Sole-searching exhibit

SHOES, shoes and more shoes are around every nook and cranny at the Albany Town Hall this week, from sky-high stilettos and glass slippers, to walking boots and thongs.

The Walk a Mile Shoe Exhibition officially opened on Friday night and is running until Saturday, as a fundraiser for the Albany Community Foundation.

Co-coordinator of the shoe show Helen Tasker said there was a line of people waiting to go inside and have a peek on both Saturday and Sunday morning.

“We’ve had a lot of positive comment about the shoes and people saying they wish there was more of this sort of stuff,” she said.

The shoe exhibition includes a mock blue gown from the recent movie Cinderella, and shoes from politicians, authors, local celebrities and sporting superstars, and includes a dazzling pair of glittery heels worn by a local journalist.

Co-coordinator Lizzie James’ infectious enthusiasm for the footwear display kept the mood light and enjoyable all week, and she said the exhibition had gone above and beyond what any of her fellow coordinators thought it would amount to.

“It has exceeded expectations,” she said.

“We’ve had extremely positive feedback and lots of people returning, even visitors from the Philippines, France, America and Sweden.

“It has just been lovely.”

The exhibition will wind up with a ‘shoe-downer’ at Carlyles Function Centre on Saturday, commencing at 5.30pm and including a silent auction for particular pairs of shoes.

Tickets to the shoe-downer can be purchased at the exhibition at the town hall.

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Albany team hits Kimberley

ALBANY local Matthew Gibson is about to take on the cycling adventure of a lifetime.

The 32-year-old trade assistant will pedal off with two team mates on a 660km trek along the Kimberley’s Gibb River Road in May as part of The Gibb River Road Mountain Bike Challenge, and says he is partially relying on his youth instead of ruthless training.

“I should have started training a few months ago,” he admitted.

“But you can never really prepare for something like this unless you’ve done it before.

“I’m just going to ride as much as possible and hope for the best.”

The five-day ride will begin in Derby and finish in the El Questro Wilderness Park, just over 40km from the Western Australia/Northern Territory border.

The event will raise money for the Royal Flying Doctor Service WA, the chosen principal beneficiary for this year.

Mr Gibson and his two team mates must raise at least $1000 each before qualifying for the extensive ride.

“It will be a great adventure; there are monumental hills in the Karijini National Park and the track is all gravel, so you’ve really got to prepare,” he said

Mr Gibson and his team are holding a barbecue at Bunnings in the coming weeks to raise more money for their tally.

“The more funds, the better,” he said.

“We won’t stop until the fat lady sings.”

If you would like to donate to Mr Gibson’s cause, you can do so online at

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First mass rocks Albany

PARISHIONERS from across the state will descend on an obscure Albany landmark to celebrate the 180th anniversary of Western Australia’s first-known Catholic mass that likely occurred there this week in 1838.

Priest-in-charge of Holy Family Catholic Parish, Christian Saminal, says Mass Rocks, which balance one atop the other off Brunswick Road in front of the CBH grain silos, are “very significant” for Catholics across the state.

“It’s not only a celebration for Albany people, but a celebration for the whole of WA,” Father Saminal says of a mass planned to occur at the rocks on November 4.

That date is significant as the anniversary of the landing in Albany of John Brady, who later became the first Catholic Bishop of Perth.

Not long after his arrival, a mass was conducted at the rocks, marking the establishment of the church in WA.

Earlier at the rocks, in January 1838, a Catholic mass was celebrated for the first time in the state – by a chaplain from a French frigate named L’Heroine that was escorting six French whaling ships.

Anne Smith, secretary of a committee overseeing the November 4 celebrations, says the 1838 mass occurred when Catholicism was all-but banned across the English-speaking world.

She says Albany’s role in the state’s Catholic history was obscured even in its time.

“Looking at the records of the Catholic Church in Western Australia, the fact that Albany was first cab off the rank was not really noticed at all,” she explains.

“If you look into Bishop Brady’s biography, it wasn’t even mentioned that he called into Albany on his way to Perth.”

The exact date of the original mass at the rocks has been lost to the mists of time.

However, Weekender analysis of historical documents, under the generous guidance of City of Albany librarians Sue Lefroy and Jenny Reed, confirms the most likely date to be on or soon after today, 180 years ago.

In a 1979 book titled The History of the Catholic Church in Western Australia, author D.F. Bourke observes that in 1838 Resident Magistrate Sir Richard Spencer wrote to the Colonial Secretary in Perth advising that L’Heroine had arrived in Albany on January 18.

In her Early Memories of Albany, Mrs A.Y. Hassell (1857-1933) writes:

“I am sorry I have not been able to get the exact date the first Roman Catholic priest arrived in Albany, because it was an interesting event. A vessel anchored at Albany and had on board a French priest, who, on landing, found there were members of his flock, so an open air service was held on the side of the hill just above the deepwater jetty, and the first mass was celebrated within the shadow of the two round rocks one on top of the other at the corner of Brunswick Road. This occurred some time towards the end of the ‘30s.”

And in his Memorandum on the “Mass Rocks: Albany, local historian Robert Stephens (1886-1974), notes: “I know of no ship more likely to have had on board the French priest referred to by Mrs A.Y.Hassell than the French frigate Heroine which arrived during January 1838”.

Ms Smith says Catholics from across WA will be invited to attend the mass at the rocks, and a lunch is being planned for afterwards at the nearby Stirling Club.

“We’ve invited the Bishop of Bunbury, Gerard Holohan, who is the bishop of our diocese, to come down and preside,” she says.

Father Saminal will oversee the celebration as a whole.

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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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