Weekender: Orphanage inspired decades of support


Gin Gin’s Own 104.9 set to welcome tourists

Peirson Memorial Trust celebrates 75 years

Sunset beach event to launch Milbi Festival

Zest Hair expands to bigger, better location

Pontoon revamp creates ‘classroom on the reef’

Unique menu for Tucker and Tunes event

Workers take part in driver education course

Breast cancer awareness focus in October

What's On Bundaberg

Matthew releases third book The Three Ghouls

Got you covered: Pepper the library cat

In Our Gallery with Debbie Bennett

How to: recycle mobile phones

Lucy fires up with Brisbane Heat

Gin Gin’s Own 104.9 set to welcome tourists

Megan Dean

Gin Gin’s Own 104.9 has long been sharing the region’s best attributes via the airwaves but soon will share the details face-to-face at the town’s Visitor Information Centre.

Gin Gin Community Broadcasters, which has been airing Gin Gin’s Own 104.9 since January 2009, successfully applied to operate the Visitor Information Centre (VIC).

The VIC was previously operated by Bundaberg Tourism through a partnership agreement with Bundaberg Regional Council.

However in October 2021, Bundaberg Tourism announced the centre was no longer financially viable and made the decision to close it.

Following this decision, and in recognition of the importance of the VIC to the local community and its strategic position on the Bruce Highway, Council released Expressions of Interest for community groups willing to take on the job.

The community broadcaster seized the opportunity and after making a successful application has signed a permit to occupy the building.

Treasurer Chris Flewellen also owns a business in the Gin Gin CBD and said he knew from experience that there was high visitor demand for local tourism information.

“The other thing that people keep coming into my shop about is ‘what can we do here?’,” Chris said.

For the community radio station, it was a natural progression.

“The whole point of our radio is giving out information,” he said.

“It just seemed to me to be a common sense move that is sort of ‘next step’ for us to go from just broadcasting and really getting in with the tourists.”

And they’ve already got big ideas to boost the tourism potential of the Gin Gin area, with plans in place to release a trail of must-see locations.

At this stage the Gin Gin’s Own 104.9 team hopes to open the doors to the VIC on October 31 with the broadcasting capabilities to follow in the months to come.

Chris hopes combining the group’s broadcast capabilities with the VIC function will create more awareness about the radio station.

“It would be great being upfront and in front of the tourists.

“They can ask for songs to be played.”

Their current studio location is “tucked away” so he also hoped to create more awareness among locals and anyone new to town.

Gin Gin's Own 104.9 volunteers needed

Chris said the VIC would provide all of the traditional tourism information services and would also become a second studio location for Gin Gin’s Own 104.9.

With radio presenters set to broadcast live from the location, he said volunteers were needed to help run the visitor information services.

“What we’ll do is broadcast 6 to 6 from the VIC and 6 to 9 from the current studio we’re in now.

“We’re looking for 20 volunteers.

“We want to do four hour shifts, seven days a week.

“We need a fair few volunteers to make it happen.”

By paying a small membership fee to Gin Gin Community Broadcasters volunteers will be covered by the radio station’s insurance.

To become a volunteer or to find out more contact Gin Gin’s Own 104.9 on 4157 1049 or e-mail ginginsown104.9@gmail.com.

Find out more at public meeting

Council and Bundaberg Tourism, along with the team from Gin Gin’s Own 104.9, will host a public meeting at the Gin Gin Community Hub for the community to learn more about the Gin Gin VIC on 7 November from 6 pm.

Peirson Memorial Trust celebrates 75 years

Ashley Schipper

Seventy-five years ago an orphanage was established on a local family farm, starting a decades long passion for helping children in need through the Peirson Memorial Trust.

The organisation will celebrate its milestone anniversary next week, highlighting its mission to serve young people at risk of entering or in the care of the Child Protection and Youth Justice systems, as well as their families and carers.

The organisation currently operates two farms in Bundaberg which are utilised for at-risk youth to learn about working on the land.

Peirson Services also operates under the Trust, providing counselling and intervention, youth programs and more out of its local office.

CEO Madeleine Marais said throughout its 75 years the Trust had grown to offer a multitude of avenues to support local children after originally starting as an orphanage in the Bundaberg Region.

“While some of these services are partially funded by the Queensland Government, the remainder is covered by the Peirson Memorial Trust from funds raised through the original Peirson Farm,” she said.

“Today, the farm acts as a modern agricultural business and training facility for youth, growing avocados and macadamias on the outskirts of Bundaberg.”

History of Perison Memorial Trust

The Peirson Memorial Trust is a charitable organisation that was established in 1947 when the Peirson sisters bequeathed their sugarcane farm in Goodwood to the Ann Street Presbyterian Church to care for and train orphans in agriculture.

The donation of the farm was the beginning of a mammoth mission to provide support services for children in need.

During its 75 years, the focus of Peirson Memorial Trust changed from orphans to children in the care of Child Safety Services under the Department of Communities.

This led to the establishment of Peirson Services in the 1990s, a counselling centre in Bundaberg.

Nowadays, Peirson Services continues as a ministry arm of the Ann St Church, to serve young people.

Trust continues mission of support

Madeleine said much like its humble beginnings, the Trust was just as dedicated today in providing support to children who needed it most.

“All the profits from our farms are used to support our counselling service and other initiatives,” she said.

“Our counselling service is focused on helping children, young people and their parents.

“We have a passion for families and love supporting them through training and counselling.”

Madeleine said the 75-year history of Peirson Memorial Trust highlighted how the welfare of children was at the heart of everything it accomplished.

“Through its existence the Trust has had an influence on the lives of many children and families,” she said.

“In the earlier years, the Trust provided homes for orphaned children which then led to ongoing youth services.”

Madeleine said there were a range of programs that had, and continued to have, a lasting impact on its participants.

“From 1999 to 2014 the Waarvah program provided support to Indigenous youth in the Bundaberg area under funding from the Department of Communities,” Madeleine said.

“In 2014 this program was integrated into the Youth Support Service which still currently provides access and support services to young people aged 12 to 18 who are at risk of disconnection.

“In 2016 we also entered into a partnership with the Bundaberg Youth Justice Service to deliver the Transition to Success (T2S) program at our Goodwood Road farm.

“From 2016 we have seen over 60 young people graduate with the Certificates in construction, horticulture as well as literacy and numeracy.”

Madeleine said in addition to being a training ground for young people, the work of growing avocados and macadamias on the Trust land was carried out efficiently and effectively by all farm staff.

“The young people involved with us have completed several projects for us on the farm, from building a fence to assist in restricting the movements of bush pigs to refurbishing several of the buildings that we have on the farm,” she said.

“Some of these young people have also been employed on the farm during our harvest season.

“The surplus made from the farm’s operations is used to fund our charitable services and meet the government financing shortfall for our funded services.”

In more recent times Madeleine said the Trust, together with others in the agricultural industry, had joined a Bundaberg Regional Council and Kepnock State High School initiative.

This program aimed at preventing disengagement from school by giving students hand-on experiences on various farms.

“This year we had the opportunity to partner with the Bundaberg Regional Council and Kepnock State High School in presenting a pilot program to 10 select students,” she said.

“This program saw the students actively engage in activities on various farms which culminated in their graduation on the farm.”

Celebrations open for all

Peirson Memorial Trust will celebrate 75 years with a community barbeque on the farm followed by a thanksgiving service on Saturday 29 October at 79 Peirson Road, Goodwood.

“We will be welcoming some of the original residents of our group home back on the farm and will also be joined by some of our previous staff members,” Madeleine said.

“Members of the Bundaberg community are welcome to join us on the day for farm tours, activities for the kids and the thanksgiving service.”

Madeleine said the milestone anniversary marked a proud history and a bright future for the organisation.

“We will soon begin to explore the possibility of welcoming more young people and families to the farm for camps and other activities,” she said.

“We hope that through the support from the farm Peirson Services will be able to continue providing valuable support to the families of Bundaberg.”

Anyone interested in attending the event can RSVP by contacting the office at bundaberg@peirsontrust.org.au.

Sunset beach event to launch Milbi Festival

Ashley Schipper

Aria-nominated artist Emily Wurramara will open the 2022 Milbi Festival at the Sunset Launch event on Friday, bringing residents and visitors together for an afternoon of entertainment to celebrate culture and community.

To be held at Nielson Park Beach from 5 pm, participants will begin the festivities with a Welcome to Country while food vans and entertainment from Emily will be offered up to the crowd.

Originating from Groote Eylandt in the Northern Territory, Emily is known for her 11-track album called Milyakburra, which is educating and informing in both English and Anindilyakwa languages.

The critically acclaimed 2018 album features the emotive Lady Blue and Black Smoke which has been played on rotation on Triple J, ABC Local and spent 10 weeks in the AMRAP charts.

Emily has performed on many global stages including Woodford Folk Festival, Bluesfest, TEDX Sydney, GARMA, Port Fairy Folk Festival, BIGSOUND and International Folk Alliance showcases in Kansas, Canada and New Orleans, as well as, shows in Chicago, New York, Paris and more.

She has also toured and played with iconic artists including Archie Roach, Mavis Staples, John Farnham, Busby Marou, Coloured Stones, Missy Higgins, Shellie Morris, Jessica Mauboy, Cat Empire and John Butler.

Emily is a six time Queensland Music Award winner, she was selected for the AMP Tomorrow Maker Award and won AIR Award’s Best Blues and Roots Album of the Year.

Sunset event launches 10 days of Milbi Festival

Bundaberg Regional Council's Arts and Culture portfolio spokesperson Cr John Learmonth said the Sunset Launch was the first in a line-up of activities, shows, workshops and events part of 2022 Milbi Festival.

“What a fantastic way to celebrate the start of Milbi Festival, surrounded by friends and family at beautiful Nielson Park Beach, listening to the wonderful sounds of Emily Wurramara,” he said.

“This is a free event that requires no booking so gather the family together and head along to celebrate what's to come for this year's amazing festival!”

Milbi Festival Sunset Launch

Date: Friday 28 October

Time: 5 pm – 6.30 pm

Location: Nielson Park Beach, Bargara

Cost: Free

Find out more about the Milbi Festival's tours and events here.

Zest Hair expands to bigger, better location

Ashley Schipper

Local beauty businesses are combining under one roof to create a one-stop-shop, including the newly expanded Zest Hair salon.

Owner Colette Smith said Zest Hair had recently celebrated its grand opening and welcomed a total of 13 staff to the salon at 2/17 Barolin Street.

“We outgrew our old salon and have now opened a new one that is over twice the size,” she said.

“We have also taken over the beauty rooms that are next to the salon so that we can be a one-stop-shop for our clients.

“This has also allowed us to employ more senior staff and apprentices.”

With 10 hair stations and a range of beauty services under the one roof, Colette said Zest Hair was the perfect spot for a day of pampering.

“All aspects of our hair services include colouring, lightening, cuts, hair extensions, styling and we also offer eye brow/lash waxing, tinting and more,” she said.

“Our beauty services include Blooming Cosmetic Tattooing which is all things brows and cosmetic tattooing.

“Raw Beauty looks after all things beauty related including facials, massages, waxing etc.

“Heart Angel Massage features all types of massage including hot stone, cupping and couples massage.

“Lauren and Lilah Co specialises in lashes, extensions and refills.”

Collette said the new location offered a much bigger space for the larger team to treat clients.

“It's such a large fresh and bright space that we love to share with all our customers,” she said.

“Its very welcoming and we hope that everyone loves their pamper time!”

Find out more about Zest Hair on the Facebook page here

Pontoon revamp creates ‘classroom on the reef’

Ashley Schipper

Featuring an underwater observatory, main deck and upper deck in a perfect location at Lady Musgrave Island, an old pontoon is currently being revitalised to become a classroom on the reef.

According to Lady Musgrave Experience owner Brett Lakey, the pontoon project involves restoring a 30-year-old structure that has been sitting on the reef since the 1980s.

He said the pontoon, which had recently been transported to Burnett Heads, would be purpose-built to offer guests advanced Great Barrier Reef educational experiences perfect for schools, research organisations and dive groups.

“We are going to revamp this pontoon so it can be used by our school groups and citizen scientists as a classroom on the reef,” he said.

“It was originally built for the cruises that operated out of Bundaberg in the mid '80s and it has been sitting out in the lagoon for the past 30-odd years.

“We pulled her out of the water a month ago and started work to give her a new lease on life.”

Planned to launch in 2023 the new research pontoon will facilitate:

High quality experiential learning for guests

Data collection and research monitoring through a wildlife ecology team and collaborative partners such as Gidarjil Sea Rangers

- Marine-Biologist-for-a-Day activities

- Reef Keeper program research hub

- Guided snorkel safaris

- Coral adoption and transplanting program activities

- Reef health surveys conducted by a wildlife ecology team and collaborative partner

Brett said plenty of work would be involved in getting the pontoon back to top condition.

“We will be undertaking a complete redesign of the underwater observatory, the main deck and the upper deck,” he said.

“There will be new anchoring systems built, bigger windows in the observatory and all new decks so she will basically be a whole new pontoon when she goes back out.”

Brett said he and his team were working closely with the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and Queensland Parks and Wildlife to turn the project into a reality.

“We also hope to collaborate with local Indigenous land and sea rangers to foster an integrated, collaborative approach to reef protection where scientific methods and traditional owner knowledge converge in a holistic approach to marine education and protection.

“This assists in a deeper understanding of traditional owner connection to sea country and environmental management approaches for both visitors and our organisation.”

Brett said he was looking forward to adding another fantastic feature to the Lady Musgrave Island experience.

“We have our main pontoon, the HQ, which is for our day tours and providing overnight options.

“This new pontoon will also provide for our day tours but will primarily be used by our school groups, our citizen scientists and for our marine education programs to use as a base for an outdoor, marine classroom.”

Unique menu for Tucker and Tunes event

Georgia Neville

Traditional flavours have inspired the canapes menu developed by the Taribelang Aboriginal Corporation for the Milbi Festival’s Tucker and Tunes event.

A Sunday afternoon spent listening to the sounds of Kim Churchill while enjoying the surrounds of Fairymead House is the perfect way to see out the weekend.

From 2 pm to 6 pm on Sunday 30 October, the Milbi Festival event will provide the opportunity for the community to try a range of native ingredients.

Taribelang Aboriginal Corporation’s Rebecca Domaille said the menu was created after yarning with elders about different ingredients that should be used.

“We had plentiful supply of most of the ingredients in Bundaburra (Bundaberg), traditionally the native ingredients have been used for thousands of years,” Rebecca said.

“It’s always great to try new flavours with food.

“You might love a particular flavour which you can incorporate into your everyday cooking.”

Rebecca said the wattleseed which featured in the menu was a commonly used ingredient in the diet of the Taribelang Bunda people.

“Wattleseed was a mainstay in the diet of the Taribelang Bunda providing a rich source of protein and carbohydrates in times of drought,” she said.

“The seed was crushed into flour between flat grinding stones and cooked into cakes or damper.

In addition to the wattleseed, Rebecca said fingerlimes were also commonly used for medical reasons.

“Fingerlimes were common in the Bundaberg area, often being used by the Taribelang people for medical uses to reduce illness and also used as an antiseptic,” she said.

“Macadamia nuts or bauple nuts were a delicacy that Taribelang women and children would collect with coolamons or dilly bags and take them to our feasting grounds.

“They were eaten raw or roasted in the fire.

“They were also ground, and the oil used for face painting. Kangaroo (booroo) once roamed free on the Taribelang Bunda's (people) country of Bundaberg.

“They have been used as medicinal nourishment and this is why many of the traditional bush foods of Australia are now seen as superfoods which have great health benefits for everyone. “

The full Tucker and Tunes menu includes:

- Fingerlime chilli prawns with mango salsa wonton cup

- Grilled zucchini with olive tapenade and pickled rosella

- Wattleseed vegetable stack

- Crunchy spring rolls with sweet chilli Davidson plum

- Kangaroo sliders

- Macadamia nut and Davidson plum ice cream

Book tickets to the event here.

Workers take part in driver education course

Ashley Schipper

Drivers College in Bundaberg is making it easier for workers with international licences to obtain comprehensive training to bring their driving skills up to Australian standards.

After being contacted by a local farm to provide hands-on training to a group of workers from the Pacific Islands and East Timor, directors Robert Andrews and Diana Ward began implementing a special training course.

The duo have put together a six-hour program featuring interactive videos on comprehensive, hands-on driving skills and have successfully completed training with two groups.

“While some other places these workers come from may have similar rules and drivers on the same side of the road, it is the unknown situations they come across that put these drivers and our community at greater risk,” Robert said.

“This program provides three levels of training being tutorial, hands-on driving techniques and emergency stopping and crash avoidance which is vital to promoting a safer community.”

Robert said the course went hand-in-hand with education that was already made available in Australia.

“PALM Pacific Australian Labour Mobility Project, in connection with the Australian Government, has formatted a set of services to provide information and assistance to improve the ongoing focus on welfare and wellbeing, and this is one example of those services,” he said.

“We have received great feedback from participants so far, including that they found the program very informative and helpful in understanding the different skills needed for driving on country roads to the busy town streets.” 

About Drivers College

Drivers College is a not-for-profit organisation that welcome volunteers to ensure the wheels keep rolling in its mission to help educate new drivers and those who want to update their skills on the road. 

For more information on what the college offers go to the Drivers College website here or give the team a call on 41811773.

Take time out to screen your breasts

Ashley Schipper

This October local women are being encouraged to take 30 minutes out of their time to get their breasts screened as part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

The campaign aims to spread awareness about breast cancer and the ways in which the disease can be detected early.

BreastScreen Queensland Bundaberg medical officer Denise Powell said early detection was paramount in beating breast cancer.

“What we do know is one in eight women have a lifetime risk of developing breast cancer,” she said.

“It is the most common cancer that women can get.

“We have a test that is proven, reliable and available that detects breast cancer early which is very important because the earlier it is detected, you can expect much better outcomes.”

Denise said breast screens were available for anyone aged 40 years and over.

“We especially target those aged between 50 and 74 years because that demographic is when the majority of breast cancers can occur,” she said.

What is a breast screen?

A breast screen uses a special machine to look for very small cancers in breasts that can’t be seen or felt by a woman or her doctor.

A breast screen is also called a mammogram.

How often do I need to have a breast screen?

Most women aged 50 to 74 should have a breast screen every two years.

Research shows that having a regular breast screen is the best way to find breast cancers when they are very small and more easily treated.

A breast screen takes about 30 minutes.

Call 113 20 50 or book an appointment online at www.breastscreen.qld.gov.au.

What's on

Matthew releases third book The Three Ghouls

Emma Turnbull

Bundaberg teacher, musician and author Matthew Barker has released his third book called The Three Ghouls, inspired by his family life.

The father-of-three uses the rhythm of rhyme to capture the attention of young minds while sharing the angst felt by many parents in preparation for their children’s bedtime.

He said The Three Ghouls was a light-hearted gothic tale of three ghoul children entering the night, and it was sure to be a hit with all the family.

“The story was originally inspired by my children and the frustrations that many parents go through with bedtime,” Matthew said.

“The stages of bedtime that range from not being tired, needing a drink or going to the toilet, finding the favourite teddy to jumping around and making noise.”

Being a local teacher, Matthew has taken the opportunity to educate young children through his storytelling.

He said each of the incidents in The Three Ghouls story related to one of the five senses.

“I wanted to include some sort of educational element that readers could engage with and relate to,” he said.

“(It’s) an adventure that introduces children to the five basic senses while encompassing the importance of family – a story to be enjoyed by young and old.

“This book, like the previous two releases, is written in rhyme and I think that is because of my music background.”

Matthew has previously published two children’s books based on his personal experiences.

My Parents Bought a Caravan was inspired by his family’s trip to set off around Australia, and The Grey Cloud was based on emotions felt during COVID-19 lockdowns and regulations.

“This is my third children's book,” he said.

“I began writing this story between my first and second released children's books, however it took some time to get the story to where it needed to be,” Matthew said.

“This book is fully self-published and self-funded, with all Australian printing and distribution.

“It also took time finding the right illustrator for the project.

“The illustrations for this story had to be just right as the story is aimed at a younger audience however it has a gothic, Halloween theme.

“So, the balance between scary and family friendly was of high priority.

“The illustrator chosen was Sean Stallan-Stritch who is a graphic designer from Toowoomba.

“He found the perfect balance between what I had envisioned, the family friendly and gothic horror themes and infused this with his own creative flair.”

The Three Ghouls will be released on 18 October and it can be pre-ordered via email or purchased at Bundaberg Book Boutique.

Got You Covered library column

Lucy fires up with Brisbane Heat

Georgia Neville

Bundaberg's Lucy Hamilton has been making the most of her time so far with the Brisbane Heat, taking the opportunity to learn all she can from the team.

The Heat secured the highly promising teenager and left-arm pace bowler as a Local Replacement Player for the Weber Women’s Big Bash League.

Lucy said the opportunity to play for Brisbane Heat was a dream come true.

“It has been a great experience to be around the girls, I know when I got the news it was really exciting,” Lucy said.

“The atmosphere is very different to other cricket I play and I learn a lot from the girls just sitting watching at the moment, seeing how they move in the field at a different level.

“I have learnt a lot from the coaching staff here and strive to improve the things I can while I’m at training.

“I am really happy with my pre-season especially because it started over the school holidays and I came down to Brisbane and the coaching staff helped me to learn new skills and get my game where they want it to be.”

Lucy, 16, made her Women's National Cricket League debut for Queensland last season, becoming the youngest woman to take a wicket for the Fire in the WNCL.

The Bundaberg product plays for the Sunshine Coast Scorchers in the Katherine Raymont Shield competition and was signed to a full Queensland contract for this season.

Heat coach Ashley Noffke welcomed Lucy's inclusion.

“Lucy has been around the group a bit now for the past 12 months and so this is a great opportunity for her to continue her development,” she said.

“She’s learning a lot about her game and we’re very pleased with how she is continuing to grow into her role as a left-arm quick.”

The Heat took a 14-player squad to Mackay for the games being played at Great Barrier Reef Arena.