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

Oliver Curtis, husband of Roxy Jacenko, jailed for insider trading

Insider trader Oliver Curtis and his wife Roxy Jacenko arrive at the NSW Supreme Court on Friday. Photo: Daniel Munoz Oliver Curtis’ wife Roxy Jacenko leaves court after her husband was jailed. Photo: Daniel Munoz
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Insider trader Oliver Curtis is escorted to a prison truck after being sentenced to two years in jail. Photo: Daniel Munoz

Verdict: Oliver Curtis guilty of insider tradingCurtis pleads for non-custodial sentence

A drawn Oliver Curtis took off his wedding ring and tie, and hugged and kissed his tearful wife Roxy Jacenko goodbye, before being led away by corrective services officers on Friday to begin a year-long stint in jail for conspiracy to commit insider trading.

The 30-year-old son of Nick Curtis, former Macquarie banker and resources millionaire, appeared resigned to his fate as Supreme Court Justice Lucy McCallum sentenced him to a maximum of two years in prison, to be released after one year on a good behaviour bond.

Curtis must have known what he was doing was “very wrong” but believed he could “avoid getting caught”, Justice McCallum said in a strongly-worded judgment delivered in the historic St James Supreme Court in Sydney.

He had used the proceeds of an illegal deal with his former best friend John Hartman, son of prominent north shore obstetrician Keith, to cash in on inside information to “fund a lifestyle of conspicuous extravagance”.

The sentence marks the latest chapter in a peculiarly Sydney tale of greed and privilege.

The court heard the old boys of St Ignatius’ College, Riverview, then aged in their early 20s, made $1.43 million in a year using confidential information acquired by Mr Hartman during his job as an equities dealer at boutique firm Orion Asset Management to bet on shifts in share prices.

Mr Hartman, the Crown’s star witness, has already served 15 months behind bars after confessing to a string of insider trading offences, a small number of which related to the tips he passed on to Curtis.

“It is troubling that, unlike Mr Hartman, Mr Curtis has not embraced responsibility for his offending,” Justice McCallum said.

Curtis, who was working at boutique investment bank Transocean Group at the time of the offences in 2007 and 2008, had expressed “no contrition to any degree whatsoever” until after the jury found him guilty on June 2.

“While many people have spoken of his positive qualities in business and as a family man, he shows no sign of progression beyond the self-interested pursuit of material wealth which prompted his offending,” Justice McCallum said.

After the sentence was read out, Curtis gave his family in the packed public gallery a small smile and took off his tie, belt, watch and wedding ring.

A wad of cash was removed from his wallet and handed to Ms Jacenko, founder of PR firm Sweaty Betty.

He embraced Ms Jacenko and kissed her three times before he was taken down to the cells underneath the court.

Justice McCallum said a prison sentence had “real bite” as a deterrent in white collar crime cases and the court must be at pains not to treat classes of offending unequally.

Such crimes were not victimless and the offending in this case “saw superannuation funds competing with twenty-year-olds using inside information to pay for a skiing holiday”, she said in a reference to just one of the luxury expenses racked up by Curtis and Mr Hartman.

The co-operation of Mr Hartman with authorities stood in stark contrast to the conduct of Curtis, Justice McCallum said, although his sentence should not be increased on that basis.

She added Mr Hartman had “endured a wholesale, public attack on his character with the patient resignation of a man who had come to terms with the obloquy his past conduct deserved”.

But Justice McCallum said Curtis’ culpability was less than that of Mr Hartman, because he was not the insider with access to confidential information even though he was “complicit” in his friend’s breach of trust.

Curtis’ barrister, Murugan Thangaraj, SC, had urged the court to impose a non-custodial sentence.

Justice McCallum rejected his suggestion that Curtis’ loss of career should be taken into account.

As to the intense media scrutiny surrounding the case, Justice McCallum said it had not all been negative and not all of it directed to Curtis.

“There is no evidence that Mr Curtis himself has invited media attention; he is not to be equated with his wife in this context,” Justice McCallum said in a nod to Ms Jacenko’s social media profile.

But Justice McCallum said he had received “more than his share of bad press”, including a “small number of extremely nasty remarks” on social media, and she had “given some small weight to that consideration”.

In an aside on social media commentary, Justice McCallum said it was an irony that after “centuries of relative civility” recent technological advances had allowed an “explosion of dissemination of medieval attitudes”.

In an impassioned reference in support of her husband, tendered in court, Ms Jacenko said she had “no doubt” Curtis would never offend again.

“There has never been a moment that I have had any doubt about his integrity or morals. Oli is a kind, considerate, honest and reliable man,” Ms Jacenko wrote.

The maximum penalty was five years in prison, a $220,000 fine, or both.

$40,000 master plan paves the way for new beginnings at Maitland’s historic Walka Water Works

HISTORIC SHOWPIECE: Former Maitland councillor Ray Fairweather worked tirelessly promoting Walka Water Works. Historic Walka Water Works is poised for a new beginning with Maitland City Council tipped to adopt a master plan for the site.
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Councillors will vote at a meeting on Tuesday night whether to adopt the plan which will make the historical, political and culturalsignificance of the site accessible to the community.

Walka is located two kilometres north of Central Maitland and comprises 64.2 hectares of Crown land.

While the water works property is owned by the State Government, council pays substantial maintenance costs each year.

Council received a $40,000 grant from the State Government to implement the first stage of the plan which focused on developing educational attractions at the site for school groups and visitors.

The master plan seeks to provide direction on how the site might be developed to create greater meaning for visitors, now and in the future.

The plan has proposed the overarching theme of restoring Body and Mind for Walka’s place activation.

Within this, three themes are identified:

. Water Works. Providing context and introducing the human history of the site –why it is here, its technology, how it has been seen, what it has meant to different generations.

. People in the Landscape. Drawing attention to the impact people can have on landscape and the positive benefits landscape can have on people.

. Ecology. Exploring the flora and fauna of Walka.

The funding council received under the NSWHeritage Grants Program will be used to start the plan and the ongoing implementation of the plan will rely on future government grant opportunities.

An online survey of what interested people most about Walka Water Works found most people enjoythe recreational activities followed by the wildlife and environment.

Some people also suggested extendingbike paths around the reserve, more information and tours, interactive play and observation areas for children and mothers’ groups andmore opportunity for children to interact with wildlife.

Alex Beckett wins Sydney Royal Wine Show Scholarship

CHEERS: Alex Beckett is the winner of the Sydney Wine Show scholarship.MAITLAND’SAlex Beckett,a fourth-year viticulture and wine science student at the University of Adelaide, has been awarded the prestigious 2016 Sydney Royal Wine Scholarship.It gives Mr Beckett, 24, $5000 towards his tertiary studies and a place as a steward at the judging of the 2016 Sydney Royal Wine Show from July 18 to 21.Born and educated in Maitland, Mr Beckett’sparents operate a Maitland truck driver training school.He developed an interest in wine while working part-time in Hunter Valley wineries and cellar doors.
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After school, however, he spent two years in a linguistics degree course at Newcastle University, but in 2013 put himself on track to a winemaking career at Adelaide University.

His Sydney Royal scholarship win was announced this week by Sydney Wine Show committee chair, Lyndey Milan.

Ms Milan said the scholarship gave young winemakers the chance to network and learn from industry leaders.

Mr Beckett, who had shown his enthusiasm by acting as a steward at the 2015 Sydney show, would this year gain greater insights into the judging of wines from across Australia from such experts as international judge Michelle Bouffard, said Ms Milan.

Mr Beckett, who graduates from the Adelaide degree course this year, said he counted himself very lucky to have grown up in the Hunter, which created opportunities from his first cellar door job through to the scholarship.

“One of my favourite varieties, due to its unique flavour and quality, is my home region’s Hunter Valley semillon and I’m very much looking forward to helping build the quality of not only the Hunter’s products, but Australia’s, in my career ahead,” he said.

Family of unborn baby killed in Berry car crash call for justice

Heartbroken: Toni Brown with the tiny cloth nappy worn too briefly by Letariah. Pictures: Robert PeetHer name was Letariah Michelle Margaret Brown.
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She had a little brother awaiting her arrival, a mother and grandmotherready to dote on her.

Yet Letariah –the unborn child killed when her mother wasinjured in a serious accident on the South Coast last October–didn’t exist within the eyes of the law.

Last week the person held responsible for the accident wasjailed for seven months, with a minimumterm of just two months, yether family claim they have been handed a life sentence.

In Nowra Local Court last WednesdayZebulon Wood wascharged with negligent driving occasioning grievous bodily harm for the injuries caused to Letariah’s mother Tayla –yet the law could not punish him for the death of the 26-week-old foetus.

Heartbroken: Toni Brown at Letariah’s memorial. Pictures: Robert Peet

“The law does not acknowledge unborn babies, but we do acknowledge her,’’ grandmother Toni Brown, of Yallah, said.

“These babies are human, even though they haven’t taken their first breath, they’re still babies.

“We bathed her and dressed her and spent two days with her, and I promised her when I held her that I’d do everything I could to get her name recognised.’’

Ms Brown said not only does she grieve for her granddaughter, but also for her daughter Tayla.

“No grandmother should have to bury their grandchild –now I’m watching my daughter go through such awful mental anguish,’’ she said.

Memorial: Toni Brown at her granddaughter Letariah’s memorial site at Lakeside Memorial Park; her inscription reads ‘Fly high our little angel’.

“She held her for two days and didn’t want to let her go –she told the nurses to take Letariah after she fell asleep and she couldn’t bear to part with her.’’

The sentence handed down toWood could never go far enough, said Ms Brown: “My family got given a life sentence.’’

She’s calling on law makers to take another look at the legislation covering the lives ofunborn babies, to give them the acknowledgement they deserve.

It’s not the first time there’s been a call for reform, however under the Crimes Act a child is considered alive only after taking breath.

A bill called Zoe’s Law which would have declared unborn children ‘’legal persons’’ lapsed in late 2014 amid fears it could put restrictions on abortion.

The push for the bill began withthe case of Brodie Donegan, whose unborn daughter Zoe died in 2009 after Ms Donegan was hit by a drug-affected driver while walking.

In 2001, a similar review was sparked after the death of baby Byron, at seven months gestation, after his mother Renee Shields was injured in a road rage attack.

AndQueensland mother, Sarah Milosevic – wholost her unborn daughter Sophie in a crash caused by a drunk driver –is also nowtaking up the fight.

Cherished: A photograph of Letariah’s tiny little feet is one of the treasured mementoes her family holds dear.

By Robert Crawford

Zebulon Wood knew heshouldn’t have been behind the wheel when he drove south on the Princes Highway at Berry on a weekend in October last year.

After all, he was driving with a suspended licence, and had been drinking before getting in the driver’s seat.But what he did next would pale in comparison to the errors he’d already made that day.

In a split second, Wood ran up the back of another car, setting in motion a three-car accident that injured nine people and, most tragically, caused the death of Tayla Brown’s unborn child.

The 18-year-old had been a rear seat passenger in Wood’s car after he’d offered her a lift down the coast to visit a friend.The impact of the crash was so great, despite receiving immediate medical attention, doctors couldn’t save the 26-week foetus.

The tragic story had its conclusion on Wednesday in Nowra Local Court, when Wood, 33, ofNethercote, north west of Eden, was sentenced to seven-months’ jail, with a non-parole period of two months,and disqualified from driving for three years.

He pleaded guilty to negligent driving occasioning grievous bodily harm and driving while suspended.

Magistrate Gabriel Fleming described the incident as an‘’overwhelming tragedy’’.

“There was a degree of negligence – inattention and that resulted in the collision.It caused a catastrophic result. And the defendant was driving while suspended.”

Wood returned a positivebreath test at the scene; yet left hospital before further testing could be undertaken.

“The impact on the victim is aggravated. Tayla Brown was looking forward to welcoming a baby, instead the serious abdominal injuries meant the baby was born not breathing,’’Magistrate Fleming said.

“There has been great impact on the mother.”

She said Wood had indicated he wanted to seek counselling and help but as yet had not done so.

“The punishment must fit the crime. In driving matters we must send a strong message to the community,” Magistrate Fleming said.

“You were driving a motor vehicle with three passengers. You have the care of three people in your hands.”

A different take on seven days in rugby league

EURO VISION: Semi Radradra gets in the groove for a potential move to the south of France and a lucrative contract playing rugby. Picture: Getty Images
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THURSDAYOne time Knight-for-life-wannabeTariq Sims leaves theCastle for the Gong. The former Knights co-captain has only just got off the Bulli Pass and footage appears of him putting on a Red V jumper and telling fans how good it is to be a Dragon.“It’s been very long time since I pulled on this jersey and it feels great,” he says. “I’m really looking forward to it”. That’ll do me.On the plus side, it should make the coin toss less problematicat the Knights.

FRIDAYThe Maroons camp is in disarray due to a stomach bug. Jacob Lillyman is put in quarantine andAidan Guerra, Matt Scott and Corey Oates also reportedly fallvictim to a dodgy vindaloo.

Dane Gagia is also apparently struggling with a quad strain.Yeah right. Just like Cooper Cronk had a bung ankle. Next they will be trying to have us believethatCameron Smith is too old, Johnathan Thurston is a liability in defence and Greg Inglis is a Queenslander.

The Bunnies host the $lipperies at ANZ. I’m old school when it comes to footy and hate how the modern game has been bastardised. The way I see it,an “edge runner” is what youuse to keep the front lawn tidy and “above the horizontal” is where youend up after a night on the tiles. I can’t believe what I witness in the second half. The Bunnies have a scrum near the quarter-line. The centre feeds the ball underneath the legs of the second-rower for the hooker topick the ball up at lock and passto the prop standing atfive-eighth. Unfortunately for the BunniesCam McGuinness (the hooker playing at lock)knocks on. Then, from the ensuing Eelsscrum, Ken Edwards (the world’s biggestfive eighth) feeds the ball and theleft winger comes across to sendthe right winger over in the corner. Anyone else confused?The try gives the $lipperies an eight-point lead at 20-12.

Any hope of a Bunnies comeback is squashed thanks to a runawaySemi Radradra. The Fijian flyer takes an intercept near his own tryline and motors past seven defenders in a 90 metre dash to the tryline.

SATURDAYThe Storm, already without Cooper Cronk and Cameron Smith, lose Cameron Munster and Blake Green for the battle against the Dragons. I’m surprised they even get out of their own half. It’s hardly a glowing advertisement for rugby league. Filthy that I tipped the Storm, I switch channels to the rugby. The Wobblies are equally uninspiring in what is hardly a glowing advertisement for the game they play in heaven. Referee Craig Joubert adds to the frustration. Deadset, memakes the NRL Bunker look like money well spent. Joubert’s performance is only marginally better than the surface.Monster trucks have left smaller tracksthan the scrums doat AAMI Park.

SUNDAYNew Zealand rugby league fans from Bondi to the Bay of Plentyare torn –Chooks or the Once Weres. For two teams who have treated defence as optional for much of the season, they keep their try-line intact for an hour. Enter Shaun Johnson. TheKiwi magician is on one leg but still proves to tricky for the Chooksas he skips and dances his way across for the match-winner.

MONDAYNews breaks that Semi-trailer forgot to put on the anchors after scoring the match-winner against the Bunniesand kept going all the way to Fiji. Apparently he intends to keep on trucking to Bordeaux and alucrative stint in French rugby. It seems the $250k he is on at the $lipperies –that’s $100kless than the Knights are paying Jack Stockwell to play reggies –doesn’t cut the mustard. Semi’s sistertells the Fiji Times that”Semi had discussed his move with my parents and we are supporting him 100 per cent”. Unfortunately Semi forgets to inform the $lipperies of his plans. There is also the little matter of acontract that binds him to Parramatta until 2017. You got to feel for Eels coach Brad Arthur.

It’s a miracle.Gags gets the green light for Origin IIandthe stomach bug which gave the Maroons theEdgar Britts has been flushed down the toilet.

The Gold Coast Titans host the Sea Eagles for the inaugural DCE Cup. Luke Douglas runs intoa hole to open the home side’saccount. The prop is $151 on the Giddy Goatto be first try-scorer.Incredibly $440 has been plonked on the big fella who hadn’t crossed the stripe since the Titans were the Giants.

The home side lead 16-0 after 24 minutes prompting respected Queensland league writer WayneHemmings to post on twitter what everyone is thinking: “Manly are playing like they have backed the Titans”.

TUESDAYLebron James leads the Cleveland Cavaliers to a historic first NBA title.Sharkies fans hope it is an omen as they chase a first premiership since their inception in 1967. One Sharks fan asks on Twitter: @KingJames can you come to Cronulla and bring us one next?Forget Sonny Bill.Imagine King James playing league. He stands 203cm, weighs 113 kilogram, has silky hands and is pure athlete. He’dmake a hell of a back-rower.

Up north, Queenslanders raise a XXXX toCorey Parker after the Brisbane stock horse announces he will retire at season’s end. Parker made his debut as an 18-year-old and has notched 336 games.”It’s a difficult decision to make because there’s a part of them that still wants to play,” saysBroncs coach Wayne Bennett who recently extended his rule until the end of 2019 and just shy of70thbirthday.”But there is another part of them that doesn’t want their teammates looking sideways at them – or the fans or me.If he goes another year he takes that risk.” Something about the pot calling the kettle black.

WEDNESDAYGame day. Suncorp Stadium is pumping. A dayafter sabotaging the Blues final training session with a highlight’s package on the giant screen of Queensland’s biggest and bestmoments,the Maroons roll out legend after legend in the lead up to kick off.

How do the Blues respond? With a song by the Wigglestitled “NSW Blues Song”. Lord give us strength.