History opens up to the public in rare tours of Sydney’s Tank Stream

The Sydney Tank Stream is still an active stormwater drain. Photo: Steven SiewertIt quietly winds its way through Sydney’s heart – underneath offices and crowds, landmarks and traffic – to emerge just handful of times a year as one of the most sought-after tickets in town.
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The Tank Stream was opened up to a lucky few on Sunday – more than 226 years after Captain Arthur Phillip identified it as the lifeblood of the future colony, which, in turn, soon contaminated the fresh water source and eventually drove it underground.

About 160 people from among the thousands who typically try for a spot on a Tank Stream tour were granted access to a small section of the tunnel near Hunter Street, where the pick marks left by convicts during a 1791 drought can still be seen hewn into Sydney’s bedrock.

“It’s one of the least accessible tourist spots in Sydney,” said Sydney Water’s archaeologist Yvonne Kaiser-Glass, who led the tours organised for Sydney Open through what now largely functions as a stormwater channel.

“If, when you leave this space and you can get that image in your mind as to how it would have looked 200 years ago, then I’ll feel: job done.”

Swamp land near Hyde Park originally fed the stream, which coursed down a 30-metre drop towards Circular Quay. The swamp was drained in 1850.

But the water trail that shaped Sydney still flows through the tunnel, even though successive development has often similarly cut off – or at least diverted – some of the stream’s other sources.

“That lines up perfectly with Spring Street,” Ms Kaiser-Glass of water seeping into the tunnel through its sandstone wall.

“And Spring Street was called that because it had such active flows around it.”

Alongside convict maker’s marks, there are also more recent signs of the life that endures in the darkness: paw prints of rodents have been preserved in what was once wet cement.

Ms Kaiser-Glass said many of the cockroaches, which also share the tunnel with “albino grasshoppers”, appeared to have been cleaned out by Saturday’s downpour – along with the typical high-water mark of polystyrene.

“The most ironic thing you’ll see after heavy rain is the little soy fish,” she said. “So fish have come back into the Tank Stream, just not in the way we wanted.”

It was hoped that more tours, or in future even a webcam, could help teach Sydneysiders about the water cycle, she said.

The Tank Stream was one of about 50 venues and spaces usually off-limits to the public made accessible for the Sydney Living Museums’ Sydney Open.

Airdrie Martin travelled from the Blue Mountains to take part in the underground tour after a spare ticket became available on Saturday.

“I think it’s just amazing, the history of it,” she said. “And the fact that it’s still flowing and doing its job.

“I hope it serves Sydney forever.”  

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Family’s third brush with bushfire claims their Blue Mountains home

A bushfire rages out of control. Devastated: The Beattie family’s home. Photo: James Alcock
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Carl Beattie stands on the Katoomba street where his family home stood. Photo: James Alcock

Saturday was the Beattie family’s third brush with a destructive fire in a year.

This time it claimed their Blue Mountains home.

Little more than a year ago, a bushfire at Winmalee also ripped through 17-year-old Frieda’s school, St Columbas. Another fire, thought to be deliberately lit, struck again just last month. The HSC student’s major work was destroyed.

Then on Saturday another bushfire climbed without warning over a Katoomba cliff face and loomed over the Beatties’ street.

They escaped minutes before the street was engulfed, leaving only their home gutted.

The fire that destroyed their home was one of at least 76 blazes which burned across the state at the weekend.

On Sunday, RFS firefighters worked to contain 40 out-of-control fires including a blaze at Kurri Kurri which at one point burned perilously close to properties.

RFS Deputy Commissioner Rob Rogers said some fires were sparked by natural causes but others were deliberately lit.

One fire, in the Garigal National Park, started from four separate ignition points.

The Beattie family thought they were safe when a fire burning in the Megalong Valley, appeared out of sight by lunchtime on Saturday.

But by four-o-clock Chris Beattie decided to check what was happening outside after hearing a hovering helicopter.

“He got home from work and was going to have a shower,” his brother Carl said.

“He could only see a little bit of smoke across the road. But it jumped over the cliff so  fast. He ran back inside, got the car and drove.”

A trail of smoke turned into flames engulfing gum trees 15 metres high, within five minute, witnesses said.

They were pushed over the cliff face by swirling hot winds strong enough to knock over a neighbour’s fence kilometres away.

Some veteran firefighters described the conditions as the worst they had seen in decades.

By 3.45 pm, the flames were on their verandah and the neighbouring Grabham family had no time to escape with any more than the dog.

“We thought we were going to be burnt to death,” Greg Grabham said.

The Beatties returned to their Brougham Street on Sunday.

Corrugated roof sheeting lay contorted on the ground, next to a burnt Hills Hoist and amongst shattered window glass and a screen door off its hinges.

“We’re sad to lose all our stuff,” Mr Beattie said. “But that can be rebuilt. We’re just happy to be safe”.

Police were investigating the scene of the blaze on Sunday, amid suspicions it was deliberately lit.

“When there’s a lack of lightning it always gives rise to that suspicion,” said Blue Mountains Mayor Mark Greenhill.

“Three weeks ago we had snow.”

About a dozen fire truck crews stood watch on the other side of the ridge on Sunday, as the  six hectare blaze remained burning out of control, beyond them at the bottom of the cliff face.

Helicopters dumped water with regular flyovers. But firefighters were unable to do much more than stand watch, in case of another sudden change of wind that might bring the fires back over a thicket of gum trees again toward the centre of Katoomba, about three kilometres away.

Controlled hazard reduction burns were cancelled on Saturday after a total fire ban was put in place for most of NSW.

“Almost everything got postponed. The amount of fire we were dealing with, we weren’t going to introduce any more,” Mr Rogers said..

“Our official fire season comes in on the first of October, so I don’t believe this is an earlier fire season for NSW,” he said.        

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Thieves disappear with thousands of bicycles

This Brunswick family, Daisy Wilson, Nic Kocher, Joanna Wilson, Rollo Wilson Kocher and scar Wilson Kocher have had 8 bikes stolen over the past 4 years. Photo: Paul JeffersBicycle crime has hit a five-year high in Victoria as opportunistic thieves active in inner-city hipster hotspots disappear with hundreds of cycles every year.
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In the past financial year more than 5000 stolen bikes – or almost 100 every week – were reported to Victoria Police, data obtained by The Age show.

In some postcodes the numbers of stolen bicycles now outstrip stolen cars. These areas include the central Melbourne suburbs of Carlton, Fitzroy and Parkville, and the Victorian towns of Wangaratta, Sale and Horsham.

With some high-end bikes now valued at as much as a car, victims can be left significantly out of pocket. A Ballarat Scenic Cyclists Group member recently had his  $5000 racing road bike pinched during a home burglary.

The state’s bicycle groups say cases of bike thievery rarely end happily for the victims.

“It’s very uncommon for people to get their bikes back,” Melbourne Bicycle User Group spokesman Nicholas Dow said. “Because people are [stealing them] for profit, the bike is going to be sold.”

In Melbourne’s CBD, almost 1600 bikes have been pilfered in the past five years, at a rate almost 50 per cent higher than that of car thefts.

In the suburbs, Brunswick is Melbourne’s hub of bike crime, with the number of missing bikes almost doubling in five years, to 143 last year.

Thieves have stolen eight bikes from one Brunswick West family since 2010.

Joanna Wilson said brazen criminals often targeted their home during hard-rubbish collection periods, when they used bolt cutters or other implements to unshackle the bikes locked up at the front of the house.

It is a crime spree that has probably cost the family of five about $5000,  because none of the bikes had been recovered. The family’s three children now store their bicycles in their bedrooms.

Ms Wilson, who owns Brunswick cafe John Gorilla, said she knew people in her neighbourhood who owned bikes valued up to $18,000 and families that used bicycles as their only form of transport. “They’ll even take their bikes on the train to go camping,” she said.

Throughout  the state there have been 22,271 cases of bikes being stolen in the past five years, in comparison with 76,076 reports of stolen cars.

Police and the Bicycle Network stress that riders should use a good-quality lock – and a sturdy fixed object to chain their bike to – when parking in public.

Mr Dow said he was aware of a case in which bikes chained to a no-standing sign in Melbourne’s CBD had routinely disappeared, because thieves would simply pull the loose sign from its foundation.

And even paying for additional security may not be a guaranteed solution, as Lewis Spears, 20, found out when his $600 wheels were stolen from a so-called secure bike facility near Flinders Street Station. After the incident he noticed a laminated sign warning patrons of a bike theft gang operating in the area.

Police say they have difficulty returning stolen bikes to their owners, partly because they struggle to identify the cycles found in recovered loot.

“Bikes can be returned to their owners if engraved with your licence number,” a Victoria Police spokeswoman said.

“Alternatively, take a photo of your bicycle.  This will greatly assist police in being able to return it to you.”

Authorities also say bike owners should have their cycles insured.

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Red Cadeaux looking to make it fourth time lucky at Melbourne Cup for Ed Dunlop after two near-misses

Wizard of Odds: Live Odds, Form and Alerts for all RacingFull coverage: Melbourne Cup 2014Melbourne Cup sweep
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Red Cadeaux’s trainer Ed Dunlop jokes that his men on the ground in Melbourne are “like an old married couple” caring for a spoiled only child. But they are the secret to Dunlop’s international success and Red Cadeaux’s two near-misses in the Melbourne Cup.

His constant travelling companions are foreman Robin Trevor-Jones and rider Steve Nicholson, both 52 and genuine horsemen.

“I’m just here for the race,” Dunlop said when he arrived for a fourth shot at the Melbourne Cup with the twice runner-up.

“The trainer is in there [he points to the Werribee track and Trevor-Jones]. He knows the horse and knows what is going on.

“Steve and him are a good team and they do it well.”

For the three years Red Cadeaux has hopped around the world – Australia, Dubai, Hong Kong, Japan – If he had frequent flyers he could upgrade to first class but that wouldn’t be necessary.

“He travels in a box by himself, we pay extra for that,” Nicholson said. “You do this, you do it right.

“Everything right has to be done right.”

Before him there had been Lailani, Ouija Board and Court Masterpiece for Dunlop and his team. Mare Snow Fairy was the latest star from the Dunlop yard, winning in England, Ireland, Japan and  Hong Kong.

“I have been very lucky, now I have travelled 29 group 1 winners in seven countries over 18 years,” Trevor-Jones said in a matter of fact way. It is not boasting but he could be the best traveller of horses in the world.

Red Cadeaux accounts for one of those, the Hong Kong Vase, but his seconds in the Dubai World Cup and in two Melbourne Cups have his prizemoney at more than $6.3 million. He is a favourite of Trevor-Jones.

“When you go aboard with them as much as we do with him they become special. You know them,” he said.

The former National Hunt rider is the benchmark for travelling.

“You learn a massive amount doing this,” Trevor-Jones said.

“You see other trainers that are coming here and they are using 90 per cent of my stuff. They are saying where’s this, where’s that and they haven’t got it.

“It is the experience of me going around the world. I know what you need normally to keep a horse going when they are aboard.

“And you need so much. That’s why I have a truck full of medical gear and a truck full of other gear. You just need so much stuff.”

While having the right horse is the starting point, the right man on the ground is just as important. Timing is imperative.

“The hardest thing is having them right on the day and it is only one day,” Trevor-Jones said.  “You don’t want them getting there the week before or having them there the week after.”

Watching Nicholson and Trevor-Jones work together with their old horse is amazing. Trevor-Jones walks out out with his going stick to test the ground then Nicholson arrives on Red Cadeaux.

“Look,” Trevor-Jones said.

“All right,” Nicholson replies.

“It gets firmer as you go out, so be careful and stay around here,” Trevor Jones says moving to the centre of the track.

Red Cadeaux does his work and the men are pleased as they try to line up their hopes in the Melbourne Cup.

“Things have gone quiet smoothly. You always have your little issues but things have gone well. Things have gone pretty well,” Trevor-Jones said.

“You have to respect the lad that rides him all the time, you got to take his word for how he is going.”

Nicholson thinks about it for a minute and gives a measured response.

“He seems no different to the other times but you have to realise he was five, six in your terms, the first time we came here. He is nine now and it does catch up with us all,” Nicholson said. “He still seems fine but you notice more and more as they get older niggly little problems.”

“The closer the race gets the more problems you see. Your eyes start playing tricks on you,” Trevor-Jones adds. “He has 57kg and is older but gee I would like to get my hands on that Cup. I saw it the other day and it is beautiful.

“He is ready. We are happy.”

The ultimate racing guide with the latest information on fields, form, tips, market fluctuations and odds, available on mobile, tablet and desktop.

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$16m plan to protect Lake Macquarie coast from storms, erosion

A $16 million plan for the Lake Macquarie coast aims to protect it from hazards such as storms, sea level rise and erosion.

The city council wants the coast’s health to be ‘‘central to everyone’s lives’’.

It has called for comment on its draft Lake Macquarie Coastal Zone Management Plan.

The primary goal of the plan was to develop ‘‘resilient coastal landscapes and communities’’.

With sandstone and conglomerate cliffs, sea caves and long beaches, the Lake Macquarie coast is a diverse landscape.

It was considered a ‘‘high-energy coast’’, with the biggest waves emerging in east coast low storms, the plan said.

Beaches were uncrowded compared with those in cities and the coastline was mostly undeveloped, creating a ‘‘more natural recreational experience’’.

However, threats were on the horizon, with the council to ramp up efforts to protect the coast and heighten preparations for sea level rise.

Blacksmiths was a ‘‘key coastal risk area’’ with potential for ‘‘erosion, recession and lake inundation over the next century’’.

Preparation for ‘‘coastal recession’’ would be made with community adaptation plans at Blacksmiths, Redhead and Catherine Hill Bay beaches.

The council promised to work with affected communities on ‘‘changing levels of hazard and risk’’.

Council sustainability manager Alice Howe said the coastal zone was ‘‘central to the lifestyle of Lake Macquarie residents, particularly the lake and beaches’’.

“It is important that council hears from people about their priorities for managing the coastal zone and that we discuss how we can work together to maintain and improve the coastal zone,” Dr Howe said.

Dr Howe said the plan included actions, plans and hazard assessments for the coastline, lake, catchment and Swansea Channel.

Councillor Chad Griffith said most Lake Macquarie residents lived ‘‘within a stone’s throw of the lake or ocean’’.

‘‘It’s vital we maintain the health of beaches and the lake – they’re important assets to the community,’’ said Cr Griffith, chairman of the council’s estuary and coastal management committee.

The council said its commitment under the plan amounted to about $2 million over the next four years, but other money would be sought from state and federal governments.

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Theatre: A town shares its stories in Singleton Tales

TIME OUT: Some of the young cast members of Singleton Tales, which looks at community issues and what makes the town special.WHEN a young dog escapes from a residential yard in a country town like Singleton, you never know where it will end up.

That is something Emerson Avery learnt when a new family pet, Nipper, a miniature fox terrier-chihuahua cross, ran into the street a few years ago.

Emerson chased the dog, Nipper, through the town and into a cow paddock, where the bovines were far from impressed.

Emerson reveals what happened next in Singleton Tales, a theatrical work that offers a collection of stories about young people’s lives in the town.

Suffice to say that the story had a happy ending. The dog, Nipper, is now nine, and Emerson, 17, is pleased to still have her in the family home.

Singleton Tales, which will be staged at Singleton Youth Venue on November 14 and 15, features 11 young people aged 11 to 17.

Each will tell a story about something that happened to them in Singleton, plus getting together for group segments where they will look at issues that affect townspeople generally.

Singleton Tales has been developed by Tantrum Youth Arts and young people from Broken Leg Theatre Company, a group based at Singleton Youth Venue, with support from Arts Upper Hunter and ABC Open. Singleton Council and the Australian Government’s Regional Arts Fund financed the project.

Mark Reedman, Arts Upper Hunter’s development officer, approached Newcastle-based Tantrum Youth Arts last year about helping to stage a show that would enable members of Broken Leg Theatre to develop skills in putting works together, as well as performing them.

Reedman was associate director of 2 Til 5, the original name of Tantrum, from 1993 until 1999, becoming artistic director in that year and continuing with the company until 2003. He wrote acclaimed plays about youth issues, with three of them winning CONDA Awards for the best new play of their years.

TRACK RECORD: Director Tamara Gazzard is a member of The Paper Cut Collective.

The present Tantrum management had no hesitation in becoming involved in the project, with one of its acting teachers and directors, Tamara Gazzard, taking on the role of director. Gazzard had worked with young people at Singleton as a high school drama teacher and, having grown up near Maitland, had her own youthful experiences in a rural community.

She is also a member of The Paper Cut Collective, a group which puts together plays drawn from verbatim comments. Its first major work, The Past is a Foreign Country, which looked at the very different memories of a family fishing trip, won last year’s best new play CONDA.

Broken Leg Theatre’s artistic director, Dan Stranger, is Gazzard’s assistant director on the Singleton Tales project. Huw Jones, who put together an engaging music soundtrack for Spent, a Paper Cut Collective show staged this year, has developed a score to accompany the various tales.

Development of the show began in June, with Gazzard’s discussions with the cast members leading them to go out and interview people in the Singleton community about their views on the town. Mining invariably came up, with differing opinions and feelings voiced on the matter.

ABC Open’s Anthony Scully interviewed the young cast members during that early stage, and the videoed interviews will go online after the show is staged. Gazzard is looking at putting together a montage taken from those interviews that audience members will be able to see before the performance.

She notes that the participants talk in the show about what they like best about Singleton, community issues, special things about the town that outsiders aren’t aware of, and their dreams for the future.

“There is a lot about family and friendship, with the support, for example, that the community gives to soccer,” she said.

Friendship is the keynote of 14-year-old Tom Hull’s story.

He went into a forest near his home and was whittling a piece of wood into a sword when another teenager he’d never met before appeared and asked him what he was doing.

The newcomer’s response was, “I like swords, too.”

So the pair had a sword fight and became friends.

Tom’s story incorporates a choreographed sword fight with another actor.

The tale by Kristen Bintley grew from a problem she experienced because of Singleton’s hot summers.

Bintley, who is now 16, was walking home from school on a hot afternoon at age eight when the heat caused her nose to start bleeding. She stood outside the family house for a long time trying to stop the bleeding.

Memories of that incident come back to her when hot days occur.

The other cast members in Singleton Tales are Olivia Anderson, Ares Caballero, Olivia Cronin, Kanyan Evans, Adam Humphrys, Liam Pile, Anthony Andrews and Zack Kupelian.

Singleton Tales can be seen at Singleton Youth Venue, Pitt St, Singleton, on Friday and Saturday, November 14 and 15, at 7pm. Tickets are $5 and can be bought at the door.

For more information, contact Singleton Youth Venue, 65714687.

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Steve Thomson to vye for Liberal Party endorsement in Maitland

From left, Steve Thomson, Philip Penfold and Lisa Tierney.FORMER Maitland Business Chamber president Steve Thomson is firming as the front-runner for endorsement as the Liberal Party candidate for the state seat of Maitland.

Liberal Party sources have told the Newcastle Herald that Mr Thomson approached Maitland MP Robyn Parker to discuss his political ambitions after she announced last month that she would retire from politics at the next election.

Mr Thomson stepped down as chamber president last month to be the voice for small business chambers across the district on the Hunter Business Chamber board.

He has previously denied he would nominate for Liberal Party preselection and was unavailable for comment on Sunday.

However, a source said the party was keen to see Mr Thomson endorsed because he had the “unknown factor”, had done a lot for Maitland, knew how to get publicity and already had a public profile.

Newcastle councillor and Maitland Liberal Party branch treasurer Lisa Tierney has publicly confirmed her nomination for preselection and the Herald understands there is another prospective candidate in the wings.

Ms Tierney, who works and lives in Newcastle, has come under fire from Maitland councillor and independent candidate for the state seat Philip Penfold – who says Ms Tierney could not give Maitland her full attention.

The pair were close friends during their time on Maitland City Council between 2008 and 2012, and according to Mr Penfold they remain friends.

He believes he has the upper hand as he has already been elected to serve the people of Maitland as a councillor.

The state electoral boundaries are the same as for the Maitland local government area.

He will run for mayor in 2016 if he is not elected as the state MP.

But fellow Maitland councillor and East Maitland Liberal Party branch president Bob Geoghegan said Cr Penfold was taking advantage of electoral funding laws, which reimburse candidates for campaign costs to a certain extent if they receive more than 4per cent of first preference votes.

Cr Geoghegan questioned Mr Penfold’s motives for running for the state election when he had publicly maintained his eyes were firmly on becoming mayor.

Mr Penfold rejected the accusations, saying he “was one of the most proactive councillors” and funding laws were not designed to allow candidates to make money.


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HUNTER BUSINESS: Belmont dynamo Barbara Davis retires

WINDING DOWN: Barbara Davis is looking forward to taking a cruise now that she has the time. Picture: Phil HearneBELMONT has bid farewell to a stalwart of its community.

After 20 years managing Belmont’s shopping hub, Barbara Davis, now in her 70s, has retired.

Before leaving Newcastle for Coffs Harbour, where she will join her family, the property and senior manager at Belmont Citi Centre and Belmont Central said she had mixed emotions.

‘‘I don’t know how I will do it, but I will,’’ Ms Davis said.

She’s been a flag bearer for Lake Macquarie and the Newcastle Knights.

A community leader since driving the Aussie’s for ARL campaign against the Murdoch-backed Super League, her boundless energy, huge heart and unforgettable voice will be sorely missed in Belmont.

Ms Davis was the first woman to be elected to the board of the Newcastle Knights, and she’s been an executive member of the Belmont Chamber of Commerce for 20 years.

She succeeded in stopping graffiti after controversially banning hoodies in the shopping malls.

Former Belmont Chamber of Commerce town planner Jenny Barrie said she had never met anyone with Ms Davis’ energy.

‘‘She has done so much for Belmont and she has been an inspiration for so many women leaders,’’ Ms Barrie said.

Labor councillor Kay Fraser said she would be ‘‘sadly missed because she is a fighter’’.

‘‘She is one of the leaders of the community and has been instrumental behind most community projects,’’ Ms Fraser said.

With the backing of the centre’s Perth-based owners, Ms Davis has organised sponsorship for causes large and small.

‘‘I couldn’t have done the things I’ve done if it wasn’t for them,’’ Ms Davis said.

‘‘Any time anyone is doing anything they come to me and they have never knocked anyone back,’’ she said.

Although it feels like ‘‘there’s been a death in the family’’ to be leaving her post, Ms Davis said she was looking forward to spending Christmas with her grandchildren for the first time they could remember.

‘‘My daughter said to me, ‘Mum, we haven’t had a Christmas together for 20 years. Our kids always considered Boxing Day to be Christmas because you couldn’t come. Do you think we could have a couple of them before you leave this world altogether?’,’’ Ms Davis said.

‘‘That’s when it really hit me. I thought you’ve got to get your priorities in order.’’

NEWCASTLE-based CVG Finance is hosting a free LinkedIn seminar for local businesses.

The firm credits its recent boom to stepping up its social media presence.

‘‘In the space of six months we have doubled our business,’’ said the LinkedIn event organiser and executive assistant Sophie McIntosh.

‘‘I just don’t think that is a coincidence.’’

With the help of Brisbane company The Social Advisor, CVG have concentrated on creating content that added value rather than pushing product. Now the firm wants to share the strategy with other Newcastle businesses.

Social Advisor’s Baz Gardner will run two workshops which will be followed by networking drinks.

The first workshop will examine the functionality of LinkedIn and the second will cover strategy.

CVG Finance director Paul Lambess was recently voted one of the top 25 Plan Australia Brokers in Australia. See diary for event details. RSVP to [email protected]杭州龙凤论坛m.au by November 7.

BENGALLA mine employee Jo Corliss has been recognised as manager of the year for front-line leadership in mining at this year’s Australian Mining Prospect Awards.

Ms Corliss, a front-line supervisor at Bengalla’s open cut coal operations near Muswellbrook, says it was humbling to receive the award.

‘‘If someone had told me five years ago that I would be a front-line supervisor in coal mining and win manager of the year I would have said you’ve got to be joking,’’ she said. Ms Corliss joined the company as a technician five years ago and has been in a leadership position since in 2012.

A START-UP recruitment company that describes itself as online dating for job seekers is launching a regional pilot in Port Stephens this week.

Recruitment app Workible matches candidates who upload professional profiles with employers.

Companies can either connect with the best-matched candidates when they post a job or trawl through the profiles of jobseekers who post their skills and availability in categories.

From Thursday a Port Stephens community category will be included.

Employers will be able to post jobs targeting local applicants, and anyone looking to work in the Port Stephens area can upload a profile.

Newcastle and the rest of the Hunter will follow the Port Stephens pilot.

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10,000 take part in 33rd annual MS Sydney to the Gong Ride

Thousands ride in Sydney to the Gong: photos The 33rd annual MS Sydney to the Gong Ride. Picture: ADAM McLEAN

The 33rd annual MS Sydney to the Gong Ride. Picture: ADAM McLEAN

The 33rd annual MS Sydney to the Gong Ride. Picture: ADAM McLEAN

The 33rd annual MS Sydney to the Gong Ride. Picture: ADAM McLEAN

Brad McGee at the finsh area after he completed the Sydney to the Gong. Picture: ADAM McLEAN

Lachlan Stephenson at the finsh area after he completed his 19th Sydney to the Gong. Picture: ADAM McLEAN

The 33rd annual MS Sydney to the Gong Ride. Picture: ADAM McLEAN

The 33rd annual MS Sydney to the Gong Ride. Picture: ADAM McLEAN

The 33rd annual MS Sydney to the Gong Ride. Picture: ADAM McLEAN

The 33rd annual MS Sydney to the Gong Ride. Picture: ADAM McLEAN

The 33rd annual MS Sydney to the Gong Ride. Picture: ADAM McLEAN

The 33rd annual MS Sydney to the Gong Ride. Picture: ADAM McLEAN

The 33rd annual MS Sydney to the Gong Ride. Picture: ADAM McLEAN

The 33rd annual MS Sydney to the Gong Ride. Picture: ADAM McLEAN

The 33rd annual MS Sydney to the Gong Ride. Picture: ADAM McLEAN

The 33rd annual MS Sydney to the Gong Ride. Picture: ADAM McLEAN

The 33rd annual MS Sydney to the Gong Ride. Picture: ADAM McLEAN

The 33rd annual MS Sydney to the Gong Ride. Picture: ADAM McLEAN

The 33rd annual MS Sydney to the Gong Ride. Picture: ADAM McLEAN

The 33rd annual MS Sydney to the Gong Ride. Picture: ADAM McLEAN

The 33rd annual MS Sydney to the Gong Ride. Picture: ADAM McLEAN

The 33rd annual MS Sydney to the Gong Ride. Picture: ADAM McLEAN

The 33rd annual MS Sydney to the Gong Ride. Picture: ADAM McLEAN

The 33rd annual MS Sydney to the Gong Ride. Picture: ADAM McLEAN

The 33rd annual MS Sydney to the Gong Ride. Picture: ADAM McLEAN

The 33rd annual MS Sydney to the Gong Ride. Picture: ADAM McLEAN

The 33rd annual MS Sydney to the Gong Ride. Picture: ADAM McLEAN

The 33rd annual MS Sydney to the Gong Ride. Picture: ADAM McLEAN

The 33rd annual MS Sydney to the Gong Ride. Picture: ADAM McLEAN

The 33rd annual MS Sydney to the Gong Ride. Picture: ADAM McLEAN

The 33rd annual MS Sydney to the Gong Ride. Picture: ADAM McLEAN

The 33rd annual MS Sydney to the Gong Ride. Picture: ADAM McLEAN

The 33rd annual MS Sydney to the Gong Ride. Picture: ADAM McLEAN

The 33rd annual MS Sydney to the Gong Ride. Picture: ADAM McLEAN

The 33rd annual MS Sydney to the Gong Ride. Picture: ADAM McLEAN

The 33rd annual MS Sydney to the Gong Ride. Picture: ADAM McLEAN

Mark Bruce at the finish line in Fairy Meadow after the Sydney to the Gong Ride. Picture: ADAM McLEAN

The 33rd annual MS Sydney to the Gong Ride. Picture: ADAM McLEAN

The 33rd annual MS Sydney to the Gong Ride. Picture: ADAM McLEAN

The 33rd annual MS Sydney to the Gong Ride. Picture: ADAM McLEAN

The 33rd annual MS Sydney to the Gong Ride. Picture: ADAM McLEAN

TweetFacebookThieves mar bike rideTherewere no major medical emergencies or injuries resulting from Sunday’s Sydney to Gong ride, with all of the 10,000-strong pack arriving at the finish line in one piece, albeit a little sore and thirsty.

Eight riders were treated for minor injuries at the end of the ride but none required hospital treatment.

A large police presence along the course, and particularly at the intersection of Elliotts Road and Carters Lane near the Thomas Dalton Park entrance, helped maintain a flow of both car and cycle traffic.

Although crowds on the day were extremely well behaved, an incident overnight put a dampener on the event for a small number of riders.

Thieves reportedly broke into the ride camp in the early hours of Sunday morning, making off with cans of coke and alcohol stolen from at least four corporate tents.

Wollongong police are now investigating the matter and are asking anyone with information to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

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HEALTH&FITNESS: App fits right in to life

HEALTHY OPTION: The summer parkrun season is coming, so it’s time to start getting serious about training.WHEN I caught up with a friend last week, she was spruiking the benefits of a Fitbit she was given as a gift.

I had not heard of the wireless wristband she was wearing that tracked her daily activities and monitored her sleep patterns.

According to fitbit杭州龙凤论坛m, there are several wireless devices you can wear to help track different daily functions, such as how many calories you have burnt, how many steps you have taken or how many stairs you have climbed.

It also syncs to other devices, such as smartphones and computers, and there is an app which you can use to log your food and calorie intake.

The sleep tracker has been a real eye-opener for my friend, who says she is sleeping better since using the Fitbit and has found herself being more accountable about what she eats and how much she exercises each day.

I am pretty old-school and still prefer to write down daily activities in a log book, but I can definitely see the attraction of the Fitbit, and with Christmas not too far off it might be a gift idea for a friend or family member or even yourself.

And what a great time to be thinking about improving your health – during the last month of spring.

If you have used the first two months of spring to start getting yourself in better health for summer, then hopefully you are seeing some positive results by now.

If you set yourself the goal of participating in Run Newcastle at the end of this month, hopefully you are edging ever closer to your personal goal.

And just a few days ago I heard a rumour there was a new parkrun for our region – we already have parkruns at Carrington (Newy parkrun), Blackbutt, Speers Point (Lake Mac parkrun), Singleton, Fingal Bay, Maitland and Belmont – and now apparently there will be a Beaches parkrun. It looks as though it will run from Bar Beach on Saturdays at 8am and will be a 5-kilometre timed event on the sand. It is expected to be launched on November 29 – two days out from summer.

Sounds pretty good to me – soft sand run on Saturday mornings followed by a dip in the ocean. You can’t start your weekends any better than that!

Here are a couple of sessions if you want to get started on some summer fitness:

On the sand (or at the oval):

Session 1

10 squats, 10 push-ups, 1-2 minutes of sand running/walking, repeat 1-3 times; 10 lunges, 10 rows/pull-ups with dumbbells, 1-2 minutes of sand running/walking, repeat 1-3 times;

20 mountain climbers/burpees/shuffles, 10-20 ab curls/ab rotation with dumbbell, 1-2 minutes of sand running/walking, repeat 1-3 times.

Session 2

20 minutes continuous (adjust time depending on your level of fitness) x 20 seconds walking, 20 seconds easy jogging, 20 seconds hard running.

Renee Valentine is a qualifiedpersonal trainer and mother of two

[email protected]杭州龙凤论坛m

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