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Bundaberg is a city in Queensland, Australia. It is part of the Local Government Area (LGA) of the Bundaberg Region and is a major centre within Queensland's broader Wide Bay-Burnett geographical region. The city lies on the Burnett River, approximately north of the state capital, Brisbane and inland from the coast.
The first Europeans in the area, were timbergetters and farmers who arrived in 1867. The town itself was surveyed in 1870 and by 1881 it was gazetted as a municipality. It grew rapidly into a town by 1902 and a city by 1913.
The city name is thought to be an artificial combination of bunda, the Kabi Aboriginal word denoting important man and the German suffix berg indicating mountain. The city is colloquially known as "Bundy".
The local Aboriginal group is the Dundu:ra/Doondora people the inhabitants of the Hervey Bay (Dundu:ra Bay) region which stretched from the Mary River to the Burnett River who was part of the Wahr Language Group of the Kabi nation (Edward Curr 1886).
Bundaberg as a European township was founded by timbergetters Bob and George Stewart in 1867. The first farmers in the area, including Thomas Watson, arrived soon after. It was local resident and District Surveyor John Charlton Thompson who received the directive to survey a plot an area on the South side of the river. The city was surveyed, laid out and named Bundaberg in 1870. It was gazetted a town in 1902 and a city in 1913.
Timber was the first established industry in Bundaberg. In 1868 a sawmill was erected on the Burnett River downstream from the Steuart and Watson holdings. The Burnett Sawmill operated for over 100 years at its East Bundaberg location. It was the oldest operating sawmill in the Bundaberg area until it ceased operating on 26 May 2010.
Experimental sugar cane growing in the district followed and a successful industry grew. The first sugar mill was opened in 1882. The early sugar industry in Bundaberg was the result of the semi-slave labour carried out by Kanakas.
The naming of Bundaberg's streets was a job for its surveyors, of which there were three. Thompson was assisted by unregistered surveyor assistants James Ellwood and Alfred Dale Edwards. Edwards preferred using aboriginal names. It is a common misconception that the main street was incorrectly gazetted in the Bundaberg Mail as "Bourbong" instead of "Bourbon" street and the name persisted. However, Rackemann conducted a survey of letterheads printed between 1904 and 1957. Up until 1940 the count for both names was near enough to equal, with in some cases companies carrying both spelling variations in successive years. However, by 1941 there is no reference to "Bourbon" street. It is thought more likely that Edwards named it after 'Boorbong', the local name given to a series of waterholes near the Rubyanna area. (Now East Bundaberg) This is borne out by farmer Robert Strathdee's farming selection in the vicinity of the watering holes being recorded on early survey maps as 'Boorbung'. The Bourbong was referred to (Howitt 1904) as the name of one of the initiation ceremonies. Harry Aldridge stated that the scars of initiated men differed from that of Fraser Island in that men on Fraser Island had 5 vertical scars on their chest whereas in Bundaberg the Dundu:ra people had 3 scars across the chest.
Subtropical Bundaberg is dependent to a large extent on the local sugar industry. Extensive sugar cane fields are found throughout the district and 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. Commercial fruit and vegetable production is also significant: tomatoes, zucchinis, capsicums, legumes, Sweet Potatos and watermelons are grown in abundant quantities.
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, to the city's north, boasts 20 km 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 famous Bundaberg Rum distillery and attractions at the Botanic Gardens are also popular with tourists. The Mystery Craters, 35 un-explained water-filled holes in the ground, discovered in 1971 at South Kolan, are also a tourist attraction.
Opened in December 2008, the Hinkler Hall of Aviation is an historical aviation tourist attraction that celebrates pioneer solo aviator Bert Hinkler. It includes an exhibition hall, featuring multi-media exhibits, a flight simulator, a theatre, five aircraft and the historic Hinkler House.
The Bundaberg Regional Art Gallery (BRAG) is a large multi-purpose visual arts facility located at Barolin Street Corner Quay Street in Bundaberg City. The gallery showcases exhibitions drawn from local, state, national and international artists, and includes a gift shop, artist-in-residence apartment, workshop areas and an art resource library (The Green Room).
The newspaper in Bundaberg is called the Bundaberg NewsMail and it is published from Monday to Saturday.
Wide Bay 855 AM/100.1 FM – Due to the terrain of the area, both AM and FM frequencies are used.
Bundaberg is served by three commercial television stations (Seven Queensland, WIN Television and Southern Cross Ten) and publicly owned services (ABC TV) and (SBS). Each broadcasts television services in both analogue and digital formats, with analogue transmissions to be deactivated in the second half of 2011.
Seven Queensland and WIN Television both produce half-hour long local news bulletins. Seven Local News screens from Monday to Friday at 6 pm. WIN NEWS screens Monday to Friday at 6.30 pm, with a late news bulletin screening at approximately 12 midnight.
SBS offers digital high-definition simulcasts of their main channel, SBS ONE on SBS HD. Ten digital-only channels are also available: ABC2, ABC3, ABC News 24, SBS Two, One HD, Eleven, 7Two, 7mate, GEM and GO!. Austar Limited provides subscription satellite television services.
Bundaberg boasts two professional sporting teams both competing in the Australian Basketball Association's Queensland Conference called the QBL, the Bundaberg Radiology Bulls (men) and Bundaberg Radiology Bears. Featuring local players, international and national professionals.
Most major Australian sporting codes are played in Bundaberg, including; Rowing, Basketball, Cricket, Golf, Lawn bowls, Netball, Tennis, Rugby league, Football, Hockey, Australian Rules Football, and Softball.
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, at 69B George Street in Bundaberg South.
Bucca Weir, west of Bundaberg, is home to the state rowing Championships every three years.
Bundaberg has two current clubs playing in the AFL Wide Bay competition.
The other clubs in the competition are:
There are many public and private primary schools in Bundaberg, e.g. St. Marys Catholic Primary school.
Bundaberg has three public high schools, Bundaberg North State High School, Bundaberg State High School (the second-oldest high school in Queensland that is still open) and Kepnock State High School. 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 TAFE on Walker St and a campus of CQUniversity, located adjacent to the airport. The Bundaberg CQUniversity campus offers degrees in Agriculture and Food Science, Aviation, Accident Investigation, Accounting and Business, Education, Environmental Science, Environmental Health, Health Promotion, Information Technology, Multimedia Studies, Nursing, Psychology and Social Work. The university is also a hub for a small group of postgraduate research students in various discipline areas.
Bundaberg has a subtropical climate with 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 Celsius, and the mean daily minimum is lowest in July at 9.9 degrees Celsius. The coldest temperature recorded in Bundaberg is 0.8 degrees Celsius, and some inland areas of Bundaberg sometimes experience frosts. The mean annual rainfall is 1141.0 millimetres.
See main article: Bundaberg railway station. 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 railway station formerly served the Mount Perry railway line and is now a museum.
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.
Well-known current and former inhabitants of Bundaberg include: