Levingston scratches an itch

ALBANY rising star Morgan Levingston has scored a role in the upcoming children’s television series Itch two months before he planned to move to Sydney to pursue an acting career.

Mr Levingston told The Weekender he had a flight booked for April 1 but was more than happy to cancel it when he landed the role of a policeman.

Filming of Itch commenced on Tuesday at Middleton Beach and will continue across the region for two months.

Itch, penned by BBC broadcaster and author Simon Mayo, tells the story of 14-year-old Itchingham Lofte who discovers a new chemical element and has to protect it from secret corporations and government agencies.

“I don’t have too much information yet but my contract is in the mail,” Mr Levingston said.

“I’m really excited and absolutely stoked to be a part of Itch.

“It’s going to be awesome.”

The 21-year-old said he planned to visit the Itch production office tomorrow for a costume fitting and to determine his eight-week filming schedule.

The Weekender caught up with Itch pro-ducer Amanda Morrison, head of global development Melanie Halsall and director Renee Webster on Monday after a Welcome to Country ceremony at Middleton Beach.

Although she remained tight-lipped on the complete cast list, Ms Morrison said she’d found “fantastic” talent in town.

She has scouted multiple locations in Albany for filming and was pleased by the reception her cast and crew had received from the community.

“We’ve visited the University of WA Albany campus, the hospital, the entertainment centre, the town hall…” Ms Morrison said.

“There’s such beautiful variation in the architecture here and so many natural phenomenons.”

To facilitate the filming of Itch, traffic diversions will be in place along Proudlove Parade in the car park of UWA Albany on February 21 from 2 to 6pm.

Queries regarding traffic control can be directed to crystallocations@gmail.com.

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Fruit trees filched

SEVEN heritage fruit trees valued up to $1000 were stolen from Albany’s historic Strawberry Hill estate this week.

Volunteer coordinator Judy Williams discovered and reported the theft to Albany Police on Monday morning and believes the offence took place late on Sunday or in the early hours of Monday.

She said it had taken four years for the apple and pear trees to grow and it would be difficult to find replacements.

The trees had recently begun to flourish after fellow garden volunteers Frank McDonald and John Radys spent more than 30 hours replacing the clay that the trees were planted in with healthier soil.

Ms Williams estimated the trees’ value was close to $1000.

“We had 12 trees taken last year at the same time other people on Middleton Road had things taken from their gardens,” she told The Weekender.

“We received a grant to plant those ones for a heritage orchard, because part of Strawberry Hill’s aim is to capture the different time periods that people lived here in.

“We had spares to replace them when they were stolen, but we have no spares now.”

Mr Radys believes the thieves don’t understand the historic significance and value of the trees.

“Some of those fruit trees are very rare,” he said.

“I just don’t know whether we’d be able to replace them.

“Some can only be found in Tasmania or England.”

Ms Williams was both confused and disheartened with the theft.

“I think we’re so upset because they were just torn from us,” she said.

“The trees weren’t dug out, they were just ripped.

“And why would someone pull up trees in sum-mer?

“That’s just crazy.

“They aren’t likely to have any success with them.”

Albany Police Senior Sergeant Grant Pollard said there was no forensic evidence left at the scene or any CCTV footage.

He encouraged anyone with information about the incident to call Albany Police on 9892 9300.

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Friend focus

LOVE is in the air today but instead of fantasising about diamond rings and roses, Flinders Park Primary year one students are focusing on friendship.

Students from Room 2.3 created Valentine’s Day cards yesterday and today will be using them as a way to learn more about each other.

Teacher Linda Fielding said as part of the history curriculum, students learned about past and present family life.

As family traditions are part of family history, she uses Valentine’s Day as a way to talk about friendship, inclusivity and to reiterate anti-bullying messages.

“When we talk about Valentine’s Day, I get my students to talk about themselves and the things they like,” Mrs Fielding said.

“For example, they might say they enjoy playing football or playing in the playground, and by sharing this, they can find other students who enjoy the same things.

“We are in week two at the moment, so students are still getting to know each other.

“This is a great way to encourage new friendships and inclusivity, linking with our school programs.”

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Young leggie spins way to Scarborough

ALBANY leg spinner Patrick Butler has heeded the call of Scarborough Cricket Club scouts and made the move to Perth to pursue first-grade cricket.

Butler has a number of milestones under his belt this season including playing in the winning Western Australian Country XI side last month and being part of the Albany team that won Country Week.

His efforts with the ball at both carnivals caught the eye of Scarborough’s top brass, not least his 16 wickets for the WA Country XI side.

Following his move to Perth, Butler spoke with The Weekender and said the opportunity to edge towards top-level cricket in Perth was too good to pass up.

“I was playing with Midland Guildford pretty casually while I was working fly-in fly-out,” he said.

“I haven’t been taking cricket too seriously over the past few years, so when I got a call from the coaches at Scarborough after Country Week it got me interested.

“I had to weigh a few things up, but I decided to give cricket another serious crack.”

Butler said he would need to do more than his circa-20 average with both bat and ball that he had notched up with Albany side North County to break into first grade cricket in Perth.

“It would be a super high achievement to play in first grade,” he said.

“Albany has some good players but it’s a whole different competition in Perth.

“It’s fairly strong up here and up to the same standard as Country XI cricket.”

Butler said his move to Scarborough would offer more opportunities to improve as a player.

“Living in Perth means I can concentrate more on my training and participate in some programs,” he said.

“It’s a big commitment to get into first grade and I would have to put in a few good games in the seconds to be considered.

“I want to give it a real crack though.”

Butler didn’t claim any wickets in his first match for Scarborough’s second-grade side against Mount Lawley, but he did make a handy 48 runs from just 45 deliveries, adapting quickly to the step-up in competition.

Scarborough beat Mt Lawley by 251 runs in a nice little sweetener for Butler.

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Tim on the tools

WILY Railways seamer Tim Edmunds walked the talk against Manypeaks on Saturday, helping his side defend one of their lowest scores for the season with a clinical display of slow to medium-slow bowling that skittled the opposition’s middle order.

Still glowing from coaching the WA Country XI side to victory in the one-day section of the Australian Country Cricket Championships, Edmunds got back on the tools and brought home figures of 4/11 from a five-over day at the office.

The impressive performance with the ball counteracted disaster with the bat for the former Weekender journalist who made nought batting at number nine.

But Edmunds wasn’t the only culprit in an unusually poor batting effort from Railways that managed just 106 runs.

His teammates higher up the order began a collective brain-fade, of which even the likes of Zane Marwick (5) were not immune.

If it wasn’t for 44 runs from opener Mark Natale, 21 from Cohen Marwick and 12 free extras from Manypeaks’ bowlers, the total might not have ticked over into three figures.

The Manypeaks chase got off to a horrible start with openers Regan Poett and Aran Tilbury scoring one run between them.

From there it was only the sporadic contributions among the single-digit dismissals that prolonged the agony as Manypeaks mustered just 58 runs before bowing out 52 runs short in the 29th over.

Cohen Marwick assisted Edmunds in foiling the efforts of Manypeaks’ batsmen with 4/16 from eight overs.

In the match between Mount Barker and Collingwood Park, Jeremy Wood snuck in a century to set up a healthy total for the Bulls to defend.

Woods’ 102 and a couple of 30-odds from Jason Jones (39) and Graham Wright (34) helped the Bulls to reach 4/212 in a rain-shortened match.

Apart from the lone hand of Leroy Van Den Dool (71), Collingwood Park just didn’t have the answers for Mt Barker’s bowlers during their run chase and fell 64-runs short.

Royals continued their ascension in the A-grade competition with victory over Denmark.

A 157-run partnership between openers Mitchell Green (86 not out) and Digby Nuthall (51 not out) delivered a convincing five-wicket win against Denmark.

The win denied the chance for Royals’ batsmen to get their eyes in, but it was a cost they would have been happy to pay in exchange for the win.

Round 14’s A-grade fixtures feature: North County vs Manypeaks, Railways vs Royals, Denmark vs Collingwood Park.

Mt Barker have the bye.

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Dolls bring comfort

IN AN attempt to bring comfort and support to children affected by physical and emotional abuse in parts of South Africa, more than 30 Albany women spend a few hours each fortnight knitting and crocheting toy dolls.

It is done in the name of the Uthando Project, which has sent handmade dolls to children in Kwazulu-Natal since 2004.

Albany group coordinator and doll maker Julie Fletcher said the dolls are a “vital” aspect in children’s counseling and education.

The Albany group has sent more than 7500 dolls overseas in eight years.

“The dolls are important because they bring comfort; the children can talk to them and cuddle them,” Ms Fletcher said.

“And they help the children play too, as well as help to teach grandparents how to play.”

Some of the group’s members have been involved in the project and similar projects for decades.

Topsy Pratt joined the Uthando cause a few years ago.

“I was doing stuff for Joseph’s Coat [charity] for about 20 years before they closed,” she said.

“I made clothing for children and rugs, and they went all over the world.

“So when that ended, I wanted to find something to do and I found this.”

Fellow doll maker Norma Lyons said the multi-faceted approach to the project intrigued her.

“I got caught on to the enthusiasm,” she said.

“And then, I coerced my neighbour Hazel into it!

“There’s just so many aspects…knitting, making wigs, the bags, spare sets of clothes, embroiding faces…”

Ms Fletcher said the Albany group’s most successful year was last year.

“We made 1743 dolls,” she said.

“That’s been our biggest year so far.

“Our last shipment was in November and it’s just arrived [in Kwazulu-Natal], as it takes three months to get there – just in time for the start of the school year.

“When some of the children come on the first day a bit anxious, they’re given a doll.”

Ms Fletcher said the group would be focusing on ‘family dolls’ at their group meet this week.

The dolls come in pre-determined sets of parents, siblings and extended family to help children explain situations during counseling sessions, and in their classroom work.

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Dogs hit the spot

ALBANY entrepreneur Brad Hopperton has added to the dining landscape of the CBD by opening a food van at Albany Waterfront Marina.

Mr Hopperton said he had been eyeing off the ‘pop-up’ market for some time after opening Crusty Crab Fish and Chips Cafe with his partner, Kerry and working at Hybla Tavern.

He sought something simplistic and decided upon selling hot dogs.

Mr Hopperton’s first day of trading with Dogelicious was January 18.

“It was originally going to be in a sea container but it got a bit complicated with the developers of the block,” he told The Weekender.

“The van was a compromise.

“But, having a pop-up gives you more flexibility than a bricks and mortar store, so we can operate for nine months of the year and then pack up and move.”

Mr Hopperton said the business has a weekend focus and is trading on Thursdays and Fridays from 4pm to 8pm, and Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 8pm.

He is currently trialling his allotted area at the end of the Due South car park on Toll Place while exploring a few other potential locations.

“The feedback we’ve had so far is that now people know we’re here, they will come back and eat here,” Mr Hopperton said.

“You see people come down here to eat anyway – with their Hungry Jacks – so here’s where it’s at.

“We’re trying to offer something out of the norm.”

Mr Hopperton’s desire for a simple menu stemmed from working for years in the hospitality sector.

“I’ve managed restaurants and pubs before and it gets so complicated.

This is user-friendly,” he said.

In the next week or two, Mr Hopperton said he might add loaded fries to the menu, and potentially offer a ‘gourmet dog’.

He confirmed that he does indeed have EFTPOS facilities.

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Dogoceros rock

MONDAY morning saw everybody’s favourite Albany landmark crowned with a witch’s hat.

Perhaps it was The Weekender’s active imagination, perhaps parallax, but we reckon who ever the wag was that added the orange appendage gave the region’s best-known canine a decidedly rhinoceros-ish air.

Strolling beneath the rock’s nose on Monday afternoon, blissfully unaware of the witch’s hat were Hayley (10), Tracey, and Lauren (9) Williams.

“It’s cool!” Lauren exclaimed when told of the ephemeral artwork.

Tracey said she and the kids had recently moved to Albany from Tenterden.

“We’re just pretending we’re townies, walking into town,” she said.

“The weirdest thing we’ve seen up the top of the rock is, the other week, there was somebody flossing up there.”

‘Oh, yeah!” Lauren recalled.

Unaccustomed to the vernacular employed by Tracey, The Weekender’s chief news writer hit urbandictionary.com to learn that ‘flossing’ is “a dance in which you move your hips from side to side while simultaneously moving your hands through the air in the opposite direction”.

Lauren said she reckoned the witch’s hat depositor had bolted up the top of the rock from Middleton Road.

Image: Dog Rock sans flossers. Photo: Chris Thomson

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Vollie lauded

ALBANY Junior Cricket Association volunteer Amanda Thompson said she is still getting over the shock of being named the Female Country Volunteer of the Year by the Western Australian Cricket Association.

Every year the WACA recognises the hours of dedication that volunteers put into cricket associations and teams across the state.

AJCA president Jackie Boyce was also named a finalist in the awards.

“To be frank, I’m a bit embarrassed to have won the award,” Ms Thompson said.

“Jackie is an integral part of junior cricket in Albany and I really think that without her we wouldn’t have junior cricket.”

Ms Thompson said she joined the association nearly four years ago after her youngest son Matthew started playing cricket.

“My eldest son (Angus) was playing cricket and my younger son had started up and I decided it was time to give back,” she said.

“So I went along to a committee meeting and the unspoken rule of committees is that if you’re on one you are always given a job to do.”

Ms Thompson said when she started volunteering she didn’t know a single thing about cricket.

“I started off logging in the stats for players under the guidance of Mike Moriarty,” she said.

“I learned a lot and then learned how to score cricket and how to live score so people at home could watch the Country Week matches from Albany.”

Ms Thompson said the AJCA would not be able to operate without the volunteers it has on the sidelines scoring matches, organising registrations and booking fields.

“Jackie and I see this award as a win for Albany junior cricket,” she said.

“It really shows how hard and well our volunteers work together.

“We don’t volunteer for the accolades, we volunteer for the kids.”

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Fishing feedback

PUBLIC comment on plans to grow an oyster and mussel industry in 1461 hectares of sea in King George Sound and Princess Royal Harbour close on February 15.

The planned aquaculture zone takes in much of Shoal Bay in the harbour, Frenchman Bay, Vancouver Peninsula around Mistaken Island, Oyster Harbour and the sea between Gull Rock and its adjacent beach.

The combined area of the planned zone in Albany is 1461 hectares.

The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development recently completed investigations for commercial shellfish aquaculture zones in Albany and Esperance to pave the way for approval to expand the industry.

Fishing Development Officer at Recfishwest, Matt Gillett, said he had received calls from Albany residents concerned at the impact of the planned zones on recreational fishers.

He said he had spoken to a “very helpful” person at South Coast Natural Resource Management – which is managing the consultation process – who had indicated recreational fishers would not be banned from the zones.

Mr Gillett said he welcomed that advice, as a one-page explanation of the zones on the NRM’s website had served to confuse local fisherfolk.

He said similar zones in the Midwest Region and Abrolhos Islands were “non-exclusive” ones where anglers could still fish.

“We’re happy to see investment in aquaculture, as long as recreational fishing is not affected,” he said.

The department is progressing initial approvals in a bid to resolve significant issues early so the zones are ready for the investment of commercial operators.

Mr Gillett said Recfishwest would make a submission.

To have your say, hit: https://southcoastnrm.com.au/south-coast-aquaculture-development-zone.

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