South Coast a shutterbug’s paradise

WHEN Albany-based photographer Lee Mullen walked into a flea market in Eccles, Manchester in the early 1980s, little did he know the real cost of a five quid camera that he haggled for.

The pistol-grip Super 8 that he brought home would be the first purchase of more cameras and pieces of equipment than he cares to remember.

With his undiluted English accent, it’s hard to tell whether he is joking or deadly serious about contracting Gear Acquisition Syndrome.

He happily admits to having drawers full of both still and video cameras that were bought in the hope of attaining better results than he could manage with the gear he already had.

Prior to moving to Albany two years ago, Mullen lived in Kalgoorlie, and the frustration of having all the tools at his disposal and not quite hitting the mark with his photos led to a light-bulb moment.

“I met with other photographers who were taking stunning images, and I thought how do they do it? I had a Canon 40D and it would be set on ‘auto’ and I just couldn’t get it.”

Rather than throw more money and another expensive camera at the problem, Mullen took a backward step, but a big leap forward.

“I went back to a lower-level camera and learned everything from scratch. It changed everything for me.

“All these things might be nice, but at the end of the day they’re only tools,” he said.

“I used to resist that – when you get older you get wiser – they were using me instead of me using them.”

The passion for photography and videography only grew with Mullen’s confidence, leading him to turn his hobby into a healthy sideline business and the establishment of Gan Eden Media.

One of his first paying jobs was in real estate photography, and he jumped into the deep end.

His first assignment was to photograph a property worth $1.2 million.

“The house sold in a couple of weeks. It really gave me the confidence I needed,” he said.

Although his portfolio is stacked with evidence of his versatile photography, Mullen says his real passion lies in landscape photography.

He says aspects of the scenery along the South Coast have similarities with Britain.

“As for the atmosphere – it’s a photographer’s delight,” he said.

“And there are so many good photographers in the region. It’s a real hotspot for photography.”

While he has simplified the tools in his collection that he uses for jobs for Gan Eden clients, Mullen says he may never be cured of the inquisitive nature to try new things along the way.

He has been bitten by the drone bug – with some stunning results.

“I used to hate them and wanted to shoot them out of the sky,” he said.

“I think the drone revolution is good. There’s good guys trying to do the right thing, then there’s recreational drone users.”

He already has his sights on his next adventure.

“I’d like to have a go at astrophotography,” he said.

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Maths champ offers help

MATHEMATICS teacher Kylie Offer’s passion for knowledge and encouragement of her students has led to her selection as a Champion of Australian Maths Teaching.

Mrs Offer has joined 300 teachers from across the country in trialling different mathematics resources for years seven to 10 students, as part of the reSolve: Maths by Inquiry program.

The Department of Education initiative offers resources for all year levels up to year 10.

“The aim is to get students engaged with the resources and encourage critical thinking,” Mrs Offer said.

“Currently, students are learning about Pythagoras’s theorem and relating it to bending bamboo rods, and this will lead into learning about algebra and quadratic functions.”

Executive Director of the reSolve program Steve Thornton said Mrs Offer’s dedication to ensuring students have the best possible maths education and her commitment to sharing knowledge with her colleagues led to her champion status.

“We are delighted that so many passionate and committed teachers want to be a part of this exciting initiative and are eager to take the work of the reSolve team across Australia,” he said.

As part of her ‘champion’ role, Mrs Offer will work with her fellow teachers and others in the Great Southern to trial reSolve resources, conduct professional learning and show how the maths skills apply to real-life contexts.

North Albany Senior High School Principal Sharon Doohan said she was proud of Mrs Offer’s commitment to student learning.

“Mrs Offer is a wonderful ambassador for the teaching profession and for the school,” she said.

“Her passion for teaching makes learning mathematics a rewarding, enjoyable and engaging experience for students in her classes.

“The school community congratulates Mrs Offer on embarking on the journey of becoming a reSolve Champion.”

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Making the mission easier

LITTLE Ruby Robertson has spent most of her six-and-a-half years of life in and out of hospitals and doctors’ appointments, but on Saturday morning she enjoyed a simple trip to Maccas.

Ruby and her family were out in support of McHappy Day, which is a key fundraiser for the Ronald McDonald House charity, which supports regional families when they travel for medical treatment.

Ruby’s mum, Tamara, said the support was vital for helping to cope with Ruby’s long list of medical conditions and the ensuing appointments.

“She has quite a complex medical history,” she said.

“She was born with a disconnected and twisted bowel, and after her second surgery at two-years-old we learned about the brain damage.

“She’s been diagnosed with Dandy-Walker Syndrome and suffers from epilepsy.

“She was born the way she is; it was a perfect and healthy pregnancy.

“She’s an absolute battler and just loves her life. The way she lives is just beautiful.”

After Tamara’s mum moved to Albany last year, the three-monthly visits to neurology clinics in Perth were becoming harder and more expensive.

“We’re in Perth at the very least every three months,” she said.

“The costs of travel adds up so quickly.

“With fuel, food, accommodation and medication expenses, it was stressful to say the least.

“Simple things like having change for parking, and going to feed the meter when you’re at Princess Margaret Hospital for hours at a time is terrible. Even just finding a parking space is bad.”

“When your child’s medical condition takes priority, the simple things become missions.”

After having a referral to the Ronald McDonald House by one of Ruby’s helpful nursing staff, Ruby and the family are able to stay during their appointments.

“Ronald McDonald House really do a fantastic job,” Tamara said.

“The work they do for regional families is amazing.

“By having your car parked in a locked parking area and somewhere to stay that’s affordable and supportive is phenomenal.

“It really is a fantastic charity.”

For every Big Mac sold on McHappy Day, $2 was donated to the Ronald McDonald House Charity.

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Fun on menu at festival

NATIONAL Fair Food Week was celebrated on Sunday at the Albany Town Square with the annual Food for Thought Festival.

Attendees enjoyed soaking in the sun and devouring tasty treats from a range of local food vendors.

Cultcha Kitchen, Haramin Food Van, Paella to You and Royale Patisserie were among the range of food stalls people could choose from.

Local produce on show included sourdough breads, locally-produced cheeses, locally-grown and produced organic jams, chutneys, honey, wines and beers.

Food industry leaders provided useful information on agricultural systems and fresh produce, with discussions led by Jude Blereau, Tracy Lansdall and Rick Bieber.

The fun, relaxed atmosphere was maintained by music act Soulin Wild and local acts The Easterly’s with Dave Rastrick and Jazztrix Duo.

Southern Edge Arts also provided circus equipment for children to enjoy and have a play with.

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Woodcarver one in a million

DARREL Radcliffe’s humble woodcarving hobby has evolved into creating a portfolio of masterpieces in his backyard, and has become a must-see part of every visitor’s trek to Albany.

Radcliffe’s incredible talent has generated a unique sculpture drive through his property and some of his stunning artwork will be on display at this year’s Act-Belong-Commit Kojonup Agricultural Show.

“My grandfather clock went a bit crazy on Facebook,” Mr Radcliffe said.

“It got over one million hits and 13,000 shares, and got across to America, which was pretty groovy and a bit of a spin out.”

Mr Radcliffe is currently working on a honeypot sculpture, but will be taking something new to the Kojonup Show.

“It’s a week and a half to go and I haven’t started yet!” he said.

“I’m thinking of doing a family of owls.

“I get a buzz from the complicated projects. I like experimenting.

“You get a sense of achievement when it’s done.”

2017 will mark Mr Radcliffe’s fourth year attending the Kojonup Show, and his final creation will again be auctioned off at the show.

“The main thing is community. I want to give my little bit,” he said.

“It’s something fun, and it’s a bit quirky and humorous, and it keeps the people happy.”

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Hats off to mental health

CRAZY colourful hats and Alice in Wonderland costumes were donned last week to celebrate the fourth Albany Mad Hatter Tea Party.

The event celebrated Mental Health Week with the aim of reducing the stigma around mental health and raising awareness about local mental health and wellbeing services available in the Great Southern.

There was something for everyone at the Mad Hatter Tea Party, including Drip Lock Doughnuts and Beck and Call coffee, lawn games, laughter yoga, a photo booth and live music.

Southern Edge Arts students took to the stage in a sea container for a free performance, and local wellbeing services held stalls with pamphlets and information packs, providing advice and techniques for achieving good mental health and wellbeing.

Headspace, Relationships Australia, Albany Gay and Lesbian, Depression Support Network Albany and Palmerston Albany were among the participating organisations.

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Kids, crafts and castles

SUNSHINE made intermittent appearances this school holidays, but that didn’t stop Albany’s youth enjoying the break from textbooks and timetables.

The Museum of the Great Southern held various craft activities, themed Kai ke ola – Ocean Life on the Islands of the South Pacific.

Children got creative and entwined fabrics, paper, beads and shells to make beach bags, wind chimes, mini outriggers and playdough creatures.

2016 hit Disney animated film Moana played on loop in the Old School Room for children to enjoy any time of day.

Reptile Haven set up camp in Eyre Park this week, with something for every child, no matter their age.

Four bouncing castles, a petting zoo, novelties and the reptile display kept the kids entertained.

“Sunday blew me away, with so many people coming down,” Reptile Haven owner Audra Pearson said.

“It’s just fun and games with it all.”

The Albany Public Library held two weeks of book-themed activities, including creating monster critters, designing lego creations, paper craft, making Percy Jackson-themed necklaces and constructing mini matchbox monster pets.

Term four resumes next week on Monday or Tuesday, depending on each public and private school’s term calendar.

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Bags’ boomerang effect

SEEING a post on Facebook prompted Albany resident Lynne Smith to contribute to a more sustainable shopping experience by forming a fabric shopping bag community group.

However, the group requires more volunteers and donations in order to maintain the environmental initiative.

Ms Smith sought to join Boomerang Bags, a nation-wide volunteer scheme to reduce plastic bags in supermarkets, by replacing them with reusable fabric shopping bags.

The concept behind Boomerang Bags is to provide supermarkets and stores with fabric shopping bags, encourage customers to use them, and later return them to the store, reusing them and creating the “boomerang effect”.

Ms Smith, along with Tamara Drew and Jane Looker, formed Boomerang Bags Albany in July.

The volunteer group hopes to meet more often to cut fabrics and sew bags, in an effort to rid Albany of plastic shopping bags.

Boomerang Bags Albany’s formation has occurred in good time, with the state government’s announcement last month of a complete single-use plastic bag ban as of July 1, 2018.

“I saw something on Facebook about it and thought, I’ll give it a go,” Ms Smith said.

“We have 90 members on our Facebook group and already have shops wanting to be a part of it.”

Local businesses interested in the initiative include AVEG, Oyster Harbour Store, Mad Marteys and local op shops.

Boomerang Bags Albany is currently seeking more volunteers to help sew the bags, and requires more fabrics to make the bags, as well as sponsorship and donations for screen-printing.

“We are in need of any old clean fabric, such as sheets, quilt covers, table cloths and dress-making fabric people no longer need,” Ms Smith said.

“We also need volunteers who can cut out, iron or sew to help complete the bags either at home or at our sewing bees.”

Boomerang Bags Albany will be at the Spring in the Garden Create No Waste Festival on Humphries Street this Saturday, October 7 between 10am and 2pm.

Fabric bag starter kits will be available from the festival.

For donations or queries, contact Ms Smith on 0419 914 396.

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Salvo’s proud history

MORE than a century of life-changing community support and involvement will be celebrated this weekend, with the 125th Salvation Army Albany anniversary concert.

The international charity organisation has a long history in Australia, with the mission of sharing the Gospel and caring for others, building com-munities, working for justice and creating faith pathways.

Major Paul Beardsley speaks proudly of the history of Albany’s Salvation Army and its engagement with the community.

“When we first began, our efforts were considered as the successful invasion of the Salvation Army, with its military-style organisation,” Major Beardsley said.

“The Albany Corps began in 1892 on July 11, after Salvation Army officers such as Charles Jeffries first visited the area.

“The idea of the Salvation Army is that it supports the community in the varying ways the community needs, and changes its aid as the needs of the community change.”

Salvation Army Albany Corps organises the Red Shield Appeal each year, as well as annual overseas projects, welfare program ‘Doorways’, women’s craft and sewing groups, and music activities for children.

“Every year, there is a project we engage with overseas,” Major Beardsley said.

“This year, we are providing aid in Indonesia.

“The Eva Burrows Women’s Shelter needs renovations, so all the Salvation Armies in Australia are raising money for it.”

The 125th Albany anniversary performance celebrating the dedication and hard work of past and current Salvation Army officers will be held at the Albany Town Hall at 7.30pm this Saturday night, and will feature the talents of the Perth Fortress Corps Band and the City of Albany Band.

The anniversary concert is being held three months after the official date marking the beginning of the Albany Corps, to allow visitors and audiences to enjoy the warmer weather of Albany’s spring.

“Our 30-piece brass band will be coming down to help the Albany Corps celebrate 125 years of uninterrupted service,” Corps Officer of Perth Fortress Corps Major Paul Hateley said.

“We will be performing an array of brass music.

“We’ve been all over the countryside this year and we’re really looking forward to coming to Albany.”

Divisional Commander for WA Lieutenant-Colonel Chris Reid will make a guest appearance at the concert and give a greeting to the audience.

“Lieutenant-Colonel Reid is the first female state leader in the WA Salvation Army’s 125-year history,” Major Hateley said.

An open day at the North Road Salvation Army building this Sunday will wrap up the anniversary celebrations.

“We will have different displays showing our histories, as well as what projects we have done and are currently doing,” Major Beardsley said.

“There will also be a free sausage sizzle and a raffle to win a boy and girl’s bike.”

Tickets to the October 7 performance can be purchased from Uptown Music, the Albany Salvation Army building and the Salvation Army Community Store.

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Rare lung disease motivates Margaret

DEDICATED grandmother Margaret Morton is due to arrive in Albany today after completing the grueling Munda Biddi Trail to raise money and awareness for children with rare lung diseases.

Ms Morton’s three-year-old granddaughter Charli was diagnosed with Childhood Interstitial Diffuse Lung Disease (CHILD) at 12 months of age.

CHILD makes it hard for Charli’s lungs to absorb oxygen and has had a huge impact on her and her family, with doctors unable to provide a clear treatment plan.

So far, Ms Morton has been able to raise more than $16,000, surpassing her goal of $15,000.

“Charli is constantly hooked to an oxygen tank, and normal everyday activities, like going to the park, are a challenge,” she said.

“It has impacted her growth significantly, and makes basic activities more complex and physically demanding.

“It’s amazing to watch her shine brightly through it all and that’s my main motivation.”

Lung Foundation Australia CEO Heather Allen said that access to information, support, treatment and research for families is still very limited.

“The diagnosis of a rare lung disease is one of ongoing uncertainty,” she said.

“Without research and the proper support framework in place, these families are isolated and left feeling helpless.

“Lung Foundation Australia is working to raise public and political awareness and funding to establish a dedicated support service through the Young Lungs Program.

“The program will help parents through the common issues they face when their child is living with a rare lung disease.”

Ms Morton’s fundraising page is still open to donations, if you’d like to donate for the cause you can visit

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