Archive for June, 2019

   Jun 13

Walker brings Germany and Austria’s Romantic era to Adamstown

VIRTUOSO: Sally Walker’s masterful flute musicianship has allowed her to perform with some of Europe’s most accomplished orchestras. Picture: Miranda LawrySALLY Walker has always possessed a passion for travel and for the past 20 years the world has been her oyster.
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The University of Newcastle lecturer’s proficiency with the wooden or silver flute has taken her to the classical music halls of Germany, Italy, Austria and Scotland, rubbing shoulders with the musical elite.

Last EasterWalker even performed at the 500-year-old CatholicBeit Jamal monastery near Jerusalem in Israel.

To share her love and knowledge of international classical music Walker is launching a series of recitals known as theTwilight Musical Dialogues to give Novocastrians a new cultural experience. Walker’s first performance will be German and Austrianmusic from theRomantic Era including works bySchubert, Schumann, Weber and Reger on February 24.

It will be followed by recitals showcasing music from the old kingdom of Bohemia (April),Russia (June), (September) andLatin America (November). Not only will Walker be performing at each recital, she is serving asartistic director.

“They definitely are two different hats,” Walker says.“This is my first time stepping out as artistic director for a series. I only did it because people kept telling me I was lazy not to do it. There was a bit of peer pressure and I thought I should be doing this at this point of my career.

RARE OPPORTUNITY: Last Easter Sally Walker performed in the 500-year-old Catholic Beit Jamal monastery in Israel. Picture: Tomoko Malkin

“Having started, it’s really quite lovely to think who would I love to play with, and which pieces would I like to play? Wouldthis player really excite Newcastle audiences?What would that special thing be? And it came out quite quickly that it would be the division of countries.”

After growing up in Canberra, Walker spent a decade living in Germany where shemade her name in the classical world when she was a grand-finalist in the Leonardo de Lorenzo International Flute Competition (Italy) in 1999andcamesecondin theFriedrich Kuhlau International Flute Competition (Germany)in 2003.

That led to a stint in the Cologne Chamber Orchestra and aprestigious two-year contract from 2003 to 2005 withthe Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, one of Germany’s most famous, dating back to 1743.

“It was very unusual at the time to have any foreigners, especially a female foreigner in the orchestra,” Walker says.“It’s the oldest orchestra in the world and still the largest, so itwas very special to be a part of that orchestra.

“Once you’re in an orchestra in that league, other orchestras consider you as a casual player, so I got to tour with the BerlinPhilharmonic Orchestra, which was great too.”

In 2005 Walker moved to Newcastle to lecture at the university. It’s a role where she has been able to encourage love forthe instrument she has played since she was 10.

Sally WalkerHemisphereswhich explored the spiritual history of the flute in a number of cultures and cultures that at that time had no contact with each other,” she says.“This instrument has been considered transcendental and it’s had a special function in calling to the spirits. Like the Greek god Pan played the flute.

“I think there’s something very pure and moving and calming about the actual tone and very expressive. The sound itself is what rang my bell.”

Guiding the next generation of classical musicians through the changing landscape is another part of Walker’s role that providesprofessional satisfaction. The days of classical musicians readily finding full-time work in an orchestra is declining and students are required to bemore resourceful.

“It’s become very unusual and the freelance market has picked up exponentially,” she says.“So I’m training my students differently to how I was trained, which is to learn how to market themselves, learn how to develop their own ideas and have initiative.

“I wasvery happy last year that forthe final recitalsone of my students requested not to have it on the Conservatoriumpremises, but in an art gallery. She put that on by herself and it was great.”

Sally Walker will be joined bypianistGabriella Pusner for the first Twilight Musical Dialogue on February 24 at the Adamstown Uniting Church on Brunker Road.

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   Jun 13

24-hour palliative care only available to parts of Lake Macquarie

Lake Macquarie MP Greg PiperLAKE Macquarie residents living south of the Fennell Bay bridge do not receive the same 24-hour palliative care services as their northern neighbours, and instead have to rely on a telephone service for care outside of business hours.
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Lake Macquarie MP Greg Piper revealed in parliament on Tuesday that he hadbeen advised by the government that residents in highly populatedareas like Toronto and Morissetdo not have access to the same 24-hour care as other parts of Lake Macquarie.

Mr Piper read out advice he’d received from new health minister Brad Hazzard’s office that theWestlakes Community Health Service–which operates south of Fennell Bay and Swansea down to Wyee–provides a “24-hour on-call service to provide advice and support to patients” but that after business hours that service was provided by telephone.

Mr Piper said the difference in service created a“them and us” situation in Lake Macquarie.

“In my electorate of Lake Macquarie I fear that services are actually being eroded rather than promoted and expanded,” he said.

It comes after the Newcastle Herald reported last week fears that after-hours palliative carevisits by the Calvary Mater Hospital could be at risk of being replaced by a telephone hotlinebecause of perceived safety risks from the after-hours home visits service.

Hunter New England Health has not ruled out making changes to the service, andMr Piper told the parliament he’d previously met with Cancer Council officials who had been told there were “OH&S issues” related to the service.

However Mr Piper said he’d spoken to one nurse who in 22 years had only seen one “minor assault”.

“This invaluable service not only needs to be maintained and supported, it needs to be extended,” MrPiper said.

The Herald has previously reported thatHunter hospitals were “badly under-resourced” to provide adequate end-of-life and palliative care, as well as calls for 24 hour services to beextended to Maitland.

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   Jun 13

Supercars to develop new heritage plan in Newcastlepoll

BILL: Getting started.THE Berejiklian government will seek to pass legislation allowing a “streamlined authorisation and approval process” for the Supercars race in Newcastle this November.
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On Tuesday, Minister for Tourism Adam Marshall introduced a bill into Parliament that effectively allows the Supercars race set to shift from Sydney Olympic Park to Newcastle.

Mr Marshall said the bill also includes the same “commonsense provisions” previously in place when the race was held in Homebush whichprovided“certainty”and allowed the race operators to make “significant improvements to roads and service infrastructure” before the race in November.

Mr Marshall sought to temper concerns about the race, assuring residents that pre-race work cannot begin until Destination NSW is “satisfied that the race promoter has complied with statutory requirements to consult with stakeholders” including Newcastle City Council and “any other public or local authorities prescribed by regulation to ensure specific issues are addressed”.

Vehicle access would be restricted for five days –including the three on which the event is held –from 7am to 7pm, but Mr Marshall said pedestrian access “for residents and businesses” will be maintained at “all times”.

“Any suggestion that the public will be prevented from accessing Newcastle’s finest beaches and public areas is not correct and couldn’t be further from the truth,” he said.

While the act means Supercars was not subject to some acts Mr Marshall said Supercars would work with Newcastle City Council to developa Heritage Impact Statement.

He also revealed the circuit would provide “a valuable commodity of 215 additional car parking spaces” including18 in Newcastle East, although he did not say where.

And,while some “trees and shrubs” will be removed, the plan was to develop a “tree planting program” that would deliver a “usable canopy more than three times what is currently in place”.

Newcastle MP Tim Crakanthorp called the bill a “missed opportunity” to provide genuine consultation with the community, saying he wanted the government to install an independent body to overseeplanning.

“We need an independent organisation that will do all the work in consultation with the government agencies and also with the residents,” he said.

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   Jun 13

Hunter workers join Sydney disability services rally

ABOUT 700 public sector disability workers braved pouring rain and NSW government threats of legal action to rally outside Parliament House against the privatisation of government disability services.
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Disability workers say please ‘have a heart’ TweetFacebook Public Service Association rally against privatisation of NSW disability servicesPictures by IAN KIRKWOODThreecoach loads of Public Service Association members joined the rally from Newcastle and the Hunter, and smaller rallies were held in various regional centres around NSW.

PSA Hunter organiser Paul James said the rally was a“great result” given the weather and the Supreme Court action he said the government had taken against the union to try to stop the strike.Mr James and other union leaders called on new Premier Gladys Berejiklian to“have a heart” and stop the planned privatisation.

RAIN, HAIL OR SHINE: Union rally on Tuesday at Parliament House against the planned privatisation of NSW government disability services.

The Coalition government is well advanced with plans to dismantle state-run disability services in NSW as part of a heads of agreement on the National Disability Insurance Service signed in December 2012 by then premier Barry O’Farrell and then prime minister Julia Gillard.

NSW Disability Services Minister Ray Williams referred to this agreement in his comments after the rally and strike, saying “the transfer of these services is an important part of enabling the long-term success of the NDIS, as it will allow participants to have their choice of services within a diverse market”.

“We have protected workers’ leave and superannuation entitlements through legislation, as well as recognising their continuity of service,” Mr Williams said.

“Additionally, we are providing ongoing workers with a two-year employment guarantee from the date of transfer, and a transfer payment of up to eight weeks pay. Temporary workers have a six month employment guarantee.”

But union leaders told hundreds of striking workers at PSA House before a march through Sydney streets to Parliament House thatthe transfer conditions insisted on by the government were dramatically inferior to those made available to power workers and other government employees whose agencies had been privatised. PSA assistant general secretary Troy Wright said the government had been “superficial, patronising and disrespectful” in its negotiations with the union. Mr Wright said the union was determined to stop the government from“washing its hands and walking away from society’s most vulnerable”.

Opposition leader Luke Foley addressed the rally outside Parliament House, telling the crowd in pouring rain that regardless of what was intended with the NDIS, the state government had to retain publicly owned disability services as least as a “provider of last resort”.

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   Jun 13

A tablecloth fit for a bridesmaid

Once a tablecloth: Now, a dress, through the deft hands of sustainable seamstress Laura Burghaus. Picture: Marina NeilLaura Burghaus is adamant in her opinion.
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“There are enough second-hand clothes to supply the world over,” the sustainable seamstress says.“Not only that, but so much of what’s out there is poorly made and not flattering for the person wearing it.”

Burghaus was professionally trained as a seamstress in Germany, and lives in the Hunter Valley creating yoga bolsters and dresses in the most environmentally ethical way she knows how through her company, Kissen .

“I have always been interested in wrapping material around a female figure. When I was young I would make clothes for mydolls. I would cut armholes and make little wrap-around tops and sarongs,” she says.

Burghaus struggles with her love of creating dresses and the challenging issues that surround fashion including waste, chemical dyes, synthetic materials and sweatshops in South America and south-east Asia. Fast fashion is second only to oil in its devastating environmental impacts, and this is why her label uses only fair-trade, organic and/or upcycled products made in .

Team effort: Seamstress Laura Burghaus fits Alex Morris with a dress that began life as a tablecloth. Picture: Marina Neil

“Fashion is not sustainable, full stop,” she says. “There’s absolutely no need for more clothes on this planet. But people love to look pretty. Clothes make you feel good. When I put on a beautiful dress I feel so different. I don’t think people comment just on the dress I’m wearing, I think I’m exuding energy of confidence and contentment, and that’s attractive.”

I hired her to make me a bridesmaid’s dress for my best friend’s wedding in Austin, Texas. Held on a farm, the ceremony will be laid back and beautiful. The bride’s name is Ivey Kaiser, and we grew up together in South Carolina. Now, nearly 15 years later, she has given the bridesmaids plenty of flexibility for selecting our dresses on her special day.

Kaiser requested we find a peach, apricot, salmon or yellow dress within our budget that we’d wear again. The dress should be above the knee, but the style and sleeves are up to each of us.

It’s easy to find something cheap online, and I knew that asking a skilled n to custom-make a dress would be more expensive.

But I also knew about sweatshops. If I could help it, I didn’t want one cent of my hard-earned money to go towards these horrifying working conditions. I was keen to support a local business and sustainable fashion while buying something that would fit me well.

Hiring Laura Burghaus to make a dress for me at her leisure over the course of a few months put my ethical uncertainties at ease.

Burghaus took my measurements while we discussed dress options. Every time she gets commissioned to make a piece of clothing, she creates a practice dress first to make sure it fits perfectly.Often she re-uses this material afterwards.

She measured me up, drew lines, stuck pins and cut away at the trial dress to flatter my neckline and bust.Then she showered me with different ways we could meet the dress’ objectives while also giving it its own personality. We went through heaps of styles, colours and fabrics. She has a wealth of knowledge about creative ways to be sustainable.

“It costs so much more to make ethical fabrics. They are generally plain weaves,off-white (unbleached),very durable and notcrease free,” Burghaussays. “Cotton is the least sustainable fabric because it uses lots of water, and if it’s not organic cotton, chemicals are used which runoff into rivers.”

Through her company, Burghaushas found a clever way to recycle fabric scraps, which otherwise would go to landfills. She’s reached an agreement with a company in Sydney to take their scraps, and she uses them to fill all her yoga bolsters. When she does use new fabric, she prefers to use a wholesaler called Hemp WA.

“I like hemp because it’s a sustainable fiber. It doesn’t need much water to grow and it grows fast. To derive the fiber from the plant doesn’t have a huge chemical process. It’s hard to use hemp for pretty dresses due to its properties being similar to linen,” she says.“In an ideal world we would all be wearinghemp, but it does sometimes look a bit daggy.”

I was hesitant to use new fabric for my dress unless I could trace it back to the cotton fields where it was grown and knew the pesticides and dyes that went into making it. A way to work around this dilemma was to use fabric from a friend or a second-hand shop. Sure, chemicals might be on this fabric too, but at least I won’t be directly supporting it.

I told my friend and colleague Cath Burden about my quest for the best fabric, and she thought of her cotton tablecloth that she’d only recently stopped using. Given to her as an engagement gift 25 years ago, it was a little rough around the edges, but the fabric itself was in perfect condition.

Sustainable seamstress Laura BurghausPhotos of the finished dress will be on Laura’s website (kissen苏州夜总会招聘.au)at the end of March..

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