Weekender Molly

Upcoming demolition to make way for new skate park

Ashley Schipper

The demolition of the Walla Street skate bowl in Central Park is set to take place in early May, making way for the construction of a brand new facility for skating enthusiasts.

Mayor Jack Dempsey said the state-of-the-art facility was part of Council's commitment in enhancing liveability and promoting healthy and active lifestyles in the community.

“Council is continuously adding to our outdoor spaces through new pathways and recreational areas for residents and visitors to our region to enjoy,” he said.

“Through these many projects we aim to meet the diverse recreation needs of the community, promote social inclusion and provide health and wellness benefits.

“This skate park ticks all of those boxes.”

Mayor Dempsey said after extensive community consultation and a rigorous design process, it was exciting to see the final stages unfolding.

“The new skate park will be a fantastic addition to our region, providing a top facility for skaters to practice, to refine and to finesse their skills,” he said.

“It will also offer up new experiences for those just learning to ride and skate, for families looking to get out and about with the kids and for residents wanting to try something new.

“I am looking forward to seeing the skate park come to life in the coming months.”

Divisional representative Cr Tracey McPhee said the area in Central Park would be ready for skating enthusiasts to enjoy by the end of the year.

“After the demolition process, construction will follow for about 28 to 30 weeks with the skatepark set to be finished in December, weather permitting,” she said.

“Once completed, the new facility will not only be a boost for our skating community, but the revitalised area will also bring about a whole new look to Central Bundaberg.”
Cr Tracey McPhee

Cr McPhee said Bundaberg Regional Council had undertaken extensive community consultation and planning to ensure the creation of a diverse recreational space.

“The planning process started with pre-design workshops, surveys and on-site consultation held in February 2020,” she said.

“A stakeholder group was formed combining local skateboard riders, BMX riders, scooter and rollerblade riders and freestyle roller skaters.

“The end result is a design featuring multi-level ramps and stairways, plenty of shade and three separate skate areas where enthusiasts can refine their skills.

“The perimeter of the park will be accessible to people with a disability and new accessible toilet amenities are being built.”

The Central Park ‘Walla Street Skate park’ upgrade is a joint initiative of Bundaberg Regional Council and the Queensland Government's Works for Queensland program.

Keep up to date with progress here.

The skate bowl in Central Park on Walla Street will soon be transformed.

The skate bowl in Central Park on Walla Street will soon be transformed.

Taryn on track to follow Olympic dream

Video: Paul Donaldson

Three new play areas part of park upgrade

Ashley Schipper

New play equipment will be constructed in South Head Parklands, Burnett Heads next month with three separate areas to provide fun for children of all ages and abilities. 

Divisional representative Cr Tanya McLoughlin said the upgrade was identified in Bundaberg Regional Council's Parks and Open Space Strategy 2019- 2026 and Capital Works Program 2020/20121.

She said the design of the new facility featured three play areas broken up into toddler, junior and senior themes as well as shade sails throughout the park.

"The toddler section which will feature a slide, swings with a 'joey' seat, a chimes panel, a small train, play hut and fort," Cr McLoughlin said.

"A junior play area will include an all-abilities spinner, climbing and slide set while the senior’s area will feature a six-metre tower and spinning orb."

Cr McLoughlin said the current play equipment at the site would also be utilised in the design.

She said the new play equipment would be a boost to the coastal area.

"We have had a lot of community feedback about the need for more play equipment for children so this will be welcomed by many," Cr McLoughlin said.

"The new equipment is being designed and supplied by local business Willplay and once constructed will benefit many families and visitors to our wonderful region.

"The area will be fenced off to the public from Friday, 21 May with the project expected to be completed by July, weather permitting."

Residents are advised there will be no access to the existing playground for safety reasons while the construction is underway.

At times there may also be no access to the shelters and some of the nearby pathways.

Access to the toilets will remain.

The South Head Parklands playground is a joint initiative of Bundaberg Regional Council and the Queensland Government.

Westside Shopping Centre childcare proposed

Megan Dean

A 24-hour gym and childcare facility could revitalise the Westside Shopping Centre which has sat largely vacant since the exit of its supermarket tenancy.

A development application for a Material Change of Use Indoor Sport and Recreation (gym) and Childcare Centre was recently lodged with Bundaberg Regional Council by Lather Industrial Park Pty Ltd.

Under the proposal the shopping centre would be wholly utilised between the new uses and existing tenants.

If approved, the childcare facility would operate from 6 am to 7 pm, accommodating a maximum 26 staff and 100 children, and the indoor gym would operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“The works involve the conversion of part of the existing Westside Shopping Centre (most recently used as a Shop (supermarket) to an Indoor Sport and Recreation (gym) facility,” the application said.

“The extensions include a small mezzanine level above the gym amenities and the use of part of the loading bay for outdoor functional training.

“The application also seeks to utilise a portion of the existing supermarket and shop tenancies for a childcare centre.

“The proposal seeks to retain the existing retail tenancies along the eastern elevation and the amenities facilities.

“The central mall is retained.”

Located next to Stockland Bundaberg and other commercial uses including car dealerships and eateries, the shopping centre site covers 1.247ha.

Among the improvement works proposed is a minor extension to the building to accommodate am outdoor play area for the childcare use.

“The conversion will result in the majority of the tenancy being used as a gym, with the north-eastern portion being used for a childcare centre,” the application said.

“The indoor sport and recreation use (gym) will have a total area of approximately 3521m², including a mezzanine with a GFA of 212m².

“The childcare centre has a use area of 892m², of which 621m² was previously retail.

“To accommodate the outdoor play areas associated with the childcare centre, 15 carparking spaces are proposed to be removed.

“This will result in a total of 185 carparking spaces remaining across the site.”

The application said the proposed extensions to the Westside Shopping Centre would maintain the single storey-built form and provides an outdoor play area associated with the child centre and outdoor training for the gym.

Tribe Tropical expands to the United States

Georgia Neville

Since launching local swimwear company Tribe Tropical, Emily Gradon has been working on growing her business and in just two years she has already cracked the overseas market.

The Bundaberg-based entrepreneur said not only was her brand available for purchase throughout Australia, Tribe Tropical had also recently been launched in Hawaii.

Credited to networking through LinkedIn and Instagram, Emily said persistence was a key factor in her mission to expand the business.

“To be stocked in the United States only two years after launching is an achievement that I’m really proud of as it really takes a lot of hard work and tonnes of time to get to this point,” she said.

“There really is a lot that goes on behind the scenes of a business that is trying to grow, it’s quite crazy and as a start-up it’s even more challenging, but hopefully with time all the hard work will pay off.”

With a commitment to the environment through a range of sustainability initiatives, Emily explained that despite now stocking internationally, her goals remained the same.

“From 2021, I am using five times less plastic in my business by way of a reduction in the number of polybags used,” she said.

“Instead of receiving each individual swimsuit and hat in its own polybag I have asked my supplier to send five pieces per polybag.”

The designs on the swimwear include Bundaberg Region inspired patterns from areas such as Mon Repos and Bargara.

Next month, Tribe Tropical is taking part in a world-record breaking attempt on the Gold Coast to raise funds for koala conservation at the Currumbin Wildlife Hospital.

Along with five other Queensland fashion brands, they will be part of the Gold Coast Beach Parade at Burleigh Beach on 16 May.

You can find out more about the attempt here.

Tribe Tropical was born from a love of tropical Australia and a desire to enjoy time in the sun without the consequence of prolonged sun exposure.

What's On

Lachlan shines in Lions Youth of the Year competition

Georgia Neville

St Luke’s Anglican College student Lachlan Hocking has reached the state final of the Lions Youth of the Year award, making him the first student to compete at the state level from the Bundaberg Region in over a decade.

The Lions Youth of the Year award is designed to encourage, foster and develop leadership in conjunction with other citizenship qualities in our youth.

As part of the competition, Lachlan had to respond to a range of interview questions, including two impromptu questions and deliver a five-minute speech on a topic of his choice.

Representing the Bundaberg North Lions Club, Lachlan entered the local competition in the Q4 region, which covers west to Longreach, south to the Sunshine Coast and north to Rockhampton, competing against around 100 other entrants.

Lachlan won and progressed further to win the regional and district finals, where he then went on to compete in the state final in Brisbane against the winners of the other three regions.

Lachlan explained that the experience provided him the opportunity to meet a range of other young people as well as learn about what the Lions are doing within the local community as well as further afield.

“The competition gave me the opportunity to meet a range of other young people and learn from their experiences, as well as gain further understanding of the impact the Lions have on our communities and the support they provide,” he said.

“I would encourage other young people in Bundaberg to give the competition a go, as you have got to throw yourself in the deep end and challenge yourself.”

Bundaberg Lions Youth of the Year Chairman, Michael Brown, explained that it was a fantastic achievement to make it to the sate finals, with only the cream of the crop rising to the occasion.

“Bundaberg North had never had a representative contestant reach the State Final, so this was a huge thrill,” Mr Brown said.

“We were proud to see the confidence and improvement in Lachlan at the various stages he experienced.”

The stages of the quest include club, zone, regional and district judging before reaching the state finals, with the State winners going on the National Judging at the Lions Annual Convention each May.

While St Luke’s Anglican College is associated with Hinkler Lions Club, the six entrants were this year spread across six local clubs at the Zone final.

This allowed for one student to represent each of the Bundaberg North, Moore Park, Hinkler, Bundaberg, Bargara and Gin Gin Lions clubs.

The Youth of the Year quest is an annual competition run by Lions in Australia for youth age between 15 and 19 years.

Isis Kindy an adored community asset

Wayne Heidrich

With a new Director and newly elected committee to guide its progress, Isis Community Pre-School and Kindergarten has entered its 61st year of operation with a renewed commitment to build on its enviable history.

Terri Stower was appointed to the role of Director in July last year.

She said the whole environment surrounding the operation of the facility from its design and location, parents, staff and general community support made it the most delightful centre in which she had worked in 30 years of childhood education.

“This kindergarten is very special and it is quite incredible how generations from individual families have continued to support the centre.

“Last year we have had one family with a child that is fourth generation so I guess that speaks volumes for the respect this facility has been able to engender over an extended period,” she said.

Terri said modern childcare facilities could not call on such history and she felt the Isis Community Kindergarten held a rather unique position in childcare education.

“This is one of few facilities where the children have such diverse resources including a playground with real grass and a genuine contact with the natural environment.

“We cater to children aged three to five years with a focus on their education. We get the kids ready for Prep so the transition into the school system is just that much easier for them and their parents.

“We have recently given the centre a refresh with new equipment, colourful carpet and updated general resources. The local Masonic Lodge very generously supplied funding for some of our new furniture,” Terri said.

“The Kindy will be participating in the forthcoming Childers Festival in July and the new committee has some great ideas in relation to that.”

Terri said COVID-19 had caused the cancellation of planned 60th anniversary celebrations last year.

“While the major event didn’t go ahead, the kids were able to help us celebrate the occasion within the necessary restrictions. There was a dress-up day, party and we created a lovely banner.”

“We do have positions available for more children and are planning an open day in May-June where parents can come along and see for themselves just what kindy can offer in the way of childhood education,” she said.

“I would encourage anyone considering enrolling their children to visit our Facebook page or phone 41261241 for additional information."

Alternative learning ignites Tyrone's horticulture passion

Bundaberg Year 11 student Tyrone Shaw has discovered a passion for horticulture which is helping him to re-engage with his studies thanks to support from the Ignite Program.

The program assists students at risk of disengaging with school by offering up alternative study options and hands-on work experience.

Project officer at the Bundaberg Regional Youth Hub Jo Donnison said it was through Ignite that students like Tyrone were able to find their own path in successfully completing their education.

“Mainstream education proved difficult for Tyrone for varied reasons but predominantly due to his struggles with developing sound literacy skills in his early schooling years,” Jo said.

“He initially engaged with Ignite when he was in Year 8 and with the assistance of a personalised learning program, developed in conjunction with Vocational Training Queensland (VTQ) and the Bundaberg State High School Rapid Reading Program, his literacy and numeracy skills have improved.

“To help Tyrone become work ready, he then completed a Transition to Success with Youth Justice in 2020 and with their support, Tyrone was able to gain a Level One Chainsaw and Certificate II in Horticulture.”

With those technical skills under his belt, Jo said Tyrone needed an opportunity to gain real-life experience.

“With assistance from Youth Justice, an offer of work experience with Shalom College was accepted,” Jo said.

“Tyrone has worked with the facilities team at Shalom for the past term performing a range of duties.”

The Bundaberg student said his work experience was not only helping him decide what he wanted to do in the future, it was also building his confidence levels and skillset in many different areas.

I prefer doing this than sitting in a classroom, it is a lot more fun being outside and getting dirty.
Tyrone Shaw

“My dad worked out on a farm and I used to help all the time.

“I have always loved being around plants.

“I am also doing a bit of mechanical work, which is something new for me.”

Attending Ignite two days a week and working at Shalom College the other three has meant Tyrone can still work on his numeracy and literacy while growing his employability skills and building his resume for future job opportunities.

“Tyrone has discovered a passion for horticulture and land management, something he is genuinely good at and is looking forward to gaining further skills and paid employment in this field,” Jo said.

‘Allo ‘Allo brings crazy comedy to the Playhouse stage

Trish Mears

‘Allo ‘Allo, based on the hugely successful British television series that ran for seven seasons, will hit the Playhouse stage in May.

Director Nigel Dick said fans of the hit TV series should love the play.

“This hilarious comedy relates the adventures of a hapless cafe owner, Rene, in occupied France,” Nigel said.

“You can see all of your favourite TV characters in the flesh, including Rene's tone-deaf wife Edith, the hapless Constable Crabtree, German Officer Lieutenant Gruber, Major-General von Schmelling, and the Gestapo officer Herr Flick!"

Nigel said the play was based around Rene and his wife, who have stashed a priceless portrait in a sausage in their cellar.

It is where two British airmen are also hiding until the Resistance can repatriate them.

“Communications with London using the wireless that is disguised as a cockatoo add to the many embarrassments this intrepid proprietor endures in the company of his patrons," Nigel said.

News that the Fuhrer is scheduled to visit the town inspires more hilarious spectacles.

"Meanwhile Rene summons all the wit he can muster to save his cafe and his life.”

‘Allo ‘Allo will be performed by Bundaberg Players Inc for five performances - May 21, 22, 28 and 29 at 7.30pm, with a matinee on Sunday, May 23 at 3pm.

Bookings are open for subscribers at 10am this Saturday and for the general public at 10am this Sunday.

You can buy tickets at the Playhouse Theatre box office at 2b Steffensen Street weekends from 10am unil noon – either in person or by phone on 4153 1904 or online.

Tickets are $22 for Adults, $19 for Concession/Students and Groups 10+ $19.

“Bring a group along, enjoy some refreshments at the bar and enjoy a night of uproarious laughter,” Nigel said.

Hayhoe's hands on, tropical garden reaps rewards

Morgan Everett

Julie and Paul Hayhoe began developing their tropical haven 28 years ago after moving to Bundaberg in 1993.

The couple walked away with a love of palms after living in Darwin for 11 years, inspiring their rainforest journey.

“In the beginning the soil was of fairly poor quality but with constant mulching it has improved out of sight,” Julie said.

“After the first 10 years we could see it starting to come together.”

Paul said practicality was at the forefront when designing their outdoor space, with trees planted to create privacy and protect from wind and dust.

“The golden canes were the very first things that we needed,” he said.

“The circle garden at the end of the house of course was put there to block wind.”

The gardening pair said they would attend local markets where Julie would buy plants for aesthetics and Paul would look after the practical side.

I love anything that provides a lot of greenery with a good splash of colour and a heady perfume
Julie Hayhoe

“Spending time in the garden for me is very calming and enjoyable.”

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Hard work has paid off and according to the Bundaberg green thumbs, it was no easy feat getting the soil up to standard.

“Once we turned it around, we got lots of earth worms and it started to develop its own eco system and that's when it really took off,” Paul said.

“We have a constant supply of palm fronds which my hubby mulches and bamboo mulch from our wind break at the rear of the property,” Julie said.

As the garden has constantly evolved, Julie and Paul said it was refreshing to take in the sights of the space throughout the week.

“It’s nice to go for a walk in the garden, stroll around and take it all back in,” Paul said.

“There’s always something to see and there’s definitely always a weed or three to pull out.”

Recipe: Sweet Potato Croquettes

In the lead up to Taste Bundaberg Festival some of the region’s most talented chefs will be sharing their favourite recipes, including these Water St Sweet Potato Croquettes.

If you’re looking for breakfast inspiration then look no further than this delicious dish!

Alex Cameron from Water St shares his tips and his passion for fresh local produce in this perfect brekky.

Jason Kubler headlines Realway Bundaberg Tennis Open

The Realway Bundaberg Tennis Open will host its biggest field in more than a decade and a former world top 100 player at this weekend’s AMT (Australian Money Tournament) Gold Event at Drinan Park.

Headlined by international tennis pro Jason Kubler, the tournament has experienced a surge in interest with 66% more players set to compete than in 2019.

A total of 58 players have entered the men’s AMT event and 19 players will compete in the women’s AMT.

The former world No. 91 and world junior no. 1 Brisbane based Jason Kubler is the top seed in the men’s draw, followed by Sunshine Coast based Calum Puttergill.

Kubler, who last competed in the event in 2013, when he was beaten by current world No. 71 and future Australian Davis Cup representative James Duckworth 6-7, 2-6, is returning from injury and prefers claycourt tournaments due to recurring knee issues.

Kubler was often referred to as a “right-handed version of Rafael Nadal” for his powerful build and strong forehand.

Back in 2009, Kubler led the Junior Davis Cup team to victory, remaining undefeated in singles and doubles and this triumph was part of a 36-match winning streak in 2009 that also reaped five junior ITF titles.

Later that year he won the Optus 18s Australian Championships and he made his Grand Slam debut at the 2010 Australian Open.

Kubler qualified at Wimbledon in 2018, marking the first time he had won three qualifying rounds to reach a Grand Slam main draw.

The 27-year-old, who is currently ranked no. 274, will meet unseeded 20-year-old Sam Oster in the first round at 12.30pm tomorrow.

Bundaberg’s Chris Rae, who competed at the Australian Open as a junior for a number of years, will make a return to tournament play at the age of 42.

Chris will play in qualification, meeting sixth seed Hugo Joaquim Babakian first-up, 8am tomorrow at the Realway Bundaberg Tennis Open.

Chris will also team up with Lachlan Vickery in the doubles.

“Thanks to the inspiration of my two sons Lachlan and Christian, a bit of personal drive, and getting my butt back on the court to hit some balls, I've decided after 18 years off to have a bash in my first tournament,” Chris said.

“The last time I played in the Bundy Open Queensland Claycourt in 2002, I won the men's singles. The last match I ever played in 2003 was in a pro tournament in Rockhampton, where I won my first round of main draw and was forced to forfeit my second round due to injury.

“I made the tough decision to stop playing competitively from this point and move to different ventures in life which I have greatly appreciated and learnt from. I never thought this would happen, but you never know what's around the corner in life.”

In the women’s event, Alexandra Bozovic (NSW) is the top seed, ahead of Megan Smith (Qld).

Competition will run throughout the weekend with the finals on Monday at Drinan Park.

Bundaberg Open Tournament Director Ken Hick is encouraging locals to come and see high level tennis.

“The Bundaberg Open has always attracted strong fields and this year we are seeing the strength in numbers as well as calibre. To have Jason Kubler, who cracked the world’s top 100 in 2018 headlining our field demonstrates the standard of players we have competing this year. I invite Bundaberg locals to get down to the tournament and support the future stars of Queensland tennis,” Hick said.

Rob Barty, the father of world no. 1 Ashleigh Barty, will also visit the Bundaberg Open and Bundaberg Juniors during the weekend to answer questions and share his experience of raising the world’s best player.

A number of other locals will also compete in the Men’s Special Singles and Double.