Isa community shows its cultural class

A LARGE-scale opera production will return to Mount Isa after the success of la boheme earlier this month.
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Opera Q general manager Russell Mitchell said the opera company hoped to perform every second year in the city. This could be due to better-than-expected ticket sales. Opera Q was expecting to sell 400 tickets in the main production, but instead sold 540, according to Mr Mitchell.

The opera company could perform here in 2016, but it has not been officially decided what the play would be. But Mr Mitchell revealed the tour would be called Project Rossini.

Opera Q general manager Russell Mitchell, Opera Q liaison officer Yvonne Moore and Dale Truscott. Picture: KATE GLOVER

Italian composer Gioachino Rossini’s more famous plays include The Barber of Seville, Cinderella and William Tell.

Opera Queensland could also perform a primary school-aged production in Mount Isa within the next two years.

Mr Mitchell said Mount Isa was the only city to have la boheme performed specifically for school students during this year’s tour, which was credited to Mount Isa Mine’s sponsorship.

Mr Mitchell said Mount Isa’s la boheme performance was a success because of the support of the Mount Isa City Council and members of the local community, including Opera Q’s volunteer liaison officer Yvonne Moore.

Mount Isa City Councillors acknowledged Ms Moore’s contributions to the production at a recent full council meeting. At the meeting, Mr Mitchell described Ms Moore as “a national treasure.”

Ms Moore said she was not the type of person “who likes the hype”, but she thought Mount Isa’s ticket sales were fantastic, with nearly 600 in the main production, and 900 children sitting in the school production.

“It’s evidence Mount Isa embraces cultural things,” Ms Moore said.

The Mount Isa Chorus from la boheme continue to meet regularly, with other members of the community joining. It will perform at other events such as the Mount Isa Gala Concert.

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Yarn Safe campaign launch: PHOTOS

Maitland Headspace launched the Yarn Safe Campaign yesterday afternoon.
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Local Aboriginal leaders, musicians, dancers, artists and community representatives were invited to share the event.

The campaign was developed in conjunction with Aboriginal young people and leaders to renew focus and improve mental health for the group.

The campaign was officially launched by Mindaribba Land Council CEO Lea-Anne Ball with entertainment provided by the Birriwa Dance Group among others.

Yarn Safe campaign launch: PHOTOS YARN SAFE: Campaign launch at headspace Maitland.

YARN SAFE: Campaign launch at headspace Maitland.

YARN SAFE: Campaign launch at headspace Maitland.

YARN SAFE: Campaign launch at headspace Maitland.

YARN SAFE: Campaign launch at headspace Maitland.

YARN SAFE: Campaign launch at headspace Maitland.

YARN SAFE: Campaign launch at headspace Maitland.

YARN SAFE: Campaign launch at headspace Maitland.

YARN SAFE: Campaign launch at headspace Maitland.

YARN SAFE: Campaign launch at headspace Maitland.

YARN SAFE: Campaign launch at headspace Maitland.

YARN SAFE: Campaign launch at headspace Maitland.

YARN SAFE: Campaign launch at headspace Maitland.

YARN SAFE: Campaign launch at headspace Maitland.

YARN SAFE: Campaign launch at headspace Maitland.

YARN SAFE: Campaign launch at headspace Maitland.

YARN SAFE: Campaign launch at headspace Maitland.

YARN SAFE: Campaign launch at headspace Maitland.

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Red V 20s peak at business end

RUGBY LEAGUE
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DragonsNYC coach Dean Young is confident his side is peaking at the right time for the preliminary final with Brisbane on Friday.

Dragons Under 20s coach Dean Young. Picture: GREG TOTMAN

The Dragons looked out of sorts losing 40-10 to the Knights in round 26 with the minor premiership on the line.

While it may have looked an ominously poor performance just a week out from the finals, Young said it was all part of a perfectly-laid plan that saw them bounce back 30-22 against the Knights just a week later to progress straight through to Friday’s grand final qualifier.

The young Dragons enjoyed four days off after a 58-18 win over the Broncos in round 25, a match that followed another tough road trip to Canberra.

While they knew it would leave the side flat before the final round match, Young was confident it would put them in the best position to reach the grand final.

“Me and Benny [joint head coach Ben Hornby] like to plan ahead and we like to stick to those plans, even if in the midst of those plans we think we might want to go in another direction,” Young said.

“Even though we know we’re not really good after a break – we had the bye during the year and got beat by Manly – we planned that we’d have four days off leading into the Newcastle game [in round 26].

“We knew it wouldn’t help us in that game against Newcastle but we knew it would hold us in good stead for these games now.

“That was the plan and we stuck to it and got flogged up there but we managed to bounce back.”

Young admitted it was no easy task trusting your intuition, but he and Hornby were confident they had the right formula.

“We train hard and play hard, we don’t go well when we take it easy or have breaks, but at certain stages of the year you’ve got to have that,” Young said.

“It’s a long year, these kids are young – a lot of them could have played SG Ball [under 18s] this year – so playing 26 rounds is a grind in itself.”

The Dragons’ match with the Broncos will be shown live on Fox Sports 1 at 5pm.

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Grassroots nomination reward for compassion

RUGBY LEAGUE
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OneIllawarra football club is on the verge of being formally recognised by the NRL as Australia’s most community-minded grassroots organisation.

The Woonona Bulli Bushrangers junior rugby league club will head to Sydney on Thursday night as a finalist in the One Community Grassroots Club of the Year.

The Bushrangers have made the cut for the final four and the winner will be announced at a gala presentation in Redfern.

It’s the first time the club has nominated for the coveted gong and Bushrangers president Troy Jones has his fingers crossed.

“It would be a just reward for the amount of work that’s gone into the club,” Jones said.

“It would be great for all the work the committee put in and for the children as well.”

The Bushrangers pride themselves on being a club that welcomes everyone.

They regularly host fund-raising events for various organisations including the Cancer Council, and earlier this year supported the Rise For Alex initiative for injured Newcastle forward Alex McKinnon.

Four years ago, Jones personally welcomed Brenton Ashford-Potter into the club and introduced him to coaching a junior team.

Ashford-Potter has Down syndrome and dyspraxia, but wanted to find a football club to join.

He is now a club favourite at the Bushrangers and helps coach the under-11 and under-15 teams.

Ashford-Potter was the first person with his disability to receive a NSW Rugby League coaching accreditation.

The Bushrangers now have an association with Ashford-Potter’s league tag team, the Dragons.

The Dragons join in the odd training session with the Bushrangers and the two clubs play an annual game against one another.

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Hornby picks pain for gain

Former skipper Ben Hornby is backing Paul McGregor’s club review. Picture: GREG TOTMAN
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RUGBY LEAGUE

StGeorge Illawarra’slongest-serving player, Ben Hornby, admits there may be some short-term pain to come out of coach Paul McGregor’s full club review but he’s confident Brett Morris will be at the club next year.

McGregor made it clear when appointed to the job on a three-year deal four weeks ago, that tough decisions will be made to relieve salary-cap pressure on the roster he inherited from former coach Steve Price.

Star winger Morris has been strongly linked to a $600,000-a-year deal with the Bulldogs that would see him reunited with twin brother Josh. The future of fellow Origin star Trent Merrin has also come under a cloud after efforts to extend his deal earlier this year stalled amid Price’s sacking and the drawn-out process of naming a replacement.

Both are under contract for the 2015 season but would attract plenty of interest on the open market.

The salary-cap squeeze could see other players forced to look elsewhere, as McGregor works with recruitment guru Peter Mullholland to shape a new roster. Hornby – who captained the joint venture to its first premiership in 2010 – backed McGregor to guide the club through a difficult rebuilding phase.

“We’re in a bit of a transition stage,” Hornby said.

“We’ve obviously got to get the personnel Mary thinks can do the job and that’s what his priority is as a coach – to get the players he wants … With the salary cap and the juniors coming through, it’s a big job.

“There might be a bit of hurt in the short-term but I think there’ll be gains in the long-term.” Asked if it would be strange to see his long-time teammate Morris in anything other than the Red V, Hornby said: “Absolutely, but Brett’s not gone anywhere. He’s contracted for next year and so is Trent Merrin.”

Hornby was at the club during the Wayne Bennett clean-out in 2009 and said shake-ups like those facing the Dragons are inevitable as they look to move beyond the Bennett era.

“That era’s come to an end,” he said. “Pricey obviously changed the side when he was here as well. The side’s always changing, people get older and the salary cap makes it difficult for clubs to keep all their best players.”

Hornby said he and assistant Dean Young will contribute to McGregor’s review when their commitments with the Dragons NYC squad – who play Brisbane in the the preliminary final on Friday – are complete.

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Shoplifter on second good behaviour bond

A court has heard how a Rutherford man was caught shoplifting a pair of ugg boots from Big W, Green Hills less than 24 hours after signing a good behaviour bond.
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GUILTY PLEAS: Zach Pemberton of Rutherford pleaded guilty to shoplifting and other charges.

Zach Pemberton ­pleaded guilty to the June 25 incident as well as five unrelated offences including affray, resisting and intimidating police, the malicious destruction of property and behaving in an offensive manner in public.

Court documents said Pemberton pushed a pram as he entered the store about 3.45pm.

The 20-year-old took off his joggers and picked up a pair of black ugg boots, removed the tags, put the boots on and started walking around the store.

He then removed the tags from a pair of white men’s shoes, put them under the pram and placed a pair of children’s ugg boots down the front of his pants.

Pemberton was placed on a two-year good ­behaviour bond for the shoplifting offence and three months jail for the other offences.

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Jap bikes recall carefree days

A RECORD number of bikes made for a spoke-tacular sight in the CBD when Tamworth’s Vintage Japanese Motorcycle Club held its fourth annual show day at the weekend.
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GEARED UP FOR GOOD CAUSE: Motorbike aficionado Gary Burgess proudly displays one of his beloved Hondas at the weekend’s Vintage Japanese Motorcycle Club ride and show day in Tamworth. The event raised $1650 for research into prostate cancer. Photo: Barry Smith 210914BSA04

So it was no surprise that the 41 Japanese-built motorcycles on display as part of the club’s Blue Ribbon ride and show day also attracted a record number of onlookers.

The event, which has grown each year since its inception in 2011, celebrates the manufacturing excellence of brands such as Honda, Yamaha, Kawasaki and Suzuki.

But in addition to giving baby-boomer bike fanatics the opportunity to recapture the carefree days of their youth, it also raises vital funds for prostate cancer research.

Organiser Ray Fox said he was thrilled with the community’s support of the event, which raised $1650 for the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia.

“I think we had double the number of spectators we’ve had in any of the last three years,” he said.

Former Central Hotel licensee Gary Burgess took out the people’s choice award with his eye-catching Honda CBX1000, while Steve Murden’s collection of bikes won three of the six trophies on offer.

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Pfieffer’s One Direction goes one way … flat out

Brilliant Meteor took out the Class Two (2000m) at Kembla. Picture: GREG TOTMANHORSE RACING
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Trainer David Pfieffer wasn’t willing to rule out One Direction emulating the exploits of stablemate Cradle Me after the five-year-old broke the multiple city winner’s class record at Kembla Grange on Saturday.

In the run of the day, the son of Bite The Bullet trounced his rivals by 3½ lengths over 1000m, to take his impressive record to four wins and a second from six starts.

Pfieffer will guide the rising sprinter through the grades with a run in an 1100m event at Canterbury on October 1 and says it would be pleasing to see the gelding match the feats of his stablemate.

Cradle Me scored a hat-trick of wins and never finished out of the placings in five runs in town last preparation.

“I hope he can [match Cradle Me]. He is definitely doing himself proud,” Pfieffer said. “If he keeps performing how he is and keeps improving … you can’t put anything past horses who are going through their classes easily. But you just have to take it one step at a time.”

Saturday’s win at Kembla Grange was One Direction’s third in a row after back-to-back front-running victories at Gosford and Hawkesbury.

Pfieffer was impressed with the manner of the romp. “For these horses that jump and run, they are always at their best on tight-turning tracks … but to see him do it on a big track with a big, long straight which gives a lot of horses a chance, [was good],” he said. “He still managed to run them into the ground and take most horses out of their comfort zone. And he ran a solid time to back it up.”

Two races later the Pfieffer-trained Brilliant Meteor made it three wins from four starts, in a Class 2 handicap (2000m).

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Murray strikes at opening 2yo trials

HORSE RACING
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Bede Murray

Theearly signs were positive in the Bede Murray camp at Monday’s first official two-year-old trials for the season at Randwick-Kensington.

The Kembla Grange trainer took three juveniles to town for the first 10 trials of the new season.

His son of I Am Invincible, named Ideal Express, claimed heat nine, albeit in the slowest winning time of the morning.

Nevertheless, Murray was impressed with the display.

“He is a nice colt. There will be a lot of improvement in him,” he said.

“We will see in the next few days how he pulls up, whether he goes on and has a start now or whether he goes for a break or whether he needs to go for a break now.”

The initial two-year-old races of the year will be held on the first weekend on October.

That is an option for Ideal Express and Murray added a potential autumn campaign was on the cards if the colt could live up to his early potential.

“We are hoping he might end up on a Golden Slipper trail but you never know at this stage. But there is a plan there if he is good enough,” Murray said.

He was satisfied by the performances of his other two-year-olds Swift Reply (heat seven) and War Prodigy (heat five).

The morning’s most impressive trial came with heat three winner Sooboog.

The Hawkes Family-trained $1.5 million colt coasted to a five-length win in the equal best time of the day – 49.20 seconds.

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Community mourns death of Byron Gordon, 10, buried by a sand dune

Police at Terrace Beach, where a sand dune collapsed on 10-year-old Byron Gordon on Monday. Photo: Amanda Stroud Police at Terrace Beach, where a sand dune collapsed on 10-year-old Byron Gordon on Monday. Photo: Amanda Stroud
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Police at Terrace Beach, where a sand dune collapsed on 10-year-old Byron Gordon on Monday. Photo: Amanda Stroud

Police at Terrace Beach, where a sand dune collapsed on 10-year-old Byron Gordon on Monday. Photo: Amanda Stroud

Two weeks ago, Byron Gordon was talking off the cuff in a public speaking competition.

A month before that, the curly-haired 10-year-old was named junior champion at the South Coast Zone athletics championships, coming first in sprints and the high jump.

But on Monday, Byron’s life was cut short when a sand dune collapsed on him at Terrace Beach on the NSW south coast near Eden.

The Wyndham Public School student had been enjoying the first day of the school holidays, digging with his four-year-old brother.

When the small dune collapsed, Byron’s brother ran to their mother, Lia, a trained nurse who tried to revive her boy.

Paramedics treated him at the scene but he died at Merimbula Airport, before he could be airlifted to Canberra Hospital on Monday.

“To me it sounds like he was digging head first into the sand dune and got carried away like a kid would, digging a little hole like a little cave,” family friend Peter Guenthroth told Channel Nine.

“He was into exploring caves and doing all natural things.”

Bega Valley Mayor Bill Taylor said the close-knit community would be reeling.

“In a village like that, everyone knows everyone,” Cr Taylor said.

“We can only struggle to comprehend how family and friends are coping today. We can’t even imagine what they are going through.

“It’s every parent’s nightmare that something like this might happen. A child doing something so innocent and the next minute you have a tragedy on your hands.

“We send our heartfelt sympathy to the family and friends.”

Detective Superintendent Peter O’Brien described the accident as “a tragedy of immense proportions”.

“They were just doing what all kids do on the beach, digging holes and mucking around,” he said.

“Something that would be happening every day on every beach in Australia. This one, unfortunately, has turned into the tragedy we are talking about.”

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