Weekender: Sounds of joy on key CBD

Justin named First Nations People ambassador

Emma Turnbull

Gooreng Gooreng man Justin Mohamed has been appointed as Australia’s inaugural Ambassador for First Nations People.

FolloMr Mohamed will lead the Office of First Nations Engagement in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

“I am honoured to be appointed as the inaugural Ambassador for First Nations People and excited about the opportunities ahead to embed First Nations voices and knowledge into Australia’s foreign policies and trade,” he said.

“I am looking forward to sitting down and listening to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people across the country, as we develop foreign policies that have First Nations People’s knowledges, voice and connection to country front and centre.”

In his role as Ambassador for First Nations People Mr Mohamed will work in genuine partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to progress Indigenous rights globally and help grow First Nations trade and investment.

This new position ensures, for the first time, that Australia will have a dedicated Indigenous representation in international engagement.

Mr Mohamed is a Gooreng Gooreng man from Bundaberg, and he will bring a strong connection to community in his new role.

Currently Deputy Secretary of Aboriginal Justice in the Victorian Government, Mr Mohamed has worked for decades in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, social justice and reconciliation, in roles spanning across the Aboriginal community, government and corporate sectors.

He was previously Chief Executive Officer for Reconciliation Australia, Chairperson of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, and has represented Indigenous organisations internationally, including at the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.

In the landmark announcement, in Australia’s history, earlier this month Foreign Minister Penny Wong said Mr Mohammed had extensive knowledge and she thanked him for taking on the new role.

“Mr Mohamed is a Gooreng Gooreng man from Bundaberg, with extensive and impressive experience across many roles and he will lead the Office of First Nations Engagement in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade,” Minister Wong said.

“He, my department, will work together in genuine partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to progress Indigenous rights globally and to help grow First Nations trade and investment.

“This new position ensures, for the first time, that Australia will have dedicated Indigenous representation in our international engagement. We're so happy to have you take this role, Justin.”

She said the new role would acknowledge the importance of moving into the future while recognising the past.

“I hope this underlines what an exciting and hopeful time this is for First Nations diplomacy in Australia, in our region and around the world,” she said.

“We have the opportunity to tell our full story and we have the opportunity to see First Nations business and exports taken to the world.”

Mr Mohamed will commence as Ambassador in April.

Community piano donations spread joy

Megan Dean

Generous donations from local families have ensured the continuation of the popular community piano to spread music and joy in the Bundaberg CBD.

Three pianos in good working order have been donated to Bundaberg Regional Council meaning that not only can the previous, damaged piano be replaced but there are two more ready and waiting to be installed if and when needed.

Thanks to ongoing support from Bundaberg Regional Council through its Moncrieff Entertainment Centre, the replacement piano will also be on a regular tuning schedule in response to increasing community requests.

Ribbons adorned the ceiling of the CBD pavilion for a well-attended celebration to launch the new piano.

Mayor Jack Dempsey and Arts, Culture and Events portfolio spokesperson Cr John Learmonth were joined by passionate piano player Muriel Pickworth to cut the ribbon on the new instrument.

Talented locals Alison O’Malley OAM, Barry Davis, Christie McLucas, Kate Hardisty and Ruby Rose delighted onlookers with performances.

Cr Learmonth said the community piano was originally installed in 2018 as a temporary public art installation but received such overwhelming support from residents that Council had maintained it ever since.

“The community piano is a way to encourage people to spend more time in the CBD,” Cr Learmonth said.

“This has obvious economic benefits for the business district however the feedback we receive from residents proves its impacts go far beyond this.

“It has served to bring people together, foster community spirit and just spread joy.

“Whether talented or simply enthusiastic the piano is available to all.

“The tinkling of the ivories can be heard throughout the CBD pavilion area and never fails to bring a smile to the faces of passers-by.

“Three separate donations from local families will now ensure this tradition can continue.”

Cr Learmonth said, to celebrate the theme of joy, the latest piano was being launched with a fresh, new look.

“The back of the piano has almost become an art installation in itself,” he said.

“It is now sporting a colourful new look which also provides people with a direct link to the latest Moncrieff Entertainment Centre program to get a further fix of arts and culture!”

However he said it was important – and unfortunate – to note that the backing had a dual purpose to protect the instrument from damage.

“Sadly, the community piano has been a frequent target for vandals.

“It is for this reason we are so very thankful for these generous donations otherwise the cost of continual replacement of the instruments would be too great.

“I would just like to reiterate that this is a community piano, so damaging or destroying it impacts everybody.

“Please treat it with respect and kindness to further the enjoyment for all and ensure these donated instruments can serve our community for some time to come.”

Another new addition to the community piano is the inclusion of locally relevant sheet music on its upper panel.

“Featuring ‘Hustling Hinkler’, the sheet music is just a fun addition to share a historically relevant song for the more experienced players,” Cr Learmonth said.

The community piano is located in the CBD Pavilion on Bourbong Street.

King parrots find new home at Australia Zoo

Ashley Schipper

Three king parrots born and raised at Alexandra Park Zoo have made the move to their new home at Australia Zoo.

The juveThe juvenile parrots are the young of a breeding pair housed at Alexandra Park Zoo and will now continue their roles as ambassadors for the species at the Steve Irwin establishment on the Sunshine Coast.

Alexandra Park Zoo group supervisor Kate Beskeen said in zookeeping, animal welfare was addressed through the “five domain model” which included health and behaviour.

“By allowing the breeding pair at Alexandra Park Zoo to nest and raise their young, we are providing a welfare state that sees the animals complete all stages of life,” she said.

“This closely replicates how they would behave in the wild and in doing so, promotes more natural behaviours.”

Kate said now that the three juveniles were old enough to be weaned from their parents, the opportunity arose to transfer them to Australia Zoo for the purpose of conservation and education.

“This type of partnership occurs between all zoos, it is through such transfers that animals can be placed to best manage captive species,” she said.

“Zoos have captive breeding programs which encourages a network of information sharing and movement of individuals or groups of animals to maintain the highest possible genetic diversity within zoos.

“This information sharing improves knowledge of species within the captive community, aids research efforts and often links with both ex and in situ conservation efforts.”

About the Australian king parrot

King parrots are usually found in rainforests and eucalypt forests along the east coast and ranges of Australia and feature striking red and green feathers.

The males are the only Australian parrots with a completely red head while their female counterpart have a completely green head and breast area.

The king parrot forages in trees for seeds and fruit and will lay their eggs in hollow tree trunks near the ground.

Kate said the opportunity to learn about the species will be available to more people thanks to the partnership between Australia Zoo and Alexandra Park Zoo.

“Having this species represented at Australia Zoo increases the number of people that can learn about the king parrot and its natural environment,” she said.

“You can still find the Australian king parrot at Alexandra Park Zoo, just ask a keeper about them next time you visit.”

Radio station Hitz939 celebrates 30 years on air

Ashley Schipper

The team at Hitz939 are celebrating a major milestone this month, having clocked up 30 years on air in the Bundaberg Region.

It's been three decades of highlights, challenges and everything in between according to General Manager Corey Pitt, who said the radio station had a proud history and strong connection to community.

“Hitz939 launched in March of 1993, becoming the first FM Radio licence in Bundaberg owned by Bundaberg Broadcasters Pty Ltd, which is now owned by Australian Radio Network,” he said.

“Hitz939 is intrinsically linked to our amazing local region, and our 22 employees all proudly call Bundaberg home.”

Corey said in the past 30 years, Hitz939 had stood by the community in the bad times and celebrated with the community through the great times.

“While a truly devastating natural disaster like the 2013 floods tore many houses apart, local radio icons like presenter Tracey Sergiacomi, along with the entire team, worked tirelessly to support those in need and helped the communication channels between those isolated and support rescue teams,” he said.

“Highlights have included the Santa’s Storage Shed promotion, providing the largest shop-local-and-win promotion in Bundaberg’s history at just under $150,000 in guaranteed prizes through the generosity of amazing advertising partners.

“Hitz Helping Hands has also provided a massive support for those in need throughout our community, and let’s not forget Sugarland Plaza Battle of the Schools, where 21 local primary schools engage in a fun quiz series over six weeks.”

Corey said the station was proud to offer a truly local program to its community.

“Rather than provide a heavily networked program schedule, Hitz939 are passionate about providing local content and entertainment to our local community,” he said.

“Monday to Friday from 6 am to 9 am sees Matty and Trace deliver a truly funny and engaging local breakfast show, followed by local Content Director, Billy Mac in the Mornings through to 12 pm, then rounding out the workday with Bundy’s Big Arvo with Brendo.”

Tracey calls Hitz home

Radio presenter Tracey Sergiacomi is a familiar voice each weekday morning and has been entertaining Hitz939 listeners for more than 14 years.

She said she was proud to be celebrating 30 years of the station's history.

“I started working here in October in 2008 as the receptionist,” she said.

“There's been many changes over the years; we have had different owners, different managers, different staff but the one thing that I am so happy that we have stayed live and local.  

“We are live all day so if anything happens in our city we can put it straight to air.  

“The immediacy of radio can be very important.”

A passionate local, Trace, along with her co-host Matty, have built a large support base of listeners together in the past six years.

She said working alongside Matty each day was a delight.

“A co host is different to a work mate, you spend a lot of time together and you have to have good chemistry otherwise it just sounds awkward on air,” she said.

“If the chemistry isn’t there the show would struggle.

“Matty and I have now been together for six years and we know each other so well.   

“The biggest compliment we get is when people meet us and say ‘you guys are exactly as you are on air!'    

“I have had a lot of co hosts over the years and most of them have been amazing and I still keep in contact with them to this day.”

The entire Hitz939 team is looking forward to celebrating the 30th anniversary at the Bundy Bowl and Leisure Centre on Sunday 1 April.

Find out more by following the Facebook page here.

Easter Parade a fun Zonta movie fundraiser

Emma Turnbull

Put on your fanciest bonnet or hat and join the Zonta Club of Bundaberg to support local young women in public affairs at its Easter Parade movie fundraiser.

Zonta Club of Bundaberg president Le-Anne Allan said Easter Parade was one of the most popular musicals from the golden age of Hollywood, and it was sure to delight young and old.

“There will be an Easter Parade in Bundaberg this April,” she said.

“School’s out on 31 March so why not grab your Easer bonnets, friends, family and children and come along and see a very special screening of one of the most popular and happiest musicals ever made, Easter Parade.

“Easter Parade is the 1938 American Technicolor musical film starring Judy Garland, Fred Astaire, Peter Lawford and Ann Miller.”

Easter Parade fun for everyone

Le-Anne said the movie fundraiser would be fun for the whole family.

“There will also be prizes for the best Easter bonnet, along with a virtual Easter egg hunt,” she said.

“Plus, enjoy a glass of champagne and gourmet food pack.

“All profits from this event are going to support the good works of the Zonta Club of Bundaberg.”

Le-Anne said the tradition of the Easter parade began after the Civil War as a “fashion promenade” rooted in the custom of a Sunday walk following religious service.

“Wealthy New Yorkers would emerge from their respective houses of worship along Fifth Avenue to stroll down the street, dine at hotels nearby or pay social calls,” she said.

“Today the parade is celebrated around the world, and particularly in this classic Easter Parade movie.

“Young and old are invited to attend this fun movie event.

“The Easter Bunny will even make an appearance!

“Children are welcome and there will be special children’s Easter Hat Parade and great prizes – the children will just love creating their own hats.”

Zonta Club of Bundaberg Movie fundraiser Easter Parade

When: Noon with film commencing at 1.30 pm, on 1 April
Where: Moncrieff Entertainment Centre
Ticket: $40 each, online or at the box office.
Please note, tickets purchased after 2 pm Thursday, 30 March, are $25 each and does not include catering from the Moncrieff.

What's on

Cat in the Hat comes to play at the Moncrieff

Emma Orford

If you are looking for something to do with Thing One and Thing Two look no further than the iconic stripy hat for the live on stage production of The Cat in the Hat.

Residents can watch Dr Seuss’s The Cat in the Hat live on stage at the Moncrieff Entertainment Centre on 29 June at 10.30 am.

The whole family will enjoy this zany performance that brings Dr Suess’s beloved story to life, a favourite on bookshelves for over 50 years.

It tells the story of a brother and sister bored at home on a rainy day when suddenly they are visited by the cat in his iconic stripy hat.

He teaches them how to make their own fun with nothing but a little imagination and that’s where things start to get messy.

Originally created by the National Theatre of Great Britain, the show has been toured by The Showcase Entertainment Group with sell out shows in New Zealand and Australia.

Now they are bringing it to the Moncrieff for a one-off performance that should be a highlight of the July school holidays.

Brad Thomson of the Showcase Entertainment Group said audiences were in for a treat.

“It’s a highly entertaining, fast-paced and audience inclusive experience filled with laughs, a little bit of dancing and a lot of fun!” he said.

“I think this story has stood the test of time due to its simplistic rhyming patterns, repetition and humour,” he said.

“Young readers just find the Cat in the Hat’s antics hilarious and can relate.

“And of course, Thing One and Thing Two have a place in all our hearts – they just want to have a good time!”

While the group have never performed in Bundaberg before, Brad said they were all really looking forward to it.

“It’s such a lovely part of Australia that we didn’t want to miss it on our way through and the theatre looks beautiful too,” he said.

“Of course, we are all looking forward to sipping on an ice-cold Bundaberg Ginger Beer and hopefully doing a tour of the factory!”

The Cat in the Hat

When: Thursday 29 June
Time: 10.30 am
Venue: Moncrieff Entertainment Centre
Cost: Early Bird $30.  Then: All Tickets $35, Family of 4+ $30 each, Group 10+ $27.50 each. 

Book your seat here.

For group bookings contact the Moncrieff Box Office on 4130 4100.

In Our Group with
Bundaberg Symphony Orchestra

Emma Turnbull

The Bundaberg Symphony Orchestra is a self-funded community organisation open to all adult musicians.

What’s the history of Bundaberg Symphony Orchestra?

The orchestra was formed in May 1989 and has been entertaining Bundaberg audiences since then.

It was the brainchild of the late Heather McCabe OAM.

When Heather came to Bundaberg as a string teacher, she observed there was no musical organisation for adult musicians.

She held a public interest meeting and 20 musicians turned up.

The Bundaberg Symphony Orchestra began.

The first concert was May 1989.

There are two original members still in the orchestra.

How can the Bundaberg community be involved?

The orchestra rehearses every Thursday night in the library at Bundaberg East State School.

Rehearsals begin at 7 pm and finish at 9 pm.

The orchestra is open to all adult musicians and there is no audition process.

There are some instruments available for loan.

What significant events do you hold throughout the year?

The orchestra has approximately four concerts a year.

Concerts are held on a Sunday afternoon from approximately 2 pm at Bundaberg East State School Hall.

The orchestra also has a group of fans called FOOS (Friends of the Orchestra).

The FOOS get prior notice of upcoming concerts before it is publicised to the general public.

They also get discount tickets at concerts.

How to contact Bundaberg Symphony Orchestra?

There are number of ways the community can make contact with the group.

They can either send a message via the Bundaberg Symphony Orchestra Facebook page, email: bundabergorchestra@gmail.com or phone Chris 0429 899 912 or Shannon 0417 192 299.

How to

Competition to paint the town RAW

Emma Orford

Local players and teams from across Queensland will go head-to-head on the field when a state-based tournament is held at Rum City Paintball in May.

The RAW All Stars Paintball event will take place on 6 and 7 May with local teams invited to register now to battle it out against squads from Townsville, Brisbane and Cairns.

Winners will go on to participate in the finals in Townsville in July.

Those who take part in two state-based rounds also gain automatic qualification to attend the Australian Nationals taking place in Melbourne in November this year.

The organisation’s goal is to expand the understanding of competitive paintball in Queensland while providing existing players the opportunity to play in new destinations.

It aims to give more remote paintball fields the chance to host professional tournaments while giving new players the chance to experience them.

Owner of Rum City Paintball Jason Piper says it was the second time hosting an NXL event in Bundaberg and it gave local teams a great chance to compete in a global competition.

“Locally paintball is building and as the word spreads it’s becoming more popular,” he said.

“Anyone who is interested in paintball, looking for a new sport to try or has wanted to know about speedball should definitely come and have a look, it will be like nothing they have seen before.

“Recreational paintball and competitive paintball are worlds apart and the adrenalin rush is on the next level.”

Paintball competition promotes group sport

Australian Paintball Association committee member and RAW promoter Michael Worthing said while these tournaments attracted highly experienced players, they were more relaxed and all about building the sport.

“We’re trying to get people interested in playing so we look after new players within the tournament,” he said.

“We don’t let them get overshot by people who play all the time, so we even the field in several ways.

“All teams have the same amount of paint which makes it more even and normally the refs help out during the game to help new players feel more comfortable.”

Michael said they were hoping to have at least two local teams compete against five teams from outside the Bundaberg Region.

He said 80 people were expected to attend overall, with the organisation looking forward to making up for last year’s event which was cancelled due to flooding.

“The event is free for spectators, and we’ve set up an area for them just behind the nets,” he said.

“That way they’re close to the action and some can even decide to play on the day."

Through events like this, the Australian Paintball Association is aiming to have paintball officially registered as a sport.

“One of the requirements is to host national competitions and that’s part of the reason we started this,” Michael said.

“If it’s classified as a sport like it is in other parts of the world it means there’ll be access to funding and then it can grow even more."

RAW M800 NXL Paintball Tournament

When: Saturday 6 to Sunday 7 May

Where: Rum City Paintball, Rosedale Road

Teams can register online here.

This event is free for spectators to attend.