New roof for old post office

THE old terracotta roof of Albany’s historic post office building has been replaced with a modern-day version approximating the original sheoak shingles of the 1869-built Stirling Terrace landmark.

The state heritage-listed building is occupied by the University of Western Australia, and owned by the City of Albany, whose manager of City Engineering, David King, is pretty happy with the new roof.

“It’s definitely an improvement in my view and the heritage architect’s view,” he told The Weekender.

A construction plan approved by the State Heritage Office mandated the recently replaced Marseilles terracotta tiles, sheoak shingles, or the new plain tiles as the only options for the new roof.

“Our heritage architect preferred the plain ones because they more closely resembled what the timber shingles would have been,” Mr King said.

“Whilst the timber shingles would have been the ultimate, I think it is a good compromise between what was there before and what’s there now.”

Mr King said timber shingles only lasted 30 years and were prone to leaks.

“We expect to get a hundred years out of these ones.”

Mr King said timber shingles would have cost between $700,000 and $800,000 to install, whereas the new roof cost $220,000, including guttering.

The original sheoak shingles of the 1869–built post office building were replaced like-for-like in 1925, then with the glazed Marseilles terracotta tiles in 1949.

The new 900sqm, 13,000-tile roof arrives on the heels of a new verandah installed on the Proudlove Parade side of the building.

Mr King expects the guttering, flashing and trims will be completed and scaffolding down from the building in a couple of weeks.

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Second shot at gold

SEVENTEEN-year-old Sophie McDonald will make the trip to Launceston, Tasmania for a second tilt at the Under 18s Australian Hockey Championships next month.

Sophie was part of the Under 18s team last year that won bronze, but repeating the same performance isn’t on the cards.

“This year we’re striving for the gold,” she said.

“There are seven girls from last year’s team that have made it for the 2018 championships, so we know how to play off each other better than before.”

In preparation of the big competition in just over five weeks’ time, Sophie makes the trip to Perth twice a week to train with her team.

“Mum and Dad take turns driving me up to Perth for training,” she said.

“During the week I train with the team, then on weekends we do fitness training to get us to peak performance.

“I only miss out on half a day of school a week, which is really good in comparison to last year.”

Katanning’s Lewis Barritt will also make the trip to Launceston to play in the U18 men’s team.

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Roller derby on track

IT HAS taken more than two months, but Albany Roller Derby League’s The Track will officially open its doors to its new home on Saturday.

League President Natalie Jarvis said the opening of The Track and introducing Albany to roller derby has had its challenges.

“We started with the idea to find our own venue after it was getting increasingly harder to find a place for us to practice and have matches,” she said.

“We aren’t a sport that has been around for years and has heaps of supporters. It’s been tough.”

Ms Jarvis said The Track will be available for community and sport groups to hire out for games and functions.

“Since we’re in an industrial area there’s not really sound issues, so we’re more than happy to hire out The Track for people to use,” she said.

“People can run classes here, start gym groups and hire it out for bands and corporate functions. It’s open for use.”

With the help of a Gofundme page, Ms Jarvis and the league have been able to raise more than $4,000 to put towards the finishing touches of their skating venue.

“We’d still love some more funding. Every cent helps us get The Track up and running,” she said.

“Our Gofundme page will be open for a few more days if people want to donate money.

“We’ll be accepting donations on the Open Day, and people will be able to buy our merchandise as well.”

Celebrations at the brand new track on Roundhay Road in Gledhow will start with an official ribbon cutting ceremony at 4pm.

“We’ll have a roller disco, roller hockey games and heaps of food and drinks to buy,” Ms Jarvis said.

“Then at 7pm we’ll have our first rec league game for people to watch between the Storm Fronts and Cold Snaps.”

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Residential mix for hotel

LUXURY residential apartments will probably be needed to make a 12-floor hotel proposed by the State Government viable at Middleton Beach, Minister for Lands Rita Saffioti has conceded.

“There’s a mixed-use option in particular to get the business case up,” she told The Weekender last week at Albany’s best-known beach.

“The reality of financing hotels is that in many cases you need a residential component.

“Sometimes you actually need that combination to make the finances stack up.”

She said Landcorp would seek expressions of interest from hotel operators to get one to run a hotel overlooking the beach.

“What we’ve seen in the past is some difficulties getting developers in, Australia-wide, so what we’re doing on advice from CBRE hotel group is actually go out to hotel operators and see if we can get interest in an operator to come down and be the preferred operator, who will then work with the developer to get the project up,” she explained.

“So this is a new way with the aim of getting the attraction and actually securing the operator first, and then getting financing and a development up.”

Ms Saffioti said an announcement on results of the expression of interest process would be likely about May this year.

“The advice is, there may be some interest by some big [hotel company] names, but we’re very keen to test the market and see what we can do,” she stressed.

She said Landcorp would not specify a star-rating for the mooted hotel.

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Alert card safety measure

ALBANY people living with autism will be among the first to trial a new level of support and security provided by a simple identification card.

The Autism Alert Card initiative was instigated by Great Southern Police District Superintendent Dominic Wood in collaboration with local disability services, and is designed to aid emergency responders to identify people on the autism spectrum, in order to adapt their approach to people with autism in an emergency situation.

Supt Wood said when people with autism are in a stressful situation, their behaviour, which can include eye contact avoidance and anxious behaviour, may suggest to emergency responders that the person is potentially threatening.

The alert card will prompt responders to the person’s condition and allow them to tailor their approach.

As a parent to a child with autism, Supt Wood said he was extremely proud to officially launch the initiative, which is the first of its kind for WA Police.

He said the card was “two-fold” in its purpose, providing security for the alert card holder, as well as giving crucial aid to first responders in a situation which includes a person with autism.

Twenty-one-year-old Darrian Graham is on the autism spectrum and said the alert card was a great idea, as he says not everyone understands autism.

However, for Darrian’s mother Di, it’s about the reassurance the alert card can provide her when her son goes out on his own.

“Darrian’s a young adult now, so he wants to go out more on his own and with his friends,” she said.

“This card can offer me reassurance that he can be out in the community and people will put his safety first.

“It’s empowering for both the child and parents, because there’s such a gap of understanding in the community about autism.”

To obtain an autism alert card, you can contact the Autism Support Network of Albany on 0408 914 324 or visit the Great Southern Police District office on Stirling Terrace.

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Swing by cinema for Harvest

YOU need not worry about your plans for Wednesday nights this month, because Film Harvest Great Southern has got you covered.

Three big movies will be hitting Orana Cinema screens for February every Wednesday at 6.15pm, and there’s bound to be something to sate everyone’s taste.

The Florida Project will play on Valentine’s Day and features a cast of rising stars.

The tale follows six-year-old Moonee and her mother living week-by-week in a motel near Disney World, and the journey they take to make ends meet.

The cinematography of the film depicted in the trailer is absolutely stunning; this movie is not to be missed.

Australia’s beloved Kylie Minogue is making a comeback to the big screen in Swinging Safari, screening on February 21.

The preview of this film makes me think loveable-larrikin, cheeky and quintessentially Australian – a movie that you’re bound to fall in love with.

Alongside Minogue are Australian superstars Guy Pierce, Asher Keddie, Julian McMahon and Radha Mitchell.

I, Tonya will play on February 28 and looks to be one of Margot Robbie’s most interesting roles.

Based on true events, the film follows figure skater Tonya Harding and her link to the attack on her rival Nancy Kerrigan in 1994.

The film uses mockumentary techniques as well as fourth-wall breaking, and has earned itself several award nominations and wins.

Tickets to the Film Harvest movies are available online or at the Orana Cinemas box office, and will cost you $16 for adults and $13 for seniors and children.

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Braving the shave

FOR some blokes, having a shave is a simple task that’s never given a second thought, but there was a bit more behind the decision when Kev Wellman lost his whiskers on Saturday night.

The distinct flowing beard that had been cultivated over the past 30 years got the chop in front of a packed crowd at the Stirling Club for the third annual fundraiser that supports the Beyond Blue organisation and commemorates the life of Kev’s brother Glen.

“Glen struggled with depression his whole life,” Kev said.

“I think it stemmed from when our dad died from cancer when he was six.

“He felt like he missed out on having a relationship with him.

“He’d had five or six suicide attempts in the past. Our family was devastated when we found out.”

Kev said his mum, who was 81 when Glen lost his battle with depression, “cried every day for two years”, and spends every day thinking of him.

“We all miss him, but Mum just never really got over it,” he said.

Kev and his family have held a live music event on the anniversary of Glen’s death each year to raise money for mental health awareness and to simply celebrate one of the Great Southern’s foremost guitarists and musicians.

“We’ve auctioned some of Glen’s guitars at past events to raise some money, but this year we just didn’t have any ideas,” Kev said.

“So I decided to dye my beard blue and shave it off to raise money.

The response for donations was immediate and overwhelming for Kev and his family.

But perhaps not as overwhelming as sitting in the spotlight at Saturday night’s event in-between sets from a couple of local bands that were on the bill, watching his beard disappear one snip at a time.

Under instructions from his sister and event co-ordinator, Linda, Kev donned the cape and sat back nervously while friends and family each struck a blow, including his mother.

“I’ll never do it again though, it’s so strange to not have a beard,” Kev said, while reflecting on the event.

“People don’t recognise me when I walk past.”

“We got around $9500 in donations from shaving my beard, and $500 from the auction of a painting done by my mate Glen Kilpatrick.

“I think we had something like 400 people in attendance too. The family is very overwhelmed by the support.”

With the buzz of the event still lingering, Kev hoped the message he wanted to get across would carry on, and couldn’t stress enough the importance of speaking out about anxiety and depression.

“Glen was just so low; he didn’t call anyone or talk to anyone,” he said.

“I’ve battled depression myself, and you just can’t sit there and brood, you need to speak out and reach out.

“You can’t do it alone.

“That’s why I dyed my beard blue. It’s sort of a message like, no more blue, no more feeling blue.”

If you, or someone you know needs help, you can call Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636 or Lifeline on 13 11 14 any time of the day or night.

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Can you feel the love tonight?

WELL, it’s Valentine’s Day next week and I totally forgot about it until last Wednesday.

I was at a shop buying a birthday gift for someone and there was a stand of red and pink V-Day cards by the counter, and my initial thought was, OMG I’m so not organised for that.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Valentine’s Day and I think it’s really cute when flowers turn up at work for peoples’ partners, but the pressure of getting the right gift is a tad intense.

Especially when you see the typical overkill-sized bouquets of roses and the six-foot teddy bears around the place, even though you know in reality, that person’s relationship is in the pits and that couple barely speaks to each other.

But despite this fact, you feel the need to compete and buy a better gift for your other half, because you think you have to show the world how much you love someone by buying the best gift.

Unfortunately, as with most traditions and holidays, consumerism has crawled all over Valentine’s Day and now it has become a massive marketing ploy to guilt-trip people into spending hundreds on diamonds and gifts for one particular day of the year.

Now, I realise this makes me sound cynical, and I don’t mean to, but it really irks me when people see Valentine’s Day as a way to show off.

“Ooh look at me, my boyfriend bought me this super expensive white-gold bracelet and a gazillion roses, love you babe” – sure thing, love, but didn’t you just tell me yesterday you were sick of him never texting you back and felt like you never had quality time together anymore?

I’ll be honest here.

When my previous relationship was starting to head south, I thought that maybe Valentine’s Day would be the romantic kick we needed and it would rekindle our little flame.

I built up the big day in my head and spent a bit extra on the gift, but unfortunately, we acted the same and the flame continued to slowly fizzle out.

Valentine’s Day is built up to be this massive thing, and people feel the need to spend heaps to show their love for someone.

We are teased by advertisements saying things like “show her you truly care by…”, and if you can’t afford it?

Well, I guess it means you don’t really love that person, apparently.

I love having special days like Valentine’s Day, but showing your love and appreciation for someone shouldn’t be restricted to just one day.

You know what I think is romantic?

When your partner picks a flower from the garden because they thought it was pretty, and they thought of you.

When they give you a foot rub without you asking, after a long day at work.

When they let you whinge about your crappy day, and don’t feel the need to interrupt you to brag about their fantastic day.

When your partner knows that all you need is a cuddle.

I love Valentine’s Day and I would love to get a little something, but I’d like to think it’s not the only day in the year when my partner will show his love for me.

I’d like to think that showing someone you love them by getting them something they like or doing something nice for them happens all year round.

So don’t sit around and keep displays of affection for February 14.

Sprinkle love on every moment of every day.

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Hole in the shark net

MIDDLETON BEACH bathers may not be as safe as they think over the next month as a one-metre gap opens up in the Ellen Cove shark barrier.

City of Albany Executive Director Infrastructure and Environment Matthew Thomson said the shark barrier would be lowered by about a metre to allow a barge to move in and out of Ellen Cove while work was carried out on the Ellen Cove jetty.

“The sign at Middleton Beach warns swimmers that the enclosure net is open from February 19 to March 23 to facilitate the jetty works,” Mr Thomson asserted.

Inspection of the sign confirms that’s not strictly the case.

Under the heading “Swimming Enclosure Information”, the sign warns that no water activities will be allowed within 10m of the jetty while it is closed for re- pairs.

While there is a small ‘NET OPENING’ annotation on a diagram that illustrates the exclusion zone around the jetty, nowhere does the sign explain there will be a month-long, one-metre gap in the shark barrier.

At the beach on Tuesday, The Weekender collared Albany postal workers Andrew Walsh and Fred Norzel after their weekly swim inside the shark barrier.

Before their swim, neither of the men had noticed the sign.

Nor did they know of the impending hole in the shark net.

“I think I’ll continue on swimming,” Mr Norzel said when advised of the gap.

“We used to swim before when there was no net, so it doesn’t really matter now.”

Mr Walsh said he intended to keep joining Mr Norzel on the pair’s weekly swim.

“You do feel safer with the net, I must admit,” he said.

Both men said advice to the public on the planned net opening could be better.

They agreed the net raised public expectations of safety within the enclosure that may not necessarily be delivered between February 19 and March 23.

Mr Thomson said the jetty was being reconstructed because the timbers had reached the end of their useable life.

“Replacement will be like-for-like, and existing piles will remain in place to support the new structure,” he explained.

“During the work period, there will be no access to the jetty and a 10m exclusion zone will apply around the jetty.

“Swimmers are permitted to use the remaining area of the enclosure but should be aware the net is open.”

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Investors lick wounds as coin boss does time

AS HE stepped into the dock of the District Court on Monday, the bankrupt former director of Albany’s Rare Coin Company, knowing he would go to jail, turned and mouthed ‘I love you’ to his wife and one-time business partner, Barbara.

Robert Colin Jackman, 63, had earlier pleaded guilty to 36 counts of stealing a combined $1,856,020 from rare currency investors between September 2011 and July 2013 when he placed his company into voluntary administration.

Five of Jackman’s victims listened in the public gallery as prosecutor Katie Kemm said the company had grown from an annual turnover of $615,000 in 1997 to $44.3 million in 2010 when the impact of the global financial crisis hit.

Defence lawyer Bruno Illari said Jackman became overwhelmed by investors “clambering” to call in a coin buyback guarantee the defendant had offered.

“This became a bit of a flood,” Mr Illari told Justice Julie Wager.

“To try to dig his way out of these problems, Mr Jackman tried, unwisely as it turned out, to expand the business rather than contract it.”

Jackman bought a Sydney coin company Mr Illari said had “turned out to be a real lemon”.

He considered entering the Chinese market where Mr Illari said a business partner had “ripped him off”.

Coins sold for one client were often used to pay other clients who were demanding their money back.

Mr Illari said the company had grown “exponentially over a period of time with no review of the business model”.

The company, which had 40 employees at one stage, only had one bank account from which all receipts and expenses, including staff wages, were paid.

Ms Kemm said Jackman had ordered staff to lie to investors, telling them that valuable currency he’d been keeping for them had not been sold when in fact they already had.

In a 168-minute interview with police, Jackman later explained he had become inundated with stock “and clients who were pushy”.

Ms Kemm said the amounts stolen from “ma and pa investors” ranged from $6000 from Pauline Hanlon, to $380,000 from Stephen Hallister, who had stored a rare holey dollar with Jackman.

Jackman’s victims included 93-year-old Molly Sweet, who is now 100.

Ms Sweet lost $45,270, $50,310 and $76,590 from three pieces of rare currency Jackman sold but did not pay her for.

She has a disabled son who Ms Kemm said was “no longer able to be sensitively cared for in the way anticipated”.

In her victim impact statement, Brenda Barrett, 67, who lost $98,500, said she had worked at a fish processing factory all her life, and now could not enjoy her retirement.

Mr Hallister, a FIFO worker, was “extremely angry” after losing $452,000.

Another victim, Leanne Marshall, said she felt betrayed after Jackman’s staff “lied straight to her face”.

Ms Kemm argued there was “an informal and trusting relationship between the offender and his clients”, and the breach of that trust was an aggravating factor in Jackman’s offending.

She told Justice Wager the charges on which Jackman was being tried only dealt with the complaints of 21 victims.

Receivers for Jackman’s company had identified a total of 136 investors who allegedly had not been paid.

Justice Wager ordered Jackman to pay restitution for each piece of stolen currency.

But defence barrister Bruno Illari warned the chances of Jackman ever repaying the monies were slim.

He said Jackman had no prior criminal record, which was “unusual in a case of this kind”.

Mr Illari said Jackman was once named Albany entrepreneur of the year, and neither he nor his wife – who together owned a $6000 and a $4000 car and had $6000 in savings – benefitted personally from the thefts.

“They didn’t have a lavish lifestyle,” he said.

“It was all done to keep this company afloat.

“By 2013, the wolf was well and truly at the door.”

Ms Kemm argued Jackman “might have been a first offender at the start but not at the end of the offending”.

“Clearly, social status was of some importance to him,” she submitted.

She argued that imposing a significant term of imprisonment was the only option open to Justice Wager.

“There is evidence of remorse,” she conceded.

“The real difficulty is the sheer loss at a community level and at a personal level for each of the complainants.”

In summing up, Mr Illari said Jackman accepted there would “most likely be an immediate term of imprisonment”.

Jackman, who has Type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure, will spend at least 25 months in jail after being sentenced to a maximum four years and two months imprisonment.

Each of the 36 charges carried a maximum seven years penalty.

As Jackman was escorted from the dock into custody, Barbara Jackman got up from her seat and walked toward him to say goodbye from a distance separated by security guards.

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