Kids, crafts and castles

SUNSHINE made intermittent appearances this school holidays, but that didn’t stop Albany’s youth enjoying the break from textbooks and timetables.

The Museum of the Great Southern held various craft activities, themed Kai ke ola – Ocean Life on the Islands of the South Pacific.

Children got creative and entwined fabrics, paper, beads and shells to make beach bags, wind chimes, mini outriggers and playdough creatures.

2016 hit Disney animated film Moana played on loop in the Old School Room for children to enjoy any time of day.

Reptile Haven set up camp in Eyre Park this week, with something for every child, no matter their age.

Four bouncing castles, a petting zoo, novelties and the reptile display kept the kids entertained.

“Sunday blew me away, with so many people coming down,” Reptile Haven owner Audra Pearson said.

“It’s just fun and games with it all.”

The Albany Public Library held two weeks of book-themed activities, including creating monster critters, designing lego creations, paper craft, making Percy Jackson-themed necklaces and constructing mini matchbox monster pets.

Term four resumes next week on Monday or Tuesday, depending on each public and private school’s term calendar.

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Bags’ boomerang effect

SEEING a post on Facebook prompted Albany resident Lynne Smith to contribute to a more sustainable shopping experience by forming a fabric shopping bag community group.

However, the group requires more volunteers and donations in order to maintain the environmental initiative.

Ms Smith sought to join Boomerang Bags, a nation-wide volunteer scheme to reduce plastic bags in supermarkets, by replacing them with reusable fabric shopping bags.

The concept behind Boomerang Bags is to provide supermarkets and stores with fabric shopping bags, encourage customers to use them, and later return them to the store, reusing them and creating the “boomerang effect”.

Ms Smith, along with Tamara Drew and Jane Looker, formed Boomerang Bags Albany in July.

The volunteer group hopes to meet more often to cut fabrics and sew bags, in an effort to rid Albany of plastic shopping bags.

Boomerang Bags Albany’s formation has occurred in good time, with the state government’s announcement last month of a complete single-use plastic bag ban as of July 1, 2018.

“I saw something on Facebook about it and thought, I’ll give it a go,” Ms Smith said.

“We have 90 members on our Facebook group and already have shops wanting to be a part of it.”

Local businesses interested in the initiative include AVEG, Oyster Harbour Store, Mad Marteys and local op shops.

Boomerang Bags Albany is currently seeking more volunteers to help sew the bags, and requires more fabrics to make the bags, as well as sponsorship and donations for screen-printing.

“We are in need of any old clean fabric, such as sheets, quilt covers, table cloths and dress-making fabric people no longer need,” Ms Smith said.

“We also need volunteers who can cut out, iron or sew to help complete the bags either at home or at our sewing bees.”

Boomerang Bags Albany will be at the Spring in the Garden Create No Waste Festival on Humphries Street this Saturday, October 7 between 10am and 2pm.

Fabric bag starter kits will be available from the festival.

For donations or queries, contact Ms Smith on 0419 914 396.

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Salvo’s proud history

MORE than a century of life-changing community support and involvement will be celebrated this weekend, with the 125th Salvation Army Albany anniversary concert.

The international charity organisation has a long history in Australia, with the mission of sharing the Gospel and caring for others, building com-munities, working for justice and creating faith pathways.

Major Paul Beardsley speaks proudly of the history of Albany’s Salvation Army and its engagement with the community.

“When we first began, our efforts were considered as the successful invasion of the Salvation Army, with its military-style organisation,” Major Beardsley said.

“The Albany Corps began in 1892 on July 11, after Salvation Army officers such as Charles Jeffries first visited the area.

“The idea of the Salvation Army is that it supports the community in the varying ways the community needs, and changes its aid as the needs of the community change.”

Salvation Army Albany Corps organises the Red Shield Appeal each year, as well as annual overseas projects, welfare program ‘Doorways’, women’s craft and sewing groups, and music activities for children.

“Every year, there is a project we engage with overseas,” Major Beardsley said.

“This year, we are providing aid in Indonesia.

“The Eva Burrows Women’s Shelter needs renovations, so all the Salvation Armies in Australia are raising money for it.”

The 125th Albany anniversary performance celebrating the dedication and hard work of past and current Salvation Army officers will be held at the Albany Town Hall at 7.30pm this Saturday night, and will feature the talents of the Perth Fortress Corps Band and the City of Albany Band.

The anniversary concert is being held three months after the official date marking the beginning of the Albany Corps, to allow visitors and audiences to enjoy the warmer weather of Albany’s spring.

“Our 30-piece brass band will be coming down to help the Albany Corps celebrate 125 years of uninterrupted service,” Corps Officer of Perth Fortress Corps Major Paul Hateley said.

“We will be performing an array of brass music.

“We’ve been all over the countryside this year and we’re really looking forward to coming to Albany.”

Divisional Commander for WA Lieutenant-Colonel Chris Reid will make a guest appearance at the concert and give a greeting to the audience.

“Lieutenant-Colonel Reid is the first female state leader in the WA Salvation Army’s 125-year history,” Major Hateley said.

An open day at the North Road Salvation Army building this Sunday will wrap up the anniversary celebrations.

“We will have different displays showing our histories, as well as what projects we have done and are currently doing,” Major Beardsley said.

“There will also be a free sausage sizzle and a raffle to win a boy and girl’s bike.”

Tickets to the October 7 performance can be purchased from Uptown Music, the Albany Salvation Army building and the Salvation Army Community Store.

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Rare lung disease motivates Margaret

DEDICATED grandmother Margaret Morton is due to arrive in Albany today after completing the grueling Munda Biddi Trail to raise money and awareness for children with rare lung diseases.

Ms Morton’s three-year-old granddaughter Charli was diagnosed with Childhood Interstitial Diffuse Lung Disease (CHILD) at 12 months of age.

CHILD makes it hard for Charli’s lungs to absorb oxygen and has had a huge impact on her and her family, with doctors unable to provide a clear treatment plan.

So far, Ms Morton has been able to raise more than $16,000, surpassing her goal of $15,000.

“Charli is constantly hooked to an oxygen tank, and normal everyday activities, like going to the park, are a challenge,” she said.

“It has impacted her growth significantly, and makes basic activities more complex and physically demanding.

“It’s amazing to watch her shine brightly through it all and that’s my main motivation.”

Lung Foundation Australia CEO Heather Allen said that access to information, support, treatment and research for families is still very limited.

“The diagnosis of a rare lung disease is one of ongoing uncertainty,” she said.

“Without research and the proper support framework in place, these families are isolated and left feeling helpless.

“Lung Foundation Australia is working to raise public and political awareness and funding to establish a dedicated support service through the Young Lungs Program.

“The program will help parents through the common issues they face when their child is living with a rare lung disease.”

Ms Morton’s fundraising page is still open to donations, if you’d like to donate for the cause you can visit

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Centre built on legacy

AFTER 13 years, Graham Reside finds it quite humbling that his father is still being recognised for his contributions to the Great Southern community.

The Bill Reside Community Centre was officially opened last Thursday by the Albany Community Care Centre and Albany and Regional Volunteer Service, with an afternoon tea amongst friends and family.

Graham and his siblings, Ruth and Merv, cut the ribbon on the new centre, and fondly reflected on their father’s life.

Mr Reside was the first chairperson of the original Albany Lions Community Care Centre in 1987, and received numerous awards and medals in recognition of his community work, including the British Empire Medal in 1981, the Red Cross Service Award in 1988, the Long Service Medal in 1995 and Citizen of the Year in 1996.

ARVS manager Tracy Sleeman remembered Mr Reside’s legacy and his efforts across the Great Southern.

“He was instrumental in creating the first community centre and today we acknowledge the insight and commitment of Bill to our community,” Ms Sleeman said.

The afternoon tea also celebrated the launch of the Albany and Regional Volunteer Service’s newest project, the ‘Giving Whilst Living’ guide.

The booklet lists different groups in the Great Southern which rely heavily on ongoing community support and donations, and provides details on how to donate to them.

“This booklet gives much needed attention to local community support groups and not-for-profit organisations,” ARVS chairperson Judith Williams said.

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Graveyard shift

SIX paintbrush-wielding ‘cemetery fairies’ are working to ensure deceased Denmarkians, while gone, are never forgotten.

In 1995, the centenary of the town, Bill Pinniger, a professional fisherman now buried in the cemetery, donated granite for headstones to mark 224 unmarked graves.

But time and the elements had worn the headstones’ writing away.

Bev McGuinness, chairperson of the Denmark Historical Society, said she and five fellow fairies had spent the equivalent of 12 person-days repainting the headstones.

“Genealogy is a big thing these days,” Mrs McGuinness said.

“Being able to know where your missing relative is, and any information the headstones might contain, is invaluable for people researching their family histories.

“When we started here, most of the headstones were illegible.”

Fellow fairy Linda Humphries, who paints each headstone from the back, as she can see better through her bifocals that way, said it had been “a really rewarding task”.

“We’ve done this job out of respect for those who are interred here, and for the families that can’t attend to the headstones themselves,” she said.

The group had to strip each headstone back, as many were flecked with faded paint.

Despite the hard yakka and the gravity of their surrounds, the volunteers are quick with a quip.

Asked if painting the headstones was hard on his joints, cemetery fairy Ashleigh Murch said:

“That’s nothing to do with the gravesites, more with our proximity to them.”

Long-time Denmark local Don Redman said he observed the fairies’ work on September 10 when visiting on the birthday of his late mother, and thought it was “absolutely fabulous.”

“For us oldies, it brings back all sorts of memories,” the 76-year-old said.

“When I was a boy, there was a child kicked in the head by a horse and he died, and that’s the kind of story that’s out there.

“These stories must be passed on, and keeping the headstones in order is a good way to do it.”

The other cemetery fairies are Leanne Laurie, Ross McGuinness and Margaret Pomery.

The fairies received a $200 ad hoc grant from the Shire of Denmark, which allowed paint, brushes and stripper to be bought.

There’s a litre or two of paint left. Anyone wanting a tombstone touch-up can call Mrs McGuinness on 9848 1781.

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Flinders Primary on show

UKULELES were strumming, children were laughing and families were appreciating the display of student achievements at the Flinders Park Primary School open night last week.

The school welcomed families and friends to their campus last Thursday, to invite parents and carers to learn more about their child’s progress, and to view their efforts from the past three school terms.

Principal Richard Bushell was very pleased with the open night’s success.

“We had lots of parents and grandparents visit the school to view samples of the students’ work,” Mr Bushell said.

“There were great conversations between students’ families and their teachers about the students’ learning, which was a positive result of the evening.

“There was a great buzz around the school, plenty of excitement, and a lot of positive comment by parents afterwards.

“It was a great opportunity to give families a snapshot of Flinders Park.”

Highlights of the evening included art teacher Sarah McNamara’s amazing efforts with students to create the Spectacular Shoe Show, sports teacher Tracey Menegola’s hilariously renowned skipping videos from the physical education program, and music teacher Mike Staude’s coordination of the assembly hall music extravaganza.

Flinders Park Primary is an independent public school, catering for students from kindergarten to year six, and is located on Yatana Road in Bayonet Head.

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New support group stands proud

A NEW safe and non-judgemental support group has been established in Albany for parents, friends and families of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people.

Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, known as PFLAG, is an international organisation providing support, education and advocacy for LGBTIQ communities.

Albany’s new branch is currently being coordinated by Jule Ruscoe, who has actively been involved with support group Albany Gay and Lesbian (AGAL) for a few years.

PFLAG welcomes people of all ages and stands alongside the local LBGTIQ community to support equality for all, and to promote understanding and support.

The group is comprised of parents, grandparents, siblings and friends of the LGBTIQ community.

“We are very excited to start PFLAG Albany,” Ms Ruscoe said.

“We believe in keeping families together through acceptance and greater knowledge.”

Current PFLAG Albany members will soon have their business cards distributed throughout local high schools, doctors’ surgeries and Anglicare, to let people know how to get in touch with them.

“We are more than happy for people to come and have a chat with us, or go for a coffee with them,” Ms Ruscoe said.

“We want to be a point of contact for people.”

Ms Ruscoe is aiming for the group to commence regular meetings every two months, but welcomes informal meetings any time.

PFLAG Albany will be working closely with AGAL and can be contacted through their website,

PFLAG began in America in 1973 and has been operating in Australia for more than 30 years.

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Buckets raised for MND

EMU Point locals opened their hearts and their wallets on Saturday to raise money for Motor Neurone Disease at the ‘Get to the Point’ fundraiser at the Emu Point Sporting Club.

Organiser for the event Gus Woithe said the turn out was absolutely amazing.

“It was a tremendous effort by the attendees and those that donated their time for the event,” he said.

“So far we have raised over $22,000 and we’re expecting that amount to rise by the end of the week.

“Some donations haven’t been processed yet, so I’m hoping we break the $23,000 mark.

“We were raising money for a reason, and everyone was so generous in donating.”

As a part of the festivities on Saturday some locals, including Mr Woithe, were ‘auctioned off’ for the pleasure of being able to dump a bucket of icy water over their heads.

“I had two buckets auctioned off at $100 each to be dumped over my head,” he said.

“It was a fun way to raise money.

“It was great to see so many people getting involved and being such good sports.

“The Ice Bucket Challenge was very successful in raising money in Australia.”

Since 2014 more than $3 million was raised by the Ice Bucket Challenge for MND Australia.

“The money we raised will be going towards getting proper beds and mattresses, cough assist machines and power chairs for MND sufferers,” Mr Woithe said.

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Learning tricks of the language trade

ALBANY Dyslexia SPELD Foundation’s clinic coordinator Mark Jones wasn’t sure the centre would survive six months ago.

They are now about to enrol their 50th student and employ a fourth teacher, proving that Albany DSF is a vital resource for primary and secondary students needing extra assistance in their reading, writing and spelling.

“We are really pleased with the centre’s progress,” Mr Jones said.

The not-for-profit organisation provides individual and small-group specialised tuition for students struggling with the necessary literacy skills for their age category.

Students do not require a doctor or school referral to attend the clinic, and parents are welcome to visit the centre, to learn more information and ask questions prior to enrolling their child.

“Our on-site psychologist conducts cognitive and literacy tests to create a learner profile, which helps us identify the learning difficulty affecting the student,” Mr Jones said.

Albany DSF has built strong relations with allied health services and schools, including Flinders Park Primary, Mt Lockyer Primary, St Joseph’s College and Albany Senior High School.

“We are really grateful that we can help the kids, and it is also good to provide employment opportunities to the community through the centre,” Mr Jones said.

A typical routine for a student attending Albany DSF includes a 45-minute session after school, once a week, with one of the centre’s specialist teachers.

After each session, the DSF teacher speaks with the parents about the child’s progress and provides homework tasks to further the child’s learning.

“Parent involvement in these processes is crucial,” Mr Jones said.

“We see the best progress in students when there is parent involvement.”

Albany DSF student Matthew Thompson and his family have been working with the centre since its conception.

The St Joseph’s College year five student was diagnosed with dyslexia two years ago, after receiving his year three NAPLAN test results.

Matthew’s mother Amanda has seen first-hand the benefits of having a DSF clinic available to regional students.

“Now after two years, which is a decent intervention time, we have seen a significant improvement in Matthew’s literacy,” Ms Thompson said.

“We have been very fortunate this year to see Matthew continue to improve, which has proven to us how extremely worthwhile DSF’s services are.”

Ms Thompson said DSF’s extra curricula has helped lessen her concern for Matthew’s wellbeing for high school.

“Our main worry was how Matthew was going to cope in high school,” she said.

“We wanted to best prepare him for high school, so now he is learning the tools he needs to get through.”

Parents interested in Albany DSF’s literacy services are welcome to visit the clinic at 93 Earl Street, opposite Albany City Motors, or call them on 9842 2594.

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