Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Customer Service in Bundaberg

Much has been written about the low standard of customer service in Bundaberg. But like any subject, there are exceptions. If any of my followers have experienced good service in Bundy, please add them to this blog by way of a comment.

Here is my list, so far -

No matter what time of day, whether it's raining or really hot, at the Neighbourhood Store in Elliott Heads Road Kepnock, I have always been welcomed with a smiling face and great service - well done to the owners and staff.

Justin at Bundaberg South Post Office always manages to greet customers with a smile, and remembers a lot of them by name.

The crew at the service desk at Kmart always seem to work well as a team to ease the queues at the other checkouts, and even when the queues are long, they always manage a smile.

Of all the sports stores in Bundaberg, the one with continual great customer service would have to be Avanti Plus in Bargara Road, East Bundaberg.

Bruce and his team at Hansens Auto Electrical are always happy to see you and the girls at the counter are always helpful.

I was ready in the newspaper today about someone having difficulty in getting good burgers and chips around Bundaberg area. Obviously they haven't been to the kiosk on the beachhead at Elliott Heads. Not only is the food great, but the staff are polite and courteous. I am always impressed by the way the younger staff address us oldies!!!

I needed to get my car serviced last week, preferably at home. I called Coral Coast Mobile Mechanic and was impressed with the thoroughness of the work - well done Michael.

Each time I go to Peter Walton Tyres, the staff and waiting room are always clean and tidy. The staff always great you with a smile. It seems to be the only place in Bundaberg to get a wheel alignment done correctly.

That's it from me for the moment - I'll add to the list when I remember or experience more great customer service.

Sunday, 25 December 2011

HMAS Aware - the final chapter

For many years, the former Attack Class patrol boat , “HMAS Aware” has been rusting away in the Burnett River between the Sugar Terminal and the Bundaberg Port Marina. Launched in Brisbane in 1967, the “HMAS Aware” was based at Darwin for a time, seeking Vietnamese refugee boats, and later transferred to Adelaide. It was decommissioned and sold to private ownership in the 1990′s. For sometime it was used as a dive boat and then arrived in Bundaberg in 2006.  It had been an ugly sight – it was listing to one side and there had been some very unsympathetic additions above the deck (believed to have been added in Melbourne). At one point, it was advertised for sale for a mere AUD$85,000. See photo below, courtesy of

Former "HMAS Aware" with ugly additions, prior to destruction

In 2010, the surviving owner, a former crewman from the vessel, was fined $10,000 for failing to keep the vessel insured. This action has probably prompted the removal of the vessel from the river. Here are a couple of photos I took today of the 33m beauty as she lay awaiting the cutting torches.

What absolutely beautiful lines - the former "HMAS Aware" 22 Nov 2011 © JoWo12

The last resting place of the "HMAS Aware" 22 Nov 2011 © JoWo12
 By crikey, I just got those first photos in the nick of time – have a look at this …………………  
The stainless steel driveshafts beside the stern section ©2011 WoJo12

HMAS Aware - the following day

Put "Aware" in the search box for other posts about "HMAS Aware"

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Captured by Coonarr Charisma

One of the best walking beaches around Bundaberg is about 24km south at the  most exclusive locality that is Coonarr Beach. I say exclusive as it is surrounded by nature reserves, and there are but 6 houses there and probably 6 vacant blocks of land. It physically cannot expand.

Nature's symmetry - 20 Nov 2011                                           ©2011 WoJo12
Walk to the beach and look in either direction - to the north in the distance one can see the township of Elliott Heads some 4km away, on the other side of the Elliott River. To the south, all one can see is 14 km of sandy beach, beyond firstly Coonarr Creek which is fordable at low tide. Then one can walk all the way to Theodolite Creek near Woodgate, after crossing One Mile Creek which is approx 12km from Coonarr Creek.

If you are contemplating walking here, take a large hat, sunblock and water - with our perfect unpolluted skies that sun can really burn, and there is little shade along the way.

Undaunted, I sauntered south into the wind,
Unthwarted by thongs or thrifty tourists,
 I sallied through the shallows in the sand and shells and shingles.
The only souls around were the soles of my feet.
 Twisted tossed trees trimmed the beach, stranded without soil or strength.
 Eroded sandy cliffs remain after the scouring by the recent tides.
The sea eagle soars, searching for a single scrap of scaley seafood.
Small birds swiftly dart into the scrub on my approach.
Crabs speedily scamper for seclusion.
Shellfish draw delightful designs in the damp sand,
 only to have them washed away in the waves of the incoming tide.                                                   
©2010 WoJo12

Deep-rooted survivor under a Bundy sky - 20 Nov 2011              ©2011 WoJo12
That's it for this edition - I feel like going for a walk !!!!!!

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Mystery Object at Dr May's Point

When I walk north from Coonarr Beach towards the mouth of the Elliott River, It is amazing how nature periodically buries and unburies the relics from the past. Those of you following this blog will remember my post about the bus from Dr May's property.

About 440 metres south of that site, I had previously discovered a metal cylindrical object but lately it had completely been covered by sand. It is now uncovered again. It is about 1 metre long and probably 500mm in diameter. The end that is still intact is rounded, and it has been constructed using at least one row of rivets. It has a "shaft hole of about 80 or 90mm at each end, but they are offset by 90 degrees.

Can anyone offer any suggestions as to what it was????

In the same vicinity, another concrete trough has revealed itself. I have no idea what they were used for. Does anyone have any ideas???

Finally, on my return walk to Coonarr Beach, I found this poor turtle washed up on the beach.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Kolan River Kayaking - #2

The former bridge section at Smiths Crossing                                                                                                ©2008 WoJo12


One of my favourite spots to launch on the Kolan River is at Smiths Crossing. A crossing at this point used to exist, but the local council have now totally removed the bridge section. The causeway on the southern approach remains and continues to make a great spot to launch.

 From Smiths Crossing, one can paddle upstream for some 6km until a shallow section is reached. If you head downstream from Smith's Crossing, after about 3km you arrive at the bridge for Rosedale Road. Another 8 or 9 km will get you to Avondale Weir, where you see a great view of the steel bridge for the main north railway line.

Rail bridge at Avondale                                                 ©2008 WoJo12

Along the downstream section, there are lots of birds and animals to see. In a small backwater just downstream from Smith Crossing, I found this amazing sight. To the untrained eye, all these turtles appear to be the same, but several are not Kreffts Turtles - at least two are in fact the rare white-throated snapping turtle [Elseya albagula].

©2008 WoJo12

More about kayaking the Kolan, in a later post.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Last Week in Bundaberg Port

On 13 Dec 2011 at the morning high tide, "Doris" left for Melbourne with a load of raw sugar, aided by the tug "Ballina". The tug "Wilga" returned to Brisbane a couple of days earlier. Our next sugar ship is not due until the middle of January 2012.

Last mooring line is gone, and "Doris" sails off to the Coral Sea - 13 Dec 2011  ©2011 WoJo12

The dredge "Everglade" came to  Bundaberg from Port Douglas in April this year to restore the shipping channel following the floods. It appears that the dredge is now being prepared to leave Bundaberg following completion of the works. The spud poles have been removed and the cabin is sporting a new lick of paint

The business end of the dredge "Everglade" earlier in the week ©2011 WoJo12

And now finally, in earlier post I related and illustrated the demise of the former navy patrol boat "HMAS Aware". Now there is nothing left at all. Here are a couple of photos of the last pieces being carried away.

The rear section, showing the rudder mechanism ©2011 WoJo12

Below - the last piece of history, off to the scrap yard ©2011 WoJo12

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Doris Graces Us With Her Presence

"Doris" arrived from Sydney yesterday. At this morning's high tide, the pilot steered the 182m vessel up the river aided by the tugs "Ballina" and "Wilga".

In the Burnett River , from left to right - "Tharion", "Wilga", Doris and "Ballina  11 Dec 2011            ©2011 WoJo12

Now some of my blog followers may be asking about shipspotting in Bundaberg and how to find out the information of arriving and departing ships. My main source of ship schedules are various pages from the Port of Gladstone website. Remember that the Port of Bundaberg is under the control of the Port of Gladstone.

So for the longer forecast, the shipping comapnies nominate approx when the ship might be due - up to 3 weeks in advance  Remember that there are two berths in Bundy and sometimes they sneak in a molasses ship at the other berth.

Closer to the estimated arrival time, I check qships for finer information selecting the port of Bundaberg in the top right corner

Then 2 days out, I check the Duty Pilot Vessel Movements, looking for notations "BDB" or "sugar" - sometimes it is not obvious!!!

So there you have it - all you would be shipspotters, come on down and see it happen. The best viewing area is between the Bundaberg Port Marina and Wallace Creek - the ship channel is closest to the bank at that point.

One last thing - to find out about a ship that is coming into port, or anywhere else in the world goto . Here is a link to the page on "Doris"

See you there.


Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Road Safety in Bundaberg - Poor training, or couldn't care less

Whilst driving around Bundaberg in the rain yesterday, I again concluded what a useless, ignorant lot of drivers we have here.

It's drizzling rain, overcast skies and people are driving around in silver and other hard to see coloured cars with no lights on. They are almost invisible. Surely if you look down the road and say to yourself "Gee, that oncoming car is hard to see", you would immediately turn on your headlights (NOT your parklights which are intended to show where your car is when it is PARKED).

Then we have the drivers, not knowing or not caring about any other drivers on the road, who at the last minute indicate to turn. IF YOU HAVE PUT YOUR FOOT ON THE BRAKE PEDAL, YOU SHOULD HAVE ALREADY INDICATED. I'm not sure how some people got their licences.

The next bunch of drivers we have to contend with are those who were brought up driving old cars with really heavy steering. Now driving modern cars with light and/or power assisted steering, they still swing to the right to turn left, or swing to the left to turn right. A lot of these people just should not be driving if they do not have the ability to negotiate an intersection without endangering other drivers.

This situation is not helped by our local council who persist with continuous white lines right up to the point of the intersection. Most Bundaberg drivers do not use these as a guide as they are normally positioned on the road right beside the centre line, as they have no idea how wide their vehicle is, or where that lefthand white line is.

Now saying all this is fine, but unfortunately there is no way currently of enlightening these ill-educated or un-educated drivers. The problem is that not only are they endangering the lives of themselves and their passengers, often small children, but they unknowingly could cause a following car to run off the road or hit another car, while they drive on in ignorance of the carnage they have caused.

If you agree with me, please write a comment. If you disagree, tell me also.


Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Happenings at The Bundy Port 06 Dec 2011

While waiting for the re-scheduled departure of the "Ocean Victory" today, I decided to have a look at the conditions in the open sea. It was very windy with quite a swell running.

But the best part of the detour occurred when I spotted a loggerhead turtle coming ashore at Oaks Beach at Burnett Heads.  She struggled for a metre or so, then rested, and repeated this routine many times.

Turtle coming ashore at Oaks Beach (Burnett Heads) 06 Dec 2011             ©2011 WoJo12

With a group of people watching from a distance, she eventually got to the wooden steps up to the road. After nearly getting stuck under the railing, she gave up and returned to the sea. Hopefully she'll be back later tonight.

Almost stuck at the steps, Oaks Beach 06 Dec 2011                                           ©2011 WoJo12

Now, back to the original reason for this post. Laden with sugar and consequently much lower in the water, the "Ocean Victory" left the Port of Bundaberg, assisted by the tug "Ballina" late this afternoon.

"Ocean Victory" sailing down the Burnett River 06 Dec 2011                           ©2011 WoJo12

Monday, 5 December 2011


Car - Subaru WRX STi, Driver - JoWo
Car - by WRX Drift Experience, Driver - WoJo12                                        (Photo ©2011 WoJo12)

Last month, I had one of the best days of my life - having recently had a successful month in my small business, I decided to shout my son and myself a rally car experience at the Gold Coast, after all, it is nearly Christmas. After an almost 5 hour drive we arrived at the track at Pimpana to be joined by about 8 or 9 other participants. The cars were 350 horse-power Subaru WRX STi's and our package was 2 lots of 5 laps, with an instructor beside us telling us about the correct lines, when to brake and when to floor it (the best part - the noise was fantastic under full power).

It was a hot day and the cars are not air-conditioned (saps too much power, I guess) and I was sweating like a pig!!!! After 5 laps, you just start getting into the swing of things, get most corners correct, and are more comfortable in the unfamiliar surroundings. But then you must stop to give the others a go.

After we had all completed our laps, my son and I were called into the training room. I thought "what have we done". There were very strict rules laid out at the initial drivers briefing, and warnings of severe and costly consequences if a driver, for example, hit the tyres on the edge of the track or did not obey the instructor's directions. But  soon I was relieved to find that they were making a presentation - my son had recorded second fastest time of the day .... I was presented with a trophy for fastest time of the day. Neither my son nor I had ever driven an all-wheel-drive car before. I was so excited that I wanted to do another session while we were there, but time and money prevented that. If anybody ever has the slightest chance to do something like this, grab it with both hands - you'll never ever regret it. Many thanks to my instructor, Jess, for her patience and perseverance with me.

Well that's it from me,  for my first post - see you here next time.


Kayak fishing at the mouth of the Kolan River ©2008 Wojo12

Now let me say from the outset that I am not a fisherman, I am not a “greenie” nor am I an anti-cruelty activist. From my perspective, it seems that there are basically three type of fishing – fishing for food for personal consumption, fishing for fish for sale both as they are, or processed, and then there’s the so-called “sport-fishing”.

Now for the sake of the debate, let’s assume that the birds of the air were wonderful to eat. Can you picture a man in his backyard or in the bush somewhere, with a rod and reel with a hook and a worm, trying to capture a particular species for dinner. His first catch for the day happened to be a sparrow, hardly a good size for one man. He rips the hook out of the poor bird’s mouth and encourages it to fly away.
He baits his hook again and dangles it in the breeze, awaiting a larger species. This time he reels in a honey-eater, which as you can imagine, put up a bigger fight than the sparrow. The man says to himself “caught one of those last week, didn’t taste too good” and again removes the hook from the stricken bird and sets it free, not knowing or caring if it survives.
Undaunted, the man goes to the beach- “seagulls are biting this time of year, and they taste better as well” he says as he loads his hook with a tasty morsel. This time success, after 3 attempts he finally catches his lunch.
If this were really happening - can you imagine the outcry from the RSPCA, Greenpeace and Earth-Watch, from Bob Brown, the CWA and the Animal Liberation groups? I have no qualms about anyone fishing for food, but can we continue to allow sport fishing where marlin angling is the equivalent of the now-outlawed foxhunt. The stress to the marlin or any other fish is unknown, the damage to the health of the fish is not known, but we continue to allow this cruel “sport”. Does anyone have any research on the survival of big game fish after being hooked, hauled aboard, and severely stressed and then being thrown back into the water and forgotten?
That’s it for me – let me have your views by writing a comment below.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Ocean Victory Stranded In Bundaberg

Well, my post about the sugar ship "Ocean Victory" yesterday has proven to be not accurate, but not my doing. The ship is all loaded up and ready to go, but, alas, there is no pilot available to take the ship back out to sea.

Because of the infrequent visits of ships to our port, the pilot who navigates the ship into the river and to the sugar terminal drives down from Gladstone for the occasion. The Port of Bundaberg is controlled by the Gladstone Ports Corporation. The Harbour-Master for the Port of Bundaberg is also in Gladstone.

So we have the "Ocean Victory" in port until the scheduled departure on 7 Dec 2011, weather permitting.

In the meantime, here is another photo of the ship, swinging off the port anchor.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Ocean Victory for Bundaberg

Tug "Wilga" at the entrance to the Burnett River 04 Dec2011          ©2011 WoJo12

Well, after the strong winds in the Wide Bay have subsided sufficiently, today finally saw the arrival in port of the "Ocean Victory" from Yokohama.  Scheduled originally to dock on Friday's daylight high tide, the 169m ship was escorted up the Burnett River by the Tug "Wilga" from Brisbane, and locally-based tug "Ballina".

The "Ocean Victory" entering the Burnett River 04 Dec 2011                                             ©2011 WoJo12

The most technical part of the docking is turning the ship around in the confines of the river. At the swing basin, the ship dropped its port anchor, and then the tugs began the job of swinging the ship about the anchor.

The "Ocean Victory" almost about, while the line boat awaits the mooring lines 04 Dec 2011        ©2011 WOJO12

The final step is to ease the vessel to the Bulk Sugar Terminal, gently pushed by the assisting tugs.

Tug "Ballina" pushing the "Ocean Victory" to the dock, pilot vessel "Kareela" already tied up                      04 Dec 2011                                                                                                                      ©2011 WoJo12

If everything goes according to plan, loading should be finished in time for the ship to leave on tomorrow's daylight high tide.