Rugby league unites over sportsmanship behind Central Charlestown four-year-old boy’s first try

UNLIKE most things that becomeinternet famous, there isn’t avideo of IzacSoewarno’s first rugby league try.
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It’s in the scorebook, sure, and the momenthecarefullygroundedthe ballon a sodden Saturday in June will stayinthe memoriesofhis Central Charlestown under-6 teammates.

But none of thatmeant Izac’s first try would go viral.

The Hunter try that made rugby league smile  |  photos, video SPORTSMANSHIP: Izac Soewarno relives his try, scored for Central Charlestown following a sporting gesture by Cardiff. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

SPORTSMANSHIP: Izac Soewarno relives his try, scored for Central Charlestown following a sporting gesture by Cardiff. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

SPORTSMANSHIP: Izac Soewarno relives his try, scored for Central Charlestown following a sporting gesture by Cardiff. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

TweetFacebookNo, the four-year-oldwith anoversized jersey and a smile totransport anyoneto the fields of their childhood hasfoundfame because of a Facebook post written by histeammate’s mum.

“I have a son who plays under 6s at Central Charlestown and I never ever write anything or make a comment on Facebook about an opposing team,” began Renee Ridgeway, in a post-game message to the opposing Cardiff Cougars.

“Towards the end of today’s game our little player Izac was passed the ball…there would have been at least 5 players who ‘pretended’ to tackle him and ran as slowly as they couldbeside him watching his first try.”

Ms Ridgeway’s accountleftIzac’s mum SarahSoewarno brimming with tears for her sonwho had startedthe season running the wrong way. Ithas since been shared onlineby Jarryd Hayne.

NSW Blues captain Paul Gallen –who would have givenplenty for a four-pointer at the right time in Wednesday night’s State of Origin loss – alsomessaged hiscongratulations.

Jade Porter, the Cardiff coach whose playersorchestrated Izac’s big moment, saidhetried to set upan oppositionplayer for a try almost every week.

“I saw this kid and told them, this is the day he scores a try,” Mr Porter said.

“No,I don’t think it would have happened when I was his age. But 100 per cent,it’s good for a kid’s confidence and it’s going to make him want to come back next year andplay the game of rugby league.”

Charlestowncoach Mat Toshack has already noticeda lift from his smallest player at training.

Izac’s try,reportedly scored from just inside hisown half,has brieflydominated the lives oftheBelmont NorthSoewarno family. Izachas, obliging various media,relived it dozens of times. A children’sclothing line has made approaches.

Andrew Blackwell, the Central Charlestown Facebookadministrator who first promoted the post, said it had reached more than 150,000 people by mid-week.

But even if Izac’s momenthad been confined totwo teams and their parents watching in the rain, hismum said she would have been happy.

“It was just beautiful to watch his teammates run over andgive him hugs,” MsSoewarno said.

“It made him feel special.”

Short Takes: Saturday, June 25, 2016

ITseems a bit rich for all these bleeding hearts to be whinging about the Baird government not giving out enough. They seem to forget 15 years of Bob Carr and what we got: half a bridge to Kooragang and a partial upgrade of Hillsborough Road. Now, you all expect miracles when you continually vote for the opposition. We had an opportunity to forge on when we had a lord mayor of substance and a couple of Liberal government ministers and Newcastle started to move on. You are lucky Baird gives Newcastle anything if this whinging continues. So stop bleating.
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Les Powell,CharlestownTHEY talk about the big hole left with the open-cut mines.Look up on Google the place Butchart Gardens, British Columbia. They changed that pit into a beautiful garden a million people visit every year. It would bring tourists to the Hunter.

George Tattersell,EleebanaI AGREE with Jeff McCloy’s observations (‘McCloy dubbed Trump of the Hunter’,Herald,23/6)that if developers are to be banned from funding elections then unions should also be banned. This is arguably correct. But then if the traditional sources of electoral funding were banned, how should elections be funded? The only viable solution would be tax-funded elections. This would minimise corruption such as identified by the ICAC’s Operation Spicer.

George Paris,RathminesSO the NSW government has balanced its budget, by selling income-generating assets. Question is: where will they find the income to spend in the future, now the assets are gone?

Joan Lambert,AdamstownNOW that the state government budget has been done and dusted we are left to pick up the crumbs. After all it’s only Newcastle and the Hunter. Thank you, MrBaird.

Daphne Hughes,KahibahREGARDING Eddie Maguire. There’s an old proverb. It’s best to stay silent, and be thought a fool, than to open your mouth, and remove all doubt.

David Davies,Blackalls ParkTHE POLLSHAVE you had your tyres slashed recently?

Yes 15%,No 85%DOyou like Scott Miller’s plan for the Jets?

Yes 89%,No 11%SHOULD medicinal cannabis use be allowed in hospitals?

Yes 95%,No 5%MESSAGEBOARDWE provide classes in most aspects of computer and tablet usage catering for all abilities from the absolute beginner to more experienced users. If you are wanting to learn how to get the most out of your computer or tablet then you are invited to come talk to us. We provide a relaxed, friendly atmosphere and we try to make your learning fun.When: Friday 1st July.Where: 15 Hubbard Street, Islington (next door to the school).Time: 9.30am to 11.30am.Phone: 4961 6576.Email:[email protected]上海龙凤419m.

Letters to the Editor: Saturday, June 25, 2016

WELCOMING: The way small towns in Alaska welcome cruise liners puts Newcastle to shame. These ships are stopped in Skagway, Alaska. Picture: Kris Kelly
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I HAVE just returned from Alaska and have seen first hand the wonderful cruise-liner ports, facilities and onshore tours available for up to six cruise liners docked at one time, with 2000 passengers each.

These small towns put Newcastle to shame.

Yes, their harbours are deeper but our cruise-liner terminal is embarrassing and we continue to miss out on showcasing Newcastle and the Hunter.

Surely it is our right to have some of the money from the sale of our port used to bring in big tourist dollars to our region’s economy to perhaps balance the downturn in coal.

The state budget has said $30 million from the Hunter Infrastructure and Investment Fund will be allocated to several large projects including the cruise terminal. It certainly wasn’t obvious how much and when for a new terminal.

What was obvious is that Newcastle continues to be ignored.

Our politicians should be aware that we the voting public in the Hunter are becoming increasingly disillusioned with both major parties. Not long now until the election.

Kris Kelly,MaryvilleHigh price of duplicationI LIKEN the Turnbull Liberal government’s NBN to the fiasco with the Tourle Street bridge.

In the 1970s, a NSW government with vision built a four-lane Stockton bridge.

The old two-lane Tourle Street bridge was replaced with a new two-lane bridge in 2009 instead of a four-lane bridge.

That turned out to be a disaster with traffic congestion.

The NSW government is now back duplicating the Tourle Street bridge at four times the cost.

“Do it once and do it right”I heard someone say last week.

Ron Hancock, StocktonLeaders can changeSO, where is Abbott? What have the Libs promised to keep him so quiet and so out of camera range?

Fascinating to hear Turnbull’s hearty statement that “his governmentwill not privatise Medicare”.

Maybe not, but with Abbott still ghosting around behind the scenes, Libs could be easily de-stabilised, yet again.

Any promises made by Turnbull about what his government would do could vanish in a puff of ecto-plasm.

Patricia Pears, CooranbongFears for MedicareMR Turnbull insists Medicare will “never ever”be privatised. Shades of, there will “never ever”be a GST.

Given the fact of Liberal cuts to hospital funding, attempts at introducing GP co-payments so doctors cannot bulk bill and scrapping of rebates on pathology services, I don’t believe him.

Irrespective of what Mathias Cormann says, I believethe Turnbull government has looked at new ways to deliver payments and believe outsourcing Medicare is the key.

The future of Medicare could be just one election away.Is this the legacy that you want to leave your children?

How can you put trust into hollow words given Mr Turnbull’s previous backtracking on policy.

Make no mistake; Mr Turnbull is simply treading water.

The wrath is yet to come.

If you are a pensioner, an Australian who values your family’s health care, are unemployed, or even if you are employed and value penalty rates because you work unsociable hours, a student, a member of the community concerned about increases to the GST, then you would be wise not to vote Liberal.

We need a government that is compassionate to the majority of Australians and not just a select few.

Think before you number any boxes.

Dennis Petrovic,RutherfordBoat brings back memoriesTHE Labor Party claim that Medicare will be privatised if theCoalition government is returned must be hitting home becauseout of the blue we have an asylum seeker boat sailing over the horizon towards our shores.

It has been threeyears since we havebeen told of such an event. Yes, I saw the footage on the news,but this particular boat did not look any different from one that was turned back three years ago.

Maybe it was the same footage used at that time, replayed over again.

Darryl Tuckwell,EleebanaRemember the circusREARDING Neil Pitt (Short Takes, 22/6):One would assume that you have been in some sort of induced coma over the last nine years.In 2007 when the ALP took over from the Coalition government the official federal budget was in a surplus of $10.8 billion.

At the end of 2013 after the Rudd/Gillard/Rudd/Gillard circus, the official federal budget was in a deficit of $23.5 billion, a spend-a-thon of some $44.3 billion.

What did they spend all of this on? Failed “Pink Batts” scheme, failed lap-top computers for every school child in Australia, failureto identify the correct installation method for the NBN etc, etc.

I am a person who opens both eyes when looking at the facts and all that I can see was a completed financial disaster during 2007 and 2013.

You may well say that the deficit has slipped even further during 2013-2016, I agree, however you must look at all of the underlying facts that contributed to the decline, starting with the mountainous interest repayments that the Coalition has had to contend with courtesy of the Rudd/Gillard/Rudd/Gillard circus.

Neil Fletcher,West WallsendLETTERS commenting on election issues must bear the writer’s name and full address (only the suburb will be published). Responsibility for election comment in this issue is accepted by the editor, Heath Harrison,28 Honeysuckle Drive, Newcastle. Writers should disclose any alliance with political or community organisations and include a phone number for verification. Election candidates should declare themselves as such when submitting letters.​

LETTER OF THE WEEKTHE Herald pen goes to Matthew Endacott for his letter about reviving city centres.

Hybrid barley a weed control tool

Syngenta technical manager for conventional genetics Kathryn Hearn with Syngenta growth awards winner Greg Giblett, Quirindi, NSW, and Syngenta northern EU marketing manager Mark Hall with a crop of hybrid barley at the recent Cereals event in Cambridgeshire, England.BRITISH farmers are increasingly looking at non chemical methods of controlling problem weeds, with uncertainty surrounding future registrations of key herbicides such as glyphosate.
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With this in mind options such as hybrid barley are becoming more and more popular as higher yielding varieties hit the market.

Syngenta reported strong interest in its new Hyvido Bazooka and Hyvido Belfry lines at last week’s Cereals field day, the premier arable farming event in the United Kingdom.

Hybrid barley, introduced to the UK in 2011, is being used as a tool in running down blackgrass seed numbers.

Blackgrass is the number one crop weed in the UK. It is a vigourous species with the ability to set large numbers of seed.

The winter barley crops are achieving great success in outcompeting blackgrass.

Syngenta technical manager of conventional genetics Kathryn Hearn said the hybrid vigour meant the crops got away strongly early after being planted.

“There is good early canopy closure which makes it difficult for weeds,” she said.

As hybrids, the barley varieties are only suitable for feed purposes, but Ms Hearn said farmers were saying the high yields would compensate for a lack of a malt premium.

Farmers in the UK are reporting high yields with hybrid barley lines.

Hybrid cereals are widely available in the UK, with barley recording better results in weed suppression than wheat in trials.

The two new Syngenta lines will have a strong fit in northern England, due to high levels of resistance to wet weather diseases.

Unusually for Australian growers, used to semi-dwarf varieties, the hybrid barleys are bred to be tall in order to smother blackgrass.

They are also six row varieties, virtually unknown in Australia, with all three spikes on the ear fertile.

The hybrid barleys are generally sown in September, relatively soon after the previous crop is harvested.

While Australian producers are familiar with growing hybrid canola lines, the hybrid cereal sector is far less developed. There have been hybrid wheat lines commercialised but they have failed to attract significant market share, due to the fact yield benefits are relatively modest in comparison to the additional costs.

· Gregor Heard travelled to the United Kingdom as a guest of Syngenta.

HD won’t go off-air in Channel Nine switch for regional viewers

Confident: Jack Bird is tackled by Aidan Guerra of the Maroons during game two of the State Of Origin series on Wednesday.The high-definition channel 9HD will be broadcast into Canberra, Wollongong, southern NSW, regional Victoria and regional Queensland from next Friday when Southern Cross Austereo switches over to showing Nine’s channels.
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The regional broadcaster said last week thatit would not be able to upgrade its transmission equipment in time for the July 1 switch, when itdrops its “Southern Cross Ten” branding and begins carrying Nine’s name and programs as rival WIN swaps to showing Network Ten content.

Ordering, importing, installing and testing of new HD equipment was expected to keep 9HD off-air until mid-August, Southern Cross Austereo said.

The delay was a blow to regional viewers, especially fans of live sport such asrugbyleague,and risked taking the gloss off the historic expansion of the famous Nine brand beyond Australia’s capital cities.

But Southern Cross Austereo confirmed on Thursday that it had scrambled with the help of technology supplier Cisco to make the 9HD channel available on channel 50 on remote controls.

“Recognising how much our viewers value the quality of high definition, our technical staff have been working tirelessly to get HD to air as quickly as possible,” the network’s head of regional media RickLenarcicsaid.

“From day one, when we start broadcasting Nine programs in standard definition on channel 5 on the remote control, we will also be broadcasting 9HD on channel 50,” he said.

“The third State of Origin on Wednesday July 13 will be in HD. In addition, in Queensland and NSW, all NRL season games on Nine, starting with the Storm versus the Broncos on July 1, will be in HD.”

While the 9HD service – launched by WINin regionalmarketsinMarch – will not be interrupted by Friday’schanging channels, the lifestyle channel 9Life is not expected to be available until mid-August.

From next Friday, the Nine, Gem and GO! channels, and such programs asThe Voice, Love Childand60 Minutes,will move from WIN channels 8 and 80 to 84 on viewers’ remote controls to channels 5 and 50 to 54.

WIN’s channels willchangetocarrying such Ten programming asMasterchef, The ProjectandFamily Feud.WIN will relay Ten’s primary channel on 8, Ten’s HD channel on 80, ONE on 81 and Eleven on 82.

Shark attack victim Lisa Mondy joins Eat Like A Monster

On Song: Lisa Mondy with her bandmates in Eat Like A Monster.
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Lisa Mondy is a musician who survived a great white shark attack. Being ina bandnamed Eat Like A Monster, then, seemsquite fitting.

The attack happened in 2011, while Lisa was swimming at Jimmys Beach in Port Stephens.She came off a wakeboard and was swimming back to the board when the shark struck.

Music helps Lisa Mondy deal with the demons of a shark attack.

“I was in the water face down swimming, it came straight up from underneath,” she said.

“It had my whole head, face and arm in its mouth at the same time, then it breached out of the water with me.

“It’s ridiculous that I’m still here.”

But she is here and we’re happy for that.“Me too,” she said, with a laugh.

The band, which also includes Dan Power and Adam Barnett, is starting to play gigs around Newcastle.

In the band’s bio, posted on sites like Triple J and Soundcloud, the boys said that – in their quest for sound –they stumbled across “a damsel in distress held by the jaws of a monster from the deep”.

Lisa said the band definitely saved her from “the emotional demons of dealing with what happened with the shark”.

She faced those same demons with a performance on theTV show XFactor last September.

Lisa suffered extensive injuries in the attack, requiring 16 hours of surgery and a massive number of stitches.

The injuries left her unable to play guitar.

“That was pretty heartbreaking,” she said.

Before X Factor, she hadn’t been confident to sing in a band without her guitar.

“Getting back into singing again is helping me put things back together.Music has been the biggest part of healing for me,” she said.

The band has recorded a single and will head back to the studio in a couple of weeks.

Lisa’sroad to recovery has been long and hard, but she has kept her sense of humour.

“I have a couple of chips out of my jawbone from the shark’s teeth, which is pretty cool,” she said.

Treasured BookTopics reported last Saturday on an old book called Newcastle 150 Years.The book covered the years from 1797 to 1947.

We’d published a picture from the book of an old tram running down Hunter Street.Pam Webber said she too had a copy of the book.

“In 1947, Swansea public school committee held an athletics carnival as part of the [anniversary] celebrations,” she said.

She was given the book as a prize for winning a 40-yard race for 8-year-olds.

“I must have treasured the book to keep it all those years,” she said.

The book was “probably the first thing I had ever won”.

“Around the same time, all the schools in the district participated in a wool dance for the junior students,” she said, adding that a“wheat dance” was held for seniors at a Newcastle sports ground.

“I don’t know whether it was to do with the anniversary or not – maybe some reader may remember.”

Them Were The DaysHere at Topics, we like to reminisce about the good old days.So does reader Trish, of Medowie.

“I grew up on a farm in south-western NSW. We had no electricity or even a generator,” she said.

“Our fridge and lights all ran on kerosene. We kids had to fill them up after school every day. I seem to remember it took two or three beer bottles of kerosene to fill the fridge.

“I remember when Mum won some money in the lottery and bought a washing machine.”

Her mum would kickstart the machine, which was powered by a petrol engine.

“The noise and fumes would drive us out of the laundry and the machine would bounce across the floor.

“It only washed the clothes. Mum still had to manually put them through a ringer, before hanging them on the line.But it was a big step up from the copper over an open fire in the backyard.

“Needless to say, we also had an outdoor long-drop loo, a wood stove for cooking and a huge open fireplace for heating.In the summer we slept outdoors to keep cool.

“We grew up on a diet of mutton, poultry, eggs, milk, fruit and vegetables, all home grown – and we are all still healthy.”

THEATRE PREVIEW: Cinderella, Lady Macbeth

VILLAINS: Living with Lady Macbeth is about a girl who auditions for a role in a school play and the girls who are always sneering at her.TWO of literature’s classic female characters, Cinderella and Lady Macbeth, are on stage at Maitland in the school holidays, in shows with appeal for adults and children alike.
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Maitland Repertory Theatre is staging American playwright Michele Vacca’s adaptation of Cinderella, which has characters with names such as the Duchess of Dullsomore and Dancing Duncan attending the royal ball.

And Upstage Youth Theatre is presenting English writer Rob John’s Living with Lady Macbeth, in which a reticent teenage girl decides to audition for the role of the title character’s determined wife in a school production of Macbeth.

Cinderella opens at Maitland Repertory Theatre, in High Street, opposite the Town Hall, on July 8, and has weekend performances until July 24.​ Living with Lady Macbeth has shows nightly from July 6 to 9, at the Upstage Studio, 317 High Street.

The productions give young actors the chance to appear in acclaimed plays.

While Michele Vacca stuck close to the Cinderella story in her adaptation, she added some interesting features.

Ugly sisters Tanya Keen, 17, of Maitland and Luke Barker, 15, of Fassifern, andLadies Lauren Bevan, 13, of Maitland and Charlie Short, 12, of Maitland during rehearsals for Cinderella.

The prince, for example, is part of the team delivering invitations to the ball that is intended to find him a bride, and he is attracted to Cinderella when he sees her tending rose bushes in the family garden. When she comes to the ball, in elegant clothes with a white rose attached to her gown, he is sure he has seen her before, but her flight as the clock strikes midnight prevents him from questioning her.

Director Leilani Boughton says the show is vibrant and colourful. She is showing the timelessness of the story by having the characters wear a mix of clothing from the 1780s and the 1920s, with background music from the latter period used in the ballroom and other scenes.

Ann Croger, who co-directs Living with Lady Macbeth with Jess Rose, says that as the play includes characters and scenes from Macbeth it is a good introduction to Shakespeare’s works.

And while Lily, the girl seeking to play Lady Macbeth, is viewed by her mother, best friend, and boyfriend as being moderate, and by a sporty quintet of female classmates as dull, she shows passion in regards to the auditions – and is seen, in her imagination, with Macbeth characters, including its three witches.

Cinderella runs for 1 hour 45 minutes, including an interval. It has performances on Friday at 7.30pm and Saturday and Sunday at 2pm, plus a 7.30pm Saturday show on July 16. Tickets: $17. Bookings: 4931 2800; maitlandreptheatre上海龙凤419.Living with Lady Macbeth runs for an hour, with no interval. It plays nightly at 7.30pm. The venue has no seats, so patrons are asked to bring cushions and rugs or, if needed,a chair. Tickets: $15. Bookings: trybooking上海龙凤419m/204188.

Canberra weather: East coast freeze brings snow and hail

About 35 centimetres fell across the four resorts areas of Perisher on Friday. Photo: Perisher Perisher recorded a massive dump of snow on Thursday night. Photo: Perisher
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The snowfall has been the largest of the season so far. Photo: Perisher

Louise Debenhan and her children Jessica and Oliver play in the snow at Thredbo. Photo: Aedan O’Donnell

Over 40cms of fresh snow has fallen up top of Shannon Reynolds, Maddie Day and Tully examine the snow at Thredbo Photo: Aedan O’Donnell

Over 40cms of fresh snow has fallen up top of Thredbo Resort in the last 24 hours. Photo: Aedan O’Donnell

Up to 40 centimetres of snow has fallen at the mountain snowfields south of Canberra as a cold front bites across south-eastern NSW and the ACT.

It dropped to -2 degrees at 7.30am on Saturday and had reached only 6 degrees by 10am, while heading for an expected top of 10 degrees, according to the Bureau of Meteorology. That comes after the daytime temperature peaked at just 8.1 degrees on Friday.

Sunday is not expected to be any warmer. The minimum is tipped to drop to -3 degrees, with another forecast maximum of 10 degrees. It is unlikely to rain on either day of the weekend. Snow on the mountains surrounding Canberra. pic.twitter上海龙凤419m/z1voR082VC— Henry Belot (@Henry_Belot) June 24, 2016

While Canberrans were bracing for possible hail on Friday, ski bunnies to the south were lacing up their snow boots ready to hit the slopes at the Thredbo and Perisher resorts, which were blanketed with the first big snowfall of the season on Thursday night through to Friday morning.

Perisher recorded 35 centimetres of snow, while Thredbo received 40 centimetres up the top and up to 10 centimetres in the village.

Standing in Thredbo village, snow forecaster Reggae Ellis said: “At the moment I’m seeing big snowflakes falling out of the sky. It’s been snowing hard for the past hour and it’s looking pretty nice down here.

“We had a couple of smaller snowfalls about a month ago, 10, 20 centimetres but this one started the other day and it’s just improved. The forecast has been right on track and at the moment it looks amazing out here, it’s a full on, beautiful, big dumping snow storm. It’s a bit unreal.”

But while Canberra itself won’t see any of the white, fluffy stuff, there is a chance of a massive frost on Saturday and Sunday, Jordan Notara of the Bureau of Meteorology said.

“The expectation is around three to six millimetres of showers over the Canberra city itself, to the ranges to the west we are expecting some potential snow to be falling in the late evening. It wouldn’t be very high totals, maybe around a maximum of five centimetres in that area,” Mr Notara said.

“Canberra itself really shouldn’t be expecting any snow itself, but Saturday morning will be a very cold, frosty morning with good widespread areas of frost. Minus 2 is the minimum temperature expectation and the frost should form quite early so road conditions may get quite slippery as well if we have water freezing quite quickly on those roads.”

If you are headed down to the snowfields this weekend, Reggae Ellis at Thredbo warned the roads are expected to be pretty icy.

“It’s going to be pretty slick on the roads, they’re going to clear it today but there are snow showers continuing off and on through to Monday apparently and then maybe more snow around June 30 and 31,” he said.

More than 100 snow guns fired up at Thredbo overnight, with the Cruiser Area and High Noon expected to make their seasonal debut on Saturday.

“The mountain departments are going to be working pretty hard to get more lifts open, Perisher is talking about opening Blue Cow on Saturday but with this snowfall, I wouldn’t be surprised if we see more lifts open. The Cruiser chair in Thredbo is opening up on Saturday, Charlotte’s open, Selwyn’s got snow so all of the resorts will be having lifts open so it’s going to be pretty good,” Mr Ellis said.

Things to do in Macau: A three-minute guide

Dried food on sale in Macau. Photo: iStockWHY
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China’s special administrative region of Macau is a lively mixture of old and new, from the colonial and old Chinese architecture of the historic centre, to the bright lights big city vibe of Cotai. It’s like Singapore got drunk partying with the Portuguese Tourist Board in Las Vegas and these 30 square kilometres were the result. There are casinos of course – that’s why 21 million mainland Chinese come here to gamble each year – but there are fascinating layers of history, too. It’s also going to get easier to access once the bridge from Hong Kong opens at the end of 2017. VISIT 

If casinos are your thing then the reclaimed island of Cotai is the place to go. This faux Las Vegas already boasts a copy of the Vegas Venetian (and, at the time of writing, a half-built Eiffel Tower replica a la Paris Las Vegas) and it’s only going to get bigger. For more cultural fare head to the historic centre of Macau, which was designated a World Heritage Site in 2005, and check out the streets around Senado Square and the ruins of St Paul’s. There’s some good eating and drinking around here. EAT

Thanks to its history as a Portuguese colony, Macau’s cuisine is Portuguese, Chinese and Macanese, a wonderful mash-up of both. This means African chicken, the famous custard egg tarts, samosas, pork chop buns, pork-and-olive fried rice and all manner of hotpots. Some of the best Portuguese tarts are to be found at Lord Stow’s original bakery at 1 Rua da Tassara, Coloane (lordstow上海龙凤419m). Try Litoral on Rua do Almirante Sergio (restaurante-litoral上海龙凤419m) for Macanese, and Antonio’s (www.antoniomacau上海龙凤419m)  in Taipa village for authentic Portuguese such as salty, smoky pork sausage flamed in brandy and clams in a white wine sauce. LOOK

The Museum of Macau (macaumuseum.gov.mo) is housed in the old fortress, built between 1617 and 1626 on the 52-metre Mount Hill, just near the ruined facade of St Paul’s. It explains the history of Macau with some fascinating artefacts and hands-on exhibits. There is a pretty park at the top with panoramic views over the city. If bungy jumping floats your boat take a trip up the Macau Tower (macautower上海龙凤419m.mo) and leap off. Or you could just admire the outlook. MUST

The Zen-like relaxed atmosphere at the 16th century A-Ma Temple is so thick you could cut it with a knife, especially when the incense sticks are going full blast. Take time to watch and wander and gradually make your way up to the viewpoint where a small statue of the goddess of the sea sits keeping an eye on the nearby waters. Popular with locals and tourists alike. SLEEP

Thanks to the casino district there are plenty of reasonably priced hotel rooms available mid-week – things get a little more expensive on the weekends when the big influx of gamblers arrives from China. The Sheraton Macao Hotel in Cotai (sheratonmacao上海龙凤419m) has rooms from about $220, for instance. For something a little more boutique and a lot more characterful there’s the Poussada de Sao Tiago (saotiago上海龙凤419m.mo) which has only 12 suites in a 17th century fort. TIP

Take time to visit the more outlying areas such as Coloane, the southernmost district and a leafy seaside oasis that could easily pass for the Mediterranean. Book a table if you can at Miramar, a Portuguese restaurant right on the edge of a beach.

The writer was a guest of the Hong Kong Tourism Board, Macau Government Tourism Office and Cathay Pacific.

The art of Britain: Since Cool Britannia, modern art has transformed the country

Turner Contemporary, on Margate seafront.Britain’s art galleries and museums were once seen as rather stuffy, exclusive affairs. But two decades after Cool Britannia – when cutting-edge artists like Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin rocked the mainstream – the country’s artscape is completely transformed. Not only has art in Britain never been more accessible – most galleries, public and private, are admission-free – it’s provided the catalyst for regenerating scores of economically-deprived areas, as well as breathing new life into traditional destinations. Whether you’re a casual browser, or an aficionado, you’ll find arresting modern art – British and international – in the capital and beyond.  HIRST’S NEW BABY
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Damien Hirst apparently forked out £25 million ($49m) of his own fortune on the Newport Street Gallery (newportstreetgallery上海龙凤419m), which has injected fresh impetus to Vauxhall, an increasingly arty neighbourhood just south of the River Thames.

Don’t expect diamond-encrusted skulls, animals preserved in formaldehyde or any of Hirst’s other ground-breaking pieces in these refurbished red-brick Victorian warehouses. But you will find the fruits of his 3000-strong personal collection (one he’s keen to share with the public, for free, as he says he feels guilty about having it hidden away in boxes where no-one can see it). Exhibitions change every six months.

The current one, Jeff Koons: Now (til October 16), displays 30 of the American artist’s quirky sculptures, paintings and works on paper in a gallery sporting bundles of natural light and dazzling whitewashed walls. The Newport – which is within walking distance of the trendy Beaconsfield (beaconsfield.ltd.uk) and Gasworks (gasworks上海龙凤419.uk) arts spaces – is billed as London’s biggest gallery opening since that Thameside mecca of modern art, the Tate Modern (whose glossy, ten-storey, Herzog & de Meuron-designed £260 million extension to its former power station headquarters was unveiled on June 17, boosting gallery space by 60 per cent).  ELSEWHERE IN LONDON….

You could spend days trotting between the capital’s leading contemporary draws. The Saatchi Gallery in Chelsea (saatchigallery上海龙凤419m), the Serpentine Galleries in Kensington Gardens (serpentinegalleries上海龙凤419), the Royal Academy of Arts (royalacademy上海龙凤419.uk) in Piccadilly and the Institute of Contemporary Arts near Trafalgar Square (ica上海龙凤419.uk) host blockbuster exhibitions that might be baffling or brilliant depending on your artistic critique.

So, too, does the Victoria Miro gallery in Islington (victoria-miro上海龙凤419m) and the White Cube in Bermondsey (whitecube上海龙凤419m), which is run by Jay Jopling, the art-dealing ex-husband of Sam Taylor-Wood, who, along with Hirst, Emin and co, was one of the YBAs (Young British Artists) of the 1980s and 90s.

Despite surging rents, east London remains a magnet for today’s emerging talents, with studios, pop-ups and art-filled cafes and wine bars mushrooming alongside attention-grabbing murals. Fledgling and established talents appear at the Brick Lane Gallery (thebricklanegallery上海龙凤419m), Hackney Wick (hackneywicked上海龙凤419.uk) and Whitechapel Gallery (whitechapelgallery上海龙凤419), whose critically-acclaimed shows have featured the likes of Mark Rothko, Lucian Freud, Gilbert & George and Palestinian activist-artist, Emily Jacir. Children’s drawing workshops and activity trails boost the gallery’s family-friendly reputation.

Art fairs are held across London, at venues as diverse as the brutalist Barbican (barbican上海龙凤419.uk), sumptuous Somerset House (somersethouse上海龙凤419.uk) and leafy Regent’s Park – chief location of the annual October Frieze festival, which last year brought together 164 galleries from 27 countries and starred eye-catching works from, among others, Carmen Herrera, a 100-year old Cuban-American abstract artist (friezelondon上海龙凤419m). SOUTH COAST

English seaside towns may be synonymous with buckets, spades and amusement arcades, but there’s plenty of mind food, too.

St Ives (Cornwall) and Brighton are long-standing cultural hotbeds, and the east Kent resort of Margate now lures art lovers, including visiting Royals.

It’s largely thanks to the Turner Contemporary (turnercontemporary上海龙凤419), a dynamic new venue that honours JMW Turner (the legendary British landscape artist, whose name also graces the country’s most prestigious contemporary art prize). Designed by “starchitect” David Chipperfield on Margate’s seafront and attracting high-profile visitors such as Kate Middleton, the Turner hosts boundary-pushing exhibitions like “Disarm” by Mexican Pedro Reyes (a medley of crushed revolvers, shotguns and machine guns confiscated from criminals and transformed into musical instruments). This year’s standout exhibition, however, will explore Turner’s “adventures in colour”. (October 8-January 8).  BIRMINGHAM

Conceptual art has flourished inside the derelict industrial units of Digbeth, just east of Birmingham’s city centre.

The Custard Factory (custardfactory上海龙凤419.uk) is a hive of creativity, its restored Victorian factories sheltering independent shops, eateries, salons and art spaces, where a Brummie painter, Jinxy, produces portraits using coffee (he’s done ones of the Queen, Audrey Hepburn and Jimi Hendrix). Other groovy Digbeth art initiatives include Eastside Projects (eastsideprojects上海龙凤419), Vivid Projects (vividprojects上海龙凤419.uk) and Friction (frictionarts上海龙凤419m). Joining them on the Birmingham Arts Map (birminghamartmap上海龙凤419) are established contemporary sites: The Ikon (ikon-gallery上海龙凤419), a gem set in a converted neo-Gothic schoolhouse near a city centre canal, and the Mac (macbirmingham上海龙凤419.uk) in Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham’s loveliest green lung. YORKSHIRE SCULPTURE TRIANGLE

Chinese dissident Ai Weiwei, Yorkshire legend Henry Moore and native Hesquiat American Tim Paul are among the artists to flavour the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Britain’s best open-air gallery.

Spanning 90 hectares of bucolic sheep-and-sculpture-sprinkled parkland, it’s part of the Yorkshire Sculpture Triangle (ysculpture上海龙凤419.uk), which also comprises the Hepworth Wakefield (a glossy new David Chipperfield-designed gallery that celebrates local girl done good, Barbara Hepworth, plus “guest” artists like Anthony Caro and Enrico David) and Leeds Art Gallery (where a schoolboy Damien Hirst first encountered John Hoyland’s work). The latter shoulders the Henry Moore Institute – a multi-purpose venue founded by Moore to encourage appreciation of the visual arts, especially sculpture. ELSEWHERE IN THE NORTH….

Complementing Manchester’s glitzy new HOME arts juggernaut (homemcr上海龙凤419), a £15 million refurbishment has modernised the city’s 19th century Whitworth Art Gallery, helping it win the Art Fund 2015 Museum of the Year award (see whitworth.manchester.ac.uk).

New, light-filled gallery spaces jut into the Whitworth’s neighbouring, birdlife-rich park, while its atmospheric landscape room, with its reflective waterpool, hosts thought-provoking temporary exhibitions.

A recent one starred the gunpowder-tinged works of Chinese-born New Yorker Cai Guo-Qiang. Down the M62 motorway, Liverpool’s Tate (tate上海龙凤419.uk/visit/tate-liverpool) is hosting northern England’s biggest ever Francis Bacon exhibition (May 18-September 18). Don’t miss the city’s art-fuelled Baltic Triangle (baltictriangle上海龙凤419.uk) and the Toxteth Granby Four Streets area (assemblestudio上海龙凤419.uk), where “guerilla gardening” projects have helped rejuvenate a run-down housing estate, earning it the 2015 Turner prize. Antony Gormley’s giant Angel of the North sculpture looms outside Newcastle, where The Biscuit Factory has morphed from disused Victorian warehouse into Britain’s largest commercial gallery (thebiscuitfactory上海龙凤419m). It displays and sells contemporary fine art, sculpture, prints, jewellery and homewares – many crafted by the resident artists. Across the River Tyne in Gateshead, the Baltic (balticmill上海龙凤419m) has rotating attractions in a huge old flour mill. SCOTLAND 

The creative sector is spurring the renaissance of Dundee, which had sunk into the doldrums after the decline of traditional industries like shipbuilding and jute production.

A flashy Kengo Kuma-masterminded branch of London’s Victoria & Albert Museum (vandadundee上海龙凤419) will enhance a waterfront city already boasting a raft of independent galleries, world-class video games studios (Grand Theft Auto was born in Dundee) and the Dundee Contemporary Arts (dca上海龙凤419.uk), where you can peruse exhibitions, participate in craft workshops and watch working artists.

Scotland’s undisputed art capital, Glasgow, has yielded many Turner Prize winners. Expect genre-defying art at GOMA (glasgowmuseums上海龙凤419m), The Modern Institute (themoderninstitute上海龙凤419m) and the Centre for Contemporary Arts (cca-glasgow上海龙凤419m). For an al fresco art fix, join one of the “Creative Glasgow Walking Tours” run by the esteemed Glasgow School of Art (see gsa.ac.uk). In Edinburgh, the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art has comic-strip illustrations by Roy Lichtenstein, David Hockney’s imaginary ‘Rocky Mountains and Tired Indians’ painting and ‘Escaped Animals’ by Julian Opie (an installation of manufactured road signs depicting squirrels, foxes and the like).

The Leith Gallery (the-leith-gallery上海龙凤419.uk) is a highlight of Edinburgh’s revitalised port area, while Collective (collectivegallery上海龙凤419), which has been promoting Edinburghian artists for 30 years, is relocating to the City Observatory complex on Calton Hill. Blessed with inspiring views of Edinburgh, the site will, say organisers, be “a collective space in which artists, producers and audiences can meet, think, debate, reflect upon the past, consider the future and most importantly, take action”. It’s expected to fully open in 2017.

Steve McKenna’s trip was supported by Visit Britain and partners.TRIP NOTESMORE INFORMATION

visitbritain上海龙凤419m, visitscotland上海龙凤419mGETTING THERE

Qantas, Emirates and Singapore Airlines are among the airlines that fly between Sydney and Melbourne and London. FIVE OTHER PLACES TO GET AN ART FIX IN BRITAINBRISTOL

Ambitious council-backed street art schemes and graffiti by that well-known Bristolian, Bansky, punctuate this vibrant port city. Explore it on the Bristol Street Art Tour; wherethewall上海龙凤419mEAST MIDLANDS

A ceramic installation portraying the DNA of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire fills the North Sketch Gallery at the lavish Chatsworth Estate (Mr Darcy’s home in the 2005 film adaptation of Pride & Prejudice). Chatsworth is part of the East Midlands’ Grand Tour collaborative with Nottingham Contemporary, Derby Museums and The Harley Gallery; thegrandtour.uk上海龙凤419mTWR Y FELIN HOTEL, ST DAVIDS

Set around a former windmill in Britain’s smallest city, this swanky new hotel features over 100 original art works by 12 international artists commissioned to depict the local area, including the ravishing Pembrokeshire Coast National Park; twryfelinhotel上海龙凤419mCOASTAL CULTURE TRAIL

Popular with walkers and cyclists, this 40km south-coast trail takes in three award-winning attractions: Eastbourne’s Towner Gallery, De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill and the Jerwood Gallery in Hastings; coastalculturetrail上海龙凤419mNORFOLK

Just outside Norwich, on the campus of the University of East Anglia, the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts was the first major public building designed by Sir Norman Foster. Inside, you’ll find slick contemporary photography, plus eclectic stuff from Pablo Picasso, Francis Bacon and Henry Moore; scva上海龙凤419.uk