True Blue - September/October 2020

Page 1

TrueBlue Sept/Oct 2020


A real Australian business magazine


It ain’t all about bowls and beaches


Untamed beauty on WA’s magical southern coast


Renaissance tours will have you rethinking luxury travel



Northern Territory

WIN a 3-night stay at Adina Apartment Hotels Darwin Waterfront and a Jumping Crocs experience for two!

State of Tasmania

WIN a 3-night stay at

Vibe Hotel Hobart, with a day trip for two to MONA

As Billy Joel so wisely crooned when he launched New York State of Mind in 1976, there’s no better time than now to explore your own state Keep visiting TRULYAUS.COM and WIN one of 8 iconic experiences and three nights at a swanky hotel in your very own home state


S outh A ustralia

one of eight TRULY AUS experiences

WIN a 3-night stay at Adina Apartment Hotels Adelaide Treasury with a McLarenvale vineyard experience for two

Mind Western A ustralia WIN a 3-night stay at Adina

Apartment Hotels Perth with an experience for two on Rottnest Island

PROUDLY BROUGHT TO YOU BY:, Adina Apartment Hotels & Vibe Hotels

I would like to take this opportunity to provide our regular travellers with an update relating to COVID-19 and what it means for Rex and the provision of regional air services. As our passengers would be aware the global aviation industry has been decimated by the impact of COVID-19 and the Rex Team has been working tirelessly to ensure the continued provision of regional air services throughout our vast network. With the support of the Commonwealth Government Regional Airline Network Support (RANS) program, Rex is continuing to provide a minimum barebones schedule in accordance with the guidelines of the scheme. Generally, this program supports two to three return services per week. In addition to the Commonwealth arrangement under the RANS program, Rex has also entered into agreements with the WA, QLD & SA State Governments to operate additional services on certain eligible routes. With these necessary arrangements in place Rex will be operating at approximately 25% of its pre-COVID-19 capacity during September and October, illustrating the long-road ahead in rebuilding regional air routes which are so critically important to the socio-economic wellbeing of regional communities. Essential regional air services have also never been as important in assisting with the economic recovery at a local, state and national level. Rex is extremely motivated to increase the number of flights as passenger numbers grow. Indeed, a lot of the Rex Team remain stood-down due to reduced flying activity. We can only achieve this

with careful consideration of the financial impact given the lost efficiencies and economies of scale that has been inflicted upon us by this pandemic. Rex understands that the minimum flight schedules can make regional air travel difficult due to the lost schedule convenience and inability to undertake same-day return travel, however it is not financially viable to operate increased flights where there is not sufficient demand to support them at the moment. We thank you for your patience and look forward to increasing the number of flights throughout our network. On selected regional routes Rex is also operating the Rex Community Fare (Rex Promo) scheme in an attempt to stimulate passenger demand to assist with the recovery. We have also relaxed the Community Fare conditions to make all remaining seats available at the Community Fare price within seven days of departure; instead of 24 hours prior to departure. The Rex Community Fare (Rex Promo) is also available outside of 30 days prior to departure (subject to availability). As we embark upon September and October, we hope for some positive developments that translate into improved confidence. We have to take each week as it comes and work together to get through this. We thank you for your patience and understanding. I would also like to say a big thank you to our loyal and hardworking staff, many of which have been financially impacted by this crisis. Until next time, safe travels. Neville Howell Chief Operating Officer


Publisher & Editor: Michelle Hespe Art Director: Jo Quarmby Assistant Editor: Bethany Plint Sub-Editor: Shane Cubis


Brand and Communications manager: Effe Sandas


Susan Elliot Bonita Grima Chris Ashton Winsor Dobbin Sarah Hinder Ute Junker Rebecca Martin Darren Baguley Lisa Smyth Ian Lloyd Neubauer Paul Ewart


IVE Print Sydney 81 Derby Street, Silverwater NSW 2128

Cover image: Cameron Bloom Photography True Blue is published by Publishing ByChelle, (ABN: 78 621 375 853 ACN: 621 375 853) Level 1, 3 Westleigh Street, Neutral Bay NSW 2089 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 True Blue are from iStock and Getty Images, and we make every effort to credit all contributors.



Welcome Back

If you would like to read the digital version of True Blue, please be our guest! Simply go to – which is dedicated to exploring and celebrating all things Aussie, giving travellers the lowdown on the best places in regional, rural and outback Australia.


Max the magpie alongside some poddy calves, ducks, chickens, horses, dogs, cats. He became one of the family. Max thought he was one of us and even had to be minded by the local wildlife park if we went away on holidays. He sunbathed with us (lying on his back on a towel), had showers with us, picked dad’s nose hairs to wake him up, and rode around our country house on our Labrador’s back. He was the best pet. So it’s been my pleasure producing this issue of the magazine, with a story on how one little magpie brought hope and happiness to a woman who inspires so many with her many ongoing achievements despite having faced something no one should have to go through. We all have a lot to learn from Sam Bloom and we’re incredibly honoured that she’s a part of this inspiring issue.


Cover image of Sam Bloom by Cameron Bloom

WE hope you love this issue as much as we have loved putting it together. This issue is special for many reasons, but here are two. Firstly, after a tough few months, we are seeing a lot of sunshine on the horizon, and more people travelling on the Regional Express network. We hope that you are inspired to travel again and to get out there and see more of our beautiful country. It’s also a beauty of an issue because we have Sam and Penguin Bloom on our cover. You might have read the first book about Sam’s experience, by Bradley Trevor Greive – Penguin Bloom, The Odd Little Bird Who Saved A Family, and there’s a new book out now: Sam Bloom: Heartache & Birdsong. The film Penguin Bloom is released at the Toronto Film Festival on September 10, and it stars Naomi Watts as Sam. I will let you read the full story that starts on page 24. I grew up in a Frogs Hollow, on a 40-acre farm between Bega and Merimbula on the Sapphire Coast. One morning after heavy frosts, my mother found a magpie chick that had been thrown from its nest. The fluffy runt would not have survived a day in those frosty fields, and so mum bought him home to three very excited young daughters. We all raised

28 Inside TrueBlue AusBiz. Check out AusBiz. at the back of the magazine. AGRICULTURE How biostimulants could save our soil SPECIAL FEATURE Kombucha: how the ancient brew is evolving INDUSTRY Will regional hospitality survive COVID-19? TECH Dating app boom: why its timing couldn’t have been better



07 Rex News

28 Renaissance Tours

The health and safety of passengers is of the utmost importance to Rex. New measures of cleanliness and hygeine have been put in place to ensure that we can all travel comfortably. In this issue, we cover topics including staying fit and healthy during isolation and keeping your mental health in good shape.

22 Due North A chef’s journey from the rugged wilderness of Tassie to the remote Cape York peninsula.

Embark on a inspiring art adventure around regional Australia with some of the country’s biggest art buffs.

34 Explore Esperance Discover the best of the west in one of Western Australia’s most photogenic coastal towns.

40 Ballina There’s more to this town than lawn bowls and retirement homes.

46 Eurobodalla The ultimate 3-day itinerary for a South Coast escape.

52 Burnie Where to wine, dine and rest your head in Tassie’s North West.


24 Cover Story Sam Bloom shares how a battered baby magpie saved her life and inspired countless others. SEPT/OCT 2020


We have a COVID-19 Safety Plan and are committed to keeping you safe. 1.5m

Physical distancing

Hygiene and cleaning

Provide feedback on this business at

Record keeping

Wellbeing of staff and customers


Coober Pedy

COVID Update The safety and wellbeing of our passengers is, and always will be, our number one priority. Rex continues to monitor advice from authorities to ensure that our procedures remain up to date. We are officially registered as a COVID Safe business with the NSW Government. We can continue to all work together to ensure that the risk of COVID is as low as reasonably practical. We kindly remind passengers to delay travel plans if you are feeling unwell, that you maintain physical distancing where possible and practice good hygiene. We sincerely thank you for your cooperation and understanding. For the latest information, please visit

Famous around the world for being an almost underground town, it’s not hard to see why Coober Pedy is an appealing visit for South Australians looking for a truly unique weekend away. But even for those a little further afield, Coober Pedy deserves a spot on the must-do list when interstate travel resumes. In the heart of the South Australian outback on the edge of the Stuart Range, 850 kilometres from Adelaide, Coober Pedy is all together rugged, desolate and serene. The unique landscape of Coober Pedy is unmatched – and so is the town’s reputation as the opal capital of the world – with about 70 per cent of the world’s opals being mined here. Moving life underground provides some relief from the hot, desert climate (though some may find the September/ October average high temperatures of 25°C and 29°C an appealing break from the winter chill elsewhere). Approximately half of Coober Pedy’s small population of 2,000 people live in underground dugouts where it is cool in summer and warm in winter. There’s an array of underground facilities and attractions for visitors to discover, including underground churches, shops, galleries, and bookshops. And, of course, the Umoona Mine Museum; the largest single underground tourist attraction offering guided and group tours. A 30 minute drive out to Breakaways Reserve, Painted Desert and Moon plain will reveal the mystical landscape of Coober Pedy where, if caught before sunset, shows some of the most astonishing colours the Australian outback has to offer. When ticking Coober Pedy off your bucket list, the place to stay is the award-winning Desert Cave, conveniently located on Coober Pedy’s main street. Visit to learn more. SEPT/OCT 2020


Fly from Sydney to Orange from $109* with | 13 17 13 *Terms and conditions apply. Please visit for more information Photo credit: Destination NSW


Connecting regional Western Australia


ESPERANCE | 13 17 13 Photo credits: Tourism Western Australia


news Rex has a convenient schedule between Sydney and Orange, with Community Fares as low as $109 one way. The Community Fare Scheme is a revolutionary fare offering from Rex, with promotional fares available for advance purchases up to 30 days prior to departure (subject to standard availability), and all unsold seats also released at the promotional fare 24 hours prior to departure.

Escape to Orange

Plan your next escape to Orange on Wiradjuri Country: an area rich with natural and cultural history and delicious local food and wine offerings. Welcome to the city of Orange, home to over 40,000 people, the birthplace of Banjo Paterson and (unofficially) the snowiest city in Australia. Its iconic name is not exactly an homage to that round juicy fruit but rather was a tribute to honour William II of the Netherlands (then The Prince of Orange) by his Napoleonic War compatriot and surveyor Thomas Mitchell in the 1840s. Unfortunately for the humble orange, it is much too cold for it to be grown in Orange. But thanks to the fertile, mineral-rich soil owed to a volcanic past, Orange has some of the most bountiful agricultural land in Australia. It’s a renowned fruit-growing district producing apples, pears, cherries, peaches and plums as well as other prime produce including world-class venison, beef and lamb. The region’s high altitude, dry autumn and cool temperatures are also ideal conditions for wine production. With more than 60 vineyards and 40 cellar doors, fine dining establishments, casual and laid back eateries, and bakeries serving artisan breads and pastries, Orange is a thriving food and wine destination in its own right. Orange is also a town for history and art lovers. Picture beautiful tree-lined streets, public buildings and homes, which residents have lovingly restored and other

historic places of interest. The Heritage Trail Walk takes approximately 90 minutes and includes important local landmarks, including the Metropolitan Hotel and Cook Park. Also in town is the Orange Regional Gallery which holds a nationally significant collection of Australian art and is set to become an arts hub with a major extension once it reopens in 2021. Grab a jacket and drive just a short 25 minutes drive away to the summit of Mount Canobolas (1395 m). Once at the top you will be gifted with 360 degree views of the city, the Blue Mountains in the distance, and the rolling surrounding countryside. Spring is also the perfect time to catch the stunning display of flowers blooming on native shrubs and trees. And you may even be lucky enough to spot the pink spider orchid and the Canobolas leek orchid: these two orchid species were only recently discovered after the 2018 bushfires and exist nowhere else in the world! Orange is the perfect destination to add to your list for a spontaneous gourmet weekend away, or a family escape to the country! SEPT/OCT 2020








From the sun-kissed outback, to the picturesque gulf TOWNSVILLE and the tropical east coast,

start planning your holiday at home!






London... Paris...



Sharing regional stories through airborne local poems From Albury antique shops to fishing knives from Tassie to jazz in Cairns, Red Room Poetry Object regional poems span subjects near and dear to over 2,200 students and teachers across the country. “Like pendant bats to limestone, Crumpled Birdcages and pear-shaped wicker baskets clutched Their bamboo perches overhead” – Lylah, Year 9 student poet from Albury, NSW

Lylah’s description of a dreamscape of objects displayed in an antique shop is a far cry from Theo, a Year 7 student from Bernie in Tasmania, who writes a generational piece about finding his pop’s old fishing knife. Jacob in Year 5, from Cairns in his poem, ‘Raining Minors’, sings of “growling progressions” in sharp depictions of jazz and blues. Red Room Poetry Object is Australasia’s largest free poetry-writing competition for young people and their teachers with over 20,000 poems published. Poetry Object ignites imaginations by inviting poems inspired by treasured, curious and everyday objects. We are privileged to be taken to the inner worlds of objects and opal skies of hope and sorrow by our young poets as they craft words and write poems about what matters to them. Red Room Poetry Object winners are to be announced on 20 August, by Red Room Poetry and partner Copyright Agency with three outstanding poems in the shortlist from students in REX regional areas. To read the full shortlist and competition winners, go to



Expectations exceeded. #meetmackayregion

Photo Credit Rebina Criddle

• 2000 + Rooms • 1000 Plenary • 800 Banquet • 130 + Trade PORKY BEACH RETREAT KING ISLAND, TASMANIA


12 TrueBlue |

0417 580 550 |

@kingislandescapes |


Regional Express: Our heart is in the country




CHECK- IN Online check-in You can check-in online through the Rex website,, on your desktop or mobile devices between 48 hours and 60 minutes prior to the scheduled departure time of your flight.


Airport check-in If you have checked baggage, we recommend that you arrive at the airport for check-in at least 60 minutes before the scheduled departure of your flight at all airports except Burketown, Queensland (90 minutes before).

Passengers in possession of a Rex Flex Fare are permitted a 23 kilogram free baggage allowance.

Checked baggage Passengers on all fares (except Rex Flex) are permitted a 15 kilogram free baggage allowance.

Passengers with international connections (within 24 hours) are permitted a 23 kilogram free baggage allowance upon presenting a valid itinerary or ticket.

Rex check-in closes: •6 0 minutes prior to scheduled departure time at Burketown airport. •3 0 minutes prior to scheduled departure time at Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, Perth and Queensland airports (with the exception of Burketown above). •2 0 minutes prior to scheduled departure time at regional airports in NSW, SA, Tas, Vic and WA.

Cabin baggage A maximum of two pieces per passenger up to a total of 7 kilograms of cabin baggage is permitted onboard. Excess baggage Excess baggage is permitted subject to restrictions of the day and a surcharge of $7.70 per kilogram. Virgin Australia Baggage Agreement Rex accepts the checking of baggage to/from Virgin Australia flights. Ask at check-in for more information.

Passengers with special requirements Passengers with special requirements must check-in at the airport (online check-in is not available) no later than: •6 0 minutes prior to scheduled departure in major cities and all Queensland regional airports except Burketown (please see below). •4 5 minutes prior to scheduled departure in NSW, SA, Tas, Vic and WA regional airports. • 90 minutes prior to scheduled departure in Burketown.










SAAB 340












Rex is excited to announce a fresh new interior for our Saab 340 aircraft! The refurbished interior features specially designed leather seats, LED lighting and new matching carpet and cabin trim. The newlook interiors will be phased in gradually as our aircraft complete heavy maintenance checks at our engineering base in Wagga Wagga.


As you sit back in comfort en route to your destination, the Rex crew hope you enjoy this entertaining and informative light reading. Q. Why do the flight attendants insist that all window blinds be up for take-off? A. The most critical phases of a flight are the take-off and landing. In the most unlikely event of a situation that requires an emergency evacuation, it is important that crew and passengers are able to have a clear view of the outside conditions in case of obstructions. For example, before exits are opened, staff must check for fire or other obstacles that may present potential hazards during the evacuation. Q. Why do I have to stow my hand luggage in the overhead lockers, under the seats or in the seat pockets for take-off and landing? A. Flight crews are required by Civil Aviation Regulations to secure the cabin as well as possible for take-off and landing. As mentioned, these are the most critical phases of the flight, and securing as much hand luggage as possible ensures that, in the unlikely event of an emergency, the exits and aisles stay as clear as possible, in case evacuation is necessary. It is also important to keep hand luggage secure whenever possible to ensure heavier items do not become airborne within the cabin. This is especially important when the aircraft is experiencing turbulence. Q. Why do I feel so tired from flying? A. As the aircraft altitude increases, air pressure decreases. As the pressure of the air decreases, the body absorbs less oxygen than it would at sea level — therefore, it must work harder to supply oxygen to the body’s cells. As the body is working harder, it becomes more tired. Q. Why do I sometimes feel pain in my ears or sinuses during ascent or descent? A. The sinuses and middle ear are air-containing cavities that connect with the nose via narrow channels. As aircrafts ascend and cabin pressure drops, air passes out of these cavities (without any effort from the passenger) to balance the cabin pressure. It is a different matter during descent, as the cabin pressure increases. The channels close down and must be actively opened by holding the nose and blowing to

16 TrueBlue

inflate the cavities. Facial and ear pain can occur during descent if re-inflation does not occur, and this is much more likely if the passenger has nasal congestion. If you must fly with a cold or hayfever, use a decongestant nasal spray before descent and buy some ‘ear planes’ to plug your ears. (Information contributed by Dr Daniel Hains, ENT surgeon.) Q. When can electronic equipment such as laptops, iPods and mobile phones be used? A. All Personal Electronic Devices (PEDs) must be placed in flight mode inside the departure terminal and must remain in flight mode until inside the arrival terminal. Small handheld PEDs weighing less than 1kg, such as mobile phones, can be used in flight mode during all stages of flight on Rex’s Saab 340 aircraft. PEDs over 1kg, such as laptop computers, must be stowed appropriately for taxi, take-off and landing, and are permitted to be used only during cruise when the ‘Fasten Seatbelt’ sign is switched off. PEDs cannot be used while crossing the tarmac. Q. What is the average speed of the aircraft when cruising in flight? A. Approximately 500 kilometres per hour. Q. Why do I have to get permission from the Captain to move to a vacant seat? A. The aircraft’s take-off speed is calculated by the weight and balance of the aircraft, and many factors need to be considered for a successful take-off. Factors include the weight of passengers and where they are seated, the weight of cargo, freight and fuel, the distance available on the runway, etc. For example, if there are 100 or more kilograms of freight in the cargo, the balance of the aircraft will be better maintained if passengers are seated in the forward rows.

AIR TURBULENCE Q. Aircraft often experience air turbulence, but what causes it? A. Imagine the air around the aircraft is water in a stream. We can see how water is disturbed around rocks or when two streams converge. Turbulence in the air is

similar: as the aircraft passes through cold air or in the vicinity of terrain that has disturbed the airflow – often incorrectly referred to as ‘air pockets’ – the aircraft climbs and descends in the same way that a boat moves on water. Though turbulence can be uncomfortable, it poses no threat to the aircraft and is akin to driving on a rough or unsealed road. More severe turbulence can be associated with developing thunderstorms. The Saab 340 has a sophisticated weather radar that pilots use to avoid these areas. Occasionally, a flight attendant will discontinue serving passengers in turbulent conditions; this is a precaution to ensure everyone’s safety. Q. Why should I keep my seatbelt fastened even when the ‘Fasten Seatbelt’ sign is switched off? A. On occasions, the flight crew cannot foresee turbulence or it is not picked up on the flight-deck radar. Because of this, we could unexpectedly experience turbulence at any time. The company recommends that you always keep your seatbelt fastened while you are seated – for your safety, just in case unexpected turbulence is encountered.

ENGINE NOISES Q. Why do the aircraft’s engine noises change during the flight? A. Aircraft need more power to climb than to descend, in the same way that a car needs more power to go up a hill than down one. The Saab 340 turboprop has more than enough power to climb, so shortly after take-off you will notice a change in noises as the power is reduced. The pilots also control the pitch angle of the propellers for various stages of the flight, and as they ‘change gears’ this can also be heard in the cabin. Q. What should I do if I see or hear something that does not look or sound right? A. Please advise your flight attendant. The flight attendant may be able to answer your query and allay any fears. If not, the flight attendant will contact the flight deck and advise the pilots of anything unusual. Rex encourages open communication and will always treat a passengers’ concerns with the utmost seriousness.

Exercise and stretch regularly while seated SEATED EXERCISES

Inflight comfort

ANKLE CIRCLES Lift feet off floor, draw a circle with the toes, simultaneously moving one foot clockwise and the other foot counterclockwise. Reverse circles. Do each direction for 15 seconds. Repeat if desired.

FOOT PUMPS Start with both heels on the floor and point feet upward as high as you can. Then put both feet flat on the floor. Then lift heels high, keeping the balls of your feet on the floor. Continue cycle in 30-second intervals.

Flying can be demanding and altitude may make your body more sensitive to the effects of alcohol and caffeine. Sitting in one place for a long time can be uncomfortable and slow down your blood circulation. To help your body adjust to flying and to maintain your personal comfort and wellbeing, we recommend you take the following steps: Keep hydrated. Drink plenty of fluids – water, juice, non-caffeinated soft drinks – to prevent dehydration, fatigue and headaches. Minimise intake of alcohol and coffee. Moisten the face to help reduce the drying effects of cabin air. Eat lightly. Eat lightly on longer flights to avoid indigestion – our inflight menu is designed to provide lighter meal options.

KNEE LIFTS Lift leg with knee bent while contracting your thigh muscle. Alternate legs. Repeat 20 to 30 times for each leg.

SHOULDER ROLLS Hunch shoulders forward, then upward, then backward, then downward, using a gentle, circular motion.

ARM CURLS Arms held at 90° angles, elbows down, hands in front. Raise hands up to chest and back down. Alternate hands. Repeat in 30-second intervals.


Exercise. We encourage you to do the gentle onboard exercises on this page to enhance your wellbeing during the flight. We recommend you do these exercises for about five minutes every one to two hours. You should also occasionally walk down the aisles, as space permits. In addition, we recommend that you avoid crossing your legs. Please note: you should not do any of these exercises if they cause you pain or cannot be done with ease.

KNEE TO CHEST Bend forward slightly. Clasp hands around left knee and hug it to your chest. Hold the stretch for 15 seconds. Keeping hands around knee, slowly let it down. Alternate legs. Repeat 10 times.

SHOULDER STRETCH Reach your right hand over your left shoulder. Place your left hand behind your right elbow and gently press your elbow toward your shoulder. Hold the stretch for 15 seconds. Repeat on the other side.

FORWARD FLEX With both feet on the floor and stomach held in, slowly bend forward and walk your hands down the front of your legs toward your ankles. Hold the stretch for 15 seconds and slowly sit back up.

NECK ROLLS With your shoulders relaxed, drop your ear to shoulder and gently roll your neck forward and to the other side, holding each position for five seconds. Repeat five times.

OVERHEAD STRETCH Raise both hands straight up over your head. With one hand, grasp the wrist of the opposite hand and gently pull to one side. Hold the stretch for 15 seconds. Repeat on the other side.

Please note: you should not do any of these exercises if they cause you pain or cannot be done with ease.

Moving about the aircraft. You may move about the aircraft as space permits and when the seatbelt sign is off. However, when the seatbelt sign is on you are required to remain seated with the seatbelt fastened. If you feel unwell, tell the cabin crew. They can assist with the more common inflight complaints and, if necessary, can seek further advice and assistance for you. On descent. Ears and sinuses can cause discomfort, due to the change in air pressure on descent. To minimise discomfort: • Yawn or swallow frequently. • Pinch your nostrils together and blow firmly into your cheeks with your mouth closed. If you have ongoing discomfort, seek the advice of the cabin crew.




Where I stand

Where I Stand is a stirring photographic exhibition curated by aMBUSH Gallery in partnership with the Australian National University, showcasing the work of six acclaimed Australian photographers. Featuring 24 intensely personal works, the exhibition explores ideas of transformation, identity, history, connection and the Dreamtime. In such tumultuous times as these, each artist’s work speaks of radical change and aims to strengthen the audience’s connection to people, place and culture. Driven by an increasingly urgent desire to explore issues of identity, Queensland’s Michael Cook evocatively recreates incidents that emerge from Australian colonial history. Canberra-based poet and visual artist, Dr. Judith Crispin grapples with themes of displacement and identity loss in her work, focusing on the concept of connection with Country. With a background in theatre and documentary filmmaker, Sarah Ducker presents pieces that capture the pure charisma of nature through a refined and sensitive eye. Inspired by time spent in the Middle East and the Himalayas, Sydney-born Murray Fredericks attempts to “represent the experience when thought is temporarily suspended and the mind encounters ‘other’ in his photographic series.

Barbara McGrady, a Gamilaroi/Gomeroi Murri Yinah (Woman), documents her mob’s achievements, humanity and beauty through a unique lens. Indigenous photographer, Michal Jalaru Torres explores contemporary social and political issues facing Indigenous people through innovative portraiture and abstract landscape photography, inspired by the Kimberley region. Where I Stand is the product of countless hours of dedication, creativity and innovation. A truly collaborative effort, the exhibition is produced in partnership with aMBUSH’s long time collaborator, the Head On Photo Festival. Where I Stand will christen a new outdoor public art space along University Avenue at the Australian National University campus in Canberra. Exhibition Avenue is a true “walk of art,” showcasing an array of multidisciplinary artworks from emerging and established artists. The free year-round program is curated by aMBUSH Gallery; a social enterprise at the forefront of producing public arts projects around the country. From July 27, Where I Stand will be illuminated around the clock thanks to solar powered lights along Exhibition Avenue. To ensure the safety of the community, guests will be required to keep a distance of 1.5 metres at all times.


18 TrueBlue

Images: Jalaru Torres, Murray Fredericks, Barbara McGrady, Michael Cook & Sarah Ducker

at the Australian National University, Canberra ACT from July 27

Events October 22 – November 8

Sculpture by the Sea

Image: Gareth Carr

Bondi NSW The popular coastal walk from Bondi Beach to Tamarama Beach will once again form the stage for the world’s largest public sculpture exhibition featuring 100 pieces submitted by both local and international artists.

What’s On & What’s Hot Our pick of the top festivals, shows and sporting events around the country who have adapted to today’s “new normal.” compiled by: Bethany plint September 18-27

October 21-22

Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers 2020

September 4-26

Brisbane Festival

Brisbane QLD This year’s program will reach all 190 suburbs of Brisbane, spanning giant installations, street concerts and a new light installation.

from November 24 PIPPIN

Sydney Lyric Theatre NSW Acrobatics, magical feats and songs from Stephen Schwartz – PIPPIN has been lovingly crafted to become Broadway’s high-flying, death-defying musical.

Toowoomba QLD With more than 170,000 blooms planted across the city’s major parks, Toowoomba is preparing for a spectacular spring season, this year inviting furry friends to join the festivities with the dedicated “Petals and Pups” program.


September 12 – October 11

Floriade: Reimagined

Canberra ACT Australia’s biggest celebration of spring returns in 2020 with an inventive new approach that aligns with new social distancing requirements, spreading the beautiful blooms across the city. In its 33rd year, Floriade promises a vibrant celebration of flowers, food and family.

Brisbane QLD The long-standing Brisbane music gathering brings a condensed program of live music, thought-provoking conferences and hands-on workshops across a twoday event in the Fortitude Valley live music precinct., while fully respecting social distancing and safety protocols. Now in its 19th year, BIGSOUND 2020 will inspire the music industry to rebuild and re-emerge from the COVID crisis.




Watch, read & listen

By: Bethany Plint

music Wolfgang’s Magical Musical Circus

October 16 at the Princess Royal Theatre in Albany WA In a storm of musical mayhem and movement, the music of Mozart is reimagined through daredevil stunts, mischievous antics and spirited conducting.

art Desert Mob 2020

September 11 - October 25 at Araluen Arts Centre in Alice Springs NT This year, Desert Mob combines a gallery exhibition and virtual symposium of projects, presentations and artist talks, showcasing the work of Indigenous artists form the desert regions of the NT, SA AND WA.

Wollombi Valley Sculpture Festival

October 17 - November 1 in Wollombi NSW Sculpture in the Vineyards gives local and international artists the opportunity to exhibit their works in the picturesque rural surroundings of the historic hamlet of Laguna and Wollombi Village in the Hunter region of NSW.

20 TrueBlue

film Ride Like a Girl

March 2020 Directed by Rachel Griffiths, this biographical sports drama follows the inspiring true story of Michelle Payne, the first female jockey to win the Melbourne Cup in 2015.

Vision Splendid Outback Film Festival

September 18-26 at the Royal Open Air Theatre in Winton QLD The world’s largest film festival dedicated to Australian Cinema, Vision Splendid showcases the brightest film stars and production under the spectacular night sky at Winton’s renowned cinema under the stars.

Entertainment books podcasts

She’s On The Money

The Flying Bushman, Greg Keyenes

September 2020, Gelding Street Press, autobiography Set along the blue ranges of the Pilbara in WA, the author shares poignant memories of working in the dying Jackeroo trade.

Women and Leadership, Julia Gillard and Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala July 2020, Penguin, society & culture These two high-achieving women share the advice of some of the world’s most extraordinary female leaders in their own words.

The Devil and the Dark Water, Stuart Turton October 2020, Raven Books, fiction Inspired by true events, protagonist Samuel Pipps embarks on a lengthy sea voyage to face trial for a crime he may or may not have committed.

Millennial money expert Victoria Devine shares her tips for financial freedom, covering topics ranging from “rentvesting” to making smart decisions around your super.

Get Sleepy

Travel writing meets sleep meditation; this podcast series features a unique combination of meditative practices with calming, highly immersive stories that allow you to drift off to a peaceful slumber.

theatre The Ethical Omnivore, Laura Dalrymple and Grant Hilliard

August 2020, Murdoch Books, non-fiction Two unlikely butchers explore our increasingly fraught relationship with food, searching for ways to apply an ethical approach to meat consumption in the twenty-first century.

EXTREME, Joan Gelfland

July 2020, Blue Light Press/First World Publishing, fiction Set in a high-risk gaming startup, peopled with world-class skateboarders and power-hungry executives, worlds collide when a Hollywood producer comes calling.


September 4-19 at Her Majesty’s Theatre in Adelaide SA A mind-bending Victorian thriller, director Catherine Fitzgerald brings the classic psychodrama to the stage with a new twist in a vivid showcase of psychological manipulation, marital mystery and nearunbearable suspense.

Unlocking Us with Brenè Brown

The renowned researcher, author and speaker unpacks stories that reflect the universal experiences of being human in an emotionally gripping new podcast series.



Book Review

St Helens: in search of abalone Excerpt from Due North: An expedition through Australia from Tasmania to the Gulf

Tonight will be our last night on mainland Tassie and we plan to stay in the Bay of Fires, which has been on my wish list for a long time. The drive to St Helens is majestic – we go through a lot of small coastal communities, the kind of places where you could just forget all of your troubles and live a simple life. We spend the morning in St Helens having a look around, go for a drive to the Bay of Fires to find a campsite, and lock one in – it’s magic, right on the water. We’re here to meet a guy called Dave Allen, who’s super passionate about anything that comes from the ocean, and has supplied seafood to some of Australia’s top restaurants. Adam and I head into town to see him, but he’s running late so we decide to get some supplies to make a celebratory dinner, in anticipation of actually catching some abalone. Eventually we find Dave. Almost a decade ago, he pioneered sea urchin processing in Tasmania, at Goshen, just inland from the Bay of Fires, and his enthusiasm for sea urchins is boundless. Soon we discover that we also both have fondness for the southern mud (native) oyster. Dave grew up in this area and knows it like the back of his hand. His seafood is great,

22 TrueBlue

and he really knows his stuff, but it can be a precarious way of making a living. He takes us a little further north for a dive. Adam goes in as well and comes up with a bag full of abalone – the smaller ones we put back, and the rest we keep. Dave comes back with us to share our last-night dinner. Now abalone can be a real bitch to cook, especially if all you have is a fire, but I think the best approach is to keep it simple: just fire, abalone, garlic, butter and beer. You need to beat the abalone with a rock or the back of a heavy frying pan until a small crack appears on the top of the shell. Place the abalone in the pan, cracked side down, then add a little garlic and a dob of butter. Add enough beer to cover, as well as a massive fistful of butter. Cook for about quarter of an hour, then remove from the heat, cover the pan and leave it for half to three-quarters of an hour. Go for a swim or something, or just settle back with a few cold ones – the beer of choice for the abalone is Boags XXX or Furphy. Now cook up some linguine, slice the abalone super-thin and then toss them and their juices through the pasta. So tasty – especially if you’re in the Bay of Fires, looking at one of the prettiest sunsets imaginable.

About Due North is a photographic journal capturing the epic road trip from Tasmania to the Gulf of Carpentaria undertaken by award-winning chef, James Viles. This unique Australian food adventure investigates where our produce comes from, how it’s grown, tended and harvested, and how it flourishes in the most hostile and breathtakingly beautiful parts of Australia. Due North is available for purchase online and in all good bookstores.

Out & About

Paradise on

Coogee Beach Sweeping ocean views, winding pathways along some of the most stunning coast in the country, a buzzing café, restaurant and bar scene, and beautifully decorated, modern seaside rooms where you can relax and listen to the waves crashing on to the beach below. Sound like a good idea for holidaying here? We think so. The new-look Crowne Plaza Sydney Coogee Beach has had a multi-million-dollar re-design and its positively shining. The refurbish also puts the hotel firmly back on the business radar with a new, purpose-built events centre with eight new flexible meeting spaces, state-of-the-art technology and new group event dining concepts and menus. The guestroom design epitomises seaside chic, with a subtle colour palette that

complements the blue hues of the beachside surrounds. And downstairs, there is a Miami- style lounge bar complete with palms, yuccas and ocean vistas. Enjoy a Mediterranean menu at Shutters, with charcuterie, kingfish crudo or a warm octopus salad. There’s also Estate, that has a Northern California meets the Hamptons of upstate New York kind of feel, with poolside open-air casual dining and entertainment area, and Kitchen – a more formal space with an incredibly talented chef focussing on seafood. If fun and flirty is your dining style, Taqueria is dishing up Mexican classics of tacos and nachos with cool cocktails in a place that comes alive with music and the sound of laughter, from both guests and the charming wait staff. SEPT/OCT 2020


Cover Story

fall to grace Like the baby birds that tumble from nests near her Sydney home, Sam Bloom knows the devastating impact of a fall.

JUST MINUTES after arriving at Sam Bloom’s Sydney home there’s a bird on my head. It’s Frankie. A one-eyed Currawong who was tossed from its family nest, virtually pecked to pieces. But Frankie couldn’t have landed in a better place – in the garden of Sam, her husband Cameron and sons Rueben, Noah and Oliver. Also the home of Penguin Bloom – a quirky little magpie who Sam believes saved her life, and that of her family. Sam, better than most people, knows the devastating impact of a fall. Her story would crush your heart if it didn’t send it soaring high over the Norfolk Island Pines of Newport Beach, and beyond. It was 2013, on a family holiday in Thailand after a morning swim, the Bloom family took freshly squeezed

24 TrueBlue

juices to their hotel observation deck to check out the view. “Perhaps I was searching for the most promising waves or surveying the countryside, I’ll never know,” says Sam. “I don’t remember anything of the accident. I don’t even remember walking up the spiral stairs to the deck, and perhaps that’s a good thing.” Sam leaned against a safety barrier. Safety? Rotten timbers gave way and she plummeted six metres head-first onto the concrete tiles below. A fractured skull, bleeding on the brain, ruptured lungs and a tongue partially severed by her own teeth were bad enough. But in the weeks ahead, she discovered her spine was shattered, just below the shoulder blades - she was paralysed from the chest down and told she would never walk again. “Before the accident a spinal cord

injury was my worst nightmare. And yeah, so now I get to live it. I cried every day for a month. I wanted to die. I wished I had died.” After seven months in the Spinal Unit at Sydney’s Royal North Shore Hospital and rehabilitation at Royal Rehab in Ryde, Sam was back home when her son Noah came in one afternoon with a battered magpie chick in his arms. The bird was badly hurt after falling from a tree in a violent coastal storm. “I’ll never forget her wobbly head, the funny angle of her damaged wing or feeling her tiny heart beating against the palm of my hand,” says Sam. The boys named the battered baby magpie Penguin. “Here was a broken, fragile creature that needed our help and, in that instant, I stopped thinking about myself.” 

Image: Cameron Bloom Photography

WORDs: susan elliott

Cover Story Sam Bloom and Penguin, the bird who changed her life



Cover Story

Images:Cameron Bloom Photography

CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT: Sam wins gold at the Adaptive Surfing World Championships; Sam with two of the seven birds filmed as “Penguin” in the movie; Sam and her husband, Cameron Bloom; Sam and Cameron surfing together.

Cameron, a professional photographer, had a lens on every moment - capturing intimate scenes as Penguin endeared herself to them. “Initially Penguin had to be fed every two hours,” says Cam. “Some evenings, as we tucked her into bed, we wondered if she would survive the night”. Penguin couldn’t fly. But, even with her damaged wing she’d launch herself endlessly from the furniture, trying to do what instinct told her to do. Sam’s eyes sparkle all the time so it’s difficult to know if she’s tearing up when she says “The day Penguin made her maiden flight in our living room, my heart soared. Shortly after that she flew outside and took to the wild skies – it was the happiest I’d felt in a long time.” Never caged, Penguin was free to stay or go - she chose to make herself at home. She slept in the family beds, cuddled up with the boys to read books, ran up and down hallways with them

26 TrueBlue

and spent hours “chatting” to Sam when the boys were at school. “It was an emotional rescue,” says Sam. “I was in a dark place, had contemplated suicide many times, but as soon as Penguin arrived the dark cloud started to lift. There was laughter in the house again.” Sam grew up on Sydney’s Northern Beaches. Her parents owned a bakery at Newport and when not working in the shop this self-confessed tomboy was tearing around on a skateboard or catching waves on her surfboard. Now, home and paralysed, the roar of the surf was a cruel soundtrack. Two-time surfing world champion Tom Carroll changed all that. He helped Sam learn to surf again. “I grew up with Sam in Newport,” says Tom. “She was tiny and feisty. When we got back in the surf together after her accident I saw the spark re-light. When you’ve been a surfer it doesn’t go away. Watching her pull it

“Penguin opened my eyes and my heart. She helped me to be my best self, or at least my worst self far less often. I always tell people - don’t put your dreams on hold. Because you never know what’s around the corner.” together brought a tear to my eye. How can it not? It’s human spirit.” Within months Sam was on the Australian Adaptive Surfing Team and competing at the World Championships in San Diego, USA. “As I rode my final wave to shore everyone on the beach was chanting: ‘Aussie! Aussie! Aussie! Oi! Oi! Oi!’ My team carried me out of the water on my board and held me aloft.” Sam had won Gold.

Cover Story “I spotted my three boys on the beach smiling from ear to ear. The look of joy and pride on their faces is an image I will cherish forever.” Cam’s intimate and deeply personal images were loved on Instagram Australia and the world fell in love with Penguin. A book followed, Penguin Bloom, which is an international bestseller, published in 13 languages. Inevitably Hollywood came knocking. The motion picture produced by and starring Oscar-nominated actress Naomi Watts (as Sam), Andrew Lincoln (The Walking Dead) and two times Oscar nominee Jacki Weaver as Sam’s Mum, will have its World Premiere at the prestigious Toronto International Film Festival in September 2020. The film will be released in Australian cinemas on January 1, 2021. And a sequel, Sam Bloom, Heartache & Birdsong, the story from Sam’s point of view has just been published. Penguin grew up and moved out. She returned occasionally over time, then less so. But, if there’s such a thing as “bird mail”, then the message definitely got around that the Bloom

home was the place to be! Since Penguin there has been Puffin & Panda, Hollywood and now Frankie, the currawong, who’s pruning my locks (hopefully the greys!) as we talk about whether Sam will walk again. Could it ever happen? “I’m an Ambassador for SpinalCure Australia and we’re really excited about what’s happening at NeuRA (Neuroscience Research Australia). “They’ve just launched a new Spinal Cord Injury Research Centre and have three amazing research projects happening, using electrical stimulation, virtual reality and other new treatments. I’d love to be part of the clinical trials, but we’ll see.” I can hear the surf. We all can. And Sam wants me to take away one last important message. “Penguin opened my eyes and my heart. She helped me to be my best self, or at least my worst self far less often. I always tell people - don’t put your dreams on hold. Because you never know what’s around the corner.” With her one eye Frankie, I swear, gives me a wink. TB

ABOUT THE BOOK: The sequel to Sam Bloom’s award-winning international bestselling book, Sam Bloom: Heartache & Birdsong is available for purchase from September 2020.

Sam Bloom and her sons, Rueben, Oliver and Noah with their pet chickens SEPT/OCT 2020


Art & Culture

Escape on a regional


28 TrueBlue

Art & Culture The Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria Cranbourne, VIC

If you thought the only place to find art was hanging on a gallery wall, have we got news for you. Art pops up in the most surprising places. From mist-draped rainforests to seaside peninsulas, here are some under-the-radar places to enjoy an out-of-the-frame art experience. WORDs: ute junker



Art & Culture


Millionaires Walk, Sorrento Mornington Peninsula, VIC

30 TrueBlue

FORGET THE museums of Paris or the cathedrals of Rome. If you want a memorable art adventure, regional Australia is the place to be. Just ask Evan Petrelis – “In the past couple of months, we have been looking at what’s on offer around the country, and the range of choices is just extraordinary.” Petrelis should know. As the Managing Director of cultural tour operator Renaissance Tours, he and his team regularly create tours that explore the world’s cultural capitals. This year, however, he and his team have focused firmly on Australia, discovering some truly one-of-a-kind cultural experiences. “You might not think a NSW gold rush town would be an artistic hub, but the old mining hub of Hill End has exerted a pull on many of our most famous artists, including Brett Whiteley and John Olsen,” says Petrelis. Or you might choose to head west to Perth, a city better known for its beaches than its art collections. “The artworks held in the private collections over there are simply extraordinary,” he adds, “and we are able to provide our travellers exclusive access.” If you’re eager to enjoy a dose of culture, here are Petrelis’ top picks. around regional Australia.


WHERE: Mornington Peninsula, Victoria The Mornington Peninsula has celebrated wineries, beautiful beaches and even natural hot springs, but for Petrelis, the sculpture parks are among its biggest attractions. “One of the area’s best wineries, Pt. Leo Estate, has a beautiful sculpture garden overlooking the ocean, and the McClelland Gallery and Sculpture Park is just as impressive,” he says. According to Petrelis, the ideal trip to the Mornington Peninsula doesn’t just involve looking at art; it involves making it. “If you like to draw, this is a great place to do some sketching en plein air,” he claims. “We have put together a tour led by artist Jennifer Keeler-Milne that lets you take advantage of the inspiring surroundings.” Whether you're in the mood for some botanical sketching or just want to get back to nature, the Royal Botanic Gardens in Cranbourne will be a highlight. Home to 170,000 native plants, it’s a tranquil place for a stroll. READY TO EXPLORE? The 5-day Drawing the Mornington Peninsula tour departs 1 March 2021.

Art & Culture The Tweed River and Mount Warning Northern NSW


WHERE: Central West, NSW Order a schooner at the Royal Hotel at Hill End and you’ll be sipping on history itself. This mining town sprung into being in the 1870s when gold was found here. At its peak, the Royal was just one of 28 pubs serving this thriving boom town. That boom eventually turned into a bust, but Hill End has gone on to have a remarkable afterlife. “So many artists have come here and been inspired by the heritage streetscapes and bush surroundings: Russell Drysdale, Margaret Olley, Brett Whiteley and John Olsen to name a few,” Petrelis says. The town’s artist-in-residence program remains popular today with acclaimed artists such as Ben Quilty and Euan Macleod heading here to stoke their creative fires. The nearby regional centres of Bathurst and Orange may be best-

known for their cool climate wines and their sophisticated country cuisine, but both towns are also home to impressive galleries. Here, with the guidance of your tour leader, art advisor Fiona McIntosh, you can catch canvases by some of Australia’s most famous painters, including Donald Friend, John Olsen, Fred Williams, Grace Cossington Smith and Emily Kame Kngwarreye. READY TO EXPLORE? The 6-day Regional Galleries of NSW tour departs 18 April 2021.


WHERE: Northern Rivers, NSW The lush rainforests that roll out like a blanket across northern NSW hold many wonders: cascading waterfalls, extinct volcanoes, and friendly country towns. What few people realise, however, is that this area also has a rich artistic scene.

“There are so many surprises to discover here,” Petrelis says, from the colourful street art in the Lismore laneway known as The Back-Alley Gallery to Art Post Uki, a gallery and café housed in a 109-year-old post office. You may want to buy up big at the Bangalow Markets where, nestled beneath camphor laurels and fig trees, artisanal makers sell unique wares ranging from ceramics to woodwork. The town of Murwillumbah is a stand-out not just for its art deco buildings, but also for the impressive Tweed Regional Gallery. The gallery includes an extraordinary recreation of the home studio of acclaimed artist Margaret Olley. With tour leader and art curator Gitte Weise at your side, you'll discover a mesmerising space that is as intricately designed as one of her renowned still-life paintings. READY TO EXPLORE? The 7-day Northern Rivers Art Trail tour departs 25 March 2021.  SEPT/OCT 2020


Art & Culture

WHERE: Western Australia Thinking big is a way of life in Western Australia, the state that covers onethird of the continent, and that applies in art, too. Led by Alan Dodge, former diretor of the Art Gallery of Western Australia, begin by exploring Perth’s street art scene before perusing the city’s masterfully-curated galleries. “The art collections in the state are simply amazing,” says Petrelis. “The Indigenous collection at Art Gallery of Western Australia is worth the trip alone.” He’s not wrong. The 3,000 indigenous paintings, ceramics, photography and sculpture housed at the Art Gallery of WA range in style from the organic forms of Kimberley country painters such as Rover Thomas to the striking sculptures of Yorta Yorta man, Lin Onus. What most visitors don’t get to see, however, is the private collections assembled by some of WA’s most prominent citizens. “This tour gives travellers exclusive access to these collections, some of which are displayed in private homes in Perth,” says Petrelis. “Perhaps the most impressive is Janet Holmes à Court’s collection of more than 5,000 works.” READY TO EXPLORE? The 5-day Private Art Collections of WA tour departs 26 October 2020.

32 TrueBlue


WHERE: Hunter Region, NSW Beyoncé isn’t the only one to know a thing or two about reinvention. The harbour city of Newcastle has also pulled off a remarkable makeover in recent decades. Born as a coal town, Newcastle won the moniker Steel City after BHP located its steelworks here, employing 50,000 people at its peak. The steelworks closed in 1999 and since then, Newcastle has built a reputation as a thriving artistic hub. Along with a community of local artists, Newcastle has some outstanding galleries, according to Petrelis. “Newcastle Art Gallery has a simply amazing art collection,” he says, with big names on show including Arthur Boyd, Brett Whitely, Emily Kame Kngwarreye and Bill Henson. “The sculpture collection is also a stand-out, with renowned works by the likes of Robert Klippel and Patricia Piccinini. With tour leader, Brian Ladd, former president of the Art Gallery Society of NSW, you'll also visit the township of Morpeth, where the colonial buildings reveal an unexpected history. Follow the smell of fresh-baked sourdough and you'll find yourself at the home to the original Arnott’s biscuits. READY TO EXPLORE? The 3-day Galleries of the NSW Hunter region tour departs 20 October 2020.

Grounded Pasha Bulka Monument Newcastle, NSW

About Renaissance Tours

Pioneers of cultural and special interest tours in Australia, when you travel with Renaissance Tours, you benefit from meticulously researched itineraries developed in partnership with the Art Gallery Society of New South Wales, the company of like-minded people, tour leaders among the most accomplished in their fields of expertise and the joy of knowing that all arrangements are taken care of. 1300 727 095

Image: Photo courtesy of City of Newcastle


Art & Culture Bald Hill Stanwell Tops, NSW



WHERE: Illawarra, NSW Coastal villages don’t come much more scenic than Bundeena, perched on the Port Hacking River south of Sydney and surrounded by the wild and verdant Royal National Park. It is a popular destination for hikers, swimmers and kayakers – but Evan Petrelis says the area has another, lesser-known attraction. “Bundeena is something of a haven for artists, with more than a dozen painters, sculptors and ceramicists

making their homes here,” he says. “Tour leader and art consultant, Fiona McIntosh, will take our travellers to visit them in their studios and find out more about the art they produce.” Bundeena is far from the only creative outpost on the Illawarra Coast. Other small towns like Thirroul also have thriving artistic communities, while the city of Wollongong is home to some astonishing art collections. “The Wollongong Art Gallery is one of the country’s largest regional art galleries, showcasing Australian, Aboriginal and Asian art, but equally

impressive is the University of Wollongong, which has a 5000-strong collection of paintings, prints, ceramics, textiles and sculptures,” Petrelis says. Speaking of sculpture, Crown Street Mall boasts one of Australia’s most striking pieces of public art, Illawarra Placed Landscape. Created by New York-based artist Mike Hewson, the installation includes carved sandstone boulders and a living cabbage tree palm. READY TO EXPLORE? The 3-day Illawarra Art Trail tour departs 6 October 2020. TB SEPT/OCT 2020


True Blue Travel


Just the whisper of Esperance evokes imagery of untamed beauty and mystery in the mind’s eye of most West Aussies. Discover why this pocket of WA’s southern coast is still an untamed wonderland. by: bonita grima


34 TrueBlue

Image: Western Australian Indigenous Tourism Operators Council (WAITOC)

True Blue Travel Flying over Lucky Bay in Esperance




Find our range of award winning beers at

Or visit our award winning Brewpub 48/38 Mort St, Braddon ACT 2612

True Blue Travel Wharton Beach in Esperance WA

DURING THE summer of ’68, aboard an old pearling lugger from Broome, my father spent five months in Esperance. Exploring the deep blue waters of the Recherche Archipelago, the white sands of remote beaches and the rowdy pubs in town, his time as a teenage abalone diver is like something from a Tim Winton novel. And perhaps that’s why the isolated fishing village in the state’s southeast was chosen as a main location for the recent film adaptation of Winton’s classic novel, Dirt Music. There’s something about Esperance that encapsulates the West Australian lifestyle perfectly.

Image: Manon Duport

A dramatic coastline Traditional home of the Wudjari people, this section of coastline is synonymous with freedom and adventure, and while not exactly the ‘Wild West,’ it does have a history of harbouring explorers and outlaws. The Dutch were the first Europeans to sail through the area back in 1627, but it was the French who first came ashore when sheltering from a storm in 1792, naming the spot after their ship, the Espérance. They also named the archipelago of 110 islands that became a hunting ground for Australia’s only known pirate, ‘Black Jack’ Anderson, in the early 1800s. With names like Hellfire Bay, this coast has seen much drama over time

and the likes of many, including the British military, Afghan cameleers, whalers, pastoralists and gold miners. These days Esperance is a little more sedate, known mostly for its fishing, agriculture and tourism industries, but the thrill for myself and a friend, like most drawn here now, will be in the immersion of nature with all its raw energy and colour.

Coastal colour Esperance’s palette is an Instagrammer’s dream, consisting of baby blues, pastel pinks and clean-asa-whistle whites. The Great Ocean Drive is a great introduction to beaches that some would argue are the best in Australia, if not the world. With sheltered bays of fluorescent blue, and sand so powdery-fine it squeaks beneath bare feet, they might be right. Views from rocky headlands are worth the 40km loop alone, but we stop to swim at Blue Haven Beach and Twilight Cove. At the latter, we follow boarded walkways down to find fascinating formations in giant granite boulders, basking like elephants in the sea. From September to November, a carpet of coloured wildflowers dots the landscape of the GoldfieldsEsperance region. The nearby Fitzgerald River National Park is a UNESCO-recognised Biosphere Reserve, containing more than 1800

species of flowering plants. The Esperance Wildflower Trail continues in Cape Le Grand National Park where orchid, hakea and banksia spotting can be combined with a hike up Frenchman’s Peak. Cape Le Grand National Park is also home to Lucky Bay, where you’ll find the whitest sand in the country and some of the friendliest locals – sunbathing kangaroos that are more than happy to pose for a selfie. While changing salinity levels have left ‘Pink Lake’ on the outskirts of town looking less than rosy, Lake Hillier certainly won’t disappoint. Located on Middle Island, 150km from shore, this brilliant bubblegum-pink lake is best seen from above, with scenic flights conducted by Goldfields Air Services seven days a week resuming in October 2020. For a closer view, Esperance Island Cruises will take you there by boat, however due to distance, tours only operate a few times a year. Alternatively explore island life with a wildlife cruise, for a chance to see whales, dolphins and seals.

Fresh flavour and local life Due to its isolation, Esperance has a quaintness about it. That said, there’s the emergence of a modern scene, with the likes of city-style café Downtown Espresso Bar and its hipster neighbour, Dempster Street Barber Shop. 



True Blue Travel

CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT: Taking a dip at Twilight Cove; local wildlife in Esperance; wooden walkway down to Twilight Cove; Lucky Bay on a sunny day; Lucky Bean coffee van at the beach with a local roo getting his morning coffee fix; Esperance Chalet Village.

38 TrueBlue

Images: Sean Scott, WAITOC, Monique Ceccasto & Bonita Grima.

True Blue Travel

Many of these new offerings have come from savvy locals who have returned after years living away. Fiona Shillington from Esperance Chalet Village is one such resident, moving back after 30 years in Sydney. “It’s a really easy place to be that’s great for the kids. It’s just beautiful with this sense of remoteness and slow living,” she says. Stumbling across the 3.2-hectare property five years ago when back for a holiday, Fiona and her husband have given the old holiday village a fresh aesthetic. A-framed chalets and cosy cottages set by a creek among bushland allow you to soak up surrounding tranquillity. Taylor St Quarters, by the water, is also a family-run business. It’s a cool collective of restaurant, bar, café and music venue, spilling out to a chilled outdoor space. Lucky Bay Brewing is another good choice for a lazy afternoon. This ‘paddock to pint’ microbrewery is the only one in WA to source raw barley from local farmers for the production of craft beer… and the only place I've ever seen selling one-litre takeaway tinnies. If you’re a lover of nostalgia like me,

try The Loose Goose Restaurant and Bar. Though a bit daggy on the outside, we’re sold on the good old fashioned service, quality food and retro décor inside. For our last day in Esperance, we pack a picnic (hint: boutique grocer Bob and Jim’s General Store has the goods) and head back to Lucky Bay. Down on the beach, Noongar elder Doc Reynolds and wife Robyne run the Lucky Bean coffee van, selling bush-flavoured muffins, damper and jams. Doc also operates Indigenous cultural walking tours that allow visitors to forage for bush foods in season. “Kepa Kurl is the traditional name for Esperance,” he tells me. “It means where the water lies like a boomerang.” Occasionally teaming up with brother-in-law Mark Adamson of Esperance Eco Discovery Tours, Doc has intricate knowledge of local ecology that pairs perfectly with the 4WD adventure specialist’s tours. If you’re looking to spend more time here, the Lucky Bay campground has excellent facilities. From the car park high above the bay, we take one last look at the curving shoreline. Just like a boomerang, we’ll be back. TB

FAST FACTS • Dirt Music, starring Garrett Hedlund, David Wenham, Kelly Macdonald and Julia Stone, was filmed in Esperance in December 2018/19. It’s due for release in Australian cinemas in 2020. • Lucky Bay has been scientifically declared as having the whitest sand in Australia due to its lack of adulteration and high composition of fine grains of milky or frosted quartz. SEPT/OCT 2020



bowled over by More than lawn bowls and retirement homes, this hidden gem just 25 minutes from Byron Bay embodies the laidback lifestyle of far northern NSW.

Ballina by: chris ashton

40 TrueBlue

Image: Ballina Shire Council


Hanging out at the headland with a locally rented Kombi




42 TrueBlue

Images: Ballina Shire Council & The Cubana


THE SETTING sun has cast the Richmond River ablaze in golden light; the last fishing trawler makes its way out to sea. As I grab my camera to capture the fleeting moment, a rogue seagull snatches the last morsel of fish from my dinner. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me backtrack for a moment. I’m in Ballina, a coastal town which has had a long connection to the fishing industry. It was once even the third-busiest port in New South Wales. Somewhere over the years though, it’s garnered a reputation as the home of a different kind of community: retirees. Lawn bowls and retirement homes are what most of us associate with Ballina today, but there’s more to this town than mobility scooters and freshly ironed whites. Ballina is, in my new opinion, the hidden jewel of the far north coast. Though I’ve visited many times in the past, it’s never been longer than a few hours at best. Mostly just passing through. Wanting to change that, I decided to book a spontaneous long weekend getting to know the real Ballina. As a fan of accommodation that breaks the cookie-cutter mould, The Cubana instantly caught my attention. With it's bold colour scheme and vintage styling, it's like a roadside motel in Palm Springs. It's kitsch, quirky, and frankly, it would have been criminal to not book. After a scan of the room and mental note to grab a drink from the pop-up bar caravan by the pool at some point over the weekend,

I venture out to get the show on the road. One of the first things that hits you about Ballina is its natural beauty. It's breathtaking, and I'm not just talking about the mangrovelined Richmond River. The beaches here are equally stunning – and they’re almost completely deserted! After a smoothie pit-stop at The Belle General, I head over to Lighthouse Beach for a walk along the breakwall. While admiring the skill of the local surfers – a talent I sadly don’t possess – I strike up a chat with a couple who suggest taking the ferry to South Ballina and four-wheel driving down the beach to Evans Head. Unsure if my rental agreement would allow it, I thank them for the tip, but the idea spins in my mind like wheels stuck in too-soft sand. Something to investigate tomorrow, maybe? Checking my watch, I realise it’s almost time to meet the team from Out of the Blue Adventures at the Lance Ferris Wharf – right down the other end of town. Making it with literally minutes to spare (sorry for the parking job, inspector) I climb aboard the purpose-built 20-seater boat and we soon set off for our two-hour whale watching exploration. Bobbing over the wake of passing tinnies, the scale of the Richmond is clear. Twelve tributaries flow into the mighty river as it weaves for 394 kilometres from the McPherson Range in South East Queensland’s Scenic Rim. 

LEFT TO RIGHT, TOP TO BOTTOM:Dolphins surfing the waves in Ballina; guest room at The Cubana; resident pelicans; local cafe in Ballina; scouting for a surf spot; The Cubana reception area; fishing along the Richmond River; the Big Prawn.

FAST FACTS • Ballina has 25km of scenic bike paths to explore. Forget to chuck a bike in your carry-on? You can hire one locally! • If you love your maritime history, be sure to check out the small-butimpressive Ballina Naval & Maritime Museum on Regatta Ave. SEPT/OCT 2020


Images: Ballina Shire Council & Out of the Blue Adventures


Ballina’s location and proximity to the East Australian Current (EAC) running along the coast make it prime whale watching territory. Witnessing these gentle giants up close, seeing their power as they thrust out of the water, is a moment I’ve waited a lifetime for. Our captain, Dean, has lived in the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales for years. You can feel his passion and respect for the area as he points out local landmarks, idles the engine as curious dolphins surface nearby, and when his eagle eyes spot the fine spray of approaching humpbacks. He laughs in understanding when I mention the town’s reputation for retirement but says that’s slowly starting to change. People are now catching on to how good Ballina is – the lifestyle, the accessibility and the natural beauty. I think I’m becoming one of them. Mooring back at the wharf, delicious smells wafting from Wharf Bar & Restaurant directly in front of us, I suddenly feel very hungry. Never one to pass up an opportunity to try seafood caught fresh that day, I order some

44 TrueBlue

fish’n’chips to enjoy on the edge of the wharf. Watching the fishing fleet pass by like salmon migrating upstream, the now-setting sun casting its golden light across the river, I’m struck by how perfect the moment is. As the last of the trawlers putter towards me, I can see the perfect photo coming into alignment. Removing my lens cap, I quickly line up the shot, the click of the shutter giving me a sense of relief. I didn’t miss it. And then it happens. A swift breeze whips my arm, taking my eye off the camera to see the last of my dinner flying across the river in the beak of a plucky seagull. My stomach sinks with devastation… but I hope he enjoys it as much I was about to. Though this is just the first of my two nights, I can already see how this visit is going to end. There will be gorgeous beaches, there will be buzzing cafés and, when in Rome, I’m pretty sure there will be barefoot bowls and a few pints, too. Needless to say, I’m already bowled over by Ballina – and will be back! TB

CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT: Whales playing off the coast of Ballina; Ballina Market; up close to the action with Out of the Blue Adventures; exploring the far north coast by kombi.

beyond anxiety




Meandering along the coast from seaside Batemans Bay into the windswept mountains of Tilba Tilba and offshore to Montague Island, this journey along the NSW South Coast combines gourmet delights with outdoor adventure. Words: sarah hinder

46 TrueBlue


OYSTERS ON THE BAY After a quick hour’s flight, we touch down in Moruya, at the smallest airport I have ever seen. We grab our bags, jump straight in the hire car and are on the road north to Batemans Bay. Hopping out of the car near Batemans Bay Bridge I’m buffeted by a gentle salty sea breeze while shaking hands with Josh Waterson from Region X Unspoilt Experiences, who will be taking us out on the water for an oyster-tasting kayak tour.

The four of us are loaded into double kayaks with Josh in the lead, heading downstream followed by a slight tailwind. As we paddle easily along Clyde River, I take in the huge azure bay, dotted with docked yachts and speedboats. Before I know it, we’ve reached our first stop – the Oyster Shed on Wray Street. Paddling up to the dock and blue shed, we’re met by fourth-generation oyster farmer Jade Norris, whose grandfather built the 

Images: Jason Steel & Southbound Escapes

I’M WALKING ACROSS the Sydney Airport tarmac, blinking happily in the sunlight with a sunhat atop my head, jam-packed itinerary in my pocket and a Rex plane ticket to Moruya in my hand. At the bottom of the stairs, I look up at the front of the plane and there’s the Rex pilot, smiling and waving!I’m heading off on a three-day trip with three companions around the Eurobodalla region on the New South Wales South Coast.




BIKING ALONG THE COAST By now it’s midday and we’re back on the road south. Halfway, we stop at the town of Bodalla to visit Bodalla Dairy Shed – including a tour around the dairy, a sampling of their famed ice creams and a traipse down to the paddock where we bottle-feed twoweek-old calves. Arriving at Southbound Escapes in Narooma, we are greeted by Sally Bouckley, who’s full of energy and has five e-bikes ready to go. Just a quick explanation of the electric-powered gears and we zoom (quite literally) away. We’re on a 21-kilometre return ride from Narooma to Dalmeny – a stunning cycling and walking track that hugs the coastline, built and funded by the community. With the e-bike doing most of the work, I spend most of the time looking out at the beaches and headlands as we cruise by. We pass along a boardwalk over turquoise waters and stop at

48 TrueBlue

a few great vantage points before heading back to Narooma – where we spot a few seals lolling about near the rocks just a few metres away. At the end of our ride, Sally leads us out onto a quiet beach where a surprise picnic is waiting for us. We find hanging plates suspended from a frame, filled with quiches, cakes and sandwiches. We drink champagne and sample local food – jams, cheese, baked goods and fresh fruit. I sit contentedly, thinking what a lovely surprise this would make for a special occasion. Back at Southbound Escapes HQ, we check into our accommodation for the night. As soon as I step into our corner apartment, I’m stunned by the view through the floor-length plateglass windows. There’s a bottle of local riesling in the fridge along with our cheese and crackers from Bodalla Dairy, so we enjoy a glass of wine and treats on the balcony while watching the sun drop over a deep-blue ocean before taking the short walk up to The Whale Restaurant for dinner. The small and dedicated team there is headed up by ex-pro-surferturned-chef Matthew Hoar. From the ever-rotating menu of seasonal produce, I enjoy the housemade pumpkin gnocchi and share a taste of every dessert on the list with my companions, including frangipane tart with rhubarb, various scoops of ice cream and an excellent sticky date pudding – all made almost exclusively with local ingredients.

CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT: e-bike tour from Narooma to Dalmeny; aerial view of Narooma Bar; outdoor dining area at Wharf Apartments Narooma; surprise picnic with Southbound Escapes; Mountain View Farm; two calves at Bodalla Dairy; cycling along the boardwalk; beach en route to Dalmeny from Narooma. Images: Jason Steel & Southbound Escapes

shed back in the 1950s. As we float in tethered kayaks, Jade tells us the story of the family business, a wealth of information about oyster farming and the two types they grow (Pacific oysters and Sydney rock oysters) before we try a few of each that were harvested just that morning. We also indulge in an ‘unrinsed’ Sydney rock, fresh from the ocean and filled with a small mouthful of seawater, (something you can only experience direct from the growers)! As we’re served steaming cups of coffee in tin mugs and are getting ready to cast off again, Jade’s dad Mark and husband Greg arrive in a boat with the morning’s catch, waving hello. Then we’re kayaking across the bay towards the oyster farm ourselves. We take time exploring the rows of racks upon which the oysters grow and the many docks where other oyster farmers are at work. As we circle back around toward the beach I spot several shore birds in the thick vegetation by the water and an eagle circling far above us with her mind set on fish for breakfast.


DREAMTIME STORIES AT GULAGA AND TOURING HISTORICAL TILBA After a well-earned night’s sleep, we wander downstairs for breakfast at The View Coffee & Bites, located right below our apartments. Three macchiatos later we’re driving down the coast to Tilba Tilba. Arriving at Mountain View Farm, we’re greeted by farm owner Kathryn Radcliffe and Aboriginal elder Iris White. True to its name, the farm, which is blooming with pink and yellow flowers, is set in the foothills of Mount Gulaga. We sip on refreshing juice made from native ingredients while Iris tells us Dreamtime stories handed down by her grandfather. She shares of the spiritual significance of the mountain and the landscape’s Songspirals to traditional owners, particularly the Yuin women. Known as the Mother Mountain, Gulaga is an especially sacred place for women. I’m enraptured listening to Iris, feeling the warm wind rush down the mountain. I know then and there that this is the

most special moment of this trip. Later, we head inside to explore the farmhouse accommodation and sample a few more treats made on the farm: jams, pickles, chutneys, salsa, quiches, breads and tarts, all incorporating native ingredients. A five minute drive away, we meet up with Zoe Burke in Central Tilba, who is dressed from head to toe in stunning 19th-century dress. Zoe runs Tilba Talks Historical Walks, a historical walking tour of Central Tilba’s oldest stores and attractions. From the Wallaby & Wombat, filled with Australian-made woodwork, gifts and souvenirs, to Reva’s handmade jewellery store to Gulaga Gallery & Bookstore (home to everything hemp from clothes to smoothies), most establishments along the main street were built in the late 1800s. After a coffee at The Tilba Teapot and some old-fashioned lollies from The Tilba Sweet Spot, we finish the tour off sampling the rich and creamy offerings at the ABC Cheese Factory. 




Next up is a visit to Tilba Valley Winery & Ale House. We take a seat on the wrap-around verandah overlooking the diamond-shaped vineyard below. Next to us are a couple with two friendly-looking dogs calmly roaming and the atmosphere is just so laidback. We spend the afternoon enjoying a late lunch of hors d’oeuvres, seafood pasta and gourmet salads, sipping wine and port – and I purchase a few bottles of each to take home with me. We check into Tilba Lake Camp, where we are each staying in our own bell tent or tiny house (a bell tent for me complete with plush double bed, power pack, lamp, hot water bottle and kettle). There are farm animals dotted throughout the paddocks and I spend some time feeding carrots to the horses before curling up with a book on a camp chair as the sun sets behind rolling hills and faraway fields of dairy cows. That night we head back up to The Drom (aka The Dromedary Hotel) in Central Tilba for a hearty dinner and a few drinks. It’s clear we’re the only out-of-towners as everyone seems to know everyone, but we’re warmly invited to join in the weekly game of darts. A few of the pros teach us their best moves. Back at Tilba Lake House I wander back to my bell tent along a path lit by moon and am lulled to sleep by the sound of nothing but soft wind rushing over the hills outside.

50 TrueBlue

Images: Jason Steel & Southbound Escapes


LEFT TO RIGHT, TOP TO BOTTOM: Tilba Valley Winery & Ale House; Montague Island coastline; resident seals sun bathing; floating off the coast of Montague Island; Tilba dairy cow; locally-sourced nibbles; tiny homes at Tilba Lake House; spacious bell tents; Montague Island lighthouse keeper’s cottage.


SQUABBLING WITH SHOREBIRDS AND SWIMMING WITH SEALS I wake early, ready for this morning’s trip to Montague Island. At Narooma we meet with Wazza from Montague Island Discovery Tours, who will be taking us on a 30-minute boat ride offshore. We’re kitted out with wetsuits and flippers, then we’re atop rolling waves, gliding out past Narooma’s breakwater, keeping a close eye out for any dolphins or whales we may happen to pass. As we approach Montague Island, the sounds of birdlife and baying of seals fill the air. Home to a hundredstrong colony of seals, thousands of little penguins and more than 90 bird species for which the island is an essential breeding ground, this is both a protected nature reserve and sacred to the Yuin people, who call the island Barunguba. At the dock we meet with Paul, our expert guide from NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service. Embarking up the

hill in the direction of the lighthouse, I immediately spot two baby seagulls by the side of the track – it’s currently breeding season for several shorebirds and we’re squawked at loudly by very protective parents as we make our way up the path. We take a stroll around the island, while Paul explains the significance of the island, both in terms of its unique biodiversity (he points out several penguin breeding boxes and revegetation sites) and Indigenous importance (from a respectful distance, Paul shows us several sites sacred to the Yuin). We tour the lighthouse and former lighthouse keeper’s residence. Built in 1881, the lovely Victorian-era heritage cottage has been restored, and now accepts small numbers of visitors to stay overnight. Wazza is waiting back at the dock, and it’s time to get wetsuits on and hit the water. Back aboard the boat we skirt around to the north-west side of the island where hundreds of seals are lazing about on rocky outcrops, diving

in and out of the shallows, and lolling in the water. The colony is made up of two seal species, Wazza explains: darker brown New Zealand fur seals and much larger Australian fur seals (the largest males weigh up to 300 kilograms and I certainly spot a few of that size!). I have a mind to swim up to just the smaller seals to start off, but just a few minutes after I dive into the cool waves, my heart gives a start. An enormous shape swims directly up to me with deft speed. He circles around me a few times before stopping right in front of me… then peers very slowly and curiously at me with two huge puppydog eyes. I feel myself smile. “You’re just as friendly as a pup,” I think. I snorkel all around the playful groups, who dart around me and each other as though it’s an extraordinary game. All too soon I’m back on the boat, speeding away from the sounds of their barking and the proud mama and papa birds’ squawking, while Barunguba’s white lighthouse fades against the afternoon sky. TB





Some Belgian-style chocolate fudge, a train ride along the Don River, a country town with a waterfall as its centrepiece or a walk in one of Australia’s most dramatic national parks? A stroll through a town of murals, a climb up a giant volcanic plug overlooking Bass Strait or a visit to a farm that produces both salmon and ginseng? By Winsor Dobbin

52 TrueBlue


Image:Marnie Hawson


The Nut – a grassy bluff that once served as an ancient volcanic plug SEPT/OCT 2020



Rugged luxury The wilderness setting at Cradle Mountain Lodge is a quintessentially rugged Tasmanian experience. We must decide whether to attend a wine-tasting accompanied by a range of gourmet cheeses, or to venture outside on a guided night tour of the Cradle Mountain Lake St Clair National Park to look for wombats, wallabies, possums, pademelons and a Tassie devil or two. A spa treatment, perhaps, a choice of walks, or a helicopter ride over the spectacular Dove Lake? The ideal spot to combine animal watching with a generous dose of luxury, Cradle Mountain Lodge has recently had a multimillion-dollar upgrade to its accommodation, dining and spa facilities. A new room category in the King Billy Suites has been launched. These offer central fireplaces, outdoor spa baths and elevated minibars featuring a variety of items from high-end Tasmanian producers. Work has also been completed on the Highland Restaurant, maintaining the casual vibe while introducing a new menu. The Tavern Bar & Bistro has a new wood-fired pizza oven and open

kitchen, along with an expanded deck offering space for 80 more patrons.

Say hi to Stanley A 90-minute drive away in Stanley, you can climb the iconic volcanic plug known as The Nut – or take a ride on the chairlift – or alternatively settle in at the Angel’s Share tasting room for the chance to sample the creations of several of the Apple Isle’s growing number of artisan whisky producers. You can walk off any excesses with a 2km stroll around the top of The Nut. Stay at the Ship Inn, a cosy Tasmanian storytelling guest house which embraces local tales of shipwrecks, sailors and a prime minister. It started life as a pub in 1849 but today caters for modern tastes with its own gym and yoga studio, and the cottage where former Prime Minister Joseph Lyons was born is now a public museum. Eat at Tasmanian Wine and Food, where you will find platters and local wines, or across the road at the Stanley Hotel. Local restaurant options include bistro-style, Asian-fusion, seafood, pizza or takeaway. The town is home to Hursey Seafoods’ fleet of nine vessels, which catch southern rock lobster, giant 

Image:Natallia Safonava

FLY INTO BURNIE-WYNYARD Airport and you are confronted by myriad leisure choices. Let us start our discovery trip in Burnie, Tasmania’s most westerly city, nestled around Emu Bay on Bass Strait, a 40-minute drive from the larger city of Devonport. It is a working-class town where 20,000 residents enjoy galleries, performances, exhibitions, and community events as well as cafés and eateries. Some of the best milk in the world is used in local cheesemaking and the city is home to one of the leading distilleries on the Apple Isle: Hellyers Road Distillery. Visitors are welcome to taste, take a tour or enjoy a meal in the on-site café. Burnie’s hills are home to impressive gardens and parks – and there are some amazing art deco and Federation buildings close to the working waterfront. It is a good starting point from which to explore attractions including the pretty village of Stanley, the Tarkine/Takayna wilderness and Cradle Mountain, one of Tasmania’s “must do” adventures, which has a brandnew visitor centre.

54 TrueBlue


Image:Marnie Hawson

OPPOSITE PAGE: Boardwalk through Cradle Mountain National Park. THIS PAGE: Ship Inn Stanley




crab, stripey trumpeter, gummy shark, flathead and other local fish – and sell them direct to the public. Local Stanley attractions include penguin viewing at dusk, a heritage walk, Dip Falls and Blue Hills Honey, which hosts the delightful Leather & Wood café. The former cable station, around 3km out of town, offers bed and breakfast accommodation. Established in 1936, the property was a telecommunications centre that carried Tasmania’s first telephone link to the mainland. Another piece of history is Highfield House and its lovely gardens. The Stanley and Tarkine Visitor Centre is a great place to find out more regional information.

Beyond Burnie Alternatively, check out the wide range of street art in Sheffield, some artisan beers at Seven Sheds in Railton, explore the limestone caves at Gunns Plains or visit the small town of Waratah, where a large waterfall drops from the town into a gully below. Waratah Falls can be seen from various spots near the base, thanks to easy access tracks from the main road, as well as from different vantage points around the town.

56 TrueBlue

If all that’s not enough, breathe in the fresh air in the Tarkine wilderness. Take a boat tour of the Arthur River to explore the beauty of the region up close or stay a night or two at Corinna Wilderness Experience. There is a range of accommodation available in this historic mining town including the original Roadman’s cottage with double bed, the old pub which is like a guest house (with single and double rooms) available for groups and new wilderness retreats built in country style. Set among 447,000 hectares of forest, wild rivers, exposed mountains, magnesite cave systems and extensive coastal heath, the Tarkine has the largest tract of temperate rainforest in the southern hemisphere and has sacred significance to Tasmanian Aboriginal custodians.

Visitors can get close to nature culturally, spiritually and physically – just make sure to wrap up warmly in winter. Corinna Wilderness Experience’s eco-wilderness retreats have no television, mobile coverage or WI-FI – but there is a bar and general store, and a restaurant in warmer months. The Arcadia II Cruise departs Corinna dock at 10am daily, taking 90 minutes to travel the 22km down to the Pieman Heads. Enjoy morning tea and coffee on board. To get to places the Arcadia II can’t reach, a one-hour cruise on the Sweetwater vessel usually departs at 3pm in summer, and is weatherdependant in winter. Corinna is on the northern side of the Pieman River. If you are driving from the south (Queenstown, Zeehan etc) you must use the Fatman Barge get across to Corinna. Other north-west attractions close to Burnie-Waratah Airport include Devonport’s Don Valley Railway – home to the largest collection of steam locomotives in Tasmania, chocolate and fudge indulgences at House of Anvers in Latrobe, wine samplings at Ghost Rock, and salmon and ginseng tastings at 41° South Tasmania in Red Hills. TB

Images: Sarajayne Lada, Tourism Tasmania & Andrew Wilson

Waratah Falls from below; Arcadia II on the Pieman River; Ghost Rock Wines.



p.10 the big three in australian mining P.14 biostimulants: saving our soil P.20 the ancient brew taking 2020 by storm P.24 will regional hospitality survive covid-19? p.28 dating goes digital: finding love in 2020

THE GREEN REVOLUTION IS OVER, SO WHAT’S NEXT? With less than 60 harvests before catastrophic collapse, farmers are embracing biostimulants as a means to revive their soil and protect their livelihoods. p14



WAUCHOPE 02 6585 1000

HUNTER VALLEY 02 6574 6499

MACKAY 07 4955 0220

PERTH 08 9477 1355

GUNNEDAH 02 6741 4777


BRAINFOOD Bringing you the latest insight and analysis Words: BETHANY PLINT

HOW TO STAY FIT AND HEALTHY IN ISOLATION With widespread gym closures, daily outdoor exercise limits and fresh produce scarcity in some states, no one can be blamed for slipping off the wagon when it comes to healthy living. Overall wellbeing is far wider reaching than exercise and diet alone, but if you find that you’d adopted a few habits that don’t align with your goals, we’ve got a few suggestions to help you find your balance again.

Plan ahead

Embrace the #snacklife

Lockdown has really thrown a spanner in the works when it comes to outdoor exercise, particularly for our friends in Victoria. But if your government allows it, grab a mask, lace up your sneakers and head out for a bit of fresh air. Take a stroll around your neighbourhood, go for a run in the park or take the bike out for a quick cycle. Cardio doesn’t have to be boring. If you’re locked in your house all day, it might become the thing you look forward to most!

If you’re like me, you might find yourself examining the fridge every hour wondering if anything new has magically appeared. Snacking throughout the day is a common habit, especially when your desk is a few steps from the kitchen. And that’s okay – you need to stay fuelled up. Opt for fruit, veggies, nuts, hummus and even try your hand at baking something from scratch. When it comes to meals, always aim for three quality meals everyday with plenty of veggies and lean protein. And remember to drink two litres of water a day.

Get up and stretch If you’ve begun working remotely, there’s a good chance your home office hasn’t been ergonomically set up (if you have a home office at all). It’s all too easy to wake up in the morning, pull your laptop over and begin working from bed, or to set yourself up at the breakfast bar with your back hunched over a bowl of muesli as you flick through emails. By all means, work from where you’re most comfortable but remember to get up once every hour to have a stretch. A few twists of your torso, some toe taps, neck rolls and wrist rotations will not only help to release the tension built up in your muscles, but it will help you clear your head before diving into the next task.

Check in with your friends and family We’ve heard it a million times but the situation we’re living through is unprecedented. Staying physically in shape has a great deal to do with our overall mental and emotional wellbeing but it’s only one part of the puzzle. We should also be checking in with the people around us, offering support where we can and asking for it when we need it. Our mental health is being challenged on a huge scale right now and the more we embrace these challenges and work through them together, the stronger we’ll emerge when the storm finally passes.

Image: Jonanathan Borba

Designate some time each day to move your body. Whether it’s a quick HIIT workout you found online, a few laps around the block or a gentle yoga flow, taking time to get the blood flowing each day can be beneficial for your overall health. If you’re a gym junkie, you’ll know that intensity often outweighs duration when it comes to an impactful workout, so you only need 20-30 minutes to jack your heart rate and get the endorphins flowing. If you’re new to exercise, remember to ease into it and focus on increasing your mobility and get your form right before adding too much weight, resistance or reps.

Get outside (if you can)




Living small The tiny house movement currently sweeping the nation is an architectural and social philosophy that advocates living simply in smaller abodes. Tiny living principles promote financially prudent, economically safe, shared community experiences, and a shift in consumerism-driven mindsets. Born out of a desire to discover nature and stay in comfort, Tiny Away is providing a fresh new take on the tiny house phenomenon. They have taken things one step further by partnering with unique rural property owners, allowing them to earn up to 45 per cent of the revenue share to enable guests to enjoy spectacular rural settings, carefully selected to ensure the most enriching experience possible. In Australia, this means farmers and other rural property owners can have a home on their property and make additional income. Tiny Away currently has 26 eco-friendly handcrafted tiny homes across NSW and Victoria. Each tiny home is designed from sustainable materials in Malaysia, before being shipped to Australia and constructed in under three hours by an experienced team of certified Aussie builders, plumbers and electricians. One Tiny Away home well worth a visit is 6Sixteen The Banks in Hawkesbury. With the Blue Mountains as a backdrop, this loft-style tiny house is set on a stunning two-hectare

property. It’s all about getting back to nature here, meaning a glass of wine and cheese platter at sunset, followed by roasted marshmallows around the firepit. Be sure to take a trip into nearby towns to load up on fresh produce, wine and artisan goods. Another standout is Picton’s two Paperbark Cottages. Situated on Mowbray Park Farm, these side-by-side wooden homes face out over expansive green paddocks. Mowbray Park Farm is a real working farm, so there’s plenty to see and do, including exploring the animal nursery, feeding the animals and horseriding. Just under an hour from Sydney, the surrounding towns here had a tough trot during the bushfires, so a farmstay here is the perfect place for an ‘empty esky’ holiday.



Tiny houses are ‘dwellings of 37 square metres or less’, while the average Australian home is around 240 square metres.

2500 YEARS

Mindfulness has been around for 2500 years and has been part of psychological therapies since the 1970s.

A NEW WAY TO WORK Want to work in a space that inspires, surrounded by people with similar goals and aspirations? Sydney’s Kafnu Alexandria is a private member community of innovators and creators. What’s that, you ask? It’s a co-working space, with both flexible and dedicated desks and plenty of common areas (including meeting rooms, a media production studio and a creative lab) that are so aesthetically pleasing you won’t want to leave. Recently Kafnu Alexandria partnered with one of the country’s most prolific creators of public art – Gillie and Marc – and their iconic artworks now adorn the walls and hallways, adding pops of colour and a heaps of oomph to the space. When the going gets tough (read: you need a break from work), the virtual fitness studio is a great space to sweat it out. Or if you prefer to unwind with a drink in hand, there’s a gin bar, plenty of craft beer and award-winning wines. Finally, the space is home to a 16-room mini-hotel, ideal if you have business meetings that span a few days. The best part of staying here is access to the whole complex… and yes, that includes the coffee machine.





As our planet continues to change dramatically, the ecosystems set up to protect it are disappearing at an alarming rate. Mangroves provide vital services to both human and sea life, but research shows these nearshore forests are perishing at a rate least three to five times faster than overall global forests. Hasanthi Dissanayake, Director of Ocean Affairs, Environment and Climate Change at the Ministry of Foreign Relations – Sri Lanka addressed the issue in a recent event organised by the Commonwealth: “Mangroves are rare ecosystems that support rich biodiversity, support a range of livelihoods from fisheries to tourism, and act as a form of natural coastal defence against tsunamis, rising sea levels, storm surges and erosion.” To combat the issue of mangrove disappearance, members of the Commonwealth Blue Charter – an agreement by 54 countries to solve some of the world’s most pressing ocean issues – are implementing projects on a global scale to reverse the decline of mangrove forests. In Trinidad and Tobago, a mangrove re-planting project is underway on a site that was cleared to make way for a pipeline. In the UK, social enterprise Blue Ventures has begun placing a monetary value on the carbon stored by mangroves and selling the “carbon credits” to environmentally conscious buyers. The Commonwealth Blue Charter welcomes involvement from conservationists around the world, allowing the general public to contribute to finding the solutions for more sustainable ocean and, particularly, mangrove management.

The big cover up With COVID-19 holding firm, face coverings have become the norm. If you take a stroll down any main street in Australia’s cities, you will see individuals donning face masks of all sorts – N95s and surgical masks to hand-sewn creations and balaclavas. The growing demand for facial coverings has sparked the interest of entrepreneurial types who have begun producing face masks for private sale. Turning to platforms such as Etsy and Facebook MarketPlace, these smallscale producers are helping to provide a “better than nothing” alternative for the general public, leaving the finite medical grade surgical and respirator masks for those who need them most; namely, health practitioners and confirmed COVID patients. Among the COVID-skeptics are those who doubt the efficacy of

cotton and polyester-based masks. However, the current government advice suggests a combination of physical distancing and frequent hand washing with the use of facial coverings in public as the best way to reduce the transmission of COVID-19. There is a looming question of whether or not these producers are leveraging the pandemic to make a quick buck. But they’re not the only ones. Fashion labels such as VPL and Collina Strada are selling face masks for upwards of $100 a piece. Even skincare brands such as Ellus & Krue and Skinstitut have jumped into action to address the emerging concern of “maskne” – breakouts on the lower half of the face caused friction and irritation as a result of regular face mask-wearing. One thing is for sure: there is some serious money to be made in the booming face mask business. SEPT/OCT 2020


Increase Productivity From a Distance Tokara is a remote access service developed by Position Partners for the construction & mining industry. It enables support technicians, surveyors, project managers and engineers to view and adjust Topcon machine control and survey systems in the field. • • • • •

Fast, effective technical support without the need to visit site Send and receive design files digitally – no USB to handle Check the job file from the office or home No climbing into machine cabs or leaning over a survey tablet Train users remotely without face-to-face interaction

Get in touch today:

1300 867 266 Australia 6 AusBiz. • New Zealand • SE Asia


Increase productivity and maintain physical distancing using Tokara remote access from Position Partners POSITION PARTNERS technicians are experts in their field and with the remote service capabilities enabled with Tokara, these technicians can solve myriad technical issues that arise without the need to be on-site. With remote access to machine guidance and survey technology, Tokara helps to maintain physical distancing without hindering productivity. Tokara is an Australian-designed telematics solution that improves efficiency and productivity for a range of civil construction, mining and engineering projects. Tokara connects your machines and survey instruments to the office, provides access to Position Partners’ technical support and links you to any GNSS/GPS network needed for the job. Managers and surveyors can also remotely update design files on all machines across multiple projects, without the need to visit each machine in person to upload a design via USB. “Tokara increases productivity and reduces downtime on site,” says Hayden Paul, Major Accounts Manager Construction, Position Partners.

“If you’re having issues with your machine(s) or survey gear on site, Tokara gives the customer and Position Partners full diagnostic access,” he adds. “If the support team can’t resolve the issue over the phone and we need to get out with field service we can be a lot more efficient knowing what the issue is to reduce time onsite.” Tokara offers project managers, surveyors and other key stakeholders the ability to login to a user-friendly web portal to track and manage their equipment, or send design updates to the field without leaving the office. “We, at Position Partners, have always prioritised timely and efficient support because we know that if your technology isn’t working then you’re not making money,” says Aaron Krenske, Networking Solutions Manager at Position Partners. Tokara is designed to help you get the most from your machine control and survey technology with fast, comprehensive support when you need it and also makes training your staff on the machine and equipment very simple.

“Our unique blend of experience and industry knowledge means that we are ideally placed to deliver a single industry-wide solution: we understand the business, we understand our customers, and we understand what they want to achieve,” Mr Krenske adds. “Tokara has been developed in Australia, using Australian skills and programmers, based around customer requirements, and has been extensively tested with contractors and end-users throughout the country so that we know it works in our harsh environment and with our often-challenging telecommunications networks.” “The service and support offered by Position Partners in conjunction with the remote access it provides to managers is what makes Tokara such a powerful solution for our customers,” says Mr Krenske said. SEPT/OCT 2020



SPOTLIGHT ON... MANAGING UNCERTAIN TIMES These are uncertain times. Bushfires, drought, COVID-19, talk of a recession and increasing unemployment has nearly everyone feeling worried. We stress about what could happen, the uncertainty and unpredictability of life right now. To deal with this, the number one thing each of us can do is to focus on what is within our control. Easier said than done, so here are some tips to help you. Words: REBECCA MARTIN



Recall times in your life when you have overcome difficulties and challenges. Make a list of them. Don’t be humble – you earned your track record of tenacity, grit, and strength. TIP: Acknowledging our past resourcefulness helps us to be resilient now.

When we are kind, we feel good, and make others to feel good. Kindness fosters kindness, and helps us feel connected to one another and less isolated in difficult times. If others aren’t being kind, they’re possibly stressed so have patience. TIP: Notice the positive things that others are doing for us and thank them.


We often mull over what we should have done or what happened in the past. This can lead us to wasting a lot of energy on negative emotions. If you find this happening, ask yourself “what could I change, if anything?”

5. FOCUS ON YOUR WELLBEING We know that we feel better when we exercise, eat healthy food and have good sleep. It’s good for our psychological health and helps us deal with uncertainty. Set yourself wellbeing goals. It may be as simple as a walk in the paddock each day. Tell a friend about your goal. Get them to hold you accountable. TIP: Set wellbeing goals and get a friend to help you achieve them.

Image: Michael Rechenberg

Consuming excessive news and social media distracts us from taking more positive actions and can make us feel even more anxious. TIP: Limit your news and social media each day.


If the answer is nothing, let it go. If there was something you could change, learn from it and try to change it in the future if it’s within your power. TIP: What can you change? If you can’t change something, let it go.




THE BIG THREE How Australia’s largest mineral earners are keeping our nation afloat in these turbulent times Words: IAN NEUBAUER




“The beginning of the economic climb-back is almost certainly months, not years away.”

WHEN THE Global Financial Crisis hit back in 2007, the mining boom and government fiscal stimulus packages are said to have prevented a recession. Now, as Australia faces the most challenging economic conditions since the 1930s, the resource and energy sector is again punching above its weight. In the 2019-2020 financial year, it delivered a whopping $299 billion GDP windfall – 6.5 per cent more than the figure forecast in December. “The resources sector will not be our only path back,” The Australian editorialised in April. “But on current performance, it will be the cornerstone of our return to prosperity.” In this edition of AusBiz, we take a look at Australia’s three largest mineral earners and at three new mining and energy projects being fast-tracked by investors and the government to help get the economy back in black.  SEPT/OCT 2020






Despite increasing talk of a trade war with China, including tariffs on Australian barley and bans on some of our beef, iron ore exports to China are up eight per cent compared to last year. Around two-thirds of China’s iron ore imports come from Australia and China depends on our iron ore because we are “a reliable, competitive and trusted partner,” wrote Gavin Thompson, vice chair for Wood Mackenzie Asia Pacific, in his popular industry blog APAC Energy Buzz. Global rating agency Standard & Poor predicts that the demand for iron ore in China will remain strong in the second half of this year as the Chinese government directs stimulus money into construction and infrastructure projects. Chinese demand for iron ore has pushed the spot price above the critical US$100 a tonne mark, delivering a much-needed boost to Canberra’s rapidly depleting coffers. It also put a rocket under the Australian dollar. “In dollar terms, the iron ore price is higher than at almost any time since early 2014,” said The Australian in April. “The beginning of the economic climb-back is almost certainly months, not years, away.”

Despite more Western nations turning away from the black stuff, Australian coal is still in high demand overseas as it’s consistently rated as the highest quality, lowest-sulphur varietal in the world – and remains our second most valuable mineral export after iron ore. Most of it goes to China, with imports to the country increasing by three per cent compared to last year. “Chinese imports of Australian coal are way ahead of where they were before the pandemic,” Thompson noted. But gains must be measured against a significant fall in price. Coking coal contracts traded on the Singapore Exchange that mirror the free-onboard price in Australia tumbled to a three-year low in May, down 33 per cent since March. This, in turn, has seen Australian coal mines cut production and shed hundreds of jobs. “I haven’t seen anything like this in my 15 years in the industry,” CFMEU district vice president Jeff Scales told the ABC. Yet the market fundamentals for Australian coal remain strong. India and Bangladesh have scores of new coal-fired power plants coming online within the next five years, as do Turkey, Vietnam, Indonesia, Japan, South Africa and the Philippines.



LIQUEFIED NATURAL GAS At the height of global lockdowns in April earlier this year, demand for oil fell so low producers in the US were actually paying buyers to take it off their hands to allow them to free up space in storage units and keep their refineries going. “As China first began to battle the coronavirus outbreak at the beginning of the year, LNG imports looked immediately vulnerable,” Thompson wrote of the scenario that made many lose sleep in Australia, now the world’s largest exporter of the commodity. And while LNG prices also fell to record lows, tumbling 40 per cent in April compared to the same month last year, the commodity is still in high demand. Credit once again goes to China, which is currently buying nine per cent more Australian LNG than it was buying in 2019. “The appetite of China’s consumers for Aussie tenderloin and merlot is insignificant in terms of overall trade,” Thompson wrote. “Iron ore, coal and LNG are what really matter. By value, China currently buys around a third of everything Australia exports.”


Image: Iron ore freight wagsons




In June 2019, an epic nine-year-long legal battle between environmentalists and India’s Adani Enterprises reached its nadir when the Queensland Government finally granted approval for the construction of one of the world’s largest coal mines in the Galilee Basin. The Carmichael mine will have the capacity to produce 60 million tonnes of thermal coal each year when it comes online. Adani says the Carmichael Mine will create about 1500 new jobs and 6750 indirect jobs in Western Queensland.

Some 1900 people, including hundreds who identify as Aboriginal, are working around the clock to build Fortescue Metal’s new $1.3 billion Eliwana Mine and Rail Project in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. 500 permanent new jobs will be created when the ore processing facility – capable of producing 30 million tonnes of ore per year – and its 143km-long railway come online next year. In April, Fortescue also broke ground on the new $3.7 billion Iron Bridge mine in the Pilbara that will produce 22 million tonnes of iron ore a year from mid-2022.

Located in Darling Downs near the NSW border, the Surat Gas Project, valued at $10 billion, is the biggest new resource project in Queensland in almost 10 years. More than 800 people are currently building the plant, which features 18 separate production facilities linked by highpressure gas pipelines. Another 200 permanent jobs will be created when it commences operations. Owned by Arrow Energy – a joint venture between Shell and PetroChina – the Surat Gas Project is expected to produce five trillion cubic feet of LNG over 27 years of operation.




TURNING DIRT INTO SOIL WITH BIOSTIMULANTS The Green Revolution of the 1950s and 1960s promised much and, according to the metrics of the time, delivered. But soil health advocates argue there is a hidden cost. Words: DARREN BAGULEY

INTRODUCED WITH the intention of eliminating famine, the Green Revolution saw the transfer of advanced agricultural technologies including mechanisation, highyielding varieties of dwarf wheats, rices and other cereals, and irrigation or other forms of controlled water supply to underdeveloped countries. In addition, synthetic fertilisers and ‘crop protection’ agro chemicals such as pesticides and herbicides, as well as modern cultivation methods, worked to achieve the program’s aim of boosting production and greatly reducing the incidence of famine.



In later years, however, questions arose about the actual cost of the Green Revolution. The oil crisis of the 1970s caused the price of synthetic fertiliser and diesel fuel to spike, which made it difficult for farmers everywhere to continue buying these inputs. The new hybrids replaced traditional seed varieties that had been bred for hundreds, even thousands, of years to deal with local conditions. Any attempt to reduce or eliminate the regime of synthetic fertiliser, pesticides and herbicides saw reduced yields as the hybrids had been bred to thrive with these inputs. 


"We are entering a perfect storm with increasing reliance on fertilisers and pesticide, compunding climate stressors, reduced resilience in food

Images: Truffle & Wine Co

production systems, and poorer outcomes for food producers."




SEWING THROUGH THE PAST Farmers across the world are now on a treadmill. Yields drop if they try to stop or scale back synthetic inputs, but they are at the mercy of the market when it comes to price. By the late 20th century, ecologists, agricultural scientists and farmers themselves were questioning the road down which agriculture was travelling. In the second decade of the 21st century, farmers struggled to maintain yields and, drained of the microbial life that characterises living soil, vast tracts of agricultural land had become dirt. “The promises of the Green Revolution are now bearing their fruit,” writes soil advocate Nicole Masters in her book For the Love of Soil. “Soil losses are escalating beyond soil’s capability to regenerate, with dramatic impacts on the environment, food nutrient density, and upon human life. Scientists calculate that in the past 40 years we have lost nearly a third of arable land to degradation and erosion and we may have as little as 60 harvests left before catastrophic collapse. We are entering a perfect storm with increasing reliance on fertilisers and pesticide, compounding climate stressors, reduced resilience in food production systems, and poorer outcomes for food producers. This decline is happening when we need food security more than ever.”



While some farmers continue to treat their land like dirt, over the past decade more and more are realising the importance of soil biology. Soil organisms strongly influence plant health and growth. Beneficial plantmicrobe interactions reduce pressure from invertebrate pests and diseases, mobilise nutrients that plants are unable to access by themselves, build root mass and modulate stress responses. In some ways, farmers are rediscovering the past and using techniques that have been used for millennia. For example, rotating monoculture crops seasonally to reduce the build-up of pests and pathogens, planting multi-species cover crops and incorporating organic materials such as crop residues, composts and manures. All these methods stimulate diverse soil biological communities – and some companies are seeking to shorten the process of building soil biology by producing biostimulants.

BUILDING A BETTER BASE According to DTS Regulatory Consultants’ Gavin Hall and Stellina Popplewell, “Biostimulants are generally regarded as biologically based products that, when applied to either soil for crop production or to a crop directly, produce a corresponding desirable


effect in that crop. They are not considered to be nutrients, pesticides or soil improvers, however often claimed to replace these products in part. “They can work directly with the plant itself, often inducing plant growth regulation, to elicit production of plant defence compounds or increase tolerance of environmental stresses. Alternatively, they may work within soil by such means as competing with harmful microorganisms, and/or providing a means to more easily absorb nutrients. Many biostimulants are bacterial organisms and so often called crop probiotics. Other examples include organic acids, seaweed extracts and other biological compounds.” Other waste-derived or raw organic biostimulants include sewage sludge, composted urban waste, vermicompost and chitin/chitosan derivatives. Some biostimulants include beneficial microbes that can be added to soils. For example, some soil microbes tolerate harsher environments than others. Pseudomonas putida can help wheat cope with heat stress, and some strains of Bacillus subtilis produce a plant hormone, cytokinin, that promotes growth in drought-stricken plants by interfering with suppressed shoot growth.

A SEED OF DOUBT Though well short of the estimated US$155.8 billion spent globally on fertiliser in 2019, research that appeared in Biology and

Fertility of Soils that same year estimated the biostimulant industry was worth $US2.9 billion in 2017, and is predicted to increase to $US5.4 billion by 2022. While many farmers have experienced great success using biostimulants, one of the report’s co-authors, Professor Susanne Schmidt, of The University of Queensland School of Agriculture and Food Sciences, warns that, unlike the EU, Australia does not regulate biostimulants. “Farmers who want to do the right thing pay dearly for products that deliver very little or nothing,” she says. “Often farmers change many things at once (for example, adding compost) and that may be enough to improve their soil health. “Replacing pesticides with microbes has a better chance of working but, again, scientific research is needed to generate the knowledge. Because particular microbes work against particular pests or pathogens, research has to be targeted to particular crops. A general product that ‘works for all crops in all soils and climates’ is not going to work.” Professor Schmidt cautions that the industry needs to remain mindful of the bigger picture. “Without scientific foundations and research and development, we will not make speedy progress … and those who are looking for a silver bullet may be disappointed. Probiotics are not going to solve all problems, but they certainly have potential to help agricultural industries to step up to the challenge of feeding our growing global family.”

FAST FACTS • One teaspoon of rich garden soil contains between 100 million and one billion bacteria. • There are five types of soil microbes which boost soil and plant health differently: bacteria, actinomycetes, fungi, protozoa and nematodes. • That earthy smell that permeates the air after it rains is known as petrichor and is caused by soil bacteria known as actinomycetes. SEPT/OCT 2020



Christmas gift ideas


Get organised early with these Christmas gift ideas for the whole family. Compiled by: Sarah Hinder

1. Blundstone Boots The new Blundstone #600 is built for comfort, with a soft brown leather upper and leather lining. It also features hidden stitching in the heel for added durability. It’s the perfect boot to wear for work or play. RRP $149,


2. Bose QuietComfort 35 wireless headphones II This is second release of these top-tier wireless headphones, now engineered with even more precise noise-cancelling technology. Allowing greater focus and the opportunity to block our noise when travelling, the headphones are sturdy, impactresistant and connect via Bluetooth. The best part – 20 hours of battery and super-quick charging. $499.95,


3. Tom Dixon Tank Decanter This Tank decanter takes its minimal, sculptural design from the functional shapes and volumes of scientific glassware. Each decanter is handmade, and fuses clear and solid black glass. $250,

4. hellyers road distillery single malt whisky

4 18


Aged over 15 years as part of the Original series by the award-winning, Tasmanian-based distillers. 700mL - $149.00,


5. Wouf Messenger Bag Inspired by the classic bomber jacket, this messenger bag is both functional and stylish. It is available in three colours, is waterproof and has multiple compartments for storing essentials. $295,




6. FAME greeting card pack

7. Southern Wild Co Candles

Good greeting cards never go astray. Featuring artworks by local Australian designer Danielle B Latta, FAME’s card designs include the Tasmanian devil, western quoll, southern cassowary, numbat and Mary River turtle. $19.95, to order email or call the Foundation on 08 8374 1744

Inspired by the diversity of Australia’s distinct landscapes and references, Southern Wild Co pays homage to our cultural Australian identity through its range of beautiful bespoke candles and its collection of various scented goods. $65,

8. Islands of Australia: Travels through Time In this new photographic travel/history book, travel guru Tony Wheeler takes a journey around the Australian coast and beyond to discover the stunning natural features, unique wildlife and chequered histories of our remarkably diverse islets, cays, atolls and archipelagos. $39.99, SEPT/OCT 2020



KOMBUCHA: HOW THE ANCIENT BREW IS EVOLVING From the odd market stall to supermarket isles, kombucha has grown to become a fridge staple for health-conscious consumers. Words: BETHANY PLINT

PROMISING improved gut health thanks to its probiotic qualities, the fermented tea drink is an acquired taste. Fizzy and tart, it contains a slight amount of alcohol acquired during its fermentation process. While skeptics deem it another health fad spruiked by ‘influencers’ that will soon be laid to rest alongside SkinnyMe Tea and Bulletproof Coffee, in Australia the industry’s $200 million valuation suggests otherwise.

AN ANCIENT ELIXIR Before bike-pedaling hipsters and mums-who-brunch caught wind of it, the Chinese had been brewing kombucha since around 220 BC. Born out of the Tsin dynasty, the “Tea of Immortality” made its way to Japan, then to Europe and Russia in the early 20th century. Preparation processes vary, but every batch requires a SCOBY (symbiotic colony of bacteria or yeast), which is added to a mixture of steeped tea, sugar and vinegar. Left to ferment, the sugars break down and are converted into health-giving acids and probiotics. Confined to our homes during COVID-19 lockdowns, people turned to their kitchens to occupy their days. While some of us never made it past the banana bread phase, the truly dedicated began dabbling in homebrewed “booch”, with mixed results. It’s risky business: if equipment is not properly sanitised or the temperature



changes too drastically, bad bacteria can take hold of the SCOBY and lead to allergic reactions, infections and upset stomachs. It’s best left to the experts, then, who are increasingly turning to local breweries to mass-produce their brews as demand grows steadily.

AUSTRALIA’S KOMBUCHA KINGS The country’s first commercial kombucha operation, MOJO Beverages, started out in Willunga, a small town in South Australia’s famed McLaren Vale wine region. Getting their hands on a traditional recipe, the founders began producing kombucha in 2009, selling it in small batches to farmers, foodies, yogis and surfers. A decade on, MOJO still uses the same SCOBY strain from their very first batch. Although new flavours and varieties are constantly being introduced, they’re fiercely protective of their original recipe despite being scooped up by The Coca-Cola Company in 2018. Though MOJO is the first producer to hit the market here, they are not the biggest – Remedy takes that title. Backed by brewing giant Lion, Remedy holds around 70 per cent of the Australian market. Beyond kombucha but still on the fermenteddrink bandwagon, they also produce Switchel, a mixture of raw apple cider vinegar and fresh organic ginger; Tepache, a tangy Mexican-inspired drink made by brewing pineapple

FAST FACTS • Concerns around kombucha’s naturally occurring alcohol content began to swirl when Lindsay Lohan’s alcohol-monitoring bracelet was supposedly set off as a result of her frequent consumption of kombucha during a period of house arrest in 2010. • The health benefits of kombucha are largely attributed to probiotics, however, experts suggest a quicker way to boost your microbiome is to opt for yoghurt or kefir instead.


Image: The Dirty Bucha of Byron

"Answering the calls of health-concious consumers, a handful of Australian producers have begun brewing a different kind of booch – with a serious kick."




juice with a live culture; and Coconut Water Kefir, an organic, live-cultured drink backed by nutrition experts.

SMALL BATCH SUCCESS Rather than competing with the big guys, smaller operations such as Central Coast brewers Kombucha Zest have channeled their energy into cutting out the middleman. “Our unique brewing process means we get to work directly with cafe and pub owners to create bespoke, handcrafted blends delivered by tap,” says founder Nathan Jennison. A staple in a stack of Central Coast cafes, the company’s sales took a hit when pandemic-induced lockdown regulations came into play. They adapted quickly, offering home delivery to Sydney, Newcastle and the Central Coast as a way to keep the business afloat. Sydney-based brewers Jiva share a similar story. Their revenue dropped 80 per cent after shutdowns commenced in March. Despite the direct-toconsumer approach showing its holes, Brand Development Manager Joshua Shubitz is confident Jiva will bounce back fast, especially with three new products slated to hit the market. “Kombucha is now a category, not a fad,” Joshua explains. But not all are made equal: some producers, says Joshua, are “veering away from the true art of kombucha”. “Real kombuchas are not sugar-free or shelfstable. Live cultures need sugar to stay alive,” says Joshua, adding that’s what puts Jiva’s brew in a league of its own.

kick. “People are consuming less alcohol these days, but when they do they want a higher quality,” says Paul Tansley, co-founder of The Bucha of Byron. Mixing high-quality kombucha – made in partnership with Stone & Wood – with premium spirits from neighbouring Cape Byron Distillers, Paul says, “The Dirty Bucha of Byron offers a low-sugar alternative to the standard RTDs on the market.” With competitors such as Victoriabased Brewhaha hot on their heels, the Byron-based producer is working hard to stay ahead of the curve, taking cues from the US to develop a hard seltzer. Before its release later this year, Sneaky Bucha will hit shelves first, in spring. A mix of beer and kombucha, it offers beer-lovers a lower-carb option in the form of a 4% XPA, lager and a dangerously drinkable summer ale. Unfortunately, Paul admits, the probiotic qualities of boozy booch won’t prevent hangovers, but they will

at least save you from the sugar crash at the end of the night.

NEW KID ON THE BLOCK The younger sibling in the fermented family, kefir is just beginning to step out of kombucha’s shadow. Like kombucha, kefir is cultured from a SCOBY and mixed with either milk or water. Rich in B vitamins, calcium and vitamin K2, its probiotic properties and beneficial bacteria help relieve inflammation and promote gut health. A tart drink, the dairy version resembles a thick, creamy yoghurt, while water-based kefir is sweeter and naturally fizzy, much like kombucha. With hundreds of small-scale producers popping up around the country, large operations leveraging growth opportunities and home brewers getting behind the trend, the future of fermented goods in Australia is looking solid. As long as they can nail the flavour.


Image: JIVA Kombucha

Answering the calls of health-conscious consumers, a handful of Australian producers have begun brewing a different kind of booch – with a serious




CLOSE TO HOME: WHAT IS THE FUTURE OF REGIONAL HOSPITALITY? Many regional hotels, restaurants, bars and cafĂŠs have found ways to soldier on during the current crisis, while others have chosen to hibernate until better days. But with so much uncertainty ahead, regional hospitality businesses are left wondering, what next? Words: lisa smyth



Image: Freycinet Lodge, Tasmania


NO AUSTRALIAN business sector has been harder hit by COVID restrictions than hospitality. In June, the Australian Hotels Association and Tourism Accommodation Australia estimated that 240,000 of the 250,000 workers employed by their members had been stood down – that’s a previously unimaginable 96 per cent! “Before COVID, 80 per cent of our market was interstate, five per cent international, and the other 15 per cent were intrastate, meaning Tasmanians,” explains Andrew Paynter, COO of RACT Destinations, which operates three accommodation properties across Tasmania. “When the state was locked down we took a people-first approach. We had close to 200 employees and only 50 per cent qualified for JobKeeper. We sat down with every single individual and mapped out

a plan, and we brought some maintenance programs forward to give people minimal hours. Every person in our business had food, a bed and a roof over their head.” OAK


Truffles have a symbiotic

SURVIVING LOCKDOWN relationship with host

‘People-first’ has been a core ofEnglish the trees,mantra commonly holm oak and hospitality industry during the oak, COVID-19 hazelnut. crisis in Australia. Large chains like Accor have become critical to the nation’s response 300 measures with many of their properties To make a truffière acting as mandatory quarantine centres, commercially viable, an as well as providing rooms for the average homeless of 200 to 300 and domestic abuse survivors needing a safe trees need to be planted. refuge. Many other businesses have offered DOGS takeaways and home deliveries to keep as Truffle hunting used to many staff employed as possible, though be entrusted to young that has proved more difficult for businesses pigs, but they are far too in regional Australia.  fond of the expensive delicacy. In Australia, dogs are preferred. SEPT/OCT 2020



“We can’t pivot to takeaway like our metro cousins as the distances are much further, and it costs too much for travel,” says Eliza Brown, CEO of All Saints Winery in Wahgunyah, three hours north of Melbourne. The property offers multiple accommodation and dining options, has a cellar door, and is a popular wedding venue. “Regionally, we rely on tourism to improve our revenues due to locals having a finite spending power. So, we built a lot of video content during the first lockdown and used it to promote our wines and build trust and loyalty with our customers while they had to stay away.”

A BREATH OF FRESH AIR Despite the challenges regional hospitality businesses have faced this year, as lockdowns and restrictions ease, many are finding advantages to being so far from metro centres. “What we have been seeing in Australia as a result of lockdown is pent-up demand for leisure travel, but to regional locations,” explains Simon Wan, StayWell Holdings’ President and Director. “When travel restrictions eased, our regional properties in Cairns, the Blue Mountains and the Hunter Valley all saw very sudden short-term occupancy growth, but the same was not true of metro areas. “People wanted to escape lockdown, but wanted to do so in locations they viewed as ‘safe’ options. Cities are unfortunately not yet being viewed in the same way, and with business travel and international travel yet to return, metro hospitality offerings are likely to continue to face more difficulties than regional properties.” Paynter concurs that there has been strong immediate demand since lockdown ended in Tasmania. “You cannot get a room at our Cradle Mountain Hotel,” he says, “and you would struggle to get one at the Freycinet property. Demand is strong until the end of August, but there’s only so much that we can yield from a Tasmanian market.” While Australians are staying close to home when it comes to travel in 2020, whether by necessity or feelings of ‘safety’, the opening of state borders is a critical first step for the long-term future of the regional hospitality industry. While hotels can’t rely on domestic travel forever, the industry hopes occupancy



rates could at least climb to 50 per cent in March 2021, from the less than 20 per cent seen in August 2020.

RELAX AND RECONNECT The Greater Geelong and Bellarine Peninsula region in Victoria usually has 6.4 million visitors per year, with an annual contribution of $1.1 billion per year to the state economy. More than 90 per cent of visitors are domestic travellers, so there’s huge potential for a quick rebound once lockdowns cease and borders reopen. “Of the domestic travel that we do receive, 50 per cent of those are travelling here primarily to visit friends and relatives,” explains Brett Ince, Executive Director of Tourism Greater Geelong and The Bellarine. “A big focus as we move forward is ensuring that the products that our 600 members are offering have that relaxation, reconnection and recovery approach to them. What will support people to recover and reconnect with family and friends? If we think of the ’90s when people would get in their cars for a two-week family holiday rather than go overseas, that’s the kind of deep connection people are looking for. It will be a big change to how we travel.” Brown has also had customers express a desire for a different type of holiday than what they are used to. “People have a new-found excitement for travelling in winter and rugging up,” she says. “Many people have mentioned that they usually head to Europe or Asia to get away from the cold, but now they are excited about reading by open fires and walking in the bush with scarves and beanies – they see the cold as a positive.” Hospitality has often been referred to as a ‘hearts and minds’ industry, and many regional operators are also relying on the continued desire for destination weddings as a key part to their recovery. But no matter what happens in the future, Wan predicts the hospitality industry will be changed forever. “There is no denying that the world will be a different place due to the effects of COVID-19,” he says. “I would argue that all of us in hospitality need to develop a more sustainable financial model so our businesses can survive not only the rebound from COVID-19, but also the next challenge when it comes.”


FAST FACTS • In June, figures showed that jobs in Accommodation and Food Services decreased 21 per cent since midMarch – four times that of the ‘all industries’ average. • According to IBISWorld, Australian restaurant revenue has declined by 25.1 per cent, from $19.7 billion in 2018-19 to $15 billion in 2019-20.


"While Australians are staying close to home when it comes to travel, the opening of state borders is critical to the longterm future of the regional hospitality industry."







THE DATING APP BOOM They offer the potential to meet Mr or Mrs Right without having to get off the sofa and are fuelling a business that’s estimated to reach US$12 billion this year. But how are dating apps doing working for us when it comes to the search for love? words: Paul Ewart

IF YOU’RE one of the (many) newly single Australians out there gearing up to get back on the dating wagon, chances are you won’t be wrangling your besties together for a night on the tiles in the hopes of bumping into a potential partner. Nope, in today’s smartphone age, if you want to meet your match, all you need to do is swipe. While yesteryear’s internet dating carried a raft of negative connotations – from cat ladies to catfishing – the next generation of e-dating is as cool as it gets. Fuelled by hipster millennials, according to new research, more than 25 million people worldwide are finding love via their phones. Locally, YouGov discovered that at least 35 per cent of Aussies have used internet and app dating services, while research from dating app Bumble showed that more than half of Australian singles (52 per cent, to be precise) aged 18 to 45 have used a dating app to make a connection, and it’s expected that more than half of all couples will have met online by 2031. “It may once have had a stigma attached,” says couples and singles

counsellor Melissa Ferrari. “But with more than 4.5 million Aussies using them now, it really is the new normal.” It may feel like geolocation dating apps have always been around, but they’ve actually only been in wide use for the past decade. Though originating in the gay community with 2009’s Grindr, it was the 2012 launch of Tinder that proved to be the real game-changer. In three short years, the app was registering a billion swipes daily (left for ‘no’, right for ‘yes’), and last year it topped Apple’s highestgrossing app chart, beating Netflix to become the highest-earning non-game app in the entire world. In fact, the dating app industry as a whole is worth a staggering estimated US$12 billion. And given its cash-cow status, an A to Z of apps launched in Tinder’s wake, hoping to emulate its meteoric success. While each app spruiks a slightly different selling point, targeting a slightly different demographic, in reality, most are owned by the same handful of conglomerates – significantly Match Group (which boasts more than 45 dating services, including Tinder,




"Ghosting, benching, apps have created a glossary of new terms, and most of them are bad.", Hinge and OKCupid) and MagicLab, which owns the femalefocused Bumble, among others. “Since launching in 2014, Bumble has amassed over 80 million users in more than 150 countries,” says the company’s Australia Country Lead, Lucille McCart. “This has led to more than 1.4 billion women-led first moves and over four billion messages sent worldwide. On a local level, we have three million registered users in Australia, which is very impressive given the relatively small size of the market.” Knowing there’s big bucks to be made in this primal urge to connect, both industry giants have created spin-off businesses. Bumble have launched Bumble BFF – a mode within the app dedicated to friend-finding, and Bumble Bizz – dedicated to professional networking. In addition, micro-companies cater to specific demands. For example, Aussie startup Matchsmith offers packages for time-poor swipers that include a ‘profile polish’ and personalised ‘matching



strategy assistance’. Dating apps have undeniably changed the way we meet people forever. But as more and more of us ditch the concept of real-life encounters through friends, or meeting at a bar, to date almost solely via apps, what are the consequences? They may be the new normal, but given apps’ relative newness, the psychological implications of long-term use are only just starting to be assessed. “Dating at your fingertips is powerful and addictive,” says Melissa. “With every ‘match’ you can experience the ‘feel good’ hormones in your brain as oxytocin and the neurotransmitter dopamine are released. The danger is that this constant seeking of a new buzz can easily negatively impact the relationships that you form, as you find yourself quickly losing interest in people you meet as you are always seeking something new.” Presented with a smorgasbord of seemingly never-ending options – at your fingertips – creates choice and

more choice is good, right? Well, not always. “The paradox is that choice can actually end up hindering our ability to make a choice,” explains relationship coach Louanne Ward. “We end up fearing we may get it wrong, or there could be something better. There are many scientific studies which show that more choice increases anxiety.” Then there’s the relative anonymity that a device holds: a downside of virtual connections is the bad behaviour they can induce. Ghosting, benching, zombieing… dating apps have created a glossary of new terms, and most of them are bad. “One of the most obvious and concerning by-products of dating apps is they have created a whole set of poor behaviours in which the user is unaccountable for their actions,” continues Louanne. “It has become part of the dating culture to ghost people, to date multiple people at the same time and generally be non-committal.” Just as we’re witnessing widespread reports of addiction to social media, the


dependency on our devices is spilling over into the time we spend on dating apps. For example, the average Tinder user spends 90 minutes every day on the app – more time than we spend exercising or eating. “We are seeing a range of negative effects with people who find themselves addicted to dating apps,” says psychotherapist and relationship counsellor Dan Auerbach. “They’re highly addictive because our minds are naturally reward-seeking. In this case that reward is a profile picture which we find exciting or stimulating, and in the online dating space, we never know when that next reward will come. That sort of random reinforcement triggers strong compulsivity. It's a phenomenon we see in gambling addiction, too.” While it may seem like it’s all doom and gloom, it’s not. Used correctly – and in moderation – dating apps have the potential to lead to genuine, longterm relationships. “On the flipside, these platforms can reduce isolation,” explains Dan. “And I think we all know of great relationships that would never have happened were it not for dating apps.” Melissa agrees: “Out of the millions of people who have met online, research is telling us that there has been vetting at the beginning, uncovering ‘deal-breakers’ early on. If you are careful, deal with one person at a time and look for a genuine connection as early as you can, online dating can work for you.” As smartphones infiltrate even further into our day-to-day lives, it’s highly unlikely we’ll see a return to more ‘traditional’ dating – especially not when matching with a potential partner is as easy as ordering Uber Eats. But while the matching process is easy, finding actual rom-com-esque love in the digital age certainly isn’t. It’s a search filled with both positives and negatives, highs and lows. Make sure to have a game plan in place, be realistic, stay upbeat, know your boundaries and, above all, think before you swipe.


If you’ve emerged from a long-term relationship and are dipping your toe into the world of dating apps, Ferrari suggests limiting hesitation. “My advice is to not leave it too long. Dive back into the dating scene as quickly as you can.”


While looks are far from everything, in the world of app dating, your initial profile photo is the hook. “Dating isn’t all about looks but there does need to be some kind of mutual attraction. So, just like the rest of your profile, make sure that your photo shows you in your best light,” Ferrari says.


As hard as it may be, try to let go of your expectations. Instead, go on a date with a ‘what will be will be’ mentality. “Understand the

playing field in apps is equal,” explains Ward. “When you first meet someone, don’t expect special romantic treatment, such as the man paying.”

BE HONEST When it comes to crafting your profile, honesty is always the best policy, says Ferrari: “It can be tempting to embellish yourself to make you sound more attractive, but this will only work against you in the long run.”

BE UP-FRONT As honest as you are with your profile description, be equally candid with your intentions, be it something more casual or more long-term. “Be up-front about the type of relationship you want,” explains Ward. “The other person will respect that and you’ll save a lot of time second-guessing.”






























































































































25. Young chap started like a dream (3)


27. Cook taco mix for parrot (8)


23. Raised cattle, branded, and went (4)


26. Hope deer is let loose (6)


21. Come before tea to see a heavenly body! (5)

20. Foil what’s often on the rocks (6)


24. Cancelled producing child before spring (3)



16. Sole position in the way (9)



23. Mistake made by Yogi’s partner (3-3)



15. Horse-drawn transport for a theatre instructor (10)



22. Dashes off other half of code (4)



19. Depress some prudish ear? Tenacious! (10)






7. Insert a leader in Russia (5) 13. Anna kissed Dick, said to be anti-government (11)



6. Do they break in to steal mice? (3,8)


18. Complaining bitterly about fence (7)

5. Lord’s wife seen with Chatterley’s lover! (4)


17. Longed for Ned after 12 months (7)


14. I leave train games for ships (10)

4. One who carries grizzly animal and queen (6)

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: BIG BIGGER


12. Temptation changed a bit (4)



11. Be salver or be disloyal (6)

3. Weird spade adapted for use by many people (10)


2. Beat a retreat, initially, to pub (3)


9. You can count on it (6) 10. Raft no longer right behind (3)


1. For each grade, journalist put on an act (9)



8. Give lawful permission to call on league allies (8)





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:



Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.