Donation boosts artists’ creativity

COCOON Store and Studio volunteer Billie Cunningham believes a recent donation of goods to the Albany-based store will help create a multitude of new artistic projects for the creative minds who volunteer there.

Empire Blue owners Carmel and Evelina Daniele donated a range of stock to Cocoon Store and Studio this week in the name of community spirit.

Cocoon Store and Studio operates as both a retail outlet and creative workshop space, where community members can donate goods to be resold or upcycled by volunteer artists practising in the store.

Its beneficiary is the Albany Community Hospice, with all profits made at Cocoon going to the hospice.

Ms and Miss Daniele hope other local businesses will follow suite to help the cause.

“Cocoon is such a great idea,” the mother-daughter duo agreed.

“It’s a fantastic way for aspiring artists to sell their goods and to put their names out there, so we encourage everyone in the community to help out and donate when they can.

“And Hospice is so important; we have to support it.”

Ms Cunningham was appreciative of the donation, which included pillows, scarves, photo frames and baskets.

“These are wonderful,” she said.

“We will be able to re-sell these and give the money to Hospice, and some of our Cocoon artists can spruce them up as projects.

“Like this pillow for example; it could sell as it is, or one of our girls might think, this is a great blank canvas to sew onto, and it gives the pillow a new look.”

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Road name changes afoot

PUBLIC comment is now open regarding proposed road name changes to portions of five streets in Little Grove.

Parts of Queen Street, Marine Terrace, Rushy Lane, Stubbs Road and O’Connell Street will be considered to form three larger streets – Rushy Crescent, Friend Court and Stubbs Close.

City of Albany Acting Executive Director for Development Services Jan van der Mescht said the City was considering the road renaming in response to feedback from local residents.

“The aim is to remove any confusion to emergency service responders, service providers and visitors to the area while also bringing the street addressing into alignment with current road naming practices as outlined in the Geographic Names Committee Policy and Standards for Geographical Naming in Western Australia,” he said.

Mr van der Mescht added that the proposal also addressed road name duplication, such as Marine Terrace – there is one in Little Grove and one in Middleton Beach.

He reiterated the proposal was in its very early stages of community consultation and changes to street numbering would be addressed through this process.

To see if you could be affected by these name changes, visit

Public submissions regarding this proposal can be made to the City up until October 4 via mail – Zoe Sewell, City of Albany, PO Box 484, Albany WA 6331 – or by email –


Image: Courtesy City of Albany.

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Linking lineages

PRINCESS Diana, King Henry VIII, actor Chris Pratt and even the Viking King Rollo – it turns out Albany is home to distant relatives of a host of famous figures past and present.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints’ Family History Centre has for decades been helping people navigate their family trees.

At the end of this month the church will throw an open day to show others how it’s done.

Family history consultants Christine Paisley and Helen Cope spoke with the Weekender about some of their greatest successes so far.

“It can be really overwhelming, it can be mind blowing,” Ms Paisley said.

“A lot of people don’t know where they belong and yet when you start family history and you’ve done a little bit of research, you find stories, you find photographs, and you can relate to people in your past.

“They don’t become so much names as they become part of your life story.”

The team at the Family History Centre convenes at the Church every Tuesday and Thursday from 10am and utilises websites like Ancestry, Find My Past and My Heritage.

Ms Cope said their combined efforts with the Albany Regional Family History Society had traced familial lineages as far back as to the times of Richard the Lionheart in the 12th century.

“It gives you some sort of background, a lot of families are fractured these days,” she said.

“Doing family history is really important for self-esteem and has a lot of psychological benefits.”

Ms Cope added that a number of “ordinary people” they had worked with had followed their tree all the way “back to royalty”.

“She’s one of them,” she said of Ms Paisley.

“I make sure to bow down each time I see her.”

Recent investigations into Ms Paisley’s tree have found her to be a distant relation of the late Princess Diana, King Henry VIII, author of Little Women Louisa May Alcott and even Chris Pratt from Guardians of the Galaxy fame.

“I mean you might be 16th cousins but when I told my 14-year-old grandson [about our shared lineage] he was just so blown away. I laminated the tree for him so he could see where he fit in,” she said.

She added their work had also helped people discover relatives that were still living and said one lady told the group she was a child from Fairbridge, a Farm School in Pinjarra migrant children from England were sent to in the early 20th century.

“She said she was a child from a big family and was told she was going for a holiday in Australia, but of course she never went home,” Ms Paisley said.

“We got into the phone books in England and we found out her cousins had lost their husbands and we went through the marriages and deaths.

“There were three phone numbers and she phoned them and came back and said she found her cousins. Honestly, I felt like I could cry.”

The group’s open day will take place from 10am to 3pm on Saturday, August 31 at 81 Seymour Street in Mira Mar.

Those attending are encouraged to bring with them any information that could aid their search, such as dates and places of birth.

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Ninja course sneaks into Albany

AN ALBANY ‘ninja’ began construction on a real-life ninja obstacle course rivalling the one from television show Australian Ninja Warrior this week and plans to open the doors to the adventure centre in mid-November.

Sam Goodall, known as the tradie ninja from Australian Ninja Warrior, has combined forces with nature playground builder James McLean to create Unhinge the Ninja, a business venture that will form part of a broader vision, Albany Indoor Adventures.

The pair recently signed a lease to occupy a vacant building on the corner of Sanford Road and Albany Highway, and plan to have things up and running before the Christmas school holidays.

“We’re really energised about getting kids off screens and getting body exercise, not thumb exercise,” Mr McLean said.

“I approached Sam after I saw him on Australian Ninja Warrior and we’re working together to create a nature ninja workout studio with an edgy, urban twist.”

Mr McLean remained tight-lipped about what else was planned for the centre but told the Weekender there would be a variety of full-size obstacles, a warped wall and a rock-climbing setup, amongst other activities.

The entire indoor adventure centre will be suitable for all ages and host classes, workshops and monthly competitions.

“I’ll be training here for the next season of Australian Ninja Warrior,” Mr Goodall revealed.

“So, it will all be proper full-scale as well as a great place for families to come and do something together – there will be an intermediate and an advanced course so anyone can give it a go.”

Mr McLean said a massive undercover carpark would allow lots of people to visit the adventure centre, that birthday parties would be able to be hosted at the centre, and that the centre would likely trade six days a week, Tuesday to Sunday.

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Hotel fate rests with committee

A COMMITTEE has now been formed to lead the way in determining whether Broomehill’s Imperial Hotel will ever return to its former glory.

The pub closed down in May this year and has since been left abandoned, with no new owner taking the reins after previous management walked away from it.

Broomehill farmer Scott Thompson said a meeting held last week to discuss the pub’s fate was well attended by locals.

“We had about 40 people turn up, plenty of good people,” he said.

“Out of that, nine people put up their hands to be part of a committee and that’s enough for us to get started.”

Mr Thompson explained the committee’s role now was to “go away and do some research” and weigh up the community’s options.

“There’s definitely a desire to have a pub,” he said.

“But people don’t really know how to do something – whether it’s as radical as knocking it down and building a new facility… the main thing is that it caused a reaction when it closed, and we need to work together to do something about it.”

Mr Thompson hopes the committee will liaise with the community sooner rather than later to discuss the next step.

The Weekender will keep you informed of any updates.

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Immunotherapy last hope

THE family of an Albany man diagnosed with terminal cancer 12 months ago has put a call out to the public to try and help fund expensive immunotherapy treatment to try and uphold the best quality of life possible for him.

Peter Morris, former editor of the Weekender and media advisor to Member for O’Connor Rick Wilson, developed an unusual stomach ache in July last year that turned into a stage four stomach cancer diagnosis one month later.

Told he could not have radiation therapy or an operation to treat his cancer, Mr Morris underwent 20 rounds of chemotherapy before he and his family decided to look at other options.

Kit Morris, Mr Morris’s eldest son, said his father was identified as an ideal candidate to join a trial for immunotherapy treatment.

The cost of this procedure is $60,000.

“The treatment isn’t available on the pharmaceutical benefit scheme and isn’t covered by Dad’s health fund,” Kit said.

“But it could give him a better quality of life and potentially save his life.

“It is not easy asking for help, particularly financial help, but as we have used our family savings, we would be very, very grateful to anyone who would like to help.”

Kit, his younger brother Jake and his mother Carol describe Mr Morris as loving and caring.

“He’s a very generous man, very kind,” Kit said.

“He’s a loving father and he’s been very involved with the local community since we moved from the UK.

“What more can I say? He’s just a great guy.”

A Go Fund Me page set up for Mr Morris has raised approximately $1500 so far.

Anyone wishing to donate money for Mr Morris’s immunotherapy treatment can do so by visiting or by searching ‘Peter’s Immunotherapy’ on the Go Fund Me website and choosing the search result with a black and white image of a beret and glasses-wearing Mr Morris.

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Cause blossoms

BURSTS of yellow will be seen across Albany tomorrow in the name of annual Cancer Council WA fundraiser Daffodil Day.

Six locations in town will have Daffodil Day stalls set up with fresh daffodils and merchandise for sale to raise money for cancer research.

Cancer Council WA Great Southern Regional Education Officer Bruce Beamish said funds from the day would go directly to the Daffodil Day Appeal.

“Despite advances made in research and improving survival rates for many cancers, we know that one in two Australians will be diagnosed by the age of 85,” he said.

“By supporting the Daffodil Day Appeal, you will help us invest in cutting-edge, lifesaving research to give Australians hope for a cancer free future.”

Daffodil Day stands will be located at the Sanford Road and York Street post offices, National Bank of Australia, IGA Spencer Park and York Street, and Albany Plaza.

Pictured here is Matilda, Chloe and Cadence Goodall, who are big supporters of Daffodil Day.

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Stars of speech

AN ALBANY public speaking group that in the past decade has helped dozens from the town and surrounding areas face their fear of talking in front of crowds is putting the call out for new members.

The Southern Star Speaking Club has been running weekly get-togethers at the Albany Bridge Club on Mills Street since June 2008 and earlier this year convened its 450th meeting.

Current President Chris Walker said the group aimed to provide members with the opportunity to learn how to speak in public, make presentations and chair meetings successfully.

“It comes down to confidence building a lot of the time. People have this inbuilt fear of public speaking and we try to put that fear to one side by providing a self-paced learning environment for them,” he said.

“We do this by giving comments at the end of the meeting not necessarily on what they said but on how they said it.

“It’s so important in these days of texting that when you do need to communicate face-to-face, one-on-one or in a group, you can stand there and know you’ve got the right idea.”

Mr Walker has been involved with the club since 1981 when it was still known as Rostrum Club 41 after the state public speaking coaching organisation Rostrum Western Australia.

He won the 1988 Rostrum WA Speaker of the Year competition and said the skills he has learned have assisted with everything from job interviews to selling life insurance.

According to Mr Walker, while membership numbers have varied sporadically since the group’s inception, the club continued to attract people from all segments of the community including retirees and young people going off to university.

“We used to do sessions with the primary schools around the area a few years back, as well as debating competitions at high schools [like Albany Senior High School and North Albany Senior High School],” he said.

“Getting to 450 meetings was brilliant, getting to 500 will be better and getting to 1000 will be even better.”

Mr Walker added that new visitors were more than welcome to come in and see what it was all about.

“The one thing we wouldn’t do is put you out in front of the group on your first night … we try not to put people under pressure because if you do that people would be out the door so fast,” he said.

“Public speaking is something you’re constantly revising and learning and you just have to let yourself be open to it.”

The Southern Star Speaking Club convenes every Wednesday night, except on school holidays, at 6:30pm.

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Scout leader retires after 27 years

ALBANY Scout leader Greg ‘Wombo’ Henderson has hung up his scarf and badges for the final time as he steps down as District Commissioner of the Stirling District Scouts.

Mr Henderson has dedicated nearly three decades of his life to Scouts but has decided it’s time to slow down, finish off a few projects around home, and let some young blood take the reins.

He reflected on his time with Scouts with the Weekender.

Mr Henderson was first introduced to Scouts as a Wolf Cub when he was eight, back in 1967 in Mt Magnet.

His older brother had already joined the group and “blazed the trail” for him to join.

Mr Henderson graduated from Wolf Cub to Scout in his early teens when his family moved to Perth, where he has fond memories of camping and canoeing.

Turn the clock forward a few years after Army Reserves service, a marriage and a few kids later, Mr Henderson found himself drawn back to Scouts.

He served as Cub Leader with the Beechboro West Swan Scout Group from 1992 to 1995.

The Hendersons then relocated to Albany and Mr Henderson continued his work with Scouts.

All three of the Henderson children joined Scouts and the Henderson name became synonymous with the organisation.

Mr Henderson held various leadership roles with Albany Scouts before being promoted to District Commissioner in 2009.

“Probably the highlight for me with Scouts is running the camps,” Mr Henderson said.

“Interacting with kids and making the programs … it’s about just giving back and giving the kids memories of a fun youth.

“We try and instill those memories with their badges too, so when they’re older, they can look at those badges and it will trigger the fun memories.”

Now, after just under three decades of active leadership roles in Scouts, Mr Henderson has decided it’s time to give someone else a go.

“I’m a bit exhausted after 27 years,” he laughed.

But Mr Henderson won’t be completely tied off from Scouts – he and Mrs Henderson have founded the Great Southern Scout Fellowship, to give older and retired Scouts the opportunity to maintain contact.

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School crash mystery

AN INVESTIGATION is still unfolding into what crashed, laid eggs and made a mess in the library at Yakamia Primary School on Monday morning.

There were no witnesses to the crash landing but a few students had theories.

Some were convinced it was a Pokemon chicken that had crashed into the courtyard, covered in rocks and debris and leaving behind suspicious white footprints, while others thought it was a bearded dragon, a dragon, an emu, and a dragon that looked like an emu.

Principal Gemma Larham called an emergency school assembly straight after the morning siren rang to update students on what she knew.

CCTV footage of the crash landing was also aired at the assembly, which students watched in awe, shock and doubt.

“We’ve had the City town planner, environmental officer and fire officers here to check it is safe for everyone and they have said there is no radiation, so it is safe to be at school,” Ms Larham said, much to the dismay of some students.

“What we do know is that something, maybe a meteorite or an asteroid, crash landed and there are three eggs in the library.

“When I found the eggs this morning, they were warm and had a glow to them.

“So if any students have any leads, please make sure you tell the front office or your teachers.”

Deputy Principal Kylee Weadley thought the event was a great opportunity for students to practise their writing skills.

“We have a focus on writing here and we’re trying to help the kids be more engaged and excited about writing,” she said.

“This is a language experience that will prompt lots of different writing, research and news reporting.”

Ms Weadley confirmed she too had heard the various student theories and spent some of her morning reassuring parents that school was definitely still safe to be at.

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