Fringe fest a success

THE inaugural Fringe Arts Regional Festival has been labeled a success by its organisers, following the sold-out performances on Saturday night.

Vancouver Arts Centre Arts Administration Officer Steven Finch said the high quality of performances allowed for an incredibly successful event.

“We have already had really positive feedback for the festival,” he said.

“People in particular enjoyed FAR Fetched and FAR Out on Saturday night.”

Mr Finch said the festival filled in part of the gap left by the Perth International Arts Festival after it announced it would no longer come to the Great Southern.

“The festival was put together pretty quickly,” he said.

“We had a gap to fill for exciting artistic events and the festival definitely did that.”

Following large amounts of positive reviews of the month-long event, Mr Finch said there will be another Fringe festival in 2019.

“Nothing is locked in yet, but we’ve got a few performers that are excited for next year,” he said.

“The event really needs to come from the community though.

“Next year we’re hoping for lots of independent and creative people to get involved that we haven’t heard of before.

“We’re providing a platform for performers, so we’d love to hear from the community for what we should have next year.”

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Thar she blows again!

THIS year marks a number of significant anniversaries for the Great Southern, including 40 years since the closure of the Cheynes Beach Whaling Company in 1978 and the end of whaling in Australia.

November 21, 1978 saw the Cheynes II, Cheynes III and Cheynes IV whale-chasing ships berthed at the old Albany Town Jetty after their final hunt, signalling the closure of the last shore-based whaling station in Australia and the end of 150 years of whaling in the waters around Albany.

To commemorate the 40th anniversary, Albany’s Historic Whaling Station will host a series of events and exhibitions throughout the year, commencing next month with a family-friendly concert.

Station general manager Elise van Gorp said the events over the next few months will commemorate both the historic period in Australia’s whaling industry as well as the lives of past whalers.

“We will launch a new exhibit here at the whaling museum, an interactive whale chasing experience on-board Cheynes IV whale chaser,” she said.

“There will also be a variety of travelling exhibitions from the Australian National Maritime Museum and a comprehensive school education program and concert series.”

With the range of events and exhibitions culminating around the anniversary date in November, the first concert in the series on March 8 marks the beginning of the 1978 whaling season.

The Last Season Sunset Concert will feature rousing vocals from The Albany Shantymen and will take place on Albany’s Historic Whaling Station grounds with the Cheynes IV whalechaser as the backdrop.

Guests are encouraged to bring a picnic and rug for an evening of music, and to enjoy the sausage sizzle, coffee and ice cream available for sale.

Tickets for the sunset concert are now on sale at; doors open at 5.15pm.

More information on the 40th Anniversary events is available on their website.

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Diamonds on their soles

A COLLECTION of dainty and dorky shoes alike attracted large crowds at the Albany Town Hall last month, and visitors generously emptied their pockets for the Albany Community Foundation cause and raised thousands of dollars.

The Walk a Mile Shoe Exhibition displayed pairs of shoes from people of all walks of life, including athletes, local politicians, authors and The Weekender’s own Ashleigh Fielding.

The exhibition pulled in $4000 from the gold coin entry fee and donations, which was given to the Albany Community Foundation.

Event coordinator Helen Tasker said visitors to the exhibition felt inspired by what they saw and wanted to be a part of the experience.

“We were delighted to have shoes from the much-loved Sabrina Hahn, which arrived immediately after she completed filming her Honey Possum film for the South Coast Environment Fund at locations around Albany,” she said.

“To receive shoes from Sam Kerr the day before she was announced Young Australian of the Year was also a great thrill for us and created a lot of interest from visitors.”

Mrs Tasker said she received many requests for the shoe display to continue for a further period, or be repeated on an annual basis using similar themes.

However, she said, despite the organising team having plans for fundraising events in the future, another shoe show was unlikely.

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Wind farm turns five

THE Denmark wind farm, contentious during its approval process like the Albany one before it, quietly celebrated five years of operation last week.

On a sunny February 20, five years since the big blades began turning, The Weekender joined wind farm directors on site to reflect on the impact of the farm that now supplies almost 60 per cent of household electricity across Denmark shire.

Member of the wind farm’s board Murray Thornton said the two white turbines had a 10-year gestation period.

“There were just so many bureaucratic, technical, financial and even emotional hurdles,” he recalled.

“For a lot of the objectors there were real strong emotions against it, and for the people who wanted it, there were real strong emotions for it.

“To actually get it done and then have it in production and have it running smoothly as per the projections is just great.”

“The sky hasn’t fallen in, and if you’re coming down to surf, it’s a great resource as you’re coming over the hill to see which direction the wind’s coming from.”

The wind farm is zoned to carry two more turbines, which Mr Thornton said would eventually be built.

“If there was another two turbines, I don’t think there’d be any noise, in terms of objections, whatsoever,” he forecast.

“Our ultimate dream is to have a micro-grid where Denmark can be independent from the state grid – and we’ve got wind, wave and solar and we can effectively go off the grid in terms of production.

“I think for small communities on the edge of the grid that’s a goal, and the State Government is pushing that up at Kalbarri at the moment, and we think Denmark’s a great place to do it in also.”

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Queen’s Baton arrives in Albany

THE Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Queen’s Baton touched down for its first leg in Western Australia last week, and an opening ceremony was held on Mount Clarence in Albany.

Crowds followed the 27 batonbearers through Albany, with a congregation of school kids and spectators meeting briefly at Albany’s Town Square.

Albany’s leg finished with Michael Berg receiving the baton before heading to Denmark for the next stop.

Once the baton reaches the Gold Coast on April 4, the baton would have travelled around the Commonwealth for 388 days, with 310 Western Australians and approximately 3,800 Australians carrying the baton.

The Queen’s message is held in the baton, and will be read aloud during the opening ceremony of the games.

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A dash of colour

COLLINGWOOD Park, usually a venue for footy and cricket, was awash with colour on Sunday as the Albany Colour Dash kicked off from 2.30pm.

Kids and adults above the age of 10 dressed in expendable clobber to tackle the 1200-metre obstacle course and see who could get most colourful by the end of the day.

After the dash, participants were rewarded with a free-form rainbow splash in a specially arranged mosh-pit of technicolour powder.

The first Colour Run was originally held in Phoenix, Arizona in 2011 with 6000 participants.

Since then it has been held in some form in more than 50 cities worldwide to raise money for a plethora of charities.

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Hats off

DON’T be surprised to see dozens of women dressed in red hats and purple outfits converging on Albany next week.

More than 150 members of the Red Hat Society will arrive from all over the state, as well as from the eastern states, to take part in the Amazing Albany Red Hat Adventure.

They will be joined by red hatters from the two local chapters, who have organised the event.

The Red Hat Society was formed in America nearly 20 years ago and is aptly described as “a playgroup for women, created to connect like-minded women, make new friends and enrich lives through the power of friendship”.

Membership is primarily for women over 50 who still have lots to give and whose ethos is to meet and have fun with women from all walks of life.

Each chapter is headed by a queen, and the dress code of red and purple reflects a boldness of spirit and a desire to enjoy life to the fullest.

Red hat chapters meet on a regular basis, dressed to the nines and keen to make a splash wherever they go.

Large gatherings, cruises and conventions are also frequently organised, encouraging members to have fun with new friends and enjoy different experiences.

The official Amazing Albany Red Hat Adventure program takes place from March 9-11, and the Dog Rock Motel and Function Centre will be hosting activities throughout the weekend.

Bus trips and a river cruise have been arranged for the visitors, with many red hatters extending their sojourn in Albany so they can explore everything the city has to offer.

Local business operators have also come to the party and shown enthusiastic support for Albany’s inaugural RHS adventure.

Participating shops and cafés will decorate their windows in red and purple with welcoming posters adding to the vibrancy and colour of the weekend.

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Watto chokes $7m from minister

MEMBER for Albany Peter Watson has managed to wrestle the final $6.922 million needed to complete Stage 2 of the Centennial Park redevelopment out of Minister for Sport and Recreation Mick Murray.

At Centennial Park on Tuesday Mr Murray said the last injection of money would allow the City of Albany to execute the overall vision for the park developed in 2015 and would be a major drawcard for Albany once completed.

“Peter has been very active in making sure everything happens,” he said.

Mr Murray said Mr Watson had been in constant contact asking when the final round of funding would be made available.

“It’s important for the Albany community and important for the kids of Albany to have a safe and well-built place to play sports,” he said.

With the projected finishing date of October 2019 and an approximate total cost of $42 million, Mr Watson said once completed, the facility would be “just about state-of-the-art” for regional areas.

“Mick pushed through the funding pretty quick,” the former Olympic runner said.

“Centennial Park is going to be an important social and sporting aspect to the Albany community.

“This will be the best sporting facility in the Great Southern, and it will provide players and spectators with everything they need to enjoy their chosen sport.”

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Non-recyclers now up for $350 fine

A NEW law that gives officials the power to fine residents $350 if they toss recyclable waste into their general waste or organic waste bins was unanimously approved at a meeting of Albany city councillors on Tuesday night.

As recently revealed by The Weekender (‘Rubbish mix-up could be costly’, February 15), ratepayers may now also be fined $350 if they place general waste in a recycling or organic waste bin, or organic waste in a general or recycling bin.

In a report to the councillors, the city’s manager for governance and risk, Stuart Jamieson, defined recyclable waste as paper, cardboard, plastic, glass, steel and aluminium containers, liquid paperboard and any other waste determined by the city to be recyclable.

On November 22, the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation consented to a draft of the local law.

Mr Jamieson advised that the law would need to go back to the department’s CEO for consideration if Albany’s elected officials suggested even minor changes.

If major changes had been requested, city officials would have needed to start the legislative drafting process over again.

He noted that “negative community feedback” could be a major consequence if the city failed to communicate and justify the new law adequately to residents.

The local law is based on a model prepared by the department and the WA Local Government Association.

The law also makes it legal, for commercial operators to pick up waste from verge collections.

On Tuesday night, Cr Sandie Smith said she was “really pleased” to support that part of the law.

“It’s a really good example of council listening to residents,” she said.

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The final countdown

IT’S never easy saying goodbye.

Alas, I must, because life is hectic and OMG.

Being able to speak to you in this space every week has been absolutely incredible, and the feedback I have received has been awesome.

From buying Christmas gifts to homelessness, to treating yourself and exercise, to being an adult to dressing fab, we have certainly been on a journey.

Every time I have sat down to write this space to you, I have thought long and hard about what to say.

I have never wanted to disappoint you nor bore you to death, so I hope over the past few months I have made you laugh, smile, ponder and maybe shed a tear, because that’s what life is all about.

But don’t panic, I’m not disappearing all together; just from this space on page 2.

Who knows, I might make a comeback, I might not; let’s see what the future holds.

So today, I thought we could look back on how much of my personal life I have publicly displayed to the world, and give you an update on how things are going in Ash World.

*Cue Wayne’s World spirit fingers and tongue- rolling noises*

#1: Oh, what a feeling

Well, newsflash, I’ve decided I do actually love my car and want to keep it for a couple more years, at least.

I know my brother is still trying to wangle his way into convincing my parents he needs a V8 and I’m still whinging about my car never looking clean despite regular washes, so yeah, cars.

#2: Moving on out

I hope to move out soon with a very lovely person who makes a mean fish and chips and gives great massages, so that future is certainly looking bright.

As long as that person realises there will definitely be pink mugs and pink pillows in the house, we should be fine.

#3: Reignite the spark

I’m learning to love Albany again and stop whinging about everything, because we really do live in a beautiful part of the world and the beaches here are pretty.

Having to only drive 10 minutes for a cheeky nug run is also a great bonus of Albany’s smallness.

I hope you are still loving this little part of the world too.

#4: Get your sleep on

I’m still waking up like a zombie each day, but I’m aware of stuff I can do to ‘get in the sleep zone’.

Reminder: #dimthatscreen if you insist on carrying on your late-night text seshs until 2am.

#5: Dress to be the best

I still unconsciously dress to the nines everywhere I go, but I have learned to turn it down in casual settings.

You’ll be proud of me – I wore leggings and a cardigan to a mate’s place the other day, without a high heel in sight, so go me.

#6: Heartbreak Hotel

I have well and truly vacated from this joint and am now incredibly happy with a handsome fisherman.

He makes me feel the happiest I have ever felt in my life, so I hope you all find someone who makes you feel as special as he makes me feel.

#7: These battle scars

As I said the other day, I’m still hanging in there with my anxiety.

I am more determined than ever to not let it stop me from doing stuff, and I am super, super proud of myself for my progress.

So now, my dear friends, our time together is over, for the time being.

I hope my little babble each week has given you at least a snippet of the joy that it has brought me.

Ciao for now. xo

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