Weekender: Sheila now calls Australia home

Shelter shed revitalised at Baldwin Swamp

Ashley Schipper

A revamped recreational space is now open to the community at Baldwin Swamp Environmental Park, providing a modern area to host gatherings, events and more.

The area's shelter shed, situated in the centre of the popular park, has been revitalised to include a whole new layout with a breezeway, kitchen facilities and more.

The modern area has been designed with full accessibility in mind and also features an accessible toilet, new lighting, new barbecue and storage room.

The works began earlier this year after Bundaberg Regional Council called for feedback from the community on how to make the space safer and more user-friendly.

Survey respondents highlighted the shelter shed was mostly used for group workshops, group functions (art, music and environmental groups), meetings and birthday parties.

The Baldwin Swamp Environmental Park shelter shed revamp was completed as part of Bundaberg Regional Council's 2022/2023 capital works budget.

The upgrade will ensure that the existing facility supports the future recreation needs of the surrounding community and is in keeping with Council’s infrastructure standards.

The facility is now available to hire and aims to:

  • provide opportunities for the community to access areas for social and recreational use
  • provide a fully accessible facility
  • provide a modern environment for groups to meet

The Baldwin Swamp Shelter Shed upgrade is now complete, and the facility is open to the community and available for bookings.

To make a booking phone Council on 1300 883 699.

The facility is situated at the main entrance to Baldwin Swamp in Steindl Street.

Tylen Wallace’s Rush for adventure

Emma Turnbull

Bundaberg’s Tylen Wallace has gone on the adventure of a lifetime competing against everyday Aussies with a goal to win the adrenaline-fuelled reality television show, Rush.

Channel Nine’s brand new season of Rush premiered on Sunday 2 July and follows 12 everyday Aussies on an electrifying global adventure.

Deprived of sight or sound, Rush contestants are dropped in some of the most exotic places on Earth with one mission – to be the first to get out and move on to the next destination.

In the first three episodes of the season to air this week, 21-year-old Tylen has absorbed the once in a lifetime experience of the bright costumes and loud sounds of Carnivale in Brazil, the hustle and bustle of Turkey before walking through the dry desert in Jordan.

Born into a cattle farming family, Tylen grew up in the Bundaberg Region and works with his dad in the family beef business.

He spends his days mustering on horseback and working long hours on the land. 

Tylen is the youngest competitor on Rush and, in a promotional video for the program, admits while he hasn't yet experienced a lot of the world, his country-boy charm will see him through to the end.

“My mates would probably describe me as a pretty out-there sort of fella, good to talk to, pretty charismatic, full of energy and pretty outgoing,” Tylen said.

“I’ve been riding horses since I was about six and mustering since I was, you know, 10 or 12 or so.

“It’s a good way to grow up, you learn how to move pretty quick along the ground and it helps with your sport.

“Working on the land and how diverse it is, you go out with plan A when you are mustering and you come back with plan Z.

“By the end of the day it just chops and changes and that’s just like life really, it chops and changes and you have to roll with it, things change and you have to get the same outcome and you’ve got to make it happen.”

Tylen said he wasn't fazed by the competitive nature of Rush because he was familiar with succeeding under pressure, having represented Queensland in football.

“Being a part of this is something different and not everyone gets to do it,” he said.

“You know you have to take it on with two hands to take on the experience and win it.

“Being (a) competitive person yeah that gets me pumped.

“To win I would do anything to make it happen – step on toes – I’m here to prove the young country kid can hook in and win it!”

While viewers remain on the edge of their seats to find out the outcome of the season, production of Rush is now over and Tylen is back on home soil.

Tylen was only too keen to fill the boots of Rural Ambassadors at the Bundaberg Show Society in May and this week he represented the region at the Burnett Sub-Chamber finals.

He won his section and will now proceed to the next stage at the Brisbane Royal Show.

Keep up with Tylen's Rush adventure by tuning in on Channel Nine.

The Cricket Show bowled over with success

Emma Turnbull

Local media company WideBay ITV and Bundaberg Cricket Association have been bowled over after winning a national award for the locally produced program, The Cricket Show.

The program snapped up both the Cricket Queensland Media and Technology award and the Cricket Australia Media and Technology award.

The partnership between WideBay ITV and Bundaberg Cricket Association engaged the region's cricket community and created a new supporter base with its livestreaming of games.

The Cricket Show is a panel of sport lovers, who provide a weekly roundup of cricket in the Wide Bay region during 2022/23.

It is hosted by Rhys Grills and David Boge and produced by WideBayITV with executive producer Shaun Rose.

The show started when WideBayITV owner Phillip Harris wanted to broaden the reach of the Bundaberg’s Big Bash series.

Phillip said after sharing the idea with the Bundaberg Cricket Association it all fell into place seamlessly.

“They could see how the live streaming of each Friday night game would expand the reach and awareness of the sport and the Friday night competition while adding value to the sponsors that support them,” Phillip said.

“The reach was far beyond the fence at Salter Oval and lifted the BCA to the next level.

“The accompanying cricket show set the bar to the highest level ever in country cricket with viewers as far as the USA, India, UK and 20 other countries.”

WideBayITV live streamed the games each Friday night before the idea to start a talk show made up of a panel of passionate cricket lovers discussing everything cricket gathered momentum.

“This was a big surprise to us but goes to show that a small online country cricket show can, in its first attempt, win at state and national levels,” Phillip said.

“The series is a Bundaberg Cricket Association initiative that is being picked up by other regions across the state.” 

Phillip said he was chuffed with the win of the Queensland award but then blown away even more by the national recognition.

“This was a big surprise and was not ever on my mind that we could win anything let alone in our first season,” Phillip said.

“We were contracted by the BCA to live stream the Bundy Big Bash Friday night T20 series and thought having a mid-week cricket show was a great way of keeping the momentum moving from one Friday to the next while adding some entertainment for all involved.

“We have a host and co-host with visiting guests from local cricket players to national and international cricket legends.

“International cricket star and (The) Cricket Show guest Michael Kasprowicz stated that The Cricket Show and the BCA have a model that should be rolled out across Queensland and the country.”

Alternative fashion a passion at Voodoo Lulu

Ashley Schipper

From selling handmade corsets to Courtney Love in the '90s while gaining a huge following in America and then Fortitude Valley in Brisbane, the pair behind Voodoo Lulu have now opened their boutique in Bundaberg.

Luke Frusher and Christine Woods have taken their design and upholstery skillset to the region with their new store opening at 37 Woongarra Street last week and offering a range of eclectic and alternative clothing and homewares.

“We opened up the original Voodoo Lulu in Brisbane in 2005 with a focus on alternative, rockabilly, steampunk and witchy clothing as well as a range of furniture,” Christine said.

“Before that I owned a boutique called Dark Expression, which was all gothic, and before that I spent five years in New York as a designer.

“I sold handmade corsets to Courtney Love and her daughter.”

Christine said she and Luke moved to Bundaberg during Covid and realised there was an open market for alternative fashion and homewares.

“We saw a need for it as people interested in this style were only buying from online,” Christine said.

“Our store has ranges for women, men and children focusing on rockabilly, steampunk, witchy or anything a little bit different.

“There is a section of the shop full of my own brand, as I am a designer, and the rest of the clothing we get in from America and England.

“I do try and get in really good, quality brands.”

Christine said Luke focused on producing quality, up-cycled vintage furniture.

She said there had so far been a good response to the local store and both were excited to welcome new customers.

Voodoo Lulu is open from 9 am to 4 pm Tuesday to Friday and Saturday from 9 am to 2 pm at 37 Woongarra Street.

A website will be available from September.

Dorrie Day set to inspire local community

Emma Turnbull

This year’s Dorrie Day, hosted by Port Curtis Coral Coast Trust Limited (PCCC), is set to inspire the community and provide an opportunity to connect job seekers with a range of employers to learn about career opportunities.

The third annual Dorrie Day will have eight guest speakers from NRL’s International Legends of League who will also host a football clinic.

Dorrie Day is proudly supported by Bundaberg Regional Council’s Partnerships and Sponsorships Grant Program Round 3.

PCCC Communication’s officer Jakarni Appo said the Dorrie Day event was a celebration of career and employment opportunities for the First Nations community.

Jakarni said Dorrie Day was an opportunity to collaborate with like-minded organisations and provide a chance for local businesses to connect with First Nations job seekers who aspire to work within the industry.

“It is an ‘outside the box’ event that focuses on the excitement of employment and the personal growth and satisfaction you gain from a fulfilling career,” she said.

“Dorrie Day is a fun, engaging, visual event that whets the career appetite for students and community alike.”

Jakarni said this year First Nations dance troops would deliver an outstanding display of culture through dance and storytelling and invite the community to join in the final dance.

“Then our First Nations guest speakers speak to attendees about their engagement into the workforce, pathways taken, opportunities gifted, and opportunities missed,” Jakarni said.

“This is candid conversation baring all bones, talking about the real struggles that are faced, and ways and suggestions to overcome them.”

Jakarni said last year’s Dorrie Day had 50 exhibitors with interactive displays to encourage community members to play, learn, dream and aspire, and she said this year was set to be just as big.

“Both events are held outside, with a real feel of connection to Country and touch of sunshine on your face, this is to retract from the historical confines that four walls, metaphorically and physically, bring to traditional jobs fairs,” she said.

“This provides the attendees with a relaxed informal environment to ask questions, think differently and understand different opportunities they may not have thought of in the past. 

“We had the pleasure of supporting over 40 students with work experience at the events, they had the unique opportunity to engage directly with potential employers.

“The feedback from the employers was sensational and students thoroughly enjoyed the challenge and developed new skills and stepped outside their comfort zone.”

Dorrie Day Bundaberg 2023 will be held at CQUniversity, 6 University Drive, Bundaberg from 10 am to 3 pm on Thursday 24 August.

What's on

Moncrieff program promises entertainment galore

Emma Turnbull

There’ll be lots of laugh out loud comedy and live performances during July to September with a red-hot list of entertainment taking to the Moncrieff Entertainment Centre stage.

Council’s Arts, Culture and Events portfolio spokesperson Cr John Learmonth said the first six months of 2023 had featured a stellar line up of performances and it was fantastic to see artists continued to include the Bundaberg Region in their touring schedule in the latest program.

Cr Learmonth said local talents would share the stage with renowned national and international artists, ensuring a dynamic and enriching line-up.

“The community will be entertained by first-class musical acts through to sensational stage shows and laugh out loud comedies in the next three months,” he said.

“Bundaberg Eisteddfod has been the backdrop to many talented children across the region and its showcase will be on stage for three days covering a variety of instrumental music, rock bands, vocals and drama performances.

“The stage show, Two of Us – The Songs of Lennon and McCartney, with have Darren Coggan and Damien Leith on stage in an intimate performance of songs that helped change the world.

“Another showstopping highlight will be to see international comedian Ross Noble in his Jibber Jabber Jamboree live on stage as he returns to the Bundaberg Region.”

Moncrieff program July – September has something for everyone

Both young and old community members will be covered with the July to September program promising a huge range of shows and entertainment.

“Much Ado About Nothing and West Side Story are just two of the productions to appear on the big screen in July and August,” Cr Learmonth said.

“Using a clever mix of live action, stage magic and puppetry Possum Magic will have all the family entertained.

“With a perfect blend of diversity, innovation, and community engagement, the new program promises to provide unforgettable experiences for all at the Moncrieff Entertainment Centre.”

To check out the Moncrieff Entertainment Centre’s July to September 2023 program click here.

  • The Moncrieff program July – September cover artist Busby Marou is set to return to the Bundaberg Region in August to perform, click here for more information.  

Hoptons celebrate 70th anniversary

Emma Orford

In celebration of a true local love story, Stanley and Eole Hopton will renew their wedding vows this weekend after 70 years of marriage.

The pair tied the knot on 4 July 1953 and will mark their anniversary with a special service at the Lutheran Church on Saturday afternoon.

It’s not the only celebration for the couple this month as Stanley turns 93 on 12 July.

Describing himself as Bundaberg born and bred, Stanley moved to Gin Gin with his parents when he turned 17 which was where he met Eole Bisson.

He decided to make his move one night when Eole went to the local movie theatre with his sister Anne.

“He comes in and says ‘Can I see you a minute?’” Eole reminisced.

“We went outside and I said ‘Not another bloody Hopton!’.”

That's when Stanley asked if Eole would go out with him and she responded with her typical sense of humour.

“I said ‘Are you barmy?'.”

“That’s just what she said!” laughed Stanley.

The two went on to have many more dates after that but there was one thing that they enjoyed doing the most.

“Dancing,” Eole said.

“I always reckoned I’d get a fella who was five years older than me and could dance!”

The rest, as they say, is history as the two went on to get married, farmed cane in Gin Gin and have two children, Greg and Sandra.

“Two too many sometimes,” joked Eole.

“They’re both still close by, one in Rosedale and one in Gladstone.

“Now we have five grandchildren and 18 great grandchildren, so far!”

The Hoptons still live independently at their home in Bundaberg North and while they can no longer dance because of Stanley’s knee, they enjoy a laugh together and are looking forward to renewing their vows again having done so for their 50th anniversary.

They were both unanimous when asked what the secret was to such a long and happy marriage.

“To be mates,” they said.

“We just like being together.”

History of the Bundaberg Airport

Emma Orford

Officially opened as Hinkler Airport in 1931, the now Bundaberg Regional Airport became an important Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) facility during World War II.

The airport functioned as a base for the Empire Air Training Scheme, one of 36 similar bases across Australia.

The first training schools were established at the airport in 1942 where the Allied Works Council constructed purpose-built facilities.

These included aircraft hangers, workshops, accommodation, aircraft hideouts and defence structures such as machine gun pits and mine charges laid in trenches along runways.

Bundaberg airport history still evident

When the airport reverted to civilian use in 1946, the RAAF planned to dispose of most of the buildings the Allied Works Council had constructed during the war.

The disposal was to occur in five stages but the fifth stage did not proceed and a number of facilities selected for removal in this phase remain on site and are listed among Bundaberg Regional Council's Local Heritage Places.

These include the former quarters, station headquarters, garage, workshop and store, and inflammables store.

There are also concrete slabs associated with former structures, including Bellman Hangers, and early drainage infrastructure.

Some of the defensive sites may also remain, including possible machine gun pits and sections of blast wall embankments.

The area containing surviving World War II structures and archaeological remains associated with defence use of the site is located to the northeast of the runway and the extent and location are based on a World War II site plan.

Hangar a feature of Bundaberg airport history

The most dominant remaining structure is the hangar and workshop building a short distance southeast of the airport terminal.

This building is a 22 to 23 m clear span hardwood timber Pratt truss hangar, with bolts and shear connectors and is likely to have been constructed of green timber.

The main space is characterised by the intricate timber truss system which forms the framework of the hangar.

The hangar comprises 11 timber trusses columns, approximately two metres apart forming 10 bays and the building is still used as a hangar and aviation workshop.

Next to the hangar is the former inflammables store, a small rectangular gable-roofed building.

Explore our Region: Riverview Park

In Our Group with Australian Air League Bundaberg Squadron

The Australian Air League is for youth aged eight to 18 who have a passion for aviation, fun and adventure. Acting Officer Commanding Bundaberg Squadron Di Ballard shares details about the local association.

Tell us about the Bundaberg Squadron?

The Australian Air League, which has been serving youth since 1934, is widely considered to be a starting point for a career in the aviation industry.

We are now recruiting additional members for its Bundaberg squadron. 

The primary focus of the squadron is to provide aviation related material to those who have an interest in aviation or aircraft in general.

However, there is an additional objective of moulding our young members into highly regarded citizens and future community leaders.

Why is the group important to the Bundaberg Region?

The Australian Air League creates and encourages opportunities for youth and adult volunteers to explore aviation as a hobby or as a career.

We are planning a gliding day for early August at the Bundaberg Gliding Club, Childers Road.

More information will be available on our Facebook page as plans are finalised.

How can the community be involved?

Prospective cadets aged 8-17 years can attend three parade nights without obligation or charge to experience a squadron’s parade night activities.

Adult volunteer officers are uniformed members who supervise the cadets and coordinate the squadron’s activities – frequently with the opportunity to participate in airfield site visits, gliding, trainee flights and other exciting experiences at the same time. 

No experience is necessary as free online training is provided by the Air League.

All that is required is enthusiasm, dedication and an interest in aviation and youth development and empowerment.

If you are interested in becoming an officer with the Bundaberg Squadron you can contact the Officer Commanding Bundaberg Squadron, Group Commissioner, Di Ballard on 0466 654 541 or email to oc.bundaberg@airleague.com.au

When and where do you meet?

Parade nights are held one night each week, in school terms for two hours, where cadets participate in aviation theory classes, ceremonial drill, model aircraft building and other fun activities.

Parade nights are held at Kendalls Road, Avoca from 6.15 – 8.15 pm.    

How to find community events