Loving their job is common ground for these unsung heroes

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Brisbane 4000
ABC Radio Brisbane

By

Jessica Hinchliffe

Posted

February 23, 2017 12:08:26

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Michael Shear has been a groundsman for over 15 years. (ABC Radio Brisbane: Jessica Hinchliffe)
Boarding school staff provide second home for rural students

Meet three Brisbane groundsmen who believe their job is the best in the world.Michael Shear – St Ambrose’s School, Newmarket Mr Shear swapped his job as an insurance officer 15 years ago for a life of worm farms and sports ovals.”It was just not me and when I started here I just loved getting out of bed every day. that’s really good.”Len Moss – St Mary MacKillop Primary School, BirkdaleWith more than 600 students at the school where Mr Moss works, remembering names is a daily challenge. (ABC Radio Brisbane: Jessica Hinchliffe)
“It’s the best job ever; every part of it has been great.”It’s one of those luck jobs that you can get.”He said each day was different.”The fun part is never knowing what’s going to come up during the day.”I start at 6:30am and I clean up from the day before and then things come up like leaking air-cons or bins.”

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Michael Shear wears foot boots to tend to the gardens and grounds. (ABC Radio Brisbane: Jessica Hinchliffe)
“I can remember a few of the names but it’s hard to catch them all. Photo:
Rob Miles holds weeds in his hand while being called to another task at the school. (ABC Radio Brisbane: Jessica Hinchliffe)
Seeing the children start school and grow up is also an enjoyable part of the job for Mr Shear.”I call all the boys ‘sir’ and all the girls ‘miss’,” he said.”Years later you see the kids grown up and how they turn out so great … Photo:
Flowers and hedges are all part of the school yard gardens that the groundskeepers tend too. (ABC Radio Brisbane: Jessica Hinchliffe)
“I think this jobs suits me and the hills keep me thin.”Every day is a new challenge and you never know what’s going to happen.”The biggest thing about the job is that you just have to keep at it and eventually you’ll get there.” Photo:
Len Moss enjoys the variety in the work he does in Birkdale. I’ll keep going for as long as my body lets me.”Robert Miles – Holland Park State School For Mr Miles, his daily mission is to keep the grounds, the parents, the teachers and the children happy. Photo:
The school garden includes paw paw trees, worm farms and vegetables. I don’t know how the teachers do it.”Mr Moss was an electrician for 30 years before he turned to groundskeeping.”You have variety and it’s great to have the kids around as they always want to say hello and see what you’re doing.”At Christmas time many of the parents give me presents — so you know you’re doing something right.”Each day Mr Moss can be seen mowing and cleaning.”I do anything and everything from hedging to cleaning up after a kid that has been sick. Each day, groundskeepers across the country start their day at sunrise, helping to keep our schools tidy and green. (ABC Radio Brisbane: Jessica Hinchliffe)
“I like to walk around the school seeing what you’ve done and what you’ve changed.”Being part of the community is a big part of it … (ABC Radio Brisbane: Jessica Hinchliffe)
“I’m surprised when the kids notice the grounds so much, it helps me not see the hills so steep at the end of the day.”I think I made a difference to the school from the minute I put the first plant in the ground.”I love creating the beautiful gardens and being able to make the place look better.”Mr Miles, who was previously a musician, has looked after the grounds at Holland Park for the past eight years. Photo:
Rob Miles enjoys seeing the difference he makes to the school community.
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The bittersweet decision to downsize and sell home of 46 years

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How small is too small? Perth's housing micro-blocks
'Unlikely' 96yo activist takes on aged care industry
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Canberra 2600

(ABC Radio Canberra: Hannah Walmsley) ABC Radio Canberra

By

Hannah Walmsley

Updated

February 23, 2017 13:24:08

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Rosemary and Gerry Franklin have made the tough decision to downsize.
(ABC Radio Canberra: Hannah Walmsley)
Sitting in their flourishing backyard, the Franklins joked that they would not miss having to weed the garden.”The garden that we planted, we’ve enjoyed the garden, but as we’ve got older, it is harder to do the gardening,” Mrs Franklin said.”Although I will miss being able to go outside every morning and pick a bunch of flowers from my garden.”A house full of memories”It’s been a real family home with so many big celebrations here for the children and grandchildren,” Mrs Franklin said.”Now our children have been through school, been through university, married local girls and boys and most of them have settled here.”They’ve loved the house as much as we do.”For the Franklins, leaving the family home will be “tinged with sadness”.”Rosemary’s mother also came and lived with us here for the last six years of her life, before she died at 101,” Mr Franklin said.”Those memories are all part of the house.”With Rosemary’s heredity behind her — her father was 97 when he died and her mother at 101 — I figured she might be a widow for a few years and I couldn’t see her rattling around in here on her own.”If we’re going to move, it’s better that we move together.”Our new home will be a lot easier for one left alone to feel secure.”

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Rosemary Franklin says her garden has been magnificent in bloom each spring. Gerry and Rosemary Franklin have made a bittersweet decision that empty-nesters right across the country are faced with each year.The Canberra couple will move into retirement accommodation later this year and sell the family home where they have lived for almost half a century.At 83, Mr Franklin is determined that he and his wife, 82, downsize together while they are both fit and well.An ideal family homeIt was 1971 when the Franklins bought land and built the first house on Wenholz Street in Farrer.”The house itself cost $17,000 and the block of land we bought at auction,” Mr Franklin said.”We said we wouldn’t go beyond $1,500 for the land, but we actually went to $1,900.”A very expensive block,” he added, chuckling.Moving from their small “govie house” in Dickson, the Franklins were in need of a bigger home to accommodate their six young children.”Farrer was a lovely neat little suburb and we were pleased to be here,” Mrs Franklin said.”To us, this place was ideal.”Changing needsOver 46 years the house has undergone numerous additions and renovations to accommodate the family’s changing needs.”For a time there was our family of eight living here and now it’s just the two of us, so it’s a big house to be in,” Mr Franklin said. Photo:
Rosemary and Gerry Franklin say their children have accepted the decision to downsize and sell the family home was a good idea. (ABC Radio Canberra: Hannah Walmsley)
The Franklins will also leave behind their much-loved neighbourhood community.”We love the street,” Mrs Franklin said.”We’ve had such a friendly number of neighbours and we’re going to be grieving at leaving the street.”Encouraged by friends who have already moved into retirement villages and smaller homes, the Franklins are proud their decision is one they have been able to make for themselves.”All the people that we know who have been through this say it’s like going overseas — it’s like sheer hell to go through, but when you get there, it’s marvellous,” Mr Franklin said.

From Harlem to Perth: Sharing the joy of swing dance

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Perth 6000
New York swing dance aficionado Lana Turner has brought her passion for getting people onto the dance floor to the Perth International Arts Festival.An archivist and real estate agent by day, by night Turner is well known in the Big Apple for swinging; she is a regular at outdoor dance floors and pop-up jazz concerts in the city’s parks across summer.She stands out among the crowd, dressed in the prized vintage dresses and hats from her vast collection.While she is swaying and moving to the music of Ella Fitzgerald or Count Basie, she always sneaks a peek at those watching on.”You can see the joy in their faces watching the dancers and you know that they want to get up and do the same thing. She also does not stick to a set routine when she dances.Instead, she improvises with her dance partners — a practice she likens to how musicians play jazz. “Knowing that something that started in Harlem has found its way all over the world — and Perth is one of them — is wonderful.”No formal trainingTurner never studied dance in any formal way; she started by standing on her father’s feet as child and just went from there. (ABC Radio Perth: Emma Wynne)
“I just want to thank them for having me come and loving the art of dancing,” she said of the participants. “I’ve never done any choreography, it’s not me.”My model really was my daddy and it was not about performing, it was simply about enjoying that music of Count Basie or Duke Ellington.”Really, dancing is hearing it and being able to react to it. That’s where I fit in.” (ABC Radio Perth: Emma Wynne)
“One of the things I do is try to get people who don’t dance to dance.”I just go and get them and say, ‘it’s OK if you don’t know the steps, it’s alright’.”The idea is to understand the joy and the exuberance of dance.”It’s all about the musicMany people get swept away by Turner’s enthusiasm and reassurance that it is not necessary to know any of the steps.”What you need to do is hear the music and have a great time.”In Perth she’ll be staging a series of workshops and performances; this weekend she will appear alongside famed Harlem drummer Evan Sherman and the WA Youth Jazz Orchestra at the Festival Gardens.Turner said she was certain she would not be the only person dancing by the end of the night.”Don’t worry about the steps, you will get it later.”While in Perth, Turner has also taken up the opportunity to attend swing dance classes — but she said she was not there to teach. Photo:
Lana Turner on the dance floor in North Perth. Photo:
Swing dance students at a class in North Perth.
Perth arts festival set for stormy launch
(ABC News) ABC Radio Perth

By

Emma Wynne

Posted

February 23, 2017 17:06:26

Video: Lana Turner was a guest at a Perth swing dance group during her visit to the city.
PIAF show Before the Siren a 'feminist footy frenzy in Freo'

Australian model saves New York teens from icy Central Park pond

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United States
Updated

February 22, 2017 11:33:40
“It was all a bit confronting, to be honest,” he said.The teens were all pulled out safely and treated for hypothermia, with one taken to hospital. Luckily for them, Australian model Ethan Turnbull, 24, and his friend Bennett Jonas, 23, were skateboarding by and saw the ice collapse. How to survive falling through iceDon’t remove your winter clothingTurn towards the direction you came — that’s probably the strongest icePlace hands and arms on the unbroken surfaceKick your feet to work your way back onto the solid iceLie flat on the ice and roll away from the hole to keep your weight spread out and avoid breaking through againGet to a warm, sheltered area and rewarm yourself immediatelySource: Minnesota Department of National Resources
“Some of those kids would have gone under the water if we didn’t go in, so God was looking out for them and was looking out for me and I was in this park for a reason tonight,” Mr Jonas said. it wasn’t nice.”He laughed off a reporter’s suggestion he and Mr Jonas were heroes.”I think we were just right time, right place to be honest.”AAP/ABC Authorities were able to get to the pond within two minutes. “The guys at the back were just on top of one another … An Australian model and his skateboarding friend have been hailed as heroes in New York after they saved seven teenagers who fell through ice in Central Park. In a video posted to his Instagram account Mr Turnbull told journalists of the moment he realised the teens were in trouble.”I could see them standing on the ice as we were skating around … External Link:

Teenagers try to escape after falling through ice in a pond in New York's Central Park
“He [Jonas] was just passing the kids at the end and I was just throwing them up and over the fence,” Mr Turnbull said. Turnbull told 3AW the last two teens were unconscious by the time they were pulled out. as we came back around, I could hear them screaming by that stage and then when we got there they were well submerged in the water,” he said. “I went into the water, he followed me and the first two kids jumped on me and I had to get them off,” Mr Jonas said. External Link:

Ethan Turnbull talks about saving teens from icy Central Park pond
The teens were playing, dancing and taking selfies on a frozen pond on Monday night (local time) but fun became a fight for survival when the ice fractured and they fell into the frigid water. “I think they all just panicked a little bit,” Turnbull told local television station NY1. “They were like overwhelmed, it was so absolutely freezing cold.”Mr Jonas said he and Mr Turnbull worked as a team to pull the teens out of the icy water.

From dogs to frogs: The life of a pet photographer

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Milton 4064
(Supplied: Ken Drake) ABC Radio Brisbane

By

Jessica Hinchliffe

Updated

February 22, 2017 13:10:39

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Lining up seven puppies at once was a challenge for pet photographer Ken Drake.
Using art to brush up on ocean science
(Supplied: Ken Drake)
“When an animal comes in I get them moving around, running, jumping and throwing balls around the studios.”I have to recognise the body language of the animals and I’ve developed a way of talking to them in their own language.”Working with children and animals The saying goes, ‘Don’t work with children or animals’, but Mr Drake said one of his most touching sessions involved both.The subject was a Jack Russell that had an amputated leg, severe scaring and had beaten numerous cancers.”I took photos of him with the owner’s four-year-old daughter; she was with him in a pink ballet tutu.”The personality that came through for both of them was absolutely fabulous.”And one of the smallest animals Mr Drake has had to photograph turned out to be one of the most animated.”People don’t think about frogs and personality but this little guy was beaming at the cameras and I captured that.”A rewarding and giving careerMr Drake said his work was very rewarding, especially when people received their prized photograph.”It’s such a privilege to meet so many lovely personalities that we have in our dog friends and other animals,” he said. Photo:
Time is spent with each animal before the studio session to gauge their personality. (Supplied: Zoo Studio)
“I have an unusual technique for a photographer as I hold the camera in one hand as I use my left hand for communicating,” he said.”I’m often down on the floor trying to get photos.”I was dragged around the floor by a 55-kilogram Rottweiler — as we were playing tug-of-war — once.”We got some great shots but he nearly pulled my arm out of my socket.”The former software developer said before pet photography he was constantly travelling for work and was never home long enough to have his own animal.”I took a few months off and got my first digital camera and a couple of cats and it all connected instantly.”I noticed I wasn’t just getting images of the animals, I was capturing their personality and it really excited me.”Capturing an animal’s personalityMr Drake said photographing animals successfully involved spending time with them before going into the studio.He said having food and toys at hand — as well as good conversation — helped capture the animal’s personality. Photo:
The small personality traits of each animal are captured on camera. (Supplied: Ken Drake)
“Also seeing the connection people have with their pets is a beautiful thing.”It can be an emotional time when owners receive their photos because they have a slice of their pet that’s captured forever … From dogs to frogs, a day in the life of one of Australia’s best pet photographers involves patience, pet food and the ability to talk to animals.Ken Drake has won numerous photography awards and was last year named AIPP Australian Professional Pet/Animal Photographer of the Year.But such fame has not led to a life of glamorous overseas photo shoots; instead the Brisbane-based artist spends much of his day lying on the ground at his workshop in Milton. Photo:
Pet photographer Ken Drake spends hours with the animals before taking their photo. that’s a very special moment.”Mr Drake works with the RSPCA regularly and shoots its calendar each year.He also recently published a book, Paw Traits, with a portion of the sales going to the charity.”It was so exciting to see my images in a book; all the owners were so excited to have their pets on a page.”This is why I do what I do, it’s my calling and I don’t imagine there will ever be a time in my life I won’t be photographing animals.”It’s something I’ll do right up until the day I die.”

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Bowie mural artist returns to Adelaide to leave mark on former home town

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(ABC News: Nicola Gage) By Nicola Gage

Posted

February 21, 2017 06:36:01

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Jimmy C has been daubing public spaces since he was a teenager.
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Adelaide 5000
Australian Bowie mural artist reflects on 'incredibly sad loss'
(ABC News: Nicola Gage)
Cochran became a leader of the graffiti subculture movement in Adelaide of the early 1990s, and said that early on he realised it was something he wanted to do for a living.”I went to art school and it was from there that it gradually became full time,” he said.Cochran admitted there were a few times he almost got caught painting somewhere he should not have been.”There was a time when graffiti … “For me it was basically the mystery of painting in the night.”I was seeing these colourful things along the railway line and I was intrigued — who the hell is painting them?”

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Cochran was first inspired by the graffiti associated with the golden era of hip hop music in the 1980s. (ABC News: Nicola Gage)
Attitudes to urban art changingCochran said his rebellious streak initially drew him to the art form.”Rebelling was part of it, that was part of my nature, also finding an identity on the street among friends,” he said.”It gave me a lot of things, one of them was an outlet of expression, so if there was any adolescent angst, frustration, it was a very good way to express yourself and have a focus.”My work is often about how we connect to the world around us — maybe at an atomic level or through energy.”The South Australian-born artist said attitudes toward urban art were slowly changing.”I’ve met police, security guards that were 10 years ago chasing graffiti artists and now they’re buying canvases of graffiti or street art books for their coffee table,” he said.”It’s definitely evolved and matured as an art form. (Reuters: Stefan Wemuth)
Hip hop inspires aerosol artworksIt was back in the late 1980s, in a golden era for hip hop music, when at the age of 15 Cochran first picked up an aerosol can.”The hip hop culture from America made a strong impact on us young kids,” he said. Even though it still has the rawness and the rebellious aspect of it, it has also become very sophisticated and institutionalised.”Street art is appearing in museums now and [is] collected by major art collectors around the world.” “I’m surprised at how many artworks there are popping up around the place.”Among street artworks for which Jimmy C is celebrated globally is his British mural of performer David Bowie, which became a memorial after the singer’s death.He said such attention was “surreal” and beyond what he could have imagined when he was a teenager growing up in the Adelaide Hills.”When you’re a student you don’t really know how you’re going to make a living out of it,” he said. After this year’s Adelaide Fringe festival ends next month, one of its art highlights will not be going anywhere.Internationally renowned street artist James Cochran, aka Jimmy C, has been back in his former home town to leave his mark, collaborating with another artist, Seb Humphreys, in Adelaide’s laneways on a project known as Street Art Explosion.”Every time I come back to Adelaide I see a further transformation and more colour on the walls, new architecture,” Cochran said. was basically perceived as vandalism and nothing else,” he said.”It’s all to do with rebellion, it’s to do with finding identity.”

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Aerosol art now has a place in galleries and art collections around the world. Photo:
Cochran spray-painted the celebrated David Bowie mural in Brixton after the singer’s death last year.
Street art poster campaign tackles what it means to be a 'real Aussie'

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Teen with muscular dystrophy appointed school vice-captain

But if I do something silly, she’s right there,” he said.”I rely on her quite a lot. If I ever need her, she’s right there. He and his family moved to Rockhampton from the small mining town of Blackwater to gain access to better services.”Coming from a rural area, there’s really not much in the way of services to support my disability and that became a recurring issue, especially when I may become sick,” he said.”I have congenital muscular dystrophy. He said much of his success was because of the support of his mother, who is also the school-based police officer. It just means I am contained to the wheelchair for life.”Last year, Thomas had back surgery to stabilise and correct the curvature in his spine.He said fatigue was an issue after the surgery, but he had seen massive improvements. “I have a few options, maybe a lawyer, maybe a politician. The year 12 student has clearly made an impression on his peers in a short space of time.”I just think I have a great personality,” he said.Feeling of belongingThomas said the appointment to vice-captain made him feel like he belonged.”The honour of being selected by your peers to do such a big job,” he said.”I reckon they look at me like just another student, just their friend.”Last year, Thomas came first in three subjects and was one of the top five students for his grades across the school. “I like to dream big but I really don’t know yet. “Thomas doesn’t present himself as a boy with a disability. A teenager with congenital muscular dystrophy has been elected school vice-captain by his teachers and peers.Rockhampton High School’s Thomas Byrne only came to the school two and a half years ago. “Where there’s a will, there’s a way, and Thomas has the willpower to overcome any obstacle,” she said. (ABC Capricornia: Megan Hendry)
Thomas’s English teacher Cheryl Hendry said he was a well-respected student in the community. “It’s a blessing and a curse. There’s too many options,” he said. Who knows?”

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Rockhampton High School teacher Cheryl Hendry with school vice-captain Thomas Byrne. He has a disability but it doesn’t define him,” she said.”And I think that comes out with the way he communicates with others.”Ms Hendry said Thomas had a bright future ahead of him. She cares for me pretty much full-time and I really appreciate that she does that for me.”Dreaming of a big futureAs for his future, Thomas said he had his sights set firmly on university, but had not made up his mind on what he would like to study.
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Rockhampton 4700
(ABC Capricornia: Megan Hendry) ABC Capricornia

By Megan Hendry and Alice Roberts

Posted

February 20, 2017 13:35:54

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Rockhampton High School students with their vice-captain Thomas Byrne (C).

100 women help veteran fulfil wartime wish for 100th birthday

Just go out and meet people, that’s all it is, meeting people and discussing things with them,” he said.And the secret to his long life? They said, ‘Sir, it’s just started!'”I said, ‘Well, it’s got to end sometime’.”One of them said ‘I want to get married and have 10 children’, one wanted to go to university, they all had different things they wanted to do.”Then one chap at the back of the hall stood up and said, ‘excuse me sir, what do you want to do when the war ends?'”I sat back in my chair and said, ‘Well, I hope I can live to be 100 and I want 100 girls at that do.'”Well you know, that started the men, shrieking and whistling and laughing, because can you imagine what it feels like to a soldier — a man they knew with 100 girls — that’s absolutely fabulous.”Chance conversation made wartime wish a realityMr Cunningham survived the war and eventually moved to Australia where he and his wife worked for many years at the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper.When they retired they moved north to Swansea on the shores of Lake Macquarie, and although his wife died many years ago, he still cherishes her every day. A wartime promise has turned into a very special 100th birthday celebration for a former British Army officer now living near Newcastle.Doug Cunningham today celebrated his centenary surrounded by 100 local women, after promising his troops he would host a big party if he lived that long.He was an officer stationed in India at the outbreak of World War II.As they prepared for battle, he realised he needed to know more about the men he was working with. Doug suspects his longevity is inherited.”My mother lived to be 104 and my grandmother to 99,” he said.”I always felt there must be something in their genes that they’ve passed down.”Doug officially turns 100 on February 23. Photo:
Doug says using his brain and not watching too much TV has been the secret to a good life. Photo:
Mr Cunningham (centre) was stationed in India at the outbreak of World War II. (ABC News: Liz Farquhar)
“I had a troop of soldiers and I wanted to know what they were thinking so that if I was caught in a queer situation, I knew I could depend on them,” he said.”I said to them, I want you to talk to me about what you’re going to do when the war ends. Photo:
Women from Mr Cunningham’s local supermarket organised the party. (ABC News: Liz Farquhar)
It was a chance conversation with a check-out operator at his local supermarket that made his wartime wish a reality.”One of the girls spoke to me one day and said, ‘How old are you?’ “And I told her, and she said ‘You’ll soon be 100’ and I said ‘Yes, and I hope 100 girls come to the party’.”And the girls just took that, and said let’s see if we can find 100 girls interested in having a party, and that’s how it started.”After 100 years, Doug Cunningham has a simple philosophy for living well.”Enjoy life, use your brain, don’t look at TV too often! (Supplied)
(ABC Open: Anthony Scully) By Liz Farquhar and Sue Daniel

Updated

February 18, 2017 17:18:27

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Doug Cunningham says his longevity may be inherited as his mother lived to 104.
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Newcastle 2300

Fire-affected farmers receive a helping hand

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Other than the important things, the kids,” said Chris Wentworth-Brown.The Wentworth-Brown family said they had received incredible support from their local community and the wider farming sector, including the hay drive.”It is very overwhelming, look at these trucks rolling down here,” said Mr Wentworth-Brown.The family had temporarily moved in with friends who also live near Dunedoo.They were expecting about 100 bails of hay to be donated to their property, where many fire-affected people had off-loaded their stock.”We have just opened our arms to let people in and bring their animals,” said Lisa Clisby.”So far we have got 15 dogs and 14 horses there at the moment as well as, we have got sheep and cattle ourselves, so we have a bit of mixture.”Ms Clisby said she was amazed by how far people had travelled from to bring fodder.”I just can’t believe it, it has been so overwhelming.”Riverina truck driver humbled by grateful community

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Ron Wilson has travelled from Ladysmith near Wagga Wagga to donate hay. (By Kathleen Ferguson)
The fodder donations would make a big difference for the Wentworth-Brown family whose whole property was burnt out.”In a nutshell, [we lost] everything. One week after devastating fires ripped through central western NSW, farmers are being given a helping hand with fodder being delivered from across Australia.More than 50 trucks carrying hundreds of bails of donated hay to the fire-affected Warrumbungle region lined the streets of Dunedoo on Saturday afternoon.The Sir Ivan Fire has so far burned about 55,000 hectares of land, destroyed more than 30 homes and killed thousands of livestock.More than 3,000 bails of hay were expected to be delivered to the district during the coming days.Trucks had travelled from as far as Emerald in Queensland. (By Kathleen Ferguson)
One of the organizers, Andrew Glover from Cootamundra, said delivering fodder was the least he could do.”We couldn’t be seen to be sitting at home on our hands not helping,” said Mr Glover.Co-organiser Paul Manwaring said the hay drive was initially meant to involve only a couple of trucks.”We were down south, a long way away, too far away to help fight the fires. That sort of gets to you, and you think then they appreciate you, which I know they do.” Photo:
Cootamundra hay run organisers Paul Manwaring and Andrew Glover in Dunedoo. (By Kathleen Ferguson)
Ron Wilson would have travelled almost 1,000 kilometres by the time he got back to his home in the New South Wales Riverina region.He had travelled from Ladysmith near Wagga Wagga to bring hay donated from people in the area.He said it was imperative the rural sector supported the fire-affected farmers during this time.”I thought I would help these poor buggers out because some of them have been burnt right out and most of the money I earn, it all comes off the land,” said Mr Wilson.He said the number of people who showed gratitude surprised some of the drivers on the hay drive.”It was surprising, the amount of cars that passed us and had their thumbs up to say thank you. So we thought the best thing we could do is try and organise a couple of trucks to bring some hay up,” he said.More than 50 trucks had brought hay to the region by Saturday.”Those couple of trucks, through enormous generosity from everyone, has turned into a massive event,” said Mr Manwaring.Affected family overwhelmed by support

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The Wentworth-Brown family’s property has been burnt out.
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By Phillipa McDonald and Kathleen Ferguson

Updated

February 18, 2017 19:35:27

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Trucks roll into Dunedoo to donate hay to fire-affected farmers. (By Kathleen Ferguson)
'Too frightened to live in the bush': Uarbry couple mourn fire losses
Many residents yet to return home in fire-ravaged NSW central west

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Dunedoo 2844
At least 30 homes now confirmed lost in NSW bushfires

Bird banding and one man’s 30-year duty tracking diversity

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Sydney 2000
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A Pacific baza hawk seen searching for food in the gardens at Mount Annan. (ABC Radio Sydney: Amanda Hoh)

(Supplied: Corey Callaghan) Photo:
The eastern yellow robin is found in a wide range of habitats from dry woodlands to rainforests.
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The white-browed scrubwren lives in rainforest, open forest, woodland and heaths. (ABC Radio Sydney: Amanda Hoh)

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Adult male superb fairy-wrens have rich blue and black plumage. (ABC Radio Sydney: Amanda Hoh)
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Alan Leishman records all his banded birds on system cards. (ABC Radio Sydney: Amanda Hoh)
Other species though have been driven out by newcomers like the bell miners which only started appearing in the Mount Annan gardens in 2011.”In my lifetime, they’ve been dispersing from the Nepean, to Revesby and Scheyville National Park,” Mr Leishman said.”They’re common right down the coast, but they’re not a good thing.”Like the noisy miners they’re an aggressive bird; they feed on insects and they drive the honeyeaters out.”Some populations like superb fairy-wrens have remained steady given their ability to “fit in with human habitation”, Mr Leishman said. Photo:
The birds get tangled in the soft nets which are camouflaged in the bushland. (ABC Radio Sydney: Amanda Hoh)
In his 30 years at Mount Annan, Mr Leishman has seen rainfall decline, land clearing, habitat modification and the botanic gardens slowly “closed in” by the construction of the neighbouring M5 and surrounding housing estates.Dr Martin said researchers were working hard to stop the garden becoming “an island”, which would severely reduce cross pollination and the migration of animals, including three species of kangaroo in the area that frequently move along the green corridor between between Mount Annan and the Nepean River.Mr Leishman’s 30-year records, which he has started writing up into a scientific paper, are vital in the understanding and monitoring of bird populations in the area.One of the most notable changes has been silvereye birds which have significantly declined in numbers across the Cumberland Plains, partly due to the growth of African olive — an exotic noxious weed food source. (ABC Radio Sydney: Amanda Hoh)
It starts at dawn with the setup of several misting nets; the sites chosen by “gosh and by god” according to Mr Leishman, but which practically allow the nets to be camouflaged among the trees and long grasses.Every 40 minutes, he returns to the nets to disentangle the birds that have flown into them.On one of the rounds, Mr Leishman had to call in some tools to help extract a golden whistler after it had gotten the net twisted around its beak.After about 20 minutes, the bird came free and was put inside a white cotton bag for the walk back to the makeshift workstation beside the road. I’ll enter the information into the computer later when I get home.”

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A white-browed scrubwren has its beak-to-head measurements taken. Photo:
PhD student Vicky Austen lets a brown thornbill go after taking its measurements. (ABC Radio Sydney: Amanda Hoh)
Joining Mr Leishman this week were PhD students Vicky Austen and Corey Callaghan, who along with wildlife ecologist John Martin caught and recorded 22 birds.For each one they identified the species, recorded any visible features, then measured the bird’s weight, wing span, tail and head-to-beak length before letting it go.Among the captures were a few superb fairy-wrens, white-browed scrub wrens, a grey fantail, an eastern yellow robin, a bell miner and a red-browed firetail. Photo:
A pick had to be used to detangle this golden whistler who had the net caught around its beak. Photo:
This azure kingfisher is only the second caught in Alan Leishman’s 30 years at Mount Annan. Birds of Mount Annan The ABBBS has compiled more than two million records since it started in 1953.For the past three decades, Mr Leishman has been banding at Mount Annan every second Tuesday of the month.The process takes several hours. (ABC Radio Sydney: Amanda Hoh)
When asked about how distressed the birds got, Mr Leishman said: “It obviously has some stress, no doubt.”Who wants to be caught in a big net and have what’s like a big gold ring put around their finger?”He later added that he had not noticed any long-term effects in the birds after catching the same ones on subsequent occasions.Recording the dataMost of the birds caught already have bands on their legs and have hand-written record cards which Mr Leishman stores in old metal drawers in the back of his van.”Well there were no computers when I started,” he laughed.”It is much easier with cards … (Supplied: John Martin)
The smallest of them, a brown thornbill, weighed just six grams.The team was most excited though with an unbanded 38-gram azure kingfisher.It was only the second kingfisher Mr Leishman had seen in his 30-odd years of work.”There is a level of pleasure when you’ve found that birds are still there.So far, Mr Leishman has captured thousands of birds and recorded more than 180 species in the gardens.Tracking changesMr Leishman has honed his talent for recognising bird calls and the ability to spot the tiniest of wings in the tree canopy.But he has also witnessed first hand significant changes to the diversity of birds as a result of residential and industrial development and the effects of climate change. Photo:
Each bird has their wing length, tail length and weight measured by researchers. (ABC Radio Sydney: Amanda Hoh)
While checking the nets, Mr Leishman fondly recalled one of the oldest birds he encountered — a yellow thornbill that weighed about seven grams and which he caught multiple times over 16 years.”Most yellow thornbills from hatching period, probably only live for three months,” he said.”Most birds have a very short lifespan, but there are a number of individuals, once they know the area, they are able to live for a fairly long period of time.”Handing over to the next generationAt 76, Mr Leishman said he had no plans to hang up his binoculars or his nets anytime soon, although he does hope to pass on his knowledge to someone willing to dedicate themselves to bird banding at Mount Annan for another few decades.”Thirty years seems a reasonable amount of time and I would hope that someone may come back and look at [the data] and do some comparisons,” he said.”I don’t think the prognosis is good, I think we’ll have some big changes in the bird population.”We have some critically endangered birds in Australia, and at what point do we do something about it?”You leave it too long and you won’t have enough birds to work with and enough diversity to work with.”

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A red-browed finch is detangled from the misting nets (ABC Radio Sydney: Amanda Hoh)
That comment proved unintentionally ironic at noon when the team packed up the nets and the tools and headed to lunch.As he reviewed the list of birds, Mr Leishman appeared slightly disappointed.”You get your good days and your bad days,” he said.”Twenty-two is below average.”One day, I had 800 birds fly into the nets.”
Photo:
The female golden whistler is found in wooded habitats and dense areas. (ABC Radio Sydney: Amanda Hoh)

Which birds topped the Aussie backyard census?

(Supplied: Corey Callaghan) Photo:
The brown thornbill is found in dense shrubby habitats.

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The brown thornbill is found only in eastern and south-eastern Australia (ABC Radio Sydney: Amanda Hoh)
(ABC Radio Sydney: Amanda Hoh)
He has spent much of his life banding and collecting information about birds — starting at the age of 25 — and training young ecologists in the technique.”I’ve always loved the outdoors.”It’s one of those things children don’t get enough of. They look at [the bush] and go, ‘ooh, there’s snakes’.”Yes, there are snakes and other things here, but when you walk around confidently and keep your eyes open, there’s no real problem.”I’ve had a few raptors put their claws through my fingers and things like that … As Alan Leishman treks through the bush of the Australian Botanic Garden at Mount Annan, he whistles as he works.But it is no ordinary whistle.He is returning the call of a grey shrike-thrush, one of the many bird species he has tracked for the past 31 years.”It’s very appropriately named harmonica — it’s scientific name,” he explained.Mr Leishman is a self-described “non-professional bird bander”. it’s all part of the operation.”Netting the birdsBanding is a universal technique to monitor threatened and migratory birds. When caught, they are fitted with a uniquely numbered metal band or tag around their lower leg.In Australia, the bands are provided by the Federal Government and the information is collated by the Australian Bird and Bat Banding Scheme (ABBBS), of which Mr Leishman helps coordinate. Photo:
An adult male superb fairy-wren gets disentangled from the misting net.
(Supplied: Corey Callaghan) Photo:
The red-browed finch is most easily recognised by its bright red eyebrow, rump and beak.
ABC Radio Sydney

By

Amanda Hoh

Updated

February 17, 2017 15:07:12

Video: Bird banding in the Australian Botanic Garden

(ABC News)

(Supplied: Corey Callaghan) Photo:
The azure kingfisher is never far from water and is found across northern and eastern Australia.
(ABC Radio Sydney: Amanda Hoh) Photo:
Bell miners were first recorded in Mount Annan in 2011 but have since driven out other species.

Unique student-staffed school cafe celebrates 10 years

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ABC Radio Darwin

By

Emilia Terzon

Posted

February 15, 2017 15:38:35

Photo:
Darwin Middle School’s canteen is staffed by students. (ABC Radio Darwin: Emilia Terzon)
They get in there and get it done.”Everybody who graduates from the class gets a certificate I in hospitality and a few students have gone onto complete professional courses and cook in Darwin restaurants.School cafe opens for businessAfter the walk-in fridge is piled high with fresh food, Ms Kerrigan and two other employed cafe assistants load up the bain-marie with the daily hot meal made with the students. (ABC Radio Darwin: Emilia Terzon)
The class is run by Lorraine Kerrigan, a former food trainer who grew weary of high-pressure commercial kitchens.”The beauty of this is that the kids do all the cooking,” Ms Kerrigan laughed.”I give them all the ingredients and tell them what to do. And making new foods is fun.”Class sees noticeable rise in male studentsAssistant principal Sue Neal said one of the most interesting trends since the program launched in 2007 was the number of male students choosing to participate in the elective subject.”I’ve seen a real change from it being all-girl classes to a mix of 50-50 now, with the boys actually preferencing this as their first option,” she said.Ms Neal ascribed this to the “My Kitchen Rules effect” encouraging boys to embrace home cooking.”Cooking now is seen as not just a women’s-stay-at-home thing,” she said.”The boys are really in there, they’re diligent, they’re self organising, they don’t need the girls to tell them what to do anymore. Photo:
Lunch time at the Darwin Middle School is described as “the chaos”. When the bell rings for recess at Darwin Middle School, there is the expected chaotic rush to the school canteen, along with the more unusual appearance of teenagers in hair nets and chef aprons.The school canteen is part of a program that teaches year nine students basic cooking and business skills.The class runs four days a week in the public school’s industrial kitchen, which has seen about 1,000 students over 10 years make everything from sandwiches to Thai curries. Photo:
Camryn Stacey elected to do the subject due to her love of trying new things. Photo:
Lorraine Kerrigan is a former food trainer who wanted a break from high-pressure kitchens. (ABC Radio Darwin: Emilia Terzon)
Over on another steel counter, Ethan Muller and Malakye Stapleton-Pinto were slicing up croissants and filling them with ham and cheese.”At first I didn’t really want to do [this course] because I knew I’d have to work in the canteen, but it’s been a big surprise,” Malakye said.”I think it’s the atmosphere and the other kids and making new friends. (ABC Radio Darwin: Emilia Terzon)
After the school bell rings for lunch, the cafe is swamped by what Ms Kerrigan calls “the chaos”.”It gets very busy and sometimes [the customers] can get a bit annoyed,” Malakye said.”But normally they’re very thankful and they know we’re sacrificing our time to do this, twice a week shifts at lunch or recess.”Takings go back into the school, with Ms Lorraine welcoming of all feedback to help the students improve.”Sometimes there’s a bit too much seasoning or [students] can be a bit heavy handed with pepper and garlic, or the garlic bread goes soggy because they’ve loaded it up with enough butter to sink a ship,” she said. (ABC Radio Darwin: Emilia Terzon) Photo:
The school has witnessed a noticeable rise in male students electing to do the cooking subject. It’s a great thing to see kids get hands-on experience.”On Monday Ms Kerrigan’s rice paper roll station was manned by Camryn Stacey, a 14-year-old with a love of cooking apple tarts and other desserts at home for her mum.”We also have food nutrition classes at school where we cook for ourselves, but here we cook for the whole school,” Camryn said.
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Serving Thyme: Success of Don Dale cooking classes sparks call for more rehab programs

Fashion show held in Australia’s most remote Aboriginal community

I was really proud of him, it made everyone happy,” he said.”We live in a remote community and it is a very small community, it is very quiet.”It was loud when it was fashion night, very different.” (Supplied)
Mr Olodoodi said sitting in the audience, he felt proud of the community and especially his son who took part in the parade.”He looked different, he had a nice hairstyle, everything. We cut up spinifex, and put rocks around.”

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The catwalk was made out of discarded solar panels and decorated with rocks and spinifex. “We were running a basic life skills program here in Kiwirrkurra, all about grooming and self care,” he said.”Basically they started grooming themselves, dressing themselves and the idea popped in my head.”So we started writing requests for donations to people from all over Australia in regards to old dresses, suits and shoes.”The community was surprised when Indigenous Business Australia (IBA) posted the request on Facebook and outfits started arriving by post from all over Australia.”A lot of the silk dresses and men’s suits come from Thread Together NSW,” Mr Worrigal said.”They arrived in boxes, all taped up with notes on them saying ‘I hope it goes to a good cause’.”

Photo:
Two female models get ready for the fashion parade. (Supplied: Amanda Sibosado)
Chance to get dolled up and feel greatMr Worrigal said the event complemented the work the Ngaanyatjarra Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Women’s Council (NPYWC) Youth Program was doing in the community.”The main aim to the whole thing, it was about pride, being proud of who you are,” he said.”Confidence-building for a lot of youth.”Coming from a small remote community myself, you grow up with a lack of self confidence in life, and we turned it around and made it fun and educational.”

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In a place rich in Aboriginal culture, a fashion parade helped the isolated community to express itself in a different way. The most remote Aboriginal community in Australia is helping young people grow through the power of fashion.Kiwirrkurra, 1,200km east of Port Hedland in Western Australia and 850km west of Alice Springs, recently held its first fashion parade, with the usually quiet Gibson Desert community lit up with bold lighting, pumping music and bright silks.Backstage, 30-odd locals aged 10 to 25 years preened their hair, applied makeup and donned silk dresses and suits before strutting out on the catwalk.”It was held at an old tin shade … that was the old store that was burnt down years ago,” said youth development officer Thomas Worrigal.”The stage was made out of the old Kiwirrkurra junk that we found laying around everywhere in the community itself. Photo:
“The spirit was happy, motivated, there was all clapping and smiles everywhere,” says Thomas Worrigal, who put the event together alongside colleagues Brett Toll and Amanda Sibosado. Magnolia Maymuru: From Yirrkala to the catwalk A teenage model selected as the Northern Territory representative for the Miss World national finals hopes the opportunity will “break the cycle” of how broader Australia views traditional Indigenous life. (Supplied)
Parade grows out of life skills programMr Worrigal said the idea for the fashion parade and pre-show photo shoot had evolved organically. “The catwalk was made out of old solar panels. (Supplied: Amanda Sibosado)
It is hoped the one-off event will become a regular fixture on the Kiwirrkurra calendar.”Speaking to the local people from the community … everyone was saying this is the first-ever fashion show that was put on,” Mr Worrigal said.”All the outfits are all stored away ready for the next one.”Lifting the spirit of a remote communityRaymond Olodoodi, a director of the community, believed every member of the 200-strong community had attended the fashion parade.”It was great, it was a lot of fun, it was really happy,” he said.
Indigenous designs hit Adelaide fashion catwalk
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ABC Kimberley

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Leah McLennan

Updated

February 16, 2017 16:18:55

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A group of male models pose before the fashion show in Kiwirrkurra, 1,200km east of Port Hedland. (Supplied: Thomas Worrigal)
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MentalMusic helps teenagers talk about mental health

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A Brisbane high school student has created a radio program to help his friends open up and talk more about their mental health.Jordan O’dell-Fontana along with a group of year nine students from Brisbane State High School launched the program MentalMusic.The team wanted to create a platform where young people could tune in and feel included, while also listening to music produced by their peers.The project, which started as an English assignment in social entrepreneurship, grew quickly into a weekly podcast.”We take music and stories from teenagers and combine it with expert advice into a 30-minute podcast that we release weekly,” Jordan said.”It’s a music-based podcast that caters for 14 to 19-year-olds and looks at teenage mental health issues.”
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Hear the first episode of MentalMusic
Jordan said he wanted to get his fellow peers involved in the project to help them talk about anxiety and mental health.”I chose mental health as it was an issue that myself and my friends had experience with and it’s really important that we as a society talk about it more.”More than 100 listeners tuned into the first episode that was released last week hosted by students Gordon Loughlin and Grace Pitch.Gordon said being teenagers themselves, talking to teenagers, allowed the group to explain things in a way their audience would understand.”It’s a great way to vent about what we have to say, to an audience we get,” he said.”When they have similar problems to us they can relate to us as well.”Using music to help battle anxietyJordan said music had helped him deal with his own anxiety in the school yard.The program focused on music composed and uploaded by other students.”For many, music is a great outlet to write and produce music and helps with their own mental health,” he said.”We want to celebrate and show that as we’re trying really hard to show a teenage perspective and having music can be a great help.”
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MentalMusic
Pitching the idea to investors To get the idea off the ground, the group pitched the concept to a room full of Queensland investors at Brisbane incubator lab Little Tokyo Two.”While it was quite nerve-racking to pitch it to investors, we had to pitch it at school in a smaller competition so I had done it a couple of times before,” Jordan said.The MentalMusic team recorded much of the program at the incubator’s recording studios in Brisbane’s CBD.Jordan said he hoped the program would continue to grow as the team aimed to release a new episode each week.”I don’t have huge expectations with what might happen with it, I just want to create something that helps others.”
ABC Radio Brisbane

By

Jessica Hinchliffe

Posted

February 15, 2017 12:33:55

Photo:
Grace Pitch, Gordon Loughlin and Jordan O’dell-Fontana at the Little Tokyo Two recording studios. (Supplied: MentalMusic)

Managing work-life balance a matter for policy, not individuals: economist
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Pet turtle reunited with owner after marathon adventure

ABC Riverland

By

Catherine Heuzenroeder

Posted

February 15, 2017 15:15:55

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Eight-year-old pet turtle Skipper can expect to live many more years after surviving his great adventure. (ABC Riverland: Catherine Heuzenroeder)
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Renmark 5341
He can stay inside now,” Mr Watson said with a laugh.Having shown he can squeeze through wire mesh, sneak past the dog and escape his backyard either under a small gap in the fence or the floor of the transportable house, he may have earned himself a new name.”I should start to call him Houdini now. (ABC Riverland: Catherine Heuzenroeder)
Pet recognised by distinctive markJesse Watson discovered Skipper missing from his Renmark North property on Friday morning.”I went to go feed him Friday morning and turn some [water] misters on as it was going to be 45 degrees,” Mr Watson said.”He wasn’t there when I went to feed him. I thought this is a long shot. I freaked out a little bit and thought worst case scenario, he’s dead.”I posted on Facebook ‘Rest in peace, Skipper’. I still don’t know how he got out,” Mr Watson said.Skipper’s safe return has given plenty of cause for celebration.”I think the girlfriend is about to go buy him something special,” Mr Watson said. External Link:

Skipper covered about 2km over two days

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Facebook post about turtle reunion
Before his reunion, there had been plans to release Skipper into a nearby creek or the River Murray, but Mr Watson doubts the turtle would have survived.”He’s not a local species,” he said.Skipper has now been returned to his tank and is unlikely to win back his outdoor privileges.”I will put fish in there. But no, it’s him … I still can’t get over it,” Mr Watson said.Skipper has a distinctive thumb-shaped indent on the back of his shell where Mr Watson pressed too hard when he was little.”That’s how I recognised him, and knew he was mine,” he said.Pet reunions that defy the oddsThere have been some remarkable reunions between pets and their owners.There was the Queensland family reunited with their cat three years after it went missing, thanks to a lost and found page on Facebook.And the two beloved pooches who went exploring while their owner was away on holiday in Bali and were returned three years later using their microchips.Then there was the implausible-sounding account of a pet turtle found locked in the storeroom of a house in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 30 years after she went missing. Photo:
Jesse Watson with Skipper among the vines the turtle most likely walked on his great adventure. (ABC Riverland: Catherine Heuzenroeder)
On Tuesday morning Mr Watson scrolled through a Riverland pets forum on Facebook and saw a post from a woman who had found a turtle in her driveway.”I was a bit sceptical to start with. I’ve had him for eight years … he’s like a dog for me, he’s my pet.”After cleaning out the pond and swimming pool filters to check for his turtle, Mr Watson resigned himself to life without Skipper. A pet turtle who escaped his backyard pond to navigate country roads and vineyards during soaring temperatures has been reunited with his owner through social media.Skipper the turtle covered about 2 kilometres in two days, in Renmark, South Australia.Keeping up the steady pace of the tortoise rather than the hare, it gave him an average speed of 41 metres each hour, or 70 centimetres each minute.His small dinner-plate shell helped him survive 45-degree heat, and good instincts had him follow water from a wine grape dripper system.But it was sheer luck that led him to safely dodge cars and avoid predators, before being rescued by a woman and finally reunited with his owner through a post on a Facebook pets forum five days after he went missing. Photo:
The odds were against Skipper finding his way home when he set off on a trek through Riverland vineyards.

Pocket piano takes out top prize for young inventor

(ABC News) ABC Radio Melbourne

By

Fiona Pepper

Updated

February 13, 2017 15:48:12

Video: Justin Mitchell plays his pocket piano.
it gives them a creative thing to do.”And I’d like to see it in the pockets of everyone.” (ABC Radio Melbourne: Fiona Pepper)
The 14-year-old was awarded first prize in the BHP Billiton Science and Engineering Awards for student engineering and will now represent Australia at the world’s biggest science and invention fair in the United States later this year.Justin’s pocket-sized piano features 27 instrument settings with a one-octave scale that can be modulated up or down in pitch.”I wanted to be able to play my music wherever I went and so I wouldn’t be limited to having to lug around a big instrument or having to only play piano when I’m at home,” he said.Synthetic took three weeks to build and the keyboard is made with electronically conductive paint which means it responds to touch.Justin also learned coding in order to create the instrument which he hoped was more portable than a traditional keyboard.Creative pocket entertainmentAnd while the current model is a prototype, he will continue to develop the design.”The future model would be printed into the hoodie pocket, making it truly wearable.”Justin said he believed his invention had greater applications for professional musicians given its compact nature.”They could plug it into editing software to do composition if they wanted to,” he said.The year nine student said if the invention gained traction, he’d look to mass produce it in the hope it could influence the way people used technology.”I think it would really change the future in a way, in that it would stop people always pulling out their phones … A Melbourne year nine student has developed a piano that can be played inside a pocket, earning him Australia’s top student inventor’s prize.Justin Mitchell from St Kevin’s College combined his love of music and science to develop Synthetic, a wearable music maker that fits inside a hoodie pocket. Photo:
Justin Mitchell has invented a piano that can fit inside a pocket.
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