Centrals to focus on the little things

CRICKET is a simple game, and today’s final instalment of the Orange City versus Centrals Orange District Cricket Association first grade clash at Wade Park will come down to whichever side nails the game’s one percenters.
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Those little plays that don’t often get headlines, but are the plays that win games.

The plays the can turn a season.

After the opening day’s cricket last Saturday at Wade Park, Centrals are in a commanding position after posted 198 with the bat and then striking late in the day with the ball to have Orange City reeling a touch at 2-13.

Stuart Naden (0) and Adam Cowden (two) are the Warriors already back in the shed thanks to Mark Wiegold (2-6).

For Centrals, currently in fourth place 18 points adrift from the competition’s top three, today’s equation is simple: win to remain in the hunt for a play-off berth come March.

To do that, Centrals skipper Jarrod Simpson knows exactly what he wants from his side.

“It’s just about going out there and doing the little things that wins cricket games; bowl at the stumps, take our catches and build pressure in the field,” Simpson said.

“We just need to do those simple things really, really well.”

The side’s batsmen competed hard to score 198 on day one last week.

It’s now over to the bowlers.

Simpson, however, believes today’s luck hinges on Centrals’ fielding, more so than the work of his bowling attack.

“Dan Sandford has bowled well lately but just hasn’t had a lot of luck, and that’s probably because we’ve dropped a few. Hopefully we can hang on to a few and his luck turns,” Simpson said.

The philosophy of the defending champs is easy to catch on to.

The keep-it-simple Centrals are going back to basics.

On the other hand, for City, chasing today will make their mission the toughest of the 2012-13 season so far.

“We’ve got to fight as hard as we possibly can. We want to stay at the top come Christmas,” skipper Dave Boundy said, with a win against Centrals and an upset victory by Kinross over CYMS set to move Orange City to the top of the ladder.

“We’re not out of it. Strange things happen in cricket. It’ll be a fairly competitive day of cricket.”

Boundy said one of the greatest challenges in cricket is chasing a total down.

And like Centrals did on day one around Simpson’s innings of 73, Boundy said his side needed one of its big guns to fire and the rest to chip in.

“Generally sides that are able concentrate, work hard and apply themselves with the bat are able to chase good totals,” he said.

Boundy said it was good to see the defending premiers getting a few more regulars backing, adding the competition “needs a strong Centrals team” to ensure a tough first grade premiership.

Today’s play begins at 1pm.

TIME TO STAND UP: Centrals’ spearhead Daniel Sandford will play a key role as his side attempts to dismiss Orange City at Wade Park today. The game looms as a must-win encounter for the ODCA defending champions.

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EPA says no evidence of harm after rail derailment

On December 27, 2011, a freight train owned and operated by Genesee & Wyoming Australia Pty Ltd derailed at the Edith River Bridge Crossing. About 240 tonnes of freight, a crew van, 16 containers, and an approximate total dry load of copper concentrate of 1500 dry metric tonnes overturned into the Edith River. THE EPA has found that there was no evidence no evidence ofenvironmental harm from two incidents at Edith River in December 2011.
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Minister for Lands, Planning and the Environment, PeterChandler, this week received a copy of the Environment Protection Agency’sreport on the incidents.

Mr Chandler said the independent body has found thatbiological monitoring shows no evidence of environmental harm from two eventson the same day – a train derailment and a release of surface water from theMount Todd gold mine.

Mr Chandler said the report found that further considerationof a prosecution against the companies involved was not warranted.

On December 27, 2011,a freight train owned and operated by Genesee & Wyoming Australia Pty Ltdderailed at the Edith River Bridge Crossing.About 240 tonnes of freight, a crew van, 16 containers, and anapproximate total dry load of copper concentrate of 1500 dry metric tonnesoverturned into the Edith River. This was reported to the Pollution Hotlineoperated by the EPA.

Also reported on the same day was a suspected “uncontrolleddischarge” via a spillway into the Edith River from Mount Todd mine’s RetentionPond 1 (RP1). The report was made by Vista Gold Australia Pty Ltd (VistaGold). Uncontrolled discharges from the minecontinued from 27 December 2011 until 5 January 2012.

Mr Chandler said the report identified that: Copperconcentrations attributable to the accident occurred over a short time and weretherefore unlikely to have a long term environmental impact;

Reporting and monitoring of the events was adequate; therewas a significant recovery and clean up response by the companies.

Mr Chandler said the EPA had organised an independent reviewthat determined health and environmentalrisks were low from remaining small amount of debris.

Mr Chandler said the agency advised that the rail companywould be conducting a further assessment to consider whether a further clean upof freight was necessary.

“I am pleased that there was no long term environmentaldamage to the area,” Mr Chandler said.

“Accidents such as these are regrettable but there has beenextensive analysis of the effects of the spill of copper.

“I am satisfied that there will be ongoing monitoring of thearea.”

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Blues oust Red in strong performance

CYMS Hornets under-10s: Angus Boland, Lachlan Galante, Damon O’Sullivan, Mick Maher, John Hallford Jnr, Sam McGrath, Broden Konz, Ryan Boland, Hamish and Josh Burton and Ethan Maher. Photo: BELINDA SOOLERUGBY Blue defeated Rugby Red in a local derby.
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Sent into bat Blues finished the first day on 4-80 thanks to Baye Wallace (11), Hayden Lew (9), Ben Wheeler (8 not out) and Will Grant (9 not out).

Red started their run chase badly, losing two early wickets but Campbell Rose and James Debus steadied the ship.

On day two Rugby Red continued their innings and soon lost Debus for 14 and Campbell Rose for 50 retired.

Campbell’s innings consisted of many fine shots all around the ground and certainly had the strong Blue attack scratching their heads on how to get him out.

Unfortunately his teammates could not cash in on his fine innings, with the strong Rugby attack taking the last six wickets for only 12 runs to be all out for 130.

Best bowling for the Blues came from Dominic Ambler (4-16) and Will Grant (3-27).

Ambler has become a great foil to the quicks consistently bowling line and length all season.

Rugby Blues set about chasing 51 runs for the win in fine style through the bats of Grant (32) and Wheeler (25 not out) and after 10 overs passed the score.

In another game CYMS scored 7-149 and defeated Macquarie 147 while no result came in for the game between Newtown and St John’s. RSL-Colts had the bye.

UNDER-9s

MACQUARIE scored 6-100 against Rugby.

A tough game against Rugby awaited Macquarie for the last game of 2012.

On a hot afternoon, Macquarie fielded first and the signs were there early that this game would be a titanic tussle.

Hayden Bax gave his all in the field taking two wickets and a catch. Jack Fuller, High Gibbons, James Fiander and Hamish Foran bowled well, restricting the runs and constantly attacking the stumps.

In the run chase, you could have sworn the KFC Big Bash had come to Lady Cutler 2.

Zach Warren hit his first six for the season, Will Skinner and Ollie Anderson swung the bat with plenty of aggression finding the boundary on numerous occasions and Jed Bruce continued his run of form, smashing his first four of the season.

A hard-fought game played in hot conditions showed we have come a long way together in nine rounds. Well done everyone, we hope Santa brings you a bag full or runs, wickets and catches for Christmas… ho ho ho.

No results from two games – St John’s v Newtown; CYMS v RSL-Colts.

UNDER-10s

RSL-Colts White finished the first half of the season on a winning note, scoring 8-88 against Rugby Blues 28.

No results were received from the game that involved RSL-Colts Red and Rugby Red; CYMS and Macquarie.

Bye: St John’s.

UNDER-12B

CYMS scored 4-89 and defeated Macquarie 6-81 but no results were received from two games – RSL and Rugby; and St John’s and Newtown.

UNDER-14s

RUGBY, Newtown Black and St John’s Green all produced winning performance in the last game of cricket before the Christmas, New Year break.

Rugby made 7-194 and defeated St John’s Gold 117; Newtown Black protected with 9-138 against Macquarie 109; and the Green machine from St John’s was far too good for Newtown Gold – Greens 3-109, Newtown 33.

CYMS had the bye.

Rugby won the toss against St John’s Gold and elected to bat first.

They got off to a good start with Mitchell Smith and Adlai Shipp. They put on 23 Before Mitchell Smith was out off Lachlan Edgar’s bowling.

After 23 overs Rugby were 3-73 with Patrick Berryman and Kel Rumble not out.

St John’s Gold batted and lost their first wicket at 23 and their second at 27. A good partnership by Lachlan Edgar and Liam Scolari put on 41 before Lachlan Edgar was out for 30.

After 23 overs St John’s Gold were 4-84.

The second day saw St John’s Gold continue to bat. Rugby’s bowlers took the honours with 6-33 to have St John’s Gold all out for 117.

Adlai Shipp took 3-4 off 5.2 overs and Mitchell Smith 3-5 off four.

Rugby resumed at 3 for 73 with Patrick Berryman and Kel Rumble at the crease. They got to 105 before Kel was out for 12. Rugby got the winning runs in the 35th over and Patrick Berryman retired on 53.

Rugby continued to bat to give everyone a bat. Issac Hogan also retired on 22.

After 46 overs Rugby were 7-194. The best of the St John’s Gold bowlers were Lachlan Edgar with 4-32 off nine overs and Leah Robins also took 1-10 off four.

This was a good game to finish 2012 off.

UNDER-16s

NEWTOWN and RSL-Colts improved their standings on the competition ladder with solid performances on Sunday.

Newtown posted 9-172 and had CYMS 9-143 in reply while Rugby could manage only 9-110 in reply to the 8-216 banked by RSL-Colts.

Unfortunately no other details are available.

Macquarie played Gilgandra in the third game but no results are available.

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Take time out in fresh air and sunshine

WESTERN Sydney has recently become a paradise for young and old cyclists, with the help of Blacktown and Parramatta councils who have provided a network of tracks to make cycling safer.
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All a spokeswoman is asking for is for users to remember to wear a helmet, give way to pedestrians and obey the road rules.

“For your own safety, your bike should be fitted with a bell or warning device and white front and red rear reflectors,” she said.

Blacktown Leisure Centre Stanhope has a free program called Cycle Sunday for children up to eight years of age, 9am-11am each Sunday for four weeks from January 8.

Two car park bays at the centre will be transformed into a car-free simulated traffic environment, featuring road signs, stop signs, give way signs and roundabouts.

ADULT CYCLE PATHS

■ Route 1: Quakers Hill Parkway to Doonside Crescent via Breakfast Creek, finishes near the western rail line.

■ Route 2: Breakfast Creek to Rouse Hill via Hambledon Road, finishes near Windsor Road.

■ Route 3: Parramatta to Windsor. Off-road path via Old Windsor and Windsor Road.

■ Route 4: Prospect Highway to Kings Langley via Toongabbie Creek, finishes at proposed M7 cycleway.

■ Route 5: Toongabbie to Blacktown via Seven Hills via International Peace Park, finishes near Fox Hills Golf Course, Toongabbie.

■ Route 6:Prospect Reservoir to Blacktown station via Reservoir Road and Prospect Highway.

■ Route 7: M4 bicycle lane from the Cumberland Highway, Wentworthville to Penrith.

■ Route 8: Rooty Hill station to Minchinbury via May Cowpe Reserve, finishes at Berruex Reserve in Minchinbury.

■ Route 9: Rooty Hill station to Woodstock Avenue via Nurragingy Recreation Area, finishes at Woodstock Avenue and Merrina Street, Mount Druitt.

■ Route 10: Mount Druitt station to Lethbridge Park via Cleeve Close and North Parade, Mount Druitt, finishes at Bougainville Rd.

■ Route 11:Woodstock Avenue to Richmond Road and M7 via Hyatts Road, finishes at intersection of Richmond Rd and the M7.

■ Route 12:Richmond Road. On-road bicycle lane on the shoulder of Richmond Road. Starts at Rooty Hill Road North.

■ Route 13:Westlink M7 Cycleway.From Old Windsor Rd, Seven Hills to the M5, Prestons.

■ Route 14:Blacktown to Castle Hill via Sunnyholt Road via T-way route.

■ Route 15M2 to Seven Hills via Abbott Road.

■ Parramatta CBD to Meadowbank cycle path. Travel time is about 30 minutes and offers a number of transport options at Parramatta (bus, train, ferry) and Meadowbank (ferry).

■ Parramatta to the Sydney CBD is 26 kilometres, much of which is on separated shared cycle paths.

Although the ride begins with light, mixed traffic, you’ll soon leave the streets behind and head into the beautiful separated cycle ways through cutting through Eric Primrose Reserve and George Kendall Riverside Park.

For more information call Blacktown Council on 9839 6000 and Parramatta Council on 9806 5000.

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Council backs away from parking decision

Orange City Council’s scrapping of parking contributions for change of use premises has meant ratepayers have had to foot the bill for more than $240,000 worth of development applications since November.
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In light of the loss council may reverse the decision and vote to reintroduce parking contributions at a discounted rate of 50 per cent.

Developers would pay $6500 per parking spot needed.

Mayor John Davis and councillor Glenn Taylor said they would put forward the motion to reintroduce parking contributions every three months until they got their way.

Cr Taylor initially voted to scrap contributions in November but voted for Cr Davis’s rescission motion at the last meeting to tax businesses at the reduced rate of 50 per cent.

The motion split the council with Cr Davis, Cr Taylor, Cr Hamling, Cr Duffy and Cr Jones supporting the motion whereas Cr Turner, Cr Munro, Cr Brown, Cr Gander and Cr Gryllis voted to maintain no parking contributions for change of use in the central business district (CBD).

Cr Taylor said soon after the policy was changed it became very clear council had done the wrong thing.

He said councillors were led to believe the amount lost would never be to this extreme.

On average parking contributions counted for about $24,000 per year.

“But since then we’ve been hit square in the eyes with over $200,000,” he said.

“It isn’t right that the developers don’t pay and the ratepayers must foot the bill.”

Cr Gryllis said he stood by the decision of council but did not realise the money lost from parking contributions would now come from general revenue, the tax payers’ back pocket.

To cover the shortfall from parking contributions, every time a development application (DA) is approved for a change of use, the money must be taken from the general funds and put into the parking kitty. He suggested that instead businesses in the CBD should pay a higher rate to cover the lost funds.

“I have never said ratepayers should pay for it,” he said.

“It should come from the CBD area perhaps a rate rise.”

Cr Davis, who was always a staunch opponent of the abolishment of parking contributions said he believed the initial intention by councillors was not to have the money come from the ratepayers. He said now that it was evident the decision was costing the “average person trying to pay their bills” he believed eventually council would rescind the policy.

“All the time I have been on council I have never had so many people come up to me and say they don’t agree with what’s happened,” he said.

“I will be putting this to council every three months until it goes through.”

A rescission motion can only be put to council once every three months.

STICKING UP FOR THE BATTLER: Councillor Taylor wants to reverse a decision on parking contributions that is costing ratepayers.

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A final cut

Loyal customers wait their turn as Morwell s John Ellingham gets his final in chair service from Gordon Pigott, one of the Valley s longest serving barbers.Morwell’s John Ellingham has never needed to read The Express.
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As a 20-year customer of Morwell barber Gordon Pigott, who is known to work the Valley gossip grapevine as fast as he works his scissors, Mr Ellingham always “knows what’s about to happen”.

“Gordon’s well known by everybody, and he knows everyone, so there’s not much he doesn’t know,” Mr Ellingham said.

After 53 years as a Valley barber, Mr Pigott, 68, said the combination of age and health had finally got the better of him, forcing him into retirement despite a loyal and healthy customer base. Thirty minutes before Gordon’s Gents Hairdressing closed its doors to Church Street for the final time last Thursday, five customers sat waiting for their final trim.

“He’s got a joke book 125 pages long,” one customer said, as Mr Pigott served one-liners to the packed waiting area without a moment’s hesitation.

While his finger joints were still nimble and fit, Mr Pigott said “standing on concrete floors your whole life doesn’t make your feet any softer”.

From the age of eight, Mr Pigott said his lifelong career as a barber was set. Leaving school at the age of 14, he would cut hair for his father’s work mates, before opening his first shop at the age of 20, when the price for a trim cost three shillings and sixpence.

“After all these years, he still doesn’t have an eftpos machine,” Mr Ellingham said.

However fish, raspberries and strawberries have been known to pass for currency at Gordon’s Gents Hairdressing.

With his “home” in Lakes Entrance, and a “holiday house” in Churchill, Mr Pigott is looking forward to spending a little bit more time at “home”.

However a few upcoming house-visits to his former Valley customers could see his scissor bag in tow.

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Windsor to host public meeting in Inverell, and 2NZ is invited

NEW England MP Tony Windsor will hold a public meeting todiscuss the hung parliament and answer questions from the publicin February.
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Mr Windsor has already held similar meetings in Armidale andTamworth and said he was looking forward to a frank discussion with localpeople.

Tony Windsor

In his press released to announce the meeting, Mr Windsorsaid Inverell had punched above its weight for a town its size, in terms of itsinfluence on national policy during this parliament.

He then listed local people who he had spoken to duringdiscussions about policy.

“Input from Dan Ryan at Boss Engineering led to the carbonfarming package including a rebate for no-till farming equipment, whilerepresentations made by Keri Brown of Inverell Trucking ensured heavy vehicletransport was excluded from the carbon pricing scheme, ultimately saving thetransport industry $1.6 billion.

“Discussions with Ed Evans, who has commercialised his‘Safer Gates’ design for cattle yards, were followed by an expansion of agovernment safety scheme to help pay for cattle yard safety upgrades.”

Mr Windsor said the National Broadband Network would berolled out to towns and rural areas surrounding Inverell with the delivery offixed wireless services in 2013.

“I will also continue to push the Federal government tocommit funding to the Gonski reforms, which will deliver an historic boost tothe quality of education in country schools,” he added.

But Mr Windsor said Inverell had been let-down badly in thestate political arena by a failure to put forward the Armidale Hospitalredevelopment for a share of the $1.8 billion federal fund he had negotiatedespecially for regional hospitals, which meant Inverell would have to wait evenlonger for a hospital upgrade.

“I will also be discussing this viewpoint that my effortsfollowing the last election to carefully analyse the policies of both majorparties and then determine which one would offer the best deal for local peoplesomehow equates to trashing the so-called ‘Independent brand’,” Mr Windsorsaid.

“Radio Nationals” welcome to attend

Mr Windsor said he was inviting all community members toattend, regardless of their political persuasion and launched a scathing attackon Inverell radio station 2NZ.

“I would particularly welcome questions from RadioNationals, also known as 2NZ,” Mr Windsor said.

“Radio Nationals is the only media outlet in the New Englandthat places more value on political posturing than the interests of its owncommunity.

“A prime example of this is their long-running attacks onthe one piece of infrastructure that can remove the disadvantages of distancefor country people: the NBN.

“I would also welcome any evidence from Radio Nationals ofthis mythical $100 lamb roast that was supposed to be a consequence of pricingcarbon.”

Mr Windsor has previously questioned the impartiality of theradio station.

In 2010 he saidanything the station did needed to be taken with a grain of saltfollowing a poll on the carbon tax.

Richard Torbay, whois ironically now the Nationals candidate for New England, defended the stationat the time saying it had always been fair to him as an independent.

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Health concerns regarding the local water

LONG TERM Esperance residents have expressed health concerns regarding the local water supply.
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Joyce Pearce, a resident for 40 years, and Kayleen Freeman,who has lived in Esperance intermittently for 50 years, said that the vastmajority of residents purchase bottled water or source rainwater instead ofdrinking the local water supply, due to its smell and taste.

“I refuse to drink the town water and source it from Dalyupinstead,” Mrs Pearce said.

“It’s not so much the unpleasant smell and taste that botherme, it’s the fact that chlorine, calgon and fluoride are added to the water andI worry what effect these chemicals could have on my health.

“I believe that fluoride dulls the mind and creates apathy,which is why a former United Kingdom Prime Minister famously suggested addingmore of the chemical to Ireland’s water supply.”

Mrs Freeman completed a Curtin University research studyinto Esperance water in 1999 and said she became ‘alarmed’ at her findings.

“As part of my study, I researched the addition of fluorideto the Esperance water supply with the approval of the Esperance Water SupplyDepartment,” Mrs Freeman said.

Water Corporation Regional Manager Hugh Lavery said that thewater supplied in Esperance meets all health-related criteria set out in theAustralian Drinking Water Guidelines.

“We are required to add fluoride in accordance with theFlouridation of Public Water Supplies Act 1966, which is administered by theDepartment of Health,” Mr Lavery said.

He also said that calgon is added to the water supply toreduce scale build up in hot water systems and electrical appliances, whichoccurs due to the level of hardness of water in the area.

“Due to the hydrogeology of the borefield from which theEsperance drinking water is drawn, there are elevated levels of salinity andhardness which affect the aesthetic characteristics of the water.

“Reducing these levels requires complex and expensive watertreatment, which currently does not form part of the Corporation’s capitalinvestment program … which is prioritised across the state with priority toensuring provisions for growth, drinking water quality and meeting regulatorystandards.”

Minister for Water Bill Marmion released the Esperance WaterReserve drinking water source protection plan on October 31, which he said will“protect the high quality of Esperance drinking water.”

When asked if he had tasted Esperance drinking water,Minister Marmion said that he had drunk the town water on numerous occasions.

“I understand some of the community are concerned about thetaste of the water,” he said.

“However, I can assure residents that the WaterCorporation places the highest priority on the provision of safe drinking waterand the water supplied in Esperance meets all health-related criteria as setout in Australian Drinking Water Guidelines

ESPERANCE residents Kayleen Freeman and Joyce Pearce are concerned about the level of fluoride in the town water supply and its effect on human health.

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On your marks

(back) Brandon Merrick, Kyle Wilson, Remus Watson and Andrew Gray with (front) Connor McDonald, Adam Gray and Isobella Cameron preparing for the New Year Athletics Carnival at Barden Park. Photo: BELINDA SOOLEORGANISERS of Dubbo’s annual New Year Athletics Carnival are preparing themselves for a late rush of entries as the 2013 event fast approaches.
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The two-day carnival will be held on January 5 to 6 at the Barden Park athletics complex, with events catering for athletes ranging in age from under-6s to over-80s.

Dubbo Athletics Club president David Williams said planning for the carnival is on track, however, with final entries not confirmed just yet the small but enthusiastic organising committee is getting itself ready for the business part of the preparations. “Traditionally our entries come in late. We have a few already but those last few days before the entries close are always the busiest,” Williams, who is also vice-chairman of Dubbo Combined Athletics, said.

“The zone carnival was held at Coonamble on December 8 to 9 then the focus will be on Dubbo.

“Our carnival is a timed event so every event is run at a particular time but we can’t put the program together until we have all the entries so our aim is to have the program complete by Christmas, enjoy some family time and then get going from just after new year with the final part of preparations.”

This year the club attracted 320 entries for the event and Williams said he and his committee were keen to keep that number going in an upward spiral.

“We’ve had a steady increase in competitors over the past two or three years, which has been good,” he said. “Our goal is to at least the 320 we had for the last carnival, if not improve on that number again.”

Meanwhile, a planned upgrade of the Barden Park complex is moving forward with tenders for the design currently being sought.

William said the project is scheduled to start in June of next year.

“From what we’ve been told the timeframe to start is next June and all being well it would be finished by June of 2014 which is very exciting,” he said.

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Truth is out there

John ‘Cooka’ Campbell and his mates with the UFO that adorned their backyard in 1974.’It was definitely a conversation starter,” recalls John ”Cooka” Campbell about his post-high school days when a spaceship took pride of place in the backyard of his Canberra share house.
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”The white flying saucer was there when I moved into 14 Currie Crescent, Kingston, in the early 1970s and still there when I left some six years or so later,” the long-time Canberra resident explains.

”You’d go to parties and people would ask where you lived, and you’d reply ‘oh in the house with a white UFO in the backyard’, and everyone would want to come and see it,” Cooka chuckles.

Regular readers of this column will identify the UFO as a futuro – a prefabricated Finnish-designed building of the late 1960s-early 1970s. The polyester plastic and fibreglass domed structures were initially intended for use as ski lodges in remote locations but due to their quirky appearance ended up being transformed for all sorts of uses, from cafes to brothels. ”Just before I moved in it was used as a real estate office to help sell new developments in the area,” recalls Cooka, who during his six years at Currie Crescent, embraced the striking structure for anything but business. ”It was party central – we had many an all-nighter in the spaceship blaring some Jimi Hendrix and the Doors on our stereo while putting away a few cases of long necks.”

”Those times back in the ’70s were wild, it was party after party – it was the era of living free and easy.”

Although the futuro didn’t belong to them, Cooka and his housemates became quite protective of their out-of-this-world backyard feature. ”One day I came home from work at lunch to find the hatch lowered and a bunch of boys from St Eddies (Edmund’s) drinking and smoking inside,” says Cooka, who promptly told the truant students that if it wasn’t clean in an hour, he’d be ”letting their teachers know”. ”They left it absolutely spotless,” Cooka smirks, adding, ”it was probably the best clean it ever had while it was in our yard.”

Cooka and fellow housemate Walter Shafron believe ”their” flying saucer is the very same futuro that ended up at the Dickson Planetarium and ultimately on the University of Canberra campus near Zierholz Brewery, where this column recently reported (Beam Me Up, UC, September 8) that a number of researchers are trying to determine its pedigree. ”Given its history in Currie Crescent, I guess it’s quite apt that it’s ended up ‘landing’ outside a pub,” Cooka muses.

Leo Vredenbregt, formerly of Perth and now of Ngunnawal, recalls in the 1970s a similarly glossy white futuro located beside the Leach Highway in the Perth suburb of Willetton.

”It disappeared, but I just discovered that it’s been rotting in a backyard somewhere in the hills of Perth for the last 20 years or so,” Vredenbregt laments.

”Apparently its now for sale for about $10,000.”

During the week, this column’s bushwalking correspondent, Pastor John Evans, did his best job at impersonating Mr Claus while attempting to scale 16 of Kosciuszko National Park’s highest peaks in just two days. Unfortunately bad weather kept the red suit-clad Evans from accomplishing his feat.

”We got blown, rained and whited-out off the Main Range – got 10, but missed Kosciuszko and the Rams Head Range,” reports a disappointed Evans, who adds, ”the Santa pants ended down around me knees while pounding back the Summit Road to Charlotte Pass.”

Oh dear, I can imagine Mrs Claus blushing at such a sight and more importantly, let’s hope the real Santa doesn’t baulk at delivering the goodies if a bit of bad weather sets in this Monday evening.

Even more common than sightings of the jolly old fella from the North Pole at this time of year are cicadas whose voluminous song this season seems to be more vociferous than in recent years. In fact, Sharyn Payne of Kambah reckons the loudest cicadas hang out in the old trees of Curtin. ”We [my husband and I] were born and bred in Canberra and in our travels, we have not heard such loud cicadas as the ones in Curtin,” Sharyn claims.

During the week, I headed out to Cotter Avenue to check-out the latest summer craze. Just near the new pedestrian bridge across the Cotter River adjacent to the playground in Cotter Avenue is an old weir.

For the ultimate heat-wave cool-off, if you lie on your back in the water just upstream of here, the river will slowly carry you downstream before increasing pace and eventually jettisoning you over the weir and then under the footbridge (duck, or you’ll hit your head)! Soon after the footbridge, the river flow decreases and it’s easy to get out.

During the week, I tracked down one of the few remaining wooden muzzles in the area – belonging to Phyl McKey of Garran.

McKey who fetched the wooden muzzle from a dusty box of family farm memorabilia under her home says, ”My dad first used it on the Monaro in the 1920s but it had been passed onto him, so my best guess is that it dates back to the 1880s.”

So how does the contraption work? ”It was attached to the calf’s nose and its simple design allowed the calf to graze, but when it put its head up to try and suckle from its mother the wooden flap would block the calf’s mouth, thereby preventing it from drinking milk,” McKey explains.

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