In an under the radar suburb split in two, is one side better?

DOM Newport Online. Picture Michael Rayner. Newport Junction housing estate along Melbourne Road DOM Newport Online. Picture Michael Rayner. DOM Newport Online. Picture Michael Rayner. Houses corner of Paine and Crawford St Newport DOM Newport Online. Picture Michael Rayner.
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DOM Newport Online. Picture Michael Rayner. Newport Lake recreation and habitat reserve, former bluestone quarry DOM Newport Online. Picture Michael Rayner.

The Yarra River, Port Phillip Bay and parks. Lakes. A fishing spot. Cool cafes, everywhere. A village vibe, with more than one village to choose from. Bike paths linking into more bike paths. Two train stations. An arts centre. History. Tree-lined streets. Could an auctioneer ask for anything more for their spiel? Well, maybe a tram line. But that’s just being fussy.

The first conversation I remember having about Newport mentioned nothing of the above. It was the early 2000s, and friends had bought in there. They’d tell people where they’d bought and more often than not get a “where?” in response. “Do you know Williamstown?” they’d reply, and get nods. “Near there.”

It was a smart buy back then, and even if they’d bought in five years ago, instead of 15, they’d be ahead of the crowd, and, certainly, ahead financially. Like most of Melbourne, house prices in Newport have skyrocketed. The median house price is up 90 per cent in the past five years. However, considering the list of highlights above, and not even adding that it’s just 7km from the CBD (I know, right!), its $1 million median price seems entirely reasonable, if not cheap.

Some say there are two sides to Newport – a right or wrong side of the tracks. I ask a local barista what side of the train line is better. “This side, of course!” he says, enthusiastically. “Over on that side, well, they think it’s the Paris end, but we’ve got the bay. They think they’ve got the good side, but actually, it’s us.” Would he live on the other side? “Oh no, this is the cool side.”

You’ve got to love a suburb with a train line divide. From an outsider’s perspective, the two sides do look and feel different. The bigger blocks are further away from the bay. There’s a long, long strip of early 2000s townhouses on Mason Street. It’s got the ‘burb’s new library, which is joined to a bustling Mechanics Hall. It’s got a Vinnies op shop that blasts Smooth FM. It’s got the Substation, a century-old building that is now a not-for-profit arts centre.

But the bay side is probably cooler. Literally. Being close to the bay will do that for you. And it’s a pretty section too of coast, too. Not Brighton pretty, but watching container ships shimmy in front of the West Gate Bridge, a hair’s breadth away, well, it takes your breath away.

Warmies Boat Ramp is a popular spot for anglers, and it’s an outlet for the Newport Power Station (making the water warm). Over the Yarra River’s entrance, giraffe-like structures unload and load shipping containers. Wherever you go in Newport, the power station chimney stays in your view. Related: Can cool Melburnians enjoy Geelong?Related: Albert Park v Middle Park: Is one better?Related: This used to be our smelliest suburb

We often ramble on about the Royal Botanic Gardens, but if you like parks, spend the million dollars you were going to spend on a two-bedroom flat in Toorak on an entire house in Newport instead. There’s Newport Lakes Reserve, Newport Riverside Park, Greenwich Reserve and more.

With all that park, it’s a wonder they’ve been able to fit any houses in the suburb. Those that are there cover the whole spectrum of houses of the 150 years, from expansive brown brick ’70s family homes, to townhouses, to dainty, shaded, grand Victorians and seaside view-huggers on The Strand. It’s definitely a suburb with plenty of choice. You just have to work out which side of the tracks you want to live on. Five things you didn’t know about NewportNewport Power Station was once a coal-fired plant, but is now a gas-fired peaking power plant. In the 1950s it was the largest power station in the southern hemisphere.Newport has two train stations within its boundary: Newport and North Williamstown.ARHS Newport Railway Museum www.arhsvic苏州美甲.au has a large collection of Victorian railways steam locomotives. It’s open most Saturdays from noon to 5pm.The actual boundary takes up half of the Yarra River.Shell’s Newport Terminal has been operating for 101 years and operates as a fuel storage and distribution centre, receiving fuel from its Geelong refinery via pipelines.

Hospitals must report food reactions following boy’s death

Caitlin Louey, 16 years old, and has suffered from anaphylaxis to pecan nuts (while undergoing allergy testing at MCRI as a part of SchoolNuts – an MCRI study). 14 July 2015. The Age NEWS. Photo: Eddie Jim.A devastating food labelling error that led to the death of a 10-year-old Melbourne boy has prompted the Victorian government to make it mandatory for hospitals to report cases of anaphylaxis.
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Keen soccer player Ronak Warty died a few days before Christmas in 2013 after consuming a coconut drink bought from an Asian supermarket in Burwood East. It was later discovered the beverage contained undeclared dairy milk.

But because the hospital that treated Ronak did not alert the health department, the dangerous product remained on the shelves for another six weeks before being recalled.

More than 320 people have died in from anaphylaxis since 1997 and while medication and insect bites have typically posed the biggest danger, the number of people reacting to food such as nuts, dairy, eggs and seafood has been on the rise since the early ’90s.

Today almost half of the anaphylaxis presentations at Victorian emergency departments are food-related, a figure that has rapidly increased by around 14 per cent each year.

In response to the trend and recommendations from the coroner, the Andrews government on Wednesday introduced a bill requiring all hospitals to report all suspected cases of anaphylaxis to the Department of Health and Human Services.

“This will mean appropriate action can be taken, such as the recall of products that are not labelled correctly and could put people with allergies at risk,” a spokeswoman for Health Minister Jill Hennessy said.

Authorities were only made aware of the problem with the imported coconut drink in 2014 when contacted by support group Allergy & Anaphylaxis .

The group’s chief executive, Maria Said, said anaphylaxis deaths often went unreported. She said she was aware of two fatalities in the past two months in NSW, including one that occurred after someone dined out.

“Sometimes it gets totally missed – whether it’s a packaged food or a food that gets served in a food service facility after the person has disclosed their allergy. Those cases need to be investigated as well,” Ms Said said.

Ronak’s parents told the coroner that they had been vigilant in monitoring his allergy to nuts and dairy, with his father Satyajit Warty, who has since died, even attending school camps so he could watch what his son ate.

Mr Warty said when he bought the can of Green Time Natural Coconut Drink he had checked the label to ensure it did not contain any of his son’s allergens.

Ronak also checked the can.

In a letter in 2014, Mr Warty said “in effect, my son was killed by a corporate entity by not declaring the product correctly”.

Slater and Gordon Lawyers’ Barrie Woollacott??? has represented a number of families who have lost children to anaphylaxis and said those who were involved in preparing and providing the food were not always vigilant about allergens.

“People with food allergies, they need to feel safe about the food they are eating,” he said.

“It’s important that other people get it right so they can rely on the food labelling.”

The proposed new anaphylaxis reporting laws are set to be in place by November next year.

‘The idiot’: McGurk’s hitman allegedly ribbed by his brother the day after murder

The brother of a man who shot dead controversial businessman Michael McGurk will face trial on accessory to murder charges next year after he failed to convince a judge that the case against him was weak and unfair.
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Bassam Safetli, 49, is accused of helping and harbouring his brother Haissam Safetli, knowing that he had murdered Mr McGurk in September 2009.

According to court documents, the day after the murder he laughed at his brother for burning the money in his pockets along with his clothes when he destroyed the evidence, and ribbed the alleged gunmen for being described as “professionals”.

Mr Safetli applied to have the case thrown out on grounds that the delay in prosecuting him had brought the justice system into disrepute and that there was no prima facie case against him.

He also claimed he could not receive a fair trial because the prosecution had access to information he had given in a statement to the NSW Crime Commission on the understanding it would not be used in criminal proceedings against him.

Haissam Safetli pleaded guilty in August 2013 to murdering Mr McGurk and intimidating his widow, allegedly on behalf of property developer Ron Medich to settle some business disputes.

Mr Medich’s former friend Lucky Gattellari is serving a 10-year sentence after pleading guilty to being an accessory before the fact of murder. He admitted to organising a payment of $300,000 for Haissam Safetli and his alleged partner Christopher Estephan to perform the hit.

Bassam Safetli stands accused of having intimate knowledge of the crime.

According to the Crown brief of evidence tendered to the NSW District Court, he sent a text message to Gattellari a few minutes after Haissam Safetli returned to the house they shared on the night of the murder: “The job is done.”

A short time later he is alleged to have sent a second message to Gattellari’s driver Senad Kaminic saying: “The tyres are done.”

Kaminic was initially confused by the message, because he had actually asked Mr Safetli to do some work on a car.

“Did you do a wheel alignment?” he fired back.

Mr Safetli: “Yeah we did the whole lot. The job is done? You know what I mean?”

Kaminic: “Yeah ok I’ll pass on the message to Lucky.”

Kaminic later told police that when he arrived at Haissam Safetli’s house with a $20,000 payment the following day, he found the brothers chatting about the murder on the verandah with Mr Estephan and a fourth man, Adam Chahine.

Bassam Safetli was alleged to have been jocular.

“Everyone thinks it was a professional hit,” he allegedly said. “Look at these professionals.”

He pointed to people on verandah and laughed. Then he allegedly gestured to his brother.

“The idiot burnt his clothes when he got home and the money in his pockets too.”

Mr Safetli is accused of accompanying Haissam to meet Kaminic to receive cash, and paying Mr Estephan three instalments of $10,000 as payment for the murder.

Later, when Gattellari and Kaminic were embroiled in a dispute over payment for the hit, he is alleged to have said: “Sort this shit out or we’ll all end up in jail.”

But in applying for a permanent stay on the charges, he claimed that most of the particulars in the case against him were available to the prosecution as early as November 2010 and the delay in proceedings represented a miscarriage of justice.

Part of the reason he was being prosecuted was to “shore up the credibility of Crown witnesses against Ron Medich at his trial”, his legal team argued in written submissions to the court.

In previous proceedings Mr Medich’s counsel had pointed out that Mr Safetli had not been charged with any offence.

Judge David Frearson rejected the application. The trial is listed for April 2018.

Love won. Now for the war

Same Sex Marriage Postal Vote results. Crowd gather at Prince Alfred Park in Surry Hills and celebrate the majority yes vote of the results of the postal vote. Wednesday 15th November 2017. Photo: James Brickwood. SMH NEWS 171115 sexpol The Age, News. Sexpol. The announcement of the same sex marriage survey at Woodleigh School. students Cas Baptist and Indigo Rule .Pic Simon Schluter 15 November 2017.
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It’s not often that history comes to Belconnen. Even by the standards of Canberra’s suburbs, it is an uneventful place, where sprinklers twitch and dog walkers nod to each other in passing.

It is fitting, then, that history was brought to Belconnen by a statistician, the ABS’s David Kalisch, who this morning told that 61.6 per cent of us had had voted in favour of same-sex marriage.

Of the nation’s 150 electorates, 133 voted yes.

It was a far more resounding result than any political party achieves to govern, and represents a strong mandate.

But this is not a gavel coming down. It’s not a ruling, and it is not yet a definitive win. The result is a moral victory, but until it’s legislated it amounts to a hill of beans.

The “no” campaign, of course, began their rearguard action months ago.

Over recent weeks it has become more frenzied: Liberal senator Eric Abetz saying we mustn’t rush to legislate. Tony Abbott telling an American Christian group that “given the starting point, just to get 40 per cent would be a moral victory for marriage”. The “no” vote was 38.4 per cent – here’s betting Abbott will round up. His own electorate of Warringah voted 75 per cent “yes”. In a Facebook post following the result, Abbott didn’t reference that, but said the forthcoming parliamentary process should protect “freedom of conscience for all, not just the churches”.

n Christian Lobby director Lyle Shelton wrote yesterday that “because of the misleading message of the same-sex marriage lobby”, the issue “may not be resolved” by the postal survey.

Referring to the “yes” lobby, he told his supporters that “the ACL has warned of this for many years but now the brutality of their winner-takes-all approach is laid bare for all to see”. He makes it sound as though the gay hordes are about to sack temples and rape women. They just want to marry for love. The sky remains intact, so far.

Some of today’s glee rests in the fact that the “no” campaign decided the way the game would be played, and wrote the rules to suit themselves, but the “yes” campaign still won.

But it’s impossible to argue the postal survey hasn’t been divisive. It has exposed LGBTI people to suffering they didn’t deserve, suffering from which a decent political system should have protected them. It has been a time of high anxiety and dark nights for many gay friends and the people who love them.

The electorate-by-electorate breakdown of voting patterns also shows a divide along socially conservative but traditionally blue collar electorates, and electorates, like Warringah, that are Liberal heartlands but socially progressive. This split – between middle class progressives and working class social conservatives – is a global fault-line that will ripple through n politics in years to come. It is a potential problem for the Labor party.

Politically, the postal survey was always an odd choice for the Prime Minister.

In going through with the postal survey, he kept his election promise, and the promise he made to his party’s right-wing when he took power from Abbott. Turnbull’s policy will end up delivering marriage equality, for which he has personally advocated for a lot longer than many of his colleagues on both sides of parliament.

But it has served as an enormous distraction for his government, and created near-blanket media coverage which has overwhelmed other messages it wanted to put out. The postal survey provided a platform and a Trojan-horse issue for the hard-line conservatives in his party who loathe his leadership. Those conservatives will continue to issue veiled threats against Turnbull’s leadership right up until the last vote is cast on the floor of parliament, and beyond. But that’s a problem for another day. It is not done yet, but love won in a landslide today. We did the right thing. We can look our children in the eye.

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‘Sydney bursting at seams’: Pitt Street makes world top 10

Generic photo of pedestrians shopping at Pitt Street Mall in Sydney on 30th September 2017. Photograph by Katherine GriffithsThe new retail and residential entrants and revamped stores has helped consolidate Sydney’s Pitt Street Mall, Melbourne’s Bourke Street Mall and Brisbane’s Queen Street as some of the most expensive places in the world to rent a store.
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While the top spots are held by the likes of New York’s Fifth Avenue, Paris’ Avenue des Champs-Elysees and Hong Kong’s Causeway Bay, Sydney, Melbourne and now Brisbane are holding their own, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region.

In the latest Cushman & Wakefield Main Streets Across the World report, Pitt Street has cemented its place at no. 7 globally, while Melbourne’s Bourke Street is no. 17 and Brisbane’s Queen Street Mall is 32nd in the world.

The report is based on rent per capita – per square foot in American dollars and per square metre in euros – and tracks 462 of the top retail streets around the globe.

In Sydney, the average rent per square metre per annum is about $12,000, Melbourne’s is $6600/sqm and Brisbane is $4050/sqm.

Cushman & Wakefield’s national director of research, John Sears, has said there is $62 billion of infrastructure development across Sydney’s CBD due to the upgrades along George Street, Circular Quay and a swath of new apartments surrounding Hyde Park.

Melbourne and Brisbane are also in the midst of CBD redevelopment and all three cities are seeing a rise in demand for an array of retail offerings. This is underpinning rental growth.

“These developments will help drive economic growth by making it faster and easier to move around the CBD, promote Sydney as a destination and create the space to absorb future business growth,” Mr Sears said.

Cushman & Wakefield retail leasing directors Matt Hudson and Ben Tremellen said this rise in population, from new office developments, residential towers, hotel projects and student accommodation, is driving a change in tenancies across the cities.

Where once Pitt Street and Bourke Street malls were dominated by department stores and the international fashion brands, banks, supermarkets, digital and electronic equipment and now cosmetics, are all vying for the prime retail sites.

It is also putting pressure on landlords to up their game and freshen up their stores and merchandise, in order to achieve the sales necessary to pay the high rents.

“Sydney is bursting at the seams,” Mr Hudson said.

“With Pitt Street Mall having the house-full sign, and if a retail site is tired and losing customers, there is a long line of potential new players.”

Mr Tremellen said with the population growth rising in CBD living, banks in particular, are coming back from the suburbs and want prime CBD sites to service the expanded customer base.

“These tenants want bigger footprints and are willing to pay for a spot in the prime, main streets across the country,” Mr Tremellen said.

“This trend will continue and if a retailer has not kept up its relevance to the consumer … they will be caught in the rotation game.” Main streets in Asia

According to the report, food and beverage operators remain a key driver of demand, although health and beauty, fashion, sports and lifestyle brands have been equally prominent across much of the region.

Technology is playing a major role, exemplified by Singapore’s drive towards becoming a smart nation, with retailers increasingly turning it to their advantage to attract customers and drive store sales.

It says activity in the n retail market has been limited by the low levels of availability but with new developments and lease expiries on the horizon, there are an increasing number of opportunities for landlords to secure high-quality tenants.

One of the most recent trends has been for domestic retailers to move to suburban shopping centre locations, which has freed up CBD space for major international operators.

“With a maturing retail sector and a resurgence in inner city living, city centre streets and malls will continue to see strong retailer demand. Extended trading hours will provide an additional boost to the market, with shops in some cities now open from 7am to 7pm and a further liberalisation possible in Melbourne and Sydney,” the report says.

Tears of joy for local marriage celebrant

STOKED: Brittany Turner (centre) officiating a wedding earlier this year. Picture: Barefoot & BeardedHunter marriage celebrant Brittany Turner burst into tears as she watched the results of the same-sex marriage survey on a Facebook live stream in her car.
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“I’m just ecstatic,” she told Fairfax Media. “Your phone call interrupted my hysterical crying.”

The former East Maitland woman said she couldn’t wait to officiate her first same-sex union if the government decidedto vote in line with the results of the survey.

Whilethe result could mean a boost for her profession, Ms Turner was more excited on a personal level.

“The result is very much in line with my own views,” she said.

“As a professional [a new law]would certainlychangethings. Itwould impact on celebrants across the country.

“But it’s about equal rights.

“I’ve got a lot of close friends in long-term same sex relationships.

“There’s no reason I should be able to officiate the wedding of one of my friends and not the other.

“I say to them, I can’t wait for the day we’re standing up there at your wedding. It’s the same way I feel about my heterosexual friends.”

In what has been a heated debate, Ms Turner said she was glad the results of the survey were now finalised.

“A lot of my gay friends live in Sydney, and I just wish I could wrap my arms around them and give them a huge hug,” she said.

“I just hope that the LGBQTI community feels the love they deserve today.

“I can’t imagine what this experience has been like for them.”

Ms Turner was obviously pleased with the result, but had hoped that morepeoplewould have voted yes than 61.6 per cent.

“I thought it would be around 70 per cent, perhaps I was optimistic,” she said. “It ismuch better than 49 per cent.”

But she still believedthe resultshould be more than enough for the government to support the bill.

“I hope 51 per cent would have been enough for them to sort it out,” she said.

“This is a victory to be celebrated, but the fight’s not over yet.

“We’ve now got to focus on the law being passed.”

Maitland council approves $20 million seniors living development at Rutherford

A $20 million seniors living development comprising 80homes, a bowling green and swimming pool hasbeen approved for Rutherford.
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Maitland City Council gave applicant Coastplan Consulting,the green light for the development at a meeting on Tuesday night.

The development will beconstructed in Discovery Way, Heritage Parc.

Council planning officers recommended the development for approval.

Cr Robert Aitchison said it’s great to see the city continuing to provide good accommodation for its retirees.

“However as a community and a council we need to put pressure on developers that access to public transport needs to be at the forefront, not an extra at the end of their submission,” Cr Aitchison said.

“In Sydney, developers are building public transport and using that as an extra to help sell. We are still relying on residents to have their own transport.

“We are seeing more and more developments being constructed to the minimum specification which is even making it hard for garbage trucks, emergency services and busesentering the area,” he said.

He said a good example is Harvest at Chisholm. “This developer should have been lobbying for the Metford Railway Station to have access to the northern side of the railway line. As the crow flys it’s 500 metres from the Harvest sales office or 5.3 kilometres via road to Metford Railway Station,” Cr Aitchison said.

The Heritage Parc development application included 80self contained dwellings for seniors housing including a central community centre, swimming pool, bowling green, caravan parking and internal roads.

The proposal sits within the Heritage Parc estate,an approved community title subdivision comprising 450 residential lots surrounded by extensive parklands including a network of walking tracks and cycleways, playgrounds.

It is proposed to amend the approved subdivision plan by separate application to create a super lot to accommodate this seniors housing development.

The Hunter region has returned some of the state’s highest same sex marriage ‘Yes’ figures

Cheers: Same-sex marriage supporters cheer after the postal survey results with a resounding “Yes” vote are called. THE Hunter has said “Yes” to same sex marriage –but with more enthusiasm in some areas than others.
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Newcastle electorate has posted the biggest “Yes” vote in NSW outside the Sydney area, with a substantial 74.8 per cent of people saying “Yes” to same sex marriage, and only 25.2 per cent returning “No”.

The percentage of Newcastle voters taking part in the controversial n Bureau of Statistics postal survey –82.7 – was also above the NSW and n averageof 79.5 per cent.

Read more:Same sex marriage vote yes results – live updates from the Hunter

All Hunter electorates voted “Yes” to same sex marriage after a long campaign that was by and large respectfully conducted in the region.

While Newcastle was the only Hunter electorate to top the 70 per cent “Yes” barrier, two electorates that fall within the Hunter region boundaries –New England and Lyne –returned the lowest “Yes” votes of 52.5 per cent for New England, and 55.3 per cent for Lyne.

They were a long way from the lowest “Yes” votes in the state, with a number of electorates returning “Yes” votes in the 30s, and the lowest in the state –with only 30.4 per cent of people supporting same sex marriage –in the seat of Watson, around Sydney’s Bankstown, Canterbury and parts of Strathfield.

Senior Federal Labor figure Joel Fitzgibbon’s seat of Hunter returned a 64.4 per cent “Yes” vote, with 35.6 per cent voting “No”. A total of 78.5 per cent of residents posted in a survey response.

The seat of Paterson said “Yes” to the tune of 65.5 per cent of people who responded, with 34.5 per cent saying “No”.

In Shortland 67.7 per cent of people said “Yes” to same-sex marriage, and 32.3 per cent said “No”.

On the Central Coast 65.7 per cent of people inDobell and Robertson voted “Yes”.

In NSW 4,122 million people took part in the survey, with women more likely to respond than men. More than 2.147 million women, or 81.3 per cent of eligible voters, took part, compared with 77.5 per cent of eligible male voters.

InNSW peopleaged 70 to 74 were the most likely to respond to the survey, with 89.8 per centof eligible ns taking part, while 72.1 per cent of peopleaged 30 to 34 responded.

University of Newcastle team time travels with virtual reality

TIME TRAVEL: Exploring 3-D images of Aboriginal artefacts in a digital dig site. Picture: Jonathan CarrollI’m virtually standing near the corner of Hunter and Steel streets, on the site of the KFC restaurant, before I sink into the earth, and into another world.
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Like a surrealist scuba diver, I’m floating through grids, the colours of their outlines changing as I descend.

More than being submerged in somewhere psychedelic, I’m travelling through the ages, through layers of history; the 20th century, down through the colonial era and into the time before the British arrived here, when the Awabakal people lived and traded with other Aboriginal groups on this land for generations. Before I know it, I’m back more than 6000 years.

Suddenly a voice from the present day drifts into this virtual world.

“Can you see that object over to your left?,” asks Dr Ann Hardy.

There it is, suspended amid a cluster of blue grids, like some sunken treasure. A small stone.

Dr Hardy, the coordinator of the University of Newcastle’s GLAMx Living Histories Digitisation Lab, urges me to use the control grips in my hands to reach out and touch the stone. I can turn the stone and look at it from different angles, as if I’m holding it, and I can use a magnifying glass to study it.

A digital panel has popped up, and ittells me, in an arcane language understood by archaeologists, where I am: “B3 Spit 20”. And it indicates what I’m looking at: an “amorphic stone artefact”.

“Significance: Cultural,” the table declares.

After examining the stone, I look towards the surface and ascend through the grids until I’m back in 2017. I slip off the 3-D headset I’ve been wearing and immediately return to the real world.

I’m actually standing before a large screen in a room in the University of Newcastle’s Auchmuty Library.

But I’ve just been given a peek into the future, and into the ancient past, thanks to an eye-opening, head-spinning initiative called the Deep Time project.

Awabakal Local Aboriginal Land Council Chief Executive Robert Russell virtually in the digital trench. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

THIS project was born in a race against time.

Following the demolition of the former Palais Royale nightclub in 2008, and before the construction of ’s largest KFC restaurant on the Newcastle West site, an archaeological excavation was undertaken.

In the ground beneath where customers can nowgrab a fast fix of fried chicken is an extraordinary trove of heritage items.

The excavation report declared the survey “revealed an exceptional culturally and scientifically significant site”, uncovering5534 Aboriginal artefacts dating back about 6700 years.

Yet that report’s findings only saw the light in 2011, about a year after the KFC building was constructed. The past had been effectively sealed by the new development, and thatbroke open an outcry.

Gionni Di Gravio, the University of Newcastle’s archivist and chairman of the historical research group Coal River Working Party, was reported as saying at the time, “Aboriginal archaeology is not given any importance, which I find amazing. This material is as significant as anything you would find in Europe.”

All the researchers and the local Aboriginal communitieshad was what had been excavated and salvaged. Yet that was more than enough to cause dismay,as it highlighted to them what may have been lost.

“We only had a chance to get a little bit, it’s one trench,” says Dr Amir Moghadam, the university’s conservator.

University archivist Gionni Di Gravio with the boxes of artefacts. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

The trench that provided thousands of artefacts was only about 16 metres long, three metres wide and little more than two metres deep.

“It’s only a part of that whole place,” Dr Moghadam says. “Imagine how much we could have excavated and salvaged if we could have got access to the bigger site.

“But we understand there are other interests, and we need to keep up with that.”

What was excavated is significant, with the artefacts ranging from small stone tools to campfire remnants.

On this site, different Aboriginal groups used to trade, so stones and implements would be brought from far and wide.

“It’s like a Bunnings of the time,” Dr Moghadam says of the site. “It’s a tool shop.”

Archivist Gionni Di Gravio and conservator Dr Amir Moghadam inspect an artefact.Picture: Jonathan Carroll

For researchers, the sum of artefacts is more than a tool shop; it is a library, a museum, a science laboratory, and a grand repository of knowledge and learning.

The more recent layers close to the surface also held important clues to life in early Newcastle. Colonial artefacts were excavated.

A government farm and cottage wereestablished on this site about 1810.The missionary and pioneer Reverend Lancelot Threlkeld and his family lived around this area in 1825, and it was while here that he began recording and studying local Aboriginal languages. Threlkeld’s studies, and his connection with the area’s Aboriginal people,only add to the significance of the site, according to Ann Hardy.

“There’sthatreal coming together, and of the language being recorded,” she says.

So with the site’slayers of significance, and with boxes filled with Aboriginal and colonial artefacts, a group of archivists andhistorians at the universityconsidered this too important to bekept out of sight and mind of researchers and the community.

The Deep Time project began taking shape.The group resolved towork towards marrying theancient finds with state-of-the-art digital tools.

A digitised artefact, far left, in the virtual trench. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

If the site could not have been saved in reality for further research, then the trench and its contents would be virtually preserved. The plan was to scan each artefact and place that image in adigital trench, exactly where the original was found.

In that way, as Amir Moghadam says, everyone could “do some digital digging”.

Dr Hardy and Di Gravio argue thatit was one thing to have thousands of items in plastic bags, marked with the coordinates of where each of them waslocated, and then grouped together according to what sort of artefact it was. But that didn’t tell enough of the story about the site.

“Even though we knew the individual artefact, where it came from in the trench, it didn’t come in any order,” explains Ann Hardy. “It wasn’t until Gionni applied his archival thinking and got all the artefacts in some order, that we could find them again.”

“Being an archivist, I wanted that original order recorded,” Di Gravio adds. “The spit gave you the depth, and whether they were A,B or C gave you the coordinates of the location.

“From an archivist’s point of view, the kind of thing it is is not as important as the context of how it was located. The layer of how these records come to you tells a story, and you have to know where they were found.”

So the researchers had the artefacts. They had the coordinates. And they had the idea for the digitally recreated site. They just needed the technological know-how to turn their idea into a virtual reality.

They found what and who they were looking for on campus, with the university’s IT Innovation team. Earlier this year, the technology specialists spent about 12 weeks crafting a digital version of the excavation site.

“They were able to create the three-dimensional dig for us,” says Di Gravio.

The IT innovation team also sourced the equipment to scan the artefacts. But the scanninghas proven tobe a time-devouring process.

Student and Wiradjuri man Jason Connor scans an artefact. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

TUCKEDaway in the Auchmuty Library is a door that wears an impressive title: GLAMx Artefact Conservation Atelier.

Yet behind that door is a small, windowless room. This is where pieces of the past are converted into something that can be transported into the future. It is the 3-D digitisation lab, and the heart of the Deep Time project.

On the far wall are shelves stacked with storage boxes holding the artefacts from the KFC site. Just near the door is a lightbox containing what looks like a Lazy Susan.Sitting on that wooden plate is a scanner, which, because of its shape and appearance, is referred to as“the iron”.

Here Ann Hardyscansthe artefacts, one by one. It is a laborious process.

Dr Hardy gives a demonstration. The artefact is placed on the rotating plate, which the historian slowly turns, while she guides the scanner over the stone.

“It’s almost like spray-painting,” she explains.

Hundreds of frames of images are transferred to a computer screen. Those images are then cleaned up and aligned, like assembling a puzzle, to create the 3-D model. The process takes about 40 minutes for each item. Using the archaeologists’ coordinates, the digital version of the artefact is then uploaded into the virtual trench and placedexactly where the original was found.

Yet these pieces are few and far between in the virtual site; so far, only about 30 of the artefacts have been digitised. Which meansthere are thousands to go.

“It can be quite overwhelming, but it’s an example of the longevity of this project,” says Dr Hardy.

The historian needs not just more time but more volunteers to help with the digitising. About 10 students and volunteers have been workingin the lab, and more are trickling in.

Student and Wiradjuri man Jason Connor scans an artefact. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Jason Connor has been helping out to not just develop new skills but to strengthen the bonds to his culture.

Connor is a mature-age student. He left his job as a manager at a supermarket in Muswellbrook to enterthe university’s Yapug pathways program, which helps Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people develop the skills to study for a degree. Connor is planningto study Environmental Science.

He decided to become involved in the Deep Time project to honour his maternal grandfather and family. They are Wiradjuri people. As he holds the scanner over an artefact, this is far more than a physical act to Jason Connor.

“It’s such a spiritual experience to be connected to something that happened so many years ago, and it strengthens your own culture,” Connor explains. “You feel more connected.”

“To get a connection, to feel the heritage, the mystery, the emotion, to see the value of our culture. I just wanted to preserve the heritage, because heritage is sacred. We can lose it, or we can learn from it.”

Awabakal Local Aboriginal Land Council’s Peter Townsend studies a stone implement. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

THISproject, say its creators, is an n first. Indeed, they are unaware of any other archaeological dig of this typein the world that has been digitally recreated.

They emphasise the Deep Time project is the result of a range of skills and knowledge. The “GLAM” in the GLAMx Living Histories Digitisation Lab, they point out, stands for Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums, and each of those disciplines has been involved in some way. The project has been driven by uniting the cutting edge and time-honoured skills.

“It’s a beautiful marriage of the arts and sciences,” says Gionni Di Gravio.

For instance, with artefacts that are too small to scan, pencil and paper have been employed to preserve their image.

Emma Heath, who is studying for a Bachelor of Natural History Illustration at the university, has done about 300 drawings, finely and fastidiously sketching the front, side and back of each artefact.

“It’s good to have these stone tools, and not in a box and forgotten about,” Heath says.

Natural History Illustration student Emma Heath sketches a small artefact. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

But the knowledge that is crucial to this project is that of the traditional owners.

“The ancestors created these things, this is our respect to them,” Di Gravio says. “We really want to invite the communities in.”

The project creators recently held a demonstration for members of local Indigenouscommunities, including representatives of the Awabakal Local Aboriginal Land Council.Weekenderwas also invited.

In the digitisation lab, small pieces of enormous cultural heritage were taken out of the storage boxes and cradled by the researchers and visitors.

“You can almost feel where your thumb should go,” saidAmir Moghadam, as a crafted stone washanded to the land council’s culture and heritage officer, Peter Townsend. “You can imagine who held it.”

Townsend intently studiedthe stone and rubbedit against the palm of his hand, determining if it may have been a grinder of some sort.

“You don’t find this around here,” he murmured. “I haven’t seen something like this before. My guess is it has come from out west somewhere.”

To help answer those sort of questions, a geologist has volunteered to study the stones and track their source. That will indicate which other groups the Awabakal were trading with.

Awabakal Local Aboriginal Land Council’s Peter Townsend explores the virtual reality dig site, as Gionni Di Gravio watches on. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

The visitorsmoved from the digitisation lab to thelargeradjoining room, to stand before the screen, put on the headset and delve deep into the past.

“Unbelievable,” saidPeter Townsend of the virtual reality experience. “It’s a modern outlook, and it does bring to life the cultural heritage in Newcastle.”

Having worn the headset and studied some of the virtual stone tools on the screen, Awabakal Local Aboriginal Land Council Chief Executive Robert Russell saidthis project helpedbuild a clearer picture of a people who were “civilised and exceptionally good traders”.

The researchers say as more knowledge comes to light, they will learn more about individual artefacts. But the project will also fill in gaps on the broader picture, such as trading patterns of the Aboriginal groups and their diet.

Awabakal Local Aboriginal Land Council’s Peter Townsend explores the virtual reality dig site. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

While the project is yet to be officially launched, Amir Moghadam says the plan is to make “thecultural trench digitally available, so that anyone in the future can get to this digitised site”.

“By linking this to other information and technology, we can put this puzzle together, to find out about things that haven’t been talked about, such as politics and governance [among Indigenouspeoples],” he says.

So more than opening our eyes to a new world, this project could castfresh light on an ancient culture.

Peter Townsend talks with historian Dr Ann Hardy about the digital experience. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

“Virtual reality, and this digital work, is a great way of interpreting Indigenous heritage, and people respectingand learning,” says Ann Hardy.

“I see it as an opportunity for all ns to learn about Indigenous culture. So we do build more respect, and people acknowledge how rich and ancient the culture is.”

Having scanned an artefact, Wiradjuri man Jason Connor concludes, “everyone can learn from this”.

“There’s so much knowledge to be found in there.”

Hotel offers your own penthouse in the Big Apple

The place
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AKA Central Park, New York City

The location

Just one street back from New York’s famous green centre, the AKA Central Park is a short walk from some of the city’s most famous icons, such as Times Square, the Rockefeller Centre, Broadway and the Museum of Modern Art. Tiffany and Co. is right around the corner, while the Plaza is across the street.

The space

In an area dominated by giant hotels, the AKA offers a more boutique feel. Designed for guests looking to stay for an extended period, the hotel offers many of the comforts of having your own apartment.

The small lobby feeds into a private bar for guests, while there is also a gym and a cafe on the ground floor. Level 2 offers a business centre, complimentary laundry and a small cinema. There are 16 floors and a total of 134 rooms.

The room

Perhaps responding to the challenge from Airbnb, the AKA chain unveiled its penthouse suites – huge spaces that are larger than many of the apartments people live in around here. Mine features a full kitchen, four-seater dining table, a living area with two armchairs an L-shaped couch large enough for two adults to comfortably lie supine on.

The stylish decor, dark wooden floorboards, grey upholstery and black table tops, gives it a modern, if somewhat business-like feel. The room also offers a large private terrace, offering views down 57th street. The bedroom is completely separate and equally impressive in its size, with a second large flatscreen TV and a walk-in robe.

Given the size of the rest of the space, it’s a surprise to find how small the bathroom is. A sink and a shower with a deep, but short, bathtub and a toilet are tightly fit into the small room. The toiletries are from Bvlgari.

The food

There’s no restaurant, perhaps given the kitchen facilities those who wish to eat in the hotel can cook for themselves. A cafe on the ground floor serves breakfast and lunch and offers your typical New York breakfast fare – bacon and eggs, pancakes, bagels and oatmeal. For lunch there’s a selection of hot burgers and sandwiches.

Beyond the hotel for dinner or lunch, take a short walk to Robert, located at the top of the Museum of Arts and Design (make a reservation – see robertnyc苏州美甲), offering modern cuisine with terrific views over Central Park.

Stepping out

The big question from this location is: where do you begin? Central Park is about one-minute’s walk away, with its vast green spaces. Just around the corner from the hotel is the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). We head here on a wet morning to find it packed with visitors escaping the rain. It’s the perfect place to do so – MoMA is home to one of the greatest modern art collections in the world.

Give yourself at least a few hours to explore the museum and be sure to get a close up look at some of the most famous works from Van Gough, Picasso, Pollock and Warhol.

The verdict

It might not be the Plaza, but it’s doubtful you could find a room as spacious and well-appointed as AKA’s for the price in that iconic hotel. The kitchen and laundry make this perfect for those looking to stay in New York for a week or more (if you can afford it), and in this location a week will not be long enough.

Essentials

One-bedroom suites at AKA Central Park start at $US445 a night, with penthouse suites from $US785 a night. See http://www.stayaka苏州美甲

The writer stayed as a guest ofAKA hotel residences

Fox Sports paid bribes for soccer rights: FIFA witness

Rupert Murdoch’s Fox Sports paid bribes to win the rights to broadcast international soccer matches as the network sought to expand its audience throughout North and South America, a jury in New York was told.
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Alejandro Burzaco, the former chief executive officer of sports-marketing company Torneos y Competencias, testified about the bribes paid by Fox Sports and other broadcasters at a trial of three former soccer executives charged in a wide-ranging international probe of corruption in the sport.

Fox Sports was among several international broadcasters who partnered with Torneos to obtain television rights to broadcast South American soccer tournaments, Burzaco said. All except one paid bribes, he said.

Asked by Assistant US Attorney Sam Nitze what Fox Sports hoped to gain by winning the broadcasting rights, Burzaco replied, “Using the TV rights to expand its Fox signal in all of the Americas from Argentina to the USA.”

Fox Sports didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. Shares of its parent company, Twenty-First Century Fox, fell as much as 2.7 per cent to $US27.77 after the testimony.

The claims refer to Fox Sports in the US, not News Corp’s n sports channel.

The allegations further tarnish Fox’s image just as the media giant tries to persuade British regulators to allow the acquisition of full control of pay TV provider Sky.

The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority is looking into issues of corporate culture at Fox, including its handling of sexual harassment allegations at Fox News by stars such as prime time host Bill O’Reilly and its late former boss Roger Ailes, as part of its review of ??11.7 billion ($18.6 billion) bid for the rest of Sky.

Other companies implicated include Globo and Grupo Televisa, Full Play Argentina and Traffic Group in Brazil. Televisa in Mexico and Traffic declined to comment on the testimony. Full Play couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

Globo’s press office in Brazil denied the allegations and any wrongdoing. The company said it doesn’t “make or tolerate any bribe payments.” Globo conducted internal investigations and concluded that no payments that hadn’t been specified in contracts were made.

“Globo Group will make itself fully available to the American authorities so that everything is clear,” the company said. “For Globo, this is a question of honour.” FIFA scandal spreads to Asia

Jurors at the trial were shown what Burzaco called a “sham” $US3.7 million ($4.7 million) contract that was actually a cover for bribes. Torneos and its partners used the money to pay FIFA officials like Julio Grodona, head of Argentine soccer, to extend broadcast rights from 2015 to 2018, Burzaco said. Grodona died in 2014.

Torneos avoided potential competition with the contract extension while Fox Sports “gained leverage and the rights to broadcast and distribute its signal from the US to Argentina for four more years and to launch Fox Sports 2 and Fox Sports 3, and other signals,” Burzaco said.

The 2008 contract was signed by James Ganley, whom Burzaco identified as a Fox Sports official who was aware of the bribes. Ganley, former chief operating officer of Fox Pan American Sports, was named in a 2016 US lawsuit in which Fox executives were accused by a US-based television channel, GolTV, of paying tens of millions of dollars in bribes to FIFA officials.

Michael Davis, a lawyer for Ganley, didn’t immediately return voice-mail and email messages seeking comment about Burzaco’s testimony. Handing out cash

Burzaco was the head of Torneos from 2006 until his arrest in 2015. He’s the first of several cooperating witnesses who’ve pleaded guilty and are seeking leniency by testifying for the US in the trial in Brooklyn, New York.

A former Citigroup banker, Burzaco said he started investing in media broadcast companies in South America in the early 1990s, raising his net worth to about $US30 million.

He told the jury that he regularly paid out hundreds of thousands of dollars — sometimes as much as $US1 million a year — in bribes to South American soccer officials. Burzaco said the money was funnelled to accounts in Asia and Switzerland. Sometimes, he said, he handed out cash, with US dollars tucked into an envelope or stuffed into a bag.

The three men on trial were among the recipients, Burzaco said, pointing out the defendants who are accused of taking bribes and kickbacks.

The defendants are Jose Maria Marin, 85, the former head of Brazil’s federation and once on FIFA’s organiaing committee for the Olympics; Juan Angel Napout, 59, a Paraguayan and former FIFA official who was president of South American soccer’s governing body; and Manuel Burga, 60, a Peruvian soccer official and former member of FIFA’s development committee.

Bloomberg

Sydney’s first apartment block for sale

The NSW government is continuing its run of selling off public housing in the historic harbourside suburb of Millers Point, with the latest batch of now-empty houses and apartments being listed for sale.
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Among them is what local historians believe is Sydney’s first walk-up apartment building.

With a price guide of $9 million to $9.5 million, it would be the second most expensive Millers Point sale, after a block of 12 apartments at 44-48 Merriman Street and 56-62 Bettington Street sold for $12,300,000 at the end of November 2016.

It was built in 1900 for the musician and publican John Michael Stevens as a high-class boarding house, on the site of the former “Live & Let Live Hotel”, according to the property’s heritage listing.

The director of Pidcock Architecture, Caroline Pidcock, is Steven’s great granddaughter, and her family lived in the area between 1819 – 1912.

“It was built as a replacement to the pub, as it had burned down”, she said. “They decided to replace this building with this – the first apartment for workers in – and a terrace.”

The building was one of many taken over in Millers Point by the State Government after the outbreak of plague in 1900, and Stevens lead a strong and eventually successful campaign to stop his new building being demolished.

A total of 159 properties have been sold so far as part of the NSW government’s controversial program to offload its public housing assets in Millers Point.

A Property NSW spokesman said the timing and grouping of the remaining properties was “commercial in confidence”.

Once the sell-off is complete, Property NSW will have sold about 290 government-owned properties in Millers Point. The sale proceeds are to go to providing more public housing stock, with about 58,000 families on the waiting list in NSW.

“So far, the Millers Point sales program has delivered over $467 million in gross proceeds to fund new social housing dwellings”, the Property NSW spokesman said.

The final eviction notice to government housing tenants in Millers Point was issued earlier in the year, with some residents fighting to stay in their homes.

As of October 27 this year, 572 of the 579 public housing tenants in the Millers Point area, including those living in the Sirius building, had left or were planning to do so shortly. Related: Millers Point sell-off acceleratesRelated: Millers Point terrace highly-rated AirbnbRelated: $35 million windfall from social housing

The evictions have incurred criticism from political figures such as Sydney Greens MP Alex Greenwich, who described it as “social cleansing”, and Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore, who said the “community of Millers Point deserves better than this”.

The evictions were also met with protests earlier in the year and opposition from community groups like the Millers Point Residents Action Group.

Comprising 11 apartments in total, the The Stevens Building had enjoyed a strong inquiry rate so far, said agent Richard Shalhoub of Sotheby’s International.

“They’re certainly in need of a cosmetic upgrade,” he said of its apartments. “But the facade is beautiful, it has a lot of character.

“I expect we’ll see interest from the larger scale investors as well as the developer market.”

Another eight Millers Point properties are also being sold by Property NSW at the same time, and are scheduled to go to auction on December 6.

The fate of the nearby Sirius Building is still uncertain, with the NSW state government opting against granting the brutalist apartment block heritage protection in October. It was the second time the building was declined heritage status, after the first decision was overturned by the Land and Environment Court.

The building was recently added to the World Monuments Fund’s 2018 watch list of endangered buildings.

Historic Mona Farm in Braidwood up for sale

A country lifestyle in beautiful open plains, a place where life moves slow and you can actually enjoy a freshly brewed cup of coffee while watching the horses graze.
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A place that feels like another time.

Straight out of 1800s England, Mona Farm in Braidwood is just that.

Surrounded by picturesque scenery sprawling across 124 acres, Mona Farm boasts a number of historic buildings and award-winning gardens.

One of the main attractions of this property is an old-style arch bridge, which spans across a lake filled with frolicking platypuses.

Founded in the mid-1800s by Braidwood’s namesake itself, Thomas Braidwood Wilson, Mona Farm has lots to offer.

Knight Frank Prestige has just listed the property and its head of prestige residential sales, Deborah Cullen, said the home is a rare gem.

“It’s one of those really rare iconic rural properties that don’t come to market very often,” said Cullen.

“You feel like you’re a million miles from anywhere when you are there, it’s a very emotive property.”

Although one may feel a million miles away, Mona Farm is close to the centre of Braidwood so one can pick up a freshly baked loaf of bread each morning, adding to the idyllic country lifestyle.

“It’s right of the edge of Braidwood town, which means everything is so easy for access to get anything you need,” said Cullen.

“It’s really in a lovely little pocket to have a great country lifestyle.”

The current owner, Rose Deo, who bought the land three years ago, has completed extensive renovations on the property.

“Our current client has invested a lot of money into the property,” added Cullen.

“Everything has been beautifully touched by her, she has a really great eye.” Related: Character or contemporary? Which is best when buying a home? Related: Location, views and lifestyle: A winning combination for homebuyersRelated: Lonely Planet’s third city Canberra also a leader in property

Mona Farm is currently being used for both residential and commercial purposes with the estate boasting a function centre, a guesthouse and an equestrian centre.

Its tranquil location is an ideal weekend stay and its setting makes the perfect backdrop for wedding photos.

Cullen said the property has already attracted a great deal of interest.

“We’ve only been on the internet for three days but I’ve already had quite a decent amount of inquiries and inspections booked,” she said.

“It’s one of those really beautiful properties to be entrusted with.”

Knight Frank is currently taking expressions of interest.