Bundaberg is a city in south-east Queensland, Australia, about 385 kilometres (239 mi) north of the state capital, Brisbane. It is 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) inland from the Coral Sea coast and situated on the Burnett River. It is a major centre within the broader Wide Bay–Burnett geographical region
From top left clockwise: East Water Tower, Bundaberg Post Office, War Memorial, Burnett Bridge
|• Density||232.00/km2 (600.87/sq mi)|
|Area||305.7 km2 (118.0 sq mi) (2011 urban)|
|Time zone||AEST (UTC+10)|
|Location||385 km (239 mi) from Brisbane|
Bundaberg is the business centre for a major sugar cane growing area, and is well known for its namesake export, Bundaberg Rum. The city is an important tourism gateway for inland national parks and the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef and resort islands. It is the seat of the Bundaberg Regional Council.
The name was coined by surveyor John Charlton Thompson and his assistant Alfred Dale Edwards. Bunda is derived from the name of one of the kinship groups of the local Taribelang people, to which was added the Saxon suffix berg, meaning "town". Colloquially the city is known as "Bundy".
Bourbong Street is the main street of the city and there is some controversy in regards to its spelling and meaning; Bourbong was alternatively spelled Bourbon or Boorbong, which was a local Aboriginal title given to a large waterhole in the area. The main street was historically also gazetted in the Bundaberg Mail as "Bourbon" street, but by 1941 there is no reference to "Bourbon" street. Robert Strathdee's farming selection in the vicinity of the watering holes was recorded on early survey maps as 'Boorbung'.
A pioneer pastoralist of the region, Nicholas Tooth, wrote that "Bourbong" was derived from the local Aboriginal phrase "bier rabong", meaning "plenty dead". Tooth, who took up land in the area in the early 1860s, found that Aboriginal people resolutely avoided the "bier rabong" vicinity. He later found the skeletal remains there of around twenty Aboriginal people who were apparently massacred in a raid by the Native Police.
The local Aboriginal group is the Taribelang people of the Gureng nation. They are the original inhabitants of the region which stretches from the Burrum River in the south to the Burnett River in the north.
The four kinship groups of the Taribelang people were called Banjurr, Barrang, Bunda and Turroine.
The first non-indigenous man to visit the area was James Davis in the 1830s. He was an escaped convict from the Moreton Bay Penal settlement who lived with the Kabi people to the south of the region. He resided mostly around the Mary River and was referred to as Durrumboi. The Burnett River was surveyed by John Charles Burnett, after whom it was named during his exploration mission of the Wide Bay and Burnett regions in 1847.
British occupation of the land in the region began in 1848 when pastoral squatters Gregory Blaxland Jnr and William Forster brought in their large herds of livestock to set up a sheep station. Blaxland was a son of the Blue Mountains explorer, Gregory Blaxland, and Forster was later to become a Premier of New South Wales. They selected a very large area of land which encompassed most of the modern day Bundaberg region along the Burnett River. They named this pastoral lease Tirroan. Blaxland and Forster had previously set up sheep stations just south of the Clarence River and had a notable history of frontier conflict with Aboriginals while taking forcible possession of the land. These methods continued at Tirroan resulting in the killing of two of their shepherds in 1849. An armed punitive mission led by Forster and Blaxland followed, causing multiple Aboriginal deaths. Further conflict occurred the following year where Blaxland was clubbed to death. Forster and a number of other squatters conducted another reprisal, resulting in a large massacre of Aboriginals in scrubland toward the coastal part of Tirroan. A couple of years later, Forster sold the property and the name of the pastoral lease changed to Gin Gin. The area was gradually subdivided with the advance of closer settlement beginning in the 1860s. The names of Tirroan and Gin Gin are commemorated in the naming of two towns near Bundaberg which were once part of the massive initial leasehold.
Bundaberg itself was founded in 1867 as a British township by timbergetters and farmers John and Gavin Steuart. The settlement of Bundaberg originally began on the northern banks of the Burnett River in 1867 but an official survey was undertaken in 1869 and the town was re-sited onto the higher, southern banks. The first land sale held in Bundaberg occurred on 22 August 1872, although two previous sales of Bundaberg land had taken place in Maryborough. The area developed as an agricultural and port town. Initially a number of the early settlers exploited the timber on their selections but as a result of the incentives of the Sugar and Coffee Regulations 1864, sugar became a major component in Bundaberg's development from the 1870s.The first farmers in the area, including Thomas Watson, arrived soon after. Local resident and District Surveyor John Charlton Thompson was directed by the government to survey and plot an area on the south side of the river. The city was surveyed, laid out, and named Bundaberg in 1870.
Timber was the first established industry in Bundaberg. In 1868, Samuel Johnston erected a sawmill in Waterview, on the north bank of the Burnett River (downstream from the Steuart and Watson holdings). Waterview sawmill supplied Rockhampton as well as local needs. It became prominent enough to prompt the government to extend the railway connecting North Bundaberg with Mount Perry, eastward to the Waterview Mill. Waterview sawmill closed in 1903 after being damaged by flood. Experimental sugar cane cultivation in the district followed, and a successful industry grew. The first sugar mill was opened in 1882. The early sugar industry in Bundaberg was based on Kanakas workers, who were kept in a status close to slavery.
The three surveyors named Bundaberg's streets. Thompson was assisted by unregistered surveyor assistants James Ellwood and Alfred Dale Edwards. Edwards preferred using aboriginal names: Kolan, Woongarra, Barolin, Bingera, Kalkie, Woondooma, Moolboolooman, and for streets Tantitha, Bourbong, etc.
With the passage of the Local Authorities Act 1902, Barolin Division became the Shire of Barolin and the Borough of Bundaberg became the Town of Bundaberg on 31 March 1903. On 22 November 1913, Bundaberg was proclaimed a City.
The 1911 Queensland sugar strike occurred after the phasing out of South Sea Islander labour in 1904, with workers claiming that many plantation owners had substituted black indentured labourers (sometimes referred to as slaves) with white ones. Workers sought better accommodation, wages and conditions, including an eight-hour day and a minimum weekly wage of 30 shillings, including food. The mobilisation of unionists from Bundaberg to Mossman was a major achievement, with the 1911 strike lasting over seven weeks in Bundaberg where the town's economy was largely based on the sugar industry. The end result of the strike was a Commonwealth Royal Commission into the sugar industry in 1911–12, which had been initially requested by Harry Hall, a Bundaberg AWA organiser in 1908 with a petition signed by 1500 Bundaberg sugar workers. The Royal Commission, with ALF Secretary Albert Hinchcliffe as secretary, concluded the AWA demands had been justified. The union victory was a watershed in organised labour in Queensland and Australia.
In 1912 Bundaberg pioneering aviator Bert Hinkler built and successfully flew his own glider on Mon Repos beach. He also completed a noteworthy non-stop flight from London to Turin in 1920. The following year in 1921 Hinkler flew from Sydney to Bundaberg, non-stop, in a record breaking flight of 8 and a half hours, in the process beating a telegram he had sent to his mother, to warn her of his arrival.
The Bundaberg War Memorial commemorating those who died in the Anglo-Boer War and World War I was unveiled by Major-General Charles Brand on 30 July 1921. The Bundaberg digger was imported from Italy and is constructed of Italian marble. The completed memorial, at a cost of £1,650, was the third most costly to be erected in Queensland. It is a major regional memorial and one of the two most intact digger memorials that remain in their original settings of intersections.
In the 1960s the township was completely flooded by the Burnett river. In 1967 Bundaberg celebrated its centenerary by producing a coin and opening The Bundaberg and District Historical Museum in the Bundaberg Botanical Gardens in Bundaberg North.
In December 2010, Bundaberg suffered its worst floods in 60 years, when floodwaters from the Burnett River inundated hundreds of homes.
Two years later, in January 2013, Bundaberg experienced its worst flooding in recorded history as a result of Cyclone Oswald. Floodwaters from the Burnett River peaked at 9.53 meters. Over 4000 properties and 600 businesses had been affected by floodwaters, which moved in excess of 70 km/h. Two defence force Blackhawk helicopters were brought in from Townsville as part of the evacuation operation, which ultimately used an additional 14 aircraft.
Bundaberg has a number of heritage-listed sites, including:
- Corner of Bargara Road and Zeilke Avenue, Kalkie: Kalkie State School
- Bourbong Street, Bundaberg Central: Bourbong Street Weeping Figs
- Bourbong Street, Bundaberg Central: Bundaberg War Memorial
- Bourbong Street, West Bundaberg: Bundaberg War Nurses Memorial
- Bourbong Street between Bundaberg Central and Bundaberg East: Kennedy Bridge
- 155a Bourbong Street: Bundaberg Post Office
- 184 Bourbong Street, Bundaberg Central: Bundaberg School of Arts
- 191–193 Bourbong Street, Bundaberg Central: Commercial Bank
- 13 Crofton Street: Bundaberg Central State School
- 30 George Street, South Bundaberg: St John's Lutheran Church
- 46 Johnston Street, Millbank: South Sea Islander Church
- 1 Maryborough Street, Bundaberg Central: Fallon House
- corner of Maryborough and Woongarra Streets, Bundaberg Central: St Andrews Uniting Church
- Quay Street, Bundaberg Central: Bundaberg Police Station
- Quay Street, Bundaberg Central, to Perry Street, Bundaberg North: Burnett Bridge
- Quay Street, from Bundaberg Central to Bundaberg East: Saltwater Creek Railway Bridge
- Sir Anthony's Rest Street, Qunaba: Sir Anthony's Rest
- 17 Sussex Street, East Bundaberg: East Bundaberg Water Tower
- Thornhill Street, Bundaberg North: Fairymead House
- 55 Woongarra Street: 4BU Radio Station
- Cnr Woongarra and Maryborough streets, Bundaberg Central: Christ Church, Bundaberg The church sits adjacent to Buss Park which contains a memorial to Bert Hinkler.
In the 2016 Census, there were 69,061 people in Bundaberg (Significant Urban Area).
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people made up 4.3% of the population.
- 81.2% of people were born in Australia. The next most common countries of birth were England 3.2%, New Zealand 1.8%, Philippines 0.7%, South Africa 0.5% and Scotland 0.4%.
- 88.9% of people spoke only English at home. Other languages spoken at home included Mandarin 0.5%, Italian 0.4%, German 0.3%, Afrikaans 0.2% and Tagalog 0.2%.
- The most common responses for religion were No Religion 26.3%, Catholic 18.7% and Anglican 18.6%.
Bundaberg has a humid subtropical climate (Cfa) with wet hot summers and mild winters. The climate is the most equable of any Australian town or city and ranked 5th on a worldwide comparison. The mean daily maximum temperature is highest in January at 30.3 °C (86.5 °F) Celsius, and the mean daily minimum is lowest in July at 9.9 °C (49.8 °F). The coldest temperature recorded in Bundaberg is −0.7 °C (30.7 °F) degrees Celsius, and some inland areas of Bundaberg sometimes experience frosts. The mean annual rainfall is 1,142.6 mm (44.98 in).
|Climate data for Bundaberg Post Office|
|Record high °C (°F)||38.9
|Average high °C (°F)||30.3
|Average low °C (°F)||21.3
|Record low °C (°F)||14.1
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||205.8
|Average precipitation days||10.0||9.6||9.5||6.6||5.7||4.3||4.0||3.5||3.5||5.2||6.3||7.9||76.1|
|Average afternoon relative humidity (%)||62||63||63||60||58||56||53||52||53||57||59||61||58|
|Source: Bureau of Meteorology|
- Bundaberg Central
- Bundaberg East
- Bundaberg North
- Bundaberg South
- Bundaberg West
- Burnett Heads
- Coral Cove
- Elliott Heads
- Innes Park
- Mon Repos
- Moore Beach Park
- Pine Creek
- St Kilda
- South Bingera
- South Kolan
- Svensson Heights
- Welcome Creek
Subtropical Bundaberg is dependent to a large extent on the local sugar industry. Extensive sugar cane fields have been developed throughout the district. Value-adding operations, such as the milling and refinement of sugar, and its packaging and distribution, are located around the city. A local factory that manufactured sugar-cane harvesters was closed down after it was taken over by the US multinational corporation Case New Holland. Most of the raw sugar is exported. A bulk terminal for the export of sugar is located on the Burnett River east of Bundaberg.
Another of the city's exports is Bundaberg Rum, made from the sugar cane by-product molasses. Bundaberg is also home to beverage producer Bundaberg Brewed Drinks and Craft Brewery Bargara Brewing Company.
Commercial fruit and vegetable production is also significant: avocado, banana, bean, button squash, capsicum, chilli, citrus, cucumber, custard apple, egg fruit, honeydew melon, lychee, mango, passionfruit, potato, pumpkin, rockmelon, snow peas, stone fruit, sweet corn, sweet potato, tomato, watermelon, zucchini. Macadamia nuts are also grown.
Tourism is an important industry in Queensland, and Bundaberg is known as the 'Southern Gateway to the Great Barrier Reef'. The city lies near the southern end of the reef in proximity to Lady Elliot and Lady Musgrave Islands. The nearby town of Bargara is an increasingly popular holiday and retirement destination.
Nearby beaches are popular with both locals and tourists. Moore Park Beach, to the city's north, has 20 kilometres (12 mi) of golden sandy beach. Beaches on the southern side of the Burnett River are (from north to south) the Oaks Beach, Mon Repos, Nielsen Park, Bargara Beach, Kellys Beach, Innes Park and Elliott Heads.
Tours of the Bundaberg Rum distillery and attractions at Bundaberg Botanic Gardens, such as the 2 ft narrow gauge Australian Sugar Cane Railway, are also popular with tourists. The Mystery Craters, 35 unexplained water-filled holes in the ground, discovered in 1971 at South Kolan, are also a tourist attraction.
Opened in 2002 by the former member for Hinkler Paul Neville, the Tom Quinn Community Centre gardens (a multiple "Bundy in Bloom" winner) is a site to be seen with local flora and fauna, its own cafe, marketplace, chapel, green house, training facilities, woodwork and indigenous nature section.
Opened in December 2008, the Hinkler Hall of Aviation is an historical aviation tourist attraction that celebrates pioneer solo aviator Bert Hinkler. In 1928, Hinkler was the first person to fly solo from England to Australia. The museum includes an exhibition hall, featuring multi-media exhibits, a flight simulator, a theatre, five aircraft and the historic Hinkler House.
Other local attractions and events include the Whaling Wall, East Bundaberg Water Tower, Baldwin Swamp Environmental Park, Alexandra Park Zoo, Buss Park, Barrell House, Bundy in Bloom, Whale watching, reef tours of Lady Musgrave & Lady Elliiot islands, the Bundaberg Show, Bundaberg & Childers Regional Art Galleries, the Bundaberg Gliding school, Fishing Charters, the Bundaberg International Air Show, and the Woongarra Marine Park.
Museums and galleries
- Hinkler Hall of Aviation
- Hinkler House
- Fairymead House and Sugar History Museum
- BRAG, the Bundaberg Regional Art Gallery
- CHARTS, the Childers Art Space
- Bundaberg and District Historical Museum
- Bundaberg Railway Museum
- Bundaberg Rum Distillery Tours
- Bundaberg Botanic Gardens containing the 'Hinkler Hall of Aviation', 'Hinkler House', 'Fairymead House' and the 'Bundaberg Steam Tramway Preservation Inc.'
- Mystery Craters in South Kolan
- Schmeider's Cooperage (Bundy Kegs)
- Bundaberg Ginger Beer
Arts and entertainment
Bundaberg has two cinemas. The Reading Cinemas, on Johanna Boulevarde, west Bundaberg, and the Moncrieff Entertainment Centre (formerly known as the Moncrieff Theatre), located on Bourbong Street, central Bundaberg. The Moncrieff Entertainment Centre also holds live musical and theatrical performances year round.
The NewsMail newspaper is published in Bundaberg from Monday to Saturday. It is available in print and online. Several community newspapers are also available including the Guardian, The Bugle & the Bundaberg Coastline
- ABC Local Radio: Wide Bay 855 AM/100.1 FM – due to the terrain of the area, both AM and FM frequencies are used.
- 4BU 1332 AM (commercial) – owned by Grant Broadcasters
- Sea FM 93.1 (commercial) – part of the Today Network, owned by Southern Cross Media Group .
- Hitz FM 93.9 (commercial) – owned by Grant Broadcasters
- 4BCR 94.7 FM (community)
- 4DoubleB 96.3 FM (community)
- Kix Country 97.1 FM (narrowcast) – owned by Grant Broadcasters
- RadioTAB 95.5 FM (narrowcast) – owned by Tatts Group
- ABC Classic FM 98.5 FM
- Triple J 99.3 FM
- ABC Radio National 100.9 FM
- Rebel FM 106.7 FM (Wide Bay)
Local news coverage of Bundaberg and the Wide Bay is provided on all three commercial networks with both Seven Queensland's Seven Local News and WIN Queensland's WIN News half-hour bulletins airing at 6pm each weeknight. Southern Cross Austereo also airs brief local news updates at various intervals throughout the day on Channel 9, presented from studios in Canberra.
Most major Australian sporting codes are played in Bundaberg.
Bundaberg has two current clubs playing in the AFL Wide Bay competition.
- Across The Waves Bundaberg Eagles (merger of North Bundaberg and Souths/ATW Magpies)
- Brothers Bulldogs (formerly West Bundaberg)
Bundaberg has two professional teams competing in the Australian Basketball Association's Queensland Conference (QBL). They are the Bundaberg Radiology Bulls (men) and Bundaberg Radiology Bears (women) and both feature local players.
Bucca Weir, west of Bundaberg, is home to the Queensland State Rowing Championships every year in December.
The Bundaberg Rugby Football League is a nine-club competition run under the Queensland Rugby League's Central Division. Bundaberg competes in the Central Division's 47th Battalion Shield and the Bundaberg Grizzlies formerly competed in the Queensland Cup statewide competition.
The Bundaberg & District Tennis Senior Association operates eleven floodlit clay courts in Drinan Park, Bundaberg West at the corner of George & Powers Streets. Competition tennis is played all year round. The Bundaberg & District Junior Tennis Association operates five artificial grass courts, and two granite courts.
The Bundaberg branch of the Queensland Country Women's Association meets at the QCWA Hall at 15 Quay Street, Bundaberg Central. The Hinkler branch of the Queensland Country Women's Association meets at the McDonalds Central Bundaberg on the corner of Woongarra & Targo Street, Bundaberg Central.
There are many public and private primary schools in Bundaberg. Bundaberg South State School opened on 11 May 1891, with an enrollment of 167 students and under the direction of William Benbow. The school celebrated its 125-year anniversary in 2016.
Bundaberg has three public high schools, Bundaberg North State High School which opened on 29 January 1974, Bundaberg State High School which opened on 30 January 1912 (the second-oldest high school in Queensland that is still open) and Kepnock State High School which opened on 28 January 1964. There are also three main private secondary schools: Shalom Catholic College, St Luke's Anglican School, and Bundaberg Christian College.
There is a campus of the Wide Bay Institute of Technical and further education on Walker St and a campus of the Central Queensland University, located adjacent to the airport. There is a campus of the Booth College at the Salvation Army's Tom Quinn Community Centre.
Bundaberg's bus operator is Duffy's City Buses. As of 2013, they transport over 1000 passengers in town services, and over 2000 passengers in school services every day. Routes extend to the beach suburbs of Burnett Heads, Bargara, and Innes Park. Stewart & Sons also operates bus services in the area.
Bundaberg is serviced by several Queensland Rail passenger trains, including the Tilt Train and is approximately four and a half hours north of Brisbane by rail. The closed North Bundaberg station formerly served the Mount Perry railway line and is now a museum.
Bundaberg is situated at the end of the Isis Highway (State Route 3), approximately 50 kilometres (31 mi) east of its junction with the Bruce Highway. Many long-distance bus services also pass through the city.
Bundaberg Port is located 20 kilometres (12 mi) northeast of the city, at the mouth of the Burnett River. The port is a destination for ships from Australia and overseas. It is predominantly used for shipping raw sugar and other goods related to that industry such as Bundaberg Rum.
Bundaberg is served by three hospitals. One public hospital, Bundaberg Base Hospital on Bourbong St, and two private hospitals, Friendly Society Private Hospital & Mater Hospital.
Bundaberg is also home to the Royal Flying Doctor Service, who regularly transport patients to Bundaberg from more rural and remote areas, as well as transferring critically ill patients to Brisbane for specialist care.
The city council responsible for the Bundaberg Region maintains Sister City arrangements with two cities.
|12 May 1998|
|9 November 1998|
- Clint Bolton, association football player, Socceroo, 2 time A-League championship winning player
- Joshua Brillante, Australian football player
- David Carter, tennis player
- Wayne Coles-Janess, producer and director, documentary and feature films
- Allan Davis, Road racing cyclist, 2009 Tour Down Under Winner
- Troy Elder, Hockey player
- Steve Goodall, cyclist, 1978 Commonwealth Games Bronze Medalist, 1976 Olympian
- Coen Hess, rugby league footballer
- Bert Hinkler, pioneer aviator
- Antonio Kaufusi, rugby league footballer
- Felise Kaufusi, rugby league footballer
- Mitchell Langerak, association football player, A-League championship winning player
- Errol McCormack, retired Chief of Air Force (1998–2001), Officer of the Order of Australia (1998)
- Rheed McCracken, 2012 Summer Paralympics, won a silver and bronze medal
- Sarah McLellan, dancer and entertainer, lead singer of the group Lez Zeppelin and blogger of "The Aussie who ate the Big Apple" currently living in New York
- Mal Meninga, rugby league footballer
- Tom Miles, professional athlete/sprinter, Winner 1927 Stawell Gift, 1928 World Champion
- Gladys Moncrieff, singer
- Clinton Moore, Freestyle Motorcross Rider
- Vance Palmer, writer
- Jayant Patel, the alleged "Doctor Death" of the Bundaberg Base Hospital
- Ian Quinn, Golden Guitar winner & singer/songwriter
- Chris Sarra, 2004 Queenslander of the Year
- Donald Smith, operatic tenor
- Michelle Steele, Winter Olympian at the 2006 Winter Olympics
- Don Tallon, Australian Cricketer
- Keith Thiele, World War II Pilot (awarded DSO, DFC & 2 medal bars)
- Tommy Trash, ARIA and Grammy nominated Australian DJ & Producer
- Shane Tichowitsch, Darts player
- Brad Evans, Queensland Top 10 Entrepreneur 2018
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