Guests at Dinner Under The Stars were treated to a three-course meal, a silent auction and a tour of the night skies when the event kicked off in 2021, and it quickly mushroomed over the next two years … but rising costs and the lack of a wet-weather venue have forced its cancellation this year (Photo: Cr Scott Henschen)

February 15, 2024

After three successful outings, the Bunya Mountains Community Association Inc (BMCAI) has confirmed  it will not be running its popular “Dinner Under The Stars” this year.

In its February newsletter, BMCAI said there were several reasons for the decision.

One was that two venues the function has used in the past will not be available this year due to National Park upgrades scheduled to begin in July.

Another was the rising cost of equipment hire, particularly the cost of hiring a marquee to accommodate 200 guests.

BMCAI’s social subcommittee said that exorbitant hiring costs were significantly eroding the event’s fundraising capacity.

“Dinner Under The Stars” has been one of BMCAI’s major annual fundraisers to bankroll its plan to build a community centre in the Bunya Mountains, and the cancellation has underlined the importance of the project.

“The weather seems to be becoming more unpredictable and it is growing ever more challenging to arrange outdoor events without having a back-up venue to retreat to when the weather is unpleasant,” BMCAI said.

The social committee will instead use this year to consider other fundraising events the group can run or alternative approaches they can adopt in the absence of a community centre.

Other BMCAI events planned for this year include an Anzac Day Ceremony on April 25; a NAIDOC Week celebration in conjunction with the Bunya People’s Aboriginal Corporation at the Bush University on July 1; and Play Music On The Porch on August 31.

More details about these events will be released in coming months.

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Long-serving BMCAI secretary Carol Weekes will step down as editor of the group’s newsletter, website and Facebook page after five years in the role.

Her place will be taken by Russell Sturgess, who will step into the newly created role of Publications Officer.

These changes were announced at BMCAI’s recent Annual General Meeting, which was attended by 37 members.

2024 office bearers are Noel Noack (president); Gerald Tooth (vice-president); Carol Weekes (secretary); Robert Zigterman (treasurer); and Brett Mason (committee member).

The position of chair of BMCAI’s Social, Events and Fundraising Subcommittee has yet to be filled.

* * *

In other news:

  • An ancient grass tree at Burton’s Well which was badly affected  by recent rainfall has now been cordoned off and National Parks staff are assessing if it can be saved.
  • Bottle tree walks at Mt Kiangarow and Burton’s Well have been closed after a footwashing station was destroyed by a falling tree. The footwashing stations are made in New Zealand so it may take awhile to get the machine repaired and the tracks reopened.
  • The Bunya Bunya Track is currently being monitored by Professor Louise Shirley from DAF and needs to remain closed at this stage.
  • QPSW are continuing to bait feral pigs, with a focus on Tim Shea Falls, Big Falls and the area behind the QPWS workshop; feral pigs cause damage to the forest floor and risk spreading phytophthora to healthy Bunya pines
  • Bunya Mountains residents and visitors are being asked to report sightings of dingoes to a “Dog Log”, either by scanning a QR code shown on posters and fridge magnets being distributed in the Bunya Mountains, or by email. So far, 24 sightings have been reported.

Community News


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