Green-thumbed grannies

HAVING their fellow Ingenia Gardens residents asking for more colour around the place prompted 92-year-old Esme Taylor and 99-year-old May Beach to get down and dirty and rebuild the estate’s gardens.

The pair have been at the Yakamia village for more than 10 years, and said they got straight to work on the gardens the moment they arrived.

Their efforts won Ingenia Gardens the City of Albany’s Business Garden of the Month Award for November.

“It’s just automatic for us,” Ms Taylor said of gardening.

“I had the shovel and I dug, and May planted.”

Ms Beach said when she first moved to Ingenia Gardens, there was not much to the gardens except lawn.

“We were all sitting together and some of the residents said they wanted some more colour around, so from then on, we gave them colour,” she said.

“We really transformed the garden; we’ve got fuchsias, hydrangeas, geraniums and day lilies.”

A quick turn around the garden reveals stunning pops of colour around every bend – all the handy work of Ms Taylor and Ms Beach.

With the occasional helping hand of the official resident gardener, Ms Taylor and Ms Beach today continue to keep their gardens fresh, neat and tidy.

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President trumps track

FIRST appearances are often misleading when meeting someone such as mild-mannered Chris Pavlovich who wears a few different hats in the Mount Barker community.

By day, Mr Pavlovich gives back to his community as the Plantagenet Shire President, but in his own time he’s known in the local speedway community as a fiercely competitive Super Sedan driver.

Mr Pavlovich has muscled his way into contention for the Super Sedan state title this weekend following his hot run of form, including four wins for the series so far.

With an impressive record under his belt for this season alone, it’s surprising to find that Mr Pavlovich has only been in the speedway game for the past seven years.

“I took it up later in life. I’ve not always been interested in cars,” he said.

“One day I just got sick of playing golf and decided to do something different, so I started doing speedway.”

Mr Pavlovich said around the time he was getting bored of the putting green, Mt Barker Speedway was gaining popularity with their resurgence in the Super Sedan division.

“Super Sedans grew exponentially within a few years after a few former state title champions were coming to the club,” he said.

“After that I just got swept up in the excitement.”

Mr Pavlovich admitted to being a competitive person after drawing the comparison between the drastic changes in pace from the boardroom to the racetrack.

“I love the competition first and foremost,” he said.

“But it’s also the way in which the sport brings together friends and family to help push the driver over the finish line that is great too.

“Motorsport is this huge fraternity filled with like- minded people.

“Speedway is definitely more aggressive than being the shire president, which is a more passive occupation.

“But it’s no different to everyone else’s everyday lives with wearing different hats.”

Being a speedway driver is usually associated with a love of cars, but, continuing with the surprising nature of Mr Pavlovich, it’s not the case here.

“I’ve never really been interested in cars. I like my Sweet Motorsport car that I drive, but that’s different,” he said.

“I’ve always been into my off-road motorbikes though, I’ve even travelled to Cambodia and South America doing it.

“I feel like I’m 50 going on 20 when I’m on my motorbike or in my car.”

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Gymnastics lands on feet

THREE community groups in the Great Southern will share in $30,000 of federal government funding after a recent announcement from Member for O’Connor Rick Wilson via the Stronger Communities Program.

The Denmark Gymnastics group will receive $20,000 to fit out a shed as a permanent gymnasium, $7500 will go to the City of Albany to buy new equipment for the Albany Leisure and Aquatic Centre, and $2500 has been granted to Albany PCYC for play equipment and shade sails.

Denmark Gymnastics’ Katy Rutter said she felt relieved and overjoyed when she received news of the group’s new financial support for a permanent gymnasium.

“We’ve been fundraising and applying for grants for the past five or so years, so when Rick Wilson’s office contacted us about the grant, I felt a bit of disbelief,” she said.

“A shed became available to us and the grant came through at a similar time, so everything just fell into place.”

Currently, the Denmark Gymnastics crew gets together every Thursday at the Denmark Recreation Centre and every Wednesday at the Mt Barker Recreation Centre, to cater for the big group of keen gymnasts.

“When I first started out, I was thinking I’d have a class of 15 kids, but 40 kids turned up on the first day,” Ms Rutter said.

“It takes us an hour to set up and an hour to take everything down each week at the rec centres, and we only have limited times we can be there.

“So now with the new shed, we can have everything permanently set up and run more classes, so more kids can have the chance to do gymnastics.

“I’ve got a wait list of 40 kids, so we will be able to cater for them with the new gymnasium.”

The $20,000 grant will be used to extend and enclose the shed, concrete the extension’s floor, and install toilet and shower facilities.

Any remaining money will be combined with the group’s savings to purchase matting and wall bars.

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Support the Vinnies cause

ALLEVIATING hardship and providing hope are the goals of the St Vincent de Paul Society this Christmas.

Their ability to provide practical support, financial assistance, specialist services, advocacy and friendship has helped Australians in need since the Australian society’s conception in the 1850s.

St Vincent de Paul Society spokesperson Carl Prowse said some of the work the Albany branch will be doing this Christmas includes providing clothing, homewares and furniture to those in need, as well as providing emergency relief assistance.

“Vinnies is committed to helping people break the cycle of disadvantage,” Mr Prowse said.

“Our volunteers will provide hope this Christmas by delivering hampers to people experiencing hardship, and continue to assist with essentials such as food, clothing and bill payments through our emergency relief program.”

“Vinnies is extremely grateful for the support it has and will continue to receive from the Albany community.”

The St Vincent de Paul Society’s major project this year has been the 2017 Christmas Appeal, in which they hope to raised more than half a million dollars to aid disadvantaged Western Australians.

According to the Society, 13.3 per cent of Australians are living in poverty, of which 731,000 are children.

The Society is calling on people to donate funds towards care packages, food, safety and rent for those in need this Christmas.

“Vinnies aims to raise $600,000 for the 2017 Christmas Appeal,” Mr Prowse said.

“If people would like to make a financial donation, they can visit or call 13 18 12.”

The St Vincent de Paul Society can provide low-income support, aid with housing, health matters and education, as well as help refugees and migrants.

If you are seeking emergency relief assistance from the St Vincent de Paul Society, you can contact the Albany branch on 9842 2386.

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All in a day’s work for FC and Co.

WITH Christmas fast approaching, festive season fan Carey Dickason has been busy entertaining her neighbors with the creative decorations outside her Kalgan home.

Ms Dickason retired to Albany 10 years ago after previously living in Australind.

“I used to go for a walk every morning through my neighbourhood, and I especially loved it at Christmas time when everyone started decorating their homes,” she said.

“There was one house where the owner put a Santa out the front, and every day he had been moved and positioned to make a scene. I always got a kick out of seeing it.”

After a few years living in Albany, Ms Dickason spotted a Santa suit at the shops and decided she could “give it a go”.

From December 1 to Christmas day Ms Dickason brings out Father Christmas or FC for short, as well as his two elves Elfie and Edward Elf to get up to some mischief in her front yard.

“I really get a kick out of doing it and the neighbours do too,” she said.

“I get up every morning and get them set up doing something silly.

“Ideas just sort of happen, sometimes I have no clue what to do and it’s like FC, Elfie and Edward get a mind of their own.”

Ms Dickason posts her newest creations on her Facebook page ‘FC, Elfie and Edward Elf’ to share with her friends and Albany locals.

“Sometimes I get kids knocking on my front door with suggestions for the next day,” she said.

“I just really enjoy doing this each Christmas; people get a kick out of it.”

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Denmark pageant in the bag

DENMARKIANS are getting into the Christmas swing of things in preparation for their annual Christmas pageant.

The pageant will parade from Barnett Park and along Walker Street on December 22, with marshalling commencing at 4.30pm at Barnett Park and the parade at 5.15pm.

There will be market stalls, Christmas crafts and live entertainment in each shopping arcade to ensure everyone has a merry time leading up to Christmas.

Local group Plastic Bag Reduction Denmark will be one of the floats in the pageant, and they will be showcasing their giant fish.

The fish is full to the brim with nearly 2000 plastic bags, in an attempt to educate people about the damage done to the environment and marine life due to plastic bags, and to show just how many plastic bags consumers use every day.

Plastic Bag Reduction Denmark creator Karen Andersson has led a team of fellow Denmarkians in  creating ‘borrow and return bags’ from old fabrics donated to the group or from the tip shop.

These bags are at the local IGA stores in Denmark to encourage people to say ‘no’ to plastic bags and say ‘yes’ to reusable, environmentally friendly options.

Ms Andersson said the group has made nearly 4000 bags since the group’s origin in December 2015 and will be handing them out to people during the parade.

“We aren’t trying to be a dampener on Christmas,” she said.

“We will be decorating Freddo Fin the fish to keep it festive and we just want to keep the education going.

“It’s about what gift we can give to the environment and the educational message behind what we are trying to do to save the environment.”

The Plastic Bag Reduction Denmark pageant float will be singing a rendition of Tim Minchins’ Canvas Bags with their version, Fabric Bags, and all people are encouraged to sing along and join the festivities.

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Skate park turns 10

THE Albany Skate and BMX Park has been a home away from home for local kids for a decade, and the milestone was celebrated in style on Sunday.

Tweens and teens were joined by kids-at-heart for a day of family fun and live entertainment at the Sanford Road skate park, which included a bouncing castle, market stalls, a sausage sizzle and an appearance from Jamie the Clown.

The skateboard, scooter and BMX bike competitions enthralled spectators all day, with entrants ranging from eight years to 26 years old.

Albany skater Matthew Dye was among the crowd on Sunday as well as on the judging panel for the competitions, and said his home away from home was always the Albany Skate and BMX Park.

“It was my life as a kid; I was always there,” the 20-year-old said.

“I just wanted to spend all my spare time there.”

Dye has ridden the track since it opened in 2007, and, along with his now 19-year-old brother, still frequents the track.

“One of my main memories was when we used to do lessons with big skateboarders from Perth,” he said.

“It was always a good time.”

Event organiser and manager Simon Escott said the 10-year anniversary celebrations drew between 500 and 700 people to the skate park.

“It was a really good turnout and allowed people to have fun and let their hair down in a safe environment,” he said.

Escott, now 30 years old, remembers skating on the original Albany skate track, the famous Snake Run, just around the corner from Albany Senior High School.

“My dad was skating there in the 1970s, and I grew up on it,” he said.

“I wasn’t in Albany at the time, but I knew a lot of the people involved in the skate community who pushed for a bigger track.

“The next track was on North Road and it just wasn’t big enough, so in 2006 and 2007 there was a cry for a bigger skate park, so they opened the new one on Sanford Road.”

The Albany Skate and BMX Park is one of four Albany parks, including the Historic Hare Street Skate Track (the Snake Run), the Mill Park Skate Park and the Lake Weerlara Park.

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Sirens sound for Operation Rudolf

IF YOU hear a distant whirring of sirens or a hum of Christmas carols floating up your street on Saturday night, perhaps check your front yard for a string of emergency service vehicles taking part in a unique, pageant-style event.

Operation Rudolf began in 2015 when ex-Queenslander and now Albany local Dales Whyte decided to introduce the emergency vehicle parade to Albany, after it had been successful in his home state for more than 20 years.

Operation Rudolf is comprised of Great Southern police, fire, ambulance and other emergency responder vehicles trailing after each other across town and stopping at specific points.

At these points, live entertainment from various local artists and schools will take place for the public to enjoy and get into the Christmas carol spirit.

Operation Rudolf is a charity event, of which Albany PCYC is the beneficiary.

Money tins will be travelling with the emergency services convoy to give people the opportunity to donate their loose change to the Albany PCYC.

South West PCYC area manager Terry Eaton said he is interested to see how this year’s event goes, with a couple of new stop points being added for the 2017 route.

“Operation Rudolf works really well,” he said.

“It’s good to get the emergency services on board.

“We are stopping at the new Centennial Stadium this year, so it will be interesting to see if the Spencer Park and surrounding residents come down to see it, as Lakeside and Bayonet Head were some of the more popular venues from last year.”

Operation Rudolf will begin at 4.10pm this Saturday at the Albany Boatshed carpark and travel up York Street, along Albany Highway and into the suburbs to entertain the residents of Orana and Lakeside on Lakeside Drive.

Each stop-off will last approximately 15 minutes.

The town footbridge would be a prime viewing location to witness the convoy take off.

Next on the list is the Centennial Stadium, with the vehicle trail aiming for a 5.05pm arrival time.

The convoy will then drive to Lange Park in Bayonet Head, arriving around 5.50pm.

Eyre Park on Garden Street in Middleton Beach will be the next viewing point for the vehicle parade, with an estimated arrival time of 6.25pm.

The lucky last venue on the list to wind up this year’s Operation Rudolf is the Albany Town Square on York Street.

The emergency services vehicles will travel the streets parallel to the CBD and arrive at the town square at approximately 6.50pm.

From here, all vehicles will park up for a public meet and greet.

“We encourage families to bring their kids down and have a look,” Mr Eaton added.

“Santa is always nearby for these types of events, so you may be able to spot him in one of the trucks.”

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Call out for hospice helpers

VALUABLE volunteer efforts are desperately needed for the functioning of Albany Community Hospice to continue running smoothly.

The hospice has provided palliative care for the Great Southern community for more than 20 years and requires more volunteers to donate their time to help care for those who are no longer able look after themselves.

Hospice manager Michelle McClure explained the different types of volunteer work available and how sometimes it is the small things which aid a hospice guest’s wellness.

“We look to see how we can utilise the skills people have, and how that can help,” she said.

“There’s a few different roles here; there’s being a support person, a meet and greet volunteer, cooks and gardeners.

“A support volunteer makes the little touches, which really makes a difference to the patient and family.”

Meet and greet volunteers primarily focus on the administration side of things at the hospice, including showing new families around the facilities and helping with the ‘behind the scenes’ efforts.

Volunteer gardeners help maintain the neat grounds of the hospice, and the cooks allow the hospice to have their own source of food.

“We used to have meals from the hospital, but now we do our own,” Ms McClure said.

“This lets us have more flexible food times, so if someone wants their lunch at 2pm instead of 12, or wants ice-cream for breakfast, we can cater for them.”

Being empathetic, non-judgemental and being able to work as part of a team are some of the qualities sought in a potential volunteer.

The hospice asks for a commitment of at least once a week, for two to four hours, and other hours are determined by negotiation.

“It’s so worthwhile and very rewarding,” Ms McClure said.

“Volunteers really are the heart and soul of the hospice.”

If you would like to help make a difference to the community, you can contact Albany Community Hospice on 9892 2456.

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Surf’s up for volunteers

A NEWLY formed surfing association is currently on the look-out for someone to put their creative skills to work and develop a logo.

The Disabled Surfers Association (DSA) Great Southern recently formed after successful visits from the south-west branch led to further interest in a local group.

The winning logo from the competition will be used on Facebook and on DSA Great Southern stationery and besides pride, the winner will walk away with a $50 voucher from Dylan’s on the Terrace.

President Murray Cameron worked with the DSA south-west branch from its inception and is now helping the Great Southern group find its feet.

“Albany parents of children with disabilities approached the south west group to see if they could assist with arranging a demonstration at Middleton Beach,” he said.

“The then president and vice president of DSA South West, Tim Linton and Anthony Purcell, took some equipment to Albany and arranged for a small group of local participants to go surfing.

“From this first event, four events have been held over the past four years, with interest growing to the point of establishing a Great Southern branch.”

Three events have already been planned for early next year, including a volunteer training morning on February 10, and surfing days on February 10, March 17 and April 21, all at Middleton Beach.

The surf days are free volunteer-run events and do not require a membership.

“Just roll up on the day if you wish to participate or assist as a volunteer in or out of the water,” Mr Cameron said.

“Each event is held at Middleton Beach near the Surf Lifesaving Club, with registrations starting from 8:30am and the event commencing at 9am.

“Surfing winds up around 11:30am and a free sausage sizzle and presentations are held on the beach afterwards.”

To enter your logo design into the competition, ‘like’ the Disabled Surfers Association Great Southern Facebook page, and submit your square colour design via PDF format through Messenger on Facebook or email to

Don’t forget to include your name, email, phone number and school (if applicable) along with your logo.

Applications close on December 15.

The Great Southern branch is also seeking donations of wetsuits, sausage sizzle food, beach matting for wheelchairs and a defibrillator.

To see how you can help and find more information, check out the group’s Facebook page.

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