October 28, 2018

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New way of seeing

FRESH EYES: Artist Ellie Kaufmann and Cooks Hill Galleries director Mark Widdup with some of the work in the We Get By show as Widdup prepares the hanging. Picture: Jonathan CarrollTO survive in a tough business environment, it takes good ideas and execution.
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It’s doubly hard in the arts, but Newcastle is giving it a good shot.

Not only have new commercial galleries been opening their doors, but the long-established Cooks Hill Galleries has freshened its approach.

Cooks Hill Galleries director Mark Widdup, who has been in business in Newcastle for 40 years, is reaching out to a new audience with his second presentation of We Get By, an invitational show featuring 50 emerging Australian artists that opened Friday night.

The call-out drew more than 240 entries from throughout Australia, with finalists including artists from Tasmania, Queensland and Victoria – as well as a significant number of Hunter Region artists.

The Varley Group provided $4000 in prizemoney.

Largely driven through the gallery’s Facebook site (where the people’s choice votes will be tallied), We Get By is a conversation starter about a new generation of artists. The Facebook site has registered more than 550,000 visitors on the We Get By posting as of Tuesday.

“The benefit is the spin-off and energy that comes to Newcastle,” Widdup says. “It is putting Newcastle on an arts culture map.”

All artwork in the show is for sale, with prices starting from $200.

In conjunction with the show, Widdup has secured the rights to present the Before I Die public art project.

Created by United States artist Candy Chang, the concept involves a public wall (12 metres long across the frontage of Cooks Hill Galleries) where members of the public are invited to (anonymously if they wish) write their personal aspirations down in coloured chalk for all the world to see.

“We want We Get By to be fun and exciting,” Widdup says.

“Before I Die is a first for Newcastle. We want to engage an audience and get a response.”

Widdup says he can feel the arts market is ready for a change, with collectors keen to refresh their collections and support new work.


October 28, 2018

Comments Off on SIMON WALKER: Lottery you don’t want to win

SIMON WALKER: Lottery you don’t want to win

SIMON WALKER: That’s Life archive
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THERE is risk any time you perform live. Look at Tony Abbott when he gets in front of camera. Or Madonna at the 2015 Brit Awards. Very uncomfortable.

But when you go see a live show like Absinthe, the “adult European circus”, currently wowing crowds at Wheeler Place in the Spiegelworld Tent, the danger is palpable.

Not just from the thrills, chills and fear of spills, but also that worst nightmare for any timid member of the public, audience participation.

Because yes there are amazing acrobatics, freakish balancing acts, feats of strength and much much more, all performed within metres of the crowd, where any slip-up could see you wearing a jean-clad Adonis in your lap.

And being burlesque, deep down you know you want this, according to crass empresario of the show, the Gazillionaire, and his sidekick Penny.

But deeper down you know that at some stage in the night, someone is going to get called up for a few ribald fun and games with seasoned comic carve-up artists who’ve cut their chops in Vegas.

That’s what happened at the last Speigelworld show we saw and it had been bloody brilliant. Ruthless, but brilliant. Mainly because it happened to someone else. If it happened to you, well, that’s Room 101 material.

Such was the discussion in our circle going in this year. We hoped we didn’t get seated in the front row where the victims seem to get plucked.

Last year a couple of friends had found themselves on the end of a pretty entertaining ongoing gag involving bananas and the suggestion of genitalia.

Post match, our friends had told us that as a result they’d found it reasonably hard to relax through the show. And we’d got that, because they had squirmed a lot, with a smile of dread pasted on their face looking like they wished they were invisible, which they obviously weren’t because they kept coming back to them.

This time round the fear and anticipation were back. We were looking forward to the show, but living on the edge with that titillated element of audience-participation danger only non-theatrical types with freebies from a PR company can muster.

Circus-cabaret people can sense Muggles and their deep-seated inhibitions.

They have special powers and chiselled physiques and walk funny on stage.

Worst of all, we worried they have minions connected with PR companies taking notes before the show to identify the ripest victims.

I had prepared mentally that if called up I would make like my cat when I put her in the garage at night. I would surrender all muscle, sinew and dignity like a jellyfish and do whatever was required of me.

I was hoping it wasn’t nudity, but of course admitting as much would confirm to most psychologists, and certainly Gazillionaire, that subconsciously, that is truly what I hoped for.

But let me say this for the record, audience participation of any kind, nude or otherwise, is never what I desire, unless it’s performing in a Mexican wave with 90,000 other anonymities, or winning a raffle.

And this was a lottery I’d prefer to avoid because I am not Frank N Furter, I am a humble time warp of mixed emotions that prefers to cradle itself late at night, alone, unobserved, with his cat.

So it didn’t settle the nerves when a lady dressed as a fairy came up to me before the show and, oblivious to the 200-odd other people in the bar, said: “The show is about to begin, you may enter the tent.”

In a flash I found myself thinking did she mean “you”, “the sacrificial lamb”, “may enter the abattoir”?

Lucky they serve drinks inside the magnificent Spiegelworld Tent because I was getting a bad case of the Brad and Janets. Damnit. It wasn’t helped when we were seated, not in the front row, but close enough to not rule out being dragged up. I really needed a drink then.

When I got back with the refreshments my partner informed me, to my horror, that someone from the show had instructed her not to move a chair nearby because someone “needed access”. To what, or whom, remained unclear, but I was beginning to figure it was my deepest fears.

As I surveyed the front row of the stage I estimated I was reasonably safe. But when the show started, I discovered, to my great alarm, that there was a second stage which I was backing directly on to.

In that instant I realised my second worst fear had come true – I was in the red zone for audience participation fodder.

I now prayed my first fear didn’t come true, all the while trying to exude cool. That involved staring straight ahead for the rest of the show, like a rabbit in a spotlight, trying not to wet myself. My mate sitting four seats to my left later admitted he did the same thing.

Two people two rows in front did get called up and it has to be said that in terms of being good sports, they were Bradmanesque, because this show takes all things to great heights, not least the raunch.

In hindsight, I think Bradman would have struggled with the treatment they got. Let’s just say they took it in great spirit, like a giant shot of Absinthe is intended.


October 28, 2018

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MIKE SCANLON: Tiger unearths secrets

TURN BACK TIME: With poppet heads gone, the huge old bathhouse of the Raspberry Gully pit dominates this remarkable photo taken from Kirkdale Drive, Kotara South, in late 1973. Beneath it was a stable. At left is the mine magazine. The No.4 drift portal was located behind. The mine was closed in 1961 and the site later became the haunt of trail-bike riders and rubbish dumpers.THE Raspberry Gully pit gave birth to modern Charlestown on the ridge above.
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Never heard of the historic colliery?

That’s not so strange as the final trace of coal mining there – No.4 drift tunnel portal – was demolished in mid 1992. This is despite the actual mine closing down 31 years earlier, in 1961.

Located amid wild raspberry bushes on land now called Kotara South, the once famous mine was also called South Waratah Colliery, Waratah Colliery, Gully Pit and Charles’ Pit.

Even older Novocastrians today might be familiar with the name only because it evokes memories of the so-called “Gully Line”.

For until mid 1955, Caledonian Collieries Ltd ran a daily passenger service for their coal miners on a line from Broadmeadow to this colliery below present Charlestown.

It was said to be the last private workman’s train to run in NSW.

MINE MEMORIES: A loco with coal wagons crosses Lambton Road, Broadmeadow, at the Gully Line, en route to Port Waratah.

The name “Gully Line” is still commemorated in local lingo because of the historic importance of the busy intersection of Lambton Road and Turton Road.

For here, near the major traffic lights where the rebuilt Master Builders Association (MBA) building towers above all, is a decaying rail bridge smack bang in the middle of the stormwater channel.

This bridge was once part of the Gully Line corridor where hissing, steam-powered locomotives hauled coal from Raspberry Gully north to Port Waratah.

Today’s Kotara South mine site is mostly parkland, although for generations a big cluster of buildings stood there.

Drive today towards Charlestown Road along Kirkdale Drive and you might miss the 1988 Bicentennial Plaque opposite Dalpura Lane, overlooking a reserve.

It tells you the Waratah Coal Company transferred its operations here from Waratah in 1876 “thus creating the town of Charlestown”.

In 1902, the colliery employed 520 men and boys. Many big surface features survived until 1969, with the then remaining No.4 portal tunnel being a 1950s attempt to make the mine economically viable.

FIRST-HAND KNOWLEDGE: Coal historian John ‘‘Tiger’’ Shoebridge with old mine machinery at the site of an earlier coal history talk.

A fortnight ago, noted coal historian John “Tiger” Shoebridge conducted a tour of the historic site called “Secrets of Raspberry Gully,” on behalf of Bob Cook’s Heritage Hunter group.

Waving an arm around what had once been dense bush in a remote location, but is today surrounded by homes, the retired colliery manager, now 82, said the site had totally changed.

“I’ve known about other mines, but here, I was hands on. This is where I started in the mining industry in June 1953,” Shoebridge said.

Sitting on a grassy mound beside a pedestrian walkway parallel to the dead end of Elton Close, Kotara South, he declared: “All the land’s been re-contoured. We’re probably now in the middle of the old railway sidings.

“And see those very large, grey slabs to the side of this walking track [behind No.34 Elton Close]. They should be preserved as a part of mining history.

“They’re the bed blocks [foundations] of the pit’s winding house. And why was this stone used? The company had a Waratah quarry, while other mines used bluestone which came up cheap from Melbourne as ballast in ships.”

Most surprisingly, though, was the news the original Charles Pit lies forgotten beneath bush just beyond the Elton Close cul-de-sac. What most people remember of the coal workings was actually the sealed 1950s No.4 mine portal up further on a hillside.

Shoebridge said the once remote, flat 1870s mine site (bordered by today’s Kirkdale Drive and Elton Close) was named after colliery surveyor, Charles Smith.

“The shaft was dug down 260 feet [79 metres] to the Victoria Seam and then 518 feet [157 metres] down to tap the Borehole Seam,” he said.

He also learned the mine’s later steel head frame – replacing a wooden structure – was recycled from the forgotten North Stockton pit on Hexham Island.

“The Raspberry Gully mine site was a village in my time, so I’ll talk about what happened then [1953-1961],” he said.

“It was a world of its own, with its own train service, its own power supply, its own church and even ran to its own time dictated by the approaching train [from Broadmeadow with miners]. It would blow a whistle and the pit whistle would reply. That meant it was seven o’clock Gully Time [shift start], no matter was the real time was if the train was delayed and late.”

Shoebridge said the original, Waratah parent mine was behind the Mater Hospital and surveyed by a Thomas Groves in 1860. The area soon became known as Grovestown.

Later, to save the company from folding, the South Waratah Colliery was started with a railway begun in 1874.

The coal historian said its history was complex, with a few mine owners.

“It survived for so long because there was easy access to get coal to the port of Newcastle.”

He said his own memories included the time the shaft cage became blocked against its wooden runners and he had to climb up with a hacksaw to release it.

A heavy coal skip soon crashed down, splintering wood as it fell through a wood floor before plunging another 60 metres down to pit bottom.

“Within one hour the colliery was working again. It was a lesson to a young mine worker.”

Shoebridge said he also remembered wild rides and occasional minor disasters with runaway wagons and flat-top rail trucks heading towards Broadmeadow like a juggernaut.

One time a stray cow came to a sudden end near the Park Avenue Crossing. Another time a stray horse bolted down the track and was killed.

Yet another time, mischievous schoolboys almost derailed a coal train with a cast rail chair placed on the line.

Shoebridge said South Waratah used pit horses probably until mine mechanisation was introduced about 1956.

“Horses were brought up from underground at weekends. Dirty, smelly animals they were. Their stables smelled abominably of ammonia. I’m biased because one of them leaned on me and broke three of my ribs,” he said.

“When the teeth of such animals were worn down and they couldn’t graze they went to the knackery. But at Pelton Colliery, I think, people made sure the old animals still got fed daily. So, don’t say that miners don’t have soft hearts.

“Also one time early on at Raspberry Gully I saw the mine manager and an ostler talking together among the horses, checking on their inner health.

“They were breaking open clogs [of manure] and smelling them. That’s when I thought, ‘Do I really want to be a colliery manager?'”

He’s still annoyed though at being suddenly discharged in 1961 when miners were looked after better than management people like himself.

“There’s no loyalty among coal owners. At times, my life was at risk. I think I did a good job,” he said.

Despite this, he’s a supporter of unions.

“I’ve fought them and I’ve cussed them, but they are the only support the working man has,” Shoebridge said.


October 28, 2018

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Gardening’s good for the earth . . . and soul

TREE CHANGE: Olivia and Dwayne gave up the corporate life to start anew at Heritage Gardens. They haven’t regretted it for one moment. GROWING up, there were two main topics of conversation around t he dinner table – gardening and rugby union.
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While I successfully tuned out to the male majority of the family discussing football (I still can’t tell you what a scrumhalf or lock is), the gardening talk wormed its way in; the long debates about the best variety of wisteria, the current state of black spot on roses. Fascinating.

There was no point resisting it – rugby I could escape, plants were everywhere. Certainly in the vast garden surrounding the house that needed constant maintenance, but also in the family business, Heritage Gardens nursery, that my parents founded on the outskirts of Maitland.

We lived and breathed gardens.

Pre-school I was allotted my first patch of earth, and had just as much fun planting vegies as I did creating fairy rings of stones around them. By primary school, I could correctly identify a good dozen flowers on spec. And before long I didn’t want to avoid them.

Just like my grandmother, who gardened well into her 90s, Mum would come in from an afternoon among the roses with spider webs in her hair, beaming.

“I couldn’t survive without a garden,” she would tell me.

It was more than a hobby, gardening was . . . life for us. Wellbeing.

While managing a large nursery wasn’t exactly a walk in the park for my parents, it was for those who visited.

“You’re so lucky to work here,” customers would often say during the times I worked there casually. Although I grumbled, they were right.

It wasn’t just a shop, it was a garden, a place of beauty and inspiration, an opportunity to wander aimlessly, breathing deep the myriad fragrances, letting the busy mind untangle and unwind. I was proud of them for creating this gift to the community.

However, when my sister and her husband decided to quit their jet-setting corporate jobs in Sydney to take over the business last year, my scepticism was not inconsequential.

This was a literal tree change of seismic proportions.

Still, a year on and swapping the Gucci heels for Blundstone boots seems to have suited Liv and Dwayne.

Although not without its challenges, Liv is surprised by how little she misses the high life.

“Once we had the opportunity to catch our breath, it has literally been a breath of fresh air.”

It’s great to see her young family thriving. While I’ve seen first hand the benefits of gardening on the mind, body and soul, it is only recently they are being more publicly lauded.

This weekend sees Beyond Blue teaming up with independent garden centres around Australia for a ‘Releaf’ event – raising awareness about the physical and mental benefits of gardening.

At Heritage Gardens there will be mini-gardener sessions for kids, blue cupcake decorating, blue lemonade stalls, face painting, bee hive demonstrations and free garden talks.

As well as a gold coin donation to Beyond Blue, 10 per cent of anything “blue” sold will go towards the cause.

If you can’t make the festivities, I encourage you to find a patch of garden and sink your hands deep into the earth.


October 28, 2018

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Rocksalt: Rock-solid stalwart

An old favourite: Rocksalt. Picture: Dean Osland.What: Rocksalt, Newcastle Marina, 91 Hannell Street, Wickham; 4961 1676; rocksaltnewcastle整形美容医院m.au.
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Chef: Rodney Rae.

Wines: Small list made up of mainly Hunter wines, with a couple of others from the rest of Australia, New Zealand, France and Spain.

Hours: Seven days for lunch; dinner on Friday and Saturday evenings.

Vegetarian: A couple of breads, one entree but ask when booking.

Bottom line: Entree, main and dessert for two, about $135 without drinks.

Wheelchair access: Yes.

Do try: West Australian sardine fillets.

SCRUMPTIOUS: There is much to be said for a seafood dish and glass of semillon at Rocksalt restaurant. Picture: Dean Osland

FOOD fashions come, food fashions go – it’s good to know that there’s more than great pub food and craft beer places in this town.

Forget the Next Best Thing and head to a place that has been earning its stripes for several years now, an ever-present stalwart in a changing food scene.

Not that the menu of Rocksalt is static. With rich seafood pickings just along the waterfront at the Newcastle Commercial Fisherman’s Co-op, the menu is constantly changing and evolving.

But they can’t drop the Boston Bay black mussels. What an outcry there would be if they disappeared.

It’s a busy Friday night, but the waiters are meeting the challenge with menus and water arriving at top speed. And the kitchen is more than a match; dishes appear at well-spaced intervals.

Not that there isn’t plenty to entertain you while waiting. This working port never seems to sleep, even in this quiet marina with its rows of pleasure boats. You might be treated to the sight of a large crane cradling a yacht, being manoeuvred through the gates of the boat yard next door and onto the wharf, where it is lowered into the water.

West Australian sardines are hard to resist; simply grilled, they lurk below a shower of nutty French lentils, sweet roast capsicum and smoked eggplant ($17) with a generous serve of crisp flat bread on the side to give an extra crunch.

Picture: Dean Osland

The usual scallop accompaniment of pork belly is replaced with rashers of bacon edged with crisp crackling playing second fiddle to the star performers – three perfectly seared sea scallops, spiked with wasabi aioli and topped with iodine-rich, fluoro-green wakame ($18.50).

Though seafood is the natural star here, landlubbers can choose between confit duck ($32) or seared eye fillet ($38).

On the other hand, why rock the boat in a seafood restaurant? You can’t go far wrong with a main of whole crisp fried sole ($30), Australian barramundi with poached clams and king prawns with a lovely, slurpy risotto-style cataplana ($38) or a Nicoise salad using fresh Atlantic salmon instead of tuna.

The sole is so crunchy you can eat the bones. Not that the flesh is overdone; it’s soft and sweet and peels easily from the ribs to enjoy with an Asian-inspired bean shoot, chilli, ginger and herb salad and perhaps a glass of semillon from First Creek; no one does semillon like the Hunter Valley.

My pick has to be fish of the day, softly yielding jew fish fillets under a crackling skin perched on a neat stack of warm potato salad, spiked with a herby salsa verde and a smear of pureed, vibrant red pepperonata (today, $32).

The dessert list covers most bases; affogato, creme brulee with berries, a decadent chocolate tart with caramelised mandarin and mascarpone, and a butterscotch ice-cream meringue cake with strawberries (all $15).

Kaffir lime brings unique aromas to a dessert that reeks of the tropics. Syrupy spiced pineapple is balanced by smooth coconut and refreshing lime sorbets, shards of fresh coconut, fine shreds of Kaffir lime leaves and crisp pieces of sesame biscuit.

And if dessert is not your thing, a house-made chocolate truffle ($3 each) goes down a treat with an end-of-meal espresso.


October 28, 2018

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Hands-on approach all for you

DESIGNER: Renee Verdon at her shop VOUS.FOR four years Renee Verdon commuted to Sydney to complete her studies at Ultimo TAFE’s highly regarded Fashion Design Studio. After studying psychology, it was an itch she felt compelled to scratch despite the travel and long days.
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“It was really eye-opening,” Verdon says of the bachelor of fashion design. “I learnt everything from pattern making to production.”

Verdon was never tempted to relocate to Sydney and has instead created a small boutique within The Emporium, the ground floor of the former David Jones building brought to life by Renew Newcastle. She combines her career as a psychologist who specialises in working with young people with her burgeoning womenswear label VOUS.

“I do everything from scratch and there are lots of stages,” says Verdon, who can often be seen cutting out patterns in the light-filled boutique. “Once I finish the patterns, I do the fittings and then grade the patterns [adapt for various sizes].”

She uses an Australian wholesaler to source fabric here and overseas – she also designs her own – and her range is manufactured in Sydney. Every step in the process demands attention to detail and is fuelled by creativity.

Verdon designs two seasonal ranges a year and her upcoming autumn/winter capsule, which will be in stock later this month, is inspired by the art deco era of travel. Navy will feature, as will wide-legged pants, her signature dresses, wools and heavy cottons.

The generous sizes and high-quality fabrics reflect Verdon’s commitment to her customers, which also inspired the label’s name: “vous” is French for “you”. Verdon is also happy to create one-off designs for special occasions. “I wanted a label that represents the customer, as individual as they are,” she says.


October 28, 2018

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Close finish to end Interclub

Lori Whiteman wins the Jarvis Walker tacklebox and Tsunami lure pack for this nice spotted mackerel, caught off South West Rocks on a recent fishing trip on 10lb line tolling livies. ‘‘Yes, I do have a swimmer top on,’’ Lori assured us. Call into Tackle Power Sandgate, at 53 Maitland Road, Sandgate, to collect your prize, mate. Don’t forget to bring a copy of the fishing page for verification. To enter Fish of the Week, email pic to [email protected]整形美容医院m.au with contact phone and catch details.CONGRATULATIONS to Newcastle-Port Stephens Game Fishing Club angler Amy McAndrew, who was crowned champion lady angler tag and release at Interclub 2015 which concluded at Port Stephens last weekend.
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Amy was among a number of NPSGFC locals who took out various divisions.

NPSGFC Team 2 won the Interclub shield for champion club team capture, the boys on Get Reel won champion boat capture, Curly III got highest points for tag and release of sharks, and Drew Gibson on Critakill landed the heaviest shark, a 380.30kg tiger.

NPSGFC Team 1, which went into week two of the event leading the glamour team tag and release division, were overhauled by Sydney Team 2 (284,275) and finished third.

“It went right down to the wire,” NSW Game Fish Association president Garry Chenowith said. “There was only three fish between third, second and first.

“Sydney got the jump early on weekend two and held on for glory. The locals ended up running third.”

Garry was over the moon how the tournament ran this year.

“We were able to fish all four days and the fishing was good,” he said. “There was a good run of marlin on the second weekend with over 100 tagged and released, a mixture of stripes and blacks. That followed on from the 70 in the first weekend.

“Most of the fish were caught on the Carpark on week two. The change in the format was a huge success and made for very competitive fishing.

“And we had a great prezzo on the Sunday night.

“Everyone went home really positive about the event and planning for next year starts now.”

In other results, champion boat tag and release was taken out by Port Hacking boat Grommett (172,500 points) with NPSGFC boat Born Free in third place.

Sydney angler John Wise (150,031) continued his hot run of form from the Billfish Shootout to claim champion male angler tag and release with 12 marlin fishing on Hoodlum.

Jervis Bay angler Chris Barsha’s 175.30kg blue marlin, caught the weekend before, remained the heaviest marlin weighed.

Tonnes of tuna

ROSS Duff, from Salamander Bait & Tackle, reports long-tailed tuna have turned up in the bay.

Shannon Malone, from Fishermans Warehouse at Marks Point, reports they’ve been sighted off Swansea too.

“They’re running through the bay,” Duff said. “Fish up to 20kg. They go like the clappers and are reasonable eating but better sport. We should get a couple of months of them.”

Long-tailed tuna tend to miss the lake, Shannon said, but lurk just outside along the rocks.

Meanwhile there’s lots of bonito, mack tuna and striped tuna on the troll outside.

“Moon Island has been a hot spot for long tail, mixing with kingies, plenty of rats,” Shannon said.

“Swansea Channel has been holding kings too, lots of undersize ones, but if you can crack that you may get a big one. Bonito have been coming up near the bridge too, chasing squid.”

Limitless squid

BOTH Duff and Shannon report large numbers of arrow and green-eye squid throughout local estuaries.

But be aware, Fisheries have been cracking down on possession limit offences in recent weeks.

You are allowed 20 squid per person per day. There have been at least three stings in recent weeks in the lake.

A couple of weeks ago, three people copped fines totalling $1500 for being in possession of 900 cockles in the Eraring area.

Shannon reckons the squid have been putting a damper on the jew fishing.

“The jew are gorging on bait and ignoring anglers.

“There’s been the odd one caught but not as many as recent weeks.”

Having said that, Szilard Bohus caught a mulloway off the scale in Newcastle harbour this week.

“The fish was 155cm, however we couldn’t measure it with a 25kg scale that he had. Local fishers said it could be around 30kg,” Szilard reported.

Beaches have been firing for bream, whiting and some very good jews.

“Blacksmiths and Belmont have been producing reasonable size up to 20kg,” Shannon said.

Coastal snapper

THERE’S been good reports of snapper along the coast, around Broughton Island, off Fishermans Bay and Boat Harbour to the north, and off the inshore reefs around Newcastle, Moon Island and south of Swansea.

Beaches have been firing for whiting.

“One bloke snorkelling off Little Beach reports seeing schools with upwards of a 1000, so there was at least 500,” Duff quipped.

“It’s been a good season for whiting.”

Shannon reports similar sightings off the sandflats in the lake.

Flathead have been sighted out and about around Corrie Island and off Soldiers Point in the bay, and throughout Lake Macquarie.

Shannon got two on Friday night, one 88cm and the other 90cm. Both were released.

“The 90cm fish was full of eggs, with a big round belly,” Shannon said.

Changing seasons

THERE’S no greater sign that the season’s on the turn than when luderick and mullet start turning up.

Duff reports luderick and looming in and around the port while Shannon was fishing off Pulbah on Saturday and commented that there were a lot of mullet leaping.

“They’ll be schooling up over the next few weeks,” he said.

“March signals the end of daylight savings and that’s a bit of a downer for anglers but that’s how it goes. It’s been a good summer but now we’re heading into autumn, the days will shorten and the temps will drop off.”

Personal bests

IT was first time lucky for Cooper Davies, seven years old of Maryland, who got his first ever bream with his first cast of the day under Stockton bridge on the Newcastle side.

And talk about Dunn deals: Scott Dunn, of Maryland, caught a 22kg cobia off South West Rocks on a recent holiday with the family.

Meanwhile his son, Liam, landed his first marlin, a 60kg black off Broughton Island on 10kg line, complete with his foot in a cast with a broken ankle.


October 28, 2018

Comments Off on Recipes from Taking You Home, by Helena and Vikki Moursellas

Recipes from Taking You Home, by Helena and Vikki Moursellas

Bougatsa Parcels
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Makes 10

After a night spent dancing at our favourite bar, we are the first customers waiting at our local bakery. The lady already knows what we are after: she has a hot tray of bougatsa ready, straight out of the oven. She sprinkles the dish with cinnamon and icing sugar before cutting it into slices. What better way to finish the night … or should we say, start the day? This is our version of the delicious classic.

3 eggs

125g caster sugar

2 tsp  fresh lemon juice

1 tsp  finely grated orange zest

1g semolina

2 cups milk

100g melted butter, plusextra, for brushing

5 sheets filo pastry

ground cinnamon, for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 180C. Lightly grease two baking trays and line with baking paper.

In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs and caster sugar for a few minutes using an electric mixer. Add the lemon juice, orange zest, semolina and milk, and stir to combine.

Pour the mixture into a deep saucepan and place over low heat. Stir constantly until the mixture is thick (about 15 minutes), then add the melted butter and mix to combine.

Cut the filo pastry sheets in half and brush with butter. Place 4 tablespoons of the custard mixture in the centre of the pastry. Fold the top down and roll up, folding in the edges to form a log. Continue making parcels until all the custard filling has been used up.

Place the parcels, seam side down, on the trays and brush the tops with butter. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes. Allow the parcels to cool down, then sprinkle with cinnamon and icing sugar.

Tip: Filo pastry is available in both the frozen and chilled foods sections of your local supermarket.

Pork and Mint Meatballs

Makes 18

Pork and mint are flavours that work well together. These mouth-watering meatballs are great accompanied by Nikki’s Tzatziki and Our Famous Pita Bread.

500g pork mince

½ red onion, finely chopped

½ bunch fresh mint, finely chopped

1 tbsp  salt

1 tbsp   cracked pepper

1 egg, lightly beaten

2 tbsp plain flour, plus extra, for coating

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

In a mixing bowl, combine the pork mince, onion, mint, salt, pepper, egg and the 2 tablespoons of flour. Mix well.

Sprinkle the extra flour on a plate. Roll about a tablespoon of mixture in your hands to make a ball, then coat in the flour. Repeat until you have used all the mixture.

Heat a frying pan over medium heat, add the olive oil and fry the meatballs, turning occasionally, for 10 minutes, or until golden brown all over.

Zucchini and Feta Fritters

Makes 10

This is our favourite midday snack in the summer – a quick and easy recipe that’s super-appetising. Enjoy with Nikki’s Tzatziki.

2 zucchini, grated

1 yellow banana pepper, finely chopped

½ red onion, finely chopped

1 tsp  chopped fresh mint

1 tbsp  chopped fresh dill

1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 large red chilli, finely chopped

180g marinated feta

1 teaspoon salt

pinch of cracked pepper

1 egg, lightly beaten

½ cup plain flour

extra-virgin olive oil, for frying

Place the grated zucchini in a clean tea towel and press to remove all the excess juice.

Transfer to a bowl and add the banana pepper, onion, mint, dill, parsley, garlic and chilli.

Chop the feta into small pieces and add to the mix. Season with salt and pepper, add the egg and flour and give the mixture a good stir.

Place a non-stick frying pan over medium heat, drizzle with olive oil and add 2 heaped tablespoons of the mixture for each fritter. Fry on each side for 3-4 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy.

Recipes from Taking You Home: Simple Greek Food for Friends & Family by Helena and Vikki Moursella. (Hachette, $39.99)

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Wuxi Plastic Surgery Hospital.


October 28, 2018

Comments Off on Naturally normal dolls

Naturally normal dolls

HAVE you seen the Tree Change Dolls? Testifying to the power of a good idea, Tasmanian mother Sonia Singh has drawn much applause for her upcycled dolls, in which she removes the nightclub make-up and clothes from Bratz dolls, among others, and remodels them into fresh-faced plastic girls in tree-climbing gear.
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Facebook users have clasped Singh’s dolls to their online bosom, praising her for offering a more recognisable image of girlhood than the tarted-up Bratz, and she in turn has released videos showing people how to upcycle their own dolls. It’s an excellent idea, cleverly executed and generously shared.

It helps me feel a little better about my 15-month-old daughter cradling a baby doll, courtesy of a loving, but persistent, family member who knows I’m not wild about the idea.

Like a lot of parents of daughters in particular, I worry about their sense of body image and self-esteem. I am constantly astonished by how heavily gendered everything in the children’s industry is, thanks to clever marketers who realised they could make more money that way, and a host of subsidiary businesses that specialise in princesses, pirates, fairies, dinosaurs and all things pink and blue, glittery and noisy.

Plus, I have a thing about dolls. To me, they’re right up there alongside clowns and John Travolta on the creepy scale. I didn’t like them when I was a kid, and I don’t like them now. The sight of little girls pushing around dolls in plastic prams makes my feminist blood turn cold. But what do I do if it makes my daughter happy?

I know a lot of other mothers, and no doubt fathers too, worry about the same thing. Doll play is probably pretty harmless in itself, but we still live in a heavily gendered and in many ways unequal world. I want my daughter to be as equipped as possible to thrive in it, to believe that she can do anything and that how she looks is more interesting than consequential.

What concerns me more than the overt sexualisation of girls – I tend to agree with Melbourne University academic Lauren Rosewarne that this is often adults overlaying their own anxieties on to children – is the idea that what matters most is how they look (though, of course, at some point the two intersect).

I am a relative newcomer to Facebook, and I have been astonished by the number of young women, and sometimes older women, who have an am-I-hot-or-what profile picture, with big doe-eyes looking into the camera, pouty lips, a suggestive stare.

Rosewarne says this is part of the “pornification” of popular culture, where those sorts of images have become entirely normalised.

Again, it’s not the suggestiveness that bothers me, but the “aren’t I pretty, say I’m pretty” aspect of it. This is a criticism not of them but of our culture, and it’s a really difficult issue for parents to negotiate.

Being the great mimics that children are, it’s not long before girls want to wear make-up, clomp around in heels and endlessly apply lip gloss, because they have equated all of this in their heads – how could they not? – with attractiveness.

It would be easy to dismiss this as hand-wringing, over-educated parenting, and it might also be tempting to think that all of that gender-role anxiety is behind us, that girls are stronger and more powerful than ever.

But we live in a time when a famous writer’s obituary kicks off by commenting that she was “plain of feature”, a senator at a committee hearing tells an interviewee that he thought she “might like to hear a man’s voice”, there’s a new teen film coming out called The Duff (designated ugly fat friend), and the Royal Children’s Hospital is treating more eating disorders that ever before. Not to mention the daily horror of the family violence stories coming to the fore.

It certainly matters. But you soon realise as a parent that you have to let your kids figure out some of these things for themselves. You can guide, you can be that dreadful term, a “role model”, but ultimately you have to have faith that they will navigate their own paths through it.

Although if my little one is having princess parties at 20, we may need to talk. The Age


October 28, 2018

Comments Off on Federal police deny they have Bali nine blood on their hands

Federal police deny they have Bali nine blood on their hands

DFAT lodges complain about treatment of Bali nine pairPolice chief’s Bali nine ‘happy snap’Indonesia flags death penalty moratorium at UN
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The federal police would not change anything about the way they handled the Bali nine investigation and continue to use the same guidelines for tipping off overseas police about Australian citizens.

AFP Commissioner Andrew Colvin said on Thursday that repeated government reviews, court cases and senate inquiries had cleared the AFP of any wrongdoing in sealing the fate of the Australian drug smugglers.

“Do we have blood on our hands? No,” Mr Colvin said at a lecture to the Lowy Institute in Sydney.

The government has refused to comment on the AFP’s conduct, saying it was inappropriate to do so while negotiations continue to spare the lives of ringleaders Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran.

“At the moment the Australian government’s sole focus is on pursuing and exhausting every avenue for clemency,” a spokeswoman for Justice Minister Michael Keenan said.

With just days to go until Chan and Sukumaran are executed, Mr Colvin once again said the AFP followed all the proper rules and obligations by tipping off Indonesian authorities in April 2005 about a potential heroin smuggling operation.

The information came from drug mule Scott Rush’s father Lee, who was worried his son had been recruited as a drug runner and was about to depart for Bali.

He called a friend, Brisbane lawyer Robert Myers, who called a man he knew in the AFP who supposedly said Rush would be stopped before leaving for Bali.

Instead, the AFP provided information to its Indonesian counterparts, who arrested the men in Bali days later.

Mr Myers again reiterated on Thursday that the AFP “have blood on their hands”.

He believed the tip-off was a deliberate move by the AFP to curry favour with Indonesian authorities.

On Thursday, Mr Colvin responded.

“Put simply, were we part of a conspiracy for greater co-operation that I’ve seen written about? No,” he said.

He said much of the information circulating, including Mr Myers’ claim, “doesn’t accurately reflect our role and the work we did in 2005”.

“There is nothing I could say today … that’s not been put on the records in courts in Australia; in the Federal Court when we were challenged about our role.”

He said he had written a letter to his Indonesian counterpart recently, begging the Indonesians to show mercy to Chan and Sukumaran.

“For many months the AFP has been doing what it can to support the whole-of-government diplomatic efforts and today I would like to again add our voice to the Australian government’s plea for mercy.”

Federal Court judge Paul Finn found in 2006 that the AFP only had the power to refuse assistance in overseas death penalty cases if charges had already been laid.

He ruled that the AFP’s conduct “fell squarely within the lawful functions of the AFP. Scott Rush and his colleagues were the authors of their own harm.”

Justice Finn recommended the AFP review its death penalty guidelines and the subsequent guidelines, released under Freedom of Information last month, show that the protocols remain the same.

If an Australian has been arrested, detained, charged or convicted overseas, a federal minister must give the AFP consent to share information.

Mr Myers said last month that he only ever contacted the AFP because he thought they could help.

“I should have just said to Lee [Rush], ‘Mate get over there as fast as you can and get the young kid back here’,” he told Triple M radio.

“They’ve got, as I’ve said in the past, blood on their hands because they they could’ve intercepted eight Australians here, they didn’t know of Sukumaran.

“They had sufficient evidence to charge them with conspiracy to import narcotics into Australia.”

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Wuxi Plastic Surgery Hospital.