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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Carols to change venue

ALBANY’S annual Christmas sing-along event is back this year in a new venue and organisers are excited to get the show on the road for this weekend.

The 67th Apex Carols by Candlelight at Ellen Cove was cancelled last year due to strong winds and threatening weather, so this year will again be the 67th event.

The Carols will be held at Alison Hartman Gardens this year instead of at Ellen Cove as earthworks currently underway at Middleton Beach are taking up most of the space.

Apex Albany’s Brendon Bailey said the December 21 family-friendly event would commence at 7pm and Santa would arrive at approximately 8.15pm.

A sausage sizzle and tea and coffee will be available to people also; Mr Bailey encouraged people to come down around 6.30pm to get a spot on the grass and a bite to eat before the Carols begins.

“The Apex Club feels that this is an important tradition to keep alive as it promotes community involvement and good spirit for the Christmas period,” he said.

“We have a group of local musicians and singers, including soloists Karlie Butler and Emma Davis with Findlay Macnish on the keyboard, who has been supporting the event for more than 20 years.”

Inside Thursday’s copy of the Weekender is the special Carols by Candlelight booklet, containing all the information you need to know about the evening plus the lyrics of the carols that will be sung.

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Share the Christmas spirit at a free lunch

SEVEN months of preparation and countless volunteer hours is what makes the annual Community Christmas Luncheon possible.

The annual event, first brought to Albany in 2005 by Pastor Steve Marshall and his wife Karen, invites people who do not have anyone to share Christmas with to have a free Christmas lunch with other members of the community.

It will again be held at Albany PCYC on Sanford Road and commence at noon on December 25.

“It’s open to everyone,” Mr Marshall said.

“People make new friends and for one day, everyone puts aside their differences and becomes one big family.

“It’s a really fun atmosphere.”

Mr Marshall said several local businesses had contributed donations to the event and offered up the use of their kitchens for volunteers to cook the Christmas lunch in.

More than 400 people attended the luncheon last year.

“I’ve done this for 45 years – in Rockingham before Albany – and I have to say, I think Albany is one of the most generous communities,” he said.

“Lots of people come together for the cause, and that’s significant.”

Mr Marshall said there was still time for people to register to attend the free luncheon.

Simply call Mr Marshall on 0412 850 105 or 9844 4550, Member for Albany Peter Watson’s office on 9841 8799 or register online at

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Jingle all the way

A FAMILY in Albany has made it their mission to bring extra smiles and joy to others this festive season.

The Stewart family, comprised of Adrian, Sheila, Keeran, Hayden and Bryson, moved to Albany two years ago after living in Geraldton.

It was in Geraldton that they began the Christmas car tradition, which involved dressing up their Mitsubishi Pajero with tinsel, lights, flags and a sleigh, and blasting Christmas carols and songs out of speakers.

They would drive the streets of town upon request from the public and have now brought that tradition to Albany.

Dozens of people have requested the car take a trip past their house in the lead-up to Christmas.

“We just want to spread some Christmas cheer and bring people together,” Ms Stewart said.

“It warms people’s hearts.”

Mr and Ms Stewart’s son Keeran, pictured, said seeing the smiles on children’s faces was his favourite part of being involved in his family’s tradition.

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Japanese restaurant inspires foodies

TO BE a home away from home is the aim of a new foodie oasis opening tomorrow night.

Don Japanese Fusion will open its doors for the first time on Friday evening to supply the people of Albany with traditional Japanese cuisine.

Owners Kowin Huang and Tony Wu are excited to share their recipes with the community and hope everyone will come along to try something new.

“Our main dish is donburi, which is a traditional rice bowl dish with meat on top, which some people might think, ‘that’s just rice’, but when they try it, they will be surprised,” Ms Huang said.

The restaurant will also offer blooming tea with peony, jasmine, mint, lotus leaf, lavender and pink rose, to name a few options.

Deep-fried squid tentacles, pork dumplings, octopus pancake balls and steak don are also on the menu, along with sushi with grilled eel, crab, salmon, tuna and chicken.

Ms Huang said the restaurant would introduce a new dish to the menu every three months.

She has also applied for a liquor licence.

“We want to bring a bit of Japanese culture to people’s busy lives,” Ms Huang said.

“We want people to feel like this is home, a place where they can eat and enjoy the atmosphere, relax and forget everything else.

“We aren’t just about our food; we’re about our care for our customers.”

Don Japanese Fusion is located on Middleton Loop and will trade 9am to 9pm Tuesday to Saturday, 9am to 5pm on Sundays and close on Mondays.

Ms Huang asked for people’s patience during the first few days of trade as she is still in the process of hiring staff.

The restaurant will open from 6-9pm tomorrow night.

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Campaign to combat cancer

AS THE days get longer and warmer and people start to spend more time in the sunshine, a new Cancer Council WA campaign is urging people to remain aware of the dangers of skin cancer.

Don’t Let The Sun See Your DNA is a statewide initiative that kicked off on Sunday to increase public knowledge of the risks associated with ongoing UV exposure.

Cancer Council WA’s Great Southern Regional Education Officer Bruce Beamish said half of all sunburns in Australia occurred during passive recreation, such as watching sport, garden, picnicking and doing chores.

TAFE Beauty Therapy lecturer and coordinator Alison Sharpe is all too familiar with this type of sun exposure.

“I was driving one day and I saw this opaque, almost clear-looking freckle on my hand, and it was tiny but I showed the doctor anyway,” she said.

“The doctor said it was fine but I said, ‘no, can you check it again’, and they ended up taking a big triangle out of my hand because it was a melanoma.”

Ms Sharpe frequently spends time in the sun and is now hyper-aware of skincare.

Alongside Mr Beamish, she teaches her beauty therapy students the importance of being aware too.

“I love going to the sea and gardening…but the sun is pretty vicious here,” she said, reiterating the importance of her sun protection behaviours.

“I teach my students about how to recognise abnormal freckles and moles, and to not be afraid to refer a client to the doctor.”

Albany Ink’s Danica Joysdottir lost her mother to skin cancer a few months ago and has since joined the Cancer Council’s mission to raise awareness of early detection and looking for symptoms.

“My mum was always sunbaking in Mexico and Canada,” she said.

“She had a mole that she kept catching when she was shaving, so she went to the doctors to get it checked.

“The doctor said it was fine but she went back and asked for it to be removed…she wasn’t educated in the fact that it’s when the cancer comes back that it’s dangerous; it had metastasized.

“It grew into this big lump on her leg and by the end, she had so many lumps over her body…you could smell her rotting flesh.”

Ms Joysdottir will soon be stocking special sunscreen in her store to remind her clients and anyone who stops by the store of the importance of sun protection.

“I worked as an apprentice for a year and a half and the tradies never liked wearing sunscreen because they’d get grit on themselves and it wouldn’t feel very nice,” she said.

“Cancer Council has come out with a non-greasy sunscreen now so hopefully we can encourage them to wear that, as well as remind people to cover up their tattoos.”

Visit for more information.

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Royal award for Albany duo

A PAIR of Albany men joined the ranks of thousands of young achievers around the world last week when they received the prestigious Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award at a ceremony in Perth.

Eighteen-year-old Sam Reeves and 22-year-old Simeon Colback each spent several years taking part in the structured youth development program, which stresses individual goal-setting and self-improvement.

“There was definitely a sense of accomplishment of it all coming together,” Mr Reeves said of winning the prize.

“When you first start, you set out what you want to do for your category and you have to set goals. I definitely met those goals and then some, so it’s a big achievement.”

The initiative’s Gold Award requires participants to meet criteria in five categories including physical recreation, skills, voluntary service, adventurous journey and a residential project.

For Mr Reeves, this involved volunteering his time at Albany State Emergency Service, coaching air rifle at PCYC, playing cricket, engaging in a 12-day Outward Bound navigator course in Walpole and spending six days aboard the STS Leeuwin II.

“It requires dedication more than anything,” he said.

Mr Colback, also an SES volunteer, initially entered the program through his position at the Army Cadets.

He said for him many of the criteria for the award were satisfied when he ran numerous adventure trips in Karijini over the span of two years.

“I started running these just for me and my mates. We would all get together and I’d take them canyoning through the gorges there which is a ton of fun,” he said.

“There’s some people that go overseas and rebuild places for this, others who might learn how to speak a different language or learn how to computer code.

“It’s purely a way of getting youth to go and do more stuff and then through that, it helps them figure out what you’re good at and where to go in life.”

Mr Colback now works as a tour operator in the national park for West Oz Active, while Mr Reeves hopes to study a Contemporary Bachelor of Music at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts.

The duo encouraged others to sign up for the initiative.

“The Army cadets are actually going to start up an award centre to help others take part,” Mr Colback said.

“Hopefully more people in Albany get the award because it’s really great and looks amazing on your resume.”

More than eight million young people from 130 countries around the world have participated in the program since it was founded roughly 60 years ago.

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Christmas activities raise festive spirits

THIS weekend is jam-packed with activities to get the Great Southern into the festive spirit.

Twilight markets, a Christmas-themed outdoor movie, giant snow globes and Santa are some of the entertainment ready to roll into the Albany Town Square and Alison Hartman Gardens on December 6 and 7 as part of the Christmas Festival and Pageant.

Expanded to two nights, the Christmas Festival and Pageant this year includes a Friday night program that includes the lighting of the Christmas Tree next to Albany Public Library, followed by a screening of the 2018 film The Grinch, all from 4pm.

Festivities continue at 3pm on Saturday with live music, kids’ activities, entertainment and food vendors.

The Christmas Pageant will begin at 6pm with 45 floats from schools, businesses and community groups marching up York Street.

Green Skills is holding a Twilight Market in the Town Square on Friday and Saturday from 3pm to coincide with the festivities and has a sustainable Christmas theme.

City of Albany Mayor Dennis Wellington encouraged everyone in the region to come into the city centre and get into the festive spirit with the whole community.

“The Christmas Festival and Pageant is always a highlight on the calendar and it’s a great way for families to have some fun and celebrate the year that has been and look forward to the Christmas break,” he said.

More information on the festival pageant and road closures can be found online at or by calling 6820 3000.

Pictured here are Logan and Harper Wilkinson, who are more than excited about this weekend’s events.

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Grommets 20 years young

THE Granny Grommets, Albany’s most beloved community and sporting group, celebrates 20 years this Saturday.

The group formed from an over-50 recreational group in 1999 and continues to go from strength-to-strength now boasting about 80 members.

It’s oldest member, 85-year-old Margaret White, only took up body-boarding 10 years ago.

There are currently four octogenarians in the group.

Since the group formed, it has clocked up some impressive publicity featuring on popular cooking and lifestyle series Surfing the Menu presented by renowned chefs Curtis Stone and Ben O’Donoghue.

They have also featured in numerous newspapers including The Australian, were interviewed by media personality George Negus, had a book written about them by local author Diane Wolfer as well as launching their own cookbook.

The Granny Grommets also raise funds for major charities.

The members have been coached by Albany surfing legend Tony Harrison who also schools them on how to handle rips, study the tides and water safety.

In appreciation of his services and dedication, the group nominated him for Australia Day honours where he was successful in being named a Western Australian Premier’s Active Award winner.

A highlight for members is the annual surf trip where the group camp out at Bremer Bay to surf all day, then swap stories around the campfire drinking mulled wine.

Lyn Brady summed up the group’s philosophy saying is was “all about ageing with attitude”.

The groups meets for a surf every Friday morning, rain, hail or shine, at Surfers carpark, east of Middleton Beach.

The celebrations commence at 11am at the Stirling Club on Saturday.

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