Weekender: Lyn grows community kindy

Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort wins sustainability award

Ashley Schipper

Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort's commitment to going green has won the tourist accommodation site a prestigious sustainability award.

The resort recently took out gold in the Banksia Awards for its renewable energy transition to 100% solar power.

Established more than 30 years ago, the Banksia National Sustainability Awards recognise individuals, communities, businesses and government for innovation and excellence in environmental and social stewardship.

Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort was highlighted for succeeding in its renewable energy goal through the installation of the Hybrid Solar Power Station, plus over 1000 solar panels and over 250 batteries throughout the resort.

These work harmoniously to supply clean and renewable energy for all staff and guests who occupy the resort.

CEO Peter Gash OAM said Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort began its renewable energy journey in 2008.

“We had 96 solar panels, 48 batteries and a lot of determination!” he said.

“14 years later we are now proud to say we have over 1000 solar panels on the island, as well as 250 batteries powering the resort.”

Mr Gash said the number one reason why the resort decided to go green and strive for 100% renewable energy was “because the environmental gain is priceless”.

“By doing so, we have reduced our greenhouse gas emissions and continue to educate guests who travel to the island to help them make small changes in their every day lives,” he said.

“If we all put our minds to it, we can make a difference.

“There is also no doubt that switching to renewable energy has its’ financial benefits as over the last 14 years we have saved millions of dollars in fuel burn.

“Finally, the media support has been extraordinary throughout our renewable energy journey – which helps us to further educate people who may not be able to get to the island.”

Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort has achieved Advanced Ecotourism Certification and the Bundaberg Region was recently listed as a top 100 sustainable destination.

Natisha skydives head first into new speed record

Ashley Schipper

If jumping out of a plane to skydive wasn't exhilarating enough, imagine falling head first and aligning your body to its straightest position so you can reach maximum speed.

That's a reality for Bundaberg-born Natisha Dingle who has beaten her own speed skydiving record at the weekend's 2022 Australian Skydiving Championships.

Speed skydiving is a competition in which the goal is to achieve and maintain the highest possible terminal velocity.

It was developed in the late 1990s and is the fastest non-motorised sport on Earth.

During the last speed skydiving round of the 2022 Australian Skydiving Championships, Natisha clocked 488.21 km/hour, which beat the previous record of 483.61 km/hour she set just a few days prior.

“Speed Skydiving is when your objective is to fall as fast as you can by making your body as streamline as possible,” she said.

“This is usually achieved by going head first.

“We use a Flysight which is a GPS measuring device which records data.

“The highest vertical speed is what the jump is scored on, it's the fastest three seconds over an allocated height window.”

Natisha was born in Bundaberg and often comes back to the area and its surrounds to visit family between her speed skydiving endeavours.

It's a sport that Natisha said she had been perfecting ever since she became interested in skydiving at just 15 years old.

“I saved all of my money from working after school and then asked my mum if she would drive me to the skydiving centre on the weekend,” she said.

“Because she had taught me to save for what I want and value money, she could hardly say no when I gave her $300 cash!

“I'm so glad she said yes, I have been hooked ever since. I have always loved competing so this was a natural progression for me.”

Since then, Natisha has continued to develop her speed skydiving skillset and currently lives at Skydive Ramblers in Toogoolawah, training most days.

She said she was over the moon with the weekend's competition results.

“I broke my own record three times in the last three years, I managed to break it twice this year and on my last round I flew 488.21km,” Natisha said.

“I am very proud to hold this record.

“I have been accepted to compete in Arizona in October this year so I am looking forward to making the record an official world record.”

Natisha said learning the ins and outs of speed skydiving posed some challenges and there was always a risk involved after each jump out of the aircraft.

“It's very important that you are confident on your belly and are able to make a quick recovery for deployment in case you become unstable,” she said.

“I spend a lot of time training, trying to perfect my position and maximise my speed.

“So essentially it takes a lot of time and money. I look after my body by getting regular physio and I also prepare mentally with meditation.”

While it's hard work becoming Australia's fastest female speed skydiver, Natisha said she loved every minute of it.

“I love the limitless feeling that anything is possible,” she said.

“Skydiving truly is living in the moment, nothing else enters your mind except what you are trying to achieve.

“People always say you come to skydive and stay for the people. It really is a very inclusive and accepting community and I feel extremely supported.

“I have made many life long friendships over the years and I wouldn't change that for the world.”

Arizona is the next destination on Natisha's to-do list and is where she hopes to conquer the world record.

She said her speed skydiving success was thanks to many people in her life.

“I am so blessed to have an amazing team of sponsors behind me,” she said.

“My first sponsors were Get Chopped , this really changed my mind set and the reality that this is achievable and I will be forever grateful for their belief in me.

“I now also have the support of the Australian Parachute Federation, SQPC, Job Connect, Skydive Ramblers, HyEnergy Solutions, Downward Trend, Optimise Health, Velocity Sports Equipment and Deem Flywear.

“Without the support I wouldn't be able to have so much time off work to train. I am so grateful for each of you.”

Photos: Skydive Ramblers
Mason Corby

Businesses called to take part in new Childers Trail

Georgia Neville

Local businesses are being given the chance to showcase unique offerings as part of a new Childers Trail initiative, to be launched as part of the upcoming Childers Festival.

The initiative aims to highlight Childers artists and businesses who are providing an exclusive opportunity for people to purchase a product or take part in an activity only available during the Childers Festival.

Council’s Arts, Culture and Events portfolio spokesperson Cr John Learmonth said the fantastic initiative would assist in showcasing the unique offerings of Childers businesses.

“Childers is a town full of talent and surprises, so this initiative provides the opportunity for our local artists and businesses to showcase something special to those visiting during the Childers Festival,” Cr Learmonth said.

“I encourage as many local businesses as possible to support this and come up with their unique product to be involved in the trail.”

One local artist Sue McCloy from Sue’s Secret Serenity is already on board with the initiative, offering unique cane fire painting lessons.

“For many years, the Childers Festival has been drawing crowds to our region from miles around and this trail provides the perfect opportunity for visitors to see what we have to offer and hopefully build up and create ongoing interest in our businesses and the town of Childers,” Sue said.

“I was excited to be a part of the Childers Trail, as I have recently launched my business “Sue's Secret Serenity”, of which art therapy and making art for fun are a big part.

“The cane fire tours are one of the major featured activities on offer over the weekend and I thought I could bring some focus to the tours by providing my Cane Fire Painting Workshops.

“I feel that this is a wonderful way to showcase some of the businesses and activities available for the visitors to participate in at the Childers Festival.”

Sue’s workshops will cater for a range of abilities, with three different designs suited to both beginner and experienced artists.

“I have created three cane fire paintings that are good for beginners and experienced artists alike and will make a great souvenir of their time in Childers,” she said.

“I will be showing some footage of one of the cane fire burns to show the participants what a burn looks like and allow them to understand the intensity and movement of the flames and incorporate that into their paintings.

“I am looking forward to meeting new people and sharing the experience of creating a piece of art they can be proud of and perhaps igniting a flame within them to continue having fun with art.”

You can find out more about participating in the Childers Trail by contacting the Bundaberg Regional Council events team here.


Applications are still open for stallholders as part of the 2022 Childers Festival which will see around 300 stalls line the streets and performers entertaining the crowds on Sunday, 31 July.

For those wishing to take part in the stallholder process at this year’s Childers Festival, applying is simple.

Applicants are asked to head to the website, fill out the form and upload all relevant documents.

Those who live in the postcode of 4660 are eligible to receive a 50% discount on stallholder fees.

Expressions of interest applications are open until Friday 15 April, with stallholders to be notified by Friday 22 April.

You can find out more about Bundaberg Regional Council's Childers Festival here.

The power of steam a labour of love for Mike

Emma Turnbull

Steam engines are a labour of love for Mike Gallagher and his wife Judy, who dedicate keeping the old-time machines in top condition.

The couple enjoy sharing their knowledge of all things steam and can be often found at a number of the local events including the Yesteryear Machinery Rally and Agrotrend.

“I was born into a family of steam, my dad was a steam roller driver for the Brisbane City Council, and so I guess it was inevitable that I was going to end up with it in my blood,” Mike said.

“I inherited dad’s 10-tonne steam roller.”

Mike and Judy shared their passion for steam at this year's Yesteryear Machinery Rally held at the Tegege Recreation Reserve over the weekend.

“I am a steam enthusiast, and I want people to know all about steam.

“Steam is consistent – night-time and day-time. I am passionate about steam.

“We are taking water, boiling it, creating the steam, capturing the pressure and turning it into power – and we have done that for hundreds and hundreds of years and I am still doing that now.”

With the machines powered by nothing more than burning wood and boiling water, Judy said it was fascinating to know just how much energy was produced with such little equipment or time needed.

“We love to show people what steam can do,” Judy said.

“Steam is very powerful, and it has lots of energy.

“Steam boilers like this (Alpha Dixie), were used in dairies and this one was used for cutting wax in beehives.”

Mike said the 10-tonne steam roller passed on to him by his father was still functional, and he cared for it with a passion.

It took almost four years to restore the near 100-year-old steam machine, which is kept at Mike’s home.

The steam roller was built in 1924 by British firm John Fowler and Co of Leeds, and it was used by the Kyogle Shire Council before Mike’s father acquired it.

“Steam has played such an important part in our past, and I enjoy telling people the history of it,” he said.

“I like my brass and I polish it all up, I spend hours polishing it actually.

“No matter where we go, whether its Clairmont or Sydney, I am always the only one there with steam. It gives you a little bit of a thrill knowing I am here carrying the steam flag.”

Stuttle family thanks community ahead of memorial

Megan Dean

Caroline Stuttle’s family say they are grateful for the kindness and support of the community in the 20 years since she tragically lost her life while visiting the Bundaberg Region.

A memorial service and plaque unveiling will be held on April 10 2022 to mark 20 years since her death following an attack which saw her thrown from the Burnett Traffic Bridge.

In the two decades since her passing Caroline’s family has honoured her memory through Caroline’s Rainbow Foundation which promotes safe travel practices.

Her brother Richard Stuttle said the family was incredibly moved by how much the people of Bundaberg cared and how they had taken the family into their hearts.

“We will always feel deeply humbled about how our family was received by the people of Bundaberg,” Richard said.

“Their love and thoughtfulness meant a great deal in 2002 when we were dealing with the loss of Caroline and the amazing support through her murder trial in 2004.

“We were made to feel welcome from the first moment we stepped foot in Bundaberg, this completely changed our preconceptions of the place and the Australian people.

“We offer our greatest thanks for people’s kindness and generosity in the subsequent years and with the memorial.

“The memorial is a wonderful tribute to Caroline’s life and legacy, we feel that it also highlights the love and sentiment of the people of Bundaberg showing a wonderfully caring and supportive community.

“It is because of support like this that we felt empowered to continue our work with Caroline’s Rainbow Foundation and our mission to help people travel in a safer environment.”

Caroline’s mother Marjorie Marks said it was a great honour that her daughter was remembered in the Bundaberg Region community after 20 years.

“As a family we are very touched about a new memorial in Caroline’s memory, we have appreciated all the hard work Bundaberg has done in supporting our charity in Caroline’s name,” Marjorie said.

“Caroline is always in our hearts but her legacy will live on to keep our travellers safe.

“We hope one day to be able to return and say a big thank you in person.”

Richard said over the last 20 years the family had worked to promote the importance of travel safety to help keep young people safe when travelling.

“Our message for all young travellers will always be to ‘follow their dreams’.

“Go and experience as much of life as possible.”

He has donated copies of his book  Chasing Rainbows – the Stolen Future of Caroline Ann Stuttle to local libraries to thank the community for its support.

“I felt the book was incredibly important, not only to show the people who Caroline was and the positive steps we had taken to help us deal with such a devastating situation.

“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.

Grow with new virtual mental health support group

Georgia Neville

New virtual mental health support groups will begin in the region in May, offering residents a safe online space to chat with like-minded people.

The initiative comes from Grow, a community-based organisation that helps thousands of Australians with their mental health recovery through a unique program of mutual support and personal development.

Now the company is offering its new eGrow sessions to Queensland communities, including Bundaberg, with the aim to connect people living regionally who often experience similar challenges in accessing support and isolation.

Information sessions about the program will be held at the Bundaberg Neighbourhood Centre on Wednesday 20 April from noon, as well as a virtual information session on Tuesday 3 May.

GROW Australia Regional Program Worker Georgie Stewart said the groups were accessible to everyone, with the information sessions a great opportunity to find out all you need to know.

“Whilst our Grow groups have been running since 1957 and continue to run nationally, our Regional Queensland eGrow group is new and commences in May,” Georgie said.

“Our community information sessions are being held at the Neighbourhood Centre so that they are accessible and after that, our group will operate via Zoom.

“These are a great chance to simply find out about what we do, how we do it and why , as well as connect with myself and other members who will be participating in the group, with the session finished off with a social chat over a cuppa.”

The group is open to anyone wanting to focus on their mental health and wellbeing and is run weekly with a two hour meeting.

“The eGrow group is an online peer-to-peer support group, open to anyone seeking skills to develop or maintain good mental health and overall wellbeing,” she said.

“It is a structured two hour weekly meeting and at each meeting, members explore self-improvement strategies on their road to recovery and overall wellbeing.

“To do this, we draw on our Grow program, a 12-step program of personal growth and development, mutual help and support.”

Georgie said the group was peer led, allowing people the opportunity to hear from others who may be going through similar challenges.

“Everyone in the group has opportunities to share their life experiences, problem solve, be motivated by stories from other members and ultimately, be reminded that they are not alone,” she said.

“Everyone is welcome to the group, whether or not they experience mental illness, as the program is about personal development, growth and overall wellbeing.

“Our group is unique, in that it is peer-led, by someone who has been through the Grow program and the support members receive at the meetings comes from people who are also facing similar life challenges.”

You can find out more about eGrow sessions here.

If you or anyone you know needs support contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.

Construction work peels back Wintergarden history

Ashley Schipper

Construction at the former Wintergarden Theatre in the CBD has revealed some interesting local history about the iconic structure as it begins its transformation into a community hub.

The former Blockbuster building is currently undergoing refurbishment and once complete, will form a revitalised office space for a range of community groups, in addition to low-cost rooms for hire for not-for-profit and community organisations.

The project is one of the first to be delivered as part of Bundaberg Regional Council’s vision for a Civic and Cultural Arts Precinct.

During the construction phase, the walls and external sheeting have been pulled back to expose old steel beams marked with a historic business name.

On the outside roof of the building, the materials have been signed with the words “Drysdale and Ridgway”.

The company was one of the original contractors to build Wintergarden Theatre, which opened on 26 February, 1929.

Research obtained through historic refence website Trove has highlighted the history of the Australian business and its owner’s connection to the Bundaberg area.

According to an obituary published in the Courier Mail on Wednesday, 7 November 1945, Mr David Alexander Drysdale was the founder of the firm Drysdale and Ridgway.

“Mr Drysdale arrived in Queensland from Scotland in as a child,” the obituary reads.

“His father settled in Maryborough, where he was a builder and contractor.

“Mr. Drysdale served his time at Bundaberg and later became assistant foreman to Mr. Morgan, Maryborough, and Toowoomba foundries.

“With Mr. L. Ridgway he founded in 1922 the firm of Drsydale and Ridgway, Pty., Ltd. with which he was associated until his death.”

Mr Ridgway died at age 63 leaving behind his wife, Ms. D Button of Bundaberg.

Further information by the Courier Mail has detailed how Drysdale and Ridgway grew its success by adapting to the building industry's ever-changing needs.

The 1930 article states while fabrication of steelwork was one of their main undertakings, the company also offered boiler work and steel chimney work.

“They have turned out quite a number of jobs in Brisbane and throughout Queensland, including stanchions and beams as adapted to steel framed building construction, hundreds of steel cantilevers for awnings over footpaths, and numerous angle iron constructed roof truss principles.

“Messrs. Drysdale and Ridgway command a fair share of their trade of calling, and are able to quote for and handle jobs and contracts both small and large, and guarantee to turn out the work up to requirements and with entire satisfaction.”

The Commonwealth of Australia Gazette reported that the company was wound up in April, 1985.

Wintergarden Theatre's proud history

According to Bundaberg Institutes: The History of Bundaberg Theatres, which was researched and compiled by Enid Cullen, Wintergarden Theatre was a popular venue during its time.

The theatre was built on the corner of Maryborough and Woongarra Streets and opened for business in February 1929.

“It was constructed with ornate internal facilities, based on Sydney's luxurious Capitol Theatre.

“It has the honour of having staged the first ‘talkie' movie shown in Bundaberg in 1929 which was Al Jolson in The Jazz Singer.

“The Wintergarden Theatre was very popular with many troupes of entertainers who used to visit Bundaberg around show time.

“These were variety shows and, as the name suggests, featured a wide variety of stage acts.”

The last screening to be shown at the Wintergarden Theatre was on 22 June 1968.

In our Garage: Maurie West’s Messerschmitt

Paul Donaldson

Maurie West’s distinctive Messerschmitt is a rare convertible design which the manufacturer introduced when it could no longer build planes.

Over the past five years Maurie has lovingly returned the unique vehicle to its original glory.

Q. Tell us about this unique little car:

A. The vehicle’s a Messerschmitt KR 200, built in 1958. We've had it since the early sixties, the family has.

It was restored probably five years ago, back to its original state.

The car was originally bought, and we used it for a bit of promotional stuff way back with the Stanley Golden Fleece era.

It was used promotional when the car got put into a shed and virtually got destroyed being in the shed, not covered, roof leaked and everything else.

Then quite a few years ago now we decided to do it up and to the state that it is now.

The car is fully original, we brought it back to original status, how it was kept and as it should be.

Q. Why did you decide to restore the car?

A. The reason it was restored was a phone call from the Messerschmitt Club down south, wanting to know whether we had this particular vehicle.

An old mate of mine was here when I got it out of the shed, and he said, why don't we get it going?

It ended up at full restoration back to bare metal.

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

A. The hours spent on the vehicle was not kept as a record, we did it all for love, really.

From the original result of the vehicle where it ended up at, and to see the finished project, it was just fantastic.

It is hard to believe how good it could come back.

A lot of the parts were brought out of England, although it being a German background vehicle.

There's a massive club in England and to get the snakeskin interior, that's in it, we had to order especially.

Q. What engine is in the car and how does it drive?

A. It's a single cylinder 2 stroke.

To get it to go forward, you turn the key, and the motor starts in forward direction.

To get reverse, you switch it off, push the key in and start the motor in reverse. Being a two stroke, it will start in reverse.

You get four forwards and four reverses.

Q. Tell us about the unique design:

A. All of the controls are original in it, except for the gear knob, it was like a pool ball and we decided to do something different, just for our touch of what we've done to the vehicle.

A lot of the parts were left over from the Messerschmitt planes as they weren't allowed to build aeroplanes after the war.

It's not as unique as one would think to the fact of Messerschmitt, there's quite a few around in the Sydney, Melbourne metro areas.

But as far as convertibles, there's fewer of them around.

It's from the Messerschmitt plane design factory, and that's where the design came out of, from not being able to build planes, to a little economical commuter around after the war.

It's very much a head turner.

Q. What else have you collected over the years related to the Messerschmitt?

A. I was very fortunate before a gentleman, one of our customers, passed away that he gave me the brochure for the Messerschmitt, unfortunately, it's in German.

Q. How do you get into the car?

It's actually a three-seater.

It's very unique, the side actually lifts up, the seat, lifts up in the air, slides up in the air. You sit on it and you slide yourself down, then you close the top on it.

And that's what I love about it.

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Taryn’s triumph at Australian Athletics Championships

Ashley Schipper

Bundaberg's Taryn Gollshewsky has made a return to the competitive sporting arena, recently becoming the Australian Open Women's Discus Champion 11 months post-op due to a horrific leg injury.

The local athlete said her success in achieving gold at the Australian Athletics Championships in Sydney was an amazing moment.

“I was elated about winning the gold medal,” she said.

“I had no expectations going into nationals, my only aspiration was to have fun, so to walk away crowned as the Australian champion, I am overjoyed.

“It is no easy-feat to be crowned the best in the country, so I was really proud of myself for being able to perform after less-than-optimal preparation.”

Taryn said the lead up to claiming gold had featured many challenges, including extensive surgery and rehabilitation after breaking her leg in May last year.

She said it was an accident that had put a hold on many huge sporting events while she relearned how to walk, then run, then throw.

“I fractured my tibia and fibula playing soccer 2.5 months prior to the Tokyo Olympics,” she said.

“I had surgery to repair my tibia… and there is a nail the full length of my shin which is held in place by four screws.

“I was on bed rest for 2.5 weeks and crutches for around eight weeks then I was given the all-clear to return to throwing at the eight month mark.

“Due to the rotational forces and torque associated with a discus turn, I was at risk of re-breaking my leg so for a period of about six months, the focus was on re-building strength.”

Taryn said not only had the injury impacted her physical ability, it also affected her mental health.

“This injury was horrific,” she said.

“Obviously, it has had a huge impact on me psychologically.

“It’s been an incredibly difficult journey. I still find it hard to talk about.” 

Taryn on road to recovery after Australian Athletics Championships

Still recovering, Taryn said there had been a silver lining with her recent win at the Australian Athletics Championships.

“I was excited to be competing at nationals,” she said.

“For every athlete, competition is what we love and aspire towards.

“There was a chance I was never going to get back to competing, I had a 50% chance of permanent pain as a result of my injury, so just to be there was incredible.” 

Looking to the future, Taryn said she and her coach were working on continuing to rebuild her form and strength, with plans to put in a big year of off-season training to make for a successful 2023.

She said from the moment she was injured there were many people who had helped her through her recovery.

“I’d like to thank a number of people, firstly YMCA for their unwavering support throughout the past year,” she said.

“Thank you to my coach, Les, for being a psychologist as much as he is my coach.

“And lastly, thank you to my mum, who had to dress me, shower me and feed me when I first broke my leg, I couldn’t have done this without her.”