Citizens awarded on Australia Day

AS 23 new Australians took their citizenship pledge on Sunday, five individuals and a community group were recognised for their commitment and contributions to the Albany region.

Mayor Dennis Wellington congratulated the winners and thanked the group of finalists for their efforts.

“Every finalist in this year’s awards should be incredibly proud of their achievements and what they have given back to the community,” he said.

Community Citizen of the Year – Youth

Samuel Reeves won the Youth Community Citizen of the Year prize for his involvement in the Albany SES, Albany PCYC, Southern Edge Arts, Great Southern Home Education Network, Festival of the Voice and Brave New Works Festivals.

He thought it was a ‘pretty cool’ win, particularly as his sister Jasmine won the same award last year.

“It’s really nice to be recognised,” Mr Reeves said.

“It’s a big booster to further my involvement in all of those things.”

Ben Terry and Julia Walker were the other two finalists in the category.

Mr Terry was nominated for his efforts with the Albany Mountain Bike Club and for volunteering his time to assist the community with media and technology.

Ms Walker was nominated for her commitment to the Albany Youth Advisory Council and the Disabled Surfers Association.

Community Citizen of the Year

Director of Albany City Wind Ensemble and AboutFACE Youth Choir Susan Findlay was named Community Citizen of the Year.

She was recognised for her contributions to the music industry, including forming the youth choir, scoring the choir a place at the 2020 International Youth Music Festival in Bratislava, and for being the musical director of the upcoming 10th anniversary concert for the Albany Entertainment Centre.

“It’s incredibly humbling,” Ms Findlay said.

“When you get to do what you love and be rewarded for it, it’s the icing on the cake.”

Janet McArtney, Steve Marshall, Stuart Roberts, Indu Scott and Jonathan Smith were finalists for their respective contributions to Albany Light Opera and Theatre Company and the Disabled Surfers Association Great Southern; organising the free annual Community Christmas Luncheon; the establishment of an Aboriginal training and employment enterprise and men’s health programs; facilitating and establishing the Albany Repair Cafe; and creating the Great Southern Development Program for soccer.

Community Citizen of the Year – Senior

Max and Marianne Chester were named the Senior Community Citizens of the Year.

They won for their work over the past six years collecting clothes from op shops and sending them to the Adventist Disaster Relief Association.

Ms Chester said the couple was representing “all of the wonderful volunteers in the region”.

“We get clothes from Denmark and Mt Barker too … we are very grateful for all the help we get,” she said.

“[Winning] is a wonderful honour and it’s very humbling.”

There were two other finalists in this category – Hugh Milne for his volunteer hours at Hawthorn House and other residential aged care homes, singing and playing music to them and Norma Thomson, for her role in establishing the Albany Animal Welfare Op Shop and her dedication the Friends of the RSPCA Albany and Albany Animal Welfare.

Active Citizenship Award – Community Group or Event

The NAIDOC Week Organising Committee received top honours in this category over four other events and groups.

For the past two years, the committee has organised week-long programs of events and activities to celebrate NAIDOC Week.

Committee member Lester Coyne said it was a great achievement.

“We’re really quite pleased to win; it’s quite an achievement against so many nominees,” he said.

The Albany Climate Strike Event, Disabled Surfers Association Great Southern, Free Community Christmas Luncheon, Greenskills, and the Icebreakers Program were finalists for the award.

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Three decades of service

ALBANY Community Hospice will celebrate three decades serving the seaside city at a highly anticipated gala event at Albany Entertainment Centre next month.

The 30th Anniversary Gala Celebration will take place on February 7 from 5:30pm to 8pm and feature plenty of entertainment to celebrate and give thanks to the Spencer Park organisation.

ACH Chairperson Jane Mouritz said many in the Great Southern held the nationally acclaimed organisation in high regard.

“It has served a compassionate and supportive role for many local families when loved ones have been in need of palliative care and end of life care,” she said.

“This is a reflection on the expansive compassion and generosity of so many individuals, community groups and businesses who have supported hospice in-kind and by donations over the past 30 years.

“The Board and staff offer gratitude to all of you for your magnanimous contributions.”

Event attendants will be treated to a wide selection of drinks, including top Great Southern wines, canapé-style food and live music from the likes of the ever-talented Phil Roberts and Pleun Hitzert.

Following speeches and a visual presentation, it will culminate with the ceremonial cutting of the 30th anniversary cake.

Albany Community Hospice officially opened on November 15, 1990 and has since undergone significant expansions.

In 1995, it became a licenced private hospital, later moving into a new building on the grounds of Albany Regional Hospital.

The current eight-bed inpatient palliative care facility was made possible following a redevelopment of the hospital and successful $4.7m grant and was opened on April 1, 2016.

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Blight triumphs over USA drivers

KATANNING speedway star Kye Blight dominated rounds three and four of the USA Invasion Late Model Tour at Albany Speedway Club’s Attwell Park on the weekend.

Having won the National Title last weekend, Blight would go on to claim all four of his heats and both features in which he lapped every car except his fellow podium place getters.

Courtesy of his two wins, Blight started the 40-lap final from pole and when they went green, used the clear track to set his fastest lap of the race and build a lead.

The field would be bought back under yel-lows a couple of times over the first part of the race with the last 27 laps running without a stoppage.

Over these laps Blight would decimate his opposition, passing the field with ease on his way to winning by more than 11 seconds.

During the feature, local hope Aydan Trewern started seventh and was on track for his best result in the Late Model, getting as high as third.

With about five laps to go the car started to ever so slightly smoke and, as he went to take the white flag, headed infield to retire from fourth.

The team decided to not risk the engine and do a full investigation and would sit the Sunday night out.

As everyone headed to the track for round four of the Invasion Tour, the question everyone was asking was; can Blight be stopped?

Just like the previous night, current Western Australian champion Brent Vosbergen won both of his races to share the front row with Blight.

The start of this 40-lap final would go slightly different to the previous night with Blight and Vosbergen making contact in turn two with Vosbergen slipping back to fifth while Blight pulled away from American Joe Godsey.

By lap six Vosbergen had climbed back to third and would sit there behind Godsey until lap 25 with the pair trading places over the next five laps until Vosbergen broke clear.

With 17 of the 18 cars who started the night making it onto the track for the feature, there was plenty of action across the track and back mark- ers for Blight to contend with, which he did with ease once again.

Blight would cross the line by more than 11 seconds again in a race that went from green to checkers without a stoppage to claim his sixth feature win in a row from Vosbergen and Godsey.

At the end of the four rounds, Blight had amassed 471 points which is just three off the maximum available across the series to take the title by 40 points from Warren Oldfield and Godsey.

Across the two nights the Junior and Senior Formula 125’s had valuable track time ahead of their state title next month with current junior state champion Jasmin Ellis taking the win while in the seniors Sam Jewell (Saturday) and Nathen Tester (Sunday) claimed the wins.

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Community looks to re-open historic hotel

THE first official steps towards revitalising the historic Broomehill Hotel have been taken and now, its future will depend on the community digging deep.

The hotel closed down in May last year due to “bad management”, leaving a trail of public outcry over yet another service closing off to residents – at the time, the town’s sole roadhouse had just closed down and the post office was up for sale.

Farmer Scott Thompson told the Weekender this week that the group of community members who initially got together late last year to pursue the hotel revitalisation project had decided to form a non-distributing co-operative.

A non-distributing co-op is defined as a “not-for-profit organisation which can be formed with or without shares”.

Mr Thompson said this co-op would have shares, and that hotel project committee members would soon be reaching out to individuals in the community to ask whether they would be interested in a financial contribution.

“It’s quite a process,” he said.

“We’re yet to form the co-op so that will probably happen over the next two weeks – the co-op will provide the ownership structure that will give us the flexibility and opportunity to do what we want to do.”

Purchasing the hotel site is also next on the agenda; Mr Thompson said expressions of interest were being sought from community members willing to chip in.

People interested in getting involved in bringing the Broomehill Hotel back to life can reach out to Mr Thompson on 0428 916 131.

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Rock royalty at Castelli Estate

CHART-TOPPING musicians are headlining the upcoming Days of Summer concert at Denmark’s Castelli Estate.

Jebediah, British India, Gyroscope, Bodyjar and Dallas Crane will make the trip down south on February 29 to kickstart the Labour Day long weekend.

Gates open at 4pm so prepare yourself for a big night of dancing, singing and rocking out.

Jebediah consists of lead guitarist Chris Daymond, lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist Kevin Mitchell, bassist Vanessa Thornton and drummer Brett Mitchell.

The band returned from its 2005 hiatus in 2010 to release their fifth studio album, which charted in the ARIA’s top 10.

British India continues the alternative rock vibe with their high energy, melodic danceable rhythms.

The four-piece has released six albums and has reached the top five in the ARIA album charts as well as having eight songs listed in Triple J’s Hottest 100.

Multiple WA Music Industry Award winner Daniel Sanders heads Gyroscope, a group also familiar with Triple J’s Hottest 100.

The Perth band formed in 1997 as Gyroscope Sunday and has since released four studio albums.

Victorian band Bodyjar will bring the pop punk to the party with some of their latest and greatest.

Like Jebediah, they took a short hiatus from 2009-2012 and slammed back onto the music scene with an album and corresponding tour.

Alternative rock group Dallas Crane wraps up the line-up for the 2020 Days of Summer concert.

They won big at the Australian Live Music Awards, taking out Best Live Band, and their critically-acclaimed, highest charting single Sit on My Knee with Jimmy Barnes was in the top 40 in 2005.

Tickets to the February 29 show are available now through Ticketmaster.

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Brucey shares the love

FANS of Albany’s famous pet bull Brucey the Brahman need not fret, the Facebook star will not be stepping out of the social media limelight anytime soon.

The digital platform was abuzz with disappointment earlier this month when Brucey’s owner Tom Kennedy posted that the young Brahman would be “cutting back” on his online appearances.

Mr Kennedy has since backtracked that decision, telling the Weekender he would continue sharing photos, videos and updates about the two-and-a-half year old animal’s antics.

“I didn’t realise how many people love it. When I said I was winding down there were a lot of comments from people a bit sad about it,” Mr Kennedy said.

“I’ve come to realise I’m providing a lot of folks with a few laughs, people who are doing it tough and like to see a bit of humour and what Brucey’s been up too.

“I didn’t expect this level of popularity when I started it up, but it’s a result of his personality and just wanting to have fun with him and sharing it with others.”

Brucey the Brahman’s Facebook page originally launched in June, 2018 and has since amassed more than 1100 followers.

It regularly shows the prankish bull interacting with the public and other animals, including Mr Kennedy’s dog and horses, and visiting the beach for a “surf report”.

“We’ll share more of his older stories going forward because a lot of people that joined in to watch him have missed his development,” Mr Kennedy said.

“Brucey was seven months old when we got him. He was 600kg a little while ago and he’s getting bigger quite visibly so it’ll be interesting to see how tall he goes.”

Mr Kennedy effectively saved Brucey from the chopping block when he purchased him from a stud in upper Kalgan.

Brucey’s mother died when he was only a week old and he had been left on an orchard to be hand-raised without a real purpose.

“He’s got a very good life now,” Mr Kennedy said.

“As long as he doesn’t keep breaking out of electric fences and pushing into the house and eating the wife’s flowers, I think his life will continue.

“He’s very mischievous and I think that’s reflective of his intelligence and character. He’s not silly, he’ll sit there and he’ll observe things.”

This year has already proved to be full of success for Brucey, with the bull’s profile showing he recently graduated from Brahmarana University.

He currently works as the “Chief Greens Keeper” at Albany Tenpin Bowling, Mr Kennedy’s own enterprise, and no doubt draws on experience gained in his previous role as “Chief Apple and Grass Eater”.

Those wanting to keep up to date with his journey can search Brucey Brahman on Facebook and send a friend request.

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Oysters for harbour

NEARLY one million juvenile Australian Flat Oysters were released onto newly constructed reefs in Oyster Harbour last week near Albany as part of the Oyster Harbour Reef project.

The Nature Conservancy’s project manager Alex Hams said releasing the natural shellfish was the final stage in the project and was a very satisfying moment for him.

“The community has worked hard to get us to this stage,” he said.

“It’s been a long process to identify the best sites to re-create the reefs, lay down the 1000 tonnes of limestone bedrock over 1,650sqm of the harbour’s seafloor and now adding the living oysters.”

The Oyster Harbour Reef project is part of The Nature Conservancy’s National Reef Building Project that aims to rebuild 60 reefs in six years across Australia.

If achieved, it will make Australia the world’s first nation in the world to recover a critically endangered marine ecosystem.

Projects in Melbourne’s Port Phillip Bay and South Australia’s Gulf St Vincent have already been completed with others just getting underway near Adelaide, Noosa, Perth and Mandurah.

Mr Hams said Oyster Harbour would now have a future of thriving oyster reefs once more, which would bring a range of benefits including improved local fish stocks, cleaner water and boosted local economic activity.

“These million young oysters have been grown at the Albany Shellfish Hatchery,” he said.

“They’re settled onto recycled sea shells that were cleaned and prepared with the assistance of local volunteers.”

A community forum will be held at the UWA Albany Campus on February 6 to give people the opportunity to find out more about the project and ask any questions they might have.

Those interested in attending should register their interest by contacting Mr Hams at [email protected] or by calling 0421 456 708 by February 4.

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New classic rego scheme

CLASSIC vehicles that are registered to an approved club and are more than 30 years old will be eligible for a 75 per cent discount on registration if a new State Government scheme is approved.

The Concessions for Classics scheme was announced by Transport Minister Rita Saffioti on Saturday in a bid to bring more classic cars onto the road and boost the automotive industry.

The scheme will remove restrictions that currently prevent modified classic vehicles and street rods from accessing licence concessions, and if successful, would be available in the second half of this year.

“It’s clear that a large amount of classic vehicle enthusiasts are only using their pride and joy for special events such as cruises or shows, so it’s unfair they should pay full registration,” she said.

“Our current registration system also prevents classic car owners from accessing registration concessions if modifications – even safety improvements – have been made to their vehicles.

“This new scheme will remove that red tape and encourage more owners to get their classic cars and bikes out to events.”

Great Southern Street Machine Association (GSSMA) is an approved club registered with the Department of Transport therefore, members are eligible to apply for the scheme.

GSSMA member Brad Collins was enthusiastic about the idea.

“What I like is, cars like hot rods are always over a barrel – they are modified, so they can’t get a concessional licence,” he said.

“They’re in limbo. So I think it’s a great idea.

“Some days, I really want to drive my car but I can’t, because it’s not a registered club day.”

GSSMA President Paul Sargent explained that currently, the group had an invitational registration in place.

This means only registered members with certain cars are approved to drive their cars at club events.

“Some members have more mods than some,” Mr Sargent said.

“The new scheme gives an additional category so if, for example, I wanted to put a bonnet scoop on the HR.”

The Department of Transport is currently drafting regulation changes and upgrading systems to support Concessions for Classics.

Owners will be subject to a number of conditions such as identification labels, annual vehicle inspections and vehicle use being limited to attending club shows and events.

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King/Riggall crowned champs

THE Albany Open Tennis Championships held over the weekend at the Emu Point Tennis Club served up one of the most amazing finishes ever seen.

The winning team were well behind the leaders after two rounds however, such was the format that a big win can turn things around in the blink of an eye, and that’s exactly what happened.

Lawley Park duo Sam Graham and Nelson Stanborough went into their final round robin match against Craig Doney and Chris Wright needing a cricket score to overturn a big deficit to make the final, and they did so with a resounding 9-4 victory.

The final against the undefeated team of Eric Rae and Geoff Stade was a classic that went down to the wire with Graham and Stanborough sneaking home 6-5 to take the title.

In their victory speech it was suggested that maybe they had ‘done a Bradbury’, in reference to Olympic hero Steven Bradbury who simply sat back and waited for the leaders to make a mistake or two.

A Grade Women’s Doubles winners Clare King and Alexandra Riggall have no doubt heard of their father John Pugh’s tennis exploits that has inspired them to play a brand of tennis which has now netted them consecutive Albany Open titles.

Going through the day undefeated, King and Riggall won the final convincingly against Annette Cake and Diane Cook 9-1.

In the Women’s B Grade final, the pairing of Bec Jefferis and Lynda James proved too strong for Ala Wrobel and Fran Stamp with a hard fought 7-3 victory.

John Pugh made it through to the Men’s B Grade Doubles final with Greg Cook where they took on youngsters Michael Swarbrick and Luke Bairstowe.

Despite a brave showing from two of the region’s elder sporting statesmen, they were no match for Swarbrick and Bairstowe who took the match and title 9-3.

Mixed Doubles has a way of testing friendships, relationships and marriages alike and in the case of Clare and Travis King it was oh so close to a potential second honeymoon for the two.

Mixed Doubles specialist Richard Piggott and Hermiene Tyler reversed a 5-6 round robin loss to the Kings with a thrilling 6-5 win in the final of the A Grade in a high-quality match in difficult conditions.

Despite a strong afternoon sea breeze that tested even the most seasoned campaigners, it produced some brilliant tennis and the B Grade final was just as enthralling.

Youngster Mackenzie Thompson carried her father Paul through to a nail biting 5-4 win against Michelle Cook and Greg ‘Duck’ Hill who finished on top of the table after the round robin stage.

Shot of the tournament goes to Kazim Khap, a regular at the Albany Open, for a ‘tweener’ (between the legs) winner that Roger F would have been proud of.

Outstanding Kazim.

Thanks go to Club Curator Ian MacMillan for preparing the courts for not only the Open but throughout the season.

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Crime spree ends with guilty plea to 15 charges

A WOMAN who stole thousands of dollars worth of property in a series of burglaries across Albany over the Christmas period will face a District Court judge in May for sentencing.

Mirella Pearl Woods appeared in Albany Magistrates Court via video link from Melaleuca Prison last Thursday and pleaded guilty to 15 home burglary and stealing charges.

This included two counts of aggravated home burglary and commit, one of attempted home burglary with intent, four counts of home burglary and commit, two counts of stealing a motor vehicle and six counts of stealing.

The court was told Ms Woods broke into four homes across two suburbs, and attempted to break into a fifth, in the final two weeks of December before police apprehended her.

Prosecuting Sergeant Peter Yuswak said Ms Woods’ crime spree began on December 19 and December 20 when she broke into a Mira Mar property and stole a Microsoft laptop valued at $1700.

She then attempted to enter another home in the same suburb but was unsuccessful.

On Boxing Day, Ms Woods broke into a Lockyer property, whose occupants were away on holiday, twice within the span of a few hours and stole more than $1000 worth of items.

This incident was captured on security cameras inside the house.

Five days later, Ms Woods burglarised another Lockyer home where she took a Samsung phone, sunglasses and other items totalling $1100, as well as a Holden Commodore Sedan valued at more than $1000.

She then returned to Mira Mar and stole alcohol, chocolate and other items worth $195, a blue leather handbag, a black purse and a Holden Sedan valued at more than $1000.

Ms Woods was represented by defence counsel Janie Gibbs and will front the District Court sitting in Albany on May 26.

Magistrate Raelene Johnston ordered presentencing and psychiatric reports be prepared prior to this date.

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