Albany stars in series

ALBANY is once again playing centre stage on the silver screen with the commencement of season two filming of ABC children’s adventure series Itch.

Production staff and actors rolled into town yesterday for three weeks of camera action.

Starring Perth-based Samuel Ireland, Itch follows the story of teen Itchingham Lofte who discovers an unknown element.

Season one followed Itch’s journey to keep the element out of the hands of the government and an evil corporation.

Series two will see Itch and his friends tackle a new issue: dead fish are washing up on the shores of town after a boat explosion.

The teens suspect an evil corporation is behind it and seek to uncover the truth themselves.

Komixx Entertainment Australia Managing Director Amanda Morrison said the show had enjoyed fantastic reception worldwide.

“Our US audience, where Itch is currently broadcasting, are loving the action-packed on-screen adventure and unique West Australian landscapes, and we are anticipating our UK launch with the BBC,” she said.

“We will be building on the universal themes of science and environmentalism in series two, which will again be produced entirely out of WA; celebrating the talent of our local industry and showcasing the Great Southern and Peel regions to audiences across the world.”

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Bishop’s global football crusade

WA FOOTBALL Commission Regional Development Specialist Matt Bishop led a varied life getting to his current role; from wanna-be veterinarian, to agriculture, to being awarded life membership to the United States Australian Football League.

Bishop also coached against Hawthorn star and 1986 Brownlow medallist Robert ‘Dipper’ DiPierdomenico at the 2011 International Cup.

Dipper had the reins for the Peace Team – a side with players from Israel and Palestine, a humanity story that was made into a documentary.

But let’s get back to the start.

Bishop was born in Victoria and also lived in NSW and Queensland where he finished high school.

He initially wanted to be a veterinarian and commenced university studies before changing to, and completing, an agricultural science degree.

Working for Meat and Livestock Australia, including visiting Fletchers which played a part in his moving to Albany in later years, he relocated to Washington DC with the organisation.

He was then offered a job in Sacramento, California and along with wife Amy, moved west.

“When I moved to the US I was aware that footy was played in places but I had no idea what to expect,” Bishop said.

“I had played club footy since I was young and I always had a footy or cricket bat/ball in my hands from very early on.

“So when I turned up to my first training session in Washington DC, I was blown away to find out there was a competition involving teams from north-eastern cities such as Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington and North Carolina.

“Full games of footy would only be played against one or more of these teams on a monthly basis.

“In the meantime your local team would be split up into smaller teams to play Metro Footy. This is essentially what AFLX is modelled on.”

A highlight was Bishop coaching a representative side in 2006 that won the Division Two at the National Titles in Las Vegas, commentated by Dipper and Peter Schwab.

Bishop said an exciting aspect of the Nationals was the numerous AFL identities that visited and were fantastic in making themselves available.

Visitors included, Mark Thompson, Kevin Sheedy, Steven Silvagni, Dermott Brereton, Jobe Watson and Nick Riewoldt to name a few.

After moving to Sacramento, Bishop coached the Golden Gate team in 2010-11 and began coaching the USA men’s team in 2009, holding that role until the completion

Bishop also became close with AFL legend Paul Roos, who is married to an American and spent a year in San Diego after finishing his playing career.

Roos coached the first USA men’s team and is credited with growing the popularity of footy in the US when it was in its infancy.

Bishop also assisted in the AFL Combines, to identify athletic talent with potential to play AFL and met those that were successful such as Shae McNamara and Mason Cox (Collingwood), Jason Holmes (St Kilda) and Eric Wallace (North Melbourne).

These events were also attended by several AFL Recruiters such as Stephen Silvagni, Gavin Wright and Jason Cripps.

Bishop returned to Australia in 2017, by then he had two young children and did not want to commit to educating them in the US system.

“And we weren’t ready to endure the Trump regime,” he added.

Bishop’s role covers everything from Auskick, juniors through to senior football, coach and umpire development, league and club support through to working with Local and State governments on facilities.

Bishop said the most exciting development is the interest in female football.

“There is no doubt that female footy is going to explode throughout WA in the short to medium term,” he said.

“In some ways WA is behind the eastern states in this area but it will catch up very fast.

“The GSFLW was very successful in 2020, prior to covid, and the opportunity to establish competitions for girls of all ages is there for the taking.”

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Wilson’s awarded as fan favourites

AN ALBANY beer will now be found throughout the entire state after winning the BWS Local Luvva competition, allowing the young company to spread their reach across WA.

Wilson Brewing Company was founded only three years ago by Matty and Jessica Wilson after trading in the FIFO life to follow their dreams of creating unique and well-loved beverages.

The local beermakers took out 43 per cent of all votes for the WA Beer and Cider category.

National Sales and Marketing Manager Luke Wilson said taking out the title of Fan Favourite in the Beer and Cider category for WA meant that all the hard yards made in their first few years weren’t going unnoticed.

“It was pretty awesome for us because we’ve been trying for ages to get into more BWS stores to a point where they’ll distribute for us instead of us doing it, so this is something we’ve been working towards for quite a while now,” he said.

“It’s all been small gains up until now, but through that we’ve built the support base and gave them all the opportunity to shout out for us.

“It said that the winner would get into up to 100 stores, so in the worst case we’re going to get another 40 odd stores which is nearly what we’ve done in two years’ time and they’re just going to snap their fingers and have it done, so it’ll be awesome.”

Marketing Coordinator Liz Northern said winning the competition will allow the team to focus their energy on their next goal: seeing their products interstate.

“At the moment we have to deliver our beer to every venue we have ourselves, so getting into that distribution means we send bulk orders to their warehouse and they distribute it to the stores which will save us a lot of time and money,” she said.

Mr Wilson said he was grateful for the support from customers.

“There are some big breweries out there, so for us to have gotten 43 per cent of votes means our supporter base is so loyal and so vocal about us,” he said.

“I just want to give a big thanks to everyone who took the time and effort to vote for us, it’s unreal.”

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Redbacks’ pace attack venomous

REDBACKS opened their account with a thrilling win over Griffins in the opening round of the Albany and Districts Cricket Association Under 14s at Collingwood Park last Saturday.

Griffins batted first and started horribly when Hayden Leo was run out without facing a ball.

But opener Vincent Bascombe was joined by Jed Kowald and they put on an entertaining partnership of 38, dominated by Kowald who was scoring at a run a ball.

Kowald hit two fours in his 25, and once Bascombe departed for 18, Griffins collapsed to be all out for 91.

For Redbacks, Xavier McGregor and Bryden Guelfi both took a couple of wickets.

The classy Rory Sutherland got the Redbacks off to a promising start, before he was run out unnecessarily for 19 including a couple of boundaries.

Fynn Kelleher-Bird with 19 and a quick-fire 10 from McGregor had them closing in on the target but with wickets running low, before Harvey Taylor steadied the ship with a patient 11 and the Redbacks finished on 7/98 off their 25 overs.

Ryan Hams was the pick of the Griffins bowlers finishing with 3/7 off his three overs.

Blues went straight to the top of the ladder after they belted Plantagenet White by 150 runs.

At one stage the Blues were 1/147 with Teague Valli retiring on 50 with five boundaries, Charlie Cousins also retiring on 38 and a host of batsmen getting solid starts.

John Righton took 3/12 off his four overs to be a shining light for Plantagenet.

Maxwell Wright (17) and Ryan Bedford (13) had their side well placed at 1/32 but once they departed the tail collapsed and they were all out for 79 in the 31st over.

Warriors moved into second place with a 43-run victory over Denmark at Tigerland.

Opener Milan Jaggi set the tone with 39 off only 42 balls and son-of-a-gun Rory Luscombe made a quick-fire 31 before he was run out.

For Denmark, Jackson Ross hit four boundaries in a well-compiled 36.

The final game saw Kings 9/141 defeat Plantagenet Green, all out for 101.

Extras top-scored for the Kings with 51, including an astonishing 37 wides which cost Plantagenet the game.

Next week, in the game of the round, Redbacks take on Warriors at Collingwood Park on Saturday.

Denmark are at home to Plantagenet Green, Kings play Griffins at Tigerland and Plantagenet Green clash with an in-form Blues at Sounness Park.

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Artists exhibit cast of crafts

THE final instalment of a three-year artistic project inspired by the Albany Heritage Park will wind up at the end of next week.

Cast encompasses the work of John Carberry, Annette Davis, Theo, Terri Pikora and Nat Rad and explores the broad meaning of ‘cast’, including “a turning of the eye”, “an impression taken from an object” and “a wide sweep”.

The environment of Albany Heritage Park, particularly Princess Royal Fortress, inspired these artists, who each set out to document spaces, places and concepts through their respective crafts.

The group has worked to cast shadows and light from the environment, cast characters from history and cast back to old memories of the site.

Their works are exhibited through video, audio soundscape, textiles and paintings.

Cast follows the 2018 exhibition Crypsis and 2019 exhibition Campaign.

Cast will be open to the public 9am to 4pm for free Tuesday to Sunday until October 30 in the Married Quarters West Wing gallery, located along the Convoy Walk at Albany Heritage Park.

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Denmark tourism future in dispute

A COMMUNITY group that formed solely for the purpose of creating a modernised visitor centre in Denmark will likely dissolve in the coming weeks after a Shire decision on their proposal “let the industry down”.

Denmark Tourism Incorporation (DTI) formed four months ago after the now-defunct Denmark Visitor Centre shut up shop on July 31.

DTI Operations Manager Beverley Ford said the group asked the Shire of Denmark for a 20-month tenure to launch a new visitor centre, with the goal to create a business model that eventually paid for itself.

However, after an officer recommendation, the Shire was only willing to offer the organisation eight months.

“It was very disappointing. We were concerned there were some misleading points in the wording of the officer recommendation, and we tried to make it clear to the councillors that the whole guts of our proposal was that we wanted to create an attraction in the building and a model of visitor servicing that became self-sustainable,” Ms Ford said.

“That can’t be done in eight months.”

However, Shire of Denmark Acting CEO David Schober said the DTI was asking for much more than 20 months.

“I can categorically say that the proposal [Beverley] provided was a three-year tenure and a three-year option and another three years behind that, so she was asking for nine years in writing to the Shire,” he said.

“[Our offer] wasn’t saying you can only operate for eight months, but it was certainly saying you’ve got it for eight months and then we’ll renegotiate at the March quarter.

“Their proposal was to go for nine years. There was an alternate motion from a councillor that took it from eight months through to 20 months to potentially go through to June 30, 2022 but that was narrowly lost three votes to four.”

Ms Ford said DTI had written to the Shire to reject the offer.

“It is not practical in any way for us to accept it because we would be bound to fail,” she said.

“We have written this morning to the CEO and all the councillors that we would not be accepting the eight months.”

Following the disappointing outcome, Ms Ford said it was more than likely that the DTI would no longer exist in the coming months.

“We will most likely dissolve. We’ve got a few bits of action that we’re going to consider taking, then after that I’ll have to find out what is required to dissolve us.

“We feel gutted.”

Mr Schober said in the meantime a tourism strategy for Denmark would be developed to direct the future direction of the industry in the coming years.

“The theme of the meeting was that the tourism strategy was the most important element, and without a dedicated tourism strategy to guide the future use of both the building and tourism as a whole, the councillors ultimately didn’t want to be locked into something into the longer term without understanding everything from a tourism strategy perspective,” he said.

“It’ll be developed by the Shire, we’ll be seeking an expert consultant to work with the community to develop that and then to provide a draft by about March or April next year.

“That will still go forward to provide Council and the community with the Shire’s intentions around tourism.”

Mr Schober said the future of a physical facility is not set in stone. “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,” he said.

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VAC’s 40 years on show

FOUR decades of art and craft were celebrated last weekend with the launch of the Vancouver Art Centre (VAC) 40th Exhibition.

Saturday saw people trickling in all day to explore the centre’s history, learn about its origins and see samples of visiting artists’ works.

The exhibition is comprised of both artwork and historical record and is open to the public until November 12.

Exhibition curator Annette Davis said VAC was a place of inspiration, vision, hard work and creative passion.

“The VAC is such an important part of Albany’s cultural life and the challenge with an exhibition like this it to try and adequately represent its rich history,” she said.

“So many events and activities have happened here over the past 40 years that it is impossible to include or mention everything.

“I hope that when people come to the exhibition, they learn about, or are reminded of, the significant projects that have happened here.”

The exhibition is open weekdays from 10am to 4pm until November 12.

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War nurses remembered

THE sacrifices and efforts of Australian nurses during war and peacetime will be remembered at a special ceremony this weekend in Albany.

The Nurses Memorial Service will take place this Sunday, October 25 from 2pm at the RSL Nurses Memorial Garden on Proudlove Parade.

This year is the 83rd year the ceremony has been held in Albany and marks 45 years since the end of the Vietnam War.

Nurses Remembrance Association of Albany Secretary Heather Malacari said the Vietnam War would have particular emphasis in this year’s service.

“A lot of the nurses weren’t allowed to talk about their experiences from this time, so here is the chance for those stories to be told,” she said.

“Our keynote speaker, Sue Lefroy, will be talking about the nurses who were in South Vietnam.”

Ms Malacari said the nurse memorial service recognised all nurses from all time periods, including those working during the current COVID-19 pandemic.

“With the challenges we’ve had this year, especially for our nurses on the frontline, it would be so lovely for our present-day nurses to be recognised,” she said.

RSL Special Functions Chair Michael Tugwell will give the opening address, followed by a guard mount of police rangers, Guides and Scouts.

After the Australian and New Zealand national anthems, Museum of the Great Southern Manager Catherine Salmaggi will give the welcome address.

Reverend Helen Barnard will say the prayer, read from the Bible and give the Benediction, and Julie Bright from the Nurses Remembrance Association of Albany will read the Ode.

The Year 10 Girls Choir from Great Southern Grammar will perform I’ll Never Find Another You, and join with attendees to sing Amazing Grace and How Great Thou Art.

The City of Albany Band will play the Last Post and Rouse.

Ms Malacari will read the poem At Your Side He Will Remain, written by Becky Coleman.

Following the proceedings, attendees are welcome to an afternoon tea at the RSL clubrooms under the Stirling Club, on Stirling Terrace.

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Junior rugby event hailed as a success

THE Great Southern isn’t renowned for producing star rugby players, but you wouldn’t have guessed it watching the weekend’s Junior 7s rugby tournament.

Coming up against metropolitan and country teams from around the state, Albany Storm’s under 11s side were a cut above the rest as they ended the competition cup winners.

Palmyra were crowned the under 10s cup winners, while Kalamunda took home the under 12s title.

The local rugby community would be toasting another highly successful year hosting the Albany Junior 7s tournament after more than 400 kids from 40 different teams descended upon the port city for the two-day carnival.

RugbyWA Regional Development Manager Dane Lazarus said it was a record turnout.

“It’s growing each year,” he said.

“It has been well-received. There were teams that couldn’t get accommodation in Albany this time of year, so no doubt there would have been even more.

“It will go up to the under 13 age group next year.”

Mr Lazarus said the Great Southern was an untapped gold mine for rugby talent.

“We want to make sure every kid in WA has the opportunity to play rugby and showcase their skills,” he said.

“We’ve been trying to get more kids involved in the rugby club down there in preparation for the tournament.

“I have no doubt the crop of young kids coming through, in 10 year’s time they will form the colts team and grow into a seniors team.

“It will flourish.”

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Kowald overcomes injury to star

SHERIDAN Kowald wasn’t even supposed to be playing in this year’s Albany Netball Association (ANA) grand final, but the Narrikup goal shooter ended up carrying her team to a famous underdog victory.

When the 21-year old tore her ACL playing footy for Mount Barker in March, participating in any kind of sport in 2020 seemed a long way away.

That fateful March day wasn’t the first time Kowald had seriously damaged her knee, either.

Less than three years earlier she had done the same injury playing netball for Lake Grace.

“It’s a weird feeling,” Kowald explained.

“There’s pain for about two minutes, you hear it snap and you can’t put weight on it.

“Then there’s no pain, but there’s no support so you can’t walk on it. You try to get up but you just fall over.”

Injuring her ACL for the second time, Kowald’s thoughts immediately turned to the long, agonising road back to recovery.

“Straight away I was in hysterics,” she said.

“I was a mess for five to six weeks just crying every day. The mental battle is really tough.”

With professional sportspeople typically taking anywhere between 9-12 months to fully recover from a torn ACL, Kowald certainly didn’t think she would be playing competitive netball in 2020.

But as the old saying goes, never write off a champion. And you get the impression the 21-year old relishes a challenge.

Determined to get back fitter and stronger than ever before, Kowald went about doing everything she could to reach full fitness in record time.

“At the six week mark I got back to running – they recommend about double that time,” she said.

“Sometimes I would do a two-hour gym session and go to netball training.”

About five months after the injury, Kowald’s Narrikup coach Lisa O’Farrell noticed the young star was moving pretty smoothly out on the court and asked whether a return date was possible.

At the time, Narrikup had lost four of their first seven games.

“Lisa came up and asked me if I wanted to set a date to play a game,” Kowald said.

“She gave me confidence. She was relying on me to lift the girls.”

Thrilled with Kowald’s progress, her surgeon gave the all clear to return to competitive sport just six months after that dark day in March.

But the 21 year-old’s physiotherapist and parents were more sceptical.

“It’s not that they didn’t support me, they were just worried about what could happen,” she said.

“I had people recommending I never go back to sport. But sport is my whole life.”

The Katanning product did however have the undying support of her Narrikup teammates.

“There were so many signs just pushing for yes, rather than no,” she said.

“The whole team support system was massive. It was a big boost.”

Making a return to the court, albeit under limited game time, Kowald immediately made an impact.

“I think I shot at 85 per cent my first game,” she said.

“It felt like a reward. It was the best feeling.”

After finishing the season in third position behind the likes of Railways and Royals Saints, who had both only lost one game all year, Narrikup looked on paper to be making up the numbers.

But with Kowald now back playing full minutes, an inspired Narrikup outfit dismantled each of their finals opponents.

Narrikup tore Royals apart in a preliminary final before spoiling Railways’ first ANA A1 Grand Final appearance with a commanding 10-point victory.

Kowald was untouchable upfront for Narrikup in the A1 decider, taking home the Lucille Holt trophy as best player of the day.

“It was pure satisfaction,” she said.

“Literally, it was so surreal. I was in the zone.

“As soon as the final whistle went in the grand final, my body was done. I had nothing left in the tank.”

What’s next for the young netball star?

She still has dreams of one day playing either football or netball at a professional level, but is very much taking it one step at a time.

“I’ve just got to perform now,” Kowald said.

“Hopefully this time next year I will be stronger than I’ve ever been.”

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