Primary puppets

STUDENTS from Mount Lockyer Primary School had no strings to hold them down this week as they learned the art of puppet making.

Artists from Spare Parts Puppet Theatre Jane Davies and Cecile Williams made a special visit to the local school’s Year 3 class ahead of the live adaptation of Roald Dahl’s The Twits! that will be performed at the Albany Entertainment Centre on September 28.

Students got their hands busy in making underwater themed puppets under the watchful gaze of Ms Davies and Ms Williams.

Year 3 teacher Caitlin Goldsmith said she planned the workshop with Ms Davies.

“As part of Mount Lockyer’s Year 3 Language Arts Programme this term, students worked with professional puppetry artists Jane Davies and Cecile Williams to create a character that could be used to perform a story which they could then write,” she said.

“Jane and Cecile have both had experience working for Spare Parts Puppet Theatre and are practising puppetry artists who live in Albany.”

Students made everything from mermaids to manta rays out of a variety of materials.

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Understanding the journey

SUICIDE survivor Dno Summers has a long journey ahead of him.

The 52-year-old live music videographer is currently passing through the Great Southern on a 4300km hike from Bunbury to Sydney he calls his Walk for Hope.

Mr Summers’ intention is to raise awareness about suicide prevention and mental health every step of the way and is bringing with him a white flag on which people can write the names of those they have lost.

His self-funded trek kicked off on August 23 and is expected to take several months to complete.

“It’s been a very emotional and powerful journey so far and I’m only 100km away from home,” he told the Weekender prior to reaching Kojonup on Sunday.

“I’ve got around 50 names on the flag already which is rather upsetting but it’s going to get the message across that the people on it aren’t statistics, they’re actually somebody.

“If I can help just one person, that will make it all worthwhile.”

Mr Summers described his walk as a “very personal” journey, prompted in part by his own lifelong struggle with depression and his suicide attempt in 2000.

Over the years he has lost nine friends to suicide, the most recent of which passed a few months ago.

“Since I came to Australia [from New Zealand] about 11 years ago and got involved in the music scene, my depression has subsided a bit,” he said.

“But when my mate took his life recently, it reared its ugly head again and I could feel myself going back to what I used to be like. I thought it’s time to do something about it.”

The self-described “crazy Kiwi” said he hoped he could be part of the healing process for the families in small towns struggling with loss themselves.

He said there was a need to end the stigma and encourage open conversation about mental health, especially among youth and those in high-stress roles like doctors and police officers.

“I just want to raise awareness that it’s okay to start talking. No one’s going to think you’re weak by choking up or starting to cry,” Mr Summers added.

“If your mate’s got depression or you see that he’s hurting, don’t turn your back on him.”

Mr Summers is next set to travel to Gnowangerup, Jerramungup, Ravensthorpe and eventually Norseman, after which he will have to travel more than 800km across the Nullarbor.

According to Lifeline WA, suicide remains the leading cause of death for Western Australians between the ages of 15 and 44, with an average of one person taking their life every day in 2017.

If you or someone you know needs support, contact the Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467, the Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800 or Lifeline on 13 11 14.

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RSL in 100th year

RECENTLY elected Mount Barker RSL President Maurice Draper admits he felt lost when he returned home after years of naval service.

He attributes his reconnection to his family, friends and society to the people within the Mt Barker branch of RSL.

It is because of this that he is extremely proud to be part of the branch’s 100th anniversary this year which will be celebrated with a dinner next weekend.

“The RSL saved me,” Mr Draper told the Weekender.

“I felt absolutely lost when I came back…you know when you play a sport, and if you throw or kick the ball to your team mate, you can rely on them? Well, you go from that sort of situation in sometimes very extreme circumstances, and you make very important decisions, and then you go back to civilian life.”

“Being able to be with similar people, who talk the same language, it makes a huge difference,” Brian Bunker, Mt Barker RSL member of nearly 50 years, added.

Mr Bunker served in the Vietnam War and was invited to join Mt Barker RSL when he returned home.

He too, is grateful for the people within the organisation.

“It’s the comradeship,” Mr Bunker said.

“It became a big thing after the Second World War because people were

coming home pretty bewildered.”

The men believe the Mt Barker RSL is one of the longest running RSLs in the state.

“It’s a great achievement,” Mr Draper said.

“It’s something we can hold our heads quite high about and be proud of.”

The Mt Barker RSL 100th anniversary dinner will be held at Mt Barker Golf Club on September 14.

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Gong for eco-vollie

AN Albany man was internationally recognised for his volunteering efforts recently by an organisation that connects groups across the world together.

Don Titterton was recognised for his work in curating the Global Biodiversity Journey to South West Australia in 2018 by Friendship Force International at their annual conference in Colorado, USA and was awarded Outstanding Volunteer of the Year.

Friendship Force International has more than 370 clubs across the globe and provides opportunities to explore countries, cultures and make lasting friendships.

Mr Titterton was a founding member of the Albany branch in 2011 and said since joining the group they had all travelled extensively and had “the best cultural experiences”.

“This award has put Albany on the map,” he said.

“All of the clubs around the world will be notified of what we did.

“We’ll definitely have the pressure put on us to do another one.”

Mr Titterton said the tour had ambassadors from multiple countries visit Albany and participate in an eco-tourism style visit that included native flora, fauna and members of the Aboriginal community.

“It’s a big promotion for our town,” he said.

“We’re already having people from over east come over in the caravans and knock on our doors just to say hi.”

Mr Titterton said Friendship Force Albany wasn’t just a group that travelled overseas and interstate, but also group that learned about different cultures.

Friendship Force Albany President Max Morrison said they meet at The View at 10am every second and fourth Wednesday of the month.

People interested in joining the group can contact him on 0427 901 722.

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‘Make a great council’

CITY of Albany residents are being encouraged to step up and represent their community in the upcoming local government elections.

From today City residents over the age of 18 will be able to nominate for the role of councillor in the wards of Breaksea, Frederickstown, Kalgan, Vancouver, West or Yakamia, and for the position of Mayor.

City CEO Andrew Sharpe said he encouraged people to become leaders and give back to their community.

“We’re very passionate about what we do here at the City of Albany,” he said.

“There’s only a short period of time for people to nominate.

“We need good nominations to make a great council.”

Mr Sharpe said nominations would close on September 12 and postal ballots would be sent out on September 20.

“We’ve had a really good response for the past couple of elections,” he said.

“We’ve only had one situation where a councillor was elected unopposed.

“It’s not compulsory to vote but we encourage people to have a say in their community.”

Mr Sharpe said this year’s election would be more interesting to watch as Dennis Wellington’s position of mayor, one he has held for two consecutive terms, was up for grabs.

“It gets a lot more interesting in the community for mayoral elections,” he said.

“We usually have a higher turn out of voters.”

Mr Wellington, Deputy Mayor Greg Stocks, Councillors Sandie Smith, Cr Anthony Moir, Bill Hollingworth, John Shanhun and Paul Terry all have expired terms and are up for possible re-election.

Mr Sharpe said nominations must be lodged with the Returning Officer Sally Thomas by no later than 4pm on September 12 at the City of Albany chambers on North Road.

“If you’re interested in nominating contact the Returning Officer for more information,” he said.

Ms Thomas can be contacted on 0437 611 459.

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Awesome orthographers

Spencer Park Primary students hope to defend their fourth consecutive crown at next week’s interschool spelling championships as the best spellers in the primary school business.

Students won the Year 5/6 trophy in 2018, 2017, 2016, 2013 and 2010 against fellow Albany schools Flinders Park Primary and Yakamia Primary, and Denmark Primary School.

Year 6 student Aliciah Mae Bersales has competed in the spelling bee every year since Year 3 and can’t wait for September 12 to put her spelling words to the test.

“It’s fun to learn all of these words and be part of a team,” she said.

Newcomer to the squad, Year 4 student Elliott Ruggera, thinks it would be “awesome” if the Spencer Park team won again and took out both the Year 3/4 and Year 5/6 trophies.

“I like learning the hard words,” he said.

Some of these words include archipelago, obstreperous, onomatopoeia and lepidopterist.

Principal Jeremy Hadlow was proud of the team spirit he had seen develop between his students over the past few weeks.

He supported the spelling championships as another method of rewarding students’ efforts.

“We give a lot of kudos to the footy champs but don’t always notice if someone’s a spelling champ,” Mr Hadlow said.

“It’s really important to know how to spell and we should celebrate it, put it in the spotlight.”

The spelling championship will see Spencer Park face off against Flinders Park, Mount Lockyer, Mt Barker and Kendenup Primary Schools at their home turf on September 12.

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Seniors cut a rug

RETIREMENT certainly does not mean slowing down by any means and doesn’t this group of Albany senior citizens know it.

The Over 50s Line Dancing Group meets twice a week for varying difficulty levels of line dancing to keep them fit, healthy and social.

Over 50s Club President Val Chisholm has been line dancing for more than four years and said it’s often the reason some people get out of bed in the morning.

“Dancing is great for new people in town to meet other people, and it’s also great for people who have lost their partner,” she said.

“Dancing gets you out of bed and makes you have a laugh.”

Vice President Jennifer Sinclair agreed.

“It’s really fun and it’s great that people have a coffee afterwards, which is good for people who are alone,” she said.

“And without knowing, when you’re dancing, you’re doing balancing and fitness, all designed for over 50s,” Ms Chisholm added.

“You don’t have to worry about tearing a muscle or hurting your bladder because it’s all designed for over 50s.”

To join in all the fun, contact Ms Sinclair on 9844 1199 to see when the group is next meeting or check the Weekender’s Community Noticeboard.

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Convoy on hold

THE Convoy for Kids charity truck drive will not be going ahead this year after three of the four main coordinators were struck by unforeseen medical issues.

Lead organiser Joe O’Malley, who has run the event annually since its Albany debut in 2017, said the issues came “out of the blue” within the span of two-and-a-half weeks.

“The convoy’s not happening this year. It’s unfortunate but it’s out of everyone’s control,” he said.

“We apologise to all those involved, including those people and businesses that donate their services or gifts to make Convoy for Kids a very large success.”

Mr O’Malley said the event would instead return on the second Sunday of September in 2020 and that this year’s intended recipient of all money raised, Albany PCYC, would again be the listed recipient.

He added more than 100 trucks from the region and elsewhere in the state participated in 2018’s weekend drive that raised $11,000 for upgrades to Albany Health Campus’ paediatrics ward.

“I would hope that everyone would come along and support it again next year,” Mr O’ Malley said.

“It’s always about giving back. I used to be a volunteer ambulance officer and a lot of that was due to the fact of me giving back what I’d been given in the first place.”

Although Convoy for Kids charity drives occur in every state around Australia, Albany’s Convoy for Kids is the only such event running in Western Australia.

According to Mr O’ Malley, it was originally founded in Perth in the mid-1990s.

“I thought why can’t we do it in Albany and make things better for Albany?” he said.

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Diversity day given support

A SHOW of support and solidarity for the LGBTIQA+ community will shine out from the Albany headquarters of headspace tomorrow in recognition of Wear It Purple Day.

Wear It Purple Day has been held on August 30 since 2010 in response to statistics revealing the number of young people taking their own lives after being bullied or harassed about their sexuality or gender identity.

headspace Albany manager Andrew Wenzel said Wear It Purple Day was an opportunity for young people, particularly those from the LGBTIQA+ community (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, questioning, asexual) to get together and connect, and of course, wear purple.

“It’s a public display of support,” he said.

“Events like these are for LGBTIQA+ young people and their allies so they know there’s others out there and support is available.

“More and more now, people are speaking out and saying, ‘I support who you are’, but we shouldn’t just be doing this on one day – we should be acting in an inclusive way 24/7.”

headspace Albany is hosting a purple bake-off from 3.30pm tomorrow, which encourages people to wear purple and bring in their best purple edible creations and share them with others for afternoon tea.

More about Wear It Purple Day can be found at


If you or someone you know needs support, call Lifeline (13 11 14), Kids Helpline (1800 55 1800), Suicide Callback Service (1300 659 467) or 000 for emergency assistance.

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Festival fun at fair

FAIRY floss, nerf guns, bubble tea, carriage rides, burgers and yabby racing are just some of the highlights planned for Albany school Great Southern Grammar’s upcoming fundraiser event.

The Kingfisher Fair will be held at the school’s Nanarup Road campus on September 8 from 11am to 3pm and invite families to explore the school and participate in activities in the name of raising money for the school.

Principal Mark Sawle said the entire campus had been preparing for many months for the Fair and students were keen for September 8 to roll around.

“The Kingfisher Fair is an important event in the history and tradition of Great Southern Grammar,” he said.

“It is a source of great pride for the students to showcase their school and their work.”

Some of the boarding students from Anchorage and Eclipse Houses have been particularly busy preparing for the Fair, building a large mobile chicken coop and eco fire logs for auction.

Head of Eclipse House Brett Tompkin explained his students created the eco fire logs from waste created by the school.

“We were looking at how we could better recycle the waste, so we’ve got things like paper, cardboard, coffee grounds from hospitality and woodchips from woodwork,” he said.

“As logs, they burn conservatively for about two or three hours.

“It’s been a great project.”

The mobile chicken coop and eco fire logs will all be auctioned off at the Kingfisher Fair.

Visitors to the Fair can also expect a petting animal farm, bouncy castles, market stalls, a variety of food and drink, a silent disco, a wine bar, treasure digging and sideshow alley.

Entry is free.

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