Weekender: New lungs give second life

Join National Tree Day community planting

Megan Dean

Residents can join a National Tree Day community planting at Central Park to expand riparian vegetation, increase biodiversity and contribute to the One Million Trees initiative.

Set to be held on Wednesday 3 August from 9 am to 11 am in celebration of National Tree Day, the community tree planting will see up to 400 native trees planted in the park area along Saltwater Creek.

Mayor Jack Dempsey said the community was invited to take part in the tree planting which would have long-lasting environmental and social benefits.

“We have about 400 local native trees and shrubs ready to be planted and the more hands helping mean the more we can get into the ground at this fabulous event,” Mayor Dempsey said.

“This area was chosen to protect and expand the riparian vegetation along Saltwater Creek.

“The additional trees will provide stability to the creek bank, assist in managing erosion and contribute to improved water quality in Saltwater Creek, which flows into the Burnett River.

“And importantly, by expanding the native vegetation we’re improving the biodiversity, providing habitat for our local plants and wildlife.”

Mayor Dempsey encouraged all residents to get involved, no matter their experience in tree planting.

“The site is prepped, the trees are ready and it’s just a great opportunity for us to come together as a community to expand this natural area.

“While it is certainly an important factor, we aren’t just improving the biodiversity of the area.

“This planting will enhance Central Park for years to come.

“It will improve the park’s aesthetics, provide more shade and cool areas for recreation and increase enjoyment of this area year-round.”

To take part in the National Tree Day community planting, register online here.

New lungs give Rhianna second life

Georgia Neville

Rhianna Johnson will never forget the phone call which changed her future – an organ donor had given her the gift of life.

The Bargara resident grew up with Cystic Fibrosis and had faced many challenges, undergoing multiple procedures, before being placed on a waiting list for a lung transplant.

When she received the call to tell her there were a set of lungs available for her to undergo a double lung transplant, Rhianna said she felt like she had been given a second life.

“Growing up, I was pretty healthy for someone with Cystic Fibrosis as often you are sick all the way through, but in 2011 my health dropped down when I caught swine flu, and in 2016 when I caught influenza A,” she said.

“From then it was just a downhill slope.

“In 2022 I had a procedure to stop the bleeding in my lungs as I was coughing up a lot of blood but that resulted in a stroke, so I now have right leg deficits for the rest of my life as well.

“The procedure didn’t work, so I was still coughing up blood and after trying it two more times, it still didn’t go so well so the last decision was to put me on the transplant list and to go down this route.”

Rhianna said the transplant had given her a new lease on life and it was the simple things she appreciated the most.

“For me, having the transplant was never about doing something extravagant like being able to go skydiving and jump off cliffs, it was just to live normally,” Rhianna said.

“I do not cough until I vomit anymore, I can sleep through the night, I can work, I can pick up my niece and nephew’s, it really is just those everyday things that make the big difference.

“It is being able to do the simple things that really make the big difference for someone who is struggling to breathe or struggling with functions of the many organs that our bodies need.”

Waiting only three months for the transplant, Rhianna said while it is not a cure, it has given her the opportunity to continue to live her life.

“I was quite lucky as my wait time was not too long, with some people waiting years, and my recovery was pretty good, so ‘touch wood’ everything is still going pretty well,” she said.

“I will be on anti-rejection medication for the rest of my life, along with anyone who has an organ transplant, so we are immunocompromised forever.

“Our bodies can reject the lungs or the organs at any time so while it is not a cure; it is a chance to give someone more time.”

Looking forward to the opportunity’s life has to offer, Rhianna has wasted no time in keeping herself busy, buying a business and planning a holiday.

“I am planning a trip to Ireland and the Mediterranean for my 30th next year, which is very exciting but also just to be normal, and travel and watch my family and the kids grow up,” she said.

“I have bought a mechanic business over East and rebranded it to Ultra Tune in February and that is keeping me very busy.

“I think being sick all of my life I have always grabbed everything and gone with it, I don’t really take no for an answer, so I grabbed it by the horns and we ran with it.”

Locals encouraged to register as an organ donor

Georgia Neville

Did you know just one new organ donor can save up to seven lives?

With over 1800 people in Australia currently waiting for a lifesaving organ transplant, there is no better time than now to register as an organ donor.

As part of DonateLife week, which runs from Sunday 24 July until Sunday 31 July, the Australian Organ Donor register is hoping to see over 100,000 new registrations.

Bundaberg Base Hospital’s Organ Donation Specialist Nurse Karen Jenner said last year’s DonateLife week saw the goal of new donors reached.

She hoped to push the number even higher this year.

“This year we are hoping to reach a new goal of over 100,000 people registering to become an organ donor,” Karen said.

“Last year, we saw 1800 people in Bundaberg alone register, so it would be great if we could beat that number this year.”

She said there was a number of people in the community who were eligible to be donors but may not know.

“There are 13 million Australians that are 16 years or older who are eligible to be on the register who have not registered,” she said.

“When I talk to people in the community, I find many people are not aware just how rare it is to be able to donate your organs.

“There are only two percent of people who pass away in hospital who have the ability to be an organ donor so it is not a huge pool of people out there who can donate their organs.

“We would love for everyone who is eligible to register as just one organ donor can save up to seven lives and more through tissue and bone donation, so it really is the gift of life.”

Karen said it was important that people are registered, so when the time came, more lives could be saved.

“Nine out of ten families will consent to organ donations if they know what their loved one wants, but unfortunately that drops to three out of ten when families are not sure,” she said.

“It is so easy to register, you just have to grab your Medicare card and head to donatelife.gov.au.

“A lot of people think it is still on your licence, as many years ago it was, but this isn’t the case anymore.”

You can find out more about DonateLife week or register to be an organ donor here.

Bundaberg Brewed Drinks export awards finalist

Emma Turnbull

Bundaberg Brewed Drinks has been named a three-time finalist in the Premier of Queensland’s Export Awards 2022.

The local company is named a finalist in the Agribusiness, Food and Beverages Award, the Manufacturing and Advanced Materials Award and Regional Exporter Award.

Bundaberg Brewed Drinks CEO John McLean said it was humbling to be recognised across three different categories in the Premier of Queensland’s Export Awards.

“It’s an honour to be recognised by our peers as a finalist for this year’s Queensland Export Awards, especially after the unprecedent few years we, and so many others, have experienced globally,” John said.

“We’re very proud to be alongside so many incredible Queensland businesses. 

“Our team members have given their all through the challenges we have been given recently, and this nomination is recognition of their hard work and dedication.”

John said it was always a nice feeling to showcase the Bundaberg Region to the rest of the world, but even better when it was represented locally.

“Treating the world to Bundaberg remains a key ingredient in how we export globally,” he said.

“We are proud to be representing our hometown on the Queensland stage.”

Bundaberg Brewed Drinks continues to go from strength to strength.

“For over 50 years, we’ve surrounded ourselves with talented people and have built on the strong foundations built by those who have come before our present teams,” he said.

“We remain true to our family values which has driven our growth globally. 

“We work closely with our partners who are critical to our success. We would not be here today if we didn’t develop strong relationships with our suppliers, distributors, customers and consumers. 

“Our job is taking Bundaberg to the world, for we are very fortunate to be part of a terrific region.”

A total of 34 companies will compete across 13 categories with the top exporter to be named Exporter of the Year.

Queensland exports support one in five jobs across the state.

Around 40 per cent of our 7000 goods exporting companies are based in regional Queensland.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Treasurer and Minister for Trade and Investment Cameron Dick announced the finalists for the Premier of Queensland’s Export Awards 2022 on Wednesday morning.

The Premier said that every year she was impressed and humbled by the quality of the entries.

“No matter where they are located or what product, the innovation, dedication and tenacity of these Queensland success stories are on show, contributing to good jobs and our great Queensland lifestyle,” the Premier said.

The awards will be presented at a gala event at the Royal International Convention Centre at the RNA Showgrounds on October 5.

Minister Dick said despite tough trading conditions through the ongoing impact of the pandemic, the nominated companies had achieved global success.

“Queensland is an export driven economy,” the Treasurer said.

“The value of our exports has almost doubled in the year to May 2022, to a remarkable $115 billion.

“These businesses are part of that, and their drive and ambition showcase how Queensland succeeds in business around the world every day.

“I’m looking forward to seeing which of these great Queensland success stories triumphs on the night and then takes the next step to the national finals.”

Further details on the awards can be found here.

Lady Musgrave HQ focus on sustainability

Georgia Neville

Bobbing above one of the seven natural wonders of the world, operations aboard the Lady Musgrave HQ pontoon have a strong focus on sustainability.

The luxury liveaboard reef experience’s eco credentials are highly visible, featuring enough solar panels and wind turbines atop the pontoon to power the entire vessel.

But the Lady Musgrave Experience operations are equally focussed on sustainability, with the team achieving Advanced Eco Certified status and being recognised as a High Standard Operator.

They’re one of the local tourism operators helping to lead the way in Bundaberg Regional Council’s journey to see the region achieve Eco Destination Certification.

As an Advanced Eco Certified Company, Lady Musgrave Experience is one of Australia’s leading and most innovative ecotourism businesses.

Lady Musgrave experience is committed to achieving best practice, using resources wisely, contributing to conserving the environment and helping local communities.

The local business has been running for over 20 years and in that time has seen many advancements over the years including the recent launch of its Lady Musgrave HQ Pontoon.

Managing Director at Lady Musgrave Experience Brett Lakey said having the certification established them as an operator committed to achieving best practice.

“Advanced Eco Certified operators provide opportunities for guests to learn about the environment with an operator who is committed to achieving best practice, using resources wisely, contributing to conserving the environment and helping local communities,” Brett said.

“We are also a High Standard Tourism Operator, which means that as part of our commitment to ecologically sustainable use of the marine park, we voluntarily work to a higher standard than required by legislation.

“High Standard Operator recognition is assessed by independent certification schemes such as Ecotourism Australia and EarthCheck for providing appropriate levels of environmental protection while operating within the Marine Park.”

With the aim of conserving the natural habitat in which the business operates in, they have implemented measures to ensure the reef remains untouched by their operations.

“We want to conserve and protect the natural and cultural history of the environment that we operate in,” Brett said.

“We operate with minimal impact on the environment and are committed to protecting the coral reef and marine environment while ensuring guests have an unforgettable once-in-a-lifetime experience.

“Our aim is to inspire and encourage our guests to learn about the Great Barrier Reef environment and reef eco-system in an immersive and fun way.”

The team encourage other businesses within the region to challenge themselves to improve and identify opportunities where they can implement practices to establish themselves as eco-certified.

“There is always an opportunity to continually improve when it comes to sustainability,” he said.

“Encourage staff and guests to identify these opportunities as well.”

Get your business Eco Certified

The ECO Destination Certification Program is a world first by Ecotourism Australia and Council’s goal is for the Bundaberg Region to become certified as an ECO Destination.

Bundaberg Regional Council is offering local tourism operators the opportunity to strengthen their appeal to high yielding, environmentally conscious visitor markets, by becoming ECO Certified through Ecotourism Australia by way of a cash subsidy to offset the first annual certification fee.

The ECO Destination Certification program assures travellers that certified destinations are backed by a strong, well-managed commitment to sustainable practices and provide high-quality nature-based tourism experiences within the region.

You can find out more here.

Locals set up for mental health


Two local women took almost 40,000 steps for mental health as part of their 30km Coastrek which saw them raise over $2500 for Beyond Blue.

The team, Steppin Up, was made up of Gina Hansen and Sarah Rehbein, along with Jodarna Meade and Madeleine Rehbein who all took part in the coast trek which challenged them to complete a 30 km walk.

Coastrek is a fitness team trekking challenge which happens across Australia in which participants hike 30km to support the three million people in Australia living with anxiety and depression, and those affected by suicide.

Gina Hansen, who owns Nurtured Minds Therapy, said the opportunity to take part in the Coastrek meant she could raise awareness for a cause close to her heart.

“It is so special to be able to come together with likeminded people who share a passion for a cause,” Gina said.

“Both Sarah, who runs Sarah Rehbein PT and I work with people every day who struggle with their mental health.

“We feel blessed to be able to unite and raise money for such a wonderful cause in Beyond Blue which is such an amazing organisation and they support so many Australians to improve their emotional wellbeing.”

Gina said it is important that if you know someone who may be struggling, to encourage them to prioritise their mental health.

“If someone you love is suffering, show kindness and patience and try to get them support as it is essential that people prioritise their own mental health,” she said.

“Mental health does not discriminate and we should all be kind to each other and look out for others.

“It is also important that people realise that physical movement can dramatically improve your mental health.”

With each contact to the 24/7 Beyond Blue Support Service costing around $48 to answer, you can donate to the team here for the next week.

Donations will help connect people with immediate support, advice and referrals wherever they are.

You can find out more about Coastrek here.

Breakfast to raise money for local chaplains

Georgia Neville

The community is encouraged to support the region’s school chaplains and the important work they do at an upcoming breakfast.

The event, which will be held on Thursday 11 August from 6.30 am at the Bundaberg Multiplex, features former Brisbane Bronco’s player Darius Boyd as the guest speaker.

Darius understands the struggles of mental health, having faced many challenges in his own life. He now hopes to use his experiences to help others.

Mayor Jack Dempsey said he encouraged as many people as possible to attend the upcoming breakfast in support of Scripture Union Queensland.

“Our school chappies provide an important service to the region’s students, parents and teachers,” Mayor Dempsey said.

“Whether it’s a helping hand or a friendly face the school chaplains provide support throughout the year, so I encourage anyone who can to attend the breakfast and support the wonderful work they do.”

Tickets for the event must be pre-purchased by Tuesday 2 August form the website here.

Local chaplain encourages community support

Local Bargara State School Chaplain Marisa Heidke said the breakfast was a fantastic way for the community to gain further understanding of the role chaplains played in local schools.

“A school chaplain provides social, emotional and spiritual support for students and the school including parents and teachers for the wellbeing of the school,” Marisa said.

“It is important that we have community support behind us as chaplain as well as engagement from the community to further understand what a school chaplain does."

Marisa said chaplains played many roles within the school community, which is something people may not realise.

“A lot of people see a chaplain, or think, that maybe a chaplain is only spiritual support, but it is a lot more than that to the school community and to the wellbeing of the community."

“A chaplain wears many hats within the school, so wherever there is a need.

"For example with everything from in class support right through to getting involved with school activities including sports days and swimming carnival and we run activities like breakfast club.”

You can find out more about the SU Queensland Chaplains here.

Event details:
What: 2022 Mayoral School Chaplaincy Support Breakfast
When: Thursday 11 August
Time: 6.30 am
Where: Bundaberg Multiplex
Tickets: From $30 p.p. Must pre-purchase by Tuesday 2 August 2022

What's on

Tours and Tastings celebrates local products

Emma Turnbull

Pick your own strawberries, blend your own rum or select your favourite brew during this year’s Taste Bundaberg Festival Tours and Tastings.

Tours and Tastings will immerse community members in experiences of learning about, and devouring, some of the Bundaberg Region’s delectable products.

Friends and families will have the opportunity to see first-hand where the three different varieties of strawberries are grown at Bargara Berries or take a journey deep into the beating heart of Australia’s most awarded rum distillery at Bundaberg Rum.

There’s also a chance to stroll through the history of Bundaberg’s favourite nut at Macadamias Australia and learn about the multi-generational family farm that cracked its way from humble beginnings to now maintaining more than 200,000 trees.

Or perhaps taste the full range of brews at the Bundaberg Barrel and delve into the history of the iconic brand that is Bundaberg Ginger Beer.

Bundaberg Brewed Drink’s Tammie Hall said upon arrival guests would have the opportunity to browse the gallery before testing the local brews.

“Our Brew O’clock session is to offer guests the chance to taste the full range of Bundaberg Brews, from our iconic Ginger Beer right through to our seasonal Christmas Brew,” Tammie said.

“In addition to our tasting, ticket holders will have the opportunity to browse through our Bundaberg gallery and delve into the history of our iconic Australian brand, our craft brewing processes and everything in between.

“Everyone who takes part in one of our Brew o’clock sessions will receive a personalised bottle of Ginger Beer, which will have their face on the label, a mixed six pack filled with brews of their choice and a Bundaberg Brewed Drinks copper mug.”

Tammie said Bundaberg Brewed Drinks had 13 traditional brews, three diet brews and during Christmas they released the annual Spiced Ginger Beer.

“Ginger beer is always a common favourite!

"But lately, our pink grapefruit and passionfruit are becoming real hits with our guests,” she said.

“Our tour is one for the whole family. Our Bundaberg Barrel has something for everyone.’”

Council's Arts, Culture and Events portfolio spokesperson Cr John Learmonth said any one of the six Tours and Tastings would immerse the community’s senses in rich local produce and products.

“Community members will have a chance to not only see behind the scenes but also taste the experience of some of the region’s delicious food and drinks,” he said.

“We live in an abundant region of beautiful fresh produce and through Tours and Tastings the community can see firsthand how this is made possible.”

The 10-day Taste Bundaberg Festival will be held across the region from 5 August to 14 August. Bookings are required for Tours and Tastings.

To find out more click here.

Stages set for Childers Festival entertainment

Georgia Neville

Kate Ceberano is set to headline a fantastic line up of entertainment at the upcoming Childers Festival with a number of local artists also taking the stage to showcase their talents.

‘With a number of events making up the four-day festival which kicks off on Thursday 28 July, performances from local entertainers are set to feature at a range of events including Little Italy and Festival Day.

Ruby Mills, the Isis String Beans, Knee Deep featuring locals Mark Lavender and Clinton Honor and the Isis Multicultural Group are just a few of the local entertainers performing throughout the four days.

Council’s Arts, Culture and Events portfolio spokesperson Cr John Learmonth said the opportunity for local artists to perform to large audiences was just one of the great opportunities these local festival events provided.

“One of the great things about these festivals is the opportunity that is provided for local artists and musicians to perform, for example for local artist Ruby Mills to perform with Kate Ceberano,” Cr Learmonth said.

“Childers Festival is a fantastic event year on year, and the atmosphere that is created from the live entertainment across all of the festival events is great.

“From the ticketed events such as Opera by the Lake, through to the entertainment at the free events such as Little Italy and festival day, there is something for everyone to enjoy.”

Live entertainment on the Paverock Quarry stage during the Festival Day will include:

  • 9 - 9.15am Isis Multicultural Group
  • 9.15 - 10.15am Chilli Eating Competition
  • 10.15 - 10.45am Official Ceremony
  • 10.45 - 11.45am Creedence Clearwater Collective
  • 12.15 - 1.30pm Kate Ceberano
  • 1.45 - 2.45pm Knee Deep Band
  • 3 - 3.30pm The Pacific Belles

Here is your guide to some of the performers set to take the stage at the upcoming Childers Festival:

Isis Multicultural Group

The Isis Multicultural Group has been a part of Childers Festival since its conception.

Each year crowds are wowed with traditional folk dancing, compete with bright dresses that twirl to sounds of the Philippines.

Knee Deep

Fronted by locals Mark Lavender and Clinton Honor, Knee Deep will have you on your feet with renditions ranging from traditional and modern toe-tapping country, easy listening sing-alongs, and energetic pub rock covers.

Winners of the Spirit of Bundaberg and Bundaberg Rum Music Festival, Knee Deep audiences can expect excellent musical performance, friendly rapport and often unexpected antics that will leave them smiling and dancing until the end.

The Pacific Belles

The Pacific Belles’ unique vintage style will take you on a trip down memory lane and have you jumping and jiving to 40’s and 50’s classics.

Join Betty, Dot and Mabel as they sing classics such as Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy, Don’t sit under the apple tree, we’ll meet again and many more.

Fiesta Creations

The Fiesta Creations stilt walkers will be roaming around the festival on Sunday setting the highway alight with happiness for all to enjoy.

Have your photo with the stunning Fiesta stilt walkers as they tower above the crowds, bringing the event to life.

Fiesta Tropicale

The well toured Fiesta Tropicale and their famous band on wheels take their Latin and Caribbean sounds to the streets.

Catch them roving the festival spreading their iconic Samba sounds.

You can find the full line up of entertainment here.

Got You Covered library column

In Our Garage with Andrew and Lorraine Keen's Kombi

Adele Bennett

Andrew and Lorraine Keen’s love affair with Kombi vans started around twenty years ago when they purchased their first Kombi camper.

Tell me about your passion for Kombis?

Lorraine wanted to relive her childhood. So, we looked for a Kombi for one of her birthdays that she was having.

We ended up buying a camper van and from there we collected another two after that.

So, I guess it probably would have happened somewhere about 17 to 20 years ago, that we started the love affair with Kombi vans.

What model is this Kombi?

This is a VW Type 1 Split Window, one of the last of the Type 1's that was made, it was made in 1967.

We have had Blue Bus now for, must be 15 years.

We call this one Blue Bus mainly because it is blue and we couldn't think of anything else to call it.

Do you use it for camping?

We do take it away camping occasionally.

We tend to take the camper more often because it's got everything on board.

But this one here's got a full-size bed, so it's a lot more comfortable, but albeit like sleeping in a tin can because there's no lining whatsoever.

Darn cold in the winter and darn hot in the summer.

What makes the Blue Bus so unique?

These windows are actually a form of ventilation.

They assist in the air flow through the car, and they do it quite well, even on warm days.

But you wouldn't get in there with a nice hairdo because there's nothing left of it by the end of the trip.

Have you made many modifications?

We bought the car actually with some of the modifications already done.

They're usually a little bit higher than this, but this one's been lowered a little bit and it's had the wheels replaced with more modern style wheels with wider tyres, and the engine's been replaced with a 1600 CC modified engine.

The suspension has been changed a little bit because it was lowered. So primarily when they first came out, they had what they call reduction hubs which help the low performance engine drive the wheels.

So, they have been taken off because they weren't needed anymore with a more powerful engine.

What do you love most about owning it?

They're one of those cars that people don't seem to mind if you're holding up the traffic and everyone will give you a toot and a wave.

So yeah, they're iconic, I suppose. And yeah, they're just a lot of fun to drive.

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

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Bulldogs legends visit Bundaberg

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