‘Committed to service’

Orange’s Geoffery Sims is one of the family members who honoured the 26 soldiers killed in a training accident at Kapooka. Picture: Kieren L TillyFor the 26 soldiers who died during a training accident at Kapooka, it’s just their family who are left to remember and uphold a tradition.

The service remembering the tragedy on May 21, 1945 lost one of its last links when former trainee Paddy Cranswick died on Monday.

A twist of fate meant Mr Cranswick did not die in the accident, 71 years ago.

Major Robert Bailey from the Royal Australian Engineers paid tribute to Mr Cranswick and the 26 soldiers who died.

“Their legacy will not go unnoticed,” Major Bailey said.

Major Bailey said the trainees who arrived on the day to learn would have formed a bond through the “duress of training and preparing for combat”.

“Service starts when you enlist, it’s why it’s important to remember these young men who had committed themselves to service,” he said.

“This commemoration is an opportunity for family and friends to remember and reflect.

“After family there is no real connection which makes it even more important that we keep their legacy and remember them.”

Major Bailey said the Royal Australian Engineers had a motto –ubique, meaning everywhere.

“It’s the spirit of these men that you carry everywhere,” he said.

Orange’sGeoffery Sims is the grand-nephew of Geoffery Wilton Partridge, he joinedhisgrandma from Bourke.

“You look at the paddock and you wouldn’t know such a terrible thing happened there,” Mr Sims said.

“What they’ve done for the memorial is amazing, and the number of people who are here is incredible.

“Any Australia who gives their life in service needs to be recognised.”

Mr Sims said it was good more people were learning about the tragedy and paying their respects to those who lost their lives.

Author and former soldier Andrew Johnston was among the crowd at the service.

Mr Johnston, who retired as a Warrant Officer after 20 years in the Australian Army, discovered the tragedy by accident when he left.

He then spent nearly 2.5 years researching and writing a book calledThe Forgotten Rising Sons.

“This is a good tribute for these 26 soldiers, today is a good example of how important it is for Kapooka and Wagga.”

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City square homeless: ‘It’s wrong to be pushing us out of the city.’

A council officer issuing the One Voice Mobile Shower Bus with a parking fine on Friday. Photo: Facebook The parking fine posted to the One Voice Mobile Shower Busy at City Square on Friday. Photo: Facebook

The charity behind the city’s shower bus for the homeless says Melbourne City Council needs to work better with homelessness organisations, after the pioneering bus was given a parking fine on Friday night.

The shower bus, which provided 16 showers to homeless people camping in City Square on Friday, was given a $91 fine and told to move on by council officers.

The milk-crate protest camp was pulled down on Friday morning, on orders from the council, but many rough sleepers and protesters remain at the site.

One Voice founder Josh Wilkins said the shower bus visited City Square every week, parking in the bus zone on Collins Street, and had never been issued a fine previously.

He also said the bus zone sign had no time limit written on it.

“It’s wrong to be pushing us out of the city, they should be working with us so we can help some of these guys,” Mr Wilkins said.

“There’s been days where our showers, I believe, have stopped people committing suicide.

“They’re so depressed and down, but when they walk out of that shower it’s like a new day, a new world and they sit down and converse with us.”

The organisation posted photos of the parking fine on the One Voice Facebook page, and almost 2000 people have since shared the photos, with some offering to pay the charity’s fine.

“It went pretty viral, there’s a lot of support out there and it shows the public do support homeless people and I think we all need to stand up and do something,” Mr Wilkins said.

“For way too long councils have been putting band-aid solutions on things, we need to invest money in long term solutions. And work with us to create a space so that we can work with people.”

The shower bus has been operating around Melbourne since December, Mr Wilkins said. The service has increased to four days a week and visits City Square every week.

He said the service was about socialising, as much as providing a good shower.

“There were quite a few people around [on Friday], we hung out, we chatted and we had an Uno competition going on,” Mr Wilkins said.

“It’s relationships these guys miss, they don’t like being treated like a number.”

Mr Wilkins sent Lord Mayor Robert Doyle an email on Thursday to set up a meeting to discuss the housing situation and to try and form a better relationship with council.

“Hopefully something good comes of this, and maybe we can band together with other services to work with council and have a spot where we can operate from,” he said.

But the council appears unimpressed by the appeal.

“The bus was offered numerous opportunities to move but refused,” a spokesman said.  “This incident is an issue concerning traffic flow and public transport which is a matter of safety during peak times.”

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Veterans deserve an easier claims system

Australia’s veterans have served their country in roles that have left them with both physical and mental health problems they will deal with for the rest of their lives.

Transitioning back to civilian life can behard and beset bymany problems, exacerbated by issues including post-traumatic stress disorder.

The last thing veterans need after their service is to deal unnecessarily with bureaucracy.

But veterans are struggling to grapple with a claims system that is convoluted and slow.

The delays they face in having medical compensation claims processed and reviewed, and the frustration they experience in navigating the system have to end.

Veterans driven togivingup on the claims processaren’t receiving the compensation due to them, needed for them to return to civilian life.

The government is willing to send men and women to war, but hasbeen failing those same people when they return.

Considering what they have done for their country and our community, it should be a national priority to make the Department of Veterans’ Affairs easier to navigate for ex-services personnel.

Veterans should be able tomake a medical claim without encountering what has been described as an adversarial process.

They should not have to feel like they’re in conflict with their own government over the impact of war on their bodies.

Australia’s government should back them by improving the system.

Veterans deserve to believethat the DVA of all departments is on their side as they make claims.

For a start, the claims process should be easier to understand for veterans.

Second, direct DVA contact with veterans will be needed to assist them with their claim. Volunteer welfare compensation advocates can’t do all the work in making sure a claim is successful.

The government is rollingout of a national alternative disputes resolution model in addressing the adversarial aspects of the claims system that veterans encounter.

Ensuring the DVA’s IT system meets a high standard mighthelp.

But more reform is needed in this sector to fix a situation that is adding to veterans’ financial and psychological stress.

The Sunday Examiner will continue to look at veterans’ experiences of the claims system in coming weeks.

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Family on boat rescues passengers from hot air balloon near Beaumaris

From left, Nigel Abbott, his son Jack Abbott and Timothy Stone after they helped rescue people from a hot air balloon. Photo: Paul Jeffers From left, Jack Abbott, his father Nigel Abbott and Timothy Stone after the rescue. Photo: Paul Jeffers

Senior Sergeant Neil Mathieson addresses the media. Photo: Paul Jeffers

An MFB Fireboat at the site of the rescue. Photo: Paul Jeffers

A Beaumaris family rescued nine passengers aboard a hot air balloon on Saturday morning, hoisting the aircraft onto their boat and carefully pulling people from the basket of the balloon to safety.

Nigel Abbott said he was taking his son and nephew out for a wakeboard on their large family boat, named the Fifty Fifty, when they saw a hot air balloon carrying 10 people in distress.

“As it unfolded the boys had noticed the balloon and they thought it was either over the water or very close to the edge of the land,” Mr Abbott said. “It sort of started to descend and it was very clearly over the water.

“We sped out to where it was, we got confidence for them to descend and the boys on the deck of the boat took some lines from them and got a couple of people off.”

But getting the passengers off was a difficult task, Mr Abbott said. After two passengers were pulled aboard the boat, the hot air balloon shot back up into the air.

“Some observers on the shore were saying the balloon seemed to be going up and down – that was because we were releasing people off it,” he said.

“Jack [Abbott] and Timmy [Stone] were able to steady the basket, get some people off, so we repeated that process until we got them all off.”

A Victoria Police vessel, an MFB Fireboat, and two coast guards attended the scene, just off Ricketts Point near Black Rock, but it was Mr Abbott’s recreational boat that saved the day.

He said it was lucky the Fifty Fifty had a flat bow, for the hot air balloon to land on.

“The other boats there had a lot of equipment on them and no real areas for the basket to land on,” Mr Abbott said.

“The police boat, fire boat and two coast guard boats, none of them were able to assist, so they stood by while we got the people off and then we transferred them to police.”

Jack Abbott said the hardest part was negotiating the speed of the boat with the pace of the balloon.

“We had to match the speed, when he [the pilot] came down we had about 20 seconds to offload two people at a time,” he said.

After all the passengers were safely offloaded, an LPG cylinder was transferred onto the balloon allowing the pilot to eventually land it safely at Mount Martha.

A Victoria Police control point was set up at the Beaumaris Motor Yacht Squadron club and Ambulance Victoria set up a triage area in one of the rooms.

Senior Sergeant Neil Mathieson told reporters at the yacht club on Saturday that all passengers were uninjured and in a good condition.

He said the hot air balloon pilot had left Dendy Park in Brighton about 8am Saturday and attempted to make several landings onshore, before landing about 500 metres offshore near Black Rock.

The pilot attempted to land back at the Dendy Park, and then at the Sandringham Golf Club.

“I believe he was low on fuel, but I don’t know whether that was the initial problem that caused the issue,” Senior Sergeant Mathieson said.

A Victoria Police spokeswoman said police helped with the rescue efforts, but an aviation authority would be investigating what caused the hot air balloon to make an emergency landing in the water.

An Australian Transport Safety Bureau spokesman said investigators would look at the incident and decide whether it would investigate.

Civil Aviation Safety Authority spokesman Peter Gibson said it would assess the landing and whether all safety regulations were followed.

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Jono Lance: Western Force take Tokyo and Sunwolves, now on to the Blues

After a tough few weeks for the Western Force the men spoke about how important a game the Sunwolves was for many reasons.

It offered us a chance to get away as a team and spend some quality time together, the chance to experience a new culture with teammates and also took a bit of the edge off trying to win with the enjoyment from so many other factors coming to the fore.

And all these facets coming together showed with the best performance from the team and also showed with the amount of  “bum taps” and smiles on the guys during the game. Finally our attack had clicked in the first half and the way we wanted to play was starting to come through.

As much as there were many positives however, we know the position of the team at the moment means we can never be complacent and after a good rest from the bye week we have to take on the rest of the year like we took on that first half in Tokyo.

As well as the rugby side of things, I was lucky enough to head to Tokyo on the Force CEO tour with sponsors and members of the mighty “Sea of Blue”. For me it offered a chance to get my head away from rehab, see how much the fans love the Force and watch a game with some members.

To experience the Japanese culture in many different ways with Force fans showed me the passion they have for this team to be a success, which is always eye opening.

The trip to Tokyo also showed me how important the Sunwolves are in Asteron Life Super Rugby. A full stadium at Prince Chichibu Stadium was a spectacle in itself, but the entertainment on offer was something you don’t often see at a rugby match and something that we can all learn from.

I hope to see the Sea of Blue in the stands on Saturday, when we take on the Auckland Blues, it should be a cracker of a match!

The Western Force host the Blues at nib Stadium on Saturday night. Kick-off is 5.40pm.

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Unlucky you’re with AAMI: East Maitland family sleeping in a tent as insurance dispute drags on

Tanya Martin and her family have been forced to live in tents in their backyard while waiting for insurer AAMI to fix their home in East Maitland. Photo: Max Mason Hubers Tanya Martin’s home is full of toxic mould after being damaged in the April super storm. T Photo: Max Mason Hubers

Martin and her children live in tents in their backyard. Photo: Max Mason Hubers

Damage to the Martins’ home in East Maitland. Photo: Max Mason Hubers

For Tanya Martin, it was unlucky she was with AAMI.

More than unlucky, the East Maitland woman has been thrust into a hell not of her own making, forced to sleep in a tent with an autistic child as AAMI fights liability over a super storm claim.

It is the second case to be revealed by the Newcastle Herald in recent weeks as the ethics of the insurance giant are again called into question.

By her own admission, Ms Martin didn’t think anything of the minor flooding around her home after the storms in April last year.

She joked with her children “they were on an island” and the problem would be fixed soon.

But the flooding left behind mould, which Ms Martin said seeped indoors through the vents, spreading throughout the entire house in the week they spent away from the property.

Believing her insurer would cover the damage, her hopes were dashed when AAMI determined the mould spores emerged through “pre-existing conditions”.

“I couldn’t believe it,” Ms Martin said.

“When I countered them with reports, they did not factor it in or even take it into consideration.

“They discounted them entirely.”

The builder’s report, carried out by Craig’s Building Advisory Services, and seen by the Herald, rejected the findings of AAMI’s engineer.

It concluded the April super storm was to blame for the internal moisture and said AAMI’s claim that faulty guttering could be responsible was “totally incorrect”.

But AAMI, standing by its own report, retorted each one of the findings.

Ms Martin was incredulous.

“Why do we always assume that our insurer is going to screw us?” she said.

“The treatment doesn’t back up the bright and cheery marketing, they just don’t seem to give a damn.

“We shouldn’t be living like this, but there’s nowhere to go, where do you go?”

Ms Martin is on a waiting list for public housing and her dispute is with the financial ombudsman.

In a statement, AAMI declined to comment in detail, but said it would abide by the ombudsman’s ruling, which is due in six to eight weeks.

The Newcastle Herald

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Federal help vital for river

VITAL SUPPORT: Tamar River Cruises’ Dennis Radin, Launceston Mayor Albert van Zetten and Launceston Flood Authority chairman Alan Birchmore are lobbying for $1.5 million from the federal government. Picture: Holly MoneryContinued funding towards the Tamar River silt raking program is vital to the city’s future, saidLaunceston Mayor Albert van Zetten.

The City of Launceston, along with the Launceston Flood Authority and a number of waterfront business operators hope to secure $1.5 million of federal fundingover three years.

“The Federal Government’s last contribution of $2.5 million allowed some drastic improvements to be made through the silt raking campaign, and I believe the continuation of this program is vital to improving the health and amenity of the upper reaches of the Tamar River,” he said.

“While there are many challenges facing the river, this funding will allow us to use significant rainfall events as an opportunity to shift significant amounts of silt from the upper Tamar.”

Chairman of the Launceston Flood Authority Alan Birchmore said the federal fundingallocationallows for extra workof significant value.“We’going to use the allocation this year, given that we get it, on running a number of sediment levels against various flows, so that we can understandmore precisely where the dangers are with flooding and those sorts of things,” he said.

“We’ve come so far in the last three years, you couldn’tcompare it with anything before, we’re so much more knowledgeable about it and we’ve achieved so much.”

Dennis Radin from Tamar River Cruises said the raking program is essentialto allow tourists to view the Gorge from the boat.“We won’t operate if it goes back to [a high sediment]stage. We’re a tourist operation, and a lot of Launceston’s perspective income in based on tourism,” he said.

“Raking programs are essential to the health and well-being of the areafrom a tourist perspective and a wildlife perspective.”

Launceston businessman Errol Stewart agreed and said the continuation of raking was critical for the future success of the city.

“If you go back ten years then look at today, the amount of foot traffic that goes around Royal Park and the Seaport, around the silo levee and along Kings Wharf it’s just become a hub for the community,” Mr Stewart said. “Whether it’s people walking, mums pushing prams, cyclists riding around, recreational runners, the river edge has become a recreational hub.It’s dead simple,the raking program works, and we need it to continue.”

It is understood Bass MHR Andrew Nikolic will briefMinister for the Environment Greg Hunt about the fundingrequest next week.

Bass Labor candidate Ross Hart said his focus was on securingfunds forTaswater’s multi-year project to deliver cleanwater in the Tamar.

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Kids in space: a Melbourne primary school puts an astronaut in the hot seat

The audience watches on as Essex Heights Primary School students interview an astronaut on the International Space Station. Photo: Wayne TaylorThere is a famous scene from The Right Stuff, the movie about the first astronauts, where the entire world sits on the edge of its seat, waiting for word from John Glenn on his overheated re-entry to Earth, NASA control calling to him, time and again. Everybody waiting.

Such a scene played out on Friday night at Essex Heights Primary School in Mount Waverley. About 300 parents and children were hunched forward in the school hall, as a amateur radio operator in Queensland attempted to provide a hook-up between the International Space Station and 11 young students who were waiting to ask question of Flight Engineer Jeff Williams.

“Calling MA 1SS, MA 1SS … this is five Zulu … copy here.”

After a couple of callouts, there came the same burst of static that in 1960s television news reports delivered a novel thrill to a world-wide audience whose mind was blown at the very idea that this rather ugly sound was coming down from space. The world soon became jaded – but here there was some of that old-time excitement and emotion.

Soon enough, Jeff Williams – who has spent more than a year in space over three missions, including a 2000 Shuttle mission to do construction work on the space station – could be heard, like a ghost under water. And the questions began.

“My name is Jake. What different jobs do you do on the space station. Over?”

At this point, the connection wasn’t great and only the words “maintenance on the space station” could be easily made out. Still, Jake looked pleased.

“My name is Natalie. Do you prefer gravity or zero gravity? And why? Over.”

Clearer now: “Well, I certainly love zero gravity but I wouldn’t want to live in it for the rest of my life…”

The children, aged 8 to 12, had two questions each – having been selected from a pool of applicants. The idea was to ask their first question, and give someone else a turn, hoping the connection would last long enough to ask their second question.

“My name is Ava. How long does it take to get used to gravity again when you’re back on Earth? Over.”

A few days to recover his balance. “But of course the force of gravity causes your muscles to work extra hard, and that takes a bit more than a month to recover. Over.”

Thomas wanted to know why the space station doesn’t run out of oxygen. Answer: “Good question Thomas… we have a machine that makes new oxygen out of water.”

There were babies and small children being nursed as this went on. Weirdly, none of them cried or blurted complaint; they too seemed to be caught in the spell.

This conversation – which lasted long enough for all the questions to be asked – took 10 months to set up, the work of the school’s science co-ordinator, Jenny Austin. While Googling educational opportunities in science, she came across a NASA program called ARISS (Amateur Radio on the International Space Station) which is facilitated by a global network of amateur radio buffs.

By the time Jeff Williams signed off, the ISS had swung north-easterly and was up on the equator, way off the coast of Queensland. Still, everyone sat there quietly, they could be taken into space for a few moments more.

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Variety Bash arrives in NewcastlePhotos

Variety Bash arrives in Newcastle | Photos The 2016 Variety Bash finish at Foreshore Park, Newcastle. Pictures: MAX MASON-HUBERS.

Participant cars arriving.

Participant cars arriving.

Participant cars arriving.

Participant cars arriving.

Participant cars arriving.

Participant cars arriving.

Participant cars arriving.

Participant cars arriving.

Participant cars arriving.

Participant cars arriving.

Participant cars arriving.

Participant cars arriving.

Participant cars arriving.

Participants and supporters after arriving.

Participants and supporters after arriving.

Participants and supporters after arriving.

Bash participant Ron Coskerie from St Marys Ruby League Club handing out balls to Eddie and Olivia Frazer of Muswellbrook after arriving.

Participants and supporters after arriving.

Participants and supporters after arriving.

Daryl Broadway of Armidale signing a poster while holding his banana.

Participants having lunch at the Train Sheds.

Participants and supporters after arriving.

Participants having lunch at the train sheds.

Participants’ cars parked after arriving.

Stella and Ron Burns from Sydney pouring a glass of champagne at the train sheds.

Dolls in the window of one of the bash cars.

Participants after arriving.

Participants arriving back.

Participants driving along the foreshore.

TweetFacebookThe Variety Bash hit the finish line atForeshore ParkNewcastletoday, May 21,after taking off last Sunday, May 15.

The bash has covered 2100 kilometres with all participants driving pre-1976 cars through regional parts of NSW.

It headed from Newcastle to Dubbo, Coonabarabran, Goodiwindi, Casino, Grafton, Tuncurry and back to Newcastle all to supportVariety – the Children’s Charity.

Church and gardens celebrate

Church and gardens celebrate Pastor Pam Skelton, Glenda Wood, who has been involved in the community garden from the beginning along with Ruth Haggar, the first co-ordinator of the garden.

The town crier, Alan Moyse.

Enjoying the market.

Clare Whiter, Eden and Ann Brosnan, Millangandi.

Sue Horton, Eden and Denise Switzer, Eden, raising money for the Hotel Australasia renovations.

Reap organisers, Peter Buggy and Christine Welsh.

Anthony Methven

Gaming of a different sort, Paddy Reilly, Jesse Dalton, Hannah Methven and Tarka Toohill with Brendon White.

Alex Dalton suggests the group tries something different like this babaco from South America.

Old photos on display.

Thomas Edwards played the digeridoo.

Maeve Donaldson, Annie Watmore and Lavinia Kruizinga, all of Eden.

Tankred Mueller, of Burragate Organics.

Jan Kruizinga, Barry Griffiths and Rod O’Connell.

Emma Whiter

Anthony Methven

Pastor Ossie Cruse

Karissa Preuss and Chun Morton, of Canberra were helping with the pizzas.

Busy on the barbecue, Jack and Lisa O’Connell.

Michael Menager

TweetFacebookPastor Skelton said people has travelled from afar to take part in the celebrations including a Queensland man who had donated a Wollemi Pine for the church grounds some years ago.

The church grounds were filled with stalls, selling fresh produce, food, clothes andbooks while inside the hall in the kitchen, volunteers worked furiously to produce freshly made pizzas which were then placed in the wood fired oven on site.Outside the hall a variety of local musicians added to the vibrant atmosphere.

Among the more unusual stalls were two both offering an insight into games of a different sort. Brendon White had an enthusiastic group of children playing card and board games. Mr White is a lively advocate for getting away from playing games on phones or tablets and moving games back onto the table, hence the name, Get on the table.

The children playing were also enjoying themselves. Hannah Methven said it was good to socialise with other kids. “It’s different from playing on a tablet because you’re playing with other people.

Tarka Toohill said they they were “exercising their minds” and Jesse Dalton said you could have fun and didn’t need money to play.

Mr White has games clubs in both Merimbula and Bega and is hoping to start a club in Eden. He can be contacted on Facebook at Get on the table.

Nearby Anthony Methven hada battlefield display of just a tiny amountof his 67,000 figure collection that he has built up from when he started his hobby aged seven.

His war gaming and battle figures are hand painted with careful detail to regimental colours and flags. He wants to set up a modelling and gaming club for anyone who wants to make figures for a display or set upa collection for gaming.

For those who wanted to try something exotic, Alex Dalton had brought along a range of unusual fruit and a group of tasters were soon on hand to try many of the fruits on offer.

Inside the church hall there was a display of old photos with two precious photos that had been lent by the curator of the Eden Whale Museum. The photos showed the Reverend James Forbes and his wife, Eliza. The reverend was the longest serving minister and was at the church in the late late 1800s and early 1900s.

Pastor Skelton said she was particularly pleased that they hadachieved their goals from 10 years ago which was to develop a sense of community and a friendly and welcoming space.

On Saturday after the market, there was a lunch for people associated with the garden and the church and on Sunday a special service.

The churchis the second oldest church building in NSW to have had continuous worship services since it was dedicated in 1866.

The program for the weekend includes

Saturday, May 21

7:00 Variety night and supper (Bring along an entertaining item, for an evolving programanda plate for supper)

Sunday, May 22

9:30 Morning service in the church followed by morning tea in the Hall.

11:30 Historical talk

12:30Picnic Lunch at Cocora Beach (backup is the hall)

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