Concern over wine takeover

100 years ago WORRY: Twenty five years ago, Sunraysia wine grape growers were concerned that the acquisition of Lindeman (Holdings) Ltd by Penfolds, could send them “to the wall”. Penfolds announced the takeover the day after setting prices for this year’s fruit, with across-the-board reductions for some varieties of more than 50 per cent.
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MILESTONE: The Shire of Mildura celebrated its 75th birthday 50 years ago.

NEW YEAR’S EVE: Passed off quietly. Towards midnight after the wind and the dust storm eased, everything was perfectly calm and serene in a bright moonlight. It was thus, under happy circumstances, that the New Year was ushered in. Quite a crowd assembled at Deakin Avenue towards the eventful hour, which number was considerably increased when the Olympia audience was let go a few minutes to 12 o’clock. The band, under Conductor Duggan, rendered Patriotic and National airs frequently interspersed with “Tipperary” while the onlookers joined in chorus singing. When 12 o’clock struck, the town whistle sounded a lengthy blast, guns were fired and the inevitable “bung bung” made noisy explosions. (6.1.1915)

THROUGH THE CANAL: On one of the most perfect of nights, the first of the Australian troopships entered the Suez Canal. The moon was one day off the fill, on the eastern side the mysterious desert. The outline of a few tents far ahead against the steep irregular canal banks would give the first warning that we were approaching a post. A few whoops from the forecastle would break the stillness – a coo-ee or the best imitation of a coo-ee that some of our heroes could compass. The first steamer we passed was a P&O steamer – carrying a number of British passengers, I believe, to India. When the passengers realised – probably from the coo-ees of our men – that this was the first of the Australian transports on its way to the war, the people came pouring up on deck and the excitement can only be described as tremendous. (9.1.1915)

EXCHANGE OF PRISONERS: A Berlin telegram states that the first exchanges of permanently incapacitated prisoners was made at Geneva this month. (9.1.1915)

75 years agoNURSES MAY MARRY: Nurses who marry on active service would automatically leave the nursing staff, said Matron Kearey, of the NSW Army Nursing Service, today. It was stipulated that nurses should be single when enlisted but they were free to marry and were not bound to any period of service. (4.1.1940)

BLOOD TESTS FOR SECOND AIF: The Army Medical Corps is classifying the blood of every member of the Second AIF to ensure rapid and efficient transfusions if needed during field operations, said the Minister for the Army (Mr Street) today. On New Year’s Day alone, blood samples were taken from 2000 members of the AIF at Ingleburn. (4.1.1940)

BRADMAN OUT FIRST BALL: Brisbane: In a brilliant Shield cricket debut, Stackpoole, a medium-paced bowler, took several valuable wickets, and staggered players and spectators by dismissing Don Bradman with the first ball he sent down to the South Australian captain.(8.1.1940)

50 years agoTOURISTS MAKE BUMPER SEASON: Mildura tourist centre and the RACV office have been besieged by tourists wanting information ranging from local tours to drinking hours. Between the tourist office and the RACV nearly 1000 inquiries are handled each day during the holiday season. Mildura Tourist Officer (Mr E Simm) said yesterday that he had never known Mildura to be so busy during the Christmas-New Year holiday break. (5.1.1965)

LOVE OF CRICKET: In Mildura Country Week cricket yesterday, sports giant Ron Shea spent 24 long overs bowling unchanged to take 7/54. After a shower and a noggin or two Ron murmured: “I don’t feel very weary but I’m sure there must be easier ways to enjoy myself.” Schoolteacher John Groves’ brother Roy arrived in Mildura from West Australia, the brothers not having met for 11 years, but John’s day was at the disposal of Mildura Combine and Roy spent the day watching the game. As John said last night: “Eleven years ago the positions were reversed and I spent a day watching Roy play cricket in WA. Now, the poor fellow only plays bowls.” (6.1.1965)

MILDURA SHIRE’S 75TH BIRTHDAY: Seventy-five years ago tomorrow, the Shire of Mildura was created with an annual value of £20,436 and this has now grown to £1,454,133. The Shire Council will give £500 to Mildura Homes for the Aged to mark the occasion and this is exactly double the annual salary of the first Shire secretary, engineer-rate collector (Mr W F Sheridan). In its 75-year history the council has had only six Shire Secretaries. The present shire secretary, Mr A. Doug Harvey, has been with council for 23 years and secretary since 1946. (9.1.1965)

25 years agoHOTTEST DAY IN 50 YEARS: Mildura sweltered yesterday – the mercury peaked at 46.9 degrees Celsius (116F) at 1.10pm, the highest temperature recorded since the Bureau of Meteorology established an office at Mildura Airport in 1946. The highest temperature recorded in Mildura this century was 50.8 degrees on January 6, 1906. Under the air conditioner was the place to be, and district manager of the SEC, Mr Don Price, reported a 26 per cent increase in power useage by noon yesterday. (4.1.1990)

ABORIGINAL WOMEN’S ART: Natalie Greenwood is just as at home in the harsh Australian outback as she is in the city. The 27-year-old feels just as comfortable working in South America, Africa, India or Great Britain but has taken up the challenge in her own country of promoting the art and cultural activities of Aboriginals, particularly women. She visited Sunraysia this week to promote the touring exhibition “Women’s Dreaming”, which offers Aboriginal women artists the opportunity to develop their own enterprise independent of government restrictions. (9.1.1990)

LINDEMANS TAKEOVER CONCERNS GROWERS: Sunraysia wine grape growers are concerned that the acquisition of Lindeman (Holdings) Ltd by Penfolds, announced yesterday, could send growers to the wall. Penfolds announced the takeover the day after setting prices for this year’s fruit, with across-the-board reductions for some varieties of more than 50 per cent. (10.1.1990)

For more of this story, purchase your copy of Wednesday’s Sunraysia Daily 07/01/2015.To subscribe to our Digital Edition Click here

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Magic Millions mixes high heels and thongs

Horses race on the beach before the Magic Millions Barrier Draw. Photo: Matt Roberts/Getty Images Rachael Finch, Zara Phillips, Francesca Cumani and Katie Page-Harvey watch the horses race on the beach before the Magic Millions Barrier Draw. Photo: Matt Roberts/Getty Images
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It’s horses on the beach, it must be the Magic Millions.

Boardies next to chinos, high heels next to thongs, the trademark racing polo shirts next to singlets and bare chests.

In Surfers Paradise this eclectic mix is nothing new, but in few places can a racing event bring together such a group of people on a Tuesday morning, from heavy-hitting racing identities to local residents on their way to a daily swim.

In a teal beachside VIP marquee, owners and celebrities nibble on breakfast snacks before moving to the sand to watch six thoroughbreds race along the beach.

Onlookers and media alike flock to Magic Millions patron and English royal Zara Phillips, back at the carnival after the birth of her son.

Owners wear straw cowboy hats and carry giant cards with their horse’s colours and names ready to wade through the crowd and draw their barrier.

The showmanship of it all fits the location, which is postcard perfect after an ominous-looking morning.

A marble and a Perspex block with a numbered place and a starting position in Saturday’s carnival prompted cheers or gasps, depending on the numbers pulled out.

The Magic Millions has grown in stature in recent years and most notably shows an increased female presence, with Phillips as patron, Channel 7’s Francesca Cumani playing a key role in the coverage of the week-long event and an incentive for women to part-own horses, with bonuses of up to $500,000 for a first-four finish.

One of the world’s top thoroughbred trainers, Criquette Head-Maarek is visiting the Gold Coast for the first time.

Head-Maarek has a long and decorated association with horse training, the third generation of her family to train a winner of prestigious French race, the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe and a two-time winner of the event in her own right.

There are plenty of comparisons to be drawn between Head-Maarek and Australian trainer Gai Waterhouse, who has a horse in Saturday’s two-year-old main event, but their ties go well beyond their roles as female pioneers in racing.

“In the old days, my dad used to bring jockeys from Australia into France and my brother, one of the best jockeys in France (Freddy Head), he came and worked for Tommy Smith, Gai Waterhouse’s father, for a year,” she said.

Head-Maarek says Australia is only beginning its journey to include more women in racing but prizes like the Magic Millions placing incentives were moves in the right direction.

“I think it’s a good way to do it to have clubs just for women or women owners,” she said.

“In our country we’ve got quite a few but here it’s still quite new.”

It wasn’t a great morning for Waterhouse, whose horse Carriages drew barrier 21 but the odds of Les Ross-trained Frequendly have shortened after it drew barrier four.

Perignon part-owner Sylvana Surace is embarking on her first Magic Millions foray.

“It’s amazing. There’s nothing like it,” she said.

“There’s no better occasion. We’re over the moon, super excited, all of the above.”

With the first sales of the Magic Millions kicking off on Wednesday, Head-Maarek said buyers should be looking at the way the horses move.

“I like a horse who walks well,” she said.

“That’s what I like very much. A deep girth, good shoulders, a strong behind and if the engine is there, well, you’ve got a runner.”

The feature race of the carnival, the $2 million Magic Millions two-year-old classic will be run at 3.25pm on Saturday January 10.

Barrier numbers for the two-year-old classic:

1 – Claudia Jean 2 – Flamenco Girl (emergency) 3 – Le Chef 4 – Frequendly 5 – Wicked Intent 6 – Single Gaze 7 – Zoutenant 8 – Wicked Investment (emergency) 9 – Racy 10 – Saga of the Storm 11 – Perignon 12 – Right of Way (emergency) 13 – Star of Night (emergency) 14 – Real Good (emergency) 15 – Madotti 16 – Flamenco Girl 17 – Pepperano 18 – Surf Seeker 19 – Miss Idyllic 20 – Old Trieste 21 – Carriages

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Tim Nicholls lobbies Canberra for ‘fair’ share of GST

Queensland Treasurer Tim Nicholls says it would be “unfair” for the Queensland government to be “penalised” by any changes to the Mining Assessment aspect of the GST carve up. Photo: Glenn HuntWhat about Queensland? It isn’t fair.
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The state gives up its mining royalties, now it wants its share.

It is not quite Moving Pictures, but Treasurer Tim Nicholls has written to his federal counterpart urging caution in regards to the GST methodology review following intense lobbying from Western Australia about how GST receipts are calculated.

That state has suffered from a downturn in the iron ore price, which has equated to a drop in royalty payments, but its change in circumstances is unlikely to be considered in the annual GST carve-up, because of a three year lag in how payments are worked out.

Mr Nicholls said many jurisdictions were in the same position and it would be “unfair” for the Queensland government to be “penalised” by any changes to the Mining Assessment aspect of the GST carve up.

“The Queensland government should be recognised for its disciplined and responsible financial management, which has allowed it to start repairing the deficits and debt left by the previous Labor government, despite the major write-downs from mining royalties,” he said.

Western Australia sees about 38 cents from every dollar it pays in GST returned. It wants that figure to jump to at least 75 cents. Queensland receives about $1.08, while Victoria sees 88 cents come back and NSW receives 98 cents come back.

Mr Hockey wrote to the Commonwealth Grants Commission just before Christmas, asking it to consider amending the way GST receipts were worked out and to specifically consider Western Australia’s position, given its changed mining royalties circumstances.

But any more money for Western Australia would mean less money for the other states.

Mr Nicholls now wants to make sure that Queensland is not forgotten in any shake up.

“…A number of states have been severely affected by falls in commodity prices, resulting in major reductions in revenue from mining royalties,” he said in his letter to Mr Hockey.

“In particular, the downturn in coal prices has had a major impact on Queensland’s budget. Between 2012-13 and 2015-16, revenue write-downs from all royalties have so far amounted to $4.9 billion.

“New South Wales, South Australia and the Northern Territory have all made revenue write-downs.

“Given that a number of states and the Northern Territory are affected, it is essential that any proposed changes to the Mining Assessment are universally applied to all jurisdictions.”

Mr Nicholls also said it was “essential” that the states had the opportunity to review any proposed changes to the Mining Assessment and the GST distribution formula, before it becomes fact.

“I will be meeting with Mr Hockey in coming weeks to discuss these issues,” he said.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott had said that “the GST won’t change – full stop, end of story” in 2013, but has since hinted the Coalition was open to making amendments, as part of its tax reform agenda.

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Thieves take new mower

KEEP AN EYE OUT: A Rover ride-on mower similar to this one was stolen from the First Nowra Scout Group.STEALING a ride-on-lawn mower, thieves have once again delivered a blow to the First Nowra Scout Group.
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Group member Bernie Smith went to the scout hall, located on the corner of Shoalhaven and Jervis Streets, on Tuesday at 10.30am and discovered the ride-on-lawn mower had been stolen.

To get the bright red mower, thieves had to break into the heavily secured shipping container.

“They would have needed tools to break into the container,” Mr Smith said.

The ride-on, valued at over $3000, had only been used once.

The key to the ride-on was not in the ignition when it was stolen.

Camping gear was also taken.

Thieves and vandals have regularly targeted the hall over the years.

Mr Smith said they were now looking to get a grant for some fencing to go around the hall.

People with information should contact Nowra Police on 4421 9699 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

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Summer sharks prompt warning

MULTIPLE shark sightings along the South Coast have prompted a warning for beachgoers to be alert, but not alarmed.
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Up to a dozen sharks were spotted by the Bendigo Bank Aerial Patrol in the Shoalhaven two weekends ago – some as close as 25 metres to swimmers.

In the most recent incident, three sharks, including a hammerhead, were seen between Plantation Point and Hyams Beach in Jervis Bay about 1pm on Saturday.

Aerial Patrol general manager Harry Mitchell said although there were swimmers nearby, the animals weren’t of concern.

“We carried out surveillance of those sharks and we were satisfied they weren’t posing a threat,” Mr Mitchell said.

“We checked them out again on the way back [from Mollymook] and they were still in the area, but had moved a little further away.”

The South Coast sightings came after hundreds of people were ordered out of the water at Bondi Beach last week.

Lifeguards used a shark alarm and jet skis to alert swimmers to the danger after a police helicopter, on an unrelated mission, spotted a bull shark on Friday morning.

Mr Mitchell said coming months would be a testing time for the service during coastline patrols between Stanwell Park and Mollymook, but urged beachgoers to be alert, not alarmed.

“All of that [recent sightings] serves as a timely reminder that we need to be very vigilant when enjoying ourselves in the water,” he said.

It was normal to see sharks moving closer to beaches because of warmer water temperatures, estuaries along the coast feeding plenty of nutrients after recent rainfall and large schools of fish, Mr Mitchell said.

The aerial service and its volunteers, who have conducted sweeps of Illawarra and Shoalhaven beaches for almost six decades, have stepped up their summer patrols over three local government areas.

The red and yellow patrol planes will operate daily until the end of the month, before resuming their weekend and public holiday surveillance missions until Anzac Day.

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National parks ‘extremely busy’

IT has been one of the busiest holiday seasons in the region’s national parks for years, but park visitors have been praised for their behaviour.
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National parks have been extremely busy but visitors have been praised for their behaviour. File photo

NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service Great Lakes area manager Steve Smith said most of the 23 camping areas across Booti Booti, Myall Lakes and Wallingat national parks were full during the Christmas-New Year period accommodating up to 1500 campers at any one time.

“It’s been an extremely busy summer so far and we’ve been impressed with the generally thoughtful and respectful behaviour of the majority of park visitors,” Mr Smith said.

Only a small number of recurring offences had been committed, including bringing dogs into parks, vehicles not displaying a valid park pass and vehicles driving on vegetation and dunes on beaches.

Mr Smith said that it was great to see so many families exploring national parks and enjoying the experiences they have to offer, but he reminded people to camp only in designated areas, and that excessive alcohol consumption and offensive behaviour was not tolerated.

“People face eviction and possible fines for causing disturbance in camping areas,” he said.

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New look for Albury Gold Cup carnival

KICKING GOALS: Wagga apprentice Jason Collins returns to the mounting enclosure after being dislodged from Flaming Aces on the way to the barriers at Murrumbidgee Turf Club on December 23. Collins has been given the all clear to resume riding and is back among the winners. Picture: Kieren L TillyALBURY Racing Club’s Gold Cup carnival has undergone a major facelift for this year.
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The Albury City Handicap has been reverted back to 1175 metres after being held over 1400 metres for the past five years.

The club has also introduced a new race, a $40,000 Albury Mile, to compliment the City Handicap on the first day of the carnival, Thursday March 26.

The City Handicap will drop back slightly in prizemoney to $40,000.

The Albury Gold Cup will remain Southern District’s richest race, worth $170,000 on Friday, March 27.

Albury Gold Cup day will be complimented by the $50,000 Flat Knacker (900m) and $50,000 Albury Guineas (1400m), that also carries a $50,000 Inglis bonus.

Prizemoney for the two-day carnival will basically stay the same.

Albury Racing Club chief executive John Miller said the idea was to try something new and bolster Thursday’s program.

“The thinking was with the City Handicap -with the prizemoney we’re offering around the 40, 50, 60k mark -to be attracting metro-type horses you really need to be up around the 100k mark,” Miller said.

“So we asked ourselves how do we develop the first day for the country and locally trained gallopers.

“We’re realists, and the first day is clearly more for those country gallopers around here and it’s good prizemoney for them.”

Albury also considered the Sydney carnival and the new Country Championships, over 1400m, when making its decision.

Miller said the club was willing to give it a try for a year.

“We’re open to it, we’ll see how it goes,” he said.

“It may work, or it might not but there is nothing to be lost without giving it a go.”

JERILDERIE mare Sweet Emily’s love affair with Moonee Valley has reached new heights.

Sweet Emily, trained by Phil Sweeney at Jerilderie, eclipsed Miss Andretti’s track record with her win at Moonee Valley between Christmas and New Year.

The four-year-old became the fastest horse over 1000m at Moonee Valley when she clocked 57.19 seconds.

She took 0.03 seconds off Miss Andretti’s time.

It continued an amazing season for Sweet Emily, who has now scored three wins at Moonee Valley in the past few months.

It is the mare’s second track record after she set a new time for the 975 metre trip at Swan Hill in October.

POWER Alert is for sale, but only at the right price.

The former Australian, owned by Trevor Sutherland and Jim Power, will have his second start in the United States on Sunday.

Power Alert was an impressive winner at his first start in the US for former Wagga man Brian Lynch and is expected to take part in a $100,000 race at Tampa Bay Downs this weekend.

Offers have flowed in since Power Alert’s first win on American soil.

Sutherland remained tight-lipped about the offers but it is believed they have been up to $250,000.

“That’s in the ball park,” Sutherland said.

“If someone comes to our price then we’ll sell him, if not then we’ll race him.

“We don’t want to sell him, but if anyone meets the conditions that we’ve set then we will.

“He’s in a $100,000 race on Sunday and if he can win that then he’s going along pretty well.”

Sutherland also revealed that Power Alert has received an invitation to the Dubai World Cup meeting in March.

Power Alert was sent to the US after bleeding twice in Australia.

MURRUMBIDGEE Turf Club will hold the only race meeting in the Southern District this week.

MTC will hold an eight-race card on Friday and received strong support with 158 nominations.

The Benchmark 70 Handicap (1000m) is sure to create plenty of interest with Brett Cavanough’s exciting sprinter Just A Bullet one of 17 nominations for the race.

Other nominations include for the sprint include Battle Of Evermore, Hot Pistol, Flaming Aces, Calke Abbey and Magical Lady.

MTC chief executive Scott Sanbrook hopes start the new year how the last one finished off.

“The Christmas Party and Ted Ryder Cup meetings were great way to finish the year and we’re hoping the new one starts that way as well,” Sanbrook said.

“The sprint looks a great race and if Just A Bullet starts, that will obviously be a highlight.

“I think the strength of the nominations reflects how good the track was at the last meeting.

“We had lots of positive feedback and this is now the most nominations we’ve had for this race meeting in several years.”

Also of interest will be the 2YO Maiden (1000m) where 10 of the 12 nominations are unraced youngsters.

Wagga will go up against Gosford’s Cup meeting on Friday afternoon.

THERE was plenty of Wagga connections among the winner of the Narooma Cup on Monday.

Life Of Reilly stormed home down the outside to claim the $30,000 feature race at Moruya for Kembla Grange trainer Bede Murray and plenty of Wagga connections.

Among the ownership is Wagga men Rob Norris, Chas Mascini, Craig McIntyre and Paul Murphy.

Life Of Reilly ($3.00) edged out He’s An Angel ($15), ridden by Wagga jockey Andy Bloomfield, in the final strides.

WAGGA trainer Trevor Sutherland returned to the winner’s stall with victory at Dederang picnics last Saturday.

After starting this season with a bang, Sutherland went through November and December without a winner.

He got the monkey off the back with a winner at Dederang, when Partexpectation ($2.10) took out the 0-55 Handicap (1300m).

Sutherland expects the tide to turn now and still currently sits in the top 10 for the NSW country trainer’s premiership.

ALBURY trainer Brett Cavanough will throw Fund Trader into metropolitan company at Sandown today.

Fund Trader, a winner at Echuca on debut, will contest the $35,000 Benchmark 64 3YO Handicap (1400m).

Fund Trader resumed at Wagga last month and had no luck when fifth as the beaten favourite behind Sweetly Gliding in a 3YO Country Plate (1300m).

He will be ridden by Dwayne Dunn from barrier nine in the 10 horse field.

WAGGA apprentice Jason Collins is going from strength to strength in his comeback.

Collins rode another winner at Moruya on Monday.

This comes on the back of a treble at Wangaratta on December 20, plus wins at Yarra Valley and Wodonga in the days leading up to it.

Collins injured his ankle when he was thrown from Flaming Aces at Wagga on December 23, but has brushed that off to continue making inroads in his comeback to the riding ranks.

His boss, Trevor Sutherland, is thrilled with how Collins is going.

“He got a clearance to return after he hurt his ankle, it’s a little bit tender around the joint but you’ve got to grin and bear it if you’re going to be successful,” Sutherland said.

“He’s starting to learn that you get out what you put in.

“He’s doing a lot of things right and getting his life back on track.

“It’s a credit to him and he should be proud of himself.”

Collins will ride at Sandown today and is a chance of picking up a ride at Flemington on Saturday.

ANOTHER apprentice making a strong impression is Rebeka Prest.

Prest made her professional racing debut at Tumut on Boxing Day and was successful at just her second race ride.

Prest then went on to score on Lautrec at Corowa’s TAB meeting on December 29.

She has two wins from her first eight rides.

Prest does not have a claim after riding more than 80 winners at the picnics.

THE Sky Racing blackout is over and did not have a big influence on betting turnover for Southern District clubs.

Wagga’s Ted Ryder Cup meeting on December 23 was the meeting expected to be hit hardest but Murrumbidgee Turf Club fared surprisingly well.

Betting turnover on the race meeting exceeded more than $1.6 million, which was up significantly on the past two years.

This year’s results were aided by being a stand-alone NSW meeting, unlike the past two.

The December 23 date proved a big success, opposed to the Christmas Eve meeting held in previous years.

The Ted Ryder Cup day crowd was up 25 per cent on last year.

SOUTHERN District horses are tipped to be up against it in the Country Championships Final in April.

Sportsbet last month released the first market for the Country Championships Final with the best of Southern District’s chances featured on the sixth line of betting.

Sportsbet has made alterations to the market since its release and is still adding horses upon request.

The Brett Cavanough-trained Steakandbearnaise and Chris Heywood’s Dantains Spirit are both rated $10 chances.

Yet Tobe Convinced and Grand Allowance are next of Southern District’s chances at $15.

The $100,000 heat of the Country Championship for Southern District horses will be held over 1400 metres at Wagga on March 15.

The $300,000 final over 1400m will be held at Randwick, as part of The Championships, on April 4.

What’s On


Friday: Wagga (TAB)

Harness Racing

Friday: Temora (TAB)

Sunday: Leeton (TAB)

Greyhound Racing

Friday: Wagga (TAB)

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At $120 a night, Magpie Cottage is a steal

MONEY MATTERS: Owner of Magpie Cottage at Culburra Beach Barbara Janson offers good value at $120 per night, while in Sydney some properties get $40,000 per week in holiday rent.A FIBRO house at Culburra Beach has earned the title of cheapest holiday rental for $120 per night while in Sydney people are paying $40,000 per week.
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One of the cheapest holiday houses on the South Coast, according to Stayz, is Magpie Cottage, at Culburra Beach.

The two-bedroom fibro shack has fairly basic accommodation but a reasonable price tag of $120 a night in the peak period.

The owner, Barbara Janson, bought the 1960s home last year and has been busy renovating it.

“We have been bringing it up to speed but at the same time trying to keep that old yesteryear style,” she said.

With a main bedroom for the parents and a second bedroom fitted with bunk beds, the property can sleep six.

It might not have a pool or air conditioning but it is easy to keep cool at the beach, which is three minutes’ drive down the road.

And its price can’t be beaten.

“You have to be reasonable so all people can enjoy a holiday,” Ms Janson said.

“We think it’s a bargain.”

Nearby in Currarong there is another great fibro home called Seabreeze up for grabs for $145 a night. With two bedrooms this one can sleep only four but is considerably closer to the beach.

At the extreme other end of the spectrum in Sydney suburbs the most expensive short-term offering for holidaymakers this Christmas-New Year break was the Bellevue Hill estate Barford. The well-known star haunt, for sale for more than $55 million, commands $60,000 for a week.

Jessica Kirkpatrick, of Luxe Houses, said it had rented for $40,000 a week in previous years but because the owners, businessman Ian Joye and his wife Maggie, are in town over the holidays they have increased the price to justify vacating the property.

Of those top-price rentals already snapped up, the most expensive is the La Corniche apartment in McMahons Point.

A family from Britain paid $40,000 for five nights over New Year’s Eve, but it is still available in January.

In Palm Beach, the LJ Hooker office has struggled to find enough luxury homes to meet the demand from wealthy clients. The most expensive rental is the waterfront property called Pittwater Retreat, which was snapped up between Christmas and New Year for $40,000 a week.

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It’s a bumper season

Merimbula has been busier than usual say local businesses.Tourists bring huge boost for local economyIt may have been bumper to bumper down Market Street, but it’s also been a bumper holiday season for many local businesses reporting very healthy figures for the period. There have been reports of the season starting earlier than in the previous couple of years and also of demand extending throughout January.
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Lyndall Whyman from Fisk & Nagle, Merimbula reported “unusually strong demand” for holiday accommodation in the eight to 10 days leading up to Christmas as well as the very high bookings over the Christmas/New Year week and into mid-January. Lyndall said she had a waiting and enquiry list of over 40 for that week, adding that there is also a lot of interest extending toward the end of the month.

Kevin Gerathy, from Merimbula Beach Cabins, agreed that visitors arrived earlier this year and attributed this, at least in part, to a promotional campaign run in September by Sapphire Coast Tourism and Merimbula Tourism which targeted regional Victoria, Sydney, Wollongong and Canberra.

He too reported strong bookings for the remainder of the month, as did Laurie O’Shea from Pambula Beach Discovery Holiday Park, where they are fielding many more enquiries than usual for vacancies at the park. Laurie also agreed with the consensus that the pre-Christmas demand was up on last year. Laurie said that he has been able to employ an extra 25 staff from the local area to cope with the increased workload over the season.

Manager of the Merimbula Visitor Information centre, Kristie Tsakiris said while visitors through the door in early December were slower than on previous years, from December 22 they began to rise. Ms Tsakiris said the centre has been making more effective use of online tools and had streamlined the information and accommodation booking services.

Retailers have also noticed the increase in visitor numbers with Woolworths Tura Beach manager, Paul Harrison, reporting an eight per cent improvement on last year’s trading figures, adding that he had needed to put on extra staff to cope with the demand.

And if you’ve tried to get a seat at your favourite cafe around town, you may have had to wait a while. Poppy’s cafe owner, Louise Brand, said trade was up by around 20 per cent on the previous year.

“Absolutely flat out!” is how Louise described the past four weeks at the popular cafe.

Amanda Dwyer, a manager at Merimbula McDonald’s said they are a little up on last year, taking into account that since a new store opened in Bega last Easter, their trading figures have been lower all year.

Merimbula Marina’s Jessica Millar said that visitor numbers and fishing have both been very good lately, coinciding with some great weather which has kept patrons happy. Jessica reported that on Monday, January 5, the smallest boy on the morning’s fishing trip caught the biggest fish, a 61cm snapper.

Merimbula Chamber of Commerce president, Donella Roberts said the increased business around town was great for local jobs.

“With another strong season employers will be more confident about putting on extra staff,” she said.

Ms Roberts said she was also very pleased with the enthusiastic take up by businesses and shoppers alike for the Why Leave Town Merimbula gift cards. Ms Roberts said the promotion had exceeded their expectations with more than $20,000 loaded onto cards purchased in the two weeks before Christmas.

“That is money that will stay in the local economy,” she said.

The gift cards are available year-round from over 80 local businesses.

See traffic comments Your say page 6.

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

Minecraft creator Markus Persson betters Beyonce to buy Beverly Hills mansion

1181 N. Hillcrest Rd. Beverly Hills. Photo: Ben Becall. 1181 N. Hillcrest Rd. Beverly Hills. Photo: Ben Becall.
Nanjing Night Net

1181 N. Hillcrest Rd. Beverly Hills. Photo: Ben Becall.

1181 N. Hillcrest Rd. Beverly Hills. Photo: Ben Becall.

1181 N. Hillcrest Rd. Beverly Hills. Photo: Ben Becall.

1181 N. Hillcrest Rd. Beverly Hills. Photo: Ben Becall.

1181 N. Hillcrest Rd. Beverly Hills. Photo: Ben Becall.

1181 N. Hillcrest Rd. Beverly Hills. Photo: Ben Becall.

1181 N. Hillcrest Rd. Beverly Hills. Photo: Ben Becall.

1181 N. Hillcrest Rd. Beverly Hills. Photo: Ben Becall.

1181 N. Hillcrest Rd. Beverly Hills. Photo: Ben Becall.

1181 N. Hillcrest Rd. Beverly Hills. Photo: Ben Becall.

1181 N. Hillcrest Rd. Beverly Hills. Photo: Ben Becall.

1181 N. Hillcrest Rd. Beverly Hills. Photo: Ben Becall.

1181 N. Hillcrest Rd. Beverly Hills. Photo: Ben Becall.

1181 N. Hillcrest Rd. Beverly Hills. Photo: Ben Becall.

1181 N. Hillcrest Rd. Beverly Hills. Photo: Ben Becall.

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

Fast4 making a racket

FAST4 tennis – four games, four points, four rules.
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LAUNCH: Mark Philippoussis.

Much like Twenty20 revolutionised cricket, the shortened Fast4 is set to take the tennis world by storm when it gets launched internationally in Sydney and Melbourne on January 12 and 14 respectively, and Orange Indoor Tennis Centre manager Chris Besgrove can’t wait.

“Anything that helps our game is alright by me,” he said.

“It’s all happened very suddenly, but I think anything they do like this is a good thing for tennis, and it’s about time they did something like this.

“They’ve got Roger Federer, Lleyton Hewitt, Rafael Nadal and Mark Philippoussis on board to launch it. It’s great.”

An adapted version of traditional tennis, Fast4 was designed to provide a less-time consuming version of the sport for those who can’t participate in the longer, traditional form of the game.

Traditional games of tennis normally last between 30 minutes and four hours for women, or between one and seven hours for men – depending on how competitive the match may be.

The longest games for each sex have been six hours and 31 minutes, and 11 hours and five minutes respectively.

A five set game of Fast4 however, will rarely last longer than 75 minutes with sets likely to take between 12 and 15 minutes to complete.

“If people enjoy it, and the content then we’ll definitely do something here in Orange,” Besgrove explained.

“People can play it in their lunch breaks, so it’s much more available.”

Much like the fallout from Twenty20 cricket, the worry of traditionalists condemning the sport remains likely.

“And they’ll be a pain in the back side really,” Besgrove said.

“The grand slams and big tournaments won’t be affected, traditional tennis will still be there. This is just a way to improve the sport, and appeal to more people.”

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

Hey presto, lots of fun on offer

THERE are many exciting children’s activities on offer at Upper Hunter facilities this school holidays.
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A highlight is the return of JD’s World of Magic this week.

International award-winning magician Joel Howlett will perform at Scone library at 10.30am today before heading to Murrurundi library for a 1pm show.

He will be at Merriwa library tomorrow from 1pm.

“I’m really looking forward to returning to the Upper Hunter for shows during the January school holidays,” Joel said.

“I have a brand new show that is guaranteed to be lots of fun for all ages.

“It will include a rabbit, audience participation and more fun than you could wave a wand at.”

Merriwa library will have story time and craft from 11am on Tuesdays – January 13, 20 and 27.

For more information or to book a place, contact 6521 7007.

Aberdeen library will make butterfly mobiles at10.30am on Tuesday, January 13; and, barnyard animal masks at 2.30pm on Friday, January 23.

For more information or to book phone 6540 1303.

Cassilis library will show participants how to make picture frames at 2.30pm on Friday, January 16.

For more information or to register contact 6376 1295.

Murrurundi library will host story time and craft from 2pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays from January 8 to 22.

You can also learn belly dancing at 2pm on Thursday, January 15.

To book a place at one of these events phone 6540 1363.

Scone library will have lots of action including wooden rockets craft at10.30am on Monday, January 12; pirate craft and party at 11.30am on Wednesday, January 14; Chinese hats craft at 10.30am on Monday, January 19; the Summer Reading Club presentation, prizes and party at 11.30am on Wednesday, January 21; and Australia Day craft and games at 10.30am on Friday, January 23.

To register for a Scone event contact 6540 1183.

There is no cost to attend these events, however, bookings are essential.

The activities are limited to school-aged children unless accompanied by a carer.

If your child is more interested in running around there is a range of local sporting options available too.

Scone Tennis Courts will host an open day from 9am to noon today followed by a family evening from 5.30pm.

There will be three on three basketball at Scone Basketball Stadium from 9am to 12pm on Tuesday, January 20.

To register for a family game of T-Ball, contact [email protected] by January 19.

The game will be on Wednesday, January 21, from 5.30pm, and costs $40 for a team of eight.

For information about Youth Centre activities, SOOSH Vacation Care and other resources, visit

In Muswellbrook, head on down to Muswellbrook Marketplace where the shopping centre boasts a fantastic array of holiday activities.

For more details, and times, see the advertisement on this page.

There is also plenty happening at Muswellbrook and Denman libraries.

Everything from the Summer Reading Club to dressing up as your favourite character is on offer.

Registrations for the reading club opened on Monday and prizes are available so don’t waste any time signing up.

The libraries also host random activities including ping pong tournaments, board games and video games, spot Dr Seuss games, portrait painting and much more.

For those who are a fan of Mr Darcy, the library will host a Jane Austen High Tea Party tomorrow from 3pm to 4.30pm.

The afternoon will include trivia games, reading and listening to quotes from Jane Austen’s work, and a chance to dress up as your favourite character.

For more information on these events or other things on offer, contact Muswellbrook library on 6543 1913 or Denman library on 6547 2485.

CLEVER: International award-winning magician Joel Howlett will visit Upper Hunter libraries these school holidays.

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

Plenty of Riverina support behind Single Gaze in the Magic Millions

EXCITING TIMES: Canberra trainer Nick Olive with the Gundagai-owned and Harden-bred Single Gaze that will contest the Magic Millions 2YO Classic on Saturday at Gold Coast. Picture: The Canberra TimesRACING
Nanjing Night Net

THERE will be a distinct Riverina flavour to the connections of one runner in Saturday’s $2 million Magic Millions 2YO Classic (1200m) at Gold Coast.

Gundagai men David Tout and Martin Hay own 50 per cent of Single Gaze, an $8.00 chance in the big race.

Adding to the Riverina connection is that Single Gaze was bred by Jamie Middleton at Redbank North at Harden, who has also retained a share in the exciting filly.

Canberra trainer Nick Olive prepares Single Gaze and come Saturday they will take on the might of Australia’s biggest stables for the first prize cheque of $1,140,000.

Hay will travel to the Gold Coast on Saturday and said it is a huge thrill just to have a runner in the race.

“I think Magic Millions sold 3000 yearlings last year so the odds just to get a starter in the race are incredibly high, let alone we think he is a real live chance,” Hay said.

“We’re really excited.”

Single Gaze came out and won a 2YO Handicap at Rosehill on debut at the big price of $81.

She then went to the $200,000 Magic Millions 2YO Classic at Wyong and ran a close third despite being wide the entire trip.

The Gold Coast feature will be her third race start.

Tout has group one experience when another horse he part owned, Just Mambo, ran seventh behind Miss Finland in the 2006 Golden Slipper, among many big races he contested during his career.

Tout is unable to make it to the Gold Coast but is excited to again have a runner in one of Australia’s biggest races.

“It’s a massive thrill, especially with Nick, a good local trainer,” Tout said.

“Nick only bought one horse at Magic Millions (last year), which is a pretty good effort, and he’s been raving about it ever since.

“I think she’ll be very competitive, I’ll be surprised if she doesn’t run in the top three.”

Former Gundagai footballer and apprentice jockey, Billy Owen, is a foreman for Olive.

He has travelled the filly to Gold Coast.

Hay said that adds to the special moment.

“Billy’s done all the work with her and that’s an exciting part for us as well,” Hay said.

“Billy’s an integral part of the town.”

Single Gaze drew barrier six at Tuesday’s draw and will be ridden by Damien Oliver.

Single Gaze’s success has been part of a good run Tout and Hay, who also race Art Thou Ready.

Art Thou Ready won three good races at Wagga and Albury this campaign and will return for the Gold Cup carnival in coming months.

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