Festival fires up the west

Sydney Festival■ Archie Roach
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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
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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.
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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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Nuclear facilities under scrutiny

A PARLIAMENTARY committee inquiry into ANSTO’s proposed new nuclear medicine and Synroc waste treatment plants is routine.
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The Standing Committee on Public Works has begun a consultation process into the $168million project, which will include a public hearing in February.

A spokeswoman for the committee said the inquiry was ‘‘standard procedure’’, required by law.

She said the committee had to be notified of all government works with a proposed cost of more than $2million, and hold a public inquiry into those valued at more than $15million to ensure they were fit for the purpose and represented value for money. The committee comprises three members from the Senate and six from the House of Representatives.

Under the proposal, the new nuclear medicine manufacturing plant would be completed by 2016.

It would produce molybdenum-99 (Mo-99), used for the diagnosis of heart disease, cancers, and kidney and gastrointestinal tract disorders.

The world’s first Synroc waste treatment plant, to manage by-products from the manufacture of nuclear medicines, is expected to attract most attention.

It is claimed Synroc technology, in which radioactive waste is stored in synthetic rock, reduces the volume of nuclear bi-products by 99 per cent compared with other methods.

The technology was pioneered at the Australian National University, Canberra, in the 1970s, but has had limited use internationally.

Sutherland Shire Council’s initial reaction to the plan was to welcome the investment and jobs, while expressing concern over the waste treatment plant.

The federal government says waste from medicine manufacturing plants would be treated and stored at at Lucas Heights until a national waste repository was built.

Yet, the government had not said where the repository would be built.

Federal Liberal MP for Hughes Craig Kelly said, while the proposed project would have great medical benefits and bring more than 200 jobs to the area, developing a long-term repository for nuclear waste was ‘‘top priority’’.

FEEDBACK

For details of the proposal, or to make a submission to the inquiry, visit: aph.gov.au/pwc.

Submissions close on January 24, and a public hearing is due to be held in February, with details yet to be announced.

Do you support the proposal?

Project inquiry: The proposed Synroc plant at ANSTO

See related story:http//www.theleader南京夜网.au/story/346153/anstos-global-medical-role-with-synroc/

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Christmas holiday forecast

Most of the country, apart from the northern tropics and eastern New South Wales, should enjoy dry weather on Christmas Day.
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The Weather Channel senior meteorologist Tom Saunders said the hot weather should ease before Christmas Day.

“In the lead up to Christmas, a northerly airstream will draw hot air south from Australia’s interior, lifting maximum temperatures on Sunday to around 40˚C through most of South Australia, northern Victoria and western New South Wales,” he said.

“Thankfully the blast of hot desert air will be short lived as relief quickly arrives in the form of a cool south-westerly change.

“The wind change will cause 24 temperature drops of around 10˚C for most regions – starting with Adelaide on Sunday night, Melbourne/Hobart Monday morning, Canberra late Monday then Sydney early on Christmas Day.”

The trough responsible for the cool change will also trigger showers and thunderstorms on Christmas Day across much of eastern New South Wales and the southern inland of Queensland.

“Sydney and Darwin should be the only capitals to see significant rain but a brief shower is possible in Brisbane, Melbourne and Hobart,” Mr Saunders said.

“The wettest part of Australia should be the northern ranges of New South Wales where thunderstorms may drop over 50mm of rain.

“Perth will be the hottest capital with a maximum near 40˚C, with Morawa likely to be the hottest town with a forecast maximum of 43˚C.”

“Boxing Day will remain dry over the southern states but the trough will trigger showers and thunderstorms across north-east New South Wales and south-east Queensland,” says Saunders.

For your daily updated Christmas and Boxing Day forecast log onto www.weatherchannel南京夜网.au

For your daily updated Christmas and Boxing Day forecast log onto www.weatherchannel南京夜网.au

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50 towns in 50 days: Families and farms in Corindhap 

Towatch the video on your iPhone, go the the videos tab.
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BUILT on the success of the gold rush era, Corindhap is now a shadow of its former self.

Long time Corindhap resident Noelene Cahill. PICTURE: LACHLAN BENCE

With a population once believed to be around the5000 mark, and home to a bustling main street, less than 100 people now call the town home.

One of these is Noelene Cahill, who has lived on a farm about four kilometres from the centre of town for the past 40 years.

It’s during this time she has witnessed Corindhap’s changing landscape – from a thriving gold mining centre to a peaceful little village.

Mrs Cahill said most of the town’s shops, its post office and primary school had now closed, with just the local Break-O-Day Hotel operating mostly on weekends.

Her husband and two sons have played for the Rokewood-Corindhap Football Club, which is based at Rokewood, just a few kilometres up the road.

Mrs Cahill said Corindhap’s hall, built in 1956, used to house cabaret balls, but is now used mainlyfor fortnightly card nights as a local get-together.

Another significant drawcard to the community is a number of striking wood carvings, which line the Avenue of Honour.

They includea plane, a soldier, a horse and rider and a woman with her children receiving a letter sent from the war office.

The basics

Municipality: Golden Plains

Population: The Australian Bureau of Statistics considers Corindhap part of the wider Rokewood area, with a population of 433. There is is expected to be about 50 people living in Corindhap itself.

First settled: 1840s-1850s

Main industries: Farming

Claim to fame: Publican of Corindhap’s Cosmopolitan Hotel George Searle and his sidekick Joseph Ballan were hanged in Ballarat for the murder of Thomas Ulick Burke in 1867. The pair shot and robbed the young Smythesdale bank managerof 1,200 pounds in cash, with the gun and money found in the hotel.

Five fast facts:

1. The town’s local football and netball club is known as Rokewood-Corindhap, which playsin the Central Highlands league.

2. Corindhap changed to be called Break-O-Day during the gold rush and reverted back to its original name when the gold petered out.

3. The town had a resurgence in the depression as people returned for the rabbits and the gold.

4. During its peak, Corindhap is believed to have had a population of about 5000 people, with five hotels and seven shanties.

5. Corindhap was the name by which the area was known to the Woadyalloack tribe of aboriginals.

Five things to do:

1. Check out the special wood carvings along the town’s Avenue of Honour, completed by Geelong woodcarver Viktor Cebergs.

2. Enjoy a drink at the Break-O-Day Hotel, open mainly on weekends.

3. Trip to the local cemetery, which is based on Cemetery Road in Corindhap.

4. Go prospecting for gold in the local waterways.

5. Visit Laidler Reserve, which is home to the Corindhap war memorial.

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Stay cool at a pool

SUMMER in western Sydney conjures images of families and children splashing in the local community swimming pool.
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Ready for the pilgrims: Wenty Leagues swimming club president Tom Lamont.

Wentworthville residents fought hard to keep their local pool when Holroyd Council proposed closing its three pools.

Wenty Leagues Swimming Club president Tom Lamont said it was good to know the pool was safe for the community to use.

“There’s a pilgrimage to the pool in summer,” he said.

“Especially with the large Indian and Sri Lankan community here, they love it.

“We’ve got people in their 80s [in our club] who still come every week and do their 800 metres. We have a barbecue or sit around and have a coffee; it’s good family fun.”

Blacktown Aquatic Centre is also a favourite destination for the community each summer.

But as well as being a place of leisure, it has strong links to world-class competitive swimming.

President of the Blacktown City Swim Club president Paul Watts said his club had been around since 1961.

“We’ve had at least one Olympian; Michelle De Vries went to the 1976 games,” he said.

“And Kenrick Monk swam at Blacktown when he was younger.”

Blacktown pool even had a world record set in its waters by Kieren Perkins, who became the fastest swimmer over 800 metres in 1992.

Both clubs are open to new members.

But if it’s just a splash to cool off that people are after, there are pools in western Sydney open all summer;

■ Waves Fitness and Aquatic Centreat Baulkham Hills is open 5.30am-9pm, Monday to Thursday; 5.30am-6.30pm Friday; 7am-5pm on weekends;

■ Galston Aquatic Centre is open Thursday, 5.30am-9pm; Friday, 5.30am-7pm; Saturday, 7am-5pm; Sunday, 7am-5pm; New Year’s Eve, 5.30am-5pm; and New Year’s Day, 9am to 5pm. Usual hours are Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, 5.30am-9pm; Tuesday, 5.30am-7.30pm; Friday, 5.30am-7pm and weekends, 7am-5pm.

■ Blacktown Leisure Centre, Stanhope is open 5.30am-9pm Monday to Friday; and 8am-5pm on weekends. On New Year’s Day it will open from noon to 5pm.

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Get in step at studios

Ready when you are: Arthur Murray Dance Studio instructors Matthew Akers and Dani McLeod. Picture: Gene RamirezFOR anyone still deciding on a new year’s resolution, plenty of dance instructors around town will encourage you to shimmy into a studio to try your feet at some new steps.
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At Arthur Murray Dance Studio in Castle Hill, instructor Matthew Akers will be directing classes right through the holiday period.

“We’re primarily focused on social ballroom dancing and Latin dancing but we talk to our students about what they want from their lessons,” he said.

“We have students from 18 years old to 87, and everything in between.

“Couples get to come and learn how to dance so they can go out; single blokes might want to learn to dance so they’re more confident in a social environment where other people are dancing, it’s really, really focused on the individual.”

The studio is a franchise of the Arthur Murray brand, which celebrated its 100th anniversary this year.

If ballroom or Latin dancing aren’t your thing, there are plenty of other options around for other styles.

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Be a tourist in your own backyard

Animal keeper Rebecca Klarich with a baby joey Hamish (230 days old) who will live at Central Gardens after he’s weaned off the formula. Picture: Carlos Furtado Kyle Hillhouse, apprentice landscaper, putting the finishing touches to the new Chinese garden at Nurragingy reserve to be handed over to the council. Picture: Natalie Roberts
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St Bartholomews Church, Prospect. The church contains the tomb of explorer, William Lawson. Picture: Peter Rae

Lennox Bridge in Parramatta. Heritage advocates are alarmed at a plan to drill holes in the side of one of Australia’s oldest bridges to make way for a cycleway. The bridge was built by convicts in the 1930’s. Picture: Edwina Pickles.

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VIDEO: Handmade dolls for comfort 

LESLEY Lawson’s New Year’s resolution is to comfort women in local refuges.
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Knitting women together: “My original thought was women in shelters probably need some comfort,” Lesley Lawson said. Picture: Mike Sea

She plans to do this by making hand-crafted dolls for them — soft dolls they can carry in a bag within which there is a special motivating message, reminding them to remain strong and not look back.

“I hope it will make them feel they are not alone,” Ms Lawson said.

Watch our video interview with Ms Lawson, filmed by Mike Sea, below:

She said she got the idea for the doll from a magazine article she read about Operation Comfort Doll, a charity started in the US in 2007 which encourages crafters of all abilities to make these special gifts for women who flee violence.

“We think that this is a unique project that could appeal to many of the women in The Hills who knit, sew [or] embroider, who would be interested in using some of their spare time, and leftover scraps, to help other women less fortunate than themselves,” Ms Lawson said.

The dolls are very simple to make, she said.

In just two weeks she and her “sisters” from the Soroptomist International of the Hills made 50.

“This project fits into our objectives for the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence and White Ribbon Day (November 25).

“It also raises the subject of women’s shelters which is topical, given the closure of St Michael’s Family Centre [in Baulkham Hills].”

Ms Lawson said a Comfort Doll could be a doll, an animal or even a brooch — so long as it’s soft and less than 15 centimetres tall, “so it can be carried comfortably”.

“It’s a little encouragement [for women in shelters] and because it’s in a bag, no one has to know what it’s for.”

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