Archive for July, 2018

TV slot shines spotlight on farm


FRESH FROM THE FARM: Sunrise weather presenter Edwina Bartholomew with Guy Robertson and Eliza Wood of Mount Gnomon Farm. Pictures: Grant Wells.Sunrise’s Edwina Bartholomew “loved” TasmaniaTHEY had a national spotlight on their pig farm, but Guy Robertson and Eliza Wood were interested in reaching an audience closer to home.
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The Mount Gnomon Farm owners yesterday hosted Sunrise weather presenter Edwina Bartholomew and hope the broadcast on the popular television show will serve as good promotion to Coasters.

Mr Robertson said it was also an opportunity to inform the general public of what they’re eating.

“People are so distanced from their food these days,” he said.

“It was good to show that food does come from the paddock, which is why we showed the paddock to plate concept, with pigs and then our product.”

Mr Robertson said it wasn’t often that farming was given such exposure.

“The most exciting thing really was that farming doesn’t really come into the mainstream media,” he said.

“We’ve always tried to get people to the farm to show what we’re doing, so having an image of what farming is on mainstream television during prime time is really great.

“In Australia, 90 per cent of the population live in an urban environment, so it’s quite unique coming to a farm.”

Mr Robertson said being broadcast to hundreds of thousands of homes allowed them to target a different audience.

“It’s a different audience to who we normally deal with; even the people who watch the show from the North-West probably haven’t heard of us,” he said.

Mr Robertson said the promotion also had benefits for the community.

“Penguin’s now been shown off and it was nice that they’ve put stickers on their Sunrise camping trailer,” he said.

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Finding our treasures


Sunrise weather broadcast from Mount Gnomon farm at PenguinPresenter Edwina BartholomewSUNRISE weather presenter Edwina Bartholomew says there is no better job than getting paid to travel the world.
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Ms Bartholomew visited Mount Gnomon Farm at Penguin yesterday, broadcasting live back to Brekky Central.

The popular breakfast television show presenter has been travelling around Tasmania over the past week showcasing what our state has to offer.

Miss Bartholomew said she loved coming to Tasmania with Sunrise, but wanted to get outside the metropolitan areas.

“When we decided to come to Tasmania, we wanted to go to Hobart, but we also wanted to show other areas of the state,” she said.

She said starting the tour of Australia in Tasmania was the perfect way.

“I think Tassie has been so welcoming and has been the best start to our trip that we could have imagined,” she said.

“A bloke came up to me during the week and told me that we’re giving away all of the state’s secrets.

“But I think the secret of Tasmania was let out a while ago, and so it should be.”

Sunrise weather broadcast from Mount Gnomon farm at PenguinTimothy Wood, 12, snares a selfie with presenter Edwina Bartholomew.

Along with providing home viewers with travel ideas, her goal was to make sure she covered activities for the show’s entire audience, whether that be luxurious or more budget-friendly holidaying, and everything in between.

Some would say Miss Bartholomew had the best job in the world, but for her, she said the research was what she enjoyed the most.

“I’ve been very lucky with this job,” she said.

“Someone pays for me to travel the country and I get paid to do it.

“For me though, I’m able to use my journalist skills for all the research that is required to find interesting places to visit. That’s probably the best aspect.”

Along with researching her own filming locations, Miss Bartholomew said suggestions also came from a variety of sources.

“We get suggestions to go and visit places from our viewers, word of mouth and from tourism experts,” she said.

Miss Bartholomew said she also enjoyed getting out and about and meeting the people who watched Sunrise.

“I met a lady this morning who met Grant Denyer when he was last here and now she’s met us,” she said.

“In between meeting Grant and us, she said she’s recovered from cancer and was basically in tears telling me this.”

After her broadcast at Mount Gnomon Farm, Miss Bartholomew said she would stay on the Coast for the remainder of the day before getting on the Spirit of Tasmania.

She will today present the weather aboard the Spirit of Tasmania as it sails into Melbourne.

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Warrnambool Cheese and Butter increases profits, despite what the figures show


WARRNAMBOOL Cheese and Butter Factory (WCB) has increased its half-yearly profit, despite what the figures show.
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In a statement to the Australian Stock Exchange yesterday, the company said its half-year statutory net profit after tax of $25 million had been substantially reduced by new accounting procedures.

The $25 million is a $6.2 million drop on the 2014 half-year result.

However, the company said if the same accounting procedures used for the 2014 financial year had been repeated, the 2015 result would be $38.6 million.

New accounting procedures have been implemented to change the WCB financial year to end at March 31 to align it with that of its Canadian parent company Saputo.

The change meant WCB applied a full-year milk cost pricing estimate methodology at the half-year.

WCB chief executive officer David Lord said the full-year milk pricing estimate included an expected step-up price before the end of the financial year.

Mr Lord said WCB’s half-year profit had increased because it had invested heavily in high-value, higher-margin products such as infant formula ingredient lactoferrin, premium milk powders and whey protein concentrate that were less affected by volatile prices.

It had also created efficiencies in its plant that had reduced operating costs, Mr Lord said.

WCB said its outlook for the rest of its financial year to March 31 was “cautiously optimistic”.

“The decline in international commodity pricing has slowed significantly and softer international pricing is being partially offset by the considerable depreciation of the Australian dollar,” the company said.

It said its performance to the end of its financial year on March 31 might be subject to variations in milk prices that were retrospective from July 1.

Other factors that could affect its performance until March 31 were likely to include seasonal milk flow variations and variations in international commodity pricing. With about 60 per cent of the company’s products exported, changes in the Australian-US dollar exchange rate were also likely to have an impact.

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Auction aplenty as 14 properties go under hammer


A MEGA-auction night yielded successful results for Ray White Warrnambool on Wednesday evening.
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Auctioneer Jeremy Tyrrell takes bids during the Warrnambool Ray White Real Estate auction night this week. 150211DW52 Picture: DAMIAN WHITE

Ray White director Jess Densley said 14 properties were offered at what was billed as an “auction spectacular” at the Mid City Motel, with nine of the offerings sold on the night.

The first property auctioned, 5 Dixon Street, Warrnambool, was passed in at $290,000, before a double storey home at 8 Michelle Court, Warrnambool sold for $328,000.

Number 85 Bostock Street, Warrnambool sold for $238,000, and 21 Wares Road, Warrnambool, sold for $295,000.

A central Warrnambool unit at 1/16 Howard Street sold for $235,000 and a modern three-bedroom home at 41 Huntingfield Drive sold for $342,000.

A family home at 8 Gibson Court, Koroit was passed in at $320,000 and 28 Dobson Way, Warrnambool was also passed in at $500,000.

In a sought-after location, 31 Wentworth Street, Warrnambool, sold for $345,000 and a hall at 11 Maria Street, Allansford, sold for $149,000.

The penthouse apartment at 1/132 Merri Street, Warrnambool, was passed in at $525,000 while a property at 438 Raglan Parade sold for $260,000.

A family home at 8 Nina Street, Dennington, sold for $385,000 while 10/132 Merri Street, Warrnambool, was passed in at $225,000.

Mr Densley was pleased with the overall results.

“The auction night was a huge success with nine properties selling well over reserve prices and several properties that sold had multiple bidders competing,” he said.

“We had 160-plus people in attendance with 31 pre-registered bidders and active bidding on 12 out of the 14 properties.

“We are ecstatic with the overall results and we expect that there is also imminent sales that will occur in the next few days, which is due to the auction process, that will further add to the excellent results achieved for our clients.”

Mr Densley said it was a large step up from the first auction spectacular event last year.

“There were more properties up for auction, more people in attendance and more bidders,” he said.

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Southern Grampians Shire Council votes for meatworks plan


HAMILTON district has been put on the menu for abattoir operators after Southern Grampians Shire Council voted unanimously this week to develop a strategy to attract sheep and cattle meat processing as a major new industry.
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The shire is keen to make the district a regional economic powerhouse by capitalising on its agricultural attributes, for which it once claimed the title of the wool capital of the world.

It has just completed a land capability study, is preparing an agriculture prospectus as part of its council plan update and is embarking on a $4.8 million upgrade of the Hamilton livestock selling centre, which has an annual throughput of a million sheep and about 55,000 cattle.

Veterinary surgeon and long-time councillor Katrina Rainsford spearheaded the push to secure a meat processing industry with a notice of motion at Wednesday night’s monthly council meeting.

“The opportunity exists to outline Southern Grampians land capability, power, water and industrial land supplies, workforce opportunities and availability, training and transport network and rail freight resources that could attract investment and economic development,” she told colleagues.

Yesterday, she said the time was right to explore new growth opportunities.

“With the current investment climate we need to secure our region’s farming future and improve the ability of our farmers to compete on a world market,” she said.

“There’s a difference between foreign ownership and foreign investment.

“There could be a partnership between an existing Australian operator and foreign investment or a new operator.”

Cr Rainsford said regional development plans for western Victoria often focused on dairying, but overlooked meat and livestock as a long-term sustainable industry.

Shire mayor Peter Dark agreed there was untapped potential.

“We’ve put the concept of a meat processing facility out there to see what happens,” Cr Dark said.

“We need to build on our strength, which is livestock.

“While Hamilton may not still be the wool capital of the world, we are the sheep capital with more sheep per human population than anywhere else, I think.”

Cr Rainsford said the shire had previously identified potential for macropod processing and other micro processing for niche markets as well as grain processing.

“We are not prepared to accept the status quo,” she said. “Value adding will provide jobs and economic growth.

“There are about 10 communities less than three quarters of an hour from Hamilton that could provide a workforce.”

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Attend a free SES flood-safe workshop


SES AT WORK: On the river at Morpeth.Maitland residents are urged to attend free flood safe workshops presented by the Hunter region SES next week.
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There is room for 25 people per session but so far the response has been slow.

Workshops will leave participants with a better understanding of flood risks in the Maitland area and increased practical skills about how to prepare a home emergency kit and an emergency plan. They are part of a month long series of events delivered by the NSW SES and Hunter Local Land Services to commemorative the 60th anniversary of the 1955 Hunter Valley flood.

It was the highest and most destructive flood on record in the region which saw thousands of ­people rescued, hundreds of homes destroyed and 14 lives lost.

“The 60th anniversary provides a reminder for the community to ­prepare their home and family for future major floods.

“Taking the time to prepare now can mean the difference between suffering an inconvenience and experiencing a disaster,” workshop facilitator Neil Dufty said.

While mitigation measures are now in place, these levees will overtop in a flood slightly higher than that of June 2007, which means ­residential and business areas will be inundated and roads made impassable, Mr Dufty said.

The workshops will use flood warnings as examples to demonstrate what this means to the community and how people should act on information if evacuation is required in future events.

The workshops will be held on:

Wednesday, February 18, East Maitland Library, 5pm -6.30pm.Thursday, February 19, East Maitland Library, 10am-11.30am.Saturday, February 21, Maitland Town Hall, 10am-11.30am.Bookings can be made with the NSW SES on 49313222.

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Dennington’s sporting hub waits for overdue upgrade


DENNINGTON residents are hoping the state government will approve a grant to kick-start a long-awaited $524,000 upgrade for the town’s recreation reserve.
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Dennington Recreation Reserve will enjoy a major upgrade of facilities if a $90,000 state government funding application is successful.090404GW24

The project will modernise outdated and cramped facilities which do not meet AFL preferred specifications for district level football and netball competitions.

Warrnambool City Council has lodged the application for $90,000 and a reply is expected by April.

Project co-ordinator and Dennington Community Association president David Kelson hoped the work could be done following this season’s football and netball fixtures.

“The away changerooms are a disgrace and half the size of normal facilities,” Mr Kelson said.

“Netballers have to change in the toilets. It is the only recreation reserve in Dennington and with an expanding population the facilities will increasingly be in demand.”

A priority will be modernising and extending the Kelson pavilion, built in 1962. New home changerooms for footballers will be built, plus new male and female umpire changerooms.

The existing umpires rooms, built in 1978, will be modernised for netballers and the kitchen and canteen modernised.

The city council has allocated $174,500 over three years, user groups will contribute $100,000 in cash and loans and $115,000 of in-kind labour and donated materials will be supplied. Philanthropic trusts will provide $45,000.

Mr Kelson said further improvements would be carried out in stages to include new perimeter fencing, removal of cypress trees and planting of native species for shelter.

During city council discussions earlier this month, councillors Peter Hulin and Peter Sycopoulis expressed disappointment that a flat-roof design had been chosen, saying a pitched roof would have provided more efficient insulation.

Community development director Vicky Mason said the schematic design had been approved by the user group committee.

Mayor Michael Neoh said it was important to provide equitable changeroom facilities.

“Many recreation reserves have umpires and female changerooms as an afterthought,” he said.

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Surgery finally puts end to pain


RARE CONDITION: Ainslie Hayward-Steers, of Kindred, is one of only 500 people in the world diagnosed with a rare condition called idiopathic chondrolysis. Picture: Jason Hollister.
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FORTH’S Ainslie Hayward-Steers endured three years of daily pain from one of the world’s rarest medical conditions.

She lives with idiopathic chondrolysis.

Last week the 19-year-old had a hip replacement which will hopefully change her life.

“There’s no pain,” she said ecstatically just days after the surgery.

Miss Hayward-Steers won’t let the joint and muscular disease interfere with her artistic aspirations.

She continues to study contemporary art at Launceston’s University of Tasmania.

No other cases of the disease have been recorded in Tasmania says Miss Hayward-Steers, and believed about 500 people had been diagnosed globally.

A spokesperson from Tasmania’s hospitals said the incidents of the disease in the state weren’t known precisely.

Over three years of searching and Miss Hayward-Steers has made contact with one other idiopathic chondrolysis sufferer.

The young man lives in Colorado, America.

Now Miss Hayward-Steers wants to extend her scope and touch base with other patients for mutual support.

“Even just being able to let them know they are not alone and there is someone out there that is going through the same thing as them,” she said.

Miss Hayward-Steers’ life changed on July 20, 2012, a day remembered more easily than she would like.

“It was a random onset of pain, it just randomly happened,” she said.

“It must of been 11 o’clock and I was in bed and I rolled over to switch off my light and I just screamed.

“I couldn’t move my legs, I was paralysed from the waist down.”

Six anxious weeks in hospital and Miss Hayward-Steers was diagnosed.

She lives with almost constant pain and travels to Melbourne monthly for appointments.

“I’m unable to play any sports, my driving has been affected,” she said.

“It’s not being able to do normal things; even getting up to walk around throughout the day, the pain is always there.”

There’s no cure to the disease, but Miss Hayward-Steers had her first hip replacement at Victoria’s The Avenue Hospital last Saturday.

“The surgeon said I’m able to walk around properly now, ride a bike and drive,” she said.

With greater normality Miss Hayward-Steers hopes to make up for lost time in her passion as an artist.

“I was in grade 11 when I was diagnosed,” she said.

“I had to miss out on the second term of school and had to drop out of two of my art classes.”

Miss Hayward-Steers wants to become an art therapist, helping others to sooth mental or physical pain.

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Labor Senator Sam Dastyari called on to answer questions over Bill Shorten leadership ballot


Senator Sam Dastyari has been issued with a ‘please explain’ over his alleged role in the leadership ballot. Photo: Alex EllinghausenBill Shorten’s leadership ballot under scrutiny
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Labor’s Sam Dastyari is being called upon to make a personal explanation to the Senate about his knowledge of or involvement in irregularities in the 2013 ballot that installed Bill Shorten as federal Opposition Leader.

The call was made by Liberal senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells after Fairfax Media revealed that a staff member in Senator Dastyari’s office requested that addresses for 50 ballot papers be changed before the vote.

An ALP tribunal found at least 20 of those addresses were changed to the post office box or residential address of Auburn councillor Hicham Zraika.

Cr Zraika was recently suspended from the Labor party for six months after the tribunal found he had engaged in “unworthy conduct” including falsifying meeting records of his own branch.

Senator Fierravanti-Wells told the Senate that Labor “needs to get right to the bottom of this scandal and take steps to deal with any branch stacking or vote fiddling”.

“An ALP tribunal may have suspended the middle man who received the redirected ballot papers but what has happened to any others involved in this episode?” she said.

“Today’s reports of the irregularities in the ballot that installed Bill Shorten as Labor leader cast doubt on the validity of the vote.”

Senator Fierravanti-Wells noted Senator Dastyari had yet to make a statement to to the Senate “to personally explain this situation and what he knew about the machinations of his staff member. I call on the senator to do so.”

Senator Dastyari dismissed the call by Senator Fierravanti-Wells as “a joke”.

“I thought we’d moved past this kind of low rent type of politics,” he said.

“At no point has there been any accusation of wrongdoing against me by the Review Tribunal or any others.”

Referring to last year’s Independent Commission Against Corruption hearings into political donations, Senator Dastyari said it was “all a bit rich coming from Connie considering a dozen Liberal MPs from her own NSW branch had to resign over real corruption allegations”.

On Thursday, Cr Zraika said it was “unfair and unjust to be accused of manipulating party membership and stacking when it is clear as daylight who changed those addresses”.

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Mad scientist cliches undermine portrayal of Alan Turing in The Imitation Game


Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game.More Big Picture columns More on The Imitation Game Movie session timesFull movies coverage
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“Sometimes it is the people who no one imagines anything of who do the things that no one can imagine.” So says Keira Knightley to Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game, the celebrated story of the brilliant and short life of Alan Turing, English mathematician and codebreaker.

That line may well come to haunt the filmmakers. The film and Cumberbatch are nominated for Oscars, but Cumberbatch stands a better chance, because the film takes liberties with the truth. Director Morten Tyldum and writer Graham Moore have done several things that no one could have imagined with the facts of Turing’s life – including suggesting that he was suspected of espionage. Not true, never, no how.

They have been putting out grass fires for several months, some of which were probably deliberately lit. Dirty tricks are common around the Oscars but these filmmakers have no one else to blame. The Imitation Game is a superb film – extremely moving, beautifully constructed, gripping and harrowing. Just don’t call it a true story. It’s not, either at the level of Alan Turing’s character, or about what he did to win the war.

This much they get right: he was the chief architect of the Bombe machine that broke the German Enigma codes at Bletchley Park, the British codebreaking headquarters just outside London. He didn’t build it by himself, nor call it Christopher, but let that pass.

He died in June 1954 of cyanide poisoning, although it seems unlikely to have been directly related to his conviction for gross indecency. Turing admitted a homosexual relationship in the course of filing a complaint with the Manchester police after his home had been burgled by an associate of his lover. Turing pleaded guilty in March 1951 and chose to submit to one year of hormone injections rather than go to prison. His death came more than a year after he had stopped taking the chemical castration drugs. Indeed, the body changes brought about by the drugs set him on a new path of research in the last two years of his life, when he worked on “mathematical biology”. One theory is that his death was accidental; he may have inhaled chemicals he was using to do experiments at home.

The film favours the theory that the drugs made him depressed, causing his suicide. That’s because it wants to see him as a gay martyr – to represent the thousands of other men who were convicted in Britain under the same laws. The Queen pardoned Turing in 2013, but Cumberbatch has joined Stephen Fry in a campaign to have all 49,000 convictions overturned, on the basis that the law was iniquitous, not the victims of it. I agree, but it’s far from certain that Turing died because of his conviction.

The film also suggests that Turing was somewhere on the autism scale, perhaps suffering from Asperger’s syndrome. In the film, he is unable or unwilling to understand that his superiority complex annoys his colleagues at Bletchley. He doesn’t understand jokes or social niceties, so Keira Knightley, as his brilliant colleague Joan Clarke, has to teach him to be likeable.

In fact, his colleagues at the time remembered his eccentricities – such as chaining his tea mug to the radiator – but described him as warm and funny with them.

A subplot has Allen Leech as John Cairncross, the real-life Soviet double agent, working with Turing’s group. Turing guesses he is passing secrets, but doesn’t report it after Cairncross threatens to out him. That’s the film’s biggest lie. Cairncross was at Bletchley, but not in the same unit. There is no evidence that they ever met. Security between the different sections was deliberately tight. Turing has never been accused of espionage. The subplot emphasises how fearful some gay men were about exposure, but it libels its hero in the process.

Cumberbatch’s performance, brilliant as it is, conforms to deeper conventions in cinema – that of the wild-haired mad scientist who is not quite “one of us”. Victor Frankenstein is one father of this idea but it is much older, and it never goes away. Eddie Redmayne’s performance as Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything begins in the same territory. The young Hawking, even before his diagnosis, is distinctly “other” – bad hair, thick glasses, socially awkward, the full geek. Add the wheelchair and we edge closer, however unintentionally, to the nastier traditions in which mad science is conflated with physical deformity and disability.

The most infamous of these is Peter Sellers as Dr Strangelove, the ex-Nazi nuclear scientist with an uncontrollable prosthetic hand in Stanley Kubrick’s 1964 comedy. That was a homage. The original gloved-hand maniac occurs in Fritz Lang’s 1927 silent masterpiece Metropolis, made in Berlin just as Hitler was getting started. The insane inventor Rotwang (Rudolf Klein-Rogge) has “sacrificed” his hand in an attempt to create a perfect robot woman.

This beautiful Machine-Human (played by Brigitte Helm) would have appealed to Alan Turing. His theoretical work on intelligent machines led directly to the computer on which I am writing this column. He looked forward to the creation of machines with artificial intelligence – a concept that scares a lot of very bright people, including Stephen Hawking.

I would settle for a bit more human intelligence in the way movies portray scientists, given that science has given us every comfort and technical tool we now use to make life bearable, including movies. Turing’s work fed the hand that now bites him, in that sense.

Twitter: @ptbyrnes

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