Get to grips with kids’ fears

FACING your fears is a learning curve children of all ages must face.

Josey Hurley’s latest children’s picture book tackles dealing with challenges and anxiety in a beautiful and subtle way, making it an ideal resource for parents and children trying to comprehend and deal with fear.

A psychologist by trade, Ms Hurley has utilised her many years of clinical experience to weave a tale of a French bulldog who is afraid of the ocean with lessons in how to overcome fears.

Max the Mighty is Ms Hurley’s first published book and she is excited to launch it at the Albany Public Library on December 1.

“Seeing the joy of the kids and seeing them connect with the story when it was in its first draft reassured me that it could be beneficial,” Ms Hurley said of her book.

“You need perseverance and belief in what you’re writing, and getting that feedback from the kids definitely encouraged me to continue.”

Ms Hurley believes Max the Mighty can aid as a starting point to schools when discussing fears and overcoming challenges and anxiety with students.

“It sits with the curriculum and can be a platform story for schools,” she said.

“When I was first putting the story together, I knew what I wanted the topic to be about, but I had to work out something children could relate to, and what the steps looked like when you overcome a fear.

“This book gives kids the opportunity to connect, especially with the illustrations. That’s why I wanted to work with an illustrator, because the illustrations are what really bring the words alive.”

Ms Hurley’s December 1 book launch will commence at 4.30pm and will include a reading of the story, refreshments, and an activities table to make your own dog mask.

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Boston takes family gong

IT’S a winning combination that has long been a hit with locals and tourists alike – a place for parents to enjoy a quiet ale and a feed while the kids run free range on the playground.

And if you time it right, there is often some tasty live music on the side.

Boston Brewing Co. and Willoughby Park in Denmark has been the go-to place for families looking for a one-size-feeds-all venue, and now the judges of the 2017 Australian Hotels Association Aon Hospitality Awards for Excellence have latched onto the idea.

The popular brewery and restaurant came away with the WA’s Best Family Dining Award, and was a finalist in four other categories.

Restaurant manager Emma Van Dijk said the recognition was a massive tip for the work they do.

“The award really does show everyone who we are and what our work ethic is,” she said.

“It’s amazing to be recognised for the effort we put into the Boston Brewery to make it a venue people want to frequent.

“We’re a family-friendly location and we aspire to be a place for families and groups to have a good time.”

Australian Hotels Association CEO Bradley Woods said it was a challenging year for some in the hospitality industry.

“WA’s vibrant hospitality industry is a reality thanks to the courage and entrepreneurship of small to large business owners,” he said.

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Vietnam trip for war story students

SECONDARY students from across the state have been selected to tour Vietnam next year as part of the 15th annual Premier’s Anzac Student Tour.

Indigo Bew from Albany Senior High School and Megan McDougall from Denmark Senior High School are among 10 students who will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Tet Offensive and the battles of Coral and Balmoral from the Vietnam War overseas in April.

To be considered for the Anzac Tour, the girls submitted essays on family members who participated in the First and Second World Wars.

The students were told on Saturday about their successful applications.

“I was over the moon,” Indigo said.

“I really want to learn about Vietnam because that war impacted so many people in Australia, and there are Vietnamese refugees here who have influenced our culture.”

Indigo penned an essay about her great, great grandfather who was a stretcher bearer in the First World War, and received awards for his efforts.

“His kindness has inspired me and my family to give back to the community and do our best,” the year-nine student said.

Megan’s essay looked at her great grandfather who fought in the second world war.

“I wanted to look into his story and it was really interesting,” she said.

“He enlisted when he was 36, which is old to be in war.”

Indigo and Megan are keen to travel through the major cities in Vietnam and visit the museums and commemorative sites.

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Smooth ride into town

A 2.5km, $1.2 million missing link in the cycle network from Little Grove to the Albany Town Hall is about to be added to Albany’s expanding chain of cycle paths.

Stage one of the two-stage Mount Elphinstone-to-CBD bike path is out for tender, and senior city engineer Andrew Greenwood said construction is slated to start in January.

“The project will run from Collie Street, just behind the Town Square,” he told The Weekender.

“The path along Frenchman Bay Road is quite a popular tourist recreation path, but at the moment there’s no link through to the city.

“Because of the railway and the road trains on Princess Royal Drive it’s a route that is not popular for cycling, apart from hardened cyclists.”

Stage one of the new bicycle/ pedestrian path will run from Town Square, along the northern side of Grey Street West, to the top of Carlisle Street, a distance of 1.2km.

Budgeted at $590,000, stage one is scheduled for completion in April.

Stage two, which will join the existing Frenchman Bay Road cycle path that stretches to Little Grove, is budgeted to occur next financial year at a similar cost.

The city’s TravelSmart officer, Julie Passmore, said the new route would give commuters and recreational cyclists more options for getting to the city safely.

“It gives the opportunity to be separated from traffic, and for people with children it’s safer, definitely,” she said.

“Surveys that we’ve done have shown cycling is growing in popularity and we’re definitely getting more people arriving to city events by bike.

“We’re seeing a steady growth in people commuting, and a growing positivity about cycling here from visitors as well as residents.”

Contractors interested in tendering for the job had best get on their bikes.

Tenders close at 2pm on November 29.

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Communication breakdown

THE City of Albany has refuted assertions by Torbay residents that they were not told about a prescribed burn that raged out of control and became a serious danger to homes and the heritage-listed Torbay Hall on Thursday.

The blaze was supposed to be a small prescribed burn near Lower Denmark Road, but quickly escaped the burn area.

Emergency services were called to douse the blaze.

The fire ripped through 40 hectares of bushland and stopped 50m short of the hall.

Chair of the Torbay Hall Management Committee Rosemary King said her property was within 1km of where the prescribed burn was arranged.

Ms King said she saw flames jump across Lower Denmark Road, and initiated a chain of phone calls to her neighbours when she saw the fire had raged out of control.

She is part of the city’s text message scheme that is meant to alert residents of any local emergencies.

But she said she did not receive a text message about the prescribed burn, nor about it burning out of control.

Vicki Read, a Torbay local for 15 years, said she also lived within 1km of the burn.

She evacuated her property soon after Ms King rang her with the emergency warning.

“It’s just such a lack of communication,” Ms Read said of the city’s alert process.

“It’s pretty much what we live with.

She said that about 12.30pm she was reassured the burn was okay.

“But I checked again at 1.30pm, and then at 2pm they pulled into my driveway saying the fire was out of control,” she said.

Ms Read said she was disappointed and shaken as a result of what she viewed as the city’s poor communication with Torbay residents.

She said it was lucky she had a bushfire plan that worked very well.

She said the only correspondence she received was a letter two-and-a- half years ago stating a prescribed burn was to be arranged for the bush surrounding the Torbay Hall.

City of Albany Acting Manager City Reserves Jacqui Freeman said nearby residents were informed of the burn.

“The appropriate consultation was undertaken,” she said.

“Residents at the other side of town might not have been notified because they were in a distance further away from the risk zone.

“We do advertising, put it on the Facebook page and we do letterbox drops and door-knocking to those residents who are close by.”

Ms Freeman said because the planned burn was small, consultation only occurred with property owners in the immediate vicinity.

“We’re pretty diligent in letting people know,” she said.

“What we do is we assess conditions, and if they are suitable, we can undertake the burn.”

She said the burn at Lower Denmark Road had been next on the list of priority burns slated to be undertaken in the area.

“We’re burning that area in preparation for burning some smaller patches closer to the townsite to protect the townsite,” she said.

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Keep your eyes on the road

LEARNING to drive is the best thing and the scariest thing ever.

Well, not ever, but hey, when you’re 16, everything is measured in extremes.

Being able to drive yourself around is a freedom most of us take for granted.

When you first get your red P-plates, that freedom is a newfound sensation, an overwhelming feeling, and is just super awesome.

I remember the day my licence rolled over to green P-plates, (which have no midnight to 5am curfew like red plates do), and the first thing I said to Mum was: hey Mum, can I go for a drive at 12.01am just to prove I can?

The answer was no, obviously, because I wanted to take her cool car and I was meant to be in bed, but hey, if I needed to, I could drive after midnight.

Obviously late-night driving isn’t the ultimate aim of getting a driver’s licence, but it is certainly one of the perks.

One of the best things ever after getting my licence was being able to go out and stay out late, because I didn’t have to rely on my parents to pick me up.

Of course, that also meant I became a free taxi to my mates, but that’s another story.

At the moment, my younger sister is learning how to drive.

It has brought back all the nostalgia of my trips in the car with Dad or Mum, and the memories of learning how to not crash the car.

I got my manual licence – best decision ever.

Despite kangaroo-hopping for the first few weeks of my L-plates, I got the hang of the clutch eventually and I was off.

Once I got my P-plates, I could drive any car, which meant I was never restricted to what wheel I could get behind.

This also meant saving a lot of peoples’ butts when they were, ahem, unable to drive.

But before you can become a superhero driver, you have to do the hard yards.

I know a lot of 16-year-olds out there don’t particularly fancy listening to their parents or driving instructors and hanging on to their every word, but really, it’s totally worth it when they are teaching you how to drive.

They do actually know what they’re talking about; most of them have been driving longer than we’ve been alive.

Before my Ls, the closest I had been to behind the wheel was the passenger’s seat, and until you switch sides of the car, you won’t believe how different everything is.

You are on the opposite side of the car, so you have to get used to the car’s road position from a different perspective.

You are also closer to the oncoming cars, and that’s a bit daunting when you pass your first road train.

You literally have to keep your eyes on the road the entire time you are driving, because one second in real time is like, 10 seconds in driving time.

A split-second look away can mean the difference between waving at the cyclist as they go past, and sending them head-first into the ditch.

Driving is a privilege, not a right, so making sure you are safe on the roads and are respectful of other drivers is super important.

Yes, you will get the odd person pull out in front of you, or flip you off as you go around the roundabout, but the main thing to focus on is your car and the passengers within it.

Being behind the wheel means being responsible for other peoples’ lives, so make sure you look after them.

Don’t be tempted to go that little bit faster to pull out in front of that truck so you can get to Maccas before they close.

Take your time, enjoy the ride, and enjoy the privilege of riding solo.

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It’s a ‘YES’ from O’Connor

ALBANY Gay and Lesbian group members are celebrating results released yesterday from the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey, although the O’Connor electoral division in which they live recorded the lowest ‘yes’ result in the state.

O’Connor, a federal division that includes the Great Southern and Goldfields regions and much of the Southwest, recorded a 56.2 per cent ‘yes’ result.

The next lowest result was 59.2 per cent in the adjoining division of Durack.

AGAL member Millie Reid said when she heard a ‘yes’ result had been recorded in all states and territories she could not stop crying.

“I felt such overwhelming relief,” she said. “I’m thrilled with the resounding ‘yes’ result.

“Now we just need politicians to do the right thing, and legislate this in a fair way.”

Ms Reid’s fiancée Kylie Douglas was so happy she wanted to start planning the couple’s wedding immediately.

“I was overwhelmed by the intensity of the ‘yes’ vote,” Ms Douglas said.

“It feels so validating.

“The past three months have been horrendous, waiting for the result and not knowing who was with you and who was against you.”

Overall, Western Australia recorded a 63.7 per cent ‘yes’ result, the third highest in the nation behind the ACT (74 per cent) and Victoria (64.9 per cent).

Ms Douglas said federal politicians should now stop stalling and legislate to make same sex marriage a reality.

“Just get it done now,” she said.

“It’s just an unbelievable relief and we are so excited.

“It’s good to feel less alone.”

Another AGAL member, Sarah Schouten, said she was relieved and happy about the national result.

“The politicians don’t need to waste any more time,” she said.

“If they don’t know how to vote, then they need to just listen to the public.”

O’Connor also recorded the highest ‘no’ vote in the state – 43.8 per cent, compared to the next highest ‘no’ result of 43.0 per cent in the Division of Burt in Perth’s outer eastern suburbs.

Nationally, 79.5 per cent of eligible Australians completed the survey, which Australian statistician David Kalisch said was “very high” for a voluntary poll.

Bills will now be presented to Federal Parliament for a parliamentary vote on amending Australia’s marriage laws.

The Turnbull government has pushed for a vote before Christmas.

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Early knock-off for Albany doctor

WHENEVER there is a forecast for a good easterly in Albany, windsurfer Joseph Presti knocks off work and makes the 400km journey south from Perth to what he describes as one of the best stretches of water for his beloved sport.

Presti has been windsurfing for the past 34 years and said the flat water at the south-western end of Albany’s Princess Royal Harbour along Frenchman Bay Road’s “smelly mile” was his first choice.

“It has the most consistent winds and flat water in the state,” he said.

“It’s more than worth driving the 800km round trip when the wind is right.

“I’ve got a friend from Cairns that says it’s his favorite spot. He broke two of his personal records there last year.

“I drive to Shark Bay and the Peel Inlet at Mandurah as well, but Albany is worth taking the time off work to wind surf on.”

On a good day, the windsurfers can nearly keep up with the cars on the road adjacent to the harbour that are clocking 80mkh.

Eleven years ago, Presti came up with the idea to change individual-based sport for Australians into a community-based challenge.

“After chatting with a few friends who were windsurfers, I decided to put it to the community if they were interested in an annual windsurfing competition,” he said.

“It pretty much went from there and is now also an international competition that people enter. Last year’s international winner was a team from Belgium.”

The GPS Team Challenge consists of solo and team competitors wearing a GPS during a wind-surfing session and uploading the data to the team challenge website.

“The GPS records everything we do on the water, from our average speed we track in an hour to the average speed we cover in a nautical mile,” Presti said.

“We upload the data, which gets converted into points that ranks us for the competition.”

While four seasonal trophies are up for grabs as well as a perpetual trophy for the end of the year, Presti said most windsurfers are only after one thing.

“It’s all for the glory and bragging rights,” he said.

“My team ‘Mandurah Mob’ has won each of the seasonal trophies this year, the first time ever as well.

“While it’s great we won them all, and will probably win overall for the year, the fact that we did it and made GPS Team Challenge history is more impressive.”

Presti said it’s not too late for local windsurfers to join the Mandurah Mob for the challenge, or to create their own team.

“We’ve got 28 members in our team. Four are from Albany, in fact,” he said.

“We always welcome new members. We’ve got a great community in our team.

“You don’t need to be competitive to join. We’ve got members that windsurf just for the fun of it.”

For more information on the GPS Team Challenge you can visit their website

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Familiar faces return home

THEY might be Albany’s biggest musical export, but they are really just a bunch of big kids that love playing music.

Despite 25 years together as a band and all the miles on the road, it’s that simple for The Waifs’ guitarist Josh Cunningham.

He spoke to The Weekender ahead of their return to the Great Southern next month where it all began, when Donna and Vikki Simpson (now Vikki Thorn) packed up their campervan and headed north as a pair of gangly guitar-slinging sisters.

They picked up Cunningham along the way and The Waifs were born – it’s well-known musical lore to loyal followers who have watched the band grow over two-and-a-half decades.

Rusted-on fans might also have been expecting an open-air concert to round out the band’s 13-date national tour – an opportunity to enjoy the band’s music with grass between their toes.

But Cunningham said The Waifs were looking forward to playing the sit-down entertainment centre show following their previous performance there.

“It was one of the best shows we’ve ever played in Albany,” he said.

“It’s a different way to experience the band. The music is all about the stories and the lyrics, so in a venue like that we can get down in the song in a different way than if there’s a party vibe going on.

“It’s a spectacular venue and Albany is very lucky to have it.”

Besides playing to a hometown crowd, Cunningham said the band was looking forward to taking the rare opportunity to spend a few days in town post-gig.

“When we play Albany it’s usually in the middle of a tour or at the start of one, and it’s straight to soundcheck, play the gig, stay the night and get back on the road again,” he said.

“We’re finishing the tour there, and we’re looking forward to hanging around for a few days to catch up with family and friends.”

Despite 25 years together as a band, The Waifs are far from packed in the front seat of a campervan when they are off-stage nowadays.

Thorn is based in the US, Cunningham has just built a house on his property in south coast New South Wales and Donna Simpson is based in Fremantle.

Cunningham said they just made the distance work.

“When you’ve been playing together for 25 years, that feeling of familiarity isn’t just personal, it’s musical as well,” he said.

“When we get in a room to rehearse together, it’s really like you’re picking up where you left off,” he said.

Cunningham said the band appreciated every opportunity to play together and were always true to their roots.

“When you do what you love and get to play music for a living it keeps your feet on the ground,” he said.

“We’re really just a bunch of big kids that love playing music.”

The Waifs play the Albany Entertainment Centre on December 9 to showcase songs from their latest album Ironbark, which celebrates their 25th anniversary, and to offer their loyal followers plenty of favourites.

Tickets are available from the AEC box office or online at Ticketek.

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