Bundaberg bells ring in the start of turtle season

Church Bells in Bundaberg will be ringing today for the return of nesting turtles to Mon Repos.

Minister for Environment and the Great Barrier Reef Leeanne Enoch said the annual ringing of the bells is a beloved tradition in Bundaberg announcing the arrival of the first nesting marine turtles for the season.

“When the bells begin to ring across the region’s coastal communities the locals know that the first turtle has been ashore at Mon Repos beach,” Ms Enoch said.

“Junior Turtle Ranger students from St Luke’s Anglican School will be the first to ring Bargara’s Anglican St Peter’s Church bells marking the start of the season.

“Following, St John the Divine at Burnett Heads, and St Andrew’s and St John’s in Bundaberg bells will sound.

“School children also dusted off their old school bells to join in the celebration.”

Staff at Mon Repos turtle centre spotted the first nesting loggerhead turtle arriving ashore on Monday night at around 11pm with staff finding the turtle as she was returning to the ocean.

“For Bundaberg, the sounds of bells ringing through the town is a reminder of how crucial the region is to the conservation of endangered loggerhead turtles,” Ms Enoch said.

“Mon Repos supports the largest concentration of nesting marine turtles on the eastern Australian mainland and is home to the most significant loggerhead turtle nesting population in the South Pacific region.”

Visitors can encounter turtle’s nesting and hatching on Mon Repos shores between November and March each year, with the Nightly Turtle Encounter tours commencing 9 November. Tickets available now.

Minister Enoch said the Mon Repos turtle centre is currently undergoing redevelopment with the Queensland Government committing $12.4 million for the first stage to create a world-class interpretive visitor centre.

“The economic benefits of this project will not just underpin the tourism industry, but flow right throughout the community,” Ms Enoch said.

“Set to reopen in time for the 2019 turtle season, the new turtle centre will give visitors an exciting eco-based tourism experience all year round, even outside of turtle season.”

The turtle encounter tours will not be affected by the construction, however vehicle access to and from the Centre will be affected while Rookery Road is closed. Buses are scheduled to shuttle visitors in and out of the conservation park for the night tours.

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