Students win scholarships

THREE Boyup Brook teenagers aspiring to attend the WA College of Agriculture in Denmark have each received $1000 to help make their dreams come true.

Roreigh Curran-Jones, Josh Coole and Georgia Dalton were the successful recipients of scholarships from Rylington Park Research & Training.

The students met the criteria of living within the Shire of Boyup Brook, put forward a compelling case outlining their desire to attend an agricultural school and performed well at an interview with a panel from Rylington Park Management Committee.

WA College of Agriculture Denmark Principal Kevin Osborne said he was thrilled the three students chose his school.

“We strive to encourage our students to take part in study streams that matter to them and gain knowledge and skills that they can take with them into every-day life when they graduate,” he said.

“I have no doubt that Georgia, Roreigh and Josh will be able to take back to their communities a wealth of learning during their time here.”

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Dining in style for Sailability

GREAT Southern locals are being encouraged to dress up in their finest white attire this Sunday in support of a sailing club’s disability program.

Sailability is an initiative that aims to get people of all abilities into sailing through specialised equipment and experienced support.

Now in its third year, the annual Le Dejenur en Blanc – white picnic for the non-French speaking linguists – is an afternoon of picnicking that raises funds for Princess Royal Sailing Club’s (PRSC) Sailability program.

Held on picture-perfect parkland right next to the sailing club, attendees are asked to setup their own picnic spread and let the good times roll as local musicians entertain.

Gracing the stage will be the Albany Pipe Band, Phil and Plune, Shanty Lilies, Mike Hyder and David Rastrick.

Raising almost $7000 since the event first started in 2018, organiser Georgie Walker is hoping for another strong turn out on Sunday.

“We’ve got a coffee van this year,” she said.

“People have asked me about having add-ons, but I feel it’s enough to ask them to bring everything.”

There’s also a prize for best looking table, with the winner banking dinner for four at Lime 303.

“Some of the ideas are fantastic,” Ms Walker said.

“It was really difficulty to judge last year’s winner.

“People do go out of the way with their food and presentation. It looks great.”

Since the Sailability program started at PRSC about a decade ago, it’s played a big role in re-shaping the identity of the club, according to former Commodore Clive Walker.

“We’re reaching out more into the community, rather than just being all about racing,” he said.

“We’ve spent about $250,000 on infrastructure since the program began.

“Originally there wasn’t even a ramp into the front of the club. It’s made a huge difference to people.”

Mr Walker said the club also took people with disabilities out fishing if that was more their thing.

“It’s growing,” he said. “Royal Perth Yacht Club said we probably have the best Sailability program in the state right now.”

With the introduction of the National Disability Insurance Scheme, Mr Walker said participants could even have their sailing fees covered.

“If they come to the club they can get the details, but NDIS will cover even the $55-an-hour coaching fees,” he said.

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Dave feels the burn

‘DEMONIC’ Dave is his name and chilli is his game.

Albany man Dave Shorter has been munching on chillis and all things hot and spicy since he was five years old and is aiming to lock down the title of Chilli King in just about every competition there is in existence.

He is part of the UK’s League of Fire, is an accredited top-tier Golden Ladle Chilli Head with the N.E.U.K Chilli Heads and is now eyeing the title of best in Australia when it comes to eating hot things.

Mr Shorter already has the title of best in WA but that’s not enough.

So, he’s heading to New Zealand in May to take on the eating challenge of eating challenges.

But before he goes, Mr Shorter has been hard at work accruing points in various chilli food challenges.

The rules are simple: eating certain foods is worth a certain amount of points, and the winner is the person with the most points.

Each challenge must be filmed live and you have to film the “afterburn” too, not just the eating part.

The hottest thing he’s had recently was the Tube of Terror.

“It’s a tube of peanuts,” Mr Shorter said.

“I had cramps for about six hours afterwards.

“And when I’ve spoken to lady competitors, they compared the cramps to giving birth.”

Mr Shorter has to eat chilli in some shape or form regularly to maintain his ability to eat it successfully.

The key to eating it successfully also comes down to prep work – he drinks plenty of milk and eats lots of carbs beforehand, and drinks lemon and lime juice afterwards.

He has chilli-flavoured candy every day at lunch time – his co-workers find it weird and hilarious.

But, chilli is Mr Shorter’s thing and he loves it.

So much so, he wants to start a chilli festival in Albany.

“We need to bring chilli to Albany,” he said.

“It could be our thing.

“We could invite growers from Perth and over east and they’d supply their products, and it would encourage local growers as well.”

Mr Shorter is currently working on a chilli-eating challenge with new Lockyer cafe D&C Grill Taste of Albany.

You can watch Demonic Dave take on food challenges with Carolina Reaper Peppers, Scorpion Chilli, Bhut Jolokia Chilli and 13M Capsaicin Crystals, or offer him some of your own chilli-hot products to review, on his Facebook page.

Just search Dave Shorter.

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Donate to share the dignity

FOR most women, buying sanitary products is something they don’t give a second thought about.

They need them, so they buy them; if anything, they see them as just another annoying thing they have to add to the shopping list.

But for some women, buying these essential items is difficult – they can’t afford them, they have been prevented by others from buying them, or they have to forgo them for other essentials, like food.

Share the Dignity is a charity designed to aid girls and women experiencing homelessness, domestic violence or poverty by giving them sanitary products such as pads and tampons.

The organisation has an annual Dignity Drive for such products and the Albany drive starts next month.

“There are so many people using services like this in Albany,” Coordinator Trish Robinson said.

“I was contacted once by a school because a young girl had been using the same tampon for two days … the health risks associated with that are huge.

“I’ve heard of people using toilet paper or socks instead of sanitary products … and it’s not just young girls – there’s a whole generation of women out there without pads and tampons.

“That’s why it is so important that we can do this.”

The Albany Dignity Drive begins on March 1 and will continue until March 31.

There will be collection points for sanitary products – pads, tampons, incontinence pads, cups, and underwear – at various stores across Albany, including Woolworths, for that time period.

“We only ask for products, not money,” Ms Robinson said.

“And anything collected in the Great Southern stays in the Great Southern.”

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Heroic war animals remembered

ANIMALS who have assisted with war efforts throughout history will be remembered at an event this weekend at Albany’s National Anzac Centre.

National War Animals Memorial Day commemorations will commence at 11am on February 23 and include a display by the 10th Light Horse Albany Troop.

Troop President Maxine Brown said this year was the first time the event had ever been held in Albany.

“It recognises all animals who have served in all wars, not just the wars within the past 100 years,” she said.

“Animals, particularly horses, were used to transport troops and gear, but animals were also used as mascots.

“And then you’ve got the explosive detective dogs that are used in Afghanistan, and a lot of dogs become very good companions to soldiers with PTSD.

“Animals are just so important.”

Premier Mark McGowan will travel to Albany to attend the Sunday event and said the opportunity to commemorate mateship and the role of loyal animals was very special.

“Animals including horses, dogs and even pigeons have been loyal mates for our troops in times of need and it is fitting we recognise their role as part of the National War Animals Memorial Day,” he said.

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Car show a rare vintage

A FAMILY passion passed down through the generations is the backbone of an annual event that showcases all things vintage cars, tractors and machinery.

This Saturday’s fifth annual Cars & Coffee is a chance for Great Southern motoring enthusiasts to display and sell their treasured collectables.

The event is the brainchild of the Walmsley family, who have been running the swapmeet since it started in 2014.

The late George Walmsley was a passionate collector of vintage machinery.

According to grandson Charles Walmsley, he owned one of the biggest Massey-Ferguson tractor collections in Australia, and passed his love for vintage pieces down the family tree.

“When my grandfather passed, it was all handed down to my father Gordon and he wanted to showcase it,” Charles said.

“He wanted to open a museum but this was the next best thing.

“We also wanted to showcase what we have and what everyone else in the community has in their collections.”

A gold coin donation gets you entry, with all proceeds going towards running the event and supporting not-for-profit group Albany Community Hospice.

There will be food vans and coffee vans onsite, or you’re welcome to bring your own snacks and refreshments.

People with interesting wares to sell are also encouraged to setup small stalls.

“The beauty of our event, unlike a lot of car shows, is people can come and go whenever they want – you don’t have to stay,” Charles said.

“We are doing it the week before Racewars as a bit of a warm up. There will be a lot of Racewars cars here.”

Charles said Cars & Coffee was a great networking opportunity for classic car enthusiasts, offering up the chance to buy a gem piece you’ve always dreamed of.

The event will be held from 10am to 3pm this Saturday at 278 Robinson Road, Albany.

For more information about the event, contact Charles Walmsley on 0439 097 515.

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Campaign promotes early detection

A TELEVISION commercial featuring GPs from regional WA is among a number of Cancer Council WA public health campaigns driving home the ‘Find Cancer Early’ message.

Cancer Council WA Great Southern Regional Education Officer Bruce Beamish said while new data showed the Find Cancer Early messages were starting to show some impact, there was still a long way to go in improving early detection of cancer.

“The campaign is prompting people to take action, and our recent evaluation data reveals that more than a third of regional viewers took action as a result of seeing or hearing the Find Cancer Early advertisements,” he said

“Encouragingly, we’ve seen a 61 per cent increase from 2018 in people taking action within 12 weeks of seeing the campaign, but we’d still like to see people taking earlier action rather than waiting up to 12 weeks.”

Prostate, breast, skin, bowel and lung comprise almost 60 per cent of all cancer diagnoses.

Albany-based GP Dr Keerthana Muthurangan said she is never too busy to discuss important issues.

“No question is silly, weird or odd, especially if it is about possible cancer symptoms,” she said.

“It’s normal to be scared when you want to know if you could have cancer.

“We are here to provide you non-judgmental counselling and management.”

Mr Beamish said the aim of the Rural Doctors Bathroom campaign and other Find Cancer Early campaign materials was to increase awareness of the symptoms of the five most common cancers and motivate people to seek medical advice early on in WA.

The advertising campaign began on Sunday and will run for 13 weeks across the state.

For more information on Find Cancer Early, visit

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Black dog ride to red centre

MORE than 100 Great Southern motorbike riders will join upward of 6000 others across the country to raise awareness for depression and suicide prevention next month.

The Black Dog Ride 1 Dayer will take place on Sunday, March 15 and see Great Southerners depart from Denmark’s Koorabup Park and ride through Mt Barker, Porongurup, along the Kalgan River, through to Marine Drive at Middleton Beach, along York Street, Albany Highway and back out along Lower Denmark Road.

1 Dayers will take place across the country on the same day along various routes.

Denmark Coordinator Rob Woods said the Black Dog Ride brought many people together to reduce the stigma around mental health.

He said a second larger ride would see motorbike groups from across Australia ride together in August.

“We start in Busselton and ride to Hyden, Norseman, along the Nullarbor to Ceduna, we all meet in Port Augusta then ride together to Coober Pedy and then to Alice Springs,” Mr Woods said.

“It’s about starting conversations about depression and suicide prevention and getting people talking about it.”

Bev Seeney, who has had her own experiences with depression and suicide, has participated in the ride with husband Roger for the past eight years.

She said the Black Dog Ride often brought back the same people every year, creating a second family of support for her.

“I feel very supported by Roger and everyone,” Ms Seeney said.

“It’s a lot of fun, there’s plenty of camaraderie in the group and they really are like an extended family.”

“I’ve seen the knock-on effects of suicide and depression,” Mr Seeney added.

“This is a way of helping, getting people talk- ing, and reminding peo- ple that it is an illness – not a stigma.”

Those interested in participating in the Denmark Black Dog Ride can sign up at

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Love conquers all

AN EVENING at square dancing in Victoria was where the love story of Albany retirees Allan and Doris Brown began nearly 70 years ago.

The couple has seen more of history than most people, born at the end of World War I and during the golden decade of the “roaring” 1920s.

After 18 months together, they decided to marry in Rochester, Victoria in 1954.

Doris, now 102 years old, and 96-year-old Allan reflected fondly and cheekily on their 66 years of marriage with the Weekender.

“We were going to be married in the Presbyterian church, but the minister had a heart attack the night before,” Mr Brown said.

“So we ended up getting married in the Methodist church.

“I remember it was a wet day, very wet – they threw confetti on our car, it was a Dodge car, and it was so wet that the confetti stained the car!

“When we sold it years later, it had coloured stripes on it.”

After 14 years of marriage, the Browns decided to move their young family to Albany to live and started farming.

Now, with their children in their 60s and with not quite enough energy to maintain a working farm, Mr and Mrs Brown call Clarence Estate in Spencer Park home.

They don’t have any plans for Valentine’s Day this year – in fact, when asked whether they would celebrate it, Mrs Brown’s eyeroll was quite amusing – as they have never really made a big deal out of the event.

They are more than happy to spend tomorrow like any other day – Mr Brown tending to the gardens and looking after the birds, and Mrs Brown relaxing in her favourite armchair.

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More toys for us

THOUSANDS of dollars worth of new toys are now ready and waiting for children and their families to ‘check out’ from the revamped Rainbow Coast Toy Library.

Now located at the former kindergarten rooms at St Joseph’s College, the toy library, which allows families to borrow six toys for three weeks at a time, is raring to go and welcomes new members.

It recently celebrated its 30th birthday and with that, secured the upgraded facility and additional grants to now have a toy library worth at least $20,000.

President Michelle Hassell said there was more than enough toys to share around.

“We really want to promote stopping unnecessary expenditure and reusing, instead of sending old toys to landfill,” she said.

“Studies have shown children get bored of toys after about one and a half weeks, so why not borrow different toys all the time?”

Ms Hassell said educational resources were also available at the toy library to assist children with school readiness.

The volunteer-based organisation is open 10am to noon every Saturday and has more than 50 families already utilising its products.

Ms Hassell hopes now that the new library is fully operational, more families will sign up for a membership.

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