Weekender: Deems share secret to lifelong love

Gracie Dixon volunteer role connects Emily with past

Megan Dean

Gracie Dixon was known for her caring nature and passion for helping seniors and now her great, great niece Emily Webster is volunteering to continue her legacy.

Bundaberg Regional Council’s Gracie Dixon Respite Centre was named in honour of the well-known local following community submissions.

Born Hazel Grace Dixon in Mt Perry in 1910, she was affectionately known within the community as ‘Auntie Gracie’.

According to Bundaberg Regional Libraries’ heritage research, Gracie moved to Bundaberg with husband Archie in 1942.

For 30 years Gracie volunteered to visit people in the Base Hospital, was instrumental in organising a Friendship Club which raised money for local charities and, in 1975, was named Bundaberg Quota Club’s Woman of the Year.

The Gracie Dixon Respite Centre was opened in January 1987 and named in her honour, as was a local street.

Gracie died in 1991.

Emily now volunteers her time at the respite centre to bring her closer to her family’s history.

A recently graduated occupational therapist, she has heard many stories about her great, great aunty Gracie.

“My grandfather's aunty was Gracie Dixon,” Emily said.

“My grandad's told me some stories about her and my grandma … they were pretty close with her when they were younger.

“They told me some stories how she would always take in homeless people or people that looked like they needed a bath and a feed and … she would look after them.

“There's a funny story grandad told me about how she took this one particular gentleman home to bath him, and he didn't have any clean clothes.

“So, she gave him her husband's new trousers he had never worn.

“Then the next day, her husband was looking for the trousers and she's like, ‘oh, my goodness’.

“I don't think she said anything, but she was like, 'I gave them away!'.”

These stories inspired Emily to give back and find out more about her relative, which led her to request a volunteer position at the Gracie Dixon Respite Centre.

Staff have been able to share with her some of the things they know about Gracie, with some of her furniture, including an old grandfather’s clock, displayed in the centre.

“I've always had a connection with the elderly, and I wanted to give back somehow to the community.

“I knew some little stories here and there.

“But I think I've always wanted to come here and kind of find out more about how … her name has been so far spread.

“Everyone's told me more stories and it's been beautiful to kind of connect with like an ancestor that I never knew, but I feel connected to.

“I think it's really nice that everyone loved her so much and she was kind of a little famous in her own beautiful way.

“And I think that's so special that we have her legacy to remember. 

“She won't be forgotten.”

Emily has been volunteering at Council’s Gracie Dixon Respite Centre for about one month and is enjoying her time there.

“It's a safe place to come and be yourself and be looked after and give respite for their family.

“We do lots of singing, we do some cognitive games, which I think is so important for brain maintenance and keeping people active.

“We do some yoga to help work the muscles and joints and range of motion … we do have entertainers who come in and they have their morning tea and social gatherings, which are so important - that connection and quality of life.

“It's just such a cute centre that everyone can come, I just, I love all of it.”

Emily’s volunteer role at the Gracie Dixon Respite Centre has made her family proud and she plans to carry on her great, great aunty’s legacy.

Colin Fassnidge plates up exclusive Taste masterclass

Georgia Neville

Celebrity chef and My Kitchen Rules judge Colin Fassnidge is headed to the region for Taste Bundaberg Festival cooking demonstrations, book signings and an exclusive culinary masterclass.

The masterclass will give locals the opportunity to create a delicious main course and dessert from locally sourced produce, perfectly paired with selected beverages.

The intimate masterclass will be remembered long after the experience with branded aprons, an essential utensils pack and a Colin Fassnidge cookbook gifted to all participants.

Colin said he was excited to take part in the Taste Bundaberg Festival and his first visit to the region.

“I’m really looking forward to visiting Bundaberg for the first time, I’ve heard great things about the region,” he said.

“I love going to regional festivals, trying the local produce and meeting the people who make it, so Taste Bundaberg is right up my alley.

“I’ll be doing a couple of demonstrations on stage, a masterclass, book signings, so come down and meet me there!”

The celebrity chef rose to fame when his no-nonsense approach earnt him a spot as a judge on Channel 7’s hit show My Kitchen Rules.

He has also gone on to establish his own show ‘Colin’s Ireland’.

Known for his nose-to-tail cooking philosophy, Colin believes the secret to cooking a great dish is planning and ‘having a bit of love for the food’.

Colin recently released his long awaited second cookbook, The Commonsense Cook, in 2020.

Council’s Arts, Culture and Events portfolio spokesperson Cr John Learmonth said securing Colin for the Taste Bundaberg Festival was a coup for the region.

“It’s not every day you have the chance to participate in a masterclass with a two-hat chef such as Colin Fassnidge!” he said.

“Not only will Colin grace us with his knowledge and expertise in his masterclasses, he will also be a special guest at the Taste Bundaberg Farmers Market where he will showcase his skill in live cooking demonstrations.

“I encourage everyone to take a look at the extensive program, as I can guarantee there will be an event for you in the fantastic line up.”

You can find the full Taste Bundaberg Festival program here, with tickets for events on sale on Monday 27 June at 12 noon.

Anzac Park redevelopment to boost riverside, CBD

Megan Dean

The revitalisation of the Bundaberg riverside has been given certainty as Bundaberg Regional Council confirms it will move forward with the Anzac Park redevelopment.

Council has made the decision to progress the redevelopment after a project analysis revealed the significant financial impact of further delaying the project.

Current estimates show that leaving the Anzac Pool open for another season would add an additional $1.3 million to the cost of the overall project.

If the pool received the same number of visitors as it did in the last swim season, that would equate to a minimum cost of $62 per visit.

However that figure would likely be much higher, and the number of visitors significantly lower, as alternate arrangements have already been made for all school swimming groups to ensure their programs can continue uninterrupted at other facilities.

While an application had been made for an extension to the timeline of a Federal Government grant for the project, all Councillors were provided with details of this projected increase in costs and the decision was made to progress the project.

Considerations included the cost escalations of further delay, the time the new Federal Government would take to establish new departments and the fact that the project was already a number of months delayed.

Councillor Jason Bartels said the Anzac Park redevelopment was a legacy project which would have long-lasting social, economic and wellbeing benefits.

“I believe that this project will be a game-changer for the CBD and the sooner that we can deliver it, the better,” Cr Bartels said.

“The redeveloped Anzac Park precinct will protect and enhance the Anzac legacy and help to ensure that more people are utilising this beautiful and central area.

“Additional facilities will cater to a wide range of community members from adventure-style playground and zero-depth water play to an outdoor event space with a stage and improved riverside access.”

The decision means the Anzac Pool, which in its current format was officially opened in March 1956, will not reopen for another season.

Anzac Pool has been a much-loved community facility in its 66 years and you can read more about its history, including the 50th anniversary celebrations held in 2006, in this edition's history section below.

“We’ve been given funds from the Federal Government and we need to take advantage of this before materials and interest rates rise further,” Cr Bartels said.

“The longer we wait the less likely it is that we will ever be able to complete this project.

“Council certainly hoped that the aquatic facility would be built prior to the closure of Anzac Pool but we’ve been fortunate to secure $5 million from the Federal Government towards the Anzac Park redevelopment which brought forward our timeline.

“In the long run this project is a benefit for the community.

“Council would have loved these projects to flow together but we need to be mindful of limiting costs to ratepayers and therefore we must take these opportunities when offered by other levels of government.

Read more about the history of Anzac Pool here.

Bundaberg East 24/7 service station approved

Ashley Schipper

A 24-hour service station featuring a drive through Pie Face has been approved for development in Bundaberg East.

The United service station and its attached Quickstop and food facilities was recently given the green light by Bundaberg Regional Council.

The business will be located across three lots at 48 Princess Street, which is currently occupied by commercial and residential dwellings, and will open seven days a week.

The development will feature four double-sided bowsers and nine carparks including one designated disable parking bay as well as two-way vehicle access.

A drive-through for Pie Face will also be featured to assist with contactless delivery of pies and coffee as part of a Covid-safe plan.

According to the application, the development has been highlighted to meet the current and future needs of the growing region.

“The proposal provides a direct public benefit to the regional catchment with respect to economic development and provides a vital service for residents and tourists seeking fuel between the coastal townships and Bundaberg,” the application states.

“There is expected to be large scale growth for dwellings in the Kalkie/Ashfield major urban expansion area.

“In addition to servicing current growth in Bundaberg East, the development would meet future demand.”

The Bundaberg East service station will employ three on-site staff when it is fully constructed.

Local butchers to put best meat forward

Ashley Schipper

Local butchers will be putting their best meat forward this weekend in the hope to be crowned the Meat King or Queen of the Wide Bay.

The (Queensland) Australian Meat Industry Council’s annual Wide Bay Region Sausage King, Best Butchers Burger and Smallgoods Competition will be held at the Burnett Bowls Club on Sunday 19 June.

State Manager Roger Desaily said the competition had been going for more than 20 years and attracted several hundred entries across each region hosting the event.

“The Wide Bay region is always a hotly contested event and a sure sign that regional Queensland AMIC member butchers see the value of being part of this iconic competition,” he said.

The event consists of six sausage, two burger and six smallgoods categories.

Competitions are held throughout Queensland, starting in March and running through to October, when regional winners progress to the state finals to determine which butchers are truly entitled to wear the crown for best sausage, best burger and best smallgoods in Queensland.

Local butchers put meat on show in 2022 competition

Roger said this Sunday was shaping up to be a great event with nine local butchers so far signed up for the Wide Bay competition.

“Entries will be judged on the uncooked and cooked appearance of the product in various categories,” he said.

“The entries will then be taste-tested for flavour and texture amongst other measurements, with points awarded for presentation of the product and the creative new recipes that the butchers come up with each and every year.”

Local butchers vie for regional title

Bargara Meats were the proud winners of the 2021 Regional Sausage King Competition for both poultry and traditional Australian beef, and the Regional Smallgoods Competition for their pre-cooked scalded sausage, their leg ham on the bone and their kabana.

Owner Dan Sauer said he was hoping to come away with some good news again this year.

“We are definitely hoping to come away with a place, I think everyone hopes they will win,” he said.

“It's a great event to be involved in because there are plenty of benefits, including being able to say that you are the Sausage King for 2022!”

When it comes to what makes a winner, Dan said it was all about using those fresh ingredients.

“It's definitely about fresh ingredients and a lot of love.” he said.

The Wide Bay Region event judging will kick off from 9.30 am on Sunday 19 June at the Burnett Bowls Club.

Winner awards and presentations will be held from 2.30 pm with celebrity judges and local industry leaders and AMIC meat industry sponsors and partners participating across the day.

Take part in biggest Boomerang Bags Sewing Bee

Georgia Neville

Boomerang Bags is calling for volunteers to take on the challenge of helping to sew 500 bags in one day at Bundy's Biggest Boomerang Bags Sewing Bee on Saturday 13 August.

The sewing bee, to be held at the Gracie Dixon Hall, will start from 9.30 am and is a chance for everyone to take part in making the bags, with no prior sewing experience necessary.

People will be tasked with jobs such as pinning, ironing and cutting, with those who have a sewing machine encouraged to bring it.

Boomerang Bags event organiser Carmen McEneany said while the group had previously hosted sewing sessions they were looking forward to the Boomerang Bags sewing bee becoming a regular fixture.

“We are hoping for host these events twice a year and get really good engagement and attendance,” Carmen said.

“The sessions are open to anyone, and we would love to see as many people as possible attend.

“It is bring your own sewing machine for those who can sew, but you don’t have to be able to sew to attend as there will be cutting areas and ironing that will need to be done as well.”

Carmen said there would be a number of different jobs on the day.

“We will have some bags pre-cut before the day but we will also need people to be cutting more on the day,” she said.

“We will have a full row set up for people to sew and another station for cutting.”

The group has listed a Facebook event for the Boomerang Bags sewing bee to record registrations and share information.

“It would be great if people could post on the event what time they are coming to help the team with numbers and knowing how big to make the stations.”

The goal of 500 bags has been set for the day, with those attending encouraged to watch tutorial videos posted in the event.

“If you are coming along to sew I would really love you to watch the tutorial videos that are posted in the event, which will show you how to make most of the bags,” she said.

“This is such an awesome way to come together and engage with other community members and maybe even learn something.

“Pillowcases make great and easy bags for younger sewers, so you are welcome to bring along a few of those as well.”

Material will be provided by Boomerang Bags at the event although if you do bring along your own equipment, organiser recommend it is clearly marked.

All bags that are made as part of the day will be given to new members of the community as part of Bundaberg Regional Council citizenship ceremonies.

You can find out more about the event here.

Students get a taste of tourism and hospitality careers

Georgia Neville

Local students looking for inspiration for their careers were given the opportunity to talk to tourism and hospitality representatives at a recent Careers Expo.

Hosted by the Queensland Tourism Industry Council the event featured a Bundaberg Schools Come ‘N’ Try Day and Bundaberg Careers Market as part of a regional roadshow.

Bundaberg Tourism’s Anna Maslen attended the expo, speaking to local students about the number of opportunities available right here in the Bundaberg Region.

“The Bundaberg Region is a big up-and-coming area for tourism at the moment with a number of new operators starting up, and a number of existing businesses continuing to grow so it is great to talk to the students about job opportunities and career paths within the tourism industry,” Anna said.

“It's a great chance to encourage students to look into the industry within the local area as it is quite difficult to bring people from outside the region in.

“There are a number of entry level jobs in tourism which is why it is considered such an easy industry to enter.”

Isis District High School student Maria Russell said the event provided her the chance to try her hand at cooking while also learning how to make mocktails.

“We have been learning about different careers in the tourism and hospitality industry at this expo,” she said.

“We got to make mocktails and rice paper rolls which has helped me to think more about being part of the hospitality industry.

“This expo is a great opportunity to learn about the tourism industry as there is such a wide variety of different things to learn about.”

A number of local organisations attended the event including Bundaberg Regional Council.

Queensland Tourism Industry Council's Career Roadshow is designed to showcase, promote, and bring a sense of excitement back to the tourism and hospitality industry in the eyes of Queensland's next generation of workers.

You can find out more about the virtual career expo here.

What's on

CQU students showcase emotions through the lens

Georgia Neville

CQUniversity students have been challenged to put empathy and vulnerability into a frame as part of the Exploring Emotions Through the Lens exhibition.

The images will be on display as part of an upcoming exhibition at the School of Arts.

The exhibition, which opens on Saturday 25 June, sees students tasked with answering a question in a photo: “Emotions pass like time, dissipating into thin air unnoticed and often times unspoken… (but if) emotion became visibly clear, how would it feel?”

The seven participants are preparing their photographic pieces with the guidance of local photographer and artist Sabrina Lauriston, with a series of masterclasses held across June.

Bundaberg student Amber Christensen has produced a series of moving black and white portraits for the exhibition, including an explosive image titled Outburst.

“I wanted to do something that I knew a lot about,” Amber said.

“Mental health issues are something that people around me have been through, and myself too.

“I have struggled with eating disorders my whole childhood, and had experience of sexual assault, and depression – it is good to be able to speak out and show what people go through.

“I hope when people see my works, it helps them have the confidence to ask people around them, ‘are they okay?’ or ask it of themselves.”

With a love of photography inspired by her grandparents at just 12 years old, Amber is starting her own photography business, and has developed a passion for digital design through the degree.

It is the talented 20-year-old’s second year participating, after she began her Bachelor of Digital Media studies in 2021, gaining entry through the STEPS program in 2020.

Emotions through the Lens exhibition inspires students

Indigenous student Jasmin Minniecon also took on her Bachelor of Digital Media this year after completing STEPS and is participating for the first time.

Her studies follow three years as a dump truck operator in the mining industry, and the proud Gooreng Gooreng woman said she planned to create a new career with her Digital Arts skills.

“I’ve always had a passion for graphic design, and I want to start an online business and work with small and Indigenous businesses,” she said.

“The photography project is really interesting – I was nervous at first, but it’s great to get Sabrina’s advice about creating emotions in an image, and I’m discovering myself in the art too.”

Jasmin said her passion for storytelling was linked to her Indigenous culture and family experiences.

“We spend a lot of time yarning up, telling stories – and my work for this exhibition is focused on nostalgia,” she said.

“I’m one of those people who enjoy memories, and I grew up in Bundaberg and have a lot of happy memories about the place.”

CQUniversity lecturer and project coordinator Regina John Luan said it was exciting to see how students had developed technically and creativity in response to the year-on-year challenges.

“The work challenges the students to consider and speak openly about mental health, and often that has the most impact through art, where we communicate something unheard,” she said.

“Students are challenged to step outside their comfort zones, research their surroundings and its elements of hidden emotions and emotions that they cannot explain, and then use their findings to produce an artistic expression of their findings.

“True art come from the artist’s own journey, and the same can be said for true change in our society.”

This is the second installment of the exhibition which started in 2021 in partnership with local mental health initiative headspace.

The Exploring Emotions through the Lens exhibition is a collaboration between CQUniversity, the Regional Arts Services Network, the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland, and Bundaberg Regional Council.

Photo: Amber Christensen - Outburst

Upgrades underway at three Bundaberg playgrounds

Ashley Schipper

Multiple playgrounds in the Bundaberg Region are currently undergoing upgrades with new play equipment including flying foxes, slides and basketball courts set to feature when they reopen to the community.

Existing McCarthy Street Park, Mikkelsen Park and George Campbell Park playgrounds have been removed and will feature all new equipment when they reopen in the near future.

Parks and Gardens portfolio spokesperson Cr Wayne Honor said the upgrades had come to fruition after ongoing community consultation.

“Council asked the community to complete a survey about what they would like featured at these three parks,” he said.

“We have received some great feedback which is now being implemented in the first stage of the redevelopment process.”

Cr Honor said McCarthy Street Park would feature a range of new equipment for children of all ages.

“The current equipment had reached its end of life and will be replaced with some exciting new features from local contractor Willplay,” he said.

“These include two slides, a noughts and crosses interactive panel, swings, group rocker and more.

“The area will open to the community just in time for the school holidays.”

Upgrades offer plenty of fun at Bundaberg playgrounds

Cr Honor said Mikkelsen Park would feature a similar upgrade with new swings, a mini flying fox, slides and an interactive play panel added to the area.

“The park also currently includes a half basketball court which will be upgraded to a half multi-sports court to accommodate basketball and soccer and will include a sports goal at one end,” he said.

“A new drink fountain and accessible picnic table will also be installed in the park and the area will reopen to the community after the school holidays.”

The last of the three upgrades includes George Campbell Park which is set to feature new play equipment along with the reshaping of dirt jumps.

The Thabeban park playground will be installed after the June/July school holidays.

Bundaberg’s first Olympic-sized pool opened in 1956

Megan Dean

Council meeting records have revealed the history of the 66-year-old Anzac Pool and how the decision to build the city’s first Olympic-sized facility came about.

When damage was sustained to the original memorial baths, opened in 1923, the Council of the day decided that, rather than invest in fixing the existing outdated infrastructure, they would invest in the future.

Thus, in 1955 the decision to construct the Anzac Pool in its current form was made.

A Council engineer’s report dated 4 July 1954 detailed how cracks in the original memorial baths, caused by fig tree roots, gave way and about “80 ft. of the western wall of the pool collapsed yesterday without warning”.

Upon purchase of the memorial bath no records of the build were available so “it was assumed the pool was of normal construction”.

“It is now found that the concrete was not reinforced,” the 1954 engineer’s report said.

“It is hard to understand how it did not collapse long ago with the large number of cracks in it, and with no steel to hold it in place.”

The engineer’s report provided an alternate proposal to fixing the damaged pool that would also cater to the future needs of the growing city.

“The size of the existing pool while adequate for most occasions at present, even with the present population, it is overcrowded at times,” the engineer’s report said.

“Consideration should be given whether a large pool of Olympic Standard should be constructed or deferred to some future date.”

While the proposal came with some difficulties – the requirement for an immediate loan, the need for Lands Department consent and the need to expedite plans for approval so construction could commence without delay – its merits were supported.

On 7 July 1955 Alderman Rattray submitted a Special report of the Public Utilities Committee on Swimming Pool Re-construction which recommended:

“That instead of endeavouring to rebuild the present pool the Council (subject to obtaining the necessary finance) take steps to construct a swimming pool of Olympic standard 165 ft long by 48 ft wide on the present site, to meet present and future needs of the city.”

His motion, seconded by Alderman McCracken, was carried unanimously.

Olympic-sized pool becomes much-loved community facility

City Engineer C.S. Brewer reported back to Council in January of 1956 on the progress of the new Anzac Olympic-sized pool which was an immediate success with the community.

“The new pool was completed to the stage to allow swimming on 24th December [1955],” his report said.

“A temporary fence was erected and the old entrance building is being used until the new one is constructed.

“The effort to get the job complete to its present stage has been well worthwhile as the attendance has exceeded expectations.”

The Olympic-sized Anzac Pool was officially opened by Mayor F.H. Buss on Saturday 31 March 1956.

The entry building was officially opened by Mayor C.J. Nielsen on 1 February 1971.

Community celebrates 50 years of Anzac Pool

By way of formal resolution at its 23 February 2006 meeting, Council resolved to support what was dubbed the “Anzac Park Pool Anniversary Bash”.

The resolution read “[t]hat approval be granted for the conduct of 50th Anniversary Celebrations at the Anzac Park Swimming Pool on 1st April, 2006.”

The Anzac Pool’s 50th birthday bash featured a jumping castle, free sausage sizzle with donations made to Legacy and free pool entry from 10 am to noon.

Invited guests included previous pool managers, councillors, executive members (past and present) and local swimming clubs.

New era for Anzac precinct

After 66 years the Anzac Pool has become an outdated facility with increasing maintenance and operational costs and limited space for further expansion.

The announcement that Bundaberg Regional Council would develop a new Bundaberg Regional Aquatic Centre featuring a FINA standard Olympic-sized pool marked the beginning of the Anzac precinct’s next major redevelopment.

The Anzac Park redevelopment will feature an adventure-style playground with zero-depth water play, outdoor event space with stage, improved riverside access and an Anzac war memorial.

Got You Covered library column

In Our Garage: Terrie Maher’s FPV GT BF Mk2

Terrie Maher followed in her mum and dad’s footsteps when she bought her very own Ford GT in 2013.

Tell us about your GT?

This is my FPV GT BF Mk2 2006 model. It's in good condition, it's just amazing inside.

It's just like it's new, it even smells like it's new.

I have a lot of people comment about that. I've had it since 2013.

Have you always had Fords?

I learnt to drive in a Holden, but I was always a Ford girl.

My family, my mum and dad were Ford people.

They had a couple of GTs over their lives too and yeah, I always said I'm going to get one one day and I did.

What modifications have you made?

It's a 290, they come out standard 290 Boss.

Factory made they come out with a 302 in it.

It's a six speed automatic.

The muffler has an upgrade on it. It makes it louder, the extractors on it and just the tyres are all standard 19 inch mags.

What makes it so unique?

The colour of it, it's octane.

A lot of people call it orange just to stir me up, and I go, no, it's octane!

The interior is all leather and it's all black and the dashboard is all made out of leather too.

So, yeah, it's just beautiful to be in.

Every time my kids get in it I go, “don't put your feet on the mat”.

It's my baby.

What do you love about driving it?

With my personalised number plates people always think there's a male driving it because it's "Tez".

When they come up beside me and go, “that's a female driving that".

I've actually had people pull me over at a service station, follow me in and go, “wow, I love your husband's car!”

I go, “no, that's not my husband's, it's my car!”.

I love driving it. It just makes you smile all the time.

People look at you everywhere you go and you think, what are you looking at? And then you realise, oh, because I'm in a GT!

To have your vehicle featured in In Our Garage contact email us at news@bundabergnow.com

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Broncos legends pass on knowledge

As part of a mentoring program the Broncos development team this week visited various local schools, including Bundaberg State High School, to pass on their knowledge to up-and-coming footy stars.

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