Popular reception for station

DENMARK will have its very own local radio station next month thanks to the dedication of a group of people pushing the idea for nearly a decade.

The idea for Denmark FM 99.7 first came about in 2012 when local Matt Sivyer and former ABC chief Sue Howard rediscovered an old community survey, which stated the community was interested in having its own radio station.

However, life got in the way as it often does and the idea was put back on the shelf, until eight years later when the pair decided to see it through.

Once a home for the station was found at Denmark Community Resource Centre, it was all go from there.

“It will be more than just music,” Sivyer said.

“It’ll reflect Denmark. Denmark’s a pretty interesting place and it will be a celebration of the community by the sharing of stories and music.

“It’s a very positive project.”

Howard said a big benefit of having a Denmarkian radio station was that it could provide listeners with up-to-date localised information all the time, particularly during bushfire seasons.

“That sort of thing is really crucial for a town like this,” she said.

“People can get information in real time.”

The programming will include music from local musicians, the telling of community stories, news and localised special interest profiles.

If all goes to plan, Denmark FM will have its first test broadcast in late July and reach listeners throughout Denmark as far as Greens Pool, and halfway out of town towards Albany and Mount Barker.

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Historians document ‘antipodean arcadia’

ALBANY is the star of a new history book penned by local and international historians and scholars.

UWA Albany historians Malcolm Traill and Harry Freemantle were selected to compile and create Albany: an antipodean Arcadia for the Centre of WA History as part of the Studies in Western Australian History series.

The book is number 33 in the series and Mr Traill said it took the better part of 18 months to complete.

“It’s the first book on Albany in the series and we couldn’t resist the challenge,” he said.

The book highlights key elements of Albany’s history from the 19th and 20th centuries including the town’s whaling history, European and Indigenous relations, significant locations and people, sport and Albany’s first female prison officers.

On the contributors list is a range of Great Southern and South West scholars amidst some metropolitan and international authors such as Tim Blue, Sarah Drummond, Gwen Chessell, Ciaran Lynch, Denise Young, Amy Anderson, Jill Moir, Moira Maley, Miriam Crandell, Dawn Kennedy, Ainslie Gatt and award-winning novelist Kim Scott.

Mr Traill and Mr Freemantle agreed that creating the book was like helping to leave behind a legacy, for both the town and for the scholars.

“A number of these stories haven’t been told before or told before in this way,” Mr Freemantle said.

Albany: an antipodean Arcadia is available from the Centre for WA History online and by order from local bookstores.

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Shedders back on the tools

ALBANY Men’s Shed is back in business after a two-month hiatus, with local shedders ready to get their hands busy again.

The community shed was forced to close in early April due to COVID-19 restrictions, however was able to reopen last Tuesday while following new guidelines.

Albany Men’s Shed President Gary Duncan said while the time apart was tough, shedders were ecstatic to be back in their community and working on projects.

“It’s been fantastic,” he said.

“It’s good for a lot of the men, because they’ve been isolated away in lockdown and they’re just glad to come back and talk and do a bit of playing around in the shed again.”

While the shed is limited to allowing a maximum of 20 people in the shed at one time, the new approach has not hampered their experience.

“It’s very similar to everywhere else in town, we’ve got lots of crosses on the floors, we’ve got to keep social distancing, we’ve got the area for them to have their coffees with all the chairs 1.5m apart,” Mr Duncan said.

“It’s those sorts of things.

“We’ve followed all the COVID-19 requirements and it’s worked exceptionally well, so it’s been great in that way.”

With a lot of stories about their time away, shedders can now share them while working on new projects to help the community.

“We’re making a couple of picnic tables for clients so we’ve got those on the go, and we’ve got a couple of park benches that we’re making for a couple of clients also, and we’ve got a number of littler projects than those going on so it’s all go again,” Mr Duncan said.

He said that times like these have reminded the community what role the
shed holds for so many men across Albany.

“The Men’s Shed is a very important thing for the community in the way that it gives men somewhere to go and talk,” Mr Duncan said.

“It also gives their partners or family members a break.

“They come down and it’s a respite or time out for Mum who’s been with them for a while too, they still feel needed by doing projects and it’s something they can get their hands into.

“We’ve got guys who have been desk jockeys all their life and have never thought that they could do some of the things we’ve taught them to do.

“That side of it is very good.”

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Construction has positive outlook

DESPITE many projects, expansions and activities being put on hold, The Outlook at Albany is moving ahead with its development program, providing a welcome boost for local trades.

Village Manager Simon Bairstow said that the construction at the gated community will provide six new homes, as well as an investment of more than $200,000 to develop a 40-bay caravan and boat parking facility.

Mr Bairstow said the goal of these new developments is not only to improve the offerings at The Outlook, but to also provide work for local tradespeople.

“The appointment of leading local builder Ryde Building and their skilled team of tradespeople continues our tradition of delivering quality homes, [which] we can now do so with an impressive build time of around three months,” Mr Bairstow said.

Ryde Building Co General Manager Ian Woods said the importance of maintaining a steady flow of work throughout the past few months has been critical.

“The ability to keep our guys working is the bottom line,” he said.

“It has ended up being a really good gig for us as a local builder, because they’re relatively simple jobs so we can just move the trades through them when things get a bit quiet at one end.”

While business has been mostly as usual, Mr Woods said the impacts of coronavirus on his industry are still there.

“On the ground it’s been fine, because it generally takes three to six months for things to have an impact,” he said.

“But I’d say we’ll probably take a dip around August.”

However, Mr Woods remains hopeful that his business will stay steady.

“I don’t think it’ll be as bad as we first thought it was,” he said.

“Certainly the new sign-ups haven’t been as great the last couple of months, but the inquiry rate now is up a bit and we’re getting significant inquiry back in, so hopefully that will be really good for us.”

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Teacher’s workbook walks the talk

A GREAT Southern primary school teacher has created her own vocabulary class resource to fill a void she has seen in children’s language skills.

Kendenup Primary School’s Raelene Palfrey was inspired to create the vocabulary workbook after a student approached her and struggled to convey what they wanted to say.

She began using the resource this year in her Year 4/5/6 class and said her students loved it.

“I could see that the vocabulary was actually shrinking with the kids,” Ms Palfrey said.

“They weren’t using extremely vivid words, and it was affecting their reading, because they would come across words they had never used or seen before.

“So it’s had quite a profound impact on their ability to describe how they are feeling and on their reading.”

Ms Palfrey’s class spends time every day to work on a few pages of the book.
Activities include learning the definition of words, finding synonyms and antonyms of words, learning different verbs, adjectives and nouns, and crafting ‘stretchy sentences’.

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Time to fix shingle hut

EFFORTS are currently underway to preserve a part of Denmark’s rich history in the form of a shingle hut which dates back over 100 years.

The hut belonged to Bert Saw, a pioneering farmer from Bow Bridge, who arrived in the Denmark area in 1907.

The Denmark Historical Society’s Bev McGuinness said Mr Saw was a well-known character around town during that time.

“His claim to fame is that he took a lot of photos, and the historical society actually had an exhibition in January of his pictures because it was 50 years since he was killed in a car accident,” she said.

While Mr Saw’s memory remains a vivid part of Denmark’s history, the shingle hut he built 112 years ago needs some work.

City of Albany Senior Town Planner Cindy Simpson said she immediately thought of the hut when shingles were being removed from the old Albany hospital.

“I used to work at the Shire of Denmark and when I worked there we did the review of the local heritage survey, so I knew that the Bert Saw house needed new shingles,” she said.

“At the time when we were working on all our heritage places, there were concerns about the maintenance of [the hut] in order to protect it.”

Since moving jobs to the City of Albany, Ms Simpson kept Bert Saw’s hut in the back of her mind.

“Now I’m working at the City of Albany I’m again involved in the review of the local heritage survey so I manage our heritage portfolio, so when they were replacing the roof at the old Albany hospital and they put an expression of interest to artists or anyone who would like to make use of the shingles from the roof I thought of Bert Saw,” she said.

Ms Simpson said the importance of maintaining these historical places in our region is invaluable and encourages people to learn more about the stories in our landscape.

“It tells a story of the history of early settlement,” she said.

“Protecting our heritage is not only part of the story of the development of the district, but it also is what makes a place.

“It creates a richness in history and heritage and adds texture to your local community and place that you won’t otherwise have.

“That’s why I think protecting our heritage is very important.”

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University study hub to open

TERTIARY students can choose to swap their home offices for a town-based study hub from next year with the development of a new regional university centre (RUC) in Albany.

The centre will be the third established in WA alongside existing RUCs in Geraldton and the Pilbara and include 10 computers for university and TAFE students to utilise.

It was one of nine new RUCs announced nationally on Monday by Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan as part of a $53.2 million plan.

Access to town-strength internet, video conferencing tools, study spaces and academic support will also be available 24/7 to students studying a tertiary qualification via distance at partner universities.

In 2018, the Great Southern recorded more than 400 residents studying fully and partially online with 14 different Australian universities.

Acting Director for the Albany RUC Jan Davidson said the facility would also be helpful to people wanting to upskill, retrain or gain additional ‘microcredentials’.

A registered nursing course will be the first course fully supported by the Albany RUC with agriculture and teaching being considered for the future.

The RUC will be located on the first floor of the Albany Co-Op Building on Frederick Street, under the Regional Development Australia Great Southern offices.

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Sampson’s cancer struggle herculean

THE final journey of life can be an uncomfortable topic for some people, and one Albany family is all too familiar with the issue.

But in recognition of National Palliative Care Week, Yakamia residents Jenny and Greg Sampson have decided to share their story in the hope it will encourage others requiring health assistance at the end of their life to not be scared about asking for help.

Ms Sampson has been fighting cancers as they have torn across her body for 12 years, ever since she was first diagnosed with stage two breast cancer in 2008.

First developing in her breast, a tumour then grew on her chest wall and rib and cracked her rib, leading to further cancers spreading along her sternum, spine and shoulder.

The Sampsons have slowly come to terms with how bad Ms Sampson’s fight for life is at the moment, and heartbreakingly described it to the Weekender as possibly her last fight.

They sought the palliative care assistance of Clarence Estate in October last year and Mr Sampson said one nurse in particular had saved his wife’s life twice.

Mr Sampson didn’t have enough words to praise Clarence Estate’s Allison Key for her dedication.

“Jenny would be dead if it wasn’t for Allison,” he said.

“I wouldn’t have been able to do any of this on my own … they’ve been brilliant.”

Mr Sampson said when his wife is very ill, Ms Key or another nurse visits their house up to twice a day.

On a normal week, they visit once per week.

The Clarence Estate palliative care team of six aids Ms Sampson with symptom control and management and clinical assessments.

Ms Key said the facility had the only community palliative care service with a 24/7 home visit service in the region.

National Palliative Care Week 2020 was held from May 24-30 with the theme, ‘Palliative care, it’s more than you think’.

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Period of isolation frustrates

A DENMARK local who has spent nearly a month in quarantine after returning from overseas says WA’s hard border stance should remain in place.

Laura Blake, who had been working as an English teacher in Hungary for four years, decided to travel back to Australia after her school semester was cut short due to the pandemic.

Ms Blake travelled to London so she could secure a repatriation flight back to Perth, but soon found the only plane she could book would take her to Melbourne instead.

It meant the Denmark-raised teacher would have to spend two consecutive 14-day periods in isolation because of WA’s hard border stance.

The frustrating part for Ms Blake was that her flight back to Australia did actually stop in Perth to refuel on its way to Melbourne, but passengers were told they couldn’t disembark.

“We kind of just sat there while they refuelled and went on to Melbourne,” Ms Blake said.

“I think they wanted to spread the quarantine centres around Australia.”

After arriving in Victoria, Ms Blake said the forced quarantine process was a tightly run operation.

“They had been quarantining foreign arrivals for about a month by the time I arrived in Melbourne so it was a very streamlined process,” she said.

“They disembarked the plan row by row. On the plane they gave us a goodie bag full of masks and disinfectant.”

When Australians were first forced to stay in hotels after returning from overseas, social media was full of people complaining about isolation life in five-star accommodation and being treated as second-class citizens.

But, Ms Blake didn’t share those nightmare experiences on her 14-day stay.

“I think I was pretty realistic going into it,” she said.

“I was staying at Crown Melbourne, which is a five-star hotel, but I wasn’t expecting a five-star stay.

“I had already been distancing and in isolation when I was staying in London for a week. I had already experienced the mental processes you go through when you are in isolation.

“I feel like I was a bit more prepared than some people were.”

Ms Blake said the Victorian Government covered all her costs from the moment she left the plane to the day she could leave the hotel.

During a challenging period of isolation, Ms Blake said she was lucky to friends and family regularly staying in touch.

“You do realise your own mental strength,” she said.

“Realising the strength of your relationships with other people and how helpful that was in getting me through.”

Despite having to go through a frustrating second 14-week period of self-isolation after returning to WA, Ms Blake is more than happy to do her part to keep the virus out of the state.

“I’d rather quarantine than risk spreading anything,” she said.

“It’s frustrating, but it’s not really about the individual. It’s about taking care of everyone.”

Under current rules, interstate travellers are required to quarantine in Queensland, Tasmania, WA, SA and the NT.

In Victoria, ACT and NSW you do not need to quarantine or self-isolate if you have travelled interstate.

WA Liberal Party Leader Lisa Harvey has been a vocal critic of the interstate travel restrictions and has called on the WA Premier to take them down.

“We’re talking about our economy being impacted every day,” Ms Harvey said.

“Families losing their businesses, families who are going to lose their houses because of the lack of customers for their businesses.”

Federal Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham has also urged states like WA to relax restrictions now the COVID-19 curve has been flattened.

But WA Premier Mark McGowan is holding firm on the hard border stance.

Instead, the State Government launched a $2 million tourism campaign this week titled ‘Wander out Yonder’ to encourage Western Australians to holiday in WA and boost the local tourism sector.

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Fingers crossed for comeback

THE Great Southern Football League (GSFL) has revealed its pathway back to competitive footy this year, announcing the 2020 season will start on June 28 if all the right pieces fall into place.

GSFL directors and club presidents met last week to determine a tentative start to the 2020 season, despite it remaining unclear when the State Government or Western Australian Football Commission (WAFC) will allow teams to compete on the field.

Under the WA Government’s current Phase 2 restrictions, sports teams are allowed non-contact play in groups of 20.

But it could only be a month before local footy players get to enjoy the rough and tumble of an Aussie Rules game, with the GSFL outlining its ideal return date would be for the last weekend of June.

With clubs seeking some guidance on when a season might materialise, GSFL President Joe Burton said the league had tried to get on the front foot.

“There are still a lot of ifs and buts. A lot can happen in those four weeks,” he said.

Under ‘Plan A’, the 2020 season will comprise 10 home-and-away rounds played in successive weeks, before a two-round finals series and a grand final on September 20.

If the GSFL isn’t allowed to return on June 28, then Burton said they would start one week after receiving the green light from the WAFC.

Burton said all six GSFL clubs were on board with playing the colts and 16s grades in 2020, but with the seniors it was a different story.

If community sporting grounds can’t have spectators, Burton said three of the six GSFL clubs were worried hosting league and reserves games would cost them too much financially.

“Half the clubs want to play regardless and the other half are a little bit dubious of the costs and not being able to recoup any money,” he said.

“If the seniors don’t go ahead then the colts and 16s will definitely go ahead.”

Burton said it was more important younger footballers were able to play this year because it was crucial for their development.

“A lot of those kids are aspiring to play football at the next level,” he said.

“And they cannot afford to miss a whole year. We are making sure they get
their opportunity.”

The GSFL will be offering clubs $500 for every home game they host and are seeking additional funding from the WAFC, according to Burton.

The Albany Sharks Football Club is one organisation who desperately want all the grades up and firing in 2020 no matter the outcome on spectators.

“We will make it a priority to get all four teams on the track,” Albany Sharks President Tracy Blaszkow said.
“It will be tricky financially, but we will make it work.”

Ms Blaszkow said the Sharks would even be open to playing in a senior’s competition with only three or four clubs.

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