Flinders Ranges fossils documented for World Heritage bid

(ABC News: Nicola Gage) By Nicola Gage

Posted

February 12, 2017 10:45:46

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Diego García-Bellido and Jim Gehling are documenting fossils they are certain are internationally significant.
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“They were first discovered in the Flinders Ranges very close to this site and now they’ve been discovered on every other continent, except Antarctica.”One of our missions over the next few years, as part of our program, is to look at the Flinders Ranges for its intrinsic value.”

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Many of the fossils are imprints in sandstone of the region’s ancient life. I couldn’t even believe my eyes how these things were just sitting there and you can basically touch things that were buried 550 million years ago,” he said.”I’m trying to bring into the mix the information that comes from slightly younger rocks than the Ediacaran, so the Cambrian, and putting that into context to bring out the most important values.”

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Ross Fargher spotted the fossils on his outback property about three decades ago. (ABC News: Nicola Gage)
‘Most of the sites undiscovered, let alone studied’Documenting that value will eventually form a bid to list as World Heritage part of the Flinders Ranges.The South Australian Government is leading efforts to seek the listing, and Dr Gehling has expressed confidence the remote inland region eventually will be formally recognised for its international significance.”The Flinders Ranges is really quite replete with fossils — it’s just that most of the sites have not been discovered, let alone studied,” he said. Dr Gehling has been researching the outback rocks for about half a century and says his fascination for their geological value keeps growing.He said each find was like being a child opening presents at a birthday party.”I’m like my six-year-old grandson, I get excited when I see something new and make a discovery,” he said. “Nilpena has the potential of hundreds of years of research work. (ABC News: Nicola Gage)
Jane and Ross Fargher run about 900 cattle on Nilpena Station, and it was Mr Fargher who discovered the ancient treasures on his property in the early 1980s and showed them to scientists.”I noticed when I’d been out here mustering that there was plenty of rippled stone,” he said.He is happy to see the fossils being documented for possible World Heritage listing of the area.”It needs to happen, for the protection of it and because it is known as one of the best sites in the world — we’re certainly backing it all the way,” he said.”Not only would world heritage listing help better protect these ancient treasures, but it could also prove highly beneficial for tourism.” Paleontologists are working in the searing outback sun to document fossils in the Flinders Ranges, as part of efforts to get the region onto the World Heritage list.Scientist Jim Gehling said the Ediacaran fossils at remote Nilpena Station in northern South Australia were believed to be more than half-a-billion years old.”The Flinders Ranges national park, including Wilpena Pound, is an iconic site because it has both Ediacaran and Cambrian fossils,” Dr Gehling explained.”We really don’t know a lot about the Ediacara fossils because of the very fact they have no bones and shells — they are imprints.”More than 500 million years ago, most of the rocky Flinders Ranges which now rise above the outback desert were an ocean floor.In the layers of rippled sandstone are the imprints of soft-bodied creatures which could be the ancestors of worms and crustaceans.”Those imprints give you the shape of the animal, sometimes even its movement traces, where it had been and what it was eating,” Dr Gehling said. We have literally just scratched the surface.”Achieving world heritage status could take yearsAchieving world heritage listing is a lengthy and ambitious process, which backers believe could take up to five years.Another of the researchers, Diego García-Bellido, said there could be no doubt the Ediacaran fossils of the Flinders Ranges were globally important.”When I came here, it was just mind-blowing.
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Pint-sized shearer has future mapped out at five

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Charlie Dunn may only be five years old but his passion for shearing means his future career is already mapped out.Living on a sheep farm at Culcairn, in the Riverina region of New South Wales, means the shearing shed has been part of his life since birth.So it is no wonder he began shearing his teddy bears at the age of two after watching his dad Clint shearing and his wool classer mum Donna at work. He’s going to be gone and shearing pretty young.” (ABC Rural: Cara Jeffery)
Mr and Ms Dunn admit both were keen on shearing when they were children, but doubt they were ever as eager as their son.”I don’t think my passion started quite as young as his,” Mr Dunn said.”When dad was away shearing, us kids would be pretty keen to shear the pets [but] I think I would have been 12 to 13 when I first held a handpiece.”And while he may have only just started school, the Dunns anticipate shearing will be Charlie’s career of choice.”I can’t see him doing anything else,” Ms Dunn said.”I don’t think I’m going to keep him at school very long. “A lot of people are pretty impressed with how he knows all the blows that you are supposed to do.”His mum said Charlie was desperate to start using a mechanical shearing handpiece.”I think it’s a bit dangerous to be using one by himself, so he’s taken up using a pair of blade shears,” she said.”We always cut the dots off them with the blade shear, so I think he has seen that and thought I can shear with a pair of these and away he’s gone.”Charlie has got the shearing shed banter down pat too and likes to compare his runs on the board with his colleagues..”He’s a character, he stirs up the shearers [and] will let them know if they’ve cut one,” Ms Dunn said.”He’s always asking how many they have shorn and they like to see how many he’s done.” School a temporary stop on journey to shearing shed

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Charlie’s teddy collection in the shed, ready for shearing. You take all the wool off and not cut them,” Charlie said.Watching and learningAnd as soon as school is over for the day, it is back to the boards for Charlie.”I have to get changed, I then run down to the shed and draft them and get them in and shear them,” he said. Photo:
Charlie is desperate to use a mechanical handpiece. Photo:
Charlie heads straight to the shearing shed when school is out for the day. (ABC Rural: Cara Jeffery)
The Dunns shear all their own sheep but with Charlie starting kindergarten, they have had to restructure their program so that Charlie doesn’t miss a thing.”We are not allowed to shear during the week while he is at school now, so it looks like there’ll be more weekend shearing,” Mr Dunn said.On some days, Charlie has already had a busy morning drafting his lambs even before hopping on the school bus.”I love shearing the long blow [from the sheep’s tail to its neck] and the belly. (ABC Rural: Cara Jeffery)
Ms Dunn said her son’s shearing technique was very good for a five-year-old.”Basically he spent a lot of time with us; we shear all our sheep so we shear a fair bit,” she said.”He’s picked it up from watching Clint and from us taking him out when we did wool classing, roustabouting and shearing jobs and he’s just become crazy about it.

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Click go the shears for pint-sized shearer with future mapped out in the shed

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By Cara Jeffery

Updated

February 10, 2017 14:34:15

Video: Meet future professional shearer, Charlie Dunn, aged five.

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Youth crime rate down in Tasmania

Tasmanian offences in numbersActs intended to cause injury decreased by 22 per cent (516 offenders).Theft and related offences decreased by 36 per cent (472 offenders).Illicit drug offences decreased by 32 per cent (630 offenders).Public order offences decreased by 15 per cent (593 offenders).Number of offenders proceeded against by police declined by 27 per cent (3,984 offenders).Figures from Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2015-16 compared to 2008-09. During the same time period, however, Tasmania’s population rose by 0.5 per cent.Assistant Commission Frame said he believed crime was falling across the state thanks to positive relationships police and community groups were developing.”It’s a positive reflection on the hard work of our staff, but it’s also a positive reflection on the support we get from the community,” he said.”It’s about working with the community and the community realising that our staff are out there every day holding people to account.”Our goal is to reduce crime, make the roads safer and make people feel and be safe in the community.”Assistant Commission Frame said efforts to work with young people at risk also appeared to be paying off.”A very small percentage of young people have real issues and go off the track,” he said.”It’s about trying to engage with those at an early stage to identify them and work with other government agencies.”Sometimes success is they only commit two offences this month instead of 10, but that’s eight less victims and that’s a good thing.” Tasmania’s youths are less likely to commit a crime today than they were in 2008, according to Australian Bureau of Statistic (ABS) numbers.The latest ABS report show crime rates in Tasmania for the 2015-16 period were down by 55 per cent among people aged 10 to 17, as compared to the 2008-09 period.Glen Frame, Assistant Commissioner with Tasmania Police, said the statistics may come as a shock to some.”Often young people get blamed for a whole range of things,” he told Ryk Goddard on ABC Radio Hobart.”The reality is that crime’s down 50 per cent as to where it was 15 years ago in Tasmania.”I think young people of today are fantastic and they’re probably better than I think I was at that age.”The median age of offenders in Tasmania has risen from 27 years in 2014-15 to 28 in 2015-16.This was up four years from 2008 when the median age for offenders was just 24.The total number of offenders in Tasmania for 2015-16 was 10,842 — an increase of 0.5 per cent from 2014-15.
Calls to close Ashley youth prison, where staff outnumber inmates by more than 7 to 1
(Supplied: Australian Bureau of Statistics) ABC Radio Hobart

By

Carol Rääbus

Posted

February 10, 2017 14:32:42

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Crime rates are in serious decline among Tasmanian youths, ABS report shows.
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Gumtree widower Ray Johnstone reels in Brisbane fishing buddy

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By

Jessica Hinchliffe

Updated

February 07, 2017 12:12:59

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Ray Johnstone and Mati Batsinilas hold the first big catch from their trip to Moreton Bay. (Supplied: Mati Batsinilas)
(Supplied: Mati Batsinilas)
“The weather gods have been on our side, which is cool.”On Wednesday Mr Batsinilas hoped to take Mr Johnstone four-wheel-driving and to catch beachworms on the beach before he heads back to South Australia.”He’s here now and it’s unreal … Photo:
By the end of January, Ray Johnstone’s advertisement had already received more than 50,000 views. (Gumtree: Ray Johnstone)
Mati Batsinilas, 22, from West End was one of the people who answered the call after he saw the post being shared on Facebook.”When I read it I thought it was a heartbreaking story so I commented on it, but I never thought it would ever get to Ray,” he said.”When I woke in the morning after posting the comment it had 1,600 likes and more than 500 messages in my mailbox on Facebook.”Everyone was trying to get Ray and I hooked up together to do this trip.”Mr Batsinilas got in touch with Mr Johnstone and offered to take him fishing at Stradbroke Island.”I offered him a holiday away — and not just for fishing, but to get away and relax,” he told ABC Radio Brisbane’s Craig Zonca.”I said from the beginning to Ray that we would get there and that I would commit to it and do it.”Fishing, 4WDing and catching beachwormsThe duo were in Moreton Bay on Monday afternoon, seeking out whiting.”We got about 25 at the moment and we’re doing it to get Ray onto some big fish hopefully,” Mr Batsinilas said. Photo:
Ray Johnstone and his new fishing mate Mati Batsinilas on Stradbroke Island. I can’t explain it in words,” Mr Batsinilas said.”It’s so good to see him smile.”The feedback has been unreal and the support from everyone has been phenomenal.” An avid Brisbane fisherman has fulfilled widower Ray Johnstone’s wish for a fishing mate, giving him an all-expenses-paid fishing trip off the Queensland coast.Mr Johnstone posted an ad on Gumtree on January 19 explaining that his previous fishing mate had died and he was looking for company on his trips.The ad, which went viral, saw Mr Johnstone being inundated with offers to cast a line from all over the country.
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SA merit awards motivate young high achievers

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Blessing Nyoni and her father at her 2016 graduation.
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Horizon’s principal Mike Clisby said Ms Nyoni was an inspiration for the school’s 430 students.”We’re really pleased with her success last year, just her conduct as a student was fantastic,” he said.”She had a great sense of purpose and I think she particularly liked the things she studied.”She had a great sense of vision for what she wanted to do in her life and she was passionate about being able to serve as a doctor.”Chief executive of the SA Certificate of Education board Dr Neil McGoran said the ceremony at Government House was a chance to recognise South Australia’s high achievers in front of their families and friends.He also praised the support and expertise which teachers provided and the dedication of students who proved to be outstanding role models for their peers.Last year a record 15,003 South Australians achieved the SA Certificate of Education, with strong showings from state schools such as Salisbury High. Teenager Blessing Nyoni wants to practise medicine, her hopes bolstered after she scored Year 12 merits in biology and her personal research project, and a South Australian tertiary entrance ranking of 99.65.”I didn’t really expect to get two merits, so it was a good surprise,” she said, as she prepares to study medicine for the next six years at Flinders University in Adelaide.Ms Nyoni arrived in South Australia from Zimbabwe with her family when she was eight and attended Horizon Christian School at Balaklava, just north of Adelaide.She is among a record 996 Year 12 students from 2016 who achieved merit awards in the SA Certificate of Education — perfect scores in subjects they studied.Many of those students will be at Government House in Adelaide today to formally receive their awards.Ms Nyoni tackled her senior schooling with a weight of expectations, but said her focus was simply to find a balance between study demands and other activities.”I grew up in a medical family — my dad’s a doctor, my sisters are studying medicine, my mum’s a pharmacist and my brother is a scientist as well, so I guess just being exposed to a lot of health and medicine I was inspired to do the same,” she said.She tackled Year 12 with an ambition just to do her best, which is her advice for this year’s senior students.”Don’t stress about it too much — it can be very stressful with a lot of pressure but if you just take your time and have lots of people supporting you, you’ll be fine,” she said.’She particularly liked the things she studied’

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Blessing (L) and her sister Siamanga (R) with their dad.
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By Tom Fedorowytsch

Posted

February 07, 2017 06:50:49

Tree changers swapping city life for a regional and rural lifestyle

By Kerri Kapernick and staff

Posted

February 04, 2017 07:02:51
The couple said the best part was being close to some of the best climbing in the world.”It’s clichéd, but true,” Mr Denmert said.And for anyone thinking about making the move their advice was simple: “just do it”.Hynam: ‘The best thing we have ever done’

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Rosemary Tierney says there is now plenty of room for their children to play. I really am a city slicker,” she said.”Fortunately we’ve got satellite NBN, which is not too bad. (ABC: Lauren Henry)
Sparing herself a two-and-a-half-hour daily commute to work and enjoying a lower cost of living has been advantageous to Debra Pearce.Ms Pearce and her husband, Warren, moved to Mildura in north-west Victoria from Melbourne in December 2014.The couple had passed through Mildura on several occasions.”There was no hesitation. Mr Jones now wants to help other farmers learn about micro farming.”We have just embarked on a new venture which is a business using my years of experience in the industry, helping other people with their farms.”Bellingen: ‘An intimate family life’

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Kirsty Cockburn with this year’s abundant Damson plums. Life revolves around family, and traditional customs and practices are a normal part of life.”Once I wound down from my high city pace, I kind of realised that the pace of life out here, and the way of working, really works for me,” Mr Giordano said.In Warburton there is a store for food and other supplies and a service station on the gravel highway — possibly an inner-city Melbournian’s nightmare.”Out here you get what you’re given,” he said.”If it’s not at the store, it doesn’t exist here.”Mr Giordano said living and working in Warburton had completely changed his view of the world, he had better perspective on what really matters in life.”Out here there’s a lot of hardship and poverty as well as lot of joy and real positive creativity,” he said.”Everything is a bit harsher, it’s a bit more life and death.”Mackay: ‘Excellent training opportunities’

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Daniel and Graham Pasternak say it reminds them of their Canadian home. (ABC Central West: Melanie Pearce)
Vanessa and Michael Vazquez Evans were solicitors in Sydney for 10 years, living in the inner-west before moving to the Blue Mountains and a two-hour commute each way.They were looking for a better work-life balance when an opening for a law firm in Orange came up.”We came out for a weekend, we loved it and we haven’t looked back,” Ms Vazquez Evans said.She was on maternity leave with a six-month-old son at the time and initially the firm employed her husband. “It’s something I’m considering because I feel at home here and people in the community have been so welcoming.” His older brother Daniel is one of 43 interns at the hospital this year.He said a big draw card to train in north Queensland was the new facilities and opportunities to get more hands-on experience. I’ve done a lot of road trips, taken my car places it probably shouldn’t have gone, gotten bogged a few times,” he said.”It’s so beautiful. “My dream actually would be to settle in Mackay as a family doctor,” he said. “I wanted to come to Mackay because it has excellent training opportunities and I think as a junior doctor you kind of get lost in the numbers in those bigger centres,” he said. The family also gained first-hand knowledge into why country people were always on about the lack of good phone and internet service. Jobs are leaving. And I think that really helps people like me, who have only been here a couple of years, really feel like I do belong here.”Natimuk: ‘Just do it’

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Mount Arapiles is a magnet for rock climbers. But then I thought I’d grit my teeth and do it, and it’s been really rewarding and fantastic,” he said.Mr Bhutani said living in the bush definitely had its perks.”Nothing is more than a two-minute car ride away, which is really odd, and you can ride your bike everywhere,” he said.”The time people have for each other is a lot more noticeable here than in the city.”But Mr Bhutani said the best part about living in outback Australia was the landscape and outdoors.”I like to go to waterholes and see different places. “My family in Adelaide can’t understand,” Ms Tierney said.”I ring them standing ten metres away from the house, trying to get reception. He said the biggest culture shock was for his children, but they have come to embrace country life.”They were kids who, at one period of time, would jump on the business’ private plane and we’d go to Disneyworld for the weekend,” he said.”Even though Stanthorpe is only three hours from Brisbane, it’s definitely a country town. I would normally be at the Grammys,” he said.”Here I am in my overalls, dirt all over my face from the dust and the tractor, and that was a real reality check right there.Mr Bray still operates several businesses in Australia and overseas, and says the internet helps him do what he does from home. (ABC: Margot Kelly)
When Clarissa Forster and Nick Boydd lived in inner-city Melbourne they filled their evenings with live music and dinners out at restaurants.Now living in north-west Tasmania they have their hands full feeding their five cows and five chickens, and tending to the extensive vegetable patch on their five-hectare block.The tree change was not planned.Ms Forster and Mr Boydd are both nature lovers and wanted to explore the Tarkine Wilderness Area.”We jumped on the boat to do a short whip around and fell in love with the area,” Ms Forster said.After doing a quick search for any available jobs, they found themselves both being offered work and decided to move down at the end of 2015.”When we were in Melbourne we found we were looking at ways to get out of the city — camping, bike riding, bush walking. Here I get the opportunity to go outside every day and I honestly feel like I’ve gained extra years of life.”Mr Bray has moved into angus cattle, and even though he takes his farm very seriously, he remains realistic of his place in the farming world. (ABC Southern Qld: Peter Gunders)
Dale Bray swapped the boardrooms of the music industry in the United States for the paddocks of Queensland’s Granite Belt four years ago. “It is lovely to say to the kids ‘get outside and go play’ because in Adelaide there wasn’t enough room to play,” she said.Now working as a real estate agent, Ms Tierney said she was seeing more and more people from the city walk through the doors looking for properties or land, seeking help with their own tree change.Her own family was the best advertisement for such a move, Ms Tierney said, and they had no regrets at all. We’ve spent all our lives getting rid of trees, logging and so on’.”She said they were now caretakers or custodians of the land they bought all those years ago.”The land that we inherited was devoid of anything other than grass and a few pioneer rainforest trees, and the rest was weed, camphor laurels and privet,” she said.”Now it’s just a total thrill to see it healthy and regenerated.”The couple’s children are now grown up and have left home, but they too love returning to Bellingen.”The only sad thing is the lack of local jobs, which means kids leave and people have to commute for work,” she said.”It’s tragic that in the last 30 years the rural areas of Australia have not re-invented their economies other than hand-to-mouth small business and tourism.”Orange: Better work-life balance

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The move from Sydney allows more time with children Huw and Alice. I’d be guessing the average salary here is considerably less than in the city too.”But as far as quality of life goes, you can’t beat it.”Coffs Harbour: From sailing to micro farming

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Graham Jones was a broad-acre farmer, then a competitive sailor, before returning to the land. Ever wondered what it would be like to swap the rat race for a quieter country life?These people did just that for a variety of reasons — for lifestyle, to raise families, or to find more affordable housing.Whatever the reason, they all experienced life at a vastly different pace.Meet our tree changers. (JLB Photos: Jody Brown)
In the Lands, the pace of living is slower. (Supplied: Graham Jones)
Graham Jones from Nana Glen in New South Wales puts a unique twist on the classic sea-to-tree change.He competed in “a couple of Sydney to Hobart yacht races, a Round the World race, and many of eastern seaboard races” before buying a farm near Coffs Harbour.But farming was not an entirely new concept to Mr Jones.Prior to moving to Sydney for his sailing endeavours he had worked in broad-acre cropping, and was involved in running and operating farms.”I’ve always had a love for the land and it was always my intention to buy my own farm and develop it,” he said.His return to agriculture has seen him explore a different type of growing, known as micro farming.Six years ago, Mr Jones bought a 44-hectare property and converted six hectares of it to suit micro farming.”It is pretty much a farm that concentrates on intensive farming in a very small area to produce food,” he said.”We’ve always liked the idea of having our own sustainable grow-your-own-food kind of place.”We only have a limited number of acres so we need to be aware of the inputs and intensity of that.”You have got to be aware of the symbiotic relationships between things, the types of crops you’re growing and how they help each other.”Mr Jones said the crops he chose to grow were based on the seasons.”We try to stick to what is seasonably available, so we don’t try to grow pineapples in winter for example, and we do it in quantities for our local market and ourselves,” he said. It took us a little while to arrange everything and get work lined up, but we’ve not looked back.”This is our home now.”After first hearing about the Mildura Newcomers group at a Victorian Regional Living Expo in Melbourne, Ms Pearce said it was the ideal way for her and her husband to meet new people.Now secretary of the group, Ms Pearce is repaying the favour and helping welcome and support other newcomers to the regional city.”I think in lots of ways you never stop being a newcomer — there’s always more to learn,” she said.”There is a difference from the people who have lived here their whole lives and the connections and knowledge they have.”However, this is a very friendly town and people are welcoming. It was reasonably cosmopolitan I suppose in country terms.”Accessibility to Melbourne was their biggest concern, and with close proximity to the railway station and the highway it seemed like a good choice.So they moved from their “ultra-modern, minimalist, architecturally-designed house” to an 1800s cottage they saw on the internet.”I’d always harboured the dream of a country cottage, like a lot of people do,” Ms Mitchell said.”When we moved here it was a bit of a shock.”More than two years later the place was finally renovated.Despite the renovation challenge, the former PR consultant and self-confessed workaholic “found” himself again after joining the local men’s shed, which he credits with helping him form friendships in the community.But while Mr Mitchell has connected to the community, his wife has less so.”In Adelaide she was the outgoing person and I tended to be the recluse. Alice Springs: ‘It’s so beautiful’

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Dev Bhutani says his move has been rewarding and fantastic. (Supplied: Cath De Vaus)
“We definitely have no regrets,” he said.”The community in Natimuk is just amazing, so inclusive and welcoming.”Mr Denmert and Ms De Vaus moved for the lifestyle. When we were down here we realised this is exactly what we wanted,” Ms Forster said.But the couple still missed being able to wander down the main street of Brunswick and find entertainment.”Things are a bit different now because there are not the same options,” Ms Forster said.”The two biggest things I miss: the culture and the commute.”Ms Forster rode her bike to work along the flat streets of Melbourne for her 35-minute commute to work, which was quicker than the tram, but now drives from their rural home to the nearest city, Burnie, for work.Those rides have been replaced with exploring the hilly, unsealed country roads around their new place by bicycle.”Every morning we wake up and feel in some ways like we are on holiday, even though we go to work every day. Graham was a medical intern last year and is now a junior house doctor at the Mackay Hospital and Health Service.He said they both wanted to come to Mackay because it was similar to their hometown.”Brisbane’s a bit big for someone who’s come from a town of about 150,000 people, and also I find Canadians are quite similar to Queenslanders — especially people from Mackay,” he said.”It’s easy to develop a therapeutic relationship inside the hospital and develop friendships outside the hospital with people who aren’t patients.”He said he would love to stay in the region and set up his own general practice. (Supplied: Dev Bhutani)
Outback Australia is full of people wanting a tree change, especially those in the heart of the country. But when they discovered she was a lawyer too they offered her flexible, family-friendly conditions.”Just the idea of working and living in the same community — it’s really hard for lawyers to achieve,” she said.”The hours we’re able to work at this firm in Orange allow us to be present for our children, so we always all have breakfast and dinner together and sometimes even lunch, so I think that’s really special.”Recently they built and moved into a home on acreage in the Mullion Creek area, about 25 minutes out of Orange.”We really wanted our kids to grow up on land. And it’s much different to metropolitan USA.”Here they have their motorbikes, and they get to yell at cows. (ABC Goulburn Murray: Annie Brown)
Trading trams for tractors was an easy choice for Donovan and Melissa Jacka, who left the city with their two children in 2013 looking for a quieter life.The family left their South Melbourne home and careers and headed to Tarrawingee, in north-east Victoria’s gourmet food region, to start a small goat dairy and cheese factory.Ms Jacka said the transition from city to country had been a big change for her family.”It was our love of food and a desire to live a quieter life that led us here,” she said.”The block of land we lived on in South Melbourne fits in our veggie garden, so the space in phenomenal.”As our careers progressed and we started a family we saw that we were moving in the wrong direction and not having enough quality time as a family.”Their Tolpuddle micro dairy is home to around 60 goats and sells artisan goats’ cheese at farmers’ markets.For her two children, Mackenzie and Harvey, it was a big learning curve to go from the city to the country.”My eldest still gets a little homesick for Melbourne but she gets her fix every school holidays,” Ms Jacka said.”They don’t just like the good stuff and they are quite comfortable with the things that go wrong, and they have a very pragmatic view about life and death as we deal with the cycles of that on a farm.”They both have their own goats in the herd and have delivered their babies confidently and competently.”They are remarkable kids and they have really taken to the life.”Kyneton: From minimalist to country cottage

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John and Julie Mitchell have undergone something of a personality switch. (ABC Tropical North: Rachel Riga)
For brothers Daniel and Graham Pasternak, tropical north Queensland is a big change from their Canadian home town of Medicine Hat in Alberta.Both brothers moved to the sunshine state to complete four years of study at the University of Queensland and further their medical careers. This article includes an interactive component which is not supported on this platform. (ABC South East: Kate Hill)
It was a beautiful big golden elm tree that won over Rosemary Tierney and her family to the 16-hectare property that would become their home at Hynam, in South Australia’s south-east, two years ago.A dedicated city girl, Ms Tierney was working as a television journalist for the ABC in Adelaide and her husband Stephen was travelling an hour each way to work as a winemaker at McLaren Vale, when both felt ready for a change of lifestyle.”Life was good, but it was also very busy,” Ms Tierney said.”We were looking for a simpler and also a less stressful life.”I didn’t want to be the kind of person who stayed in the city my entire life.”In 2014, they found the place they would call home near Naracoorte, where Stephen’s family lived, a far cry from the tiny 400-square-metre block in Stepney where they lived with children Eva and Sid.”It just fit. It’s challenging and interesting,” Mr Giordano said.”It’s like being in a completely different, new environment, which is in Australia, but where I live Ngaanyatjarra is the first language of most people and English is second so it is like being in a different country in that sense.”

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Rain leaves normally dry creeks and waterholes full to the brim, near Warburton. (ABC Central Victoria: Larissa Romensky)
Following a heart attack and two subsequent strokes, John and his wife Julie Mitchell moved from inner-city Adelaide to Kyneton in central Victoria.”We were looking for a pleasant lifestyle because we realised my working days had almost ceased,” Mr Mitchell said.”Kyneton seemed to offer a pleasant lifestyle. It’s all perspective.”Mr Bray said the biggest win had been for his health: “That probably comes as no surprise”.”When you live the corporate life, every meeting seems to be over a meal. In Kyneton, my wife is the recluse and I’m the outgoing person,” he said.”I’ve had a change of personality since I had the strokes. It’s really vivid actually, the colour difference I always notice — between the deepest red and brightest blue — and it’s what strikes me every single time.”Warburton: Like a different country

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Silvano Giordano (R) with Brett Jennings, Wilurarra Creative musician and mentor. “It’s a real experience. “My husband and I often talk about it and say: ‘This is the best thing we have ever done’.”Elliott: ‘Feels like a holiday every day’

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Clarissa Forster and Nick Boydd moved from Brunswick in Melbourne. I’m now happy to talk to anybody, anywhere, anytime.”Mildura: ‘You never stop being a newcomer’

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Debra Pearce was sick of the city and a long commute to work. “The reasoning for the tree change was never to become financially independent with cattle,” he said.”Running cattle was a new challenge, and for me, to understand and learn another area of life. which is a different mind-set for people who live here, but one I’m willing to embrace.”Ms Morley lives an hour from national parks, and 45 minutes to a capital city — “a perfect mix” — but it snows regularly, which has been an adjustment for the former Queenslander.”I’ve put in a garden growing roses, tulips, freesias and daffodils, which don’t grow successfully in Brisbane,” she said.”The only regret is that we didn’t do it sooner.”And our neighbours are sweethearts — if I get stuck with anything while Frank’s away, all I have to do is pick up the phone and reinforcements come, so your empty woodshed gets filled up.”In a small community, you really depend on that.” CreditsProducer: Kerri KapernickContributors: Katrina Beavan, Annie Brown, Jessica Davis, Peter Gunders, Lauren Henry, Kate Hill, Kerri Kapernick, Margot Kelly, Marty McCarthy, Helen Merkell, Nathan Morris, Melanie Pearce, Rachel Riga, Larissa Romensky (Supplied: Kirsty Cockburn)
As high profile journalists of the 1990s, Kirsty Cockburn and George Negus made a tree change to Bellingen in northern NSW around 30 years ago.”We bought the place at a time when we were bang in the middle of high-flying journalistic careers at Channel 9,” Ms Cockburn said.”I’d lived and worked near the centre of Adelaide, Perth, Melbourne and Sydney, and George had been travelling worldwide.”So the Bellinger Valley was a big contrast to city life.”Ms Cockburn said one of the greatest gifts they got from the move was privacy.On their secluded Promised Land retreat, she said they were able to have an intimate family life — something that would have been hard to achieve in the city.”People who travel a lot know it sounds glamorous, but actually coming home to Bellingen was wonderful,” she said.”When you had to go away you just loved driving back down the driveway and being here.”Cockburn said there was an amazing level of “neighbourliness” from local farmers when they first arrived in the valley.”I think they thought we were a bit bonkers, but they helped us nonetheless,” she said.”When I used a post-hole digger to dig all of our holes to plant trees I think they thought ‘What? While the couple missed the small things, such as access to a variety of food and restaurants, they were pleased they made the move. (Supplied: Adam Denmert)
A small town in the grain belt of western Victoria has a unique attraction for bringing in city folk.Natimuk lies 12 kilometres from Mount Arapiles, one of Australia’s foremost rock climbing destinations.The town sits on flat land surrounded by wheat and canola, but rising out of the western horizon is “the mount”, as it is commonly referred to.The position of Mount Arapiles and the skies of the Wimmera afford some spectacular sunsets.Adam Demmert and Cath De Vaus were nervous about moving from Melbourne to Natimuk at first.Mr Denmert said he was worried about being able to get work and finding a balance between making friends and having privacy. It is infuriating.”On the bright side, Ms Tierney was able to watch eight-year-old Sid hoon around on his motorbike and six-year-old Eva ride her pony, Prince, in the paddock. (Supplied: Tammy Morley)
Tammy Morley worked at the State Library of Queensland in Brisbane for 28 years before opening a gallery in New Norfolk, 35 kilometres from Hobart, in the beautiful Derwent Valley.Initially, Ms Morley thought she would get work in Hobart and commute from her and her partner Frank’s 50-hectare farm in Black Hills, “20 minutes up the hill from New Norfolk”, but found librarian work hard to come by.”Maybe not getting work in my career field was a bit of a drawback, but it was actually looking at options to turn that around that led me on a totally different path, but one that I’m really loving and enjoying,” she said.”We also didn’t want to replicate one city lifestyle for another, so that’s what drew us to New Norfolk.”We thought life really is short and if there’s a way we can look at doing something different now, while we’re still young enough to enjoy it, then maybe we should look at that.”Ms Morley said opening the gallery and getting involved with the New Norfolk Business Alliance brought her in contact with people she may not necessarily have met.”That’s one of the things that has helped me engage with the community,” she said.”Locals and day-trippers are becoming aware there’s beautiful work in Tasmania, often using Tasmanian products by Tasmanian artists and makers.”Even though New Norfolk is just 45 minutes from Hobart, in Tasmania it is considered regional.”So regional funding is available for community engagement and for workshops and wonderful things that I can run in the gallery,” Ms Morley said.”But really you’re just a hop, step and a jump from the CBD … Find out more about browser support at ABC News Online. (ABC Goldfields-Esperance: Nathan Morris)
Silvano Giordano used to work as a printer in Melbourne and now lives and works in the western desert region in Western Australia.For six years, Mr Giordano has been the director at Wilurarra Creative, an art program based in Warburton, 1,500 kilometres from Perth, in the Ngaanyatjarra Lands.”Three months before I moved out here, if you had told me that that’s what I was going to do I would have just laughed at that,” he said.Before he changed his job and his life, Mr Giordano was a gluten-free vegetarian, living and working in inner Melbourne.”I really felt like I needed to use my brain for something, I was looking for something that was outside the life that I had, but I didn’t really know what that was,” he said.So after eight years working the same job, he quit and went to volunteer with two friends who were running Wilurarra at the time.He came for two weeks and stayed for two months.Within six months his friends had left and Mr Giordano ended up taking over the program.Wilurarra Creative runs a photography and music studio, manages local musicians, has a social change hair salon, and recently launched a fashion magazine. For the full interactive experience in this article, you will need a modern web browser with JavaScript enabled. Photo:
Cath De Vaus and Adam Denmert rock climbing on the mount. That does not happen in the city,” she said.Bonfires and paddock parties have replaced nights out and dinners at fancy restaurants, but Ms Tierney admitted she did miss shopping and a good barista on hand in the morning. We thought if you’re going to be in the country you should have a little piece of country life,” Ms Vazquez Evans said.She said sunsets from their deck were amazing.”It really brings to life what it means to live out here, drinking sundowners on the deck.”Compared to their daily commute to Sydney from the Blue Mountains, Ms Vazquez Evans said the drive into Orange was “restorative”.”It’s exciting, I’m sure it’ll get mundane like all things, but at the moment being three kilometres down a bush road, with trees either side, swerving to miss the odd kangaroo is a pleasant but scary prospect we face quite often,” she said.Living in a rural area also means they live ‘off the grid’.”I did wonder about things like internet, Foxtel, septic systems and tank water. We walked around and it felt like a family home and a home we could make our own,” Ms Tierney said.Life out in a regional area is vastly different to city life but Ms Tierney declared it “wonderful”.”I walk down the street in Naracoorte and everyone smiles and says hello to you. “Here you have the opportunity to get more involved in procedures and you get that patient-care interaction, and that’s fantastic.”Stanthorpe: Internet speeds not a problem

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“It’s so quiet, there’s lots to reflect on,” Dale Bray says. They can both afford to work part-time, which gives them more time for other activities — like climbing. “We’re very fortunate that our house faces one of the towers in town, so we get wireless NBN, and we’re all happy in that regard,” he said.He has advice for any would-be tree changers: “If you have the financial ability to do it, then do it”.”But remember that rural communities are finding it tough. Come home to that!”New Norfolk: ‘Should have done it sooner’

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Tammy Morley opened a gallery when she could not find work as a librarian. We do have phone reception in most parts of the house.”By comparison, she said her sister-in-law’s wi-fi in Castle Cove in Sydney goes down all the time.Ms Vazquez Evans said her career trajectory took a different path to the one she had anticipated for herself living in Sydney.But at the same time she had more autonomy and responsibility for growing the business, as well the opportunity to do academic work for Charles Sturt University law school, which she would not have considered when living in the city.”I think if you are creative about your career path something better comes along, and it certainly has for me.”Tarrawingee: ‘Incredibly rewarding’

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Melissa Jacka with kids at Tarrawingee. And I’ve definitely learned a lot.”Mr Bray said he received a reality check soon after he moved to the farm.”I had just ploughed one of my fields to plant some oats and the Grammys were on TV. Dev Bhutani is a lawyer from Sydney who moved to Alice Springs for work.”I thought it was going to be really difficult and isolating.
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Rooster ‘Cluck Norris’ thinks he’s an outback Australian ‘roo

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Roadhouses in regional and rural Australia have long tried to set themselves apart from the rest.As a result, a traveller does not have to go far in the outback without stumbling across something a bit special.
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They will come up and always want to get a pat off me, and he will want to come up and get a pat off me.”Mr Powell said Cluck had learnt the behaviour after just two months of living with the kangaroos, and thankfully they were all getting along. Subscribe to Rural RoundUp: great reads from the farm. At Erldunda Roadhouse, about 200 kilometres south of Alice Springs, there is a rooster that thinks it is a kangaroo.Kira Boswell, the roadhouse’s site manager, said they had named the rogue fowl Cluck Norris.”One of our guests arrived a couple of months ago and found him [Cluck] out under one of the bridges between here and Alice,” Ms Boswell said.”They noticed he was so friendly and a lovely bird.”They looked around the area and couldn’t find a home or anyone he belonged to, so they rocked up to the roadhouse and asked if we could accommodate him.”

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Rooster ‘Cluck Norris’ who thinks he’s a kangaroo lives at Erldunda Roadhouse (ABC Rural: Katrina Beavan)
Ms Boswell said they took him in and put him with their kangaroos, and now he thinks he is one of them.As for the name, Ms Boswell said that was her partner’s genius.”We just thought it was a real fitting name for him and he wears it well.”Lowest in pecking orderCain Powell, Wildlife Warrior at the Erldunda Roadhouse, said he had seen roosters impersonate animals before, but not like this.”Never a kangaroo. This is the first one I’ve seen, and he’s doing a pretty good job of it too,” Mr Powell said.”He likes to bite like a kangaroo, and he likes to have a kick like a kangaroo as well.”He’s exactly the same, like the other ‘roos. In the Northern Territory, there are weird, wacky and wonderful things to be found at many stops along the way. Our best stories in your inbox? They think it’s hilarious that he eats with them. He almost looks like he’s chatting with them,” she said. “The boys have all had a laugh about maybe Cluck getting on the table for Easter lunch, but no, we love him too much,” she said.”Cluck will be here as long as he wants to be.” Photo:
Cluck Norris has a great temperament thanks to his kangaroo mates. A dog, a cat, but never a kangaroo. “When he jumps up on Cain’s legs and lays down with them [kangaroos] in the afternoon and things like that, they get a real laugh out of it.”As for serving Cluck up for dinner, Ms Boswell said that would not be happening. (ABC Rural: Katrina Beavan)
“He is the lowest in the pecking order of course, but they do all right with him,” he said.”He’s got a very good temperament for a rooster.”Mr Powell said he would like to diversify with more animals, even though the roadhouse already has a number of emus.”More chickens, maybe a llama or two,” he said.”I’ll see about the boss, whether she’ll let that happen.”

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Cluck Norris getting ready to say hello to tourists at Erldunda Roadhouse (ABC Rural: Katrina Beavan)
Ms Boswell said the tourists love Cluck Norris and get a real giggle out of seeing him.”They come up and see Cluck and it gives them a good laugh.

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Meet 'Cluck Norris', the outback rooster who thinks he is a kangaroo

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February 03, 2017 11:17:19

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Cluck Norris is now ‘one of the family’ at Erldunda (ABC Rural: Katrina Beavan )
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What it’s like to start the school year in hospital

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How hospital school worksIt is a legal requirement that each student admitted to hospital attends school.Students who attend SCHS have a shared enrolment between their census school and hospital school.Each student is assigned a case manager (teacher).Students can attend classes or have a ward teaching service when required.The school works with medical personnel to create a personalised educational and health plan. Rather than walking through the gates of Gymea Technology High School in Sydney’s south this week, Olivia has instead started the year at the Sydney Children’s Hospital School in Randwick.”I’ve been coming here since I was in year one,” she said.”I have constant lung infections which bring me back into hospital, to bring back up my lung capacity.”Olivia was born with cystic fibrosis — a lifelong condition that affects the respiratory, digestive and reproductive systems.She is hospitalised at least four times a year for up to three weeks at a time. (ABC Radio Sydney: Amanda Hoh)
“I definitely find it hard,” the 17-year-old said.”It is a bit stressful at times, because when you go back you’re either behind or you’ve caught up with everyone so you go back like nothing has ever happened.”On a typical hospital day, Olivia spends the morning with doctors and attends physiotherapy sessions, before attending class for a few hours in the afternoon.Some days though, when there are multiple students with cystic fibrosis, she has to be isolated to avoid any risk of infection and taught one-on-one at her bedside.Coordinating health and educationThere are 10 hospital schools in New South Wales, including the children’s hospital schools in Westmead, Bankstown, Royal Prince Alfred, St George and Liverpool.The hospital school at Randwick enrols approximately 1,200 students a year, ranging from kindergarten to year 12.There are three teaching classrooms for primary, high school and adolescent mental health patients. it’s a lot better than hospital food!” (ABC Radio Sydney: Amanda Hoh)
One of the objectives of the Sydney Children’s Hospital School is to create some “continuity and normality for hospitalised students”.For Olivia, this week that has meant working on her biology assignment, which involves dissecting a sheep’s brain and learning about measuring gasses in the blood — a process she is more than familiar with.She also hopes to find time to get into the hospital school kitchen to practice cooking for her favourite subject, hospitality.”I like cooking casseroles and little salads,” she said.”It’s good to take up some food back to my room … (ABC Radio Sydney: Amanda Hoh)
Principal Lynda Campbell said the school’s seven teachers are responsible for working with the medical teams, connecting with the student’s census school teachers and helping them transition back once they leave hospital.”These teachers have a passion for these kids and a huge empathy to make sure these kids get the education they need,” Ms Campbell said.”They have to navigate around a health plan, navigate what a young person’s needs are, and put all that into the one [educational plan] and look after themselves as well.”When you’re working daily with a student one-on-one who is going through a lot of complexities, there’s a different level of teacher-student relationship.”No ease on homeworkOlivia said she was determined to complete her HSC this year, rather than take up the option of spreading it over two years via the Department of Education’s Pathways program.”It’s kind of a battle with catching up, but my teachers are very supportive,” she said.”I also have dyslexia, so a disability when it comes to reading, so I’m a bit slower catching on.”I just want to get my schooling out of the way … and next year I can just concentrate on my health.”

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Olivia says she is considering a career in the hospitality industry. Photo:
The Sydney Children’s Hospital School caters for students in kindergarten to year 12. With nimble and sturdy fingers, Olivia Wood smooths glittery purple contact over her new school books with the aid of a sharp ruler.The technique — passed down by her sister — may be a familiar one among most HSC students, although the classroom in which Olivia sits in comes with some extras.There is a small library, a science wall and computers around the room, but also extension power cords that hang from the ceiling and plug into Olivia’s intravenous drip. Photo:
Rosemary Kingsford has been Olivia’s hospital teacher and case manager for 12 years.
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February 02, 2017 11:29:32

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Australians urged to watch and listen for rare night parrot

Hopes of saving orange-bellied parrot hang on foster baby

(Supplied: Steve Murphy) Mr Andrews said despite often venturing out into arid areas, he is yet to see one of the birds.”That really shows how rare they are, because as the Threatened Species Commissioner, I’m in a very privileged position where I get to see and interact with some of Australia’s rarest animals and plants,” he said.The Commissioner expects populations will continue to recover as government programs crack down on their main predator — the feral cat.”I really encourage Australians to get online, look at the page, learn about the parrot and then when they’re out in the bush; keep an eye out, keep an ear out and you might be lucky enough to spot a night parrot,” Mr Andrews said.’Know your native animals rather than celebrities’Mr Andrews said it was disappointing Australians know more about celebrities than some of the country’s unique wildlife.”I have no problem with Justin Bieber or Kim Kardashian, but it does worry me that more Australians know who they are than know what a bilby, a quokka, a quoll or a night parrot is,” he said.”I would certainly like more Australians to know what a night parrot is than Kim Kardashian, or what a bilby is than Justin Bieber.”Mr Andrews said it was becoming more difficult for people to see native animals in the wild, but he believed there was still hope, because on a recent family holiday, his eight-year-old daughter was lucky enough to see a bilby.”Night parrots share very similar habitats to bilbies, so my hope is that my daughter — and all Aussie kids — will be able to see a night parrot in the wild,” he said. Photo:
The spinifex habitat of the night parrot.

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February 02, 2017 13:34:30

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The bird is so rare that even the Threatened Species Commissioner has not seen one.
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Australians are being encouraged to keep an eye and an ear out for a desert bird that is so rare, even the Threatened Species Commissioner has spotting one on his bucket list.The night parrot was once assumed to be extinct, but sightings in recent years have stirred up hope the population is recovering.Threatened Species Commissioner Gregory Andrews has worked with scientists to launch a night parrot conversation website, to raise awareness of the bird and help people recognise it.”It’s a nocturnal bird, so it’s very cryptic and very few people have seen a night parrot in the wild,” he said.”They’re a very cute and small green parrot, they live on the ground, they’re very hard to find and the best way to find them is through their call.”

Tiny Bullarto Primary School year begins after facing closure last year

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February 01, 2017 17:29:23

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Acting principal and teacher Jo Pegg out on a morning walk with her students.
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Not only are they part of its curriculum, with the students learning how to milk them, but they also form an important part of the fundraising. (ABC Central Victoria: Larissa Romensky)
Calming place amongst the bushSurrounded by the Wombat State Forest, Ms Pegg describes the 143-year-old school as a calming place for students to learn with a location that uses its environment to teach the children.Along with an Indigenous garden and interactive website, the school has an environmental science program run in coordination with Wombat Forest Care.”So we go down to the creek and test the water levels,” Ms Clifford said.”We embed it across all areas of the school.”

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Jo Pegg begins the day with reading a book about a wombat as the school is surrounded by Wombat State Forest. Photo:
A quick goodbye to the family pet before class starts. (ABC Central Victoria: Larissa Romensky)
A so-called Goat Masterclass is held as a separate fundraising event, which raised $3,000 last year.”Our numbers were down so we didn’t have the same amount of enrolment grant money from the Government,” parent and school council secretary Michelle Clifford said.She said the extra money allowed them to hire a new teacher for three hours per week to take art, drama and music classes. The school is well known around the district for its Goat Festival that it runs with the community.The one-day event invites the public to come along and learn to make products such as cheese and ice cream. Photo:
Lily, 7, meets the three goats she shares the school with. Photo:
Tully, George and Eden, 11, have bushland as the back drop to their school. Bullarto Primary School faced the prospect of closure last year when the number of its fundraising goats equalled the number of its kids, but this year enrolments have more than doubled.There are seven students enrolled in Bullarto, an increase of four from last year.”That is the lowest number the school has recorded over time,” said its new acting principal, Jo Pegg.Located about 115 kilometres north-west of Melbourne, Ms Pegg said it was still “on the cards” for the school to close last year.”A school that gets to this size is always on the radar for closure,” she said.After much discussion with the community and a successful Open Day held last year, the extra students and the extra representation of parents on its student council have ensured the school’s survival.Goats helped raise fundsAlong with the students, the school’s three goats are an important part of the school for many reasons. (ABC Central Victoria: Larissa Romensky) Photo:
George, 9, and Tully, 11, herd the school’s goats into the feeding shed. (ABC Central Victoria: Larissa Romensky)
Ms Clifford’s 11-year-old son Eden is one of the seven students from prep to grade 6 in the one classroom.He enrolled last year after being forced to leave his previous school because of “bullying issues”.”His learning had come down a little bit because he was suffering from anxiety so we came to this school because of the small numbers, and the fact that the teachers had great empathy and could fit in with his learning needs,” Ms Clifford said.She said that within the year, her son had thrived and his confidence had increased with him heading in to grade 6.”It was the best move I’ve made and I actually wish I’d made the move a lot earlier,” she said.Principal Jo Pegg said each curriculum is tailored to the individual child so no one “slips through the gaps”.”And the fact that the school is small allows the teachers to work with children one-to-one,” she said.Ms Pegg said the school hopes to work with local kindergartens to create a bush school as it works with the local council to further its growth.
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How an autism assistance dog turned a family’s life around

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A simple dash to the supermarket with the kids or a visit to the zoo were impossible for Teresa Brown and her family before they got their beloved assistance dog, Jason.

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Fiona Pepper

Updated

January 31, 2017 14:16:09

Video: Meet Reilly's assistant dog Jason.
Autism diagnosis in Australia lagging years behind other countries
Teresa Brown describes the incredible impact of her son's assistance dog. (ABC News)
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Teresa’s five-year-old son, Reilly, has autism, which means he can become overwhelmed by the noise and movement of highly stimulating environments like shopping centres, and when Reilly struggles to regulate his anxiety, he runs.Mrs Brown said a trip to the local park when Reilly was three years old could have easily ended in tragedy. Photo:
Reilly is tethered to Jason when shopping at the local supermarket. (ABC Radio Melbourne: Fiona Pepper)
“We were at an enclosed playground and I turned around for five seconds to talk to a friend,” Mrs Brown said.”In that time Reilly managed to leave the enclosure, walk straight across the path and into the nearby creek.”He has no sense of danger. (ABC Radio Melbourne: Fiona Pepper)
Reilly always struggled to sleep through the night, but his sleeping improved almost immediately after Jason arrived.”Reilly would wake up at 1:30 in the morning and not go back to sleep for hours,” she said.”And then because Reilly was so tired and exhausted, he was more anxious and everything was much harder to do.”Jason now lies next to Reilly during story time, resting his head on Reilly’s lap and putting deep pressure on his stomach.Mrs Brown said that within 10 minutes Reilly is settled and asleep — a task that would normally take two hours.Dogs for Kids with DisabilitiesKatie Hunter, the founder of Dogs for Kids with Disabilities, trained Jason, along with many of the other assistance and therapy dogs in Victoria.Ms Hunter said labradors and golden retrievers were the breeds predominately used, as they are generally recognised in public as assistance dogs.It takes two years to train a dog like Jason, costing the organisation around $40,000.Ms Hunter said the insight dogs could offer autistic children was life changing.”There’s always a chemical reaction in the body when you’re feeling anxious or stressed or in fight-or-flight mode, and dogs can smell that change, long before we can see it.”For the Browns, it has been a dramatic change.Two years after Jason arrived in their home, Mrs Brown said Jason has offered her family independence, sleep and — most importantly — involvement in the community. He had no idea that that would be a dangerous.”Luckily, Reilly was quickly pulled from the creek by another parent, but in that moment Mrs Brown knew she needed to do more to keep her son safe.”Every time we’d see on the news a child with autism had gone missing, we just thought — this could be us.”A year later, after a lot of research and raising $20,000 to help cover the cost of training an assistance dog, the Browns introduced Jason to their son.Things started to look up. It means the world to us.”The Browns gained independenceWhen they’re out in public, Jason wears the service coat, and Reilly wears a belt that tethers him to the dog.If Reilly does try to run off, Jason knows to sit and act as an anchor.With Jason’s help, the Browns started attending community events.Now they can easily visit their local shopping centre without worrying they could lose Reilly.”It’s meant being able to do normal, everyday things that other families take for granted,” Mrs Brown said.Jason acts as an emotional supportAt home or out and about, Jason helps to regulate Reilly’s anxiety, either by reading his moods or by responding to a command from his parents.”If Reilly is anxious at home, I can say, ‘Jason touch’ and he’ll go and touch Reilly’s hand and then wait,” Mrs Brown said.”There will then be an instant calm over the house.”

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Teresa, Reilly and Jason make their way through the supermarket. Photo:
The Brown family: Jason the assistance dog, Teresa, Reilly, Samuel and Gavin. (ABC Radio Melbourne: Fiona Pepper)
“Jason is a goofy black Labrador, who when he’s in his service coat just becomes this beautiful, gorgeous gentle giant and helps us get around as a family,” Mrs Brown said.”Without a doubt it’s changed our lives. We were a family in crisis before we got Jas.
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Ray Johnstone’s advert has received more than 60,000 views. (Gumtree: Ray Johnstone)

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A widowed pensioner who turned to social media to find a “fishing mate” has reeled in a haul of potential companions after his call-out went viral on social media.Ray Johnstone, 75, posted an ad on Gumtree on January 19 explaining his previous fishing mate had died and he was looking for company for his trips.”I asked for it on Facebook to start with but didn’t get any answers,” Mr Johnstone told the ABC.He then cast his net further afield, placing an advertisement on Gumtree after a suggestion from his nurse.”I did and now it’s gone bloody viral, hasn’t it?” he said.The advertisement was shared on Monday on social media and has had 60,000 views.”I am a Land Based Fisherman I have all the gear for all types of fish that is required for Land Based Fishing [sic] what I want is a fishing mate in a similar position to myself who also wants someone to go fishing with,” the advertisement read.He also offered to share costs with anyone willing to take him fishing in a boat.Mr Johnstone, from Lewiston, north of Adelaide, said he had fielded calls from all over the country from “at least half a dozen people willing to go out [fishing] with me that have got boats”.He said he had lined up a local fishing trip in waters off Adelaide in a couple of weeks but would first do a bit of land-based fishing at Ardrossan with his son-in-law.Mr Johnstone said he had spent the afternoon doing media interviews and could not believe the amount of attention he had attracted.”I won’t be able to walk down the street soon,” he joked.Mr Johnstone will be targeting whiting, tommy ruff and garfish when he goes fishing on the weekend — with company.
By Michael Coggan

Updated

January 30, 2017 23:51:31

‘Film is not dead’: Resurgent interest in analogue photography

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Surprise shots are among most rolls printed. (ABC Radio Brisbane: Jessica Hinchliffe)
“It’s all ages that are doing it — they want to shoot traditional film as it’s cool again, film is not dead.”More thought, better shotsMr Gresham said the demand came not only from hipsters shooting film, but baby boomers who were picking up their old cameras. (ABC Radio Brisbane: Jessica Hinchliffe)
“Unlike the iPhone, where you blast off shots, when you only have a roll of 24 or 36 [shots] you really think about it,” he said.”The quality of the photos we’re getting on film today are probably better than we ever got.”There’s many professional photographers who have gone back to shooting [with] film as they can’t get the quality they want from digital.”The magic of opening printsMr Gresham said film fans enjoyed receiving their prints and opening the envelope once it was processed — something many younger shooters had never experienced before. A Brisbane film processor says he is run off his feet trying to keep up with people wanting to develop traditional film prints.Similar to the resurgence of vinyl, using and processing 35mm film has gained in popularity amongst photographers young and old.Phil Gresham has processed film for more than 25 years and said he had recently seen a jump in requests.”We get four or five customers daily who want film processed and lots of phone calls asking us if we do it,” he said. Photo:
Film canisters lined up to be processed. (ABC Radio Brisbane: Jessica Hinchliffe)
“There’s that excitement of getting photos printed, and for many it’s the first lot of prints they’ve ever had,” he said.”They get that wonderful feeling of opening their prints.”It also means they will have something for generations to come.”In the ’90s there was close to 500 mini labs processing film in south-east Queensland, but now Mr Gresham’s family business in Taringa is one of the last.”We stocked up on spare parts for our printing machines as we saw it [the digital surge] coming a long time ago,” he said.”We also sought out film and Kodak are now producing a range similar to what they had way back when. (ABC Radio Brisbane: Jessica Hinchliffe)
“When it comes to cameras, op-shops and grandparents are being asked for SLR film cameras.”Many of the cameras just need a battery for them to work again.”As well as film processing, Mr Gresham said many photographers wanted old negatives and slides converted into digital format or printed.”We had a customer arrive with a box of more than 2,000 negatives to be converted to prints,” he said.”The demand is certainly there.” Photo:
Film negatives are processed and cut before being printed. Photo:
Once processed, the film canisters are no longer needed.
Map:
Taringa 4068
ABC Radio Brisbane

By Jessica Hinchliffe and Terri Begley

Updated

January 25, 2017 16:55:47

Video: Traditional film photography makes a comeback in digital age

(ABC News)

Octogenarian yogi teaches mind, body and soul on the mental health ward

Photo:
Thelma Bryan is reliant on a motorised scooter to travel distances longer than a few dozen metres. She has held world swimming records, taught children on three continents and donated thousands of dollars to charity, but yoga draws Thelma Bryan’s brightest smile.For the past 26 years, the 86-year-old has volunteered her time to teach weekly yoga classes in Cairns Hospital’s Mental Health Unit.As far as she is concerned, the effects of her teachings are evident on the faces of her students.”I see them walking out of the room much happier than when they walked in,” Ms Bryan said.”I say to them sometimes ‘I’ve helped you today, but you also help me, because you make me feel that at 86 I can still reach out and help others’.”Age is not the only impediment to the octogenarian yogi’s volunteering efforts.Emphysema and no less than five hip replacements mean she now relies on a motorised tricycle to cover distances that render her walking stick inadequate. (ABC Far North: Mark Rigby)
Despite her ailing health, Ms Bryan remains committed to teaching her students the principles of yoga.”The suppleness of the body, the importance of breathing well and the awareness of movement are what I try to encourage in my students,” she said.”I try to inculcate good breathing practices and I had one student thank me particularly for the practice we worked on in class.”She had been told to do that by her doctor, but she hadn’t fully grasped it until she had the time and space to feel comfortable with it.”While her passion for helping others still burns hot, 45 years of yoga practice has left Ms Bryan very much in tune with her body.As her age increases and her health declines she decides, each week, if the next class will be her last.”I’m having remedial physiotherapy and remedial massage once a month just to keep me on my feet,” she said.”But while I still have something to offer I want to continue.”
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Cairns 4870

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(ABC Far North: Mark Rigby) ABC Far North

By

Mark Rigby

Updated

January 25, 2017 12:58:26

Photo:
Thelma Bryan has been a practising yogi for more than 35 years.
Veteran Queensland axeman to be inducted into Hall of Fame
Typing with caution: Octogenarian shares fond memories of linotype machine
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Charity’s free breakfast service evolves into more than a hot meal

There are calls to expand meal services for Darwin’s homeless and vulnerable, after a charity’s ad-hoc breakfast program evolved into a “wrap around” first aid and welfare initiative.The Salvation Army started hosting a free breakfast on its Darwin headquarters patio in mid-2016.”It actually started quite informally,” charity officer Kris Halliday said.”We had a number of people who were staying in the local area and couldn’t make it into the city’s breakfast service and were asking for something to eat, so we started doing the occasional toast and noodles. “Our receptionist would spend much of her morning running up and down the hallway making two-minute noodles for people, so we saw it was a need and went from there.”Six months on, the charity is serving up free breakfasts six days a week, with daily numbers ranging from just a few to up to 30 people. Photo:
Volunteer nurse Nicole Anderson administering first aid at the Salvation Army breakfast program. She had this ongoing injury from that which she wanted checked out.”I went into [hospital] with her and with her permission spoke on her behalf as she was having a hard time communicating.”Calls to expand services across DarwinMr Halliday said the daily meals were essentially a mechanism to get more involved in vulnerable people’s lives, with some coming for a feed ending up getting help through the Salvation Army’s addiction, transport and housing services.”We had absolutely no idea when we were buzzing up and down the hallway making noodles six months ago that we’d end up offering health care and building relationships with people,” he said.Mr Halliday said the charity had no current plans to expand the service, however he welcomed partnerships with other providers.”There’s absolutely a need for other services like this around Darwin,” he said. (ABC Radio Darwin: Emilia Terzon)
Those eating on the patio include people sleeping rough, vulnerable young families and assault victims.On Monday morning one family eating sausages and toast was Edward Gaykamangu and Agnes Simons, who had found themselves unable to cook meals after their home’s power was disconnected.”We’ve got no money to pay the bill,” Ms Simons said.Mr Halliday said power disconnections was one of the most common issues people experienced, with the charity often handing out supermarket vouchers to breakfast attendees so they could buy themselves emergency gas canisters.From a hot meal to health careOthers who come for a feed are dealing with chronic health issues and wounds.Waiting for them with a supermarket bag full of donated gauze, cotton buds and steriliser is Nicole Anderson, a local nurse who volunteers her mornings with the Salvation Army.”We see chronic ulcers, foot wounds from ill-fitting footwear, boils, skin infections, injuries from assaults and alcohol-fuelled violence — a wide variety of things,” she said. Ms Anderson said she initially had a “no-questions-asked” approach over cups of tea, however she found some people were starting to open up to her about experiencing partner abuse and violence.”This one lady I’ve been seeing had multiple assaults over a period of time. I’ve had to spend a reasonable amount of time cleaning back wounds to get toilet paper off before I can even assess it. “Particularly with assault wounds, people panic and just want to get it hidden up and get on with it.”

Stories from the long grass Despite a resources boom, there are more people sleeping rough in Darwin than ever before. (ABC Radio Darwin: Emilia Terzon)
Ms Anderson started volunteering after she heard stories about breakfast attendees’ health issues and has since found herself driving people to emergency, helping file police reports and referring people on to health clinics.”People are coming for food essentially. Photo:
The breakfast program offers a free breakfast and cup of tea six days a week in Darwin’s northern suburbs. That’s a basic need that’s driving them to be here,” she said.”But we noticed they had health issues that weren’t being addressed as that’s way down your priority list when you’re dealing with homelessness and lack of access to food and shelter and that sort of thing.”This is about stepping in before people get really sick and need to go to the emergency department.”I’ve seen people who have dressed their own wounds with toilet paper and tissues.
Stories of the daily struggle to survive for Darwin's 'longrassers'
ABC Radio Darwin

By

Emilia Terzon

Posted

January 24, 2017 11:02:37

Photo:
The breakfast program helps people living it tough with financial advice, housing and healthcare. (ABC Radio Darwin: Emilia Terzon)
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Map:
Darwin 0800