Weekender: Rob spreads wings as volunteer

IP@K students get hands on in 2023

Ashley Schipper

Up to 30 high school students will be getting hands on at local farms and businesses as part of the Integrated Pathways at Kepnock program.

Established last year by Kepnock State High School in partnership with Bundaberg Regional Council, the program aims to give disengaged youth an alternative pathway to education, featuring interactive learning with industry mentors.

Due to its popularity and recent funding of $50,000 from the Foundation for Rural Regional Renewal (FRRR), IP@K has started up again with three times as many students involved.

Kepnock State High School teacher and IP@K creator Danielle Hibbert said she was thrilled with the support.

“We had nearly 200 expressions of interest from students, teachers and parents this year,” Danni said.

“The sheer volume of interest was a good indicator of enthusiasm for the program for young students who don’t traditionally have access to vocational avenues until Year 10.”

The aim of IP@K is to provide students who are disengaged in the classroom with different pathways of learning.

Since the 2022 pilot, Danni said an IP@K Steering Committee had been created comprising Kepnock State High School, Bundaberg Regional Council, Peirson Services, Suncoast Gold Macadamias and Bundaberg Fruit and Vegetable Growers (BFVG).

“The Steering Committee have been meeting since the beginning of the year to schedule the 2023 program which has expanded to give students the opportunity to gain experience in hospitality, tourism, agriculture, health, manufacturing and retail,” she said.

“This term, IP@K students will be involved in a range of immersive activities from industry mentors including Bundaberg Tourism, Bundaberg Brewed Drinks, Macadamias Australia, BeeMart, Greensill Farms, Peirson Farms, Carinbundi, Peirson Services and TAFE Queensland Bundaberg Campus.

“IP@K students have already completed Workplace Health and Safety Training at Peirson Farms and have been enrolled into a SafeFarm HortCard program which will provide them with a Certificate of Completion via BFVG.”

The 30 students will be involved in the program over 10 weeks and will develop a range of skills on farms, in kitchens and more.

Why IP@K is helping students

According to Danni, an analysis of last year's pilot program showed participants gained increased awareness of multiple job opportunities and self-confidence, particularly after talking to industry representatives as part of IP@K.

“Feedback from participants from the 2022 pilot was also very positive,” she said.

“Bundaberg has a wide range of prosperous industries who have expressed an interest in supporting students who prefer a more hands-on learning experience.

“IP@K is unique because participants are still enrolled in the Australian curriculum but also benefit from a one-day immersive experience.”

Danni said IP@K would not be possible without the support from local businesses.

“We are very thankful and aware that participating industries are very busy and are very conscious and appreciative of the valuable time that has been dedicated to our students,” Danni said.

IP@K is proudly supported by Bundaberg Regional Council.

Rob dedicated to Hinkler Hall volunteer role

Ashley Schipper

Rob Maxey-Fisher has volunteered at the Hinkler Hall of Aviation for almost 15 years and said it was a role he had a great deal of passion for.

His dedication and commitment to the community, along with other volunteers within the region, will be honoured by Bundaberg Regional Council as part of National Volunteers Week in May.

Rob said being a volunteer and providing his support to the Hinkler Hall of Aviation was something he thoroughly enjoyed, especially considering his background.

“I actually came from a 22-year career in the air force, so aeroplanes have featured in my life since I was a very small boy,” he said.

“When I left the air force I went into teaching, so these two things sort of linked together with my volunteer work.”

Rob said before the Hinkler Hall of Aviation opened he would spend plenty of time at Hinkler House in the Botanic Gardens, admiring the life and achievements of the region's pioneer aviator Bert Hinkler.

“I visited the house as a tourist but when the hall opened and I saw what was going on, I was in like a shot,” he said.

“Had there not been something like this, perhaps I could have found something else to volunteer for, but this has really been ideal for me.

“When I found out about it I thought, wow I know where I am going to spend my weekends!”

Rob said his volunteer role consisted of chatting to visitors about Bert Hinkler's life and what artefacts were featured within the museum.

“I do a meet and greet for people coming in, and spend most of my time in the main part of the hall,” Rob said.

“Quite often people will look at the storyboards or watch the movie, and some of those things leave questions unanswered so I am sometimes able to answer those questions.

“The ladies seem to be more interested in Bert's love life and the gentlemen are interested in the technical things with the aircraft.”

Rob is one of many Bundaberg Regional Council volunteers who dedicate their time to assist the community.

These volunteers and many more from throughout the region will be acknowledged as part of a special National Volunteers Week morning tea on May 16 at the Bundaberg Multiplex.

Council has sponsored tickets to the morning tea for its volunteers to show appreciation for the support they provide to its facilities and services.

The event is also open to the community for anyone interested in hearing guest speaker Senior Australian of the Year 2022 Valmai Dempsey speak about her incredible volunteering journey to attend and show their appreciation for all of the region’s volunteers.

Council’s volunteer morning tea

When: 10 am to 11.30 am on Tuesday 16 May
Where: Bundaberg Multiplex
Cost: $15 per person for non-Council volunteers – please note ticketing closes Friday 5 May.

Tickets for the Council’s volunteer morning tea are available to purchase here.

Sara’s passion for fashion on show

Emma Turnbull

Bundaberg-based fashion designer, and former RAAF member, Sara Carney will showcase her ethical clothing, Desert Lily Vintage, at this year’s Brisbane Fashion Festival.

After 14 years of military service, Sara started a family and then began sewing to remedy both her physical and mental health, which led her to create Desert Lily Vintage.

Sara’s collection has an emphasis on vintage florals with 10 different styles made from quality fabric she has collected in the Bundaberg Region and then recycled to reduce waste.

Desert Lily Vintage’s sustainable and ethical approach to fashion has garnered attention and recognition, including invitations to exhibit the collection at Queensland's premier fashion event the 2023 Brisbane Fashion Show.

“I will be showcasing 10 different looks for the show, made up of dresses and two-piece sets that can be interchangeable from day to night,” Sara said.

“Desert Lily Vintage’s collection features high-quality, timeless garments made from recycled fabrics, including a mix of 100 per cent linen, vintage bed linen, and recycled vintage fabrics, with limited fabrics and styles per collection.

“(This) will be my first time showing my designs at such a prestigious event and I am honoured to be showcasing as an emerging designer.

“I feel very nervous and excited but trying to just focus on one day at a time, otherwise it becomes very overwhelming.”

Sara’s connection to the Bundaberg community, the demand for quality, and her social and environmentally sustainable principles are the driving force behind the brand, with each outfit coming to life in her home studio at Innes Park.

“It’s very intimate, and minimising the possibility of waste and oversupply, while ensuring the customer gets the perfect fit,” she said.

“The garments are designed to last, becoming beloved staples for seasons to come.”

From air force to fashion fiesta

Serving in the military Sara has seen first-hand the impact of clothing waste overseas and through Desert Lily Vintage she focuses on creating a more ethical way of producing and consuming fashion.

“After having children and leaving the air force I was really struggling with my physical and mental health so as a 30th birthday present my husband bought me a sewing machine to help give me a creative outlet whilst I was in the trenches of raising two baby boys,” Sara said.

“A couple of years later, and with the assistance of the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA), I was able to complete further studies in both business and fashion design, this took my passion for sewing and fashion to the next level.”

Through Desert Lily Vintage, Sara aims to educate and inspire others to take a more sustainable and ethical approach to fashion, ultimately contributing to a more sustainable and ethical future for the industry.

“I joined the RAAF as a 17-year-old that was looking for a little adventure and as a way to leave my hometown of Mandurah, Western Australia,” she said.

“Over a 14-year career as a medical assistant reaching the rank of corporal, I have participated in aeromedical evacuations nationally and internationally, military exercises within Australia and overseas with postings to Sydney, Newcastle and Perth.

“I served on operations in Afghanistan in 2008 attached to the NATO hospital intensive care unit with the Australian Specialist Medical team, and in 2012 I served in the Middle East Area of Operations as the senior medical assistant within the airbase medical practice.

“I think it’s important to be aware of not only how and where our clothing is being made, but also how you can reduce your environmental footprint by purchasing garments that are made from natural fibres or reusing materials that would otherwise end up in landfill.”

Brisbane Fashion Festival is held between 21-25 August.

To find out more about Desert Lily Vintage click here.

Tarin wins QLD Priceline Pharmacist of the Year

Emma Turnbull

Bundaberg pharmacist Tarin Dobbie has been crowned Queensland Priceline Pharmacist of the Year and is now vying to win the national award, to be announced in Singapore.

Each year, Priceline recognises pharmacists from each state who have gone above their normal scope of practice to help the local community.

Tarin's dedication to her patients' wellbeing, empathy in communication, approachability and pursuit of excellent customer service helped her win the coveted state award.

“This was truly unexpected so I'm still a little shocked, but extremely grateful for the recognition,” she said.

“Although I am the award recipient, it is a reflection of our entire team's hard work and dedication to our customers.

“I think the majority of pharmacists have a caring nature, it's what draws us to this profession in the first place.

“It's very rewarding to know you have helped improve a patient's health in some way or even had a positive impact on their day.

“Community pharmacy can be a very busy, stressful job at times, full of multi-tasking and constant interruptions, but if I can find a few moments in the madness to connect with my customers, it makes my day so much better.”

Tarin, who is also co-owner of Priceline Pharmacy Bundaberg, went up against more than 100 other pharmacies in Queensland and northern New South Wales.

She is now one of five finalists in the running to win the national award that will be announced in Singapore in June.

“I hadn't worked for a large banner group before owning Priceline Pharmacy Bundaberg, so this level of recognition is definitely a new experience for me,” Tarin said.

“My entire career has been in community pharmacy. 

“While studying my pharmacy degree at UQ in Brisbane, I started working at a small, but busy owner-operated pharmacy in Caboolture in the Moreton Bay region, close to where my family lived.

“I continued working there as an intern for one year after graduation, followed by nine years as a registered pharmacist.

“In 2015, my good friends Adam and Cassie Harradine, owners of Moore Park Beach Pharmacy, finally convinced me to pursue ownership as the next step in my career.

“It took quite a while for us to find the right pharmacy, so in the interim I worked as a locum in various locations.

“Working as a locum was a fantastic change of pace and provided a great variety of experience to prepare me for ownership.”

Tarin said, before being recognised with the Queensland Priceline Pharmacist of the Year award, a highlight in her career was renovating and relocating Priceline Bundaberg to the old Westpac building.

“It was a mammoth undertaking that we were crazy enough to start in the middle of the COVID pandemic, but it all came together with a lot of hard work, late nights and fantastic teamwork,” she said.

“We are so proud of our store and haven't looked back since the move.” 

To be eligible to be named Queensland Priceline Pharmacist of the Year a pharmacist must demonstrate a range of achievements, engagement and delivery of pharmacist-led health services, and leadership of the dispensary team.

“I believe what has stood out to the judges is how my team and I have gone above and beyond to support our community throughout the COVID-19 pandemic,” Tarin said.

“In particular, through our commitment to providing the most comprehensive vaccination service we could – to both adults and children, across most days of the week.

“We are one of only a few health providers in the Bundaberg Region who offered COVID vaccinations for children, and I believe we are now the only ones still offering this service.

“This led to us being recognised as administering the most vaccinations of any Priceline Pharmacy in Queensland in November 2021, which was a big surprise for a smaller regional store.”

Funding supports 2023 Cane2Coral

Ashley Schipper

Hundreds of participants have already registered for this year's Activate! Queensland Cane2Coral and now the event has received a funding boost from Bundaberg Regional Council.

The Apex Club of Bundaberg Inc will receive $8,983 for the fun run as part of the Sponsorships and Partnerships Grants Round 3.

Kicking off in the region on 23 July, the upcoming event marks the eleventh year of Cane2Coral.

Through support of sponsors, participants, volunteers and the public Cane2Coral has distributed a total of $577,786 to the community and select charities since its inception.

With a 21.1 km half marathon, 15 km, 8 km and a 4 km course, there’s distances for both recreational and competitive participants.

The addition of a 2 km distance has bought a totally different and most positive dynamic to the event – inclusion.

Adults and children of all ages, persons with disabilities, wheelchair users (electric and manual), mobility scooters, and prams can participate.

Council's Sport and Recreation portfolio spokesperson Cr Vince Habermann said Council agreed upon the funding in this week’s Ordinary Meeting.

“Our Partnerships and Sponsorships program is a fantastic way for local organisations to gain some extra help when it comes to putting on great community events,” he said.

“The Cane2Coral is a wonderful, family-friendly run that promotes active and healthy lifestyles and provides an economic benefit of bringing visitors to the region while fundraising for charity.

“In the past it has attracted over 1,500 participants with expected attendance of 2,000 in 2023.

“Bundaberg Regional Council is proud to show its support to the Cane2Coral and the hardworking committee.”

The funding amount will support the hire of equipment including portaloos, barriers and more for the event, which will stretch from CQUniversity to Nielson Park, Bargara.

Activate! Queensland Cane2Coral coordinator Terry Harlick said he was thrilled with the news.

“It's awesome, this funding will go a long way in helping things,” he said,

“Already we have over 500 participants registered, and we still have three months to go, so we are expecting this year’s Activate! Queensland Cane2Coral to be bigger than Ben Hur.”

Terry said the committee’s decision to change the date and to bring back the “original” course had meant that the event is much more attractive to participants both within the region and across Australia.

“The event previously had a date clash with the Sunshine Coast Marathon and as a result many participants could not attend.”

He said early registration numbers were certainly reflective of this positive change.

“Additionally, and from a tourism perspective, we’re helping to put Bundy back on the tourism destination planner.

“We are most proud to be able to contribute to the regions long-term economic benefits.”

Terry said after a few years’ hiatus due to Covid restrictions, The Activate! Queensland Cane2Coral was returning at the perfect time.

“Positive mental health is absolutely at the forefront of everything that we are wanting to achieve and events like this are absolutely vital in connecting family, friends and workmates who in most cases haven’t been able to have too much of an opportunity to do so in the past few years,” he said.

“We are excitedly looking forward to the event and working with Council and our other sponsors in returning this iconic event to the community.

“We are most very humbled and absolutely blown away by the generous support of our sponsors, volunteers, participants, and the public.

“We thank them for their most generous support.

“Our new committee would like to take a moment to recognise that without the many hard years of work by the previous committee, sponsors, participants and the volunteers that we would not have such a great event, we sincerely thank them for their outstanding efforts over the past 10 years.”

Early bird registration discounts for the Activate! Queensland Cane2Coral will remain open until midnight this Sunday 30 April and can be made here.

All paid registrations prior to the 11 May will also go into a draw for a $500 pre-paid Visa card and $200 cash.

Anyone regardless of age, or ability can participate in the event.

Enter as an individual, bring your friends, get the family involved or enter a team from your workplace, organisation or school.

The Activate! Queensland Cane2Coral is proudly supported by the Queensland Government.

May time is Playtime at the Library

Emma Orford

Little ones can enjoy self-guided imaginative playtime sessions at the Bundaberg Library every Saturday morning from 9 am to 11 am throughout the month of May.

Each Saturday, First 5 Forever staff will create new play experiences for children aged six years and younger to explore along with their parents.

The initiative is proudly funded and supported by the Queensland Government and the State Library of Queensland.

Bundaberg Regional Council's Youth Services Librarian Jaala Beauchamp said the initiative allowed parents to engage with their children at different purpose-led play stations.

“Library staff came up with the idea of playtime at the library specifically because play is the way children learn,” she said.

“Staff wanted to create situations where children can engage with the adults in their life surrounded by a variety of play situations.”

Play stations will include anything from sensory experiences to dramatic, imaginative and constructive play.

“Parents can come in at any time and engage for as long as their child wants to,” Jaala said.

“It also provides an environment where they can network, meet other parents and caregivers and share modelled experience.”

Playtime @ the Library sessions are free to attend, with no bookings required.

Find out more about First 5 Forever program here.

What's on

Endeavour volunteers to help make Mum’s day


Endeavour Foundation is calling for volunteers to help ensure every mum has the chance to get a beautiful bunch of flowers this Mother’s Day.

Endeavour Foundation’s Bundaberg Social Enterprise site manager Robert Campbell said more than 70,000 colourful chrysanthemums are waiting to be picked, stripped, and put into 7,000 bunches between now and mum’s big day.

“Our employees work extremely hard to make sure the mums and caregivers of Bundaberg can receive a gorgeous bunch of Endeavour Foundation flowers each year, but we simply can’t do it without the support of the community,” Robert said.

“We need volunteers to do three different jobs: pick flowers in the field, strip leaves from them, and put them into beautiful bunches.

“We’ve got a huge job on our hands between now and the 14th of May, but as they say, ‘many hands make light work’ so please give us a call and lend your hand today.”

Volunteers are needed from now, right up until Mother’s Day itself.

Volunteers can choose the hours they want to help and elect to work individually, in a group, or with friends, family, or work groups. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and training is provided.

Anyone interested in volunteering should call Endeavour Foundation Bundaberg on 4155 5701 or email bundbs@endeavour.com.au.

Alternatively volunteers can call managers Robert or Mark directly on 0403 601 515 or 0436 654 147 respectively.

Suellen’s Whisper of Angels at the Moncrieff

Emma Turnbull

Local musician Suellen Cusack is set to release her highly anticipated debut album Whisper of Angels with a live show at the Moncrieff Entertainment Centre just in time for Mother's Day. 

The classical crossover album showcases Suellen's exceptional singing abilities and voice.

With the help of a talented team of musicians, she has created a collection of songs that are sure to captivate audiences and leave a lasting impression.  

“I'm thrilled to be releasing my debut album and performing the songs live for the first time,” said Suellen.

“It's been a long journey, and I'm excited to share my music with the world.

”Every song is special to me.

“I love the title track, Whisper of Angels, which was originally performed by Amici the Opera Band.

“In my version, the second verse has been infused with classical guitar and really interesting percussion which was inspired by my producer Michael Cristiano. 

“Fields of Athenry is particularly close to my heart because it is a tribute to my Irish heritage and is dedicated to my father and uncles.” 

The Whisper of Angels launch at the Moncrieff Entertainment Centre promises to be a night to remember.

Suellen will be performing the tracks from her album, as well as some surprise covers with special guest appearances.

The show is perfect for music lovers of all ages, just in time for Mother's Day.  

Tickets for the show are available now through the Moncrieff Entertainment Centre's Box Office or online

Whisper of Angels  

When: 7.30 pm, Saturday 13 May
Where: Moncrieff Entertainment Centre
For more information: Check out What’s On Bundaberg

In Our Group with
Bundaberg Quilters Inc.

Emma Turnbull

Bundaberg Quilters Inc has been stitching treasures in the community for 35 years and members Kim Lomax and Rhonda Dunning share an insight from the local group.

Tell us about Bundaberg Quilters Inc?

Bundaberg Quilters is a group of friendly volunteers.

We have a membership of approximately 160 at present.

We meet regularly to enjoy social interaction and to improve our skills or just work on our own projects while sitting and chatting with friends.

Our members are always happy to share their knowledge and support for all levels and interests in quilt making.

We are very well resourced, having been around for 35 years.

We have an extensive library, fabulous equipment and offer interesting workshops to extend our members knowledge and experiences.

Do you celebrate a significant event during the year?

In August 2023, Bundaberg Quilters Inc will present our Biennial Quilt Expo Showtime.

We will have on display up to 200 quilts, as well as traders and raffles.

This event will run for three days, 4 - 6 August 2023, at the Multiplex Centre, Bundaberg

What’s the history of Bundaberg Quilters Inc?

Bundaberg Quilters Inc. was formed in 1987, by an enthusiastic group of ladies, several of whom are still members today, some 35 years later.

Our group has grown to regularly enjoy membership up to 160.

We have encouraged skill building by offering beginner classes, member-led workshops and have hosted national and international tutors over the years.

Why is the group important to the Bundaberg Region?

Bundaberg Quilters provides a friendly and encouraging environment for quilters and stitchers to form friendships and enjoy shared hobbies and interests.

A group of our members are involved in our Comfort Quilt program, in which we regularly donate adult, children and baby quilts to those in need who are receiving medical care and treatments including trauma and bereavement.

As well as other charitable organisations in the local area who support at risk members of the wider community.

During our Biennial Quilt Expo, BQI donate a quilt to a not-for-profit organisation in our community to assist them in their fundraising efforts. 

In the past these raffles have raised in excess of $3000 for each of the charities.

How can the community become involved?

Our club welcomes new members who have an interest in all things quilting, fabric, stitching, embroidery and textile art with other liked minded makers and creators.

Bundaberg Quilters Inc meet at the Bundaberg and District Family Centre Hall located in Kensington Street, corner of Walker St, directly behind Bundaberg Multiplex.

Our main group meets every Tuesday 10 am – 3 pm, with our Social Sewing, Textile Art and Machine Embroidery Groups meeting on a regular basis.

How to