Hill, Rapleys star in season finales

Dubbo Touch Association’s summer competition has been dominated by Poverty Lodge and Dubbo City Plumbing who won division one in their respective grades.
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All-round sportsman Max Hill and State touch representative Lietta Lane led Poverty Lodge to victory in the Monday night mixed division one competition, while on Wednesday night the father-and-son team of Warwick and Joel Rapley helped Dubbo City Plumbing to the men’s crown.

Also featuring Dubbo Macquarie halfback Peter Boon, Dubbo City Plumbing proved too slippery for Primary Sales. Consisting mainly of members of the Cross family – including Brad, Kel, Warwick and Josh – Primary Sales lost 3-1.

Poverty Lodge won their grand final on Monday night 6-3 over Wilkins Transport, a team which included Peter Holland, Anne James and Diane Rogers.

James and Rogers then backed up for a second chance at a premiership on Wednesday night when their women’s open team played Pioneer in the division four final of the men’s/women’s competition.

But after an exciting and very even contest, the pair finished runners-up again after losing 13-12. That was not before the match had gone into overtime and a drop -off situation.

The Wednesday night division three grand final was another match which saw a men’s and women’s team against each other, with the men’s Pastoral Hotel outfit taking on the women’s Western Star Hotel line-up.

Despite the best efforts of Jane Hill and her team, it was the Pastoral outfit which finished with the title thanks to a 9-6 victory.

In division two men, Forty Winks took a line-up which included Jason Hill and Chris Cook into battle against Dubbo Air Conditioning.

Dubbo Air Conditioning included a number of the Dubbo Kangaroos – Ian Jamieson, John O’Neill, Ray White and the bullocking Nathan Woodford, a star in both rugby codes – but couldn’t match Forty Winks who won 8-3.

In the division three mixed Coopers Tavern – with Adam and Craig Moore, Brett Paul and Denise Crowley – beat Thommos Plastering 3-2 while in division two mixed Paul Toshack’s Toushie’s Team won 3-2 over South Dubbo Tavern. In division four mixed Amaroo All Stars defeated Stingers 5-2.

While the summer competition finished on Wednesday night touch players have just a small break until the kick-off of the winter competition, which starts on Monday April 30 for mixed and Wednesday May 2 for men and women.

Nominations fees are $630 per team and forms are available from the Western Star Hotel.

Further enquiries about the respective competitions can be made with Andrew Spencer on 0419 820 338.

This article first appeared in Hangzhou Night Net.

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Chizen students in form at tournament

Eighteen Chizen Taekwondo Club students competed in a WAMA martial arts tournament at Parkes last month.
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Students from throughtout the State, and from a variety of styles, descended on the Parkes PCYC and went head to head in either forms or fighting events.

For most students it was for the first time.

The Chizen Taekwondo Club squad had much success with students such as Ricky Millstead and Scott Hattenfels taking first place in the fighting events.

Renee Hughes and Melanie Hancock also claimed first in the forms event.

Many other students placed second and third in various events, including Dillan Moon, BJ Williams and Robert Dunn.

With the Chizen Taekwondo Club conducting its autumn term grading test last week, the experience gained in the Parkes tournament boosted the students’ performance and gave them much-needed confidence.

Chizen Taekwondo Club has new beginners classes starting next term, on Tuesday to Thursday at 7pm and Monday to Thursday at 4.15pm for children.

Anyone interested in attending the classes should contact Chizen Taekwondo Club on 6881 6404.

This article first appeared in Hangzhou Night Net.

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Dalai Lama makes conciliatory gesture to China ahead of talks

THE Dalai Lama chuckled with wry amusement yesterday when he suggested some people had described China’s rapid economic growth as "communist capitalism".
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At his only media conference in Sydney, the 72-year-old Nobel Peace laureate commended the Chinese Government for greater openness and said the opening of the Chinese economy helped sustain his optimism that there eventually would be a political solution to the tensions gripping his homeland.

Much had changed in China since the People’s Liberation Army invaded Tibet in 1950, and since China’s crackdown on dissidents in 1959, which caused the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader to flee to India, he said.

The devastating May 12 earthquake in Sichuan province had led to greater transparency, and he was heartened by the deep reflection demonstrated in some Chinese scholarly essays which emerged after fierce rioting erupted in Tibet against Chinese rule in March.

The Dalai Lama’s remarks, made to reporters yesterday, were interpreted as a conciliatory gesture to China ahead of fresh talks on the Tibetan crisis before the Beijing Olympics.

Yesterday Tibet’s spiritual leader appealed to the Tibetan community inside and outside the country not to disrupt the Olympic torch relay when it arrives in Tibet’s capital of Lhasa next week.

The champion of Tibetan autonomy said he had always fully supported the Beijing Olympics and the passage of the torch and did not fear a renewal of violence against Chinese rule.

"We have fully supported the Olympic Games right from the beginning," he told journalists.

"The torch is part of that," he said. "Over 1 billion Chinese brothers and sisters feel really proud of that. We should respect that. I don’t think there will be any trouble."

But he also said unity and stability in Tibet could not be secured by Chinese authorities through spending on new infrastructure, nor by military force.

Dissatisfaction and disenchantment with Chinese authorities had carried across generations and support and loyalty from the masses "must come from the heart, not gun" and engendered "from trust, not fear".

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Racing mourns huge losses, but looks ahead

THE horse industry response to the report into the equine influenza outbreak was predictable enough: the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS) had a lot to answer for, but there was some hope for the future.
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Andrew Harding, the chief executive of the Australian Racing Board, said: "This was no accident … It was because of ineptitude on the part of AQIS and this report brings those responsible to account."

He said one estimate put Australia’s horse industry losses at $1 billion, not counting the human cost. "It is the worst event in Australia’s 200-year racing history. It has added considerably to the cost of importing and exporting countries, and there has been a lower foal crop, which will be felt for years to come.

He said quarantine was a continuum which started offshore, in pre-export quarantine. "AQIS needs to do more at every point along the way. Once horses arrive in this country, there is an enormous amount that can be done. Sick horses got into Sportwood in Melbourne too and there was no spread. Rudimentary measures include washing and changing clothes," he said.

Joe Messara, proprietor of the Arrowfield Stud at Scone, whose stallion, Snitzel, has been named as the horse that most likely brought in the virus, said he had suffered like everyone else. He had lost about $10 million in income that would have been generated from his normal breeding program.

"It seems that they came from Japan and a number of stallions might have had it, including Snitzel. But the groom who looked after Snitzel did not see any sign of it. Snitzel might have had it sub-clinically but he never showed any symptoms," he said.

"I am not a vet, and I am not a scientist. Nobody actually knows these things for certain. It [the finding on the source of the infection] is pretty much couched in probabilities rather than certainties. We don’t want to go through this again, not for ourselves but anyone in the industry."

Better news is that there is to be a reprieve for the "shuttle stallions" – horses that mate with mares in the northern hemisphere and then come to Australia in September to do the same here.

Michael Ford, Keeper of the Australian Stud Book, said foals that came from artificial insemination would not have been accepted internationally by the thoroughbred industry. "He [Mr Callinan] is saying that he cannot recommend that they [shuttle stallions] be banned," he said.

"That was a real worry for the Australian breeding industry because of a lot of their income is derived from selling horses overseas, particularly the Asian market."

The Australian Veterinary Association was pleased about its performance in containing the outbreak and thought there would be major benefits in upgrading Australia’s quarantine system to deal with potentially more serious outbreaks of exotic diseases.

Dr Mark Lawrie, president of the association, said that the veterinary response to the outbreak had been phenomenal.

"Nobody thought we could get on top of it the way we did," he said. "But it was a systemic breakdown that caused the outbreak. There is a whole raft of different aspects and we are looking forward to working with the government to find a way forward."

He said many of the vets with expertise in exotic diseases came from the ranks of retired government veterinarians and urged investment to improve the stock of expertise to avoid being caught out by a future outbreak.

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Sir Cossack fails to flatter for Ryan

Greg Ryan’s mount Sir Cossack finished out of a place in the $60,000 American Air Country Cup (1600m) at Randwick yesterday.
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Starting at 20-1 on the TAB, Sir Cossack was never sighted and eventually finished 12th.

The race was won by the Paul Perry-trained Raminco ($4.20) ridden by Larry Cassidy which beat Trailer Trailer ($18.00) and String ($151.00).

Tomorrow, Ryan will be at at the Gilgandra TAB meeting with engagements in all seven races and is almost certain to ride his share of winners.

Ryan dominated the program at Dubbo on Saturday with a winning treble from five rides.

At Gilgandra he will team up with Dubbo trainer Mark Jones on Del Rio in the feature race, the Royal Hotel Gilgandra Open Handicap (1550m).

The Peter Nestor-trained Thunder Run is an even money favourite for the race ahead of Del Rio at 5-2. Apprentice jockey Roy McCabe will ride Thunder Run.

Justin Stanley’s mount Hot At Dawn is also well in the market at 3-1 while Cheeky Charlie (Fred Walker) is at 6-1.

Open handicap market: 1-1 Thunder Run, 5-2 Del Rio, 3 Hot At Dawn, 5 Cheeky Charlie, 6 Dance Floor, Hegwest, 7 Triple Way, 8 Quiet Ways, Forest Bend, 10 Commotion, 20 Steveo.

Ryan will also ride Ella’s Star for Cowra trainer Charlie Britt in the 1000m maiden plate.

Britt and Ryan combined successfully at Dubbo on Saturday when Jurisdiction saluted.

Ella’s Star is 5-2 favourite for Gilgandra.

Ryan’s other mounts are Just Coasting (4-1), Starquoz (2-1), Seat Of Knowledge (5-2), Black Charger (3-1) and Knickers In A Knot (5-2).

The first race tomorrow is at 1.37pm.

Ryan will be back on the road on Friday and will ride at Grafton and then at Randwick on Saturday where he will be back on board Wellington Boot winner Citi Fella.

In local racing this weekend, the popular Tomingley picnics are on Saturday, while the next western meetings will be on Anzac Day, Wednesday April 25 with meetings at Coonabarabran, Nyngan and Bathurst.

This article first appeared in Hangzhou Night Net.

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Blue Bulls claim Richardson Shield

Better preparation is the key to Central West returning to Caldwell Cup contention at Country Week after the Blue Bulls finished fifth in the annual carnival at Moree yesterday.
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Central West won the Richardson Shield play-off for fifth and sixth place by beating New England 38-24 yesterday after the Blue Bulls trailed 17-14 at half-time.

For Central West the result was an improvement on last year’s sixth-placed finish and a platform from which to launch a serious bid for Caldwell Cup contention next year.

Coach Col Jeffs said a rushed build-up didn’t help Central West’s cause but the players – only six of whom had played at Country Week before – would benefit enormously from the carnival.

“The boys stood up,’’ Jeffs said.

“We came up here with the underdogs’ tag but the way we played our football we won’t come here again as underdogs.

“On the ladder we finished fifth but personally I think we were among the top three or four teams considering the two teams that beat us played in the Caldwell Cup final.

“The Caldwell Cup’s obviously the pinnacle but I’m happy to come away with the shield in my first year.

“The players’ response is obviously more important but I’d like to think they’d come away happy.

“I’ll sit down with the executive and management during the next couple of weeks (and discuss the carnival) but I’m confident, with what we’ve got now, things can only improve.’’

With Country Week being brought forward to Easter this year and the Prime Provincial Cup pre-season series taking up three weekends, Central West had room for only one trial against the Canberra Vikings before the carnival.

Still, they almost pulled off a first-round upset against top seeds Newcastle, losing 18-15 after leading 8-3 at half-time, and pushed finalists Central North before wilting to a 28-7 loss in round two.

Out of the Caldwell Cup semi-finals, the Blue Bulls rebounded to thrash Western Plains 37-14 on Sunday to book a place in the Richardson Shield final.

Despite yesterday’s 14 point win Central West played below their best, according to Jeffs.

“We made it hard for ourselves, we didn’t play as good as we did on the first two days … I think fatigue caught up and there was a little bit of overconfidence going into it,’’ he said.

NSW Country selectors were last night mulling over a squad to play the British Lions on June 26.

CENTRAL WEST 38 (Nick Job 2, Peter Francis, David Birch tries, Birch penalty goal, 5 conversions) def NEW ENGLAND 24.

This article first appeared in Hangzhou Night Net.

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Development of wedding cake hotel no slice of Europe

A $100 MILLION plan to beautify Bondi Beach’s Swiss Grand Hotel has been recommended for rejection by Waverley Council staff.
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The owners of the hotel, Allan Linz and Eduard Litver, who are also behind the controversial redevelopment of the historic Currawong workers’ retreat, want to transform the wedding cake-style hotel into a mixed-use facility. It would contain 82 hotel suites, 98 residential apartments, a two-level supermarket, a gym and spa.

But a report by the council’s development and building unit said the addition of three storeys would create a building "that will dominate the Bondi streetscape far more than the existing building and will be contextually incongruous [with the area]".

The report said the developers had justified exceeding the council’s height controls by saying "beachfront and waterfront locations benefit from a strong street wall which defines an urban edge in places such as Nice, Cannes and San Sebastian".

But the unit rejected the argument saying: "The applicant’s comparison of Bondi Beach to the famous waterfront locations in Europe has limited relevance".

Mr Linz agreed his and Mr Litver’s company, Epic Hotels Pty Ltd, would probably have to consider reducing the proposal’s height.

The Mayor of Waverley, Ingrid Strewe, said it was vital the redevelopment be appropriate, especially as the landmark building might be strata-titled in the future, which would limit the possibility of changes.

The council’s development control committee are to meet on June 24 to decide on the recommendation to reject the project.

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‘Someone will die’ on this road

Someone will certainly be killed if nothing is done to fix a dangerous intersection on the Parkes Road, residents have claimed.
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Locals have dubbed Yarrabar Lane, which meets the Newell Highway 12km south of Dubbo, “Cemetery Lane”, following a number of vehicle accidents and near misses.

The problem, they claim, is a hill which reaches its crest 80 metres south of the intersection, leaving traffic just seconds to turn right onto the highway towards Dubbo before traffic – which they cannot see as they turn and is often travelling at high speeds – catches up to them.

The situation is like playing “Russian roulette”, according to concerned resident Mervyn Lowe.

“The driver exiting towards Dubbo never knows if the moment they have chosen to move out coincides with the appearance of a vehicle on the crest of the hill travelling at 110km/hr or more,” he remarked.

They fear tragedy as “up to 1000 trucks a day” travel the highway at high speeds, and many of the vehicles turning onto the highway from the lane are semi-trailers which have “a long, slow curl” onto the road.

It is a matter of when, not if, someone will die, according to Yarrabar Lane residents Brian Scott and Dean Comerford. Mr Scott was forced to leave the road to avoid having a vehicle run into the rear of his horse float when turning onto the highway.

The group claims its fears will be best addressed if the crest of the hill is lowered to extend motorists’ line of vision.

Andrew Robbins, the proprietor of Yarrabar Pottery which is situated along the lane, said at the present time it would be cost effective for the Roads and Traffic Authority to adjust the road because it had all the necessary equipment in the area currently doing roadworks.

“We are begging them to do something,” Mr Robbins said.

However the RTA said reducing the crest of the hill was unnecessary.

Currently the road is being widened to add overtaking lanes while a three-metre shoulder is being added to allow traffic to safely turn into Yarrabar Lane, an RTA spokesperson said.

Yarrabar Lane was also being changed so the intersection was at right angles, to improve the line of sight, the spokesperson said.

Mr Comerford said the RTA’s measures were totally inadequate: “I’m worried about turning out, not in.”

Nothing short of lowering the hill would fix the problem, he stressed.

“It is a shemozzle – it has to be taken off the hill, they are only mucking around because of the cost.”

This article first appeared in Hangzhou Night Net.

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No ‘nasty’ computer in Queenie’s chat room

An online chat room is one of the last places you would expect to find Dubbo’s oldest surviving ex-resident Queenie Sunderland.
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But last night Queenie went online to share her unique experiences with Australian servicemen and women as part of an Anzac Day tribute.

Throughout April, leading up to Anzac Day, AOL Australia is hosting a commemorative Anzac Day program in conjunction with Legacy.

The program teams the remarkable woman with Lieutenant General Peter Cosgrove and popular grunge band Skunkhour.

Queenie Sunderland came to Dubbo as an English war bride in 1919.

She is as well known to Dubbo people as her views on computers. Going ‘online’ is definitely a first for her and another experience to add to her long list of life experiences.

“Nasty things computers, they steal away men’s brains” is a line in her poem Three Centuries written on the occasion of her 103rd birthday on January 2 last year.

Yet last night Queenie relented to help future generations understand the past.

“I am impressed with what computers achieve and the information available on the internet; I just have enough in my head already and don’t want it pushed out by this enormous amount of information and new technology,” she laughed.

As Australia’s last surviving English war bride, Queenie is as close as many peolpe today can get to an Anzac. She met Gunner Ted Sunderland, Regimental Number 162 of the 1st Battery, 1st Brigade, 1st AIF on Salisbury Railway Station in 1917.

“He was what I call an ‘original Gallipoli Anzac’ who landed at Gallipoli on April 25, 1915.”

For her 100th birthday Queenie wrote Bride of an Anzac, a wonderful account of her life.

It details meeting and marrying Ted Sunderland of ‘Pine Farm’, Dubbo in the period between the landing at Gallipoli and the Battle of The Somme, their marriage in England, her voyage on the ‘Osterley’ to Australia, life on the farm and the move to Sydney – a wonderful social history and a glimpse for the reader into a vital period of Australia’s climb to nationhood.

When appearing on A Current Affair on her 103rd birthday in 2000, mention was made of the book.

As a result of the interview publishing company Garry Allen Pty Ltd picked up the rights to Bride of an Anzac.

“I wrote another three chapters last year and added many of the photographs I had taken myself during the years,” Queenie said.

The book continues to sell well and is available in all book shops across Australia.

“There is even talk of a reprint,” Queenie added.

Since turning 100, Queenie has reached celebrity status.

“I am continuously amazed by the interest shown in me,” she said.

“Just recently I have even been included in the Celebrity Hall of Fame at the Australian War Memorial. Every day is so full of new experiences there is no time to think about ‘getting old’.”

Although born in England in 1897, Queenie has spent all but 19-years of the first century since Federation in Australia. She considers herself a

dinky-di Australian and never regretted marrying Ted and coming to live in Australia.

“Australia has been good to me and I would especially like to thank

Legacy as they have looked after me well. With the wars so long ago, people tend to forget what the organisation has done and continues to do for the widows and families of servicemen.”

DR Brett Wayn, Managing Director, AOL Australia said that ANZAC Day is an important day in the Australian calendar and AOL Australia is proud to have worked with Legacy in the development of this year’s ANZAC Day area.

“We believe the online medium can play an important role in helping Australians learn more about the ANZAC tradition as well as giving them the opportunity to share their thoughts and feelings through message boards and live online chats with Australians who have experienced events first-hand.”

So for Queenie going ‘online’ is definitely another ‘first’. “I haven’t

had any experience at all with the Internet, but it is never to late to learn,” she said.

“I am happy to share my stories. We shouldn’t glorify war, but neither should we forget what the men fought for.

“That Ted survived, when so many of his mates were left behind on the battlefields of WW1, I thank the Lord who has protected me and guided me

through my long life.

“Maybe I have been left behind so that I could in a small way contribute

to the collective memory of a Nation in its first global first baptism of fire since Federation and show how the young Australians who were sent to fight a battle of which they had little knowledge, other than to protect their shores from the enemy invader and who gave their lives as a consequence, will not be forgotten.

This article first appeared in Hangzhou Night Net.

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Ski racing titles return

LAKE Charm will host the National Speed and Marathon Ski Racing Championships for the second time in five years.
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Australia’s ski racing community will turn its attention to the popular lakeside venue for three days of competition from Friday, January 11 to Sunday, January 13.

The lake last hosted the national titles in 2009, with more than 100 boats and teams converging on the district.

It is predicted next year’s event will attract around 200 skiers, participating alongside 120 boats across 500 events.

“Lake Charm is seen by our board as the spiritual home of ski racing in Victoria,” Ski Racing Victoria chairman, Tony Mithen said.

“The Shire of Gannawarra and the people of Kerang make us welcome and we only think it’s fair to bring the big show to town when it’s available.”

There is also the prospect the lake could host the 2014 titles, with Victoria given the rights to the next two national championships.

“There’s a lot of work that has to be done with the shire and with Transport Safety Victoria to get closures and permits in place (in relation to the 2013 event),” Mr Mithen said.

“There’s also a lot of marketing that needs to be done to attract racers and spectators. That was started on October 30 by Ski Racing Victoria.”

The Kerang-Lake Charm Power Boat Club, which manages events at Lake Charm, competed against two other locations for the right to host the titles.

“It’s great for the area and brings so many people,” club commodore, Eric Boyd said.

“With all the losses of water in the area, we need to bring back tourism.

“It’s in the holiday period and we’ve got a very unique area with other lakes to go skiing in. They also generally finish around 5pm and daylight saving gives locals another three hours .”

It is anticipated the event will have a flow-on effect for local businesses, with visitors needing to find accommodation and purchase food and fuel during the three days of competition.

“I think this is a great opportunity for us to put ourselves in front of the faces of those taking part and creating activity,” Business Kerang chairman, Ron Saunders said.

“We know the participants spend a certain number of days in Kerang and a certain number of days in Swan Hill, but we need to make participants and spectators feel that they want to come back.

“This will be a good opportunity to potentially try and get to those who come to the area around Christmas and capitalise on them to stay on for the championships.”

Many community groups may be called upon to help cater for those who will watch the action on the foreshore.

Across the two-day period in late January 2009, those who witnessed or participated ate around 100 souvlakis, 200 steak sandwiches, 250 salad sandwiches and 10 kilograms of dim sims, as well as drank 384 bottles of energy drinks and 960 bottles of water.

Organisers also served around 100 people pasta on the opening night, as well as preparing roasts for 200 on the final evening of events.

“I think a number of community groups could be asked to help with the catering,” Kerang Progress Association president, Irene Ayres said.

“I also imagine there will be a need to purchase fuel from the airport (for participating boats), which will benefit the Mid-Murray Flying Club.

“I’m sure some of the women who do not want to watch the event may come into Kerang and browse the shops.”

This article first appeared in Hangzhou Night Net.

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