonga Appeal, along with 90 club shirts.

President of The Waves, Brendan Royale said supporting the Tonga Appeal was an easy decision to make.

“There is a strong Tongan community in Bundaberg and we have a lot of affiliated clubs and teams with good representation of that community,” he said.

“This donation will certainly be instant relief and we also thought it would be a nice gesture to send over some club polos as well.”

Brendan said the donation was part of the The Waves commitment to giving back and showing support wherever possible.

“The Waves tries to contribute around about $1.3 million to the community every year,” he said.

“We are happy the community spends money at The Waves and in return we try to give back to beneficiaries as best we can.”

Antonio grateful for Waves Tonga Appeal support

Antonio Kaufusi said he had been overwhelmed by the support from all involved in the donations so far.

“I was pretty shocked from my players for their donation as well, they were more than happy to help out,” he said.

“I know The Waves do an awesome job in the community and I am really fortunate that they wanted to support this too.

“I can't thank the Bundaberg community enough for their generosity.

“All of the money that has been raised is going to go a long way.”

Antonio said the money raised would go towards a number of recovery efforts and long-term solutions in Tonga.

“It will help to make sure the community has money for food and it will also be used for the clean up of schools while also helping them with a long-term approach of a solar project,” he said.

“With disasters like this and electricity getting cut off, having power through solar will be able to keep the school running.”

How to donate:

Account name: Shalom College
BSB: 034 210
Account Number: 831 772

Or by visiting Shalom College or phoning their Finance Officer on (07) 4155 8111.

To find out more head to the website here.

Phil and Annette’s slice of paradise

Morgan Everett

Moving into a house with a rich 130-year history, Phil and Annette Irvine have enhanced its heritage charm by surrounding it with a thriving and colourful garden.

The couple moved in six years ago and learnt about the building’s history from its previous owner.

What was once a dust bowl has now been filled with flowers, hearty foliage and pops of colour using upcycled items. 

“We’ve lived here for six years and there were only a few trees remaining on the property when we moved in,” Annette said.

“They had bulldozed almost everything out, even grass had to be planted.”

A large poinciana tree features in the front garden which was planted by the previous owner when the 130-year-old house was relocated from Hazards Corner 30 years ago.

“Some early hours of the morning, they brought the house all the way up Telegraph Road and plunked it here,” Phil said.

“We said to her, why did you put it on this angle? She said she just loved that angle looking out.”

“I love the big poinciana because its colourful and we get so many lovely birds,” Annette said.

The couple said they started gardening after they got married, which was 55 years ago and now find themselves out in the garden daily.

“We wanted something that was easy to look after and as it progressed, we kept making more gardens and putting more things in, we just love it,” Annette said.

“We are in the garden every day, start early in the morning around 7:30 until around 9 o’clock,” Phil said.

One section of the yard in particular holds a special place in Annette and Phil’s heart, which was named John’s Garden.

“John was our neighbour that suffered a heart attack,” Phil said.

“He would sit on the porch with us and overlook the garden, he also was the one to introduce us to computers.”

Daughter Natalie said she has seen the garden constantly evolve and she isn’t the only one that has noticed, with passers-by always stopping to compliment the garden.

“They’ve been watching mum and dad do the garden up for years,” Natalie said.

“We’ve dubbed it the Botanical Gardens of Bundaberg East because it’s so rich and lovely.”

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Friday Sessions back at BRAG

Georgia Neville

Bundaberg Regional Art Gallery’s first Friday Session for 2022 will take place next week featuring entertainment from local musician Peter Sajko and the opportunity to explore the current exhibitions.

The community is invited to stroll through the gallery, enjoy a drink with friends and relax while soaking up the atmosphere of the live music.

Council’s Arts, Culture and Events portfolio spokesperson Cr John Learmonth said these events were a great chance for the local community to come together and experience the Bundaberg Regional Art Gallery in a different light.

“The upcoming Friday session provides the perfect opportunity for those who may not be able to get to the gallery during usual opening hours to be given the chance to see the current exhibitions, take a look at the gallery shop and enjoy live music,” Cr Learmonth said.

“It is wonderful that the event also provides the chance for local musicians, such as Peter Sajko, to share their original music with the community.”

The Gallery shop will be open for attendees to look through, with a range of specialty handmade wares available from talented local artisans.

There are new additions to the stockists at the gallery shop, including bespoke jewellery of Malki Studio, who were recently featured at the Bundaberg Regional Gallery’s International Women’s Day event.

There is also the opportunity to take home your own piece of the exhibition with art-de-vivre paperweights by Tom Moore whose exhibition is currently showing in Gallery One.

The exhibitions on display include:

JamFactory Icon Tom Moore: Abundant Wonder — Gallery One

A grand display: Troy Emery — The Vault

Form: Bundaberg Regional Galleries Collection (Sculptural Works) — Gallery Two

The Isolation Beetle Project: Kym Latter — Imaginarts

Entry to the event is free and there are no bookings required.

Drinks are available for purchase from the bar.

You can find out more about the upcoming event here.

Friday sessions event details:
When: Friday 25 March
Time: 5 pm to 7 pm
Where: Bundaberg Regional Art Gallery – 1 Barolin Street

History: Lake Ellen a community-driven project

Ashley Schipper

Lake Ellen was officially opened in the early '80s and, as a survey focussed on its future is launched, we take a look back it its history as a community-driven project.

The establishment of the lake turned out to be the first of many transformational efforts locals have been involved in for the recreational area over the decades.

Lake Ellen shaped into tourist attraction

Research undertaken by the Bundaberg Regional Libraries heritage team reveals the beginnings of the space came from the members of the Bundaberg East Rotary Club and included the establishment of a man-made lake.

The club was looking for a possible tourist attraction they could develop for the Bundaberg Region, which would also become a project that the whole community could be involved in.

They believed land at the eastern end of George Street was the perfect spot for a lake and picnic area.

The proposed site was at the beginning of what was then a large tea tree swamp.

Club member Bert Bent approached the then Bundaberg City Council to ask permission for the club to turn the land into a lake.

Once permission was granted, the local Model Boat Club became interested in the project with members keen for the construction of a lake big enough for their boats.

After an initial donation of $4000 from the rotary club for the project, plans were underway.

Stage 1 of the lake began in 1980 and was assisted by Bundaberg City Council.

Time was spent excavating the area, clearing the scrub, digging the lake base, adding running tracks, a fitness circuit and a children's playground.

In 1982 club members decided to name the lake after Ellen Previte who, with husband Phil, ran the East End Hotel.

Ellen was tireless in her fundraising for the lake project.

Construction continued throughout the year and into 1983, with a concrete platform built for the Model Boat Club to launch their boats into the lake.

Two picnic shelters were also constructed on the western side of Lake Ellen and 120 trees were planted by club members.

Lake Ellen was finally completed in 1984 with the installation of a gas barbecue for the public.

It was handed over to the Bundaberg City Council for the official opening.

Mayor Allan Stewart named and opened the lake complex on Sunday June 3, 1984 but that was not the end of development in the area.

In 1990, another picnic shelter was erected and painted, and in 1995 Stage 2 began.

Rotary club members had noticed the edges of the lake were crumbling and the lake silting so the decision was made to drain the lake, dredge it again and put stone pitching down.

Eight long-term unemployed people were supervised by Rotarians in half day shifts, as they stone-pitched the banks as part of a special funding opportunity.

A concrete ring path was also constructed, the picnic shelters were repainted and more tree planting and landscaping was undertaken.

Since Stage 2 was completed, other groups have contributed to the development of Lake Ellen as a community and recreational area.

It has also been developed into a heritage hub, recognising the many cultural groups that make up Bundaberg’s diverse community.

Lake Ellen community spirit remains strong

In 2008, a project involving all levels of government with the help and muscle-power of community organisations saw the playground facilities developed on the site.

A significant community fundraising effort made the development possible.

The result was a vibrant, versatile family area that was suitable for all ages and all abilities.

This year, community consultation will continue with the development of Lake Ellen and transform it into a space that meets current and future community needs.

To have your say on the Lake Ellen development, fill out the online survey here.

In Our Garage: James Young's 1935 Chevy Roadster

Paul Donaldson

James Young has built his 1935 Chevy Roadster from scratch and has shared details about his pride and joy.

Q. Tell us about your Chevy Roadster and why you decided to build it from scratch?

A. This is a 1935 Chevy Roadster turned into a cabriolet with a hard, removable top.

I actually built it off another person's car, took all the dimensions off of that, and drew them on CAD program.

They're not easy to get hold of, and at the time it seemed like a good idea.

It was okay while I was building it, but I got a bit older and a bit wiser now.

I had a 1956 Chev car and was in the Hot Rod club and decided I'd try and build one, as I thought it would be cheaper to build one myself, but it may not have turned out that way.

It's got JAG front and rear end but used most of the gear out of the 2002 SS Commodore with the LS1 engine and a lot of the parts and the computer and all that to get everything to work.

When you build an old car like that up and put a lot of new gear in it, it drives and rides nice like a new car, but still has the history of the old cars where they all originated from.

Q. How many hours do you think you have spent on the car?

A. Well, it's impossible to calculate exactly how many hours would have been put into the car, but many full weekends, night times, holidays, a lot of stuff like that, it’s just a lot of hours.

It's just a matter of keeping on going until you get it finished.

Q. How did you decide on the colour?

A. The colours were put together by trying a lot of different colours, just little sample pots and spraying them out onto little separate spare panels just to see what they would look like.

That was not the first colour that I had in mind that it ended up at. I just ended up with that colour because we thought that looked the nicest.

I was a bit nervous, as I had seen other yellow and purple cars that I didn't particularly like those particular colours together, but they were different purples and different yellows, but these two, I thought went together okay.

Q. What do you like about older cars?

A. I've always liked the shape of those earlier, that era car of the 34 sort of models and always liked that shape, whether it's the Ford or the Chevy.

I've always been a bit of a Chevy man, so I sort of went with the Chevy but a Ford would have been easier to probably get a body to start with, but yeah, I sort of wanted to build a Chevy.

You get looks when you're driving it, it's nice to drive around and have people wave to you and call out to you, and the car drives very nice. It's very comfortable just to sit in and drive.

This car has a dinky seat in the back that opens up where the boot would normally be which was common in the older cars and the person just sat outside in the open, in those seats.

They're probably not practical, and I've probably only had people in them from for a maximum of 15 to 20 minutes at a time.

I like going to the car shows and a lot of shows are connected with a camping weekend where you have a lot of friends that you meet up with from other towns that have similar interests and got similar style cars.

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Lucy, 15, a rising star on the cricket pitch

Ashley Schipper

Shalom Year 10 student Lucy Hamilton is proving to be a force to be reckoned with on the pitch, taking out two wickets in her debut for the Queensland Fire Open Women's Cricket team this week.

Playing against WA in Canberra, the 15-year-old Bundaberg star bowled 2/35 from 6.3 overs and was run out late in Queensland's innings for three.

It's the all rounder's first taste of success since being named the second youngest debutant for Queensland in the Women's National Cricket League.

Earlier this week she was presented with cap number 93 from fellow professional cricketer and Wide Bay sportswoman Holly Ferling to mark her debut.

“This is just the beginning of everything you are going to achieve in this sport,” Holly said.

“My advice is to never forget where you come from, wear your Wide Bay socks with pride.

“It is that region and the people there that have made you the person you are today, but also the cricketer you are today.”

Lucy's sporting achievement is a proud moment for those who know her, including her family, coaches, teachers and students of Shalom College who have watched her skills develop over the years.

Sport coordinator at the school Simon Gills said Lucy was identified as a promising athlete across several sports at a young age.

“Lucy made several Wide Bay primary school sports teams, obviously cricket being one of those, but she also had a bright future in football and touch football,” he said.

“When Lucy started at Shalom, we knew of her sporting talent and I personally knew the cricketing potential she had to offer.”

Shalom supports Lucy in cricket dream

Simon said the talented sports star became part of the Wide Bay and Qld Schools Cricket representative system and Wide Bay and Qld Club Cricket representative pathway.

He said the Shalom High Performance Program also helped Lucy through the management of her elite sporting workloadwith her academic and schooling life.

“Shalom could not be prouder of what Lucy has achieved at such a young age,” Simon said.

“To be the second youngest debutant ever for Qld in the WNCL, at only 15, is a remarkable achievement.

“Lucy, like all Shalom students, work extremely hard to achieve their goals.

“A huge future awaits Lucy in the world of cricket!”

When the pace bowler isn't taking her turn on the pitch, she still attends the college and lives in Bundaberg with her family.

“She is very happy being part of the Shalom community and Queensland Cricket are also very happy for her to stay in Bundy,” Simon said.

“It is a huge effort from Lucy’s parents to transport her most weekends to the Sunshine Coast/Brisbane to play grade cricket, but it is just what you do for your kids.

“Credit also needs to go to her local club, Across the Waves, and in particular to her coach, Noel Stitt.”

Coach proud of Lucy's commitment

Noel Stitt has been coaching Lucy for four years and said it was fantastic to see her go from strength to strength.

“Lucy as an 11-year-old played in the Queensland cricket team for her age group and from there she has continued to develop and play well,” he said.

“To be honest, she has matched it with most of the boys at most of the clubs and rep teams!

“She has also had a lot of girls from the Wide Bay area that she has seen go through the cricket community as well, which she has looked up to.

“They have all come through and excelled and now Lucy is part of that.”

Noel said to see Lucy accomplishing so much at such a young age was a proud moment.

“It is huge,” he said.

“I have seen lots of people go through but for someone like Lucy, at 15, it definitely is a proud moment but also, I feel overwhelmed because it is so great to see her there!”