December 4, 2018

Comments Off on OPINION: Got a tone to pick with you

OPINION: Got a tone to pick with you

LITERALLY JAB: Muhammad Ali surprised his opponents. NOW listen. But I already was listening. Did you have to say that? Make you feel important did it?

Now that you have commanded me to listen with your best uppity school principal tone, I am going to sit here and look interested but won’t be thinking about anything that spills into the vapour from your pompous gob. I’ll be dreaming about cat videos while nodding away and surreptitiously looking for the nearest exit and planning how quickly I can use it.

The only time I want to ever hear “now listen” is just before Ross Wilson cranks out “Oh we’re stepping out”, providing timeless and sage advice regarding a dance move generations of awkward, sober (awkwardly sober?) and unco-ordinated Australian men – whether they be metro, hetero, or retro – can manage without embarrassing partners, children, innocent bystanders or those who actually can trip the light fantastic. “I’m gonna turn around. Gonna turn around once and do the Eagle Rock.” Yes brother, we can all manage the Eagle Rock. The turn itself can be tricky if done at anything resembling quarter-Michael Jackson speed whilst nursing a dodgy hip or footy knees, but if you take it slowly enough there is a reasonable likelihood there will be little need to seek medical treatment for acute self-inflicted humiliation the following day.

But “now listen” is just one of the everyday sayings that has permeated the language and gets up my goat, which should never be confused with getting on my goat.

What about “I’ve got a bone to pick with you”? Oh spare me days, Nanna. This one buries the passive and privileges the aggressive. Why not say “I cannot legally physically punch you in the head with my clenched fist so I am going to punch you in the brain with a pointless and ordurous idiom as preferred by the most tiresome dolts in the English speaking world.”

“I’ve got a bone to pick with you” is the particularly annoying person’s way of sending a signal that you have annoyed them, winning them an annoyance boxed quinella comprised of being simultaneously both annoying and annoyed in any order.

I never want to hear this tedious phrase again, unless of course you are going to literally pick a bone with me, in which case a courteous invitation to a carnivorous feast may be acceptable, depending upon prior commitments and the nutritious parameters of the fad diet I am failing to comply with at any particular time. You would be welcome to pick my brain at such an occasion.

What about “with all due respect”? Like Muhammad Ali jiving his head quickly to the right before unloading a lethal left jab, this pearler signals something untoward is coming. This is the go-to passive aggressive insult par excellence spurted by attack weasels before they scarper back to their burrows.

Literally is the new “like”. I literally don’t, like, like you using literally. It’s 2015’s “absolutely” and is most often used to sabotage and poison an otherwise tolerable auditory ambience in a situation where an agreeable silence would be just dandy. Please shut up.

Now it’s election season and the Baird government is regularly wheeling out Laura Norder and her get tough promises in the usual cavalier fashion of those attempting to win the hearts of talkback shock-jocks and the Murdoch table thumpers, how about mandatory life sentences for misuse of the word literally? Like, literal life sentences.

“Can I ask you a question?” What? Besides that question you just asked, asking me whether you could ask me a question? I am not sure if I can answer that question without taking it into full consideration that you didn’t ask me a question whether you could ask me a question regarding the asking of a question. Just ask the question.

“I know this sounds like a dumb question, but…” Why are you asking me a question that you are apparently pleased to qualify with a disparaging announcement? Why not rethink the question and make it sharp and focused? Why not pass on asking it at all? Otherwise I’ll take it as a comment and refer the matter to Tony Jones where the Twitterati will joyfully pass comment on the validity of the question’s merits. On the other hand, maybe you could just ask the question without an introductory clause outlining unnecessary anxiety. Verbal oxazepam.

“It is what it is.” Oh Jebus. Just shoot me. Not literally.

“Thanks in advance.” That one means I have flicked you a task by email so intolerable that I would rather chew wasps than do it myself.

“Just sayin.” Arrrrgggh.

Paul Scott is a lecturer in the School of Design, Communication and Information Technology at the University of Newcastle


December 4, 2018

Comments Off on IAN KIRKWOOD: Revel inShow and tell

IAN KIRKWOOD: Revel inShow and tell

IAN KIRKWOOD: Revel in Show and tell All the colour abd fun from the Newcastle Show. Pictures: Marina Neil/Peter Stoop/Phil Hearne/Simone De Peak

TweetFacebookNewcastle Herald sports writer James Gardiner observed, for ‘‘a fifth straight game the Jets were fiercely competitive’’.

On Saturday, a swell that brought sizeable and picture-perfect waves to every beach on our part of the coast continued to pour in from the ocean depths, as it had on Friday.

And it was still there on Sunday, a great run of surf, even if it was a fortnight too late for Surfest.

Also on Saturday, the Newcastle Knights ran out for the first game of the season, scoring a spine-tingling 24-14 victory over the Warriors, fighting their way back from a 14-6 deficit and doing it with a man in the sin bin for 10 minutes in the second half.

There were 16,000 people cheering the home team on at Hunter Stadium, but I listened to the game through one earphone while negotiating my way with a mate and three children through the Newcastle Show.

Ah, the show!

Beloved by children, and looked at by many of us with a weary and wary eye.

Picture: Simone De Peak

A day out, yes, but once you get sucked into the sideshow alley, you can kiss goodbye to $100 or $150 a child without even blinking.

For those on limited budgets, it’s best to hand over the folding stuff and console yourself that it’s only once a year, and that the smiles on those little, and not-so-little faces are worth the wallet-full of redbacks that it’s cost to put them up on top of whatever ride is now scaring the daylights out of them.

As the word itself suggests, the ‘‘sideshow’’ started out on the ‘‘side’’ of the ‘‘show’’. An addition to the main attraction, in other words.

But the way the Newcastle Show is nowadays – and I am pretty certain it’s the same with a lot of regional shows – the ‘‘sideshow’’ appears to be the main game, especially if the weight of numbers is any indication.

All up, show organisers expect the three days of good weather this year will have brought more than 50,000 people through the gates, an increase of about 30per cent on the 35,000 of last year and 2013.

I was there from mid-afternoon until 9.30pm on Saturday and through all of that time, the crowds were much thicker over on the amusements side of the showground than they were over on the traditional side, where the goats and the chickens and the horses were doing their thing.

The main animal sheds were shut on Saturday afternoon – the cattle exhibitor had to cancel, as I later learnt – and I left with the feeling that the agricultural and industrial part of the Newcastle Show was on a noticeable decline.

So I went back on Sunday to talk to Newcastle Show Association president Roger Geary and his dedicated – and mostly volunteer – band of helpers, who told me that, yes, it was a battle, but a battle they were determined to win. It’s definitely a show of two worlds, financially.

While $20 and $50 notes disappear hand over fist on rides and amusements, those showing their goats and ponies are doing so for a love of the game, and for precious competition points to gain entry to the Royal Easter Show.

To make the most of the show, I would definitely recommend picking up a program. I was too distracted by the pull of three nine-year-olds dragging us relentlessly towards the rides and the sugar, and when I did finally drag the group over to the show ring, it was a bit hard for an untutored novice to know what was going on.

But I know one thing. I’m glad we stayed for the fireworks. In January I had a whinge about Newcastle’s New Year’s Eve fireworks, which, for most of the crowd, were like distant paintings on a near-silent sky.

Not so at the show. Let loose on Friday and Saturday nights from the centre of the show ring, it was an explosive rain of explosion and colour, the air thick and grey with the sulphurous reek of gunpowder.

As the kids said on the way home: Best fireworks ever!


December 4, 2018

Comments Off on EDITORIAL: The year of living equally

EDITORIAL: The year of living equally

AS long as gender inequality exists in society, there will always be a need for International Women’s Day.

It’s true, women are highly visible in positions of power; in politics, on television, in the workplace. But the reality is that men still rule the world, or think they do, and still make up most of the rules that govern the world.

Yes, Julia Gillard was Australia’s first female prime minister, and deputy Liberal leader Julie Bishop is one of those named as a likely successor to prime minister Tony Abbott.

But they are the exceptions that prove the rule. Their high profile makes it seem as though women are equal players on the political field.

But the reality is that most of the positions that matter in Australian governments are still held by men.

Indeed, the latest global measures of gender inequality – a ‘‘gender gap index’’ compiled by the World Economic Forum – shows that Australia is slipping in relation to other countries. We ranked 24th last year from 142 nations, a steady decline from 2006, when we were 15th from 115 countries.

In everyday fields, most women still live lives that depend, to some extent, on the goodwill and largesse of men. Parenting is now much more of a shared experience than it was a generation or two ago, but women are still often cast in the role of the primary caregiver, while the man’s image remains that of the bread-winner. Some men – and perhaps some women – will say that is how it should be, and that gender roles are bequeathed to us by nature, not society. They may even say this division is not one of inequality, but of intrinsic, natural difference.

But modern experience tells us this is not the case. A crucial aspect of child care is that it provides women with choices if they want to contribute to the workforce, who wish to build careers for themselves.

Whether we realise it or not, the truth of the matter is that many of society’s conceptions of male and female roles are preconceptions, shaped by an often subtly acting group of biases and prejudices that we are often not even aware of until they are deconstructed.

And if there is one area of society that proves the amount of ground that men are yet to give, it’s in domestic violence.

Men are overwhelmingly the perpetrators, and the act itself – of male violence towards women – is always wrong. There are no excuses, ever, and we should not need an International Women’s Day to remind us of this.

Nor is the right to a life without violence something we should think of only once a year.

Australian society, indeed all society, benefits from gender equality. In 2015, the idea that a woman should enjoy exactly the same rights and privileges as men is not feminist dogma, it is simple common sense.


September 8, 2019

Comments Off on Hall set to light up NRL with Roosters

Hall set to light up NRL with Roosters

Winger Ryan Hall is better placed than any other English back before him to become a superstar of the NRL when he joins the Sydney Roosters.


While English forwards Sam Burgess, James Graham and Josh Hodgson have all become household names in Australia, backs have traditionally flopped when switching from the English Super League.

English-born five-eighth Gareth Widdop is a star for St George Illawarra, but he’s played his entire career in the NRL.

Joe Burgess, Zak Hardaker, Sam Tomkins and Greg Eden are just some of the players to give the NRL a go before heading back to play in their homeland after having limited or no impact.

Irish winger Brian Carney enjoyed some success in a season with Newcastle in 2006 after transferring from Wigan, before bailing on a contract with Gold Coast in 2007 to never play for the Titans.

But with Hall’s signature, the Roosters are hoping they have found a like-for-like replacement for Blake Ferguson, who is headed to Parramatta next season on a three-year deal.

Hall comes with a most impressive CV and has signed a two-year deal, starting from next season.

The 30-year-old has scored a mammoth 231 tries in 327 games for Leeds, debuting in 2007.

England’s leading international try-scorer with 35 tries in 38 games, Hall is known as one of the hardest men to stop in the game out wide as he weighs 105kg and is 188cm tall.

“Ryan has expressed a desire to test himself in the NRL, and we are pleased to have secured his services,” Roosters recruitment manager Adam Hartigan said.

“A natural finisher blessed with size, speed and strength, we believe that Ryan will be a terrific fit within our squad and we look forward to welcoming him to the Club later this year.”

Hall also arrives with the experience of having won six Super League grand finals (2008, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2017) and two Challenge Cup titles (2014, 2015) with Leeds.


September 8, 2019

Comments Off on Cats vs Dogs vs sparkling vs wine

Cats vs Dogs vs sparkling vs wine

According to a recent survey of over 1700 pet owners bywine retailer Cellarmasters, cat owners drink more than double the amount of sparkling wine than dog owners, while pooch pals prefer to drink big red wines like Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon.


“A lot of our customers fall into one of two camps; they’re either lovers of whites and sparkling, or fans of big, bold reds,” Cellarmasters cellar director Christine Ricketts said.

It’s surprisinglyblack and white, and reminded us of the divide between dog and cat lovers. So when we got the survey results, it blew us away that there’s a correlation between these two camps.”

The survey also showed cat owners drink more Sauvignon Blanc than dog owners.

Dr Robert Zammit of Vineyard Vet said he was not surprised by the findings.

“Cats are the aristocrats of the world, and regal cat owners especially are quite sophisticated, so I’m not surprised cat owners enjoy bubbles,” said Dr Zammit.

“Dog owners like to spend time outside with their furry friends, and there’s nothing better than coming home to a glass of warming red wine, so it makes complete sense,” he added.

Dr Zammit added that this disparity is especially visible in the pet show circuit.

“In between shows, cat owners will take their pets with them and enjoy lunch and bubbles, while dog owners tend to stay ring-side with a glass of red,” he said.

The Vineyard Vet himself has several cats, 14 dogs and other pets such as birds.

“I guess that means I like to drink a bit of anything – and I have two wine fridges full to the brim.

Joking aside, if I had to choose, I am definitely more of a dog person and just like the data suggests, I prefer reds,” he said.

The name of Dr Zammit’s practice – Vineyard Vet – comes from the namesake area in NSW where it is located. This was the region where the first vines were planted in Australia.

The survey was conducted among 3649 wine lovers in June 2018 by leading wine retailer Cellarmasters, and 49.5 percent of the people surveyed stated they owned a cat or a dog.

Christine’s wine recommendation for dog owners: Cat Amongst the Pigeons Alley Cat Barossa Shiraz 2016.

This elegant style of 2016 Barossa Shiraz is made from a few small parcels of fruit, and the result is a rich and spicy palate of dark berry and cassis fruit, with fine-grain tannins on the finish.

Christine’s wine recommendation for cat owners: Riversdale Estate Crux Sparkling NV.

Tasmanian sparkling is renowned for being on par with the quality of French Champagne.

She says this sensational “Tassie” sparkling comes from an award-winning boutique winery that’s been gaining acclaim for the quality of their cool climate wines.

“With pleasant soft fruit and yeast flavours that linger, the quality of this Australian sparkling gives French champagne a run for its money.”


September 8, 2019

Comments Off on Hunter’s ARTC rail maintenance workers strike over EBA pay dispute

Hunter’s ARTC rail maintenance workers strike over EBA pay dispute

DISPUTE: Australian Rail Track Corporation maintenance crews will strike for 24 hours from 3am Monday.Maintenance workers at theAustralian Rail Track Corporation will walk off the job on Monday to protest against what they see as the company’s refusal to bargain reasonably on a new enterprise agreement.


The 24-hour protected industrial action from 3am Monday will include about 180Rail, Tram and Bus Union members across the state, about 50 of whom are based in the Hunter.

It follows a five-hour stoppage last week.

Enterprise bargaining talks between the union and the federal government-owned corporation have dragged on for 18 months.

The union’s NSW secretary,Alex Claassens, said the ARTC was refusing to provide workers with fair wages and conditions, including adequate living-away-from-home allowances.

RTBU state secretary Alex Claassens

“The company’s offer includes an approximately 2.65 per cent pay increase and no back pay,” he said.

“In refusing back pay, management is out of step with the industry and punishing employees for not endorsing earlier proposals from management that cut their conditions.”

An ARTC spokesperson said the corporation did not anticipate that the strike would affect any train services on Monday.

“Where employees wish to participate in protected industrial action, we respect their right to do so,” the spokesperson said.“We are committed to finding a resolution on this matter, and enterprise agreement discussions with staff and union representatives continue.”

Mr Claassens said ARTC management had left workers with no choice but to take action.

“These workers keep our railways safe. They maintain our track and railway infrastructure to the highest standard. They deserve to be fairly compensated for the vital work they do.”

He said the workers had to spend long periods away from home to maintain tracks in regional and remote areas but were not being adequately compensated.

“Management at this federal government corporation are refusing to budget on vital issues, like allowances.Workers can’t simply sit by and let ARTC management eat away at their living wage.

“No one ever wants to take protected industrial action, but until ARTC management come to the table with a fair offer, we don’t have any choice.”


September 8, 2019

Comments Off on Burraduc Buffalo Farm wins kudos for luscious mozzarella

Burraduc Buffalo Farm wins kudos for luscious mozzarella

Simply the best: Burraduc buffalo mozzarella, winner of a 2018 delicious Award for best in NSW.Buffaloare strong-willed creatures –they don’t like to be pushed. Even whenafraid, cows can be pushed into the milking belt. The same cannot be said for buffalo.


“They will only take so much, then they will turn on you if you’re being unfair or push them too much,” saysElena Swegen, owner of Burraduc Buffalo Farm at Bungwahl on Lakes Way near Forster.

“They can break through everything. You cannot contain a buffalo if it doesn’t want to be there,” Swegensays. “So you need to have a good relationship with them rather than trying to push them.”

Swegen’s buffalocome willingly to be milked. They like it. Sometimes she has a hard time getting them out of the dairy.

To get the buffaloon side, Swegen does things differently than most dairy farmers. She does not separate the babies from their mothers. “This means we don’t upset the mothers and we don’t have to try to put the buffalo babies on the bottle,” she says.

When it comes to dairy cows, the calves will quite happily feed from the bottle from day two. Buffaloon the other hand, will often refuse. “We are happy to share the milk with the babies,” Swegen says,“because we don’t have to feed them by the bottle, they grow much better and the mothers come to the dairy happily in the afternoon.”

Happy owner: Elena Swegen of Burraduc.

Swegen says it’s all about having a partnership with the buffalo, rather than exploiting them. This ethical farming style has even attracted vegan customers.

Swegen’s happy buffalowhich graze Burraduc’s lush, nutrient-dense pastures, produce outstanding milk, which she transforms into buffalo mozzarella and scamorza (a drier, saltier version of mozzarella), pot set full cream natural yoghurt, docenina, fetta, pure whey ricotta and clarified buffalo butter.

Her buffalo mozzarella was a state winner in the 2018 delicious. Produce Awards, ahuge accolade for outstanding Australian producers.

Swegentravelled to southern Italy to learn the art of making fresh buffalo mozzarella.

“I needed to have confidence that my handmade mozzarella was as close as possible to the authentic product of Campana,” she says.

Swegendescribes how around Naples, buffalo farms sell hundreds of kilograms of freshly made mozzarella each morning from farmgate shops.

“Real, fresh buffalo mozzarella is a big addiction in Italy, especially in the South.”

Her customers with Italian backgrounds get very emotional over her mozzarella and scamorza. “One Italian lady was nearly crying when she found the mozzarella was exactly like the one her mother used to buy back in Naples,” Swegensays.

Australian customers share the passion for the product.“It was amazing, we had so many messages, emails and phone calls from the first customers who took the time to let us know how they felt about discovering new flavours of buffalo milk, and how the freshness reminded them of their childhood and how much they appreciated our way of farming,” she recalls.

Primary producers: Burraduc’s buffalo.

The freshness and clean flavours of her productsshe credits to the quality and richness of the milk her buffalocan produce in thehigh rainfall climate of the Great Lakes.

Her job is to handle and process the milk without interfering too much; turning it into cheese without any artificial aids and preservatives.The result is flavours that simply cannot be found in heavily processed products on supermarketshelves.

Restaurants incorporating Burraduc products into their menu include Moor andLizotte’s in Newcastleand Moby’s Beachside Retreat at Boomerang Beach.

Swegen’svision includes educational farm tours and connecting people to the principles of organic farming and the importance of bio-diversity and co-existing with wildlife, including predators. The farmtours arepart of The Great Lakes Food trail (thegreatlakesfoodtrailnsw杭州桑拿

Find Burraduc products at Newcastle Sunday Farmers Markets, Blueys Cellar Door ordirectfrom the farm,2014 The Lakes Way, Mayers Flat (0416 027 683).


September 8, 2019

Comments Off on Lake Macquarie council to consider proposal for interim heritage order on Catherine Hill Bay jetty

Lake Macquarie council to consider proposal for interim heritage order on Catherine Hill Bay jetty

Lifeline proposal for Catho’s historic jetty Options: Sue Whyte is hopeful an adaptive reuse plan for the town’s historic jetty can be developed. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers


TweetFacebookLake Macquarie City Council looks set to support a proposal to buy another 12 months for the historicCatherine Hill Bay jetty.

The proposal involves investigatingadaptive reuses of the 240-metre jetty, either in whole or in part.

“We are asking for an interim heritage order of one year to give us time to document the jetty and look at ways of saving the jetty,” Catherine Hill Bay Progress Association Sue Whyte said.

“It is tall, old and skinny.It’s a bit of an ask butit is absolutely iconic.”

The jetty, which was used until 2002,is the most recent of three coal loading structuresthat have stood on the site since the 1870s.

A cafe or restaurant appear to be the most likely options for a future commercial operation on the jetty.

The jetty, which is owned by Lake Coalhas been earmarked for demolition several times over the past 15 years.

Ms Whyte said the companyhad indicated it would contribute funds towards a suitable adaptive reuse project.

“Catherine Hill Bay is one of two heritage towns in the state and the jetty was the reason the town existed,” Ms Whyte said.

“Just ripping it out and coming up with a clean slate would be ridiculous.”

Lake Macquarie mayor Kay Faser indicated council supported the application for an interim heritage order in a recent letter to the group.

“Council recognises that the Catherine Hill Bay jetty is of potentially state heritage significance and that a full heritage assessment of the jetty including archival recording, professional heritage assessment, further research regarding maritime archaeological issues and the development of an interpretation strategy should be undertaken before the long-term future of the jetty is determined,” Cr Fraser wrote.

A spokeswoman for Lake Coalsaid the company was not in a position to talk about the notice of motion to be put to the council on Monday night.

“Lake Coal is committed to working with all stakeholders, both local and government, over the former Moonee Colliery site,” the statement said.

“Lake Coal will continue to work within the scope of its obligations under the approved mine closure plan for the site.”

An underwater dive park built on the seabed at the foot of the jetty, was among the options that have been considered in recent years.

The park would have concrete swim-through pipes, statues, sunken train carriages and small boat or aircraft wrecks.

The jetty’s heritage significance increased after a section of it was lost in afire that ravaged the town in late 2013.


August 7, 2019

Comments Off on Star that could be chomping a planet

Star that could be chomping a planet

Debris surrounding the star RW Aur A, which could be munching on a planet or mini-planets.Astronomers may have caught a relatively nearby star munching on a planet or mini-planets.


A NASA space telescope noticed that the star suddenly started looking a bit strange last year. The Chandra X-Ray Observatory spotted a 30-fold increase in iron on the edge of the star, which is only 10 million years old, along with pronounced dimming.

Astronomers have been watching the baby star – in the constellation Taurus – for decades and iron levels weren’t high in 2015, the last time the Chandra telescope looked at it.

The star, called RW Aur A, is 450 light-years away. A light-year is 5.9 trillion miles.

Hans Moritz Guenther, a scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, says he’s never seen anything quite like this before, calling it “a lot stranger than we thought we’d be seeing.”

“We’ve never seen any star that’s changed its iron abundance like that,” he said.

Guenther said one potential simple explanation is that the star is eating a planet or mini-planets.

He looked at other possible explanations, and of the two that make sense, he prefers the planet-munching one. Computer simulations show it can happen, but it has never been seen before, he said.

Outside experts are wary.

“This could be an exciting discovery, but the evidence is circumstantial and not definitive,” said Harvard’s Avi Loeb.

Guenther’s preferred explanation is speculative, said Alan Boss of the Carnegie Institution of Science, an expert on planets outside our solar system.

The study is published in Wednesday’s Astronomical Journal.


August 7, 2019

Comments Off on NRLKnights backrower Lachlan Fitzgibbon’s two match ban turned into five weeks on the sideline. He’s ready to make up for lost time

NRLKnights backrower Lachlan Fitzgibbon’s two match ban turned into five weeks on the sideline. He’s ready to make up for lost time

Raring to go: Knights backrower Lachlan Fitzgibbon [pictured caught in a bear-hug by teammate Mitch Barnett] will start on the right edge against the Titans tomorrow after a two game suspension. Picture: Darren Pateman/AAPIt was atwo matchsuspension that turned into a frustrating five week stinton the sideline for Lachlan Fitzgibbon.


But the silver lining out of his enforced lay-off is the Knights backrower says he is physically and mentally raring to rip into the Gold Coast Titans at McDonald Jones Stadium tomorrow.

Originally named on the bench for the Titans clash,Fitzgibbon will start on the right edge and will be out to make up for lost time after his suspension stretched to a period of five weeks in limbo because of the representative round and a bye.

He was outed for a “crusher” tackle on Melbourne Storm forward Tim Glasby on June 17 which carried a one match ban for an early guilty plea.

Fitzgibbon and the club rolled the dice and he lost so copped an extra week.

“It was tough. We went down there with the expectation to win and not miss any games,” Fitzgibbon said.

“As it was, I get two weeks and we had the two byes in between. It was disappointing to say the least but that’s just a little road block in the season for me and I’m through it now and can’t wait to get out there.”

Despite losing at the judiciary, Fitzgibbon says there was no intended malice in the tackle and he has no regrets in fighting the charge.

“I think if I didn’t challenge it, I would have had to cop aweek and I’d be thinking back “what if” so it is what it is,” he said.

“They were two tough games to sit out, especially the Bulldogs game. We had aspirations of doing really well and it was tough on the sideline to get beaten the way we did.

“The Eels have been struggling but they still have some quality players and they came to play on the weekend so credit to the boysthat we held them out for that last 15 odd minutes.”

Fitzgibbon has been far from idle on the sideline and says he was put through a grueling “mini pre-season” training block to make up for the fact he wasn’t playing.

“It was a big four weeks [leading into this week] but in saying that, the silver lining of it all is I’m feeling fit and healthy and pretty strong at the moment,” he said.

While the Knights’ 33-26 loss to the Titans on the Gold Coast earlier in the season wastwo competition points the playersconcedethey threw away, it does not add any motivation to this game according to Fitzgibbon.

“We went up there with plenty ofexpectation and we had control for most of that game,” he said.

“But a couple of lapses and in the last 10 minutes, they came home with a wet sail and they managed to do a number on us up there which was very disappointing.

“But it’s not as if we owe them one. We want to beat every team and I don’t think there is extra motivation because of what happened last time.

“It’s just another week and another game and we should go out and perform strongly and hopefully win.

“There are seven or eight games left and our goal is to win as many as we can.”


August 7, 2019

Comments Off on Ristevski’s statement was ‘flimsy’: aunt

Ristevski’s statement was ‘flimsy’: aunt

Borce Ristevski’s accounts of the day his wife Karen vanished seemed “flimsy”, her aunt told police.


Patricia Gray, who flew to Melbourne from NSW after her niece went missing, also said in her statement that Ristevski wasn’t helping police as best he could.

Ms Gray stayed with Ristevski and his daughter Sarah at their Avondale Heights home for more than a week to support them and assist in the search for Ms Ristevski.

“I provided as much support as I could for both of them,” Ms Gray said in a statement, released by a court on Thursday.

“But I could tell Borce wasn’t assisting police or himself to find Karen, which I found frustrating.”

It’s alleged Ristevski killed his wife at home and dumped the body in the quiet bushland area, taking Karen’s Mercedes-Benz roadster to do so.

Ms Gray told police that Ristevski originally said he took the car to several garages for quotes that day.

But Ristevski said that was wrong and he actually drove the car to get petrol, changing his mind when the faulty fuel gauge showed it wasn’t needed.

He claimed he kept driving towards Ms Ristevki’s dress store but missed the turn-off so decided to return home.

“I accepted this first account about going to the garages for the quotes, and (was) relieved because I believed police could verify his movements,” Ms Gray told police.

“But this second account appeared to be flimsy and I found it hard to fathom.”

Ms Ristevski’s body was found between logs at Macedon Regional Park by two horticulturalists eight months after she vanished in June 2106.

Ristevski is facing a committal hearing in Melbourne Magistrates Court to determine if there’s enough evidence to send him to trial charged with murder.

Prosecutors have compiled a 22,000-page evidence brief, including CCTV footage of what they allege is Ristevski driving his wife’s Mercedes to dump the body.

A computer systems and digital imagery expert testified on Thursday, saying CCTV footage taken near Diggers Rest shows a car like Ms Ristevski’s.

The footage is blurry but Dr Matthew Sorell, a lecturer at the University of Adelaide, said the driver in question had features “broadly consistent” with Ristevski.

“I would note the short hair, coloured light grey,” he said.

Dr Sorell also noted the driver’s physical features were not consistent with the brunette Karen Ristevski.

“The physical features are not a match in terms of long hair, in particular the colour.”

Ristevski was charged in December last year and he’s fighting the allegations.

The hearing continues.


August 7, 2019

Comments Off on Eats shoots and leaves … in Borneo

Eats shoots and leaves … in Borneo

I have just returned from taking 20 undergraduate students on a two-week New Colombo Plan expedition to the Kalimantan Provinces of Indonesia on the enchanted and exotic island of Borneo.


All of us agreed it was the trip of a lifetime. Our itinerary was organised expertly by our partner Lambung Mangkurat University. We set out with the twin goals of cultural immersion and to understandthe pressures of palm oil plantations on the survival of the many unique fauna of Borneo, particularly the proboscis monkey and the orang-utan.

Palm oil has become a major and lucrative export of this island and the expansion of these plantations has led to a devastating loss of tropical forest habitat. The consensus was that we all learnt much, and indeed achieved these goals. The proboscis monkey is found exclusively in the mangrove forests along the waterways of Borneo, and its primary diet is mangrove fruits, shoots and leaves, analogous to our koala with its dependence on eucalyptus leaves. The males are very distinctive with a long and fleshy nose and a swollen stomach. We spent several days observing the ecology of these endearing animals. We stood waist-deep in muddy water to plant more than 100 mangrove trees to expand their habitat on an island sanctuary. The plastic pollution problem was evident wherever we looked, as the coastal river flow not only brought huge barges loaded with coal to the sea, but myriaddiscarded cups, bottles and bags downstream.

A short flight took us to our departure point for a magical boat ride into the large Tanjung Putting National Park to spend three days traversing the waterwaysin search of the orang-utan. We saw many primates, including orang-utan, langur, macaques, gibbons and, my favourite, the proboscis monkey, along with squirrelsand bearded pigs.We visited the research camp where Dr Birute Galdikas has spent the past 47 years observing the orang-utan. Unfortunately, we did not meet her as she and her team were out in the forest carrying on with their research. She is such a testimony to the dedication of the scientists of this world.Hopefully some of our tour group will continue in her tradition.

Emeritus Professor Tim Roberts,School of Enviromental and Life Sciences, The University of Newcastle.


August 7, 2019

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Helping your blood vessels go with flow

GOOD CIRCULATION: Vascular ultrasound is used to assess blood flow to the brain and the body’s organs and extremities.ADVERTISING FEATUREVascular ultrasound is a specialised application of ultrasound looking specifically at blood vessels – arteries and veins, and blood flow.


Your doctor may send you for a vascular ultrasound on your arteries or veins if they suspect you have a blockage: for example, if you are experiencing pain in the legs with walking or exercise –a condition known as intermittent claudication.

Other common examples include evaluation of suspected deep vein thrombosis (DVT), or of extra-cranial carotid disease in someone with a minor stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA).

“Vascular ultrasound is used to assess varicose veins, vascular malformations, aneurysms or unusual anatomy,” Dr Mathew Sebastian, from Vascular HealthCare said. “It helps the vascular surgeon or physician to plan treatments, and is of significant use in assessing the outcome of interventional procedures. Many modern varicose vein treatments are performed under ultrasound guidance.”

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Vascular HealthCareUltrasound is a non-invasive procedure with no radiation, making it the safest of all imaging techniques.

It is also relatively inexpensive compared to CT scan and MRI, and can be repeated multiple times without any detriment to the patient i.e. no radiation or contrast (the ‘dye’ used to delineate vessels).

“There are no needles or dyes used to obtain your results, and there are no harmful side effects,” Dr Sebastian said. “Once your clothing is loosened or removed, a gel is applied to your skin and a probe (transducer) is moved along your skin, over the blood vessels being examined. You may hear some unusual sounds from the Doppler during your examination but this is quite normal and is an indication of blood flow.”

Vascular ultrasound scans can be time consuming because theyinvolve the detailed collection of blood flow information from many locations along the course of the blood vessels, depending on whatyour doctor has asked to check. This is essential for the most accurate results.

“Our experienced vascular sonographers at Vascular HealthCare do not take ‘short cuts’ in order to finish your test as quickly as possible,” Dr Sebastian said. “They adhere to specific, Medicare-recognised protocols that ensure no abnormalities are missed so that your results are as comprehensive as possible. Examinations typically take 30 -90 minutes, depending upon the test your Dr has requested.

The quality of an ultrasound examination is heavily dependent on the ability of the sonographer performing the test and the only way to maintain the high standards of all examinations is to have regular audit of scans by the end-users, the clinicians.

“All the sonographers at Vascular HealthCare are dedicated vascular sonographers and liaise regularly with the vascular surgeons in the practice discussing patient results and carrying out audits – a comparison of the ultrasound findings with what the doctor finds when they perform an angiogram,” Dr Sebastian said.

“This audit process ensures accuracy of scans performed at Vascular Health Care.”

Vascular HealthCare is a specialist medical practice treating arteries, veins and circulation disorders in the Newcastle and Hunter regions of New South Wales.

It comprises the surgical services of Drs Mathew Sebastian and Nicole Organ, and phlebologist Dr Naomi Hunter from The Hunter Vein Clinic.The ultrasound team is lead by senior sonographers Richard Rounsley and Kylie Burnley, who are excellently supported by sonographers David Wroblewski and Shannon Taylor.

“Our patients are typically older, over the age of 50, and are typically affected by atherosclerosis, or plaque, in the arteries,” Dr Sebastian said. “We do perform many examinations for varicose veins and other arterial disorders, which generally affect younger people.”

Vascular HealthCare has fourlocations conveniently located across Newcastle and the Hunter Valley, at Gateshead, East Maitland, Merewether and Toronto.

Doctors consult at all these sites and all sites have wheelchair access with free on-site or street parking.

Bulk Billing is available and all ultrasound referrals are accepted. Appointments can be made by phoning 1300 664 227, email [email protected]杭州桑拿 or by using the contact form at www.vascularhealthcare杭州桑拿