Community looks to re-open historic hotel

THE first official steps towards revitalising the historic Broomehill Hotel have been taken and now, its future will depend on the community digging deep.

The hotel closed down in May last year due to “bad management”, leaving a trail of public outcry over yet another service closing off to residents – at the time, the town’s sole roadhouse had just closed down and the post office was up for sale.

Farmer Scott Thompson told the Weekender this week that the group of community members who initially got together late last year to pursue the hotel revitalisation project had decided to form a non-distributing co-operative.

A non-distributing co-op is defined as a “not-for-profit organisation which can be formed with or without shares”.

Mr Thompson said this co-op would have shares, and that hotel project committee members would soon be reaching out to individuals in the community to ask whether they would be interested in a financial contribution.

“It’s quite a process,” he said.

“We’re yet to form the co-op so that will probably happen over the next two weeks – the co-op will provide the ownership structure that will give us the flexibility and opportunity to do what we want to do.”

Purchasing the hotel site is also next on the agenda; Mr Thompson said expressions of interest were being sought from community members willing to chip in.

People interested in getting involved in bringing the Broomehill Hotel back to life can reach out to Mr Thompson on 0428 916 131.

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Brucey shares the love

FANS of Albany’s famous pet bull Brucey the Brahman need not fret, the Facebook star will not be stepping out of the social media limelight anytime soon.

The digital platform was abuzz with disappointment earlier this month when Brucey’s owner Tom Kennedy posted that the young Brahman would be “cutting back” on his online appearances.

Mr Kennedy has since backtracked that decision, telling the Weekender he would continue sharing photos, videos and updates about the two-and-a-half year old animal’s antics.

“I didn’t realise how many people love it. When I said I was winding down there were a lot of comments from people a bit sad about it,” Mr Kennedy said.

“I’ve come to realise I’m providing a lot of folks with a few laughs, people who are doing it tough and like to see a bit of humour and what Brucey’s been up too.

“I didn’t expect this level of popularity when I started it up, but it’s a result of his personality and just wanting to have fun with him and sharing it with others.”

Brucey the Brahman’s Facebook page originally launched in June, 2018 and has since amassed more than 1100 followers.

It regularly shows the prankish bull interacting with the public and other animals, including Mr Kennedy’s dog and horses, and visiting the beach for a “surf report”.

“We’ll share more of his older stories going forward because a lot of people that joined in to watch him have missed his development,” Mr Kennedy said.

“Brucey was seven months old when we got him. He was 600kg a little while ago and he’s getting bigger quite visibly so it’ll be interesting to see how tall he goes.”

Mr Kennedy effectively saved Brucey from the chopping block when he purchased him from a stud in upper Kalgan.

Brucey’s mother died when he was only a week old and he had been left on an orchard to be hand-raised without a real purpose.

“He’s got a very good life now,” Mr Kennedy said.

“As long as he doesn’t keep breaking out of electric fences and pushing into the house and eating the wife’s flowers, I think his life will continue.

“He’s very mischievous and I think that’s reflective of his intelligence and character. He’s not silly, he’ll sit there and he’ll observe things.”

This year has already proved to be full of success for Brucey, with the bull’s profile showing he recently graduated from Brahmarana University.

He currently works as the “Chief Greens Keeper” at Albany Tenpin Bowling, Mr Kennedy’s own enterprise, and no doubt draws on experience gained in his previous role as “Chief Apple and Grass Eater”.

Those wanting to keep up to date with his journey can search Brucey Brahman on Facebook and send a friend request.

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Players fired up for fundraiser

IN ANOTHER show of community generosity during the devastating nationwide bushfires, Plantagenet Players amateur theatre group is hosting a fundraiser show at the end of the month.

All Fired Up! will play for one night only on January 31 at Plantagenet District Hall to raise money for the Volunteer Fire and Rescue Services Association of WA.

All proceeds from the show will go to the association.

Co-producers Charmaine Gadenne and Helen Jeffery said a Facebook post initiated the idea.

“People were looking for somewhere to donate and to make sure the funds go to where they need to go,” Gadenne said.

“And as a community group, like everyone else, we just want to help those who’ve suffered.”

The variety show will commence at 7.30pm and feature snippets of song, dance and comedy skits and sketches from previous Plantagenet Players shows.

However, seating will not be in the tradition table style.

“We’re using the tiered theatre-style seating, because we want to jam as many people in there as possible to raise as much money as we can in one night,” Gadenne said.

“But the canteen will still be open with lots of yummy treats and there will be tea, coffee and soft drinks available for sale.

“And it’s not BYO this time – it’s an alcohol-free event.”

Gadenne revealed that Tribal Thunder belly dancing group would be popping in for a performance and that the finale would have a “nice little surprise” for the audience.

Tickets are just $15 for the show and can be purchased from Mt Barker Newsagency on Lowood Road or via phone: 9851 1034.

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Surfing ability on show at event

THE first of four Let’s Go Surfing Days was held in blustery conditions at Middleton Beach on Saturday, hosted by the Disabled Surfers Association Great Southern.

Despite the intense onshore conditions, volunteers and participants attended in droves and the surfing stoke was obvious for all to witness including a huge spectator gallery.

Association President Kerry Oakley was rapt with the event with volunteers including Welshman Idris Strangnan who was holidaying in the Great Southern.

He said he had been swimming every day since he had been in Albany, saw the event advertised and registered immediately.

“I have a disabled brother back in Wales and I wanted to do anything to help,” Mr Strangnan said.

He was flying back to winter in Wales and not exactly happy to be returning home.

The next Let’s Go Surfing Days will be held on February 8, March 7 and April 4.

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Cafe dream comes true

TWO chefs who travelled the world and worked together for 10 years on cruise ships have settled in Albany to open their own cafe.

Carlo Nagac and Dexter Mahinay are the owners of D&C Grill – Taste of Albany and had their first day of trade on December 2.

They are located within the Beryl Grant Community Centre in Lockyer and the pair could not be happier with how things are progressing.

Endless reviews on the cafe’s Facebook page describe it as having “the most amazing feed I’ve had in Albany in a long time”, customers love the “vibrancy of the folk operating this little treasure” and say the desserts “to die for”.

“I’d planned this for a very long time,” Mr Mahinay said, of owning a cafe.

“We thought Albany was a very nice place and we are very happy to serve the community.”

The pair are already enthusiastically looking to what’s next.

“Hopefully in the future we can open a fine dining restaurant, because this setup is a cafe,” Mr Nagac said.

“We’d love to open on York Street and in town one day.”

The cafe serves up contemporary cuisine including Asian fusion and twists on Australian.

It operates Wednesday to Monday for lunch and dinner and serves dine-in and takeaway.

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Daycare centre unveiled

A NEW early learning and daycare centre is opening next week in Albany and it has an open day this afternoon.

SmartPlay Albany will offer long day care, before and after school care, and vacation care between 7am and 6pm five days per week, 50 weeks per year.

During school hours, it will also operate as a kindergarten and pre-kindergarten centre.

Centre Director and Educator Jane Gibbons-Eyre said kindergarten students attending Australian Christian College would now have classes in the next-door SmartPlay Albany building instead of within the main campus.

“The Christian Education Ministries saw a particular need in Albany and decided to expand to the long daycare model with a kindy and pre-kindy program,” she said.

“Our particular focuses will be specialist music, literacy, numeracy, languages other than English, physical education, and high-quality relationships – Australian Christian College’s motto is for a student to be well taught, well known and well loved.”

Children aged three and four are eligible for the pre-kindergarten and kindergarten program, and children aged five to 12 are eligible to attend the out-of-school care.

There are seven staff rostered to work at the new centre and Ms Gibbons-Eyres says she is very proud of it.

“We have such a big outdoor area with real grass, and there’s space for kids to ride and dig and build and run…the first five years of a child’s life are so important, so it’s an amazing privilege to be part of that.”

Ms Gibbons-Eyre has worked with children since she finished high school and said she adores the work she does.

“This will be a loving environment where children can feel like they belong,” she said.

“The staff here strive for the highest quality in absolutely everything…we want to provide everything so the children can be the best they can be.”

The open day is today, January 16 from 4-7pm at the 26 Brewster Road location.

The centre will then officially open on January 20.

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Global dance classes

TWO workshops will be held this weekend in Albany to give people the opportunity to learn different dance styles from various parts of the world.

The International Folk Dance Albany Workshop will be hosted by dance teacher Palenque Blair this Sunday, January 12 at Albert Hall at the Uniting Church on Duke Street.

An adult beginner and intermediate class will be held from 2-4pm followed by a family class at 4pm.

During the family workshop, parents and guardians are expected to dance with their children. Ms Blair said dances from Transylvania, Scandinavia, Israel and Greece would be among those taught on the day.

“International Folk Dance is a dance ‘style’ that started in the USA with the collection together of immigrants from Europe during the 20th century who were keen to maintain some of their heritage, or just to dance,” she said.

“This was taken on by the broader community as a multicultural activity – an activity that builds community, maintains a level of fitness, improves coordination and keeps your mind active, and is fun, particularly if you also enjoy listening to world music.”

Ms Blair said two visiting dance teachers, one specialising in Israeli dance and one the founder of Perth International Dance Group, would contribute to the workshop teaching.

The participation cost is $10 per person for the adult class and $7 for the family session, with $1 to pay for each additional child.

Bookings can be made to Ms Blair by calling 0423 834 439 or emailing [email protected]

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Edward floats his boat

NO ONE looks more at home than Edward Saffrey when he’s lakeside steering his handmade model tug boat through the gently lapping water.

Decked out in his bucket hat and welly boots and seated in his trusty fold-out chair, the Albany man looks the absolute picture of peaceful retirement.

He kindly shared his collection of handmade model boats and his customised model yacht with the Weekender and even let one journalist take a boat for a spin.

Mr Saffrey got his first model boat when he was just four-years-old, gifted to him by his father when they lived in Sri Lanka.

It is a pond yacht – it has no remote control or motor.

It simply had to be pushed from one side of the lake to the other and a young Mr Saffrey had an absolute ball playing with it.

“It was built around the war time, in the early 1940s,” Mr Saffrey said.

“I think that’s where my interest in model boats started.”

He’s since refurbished it and the boat looks as good as new.

He built one of his first boats in 1967.

It used to have a two-stroke combustion engine but with the growing popularity of electrics, he’s upgraded it now to modern tech.

Mr Saffrey’s latest two projects – one he started 20 years ago and finished just three years ago, and the other completed recently in just seven months – were more difficult builds, intertwining more modern technology and intricate craftsmanship.

But Mr Saffrey loves the challenge and the chance to revisit and reuse past inventory, as he and his wife used to operate Hobbytronics in Albany.

“I like the intricacy of it,” he said, taking a closer look at his tug boat.

“After school, I wanted to do boat building, but the place my father found in Fremantle ended up closing down, so he found me an apprenticeship in carpentry and joinery instead.

“So learning how to do it really came from the desire to want to build them, and then I picked up the skills.”

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Surfing event highlights abilities

THERE are just two more sleeps until the Disabled Surfers Association Great Southern season kicks off for another year.

Four dates have been locked in for 2020 and the first is this Saturday, January 11 from 9.30am to noon.

The Let’s Go Surfing Day will be held at Middleton Beach and Association President Kerry Oakley said people of all levels of ability were invited to join in the fun.

“Everybody with any form of disability is more than welcome to participate, age doesn’t matter,” she said.

“Community members who are able to are also more than welcome to volunteer to help with putting smiles on dials.”

Volunteers do not need surfing experience to help out; simply register and head to the beach at 7.30am on the day to help set up, and score a free breakfast.

Participants, carers and other volunteers can register online or from 9am on the day for a 9.30am start.

A free sausage sizzle and presentation will follow around noon. Register at

The next Let’s Go Surfing Days will be held on February 8, March 7 and April 4.

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Posting a half century

DENMARK postal worker David Wilson reached a career milestone going into the new year.

Mr Wilson celebrated 50 years working for Australia Post – a career that saw him work and live in eight different towns and cities.

The 65-year-old caught up with the Weekender this week as he commenced 12 months of long service leave ahead of retirement.

Mr Wilson’s first experience with the postal service was when he was just 14 – he performed relief postman work in his hometown of Yarloop during the school holidays.

“There was no break for me,” Mr Wilson laughed.

“The school term ended and I went straight to work.”

He scored himself a permanent job working in Bridgetown a few months later and as he got older, was chosen to work the night telephone duty.

This made Mr Wilson responsible for the telephone exchange between 10pm and 7am.

Over the course of time, he was a postman in Pemberton, again in Yarloop, Waroona, Perth, Mandurah and Bunbury.

Mr Wilson signed off as a postman in 1978 and began working inside the post office behind the counter.

He moved to Denmark 10 years later with his family to work at the town’s post office and never looked back.

“They’re a good mob to work for, they look after you,” Mr Wilson said of Australia Post.

“It’s also a great way to get to know people.”

Australia Post State General Manager for WA Donna Vecchio congratulated Mr Wilson on his achievement.

“It is with great pride that we acknowledge and sincerely thank David for his 50 years of service with Australia Post,” she said.

“David has worked in many communities across the South-West of Western Australia over the years and has been a part of the fabric of Denmark Post Office since 1988.

“We whole-heartedly congratulate David on this remarkable milestone.”

Now that Mr Wilson has called it a day on his working life, he is looking forward to the many adventures retirement can hold.

“I’d like to do the lap, of course,” he said.

“And I’m heading to Japan in September with my seven brothers and their wives, and I’m taking my daughter, so that should be interesting.”

Bowls in the summertime and more fishing are also on the cards for Mr Wilson’s golden years.

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