Weekender: Lyn grows community kindy

Daring stunts inspire new interactive display

Emma Eaton

To mark the passing of a century since Bert Hinkler’s record-breaking solo flight his daring stunts can now be experienced at Hinkler Hall of Aviation in a new interactive display.

It’s been 100 years since the history-making solo flight from Sydney to Bundaberg was achieved in eight hours and 40 minutes in Bert’s Avro Baby G-EACQ.

The same flight today takes just one and a half hours and an eight-hour flight from Sydney would get you to Singapore!

But it’s the brave feats of trailblazers of the sky like Bert Hinkler which have made such air travel possible.

On his return to Bundaberg, Bert made a dramatic entry, performing aerobatic stunts over the Burnett River in front of a frenzied crowd of locals, flying underneath the Burnett Traffic and railway bridges. The new interactive display at Hinkler Hall of Aviation brings Bert’s playful celebration to life.

Hinkler Hall of Aviation enlisted visitor experience professionals Link Interactive to produce creative storytelling magic with the latest addition to the popular tourist attraction.

The display features 360-degree drone footage which has captured the view from Bert’s wild ride under the railway and Burnett Traffic Bridge back in 1921.

Visitors will feel the wind in their hair standing behind the controls, gauges moving as they take flight along the Burnett River.

Bundaberg Region Mayor Jack Dempsey is looking forward to taking the Avro Baby controls and experiencing another remarkable part of the Hinkler story.

“Bert Hinkler is a luminary of the Bundaberg Region with his name stamped on shopping centres, street signs, parks, plantations and even an electorate,” Mayor Dempsey said.

“At age 28, Hinkler had several outstanding achievements under his flight cap including successfully launching a glider he designed and built in his hometown backyard, Distinguished Service Decorations for flying performances as an aerial gunner during the First World War and two solo flight records in his Avro Baby aircraft.

“He had already achieved more than some do in a lifetime when Arvo Baby G-EACQ touched down on Bundaberg soil in 1921 and his best was yet to come.

How it all began

Bert’s fascination with flight started from a young age and would lead him to serve as a gunner/observer in the Royal Naval Air Service during the First World War.

Finding opportunity to train as a pilot, Bert revealed his flight experience within a letter to his mother while deployed in France.

“…and now I’m going very strong & I’m beginning to fancy myself dinkum! See me doing banks right & left oh, by the time I come home I shall be able to show you some stunts,” Bert wrote.

After the war Bert eventually returned home to Bundaberg, completing his record-breaking flight en route from Sydney as a fully-fledged pilot.

Making good with his promise, Bert performed aerobatics in his Arvo Baby aircraft along the Burnett River in front of thousands of onlookers.

Fly with Bert these school holidays

Families can ‘Fly with Bert’ these school holidays as they enjoy the newest interactive display on show at Hinkler Hall of Aviation.

Guests can also view Bert’s original Avro Baby aircraft within the Gallery on loan from Queensland Museum.

Visit the Hinkler Hall of Aviation website for opening hours and further details of upcoming exhibitions.

Detective Sergeant Cheeseman celebrates 40-year QPS career

Ashley Schipper

Leanne Cheeseman always knew she wanted to become a police officer. It was her dedication and passion in investigating offences against children and the most vulnerable in the community that forged her 40-year career.

The Bundaberg Police Detective Sergeant joined Oxley Police Academy in 1980 and has taken on many roles across many districts throughout her service.

From general duties officer in Rockhampton to joining the arson squad and also following an investigative career in the Child Abuse Unit, Det Sgt Cheeseman's experience has been vast.

Next week she will retire from QPS at Bundaberg Police Station after dedicating 24 years of her 40-year role to investigating offences against children.

To add one last feather in her cap before retirement, Leanne has been acknowledged by her peers through the nomination of a Queensland Police Exemplary Conduct Medal.

The medal is awarded to an officer who has demonstrated exemplary conduct in a specific role or duty which enhances the professional image of the QPS far exceeding what might be reasonably expected from an efficient member of the service.

Coming up to her retirement, Leanne has reflected on her time with QPS and why she decided to become a police officer.

“I had always wanted to be in the police as the diversity of the work and ability to do and see things you would not normally encounter appealed to me,” Det Sgt Leanne said.

“TV shows like Division 4, Adam 12 and Policewoman probably were somewhat influential back in my more youthful days.

“I was particularly drawn to investigating crimes against children more so than juvenile offending.

“I was very interested in investigating contact paedophilia and protracted child abuse matters.”

Det Sgt Cheeseman is currently the Suspected Child Abuse and Neglect (SCAN) representative for Bundaberg and Maryborough districts and has completed three separate stints, and 11 years, in the region.

During her career, Det Sgt Cheeseman has played a pivotal role in cracking many serious cases, including Operation Gecko in the Logan area during the 1990s.

“Operation GECKO was a protracted investigation over about four years,” she said.

“It centred around organised paedophilia which encompassed approximately 42 child victims and a number of offenders.”

Bundaberg Police Inspector Anne Vogler said Det Sgt Cheeseman led the take down of offenders within Operation GECKO. 

She said it was cases such as this that drove Leanne’s career and took her to the extreme north of the state and back.

“Through her career she has worked tirelessly for the most vulnerable members of our community, providing a voice when they did not have one,” she said.

“She is an ‘old school' detective who wears her heart on her sleeve and takes pride in her role.”

“Her dedication to investigations against children over 24 years of her 40-year career has been exemplary.”

Bundaberg a special place for Det Sgt Cheeseman in police career

Det Sgt Cheeseman said her 11 years in Bundaberg had been made especially memorable due to the support she received from her colleagues in and and outside the office.

“Being in a smaller town like Bundaberg assists in fostering close relationships in the workplace and creates a caring and nurturing environment where we support each other during those jobs that are often challenging, stressful, abhorrent and emotive,” she said.

“The staff at Bundaberg station have been very supportive of me, especially during the 2013 floods when our house had eight feet of water through it and we lost everything we owned.

“Insurance did not cover us so staff from the CPIU office and a few other police assisted with the clean up, supplied clothes and other necessities for us and one officer even organised the donation of a water tank.”

Empathy a big part of police role

Looking back on her career, Det Sgt Cheeseman said she believed her empathy had played a huge role in how she was able to handle certain situations.

She also attributed the support from her colleagues and family as a major motivator during her QPS journey.

“I have the ability to be empathetic without being emotive whilst investigating matters,” she said.

“I have also been fortunate enough to have worked with some fantastic colleagues and I have a wonderful and supportive husband, daughter and family.”

Det Sgt Cheeseman said while times in policing had changed, there was one thing that had remained the same during her four decades of service.

“Police are ordinary people who have chosen to do the often unimaginable in a sometimes ungrateful and dangerous environment,” she said.

“Often a simple thankyou from a member of the public can change what has been an already trying day.”

Det Sgt Leanne Cheeseman will celebrate her retirement from QPS at the Bundaberg Police Station on Monday, 4 April, which also happens to be her 60th birthday.

All Abilities Alliance comes together to raise awareness

Georgia Neville

Ensuring the community has access to a range of programs, no matter their abilities, is the goal of the newly formed All Abilities Alliance.

The group, which has launched this month as part of Autism Awareness Month, is made up of a number of community members who work in the community service sector or who have a vested interested in all abilities access.

Member of the All Abilities Alliance Gayle Reynolds said the group was formed to identify trends, gaps and barriers to service delivery, share training opportunities and work with the service providers to address areas of concerns.

“The All Abilities Alliance's (AAA) purpose is to provide an open forum for interested persons in Disability and Mental Health Wellbeing to work collaboratively, identify gaps and barriers, develop strategies and responses, and share information and resources,” Gayle said.

The AAA aims to bring together key partners to work collaboratively to provide opportunities for:

- Information and resource linkages

- Strengthening relationships and partnerships

- Promoting strategies that enhance community wellbeing

- Operating for the benefit of all people regardless of gender, country of origin, language, culture, sexual orientation or religion.

With April being Autism Awareness Month, the group is hoping to celebrate and promote acceptance for autism within the community.

“Autism Awareness Month emphasises the need for public awareness to promote acceptance, celebrate the differences, and be more inclusive towards autistic individuals around us,” Gayle said.

“Autism is a complex developmental condition affecting the people’s ability to interact, communicate, and progress, with not one but many subtypes.

“The month aims to improve the lives of all Australians on the autism spectrum and the families who love them.

“Once diagnosed the next hurdle is to navigate through the maze of treatment and therapy options… how do I choose which way to go?”

The All Abilities Alliance group has a number of activities planned throughout the month, including the walk for autism fundraiser.

The calendar of upcoming events as part of the alliance’s plans include:

April 3 – Walk for autism

April 6 – Stepping into Bundaberg Sport School Holiday Ten Pin Bowling Free Program

April 7 – Stepping into Bundaberg Sport School Holiday Surfing Free Program

April 8 – Park Play

April 20 – Stepping into Bundaberg Sport Free Boxing

April 21 – Bundaberg Autism Seminar

April 21 – Free Movie Night

April 28 – Morning Tea in Gin Gin

April 28 – Stepping into Bundaberg Sport Free Stand-Up Paddle Boarding

April 29 – Bundaberg Disability Expo

Bundaberg Regional Council provides secretariat for this network, sharing minutes, reminders, providing venues for meetings and maintaining the momentum of regular bi-monthly meetings.

You can get involved in All Abilities Alliance by attending a meeting, interacting with the group online or at one of the many community events that will be held throughout the year.

Bundy Bowl shuffling with new entertainment area

Emma Turnbull

Bundy Bowl is expanding with a new entertainment area upstairs which will not only feature darts and a bar, but it will also bring the first Shufl board game to Bundaberg.

The exciting new features of Bundy Bowl will give adults a chance to kick back and relax with a drink and enjoy a social atmosphere away from the family entertainment downstairs.

Long-time owners Peter and Jeanette McElligott said they were excited to move with the times and launch the reinvigorated upstairs area, with an “everything that is old is new again” vibe.

“Our daughters have grown up through us and the business, and now they’ve moved to Brisbane, and they were keen to show us these new games when we went to visit,” Peter said.

“Everything we bring to Bundy Bowl is usually fairly new, and it’s not anywhere else in Bundaberg.

“We see Bundy Bowl as if we are the Hinkler Central of entertainment, we have the bowling which is Kmart, the food court downstairs, and then all of these speciality stores spread throughout. All the entertainment in Bundaberg is in the one place.”

Peter said both the darts and Shufl games were modernised versions of the old-fashioned games and each featured electronic scoring and new technology.

Peter said Shufl was an easy game even for beginners.

“Basically, it’s a very easy game, it’s all around Europe not as much across the States. Shufl board is an old game, played on the ships,” Peter said.

“It’s an accurate and gentle game to play. The idea for us is to have these Shufl boards and people can hire them out for an hour, order their platters, food and drinks and enjoy their time away from the general public.”

He said for those keen to take up the challenge, there would also be darts but it would be unlike anything seen in the region before.

With real dartboards and steel tip darts that looked and felt exactly how they were remembered, it would feature a state-of-the-art electronic component which gave this version of the game a new edge.

“There will be four darts cubicles and it will have the automatic darts, and it all does the scoring for you as it is new age darts, with software that creates an avatar of the player and keeps score,” Peter said.

Janette said bookings for the Shufl and darts bar area would be essential when it is launched to the community in May.

“This private area will be perfect for social get togethers, including work Christmas parties,” she said.

“I really find that adults are looking for something to do and this is the perfect fit – it’s social with a little bit of competition and suits most people.

“Everything old is new again, you put that technology feel to it and people just love it.

“We have the online ordering throughout Bundy Bowl, so people can order their food and drinks without leaving the area also.”

Somewhere to Eat opens at Bundaberg Golf Club

Emma Turnbull

Serving up pub-style food, Somewhere to Eat has opened its doors at Bundaberg Golf Club with owners Ashleigh and Jason Bowman excited about the new venture.

Taking the leap from running multiple food stalls at Riverfeast and catering from a mobile food van, to now serving delicious meals straight to seated guests, Ashleigh said the business had grown at an extraordinary rate.

Starting in the hospitality industry as a teenager Ashleigh said she had her heart set on one day opening a restaurant and now that dream had come true.

“I started at Lushus Cakes when I was 14, so I guess I have always just loved hospitality,” Ashleigh said.

“We’ve had this long relationship with the guys from Riverfeast, but we couldn’t resist this opportunity.

“I quit my job in December to follow the dream of going fulltime in hospitality.

“It was two days after Christmas when my husband and I thought we would give this a real go.

“We started out small and we were offering heat and eat meals, with the help of some close friends, from our food van, but we grew so quickly – we got big fast with the heat and eat meals – too big for our van kitchen.”

The new venture came about inadvertently after Somewhere to Eat catered a private function at Bundaberg Golf Course.

“We will have a menu serving steaks, parmigiana, pizza and all the pub grub sort of food,” Ashleigh said.

“Yes, we will still cook and deliver our heat and eat meals, as it’s going really well.

“We have our regulars, and it’s quite popular for shift workers, and we offer family size meals too.

Bookings are essential, and we will cater for dietary requirements, including smaller meals as both of us have had gastric surgery, so we know from personal experience how hard it can be to get meals to suit everybody.

Bundaberg Golf Club president Geoff Loveday welcomed the new restaurant after their kitchen had been vacant for some years.

“From our point of view it's good news and a positive step forward for us – so definitely a win-win,” Geoff said.

Somewhere to Eat will open to the public on Friday and Saturday evening, and the team will also cater from the mobile food van onsite at Bundaberg Golf Course of a Saturday morning and continue catering other private functions throughout the week.

For more information head to the Somewhere to Eat Facebook page.

Discover the reef during school holidays

Georgia Neville

School holidays are back again and Bundaberg Regional Council has a range of activities planned to help keep the kids busy.

With Council a proud member of the Reef Guardian Council Program, there are virtual education sessions on offer to provide an understanding of marine life and the reef.

Assistant Director Strategic Engagement, Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority Rebecca Allen said the sessions provided school holiday fun and the chance to educate the next generation on how to care for the reef.

“Learning about the reef helps inspire people to care for the reef, it creates a sense of awe and connection which is particularly true with children who then help share this with their parents, schools and communities,” Rebecca said.

“The sessions allow us to partner with our Reef Guardian Councils as key land managers who are taking actions to help the resilience of the reef and worked with them to provide these virtual learning sessions to the catchment community through council venues.

“Attendees will hear from marine experts from the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority as they discuss, with the aid of recorded video and images, the Great Barrier Reef and coral reef ecosystems.”

The sessions are part of the Reef Guardian Councils program which includes 19 local governments across the reef catchment.

Free movie highlight of school holiday fun

There is a free movie on at the Moncrieff for the entire family to enjoy, as well as a number of interactive craft sessions at the three libraries within the region including Easter basket making and bedazzling an Easter card.

There are also activities ranging from outdoor scavenger hunts to activity booklets available at the Botanic Gardens. The Bundaberg Botanic Gardens have also released a new 'Garden Kids' activity sheet full of fun activities for visitors.

Activity sheets are available from the brochure stand at Café 1928 or from the Discover Bundaberg website here.

Plus, don't forget to stop by Alexandra Park Zoo, open 9.30am - 4.30pm, 7 days a week during the school holidays.

Check out our full guide for all of your school holiday fun here.

Everybody rise for Amy Shark at the Moncrieff

Georgia Neville

Everybody will rise as Amy Shark takes to the Moncrieff Entertainment Centre stage on Saturday, 20 August, bringing her regional tour to Bundaberg.

Tickets for the show go on sale tomorrow at 10 am and are expected to sell quickly with this possibly being the last chance to see Amy live in intimate-capacity venues.

The See You Somewhere Australia tour will see Amy bring her critically acclaimed Cry Forever and Love Monster albums, plus favourites from her Night Thinker EP to a number of regional towns.

While many artists have taken the opportunity to tour overseas, Amy said it was important to her to perform to Australian audiences first, with the community having missed out on live music also.

“I feel like our country has missed out on a lot of live music too,” Amy said.

“Before I cater to the US or the UK, I thought I should pay a visit to as many Aussies as humanly possible.

“There are a few places on this tour that I mentioned to my team that I’d like to allow some time to explore.”

Amy Shark Moncrieff performance to be like no other

Still performing on her national CryForever tour, Amy said the regional audiences could expect a show like no other.

“We're going to have to scale back the show a tiny bit for the regional run only because we are playing in towns that need an adjusted amount of production,” she said.

“Don't for a second think I won't be giving it everything I have on stage every single night.

“I play the same show, with the same level of energy no matter what the capacity, and I don't know when I'll get the chance to do a huge Australian run like this again so if I'm coming to your town you are mine that night, no excuses.”

Tickets go on sale at 10 am tomorrow here.

After bursting on to the global music scene in 2016, Amy Shark’s 6 x Platinum single Adore put her on the map as one of Australia’s most formidable emerging songwriters.

You can find out more about Amy Shark here.

Heritage and history celebrated through virtual tours

Ashley Schipper

A virtual display of the Bundaberg Region's unique heritage buildings and historic places will be showcased during the Australian Heritage Festival when it begins today.

Curiosity will be the theme of the local, online event and will explore the stories behind some of the region's most interesting buildings as part of the nation-wide festival.

The Australian Heritage Festival is the country's largest community-driven heritage event, held from 1 April to 31 May.

Hosted by the National Trust, the festival is set to bring heritage to life once more, encouraging the community to actively wonder, investigate and learn about natural, cultural, Indigenous, living and built heritage around the nation.

Mayor Jack Dempsey said a series of virtual tours would be rolled out from today until the end of May to celebrate the region's buildings and unique places, quenching the curiosity of those wanting to know more.

“Our region is home to many fascinating heritage-listed buildings and wonderfully-unique historic places,” he said.

“This event is a great opportunity to explore not only the in-depth history, but also the architectural oddities, ghastly ghost stories and more!

“The videos will showcase spaces including the Holy Rosary Church, the Gin Gin Rail Station and Paragon Theatre, to name a few.

“The month-long event will also feature 360° virtual tours of the only known cylindrical brick water tower in Queensland and will dive into the unusual construction methods of Saltwater Creek Bridge.”

The Curious Heritage of Bundaberg virtual tours will launch today and will be available throughout the entire Heritage Festival.

You can view the first virtual tour, which features the Christ Church building, here.

Podcast: Hinkler House started with a dream

Adele Bennett

The story of Hinkler House, and how it travelled brick-by-brick from England, is almost as incredible as the story of its pioneering aviator namesake.

The relocation of Hinkler House was a remarkable feat achieved in the early 1980s that saw the community come together in support.

Famous aviator, Bert Hinkler, built the house in Southampton, England in 1925 and named it Mon Repos in honour of his hometown, and the beach that fuelled his love of flight.

When a group of Hinkler enthusiasts heard it was set to be demolished, they banded together to relocate it, brick-by-brick, and it was eventually opened in the Bundaberg Botanic Gardens in June 1984.

Lex Rowland was instrumental in the relocation project.

“It all started with a dream really, of building a Memorial Museum for Bert,” Lex said.

“I had been told of the Southampton Council's intention to make way for a set of old age units very close to the home.

“It was possible that Mon Repos house may be dismantled, or really, dozed.

“That didn't fit well with me. As I later found out, I wasn't the only one with those thoughts.”

In this podcast episode, Lex talks us through what it took to complete such a huge relocation, the people involved and the legacy he hopes will continue for future generation.

Listen now to hear more about the Hinkler House relocation:

In Our Garage: Chris Sorenson’s 1904 De Dion Bouton

Paul Donaldson

Seeing an old vintage car every day as a schoolboy triggered Chris Sorenson’s passion for vintage vehicles.

That passion has led him, and his treasured vehicles, on overseas journeys for the London to Brighton run which celebrates the repeal of the Red Flag Act.

Q. Tell us about your De Dion Bouton and how you got involved with vintage vehicles?

A. My first car that I had was a 1948 Morris, and from then it sort of progressed.

It's a French car, it’s a De Dion Bouton and I'm not a Frenchman, so I'm probably still not saying it correctly.

It has a one cylinder little eight horsepower engine, and it always starts.

It's had one coat of paint and it's had its upholstery redone somewhere in its life.

Everything else, all the timber, all the floorboards, everything is the old car. The engine, everything.

It’s just one of those things that just survives time.

The biggest job really is keeping the brass, all the headlights and the taillights in order, because the brass really deteriorates very quickly.

Because they don't run a lot, they don't wear out, and if they do wear out, I make parts for it.

Q. What made you want to buy the De Dion Bouton?

A. It used to sit in a showroom down the bottom of town near Kennedy Bridge in its latter years, and I'm talking back in the ‘80s.

I would go past in the school bus every morning, going to Bundaberg High School and look at it, and think I’d like to own that car.

We saved and saved, and saved some more, and eventually we bought it.

Q. Can you tell us the history of the car?

A. It was sold through a London distributor ship in London … and it has all those plaques on it.

It was purchased by the manager of the Bundaberg Foundry, a man by the name of Mr Parry back in 1903, and he sent his foreman over to organise the purchase and the shipping of the car.

I always thought it'd be nice to take it back to London, so we took it back to London and it's actually visited where it came from.

We took it to London in 1989 with our two boys who got all dressed up and we started in Hyde Park and chuffed all the way down to Brighton.

We won the Concours d'Elegance, which is very British So there's a big trophy upstairs, it was a wonderful experience and to come home with that.

Q. Do you have any other vintage cars?

A. This is 1901 Locomobile, so believe it or not, it is older than our favourite lady here by three years.

It was burnt in a fire. And there was a lot of damage done to it.

It's a steam car and the first thing in the morning when you wake up, you just can't go out there and crank it.

It's like a kettle on the stove. You have to put the fire on in the bottom of the boiler and wait 15 to 20 minutes and check the steam pressure will come up.

And once you've got the steam pressure up, then you just open valves and push levers and it's a tiller steering, so it doesn't have a wheel.

Why do I have steam cars? Because I worked in a sugar mill that ran on steam and I went to sea on ships that in those days were driven by steam.

Until it starts to hiss like an old steam engine that was at the railway station, then suddenly you hear this chuff chuff and off it goes.

Back in the early days when your wife was just about to have a baby and you had to get to the hospital, how you did that and got there at the right time in a steam car still baffles me!

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