FLASHBACK: 17 huge stories we’ve covered in print
WITH the last print edition of the Central and North Burnett Times coming out this week, we’ve gone back in time to some of the biggest stories we’ve covered for the region.
Whether it was a prisoner on the run in Monto, the devastating floods that hit Mundubbera or Gayndah, or the pinball epidemic that hit the region, we were there covering these stories for the community.
Enjoy a trip down memory line with some of the top stories we’ve written over the years.
1. ATM for Monto, Thursday June 15, 2000
MONTO is to get its first automatic teller machine.
Pioneer permanent building society announced a machine would be installed at the society’s Monto branch in the new financial year.
“This is a first for Monto and a sign of Pioneer’s faith in the shire,” Mr Latter said.
Pioneer has stated the ATM will benefit not only Pioneer’s customers, but also businesses community as a whole.
He said an ATM in Monto would also assist local businesses to save costs on processing EFTPOS transactions.
2. Vandals play ‘big joke’ on the clock, Thursday February 15, 1968, Central Burnett Times
MUNDUBBERA’S town clock was the subject for a ‘big joke’ by vandals last Sunday night.
The hands on one face of the clock were bent out at right angles and a load of bread was stuck into the hands.
Mundubbera CWA Younger Bet members gave the clock to the town some time ago, but while this group was endeavouring to do good there was apparently another element trying to do this opposite.
Mundubbera shire council had already decided at its meeting last Friday to send the clock away to be repaired and get the faces completely enclosed.
3. The ‘bear’ facts have residents wondering. Thursday, January 27, 2000.
SEVERAL sightings of a strange animal in the Burnett River at Gayndah have been reported to shire ranger Mr John Bowen.
The creature was invariably described as having a bear-like appearance.
According to eyewitness accounts, it is about a metre in height when standing on its back legs and is covered in two inch long dark hair.
In other reports, people described seeing paw prints not unlike those of a bear.
At last Wednesday’s meeting of the Gayndah Shire Council, Mr Bowen said he had received several separate reports of sightings of either the animal or its paw prints over the past 10 months or so.
The first, he said, was from south-side residents who watched a bear-like creature climb the river bank below their house and venture into their backyard.
Northside resident Shirley Humphreys told Mr Bowen about her brief glimpse of the bear like creature and asked if a dog trap could be set up near the Burnett River.
4. ‘Film bears fruit’: Mystery creature ‘captured’ at clearing of Oakey Ck, Thursday March 2, 2000
YET another sighting has been made of a bear-like creature in the Burnett River in Gayndah.
On Monday afternoon, Gayndah residents Julian Nott and Peter Raffels not only caught a brief glimpse of something resembling a bear near where Oakey Creek flows into the Burnett River, but also managed to capture it on film. The processed film revealed a dark furry creature on all fours, something less than a metre in length with distinctly bear like characteristics.
“We were down there taking photos of the riverbank track and a waterhole for a montage I was planning to put together to show people it was taking shape when we saw it,” said Mr Nott, who is the chairman of Gayndah District Landcare’s Riverbank sub committee.
5. Escapee nabbed in Monto, March 15, 2000
AFTER being on the run since December 23, Daryll Wayne Stone was recaptured on Lang’s Rd, Monto, last Thursday.
Stone, 30, and another inmate, Matthew David Whitrod had escaped from the Rockhampton Correctional Centre
The pair had allegedly bashed a visiting Adnought Steel employee and stole his utility before trying to elude police in a high speed chase through Rockhampton
Whitword was recaptured on the same day, while Stone disappeared to the southern side of the Fitzroy river
Monto police sergeant Col Giles said Stone, who was serving three years for drugs and weapons offences, was located at the Lang’s Rd residence after investigations by Corrective Services Investigation Unit, Special Emergency Response Team, Bundaberg CIB and the Monto police.
6. Drought looms across region, Thursday March 15, 1990
BELOW average summer rain has again raised the spectre of drought in parts of the Central and North Burnett.
Worst affected areas, at this stage, are parts of Biggenden and Eidsvold shires.
Graziers say, unless general rain falls in the next few weeks, they face the prospect of going into winter with little grass for their livestock.
Farmers report crops failing through lack of soil moisture, in many areas they have failed altogether.
7. Stock die in search for feed and water, Thursday September 1980
MORE than 40 cattle are dead and others are expected to die on central Burnett properties from eating the poisonous Hoya Vine.
The stock losses have occurred during the last two weeks on two properties in the Hawkwood area, 72km south west of Mundubbera.
Cattle have taken to eating the vine because of continuing dry conditions and the lack of grass.
8. ‘Parents concerned over pinball’: Thursday October 16, 1990
THE opening of a pinball ‘parlour’ in Gayndah this week has caused concern among some parents.
They are worried about the effect the machines – previously limited to hotels – will have on the town’s young people.
Concern has been heightened by television documentaries which have shown school age children and young people addicted to the machines, and in some cases, stealing to ‘pay for their habit.
Cafe proprietor Mr Col Sheehan, rented a vacant shop and installed pinball machines and a pool table which opened for business on Tuesday.
He said that the pinball centre “would keep the kids entertained and off the streets:
Mr Sheehan argued that he is aiming at the young working age group who have had access to pinball machines in hotels in Gayndah for some time.
He also believes that the restricted opening times – from 11am to 1pm and from 5pm to 9pm – and constant supervision will overcome any possible problems.
Reaction to the pinball machines has varied among young people.
One young man said he enjoyed playing them, while another said he felt they would be very popular for a few weeks and then interest would decline.
Parents felt that while it is all right for those who are working to play the machines, they know they cannot provide their children enough pocket money.
Gayndah Shire chairman, Cr Mick Lutvey said he had no opinions on the matter present.
“Parents should control their children,” he said.
Mr Lutvey said however that finding the machines in the shop was a surprise.
The matter will be discussed at the Gayndah Council meeting this Friday when a request for a permit for the “pinball parlour” is tabled.
9. ‘Dam Finally full to brim’: Thursday, February 25, 2010.
IT WILL be a sight to behold when Paradise Dam on the Burnett River reaches full capacity some time tomorrow.
Located 35km north west of Biggenden township, the dam commissioned in December 2005 after taking four years to complete has the capacity to hold 300,000 megalitres.
“Significant inflows across the Burnett region have resulted in major inflows into Paradise Dam in the past week,” SunWater area operations manager Nev Wogandt said.
“We have been monitoring inflows and based on current rates of inflow expects the Paradise Dam to reach full supply level (100 per cent capacity) some time tomorrow.
“Cane growers along with fruit and vegetable growers downstream of the dam are now guaranteed of water security for the foreseeable future.”
Senior ranger at Paradise Dam, Greg Aberdein said the dam “looks great”.
Reports in the following edition that week saw Paradise Dam overflow for the first time ever.
10. ‘Community mourns son taken too soon’: Thursday June 10, 2010
THE war in Afghanistan reached Gayndah in the most devastating way possible last Tuesday morning.
As news of the tragic loss of soldier and former student Jacob Moerland filtered through town it left his mother Sandra, father Robert, sisters Bethany and Laura, beloved fiance Kezia Mulcahy and the Gayndah community in shock.
Sapper Moerland had only celebrated his engagement and 21st birthday in Brisbane with family before being deployed for his tour of Afghanistan on January 28.
He was expected home on leave in about two weeks.
Sapper Moerland was one of two soldiers from the Brisbane based 2nd combat engineer regiment who died after an improvised explosive device detonated in the Mirabad Valley region of Oruzgan province when they were patrolling.
By lunchtime Tuesday, Gayndah flags were flying at half mast and messages of condolence were appearing on Facebook.
“Jacob you have made Gayndah very proud, RIP Mate,” Hayley Briggs wrote.
“Will miss ya buddy … You’re still in all in our hearts … All our thoughts are with your family and friends,” Finn Mackenzie wrote.
11. ‘NAIDOC GLORY’: North Burnett region’s entrants scoop up the Wide Bay Naidoc Ball awards, Thursday July 15, 2010
Eidsvold and Gayndah residents took out an impressive number of awards at the Wide Bay Naidoc Ball held in Bundaberg.
The night saw 15 awards given to community members for their work promoting and celebrating the indigenous population in Wide Bay
Ms and Mr NAIDOC were announced with the crowns going to Jessica Dobson of Gayndah and Jermaine Beezley of Eidsvold.
12. ‘BOON FOR BUSH’: Eidsvold rejoices as RM Williams Centre opens after seven years of hard work, Thursday October 29, 2010
Good omens accompanied the long awaited opening of the RM Williams AUSTRALIAN BUSH LEARNING centre in Eidsvold led by Queensland governor Penelope Wensley AO last Saturday.
The sun shone, the emus in the indigenous dance had chicks, and the governor interrupted her speech to welcome a black and white bird that landed in front of her on RM Williams porch and stayed to listen.
13. ‘Trouble at paradise’: $10M repairs to improve Paradise Dam, October 31 2013 ‘
WORKERS are scrambling to fix weaknesses in Paradise Dam’s wall before the start of the wet season.
January’s flood caused $24 million worth of damages and now $10 million will be spent to strengthen the dam further.
The latest bill came after concerns raised during core drilling at the site.
SunWater officials maintain the dam is safe under normal conditions, but the emergency work would strengthen the wall.
Energy and Water Supply Minister Mark McArdle said the repairs would strengthen the dissipater slab with an extra half metre of concrete to be completed by Christmas.
The purpose of the slab is to reinforce the ground at the base of the dam wall.
14. ‘Devastation’: 22 homes flooded in Mundubbera, Thursday January 6, 2011
MUNDUBBERA is the meeting place of three rivers, the Burnett, the Boyne and the Auburn, all of which are in flood and not one of the residents of the area escaped the effects.
From minor problems such as having no bread to isolation concerns and misery of losing everything – every Mundubberite has a flood story to share.
The Burnett River peaked about 18.89m in Mundubbera on December 28, the highest level recorded since 142 when the river reached 23.62m.
Mundubbera grazier and Bendigo Bank manager Robb Watt said the town was still a mess with 22 houses flooded and 18 evacuated as a precaution.
15. ‘All the way home’: Incredible tale of survival, February 14 2013
AFTER helping free the breeding sows with her son Matthew, 2, on her hip, Rose-Ann Chan climbed onto a tank at Burnett Pork Alliance Unit 5 site to watch her home go under water and begin the 16 hour wait for rescue.
This photograph has just emerged from the flood crisis. But what follows is an incredible tale of survival at the Mundubbera piggery
Ninety-five per cent of the unit’s sows have been returned, And although there will be a gap in productions, the situation is looking brighter.
16. ‘FROM SIX TO ONE’: Central and North Burnett shires face stark reality of North Burnett ‘super shire’, Thursday May 17, 2007
AS PART of the State Government’s historic local government reforms, the Local Government Reform Commission (LGRC) has recommended that the six North Burnett shires of Gayndah, Biggenden, Mundubbera, Eidsvold, Perry and Monto be amalgamated.
The new local government will be called the North Burnett Regional Council, with six councillors and a mayor.
This will drop from the current six mayors and 35 councillors with no divisions or wards.
Premier Beattie said state cabinet had considered the issue on Monday and decided internal divisions could be decided on a case-by-case basis in consultation with councils.
Councils have until Friday to inform of their preference.
Perry shire Mayor Joy Jensen said she was very concerned about the loss of representation for the smaller areas and the speech with which the State Government was moving to push it through.
“With the issues that are raising their heads ‘by the hour’, it is obvious that they had not thought the process through – it was brought about for political expedience with no regard for the communities.”
She said the merger of six shires will be a massive undertaking and to get it all in line before March 15 makes the mind boggle.
The mayors and CEOs of all shires will be meeting in Eidsvold to make a response to the LGRCs Report.
“Fortunately we all have a practical approach to this and are determined to make the unworkable work.
“We owe this to the communities that we represent because it is they who will be disadvantaged by this reform.
“I believe the Minister used the comparison of a Model T Ford to a Ferrari – well, when it comes to getting anywhere in the bush the Model T would go a lot further than the Ferrari,” she said.
Monto Shire Council mayor Warren McLachlan said initially there will be an incredible amount of work to be done in establishing the regional council.
He said the six shire councils must work together so service delivery is not overly disrupted and at the same time, an equitable management structure in place before the council elections in March.
“The die is cast we now have to make our best efforts on behalf of our communities.
“What is essential is that community spirit and service delivery is maintained or enhanced so that our quality of life is not diminished, and costs be managed effectively,” Cr McLachlan said.
17. ‘Ore-some opening’: Monto mine ready for business, November 15 2007.
THIRTEEN years after its inception, Goondicum mine was officially opened on Monday by Monto Mayor Warren McLachlan and Perry Mayor Joy Jensen.
“I have spent my entire working life in the mining industry, and nothing has given more pleasure than this occasion, the official opening of the Goondicum Industrial minerals project,” said Monto Minerals chairman Peter Slaughter.
“This is a fantastic day for Monto minerals and a great day for Monto.”
Cr McLachlan said the mine would allow Monto to take part in the resources boom.
“It is evident this company will make a vital contribution to the economic sustainability of the region,” he said.
“On behalf of all the residents of Monto, I would like to wish the project a long life and profitable future.”
Cr Jensen congratulated Monto Minerals for their commitment and dedication in building the mine.
Community expectations are riding high on this mine, and this venture is very important to them, she said.
“We’re looking forward to a prosperous mine as the instigator of better times for the Monto region.
The late arrival of two buses of local and international Monto shareholders did not dampen spirits, with around 100 people attending the unveiling of a plaque commemorating the occasion.
The mine had an expected life of about 25 years, and experienced several pitfalls during its history.
It finally closed in September 2019.