Shedders back on the tools

ALBANY Men’s Shed is back in business after a two-month hiatus, with local shedders ready to get their hands busy again.

The community shed was forced to close in early April due to COVID-19 restrictions, however was able to reopen last Tuesday while following new guidelines.

Albany Men’s Shed President Gary Duncan said while the time apart was tough, shedders were ecstatic to be back in their community and working on projects.

“It’s been fantastic,” he said.

“It’s good for a lot of the men, because they’ve been isolated away in lockdown and they’re just glad to come back and talk and do a bit of playing around in the shed again.”

While the shed is limited to allowing a maximum of 20 people in the shed at one time, the new approach has not hampered their experience.

“It’s very similar to everywhere else in town, we’ve got lots of crosses on the floors, we’ve got to keep social distancing, we’ve got the area for them to have their coffees with all the chairs 1.5m apart,” Mr Duncan said.

“It’s those sorts of things.

“We’ve followed all the COVID-19 requirements and it’s worked exceptionally well, so it’s been great in that way.”

With a lot of stories about their time away, shedders can now share them while working on new projects to help the community.

“We’re making a couple of picnic tables for clients so we’ve got those on the go, and we’ve got a couple of park benches that we’re making for a couple of clients also, and we’ve got a number of littler projects than those going on so it’s all go again,” Mr Duncan said.

He said that times like these have reminded the community what role the
shed holds for so many men across Albany.

“The Men’s Shed is a very important thing for the community in the way that it gives men somewhere to go and talk,” Mr Duncan said.

“It also gives their partners or family members a break.

“They come down and it’s a respite or time out for Mum who’s been with them for a while too, they still feel needed by doing projects and it’s something they can get their hands into.

“We’ve got guys who have been desk jockeys all their life and have never thought that they could do some of the things we’ve taught them to do.

“That side of it is very good.”

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Construction has positive outlook

DESPITE many projects, expansions and activities being put on hold, The Outlook at Albany is moving ahead with its development program, providing a welcome boost for local trades.

Village Manager Simon Bairstow said that the construction at the gated community will provide six new homes, as well as an investment of more than $200,000 to develop a 40-bay caravan and boat parking facility.

Mr Bairstow said the goal of these new developments is not only to improve the offerings at The Outlook, but to also provide work for local tradespeople.

“The appointment of leading local builder Ryde Building and their skilled team of tradespeople continues our tradition of delivering quality homes, [which] we can now do so with an impressive build time of around three months,” Mr Bairstow said.

Ryde Building Co General Manager Ian Woods said the importance of maintaining a steady flow of work throughout the past few months has been critical.

“The ability to keep our guys working is the bottom line,” he said.

“It has ended up being a really good gig for us as a local builder, because they’re relatively simple jobs so we can just move the trades through them when things get a bit quiet at one end.”

While business has been mostly as usual, Mr Woods said the impacts of coronavirus on his industry are still there.

“On the ground it’s been fine, because it generally takes three to six months for things to have an impact,” he said.

“But I’d say we’ll probably take a dip around August.”

However, Mr Woods remains hopeful that his business will stay steady.

“I don’t think it’ll be as bad as we first thought it was,” he said.

“Certainly the new sign-ups haven’t been as great the last couple of months, but the inquiry rate now is up a bit and we’re getting significant inquiry back in, so hopefully that will be really good for us.”

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Teacher’s workbook walks the talk

A GREAT Southern primary school teacher has created her own vocabulary class resource to fill a void she has seen in children’s language skills.

Kendenup Primary School’s Raelene Palfrey was inspired to create the vocabulary workbook after a student approached her and struggled to convey what they wanted to say.

She began using the resource this year in her Year 4/5/6 class and said her students loved it.

“I could see that the vocabulary was actually shrinking with the kids,” Ms Palfrey said.

“They weren’t using extremely vivid words, and it was affecting their reading, because they would come across words they had never used or seen before.

“So it’s had quite a profound impact on their ability to describe how they are feeling and on their reading.”

Ms Palfrey’s class spends time every day to work on a few pages of the book.
Activities include learning the definition of words, finding synonyms and antonyms of words, learning different verbs, adjectives and nouns, and crafting ‘stretchy sentences’.

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Time to fix shingle hut

EFFORTS are currently underway to preserve a part of Denmark’s rich history in the form of a shingle hut which dates back over 100 years.

The hut belonged to Bert Saw, a pioneering farmer from Bow Bridge, who arrived in the Denmark area in 1907.

The Denmark Historical Society’s Bev McGuinness said Mr Saw was a well-known character around town during that time.

“His claim to fame is that he took a lot of photos, and the historical society actually had an exhibition in January of his pictures because it was 50 years since he was killed in a car accident,” she said.

While Mr Saw’s memory remains a vivid part of Denmark’s history, the shingle hut he built 112 years ago needs some work.

City of Albany Senior Town Planner Cindy Simpson said she immediately thought of the hut when shingles were being removed from the old Albany hospital.

“I used to work at the Shire of Denmark and when I worked there we did the review of the local heritage survey, so I knew that the Bert Saw house needed new shingles,” she said.

“At the time when we were working on all our heritage places, there were concerns about the maintenance of [the hut] in order to protect it.”

Since moving jobs to the City of Albany, Ms Simpson kept Bert Saw’s hut in the back of her mind.

“Now I’m working at the City of Albany I’m again involved in the review of the local heritage survey so I manage our heritage portfolio, so when they were replacing the roof at the old Albany hospital and they put an expression of interest to artists or anyone who would like to make use of the shingles from the roof I thought of Bert Saw,” she said.

Ms Simpson said the importance of maintaining these historical places in our region is invaluable and encourages people to learn more about the stories in our landscape.

“It tells a story of the history of early settlement,” she said.

“Protecting our heritage is not only part of the story of the development of the district, but it also is what makes a place.

“It creates a richness in history and heritage and adds texture to your local community and place that you won’t otherwise have.

“That’s why I think protecting our heritage is very important.”

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Sampson’s cancer struggle herculean

THE final journey of life can be an uncomfortable topic for some people, and one Albany family is all too familiar with the issue.

But in recognition of National Palliative Care Week, Yakamia residents Jenny and Greg Sampson have decided to share their story in the hope it will encourage others requiring health assistance at the end of their life to not be scared about asking for help.

Ms Sampson has been fighting cancers as they have torn across her body for 12 years, ever since she was first diagnosed with stage two breast cancer in 2008.

First developing in her breast, a tumour then grew on her chest wall and rib and cracked her rib, leading to further cancers spreading along her sternum, spine and shoulder.

The Sampsons have slowly come to terms with how bad Ms Sampson’s fight for life is at the moment, and heartbreakingly described it to the Weekender as possibly her last fight.

They sought the palliative care assistance of Clarence Estate in October last year and Mr Sampson said one nurse in particular had saved his wife’s life twice.

Mr Sampson didn’t have enough words to praise Clarence Estate’s Allison Key for her dedication.

“Jenny would be dead if it wasn’t for Allison,” he said.

“I wouldn’t have been able to do any of this on my own … they’ve been brilliant.”

Mr Sampson said when his wife is very ill, Ms Key or another nurse visits their house up to twice a day.

On a normal week, they visit once per week.

The Clarence Estate palliative care team of six aids Ms Sampson with symptom control and management and clinical assessments.

Ms Key said the facility had the only community palliative care service with a 24/7 home visit service in the region.

National Palliative Care Week 2020 was held from May 24-30 with the theme, ‘Palliative care, it’s more than you think’.

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Surfing legend in hall of fame

ALBANY-BORN surfing legend Jodie Cooper was inducted into the 2020 Australian Surfing Awards Hall of Fame this week.

The renowned big-wave rider credited her upbringing in the powerful waves of WA as a major reason why she thrived in places like Hawaii where she won a number of titles.

Ms Cooper won 13 international surfing events and was runner-up a further 13 occasions in her professional career spanning 20 years.

The 56-year-old is globally recognised as the best women’s surfer never to win a world title.

In 1991, Ms Cooper starred as a surfing stunt double for actress Lori Perry in the Hollywood blockbuster film Point Break starring Patrick Swayze and Keanu Reeves.

“That was epic, I worked there for over a month in locations from California to Hawaii,” she said.

“It’s an iconic film and still plays regularly on TV.”

She also assisted in the 2017 movie Breath, a film adaptation of Tim Winton’s novel, with much of the action set in Denmark.

Ms Cooper’s surfing career started as an amateur in 1981 and turned professional two years later.

By the end of 1984 she was ranked number four in the world.

She had her first professional win at Huntington Beach in California at the start of 1985 and later in the year won the World Cup in Hawaii.

With a number of second and third placings, she ended that year number two in the world.

Ms Cooper said her most cherished victory was at Bells Beach in 1985 but also added that her titles in Hawaii were important.

“It’s just an intense wave, I still get overawed when surfing Hawaii,” she said.

“It’s just a rock in the middle of the ocean with no continental shelf.

“The strength and calibre of the waves is unmatched although the closest would be the breaks in southern WA.”

Ms Cooper quit the world tour in 1994 and after suffering a back injury, retired in 2002.

She acknowledged her hardest competitors were four-time world champion Wendy Botha and Pam Burridge although “on the day, anyone could beat you”.

The Jodie Cooper Award, first awarded in 1999, is made to the Western Australian Female Surfer of the Year.

Ms Cooper was made a Life Member of the Association of Surfing Professionals in 1994 and in 2001 was inducted into the Western Australian Hall of Champions.

Proud brother and Albany local Russ Cooper said Ms Cooper started surfing with him and his mates at some ‘gnarly, heavy waves’ including Sand Patch and Blowholes.

“She was fearless, only 55kg dripping wet yet charging,” he recalled.

“I remember one day she surfed Sunset Point at 22ft and was snapping boards and heading straight back out there.

“She would be the humblest person I know, she is admired and respected by the most powerful people in the surfing industry.”

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Volunteer reaches milestone

ALBANY Heritage Park volunteer Eric Corrigan has celebrated 30 years at his post this week and plans to continue working there for as long as he can.

The 90-year-old found himself volunteering at the Heritage Park in 1990 to cover a shift for his cousin, who had a softball game to get to.

Mr Corrigan ended up taking over the position permanently and never left.

For a few years, Mr Corrigan was volunteering at the Heritage Park seven days a week but has now reduced his workload to just Sundays.

He said his wife threatened to bring his bed up to the Park because he was there so much.

“I love my wife but coming up here on Sundays gives her space,” Mr Corrigan laughed.

He reminisced on some of his favourite memories made at the Heritage Park. One in particular was while touring with a group of visitors through the underground magazine, he released a surprise party popper and got a huge reaction from the group.

“I would wait until it was completely silent and a little bit eerie then I’d pull the party popper,” Mr Corrigan laughed.

“It was always the highlight of my tour and added an element of surprise which the visitors enjoyed afterwards, and of course we made sure there were no existing medical conditions!”

City of Albany CEO Andrew Sharpe said Mr Corrigan’s dedication to the Albany Heritage Park could not be faulted.

“His knowledge of Australian military history means visitors that have been fortunate enough to tour the site with him are left with a deeper understanding of the site’s significance,” he said.

“Eric’s friendly demeanor and approachability has made him a go-to for training new volunteers, a source of captivating stories and a local treasure among our Albany community.”

Mr Corrigan’s 30-year volunteer service will be celebrated with a small ceremony at the Princess Royal Fortress next week.

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Magnificent sunrise for cash cow winner

AN ALBANY woman has taken out a national prize with the Sunrise Cash Cow competition, winning $10,000 before breakfast.

Amy Roggio has been entering the competition on and off for the past few years, but never imagined that she would be the one to receive the winning call.

“I’ve been home so much lately because of all the drama in the world so I’ve been seeing the code words coming up more over the past few weeks, but I never thought I would win,” she said.

“They give you a call and you have to answer within three rings.

“For WA people it’s usually pretty early in the morning so I’d just woken up to my phone flashing with a Sydney number, and I thought it was either them or probably Telstra telling me to pay my bill.”

The win couldn’t have come at a better time.

Like many Australians, Ms Roggio had lost her casual job due to the pandemic.

“I felt amazing when they called me, I didn’t quite believe, I thought I was dreaming,” she said.

“I’m a uni student and I lost my casual job at the start of all of this so it will definitely help me out.

“It’s come at the perfect time.”

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Hard grind for skaters

ALBANY teenagers say they’ve been left behind by Phase 1 and 2 of the State Government’s plan to relax restrictions, with one of their main hangout spots still out of bounds.

Unlike most other states, WA went against Federal Government recommendations to open skate parks and playgrounds in the first stage of Australia’s COVID-19 recovery.

Skate parks and BMX tracks will reopen in Queensland and New South Wales on Friday, despite having some of the highest case numbers of COVID-19 in the nation.

Pubs and restaurants can open up on Monday in WA, but board riders might have to wait a month to get back in the bowl when the State Government moves to Phase 3 of its recovery plan.

Premier Mark McGowan said Government considered opening hospitality venues a safer option than allowing skate parks to be used again.

“The thing about skate parks and playgrounds is there is very sparse cleaning, if any, and you don’t know who’s been there before you,” he said.

“Whereas in a cafe or restaurant you can trace who will be there because you’ll be required, if you’re going to go and have a meal, that you write your name and phone number so we can trace that.”

But Albany skater Rylie Owens said it was ridiculous to open pubs but not skate parks where there is minimal, if any, contact between riders as everyone had their own equipment.

While skate parks remain shut, Mr Owens said it affected his mental health.

“It’s a happy place,” he said.

“People look at us as a bunch of delinquents who use drugs and cause trouble, but that’s just not right.

“We hang out and do what adults do. It’s just about catching up, just in a different way.”

BMX rider Cheyenne Ashton said she felt like teenagers had been left out of the conversation of which restrictions should be relaxed.

“We don’t have a voice,” she said.

“They’ve cancelled a lot of our options to go outside.”

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Building on Lego creativity

LEGO continues to be a favourite among the youngsters of our community and eight-year-old Billie Wheeler is no exception.

The Lego master has been participating in virtual Albany Lego Club Challenges over the past few weeks and recently created a treehouse, an ‘R’ for recycling and a flying beetle for the latest challenge.

The club regularly invites kids of the Great Southern to get creative by building something from scratch and embracing a design theme.

Kids interested in getting in on the action can submit photos of their designs to library@albany.wa.gov.au.

Creations they will be featured on the Albany Public Library Facebook page and the Albany Public Library Kids At Home webpage.

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