Weekender: Ruby named Speed Queen ambassador

Aquatic Centre buildings take shape

Emma Turnbull

With approximately 3,000 cubic metres of concrete poured to date and structural steel now being erected the Bundaberg Aquatic Centre continues to take shape.

The state-of-the-art and year-round facility, which will cater to training, competition, learn-to-swim and rehabilitation, is on track and the structures are now clearly visible.

The significant project is set to offer immense potential to boost the local economic, social and health outcomes for the entire community.

The 50 m international competition standard pool, 25 m pool and the program pool have now been poured with hydrostatic testing of all the structures underway.

Structural steel for several multipurpose and hire rooms is being erected, which will allow sports groups and community organisations to undertake out-of-pool activities within the facility.

The 50 m x 10 lane pool will be international competition (FINA) standard, providing state-of-the-art training facilities for the region’s elite and up-and-coming athletes.

This will accommodate and attract more regional, national and even international competitions to the region, designed with appropriate judging, timing and marshalling facilities.

When completed, all three pools in the new Bundaberg Aquatic Centre will be accessible, including lifts, ramps and ladders. The 25 m and warm program pool will also have a hoist.

The centre will also have one accessible adult change space with a ceiling hoist. There will also be a second ceiling hoist in one of the accessible toilets.

It is anticipated that construction of the structures which will sit over the pools and the buildings to service the site, including a kiosk and administration areas, will commence late 2023 or early 2024, weather permitting.

The Bundaberg Aquatic Centre has been funded with support from the Queensland Government Works for Queensland program.

Read more on the project page.

Local teams gear up for Mystery Box Rally

Emma Orford

Driven by a desire to help find a cure for cancer, three local teams are ready to hit the road as this year’s Mystery Box Rally comes to Bundaberg.

The five-day fundraising adventure starts at Lions Park on Saturday 12 August and ends there again on Wednesday 16 August with thousands of kilometres covered in between.

The 295 participants will travel in teams of two with each night’s stopover only unveiled to them at the start of each day.

The annual Mystery Box Rally is one of Australia’s largest independently run fundraisers for Cancer Council with a fundraising goal this year of $1 million. 

Elliott Heads residents Kane and Emma Maslen are taking part as Team Jolly Roger in honour of Kane’s father who they lost to cancer.

“It was probably a few years ago that Kane came across the Mystery Box Rally, he’s always been into cars and that kind of stuff but they always seemed like too much effort because they were too far away,” Emma said.

“We registered our interest because we thought maybe one day we would be able to do it.

“Kane’s dad Roger passed away about a year previously and that’s what kind of prompted us to move here.

“After we moved, we looked and said, ‘Oh my goodness, there’s one starting and finishing in Bundaberg'!

“It felt like Roger was giving us the push.

“He loved boats and had a little yacht and that kind of stuff and he had a bit of a mischievous spirit as well, so we thought of the Jolly Roger to fly the flag for him.”

Kane went about looking for a car that would fit the race specifications, being 25 years or older, roadworthy and with no 4WD or AWD capabilities.

“We’ll be driving over five days so hopefully the car will make it,” Kane said, admitting he was quietly confident.

“We’re excited to see where we’ll be going and it’ll be a chance to see parts of Australia that you don’t normally get to see, off the main roads and onto dirt roads.”

“We have been joking the whole time about how we don’t know which is going to break first – the user or the car!” Emma said.

Box Rallies

The Mystery Box Rally is part of Box Rallies, a concept devised by James Freeman in 2009 after both his parents died of cancer within 12 months of each other.

Box Rallies is now the leading individual fundraiser for Cancer Council nationally generating over $39 million for cancer research and helping the lives of millions of Australians who are facing their own unknown journeys.

James said he was confident the teams would have an exceptional time with the rally coming to Bundaberg.

“Mystery Box Rally is not a race, but a reward for fundraising efforts,” James said.

“All of our rallies are so much fun, but Mystery Box keeps delivering year after year with more and more people returning to participate.

“After a cold but amazing Mystery Box Rally in 2022 we are chasing the warmth with the announcement that the 2023 start and finish line is Bundaberg, Queensland.

“Bundaberg’s position between Mackay and Brisbane gives us a great area to travel for the rally with plenty of amazing bush tracks to explore and country/outback hospitality.

“We know that a lot of participants will enjoy everything Bundaberg has to offer, plus the days prior and post rally with some winter warmth.”

Botanic Gardens bustle with 1.2m visitors

Natasha Harth

Visitor numbers at the Bundaberg Botanic Gardens have been revealed for the first time with new data confirming more than 1.2 million people enjoyed the area within 12 months.

Recorded between July 2022 and June 2023, the data was collected through a newly introduced visitor counting system with a total of 1,219,811 people through the gates.

Council installed the visitor counting devices on all the road and pedestrian entries to the Botanic Gardens just over a year ago to provide important information about the number and seasonal variations of visitation.

Mayor Jack Dempsey said the visitation numbers were a wonderful result and Council could use the helpful data to improve visitor experience within the Botanic Gardens.

“The Bundaberg Botanic Gardens are highly valued by the community, and we now have the data to confirm how actively the community accesses the park,” he said.

“As a key tourist destination, the Botanic Gardens provide important economic benefits to the region, with many visitors attending the various paid attractions within the precinct.

“From visitors who come only occasionally to those who enjoy the pathways and spaces every day, the data collected shows the Botanic Gardens are one of the most visited Council-run attractions in the region.

“Having 27 hectares of wonderful green space close to the heart of Bundaberg that the community can access freely year-round is a tremendous boost to the active lifestyle of our beautiful region.”

Mayor Dempsey said having the data to track and analyse visitation will help Council to allocate resources and inform decisions around the location of infrastructure, amenities, and pathways.

Botanic Gardens visitors share favourite features

Visitors from Sydney Marilyn and Keith Bridgement said they had spent a fabulous two days in the Botanic Gardens, taking advantage of the two-day pass to the attractions.

"We booked a week in Bundaberg because we thought we've just got to have a longer time here," Marilyn said.

"The Hinkler Museum is a fabulous tribute to Bert Hinkler as an aviator, the fascinating stories we've heard, and all the guides were tremendous," Keith added.

Local visitor Ken Hendrie said he tried to visit at least once a week to walk his dogs Lulu and Luna.

"The parks are a beautiful place with lots of paths and places to walk the dogs," he said.

Popular events, like school holiday programs, saw a hike in visitor numbers, as the community took advantage of the free activities on offer.

The highest monthly visitation between 1 July 2022 and 30 June 2023 was recorded in May with 138,732 visitors.

Council has undertaken several improvements to the Botanic Gardens over the last year, including upgrading the boardwalk, installing kilometres of new walking track and development of a dry rainforest area.

Further information to help visitors plan their trip to the Bundaberg Botanic Gardens can be found in this interactive map.

Nails Hub new addition to Hinkler Central

Morgan Everett

Nails Hub Bundaberg opened last month with owner Meiqi Shao excited to open her own salon and continue working in the industry she loves.

After moving to the region eight years ago, Meiqi said she had always found herself working in the nail industry.

She said the journey had not always been easy, but she enjoyed seeing the delight on people’s faces after their nails were finished.

“I love making people’s nails look beautiful and see the smile on their faces, I just feel so proud of what I have achieved that day,” Meiqi said.

Meiqi said the support from her family gave her the courage to open the nail salon.

“I never thought I could have my own salon as it takes a lot of courage and needs lot of support,” she said.

“Luckily I have both, my three-month-old baby girl gave me the courage and confidence, alongside my husband and family.”

Meiqi said a unique feature of her shop was that she provided late night bookings and had a strong focus on customer wait times.

“If you'd like to come in after work, I take bookings afterhours until 8 pm,” she said.

“Booking(s) preferred if possible, walk-ins are welcome but depends on the day flow.

“I focus on customer service and tidiness in the shop because I think these two are the most important to (help) keep the customer coming back to me.”

Nails Hub is located at 16 Maryborough Street, Shop 40, Hinkler Central.

Karen Geiszler finalist in national awards

Toni Schuch

Local business woman Karen Geiszler’s dedication and hard work is paying off as she has been nominated as a finalist in a number of national awards.

Karen has been named an AusMumpreneur Awards finalist in this year’s Beauty and the Rural and Remote categories and she has also been selected as a finalist for the Australian Beauty Industry Awards in the categories, Sole Operator of the Year and Educator of the year.

The AusMumpreneur Awards presented by The Women’s Business School celebrate and recognise Australian mums in business who have achieved outstanding success in areas such as business excellence, product development, customer service and digital innovation.

The Australian Beauty Industry Awards (ABIA) provide the national beauty and make up industry with a much needed, and often requested, benchmark of excellence in business and creative ability on a state by state basis.

Karen owns both local businesses Karen Geiszler Hair & KG Beauty and K G Beauty & Modality Practical Training.

She said she was delighted to be named as a finalist in the AusMumpreneur and ABIA awards and she was proud of her achievements.

“There are many benefits to balancing business and motherhood,” she said.

“Being a mum has made me a better businesswoman.

“I’ve learned valuable skills like patience, problem-solving and time management, which have translated into success in my entrepreneurial endeavours.”

Karen’s advice to others thinking about starting their own enterprise was to define their goals and priorities, while identifying what mattered most to them.

“This will help you make decisions that align with your priorities and strike a balance between your business and family life,” Karen said.

The winners of the AusMumpreneur Awards will be announced at the AusMumpreneur Awards Gala Dinner in Sydney on August 24.

Find more information on AusMumpreneur and the awards here.

ABIA winners will be announced at the Gala Awards on August 27 at The Star in Sydney.

Find more information of the ABIA awards here.

National Veteran Motorcycle Rally revs into town

Emma Orford

Engines are at the ready for the 14th annual National Veteran Motorcycle Rally taking place at the Bundaberg Recreational Precinct from 20 – 25 August.

Hosted by the Childers Area of the Historical Motorcycle Club of Queensland (HMCCQ) and with support from Bundaberg Regional Council, this biennial rally will see over 110 eligible motorcycles on display with members of the public invited to come along and take a look.

This prestigious event attracts both national and international interest as it showcases motorcycles manufactured before 31 December 1918 as working examples of Australia’s motoring heritage.

HMCCQ Childers Area secretary Rowan Bond said he would encourage locals to make the most of a national rally like this being held in their own backyard.

“This is a unique opportunity for local community to see these bikes being used for their intended purpose,” Rowan said.

“Some bikes are the only surviving example of the model and all are now extremely rare and expensive to purchase or restore.

“It is unlikely this rally will be repeated in this area in the foreseeable future as it is only held every two years and each state takes turns hosting the rally."

The HMCCQ Childers Area successfully applied for one of Council’s community grants, providing significant financial support for the event as well as a reduced rate for using the Bundaberg Recreational Precinct as a venue.

“Bundaberg Regional Council agreed to assist the rally both with financial and in kind assistance,” Rowan said.

“Our grant has been used to purchase safety equipment, shade gazebos, memorabilia and mementos that can be provided to rally participants and officials. 

“As we have entrants for all states of Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and the United Kingdom, we are able to highlight the excellent sponsorship that the Council has provided. 

“The participants repay that kindness by spending substantial amounts of money in the region supporting businesses and local organisations.

“There is no way the event could take place if that relief was not applied as we are a very small area in terms of membership with very limited funds available.”

THE HMCCQ has been in existence since 1970 with the the HMCCQ Childers Area established in July 2018.

The club now has about 35 members who meet at the Isis Club on the first Sunday of every month where visitors are very welcome.

“The Childers Area of HMCCQ Inc is a very enthusiastic group of people who operate in family orientated club that encourages partners and children to take part in club activities,” Rowan said.

“This is our motoring heritage and it is very important to preserve these vehicles for future generations.”s.”

14th Annual Veteran Motorcycle Rally

  • Monday 21 August:  9 am - 10 am Bundaberg Rec Precinct, 12 - 1.30 pm Moore Park Tavern
  • Tuesdayu 22 August: 9 am to 10 am Bundaberg Rec Precinct, 12.30 pm - 1.30 pm Woodgate Tavern
  • Wednesday 23 August: 9 am – 10 am Bundaberg Rec Precinct, 10.30 am to 11.30 am Macadamia Australia Café
  • Thursday 24 August: 9 am – 10 am Bundaberg Rec Precinct, 12.30 - 1.30 pm Cresent St. Childers
  • Friday 25 August: 9 am – 10 am Bundaberg Rec Precinct, 11.30 am - 12.30 pm St Georges Hall South Kolan

Find out more about the event here.

Liane shares story in National
Stroke Week

Toni Schuch

It’s been 23 years since a stroke changed Redridge resident Liane Neale’s life and now she’s raising awareness about available support and resources to prevent strokes from occurring.

National Stroke Week is held from Monday 7 to Sunday 13 August by the Stroke Foundation, which aims to bring people together to raise awareness and aid in the recovery process for those who have experienced a stroke.

When Liane was impacted by stroke she was aged just 38.

Liane was fit, healthy and had no known risk factors for stroke.

“Unfortunately, back then there was no education around stroke, we didn’t know about the F.A.S.T. signs of stroke,” Liane said.

“I had to visit two different hospitals until I saw a neurologist and learned about my stroke.

“I started rehab the very next day, and two decades later I am still going to rehab.”

According to the Stroke Foundation, Liane is among the 87,000 survivors of stroke living in Queensland.

Everyday strokes impact around 20 Australians, aged between 18 and 65.

Liane said she continued to fight stroke in honour of her family.

“It takes a lot of persistence, medication and support from your family, and there are a lot of lasting impacts following a stroke,” Liane said.

“My goal was to get back to work, and after 18 months I did.

“I fought to get back to the best possible version of myself.”

Liane has put her fighting spirit to good use and has recently become a StrokeSafe speaker.

She uses her personal experience to help educate Queenslanders on stroke awareness and prevention.

Stroke Foundation Chief Executive Officer Dr Lisa Murphy said regional Australians were 17%more likely to experience a stroke than their metropolitan counterparts.

“We know that the faster a stroke patient gets to hospital and receives medical treatment, the better their chance of survival and successful rehabilitation,” Dr Murphy said.

 “More than 80% of strokes are preventable.

“You can help saving a life by learning the F.A.S.T. signs of stroke.”

Think F.A.S.T and ask these questions:

Face – Check their face. Has their mouth drooped?

Arms – Can they lift both arms?

Speech – Is their speech slurred? Do they understand you?

Time – Time is critical. If you see any of these signs, call 000 straight away.

More information about stroke prevention and awareness can be found here.

What's on

Public Art Masterplan tick of approval

Ashley Schipper

The region's unique identity will be showcased through public art into the future after the formal adoption of the Public Art Masterplan.

Given the tick of approval at last month's Bundaberg Regional Council Ordinary Meeting, the masterplan encompasses any artwork on Council-owned land or venues that is being entered into the public art collection.

The following guiding principles reflect the vision of the Public Art Masterplan, and will underpin future public artworks:

  • Actively seek partnerships to grow a collection that reflects our region
  • Manage the Public Art Collection responsibly within available resources
  • Encourages diverse voices to be represented in public art through authentic and ethical engagement
  • Promote public art as a tourism product of the region
  • Recognise and celebrate Aboriginal, Torres Strait and South Sea Islander culture and stories
  • Support the development of local artists and the growth of our creative industries to deliver art that shapes our region.

Mayor Jack Dempsey said the Public Art Masterplan reflected Council’s continued commitment to guide the development of the region’s thriving arts and cultural sector through a strategic framework and Public Art Program.

He said the plan was the very first of its kind for Council and with it came significant opportunities.

"In the past there has been an ad hoc approach across the region to the development of public art," he said.

"We now have a strategy that will provide a clear direction to address the needs of our

Mayor Dempsey said public art played an important role in activating public spaces and attracting more people to the region.

"Pieces that acknowledge and celebrate cultural identity can become avenues for storytelling and community engagement," he said.

"Public art can offer opportunities for reflection and, in doing so, foster community connectivity.

"This masterplan is forward facing, it’s a plan for our future."

Development of the masterplan

The Public Art Masterplan has been developed over a two-year period, from 2021-2023, in which consultation with a range of community members and groups has been undertaken to determine priorities and preferences for public art.

On 8 March 2021 Council partnered with The Ideas Distillery for the provision of a guiding document for the development and implementation of Council policies and programs related to Public Art. 

During 2021-2023, internal and external consultation was conducted with stakeholder groups, with a discussion paper and draft masterplan released for community feedback with accompanying surveys.

"Through extensive consultation we know that our community values public art, a sentiment which is acknowledged and shared by Council," Mayor Dempsey said.

"We recognise the importance of arts within our community to foster a sense of self and sense of pride."

As part of the masterplan, applications to Council for public art will now be considered through an online application portal.

Council assessment committee will assess public art submissions and make recommendations to Bundaberg Regional Council with projects requiring a Council resolution before they can proceed.

Find out more by viewing the Public Art Masterplan here.

History of Winfield School


The current Winfield School building, which is no longer in operation, was first moved to the site in 1926.

Settlement of the Winfield area began in the 1890s when the prominent landowning family of the time, the Skyrings, gave up land to be subdivided for the establishment of a community.

According to Neville Rackemann (Gooburrum 1886-1986, Gooburrum, Gooburrum Shire Council, 1986), a school building was soon erected and then moved to the current Winfield school site on land that was donated by Ernest J Grills, Councillor and Chairman of Gooburrum Shire Council.

In 1922, the original school building was deemed too small, so residents formed a Building Committee to secure a larger structure.

By 1923 the committee had obtained the Baffle Creek School building, a structure that had been built to Queensland Government school standards but was by then closed.

The Baffle Creek School building was moved to the Winfield School site at the residents’ expense and opened for enrolment in 1924.

This building was quickly found also to be too small for the growing Winfield district population, and another larger building was sought, this time from Flinders Shire in Central Queensland.

The Flinders school building replaced the smaller building in 1926.

This historic building is still in existence as part of Winfield School, and is listed among Bundaberg Regional Council's Local Heritage Places.

The school building is a small high-set weatherboard timber structure set on concrete stumps with a timber and corrugated iron window hood over a set of three windows.

Landscaping in the school grounds include a number of large mature mango trees.

The school was closed in 1942 due to low enrolment, reopening in 1948 and continuing to operate until 2017.

Winfield School’s final students were Charlie and Niklas Rasmussen who attended the school in 2017 before it was mothballed due to lack of enrolment.

Though not officially closed, the school is currently recorded as not in operation.

In Our Group with Bundaberg Speedway Karts

Morgan Everett

Put your pedal to the metal with the Bundaberg Speedway Karts as long term member Brent Attard tells us how to get in on the action.

Tell us about Bundaberg Speedway Karts?

It's an introductory class for speedway racing.

You can start at seven and there's no age limit, there's nine different classes depending on ages, engine classes and weights and they're nationally affiliated with Speedway Australia.

If someone wants to go speedway racing is probably the cheapest way to get involved.

There are four tracks within 300 kilometres of Bundaberg that hold regular race meetings.

The karts we race are very similar to the ones that race at University Drive, the Bundy Kart Club, with a few small changes.

They are a little bit higher off the ground and there's different tires used to work on the dirt rather than on bitumen.

When and where do you meet?

We get allocated dates from Carina Speedway that we can use and then we advertise them.

We have about three or four race meetings a year at Carina Speedway and you can race pretty much once a month, all year.

How can the community be involved?

The best way to contact the club is via the Facebook page and the page is very responsive.

They will pass on someone’s phone number to further answer your questions.

Alternatively, Bundy Karts, who are a shop in town, they're part of Hydraulink.

They race other carts, but they've also got good information on the speedway karts.

What events happen during the year?

The event on 19 August is a club race meeting and it could possibly be our last one for the year.

The racing usually starts around 10 am and goes through to maybe 4 or 5 pm.

Why is the group important to the Bundaberg Region?

It's another way to get kids involved in motorsport and there are many people that you talk to that have got kids involved in motorsport that think the benefits far outweigh the costs.

It improves their social skills, mechanical abilities and their ability to react to situations that they wouldn't ordinarily be based in.

How to hire a venue

Social touch life members honoured


Bundaberg Brothers Social Touch Football Association recently recognised the outstanding contribution of two of its long-serving committee members through life membership awards.

Andrew McCracken and Kathy Foley become the eighth and ninth Life Members of the association.

Andrew joined the committee as president a decade ago, a role he continues to carry today, and continues to be a strong champion of promoting the social aspects of the competition and involving as many people with varying skill levels as possible.

“I’ve been playing with Brother Social Touch since 1998 in various divisions, and in recent years have had the privilege of playing alongside two of my daughters,” Andrew said.

“I stepped into the president role as a way give back, and I’m always looking for ways to keep our players and teams returning each season, and welcome new players to the field.

“I was humbled to receive the life member award – the 10 years of services has gone very quick – and I was even more honoured to be awarded it on the same night as Kathy, who gives so much.”

Kathy has served as the treasurer for more than a decade and continues in this role today and is renowned for going above and beyond her duties, contributing to many other aspects of the comp.

“I recall commenting to a few former committee members at an end of season dinner about 10 years ago that I thought it was time to give back to the club that had provided me with so much enjoyment with my friends and family for the six years prior,” Kathy said.

“For me, figures are my bread and butter and something that I’m good at, so it was obvious choice to take over the reins from our outgoing treasurer at the time.

“Since that time, I’ve built up my confidence and taken on a referring role as well as playing for two mixed teams, Marshalls and Balanced 4670, which I thoroughly enjoy.”

Andrew and Kathy join the ranks of Life Member alongside Geoff Kirkman, Greg Messenger, Janine Gordon, Mick Hochen, Shane Cavanough, Stewart Greggor and Eddie Whitworth (posthumous), who were inducted in 2021 for their longevity and commitment to the competition.

The association’s recent end-of-season dinner also saw Emma Hodge awarded Referee of the Year.

“Emma has been involved in our comp for many years, as a player, transitioning to a player and ref and more recently, making a full transition to refereeing,” Andrew said.

“Emma’s reliability, eagerness to fill in where needed and positive attitude make her a great asset to our comp, and we’re thankful to have her.”

More information about the comp can be found here www.facebook.com/brotherssocialtouch.