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December 2018 – January 2019


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Tony Bonner ... on life, sobriety and the meaning of family






Merry Christmas to you

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News - If I can, you can too Cover Story - Tony Bonner Talk n Thoughts Feature - Riverside Park Wanderlust Wellbeing Living Puzzles

Gail Forrer Seniors Group Editor


New ways to check driving skills


IT’S seems such a long time ago when the mention of a whole year ahead felt like an eternity, but these days I know I’m not alone when I say that every Christmas seems to come around faster than the last one! Just a couple of weeks ago, I was blessed with my second grandchild, a healthy little girl. I feel there is absolutely nothing that could be a better Christmas gift than the safe delivery of this little one. But I will also be spending time with my other grandchild, five-year-old Maryam who has reached the age of pondering team activities. “GG (stands for Grandma Gail), she says looking up at me with her big brown eyes: ‘What can we do today’?” Fortunately, thanks to a number of community groups who answered our call-out for ideas, I have a list that will keep both of us busy. I hope it gives you some ideas too. This year we have filled many pages sharing the latest news on activities for the mind and body. On that line, I’m happy to say at age 61, I have completed nearly five years of part-time study and gained a Masters of Arts in

Literature (research). I now happily join a fast-growing list of people in my age group who have completed post-grad study. I’m one of those people that find study more natural that exercise! But I’m naming 2019 as my active body year – so watch out for plenty of physical exercise stories. Christmas is time for friends, families and community. I’d like say Merry Christmas to our community of Seniors Newspaper readers, to our advertisers, to all those who contribute community notes and articles, to the great people who have let us interview and write stories about their lives and to my talented work colleagues. Gail PS: If you wish to have an event published for the NSW Seniors Festival, please email us with details by January 11.

CONTACT US General Manager Geoff Crockett – 0413 988 333 Editor Gail Forrer – 1300 880 265 Media Sales Executive Sue Germany – 0408 286 539 Online Get your news online at Advertising, editorial and distribution enquiries Phone: 1300 880 265 Email: or Website: Subscriptions Only $39.90 for one year (12 editions) including GST and postage anywhere in Australia. Please call our circulations services on 1300 361 604 and quote “Central Coast Seniors”. The Seniors Newspaper is published monthly and distributed free in northern New South Wales and southeast Queensland. The Seniors newspaper stable includes Toowoomba, Wide Bay, Sunshine Coast, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Northern NSW, Coffs and Clarence and Central Coast publications. Published by News Corp Australia. Printed by News Corp Australia, Yandina. Opinions expressed by contributors to Seniors Newspapers are not necessarily those of the editor or the owner/publisher and publication of advertisements implies no endorsement by the owner/publisher.

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If I can, so you can too Runner challenges Seniors to defy their age

Alison Houston WHAT would you do to convince the world that you can still be extraordinary and achieve amazing things when you are over 70? John Wall is 72 and has decided the answer is … to race a jumbo jet. All he needs is fellow limit-tester Richard Branson’s Virgin, or the folks from Qantas, to get on board the plan and supply a plane and runway. It may seem an extreme proposal, but the Bateau Bay man is known for pushing the boundaries. The fastest man for his age at 62 in 2009, John won the 100m (sub-12 seconds) and 200m sprints at the Masters World Championships, and the same year ran against a jet fighter. Nine years later, and having overcome a brain tumour in the interim, he’s still running and says he’s tired of chronological numbers being placed on people to define their abilities. “I believe anyone who wants to do something extraordinary can, but they have to really want it,” John said. “I want to do something big to let people know we all have the capacity to push ourselves to go beyond where we are right now … “ John said the realisation that he was not going to lie down to the notion of getting old came to him when he looked in the mirror at age 50 and said, “My God, what’s happened, I was 19 when I woke up yesterday!” And the majority of over-50s, 60s and beyond, he said, felt the

same – even if not everyone’s goal is to set world records. However, John does recognise that even his finely tuned body takes longer these days to recover than it once did. At September’s World Championships in Spain, he came away with finals places but no medals, having only allowed himself four days post-flight before his first event.


You can rise above and still make a valuable contribution to your community He put that result in context by taking triple gold at November’s Pan Pacific Masters on the Gold Coast, winning the 60m, 100m and 200m events for his age. “It’s a case of understanding what we and our bodies are capable of,” he said. “I want to represent this demographic who are going through what I go through every day – maybe feeling a bit down sometimes, or stiff or ill – and say, you can overcome it, you can rise above and still make a valuable contribution to your community, to this country in a big or small way.” John trains “religiously” six days a week, including gym, track and physio work – again, not something he expects everyone to do.

Need a

What we do all need, however, he said, is to decide what we want from our “Senior” selves and how actively we want to participate in life. The dedication needed to achieve his goals is worth it, John said, both to challenge himself and to show the world “if I can do this … you may be a Senior or a pensioner, but you can do incredible things too”. That’s why, although regaining the 200m world record for age for Australia remains John’s number one goal, he also wants to take on a jumbo jet next year. “The media coverage would be sensational – the image of this small, little old man against this massive jumbo – and it would be a real opportunity to say to Seniors, give it a go, be as healthy as you can and don’t surrender to your age.” John hopes businesses like Red Bull, Nike and the Federal Government will also get behind the challenge and sponsor it, with funds raised to go to charity. “Maybe that’s why I’m here … my purpose in life is to be the light at the end of the tunnel that says to the older generation, pick yourself up, keep going, because I have, and look what I can achieve.” To learn more, email John at jonathon_sky@hotmail. com.

EXTRAORDINARY: John Wall at 72 has put the challenge to Richard Branson or Qantas management to supply a jumbo for him to run against to prove over-70s can do anything.

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Digging deep

Bonner’s life rates high on satisfaction, just not happiness

Photo: Tracey Johnstone

TONY Bonner is sitting on a bench on the balcony of his beloved Manly Life Saving Club. In the background the ocean waves crash. A group of novice surfboard riders tentatively head out under the watchful eye of an instructor. The Norfolk Pines sway in the gentle breeze. Horns honk, running bare feet slap on the pathway below. All is seemingly very everyday. For this internationally recognised actor, it’s his normal. It’s his safety zone. There, he is king of the club – immediate past-president for the fourth time, newly minted Life Member, grandson of the first club president, and still active patrol man. It’s where he comes every day he is at home. More than 50 years of acting, directing, singing, dancing, coaching, teaching and mentoring isn’t enough. Bonner is still looking for happiness in his life. He has travelled the world, worked alongside the likes of Kirk Douglas, Roger Moore, Tom

Selleck, Tony Curtis and Paul Hogan. He will also be forever remembered for stint as the helicopter pilot in the iconic Australian television series Skippy which went to air 50 years ago this year. Some readers will remember when Cosmopolitan boldly launched its male centrefold series in 1972 with Burt Reynolds in America and then Bonner in Australia. “I thought it was great and always have,” Bonner said. Last year’s awarding of an Australian Medal remains one of his Bonner’s fondest life moments. He has received many peer awards, but to also be recognised publicly for his entertainment industry roles, along with his contribution to lifesaving and to several high-profile charities; there has been nothing more precious to him. Bonner’s most recent work was as a feature actor in the Australian crime thriller film Landfall which is due in cinemas this month.

Join the Festivities

NSW Seniors Festival 2019

From February 13 to 24, it’s NSW Seniors Festival! February 13 to 24 is the NSW Seniors Festival! In honour of the celebration, we will be publishing In honour of the celebration, we will be publishingall allthe the exciting events and news about Seniors Festival in our exciting events and news in our January papers. January papers. Be sure to check out Seniors in print or online for Be sure toso check print orof online coverage you out canSeniors get the in most out your for Seniors coverage so you can get the most out of your Seniors Festival experience. Festival experience.

Grab our January edition or visit For all advertising queries contact Sue Germany: M 0408 286 539 E If you have an event to share with our readers, contact: E 6729615hp

A BIG LIFE: Tony Bonner looks back at history and future dreams.

Tracey Johnstone




to get to Tony Bonner Unlike America, Bonner says there are less and less roles in Australia open to veteran actors. “Once you hit 50 you kind of start to become invisible,” Bonner said. “ But for Bonner, he has two more films “in the air”, awarded writer and journalist Matthew Condon is working on Bonner’s biography and Katie Rae is painting his portrait for next year’s Archibald Prize. Even with all that to Bonner’s credit, it just seems that still isn’t enough. Bonner’s slight tilt of the head to the left and a gentle creasing of the brow introduces the intense side of the still

very handsome, single, 75-year-old. That intensity is a product of his tempestuous life journey and its outcomes. Bonner ran away from a violent home scene just after he had turned 14. “I caught a daylight train to Melbourne, rented a little room in east Melbourne, and started,” Bonner said. He battled alcoholism from the age of 14 through to 46. “I danced with the devil back then,” Bonner added. He put down the booze and the cigarettes, once and for all. His work improved. His relationships improved.

“It’s only been pluses,” he said. Next year Bonner will proudly mark 30 years of staying dry. “If there is such a thing as miracles in the life, and I believe there is, I am one,” he said. About 14 years ago he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Bonner has since then mentored both men diagnosed with the disease and their partners about the experience, reminding them, “your life is more important that your erection”. So, will he know when he has found his happiness? “I don’t know; I’m sure there will be a feeling that

says to me, this is what you have missed all your life,” he said. A slight lowering of the direct gaze. His tense shoulders ease ever so slightly. The corners of his mouth give way to a gentle, loving smile. The pall over Bonner’s life lifts as he talks about his family; his greatest personal pride. Bonner’s continuing strong relationship with his ex-wife, Nola Clark, and enduring connection with his three daughters and their children are what he says have kept him alive. Living long enough to become a greatgrandfather is absolutely

FROM LEFT: Tony Bonner was the first Australian centrefold for the Cosmopolitan magazine, published in 1972; young Tony (as flight ranger Jerry King) with Skippy the Bush Kangaroo; and Tony with actor Shawn Brack in Travis Bain’s new thriller movie Landfall, in cinemas from this month. at the top of Bonner’s list for the future. “To even say that from someone who didn’t think he would get past the age of 20 because of the way I was living; for me to still be here at 75 and to think, holy crap, there is a distinct possibility you are going to be a greatgrandfather; to me it’s nearly incomprehensible,” he said. Bonner started the day with a swim in the ocean at first light. By the end of the day he has turned his mind to hosting a

fundraising function at the surf club, before heading off to coach aspiring actors and continue his charity work for The Smith Family, Bravehearts, the Variety Club and the Wesley Mission suicide prevention program. “It’s in my nature,” he said. “I have been blessed to have been in a battle and knocked around a bit, and survived. I get great pleasure if I can be of assistance to someone; if I can put a hand out, then I am really blessed.”

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Video your own story

Seniors offered program to bring their stories to screen Alison Houston COAST OnScreen (COS) is giving Seniors a chance to learn how to tell their story on film and share it at the Silver Screen Short Film Festival in February. While that may seem very fast, COS president Phil Moore, who will teach the course, says seniors shouldn’t feel intimidated. “You’ll be guided every step of the way,” he said. With the assistance of a Central Coast Council grant, Coast OnScreen is providing four half-day workshops across February in which anyone over 50 can learn aspects of short film, how to set up shots, story development, sound and editing techniques and finalise their film ready for its debut on Sunday, February 24. Each story will run five minutes and can be anything from a scripted piece to a documentary to a montage of family photos, sharing a hobby,

an area, an event, or your life story – whatever is important to you. The not-for-profit collective, which Phil said offers the only film courses on the Coast, has offered similar programs to youth and mixed groups, but this is the first to specifically target Seniors. The aim is to promote inclusion, let Seniors try new things and share their stories. Participants are encouraged to use their own smart phones or digital cameras to film, edit on their own laptops or the computers at the group’s Erina Fair hub, and will use free HitFilm Express software for editing. “The idea is to teach them the basic fundamentals of filmmaking skills using the limited gear they have so they can keep making films,” Phil said. Whether that’s just for friends and family, to share on YouTube or the

YOUR STORY: Coast OnScreen president Phil Moore on the job making one of the Collective's short films. Now he's showing Seniors how they can make their own films with basic skills and equipment. start of a new hobby, Phil said is completely up to participants. Some may never have made a film before, others may have created home movies on actual film or video, but be unsure how to use newer technology.

Class size is 12-15 people to ensure everyone gets one-on-one attention particularly during editing, but you can also work in pairs or small groups. “The aim is just to encourage people to make something, and the

best way to learn how to do anything is to get out there and do it … feel free to make mistakes,” he said. Silver Screen registrations open on January 2. The free workshops will run 10am-2pm Sundays,

February 3-17 and Wednesday, February 20, before the film festival on Sunday February 24. To find out more, go to or send an email to




Strong, sexy ageing well

It’s time to accept older bodies for own beauty Alison Houston

WONDER WOMAN: Joan McCarthy celebrated her 80th birthday at a huge party which she attended as Wonder Woman's Great Grandmother, reflecting her ongoing zest for life. Photo:

AGEING is a question of attitude, according to octogenarian Joan McCarthy. And Joan’s attitude is that she may be getting “older”, but that doesn’t mean she has to “be old”. Joan contacted Central Coast Seniors asking why older people, particularly over-70s, had virtually disappeared from life as far as large sections of the media were concerned. Joan, and longtime friend Maureen Smith, have been laying bare myths about older women since their 60s, surveying 200 women to pen their first book, Sixty, Strong and Sexy, followed by Glimpses into the Lives of Positively Ageing Women, when they were in their 70s. Joan believes we need to accept our ageing

bodies as something beautiful, rather than seeing wrinkles as ugly and a sign of having passed our use by date. “Why does society tell us we have to get rid of our wrinkles, have plastic surgery or botox or we aren’t appealing; aren’t worth it?” she asked. “I don’t feel like the wrinkled face I see in the mirror, but it’s about learning to love that face – that those wrinkles are there because of all the wonderful experiences I have had.” And having dressed as Wonder Woman’s Great Grandmother for her 80th birthday, complete with customised armour, Joan has proven her point by working as a life artist model – that’s right, the ones who pose nude. “I’ve never had so many amazing compliments in my life,” Joan said. It’s not that Joan has miraculously escaped all

the side-effects of ageing or self-doubts. On the contrary, she felt turning 80 was a real turning point, just as 25 and 50 had been, to work out “where I was meant to be going in this new era of my life”. After a retreat in Maui she has a new mantra; “if it’s not fun, don’t do it, and if you must do it, make it fun! “I want to be vibrant right up to the end and go out saying … what a ride!” Joan said. For her, that means eating well – she is vegetarian, and this year gave up dairy (but not ice cream, which she loves) – moving and being active through simply walking or doing yoga or other exercise, and always questioning and learning. For her full story, go to books are available at




Shirl’s song a joy to behold

Feeling blue, cheer up with this chirpy songbird Alison Houston SHE’S a lady with a big voice, a big laugh, a big hat collection and an even bigger heart. Shirley Llewellyn’s main aim in life is to make other people smile, which she does predominantly through her singing. As well as entertaining at nursing homes, Shirley has helped establish and run Nambucca Heads Telecross – a service providing a phone call a day to check on older people’s wellbeing – establish the local Country Music Club and worked on community radio. The Bateau Bay resident was recently presented the Lions Club of Lambton New Lambton’s highest honour of the Melvin Jones Fellowship for service to the community, in what Shirley said was one of the proudest moments of

her life. “Everything I do is for the community,” she said. “So many people are sad these days when you look around, and if I can make someone happy, make one person smile, how good is that? – I don’t think there’s anything I’d rather do.” At 82, Shirley has just released her second CD, Among My Souvenirs, and is about to start a new venture with a free community singalong at The Greens Bowling Club at The Entrance. It will run every second Tuesday of the month starting February 12. It’s not a completely new concept for her, with Shirley running a similar event at what was then the Bay Sports Club for a couple of years. This time she has friend Carol alongside, as well as her trusty guitar which she only started learning 12 months ago. “It’s my best friend,” Shirley said.

“When I’m feeling a big lonely at home, I start strumming along and singing and it brings me back to the reality that life’s not so bad after all.” That loneliness is due to the loss of her husband of 53 years some 10 years ago, having cared for him with motor neurone disease for 21 years. But singing, she said, was his gift to her. Her new CD, like the singalong, features a range of songs, old and new, including I Fall to Pieces. For full story, go to Shirl’s free community singalong is at Greens Bowling Club, the Entrance, on the second Tuesday of the month, starting 10.30am-12.30pm on February 12. For details, phone Shirley on 02 4332 8813.

SJOIN IN: Come along to a free singalong group, starting on February 12 and then every second Tuesday of the month at the Greens Bowling Club, The Entrance.

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A present just for you Everyone is welcome to join the Christmas day festivities

Alison Houston IF YOU want to see the real spirit of Christmas in action, go no further than the Wyong Racecourse. That’s where the Samaritans will hold their 9th annual Christmas Lunch on the Coast. Co-ordinator Karen Patterson expects to again feed and entertain upwards of 400 people on Christmas Day. “It’s a real buzz, a feeling of community – it’s by the community for the community,” Karen said. “There’s no criteria; if you are at a loose end on Christmas Day, and want some company and to be entertained, come along.” The kettle is boiling from 9.30am for the early birds, but the event really kicks off at 11am. There’s food, fun, presents for all courtesy of Share the Dignity, Shoebox Revolution and the Samaritans and, of course, Santa, entertainment by guitarist

Lambeth Bennett, carols and “unlimited smiles”. The generosity again this year, Karen said, had been amazing, with donations and more volunteers than needed to serve the meal. However, she said, anyone with the time to go along and talk and listen to the story of others was welcome, and “that’s the greatest gift you can give someone”. For Karen and her family, including her “elf” grandchildren, and the many other volunteers who make the day possible, Christmas Day is for giving, and Boxing Day, when they hold their own celebrations, is for receiving. “I feel really lucky to be able to do this,” she said. To find out more, call Karen on 0438 248 114, go to christmas or just go along to the Howarth St racecourse. Also giving on Christmas Day will be the folks at Coast Shelter,

SPIRIT OF GIVING: Generosity abounds on the Central Coast, including at Mary Mac's Place where volunteers helped provide early Christmas celebrations for those needing a hand. who provide over 150 meals each day, including Christmas Day, at the Community Centre at 346 Mann St, North Gosford. Guests range from those who are homeless or at risk due to loss of employment, family breakdown, mental health issues, drug and alcohol issues, to the socially isolated.

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Phone 02 4325 3540 or go to But need continues well beyond Christmas, and Mary Mac’s Place manager Catherine Pantehis said services will need to restock after the added festive demand. Mary Mac’s serves a hot lunch weekdays throughout the year to

anyone needing a helping hand – recently feeding about 110 people per day, with over 200 at their early Christmas celebration. Completely reliant on donations, it also provides washing and shower facilities, food supplies and links to other services such as Legal Aid and housing.

“It is a community here,” she said. “Everyone is treated with great dignity and respect. Mary Mac’s Place is at the Ethel Cox Centre, 100 Blackwall Rd, Woy Woy. It is closed December 22-January 2. Phone 02 4341 0584 or go to marymacs@catholic

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Seniors’ Stories, Volume 4 is in libraries and online now.

Seniors’ Stories, Volume 4 editor Colleen Parker.

Photo: Salty Dingo

The right age to write

Authors explore life through stories Tracey Johnstone

THE NSW Seniors Card Short Story Competition reveals the hidden talent of the state’s older writers who have shared their stories on positive ageing. Of the more than 200 submissions received through the competition website, 100 stories were selected and published in the annual Seniors’ Stories, Volume 4 which was launched by the NSW Minister for Ageing Tanya Davies. “This book is a wonderful example of talent, experience and wisdom of seniors who are living their lives among us,” Minister Davies said. “It’s wonderful this book gives a platform to our community to share their story.” Two stories that caught the minister’s eye were Julie Davis’ On the Three-Twenty-Four and Pam Reynolds’ Maybe the Best is Yet to Be. “Julie wrote, ‘Four carriages. Bummer. It’ll be packed, standing room only to Wollongong’,” Minister Davies read out. “It’s a wonderful story of your experience; very sad and very revealing story about the challenges we as a society still face with ageism, ageist attitudes and with aged discrimination.” Mrs Davis, 79, collects her short story ideas from the people she meets and

BOOK LAUNCH: Seniors’ Stories, Volume 4 contributor Julie Davis with her husband Ronald at the launch event. sees on the Wollongong to city train. “It’s not an autobiographical story; bits of it are, but it is fiction,” a delighted Mrs Davis said. “When I submitted it, I thought they will just think it’s a bit of a rant because everybody is complaining about the trains down our way.”


This book is a wonderful example of talent, experience and wisdom of seniors “The postscript to this story is our government has now expanded that

train service to eight carriages,” the minister added.

Photos: Salty Dingo

Pam Reynolds’ story delves into starting retirement and what it is all about. “I asked many retired people what they did all day, but I never go a very satisfactory answer. Most were “so busy” and life as “pretty good”, but they never actually told me how. It was all very vague and unsettling,” Mrs

Reynolds writes early on in her short story. “It’s wonderful to see how well you have (now) adapted and embraced retirement,” Minister Davies added. Never too old, never too late The stories cover a wide selection of positive ageing themes. The creative headings also caught the eye of the editor, Colleen Parker of the NSW branch of the Fellowship of Australian Writers – Recycled Teenager, Hello You! and Dogs and Dongles. “The book is a montage of our social history,” Mrs Parker said. “Lots of Australian idiosyncrasies included kids and billycarts, bush life, immigration, assimilation, war facts, friendships and fatalities, family research and pilgrimages.” In the lead up to finalising their stories, writers were given the opportunity to participate in free writing workshops held in the major regions across NSW. It’s the ultimate prize to be published There are no winners for this writing competition other than the joy of authors seeing their efforts being published. There is however something for everyone in the Seniors’ Stories, Volume 4 book Mrs Parker promises. Loan copies of Seniors’ Stories, Volume 4 are in libraries across NSW. The book can also be downloaded for free from READ THE STORIES It’s Seniors News’ pleasure to publish two of these stories – please go to pages 14 and 15 in this edition to read and enjoy. — Gail Forrer







Stories from

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FOUR carriages. Bummer. It’ll be packed, standing room only to Wollongong. No matter. Nothing can diminish the euphoria Hazel feels after a visit to the Art Gallery. Happens every time – the experience of communing with artists through their works. She leaves the gallery invigorated, restored and ready to take on the world. Today is no different. They squeeze into the only two spaces available, hands grasping vertical poles and feet spread to maintain balance. Either side of them seated passengers avoid eye contact, wriggle self-consciously and focus on their devices. Two young Asian men rise, gesture a hand each towards their vacated seats. Larry and Hazel smile, gracious in their thanks. ‘You people shouldn’t travel in peak hour’, rasps a loud male voice through the crowd of standing bodies. ‘What’re ya doin’ anyway? Old geezers should keep orf trains until workers are in their offices or’ve gone home.’ Silence. Hazel places a plump soft hand on Larry’s tense knee. Fear of confrontation spreads like an electric current through the compartment. Who will be galvanised enough to respond? Should someone call the guard? The speaker is hidden from the view of Larry and Hazel who decide by osmosis not to react. Opposite, unseen by Larry and Hazel and next to Raspy Voice sit Bob and Heather, silver hair and lined faces marking them too as targets of his rancour. Hazel fills the silence with an unspoken reply: I’ll

tell you what we’ve been doing – I’ve been to Artexpress. Awesome senior school artworks. Each Thursday Larry returns to his former workplace as a consultant. Lunches with colleagues. Last week… What the disgruntled speaker cannot see is Larry’s kindly demeanour. A tall man, shoulders slightly rounded. His head and face smooth, eyes conveying empathy. Hazel, deceptively docile, nestles her plumpness beside her husband. Skilled in social work, she feels able to handle any dysfunctional person, any confrontation. Perhaps not today with no back-up. Her elation melds into the subdued mood of the carriage. Then a woman’s raised voice: ‘Yeah. No oldies on trains until nine or after three.’ Nothing. Not a sound. Hazel whispers to Larry, ‘So what happened to encouraging older people to stay in work. What …’ Larry leans close, ‘Shh. They sound drunk. Keep out of it.’ The mass of commuters, like flotsam on a pond, shifts and shuffles to make way for luggage and travellers boarding at Wolli Creek, the airport link. Someone stands for the young woman with toddler in a stroller. She sighs a thank-you as bodies separate to make way for her. Larry smiles and wriggles his fingers towards the child who swivels his head to stare into a trousered leg beside him. The protestors seem to have been muted by the mass of bodies around them. The crowd thins at Hurstville as suburban passengers alight.

‘They’re the ones that shouldn’t be on this train,’ Bob whispers to Heather. Four of those standing, those without luggage, move to the body of the carriage. The protestors become visible to Larry and Hazel. An unkempt couple slumped against each other, eyes closed. Bob and Hazel beside them smile across at their fellow seniors. Larry raises his eyebrows and shrugs his shoulders. Hazel grimaces then returns their smiles. An inner clock wakens the dozing couple before Sutherland where they rise and shuffle their way to the exit. Raspy Voice mumbles ‘Catch an earlier train next time, old timers.’ And you catch a city train, mutters Hazel to herself. Like a slowly deflating balloon the atmosphere in the compartment relaxes. Two of those with luggage take vacated seats, four remain standing, their attention devoted to smartphones. ‘Copped a serve there mate,’ Bob looks at Larry. ‘Yes, first time that’s happened.’ Larry is pleased to hear his own voice. ‘Don’t I know you?’ Heather leans forward. ‘You walk your dog on Woonona beach, a daxie.’

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Twenty-Four ............. ‘And you have the barking beagle.’ ‘Right,’ chuckles Heather. ‘Actually…’ Larry’s eyes roll as Hazel, re-invigorated, launches her ‘What do you think about asking Council to change the southern half of the beach to a green zone? Give the dogs a place to run, leash free.’ ‘Great idea. Would legitimise what’s already happening,’ Bob chortles. The child in the stroller stirs, falls back to sleep. ‘I’ve already written to Council and had a reply. Policy is to be reviewed later in the year and they’ll seek community input. Have to keep an eye on Council’s website and Facebook page. That’s the tricky part.’ Fellow passengers add ‘Good on you.’ And ‘Need you older guys to keep tabs on things.’ Hazel could name many millennials active in social issues. But that doesn’t mean we bow out, she thinks, amid continuing friendly banter. The train has reached Thirroul where both older couples alight. During the eighteen minute wait for their connecting service the chatter continues. Larry and Bob compare notes on their respective Men’s Sheds. Heather answers Hazel’s query on her volunteer job in aged care. ‘It’s one-on-one stuff. There are heaps of people not as active as we are, but their brains remain alert and curious.’ ‘And don’t you think that’s the key … to the notion of ageing positively, I mean? Maintaining your curiosity?’ ‘Yes definitely… and

that’s what we focus on. Taking someone to a gallery exhibition, a concert, to a garden show – whatever – helping with family history research. I take my laptop on some visits and we google away. Sometimes we take a train to the city. It’s really an easy outing if you choose your times.’ ‘Oh, I love the trip usually. Plenty of reading time, especially in the quiet carriage.’ The connecting all-stations service arrives. The conversation continues to Woonona where Larry and Hazel leave the train. ‘See you on the beach,’ calls Heather. On the drive home Larry says ‘You haven’t said anything about your gallery visit.’ ‘Inspiring, as usual. Tell you more over dinner.’


Skilled in social work, she feels able to handle any dysfunctional person, any confrontation Julie Davis’s On the Three-Twenty-Four was first published in the Seniors’ Stories, Volume 4. Loan copies of the book are in libraries across NSW. The book can also be downloaded for free from

....................Dogs and Dongles...................

Mere children, the sales staff in the computer store raised pierced eyebrows when Shirley and I entered. ‘How can I help?’ asked a boy child. ‘Show us your dongles,’ said Shirley. We were beginners at laptop lingo … dongles ended the day’s excursion. ‘It would be more fun vacuuming the ceiling,’ Shirley grumbled when she arrived at my house for coffee. ‘We were going shopping, not computer shopping.’ My daughter who is now my MOM – my Monitor of Madness, phoned then, cutting through the coolness. ‘I’ll pop over later,’ she said, meaning she’d inspect my fridge for vegetables and my coffee cups for stains. ‘How were the sardine sandwiches I left last week?’ The sardine sandwiches were mutating into a fuzz farm on the fridge shelf. ‘I’m about to go computer shopping.’ ‘I’ll come with you,’ she said, ‘but not today…’ ‘Shirley’s coming…’ ‘Don’t take Shirley computer shopping please Mum, anyone but Shirley. I’ll come now.’ Daughter’s voice buzzed round my kitchen via the best mobile reception I’ve ever had. Dog crept behind the sofa to howl. Shirley mimed the pair of us driving away very fast so I settled Dog on the sofa with the TV, binned the sardine sandwiches and we left in Shirley’s car. We’d not cleared the street before we saw my daughter’s car heading our way. ‘Keep your head down,’ Shirley ordered while she kept her foot down and raced away to the mall. ‘We’ll start with coffee since I didn’t get any at

your place.’ Soon we were laughing and kicking off sandals to compare bunions as only old, old friends can. We agreed that if Shirley slogged around electronic stores with me, I’d consider joining her hiking trip to Utah. ‘It’ll cost a bomb. What if we break a leg?’ I asked. ‘Stay home then,’ she said, ‘but don’t show me your photos.’ Shirley popped the unused little sugar packets from her coffee and mine into her bag, as is her habit. ‘I pay the same for coffee if I put sugar in it or not,’ she reasoned. It always took her the best part of a day and fifty-six little packets of sugar to make a cake. Soon we were mastering gigabytes and watching laptops fold themselves inside out and upside down into tablets. They displayed, Shirley noted, more muscle memory than her physiotherapist. Weight was important, it being a concept we could understand and a word we could spell, so Shirley worked her way along a line of laptops lifting one in each hand. At the end of the row where the laptops ran out and a line of shiny phones began, she paused. Sales Boy pounced. ‘Are you after a phone?’ ‘Perhaps,’ said Shirley. ‘We’re going away.’ ‘Where to? What might you need?’ he asked. ‘YOU-TA,’ she said, and he blushed. ‘You-ta, Utah in the USA. We’ll need excellent communication.’ For me to have Wi-Fi and for Shirl’s camera to talk to phones and laptops we’d need dongles it seemed. Sales Boy suggested we return the next day or the next – any day but today – and speak to Maurice, the doyen of

dongles. He walked us to the exit where the security guard poked at sugar packets in Shirley’s bag. ‘You’ll get sticky fingers,’ Shirley warned him. With Utah in mind we eschewed escalators for stairs and climbed to another store where sales children were younger than Shirley’s phone. A boy plugged in cords and thingummies. He proclaimed Shirl’s phone too old for new tricks and he seized mine, introducing it to the laptops, speakers and thingummies on his shelf. They all talked to each other apparently, saying who knows what. When Sales Child was called away Shirley prodded my phone where it lay cosying up to its new-age friends. ‘Where are you?’ My daughter’s voice called like magic through all the laptop and Bluetooth speakers along the row. ‘Wow,’ cooed Shirley, slapping my hands away from the phone when I moved to unplug it. ‘I let myself in. Your dog has been sick on the sofa,’ announced the speakers to the whole store. Sales children stopped shuffling DVDs to listen. ‘Sardines on cushions... he’s ransacked the garbage.’ The sales children gathered round. Shirley raised an arm gesturing for quiet, glowing with the wonder of it all. ‘Dog’s GONE. I’m driving the streets searching.’ ‘Ohh,’ went the crowd. When my daughter broadcast that she’d missed a midday appointment with a blast of liquid nitrogen to remove warts, I ripped her from the shelf. Shirl and I decided there was no need to mention the mall or

computers or warts to my daughter. Instead I phoned her and said I’d been for a long walk. ‘I’m afraid I’ll get my story muddled,’ I told Shirley. ‘Make it an exercise in neuroplasticity,’ said Shirley. ‘Fact and fiction on different pathways.’ She stopped her car three blocks from my place to let me walk home in case my daughter was lurking and spotted the car. Howls filled the air. ‘That’s Dog,’ said Shirley. And it was. He’d squeezed through a high picket fence to croon at a Newfoundland on heat. ‘Come,’ I hissed through the pickets. ‘Come Dog.’ Dog wouldn’t leave the Newfoundland. Shirley locked her car and joined me with about a year’s stash of sugar packets. She laid sugar under the fence and when Dog came close for a sniff we reached through and squeezed him out through the pickets. Shirley offered to drive us home. Back at the car we spied Shirl’s keys – locked inside. No way would I carry Dog home after he’d had a sardine sandwich and sicky attack and Newfoundland so Shirl and I walked the three blocks backwards, opening eighteen sugar packets between us and sprinkling them in his path. And throughout this exercise in agility and problem-solving and balance, our bunions crunched on the sugar. Utah would be a piece of cake.

Joanne Ruppin’s Dogs and Dongles, first published in Seniors’ Stories, Volume 4. Loan copies in NSW libraries. A free download is at

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New method to monitor driving Gail Forrer Group Editor FOR many people realising it’s time to let go of a driver’s license can be one of life’s greatest challenges. Often the ability to drive has meant the freedom to travel when and where you like, no need to rely on other people or deal with public transport. It’s recognition that your body and mind are still fine tuned enough to handle the roads without danger to yourself or others. If you don’t come to terms with ageing (poorer eyesight, less hearing, perhaps some frailty or memory loss) and make your own choice to relinquish your licence, it may mean you have had to concede to the wishes

of people younger (perhaps ones that you may not even feel are wiser) than you and that can be difficult. So it’s heartening to see that modern technology has been employed which can assist with the driving experience. For instance a federally funded project has developed a new Virtual Reality Driving Simulator for Older Drivers targeting people between 70 and 80 years of age. This project is now being trialled in the Inverell district of northern New South Wales and aims to check the driving skills of senior Australians and improve road safety. Called Hector VR, it is touted as a groundbreaking innovation, to enable Australian seniors to live longer, better lives as they are supported to maintain their proficiency on the road. It can also be used to test driving skills and

make the decision to keep driving or not. Developed by aged care provider McLean Care in partnership with Deakin University’s School of Engineering, the trial uses emerging interactive virtual reality, linked with smart sensor technology. The driving simulator is contained in the shell of a Holden Captiva vehicle, to increase the sense of reality for drivers. “Sensors are also installed to measure the driver’s reaction times and heart rate to assess their responses to a variety of situations that can arise when driving,” Member for New England Barnaby Joyce told the National Seniors. “In addition to helping older drivers maintain and test their skills, Hector VR is designed to help those with medical conditions, such as dementia and who can no longer drive, to re-live the driving experience. “The virtual driving

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scenarios are modelled on the township of Inverell, including important local buildings, major shopping centres, retail outlets and landmarks, to make the user’s experience as realistic as possible. “The simulator includes differing road environments and realistic scenarios such as country driving and various levels of traffic.” Development of the virtual reality driving simulator was funded through the government’s $34 million Dementia and Aged Care Services grants scheme, which is promoting innovation across the country. * The Federal Government funded $726,000 towards the project. * Information sourced from NationalSeniors: https://nationalseniors. high-tech-boost-to-road -safety-for-seniors

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Reflections Tracey Johnstone

STORY BREAKER: Kerry O’Brien; political journalist and author.

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I CAN remember growing into social and political awareness at the hands of journalist Kerry O’Brien. He was at the dinner table with my parents and then myself for almost 30 years that Kerry reported for the ABC on This Day Tonight, Four Corners and 7.30. Kerry’s recently released A Memoir sits on top of my pile of books that I have been quietly and carefully collecting over the last three months in preparation for a few weeks of summer holiday reading. It’s a thick book, but my initial review of it indicates it is going to be well worth taking the time to read it as the veteran journalist takes me on a journey through his experiences of living and working during Australia’s social, political, media and cultural evolution from the 40s through to 2015. Throughout his 50-year career Kerry has borne witness to significant changes to it Australia’s political landscape and

No Exit Fees

O’Brien’s life in historical context

the processes in which is reported. “We are certainly in a different era of journalism than the one I grew up in, in many ways,” Kerry said. “The fundamentals of journalism are absolutely still the same, but the trappings have changed massively and the means of delivery have changed massively.” When he started working in television in the ’60s, the newsroom waited three or four days for the film of major events to reach Australia. The digital storm, as Kerry describes it, has turned television into a more instantaneous medium. “The second thing is where print always saw itself, in my early years, as the superior news medium, these days it is scrambling to keep up and we are converging on each other,” Kerry said. “It’s only a matter of time, and not far away before we are fundamentally using

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exactly the same means of delivery. In other words, we will be sharing common spaces and not just one space because there will be many means of delivery. “I guess the days of hard copy newspapers are all but gone.” These changes are driving a reduction in journalism staff, but no decrease in the workload. “That is having an impact on the quality of news,” Kerry said. The other key change in journalism Kerry notes is the 24-hour news cycle which has impacted on political reporting. “It’s this kind of blind desire to fill the digital space simply because it is there whether you have something worth reporting, something worth analysing, or not,” he said. “So, we have wall-to-wall mountain of words that sometimes has something to offer, and often doesn’t. “And we have




from an Australian reporter institution, you can’t simply assume that it can continue with its resilience and can continue just battle on regardless no matter what harpoons are being thrown at it.” The young, carrot-top boy who spent his formative years in the small town of Brisbane and once dreamt of being a jackaroo, came to interview some of the world’s most influential decision-makers and to drive hard Australia’s understanding of the political changes occurring around them. His decision to chronicle his journey and that of his family, including their Irish heritage, has been made possible by drawing on his published articles and spending countless hours reading transcripts and watching his interviews which he rarely watched once recorded, and from going through his extensive collection of notebooks and diaries. “I have been able to take the interviews and look at what John Howard was telling us in response to the questions, compare


The fundamentals of journalism are absolutely still the same, but the trappings have changed massively

it with what we now know of those events like East Timor, Iraq, kids overboard, the boarding of the Tampa, gun control laws, the Wik Native Title judgement, the Stolen



Generation reports, John Howard’s kind of obsession with the wars and the waterfront dispute, and I think new patterns emerge which I think might help in the

“I was standing on the steps of Parliament House when Gough came out to make his famous utterance about Kerr’s cur. “I then followed, for Four Corners, Whitlam through that campaign while a colleague, Alan Hogan, followed Malcolm Fraser. “I have very vivid memories of that event and the election that followed.” Kerry’s book encapsulates this and many other significant milestones and offers a fascinating personal insight, with a few cheeky side observations, while keeping true to the historical facts. Published by Allen & Unwin, Kerry O’Brien, A Memoir is in bookshops now. RRP$44.99.

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next round of interpretation of that part of history,” Kerry said. While former prime minister Paul Keating said in his 2015 Sydney Opera House interview with Kerry O’Brien, “anyone who is any good never wrote about themselves”, while discussing the motivation to chronicle his life, Kerry neatly side-steps this comment by claiming he believed Mr Keating was referring to politicians at the time, not to someone like Kerry. “The biggest motivator (for me) really was the realisation that simply the accident of the different places I worked in my 50-year journey through journalism; I had a ringside seat for many, many milestone moments in post-war history, not just within Australia, but globally,” he said.








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politicians who feel compelled to be available when they are asked, no matter how frequently and regardless of whether they have got something to say, or not, because they worry that if they don’t fill the space, somebody on the other side of politics will fill it for them. “The overall quality, I think, has plummeted in many ways.” But Kerry remains a strong advocate for the ABC arguing that now, more than ever, as the social and political landscape changes dramatically, Australia needs the public broadcasting service. “Yet, here we are, watching the place being hit from one side to the other with a wall of hostility from the government, constant attacks from Rupert Murdoch who happens to own 70 per cent of the print output of the country as well as television influence and radio,” Kerry said. “Although I know from personal experience the ABC has been an enormously resilient


THE NSW Seniors Festival will take place between February 13 and 24, 2019. To have your event published into our Calendar of Events, email a brief description, including the event name, date, time and contact details to editor@seniors by Friday, January 11, 2019.


COME along to a free Sing-a-long group, starting on February 12 and then every second Tuesday of the month from 10.30am-12.30pm at the Greens Bowling Club, corner of Park Road and Warrigal Street, The Entrance. Morning tea can be purchased on the premises. For more information, phone Shirl on (02) 4332 8813.


Brisbane Water Evening WE HOLD our monthly dinner meeting in the Function Room at the Grange Hotel, Renwick Street, Wyoming on the fourth Tuesday of the month at 6.30pm for 7pm. New members and visitors are most welcome. Phone Valda on (02) 4325 1688 or Helen (02) 4367 5670.


Powerful exhibition comes to the Coast THE Central Coast community can enjoy a powerful new exhibition over the summer holidays thanks to Central Coast Council’s Gosford Regional Gallery. Express Yourself is drawn from the National Portrait Gallery’s contemporary collection and it is the first time these portraits have toured the country together. Council team leader art galleries, arts and culture, Tim Braham, said he was honoured to have secured such a prestigious national exhibition, free for the community to enjoy. “Express Yourself celebrates portraits of Australians whose unique life experiences symbolise social and cultural themes,” Mr Braham said. “The individuals displayed in the exhibition come from a variety of professions and each subject’s strength of

EXHIBITION: Express Yourself will run at the Gosford Regional Gallery until February 3, 2019. Photo: Alison Pigott conviction and uncompromising individuality has led them to excel in their chosen field, and contribute meaningful change to the social and cultural environment in Australia. “Portraits of Marcia

Langton, Jack Charles, Jeff Fenech, Alex Wodak, Carol Ruff, Jim Conway and Gary Foley are among more than 30 photographs, drawings and digital works on display, including a newly acquired work, the commissioned portrait of

campaigner Rosie Batty by photographer Nikki Toole. “Art plays an important role in our lives, in telling our story and in bringing people together. “We invite the community to visit the gallery over summer to

view this special exhibition.” Express Yourself will run at the Gosford Regional Gallery until February 3, 2019. For more information, go to centralcoast.nsw.

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Grand opening of the Fantastic Furniture store FANTASTIC times are certainly ahead with the newest addition and grand opening of the Fantastic Furniture store at Home Co, Riverside Park West Gosford. Freedom Furniture, Bing Lee, Kitchen Connection and Eureka Street Furniture. Fantastic Furniture join other leading retailers now open and trading within the Home Co building Riverside Park. Other key retailers coming soon include Sapphire Wood Furniture (grand opening is on December 26 - Boxing Day), BedsnDreams, Sleepy’s, MyRugs and OneWorld. Riverside Homemaker Centre also includes other high profile retailers such as Forty Winks, Nick Scali, OzDesign Furniture, Rebel, Baby Bunting, Curtain Wonderland, DecoRug, Early Settler, Pet Stock and Storage King. With plenty of parking and easy access to the M1 and other areas of the Central Coast,

VARIETY PLUS: Freedom Furniture, Bing Lee, Kitchen Connection and Eureka Street Furniture. Fantastic Furniture join other leading retailers now open and trading within the Home Co building Riverside Park. Riverside Park at West Gosford has all your home needs covered!


The lovely summer weather is ideal for everyone to enjoy browsing the Riverside Park Markets. Leading up to the

holiday season, the Christmas market has seen plenty of action with customers there to shop and support locals this Christmas.

The Riverside Markets are held once a month on the second Sunday and are a great family day out with a variety of market stalls, food outlets and

even a kid’s zone. The next market will be held on Sunday, January 13,. Go to riverside-park-markets.

Fantastic service, fantastic prices and furniture AT FANTASTIC Furniture, we believe that all Australians, no matter where they live, deserve fantastic furniture, at a fantastic price and we are thrilled to be here in our brand-new home in West Gosford, in the old Masters Building at 392-398 Manns Rd.

The Central Coast has been an important market for Fantastic Furniture over the years and we’re proud to be able to serve the local area through community partnerships, creating local employment opportunities and most importantly, providing great priced furniture and

homewares to customers all over the coast. Community is important to us – we are a grassroots Aussie company and we believe in Aussie jobs and Aussie manufacturing. Each and every year we manufacture about 130,000 sofas from our

factory in Sydney and about 140,000 mattresses. With over 25 years manufacturing and retailing here in Australia – we believe that is something worth celebrating and we are excited to be continuing that for years to come! Our new West Gosford

store has a fully integrated warehouse which means you can buy in-store today and take it away on the same day! So come down and say hello to Simone and the friendly West Gosford sales team. From all of us at Fantastic Furniture West

Gosford, we’d like to say a great big ‘Thank you!’ to everyone that came out for our store warming celebration and made this new store possible. From all of us at Fantastic Furniture West Gosford, have a great Christmas and a fantastic New Year!

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Down-to-earth financial advice MANAGING your finances can be stressful, expensive and time consuming, however the team at Figtree Group are on hand to help alleviate these pressures. Established more than 35 years ago, the Figtree business prides itself on offering cost-effective and down-to-earth advice tailored to the individual, no matter what size. The recent move into the Riverside complex is aimed at creating a more accessible environment, welcoming both new and existing clients to this customer-friendly location. The business has experienced professionals on hand to assist with all your financial needs, ranging from basic tax returns, through to complex taxation matters for businesses and trusts. There are licensed financial advisers available to help you

We’ll help take the stress out of managing your finances. Photo: robynmac navigate the often complex Centrelink world, as well as being able to provide investment and superannuation advice, including self-managed super funds. The staff will also be able to assist with any aged care inquiries, offering an initial meeting free of charge where they will be able to explain the

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financial ramifications of moving into an aged care facility. No job is too small, from help with application forms right through to dealing with regulatory bodies on your behalf. Standard business hours are 9–5 Monday to Friday, however after-hours appointments are also available, and they are becoming more popular in these busy times. With regulations around taxation and superannuation forever changing, there has never been a better time to review your situation, thereby ensuring you are well placed to achieve your goals and objectives. For more information, email info@figtree or phone 02 4322 1044. Located at Office Tower, 69 Central Coast Highway, West Gosford.

MCGRATH Central Coast strives to excel in every area of business as it finds better ways to help clients achieve their goals in the Central Coast region. With six offices strategically located in Avoca Beach, Long Jetty, Terrigal, Gosford, Ettalong and Toukley, the McGrath Central Coast network is a unified team, working together to achieve exceptional results for their clients. Providing unparalleled local knowledge and decades of experience, McGrath Central Coast offers a full-service agency incorporating sales and property management with expert help in the areas of home loans, project marketing, commercial sales and holiday management. Backed by the extensive training and development of one of Australia’s leading real estate brands, McGrath Central Coast is the most experienced and skilled team in the area.

The team offers world-class service and a strong belief in creating clients for life. Photo: GlobalStock Being part of the McGrath network means we have full access to their extensive database of buyers and tenants extending across the entire country – giving our vendors and landlords unprecedented market reach for their properties. Quality marketing and a strong attention to detail allows us to foster aspirational living in the properties we take to market, strengthening the emotional connection for potential buyers and tenants.

As leaders in the industry, the community and the McGrath network, personal and professional growth is a key focus for us. We endeavour to embrace change and adapt to suit the evolving nature of the industry, enabling us to be at the forefront of trends. Our team is passionate about what we do, offering world-class service and a strong belief in creating clients for life. Phone 02 4323 4833

Contact our office 02 4322 1044 for an obligation free appointment!

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RIVERSIDE Dental Spa is one of the few fully accredited dental practices, which aims to deliver all general dentistry services to Central Coast residents in a modern dental spa at West Gosford. As a comprehensive dental surgery, dental services such as general oral health care for the family, surgery, orthodontics, cosmetic dental work, teeth whitening and emergency dental care are provided in the comfort of our relaxing and beautiful spa. We cater to patients of all ages and anxiety levels. Our patients trust our large team of dentists to provide the highest quality care and treatment. We work with all the major funds and have financing available if your teeth need more involved cosmetic work. Phone 02 4323 4323 or go to riversidedentalspa.

Big medical expansion WE’RE delivering an additional $3.3 million in funding to increase student places at the University of Newcastle’s new Medical School and Research Institute which will be located in Gosford. This additional funding will deliver 150 student places in allied health courses at the new Medical School for the University of Newcastle. This funding confirms that the total number of medical and allied health student places at the Gosford Medical School Campus will be around 550 in total. Leveraging off the expansion of the hospitals at Gosford and Wyong, these allied health graduates will build workforce capacity to meet health care needs of the growing and aging population here on the Coast. This is a $85 million jointly funded project, the Federal Government is investing $45 million in this project, in partnership with the

CREATING OPPORTUNITES: Lucy Wicks MP, the Federal Member for Robertson, with Brok Glen, the Dean of UON’s Central Coast Campus. University of Newcastle and NSW Government. This includes $12.5 million for operational funding to assist the transitioning of programs from the University’s Callaghan campus to the Gosford Campus, for the development of programs,



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and recruiting and retaining talent. We expect our first medical training students to begin on Semester 1, 2020 which will bring over 750 jobs to the Coast and have an impact of $200 million for our local economy.

The Central Coast Medical School and Research Institute is about opportunity, innovation, health and education - all while building on a strong foundation of local jobs. The project is ambitious, and more work

needs to be done. But everything we’ve delivered and everything we’re fighting for is all part of creating more opportunities for the Central Coast. Go to



Cruise into new cultures And taste the difference

PAGES 28-29

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Tasmania in the summer of bubbles, music and the arts

SOME of the best food, wine, visual and sensory entertainment is on offer in Tasmania during this summer. Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race Hobart: December 26, 2018-January 1, 2019 The fleet blow into Hobart from December 27, weather permitting. Be at the Hobart Race Village at Constitution Dock to welcome the salt-laden sailors as they cross the line after travelling 628 nautical miles from Sydney. Wander the docks after the race and listen to the fascinating race stories – watch and listen on as the yachties debrief and recall tales (tall and otherwise) of the open ocean. More information at Taste of Tasmania, Hobart – December 28-January 3, 2019 Celebrate the way Tasmania eats, drinks and socialises at the 30th annual festival. What began as a small waterfront festival within easy reach of the Sydney Hobart Yacht Race finish line to feed and entertain the sailors has morphed into the largest food festival in Australia. This year there is a curated culinary kitchen program featuring the best food talent in Tasmania presenting workshops, masterclasses and tastings, as well as more than 100 stallholders open from 11am-11pm daily and a vibrant program of live music across four stages. Entry is free (except for the ticketed New Year’s Eve party) and tickets to the events are selling fast.

RELAX: The Falls Music and Arts Festival is held from December 29-Jaunary 1 each year on a beautiful farm nestled on the Tasmanian east coast near Maria Island and Hell Fire Bluff at Marion Bay.

Tasmania has a wide selection of wines for visitors to taste during their summer visit.

With over 70 stallholders, the festival event features exclusive collaborations and free family activities.

More information at thetasteoftasmania. Falls Music and Arts Festival, Marion Bay – December 29-January 1, 2019 The 26th annual festival line up includes international acts Chvrches, Anderson Paak & The Free Nationals, Toto and Dizzee Rascal, and home-grown heroes Vance

tickets at the website Hobart International Tennis, Hobart – January 6-12, 2019 This is Tasmania’s premier international women’s sporting event and a lead in tournament for players to fine-tune their preparations ahead of Melbourne’s Australian Open. Having hosted some of

Joy, Flight Facilities and Amy Shark. Head along to The Village, a family-friendly space with circus shows, kid’s comedians, face painting, yoga sessions, treasure hunts and more. The beach is a short stroll away and there are plenty of food and drink options to keep the foodies entertained too. More information and

The Sydney Hobart Yacht Race is a 628 nautical mile race described as one of the most gruelling ocean races.

the biggest names in tennis like Serena Williams, Dinara Safina and Australian number one Sam Stosur, the tournament promises top on court action as well as premium food trucks with fantastic local fare, a beer garden and the chance to win a meet and greet with the women’s singles champion post-match.

More information at hobartinternational. Cygnet Folk Festival, Cygnet – January 11-13, 2019 Into folk music? Head to the 37th annual Cygnet Folk Festival to enjoy more than 100 acts in the picturesque town of Cygnet, an hour south of Hobart in the Huon Valley. This is Tasmania’s leading celebration of folk and world music, dance, poetry, performance art, food and culture and is highly regarded by musicians and festival-goers from all over Australia and overseas. The competition to get on stage is fierce and the punters are the beneficiaries. In 2019 enjoy musical performances as well as workshops, dances and market stalls. Tickets at cygnet Mona Foma Launceston – January 13-20, 2019 Mona Foma is back for another year of mayhem, this time based in Launceston. Mona’s summer festival will welcome artists from Australia and overseas such as Courtney Barnett, Neneh Cherry and Underworld, who will perform alongside a program of arts trails, morning meditations and of course, the famous onesie party. Australian artist and designer Adele Varcoe has teamed up with Finnish clothing label Self-Assembly to create over 2000 DIY onesies (no sewing machines required) for the event. Tickets at



Stay close to the ground On Foot Holidays in France

ON FOOT Holidays has announced a new walking route in the picturesque Dordogne region of southwest France, their fourth in the country. The new, self-guided, inn-to-inn walk follows the Dordogne River through classic French countryside and medieval villages and is ideal for Australians looking to experience a taste of quintessential France. On Foot Holidays has designed the Dordogne route so walkers can feel like a local as they take in the less-travelled byways and backwaters of the Middle Dordogne landscapes and the unique flavour of the Dordogne Valley. Beginning in the medieval city of Beaulieu sur Dordogne, the seven-night walk takes travellers through the Dordogne valley’s country meadows and picturesque villages as guests stay in traditional inns and hotels along the riverside, experiencing local life and authentic French cuisine. After four days of walking amongst the hills

and quaint villages above the charming countryside, the route heads over the limestone plateau to the striking village of Rocamadour. The village climbs up a cliff face and is a pilgrimage destination that sees over one million people visit each year. The journey comes to an end alongside the Ouysse river, a tributary of the Dordogne, at a Michelin-starred restaurant to celebrate the end of the walk. The seven-night walking holiday is graded medium with up to five and a half hours of walking each day (shortening options usually offered). Including seven nights’ accommodation, seven breakfasts, four evening meals and all luggage transfers – meaning travellers simply carry a day pack – the route costs from £1060 per person, twin-share (approximately A$1869 depending on exchange rates). Shorter six, five and four-night options are also available. Payments can be made

Dordogne walk. by via Earthport FX transfer, a system which offers Australians the convenience of paying for walks in Australian dollars at a local bank, saving transfer charges and credit card fees. The Dordogne inn-to-inn walk is available from May 2019. On Foot Holidays offers 33 self-guided walking tours across Europe. Accommodation and information packs are provided for all the routes and optional guides are available on select itineraries. Walkers select their departure dates, luggage is transferred between inns each day and all routes are designed by locals and tested by staff from On Foot Holidays. Visit for more information.

STRIKING BEAUTY: Dordogne, village of Beaulier-su..

Dordogne, village of Carennac.




Drive toward the Southern Peninsulas and explore grand capes with towering spines

A MAGICAL WORLD: Beautiful view of Halong Bay, Vietnam, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Photo: Nikolay Tsuguliev

Live the travel dream This month we profile destinations and experiences 40 to 36 as we count down the 2018 list of the World’s Best Journeys which we hope will inspire you to live life to the full.

THE top 50 bucket list has been selected by Flight Network and over 500 top travel journalists, agencies, bloggers and editors. There are travel experiences to suit different styles and budgets.


❚ CRUISING along the Wild Atlantic Way on Ireland’s west coast harmoniously connects rugged landscapes with unique people, many of who still speak Irish Gaelic. Skirting around the coastline, expansive views and traditional villages captivate drivers along the route from the Northern Headlands down to the Havan Coast. The road opens up as you steer toward the Surf Coast and the wildness of the seaboard captivates with red-gold beaches. Continue driving south towards the Bay Coast to discover crystal coves and islands perfect for swimming, kayaking, and kiteboarding. Ride to Cliff Coast and immerse yourself Ireland’s music

capital, spending the day listening to live bands in local pubs. Drive toward the magnificent Southern Peninsulas and explore grand capes with towering spines extending far out in the ocean before stopping for an overnight stay on the Haven Coast to dine on artisan fare. Getting there: Choose a small but sturdy rental vehicle when arriving at the airport. All of the major airports in the country whether it be Dublin, Shannon or Cork will get you close to the Wild Atlantic Way, but the closest is Shannon Airport with accessible road links to a number of counties along road and is less than an hour from the Cliffs of Moher. For drivers who decide to start their tour at its southernmost point, Cork Airport is just a 20 mile trip.


❚ THE Mekong River is one of the most fascinating on the planet. It starts in the Tibetan plateau and snake its way through China, Myanmar, Laos,

Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. It has been an important medium for transporting people and goods for thousands of years and today is an important international trade route. Cruise from the very end of the river north through Vietnam’s Mekong Delta area up into Cambodia’s capital city, where it meets that Tonle Sap and travels through the Cambodian countryside. The scenery is unmatchable and the journey unforgettable. Travellers will transfer from Ho Chi Minh City to My Tho Port to board an incredible teak ship that has been specifically built to cruise the Mekong River. Visit local artisan villages, the Gao Giong bird sanctuary, a beautiful Taoist temple and Koh Okhna Tey, otherwise known as silk island. Explore Con Phuoc Island, Koh Trong Island and Phnom Penh, visiting the National Museum, Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda, and the Killing Fields and Genocide museum. The journey ends in Siem

Reap staring at the famous Angkor Wat monuments. Getting there: Fly into Tân Son Nhât International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City. Siem Reap-Angkor International Airport is the departing airport.


❚ NAVIGATING curves near crashing waves of the Pacific and stopping for tide pool swims beneath waterfalls attracts drivers to a single stretch of Hawaiian coastline. Unrivaled as the top attraction on the lush island of Maui, the Road to Hana drive winds along the 52-mile stretch of coastline from Pa’ia town to the community of Hana. If you’re able to lease a convertible, you’ll have panoramic views of the surf and scenery. Drive from the town of Kahului in central Maui and head towards Hana through the surf town Pa’ia on Maui’s north shore. Tour Maliko Bay before heading to Twin Falls to cool off in one of its natural pools and

waterfalls. Drive up to Honomanu Bay Lookout and stop for a walk on the beach before steering towards the Keanae Peninsula lined with vibrant hibiscus and jagged lava rocks. Reaching the Koolau Forest Reserve, park the car and explore Wai anapanapa State Park where tide pools turn red several times a year due to the arrival of shrimp. Follow the signs to Wailua Falls and awe at the waterfalls cascading over the mountains before ending the drive with a stop Waimoku Falls to gaze up at its magnificent 400 foot waterfall. Getting there: Kahului Airport is east of the Kahului CDP on the island of Maui and is the main airport servicing Maui. You can also fly into Honolulu International Airport on Oahu before commuting to Maui on a brief, 30-minute flight. Major car rental companies are at the airport or you can take a taxi or shuttle bus and lease a cruising vehicle like a convertible. There is also daily ferry service to



Black sand beach,Waianapanapa State Park. Maui, Hawaii.

Photo: 7Michael

The epic Irish Landscape and seascape along Ireland’s The Wild Atlantic Way. and from the nearby island of Lanai.


❚ REACHING a cumulative 10,000m of descent and ascent, the Tour de Mont Blanc’s 170km hike is a trekker’s dream with plenty of hotels and mountain huts along the way for taking in the landscape to its fullest with very little gear. Set out in Chamonix, France, for an 11-day hike towards Les Houches to photo chamois, deer, and eagles during the excursion. Continue ascending to Les Contamines and take in the mountain resort vibe

and renowned cuisine. Hike onward to Les Chapieux, a small hamlet on the tour inhabited by shepherds and their flocks. Refuge Elisabetta is next on the route providing a comfortable overnight stay for walkers. Trek to the resort of Courmayeur and take a ride on the SkyWay Monte Bianco cable car and peer at peaks of the Matterhorn and Monte Rosa. Spend some time at La Vachey, the seasonal inn and restaurant, before hiking to La Fouly to scale winding trails of its mountain peaks. Walk to Champex and take in the culture of the

Swiss village. Hike to Trient and take a detour to explore Trent Glacier before continuing to Tre le Champ, down on the valley floor and walk along the crystal stream. Returning to Chamonix, be sure to take a ride on the city’s world-class cable car and get a bird’s eye view of the Mont Blanc massif. Getting there: You can hike alone or benefit from a mountain guide’s experience. Several guide companies are available when you arrive in Chamonix. The most direct way is to fly into Geneva Cointrin International Airport. Once there, you can take

an airport transport to Chamonix or hire a car. Another option is to take the Eurostar or TGV train from Paris or Lyon and connect on local train onto Saint Gervais Les Bains where you can pick up the Mont Blanc Express Train into Chamonix.


❚ TRAVEL from Vietnam’s coast to the highlands with the wind blowing in your face and your heart pumping with excitement the entire way. There is no better way to travel from Ho Chi Minh to Hanoi than on a motorcycle, zooming

past some incredible scenery. This 2770km ride is equal parts of beach and mountain, giving travellers the chance to be totally immersed in the beauty of Vietnam. The ride is unforgettable. Weave through mountains and along coast lines, gazing at undeveloped beaches, stopping in lonely villages and visiting cultural sites like the Ninh Hoa Salt Fields, Imperial City in Hue, and Vinh Moc Tunnels. Spend time exploring cities, lazing on beaches and sampling regional Vietnamese cuisine. Snap photos of beautiful French colonial architecture,

Photo: upthebanner

pristine beaches, and the Long Son Pagoda. Wander around Hoi An’s old town, explore the Tràng An Scenic Complex and ride the Vinpearl Cable Car. Visit must-sees and find hidden gems, but most importantly, enjoy the ride! Getting there: Fly into Tân Son Nhât International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City. Check the dates of the 6-day Vietnamese New year before booking your flights to try to avoid motorcycling from Ho Chi Minh to Hanoi at this time. The roads will be congested with locals much more dangerous to be on.




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Right way to the outback Ann Rickard EVER since he was eight years old, Alan ‘Smithy’ Smith has known the Australian outback is unique to the world. Way ahead of his time, he held a deep love for the outback and would spend days wandering into the bush from his home in Blackall, Central West Queensland. “As a child whenever we had visitors, I would take them out to some amazing places,” he said. “Sometimes the visitors were blown away with the simple things, the bush, the petrified wood, the stories about what the families had done in developing the land, the pioneer shearers. “My family owned a soft drink factory for 34 years in Blackall. I was always engaged in different parts of the community and there was an amazing mix of characters in the community. Lots of stories to tell.” By the time he was 21, Smithy knew he had to share his love of the bush and his prodigious knowledge with others and start a small tour company. That was 30 years ago in 1988 before our outback had much of a profile. “There were not the visitors that there are now,” he said.


Visitors were blown away with the simple things, the bush, the petrified wood, the stories...

BORN IN THE BUSH: Alan ‘Smithy’ Smith was a natural to lead Outback Aussie Tours. “I started with a billy made from a three-litre juice tin, a camp oven, a troop carrier, photocopied brochures and an answering machine. I traded in my little 4WD and convinced the bank to lend me $28,000.” That was the beginning of Outback Aussie Tours. Surviving in a remote marginal area was tough but Smithy had the confidence, in-depth knowledge and as many

stories as there are stars in the sky. “Looking back, I realised I pushed (tour guests) them too hard, I was so eager to share,” he said. “I learnt and developed smaller packages, one was to drive to Longreach, collect wood on the way, light a fire, boil a billy, give them a cup of tea while I mixed the damper, throw the damper in the camp oven, take people to look

for petrified wood, come back and have tea and damper.” Now Smithy, with his wife Sue, runs short break packages from Longreach, Charleville and Brisbane to iconic destinations including Winton, Birdsville, Corner Country, Gulf Savannah and Cape York and the Torres Strait. “Now it is a lot of fun, but I worked hard in the beginning, juggled three

jobs, a cleaning business, packing supermarket shelves,” Smithy said. “I had to survive and buy new equipment. Then the grey nomad market started coming. Then the Midlander train twice a week. “In those early days, the Hall of Fame had just opened in Longreach, I would get down to the train, pull on my jacket and big hat, walk through the train with brochures

doing promotion. “I bought my own little mini bus and doubled my fleet.” Three decades later, with the outback now a major tourism destination, Smithy can say he was one of the pioneer tourism operations. He has many return guests and made countless friends, from backpackers to the senior community, around the world. “A lot of American tourists have stayed in touch,” he said. “We have fantastic encounters with wildlife, but it is the stories the people love the most and meeting the people who live here. We look after seniors, we don’t have early starts. 8am is a good time.” To find out more, go to outbackaussietours.

Melbourne International Flower & Garden Show Melbourne International Flower & Garden Show which departs March 24, 2019 including home pick-ups from the Sunshine Coast, Brisbane and Gold Coast. This tour will take you via the Pacific Highway to

Coffs Harbour, Sydney and Albury, arriving at Melbourne for the Southern Hemispheres largest and most loved horticultural event the International flower and garden show. Your Melbourne tour is

not complete without experiencing the beautiful mountain scenery while travelling aboard the Puffing Billy Stream Train and the spectacular Great Ocean Road. From the ocean to the

famous mining region of Ballarat where you will be transported back in time with a tour of Sovereign Hill. Another tour highlight is a paddle steamer Boat Cruise on the Murray River at Euhuca.

■ There’s more to this tour than is written here and it’s a journey well worth discovering for yourself. Phone Coastal Variety Tours for a full itinerary today on (07) 3343 6722.

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Set against the breathtaking backdrop of snow country Colorado, COLD PURSUIT is a pulsepounding revenge thriller with a unique look that will excite filmgoers the world over. Quiet family man and hard-working snowplow driver Nels is the lifeblood of a glitzy resort town in the Rocky Mountains because he is the one who keeps the winter roads clear. He and his wife live in a comfortable cabin away from the tourists. The town has just awarded him “Citizen of the Year.” But Nels has to leave his quiet mountain life when his son is murdered by a powerful drug lord. As a man who has nothing to lose he is stoked by a drive for vengeance. This unlikely hero

uses his hunting skills and transforms from an ordinary man into a skilled killer as he sets out to dismantle the cartel. Nels’ actions ignite a turf war between a manically unpredictable gangster known as Viking and a Native American gang boss. Justice is served in one final spectacular confrontation that will leave (almost) no-one unscathed. Want to see the movie? We have 5 double passes to give away! To be in the draw, just fill in our form online at competitions

^Visit for full competition terms and conditions. Promoter is ARM Specialist Media Pty Ltd of 2 Newspaper Place, Maroochydore Qld 4558. Promotional period 03/12/18-10/1/19. Competition drawn 2pm 14/1/19 at Cnr Mayne Rd and Campbell St, Bowen Hills, Qld 4006. Winners announced in Seniors February Edition 2019. Total prize value $200.00 (including GST). Entry is open to all permanent residents of Queensland, residing in the Brisbane, Sunshine Coast, Wide Bay Gold Coast and Toowoomba Seniors distribution areas and NSW in the Northern NSW, Central Coast and Coffs & Clarence Seniors distribution areas. NSW Permit Number LTPM/18/03133


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Norway winter wonderland ASIDE from being voted the happiest country in the world in 2017, Norway is a true winter wonderland and one of the hottest destinations for Australians right now. Cruise Express director Hardy Schneider has escorted many trips to this majestic part of the world and it still rates as one of his ultimate destinations. “Aussies love to travel, and we particularly love countries like Norway because it is so truly polar opposite to how we live in Australia,” Hardy said. “Most of us haven’t touched snow as it’s falling, let alone taken a husky sled ride, met reindeers, stayed in a hotel made of ice, or spent time in snow-shrouded villages and wilderness”. While seeing the aurora borealis (Northern Lights) is a bucket list experience, Norway so fresh and pristine throughout, is full of incredibly in-depth history, and with so much to see and do off the beaten track, time will be the only thing you won’t have enough of!

SPECTACULAR: With so much to see and do, one highlight has to be cruising from Bergen to Kirkenes onboard Hurtigruten's Kong Harald, named after Norway's reigning monarch. A few of Hardy’s favourites include a trip to the most northerly point

of Europe, the North Cape, a visit to beautiful Vigeland sculpture park,

the historic Viking and Kon-Tiki museum in Oslo and Holmenkollen, one of the world’s largest ski jumps. He also recommends staying at Fleischer’s, a historic hotel in Voss, experiencing breathtaking railway journeys along frozen waterfalls and endless fjords. With so much to see and do, one highlight has to be cruising from Bergen to Kirkenes onboard Hurtigruten’s Kong Harald, named after Norway’s reigning monarch. Travellers will enjoy

views of spectacular coastal scenery and enjoy many local port calls, dropping off and picking up anything needed by the locals, from milk and mail to cars and passengers. If you love nature, Iceland is a must add to an adventure like this. It’s alive with glaciers, geysers, incredible (often frozen) waterfalls, volcanic activity and geothermally heated pools and steam baths such as the Blue Lagoon or less known Mývatn nature baths, and it means more chances to see the Northern Lights.

“While photos are delightful, it’s really hard to capture the feeling and atmosphere, and the people are so friendly, it’s an experience that will take your breath away time and time again,” Hardy said.

Visit Cruise Express at Suite 2/26-30 Karalta Road, Erina, or phone 1300 766 537 or go to or email info@cruiseexpress.

While seeing the aurora borealis (Northern Lights) is a bucket list experience, Norway is full of incredible history. Photos: Contributed



Take charge and hear the difference Alison Houston MARIA Murray has “found her voice” since receiving a cochlear implant. Research shows an incredible 47 per cent of adults in the Gosford area have hearing loss, and Maria is getting behind a new public health campaign encouraging people to have their hearing professionally tested. “It has enabled me,” Maria said, of her treatment. “I feel like my brain’s on fire – it’s alive, it’s awoken. “I can follow conversations, know exactly what’s going on and my brain can formulate answers while people are still talking.” Maria, now 62, began losing her hearing in her 30s, and it continued to deteriorate. Even with hearing aids, she gradually found difficulties in her career as a teacher, retraining first to become a librarian and 10 years ago, a podiatrist. Three years ago, she took the next step to a cochlear implant in one ear and has never looked back. “It’s empowering – I have as many meaningful

conversations now as the number of people I see,” she said. Previously, she had learned to “get by” in social situations by smiling and not saying a lot. She had become “pretty gifted in reading the situation – the cues, the social interactions, people’s faces …” but it only took missing one or two words to lose track of the whole conversation. She said she, as much as others, tired of having to ask people to repeat themselves. Some simplified what they said thinking she had cognitive difficulty, and “the biggest put down of all was when people said ‘don’t worry about it’”. “It means they’ve given up; you’re not worth their energy,” she said. Now she is encouraging people to “take charge of their disability”. “It’s up to me to make my hearing the best it can possibly be,” she said. Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children CEO Chris Rehn said hearing loss does compromise your life, with people withdrawing from social situations and even family. And you don’t have to put up with it, with hearing problems today easily

diagnosed and treated. The best place to start is a conversation with your GP, he said, and referral to a qualified audiologist, rather than just a kiosk screening. He would love to see hearing loss automatically tested in over-65s as it is in children when they are first born so that problems can be quickly identified and action taken. “Left untreated, it can become difficult for people to have normal conversations and can impact their ability to connect, stay healthy and be productive, particularly as they get older,” he said. This leads to loneliness, loss of confidence, reduced performance, stress and anxiety. Chris said there was evidence that more than 50 per cent of people with serious hearing loss waited three years or more before having a hearing test, and more than 33 per cent waited over a decade. Many dismissed the issue, saying “it’s not too bad” or associated it negatively with ageing. The Sydney Cochlear Implant Centre and RIDBC (which is actually an all-of-life service) have


NEW LIFE: Maria Murray is encouraging others to deal with hearing loss. launched a six-month public health awareness campaign in Gosford, Port Stephens and Newcastle to raise awareness of the positive steps people can take. It includes educational events, online information and resources, and it is hoped local community

centres, clubs and RSLs will join the campaign. Maria urged people not to dismiss hearing problem or themselves with throwaway lines like ‘I’m deaf as a post’, which don’t tell people how they can help you. “Now I tell people to speak clearly and slowly

and look at me,” she said. But most importantly, have your hearing checked regularly and take action because, as for her, it can be life-changing. Phone your GP or go to to learn more.

Are your hearing aids no longer enough?

Implant yourself back into life A cochlear implant may help you to hear again when your hearing aid is no longer enough. In a study, people with cochlear implants could understand sentences eight times better than they could previously with their hearing aids. Better hearing may help to keep the mind sharp and may help you have stronger social interactions.1,2 Implant yourself back into life with a cochlear implant


Mariann, from Port Stephens, has come out of hibernation after five years

1. Runge et al, Clinical Outcomes of the Cochlear TM Nucleus® 5, 2016. 2. Gaylor et al, Cochlear implantation in adults, 2013. Cochlear implants are intended for the treatment of moderate to profound hearing loss. Please seek advice from your medical practitioner or health professional about treatments for hearing loss. They will be able to advise on a suitable solution for the hearing loss condition. Outcomes and results may vary. All products should be used only as directed by your medical practitioner or health professional. Not all products are available in all countries. Please contact your local Cochlear representative. D1546756 ISS1 NOV18 Cochlear and the elliptical logo are either trademarks or registered trademarks of Cochlear Limited. © Cochlear Limited 2018.




Save your eyes with top advice Tracey Johnstone GOOD eye health starts with precaution before a sight problem or refractive error is revealed which can significantly impact on your quality of life. This means getting your eye health tested by your local optometrist every 12 months from the time you hit 60. From the age of 65 you are eligible for a full Medicare rebate for the cost of an annual test. Many eye conditions associated with ageing aren’t immediately obvious to the person. They can sneak up without causing early pain or symptoms and become obvious once damage to the eye has occurred. When up to 90 per cent of blindness in Australia is avoidable or treatable if detected early, it’s a strong argument for staying on top of your eye health. As we age we are prone to presbyopia, or old eye. This is where the clear

lens inside the eye becomes less flexible and less able to change its shape. Optometry Australia’s chief clinical officer Luke Arundel said this can cause difficulties with focusing up close such as when you are reading small print. “It’s very common for people 40 or 45 onwards,” Mr Arundel said. When we find ourselves squinting to help see just a little bit more clearly, we aren’t causing any damage to our eyes, but the muscles around the eyes will tire and tension headaches can follow. And when your arms aren’t long enough to hold a book or newspaper far enough away to read the print, it’s probably time to do something about what is a refractive error in your eyes. Where to start Each time you meet with your optometrist, you need to tell them what regular medications you are taking and what visual

tasks you are doing. “When we prescribe glasses, particularly for close work, the distance that you want to hold your reading material at is very important to us,” Mr Arundel said. “If you are playing bridge and want to look at cards that on a table that is 70cm away, you may need a different prescription from if you want to lie in bed and hold a book 30cm away.” You need to also detail your hobbies, crafts, what type of computer screen you use – a PC or iPad, for example – your sports and recreation activities, and whether you want to wear glasses or contact lenses. With this knowledge the optometrist can tailor your visual solution. The next step is to discuss what type of glasses you want: bifocal which has the top half for distance and a small bottom segment for reading, multifocal or varied focal lens which has the distance at the top with an intermediate

EYE HEALTH: When your arms aren’t long enough to read the print, it’s probably time to get your eyes checked by an optometrist. Photo: gpointstudio zone which might be for computers and a reading zone at the bottom, or separate glasses for reading and distance. “With multifocals, the way that the lens’s are designed, there is often a little bit of distortion in the periphery,” Mr Arundel said. “Not everyone gets used to multifocals or bifocals; possibly as low as one in 30 might. Typically, it’s something that would be covered by an adaption warranty. So, if a patient doesn’t

get used to them, often it will be changed at no charge for changing to one pair for distance and one for reading.” Glare protection Other options to consider to help protect your eyes from UV is including transitions or wearing fit-overs as an alternative to purchasing a separate pair of prescription sunglasses. Pharmacy glasses This option is often suitable to people who have perfect distance vision, but there are few

people who find these magnifier glasses accurately suit their reading distance needs. “The way they are made is that the optical centre of the lens is randomly selected,” Mr Arundel said. These glasses can be a good emergency option, but Mr Arundel said using these glasses shouldn’t stop you have having your eyes tested every year to ensure there are no significant vision problems arising.

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Identify dry eye causes Without proper treatment it is possible for damage to eyeball DRY eye, which is common to older people, can be caused by any number of things so just popping some eye drops in your eyes won’t necessarily be the best treatment choice. Optometry Australia’s resident optometrist Sophie Koh said there are probably underlying issues causing this condition. “It might be some lid disease or inflammation that needs to be treated,” she said. “The tear glands within your lid might be blocked or inflamed.” Other causes could be dietary and systemic health problems such as Sjogren’s or auto-immune disease, thyroid, diabetes or acne rosacea, for example. An optometrist will talk to a senior about these possible contributing factors plus look at the home and work environments, diet, general health, prolonged exposure to eye irritants

and even eye trauma. Dry eye occurs when insufficient tears are produced. Those tears keep the eye lubricated. Every time you blink a thin film of tears are swept over the eye surface. The tears should remain in tack between blinks. If your eye doesn’t produce enough tears to keep the eye surface moist or the tears don’t stay on the eyes long enough, this can result in the eyeball surface becoming damaged. Crusting on eyelids Blepharitis, as it is known, is common in seniors. It is characterised by a chronic inflammation of the eyelids. The eyes will feel irritated and crusting of your eyelid and lashes can occur. “If seniors wake up in the morning and their eyes are stuck together or itchy or have what we call sleep in the eye, that is crusting,” Ms Koh said.

KNOW THE PAIN: Dry eyes are something we experience at one time or another. This happens when the eye is unable to flush away the grit that accumulates around the eye while we are sleeping. Get professional advice While using across the counter eye drops seems a simple solution, they won’t fix the underlying problem. The eyelids may need cleaning, or blocked glands cleared by an

optometrist, or there may be other health and environmental issues causing dry eyes. It really is best to visit the optometrist in the first instance before trying any self-medication strategies. They will look at various treatment options including cleaning the eyelids, using tear duct plugs and other

strategies. Applying a hot compress or hot towel on the eyelid is another way the optometrist may suggest for getting the tear glands working better. Self-medication Some options are: ■ Eye drops, gels or ointments to lubricate the surface of the eye ■ Wash and gently

Photo: fizkes

massage your eyelids while in a warm shower ■ Increase the humidity in the air at home and work by placing bowls of water around the room to evaporate ■ Check with your GP if your medications have side effects that include dry eyes ■ Practice blinking more often, especially when in front of a computer

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Clarifying the TV audio for those with hearing loss BRAND INSIGHTS

CALM AND CARING: Our response staff are trained professionals who deal with medical emergencies every day.

Emergency medical monitoring 24/7 BRAND INSIGHTS “DON’T self-monitor a medical alert device. Just DON’T do it.” Paul Joseph, the heart and soul behind Emergency Medical Services Pty Ltd, is emphatic on this point. His company supply the safeTwear medical alert device but more importantly also provide 24/7 monitoring for them. “I’ve heard so many horror stories over the years from customers who come to us because self-monitoring went horribly, horribly wrong. Having a family member or friend responsible for the medical alerts is a terrible idea. It puts enormous pressure on them to be by their phone and available to take the call. Imagine the guilt you would carry if you missed a call from your loved one that resulted in injury or worse, death! I would never want to put that kind of pressure onto the people I love. As well as that, often the person wearing the medical alert device won’t push the

button because they don’t want to be a nuisance.” “Having a professional, independent, specialist response centre with experienced responders manage the emergencies is far better than relying on friends and family. Our response team are trained professionals who deal with medical emergencies every day. They are calm, fast acting, and know the right information to collect to ensure the ambulance has everything they need, including the customers exact location and full medical history on screen. Because in an emergency situation, every second and the small details count.” Paul’s extensive experience in this medical alert and the home security industry has equipped him well to put together this service offering that is literally saving lives. “We also save grey hairs! The stress of false alarms on family members is almost as bad as an actual emergency, especially if

they miss the call for any reason. They might be showering, at the movies, deep asleep or in a work meeting, typically a person isn’t connected to their phone 24/7 despite the fact it feels like we are! Each month we deal with thousands of false alarms and every alarm is treated as an emergency until we can determine otherwise. The response team are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.” “We actually call it the ‘Danger of Self-Monitoring’ because to us, it really is that serious. Friends and family will often panic in these situations and fail to collect the relevant information the ambulance will need. Just don’t do it, I can’t stress it enough.” “With the holiday season approaching we have some excellent deals for seniors which include the medical alert device and in certain cases a lifetime of monitoring. Call us today for more information 1300 699 159.”

HEARING Specialists have developed a new wireless headset specifically for those with hearing loss to clarify television audio. The headset was developed following extensive hearing assessments of over 1000 people with hearing loss who struggle to hear the TV clearly. Hearing specialist Don Hudson says the TV Voice Pro headset will deliver better clarity for TV audio than even the world’s best hearing aids. This comes down to the fact that the original audio for TV is often highly inconsistent. “The clarity of the TV audio itself is often highly variable, as many channels differ dramatically in the clarity of the dialogue, and the volume is often changing too. We know as hearing specialists that hearing aids find it hard to correct this problem, as the originating problem is how the audio has been mixed for each TV program.” The new wireless TV Voice Pro headset overcomes this problem by altering the original TV audio. The adjustment to the TV audio puts a deliberate focus on speech frequencies to clarify TV dialogue for the user. “The TV Voice Pro headset automatically recalibrates the TV audio to focus on speech frequencies, so the user can hear the dialogue clearly. With adequate volume control function, it will work to clarify TV audio for those with any

The TV Voice Pro system is guaranteed to connect in under two minutes to any TV in Australia. level of hearing loss.” The wireless TV Voice Pro headset weighs just 70 grams and allows wearers to listen to television at their own preferred volume without affecting the audio volume for others in the room. It uses RF transmission to allow wireless use from anywhere in the house, up to 20 metres. The TV Voice Pro system is guaranteed to connect in under two minutes to any TV in

Australia. It is a rechargeable device and no batteries are required. The purchase price is $349. TV Voice Pro comes with a 30-day money back guarantee. To order, phone 1300 300 446 or order online, go to TV Voice pro is currently offering free express courier deliver for all pre-Christmas orders.

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BRAND INSIGHTS HAKEA Grove celebrated their second birthday with a party and open day on Friday. Residents, their families, members of the public, staff and board members all gathered together for a barbecue on what was a fantastic day of celebration. Visiting members of the public were given tours of the home and gained a great insight into the care and warmth that radiates amongst residents and the staff at Hakea Grove. In a speech given by Peter Pardy (board chairman at Hakea Grove) he mentioned that he was so impressed and proud of the residents and staff at Hakea adding that it feels like “one big family”. Peter touched on how much Hakea Grove has achieved and grown in the two years it has been open, welcoming many new residents and staff including the recent

Hakea Grove enjoys their second birthday

appointment of Hakea’s new, award winning Nurse Practitioner Claire Abbott. A few residents and staff were also acknowledged for being at Hakea since day one including staff member Katherine Brady and residents Josie Johnson, Betty Duddle and Lavinia Rosa. As part of this acknowledgement they all took turns in cutting the cake. Hakea Grove CEO Jo Heslin thanked the staff for all their help with putting together such a great day, for the incredible care that the staff provide the residents and thanked the board members and staff for their ongoing dedication and support. Hakea Grove looks forward to continuing to provide quality care to residents and enjoying many more milestones like this in the future. Phone (02) 4346 0100 or email admin@hakea for details.



CELEBRATIONS AND CAKE: Board chairman at Hakea Grove Peter Pardy with a resident cutting their second birthday cake. 6884633aa



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Downsizing your home in comfort BRAND INSIGHTS LOOKING at your retirement options? Or just considering a change of scenery? Have you considered a residential village (also referred to as land lease communities)? Our Villages offer affordable homes for the retired or semi-retired in numerous locations throughout New South Wales including the

Hunter Valley Village, Oakdale Residential Village and Bulahdelah Residential Village. Village living offers the opportunity to live in a new home in a desired location at a fraction of the cost of traditional house and land options. You can downsize your existing home while freeing up equity, allowing you to do the things you dreamed of doing. Our Hunter Valley Village, which is a gated

community located at Neath offers peace and tranquillity in the beautiful Hunter Valley region. Conveniently located close to vineyards and the lush countryside of the Hunter Valley, only 40 minutes from Newcastle and the sparkling waterways of Port Stephens and 10 minutes from shopping, banking and medical facilities at Cessnock. The Village is pet friendly and includes a swimming pool, village

bus, recreational room and library. Many of our home owners use Our Villages as their base from which they travel Australia or the world, knowing that whilst they are away their home is in good hands with our on-site manager and like minded neighbours keeping an eye on their home. Our Villages have brand new homes available now. We offer one, two or three bedroom homes of the


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IF YOU really want to enjoy life in retirement we have a range of Australian retirement planning books, that would make a great Christmas present. Here’s what they cover: How to stay Healthy, Active and Sharp in Retirement. We are not condemned to an inevitable future of declining physical and mental capacity. The medical experts who wrote chapters in this book have stated that it’s possible to delay and sometimes avoid many of the common effects of ageing. A Holistic Guide to a Happy Retirement helps you to get an understanding about what life in retirement is really like. It covers handling change, your health, your finances, relationships, your mind and emotions and future work. How to be Happy, Retired and Single is the singles version of A Holistic Guide to a Happy Retirement. Retirement for singles is quite different to the issues that couples need to manage. How your Relationship can thrive in Retirement. You can have financial security, but if your important relationships aren’t good, you’re unlikely to be very happy in the years ahead. Purchase at: retirementbooks.

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Multiple opinions surround a comfortable living

Tony Kaye THERE’S an old joke that if you ask three economists for their views on the economy, you are likely to get at least four answers. To an extent, the same variance in views appears to be the case when it comes to answering the question: how much money does one need to live a comfortable retirement? Or more to the point, do most Australians have enough funds to last them

How much retirement money is enough? through their life? The Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia calculates that to have a ‘comfortable’ retirement, single people will need $545,000 in retirement savings, and couples will need $640,000. Such balances would generate $42,950 per annum for a single, and $60,604 for couples, according to ASFA, which assumes the retirees own their own home outright and are relatively healthy. Yet, how much is needed to be comfortable in retirement does depend on who you ask. A new study by the public policy think tank Grattan Institute suggests that the conventional wisdom that Australians don’t save enough for retirement is wrong, and that the vast majority of current and future retirees are likely to be financially comfortable. Grattan says its modelling shows that,

even after allowing for inflation, most workers can expect a retirement income of at least 91 per cent of their pre-retirement income. Furthermore, it says that through a combination of the Age Pension and their compulsory superannuation savings, many low-income earners will actually get a pay rise when they retire. “Australians tend to spend less after they retire, and even less into old age,” according to the study’s authors, John Daley and Brendan Coates. “Their medical costs increase, but are largely covered by the taxpayer. “Many retirees are net savers, and current retirees often leave a legacy almost as large as their nest egg on the day they retired.” They note that loosening the Age Pension assets test could boost retirement incomes for around 20 per cent of


Australians tend to spend less after they retire, and even less into old age. retirees, rising to more than 70 per cent of retirees in the future. This would also deal with anomalies in the system, where some people who save $100 while working increase their total retirement income by less than $100 in real terms. But the institute has hit a raw nerve with Industry Super Australia (ISA), the umbrella organisation for industry superannuation funds, in suggesting that the legislated plan to increase compulsory superannuation contributions from 9.5 per cent to 12 per cent should be scrapped. Grattan said because it believes most Australians will be comfortable in

retirement, there is no need to boost retirement incomes across the board. In addition, it states that superannuation tax breaks and age-based tax breaks should be reduced to ensure the retirement incomes system does not become an excessive burden on future budgets and endanger funding for aged care and health. However, the ISA says Grattan’s modelling showing the current 9.5 per cent Superannuation Guarantee levy will deliver adequate incomes for future retirees is “deeply flawed”. ISA says the research’s flaws include assuming that everyone can top up

their super with extra voluntary contributions; that workers have a continuous, uninterrupted 37-year working life and contributions; and that living standards in retirement shouldn’t keep pace with the rest of the community. Ultimately, most Australians will want to have created a sizeable nest egg for their retirement to ensure they can have a reasonably comfortable lifestyle. But how much we should have saved for retirement depends on who you ask. With average life expectancies continuing to rise, one thing is indisputable: the professional number crunchers will need to keep revising up their estimates as many of us have longer lives. Tony Kaye is the editor of listed financial services group InvestSMART and Eureka Report.

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Will the franking credit changes affect you? THERE has been significant attention recently regarding the Labor Party’s proposed changes to franking credits received from Australian company dividends. The largest group of Australians who could be impacted by changes to franking credit refunds are members of large super funds, according to a survey by the Financial Services Council (FSC). The survey, which looked at 14 retail super funds, found that many super fund members with low balances benefit from refunds. Refunds of franking credits mean an investor in shares pays the same overall tax as an investor into other assets including bonds, term deposits, property and infrastructure. In a submission to the House of Representatives

A survey looking at 14 retail super funds found that many super fund members with low balances benefit from refunds Economics Committee, the FSC expressed its support for refunds of franking credits, expressing fear that restricting refunds would impose a potential tax penalty on some low-income earners, retirees and super funds if they invest in shares. “The FSC considers that franking credit refunds should continue. They provide substantial support to the retirement savings of millions of Australians – including many with fairly modest savings,” CEO Sally Loane said. “Constant tinkering with the rules on retirement savings and superannuation, and hitting retirees hardest, will only erode confidence in the system, leaving more

Australians reliant on the age pension.” In its submission, the FSC said franking credit refunds benefited up to 2.6 million members of large super funds in 2015-16 and up to 3.5 million members in 2014-15. Returns from funds surveyed increase between 0.26 to 0.3 per cent due to franking credit returns per year. The FSC noted this increase over a working life of 0.3 of a percentage point would increase retirement savings for a typical full-time worker by about $55,000, based on Productivity Commission methodology. There were 66,000 retiree accounts in the surveyed funds; if the retirees received the


The FSC considers that franking credit refunds should continue. benefit of the refunds then the average benefit per retiree was $850 per year. According to the study, refunds also provide a significant benefit to small APRA-regulated funds, of many thousands of dollars per year on average, increasing average returns by up to 4.2 per

cent per year. The FSC says, in addition, more than $100 billion invested in managed funds outside of super receive significant benefits from refunds. Ms Loane said the FSC supports a moratorium on adverse changes to the superannuation system, including changes to franking credit refunds. The discussions and lobbying about these proposed changes are in process and many financial associations are opposing them. For more information, contact Mark Digby at Maher Digby Securities Pty Ltd - Financial Advisers – AFSL No. 230559 (see advert Page 3).

Phone: (07) 5441 1266 or visit our website This document was prepared without taking into account any person’s particular objectives, financial situation or needs. It is not guaranteed as accurate or complete and should not be relied upon as such. Maher Digby Securities does not accept any responsibility for the opinions, comments, forward looking statements, and analysis contained in this document, all of which are intended to be of a general nature. Investors should, before acting on this information, consider the appropriateness of this information having regard to their personal objectives, financial situation or needs. We recommend consulting a financial adviser.

Scrooge-onomics hit three out of four

NIFTY THRIFTY: Ebenezer Scrooge may have been onto something when he said “Bah! Humbug” to Christmas presents.

IT COULD pay to hang out some of your smaller stockings for Santa Claus this year. Research by Finder shows three out of four Australians are tightening their budgets this festive season, and drawing a line on gift giving. From bulk buying to DIY gifts, Finder says 76 per cent of Australians are looking to cut costs this Christmas. One in two people are setting a spending limit for gifts, while 17 per cent

are running a Secret Santa to cut the number of people they have to buy for. The same percentage will make their own gifts, and 13 per cent of us will rummage through last year’s presents to re-gift unwanted items in 2018. A further 15 per cent will take a leaf straight from Scrooge’s book and skip presents altogether. It’s not the sort of news that will be welcomed by the retail sector, which relies heavily on the bumper Christmas spending boom. But the next few weeks

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are a time of year when we’re under a fair bit of pressure to buy something – anything – for friends and family. Perhaps this explains why so many of us don’t receive gifts we particularly value. Gumtree’s 2017 Unwanted Gifts Survey found Australians collectively received more than 21 million unwanted gifts last year, with an average value of $68 each. It doesn’t help either that one in five of us admit to shopping online after we’ve had a few too

many festive drinks. Christmas really is a magical time of year, but it’s always worth thinking twice before wasting money. Make a list, make a budget, and make it count are handy guidelines to follow. It can be worth doing some research to find out what you could give that will be valued (and kept). Paul Clitheroe is Chairman of InvestSMART, Chairman of the Australian Government Financial Literacy Board and chief commentator for Money Magazine.

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DECEMBER, 2018// SENIORS way to make new friends and find out what’s happening in the area. It’s as simple as going along to Bateau Bay Library for a cuppa and morning tea on Thursday, January 10 from 10.30-11.30am.

What's on


Alison Houston Journalist


TWO mums have come up with something different this Christmas in the Budgewoi Community Christmas Barbecue. The idea is a simple get-together for those who would otherwise be home alone. Bring a picnic blanket and get into the Christmas spirit with some locals, a free sausage sandwich and a Christmas carol or two. It is free from 11am-1pm at Mackenzie Reserve, Weemala Street, Budgewoi. Phone Kristal on 0405 165 295.


EVERY weekend, launching Saturday, December 29 until March, the Weekend on the

CHALKING IT UP: Works like this one by talented 3D artist Anton Pulvirenti will turn Waterfront Plaza, The Entrance, into a giant canvas. Photo: Greens will bring together food, drink music and fun from noon on the waterfront at Woy Woy. There will be food trucks, drinks and refreshments from local breweries and distilleries, music from local artists and a family fun area. It’s at The Greens, North Burge Road, Woy Woy. Phone Sam Perry on 0427 857 238.


YOU are invited to join in the festivities and celebrate the last sunset of 2018 at The Entrance with entertainment,

activities and live music at Memorial Park. For all you children of the ’80s, Pseudo Echo is performing live, there will be a food alley and fireworks display at 9pm. It all starts at 6pm, but be warned, there will be traffic diversions from 3pm and Marine Parade Carpark will be closed throughout December 31.

trucks from Spanish to pizza, pasta, burgers, skewers, dumplings, paella, curry and more, but don’t forget to leave room for the dessert trucks, including churros to Dutch pancakes! There’s entertainment and rides for the kids. It’s at The Entertainment Grounds, Racecourse Road, Gosford.



THESE Gosford markets are on the first Friday of the month from 5pm on January 4. There’s assorted food

If you’ve recently moved into the area, or perhaps just haven’t found your niche yet, the Retirees Meet & Greet is a great

THIS is the first Chalk the Walk at Waterfront Plaza, The Entrance, having been postponed in October due to rain. Talented 3D artist Anton Pulvirenti will be among those turning the area into one giant canvas of artwork. The full program, including live entertainment and public viewing of pieces is available, go to On from January 17-20.


Thursday, January 17 is race day finale at The Entertainment Grounds (previously Gosford Race Club) with the final event of the Tooheys Central Coast Carnival and Summer Series. It features the Listed Gosford Gold Cup, Listed Takeover Target and Class Three Cusick Prelude. Gates open at 12pm for the first race at 12.30pm. There’s also live music, food and more. Last race 4.55pm. Adults $10.


ON THE third Sunday of the month from 9am-2pm, including Sunday, January 20, aiming to give visitors and locals a lively market in which to come together and enjoy the beauty of Umina Beach. There is a big variety of plant-based and vegan options available. The market will be filled with unique and quirky stalls, visual arts, live buskers, delicious foods and more. It’s at Peninsula Recreational Precinct near Umina Beach SLSC. Email Ricky at uminabeach


IF YOU, your family or group members are interested in learning something useful, Hand on Heart First Aid is offering classes to help you potentially make a difference in someone’s life. Founded by two Emergency-trained nurses, it has moved into the Central Coast with trainer Scott, who will come to your home, club or workplace to teach you essential life-saving skills. Courses are tailored to he participants’ needs and come from life experience, not just the text book. Phone 0411 735 000.

FREE healthy cooking workshops for positive ageing Learn how to cook a nutritious and delicious meal using every day, seasonal ingredients that are good for positive ageing (without skimping on FLAVOUR)! Book now: Ettalong: 1 February, 10.30am 4304 7222 Toukley: 8 February, 10.30am 4396 5075 Gosford: 15 February, 10.30am 4304 7065 Long Jetty: 22 February, 10.30am 4332 5522 Terrigal: 14 March, 10.30am 4384 5152 Central Coast 50+Leisure and Learning Centres and Seniors Centres



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Orchestra set to return SYDNEY Symphony Orchestra returns to the Central Coast with a stunning piano program. The Sydney Symphony Orchestra’s sold-out debut on the Central Coast in 2018 saw a full house of 500 music fans experience an evening of Mozart by some of Australia’s finest musicians. In a dream for classical music fans and due to huge demand, The Art House will be bringing the Orchestra back to the venue as part of The Art House Presents Program 2019 and showcasing The Art House’s stunning Yamaha Grand C7 piano which will be played by virtuoso pianist Alessio Bax. Combining exceptional lyricism and insight with consummate technique, Alessio Bax is without a doubt “among the most remarkable young pianists now before the public” (Gramophone). He catapulted to prominence with first prize wins at both the Leeds and Hamamatsu International Piano Competitions, and is now a familiar face on four continents, not only as a recitalist and

STAR POWER: Alessio Bax will perform with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra at The Art House. chamber musician, but as a concerto soloist who has appeared with more than 100 orchestras. Alessio will be performing Mozart’s Piano Concerto No.27 in B flat. This, Mozart’s final piano concerto, stands apart for its sober perfection and innocent directness. The concerto’s slow movement suspends time with a melody as serene

as it is simple, played with disarming grace by a pianist who communicates the radiance of this music. This is one of the composer’s most personal works: reflective, nostalgic and songful. The evening’s program also includes Mendelssohn’s Hebrides Overture. Mendelssohn visited Scotland’s



Hebridean Islands when he was 20 and the incredible seascape and otherworldly Fingal’s Cave inspired one of his best-known works, and one of the greatest soundscapes in orchestral literature. Finally, Beethoven’s Eighth Symphony will pack a punch with its unstoppable energy. Overshadowed by its bigger siblings, the Eighth is cheekily radical music. Instead of a grand statement, this is the symphony as a bundle of vivacious energy. Tickets to the Orchestra’s debut Central Coast concert sold out with months to spare so fans of fine music will need to book early to secure a spot for this incredible classical experience. Sydney Symphony Orchestra: Alessio Bax Performs Mozart on Friday, March 22 2019. Tickets: Child $40 | Member $52 | Concession $55 | Adult $59. For bookings, go to thearthousewyong. or phone 02 4335 1485.



CHRISTMAS CHEER: The cast of Senior Moments get into the Christmas spirit for their comedy revue.

Big stars in big laughs OPEN up the wallet and do yourself a favour this Christmas by giving the gift of laughter. The cast and crew of the hilarious comedy revue Senior Moments have announced they’ll be at it again from February 2019 with a 17 show tour across Australia. Actors John Wood, Max Gillies, Benita Collings, Kim Lewis and Russell Newman will be joined by Midday Show maestro Geoff Harvey on piano as they share hilarious stories of growing old. Senior Moments is described as a “deliciously funny and fresh collection of comic senior moments, scenes and songs, with hilarious

sketches and wonderfully witty songs performed by some legendary show business seniors”. “It’s a seriously silly show for otherwise sensible seniors.” The 90 minute show will tour theatres is Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Perth, Hobart and Canberra, and regionally on the Gold Coast (February 27 to March 2), Newcastle, Wollongong, Caloundra, Port Macquarie (March 15-16), Wyong (February 2) and more. Tickets start at $55 and are on sale now, go to seniormoments for more information.



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Top ideas for busy kids Tracey Johnstone WE HAVE reached out to some of the many clubs that contribute their monthly news to Seniors News to share their great ideas for grandkid and great-grandkid holiday activity ideas.


Grandchildren can use their imagination to create some wonders, such as: ■ Christmas bells from egg cartons – cut out the raised bell-shaped parts. ■ Christmas pom pom balls using polystyrene balls, wire and art flowers, bows and ribbons. ■ Decorate pine cones using spray paint and glitter. ■ Lanterns – make from coloured paper. ■ Christmas decorations – create stars and other shapes from coloured cardboard. ■ Cooking is so much fun – gingerbread people, Christmas trees, chocolate fudge squares, chocolate or apricot balls, muesli bar squares (these can all be made in a

microwave). ■ Make your own gifts such as lavender-filled pillows about 8cm square, plus allowance for seam. ■ Also, make ribbons and bows for dressing up other gifts. ■ Christmas table – make napkins and design your own centrepiece. ■ Christmas bon bons – use toilet roll, paper towel centres, coloured paper and ribbon.


For grandparents to share some activity with the grandchildren, all it takes is a bit of imagination and simple everyday items. To start, all you need is some white cardboard, scissors, glue, pencil, coloured texta pens, old Christmas cards and you are under way. Let the kids use their own imagination and ideas. If able, let them cut out pictures from the old cards and glue onto the blank cardboard cards, use their own words and writing to and from inside the card and enjoy their

CRAFTWORKERS: Bev Cornwell, Edna Down, Heather Ramm, Lyn Smith, Glenda Reinke, Robyn Busk and Mary Pape from the Hervey Bay VIEW Club Committee. display of pride at having made the card themselves. Decorations for the Christmas tree can be made the same way... bells and more from silver or gold paper.

U3A TWIN TOWNS, TUGUN ■ Creating a cubby from cardboard boxes. ■ Make a Christmas tree from a tree branch, painting it white and hanging it with decorations made by the kids. ■ Cook coconut ice or fudge and make little boxes to hold it – give it as a gift. ■ Go on a walk and get the children to draw what they saw while out, and

accompany it with a short description. ■ Make a book out of folded A4 paper and write a sentence or two on each page with an accompanying drawing. ■ Make up bubble mixture and have fun blowing bubbles. ■ Make a kite with lots of colours and streamers and fly it. ■ Press some flowers. ■ Create a diorama, which is a fun way to build an exciting scene in a small space.


View clubs struggle each year to make enough library bags for the Smith Family’s Learning for Life

students who are unable to make their own. These are easy enough for grandparents to teach their grandchildren how to make; all you need is some bright and interesting (for young ones) material. Doing this activity can help the grandkids feel that they are helping those in less fortunate circumstances. For more information on what sizes for the bags, phone Janet on 0448 845 303 or Gillian on (07) 5496 9474.


Some great activites seniors can share with youngsters include: ■ Cooking. ■ Puzzles. ■ Memory games. ■ Reading children’s stories. ■ Charades.


Our grandmothers suggest: ■ At home – cooking, especially pikelets; French knitting; colouring-in; making Christmas

decorations and cards; making pasta necklaces, button pictures and wooden spoon dolls. ■ Out of the home – join in the local shopping centre activities including painting of plaster moulds, magic sand and tie-dyeing; check out the activities at the local library.


■ Spend time with the grandkids as they cycle around the local park. ■ Get them to take you to a local historical site and ask them to guide you around the site and tell you all about it. ■ Visit your nearest library. ■ Make cards from pieces of paper, cardboard, stamps and anything else you have stored in your craft room or box. ■ Visit the local museum and National Trust locations to see their current exhibitions. ■ Show the grandkids how to fix little things around the house like pumping up bike tyres.



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SCAM ALERT: Be aware of dodgy deals this Christmas.

Christmas scam alert THE pressure to find that last-minute Christmas present or holiday deal could knock you into the ever-waiting hands of scammers, according to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. Scamwatch has issued this warning about three holiday season scams: Online shopping scams: Scammers will set up fake online stores or post goods for sale in

buy-swap-sell groups or online classified sites to trick people into buying items that don’t exist. Travel scams: Scammers trick people into believing they’ve won a holiday or scored a really good deal on a travel package, like a cruise. Unfortunately the prize or the cheap accommodation are phony. Parcel delivery scams: Scammers may ask you to print off a label, do a

survey, claim a prize, or view the status of your delivery by clicking on a link or downloading an attachment. Some scammers may even call or text with claims about an unsuccessful delivery. These scams are aimed at getting people to download malware on to their computer, or give up their personal information. Go to




Dalton delivers again THE enthralling story of the epic journey of the First Fleet, from one of Australia’s greatest writers.

– willingly or unwillingly. Drawing from historical sources of the time, Trent Dalton paints a vivid picture of the people who


Trent Dalton paints a vivid picture of the people who embarked on this epic journey. Originally published as a Kennedy Award-winning multi-part serial in The Australian earlier this year, By Sea & Stars tells the story of the voyage that led to the founding of our nation, as told from the point of view of the people who took part in it

embarked on this epic journey. From terrified 12-year-old convict and former chimneysweep John Hudson and conscientious Lieutenant Ralph Clark to brave and determined CaptainGeneral Arthur Phillip, the

brightest star of the British Navy, these are the people who made the voyage, and these are their stories – of death, duty, glory, lust, violence, escape and mutiny, and a great southern land. Praise for Trent Dalton ‘I’ve always looked out for Trent’s work because he has a magic about him – what he sees, how he explains things. He can describe a kitchen table in a way that makes you want to throw your arms around it … (Dalton is) a genuine treasure of Australian letters’ – Annabel Crabb. ‘As a brilliant journalist, Trent Dalton has always intimately understood how fact is often stranger than fiction’ – Benjamin Law. ‘A major new voice on the Australian literary

scene has arrived’ – Nikki Gemmell. About the Author Trent Dalton is a staff writer for the Weekend Australian Magazine and a former assistant editor of The Courier Mail. He’s a two-time winner of a Walkley Award for Excellence in Journalism, a four-time winner of a Kennedy Award for Excellence in NSW Journalism and a four-time winner of the national News Awards Features Journalist of the Year. His debut novel is the critically acclaimed and bestselling Boy Swallows Universe, which was published in mid-2018. By Sea & Stars by Trent Dalton available now. Hardback. RRP: $24.99.

Details never released about the Thai cave

Nine Perfect Strangers and a strange resort

THE upcoming publication of The Cave will reveal previously unknown aspects of the Thai cave rescue, based on exclusive interviews with several of the rescued boys and their families, as well as with British diver John Volanthen. Author Liam Cochrane has gained unrivalled access to some of the key players in the dramatic rescue, with help from a team of Thai researchers. “Getting to hear about the boys’ experiences inside the cave and get their story in their own words has really made this book something special,” Cochrane said.

LIANE Moriarty has produced another superb tale in her novel Nine Perfect Strangers. I picked up a copy of Liane’s latest novel at the airport the other day. I took hold of it in trepidation that it would now be as good as her other seven international bestsellers, several of which I have read. Luckily, my choice proved a good one. Liane has again created an engaging tale. It’s setting is familiar, it’s characters easy to get attached to. The subject well, who hasn’t dreamt of going to a health retreat to get some rest and

“Many aspects of the rescue were unclear until I spent seven hours interviewing John Volanthen, one of the true heroes of the operation.” The ABC’s South-East Asia correspondent was on the scene during the search and rescue mission, but most of the material for the book has been drawn from fresh research with more than 25 key sources involved. The Cave will reveal aspects of the operation that have never been publicly disclosed. The Cave by Liam Cochrane. Published by Harper Collins.

maybe lose just a little bit of weight? Though, I’m not no sure this retreat would stay on your bucket list once you read what it has to offer. Tranquillum House is a place for health and wellness experiences, so the brochure says. It also promises total transformation. We meet at the retreat nine city residents. Each character has a deep story. — Tracey Johnstone Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty. Pan Macmillan, RRP$32.99 and ebook for $14.99

DEBUT NOVEL: A thriller that will excite you.

A white-knuckle ride of non-stop suspense

NEW INFORMATION: The Cave by Liam Cochrane is on bookshelves this December.

MICHAEL McGuire’s debut novel Flight Risk is a gripping thriller full of pure adrenalin, explosive action and terrifying revelations that will keep even the most jaded reader glued to the pages and utterly engrossed. The Australian author’s tale is original, the read a white-knuckle ride of non-stop suspense - a high-octane thriller full of pure adrenalin, explosive action and jaw-dropping revelations. The story introduces disgraced former pilot Ted Roberts. He works for a top-secret government organisation set up to investigate terror-related incidents. Sent to Jakarta

to find out as much as he can about the pilot of a vanished Garuda flight, Ted discovers a flight simulator in the pilot’s apartment. When the investigation turns sour, Ted escapes to New York as further disaster strikes. Another plane disappears from the sky. Then another. Three planes and hundreds of passengers and crew vanish, without a trace. Panic is widespread and the world is teetering on the brink. Still no one claims responsibility. Published by Allen and Unwin RRP$29.99.

NEW BOOK: Liane Moriarty doesn't disappoint in her latest novel.




Forgotten souls find help to rewrite future IN THE small, sleepy Australian coastal town of Rosella Cove, there are three damaged souls and a house standing empty. Why isn’t anyone living in there? Why hasn’t been sold? Nicole arrives into Rosella Cove, leaving behind her city life for the little town of Rosella. She finds an old cottage by the water to rent. Nicole plans to keep to herself, but when she uncovers in the house a hidden box of wartime love letters, she realises she’s not the first person living in this cottage to hide secrets and pain. Ivy’s quiet life in Rosella Cove is tainted by the events of World War II, with ramifications felt for many years to come. But one night a drifter appears and changes everything. Is his soul the one she’s meant to save? Charlie is too afraid of his past to form any lasting ties in the cove. He knows he must make amends for his tragic deeds long ago, but he can’t do it alone.

Maybe the new tenant in the cottage will help him fulfil a promise and find the redemption he isn’t sure he deserves. Can the cottage help

these lost, found and forgotten souls rewrite their futures? RRP $32.99. Published by Penguin Random House.

Political authors nail real life TWO of Australia’s most imaginative political observers, Steve Lewis and Chris Uhlmann, have repeatedly displayed an uncanny ability to predict major political events on both the domestic and international stage in their bestselling Secret City trilogy of novels. The three Secret City novels inspired the acclaimed Foxtel/Netflix TV series, which has showcased Canberra to the world in a taut House of Cards-style political thriller. Off the back of the huge success of the Secret City TV series, all three novels are now being released in a single, compelling volume titled Secret City: The Capital Files. When seasoned journalist Harry Dunkley is slipped a compromising photograph of a federal MP one frosty Canberra morning, he knows he is onto something big. But the deeper Harry investigates, the more he realises that this photograph is merely the hint of a larger conspiracy at work, and

a secret its guardians are willing to kill to protect. “There are more spies in Canberra than anywhere else in the country” – Chris Uhlmann. “Given the fact that the books are set in Canberra, the novels’ authors definitely have some solid background in the city’s political workings” – “Political insiders Steve Lewis and Chris Uhlmann bring biting wit and behind-the-headlines insight to this sharply observed novel... House of Cards, Canberra style” – Sunday Canberra Times.

While the authors downplay their powers of prophecy, the trilogy foresaw the rise of a Donald Trump-style American president and a Chinese leader some believe is on the path to becoming an emperor. They also foreshadowed a clash on the South China Sea which came eerily close to being realised in recent weeks when a Chinese destroyer almost collided with the USS Decatur. ■ ABOUT THE AUTHORS Steve Lewis arrived in Canberra in late 1992, and spent the next two decades tormenting the nation’s political elite. Chris Uhlmann is one of Australia’s best known and most respected political broadcasters. He began his career in journalism at the Canberra Times as the world’s oldest copy-kid, after failed stints as a student priest, storeman and packer and security guard. HarperCollins List Price: $34.99 AUD

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Across 1 Who (Guy ____) was recruited as a spy while at Cambridge University? (7) 4 What abdominal pain commonly distresses babies? (5) 7 What former measure of land equals a quarter of an acre? (4) 8 In which English county are the Poldark novels set? (8) 10 Which is the only group to write and produce six consecutive number one singles in the US? (3,3,4) 12 What glazed cotton fabric is used for curtains? (6) 13 What did British Honduras change its name to? (6) 15 Which Germanic musical instrument resembles a bugle with valves? (10) 18 Soft black sticks of what are used in drawing? (8) 19 France is part of which ancient region of Europe? (4) 20 Which city is the chief port and commercial centre of the United Arab Emirates? (5) 21 What is a metal support for logs in a fireplace? (7)


8 9

10 11 12

13 14 15


17 18



Down 1 What type of hat did TV’s Frank Spencer favour? (5) 2 What was Zimbabwe formerly called? (8) 3 What dead animal might be kept in a bathroom? (6) 4 Which fairytale was first recorded by the Greek historian Strabo in the first century BC? (10) 5 What open watercourse conveys water to a mill? (4) 6 What scented water is named after a German city? (7) 9 Which Italian (Bernardo ___) directed the films Last Tango in Paris and The Last Emperor? (10) 11 What creature in Greek mythology had the head of a bull and the body of a man? (8) 12 “If you’re fond of sand dunes and salty air” begins a Patti Page song about which part of Massachusetts? (4,3) 14 Which large lizard has a species that regularly ventures into the sea? (6) 16 What are toothbrush bristles usually made of? (5) 17 Which siblings (Charles and Mary ___) wrote Tales from Shakespeare in 1807? (4)






Fill the grid so every column, every row and 3x3 box contains the digits 1 to 9.














Insert the missing letters to make ten words — five reading across the grid and five reading down.

Solve the anagrams. Each solution is a one-word anagram of the letters beside it, and the five solutions are sequential. For example, if the fiveletter solution starts with J, the six-letter solution starts with K, and so on.















T 20




Note: more than one solution may be possible.





ALPHAGRAMS: TABLE, UNREAL, VOMITED, WEARIEST, XYLOPHONE. QUICK CROSSWORD Across: 1. Abut 8. Inexorable 9. Deceased 10. Lack 12. Morphs 14. Spying 15. Status 17. Fidget 18. Edge 19. Epithets 21. Concerning 22. Each. Down: 2. Barefooted 3. Tire 4. Feasts 5. Hordes 6. Parleyed 7. Peak 11. Concentric 13. Patience 16. Spears 17. Frigid 18. Etch 20. Huge.



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How many words of four letters or more can you make? Each letter must be used only once and all words must contain the centre letter. There is at least one nine-letter word. No words starting with a capital are allowed, no plurals ending in s unless the word is also a verb. TODAY: Good 20 Very Good 28 Excellent 34









Down 2. Unshod (10) 3. Fatigue (4) 4. Banquets (6) 5. Multitudes (6) 6. Discussed (8) 7. Summit (4) 11. Having a common centre (10) 13. Forbearance (8) 16. Impales (6) 17. Icy (6) 18. Carve (4) 20. Immense (4)

GK CROSSWORD Across: 1 Burgess. 4 Colic. 7 Rood. 8 Cornwall. 10 The Bee Gees. 12 Chintz. 13 Belize. 15 Flugelhorn. 18 Charcoal. 19 Gaul. 20 Dubai. 21 Andiron. Down: 1 Beret. 2 Rhodesia. 3 Sponge. 4 Cinderella. 5 Leat. 6 Cologne. 9 Bertolucci. 11 Minotaur. 12 Cape Cod. 14 Iguana. 16 Nylon. 17 Lamb.

Across 1. Share a boundary (4) 8. Remorseless (10) 9. Dead (8) 10. Deficiency (4) 12. Transforms (6) 14. Snooping (6) 15. Standing (6) 17. Move restlessly (6) 18. Margin (4) 19. Curses (8) 21. Worrying (10) 22. Every one or thing (4)



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Central Coast, December 2018  
Central Coast, December 2018