Aug 18

Inspirational figure will be missed

IT is with great sorrow the world has lost one of the greatest men, and my personal hero.Nelson Mandela’s defence speech as an accused red terrorist in 1962 is one of the greatest in our recorded history:“I do not believe, Your Worship, that this court , in inflicting penalties on me for the crimes for which I’am convicted, should be moved by the belief that penalties will deter men from the course that they believe is right. History shows that penalties do not deter men when their conscience is moved.”I shall be moved , as men are always moved by their consciences, I will still be moved by my dislike of the race discrimination against my people when I come out from serving my sentence, to take up again, as best I can, the struggle for the removal of those injustices until they are finally abolished once and for all.”Nelson Mandela was charged in 1962 with inciting people to commit an offence by way of protest against a law, a law which discriminated against the oppressed people of South Africa.Rest in peace.It was interesting that Australia voted against the report on South African policies of the government resolution adopted by the UN general assembly on November 6, 1962.The way of this world is to crucify live saints, and sanctify the dead ones.

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Aug 18

Geraghty takes out top photography honour…for the third time

TAKING that award winning photo is a matter of just documenting what is in front of you.

That is the simple word from former Coonawarra woman and now Sydney-based news photographer Kate Geraghty.

And this philosophy must work, with Ms Geraghty – as a photographer for the Sydney Morning Herald – announced as the 2013 Nikon-Walkley photographer of the year.

It is the third such honour for the acclaimed photographer, who also won in 2006 and 2007.

“There is no formula to take a quality image, when covering hard news or breaking news you just document what ever is happening in front of you, be it good or bad,” she said.

“I guess I aim to take pictures that will evoke a response from the reader/viewer that makes them question what is happening.”

Ms Geraghty was honoured to be acknowledged with the award and paid tribute to some people who have had a big impact on her day-to-day work.

“The award not only belongs to me but my family and friends, Fairfax chief correspondent Paul McGeough who I travelled with on many overseas assignments and our fixers in Afghanistan and Indonesia.”

The daughter of Patricia and Brian Geraghty, Ms Geraghty was born in Penola and grew up on a farm in Coonawarra, doing her schooling in Penola and Hamilton and developing an interest in photography.

“I did a photographic course in Perth but it wasn’t till my first job at The Border Mail newspaper in Albury-Wodonga that I realised photojournalism isn’t a job but a lifestyle,” Ms Geraghty said.

“We live and breathe news.”

This lifestyle has taken Ms Geraghty to some amazing places and through some historic experiences.

“Ones that will remain with me forever is covering the Bali bombings, I had never seen or experienced anything like this in my life before and it we were very aware how powerful documenting the events unfolding was, to keep Australians up to date with what was happening,” she recalled.

“Then 10 years later to spend two days interviewing Bali bomber Idris, the only core member of the terrorist group Jemiah Islamiah responsible for the bombings to be free, to sit and hear how he, Amrozi, Samudra and the others planned and executed the attack.”

Wars in Iraq and Lebanon proved surreal and terrifying experiences which nearly cost Ms Geraghty her life on several occasions.

And these are just some of the experiences being a photojournalist has brought to Ms Geraghty.

Kate Geraghty is the 2013 Nikon-Walkley photographer of the year.

“There is no such thing as a normal day’s work,” she said. “You could be photographing court in the morning and be on a plane heading to a war zone that afternoon.”

A Kate Geraghty photograph taken in January, 2013, in the town of Mirabad in Uruzgan Province, Afghanistan, moments after a meeting of tribal elders with the Sydney Morning Herald. This was the lead photo in the folio judged as photographer of the year.

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Aug 18

Closure will have impact on children

The loss of BRIT Beginners Childcare Centre is huge.Huge for the carers and parents, but more importantly for our children that attend.Clearly the CEO of BRIT does not care about the impact this has on our children. And I say this as he is not open at all to an extension of time so we could run the centre ourselves.What is an extra nine months? For a struggling TAFE this could be revenue.He thinks four months is sufficient enough time for 50-plus families to find childcare places in a city where there aren’t 50 available places.The centre is used for students studying childcare to help them with their studies and give them practical experience. It makes no sense to say our childcare centre doesn’t fit into their core education plan.My children have been with BRIT Beginners for 11 years and my son should be going for another two years.Our children have been nurtured and loved by the same carers for many years and that is something that my children and I will miss greatly.The staff are beyond brilliant and that is why we as parents are passionate about fighting for it. This has caused much stress for so many families.If anyone can help our cause, please contact our Facebook page.

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Aug 18

Light fantastic on New Year’s Eve

Parramatta New Year Alyssa Aquilina with friend Jasmine Newton at Parramatta River Foreshore.

PARRAMATTA will celebrate New Year’s Eve with a bang.

Residents and visitors will welcome 2014 with an action-packed party on the Parramatta River foreshore and at the Parade Ground of the Old King’s School site.

Last year a record crowd of up to 25,000 people cheered in 2013.

This year, the Parade Ground has opened to include the Family Zone and to cater to more families attending Parramatta’s New Year’s Eve celebrations.

At the Family Zone there will be children’s performances, music, food, rides, roaming acts and a laser water and fireworks display from 9pm.

At the River Zone, located on the Parramatta River foreshore between Lennox Bridge and Elizabeth Street Footbridge, there will be music, food, jet-ski and fireworks display at 9pm.

Parramatta lord mayor John Chedid said an exciting program was planned for New Year’s Eve celebrations.

“The Family Zone at the Parade Ground has been tailor made for families with a fantastic line-up of entertainment, which will culminate in a spectacular laser, water and fireworks display,” Cr Chedid said.

“At the River Zone, the popular jet-ski performance will be on again, along with live music and food stalls.” Cr Chedid encouraged visitors to choose a spot to relax, watch the fireworks and entertainment early in the day.

“I encourage people to get there early to secure the best vantage point an plan ahead as there will be some road closures,” he said. “Bring your picnic blanket and settle in for a fun-filled evening.”

Parramatta’s New Year’s Eve is an alcohol-free event.

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Aug 18

How agencies sign off on the Santa Clause

Santa Clause. Picture: Natalie Roberts.

CHILDREN will run excitedly to them or cry red-faced while trying to escape their sleighs but like them or not, Santa Clauses are everywhere you look in December.

The tradition of accompanying little children while they tell the white-bearded man what they want for Christmas has been around for years.

And so has taking family photos with Santa at shopping centres.

But it’s not a job for everyone.

In fact, shopping centres don’t get many applicants for the job, with regular Santas going back for more each year.

“We find our existing Santas will recommend other friends to be Santa as they know exactly what we need,” said Elizabeth Comito-Evans, director of RegProm Marketing and Promotions.

The company supplies two or three Santas each year for the Rouse Hill Town Centre and Westfield Parramatta.

Mrs Comito-Evans trains them to interact with children before they start. “Ideal candidates must be jolly and genuinely like children and adults,” she said. “A good Santa should like people and believe in the role. Blue eyes and a chubby face are good, too.”

Westpoint Blacktown have hired their Santa from CE Imaging for several years.

Operations manager of the company, Brenda Butcher, said they have the same Santas each year and rarely have to advertise for one.

She said pre-requisites for being a Mr Claus impersonator are “personality and looking good in a [red] suit”. “They also have to be able to communicate with children,” Ms Butcher said. “And we like them to have a belly but not too large or the kids don’t fit on his lap.”

If you’re yet to take your children to meet Santa and capture the magic of Christmas for a frame or card for friends, keep in mind the queues tend to get longer as Christmas approaches. In some centres, the wait can be more than 1.30h on weekends.

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