Formal chinwag to last a lifetime

PERTH theatre platform Barefaced Stories is bringing a familiar yet new type of interactive experience to Albany this weekend for four days.

The Chin Wagon will roll into town on Sunday at the Albany Entertainment Centre and remain in situ until Wednesday, January 22.

It will offer people the chance to participate in The Story Exchange, a free interview session between two people that can last a lifetime – The Chin Wagon is a mobile story studio where people can interview a loved one and share a story with them, and it will be recorded.

Conversations will be based around love and loss.

“When we take the time to ask someone about their life, the things they’ve been through, highs and lows, and listen closely back to the stories they share, remarkable things can happen,” Producer Andrea Gibbs said.

“Sometimes they share stories we’ve never heard of before or we gain new insights into those we have, bringing us a greater understanding of who they really are.

“So much can be learned by the stories we have and the relationships we have shared.”

The Story Exchange interview is 40 minutes of conversation with someone you know and care about – a partner, a friend, a family member, a teacher or even a work colleague.

The Chin Wagon team will guide you through how to interview them, ask the right questions and listen closely so that your partner will respond in the best way possible, speaking from the heart.

The final conversation will be sent to participants in an audio package.

“Ask your grandfather, ‘What was the happiest moment of your life, Pop?’, or your mother, ‘Mum, what do you remember about the day I was born?’, or your brother, ‘Was there a time when you didn’t like me?’,” Ms Gibbs said.

“Choose just one person to come along with you and we’ll help you figure out a great list of questions for them.”

To take part in The Story Exchange inside The Chin Wagon, interviewers need to be available to attend a free workshop this Saturday, 10.30am to 12.30pm at the Albany Entertainment Centre, then book in for a recording session and attend at your designated time.

Sessions are offered on the hour between 11am and 6pm.

Bookings can be made online at

Continue Reading

Players fired up for fundraiser

IN ANOTHER show of community generosity during the devastating nationwide bushfires, Plantagenet Players amateur theatre group is hosting a fundraiser show at the end of the month.

All Fired Up! will play for one night only on January 31 at Plantagenet District Hall to raise money for the Volunteer Fire and Rescue Services Association of WA.

All proceeds from the show will go to the association.

Co-producers Charmaine Gadenne and Helen Jeffery said a Facebook post initiated the idea.

“People were looking for somewhere to donate and to make sure the funds go to where they need to go,” Gadenne said.

“And as a community group, like everyone else, we just want to help those who’ve suffered.”

The variety show will commence at 7.30pm and feature snippets of song, dance and comedy skits and sketches from previous Plantagenet Players shows.

However, seating will not be in the tradition table style.

“We’re using the tiered theatre-style seating, because we want to jam as many people in there as possible to raise as much money as we can in one night,” Gadenne said.

“But the canteen will still be open with lots of yummy treats and there will be tea, coffee and soft drinks available for sale.

“And it’s not BYO this time – it’s an alcohol-free event.”

Gadenne revealed that Tribal Thunder belly dancing group would be popping in for a performance and that the finale would have a “nice little surprise” for the audience.

Tickets are just $15 for the show and can be purchased from Mt Barker Newsagency on Lowood Road or via phone: 9851 1034.

Continue Reading

Surfing ability on show at event

THE first of four Let’s Go Surfing Days was held in blustery conditions at Middleton Beach on Saturday, hosted by the Disabled Surfers Association Great Southern.

Despite the intense onshore conditions, volunteers and participants attended in droves and the surfing stoke was obvious for all to witness including a huge spectator gallery.

Association President Kerry Oakley was rapt with the event with volunteers including Welshman Idris Strangnan who was holidaying in the Great Southern.

He said he had been swimming every day since he had been in Albany, saw the event advertised and registered immediately.

“I have a disabled brother back in Wales and I wanted to do anything to help,” Mr Strangnan said.

He was flying back to winter in Wales and not exactly happy to be returning home.

The next Let’s Go Surfing Days will be held on February 8, March 7 and April 4.

Continue Reading

Cafe dream comes true

TWO chefs who travelled the world and worked together for 10 years on cruise ships have settled in Albany to open their own cafe.

Carlo Nagac and Dexter Mahinay are the owners of D&C Grill – Taste of Albany and had their first day of trade on December 2.

They are located within the Beryl Grant Community Centre in Lockyer and the pair could not be happier with how things are progressing.

Endless reviews on the cafe’s Facebook page describe it as having “the most amazing feed I’ve had in Albany in a long time”, customers love the “vibrancy of the folk operating this little treasure” and say the desserts “to die for”.

“I’d planned this for a very long time,” Mr Mahinay said, of owning a cafe.

“We thought Albany was a very nice place and we are very happy to serve the community.”

The pair are already enthusiastically looking to what’s next.

“Hopefully in the future we can open a fine dining restaurant, because this setup is a cafe,” Mr Nagac said.

“We’d love to open on York Street and in town one day.”

The cafe serves up contemporary cuisine including Asian fusion and twists on Australian.

It operates Wednesday to Monday for lunch and dinner and serves dine-in and takeaway.

Continue Reading

CBH sets sales record

THE CBH Group has released their full 2019 Annual Report following the release of our Financial Report in mid-December and finish to the harvest season.

This season the Albany Zone reported 2,629,000 tonnes of grain harvested from across the region.

Last season the Albany Zone reported a smaller harvest with 2,614,000 tonnes of grain harvested due to mixed weather conditions.

Some of the key highlights in the report showed a strong operational performance in a number of areas, including record-breaking rail movements and strong growth in fertiliser sales.

Driven by a near record harvest of 16.4 million tonnes, the CBH rail infrastructure moved the largest amount on record with 8.9 million tonnes of grain sent by rail to port terminals during the 12 months to the end of September 2019.

This included six million tonnes moved within the Kwinana Zone to the Kwinana Grain Terminal for bulk export.

A total of 13.8 million tonnes were shipped from four grain terminals, with the Kwinana Grain Terminal shipping 6.2 million tonnes of grain.

This was only 30,000 tonnes shy of the shipping record set in 2016-17.

CBH Fertiliser achieved its biggest year so far as sales continued to grow in 2018-19, with 103,000 tonnes sold, up from 90,000 in 2017-18. The business remains profitable and has retained surplus capital to expand the business further across the network.

During the reporting period, the co-operative invested more than $1.6 million into regional grain growing communities in Western Australia through the Community Investment Fund.

This included the Grass Roots Leadership Short Course, which was introduced for the first time in 2019 with a total of 76 participants, and more than $300,000 was provided to community groups as part of the Grass Roots grants program.

Continue Reading

TV show stars Albany

DON’T miss Albany’s latest time in the spotlight – the first season of children’s adventure show Itch is now online on ABC iview and the episodes will only be available for another month.

Itch is based on the book series of the same name by British author Simon Mayo and tells the story of a teenage boy who discovers a new element of the periodic table; he must defend it from the clutches of evil, secret organisations.

It was filmed in Albany and includes the iconic locations of Middleton Beach, Albany Senior High School (ASHS), Albany Town Hall and the University of WA Albany campus in multiple scenes.

The ASHS school logo was altered for all school scenes but the uniform is otherwise easily recognisable as the one worn by students today.

Episodes 1-10 were published online two weeks ago and will be available until February 23.

The Behind the Scenes videos will stay online until March 28.

When Mr Mayo caught up with the Weekender at Middleton Beach during filming in February last year, he said changing the story’s location from Cornwall to an Australian coastal town “made sense”.

He described the similarities between Cornwall and Albany as “remarkable”.

“Cornwall has a rich mining heritage,” Mr Mayo said.

“So switching to here makes perfect sense, with Albany’s connection to mining.”

Mayo scored a brief cameo in a scene shot at Middleton – he’s hiding in the Ellen Cove picnic area, typing on a laptop.

Itch star and Perth product Samuel Ireland visited The Gap, Emu Point, Middleton Beach, Boston Brewery and Greens Pool on his days off during filming.

He said scoring the lead role of Itchingham Lofte was a dream come true.

“When I saw the Itch auditions, I thought, this is my childhood,” Mr Ireland said.

Blue Water High, Parallax…kids’ dramas are what Aussies do best.

“So getting that first callback was a wonderful feeling.”

Albany’s Dragon Martial Arts owner and instructor Mark Burridge was hired to teach actors and choreograph various fight scenes for the production.

A few of his students assisted him in teaching the actors and one student appeared as a stunt double in a scene.

“Teaching the moves and scenes and working with the stunt coordinator has been so much fun and I can’t wait to see the end product and the TV series,” Mr Burridge told the Weekender in April.

Continue Reading

Hunt for CEO set to begin

A NATIONWIDE search for the Shire of Denmark’s new Chief Executive Officer will begin soon, several months after former CEO Bill Parker resigned from the top job.

Shire President Ceinwen Gearon told the Weekender Council would begin looking for a CEO “shortly” and expected to have the role filled prior to June 30.

Currently acting CEO David Schober is administering the duties of CEO.

“Under the Local Government Act, a Council may appoint an acting CEO for up to 12 months,” Cr Gearon said.

“Council will be looking to commence a national search for a CEO shortly and can offer up to a five year contract to the successful candidate.

“The process will involve advertising nation- ally and appointing a sub-delegation of councillors to conduct the recruitment process.”

Mr Schober took on the job on September 30 after Mr Parker left to take on a leadership position as General Manager of the Corporate Services Alliance at the City of Perth.

Previously he has worked as the Shire’s Manager of Community Services and has held executive positions at the City of Albany and St John Ambulance.

He said he would consider whether to apply for the substantive position once it was officially advertised.

“I have found the job to be incredibly rewarding and have thoroughly enjoyed working with Shire staff and Council,” Mr Schober added.

“I am enjoying the opportunity to develop new opportunities for Denmark whilst building on a solid foundation left by the previous Shire CEO Bill Parker.

“The projects identified in the Long Term Financial Plan will, over the next few years, add enormous value to Denmark as a place to both live and visit.”

In August, Cr Gearon said the decision to appoint an interim acting CEO was influenced by a number of factors, including the 2019 Local Government Election held on October 19.

“Council felt that it would be unfair for an outgoing Council to appoint a permanent CEO,” she said at the time.

“For the position to be successful, the group felt the new Council should have ownership over the CEO recruitment and appointment process.”

Continue Reading

More games, more teams

THIS year’s Great Southern Football League Women’s competition is fast approaching and spectators can expect more bang for their buck this time around.

The competition has expanded to include teams from Denmark-Walpole and Mount Barker with games scheduled for McLean Oval and Sounness Park.

West Australian Football Commission Great Southern Regional Development Manager Matt Bishop said it was an exciting time for female participation in the fastest growing segment in Australian football.

“Female participation increased nationally by 21,000 in 2018 to 176,000, most of which has been inspired by the evolution and growth of AFLW,” he said.

“This is also true of the Great Southern but it has also been dependent on the opportunity to play.

“Despite the GSFLW only starting in 2018, there have been women’s development program in place since the early 2010s.

“The first two seasons of the GSFLW have been well supported and it is exciting that this has inspired Denmark-Walpole and Mount Barker to enter teams.”

With the addition of two new teams, and two new venues comes almost double the amount of fixtures than the previous season with 10 rounds scheduled plus the three finals rounds.

Bishop said going forward he would like to see an expansion in the junior ranks for female footy.

“There are currently no opportunities for girls, around 12 to 16-year-old, to play in female-only competitions,” he said.

“This is something that we are going to explore in 2020 by providing interested girls with an opportunity to train and play with their friends. We plan to hold training and or games prior to the GSFLW games during the 2020 season.”

Bishop said with the growth in the league, there would only be more opportunities for girls to participate in school carnivals and other events.

“There are plans to provide aspiring girls with the opportunity to participate in representative footy through the establishment of a GSFL women’s team that will participate in the WACFL Country Championships in July,” he said.

“This will also include the continuation of the annual visit by the Claremont Women’s Football Club in late March where the representative team will have the opportunity to play a WAFLW team. Hopefully these opportunities will help unearth the next Sophie McDonald, the first GSFLW Fairest and Best player and now West Coast Eagle.”

Continue Reading

Daycare centre unveiled

A NEW early learning and daycare centre is opening next week in Albany and it has an open day this afternoon.

SmartPlay Albany will offer long day care, before and after school care, and vacation care between 7am and 6pm five days per week, 50 weeks per year.

During school hours, it will also operate as a kindergarten and pre-kindergarten centre.

Centre Director and Educator Jane Gibbons-Eyre said kindergarten students attending Australian Christian College would now have classes in the next-door SmartPlay Albany building instead of within the main campus.

“The Christian Education Ministries saw a particular need in Albany and decided to expand to the long daycare model with a kindy and pre-kindy program,” she said.

“Our particular focuses will be specialist music, literacy, numeracy, languages other than English, physical education, and high-quality relationships – Australian Christian College’s motto is for a student to be well taught, well known and well loved.”

Children aged three and four are eligible for the pre-kindergarten and kindergarten program, and children aged five to 12 are eligible to attend the out-of-school care.

There are seven staff rostered to work at the new centre and Ms Gibbons-Eyres says she is very proud of it.

“We have such a big outdoor area with real grass, and there’s space for kids to ride and dig and build and run…the first five years of a child’s life are so important, so it’s an amazing privilege to be part of that.”

Ms Gibbons-Eyre has worked with children since she finished high school and said she adores the work she does.

“This will be a loving environment where children can feel like they belong,” she said.

“The staff here strive for the highest quality in absolutely everything…we want to provide everything so the children can be the best they can be.”

The open day is today, January 16 from 4-7pm at the 26 Brewster Road location.

The centre will then officially open on January 20.

Continue Reading

Road rage assault

A ROAD rage incident that saw a teenage boy dragged from his mother’s car and bashed in the head in October is evidence of a worsening problem in the community, an Albany court has been told.

Magistrate Raelene Johnston said road rage violence was “far more prevalent than it used to be” when she fined Albany man Stephen Murphy more than $1700 for the common assault in Albany Magistrates Court last Thursday.

Mr Murphy, a former combat engineer, attacked the 17-year-old victim after the boy made “rude gestures” at him from the front passenger seat of his mother’s Ford Falcon.

The 50-year-old was about to enter an Albany Highway roundabout from Sanford Road when the Ford Falcon allegedly cut him off at around 3.50pm on October 18.

Prosecuting Sergeant Alan Dean said the two vehicles then pulled over on the highway before Mr Murphy engaged in a “verbal argument” with the victim, pulled him from the car “by his hair” and punched him five times in the back of the head.

In an interview with police two days later, Mr Murphy said he had “snapped” and “was ashamed of what he’d done”.

He added he did not realise the victim was a juvenile at the time.

“It’s an awful thing that occurred,” Magistrate Johnston said prior to sentencing.

“It’s entirely understandable that people get upset about other people’s driving on the road … it used to be the case that people would generally honk their horn. This obviously went beyond that.

“It got out of hand the moment you got out of the car and deteriorated from there.”

Mr Murphy’s defence lawyer Graeme Payne said his client was a father of three children, including one aged 17, and had worked as a truck driver for 15 years before he was made redundant 18 months ago.

He said Mr Murphy had had right of way when the Ford Falcon “flashed past” and left him feeling “frightened” and “startled”.

“He asked the driver what she thought she was doing and the victim chipped in … the victim was using abusive language,” Mr Payne said.

“[Mr Murphy] was very remorseful for his response.”

Magistrate Johnston accepted the incident was not something Mr Murphy would usually be involved in and granted him a spent conviction.

In Western Australia, common assault can attract a maximum penalty of 18 months imprisonment and a fine of $18,000.

Continue Reading