Weekender: Sheila now calls Australia home

Pipeline lays groundwork for growth

Megan Dean

An almost 7 km pipeline connection to the Rubyanna Wastewater Treatment Plant is well underway and there’s more work on the way for the significant project.

The Bargara-Rubyanna Trunk Sewer Main project will deliver a 6,900 metre trunk sewer main, submersible sewer pump station and ancillary infrastructure to divert sewage from the Bargara Wastewater Treatment Plant to the Rubyanna Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Bundaberg Regional Council Water and Wastewater portfolio spokesperson Cr Jason Bartels said work on the pipeline had been progressing well.

“Constructing the pipeline is a big undertaking which has been underway since February and is now about 60% complete,” Cr Bartels said.

“The Rubyanna Wastewater Treatment Plant was always designed to cater to a higher capacity than the region’s needs at the time of construction.

“The Bargara Wastewater Treatment Plant will continue to operate, with flow over its capacity diverted to Rubyanna.

“We’re now in a very positive position to address the rapid population growth our region has experienced, a lot of which has been focussed in coastal areas.

“While the planning and delivery will take some years, in the long term this coastal sewer diversion project will be sized to cater for coastal wastewater treatment requirements for the next 50 years.”

Cr Bartels said the next stage of the project would be to go to market to find a contractor to construct the pump station and associated plant infrastructure.

“This is a great opportunity for an experienced contractor to work on what will be a significant project that will support the growth of our region.”

Council successfully applied for $2 million in funding support from the Queensland Government Building Our Regions Round 6 funding for the Bargara-Rubyanna Trunk Sewer Main project.

“This funding will improve vital sewerage services,” Mayor Dempsey said.

“We know reliable services are key to the long-term liveability of our community as well as increasing environmental outcomes.”

Member for Bundaberg Tom Smith said the project would make a difference to local residents.

“We’ve heard that across the board, it has been difficult to find funding for these important projects, which aren’t always obvious to ratepayers, so upgrading critical infrastructure will support the longevity of the community and create good, local jobs.”

The Bargara-Rubyanna Trunk Sewer Main project is supported by the Queensland Government Building Our Regions fund.

Sheila celebrates citizenship and 90th birthday

Emma Orford

Bundaberg resident Sheila Hume is one of 33 people receiving their Australian Citizenship on 3 July at the Bundaberg Multiplex, just ten days before her 90th birthday.

Sheila, originally from Market Harborough in the UK, moved to Australia with her husband Tom in 2010 after visiting her son Robin and his family who had emigrated to Bundaberg.

“We came for a holiday, we loved it so much we decided to stay,” Sheila said.

“So we came over with the two dogs, and lived with Robin, Lesley and the kids.”

Sadly Tom passed away in June 2011 but Sheila decided to stay and see through their joint wish of living in Australia.

She was eventually granted an Aged Parent visa in 2021.

“I’ve been quite happy here and have some good friends,” Shelia said.

“It’s easy going and friendly and I have all the help I want.

“I just love it.”

Citizenship is very important to Sheila who said she was most excited about being able to vote.

“I’m over the moon about it, really I am,” she said.

“It’s all thanks to Les, she’s put in all the hard work, everything from day one.”

The family have a special lunch planned to mark Sheila’s 90th birthday with about twenty people gathering to celebrate her.

“Don’t remind me!” she joked.

Sheila's story

Sheila was born on 13 July 1933 in Warwick in the UK.

It was a tough start with the Second World War breaking out in 1939 when she was just six years old.

In 1953 Sheila married her husband Geoffrey (known as Tom) in Market Harborough and they loved nothing more than getting out and about on his motorbike.

Their son Robin was born, also on 13 July, in 1962 followed by their daughter Lisa in 1966.

Robin, his wife Lesley and their sons Neil and George moved to Bundaberg in 2004 on a Sponsored Visa to work for a local company.

After 56 years of married life in the UK, Tom and Shelia made the big decision to leave behind all they knew as well as their daughter Lisa, son-in-law John and granddaughter Holly, and make the permanent move to Australia.

After Tom passed away just a year later, Sheila stayed on making the most of her new life abroad.

“She has a great can-do attitude and is always keen to learn,” Lesley said of her mother-in-law.

“The warmer Bundaberg weather allows her to be active all year round and you don’t find her sitting down for long.”

Sheila still drives and lives independently at her home in Avoca where the family often come to visit to mow the lawn, drop off a Sunday roast or just enjoy a cup of tea and a chat.

She loves her garden and her dog Sammy and can be found pottering around outside most days.

She’s also adapted to the digital age and does her banking and shopping online as well as using Facebook and Messenger and video calling her family in the UK every week.

Shelia is grandmother to Neil who works as a maths teacher at Gin Gin State High School and George who is in his second year at university also studying to be a maths teacher.

She is also great-grandmother to Neil and his partner Claire’s son Thomas who turned two in May, making them “the newest oldest Aussie and the newest youngest Aussie" in the family.

Brow Republic expands to Bundaberg

Emma Orford

A new salon at Hinkler Central is raising eyebrows in more ways than one as Brow Republic and Lash Bar officially opened it's doors last month.

Specialising in brow and lash treatments, Brow Republic is purpose-built to be a communal space where clients receive quality services at affordable prices.

The salon aims to give customers an experience rather than just a treatment, with complimentary touches like a treat plate, weighted blanket, phone charging station, jewellery cleaning station and hot towel on arrival.

The Bundaberg store is owner Tamara Dowe who has now opened a third branch of the salon, having started first in her hometown of Hervey Bay and then in Toowoomba.

“I wanted to go to regional towns because they don’t have these sorts of salons in shopping centres,” Tamara said.

“We marketed and advertised on social media and got a great response.

“So many people said Bundaberg needed this.”

Tamara initially started the salon after struggling to support her three sons as a single mother, one of whom has special needs.

“I started taking clients at home and doing brows from there,” she explained.

“But financially it was really difficult trying to support the boys so I approached Stockland in Hervey Bay and told them my idea for a beauty salon that was just niche, so not all the services, just brows and lashes.

“They liked me I guess and offered me a good deal, so I got started.”

She hasn’t stopped since then, with three branches opened and 26 people employed.

“We had a lot of clients coming down from Bundy to our Hervey Bay store so I knew there was a market for it,” Tamara said.

“When I came through and saw this space was vacant I thought it was the perfect size for us.

“I reached out to TAFE to see if there was anybody they could recommend that was really great at brows and lashes and they did, so I hired three girls from there.

“All my staff are local girls.”

Tamara said it was important to her to create a relaxing, communal space where customers could enjoy their treatments while in the company of others.

“When I was home with the kids it could feel very isolated, so I wanted to build my own community and bring women together,” she said.

“So instead of individual treatment rooms, we’ve got ladies sitting next to each other and even if they don’t know each other they can start a conversation.

“Anyone can come and feel really welcomed.”

For more information on Brow Republic and Lash Bar, visit the website here.

Okara expansion to boost Port exports

Megan Dean

After shipping tens of thousands of tonnes of sand internationally just this year, Okara is set to expand and further increase the Port of Bundaberg's export capacity.

The project, which will unleash a range of new export and trade opportunities for the region, has secured a 100% reduction in applicable infrastructure charges from Bundaberg Regional Council in recognition of its status as a project of regional significance.

The reduction was awarded on the grounds that the development would provide significant economic benefit to the region.

Okara Ply Ltd, situated at 67 Buss Street, Burnett Heads, is a family-owned company and is currently the largest employer at the Port of Bundaberg.

Okara provides cartage and storage services for bulk commodities for import and export and supply ship loading and unloading services.

In a report presented to Council Okara said its plans for growth that the Council support would enable included the cartage, storage and ship loading of 90,000 tonnes of silica sand a year.

Since requesting relief from infrastructure charges Okara has partnered with Move Logistics, one of the largest end-to-end logistics providers in New Zealand, to launch a new shipping service from Bundaberg to New Zealand and domestic port calls on the East Coast of Australia.

This collaboration aims to promote sustainable and resilient shipping practices while supporting regional ports.

Move Oceans operate three vessels intra New Zealand and across the Tasman.

Atlas Wind is Move's 4500 dwt vessel equipped with ship's gear and is expected to provide efficient and reliable services for these new routes. Atlas Wind has the capacity to carry an additional 100 shipping containers ex Bundaberg and will offer a monthly port call.

Okara has constructed a 75 m x 55 m concrete bunker for storage of up to 40,000 tonnes of dry bulk goods to facilitate the export of silica sand.

The storage bunker facility requires an igloo roof which will result in a fully sealed, weatherproof and environmentally friendly storage solution at the Port of Bundaberg and will come at a cost of $2 million dollars.

The hard stand sealed storage area will be expanded for shipping containers, site huts, machinery and portable buildings and the design and construction of a bulk storage igloo for Gladstone Ports Corporation on the Port of Bundaberg will connect to the new common user conveyor to facilitate ship loading.

In the absence of these facilities Okara is able to leverage off existing port assets owned by Sugar Terminals Limited and Gladstone Ports Corporation to facilitate bulk exports with mobile conveyors and container loading using the ship's cranes.

The report prepared by Okara and presented to Council stated that not only would this expansion facilitate greater utilisation of the region's port it would also be a boost for local business and jobs.

“Our company have [sic] been approached on numerous occasions over the last five years by local business who are trying to further trim supply chain costs and import/export bulk products through the Port of Bundaberg,” Okara said in the report.

“Currently product is being moved through Gladstone or Brisbane Ports resulting in higher charges to get the product to market.

“In 2018 Council commissioned economic modelling showing that if new infrastructure and investment could be attracted to the Port that up to 24,000 additional jobs could be created across the region over 20 years.

“Along with the Pacific Tug project, the Okara Bulk Storage Expansion Project will directly help unlock this potential envisaged for the region by Council,” the Okara report continued.

“This project supports Gladstone Ports Corporation's 50 year strategic plan for the Port of Bundaberg by providing a solution to an underutilised asset that will allow diversification of commodities and ensure the Port becomes viable.”

Okara hopes its expansion will secure the opportunity to export 90,000 tonnes of sand internationally each year and its new partnership with Move Oceans will ensure break bulk container trade opportunities for local growers and manufacturers.

The bulk storage expansion project will create 15 new full-time positions for truck driving and plant and machinery operators.

A further five to 10 causal positions for ship loading and unloading could also be created if new export opportunities are realised.

Horst and Dagmar celebrate 70th anniversary

Emma Turnbull

In a heart-warming pledge of love, Horst and Dagmar Gruetzmacher will celebrate a remarkable 70 years of marriage on 4 July.

The couple’s love story began seven decades ago in Germany, during the aftermath of World War II, while they were both in hospital.

This year the incredible milestone of a platinum wedding anniversary is made extra special for the couple because both Horst and Dagmar will also celebrate their 90th birthdays in July.

Their daughter Carmen Connelly said her parents’ 70 years of marriage was inspiration to couples around the world as it showcased not only love, but also commitment and resilience.

“They met in Germany 1947 while in hospital and married in 1953,” she said.

“The early years were not easy raising a young family, two daughters Carmen, Edith and later a son Hartmut to complete the circle.”

Horst and Dagmar also have 10 grandchildren, 10 great-grandchildren and 3 great-great-grandchildren they cherish.

Living in Bundaberg for almost 40 years, Horst is known for his scissor art, while Dagmar has been a homemaker and later a carer for her husband.

Carmen said her parents followed her and her family across the world, when they moved to Australia in 1987 to start a new life.

“They settled in Bundaberg 36 years ago, loving the climate, the ocean and the unique township and surroundings,” she said.

“Now 70 years together they are just as amazed, as we all are, to last a lifetime.

“Supporting each other and doing everything together all their lives – you see one, you see the other.”

The couple will celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary on 4 July and with Horst turning 90 on the 7 July and Dagmar celebrating her 90th birthday the next day on the 8 July.

“Unfortunately, Dad is now in aged care, but Mum is still in their home,” Carmen said.

“The last year has been tough on both, with Dad's health taking a turn, he now requires 24-hour care.

“Not only 70 years married and both turning 90 years of age they had a full life and remarkably Mum still drives her car.

“Your entire family and friends are wishing you many more years of happiness and unconditional love, what a great achievement.”

What's on

Gin & Pie Day returns for Taste Bundaberg

Natasha Harth

The Taste Bundaberg Festival’s popular Gin & Pie Day returns to Kalki Moon Distillery on Saturday 12 August, showcasing the region's iconic brands to festival goers.

Guests can soak up the atmosphere of Kalki Moon, Bundaberg’s international-award winning distillery, while enjoying a gin cocktail or sampling one of their locally distilled spirits.

The family-run artisan distillery is proud of its Bundaberg heritage, and sources many of its ingredients from the region’s growers and producers.

Bringing the pies to Gin & Pie Day is Bundaberg’s Chic’s Pies, a local business with over 70 years of experience in the region and a track record for producing delicious pies.

Patrons who don’t fancy a cocktail can also enjoy craft beer from Ballistic Brewing Co, a delicious cider from Ohana’s Cheeky Tiki of Childers and wine from South Burnett’s Moffatdale Ridge.

Kalki Moon Distillery Manager Jodie Apcar said this year’s event would be bigger and better than last year.

“It was a really great turnout last year, so there will be an extra 200 tickets available this year,” she said.

“We have also extended the area we will be using to include out the back (of the distillery).”

Adding to the ambience, guests will be entertained into the evening by The Spargo Brothers, Ryan Giles and DJ Brad Marsellos.

“It will be a good afternoon, whether you just want to stay for a pie and drink or stay to enjoy the music throughout the afternoon and evening,” Jodie said.

“(Taste Bundaberg Festival) is really great for us, for people to come that don’t know who we are.”

“It’s nice to get people who aren’t local involved.”

Gin & Pie Day is a ticketed event costing $20, with a Kalki Moon gin cocktail and one of Chic’s iconic pies included in the ticket price.

The event will be held Saturday 12 August, from 2 pm to 10 pm, at Kalki Moon Distillery, 1D/22 Commercial Street, Bundaberg.

Tickets on sale Monday 10 July.

Please note this is an 18+ only event.

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit the Taste Bundaberg Festival website.

Relax with Grill n Tunes during Taste Festival

Emma Turnbull

Mouth-watering food will be cooked over open fire and served up in a relaxed alfresco setting during this year’s Taste Bundaberg Festival’s Grill n Tunes event.

Set at the picturesque HSG at the Gardens with a backdrop of live music Grill n Tunes is just one of the fantastic culinary line ups of the annual Taste Bundaberg Festival.

Renowned chef Dion Taylor will partner with local business Yagoona Design Australia to showcase his culinary prowess, creating an unforgettable dining experience for attendees.

The evening will be set with ambient lighting and showcase a slow method of cooking allowing local produce to burst with flavour in every mouthful.

“This is more than just great live music and good food, it's about enjoying all of the elements, combined with great company and genuinely understanding the depth of food our region offers,” Dion said.

“Imagine hundreds of overhead festoon lights, a small group format for a food discovery like no other.”

The menu will feature an entrée of chicken marinated in a Bundaberg spice mix, cooked on swords over coals, with pickled cucumber and Allison Acres salad greens paired with a Cheeky Tikki Cider over ice.

Appetites will then be whet for a main of grilled rosemary and garlic lamb shoulder served with a roasted local sweet potato and capsicum medley.

The Grill n Tunes evening wouldn’t be complete without a dessert of Bundaberg’s Kadilly Coffee espresso martini baked cheesecake and entertainment by local musician Bre Ferguson.

“It takes time to really digest the flavours behind any menu and for me it’s really about the inclusion of as many local brands as possible,” Dion said.

“Hosting a number of events during the festival, it gives me the unique opportunity to tick a heap of commodities off the local list and give ticket holders the opportunity to eat their way through the region!”

Passionate foodies devour Taste Bundaberg Festival too

Taste Bundaberg Festival further cements the Bundaberg Region’s reputation as a burgeoning culinary destination allowing talented chefs, like Dion, to showcase their skills and promote the unique flavours of the region.

Dion has been involved in Taste Bundaberg Festival since its inception and he loves nothing better than working alongside all the passionate foodies in the Bundaberg Region.

“The Taste (Bundaberg) Festival is a lot of work for local food champions, but there is a hidden desire to keep pushing ourselves on the culinary journey,” he said.

“There are often new ingredients or new farmers or new processors popping up and what better way to support them on their journey then to get behind them and their products.

“It's a great way to keep in contact with other local food champions and discuss raising the general foodie vibe in the region.

“The festival attracts locals and tourists alike and it’s great when you hear folks talking about our local region in such a positive light.”

Joining Dion at Grill n Tunes, Yagoona Design Australia will create the perfect experience of outdoor dining with its fire pits and barbecue grills.

“This is a purely passion driven event as I love cooking on open fire,” Dion said.

“There is a level of skill that pushes a chef to the unknown as it's all down to wood, wind and persistence.

“Enjoying the great outdoors has always been a favourite pastime and these days I like to make sure that whilst I'm at work, it's no different.”

Dion said collaborating with Yagoona Design Australia’s Jason Marland and Emily Cleaver had always provided the opportunity to highlight local ingredients and the sentiment was mutual.

“We have been partnering with Dion for a few years now as he loves cooking on our products and introducing new cooking and event concepts to his customers,” Emily said.

“We have operated Yagoona Design Australia from Bundaberg for 10 years.

“Introducing the social grilling experience to many Australian homes with their family and friends and in recent years in the event and catering realm like with HSG and Dion.

“We enjoy being a part of Taste (Bundaberg) Festival as being able to share what our products are all about is so exciting but also to bring a delightful ambience and social entertaining feel in our local outdoor event spaces.

“Yagoona gathers everyone together around the fire which is so much fun to do and is also the perfect way to relax!”

Taste Bundaberg Festival’s Grill n Tunes

When: 5.30 pm Thursday 10 August
Where: HSG at the Garden 57 Gorlicks Road, Branyan
Cost: $78, available Monday 10 July at noon

Hinkler House memorial to pioneer aviator

Natasha Harth

Saved from demolition by a dedicated group of Bundaberg locals in the early 1980s, Bert Hinkler’s English home ‘Mon Repos’ stands as a lasting memorial to the Bundaberg-born aviation hero.

Adjacent to Hinkler Hall of Aviation in the Bundaberg Botanic Gardens, historic Hinkler House has, for nearly 40 years, been the focal point for honouring the great man.

As detailed in Bundaberg Now’s Hidden Histories podcast, the two storey Edwardian style residence was saved from demolition in Southampton, England, and relocated to Bundaberg when a group of Hinkler admirers heard of its impending fate.

The then Bundaberg City Council and the Queensland Government, as well as community organisations, businesses and individuals, joined together to dismantle and relocate the building brick by brick, rebuilding it in what was to become the Bundaberg Botanic Gardens.

Three Bundaberg locals, Stan Lohse, Merv Purkiss and Lex Rowland set out for England in May 1983 to dismantle the house with the help of English builders, who were as enthusiastic as the Bundaberg community to see the house preserved.

The dismantling took the team in England a full month, followed by further time packing it up to travel to Australia.

Once back in Australia, the Rotary Club of East Bundaberg stepped up to project manage the rebuilding of the home on the site in North Bundaberg.

Listed among Bundaberg Regional Council's Local Heritage Places, Hinkler House honours his memory and his significant achievements in aviation, ensuring his story continues to inspire generations of admirers and aspiring aviators.  

The house was built for Hinkler and his wife Nance in Southampton, England, in 1925.

Hinkler named the house ‘Mon Repos’ in honour of his hometown and the beach that inspired his love of flight.

The house is a cavity brick construction, with pebbledash upper exterior walls, Baltic pine floors and European redwood balustrades, architraves and mouldings.

The reconstructed interior of the house retains genuine and replicated items of furniture and fixtures from Hinkler’s life.

Hinkler House opened to the public as a memorial museum on 16 June 1984.

Around 4,500 people attended the opening, which was marked by a special flyover by the American Air Force and the local Bundaberg Aero Club.

Bundaberg Botanic Gardens was chosen as the site for the relocation due to its significance in the life story of Hinkler.

The Botanic Gardens are close to Hinkler’s famous landing site, where he returned to Bundaberg having made the first successful solo flight from England to Australia in 1928.

Nearby was Hinkler’s North Bundaberg State School and the lagoon where he spent many hours observing the flight of birds, especially the ibis, which contributed greatly to his aviation achievements.

Hinkler’s ambitious long-distance aircraft that he built and designed with aeronautical engineer Roland Bound in 1930 was named The Ibis.

Hinkler’s love of aviation began at a young age, and in 1912 he successfully flew a man-carrying glider that he had built himself on Mon Repos Beach.

After travelling to England in 1914, Hinkler enlisted in the Royal Naval Air Service, and served with distinction in World War I, initially as an observer/air gunner before training as a pilot in 1918.

In 1921 Hinkler made a long-distance record-breaking flight from Sydney to Bundaberg.

In addition to his pioneering England to Australia flight in 1928, Hinkler flew the first solo flight across the South Atlantic in 1931.

While attempting a second flight to Australia in 1933, Hinkler crashed in the Appennines mountain range in Italy and died from exposure.

Explore our Region: Riverview Park

In Our Group with
Bundaberg Woodworkers Guild

Morgan Everett

The Bundaberg Woodworkers Guild has been carving up a range of creations for more than 30 years, as long term member Steve Faulkner and president Bob Massie share details of the club.

Tell us about the Bundaberg Woodworkers Guild?

The Bundaberg Woodworkers Guild was formed in 1989.

The group originally met at the Tafe and then moved here to Walker Street in 2001, when the shed was built and there has been several extensions since.

We have since bought more machinery as the bottom part is a preparation area, as lots of room is needed to store the timber.

We have got our own sawmill now and all the preparation for the timber is done up here.

We’ve got just about any piece of machinery for woodworking that you could want here.

We are open Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday mornings at the Walker Street Craft Centre.

How can the community be involved?

We are very inclusive and welcome any skill set.

We have someone who is legally blind and intellectually impaired attend with their carer and use the equipment.

The youngest member we’ve had is 15 and the eldest was 90.

We have around 70 members.

Do you celebrate a significant event during the year?

We are having a Walker Street Craft Centre open day on 7 October.

Last time we had a couple of stalls here from our members and the shop was open.

Plus, you could wander through the place and see it operating.

The potters and artists had their gallery shops open, it's getting bigger and bigger.

We will have the lathes running, the scroll saws going and our sawmill going as well.

Why is the group important to the Bundaberg Region?

It’s another outlet for people, when they retire or they're out of work.

It's important especially mentally, as well as physically learning new skills and interacting with different sorts of people.

That’s the important thing about a group like this, they’re all like-minded and they all like timber.

They all come here and bounce ideas off each other and it’s something to go to and do what you enjoy doing.  

How to find community events