Weekender: ruff times over for abandoned puppies

Safety upgrade on the way for busy intersection

Ashley Schipper

Bundaberg Regional Council is undertaking work to the Avoca Street/Duffy Street intersection to provide safety upgrades for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists using the area.

Roads and Drainage portfolio spokesperson Cr Bill Trevor said the intersection was investigated due to the high number of crashes which have occurred within a five-year period.

“As such, the intersection met the criteria for the Federal Government’s Black Spot Program,” he said.

“In the coming weeks, Council will create a safer intersection by improving signage and line marking and painting a chevron median on the Duffy Street northern intersection approach.

“A raised crossing on the Duffy Street southern intersection approach will also be constructed, providing a link between the existing footpaths which will give priority to pedestrians and cyclists.”

Cr Trevor said the work, along with pavement widening and a new concrete footpath connecting the bus stops on Duffy Street and Avoca Street, would greatly improve safety in the area.

“These works will increase both awareness of the intersection itself and the presence of other road users, such as cyclists, reducing the likelihood of a crash occurring,” he said.

“A raised priority crossing will improve safety by increasing visibility of pedestrians and cyclists to drivers and reduce vehicle speeds at the crossing point.”

Work has commenced and will be undertaken weekdays, during the hours of 6 am and 5 pm.

Weather permitting, the upgrade will be completed within four weeks.

During the intersection works sections of the road will be subject to traffic management measures and will have the appropriate signage to guide motorists.

The Site Supervisor will liaise with directly affected residents to facilitate property access during the upgrade work.

Bundaberg Regional Council is aware of the inconvenience the work may cause and thanks residents and road users in advance for their patience and co-operation.

Pound puppies thriving thanks to support

Ashley Schipper

A heavily pregnant maremma dog has safely given birth to five puppies at the Bundaberg Pound and all will have a second chance at life thanks to a partnership between Bundaberg Regional Council and Red Collar Rescue.

Council staff recently came across the pregnant dog, which was emaciated and in poor health, wandering the streets.

She was taken to the pound for further clarification on whether microchipping registration details were up to date and during this time, gave birth to her pups.

With no owners coming forward, the puppies and mum are now in the care of Red Collar Rescue where they will be looked after until adoption.

Regulatory Services portfolio spokesperson Cr May Mitchell said it was through a great partnership between Council and the local animal adoption centre that abandoned pets could find happiness again.

“Council has been working closely with Red Collar Rescue for many years and it is through their passion for dogs that this mother and her puppies are able to get a fresh, new start at life,” she said.

“With microchipping and registration details scarce, it becomes extremely difficult for Council to rehome lost pets.

“This is why we implore animal owners to make sure they register, desex and microchip their pets – it could mean the difference in being reunited with your furry friend.”

Owner of Red Collar Rescue Sharyn Banks said the organisation had been working with the Council since 2010, taking in dogs that had been left abandoned at the pound.

“This has saved the council ratepayers approximately $300,000 in euthanasia fees and saved around 4,000 abandoned pound dogs,” she said.

The maremma and her puppies are now in Sharyn's care where she said they were thriving.

“They are now 33 days old and wonderful, fat little angels,” she said.

“In our care they and their mum have received regular worming and premium food to give them the very best start in life.

“Mum was extremely thin on arrival, with a considerable worm burden, so it was important that the babies were supplemented to avoid any initial deficits.”

The maremma breed is generally used as guard dogs on farms and large properties, although Sharyn said these specific dogs would be best suited to regular home life.

Sharyn said when the puppies reach around 10 weeks old, they would be able to leave their group and start going into foster care, with potential forever homes on the horizon.

“They won't be formally adopted until they are old enough to be desexed, which is around six months of age,” she said.

“Mum will also be adopted as a pet as she has zero behavioural interest in being a guard dog and will do best as a family companion.

“Prior to adoption she will also be desexed, chipped, and fully vaccinated and on heartworm prevention.”

Sharyn said it was not the first time she had come across a stray pregnant dog situation.

“This is absolutely normal and just the tip of the iceberg,” she said.

“Sadly, people don't plan ahead when they get a pet and seem happy to abandon them when the going gets tough.”

Sharyn said she could not impress enough the importance of responsible pet ownership.

“Desexing your pet will go a long way to stopping it from roaming,” she said.

“Currently parvo and heartworm are epidemics in Bundaberg – prevention is cheap, treatment is expensive.”

“Our pets rely on their owners to keep them safe and healthy.”

About dog registration, microchipping

All dogs must be registered within the Bundaberg Region as per Queensland Government legislation.

To register your dog, amend an existing registration, change ownership of your dog or to renew a lapsed dog registration complete the online form here.

Unless exempt under the Animal Management (Cats and Dogs) Act 2008 the Act requires all owners microchip their cat or dog before it is 12 weeks old.

Contact your local vet to find out more.

Work starting soon at Apple Tree Creek park

Ashley Schipper

Work will commence on the upgrade of Apple Tree Creek Community Park from next week, with new play equipment, barbecues shelters and pathways to be added to the area.

As part of Bundaberg Regional Council’s Parks Capital Renewal Program 2022 – 2023, the upgrade is taking place to support the recreation needs of the community while providing a safe space for visitors.

Divisional representative Cr Bill Trevor said the popular rest stop had suffered major flood damage over the years, with Council deciding to relocate playground facilities to higher ground in order to prevent future issues.

“This includes a new playground, which will feature some all-abilities equipment, for kindergarten, primary and high school age children,” he said.

“Internal pathways will be upgraded to connect the existing toilet block facility to the new recreational facilities and picnic facilities will be removed and replaced.

“Two new barbecues will also be installed and general landscaping works will be undertaken.”

Cr Trevor said the park contained several historical items including a windmill, commemorative stone and emblems that would be removed as part of the upgrade.

“For safety reasons, the windmill will be removed from the park and is under consideration with a local community group and the emblems will be returned to the Childers Rotary Club, as endorsed by the organisation,” Cr Trevor said.

“The Childers Lions Club has supported the temporary removal of the commemorative stone during the project for safety reasons, and the return of the stone will take place after the upgrades, to a position as close to the original site.”

The park will be closed to the public while construction works take place, from Tuesday 23 May.

It is expected that work will be complete in August, weather permitting.

To keep up to date with this project scan the QR Code here which will take you to Council’s Our Bundaberg Region project page.

Beach visitors enjoy Somewhere to Eat

Ashley Schipper

Bargara residents and visitors have been enjoying refreshments down by the beach with the introduction of a food van by local business Somewhere to Eat.

The business now calls Crawford Park, Kelly's Beach, home after being awarded the tender to operate in the area by Bundaberg Regional Council in March 2023.

Open Saturday and Sunday from 8 am to 4 pm, the team offer hot coffee, cold drinks, breakfast options and some beach snacks including chips, hot dogs, dim sims, potato scallops and more.

Posting to the Somewhere to Eat by the Beach Facebook page recently, the business welcomed the community to enjoy its offerings.

“We are so glad that we have the new tender down at Kelly’s Beach Crawford Park and can’t wait to see what the future holds,” the post read.

Crawford Park is a popular location with beachgoers, centrally located between Kelly’s Beach, Moneys Creek and Archie's Beach in Bargara.

Providing access to a food van is part of Bundaberg Council‘s commitment to enhancing its recreational spaces for the community to enjoy.

The food van permit is an opportunity for small local businesses to enhance its customer base.

The permit has been issued for an initial one-year period with the option for two additional years by mutual agreement between Council and the successful operator.

Find out more about the Somewhere to Eat by the Beach by visiting the Facebook page here.

Creative agency ready to be discovered

Natasha Harth

Bourbong Street’s newest resident wants customers and clients to discover something special at Knights Creative, a creative content agency and men’s fashion boutique.

Andy Knight, the creative force behind the business, had a singular vision for his bold idea.

“We want it to be discovered, so we are off the main street, where you come down the arcade and into this little dark and moody environment,” he said.

“We went for yin-and-yang, with the black in the retail space which opens out into the full light of the studio.”

Andy and his team have brought new life to the former Brides and Belles store, which had been vacant for many years.

“We hand built everything from scratch, and now the studio is exactly tailored for the way I shoot and the way I teach.”

Knights Creative is a multi-facetted business, reflective of Andy’s extensive experience in fashion, marketing and creative commercial industries.

The Bourbong Street shopfront features a photography studio with infinity wall, make-up station, change room and workstation for professional fashion, product and commercial photography and a retail space with upmarket menswear labels.

Under the Knights Creative brand, Andy has also established a modelling agency to nurture local talent, and a creative content agency to connect local creative professionals with businesses and clients. 

“There was no modelling agent in Bundaberg, and when I wanted to hire talent for all this work, I thought ‘we need to add that on’,” he said.

Models will be signed up to the agency for free, and there has already been a lot of interest from locals wanting to get into modelling.

Andy’s focus is on nurturing and teaching aspiring models how to enter the industry safely.

“We want to empower guys and girls to be able to go out and know what to expect on a job,” he said.

“There’s a lot of emerging photographers who maybe don’t know industry standards either, so I’m inviting them all in to come and do workshops with me.”

Knights Creative offer free weekly workshops in photography, design and music, open to anyone looking to learn more and build their skills.

For anyone who may want to take their training further, or who is considering a career as a commercial creative, Andy offers advanced and professional level training for a fee.

Offering opportunities for people to develop creative careers in the region is a key factor in Andy’s business model.

“A lot of youngsters want to come up into this creative space but they don’t know how, and you don’t want to have to go off to a metro city to do it, because family is here and it’s an amazing place to live,” he said.

“There’s a good quality of expectation in the region, people want good stuff, and the kids want to learn, they are keen, they are eager.”

“I want to hire photographers and videographers to the agency as well, because I don’t see other photographers as competition, I see them as teammates.”

“Having other photographers under the agency allows individuality.”

Knights Creative workshops commence mid-June, with booking available online, and follow @knightscreative.bundaberg on Instagram for updates.

New Red Bench to help stop domestic violence

Emma Turnbull

With a lick of bright paint Bundaberg and District Neighbourhood Centre’s new Red Bench will soon provide support to community members and raise awareness of domestic violence.

The Red Bench Project is an initiative of the Red Rose Foundation, which works towards ending domestic violence related deaths in Australia.

Coinciding with Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Month in May, Bundaberg and District Neighbourhood Centre project officer Sue Hansen said replacing the old, weathered Red Bench with a new seat was timely.

Sue said there were several Red Benches around the Bundaberg Region and all had a purpose of raising awareness of domestic violence by providing an opportunity for the important issue to remain at the forefront of people’s minds.  

“Everyone in our community has a right to be safe in their home and relationships,” Sue said.

“Everyone has a responsibility to keep others safe from harm.

“Unfortunately, the statistics of death and injury caused in domestic and family violence is extremely concerning.

“It is not only partners who are hurt, but also children who grow up in these environments.”

Sue said the topic could no longer be swept under the carpet and the local community needed to be familiar with the early signs of domestic and family violence and knowing how to help prevent it was a step in the right direction.

“Many people know of the physical harm that is caused in domestic and family violence environments,” she said.

“However, many do not know that domestic and family violence can take many forms.

“Domestic and family violence is about coercive control and can also relate to control of finances, social activities, access to technology, threatening and humiliation, prohibiting or forcing cultural or religious activities and much more.

“The signs of domestic and family violence are not always obvious and so having organisations like the Bundaberg Neighbourhood Centre provide a Red Bench, there is a place and reason to start a conversation.

“Talking about domestic and family violence provides opportunities for more people to gain knowledge and share information about the importance of looking out for loved ones.”

Bundaberg Neighbourhood Centre has recently received funding from the Queensland Government to provide information to people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds about domestic and family violence.

“Having a Red Bench at the Bundaberg Neighbourhood Centre supports our commitment to educating the CALD community and general community about our desire to end domestic and family violence,” Sue said.

“The Bundaberg Neighbourhood Centre is the multicultural hub for Bundaberg and offers many community-based activities, so access to a Red Bench can reach a broad cross-section of the community.”

To find all the locations of the Red Benches in the Bundaberg Region click here.

Council provides funding boost to Toy Library

Natasha Harth

Local kids will be provided with more opportunity to play after the Bundaberg Toy Library received $13,000 in funding from the Bundaberg Regional Council’s Partnerships and Sponsorships Program.

Bundaberg Disability Resource Centre and Toy Library, now run by YMCA of Bundaberg, was established in 1986. by local parents.

The toy library provides access to specialised equipment and developmentally appropriate toys for children with special needs.

The recent funding will be used to purchase new and replacement resources, as well as support the ongoing operational costs of the organisation.

Melissa Avery, Co-ordinator at the Bundaberg Disability Resources Centre and Toy Library, said puzzles and ride-on toys would be purchased for the Toy Library collection.

She said the puzzle and ride-on toys are popular with borrowers, with the current toys in the collection showing signs wear and tear.

“Without the fantastic support of Council, our collection of toys would not be so good,” Melissa said.

“Some were very old and had to go.

“We want to be able to provide quality toys and resources to families, so we aim to purchase high quality toys with high play value.”

Particularly popular in the ride-on collection is the John Deere tractor, the rollercoaster and the micro-scooter.

The Toy Library’s first micro-scooter was donated by Mercury Fire Protection and is now top of the new equipment list.

“We plan to buy two more micro-scooters, as they are adjustable and durable and the kids love them!” Melissa said.

The organisation now provides three types of membership including disability, community and organisational, reflecting the need for all children to access toys that suit their age, educational development and play needs.

Education Advisor Vivien Pitt said the toy library had seen an increase in membership and number of items borrowed in recent years, as families had come to appreciate the ability to borrow toys rather than needing to buy.

“We’ve seen a real growth in members in the three to six month age range, with 2022 funding focussed on building the Early Years collection,” Vivien said.

“Council is wonderful to support us like they do, enabling us to increase our resourcing for community families.”

Resources purchased with Council funding are available for all members to borrow, with prioritisation given to community members.

Toy Library member Naomi Heckathorn is a regular borrower and said the advice from the staff is as valuable as the resources on offer.

“The library is amazing and the staff particularly are fantastic at helping our kids grow,” she said.

“If I say, ‘oh, I really want to help my kids with language skills or fine motor skills', the ladies will show me a great activity for that and tell me what to focus on or how to use it.

“They're really good at what they do and they're really knowledgeable.”

The toy library is supported by volunteers who assist the staff to check-in resources, clean and reshelve for the next borrower, and to repair broken items.

Local businesses and individuals have donated resources, with individuals also able to donate if the item is Toy Library appropriate.

The Toy Library’s Play More Indoor and Outdoor program runs from 11 April – 25 July.

Find out more about the Bundaberg Toy Library here.

What's on

Kitty Kats ready for Childers Night of Burlesque

Emma Turnbull

There will be a celebration of the female form at this year’s Childers Festival with the new addition of A Night of Burlesque at the Paragon Theatre.

The annual four-day event, held on the last weekend in July, draws visitors from around the country to Childers to celebrate culture, food and history.

The Friday evening will come alive with cabaret featuring some of Queensland’s favourite performers, including The Kitty Kats, Scarlet Tinkabelle, plus special guests including Bundaberg’s own The Neon Sparkles.

Renowned vocalists Michelle Brown, Renae Suttie and Susanne Campbell make up The Kitty Kats trio.

Renae said they were thrilled to celebrate the female form through song, dance, costume, and even fire, during the Childers Festival.

“Childers is a picturesque and vibrant heritage town with a very strong, passionate and progressive community,” Renae said.

“We first learned about the Childers Festival a few years ago through the Paragon Theatre's darling owner, Merissa Ricciardi. 

“The whole concept sounded so exciting – a fabulous way to celebrate the history and beauty of the town along with the creativity and energy of the local community.”

Renae said A Night of Burlesque would have guests loving the skin they’re in, with a burlesque boudoir theme.

“We have individually had our own solo careers for over 30 years but came together in 2015 and launched our vocal group, The Kitty Kats,” she said. 

“We have an absolute ball working together – not only for the singing, harmonies, costuming, choreography etc, but we have become the closest of friends. 

“It's been wonderful to join forces with these fellow female singers and through our music connect with the community.”

Performing at Paragon a pleasure for Kitty Kats

Renae said performing at the Paragon Theatre was always a pleasure for the Kitty Kats.

“The Paragon Theatre is an absolute gem and, in my opinion, a national treasure,” she said.

“Most heritage theatres in Australia are sadly knocked down and turned into housing or commercial buildings.

“As a singer there is nothing like performing in an authentic art deco theatre which was built for the exact purpose of live performance.

“We are honoured to be performing at the Paragon and to be a part of this iconic festival.”

The trio performs in the Bundaberg Region often and they always looked forward to returning.

“It's like coming home! We venture up to the Bundaberg Region at least twice a year, to perform at the Paragon and also Palm Lake Resort Bargara,” she said.

“We love the region and the people. 

“We are always welcomed with open arms and made to feel at home. 

“We love the enthusiasm of the crowds in Childers and Bundaberg, who are never shy to dress up, and always let their hair down and get up and dance.

“They create the most amazing atmosphere and vibe.

“We also have our favourite must-do coffee shops, dress shops and op shops that we visit every time.

“It's a great weekend getaway for us and we are super excited about visiting again this July.”

A sassy mix of three-part acapella harmonies, cabaret, swing, blues and rockabilly, The Kitty Kats will have Paragon Theatre guests dancing, crying, singing and laughing out loud during the Childers Festival’s adults-only event.

A Night of Burlesque at the Childers Festival

When: 6 pm Friday 28 July
Where: Paragon Theatre, Childers
Tickets: $50 or VIP $75. On sale Monday 29 May

Sacrifice exhibition extended thanks to RADF

Emma Orford

Photographic artist William Debois will be extending the reach of his Sacrifice exhibition at the Bundaberg Regional Art Gallery this August thanks to a grant from the Regional Arts Development Fund (RADF).

William is a French/Australian photographer based in Gladstone with a career spanning more than 25 years and four different countries.

Sacrifice is his long-term project which aims to convey a range of experiences using a simple process: meeting people, capturing their portraits and collecting their stories of sacrifice.

“Since early 2021, I have been photographing strangers met through recommendations or by chance, using the same creative process each time,” he said.

“The sitter is photographed on film, in front of a backdrop custom-made for the project, and is asked to share their reflections on the two questions: What does sacrifice mean to you? What sacrifice have you made?

“Displayed together, the portraits and stories aim to encourage reflections and conversations about notions of generosity, hardship, community, commitment, privilege and inequality.”

Having successfully applied for a RADF grant, William is now extending the upcoming exhibition to include an artist residency to create new portraits, a community workshop and an artist talk.

“The funding provided by RADF will allow me to spend a whole week in Bundaberg in July and connect with members of the Aboriginal, South Sea and Torres Strait Islanders community in the region and collaborate with them on new portraits for the Sacrifice project,” William said.

“The photographs and stories that will result from this artist in residence period will become part of the Sacrifice exhibition on display at Bundaberg Regional Art Gallery from September.”

William said he hoped visitors to the exhibition would explore their own understanding of sacrifice and how it connected to the broader community.

“My hope is that some of the stories and pictures featured will resonate with the audience in Bundaberg and give some insight into the recent history of the region and Indigenous communities,” he said.

“My artist talk will focus on the reflections and influences that led me to start this long-term project and I will share some of the background stories and anecdotes linked to some of the portraits.

“This will be an opportunity to learn and ask questions about the way I work.

“The theme of the workshop is still being discussed but it will focus on technical questions that could help keen or even casual photographers.”

Telling local stories

William said the majority of the subjects portrayed in the exhibition lived in regional and rural areas.

“I think it is important to hold a mirror to the communities that are not often engaging in art practices and to give them an opportunity to recognise themselves in the artwork and stories on display.

“Photography is obviously a very effective ‘mirror' and the notion of interaction is quite central in my methodology on this project.

“Talks and workshops simply extend opportunities for collaboration.

“After all, a conversation is a collaboration in creating meaning.”

He said that RADF in particular led the way in nurturing projects that built communities from a cultural point of view.

“Its funding benefits the artist, of course, but the focus is systematically on what the community can gain through participation and engagement and how its identity, cohesion and skills can be reinforced in the process.”

The RADF is a partnership between the Queensland Government and Bundaberg Regional Council to support local arts and culture in regional Queensland.

For more information about the RADF, click here.

In Our Group with Our Glad Association

Emma Turnbull

Our Glad Association Inc president Leonie Egan established a group dedicated to Bundaberg songstress, Gladys Moncrieff, and she invites the community to be involved and shares its history.

Why is Our Glad Association important to the Bundaberg Region?

Gladys Moncrieff was born just outside Bundaberg in the Wide Bay Shire of Isis.

She and her mum were taken to Bundaberg hospital and so she was registered here.

There are other singers Bundaberg can be proud of, but none made the exceptional success that Our Glad did.

She became the highest paid artist of her time and was celebrated for many years as the greatest Musical Hall singer of her day.

Gladys would sing full musical productions five days a week and on weekends through two world wars and for wartime charities, giving of her talent for free.

Gladys Moncrieff earned herself an OBE for her efforts.

What significant events does Our Glad celebrate?

As Gladys’ three important dates – birth, marriage and death – all fall around Easter, we try to hold functions for her, especially for her birthday on 13 April. 

Last year her 130th was spectacular, with a full concert of her life.

This year her 131st was also a special event with a showing of her portraits donated by Stuart Greene of Sydney.

It marks the fact that the Moncrieff Entertainment Centre now has these permanently on display.

One of our aims is to make Gladys relevant to today’s youth and so in the near future we hope to organise a yearly talent quest to bring this about – watch this space!

Tell us about Our Glad Association Inc?

I know there are still people whose families remember Gladys and her own family for when they lived here.

I would very much like all stories that people have to be told to me so that I can write a more comprehensive book about her life.

She retired to the Gold Coast which upset many Bundaberg people, but she was a world figure and wanted to be accessible by airline travel.

She sincerely loved Queensland.

I continue to compile information re Gladys through a Facebook page called Gladys Moncrieff OBE Superstar.

Her biography is something to be proud of and needs to have her achievements remembered as the outstanding Australian she was.

I am determined not to have her forgotten by her hometown of Bundaberg.

At age six, she sang in public for the first time in the Queens Theatre in Woongarra Street where we placed a plaque on the building to commemorate the event.

The family went to Maryborough where she started primary school before dad took them further north chasing his work.

She sang in all her school productions of Gilbert and Sullivan and was famous later on for all those leading roles.

Our patron, Dr Roslyn Dunbar-Wells, won the Gladys Moncrieff Macquarie radio contest when she was 16.

She went on to have a very successful singing career.

How did Our Glad start?

In 2012 I came to Bundaberg from Sydney.

My husband Peter Egan OAM and I were both trained in classical voice, and we sang concerts for charity for 40 years.

Gladys’ songs suited my voice. 

So, naturally I looked around to see how Bundaberg celebrated their own Gladys Moncrieff.

I decided to start an association about Our Glad.

How can the community become involved?

Our Association is open to all music lovers, especially if they admired Gladys.

We meet at 2 pm at the Spotted Dog on the first Tuesday of the month but it can vary depending.

Our members are regularly advised.

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