Formal chinwag to last a lifetime

PERTH theatre platform Barefaced Stories is bringing a familiar yet new type of interactive experience to Albany this weekend for four days.

The Chin Wagon will roll into town on Sunday at the Albany Entertainment Centre and remain in situ until Wednesday, January 22.

It will offer people the chance to participate in The Story Exchange, a free interview session between two people that can last a lifetime – The Chin Wagon is a mobile story studio where people can interview a loved one and share a story with them, and it will be recorded.

Conversations will be based around love and loss.

“When we take the time to ask someone about their life, the things they’ve been through, highs and lows, and listen closely back to the stories they share, remarkable things can happen,” Producer Andrea Gibbs said.

“Sometimes they share stories we’ve never heard of before or we gain new insights into those we have, bringing us a greater understanding of who they really are.

“So much can be learned by the stories we have and the relationships we have shared.”

The Story Exchange interview is 40 minutes of conversation with someone you know and care about – a partner, a friend, a family member, a teacher or even a work colleague.

The Chin Wagon team will guide you through how to interview them, ask the right questions and listen closely so that your partner will respond in the best way possible, speaking from the heart.

The final conversation will be sent to participants in an audio package.

“Ask your grandfather, ‘What was the happiest moment of your life, Pop?’, or your mother, ‘Mum, what do you remember about the day I was born?’, or your brother, ‘Was there a time when you didn’t like me?’,” Ms Gibbs said.

“Choose just one person to come along with you and we’ll help you figure out a great list of questions for them.”

To take part in The Story Exchange inside The Chin Wagon, interviewers need to be available to attend a free workshop this Saturday, 10.30am to 12.30pm at the Albany Entertainment Centre, then book in for a recording session and attend at your designated time.

Sessions are offered on the hour between 11am and 6pm.

Bookings can be made online at

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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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CBH sets sales record

THE CBH Group has released their full 2019 Annual Report following the release of our Financial Report in mid-December and finish to the harvest season.

This season the Albany Zone reported 2,629,000 tonnes of grain harvested from across the region.

Last season the Albany Zone reported a smaller harvest with 2,614,000 tonnes of grain harvested due to mixed weather conditions.

Some of the key highlights in the report showed a strong operational performance in a number of areas, including record-breaking rail movements and strong growth in fertiliser sales.

Driven by a near record harvest of 16.4 million tonnes, the CBH rail infrastructure moved the largest amount on record with 8.9 million tonnes of grain sent by rail to port terminals during the 12 months to the end of September 2019.

This included six million tonnes moved within the Kwinana Zone to the Kwinana Grain Terminal for bulk export.

A total of 13.8 million tonnes were shipped from four grain terminals, with the Kwinana Grain Terminal shipping 6.2 million tonnes of grain.

This was only 30,000 tonnes shy of the shipping record set in 2016-17.

CBH Fertiliser achieved its biggest year so far as sales continued to grow in 2018-19, with 103,000 tonnes sold, up from 90,000 in 2017-18. The business remains profitable and has retained surplus capital to expand the business further across the network.

During the reporting period, the co-operative invested more than $1.6 million into regional grain growing communities in Western Australia through the Community Investment Fund.

This included the Grass Roots Leadership Short Course, which was introduced for the first time in 2019 with a total of 76 participants, and more than $300,000 was provided to community groups as part of the Grass Roots grants program.

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TV show stars Albany

DON’T miss Albany’s latest time in the spotlight – the first season of children’s adventure show Itch is now online on ABC iview and the episodes will only be available for another month.

Itch is based on the book series of the same name by British author Simon Mayo and tells the story of a teenage boy who discovers a new element of the periodic table; he must defend it from the clutches of evil, secret organisations.

It was filmed in Albany and includes the iconic locations of Middleton Beach, Albany Senior High School (ASHS), Albany Town Hall and the University of WA Albany campus in multiple scenes.

The ASHS school logo was altered for all school scenes but the uniform is otherwise easily recognisable as the one worn by students today.

Episodes 1-10 were published online two weeks ago and will be available until February 23.

The Behind the Scenes videos will stay online until March 28.

When Mr Mayo caught up with the Weekender at Middleton Beach during filming in February last year, he said changing the story’s location from Cornwall to an Australian coastal town “made sense”.

He described the similarities between Cornwall and Albany as “remarkable”.

“Cornwall has a rich mining heritage,” Mr Mayo said.

“So switching to here makes perfect sense, with Albany’s connection to mining.”

Mayo scored a brief cameo in a scene shot at Middleton – he’s hiding in the Ellen Cove picnic area, typing on a laptop.

Itch star and Perth product Samuel Ireland visited The Gap, Emu Point, Middleton Beach, Boston Brewery and Greens Pool on his days off during filming.

He said scoring the lead role of Itchingham Lofte was a dream come true.

“When I saw the Itch auditions, I thought, this is my childhood,” Mr Ireland said.

Blue Water High, Parallax…kids’ dramas are what Aussies do best.

“So getting that first callback was a wonderful feeling.”

Albany’s Dragon Martial Arts owner and instructor Mark Burridge was hired to teach actors and choreograph various fight scenes for the production.

A few of his students assisted him in teaching the actors and one student appeared as a stunt double in a scene.

“Teaching the moves and scenes and working with the stunt coordinator has been so much fun and I can’t wait to see the end product and the TV series,” Mr Burridge told the Weekender in April.

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Hunt for CEO set to begin

A NATIONWIDE search for the Shire of Denmark’s new Chief Executive Officer will begin soon, several months after former CEO Bill Parker resigned from the top job.

Shire President Ceinwen Gearon told the Weekender Council would begin looking for a CEO “shortly” and expected to have the role filled prior to June 30.

Currently acting CEO David Schober is administering the duties of CEO.

“Under the Local Government Act, a Council may appoint an acting CEO for up to 12 months,” Cr Gearon said.

“Council will be looking to commence a national search for a CEO shortly and can offer up to a five year contract to the successful candidate.

“The process will involve advertising nation- ally and appointing a sub-delegation of councillors to conduct the recruitment process.”

Mr Schober took on the job on September 30 after Mr Parker left to take on a leadership position as General Manager of the Corporate Services Alliance at the City of Perth.

Previously he has worked as the Shire’s Manager of Community Services and has held executive positions at the City of Albany and St John Ambulance.

He said he would consider whether to apply for the substantive position once it was officially advertised.

“I have found the job to be incredibly rewarding and have thoroughly enjoyed working with Shire staff and Council,” Mr Schober added.

“I am enjoying the opportunity to develop new opportunities for Denmark whilst building on a solid foundation left by the previous Shire CEO Bill Parker.

“The projects identified in the Long Term Financial Plan will, over the next few years, add enormous value to Denmark as a place to both live and visit.”

In August, Cr Gearon said the decision to appoint an interim acting CEO was influenced by a number of factors, including the 2019 Local Government Election held on October 19.

“Council felt that it would be unfair for an outgoing Council to appoint a permanent CEO,” she said at the time.

“For the position to be successful, the group felt the new Council should have ownership over the CEO recruitment and appointment process.”

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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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Road rage assault

A ROAD rage incident that saw a teenage boy dragged from his mother’s car and bashed in the head in October is evidence of a worsening problem in the community, an Albany court has been told.

Magistrate Raelene Johnston said road rage violence was “far more prevalent than it used to be” when she fined Albany man Stephen Murphy more than $1700 for the common assault in Albany Magistrates Court last Thursday.

Mr Murphy, a former combat engineer, attacked the 17-year-old victim after the boy made “rude gestures” at him from the front passenger seat of his mother’s Ford Falcon.

The 50-year-old was about to enter an Albany Highway roundabout from Sanford Road when the Ford Falcon allegedly cut him off at around 3.50pm on October 18.

Prosecuting Sergeant Alan Dean said the two vehicles then pulled over on the highway before Mr Murphy engaged in a “verbal argument” with the victim, pulled him from the car “by his hair” and punched him five times in the back of the head.

In an interview with police two days later, Mr Murphy said he had “snapped” and “was ashamed of what he’d done”.

He added he did not realise the victim was a juvenile at the time.

“It’s an awful thing that occurred,” Magistrate Johnston said prior to sentencing.

“It’s entirely understandable that people get upset about other people’s driving on the road … it used to be the case that people would generally honk their horn. This obviously went beyond that.

“It got out of hand the moment you got out of the car and deteriorated from there.”

Mr Murphy’s defence lawyer Graeme Payne said his client was a father of three children, including one aged 17, and had worked as a truck driver for 15 years before he was made redundant 18 months ago.

He said Mr Murphy had had right of way when the Ford Falcon “flashed past” and left him feeling “frightened” and “startled”.

“He asked the driver what she thought she was doing and the victim chipped in … the victim was using abusive language,” Mr Payne said.

“[Mr Murphy] was very remorseful for his response.”

Magistrate Johnston accepted the incident was not something Mr Murphy would usually be involved in and granted him a spent conviction.

In Western Australia, common assault can attract a maximum penalty of 18 months imprisonment and a fine of $18,000.

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Grants to create jobs

MINISTER for Regional Development Alannah MacTiernan was given a tour around the Himac Attachments facilities yesterday after announcing the recipients of the second round of the Regional Economic Development Grants program.

The RED Grants program is a State Government initiative to promote community-driven projects that will create jobs and boost economic growth.

In the last round $6.38m was distributed across 70 projects in nine different regions.

This round eight projects in the Great Southern will share $797,995 with Albany based Himac Attachments receiving $47,148.

Minister MacTiernan said the government was investing in a diverse range of projects this round.

“Particularly those which will create jobs and training opportunities for young people and support the long-term growth of manufacturing and business development in the Great Southern,” she said.

“Boosting our local manufacturing capability is vital to the future economic growth and sustainability of our regional communities.

“Projects such as the construction of modular housing and local machinery fabrication will provide wide community benefits, supporting other local businesses in the region like steel suppliers, electricians, tilers and plumbers.”

In Himac Attachments’ application they stated that they would use their funding to develop and construct a fully interactive platform for fabrication and welding processes, which would in turn create more job opportunities for young people and school leavers.

Also on the recipients list was South Coast Natural Resource Management Inc. who received $149,860 for their Seeding Great southern Noongar Enterprises program.

The program will provide training, equipment and mentoring for Tambellup and Gnowangerup Aboriginal communities to establish seed and seedling propagation businesses.

The Shire of Cranbrook received $150,000 for their Frankland River Accommodation Project, West Coast Analytical Services received $150,000 for a new laboratory project, and Woodlands Distillery Pty Ltd received $98,660 for the development of a micro-distillery near the Porongurups.

The award winning Dellendale Creamery received $76,177 for the construction of a new ripening cellar for cheese, Albany Seafoods Pty Ltd received $75,000 for a factory extension and restoration, and Monty’s Leap winery received $51,150 for their Monty’s Leap Winery Boardwalk and Rustic Wedding Venue project.

Member for Albany Peter Watson said the RED Grants program was a prime example of the “McGowan Government investing in the regions, promoting small businesses and creating jobs”.

“With more jobs on offer, the Great Southern becomes even more attractive for people to live and work in this stunning part of the world.”

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Loan enables bus trial

AFTER many attempts to get off the ground the Denmark Community Transport Group has received the support required to enable them to commence trials of a bus service next month.

The service will be run under the auspices of Green Skills who, on joining the group, have made available their 14-seat vehicle for the trial.

Transport group spokesman Chris Lendrum said he hopes that members of the Denmark and Albany community will make use of the service running between the towns.

“To ensure continuity of this community initiative, the residents of both Denmark and Albany will need to come together in order to ensure that necessary participation levels are achieved,” he said.

“This could also be supplemented by offering the service to tourists visiting the Great Southern region.

“As a not-for-profit group, the success of the bus service operation will depend totally on this public support to generate the mandatory passenger numbers required to achieve realistic ticket prices, which are reflective of all associated costs involved in providing the service.”

Mr Lendrum said initially there will be a morning and afternoon service running between Denmark and Albany four days a week, these being on a Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday.

He said the morning service would provide a link-up with the direct Transperth bus from Albany to Perth.

“During the period between the two daily service runs when the vehicle is back in Denmark, the group will look at offering services about the Shire of Denmark reflective of the demand by residents or tourists seeking travel assistance,” Mr Lendrum said.

“Information promoting the bus service will be displayed at most public venues, clubs, medical centres and the like along with two contact phone numbers to be used.

“The first number, 9848 2055, will connect the caller to staff at the Denmark Amazing Great Southern Visitors Information Centre where more comprehensive advice on the service will be provided.

“The second number, 0478 357 379, will link the caller to the ‘The Ring a Ride’ booking service where details of their travel requirements will be recorded and associated advice provided.”

Mr Lendrum said any changes made to the booking would be communicated to passengers promptly.

The trial will commence on February 10.

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Stewart to sign off

SHIRE of Plantagenet Chief Executive Officer Rob Stewart will be resigning later this year after nearly two decades in the top job.

The 66-year-old stepped into the position on July 2, 2001 after having helmed his own software development company and served as CEO of the Town of Claremont in Perth.

Mr Stewart spoke with the Weekender about his time working for the Shire, a long and multifaceted journey he described as an “unusual … rich and satisfying professional experience”.

“I am genuinely sad to be leaving Plantagenet,” he said.

“Over the past 19 years, the council, council staff and community have all been very proactive and supportive.

“Everything that has been achieved has been achieved in an environment of mutual support and trust and the council continues to plan for the future.”

When asked to pinpoint the achievements he was most proud of over his long tenure, Mr Stewart said it was a difficult question to answer.

He praised the Shire for “always being willing to take considered risks” when providing infrastructure and pointed to its first Strategic Plan, adopted in 2004, which gave it developmental focus for the next 15 plus years.

This plan helped the Shire provide many upgrades to its main street, construct a new environmentally sound administration centre and purpose built Medical Centre and to purchase the Mount Barker Cattle Saleyards.

It also led to a $9m upgrade of Sounness Park including its artificial hockey turf, the joint venture development of the Public Library and Community Resource Centre and the completion of its new Community College.

Mr Stewart said he was also proud to have helped the Shire develop strong relationships with its neighbouring local authorities.

“These achievements were all the more significant as Plantagenet is a small rural local authority with only limited resources,” he reflected.

“The biggest challenge is finding enough money to get everything done as it is impossible to rely on ratepayer funds for everything.

“Another challenge is remaining positive within an environment where resources are scarce but if you stop achieving, your community would go backwards.”

Mr Stewart referred to the construction of the Mount Barker Medical Centre as a prime example of the unique difficulties facing local governments.

Although the Shire sold assets and received Federal Government funds to pay for the structure, the Centre could only go ahead after it received an interest free loan from Mount Barker’s local community bank.

“Also, we always knew that it would be difficult to build a national standard hockey pitch but still put the plans in place,” Mr Stewart said.

“Because the planning was in place, when funds were made available, we were in the box seat to successfully attract significant funding.”

Mr Stewart’s lengthy career will officially end on July 31 this year when his employment contract expires.

He said while he and his partner had expressed desire to remain in the Great Southern going forward, “the pull of grandchildren” will ultimately see them settle in an apartment in Perth.

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