Super granny salutes

FISH OF THE WEEK: Chriss Gallagher wins the Jarvis Walker tacklebox and Tsunami lure pack for this jew hooked up Crescent Head way last week.
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For Fish of the Week winner Chriss Gallagher, the jewfish she plucked from the river at Crescent Head last Tuesday was a super surprise.

“For a granny who goes fishing once in a blue moon this was excitement,” she reported. “Using my friend’s Defiance rod with a braid line (so I’m told) I hooked this jewfish using chicken breast soaked in garlic and Parmesan cheese on a 20lb line at Crescent Head on Tuesday.

“I couldn’t believe my eyes as I thought I must have caught a little shark or something–it sure put up a fight! But was delicious!!! It was around 80cm long and weighed 4kg. Hope you agree it was an awesome catch for an old girl!”

Obviously Chriss is milking the Granny card, and you have to feel for Daniel McDowell from Newcastle who would have figured strongly for Fish of the Week with his similar sized jewfish hooked in Newcastle Harbour last Sunday.

“I had to put up with the wind and rain but it was all definitely worth it,” Daniel said of the two fish he caught, one measuring 91cm, the other 85cm.

“Both were taken on live bait and during daylight hours.”

It was a similar story for Reed Sweetnam, from Vacy, who sent in a pic of a super bass caught and released in the Paterson River last week, and RileyFitzsimmons, of Singleton, who landed a 71cm flathead in Lake Macquarie.

All were worthy Fish of the Week entries, but ultimately, in the interests of diversity, unusualness and just plain feel good factor,the super excited granny got the chocolates.

Lazzo legendLee “Lazzo” Stevenson took out the Newcastle District Anglers Association freshwater competion held at Lake St Clair last weekend.

A strong contingent of 41 anglers competed and for the first time as club spokesman Craig Oaten can remember Lazzo managed to catch the maximum 17 fish.

“The last couple of years the yellowbelly and silvers have been hard to get but he managed to get five of each, along with five catfish and two bass,” Craig said.

“Most of the yellowbelly were around the 40cm mark. His 17 fish weighed in at a winning 16.85kg.”

Lazzo hails from Burwood Bowling Club and it was the first NDAA comp he’s ever won and to say he was chuffed would be an understatement.

‘He’s always been competing, and had a few second and thirds,” Craid noted.

Mick “Mountain” Price was runner-up with 15 fish, for 15.3kg.

“All competitors got a lot of fish this year, with the average about 10 fish each,” Craig said.“Seventy per cent of the yellowbellies were caught trolling deep divers.”

Light rain, wind and stillness oscillated over the weekend, with the fish on the bite during the stillness.

Serena Downie tied with Jan Jeffs in the ladies division.Veteran champion was Bob Hodges, Les Jeffs claimed super veterans honours while sub-junior champ was Mia Downie.

Matthew Small got the largest bass –1.15kg; Matt Finn got the biggest catfish –2.16kg; Mel Watfield got the biggest golden perch –2.12kg; and Steve Hector got the largest silver –0.99kg.

The next NDAA comp is the estuary event in February.

Orca talkJumpin’ Johnny Frith from Fisherman’s Warehouse reports consistent catches of flathead, bream and jew in Lake Macquarie, and even the odd orca spotted about out wide.

“Corey [workmate Corey Reid]was out yesterday and got 14 flathead in the shallows and a few nice flounder,” John said.

“Some nice meaty blue swimmers on the march at the moment and I havebeen getting some nice bream in Swansea channel.A lot of schoolies biting on prawns.”

Prawns edgySpeaking of prawns, the next prawn run is due Tuesday, November 14.

They usually move 10 days after the full moon which was last Saturday.

“It might sound obvious, but when they’re running, prawns are the best bait to use in the lake,” John said.

“The last prawn run, I caught all my bream on prawns even though I had mullet and chicken breast baits out at the same time,but they weren’t biting on those. It makes you wonder. It’s not like I was fishing in the channel where there are heaps of prawns, but they just seemed to favour the prawns.”

Super pestsThe barracouta are still about in plague proportions off the coast, causing anglers no end of frustration.

“Never seen it like this,” John said.

“Plenty of bonito about but they’re pretty small.A few kings responding to jigs in close and afew marlin have been switch baited out wide.

“There’s even been a few killer whales spotted frolliicking about which is pretty unusual in these waters, but not unheard of.”

ASX-listed daigou business surges 25pc

Keong Chan (tallest) Director of ITM with Jiahua (Joshua) zhou managing director and Co founder of AuMake andLINGYE (Lyn) ZHENG non executive and Co founder of AuMakePic Nick Moir 29 june 2017Investors have poured into Australia’s only listed daigou business, boosting the share price more than 25 per cent this week, enthused by the company’s recent acquisition spree.
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AuMake Australia – a retail business that connects Australian suppliers directly with daigou shoppers and Chinese tourists – this week announced the acquisition of wool manufacturer Jumbuck Australia.

The deal comes just one week after AuMake acquired Health Essence, a health supplements business, and one month after raising $6 million and listing on the Australian Stock Exchange.

“We are having to move quickly because there is just so much demand for Australian products in China,” says Keong Chan, chairman of AuMake.

“We have literally 20 business enquiries every day, people asking us to please, please work with them. They want access to China and Chinese tourists and we are just so convenient for them.”

Daigou means to “purchase on behalf of” in Chinese and there are an estimated 40,000 shoppers who buy high quality Australian products and ship them back to China.

AuMake has identified four key categories that underpin the voracious Chinese demand for high quality Australian products: wool, healthcare, skincare and infant formula.

Jumbuck Australia – previously run by a Chinese family – will produce wool products for AuMake under the trademark UGG AUS.

Prior to its acquisition, Jumbuck recorded (unaudited) sales of $285,895 in FY16 and $754.624 in FY17, enjoying a 260 per cent increase on year-on-year sales and at an average gross margin of 32 per cent.

“Daigou tastes can change very quickly,” says Mr Chan. “So we wanted a business that had all the manufacturing plants and equipment here in Australia. It’s important for us to control the supply chain.”

Health Essence products include fish oil, liver detox, grapeseed oil, squalene and propolis.

“So many of these smaller brands were not getting the traction with Chinese shoppers they thought they would,” says Mr Chan. “We have those shoppers.”

AuMake uses a far-reaching network of WeChat users to connect directly with customers and build relationships.

But further to this, the company has opened a new facility in Auburn, in Sydney’s west, designed to operate as a showroom for busloads of Chinese tourists looking for Australian products on their way to the Blue Mountains. To facilitate this, the company has a strategic alliance with the local Chinese Tour Guide Association.

Shares in AuMake have jumped over 300 pper cent since listing at 8 cents and are trading around 32 cents.

Several other enterprises serving the daigou market have sprung up in the last twelve months. DaigouSales is an e-commerce website allowing Australian brands to market directly to Chinese nationals. The brands pay $249 a month, plus a 2.5 per cent transaction fee.

While the daigou model has certainly piqued investor attention, these businesses are still at the mercy of Chinese authorities who have been known to suddenly crackdown on the import of foreign goods.

Earlier this year, the government imposed bans on foreign books, movies and games being imported into China.

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Activists try to unfurl ‘Evacuate Manus’ banner on Opera House

At 10:30 am activists tried to unfurl a protest banner over the west-facing sail of the Sydney Opera House with personal banners calling to #EvacuateManus. Pictured are the two protestors arrested. Thursday 9th November 2017. Photograph by James Brickwood. SMH NEWS 171109 At 10:30 am activists tried to unfurl a protest banner over the west-facing sail of the Sydney Opera House with personal banners calling to #EvacuateManus. Pictured are the two protestors arrested. Thursday 9th November 2017. Photograph by James Brickwood. SMH NEWS 171109
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At 10:30 am activists tried to unfurl a protest banner over the west-facing sail of the Sydney Opera House with personal banners calling to #EvacuateManus. Pictured are the two protestors arrested. Thursday 9th November 2017. Photograph by James Brickwood. SMH NEWS 171109

A group of activists climbed the Sydney Opera House on Thursday morning and tried to unfurl a banner displaying the words “Evacuate Manus #BringThemHere”.

At 10.30am, five members of a group called the Whistleblowers, Activists and Citizens Alliance (WACA) were about to spread the banner across the west-facing sail of the building when they were stopped by police.

The protesters held up smaller signs that said “Australian world leaders in cruelty” and “Evacuate Manus”.

The action was in protest against the treatment of refugees on Manus Island.

“The Sydney Opera House is Australia’s international icon,” said Laura Mastwyk, one of the climbers on the Opera House sail.

“But increasingly, our country is internationally recognised for our human rights abuses to refugees,” she said in a written statement to the media.

All five climbers were brought down by the NSW Police Rescue & Bomb Disposal Unit, arrested and taken away in police vehicles within 90 minutes of the protest’s start.

Another member of the group was arrested earlier, after breaking a lock to gain access to the Opera House sails. He did not climb the building.

Two men aged 23 and 26, and three women aged 25, 27 and 27, were taken to Day Street police station, where they were charged with trespass.

They were granted conditional bail to appear at Downing Centre Local Court next month and issued with place restrictions not to enter the Sydney CBD.

Three protesters on the ground – two women and a man – were issued with a move-along direction.

NSW Police will be speaking to venue operators in relation to the matter.

Marco Avena, one of the climbers, called Australia’s refugee policy “brutal”, and said it had “reduced us as a nation and a community”.

“We act today in the interest of our own humanity not just the humanity of those left on Manus Island,” he said in the statement from WACA.

WACA spokeswoman Lily Matchett said the group members were protesting “because the Australian government is failing to uphold basic human rights”.

“We call on both Liberal and Labor to end offshore detention and bring the refugees here immediately,” she said in the statement.

“Right now men on Manus Island are starving, stricken with thirst, and suffering enormous torment. This is the result of incompetence, bigotry, and a sick political process.

“The Australian government must let New Zealand take 150 of the men today and bring the remaining 450 men to Australia and allow them to choose where they resettle,” Ms Matchett said.

An application to restore operations at the decommissioned Manus Island processing centre was rejected by Papua New Guinea’s Supreme Court this week, increasing pressure on almost 600 men who have refused to relocate to new “transit centres”.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said on Tuesday the new facilities were of a “very high quality” and urged the detainees to move.

The stand-off has been labelled an “unfolding humanitarian emergency” by the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. The men have been stockpiling rainwater in garbage bins, lost access to medication and authorities have reportedly been turning away PNG locals coming to the centre offering food.

Protesters against Australia’s treatment of asylum seekers and refugees had disrupted Melbourne Cup festivities on Tuesday, and warned of escalating action.

Two separate groups intervened in the celebrations; one delaying racegoers by parking a car across a train track and the other unfurling a banner from a crane above Victoria’s Flemington track.

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Charlie Sheen accused of sexually assaulting Corey Haim

Charlie Sheen has “categorically denied” explosive allegations he sexually assaulted Corey Haim when the late actor was 13.
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Haim’s friend, actor Dominick Brascia, made the claims to the National Enquirer, alleging the assault occurred during the filming of the 1986 movie, Lucas.

“Charlie Sheen categorically denies these allegations,” a representative for the actor told The Hollywood Reporter.

Brascia told the National Enquirer that Haim had told him Sheen, then 19, “had sex with” Haim, then 13, when they co-starred in the film.

“He told me they smoked pot and had sex,” Brascia said.

Charlie Sheen has “categorically denied” the allegations. Photo: AP

“Haim said after it happened Sheen became very cold and rejected him. When Corey wanted to fool around again, Charlie was not interested.”

The Enquirer’s report claimed four sources backed Brascia’s testimony.

“Corey was so confused by the sexual encounter he believed, like so many victims, he was ‘in love’ with his abuser,” an unnamed source added.

Haim, who became an ’80s teen heartthrob with roles in films including The Lost Boys, License to Drive and Dream a Little Dream, died of pneumonia in 2010, aged 38, following years of drug addiction.

The Enquirer’s report noted that Haim’s close friend and frequent co-star actor Corey Feldman hinted at the incident in his 2013 memoir Coreyography.

“At some point during the filming [of Lucas], Haim explained an adult male convinced him it was perfectly normal for older men and younger boys in the business to have sexual relations, that it was ‘what all guys do’,” Feldman wrote.

“So they walked off to a secluded area between two trailers during a lunch break for the cast and crew and Haim, innocent and ambitious as he was, allowed himself to be sodomised.”

The Enquirer’s report, described as a “five-year probe” into Haim’s death, also features testimonies from “eight witnesses from the Lucas set” who allege Sheen preyed on young female extras during shooting of the film.

The allegations come in the wake of renewed focus on Hollywood’s culture of sexual misconduct, following exposes on movie mogul Harvey Weinstein and actor Kevin Spacey.

Last month, Feldman announced he would “name names” of Hollywood men he says were involved in child sex abuse.

He has since accused two men, including actor John Grissom, of molesting him as a child. On Wednesday, the LAPD confirmed they were investigating his claims.

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Dining ReviewSusuruDaniel Honan

CHOPSTICKS READY: Vegan ramen, gyoza, and an Orion tap-beer. Pictures: Max Mason-HubersThirty-two years before replicants have been integrated into society and the streets of LA have been turned into a heaving mass of bodies and bright neon lights, Newcastle has a dedicated ramen noodle bar.
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BIG FANS OF RAMEN: The colourful interior of Susuru, on King Street.

In one of the more culturally progressive parts of town (cuisine wise), just up the road from US-style brewpub, Foghorn; Ethiopian restaurant, Habesha; Italian descendents, Napoli Centrale and Popolo; The Tea Collective; and fellow Nipponese cuisine specialists, Asa-don; with lines out the door almost every night since opening, Susuru is to ramen what Messina is to gelato.

Enter through large, web-textured doors into a stark, geometric dining space filled with white-panelled light and block yellow walls that kind of resemble what a hospital cafe might look like when drawn in a Pokémon graphic novel.

An enormous ceiling fan gently spins above a long white table indented with wide pockets to store menus, chopsticks and bottles of sauce.

Hungry diners sit around the outside on heavy, white-coated, high-backed stools made of steel.

The Susuru space feels minimal and modern, and Instagram-ready, like a prelude to the plausible future of 2049.

So, while we wait for the world (as we know it) to end at the hands of a real life Biff Tannen, we can all dive deep into the depth of flavour that’s routine for good ramen, and emerge comfortably numb and engrossed in the virtues of good gyoza and cold, crisp, refreshing beer direct from the Land of the Rising Sun.

For those unfamiliar with ramen, all you need to know is that it’s a savoury Japanese dish consisting of long strands of wheat noddles, typically served with meat or fish and a soft-boiled egg, often flavoured with soy sauce or miso, and usually topped with slices of pork, chicken, nori (dried seaweed) and green onions.

Basically, it’s comfort food, Japanese style.

Susuru (‘soo soo roo’)means ‘slurp’in Japanese, and you’re encouraged to do so. It helps cool the broth and ramen noodles as they slide up into your mouth.The pure white of the tables and chairs will help you to identify the ‘slurpiest’ ramen eaters.

There are seven types of ramen available to order, as well as three kids’ versions that are simply smaller($8). For example, the shio ramen ($15) is a warm, salty broth served with chashu chicken, marinated egg, bamboo shoots and edible seaweed (wakame), and the tonkotsu ramen ($17) is a rich, pork on pork broth, featuring strong umami flavours in a bowl filled with crunchy bean sprouts, black garlic bits, nori, sesami oil, and an egg, of course.

The tantanmen ($18) too is a peculiarly flavoursome take on traditional ramen, consisting of a blend of chilli pork mince floating in an unctuous chicken broth with blanched spinach, chilli hair, egg, and these tiny, tangy bubbles called pickled Brazillian kiss peppers that literally make the dish pop.

There’s also the classic, lightly spiced miso ramen ($16) with slices of braised pork belly swimming in a chicken-based broth alongside bits of charred corn and shallots, with chilli and sesame oil for extra depth of flavour. Even vegans have a bowl of ramen to enjoy.

Gyoza wise, if you’ve ever eaten these Japanese dumplings at Nagisa, then you’ll know what to expect. Fresh ingredients, from pork to prawn to chicken to beef, stuffed into gow-gee pastry, fried on one side, and totally morish ($6.50-$15).

Dip in the accompanying sauces for best results. Also, be brave and order the apple pie or banoffee gyoza ($8); they’re wonderfully weird in their own way.

Susuru is licensed, so you can wash down your newfound love of ramen with anything from a cold Japanese beer or cider, an Aussie glass of wine, even a delicious cup of sake.

Just don’t forget to slurp.

QUICK BITEWhat: SusuruWhere: 140 King St, NewcastleOwner: Taiyo Namba, Chris SchofieldDrinks: Beer, cider, wine, sake, soft drink (incl. some Japanese brands).Hours: Tues-Sat: Lunch, 11:30am-3pm; Dinner: 5pm-9pm / Sun 11:30am-3pmVegetarian: YesBottom Line: $60 for twoWheelchair Access: Some stairs upon entryDo Try: Prawn gyoza, tonkotsu ramen, Ramune (Japanese soft drink)

Federal government was preparing to sell Lobby Restaurant before occupation

Police remove Aboriginal activists from the old Lobby Restaurant.A man is arrested and removed from the restaurant.
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The federal government was finalising plans to sell a disused restaurant in the Canberra’s parliamentary triangle before Indigenous land rights activists began a controversial occupation this week.

Acting National Capital Authority boss Andrew Smith told Ngunnawal elders and Aboriginal Tent Embassy campaigners the future of the Lobby Restaurant near Old Parliament House had not been settled on Wednesday.

But documents provided to The Canberra Times show authority staff were finalising a commercial marketing campaign late last month, ahead of a sale through crown lease.

It is understood the building was to be put on the market within days.

One person was charged after police removed a group of activists from the Lobby on Thursday morning, a day after negotiations with leaders of the group failed to secure any resolution.

The man was arrested after a stand-off lasting more than an hour, as police escorted about five other members of the group from the building.

He was later charged with failing to leave a Commonwealth premise when directed and was released on bail to face court in December.

Activists forced their way into the restaurant on Sunday in an attempt to reclaim what they described as Ngunnawal sovereign land.

They issued the authority with an eviction notice and demanded $7 million in back-paid rent, before requesting a week’s grace period to remain inside.

“ACT Policing were advised that permission provided to the group on Sunday, November 5, 2017, to remain in the building has now been removed and have been asked to restore the building to an unoccupied state,” a spokesman said said.

“ACT Policing supported liaison between the NCA and the group’s representatives in an attempt to negotiate a peaceful resolution.”

Ngunnawal representative Serena Williams said it was seriously concerning plans to sell the building had not been publicly disclosed, accusing the government of lying.

“We live in this so-called capital of Australia. The government has failed to see our sovereignty of Ngunnawal land, Canberra is based on Ngunnawal country,” she said from Darwin.

“We were asserting our rights, because we wanted to educate people on our past, our history, our land.

“They’ve failed to give us anything in the whole of the ACT and there’s been dishonesty all together.

“There’s more to come here. This isn’t the end,” she said.

Another activist described the group’s removal as feeling like “a burst of tears”.

‘We’ve been pushed out and all that but it’s one in a long succession of agonised [incidents] right across the country and that’s what really gets you in the belly,” the woman said.

Mr Smith repeatedly asked the group to leave the building this week, describing their occupation as illegal and unauthorised.

He was escorted into the building as police worked to remove activists, while media and supporters watched on.

Last month, the authority’s senior officer for diplomatic properties and leasing had been involved in preparation of real estate marketing materials for the building’s sale.

An authority spokeswoman confirmed planning for a sale had been under way.

“The NCA is always monitoring and reviewing its assets that ensure the best opportunities for the enhancement of the National Estate are pursued,” she said.

“Within this remit, the NCA has investigated options to market the Lobby under a crown lease.”

The building has been left empty after previous commercial tenants left before their lease expired, with it’s prolonged vacancy prompting renewed land rights tensions around in the embassy encampment.

The Tent Embassy has occupied space in front of Old Parliament House since four Indigenous land rights activists started a protest on the site on Australia Day 1972.

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Twenty reasons to love the Dandenongs

1. EXPLORE: THE RANGES
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No other Australian capital can boast such a wealth of attractive towns and regions so readily accessible from it than Melbourne. But while the likes of the Mornington Peninsula, the Goldfields and the Yarra Valley have won the hearts of many an interstate visitor, the Dandenong Ranges, by contrast, have failed to register. Nowadays, with a range, as it were, of better places to eat and stay, the Dandenongs, just an hour from Melbourne, will do just dandy, thanks. See visitdandenongranges南京夜网419论坛2. DRIVE: THE ROADS

Motoring around the Dandenongs remains a real pleasure of any visit. It’s fairly hard to get lost in the ranges since it’s dominated by Mount Dandenong Tourist Road, which runs right through the heart of the ranges, and its off-shoots thoroughfares. Don’t forget to wind down the windows of your vehicle to take in the fragrance of the forest and the sounds of its birds. If you’ve driven from Melbourne consider taking a different route back to the big smoke to fully appreciate the area. See visitdandenongranges南京夜网419论坛3. STAY: VALLEY RANGES GETAWAYS

The best way to experience the delights of the Dandenongs, which has been for too long relegated to day-trip status, is to stay in one of the many gorgeous, and often historic, houses nestled in superb bushland and formal garden settings. Book with Valley Ranges Getaways, a highly-professional operation which manages, with a few hotel-style touches, high-standard private homes for local owners. See vrgetaways南京夜网419论坛4. VISIT: THE VILLAGES

It’s no surprise that one of the favourite pastimes for visitors to the Dandenongs is “village-hopping”. The ranges, after all, are dotted with a chain of charming, if at times a tad twee, villages and hamlets brimful of restaurants, cafes and shops, all of which, including Sassafras and Olinda, are situated in delightful settings. A good time to visit the villages is during the week when there are fewer day-trippers from Melbourne and when you’ll get a better opportunity to commune with the locals. See visitdandenongranges南京夜网419论坛5. STAY: BEECHMONT GARDEN RETREAT

Described as a sophisticated “country house” and owned by Cherrie Mirikilis-Pavlou, owner of Melbourne’s Flowers Vassette florist in inner-city Fitzroy, the four-bedroom Beechmont is one of the many private houses in the Dandenongs available to visitors to stay in. Located just outside of the Olinda township and including a large and magnificent garden, it may also be the best. See vrgetaways南京夜网419论坛6. EAT: THE PIGGERY CAFE

Many of the stuck-in-the-mud (or is it sty?) locals fail to appreciate it, but the relatively recent arrival of Melbourne star chef Shannon Bennett in the Dandenongs is exactly what the rather dowdy, at times, region needed. Housed in a former piggery and stables, Bennett’s cafe at Sherbrooke is part of the Burnham Beeches estate where a famous art deco hotel is being slowly restored. Serving sophisticated city-style comfort food in a gorgeous bucolic setting, the Piggery Cafe quickly, and rightly, become the place for breakfast and lunch in the Dandenongs these days. And another revolution awaits the Dandenongs once Burnham Beeches is finally opened. See piggerycafe南京夜网419论坛7. MARVEL: MOUNTAIN ASH TREES

The Dandenongs are dominated and distinguished by this towering species of eucalypt trees, native to southeastern Australia and Tasmania. Along with billowing ferns, the trees line every main road in the Dandenongs and make for a sublime natural setting for visitors and locals alike. One of the world’s tallest trees, mountain ash, or eucalyptus regnans, can grow nearly 100 metres, though usually to about 85 metres. See visitdandenongranges南京夜网419论坛8. OBSERVE: WILDLIFE

The Dandenongs is a haven for wildlife, particularly for birds. It’s not uncommon to wake up at your accommodation to the unmistakable cackle of multiple kookaburras lined up along a rustic wooden fence outside. Keep an eye out, too, for parrots, including crimson rosellas, lyrebirds wombats, wallabies, possums, and, if you’re really fortunate, platypus. See parkweb.vic.gov419论坛; See visitdandenongranges南京夜网419论坛9. DINE: COONARA SPRINGS

This is oldest restaurant in the Dandenongs, and it may possibly also be one of the oldest in Australia with origins that can be traced dating back to the late 19th century. Coonara Springs is conveniently just down the road from the aforementioned Beechmont and, below, Moorabina, is set in a historic weatherboard house two-sided open fireplaces. The unpretentious, though skilled, cooking, is as fine as the views. There’s no better, or classier, place in the Dandenongs at which to linger over a languid lunch and a fine Victorian drop than here. See coonarasprings南京夜网10. VISIT: COOL CLIMATE GARDENS

Although the densely-vegetated Dandenongs is effectively one giant garden, the region is graced by a plethora of impressive formal gardens with access for the public that thrive in the cool mountain conditions. These include the National Rhododendron Gardens, the George Tindale Memorial Garden, Cloudhill and the William Ricketts Sanctuary, considered the most iconic of them all. See visitdandenongranges南京夜网419论坛11. EAT PROSERPINA BAKERY

On the site of an erstwhile nursery in the main drag of the village Sassafras this bakery and cafe, with a focus on artisinal-style organic breads, opened only earlier this year. Aside from those loaves, you can also buy pastries, pies, sausage rolls and soups. The wheat used for the bread comes from southern NSW and was once judged by the CSIRO to be the most nutritional in Australia. See visitdandenongranges南京夜网419论坛12. VISIT: ART COMMUNITIES

The beauty and quietude of the Dandenongs have long been an attractive lure for artists to the ranges. Each year in May, Dandenong Ranges Open Studios allows visitors to interact with emerging and experienced artists and craftsmen and women right across the region. The event, which has been running for more than a decade and includes a month-long group exhibition, is held in Burrinja. See visitdandenongranges南京夜网419论坛13. EAT: RIPE CAFE

There’s no shortage in the Dandenongs of quaint cafes serving Devonshire teas to eager day-trippers. But if you’re staying here overnight or, ideally, a little longer you’ll find this cosy, no-nonsense cafe a good breakfast option. Popular with locals and not just tourists, Ripe Cafe is located on the main street of the village of Sassafras. See ripecafe.net14. STAY: MOORABINDA

Robin Boyd was the acclaimed Melbourne architect who authored the seminal book from the early 1960s, The Australian Ugliness. But there’s nothing that could be considered unsightly about this three-bedroom hillside house, next door to the Coonara Springs restaurant, which Boyd designed in 1962 at Olinda and which guests can nowadays stay and experience. Characterised by open interior spaces and lavish floor-to-ceiling windows designed to allow the outside world and light to filter in, it was in its day a revolutionary modern house. Architecture buffs will love it. See vrgetaways南京夜网419论坛; robinboyd.org419论坛15. VISIT: CUCKOO RESTAURANT

If you fancy a taste of the Dandenongs of yore then pop in for a gander at the Cuckoo Restaurant right at the opposite end of the dining spectrum to new generation places like The Piggery and The Independent (see below). Christmas in July is big in the Dandenongs and nowhere is it more enthusiastically celebrated than here at the Bavarian-style Cuckoo Restaurant which dates to the late ’50s. See cuckoorestaurant南京夜网419论坛16. DETOUR: THE YARRA VALLEY

Even though they neighbour each other, the Yarra Valley, with is acclaimed wineries and hatted restaurants, has robbed the Dandenongs of much of the attention once afforded it. But these days it’s a snitch to combine both stunning regions on a visit and using one or the other as a base for exploration. See visitdandenongranges南京夜网419论坛17. RIDE: THE PUFFING BILLY

Aside from its glorious natural setting, the one attraction for which the Dandenongs is renowned is this world-class, and extremely well-operated, tourist train that puffs and steams its way for 24 kilometres from Belgrave to Emerald or Gembrook. Despite being known as a daytime attraction, nowadays you can experience the Puffing Billy by night. Steam & Cuisine After Dark allows passengers to dine aboard the train in restored first-class carriages well after the last of the tourists have headed home. See puffingbilly南京夜网419论坛18. TOUR: PRIVATE GARDENS

Each October, as part of the “Secret Gardens of the Dandenong Ranges” event, many of the owners of Dandenong’s impressive private homes open their gates and allow the public in for a stroll around their botanic treasures. Those who sign up and take part to experience these showpiece gardens are fortunate since for the rest of the year are largely hidden behind hedges and fences. See visitdandenongranges南京夜网419论坛19. THE INDEPENDENT RESTAURANT AND BAR

The Independent, located in Gembrook just across from the main station for the Puffing Billy tourist train, is just the thing you thought you didn’t need: an Argentine restaurant set in a cavernous former mechanics shop. But this is one of the few Dandenong entries in the Good Food Guide, published by The Sydney Morning Herald. See visitdandenongranges南京夜网419论坛20. ADMIRE: THE VIEWS

At 633 metres above sea-level at its highest point, the Dandenongs is home to many easily-accessed lookouts where superb views of Melbourne and its surrounding Port Phillip Bay can be savoured. One of the most popular, and touristy, viewing spots is SkyHigh Mount Dandenong which also includes a restaurant, maze and forest walk. See skyhighmtdandenong南京夜网419论坛; See visitdandenongranges南京夜网419论坛

Anthony Dennis was a guest of Yarra Ranges Tourism, Visit Victoria and Valley Ranges Getaways

Concern over higher fees

Concerned: Students Ross Sedra 21, Jess Epstein 20, and Mallee Lambert 22, chose to study medicine to help others. They said the funding changes won’t affect them, but could be a “barrier” to enrolling. Picture: Marina NeilUNIVERSITY of Newcastle students believe the government should have consulted more widely over its higher education reforms, which willlift student fees by 7.5 per cent and require HECS loans to be repaid sooner.
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Third year medicine students Ross Sedra, 21, Jess Epstein, 20 and Mallee Lambert, 22, said most of their peers did not know about the government’s proposals for the sector, announced on Monday night, which was “disappointing” considering they would be footing the bill into the future.

Third year medicine student Mallee said uni funding changes could deter future enrolments @newcastleheraldpic.twitter南京夜网/qghONNpFw5

— Helen Gregory (@HGregory_Herald) May 2, 2017

Education Minister Simon Birmingham’schanges, if legislated,includestaggered fee increases from next year that will see the cost of a degree increase by 7.5 per cent by 2021.

The HECS repayment threshold will be lowered from $55,874 to $42,000 from 2018.

Students will start paying oneper cent of their income and repayment rates will rise in line with income.

“My main concern is how they can just slice $13,000 off the repayment threshold –what’s going to stop them going further in the future?” Mr Sedra said.

“Students struggle for so long that it would be nice to be able to get on top of it all for a while and then start deductions, rather than almost as soon as we leave uni.”

Mr Lambert said many students who chose not to pursue careers in their study areas may find themselves reaching the $42,000 threshold working full time in a cafe or an unrelated job.

He said this could hamper their ability or willingness to studyanother degree.

Mr Lambert studied two years of biomedical science before enrolling in medicine and will face a HECS bill of more than $70,000, while Mr Sedra and Ms Epstein will pay more than $50,000.

They said a 7.5 per cent fee increase –equal to an extra $3750 –was not small change.

“It really depends on the student’s individual circumstances, their family and their socio economic status, everyone will be affected in different ways,” Ms Epstein said.

“But both changes will create disparity between people accessing uni and those who won’t go to uni because they’ll see all these numbers and think they can’t afford it.”

Vice Chancellor Professor Caroline McMillen said she“can’t support an increased burden on students” but said UON had support programs and education was still a worthwhileinvestment.

She said students would benefit fromthe continuation of the Higher Education Partnership and Participation Programto help the disadvantaged, as well asnew arrangements for sub-bachelor and enabling courses.

She said UON meeting theproposed 2.5 per cent efficiency dividend in 2018 and 2019, designed to save the budget $2.8 billion over four years, would be “challenging” and could include staff cuts.

Newcastle University Students’ Association president Michael Labone told the Herald on Monday efficiency dividends would not work “for universities trying to grow”.

“Further cuts put the trajectory of UON back five to 10 years,” he said.

“Lowering the HECS threshold is also pretty scary –we already have a casualised workforce and really high youth unemployment. It takes away the incentive forpeople to pick up extra work if they’re not seeing any extra money or career progression.”

Valentine leading the lake’s charge

COMMANDING: Andrew Poole’s waterfront mansion at Valentine. The listing for sale of Andrew Poole’s waterfront mansion at Valentine has set tongues wagging around eastern Lake Macquarie.
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The palatial home of the prominent businessman had been expected to set a new record for the suburb when it was listed by One Agency Eastlakes in April.

However whencontacted byDomain,agent Rod Conry said the homehad been pulled offthe market.He declined to give anyfurther comment.

According to Australian Property Monitors records, Mr Poole has owned the lavish homesince 2006. If features four bedrooms, five bathrooms, a lap pool and a gymnasium.

Ithad been expected to fetch a sum in the vicinity of $4 million.

That would have smashed the current suburb record, set in recent weeks with the sale of a property on Valentine’s millionaires’ row at 55 Dilkera Avenue.

There were unconfirmed reports thathome sold off-market for $3.5 million. When contacted, agent Mark Longworth of Dowling Eastlakessaid he was bound by confidentiality from giving the exact sale price.

However he confirmed the home sold for between $3 and $4 million.

Mr Longworth said it was“absolutely” possible to break the $4 million barrier east of the lake.

“I can remember selling waterfronts around here for $350,000 and a million seemed impossible then.”

A third waterfrontproperty at 49 Dilkera Avenue is currently on the market for between $2.3 and $2.5 million.It has been listed throughJoshua O’Doherty of LJ Hooker Belmont.

Mr O’Doherty and Mr Longworth agreed the interest was mostlyfrom locals rather thanSydneysiders.

“Northern migration is a real thing but the reason they’re cashing out of the Sydney market is they want to spend half themoney and increase their lifestyle,” Mr O’Doherty said.

He said the Sydneybuyers willing to spend the biggest dollars were also being “grabbed” by the inner city Newcastle market.

“The local people appreciate the value of the water and the waterfronts,” Mr Longworth added. “Sydney people come up and look and they think I’ve hit a country town, I’ll be able to steal it and they get a shock.”

Agent’s Cooks Hill terrace listed for $1.9m after a stylish makeover Valentine leading the lake’s charge TweetFacebookSoque record RECORD: One of the Soque apartments has sold for $907,750, smashing the old record for the complex. It’s expected the result will set a precedent for future sales.

One of the Soque apartments has sold for $907,750, smashing the former record for the old woolshed complex in Islington.

Agent Joel Soldado of PRDnationwide sold the three-bedroom apartment to buyers relocating back to Newcastle.The previous record was $720,000 for a five-bedroom property.

“We had six or seven people competing over it,” Mr Soldadosaid.

Reserve Bank leaves cash rate on hold

The Reserve Bank has left its cashrateon hold at 1.5 per centafter inflationmoved up to the central bank’s target level of 2-3 per centfor the first time since 2014.
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Official rates have remained unchanged since August last year.

Despite the effect an interest rate rise would have on cooling the housing market, the move to leave interest rates unchangedwas unanimously predicted by economists, with few expecting a rate hike before mid-2018.

In astatement released after the meeting on Tuesday, the bank signalledit wasclosely watchingdevelopments in the Australian housing market while also deliveringa balanced assessmentof the local and global economy.

The RBA highlighted a weaker labour market with theunemployment rate movinga little higher over recent months despiteemployment growth being alittle stronger.

It also pointed to stronger than expected global conditions despite continuing medium-term risks from China.

“The improvement in the global economy has contributed to higher commodity prices, which are providing a significant boost to Australia’s national income,” RBA governorPhilip Lowe said.

Housing affordability remained a central concern of the bank’s deliberations although it said “the recently announced supervisory measures should help address the risks associated with high and rising levels of indebtedness”.

CoreLogic’shead of research, Tim Lawless, said housing would have been “front and centre of the conversation” during the central bank’s meeting.

“Capital city dwelling values have increased by almost 10 per centsince the latest round of rate cuts in May and August last year, led by gains of around 13 per cent in Sydney and Melbourne,” he said.

“With household debt levels at record highs, and the large majority of this debt related to housing, higher mortgage rates have the potential to take some heat out of the market, particularly from the investor segment.A housing market slowdown would relieve one of the key concerns the RBA has relating to financial stability.”

Dr Loweis set to give a “household debt, housing prices and resilience” speech on Thursday as the debate over solving the affordability crisis continues.

The shadow RBA board at Australian National University’s Centre for AppliedMacroeconomicAnalysis said the big unknown wasnext week’s federal budget.

“It will likely include a housing package, yet big reforms such as changes to negative gearing and capital gains tax concessions are off the table,” Timo Henckel said.

“The government’s announcement to fast-track last year’s $50 billion infrastructure plan will generate a sizeable fiscal stimulus.”

The Australian dollar was steady at US75.40¢.

The US Federal Reserve is alsoexpected to keep interest rates on hold at 1 per centafter figuresshowed theUS economy grew at its slowest pace in three years in the first three monthsof 2017.