Weekender: Lyn grows community kindy

Touch down for All Abilities Rugby League

Emma Turnbull

Daly Olsen’s smile says it all. The six-year-old is learning new skills to take part in the inaugural All Abilities Rugby League program.

All Abilities Rugby League is a first in the Bundaberg Region and it will provide a modified sports program for children with special needs.

Walk With Me 4 Autism’s Sonya Olsen, who is also Daly's mum, said they were working in conjunction with Northern Districts Rugby League to run the football sessions over four weeks starting in July.

Her son Daly has autism, and he will join children of all abilities to learn skills, such as catching and throwing the football, before taking to the field for a game each week.

Rugby league has always played a big part in Sonya’s life.

For more than three decades she has volunteered her time to the local competition and has been recognised for her dedication with a raft of awards.

The All Abilities Rugby League program means a lot to her and her family.

“This program will give children with special needs the opportunity to play modified rugby league alongside their peers in a fun environment,” Sonya said.

“Children with special needs will experience the inclusiveness of being part of a team and giving their families the chance to be spectators, while we have mentors to shadow the children who may need additional assistance during the games.”

Try Time sparks program initiative

Sonya said the idea of All Abilities Rugby League program was initiated after Daly’s father watched a television interview that lit a spark inside him.

“My husband saw an interview on Fox Sports about a young autistic boy in New South Wales who wanted to play rugby league and his father said to him to come back to him when he was 10 and they’d talk about it,” she said.

“On the day of his 10th birthday the boy turned out in his footy gear and said I’m 10 now dad and I want to play football. They went down but there was nothing that suited his needs.

“The father started what they call in New South Wales Try Time and we have changed this to All Abilities Rugby League.”

Working in conjunction with Northern Districts Rugby League and supported by NRL and QRL, Sonya said the program would help show children with special needs there was nothing to limit them.

“All we are doing is giving our kids the opportunity to feel part of a team,” Sonya said.

“These kids are going to have a sense of achievement, and I know being part of a team will mean a lot to them.

“For parents to come and sit back and see their kids play a team sport instead of being in their own world – It will mean a lot.

“We have lots of mentors who have been so supportive and are willing to help out.

“We will have these mentors on the field, if there’s three special needs kids in one team, we will have three mentors on the field behind these kids to assist.”

All Abilities Rugby League come and try day

All Abilities Rugby League program will have a come and try day on Sunday, 22 May, at the Brothers sports grounds at 11 am.

“We are looking at having 100 kids take part, that’s 10 kids per age group,” Sonya said.

“We are doing a four-week program, as Daly is smart enough to know there are kids in his class that go and play soccer, or other sports, for a whole term not just once.

“So, if we only did it once he would think why? Why is he different? So, that’s one of the reasons why we’ve spread it over four weeks.

“It gives him the week-in, week-out experience and routine. We also thought by the fifth week a lot of kids who have fatigue and mobility issues would struggle to come back, so four weeks will be great.”

To find out more about the All Abilities Rugby League program join the Facebook page by clicking here, by emailing walkwithme4autism@gmail.com or phoning Sonya on 0427 137 885.

A look back on Lucke quads' sensational story

Ashley Schipper

This week twins, triplets, quads and more will be celebrated around Australia as part of Multiple Birth Awareness Week.

The national campaign raises awareness around the unique realities for multiple birth families in Australia and how advocacy, positive education and engaged communities can contribute to enabling positive health outcomes for families with multiples.

In the past 12 months nine multiple births have been recorded across the Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service.

Historically, the most famous story of them all is that of the Lucke quads.

Speaking to one of the quadruplets Jennifer Faulkner, we turn the clock back to July, 1955 to find out what made their birth story so spectacular.

Lucke quads bring excitement to community

It was pure excitement in Bundaberg when news of the birth of the Lucke quads circulated the town.

Parents Arthur and Agnes Lucke had just welcomed the arrival of their four babies Kevin, Eric, Veronica and Jennifer.

The birth itself was monumental, with the quads delivered naturally in just three hours and with only two local doctors and no specialists in sight.

“Mum was truly remarkable to have done that,” Jennifer said.

“It was such a rarity to deliver quads naturally and within such a short time frame.

“Even to this day only one in 750,000 quads are delivered that way.”

The four siblings were born at six weeks premature and weighed 5.10 pounds (Kevin) 5.12 (Eric), 3.10 (Veronica) and 4.10 (Jennifer).

The news of the siblings spread like wildfire, not only in Bundaberg, but throughout the whole of Australia and even the world.

Jennifer said news articles, magazine covers and more featured their birth story and “the Lucke quads” became a household name in the region.

“It was a really big thing because we were the first quads born in Queensland and the second in Australia,” she said.

“I believe there was excitement around town and everywhere, in fact, I have a port full of cards that mum received congratulating her on our arrival.”

Growing up on their parents property on Moore Park Road, Jennifer said it wasn't unusual for people to stop by to “take a look at the quads”.

“Our house had a big verandah and my mother used to have a partition up so people could see us but couldn't get to us to pick us up or touch us,” she said.

“As we got older we still had the occasional car pull up at the house.

“Even these days I often have people say ‘oh we came to see you at Moore Park Road when you were a baby'.”

The news of the siblings spread like wildfire, not only in Bundaberg, but throughout the whole of Australia and even the world.

Jennifer said news articles, magazine covers and more featured their birth story and “the Lucke quads” became a household name in the region.

“It was a really big thing because we were the first quads born in Queensland and the second in Australia,” she said.

“I believe there was excitement around town and everywhere, in fact, I have a port full of cards that mum received congratulating her on our arrival.”

Growing up on their parents property on Moore Park Road, Jennifer said it wasn't unusual for people to stop by to “take a look at the quads”.

“Our house had a big verandah and my mother used to have a partition up so people could see us but couldn't get to us to pick us up or touch us,” she said.

“As we got older we still had the occasional car pull up at the house.

“Even these days I often have people say ‘oh we came to see you at Moore Park Road when you were a baby'.”

Growing up a Lucke quad in Bundaberg

The four siblings grew up on their Moore Park Road property for 14 years, attending Gooburrum State School.

“In high school Eric and Kevin went to Christian Brothers and Veronica and I went to St Patrick's,” Jennifer said.

“We were in the same class for two years before we got split up because Veronica was good at maths and I was not!”

Jennifer said growing up in Bundaberg, most of her free time was spent with her siblings and cousins before they left school to join the workforce.

“After school my brothers worked at Bundaberg Co Op and to this day lots of people remember the boys from there,” she said.

“My sister and I worked at Mater Hospital where she was a nurse and I was a receptionist.”

When the quads were in their 20s, their parents tragically died within 11 months of each other.

“Mum and Dad were 61 and 62 when they passed, that was a very sad time,” Jennifer said.

These days, Jennifer and Eric still live in Bundaberg while Kevin moved to Bribie Island.

Veronica sadly passed away eight years ago.

“Life goes on and we have to be strengthened by it,” Jennifer said.

Memories flow on Multiple Birth Week

The Lucke quads are part of a large family tree made up of 15 sets of twins.

While Jennifer said she never planned any celebrations on Multiple Birth Week, she did use the occasion to reflect on her life and her family.

“Some of my fondest memories are of Mum and Dad taking us fishing at Moore Park Beach,” she said.

“That was something we all liked to do together as a family.

“I also love looking back on all of our photos, they mean so much to me.

“I have them hanging up on my wall with one of mum and dad and the four of us in the centre.”

Community remembers Caroline 20 years on

Megan Dean

A memorial service and plaque unveiling will be held on April 10 to mark 20 years since Caroline Stuttle tragically lost her life while visiting the Bundaberg Region.

 Caroline grew up in England and was known for her enthusiasm for life, compassion and talent for the arts.

In 2002 at the age of 19 she decided to travel Australia with her best friend Sarah during a gap year before commencing university.

Tragically Bundaberg became her final destination.

On the evening of April 10 Caroline was attacked by someone wanting to take her bag and, as a result of the struggle which ensued, was thrown from the Burnett Traffic Bridge.

Her attacker was found guilty of murder in 2004 and was given a life sentence.

Mayor Jack Dempsey encouraged the community to pause and reflect on this tragic loss in honour of the 20th anniversary of Caroline’s passing.

“In 2010 local artist Marilyn Batty created a lovely rainbow mosaic memorial as a tribute to Caroline which was proudly displayed in Buss Park, a popular place for visiting backpackers,” Mayor Dempsey said.

“Unfortunately time and weather impacts had caused that mosaic to deteriorate so last year, ahead of this anniversary date, Council sought the blessing of Caroline’s family to revitalise the memorial.

“The community is invited to help us honour Caroline’s memory by attending the memorial service at Christ Church which will be followed by the unveiling of the new plaque in Buss Park.”

Mayor Dempsey said a delegation from the UK consulate would be in attendance.

Caroline’s family has also honoured her legacy by launching the Caroline’s Rainbow Foundation.

Her brother Richard Stuttle said the family was deeply touched that Caroline was still remembered in Bundaberg 20 years on.

“At the time of her murder our family was incredibly moved by how much the people of Bundaberg cared so passionately about what happened to Caroline and took our family into their hearts,” Richard said.

“It is a great honour of us to have a new memorial to commemorate the 20th anniversary of her passing.

“The memorial fits perfectly with Caroline’s love for nature, the location is perfect.

“I can easily imagine Caroline sat in the park enjoying the sunshine and watching the world go by.

“We still feel that a rainbow of hope extends from Caroline’s hometown of York in the United Kingdom all the way to Bundaberg.”

To mark the anniversary, the Stuttle family has donated two copies of the recently released book Chasing Rainbows - the stolen future of Caroline Anne Stuttle, authored by Richard himself, to the Bundaberg Region community.

The books will be made available to loan through Bundaberg Regional Libraries.

Richard said he felt the book was incredibly important to share their memories of Carloline and highlight the importance of travel safety.

The fact that it was published 19 years after Caroline’s passing was also significant for the family.

“She was 19 when she tragically lost her life and I wanted to show what we had achieved in the 19 years to help prevent what happened to Caroline happening to another young people and their families.

“I included diary entries from my backpacking adventure so people could read about what travelling was like day to day. Dispelling some of the myths around travel and show the real life of a backpacker.

“It is a privilege to have my book on the shelves of the library.

“My hope is that the book would be available for residents who knew Caroline’s story and would like the opportunity to find out a little more about the person she was and the work we have done with the charity.”

The memorial service will commence at 5 pm on Sunday 10 April at Christ Church, 59 Woongarra St, following which the new plaque will be unveiled in Buss Park.

Community members are welcome to attend.

Malki Studio launches unique designs

Georgia Neville

A family of creative individuals has come together to launch Malki Studio, an artistic jewellery business based in Bargara.

Arielle Anderson, along with her son Adam and daughter Lia, have merged their skills and experience to create the unique range of jewellery.

Inspired by love, the name Malki has come from Rachel Arlette Malki and Guy David Malki, Arielle’s mother and father, who have been together for more than 70 years.

Arielle said the support from the Bundaberg community had made launching Malki Studio in the region a success.

“The best thing about launching Malki Studio in the Bundaberg Region is the overwhelming support of Bundaberg’s art community,” Arielle said.

“Having been active members of this community since we immigrated here from Israel in 1998, we feel like this region and its many cultural workers have championed us and valued our storytelling, which we do through our artwork.

“Being embedded in the Bundaberg Region has also meant that we’ve been empowered to contribute back to our community through events like International Women’s Day, which was hosted by the Bundaberg Regional Art Gallery.”

The pieces themselves are more than just jewellery, according to Arielle, who said they aimed to positively influence how a person thought and felt about themselves.

Arielle said making unique handmade jewellery for Malki Studio was a creative but laborious process, with the majority of their pieces quite complex.

“Some of our simplest pieces may take only several hours to make, but the vast majority of what we do is anything but simple,” she said.

“Rings cast from wax moulds can take several days or even weeks to make in wax and then it takes several more days or longer to shape, solder, sand, and polish the metal.

“Only once all that is done can you finally start setting stones or adding patinas.

“Our most sculptural pieces, particularly those made with ceramics, can take hundreds of hours of work, as clay is sculpted, dried, fired, often more than once, treated, and assembled together with metals and gemstones.

“There is also the lengthy process of researching, planning, and drafting pieces, experimentation, and post-production documentation that needs to be factored into each piece.”

Malki Studio brings together creative experience

Arielle, Lia and Adam all have their own extensive background in the art industry.

Ariella has a Diploma of Visual Arts and over twenty years of experience in ceramic sculpture with her work being commissioned for resorts, private and public collections, public artworks and schools.

Lia has a Bachelor of Applied Science as well as a Bachelor of Design, specialising in product design.

Her fusion of creative and analytical thinking has enabled Lia to design and make a variety of objects—such as laser cut furniture, innovative light fixtures, sculptural objects, computer modelled and 3D printed jewellery.

Adam holds a PhD (Doctor of Philosophy) as well as a Bachelor of Fine Art with first class Honours and his practice incorporates painting, drawing, performance art, photography, projection, video and animation, makeup, costumery, and the production of
various wearable objects.

The online shop is live and can be found here.

There are also a selection of pieces stocked in the Bundaberg Regional Art Gallery and Childers Art Space shops.

You can find out more about Malki Studio on their website.

Sushi restaurant to roll into Bargara

Georgia Neville

A well-known Bundaberg sushi restaurant will be opening their newest store in Bargara, with a fresh new look and name.

The restaurant will open in Bargara Central, next to Dominos, in the coming weeks with the same menu as the Bundaberg Store, Nodaji Sushi.

Nodaji Sushi owners Helen Park and Moon Lee saw the opportunity to expand as they noticed there was a gap in the market for a sushi restaurant for the growing Bargara community.

“The community is growing rapidly in Bargara and so we decided that now would be a good time to open a sushi restaurant for the community,” Helen said.

“We have been operating in town since 2013 and we are looking forward to seeing how we go in Bargara.”

Sushi restaurant Bargara to feature ‘grab and go' meals

While their Bargara store will be offering the same favourites as their Bundaberg store, the name will be slightly different, going by Moon Japanese and Korean Restaurant.

“We will have a new name for the Bargara store, and in the middle of the year our Bundaberg store will also change names to be the same,” she said.

“The name is my husband's name as he is the head chef of the restaurants.”

Helen said she is looking forward to providing a fresh fast food option for residents both in Bargara and those travelling to enjoy a day at the beach.

“I am looking forward to making sure all our food is of the freshest quality, and we will be making more lunch box style meals that are ready to grab and go,” she said.

“They will be perfect for picking up and taking down to the beach to enjoy.”

There will be enough seating in the new restaurant for approximately 18 people.

The menu will still feature favourites including sushi rolls and hot meals such as udon, ramen, curry and noodles.

You can find out more about the new restaurant here.

Bargara Central is located at 699 Bargara Road, Bargara.

Entries for popular playground photo competition open

Georgia Neville

Bundaberg residents are being encouraged to submit photos of their favourite memories at Lake Ellen Heritage Hub Park and Playground as the area undergoes plans for revitalisation.

Bundaberg Regional Council identified the popular recreational spot for upgrade and development as part of the Parks and Open Space Strategy 2019-2026.

Community feedback via a survey and consultation is now being sought to assist Council in developing a design plan to further enhance the area.

Council’s Parks and Gardens portfolio spokesperson Cr Wayne Honor said as part of the consultation, a photo competition had been launched to celebrate the current space and preserve its history.

“Lake Ellen Heritage Hub Park and Playground is such a popular spot for families and has a well-known history of being a very community-driven project from the very beginning of its establishment,” he said.

“Council wants to keep that community connection strong, which is why we are asking residents to submit photos of Lake Ellen Heritage Hub Park and Playground and to help us move forward with ideas for its future use.”

All photo entries will go in the running to win a double season pass to the Moncrieff Entertainment Centre and a Family Pass to Hinkler Hall of Aviation (two adults and two children).

Entering the competition is simple, just upload your image and a brief description to the website here.

Community welcomes consultation sessions

Local residents have welcomed the Lake Ellen Heritage Hub Park and Playground consultation process, with members of the autism community recently meeting to discuss how the area can be improved for use by all abilities.

Crystal Tanzer said it was great to have the opportunity to provide input to ensure the park was suitable for everyone to enjoy.

“Every family is different, and each have different needs, but it is important to still be able to be part of our community,” Crystal said.

“If our needs are not met and our children cannot engage then we are isolated from our community, and it denies children like my son Dylan the opportunity to engage with neurotypical children.”

“It would be great to see as many members of our local community as possible get involved in whatever way they can with the Council consultation.”

You can find out more about the project here.

Complete the survey to have your say here.

Paige Caldwell set to inspire next Childers showgirl

Emma Turnbull

As Childers Show preparations get underway a new hat has been thrown into the ring with Paige Caldwell taking on an ambassador role to inspire young women.

Moving to Childers to pursue a career in law, Paige has taken the reins to coordinate the Showgirl and Rural Ambassador.

As Showgirl and Rural Ambassador coordinator Paige will be leading the search for applicants, and she knows what it takes after holding the title of Darling Downs Showgirl and then going on to compete in the Queensland Country Life Showgirl State Finals.

 “I only moved to Childers towards the end of last year and went to a show meeting in the second week that I was here as I was keen to get involved in the community, meet new people and see how a different show operates.

“I have been involved in the show in my hometown, Bell, for years now and knew that it was a great way to immerse myself in a new community.”

Paige hopes to inspire other young women to be confident to pursue their passions and stand in front of their community proudly.

“I believe that as long as you have the confidence to stand up and represent your community, paired with a genuine passion for that community, then you have what it takes to be a showgirl.

“There is no specific mould that you must fit into. I believe that what you can get out of the experience is what is most important.

“Gaining confidence, developing your leadership skills, making friendships, building valuable networks and developing your skillset are just a few of the key takeaways that myself and many other showgirls have gained from the experience.”

Paige said after she found her work experience in Childers was so rewarding it was nice she could combine her passion for shows with her career.

“I graduated from a law and business degree at Bond halfway through last year and had always wanted to practice law in a rural area,” she said.

“I had a few offers across Queensland but ultimately why I chose the firm in Childers was because of the positive experience I had doing work experience there.

“The solicitor whom I did work experience with had so much in common with me and is also very involved in shows.

“I am so glad I made the decision to move here and have found that she has been a great mentor to have both for law and for shows.”

To find out more about how to become the Childers Showgirl or Rural Ambassador click here.

Mornings at the Moncrieff celebrates Our Glad

Georgia Neville

Mornings at the Moncrieff will pay special tribute to the theatre's namesake with local performers set to celebrate what would have been Gladys Moncrieff's 130th birthday.

Bundaberg-born Gladys Moncrieff is one of Australian theatre’s most famous stars following her 60 year singing career.

Born Gladys Lillian Moncrieff on 13 April 1892, she was a talented child, making her stage debut in Bundaberg and going on to tour the state, being billed as ‘Little Gladys – the Australian Wonder Child'.

Gladys toured New Zealand and was extremely well received. The Australian public were proud of her achievements and Moncrieff became known as ‘Australia’s Queen of Song' and then ‘Our Glad'.

Gladys had a powerful, wide-ranging, rich soprano voice, and excellent diction. She approached her singing like a craft, meticulously and unostentatiously.

As a tribute to her legacy, the community is invited to visit the Moncrieff Entertainment Centre and celebrate Gladys with a morning filled with glorious songs from her magnificent career.

The show, directed by Rebecca Hutchins, features a line-up of local Bundaberg performers including Suellen Cusack-Greensill and Logan Tinney.

Suellen Cusack-Greensill said it was an honour to be asked to perform as part of the upcoming show.

“This show resonates with me as Gladys was a soprano and I am a classically trained soprano, working in the industry for ten years before moving back to the region,” Suellen said.

“It will be a very special production for the women and men who are a part of the Our Glad Society, but it also provides a great opportunity for locals to come and listen to the beautiful music while hearing her story.”

Suellen said the show was more than just a concert, telling the story of Gladys’ life through narration.

“It is not a concert but rather a full narrated story which tells the story of Gladys’ life from birth to the end, and it finishes with the song, Love Will Find a Way,” she said.

“It is a beautiful message, something that was sung all these years ago still has relevance in today’s world.”

My Life Is Love: A Tribute To Our Glad, was originally written by award-winning playwright Margery Forde to acknowledge Gladys’ 100th birthday.

This special performance of prose and songs has been revised especially for this concert event.

There is a morning tea package available for pre-order when purchasing tickets.

Tickets are available here.

Mornings at the Moncrieff ‘Our Glad' event details:

What: My Life is Love – Our Glad Tribute
Where: Moncrieff Entertainment Centre
When: Wednesday, 13 April
Time: 11 am
Cost: $25

Great Fire of Childers remembered 120 years on

Emma Turnbull

Historic photos reveal the devastation caused by the “Great Fire of Childers” which impacted more than 20 businesses in the main street 120 years ago this week.

On the of evening of 23 March, 1902, the fire ripped through the business district leaving 23 buildings reduced to nothing more than ashes by the morning light.

Local history buff Scott Stedman has marked the 120th anniversary by sharing these images and the story of what he said he has named the Great Fire of Childers.

He has documented the history by researching local businesses, and newspaper clippings from the Isis Recorder.

Scott went on to publish his first book From the Ashes They Came which details the area's regrowth with a focus on the shop owners and traders in the wake of the 1902 fire which all but destroyed the town’s business heart.

Scott said, at the time, it was recorded that flames were seen from as far away as Cordalba, which was nine miles away, and he said it was amazing there were no fatalities.

“The flames spread rapidly, it would have been an inferno of orange, as most of the buildings of the time were made from timber.

“That and the town was in the worst drought on record with no water supply,” he said.

“The first fire brigade came to Childers in 1940. There was no water supply from rivers, like Bundaberg and Maryborough had, and it was in the 1970s when a bore was established.

“It was definitely the teamwork of community members and South Sea Islanders that contained the fire.”

The fifth generation Childers man said he was astounded to know the pharmacist at the time of the Great Fire, Thomas Gaydon, was able to save some of his stock and returned to business the next day.

“Thomas Gaydon acquired a small shop set up on land now occupied by the Federal Hotel after he rescued some of his stock,” Scott said.

“It’s fascinating to know he was able to have more stock arrive from Bundaberg and Maryborough by train, and the next day he was trading again.

“He was very important to the town as he was an essential service, a dispensing chemist, but also the dentist and optometrist.”

Scott said he enjoyed retelling the significant events that had sculpted the town of Childers to what it is today.

“I enjoy keeping the history alive, explaining the heritage – we have some magnificent heritage buildings here in Childers,” he said.

In the latest version (2021) of the book From the Ashes they Came, the history of CBD businesses has been documented over the past 100 years and beyond.

In Our Garage: Trevor Cooper’s 1988 Chevrolet Corvette

Paul Donaldson

Trevor Cooper’s ‘Little Red Corvette’ is quite the head turner, coming all the way from Anaheim in the United States and still featuring left-hand drive.

Q. Tell us about your Chevrolet Corvette.

A. My car is a 1988 Chevrolet Corvette that came over from Anaheim, America and I've had it for just over two years.

It's a 350 fuel injected Chevrolet engine, it's still the original engine.

It hasn't been touched or rebuilt because it only had 52,000 miles on it when it come here, which is nothing for a car like that.

I just put slightly different mufflers on it, as it was a bit quiet when I first got it, so I just put slightly different mufflers on it just to make it a little bit noisier.

Q. What features are on your car that makes it special?

They call it a sports pack, which is one above the basic standard Corvette, I suppose, a bit like your special Holdens and whatnot, which has got all electric heated seats, electric windows and everything.

Obviously, the electric heater seats, we don't need to use here in Bundaberg.

The lights are pretty good. It catches a bit of attention when you hit them and they pop up, a lot of people like that, especially the young kids.

It’s still left-hand drive, my wife gets a little bit scared in the car because she sits on the driver's side and she's always saying, move over, move over.

On this model I can take the roof on and off and make it a convertible, it just has four screws, and it comes off.

Q. What do you love about Corvettes?

A. Since being a young fella, I’ve liked Corvettes, I've played a lot of other cars, but I like Corvettes.

I just love them because for one, they're a big head turner, but just the sporty, the slick shape of it and things like that.

I just love looking at them and you can't get past that V8 sound.

Q. What do you enjoy about owning the car?

A. It's just something for me to come up in the shed and tinker with, polish up a bolt or polish a bit of chrome here and there.

I just love that I'm doing that, as I think it's very important because it keeps you active, keeps you busy, keeps your mind a bit active and tinkering with stuff.

I’m in the Rum City Rod and Custom Car Club, and I'm also in the American Car Club.

It's companionship and people to talk to you about your same interests, and myself and my wife go on outings with them, weekends and things like that.

Driving along and you pull up at traffic lights and people in the next line, they're all giving you the thumbs up and a nod of the head sign, nice car type thing to you and things like that, that's satisfying.

I've had a lot of renditions of my ‘Little Red Corvette’ with it, but yeah, they just love the car.

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Taekwondo team brings back eight gold medals

Georgia Neville

ASP Taekwondo Bundaberg have had a successful trip to the recent ATQ State Open in Brisbane, bringing back eight gold medals from their 17 competitors.

The competition, which sees participants attend from across Queensland, was the first event since Covid for the Queensland Taekwondo community.

Head instructor at ASP Taekwondo Mitchell Archer said he was thrilled to bring eight gold medals back and was a fantastic recognition of the hard work of
the team.

“The competition itself was the first one of the year and really the first proper competition post Covid,” Mitchell said.

“We had a general number of gold medals that we wanted to hit of the 16 fights which was four or five gold medals and they surpassed the expectation.

“All the hours of the training did pay off as well as the extra work from the juniors.”

Mitchell said the competition provided the opportunity for their fighters to see just how their training compared to others across the state.

“For a lot of our competitors, it was a test of how fit they stayed in the off season, with the competition attracting over 200 competitors,” he said.

“Since the last competition of last year, we have continued to train so from about October right up to end of February they kept training hard, and we upped our training from two or three sessions a week.

“All of these sessions went for two hours each, and those that came back with gold were very dedicated in attending all the sessions.”

Mitchell said while competing individually, Taekwondo was ultimately a team sport.

He said he was proud of the effort of each and every competitor at the recent competition.

“I was very proud of the team, it is not always about the results, but the gold medals are always an added bonus,” he said.

“It was great to see our competitors follow their teammates to every mat and cheered them on as Taekwondo is ultimately a team sport.”

The club, which has been operating for more than 20 years, saw two members compete in poomsae for the first time for the club.

Poomsae is a defined pattern of defence and attack motions used in Taekwondo.

“Dayzi and Rubi who were ASP's first ever poomsae competitors and they overcame their nerves and got bronze medals which they were ecstatic about,” he said.

“It is definitely something we want to compete in in the future.”

The gold medal recipients from ASP Taekwondo Bundaberg were:

Olivia Ward – Red Belt, 15-17 yrs, 55-59kgs
Thenuri Weerasinghe – Red Belt, 12-14 yrs, 33-37kgs
Dayzi Jones – Blue Belt, 12-14 yrs, 41-44kgs
Eli Reed – Blue Belt, 12-14 yrs, 41-44kgs
Rubi Little (Won 2 golds in 2 divisions: first is her own, second she moved up) – Blue Belt, 10-11 yrs, 37-41kgs / Red Belt, 12-14 yrs, 41-44kgs
Bodhi Harris – Blue Belt, 8-9 yrs, 25-28kgs
Kai Little – Yellow Belt, 8-9 yrs, 31-34kgs

The silver medal recipients were:

Thanushi Weerasinghe (Red Belt, 15-17 yrs, 49-52kg)
Zac Ward (Red Belt, 12-14kg, 37-41kg)
Grant Puckering (Blue Belt, 33+ yrs, 80-87kg)
Kinshuk Gupta (Blue Belt, 10-11 yrs, 46-50kg)
Harrison Caruana (Blue Belt, 8-9 yrs, 22-25kg)
Corey Puckering (Yellow Belt, 10-11 yrs, 22-25kg)
Damian Manser (Yellow Belt, 18+ yrs, 63-68kg)
Samantha Hooper (Yellow Belt, 33+ yrs, 63-68kg)
Eli Little (Yellow Belt, 6-7 yrs, 19-22kg)

ASP Taekwondo is Bundaberg's only Olympic style, WT-approved Taekwondo club, offering classes for all skill levels and ages.

The Bundaberg club first opened in a room at the bus depot, the first night seeing 16 students sign on as members.

The club quickly became known for the high level of realistic skills being taught.