Foundation Christian College parents ‘mortified’ by principal’s anti-gay stance

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MORTIFIED parents of Foundation Christian College students have gathered in support of gay marriage and unconditional love for others after a gay man was told his child was not welcome at the school.MORTIFIED parents of Foundation Christian College students have gathered in support of gay marriage and unconditional love for others after a gay man was told his child was not welcome at the school.
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The private school principal told the father of a seven-year-old girl she would not have been welcome had it known her parents were gay last week.

Since the Mail reported the allegations of discrimination on Thursday morning, more than 20 “angry and distressed” parents of students at the school said they didnot agree with the principal’s decision.

A mother who asked to be anonymous said the group was outraged the school board and principal’s attitude to gay marriage had put their children in a “lock down” situation.

“At the moment our children can’t go near the school gates and parents can’t call the school as the phones have been placed on ‘night mode’.”

“If I had known this iswhat the school thought, I would have had a problem putting my children there.”

The parent said the school was supposed to support unconditional love.

“To take that away from people is just not right, you can’t victimise people like that,” she said.

The group would like the community to know the principal’s decision was not the opinion of all teachers, parents and students at the school.

“Put all this aside [and] the values and nurturing which the school can offer is great,” she said.

“But the decision made last week doesn’t reflect this.”

RELATED:Gay dad not welcome at Mandurah Christian school

RESTAURANT REVIEW: Goodness Gracious Me

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RESTAURANT REVIEW: Goodness Gracious Me Goodness Me is located on Glebe Road. Pictures: Ryan Osland
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A mouth-watering and colourful ploughman’s lunch is just one of the healthy dishes on the menu at Goodness Me Organics cafe. Picture Ryan Osland

The cafe has a cabinet full of treats to take home or enjoy in the outside area where children can play; and in the cafe, which has comfy chairs and quiet spaces. Picture Ryan Osland

The cafe has a cabinet full of treats to take home or enjoy in the outside area where children can play; and in the cafe, which has comfy chairs and quiet spaces. Picture Ryan Osland

The cafe has a cabinet full of treats to take home or enjoy in the outside area where children can play; and in the cafe, which has comfy chairs and quiet spaces. Picture Ryan Osland

French Toast and Salted Caramel Frappe. Picture Ryan Osland

TweetFacebookEATING out can sometimes seem like a bit of a challenge when you have dietary restrictions. Being vegetarian is fairly well catered for as it has been in the cultural psyche for quite a few years now. But what about other diets? What if for medical, health or ethical reasons your diet is vegan, organic, gluten-free or dairy-free? Then things get a bit trickier.

There’s only so many side salads or steamed vegies you can consume before it all gets a little dull and too hard. But don’t despair.

Newcastle actually has quite a few options for those needing feeding alternatives. And one of the mother ships of these eateries is Goodness Me Organics in Adamstown. Started in 2013 by husband and wife team Anna and Andy Ward after ongoing health problems, they have created a haven of wholesome eating.

One side of the building is a grocer with fresh produce and the other a cafe. The eating area is cosy – it has lots of little nooks and crannies for tables and lounging. There is also a lovely deck with more tables and a leafy side garden with large umbrellas and ground blankets – a perfect place for the younger ones to run around in or for bubs to crawl on. We spot a bird’s nest in one of the large clumps of towering bamboo; it’s like a secret garden buffered from the busy Glebe Road.

Grabbing a table on the deck and the daily menu, there is much more than just greenery and quinoa on offer. It’s a mix of all-day breakfast goodies and lunch-time dishes. Breakfast offerings include Byron Bay muesli with poached fruit and yoghurt; “Green eggs and ham”: green chilli-fried eggs with nitrate-free bacon, sauteed greens and sourdough; or try one of the house favourites: French toast with poached fruits, Couveture chocolate, salted caramel and coconut ice-cream.

If you’re after something more lunchy you could try the soup of the day – a chilli, tomato and capsicum bowl of warmth, or head for the roasted sweet potato, black bean and cottage cheese on rye. Delicious.

Currently on a vegan regime, I opt for the roast tomato, lentil and baba ganoush on gluten-free toast. It’s a big tasty dish with two pieces of chunky toasted bread smothered in the earthy, garlicky eggplant spread. Soft, but not mushy, brown lentils sprinkle the plate and juicy roasted tomatoes are tangy and plentiful.

A BLT comes with nitrate-free bacon, loads of rich dark greens, more of those roasted tangy tomatoes and creamy aioli. It’s small but satisfying, colourful and has plenty of flavour. The bacon has a softer taste to it – it’s not as salty and the colour is less pink than the usual supermarket variety.

It makes you wonder what’s been put in the other stuff.

A salted caramel coconut frappe seems too luxurious and tasty to be vegan, let alone healthy. But who’s to argue? The frothy, whippy drink comes with a big blob of coconut ice-cream, drizzles of caramel and shavings of chocolate. It’s delectable and filling.

There are plenty of raw and gluten-free treats in a cabinet to finish up your meal or to take home and enjoy later. A banoffi cake hits all the right notes without leaving you feeling full of sugar, but there’s also lemon raspberry, “notella”, “nickers”, choc beetroot mud and tiramisu varieties to tempt.

Goodness Me provides a place to let you eat out, eat well and enjoy it.

What: Goodness Me Organics cafe

Where: 617-621 Glebe Road, Adamstown. 49524262.

Owners: Anna and Andy Ward

Chef: Joanne Lines

Hours: Monday to Saturday 9am to 3pm.

Drinks: Juices and sparkling $4.50, frappes $13, Jasper fairtrade coffee and Zoetic Infusions tea.

Vegetarian: Just about everything.

Bottom line: Eating organic can be pricey. Two drinks, two meals can cost between $50-70. Sweet treats $4-10.

Wheelchair access: Yes.

Do try: The French Toast.

HISTORY: Lasting legacy at Tanilba

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HISTORY: Lasting legacy at Tanilba The late Helen Taylor kept her historic home of Tanilba House open to the public for almost 30 years.
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The late Helen Taylor in her younger days, helping run the famous Alcron restaurant in Church Street, The Hill.

The late Helen Taylor in her younger days, helping run the famous Alcron restaurant in Church Street, The Hill.

The late Helen Taylor kept her historic home of Tanilba House open to the public for almost 30 years.

TweetFacebookPORT Stephens has many fascinating stories about its past.

But often it’s the seemingly unassuming people who have lived there who have the most intriguing stories of them all.

One such individual was the late Mrs Helen Taylor, the matriarch of historic Tanilba House, on Lemon Tree Passage peninsula, who suddenly passed away last month aged 79 years.

Strong, intelligent and fiercely independent, she loved classical music and lived at the heritage-listed stone home surrounded by her beloved pets for about 30 years to become a patron of the arts.

Her zeal and passion for history meant she kept her historic Port Stephens waterfront home open to the public for decades, long beyond what people expected.

A cursory examination of her background might only reveal she was born in Bohemia, Czechoslovakia, in 1936, to a Czech mother and German father. She was the daughter of the remarried Helena Oberland and sister to Suzanna and Georgina and also the dearly beloved mother of Alexandra von Rabenau and Christopher Taylor.

Nothing unusual so far, some might say.

What the thumbnail sketch doesn’t reveal is that she and her family made a deliberate decision ages ago to buy and save Tanilba Bay house from demolition when few people knew or cared.

That was in 1968, but then in 1980 the state government stepped in and, realising its importance, placed a permanent conservation order on the property, but without giving any regular grants to help with its upkeep.

Today the house, probably from 1834, is an icon of Port Stephens, having being built by convict labour for Royal Naval Lieutenant William Caswell, one of the district’s pioneers.

Helen Taylor was also a baroness by birth. She, her mother, stepfather and younger sisters abruptly came to and started the famous Alcron restaurant on The Hill, Newcastle, after fleeing the 1948 Communist coup in Czechoslovakia when family estates were being confiscated.

Helen was the eldest child and so as not to frighten her, her mother told her to pack for a week’s holiday.

The traumatised family first went to Greta Migrant Camp as stateless refugees, speaking little English. Her mother, Mrs Oberland, pawned her jewellery to allow the dispossessed family to get a toe-hold in the Newcastle property market by buying a small Mayfield cottage.

Soon this was sold to buy an old terrace in Church Street, city, which when converted became the Alcron, being named after a prestigious restaurant in Prague.

This became Newcastle’s first brush with cosmopolitan cuisine from 1951. Everyone from entertainers, artists and even prime ministers then visited the site over the five decades it existed.

“I was only ever taught two words coming on the ship [to ]. They were, ‘keep smiling’,” Helen Taylor once told me.

“It’s funny thinking back now, but schnitzel and even spaghetti bolognaise were exotic rarities on Newcastle menus after World War II.”

And here, daughter Alexandra von Rabenau takes up her mother’s intriguing life story.

“My mother was what I’d call old school; a type of character that doesn’t seem to exist much any more; Renaissance-type people,” she said.

“Hers was a generation of strong-willed Newcastle women, many of whom, sadly, are also now gone, like theatre owner Margaret Goumas and [larger-than-life real estate agent] Sonia Walkom,” Ms von Rabenau – her mother’s maiden name – said.

“What people mightn’t realise is that mum was a talented artist in her younger days who painted a mural in the Great Northern. She even entered a Miss New n pageant and won a trip to Tahiti after raising the most funds for a United Nations Children’s Appeal. Refugees were welcomed in back then. Imagine holding such a contest now.

“Her grandfather was also an aide, I believe, to Germany’s Kaiser Wilhelm and another relative [General] Friedrich von Rabenau was murdered by the Nazis after being part of a plot to kill Adolf Hitler,” she said.

Ms von Rabenau said the Herald wrote up her mother in a 1956 article, describing her as a then 20-year-old honey blonde beauty of aristocratic bearing who returned from Germany in late 1955 after 18 months working overseas, studying art and living with her father in Munich.

Over there, she began a career in set design and in the movies, working in a Bavarian film studio and meeting stars like Gina Lollobrigida, Ingrid Bergman, Peter Ustinov and Sophia Loren.

Then and later on, she was wary of her title of baroness.

“What does it matter? All it will do is get you a room in a hotel,” she’d say.

Back in Newcastle, Helen then helped run the Alcron restaurant for years with her mother.

Ms von Rabenau herself remembers it as an exciting place with personalities aplenty.

“For example, every Thursday night Professor Brin Newton-John – Olivia’s father and a former spy maybe – and Professor Godfrey Tanner would always dine there,” she said.

Her mother lived at Tanilba House from the mid-1980s and, after the Alcron closed, she focused more on staging exhibitions, plays, poetry readings and concerts in her historic home.

“Mother was plain speaking and she might crash tackle you in an argument, then afterwards, offer you a cup of tea. She didn’t hold a grudge,” her daughter said.

“She also knew more about n history than many and had a command of the English language that put us born here to shame. Her collection of early [n] history books was quite remarkable.

“It was quiet a shock then when she went as she wasn’t sick at all,” her daughter said.

“Tanilba House, which she co-owned with a relative, is obviously no longer open and we’re discussing its future.”

One suspects if it wasn’t for the Oberlands, who began leasing the house in the 1950s, and Helen Taylor, the historic hill house, the first on the peninsula, would have been torn down and the site smothered in cheap holiday flats long ago.

As it was, remote and unloved Tanilba House was once left deserted for 20 years up to the early 1890s and was even described then as Caswell’s beautiful white elephant.

Helen Taylor breathed life into it, giving the public a rare opportunity to get a glimpse into how life was lived in the 1830s.

Ironically, she lived at Tanilba House for about twice as long as its original inhabitants, the pioneering Caswells.

I, for one, will sorely miss her.

SIMON WALKER: Going through the process

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SIMON WALKER: That’s Life archive
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What happened to the good ole days when anything enjoyable didn’t kill us?

Like bacon, and sausages and asbestos.

THE World Health Organisation (WHO) caused a stink this week by announcing processed meats are carcinogenic.

And there I was thinking the only way a bacon sandwich could kill me was if I denied myself a bacon sandwich.

Now it appears hotdogs, ham, jerky, prosciutto and all that other good stuff is more toxic than Newcastle City Council politics.

Global reaction was swift and sanguine, as summed up in this Facebook post:

“F— cancer and f— the WHO, the organisation, not the band; unless the band has a problem with bacon, in which case f— them too.”

The world, it seems, is attached to its ham, particularly, I find, when associated with cheese, schnitzel and possibly a hangover.

Alas, hangovers, for me, have been a fading memory this Ocsober. Hopefully it’s only the memory of hangovers that’s fading and not memory itself.

What happened to the good ole days when anything enjoyable didn’t kill us?

Like bacon, and sausages and asbestos.

With due respect to those who remain resolutely calm during a crisis, we’re all gonna die!! So why deny what brings us pleasure? Like salami.

Old-school butchers will tell you it’s not ‘‘processed food’’ that’s bad for you, but the amount of hysteria consumed with it.

Oh, and the chemicals, which pesky scientists keep pointing out and which the interweb thingy keeps distorting, generating hysteria that now threatens to impact our enjoyment of Christmas ham.

The writing has been on the wall for processed meats for several years.

For most of us it spelt BLT.

The question now remains: Are sausages bad for us? The answer may be ‘‘yes’’, if people start eating bean salad for lunch and we have to be in confined spaces with those people after lunch.

The International Accreditation and Recognition Council (IARC for short – or should that be ICARK? or IARC UP) puts processed meat in the same group (1) as tobacco, although according to WHO, a ham sandwich isn’t as risky as a 20-a-day smoking habit. But don’t tell Mama Cass that.

Red meat is in group 2A on the list of doom, one sub-lethal level below processed meats, meaning it can still lead to death, particularly if you are a cow, but whether that constitutes a causal connection to cancer in humans remains a definite ‘‘maybe/maybe not’’.

The red meat industry has rejected any comparison between cigarettes and meat, although technically you can smoke both, butrarely do you see couples indulge in a juicy rissole after mad passionate love.

Nutritionists maintain the cancer risk is relatively small and that meat has other benefits.

Whether putting hairs on your chest offsets colorectal cancer remains to be seen.

Experts say much bigger risk factors are obesity and lack of exercise.

Otherwise known in as World’s Biggest Loser, or living the dream.

Critics argued the IARC panel tortured the data in order to ensure a specific outcome, ie. clicks on its website.

Lord knows, stats get confusing. Take alcohol, for example – in moderation, of course.

Consuming three alcoholic drinks a day can reduce the chance of heart attack, but may be enough to cause liver cancer. Three alcoholic drinks a day may also be just enough to take your mind off both thoughts.

Half of ns are unaware excessive alcohol increases cancer risk anyhow, and we’ll see proof of that next Tuesday when the race that slows the nation takes its toll.

There’s no strong evidence linking fresh white meats such as chicken, turkey, or fish to any types of cancer, yet, but experts are working on it.

According to the most recent estimates by the Global Burden of Disease project, an independent academic research organisation with what can only be described as a morbid fascination, about 34,000 cancer deaths a year worldwide are attributable to diets high in processed meat.

Eating red meat, on the other hand, has not yet been established as a cause of cancer.

But if it was, and there’s a strong chance that it isn’t, it could be responsible for 50,000 cancer deaths a year worldwide.

Contrast these numbers with the 1million cancer deaths a year globally caused by tobacco smoking, 600,000 a year caused by alcohol consumption and the untold morbidity rate from worrying about what’s going to take you down.

Which raises the question, is the risk higher with different groups, like children?

Given the “excessive consumption factor’’ of the dialogue, probably yes, if you eat too many of them.

Should we stop eating meat?

If you’re a practising vegetarian, probably yes, although you may have a bit of time up your sleeve until you get good at it.

How much meat is it safe to eat?

I’ll leave the final word on that to Wallsend resident Margaret Priest who says she has loved ham, sausages, bacon and red meat since she was a child.

“I am now 70 years of age,’’ Margaret wrote. ‘‘Both of my parents loved their bacon and eggs for breakfast along with other meats on a daily basis and died within seven months of one another, so I am now a bit concerned by these latest findings.

‘‘Mind you Mum and Dad were both in their 90s when they died.’’

JOANNE McCARTHY: Behind the headlines

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JOURNALISM can put you in pretty funny spots at times.
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Example 1. Stuck by myself on a median strip in busy traffic on a multi-lane highway in Bali, with just John Howard for company.

It was October, 2003, after the memorial for the first Bali bombing. I thought about starting a conversation but couldn’t be bothered in the end.

had been making war in Iraq for months as part of the Coalition of the Willing, on a Howard Government call, and although I had the prime minister captive for a few minutes until it was safe to cross, what could I say?

‘‘Wow, you’re going to regret that decision a few years from now?’’

But I would have been wrong. Years down the track there’s been no real regrets from the leaders who ignored the millions of their own citizens who said ‘‘No’’ to the Iraq war.

And this week former British prime minister Tony Blair blinked an earnest ‘‘My bad’’ for TV.

Example 2. Saving the very elderly gent with a touch of dementia who was trapped by his pyjama pants cord.

Picture the scene. Journalist arrives to interview a very elderly gent in his unit at a retirement village. Hears muffled sounds inside like someone being strangled.

Journalist bangs the door, imagining the worst. Considers kicking it in but decides against it. High heels aren’t made for door-kicking. Is about to yell for help when the door opens and a very elderly gent appears with his pyjamas tied tight at his ankles.

His pyjama top is short. Too short. He is not wearing underpants.

A few minutes later a photographer appears. The journalist – on her knees in the doorway in front of the elderly gent, untying his pyjama cord at ankle height – straightens up, job done, her head now at elderly gent groin level.

The photographer lifts his camera and prepares to take a shot. ‘‘For blackmail purposes,’’ he says later.

The journalist gives him a death stare.

The elderly gent pulls up his pants, ties the pyjama cord, and the interview begins.

Example 3. Another elderly gent story. This time – the journalist, the elderly gent, the caravan fire and remembering basic nursing skills.

Years ago an elderly gent was rescued from a caravan fire by some of his neighbours. The media gathered to speak to him after he arrived back at the caravan park from hospital.

The elderly gent was the worse for wear for his experiences.

Several journalists filed in to an old caravan to speak to him, and quickly filed out again.

Then the assembled media looked at the only journalist who was 1. Old enough to have had children, so was accustomed to the odd and unexpected, 2. Once trained as a nurse and 3. Looked like she’d know how to clean up an incontinent elderly gent whose burn dressings were a mess with enough speed that they could get what they needed without having to wait for too long.

And so I did, before phoning a hospital chief executive to give him an earful about the early release of patients.

Example 4. Yet another elderly gent story, about the cardie-wearing horse whistler.

It was a few days before the Melbourne Cup, maybe 15 years ago.

In a fancy shed at a NSW racetrack stood a little gnome of a man in a cardie, his apprentice – a beefy bloke in his 50s – another young bloke, a nervous journalist, a photographer and a big horse that had just won a race and needed to pee.

Actually I’m not sure if, given the choice, the horse really needed to pee. But those gathered in the fancy shed were certainly keen for him to deliver.

And so I was introduced to the magic of the horse whistler – a little cardie-wearing gnome of a man who could get big horses to pee in a cup for mandatory drug tests, on the strength of his warble.

The horse was big, wet from his run and radiated heat. He snorted. He seemed to fill the fancy shed to the point where I plastered myself to the wall to stay out of his way.

A young bloke walked the horse around and around in a circle. I can’t remember the horse’s name. Kitten Killer? Flared Nostrils? The Beast? Something like that.

Every so often he would stop and strike a dramatic pose with head up and a slightly distracted air about him. A hush would descend. The horse was about to pee …

But no, and he’d flounce around again for a bit.

Kitten Killer struck the pose and we waited with bated breath maybe half a dozen times. He was not going to give up his pee easily.

And then the little gnome of a horse whistler stepped in, cup in hand, and did his magic.

Kitten Killer peed.

The racetrack laminated the front-page article with its photo of the horse whistler and hung it up for all to see.

The horse whistler was thrilled but died not too much later. His fame lives on.

Sydney doctors walk off the job in protest at detention of children

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A drawing done by a child being held in detention. Photo: SuppliedDoctors and staff at Sydney’s two children’s hospitals will stage a joint protest on Friday to raise awareness of the serious damage being done to their child patients who are being held in immigration detention.
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Paediatricians David Isaacs, from Westmead Children’s Hospital, and Karen Zwi, from the Children’s Hospital at Randwick, told Fairfax they could no longer condone the increasing damage being done to their patients.

“They are in a traumatised, agitated state and it is getting worse and worse the longer we leave them there,” Dr Zwi said. “We have really reached crisis point.”

She said the average time children were held in detention had now reached 417 days, with about 113 children being held in detention around .

“They become more and more distressed over time, they become depressed and think life is not worth living … they wet the bed, they can’t concentrate and they have nightmares.”

“There is really no medical care for a child who is distressed, they really need to be in a safe, nurturing environment,” she said. “Otherwise it is impossible for them to make a recovery.”

Dr Isaacs said the group wanted to meet to encourage the public to reject the ongoing detention of children.

“We think it’s torture,” he said. “It is immoral for us to be condoning it, whatever the reasons”.

He said that given the government claimed it had already stopped asylum seeker boats, there was no reason to continue to keep children in detention.

He also said releasing the children to Nauru was not an acceptable solution.

“It is a scary, scary place and girls are being raped,” he said. “They are also only being given temporary visas, they are only allowed to be there for five years and then they have to leave.”

The staff and some medical students will meet at 12.30pm on Friday in front of the two hospitals, where a group photo will be taken.

Daniel Holdom in relationship with key suspect in Karlie Pearce-Stevenson’s identity fraud

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Daniel James Holdom, the man charged with murdering Karlie Pearce-Stevenson. Photo: Facebook Karlie Pearce-Stevenson and her daughter Khandalyce. Photo: NSW Police
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Police believe toddler killed just after mother

Daniel James Holdom, charged with murdering Karlie Pearce-Stevenson, was in a relationship with a woman who allegedly hijacked Ms Pearce-Stevenson’s identity after she was killed.

Investigators suspect Ms Pearce-Stevenson and Holdom, who has also gone by the names Daniel Bishop and Daniel Marshall, were also at one stage romantically involved.

Holdom, 41, appeared in Cessnock Local Court on Thursday charged with the murder of Ms Pearce-Stevenson, 20, whose remains were found in the Belanglo State Forest, south of Sydney, in August 2010.

He has not been charged in connection with the death of Ms Pearce-Stevenson’s daughter, Khandalyce, whose remains were found in a suitcase in Wynarka in South in July.

It is understood police were able to trace Holdom’s mobile phone as being in the forest at the time Ms Pearce-Stevenson was allegedly killed.

Fairfax Media can reveal Holdom was also at one time in a relationship with a woman who police believe was one of those who stole Ms Pearce-Stevenson’s identity and stole $90,000 after her alleged murder in December 2008.

It is understood she is the woman who attended a credit union in June 2010 and convinced staff she was Ms Pearce-Stevenson after showing her identity documents.

The relationship between Holdom and the woman is believed to have ended after his four-wheel-drive rolled in South  killing two of the woman’s young children.

Holdom was given a 12-month good behaviour bond and lost his licence for a year over the late-night crash on the Stuart Highway at Marla in the state’s north.

Ms Pearce-Stevenson travelled to and from Alice Springs between 2006 and 2008 before making her way down to the southern states.

She was seen in Adelaide in 2008 but the last confirmed sighting of her was in the Canberra suburb of Charnwood in December of that year.

Police believe during her travels, Ms Pearce-Stevenson met up with Holdom, who was living in Hillbank in South in 2008/2009.

Hillbank was one of the suburbs police targeted last week in a series of raids as part of the double murder investigation.

Holdom also has links to the ACT.

Detectives are trying to establish where Khandalyce was killed, whether it was in the same state as her mother or in South where the child’s body was dumped.

Police believe two women may be involved in the identity fraud and used Ms Pearce-Stevenson’s mobile phone to provide false proof of life to her family and friends.

A woman also pretended she was Ms Pearce-Stevenson and convinced her mother to send money into her account. The money was then withdrawn.

Rugby World Cup 2015: Wallabies wingers Drew Mitchell and Adam Ashley-Cooper making experience count

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Winging it: Drew Mitchell, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Julian Savea and Nehe Milner-Skudder. Photo: Getty Images RWC Schedule: When is the Rugby World Cup final?Full coverage of the 2015 Rugby World Cup
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LONDON: Power and poetry in one corner and two blokes on the wrong side of 30 in the other.

The World Cup final will pit four of the world’s best wingers against each other for an explosive 80 minutes of take-no-prisoners physicality on Saturday night. There’s the steam rolling Julian Savea and twinkle-toed Nehe Milner-Skudder for the All Blacks and a 113-Test veteran and former card-carrying Fat Club member for the Wallabies. How is that a fair match up?

Because Drew Mitchell and Adam Ashley-Cooper are in the form of their careers, according to former Wallaby Rod Kafer, combining peak physical fitness with maturity in their play. And while Mitchell admits Savea and Milner-Skudder – nominees for try of the year and breakthrough player of the year, respectively – can “make you look silly”, Kafer believes the Wallabies’ defensive structures and attitude are enough to limit their space.

“They won’t get that amount of space [they have found in other matches] against ,” Kafer said. “And the more pertinent question is can the Wallabies continue to dominate ruck ball? If we can do that we can dominate on the wings. One-on-one I’d probably back the All Blacks [wingers] to be fair, but that actually doesn’t matter because it’s a team game, not a one-on-one battle.”

The All Blacks wingers have attracted heavy hype for their individual skills throughout the tournament. Savea scored a hat-trick against France, while Milner-Skudder, already a star in Super Rugby, rose to prominence on the world stage. Their combination with replacement Beauden Barrett in the semi-final against South Africa gave New Zealand a lethal versatility.

“Beauden Barrett makes these left-footed kicks from just past halfway with 10 minutes to go … he brings a completely different element from the others,” Kafer said. “If you want all-out attack it’s Nehe Milner-Skudder, whereas Savea gives you wet weather capability and a player who can damage teams just with his physicality.”

Mitchell has pulled off a feat of his own this World Cup, managing to hold off a returning Rob Horne to retain his starting spot in the Wallabies’ knockout games. The Toulon winger left at the end of 2013 but had not played a Test that year. His form had not recovered from an ankle injury he suffered in 2011.

But any concerns the 31-year-old rode into the Wallabies set-up on friend and teammate Matt Giteau’s coat tails were put to bed with Mitchell’s wending cross-field run through six Argentina defenders to put Ashley-Cooper away for his third try last week.

“This is his best form since he broke his ankle and he was in great form then, leading Super Rugby for tackle busts and was scoring tries, and it’s probably taken him the four years to get back to that form,” Kafer said. “Now there’s that physicality he’s brought into his game, his defence has been excellent and by his own admission he’s come back and transformed himself into a cut-down leaner version.”

Ashley-Cooper has had plenty written about his class, longevity and versatility. He too, at the ripe old age of 31, appears to be running with added pace, showcasing it in his three-try effort against Argentina in the semi. But whether the 170-odd Test caps between them can outwit, if not outpace, their All Blacks rivals, remains to be seen.

“I would hope that I’m a more rounded player and with the experience that I’ve picked up on the way can find myself in positions that I probably wouldn’t have been able to when I was at that age,” Mitchell said.

“These guys [Savea and Milner-Skudder], as young as they are, still seem to find themselves in some pretty good positions. I don’t know the trade-off, perhaps we’re a little bit slower than these guys.

“We’re most certainly not as big as, well, one of them, and probably don’t have the footwork as the other, but we’d hope that we bring our own skill sets and one that benefits our side.” 

Travel tips and advice including Dubai-Abu Dhabi transport and a US road trip

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Your best option is to take the metro from Dubai’s International Airport to the Al Ghubaiba​ Metro station. This station is on the green line so you’ll need to change from the airport train, on the blue line, at Union Square. From Al Ghubaiba metro station make your way to the Al Ghubaiba Bus Station, just a couple of blocks away. Apart from a break between 1-5am buses depart from there for Abu Dhabi about every 20 minutes. The trip takes just over two hours, the buses are airconditioned and very comfortable, and keep in mind that the back seats are for men only. From the bus terminal in Abu Dhabi you should catch a taxi to your friends’ residence. The Evening Desert Safari and Dinner from Get Your Guide http://www.getyourguide上海龙凤论坛m gets good reviews. After a pick-up from your hotel about 3:30pm, you’ll be taken to a camel farm and out for a spot of four-wheel-drive dune bashing – hold on tight – before trying an Arab shisha, a water pipe, and sitting down for a barbecue dinner under the stars with live entertainment, and look inconspicuous or you might be invited onto the floor by the belly dancer. The price is $129 a person.


Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum, Cologne Cathedral, Schloss Nymphenburg​ and the Residenzmuseum​ in Munich, Kaiserburg​ Castle in Nuremburg and Hohensalzburg​ Castle in Salzburg all rate as highlights on your itinerary, but you can find plenty more wonderful advice on each of these cities if you go to the Traveller website (traveller上海龙凤论坛 or the Lonely Planet website http://www.lonelyplanet上海龙凤论坛m/ and key in your destinations in the search box. You could also go to the national tourism websites for Germany, the Netherlands and Austria and find more of the same.

It’s going to be seriously cold, between minus 5 and 2 degrees in Salzburg and only slightly warmer in Amsterdam. Typically in northern Europe, you’ll be going from freezing temperatures outdoors to overheated interiors, frantically shucking off clothes in restaurants and shops. It makes sense therefore to dress in layers, with a bottom thermal layer, shirt and trousers, jumper or fleece and a coat or parka on top. Wool is my favourite but no matter how many clothes I take I’m always caught napping by how cold it is in Europe and I end up buying more. If this happens to you, January should be a great time to buy, with sales of winter gear and smart and desirable fashions that you won’t see back home.


What a great adventure this is. I’d be using a book to plan this journey, the National Geographic Guide to Scenic Highways and Byways. This is the ideal guide for tailoring a trip through the US in the slow lane, with lots of photographs and maps that will help you plan a sensational journey through the American West. The book is available through Angus and Robertson’s online bookstore, http://www.angusrobertson上海龙凤论坛,  priced at $45.99, with a delivery time of 1-2 weeks.

My own preference would be a wandering journey to take in the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Yellowstone,  Grand Teton National Park, Zion National Park, Santa Fe and Bryce Canyon National Park.

August is going to be very busy and you can expect big crowds at the scenic spectaculars such as the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. September will be quieter, especially once the school holidays finish early in the month, but you need to book accommodation and vehicle hire as soon as possible. If you have any flexibility in your travel dates you might consider starting your journey at the end of August or early September to avoid the worst of the peak season.

On the Rocky Mountaineer, your most likely starting points are either Banff or Jasper, finishing in Vancouver. You’re likely to incur a heavy one-way charge for your hire vehicle if you pick it up in the US and return it in Canada but this might not be too much of a problem if you’re travelling aboard a single vehicle and the charge is shared between six. If not, what you might do is drop it at a city airport in one of the western US states and fly to Calgary, from where it’s just a short trip to Banff, which would be my preferred starting point for your journey aboard the Rocky Mountaineer.



The question was “Next question: There are a couple of websites that buy business class seats using frequent flyer points and sell them at a big discount. Ever been tempted, or better still, taken the plunge?”

A. Danilov writes, “I found a recommendation for one of these websites called Fly Business For Less, and I emailed them about a flight I wanted to take. I didn’t receive any reply for a week or two, then a message saying they’d had troubles with their site, and to re-send my request, which I did. After no further replies or suggestions for some weeks, I gave up and booked my economy flight. Now all I get is newsletter emails from them which don’t interest me in the slightest, so I’m less than impressed with them.”

From P. Carison, ‘I’ve been tempted but I’m cautious. I’ve heard that some airlines frown on the practice and what happens if they refuse to honour my ticket? Would the seller come to my rescue?”

N. Morrison writes “I’ve not purchased tickets from any of these operators but I’ve found plenty of negative reviews from people who have. Mainly the problem seems to be US airlines in particular refusing to honour tickets issued by these discount operators. My feeling is don’t touch them. If something looks to good to be true, it probably is, and these offers definitely fall into that category.”

Next question: What was your first overseas holiday, and does it still bring back special memories?

Send response to [email protected]上海龙凤论坛 The best response will win a Lonely Planet guidebook.


Include your name and your suburb or town and send it to [email protected]上海龙凤论坛 All published questions will win a Lonely Planet guidebook.

Rugby World Cup 2015: Talk is cheap for Wallabies captain Stephen Moore as he chases title

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Proud dad: n captain Stephen Moore kisses his son Theodore after his team’s 29-15 win over Argentina in their Rugby World Cup semi-final at Twickenham. Photo: Christophe Ena Humble approach: Drew Mitchell, Stephen Moore and Sekope Kepu make their way to training. Photo: Dan Mullan
Shanghai night field

Natural leader: Stephen Moore. Photo: Dan Mullan

RWC Schedule: When is the Rugby World Cup final?Full coverage of the 2015 Rugby World Cup

LONDON: Stephen Moore knew when he took the Wallabies’ captaincy that it was time for action, not cheap talk or bold statements.

That’s why you won’t hear him crowing about their transformation from a rabble 12 months ago to World Cup finalists this week. The most respected voice in the n team says anyone caught looking at the past will be caught “standing still” as the Wallabies attempt to make their own history.

It’s a poignant declaration given Moore has been the Wallabies’ public voice of reason in recent years, who has stood tall at controversial moments to uphold standards in the Test ranks. But it’s what goes unsaid now that defines Moore’s leadership and has made him one of the strongest captains in recent times.

“We’ve tried to stress that it’s not about talk through this whole year,” Moore said. “It’s not as though we woke up yesterday and said we don’t want to be talking, we want to do it. That’s really part of what we want to be about. I’ve always been aware of the importance of actions. There’s no magic or secrets. It’s just being honest with each other and working towards the same philosophy.”

The Wallabies have a diverse mix of players from, as coach Michael Cheika put it this week, “jokers, lovers and fighters”. Moore falls somewhere in the middle as the serious captain, but that doesn’t mean he’s not bursting with excitement.

It might be hard to see through the steely exterior of a driven man, but Moore knows the Wallabies have a chance to create history by becoming the first country to win the World Cup three times. “I am excited. It’s a dream to get this opportunity. A lot of work goes into getting to this position,” Moore said. “But the minute that you’re looking back at that, you’re standing still a little bit. I’m not allowing myself to do that this week, keeping my head down and trying to get better.

“As a player, there’s a clear road map for how we go about it.”

Few people gave the Wallabies’ hope of being in the World Cup final after the drama of the past three years. They’re on to their third coach since July 2013 and have churned through more than 70 players to try to find the right mix.

Moore says the job’s not done and they’re determined to lift the Webb Ellis Cup and put the past to bed.

Robbie Deans’ time in charge was dogged by off-field grumblings in the playing group and Quade Cooper’s infamous “toxic” environment tweet. Ewen McKenzie took over but his downfall was swift last year when a text-message drama emerged. That brought Cheika and Moore together as the Wallabies leading voices and it has paid dividends.

Asked how he wanted to be defined as a captain, Moore said: “I don’t have stuff stuck on my fridge or anything like that. I don’t have any real grand plans or long-term visions. I’ve been looking short term to every day, week or game and dealing with it all in the moment.

“This week’s the same. No matter what the hype is, it’s a game. And my job as a leader is prepare them to be their best for 80 minutes. That’s what it will take.”

Moore made his Super Rugby debut in 2003 and played his first Test in 2005. He became just the seventh Wallaby to reach a Test century in the World Cup-final two weeks ago.

But despite his decorated career, Moore has played in just one grand final in the past 13 years. “The attention around a World Cup final is unavoidable. It’s a bigger stage. But you’ve got to park that to one side and make sure you’re not leaving anything to chance.” 

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