Sep 19

Lanterns a NYE ritual

About a thousand personally decoratedlanterns willlight up the Lantern Dreams Walkat Devonport’s Roundhouse Park on New Year’s Eve.
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The display of twinkling paper lanterns has become apopular tradition atthe city’scelebrations.

Countdown: Devonport City Council marketing and events officer Justin Rattray gets ready for New Year’s Eve celebrations. Picture: Phillip Biggs.

Devonport City Council marketing and events officer JoHanna Robertson said a lot ofpeople were keen to come back each year to writetheirmessageon alantern.

She said it was now afavourite ritual for Devonport’s NYE revellers. The flickering lanterns make for a beautiful sight as the sun goesdown.

“Some people take a long time to decorate their lanterns and to write something,” she said.

The finished lanterns aredisplayedina lantern tunnelcovered in a canopy of fairylights.

“People can walk through tohang their lanterns and look at some others,” Ms Robertson said.

“The lantern messages vary from wordsof hope topeoples’ wishes and dreams for the next 12 months.

“Some people writemessages of thanks on their lanterns and otherswrite down the names andtributes for people they love.”

Council workers were at Roundhouse Park for two days putting the site togetherfor the New Year’s Eve festivities.

Ms Robertson said the weather forecast was looking pretty good.

“It’s going tobe a fine 22 degrees with light wind,” she said.

“It’s not too hot, not too cold and not too windy.”

The Skyfire NewYear’sEve celebrations arefree to enterand start from 6pm until midnight. According to the council, the Coast’s biggest fireworks displays are being held at9.30pm and midnight. This year the fireworks arebeing launched from anew location atPolice Point at East Devonport.

Launceston cover band Agent 99 is on stage from8.30pm. AHuge LED screen will countdown down tomidnight.

The venue will feature site lighting and lasers. There will be gee whizzer rides, agiant slide, jumping castle, and a surfing ride for the little kids.There are more food vendors this year and a fenced-off bar and licensed wet area for the over 18s.

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Sep 19

Terrific total of tots

HERE SHE IS: Reuben, 3, Chloe and Graeme Joseph with Paige, the 1000th delivery at Tamworth hospital for 2016. Photo: Simon McCarthy 301216SMA01THE Joseph family already had one thousand reasons to smile with the delivery of their youngest child Paige this week.
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But baby Paige’s birth was a special cause for celebration throughout the halls of Tamworth hospital’s maternity unit.

The Tamworth-bub was the 1000thborn at the hospital in 2016, on December 28.

This marks the second consecutive year the hospital has brought over 1000 bundles of joy into the world.

But the maternity milestone came as a big surprise to the Joseph family.

“We didn’t know anything about it,” Dad Graeme Joseph said.

“We were told when [wife] Chloe was having a Caesarean-section that it was more than likely going to be the 1000thbaby.”

While staff in the ward knew baby number 1000 would be coming this week, it turned out to be a pretty close finish in the race to claim the milestone.

“I think [Paige]was the second baby born on the day,” Mum Chloe Joseph said.

“The midwives and doctors were very excited about.”

But the landmark birth wasn’t even close to the first thing on the minds of the Joseph family.

“I think at the time we were more worried about having a healthy baby,” Mr Joseph said.

“Unfortunately, we lost our last one…so we were a bit concerned with this one.

“She’s all good, we’ll hopefully be going home on Saturday.”

Now the Josephs are the proud-parents of Tamworth’s 1000thbub, but they were shocked by the number of babies coming through hospital.

“It’s a great number for Tamworth, I didn’t think there would be 1000 babies in Tamworth in a year,” Mr Joseph said.

“I didn’t think it would be anywhere near that.“I think they told us they used to average around 800, now they’ve had 1000 this year.”

Baby Paige joins older brother Reuben, 3, at home, but their parents are unsure about whether they will make another contribution to Tamworth’s population. “It depends on how much hair I lose,” Mr Joseph said.

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Sep 19

Tributes for Shannas

RESPECT: A guard of honour is formed by firemen and soldiers in Howitt Street on Friday to farewell Nathan Shanahan. Picture: Dylan Burns
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Nathan John Shanahan was a gentle giantwho tackled everything he did with an“all or nothing” attitude.

Wife Kosha said: “he studied hard, he parented hard, he partied hard and he felt hard”.

And, in the end, it was the feeling hard that caused the much loved father of two, former soldier and Ballarat fireman to take his own life last week, aged just 40, after suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder for several years.

Last year, Nathan walked 400 kilometres from Mildura to Adelaide to raise PTSD awareness.

A large crowd of mourners gathered at the Wendouree Centre for Performing Arts on Friday to pay tribute to the man described as “having as many nicknames as he had postcodes”, including Nath, the Mule, the Tank, the Big Fella and Daddy.

A guard of honour was formed by firemen from Ballarat, his former stations Mildura and the Northern Territory Fire Service, andsoldiers he served with in Darwin and the Solomon Islands.

Stretching a long way down Howitt Street, Nathan’s coffin –borne on an antique fire engine –was saluted by the honour guard as it made its way to the Buninyong Cemetery.

Nathan was born on April 17, 1976 and attended Clunes Primary School and St Thomas More before “majoring in truancy” at St Patrick’s College.

He managed hotels across Australia, including the Subiaco Football Club function centre, before enlisting in the Australian Army on January 10, 2005.

Nathan was described as a skilled marksman who trained in Darwin before serving in the Solomon Islands.

He was only days away from his dream of joining the SAS when he voluntarily withdrew from the Perth-based program to help Kosha nurse their ill baby daughter Lila for six months back in Darwin.

However, his service in the Solomon Islands exacerbated existing mental health problems and he was described as “one person dealt too many hard hands”.

Cousin Drew Parkinson said Nathan fought his PTSD demons bravely.

“He hid his pain and suffering and put on a brave and courageous face to keep us all happy,” Mr Parkinsonsaid.

During his eulogy he also pleaded with governments and bureaucrats to “please find the courage to act” on the issue of mental health problems in former veterans.

Another cousin, Xavier Shanahan, described Nathan as a “person of exceptional courage and bravery –that was you to the letter”.

Mildura senior station officer Malcolm Hayes said “Shannas” was king of the gym and thought he was king of the ping pong table.

Mr Hayes joined Nathan’s Walking Off the War Within trip last year and said he was “battling demons no-one else could see”.

“He fought those demons and he stood his ground,” Mr Hayes said.

“From the time the walk started it was evident that something special was happening.”

He described a B double truckie stopping them on their trek and shaking Nathan’s hand.

“He said ‘thank you for bringing this subject up, I’ve suffered with it too’. This happened every day.

“It’s a hidden illness that everyone’s touched by and he brought it to the forefront.

“He touched thousands of people’s lives and probably saved their lives by doing so.”

Ballarat City firefighter Josh Martin said Nathan was “one of us from the day dot” when he arrived at the station earlier this year.

“He was open and honest about his struggles, his ups and downs, his good days and his bad days,” Mr Martin said.

“We could not have had any more respect for him as a firefighter and as a person.

“Nathan Shanahan is one of us. He is like a brother to us. He is a legend of a bloke and he will always be with us.”

Nathan Shanahan took his own life last week after a long battle with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Call for mental health changesJohn Shanahan is now a man on a heartbreaking mission.

He doesn’t want any other families to endure what his has over the past week after his only son Nathan died by suicide on December 22 after a long battle with post-traumatic stress disorder.

“I want to make sure if we yell and scream enough, more is done about it,” Mr Shanahan said.

“We’ve got to start looking at this issue very seriously.”

He said he now planned to become a passionate advocate for more mental health funding, particularly for PTSD, with one in eight men suffering from anxiety and depression and 72 per cent of males notgetting help because of the fear of talking about it.

Mr Shanahan has also asked for any donations in Nathan’s memory to go to Soldier On at soldieron.org419论坛, which helps with the physical and mental well being of returned services personel.

If you need help, contact Lifeline on13 11 14

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Sep 19

St Mary ‘would prefer’ convent demolished

Holy struggle: St Joseph’s church on Park St in Bulli. A heritage battle has concentrated on the convent next door, which the Catholic Church wants to demolish. Picture: Georgia Matts.Catholic Bishop of Wollongong Peter Ingham has invoked Australia’s Saint Mary MacKillip in his battle to demolish the old St Joseph’s convent at Bulli, which others want heritage-listed.
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St Mary would prefer not to see a “disused” old conventretained, and would rather a new building constructed to further children’s education, Rev Ingham wrote in a letter to Wollongong City Council.

This would fit the church’s desire to knock down the convent and replace it witha new administration block.

The bishop also cast doubt on St Mary’s connection with Bulli, saying she “may or may not have visited”the convent, as “it is unclear from the records that she did physically visit there”.

This contradicts information on St Joseph’s Primary School website, which said she visited “several times”.

St Mary co-founded the Sisters of St Joseph order, which established schools in this region and others.

A report to Wollongong City Council in December 2015 recommended a heritage listing for the old convent, and the adjacent St Joseph’s church.

Last March the Catholic Church got a private certifier to approve its plans to demolish the old convent, and work was set to commence.

But aparishioner told the council and the next day an interim heritage order halted the church’s plans.

Rev Ingham, in a letter to council, said the building did not fit heritage criteria, and had not been used as a convent since 1985.

“Any connection to the local community has been lost since then,” he said.

He said it failed several heritage criteria, and said the removal of the cross and other religious symbols meant there was no longer evidence of Catholic association.

And because demolishing the convent could help expand the school, St Mary would have backed it.

“We believe that, as a person who herself strove to commence and continue Catholic education particularly for poor and underprivileged students in the late 1890s, St Mary of the Cross MacKillop would have been one who would rather have seen the children’s education catered for than retaining a disused building which she may or may not have visited (and it is unclear from the records that she did physically visit there),” the bishop wrote.

The Catholic Education Office had received a grant of $1.675 million, which was tied in part to the convent’s demolition and replacement with the single-storey administration centre.

Council is now considering the heritage listing for the convent and church.

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Sep 19

Wake up call for rogue youths

Russell WebbTAMWORTH’S spate of youth crime needs government intervention with a local councillor calling for a solution.
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Speaking on reports of youth involvement at a fire at a Coledale home this week, Tamworth Crime Prevention Working Group chairman, Russell Webb called for a united approach to curb the “ social problems” in the area.

“There has been a lot of good work done by the council and various government agencies,” he said

“There has been a huge investment in time and money from both the government and council to try and curb some of the social problems we have in that area. But obviously there are still some issues that need to be dealt with.”

Cr Webbplanned to speakto local police “in the near future” on how the community can help them overcome the issues of youth crime.

”I’m not sure what the strategy will be moving forward in trying to overcome some of these more recent issues,” he said.

“At this point in time all we can rely on is the police and other government agencies to do what they can and try and curb the problems we are facing at the moment.

“We, as a group under the Crime Prevention Working Group, have helped work on developing a strategy and securing funding from agencies and various government bodies to help us with our crime prevention plans.

“But it really is up to the police to implement any enforcement action.”

Cr Webb saidyouth crime issues were cause for concern and believed council would take what action it could for the community to overcome the issue.

“We have a very good police force, a strong and committed police force and sometimes they find themselves overrun with issues like this,” he said.

“I really think one of the strategies has to be a whole government approach and we have to assist the young ones of today to develop better parenting skills So when the next generations of siblings comes along, they may have some more of a clearer direction on what’s right and wrong.

“Clearly today the youth who are the perpetrators of this kind of thing haveno respect for anyone else, no respect for anyone’s property and really no respect for themselves.

“Until we get this generation of mums and dads to instill respect into the children, they can only do that with the support of the government and giving them some clear direction.”

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