Bundaberg is a city in Queensland, Australia. It is part of the local government area of the Bundaberg Region and is a major centre within Queensland's broader Wide Bay-Burnett geographical region. The city is on the Burnett River, approximately 385 kilometres (239 mi) north of the state capital, Brisbane, and 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) inland from the coast.
The first Europeans in the area were timbergetters and farmers who arrived in 1867. The town 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 local Aboriginal group is the Kalki people the inhabitants of the region which stretched from the Burrum river in the south to the Baffle creek in the north who were part of the Kabi Language Group. (Edward Curr 1886).
The first white man to visit the region was James Davis, an escaped convict from the Moreton Bay Penal settlement in 1830. Davis was referred to as Durrumboi by the local Kabi people. (Rev Dunmore Lang 1861, William Ridley 1866). Another man named Alfred Dale Edwards was adopted into the Kalkie speaking clan Yongkonu (Thyeebalang Roth 1910, Archibald Meston 1892) and was given the moiety name Bunda which was part of the four class matrilineal (female descent) moiety system used by the Kabi people whose territory spread from the Caboolture river in the south to the Kolan river in the north. The Kabi moiety names were Balgoin, Barang, Bunda, Derwain and Tandor (Durrumboi in Ridley 1866), the phratry names were Kupaiathin and Dilbai. Gooreng (Gurang- a title given to people who were banished, although either spelling Gooreng or Gurang has same meaning of banishment title, translating to 'nothing')and Wakka inland or wa'pa (slow speech) utilised the moiety name Banjurr in Balgoin's stead (Mathew 1910). Bunda was not a clan sub-tribe or tribe only one of the moiety names ( Dr T H May 1892 Brisbane Courier). Kabi headquarters is in Bundaberg (Kamarangan 2012). The boundary between the Wahr and Kalkie peoples of the Kabi tribe is the Burnett River.
Queen Maria was the headman (Kamarangan 2012) of the Dilbai phratry over all Kabi people which is an inherited title (Mathew 1910). Maria stated that she was "Queen over all the bloomin' land".
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 Thompsonwho 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, 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 1903 after being damaged by flood.
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. Kolan, Woongarra, Barolin, Bingera, Kalkie, Moolboolooman, and for streets Tantitha, Bourbong etc. the later local Kalkie name for a large waterhole in front of the old Post Office Cairns Post 1910 P7 18 Jan W.A Dean. 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 Kalki people had 3 scars across the chest.
Bourbong is in fact Bairbong, bair (chief) and bong means(dead) which refers to the place a waterhole where a chief was speared through the eye. The Kalki people referred to Bundaberg as Bairbara or place of Chiefs the region was referred to as Borral Borral.
In December 2010, Bundaberg experienced its worst floods in 60 years with floodwaters from the Burnett River inundating hundreds of homes.
Just two years later, in January 2013, Bundaberg experienced its worst flooding in recorded history, with floodwaters from the Burnett River peaking at 9.53 meters. As of 28 January 2013, more than 2000 properties have 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 involved a further 14 aircraft.
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: 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.
The Mon Repos turtle rookery is located on the coast just east of Bundaberg. The northern bank of the Burnett River between the Don Tallon and Burnett bridges is home to a colony of flying foxes.
Nearby beaches are popular with both locals and tourists. Moore Park , 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, Neilson Park, Bargara Beach ( Bargara Beach ), Kellys Beach Resort , Innes Park , and Elliott Heads.
Cania Gorge National Park, Deepwater National Park, Eurimbula National Park, and Kinkuna National Park, located in the Bundaberg region are popular with campers and bush-lovers.
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 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 & events include the Whaling Wall, East Bundaberg Water Tower, Baldwin Swamp Environmental Park, Alexandra Park Zoo, 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, The Woongarra Marine Park.
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 Bundaberg Regional Art Gallery (BRAG) is a large multi-purpose visual arts facility located in central Bundaberg.