Monthly Archives:October 2019

Imogen Wellford wrote a book called Tree Story ( admin posted on October 13th, 2019 )

Five-year-old girl publishes book TweetFacebook Imogen Wellford, author at age five. +5MORE GALLERIES

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facebookSHAREtwitterTWEETemailwhatsappImogen Wellford has been a busy bee.

She’s only five andshe’s already published a book.

It’s true. Not only that, she could end up as a Guinness World Records holder for being the youngest published author.

Her book is about a tree in her backyard that was chopped down because it was blocking the plumbing system at her family’s Cooks Hill home.

Having paid $10,000 to fix the plumbing problem, the family decided the large African olive tree had to go. It came down in February.

Imogen took a twig from the tree to “show and tell” at her school, The Junction Public.

The other kindy kids loved thestory she told about the tree.

Imogen’s mum is an author. As such, Imogen was keen to write a book, too.

Now was her chance.

Her mum wrote her words down and, with few changes, they became the book’s story.

The book is titled Tree Story, which was being promoted as “a simple tale of life, death and renewal through the eyes of a child reflecting on the life cycle of a tree in her backyard”.

Imogen said she did lovethe tree. As such, she was keen to tell “everyone in the whole world my story –even people who don’t know me”.

Asked if she missed the tree, she said “yes and no”.

“I miss it because it had such beautiful leaves, but now [that it’s gone] we can see the stars at night,” she said.

As for that world record, there is a bit of controversy around the matter.

Guinness World Records lists the youngest commercially published author as Dorothy Straight.

Dorothy, of Washington DC, wrote thebook How the World Beganin 1962 at age four. However –this bit is crucial – she was six when the book was published.

Topics will be sure to keep an eye on the outcome.

The book is due for releaseon May 28. Itwill be available for purchase at selected bookstores in Newcastle, Canberra and Sydneyand online through opheliawest苏州美甲学校.

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A mountain lion was spotted at Jewells Wetland decades ago ( admin posted on October 13th, 2019 )

The tale of a mountain lion at Lake Macquarie in 1980 A marsupial lion.

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TweetFacebook Mountain lions. +6MORE GALLERIES

facebookSHAREtwitterTWEETemailwhatsappA Lake Macquarie woman has revealed she once saw a mountain lion at Jewells Wetland.

Following our recent stories about black panthers, Judith told us her story by email.

“Australia doesn’t just have black cats, it has lions as well,” Judith said.

“I can vouch for this. I saw one at Jewells Wetlands in 1980. People say ‘it must have been a feral cat’.

“But definitely not. It moved like a lion, not a tabby. And I have seen a huge feral cat in almost the same place.

“This animal was bigger than a feral cat. It was a light colour, either fawn or cream. It was dusk so you couldn’t tell. It probably looked like a puma, but was smaller, perhaps only half the size.

“It was slimmer thana big cat.”

We’d reported previously that researcher Rex Gilroy believed some panther sightings were marsupial cats.

Judith agreed.

“I believe that it was a marsupial cat. Since then, I have talked to many people who have also seen a big cat ortracks of a big cat from here to Albany in Western Australia.

“I read an article once in which Aboriginals said there has always been cats in Australia.”

She’d heard a story about baby panther cubs playing near Blackbutt.

“I also heard that someone’s uncle used to talk about the lion in Blackbutt,” she said.

“There are pictures and reports on the internet of lions in Australia.”

Vaughan King, founder of the Australian Big Cat Research Group, doesn’t think they’re large marsupial cats.

But he believes the big cat species in Australia are the leopard, jaguar and mountain lion.

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Will he or won’t he: the Sutherland dilemma ? ( admin posted on October 13th, 2019 )

The AFL has made its first approach to teen dual-sports sensation Will Sutherland, holding talks with the schoolboy who recruiters believe could be taken as high as the top 10 in this year’s national draft.

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And in the latest intriguing turn, Sutherland, who is the captain of the under-19 Australian cricket team, was due to meet with Cricket Victoria officials this week but cancelled due to school commitments.

It comes after Sutherland and his mother Heidi were approached by the AFL, with league representatives providing information regarding programs and pathways into the professional football.

The AFL development team reiterated to Sutherland that a place in the upcoming under-18 championships would not be put in jeopardy should he choose, as expected, not to play TAC Cup football. Either way, the league remains hopeful that the VCE student will represent Vic Metro in championships next month.

Not only is Sutherland’s father, James, the most senior cricket official in the country, but his mother is now a director on the board of AFL Victoria.

AFL Football operations boss Simon Lethlean and general counsel Andrew Dillon are also directors with AFL Victoria.

Despite having to reschedule the meeting to talk to Sutherland, Cricket Victoria remain committed to convincing him to stick with the bat and ball.

“We certainly believe he is a player who could play for Victoria for many years, and very possibly higher,” Victorian chairman of selectors Andrew Lynch told Fairfax Media.

“We want him and it sounds like footy wants him.”

Sutherland, a student at the prestigious private boys’ school Scotch College, is not only gifted at football and cricket, he is also highly academic, similar to his father and grandfather Ivan.

The AFL was clear to Sutherland that there is no pressure on him to make a decision soon, and it respected the fact he was keen to concentrate on his studies.

Sutherland was again listed in Scotch College’s best players after being tagged in their win over Geelong College on Saturday, a week after being best afield in their loss to Xavier College.

With Sutherland to decide in the coming months which sport he wants to pursue professionally, the situation can be likened to that of Pat McKenna in 2014.

Two months after leading the Australian under-19 cricket side to victory over Sri Lanka – as Sutherland has just achieved – McKenna nominated for the draft and was taken by Greater Western Sydney.

After failing to play a senior game in his two seasons in Sydney, he was traded to Melbourne in last year’s trade period and signed a two-year contract.

Sutherland is a key position size in football and can play in the midfield. Recruiters who have watched his two matches at school level have been impressed not only with his size and pace, but his extremely competitive nature. In cricket, he is a middle-order batsman who bowls first-change.

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‘This can’t be what education is about’: Students, teachers react to Naplan changes ( admin posted on October 13th, 2019 )

Schools are preparing for an “administrative mind-blowing exercise” as the final day of NAPLAN tests looms for the first cohort of year 9 students who require three band eights to qualify for their HSC.

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Fewer than half of all year 9 students are expected to achieve this NAPLAN result and most will need to pass online tests in the following years to receive their HSC, under the NSW government’s new minimum literacy and numeracy standard announced last year.

The principal at Cerdon College in Merrylands, Patricia Baker, said schools have been left out of the consultation process and have received very little information about the follow-up online tests.

“We have no idea when these tests are going to be offered, how they’re going to be offered,” Mrs Baker said. “There are a lot of unknowns. I think it’s an administrative mind-blowing exercise because schools are being asked to do the heavy lifting.

“Just arranging times and supervision is going to mean time out of the normal teaching for students.”

The NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) confirmed that “the majority of students will be sitting at least one of the online tests starting in Year 10” and they will be given two chances per year to take the tests, in a letter published online a week before NAPLAN tests began.

Sonya Agius, a maths teacher at the school, said teaching practices would likely change as the online tests become a concern for senior students.

“I’m hoping this will be a positive change, but this can’t be what education is about. It has to be beyond [NAPLAN],” Ms Agius said.

“We just have to take it a step at a time and look at what the processes are after the results come out, how are we going to deal with it as a school, as a system.”

Mrs Baker said the pressure on teachers and students will increase as the HSC approaches.

“At that point, how are schools going to be able to remediate that deficit?” she asked. “It will place a lot of pressure.

“The concern we would have is that students will lose their confidence and feel they’re defined by a less than perfect mark.”

Mrs Baker said “the jury is still out” on the value of the minimum standard after the tertiary admissions body confirmed students who do not achieve the requirements will still be able to get an ATAR and go to university.

“We’ve tried to acknowledge it’s a high stakes prequalification for the HSC but it’s not the end of the world,” Mrs Baker said.

“They may not get the HSC but it is my belief the universities will still accept them because by that stage their literacy skills as tested by the HSC are going to be at the level that says they’re very capable, articulate men and women.”

Charlize D’Souza, a year 9 student at Cerdon College, said linking NAPLAN to the HSC is “not really fair”.

“By the time you get to the HSC you actually care about these things,” she said. “Right now we just have to learn and prepare for the future, it’s not our time yet I think.”

Rose Hanratty, 14, said: “It’s more of an inconvenience that you have to redo [the tests], but I think it’ll be fine. We are a bit of the guinea pigs, but someone’s got to be the first year. We just drew the short straw.

“It was a bit of a shock, but then I just sort of adjusted to it and went, ‘This is how it’s going to go’.”

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Treasurer steps in as China’s spending spree on Australian housing soars ( admin posted on October 13th, 2019 )

Blanchett’s mansion back on the market as Chinese buyer defaultsFederal Budget: Foreign buyers hit by vacancy tax, restrictionsChinese buying Australian real estate tops foreign investment

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China’s crackdown on capital outflows into overseas property markets doesn’t appear to be working judging by the surge in investment from its shores into Australian real estate.

Chinese buyers led a 19 per cent jump in residential applications to 40,149, according to the Foreign Investment Review Board annual report, equating to a peak of proposed investment worth $72.4 billion for the 2015-16 financial year.

The surge in interest from China’s swelling investor class isn’t lost on Treasurer Scott Morrison, with foreign buyers again being slugged with steeper charges on purchases and new fees on property left vacant for six months or more announced in Tuesday’s federal budget.

“If anything I would say the investment coming from China has increased, not decreased, since China’s crackdown was launched,” said joint principal of SydneySlice Buyers’ Agent, Steve Smith.

“My sources are suggesting that the government is actually amending the foreign capital restrictions, which could make it easier for foreign investors, and if that’s the case we will see local activity increasing, not decreasing.”

Craig Pontey, director of Ray White Double Bay in Sydney, said buyer interest from China wasn’t just increasing, but “substantially increasing” in both sales and buyer inquiry from China.

“The buyers who dominated sales three and four years ago are being joined by their friends and colleagues from China, and they are finding ways to filter their money out of China to do so,” said Mr Pontey.

A year ago China started forcing its state-owned banks to delay or block large sums of money going overseas, and has more recently moved to block money transfers through Macau.

The issue was brought home to Sydneysiders last August when the Hunters Hill trophy home of Cate Blanchett and her husband Andrew Upton was returned to the market after the $19.8 million buyer was forced to default on the sale given problems getting their funds out of China.

By law, individuals in China are restricted to moving the equivalent of $US50,000 ($68,000) out of the country each year.

McGrath’s Michael Coombs said the continued strength in buyer interest from China was typified by the current campaign underway to sell the Alex Popov-designed trophy home in Northbridge of hedge fund manager David Curtis and his wife Joan for $15 million. Of 142 enquiries, at least 40 per cent came from China, he said.

“Without the current curbs on foreign buyers in place we would have double the number of sales to overseas owners, because the demand for local real estate is just growing,” said Mr Coombs.

Simon Platt, who left Kinsale Property Group late last year to join Unique Estates, said: “There was a lot of media attention and talk about the capital controls impacting on our local market, but we haven’t seen any real impact or change in demand.”

Sydney’s trophy home market has proved largely immune to capital controls, although the market does see sporadic bursts of activity from China, according to Ken Jacobs, of Christie’s International.

“At the top end buyers have a reason for being here – whether that be for schooling or business – rather than just being straight investors, and they have their residency and other sources for funds, so at that end of the market we are not seeing any real change in demand,” Mr Jacobs said.

In May last year, Australian banks started clamping down on loans obtained based on overseas income.

However, ???Meriton Group’s owner Harry Triguboff told The Australian Financial Reviewthis week he has started financing about $200 million of the $1.4 billion worth of apartment sales he expects to make this year to help Chinese buyers struggling with the tougher currency controls.

CBRE director, residential projects Murray Wood, said concerns about the ability of foreign buyers to settle on their purchases prompted some of their developer clients to opt to sell only a small percentage of stock to non-residents, and others have chosen not to canvas offshore buyers at all.

One of the standout measures introduced in Tuesday’s federal budget will be an annual charge aimed at encouraging foreign buyers to rent out their vacant Australian real estate. Any purchase after May 9 will be slugged with an annual charge equal to their foreign investment application fee – starting at $5000 for property valued at $1 million or less – if they leave the property vacant.

The budget also introduces measures to deny foreign tax residents access to capital gains tax exemptions from Tuesday, and those already purchased will have those exemptions grandfathered until June 2019.

For the third year in a row China was the largest source of approved investment across all sectors, staking a claim to 72 per cent of all approvals.

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