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Last store in the iconic Frickers Shoes empire to close in Belmont

Stepping away: Mark and Michelle Fricker in the family store in Belmont. Picture: Simone de Peak. WHEN Mark and Michelle Fricker threw open the doors to their eponymous shoe store in Belmont in 1983, they had a loose plan of when they’d close.

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“Back then, people were retiring in their 50s and I said to Michelle, if it goes well I’ll retire in 35 years, why can’t I?” laughs Mr Fricker, 59.

Why not, indeed. Come Christmas Eve, the Frickers will close their store –the last in the Frickers Shoes empire which was founded in 1953 by Mark’s father Ern and at its peak had 12 stores between Sydney and Newcastle.

If their closing down sale keeps up its current pace, they may close in the days beforehand.

With his siblings Bill and Peter, Mark Fricker went into the family business after high school.Bill ran three stores in Newcastle (The Junction, Marketown and Hunter Street mall) while Peter managed the Sydney stores.

Mark and Michelle Fricker moved from Sydney to launch the Belmont store, opening at a time when the Pacific Highway was bustling and there were four competitorswithin cooee.

“There used to be a constant flow of people passing by but all the foot traffic has gone,” said Mr Fricker.

The closure of government service centres including the motor registry and Medicare, alongside all but one of the big four banks, has been a blight on trade. Then, of course, the internet has changed everything.

In the glory days, Mr Fricker would receive appointments on a Tuesday from no less than eight shoe representatives. As budgets tightened, he has had to buy his stock online.

“That’s tough,” he says, “because you have to touch and feel shoes to know them.”

Mr Fricker and his wife have fond memories of their store, where their children and many long-time staff members worked.

“We were always family-oriented and tried to be everything for for everybody,” he says. “The back to school period was hard work but exciting: we saw kids every year growing up and thenbringing their kids in. Customers became family.”

A footnote: at 89, Ern Fricker is still giving counsel on how to run a closing down sale, Mark quips.

Parliament holds off on live sheep exports

Federal crossbench MPs are putting pressure on the government to phase out live sheep exports.Phasing out live sheep exports won’t be considered by parliament until next year after Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s minority government won a vote by the skin of its teeth.

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The coalition had 72 votes in its favour to delay the discussion, with independents Cathy McGowan and Bob Katter siding with the government.

Crossbench MP Rebekha Sharkie had attempted to force the government to front the issue on Wednesday, leading to an emotive debate across the chamber.

Ms Sharkie harnessed 71 votes with the support of Labor and the other independents, including former Liberal MP Julia Banks.

The Centre Alliance MP says the industry can’t be trusted to manage itself.

“We need to transition away from this industry and actually look at this as an opportunity for industry, for sheep, for farmers and for people living in regional to have good quality jobs,” Ms Sharkie told the chamber.

The debate comes after the industry announced a three-month moratorium on the controversial trade, with a halt on shipments to the Middle East in June, July and August next year.

This would prevent shipments during the northern hemisphere’s summer when animals face the highest risk of heat stress.

Independent Tasmanian MP Andrew Wilkie says the n public is “demanding urgent action” to see the end of the industry.

The Middle East buys three times more frozen sheep meat than live sheep exports, he added.

The independent infuriated former agriculture minister Barnaby Joyce, who said phasing out the industry would hurt farmers, just as cancelling live cattle exports to Indonesia had done.

“People went broke, people committed suicide because the value of their place was destroyed,” he said.

“It was absolutely destroyed by the reckless actions of those who did not live on their farms, who did not live in their industry, who did not have to deal with the consequence of the actions of this chamber.

“We are not going to let that happen again.”

Agriculture Minister David Littleproud said the wheels were turning on implementing key recommendations of the Moss review into the industry.

“It’s important that we are calm and decisive through this, that we predicate our decisions on science, not emotion,” he said at the tail end of the debate.

The recommendations include appointing an independent external inspector-general and establishing an animal welfare branch within the department, he added.

Labor has committed to ending the trade if elected to government at next year’s federal election, pledging to transition the industry to chilled meat processing.

A vote earlier in the morning was tied 71 to 71, with the Speaker Tony Smith casting his vote in line with parliament procedure to ensure the debate continued.

The tied vote was due to WA Liberal MP Rick Wilson getting kicked out of the chamber during the debate.

Best of the best 2018 – Hansen Yucken

Winners: The Hansen Yucken team accepts the highly coveted award at the MBA National Awards in November.Established in 1918, local builderHansen Yuncken has recently celebrated 100 years in the n construction landscape.

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Since its inception, the organisation has continually delivered high quality projects in the educational sector – over $2.5 billion worth in fact.

In addition, Hansen Yuncken has now completed more than 20 projects for the University of Newcastle (UoN) and iscontinually building on thesuccessful and collaborative partnership between the two companies.

The long-standing relationship is now stronger than ever, following the recent awardof the hallmark, Libertynational educational facility, NeW Space, at the Master Builder Association National Excellence in Construction Awards Ceremony in November 2018.

The multi award-winning facility, NeW Space, includes 14,000m2 of student, learning and office areas spread across nine floors.

With innovative design at the forefront of this project, students have access to flexible study areas, exceptional lecture theatres andtutorial and workshop spaces fitted-out with the latest in educational technology.

Described as a breath of fresh air into the UoN campus, the landmark precinct operates 24/7, and attracts 3,500 students every day.

A new home for the School of Business and Law, facilities include digital library services and information commons, collaborative learning and research spaces, work integrated learning, services for industry, professional and community engagement and social spaces.

The building is designed to allow for a new mode of teaching, replacing traditional lecture theatres with flexible work spaces and booth seating.

Aside from the structural challenges and requirements, the façade system incorporates over 24 finish types, involving procurement and fabrication worldwide.

Denita Wawn, Chief Excutive Officer of Master Builders , commented “Hansen Yuncken must be congratulated for providing an ideal built environment for this cutting-edge world class education hub that’s also proven to be a catalyst for the renaissance of the Newcastle CBD.”

Designing for sustainability was a key focus for the Project Team.

NeW Space has been awarded a 5-Star Green Star – Education Design v1 Certified Rating from the Green Building Council of , a first for the Hunter Region.

The certification, which represents n excellence in environmentally sustainable design, aligns with the University’s sustainability objectives.

A leader in sustainable design and construction, this exceptional project was not without its challenges.

Due to the project’s central CBD location, and prominence in the community, planning was essential to seamlessly coordinate traffic movements, council requirements and road closures with minimal disruption.

Project challenges continued, as the site had to be designed with earthquake and residual mine shafts to consider.

Water located underneath the construction site was expertly pumped, and returned to council stormwater systems, as quickly as it had entered.

Recognising the importance of innovation and technology in the construction sector, the approach to delivering NeW Space was no different.

Hansen Yuncken incorporated cutting-edge construction software at every turn, which helped to ensure the project remained on schedule at all times.

“The building has received national and international acclaim and Hansen Yuncken is a deserving winner,” Denita Wawn added.

The Hansen Yuncken Project Team agrees that vital communication, creativity and enthusiasm to work through solutions was key in overcoming the challenges that became apparent throughout design and construction.

It was an excellent result achieved, with the entire construction finished in time for Semester 2, 2017, as planned.

The future looks bright for these local builders, with a strong project pipeline planned for 2019, incorporating health, education, justice, commercial and community infrastructure projects.

With its sights set on delivering the next generation of educational facilities, Hansen Yuncken will undoubtedly be a name to remember for the next one hundred years to come in the construction industry.

To find out more information visit:www.hansenyucken苏州上门按摩.au

Gordana Kotevski’s family renews public appeal for help to solve case 24 years after teenager was kidnapped at Charlestown

Need answers: Julie Talevski, whose niece Gordana Kotevski was kidnapped at Charlestown 24 years ago. The family renewing its public appeal for help finding answers. Crime Stoppers: 1800 333 000. Picture: Simone De PeakIn the decades since Gordana Kotevski was kidnapped from a suburban street near a busy shopping centre, herfamily has wavered between hope and grief.

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The 16-year-old Cardiff High School student was snatched and bundled into a white Toyota Hiluxabout 8.45pmon November 24, 1994, while walking to an aunt’s houseafter late night shopping with friends atCharlestown Square.

Today, Gordana’s family is renewing apublic appeal for information that could help bring those responsible for herabduction and likely murder to justice and solve one of the state’s most baffling coldcases.

Newcastle Jets CEO Lawrie McKinna has organisedfree rental of space on the billboard outside McDonald Jones Stadium for the next fortnight, where an image of the teenagerwill be emblazoned, and the family will hand outbumper stickers in the coming weeksto get the community talking and jog people’s memories.

Read more: Police re-open cold case of missing teenager (2009)

“They say that scars heal with time, but I know that until I have answers about whathappened to my sister my scars will only get bigger and deeper,” said Gordana’s brother Damien, who was 10 when his older sister was taken.

“The things I had to witness from such a young age have affected me throughout mywhole life. I have been quiet for a long time but it’s time to stand up and make somenoise, not only for my family, but for every family who has been dealt this horriblecard.

“I wouldn’t wish this pain upon anyone, which is why I’m appealing to the public tocome forward with any information that may help us find Gordana.Our family needs answers.”

Gordana –who would now be 40 years old –was about 50 metres from the safety of her aunt’s home in Powell Street when she was set upon.

Tragic: Gordana Kotevski was kidnapped in 1994. An inquest found in 2003 she was likely murdered by an unknown person. The case remains unsolved.

Witnesses said they heard two screams and saw a white Toyota Hilux speed out of the street.

Butaside from unfruitful leads on peopleof interestand the 2009 discovery of a fingerprint belonging to an unknown person on the plastic bag containing Gordana’s wallet found at the crime scene, the trail has remainedcold.

Another of Gordana’s aunts Julie Talevski, who has spearheaded the organisation of the billboard campaign with the help of the Missing Persons Advocacy Network, said the family was trying to have the reward for information that leads to the case being solvedincreased to $1 million –up from $100,000, where it has sat since early 1995.

Ms Talevski described the feeling of not knowing what happened to her niece as “an ambiguous loss, you waver between grief and hope –there’s no in between”.

Read more: Police reveal new lead in Gordana Kotevski abduction (2009)

“Nothing really active has happened for such a long time,” she said.

“Newcastle is a small place. We just want to get the word out there, she’s still missing, if somebody knows anything, no matter how small or insignificant they might think it may be, to go to Crime Stoppers.”

It’s been about 15 years since a Coronial inquest found Gordana was likely murdered by an unknown person.

The teenager’s family was critical of the police investigation in the years after her disappearance, alleging leads were not followed in the weeks after Gordana was kidnapped. It prompted a public apology from the then NSW Police Commissioner Peter Ryan in 1998.

Her parents told investigatorsat the time Gordana had expressed concern about a man who was following her –who her mother referred to as “The Spook”.

Depictions of two persons of interest in the disappearance of Gordana Kotevski composed from witness descriptions.

At another point in the investigation, police were considering whether the teenager had fallen victim to a serial killer or killers along with nine other young people who had gone missing in the Hunter between the late 1970s and early 1990s.

Detective Inspector George Radmore, who now heads the northern NSW anti-bikie squad Strike Force Raptor North, was an investigator in the homicide unitthat looked atthe case for three years from 1998,then as part of the unsolved homicide squad in 2009-10.

Inspector Radmore told the Newcastle Herald on Wednesday persons of interest were identified, but it “didn’t reach the level of being firm suspects”.

He described the case as “tragic” and said he believed it was a random attack by people who were probably unknown to the 16-year-old.

Bumper stickers appealing for help solving Gordana’s case. Picture: Simone De Peak

“There was literally, I would suggest, thousands of pieces of information that came in specifically about Gordana’s –we’ll certainly call it a murder because that’s what it is –abduction and murder around that time and over the ensuing years,” he said.

“The really frustrating part for the investigators that have worked on it, and the tragic part for Gordana’s family, has been that people actually witnessed this take place. We’ve had, probably, good quality evidence back to 1994.

“People heard her screams, saw the car take off afterwards, were able to describe the car and able to provide images of the occupants of the car from their descriptions.

“We were certainly a lot further advanced in that investigation than many other investigations that have been solved so it is extremely frustrating to every investigator that worked on it.

“There’s not anyone I know who worked on those cases over all those years who would not want to find who did it and convict them.”

If you know anything that could help police, contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.While you’re with us, did you know The Herald is now offering breaking news alerts, daily email newsletters and more? Keep up-to-date with all the local news – sign up here.

Chris Dawson has been charged with murder over 1982 disappearance of Lynette Dawson, whose brother is Lake Macquarie man Greg Simms

Breakthrough: Police have arrested a man in connection with the 1982 disappearance of Lyn Dawson, whose brother Lake Macquarie man Greg Simms has been calling for justice.

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The 70-year-old husband of Lynette Dawson, who went missing from Sydney almost four decadesago,has been charged with her murder.

Queensland police arrested former Newtown Jets rugby league playerand high school teacher Chris Dawson, a long-time person of interest in his wife’s disappearance, at his home in Biggera Waters on the Gold Coast on Wednesday morning. Hewassoon extradited to the custody of NSW Police.

The arrest would have come as relieffor Ms Dawson’s family, including her brotherLake Macquarie man Greg Simms.

Read more: Hollow feeling: Lynette Dawson’s brother wants answers

The family requested privacy on Wednesday, but Mr Simms told the Newcastle Herald in September he wanted“justice for our sister”.

“It’s always there, it’s always hanging over your head and aweight on your shoulders,” he said.

“It’s something you do learn to live with, but every time something comes up, you lose a little bit of yourself.

“It’s just like having a hollow feeling in your stomach all the time.You’re wondering whether this is the day that you get a result.”

Lynette Dawson’s brother, Lake Macquarie man Greg Simms, with an archive of news clippings about his sister’s case.

Mr Dawson, who was the subject of investigative podcast The Teacher’s Pet, applied for bail on Wednesday but it was refused.

The arrest came after detectives requested in April that the Department of Public Prosecutions review its brief of evidence. Detectives from the NSW Police Unsolved Homicide Squad established Strike Force Scriven in 2015 to investigate the disappearance of the 33-year-old mother of two.

Ms Dawson has not been seen since she vanished from Sydney’s northern beaches in early January, 1982.

Greg Simms, Lynette Dawson’s brother, speaking in September, 2018.

She wasreported missing more than a month after she was last seen.

NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller said Wednesday was an important step towards justice for Ms Dawson and her family.

Read more: Walk for Lynette Dawson at Newcastle

He said Ms Dawson’s family members were “certainly relieved to hear this result”.

NSW Homicide Squad commanderDetective Superintendent Scott Cooksaid a team of “dedicated detectives” had been investigating the case for the past three years.

“The resolve of the Unsolved Homicide Unit detectives shows that they will continue to search for the truth, no matter how many years may pass,” he said.

ReviewsQueen of MarsLGBTI Theatre Festival 2017

Theatre ReviewsQueen of MarsTheatre on Brunker, AdamstownEnds April 1JOHN Wood, the writer and director of Queen of Mars, has said that he used the style of English playwright Alan Ayckbourn who shows the reactions of people to events that affect their families and friends amusingly but with moving moments. That is certainly the case in this look at a young n woman who is chosen to be a member of a team who will travel to Mars but not return.
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The play’s first half shows the woman, Alicia (Amy Wilde), telling friends and family that she is in the final group of international applicants for the Mars venture, with the closing moments showing her receiving the news by phone that she has been selected. In the second half, Alicia’s parents give her what they call a surprise birthday party, even though her birthday is three months away, with other guests more realistically referring to it as a going-away party. The reminiscences about past events and acquaintances frequently lead to arguments, initially jovial but increasingly darker, about what actually happened.

John Wood and the actors make the changing moods of the people understandable. Mark (Andrew Black), her boyfriend for four years, is the first she breaks the news of her finalist status to, inviting him to dine with her at a very upmarket restaurant. He is naturally upset. So, too, is her mother, Michelle (Jan Hunt), who spends much of the going-away party in the kitchen to try to hide her feelings. Her father, Craig (Patrick O’Brien), is more receptive but his concerns about the Mars trek also come out at the celebration. Younger brother Jason (James Chapman), a keen television watcher who was aware of plans for the Mars excursion, offers his support. Longtime friend Lauren (Emily Daly) and Josie (Elissa Shand), a workmate at the firm where Alicia is a lawyer, are generally convivial, as is her employer Duncan (Carl Gregory), who jokingly refers to her as “Alicia, the alien”.

The writer includes habits that audience members will recognise, such as Craig and Jason watching a television cricket test match while the party guests are arriving. Likewise, the shifts in moods are very recognisable. And the joking actions are believable, with Jason showing his research ability and reflecting the habits of many young adults when he presents his sister with space food sticks, a type of food that was developed for use on space ships in the early years of space exploration, except that Jason’s, so he asserts, include pot.

This premiere production is well worth seeing, with designer Chris Bird’s mix of settings adding to the show’s enjoyable reality.

LGBTI Theatre Festival 2017Catapult Dance Studio, Newcastle – March 10THE eight acts in the inaugural Newcastle LGBTI Theatre Festival for the most part showed engagingly how people make the most of changing their sexual orientation and have others accept that.

The colourfully dressed Asia Pop, in her number Heart Sweet Home, and accompanied by the schoolgirlishly-clad Carmen Mayflower, movingly revealed the problems she had in winning acceptance in her country town, while guitar-playing Teddy (Theodore Devere), in With Love, warmly paid tribute to the acceptance he’d had from family and friends, declaring in the lyrics that “Home is where I want to be”. And 19-year-old Dixie Normous cheerfully showed how drag performances had helped him come out of a confining shell.

The dialogue-based sequences included a short play, Reflection, by now Paris-based former Newcastle resident Jimi Goninan, and directed by the festival producer, Chris Le Page. Actors Jacob Agius and Harrison Cater engagingly presented the story of a young man struggling with his inner demons and feeling adrift in a world where physical connections had replaced emotional ones. Two other actors, Cassie Hamilton and Chris Shanko, used dialogue and song through In My Words to reveal the challenges they had encountered when feeling different to colleagues while growing up, and ultimately discovering their own identity and finding a place in society.

There were attention-grabbing scenes from coming full-length Newcastle productions that include gay characters. Writer and director Riley McLean’s Do Your Parents Know You’re Straight?, which is being staged by Eclectic Productions in early May, has a world where the people are homosexual, with the central character, a straight boy called Casey, struggling for acceptance. The staged excerpts showed how well the writer-director has used humour to make entertaining comment on sexual attitudes in today’s world. And the festival performance ended with the bright and lively song Seasons of Love, delivered by the ensemble from Pantseat Performance Arts’ April production of the hit Broadway musical Rent, which looks at the lives of would-be actors in New York, some of whom are gay.

The only festival item that didn’t work well was the opening sequence, How much does your secret weigh?. Performer Vivienne Eliot stood in the middle of the performance space with dozens of pieces of black ribbons and strings on the floor in front of her, with audience members expected to tie one on her and share a secret before returning to their seats. Fewer than 20 pieces were tied on her arms and legs in a 25-minute period, with most attached swiftly by offstage production team members. The audience should have been told at the show’s opening what was expected of them, encouraging one person after another to come forward.

Stars of Newcastle 2017: Cancer Council dance competition launches with a vow to wow

Newcastle ‘stars’ think they can dance Cveta Jovanoska from Yoga Loft posing for official pictures with photographer Kirsten Woodforth. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers
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Contestant Britt Coombe from QBE Insurance at the Cancer Council Stars of Newcastle competition launch. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Cancer Council Stars of Newcastle competition launch. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Cancer Council Stars of Newcastle competition launch. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Photographer Kirsten Woodforth directing contestants Cveta Jovanoska from Yoga Loft and RAAF Squadron Leader Will Trott during an official photo shoot at the launch. Sydney Junction Hotel, Hamilton. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Cveta Jovanoska from Yoga Loft and RAAF Squadron Leader Will Trott posing for an official photo at the launch. Sydney Junction Hotel, Hamilton. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

University of Newcastle cancer researcher Nikki Verrills at the Cancer Council Stars of Newcastle competition launch. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Cancer Council Stars of Newcastle competition launch. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Cancer Council Stars of Newcastle competition launch. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Contestants Cveta Jovanoska from Yoga Loft and RAAF Squadron Leader Will Trott posing for an official photo at the launch. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

University of Newcastle cancer researcher Nikki Verrills interviewing contestant Chris Elliott who starred on TV show The Block. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Cancer Council Stars of Newcastle competition launch. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Contestant Brodie Owen from The Newcastle Herald getting a quick makeup refresh from Shannon Brown of The Mask Academy. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Cveta Jovanoska from Yoga Loft posing for official pictures with photographer Kirsten Woodforth. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

TweetFacebookNewcastle Herald’s Brodie Owen, have stepped up for Stars of Newcastle, which officially launched at Sydney Junction Hotel on Tuesday.

The dance competitionhopes to raise $100,000 for Cancer Council NSW, while also casting a differentlight on some familiar faces.

This year’s eventwill showcase media personalities, journalists, businesspeople, anda squadron leader fromRAAF Base Williamtown.

The“stars” have been assigned a genre, andwill be put through their paces bythe Newcastle Dance Academy,before a one-night only concert later this year.

Cancer Council regional director Shayne Connell said the event–now in its third year–was a crucial date on the organisation’s fundraising calendar.

“A lot of people think we’re government-funded, [but] it’sactually events like this that driveall of our services,” Mr Connell said.

RAAF Williamtown squadron leader Will Trott said the event was “totally outside” his comfort zone.

“But it’s the Cancer Council –how could you not want to support such an outstanding organisation?” he said.

“Our family has had a bad run with cancer, so if I can help just a little bit, whether it’s something as simple as getting a mum to see another Christmas, or a day out to see a child’s footy game, it’s got to be a good thing.”

Details: starsofnewcastle苏州夜总会招聘.au

Stars of Newcastle 2017Britt Coombe –QBE Insurance

Brodie Owen – Newcastle Herald

Chris Elliott –The Block

Clare Rogers –Sydney Junction Hotel

Christen Cable –Kis Marketing

Cveta Jovanoska –Yoga Loft

Jack Lodge –Event Cinemas Glendale

Kim Elliott –The Block

Mato Demir –Demato Construction

Richard King –Radio 2HD

Sam Djodan –NBN News

Dr Susannah Ward–doctor

Will Trott –RAAF Base Williamtown

Hunter writer’s first novel set in dystopian rainforest

IMAGINED WORLDS: Author Thoraiya Dyer, now living in Sydney and published in New York but still a proud Novocastrian at heart. Picture: Cat Sparks
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AS a child, Thoraiya Dyer says she was always writing stories.

Thoraiya DyerCrossroads of Canopy –Dyer had more than two dozen stories in print.

Along the way, she picked up various gongs for her science-fiction and fantasy work, winning four Aurealis Awards and three Ditmar Awards.

Most of her stories were publishedin small specialist titles, and as she writes in the acknowledgements accompanying Crossroads of Canopy, she has followed a “tortuous path” to this point, including a move to Sydney in 2015.

“Who would have guessed that the were-platypus [as in werewolf] novel would be buried by another 10 full novel manuscripts as well as various detritus left by the raising of actual children,” Dyer says.

But she was always aiming high.

“It was always my goal to be published in the US, not only because it’s a much bigger audience, but because I would like to see possums and koalas and n plants and trees in print as much as we see American wildlife,” Dyer says.

Crossroads of Canopy, the first installment ofa contracted trilogy, is published by Tor Books, a New York imprint that is part of the venerable Macmillan Publishing Group.

Fantasy is not my normal reading choice, but Dyer’s imagined dystopian future, of battling tribes struggling to survive in a massive, multi-storey rainforest, got me in from the start. She describes it as “drawing inspiration from Western and Eastern traditions, including the Nepalese incarnated goddess, Kumari, in a monsoonal rainforest with arboreal fighting”.

There are basic similarities with the blockbuster Avatar,but Canopy’s feminist sympathies are a long way away from the “white savior” undertones that Dyer’s sees in the James Cameronfilm.

Most authors dream of seeing their fiction expressed on screen and Dyer is no exception, with an agent in the US scouting for the deal that could break her into the big time.

In the meantime, she is coming home this weekend, to launch Crossroads of Canopy at MacLean’s Booksellers in Beaumont Street, Hamilton, from 4pm to 6pm on Saturday, March 18.

TheatreDark reality of DreamtimeKen Longworth

WHEN Maitland actor and director Zac Smith read the American play Dreamtime he was surprised initially to see that it had mentions of truckers with kangaroo heads and other n references.
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But as he got further into the play he found that two of the main characters, 17-year-old boys in their final year at a United States high school, dream of going to and living a more exciting life as they explore its mountains and oceans.

They come up with a plan to finance their escape by stealing money from homes. However, when they go into the house of husband-and-wife university professors, they are discovered by the occupants and kill them while escaping. The escape, though, is just physical. The boys keep dreaming about meeting the couple they killed. And their dreams also include references to the belief of n Aboriginals that the world was created by their spirit ancestors in the Dreamtime.

Maitland Repertory’s Reamus Youth Theatre is staging the n premiere of Dreamtime at a two-weekend season from Friday, March 24, with Zac Smith making his debut as a sole director. While researching the play, he made contact with its US writer, Maura Campbell, who based the story on a real crime that occurred near her Vermont home in 2001, with teens Jimmy Parker and Robert Tulloch murdering Dartmouth University professors Susanne and Half Zantop. Campbell had worked with the father of one of the boys and had encountered both the teens. And she had been an exchange student in for a year in the 1970s and had personal experience of the landscapes the boys wanted to escape to. Campbell has stressed that she didn’t write Dreamtime to exploit the real-life events, but to examine them.

The youths in Dreamtime are Noah (played by Robert Lewis) and Willy (Conagh Punch), with Alastair Anderberg and Millie Chorlton as professors Joerg and Greta. Alex Simpson and Emma Ure, billed as Actor 1 and Actor 2, each play about 10 characters. The play’s action keeps moving between the reality of the people’s lives and their dreams of what they’d like life to be. Ironically, the female professor here is an expert on Russian literature and is marking student papers on Dostoyevsky’s novel Crime and Punishment when she and her husband encounter the boys.

Dreamtime is being staged in the round at Maitland Repertory Theatre, with platforms used for scenes of rock-climbing, the boys’ houses and the professors’ home.The play runs from March 24 to April 1, with performances on Friday and Saturday at 8pm and at 2pm on March 26. Tickets: $17. Bookings: 4931 2800; maitlandticketing苏州夜总会招聘.au.

SURREAL: Robert Lewis and Conagh Punch as Noah and Willy in Dreamtime, being staged by Maitland Repertory’s Reamus Youth Theatre.

NRL: Dane Gagai confident Newcastle Knights moving in right direction ahead of South Sydney clash

UP AND AWAY: Dane Gagai leaps out of a tackle against the Gold Coast. The star centre is confident the win over the Titans is just the start for the Knights. Picture: Getty Images
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DANE Gagai could see what Knights coach Nathan Brown was aiming to achieve.

It was the reason the Queensland Origin star resisted overtures to rejoin the Broncos and their all-star cast and stick with Newcastle.

It has taken 12 months of hard slog –and disappointment –but Gagai is adamant the Knights are finally headed in the right direction.

The breakthrough 34-26 triumph over the Titans on Saturday ended a club record 19-straight losses for the 20015-16wooden-spooners.

“It obviously meant a lot,”Gagai said on the win.

“Last year and the year before were obviously tough ones.The boys trained well through the pre-season and leading into round one I knew we were building something special. I wanted to be a part of that.I have been at this club for a number of years now, and this club is definitely moving in a forward direction. I didn’t look at it as though we had lost 19 straight. We have lost one game this year and won one.It was great to get the win, but there is room for improvement and we are going to keep working and hopefully string together a few more.”

Next is South Sydney at home on Saturday, and another chance to end a drought.The Knights have lost seven straight games to the Rabbitohs, the past four by an average scoreline of 46-8.

“Wehave a lot of depth in the club now which is something we didn’t have much of last year,” Gagai said.“With injuries we had to play a lot of young fellas. Now we have people competing for jerseys. We have a good squad and boys who genuinely want to be here and want to win.”

Newcastle were embarrassed 48-6 by a Souths side without Adam Reynolds in round two last season.

Gagai, Trent Hodkinson, Danny Levi, and Daniel and Jacob Saifiti are theonly players from that match in the 17 named for Saturday.

The heavy defeatwas only the Saifitibrothers second game in the NRL. Daniel now has 20 appearances and Jacob 18.They have both added at least six kilograms of muscle.It is a similar story for a number of last season’s rookies.

“The key is to be better than last week and keep improving,” Gagai said.

“We have a lot more depth, and the squad we have now is a lot different to the one we had last year.

“I believe in thisteam. It comes down to us. We can’t control what they are going to do, what they are going to throw at us. But we can do the best we can defensively and in attack to put us in a position to come away with twopoints.”

Gagai, after a relatively quiet performance in the 26-22 loss to the Warriors in the season opener, was strong against the Titans and carried the ball a game-high 168 metres.

“Round one, I could have been a lot better,” he said.“Round, two I picked my game up and was a lot happier with my performance.”

The 26-year-old with 113 gamesis part of new right edge alongside rookie five-eighth Brock Lamb and recent arrivalsJamie Buhrer (second row) and Ken Sio (winger).

Most of the Knights triesin the opening two games have come down the left side. Winger Nathan Ross has four and centre Peter Mata’utia two.

Gagai said thecombination on the right“feels good” and had plenty of “strike power”.

“Kenny is a good strong ball runner,” he said.“It depends on the flow of attack.If I can get a quick play the ball and it goes to the left and they score, then I class that as a win for the right edge. It is about giving players around us an opportunity to do well. Obviously it is nice getting tries, but if I can play a hand in setting them up it is just as rewarding. I’d like to score one before the end of the year but it is a team sport.It is not about seeing who can score the most tries, it is about winning games.”