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Dec 2019/Jan 2020



How to enjoy WA’s captial city with less than $50


Some of the more quirky things to do in the Top End

A real Australian business magazine

Townsville Let’s get tropical

Dream the days away at Frenchman’s River. Beauty, luxury, serenity. Come and stay. book@frenchmansriver.com.au | 0466 790 142 @frenchmansrivercygnet | www.frenchmansriver.com.au

Welcome aboard

Happy holidays! Whether you’re travelling to visit friends and family this holiday season or jetting off on your next big adventure, we are delighted to welcome you onboard this festive season. For more than 41 years, Airnorth has continued to grow and thrive, never giving up, even when others have. Committed to our communities, we are proud to provide essential air services all year-round, enabling prosperity for families, businesses and entire regions. As part of this commitment, we invest more than $50 million dollars per annum into the local economy by supporting suppliers, stakeholders and contractors, and by employing more than 260 Northern Territory staff. Airnorth is more than just a business, we are proud to be part of the social and economic fabric of the regions that we serve. In the second half of 2019, Airnorth was delighted to renew contracts with key partners OM Holdings, Jadestone Energy and the Northern Territory Government to continue transport services to Bootu Creek, TruscottMungalalu, and ports along our ‘centre run’ through the Northern Territory. These contract extensions continue to highlight confidence in Airnorth and our capability to service large contracts and reaffirm our position

as a formidable airline within the industry. As the year ends and we welcome the start of 2020, we celebrate the many successes of Airnorth. This year we have flown more than 330,000 passengers across both our scheduled and charter flight operations and increased services between Darwin and Dili, Toowoomba and Melbourne, and Darwin and Groote Eylandt. We were delighted to add services between Darwin and the Gold Coast to our 2019 seasonal flying program, while also continuing to operate flights on our popular route between Perth and Darwin via Kununurra. Finally, we celebrate the introduction of healthier catering options onboard for our passengers to enjoy, and welcome a new look with the launch of our bespoke uniforms, featuring the Airnorth Spring Water print designed to reflect our company’s proud history by local Indigenous artist Gary Lang. I would like to thank you for your continued support and for choosing to fly Airnorth. We look forward to a bright 2020. Daniel Bowden Chief Executive Officer, Airnorth DEC 2019/JAN 2020



Nestled amongst the wilderness of the Kimberley’s you will find Kimberley Grande, the perfect place with spacious room to come home to after adventurous days. Spend your day relaxing by our picturesque pool and indulging at our restaurant and bar facilities. Numerous conference and function packages are available all year round

www.kimberleygrande.com.au 20 Victoria Highway, Kununurra WA 6743 Phone: 1300 9555 49 | 08 7918 7885 | Email: reservations@kimberleygrande.com.au

AusBiz. Check out AusBiz. at the back of the magazine. THE NEW BOOM There’s a new mining boom on the horizon. We bring you the latest. TRANSPORT & LOGISTICS The Australian transport industry is transforming. AUSSIE AVOCADOS How this fruit has taken the country by storm. GIN REVOLUTION The domestic spirit market is making big waves, with gin leading the revolutionary charge.



contents 11 Airnorth News

Airnorth shines a spotlight on some fantastic sponsorship initiatives.

14 Regional News

We bring you the latest news around the country.

16 Events Calendar Don’t miss what’s hip and happening around Airnorth locations this summer.

18 Entertainment

The latest theatre, books, art shows and tours in Oz.

20 Walking Perth

How to experience the best of Perth for under $50.

22 Townsville

We explore the best of the rainforest and reef around this sunny Tropical North Queensland city.

26 Darwin Dreaming

A typical Top End trip brings together history, adventure and awesome activities in and around Darwin.

30 Art Spotlight

Artist Bruce Munro’s spectacular light sculptures arrive in Darwin. We look at what makes this city-wide exhibit so special. DEC 2019/JAN 2020


The modern fusion of apothecary and science. The APPELLES Collection contains unique actives and essential oil blends that have been selected for their exceptional qualities. Combining advanced skincare technologies with powerful vitamins and extracts, APPELLES Apothecary & Lab is hair and body care that delivers results.



HUMANISING THE ART OF WHISKY We tell our story one cask at a time. We pride ourselves that we engage with our loyal followers so they become part of Craft Works Distillery Australian craft spirits journey We share what it is to make small batch craft spirits. We are Craft Works Distillery, distilling Australian craft single malt whisky, Eau de Vie and releasing internationally multi awarded independent bottlings.


publisher’s letter Welcome to the last issue of Together We Fly for 2019. We hope that, despite life’s many challenges, big or small, you have had some victories throughout the year that have you looking forward to moving into 2020. This year we have covered many of the more out-of-the-way Darwin places on the Airnorth route map, Sailing Club bringing you some fascinating tales from Timor Leste, Arnhem Land, Broome, The Kimberley, The Pilbara and beyond. This issue we’ve decided to get into some city adventures by covering Perth on foot, so that you’ll be inspired to explore the many galleries, wine bars, cafés, pubs and parks, while admiring the city’s fabulous architecture and water views. Then we head up north to explore the tropical beauty of Townsville, delving into the many reasons why this city is beloved to so many. From the rainforest to the reef, there are so many intriguing niches rich in history and culture, and you’d be hardpressed o find more welcoming locals. Way up north, where Airnorth is proud to have its base, we explore the ever-evolving city of Darwin. There’s no doubt about it, it’s hot (and often humid) all year-round in Darwin, but that breeds an incredibly vibrant outdoorsy lifestyle that the locals love and visitors flock to. You can’t go to Darwin without visiting the Wave Pool and the beautiful gardens that surround it. In fact, the entire waterfront precinct has morphed over the years into a pretty, bustling hub where everyone is out and about enjoying awesome Darwin vibes. And now, Darwin is proud to welcome globally renowned sculpture and light artist Bruce Munro, who is back in town with a show that encourages people to explore Darwin in an artful manner. ’Bruce Munro: Tropical Light’ opened on November 1 and is Munro’s first city-wide exhibition that is comprised of eight large-scale sculptures. The show, which will run until the end of April and is inspired by Bruce’s extensive travels in the Top End, is expected to entice thousands of visitors to the region. Bruce’s sculptures are joined by the works of five other local Territory artists and together they form a 2.5-kilometre arts trail – a free, self-guided outdoor exhibition through Darwin’s CBD and Waterfront Precincts. “Art is a great way to draw people together, to start discussions, share opinions and ideas. I want to involve all of the people in Darwin and visitors; guide people,” Munro said. “I’m hoping it brings community together. I’ve learnt a lot over the years – let the artwork do its thing and it should bring people together. Become part of the art and the art becomes part of you.”





Publisher: Michelle Hespe publisher@publishingbychelle.com Art Director: Jon Wolfgang Miller AusBiz. Brand & Communications Manager: Effe Sandas advertising@publishingbychelle.com Lifestyle/Travel Brand & Communications Manager: Shakira Wood shakira@publishingbychelle.com Assistant Editor: Sarah Hinder editorial@publishingbychelle.com Editorial Assistant: Samuel Steinberg Sub-editors: Shane Cubis & Sarah Friggieri


Samuel Steinberg Fiona Harper Jennifer Johnston Darren Baguley Ian Lloyd Neubauer Lisa Smyth Kirsten Craze


Blue Star PRINT 81 Derby St, Silverwater, NSW 2128

Cover image: Jesse and Belinda Lindemann & Tourism and Events Queensland.

Together We Fly is published by Publishing ByChelle, (ABN: 78 621 375 853 ACN: 621 375 853) Level 1, 3 Westleigh Street, Neutral Bay, NSW 2089 publishingbychelle.com The reproduction of any content, in whole or part without prior written permission by the publisher is strictly prohibited. Opinions expressed in the content are those of the contributors, and not necessarily those of the publisher. All information in this magazine was believed to be correct at the time of publication, and all reasonable efforts have been made to contact copyright holders. Publishing ByChelle cannot accept unsolicited manuscripts or photographs. If such items are sent to the magazine, they will not be returned. We apologise if we don’t get back to your email, as we do receive a large volume of communication via various online channels. Some images used in Together We Fly are from istock and Getty images, and we make every effort to credit all contributors.

DEC 2019/JAN 2020


Lost Trades Fair Find inspiration, tradition and craftsmanship at one of the most authentic events in the country. At the Lost Trades Fair you have the chance to meet and watch career artisans practicing traditional trades, gain an insight into skilled manual work and see the craftsmanship in things that are made to last. Meet wheelwrights, chairmakers, bookbinders and coopers. Blacksmiths, toolmakers, long-bow makers and stonemasons will demonstrate alongside whip plaiters, milliners, silversmiths and heritage plasterers. The fair attracts traditional artisans from across Australia and overseas and is one of the most authentic events in the country showcasing the art of handmade.

TICKETS AVAILABLE AT LOSTTRADES.INFO Online: Discount early bird tickets are available online now Tickets at the Gate: Toowoomba Adults $18 / Kids $5 Seniors $15 Bendigo Adults $20 / Kids $5 Seniors $18

LOST TRADES FAIR 7 & 8 March 2020 Bendigo Racecourse VIC 16 & 17 May 2020 Cobb+Co Museum QLD













Airfares are per person one way, and subject to availability or until sold out. Airfares are including all taxes & credit card fees (if paid by Visa or Mastercard). If using American Express or Diners International, credit card fees apply; domestic transactions 3.3% and international transactions 3%. Please note that airfares may not be available for travel on school and public holiday periods or periods of peak demand. Airfares are applicable in both directions.


Dili, Timor-Leste (DIL)

Milingimbi (MGT)


Elcho Island






Truscott Kununurra


Groote Eylandt (GTE)

Katherine (KTR)




McArthur River




Tennant Creek

Bootu Creek




Alice Springs (ASP)

Toowoomba (WTB)


Melbourne (MEL)

AIRNORTH SPRING WATER PRINT Airnorth was delighted to work closely with accomplished local Larrakia Indigenous visual artist Gary Lang, who designed the bespoke Airnorth Springwater print that is celebrated on our new Cabin Crew uniforms. ‘My designs all stem from our traditional cultural heritage and stories,’ Gary explains. ‘The Airnorth uniform fabric design comes from our Creators’ wife. Every day she walked, and when she rested, she’d ram her digging stick into the earth releasing a spring of water. Airnorth first sprung up in Darwin, then throughout the Northern Territory and other parts of Australia. Each destination is denoted by another spring of water showing Airnorth’s proud history. A spring of refreshment and life to the communities they service.’

Indigenous Artist Gary Lang

Airnorth commenced the new uniform design project in 2018 to celebrate our 40 years in Australian aviation. The Airnorth Springwater print is featured throughout the new uniform design with placement on the ladies sleeve, scarf and box pleat and the men’s tie, shirt fasteners and vest.

This year, Airnorth crew will be the runway stars in their first-ever professionally designed bespoke uniforms. Together we fly.


Port Keats

R Bootu Creek


2020 Australian Open 20 January - 2 February 2020

MELBOURNE HAS AN ACTION PACKED START TO 2020! Start your 2020 experiences early and witness the heart stopping, nail biting action of Melbourne’s Australian Open. It’s the first grand slam of the year and these highly anticipated matches are a must see. Use the link below to plan your 2020 Australian Open experience. www.ausopen.com/tournament-schedule



airnorth news

Sponsorship highlights Airnorth is delighted to provide support to our local communities and connect businesses and events throughout our ports. BUSINESS DISABILITY AWARDS SEPTEMBER 12, 2019 Airnorth has been a proud supporter of the Toowoomba and Darling Downs Business disABILITY Awards for the past three years. The awards is the only event of its kind in the region, established to recognise and celebrate people and businesses who help to create more inclusive workplaces and communities. At the 2019 event, the awards enjoyed a sold-out success with a record number of nominations and entries submitted. Winners were announced in eight award categories, including the Elissa Flanagan ‘Aim High’ Scholarship. The evening included TV presenter, journalist and author Jessica Rowe as special guest speaker and respected Toowoomba journalist David Iliffe as Master of Ceremonies. We would like to congratulate Cassie Clark on winning the Airnorth lucky door prize.

ROBOCUP JUNIOR AUSTRALIA SEPTEMBER 22, 2019 Airnorth recently supported Nhulunbuy students with

airfares to attend the annual RoboCup Junior Australia competition in Darwin. The competition is a projectoriented educational initiative that sponsors local, regional and international robotic events for young students. “The RoboCup Junior NT event was a great success for our students,” said RoboCup Coordinator and Nhulunbuy High School teacher Michael Stimpson. “Our Nhulunbuy High School teams placed first and second in the Secondary Line Rescue, and Nhulunbuy Primary School came in fourth in the Primary Line Rescue.” Stimpson added that all Nhulunbuy teams worked tirelessly over the year to engineer and code their robots, working well in small teams to develop some outstanding ideas. “When the pressure was on, they were able to keep their composure, support each other and come up with creative solutions to problems that presented themselves throughout the competition.” Airnorth would like to congratulate all the Nhulunbuy students who participated in the RoboCup competition. Well done. DEC 2019/JAN 2020


airnorth news

PINK AMBROSE CLASSIC SEPTEMBER 27, 2019 The Gove Country Golf Club in Nhulunbuy hosted its annual Pink Ambrose Classic ladies’ day for breast cancer awareness. Ladies from the wider Gove Peninsula, dressed from head-to-toe in pink, gathered for the event and enjoyed a hot cooked breakfast followed by a six-hole Ambrose, before returning to the club for a sit-down lunch where they listened to the stories of three guest speakers who shared their personal experiences with breast cancer and the BRCA gene. The day was a huge success, raising $3900 to directly support local community members in the East Arnhem region who are currently experiencing breast cancer. Airnorth would like to congratulate Melissa Muller for winning the return airfares raffled on the day. We look forward to welcoming Melissa onboard.

COOPERS BLUE WATER CLASSIC OCTOBER 4–6, 2019 Darwin’s premier fishing competition, the Coopers Blue

Water Classic, was back and better than ever this year. The annual event, hosted by Darwin Trailer Boat Club, saw 162 competitors over the course of the three days (including a record 32 junior competitors) try their luck at catching bragworthy fish and taking home some great prizes. Airnorth is a consistently proud supporter of this annual event which brings members of the Darwin community together and supports local not-for-profit organisation Foodbank NT. “This year contestants managed to reel in nearly 850 kilograms of fish throughout the competition. The fish was then filleted at the Darwin Fish Market and donated to Foodbank NT,” said Operations Manager Lizzy McArdle. “Every fresh fish would be filleted, packaged, frozen and then distributed to charitable welfare agencies that assist people in need.” Airnorth would like to congratulate all those who participated in the event. We look forward to hitting the water with you again in 2020.

The Riverina in the south-west of New South Wales is where the story of De Bortoli Wines began. Vittorio De Bortoli arrived in the region after migrating to Australia from northern Italy with little more than a few coins in his pocket. And though the flat plains and fertile red earth of the Riverina were completely different to all he had ever known, Vittorio together with his new wife Giuseppina, made it their home. The winery at Bilbul remains our home and our heart to this day. The De Bortoli selection is available on most Airnorth flights.Prices start from $8 AUD. We do appreciate if you have the correct change. Airnorth practices a responsible service of alcohol.

De Bortoli Prosecco Fruit-driven with hints of green apple and wisteria.

Emeri Chardonnay Pinot Noir Apple and floral notes with fresh cream and bread dough aromas.

Emeri Pink Moscato Velvety and full with a persistent bead and fresh finish.

De Bortoli RosĂŠ RosĂŠ A delicately structured wine with a textural dry finish.

Windy Peak Sauvignon Blanc Semillon Textural palate, hints of guava, herb and limes, gentle acidity.


A selection of spirits and cocktails may also be available on your flight. Please refer to the beverage list inside your seat pocket.

Windy Peak Shiraz Plump dark fruits, dense, gentle tannins, cedarwood, delicious.

regional news

Explore the Torres Strait Islands Local guide Dirk Laifoo takes guests on small bespoke tours around the Torres Strait Islands with newly launched tour company Torres Strait Eco Adventures. Guests can explore the remote islands of Waiben (Thursday Island), Muralag (Prince of Wales Island) and Ngarupai (Horn Island). The incredibly remote and undiscovered region is home to an interesting WWII and pearling history entwined with fascinating local islander culture. torresstraitecoadventures.com.au


Charcoal Lane restaurant in Fitzroy, Melbourne, celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2019. The hatted restaurant employs Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and serves up a delicious seasonal menu of native Australian cuisine. Passionate about paying respects to Australian culture and land, the team at Charcoal Lane are passionate about telling a story through native ingredients. Think dishes of roasted emu fillet and eucalyptus-infused timbale, Parma ham wrapped wallaby, and sous vide crocodile green curry, alongside beautifully presented Australian-themed desserts. There’s also a cocktail menu brimming with bold native Australian botanicals and a list of wines and beers sourced from regional Australia. The restaurant was founded by Mission Australia as a way to provide opportunities for Aboriginal people who are in need of a fresh start in life. Each dining experience helps to provide a supported, hands-on Mission Australia traineeship program for young Aboriginal people – Charcoal Lane engages and connects more than 30 young Aboriginal people every year. charcoallane.com.au


Discover the cool side of Cairns In recent years, vintage stores, funky laneway art, hidden bars and cafés oozing cool have been springing up right around Cairns CBD. The thing is to know where to look. Local Georgia Babatsikos takes tourists on tours around Cairns, where you can discover all things new and hipster cool, or learn about the city’s 40,000year-old history. cairnsurbanwalkingtours.com.au


The Grand Dame of Cairns For decades the Shangri-La Hotel in Cairns has beautifully dominated the bustling marina in the heart of this beloved tropical city. Not only does it have the easiest access to the reef, the grand hotel has uninterupted views of Trinity Bay and the breathtaking mountain ranges surrounding Cairns. It also has the Pier Shopping Centre

on its doorstop and is a 10-minute drive to the airport, making it ideal for business and leisure travellers. The hotel has recently undergone an impressive multi-million dollar renovation, giving the 255 suites and rooms a fresh seaside-inspired pallette that shows off their modern appeal. All of the rooms have

balconies and most have views of the marina and mountains. The expansive complex of pools is one of Cairns' most celebrated, and the newly renovated dining and drinks areas, including an alfresco 'food truck' space are a hit with visitors and the locals. shangri-la.com/cairns/ shangrila/

Stay a Night or Stay a While While in Griffith, come and stay at the recently refurbished Centrepoint Apartments right in the heart of Griffith’s CBD. Room Facilities: • 24 Serviced Studio Suites, One & Two Bedroom Apartments • King & Queen Beds • Flat Screen TV & Foxtel

• Personal CD/DVD Players • Climate Controlled Ducted Air-Conditioning • Complimentary WIFI • Electronic Swipe Keys • Hairdryers • Lift • Disabled Facilities •Secure Off-Street Parking

Management Licenced Agent

T: 02 6960 2000 E: sales@centrepointapartmentsgriffith.com.au W: www.centrepointapartmentsgriffith.com.au 129-139 Yambil Street GRIFFITH NSW 2680

Events calendar

January 8–12 Parkes Elvis Festival

Parkes NSW Dedicated to everything vintage Elvis, the rural town of Parkes hosts the second-largest Elvisthemed festival in the world. Take part in ultimate tribute concerts and vintage street parties throngs of Elvis impersonators and fanatics. parkeselvisfestival. com.au

What’s on & what’s hot December 1

December 26–30

December 28–January 5

January 2–5

IRONMAN Western Australia

Domain Boxing Day Test

Falls Festival


December 14 Manjimup Cherry Harmony Festival

Manjimup WA Celebrating local food and wine, the town of Manjimup welcomes the local cherry season with a long table lunch, street parade, masterclasses, farm tours and art. cherryfestival.com.au

Melbourne Vic It’ll be Aussies vs Kiwis at the famed Melbourne Cricket Ground this Boxing Day – in the first Boxing Day test match since the two teams had a draw in 1987. cricket.com.au

December 27–January 1 Woodford Folk Festival

Woodford Qld One of the oldest festivals in Australia, Woodford sees thousands of artists take part in comedy, street theatre, writers’ panels, social debate and workshops. woodfordfolkfestival.com

Lorne Vic, Marion Bay SA, Byron Bay NSW & Fremantle WA One of the biggest events on the Aussie music festival calendar, this year’s lineup includes Halsey, Vampire Weekend, Peking Duk, PNAU and Disclosure. fallsfestival.com Falls Festival

Image: Charlie Hardy

Busselton WA Competitors swim, bike and run through the beautiful town of Busselton in this epic IRONMAN event. ap.ironman.com/ westernaustralia


by: Sarah hinder

Canberra ACT Australia’s biggest horsepower party since 1988, this four-day automotive lifestyle festival features epic modified car races, the world’s biggest burnout battle and motor trade shows to the summer soundtrack of rock ‘n’ roll. summernats.com.au

January 9–12 Lancelin Ocean Classic Lancelin WA From windsurfing and beach runs to jet skiing and dragon boating, the ocean classic returns to Lancelin for the 35th time this year. lancelinoceanclassic.com.au

Image: Tamworth Regional Council

Events calendar

January 17–26 Toyota Country Music Festival

Tamworth NSW Australia’s largest music festival and one of the top ten music festivals in the world, the iconic Tamworth do hosts the best country artists from across Australia, and bootscooting entertainment along with it. tcmf.com.au

January 17–February 16

January 24–27

Fringe World

Rainbow Serpent Festival

Perth WA A packed program of comedy, cabaret, musicals, theatre and circus is presented by local and international artists at hundreds of events right around the city of Perth. fringeworld.com.au

January 20–February 2 Australian Open

Melbourne Vic Join tennis champions and enthusiasts from across the globe at this tennis Grand Slam events in our very own Melbourne. ausopen.com

Lexton Vic Artistic and welcoming to all, Rainbow Serpent showcases music, the arts and Indigenous culture in a fun and open-minded atmosphere. rainbowserpent.net

January 19–February 9

January 25–27

Midsumma Festival

Festival of Sails

Melbourne Vic Melbourne celebrates everything queer with cool performances, films, parties and events all throughout the city. Be sure not to miss the Midsumma Pride March in St Kilda on February 2. midsumma.org.au

Geelong Vic With a history dating back to 1844, Victoria’s oldest sporting event sees more than 3000 competitors take part in the sailing regatta while 110,000 visitors explore the accompanying Shoreside Festival. festivalofsails.com.au DEC 2019/JAN 2020




Compiled by: Sarah hinder


books Among The Pigeons, John L Read

May 2019, Wakefield Press, conservation With frontline stories from cat refuges, owners, vets and conservationists, this book balances the benefits of indoor cats against the risks of outdoor cats. Jane Goodall describes the book as “a book for cat lovers, doctors and those who care about the natural world”.

Khaki Town, Judy Nunn

October 2019, William Heinemann Australia, fiction Judy Nunn’s new bestselling historical novel, set in tropical Queensland at the outbreak of World War II, is based upon a true and shocking Aussie wartime story that has remained a secret for more than 70 years.


Over summer in Adelaide SA, Brisbane Qld, Melbourne Vic, Perth WA & Sydney NSW In spectacular locations, outdoor screenings of new and classic films will screen over the summer season. moonlight.com.au


Alice Cooper

The Strayan Dictionary, Dominic Knight

December 2019, Allen & Unwin, humour This hilarious dictionary chronicles the definitive definitions of a collection of unique Aussie words, phrases and slang – from trakkie daks to Acca Dacca, from nah-yeah to yeah-nah. You’ll be earbashing in fluent strayan by the arvo, deadset.


January 1–19 in Sydney NSW, then on to Melbourne Vic & Brisbane Qld This hilarious Broadway hit will have the whole family in stitches. Opening in Sydney in January, it will move to Melbourne then Brisbane later in 2020. sydneylyric.com.au

February 8–18 in Perth WA, Adelaide SA, Melbourne Vic, Sydney NSW and Brisbane Qld Revered rocker Alice Cooper returns to Australia with the Ol’ Black Eyes Is Back show, featuring special guests Airbourne and MC50. alicecooper.com

PODCAST The Real Podcast

Series 1 & 2 out now Featuring profiles and interviews with a broad range of talented Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, The Real Podcast series delivers stories, events and lifestyle reporting every Monday. the-real.com.au/podcast



Great places to stay, and awesome things to do across Australia.

DoubleTree by Hilton Alice Springs

King Leopold Air

Outback at Isa

82 BARRETT DRIVE, ALICE SPRINGS, NT 0871 T 08 8950 8000 E aspda_res@hilton.com www.alicesprings.doubletree.com

GUS WINCKEL ROAD, BROOME INT. AIRPORT T 08 9193 7155 E info@kingleopoldair.com.au kingleopoldair.com.au

19 MARIAN STREET, MOUNT ISA QLD 4825 T 07 4749 1555 E info@outbackatisa.com.au www.experiencemountisa.com

Experience eco-friendly luxury and enjoy views of the majestic MacDonnell Ranges when you stay with us. Only a 15-minute drive from Alice Springs Airport and a short walk to downtown, the hotel features modern Australian Saltbush Restaurant, a fitness centre and pool, tennis courts, a golf course, a business centre and event spaces.

From the World-Heritage listed Bungle Bungles to the gorges of Karijini National Park, the Horizontal Waterfalls and majestic Mitchell Falls, King Leopold Air has been flying to Australia’s northwest for more than 25 years. Our scenic adventure flights are the best way to experience the incredible Kimberley and Pilbara regions.

Outback at Isa – your starting point for true Outback adventures! Learn about Mount Isa’s mining history on the Hard Times Mine Underground Tour and in the Isa Experience Heritage Display. Discover the region’s ancient past in the Riversleigh Fossil Centre and relax in our café, plan your trip and book tours. DEC 2019/JAN 2020


Destination Highlight

Walking Perth Experiencing a world-class city doesn’t have to break the bank. with just $50 you can have a wonderful time. WORDS: Samuel Steinberg

Image: Dan Avila Photography

Perth is one of the most remote cities in the world, but that shouldn’t deter travellers from visiting Western Australia’s beautiful capital. Minus your airfare and accommodation, $50 can be enough (maybe even more than enough) to take in the best that Perth has to offer. Forget paying exorbitant fees for luxury travel – the best way to enjoy this laidback city is by hitting its open spaces and experiencing it as the locals do.


Visit Kings Park

Kings Park isn’t just one of Perth’s better attractions – it’s one of Australia’s best parks. Beyond the typical grassed parkland, Kings Park has botanical gardens that are home to more than 3000 plant varieties and 80 bird species. The gardens overlook the Swan River and Darling Ranges, allowing you to get lost in nature just outside the city limits. If you happen to be in the area during September, celebrate the beginning of spring with the Kings Park Festival – Australia’s largest wildflower show and exhibition featuring brilliant flowers of both native and foreign origins. Kings Park is also home to the State War Memorial, dedicated to Western Australia’s servicemen and women. Enjoy all of this without spending a single dollar. Don’t forget to take in the city panoramas before you leave; they’re among the state’s best. bgpa.wa.gov.au/kings-park

Destination Highlight

Explore Fremantle Markets Free to enter, possibly expensive to leave, the Fremantle Markets are a great way to familiarise yourself with Perth’s colourful locals and what they have to offer. There’s something for everyone here, whether it be fresh and local produce, art, jewellery, clothing, food or souvenirs. If you’re not one to see the point in going to a market and trying not to buy anything, check out the Heritage Trail to learn about how this institution impacted upon Perth’s history, and pop by the baby animal farm. If you can control your spending, though, walking around the Fremantle Markets gives a good sense of what this region is all about, and it's great for people watching. fremantlemarkets.com.au

Peruse the Art Gallery of Western Australia Almost everyone can appreciate art – just not for the crazy prices that most modern works sell for. Luckily, you can admire some of the finest Western Australian art on a budget in Perth. Have a gander down at the Art Gallery of Western Australia, which is full of wonderful paintings, sculptures and a superb collection of Indigenous art. The gallery also puts on special exhibitions throughout the year, which might set you back a few extra dollars. The gallery won’t cost you a thing, though $5 donations are encouraged. It's well worth supporting the goal of making art available for all to enjoy, and you'll still have $45 left to enjoy other awesome city attractions. wartgallery.wa.gov.au

Snorkel at Mettam’s Pool Pack your snorkel and goggles (although a rental set won’t set you back much) as in the summer months this is one of the most refreshing things to do around Perth. Take in the spectacular sealife of the Indian Ocean from one of the most pleasant beaches you'll ever find near a city. No need to spend hundreds of dollars to jump on a boat when some of the best marine life is right there off the coast. Look out in the winter months, though – that’s when the waves are large and you’d be better off going for a surf rather than a relaxing dip. parks.dpaw.wa.gov.au/site/mettams-pool AN

DEC 2019/JAN 2020







TR O P I C AL Townsville and I have been having a love affair since the early ‘80s. it’s a relationship that has stood the test of time. WORDS: Fiona Harper

DEC 2019/JAN 2020




Image: Tourism Queensland


he first time Townsville and I met, I was a naive teenager fresh out of high school on my first solo travel adventure. Months earlier, I’d caught a Greyhound bus from Perth to Broome laden with little more than a sleeping bag and a backpack stuffed with sarongs, bikinis and thongs. With a head full of dreams, I had no job, little cash and no real plan beyond ‘travelling around Australia’. Along the way I’d secured a ride on a yacht sailing through the Kimberley and earned some dollars pulling beers in a Darwin pub before hitching a lift with a truckie heading south through the Northern Territory and across Queensland’s breadth to Townsville. With her sunbaked streets lined with dusty four-wheel drives, classic Australian pubs with shady verandahs and pool tables and a friendly vibe, Townsville wrapped me in her warm, welcoming, sweaty arms. We loved one another immediately. Back then, the ‘Sugar Shaker’ (the tallest building in Townsville) dominated the city. Torres Strait Islander Eddie Mabo’s historic native title speech had just been delivered, a precursor to the 1993 Native Title Act. Reef HQ was underway and Jonathan Thurston would soon learn to walk, long before he would go on to co-captain the North Queensland Cowboys to an historic 2015 NRL Premiership and be unofficially anointed a Townsville legend. Townsville and I have remained firm friends ever since, reuniting regularly. Each time I return, the city seems to have settled into her bones ever more gracefully. As my own well-travelled body bears the scars of adventures and mishaps further afield, I wish I could say the same… Settled on the shores of the Coral Sea, Townsville has since made a name for itself as the research hub of the Great Barrier Reef. Reef HQ Great Barrier Reef Aquarium is the largest living coral reef exhibit in the world, showcasing 150 species of underwater inhabitants. The aquariums offer a mesmerising underwater window – without all that peskiness of getting wet – into soft corals sashaying and swirling in the current or bell-shaped jellyfish propelling themselves like free-falling skydivers in slow motion. Standing in the tunnel that bisects the main aquarium, you’ll see tropical fish, sharks and stingrays glide overhead. At the Turtle Hospital, sick and injured reptiles are rehabilitated before being released back to the wild. Elsewhere in Townsville, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, James Cook University and the Australian Institute of Marine Science contribute to management of the reef, too. Just off the coast, the SS Yongala wreck is rated one of the best scuba dive sites in the world. One year before

Image: Melissa Findley

CLOCKWISE FROM THIS IMAGE: Friends enjoying Wallaman Falls; Radical Bay on Magnetic Island; Cruising around in a pink Tropical Topless car on Magnetic Island; Snorkelling off the coast of Townsville.

the Titanic foundered, steamship Yongala encountered cyclonic weather on a voyage from Melbourne to Cairns, sinking near Cape Bowling Green with the loss of 122 lives. The wreckage was not found until almost 50 years later. Laying in 28 metres of water and now home to immense marine fish and coral species, the 109-metre hull is the largest, most intact shipwreck in Australia, attracting divers from all over the world. I missed visiting Magnetic Island on my first visit to Townsville, but made up for this omission many years later. Following a similar route to the SS Yongala, carefully avoiding the rocks where she came unstuck, I sailed into Horseshoe Bay on the island’s north coast and fell hopelessly in love. An official suburb of Townsville, Maggie (as the island is affectionately known) successfully balances a residential community skirting the boundary of a national park. The next time I returned, it was as a residential landowner with big plans to build the island home I lived in for four years. With its sweeping crescent-shaped beach shaded by palm trees and bookended by granite boulders sprouting towering hoop pines, Horseshoe Bay is the poster child for an island blessed with abundant treasures. The intimate cove of Alma Bay is a serious contender for most-photographed beach, as well as one of the top 10 Queensland beaches according to Surf Life Saving Queensland. Hiking trails that pass through koala habitats


on the way to historic forts, affording stunning views, lure thousands of travellers to relax on Maggie each year. The island’s hilly terrain is popular with adventure sports enthusiasts, too, attracting athletes to events like Magnetic Island Race Week, Magnetic Island Swim and the multisport Adventurethon races. Back on the mainland, Townsville is no stranger to hosting big events either. Emerging from the banks of Ross Creek, North Queensland Stadium has secured Sir Elton John to open the state-of-the-art venue in early 2020. Local hero Johnathan Thurston (JT to his mates) is credited with giving the campaign for a new stadium some momentum. Sharing the stage with Prime Minister Turnbull after winning the 2015 NRL premiership, JT expressed his belief that Townsville deserved a new stadium in his victory speech. Within months the multi-million project was funded and the football hero was virtually given the keys to the city. Blessed with 13 sun-kissed hours of daylight and daytime temperatures that rarely drop below mid-20s, it’s no surprise Townsville is just a little sports-obsessed. Reigniting my relationship with the city recently, I laced up my joggers pre-dawn alongside 2400 runners in the 47th Townsville Running Festival. As the sun’s rays tinted Castle Hill burnt orange, another annual festival tradition was getting underway. Air heavy with the aroma of bacon, sausages and eggs, mingling with runners’ sweat, the Hash House Harriers popped the champagne and cranked up the music. For the past 16 years the ’party house’ has hosted the Marathon Breakfast Party, supporting runners with beer and champagne-laced encouragement, dancing in onesies one kilometre from the finish line. For those of us who run with friends purely for fun, the enthusiasm and laughter radiating from the house is an absolute highlight. This unabandoned joie de vivre is just the sort of carefree cheekiness that underpins my 30-year-plus love affair with Townsville. AN DEC 2019/JAN 2020


Image: Tourism NT/ Natalie Sum


Darwin is renowned for fun and adventure, but an interesting mix of history and slightly obscure offerings can also be found in the Top End – when you know where to look. WORDS: Jennifer Johnston


Darwin’s unique charm and character is a by-product of its geographical location, but its history and some natural events also played a role in making this city what it is today. During World War II, in February 1942, Darwin was heavily bombed by the same Japanese Air Force that struck Pearl Harbour three months earlier. Darwin suffered significant damage from the attacks, and had to rebuild.


Then, on Christmas morning 1974, Cyclone Tracy unleashed her fury, decimating 70 per cent of the city. Another rebuild contributed to the cosmopolitan city’s current ‘youthful’ appearance. Apart from a few buildings and a cluster of heritage-listed houses at the Myilly Point Heritage Precinct, most of Darwin’s buildings are just reaching middle age – a smidge over four decades young.


Choose your season Darwin and the Top End – including Katherine, Kakadu National Park and Arnhem Land regions – experience a yearround tropical climate with two distinct seasons: the dry and the wet, or the ’tropical summer’ as locals like to call it. The dry season runs from May to October, with daytime temperatures ranging from an agreeable 21 degrees Celsius up to 33 degrees Celsius (while night-time drops to the mid-20s). Between June and July, temperatures can fall to 16 degrees Celsius, and this is when you’ll actually often see the locals wearing jumpers! During the tropical summer, from November to April, more and more events and activities are popping up around the Top End. And while the tropical summer is peppered with tropical storms, when rainfall does create road closures to the national parks, there’s always the option to view the stunning spectacle of overflowing waterfalls by helicopter.

Image: Tourism NT/ Evelien Langeveld

Take advantage of the outdoors

LEFT TO RIGHT: Platters and drinks in the pool at Mindil Beach Casino Resort; Sunset walk near Mindil Beach, Darwin.

Sunset worshippers flock to Mindil Beach to watch the golden orb descend rapidly into the ocean. After sunset, why not track down the origins of the delicious fragrances that linger on the balmy night air at Mindil Beach Sunset Markets? Open Thursdays and Sundays (during the dry season), the markets showcase local goods – food, craft, local art and the quirky, and very Territorian, crocodile skulls. If you’re a mango lover, you’re in luck: the Northern Territory is the country’s largest producers of the sweet fruit. Once hunger cravings are satiated by the markets’ assortment of multicultural food stalls, why not indulge in a freshlymade mango smoothie? For an intimate market experience, on a Saturday morning head to the Parap Village Markets (open year-round) and 

DEC 2019/JAN 2020


Image: Tourism NT/ Shaana McNaught

Image: Tourism NT/ Nick Pincott


line up for a laksa at Mary’s Soup. It is the best laksa you'll eat outside of South-East Asia. Then remove any lingering chilli heat with a refreshing tropical smoothie made from locally grown pineapple, mango and banana. Open from 8am to 2pm, you’ll also find assorted local art, clothing, craft and jewellery. For evening entertainment, the outdoor Deckchair Cinema, on the edge of Darwin Harbour below the Esplanade, takes advantage of Darwin’s agreeable weather. The sound of water gently lapping the harbour shoreline and the view of a blanket of starry skies above beats any air-conditioned cinema. Deckchair Cinema is open seven nights a week during the dry season.

Unique architecture An example of ingenious Top End architectural design is Burnett House, which survived the double-edged brunt of WWII bombings and Cyclone Tracy (during which the house lost its roof ). Designed by architect Beni Burnett, who trained in Asia before arriving in Darwin, the twostorey house was constructed in 1939 – before the advent of air-conditioning. As a solution, the upstairs timber-framed walls are lined with fibro sheet cladding, while cement louvers encourage airflow. Reinforced concrete columns and beams downstairs keep the house cool, and are


FACT FILE Mindil Beach Sunset Markets mindil.com.au Parap Village Markets hnorthernterritory.com/darwinand-surrounds/see-and-do/ parap-markets Deckchair Cinema deckchaircinema.com Burnett House nationaltrust.org.au/places/ burnett-house Lyons Cottage magnt.net.au/lyonscottage Parliament House northernterritory.com/tours/ parliament-house-tours Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory magnt.net.au WWII Oil Storage Tunnels waterfront.nt.gov.au/darwinwaterfront-precinct/history/ world-war-ii-tunnells Qantas Hangar northernterritory.com/darwinand-surrounds/see-and-do/ qantas-guinea-airways-hangar Wallaroo Tours wallarootours.com Crocosaurus Cove crocosauruscove.com

resistant to termites and strong weather. Lyons Cottage, located on the Esplanade, is the last example of Colonial bungalowstyle architecture in Darwin. Built in 1925, the cottage survived the (earlier) cyclone of 1937 and the bombing raids of 1942. Its roof blew off during Cyclone Tracy, damaging the interior. But extensive work restored the cottage to its former glory. Since 2015, the 100 per cent notfor-profit Aboriginal Bush Traders (supporting Indigenous communities) operates a café out of the cottage offering bush tucker. They also sell original art, craft and homewares. A short stroll from the Esplanade is the Northern Territory’s Parliament House, which opened in 1994. Often referred to as ‘the wedding cake’, it was built on the site where the original post office and telegraph station once stood, before they were bombed during the surprise WWII air raids.

A proud history The Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory (MAGNT) is where you’ll find Sweetheart, the most famous of all the NT’s saltwater crocs. Unfortunately, when authorities tried to remove the 5.1-metre nuisance croc from a river south-west of Darwin, Sweetheart drowned. His preserved body (yes, Sweetheart is a ‘he’) is a reminder of how massive these salties can become. The museum’s gallery includes an array of Aboriginal art and an interactive section on Cyclone Tracy. Enjoy a break at their café with outdoor seating overlooking Fannie Bay.


Image: Tourism NT/ Lynton Crabb

Image: Tourism NT/ Shaana McNaught

Beside Darwin’s Wharf Precinct on Kitchener Drive are the WWII Oil Storage Tunnels. They were designed to store oil underground after two aboveground fuel oil storage tanks were destroyed during the bombing of Darwin. Unfortunately, because of delays with digging the tunnel and issues with leaking, they were never used before the war ended. Re-opening in 1992 to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the bombing of Darwin, the tunnels are now a popular historical site. Another relic from WWII days is the Qantas Hangar in Parap. Built in 1934 to house the Aussie airline’s passenger planes, the large corrugated iron and steel shed was converted to an Australian Air Force base during WWII. It survived the Japanese bombing attacks, but not unscathed. A steel pillar perforated by shrapnel is a reminder of Darwin’s history. Today the hangar houses an eclectic collection of vintage vehicles and gadgets belonging to the Motor Vehicle Enthusiasts Club.

Meet the crocs Adelaide River, famous for its jumping crocs, is a 30-minute drive south-east of Darwin. At the junction of the river and the Arnhem Highway, during the dry season, tour operators offer boat trips (holding up to 30 people) on the waterway. Pat the ‘crocodile whisperer’ is from Wallaroo Tours, which offers smaller, more personable tours than most, preferring close encounters over ‘performing’ crocs. If you don’t have the time to leave Darwin, you’ll find close croc encounters at Crocosaurus Cove on Mitchell Street. The three-storey building, spread over 5000 square metres, has eight display pools holding some of the Territory’s largest saltwater crocodiles.

FAR LEFT, THEN CLOCKWISE: Buy a didgeridoo in Darwin and learn to play an ancient instrument; Visitors at The Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory; The Cage of Death at Crocosaurus Cove; Jumping crocs at Adealaide River.

After watching one of their twice-daily Big Croc Feed Shows, I have a greater appreciation for just how quickly these salties can move. This is the only place in Australia where you can be lowered into the water with a resident saltwater croc, in the Cage of Death. As you’ll then be mere centimetres away from powerful, ancient jaws, it’ll earn you instant bragging rights. I can personally vouch for it being an unforgettable Darwin experience. AN DEC 2019/JAN 2020



Bruce Munro’s light and sculpture exhibition will light up the streets and waterfront of Darwin until April 2020.

Light fantastic

words: Michelle Hespe | pHOTOS: Helen Orr



LEFT PAGE: ’Telegraph Rose’ comprises 700 vertically orientated fishing rods, and is accompanied by a morse code recording. THIS PAGE, TOP TO BOTTOM: Bruce Munro reflects on his work while sitting before ’Sun Lily’ on the Peninsula Lawns; ’Green Flash’ in the Old Town Hall Ruins; ’Gathering of the Clans’ in Civic Park; A man inspects the colourful fishing rods while listening to the morse code recording of ’Telegraph Rose’.

For those lucky enough to have experienced ’Field of Light’ at Uluru or ’Avenue of Honour’ in Albany WA, artist Bruce Munro needs no introduction. His latest work, ’Bruce Munro: Tropical Light’ features eight large-scale illuminated sculptures, spread across the city of Darwin and its waterfront precinct, that reflect the natural beauty, distinct wildlife and and spectacular sunsets of the region. The arresting art – which forms part of a free, self-guided 2.5-kilometre art trail with pieces created by five other artists from the Territory – is Munro’s first city-wide exhibition. ”Art is a great way to draw people together, to start discussions, share opinions  DEC 2019/JAN 2020



and ideas,” Munro said at the November 1 opening night dinner at Darwin’s Char Restaurant. ”I want to involve all of the people of Darwin and visitors; guide people. I’m hoping that it brings the community together. I’ve learned over the years – let the artwork do its thing and it should bring people together. Become a part of the art and the art becomes part of you.” ’Field of Light’ attracted more than 450,000 visitors to the Red Centre, and ’Bruce Munro: Tropical Light’ is expected to entice thousands of visitors to the Top End. AN


TOP TO BOTTOM: ’Sun Lily’ on Peninsula Lawns, Darwin Waterfront; Bruce Munro standing before ’Water-Towers’, which consists of 30 towers of stacked water bottles that change colour; ’Time and Again’ is made up of 37 stainless steel lilies that form a convex dome with each lily representing past, present and future time pieces.



p.8 new technology in mining P.14 the next mining boom p.20 delivering the goods p.25 the avocado bandwagon P.30 gin’s glorious revolution P.36 home truths: the price of advice

HOME TRUTHS: THE PRICE OF ADVICE Buying a home isn’t advanced surgery, but purchasing property in the hope of making a pretty penny can be a particular science. p36

• • •


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Photo: ©Archie Sartracom


VICTORIAN TREASURE RECOGNISED ON THE UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE LIST This year, south-west Victoria’s Budj Bim Cultural Landscape was officially recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Located in the traditional Country of the Gunditjmara people, near the Great Ocean Road, Budj Bim contains one of the world’s oldest and most extensive aquaculture systems. Engineered by the Gunditjmara ancestors, the systems – connected across 100 square kilometres – were used to trap eels. Around the systems, the Gunditjmara people built houses out of basalt stones, which are still visible within the landscape today.

Now Leasing NT Now Leasing NT have been raising the bar in property management in Darwin since opening in November 2015. Joely Sullivan and Jo Griffiths have gone from starting up and running the entire business to now employing a small team, and consider themselves the first choice in property management in Darwin and its surrounding areas. Recently expanding their office space within Darwin Corporate Park and with an ever-growing team, it really shows that even in a challenging market these ladies are improving their business by thinking outside the box and doing things differently. Joely and Jo are regarded as the most wellinformed property managers in the Territory, regularly investing in training and technology. If you are looking for reliable property management, visit nowleasingnt.com.au and or call today on 08 8984 4404. DEC 2019/JAN 2020


Mobile living made easy.

RELIABLE COOLING WHEREVER YOU GO DOMETIC CIB 26 Perfect for trips to the beach, BBQs with friends and daysout with the family, the Dometic CIB 26 insulated cooler bag offers 26 l of reliable cool storage for your food and drinks. Easy to transport thanks to a comfortable padded carry strap and handle, it has a durable construction for active use. Simply add ice and enjoy chilled food and drinks for up to 29 hours in the summer heat. For more information visit dometic.com



Meet Cass Spies: Co-founder and

Managing Director of Twisted Healthy Treats. Tell us the story of Twisted. For 10 years, Twisted has been pushing the boundaries and creating guilt-free, delicious frozen treats for all Australians, which are low in or have no added sugar, use only natural ingredients and are based on clean recipes. Today our products produced in our new production facility in Alexandria, Sydney, are available in 5,000 school canteens and 1,800 supermarket shelves nationally, with exports to the US, Asia and beyond commencing very soon. What’s different about Twisted? Twisted is Australia’s only all-women producer of nutritious, clean and healthy frozen treats. For the last decade, we have been a market leader within where the world is moving, in terms of consumers taking a more proactive approach towards healthier food choices, while not seeking to compromise their desire for a delicious frozen treat. In response to this dynamic environment, we innovate continually to ensure we are always benefiting the well-being (and fun!) of our customers. Our new range of delicious low calorie, no-added sugar probiotic frozen yoghurts and lite ice creams, a first for the Australian market, are great examples of this.

What are you most proud of? I’m incredibly proud of the way my all-female management team (who have been with me from the beginning) and I have successfully taken on an ice cream segment controlled by much larger multinationals, and delivered healthy frozen treats which are a quintessential Australian celebration of authenticity, integrity, innovation, family-owned business, local farmers, female entrepreneurialism, and health. What’s the future for Twisted? We will continue to innovate and bring to the market what more and more Australians want, namely, decadent frozen treats jam-packed with health benefits. For our customers, we’ll continue to make the seemingly difficult healthy choices around food easy. As we say at Twisted, “Complexity out, simplicity, health and guilt-free deliciousness, in!”



Are you looking for a reliable workforce to help you plan ahead? The Pacific Labour Scheme (PLS) is an employer sponsored program connecting eligible businesses in rural and regional Australia with workers from nine Pacific island countries and Timor-Leste. The PLS offers employers access to a reliable workforce when there is not enough local labour available to fill low and semi-skilled positions.

The PLS is open to all sectors, including: • • • • •

Aged care and social assistance Accommodation and food services Non-seasonal horticulture & agriculture Fisheries and aquaculture Meat processing

For more information: Contact the Pacific Labour Facility Enquiries@pacificlabourfacility.com.au Phone: (07) 3557 7750 www.pacificlabourmobility.com.au

SPECIAL FEATURE Jason Mani from Malaita province in Solomon Islands harvests vegetables at Gracekate Farms. Photo: Pacific Labour Facility

David Sondopiea from Papua New Guinea works at Skybury Farm in Mareeba, Queensland, through the PLS. Photo: Pacific Labour Facility

Helping regional and rural businesses address labour shortages The Pacific Labour Scheme connects workers with rural and regional Australian businesses that can’t find enough local labour. Kerry and Simon McCarthy own and manage Gracekate Farms on the Darling Downs in Queensland, supplying leafy greens to farmers’ markets as well as major national supermarkets. Gracekate Farms has employed workers from Solomon Islands through the Australian Government’s Seasonal Worker Programme (SWP) since 2012, and many of these have returned to the farm for several seasons in a row. Having these seasonal workers on the farm has enabled the business to expand, and the McCarthys have now also signed up to the Government’s newer Pacific Labour Scheme (PLS) to meet their longer-term labour needs. While the SWP allows farmers to employ workers from nine Pacific

countries and Timor-Leste for unskilled roles for up to nine months, the PLS enables employers to recruit workers for low-skilled and semiskilled roles for a longer period of one to three years, subject to local market testing requirements. Kerry McCarthy says the Solomon Island workers have been highly productive and have hit the ground running from the start. “Our team from Solomon Islands is fabulous – because of them we’re now able to plan ahead,” she explains. “It will be great to get a more permanent workforce on the ground soon to help us prepare for the harvesting season.” Along with the SWP and the Working Holiday Maker Programme, the PLS is another way in which rural and regional

Australian businesses and Pacific island workers can benefit from labour mobility arrangements in our region. People from Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu can apply for employment in Australia through the PLS. Anyone who signs up to the scheme from these countries has the same workplace and health and safety rights as Australian workers, and built-in systems protect them against exploitation. Rural and regional Australian employers from any industry or sector can apply to join the PLS. For more information, and to find out your eligibility and if Pacific labour mobility meets your employment needs, visit the website: pacificlabourmobility.com.au DEC 2019/JAN 2020



NEW TECHNOLOGY IN MINING For a long time, the industry has been incredibly conservative, but that is all changing as mining goes high-tech. Words: Darren Baguley




The industry is now seeing a second wave of technological innovation based on digitisation.

For many years, mining has been one of the most – if not the most – conservative industries in the world. Safety was, and still is, its numberone focus. But mining lagged behind manufacturing and construction, not to mention banking and retail, when it came to adopting automation, digitisation and big data. What a difference a bust following a boom and a few years makes. During the boom, mining companies focused on production, production and production – get the ore out of the ground, process it and ship it. That was all that accounted. However, for more than a few companies, costs ballooned, and the business was only profitable because of the record prices being paid for commodities. But, as Warren Buffett has said: “It’s only when the tide goes out do you discover who’s been swimming naked.” And when commodity prices started to drop, mining company shareholders discovered there was a lot of skinny-dipping going on. The resulting shock led to a focus on cost reduction that – unlike cost-cutting in previous mining downturns – was based on technology. The first wave of technology was automation: top-tier miners such as BHP, Fortescue and Rio Tinto invested in drones, driverless trains, haul trucks and drill rigs. The industry is now seeing a second wave of technological innovation based on digitisation and the Internet of Things (IoT); an

advance that is generating big data that mining companies can use to further streamline their operations and drive efficiency. According to a spokesperson for Austmine, the peak industry body for the Australian Mining Equipment, Technology and Services (METS) sector, several trends are clear. “As mining companies are seeking to connect operations across all assets … there are new companies entering mining that wouldn’t be typically associated with the industry (Amazon, Google, etc) [and they and the METS sector more broadly] are collaborating within the industry to create new solutions for pressing challenges.” One of the challenges all mining companies face is maintaining a social licence to operate in an environment where it can no longer be taken for granted, and there is a growing role for technology and digital for social licence measures. One company at the forefront of this trend is K2fly, whose Infoscope Land Management System is designed to help small and large companies maintain their

social licence to operate on land. The platform provides a single integrated spatial solution to manage land access and compliance information across multiple industries. As well as offering a full life-cycle ground disturbance process, Infoscope helps companies to deliver effective stakeholder, tenement, cultural heritage, native title and environmental management. Bis is a mining services company that provides logistics, materials handling, specialist underground equipment and consulting services to resources companies across Australia and Indonesia. Starting life more than 100 years ago as Brambles Industrial Services, Bis revolutionised out-of-pit haulage with its dual-powered offroad road trains and it is continuing to innovate, recently launching Rexx, a robust haul truck that leverages Bis’ unique experience as both a leading mine haulage operator and a proven original equipment manufacturer (through its subsidiary Powertrans). Designed and built in-house, in Perth, Rexx has been built to carry  DEC 2019/JAN 2020



a 160-tonne payload, and travels more than four times further than conventional haul trucks, which eliminated double handling. Southern Innovation’s SITORO Multichannel Analyser is a superefficient, multichannel ore analyser for high-performance material analysis applications, including synchrotron X-ray analysis, electron microscopy, industrial and lab-based X-ray fluorescence and medical imaging. According to Southern Innovation, SITORO delivers faster, more accurate material analysis and classification by using non-linear digital signal processing algorithms to decode pulse pile-up in real-time, dramatically increasing measurement efficiency and reducing measurement time. The UFR3C is a three-tonne robot that uses a Caterpillar excavator as the robotic base – but it does much more than just dig holes. Attachments include mowers, mulchers, augers,



trenchers, slashers, drilling buckets, grab assemblies and more – all with software allowing autonomous operation. Universal Field Robots has leveraged advances in stereo camera vision and LiDAR technologies to allow for precision world sensing, and their internet-connected machines can be monitored and controlled from anywhere on Earth. Developed by former researchers from CSIRO’s Data61, Emesent’s world-leading Hovermap was the first drone in the world to fly autonomously in an underground mine. Hovermap is the culmination of a decade of research by CSIRO’s Robotics and Autonomous Systems group into drone autonomy and 3D LiDAR-based simultaneous localisation and mapping (3D SLAM) techniques. It automates data collection in areas too dangerous or difficult for people to survey or navigate, such as stopes or ore passes in underground mines.

FAST FACTS AUSTRALIA’S METS SECTOR • Generates more than $90 billion annually in revenue. • Employs about 400,000 people. • Exports to more than 200 countries.


The Internet of Things promises to revolutionise the mining industry.

The IoT promises to revolutionise the mining industry, but for it to realise its promise, mines need to have networks capable of managing the flood of data such systems produce. MST Global has been building mining and tunnelling technology for 30 years and its technology provides a complete digital ecosystem. Smart sensors that allow for control and automation of mobile and fixed assets can be wirelessly connected to a network specifically designed for the underground environment. Wearable tags provide real-time insights and alerts through monitoring and tracking mine personnel with voice and communication technologies available to support workers when they need it the most. MST has built the software to help make sense of all this data, but it is all enabled by a smart network able to handle a high level of data and connectivity requirements. All the above companies and products are developed – many are also manufactured – in Australia and there are many more. Safescape is trialling its Bortana EV in underground mines ahead of production starting in 2020, Gekko Systems is finding ways to turn waste into energy, and Aggreko is developing modular solar farms to power remote mine sites and reduce the industry’s carbon footprint. Politicians like to talk about how Australia needs to become the innovation nation, but if the METS sector is anything to go by, we’re already there. DEC 2019/JAN 2020


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Final trim the Topcon way

Topcon machine control technology will provide you with the flexibility to mix and match your grader solution to suit different applications at different stages of the project you’re working on. With many of the new construction graders in Australia arriving from the factory or dealer with the option for an integrated system and basic machine control technology already installed, it is more important than ever to ensure you have the best solution on your grader that both suits your current needs and has the ability to grow with your business. If you rely on a factory-fitted system, you may be limited by the fact that these systems are often not upgradeable or transferable between machines, so if you need a more sophisticated solution, it can be difficult to proceed without starting again with a different option. This can be needlessly expensive and time-consuming. Ensuring you have the best machine control solution is arguably even more important on your grader, because if fine tolerances are not achieved consistently across the site, it will result in rework and extra materials, increasing costs and decreasing efficiencies. Ideally, you need to get the grade right the first time, and Topcon machine control can ensure you do. “The machine control technology available from Topcon is compatible across all machine types, makes and models. This makes it a highly

flexible and customisable solution. A GNSS machine control system can be adapted with a high precision laser transmitter that combined will deliver millimetre vertical precision for fine grading tasks, a technology unique to Topcon,” says Josh Allan, Construction Business Manager at Position Partners Australia. Topcon machine control technology is the most flexible on the market, so you can mix and match your solutions to suit whatever job you’re working on. All contractors can attest that every job is different, and you often need more than one machine control system configuration to complete the range of tasks you work on to the tolerance you require.

Topcon grader machine control gives you the option to: • Easily swap machine control technology between machines – so you can stretch your machine control system across a range of machines. • Scale up or scale down to suit the job – for example, you might box out a subdivision with GPS/ GNSS, but then you can switch to a sonic tracker to follow the kerb. Topcon lets you work with 2D or 3D technology without having to install a whole new system. • Combine GPS/GNSS with other technology, including laser or prisms with a total station, to increase accuracy even further for final trim work. DEC 2019/JAN 2020



THE NEXT MINING BOOM Mining Boom 1.0 is over, but there’s another just around the corner. Words: Darren Baguley




The world is unlikely to see a phenomenon like the boom of the early 2010s for at least a generation – if ever – but after a bumpy few years, the mining and energy industry is getting interesting again. This time it’s mainly Western Australiabased and being driven by liquefied natural gas (LNG), iron ore and the technology metals that will power the 21st century. New mining activity is happening in other parts of Australia, mainly Queensland, but where the major LNG, mining, processing and exploration activity is occurring is Western Australia. Lithium, cobalt and vanadium are essential to making high-technology componentry such as mobile phones, solar cells and the different kinds of batteries we’re going to need for electric vehicles (EVs) and to store power from renewable sources. Australia sits on top of large proven reserves of all these metals, and Bloomberg New Energy Finance is predicting a surge in demand for these metals, plus copper and high-purity nickel, as sales of EVs soar to 30 million by 2030. 

DEC 2019/JAN 2020




Not only does Australia have reserves of these critical resources, we’re also politically and socially stable, a factor that helps offset our high labour costs and high levels of environmental regulation. This factor cannot be underestimated. Deloitte’s West Australian Index noted that cobalt surged to a six-month high during September before finishing the month up 13 per cent at US$36,484/t. The increase is driven by increasing demand coupled with shrinking supplies as the world’s largest cobalt producer, Glencore, announced plans to shut down its Mutanda mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo at the end of 2019. This shutdown is expected to eliminate about a fifth of the global cobalt supply. According to Deloitte Australia’s National Energy, Resources and Industrials Industry Lead Partner Ian Sanders: “The automotive industry



is very excited about EVs – by 2025 they’re expected to be 15 per cent of new vehicle sales worldwide and, in 2040, 60 per cent, so demand is very high for the respective metals, and it will only increase. There is currently huge demand in China, the US and Europe for lithium, cobalt, copper and nickel, but the concentrated supply of those minerals is of concern. For example, the major cobalt resource is the Democratic Republic of the Congo; for lithium it’s Chile, vanadium it’s China and Russia. There are [not] dozens of countries supplying these key minerals, which is a key concern of the supply chain.” ACIL Allen’s Executive Director, Western Australia and Northern Territory, John Nicolaou, believes “there certainly is greater optimism in the WA resources sector, and the ramp-up in prices for key commodities and raw materials that feed into

batteries such as lithium has been one of the key drivers of that optimism. Nevertheless, iron ore is by far WA’s largest commodity and it continues to go from strength to strength, although liquefied natural gas has been a recent success for WA. LNG was a big driver of the investment boom in early 2010s, but there is a long tail to that story.” The long tail is the Burrup Hub, a development of an additional 20 to 25 trillion cubic feet of gas resources from the Scarborough and Browse fields of the north-west coast of Western Australia. Building on the existing Pluto LNG and North West Shelf projects, the hub will create a regional LNG production centre on the Burrup Peninsula. According to Woodside, building the $40 billion hub will employ more than 4600 workers when construction reaches its peak in 2023, and economic modelling suggests that up to 460 additional local Karratha operations jobs will be created or sustained on average. Both Sanders and Nicolaou are upbeat about the future for Western Australian iron ore, as evidenced by the recent announcement of three 


In Western Australia, nickel is getting a new lease on life as it is a key component of batteries.

FAST FACTS • Australia has 17 per cent of the world’s accessible reserves of iron ore – the world’s largest resource. • Australia has the world’s second-largest reserve of lithium, but the largest reserve of hard rock lithium. • In 2018, the global electric car fleet exceeded 5.1 million, up 2 million from the previous year and almost doubling the number of new electric car sales. • Norway is per capita the largest user of EVs, with more than 50 per cent of new cars sold.



new mines: BHP’s $5 billion South Flank, Fortescue Metals Group’s $1.7 billion Eliwana mine and Rio Tinto’s $2.6 billion Koodaideri mine. “What you can’t forget is iron ore and metallurgical coal are critical in new infrastructure and we’re not seeing a downturn in those commodities,” says Sanders. “Vale’s [loss of its social licence to operate after a tailings dam collapse killed hundreds of people] is certainly a significant factor, but the accessibility of Australia gives us a real competitive advantage. China and India are continuing to grow and infrastructure in the developed world continues to grow and those factors are as important as the terrible events in Brazil.” Nicolaou adds that, historically, iron ore out of north-west Western Australia has a unique advantage – the quality of the resource and distance to market relative to Vale in Brazil – but also points out: “The resource is part of it but a lot of credit needs to go to the miners in WA. Their investment in efficient production in the aftermath of the resources boom refocused away from growth strategy so costs of production are very low. This provides them with significant profits when

prices are high and a buffer when prices come off as they do.” While nickel has been around for thousands of years, in Western Australia it is getting a new lease on life as it is a key component of batteries. Nicolaou says: “It is quite a volatile market that does get peaks and troughs, and as a result we see marginal mines close and reopen.” This volatility saw prices surge and fall last month as Indonesia announced it would ban nickel ore exports from 2020 as it develops an electric battery industry backed by Chinese stainless-steel giant Tsingshan Group. According to at least one analyst, this could lead to the reopening of Canadian miner First Quantum’s mothballed Ravensthorpe nickel mine in Western Australia’s south-east. Volatility is the watchword for many of the tech metals, however there is no doubt the world is undergoing a step change in the way we produce energy and transport ourselves and our goods. Miners in Western Australia are well positioned to take advantage of this slow-motion boom that will significantly change the face of Australian mining.

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Whether on the road or flying high, the transport industry is transforming in the greatest ways. Words: Ian Lloyd Neubauer

It’s arguably the most important sector in our entire economy – one that underwrites the viability of most businesses and organisations in Australia. From the foods we eat to the medicine that keeps us well and the fuel that propels the aircraft you are flying in now, they’re all dependent on transport and logistics. But it’s changing rapidly. Here are three short stories about the men and women who toil thanklessly to grease the wheels of commerce and the quantum changes redefining the industry.

THE AGE OF DRONES Transporting goods from retailers to households is one of the most costly parts of the supply chain; it accounts for 15 to 20 per cent of transaction costs because logistics operators face congested city roads on one end and sparsely populated countryside on the other. It also adds to greenhouse gases, congestion and traffic accidents. But that’s about to change thanks to a new generation of automated drones that can cut delivery costs and times by magnitudes. By 2030 it’s estimated that at least one-quarter of all household deliveries will be carried by drones. The revolution has already begun in Canberra, where Alphabet startup Wing launched the world’s first commercial drone delivery service. 




A new generation of automated drones can cut delivery costs and times by magnitudes.

DEC 2019/JAN 2020


Photo: Wing



“We’ve been active in Canberra since April, building a selection of 17 retailers and niche items consumers want to get delivered now, like coffee, salads and hardware supplies that weigh up to 1.5 kilograms, the maximum payload of our drones,” says Wing’s Head of Australian Operations Terrance Bouldin-Johnson. “We don’t foresee drones taking over the delivery business, but we certainly believe they will co-exist in the space. It’ll be about taking away that extra trip to the store when you forget to buy sugar or eggs. Think about it – for a car to cover 10 kilometres of busy or winding roads, it can take up to 30 or 40 minutes, but our drones can, in a straight line at 125 kilometres per hour, cover that distance in less than five minutes.” The day when drones can deliver vital goods like medicine and engine parts to rural and remote locations is also on the horizon. “I would say there is a very good possibility that we will be able to do long-distance deliveries and life-saving deliveries one day,” says BouldinJohnson. “But right now we’re focusing on perfecting small urban deliveries. We have already carried out 80,000 test flights without hitting a single bird or causing any kind of problem.”



THE ZERO-ROADFATALITY VISION Every year, more than 200 people are killed in truck crashes on our roads. Driver fatigue is partially to blame, but less so today than in the past due to regulation that restricts the number of hours commercial drivers can work in a 24-hour period. New technologies are also helping to mitigate the problem. “Today there is a very high focus on safety in the trucking business,” says Glen Cameron of Glen Cameron Group, a Victorian logistics company. “All our trucks are remotely monitored by satellite for data points that can be indicative of driver fatigue – things such as speed, harsh braking and hard cornering.” But truckies are not to blame in most trucking accidents. “In 93 per cent of fatalities involving a truck, the other party was at fault,” says Michael Byrne, Managing Director of Toll Group. “Yet national and state road-safety strategies are silent on how light-vehicle drivers can share the road with trucks.” To help spread the word, several Australian companies are investing time and resources to help turn their vision of zero road fatalities

into a reality. Glen Cameron Group, for example, has sponsored seven different driver-education radio commercials this year, covering topics like overtaking trucks safely and keeping out of trucks’ blind spots. “We’re trying to educate all road users – not just truck drivers – because most people are not aware of the complexities of heavy vehicles and their braking distances,” says Cameron. Australia Post is also doing its bit; it recently pledged $200,000 to support a safety exhibition by the Australian Trucking Association targeting 16- to 25-year-old drivers – a vulnerable group that accounts for just 10 per cent of the driver population but a quarter of all fatal truck crashes. “We’re always looking for ways to keep our people and communities safe,” says Australia Post Group Chief Operating Officer Bob Black. “Last year we experienced 768 road injuries across our workforce nationally. That means three posties were injured every workday – that’s three posties too many.”

THE END OF GENDER IMBALANCE When it comes to gender imbalance, the logistics and transport industry



takes the cake: just 26.4 per cent of the workforce is female, according to Teletrac Navman, a fleet management firm. The figures are even worse in the field, with just 6.5 per cent of women in driving positions. The pay imbalance is also out of touch; women in transport and logistics earn an annual average of $21,923 less than men. “There is obviously not a great perception of women working in the transport industry,” says Melissa Taylor, Managing Director of Taylor’s Removals, a 101-year-old company based in Toowoomba, Queensland, and the Australian Trucking Association’s 2016 Trucking Industry Woman of the Year. “I started in administration, which is typically where most women work in the industry because we tend to be good organisers,” she says. “But more than that, women have a different way of looking at things than men, and that adds a lot of value to the bottom line. Half of our office workforce is female and the gender mix works brilliantly; it promotes wider perspectives for problem-solving.” Some inroads are now being made thanks to industry initiatives like GenR8. Developed by Queensland Trucking Association, it offers Year 12 students work-experience slots with transport companies that count towards matriculation. “Nowadays it’s not just teenage boys applying as mechanics. We have had many girls coming through in the marketing and accounts sides of the business, and there is so much happening in IT in transport where women can play a major role,” says Taylor, who contributed her time probono for GenR8 programs in Brisbane before establishing a chapter in Toowoomba. “At first they are really shy because it’s such a male-dominated industry, but by the end they’re going out and getting jobs and working their way up to executive positions like I did. Seeing those young women go and do that is really fantastic.” DEC 2019/JAN 2020


The Aboriginal Artists Project combines the fashion accessory designs of Catherine Manuell with the artworks of many wonderful women artists from remote Australian communities. Shown here is the Bush Yams artwork by Evelyn Pultara from the Utopia region of Central Australia. A percentage of the proceeds from the sale of these products goes directly to the artists.

Call us on 03 9486 4066 for help or a little personal service, or email: info@catherinemanuelldesign.com



THE AVOCADO BANDWAGON How this strange little fruit became a major global player – and a delicious toast spread too. Words: Ian Lloyd Neubauer Going back a generation, the avocado was still a slapdash breakfast spread used when the Vegemite had run out or a condiment you tossed into a salad before it over-ripened. “Avocado was always just something I ate. We didn’t sell that much of it,” recalls Australian restaurateur and TV chef Bill Granger. That all changed in 1999, when Granger released Bills Sydney Food, a cookbook that included the first published recipe for smashed avocado on sourdough toast. At the time, Granger thought it was silly – putting ‘toast’ in a cookbook. But as consumers learned of avocados’ many health benefits – they’re high in healthy monounsaturated fats, protein, nutrients and vitamins – the dish captured the zeitgeist of the good-food movement and an outsize following all over the world. Smashed avocado on toast is the signature dish at Flinders Lane, Hole in 

DEC 2019/JAN 2020


Photo: Avocados Australia





the Wall and a wave of Australian-owned cafés that are the toast of the town in New York – a fancy sandwich filling rife with social symbolism, as Melbourne property tycoon Tim Gurner learned when he told millennials on 60 Minutes that if they really want to save up for a home they should stop paying $19 for avocado on toast. Within the following 48 hours, Gurner fielded more than a thousand interview requests from across the world. When he refused to speak to them, the paparazzi tracked down his wife and kids. What began

as a social commentary on housing affordability in Australia became part of an international debate about the stellar popularity of a creamy green fruit that is technically a berry.

OVERSUPPLY The global avocado market still has plenty of room to grow, according to USbased market research firm TMR. Last year it was valued at $20 billion. By 2026 it’ll hit $31.5 billion. Avocado is in high demand not only in the food industry but also in the cosmetics and pharmaceutical sectors for

its respective anti-ageing and anti-inflammatory properties. Studies show that cholesterol levels can fall 17 per cent after a seven-day diet rich in avocados; Kim Kardashian even uses it as a face mask. Mexico, the home of the avocado, produced a third of global supply last year. This year the country will boost production by six per cent. Peru and Chile are now net exporters of avocados to the US, while the Dominican Republic, Indonesia and Colombia are also major global players. The Australian avocado industry has gone into


Photo: Avocados Australia

Photo: Avocados Australia

Australian avocados are geared almost exclusively for the domestic market.

overdrive too. Production has increased 84 per cent in the past decade and 11 per cent last year alone, according to peak industry body Avocados Australia. But Australian avocados are geared almost exclusively for the domestic market. Only 3.7 per cent of the 85,500 tonnes we produced last year was exported. This country is in fact a net importer of avocados, with 23,355 tonnes flown in from New Zealand in 2016-17, according to the Department of Agriculture. Second-generation Western Australian avocado farmer Jennie Franceschi says we don’t export much because the price for avocados in Australia is above the global average. “There was a time a few years ago when they were selling for $3.50 in supermarkets and up to $5 or $6 at specialty retails,” she says. “But as with all farming entities, when

people come across a good thing, they go a little bit too hard at it. Right now, almost half of the trees in the ground in Australia are not even in production. The south-west of WA looks like the Barossa Valley, but instead of vineyards, they’re all avocado trees. Like the wine industry, a lot of farmers jumped on the avocado bandwagon, and soon we’ll go into oversupply.” She adds: “It’s already begun. Last summer, the supermarket price fell as low as $2. That’s why so many pensioners were buying avocados.”

A LITTLE PAIN Avocado Australia CEO John Tyas says his organisation is working on solutions. “We are trying to increase domestic consumption with a lot of marketing and promotional activity,” he says. “As at March 2019, 73 per cent of Australian households  DEC 2019/JAN 2020


Photo: Avocados Australia



consume avocados. That indicates that there is room for growth.” Right now, Australia produces about 420 million avocados annually. Based on Avocado Australia’s projections, that number will hit 600 million within a few short years. This indicates that even if household penetration reaches 100 per cent, the avocado market will be under pressure. “We know it won’t be sufficient, so we’re going to have to ramp up export activities,” Tyas says. “Currently we export to Singapore, Malaysia and a little to Hong Kong, but we really need to access the larger markets in Asia – India and China. Last year



we managed to get access to the Japanese market, but only with avocados from fruit-fly-free zones in WA and the Riverland of South Australia. We still have a lot of work to do.” Franceschi agrees. Her father was one of three pioneering avocado farmers in the 1970s who invested in the legal framework that gave WA its fruit-fly-free status and allows the state to export hard fruit from healthy branches to Japan today. “It was an example of how early adopters spent their time and money to grow a strong industry that benefitted everyone – not just themselves,” she says. “I’ve been trying to build export markets for avocados

for 10 years, but what I’ve found is that growers don’t want to commit to longterm contracts at global prices if they think they can get 50 cents more selling at home. That’s why we have such low exports – farmers putting short-term gains ahead of long-term viability. “But where will all the fruit go when all those young trees come online and we double our volume?” Franceschi asks. “Even if the domestic price drops to $1, people will only buy so many avocados in one day. I think farmers are going to have to see their fruit go unsold and feel a bit of pain before they start thinking about the big picture and invest in export markets.”

1. AVOCADO HONEY Made in Finland from avocado blossom nectar, it has a syrupy taste with notes of licorice. 2. CUBED AVOCADO A no-mess, no-fuss prepackaged solution sold frozen at supermarkets in Sweden. 3. AVOCADO HERBAL TEA Made from avocado leaves in Indonesia, it helps to inhibit the formation of kidney stones. 4. AVOCADO OIL MAYONNAISE More expensive than other edible oils with a high smoke point, it’s great for salads and dips. 5. DR CHUNG’S FOOD VEGEMIL KIWI AVOCADO SOY MILK Made in South Korea, it’s described as ’delicious, nutritious and fun’.

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Photo: Jun Takano

Today there are more than 170 gin distilleries in Australia; five years ago there were barely 20. With Aussie craft gins winning international awards and taking a cut of the domestic spirits market, is this exceptional growth here to stay, or will it prove to be just another ‘Gin Craze’? Words: lisa smyth




DEC 2019/JAN 2020



“Without the shackles of a long history or legacy of gin production like in the UK, Australian distilleries have the courage and creativity to push the boundaries of gin-making.”

If you were a lowly foot soldier in the 17th century, going into battle would have seemed a terrifying prospect. There was a very good chance you were going to die, which is why William of Orange sent his soldiers into battle with what would become known among their British foes as ‘Dutch courage’ – a shot of jenever, the forefather of gin. “Some refer to the recent popularity of gin as the ‘Second Glorious Revolution’,” explains Jon Lark, owner of Kangaroo Island Spirits, one of the first Australian distilleries to produce gin using native botanicals back in 2007. “The first was in the UK in 1688, when the Catholic King James II was overthrown by his Protestant daughter Mary and her Dutch husband William of Orange. “The new government passed legislation putting import restrictions on French brandies and encouraging local gin production, which led to the infamous ‘Gin Craze’ in London at the time.” In fact, gin became so cheap that the average Londoner consumed about 52 litres of gin each year – more than one bottle per week! While we might not be drinking gin at such an unhealthy rate, Australians are consuming more of it than ever before. In the past year (2017-18), Australian consumption of gin increased by 33 per cent, and it is predicted to continue to grow at



a rate of 12.2 per cent until 2023. “Gin was the fastest-growing spirit across the world in 2018,” says Andrew Burge, founder of Australia’s top gin subscription club, Gin Society. “The popularity is driven by the availability of premium products, and the explosion in range, styles and flavours. “Without the shackles of a long history or legacy of gin production like in the UK, Australian distilleries seem to have the courage and creativity to push the boundaries of gin-making, especially given the many fantastic native botanicals we have available, like lemon myrtle, wattleseed and Tasmanian pepperberry.”

A MODERN REBELLION Of course, until recently, Australia was most closely associated with another spirit. Rum was commonly used as currency in the New South Wales colony, and the Rum Rebellion of 1808 – the only successful armed takeover of government in Australian history – was partly due to the stifling of the rum trade by Governor William Bligh. Rum and other spirits were blamed for the colony’s ills – violence, crime, poverty – and small pot distilling was outlawed for the following 100 years. The Australian industry was only revived in the early 1990s when Bill Lark, the ‘Grandfather of Australian

Photo: Leigh Eardley

Photo: Jun Takano



spirits’ and Jon Lark’s brother, decided to champion the overturning of the law in Tasmania so he could distil whisky. With his success, the new rebellion had begun. “The willingness to embrace Australian craft spirits is borne out of the success of the Australian whisky industry on the world stage, and the growth of a new generation of drinkers who are looking for quality over quantity,” notes Chris Jones, co-founder of South Australia’s Imperial Measures Distilling. The distillery’s Ounce Gin ‘Bold’ won Champion Gin at the 2019 Australian Distilled Spirits Awards. “Another reason is the resurgence of the cocktail and the subsequent small bar scene,” says Jones. “People no longer have any reservations about trying new Australian spirits, and we are constantly finding people who say they ‘never used to like gin’ and are now converts.”

THE PERSONAL TOUCH The connection to the ‘craft’ of making gin is definitely a key component to its recent success, with many urban and regional distillery doors open for tastings, and more and more including bars and cocktail lounges. Much like Australian wineries and craft breweries, distilleries are creating spaces where they can share the story – and the provenance – behind their gins. “The level and depth of questions we get about our gins is becoming very sophisticated,” says Matt Argus, co-founder of Melbourne’s Patient Wolf Distilling Co. “People now want to know everything, from what botanicals are used to whether the gin has been made using a German copper still or one that’s been made in China from stainless steel.” Having launched in 2016 from a boutique space in Brunswick, in September 2019 Patient Wolf moved its distillery to a large warehouse in

Melbourne’s Southbank that now includes a 30-seat bar. “We would have one-off open days in Brunswick, and we’d get 500 people in an afternoon. We wanted to open that up,” says Argus. It is now Australia’s largest urban independent gin distillery in terms of production capacity.

GOING GLOBAL In February 2019, Adelaide’s Never Never Distilling Co.’s Southern Strength Gin beat out global brands like Tanqueray, Hendrick’s and Gordon’s to win the World’s Best Classic Gin at the influential World Gin Awards in London. It was the first time an Australian gin had won the award. “Aussie gin is pound for pound the best in the world,” says Stuart Gregor, co-founder of uber-popular Four Pillars Gin and President of the Australian Distillers Association (ADA). “If you take the 10 best Australian gins and put them up against the 10 best  DEC 2019/JAN 2020


Photo: Benito Martin




FAST FACTS • Kangaroo Island Distillery won Best Contemporary Gin at the 2019 International Wine and Spirits Competition, the first Australian gin to be awarded a trophy in the prestigious competition. • The category of ‘Navy Strength’ gin (57 per cent alcohol) refers to the fact that the British Royal Navy used to test a gin by igniting it, which proved it hadn’t been diluted. • There were 168 gin entries in the 2019 Australian Distilled Spirits Awards, far more than liqueur (49), whisky (35) and rum (27). • A mixture of gin, Campari and sweet vermouth garnished with an orange peel, the Negroni is now 100 years old, having been invented by Count Camillo Negroni in Florence, Italy, in 1919.



gins from across the world, we would win. We have a natural affinity for flavour and our local environment is pure and natural.” Having launched in regional Victoria’s Yarra Valley in 2013, Four Pillars was one of the first Aussie gins on the market. It has grown at an average rate of 83.4 per cent a year since it launched, and in March 2019 multinational brewing giant Lion acquired a 50 per cent stake in the business. Now available in more than 25 international markets, it is expected to soon overtake Hendrick’s Gin as Australia’s most popular premium gin brand. “We want to become Australia’s global spirit brand,” says Gregor. “We needed a partner that would help us go to scale internationally, but also help us expand our home experience. We are doubling our Healesville distillery and bar in 2020.”

There is one issue that is impeding the growth of most of Australia’s gin distilleries: tax. As of October 2019, the excise duty on spirits is $85.87 per litre of pure alcohol, compared to $50.70 per litre of full-strength beer, and wine that is taxed at 29 per cent of its wholesale price. When you add GST, it can mean that some distillers are paying nearly 50 per cent of their total revenue in tax. “The excise regime in Australia is very punishing and it really makes no sense,” says Gregor, clearly exasperated. “Every six months the excise is increased, which means every six months our cost of production goes up. Since we opened we have had 13 tax increases, but the wine industry hasn’t had a tax increase in 17 years.” According to the 2019 Ginventory Survey conducted by The Gin Boutique, 55 per cent of distillers said their number-one barrier to growth was excise and taxation costs. “Price point is a massive constraint for consumers as well,” says co-founder Glenn McPhee. “An Aussie gin will cost $40 to $45 on a US shelf but $70 to $80 on an Australian shelf. Still, 20 per cent of respondents said they buy more than one bottle of gin a month.” Despite the cost barriers for small producers, a new distillery is opening in Australia almost every week. With expressions like Four Pillars’ Bloody Shiraz, Archie Rose Distilling Co.’s ArchieMite Buttered Toast and Adelaide Hills Distillery’s Green Ant, it’s clear Australian distillers are keen to make their mark on the gin world. “Gin can express a place like no other spirit,” reveals Gregor. “It is the number-one spirits category by miles and it will continue to grow with different expressions using native botanicals that reflect our ‘place’, our Australia.”



HOME TRUTHS: THE PRICE OF ADVICE Buying a home isn’t rocket science, but purchasing property in the hope of making a pretty penny can be a particular skill. Words: Kirsten Craze





An increasing number of everyday Australians are engaging professional buyer’s agents, also known as buyer’s advocates, to help them purchase their first place, their dream home or an entire property portfolio. Once a tool for cashed-up, timepoor city slickers, these real-estate professionals are being used as one weapon in an arsenal of tricks that buyers are harnessing to climb today’s property ladder. “People lean on buyer’s agents for a range of reasons, and that’s what a lot of consumers neglect to think about. Gone are the days of someone rich or busy meeting a buyer’s agent because they haven’t got the time,” explains Cate Bakos, president of the Real Estate Buyers Agents Association of Australia (REBAA). “One of the main reasons people engage an advocate is simply to deal with sales agents. A lot of people feel out of their depth or just don’t like

dealing with agents. We also speak their language; we can frame an offer in the right way, know when to put in an offer – and when to wait,” she says. Bryce Holdaway, buyer’s agent and partner at Empower Wealth, television presenter and co-creator of The Property Couch podcast, says that despite prices softening in major markets, buyer’s agents still play their part because it’s not all about negotiating prices down. “In bigger markets like Melbourne, Sydney and, to a certain extent, the hotter parts of Brisbane and Adelaide, if you find a good property you have to move very quickly to secure it, and that’s part of what a buyer’s agent will bring to the table,” he says. “If you’re not in a position to move quickly, you’ll keep losing properties. You’ve got to be able to respond quickly and lean on your buyer’s agent, because a whole heap of emotions are going to come up. They’ve done

it all before – they’re experienced.” Although there is no industry standard, REBAA suggests the average buyer’s agent charges approximately two per cent of the purchase price, although upfront fixed fees can be negotiated.

THE JOB AT HAND Holdaway says the cost of not hiring an advocate can go beyond the fee. “A lot of people think ‘What value does a buyer’s agent provide?’. We would say four things, really. Number one is we buy the right house in the first place. Number two is we help avoid procrastination. Number three is we make sure you don’t pay too much. Finally, we make sure you tap into our network – that in itself can save an enormous amount of time.” Bakos agrees and adds that a good advocate is an analyst, not a shopper. “People wrongly assume we’re  DEC 2019/JAN 2020



walking through glamorous houses all the time; it’s fair to say that less than a quarter of our time would be walking through houses. The other three quarters would be assessing and conducting due diligence, talking with clients and dealing with agents,” she says. Bakos notes that another misconception about the job is that they swoop in and take over househunting duties from start to finish. “A lot of buyer’s agents have varying types of service. I certainly have different tiers because I enjoy the client being engaged in the process. It pays for the consumer to interview their buyer’s agent to find out how to get the best out of them. Many people want to learn and be involved, and they just need someone to hold their hand to make sure they don’t make a mistake.”

ESCAPE FROM THE CITY The number of buyer’s agents operating in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane has boomed over the past decade as prices increased and buyers suffering FOMO sought help. Today their popularity has grown, with investors as well as sea- and tree-changers looking to buy beyond the city limits. As co-host on the ABC series Escape From The City, Holdaway says there’s no substitute for having a helping hand on the ground. “Local knowledge is something you absolutely need. Most people think about the price of a buyer’s agent but don’t consider what the value actually is. If you get it wrong when buying, it’s a high-value transaction and trying to change it will set you back significantly.” Bakos agrees that buyers who are

unfamiliar with an area should seek out specialist knowledge. “If a buyer’s agent is based in a particular region, and that’s their hometown, they would be very familiar with the selling agents and understand what locals value and want.” Offloading a regional property can often take longer than one with a metropolitan address, especially if an owner has bought in the wrong part of town. “Also, its capital growth might have been low compared to something else in the same town. So you just want someone to help you futureproof your decision,” says Bakos.

“It pays for the consumer to interview their buyer’s agent to find out how to get the best out of them.”




And, as Holdaway says, going it alone can take both an emotional and a financial toll. “Imagine paying for accommodation and flights and taking annual leave just to go house-hunting, because generally you’re not going to buy a property in the first week. If you’re looking from the city, it’s all listingsbased, so you might not see it all. Even to get the feel of a place you’ve got to go a few times. People totally underestimate the emotional cost.”


FAST FACTS • Buyer’s agents can help with the whole house-hunting process or just be a bidder on your behalf at auction. Purchasers can usually pick and choose the amount of involvement. • In the USA and Canada, 90 per cent of people engage a buyer’s agent or buyer’s advocate to help with their property purchase.

BEST-KEPT SECRETS Call them off-market, pre-market or secret listings, they are one of the things buyers can tap into when using an advocate. While Bakos says it’s true they do have insight on homes that aren’t advertised, she adds that buyers should beware. “It’s one of the most common questions I get asked, and people probably place too much emphasis on it – they think we’ve got a secret property portal. We can reach out to an agent and very quickly get off-markets, but not all off-markets are good. Unfortunately, there are opportunistic sellers and agents who will flog an off-market home at a premium just to get the sale. You’ve got to assess whether it’s a genuine off-market with a motivated vendor, or whether you will pay a premium just to have a run at the property without competition.”

WHO USES THEM? Emilia Rossi, a marketing strategist and co-founder of online wedding


marketplace Capriess, says despite her and her husband Socrates having a solid financial IQ, they still saw the value of investing in a buyer’s advocate. “We’ve got very particular goals we want to achieve in the next five, 10, 15 years. It just made sense getting experts on board to help us. My husband and I are very much numbers- and data-driven people, and it actually took us two years to do our due diligence and find our advocate at Empower Wealth,” she says. Spending money on a buyer’s agent when you’re trying to make money might seem counterintuitive, but Rossi says that the financial logic is definitely there. “They do save us money in the long run. They also take the stress out of purchasing. Without them, we’d have to go and do the research – this way, we don’t even need to lift a finger. They’ve got their team, they bring what we need to the table and we just have a look. Plus,

we can tap into their expertise – they live and breathe this stuff.” She says her buyer’s agent has suggested investment properties in both metropolitan and regional areas. “I was a bit skeptical of buying outside of where I knew, but as long as they have the numbers and the data to back up the historic trends, I’m confident.” Rossi adds that the additional cost of a buyer’s advocate should quickly pay for itself. “They’re doing you a favour, because if you catch that first property with exceptional capital growth, you’re then able to leverage and purchase your second or third or fourth. If you mess up that first one, you’re stuck. That’s what I think people trying to get into the market overlook,” she explains. “I just sold two dud properties – ones that I’d bought without that expert advice – and I was very lucky I didn’t lose any money. The point is, if I hadn’t spoken to Empower Wealth, I’d be in a very different position right now.” DEC 2019/JAN 2020




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13. Divulge

21. Anchorage native

14. Awry

22. Alter (text)

16. Type of cigar

23. Fling, shipboard ...

18. Benefit (of) 19. South African currency 20. Scalp growth




















11. Fencing swords


17. Radio interference


10. Exclude


6. ... Sea Scrolls

15. Water removal system


12. Adopted (policy)

Find all the words listed hidden in the grid of letters. They can be found in straight lines up, down, forwards, backwards or even diagonally. Theme: BERRIES.


5. Recurrence of illness


9. Consumer pressure



4. Recedes


8. Steam burn


3. London’s Marble ...


2. Dog or horse

7. Baby fierce cat (4,3)


1. Rectified

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1. Transylvania is there



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Airnorth Magazine - Dec 2019/Jan 2020  

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