Water meets land in Walpole

ARTISTIC expressions of land and sea emerge in Petrichor Gallery’s latest exhibition at its Walpole home base.

Waterline is a combined effort between local artist and curator Elizabeth Edmonds and Mandurah-based Stephen Draper, and focuses on both the imaginary and real-life line representing where water meets land, and above and below water.

Ms Edmonds created the paintings and Mr Draper produced the sculptures.

Ms Edmonds said Mr Draper’s sculptures were made from upcycled teak, as this material is lightweight, strong and easy to sculpt.

“His work is just superb,” she said.

“His art has a beautiful, light feel and uses light colour wash, similar to the beach.

“He’s been so generous supporting art in our region and his work has been very well received by the locals.”

Ms Edmonds said her contributions to the exhibition were designed to complement Mr Draper’s, and also feature soft, beachy tones.

“We’ve had overwhelming feedback from visitors,” she said.

“It’s just been a really great experience.”

Waterline will be available for viewing every day until April 29 from 10am
to 4pm at Petrichor Gallery, located on Nockolds Street in Walpole.

All works are for sale.

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Treadly ready for festival

ALBANY’S renowned Vancouver Street Festival is getting a shake-up ahead of its planned May 12 schedule.

The famous Tweed Ride, a feature of the arts and heritage event, will invite retro cyclists to ride into town at their own pace and in their own time, rather than sticking to a specific route.

Cyclists will, however, have a window of time from 11am until noon to get their photo taken at the festival ahead of the competition judging.

In previous years, bicycles such as penny farthings have made an appearance.

WA Historical Cycling Club member Murray Gomm said there will be four categories riders can battle it out for.

“There will be most magnificent bike, most fetching lady, most dapper chap and most magnificent hair,” he said.

Mr Gomm said another new element to the street festival will be the way the retro transportation devices will be displayed.

“The penny farthings and historic bicycles will be ridden up and down Vancouver Street during the festival, which I think will be a bit of an attraction,” he said.

“There’s going to be an original penny farthing, a rare penny farthing tricycle and 20th century vintage bicycles.

“It’ll be a pretty rare opportunity to see these really ancient machines all together.”

Vancouver Arts Centre, the organising body of the event, confirmed other new features to the festival will include a Noongar choir and a focus on tree heritage.

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Half-million milestone

OUT of all the applications for funding the Albany Community Foundation has received since its inception four years ago, one sticks in the mind of founding chairman Tae Wood.

Chatting to The Weekender about the foundation reaching the half a million-dollar fundraising mark, Mr Wood revealed a story about a seven-year-old boy the foundation recently helped.

“He’s lived with his grandmother since his parents were incarcerated,” he said.

“His mother is in jail in Perth, so we help fund his visits to Perth and support his counselling.

“It resonated with me as I have children of my own, and it’s hard to see children affected by things out of their control.”

Mr Wood’s fundraising efforts, along with the 30-odd members who currently sit on the Albany Community Foundation (ACF) board, have seen many other disadvantaged individuals and families rise up from the ashes of their hardship and flourish once again.

ACF was the brain child of Mr Wood and a small group of other community members in 2013 who wanted to support local individuals and families who had fallen on hard times, and whose needs could not be met by other charities.

“We do it because we feel we live privileged lives, and it’s our responsibility to give back to the community,” Mr Wood said.

“We’ve been very lucky in that we’ve been strongly supported by the community, and the only challenge we’ve faced is trying to meet the needs of the community; we receive around 20 applications per month.”

ACF’s $500,000 – a combined kitty raised from Bogan Bingo nights, gala balls, quiz nights and $1000 per year board memberships – has helped fund extra curricula activities for disadvantaged students, PCYC’s Ice Breakers program, Albany local Kenny McGonnell’s recovery bike after he was left wheelchair bound following a motorbike accident, the Great Southern Mental Health Unit and Shalom House.

“Shalom House was our first successfully funded application,” Mr Wood said.

“It was absolutely amazing; it’s a very worthy cause and we were very proud to give away our first dollars to them.”

Mr Wood said ACF was proud of reaching its recent $500,000 milestone and would continue its fundraising efforts well into the future, with the aim of becoming the South West’s leading organisation promoting philanthropy.

If you would like to donate to ACF or find out more about becoming a board member, email [email protected].

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Barker gnomes rehomed

A NUMBER of gnomes have been removed from the Mount Barker roundabout due to fears they may stymie a public consultation process on the future of the circular intersection, and compromise safety on Albany Highway.

A solitary gnome appeared on the roundabout a fortnight ago, followed by half-a-dozen others that joined it in greeting southbound motorists to the Shire of Plantagenet’s largest town.

Then, one day the gnomes disappeared.

Acting Shire CEO John Fathers revealed it was he who arranged for “8 or 9 gnomes” to be removed and placed in protective custody at the shire.

“I got them taken away because I didn’t want to see a proliferation of gnomes on the roundabout given the council is going out to public consultation about what it wants to have seen on the roundabout,” he said.

“The more people put things like that into the roundabout, the more people are going to be disappointed when we have to take them away.

“And I didn’t really want to encourage people to park up on a major intersection of Albany Highway and put themselves to any danger.”

Mr Fathers said one owner had fronted up with a small amount of “bail money” to spring a gnome from the council clink, and that the cash would be donated to charity.

“We’ve had one of the owners come back and pick theirs up,” he said.

“I think she took away about three that she identified were hers.

“We’ll just hold them in the office and are quite happy to give them back to the owners if they come and collect them.”

A month-long consultation period on the roundabout’s aesthetics, foreshadowed a while back by The Weekender (‘Barker roundabout action’, February 10), will start this week.

“It’s a pretty important entry for the shire,” Mr Fathers said.

“It is amazing; everyone has an opinion on it.”

He said that whatever gets decided for the roundabout, the aim will be to have it “present a good image for Mt Barker”.

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Albany is the most generous

ALBANY folk give more of their income to charity than people from anywhere else in regional Western Australia, private sector research reveals.

The latest iteration of the National Australia Bank Charitable Giving Index shows that, in the year to February 2018, residents of Albany’s 6330 postcode donated 0.2 per cent of their income to charity.

That might not sound like much, but it meant Albany was the fourth most generous postcode in the state, behind the Perth locales of Beaconsfield/South Fremantle, East Fremantle and Inglewood.

The index compiles de-identified electronic spending data from NAB customers who donate to large charities including RSPCA, The Salvation Army, Oxfam and the Royal Flying Doctor Service.

As such, cash donations and volunteer labour, associated with such fundraising endeavours as those of Weekender columnist Brendan Carson, are not included.

Dr Carson wrote a book, Heartline, which he is selling to fund the purchase of medical equipment at Albany Health Campus.

“Wow, how good is that?” he said of Albany’s impressive standing on the NAB generosity ladder.

“It does not surprise me.

“You go around and live in a beautiful place and it makes you feel good about everybody.”

Dr Carson said Albany people had been “stunningly supportive” of his fundraising.

“They have given their time and their enthusiasm, and we’ve had donations,” he said.

“The support has been overwhelming.

“It’s been lovely; they’re good people.”

He said sales of the book had gone very well, and raised enough to fund a mobile cardiac monitor for the hospital.

Aside from Albany, the only postcodes in regional WA to crack the Top 20 were Margaret River (6285) where residents donated 0.18 per cent of their income, and the Esperance suburb of Castletown (6450) where locals chipped in 0.17 per cent.

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In-home care goes round-the-clock

THE Hall and Prior group that operates Albany’s Clarence Estate aged care home will receive $702,267 to start up an around-the-clock in-home nursing service for the city’s palliative care patients.

Last year, The Weekender (‘Stay-at-home palliative care’, November 2, 2017) revealed the WA Country Health Service was seeking operators to bid for the new service that it anticipates will benefit up to 60 patients a month.

Now, The Weekender has learned that Hall and Prior was judged the best of four submissions for the project, and will start delivering the nursing service to homes around Albany for three years from May 1.

The company will take over from Silver Chain, which for the past 20 years has provided a palliative care service on behalf of WACHS.

WACHS Great Southern Regional Director David Naughton said Albany residents of all ages requiring palliative care would be able to access the service.

WACHS has informed medical practitioners, current palliative care patients, families and carers of the change in service provider.

Mr Naughton said the new service would provide patients and carers with better support, and allow patients to die in their own home where possible, if that was their desire.

The WACHS Great Southern Regional Palliative Service, based at Albany Health Campus, can be contacted on (08) 9892 2380.

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Road repairs a crack-up

ROADWORKS along Albany’s Middleton Road have come under fire after a Middleton Beach resident said his car was damaged due to the road’s poor condition and poor traffic management.

Rory Laurens said he used Middleton Road every day to get to work, and recently hit a large unmarked pothole filled with water that he said was not visible until “it was too late”.

Mr Laurens said the impact cracked one of his tyre rims, leaving him $400 out of pocket.

“I was pretty angry,” he said, reinspecting the damage during an interview with The Weekender.

“I still am. It’s frustrating and really disappointing that it’s taken them this long to do anything about this road.

“I have to replace bushings and tyres on my car because of how much wear and tear the potholes on this road have caused.”

He said he doubted the $2 million resealing project would improve the state of Middleton Road.

He pointed out a series of exposed inspection lids along the road that do not sit flush.

The worst one, he said, is located on the corner of Middleton Road and Suffolk Street – the main exit from Albany Primary School.

The inspection lid is unavoidable when turning left off Suffolk Street, as it is located close to the centre of the lane.

Mr Laurens said drivers would be forced into the oncoming lane to avoid the unmarked hazard.

“It’s so dangerous, it’s definitely a safety hazard,” he said.

“Can you imagine if a moped hit that?

“You could fall off or crash.”

The roadworks project began in January and the City had expected it to be finished by the end of this month.

Now, Executive Director for Infrastructure and Environment Matthew Thomson says works will not be complete until mid to late May.

“Unforeseeable conditions with respect to the drainage infrastructure have resulted in a delay,” he said.

“The improved road will include a new asphalt surface, with 1.5 to 2m wide cycle lanes [that] will be red to provide improved delineation for cyclists.

“The existing surface had reached the end of its life and the new surface will extend the expected the life of the road by 30 to 40 years.”

Mr Thomson said a 40kph speed limit and roadworks signs were in place in the area.

He said the exposed inspection lids would be made flush with the road once roadworks were complete.

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Employment trade-off

COLES says it would employ more people at its two Albany stores if the city council allowed it to trade longer.

A spokesperson for the Wesfarmers-owned retailer said extending Albany’s shopping hours would give customers greater convenience.

“We believe deregulated shopping hours in Albany would benefit Coles customers and result in additional local employment opportunities across our two stores,” the spokesperson said.

“Coles welcomed the extended shop trading hours previously granted across various public holidays and the 2017/18 Christmas period.

“These extended hours were well received by our customers, providing them with greater convenience, choice and flexibility.”

Coles, along with Woolworths and potentially ALDI, are locked out of Sunday and late-night trading except for Thursday nights, while Albany’s three supermarkets in the national IGA network are permitted to trade on Sundays and every night of the week.

In response to questions from The Weekender, a spokesperson for Australian-owned Woolworths said the company “welcomes the general liberalisation of trading hours, as we believe it would provide our customers with greater choice and convenience”.

A spokesperson for German-owned ALDI – conspicuous by its absence from Albany given it has supermarkets in the regional centres of Australind, Bunbury, Busselton, Mandurah and Northam – said the company was “eager to bring our unique shopping experience to more Western Australians”.

“We are continually reviewing and updating our network plans and Albany has been recognised as a potential long-term future opportunity,” the spokesperson said.

“When deciding on locations for ALDI stores, trading hours are an important factor we take into consideration.

“It is our preference to be able to offer customers convenient shopping hours.”

Albany Chamber of Commerce & Industry President Caroline Hayes said her association had always supported every business’s right to trade whenever they like.

“We [cover] everything from your small, your micro businesses through to relatively large businesses,” she said of the Chamber’s membership base.

In July 2016, six city councillors – including current ones Paul Terry, Ray Hammond, Bill Hollingworth and Alison Goode – narrowly voted down a plan by city tourism development manager Matt Bird that in 2019 the council consider consulting the community on extended shopping hours.

The plan was rejected just six councillors to five, with recently defeated councillors Janelle Price and Nicolette Mulcahy the other two who opposed it.

Yesterday, Albany Mayor Dennis Wellington refused to comment on whether extended trading could help or hinder employment in his city, as he was the proprietor of a shop.

Subsequent efforts close to deadline to contact the only other person authorised to speak on behalf of the city, CEO Andrew Sharpe, were unsuccessful.

Owner of the York Street and Spencer Park IGAs Paul Lionetti declined to comment on potential employment impacts of liberalised trading hours.

North Road IGA proprietor Bob Cybula referred The Weekender to a spokesman who did not return calls.

Albany is the only place in the south-western corner of the continent where Coles and Woolworths are prohibited from trading on Sundays and most weeknights.

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Conundrum of love

SPECTRUM Theatre’s latest showcase of local talent took its opening night audience on an interesting journey of love and betrayal last Friday.

The intimate seating of the theatre brought the audience both physically and emotionally closer to the play, touching on themes not uncommon in today’s world.

Divorce Me, Darling follows the story of career-driven divorce attorney Amelia Conway, who has just marked 15 years of marriage with husband Jonathan Bentley.

Despite never forgetting gifts for every big occasion, Jonathan’s roving eye has not gone unnoticed by his wife.

Arriving on Amelia’s office doorstep the same day is young bimbo Tina, who asks for an annulment so she can marry a married man.

As Amelia discovers the young woman intends to marry her very own husband, the humourous turmoil kicks off.

Rising talent Morgan Levingston convincingly portrayed Jonathan, a character at least 20 years his senior, and maintained character throughout the entire performance.

Spectrum regular Darian Mercuri was consistent in his quirky character’s tics and twitches – a skill which often drops off when an actor thinks no one is watching.

Sinead Charles’ excitement and enthusiasm for the play was evident in her brilliant smile and her confidence on stage.

Tickets for the April 13, 14, 15, 20 and 21 performances are still available and can be purchased via Paperbark Merchants.

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Vikings master the art of mateship

ALBANY Vikings Masters Sporting Club was recognised for its commitment to mental health and sport earlier this year when it was awarded the WA Masters Club of the Year Award.

While the obligatory plaque hasn’t quite made its way through the post, club president Sean Maguire said the club was honoured to receive the award.

“It’s an amazing achievement for us,” he said.

“We’ve grown the club from something that used to have three or four blokes turning up to training, to 25.

“It’s amazing to see what we’ve made available to the community.”

Club secretary Ian Neil said the growth of the club hasn’t been centered primarily on the football club, but also on the development of basketball and netball teams, with soccer and cricket teams soon to follow.

“The focus of the club is fitness and fellowship,” he said.

“It’s about mental health wellness, community development and getting players to come down and get fit and make friends, for both men and women.”

With the core principle of raising mental health awareness for players and in the community, vice president Dave Larchet said the club was also family-orientated.

“It’s not just about coming down and playing footy, it’s bringing your family with you,” he said.

“We quite often get the young blokes come down with their dads on training night to have a run and kick a ball.

“The wives come down for game days to help out.

“Everyone gets involved.”

With the season open for the Vikings football side on April 21 against the Dalyellup Dinosaurs, Maguire said the club would love for people to come and get involved.

“We’ll be playing at the North Albany Football Club. It’s going to be a really good match,” he said.

“We’re not just looking for people to come play; we’re also looking for people to come and watch.”

To join any of the Albany Vikings Sporting Club’s teams, contact them via their Facebook page.

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