Mother-daughter rule

LOCAL footy clubs are often seen as one big family, but the Albany Sharks have taken that idea to a whole new level with their women’s team this year.

The Sharks are making it a family affair in more ways than one, with Albany mums Emma Ashton and Lindy Weinert playing Australian Rules in the same team as their daughters.

Ms Ashton steps onto the field each week with her girls Marlee and Cheyenne, while Ms Weinert gets to kick the footy around with daughter Amarlie.

But that’s not all.

The two Sharks mums are also best friends, having met each other in the same hospital when their first children were born.

“It’s a real treat being able to run out with my daughters, my best friend and her daughter as well,” Ms Ashton said.

“It’s pretty special.”

Ms Ashton joined the team to support Marlee’s dream of playing AFLW, and thought it would be a great idea to get her best friend involved too.

Despite never playing organised sport in their lives, both women have fallen in love with the game.

“I wished I started playing years ago,” Ms Weinert said.

“It would have been great to be able to play footy when we were our kids’ age.”

In the Sharks’ third season fielding a women’s team in the Great Southern Football League, Ms Ashton said the club was building a strong culture.

“I haven’t loved being around big groups of women in my life – I’m more of a tomboy – but this bunch of girls are just amazing,” she said.

“It’s a family.”

In a youthful side, Ms Ashton said the team appreciated having a few experienced heads around.

“The girls have commented that they love having the mums in the team because we are the first to know when something is not quite right,” she said.

Albany currently sit third on the GSFLW ladder with three wins and three losses.

They play close rivals North Albany this Friday night at Centennial Oval, where a win will help guarantee them a finals appearance with four rounds to go in the 2020 season.

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Modified Sedans head south

NEXT weekend will see the WA Modified Sedans head to Attwell Park for the sixth and penultimate round of their series, plus Junior Sedans from across the state will travel south for their feature night.

While nominations have just opened for this round of the series, likely to head the list of drivers set to invade the local track is newly crowned State Champion Branden Fraser.

In last year’s corresponding round, Fraser pushed the eventual series champion all the way to finish a very close second, so there is a little bit of unfinished business for him.

After having a number of years off and returning halfway through this season, former State Champion Brendan Selleck from Kalgoorlie came away with his first round win at the last event in Margaret River after starting from pole, and will be wanting to go back-to-back.

Likely to also head to Albany is Paul Stevens who finished on the podium at a club show earlier this season and should be joined by Luke Fraser, Rick Musarra and Kevin Ellement.

On the local front Calon Ball, Sean Theyer and Matt Kata will be strong contenders and will want to keep the round in the Great Southern.

Ball appears to have sorted some issues he had with the car before the last round after he started on the front row in Margaret River to eventually finish third.

Kata, like Selleck, had a number of years off to return last season on a limited schedule but, in the few meetings he has done since his return has shown he and his XF Falcon are a strong pairing.

Another racer who competes on a limited schedule is Sean Theyer, with the Modifieds having just the one club show so far this season.

Theyer made the most of it taking home the win and coupled with his strong performance at the state title, he will be hard to beat.

They are the future of the sport and put on some of the best racing and the Junior Sedans will share the spotlight next weekend.

Jasmin Kennedy who has the most heat (four) and feature (two) wins of any other Junior this season at the Attwell Park track, will be wanting to keep that stat and will be doing her best to keep everyone at bay.

Hope Batchelor, who in the previous season had been racing a Corrolla, moved into a Lancer at the beginning of the season and has started to adapt to the new car and is getting faster each week, taking home the last feature win.

Bryce Fisher is unlucky to have just the two heat and no feature wins as he is always there in contention and, given the right circumstances, next week he will be right there once again.

With just two meetings after this one left in the season, time is running out to see some great, hard and fast racing so make sure you head trackside next weekend.

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Dickson set for World Cup

TRAVELLING more than 800km most weekends to compete in the sport she loves, 16-year old Molly Dickson won’t let geographical restrictions get in the way of her representing Australia.

The Albany local drives up to Perth each week with her mum to play in the state’s premier floorball competition – an absolute must if she wants to sharpen her skills for the upcoming World Cup.

Dickson was recently selected to play for Australia in this year’s U19s World Floorball Championships in Sweden – the second time she’s represented the nation at such an event.

For the uninitiated, floorball is similar to ice hockey, with five players plus a goalie on each team.

In the fast-paced indoor game, players can use their body to block shots, and even pass the ball to a teammate with their feet.

“The rules are quite different to field hockey,” Dickson said.

“It’s very physical, you use your body a lot. It’s easy to pick up a few bruises.”

Originating from Sweden, floorball is a big deal in European countries like Finland, Switzerland and Czech Republic – and they will be the teams to beat at this year’s championships, according to Dickson.

Finding the cash to fund her trip to Europe has been no easy feat though, with an estimated of cost of $7000.

“The Finish and Swedish national teams get paid to play at the Championships, but we don’t get a single dollar,” Dickson said.

Hearing of Dickson’s plight, the Great Southern Regional Association Sporting Fund (GSRASF) decided to step in and contribute $500 towards the trip.

“It’s a big burden to get to top level when you’ve got to find your own funds,” GSRASF Chairperson Barb Wilson said.

“If you need financial assistance competing at a state or international level, contact us through the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries.”

Apart from hoping a floorball competition pops up closer to home, Dickson said it was amazing to receive local funding.

“It means so much to me to have the support,” she said.

“Every little contribution makes a big difference.”

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It’s good old Collingwood for Cameron

ALBANY’S Darcy Cameron has quickly understood the pecking order at the Collingwood Football Club after being traded from Sydney at the end of last season.

The 204cm ruckman is hoping to add to his one AFL game but realises he will have to play forward and help out in the ruck while Brodie Grundy plies his trade as the number one ruckman for the Pies.

Grundy is a dual All-Australian, won the Pies Fairest and Best – the Copeland Trophy – for the past two years and was the 2018 Herald Sun Player of the Year.

“I’m not going to kick Brodie out of his spot,” Cameron joked.

“But it is great learning from the best ruckman in the game and he sets incredibly high training standards.”

Cameron played at North Albany in the Great Southern Football League before heading to Claremont.

In the 2016 AFL national draft, he was taken at pick 48 by the Sydney Swans and finally made his long-awaited debut on July 21, 2018 against the Gold Coast Suns at the SCG.

When Cameron relocated from Sydney to Melbourne, he moved in with Carlton co-captain and midfield bull Patrick Cripps.

Cameron and Cripps, from Northampton, have been close friends since playing together in junior WA state sides and Cameron said he learnt a lot from the ‘ultimate professional’.

There is also an Albany connection at the Pies with former North Albany player and 227-gamer with Collingwood, Tarkyn Lockyer, who is the team’s Head Development Coach.

Cameron is 24 as he enters his fourth year in the AFL system and says he feels comfortable at Collingwood and is arguably fitter than he has ever been.

On Sunday, Cameron played a starring role in the pre-season competition against Richmond, picking up plaudits from coach Nathan Buckley.

Collingwood take on the Western Bulldogs on March 20 in round one of the AFL and Cameron will know he has done everything in his power to be at the forefront of selection.

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Friday fun day at Kendenup PS

FRIDAY is the favourite day of the week for most people but especially now for the students of Kendenup Primary School.

Principal Heather Fergie recently began a school club program which sees the 72 kindergarten to Year 6 students divided up randomly each Friday afternoon to learn new skills and participate in various activities.

When the Weekender joined in the club program last week, the student excitement in the air was infectious.

From learning how to create a beaded necklace, to cooking muesli, to learning more about papier mache, tennis and robotics, each student eagerly awaited for their name to be called out to learn which club activity they would be participating in.

Ms Fergie said the idea behind Friday Clubs was to get the community involved in the school.

“Everyone has been so supportive and the response from students and parents has been absolutely amazing,” she said.

“I really want the kids to see adults doing these skills, so they can model the skills to the students.”

Other activities on offer included gardening, learning about the bush, gymnastics, knitting, making slime, clay making, chess and painting a mural.

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Flash mob surprises Albany councillors

IT IS not often local council meetings are packed to the rafters, and even more unusual when those in attendance stand up mid-proceedings to deliver a surprise choir performance.

But that is exactly what happened during last week’s City of Albany Council meeting when local group AboutFACE choir staged a flash mob.

For those who have never witnessed a flash mob first hand, it’s a seemingly random act, such as a dance or singing performance, carried out in a public place.

AboutFACE sang a stirring rendition of Swahili song Wana Baraka, with councillors, general members of the public and media all sitting quietly in appreciation of the mesmerising tune.

Formed in 2013, AboutFACE offers vocal development and performance opportunities for young people living in the Great Southern.

City of Albany Mayor Dennis Wellington congratulated the group on their “fantastic” presentation.

“In my 20 years on Council that’s the first time I’ve ever seen a flash mob at Council,” he said.

“Well done, it was a terrific exercise.”

AboutFACE weren’t just there to flex their skills however, with the choir seeking funding for a July tour of Europe where they have been invited to represent Australia at the International Youth Music Festival in Bratislava.

As part of the trip, AboutFACE plans to engage with choir specialists in Vienna to develop the group’s talent.

“To best represent the City of Albany, AboutFACE needs to up skill,” Tour Development Officer Bethany Findlay said.

“We have exhausted the development opportunities here in WA.”

With About FACE’s European tour costing just over $300,000, the group asked City of Albany for a $14,000 contribution.

Ms Findlay said any support would be a worthy investment, with the choir looking to partner with the City for 2026 bicentennial celebrations.

“As the next generation of Albany citizens we are uniquely placed to be part of and potentially lead the creative components of the bicentenary,” she said.

“Consider investing in the youth of your city.”

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Duo tackle Kokoda trek for charity

TWO Albany residents will join 19 other Australians in conquering Papua New Guinea’s gruelling Kokoda Trail in April to raise money for diabetes research.

Lisa Manera and Allan Faulkner – alongside David Page from Perth – will be the only Western Australians attempting the challenge alongside their fellow Aussie counterparts and have been training for a few months now.

Mr Faulkner reaches his daily 20,000 steps goal in his own backyard and surrounds in Porongurup, and Ms Manera has been training up and down the Sand Patch stairs and around the hilly areas of Albany to maintain her fitness.

The pair is participating in the challenge to raise money for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund (JDRF), in honour of Ms Manera’s son Josh.

Josh was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes three years ago just after his ninth birthday and it came as quite a shock to his family.

Ms Manera and family friend Mr Faulkner have been raising money for JDRF ever since.

“The diagnosis came out of nowhere like for so many other people,” Ms Manera said.

“The Kokoda trek was always something I wanted to experience one day and when this challenge came up with the opportunity to raise funds for Type 1 diabetes research, I just had to sign up.”

The pair is hosting three more fundraisers this month before they head overseas.

This Saturday, March 7, there will be a concert at Porongurup Hall featuring the Albany Shantymen, Shantylillies and bush poet Peter Blyth.

The event kicks off at 6.30pm and tickets are available at the door for $15 per adult, children under 12 are free and it’s BYO drinks and a plate to share.

There will be a fundraising sausage sizzle at Bunnings Albany on March 15.

On March 29, there will be a fundraising bushwalk around Mt Clarence and Mt Adelaide.
The walk will take approximately three to four hours and start at the bottom carpark of Apex Drive.

An entry fee payable on the day will be donated to JDRF and get participants a barbecue lunch after the walk.

For more details or to RSVP, email asilenz15@

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Albany 7th best Australian town

ALBANY has been recognised as one of the top 10 best tourism towns in the Wotif 2020 Aussie Town of the Year Awards.

Starting in 2018, the awards saw Albany miss out on a ranking for the first year but score second place in 2019.

Coming in at number seven this year, Albany was described as “as close as you’ll get to a historic European city in WA – Albany is the western state’s oldest European settlement with a rich history and fantastic family appeal”.

Wotif’s Chris Milligan said WA made a “really strong” showing in this year’s awards.

“Albany and Margaret River continue to be firm favourites with Wotif customers,” he said.

“I think it’s the diverse experience you can have across the region, whether it’s food right through to the beautiful coastline.”

The Wotif Aussie Town of the Year Awards are based on a data index that recognises Australian destinations that have offered “good affordability, well-rated accommodation and increasing traveller interest” over the past 12 months on

“If the results from previous years are anything to go by, we hope the awards provide a boost to this year’s finalists, in what is going to be a particularily important year for domestic travel,” Wotif Managing Director Daniel Finch added.

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Mural project combats suicide

A NEW mural along Albany Highway has been painted to add to a broader creative project aimed at raising awareness about mental health.

The Blue Tree Project started a couple of years ago as a way for a Mukinbudin family to honour their son who died from suicide.

Now, the project has prompted dozens of groups around the state to paint dead trees in regional WA blue to act as conversation starters for depression, suicide and anxiety.

Blue With A View – a support group based in Mt Barker – has created a mural on a water tank on local Glen Clode’s property to reflect The Blue Tree Project.

The mural is located a few metres before Gilberts Wines in Kendenup, on the left.

“We’ve got to get rid of that stigma,” Mr Clode said.

“Even if just one person sees the mural or the trees and helps someone prevent suicide, then we’ve achieved something.”

The mural was a combined effort by residents Lyn Hambley, Kym Stoneham and Helen Andrijasevic.

It took approximately 15 hours to paint.

“What we hope is that people will see it as they are driving, and that they will check in with the person next to them and ask, ‘Are you okay?’,” Ms Hambley said.

“Because it’s okay not to be okay.”

The Blue With A View support network can be found on Facebook for those seeking others to talk to, or for those wanting to find out more about upcoming fundraisers the group is hosting to assist organisations such as BeyondBlue.

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Art stoush over VAC

ARTISTS from around town claim a proposal to relocate the Albany History Collection into the main exhibition gallery at Vancouver Arts Centre (VAC) would worsen the issue of insufficient space for visiting and resident artists and guests.

Albany Art Group member Helen Heerey learned from a meeting in October that the City of Albany proposed the history collection be moved into the main gallery and that the centre be renamed the Vancouver Arts and History Centre.

She said the main gallery exhibition space was the “only good-sized proper gallery space” at VAC and provided an affordable option for groups and individual artists.

“It is integral to the on-going activities within the VAC,” Ms Heerey told the Weekender.

“With the current and prospective future demand for community art and creative activities and programs, all the space at the VAC is needed as already there is insufficient space to meet current demand.

“This is not just about losing an important gallery space; it is about losing space in the VAC – which has been used by community artists for many years – to permanently house the history collection.”

In a letter addressed to “the arts community” sent last Friday by the City of Albany, Community Services Executive Director Susan Kay explained that City officers were in the process of working through the “detailed planning required to put an operational model for the Albany Town Hall and VAC in place”.

“The proposed operational model will give consideration to accommodating the Albany History Collection within VAC and implementing a management model for both VAC and the Town Hall that has the least change and impact on current operations,” she said.

“As we all know, the history collection has a strong link to arts and culture and is an important and valuable community resource that records and preserves our history.”

Ms Kay added that the repurposing of the Town Hall would provide the space and resources to support more artists, exhibitions, performances, workshops and “any other activities or events that involve our arts and cultural community”.

Ms Heerey agreed that the Town Hall would be a “wonderful” exhibition space.

However, she believes that it would still not address the issue of inadequate space.

“We are informed that the ground floor – which used to be available for the community to hire – will be for curated and visiting exhibitions largely with little availability for Albany community groups,” she said.

“In any event, even before the refurbishment, the Town Hall gallery was much more expensive to hire than the VAC galleries and not affordable for many artists and groups.

“The upper floor of the Town Hall, we are informed, will eventually provide space for mixed use including exhibitions, but at this stage we do not know when there will be a budget to carry out the work on the upper floor and also whether it will be affordable or suitable as an exhibition space.”

Ms Kay said improvements to the Town Hall were planned in consultation with the community through the Town Hall Community Advisory Group, which involved representatives from Albany Art Group, Art South WA, Creative Albany and eight other creative bodies.

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