Weekender: Deems share secret to lifelong love

Online herbarium launched for Botanic Gardens Day

Ashley Schipper

An online herbarium years in the making has officially been launched by Bundaberg Regional Council in the lead up to Botanic Gardens Day.

A herbarium holds a record of plants and provides research and reference material for horticulturalists, botanists and more.

Parks and Gardens portfolio spokesperson Cr Wayne Honor said over the years staff and volunteers have collected plant specimens including leaves and flowers found within the Botanic Gardens.

“These specimens have been carefully dried, mounted and kept in storage along with photographs and information about each plant,” he said.

“Staff have digitised the collection and now it has been made freely available to the community.”

Cr Honor said more than 60 plant specimens were featured in the herbarium, ranging from the many eucalyptus varieties to banksia, macadamia and more.

“Think of this online herbarium as a dictionary of the plant world found in the Bundaberg Botanic Gardens,” he said.

“This database of information not only keeps a long-lasting record of our local flora, but also helps with identification and provides an overview of how our natural area changes over time.

“This collection, which will be continually added to, will assist in scientific research and provide a reference point for those interested in botany.”

The herbarium has been made available online just in time to celebrate the annual Botanic Gardens Day on Sunday 29 May.

The nation-wide event sheds light on the role plants play in every day and the important work botanic gardens undertake to conserve them for future generations.

View the herbarium here.

AFL marks 50 years of Bundaberg competition

Georgia Neville

What started out as a group of mates kicking the ball around Kendall Flat in 1971 was the beginning of a 50-year tradition and the formation of Bundaberg and District Australian Football League (BDAFL).

The competition, now known as AFL Wide Bay, officially kicked off in Bundaberg in 1972 with a number of teams joining after local residents Hartley Eales, Ian Fyfe, Jeff McColl and Roley McDowell shaped the inaugural committee.

To commemorate five decades of local competition some original members take a look back at the establishment and history of the league.

The early years of AFL in Bundaberg

Ivan Rojahn was one of the original members of the Wests team to join the league and said he had many memories of the early years.

“David Slaughter, John Bigg and I being good mates played for Souths against Wests in the first game and thrashed them which prompted the three of us to go to Wests to make it a fairer competition,” he said.

“My early memories include the fact that Kendall Flat was the old town dump so we had to scour the ground before games to pick up any foreign objects that were rising to the surface, especially after rain.”

The competition started out with four original teams including Ivan’s Western Suburbs Bulldogs as well as Southern Suburbs Magpies and Northern Suburbs.

The inclusion of the Burnett Heads Saints formed the district component of the league’s name, with the club being 16 kilometres outside of Bundaberg.

The Saints wore a South Melbourne guernsey and their early rivals, the Bulldogs, wore a St Kilda guernsey in honour of their AFL heroes.

The third club in the BDAFL, the Southern Suburbs Magpies, matched their colours with their traditional name, choosing Collingwood’s playing attire for their uniform.

The fourth original club, Northern Suburbs, wore a green guernsey with a yellow sash and called themselves the Kangaroos.

Venues for the games held during the 1970s also included the former Bundaberg Showgrounds and a small ground at Burnett Heads, but the majority of home-and-away matches were held at Kendall Flat.

Not long after this, in 1987, the AFL Wide Bay competition was created and included teams from further afield including Maryborough and Hervey Bay.

As the years went on, the game continued to evolve with a number of highlights in the coming years including:

1993 – Fraser Coast Lions won the flag after joining the competition in 1992 as a second team from Hervey Bay

2010 – Brothers Bulldogs won the premiership in all grades from Seniors to Under 13's

2018 – Gympie Cats won their only AFL Wide Bay flag having been in and out of the competition over many years

2019 – Bay Power won their first flag defeating their cross town rivals the Hervey Bay Bombers

Junior football introduced

Junior development has long been a focus for the competition, with Auskick commencing in 1992 under the guidance of then Development Officer Alan Bedford before the program was rolled out wider to develop junior players at both club and school levels.

Throughout its 50 years junior football has been an integral part of the local AFL competition, providing a perfect environment for kids to have fun and learn the rules and the intricacies of the game.

Ivan said when he looked back at how far the game had come, he felt proud to have contributed to opportunities for young people to play today.

“When I look at how our great game has grown here and the number of young people involved, I feel so proud to be one of the many to have helped in some small way,” Ivan said.

Junior AFL has provided a pathway to senior football not only at the local level but also in the AFL Queensland competition and many other senior leagues around the country.

Most recently, the AFL Wide Bay competition has expanded to include an AFL Women’s competition with teams from Bundaberg, Hervey Bay, Maryborough and Gympie all competing.

You can find out more about the AFL competition within Bundaberg here.

Community awareness needed for flood warning network

Megan Dean

Community awareness is being encouraged following continued vandalism of the flood warning network which captures data and provides alerts during severe weather events.

The flood warning alert network consists of automatic rainfall and river height stations which regularly forward data via radio telemetry to Council and Bureau of Meteorology base stations.

The system provides early warning of heavy rainfall and river rises in the catchment and enables more accurate and timely flood warning and forecasts.

But Acting Mayor and Local Disaster Management Group Chair Bill Trevor said there had been several recent examples of the flood warning network being impacted by theft and vandalism.

“Council was advised by the Bureau that our Mt Watalgan rain gauge had stopped working which was a surprise as we had only recently repaired the gauge after it was stolen late last year,” Acting Mayor Trevor said.

“This is problematic because there have been several heavy rainfall events in that period, including last week’s rainfall, which we were unable to record data from.

“While a single fault doesn’t impact the ability of the overall flood warning network to provide timely information, it’s extremely beneficial for us to record historical data at particular localities for future analysis.”

Council staff this week inspected the Mt Watalgan gauge and confirmed it had not been responding due to being damaged as a result of vandalism.

“This also comes on the back of the Que Hee St water over road warning system in Bundaberg East that was completely destroyed by vandals last year, which is yet to be reinstated.

“In addition to the cost to continually repair or replace this infrastructure, we’re asking the community to consider the loss to the community from a safety perspective and help Council by keeping an eye out for any damage in future.

“We’re hoping that with greater awareness about what these gauges are and how they contribute to the overall flood warning network we can stop this reckless behaviour and ensure they remain in place and in good working order to do their job when needed.”

Find out more about the Burnett River Flood Warning System here.

If you have any information about vandalism, report it to Policelink on 131 444.

Pictured: A rain gauge, which forms part of the region's flood warning network, located on Targo Street.

LUXE AB&C created from passion to progress career

Ashley Schipper

Opening her new business Luxe AB&C in Burnett Heads was a major career move for local woman Theresa Banks, who said she had utilised her skills gained from a nursing degree to further grow her passion for the beauty industry.

Theresa officially opened her beauty salon shopfront about six months ago, offering a range of services including brow and lash tints, waxing, microblading, eyeliner and lip tattooing, scalp micro pigmentation, scar camouflage and more.

“My business is focused to help men and women boost their confidence and to feel like they can simply say ‘I woke up like this',” she said.

The road to becoming a business owner hasn't been without its challenges, according to Theresa, who said she decided to change careers after not being able to put into practice her nursing degree within Australia.

“I migrated from Thailand in 2014 with a degree of nursing yet I could not apply my overseas studies here so I worked in every possible field such as waitress, shop cleaner, hotel cleaner, aged carer and office administration assistant,” she said.

“It took six years for me to figure out what my passion was until one day I met a friend who had tattooed brows and eyeliner on.

“I wanted that so bad that I decided to learn to do my own brows as I couldn't afford to get it done professionally.”

Theresa said when Covid hit, she lost her job and that's when she decided to really push her passion for beauty.

“I thought, I should do this as a job!” she said.

“I wanted to help people gain more confidence and feel more beautiful every time they woke up.

“I started my business from home and now I own a small shop located at shop 3/33 Zunker Street, Burnett Heads.”

Theresa said her nursing degree and the certifications she received from TAFE Bundaberg and Impact Community Services had gone a long way in making her dream career come true.

“I want to take this opportunity to thank the agencies like Impact and Tafe Bundaberg for their patience and their help in gaining my credentials,” she said.

LUXE AB&C is open Monday to Saturday from 9.30 am to 4 pm.

You can find out more about LUXE Aesthetic Beauty and Cosmetics here.

Pauline hooked on delivering library books

Ashley Schipper

Local volunteers like Bundaberg Library's Pauline Cooper are being celebrated for their commitment to community and their passion for helping others as part of National Volunteer Week.

Pauline has clocked up 20 years with the Friends of the Library, a service which helps with the delivery of books and tapes to housebound residents.

She said it's a role that not only gets her out of the house but also doing what she loves most, talking to people.

“When you talk to people they open up and tell you things and you can be helpful by the listening,” she said.

“That's what I love, just having a chat.”

Pauline said she had a long history with volunteering in the region.

“I joined the library when I came to Bundaberg from Gin Gin where I used to deliver for Meals on Wheels,” she said.

“That was when I was 57 and now I am 77.

“I am still delivering, but now it is books rather than meals!”

Library volunteer role about more than books for Pauline

Pauline said her role as library volunteer was more than just providing books for those who couldn't visit the library.

“It's about books but it is also about providing a bit of companionship and support,” she said.

“Sometimes we sit down and have a chat, which is a very important part of the service.

“We might even bring in the mail or help get the clothes out on the line for those who need that extra bit of support.”

This National Volunteer Week, Pauline reflected on her role and what it meant to her and the community.

“I believe volunteering makes the world go 'round,” she said.

“Our giving spirit is what keeps our community and nation alive.”

Pauline is one of many Bundaberg Regional Council volunteers who this week received recognition for their many years of dedication.

The awardees include:

Pauline Cooper – Bundaberg Library – 20 years

Lorraine Kirkman – Bundaberg Library – 15 years

Madonna Long – Bundaberg Library – 10 years

Theresa Fyfe – Childers Meals on Wheels – 10years

Acting Mayor Bill Trevor congratulated the awardees and said their passion for helping others was vital in creating a flourishing community.

“National Volunteer Week is a chance to celebrate and recognise the important work of our local volunteers,” he said.

“Volunteers are the heart of our community and their dedication to helping others goes a long way in shaping our region.

“Thank you to those who dedicate their own time to help the Bundaberg Region grow.”

National Volunteer Week 2022

National Volunteer Week is Australia’s largest annual celebration of volunteering and runs from 16 to 22 May.

This year's theme is Better Together, showcasing how volunteering brings people together, builds communities and creates a better society for everyone.

Find out more here.

Gin Gin showgirls and rural ambassador named

Georgia Neville

The Gin Gin Show will be back once again from next weekend with an action-packed two days of fun events for the whole family.

Recently the Gin Gin Show Society hosted its Gin Gin Sunset at the Showgrounds event which saw their 2022 showgirls and rural ambassador announced.

The 2022 Gin Gin showgirl and rural ambassador winners are:
• Showgirl – McKenzie Apel
• Junior Showgirl – Flynn Suendermann
• Rural Ambassador – Sam Christensen

2022 Gin Gin Showgirl McKenzie Apel said being part of this year's show had provided her with a chance to reach out to the region's youth.

“I think this is a great opportunity to be involved and encourage my peers and the younger generations to get involved with the Gin Gin Show in any way they can,” McKenzie said.

“I would not only like to encourage people to get involved in the competition and pavilion side of the show but to also step up and get involved in the running of future shows.”

Sam Christensen, who has been named the 2022 Gin Gin Show Rural Ambassador, said she wanted to use her role to highlight the importance of shows for farmers and those in the agricultural industry.

“Shows are a tool to increase agricultural productivity by promoting a competition where the best in a class or category was awarded with prize money and a ribbon,” Sam said.

“With this in mind, agricultural shows and show ground facilities are vital to the community especially for small rural towns, they bring country and city people together.

“Agricultural shows allow farmers to network, the opportunity to meet with researchers and ask about new farming technologies to increase productivity, while displaying their product at a competitive level and educating people about where their food comes from and how it is made.”

The Gin Gin Sunset at the Showgrounds event not only welcomed the new showgirls and rural ambassador, it also raised money for the Royal Flying Doctor Service.

Gin Gin Show Society Assistant Secretary Charlotte Nielson said the event was a huge success.

“We had a fantastic night celebrating the 2022 Showgirl and Rural Ambassador awards,” Charlotte said.

“We raised $2600 for the Royal Flying Doctor Service from our Charity Auction where we auctioned off a meat smoker pack, barbed wire hat garden ornament, hair straightener pack, and Silver by Diamond and Fiona Schofield Millinery voucher pack.

“We enjoyed cocktail and canapes to the sounds of Stella Hutchins Musician and later in the evening the band D’fine.”

The Gin Gin Show is an event that brings locals and visitors together each year to celebrate everything there is to love about a traditional country Show.

Tickets are available for purchase online here.

You can find out all the information on the upcoming show here.

What's on

Constables begin policing careers in Bundaberg

Ashley Schipper

Constables Jack Finch and Kirbee Bedggood are two new faces at Bundaberg Police Station and the duo will call the region home as they begin their careers.

The police officers were part of a cohort of 68 recruits who graduated from the Queensland Police Service Oxley Academy two weeks ago.

They have spent the past six months at the academy and will now undertake a further 12 months of station-based training where they will be assessed on their management of a range of real-world policing scenarios.

Constable Finch said he was looking forward to putting into practice all of the skills he had gained from his time in training.

“We got to learn so many things and do so much while at the academy,” he said.

“It was always great to see people achieve more than they thought they could.

“It offered a lot of growth and I'm proud of who we have all become during that time.”

Constable Bedggood said she also enjoyed every aspect of her time at the academy and was keen to get stuck into her first year in Bundaberg.

“Obviously the fun things like firearms, physical skills and driver training are massive highlights of training at the academy but honestly the now lifelong friendships and memories that I have gained is what I have valued most,” she said.

“There’s such a variety of things you can do within the police service which is what interests me the most.

“It's never boring and there is something new each day.”

Police career a chance to do good for Bundaberg constables

Constable Finch said becoming a police officer was a career that not only offered diversity but also aligned with his own values.

“I'm looking forward to a change of pace and new adventures in a new community,” he said.

“I want to live a meaningful life and do good with my own two hands.

“Not a lot of careers can allow a person to do this but by being a police officer I believe I will be able to.”

Constable Bedggood agreed and said she wanted to help others as much as possible.

“I hope to be able to serve the community to the best of my ability and continue to always have a positive attitude towards the job,” she said.

“I’m most looking forward to getting out into the community and making as much of a difference as I can.”

The Hinkler Project preserves Bert’s history

Ashley Schipper

A special storytelling project which aims to preserve the history of Bert Hinkler and provide an insight into how Hinkler House and Hinkler Hall of Aviation were constructed will soon come to fruition.

The Regional Arts Development Fund has recently allocated $3000 to help bring to life the oral history project which is set to be produced by locals.

RADF is a joint endeavour of Arts Queensland and Bundaberg Regional Council and promotes the role and value of arts, culture and heritage as key drivers of diverse and inclusive communities and strong regions.

The Hinkler Project is a partnership between the Hinkler House Memorial Museum and Research Association and staff at the Hinkler Hall of Aviation.

Through the RADF grant, funding has been sought by the organisations to engage a historian to interview Bundaberg man Lex Rowland about his life and what led him and other influential members to form the Hinkler House Memorial Museum and Research Association Inc.

Hinkler Hall of Aviation's acting supervisor Kym-Maree Murphy said it was through Lex and the association that the relocation of the Hinkler House was achieved, as well as the development of the Hinkler Hall of Aviation and information on items within the collection.

“The relocation of Bert Hinkler’s House from England and its rebuilding brick by brick is a remarkable feat that was undertaken by a dedicated group of Bundaberg locals, the Hinkler House Memorial Museum and Research Association Inc,” she said.

“This, along with the development of a world-class museum, are two incredible local stories that should be captured, celebrated.

“This project aims to celebrate local talent and incredible achievement within the Bundaberg Region.”

Bundaberg-based historian Ross Peddlesden has been engaged to conduct the interview, voice record and complete transcription while Bundaberg-based videographer David Quarrell has been engaged to film and edit the interview.

The story will be added to the Hinkler Hall of Aviation collection and will be used for future museum exhibitions and online digital stories for the public to access after the project is completed at the end of June.

The Hinkler Project to add to growing museum collection

The Hinkler Project will add another element to the local Bert Hinkler story at the Hinkler Hall of Aviation.

With over 17,000 visitors to the museum during the 2020/2021 financial year and similar numbers for previous years, the documentary is set to provide tourists and locals alike with further insight into the famous aviation pioneer and his extensive connections to Bundaberg.

Arts, Culture and Events portfolio spokesperson Cr John Learmonth congratulated Hinkler Hall of Aviation staff for their efforts and involvement in helping to preserve such an important facet of the region's history.

“Bert Hinkler, the boy from Bundaberg, had a passion and fascination for flight which took him all over the world and, ultimately, put our region on the map,” he said.

“It is so important that we maintain his legacy and I want to thank our wonderful staff at Hinkler Hall of Aviation for their commitment to this project and their offering of support to the Hinkler House Memorial Museum and Research Association Inc.

“With local schools, families and individuals visiting each year, there is strong demand for the staff and volunteers of the Hinkler Hall of Aviation to develop new displays, activities and public programs.

“The Hinkler Project will strengthen the internationally significant collection at the Hinkler Hall of Aviation.

“It is a cultural project entirely for and by the people of Bundaberg.”

The Regional Arts Development Fund is a partnership between the Queensland Government and Bundaberg Regional Council to support local arts and culture in regional Queensland.

Got You Covered library column

In Our Garage: Lindsay Smith's 1934 Chevrolet

Paul Donaldson

Lindsay Smith has always been a fan of Chevrolets and when a rare opportunity was presented to purchase a 1934 model, he didn’t hesitate.

Q. Tells us about your car:

I bought it as a vintage car and then we proceeded to chop it up and make it into a hot rod.

It's still a four-door standard car, the only thing we did to it to make it a bit different was widen in the mudguards two inches.

That’s because you can't buy decent wheels to fit the suspension you've got to put under it.

So, you've got to widen the cars to get the right wheels under it.

Other than that, we’ve re-powered it with a Commodore motor, it's got a Commodore Supercharged six in it, which I think for me at my age, it’s ample power to run around with.

The original car comes with the ordinary opening doors in the front and the back doors are suicide doors.

The roof is the original look of the soft roof.

Most hot rods usually put a steel roof in but I wanted this to look original.

That's why the spare wheels on the back and because I'm scared of getting a puncture.

Q. What condition was the car when you got it?

It was all good, really good.

It was registered driveable when I bought it from Maryborough.

What you do when you buy a vintage car to do up you’re only buying the body, you're not buying any of the mechanical stuff.

I bought it because it's pretty hard to find a car that age sitting on wheels and able to be moved.

So, when you see one that's altogether you don’t wait around to long because someone else is going to buy it.

Q. What made you want to by a Chev and turn it into a Hot Rod?

Well, I had been looking around for a good sedan for a while and this one happened to come up in a roundabout way.

I've always like Chev’s and the 34, I just like the look of them.  

I like the cars with running boards bumper bars and separate headlights.

This is what I call a retro rod, which is a car that you can drive every day of the week.

This one was blue when I bought it, I think the original colour would be black or dark grey or something.

Hot Rods have got to be bright, you’ve got to stand out.

So that's just the reason we went red.

Q. What do you love about the Chev and restoring old cars?

I like driving them, I just drive around and people wave to you.

When you stop somewhere, they want to take a picture of it or something.

It is just a hobby.

If you're retired, what else are you going to do? Go fishing or play golf or mow the lawn?

So, I just come to the shed and play in the shed all the time.

Q. What do you love about Hot Rods and being in a club?

I just like the look of them.

Back when I got my licence… I've always had old cars from then on.

And then when you retire eventually, you think, I’ll go back and do what I did when I was a lot younger.

I'm a member of the Rum City Rods and Customs, it's just a lot of guys doing exactly the same thing.

Occasionally we go for a drive, or we have a club meeting every second Tuesday in the month.

It's like people playing with the model train, they get really enthusiastic about that, or people who go fishing, golf, it's just another hobby.

We're always on the lookout for more interesting vehicles for In Our Garage. To have your vehicle featured contact us via email at news@bundabergnow.com

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RISE rugby league program passes on knowledge

Emma Turnbull

Aspiring local rugby league players will have the chance to develop their skills when the RISE Rugby League Development Program kicks off in Bundaberg.

RISE was developed by rugby league greats Mal Meninga, who played as a junior in Bundaberg, and former NRL coach Neil Henry.

The program invites junior rugby league players and coaches to take part in specialised training and education through a holistic rugby league development experience.

Queensland Rugby League Wide Bay area manager Bryce Holdsworth said RISE was an initiative of the NRL, which partnered with Queensland Rugby League to deliver the program in 23 locations across the state.

“The purpose of RISE is to provide aspirational male and female players with an opportunity to enter the performance pathway and develop their rugby league skills, physical conditioning and socio-emotional competencies,” Bryce said.

The Dolphins NRL are supporting the Bundaberg, Fraser Coast and South Burnett programs.

“They are fully invested in the Wide Bay regions development pathway,” Bryce said.

“By supporting our RISE program, our Wide Bay Bulls representative teams and numerous schools throughout the region, the Dolphins are identifying our up-and-coming talent.”

RISE could unearth next rugby league great

Bryce said it was fantastic to host the RISE program in Bundaberg.

He said it was possible the next rising national rugby league star could emerge from the region, just as Mal Meninga had.

“This program is designed to give aspiring rugby league players the skilled on and off the field to succeed in the game and life,” Bryce said.

“It is very possible this could inspire the next rising rugby league player.”

Bryce said each location would offer the program to five different age groups each competing in five development sessions.

“Any male player aged 13 to 15 and any female aged 13 to 17, coaches, trainers, managers and strength and conditioning coaches can take part, ” Bryce said.

“The players also complete a referee course (U13), league safe course U14) and a community coach course (U15) which allows them to give back to community rugby league.

“Bundaberg, Fraser Coast and South Burnett will offer this program to the 17-year-old females however, this is for development only and will not take part in the RISE carnival.

“RISE staff will be assigned a playing group and will be responsible for delivering the program to the highest standard, ensuring a supportive and positive experience for players.

“This is also a great opportunity for aspiring coaches and support staff to educate themselves.”

The RISE program’s first session will be held on 20 June with registrations now open.