Find and nurture a spark to make girls feel alive

We live in a culture that worships success. What we see on the covers of magazines,on endless TV shows, and acclaimed in school assemblies and stories on the news, are people who are the best and the most rich, famous, talented or just eye-candy qualified to have everybody know their name.Since barely one in ten thousand people can meet these criteria, then it’s a rather odd goal, since it means we are almost all failures.
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We adults take this with a grain of salt, but our kids, and especially girls, can be terribly set up for feeling they are of no use.

The consensus among mental health experts is that a combination of factors

Social media, the busyness and distractedness of parents and anincreased academic pressure at school.

There is also a fairly horrific competitiveness among many girls themselves that has led to intense anxiety that they don’t fit in, and don’t measure up.

They wake at 3am to check their screen for a word of affirmation. If nobody “likes” you then nobody likes you.

The deep down secret nobody tells young peopleis that we aren’t measured by external success.

In fact success requires abandoning most of the things that are of value in life –friendship, looking after others, peace and reflection, family, love,or being truly creative or free. There just isn’t time.

Researcher Peter Benson discovered a remarkable thing that helps protect the wellbeing of young people.

Researching for my book Ten Things Girls need most, I was blown away by how true, and how important this finding was.

According to Benson, every young person has a spark – an interest , passion or love that if encouraged, gives them a reason to be alive.

For some its creativity, for some its caring – for animals, children, the environment, for some its a hobby or sport.

But none of it is about pleasing or impressing others. ( If that element of evaluation is introduced, it spoils the benefit.)

What if education was based that way – that kids were encouraged to follow what they really wanted to learn and do?

For now it’s up to us at home and in the community to provide this lifesaving help.

Kids with a spark do better at school -but it is a side effect.

They meet more interesting and different adults through their pursuit.

They don’t worry about their looks or if they are hot or cool.

They don’t desperately mind what their peers are doing or think of them.

But most importantly, they have a reason to be alive.

They don’t self harm or have eating disorders or depression. They can’t wait to get back to doing whatever it is they love.

Benson said a spark needs three things – a parent who helps it to happen, an adult at school or elsewhere who encourages them, and the simple opportunity to do it.

From ukelele playing to wombat rescue, ballroom dancing to rock climbing, your daughter has something that she is in the world to do.

It matters, it goes somewhere, and your job is to find it. Or just give her the time to find it herself.

This is the road to real success. Balanced and happy, whether anybody notices or not.

PART 4: Dad don’t need to be heroesPART 3: Being a good person always wins throughPART 2: Girls should be wild and freePART 1: Start young to make girls strongSteve Biddulph is the author of theTen Things Girls Need Most, Manhood, and Raising Boys.


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Bad budget airline experiences: Why budget carriers really aren’t that bad

Jetstar 787 Dreamliner business class.Jetstar is the worst airline in the world. Except, of course, it’s not. Not even close. It doesn’t even share the same woeful airspace as some of the truly bad carriers across the globe.
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AsTravellerpointed out last week, the recentChoicesurvey that namedJetstar the world’s worst airline– which, technically, it didn’t – was deeply flawed, in that only residents of select countries were polled, meaning the likes of Aeroflot and Ryanair and even something like Yangon Airways were unlikely to appear, and that there was no hard, quantifiable evidence involved. This was merely opinion, just the way people felt about the airlines in question.

And it comes as no surprise to find that people don’t feel good about budget carriers. In my experience, in fact, they despise them, despite flying with them so frequently.

People get angry about having their flights delayed. They get mad when their bookings get changed without any notice. They fume at the insane charges for simple things like selecting a seat, or altering their booking, or, in the case of Ryanair, for printing out their boarding pass at the airport.

I get emails on a weekly basis from people wanting me to publish an exposéof the budget airline industry. People have had flights cancelled on them by Jetstar, or had some sort of booking drama with Scoot, or been delayed hours by Tigerair, or been shocked by the small size of the seats on AirAsia.

I understand the frustration. It happened to me too, recently, when Tigerair emailed to let me know that a flight I’d booked to Melbourne had been cancelled, and they’d chucked me on another flight – three hours later. The only option on the email was a button that said something along the lines of “click to accept changes”.

There was no button for “click to request a different flight”. Or, “click to ask for your money back”. Or, “click to let us know you hate Tigerair with a raging passion”. It took a good half hour of telephone haggling to wind up on a flight that would leave 30 minutes before the original one.

That was annoying. So annoying, in fact, that I’ve sworn off Tigerair for a while, given that experience came on top of a fair few delays on recent flights I’ve taken with them. But I don’t hate Tigerair. Just the same as I don’t hate Jetstar or Scoot or AirAsia or Ryanair or EasyJet or any of their budget ilk.

The trouble is that people who do get enraged by this sort of stuff have unrealistic expectations of the budget travel experience. They’re expecting champagne travel on a beer budget; all of the reliability and service of a full-fare carrier at a fraction of the price.

That’s not the way the aviation industry works. It’s not the way business in general works. If you decide to fly with a budget carrier, you’re taking a calculated risk. Things might go wrong. And they might be hard to fix. But it’s cheap.

You have to acknowledge, when booking with a budget carrier, that maybe your flight won’t arrive on time. You have to acknowledge that booking a seat will cost extra, and meals on board will cost extra, and if you get caught trying to sneak far too much hand luggage on board, that will also cost a lot extra. You have to be prepared to queue once you get to the airport to check your bag in. You have to be OK with spending half an hour on hold to fix any problems by phone.

This is what budget carriers do. This is how they can afford to fly you from Sydney to the Gold Coast for little more than the cost of a good meal.

If people understood this when they booked, I doubt Jetstar would have come in at the bottom of that Choice survey. If people were happy to accept the emotional cost – the frustration and inconvenience – of booking with a budget carrier, in exchange for not having to put up with the financial cost, then maybe we would all be a lot more comfortable with the experience.

Of course, yes, there are some dodgy practices from these airlines that fall outside of the “you get what you pay for” sphere. And they deserve to be called out. But most of the inconveniences that people complain about really are the byproduct of paying a very small amount to fly across the world.

If you really hate that, pay for full service. And if things still go wrong – then, you have every right to complain.

This article originally appeared on Traveller


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Affordability crisis needs national plan

THE BIG PICTURE: Compass Housing managing director Greg Budworth says the country’s housing affordability woes can not be solved without a national plan. Picture: Simone De PeakAustralia must have a national plan to tackle the crisis in housing affordability, steeredby a new Minister for Housing, a leading advocate in the Hunter has argued.
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Speaking ahead of thefederal budget, managing director of Compass Housing Greg Budworth said the problem called for a national, coordinated response.

“With rising social housingwaiting lists, high capital city house prices and an increasing number of working people experiencing housingstress, action is long overdue,” he said.

“There are less public housing dwellings now than last decade despite around 200,000 people on public andsocial housing waiting lists and a general acceptance that Australia has a shortfall of between 200,000 and400,000 dwellings.”

Mr Budworth said measures to address the massiveshortfall in dwellingswere currently ad hoc and inconsistent between the states.

He said the post-warbuilding program in the 1940s –when the federal and state governments worked together to deliver hundreds of thousands of new dwellings –was an example of what could be achieved with a coordinated response.

“Back then there was a need for austerity butthere was also acknowledgement that workers needed housingand that constructing housing would stimulate the economy and get people working,” Mr Budworth said.

“With the current downturn in manufacturing and mining we have many workers for whom constructinghousing is a realistic use of their skills.

“The housing built could eventually be sold off by government, as it was previously.”

Mr Budworth said government investment in housing could becoupled with the delivery of other major infrastructure projects, like high speed rail links.

That would create“new commuter towns” and relieve pressure on demand in capital cities, he said.

Federal Member for Newcastle Sharon Claydon backed the push for a national housing plan and Minister.

Under a housing plan unveiled byLabor,55,000 new homes would be delivered over three years.

Ms Claydon accused the Abbott and Turnbull governments of being “asleep at the wheel” on housing policy.

“They’ve actively dismantled and defunded the very programs and services that help vulnerable people into affordable housing,” she said.

“​Any housing affordability ‘plan’ in the upcoming budget that doesn’t reform negative gearing and capital gains is a sham. These tax concessions are driving up prices, locking people out of home ownership and costing the federal budget billions of dollars a year.”

Don’t touch negative gearing: Property Council RISING: Housing affordability is a concern for Australians with prices soaring in many markets, including Merewether. Pressure on first home buyers has become a key issue in the lead up to this week’s federal budget.

Increasing supply and cutting stamp duty are two “levers” that could help addresshousing affordability in the Hunter, according to the Property Council of Australia.

Hunter Director Andrew Fletcher said there was “no silver bullet” to rein in soaring prices andchanging policy settings was the responsibility of all levels of government.But he disagreed with suggestions the federal government should abolish negative gearing in Tuesday’s budget.

“One of the ways we increase supply is through investment schemes like negative gearing,” he said. “One of theproblems in the Hunter is the sheer length of time it takes to bring land and houses to market. It takesfive years to get an apartment to the buyer.”

Mr Fletcher said, on average, a delay of five years would add over $23,400 to the cost of an apartment to the purchaser.

The costs of stamp duty to the buyer were also“eye-watering”.

“Stamp duty has escalated by 750 per cent in NSW over the last 20 years,” Mr Fletchersaid.

“We’ve now got the situation where the state government is drunk on the stamp duty they are raking in.”

According to government data, Newcastle’s median dwelling price has climbed from $312,000 to $500,000 over the past decade.

The December quarter report showed a hike inmedian rents for all types of properties.

The average rentfor one- and two-bedroom properties wasup 4.2 per cent on the previous quarter, reaching $250 and $375 respectively.

The rent for three-bedroom dwellings climbed 1.2 per cent to $430 anda tenant could expect to pay $500 for for four bedrooms or more, a rise of 1.5 per cent.


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Five highlights in your travel week5 May

Crowne Plaza Coogee Beach … combining proximity to the city with a stunning beachside location.Book at Crowne Plaza Coogee Beach before May 21 and save at least 25 per cent on stays up till December 31.
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The hotel combines proximity to the Sydney CBD with a stunning beachside setting that is a 20-minute drive from Sydney Airport.

As well as enjoying Coogee Beach itself, guests can take in the famous Coogee-to-Bondi coastal walk or just sit and enjoy some of the best of Sydney’s renowned café culture.

The deal is part of the InterContinental Hotels Group’s winter ‘Escapes’ program which offers discounted rates in a range of properties across Australia and New Zealand, including the InterContinental Sydney Double Bay, the InterContinental Melbourne The Rialto, and Crown Plaza properties in Auckland, Terrigal, Surfers Paradise and Newcastle.

Visit 梧桐夜网crowneplazacoogee南京夜网419论坛

Kakadu National Park … the local Indigenous people have lived in harmony with this ancient natural landscape for over 50,000 years.

Kakadu National Park is a place bursting with bush-tucker delicacies ranging from barramundi to magpie goose.

From May 12-21 it will host its first ‘A Taste of Kakadu’, an interactive food festival that will showcase produce such as the Kakadu plum — thought to be the world’s first ‘super food’ — as well as providing opportunities for visitors to interact with the local Bininj and Mungguy people who have lived in harmony with this ancient natural landscape for over 50,000 years.

Activities will include boutique dinners, campfire stories, bush-tucker walks, cooking demonstrations, sunset tasting sessions, and hunting-and-gathering talks.

Visit 梧桐夜网kakadutourism南京夜网

Metro Hotel Perth … discounted rates till August 31.

Metro Hotel Perth is offering the discounted rates for Thursday-Sunday-night stays until August 31.

Rates are $129 per night for a standard room, $149 per night in a superior room, and $159 per night for an executive room in the Aspire Wing.

All rates include complimentary breakfast for two adults and free car parking. Children under 12 stay and eat breakfast for free in standard and superior rooms.

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Stromlo’s Vapour Trail … challenging even for experienced riders.

Canberra’s Stromlo Forest Park has answered the call for more challenging mountain-biking circuits by expanding its jump trails — the Vapour Trail and Trump Card.

Both tracks have already been given the tick of approval by the experts at Flow Mountain Bike on-line magazine, and organisers think that the trails will add further to the reputation and attraction of Canberra as an international riding destination.

A shuttle service is now in operation at Stromlo Forest Park, giving riders an opportunity to get a ride to the top of the hill so that they can spend more time exploring the various descents.

Stromlo Forest Park continues to cater for all levels of experience with trails for beginner and intermediate riders to develop their skills, including The Playground, Skyline, The Luge and Double Dissolution.

Visit 梧桐夜网visitcanberra南京夜网419论坛

Vivid Sydney 2017 … the Sydney Opera House will provide a focal point, but it’s just one of many attractions.

It’s time to seriously start planning your schedule for Vivid Sydney 2017 — the world’s largest celebration of light, music and ideas — which will burst to life in the harbour city from May 26 to June 17.

While much attention will be drawn towards the sails of the Opera House, there will be 90 light installations and projections, created by more than 180 Australian and international artists, across seven precincts including, for the first time, Barangaroo.

The expanded 2017 line-up includes more than 400 music events and more than 260 Vivid Ideas sessions featuring 370 speakers from 12 countries.

Visit 梧桐夜网vividsydney南京夜网


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A field of dreams in Oberon

The Mayfield gardens are a sight to beholdThe seed for the magnificent gardens on the Mayfield property, a few kilometres north-west from the Central Western NSW town of Oberon, near the road towards Bathurst, was sown when teenage Sydney schoolboy Garrick Hawkins chanced upon the district on a family holiday in the 1960s.
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In 1984, as the result of a stellar career in the finance industry, he was able to purchase a 5000-acre farm near Oberon and, inspired by visits to some of Europe’s leading gardens, later proceeded to convert some 160 acres of it into what has become one of Australia’s largest and most significant privately owned gardens.

The garden is very much a work in progress, but what has already been achieved by Garrick, his family and team of workers really is quite remarkable.

Beautiful waterfalls are dotted throughout

In just over 20 years they have put together what has taken a century of more in many European settings, and the presence of earth-moving equipment on the garden’s fringes shows that they’re far from finished.

Garrick used the final weekend of Mayfield’s Autumn Festival — and a concert headlined by legendary Australian singer James Reyne, once the front man for Australian Crawl — to open the gardens to the public year-round.

The gardens comprise public and private sections, with the latter open during the property’s two major annual celebrations — the Spring and Autumn Festivals.

A view of the obelisk is visible from a timber platform

But the year-round program doesn’t stop with those events. Mayfield CEO Hamish Keith, formerly an internationally award-winning event producer, has designed a diverse catalogue of activities.

These include luxe food events, yoga retreats, public gatherings, foraging, corporate retreats, weddings, major outdoor performances, and food and garden workshops.

Events planned for the next few months include the Central West Handmade and Artist Market (May 13), the Mayfield Garden Winter Festival (July 1-16) and the Mayfield Garden Spring Festival (October 14-29). The latter will include the Cool Climate Wine & Food Festival on October 21, presented in conjunction with the Cool Climate Wine Show.

Visitors can sail their way through caves

And so, what do the gardens themselves offer the casual visitor, who’s being asked on a normal day to part with $20 per adult ($10 for children aged 7-17, kids under-7 free)?

Garrick Hawkins and his family were inspired by some of the great gardens of England and continental Europe and have brought a selection of their features to Oberon.

The six-acre Water Garden is an absolute highlight, with features such as a blue-stone bridge, a red Japanese-inspired bridge, boardwalks, a copper-tree fountain, obelisk pond and avenue of plane trees.

There are also mass plantings of rhododendrons and hydrangeas, plus water lilies and among stands of birch trees. And there’s an opportunity to row a boat across the estate’s largish lake.

A bridge lines the horizon

Mayfield also has a distinct emphasis on local food production, with its café and produce store sourcing some 80 per cent of their produce from the grounds, and much of the remaining 20 per cent from the Oberon district.

And the gardens have certainly become a major player on the local employment scene. Mayfield employs and trains more than 60 locals across trades such as horticulture, stone masonry, green-keeping, machinery operation, marketing, and food preparation and service. In a town the size of Oberon that represents a seriously major community asset.

The Mayfield property is a tranquil place

For further information, phone (02) 6336 3131 or visit 梧桐夜网mayfieldgarden南京夜网419论坛.

John Rozentalsis a freelance writer whose passions aretravel, food and wine. He lives at Molong in the Central West of NSW, from where he hostsOz Baby Boomers, a lifestyle-resource for mature Australians, and Molong Online.


Shared spaces are the secret to sublime living

A common complaint about apartment towers is a perceived lack of community. It stems from 1970s architecture that gave little thought to shared spaces where residents could gather and get to know each other.
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It’s a misconception of today’s highrise projects that developers are outdoing each other to dispel. Take Hall St at Mason Sq where buyers can look forward to everything from landscaped gardens to a shared tool shed.

That’s right, a tool shed – a place for residents to fix their bikes and assemble complicated flatpack furniture. Here they can also find tools to share and timber benches to hammer out their latest project.

Not everyone is handy on the tools, so developers Caydon Property Group have included areas where residents can retreat, host friends or work out. There’s a 25-metre swimming pool, a sports court, break-out areas for private entertaining – even a small forest for some time out in the trees.

And on the rooftop is a cinema, plus a fire pit, lounges and a dining area.

The inspiration for landscapers Oculus was a vision of the ideal Australian backyard – a place for fun and a natural extension of the living spaces inside. It was also driven by the lush greenery of nearby Queens Park, the pride and joy of Moonee Ponds.

Built on the old Moonee Ponds market car park, Hall St at Mason Sq also has a lot going on inside. The 22-storey apartment tower will be home to almost 450 apartments fitted with oak floors, full height pantries and integrated dishwashers.

Prices start at $350,500, making them ideal for first homebuyers trying to elbow their way into the market. With completion set for late next year, Darling Street Espresso cafe manager Beau Field is expecting an influx of new customers.

“Whenever these sorts of developments go up and people start coming to the area, people have to eat and drink – simple as that,” he says.

“We’ve got to a point in our society where shows like MasterChef have taken off and people just know their food and drinks and they like to go out and explore.

“Cafes are a great way of doing that. And you can get better quality food sometimes from a cafe than a restaurant.”

Two-dollar milkshakes have made Darling Street Espresso a favourite with the famished after-school crowd, not to mention the usual coffee hunters in the morning. At a glance

Hall St at Mason Sq 40 Hall Street, Moonee Ponds

Architect: Fender KatsalidisDeveloper: Caydon Property GroupInterior design: Fender Katsalidis and Caydon Property GroupNumber of apartments: 441, 139 one-bedroom, one-bathroom, 125 one-bedroom, one-bathroom plus flexi room, 26 two-bedroom, one-bathroom, 121 two-bedroom, two-bathroom, 26 three-bedroom, two-bathroom, four three-bedroom, three-bathroom.Internal sizes (square metres): One-bedroom: 46-52, one-bedroom plus flexi room 62, two-bedroom, one-bathroom 58-74, two-bedroom, two-bathroom 70-98, three-bedroom, two-bathroom 93-109, penthouse apartments 70-98.External areas (square metres): Two-bedroom, one-bathroom 7-12, two-bedroom, two-bathroom 5-165, three-bedroom, two-bathroom 15-103, penthouse apartments 25-124.Prices: One-bedroom $350,500-$545,500, two-bedroom $578,500-$646,500, three-bedroom $718,500-$879,500.Completion: End of 2018Agent: Caydon Property Group 1800 676 637Open for inspection: Display suite at 122A Puckle Street, Moonee Ponds, open 10am-4pm daily.

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Ecotourism in style: Luxury Rwandan villas have a green conscience

Are private playrooms the new norm in luxury apartment blocks?Karl Lagerfeld turns to interiors with ultra-luxurious Miami projectThe Taiwan tower that will create a garden in the sky
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In northern Rwanda, the finishing touches are being put on a cluster of buildings fit for a king.

Bisate Lodge is a collection of six luxury forest villas inspired by the traditional architecture of the King’s Palace at Nyanza, the former capital of the landlocked east African country.

On schedule to welcome the first paying guests in June, the striking structures are shaped like upside-down chestnuts on stubby legs, each with floor-to-ceiling glass on one side and private decks offering views of the lush, mountainous landscape.

The project is veteran ecotourism operator Wilderness Safaris’ first foray into Rwanda, a country still recovering from the 1994 genocide in which an estimated 800,000 people were killed.

Wilderness Safaris chief executive officer Keith Vincent describes today’s Rwandan government as inspiring, organised, accountable and visionary.

“We have felt nothing but welcomed by the country and its people and are truly excited to contribute to the momentum and resurgence of this tiny nation,” Vincent says.

Lodge guests will be able to take part in organised treks to view mountain gorillas in their natural habitat in the rainforests of the Volcanoes National Park in the Albertine Rift. As part of the tourism venture, the company has pledged to undertake an extensive reforestation program.

Vincent says the team knew that to make the project work, it needed a “charismatic creature” equal to the large mammals of the savannah.

“The mountain gorilla certainly fits this brief and we knew that if we organised a lodge circuit around this species, which shares 98 per cent of our DNA, we could bolster tourism numbers to the region.”

After consulting community members, Wilderness Safaris bought 27 hectares of steep subprime agricultural land with no dwellings from more than 100 families.

Vincent says the deal injected more than $US500,000 ($664,000) into the local economy, money which would go towards buying land, building houses, developing businesses and educating students. About 200 temporary jobs have been created during the construction period, with 50 permanent positions planned.

Guests will pay from $US1400 a person a night for a shared villa.

“Culture, in the form of traditional architecture, craft and beliefs, has been incorporated into the lodge design and interiors and will be an integral part of our guest experience,” Vincent says.

Each villa is 91 square metres internally, comprising a bedroom, reception space and bathroom, all warmed by a central fireplace. The windows and decks are positioned to capture views of Mount Bisoke, an active volcano that straddles the border of Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

South Africa-based architect Nick Plewman says the project provided an opportunity to tease out a contemporary architectural response to the stimuli of a primordial volcanic landscape, the great primates that dwell there and an all-but-lost human heritage.

The spherical, thatched structures echo the country’s hilly landscape. Bisate’s amphitheatre setting also informs the architecture, with the forms and outlines of the lodge accentuating the spectacular natural surroundings. While the exteriors draw heavily on the design of the old palace, the interiors have a distinctly modern sensibility.

Colourful textiles and rich textures play a starring role in lead interior designer Caline Williams-Wynn’s vision.

“The emerald green colour in the textiles and chandeliers is reminiscent of the verdant greens of the rainforests, as well as the vibrant markets that dot the villages throughout the country,” says Williams-Wynn, whose company Artichoke is also based in South Africa.

Recycled glass will be used to create eye-catching green chandeliers. Many of the furnishings will be decorated using “imigongo”, a traditional Rwandan art form that uses cow dung to produce geometric designs. Once the dung has hardened, different coloured soils are used to decorate the shapes.

Also part of the team is Rwandan fashion entrepreneur Teta Isibo. Named by Forbes as one of Africa’s 30 most promising entrepreneurs for 2017, Isibo creates jewellery, home decor and accessories under her label, Inzuki Designs. She says she views her brand as part of a wider Rwandan cultural renaissance.

Isibo has been appointed to source locally produced items to bring Rwandan flair to the interior design at Bisate Lodge. She will also source items for guests to buy.

“As a designer who focuses on fusing traditional Rwandan craftsmanship with contemporary design, the Bisate project is super exciting for me as I feel its design embodies this same principal,” Isibo says. “I’d love to achieve a strong local flavour ??? to make the lodge look and feel authentically Rwandan.”

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Footscray is a winner, not only on the football field

Domain. Suburb profile of Footcray. Hopkins street Footscray. 9th March 2016. Photo by Jason South Photo: Jason SouthFootscray is growing in popularity and it’s not just because the local football team finally managed a grand final win.
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No, Footscray has turned into a winner on many fronts, thanks to the maturing of Melbourne and the growing appreciation of the area’s proximity to the city, transport links, period housing and cultural diversity, which includes large Vietnamese and South Sudanese populations.

Five kilometres west of the city and with a long border frontage to the Maribyrnong River, Footscray is an old suburb with a youthful air. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the average age of its citizens is only 33 and that is partly due to its proximity to the city, its large number of students and its relative affordability in both buying and renting, which draws younger residents.

For many buyers, Footscray’s period housing is appealing but its downside has always been its industrial and commercial hubs and a certain reputation for trouble, particularly around the station and the local shopping mall.

But, like many formerly industrial areas in Melbourne’s inner city, much of that industry and commerce is moving to the outer suburbs or has long ago gone overseas.

That exodus, while perhaps not so good for local employment, has left potential for old factories to be reworked into townhouses or apartments and has also freed land for new construction.

Former landmark factory sites such as Beaurepaires have become new villages, and there has also been a spurt of apartment construction around Victoria University on Ballarat Road. Top two9 Swan Street$680,000-$730,000

3 bedrooms, 1 bathroom

Auction: 10.30am, May 20Agent: Jas Stephens 9316 9000, George Alexander 0412 057 151

This 1940s house has leadlight windows, a pretty centre porch, decorative ceilings and fireplaces. There are three large bedrooms and a central living room. At the back is a large kitchen-meals area and it, like the bathroom, has been modernised. 8 Hopkins Street$298,000+

1 bedroom, 1 bathroom

Victoria Square will be a 1000-apartment development on a 13,500-square metre site overlooking the Maribyrnong River, Flemington Racecourse and the city. To be developed by Growland, the project will have a shopping precinct and facilities including a running track and pool.

Contact: Growland 1300 723 888, Sales 0455 998 899

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‘They believed in me when no one else would’

Research indicates that 48 per cent of inmates leaving NSW prisons are expected to be back behind bars within two years of their release (NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, 2016)
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Salvos’ Oasis Service in Newcastle understands that this high rate of recidivism is an important issue affecting individuals and the wider community and are working with the Department of Corrections and the Department of Housing to deliver a tailored support program for parolees.

Frank is an Oasis program recipient and a genuine example that the service is effective in helping people transform their lives.

Frank’s mum died when he was 11 years old, leaving his dad to raise seven boys. There was intense grief, little money and Frank grew up wanting for much. By the time Frank was 10, older kids in the neighbourhood had introduced him to pot and at just 13, Frank had tried heroin. Without a life line to pull him out of this downward spiral a criminal conviction was almost inevitable for Frank. At 16, he was sentenced to eight months imprisonment for break and enter.

Upon leaving juvenile detention Frank continued to offend. Each time he was released from prison he left with nothing more than his parole documents, $250 and an expectation that, with just this small sum in his pocket, he’d find a place to live and a means to survive. Sadly, this is a typical scenario for parolees and it’s understandable then that for those without family, there is little choice but to return to their past criminal behaviours and social networks. The Salvation Army is helping parolees end this cycle.

Today, sharing a conversation with Frank is very special.He has been out of prison for more than 12 months. He is drug-free, crime-free and living independently. Most importantly, Frank is committed to making a positive contribution to his community.

“If you’d told me two years ago that I’d be visiting the Salvos each day and helping others, I’d have said you were mad,” he says.

LIFE LESSONS: Frank, left, with Oasis coordinator Simon Adamo at the Salvation Army offices in Hamilton. Picture: Marina Neil

“For the first time in a long time I’m planning a future. I wanted to make this change years ago but I was lost out in society, it was like crime was ingrained in me and I just couldn’t see a way out.

“I’m so grateful to the Salvos because these people believed in me when no one else would and I know now I’m not going back.”

Frank’s story highlights the Salvos’ role in providing a vital support network to people experiencing disadvantage and social isolation. For Frank, the post corrections program meant daily counselling and life skills mentoring, helpsecuring a home, the chance to gain work experience and, most importantly, an unfailing network of support and encouragement.

In the past 12 months, 112 people have been referred to the Hunter post corrections program. Of that number, only 19 have withdrawn. It’s heartening statistic that confirms the program’s necessity.

Services such as Hunter Oasis add an element of sensitivity to sometimes senseless social issues and, like so many of the Salvos’ welfare services, Oasis relies on funding from the annual Red Shield Appeal.

This financial year The Salvation Army will contribute $1.2 million in Red Shield funding to social services in the Hunter. Donations can be made online at salvos.org419论坛, by calling 13 72 58 or at any Westpac branch.

Nicole Jenkinson is The Salvation Army’s fundraising and public relations manager,Hunter, Central and Mid North Coast Regional Office.


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The Hunter’s week that wasphotos

The Hunter’s week that was | photos NEWCASTLE_ TK Maxx opens in Kotara. Picture_ Marina Neil
Nanjing Night Net

CESSNOCK_ A kangaroo joins the race in the last

PORT STEPHENS_ More than 350 dozen oysters were stolen from Richard Farley’s business on the Karuah River on Saturday in the latest targeted attack on farmers. Picture_ Marina Neil.

NEWCASTLE_ Knights duo Nathan Ross and Pauli Pauli will make their representative debut against Country on Sunday

NEWCASTLE_ Dr Virginia Turner, with one-year-old daughter, Mabel as the John Hunter Hospital opens its PICU. Picture_ Simone De Peak.

TAREE_ Emergency services help the woman as she remains trapped in the overturned RTV. Photo_ NSW Police

PORT STEPHENS_ Olympic shooter Michael Diamond leaves court after he was banned from holding a gun licence for 10 years

LAKE MACQUARIE_ Kelvin and Marion Gillespie’s home is one of an untold number in the Hunter damaged by expanding road mix. Picture_ Max Mason-Hubers

NEWCASTLE_ Simon Crane, the managing director of Lovells Springs, at the company’s headquarters in Carrington. He holds grave fears for the train manufacturing industry in NSW. PICTURE_ Simone De Peak

NEWCASTLE_ NIGHTMARE_ Karen and Mark Grant have fled their home with children Audrey, five months, and Dempsey, four, over Williamtown contamination blood tests. Picture_ Jonathan Carroll

GRETA, NSW_ Greta six-year-old Harry Preece has booked his place in the Australian junior team for a tour of America in July. Picture_ Harry Preece Golf_Facebook

NEWCASTLE_ A foggy start to May failed to deter surfers. Picture_ Dave Anderson

CESSNOCK_ Police surround Gregory John Thompson’s car outside Michael Moad’s house in Cessnock on March 1, 2015. This week, Mr Thompson pleaded not guilty to murder, but guilty to manslaughter over Mr Moad’s stabbing.

Greta teen Jimmy Jones with his mum, Natalie, beside the accident scene on the New England Highway. Picture: Simone De Peak

Hunter war veterans discuss challenges ex service personnel face in regional areas

Cessnock police officers Alan Thompson and Ray Scorer recognised 40 years after they died in a car accident

The region’s favourite agricultural show is back again – Tocal Field Days.

QUEEN’S CUP: Helen Hopcroft’s first day as Marie Antoinette began with a cup of coffee with friends and family in Tasmania. Picture: Supplied

Maitland Local Health Committee invites community to provide feedback about proposed new Lower Hunter Hospital

UFO photographed by Hunter boy

Terminally ill Metford mum Karin Reynolds sees her made over house for the first time

Drug charges at Groovin The Moo 2017

Tom Magnier, Coolmore stud Jerrys Plains – a neighbour of Drayton South. Coolmore along with Godolphin have spent millions on fighting teh development of the Drayton South Coal Project.

PCYC Muswellbrook is calling on the community for help

Scone Horse Festival committee president Lee Watts with 2017 Scone Horse Festival VIP Lisa Martin on Thursday night.

MV Solar’s mission to power the world one solar panel at a time is gathering momentum overseas.

Cessnock Council requests Roads and Maritime Services install school zone on Wine Country Drive near St Philip’s Christian College

Menshed relocates while lead contamination is cleaned up

ARTIST: Roma Horton-Stevens in her Dungog studio which she will open for the first time to the public next weekend with all her works for sale.

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