FLASHBACK: 15 Bundy news snippets from 1978

OPENING in 1978, Sugarland was considered a jewel in the growing city's crown.

The complex, unlike any other in the area, was one of many clear indicators of Bundaberg's need for continued expansion and of its potential, the Deputy Premier and State Treasurer, Mr Knox, said in Bundaberg.

Mr Knox officially opening the $13 million complex, one of the largest regional shopping centres in the entire state.

Here's 15 snippets of other things that were making news in that year

1. Teens spot a UFO

A BRIGHT blue, orange-tipped light speeding through the night sky, a blue glow flooding the bush, a stalled vehicle and a group of frightened teenagers could be the scenario for the latest science-fiction thriller.

But that is exactly what happened in scrub country just outside the small grazing township of Biggenden - and one of the teenagers was still stunned by the experience when he told the story to the NewsMail on November 31.

John Rollinson, 19, an assistant postal officer, and leader of the group which was onashooting expedition in the Mt Woowoonga area, about 16km north-east of the township, swears it was a UFO. Mr Rollinson was accompanied by his brother David, 16, Philip Dowling, 17, Glen Grambower, 16, and Angela Neill, 16.

2. Police called in to end siege 

A BUNDABERG shopkeeper ended a 24-hour protest over the plight of the small businessman and what he claimed
were high rents when he walked out of his barricaded shop just after 6pm on October 25.

The proprietor of Horans' Seafoods in the new Sugarland Shoppingtown complex, Mr Keith Horan, 38, locked
himself in his shop after closing time on October 24.

He plastered the shop windows with signs protesting about excessive rents and claiming that he was prepared
to give his life for the sake of small business.

One of the signs said: "Notice. This shop is closed. We are the victims of greed, corruption, land deals payoffs,
bad management, monopolising by large companies. I am prepared to give my life to the plight of the small business

Another read: "We demand a government inquiry into the activities of local councils and development boards."

Mr Horan ended his protest when he walked out of the shop after members of the Police Emergency Squad forced the door.

He was unarmed and offered no resistance. Police found a gun on the premises.

Earlier, Mr Horan had threatened to kill himself and anyone trying to enter the shop.

Throughout the siege police kept in contact with Mr Horan by telephone from the centre manager's officer.

He toldRegional Police Superintendent R Freeman that he would talk only with Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser or
television current affairs personality Mike Willesee.

The drama began about 8pm when police called to the area were told an armed man had locked himselfin the shop
and threatened to kill anyone who tried to remove him.

Attempts to reason with him failed and about 6pm the next day police converged on the area, forced the shop door
and Mr Horan walked out offering no resistance, and was taken to the Bundaberg Base Hospital.

Millaquin Mill's team at the Harvest Festival Raft Race, September 30, 1978. Photo submitted by Bundaberg Sugar
Millaquin Mill's team at the Harvest Festival Raft Race, September 30, 1978. Photo submitted by Bundaberg Sugar

3. Krishnas moved on

MEMBERS of the Hare Krishna religious sect were quietly asked to desist when they moved into the city
centre and started handing out literature on May 11.

The City Council prohibits activity of this type in the regulated parking area during parking hours.

4. Air Force wreckage found in scrub

FEDERAL Department of Transport officersspentseveral days trying to identify the wreckage of a light aircraft discovered near Woodgate in May.

The wreckage was found by a stockman, scattered overawide area in thick wallum country, about 14.5km from the township.

On May 11 it was reported that the wreckage was from an RAAF training mission that crashed on December 8, 1944,
killing two pilots.

RAAF investigators flew in a Chinook helicopter to inspect the site after a landing strip was cleared in the scrub.

They confirmed the plane's identity after identifying the engine plate as being from a Cheetah Mk9 engine and checking the crash site with Mr Sheehan of Bundaberg, who first found the wreck.

The site was also confirmed by RAAF Wing Commander R Redfern, who was based in Bundaberg at the time of the

He investigated it and buried the two pilots at the Bundaberg cemetery.

Investigator RAAF Wing Commander FE Burtt said the plane was an Avro Anson DT 236, from the Eight Service
Flying School, which crashed after a wing fell off.

An RAAF team buried parts of the plane and left a note in a bottle saying the RAAF was aware of the wreck.

Bundaberg Foundry staff in 1978. Photo: Contributed
Bundaberg Foundry staff in 1978. Photo: Contributed

5. Shoppers evacuated after bomb threat 

Shoppers and staff were evacuated from Woolworths' Bourbong Street store on January 10 following an anonymous bomb threat.

About three minutes after the call, the 30 staff and a small crowd of shoppers were in the street and four police officers moved in.

A 20-minute search failed to turn up anything unusual.

6. Apprentice loses life in explosion 

An industrial explosion at a Bundaberg engineering plant hurled a 19-year-old apprentice through a wall, killing him instantly.

Keith William Linsket, of Sumplaicnice Caravan Park, received severe head injuries when a pressurised cylinder
exploded in a shed used for storing scrap metals at the Schultz Engineering and Manufacturing workshop, Childers Road.

Linsket was alone in the shed - his twin brother also works at the plant - and the reverberating boom of the explosion could be heard by startled residents almost 2km from the scene.

7. Nurses rebel against rents 

Bundaberg Base Hospital nurses rebelled against tripled rents by threatening a mass walk-out of their living quarters.

A spokesman said that about 40 live-in nurses would seek accommodation away from the living quarters at the hospital complex in Bourbong Street.

The nurses paid about $17 a fortnight rent but the state health department has now increased it to about $50 each fortnight.

8. Man fined for blooding 

A Bundaberg man was fined $200 for breaching the Animals Protection Act by using a cockerel to "blood" a greyhound on April 15.

Robert William Price (also known as Shaxon) 38, moulder, of Scotton Street, Kepnock, pleaded not guilty.

It was alleged that two men had seen Price take the cockerel out of a bag and give it to a greyhound at a paddock adjacent to Scotton Street.

Price said the cockerel was dead.

Andrew Rowan and Bronwyn Innes hosting Bootlace cinema at the Bundaberg College of Tafe in 1978. Photo: Submitted
Andrew Rowan and Bronwyn Innes hosting Bootlace cinema at the Bundaberg College of Tafe in 1978. Photo: Submitted

9. Bulls take charge at rodeo 

Gin Gin residents reckon they will always remember the October 29 rodeo for quite some time - as the day the bulls took the town by the horns.

The rodeo was held in the Gin Gin showgrounds - for part of the day at least, the News-Mail reported on November 1.

The morning programme was uneventful, as far as rodeos go.

It was during the afternoon that things really began to happen.

About 3pm one bull decided he had had enough ofthe action inside the ring and decided to mosey on down town.

With a kick of his hoofs he cleared the fence and was off.

A crowd of excited patrons followed the four-legged wanderer around the local bowling green and into the swimming pool enclosure.

With an almighty leap the beast took to the water - emptying the pool of bathers almost immediately.

It took a four-wheel drive and a length of sturdy chain to land the animal.

But the unscheduled action did notstop there. He was no soonertaken back to the showgrounds when another bull jumped the fence for a short-lived spree on the town.

As if to show the other bulls where they went wrong, a third animal - this time the main attraction in the feature bull ride - decided to try his hoof at fence jumping.

He must have been fair dinkum because they are still looking for him.

One resident said he thought he saw the animal kicking up dust along the highway towards his home spread at Boolboonda

10. Sympathy but no cash 

Premier Mr Joh Bjelke-Petersen sympathised with drought-stricken farmers in the Isis district but said he could not promise any immediate relief.

He made a threehour inspection of the Isis district with sugar industry officials to see firsthand the effect of the drought on non-irrigated crops.

The Premiersaid extra fundsfor the accelerated completion of the Bundaberg Irrigation Scheme could not be released because of "grim Federal Budget forecasts" from Canberra.

11. New bridge proposed 

The new Burnett River traffic bridge would link Walla Street with Gavin Street at North Bundaberg, the Minister for Local Government and Main Roads Mr Russ Hinze said yesterday.

However, Mr Hinze said he was not in a position, now, to say when work on the proposed new bridge would start.

12. Butcher shop closes

The Department of Primary Industries' closure of the Wallaville butcher shop drew an irate reaction from Kolan shire councillors at their monthly meeting on July 20.

Proprietor Mr JS MacIntyre told councillors he had breached the regulations by failing to replace wooden railings in his storeroom with the metal type, failing to paint the building and not replacing special linoleum in his shop, which was chipped.

He said this was very unjust, when it was considered that people in Kolan Shire and throughout Queensland got away with "killing a beast under a tree, cutting it up and then selling it".

13. MP repays money 

Member for Isis Mr Lin Powell, one of the members of State Parliament named in the Peel Report for misuse of air travel vouchers,has repaid an undisclosed sum to the Clerk of Parliament, the NewsMail reported on November 6.

According to the report by Auditor General Mr AJ Peel, use of unauthorised vouchers by Mr Powell amounted to $262.60.

Mr Powell has denied any misuse.

Michele Pearson.
Michele Pearson.

14. Swimmer picked for team 

BUNDABERG swimmer Michele Pearson hit her stride during 1978.

The 15-year-old started the year with one gold, five silver and one bronze medal at the state titles in the 15 and 16 years age groups.

In the open events she won two silver and tree bronze medals.

At the national age titles in Sydney, Michele won the 220m individual medley inaNSW record time.

She also won silver and a bronze and wasamember of the freestyle and medley relay teams who won gold medals.

The freestyle team set an Australian age record.

At the national titlesinBrisbane, Michele won two bronze medals and wasamember of the 4x200m freestyle relay team which won in an Australian record time.

At the Commonwealth Games trialsin Sydney in June she won the 400m individual medley, earning her a place in the Australian swimming squad to attend the Commonwealth Games at Edmonton in August.

At the Games, Michele finished fifth in the 400m individual medley and seventh in the 200m individual medley.

On February 9, 1979, Michele was named 1978 Sportsman of the Year for her performances.

She continued her winning ways in the pool over the next two years and on March 22, 1980, won the national women's open 100m breast-stoke title, defeating archrival Lisa Curry.

The 17-year-old finished third in the 200m backstroke,second in the 100m freestyle and wasamember of the Queensland team which earlier won the women's 4x100m freestyle relay event.

On March 23 she was named as one of nine women in the 20-member Australian team for the on again-off again Moscow Olympics.

Despite threats to boycott the Games, the Australian swimmers were there in force and Michele swam her best over 100m freestyle time in finishing fourth in her heat at Moscow.

15. Minister ends siege 

A 24-year-old Bundaberg man who locked himself in a house and threatened to use a gun handed the .22 rifle to a clergyman after an allday siege on November 8.

Uniting Church minister Reverend AA O'Hara and police talked to the man through the front door for most of the day in a bid to get him to surrender.

The man gave the rifle to Rev O'Hara at 6pm but tried to prevent police entering the house in Electra Street by nailing
the front and rear doors.

While police were trying to break into the house the man climbed into the ceiling and it took them another hour to get him down and subdue him.

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