Monthly Archives: February 2019


February 5, 2019

Comments Off on HUNTER HEALTH KICK: Week 5 hitting the halfway mark

HUNTER HEALTH KICK: Week 5 hitting the halfway mark

HOP TO IT: Skipping is a great way to get a cardio workout and firm your legs and thighs. Picture: Marina NeilSO, here we are, week five of the Hunter Health Kick with the halfway point of the 10-week challenge looming.
Shanghai night field

It would be great to hear or see how our Health Kick participants and community members have made changes to their health and what impact that is having on their day-to-day lives.

You can share your progress on the Herald website or the HunterHealthKick2015 Facebook page.

Hearing what others have done, or are doing, to get results where their health is concerned is always inspiring to me and, I am sure, many others.

The halfway point of this year’s Health Kick is the perfect time to reflect on the short and long-term goals you set for yourself at the start. If you have already made great progress then you might reassess your long-term goals. Or if you feel things are progressing slower than you had hoped, then maybe you can adjust your short-term goals to stay motivated.

Events are one of the ways I keep myself motivated. Sometimes you can feel inspired at the start of a campaign but then a few weeks in motivation begins to wane. I would suggest that you stick with it, see the 10weeks out. If you have an off week then don’t beat yourself up about it, just look upon it as a minor hurdle in your journey to a healthier you.

I set my own health and fitness goals for this year’s campaign after welcoming a third baby into our lives in November.

After taking part in and completing, albeit not without some pain, a small triathlon recently I have started thinking about what challenges are next. I’m planning the Hill2Harbour 10km on April 19 then maybe the City2Surf in August, depending on how the body holds up with some added training between now and then.

I like to write down all of my training sessions so I can look back and see how I have progressed over time.

I also like to convince friends to do events with me so we can train together.

Training with others has numerous benefits, such as socialisation while getting fitter; building positive workplace relations (if you can convince some colleagues to train with you); and even improving your times if you are training with faster or fitter people than yourself. Some might shy away from this last one but sometimes training out of your comfort zone can be both challenging and rewarding.

If you haven’t got someone else to train with there are plenty of groups out there ranging from the pretty serious to the pretty casual. I heard a lady talking on the radio the other day about her cycling group – Eat, Ride, Laugh – a social group that meets up on the weekends for a casual bike ride.

Health and fitness can come in many forms – the main thing is to find what will keep you motivated in the long term.

It doesn’t have to be an event, it might just be a challenge you have set yourself in training. It might be to be able to run from A to B without stopping or being able to perform one push-up.

The main thing is to stay motivated, stay accountable and don’t get disheartened if these things take longer than you thought to achieve. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day.

The feeling when you do reach those goals will be worth it when you get there.

30 skips with rope

20-second squat hold

Work your legs, butt and thighs during leg week in the daily 2-minute challenge this week

Renee Valentine is a qualified personal fitness trainer and mother of three. Email [email protected]上海龙凤419m


February 5, 2019

Comments Off on Woman dies after reports of attack in western Sydney

Woman dies after reports of attack in western Sydney

Prabha Arun, believed to be the woman stabbed while walking home form work. Photo: Channel NineA woman was found lying in a pool of blood after being stabbed while walking home from work near Parramatta, police say.
Shanghai night field

Police were called to a walkway in Amos Street, Westmead, about 9.30pm on Saturday, after reports of an attack, and a woman was found suffering a “serious wound”.

The woman, who the Nine Network identified as Prabha Arun, in her 40s, was treated by paramedics, before she was taken to Westmead Hospital, where she later died.

Nine Network also said local man, Arvand Amirian, found Ms Arun, an IT consultant at technology firm, MindTree, in a pool of blood.

Superintendent Wayne Cox said police believe she walked from Parramatta station, up Argyle Street, then into the walkway near Parramatta Park.

“During the course of her journey she was attacked by a person or unknown persons, and she consequently suffered a life-threatening injury,” Superintendent Cox told reporters.

“It’s a horrific attack without any stretch of the imagination and certainly my heartfelt condolences go out to the family at this point in time.

“There was a large amount of blood so she obviously suffered a significant wound.”

Police believe Ms Arun was attacked with a sharp weapon, but they do not yet know whether the attack was random or targeted.

Nine Network said Ms Arun had been on the phone to her husband, who lives in India with their 10-year-old daughter, when she was attacked. Her husband is flying to Sydney and is expected to arrive on Sunday evening.

The gumtree-lined walkway where the woman was attacked is close to Parramatta Golf Club and connects a leafy residential area to Parramatta’s CBD.

Strike Force Marcoala, made up of local officers and homicide detectives, has been set up to investigate the woman’s death, and police have urged anyone with information to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.


February 5, 2019

Comments Off on Tony Abbott and Mike Baird turn first sods for WestConnex

Tony Abbott and Mike Baird turn first sods for WestConnex

Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Premier Mike Baird at Granville on Sunday. Photo: Edwina PicklesPrime Minister Tony Abbott says NSW motorists will soon be “singing in their cars” as he appeared alongside NSW Premier Mike Baird for the first time in the state election campaign to tout the imminent start of construction on the WestConnex motorway.
Shanghai night field

Mr Abbott, along with Mr Baird, federal Treasurer Joe Hockey and NSW Roads Minister Duncan Gay, gathered with motorway executives and local MPs at Granville on Sunday morning to promote the infrastructure projects a re-elected state coalition says it would build.

“Every day motorists will be rejoicing,” Mr Abbott said at the event.

“They will be rejoicing, they will be singing in their cars, frankly, because their cars will be moving,” he said.

At the event, Mr Abbott and Mr Baird used shovels to “turn sods” for the motorway, though construction proper is not scheduled to start on the first stage of WestConnex – a widened M4 between Parramatta and Homebush – until May.

The first stage, a $500 million project, will be built by 2017 and involves widening the existing M4 to four lanes in each direction for 7.5km.

The project is being part-funded by both state and federal governments, as well as new tolls for motorists, which is why Mr Abbott said it was important Mr Baird was re-elected.

“An infrastructure prime minister needs an infrastructure premier as his partner,” Mr Abbott said.

The Prime Minister, who kept clear of the campaign in last month’s Queensland election, said he would do whatever he could to assist Mr Baird, though Mr Baird could also assist him.

“I am always happy to benefit by association,” he said of the premier’s popularity.

Mr Hockey, meanwhile, was promoting the $2 billion the federal government will hand to NSW under a deal to encourage privatising existing assets to pay for new infrastructure.

The projects NSW has agreed to part-fund with the $2 billion include another harbour rail crossing, an upgrade to train lines in western Sydney, light rail around Parramatta, spending on road pinch points, clearways and smart motorways, road funding in southern Sydney, and regional road freight.

“The only way you are going to get jobs created is if you start to invest more in infrastructure and of course governments haven’t got an endless supply of money, so we need to redeploy the value in existing assets into new assets to create new jobs,” Mr Hockey said.

When the M4 is widened, as the government promises to do by 2017, a toll of between $3 and $4 will be re-imposed on the road, though Mr Abbott said motorists who did want to pay the toll could use other roads.

The Roads Minister, Mr Gay, said Sunday marked “day one of building better roads in Sydney.”

“This is day one of thousands of people cheering in their cars, giving us the high five, saying good on you you’re finally into it, you’re finally doing something,” Mr Gay said.

“It’s not lefty trendies in the inner suburbs saying ‘No, we don’t want something that will actually help them,” he said of the WestConnex, which has drawn fierce criticism in parts of Sydney’s inner west.

The shadow roads minister, Michael Daley, criticised the delay in starting work on the project after the WestConnex was first announced in October 2012.

“It is the widening of an existing road – not the construction of a brand new one,” Mr Daley said.

He also criticised Mr Abbott and Mr Baird for scheduling the “sod-turning” before construction was due to start.

“I’m not sure what they were doing there … because the sods they turned will be sitting there for another two months.

Your seat-by-seat guide to the NSW election:

<a href="/interactive/2015/nsw-election/electorates/electorates.html?el=Granville" _rte_href="/interactive/2015/nsw-election/electorates/electorates.html?el=Granville">Key facts on NSW electorates</a>  


February 5, 2019

Comments Off on TOM FARRELL INSTITUTE: Innovation the Australian way

TOM FARRELL INSTITUTE: Innovation the Australian way

OUR goal at the Tom Farrell Institute is to seek regional solutions for a sustainable future for ourselves and our grandchildren.
Shanghai night field

This means sustainable levels of jobs, sitting in a sustainable society that must be necessarily equitable and fair, sitting in a natural environment that is one we would wish for our great-grandchildren to be able to enjoy as we have.

The answer to creating the jobs is, of course, through innovation. For example, a group of UNSW students in 1985 set the world record for solar efficiency.

Today, even though still self-proclaimed geeks, each of these students is now a senior executive of some of the largest solar manufacturing companies in the world.

The solar industry is now a global multibillion-dollar industry. Their research and then its commercialisation is why more than a million Australian households have solar on their roof.

The recent drop in commodity prices has highlighted the danger to nations relying on commodity exports as an only source of income. Developed nations around the world are looking at new types of commodities to export – soft commodities.

These are the commodities of intellectual property, knowledge and know-how.

These new types of commodities are mined via innovation and are only limited by the minds of their creators. Innovation is all about finding better ways to do things and deliver better outcomes economically, socially and environmentally

Innovation is the Aussie way. Just look at the iconic invention the Hills hoist, while the Aussie invention of Wi-Fi has defined modem life. Imagine a world where you had to run a cable to your smartphone just to post a selfie. Thank God for innovation.

The scale of innovation needed to create sustainable societies won’t just happen. It takes the right mix of geeks, entrepreneurs and a community that will not only embrace change but lead it.

For this, Newcastle is well placed. At the university, Newcastle Innovation assists mightily to transform new ideas into the market, and the newly formed Tech Hunter offers a workspace for smart, city-themed start-ups. The opportunity to become Australia’s first smart city is in our hands.

Professor Tim Roberts is director of the University of Newcastle’s Tom Farrell Institute for the Environment.


February 5, 2019

Comments Off on LESS IS MORE: Bunya nut bounty

LESS IS MORE: Bunya nut bounty

DELICIOUS: Shelled bunya nuts. The Sunshine Coast Bunya Dreaming festival is now an annual event. Pictures: Tricia Hogbin BUNYA nuts would have to be one of the most under-appreciated Australian bush foods. I’ve been enjoying an abundance of bunya nuts and have been surprised by how delicious and versatile they are. I’ve eaten bunya nuts every day for more than a week and thanks to a stash in the fridge will continue feasting for a few more weeks.
Shanghai night field

Feasting on the fruit of the majestic bunya pine (Araucaria bidwillii) is nothing new. Thousands of Australian Aboriginal people would gather in the mountains of south-east Queensland during bumper bunya nut seasons. Tribes came together from afar to feast on the nutritious nuts, exchange stories, trade, socialise, and resolve issues. Tribes would leave nourished and connected after feasting for many weeks.

The last great bunya gathering was in 1887. The tradition was revitalised in 2007 and the Sunshine Coast Bunya Dreaming festival is now an annual event. I love the idea of feasts being used to build community and revitalise culture.

Twenty-five years ago, Jorge Tlaskal planted a couple of bunya pines in his garden at Bulga in the Hunter Valley. He waited 24years for his trees to produce nuts. I was fortunate to help Jorge collect and process the last of this season’s cones.

WORTH THE WAIT: Jorge Tlaskal shelling bunya nuts from a tree he planted 25 years ago.

In late summer bunya trees drop huge cones the size of a bowling ball – and almost as heavy. So it’s best not to loiter under trees when gathering cones.

To get at the nuts you need to pull the cone apart and peel the tough husk away from the seed. It’s best to do this as soon as you can as the husk becomes harder to remove as it dries. The nut is encased in a super-hard shell. Nuts within intact shells can be stored in the fridge for weeks. The longer you store, the sweeter they become. Aboriginal people would store them in dilly bags placed in running water and would also ferment or sprout them by burying them in holes covered in mud or dirt.

Opening the hard shell is a challenge. You can gently crack the shell with a hammer or rock and roast in the oven or on coals until the shell splits in two. Or you can boil in water until the shell softens and splits. Or there’s Jorge’s ingenious method. Jorge quickly and easily cuts the shells in half using a pair of garden loppers held in place using a vice. Within minutes we cut through a bucket of nuts. The nut can then be easily removed from the shell with a teaspoon.

The nuts are safe to eat raw but are much tastier cooked. They have a unique flavour and texture, similar to white sweet potato or chestnut. There’s a myriad of ways to prepare bunya nuts. I like eating them simply with a sprinkling of salt, dollop of butter, or stir-fried in olive oil with loads of garlic. They can be baked in pancakes, biscuits, breads and cakes. Snacked on as pesto or with dips. Or used in pasta sauce, casseroles, soups and stir-fries.

The bunya nut is so versatile I’m considering planting a row of bunya pines along our back fence. I can imagine the family feast 24years from now.

Bunya pines can live for an amazing 500years. I like the idea of my descendants 17generations from now – enjoying fruit from a tree I planted. My great great-great-(you get the picture)-grandchild could collect nuts from my tree. That’s a dream worth having.

Tricia shares tips for living better with less at littleecofootprints上海龙凤419m and on Instagram (TriciaEco)