Roe absorbs Jerri Shire

THE Shire of Jerramungup will no longer be part of the seat of Albany for the 2021 state election after changes to State electoral boundaries were formalised last week.

The reshuffle, conducted by the Western Australian Electoral Distribution Commission, will see Jerramungup cede from the District of Albany currently held by Labor MP Peter Watson.

It will be absorbed by the agriculture District of Roe, held by Nationals WA’s Peter Rundle, which will in turn lose the shires of Kulin, Wickepin and Cuballing to balance elector numbers in the Central Wheatbelt.

The changes come three months after Jerramungup councillors unanimously voted to lodge an objection to the Commission about the move (‘Boundaries crossed’, 29 August).

In his report to council at the time, Shire CEO Martin Cuthbert claimed the decision would have “detrimental effects” on the work the Shire had put into building a relationship with the City of Albany.

“The Shire of Jerramungup believes it does not share a community interest with the majority of the Roe District,” he wrote.

Jerramungup originally joined the Albany electorate in 2015 and has since coordinated a number of economic, tourism and advocacy efforts with the City and the shires of Denmark and Plantagenet.

“The Commissioners have decided to affirm their decision,” the report read.

“Alteration of state electoral boundaries should not prevent continued each Parliament.

Retired judge Eric Heenan, government statistician Tom Joseph, Electoral Commissioner David Kerslake and Acting Electoral Commissioner Chris Avent led the review.

Shire of Jerramungup CEO Martin Cuthbert was contacted for comment.

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Christmas activities raise festive spirits

THIS weekend is jam-packed with activities to get the Great Southern into the festive spirit.

Twilight markets, a Christmas-themed outdoor movie, giant snow globes and Santa are some of the entertainment ready to roll into the Albany Town Square and Alison Hartman Gardens on December 6 and 7 as part of the Christmas Festival and Pageant.

Expanded to two nights, the Christmas Festival and Pageant this year includes a Friday night program that includes the lighting of the Christmas Tree next to Albany Public Library, followed by a screening of the 2018 film The Grinch, all from 4pm.

Festivities continue at 3pm on Saturday with live music, kids’ activities, entertainment and food vendors.

The Christmas Pageant will begin at 6pm with 45 floats from schools, businesses and community groups marching up York Street.

Green Skills is holding a Twilight Market in the Town Square on Friday and Saturday from 3pm to coincide with the festivities and has a sustainable Christmas theme.

City of Albany Mayor Dennis Wellington encouraged everyone in the region to come into the city centre and get into the festive spirit with the whole community.

“The Christmas Festival and Pageant is always a highlight on the calendar and it’s a great way for families to have some fun and celebrate the year that has been and look forward to the Christmas break,” he said.

More information on the festival pageant and road closures can be found online at or by calling 6820 3000.

Pictured here are Logan and Harper Wilkinson, who are more than excited about this weekend’s events.

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Canteen closure drama

THE closure of the Albany Primary School (APS) canteen for 2020 has been shrouded in secrecy as outraged parents have their questions as to why it was closed left unanswered.

The APS P&C formally announced the decision last Thursday on their Facebook page and followed it up in the school newsletter the following day.

The decision was made at the final P&C meeting for 2019 on the previous Monday.

The P&C Executive Committee released a brief statement saying the canteen was no longer financially viable and would not re-open in 2020.

“We understand that shutting down the canteen will have an impact on APS families and during term one 2020, the P&C will start to investigate alternative lunch service options to mitigate the impact,” it said.

P&C President Carly Talbot declined to elaborate any further or discuss if any other options were considered.

APS Principal Cathy Willis passed the Weekender’s queries to the Department of Education’s Media Team who said, “as the canteen is run by the P&C, we will leave it to them to talk about it”.

On the day before the social media post announcing the canteen closure due to financial constraints was made, the P&C thanked visiting artists for the P&C funded Toilet Artwork Project that ‘has lifted our toilet blocks to new and inspirational heights.”

“Three toilet blocks have been completed and they truly are beautiful, fun spaces for our students,” the post read.

On social media, parents expressed their anger.

Questions such as exploring the option of opening two or three days a week or outsourcing the service went unanswered.

Outraged parent Courtney Hathaway is so upset with the decision and lack of transparency, she is looking at moving her son to another school.

“How can you even run a school with no canteen? Are you serious?” she told the Weekender.

“As a parent of a child that goes to the school, I’m very disappointed that the canteen is closing. I don’t understand how you can efficiently run a school without a canteen.

“If they can afford artwork in the toilets then why can’t they afford something that’s actually needed like the canteen? I don’t know about you but I don’t sit on the toilet looking at the artwork on the walls.”

The Weekender understands that one of the paid employees, who had worked there for 19-and-a-half years, was only told of the decision two days before it was announced on Facebook.

The Weekender also understands that the canteen bank balance was deemed healthy, there was not a lack of volunteers and paid employees managed to run the canteen efficiently whether there were any volunteers or not.

The decision has blindsided employees with two people losing their jobs. Parents are demanding answers and even some teachers were unaware of the impending closure days after it had been announced.

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Healing program is classical therapy

The Weekender in conjunction with Palmerston and the Great Southern Suicide Prevention Advisory Group (GSSPAG) will be running a series of articles to improve mental health literacy, promote help-seeking behaviours and preventing life loss to suicide. This week, the article by Ian Magor from Ruah Community Services focuses on the Red Dust Healing Program.

TOM Powell, author of the Red Dust Healing Program, describes being a young boy and seeing his father driving a grader home from work: “He’d come up the road in a big red cloud of dust,” he said.

“And I always remember how happy the sight of that dust made me feel.”

It’s the reason Tom called his program Red Dust Healing.

The program was initially devised by Tom, who describes himself as a “proud Warramunga Man”, as a healing program for Indigenous men but response to the course has been so positive, Tom became convinced he should “open it up to everybody”.

I attended a facilitator training course recently in Albany along with 16 other human services workers.

Our response to the course was overwhelmingly positive which is unusual because sometimes you attend a training course and walk away thinking someone is just trying to reinvent the wheel.

A lot of programs are well-intentioned but not necessarily eye-opening.

Red Dust Healing is a little bit different.

It has all the goals of classical therapy – helping people to feel better, improve self-esteem and achieve goals, yada-yada – but it does it in a way you’re not immediately aware of.

No, it’s not smoke and mirrors, it just asks you to have a look at yourself and realise that there is good and bad in your past but you need not let it define who you are now.

Red Dust is a hands-on visual program.

Participants are given time to reflect on their history and draw a family history in the form of a tree (the tree is an important metaphor in Red Dust) and then uses some other useful metaphors to talk about life.

We’re introduced to the bird and fish – the bird controls the air, the fish the water – and we’re asked to compare bird and fish to our own relationships; I can only control what I can in my environment and I can’t control you or yours (and vice versa).

It illustrates how much time we spend trying to control things we have no control over.

It brings an understanding of how we sometimes need to let go in order to have control over ourselves.

We’re also introduced to the JIG (Jealousy, Insecurity, Greed); emotions we need to recognise to stop them affecting our behaviour.

Don’t get JIGged (don’t be influenced by those three emotions).

It gives us a language; “Hey, they’re just JIGging you, don’t get sucked in to it!”

The JIG can make us angry or behave in ways we might regret.

The JIG gives us a framework to recognise how these feelings can have a negative effect on our behaviour.

Ultimately, Red Dust asks us to act with integrity and maintain our dignity.

As Tom says, when the dust settles, that is all we’ve got.

We can ask the question, “Did I act with integrity?” and we can use this as a guide, thereby maintaining our dignity.

For more information about Red Dust Healing and related workshops please contact Ian Magor on 0437 539 513 or Palmerston on 9892 2100.

A day of healing could change your life.

If by reading this, you need support please phone Lifeline on 13 11 44.

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Coach scores role in West Indies

FORMER Albany cricketer Chris Brabazon will be living the dream when he jets out in 11 days to Antigua to commence his new job with Cricket West Indies (CWI).

He is currently the Coach Development Manager for the Western Australian Cricket Association but takes on the role as National Coach Education Manager with CWI, formerly the West Indies Cricket Board.

Brabazon commenced his A-grade career with local team Collingwood Park when he was 15 and played for six seasons, winning a premiership.

A talented sportsman, he played colts football for Royals before crossing to play league for North Albany.

His younger brother Ryan played for the Sydney Swans in the AFL.

Brabazon said he first went over to the West Indies in 2016 with Cricket Australia to coordinate coaching courses.

Eighteen months later, CWI made contact through former 54-test cricket star Jimmy Adams who raised the role with Brabazon.

But the job was put on ice until Ricky Skerrit took over the CWI presidency earlier this year and one of his main priorities was developing West Indian coaches.

Brabazon was contacted again, and this time he signed on for a three-year deal.

“My priority is to develop a national framework looking after the coaches development, and focusing on level two to level three accreditations,” he said.

“The West Indies comprises 15 countries and territories and they are all fiercely independent so it can be a tricky situation.

“So I’ll find out what their philosophy is and then try and implement it.

“Previously it’s been a scattergun approach as the islands drive themselves but now they want their own national system.

“It’s taken them a while to get to this point but to be fair, Australian cricket weren’t that far advanced to them.

“For example, seven years ago my job didn’t exist.”

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Nature inspires artists

BUNBURY and Busselton artists Anastasija Komarnyckyj and Ty Stedman launched their latest exhibition at Albany’s Blush Retail Gallery yesterday.

Near and Far will be on display until January 11 and reflects the pair’s connections with nature.

While Komarnyckyj wields a brush and Stedman a Nikon D850, the synergy between the mediums creates a colourful representation of water, land and water-based fauna.

Komarnyckyj drew inspiration from the Leschenault Inlet for her paintings, as she walks past it every day.

“I was a clinical nurse before, but this was always gnawing away at me,” she said, of her ever-present desire to paint.

“I work with the natural environment and looking at identity and culture, and I tend to look at things fairly intimately… I don’t do panoramic paintings.”

Stedman dangles himself out of planes to get his unique shots.

“I want to differentiate from drone shots … establish a better connection with the landscape,” he said.

“I really enjoy the abstract side of things and one of the challenges I like is getting something different from places lots of people have been before.”

Blush Retail Gallery is located on York Street.

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Performance to showcase dance

TICKETS are now on sale for Albany Academy of Dance’s annual end-of-year spectacular.

5, 6, 7… Dance will be performed at the Albany Entertainment Centre on November 30 and December 1 and feature the talents of the academy’s tap, ballet, jazz and contemporary students.

Owner and teacher Simone Newton said the family-friendly event had something for everyone.

“We’ve got everything from Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole to Billie Eilish,” she said.

“There’s a lot of 80s in there and Queen, bit of classical ballet … a real mix of things.”

Some routines included in the concert are the choreographic creations of resident dancer and former academy student Rita Bush, who was recently awarded a grant from Regional Arts WA to perform at Adelaide Fringe 2020.

Ms Newton said the concert was popular for friends and families of students as well as potential academy students.

“If you are interested in putting your kids into dance next year, now’s a great time to come and see what we are all about,” she said.

Tickets to the November 30 and December 1 shows at 2pm can be purchased online at or at the AEC box office.

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Awarded play on way

A TONY award-winning play will be performed in Albany next year and auditions are coming up in less than a month.

Albany Light Opera and Theatre Company’s Airell Hodgkinson will direct Urinetown, a broadway musical that mocks bureaucracy, multinational corporations, social media and musicals.

Hodgkinson explained that despite its name, Urinetown in fact had very little toilet humour.

“It’s a political satire,” he said.

“It’s set in a post-apocalyptic world where the city has been in drought for 20 years and there’s mass water restrictions – you have to pay to pee.

“It’s a very vibrant show and all the characters are a bit wacky.”

Hodgkinson said there were lots of speaking and solo roles in the play appropriate for all ages and genders.

The music is “fun and funky” and the overall vibe of the show is “something a bit different”.

“I like shows that are a little left of centre,” Hodgkinson said.

“The arts should challenge people, in my opinion, and this show gets people thinking and talking.

“And there’s a beautiful love story in the middle of all the loonies.”

An information night for Urinetown will be held at the Albany Port Theatre on December 11 at 7pm followed by auditions on December 14 and 15.

The cast and crew will break over Christmas and return for rehearsals in late January, ahead of a show season in April and May.

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Talent shines through

LIFE-SIZE puppets, campfire singing and original scores will all be part of next weekend’s Let’s Shine Brightly theatre performance.

The Let’s Shine series began two decades ago when Albany Light Opera and Theatre (ALOTCo) member Janet McArtney decided to put on a production specifically showcasing the talents of people living with a disability.

This year’s Let’s Shine show will be the fifth in the series and feature many returning and new faces to the cast.

This year, McArtney is co-directing alongside fellow ALOTCo member Jill Larsen and the pair are excited for audiences to see the lineup.

“We have now completed our sixth rehearsal and it’s been hectic,” McArtney said.

“The Greatest Showman, YMCA, Sister Act and Queen tribute are looking fabulous as well as the 20 or so single acts in-between.”

Cast members Bayden Redshaw and Owen Cahill have produced a song in honour of the show – Let Your Light Shine Through.

They will perform it during the show.

McArtney and Larsen agreed that the most rewarding aspect of creating the show was seeing the “absolute joy” on the faces of the cast as they performed, as some have never been up on stage before.

“Each of us shines in a different way but this doesn’t make us less bright,” Larsen said.

“We all have different abilities and skills and Janet and I have done our best to allow for individual guest stars to shine.”

Let’s Shine Brightly will play at the Albany Port Theatre on November 30 and December 1.

Tickets are on sale now online and in-store via Paperbark Merchants.

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Keane launches third album

AFTER teetering on the edge of giving up her musical dream and career altogether, Albany singer-songwriter Simone Keane has found her mojo and released her third album.

Wild Thingz has been a collaborative effort, including local instrumentalists and talents Ellie Honeybone, Marie Limondin, Kiersten Fage, Mick Crannage, Giles Watson, Gemma Kiiveri, Andre Maujean, Brody Manson, Lauchlan Gillett and Alan McLean.

She described the album as completely different to her first one nine years ago, which she called “light and easy listening”.

“This is about the experiences that kick us in the guts, and about making something creative out of that,” Keane said.

“Rising up to express the things I find hard to put into words … it’s a bit more honest, heavy.”

Keane said she nearly pulled the plug on the entire album when it all became too hard.

She had withdrawn from the gigging scene to refocus herself but feels this new album was the exact way to lift the weight off her shoulders.

“It was something I had to do,” Keane said.

“I just had these songs coming out of me.”

Keane said Wild Thingz features “raw, haunting ballads, full productions of jazzed-up blues and a low-fi dance track”.

The launch is at the Albany Club this Saturday, November 23 at 7.30pm.

Entry is free and Keane hopes the family-friendly event will be both an album launch and a party.

Under 18s must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

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