Weekender: Rebecca named youth games coach

Council provides ongoing support to RFDS

Megan Dean

The Royal Flying Doctor Service (Queensland Section) has announced another valuable financial contribution from the Bundaberg Regional Council.

For the third straight year, Council has donated $50,000 to be used at the Bundaberg RFDS Base.

The local base is one of Queensland’s busiest aeromedical transfer locations with almost 2500 patients transferred by the local crew in the past 12 months.

RFDS (Queensland Section) CEO Meredith Staib said the funds would contribute to important day to day operations.

“The significant population growth across the Bundaberg Region in the past 18-months has meant our services are being called on more than ever before,” Ms Staib said.

“Every dollar we get goes back into providing the lifesaving care the RFDS is renowned for.

“I’d like to sincerely thank Bundaberg Regional Council Mayor Jack Dempsey and his team of councillors and staff for their continuing support.”

Mayor Jack Dempsey said Council was proud to continue its support of the RFDS.

“As a community we are so thankful for the presence of the RFDS and their skilled crew in our region,” Mayor Dempsey said.

“They not only provide lifesaving and essential services, but the RFDS has invested in our region through its aeromedical base and the new training facility which is under construction.”

The RFDS (Queensland Section) is currently developing a new world-class aviation training facility adjacent to its Bundaberg Base with council’s generous donation of a parcel of land valued at over $400,000.

Once completed, the new facility will house the only full-motion Beechcraft King Air B350/360 Fusion flight training simulator outside of the United States.

It’s anticipated the new simulator will generate significant local community and commercial opportunities.

Rebecca Jenner’s dream comes true

Emma Turnbull

Shalom teacher and local athlete Rebecca Jenner is fulfilling a lifelong dream after she was selected as the Commonwealth Youth Games Australian triathlon coach.

Rebecca will travel to Trinidad and Tobago next month as the female coach to take the Australian Triathlon team to the Commonwealth Youth Games.

“I am elated to be chosen as the Australian coach,” she said.

“This is something I have dreamt of and (it) was very unexpected to get the call up for this role.”

The Commonwealth Youth Games is an international multi-sport event organised by the Commonwealth Games Federation.

Rebecca has been coaching triathlon at a national level for more than a decade, and also owns local business Next Jenneration Coaching, with many athletes under her guidance reaching the state and national team.

Throughout the past 12 years, Rebecca has coached juniors athletes, from 10 to 18 years of age, to become champions.

Rebecca said it was important to help the next generation of athletes to reach their full potential.

“They are the future of the sport, but I aim to instil good habits so that they continue to exercise through their whole life,” she said.

“So much can be learnt from sport, and it goes beyond the immediate goals they wish to achieve.

“It encompasses shaping young adults into resilient, responsible, disciplined and healthy human beings.”

Bundaberg youth with a desire to swim and run seek Rebecca’s guidance as she has the ability to help shape athletes from a beginner right through to an elite sports level.

“I try to nurture talent so they can compete at higher levels, but also nurture their mental health so coming to my coaching sessions can be a positive experience that they want to attend,” she said.

“Coaching the next generation is important to do well so athletes aren't injured or overworked too early that they have no longevity in the sport.” 

Rebecca’s passion for triathlon extends to not only coaching but also participating actively in the sport.

Next year she will also compete in the World Duathlon Championships.

“Being selected for the Australian Duathlon team has been a goal for many years,” Rebecca said.

“Covid meant that the world championships scheduled for 2021 was postponed until 2024.

“So, to finally reach my goal and be able to compete at these championships is exciting.” 

To be able to perform at this level requires a lot of time and dedication to the sport.

“I train most days of the year with the occasional rest day, including 9-12 sessions a week, depending on the week,” Rebecca said.

“I love that the sport has three disciplines which is something not everyone can do.

“Although it is an individual sport, it is such a team effort to be able to get to the start line fit and ready.

“This applies to my own training, but mainly the junior group I coach.

“They are an extended family – one that is supportive of each other and positive.”

Rebecca said she looked forward to mentoring the next generation of athletes at the Commonwealth Youth Games as the Australian triathlon coach and through her personal sporting career it was difficult to pinpoint one highlight.

“This is a hard one,” she said.

“I have enjoyed so many races over the years, but one highlight would be representing Australia in the Standard Distance Triathlon, back in 2018 and having my husband and son at the finish line.”

Attend Childers regulated parking discussion

Megan Dean

A meeting will be held to seek community feedback on a proposal to introduce regulated parking in the Childers CBD following a Childers Chamber of Commerce request.

On behalf of its members the chamber has requested Council investigate the introduction of regulated parking, also referred to as timed parking, to enable greater vehicle turnover on the main street of Childers.

A meeting to discuss the proposal will be held at the Isis Cultural Centre on Wednesday 9 August from 7 pm.

Childers Chamber of Commerce president Margaret Smith said they had asked Council to progress the matter because they would like to hear from business and community with feedback and ideas.

“The purpose for [the chamber] going to Council in the first place was to find ways to move traffic on that’s just sitting all day,” Ms Smith said.

“It’s an important issue that’s been raised in this community for 16 years or more.”

Department of Transport and Main Roads traffic counts estimate just under 9,000 vehicles per day pass through Childers in both directions, with volumes within the CBD estimated to be in the order of 15,000 vehicles per day.

“…We just want people to understand that we need to turn [the parking spaces] over for the benefit of the businesses in the main street,” Ms Smith said.

Divisional representative Cr Bill Trevor said Bundaberg Regional Council had no formal position on the proposal and in response to the Chambers request was first seeking community feedback.

“The chamber believes that regulated parking in sections of the main street of Childers will ensure a greater turnover of vehicles and therefore result in an increase in customers for local businesses,” Cr Trevor said.

“Before Council determines its position on this proposal we are inviting the community and any interested parties to share their views.”

Attend the Childers regulated parking discussion:

When: Wednesday 9 August from 7 pm
Where: Isis Cultural Centre, 49 Churchill Street, Childers
Who: Divisional representative Cr Bill Trevor and Childers Chamber of Commerce representatives

No bookings are needed to attend the Childers regulated parking discussion.

TNT celebrates 30 years of dance


Dancers of all ages and experiences will brave the stage in September when TNT Dance Studio Bundaberg celebrates its 30-year anniversary of dance concerts at the Shalom College Performing Arts Precinct.

The family studio has a rich history in the region, originating in 1967 by founder Michele Bates (nee Courtice).

She first created a space for children to dance and sing at a kindergarten when she was just 19 years old and then, when Michele married Kevin, they both established Michele and Kevin Bates Dance Studio.

The local studio has passed through many facets of dance genres over the three decades, including ballroom, disco, rap/break-dancing, excise-a-dance, street dancing, line dancing, tap, jazz, ballet, hip hop, contemporary, musical theatre, lyrical, commercial heels and acrobatics.

Located on the corner of Curtis and Water Streets, the studio has been the home of the arts for many people who have passed through its doors.

Renamed TNT Dance Studio in the 1990s, it was time to get serious and coordinate the studio’s first official Dance Concert at the Moncrieff Theatre under the guidance of Pat Crowe, a fellow comrade of the arts and the inaugural Manager of the theatre until 1999.

In 1993, TNT performed its very first concert and, except for COVID restrictions in 2020, has performed each year since.
In 2013 two of Michele’s daughters, Toinette and Couris, took over the family business, operating classes in Bundaberg and the surrounding region.

Dance concert to celebrate three decades

TNT’s 30-year-celebration concert will be a limited-edition event that reflects the authenticity and pure originality of TNT Dance.

Featuring performances from 1993 ‘Tribal Dance’ to the latest edition of Commercial Heels ‘Crush’, representing 2023, TNT is excited to commemorate its anniversary with a collection of performances that have dazzled the audience over 30 years.

The celebratory concert will honour the original ‘Spanish Tap Dance’, ‘Ice Fairies’, ‘Freaks Hip Hop’, ‘Circus Lions’ and ‘School Teacher’s’, just to name a few.

“Not only is TNT enjoying bringing to life performances of the past, but we are also extremely excited to have dancers feature in their celebration concert that studied dance with the studio over the 30 years,” Couris said.

“Ex Michele and Kevin Bates Dance Studio students who have not danced in … years will brave the stage, as well as previous TNT dancers who danced through their primary and high school years at TNT.”
The 30-year celebration concert will also be a milestone celebration for Toinette Walker, who has taught dance to Bundaberg students for 25 years.

Toinette will be moving to the USA with her family at the end of 2023 which makes the anniversary celebration Toinette’s final concert as a dance teacher in Bundaberg and a perfect way for the region to reminisce and commemorate the memorable performances TNT Dance Studio has displayed over 30 years.

The concert will be held at the Shalom Performing Arts Precinct on 8 and 9 September.

Find out more about the group and how to attend on the Facebook page here.

Hearing services on offer at new business

Ashley Schipper

Specialist audiologist and local woman Sarah Waldock has just opened Bundaberg Hearing, offering a range of hearing services.

The practice, which officially welcomed patients this month, offers hearing assessments, hearing aid fittings, wax removal, tinnitus assessment, child hearing tests, custom ear moulds and more.

Growing up in the region before attending the University of Queensland and travelling, Sarah said she had always had strong ties to the community.

“I grew up on a farm in Bundaberg before completing two degrees at the University of Queensland, lived in Ireland, travelled 26 countries and settled back in Bundaberg to raise a family,” Sarah said.

“I am Bundaberg's only local, independent university-trained audiologist and I am excited to utilise my speciality skills working with complex hearing clients to provide expert impartial advice, personalised problem solving and to support you to fulfill your hearing goals.”

Sarah has over twelve years of clinical experience and a wide range of clinical skills.

She said she also had significant personal experience training new intern audiologists, running specialist training courses and was a clinical trainer supporting over 60 audiologists across Queensland and the Northern Territory for six years.

“I love helping individuals with hearing loss to live their best lives,” she said.

Bundaberg Hearing is now open at Shop 2/184 Barolin Street, in the IWC Building, from Monday to Friday 9 am to 5 pm and by appointment.

Dolphins have whale of a time off Bargara

Ashley Schipper

The Bargara coastline has been action-packed during the past few weeks, with whales spotted passing by and dolphins filmed frolicking in shallower waters.

Resident and hobbyist aerial photographer Zade Johnstone said he was out last Saturday when he captured footage of a pod of dolphins.

“I was out and about exploring in the hope to see some whales to photograph for my Facebook page,” he said,

“Just as I pulled up I saw these [dolphins] right at the shore.

“I could see about six.”

According to the Department of Environment and Science, a range of dolphin species regularly inhabit waters off the Bundaberg Region.

These include the Australian snubfin dolphin, Australian humpback dolphin, Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin and offshore bottlenose dolphin.

Zade said the sighting was something special.

“I haven't seen this many or this dolphins this close to the shoreline,” he said.

“Our coastline is sensational, overall the Bundaberg Region is a great place to live.”

The dolphin spotting comes as the region's waters experience one of its busiest times of year, with tourists and locals alike heading out to catch a glimpse of whale season in action.

According to the team at Lady Musgrave Experience, the first whale watching tour began on 6 July with a unique humpback calf, mostly white with a grey dorsal fin, spotted by participants.

Whale watching season begins in July to October every year as humpbacks and their calves cruise through the warmer waters of Bundaberg on their way from Antarctica up the southern coastline of Australia.

Celebrating ten years of the Ability Ball

Emma Orford

The stars are coming out to shine for the tenth annual Ability Ball with an evening of dinner, dancing and surprise special guests at the Bundaberg Multiplex on 19 August.

The popular event hosted by Community Lifestyle Support aims to bring the community together to uplift and celebrate people’s abilities.

Community Lifestyle Support Events Manager Trevor Sands said they were excited to celebrate ten years of the feel good occasion.

“To us it’s mainly a milestone of bringing this event to Bundaberg and watching it grow,” he said.

“Going from about 80 people in the first year to now selling out at over 550 people.

“It’s opened eyes up to our disability sector.”

Trevor said guests should expect a five-star experience with the team working hard to get the best entertainment possible.

“You see all the guys arriving in suits and gowns in limousines onto the red carpet, it gives you goose bumps” Trevor said.

“At the first song, the dance floor is full and no one cares what dress you’re wearing, it’s just about being there and having a good time.

“And straight after the event these guys are asking ‘when’s the next one?’”

Surprise special guests

With Home and Away actor Kyle Shilling already confirmed, Trevor said another special guest was yet to be announced.

“We’ll be giving hints out this weekend and then [we will] release the name early next week on our social media, so watch this space,” he said.

“There are tickets available now but that won’t be for much longer.”

Trevor said the organisation was very grateful for the continued support from their sponsors Sugarland Plaza and JRZ Homes.

“We’ve had really great support from the community from the start and our great sponsors jumping on board as we come along this road because without them, we don’t have a ball,” Trevor said.

“At the end of the day we love these guys and they’ve got to have something to look forward to.

“It gives these guys the opportunity put on a ball gown, put on a suit and tie and feel really special and it helps break down barriers within the community, not just Bundaberg but the whole region.”

Bundaberg Ability Ball

Where: Bundaberg Multiplex

When: Saturday 16 August, 6 – 11 pm

Cost: Tickets are $85, companion tickets $65

Book here or visit Community Lifestyle Support at 48 Ashfield Road, Kalkie.

For event enquiries please email events@cls.org.au or phone 1300 257 753

What's on

Hatch Saves the Reef shares message

Emma Turnbull

Kalkie State School teacher Judith Stutchbury, with help from her students, has published Hatch Saves the Reef, a book with an important environmental message.

Judith said Hatch Saves the Reef was a heart-warming family adventure, which focused on the love of the ocean and the creatures who live in it.

Hatch Saves the Reef is the sequel to Judith’s screenplay Hatch, which has a storyline about a young sea turtle who hatches and is immediately faced with obstacles such as light and plastic pollution.

With the help of her students over the past seven years Judith is excited for the release of Hatch Saves the Reef, which will be officially launched in the September school holidays and is available now at Dymocks Bundaberg.

Judith said the idea to create Hatch Saves the Reef stemmed from not being able to get her hands on an educational book which had a message to help protect the environment to share with her students.

“It’s so important for students to read quality books, it’s a fiction book but it’s based on science, and for them to foster a love of the environment and looking after creatures is so important,” she said.

“Reading is so important for everything, for science, for maths, for everything, it helps students develop their language and they want to read something that is relevant to them.

“It’s so heart-warming for the kids, they are so excited.

“For them to be helping me and edit of little bits that was a really lovely learning experience for me as a teacher.”

She said the book was aimed at encouraging everyone to consider helping to protect the environment, while also inspiring young readers to follow their dreams by showing them how to be resilient when faced with adversity.

“Every class that I have had we have somehow integrated turtles into science, so it’s been every year I have taught that has had some contribution to the book,” Judith said.

“It’s come from lots of different things that we’ve learned in the classroom.”

Kalkie State School students played a pivotal role in creating the picture book.

Year 6 student Luisa Morrison-Pelusi said she first started working on the illustrations with her fellow students four years ago.

“Our grade, we focused on lots of drawings and we were kind of an inspiration as we had lots of great ideas,” she said.

“We wanted to make it feel more about the student’s opinions and we did play a big role in this.

“I was in Year 2, it was really, really great, honestly, it was so cool that we get this opportunity as primary school children that we can make a book.

Luisa said she hoped the message in Hatch Saves the Reef was shared with younger readers.

“We know they (the turtles) are endangered,” she said.

“It’s very important to look after the environment and I think because the turtles are quite a big deal in this area.

“Through turtles it’s a good way to show younger children how to help the environment.

“It’s been four or five years of watching this come to life and I think that’s amazing!”

Hatch Saves the Reef is available now at Dymock Bundaberg.

Enjoy a Long Table Dinner with Bargara Berries

Ashley Schipper

Join owners of Bargara Berries Michael and Debbie Meiers as they offer a seat at their strawberry-filled long table dinner as part of this year's Taste Bundaberg Festival.

This dynamic duo has dedicated 21 years to cultivating some of the finest strawberries in the region and now they're ready to share their passion with the wider community on Monday 7 August.

As you settle into the couple's farm shed, get ready to enjoy the flavours of a meticulously crafted three-course meal from HSG at the Gardens that showcases delicious strawberries in both sweet and savory capacities.

Debbie said this dining experience wasn't just about indulging in sumptuous food; it would also be a journey of discovery.

“Taste is an opportunity to showcase our products to the wider community, especially the newer residents to our area,” she said.

“It is a learning experience for everyone.

“Taste is all about the food of our region, where it comes from and how to enjoy it.

“Michael and I will be talking about our journey, the highs and lows, the family and the business.”

Debbie said Bargara Berries had always been committed to its local community, ensuring that Bundaberg gets the first taste of their top-quality berries before any excess is sent to markets in Sydney and Melbourne.

“It is a journey of love and dedication,” she said.

Long Table Dinner at the Strawberry Farm

Date: Monday 7 August
Time: 6 – 8.30 pm
Cost: $140 (alcoholic) | $130 (non-alcoholic)
Location: Bargara Berries, 104 Hoods Road, Meadowvale

Buy tickets here.

Railway Museum home to historic locomotive

Natasha Harth

Bundaberg Railway Museum is now home to a DEL1603 locomotive, one of only a handful of the engines still remaining and which played an important role in Queensland rail history.

Bundaberg Railway Museum recently took delivery of the decommissioned 1960s 1600 class diesel-electric locomotive.

The DEL1603 locomotive was built by English Electric in Rocklea Queensland, between 1962 and 1964, along with 17 other locomotives in the 1600 class.

The 1600 class was built for branch line use and were fitted with dual driving stations to enable operation in either direction without having to turn the unit around.

The first engine was numbered 1600 and the last built in the class was DEL1617.

The 1600 class featured a hooded design and a full width cab at one end for the driver.

At the time of their introduction, diesel locomotives in the 1600 class moved freight for approximately half the cost of the older steam engines.

DEL1603 came into service in Queensland in 1963, and was primarily stationed at Alpha, in Queensland's central west region, where it was used for moving freight and passenger trains.

DEL1603 was the fourth engine built in this class but was one of the last in the class put into service after engineers found the first four engines were overweight, requiring modification to the design and construction.

Over its 28-year lifespan the DEL1603 travelled an estimated 1.8 million kilometres.

The 1600 class was decommissioned by Queensland Rail in 1991, at which time DEL1603 was selected for preservation, earmarked for the QR Heritage Fleet and moved to Ipswich Rail Workshops.

In 2017 it was donated to Central Queensland University Bundaberg campus, where it was an integral part of the University’s Centre for Railway Engineering Crash Lab.

Following the discontinuation of the course, the locomotive became surplus to requirements, leading to the generous gift of the engine to the Bundaberg Railway Historical Society.

There are five existing 1600 class locomotives remaining, located at railway museums and displays around Queensland.

Locomotive 1604 is at Rosewood Railway Museum, 1613 is in Longreach, 1614 is at Archer Park Museum Rockhampton, and 1616 is at Queensland Pioneer Steam Railway in Swanbank.

DEL1603 is now in its permanent new home at the Bundaberg Railway Museum, where the Bundaberg Railway Historical Society will undertake restoration works and incorporate it into their display.

Visitors to the Bundaberg Railway Museum can see the DEL1603 during museum opening hours, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

The museum welcomes interested volunteers to get involved in the restoration of the DEL1603 and other Bundaberg Railway Historical Society activities.

Explore our Region: Riverview Park

In Our Group with Bundaberg Rotaract

The Bundaberg Rotaract group hosts various events throughout the year and encourages growing leadership skills and building lasting friendships.

Tell us about Bundaberg Rotaract:

The club has hosted numerous events aimed at providing a fun and safe time for all members of the community.

Bundaberg Rotaract is a community focused group for people aged 18-35.

We have hosted a Selfie Scavenger Hunt, an Amazing Race and most recently we hosted a movie-themed trivia night.

The club is an excellent option to get more involved in the community.

We welcome new members and would love to hear from anyone who is interested in getting involved.

What main event is happening for the group this year?

Bundaberg Rotaract is hosting a 'Meet & Greet’ event for people interested in learning more about the club.

If you are contemplating whether you may be interested in joining us then stop by Alexandra Park on 5 August between 10 am to noon for a chat, sausage sizzle and games.

What is the history of the group?

The Bundaberg Rotaract club was established in 2011.

Since 2011, the Bundaberg Rotaract club has provided support to the community by donations, taking action as needed and hosting community focused events.

The club has assisted growing leadership skills and building lasting friendships within its members.

Rotaract is a type of Rotary club focused on building and supporting young leaders.

There are currently over 10,000 Rotaract clubs worldwide.

While our club is focused on supporting our local community, by joining Bundaberg Rotaract you are also joining a much larger community of over 200,000 Rotaracters around the world.

Why is the group important to the Bundaberg Region?

Bundaberg Rotaract is an excellent way for residents to get more involved in their local community.

As a group aged between 18-35 we understand that our members have other time commitments and as such all our events are scheduled outside standard work/study hours.

This allows people who might not normally have the opportunity to give back to the community a way to do so.

Further, there are a lot of leadership and personal growth opportunities available for members.

When and where do you meet?

We meet every first Wednesday of the month for a meeting.

We have a monthly social, for example board game night, movie night, hike, evening at Bundy Bowl and Leisure, which is voted on at the meeting.

The time and date of the social varies each month and it is selected based on member availability.

Send us a message on Facebook or email us at secretary@bundabergrotaract.org.au for the location.

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