Festival fires up the west

Sydney Festival■ Archie Roach

Archie Roach is celebrated as one of Australia’s most gifted artists. Since his 1990 debut he has released more albums and toured with the likes of Bob Dylan, Billy Bragg and Patti Smith. At the festival, Roach will perform songs from his new album Into The Bloodstream and will be accompanied by a 13-piece music ensemble and a 10-voice Gospel choir. Date: Australia Day, at The Parade Ground at Old King’s. Cost: Free.

■ Briefs

A disorderly line-up of Australia’s finest performers and mischief-makers in a circus-infused variety show for the not-so-faint- hearted. Date: From January 18 to 27 at the Salon Perdu Spiegeltent, in Prince Alfred Park, Parramatta. Cost: $40.

■ Lah-Lah

Lovable characters Buzz the Bandleader, Lola the dancing double bass, Tom Tom the drums, Mister Saxophone and Squeezy Sneezy the accordion join their ring leader Lah-Lah in a musical spectacular that kids will love. Date: Australia Day, January 26, from 7pm, at The Parade Ground at Old King’s. Cost: Free.

■ Leah Flanagan

Leah Flanagan will sing a collection of songs from her latest album Midnight Muses. The album was inspire by poet Sam Wagan Watson’s award-winning work Smoke Encrypted Whispers. Date: January 20 at the Salon Perdu Spiegeltent. Cost: $30.

■ Lianne La Havas

Londoner Lianne La Havas will perform her neo soul teamed with folk-pop hits which feature off her Mercury Prize-nominated album, Is Your Love Big Enough?. Date: January 22 and January 23, at 7pm, at the Salon Perdu Spiegeltent.

Cost: $35.

■ The New Mendicants

Norman Blake and Joe Pernice, who make up The New Mendicants will have you in awe when they perform new material.

Date: January 26 at 7pm and 27 at 5pm, at Salon Perdu Spiegeltent. Cost: $35.

■ Parra Opening Party

The heart of Parramatta will be transformed into an extravaganza. Bring the kids and enjoy an afternoon of music and activities in and around Riverside Theatres. Explore The Megaphone Project along Church Street; listen to a symphony of car stereos by composer Matthew Timmis in Car-Cophony and visit Prince Alfred Park. Date: January 19.

Cost: Free.

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Past graces and haunts historical sites in district

Elizabeth Farm Norine Collins and Trevor Patrick at Hambledon Cottage, Rosehill. Picture: Gene Ramirez

St Bartholomews Church, Prospect. The church contains the tomb of explorer, William Lawson. Picture: Peter Rae

Elizabeth Farm

WESTERN Sydney is home to many historical sites for residents and tourists to enjoy its heritage, arts and culture in buildings and open spaces.

A great place to start is the Blacktown Arts Centre and the Visitor Information and Heritage Centre in Flushcombe Road.

People are directed to the Alroy Tavern at Rooty Hill Road, Plumpton; the Battle of Vinegar Hill Monument at Windsor Road, Rouse Hill, the Blacksmith Shed at Nurragingy Reserve in Doonside; Minchinbury Place at Great Western Highway in Minchinbury; Prospect Reservoir, Rouse Hill House and Farm in Rouse Hill; St Bartholomew’s Church at Prospect, The Manse at Mt Druitt; and The Royal Cricketers Arms Inn at Prospect.

One of the historical highlights is a hair-raising ghost tour on New Year’s Eve at Blacktown’s historic Saint Bartholomew’s Church from 6pm. A guide will take people through St Bartholomew’s Church graveyard which is home to the graves of many early settlers, most famously William Lawson, one of the first group of Europeans to cross the Blue Mountains, and Thomas Willmot, the first shire president of Blacktown.

The night starts at 6pm and costs $35 a person. Dinner at the church is at 6.30pm, followed by the ghost tour and to finish just before the fireworks at midnight to welcome in the new year.

You can spend a beautiful night out at St Bartholomew’s, and if it’s a clear night, you may see the spectacular fireworks display over Sydney Harbour and the Parramatta River.

Ghost tours are conducted by The Guides of St Bartholomew’s. Bookings are essential. For more information or bookings contact 9839 6000.

The best introduction to Parramatta’s heritage sites and stories is at the Heritage Centre at 346A Church Street Parramatta.

You will find information about area’s history explained through photos, stories and artefacts. There is a local studies library, a gallery space, activities, workshops, and a visitor information centre providing maps, guide books and advice.

■Experiment Farm Cottage stands on the site of the first land grant in Australia, made in 1789 by Governor Phillip to James Ruse.

■Elizabeth Farm is a rare example of an early Australian colonial bungalow built in 1793 for John and Elizabeth Macarthur, pioneers of the Australian wool industry.

■Hambledon Cottage was built by John Macarthur in 1824 as a second house on his Elizabeth Farm Estate.

Its many early occupants include Sir Edward Macarthur, Archdeacon Thomas Hobbes Scott and Dr Matthew Anderson.

■Step back 190 years in time, to when Governor Lachlan Macquarie was governor and visit historic Lancer Barracks . Lancer Barracks has been home to the 1/15th Royal NSW Lancers for well over 100 years, giving rise to their nickname, he Parramatta Lancers

The Lancers is Australia’s oldest surviving and most decorated regiment.

For more information, call 9635 8149, during business hours or 0416 026 816 after hours .

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Ferry ride secret’s out

Great family outing: Brett Dunne (right) and partner Julie Sloan take their boys Clancy (front) and Sam on a tour of the Parramatta River. Picture: Gene RamirezWORD is starting to spread with tourists that a ride on the Parramatta Ferry is one of Sydney’s best-kept secrets.

Until recently tourist guide books ignored the Parramatta River service in favour of more popular ferry journeys to Manly or Balmain.

But attitudes towards the Parramatta River are changing thanks to a big clean-up and tourist numbers are growing with people wanting to cross the city in a more leisurely manner.

One family keen to get off the beaten track was Cobar couple Brett Dunne and his partner Julie Sloan.

The pair took their children to Sydney for the first time in December with their youngest son Sam needing an operation at Westmead Children’s Hospital.

Following the advice of a hospital nurse Mr Dunne decided to take a different route on their way back to city.

“It’s a great way to see the city and get away from the busy roads and train lines,” Mr Dunne said.

“Coming from country NSW we enjoy a bit of water because we’re so used to seeing fields of red dirt.”

Hopping on at Parramatta Charles Street interchange, the Dunne family lapped up the warm boating weather on their one and a half hour journey to Circular Quay.

Mr Dunne said the ferry let his family escape the busy crowded streets and sail under the Sydney Harbour Bridge for some essential tourist photos.

“I drive a road-train back home and my partner is a full-time waitress so it’s nice to relax and unwind a bit,” Mr Dunne said. “My boys Sam and Clancy seem to like it.”

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Hollywood comes to Pitt St

On the Friday night before Christmas, Pitt St Mall in the CBD is usually a festive mixture of mayhem and mania,  but this year it will also factor in a large chunk of Miserables.

Last-minute shoppers will be making way for guests and gawkers on and around the red carpet for the Sydney premiere of Les Miserables tonight, the third and final premiere that the Oscar-tipped film will receive.

Guests are due to start arriving from 5.30pm with the screening scheduled to begin at 7pm.

Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe are set to join director Tom Hooper and producer Sir Cameron Mackintosh to walk the red carpet which will run the length of the mall before turning right to lead right up to the State Theatre doors.

For Jackman, the homecoming marks a welcome relief after two much smaller but far more nerve-wracking screenings. “My aunty is French, and a big film buff, and always unfortunately, honest with me about everything I do,” he says. “She was the one I was most nervous about. And she was nervous about the French, the musical has never been as popular there, but she loved it and She said to me ‘Victor Hugo would be proud’.”

“Then I had the unbelievable honour of having the opportunity to watch it with the Emperor’s son in Japan. Throughout the entire thing it was wonderful. He was making so many noises at all the right times that I kept nudging Tom Hooper and saying ‘I think he likes it’.”

Jackman has been surprised by every audience response to Les Miserables. “It’s been a different ride for me. I’ve done enough movies to know this one feels different,” he explains. “Both times I’ve seen it with an audience have been very different. I was surprised, they were clapping throughout.”

Hooper agrees, noting that “there’s something terribly exciting about seeing this with a thousand people in a big room. In London they applauded I think twelve times during the film, in New York fourteen or fifteen times. Then in the final scene where there’s this massive barricade, they started clapping at the beginning of the scene and went straight through. I’ve never seen anything like it on any film.

“On top of that as the film ends you hear this extraordinary sound of sort of rustling and you realise you’re hearing the sound of hundreds of people crying. It’s like little animals rummaging through the undergrowth, it’s a very weird sound. The first time I heard it, I was like, is this a technical problem with the sound?”

Jackman has enjoyed the tears as much as the cheers. “Yes, you could visibly see and hear people crying at the end which is an amazing feeling to be part of that.”

Not that he is planning for tonight to end in tears. “This actually is our last premiere for the movie that I know of. It feels great to be back at home. Tonight there’s no game plan, the wheels may come off a little bit tonight.”

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Hyundai faces fresh recall

Hyundai VelosterHyundai has been caught up in its second recall controversy in three days, with the manufacturer now baulking at recalling cars with sunroofs that could be prone to cracking.

A spokesman for Hyundai Australia, Bill Thomas, said today it had not yet decided whether it would recall a number of Veloster sports models over the sunroof problem.

The company is resisting pressure to recall the popular Veloster, despite the fact that Hyundai America has announced a full recall.

Earlier this week, the Australian operation was criticised for not recalling thousands of vehicles that could have faulty brake lights.

The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has reportedly received 11 complaints from consumers about the roofs. Seven of those said the roofs shattered while they were driving, but the NHTSA hasn’t had any reports of injuries.

Thomas said “a small number” of Australian vehicles had experienced similar problems.

He said a local recall was “likely” but said the company was also looking at a potential service campaign.

“We’re just looking at the implications for our market.

“We don’t know whether it will be a full recall or not. We are not refusing to recall the vehicles.

“Our priority is to fix it and make things right for the customers,” he said.

Thomas said the cars affected were built between November 1, 2011 and April 17, 2012.

According to Thomas the problems were caused by an intermittent fault with a robot that unloads roofs at Hyundai’s plant.

“It has caused some damage to some of the roofs that has led to subsequent fracture,” he said.

The Veloster is the most popular sports car in Australia with more than 3600 sales already in 2012. The glass sunroof is standard equipment on the more expensive Veloster Plus model. The Veloster SR Turbo model is not affected.

Drive has contacted the Department of Transport and Infrastructure, the body responsible for regulating recalls, for comment. Follow Drive苏州美睫培训.au on Twitter @Drivecomau Like Drive苏州美睫培训.au on Facebook

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Fairfax quick to jump on new assets

Fairfax Media confirmed today that it has completed the sale of its stake in New Zealand online auction house Trade Me for $616 million, and dipped straight back into the sector with the acquisition of tech investment firm, Netus, for an undisclosed sum.

Fairfax, which publishes the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, paid $NZ700 million for the entire Trade Me business in 2006.

Fairfax Media chief executive Greg Hywood said on Tuesday that the sale’s proceeds would “provide us with a very strong balance sheet and the financial flexibility to invest and complete the company’s structural transformation”.

The sale cuts Fairfax’s net debt below $200 million.

While the Trade Me sale was supported by some of Fairfax’s major institutional shareholders, it also deprives the company of a key source of digital earnings.

The Netus acquisition – which is understood to be in the tens of millions of dollars – is designed to address this.

Netus founder, Daniel Petre, said the company will be charged with finding ‘‘investments that can benefit from the traffic Fairfax can point at new businesses’’.

He said Netus will be looking for opportunities that ‘‘have the potential to move the dial in a reasonably short period’’ which he identified as three years.

Earlier this week, Mr Hywood said the company is looking for small scale digital acquisitions.

Netus will also focus on helping Fairfax’s current digital business achieve better results.

‘‘We think there is some scope here as well,’’ Mr Petre said.

Netus claims success with previous investments like ReachLocal and Travel苏州美睫培训, with an average internal rate of return (IRR) across its investment portfolio of 50 per cent.

Netus currently owns a 27 per cent stake in online video ads business, The Video Network, and 85 per cent of digital publisher Allure Media. Fairfax announced on Friday that it has acquired the other 15 per cent of Allure.

Mr Petre and Netus chief Alison Deans, both worked with the Kerry Packer-backed tech investment firm ecorp and helped develop eBay’s local operations which Ms Deans headed.

Mr Petre set-up Netus in 2005 with a $40 million investment from Fairfax rival, Rupert Murdoch-owned News Ltd.

News sold its half share of Netus in May this year for $22.3 million, saying the company wanted to focus its resources on ‘‘larger opportunities than those within the scope of Netus.’’

This year, Fairfax announced plans to cut more than 1900 staff and take about $235 million in structural costs out of the business. This includes plans to close its largest print plants in Sydney and Melbourne, turning the Herald and The Age into compacts, and introducing a metered model to charge digital subscribers for access to these mastheads.

At the shareholder meeting, Fairfax chairman Roger Corbett said a break-up, or demerger, of the core media business was ruled out after detailed analysis as it would not add to shareholder value, and would undermine future value creation.

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Christmas at kinder? Please sign…

Parents at a Montrose preschool had to sign a document indicating they were comfortable with a small nativity set, Fairfax Media has found.

A parent at Japara Neighbourhood House in Montrose rang radio station 3AW on Friday morning expressing disbelief that she was asked to give permission.

Joanne Scanlan, the executive officer at Japara, told Fairfax Media the nativity set would have been withdrawn if a parent had indicated they were uncomfortable with it.

“It was one small Fisher-Price set,” said Ms Scanlan. “It was a nativity scene of Christmas and we were advised to ask the parents to just…initial next to the child’s name when they signed them in that they had no problem with it being in the room.”

Ms Scanlan said she made the decision requesting parents to sign.

“It was made by myself. It was brought to me and I said as long as the parents are comfortable with it, that’s fine.

“It was purely to respect everybody’s beliefs.”

Ms Scanlan denied being overly politically correct, saying “I thought I was making a decision that meant that everybody felt at ease.”

But she said she would have withdrawn the set if a parent had indicated they weren’t comfortable with it.

“I wouldn’t have had it on display when that child was here…(it) would have made that family feel comfortable. That’s the respect that I have for them.”

Ms Scanlan said she didn’t know if any parents had raised objections. “In hindsight it probably wouldn’t have mattered if we hadn’t done it,” she said.

The news comes after City of Monash councillors rejected a motion earlier this week to change the wording on council decorations from Season’s Greetings to Merry Christmas.

Mayor Micaela Drieberg defended the move, saying a large proportion of signs already had Merry Christmas written on them. The “Season’s Greetings” signs were there to reflect the beliefs of Jewish residents and others who did not celebrate Christmas, she said.

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Marketer wins gong for engaging volunteers

University of Wollongong researcher Dr Melanie Randle has won an international award for her research into marketing that really makes a difference.

Dr Melanie Randle. Picture: ROBERT PEET

Dr Randle isn’t interested in marketing campaigns to promote new brands or products – she’s more concerned with marketing that achieves good social outcomes.

Specifically her research looks at how marketing can help foster-care and volunteer organisations find the best carers and volunteers, and keep them.

This research has led to the senior research fellow at UOW’s School of Management and Marketing receiving an Australian and New Zealand Marketing Academy (ANZMAC) award.

The ANZMAC Emerging Researcher of the Year award is highly competitive and attracts nominations from universities across the world.

“It’s great to get recognition for my research. People typically associate marketing with commercial marketing issues – such as selling products or advertising,” Dr Randle said.

“My focus is on the social side of marketing. For instance my research on volunteering is about trying to understand the range of reasons that people volunteer.

“The research can then be used by volunteering organisations to design advertising and marketing campaigns that promote the particular aspects of the volunteering experience that are attractive to particular parts of the community.

“This will hopefully increase the number of people engaged in volunteer activities which has so many advantages not just to these organisations, but to individuals and the whole community.”

Dr Randle’s research is already benefiting Illawarra organisations such as Bushcare Wollongong, an environmental volunteer organisation run by Wollongong City Council.

“Bushcare has been able to use my research to run a campaign which has helped them achieve their goal of around 300 volunteers,” she said.

“Now it is using my research into what types of volunteering experiences people want, to develop support programs to get them to stay.”

CareSouth, a not-for-profit organisation which provides a range of services in the Illawarra and the southern region including foster care, is another organisation benefiting from Dr Randle’s research.

“My foster care research looks at what types of people make good foster carers, which has helped organisations like CareSouth design targeted marketing strategies to reach those particular types of people,” she said.

Dr Randle said volunteering and foster care organisations typically had minimal budgets to conduct their own research or marketing.

“Providing them with the findings of my research allows them to use whatever budget they have more effectively,” she said.

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Ballarat’s 40 Under 40

ALLISTER MORRISON – Age: 35, Occupation: General manager of Ballarat Real Estate Pty Ltd

KATRINA BEER – Age: 32, Occupation: Vocation program manager, Ballarat and District Aboriginal Co-operative

STUART BENJAMIN – Age: 37, Occupation: Property developer

SCOTT BERTUS – Age: 26, Occupation: University of Ballarat student and extensive community involvement.

SAM BORNER – Age: 24, Occupation: Real estate consultant

JANE BUNN – Age: 33, Occupation: Meteorologist and weather presenter – WIN News Victoria

KATE BURROWS – Age: 31, Occupation: Director, Eventique Consulting

SIMON COGHLAN – Age: 37, Occupation: Hotelier

BEN DAINTON – Age: 21, Occupation: Youth pastor

KERRI GORDON – Age: 32, Occupation: Health management team leader and dietician

STACEY GROSE – Age: 29, Occupation: Director and commercial solicitor of BJT Legal Pty Ltd. Extensive involvement in community organisations.

NICK GRYLEWICZ – Age: 37, Occupation: Developer

TAMSIN HINCHLEY – Age: 32, Occupation: Mum, pro-beach volleyballer, coach.

JAALA PULFORD – Age: 38, Occupation: Labor Member of Parliament for Western Victoria

AMY JOHNSON – Age: 25, Occupation: City of Ballarat councillor

CHRIS KARAMEROS – Age: 38, Occupation: Physical education teacher , sport co-ordinator

ALDONA KMIEC – Age: 35, Occupation: Professional photographer and multicultural ambassador of the City of Ballarat (2012 – 2014)

LARELLE KUCZER – Age: 29, Occupation: Youth worker, currently working in youth drug and alcohol

ROGER LE GRAND – Age: 37, Occupation: General manager Victoria, Go Transit Media Group

ASH LIEB – Age: 30, Occupation: Artist, comedian, writer

TIM MATTHEWS – Age: 33, Occupation: Director, The Forge Pizzeria.

JADE MORRISON – Age: 30, Occupation: Advertising manager, The Courier, Fairfax Regional Media

JANE NIELD – Age: 38, Occupation: Radio announcer at Power FM and 3BA Ballarat. Extensive community involvement.

PAUL NOLAN – Age: 36, Occupation: Director of community development at St Patrick’s College

BRENDAN O CONNELL – Age: 34, Occupation: Partnership,broker,team leader Highlands Local Learning & Employment Network.

TESS PEARCE – Age: 20, Occupation: Law student

DREW PETRIE – Age: 30, Occupation: Sportsperson (AFL)

WAYNE RIGG – Age: 39, Occupation: CFA operations officer instructor

BRAD SEWELL – Age: 28, Occupation: AFL footballer

KATIE SPURGO – Age: 33, Occupation: Editorial manager, Fairfax Regional Digital Media

REBECCA STEWART – Age: 27, Occupation: Youth project officer,producer (radio) / early childhood carer

JARED TALLENT – Age: 28, Occupation: Athlete (race walker), three-time Olympic medallist

BEN TAYLOR – Age: 36, Occupation: Sales manager at Southern Cross Business Machines

TULLY SMITH – Age: 27, Occupation: Sales and marketing manager, Ballarat Turf Club. Extensive involvement in other organisations.

STEPH WALLACE – Age: 33, Occupation: Owner of Red Brick art gallery and shop

JOSHUA MORRIS – Age: 30, Occupation: Ballarat City councillor and physical education teacher

JULIA ZASS – Age: 29, Occupation: Breakfast announcer on 103.1 Power FM

NICOLE BARTLETT – Age: 30, Occupation: Events manager at Fiona Elsey Cancer Research Institute and mum of two boys

JANELLE RYAN – Age: 28, Occupation: Communications and marketing director

JOANNA STEVENS – Age: 37, Occupation: Managing director of a PR company

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Christmas devils

A three month old Tasmanian devil gets into the Christmas spirit at Trowunna Wildlife Park, Mole Creek. Photo: SCOTT GELSTON. A three month old Tasmanian devil gets into the Christmas spirit at Trowunna Wildlife Park, Mole Creek. Photo: SCOTT GELSTON.

A three month old Tasmanian devil gets into the Christmas spirit at Trowunna Wildlife Park, Mole Creek. Photo: SCOTT GELSTON.

A three month old Tasmanian devil gets into the Christmas spirit at Trowunna Wildlife Park, Mole Creek. Photo: SCOTT GELSTON.

A three month old Tasmanian devil gets into the Christmas spirit at Trowunna Wildlife Park, Mole Creek. Photo: SCOTT GELSTON.

A three month old Tasmanian devil gets into the Christmas spirit at Trowunna Wildlife Park, Mole Creek. Photo: SCOTT GELSTON.

A three month old Tasmanian devil gets into the Christmas spirit at Trowunna Wildlife Park, Mole Creek. Photo: SCOTT GELSTON.

A three month old Tasmanian devil gets into the Christmas spirit at Trowunna Wildlife Park, Mole Creek. Photo: SCOTT GELSTON.

A three month old Tasmanian devil gets into the Christmas spirit at Trowunna Wildlife Park, Mole Creek. Photo: SCOTT GELSTON.

A three month old Tasmanian devil gets into the Christmas spirit at Trowunna Wildlife Park, Mole Creek. Photo: SCOTT GELSTON.

A three month old Tasmanian devil gets into the Christmas spirit at Trowunna Wildlife Park, Mole Creek. Photo: SCOTT GELSTON.

A three month old Tasmanian devil gets into the Christmas spirit at Trowunna Wildlife Park, Mole Creek. Photo: SCOTT GELSTON.

A three month old Tasmanian devil gets into the Christmas spirit at Trowunna Wildlife Park, Mole Creek. Photo: SCOTT GELSTON.

A three month old Tasmanian devil gets into the Christmas spirit at Trowunna Wildlife Park, Mole Creek. Photo: SCOTT GELSTON.

A three month old Tasmanian devil gets into the Christmas spirit at Trowunna Wildlife Park, Mole Creek. Photo: SCOTT GELSTON.

Source: The Examiner

South Mandurah prove too strong for Hillman

PINJARRA notched up its fifth win of the season when they met Shoalwater Bay at home in round 10 of the Peel Cricket Association competition.

Pinjarra won the toss and elected to bat with openers Jamie Lee and Ryan Pack putting Shoalwater on the back foot early.

Lee was the first to go for 32.

When Shoalwater dismissed Nathan Porth for only two runs momentum looked like it may have shifted.

That was not the case with Chris Zadow joining Pack at the crease.

The pair put on an 82-run partnership before Zadow fell for 39.

Pack went onto make 81 runs which included nine fours to be his sides top run scorer.

Pinjarra finished their innings at 8/221 leaving Shoalwater with a difficult, yet manageable, task.

Shoalwater put up a good fight but Pinjarra’s bowling attack did the job dismissing Shoalwater in the 47th over for 173.

Dylan Skipper was the pick of the Pinjarra bowlers taking 3/24 off his 10 overs.

Phillip Walshaw also took three wickets for Pinjarra.

The win moved Pinjarra into fourth position only on percentage above Warnbro.

In other results South Mandurah proved to strong for Hillman.

Hillman won the toss and sent South Mandurah into bat.

The Hillman bowlers were able to dismiss South Mandurah before they completed their allocated 50 overs though South Mandurah’s score of 208 was still going to be hard to beat.

Jimmy Reed was the pick of the bowlers taking 4/40.

Hillman would have been hoping to start strongly but that was not to be with the side left at 5/63 before Reed (38) and Michael Burgess (54) settled the innings.

Hillman couldn’t fight their way back from the early loss of wickets ending their innings all out for 164 in the 46th over.

The win secured South Mandurah’s position in the top four.

Top of the ladder Halls Head extended their winning streak when they defeated Singleton in their round 10 clash.

Singleton was sent in to to bat and were immediately put under pressure from the Halls Head bowling attack.

Chris Phelps tore through the Singleton attack taking 5/26 off his 10 overs.

Singleton ended their innings all out for just 137.

The run chase didn’t all go Halls Head way with opener Andrew Tatterson falling for four however Cary and Mitchell Green were able to settle the innings making 28 and 31 respectively.

Number five Sam Inward took away any chance of a Singleton win making a well made 53 to push Halls Head towards the modest 137.

Halls Head finished their innings on 166 off 38 overs.

It was White Knights Baldivis who came out on top in its clash against Old Irwinians Cricket Club.

Irwinians won the toss and elected to bat first but failed to gain any momentum ending their innings all out for 138.

No batter made it above 19.

The pick of the Baldivis bowlers was Kyle Gardiner who took 3/17 off his 10 overs.

Although not dominate, Baldivis managed to eclipse Old Irwinians’ score ending their inning all out for 160.

Leigh Sibley top scored with 37.

Ian Bowes was the highest wicket taker taking 3/45 off 10.

In the final game of the round Warnbro Swans defeated Mandurah in a low-scoring game.

Dane Ugle was the only Warnbro batter past 10 making an impressive 86; his side all out for 126.

In reply Mandurah would have been confident of victory but it was not to.

The side was dismissed for 117 in the 42nd over. Jared Motu was exceptional with the ball taking 5/10 off his 10 overs.

The win saw Warnbro move past Mandurah to second on the ladder.

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ACT swimmer hoping he’s not out of his depth

ACCOMPLISHED swimmer Jayde Martens-Shaw has been juggling a busy work schedule to try to train as much as possible for Saturday’s Wagga’s Sports Champion event.

Martens-Shaw is one of eight new faces who will take part in the male division of Wagga’s Sports Champion on Saturday and will be the man to beat when the athletes hit the pool.

The 25-year-old athlete left Wagga when he was 16 and has spent time in Brisbane, Sydney, Canberra and Perth as he pursued a career in swimming.

Martens-Shaw has since put swimming on the backburner as he balances his time between a double degree in sports science and sports management at University of Canberra, along with his job at Red Bull.

While he admits it is a busy lifestyle, Martens-Shaw explained yesterday he had been trying to fit in as much training as possible before of Saturday’s Wagga’s Sports Champion at Bolton Park.

“I’m based in Canberra and work between there and Sydney so there is a lot of driving between both which keeps me really busy,” Martens-Shaw said yesterday.

“Finding time to train is challenging but I’ve tried to do as much as I can, when I can, in order to try and match it with the full-time athletes.

“Like all athletes, I’m doing it because I like a challenge and it should be a bit of fun.”

Martens-Shaw will be the one to beat in the 50-metre freestyle given his background in swimming. It will also give him a handy advantage come the multi-sport challenge at the end of the day, which involves a 200-metre kayak, 800m run, 200m swim and 40m sprint finish.

He said the 100m sprint, plus the AFL goal kicking will be two of the more challenging events for him.

Martens-Shaw said he would love to walk away with a top-five finish.

“Who knows, it would be a dream to compete with the top guys,” Martens-Shaw said. “My goal is just to be able to mix it with those boys, it would great if I could finish top five.”

Martens-Shaw was unsure which athlete will be the one to beat on Saturday.

He said he was looking forward to competing with good mate Rob McMahon and described him as the dark horse of the competition.

Jayde Martens-Shaw

Age: 25

Sport: Swimming

Strengths: 50m freestyle, multi-sportchallenge

Weaknesses: 100m sprint, AFL goal kicking

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OPINION: Actions speak loudly

AS someone who’s only lived in this city for 18 months, I haven’t witnessed how the city has changed for better or worse like many of my colleagues.

I still get lost in inner-city suburbs and don’t have intricate knowledge of much of the city’s history – though I was working as a cadet in Newcastle in 1994 when the second earthquake struck in Ellalong, I just didn’t feel the earth move beneath my seat in a city cinema.

I’m probably not as jaded as those who have heard successive state governments promise they’ll move heaven and earth to revitalise the city centre.

But as a city worker and city resident – and one who is so centrally located I can’t get a residential parking permit, but don’t get me started on that – that doesn’t mean I don’t despair about how the CBD has gone to rack and ruin and don’t wonder when things will finally start rolling.

The glorious images of a thriving Hunter Street in my learned colleague Greg Ray’s books on the town are a painful reminder of what has been and what could still be.

But amid all the depressing talk about what hasn’t been done, it’s important to consider what is happening behind the scenes, and often on a smaller scale.

From public organisations and private groups to residents imbued with a sense of place and civic pride who are simply cleaning up their patch, good things are happening and they are worth noting.

The first batch of Renew Newcastle graduates are mostly now running thriving commercial operations, a bunch of 20 and 30-something groovers who have the talent to work wherever they want in the world – and some have – but choose to work their magic in Newcastle, all adding to the value of the creative economy.

There’s new blood at Newcastle Now, with entrepreneur Michael Neilson all het up about placemaking and bringing Village Well, the people that put the mojo back into key Melbourne and Sydney hot spots, into town.

The newly formed Hunter DiGiT taskforce is working to put the Hunter on the map as a leading digital regional economy with a global reputation by 2020, and it’s being driven by the likes of Brendan Brooks, Steph Hinds, Gordon Whitehead and Craig Wilson – people who are in business and know what needs to be done to make many sectors more efficient.

Nouveaux nosheries like Restaurant Mason, Le Petit Deux, The Landing and Subo are bringing food currency to town, with hatted establishments here cutting it with their sizzling Sydney and Melburnian counterparts. City residents, from the East to West End in particular, are getting behind small projects to just make the place look better. From mounting sculptures and building community gardens raided daily by city chefs, to applying for grants to widen footpaths and cleaning up parks – it’s all helping.

At the bigger end of town, business folk including Keith Stronach and Jerry Schwartz, armed with can-do and cash-flow, are pushing ahead with commercial projects and doing their best not to let the red-tape brigade dull their visions for the town.

Hunter Development Corporation chairman and Infrastructure NSW chief Paul Broad no doubt admires them, given his colourful spray at last week’s Australian Property Council Hunter Chapter luncheon.

He preceded his wide-ranging soliloquy on the strengths and infrastructure priorities of the Hunter Region with mutterings about his disdain for time-wasting pollies of all creeds.

Whether or not he agrees with our lord mayor’s move to create another layer of bureaucracy in forming a special taskforce of Hunter businessmen to cast their collective eyes over council finances is another matter.

As for the rail line, while I get the views of the naysayers and progressives, actions will always speak louder than words.

And when all is said and done, it’s easy to despair but easier to support the doers.