Weekender: Locals to perform festive favourites

Phytocapping trial shows positive results

Maria McMahon

An innovative phytocapping trial has shown positive results at a local landfill, not only minimising the generation of leachate but creating habitat for wildlife.

Bundaberg Regional Council has implemented sustainable capping technology which, over time, is set to transform the landfill landscapes of the region.

Known as a phytocap, this pioneering technology uses scientific modelling to select a combination of native plants and soils which act as an efficient bio-pump system. 

This controls the amount of rainfall that can access the compacted waste, reducing the percolation of water and protecting local groundwater supply.

The Qunaba Waste Management facility’s phytocapping trial began two years ago and after showing positive results, planning for stage two is underway.

Senior Environmental Technical Officer Victoria McKay initiated the trial and said the site looked vastly different after two years of growth.

“Our sensors are showing the tree and grass species which survived the earlier drought are now able to extract moisture from the soil profile down to 1.5 metres below the surface,” she said.

“This has effectively reduced drainage into the waste mass and minimised the generation of leachate.”

Victoria said she was pleased to see the trial site had also created a habitat that attracted more wildlife. 

Trial cameras have captured a burrowing bandicoot at night and a local pheasant coucal investigating the bandicoot burrows, possibly for nesting.

“Burrowing bandicoots increase the organic carbon content and aeration of the soil, in turn improving soil quality and supporting healthy root growth,” she said.

“A busy bandicoot can move upward of 13kg of soil a night, burying the dry fuel load of dead grasses and leaf litter on the surface as they forage and burrow.

“This also helps to reduce the risk of fires. “

Phytocapping trial moves ahead

The design for the next stage of the project is complete and will increase the trial area to around 2.6 ha toward the northern end of the landfill along Grange Road.

An onsite nursery is under construction to raise the 3200 native trees for the next stage. 

Soils and mulch are being stockpiled to begin a staged construction program for the additional trial site which will begin around October 2023. 

While new mulch stock won’t be available to the public this round, the material is a vital resource for the trial, helping the soil to retain moisture and native trees to get established.

Methane emissions will be monitored from the stage two trial area to ensure the greenhouse gas emission profile is managed effectively with the new cap design.

Council's waste and recycling portfolio spokesperson Cr Tanya McLoughlin said the innovative phytocapping trial was a whole-of-council initiative.

She said the Parks and Land Protection teams provided their skillset in the design of the nursery while the GIS and Survey teams had been tracking the progress of the canopy coverage using drone technology and mapping software.

“Through some fantastic team work, the results of this two-year trial have shown how phytocapping can sustainably manage our landfill sites while boosting the environment,” Cr McLoughlin said.

“Congratulations to those involved.”

Photo: Assisting with the phytocapping trial at the Qunaba Waste Management Facility in December 2020 is Landfill Operations Coordinator Kerry Dalton with Landfill Attendant Robert Beck. Plus, the same site in 2022.

Celebrate the festive season with Saint Stella

Georgia Neville

The Bundaberg community is invited to celebrate the festive season with a talented local cast performing Christmas favourites as part of the Saint Stella Presents production.

Noel – A Christmas Concert is a showcase of homegrown singers, musicians and performers, set to be an occasion for the Bundaberg community to enjoy uplifting songs and embrace the Christmas season.

There will be a matinee and an evening performance at the Moncrieff Entertainment Centre on Saturday 17 of December at 2 pm and 7 pm.

The matinee will be accompanied by AUSLAN interpreters to support our inclusive show experience.

Noel – A Christmas Concert will be hosted by Rebecca Hutchins and Kyle Schneider and there may even be a few other surprise special guests popping up throughout the concert.

Saint Stella Presents co-founder Hannah Jacobs said the event aimed to create an opportunity for families to get into the festive spirit.

“With the annual Bundaberg Carols by Candlelight event being cancelled the last two years in a row due to unfavourable weather, we wanted to create a similar experience for the Bundaberg community that would go ahead rain, hail, or shine,” Hannah said.

“Using the Moncrieff Entertainment Centre as our venue allows us to do this.

“We also wanted to put on a show that would give as many talented local singers, musicians and performers the opportunity to be a part of a professional show right here in their hometown.

“Many of our featured soloists have performed on stages around the world and it is a privilege to have such a talented group of performers involved with our Christmas concert this year.”

The concert will feature an extraordinary line-up including soloists Suellen Cusack-Greensill, Toni Jordan, Jessica Savage, Ruby Mills, Stella Hutchins, Logan Tinney, Nate Stevenson, Natalie Sweetapple and many more talented musicians and performers.

Saint Stella Presents receives RADF support

Hannah said Saint Stella Presents received a Regional Arts Development Fund (RADF) grant to assist with the show.

“We were very fortunate to be receive a RADF grant to assist with the Noel – A Christmas Concert project this year,” she said.

“This has allowed us to ensure we present a diverse, inclusive and polished show for the Bundaberg community.”

All proceeds raised through the sale of programs at the event will be donated back to the Mayor’s Christmas Cheer Appeal.

Find out more about the Saint Stella Presents production and book tickets here.

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.

Belle Eden naturalisation wins state award

Megan Dean

The Belle Eden Waterway Naturalisation project has won a state award for landscape rehabilitation and sustainable landscape projects.

Evolve Environmental Solutions, who was contracted by Bundaberg Regional Council to undertake the project, took out first prize in the Landscape Rehabilitation category in the recent Landscape Queensland Construction Excellence Awards.

The Landscape Queensland judge said the project encompassed the effective habitat restoration of a drain to create an attractive naturalised creek.

“The waterway includes well-constructed drainage that is able to withstand high rainfall events,” the judge commented.

“The stormwater management strategy incorporates the creation of a more balanced ecological system for the community and includes a thriving high planting diversity.

“This project is impressive and will have a positive effect on the environmental health of the waterways in this region.”

Contractor proud to win Belle Eden state award

Evolve Environmental Solutions Regional Manager Conor Ryan said they were very proud to receive the award.

“While the Landscape Queensland awards are generally focused towards more traditional landscaping of parks, structures and fancy backyards, the Landscape Rehabilitation Award is the only one of its kind and is becoming a hotly contested award as the environmental side of the industry gains more recognition,” Mr Ryan said.

“We believe it is important to recognise the increased importance of creating not just rehabilitated areas but rehabilitated areas that blend with traditional landscape areas as Belle Eden does.

“The success of this project meant it was an obvious choice to nominate.”

While its unique scope and weather delays made it a challenging project Mr Ryan said they were happy with the results.

“The benefits from the project will be two-fold.

“Firstly, the environmental benefits mean that water flowing down Belle Eden will [be] slowed down and filtered by the plants, leading to less erosion and pollutants ending up in rivers downstream while also creating a habitat corridor for wildlife.

“Secondly, the extensive turfed areas, footpaths and seats and shelter allow the public to continue to utilise this space for kickabouts, picnics and general exercise all with a beautiful, natural backdrop.”

Belle Eden state award well deserved

Bundaberg Regional Council Mayor Jack Dempsey said the Belle Eden naturalisation project was deserving of the state award.

“The naturalisation of the Belle Eden waterway is a fantastic example of Council’s strong focus on protecting and enhancing the environment,” Mayor Dempsey said.

“The end product is an effective stormwater drainage solution which has greater environmental benefit and which doubles as a new area for families and residents to enjoy.

“Similar naturalisation work is already underway at Washpool Creek and will no doubt have an outcome just as positive and well-received as Belle Eden.”

This Bundaberg Regional Council project was funded with support from the Federal Government Local Roads and Community Infrastructure project.

Go nuts for all-new chocolate room

Georgia Neville

Macadamias Australia has expanded its ever-growing farm experience, with a new chocolate viewing room allowing visitors to see a chocolatier working their magic.

With Macadamias Australia's chocolate range already available for purchase at the store, the team saw the opportunity to add the chocolate viewing room for visitors to see part of the factory in action.

Director Janelle Gerry said the chocolate room provided the opportunity for consumers to get a taste of the tree-to-table experience.

“Our visitor experience is an immersive macadamia wonderland custom-built to delight all the senses,” Janelle said.

“When visitors come to the site, they can observe the whole process from macadamia nuts growing outside then watch them transform into a premium product before their eyes.

“A viewing window looks over the chocolate tumblers where our chocolate-coated balls are made, as well as state-of-the-art cluster and paste machines.

“The room is also where products are packaged and sealed before moving on to be labelled.”

Janelle said creating products in the new chocolate room was not a simple task, with many flavours needing to be understood to create the perfect flavour.

“Having a dedicated chocolatier is paramount,” she said.

“Especially in product development, where broad experience, an intimate knowledge in testing, food standards and safety are critical.

“Our chocolatier must understand the subtle flavour profiles of milk, dark and white chocolate and know which flavours interact and complement them.

“Chocolate is universally loved, and we can’t pick a favourite.

“We showcase milk, dark and white chocolate through our Pure Indulgence range and we’ve spent many hours carefully curating interesting flavours that harmonise with them.

“The White Chocolate and Lemon Myrtle Macadamia Baubles in our Christmas Collection are very popular already, and we’ve also created White and Dark Chocolate Macadamia Duos for a double-dipped dose of deliciousness wrapped around our premium macadamia kernels.”

The chocolate viewing room operates on weekdays for the public to see.

Find out more about Macadamia’s Australia here.

Other stories: Local businesses shine at awards night

Inclusive Bundaberg sports program celebrated


STEPS Autism Treehouse and STEPS Community Support is celebrating an inclusive sporting milestone, with the Stepping into Bundaberg Sports Program reaching two years.

The initiative provides a range of opportunities for children with ASD in the Bundaberg Region, promoting physical activity and socialisation.

Thirteen different sporting activities have been offered during the program ranging from rugby league, basketball and cricket all the way to archery, ten pin bowling and stand-up paddle boarding.

The opportunities have been made available for free to the Bundaberg community.

STEPS Group Australia managing director Carmel Crouch said the aim of the program was to improve social inclusion and fitness in a safe, fun and inclusive environment.

She said by providing an inclusive and supportive environment, children aged 12 to 18 could enjoy many of the benefits of being involved in both team and individual sports.

“More than 250 children were involved, and we feel incredibly privileged to be able to offer this to the Bundaberg community,” Ms Crouch said.

An event will kick off at 3.30 pm at PCYC Bundaberg to wrap up this year's program and celebrate the children and sporting clubs that participated along the way.

There will be awards presented for participants as well as giveaways and prizes for all involved.

“Another benefit of the program is that we are able to connect with families and their children living with autism that don’t already have any form of support network,” Ms Crouch said.

“We have a wonderful opportunity to be able to provide support to our communities with access to resources, life skills programs, social events and education.”

Find out more about the Stepping into Bundaberg Sports Program here.

Celebrate 130 years of Bert Hinkler

Ashley Schipper

Bert Hinkler's favourite cake will be served up to every ticketed entry to the Hinkler Hall of Aviation on Thursday 8 December to celebrate the local aviation pioneer's birthday.

“Hinkler Cake” was believed to have been baked by his mother, Frances, when Bert returned home to Bundaberg on 11 April 1921 after his record breaking flight from Sydney to Bundaberg.

Made with raisins, dates and currants, visitors to the Hinkler Hall of Aviation will be treated to a slice while delving into Bert's history and commemorating his adventurous spirit and his 130 years.

The Fly with Bert exhibit will also be displayed within the J.A. Lex Rowland Gallery and features 360-degree drone footage which has captured the view from Bert’s wild ride under the railway and Burnett Traffic Bridge back in 1921.

While housed in the gallery, this exhibit is free for this day only for the public to experience in addition to looking at Bert’s original Avro Baby aircraft on loan from Qld Museum.

History of Bert Hinkler

Bundaberg-born Bert Hinkler was a man fascinated by flight.

His captivation with the wonders of air travel took him across the world and made him a pioneer and household name in his field.

Herbert John Louis (Bert) Hinkler AFC DSM was born in Bundaberg, Queensland on 8 December 1892.

By the age of 19 he had hand-built man-carrying gliders and already flew them successfully at Mon Repos beach.

Bert Hinkler died in 1933 at the age of 40.

He was endeavouring to establish yet another record-breaking solo flight when his aircraft crashed in the Appennine Mountains in Italy.

To discover more about Bert and his history, visit the Hinkler Hall of Aviation in the Botanic Gardens.

Local residents can enjoy one free entry ticket when bringing in two paying adult or senior visitors as part of the local ambassador program.

Find out more here.

What's on

We’re going to Graceland at the Moncrieff

Georgia Neville

Wendy Matthews and Grace Knight are ready to take the Bundaberg community to Graceland, performing the songs of Paul Simon in their new show.

In their first show together, and for a limited time, these legends of Aussie music present the songs of one of the world's greatest living songwriters.

Both Wendy and Grace are award-winning artists, looking forward to taking to the Moncrieff Entertainment Centre stage on Saturday 11 March.

‘We're Going To Graceland – The Songs of Paul Simon and Simon & Garfunkel' showcases the vocal talents of these two music industry giants, and they will thrill audiences with their interpretations of an iconic collection of songs.

We're going to Graceland heads to regional audiences

Grace Knight said she was looking forward to performing with Wendy and taking their show to a number of regional locations.

“This show works well in a theatre setting and while I’ve been touring constantly for the last 40 years, I always love coming back to Queensland,” Grace said.

“We’re only going to be doing this show together for a limited time, Wendy has projects she wants to do and I have both my solo work and Eurogliders’ projects and shows.

“It’s just great that after 20 years of talking about doing a show together, we’re finally on-stage together having a blast.”

Wendy Matthews said the show was set to be a lot of fun, encouraging the community to get out and enjoy the performance.

“This show has a lot of joy and fun and Grace and I have a blast doing it and we have a cracking band,” Wendy said.

“Grace and I find much joy in performing together and I think that’s infectious.

“Paul Simon is such a wonderful lyricist, the stories in his songs are humorous, profound, and everything in between.

“I’ve been a fan of his for many decades but Grace was the one who suggested his music.

“I thought it was perfect because it includes Simon and Garfunkel from the 60’s and 70’s through Paul’s African feels.

“It’s a pretty eclectic catalogue.”

Tickets for the event are available here.

We're Going To Graceland – The Songs of Paul Simon and Simon & Garfunkel event details:

Date: Saturday 11 March 2023
Time: Foyer Opens: 6.30pm; Auditorium Doors Open: 7pm; Act 1: 7.30pm – Guest Artist; Set: Hat Fitz & Cara; Interval: 8.15pm; Act 2: 8.35pm (to 9.55pm)
Ticket Prices: Adult $69.90, Concession $64.90, Student $59.90, Child U/18 $55.90, Group 10+ $59.90, Child U/2 Free with no seat allocated

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