Archives - December, 2018

12 Dec 18

SHINING: Travis Collins was the star of the n Country Music Awards on Saturday, winning three golden guitars. Picture: Dan HimbrechtsTHE phone of Travis Collins’ manager Ken Outch has been running hot since his client cleaned up at the n Country Music Awards on Saturday night in Tamworth.
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The Cessnock musician won three of his six golden guitar nominations, includingmale artist, best song for Call Me Crazy and single of the year for Just Another Girl. It ended an astonishing run of 19 nominations without a victory.

“It was a huge thrill and just an honour to be held in the esteem from the industry that votes on it,” Collins said.

Winning song of the year with the ballad Call Me Crazy was particularly satisfying.

“I’m glad its win in that category has been able to shine a light,” he said. “I’ve also been able to talk to people like yourself [media] about suicide prevention and mental health in and I’m really happy that that song had already been a vehicle for it and has now been thrown into a spotlight and I get to spread that message a lot more.”

Collins plans to spend the next four months writing in the studio before he tourswith Amber Lawrence in June.

TROPHY SHORTSO close, but no cigar. Newcastle punk lads Trophy Eyes missed cracking their maiden Triple J Hottest 100 last Thursday by the slimmest of margins.

Lead single Chlorineoff their second albumChemical Miracle finished No. 101, falling just short of Birds Of Tokyo’sBrace. Chlorinewas the only Novocastrian single to crack the top 200, with The Gooch Palms’ Ask Me Why a surprise omission.

However, Newcastle drummerDom Borzestowski featured twice in the poll of2.24 million votes with his Sydney band Gang Of Youths claiming 50thand 146thfor Strange Disease and Native Tongues.

GOOD TIMES ROLLEVEN the ruling in 2012 that Men At Work’s anthem Down Under was plagiariseddoesn’t diminish itsenduring popularity. Newcastle’s Civic Theatre will no doubt be filled with that iconic flute riff on May 31 when Colin Hay performs at the venue for the Good Times Tour.

Joining the Men At Work frontman will be The Black Sorrows with Vika and Linda Bull, Deborah Conway and Mental As Anything.

It is the fifth annual Good Times Tour, which last year broughtDaryl Braithwaite, Kate Ceberano, Jon Stevens and John Paul Young to the Civic Theatre. Tickets go on sale on Thursday for Ticketek members and on Monday to the general public.

WITH THE BOSSBRIAN Lizotte will live out the dream of millions of music fans when he shares the same stage asBruce Springsteen on the rock icon’s upcoming n tour.

The Lizotte’s owner has been invited to play trombone withhis brotherDiesel, when he supports Springsteen and The E Street Bandat The Boss’ Melbourne(Thursday), Hanging Rock (February 11) and Hope Estate (February 18) shows. The Newcastle Herald understands Lizotte was hesitant to wrest himself away from his duties at his Lambton theatre, but staff ensured him it was an opportunity not to be missed.

EMOTIONAL DAYEXPECTa few wet eyes on stage at Lizotte’s on Sunday when Tamworth’s Aleyce Simmonds launches her third album More Than Meets The Eye.

The album is candid about the issue of domestic violence, but the title track could well be the record’s most emotional moment. The track was co-written with Hunter Valley alt-country musician Tori Forsyth and the late Country Music Association of n Academy teacher Karl Brodie. Brodie died last April from pancreatic cancer aged 44.

Forsyth will support Simmonds on Sunday, alongside CMAA Academy graduate, Newcastle’sKate Pope.

PROLIFIC BLACKMOST of us would struggle writing a song once in our whole life, little alone one for every day of the year. However, that is the amazing feat completed by The Hard-Ons’ frontman Peter Blackin 2016. Black wrote, recorded and released 366 songs during the leap year through hisBandcamp account.

Black performed with the Hard-Ons at the inaugural Thrashville at Lower Belford two weeks ago and will return to the Hunter at the Grand Junction Hotel on February 23 to perform his solo material. Joining the Aussie punk legend on the road will be French-raised acoustic artist Forest Pooky.

The pair previously toured Europe together and recorded an EP.

LITTLE RELEASEMELBOURNE garage rockers The Pretty Littles are returning to the road in March to promote HelluvaTuesdi, the fourth single off their record Soft Rock For The Anxious.

The tour includes a March 18 support show with fellow Melbourne band Ceres at the Cambridge Hotel.

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12 Dec 18

A 20-year infrastructure plan for the Hunter could be back on the State’s agendawhen Maitland Mayor Peter Blackmore calls on new Premier Gladys Berejiklian to resurrect theHunter Infrastructure and Investment Fund.
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Mayor Peter Blackmore.

Cr Blackmore wants to invite Ms Berejiklian to Maitland to discuss the possibility of extending the fund for a second round so the region can push ahead with projects that did not see the light of day during the first round.

Cr Blackmore chaired the board that was set up to advise the government on the best use of the $350 million fund that was announced in 2010 as a key plank of the Coalition’s subsequently successful election campaign.

Another $100 million was added to the fund in 2014 and almost $400 million has been spent or allocated to projects selected by the infrastructure fund board.

It was set up to guide 20 years of infrastructure development, including transport, education, water and health, support economic growth and enhancethe liveability of the region.

The government quietly abolished the Hunter-based board late last year.

Cr Blackmore told Fairfax Media this week that he wantsto invite the Premier to Maitland to discuss a number of issues, most importantly the fund.

“I want to see what plans the government has for the Hunter and call for a second round,” the mayor said.“The previous round was a huge success and there were other areas in NSW pounding the pavementasking ‘why can’t we get this’.Each project submitted for consideration is based on its merits and there are serious guidelines.”

Projects to come out of the fund include$20million for wine region roads, $44million fora New England Highway upgrade at Maitland, $4million forThomas Mitchell Drive at Muswellbrook, an $11million Newcastle Airport expansion, $5million forKurri and Cessnock hospitals, $25million for John Hunter Children’s Hospital and$25million for the University of Newcastle.

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12 Dec 18

INSPIRED: Naomi Price said the ordinariness of Adele makes her a compelling character to perform on stage. Picture: Dylan EvansNAOMI Price was just like millions of women around the world when she was first touched by the music of Adele.
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Heart-broken and looking for something to cling to, Adele’s second album 21 in 2011 provided the remedy the Brisbane stage performer sought.

“Her album 21 came out when I was going through a really bad break up,” Price said.“Initially, I identified with all those songs about heart break and everyone has got a memory of hearing her songs for the first time, and for me, it was the soundtrack to this really difficult part of my life. I connected initially on a more emotional level, especially her more painful ballads.”

Price wasn’t alone. Adele’s hits like Rolling In The Deep and Someone Like You made21a global smash. In an era where record sales are continually plummeting, the album sold 35 million copies worldwide to be the highest-sellerof2011 and 2012.

On October 12, 2012 Adele gave birth to her son, the same night Price debuted her Rumour Has It tribute show.

”It was perfect timing in that she disappeared from the public eye and we were able to create this show and satisfy people’s desire to see her songs performed live,” Price said.

Unlike most tribute acts, Adele is at the height of her fame and creativity and is touring for the first time next month. Therefore English-born Price, who has previously starred in Jesus Christ Superstar and Wrecking Ball about Miley Cyrus, has attempted to articulate Adele the performer and the person to audiences.

“The other thing that drew me is her speaking voice and who she is in every day life,” she said.“She’s the kind of girl you would want over for dinner because she’s an absolute laugh.

“She sings like a goddess then talks like a chimney sweep. It’s a really nice contradiction and as an actor that’s awesome to play, as you can sing these incredible songs and then start swearing and being bit of a dickhead, and people just love you for it.”

Rumour Has It –Adele plays at Wests New Lambton on February 10.

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12 Dec 18

TENSION: and the US have long enjoyed a close relationship, but a heated call between the new US President and Malcolm Turnbull could be a game-changer.
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HOW long will be silent before the madness that is Trump is called out for what it is? Is the offshore resettlement of 1000 refugees (yes, I said refugees not illegal immigrants) so vital that we will bow and scrape to a manwho is clearly determined to suppress the voices of all who oppose him?

Yes, our relationship with the US is important but so is our sense of decency and sovereignty.We can resolve this domestic issue of Nauru and Mannus – close the camps (yes, camps notprisons) and re-home these refugees in .

Our leaders need to stand their ground and show that is also an important player in the world economy.We are not to be ridiculed and mocked.

Draw a line in the sand Mr Turnbull, a bully is a bully is a bully.

Don’t let become a victim.

Kim Smith,AbermainShow day, for the kidsI WAS unhappy to read the Newcastle Show was struggling to stay open.I found it shameful to read the former state Labor Party in 2008 abolished the Showground Trust giving the management to Venues NSW.

I think the Hunter Business Chamber has a mean-spirited attitude because they deny the kids a public show holiday.

I would support Brett Gleeson, president of the Show Association, handing an application into Newcastle council for the public show holiday, as the Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said she still would support the show holiday, if an application was made by the association.

I reckon it’s time Newcastle council send a submission to the NSW government to bring back the assets, apply for a grant to update the show and re-establish the Newcastle Showground Exhibition Centre Trust.

In my opinion the kids are No. 1 and they need the show more than ever. In this day and age the kids are spending too much time in cyberspace and are becoming socially isolated and need a good dose of social interaction. There is no better way but to go to the show. Fun, fun, fun is good medicine.

Maureen O’Sullivan Davidson,SwanseaAll allowed an opinionIN response to Cheryl Daniel (Letters, 31/1) who statedthat, regarding the scare mongering of the Save Our Rail protesters, that my opinion doesn’t count because I live at Mayfield. I guess that in some ways I represent most of the population of Newcastle and I do expect to have an opinion and respect Cheryl’s right to have an opinion too.

I was commenting on the fact that all of the confusion that was predicted when the rail line was removed simply did not happen and most Novocastrians do not see that our city has been decapitated.

I also fail to see that Mr Baird can be blamed for more late trains and breakdowns from Scone and Dungog.

I believe that it was Voltaire that once said something like “I disapprove of what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it”.

That’s a democracy. And the people of Mayfield are allowed an opinion too.

Denise Lindus Trummel, MayfieldAnd then whatI WONDER if all those thousands of people who scream and march in protest against immigration controls – I believe 90 per centof whom are women – will take responsibility when our welfare system is overloaded and the government cannot pay pensions, unemployment benefits, subsidise crèches, give rental allowance, and so on – which of course will happen.

Will they take responsibility for their actions when bombs explode in schools and violence gets out of control on the streets and rape becomes a ‘normal’ occurrence?

It is easy to protest when you don’t have to be held responsible for the end results of your actions.

Tom Edwards, Wangi WangiThink of the childrenIT’S so good to know the Newcastle Herald is determined to protect our children (“Scripture suspension call over ‘dead animal dissection’ lesson”,Herald,31/1).

Hopefully soon there will be articles about the safe schools program, insisting it’s removed because it certainly doesn’t protect our children.

Also I hope to see an attack on the media about the sexualisation of children and TV stations that broadcast M-rated programs on free to air TV during times when children are likely to be watching TV.

I know that many will be concerned about the amount of violence and killings that are shown as indicated by recent concern about some SRE lessons.

Helen Walkom, HillsboroughEducation for tolerance​I AM surprised and disappointed that someone so committed to social justice such as Rod Bower seems to be advocating the removal of SRE in public schools (‘Scripture in schools ‘needs to be reconsidered’: priest’,Herald,1/2).

Father Rod should volunteer an hour out of his busy week and accompany one of the many SRE teachers in his area and see what happens in class. He may spend a half-hour or so in a world much bigger than a world of moribund secularism, where God can be discovered, explored and learned about.

Students that I have taught in SRE over nearly 20 years have been thoughtful, respectful and tolerant of other beliefs during class time.

SRE helps students discover that there is a big world out there that God has been involved in throughout human history.

A tolerant, secular society would never ban SRE in schools.

Michael Deal, WinghamCondition not understoodIN reference to the article ‘Fight to beat trauma’, (Herald,2/1)I wanted to let Michelle know she is not alone in her battle with PTSD and workers’ compensation.

I am a victim of a violent attack, at school two years prior, with a PTSD and depression diagnosis. Both the employer and the insurer have very little understanding of how the psychological injury affects daily life, yet despite having no certificate of capacity they still put pressure on you to return.

This continual harassment only makes the PTSD worse and prevents you from getting better. I have lost everything. Which part don’t they understand?

Name supplied, Warners BayLetter of the weekThe Herald pen goes toSue Leask for her letter about religious education.

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12 Dec 18

DEAR online service providers. I appreciate that call centres in far flung places like India and South Africa are cheaper but please note: English is my first language and only language. I have problems understanding Indian. Lots. Please speak to me in English, or put me onto an English speaker.
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Andrew Whitbread-Brown, Cardiff HeightsMUNDINE gave Green a boxing display. Love him or hate him he’s a class boxer. Not many in history of boxing have turned pro after a month.

Mark Sheerin, Hamilton SouthELDER abuse in residential aged care is a bigger problem than most realise. There is no reason for anyone to be silent about this abuse. Abuse can be reported to the aged care complaints commissioner: 1800 550 552. They say silence gives consent.

Richard Ryan, Summerland PointWHY all the whinging about Trump’s wall? It’s already been proven to work. The Great Wall of China has been there for over 600 years and, from what I’ve heard, there’s no illegal Mexicans living up that way.

Eddie Niszczot,ThorntonTO add to the confusion of motorists not stopping at the Stop signs at Burwood Road and Glebe Street, Kahibah,someone has erected another two Stop signs, at the intersections of Hexham Street and Kahibah Road, Kahibah. I can only surmise that these will be ignored, or are invisible. Three vehicles in front of me drove straight through. I consider these new signs dangerous.

Daphne Hughes,KahibahWHAT a shemozzle. The deal between someone it’s claimed is President of the United States and our own Prime Minister turns out to be a dumb (not done) deal. Surely it would be auspicious for to reassess our alliance. Historicallywe’ve more than repaid America for its WWII contribution. New Zealand seem to be doing well with their more arm’s length relationship.The saddest part of all this however is those poor people on Nauru, hanging on a cliff’s edge.

Anne Phillips,WallarahANTHONY Mundine says he will be remembered as the greatest when I think he may be remembered as a hypocrite. Living behind gates in a multi-million dollar home, Anthony is suckling of the advantages a multicultural growing country brings. He had the chance to bring a nation together and be a champion for indigenous people but he chose to put a wedge as deep as he could.

David Finn, Warners BayTHE POLLSSHOULD building heights be lifted in Nelson Bay?

Yes 56%,No 44%DO you think children are aware of the funding differences between schools?

Yes 59%,No 41%MESSAGEBOARDBELMONT View Club will meet on Wednesday, Feburary 15, at 10.30am at Central Charlestown Leagues Club. New members and visitors welcome.

Phone 4951 1524.

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12 Dec 18

I HOPE, with all the excessive heat this summer, the energy companies will show some compassion when their customers receive their large power bills. Everyone has the right to stay cool, regardless of their income.
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Sue Morris, MarylandJETS recruitment: Is Brisbane one of our feeder clubs?

Daryl Frost, EleebanaAFTER what’s happening in the US, do people really want a republic?

John Martin, Warner’s BayCONGRATULATIONS to Professor Tim Roberts for drawing readers attention to the important bookBlack Emuby Bruce Pascoe (‘Unearthing millennia of agriculture in ’,Herald,30/1).I recently borrowed this book from Newcastle library and found it to be both very well researched and readable. It is amazing that such detailed evidence of advanced land management by our Aboriginal people could have been buried in diaries and other archives for so long.

Nev Williams, WallsendHAS anyone resolved the question yet of high-speed V8 racing on Watt Street and the proposed light rail tracks across Watt Street? Surely one will prevent the other?

Scott Cooper-Johnston, Tighes HillI COULDN’T agree more with Merv Cooper (Letters, 1/2). Who were the bright sparks who decided it was OK to have a race track within three metres of residents’ front doors, when this has never been permitted at previous Supercars events?

Jill Sharman, Newcastle EastTHE message is clear: save water as much as we can. The dams are evaporating due to hot weatherhowever, after a few people reported a leaking water main in our street two weeks ago it is still running down the gutter. I ask why?

Dave Tanner,CharlestownIN reply to Bruce Brown (Short Takes, 2/2): If it’s the motor-racing track near the Balickera Canal, north of Raymond Terrace, it is situated off Italia Road, so I am assuming that is the logic behind it being named “Circuit Italia”.

Rhonda Brown, KaruahCHRIS Blanch (Letters, 30/1) has to be kidding. I have never seen a tennis player spend as much time on court picking away at his underwear region as Rafael Nadal. Rafa is an awesome player but he needs a new underwear sponsor.

Karl Hogg,Hamilton EastTHE POLLSSHOULD council mergers be scrapped?

Yes 63%,No 37%SHOULD people have a right to be “negative”?

Yes 78%,No 22%DO you regularly shop at Aldi?

Yes 81%,No 19%WILL Jamie Buhrer make a good captain?

Yes 91%,No 9%

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12 Dec 18

BOREDOM: Reflecting on her own experiences of religious education in schools has one contributor suggesting ethics classes are the best choice for students today.
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I DON’T remember Religious Education (RE) in primary school, but in the 1950s it was a weekly feature at the all girls’ high school I attended. Thechoices were pretty limited and in my case I was expected to attend the Church of England (Anglican) group.

With the exception of my final year, it was pretty boring. There was a lot of misbehaviour, punished by after school detention, and in some cases aletter to parents. Guilty,but not as bad as my sister.

You could pretend your RE teacher hadn’t turned up – sometimes true – and sit with the nonbelievers on the basketball field, also pretty boring. Abetter alternative was to try the other religions. The Presbyterians had an ex-prison padre and his stories included murderers he had met – he always had a big roll-up. I loved to sing, so I was a regular at theMethodists. Unfortunately the Roman Catholics were too few in number to infiltrate, and I did want to find out why my mother and her friends were so anti-RC (and RC boys).

In my last year at school our RE teacher was an inspiring young woman whoasked us what we would like to learn about; we chose religions of theworld. For me it was fascinating, informative and a great start towards tolerance and understanding of the world we live in.

Twenty-five years of teaching and supervising RE instructors did nothing to change my opinion that RE has no place in state schools. I sawcoercion, bribery, propaganda and inappropriate behaviour from instructors of all ages – male and female.

It’s simple, RE is taught in religious schools or by the family, not in state schools, with ethics taught in all schools.

Sue Leask,Belmont‘Bizarre’ report of reviewI WRITE as the head of the Queensland Christian Religious Instruction Network, a body thatexists to encourage and support the thousand-plus instructors of religious instruction in thesunshine state. Our organisation was involved in the 2016 review of the Connect material,meeting with government and the Queensland Education Department along the way.

I found the reporting of the results of the Queensland review into Connect bizarre (“Scripture suspension call over ‘dead animal dissection’ lesson”, Herald, 31/1). It was very strange to read a report of a review –that in the main endorsed and supported Connect and the Qld Religious Instruction system –being used to try to discredit the whole system in a different state. To use an analogy – Ed Qldwere presented with a cake. They said, “great cake, can you sweep up the crumbs?”Thepublishers of Connect swept up the crumbs – and now the stale crumbs are trying to berecycled to cancel someone else’s party.

All curricula undergo review. There is nothing alarming about sweeping away the crumbs. In Queensland,RI is extremely popular with an opt-in rate of 70 per centwhere classes areon offer. The system caters for all faith groups and those of no faith. I think Tuesday’s report was sensationalism and hysteria at its best.

Paul Clark, chair, Queensland Christian Religious Instruction NetworkIn defence of scriptureTHE article denigrating the historical accuracy of the belief in the veracity of the Biblical account needs a response in the light of so much other evidence (“Scripture ‘an echo from bygone era’”,Herald,1/2).

Lee Strobel spent a year studying the evidence. His motivation was that he did not believe it and wanted to demonstrate publicly his lack of belief. After a year of intensive study he stated that the evidence for its accuracy was overwhelming. He published his findings in a book called The Case For Christ.

Dr William Ramsey is recognised as one of the greatest scholars of antiquity. In the preface of the book he wrote on the subject, he stated that he could not be accused of a Christian bias. He said that when he began examining the statements made by Luke, the author of two books in the Bible, he was forced to publicly state that Luke is a historian par excellence, and this changed his previous view.

The subject is a very important one in the light of the wonderful motivation of people who have come to faith in the person who is mentioned in the record –that is, Jesus Christ. Immediately next to the article mentionedwas a picture of the Dutch medical vessel docked in Newcastle, and staffed by dedicated medical people who are giving up their time to provide medical services for parts of Papua New Guinea (“Upgrades ahead PNG voyage”).These people belong to a Christian organisation who take a stand on the reliability of scripture.

Ron Gibbins,Adamstown HeightsAusterity only trickEVER since the government of Gough Whitlam the Liberal Party have claimed they are the only party sufficiently sensible to manage the economy. Labor are thus described as wasteful of “other peoples’ money” (taxes) and spendthrifts.

Yet the article “ScotMorrison to lift credit limit”(Herald,29/1) tells the story of Liberal government fiscal mismanagement.

There are many ways a government can manage the economy but all the Libs can suggest is austerity. Spending is what the Libs claim is the cause of our money woes and so spending cuts are the only answer.

Many of us will recall the Howard Government tax cuts during the halcyon days of budget surpluses created by the mining company massive profits and taxes. Howard said that tax cuts should be reversed when times were tougher. Capital gains, superannuation rebates and negative gearing are benefiting wealthy investors who are core Liberal Party supporters. Hence the government won’t dare reverse Howard’s generosity. Meanwhile our debt burden grows – it has doubled in just a few short years.

Scott Bell-Ellercamp, ClarencetownWomen should play moreSOME years ago female tennis players demanded equal pay for tournaments. Fair enough. However, the women’s final lasted 82 minutes, the men’s 225 minutes. This is because they only play best of three sets.

I understand the Williams sisters took home $5.5 million. For only 82 minutes of play. Ridiculous.I would suggest that, from the quarter-finals on, the women play best of five sets, same as the men. I have not watched a ladies’ final for years. The last one was over in less than one hour. Haven’t seen one since. Time for a change.

Don Fraser, Belmont

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12 Dec 18

Brewery taps into local history The Scenic Rim brewery is based at the old Mount Alford general store. Photo: Brock Taylor
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Owner Michael Webster has developed his recipes over many years. Photo: Brock Taylor

The internal design has kept many of the old general store’s features including the original shelving, which now holds locally sourced produce. Photo: Brock Taylor

Three varieties of beer are brewed on site, with branding reflecting classic n larrikinism. Photo: Brock Taylor

The cafe has European themed, locally sourced dishes on the menu. Photo: Brock Taylor

The cafe also takes inspiration from the old general store by selling sweet and lollies. Photo: Brock Taylor

Some of the original decor from the store has been kept, including this sign. Photo: Brock Taylor

TweetFacebookIt’s a micro-brewery, but not as you know it.

There’s no hipsters with beards behind the counter, just a Mum and Dad operation succeeding in true nstyle.

The Scenic Rim Brewery is located in the old Mount Alford general store, which had laid vacant for the past ten years.

It’s part-brewery, part-cafe and has harnessed the vibe of the building’s previous incarnation, with manyof the internal featureskept fromthe original design.

Owner Michael Webster said he hoped to provide a destination experience that encouraged people to visit the small rural town.

“There’s so much history in Mount Alford, we wanted to make sure that we preserved some of that through keeping the heritage-listed facade of the store,” he said.

For the builder turned brewer, the project allowed him to combine his two passions.

“A lot of work has gone into the restoration of the building, making sure it’s up to standard and that samehard work has been put into developing ourbeer.”

Mr Webster has been brewing for several years and has travelled the world to study different beer cultures.

“I visited a lot of breweries in Europe and completed a course in Berlin, in which I learned a lot about the processes involved with making different types of beers.”

The result is a range of beers that include a pale ale, a mid strength pale ale and a red ale.

Mr Webster said branding was integral in the success of the fledgling label.

“We wanted something that every n would be able to connect with, so we’ve used someclassic larrikin identities as part of our marketing plan.”

Michael’s wife Wendy, looks after cafe and said the menu combines the best ingredients from the Scenic Rim with some favourite Dutch recipes.

“My family came from the Netherlands, so we’ve included a lot of European inspired dishes utlitising local produce where we can.”

“We’ve now realised there’s a large community of second and third generation Dutch and German people living in the area who love coming in and getting a reminder of foodtheyhad as children.”

Mrs Webster said she was optimistic about the future of the business, despite the wave of micro breweries reaching their peak in the past few years.

“Most micro breweries in the big citiesdon’t last longer than 12-18 months, the fact that we’re a family operationand our unique location will hopefully hold us in good stead.”

The brewery is already proving a hit with locals and tourists alike, with 4000 people reportedly coming through the door in the first five weeks of being open.

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12 Dec 18

EXPENSE: A long-time midwife has objected to yet another requirement being pushed upon the industry after she was asked to produce a working with children check.
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YESTERDAY I received an email demanding I produce a working with children clearance check as working as a midwife was child related. I have been a midwife since 1980, and a registered nurse since 1974. I am outraged by this extra layer of paperwork. It is time wasting, as I have to take photo ID to the RTA and there is a cost. Annually nurses and midwives are required to update their criminal record with APRAH when re-registering to work in their chosen profession. Will the working with children clearance provide any further information?

I have listened to the Royal Commission into child abuse hearings, those accused of harming children have been men. Midwifery is a predominantly female profession, when was a midwife last accused of child abuse? Secondly I note those exempted from a clearance are those family members volunteering to work with children, is not this at odds with the research into who does the abuse?I love what I do but as yet have not paid the $80. I, not my employer, am required to fork out to continue working. My managers and colleagues are in a much better position to know if I am a fit person to work with babies and would take action if required, not this clearance.

Susanna Scurry, StocktonGlobal gag detailsSARAH Taylor correctly points out that abortion is a private matter (Letters, 31/1), and ultimately one where the decision should lie solely with the pregnant individual.However, in her rush to criticise Trump’s Executive Order, Ms Taylor fails to explain why US taxpayers should bankroll abortions (or any other medical procedure) for people in other countries. Anyone taking the time to read the order would see that it exempts cases involving incest, rape or where the mother’s life is threatened and only expressly prohibits “coercive abortion or involuntary sterilisation”.

Refusing to pay for something is very different to seeking to prohibit it. Time will tell if those expressing “outrage” at this order will open their own wallets. It’s always easy to spend other people’s money.

Scott Hillard,New LambtonCan’t change historyIT never ceases to amaze me why intelligent ns are still protesting, around the country, to change a date in history after 229 years, that is January 26, 1788, – Day. The protesters tend to call it invasion day, pray tell me what else is it? With these protesters connectivity through the world wide web, and maybe with their power of persuasion, they could convince the Americans to change December 7, 1941 – Pearl Harbour Day – to a more acceptable day, not as close to Christmas.

For Germany, they could have June 6, 1944 – D-Day – changed to a more appropriate day, say Adolf Hilter’s birthday or even a day in May 1945, the date of his death.

The possibilities of changing dates in history are immense, particularly if the people are ignorant or unaware of their past.

Cecil Hope, WallsendTeaching toleranceI OFTEN wonder when we will reach peak outrage. It doesn’t matter what the issue – someone is outraged. In the last couple of years some of that outrage has been directed at special religious education (SRE), and lately the outrage has been in the pages of this newspaper (‘Scripture suspension call’,Herald,31/1), fuelled, I think, by misunderstanding.

SRE is an opportunity for students to learn about the faith heritage of their family from a faith perspective. The classes are delivered by volunteers who are authorised and trained by theirreligious group.

The NSW Department of Education recognises the importance of spiritual well-being in their Wellbeing Framework, which “relates to oursense of meaning and purpose”. It can include our connection to culture, religion, or community andincludes the beliefs values and ethics we hold. This is where SRE fits in public education, as we work to prepare students to be resilient, positive contributors to society.

As someone involved in SRE for more than 20 years, I’ve seen its tremendous impact.But I appreciate if you hate religion, then you are not going to value faith education. Then you can choose for your child not to participate.But the overwhelming majority of parents value faith education.

One of the great strengths of public education is the opportunity for students to learn genuine tolerance. Critics of religious education believe social harmony isachieved by encouraging social conformity. As a Christian I am taught to hold my beliefs and at the same time seek tobe gracious to those with whom I disagree. In the words of Jesus, I am called to “loveyour enemy and pray for those who persecute you”. Surely that is a lesson we all need to learn. ​

Jon Thorpe,director of SRE, Anglican Diocese of SydneyChanging rail plansWHO said this (twice): “Getting rid of a rail corridor was a ludicrous thing to do and nowhere in the world would you get rid of a rail corridor because sometime in the future there may be a need to compulsorily acquire houses”?I understand it was (then) transport minister Gladys Berejiklian on ABC 702 Sydney Radio on February 8, 2015.It was quoted in a letter to TheDaily Telegraph(10/2/15) from Leon Oberg.

Oberg’s letter went on to say: “this came from the very woman who in conjunction with her premier and planning minister recently and unceremoniously closed down a busy, perfectly functional and abundantly useful rail link into Newcastle. People will be picking up the pieces long after these so-called leaders and their seemingly flawed advisers are long gone. Go figure”.

Go figure indeed. PremierBerejiklian should be reminded about this.

I understand the Hunter Independent Public Transport Inquiry (2011) concluded there was no transport case for removing heavy rail from Hamilton to Newcastle. With heavy rail gone, light rail on the corridor logically follows as the best option.The stumbling blocks are all property developers: Urban Growth (UG), Property Council of and Hunter Development Corporation. In not too many years to come, I think Novocastrians will look back and ask who supported this transport mess?

The Newcastle Foreshore International Urban Design Study (1981) also recommended a narrowed, two lane, landscaped rail corridor. That can still happen using light rail and it should if we’re serious about getting the highest quality revitalisation.


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12 Dec 18

DECLARATION: The Founding of , an artwork by Algernon Talmage, depicts the scene at Sydney Cove on January 26, 1788. Picture: Mitchell Library, State Library of NSW
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ON January 26, 1788, Captain Arthur Phillip sailed into Port Jackson on HMS Supply. At Sydney Cove Arthur Phillip, some marines and a group of convicts were the first ashore. A tree was felled and shaped into a flagpole and Phillip raised the British flag to proclaim the colony of New South Wales, establishing British settlement in . The day is celebrated each year as Day.The painting by Algernon Talmage The founding of depicted the scene. A handful of people, a flagpole and some drinks at the water’s edge. Very n, an almost picnic occasion. There was no army, just a few marines with muskets. Almost certainly no one of the First Fleet had invasion on their mind.

Two days earlier, while scouting for somewhere better than Botany Bay, about 20 Cadigal men, the local people of the area, waded out to meet Phillip’s boat in North Harbour. Phillip noted they had a confident and ‘manly behaviour’ and decided to name this place Manly Cove. That night, the same group of Cadigal men joined Governor Phillip and his men while they dined. That hardly sounds like an aggressive invasion does it? Phillip was also famed as insisting natives be treated fairly. We also owe a great debt to Phillip that he was determined slavery should not happen in .

The mistreatment of Aboriginal ns has been well documented, but we can’t put that down to Arthur Phillip who was a progressive liberal man for 18th century times. Any other date we pick for Day will have disadvantages and possibly divisive historical baggage. At least January 26 commemorates settlement establishment by a man who intended to make a humane and civilised contribution to the new southern continent.

Peter Devey,MerewetherChange date, no questionEVERY nation needs a national day with emphasis on its key values and associated with significant events in its history.Unfortunately, in we hold up January 26 as an occasion to be celebrated.The arrival of the First Fleet was significant, but it wasachieved by British colonists not by ns and with the objective to dispossess our firstpeople of their land.

We should all be aware that we perpetuate this masquerade as though it was a great andsignificant achievement of our nation when in fact we continue to celebrate the colonisationand dispossession of our indigenous people.

Our Aboriginal nations have always been deeply offended andunderstandably resent our continuing celebration of January 26. When are we to show the maturity and the will to end what is really an embarrassmentby correcting this misrepresentation of n history?Proposals for a new date for Day are long overdue. It needs to be an occasion ofinclusion of all cultures, not divisive nor to the exclusion of the world’s oldest living culture.

Darrell Dawson and CarolRidgway-Bissett,Nelson BayNO ‘caning’, just qualityCONTRARY to the scare campaign being peddled on schools funding by Labor (‘Subtracting Gonski funds equals caning for schools’, Herald,31/1), the Turnbull government’sQuality Schools, Quality Outcomespolicy will deliver record funding to schools that is needs-based and tied to evidence-based initiatives that will lift outcomes for ’s children.

There are no funding cuts. Schools funding under the Turnbull government will grow from already-record levels. The Turnbull government is growing investment in schools from $16 billion in 2016 to $20.1 billion in 2020, on top of more than $14 billion the Coalition has been delivering for regional and remote schools since we came to office in 2013.

Our funding growth means there’s no reason schools won’t be able to continue to support teachers and new or existing initiatives.We want to do away with the 27 different cosy deals Bill Shorten ran around the country stitching up before the 2013 election that one of the authors of the Gonskireport, Dr Ken Boston,recently labelled a “corruption”of needs-based funding. Those arrangements mean a disadvantaged student in a NSW school receives up to $1000 less federal funding per year than the same student in other states. We will replace those deals with a fair, transparent and needs-based model.

While funding matters, what you do with it matters even more. The Turnbull government will tie our future funding to more than a dozen evidence-based ‘back to basics’ reforms, proven to boost student outcomes.

Senator Simon Birmingham, Minister for Education and TrainingYou are you, I am IREGARDING Paul Scott’s piece on the ocean baths (‘Good golly, it’s not real flash between the flushes’,Herald 23/1).Such disrespect: ‘huge numbers of walking dead bob up-and-down from one end of the large pool to the other’. I know these lovely people and they so don’t deserve your vitriol.

You need to research about tidal ocean baths before making blatant rhetoric comments about water quality. Remember these are ocean baths and not inland pools, so seaweed, sand etc are all from the ocean.

Why also would you bag Merewether people, do you want to put people offside intentionally? Why are you being an elitist?

I feel, with all respect, that you should talk to the council first, before slandering the aged and innocent people utilising this great asset. Stop trying to set a divide between the “haves and the have-nots”.

To quote Osho, “Nobody is superior, nobody is inferior, but nobody is equal either. People are simply unique, incomparable. You are you, I am I.”

Jen Chegwidden, MerewetherToo close to homeANYONE who hasn’t researched the differences between the Newcastle and other Supercars street race tracks should do so. The Homebush track was completely non-residential. Townsville, Gold Coast and Adelaide tracks surround parkland. Those tracks are also on much wider roads.

The nearest residential property to the Townsville track is 60 metres. In Adelaide, there is one property 10 metres away, the rest are more than 20. The Gold Coast has 11 apartment buildings with an 8-10 metre setback. Newcastle’s has 106 apartment blocks and homes within three metres.

This is a first for . Is it some sort of social experiment? No leader responsible for this disaster lives anywhere near it.

Merv Cooper, Newcastle

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