Peaks climb to final

MT BARKER and Manypeaks made it through to the Albany and Districts A-Grade T20 Grand Final as the only teams to win three matches in the four- round tournament.

The short-form decider was supposed to be played on Sunday afternoon, but was later postponed until February when rain stopped the final match from going ahead.

After losing their first T20 fixture to Royals back in December, Peaks looked like a completely different outfit in the New Year as gun recruit Daniel Rees piled on the runs.

The former Perth first- grader scored a brilliant 69 not out from 61 balls against Barker on Saturday in a peerless innings that included four sixes and three fours.

Barker suffered their first defeat of the season as they failed to chase down 126 for victory.

A middle-order collapse saw the Bulls finish the game on 8/92 from their 20 overs.

Rees backed it up again on Sunday, compiling a more restrained 41 off 43 balls facing Collingwood Park’s attack to secure Peaks a birth in this season’s T20 grand final – a first for the Association.

Chasing down Collingwood’s below-par total of 99, Rees was cool and collected at the crease as he guided his side to vic- tory in the 17th over.

Nathan Dovey regained some of the form that saw him top Park’s run scoring last season, hitting three sixes on his way to a rapid-fire 42-run dig.

Mt Barker struggled to find form with the bat on Saturday, but came back with a bang in Sunday’s fixture against Railways, tonking 149 batting first.

Menacing all-rounder Nathan Crudeli hit 57 from 39 balls and Neil Ferreira chipped in for a classy 41 opening the batting.

Crudeli hit young pace- man Cooper Filipowski for two big sixes in the final over as Barker smashed their way to the tournament’s highest team total.

Tigers captain Coen Marwick was going to have to make a big score for Railways to have any chance of reaching the imposing total, but never looked fluent as he was out for six in the seventh over.

One wicket brought two, with Barker captain Jeremy Wood on a hattrick after trapping Ryan Davies lbw for a golden duck.

Tigers wicket-keeper Aiden Dallimore hit a run-a-ball 20 before rain stopped play in the 15th over and Barker was awarded the win via the Duckworth-Lewis method.

Royals played themselves out of grand final contention the day earlier after two mediocre batting displays saw them lose both their Saturday games against Barker and Collingwood Park.

The Lions have heavily relied on the run-scoring capability of prodigious batting talent Ryley Valli this season. But with the 16-year-old unable to get past 10 in both games, no one else stood up for Royals when they needed it.

Missing Captain Mitch Green through a broken finger, a youthful Royals side looked like they were one experienced batsman short.

Defending 96 against Mt Barker was always going to be a tough ask, although they gave it a fair crack. Managing just 88 against Collingwood Park would have been a far more disappointing result.

Park’s Dustin Boyce was the clear man-of-the-match, finishing with the impressive figures of 4/18 from his four overs.

The T20 results – which counted for premiership points – saw Royals slide to third on the A-grade ladder, while Manypeaks have jumped to second place on four wins and five losses.

Defending premiers Railways remain rooted the bottom of the table on three wins.

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Castelli fire ‘undetermined’

THE cause of a fire which burnt down a family holiday home at a winery in Denmark remains unknown.

A Tudor-style house located on Castelli Estate grounds caught alight on Friday afternoon, with a call to triple zero made just after 3pm.

Fire crews from Denmark and Albany attended the scene and brought the blaze under control just before 5pm.

Preliminary investigations by the Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) said the fire was believed to have started in the roof of the two-storey home.

A DFES spokesperson told the Weekender the cause of the fire was “un- determined” and the dam- age bill unknown.

The blaze isn’t being treated as suspicious and no one was staying in the house.

Castelli Group Director Adam Castelli said it was sad to see a treasured family home go up in flames.

“There has been a lot of good memories there,” he said.

“It has been with us for 16-odd years now. It’s been a family retreat all those years.

“The volunteer firefighters did a great job and I’m very thankful for what they’ve done. It’s very sad what’s happened, but we will rebuild.”

Mr Castelli said the winery’s accommodation and restaurant – which is located about 50m away from the holiday home – were untouched and operating as per usual.

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Season is open for delicacy

THE West Australian marron season is well underway, with hunters eager to make the most out of the restricted four- week season.

More than 10,000 recreational fishers hold licences to catch the unique WA crayfish, as the anticipated short season runs from January 8 to February 5.

Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) Senior Management Officer Rhiannon Jones said people were lucky to be able to fish and enjoy marron here in the State.

“It’s an activity lots of families take part in, go- ing down to camp along the south coast at this time of year to target marron,” she said.

“It’s a great recreational activity.”

Ms Jones said the controlled season is kept in place to protect the highly-valued marron.

“It’s to ensure the species is sustainable into the future,” she said.

In Albany, people of- ten fish along the King and Kalgan Rivers, but the best marron hunting grounds are highly- protected by local fishers.

Strict rules apply to the size, quantity, gear type and locations when fishing for marron.

Last month a man appeared in Harvey Court and was ordered to pay fines and penalties of more than $8,000 for il- legally fishing 66 marrons out of season.

Ms Jones said most recreational fishes comply with the rules.

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Denmark Visitors Centre reopens

MORE than 30 local volunteers have put their hand up to help revive the Denmark Visitors Centre as the town experiences one of its busiest tourist seasons on record.

The facility controversially shut between August and December after Amazing South Coast Tourism announced in February 2019 that it would cease operations.

A community group, Den- mark Tourism Incorporation, formed with the idea of revitalising the Visitors Centre, but its proposal was rejected by Council.

Heading into what was expected to be an incredibly busy summer for local businesses, it remained uncertain whether Denmark would have an official face-to-face visitor service for tourists.

But the Denmark Chamber of Commerce (DCC) saved the day at the last minute by offering to run the Visitors Centre between December 2020 and April 2021.

CEO Sumer Addy said she had been thrilled with the response from locals after putting out the call for volunteers.

“DCC worked intensely all of December to set up operations, recruit volunteers and open the visitor centre doors for service on Boxing Day,” she said.

“And we have heard nothing but positive feedback from businesses, locals and visitors.

“Town is incredibly busy. It is a ‘all-hands-on-deck’ situation where owners and employees are working at their maximum levels.”

Despite the Denmark Visitors Centre reopening its doors, the future of the purpose-built facility is still unknown beyond April.

The Shire of Denmark is currently developing a tourism strategy that will help guide that decision, with a draft strategy expected by April.

State, Federal and Local governments spent close to $750,000 constructing the tourism building in 2007, with then Shire of Denmark CEO Pascoe Durtanovich hailing the Centre “as an attraction in itself”.

“If it’s the view of experts that a bricks and mortar visitors centre is what’s required then that’s what will be recommended, but equally if the review and community and industry come up with an alternative, then that’s ultimately how council will be guided,” Shire of Denmark Acting CEO David Schober told the Weekender in October.

In the short-term, Ms Addy said the DCC was still welcoming volunteers to get involved with running the Visitors Centre this summer.

“In February, we are starting up bi-weekly Tea and Training sessions where a guest from the Shire comes in and shares their expertise with the team,” she said

“It is a great way to get to know Denmark and it’s amazing people.”

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Taking theatre to the streets

IMPROMPTU theatre in the streets of Albany is not something you see every day, but one group is gearing up for a surprise performance.

Southern Edge Arts is offering a Making Theatre Everywhere Masterclass, a practical five-day course where people aged 15- plus will learn and create site- specific theatre performances.

Dr Alan Hancock will be running the course, where the group will pick specific landmarks or locations around Albany and create a piece of theatre to be performed in the public area.

Dr Hancock said they often draw on the locations history and create a theatre performance that’s related to it.

“It can be a kind of street theatre, where you can do it on any street and you’re interacting with passers-by, like what you’ve prob- ably seen before,” he said.

“Or it could be a piece that’s been designed for one particular place, for example if we chose the Brig Amity ship, we might create a piece of theatre around that site, drawing on its history and stories.”

Dr Hancock said the opportunity to create theatre in a new place opens up all kinds of possibilities you wouldn’t come across in a traditional theatre space.

“You’re creating theatre away from the theatre space in a way that they haven’t done before, so it’s something very novel, I find most people get very inspired by it,” he said.

“I find the audience start looking at the place in a different way, they keep expecting art to happen around them.

“I think art is very good at making you look at the world in a different way.”

There’s still a chance to register for the Making Theatre Every- where Masterclass, which will be running from January 18 – 22.

Those who prefer to act as the audience should keep their eyes peeled when walking around town this coming week.

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Blossom at Blush

BLUSH Retail Gallery is hosting a new vibrant art collection from artist Cynthia Orr, showcasing her expression of resilience, hope and perseverance through nature.

Blossom is a colourful, Australian nature inspired collection of acrylic paintings that took her 12 months to create.

Ms Orr was inspired by the events of 2020 to create a collection of 26 paintings that symbolised the rebirth of life after a devastating loss.

“With the things going on in my own life, all the fires over east and in the Porongurup’s and then Covid, this (nature and vegetation) is to symbolise that even when they’re ravaged by fire, they come back and they bloom again so beautifully even when you think they’re dead,” Ms Orr said.

Ms Orr wants people to feel happy and light when they step into the gallery and to feel an emotional tug.

“I think that it is a message of hope for people that no matter what you are going through, there is a season for everything, and it will pass and you will bloom,” she said.

While painting one of her favourites, words came to Ms Orr that she felt deeply resonated with her work and are now words that echo through every painting.

“You will not wilt under the pressure of the heat of the enemy, but … you will bloom in the face of it,” she said.

Blossom will be on show in the Blush Retail Gallery on York Street from January 8-30.

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New fireys promised

ALBANY is set to benefit from an increased number of firefighters as part of a McGowan Labor Government promise to deliver a statewide infrastructure and support package.

The $38.4 million commitment would see WA’s firefighting service strengthen at Albany, Geraldton and Kalgoorlie fire stations, with 36 new recruits trained and distributed within a nine-month period.

The infrastructure and support package investment would increase the staffing ratio from one station officer and three firefighters to one station officer and five firefighters, with a promised $4 million in new next-generation personal protective equipment.

Premier Mark McGowan said firefighters do an incredible job to keep Western Australia safe.

“Our emergency services workers and volunteers put their lives on the line for their fellow Western Australians, which is why we’ve invested heavily in building key infrastructure, training and equipment to better resource and support them and to keep our community safe,” he said.

At a press conference in Albany on Tuesday, Minister for Emer- gency Services Fran Logan MLA said he was pleased to announce the commitment to increase regional firefighters.

Mr Logan said firefighters have been campaigning for a long time for more crew members.

“The firefighters have argued they need a larger crew in place, particularly if they are going into a structure fire and they need the support of people outside and inside, should something go wrong,” he said.

Mr Logan also wanted to convey the good deeds of volunteer firefighters shouldn’t be forgotten.

“Regional Western Australia relies on volunteer firefighters and in Albany, you’ve got a great group of volunteers,” he said.

“You’ve got volunteer fire and rescue services who provide support to the career firefighters here in Albany and of course you’ve got the bush firefighters as well who do a remarkable job and go all over the south west protecting our communities.”

When asked if they intend to hire regional people, Mr Logan said it was a good point, but hasn’t raised it with the fire and emergency services commissioner.

“For every position that pops up, there are 2000 people that want to apply for the job,” he said. “I would imagine people from all over Western Australia would apply.”

The United Professional Fire- fighters Union has been running a Heroes Support Heroes campaign since October asking to have additional firefighters to help keep WA safe and they have welcomed the commitment.

United Professional Firefighter Union Secretary Tim Kucera said that the investment would help firefighters keep Western Australia safe.

“We are grateful the McGowan Government has listened to our Heroes Support Heroes campaign calling for additional firefighters, further investment in regional areas and new personal protective cloth- ing for firefighters across Western Australia,” he said.

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Passionate printers

PRINTMAKERS from across WA have gathered to exhibit their work in the Museum of the Great Southern this summer.

The South West Print- makers are a group of seven individual artists who were brought together by a passion for printmaking.

The established group of artists have been exhibiting together since 2005, most of whom met through studying visual arts at TAFE and Edith Cowan University in Bunbury.

Artwork from Helen Hulme-Gerrard, Lianne Jay, Janette Trainer, Sue Dennis, Christine Latham, Yvonne Dorricott, and Carol Farmer will be on display.

Their works depict a wide and varying range of printmaking techniques and styles, including lino, wood- cut, etching, stencil and screen-print and cyanotype.

South West Printmakers group member Lianne Jay said the exhibition is designed to bring forth awareness around printmaking and its versatility to the Great Southern.

“As a group we’re trying to be actively out there in the community in sharing our work,” she said.

“We’ve all got different skills, so we share amongst ourselves and we have workshops to educate each other on different skills and techniques.”

The exhibition is located in the Residency Heritage Building at the Museum of the Great Southern, where each room showcases a different artist’s work.

The layout of the exhibition allows visitors to see not only the diverse nature of the works but also the uniqueness of the printmaking artform.

Alongside creating work for exhibition, the group collectively produce an annual ‘print share’ where each artist produces a piece of work in response to a theme, which is then shared amongst each other.

The South West Printmakers see the ‘print share’ as a way to ex- change collectable work and create a survey of

contemporary printmaking in the South West region.

Ms Jay said this year’s theme was to create three-dimensional un- folding work, designed to challenge the artists to try something new.

“We share our works, we get a beautiful collection of prints from everybody and it becomes part of our print collection,” she said.

The South West Printmakers work will be exhibited from January 9-24.

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Albany art on display

ALBANY’S art community is thriving this sum- mer, with a group of local artists showcasing their work at the Vancouver Arts Centre.

The Albany Art Group (AAG) is hosting their 59th Summer Exhibition, embodying the work of 25 artists.

With up to 70 members, the group’s painters and potters attend an array of workshops throughout the week.

The exhibitions provide an opportunity for the members to exhibit and sell their work, a first for many beginner artists in town.

AAG President Colin Montefiore said the town is continuing to diversify its art scene.

“We have a wide range of artists from different backgrounds and experience levels, from beginners to those who have studied fine arts in Florence,” he said.

“In general, the bulk of our members are retirees, but we have a lot of younger members too.

“Now that we’re doing weekend workshops it’s become more inclusive, it’s a good activity to get out there and do something.”

The exhibition displays an extensive range of work, allowing visitors to appreciate the varying styles and techniques across the exhibition rooms.

Every artwork sold will be replaced with a new piece, as the revolving exhibition allows people to take their purchases home on the day.

Mr Montefiore said many of their members, especially those exhibiting for the first time, value displaying their work as a part of a bigger collective.

“If you haven’t exhibited before it’s a little bit like walking naked down York Street,” he said.

“In these exhibitions everybody is allowed to put in, doesn’t matter whether you’re a beginner artist or you’re very talented, we hang everybody’s paintings.

“And new members are always welcome to join the group.”

The Summer Exhibition will run until January 17 in the revamped Vancouver Arts Centre heritage building.

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MacGregor’s dream job

ROSS MacGregor spent almost 20 years ‘crawling’ out of a major clinical depression to find his dream job as a Sound Engineer at Six Degrees.

The 49-year-old said he went through some traumatic experiences growing up as a child in Scotland and again around 2001.

He was diagnosed with genetic anxiety disorder, and went into a deep depression.

“It took me the best part of these past 19 years to crawl my way out of it,” he said.

“The past two years I’ve been doing pretty good, having gotten back into my passion of playing guitar.

“Scoring the job at Six Degrees has been a dream come true. My social anxiety meant that it was a bit out of my comfort zone working at a bar/restaurant, as I’ve been a bit of a hermit for a long time.

“So I wasn’t sure how I’d cope, but I’ve been thriving on the music and social interaction with fellow musicians and music lovers and fellow staff members.

“It’s made me realise that the world isn’t so scary after all and there are so many beautiful, compassionate and friendly people here in Albany.”

MacGregor commenced his duties in September and described his job as extremely rewarding.

“I get to meet and work with some amazingly talented artists and bands and help to enhance their overall sound and make sure everything goes smoothly,” he said.

“Not only do I get to enjoy the music, but being a part of that and being appreciated for it is truly gratifying and has done wonders for my self-confidence.

“For me, music is like energy for my soul.”

MacGregor was referred to Six Degrees through disability employment agency Forrest Personnel and met with the organisation’s music guru Geoff Waldeck.

“I shared my story and experience with music and the fact I’d gone through years of depression and anxiety,” MacGregor said.

“Geoff must have seen something in me, he put his trust in me and he has since expressed how happy he is with how I do the job.

“I can’t express how much it has meant to me, him giving me a good old Aussie go of it and I hope I never let him down.

“He’s such a personable and compassionate guy.

“He has made me feel so welcome at Six Degrees and allowed me to flourish as his soundman.

“His constant appreciation and friendly demeanor has made all the difference, as has Six Degrees’ owner Anton.”

Waldeck said as the backroom has continually grown into a purpose-built musical venue, the need for a consistent quality sound was evident.

“Paul and Jeff Meyers were very active to the development of the venue and played a huge part in setting up the room’s acoustics and installing the PA system,” he said.

“Enter Ross MacGregor … he has taken on the daunting task of maintaining the high standard that was set and doing his best to improve on it.

“Ross’s desire to help along with his jovial, engaging and active personality have been a wonderful addition to our staff, and as he become more and more comfort- able and at ease with all the new people around him – he is embracing this new chapter of his life with gusto.”

MacGregor has been playing guitar for 32 years, leaving Scotland aged 19 for France with a backpack and an acoustic guitar.

He ran out of money and started busking, which became his life for the next decade where he busked throughout Europe.

MacGregor’s passion is playing instrumental electric guitar in the style of guitar legend Joe Satriani, who he met and translated two interviews with in France in 1996.

He has played in bands over the years and also wrote his own music but due to the isolation he put himself through with his anxiety and depression, he hasn’t been in that environment for many years.

“More than ever now I hope to get my own band going in 2021,” MacGregor said.

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