Rodeo rolls into town

THE rodeo is coming to town – and it’s all thanks to a couple of cheeky horses that were rescued from certain death.

Albany businessman Tom Kennedy saved Molly and Junior at the eleventh hour and says the love of horses sparked memories of the rodeos he used to attend at Manypeaks as a kid.

From there the idea was born to bring the rodeo back for people in the Great Southern.

The planning is complete and preparation is now well underway for the inaugural Kalgan Stampede in January next year, with earthworks already progressing at the Kalgan River Chalets and Caravan Park site on Nanarup Road, where the event will be held over three days from January 12.

“I used to go to the rodeo in the 70s and 80s as a kid,” Mr Kennedy said.

“I’m hoping that the Kalgan Stampede will continue the tradition of the Manypeaks Rodeo from 30 years ago.

“I started the process around December last year when the caravan park said we could hold the event there.

“They’ve been great with allowing us the space we need for people to camp and to keep their animals.

“We’ve also been working closely with the Australian Bushmen’s Campdraft and Rodeo Association, which is the governing body for rodeo in the country.

“They’ve helped us with the venue and how to actually run the event.

“At the end of the day when everyone rocks up, we really need to look like we know what we’re doing.”

Mr Kennedy admitted that it has been hard to organise such a big event; however, he praised the help many local businesses had been contributing.

“The City of Albany has been great. They really want to bring the Stampede to fruition,” he said.

“I’m hoping to do enough that it will get people to want to come back the next year and be able to make the next year a longer event.

“I want to do something different than the standard rodeo.”

For more information on the Kalgan Stampede, you can visit their website or Facebook page.

Continue Reading

Thanks for all the fish

THE curtain comes down on 40 years of dramatic history when the Plantagenet Players perform their last show at the Jack Hambleton Memorial Theatrette on Saturday night.

Michelle Harris is co-director of the sellout variety-style production titled: ‘So long, farewell and thanks for all the fish’.

“Saturday night is going to be absolutely huge,” she said.

“We’ve put our heart and soul into this show and I think it’s come across to the audience how much we love what we do and how much we love that little hall.”

Saturday night’s show will be the last in the theatrette before the players move to Plantagenet District Hall, which is looking a million bucks after undergoing extensive renovations.

The theatrette, named after an original Plantagenet player, will still be used by the local scouts, a choir and a dancing group.

Cast member Jeff Drage worked on construction of the theatre from 1982 to 1985, right down to scrubbing the structure’s white Barker Stone bricks.

“Saturday night just gone,it was an honour to have two of Jack’s daughters and one of the grand-daughters there at the show,” he said.

Lorraine Linster, a Plantagenet player for 16 years since she migrated from the home country of the Bard, will play several on-stage roles on the night.

“Even during rehearsals there were one or two tears shed backstage,” she said. “For those of us who have been there a long time it is emotional.

“There’s a lot of history there and it’s a nice, intimate little theatre.”

Continue Reading

Top brass brings touch of class

WESLEY Church on Duke Street will resonate with the echoes of brass instruments and an organ for a unique concert event this Friday and Saturday night.

The City of Albany Band will present Organ-ised Brass on November 24 and 25, a performance showcasing the magical combination of brass and organ with a range of songs, hymns and solo presentations.

Soloists will include Peter Younghusband, Sandra Woonings, Cynthia Van Dongen, Patrick Elms and Mark Davenport.

Organ player Patrick Elms is a pianist by trade and learned the organ in his late teens.

He began his City of Albany Band career in 1978 for a brief two-year period, then returned in 2007.

Elms will star in a solo performance and says the concert will be worthwhile listening to.

“It will be loud,” he laughed.

“The brass band and organ will go well together, as they started together traditionally with Salvation Army hymns, which will feature in the concert.

“It will be an eclectic performance and a good quality concert; I encourage people to come along and support our local artists.”

Conductor Colin France is keen for the band to revisit the Wesley Church after six years.

“We last performed here in 2011 and it was well received, so I’ve been wanting to do another concert here since then,” he said.

“The best organ in town is here and it marries well with the brass instruments, so we’re in for a night of good music.”

Tickets to Organ-ised Brass can be purchased at Uptown Music at the top of York Street or on the door.

The concert kicks off at 7.30pm on Friday night and at 2pm on Saturday afternoon.

Continue Reading

Leavers binge on freedom

THE buzz of excitement, relief and nerves was bouncing between a group of young high school graduates on Saturday as they met at Middleton Beach to work out the finer details of their travelling convoy.

Yes, they were finally free and were about to embark on, for some, their first solo trip away from home without their parents.

Leavers has become a rite of passage for year 12 graduates as a way of unwinding after more than a decade of textbooks and timetables.

Scott Fielding, Jaike Dale, Lily Willock, Tyron Smallwood, Zhane Robertson, Ethan Williams, Tom Edwards and Courtney Hall were no exception to this rule.

The close-knit crew, some having known each other since before they could spell their names, were off to Dunsborough or Bremer Bay for a week of adventuring, partying, and some much-needed chill-out time.

The initial planning of ‘where’ for Leavers was relatively simple, the group agreed, but it was the multitude of rules tied to accommodation that had to be ploughed through before booking.

Camp sites often charge hefty bonds to the young leavers to cover potential damages that can happen after a few wild nights out, as well as prohibit certain activities and items being brought onto the premises.

The group of graduates collectively mulled over their parents’ warnings about binge drinking, safe sex and drink-driving, and all agreed the advice was necessary to make sure everyone had a good time and stayed safe.

Police presence is generally ramped up for Leavers hot-spots, including Dunsborough and Rottnest Island, and for some, this can seem like a dampener on the party mood.

However, this band of school buddies thought it was a good idea for police to hang around, to keep the peace and make sure things didn’t get out of hand.

With their cars loaded with swags, hats, camping chairs and the odd carton, the graduates headed off into the rising sun on Sunday to kick off their week away.

Today marks day four of Leavers, with many kids planning on making the trek home tomorrow or Saturday.

With their brains de-fried from school and their shoulders slack from the lack of stress, these new members of the adult society will soon be ready to conquer the workforce and the world.

Perhaps just give them a few days of recovery first.

Continue Reading

‘A mighty Wagyl breathes here’

A NOONGAR Elder has warned that a five-star resort at Goode Beach would upset a mighty Wagyl she says comes up for air right there.

Local Noongar Elder Lynette Knapp said the project should not proceed as planned at the Lot 660 site that abuts Lake Vancouver, known to generations of her people as Naaranyirrap.

“Naaran is when you cup the water in your hands and you drink it,” she said of the lake’s pre-European name.

“That’s pure, fresh water there.

“You can’t build around it. You can’t clear around it.”

This coming Tuesday, Albany city councillors were scheduled to vote on whether a structure plan for the resort should be endorsed for approval by the WA Planning Commission.

However, as revealed in today’s Weekender, that vote will now not likely occur until February, after proponents took their plans off the table to address concerns raised by the Department of Fire and Emergency Services.

Ms Knapp said it was imperative that developers stopped building around pristine waterways such as Naaranyirrap.

“Aboriginal waterways are not just the swamp that you see there,” she said of the lake.

“It goes underground and comes up.

“It’s being fed with underground passageways, water coming through from somewhere else, and to the east of here, Limeburners Creek is continually running out with water, so it actually pushes right through and there’s a stream to the south-east of here that’s fed by these underground things.”

That stream is the heritage-listed Vancouver Spring, which, like the lake and planned ‘Vancouver Beach Resort’, are named after Captain George Vancouver, who in 1791 was among the first non-Indigenous people to sip from the spring.

“If you’re going to build around the lake, we believe that under the ground there’s a mighty serpent,” Ms Knapp said.

“A mighty Wagyl created all those passageways, and all these swamps are where he comes up to take a breath, and then he goes under and travels to the next air hole.

“It’s important not to build around those swamps because those underground waterways are going to be crushed and made to go dry, and the old spirits won’t be too happy.”

Ms Knapp said her family, and many other Noongar people around Albany, had a 70,000-year connection to the peninsula.

“We depend on that Wagyl to keep our fresh water going,” she said.

“There is an underground world down there.”

And it’s not just the serpent-like Wagyl beneath the ground that Ms Knapp said tourists staying at the lake would need to heed.

“Look out for tiger snakes, they’re everywhere down here,” she warned of the striped serpents that wind around upon the ground at Naaranyirrap.

“They’re our keepers of the wetland system and part of some people’s totems.”

She said a planned access road running along the west side of Naaranyirrap was “not good at all”.

“If they’re going to be building around the lake, they’re just gonna mess it up,” she said.

Ms Knapp’s alternative vision for tourism in the area is a panoramic one that takes in the whole Vancouver Peninsula, on which Naaranyirrap is the only freshwater lake.

“My dream is to have it used for Aboriginal cultural tourism, because at the moment we have over 200 sites that are registered on the place and it’s a place that’s currently open to everything and everybody to drive their vehicles,” she said.

“It could be a Mecca for Aboriginal tourism – lizard traps, gravesites, everything.

“We need to teach people that our culture is worth staying here for and coming out on to country and learning from Elders, or people that know the country where the Elders have passed it down, instead of going to Bali or elsewhere.”

Her plan for the peninsula does not exclude luxury accommodation, which she said would be “awesome” if sensitively built at the former Frenchman Bay Caravan Park.

“That’s the place they need to go,” she said of an idea recently floated by the Frenchman Bay Association (The Weekender, October 19).

“Just leave our bush alone.”

She said that removing the defunct van park’s exotic tree species and rundown infrastructure, returning indigenous plants, and developing the site as a genuine eco-resort, would help restore much of its pre-European splendour.

A submission by Goode Beach resident and eminent University of Western Australia biologist Stephen Hopper said the area might contain a Noongar camp site.

“The recent discovery of a mussel shell midden about 400m north of Lot 660 on the primary dune overlooking King George Sound is indicative of the potential of the site to contain archaeological material of significance,” Professor Hopper, who is working with Ms Knapp and other Elders to document cultural and biological aspects of the peninsula, wrote.

A submission by the Frenchman Bay Association said a thorough archaeological survey of Lot 660 would be essential before any clearing and earthworks were undertaken.

“The Frenchman Bay Association is of the view that the appropriate course of action would be for the Aboriginal community to be involved in the consultation process,” FBA president Tony Kinlay told The Weekender.

Ms Knapp stressed that other Noongar families had stories about the peninsula that differed in parts to hers, but which were equally valid.

Continue Reading

Goode Beach plans pulled

PLANS for a five-star resort at Goode Beach, due to be considered by Albany city councillors on Tuesday, have been pulled so the applicant can respond to concerns raised by the Department of Fire and Emergency Services.

The city’s Executive Director Development Services, Paul Camins, confirmed councillors would now not likely get to vote on a draft structure plan for the 51-unit complex until February.

“A submission from DFES was recently received by the city and the proponent,” Mr Camins explained.

“The matters raised in the submission require further consideration.

“The proponents need to look at the matters raised and respond to the City of Albany accordingly.”

The city declined to provide details of DFES’ submission, and efforts by DFES staff to locate the precise source of that agency’s submission drew a blank this week.

The luxury resort – contentious for its proximity to Lake Vancouver, fragile dunes, and the residential subdivision at Goode Beach – is planned for a scrubby plot on La Perouse Court.

The structure plan was set to be considered by Albany councillors on November 28, ahead of referral to the Western Australian Planning Commission.

If the commission eventually approves the plan, detailed development plans will then need to be considered by the Southern Joint Development Assessment Panel.

In further Goode Beach news, The Weekender also reports warnings by a local Noongar Elder that a resort could disturb a mighty Wagyl she says still lives and breathes at Lake Vancouver.

Continue Reading

Treat yo’ self

I WATCHED a particular TV series and it was the best thing that ever happened to me.

If there is one TV series you bother to watch, make it Parks and Recreation.

If you love Chris Pratt, fourth-wall commentary and epic one-liners, this show is for you.

Parks and Rec teaches its audience many things, such as standing up for what you believe in, how strong friendships can get you through anything, and that breakfast foods are the only foods worth consuming.

There is however, one aspect of the show that stood out for me.

Tom and Donna’s annual ritual.

Three words.




Once a year, these two characters spend an entire day doing whatever they want.

Clothes, fragrances, massages, mimosas and fine leather goods are nearly always on the agenda, and, no matter the price, on this day, Tom and Donna treat themselves to anything.

The point of me telling you this is I believe everyone needs to treat themselves.

Now, don’t think this is me encouraging you to take out massive loans to buy Ferraris you can’t afford, or to go on a six-month overseas holiday without telling your boss.

This is me, reminding you, that you need to look after yourself first and foremost.

Whether you are single, married, laden with children or just taking what life throws at you, a priority should always be looking after yourself.

I know it’s easier said than done, but it is important.

Every now and then, do something that makes you happy.

Whether that’s a new summer dress, a nice coffee, a walk on the beach or simply washing your car, take a few minutes a week (at least) to do something for yourself.

In this world, we are told too many things about how we should act and what we should do.

Once you’ve allocated enough time and money to your home, utilities, food and children, make sure there’s something left for you.

Unlike Tom and Donna, ‘treat yo self’ days don’t have to be about blowing all your hard-earned cash.

The idea of their shopping spree is about spending time together and enjoying the privileges of working hard and earning money and living where they do.

We are spoiled for choice in Albany for our ‘treat yo self’ days.

You can go to many different boutique stores or enjoy a coffee while overlooking our pristine oceans, visit historic sites or watch live entertainment close by, or simply drive along our coastline and breathe in the fresh air.

I have a bit of a naughty habit of treating myself very regularly to the odd hot chocolate, or shoes, or nugs, but hey, if you can afford it, why not?

Life is short, live it!

I am a firm believer of grabbing life by the berries and reaping all the fruit it has to give.

No one is going to live your life for you, so make sure yours is the best it can be.

Want a few ideas for ‘treat yo self’ days?

Pack some fresh fruit, some drinks, a hat and a book, and sit yourself down at Middleton Beach on a sunny day.

Buy yourself a coffee and, starting from the top, walk down the entire length of York Street and back on both sides of the street.

Go to your favourite shop and give yourself $50 to spend on something special for the new season.

Take your kids down to the park and enjoy being in the sunshine with them, and listen to their cute giggles and squeals of excitement.

Get on the swing yourself and remember how it feels to fly.

It really is some of the simple things in life that can give you the most happiness.

Just remember to ‘treat yo self’ to them every now and then.

Continue Reading

Twins ride shotgun

ALBANY identical twins Jesse and Luke Wilson have every reason to smile – they will ride shotgun with Santa for 31st Bikers Charity Run for the Salvation Army’s Christmas Fund Appeal on December 9.

Paul Armstrong is the organiser of the event and said one of the jobs at the top of his list each year was finding deserving passengers for the trike that is driven by the main man.

“We really wanted to give a child that had experienced, or is still experiencing trauma, the opportunity to do something fun,” Mr Armstrong said.

“After ringing around I heard about Jesse and Luke. It seemed only fitting to ask if they wanted to join in.”

For all appearances, Jesse and Luke are normal looking nine-year-olds; however, as mum Kylie puts it, “they’ve experienced and endured more in their nine years than some do in their whole lifetime”.

Both boys were diagnosed with spontaneous congenital liver disease as infants, which was managed with diet and medication until things turned for the worse when they were seven.

“I learned that both of the boys needed liver transplants. The doctors said if Luke didn’t get a transplant he wasn’t going to make Christmas,” Kylie said.

Luke’s first transplant failed and he was in pediatric intensive care for three weeks until another liver was available.

“It felt like we only just got back to Perth when we got the call saying Jesse was going to have his transplant,” Kylie said.

Luck wouldn’t be on the Wilson family’s side however, when Jesse’s donated liver also failed.

“He underwent the two surgeries for livers within two days,” Kylie said.

“They were very sick little boys.

The support received from friends and family during those rough two years still touches Kylie today.

“The help I got from my parents-in-law was just amazing. Since my mum had passed away I didn’t really have a support base and they made themselves be it.”

Kylie said she had also been on the receiving end of the generosity of the Salvation Army.

“The kids had received gift hampers from the Salvos before, and I’ll never forget that moment of happiness the boys had when they got them,” she said.

“They’re very aware for nine-year-olds and they donate to the Kmart Wishing Tree when they can; they know what it’s like to need help.

“Our family are very proud to advocate the amazing work done by the Salvos. You just never know when you’ll need their help.”

Continue Reading

Elleker poets spin top yarns

THERE must be something in the water out Elleker way, because two locals from around the small Great Southern town have just been named the best yarn spinners in the nation.

At the Australian Bush Poetry Championships which wound up in Toodyay last week, Peg Vickers of Old Elleker Road told the nation’s best yarn, while Peter Blyth of Elleker-proper was runner-up.

Peter describes Peg and himself as “the two biggest bull-dusters in town”, before volunteering a water-borne explanation for the pair’s poetic prowess.

“I’ll tell you what’s not in the water around here,” he says.

“It’s that chemical they put in it in the cities, because I’ve just got tank water, and so has Peg.

“It’s the clean water that keeps your mind working; that stuff they put in up in Perth will pickle your brain!”

Peg has lived in the Great Southern all her life.

She met Peter when she won a bush poetry competition he judged when he was a farmer at Salmon Gums in the neighbouring Goldfields-Esperance region.

Perhaps by coincidence, perhaps serendipity, Peter’s sister was living right next door to Peg on Old Elleker Road.

He took the opportunity to drop by and present Peg with a trophy for her poem – about an inedible shepherd’s pie nobody was game enough to criticise and hence whose baker dished up more and more.

Almost 15 years ago, Peter moved to Albany and, bush poetry circles being what they are, kept in touch with Peg, before relocating to his verdant hilly farm at Elleker.

A decade and a half later, beside the cottage garden that sprawls atop Peter’s green hill, Peg tells The Weekender that bush yarns cannot be contrived.

“You can’t sit down and just think of a topic,” she says.

“It’s just got to come in to your head and then you think ‘that’s a good idea’, so then you can write your poem or story.

“And then you’ve got to learn it.”

Peg’s award winner is a laugh-a-line lark about a tortuous emergency phone call to a “rapid response” police-recorded message service.

She confesses she’s not much of a performer, copping occasional critique from judges about the positioning of her hands or touching the mic.

“I didn’t start performing on stage until I was 60-odd years old, and I’m 85 now,” she says.

“I never thought I was going to get anywhere with this story, because we had all the eastern staters there, and I thought: ‘I’ve just got to make the buggers laugh’.

She says that when she won in Toodyay, everyone – from east, west, north and south – was so pleased for her.

“That meant just as much as winning,” she recalls.

“I just try to do the best I can and not be somebody I’m not.”

Peter’s runner-up yarn, titled Fly Drovers, is about how he and a mate herded 40 million flies from Albany to Denmark during a summer hike along Lower Denmark Road.

“We had a contract with the City of Albany to get them out of the place,” he winks.

At the championships, Peter came in third in the bush poetry competition.

Peg also won the unofficial “poets’ brawl”, a kind of battle rap for bush balladeers.

“You had to make up a story, and you had to write up a poem that took a minute to say,” she explains.

“You put your five dollars in the hat, and were given a line you had to include in the poem, and you were given a day and a half to work it out.”

Against some ornery-looking opposition, the octogenarian cleaned up and walked away with the $100 purse.

“I made out that I’d agreed to go out with this bloke, the boss of ‘Flexi Finance’, who was all over me because I wanted to get a loan so I could get my hands on some money,” she says of her racy rhyme.

“So I made myself look like a really bad person.

“But nobody else heard the poem. They only heard it up in Toodyay.”

Continue Reading

Walpole landowner not a happy camper

A WALPOLE landowner will be banned from camping more than three nights a month on his 1407sqm block if the recommendation of a shire official is approved by Manjimup councillors tonight.

Perth-based Graham Raper, 56, has owned his block in Boronia Ridge Estate, on Walpole’s western outskirts, for more than a decade.

He has strong family ties through the shire, including a cousin, Manjimup councillor Lyn Daubney, who he has listed as one of 14 potential campers on the property.

“It’s been the Australian way for a long time,” Mr Raper said of building a holiday house in stages.

“It’s not like I go down there and disturb neighbours.

“I basically keep to myself.”

After someone complained to the shire in April that he was camping in his shed on the Howe Street block, Mr Raper applied to camp on the block for periods up to three months in any given year.

He says he camps in a caravan, not his shed as alleged by the complainant, and has a separate ablution block with toilet, shower and hand basin connected to Walpole’s deep sewerage system.

Nevertheless, Shire Principal Environmental Health Officer Evon Smith has recommended Mr Raper’s application be refused.

Mr Smith has told shire councillors the residential block is not suitable for camping, and approving Mr Raper’s application would set an undesirable precedent.

Despite Mr Raper’s submission to the contrary, Mr Smith advises there is no record of the ablution block ever being connected to sewerage.

“I am connected to the deep sewerage system, so his doubts are wrong,” Mr Raper told The Weekender.

“It was installed by Walpole Plumbing, an approved plumber in the area, so I fail to see that.”

He said he was semi-retired at one stage when he spent more time in Walpole, but was now back at work, presently in Port Hedland.

“The camping just gives me the time when I’m down there to be able to make the property fire ready, and tidy the block up and maintain the buildings,” he explained.

He said he would build a house on the block when he got the money.

“At this stage, I only go down a couple of times a year, and most of it’s to get the property ready to put a dwelling on it,” he said.

Under state legislation, a shire may allow landholders to camp on their blocks more than three nights a month, provided the land is not camped on more than three months a year.

And the shire must be satisfied the land is suitable for camping, with specific reference to safety, health and access to services.

A Manjimup shire policy says that using a caravan to camp on land for up to 12 months can be approved, but only while a building approval is current, which is not the case for Mr Raper.

The shire asked owners of neighbouring blocks about their views on his camping plans, and nobody objected.

Continue Reading