Rare WW1 soldier’s documents discovered

Cecilia Hannon, with a photograph of her great-uncle, John Tucker, at the Australian War Memorial where his Last Post Ceremony took place in January.
Nanjing Night Net

An article in the Mudgee Guardian on the history of a local World War 1 soldier has led to the discovery of previously unknown documents on his life and death in the trenches France.

The historic documents relate to the service and death in 1918 of former Coolah resident John Edward Tucker, 45th Battalion AIF. He was killed just before his 20th birthday.

Jack Tucker’s great-niece, Cecilia Hannon, of Sydney, was unaware of their existence at the time of his Last Post Ceremony at the Australian War Memorial in early January.

Following the Mudgee Guardian’s January 2 article publicising his upcoming Last Post Ceremony, Cecilia was contacted by her mother’s cousin, long-time Coolah resident Maria Rindfleish.

Maria told Cecilia that she was very much alive and wanting to pass to her letters and some official documents.

Maria inherited these documents from her uncle, Jack’s brother Vincent Tucker, upon his death in 1972.

These preserved papers give some insight into what Jack Tucker was involved in during his time as a member of the gun team with D Company, 45th Battalion AIF.

Apart from the telegram advising of his death, there is a poignant and beautifully penned letter to Jack’s mother from his platoon Sergeant James Golden DCM:

Excerpts include:-

“I know that he had never been away from home before, he had often told me of his home and people.”

“He was one of the bravest boys in the Company.”

“He had a decent cross erected on his grave, poor child.”

“It was a Sunday when poor Jonnie was killed.”

“Thank God this cruel war is over.” ”

The papers include an original telegram advising his death, addressed to Rev. O’Donnell from the Gulgong Parish; a letter from 2nd Military District dated September 28, 1918, confirming the delivery of the telegram; a letter from his Company OC in D Company, Captain William Herbert Schadel MC, dated August 28, 1918; a letter from his Platoon Sergeant in D Company, Sergeant James Edward Joseph Golden DCM, dated January 19, 1919; a letter from a Miss J. Edwards of Hounslow in England, dated October 28, 1918, sent to Jack’s mother, Minnie Tucker; and a Red Cross document containing a statement given by a Private A. A. Mc Millan – D Company 45th Battalion, dated July 23, 1919, about the location of Jack’s first burial place in Harbonniers.

Cecilia said she was shocked and surprised at hearing from Maria as she had long wanted to find out more details of her great uncle.

“I was stunned; it was wonderful to hear from Maria on January 13 and to receive this new information about Jack,” she said.

“I was still coming down from the high of Jack’s Last Post Ceremony, which was officiated by the RSM of the Australian Army Warrant Officer Class One, Dave Ashley. It was such an honour for Jack’s memory to have someone as senior as the RSM of the Australian Army there. It was a beautiful service.”

“These papers make Jack come to life. I feel like I know him just that bit better now and can gain a real appreciation of his time away from Coolah, a place, according to Sergeant Golden’s letter, Jack was greatly missing,” she said.

“It was shocking to read that the bullet which killed Jack instantly went straight through his steel helmet. He’d put his head up to watch some grenades explode a distance away.

“These letters would have made his parents, John and Minnie Tucker, so very sad but I am sure they were quietly proud of their eldest boy.

“My research is a way of paying my respects to that generation of both men and women who endured so much heartache during the Great War and the broken years for Australia that followed.”

Cecilia believes Jack would be sad to know that we now have a new generation of many broken young men and women following Australia’s involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan and other post-Vietnam conflicts around the globe.

“With this Centenary of the ANZAC Landings at Gallipoli and the observance of the Centenary of the First World War, I’d like to see more analysis on the effect the Great War had on the women who were left behind and of the real suffering that some of the current generation of veterans and serving personnel are experiencing,” she said.

“The world has changed dramatically since August 1918 when Jack was killed, but we can pay real homage to the men and women of that era by ensuring that we take better care of this current generation of veterans, service personnel and their families.”

InSeptember, Cecilia will visit Jack’s grave at Fouquescourt British Military Cemetery in northern France and with his niece Maria’s support, she will shortly be handing these documents to the Australian War Memorial.

Share your family’s WWI storyIn the lead up to the 100th anniversary of the landing at Gallipoli on Anzac Day, the Mudgee Guardian will be publishing a series of articles drawing on letters from World War I servicemen which were published in the Mudgee Guardian from 1914-1915. If you would like to share the stories of your World War I connections, or contact Robyn Murray at the Mudgee Guardian on 6372 1455 or email [email protected]南京夜网.au

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

‘Failure’ costly

A MILDURA small businessman says council’s “failure to provide working infrastructure” has cost him more than $1 million and caused major businesses to leave town.
Nanjing Night Net

Annoyed: Outback Kids Childcare Centre owner Greg Nelson says drainage delays have cost his business.

Outback Kids Childcare Centre owner Greg Nelson said an unexpected delay on drainage works along Fourteenth Street had cost the city millions of dollars in development.

However, the council said major floods in 2011 had set back drainagedevelopment around Mildura.

“BlueScope Steel, a major trucking company and, I believe, four other businesses have all walked away because of the drainage disaster created by Mildura Council,” Mr Nelson said.

Council earmarked properties along Benetook Avenue between Fourteenth and Fifteenth Streets as a new business district a decade ago.

Following major floods in 2011, the council began installing a drainage pipeline in the area but, four years on, work remained incomplete.

For more of this story, purchase your copy of Friday’s Sunraysia Daily 27/2/2015. To subscribe to our Digital Edition Click here

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Challenge launches local disability support services

Challenge Disability Services Chief Marketing & Sales Manager. Graham Dooley Challenge Children’s Services Regional Manager Western Foster Care, Lisa Anderson, State Manager Children’s Services Chris Brown, Challenge Western Area Manager Belle Moerkerk, State Manager Challenge Choices, Chris Buckman Challenge Choices NDIS consultant David Hinwood and Western Region Operating Manager Natasha Lee.Challenge Community Services launched its disability support and new foster care services at an open day on Tuesday.
Nanjing Night Net

Challenge has recently opened a Mudgee office in the former Salvation Army building in Perry Street.

State Manager Challenge Choices, Chris Buckman, said the Challenge would provide a range of services for disabled people from the Perry Street centre, including day time activities, social nights and training.

“We want to provide a choice for people with disabilities and different opportunities for people in Mudgee,” he said.

“We will provide training and transition to work programs, but also social facilities such as a pool table and air hockey tables.”

Mr Buckman said the centre will open daily, but the hours will vary according to the clients’ needs.

“We will be talking to clients about what they want and the hours they want to use the centre,” he said.

Challenge Community Services was established 58 years ago by a group of parents in in Tamworth and now provides services to people with disabilities through 60 sites.

State Manager Children’s Services Chris Brown said the group had recently moved into foster care services including respite services for carers and early intervention for families at risk.

“Our foster care services matches children with carers one-on-one and we also have residential care for children who do not meet the foster care model,” he said.

“The respite service helps carers who need a break.

“We also have early intervention services for families identified by Family Services, and we run preventative courses so that their children don’t come into care.”

Mr Brown said although Challenge was a relative newcomer to children’s services, it was the fastest growing organisation in the state in this field.

Visitors to the open day heard from foster carers who had worked with Challenge and also clients of the Challenge Choice disability support service.

Challenge Community Services also provides mental health support and Aboriginal services.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

New Dawesville run at starting line

Dawesville parkrun organisers Tegan Towie, Michelle Sidebottom, Juliette Rowsell, Carrie Flynn and Steve Garner started a drive last year to bring the event to town.A SUCCESSFUL fundraising drive by area runners will give local athletes a new fitness option as the first Dawesville parkrun gets under way on Saturday, March 14.
Nanjing Night Net

Last spring, the group called on local businesses to support bringing the free event, part of a worldwide exercise phenomenon, to the Peel region.

Until now, the closest parkrun was in Rockingham, and organiser Tegan Towie said that people she’s talked to are glad to have this option at the Dawesville Foreshore Reserve.

“They cannot wait to have one closer to home,” she said. “It’s fabulous.”

Parkrun consists of weekly, timed 5-kilometre runs. Held across Australia and overseas, parkruns encourage people of all ages and abilities, including families, to get out and enjoy fitness.

“We get the community together, and they have a good time doing it,” Ms Towie said.

Organisers began work last spring to raise the $10,000 necessary to fund a parkrun group, half of which came from the national body, parkrun Australia. They had hoped to have their first parkrun a bit earlier, but there were some logistical issues. They did, however, meet their goal of having it in the first half of 2015.

“It was a long time coming, but it feels damn good,” Ms Towie said.

The first parkrun in Australia launched in April 2011. There are now more than 100 parkrun events across the country on Saturday mornings with more than 114,000 parkrunners.

To participate in the weekly event, runners should arrive at 7:45am. There will be a pre-run brief, and the run starts at 8am at the southern end of Dawesville Boat Ramp car park.

For more information go to www.parkrun南京夜网.au

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

For golf club, it’s a long shot

THE Wentworth Shire general manager has said further discussions would be held with the Wentworth Golf Club regarding its viability.
Nanjing Night Net

The sum of $40,000 has already been contributed by the rate­payers and in all probability this is now nearing $50,000.

Shire CEO Peter Kozlowski has also stated that a report on the club’s viability would be provided to the council in due course.

Given the losses to date, the very small number of members playing and the condition of the course, which will not attract visitors, surely this is very clearly evidence of a total lack of viability.

This is seen by all, excepting presumably the Wentworth Council, which seems to think it has a bottomless pit of ratepayer funds to use on propping up a golf club clearly running out of options.

Losses of the magnitude so far cannot be tolerated by ratepayers for much longer and it is surely incumbent on the council to cease support for the golf club in the near future.

Cr Bill Wheeldon has stated that the club was vital to the town’s tourism industry, but to say Wentworth would struggle if the club folded is clearly scaremongering.

Golfers have the option of a first-rate golf course close by at Coomealla and a course in such a poor condition as Wentworth is not required.

David G Porter,

Wentworth

To subscribe to our Digital Edition Click here

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Weather alert: Storm warning after hail at Comboyne

Pic by @pedro_lyra1 in Port Macquarie. The caption read: “Pronto para dormir na minha barraca – impermeável” Portuguese for “Ready to sleep in my tent -waterproof!”
Nanjing Night Net

Did you snap a weather photo? Email [email protected]南京夜网.au

Severe thunderstorms are likely to produce large hailstones, heavy rainfall that may lead to flash flooding and damaging winds in the warning area over the next several hours.

Locations which may be affected include Port Macquarie, Taree, Scone, Bowral, Mudgee and Katoomba.

The Bureau of Meterology reported that3cm hail was observed near Comboyne.

The State Emergency Service advises people should:

Move your car under cover or away from trees.Secure or put away loose items around your house, yard and balcony.Keep clear of fallen power lines.Keep clear of creeks and storm drains.Don’t walk, ride your bike or drive through flood water.If you are trapped by flash flooding, seek refuge in the highest available place and ring 000 if you need rescue.Unplug computers and appliances.Avoid using the phone during the storm.Stay indoors away from windows, and keep children and pets indoors as well.For emergency help in floods and storms, ring the SES on 132 500.The next warning is due to be issued by 10pm.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Council and Concerned Ratepayers go head to head

CONCERNED Inverell Ratepayers Association (CIRA) rejected, in part, an offer by council to hold discussions on the Town Centre Renewal Plan.
Nanjing Night Net

CONCERNS: Concerned Inverell Ratepayers Association president Caroline Wilson speaks at Wednesday’s council meeting.

For months the association has been criticising the council since it approved the plan in June 2014, which includes possibly removing some plane trees from the CBD and installing a median strip.

Inverell Council Chamber was packed on Wednesday afternoon when about 60 people, the majority of whom were CIRA supporters, attended the council’s monthly meeting.

The first item on the meeting’s agenda was an offer from the mayor for the ratepayers group to meet with him and senior council staff to discuss their differences.

In her address to the council during Public Forum, CIRA president Caroline Wilson indicated they would rather meet with councillors than council staff.

“We consider a more effective process would be to first meet with all nine councillors, with minutes taken,” Ms Wilson said.

“You (councillors) constitute our elected body, you are the representatives of the people and ultimately you are the ones who vote for the motion. Unlike yourselves, senior staff are not subject to re-election.

“They are public servants, who in principle are subject to your decisions, so a meeting with them would be more appropriate if further discussions are required.”

CIRA secretary Larry Cameron – a former councillor – also spoke at public forum, and his message to council was blunt.

“These people you see here have left their businesses, some of them have left their farms and they have come here today because they do not want a central median with Pin Oaks, they do not want a fancy Port Macquarie style square at the intersection of Otho and Evans streets, and they do not want to see the Plane trees to be removed. That’s the guts of it, and that’s what you’ve got to think about,” Mr Cameron said.

Mayor not impressed with ratepayers’ campaign

AT Wednesday’s council meeting mayor Paul Harmon said the campaign waged against council by the Concerned Inverell Ratepayers Association was more vindictive than anything he had seen in his 10 years as a councillor. He said he had been surprised by the ferocity of those acting for the people who had a different view to council.

“You have previously stated that you will run candidates for the next election. I welcome that,” Cr Harmon said.

“I hope that your candidates never have to experience your husband or wife being treated like a leper when they are shopping at Inverell, or having your employer put you on notice due to a decision in council.

“I hope they don’t have to endure being ignored and shunned while representing council at official events, and only having the club president apologising for the behaviour of some people.

“I hope you don’t have to endure these actions, like my councillors and myself have had to in the past few months.”

OUR VIEW: BOTH SIDES NEED TO COMPROMISE

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Council and ratepayers group need to compromise

The number of people who attended Wednesday’s council meeting may have surprised everyone. A couple of late arrivals took the headcount up to about 60 and the majority were supporters of Concerned Inverell Ratepayers Association (CIRA) who were there in a show of solidarity as the association’s petition against the plan was handed over to council.
Nanjing Night Net

Council tried a conciliatory approach by offering the opportunity of a meeting with councillors and staff in a Mayoral Minute that was subsequently passed by council.

COUNCIL AND RATEPAYERS GO HEAD TO HEAD

It was a lively meeting and although Mayor Paul Harmon later said there was a sprinkling of Town Centre Renewal Plan supporters present, they did not speak at the public forum, perhaps, instead, opting for discretion.It was obvious from the tone of that part of the meeting that feelings ran high on both sides of this issue, and it was interesting to watch the reactions of the various councillors, which varied from bored to uncharacteristically animated.

What was also obvious (and has been for some time) was the genuine animosity between the groups. Unfortunately this animosity now borders on a hatred that does little credit to this community.

This community through no fault of its own has to live with that, and there is no use saying it is council’s fault because it is not, but it is not CIRA fault either.

Unfortunately, both are as untrusting, intolerant, fixated and inflexible as each other, and if it is a fact that CIRA put out misinformation, then it is also true that council did not put any extra effort into setting the record straight.

The mayor has said his councillors have been subjected to snubs and public ostracism by the savage attacks by CIRA. And CIRA thinks the arrogant behaviour of one councillor towards one of its members was intolerable and, worse still, nothing was done about it.

This whole issue is just getting so far out of control it is just not funny. Both parties need to remember an old saying that everyone who aspires to lead should repeat to themselves every night before they go to bed, ‘with power comes great responsibility’. Time to get responsible folks and think about compromise.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Power & passion- Why women are lifting weights

Power & passion- Why women are lifting weights Vicki Webber performing a snatch lift. Picture: Peter Stoop
Nanjing Night Net

CHANGED SHAPE: It was curiosity that led fitness instructor Ebonnie Thomas to lift weights and she loves it. Picture: Simone De Peak

“It has completely changed my body shape”: Ebonnie Thomas. Picture: Simone De Peak

Vicki Webber doing a pull up. Picture: Peter Stoop

Vicki Webber and Lee McWilliams. Picture: Peter Stoop

Vicki Webber does a clean and jerk. Picture: Peter Stoop

Vicki Webber doing a pull up. Picture: Peter Stoop

Lee McWilliams doing a front squat. Picture: Peter Stoop

TweetFacebookIT is a hot, humid afternoon and a couple of floor fans are doing little to cool down the large suburban shed that is home to an Adamstown CrossFit gym. Vicki Webber bends down, picks up a chunky 30-kilogram dumbbell with one hand and thrusts it above her head as she stands. She completes 30 ‘‘alternating dumbbell snatches’’ before plunging her hands into a bucket of chalk and moving on to 60 chest-to-bar pull-ups and a stint on a rowing machine.

When Webber is done, she is covered in a sweaty sheen. The broad-shouldered 36-year-old plonks herself on the floor and stretches her legs as she explains how lifting weights has transformed her.

‘‘It’s very empowering,’’ she says. ‘‘It gives me confidence. My body shape has completely changed. I’ll show you.’’

Webber jumps up and retrieves her phone.

‘‘That’s me after I had my first child,’’ she says, showing me a photograph of a pale-faced young woman in an unshapely jumper and jeans. I cannot marry the photo, taken 14 years ago, with the woman standing in front of me in short black tights and a crop top with identical rows of abdominal muscles and enviable biceps.

The mother-of-three is one of an increasing number of women who are routinely lifting weights to boost fitness and transform their physiques. Webber juggles single parenthood with jointly managing a CrossFit gym at Belmont. She also squeezes in two hours of training a day and is a fierce competitor in the popular CrossFit Games.

In case you have been living under a rock, CrossFit is a strength and conditioning program that incorporates powerlifting, plyometrics, Olympic-style weightlifting, and high-intensity interval training. With its competitive, back-to-basics focus, CrossFit has been credited with boosting the popularity of weight lifting among women. Strong, as the popular saying goes, is the new skinny.

Where once the weights area of gyms was the domain of grunting men, women are now moving in. At my local gym last weekend, I watched a diminutive woman complete sets of squats with 60kilograms stacked on a barbell. There were another couple of women lifting dumbbells nearby.

‘‘It’s almost revolutionary the way women are choosing to see that being strong rather than skinny is more important,’’ says self-described gym junkie Megan Cunneen. ‘‘Women want to have a healthier shape and to do that, you have to train and eat well so women are educating themselves about nutrition. Being skinny isn’t as attractive any more.’’

Vicki Webber performing a snatch lift. Picture: Peter Stoop

Cunneen, 30, recently resigned from a public relations role in Newcastle to relocate to Tamworth to help her boyfriend manage his busy sport supplement business. She began weight training about two years ago when a ‘‘gym buddy’’ of hers started doing more lifting.

‘‘I used to be cardio-obsessed,’’ she says. ‘‘I’d do two classes a day – aerobics, boxing, step – but never actually noticed any significant changes in my body other than being exhausted all the time. Now, every time I exercise, I incorporate weights.

‘‘In the shop, we get women coming in and they say, ‘I don’t want to lift weights because I don’t want to bulk up’. That’s such a hard myth to shake because it’s been drilled into women that they have to do hours of cardio to lose weight. Weight training can be just as effective for weight loss, especially if you mix it up with some cardio.’’

IT is easy to spot a woman who regularly lifts because they are athletic, yet shapely. All the women who spoke to Weekender referred to the positive impact lifting has had on their physiques – and self-esteem.

‘‘There’s certainly been a shift in the fitness industry towards incorporating more weightlifting into routines,’’ says Rachelle Mackintosh, acting editor of Women’s Health magazine. ‘‘There’s been a growth in popularity of functional fitness, which is why CrossFit has taken off, and even in your standard gyms, you’re seeing more lifting.

CHANGED SHAPE: It was curiosity that led fitness instructor Ebonnie Thomas to lift weights and she loves it. Picture: Simone De Peak

‘‘Women want to appear toned, rather than skinny. And [lifting] isn’t about looking masculine; you’re looking for a more supple frame. There are the hard-core women who are doing serious body building but for the average punter, it’s about looking strong and toned, but also feminine.’’

According to a Harvard School of Public Health study, weightlifting is the best way to stay trim, as opposed to cardiovascular exercise, which includes running, cycling and swimming.

Researchers found that after monitoring more than 10,000 men aged 40-plus for weight and waist circumference over a 12-year period, those men who spent an extra 20 minutes a day weight training gained less abdominal weight.

‘‘You burn fat faster with more muscle,’’ Mackintosh says. ‘‘If you focus only on cardio, you can do a 10-kilometre run but unless you’re supplementing that with weights, you won’t build muscle.’’

It would be difficult to find a health professional who doesn’t support some form of weight training as part of an exercise regimen, especially for people aged 40-plus. Lifting weights helps to avoid the loss of joint flexibility that comes with ageing. Resistance exercise can reduce bone deterioration and build bone mass, helping to prevent osteoporosis.

Working your muscles can also inhibit the effects of sarcopenia, the age-related loss of muscle mass, strength and function. After the age of 30, there is a loss of 3 to 5per cent of muscle mass per decade, making day-to-day tasks gradually harder to perform and slowing down metabolism – increasing the risk of weight gain.

Weight training helps 47-year-old Lee McWilliams keep up with her two teenage sons and cope with the demands of running her Swansea cafe. She heads to CrossFit Lake Macquarie every morning at 5.30 and completes a weight training and cardio program. In the three years since she began lifting weights, she has lost ‘‘inches’’ off her waist and is fit and toned. She now completes 100-kilogram dead lifts.

‘‘I love that I can now keep up with the younger girls,’’ McWilliams says. ‘‘Now, I’m chasing the men.’’

“It has completely changed my body shape”: Ebonnie Thomas. Picture: Simone De Peak

McWilliams urges anyone who is interested in lifting weights to seek out a good gym and a trainer.

‘‘It’s all in the technique,’’ she says. ‘‘Once you know what to do and how to do it properly, you won’t look back.’’

It was curiosity that led fitness instructor Ebonnie Thomas to lift weights. The mother-of-two was teaching classes with a focus on cardio and would only occasionally venture into the weights room.

‘‘I didn’t really know what I was doing,’’ she admits.

Thomas enlisted the help of trainer Brooke Dunlop early last year.

‘‘She showed me the ropes and now I just love it,’’ says Thomas, 30. ‘‘I have always admired Brooke, who looks so fit and toned. I wanted to see how my body would change with weights. I’ve now got more definition through my stomach, legs, back and arms. It has completely changed my body shape.’’

Thomas trains with weights six days a week and maintains her level of cardio fitness with her instructor’s job at Genesis Fitness. She has watched her strength increase, as well as her confidence.

‘‘I remember the first time I did a training session with Brooke and she wanted me to lift an Olympic bar that weighted 20kilos with another 10kilos of weights added. I struggled. I ended up taking the weights off the bar and just lifting it on its own.

‘‘I was only able to do a few clean and presses. Now, I can lift 40kilos for a clean and press – eight reps – and my personal best was a 50-kilo clean and press.

‘‘But there are also other benefits; it’s like therapy. I’ll go stir-crazy if I miss a couple of days of training. It helps me deal with stress.’’

In September 2014, Thomas competed in the fitness section of two natural body building competitions. Her trainer also coaches women in preparation for the events, which are booming in popularity.

‘‘The competitions are insanely popular and until I started lifting, I didn’t know they existed,’’ says Thomas, who is intending to compete again this year. ‘‘Looking fit and toned is the new skinny. Everyone wants muscles now, and nice abs. I love showing my body off. I work really hard for it.’’

JOANNE MCCARTHY: Shopping trip boils over

“I didn’t end up buying a jug. I hadn’t done enough research … I hadn’t been taking it seriously enough”.SO I thought I’d buy myself a new electric jug to put in the kitchen of the house I’ve just moved into.
Nanjing Night Net

A pretty straightforward exercise, you would have thought.

The old one met its maker when I sold my previous house and moved out in December, and spent the following two months at a friend’s house until I could move into my new one.

Lots of things did not make the cull that comes when you can’t move your belongings into the house you’ve bought, but have to distribute them to five different locations.

It’s amazing what you can dispense with when you’re relying on the kindness of friends and family, and the space in their spare bedrooms, to park your gear.

So the electric jug was punted, although my sons believed it should have gone about a year earlier. It hadn’t cost much in the first place. It was bought in a hurry when an earlier one died. I’d allotted 3.2 minutes of my time for the purchase, which meant price was the only relevant consideration. Plus I’d forgotten my glasses so there really was no point in even trying to compare kilowatts or capacity. The jug was cheap, cheerful and reliable enough, barring the occasional unreliable times when I pressed the start button and absolutely nothing happened.

I soon learnt that if I went about my business it would usually come to life, and it was actually amusing at times to see how long it would take for the thing to get going. Unless, of course, I just wanted a pot of tea without jug capriciousness, in which case it was annoying. I think I tolerated the situation much longer than most, so I tossed it into the bin without remorse.

I set no time limit the other day when I searched for its replacement. A lovely house that I plan to stay in for a long time deserved an elegant new jug, I decided. I pictured myself boiling the jug, filling the teapot – with tea leaves, never bags, of course – and placing it on a tray with a cup and saucer – never a mug – and a biscuit or two.

Then I pictured myself walking to the back deck where I would view the estate – fine, backyard – while reading a good book as birds twittered and soft garden fragrances wafted on the breeze. Lovely.

But I had to buy the jug first.

Now I’m a fan of capitalism. Competition in the market is a wonderful thing for consumers. It ensures – we hope – that we get the best price for goods because manufacturers compete for our business.

But sometimes it just does our heads in.

I compare trying to buy an electric jug the other day with the first time I really took the trouble to distinguish the kind of milk I wanted. Full cream, extra full cream, lo-fat, lite, slim, skim, soy, goat, rice milk, cashew milk, condensed, no-protein, super-vitamin, etc, etc, etc, and that was even before I reached the no-name milk section of supermarket specials.

Jugs don’t just boil water any more.

They come with flashing lights and swirling bars. They’re see-through, turbo-charged or jet-fast. But most of all, they come with piles of buttons.

There’s the button you press if you want green tea. There’s other buttons for chai, oolong, coffee and white tea, and eventually I found a button to get water to boiling point. I think.

I didn’t end up buying a jug. Even though I hadn’t allotted time for the task, I also hadn’t done enough research to safely commit money to a purchase that, clearly, Ihadn’t been taking seriously enough.

That kind of thing has been happening to me recently. Given too many choices, I take fright and do nothing.

Take my experiences in my friend’s house. She kindly allowed me to stay in it while she was overseas, and I was between homes. It is a lovely house, which was great, but also a problem.

She showed me how to use its many features – too many of which came with their own remotes. I’m not good with remotes. All those buttons. And because it was my friend’s house and it was lovely and I didn’t want to break anything, I didn’t use the majority of its many features. The airconditioner looked daunting. The dishwasher flashed too many messages and intimidated the hell out of me. I forced myself to negotiate the command module of the washing machine because, frankly, six weeks of wearing unwashed clothes during a humid summer with no airconditioning did not bear thinking about.

I tried to work through the three remotes associated with the TV/DVD/CD/other- things-with-wires entertainment centre, but gave up and phoned my youngest son who sighed when I explained the situation, and drove round to help.

‘‘It’s very simple,’’ he said, in the patronising way that sons in their 20s adopt with their middle-aged mothers when their middle-aged mothers can’t work out how to get a DVD to appear on a screen.

‘‘You press this, and then this, and then that thing comes up, and then you simply take the other remote and press this, this and this, and then you do a pirouette and press that final red button – not the green one – and voila, the DVD appears, although why you would want to watch that, I do not know,’’ said my son, who was a dear little boy for years until he grew very tall and started patting me on the head.

OUR SAY: When councillors behave badly to the tune of $58,000

MEMBERS of sporting clubs and charities who missed out on donations from Orange City Council’s community grants fund this year must be fuming at the price of enforcing an acceptable standard of behaviour from councillors.
Nanjing Night Net

The $58,000 it cost to investigate and adjudicate councillor Reg Kidd’s breach of the code of conduct last year would buy a great deal of sporting equipment or top up the fundraising efforts of several charities.

And ratepayers must be wondering whether a cheaper, faster way to adjudicate on breaches can’t be found.

The public is yet to discover whether councillor Kidd will accept the umpire’s decision that his conduct towards one of the city’s staff was unbecoming a councillor, but they will know next week.

If Cr Kidd does not agree to publicly apologise for the breach at the next council meeting the matter will probably be kicked upstairs to the Department of Local Governmentfor consideration, but residents will also be concerned about the future.

Most people will concede they say things at times they later regret and councillors are no different. Aside from the question of how to deal with Cr Kidd, there is the question of future breaches, by him or anyone else.

Councils could do a lot worse than borrow from the court system, where an early guilty plea is seen as an indicator of genuine remorse and a clean record often earns a caution for the first offence.

A speedy and heartfelt apology from a first offender in the council chamber might bring the matter to a swift and inexpensive conclusion.

That is how it can work now but, as the Cr Kidd episode illustrates, under the current system a long drawn-out investigation can result in a huge financial penalty for ratepayers but not for the person found to have breached the code of conduct.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Journey into the lover’s world

Nanjing Night Net

LOVE (and sex) are no strangers to art, but Adrian Lockhart’s exhibition Book marks at Maitland Regional Art Gallery was a reminder of how perpetual these themes remain. Large expressive and sensual line drawings are the main course, abstraction a loose guise that never completely extinguishes the body. More overtly, large faces inhabit much of the gallery with an insistent presence.

However, first impressions can be deceptive, and the entre – or sweet – that invites real time are modestly scaled works drawn from the bittersweet intensity of personal relationships, aka creative inspiration. Small books of poetry illustrated by Lockhart are presented alongside his original drawings, monotypes and woodblocks. These offer an experience similar to that of a reading room, inviting an intimate journey into the lover’s world. But before I represent Lockhart as singular in focus, his drawings in second-hand books, from classic literature to auction house catalogues, suggest an inventive artist with a fine sense of play.

– SPIN is the perfect title for Linda Greedy’s fairground paintings in Maitland’s Art Factory, and the appeal is to all ages as she evokes a feeling of nostalgia and a dizzying sense of dislocation.

Neon lights and whacky characters cavort across the canvas in oily twilight. Greedy has proved herself adept at the nocturne, and her compositional style makes her images, especially the smaller ones, evocative and mysterious. More documentary in style, Simone Sheridan hones in on her subjects in The Bus Shelter Project. The poignant, candid black and white portraits taken at a Hunter Street bus stop to raise awareness of homelessness present a microcosm of the local boho-subculture, most notably her image of the late artist Peter Speight with Ahn Wells, whose new venture, Gallery 139 in Beaumont Street, will be reviewed in coming weeks.

– SUSAN Myerson’s white porcelain vases with coralline edges distil The Bigger Picture at Back to Back galleries, a showcase of seven female artists’ work.

Sharon Taylor is at the top of her game with earthy totemic forms that reach skyward, offsetting the painters’ luminous colour which include Shelagh Lummis’ meditations on trees and Bev Leggett Simmons’ abstracted landscapes.

All of the work expresses a holistic responses to nature and collectively delivers a well balanced exhibition.

– COOKS Hill was abuzz during my visit to Phil Stallard’s latest exhibition, Abstract Impressions. Archetypal symbols – circles, grids and hearts, text and numbers, vie with brilliant colour and strong graphic marks and geometry. Hard-edge and the painterly are thrown together so that composition and colour compete, but what is one viewer’s brash is another’s bravura: these are undeniably bold, confident paintings that shout out loudly rather than sneaking up on you.

– OF a very different nature, but also addressing relationships between colour and form head on, are Madeleine Cruise’s Candy paintings at NANA Contemporary in the Hunter Street Emporium.

Finishing today, her visceral and voluptuous abstractions are rich in suggestions of the body, interior emotions and physical space, but the real action is in the juicy palette and the paint itself: this is eye candy, but it runs deep. In the Workroom, Maggie Hensel’s small sculptures beg to be touched, while photomedia lecturer Deb Mansfield’s electrifying textile landscape begs to be remembered, without fail. More developmental, The Project Space hosts emerging artists such as Kerri Smith whose interest in urban environments inform both paintings and prints.

– FOR her second show at Timeless Textiles, internationally acclaimed artist Nicola Henley’s Shorelines is a welcome encounter with the rich birdlife and coastal heath of Laurieton’s tidal environment, the site of her 2014 artist residency.

Using multiple techniques that include dying, stencilling and silk embroidery, Henley creates opulent frescoes that echo the panoramic Italian tradition of wall painting and the vertical Oriental scroll. A single work from her previous exhibition evokes all the silvery greys of her Irish homeland, illustrating just how well Henley has captured the shimmer of the aquatic landscape and the endless blues, green and gold of the Australian coast.

Coenraad rewarded with MVP for Hawks

ForwardTim Coenraad captured the Wollongong Hawks Most Valuable Player award at the club’s end of season dinner on Thursday night.
Nanjing Night Net

Wollongong Hawks forward Tim Coenraad celebrates with wife Nelly after capturing the club’s MVP award for 2014-15.

Coenraad appeared in 26 of the team’s 28 regular-season games, averaging 10.7 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.7 assists. He made 47.1 per cent of his shots, 40 per cent of his three-pointers and a career-high 88 per cent of his free throws.

The 29-year-old was also acknowledged by Hawks fans for his consistent efforts in 2014-15 by claiming the Members’ MVP trophy.

After playing behind dual Olympian Glen Saville in his first four years with the Hawks, Coenraad has established himself as one of the team cornerstones over the past two seasons.

Wollongong coach Gordie McLeod believes Coenraad deserves all the credit for his growth as a player.

“This is something that hasn’t happened by chance, because ever since Timmy’s been at the club he’s worked his absolute tail off,” McLeod said.

“He had a great mentor [Saville].

“He had someone he really had to battle to get to where he is now. He was against that every day.

“The results Timmy has got this year is a reflection of the dedication and hard work he’s put in over that whole time.

“The one thing with Tim is that he’s leaving no stone unturned in trying to be the best professional he can be, in all things he does.

“It’s great to see him get the results and the reward of having a really consistent year.”

Hawks captain Oscar Forman won the Players’ Player award, while long-serving strapper Phil Driscoll was named Club Person of the Year.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.