Weekender: Chelsea saddles up for rodeo queen


Local groups help spread Mayor's Christmas Cheer

Tyson helps extinct Spix’s macaw return to the wild

The Labyrinth offers holistic approach to fitness

Bucking Bull opens in Hinkler food court

R U OK? Day supported by local businesses

Friendship blossoms through love of croissants

Local residents to support Hummingbird House

What's On Bundaberg

Keely Sliwka follows passion for music

Dell stitches Happy Hearts to help community

Got You Covered: Justice of the Peace

In Our Garage with Ally Colville's 2019 Kawasaki Vulcan

How to sort your load

Local groups help spread Mayor's Christmas cheer

Emma Turnbull

Local organisations are throwing their support behind the 2022 Mayor's Christmas Cheer Appeal to assist in providing some festive joy for those in need.

The appeal will raise funds to buy food hampers for local residents who need a helping hand to make their Christmas special.

So far, $12,900 has been raised with a range of businesses and local groups offering their support, and others being encouraged to join in.

Bundaberg Rotary have signed up to help spread this year’s Christmas spirit through a monetary donation of $2,000, with members also keen to volunteer their time to help wrap and prepare hampers for the cause.

Bundaberg Rotary’s Matt Griffiths said the organisation was excited to be involved.

“I like the fact it’s bringing so many different groups together for a common cause,” Matt said.

“Groups like Zonta and Quota will join us to help put the Christmas cheer together to help the community’s most in-need members.

“I think it’s important for us all to remember that any one of us, at any time, can go through a bad patch in life and rely on others to help.

“It’s the right thing to do – to help others when we can.”

Matt said Rotary had secured the $2000 Mayor’s Christmas Cheer Appeal donation after helping at Nitro Circus earlier in the year.

“We like to put a cause to the fundraising we do, and so when we heard about the Mayor’s Christmas Cheer Appeal we were more than happy to help,” Matt said.

“Members helped out with setting up and crowd control at Nitro Circus.

"We like to call this sweat-equity, where our manpower is turned into funds to support the community!”

Zonta Club of Bundaberg will also be stepping up for a good cause in the Mayor’s Christmas Cheer Appeal.

President Le-Anne Allan said the club was more than happy to take part in this year’s fundraiser.

“At the time of year where family and friends come together, there are certainly others in the community who are not able to celebrate in the way they should,” she said.

“Zonta do their bit to help, and the Mayor’s Christmas Cheer Appeal is definitely one way where we can do that.

“We’ll be organising the hampers and we have hopes to get 1000 hampers this year – it’s definitely the Mount Everest of challenges!

“There will be lots of woman-power support on the day, which will help support the community.”

Bundaberg Region Mayor Jack Dempsey thanked those who had come on board so far.

"We have had such a great response to the appeal, and I want to say a big thank you to those businesses and local organisations involved so far," he said.

"Every little bit of support we get is one step closer to creating a happier Christmas for those in our community who are doing it tough."

How to get involved:

 Anyone interested in learning more about how to volunteer for the Mayor’s Christmas Cheer Appeal can submit an Expression of Interest form here.

Make a donation here.

To sponsor the appeal download the sponsorship proposal here.

Tyson helps extinct Spix’s macaw return to the wild

Emma Turnbull

Watching the sun set over Caatinga in Brazil, Tyson Chapman shares his once-in-a-lifetime experience helping to save one of the world’s rarest birds, the Spix’s macaw.

The 20-year-old Childers resident has a passion for birds that started as a toddler and almost two decades later, he has been given the opportunity to spread his wings and travel to the other side of the world to save an exotic parrot from the edge of extinction.

Tyson recalls first having pet birds at the tender age of two and by the time he was 10, he was successfully breeding and selling cockatiels.

“In doing so allowed me to expand my collection over time and once my collection grew, I started advertising through our local bird club, my Facebook page Chappy’s Chirpers and in magazines,” Tyson said.

“It then led to me being asked by the editor for the bird magazine Aviarylife if I would write an article about my start in aviculture and my passion for birds.” 

Tyson said a few weeks after his article was published he received a call which led to a chain of life-changing events.

“We were contacted by the editor and told that magazine had landed on the desk of Dr Cromwell Purchase in Qatar, (who) had read my article and said it had reminded him of his younger self,” Tyson said.

“He was actually coming to Australia the following week to guest speak at the Aves Convention in Grafton and wanted to meet me.

“So, we drove down and met Cromwell and his wife Candice in Brisbane, talked for a few hours and they were so gracious in answering all my questions I had written out – we shared common stories and shared pictures of our birds.”

Tyson said he kept in contact with Dr Cromwell Purchase and was then offered an internship in Brazil to help save an endangered species on the condition he completed school first.

“One time while talking and catching up he offered me an internship in Brazil at the Spix's Macaw Release Reservation on the condition I completed my senior years of schooling, and boy am I glad I did that,” Tyson said. 

“Having the opportunity to be a part of this project to help bring back the Spix’s macaw from extinction is a dream turned into reality. 

“The ability to wake up and step outside and hear the calls of the Spix’s as they fly around instantly puts a smile on my face.”

Tyson instrumental in Spix’s macaw survival

According to the Associations for Conservation of Threatened Parrots the Spix’s macaw is one the rarest birds in the world.

Over the past century the natural habitat of the Spix’s macaw has been cleared for ranching and farming, and the blue parrot became scarce.

As the habitat disappeared, collectors of exotic birds kept Spix's macaws caught for the purpose of pets.

It was declared extinct in the wild in 2019, and it has a captive population of about 250.

In July Tyson helped to release eight Spix's macaw in a Brazilian nature reserve – more than two decades after the disappearance of the last known wild bird.

“It has now been over two months after the release and it has worked out better than imagined,” Tyson said.

“This being a soft release allows the birds to go in and out of the aviary as they please, while they adapt to their new surroundings.

“It has worked really well so far.”

Tyson said there had been plenty of effort involved in the unique project.

“The amount of time and effort that has been put into saving the Spix’s macaws and this project from everyone involved is beyond imaginable,” he said.

“This has not only made history for being the first parrot species to be reintroduced back into the wild after being extinct for over two decades, but has also shown that bird species can be saved by breeding and releasing from captive bred populations.

“This is conservation at its finest.”

The experience has provided the young man from the Bundaberg Region a life-changing view on conservation and rehabilitation of endangered species.

“There are many things I have learnt by being a part of this project so far,” Tyson said.

“From things like their diet, behaviours, holding the macaws while they got their new tracking collars put on and then releasing them back into the release aviary two days prior to the release, monitoring and even tracking the birds using the telemetry receiver once they had been released.

“I was (also) fortunate to go visit the canyons at Canudos to see the breeding and roosting sites of the Lear's macaws, they roost in cavities on the canyons steep red sandstone cliffs.

“The view of this beautiful landscape was truly breathtaking, as the sun rises and the rays of light hit across the canyons sandstone cliffs the canyons were suddenly filled with life.

“It was a sight to behold to see 150 to 200, only a portion of the population in this area, Lear's flying through the canyons… the echo of their call incredible. 

“It was a great weekend away and to tick off now seeing two of the three blue macaws flying free in the wild was a great birthday wish for my 20th – I can't complain at all – definitely many moments I won’t forget.”

The Labyrinth offers holistic approach to fitness

Ashley Schipper

A new gym called The Labyrinth has recently opened in Bundaberg, providing a holistic approach to health and fitness for its members.

Owner Daniel O'Keeffe said the opportunity to open the centre had come about after his own lifestyle changes had provided him with a new pathway.

“I have been exercising and playing sport since I could walk,” he said.

“I live my life based around living a healthy active lifestyle, learning natural ways to take care of my body/mind/spirit.

“For the past few years I have been delving more into the spiritual practices of mediation, breathwork and ice baths among many other things.”

Daniel opened The Labyrinth in July at 8 Electra Street and is sharing his passion for holistic health and fitness with the community.

“I choose to assist others in feeling good in their everyday life, which has a huge benefit for people,” he said.

“The Labyrinth is all about learning to feel good naturally from your own internal resources.” 

Daniel said The Labyrinth offered a range of workshops and classes, seven days a week.

“We cater for all fitness levels and ages,” he said.

“Our gym is all about fun, community and elevating consciousness assisting our members in becoming more self aware about themselves and those around them and becoming more free and happy in their everyday lives.”

Classes include:

- Fitness and personal training 

- Breathwork/meditation

- Hypnotherapy

- Pranic healing 

- Sound baths 

- Ice baths 

To find out more about The Labyrinth visit the Facebook page here or Instagram page here.

Bucking Bull opens in Hinkler food court

Georgia Neville

Bucking Bull has opened in Hinkler Central, serving up everyone’s favourite roasts as well as options for both breakfast and lunch. 

Whether slow-roasted or straight from the grill, the stores menu is full of meaty goodness.

Bucking Bull’s support manager Tammie Green said the store had been busy since opening earlier this week, and she looked forward to seeing the restaurant continue this way.

“Business has been great since we opened, and the community feedback has been fantastic with many people happy to have us here as there is nothing like this in town,” Tammie said.

“Bucking Bull originated about twenty years ago, first starting in Western Australia as a roast and grill place serving many different food items from sandwiches and toasties to fish and chips.”

The new store has provided ten new jobs, with Tammie excited to see the career opportunities continue for those employed.

“I started as a staff member and have worked my way up, and we look forward to seeing others who have started in the Bundaberg store continue on a similar path if that is what interests them,” she said.

The store is open in the Hinkler Central food court.

About Bucking Bull

Bucking Bull works with some of the country’s leading suppliers to find the nation’s finest beef, pork and lamb products.

It sources its premium grass fed beef from southern Victoria, pork from the Riverina Region in southern New South Wales and Victoria and lamb from southern NSW and Victoria.

The menu includes a range of items from breakfast favourites right through to Mexican spuds and roast sandwiches.

The restaurant also provides catering packages which can be found on its website.

To find out more about Bucking Bull here.

R U OK? Day supported by local businesses


Local business Hotondo Homes is making sure people feel supported on R U OK? Day, hosting a breakfast event at Kendall Flat.

Partnering with not-for-profit organisation Mates in Construction, Hotondo Homes will host the free breakfast on Thursday 8 September from 7 am to 9 am, providing an opportunity for tradies to stop by and have a chat.

A number of local organisations are assisting in supporting the event, including Bundaberg Cricket Association, Bargara Men’s Shed and Burnett Heads Scout Group.

The purpose of the event is to raise awareness of the vital work of Mates in Construction around mental health and suicide prevention and to ask R U OK? to the region’s tradies.

Local builders and business owners Amy and Nelson Plowman from Hotondo Homes in Bundaberg said they were driven to help improve mental wellbeing in the sector, particularly in the current challenging industry environment.

“We want to raise awareness of the horrific suicide rates of young men in the construction industry,” the duo said.

“Many of us are still facing immense pressure in our day-to-day work and being able to talk about the challenges and be understood by our workmates makes the hard days matter.”

As the industry continues to endure unprecedented challenges with increased costs and widespread shortages in materials and trades, the couple said mental health support was important now more than ever.

“It’s important to us as a community to support one another and do what we can to make sure no one feels alone,” they said.

CEO of MATES in Construction John Brady has also acknowledged the mounting pressures on industry workers.

“While the industry is in a boom in terms of work, for many in the residential sector and smaller commercial sector, it’s a profitless boom for many,” John said.

“With so many factors outside of builder’s normal circle of influence, companies and individuals are challenged in ways they have never experienced before.”

Mates provides suicide prevention through community development programs on sites and by supporting workers in need through a 24/7 helpline.

Mates was established based on the simple idea that suicide is everyone’s business.

If you or someone you know is suffering, contact Mates on 1300 642 111 or Lifeline on 13 11 14.

Friendship blossoms through love of croissants

Ashley Schipper

A group of more than 160 residents have found friendship and support through a shared love of croissants.

The Almond Croissant Club was established by Marie Parsons and Lina Kitchen six months ago and after the ample downtime produced by Covid restrictions, the women are set on making social interaction, with a delicious pastry in hand, their priority.

“The club simply started when I posted a photo of a croissant I bought at Seashells Coffee Bar on Bargara Facebookers,” Marie said.

“A lovely lady, Lina Kitchen, saw my post and suggested we get together for a croissant and coffee.

“We did and ended up chatting for around two to three hours.

“Lina suggested we should start a club so we did and it has now grown to 160 members.”

The Almond Croissant Club is for women who are either new to the area or simply looking to meet people.

“We want to create a positive vibe,” Marie said.

“Ladies get to make new friends, be social, have a laugh and enjoy each other’s company.”

Having now outgrown their regular meeting spot at Seashells Coffee Bar, club members have moved their catch ups to other businesses, spending money locally wherever they go.

“At the moment we meet once a month at Turtle Paradise Café, and our most recent meeting saw 31 members involved,” Marie said.

“We spend money at the café we hold the meeting at and we are currently working on other events, like mystery bus tours.”

Marie said new club members were always welcome.

“Join The Almond Croissant Club page on Facebook, that’s where we post upcoming meetings,” she said.

“There are no requirements except to have a good time!”

Find out more on the Facebook page here.

Local residents to support Hummingbird House

Ashley Schipper

Hummingbird House is Queensland's only children's hospice, and Bundaberg residents are now able to support the organisation and the families who use it through a special annual fundraising appeal by Coles.

With more than 5,700 babies, children and young people with life-limiting conditions across the state, Hummingbird House is a home away from home, providing specialised paediatric palliative care services and supporting families like the McAlisters.

Bundaberg husband and wife Robert and Nadine McAlister said Hummingbird House was a safe place for their family to go for support during their daughter's medical care.

Matilda was born in 2020 with a hypoxic brain injury, which is brain damage due to lack oxygen.

This has also caused secondary health problems such as cerebral palsy, epilepsy and dystonia.

“We are infinitely grateful to be part of the Hummingbird House family," Nadine said.

"They took us in at our most vulnerable point in our lives with open arms and welcoming warmth."

Matilda has medical appointments roughly every three months in Brisbane.

The family use Hummingbird House for respite either when in Brisbane for the appointments or at least twice a year so they can get support looking after Matilda and spend some quality time with their son Oliver.

“From the moment we arrived at Hummingbird House, we knew there was no better place for us to be and they showed us that we were capable of withstanding life-altering circumstances,” Nadine said.

Coles customers in Bundaberg can help support families and children living with life-limiting conditions, just like Matilda, by purchasing donation cards at any Coles store.

Up until 27 September, customers can purchase $2 donation cards featuring four unique designs created by Hummingbird House families.

Hummingbird House General Manager Dr. Fiona Hawthorne said Coles’ fundraising this year would be vital for families who require support to care for a child with a life-limiting condition.

“The support from Queenslanders will help Hummingbird House provide much needed services and support for families both in their homes and at our hospice in Brisbane,” she said.

“Hummingbird House supports families through their entire journey caring for a sick child.

"Our specialised staff and support services are tailored to support every family member, whether through clinical or peer support, respite care or end-of-life and after-death care.”

Coles Queensland State General Manager Jerry Farrell said Coles was proud to be entering its ninth year as a fundraising partner with Hummingbird House.

“Our customers and team members have been passionate about supporting Hummingbird House since 2014 when the hospice was just in the planning stages, and over the past eight years we’ve raised $3.5 million together,” he said.

“We started fundraising for Hummingbird House at 60 Coles supermarkets across Queensland before it was built and we’ve now trebled our support by fundraising at more than 180 stores.

"This year, we hope local Bundaberg residents can help us raise more money than ever by buying $2 donation cards at the checkout.”

All funds raised will go towards helping Hummingbird House to continue providing family support services, physical and creative therapies, and care for children with life-limiting conditions, and their families.

What's on

Keely Sliwka follows passion for music

Georgia Neville

Keely Sliwka has joined Bundaberg Regional Council’s Spark Starter program with the hope of continuing to improve her skills and follow her passion for music.

The initiative gives locals the opportunity to work with project coordinators to showcase their performance talents, network with likeminded people, attend free workshops with professionals, work within the industry and fast track their careers.

At just 15 years old, Keely has already performed at a number of local events but joined the Spark Starter program in the hope of enhancing her skills even further.

“I applied for the program because of my passion for music,” Keely said.

“This program provides an opportunity to further my career and hone my skills in the music industry while also meeting likeminded people.

“I am looking forward to the workshops, building my skill set, collaborating with artists and professionals within the industry.”

Keely said music had been part of her life from a young age, with television shows such as The Voice and Australian Idol providing her inspiration to follow a career.

“I used to watch The Voice and Australian Idol when I was young and used to asked mum to let me go on The Kids Voice,” she said.

“My first singing lesson was at eight years of age with Jo Carr who mentored me and introduced me to the stage.

“I began guitar lessons at 10 years of age with Paula and Kane Gray.

“I am now 15 and perform locally, throughout Queensland and NSW and look forward to performing at The Gympie Music Muster 2022.”

Keely’s love for music is driven by seeing people enjoy her performances.

She recently performed at the EKKA Country Music Showdown and has a number of upcoming performances on the cards.

“What I love most about music is being able to connect to your audience, seeing someone enjoy your music and making someone smile,” she said.

“It is an incredible opportunity for up-and-coming artists to come together and be mentored by professionals in the industry and to have the opportunity to showcase their talent.”

Find out more about Keely on Facebook.

The Spark Starter project is supported by the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland.

Dell stitches Happy Hearts to help community

Emma Turnbull

Throughout the past 80 years sewing has been the common thread in Dell Reilly’s life and now she shares her passion with the community through her Happy Hearts.

Stitching her handcrafted Happy Hearts since the May, Dell hopes to put a smile on the faces of young and old as she scatters them around the Bundaberg Region.

Bright and colourful fabric embellished with intricate details make up the Happy Hearts, with each stitch lovingly added with the purpose of bringing joy to strangers who find them.

“My mother taught me to sew, I have been sewing since I was a very, very young girl, we would make our own clothing,” Dell said.

“Over the years I have made countless wedding dressing – I counted about 20, and even bridesmaid dresses and clothing for the whole wedding party.

“Most of this material for these hearts I have dug out of my box of tricks that I have collected over the years.”

Each pattern is thoughtfully made to be pleasing to the eye while creating a sense of happiness for those who come across them.

“It was after my young neighbour’s graduation where I had made her a heart as a remembrance,” Dell said.

“I made it so that it fit in with her individual style.

“I also made one for my niece’s daughter, which I made from the fabric of her dress for prom in May.

“Then after this I came across an American thing called, I Found a Quilted Heart, where handmade hearts are left in places for people to find and take home with them, so I started to do the same.”

Dell said she has included her own flair to her heart designs.

“I enjoy doing my own thing, that’s what I do best, so I added extra detail to the hearts I have made,” she said.

“I have left the Happy Hearts in Boreham Park, at my doctor’s surgery, in Hinkler and on Bourbong Street.

“I have even made one with a monkey and I plan to leave him at the zoo – that’s the place for him.”

Born in Bundaberg Dell has fulfilled many roles in the community, but sewing has remained the common thread over the decades.

“In my early twenties I did a cane testers course where I then went to work in the sugar mill to test the CCS in the cane,” she said.

“I have enjoyed helping with volunteering here and there, I guess I have done lots of things in my life, but I like to do my own thing now in my spare time and I don’t plan on stopping.”

Got You Covered library column

In Our Garage with Ally Colville's 2019 Kawasaki Vulcan

Morgan Everett

Ally Colville purchased her bike, which she nicknamed Major Booger, in 2019 and said it had taken her on many adventures since.

Tell us about your bike?

 It's a 2019 Kawasaki Vulcan and I bought it brand new in January 2019.

I actually went down and watched it come off the truck on its pallet because I was so excited - it was specially ordered in the colour.

There was a choice of black, orange or green that year and I chose the green one and it's name is Major Booger.

I had a little bit of work done to the exhaust just to make it sound a bit tougher and not like a sewing machine, but apart from that, it's stock.

What do you love about your motorbike?

I think it's more what the bike represents, the lifestyle that you can have with a motorbike.

There's always charity rides that you can be involved in.

You always meet wonderful people and there's an amazing group of women that ride motorbikes and Major Booger has just taken me all over the place travelling.

I've done 30,000kms on her, we've had lots of fun and I think that's probably what I like the best, what the bike brings.

Why is bike safety important?

Three months ago, I was in a serious motorbike accident.

On a motorbike you should always wear a full-face helmet.

I know that full-face helmets might not be cool, but they save your life.

We always say, look left, look right, look bike.

What makes you want to keep riding?

I'm not back on a bike yet, but I'm very, very keen to get back into it.

I had purchased an XR 1200 X Harley-Davidson Sportster 2010 model and it's a rare bike.

There's only 4000 made worldwide and that's the bike that I had the accident on.

So I'm in the process of repairing it and hope to ride it again in a few months so that I can join my friends, join my partner and continue with my lifestyle of riding motorbikes.

To have your vehicle featured in In Our Garage email us at news@bundabergnow.com

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