News

Bundy bingo celebrating 40 years

A TEAM: Bingo caller Danny Carswell, Bundaberg Surf Life Saving Club life member Rod MacAlpine and Steffi Carswell are the Bundy Big Bingo trio. Photo: contributed
A TEAM: Bingo caller Danny Carswell, Bundaberg Surf Life Saving Club life member Rod MacAlpine and Steffi Carswell are the Bundy Big Bingo trio. Photo: contributed contributed

THERE was a game that Bundy played and Bingo was its name, oh.

B.I.N.G.O.

While the original rhyme was about a dog, the game of bingo has been just as well known in Bundaberg since it began at the Civic Centre in August 1973.

Lifesavers Bingo was the brainchild of Bundaberg Surf Life Saving Club life members Des Dahl and Dennis Carswell, who had the idea of holding weekly bingo games as a fundraiser for the Nielson Park Beach club.

"The support for the game soon grew with regular crowds of over 200 players within 12 months," Dennis's son, Danny, said.

"Selling loose tickets for each game, and using a bingo barrel and numbered balls to draw the lucky numbers, were features of the early days of bingo."

Within four years, the rum city had three major bingo nights each week at the Civic Centre - Ambulance Bingo, Lifesavers Bingo and Endeavour Foundation Bingo.

"Crowds of over 1,000 players were drawn with a chance at winning the big $1,000 jackpots on offer," Danny said.

At the end of 1984, Shalom College joined with Bundaberg Surf Lifesaving Club to form Bundy Big Bingo.

"Regular crowds of over 500 players were still the norm, but by 1987 the introduction of Instant Scratch tickets and Gold Lotto, and an increase in the running costs, were affecting the fundraising value of a weekly bingo game," Danny said.

In 1996, Bundy Big Bingo moved to The Waves but returned to the Civic Centre six months later and remained there until it found its new home at the Bundaberg RSL in 2004.

Bundy Big Bingo was a passion for Dennis Carswell and in the first 26 years he missed a total of only seven nights.

"Dennis enjoyed the social aspect of the weekly bingo game - the chance to catch up and resolve many of the problems of the world," Danny said.

And it was something Danny said he enjoyed, too.

"I was a ticket seller at the first night of Lifesavers bingo, walking behind my row of bingo players during each game and collecting their money and leaving their tickets for the next game," he said.

"I was then promoted to turning the bingo barrel and drawing the numbers for the caller and, sometimes, running across the hall to collect a bingo ball that had been dropped from the barrel."

Danny has now been calling bingo games for more than 30 years.

FAMILY TIES: Dennis and Danny Carswell are the stalwarts of Bundy Big Bingo. Photo: contributed
FAMILY TIES: Dennis and Danny Carswell are the stalwarts of Bundy Big Bingo. Photo: contributed contributed

"For many of those nights for the first 20 years I shared that role with my club mate Peter Byrne," he said.

"When I started helping at bingo I was not even dating my wife Lori and now we have two grandchildren so many things have changed.

"I remember very clearly dropping into the Civic Centre to tell the bingo players I was a dad for the first time, and I can remember Peter knowing he was in trouble for calling bingo instead of taking his wife out for dinner for a Wedding Anniversary."

Club member and surf club life member Rod MacAlpine started helping at bingo when he retired from full time work at the NewsMail in 1986, and has attended bingo most weeks since and he still helps every week at over 90 years of age.

"He helps with the tickets and money and supports my daughter Steffi who, at 24 years of age, now has over 10 years of experience working for Bundy Big Bingo," Danny said.

Danny said the very nature of a bingo game has everyone playing at the same time and playing for the same purpose.

"Things can get very competitive but in a friendly way," he said.

"New players are often surprised with the mental skills required to listen to the numbers being called and marking them on your ticket, but still being alert for the pattern on your ticket that will win you the game."

Danny said bingo players were also a resilient group of people.

"During the 2013 floods a number of players lost their homes and belongings but within a couple of weeks they were back mixing with their friends and trying to get life back to the norm," he said.

The biggest single winner was a $30,000 winner in 2011, but there have also been two $20,000 jackpot winners and a further 27 wins of $10,000 or more.

"Bundy Big Bingo has always been a fundraising activity and it has been very successful in supporting both the Bundaberg Surf Lifesaving Club and Shalom College," Danny said.

"The surf club has benefited from over $800,000 in funds in the 40 years that bingo has been operating, which has been used to support the activities of the club and is now focused on the major renovations to the club house.

"Shalom College has received over $350,000 in the 30 years they have been part of Bundy Big Bingo."

Bundy Big Bingo will hold a 40th birthday celebration on Wednesday, August 6 at the RSL. Players will have the chance of winning six $500 games that must be won and the normal chance at the major jackpots of up to $100,000.

Topics:  bingo history



Date nights under $50

ACCORDING to The Bachelor falling in love involves helicopter rides, private jets, shopping trips, and we mustn’t forget the hot tubs.

Brisbane's arts and culture events centre stage

You loved the film, now you're about to love the musical. Don't miss The Bodyguard The Musical in Brisbane this July.

THE arts and culture events you don't want to miss.

Homewares stores to fulfil your Instagram dreams

No Caption

You too can become an Insta-star with these fab stores.

Top 10 Brisbane experiences to cross off your bucket list

Do yourself a favour and get amongst the food truck scene. Eat Street is a great place to start.

A GOOD bucket list doesn’t have to span continents or cost millions.

Six mega sporting events you need to be at this year

Don't miss all the action trackside this season.

IF THERE is one thing Brisbane does damn well, it’s play host.

Six reasons to get to Brisbane this Autumn

The Brisbane Powerhouse has free comedy on Friday nights.

AUTUMN has to be up there with one of the best seasons of the year.

The best things to do in Brisbane are FREE. Yes, FREE

Mt Coot-tha is a seriously gorgeous way to start your day.

HEADING to the big smoke doesn’t have to come with a big price tag.

Can you spot what's different about this burger?

The American style burger at James's Place.

Local eatery is changing the way we look at burgers

If your hot water system wasn't working today, here's why

Ergon Energy is working to rectify a problem with equipment at the Bundaberg bulk supply point that operates hot water systems on off-peak tariffs.

Ergon Energy is working to fix a hot water problem across Bundaberg

Local Partners

Rebel Wilson says she didn’t have to lie to make it

I’M not glamorous, but that doesn’t make me a liar: that’s the message from Rebel Wilson on her second day in the witness box.

All bets on Judah to win battle to become the Voice

Judah Kelly from The Voice.

Judah Kelly is the clear favourite to win the competition.

Kim Kardashian slammed over Manchester tribute

Kim Kardashian's tribute to Manchester didn't go down well

Top Gun 2 movie is happening, Tom Cruise confirms

Tom Cruise in a scene from the movie Top Gun.

TOM Cruise delights fans with announcement on Sunrise.

The first Baywatch movie reviews are in

From left, Jon Bass, Alex Daddario, Zac Efron, Dwayne Johnson, Kelly Rohrbach, and Ilfenesh Hadera in a scene from the movie Baywatch.

Critics were less than impressed.

Boyfriend loses it over sex lie

Stacey Louise’s sex lie destroys her relationship.

SEVEN Year Switch’s Stacey told a fib about her sex life.

Why Crowe’s thankful for those ‘bulls**t’ rumours

Russell Crowe and Terri Irwin in 2007.

Crowe and Terri Irwin have been dodging dating rumours for years now

How Toowoomba house prices compare in Australia

For sale sign in front of home.

Here's what $700,000 will buy you in Toowoomba, Brisbane and Sydney

One of Maryborough's most historic homes is still for sale

FULL OF HISTORY: Trisha Moulds is owner of the historic Tinana state known as Rosehill. The beautiful home is currently for sale.

It has been the scene of both joy and tragedies over the years.

The face of the Sunshine Coast's overpriced rental crisis

Alyx Wilson had to rent a $385 unit in Currimundi because the market was too competitive for cheaper rental housing. She is now renting a room from friends who own a house in Currimundi, and says its much more affordable.

Young people feel the strain in competitive, expensive rental market

WATCH: Take a tour of a tradie's dream home

5a Bruce Hiskens Court, Norman Gardens, going for $720,000. INSET: Lea Taylor.

Huge block with potential for anything

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!