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Dec/Jan 2017


ARNHEM LAND So enchanting you’ll want to stay

NORTHERN EXPOSURE Wilderness adventures in Nitmiluk National Park “I’M A BIT OF A GYPSY” Home is where the heart is for country star Adam Brand COCOS & CHRISTMAS Unplug and reconnect on these tropical paradise islands THE SWEET SPOT More than a food bowl, the Riverina is a rich vein for investors.

Feel the excitement of life through the world of fishing

Dili, Timor-Leste Milingimbi Elcho Island


Gove Truscott


Groote Eylandt Katherine

Kununurra McArthur River

Broome The Granites

Tennant Creek



Alice Springs




Welcome aboard! With so much happening across the Airnorth network this holiday season, we have covered some of the big events in this issue for you. The ‘Million Dollar Fish’ campaign has kicked off for the second year and Airnorth has flight options to Top End ports near premier fishing spots Darwin, Katherine, Maningrida, Gove and Groote Eylandt. So if you’re planning a fishing adventure this summer, consider travelling to the NT with Airnorth. In December Airnorth will be hosting our annual Santa Run, sending Santa and his helpers to Arnhem Land and through the Centre of the Northern

Territory to spread the Christmas spirit to remote communities. Looking forward to Australia Day, we have included an array of activities that will be held across the country on January 26, including fun runs, barbeques and family events. We also have a chat to Chelsea Ryan, our Yalari Ambassador. Please join me in congratulating Chelsea as she graduates Year 12 this year! Now sit back, relax with our inflight service and enjoy the issue. Daniel Bowden Chief Executive Officer

Airnorth reservations: 1800 627 474 or 1

OPEN LEARNING Year 11 and 12 Classes Online

• Attend classes online from your own home or any convenient location. • Ideal for people with work, family and school commitments. • Classes are taught live online by experienced Year 11 and 12 teachers. • Online Classes run from 6:00PM or 7:00PM, Monday to Thursday. • 24/7 access to resource-rich online course material and the Tuart College eLibrary. • Go online now at to find courses available for you! A Senior College of the Department of Education.

HOW TO ENROL OR FIND OUT FURTHER INFORMATION. Call Tuart College on (08) 9242 6222 or visit our Open Learning web page Tuart College: Banksia Street, Tuart Hill, Western Australia 6060 EMAIL:





DESTINATION 17 IDYLIC ISLES The Cocos and Christmas Islands are truly paradise. 22 GYPSY HEART Adam Brand shares his passion for country Australia.

17 07 Airnorth News 1 7 Northern Exposure Spectacular Nitmiluk National Park boasts more than just crocs.

2 5 Far Away in Arnhem Land

This remote and unqiue spot more than delivers.



MEET THE SNUBBIES In Roebuck Bay, Broome, we meet some cute new friends.

BUSINESS 36 PADDOCK-TO-SHARE PLATE RIRDC winner Sophie Hansen talks farming & social media. 45 COMMODITIES REPORT Aussie market analysis 2016 51 THE SWEET SPOT The NSW Riverina is more than a food bowl, it's a gold mine. 61 BITING THE DUST Mining companies innovate against the danger of dust. 71 EDUCATION SPECIAL Australian boarding schools and unis talk fertile minds.


Gantheaume Point in Broome, Western Australia

Get in ! touch EDITOR Annabelle Warwick ART DIRECTOR Guy Pendlebury SUB-EDITOR Merran White PRODUCTION MANAGER Brian Ventour CONTRIBUTORS Deborah Dickson-Smith, Ben Smithurst, Darren Baguley, Danielle Chenery, Jiyan Dessens, Leanne Husdon, Dianne Bortoletto, Merran White, Rowan Crosby, Emma George, Michael Benn PRINTER SOS Print & Media ADVERTISING SALES DIRECTOR Scott Hunt NATIONAL ACCOUNT MANAGER Peter Anderson WA, SA and NT SALES REP Helen Glasson, Hogan Media Phone: 08 9381 3991 MANAGING PARTNERS Fergus Stoddart, Richard Parker OutthereMagazineAustralia @OutthereMagAus

Outthere is published by Edge Level 4, 10–14 Waterloo Street, Surry Hills NSW 2010 Phone: +61 2 8962 2600 Outthere is published by Business Essentials (Australasia) Pty Limited (ABN 22 062 493 869), trading as Edge, under license to MGI Publishing Pty Ltd. Reproduction in whole or in part without prior written permission is strictly prohibited. Opinions expressed are those of the individual contributors and not necessarily those of the Publisher. Information provided was believed to be correct at the time of publication. All reasonable efforts have been made to contact copyright holders. Outthere cannot accept unsolicited manuscripts or photographs. If such items are sent to the magazine, they will not be returned. Some images used in Outthere are from Thinkstock and Getty Images.

Editor's letter


his a madly busy time of year but, wherever you’ve come from and wherever you’re headed, I reckon time in the sky is definitely Me Time (for everyone except the Airnorth staff, that is). So grab a cuppa, let yourself off the hook (i.e. switch off that phone or give it to the little one), and why not find something to read? Upfront in the Airnorth section, it’s the wet season but that’s no excuse not to travel with barramundi out in force – one is actually tagged with a million dollars in prize money! We head to the extraordinary untouched wilderness that is Nitmiluk National park, then visit a remote seaside retreat in beautiful far north Arnhem Land. If these destinations don't tempt you to get out there amongst it in the Top End, I don't know what will. In Outthere, charming country star Adam Brand talks about his upcoming tour, Get on Your Feet. Adam may be a bona fide gypsy but his heart is with regional Aussie communities and making life just that little bit more fun for everyone, through good old fashioned music. Speaking of the good life, we escape with pole-vaulter Emma George and family to

lie in a hammock on the Cocos Keeling and Christmas Islands. We also head to Broome to catch a glimpse of the adorable and rare Snubfin dolphins of Roebuck Bay on the Kimberley Coast. In our Business section we cover news and innovation across agriculture, regional development and mining, and chat with RIRDC Rural Woman of the Year Sophie Hansen about helping farmers and foodies connect online. I hope you enjoy, and if you’d like to take this issue home, please feel free. Wherever you are in our amazing land, have a very happy new year,

Anna Warwick Senior Travel Editor


EMBRAER E170 Engines Two jet Wingspan 26m Length 29.9m Height 9.95m Maximum take-off weight 37,200kg Maximum cruise altitude 41,000ft/12,535m Maximum cruise speed 450kns/820km/h Passenger seats 76 Crew 2 pilots, 2 cabin attendants Passenger facilities 2 galleys, 2 lavatories, pressurised and air conditioned

EMBRAER E120 BRASILIA Engines Two turboprop Wingspan 19.78m Length 20.0m Height 6.35m Maximum take-off weight 11,990kg Maximum cruise altitude 32,000ft/9,754m Maximum cruise speed 300kns/555km/h Passenger seats 30 Crew 2 pilots, 1 cabin attendant Passenger facilities Lavatory, cabin ground heating/cooling system

METROLINER 23 Engines Two turboprop Wingspan 17.70m Length 18.10m Height 5.10m Maximum take-off weight 7,485kg Maximum cruise altitude 25,000ft/7,620m Maximum cruise speed 265kns/490km/h Passenger seats 19 Crew 2 pilots




SAFETY BRIEFING ON TIME EVERY TIME To assist in maintaining on-time departures, check-in time is 45 minutes prior to departure for domestic flights and 90 minutes prior to departure for international flights. Airnorth check-in counters close 30 minutes prior to domestic scheduled departures and 45 minutes prior to international scheduled departures.

FREQUENT FLYERS Airnorth is a member of the Qantas Frequent Flyer program. Members can earn and redeem their Frequent Flyer points on selected Airnorth scheduled services.

FLYING WITH CHILDREN Infant safety belts are available on Airnorth aircraft and are distributed prior to take-off.

CHILDREN FLYING ALONE If you have children between the ages of five and 11 (inclusive) travelling alone, we ensure they enjoy the attention of our staff on the ground and in flight.

AIRNORTH SERVICES On our services, you can expect a snack accompanied by a selection of tea and coffee or cold refreshments. On selected afternoon services, alcoholic beverages are also available. Refer to for more details.


Please listen carefully to the Safety Briefing and take the time to read through the Safety On Board card prior to take-off. This will help you familiarise yourself with the emergency exits, brace position and the location of your life jacket.

SEATBELTS Seatbelts must be fastened firmly for take-off, landing and while the seatbelt sign is illuminated. We recommend that your seatbelt be fastened at all times while you are seated in case of unexpected turbulence.

CARRY-ON LUGGAGE If you have carry-on luggage, please stow it in the overhead locker or under the seat in front of you. Hand luggage that is not correctly stowed may cause injury in the event of unexpected turbulence.

ELECTRONIC DEVICES Portable electronic devices can cause electromagnetic interference to the aircraft systems. The interference can cause aircraft systems to malfunction. To provide adequate protection for the aircraft, please note that mobile phones must not be used at any time on board the aircraft. Other devices, such as MP3 players, iPods, CD players, portable palmtop and laptop computers, cassette players, personal electronic organisers and personal DVD and video games may be used during cruise only, NOT when the aircraft is taking off or landing.

TRAY TABLES/ SEAT BACKS Please ensure that your tray table and your seat back are in their upright positions for take-off and landing.

DEEP VEIN THROMBOSIS (DVT) It has been reported that some airline passengers have developed clots in deep blood vessels, often in the lower legs, as a result of sitting for extended periods without exercise or movement. This condition is known medically as deep vein thrombosis or DVT. If bloodclot fragments break off and lodge in other areas of the body, such as the lungs, they may cause a potentially fatal pulmonary thrombosis when the person starts walking after being immobile for a lengthy period of time. Risk factors for DVT include varicose veins, recent surgery or injury to the lower legs, malignant diseases, past history of DVT, obesity, pregnancy and recent childbirth. Anyone with any of these risk factors is advised to consult a medical practitioner prior to flying to find out how to minimise the risk of DVT. During the flight, we recommend that you take the following precautions: • Drink plenty of fluids, especially water, and minimise your intake of alcohol. • Exercise on board the aircraft by moving and stretching your toes, rotating your ankles, raising and lowering each leg and massaging your calves gently. In addition, we suggest that you avoid crossing your legs during the flight.

SMOKING Government regulations strictly prohibit smoking on all domestic flights. Special smoke detectors have been fitted to the toilets on board all of our aircraft. Smoking is also prohibited on the tarmac and throughout airport terminal buildings.

Passengers with special needs and/or disabilities, please contact our Reservations Department.



SCHOOL’S OUT FOR CHELSEA Chelsea Ryan from Maningrida, NT, was a Yalari scholarship student at The Glennie School in Toowoomba. Chelsea successfully graduated high school in the class of 2016. As Chelsea’s proud sponsors, we caught up with the happy teenager to say congratulations, and to talk about her plans for the future. Airnorth: How do you feel about graduating? Chealsea Ryan: I have accomplished something! I’m glad that I kept going and didn’t give up. My parents, my whole family helped, and my supporters helped me a lot, too. AN: What do you think the six years with Yalari and Glennie has done for you? CR: It has changed me. Glennie has taught me to be independent. I’ve

learnt a lot more than I would have at home going to school. I‘ve had a lot of opportunities, such as going to different cities. I’ve been to Sydney, to Melbourne for the Year 10 Yalari Camp, to Canberra and Alice Springs. I’ve met a lot of people, including the West Coast Eagles players. I am glad that I met the France family. I met many other students at my school. I’m very good friends with a girl from Hong Kong and a girl from Papua New Guinea, so my group is very multicultural. I hope we keep in touch on the phone or Facebook. I hope that one day I can go and visit my friends, especially my friend in Hong Kong. I’ve learnt that if someone offers you an opportunity, you should take it!


AN: What will you do after you graduate? CR: After Glennie I think I would like to take a Gap Year. I have a job in Maningrida at the Health Centre, and maybe by next year, I’ll start looking at doing a course on Communication so I can use the skills to work for the Northern Land Council. I want to be a Council member, because I want to protect my land from people destroying it. My community has a lot of problems with people drinking and smoking drugs. I want to try and help. AN: What was your favourite subject at school? CR: I think of art as my hobby now and see myself working with art in my community. This year we did lino printing and I hadn’t learnt that before.


They do that back home. I think I have some new skills I could share when I get back. I also learnt about sculpting in clay. We don’t have clay in Maningrida so that was very different. I made some pots. And I was given some special lead pencils for my 18th birthday, which I use to draw with in my free time. AN: What is your favourite memory from Glennie? CR: I loved the end-of-year excursion, going to the Gold Coast with my friends; that was a lot of fun. AN: What would you say to someone who is thinking about doing a Yalari Scholarship? CR: It’s a good idea. Do it! AN: What advice would you give a new Yalari student?

CR: If you ever feel homesick, try and keep yourself busy. Try not to call your family every day, as the more you call, the more you’ll get homesick. If there are any problems, you shouldn’t keep it to yourself; you should talk to someone you trust. AN: What are you looking forward to most about going home to Maningrida? CR: Being back with family and friends. Catching up with all the ceremonies I’ve missed. Just being there at home. Airnorth sponsored Chelsea through Yalari, a not-for-profit organisation that offers secondary education scholarships at leading Australian boarding schools for Indigenous children.



HUNT FOR the million dollar BARRAMUNDI In a Top End wet season tourism campaign that’s hooking avid anglers from across the world, 100 barramundi were tagged and released into the wild, with a $10,000 cash prize for each. But the real prize is the barra with the coveted million-dollar prize tag! That’s 101 reasons to visit the Top End this year! With a total prize pool of $2 million, the second season of Million Dollar Fish has commenced, and at the time of this magazine going to print, a total of six fish have already been caught, with one couple, Kurt and Nikita Jason, swimming in money – a cool $30,000 – after luring not one but three tagged fish at Daly River crossing. With more than 90 barra, including the Big One, still at large, and plenty of time to get a bite before the comp ends on 28 February 2017, anglers would be wise to register now at They’re somewhere out there; don’t let these beauties get away!

Barramundi are fighting fish and will test your equipment, so increase your chances by using good-quality tackle. Remember to keep within bag limits for Northern Territory fish species.

High Waters Some of the best fishing is in the big rivers where netting has been banned. These include the Roper, Mary, Daly, McArthur and Adelaide rivers. There are plenty of other good fishing rivers in the Top End during the wet,

Top End Wet Season Barramundi Fishing Tips There are lots of to ways to catch a barra because they move between freshwater and salt water, but the best time is the build up to the monsoons, because they’re feeding aggressively and preparing to spawn.

Lure ‘n Tackle Anything that lives in or around water, including insects, spiders, prawns and fish is fair game. Barra find prey by sensing vibration, so moving lures or live bait are most successful.


It’s to snag ugh enou a re gh but y gular ba to o r fishin ur Darw ra, i g n ad could pay o venture ff (lit if yo e ‘Milli u catch t rally) on D h ollar e Fish’ .

including the Finniss, Victoria, Towns, Robinson, Wearyan, Calvert and Keep rivers. From Katherine, you have access to prime fishing locations, at the Roper River to the east and the Victoria river to the west. In Kakadu National Park, the South and East Alligator rivers are also

known for good fishing. If you have you own transport and boat, any of these areas can provide a fishing adventure, but many barramundi are caught from Darwin’s wharves and foreshores with the simplest of hand lines. Once in Darwin, you needn’t travel far to cast a line – you might catch a $10,000 or $1,000,000 barra just minutes away across the Darwin Harbour from Stokes Hill Wharf and Mandorah Jetty.

Tips for Visiting Anglers There are plenty of tackle stores, boat ramps and fishing accommodation catering for this popular sport around the NT. Professional fishing tours can get you out into the thick of the Top End wilderness. Cruise through vast wetlands and rivers and you’ll see more crocodiles than you can poke a stick at while you hunt for that elusive million-dollar barramundi. A good catch often depends on being in exactly the right spot at the right time, and the local knowledge of professional fishing guides can be invaluable. If you are staying in Darwin, the local fishing clubs are also a good source of information on local conditions at any particular time. If you didn’t get a bite, grab a bite at the Darwin Waterfront, CBD, or at the Cullen Bay marina – the fish of the day is always fresh-caught. Wherever you go in the Top End, you can be assured of two things: great fishing and dominating landscapes. So even if you don’t catch that elusive Million Dollar Fish, the thrill of the chase is just as appealing.


Santa heads to the Northern Territory Santa and his helpers have been busy all year, compiling a list of well-behaved regional NT kids and organising their presents for the annual “Airnorth Santa Run”. NT kids must have been very, very good this year, as Santa will be visiting Katherine, Tennant Creek and Alice Springs before heading to Arnhem Land and dropping in on Maningrida, Elco Island and Milingimbi to see everyone. Santa appreciates that local conditions are a little different to those at the North Pole, so he’s swapping his reindeers and sleigh for a turboprop aeroplane so he can cover large distances with all those pressies. Santa always gets an excess baggage waiver! And so the Christmas tradition continues, with kids congregating at their local airports, squinting at the sky and waiting patiently. The moment Santa’s plane appears, the joy on their faces is priceless. Santa disembarks the plane with his entourage of elves and a bulging sack of gifts slung over his shoulder. The kids watch mesmerised as he sways

his way into the terminal. Gifts are handed out and season’s greetings are proclaimed as Santa ushers in the festive season for the Top End community. Like the wet season rains, Santa’s arrival symbolises a migratory pattern for outgoing locals. NT families have their holiday travel plans and ‘bucket list’ destinations. Lucky for them, Airnorth’s extensive regional network connects these travellers to Cairns, Townsville, Toowoomba and the Kimberley towards the west. Airnorth also transports regional travellers from Katherine and Tennant Creek with the ‘centre run’, giving these communities air links to Darwin and Alice Springs airports. So wherever you’re travelling this festive season, you can be assured, like Santa, Airnorth will be your first-choice regional airline in the NT and beyond.

DON’T MISS SANTA! Centre Run: Wednesday 21 December Tennant Creek Airport – 9:10am Alice Springs Airport – 10:45am Katherine Airport – 3:10pm

Arnhem Land: Thursday 22 December Elco Island Airport – 10:40am Maningrida Airport – 11:45am Milingimbi Airport – 3:50pm



DARWIN Darwin Waterfront Australia Day Fun Run includes:

Australia Day COUNCIL


Thursday 26 January 2017

• live entertainment, free sausage sizzle, giveaways and live entertainment • Fun Run of either 3km or 5km starts at 7am, registrations from 6am • Free entry TOWNSVILLE Jezzine Barracks

• Includes a Fun Run, breakfast, citizenship ceremony, free amusements for the children, live entertainment and giant kite displays • 6am – 12pm CAIRNS Cairns Esplanade

• Free entertainment and activities for the whole family, including local bands performing from 2pm.

ALERT: SAMSUNG BAN Airnorth has issued a total carriage ban on all Samsung Galaxy Note7 phones, including depowered phones, on its services due to ongoing safety concerns. The lithium-ion battery in the phone is known to be faulty and a fire hazard. According to Samsung Australia, “Based on our investigation, we have learned that there was an issue within the battery cell. An overheating of the battery cell occurred when the anode-to-cathode came into contact, which is a very rare manufacturing process error”. “Multiple airlines have prohibited the carriage of Galaxy Note7 devices on board flights (international and domestic) for both carry-on and checked baggage. Airline passengers will not be permitted to take a Galaxy Note7 on a flight, either switched on or turned off,” Samsung has said. The total ban comes after a depowered Galaxy Note7 phone burst into flames while being carried on a Southwest Airlines flight in the USA. Samsung Australia has issued a voluntary recall of more than 50,000 units and has discontinued the product indefinitely. Airnorth initiated the complete ban on 18 October 2016.



Relax in stylish, award-winning accommodation set amongst tropical gardens


Cruise the gorges and wetlands of the mighty Ord River


Come and join us for an unforgettable helicopter adventure


Flinders Ranges, South Australia

Staying at Groote Eylandt Lodge: • Waters Edge Accommodation • Seagrass Restaurant & Bar • Day Spa • Art Centre & Cultural Experiences • Conference Suite

KATHERINE GORGE HELICOPTER FLIGHTS Discover Nitmiluk from an eagles view with a thrilling helicopter adventure. Marvel at the 13 gorges and enjoy views over Arnhem Land. Choose from five different helicopter tours or tailor your own. Flights depart from Maude Creek airfield, Gorge Road. Look for the signs on the road to Katherine Gorge.

Bookings 1800 833 722 WWW.HELISPIRIT.COM.AU

one of the most exciting fishing grounds in the world




Kakadu National Park is well known to most visitors to Australia but surprisingly, few have heard of its more spectacular neighbour, Nitmiluk National Park.



he name means ‘cicada dreaming place’, and after one day here exploring the gorges and surrounding bush, I think I understand why. The cicada song is so loud that I find myself almost shouting to be heard. After a while, I give up talking and just soak it all in: the gentle rhythm of cicada song, the cool water surrounding our canoe as we paddle upstream, and the spectacular cliffs rising on either side of us. Nitmiluk Gorge, formerly known as Katherine Gorge, is actually made up of 13 gorges stretching for more than 16 kilometres. Early explorer John McDouall Stuart, the first white man to come across the waterway, named it after his benefactor’s secondeldest daughter. The park’s original, Indigenous name, Nitmiluk, was restored when the area’s traditional owners, the

Right: Nitmiluk Gorge, This image: Cruising between ancient gorge rockfaces.


Jawoyn people, were formally recognised as such by the Australian Government in 1989. Before long. on our slow paddle upstream, we pass one of the resident freshwater crocodiles, who watches us warily. Our guide assures us that while she may look menacing, she is in fact quite harmless. “They have a different jaw structure to salties [saltwater crocs] and they’re unable to eat anything they can’t swallow whole,” he says. “So unless you really annoy these crocs, you’re pretty safe.” The salties clear out at the start of the dry season, when parts of the stream that flow through the gorge dry up and the clearing rapids reveal natural rock barriers that separate the gorges. Closed over the wet season, between December and May, the gorges reopen to canoeists only once NT Parks and Wildlife Commission officers have completed their annual safety and crocodile survey. Crocs aren’t the only wildlife we encounter on this outing: there are more than 192 different species of birds in the park, and we manage to spot several red-collared lorikeets, red-winged parrots, a gorgeous blue-winged kookaburra and, high above


“After a while, I give up talking and just soak it all in: the gentle rhythm of cicada song, the cool water and the spectacular cliffs rising on either side of us.�



us, a peregrine falcon. At ground level, we spy wallabies; a couple of wallaroos shading themselves in the trees by the shoreline; and a few freshwater turtles that stick their heads out of the water in the shallows among the reeds. Paddling is a great way to explore the Nitmiluk gorges and take in the diversity of their landscapes and habitats. Today, we’re only paddling a short distance through the first gorge, but experienced canoeists who make it to the end of the fourth will find Indigenous rock art by the Jawoyn people and a great little picnic spot for lunch and a swim. If you want to explore the fifth, sixth and seventh Nitmiluk gorges, it’s possible to hire canoes and take a two-day paddling excursion, camping overnight under the stars – but you’ll need a fairly high level of fitness and significant core strength to complete this course. We opt instead to stay at Cicada Lodge, a luxury eco-resort inside Nitmiluk National Park, nestled in the bush 32 kilometres from Katherine town centre, high above the waterways of the Katherine River system. A joint venture between the Jawoyn people and Indigenous Business Australia (IBA), the resort offers guests a number of different cultural experiences and guided tours, which can include basket-weaving, didjeridoo-playing, spear-throwing and storytelling – as well as a bush foods-inspired menu, including a juicy steak seasoned with

Above: The blue-winged kookaburra, This image: canoes docked at the riverside.



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pepper berries, and lemon-myrtle-infused ice-cream. The following morning, we’re taken on a cultural experience to Top Didj & Art Gallery, a cultural centre that is also home to Katherine Art Gallery. Award-winning interpretive guide Manuel Pamkal plays us a traditional welcoming tune on the didgeridoo, and entertains us with stories about growing up in the bush before teaching us how to create our own little piece of art using the rarrk (cross-hatch) method. While his parents are from Arnhem land, Pamkal was born “under a paper bark

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The dinner cruise tree by the second gorge”, and has lived in the Nitmiluk region Wandjina Aboriginal rockall art.his life. “My parents would walk around looking for food – emu, wallaby, crocodile,” he tells us, “and I used to watch people having corroborees and ceremonies almost every day.” Our cultural experience continues with a lesson in fire-lighting and spear-throwing. Pamkal shows us how to use a woomera and spear and we do our best to hit our target: a big fake red kangaroo. The following day, inspired by our art lesson but not quite fit enough to paddle through four gorges to see the famed Jawoyn rock-art site, we decide to take Nitmiluk Tours’ Jawoyn Rock Art Tour. From the Nitmiluk helipad, we effectively fly back in time some 40,000 years, over all 13 gorges of the Nitmiluk Gorge system, an amazing sight. Along the way, our guide explains the artwork in the fourth gorge and recounts a few Jawoyn Dreamtime stories about the creation of this landscape: tales of creator Bula who, much like Pamkal’s parents, came down here from the saltwater country to the north; Nagorrko, another spiritual being from the North who laid down the rules of behaviour; and Bolung, the life-giving rainbow serpent that the area’s traditional

“Our Nitmiluk journey has taken us through beautiful gorges, bushland teeming with wildlife, sparkling limestone caves and back in time.”

custodians believe inhabits the deep, green pools of the gorges. We hear more Jawoyn stories that evening on a Nabilil Dreaming Sunset Dinner Cruise that winds through two gorges as we watch the sun set over glasses of sparkling. On our last day here, we head 15 metres underground to explore nearby Cutta Cutta Caves. Covering 1499 hectares of limestone landscape, Cutta Cutta Caves Nature Park is a paradise for birdwatchers: 170 species of birds have been recorded within the park, including the rare Hooded Parrot and endangered Gouldian Finch, as well as five species of bats. Underground, there’s a magical landscape of a whole different sort. In the blissful cool of the cave system, we see glittering limestone formations, stalactites and stalagmites. In a few short days, our Nitmiluk journey has taken us through beautiful gorges, bushland teeming with wildlife, sparkling limestone caves and back in time. The experience leaves us with a greater appreciation for the dramatic landscapes of the Australian Outback, made deeper by having heard the mystical Dreamtime stories of its creation along the way.

FACT FILE Stay Each luxurious room at Cicada Lodge features Indigenous artwork from local artists. Bookings include breakfast and start at $450 per room.

Do • Nitmiluk Tours has guided tours, cruises, canoe hire and helicopter flights as well as accommodation at Nitmiluk Campground and Chalets. • The Top Didj & Art Gallery is a short drive from Cicada Lodge and Katherine. • Cutta Cutta Caves Nature Park is 30km south of Katherine on the Stuart Highway. It’s open daily from 8:30am to 4:30pm. • Helispirit Tours offers transport to the region helispirit.

More info Visit 22

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ARNHEM LAND This extraordinary terrain, occupying a vast swathe of the Northern Territory, offers everything from white-sand beaches to world-class fishing grounds and thriving Indigenous art communities. WORDS: LEANNE HUDSON



“I JUST KEEP COMING BACK,” says our transfer pilot Mike as he explains how he’s ping-ponged between Arnhem Land and elsewhere for several years. Looking out the window at the sun glancing off azure waters rimmed by pristine beaches, it’s easy to see why. Arnhem Land, named by 17th-century Dutch explorers, is one of Australia’s secret wonders. But with huge amounts invested in tourism by the Northern Territory Government, this far-flung corner of the country is slowly gaining the recognition it deserves. Encompassing nearly 100,000 square kilometres of terrain (an area more than twice the size of the Netherlands), Arnhem Land is owned and managed by local Indigenous people, and it is special. Here, even the light and colours seem different. Dedicated fishos have taken advantage of the outstanding angling opportunities here for decades but for others, this land has seemed too distant – or too difficult, because you need permits to visit. Nowadays, however, there are regular flights from Darwin, free Arnhem Land driving permits from the Northern Land Council (, and permits to visit sights around Nhulunbuy, the region’s main town, easily available online from the Dhimurru Rangers ( au). Do plan ahead, though.

“Arnhem Land is owned and managed by local Indigenous people, and it is special. Here, even the light and colours seem different”

Above: Catch a Top End sunset. Below left: one of many native wildflowers you may come across here in season.

Our trip starts in Nhulunbuy, a former mining town that hugs the coast of north-east Arnhem Land, in Yolngu country. Since the Rio Tinto alumina refinery closed in 2013, locals estimate that more than 1000 workers and their families have left Nhulunbuy. Some say the town is better for it, with a long-term focus on tourism replacing the short-term benefits of mining. After spending the night in town, we’re making the hop over to Banubanu Wilderness Retreat with Mike. Located on Bremer Island, a 13km ride from the mainland; this is Robinson Crusoe meets glamping. Perched on the edge of soft white-sand dunes, Banubanu has been thoughtfully carved out of the bush by Trevor Hosie and Helen Martin, with the blessing of the island’s traditional owners, led by matriarch Luk. And whether you want to fall asleep in a homely beach hut sheltered in the dunes, or listening to the waves in an 26


LURE OF THE WILD Arnhem Land has some exceptional fishing, with an array of species likely to grab your lure year-round. From pelagics, including marlin, sailfish, Spanish mackerel, tuna, trevally and queenfish, through to reef varieties such as red emperor, jewfish and coral trout, the possibilities are colourful and often times, delicious. Your Dhimurru permit includes permission to fish at all designated recreation areas around the Gove Peninsula – so anywhere you are allowed to go with your permit, you are also allowed to fish – and it’s possible to throw in a line straight from the beach. If heading out in your own boat, be aware that smaller boats often struggle with winds during the dry season, which runs roughly from May to August. If you don’t have your own gear or boat, join an organised trip with Banubanu, Gove Sports Fishing & Diving Charters (08 8987 3445, or SS Charters (larger groups, 0407 609 935, sscharters.

This image: East Woody Beach, the famous beach of Nhulunbuy, Gove Peninsula.

Charters range from half a day to several days. Bag limits are the same as for the rest of the Territory: check the NT Government website for the latest details ( marine). Boat licences and boat registration are not required in the NT. 27


oceanfront ‘eco-safari tent’ with hotel-grade ensuite, you’ve got it. A stay here, which involves crabbing, picking oysters off the rocks, a reef snorkel and a night looking for turtles laying eggs, feels as if you are far, far away. A sunset champagne up on the rocks is a must (and a perfect proposal spot). Follow it with dinner in the rustic lodge – it’s amazing what can be whipped up in a kitchen partly constructed from driftwood. Back on the mainland, we set out to explore places within an easy drive of Nhulunbuy. From secluded Ngumuy (Turtle Beach) and exquisite Baringura (Little Bondi) to Banambarrna (Rainbow Cliffs) and Wirrwawuy, there is no shortage of spots at which to stop and stare at Mother Nature in all her glory. Our favourite is Wanuwuy (Cape

Arnhem), around a 90-minute drive from town. Access is up and over some pretty steep sand dunes and along a stretch of white-sand beach – the journey is half the fun. The Cape is divided into separate camping spots for a very private experience. When the sun drops below the horizon and the stars pop out, it’s just you, the sound of the waves and whoever you were kind enough to take along. This place is so pristine that only 10 vehicles are allowed per night – and don’t forget that permit from the Dhimurru Rangers. One stay here and you’ll know the meaning of the word ‘unwind’. For a taste of local life during our stay, we head to the Nhulunbuy Speedway one night and to an Aussie Rules football game the next morning. Fiercely competitive footie teams, from Nhulunbuy and the communities around town, battle it out while half the

This image: Crab is a local delicacy. Below: Get out bush by 4WD.

This image: Lie on your back and count the stars. Below: Experience a beachside corroboree with local outfit Lirrwi Tourism.

“When the sun drops below the horizon and the stars pop out, it’s just you, the sound of the waves and whoever you were kind enough to take along”


TOURS Lirrwi Tourism operates out of Yirrkala and is run by local Indigenous people. They offer several excursions, including art, women’s, corporate and educational tours, plus a fiveday, four-night Crossing Country trip that visits remote Yolngu homelands. 08 8987 2828,


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FACT FILE Stay, eat and do Banubanu Wilderness Retreat, 08 8987 8085, Gove Boat Club, The Waterfront Kitchen, 08 8987 8388, Buku-Larrnggay Mulka Art Centre, 08 8987 1701

Car hire Kansas Transportation, 08 8987 2872, Thrifty Car & Truck Rental, 1800 626 515, Gove Rentals, 08 8987 1700 or 0418 197 373,

town’s residents cheer them on. My partner even helps out as water boy. This is what country footy is all about! We follow a last supper at Gove Boat Club, accompanied by sunset views over Melville Bay, with a night on the tiles at The Arnhem Club, where there’s a live band out front and a DJ in the back. For a small town many predicted would die with the closure of the mine, there’s a lot going on. A convenient afternoon flight back to Darwin leaves us time to take a morning walk along glorious Galuru – East Woody Beach –and pay a visit to Buku-Larrnggay Mulka Art Centre in Yirrkala, the Indigenous community near the airport. Packed to the rafters with Indigenous art in all its forms, from entire tree trunks laced with exquisite creation-time patterns to bark paintings, yidakis (didgeridoos) originating from Arnhem Land, etchings, weavings, sculptures and screen prints, this is the place to buy if you’re keen to support local Indigenous artists. Expect to leave with your very own piece of Arnhem Land. And that’s all, folks – for now. As we board the plane I have a sneaky suspicion that just like Mike the pilot, I might find that I “just keep coming back”.

Buy Indigenous art and crafts at Buku-Larrngay Mulka Art Centre.





The latest and greatest things to hear, see and read...


Stitch It!

st picaff k

Kasey Chambers: Dragonfly Kasey Chamber’s latest album Dragonfly is due to be released on January 20, hot on the heels of her EP ‘Ain’t No Little Girl’, which came out in August. Chambers says, “My voice has a newfound strength in it since surgery in May last year, but I think even more of the strength has come from a power within myself that’s projected through my voice. The moment I wrote and started playing ‘Ain’t No Little Girl’ live, I knew it was the glue that would hold my next musical journey together.”

Frankie Valli: ’Tis the Seasons Frankie Valli’s first solo Christmas album puts his unique spin on well-loved yuletide classics. “The holidays are my favourite time of the year and, ever since the first Four Seasons Christmas album, I’ve wanted to do another one… I finally got around to it,” says Valli. “It’s still great fun collaborating with [producer Bob Gaudio]. The arrangements for this album are some of the most stunning he’s ever assembled. I can’t wait for the fans to hear it,” he says.


App Store, free Google Play, free Ever wanted to take screenshots of multiple text messages and ‘stitch’ them together into one image, but needed to crop unnecessary parts or edit out private information? Stitch It! allows you to create one seamless image of a text message conversation so that you can share it via any channel you choose. It’s new to Android but has been around on iOS for a little while.

Shake-it Alarm

Google Play, free Need to make your mornings more interesting? A ‘Shake-it Alarm’ allows you to turn off your alarm in a variety of ways – just to make sure you actually wake up. There’s the obvious ‘shake-it’ mode, or try the ‘scream off’; where you get to scream at your phone to make the thing quiet. Then there’s ‘touch off’, where you continuously tap your screen hard to make it stop. Or, mix it up with ‘random’ mode. Good morning.

Lion PG-13 Drama Starring Dev Patel, Nicole Kidman, Rooney Mara and David Wenham, Lion tells the story of Saroo, who tries to find his family and return home to India, 25 years after getting lost on a train as a five-year-old boy and being adopted by an Australian couple. Showing the power of determination and the usefulness of technology such as Google Earth, Lion is adapted from the extraordinary true story A Long Way Home by Saroo Brierly, and is released January 19.

read The Lust List Colouring Book Sally Spratt, Hachette Australia, $16.99

Tapping into the mindfulness colouring trend, float away on your personal daydream about trips to Paris, soaking in the sun at the beach or buying the shoes you’ve always wanted via good old-fashioned paper and colouring pencils. ‘If I can’t have them, I’ll draw them,’ is the mantra of Instagram phenomenon The Lust List, which has 125,000-plus followers. This book takes it to the next level: ‘if I can’t have them, I’ll colour them’.

Daintree: The Porter Sisters 2 Annie Seaton, Macmillan, $29.99

Rural fiction at its best, this book tells Doctor Emma Porter’s story of living and working in the harsh but glorious Daintree. However, the life she’s escaped from in Sydney follows her in the form of her first love, Doctor Jeremy Langford, who also starts working at the hospital. This engrossing tale examines life in Australia’s very own tropical rainforest.

Delicious: At Our Table ABC Books, $49.99

It’s the beauty of Delicious magazine made into a hardcover cookbook. Be inspired to weave magic in your kitchen through gorgeous photography, beautiful design and more than 120 impressive but effortless recipes. You’re covered for lazy brunches, elegant feasts and delectable cakes and sweets. And don’t forget about presentation: the book also features inspirational tips on how to style your table.


Google Play, free There’s nothing like playing menu roulette when you’re overseas and can’t read the menu. This app takes the mystery out of what you’re ordering by scanning your menu into a user-friendly interface so you can search and translate food items easily. MenuSnap translates more than 50 languages and saves menus for future orders. Bon appétit.


What’s On

Our top pick of events coming up around the country...







November 29–February 5

December 2

December 3

December 28–January 3

Spirit of Anzac Centenary Experience

Alice Springs Town Council Christmas Carnival

Red Bull Lighthouse to Leighton Kiteboard Race

Taste of Tasmania, Hobart

Alice Springs knows how to turn up the cheer with this annual carnival held on the Council Lawns and in Todd Mall. There’ll be market stalls, musical acts and street performers. It’s a most enjoyable way to finish off your Chrissy shopping and the kids will be delighted by the fireworks display.

The longest race of its kind in Australia and a unique spectacle, it has amateur and professional kiters sailing from Phillip Point on Rottnest Island across the Indian Ocean and the Gage Roads channel to finish at Leighton Beach in North Fremantle as they compete for title, trophy and prize money.



Travelling to Perth, Bunbury and Kalgoorlie, WA, this ground-breaking exhibition brings to life an infant Australia on the eve of war, following in the footsteps of our soldiers, sailors, airmen and nurses. You’ll be deeply moved by the interactive storytelling around more than 200 artefacts from the Australian War Memorial.




Dec 30–Jan 1 Hogmanay Celebration Edinburgh, Scotland Scotland’s world-famous New Year festival runs over three days.


10-11 December Big Mountain Festival Phetchaburi, Thailand One of the biggest music festivals in South-East Asia, with hundreds of acts.

Dec 31 New Year’s Eve on the Strip Las Vegas, USA The entire Strip is shut down to traffic and it becomes one gigantic party.


Hosted at the Hobart waterfront, this festival is a foodie’s heaven. Think seafood, cheeses, berries, cool-climate wines, boutique beers and ciders and much more, representing regions from right around the state. There’s free entertainment including buskers, local musicians and DJs, plus lots to keep the kids happy.

Feb 11-28 Carnevale Di Venezia, Venice This annual festival is a great excuse to don a mask and parade around St Mark’s Square, Venice, until Lent.




Rolex Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race DECEMBER 26 Pick your favourite coastal vantage point to watch the yachts sail away from Sydney and be there at Hobart’s magnificent harbour to welcome those who make it in to shore. This year is the 72nd edition of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, which begins at 13:00 hours on Boxing Day. It’s the perfect excuse to keep the summer festivities going as Christmas draws to a close.









January 11–15

January 16–29

January 20–29

January 26

Parkes Elvis Festival, NSW

Australian Open Tennis, Melbourne

Tamworth Country Music Festival


Record crowds are expected for the 25th Anniversary of the Parkes Elvis Festival, which has the fitting theme this year of ‘Viva Las Vegas’. The festival continues to attract 22,000-plus Elvis fans to the Central NSW town of Parkes to celebrate ‘The King’ each January. Relive rock’n’roll’s heyday with plenty of wigs, white polyester and rock’n’roll glasses.

There’s nothing like being courtside to see your favourite players compete, dripping with sweat in the Melbourne summer. Various packages are available for those wanting to absorb as much tennis and sunshine as possible. There are food and drink options to suit every palate, and music and entertainment to boot.

Australia’s largest music festival and one of the world’s top 10: with more than 2800 shows across 120 different venues, this is one giant hoedown. Don’t miss the Golden Guitar Awards, where fans get to rub shoulders with the biggest names in country music and see all of their favourite artists perform in one huge show.

Celebrate Australia Day by recognising our nation’s First Peoples at Sydney’s Victoria Park. Yabun is Australia’s largest festival of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures. Meaning ‘music to beat’ in Gadigal language, the event is free to attend, with live music, a bustling market, cultural performances and panel discussions.



February 25–March 5 Australian Open of Surfing The 2km Manly surf beach and promenade turn up the heat during this surfing and skating fest.

February 10–March 5 Perth International Arts Festival Don’t miss Australia’s longest-running international arts festival and Western Australia’s premier cultural event.

March 3-19 Adelaide Festival of Arts Book in advance for acclaimed theatre and music productions, dance pieces, author talks and striking arts displays.

March 10-13 WOMAdelaide Australia’s foremost world music and dance event isn’t just a festival, it’s an immersive cultural experience.





Got a thing for theatre? Love live music? Enjoy great galleries? Read on for what’s happening this month...

DARWIN SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA: MASTER SERIES 4 ‘BABE’ DECEMBER 10 It’s Babe like you’ve never seen her before; the family favourite story about a pig who yearned to be a sheepdog, performed live by the Darwin Symphony Orchestra to the film – simultaneously projected on the big screen. It’s a 21st anniversary special event celebrating the film that made everyone think twice about their appetite for bacon. Tickets range from $20-$99.


Nothing says Christmas like the annual Carols in the Domain event. It’s the biggest Christmas concert in Australia, after all, and this year promises to be another star-studded affair. Whether you watch it on TV or live at the Domain, the atmosphere of Carols in the Domain will get you in the festive spirit before you can say, “Pass the eggnog”. 4


December 27–January 1 WOODFORD FOLK FESTIVAL Now in its 31st year, this gathering of more than 2600 international artists and musicians is a great east-coast summer tradition. Thousands of revellers (many now with kids in tow) make the pilgrimage to the hidden bushland valley fondly referred to as ‘Woodfordia’ to form a pop-up feel-good village for six days. The festival is a feast of music, dance, circus, street theatre, art and crafts, workshops, comedy, kids’ festivities, social dialogue and debate. There are also late-night cabarets, parades and a spectacular fire event. The streets are lined with eateries. Tree-filled grounds, butterfly walks, ponds and wildlife complete the picture of a wonderful time had by all.

Field Day, Sydney JANUARY 1 Held at the Domain, Field Day is a massive dance party and New Year’s celebration. It’s typically a high-quality mix of house, hip-hop, indie and electronica, so there’s something to get everyone up and partying like it’s 2017. Be ready to boogie to Alison Wonderland, Alunageorge, Booka Shade, Broods, Claptone, Safia and many, many more.


January 2–February 4 The Amity Affliction will be celebrating the release of This Could Be Heartbreak with a regional tour in January, over 13 dates. Hear for yourself why this, their fifth studio album, has been hailed as the band’s best yet. Catch the Amity Affliction in Adelaide, Cairns, Townsville, Gympie, Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast, Coffs Harbour, Newcastle, Wollongong, Canberra, Frankston, Geelong and Hobart.



Exhibitions  Italian Jewels: Bulgari Style

NGV International, Melbourne. Until 29 Jan Emerald and diamond jewellery from the personal collection of Elizabeth Taylor and a ruby and diamond necklace worn by Sophia Loren, are showcased in this spectacular jewellery exhibition. Take a step back through time, and soak in the splendour of Bulgari’s remarkable jewels as well as film and photography focusing on Rome in the ‘50s, ‘60s.

Top left & above: Take a step back through time, and soak in the splendour of Bulgari’s remarkable jewelllery exhibition.

 Primavera at 25

gilded furniture, monumental statues and other objects from the royal gardens, as well as personal items from Louis XIV to MarieAntoinette.

MCA, Sydney. Dec 19 – Mar 19 This year marks 25 years of Primavera; the MCA’s annual exhibition showcasing the work of young Australian artists. Primavera at 25 brings together works by Primavera alumni artists that explore concepts of transformation, time and history. After its presentation at the MCA, Primavera at 25 will tour throughout the country.

 Sugar Spin – Gallery of Modern Art

 Versailles: Treasures from the Palace

National Gallery of Australia, Canberra. Dec 9 – Apr 17 This mesmerising period in French history comes to the National Gallery of Australia for the first time. Browse through more than 130 paintings, intricate tapestries,


Tickets and tour dates available online now.


François-Hubert Drouais, The Sourches family 1756, oil on canvas, On loan from the Palace of Versailles

December 2–16 Most States

COLDPLAY December 6–14 Qld, Vic & NSW

(GOMA), Queensland. Dec 3 – Apr 17 Take yourself on a tour of showcase contemporary works from GOMA’s collection with Sugar Spin. You’ll find large-scale favourites and major new commissions. Lose yourself in GOMA’s unique exhibition spaces with this exhibition that will force you to reflect on the urgent challenges of our day, as well as the beauty of the world we live in.



GO YOUR OWN WAY WITH THE DEPENDABLE ISUZU D-MAX Isuzu D-MAX drivers put up with a lot from Monday to Friday. So when the weekend comes around, nothing beats getting away from it all with your best mates. With a powerful and efficient 3.0L turbo diesel engine, 3.5 tonne braked towing capacity+ and a Terrain Command 4WD system, the Isuzu D-MAX has everything you need to go your own way.

Discover the Isuzu D-MAX for yourself – visit your Isuzu UTE Dealer or

5-star ANCAP safety rating applies to D-MAX 4x4 Crew Cab variants built from November 2013 and 4x2 High-Ride Crew Cab variants built from November 2014. +3.5 tonne braked towing capacity on D-MAX 4x4 and 4x2 High Ride models when fitted with an optional genuine Isuzu UTE tow bar kit. ^5 years/130,000km whichever occurs first, for eligible customers. Excludes trays and accessories. >The Capped Price Servicing Program (“CPS Program”) applies to Eligible Vehicles with a Warranty Start Date after 1/1/15 at Participating Isuzu UTE Dealers only. The CPS Program covers the first 6 Scheduled Services in line with the Scheduled Service Intervals. CPS Prices are subject to change. For full terms & conditions and current pricing visit


Pack the kids, clubs and canary and enjoy OFF SUV’s rented with Thrifty before 30 June 2017.* Quote OUTTHERE at the time of booking

1300 367 227

Thrifty Counter

*Rent a Thrifty CWAR, SWAR, IWAR, FWAR, and UWAR vehicles and receive a 10% discount off Time and Kilometres. Valid booking period between 1 December 2016 to 30 June 2017. Valid for Travel period between 1 December 2016 to 30 June 2017.BLACKOUT DATES APPLY 21 December 2016 to 3 January 2017 and 1 April to 23 April 2017.Minimum 1 day rental. Must quote OUTTHERE at time of booking. Available at selected locations in Australia only. Offer is subject to availability and cannot be used in conjunction with any other promotion, special offer, coupon, corporate discounted rate or for existing bookings. Drivers must meet the standard age, driver’s licence and credit requirements of Thrifty. Excess charges will apply for items such as Credit Card Surcharges (1%) and optional extras. All rentals are subject to the terms and conditions of the rental agreement.


Nintendo Switch

Restless kids? This new multi-function console is due February, pre-order now.


Traditional Australian designed bangles Proceeds go to the individual artsts.

$11 each,

Azteca Long Sleeve Swim Top / Rashie

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Breville Nespresso Creatista Plus Coffee Machine

Install this mini barista in the caravan and brew the perfect cup.






Isuzu makes brilliant tough-truck utes, but it was its entry into the SUV world – with the seven-seat MU-X – that proved the brand’s versatility. WORDS: MICHAEL BENN

he most challenging thing about driving in the ‘sunburnt country’ so loved by a homesick, Londonbound poet Dorothea Mackellar is not that it is ‘a land of sweeping plains’... Because lots of countries are hot, and lots of others share our combination of extreme heat and flat bits – albeit usually in a scaled-back sort of way – similarly crisscrossed by unsealed, occasionally boulderstrewn roads. Nor is it ‘her ragged mountain ranges’ or ‘her droughts and flooding rains’ that set this country apart. The trickiest thing about driving in Australia is that we must deal with a combination of all of these things, all of the time, plus tiny winding urban roads besides. Potholed goat tracks and silky-smooth freeways are often part of the same trip – just to the servo for milk. Australian drivers must, quite literally, take the rough with the smooth. Isuzu’s MU-X is designed in Japan, naturally, and built in the world’s utelovingest country, Thailand, a nation with around 800,000 annual car sales, of which two thirds are pickups. But it’s Australia’s singular variability for which Isuzu’s ute-based SUV, the MU-X, appears purpose-bred. Built on the bones of the brand’s unkillable D-MAX pickup, the MU-X sits a well-considered, genuine seven-seat SUV body onto its sibling’s 10

proven ladder-frame chassis. This provides outstanding strength, refined for purpose by replacing leaf springs with multilink coil suspension, for a much smoother drive. Indeed, and especially on the LS-T model’s leather seats, the ride is more than supple enough to allow children to slip into sleep on long drives – if the halo car’s standard 10-inch ceiling-mounted DVD player doesn’t keep them quiet enough. The MU-X’s 130kW, 380Nm, common-rail turbodiesel four-pot does not do fussy, which is no surprise; the MU-X also shares its 4JJ1-TC 3.0L engine with the D-MAX, providing capable three-tonne towing. (All six variants use the same engine, with five-speed auto and manual transmissions available in both 2WD and 4WD.) This SUV’s Variable Geometry System (VGS) turbocharger is juggled electronically to minimise turbo lag, while powerful disc brakes on all wheels – 300mm up front, 318mm at the rear – prove to be worthy anchors. Additional sound, harshness and vibration damping keep the cabin quiet. The ladder chassis, shortened by 250mm over that of the D-MAX, retains 230mm of ground clearance. Despite that air beneath your ankles, the MU-X is just 1830mm high at the roofline. This fact, combined with clever-dick engineering – presumably


“The trickiest thing about driving in Australia is that potholed goat tracks and silky-smooth freeways are often part of the same trip.�



by wizards – produces a remarkably low centre of gravity; the family SUV will stay on its pegs at a remarkable transverse angle of up to 47 percent. That milk run is capable of going via Mordor... or Dakar. Bruce Garland has seen it all, and run into some of it; he’s driven a D-MAX in the Paris Dakar and the Australasian Safari, was a stuntman in the forthcoming Mad Max: Fury Road, and can weave his way through a herd of camels in a dust storm at 160km/h. But he recalls that it was conquering a 10-metre, 35-degree incline in the MU-X – in idle – that had him raving. “I’d done that in a D-MAX,” he says, “in second gear, in idle, with four blokes in the truck – I was amazed [by that]. But I didn’t think the MU-X would do it so easily. It did. “Although, really, it makes sense. That engine is the same engine we use in the Dakar, only then it’s tuned to about 95 per cent of how far they actually can push it – we bring it a

little but back so it’s more durable – to about 195kW and 600Nm. “So when they de-tune it to pull down-low, that just makes it incredibly durable and reliable at 130kW.” Hence the turbodiesel’s five-year, 130,000km warranty – and, perhaps, the marque’s customer satisfaction rating in 2015 Roy Morgan surveys, where it placed second, equal with Subaru and second only to Lexus. The Isuzu design boffins first put pencil to paper for the MU-X back in 2007. That time in between was well spent, the investment maturing nicely since its debut in late 2013. Body-wise, the SUV shares only its bonnet and front doors with the D-MAX, the exterior styling being most distinctive in the wedge shape also belonging to the tough ute. But Isuzu’s ‘Dynamic Flow’ design language – artspeak for the architecture of the car’s exterior lines – is most obvious in the long, flat roof, with (sensibly) no bulging rear wheel

arch. The SUV’s bellicose stance is magnified by aggressive front fenders, large wheel openings and sculpted head and tail lights. The front seats have wraparound bolstering for extra support, with 60/40 split-folds in the second row and 50/50 in the third, producing a cargo area up to 1995mm long. Add this to clever standard extras – a dozen cup holders, for example, or 19 separate storage compartments – and the MU-X asks questions of even its biggest competitors. Isuzu sold 20,984 D-MAX and MU-X vehicles combined in 2015. That number was up a colossal 25.8 per cent year-on-year. It’s easy to love a sunburnt country. Come hell and/or high water – likely in quick succession, between droughts, balmy summer afternoons, locusts and the odd ‘sharknado’ – this particular sunburnt country has learned to love Isuzu’s unpretentious MU-X right back.

“That engine is the same engine we use in the Dakar, only then it’s tuned to about 95 per cent how far they can push it.” 12

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It’s the world’s most flavoursome continent and one of its most eclectic, so when Asia’s street and everyman food meets Australia’s phenomenal produce, things can be taken up a notch (and then another one)… WORDS: Ben Smithurst


“Supernormal is an inspired interpretation our favourite Asian eating experiences,” goes the spiel for Andrew McConnell’s hip, bustling, brilliant Flinder’s Lane hotspot. They’re not lying. Incorporating influences from Tokyo, Shanghai, Seoul and Hong Kong, McConnell’s tremendously staffed (pray to be served by Sue) and super-fun font of innovation is worth booking in to, particularly if you’ve time for a very long lunch. Don’t miss the rice cakes: puffy noodles of sticky, fried dough, sprinkled in sesame and with a sweet and sour sauce that’s 1000 miles away from your local RSL Chinese, circa 1985. 14




Cho-Cho San was the pregnant, doomed, eponymous 15-year-old ‘Madame Butterfly’ in that century-old silent film and play, which is, frankly, not particularly fun. But wait! While the vibrancy of Kings Cross may or may not be on the wane, one-hatted Cho Cho San the Japanese restaurant endures – to the credit of its indomitable sense of fun and innovative, not-religiously-authentic-Japanese menu. Authentic-feeling Asian bustle means things get loud of a Saturday night, but embrace the experience and you’ll be so busy nomming on charcoal chicken (with sesame yoghurt) and koji-glazed lamb cutlets to notice.

You can sit at the bar. You can book (but only for six or more) or you can just line up before piling in, like everyone else, to soak up Gin Long’s unique blend of hipster-bar ambience and eclectic pan-Asian tumult. A godsend to North Adelaide’s food scene in late 2013, Gin Long maintains the rage with a long, long restaurant space (and a long, long bar down one side), music that’s actually a bit loud, and portions more generous than those served by a day-drinking Trustafarian. Begin with the Duck Cups – bolstered by shitake, dried shallots and water chestnuts – and move on to literally anything else (but definitely to the Thai beef).

Weird trivia: Chop Chop Chang – AKA Ham the Astrochimp – was the name of the first primate to leave the earth, blasted into space in 1961 by NASA. He landed, and survived, eventually to lend his name to Brisbane’s buzziest Asian marketplace-style eatery. Predominantly influenced by Japanese, Thai and Vietnamese flavours and techniques, CCG’s does twicecooked sticky beef ribs you’d wrestle an orangutan for, and Korean fried chicken you’d fight a silverback to taste. Oh, and for a single bit of the caramelised pork with tamarind you’d go 10 rounds with King Kong. Tasty, welcoming and more fun than a monkey butler.

Head chef Ivan Blackwell’s Perth ‘bar and eating house’ is the perfect place for a first date – if only because it’s too dark and sultry for your prospective partner to be able to discern your imperfections. Happily, however, it would be difficult to identify flaws in Apple Daily’s menu even under a spotlight. Named after Hong Kong’s leading (but fruit-lover-misleading) daily paper, Apple Daily spins gold from South-East Asian street food. Whether it’s a sublime pad thai (with prawns, bean curd, sweet radish, peanuts and coriander), Korean fried chicken wings or Teriyaki ribs, the peripatetic menu more than makes up for the bonkers name.








ISLES T he Cocos (officially, Cocos Keeling) Islands and their neighbour, Christmas Island, complement each other perfectly. They are the yin and yang of islands: the Cocos Keeling group is a sand atoll, awash with squeaky white beaches; and Christmas, the summit of an undersea mountain, with lush tropical rainforests and plunging coastlines. Choosing between them is like trying to pick a favourite child: each has its special qualities, and you need to visit both to experience the complete picture – one of wonder and amazement. These islands possess a magic that should make them tourist hotspots, but one of the highlights of a visit is that the Cocos and

Christmas Island and the Cocos Keeling Islands are remote Australian territories bobbing in the Indian Ocean off the nation’s north-west coast. Former pole-vaulting champion Emma George takes her family on a wellearned holiday and shares her top five adventures.

Christmas isles are so very un-touristy Visitors are welcomed by locals – indeed, this destination is so safe that you can leave your accommodation unlocked, your wallet on the dash of the car without worrying. On Cocos, our hire-car agreement stipulated that we should keep the keys in the ignition at all times – something I’d never do at home. Although this was the third visit to the islands for my husband Ashley and I, it was the first we’d made with our three children. We wanted to show them the amazing wildlife, immerse ourselves in the islands’ underwater environment, and relish being unplugged from electronic devices. More than a holiday, it was to be an adventure.




Experience Christmas Island’s frenetic annual red-crab migration.



Finding out we’d be on Christmas Island during the annual red-crab migration (October to January) was like winning the lottery. We were up at 3.30 on our first morning to see this extraordinary natural event. It was difficult to find crab-free patches of sand as we tiptoed onto the beach. Crabs hung off cliffs, scurried over our feet and scuttled onto us if we sat still for a second. The sea turned black as the females released millions of eggs. I felt honoured to share such an amazing experience with my children; it is something we’ll remember forever.

Take to the air for awesome bird’s-eye views of the islands.


Cocos is a diver’s paradise, even better when you dive with a boutique operator. With 30-metre visibility, we could see everything from a vast array of corals to tiny nudibranchs as well as Bottlenose and Spinner dolphins, manta rays, and by a stroke of luck, the area’s lone dugong, Kat. Coming face-toface with schools of Blue-fin Trevally in one dive is just insane. Diving is just as special off Christmas Island, with underwater caves, limestone walls that drop into the abyss of the Indian Ocean, and awesomely good visibility. Every time we dive here, we are amazed at the vibrancy of the reef, the clarity of the water and the multitude of fish, great and small.

© Rik Sodelrund

Dive and snorkelling sites in the area fairly teem with tropical fish: get immersed!



We spent days on the unspoilt white-sand beaches of the Cocos, floating around as fish swam by. The boys loved hermit-crab racing and never-ending snorkelling sessions. The motorised local canoes are an ingenious way to travel to nearby isles – you don’t even have to paddle. The kids delighted in being ‘canoe captains’ for the day.

Direction Island was a little slice of palm-fringed heaven. On the calmest day of our trip we had the whole isle to ourselves. I felt like a millionaire, relaxing on a hammock under the shade of coconut palms watching the children play in the calm, 28-degrees-Celsius turquoise water.


SNORKELLING The Rip: We glided over tropical

reef fish, sharks, turtles and pretty corals as the current pulled us from the outer reef into the lagoon. ‘Drift diving’ is not for the faint-hearted, but our eight-year-old 18

“I donned my snorkel and jumped into the deep-blue water to find myself almost face to face with the gigantic filter-feeder.”

Not every visitor’s lucky enough to get up close to a whale shark, but if you do, you’ll never forget it.


and 11-year-old managed quite well, holding our hands during the exhilarating ride. They delighted in finning down to wake up reef sharks under the plate coral, and make Christmas-tree worms duck for cover.

Flying Fish Cove: I wasn’t sure all three kids would make to the 100-metre drop-off but they were so engrossed in the coral gardens, butterfly fish, batfish, lionfish, turtles, sharks and the whole cast of Finding Nemo none of them notices how far they’d snorkelled. The excitement was infectious as they speculated about what might dwell below, in the vast, deep-blue ocean, before circling back around to chase fish in the shallows.

Whale Shark encounter: A big brown shape emerged from the water and I struggled to identify it from where I stood on the shore. When I realised it was a huge Whale Shark, I donned my snorkel and jumped into the deep-blue water to find myself face to face with the gigantic filterfeeder. It was just the whale shark and I,

alone in the vast depth of ocean. I marvelled at its size, small eyes, giant mouth and the scratches along its polka-dot skin.



Christmas is a sport fisho’s Nirvana: you can catch anything from big tuna to trevally, wahoo, sailfish and your tasty bottom-dwellers. As I stood precariously on a ledge, a giant trevally attacked my lure, taking off like a train and almost pulling me in. With a bit of luck and some help, I used my last amount of strength to hold the trevally up for a photo before releasing it back to the water. Cocos is one of the only places in Australia where you’ll find bonefish and I wasn’t going home unless I caught one. Ashley and I fished the shallows for hours, catching an array of small trevally, sweetlip and cod – but no bonefish. Then we started chatting to a local fisho, who gave us the secret to success. Within minutes we had our first bonefish, and even the kids were catching their fair share.

• Lying 2623 kilometres off the Western Australian coast, Christmas Island is a 4.5-hour flight north-west from Perth, or a one-hour flight south from Jakarta. • The Cocos Keeling Islands are south-west of Christmas Island and a short flight away. You can also fly direct between the Cocos and Perth. Two circular atolls, also known as the Sand Bar, make up this island group, comprising 27 sandy coconut-palm-dotted isles, only two of which are inhabited. • A small community of expat Aussies lives on 15-kilometre-long West Island, where you’ll also find an array of accommodation options. Across the lagoon on Home Island lives a community of more than 400 Cocos Malay, who speak the old Malay trading dialect of the East Indies, as well as English. Book six to 12 weeks in advance of your visit. For more information, go to









Explore the

HUNTER VALLEY he Hunter Valley is a winesoaked haven of tastes, sights and delights. With only a two hour drive from Sydney, touring around the picturesque regions is a great way to get a taste for, as the locals call it, the ‘Hunter Valley way of life’. As you mosey through picturesque landscapes, you get a feel for the 180 year old history of the pioneering families, as well as the up and coming younggun Winemakers, who’ve helped shape Australia’s oldest wine region into a wellknown benchmark in Australian wine. Quietly unwind after a day of exploring the region, glass of wine in hand, as you take in the sunset over rolling vineyards nestled at the foot of the towering Brokenback Ranges and native animals grazing casually among the vines.

Immerse Yourself There is an abundance of gourmet produce in the Hunter Valley, and the bespoke providores in the quiet nooks throughout the region offer a feast of gourmet morsels from cheeses, to chocolates, olives and jams. You can collect some of these epicurean delights along your travels, right down to freshly baked bread, and create your own picnic amongst the vines at one of the many picnic spots dotted throughout the region. If you feel like getting out of the car for a bit of ‘me’ time, the options for leisure and pleasure are many. Enjoy a spot of pampering at a day spa, tackle one of the three championship golf courses, greet

the day with a quiet balloon flight over the vineyards at sunrise, or saddle up and enjoy spectacular valley views by horseback. The Hunter Valley also boasts a range of tour experiences so you can relax and be chauffeured around the cellar doors and restaurants to sample the region’s finest without a limit on wine tastings. The Hunter plays host to a myriad of events throughout the year, a perfect excuse to visit the region and spoil yourself. In Summer, the hills (Brokenback Ranges) are alive with the sound of music and events to keep you well entertained during your visit, from A Day On the Green to the Christmas Lights Spectacular and Slideapalooza.

Tour the Hunter Valley One of the many great things about this region is that it’s only a 40 minute drive from one end of the Valley to the other and there are many beautiful destinations throughout to discover. Pokolbin forms the epicentre of the Hunter Valley. This is where most of the region’s first vineyards were planted and where you will find the largest collection of wineries, accommodation, restaurants and activities. You’ll also be able to pop in at the cellar doors of many of the original Hunter winemaking families here. From Pokolbin, it’s only a short drive to explore other regions such as Mount View, Hermitage Road, Old North Road, North Rothbury and Lovedale to unearth decadent gems, from cozy restaurants to freshly made cheese, olive oils and

smoked goods providores, microbreweries and boutique accommodation. Within a twenty minute sojourn through lush bushland, Broke Fordwich unfolds at the foot of the towering Brokenback Ranges and Yengo National Park. There are many beautiful wineries and a few secluded restaurants to visit in this picturesque haven. Another picturesque drive takes you to the quaint township of Wollombi, brimming with history, art, wine and unique accommodation. It’s well worth winding through the rolling green valleys into the village. Here you’ll find boutique cellar doors and an eclectic mix of bric-abrac shops and art and sculpture galleries with works by resident artists. Yengo National Park sets the backdrop for Wollobi village with a fascinating mix of native trees, scenic lookouts and over 12,000 years of rich indigenous history. Only a short deviation off the F3 Freeway just north of Sydney, the Hunter Valley is a haven of gourmet treasures waiting to be explored.





As country music superstar Adam Brand prepares to hit the road again on tour with Get on Your Feet, the self-proclaimed gypsy shares his passion for Aussie country communities and suggests he may, at last, be putting down roots. WORDS: Annabelle Warwick


hen we speak, Brand is about as far outback as it gets, in Queensland’s north-west Gulf country. “I’m up here in Mount Isa with the Salvos,” he explains in a slight ocker drawl. “They’ve got a flying chaplain who goes to all the cattle stations and communities, so I’m out there with him spreading Christmas cheer.” “I try to help out wherever I can in disadvantaged communities. “We landed in a helicopter this morning in Dajarra – it’s a tiny community. We met everybody at the little local pub for morning tea and bickies, sang them a couple of songs and hung out.” “I’m a bit of a gypsy,” Brand confesses. “I have a few days off and I’ll come up here and then I’ll go down south. If I’m not touring, I like


to be active – I don’t do boredom very well.” With a great-great-grandfather’s bona-fide Hungarian gypsy blood in his veins and nomadic parents, the musician has always moved around: “I was born in Perth but lived everywhere as a young fella; all my schooling was in country Victoria.” At 27 years old, genetic wanderlust led Brand to pack up his guitar, climb into his old ute and drive east from Perth, heading solo across the Nullarbor in search of “wild adventure”. “I didn’t really know where I was going to end up and in some respects I didn’t really care,” Adam recalls. “I’ve always been like that. With my music, I’ve never thought, ‘I don’t want to take a chance’. I’ve always wanted to forge new paths.”

Chasing the Dream In 1988, a year after landing in Sydney, Brand released his self-titled debut record and took the country music world by storm.   The singer has since sold more than half a million albums and DVDs. Brand has three Platinum and five Gold albums to his name, and 12 Golden Guitars – including doubleups for Male Artist of the Year and APRA Song of the Year – as well as multiple Mo Awards and four ARIA nominations for Best Country Album.   A born performer, Brand’s work on stage and screen, including “talking his way through” to win 2009’s Dancing with the Stars, has taken him all over Australia and to the USA, where he landed in country music Mecca, Nashville. Stateside, he hit the big time stratospherically.


“I got there and then I realised what I needed in my heart and soul was to be here in Australia.”

Below: Adam performing at Broadbeach. “I was signed to Sony on the same label as Alan Jackson … and in 2011 I did a tour, opening for Taylor Swift. It was an amazing experience. The last two nights were at Madison Square Garden,” Brand reflects. But with the end of his relationship (with dancer Jade Hatcher), Brand’s love affair with the States also came to an end. “It’s funny – you spend your whole life chasing that deal, the big dream,” he says. “I got there and then I realised what I needed in my heart and soul was to be here in Australia.”

Sleeping Under the Stars Home but with no fixed address, Adam once again hit the road: “I took four months off, put a mattress in the back of my ute and just drove.   “I went down south and took the ferry across to Tassie, then went



“We are so lucky in this country. Whatever you want, insofar as chasing inspiration or ‘down time’ is concerned, we’ve got it.”

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Some of Brand’s favourite spots: the Devils Marbles (above) and Tasmania’s Bay Of Fires. up the centre through Alice. Floating down the hot springs at Mataranka in the Northern Territory – what an amazing experience. The Bay of Fires down in Tassie is incredible; I do love the water. I also love camping out under the stars at the Devils Marbles [Karlu Karlu].” “We are so lucky in this country. You can get any experience you want, from the Snowy Mountains alpine experience to the Outback, to tropical. Whatever you want, insofar as chasing inspiration or ‘down time’ is concerned, we’ve got it.” With family in Queensland, Brand found himself repeatedly drawn to the Sunshine State, opening a restaurant in Townsville and eventually moving to the Gold Coast three years ago. “I have a place at Coombabah, between the coast and the hinterland. I’ve lived on the GC a few times; it’s a pretty unique place. You can have all the action of Australia’s hottest tourist destination or, in 15 minutes, be in

beautiful rainforest up on Tamborine Mountain,” he says. The region ticks many boxes for the spirited star: “I love boating and fishing, and on the Gold Coast, in 20 minutes on a boat you can be up at Jacobs Well in creeks of mangroves.  “You have Sea World on one side and Straddy [Stradbroke Island] on the other, and right there in front of you are the high-rises – but right in that spot, there’s some great fishing: kingies and snapper, flathead and bream. It’s really diverse.” Brand’s tip for visitors: “The Gold Coast NightQuarter markets on the weekends – great food, music and atmosphere!”

No Second Gear Feeling a little outgunned with Papa Brand on the GC. 24

He may now have a home base but, even after 20 years’ touring, there’s no

“I’ve always had a ute of some description,” Brand confirms. “Back in the day, it had to be a V8 Ford XR8. These days, I’m calming down: I’ve got a dual-cab Holden 4WD. I always want some space in the back to throw fishing rods, a barbeque – anything.” The singer is also a huge Speedway racing fan: “I’ve been racing Speedway Legend cars – they look like little hot rods. With a 1200cc motorbike engine, they go like no tomorrow.”

sign of Brand slowing down. Locally, the celeb does everything from co-hosting brekkie radio shows on 92.5 Gold FM to headlining the Buskers by the Creek festival at Currumbin in 2016. He also played the Broadbeach Country Music Festival in June 2016 as part of a national tour with country supergroup, Adam Brand and The Outlaws, who notched up an ARIA charts #1 album and a second ARIA nomination within just one year. Of the local Broadbeach festival, Brand raves: “It could end up being the biggest – country music on stage in the main street, with huge resorts either side, and the beach is right there – it works. Just fantastic.” Forever chasing new ground, Brand has finished recording the new solo album, Get on Your Feet, to be






FREE EVENT July 28-30, 2017


Clockwise from top left: Adam’s a proud supporter of the Salvation Army; the self-proclaimed ‘gypsy’ enjoys entertaining the locals, wherever he goes; Adam and the band, rocking it out in the open air at The Big Red Bash.

released in February 2017. “The tour will start in March and we’re off and running,” Brand says. “I have two exciting young artists opening the show: Gemma Kirby, an amazing girl – she’s a miner, drives huge dump trucks, then goes off and sings; and Matt Cornell, who’s just released a single, ‘In This Town’.” “We’ve got a pretty big tour planned, travelling all across the country,” says Brand. “We’ll be going to north Queensland and over to Western Australia, down to Tassie – as many places as we can cover.” Naturally, the tour will take Brand to the Tamworth Country Music Festival, where he’ll be joined by dozens of country celebrities. “I’ve got an official role at Tamworth this year – Party Ambassador. “Am I a laid-back gypsy? No! I certainly love to party,” he jokes.

Driving Force Despite Brand’s rock’n’roll lifestyle, the singer is in touch with what drives him. It all comes back to reaching people, he explains. “I got to a point where I realised 26

a lot of things, and one was what I could do to make a difference in some people’s lives – communities who’ve been through a hard time hold a special place in my heart.”

“Communities who’ve been through a hard time hold a special place in my heart.” Brand was a Salvation Army ambassador for several years. His song ‘I was Here’ – produced by Craig Porteils (Guns N’ Roses, Billy Idol, Guy Sebastian) and number one on the ARIA Country Album Charts – was used for the charity’s Christmas campaign. “When the chips are down, the Salvos are there. They don’t go around talking about it or bragging; they just have their sleeves rolled up,” says Brand. “There’s always going to be people going through hard times. You

could say overall it’s getting better, but somewhere around the corner, someone is going through a rough time – and that’s part of economics, and downturns in mining, or whatever it is that affects that town. “Wherever you can, if you’ve got the ability to help someone else in need, it’s something you should do, I think. “If you stop at the lights and see someone’s car broken down – if one person gets out of the car to help, sure enough someone else will, and then you’ll have four or five people helping out. It’s contagious.” “This is what Get on your Feet is about. When I get up and play, I want people to forget about their crappy week and come on an emotional rollercoaster with me, and stand up on their chairs. “So often, we lose sight of the amazing things that are right on our doorstep. I want to be a catalyst – to say, ‘Come on, let’s just have a great night! You’re there with your other half, your best mate, or your brother or sister, putting an arm around each other and singing at the top of your lungs’.”


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CHRISTMAS hen we were little, we actually lived in a caravan at the back of my grandparents’ house in Melbourne. Boxing Day every year, we’d go camping. Dad never took us to the same place twice: Apollo Bay, the Apostles, Ocean Grove waterfalls, Queenscliff, St Leonards, Geelong, water parks – as far as Uluru. We were so blessed as kids. That’s why I have an ‘outdoors’ life.

#1 MY FAVOURITE CARAVAN PARKS My 10-year-old son is into quad bikes. We go to Jamieson in Victoria where they have hilly little dirt tracks and good fishing. Mandurah in WA is beautiful. In Queensland, I love it up north – in Townsville or Rockhampton – or Broadbeach.

#2 BEST CHRISTMAS SITE Echuca in Victoria is a beautiful spot and a good family caravan park. Between Australia Day and Easter are the busiest weekends.

#3 STAKING YOUR CLAIM Over summer, you’ve got to get in early; that’s the only way you do it. Book popular spots a year in advance. For tips on where to stay last-minute, go to online caravan forums. Our caravan club also takes enquiries. You may have to compromise on facilities at less popular spots. All our vans have ensuites, so we have the luxury of showering when we want without a crowd!

#4 HIDING CHRISTMAS PRESENTS I always stash them in the storage units under our bed

Gabby Montagnese, Melbourne-based owner and Managing Director of New Age Caravans, offers her tips on having a great family holiday in your van.

or the seats. Rooftop carriers are well out of reach.

#5 BEST TIMES OF DAY TO TRAVEL You need daylight because you’re towing and there’s less awareness at night. Early in the morning before the sun hits is always best, so you can get set up somewhere by mid-afternoon.

#6 CHRISTMAS FEASTS ON THE ROAD Barbeque is a big thing and lamb is the favourite for most caravan parks. If you go fishing, it’s fresh fish on the barbeque, [or] prawns. It’s beautiful.

#7 CAMP-SITE ACTIVITIES We go away with mutual friends, so all the kids and couples know each other. The kids play cricket, soccer or footy wherever they can find a bit of green grass. For us, it’s just all about sitting down and socialising. People come past and introduce themselves, and they have a look at your van, and you have a look in their van – there’s a lot of comparison going on. Night-time, the kids go inside and play board games or watch DVDs, but we’re always outside, under the awning.

#8 ENTERTAINING THE KIDS People talk to me about putting PlayStations in caravans. I’m not a fan. The whole point of caravanning is connecting! When we’re away, my son doesn’t want to come inside ’til 10 o’clock. It’s a way of life: appreciation for outdoors, not always needing to be entertained. Yes, it’s luxurious inside the van, but it’s more about what the lifestyle brings than about the van itself.

GABBY MONTAGNESE Gabby established New Age Caravans in 2008, in a mission to modernise the caravan industry. With degrees in Psychology and Business behind her, Gabby has cemented herself as a leader in caravan manufacturing, earning respect together with many accolades in a maledominated industry. Gabby was nominated in The Australian Financial Review and WestPac 100 Women of Influence 2016, after scooping the 2016 Young Future Leaders Award from the Caravan Industry Association of Australia; Women in Industry – Excellence in Manufacturing 2016 from Manufacturers’ Monthly; and Manufacturer of the Year 2016 from the Caravan Trade Industry Association Victoria. Gabby also received a nomination in the Entrepreneur category of Telstra Business Women’s Awards 2015.


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Meet the

SNUBBIES Broome in Western Australia’s north-west is an ancient landscape where skies are big, beaches are beautiful, and the marine life is mind-blowing. In a sheltered bay behind the Dampier Peninsula, a special species of dolphins can be found. WORDS: Dianne Bortoletto



The wild and wondrous Roebuck Bay.


n the other side of town, away from the long white stretch of Broome’s famed Cable Beach, Roebuck Bay is something of a marine-life Mecca, home to what is thought to be the world’s largest population of exceptionally rare Australian Snubfin Dolphins. The only way to see Snubfins is out on the water, so I book a spot on a morning dolphin-spotting cruise with accredited operator Broome Whale Watching. As the catamaran sails into the bay, the contrasting colours are mesmerising: rustcoloured earth, with patches of bright-green scrub along the shoreline, set against a bright blue sky and an aquamarine ocean. The azure water is almost opaque. Tour operator Cameron Birch tells us the Snubfin Dolphins like it this way. “Roebuck Bay’s immense mudflats and massive tidal range of over 10 meters combine to create the perfect environment for ‘snubbies’,” he says. “They are an estuarine dolphin and like shallow coastal areas; they’re not an oceanic dolphin at all.” My eyes scan the water, searching for blips on the surface, as he continues. “You’ll know a Snubfin when you see them. They have a big round ‘melon’ head – no nose or

STAIRCASE TO THE MOON The tidal range at Roebuck Bay can expose a staggering 160km2 of mudflats. For two or three days per month between March and October, when a full moon rises over the bay, glistening mudflats are exposed by the receding tides, and crowds gather along the shore to observe the illusion of a shining ‘Staircase to the Moon’.


beak like the common Bottlenose Dolphin – and are quite a small, delicate dolphin.” “They’re slow-moving, extremely social and playful, but they don’t usually live in one place – they move in and out of an area according to food,” Cameron says. “That’s why we’re so lucky here in Broome to have a resident population of snubbies [that] live permanently in Roebuck Bay and it’s because, as a mangrove system, it’s full of food.” Someone shouts “Over there!” and my head whips around to see a little grey dolphin, its round head sticking out of the water for a split-second. A moment later it arches its back, and the snubby’s small dorsal fin slides forward and out of sight under the surface. But there’s another, and another, and then a calf. From a respectable distance, Cameron follows this close-knit pod of four for several minutes. Australian Snubfin Dolphins feed on baitfish, and they have a unique way to

hunt. Lacking the speed and agility of their Bottlenose cousins, they find it a challenge to catch fish. So snubbies outsmart prey by sticking their heads above the surface and spitting jets of water as far as two to three metres to land between them and the fish they’re chasing. The fish see the splashes, turn around and find themselves swimming towards the waiting snubbies. Once thought to be Irrawaddy Dolphins, a species usually found in the Bay of Bengal and around South-East Asia, these unique mammals were officially designated a new species in 2005. The first new species of dolphin to be identified in 56 years, the Australian Snubfin inhabits just a few areas of the waters around the north coast of the continent. The snubbies’ fishing technique is so unique that David Attenborough recently sent a crew to Broome to capture it on film. Broome Whale Watching began running its Roebuck Bay Eco Tours in September 2015. Cameron says that in the past 12 months, they’ve seen at least one Australian

“Roebuck Bay’s immense mudflats and massive tidal range of over 10 meters combine to create the perfect environment for ‘snubbies’.” ROEBUCK BAY

Cameron Birch enjoys another day at work.

Snubfin Dolphin on all but half a dozen occasions. On our morning tour, we see – or rather, are entertained by – loads of Bottlenose Dolphins that put on a show, leaping, playing and surfing the catamaran’s bow. Broome Whale Watching deckhand Dani points out a turtle several metres away. Later, after morning tea, she spots a couple of dugongs. When we get back to shore after our morning on Roebuck Bay filled with special marine-life encounters, my camera’s SD card is full – mostly with photographs of scenery. I enjoyed it so much that I book in again, joining the Roebuck Eco Tour twice in the space of three days. Cameron Birch’s daily tours aboard his quiet catamaran are designed to have minimal environmental impact. Roebuck Bay Eco Tour 08 9192 8163

Western Australia’s Kimberley Coast is one of the most pristine marine environments in the world, ranking alongside Antarctica and the Arctic with regard to freedom from human interference. A National Heritage site since 2011, Roebuck Bay, on the Kimberley Coast, boasts the most diverse mudflat ecosystem in the world. From turtles and dugongs to threadfin salmon and an estimated 300 to 500 species of Benthic invertebrates, the seagrass meadows provide extensive feeding grounds. It is estimated that more than 150,000 migratory shorebirds arrive here over the season. The 140 rare Australian Snubfin Dolphins that reside in the bay have been doing well since the removal of commercial fishing and gill nets in 2013, but more needs to be done to protect the species. In October 2016, Roebuck Bay was officially made a marine park, to be managed jointly with the area’s traditional custodians, the Yawuru people. The bay is an integral part of the Yawuru’s history, culture and way of life, and they’re acutely aware of the bay’s vast richness: it has provided them with sustenance over many thousands of years. Nevertheless, the new marine park is missing a sanctuary zone. Save Our Marine Life, an alliance of 20 conservation groups including the Australian Conservation Foundation, Wilderness Society and World Wildlife Fund, has pleaded for the WA government to create a nofishing sanctuary zone within the marine park to sustain Roebuck Bay’s biodiversity.






Rural women have always played a pivotal role in community outreach. And with social media, they now have powerful new ways to breach the ‘paddock to plate’ divide. WORDS: MERRAN WHITE



Clockwise from left: RIRDC award-winner Sophie Hansen; guests enjoy a ‘paddock to plate’ long lunch at Sophie and Tim’s deer farm.

ifty years ago, women living in remote parts of Australia relied on snailmail, phone calls, CWA meetings and occasional trips to town to keep in touch. Today, they’re using digital technology to reach out to each other, consumers and the world. As an everyday part of running 21st-century farms and contributing to farm work, women farmers can be found online doing tasks such as paying bills, tracking down suppliers, researching new markets and updating the farm’s website. Increasingly, they’re also using social media channels to swap stories, exchange knowledge and forge profitable connections. Take holistic deer farmer, food blogger and social-media advocate Sophie Hansen, whose innovative social media program for agriproducers, ‘My Open Kitchen’, helped net her 2016’s coveted RIRDC Rural Woman of the Year award. “I had always worked in food media and spent lots of time writing about producers and telling the

“I really came to appreciate the simple, powerful message that if we consumers buy seasonal and local produce that has a story... the whole process is so deeply nurturing and so enjoyable...” ‘paddock to plate’ story. I really came to appreciate the simple, powerful message that if we consumers buy seasonal and local produce that has a story – then cook and share that produce in a simple way but at a shared, convivial table – then the whole process is so deeply nurturing and so enjoyable that you’ll want to repeat it over and over again!” Sophie’s own ‘plate to paddock’ journey began when she moved to Orange, New South Wales, where her husband Tim had a deer farm, and swapped her fast-paced life as a Sydney-based food writer for one as

a country-based Jill-of-all-trades. “I had to re-invent myself workwise,” she recalls. Initially, Sophie did some marketing for a local winery and wine bar “but after having children, I wanted … an income source that was flexible – complementary to our farm business but independent of it”, she says. So she started a blog, Local is Lovely. Its success led to freelance writing and recipe development, and soon, she was using the farm as a base for everything from food styling workshops to tours, cooking demos and hosted ‘farm-kitchen



lunches’, sharing the paddock-to-plate experience and story. Sophie’s latest project, ‘My Open Kitchen’ (MOK), brings her farmermeets-foodie philosophy to the next level, facilitating sharing among producers from all over regional Australia. MOK is “a self-paced online course to help farmers, value-adders, cooks and producers get started with social media”. The course has five modules, available as downloads, and will run in six-week blocks starting in early 2017. MOK participants will also produce a podcast of social media success stories from ‘behind the farm-gate’. “It’s about collaboration, inspiration, conviviality and learning useful new skills,” she explains. “I want us farmers to

“There’s an audience and a market out there, hungry to engage. And once this happens, they’re far more likely to go the extra mile to source our products.” ‘virtually’ invite the world into our kitchens and, through stories, recipes and great photos, inspire new networks to support us through their choices and voices.” Sophie doesn’t exclude networking with producers and farmers in the oldfashioned way – say, at weekend markets – but she makes a persuasive case for social media’s immediacy. “Face-to-face is great but many farmers’ nearest markets are hours away, and being away from the farm takes a financial toll!” she notes. “Social media lets us connect in a very direct, authentic way to thousands, tens of thousands of people at once. It is very efficient and powerful.” Unreliable internet access can still make things “tricky”, Sophie admits: “You may just have to save photos and stories on your phone, then upload them when you get to town, or schedule a bunch of posts in advance. That’s what I do when our internet’s down or we’ve used up all our data. “I think MOK and its ilk will add to 38

the already-strong argument that these [regional internet connection] problems need to be resolved, fast.” Sophie believes MOK will have broadranging flow-on benefits to agri-producers, from improving sustainability to enlivening rural communities. The platform will also help to draw in consumers Australia-wide. The end-game for Sophie in connecting with all these consumers is to boost regional farmers’ bottom lines. “More than ever, people want to connect with their food and the stories behind it – and we’re not just talking about ‘foodies’,” she explains. “There’s an audience and a market out there, hungry to engage. And once this happens, they’re far more likely to go the extra mile to source our products.” “I really think we can change consumer behaviour and encourage them to support us producers in a long-term way by involving them in our story, and making the ‘paddock to plate’ process enjoyable, accessible – and delicious!” she says.




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AWARD-WINNERS The annual RWAs recognise the creative, entrepreneurial role women play in rural businesses, industries and communities. Here we present to you 2016’s state and territory winners.

Western Australia winner, Kalyn Fletcher



NSW/ACT Sophie Hansen (see previous pages)

Sophie is using her $20,000 Award bursary and business support to launch the ‘My Open Kitchen’ project, “a celebration of beautiful food, inspiring people and great ideas”, which will demonstrate “the power of social media to inspire farmers and producers to go out and build supportive and engaged communities and networks, both digital and real”.

NT Martina Matzner Two decades at the cutting edge of mango farming in the Top End, inspired Acacia Hills Mango Farm manager Martina Matzner to reach out to young people, and encourage them to choose a career in food production. Martina will use her $10,000 RWA bursary and $5,000 runner-up bonus to introduce field trips for students from the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Schools NT, who’ll head to the Acacia Hills farm to learn about mango production. She’ll also develop a course unit with Charles Darwin Horticulture Faculty, incorporating hands-on industry experience for students.

Vic Dr Jessica Lye Managing AUSVEG’s Vegetable and Biosecurity program made Jessica Lye acutely aware of the need to raise awareness around biosecurity risks and encourage best-practice pest, weed and disease management across Australia’s horticulture sector. Jessica is using her bursary to visit research and growing operations globally, gathering information on high-risk pests and threats, to foster biosecurity-focused networks in vegie-growing communities nationwide. 42


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Tas Rebecca Duffy Wine-industry veteran Rebecca Duffy returned to Tassie in 2006 to run Holm Oak Vineyards, expanding its size and production while also promoting the region as Tamar Valley Wine Route group secretary. Rebecca, now also director of Wine Tasmania, will use her winnings to conduct a cellardoor study of world-leading wine-tourism regions with a view to developing new, dynamic Valley visitor experiences and boosting regional tourism to and within Tasmania.

WA Kalyn Fletcher Kalyn Fletcher manages Kununurra family businesses RB Dessert Seed Co, and recently established an agricultural tour operation to promote the Ord River region. She also manages the region’s legendary Hoochery Distillery, producers of award-winning rum and liqueurs. Kalyn has been working with industry to develop new crops, trialling sorghum varieties suited to tropical climes. She’ll spend her $10,000 touring Brazil’s Cerrado Region, with its globally successful tropical-agriculture industry, relaying findings to agribusinesses across northern Australia.

SA Robbie Davis Potatoes South Australia CEO, beef-cattle producer and agribusiness consultant Robbie Davis is keen to reduce food waste and boost Australia’s global reputation for ‘clean, green’ produce. She will use her $10,000 bursary to look at ways SA’s potato industry and horticulture sector can increase productivity by lessening supplychain waste and loss, exploring wastereduction technologies overseas to determine which could be deployed in South Australia and nation-wide. 44

Qld Emma Robinsonr Family-farm advocate Emma Robinson owns and runs a trio of grazing properties, all models of innovative practice. Building on her 2015 Winston Churchill Trust Fellowship research into beef supply-chain innovation, Emma, a champion of rural producer cooperatives, will use her RWA winnings to consult with agricultural co-ops. She’ll also develop a socialmedia platform to share information and promote existing producer co-ops; and facilitate a producer forum on the benefits cooperation can bring to family farms.




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Commodities trader Rowan Crosby outlines how Australia’s key commodities performed in 2016, and what the analysts are predicting for 2017.

AUSTRALIA IS without doubt a natural resource nation and, as a result, commodity prices are at the forefront of our economic prosperity. Overall, 2016 was meant to be a poor year for commodities and the nations that benefit from

higher prices, such as Canada, New Zealand and, of course, Australia. So it comes as a nice surprise that, throughout the calendar year 2016, commodity prices for the most part were very strong. This is apparent from the

Thomson Reuters/Core Commodity CRB Index, which indexes 19 of the country’s key commodity prices. Here’s a quick round-up of some of our key commodities: how they performed in 2016, and what the markets may have in store for 2017.


Iron ore prices reached an all-time high of US$191 in February of 2011 and a record low of US$37 in December of 2015. With the mining boom well and truly over, many analysts predicted 2016 would see a continuation in the demise of iron-ore value. For the most part, however, 2016 was predominantly upside, with prices pushing upward of $60 at times throughout the year. As a result, we’ve also seen renewed strength in iron-ore mining giants such as Fortescue Metals Group (FMG) and Rio Tinto (RIO), as they lowered their costs of production while continuing to produce strong levels of supply. Looking ahead, however, it appears that producers will have a large say in the price movements of iron ore as we head into 2017. Larger producers will need to exert tighter control over supplies as demand from China continues to taper off on the back of the Asian giant reducing its requirements for excess steel.




The crude oil market has very much been in transition over the past decade. Boom times and dwindling supplies saw crude oil prices ramp up to $145 in 2007 before an influx of supply, through new technologies and slowing global economies, saw prices bottom out at under $30 in early 2016. Like many commodities, crude oil was expected to decline throughout the year; however, we saw continued strength as the year progressed. For the most part, OPEC (the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) has refused to alter its output; however, late in 2016, the member countries reached an agreement to reduce output, which helped boost prices further. However, gains appear to be facing a cap of sorts, given the sheer volume of production still coming out of OPEC and Russia, the world’s other large oil producer. The consensus among analysts is that they expect crude to remain in the current $45-$55 range headed into 2017, with many sceptical of OPEC and its ability to rein in production.



Unlike those for many commodities, wheat values fell across 2016, with prices dropping to levels not seen in 10 years. For wheat, much of the issue is simply one of supply. Global grain supply has been strong for a few years now, and there have been few production issues. As a result, global stocks are high, and local farmers are likely to be forced to store a substantial portion of their grain from the coming harvest. With large global supplies easily offsetting increasing demand from China, most analysts are expecting the grain glut to continue into 2017.


















Gold was another of the big improvers through 2016, staging a 30 per cent rally from the lows it set early in the year. As ever, the actual drivers of the price of gold remained varied and controversial. Much of the upside for gold in 2016 was attributed to ever-changing monetary policy around the world, with most major economies currently undertaking stimulus programs in a bid to boost their flailing economies. Much of what will happen to gold in 2017 will, as always, depend on what happens in the US – more specifically,


It was a story of two very different markets for cattle in 2016. While world markets saw prices for cattle decline slowly but surely over the course of the year, our index locally has set a record high.

how the US deals with its slowly improving economy and the nation’s resultant position on interest rates. As US interest rates begin to increase and investors can once again find yield,

analysts predict that the recent run-up in gold prices could, potentially, fade.

Following high prices in the US, cattle production began to ramp up, with prices levelling out accordingly. In Australia, however, our key indicator, the Eastern Young Cattle Index (EYCI) – a rolling average of prices

– jumped to a record level in 2016, fuelled by strong demand at saleyards in Queensland and New South Wales. After seeing our national cattle herd dwindle in recent years, much of the strength this year has been on the back of re-stockers looking to boost herd numbers following good rains earlier in the year. Unfortunately for producers, that divergence in price can’t last, analysts predict. Even given the high quality of Australian meat relative to that of the rest of the world’s big beef cattle producers, prices are expected to fall moving into 2017 as supply slowly increases and prices fall into line with those of world markets.



Overall, 2016 has been a very positive year for Australia and for many of our key exports. 2017 looms as a tumultuous time for global markets, as many countries wind down their economic stimulus programs and interest rates in the US, potentially, rise... and, of course, as the markets absorb a Trump presidency. Read more market insights at 50



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THE SWEET SPOT The Riverina, a mainly agricultural region in south-western New South Wales, is becoming a powerhouse of investment as Australian agriculture booms in the wake of a declining dollar. WORDS: DARREN BAGULEY



eginning at Cootamundra and running south to the Victorian border, the Riverina is dominated by two great river systems: those of the Murray and Murrumbidgee. While the area has a deep-rooted pastoral history, it’s 20th-century irrigation schemes that are now driving investment in an area that has hot summers, cool winters and flat land in abundance. One of the most prominent recent investments is that of global confectionery giant the Ferrero Group, which is developing an extensive hazelnut orchard near Narrandera through its Australian subsidiary Agri Australis. Work commenced in 2014 and Ferrero

plans to spend $70 million developing the 2000-hectare orchard. More than 400,000 of the million trees planned have been planted, and the company hopes to have all the trees in the ground by 2018; however, heavy rain in the winter and spring of 2016 caused some delays. The orchard employs 50 full-time staff and expects to generate an additional 70 seasonal jobs. When all the trees are established and at full production capacity – about 10 years after planting – Ferrero expects to produce 5000 tonnes of hazelnuts annually for use in its confectionery. Further west, investment is booming in and around the city of

“One of the most prominent recent investments is that of global confectionery giant the Ferrero Group, which is developing an extensive hazelnut orchard near Narrandera.” 54

Griffith. Baiada Poultry is expanding its Hanwood processing plant, and expects to double its production to 1.5 million birds a week once the larger facility is operating seven days a week. According to Mayor John Dal Broi, the company is spending $100 million across the region. “Not only is there the expansion of the production line; more chickens will be needed for processing and they will need to be hatched and grown out, so the hatchery will need to be expanded and more poultry breeding sheds built. “More grain will also be needed, which will benefit local farmers and grain mills.” All in all, Dal Broi estimates

COTTON • The Riverina grows enough cotton to produce 93 million pairs of jeans every year. • Forget Egyptian cotton: this region’s four cotton gins produce the world’s highestquality cotton.

FISH • Griffith aquaculture farmer Matt Ryan’s company Bidgee Fresh produces about 50 tonnes of Murray Cod a year, using a new water-efficient growing system. • Larger, vertically integrated Griffith company Timpetra aims to produce 1000 tonnes of cod next year.

that up to 700 jobs will be created directly and indirectly as a result of the plant’s expansion. Another project approved recently is the first stage of the 60MW Griffith Solar Farm. French energy company Neoen plans to install 185,000 solar panels on 120 acres [48.6 hectares] near the town of Yoogali, a few kilometres south-east of Griffith. Due to start construction in 2017, the project is being partly funded by a $5 million grant from ARENA. Several other projects are worthy of mention, says Dal Broi: they include the construction of a community private hospital, a new bottling facility for McWilliams Wines, an almond processing plant and an expansion of irrigation system company Flow Smart’s manufacturing facility. Griffith City Council is also contributing by allocating $8 million to upgrade the CBD streetscape and a further $37 million to build an industrial link road that bypasses the city centre.

Together, these projects are slated to generate more than 1000 jobs for the local area. Further south in the Riverina, significant investment is occurring in the Edward River Council area, centred on the border town of Deniliquin. According to the Council’s interim general manager Des Bilske, by far the most significant recent investment in the area is the $90 million, South Korean-financed Dongmun Greentec ethanol plant and bio-digester. “Work is planned to commence next year and up to 240 people are expected to be employed in the construction phase,” he says. “Once the plant is in operation it will employ 60 people directly and consume 375,000 tonnes of grain – wheat, rice et cetera – and the products will be used for livestock feed and liquid fertiliser.” Bilske estimates that a further 250 jobs in associated industries such as cartage and steel fabrication will be generated by the plant.

WINE • The region exports more than 12.5 million cases of wine to more than 50 countries around the world every year – that’s 34,000 dozen per day! • Casella winery runs 24/7, using more power than the town of Leighton. The winery has ‘tank farms’ with a storage capacity of 220 million litres. The two bottling lines produce 36,000 bottles per hour. • Every weekday at 3pm, the train leaves Griffith carrying 50 to 100 containers filled with Casella and De Bortoli wines.

NUTS • As well as hazelnuts, the Riverina is home to Australia’s leading producers of walnuts and almonds. • Walnuts Australia, based in Leighton, has a portfolio of one million walnut trees and counting. 55



T FA Griffi CT th gr ows… S Aust r Aust alia’s ric 90% of ralia e, 3 of Au ’s citrus 0% of a stral ia’s p nd 95% rune s.

While plans are still in the early stages, Bilske is hopeful that an expansion of the Deniliquin abattoir will be greenlighted, too. “A lot of it is still commercial-in-confidence but if it goes ahead [it] could lead to 250 new jobs,” he says. “We’re working very closely with the organisation and the NSW State Government to try and make it happen.” Council is also in the midst of developing a business plan for upgrading and lengthening Deniliquin Airport’s runway to 1960 metres. It has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Toowoomba’s Brisbane West Wellcamp Airport (BWWA). Deniliquin will become a southern region ‘feeder’ airfreight terminal for Wellcamp. This will provide an excellent opportunity for growers and producers in the Goulburn, Murray and Murrumbidgee valleys, enabling 56

them to airfreight fresh produce from the region into Asian ports within 24 hours. Bilske expects that the upgrade of the runway and associated taxiways will cost about $15 million. “Once the business plan is complete we’ll start talking to federal and state governments about funding,” he says. Events such as the Deniliquin Ute Muster and the Yamaha Cod Classic continue, but Bilske believes residential housing will see a lot of growth in the near future. “Rental occupancy is sitting at 99 per cent right now, so before construction starts on these new projects, we’re going to need building construction to take off so we can house people.” Council is doing its best to encourage this shift by buying land in the centre of town to build a senior housing complex. It hopes people will move into the complex and put their suburban houses up for

sale or rent. The Riverina is a region that has been hard hit by drought and the global financial crisis throughout the past decade, but the investment now flowing into the area will ensure it bounces back stronger than ever.

“The Riverina is a region that has been hard hit by drought and the global financial crisis, but the investment now flowing into the area will ensure it bounces back stronger than ever.”

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BHP Billiton Technology and Innovation Award goes to Olympic Dam techie

BHP Billiton has awarded former employee Henry Muller its inaugural Technology and Innovation Award for ground-breaking work in the 1980s that made it possible for the orerich Olympic Dam to become a commercially viable operation. Unearthed in 1975, Olympic Dam was the first discovery of an iron oxide-copper-golduranium orebody. It was the world’s largest uranium, fifth-largest copper and third-largest gold deposit, and one of the most complex mineral deposits on the planet. Muller developed a single process flow sheet to mine and process the deposit, enabling simultaneous production of four high-value products: copper, uranium, gold and silver. BHP Billiton chief technology officer Diane Jurgens presented Muller with the Award, recognising his outstanding contribution to the organisation in the field of technological innovation. “Mr Muller’s process proved that economic benefit could be derived from Olympic Dam and other similar deposit styles. The process flow sheet he created had never been done before. It was a creative and unique application of metallurgical technologies and allowed the company to produce all four products at the one mine site,” Jurgens said. “This is an example of how technology can create value by unlocking resources and lowering costs. Importantly, Mr Muller’s work opened up opportunities for mining of other similar complex ore bodies.”

Minerals Council slams anticoal mining report

The Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) has slammed an Australia Institute report calling for the coal industry to be shut down. “Annual coal exports at $38 billion in 2014/15 are almost twice those of beef, wheat, wool and wine combined so under the [Australia Institute’s] logic, eliminating those great industries would also have negligible

consequences,” said MCA executive director, coal, Greg Evans. “The contribution to national income from coal exports improves the living standards of all Australians, and the taxes and royalties contributed by the coal sector assists in the provision of vital economic and social infrastructure.” The MCA noted that there are 44,000 direct and 150,000 related jobs in the coal sector, mostly in regional areas. It also highlighted continuing strong demand for high-quality Australian coal from our traditional markets in Asia, and the growing opportunities in South-East Asia. “Furthermore, the improved coal price since the beginning of the year (an increase of 40 per cent for thermal coal and 158 per cent for metallurgical coal) has left a gaping hole in their previous economic prognostication that the industry was in terminal decline due to the uptake of other energy sources,” said Evans.

WA yabbie farmers triple production on back of booming Chinese demand

Soaring demand for Australian yabbies among Chinese consumers has led to WA production tripling in a little more than a year, according to Kurkekin-based seafood exporter Cambinata Yabbies. Cambinata’s production manager Ian Nenke told ABC Rural that, while the company had previously focused its efforts on Hong Kong and Singapore, “it’s just like [China has] recently discovered yabbies for the first time”. A species of freshwater crayfish native to the eastern states and South Australia, yabbies were stocked into WA farm dams in 1932 and can now be found in some southwest rivers and dams. While they threaten local marron stocks, the new arrivals are proving a money-spinner. “The Chinese are always trying to source new types of seafood, and their demand is just running rampant,” Nenke said, attributing record demand in the past 15 months to a burgeoning Chinese middle class. Currently, Cambinata Yabbies sells about

500 kilograms of WA yabbies a week into markets overseas. And more clients – in China and closer to home – are clamouring to buy. “With other species of crayfish like our local Western Rock Lobster fetching record prices at the moment, it helps us maintain a really solid price,” Nenke said. Yabby farmers are benefiting, with farmgate prices doubling since 2015 and prices soaring as high as $19.50/kg. “Two years ago, a 30-gram sized yabby was only about $8 a kilo; now we’re paying $15 a kilo.”

Government defers decision on hemp-food permits

The decision on whether to legalise hemp for human consumption in Australia and New Zealand, due to be made in November, has been delayed until autumn 2017. Hemp seeds, considered a ‘superfood’ by many, contain high levels of protein, vitamins, minerals and omega-3 fatty acids (FSANZ). Randall Berger, founder of Industrial Hemp Australia, told ABC Rural in November. “In industrial hemp foods [THC] is so negligible that it can’t be measured in a drug test.” A spokesperson for Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ), which has outlined a proposal for allowing seeds of low-THC cannabis varieties to be used in and consumed as food products, said its proposal would now be discussed at a meeting of Australian and New Zealand government food ministers in April. “The assessment has been delayed to enable resolution of technical aspects,” the FSANZ spokesperson stated. Currently, hemp-food products including seeds, oil and protein can be grown, manufactured, produced and sold in Australia and New Zealand, provided they’re for external use only and are labelled accordingly. They can also be exported as foods to countries where hemp consumption is legal, including the US, Canada and parts of Europe, changing nothing but the label. However, despite low-THC hemp’s beneficial nutritional profile, it remains illegal to eat hemp seeds, oil or products Down Under. 59

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Open cut or underground, dust is the enemy of mining operations. Mobile dust monitors and road-condition monitors are just two of the recent innovations the Australian mining industry is deploying in the battle against dust suppression. WORDS: DARREN BAGULEY



“Mine personnel can shut down production on a site if they judge dust levels to be too high for work to continue safely”


arge machines operating in a harsh environment – whether it’s above or below ground – generate dust, masses of it. Dust may seem innocuous but it’s damaging: inhaled in quantity, over time, it can cause ‘black lung’ and other pneumoconiosis-related diseases. Indeed, it is so deleterious to human health that government agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Planning have implemented ‘police and enforce’ dust emission standards. Mine operators also take dust emissions seriously: mine personnel can shut down production on a site if they judge dust levels to be too high for work to continue safely. According to Australian Diversified Engineering (ADE) sales manager Eric Tomicek, “New mines have limits on ‘fugitive dust emissions’ as part of their licencing requirements, so operations need to comply with best-practice dust suppression efforts. “It looks bad if a community can see dust around, and it can impact on how the mine is perceived in the community – especially where you have mines in more inhabited areas such as the Hunter Valley in New South Wales,” Tomicek says. “As

a result, mining companies install dust monitors on the perimeters of the site to measure fugitive dust. “It’s a pretty serious business: by law, companies need to upload their dust emission measurements to a website where anyone can see them and – at least in the Hunter Valley – on dry, windy days where there is likely to be a lot of dust in the air, the EPA will drive around, and fly up and down over the mines with a helicopter, to monitor dust levels,” he says. With so much at stake, dust suppression is a perennial hot topic, and mine operators throw millions of dollars at the problem every year. One of the difficulties, argues operations and technical director for Reynold’s Soil Technologies (RST) David Handel, is that there’s no simple, one-fits-all solution. “A lot of people are selling silver bullets, and companies want to buy silver bullets,” Handel explains. “The problem is that mine sites vary so much: the conditions at a mine site in Queensland are completely different from [those at] one in Western Australia, and Tasmania is different again. Because everything needs a different approach, there’s no panacea offered by one product.”


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Handel and Tomicek agree that good dust suppression on roads starts with good roads. By building haul roads incorrectly, companies are creating their own problems, in part because fine particles – in other words, dust – are needed to help bind roads together. One innovation in dust suppression on haul roads is the use of super-concentrates instead of water. “It’s more expensive per litre,” says Handel, “but it minimises shipping and application costs. In some applications, where a mine used to use 10,000 litres or more of water, it’s now using 2000 litres of super-concentrate.” Another is the development of a water truck that delivers the same amount of water no matter what the speed of the vehicle. “At low speed, [a normal truck] can deliver too much water,” explains Tomicek. “But a haul truck on a mine site has priority, which forces the water truck to speed up, which means less water being sprayed onto the road. If it’s done at a defined rate, operators know how much water has been applied.” As well as efforts to reduce the production of dust through better design and construction of haul roads and more effective road-dust dampening systems, work is going

into reducing the amount of dust produced by other mining activities, such as blasting, Handel says. “Originally developed for Citic Pacific (CP) Mining in Western Australia, which had a problem with asbestos on the site, there’s a system that reduces the amount of explosive energy required by replacing [the usual blasting compound] with plasma gel, which attenuates the energy in the blast. This gets better fragmentation and nice even rock break, with less fines, which improves material handling as well as reducing dust.” Both Tomicek and Handel argue that it’s vital mine operators take a more holistic approach to dust suppression, and that they deploy tools that can measure the effectiveness of any dust suppression measures being used. “You’ll have a mine site with perimeter dust monitors – but if the site gets shut down due to high dust levels, you won’t know where it’s coming from,” Handel says. “So companies really need to look at putting in place dust-monitoring systems that will monitor a specific area, such as a haul road, a blast face or a stockpile.”

Dust monitoring within a site, using technologies such as those developed by Proof Engineers (among others), is a good first step towards acquiring an accurate picture of how much dust is circulating and where it is coming from. Tomicek and Handel also contend that change management is a major piece of the puzzle. “A lot of the time, people think they’re doing the right thing but they may actually be creating a problem,” says Handel. “So it comes down to education. “People need to realise they can’t just come in with a technology and expect it to do everything, without providing resources, without change management, without training people. “It’s a bit like expecting you can wash your hair once with a new shampoo and not do it again for 12 months.”



Queensland by Rail

Queensland’s coastline and great outback are full of hidden surprises just waiting to be discovered, and what better way to experience them than through the magic of rail. A scenic rail trip allows you to make the most of your holiday, with every minute of the journey as much a part of the adventure as the destination itself. Relax in the utmost comfort onboard our traditional and modern trains, and our friendly staff will take care of your every need. Feast your eyes on the sights out the window and our drivers will take care of your destination.

Drift off in our comfortable seats or sleepers and, while Mother Nature takes care of an awesome sunrise, we’ll take care of your breakfast. Take a Queensland Rail Travel holiday and you’ll see the wonders of Queensland the way they were meant to be seen.

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FROM the moment we acquired Gessner Industries back in July 2013 we were ready to adopt an alternative sales strategy. The business has traditionally retailed Gessner equipment through a series of agricultural and construction dealerships throughout Australia. In the first 12 months as new owners, made the decision to manufacture and sell our whole good equipment directly to the end user, whilst continuing good relations with the existing Gessner dealerships for the sale of our spare parts. Our philosophy and strategy is simple. Take a highly regarded Company like Gessner Industries, with more than 40 years experience in fabricating proven and reliable machinery and allow the end user to purchase these whole good items at the most competitive price possible. Manufacturing in Australia is hard enough with high labour rates and operating costs, so why

compound these pressures with more layers of selling margins? We understand that the purchase of machinery is a major decision for all farmers and contractors. Even the smallest saving is important. The response to our direct-sell approach has been overwhelming. Sales in both agricultural and industrial equipment has increased more than 50% in the past 24 months. Farmers have a better sales experience from the purchasing end, because they are now dealing with our in-house sales staff who understand the equipment more intimately, provide answers more readily and ultimately negotiate positive outcomes with a financial win for both parties. If customers require spare parts for any of our extensive range of equipment they can usually rely on our dealer network to have most wear parts available. In the event a part isn’t available from a dealer, chances are Gessner will have to

them within 12-24 hours, anywhere around Australia. Growing Gessner Industries over the coming years is vital. The more equipment we manufacture the more competitively we can price our product for our local market. Yes, we will need to sell more product. How do we sell more equipment? Innovation. This includes innovative manufacturing techniques and a clear mandate to introduce a new range of broadacre planting equipment for both our traditional selling area of Queensland and New South Wales, and also the grain growing regions of Central and Western Australia. We’ve already taken the first steps to expand our product range, recruiting additional drafting and engineering staff. The outlook for 2017 looks positive for both row-crop and broad acre farmers. We’re excited for the future of the industry and of this company.


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education Insights into some of the best education institutions in the country.

Harvest your agribusiness potential. Johanna Hancock - 2013 Graduate Solicitor, Fox and Thomas Business Lawyers

Shape your future in agriculture at Australia’s only dedicated agribusiness college, with a Master of Agribusiness. Learn from the best at Marcus Oldham. Enrol today.

Agriculture | Agribusiness | Equine Management


Marcus Oldham’s Career Enhancing Postgraduate Program We talk to three paricipants in this innovative and practical agribusiness program.

James Hawkins is farmer and agribusiness entrepreneur from North West Victoria James completed a Bachelor of Biomedicine, however, when his career path pointed to agriculture, the Master of Agribusiness at Marcus Oldham was a very exciting choice. “I’ve always seen tertiary education as incredibly important, not just for the academic side, but because you learn so much more than you were anticipating, through researching information and understanding how to read primary literature,” says James. James encourages prospective postgrad students: “If you’re not learning, you’re not growing. So if you’re thinking about further study, then just jump into it,” he advises. “But you’ve got to be prepared... because you do it in parallel with your other jobs.” James says one of the greatest advantages of his studies at Marcus Oldham is that the lecturers are actually working with or connected to industry, which helps graduates find employment links. “Australia is an exporting country with unparalleled opportunities all over the world. Entrepreneurial Australians will meet these challenges and take the great opportunities, “says James. “It is easier [to succeed] if you have a passion for what you are doing,” he says. “The key elements to the future of

“The key elements to the future of agribusiness are a combination of learning, entrepreneurship and passion”

agribusiness are a combination of learning, entrepreneurship and passion.” Janeta Falknau is a graduate and feedlot livestock supervisor, from Goombungee QLD Janeta undertook postgraduate business studies to add value to her work operational skills. “I completed a Diploma of Applied Science at Emerald, specialising in beef. I’ve also enjoyed leadership training within the industry… Being keen to learn I find the study at Marcus Oldham extremely relevant to what I do day-to-day” Janeta says. “It’s inspiring and makes me think outside the square. I love how I can choose topics that relate to my particular interest, for example, Free Trade Agreements.” When it comes to recommending postgraduate studies, Janeta says, “If it’s something you honestly want to do and you’ll get something out of it, then you’ll make time for it.” By studying online Janeta can enjoy staying local: “Jondaryan and Goombungee, the town where I live, are really young, active communities. More people are coming into the agricultural industry and you can feel the energy.” “Everything moves very quickly in the feedlot scene,” said Janeta. “There’s a lot of change and it’s important to have your finger on the pulse. I wanted a challenge beyond my normal workplace and I love how the focus of my studies is still on agriculture, but takes me beyond what I see day to day and across other agribusinesses as well.” Wes Lefroy from Moora WA is a technical manager for a commercial and research soil sampling company based in Perth. In a bid to extend his business thinking to compliment the technical nature of his role, Wes embarked on postgraduate studies. “Agriculture is a fast changing

James Hawkins, farmer and agribusiness entrepreneur from North West Victoria.

industry and rather than predict the future for certain, I’m trying to develop myself as a person, so I can thrive in a changing environment and make the most of the opportunities of innovation that might be coming. “We’re [already] seeing a diversification of business structures, investment and strategies, some of which is driven by new technologies and data analysis,” he adds. “A more considered business approach is becoming everyday thinking,” says Wes. “In our business, we use sensors, data collection, soil sampling and soil mapping... because farmers are craving data to make more objective decisions. I’m also seeing the use of algorithms in beef operations, taking the subjectivity out of matching cows to bulls.” Wes says his studies at Marcus Oldham will make him a better employee: “Not only do I have my technical abilities, but I can also see the benefits of what I am doing for other people’s businesses.” 77

Nudgee College Boarding The right move for young men


Flipping the Classroom A new innovation in teaching using technology, is keeping education nimble..

ver recent years, classrooms all around the world have seen dramatic changes, with the integration of new technologies to enhance learning experiences and opportunities. St Joseph’s Nudgee College is no different, introducing its Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) program in 2014, as well as transitioning to become a “Google school”. Mathematics teacher and the College’s Technology Coach Mr Joel Speranza has taken full advantage of these changes, transforming many of his classes through a ‘flipped classroom’ method. A flipped classroom is when the role of class time and homework is reversed; the teacher provides video explanations on different concepts for students to view in their own time, and class time is used for students to ask questions and apply the information. “It is really about answering one question,” Joel said. “What is the best use of my face-to-face time? “The flipped classroom takes instruction out of the class and into the home, which allows the classroom to be used as a collaborative learning space.” In the beginning, Joel said a flipped

classroom was a natural progression, enabled by the technology that has become available. “I started because a few students missed classes and were struggling to catch up with the work,” he said. “At that point, video lessons just made sense. “The College is very supportive of innovation in teaching, allowing me to experiment with this practice in my classroom, and offering me the support to do so.” Nudgee College students are certainly embracing their flipped classroom, with feedback being overwhelmingly positive. “Students who previously struggled with Mathematics are now able to pause or rewind their teacher for the first time, and learn at their own pace,” Joel said. This concept, as well as Joel’s application, is gaining a lot of traction in the educational community, so much so that he has been asked to provide workshops on the method to other teachers. “I was first approached by the Queensland College of Teachers to take part in an online mentoring program for early career and new teachers interested in how technology can be used in their practice,” he said. “During this time many new teachers

expressed interest in my flipped classroom and wanted to learn more, so the Queensland College of Teachers then asked me to host a webinar explaining how teachers can use it.” Joel’s flipped classroom lecture ended up being the QCT’s most popular webinar. Joel said he is really excited about other teachers trying flipped learning in their own classrooms. “It’s a relatively new practice, which means that it’s up to our current teachers to shape how flipped learning is used,” he said. “I’m a big believer in collaboration between teachers, within our school and across other schools, as technology moves at such a rapid pace that education needs to be nimble to keep up.” In June, Joel was named as one of the champions in the Advance Queensland Community Digital Champions program. This program awards Champions whose stories and activities can act as a way to motivate and inspire people to explore the benefits of the digital age. Joel was also named a finalist for an Excellence in Teaching Award through the Queensland College of Teachers in 2016.



Frensham Boarding for Girls or Frensham’s annual Sample Boarding programme, we host overnight up to 40 Year 5 girls whose parents are considering Year 7 entry for their daughters as boarders... and girls come from ‘everywhere’ for the experience... The programme includes an information evening to update parents on our priorities, programmes and current goals. It is important to note the current demographic of Frensham boarders: • 50% of our current boarders are from families with no direct family experience of boarding • 30% of our current boarders are girls whose parents boarded • 20% of our boarders have grandparents or other close relatives who boarded Increasingly, parents are seeing the benefits of boarding as a whole extra element of education focused on developing emotional and intellectual maturity, self-discipline and selfmanagement, and inspiring a deep sense of personal connection that develops when teenagers engage in positive, challenging experience.

Futurists say what the world needs most is high functioning young people who are emotionally intelligent, with strong self-management skills. Likewise, tertiary educators note that that the world of work needs young people with empathy - talented people who can value other’s points of view. From their first year at Frensham, students are ancouraged to develop these much-needed qualities. They are asked to share in organising and managing important aspects of School life, with the imperative to care about their impact. The acronym STE(A)Mm ~ STEM has been embedded in the Frensham

curriculum for several years, and we have added to it. The new ‘A’ refers to artistic expression, creativity and design thinking. With science (S) and technology (T) interpreted through engineering (E) and arts (A), all based in elements of mathematics (M), embedded in music (m); cross-faculty collaboration on the development of new projects that add quality to the rigour of the existing academic programme, is driving change. From Term 1 2017, we have added capacity to accommodate an additional 32 senior boarders. Below: Linden Turner House – new expansion for senior boarders.

Frensham is an outward-looking, forward-thinking boarding school which provides a rigorous, personalised academic programme. On a spectacular 140 hectare campus, in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales, Frensham is unique in Australia with more than seventy percent of the total school enrolment of 340 girls in residence. Boarding at Frensham is not about distance from School – it is about a adding whole extra element of education, focused on developing emotional and intellectual maturity, self-discipline and self-management, and a deep sense of personal connection. When boarders from Berlin, Barraba, Bellevue Hill and Bowral learn to live, study, have fun and flourish together at Frensham – it is not by chance! 81


FIND MORE THAN KNOWLEDGE, DISCOVER BELIEF At the No.1 uni in Australia for graduate employability* we’ll help you discover the knowledge to succeed and the belief to do it.

USQ.EDU.AU/STUDY * Good Universities Guide, 2017 CRICOS: QLD 00244B, NSW 02225M




Take your career to the next level with an MBA at USQ f you’re looking to gain a competitive edge in the business world, look no further than the University of Southern Queensland’s (USQ) Master of Business Administration (MBA). Ranked in the top-five MBAs in Australia in the latest Australian Financial Review BOSS rankings, the USQ MBA was also awarded a four star ranking by the Graduate Management Association of Australia. Australian MBAs are ranked on criteria such as diversity and experience of faculty, subject coverage, opportunities for students to engage in peer-to-peer interaction, and alumni feedback. USQ Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Jan Thomas said the university’s internationally-recognised program prepares students for exciting and rewarding careers in business and management. “Our dynamic and engaging MBA program is one of the largest in Australia and our experience from over 25 years in the industry means we are able to ensure a dedicated faculty and well-established support systems that facilitate highly successful student learning, both on-campus and online,” Professor Thomas says. “As well as developing advanced analytical and process skills related to management, people, markets, finance and technical knowledge, students emerge qualified to take on a range of public or private positions in Australia and internationally.” USQ MBA Program Director Associate Professor Jane Summers says the program gives students the knowledge and managerial skills to be strategic and critical thinkers, strong

communicators and problem solvers. “Our MBA graduates are sought after in the workplace and among the best in Australia for graduate employment because they have the ability to specialise in specific areas of interest alongside the traditional management courses,” Associate Professor Summers says. “A strong emphasis of the USQ MBA is placed on peer-to-peer and student-tostaff interaction, for instance teamwork and role-play exercises designed to develop networking and leadership skills. “Students also have the chance to develop innovative solutions and apply theoretical concepts to real-world problems in the workplace.” Viviana Garcia recently graduated from USQ with a double degree in Master of Business Administration and Master of Professional Accounting. Mrs Garcia said undertaking an MBA

at USQ was definitely worthwhile. “I chose to study at USQ so I could have a better understanding of accounting processes and develop my business and management skills in order to increase my chances of finding work,” she said. “I am very fortunate to have had the opportunity to study at such a great university. I found all the staff and lecturers were very supportive throughout my education journey at USQ. “The one thing I will take away from my experience is the belief that nothing is impossible in life.”

To learn more about USQ’s executive prostgraduate degrees, including the MBA program, visit


Advance your career Apply now to study online

For career outcomes, James Cook University ranks among the best in Australia.* JCU is internationally recognised in the top 2% of universities in the world for academic and research excellence.** So, whether you study on campus or online with James Cook University, you can be sure your qualification is of global standing. JCU offers a range of undergraduate and postgraduate courses that can be completed online and via flexible delivery.

External study – Diploma

Diploma of Higher Education in Business

External study – Undergraduate

Bachelor of Arts in Criminology Bachelor of Arts in English Bachelor of Arts in Modern Languages Bachelor of Arts in Politics and International Relations Bachelor of Business - all majors Bachelor of Creative Arts and Media - all majors Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood Education) Bachelor of Information Technology Bachelor of Nursing Science (External) Bachelor of Nursing Science (Post-Registration) Bachelor of Occupational Therapy (External) Bachelor of Social Work

External study – Postgraduate

Graduate Certificate of Aeromedical Retrieval Graduate Certificate of Career Development Graduate Certificate of Conflict Management and Resolution Graduate Certificate of Disaster Health and Humanitarian Assistance Graduate Certificate of Education (Academic Practice) Graduate Certificate of Education for Sustainability Graduate Certificate of Health Professional Education Graduate Certificate of Health Promotion Graduate Certificate of Infection Control Graduate Certificate of Nursing Graduate Certificate of Rehabilitation

Graduate Certificate of Research Methods (Tropical Health and Medicine) Graduate Certificate of Science in Aquaculture Science and Technology Graduate Diploma of Economics Graduate Diploma of Health Professional Education Graduate Diploma of Nursing Graduate Diploma of Rehabilitation - all majors Master of Business Administration Master of Business Administration in Conflict Management and Resolution Master of Business Administration in Creativity and Innovation Master of Conflict Management and Resolution Master of Education in Global Contexts Master of Education in Leadership and Management Master of Health Professional Education Master of Midwifery Master of Nursing Master of Pharmaceutical Public Health Master of Professional Accounting Master of Public Health Master of Rehabilitation - all majors Master of Social Science in Indigenous Studies Master of Teaching and Learning (Primary)

External study – Joint Degrees, Postgraduate

Master of Business Administration - Master of Conflict Management and Resolution Master of Public Health - Master of Business Administration

This course list is intended as a general guide. External courses may be delivered using a combination of online resources, printed material or other technologies. Some courses include on-campus workshops and travel for professional placements. All applicants should contact the University to confirm admission requirements and the availability of courses. Information correct at time of printing. James Cook University reserves the right to alter any course or admission requirement without prior notice. James Cook University CRICOS Provider Code 00117J * The Good Universities Guide, 2016 **Academic Ranking of World Universities, 2016 1800 246 446


The Business of Finding your Dream Job t this time of year we’re all thinking about our future. Where will I be in another 12 months? What do I want to achieve? What support do I need to get there? With so many courses to choose from and the excellent student support for both online and on campus students at James Cook University (JCU), now is the time to discover which opportunities are open to you. If you already have a job you enjoy and a career direction, additional study to improve your prospects can easily be worked into your lifestyle. Take Laura Landsburg, who is studying online with James Cook University, as a perfect example. “I’ve always wanted to study but have been occupied with full time work since I graduated high school,” says Laura. Covering a range of topics including Marketing, Accounting and Economics, choosing a Bachelor of Business was an easy decision for Laura. “As a Store

Manager I practise business in my everyday life. I can relate to the theories I learn throughout my studies.” With a busy life and a passion to learn, Laura opted for the flexible study options offered by JCU. “I felt online study would be more suited to my lifestyle as working full time is demanding. I travel a lot for work so online makes my course easy to access whenever, wherever. By being online I can pick up all subject material and recorded lectures in my own free time.” Blake Owens also opted to study as an external student. “Working on a ship meant I was away for three weeks at a time and JCU gave me the option to study externally, with the flexibility to meet faceto-face when I was in town,” says Blake. “It’s an advantage to manage your own time”, Blake says. “I balance my life and study, and I can take every work shift. As long as you’ve got the recordings and the books, you can study 100,000kms away.” The flexible study options and support

offered by JCU cater to busy working professionals and individual preferences. The Master of Business Administration (MBA) and Master of Conflict Management and Resolution (MCMR), can also be studied online and really enhance your career by differentiating your skills base. JCU’s online MBA and MCMR will optimise your leadership, communication and negotiation skills in interactive workshops led by facilitators with a wide range of national and international practical experience. Business owner Kenneth Waldron is studying for his Master of Conflict Management and Resolution. “Studying online with block-mode workshops means I can fit study into my busy timetable. I really enjoy the intensives which are an excuse to visit the attractive cities of Townsville and Cairns,” he says. For more info on James Cook University, go to



Feeding the world is

big business Make it your business, writes Professor Alex McBratney, Dean of Agriculture and Environment, at The University of Sydney.

well-known Wall Street broker and commodities trader recently purported, if he were to start his career all over again, he would go into agriculture rather than trading because the very future of the world depends upon farming. Like many people in the world these days, he realised that for the future of humanity to survive on the planet we need to produce enough food to feed everyone. This means we need to increase our current output by about 70 per cent over the next 35 years. Similarly, the quality of that food needs to improve. It must have the right nutritional and safety characteristics. So there is a big challenge in meeting that need while using our finite resources of soil, water and nutrients. It is a challenge that’s exciting and will take a generation to achieve, so we’re looking for a new generation of people to work in the emerging ‘new agriculture’ industry, which will deliver high-quality food to everyone on the planet. It’s a challenge that’s a noble one. By doing this we will help humanity. It will be a profitable challenge, also – people will make money in the new agriculture. Those who work in this field will not only have good incomes but will also enjoy good lifestyles. To meet the challenges of the new agriculture, solutions will be created using the best science, economics and sociology. All of the technologies the biological revolution has brought us will be utilised. We are going to breed new cultivars to deal with drought and salinity; we will recognise the huge biodiversity of plants, and bring many new plants with new characteristics into cultivation.

We will also harness the power of new information technologies to optimise everything we do on the farm. In doing so, we will grow things with the least possible use of fertilisers and chemicals to get the highest possible yields, the best quality product and we will recognise that quality varies across the landscape. We will be employed to deliver to consumers the exact commodities they want using the best ideas of economics and business. Identifying products by location, and with particular quality characteristics, grown in the best way, we will deliver that information to the consumer along with the product. We’re going to use the best ideas of

sociology to ensure that producers and consumers better understand the processes of agriculture, and that the products created are those consumers want. By combining and connecting these elements, we’ll create the new agriculture – a post-industrial agriculture that is much more akin to the pre-industrial society. An agriculture that is totally interconnected. This concept is driving the new curriculum in agriculture at the University of Sydney, where we are developing these ideas into new units of study and courses so that we can train the agriculturists of the future. Come and join us. Learn more at


FRANCHISE OPPORTUNITIES AVAILABLE The opportunity The BSR Group operates a national franchise system that delivers an industry-leading retail and commercial offering to Australian consumers with an extensive product range and cutting edge technology. BSR Group is the number one independent franchisor of retail businesses selling electrical appliances, furniture, bedding, household goods and relevant accessories in Australia. The BSR Group grants franchises to operate under the Betta brand, which carries with it a history of over 50 years in Australia. The BSR Group offers its franchisees access, not only to the Betta Home Living brand, but to a tried and tested business system which supports and enables franchisees to maximise their offering to the customer and meaningfully participate in a market. BSR Group seeks to do this by providing the most comprehensive, all inclusive service possible. We provide: • • • • • •

Powerful brand with over 50 years of history Decades of industry experience Marketing expertise and implementation National buying power Ongoing training and advice Tailored IT & POS systems

If you wish to know more about us, talk about joining The BSR Group brand, please visit or contact Paul Reeves on (07) 3414 8700 for a confidential discussion.

Franchise opportunities available in: • Home appliances • Furniture • Home appliances & furniture

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