Weekender: Sheila now calls Australia home

Excitement unleashed for new dog parks

Ashley Schipper

Pet pooches and their owners now have a new space to explore with the completion of the Moore Park Beach dog park.

It's one of three dog off-leash parks set to be completed this year with construction also underway at Burnett Heads and starting soon at Apple Tree Creek.

After a lengthy community consultation process, including an online survey and in-person discussions, residents highlighted the two areas as the perfect locations for the new facilities.

Bundaberg Regional Council’s Regulatory Services portfolio spokesperson Cr May Mitchell said the new fenced park in Moore Park Beach featured two areas - one for smaller dogs and one for larger breeds/all dogs.

“The small dog area will include pod seating and two bench seats under shade for owners,” she said.

“It will also provide two square jump-throughs and a balance beam for dogs.

“In the large/all dog area, visitors will find two bench seats under shade, weave poles, a large balance bridge, two hurdles, a jump-through and additional pod seating.

“The entrance will feature a bubbler for both dogs and their owners, ensuring hydration for all.”

The Moore Park Beach dog park, located on Park Drive, will officially open to the public this weekend, weather permitting.

Cr Mitchell said construction had commenced to a dog park at Neill Street in Burnett Heads, with completion of the project scheduled for the end of June/early July.

“The Burnett Heads dog park will share similar features with the Moore Park Beach dog park, including seating, a bubbler and agility equipment,” she said.

“These amenities aim to provide a comfortable and engaging environment for dogs and their owners to enjoy.”

Construction of the Apple Tree Creek dog park in the Apple Tree Creek Community Park on Drummond Street is scheduled to commence next week.

Cr Mitchell said residents could look forward to exciting additions to their local amenities.

"These dog parks will undoubtedly be valuable assets to our community,” she said.

“They will serve as social hubs for dog owners, fostering connections and providing recreational opportunities for both pets and their human companions.

“We appreciate the community's patience during the final stages of the dog park's construction.”

Date set for return of Pageant of Lights

Megan Dean

The date for the return of Pageant of Lights has been set with the much-loved local tradition set to launch an exciting Christmas events program.

Market stalls, parade participants and roving entertainment will line Bourbong Street as the Bundaberg CBD hosts Pageant of Lights on November 30.

Bundaberg Regional Council Arts, Culture and Events portfolio spokesperson Cr John Learmonth said it would be the perfect way to launch this year’s festive season.

“The popular Pageant of Lights event will return to the CBD and I know plenty of families and parade participants will be very excited,” Cr Learmonth said.

“Pageant of Lights is a Bundaberg Region Christmas tradition and it’s wonderful to see it returning to our Christmas events program.

“This year’s events will also have some welcome additions in roving entertainers who will entertain crowds and join the parade.

“These entertainers were a popular part of the Merry and Bright events, which were held in place of Pageant following the outbreak of Covid, so it’s great to see the most loved aspects of these two events combining this year to ensure it’s the best Pageant yet.”

As part of the Christmas program Council will also deliver free Christmas movies throughout the region in addition to a brand-new event.

“I can’t reveal too much just yet but what I will say is that this event will provide fun for the whole family, get your toes tapping and see us partner with another very popular annual event.”

Local business and groups are encouraged to join the festive fun and register an expression of interest to host an event as part of the region’s official Christmas program.

Expressions of interest will also soon open for Pageant of Lights parade participants with an online form expected to be available from mid-August.

Interest sought for aquatic centre management

Megan Dean

The Bundaberg Aquatic Centre will be a state-of-the-art multi-use sports facility unique to the region, leading Council to invite industry experts to express an interest in its management.

The extended tender process will see Bundaberg Regional Council first accept Expressions of Interest for the operation and management of the centre.

Qualified and experienced applicants will then be shortlisted for an Early Tender Involvement process to develop the terms of the management process.

Sport and Recreation portfolio spokesperson Cr Vince Habermann said it was an approach which would ensure the best value and best result for the community.

“The Bundaberg Aquatic Centre is of such a size and such a significant nature to our community that we want to spend the time inviting industry experts to take part in the process,” Cr Habermann said.

“We want to challenge the business model through industry input.

“Consideration needs to be given to things including staffing numbers, the ability to facilitate supervision and really maximising the uptake of the community in regards to memberships and patronage.

“This will not only ensure greater value for money for our community but will also deliver the best possible outcome.”

Cr Habermann said Council was assured there would be no shortage of interest in the management of the Bundaberg Aquatic Centre.

“The Bundaberg Aquatic Centre is so much more than just a pool,” he said.

“This is about making the most of this facility and creating an experience for every member of our community to enjoy.

“We’re not aware of another facility of this nature in any surrounding regions, the closest comparisons being in South East Queensland and North Queensland.

“Industry leaders in this field are already contacting Council to make enquiries about managing this facility and we know we will have competition in this space.

“The management of this facility will require expert knowledge and experience so to ensure we get it right we need specialised opinion and input throughout the tender process.

“By seeking this input from industry leaders we’re ensuring we’re building the capability of our region.”

He said Council had taken learnings from other leading Queensland Councils which had further reinforced that this approach to ascertaining the management terms of the aquatic centre would be the best way forward.

Eco tourism first Bundaberg Rum


The Bundaberg Rum Visitor Experience is the first tourism operator in Australia to achieve sustainability certification for tourism through Ecotourism Australia’s new Sustainable Tourism Certification.

The global standard certification assures guests that the visitor experience is backed by a strong, well-managed commitment to sustainability and meets international best practice sustainability standards.

Ecotourism Australia Chief Executive Elissa Keenan said the Bundaberg Rum Visitor Experience proved that it was not only nature tourism operators who are committed to responsible tourism practices.

“It is incredible to see this iconic industry leader make history in tourism sustainability and demonstrate that every tourism operator, running any visitor experience can put sustainability first in their operations,” Elissa said.

“All tourism businesses can implement and be recognised for their sustainability across the visitor economy,” she added.

The Bundaberg Rum Visitor Experience was independently audited before being awarded certification and demonstrated in just six months how it aligned with the Sustainable Tourism Certification standard.

The certification process took into consideration how Bundaberg Rum Visitor Experience reduced carbon emissions, supported biodiversity conservation, contributed to a circular economy, uplifted the local community, and delivered sustainability education on their tours.

Bundaberg Rum Marketing and Experience Manager Duncan Littler said the company are proud that their efforts had been recognised with this Australian-first certification.

“Operating a holistically sustainable tourism business is a real priority for us,” he said.

“We’re proud of the inroads we’ve made, including our new solar panel system to help us reach our target of achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2030.”

“However, the job is far from done and we look forward to continuing to work with Ecotourism Australia and others to keep raising the bar for sustainable tourism.”

Bundaberg Region Mayor Jack Dempsey congratulated Bundaberg Rum on their achievement.

“This monumental feat will not only have a positive impact on the environment but will also support our local economy by boosting visitor numbers to the region,” he said.

Bundaberg Tourism CEO Katherine Reid said Bundaberg Rum Visitor Experience had a longstanding commitment to the region.

“Attaining Australia’s first Sustainable Tourism certification is a well-deserved recognition of the Visitor Experience’s history of respectful and innovative sustainable business practices, and their contribution to the region’s place as a true ECO Destination,” she said.

The wider Bundaberg region achieved ECO Destination Certification in January 2023, led by Bundaberg Regional Council in close collaboration with Bundaberg Tourism, Port Curtis Coral Coast Aboriginal Corporation, local tourism operators and destination stakeholders.

The Sustainable Tourism Certification enables all tourism operators across Australia to be recognised for their commitment to sustainability at global standard, just as nature-based operators have been able to do for more than two decades under Ecotourism Australia’s legacy ECO Certification program.

Amandine Lavender secures scent-sational award


Amandine Lavender has been recognised for its welcoming atmosphere receiving second place in the prestigious Dawn Baudinette Tourism Award for Excellence in Tourism.

The renowned lavender business based in Bargara emerged as the second-place recipient in this year's shop and farm agritourism category at the Australian Lavender Growers’ Association (TALGA).

Amandine Lavender’s Helen Griffin, with support from her husband Kelvin and their small team, has provided Bundaberg locals and visitors with a unique lavender experience since 2008.

The accolade recognises the outstanding contribution to the industry and Amandine Lavender’s unwavering commitment to cultivating and promoting lavender products.

The team's hard work was recognised at The Australian Lavender Growers’ Association 28th conference last month.

While heading into the sixteenth year of operation, Helen said her passion for welcoming visitors to Amandine Lavender remained strong.

“The Dawn Baudinette Award recognises its namesake, Dr Rosemary Dawn Baudinette, who established Portland Bay Lavender Farm, Portland Victoria, (who) has contributed to the TALGA inaugural committee formed in 1995 and been an avid promotor of lavender growing in Australia,” Helen said.

“The Dawn Baudinette Tourism Award for Excellence in Tourism – Agritourism recognises and celebrates the diversity, quality and value of the Australian Lavender Industry and the outstanding individuals who promote and support the industry.

“The award requires a rigorous application and selection process, which involves a written submission that includes grading across seven criterions.” 

In announcing and presenting the award, to Helen and Kelvin, Dawn affirmed the resonating success of the local business.

“Amandine Lavender provides an exciting opportunity to display the importance of continuing research, target marketing, visitor information and environmental aspects,” Dawn said.

“Thus, enabling greater outcomes for total lavender understanding and production (and) a very positive experience to all lavender growers and visitors."   

With the notable accolade of excellence in tourism Amandine Lavender’s reputation as a beacon of excellence in the lavender industry is further solidified.

Helen said she would love to see Amandine Lavender continue to function as a source of calm and relaxation for visitors long after she retired and in the meantime she was happy to continue with business as usual with the boutique lavender.

Community events commemorate NAIDOC week

Emma Orford

Sunday marks the beginning of NAIDOC Week with a number of inclusive activities on offer for the community to take part in.

The Bundaberg and District NAIDOC Committee will host a series of events, including a movie screening, family fun day and art exhibition featuring pieces created by Elders from the region.  

NAIDOC is an annual week of traditional events commemorating the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

This year’s theme is “For Our Elders” and acknowledges the important role Elders have played and continue to play in families and communities.

A number of key events marking NAIDOC Week include:

Spiritual Service

When: Sunday 2 July, 9 – 10 am

Where: Bundaberg Baptist Church, 14 Fitzgerald Street

The service will open with a traditional Welcome to Country and Acknowledgment in language, with bush tucker provided afterwards.

Flag Raising

When: Monday 3 July, 10am

Where: Buss Park

The Flag Raising Ceremony is open to everyone, light refreshments will be served.

Elders Luncheon

When: Tuesday 4 July, 12 pm

Where: H2O Restaurant and Bar

This invite only event has been organised by yourtown and celebrates this year’s theme “For Our Elders”.

NAIDOC Week Awards Presentation and Art Exhibition

When: Tuesday 4 July, 6 – 9 pm

Where: Moncrieff Entertainment Centre

The annual NAIDOC Week Awards Ceremony is a celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ outstanding achievements and excellence.

The event is free but bookings are essential here.

Movie Screening – Homeland Story

When: Wednesday 5 July, 6 – 9 pm

Where: Moncrieff Entertainment Centre

Homeland Story is an intimate look at an Indigenous community in north-east Australia and their struggle to adjust to the digital age.

The event is free but bookings are essential here.

NAIDOC Block Party

When: Monday 3 July, 11 am – 3pm

Where: Boreham Park

IWC Bundaberg invites the community to come together and celebrate local First Nations Peoples' cultural heritage at its NAIDOC Block Party with food, games, activities, stalls and a free barbecue.

Knowledge Knockout

When: Monday 3 July, 6 pm

Where: CQUniversity Bundaberg

Get in on the action and register your team of ten to take part by calling (07) 4130 7712 or emailing here.

Weaving Workshop

When: Thursday 6 July, 10 – 12 pm

Where: Mon Repos Turtle Centre

This weaving workshop is free to attend and open to all community members.

March and Family Fun Day

When: Friday 7 July, 9 am – 4 pm

Where: From the Club Hotel to Lions Park  

Join the celebratory march across the bridge to Lions Park followed by a family fun day featuring dance workshops, live performances, entertainment, face painting, rides, artwork, stalls and more.

To learn more about NAIDOC Week, click here.

What's on

Wind back time during Childers Festival

Emma Turnbull

Take a step back in time and delve into the rich history of the Childers Festival through A Retrospective exhibition at Childers Arts Space.

Childers Festival: A Retrospective exhibition tells the story of the popular festival from its inception in 1996 through to the present day.

Starting as a festival to celebrate the multicultural fabric of the community, fostering an environment of unity and understanding, the Childers Festival continues this connection today. 

From modest beginnings as a food and wine festival under the then Isis Shire Council, the annual event has grown significantly and now attracts a crowd of over 40,000 people during its four-day program.

Showcasing photographs, anecdotes, memorabilia and publications, Childers Festival: A Retrospective captures the stories behind the successful event and will provide insight into how it has influenced the arts and cultural landscape of the region.

Bundaberg Regional Council Arts, Culture and Events portfolio spokesperson Cr John Learmonth said the Childers Festival: A Retrospective exhibition was a visual timeline through the history of the popular festival.

“This specially curated exhibition narrates the Childers Festival from its very beginning, showcasing almost three decades of history,” he said.

“A selection of colourful images will be displayed as large vinyls with smaller photographic images connecting the story.

“Along with these images, the festival program covers and events program will be on display.

“There’s also the opportunity to see the wonderful artworks which have featured in the Childers Festival over the years.”

To celebrate Childers Festival: A Retrospective, the community is invited to join gallery director Rebecca McDuff for a special evening exhibition tour, Up Late at Childers Arts Space, during the festivities.

“The Up Late at Childers Arts Space tour will give people an insight into the importance of the Childers Festival within the region and reflect on its historic journey,” Cr Learmonth said.

“Guests will enjoy a glass of wine and canapes, while soaking up the evening ambience of the Childers streetscape.”

Up Late at Childers Arts Space

When: 5 pm to 6.30 pm Thursday 27 July
Where: Childers Arts Space 72 Churchill Street
Tickets: $10 per person click here to book

Childers Festival: A Retrospective

When: Friday 14 July to Sunday 17 September
Where: Childers Arts Space 72 Churchill Street
For more information: Click here

Dessert then dinner at The Deli

Emma Orford

The Deli is offering diners a something a little different as part of this year’s Taste Bundaberg Festival with an eating experience in reverse.

Sweet Before Savoury will see guests sit down to be served their dessert course first, followed by the main meal and then finishing up with starters.

Manager Hayley Anderson said the idea came about when she and Head Chef Ashton Matthews wanted to do something unique for the 2023 festival.

“Ashton suggested we try sweet before savoury,” she said.

“With most meals you have your starter, a big main and your desert and sometimes you can walk out feeling heavy.

“We are a point of difference and we wanted to incorporate that.

“Why not start a new trend?”

While the exact details of the menu remain a surprise, guests can expect cheesecake with a twist on a local icon, followed by a beef and rice dish and finally some bite-sized tastings from speciality deli boards. 

This isn’t the only offering from the team at The Deli for this year’s festival, they will also be hosting a kombucha cocktails and tasting board experience.

The event will feature four kombucha cocktail flavours carefully crafted from a mix of Bundaberg Ferments, Kalki Moon and Bundaberg Rum.

They will be served alongside a tasting board with a curated selection of The Deli’s best.

“This is a little different to what we did last year but we are so excited to bring three well-known companies’ products together,” Hayley said.

“As always you need a little food so we will be serving up canapés on the night which will include cheese, fruit antipasto and of course more relish from our friends at Rob Lee Farms.

“This is our second year as part of Taste Bundaberg Festival and we are super excited.”

For more information on the Taste Bundaberg Festival, click here.

Tickets will be available from 10 July.

History of the Apple Tree Creek Cemetery

Ashley Schipper

The Apple Tree Creek Cemetery, established in the late 1890s, stands as a testament to the region's fascinating history and the lives of countless individuals who shaped the community.

Originally named Bodalla, the area underwent significant transformations in its early years of settlement, witnessing the rise of sugar mills, the establishment of farms and the influx of settlers.

Listed among Bundaberg Regional Council's Local Heritage Places this article delves into the intriguing history of the cemetery, which not only serves as a final resting place for the departed but also as a reflection of the region's past.

From settlement to sugar mills

In the late 19th century the establishment of sugar mills played a pivotal role in shaping the Apple Tree Creek district.

Three prominent sugar mills including Knockroe, CSR (Childers) and Isis Central brought about an influx of settlers and spurred the growth of sugar cane farms.

Then followed a thriving community of up to 50 farmers, a school, a hotel, a store and even a band rotunda in the recreational reserve.

As settlement flourished the need for a dedicated burial ground became evident.

In the 1890s, the Apple Tree Creek Cemetery Trust was formed with the goal of establishing a cemetery for the area.

By 1896 the cemetery on Drummond Street was ready for its first burial, marking the beginning of its enduring legacy.

With its close proximity to neighbouring towns, the Apple Tree Creek Cemetery extended its role as the final resting place not only for its own district but also for Childers and South Isis from the 1940s onwards.

The Apple Tree Creek Cemetery holds immense historical significance, reflecting the evolution of the region's settlements and their intertwined histories.

Discover more local history in Bundaberg Now's podcast: cemeteries a window to the past.

Explore our Region: Riverview Park

In Our Group with
Bundaberg Gem
and Mineral Society

Emma Turnbull

For almost six decades Bundaberg Gem and Mineral Society has helped bring some sparkle to the community, promoting the wonders of geology, rockhounding and lapidary craft.

Tell us about the Bundaberg Gem and Mineral Society?

The Bundaberg Gem and Mineral Society has been operating for 58 years and is a vibrant community organisation.

It has played an integral role in developing a love for gemstones and minerals among community members of all ages.

We currently have over 130 members including juniors and seniors. The group is open to anyone aged 10 to 95 and everyone is welcome to come along and join.

What significant events do you hold during the year?

We host the annual Bundaberg Gemfair on the first weekend in November every year.

This year the Bundaberg Gemfair will again be held in the Main Pavilion at the Recreational Precinct on Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 November.

There is something for everyone with traders selling jewellery, gemstones, lapidary equipment, minerals, crystals and gem craft.

The Bundaberg Gemfair hosts traders from all over Queensland as well as local artisans.

A crowd favourite is always the mine, which will be located on the club stall. The mine is still only 50 cents and is always popular with kids young and old.

Entry will be $5 with children under 12 free.

An ATM will be onsite, and food and drinks will be available.

Hourly lucky door prizes are given out and we will have a raffle with beautiful prizes to be won.

The Bundaberg Potters and Woodworkers also attend the Bundaberg Gemfair.

Having the potters’ group and woodworkers’ guild attend also gives the public an opportunity to see what other clubs in the region offer.

The Bundaberg Gem and Mineral Society will also be hosting a mini market on Saturday 22 July between 8 am and 2 pm.

During this mini market Bundaberg Gem and Mineral Society members will be selling their beautiful creations.

We will also have a club stall where community members can purchase stones and other wares as well as finding out further information about the club and what we offer.

The market will be held in front of the Bundaberg Air League building on Kendalls Road with free entry.

Why is the group important to the Bundaberg Region?

The club is a great place for members young and old.

Members will learn a variety of skills in everything from lapidary, silverwork, wire wrapping, enamelling and faceting.

Not only do members get the opportunity to learn new skills, but our group is also a great place to make new friends.

Membership is $25 for adults, plus a once off nomination fee of $10, and session fees are $4, so, quite affordable to join. 

When and where do you meet?

There are sessions held on Monday nights, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday with everything from lapidary, silverwork, wire wrapping, enamelling and faceting.

Information about the club, session times and how to join can be found on our website www.bundaberggemclub.com.au as well as on our Facebook page Bundaberg Gem and Mineral Society.    

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