$20k facelift for station

THE State heritage listed Kojonup railway station building will soon get a lick of paint to bring it back to its former glory.

Shire regulatory services manager Mort Wignall said the yellowish, timber building would be repainted in different colours – manor red, cream and white.

“We’ve engaged a contract painter who’s starting work very shortly to give the structure a bit of a facelift,” he said.

“The job is around 20-odd thousand dollars, so it’s a major sort of a paint job.

“It will preserve the fabric of those walls for years to come.”

The new colour combo is in line with the colour scheme used from the 1940s to 1980s when the station was most in use.

Mr Wignall said the colours had been endorsed by the State Heritage Council.

“The railway is still active in terms of the Kojonup tourist railway that operates the train that used to be at Perth Zoo that goes out through some of the reserves and outlying areas of the previous rail line here,” he said.

“That station is important because it’s been retained and occupied and used by the Kojonup Tourist Railway.

“So, it’s got a purpose for being there and it’s better than these buildings being locked up and unattended because they tend to deteriorate more.”

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Shop returns to its roots

A BESPOKE business revival at the intersection of Albany’s two high streets is now complete, with a boutique barber shop opening where the Eclectic Ladyland dress shop recently closed.

The establishment of Monk & Hound Barber Shop on the north-eastern corner of York Street and Stirling Terrace comes not long after Mark Blyth Fine Jewellery started trading from the imposing but long-empty Albany House on the north-western corner (‘City jewel gets new tenant’, 12 January).

Last week, Monk & Hound owner Jason Abbott revealed he would start trading on May 22.

“I was a barber in Perth, in the city, for a long time,” he told The Weekender.

“Then I was in construction for a long time and I went back to barbering last year or the year before.”

Mr Abbott has family in Albany, likes the place and decided to move on down.

“I saw this shop come up for lease, and thought it would be a good spot for a barber shop,” he said.

“We’ll get the men’s hair and grooming off the ground first.”

He said beer tastings and coffee could, down the track, be on the cards for customers.

The shop will have two barbers’ chairs and newly installed exposed copper piping.

A layer of striped paint, perceptible on either side of the shop’s front door beneath a more recent coat of white, is a hint the shop is returning to its roots.

“I had no idea until we started talking to the building owner about it,” Mr Abbott said.

“I think it’s a great thing to have it go back to being a barber shop.”

With barbers coming back into vogue in recent years, Mr Abbott would not be drawn, specifically, on whether his trade had benefitted from a hipster-led recovery.

“I think it’s the beards,” he smiled.

He thought his old-school operation had potential to encourage the extension of the Stirling Terrace hospitality strip both west from the White Star, Six Degrees and Kate’s Place end of the Terrace and east from the Liberté end.

“Yeah, you need a bar and a coffee shop down this way,” he said.

“A whiskey bar or something, or a craft beer tap room.”

The shop, in the 1912-built Empire Buildings, retains its original pressed tin ceiling.

Mr Abbott has added historic light fittings and arty timber shelving.

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Innovative tree change

EMERGING and established artists are being encouraged to submit an expression of interest into a City of Albany art project involving a dead tree in the Ellen Cove seating area.

In conjunction with Vancouver Arts Centre, the City is inviting people to take an “innovative approach” to making the tree a “permanent and exciting component” of the area.

Manager for City Reserves Jacqui Freeman said the tree recently died off and its roots are embedded in the seating area’s retaining walls, so rather than try to remove it, she thought to put the idea out to the community to make the tree a point of interest.

“It’s an opportunity for people who don’t have their artwork out there to have a public art space,” she said.

Vancouver Arts Centre team leader Amber Cordon said she is keen to hear from both emerging and established artists putting forward their ideas about how they would like to see the tree take shape.

“It’s a really lovely family spot here,” she said.

“So, we would be really interested to hear from art groups who want to work with community members, as well as see art designs sensitive to place, such as having a focus on the use of the area and cultural history.

“We welcome all artists, especially emerging artists.”

The budget for the project is $2000 and the artwork must be completed by September 30.

You can express your interest by submitting your idea to indrag@albany.wa.gov.au or by handing in a hard copy by 4pm on May 28.

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CWA looks for fresh start

THE Country Women’s Association of Albany has begun a desperate search for new members in an attempt to return the group to its former glory.

Branch president Abigail Parker said the branch began in 1938 but was forced to fold in 2006 due to a drop in membership.

Since then, Ms Parker said the group’s current home – the CWA Hall on Serpentine Road – had been privately leased out, until earlier this year when the group took back the reins of the hall in February.

She said she hopes to reinstate the CWA branch and get the group involved in the community once again.

Ms Parker said she and secretary Anne Barton are now on the look-out for new, young members to continue the traditions and activities of CWA.

“CWA isn’t just for when you retire,” the pair urged.

“We need some young blood to keep it going and bring new ideas in.”

Ms Barton said she remembers the CWA Hall being a hive of activity back in its day, hosting birthdays, social gatherings and ‘28 and Overs’.

She too wants CWA Albany to grow again and bring women across generations together to encourage friendships and lesson sharing.

“It’s not just about scones and tea,” Ms Barton said.

“Our goal is to create a vibrant branch that gets out with the community,” Ms Parker added.

“CWA is about what women want it to be about, and the projects we do are based on what the members want to do.”

The pair said in order for the CWA Hall to offer classes such as the traditional cooking classes, it requires refurbishment in the kitchen, a disabled toilet and disabled access.

They said they are currently in the process of applying for grants to fund these fixes, and hope more people can join the group to increase the group’s likelihood of attracting funding.

If you would like to join the CWA Albany branch, you can contact Ms Parker on 0403 783 669 or Ms Barton on 0412 937 641.

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Carvings on show

MULTIPLE generations of woodcarvers and painters will be among a group of indigenous artists exhibiting their Anangu culture-themed artwork displayed for the next three months at the Museum of the Great Southern.

The Punuku Tjukurpa exhibition opened last Friday and celebrates the stories and laws of the Anangu people – the traditional owners of Uluru-Kata Tjuta and the surrounding land in the Northern Territory.

Artist Niningka Lewis is part of the project and said she was happy to see the artwork travel among the broader community.

“It is good that our carvings should go out to the world for all to see,” she said.

“People can see and understand how things are made and that we have a lot of memories [in our collection].”

Great Southern Museum regional manager Rachael Wilsher-Saa said Punuku Tjukurpa showcases a rich cultural history.

“There are 88 punu (carved objects made of wood) featuring burnt designs, sculptural works, 2D pieces and specially produced audio and video footage on display,” she said.

“The mobile app that accompanies the exhibition also provides deeper engagement with the diverse works through audio descriptions of selected objects, a walking tour and educational activities.”

Aboriginal Community Learning Officer for the Museum of the Great Southern Vernice Gillies said the exhibition is extremely important, as it brings a “wholly Aboriginal flavour” of artwork to Albany.

“To bring central Australia to all of Australia, and for [Anangu artists] to be able to share what they do with the rest of Australia… it’s absolutely spectacular,” she said.

“It’s just stunning; I get shivers looking at it.”

The exhibition will remain in Albany until July 29.

You can download the mobile app Ms Wilsher-Saa referred to by searching ‘Punuku Tjujurpa’ in Google Play or the Apple Store.

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Drug dog for GS police

ON THE heels of a recommendation that police dogs and horses be afforded protection under Western Australia’s Animal Welfare Act, the Superintendent of Police for the Great Southern says a police dog is a distinct possibility for the region.

“We’ve been pushing for a while, and they are reviewing trying to get a police dog in our district,” Superintendent Dom Wood told The Weekender.

“We think we will get one, but when, I don’t know.”

He said drug detection dogs sometimes saw action in his district, as recently as last week in a rural area.

“It would be difficult to justify a general purpose dog for tracking and all that, because we just don’t have the level of burglaries and crime that they have in the metro area,” he said.

“But certainly there is talk of an agreement that we can get a drug detection dog down here at this point.”

Mr Wood said that, most likely, one of the existing patrol officer positions in the region would be converted to a dog handler position.

“All we would have to do is find a position, for example we could have an officer down here who puts their hand up and says ‘I’d like to become a dog handler’, and he or she could do the [handler’s] course,” he said.

“And, if the time is right, the next dog that is available would come down here.”

Mr Wood said police horses also helped patrol the region from time to time.

“Over the summer period, we had a little bit of an increase in crime in the Albany town centre, so we did actually bring the horses down [from Perth] and we coincided that with the 150-year anniversary of the police station, so they came down for that,” he said.

The Weekender has learned that WA Police Union President George Tilbury wants a Parliamentary committee to recommend that the existing Animal Welfare Act be amended to prohibit the “assault” of a police animal.

In a letter dated April 18, Mr Tilbury tells the Legislative Council’s Standing Committee on Legislation that the police force has about 40 dogs and 20 horses.

“Police animals provide alternatives to using lethal force and it has been said by officers from those units that a dog is worth six officers and a horse is the equivalent of 10,” he writes.

“The WA Police Union is advised that police horses are worth approximately $150,000 after their initial purpose and associated training.

“The monetary worth of a general duties puppy can also be as much as $15,000.”

Mr Tilbury advises that about four police dogs are injured on average each year.

“Police animals are often deployed in dangerous situations for the purpose of law enforcement,” he notes.

“The Act should be amended to reflect the gravity of assaulting one.”

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Nothing succeeds like succession

ARRANGING a successful handover of the family farm to the next generation will be the subject of a workshop to be held in Ongerup on June 8.

Ellie Stone, whose family grows wheat, canola, barley, lupins, and merino and cross-bred sheep at Boxwood Hill, says succession planning regularly comes up in conversation in regional areas.

“Many family farming businesses have completely different structures to one another, but a lot of the issues remain the same – what’s going to happen in the future, when will it be my turn to take on the farm, how do I keep Dad happy, how do we keep the lines of communication open?,” she says.

“I think that marrying into a farm business, it can be quite hard coming into a family that has its own way of communication, and finding your place in the farming business.”

Ms Stone, who is president of the Ongerup branch of Women in Farming Enterprise – better known by its acronym, ‘WIFE’ – says there is no one-size-fits-all solution to farm succession.

“But I think the core values of how to communicate better and how to approach things, and how important planning for the future is, always stay the same across the board,” she says.

“We’ve got four sons, aged four, eight, and the twins are five, and they’re already mad-keen farmers.

“So, for my family, we’re looking for the future of how we can set ourselves up for our sons’ opportunities to work on the farm if they wish to, or in other avenues if they choose.”

WIFE will run a workshop on farm succession at Ongerup Sporting Complex from 9am to 2.30pm on June 8.

All comers, including blokes, are welcome to attend.

Farmer-cum-accountant Ben Thompson, from Ironbridge Group, and Michael Pyne from HPH Solutions, will talk on the day.

“I suspect a lot of the younger generations who potentially married in to farming families will participate on the day,” Mr Thompson says.

“A lot of the farmers who started farming in the ‘60s and ‘70s are now starting to get to the point of retiring and there is a big difference between that generation of farmers and these ones.

“The younger generations want to know what’s happening and how things are going to be structured, whereas you only have to step back a generation and it was pretty much: ‘You do what you’re told and you don’t ask questions, and we’ll tell you when it’s time to be told’.”

He says that especially when a farming enterprise is carrying a lot of debt, securing a comfortable life for retiring farmers and security for their families while ensuring the future viability of the farm is a challenge.

He says a particular concern for women is securing a future for their off-farm children.

“A lot of them are used to a huge proportion of assets ending up with a son coming home to the farm, and the off-farm children being left with not much,” he explains.

“I think a lot of women want to ensure there is a balance, that it’s not all about the farm and the pressure that comes with that.

“It can’t always be equitable – otherwise, in many cases, you’d have to sell the farm – but I think it can be fair.”

WIFE members can attend the workshop for $15, and non-WIFE members for $25.

RSVPs to ongerup@wife.org.au by June 1.

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Horror show crowd in stitches

DON’T feed the plants was the lesson theatre-goers took home on Friday night after the opening of Albany Light Opera and Theatre Company’s rendition of Little Shop of Horrors.

Based on the off-Broadway musical and subsequent 1986 horror comedy film, the storyline followed young florist assistant Seymour, who discovered a mysterious plant demanding human blood in order to grow.

After bending to the plant’s will and feeding him, Seymour battles his inner self and is forced to face the reality of the fame and fortune the plant gives him, while killing people to feed the plant.

Theatre debutant Graham Ayres was a stand-out element of the show voicing Audrey II, the killer plant.

His singing and dialogue made Audrey II come to life and become a powerful character in the show, despite only piping up for a couple of songs.

Tom Croucher proved his acting repertoire abilities playing young, bumbling Seymour, having previously played the more sombre Mr Banks in ALOTCo’s Mary Poppins production.

The knowing grin of Darian Le Page made him tick all the boxes playing cheeky dirtbag Orin Scrivello DDS, and his skit with Todd McGregor (Bernstein) left the crowd in stitches.

As usual, the ALOTCo crew ran a tight ship and performed a seemingly faultless night of entertainment.

Director Airell Hodgkinson and his team should be commended for their work in bringing Little Shop of Horrors to life.

Performances are running throughout May and tickets can be purchased online or in-store through Paperbark Merchants.

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Entries open for Wavefest

ALBANY Boardriders Club will celebrate the 21st birthday of its Wavefest surfing competition this June long weekend.

The South Coast’s premier surfing event attracts competitors from throughout the state for two days of surfing before they let their hair down for the presentation party.

Club president Peter Bolt said the competition will run the same as in previous years, but the presentation party will feature something a little different.

“We’ll have our usual presentation for the winners, but we’ll also have a raffle for the door prize,” he said.

“Adrian Shepherd from Aido’s Boardroom has made a custom-made surfboard to be raffled off.

“All people have to do is pay for their entrance and they’ll be entered into the raffle.

“The event is open to anyone in the surfing community that wants to attend.”

Nominations close on May 23, which is 10 days earlier than last year so the Wavefest shirts have a chance to be printed and distributed to competitors.

“For the men’s and women’s open competition the prize money is a $1000 each,” Bolt said.

“We also encourage our juniors to have a go. They’re definitely not exempt from competing in Wavefest.”

For entry forms and more information on the 21st annual Wavefest visit www.albanysurf.com.

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Albany Sinfonia plays with fire

ALBANY Sinfonia instrumentalists are bringing fiery energy to their upcoming concert hitting Albany and Denmark next week.

Fire will be performed at Wesley Uniting Church on May 18 and at Denmark Civic Centre on May 19. An additional children’s concert and a Meet the Orchestra event will also take place earlier in the afternoon at Denmark Civic Centre.

Musical director Neville Talbot said the performance would include the likes of the Firebird Suite, Mendel and the Royal Fireworks Music composition.

“There’s fun, serious and eclectic music, and a bit of dance music,” he said.

“By being in a more intimate setting like Wesley Church, it will create a more immersive performance with less bells and whistles; we’ll be more exposed to the audience.”

Mr Talbot said the concert would cover nearly 360 years of orchestral music, and there should be something for everyone to enjoy.

Tickets can be purchased online via trybooking.com or at the door if they are available.

The next major concert for Albany Sinfonia will be a combined effort with the Philharmonic South West from Bunbury and the City of Fremantle Symphony Orchestra in September.

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