Legacy of 12yo Jack is saving lives

Saturday, 23. June 2018

Wednesday will be the first Christmas at the MacMillan family’s Cordeaux Heights home without 12-year-old Jack, who died in the backyard pool earlier this year.

“We wish that Jack was here this Christmas,” said his aunt Sharon Washbourne, “but unfortunately through what has happened to him, he is the one that’s saving lives from something that he didn’t know existed.

“He’s helping other people survive.”

Jack died while swimming underwater laps of the pool on January 29, suffering what is known as shallow water blackout.

This is where the body is deprived of oxygen and lower than normal carbon dioxide levels fail to trigger the urge to breathe, resulting in unconsciousness.

Mrs Washbourne said the family had never heard of shallow water blackout before and did not think that there were any dangers posed by activities like underwater lap-swimming or even handstands.

She said Jack and other family members had been in the pool the day before with Jack, doing what would claim the boy’s life the next day.

Since that day, Mrs Washbourne has started the group Shallow Water Blackout Australia, telling Jack’s story to raise awareness of the issue and hopefully save the lives of others.

“People just don’t understand that there are risks associated and they’ve been occurring for decades,” she said.

“There are unfortunately more deaths from shallow water blackout than people realise.”

She has joined forces with Royal Lifesaving to spread the word this summer about the dangers.

“We’re trying to get the message out that supervision is the key – and that’s active supervision, not passive supervision,” she said.

“Our other key message is know the risks and the dangers associated with long or continuous breath-holding.”

She said the best approach is to avoid repetitive breath-holding and do one lap and then have a five to 10-minute break.

The story about Jack’s death was the most read on the Mercury’s website this year, with more than 40,000 people viewing it since it was posted on February 15.

Mrs Washbourne said that filled her with mixed emotions, as it was sad for her and her sister, but at the same time it was awesome that the article was the most clicked story of the year.

“I love the fact that we’ve reached out to so many people and people have been willing to read about it and educate themselves because their loved ones are going to be saved.

“The next time they see their child breath-holding in a pool, they’ll put a stop to it.”

Jack MacMillan drowned after suffering shallow water blackout while swimming underwater laps last January.

Sharon Washbourne holds a photo of her nephew Jack MacMillan.

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Grass fire no threat to homes

Saturday, 23. June 2018


A GRASS fire yesterday afternoon near Tamworth was heading towards several houses but looked like it would not pose a major threat to them, a NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) spokesman said.

The fire started around 3.30pm at Tangaratta Creek, about 17 kilometres west of Tamworth.

By 4.30pm, it had burnt out 20 hectares and was about 200m away from some houses – but NSW RFS spokesman, Inspector Steve Prior of Tamworth City Rural Fire Brigade, said there were “no houses under threat”.

Four RFS fire trucks were sent from the Tamworth City, Somerton, Winton and Warral and the West Tamworth Fire & Rescue truck also attended.

The constant wind, low humidity and high temperatures helped fan the fire, Inspector Prior said.

Another fire started from lightning strikes at Ogunbil on Saturday had burnt out about 10 hectares of rough terrain and was “being controlled.”

The RFS was using a water bomber using water from Chaffey Dam.

Another fire which had been burning for a few days north of Warrabah National Park, near Kingstown, also flared up yesterday.

Inspector Prior said National Parks & Wildlife Service crews, plus two NPWS helicopters, as well as a truck from the NSW RFS’s Tamworth City Rural Fire Brigade, were battling the fire, which had burnt out 10 hectares.


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Disney romp offers a fresh spin

Saturday, 23. June 2018

Title: Frozen

Director: Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee

Genre: Children/animation

Actors: Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Jonathan Groff, Josh Gad, Santino Fontana, Alan Tudyk, Ciaran Hinds.

Rating: 4/5 stars

OFFERING a fresh spin on Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Snow Queen”, this long-gestating Disney romp has not only gone to the top of the United States box office, scoring the studio’s best animated opening ever, but it’s also signalled a seismic shift in the animation house’s outlook.

For the first time, a female director, Jennifer Lee, is at the reins, albeit alongside a male counterpart, Chris Buck.

Unashamedly family friendly in tone, but with enough twists and turns to keep its audience guessing, Frozen is full of musical numbers, courtesy of Tony winner Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez, that manage to feel both contemporary and classic in spirit.

Eternal optimist Anna (Kristen Bell) is on a mission to save her homeland, Arendelle, from a never-ending winter, which was inadvertently set off by her sister, the newly crowned Queen Elsa (Idina Menzel).

Rugged mountain ice-seller Kristoff (Jonathan Groff) and his loyal reindeer, Sven, come to Anna’s aid, as does an amusingly naive snowman named Olaf (Josh Gad), who wistfully dreams of an endless summer.

A tribe of trolls, a snow monster and some dastardly courtiers back at home base all make for an evocative ride that’s never quite as straightforward as it seems.

Granted, this is no Wreck it Ralph (which Lee co-wrote), nor does it match the wonderful Tangled.

It doesn’t seek to emulate any of Pixar’s finest pictures, either. Rather, this is classic Disney in tone, albeit in a form that harks back to a more innocent time – one of childlike wonder, attuned to the yearnings of two siblings, one of whom is apparently cursed (Elsa).

The filmmakers seem to have been caught off guard by their newfound success.

Both Buck and Lee professed surprise regarding the film’s success in the US.

Will kids and their families similarly flock to see it here? There’s no reason to think not.

The film has enough magic, action, adventure and pizazz to appeal to a remarkably broad audience. Take the kids and sing.

New movie Frozen offers a fresh take on Disney’s classic style.

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Cultural changes for Christmas

Saturday, 23. June 2018

BACKPACKING is all about exposing yourself to different cultures and traditions – and there is no time of the year more steeped in those things than Christmas.

Visitors from France, Germany, The Netherlands and New Zealand staying at the Tamworth YHA will get a chance to experience an Aussie-style Christmas tomorrow.

While the switch from a winter Christmas to a summer one can be challenging for northern hemisphere folk, Kiwis Zoe Jennings, 22, and Vicki Cral, 25, should adjust more quickly.

The duo, who hail from Nelson on the South Island, list barbecues, beaches, cricket and pavlovas among their Christmas staples.

“It doesn’t really feel like Christmas because we’re not at home,” said Miss Jennings, who has received presents from her family in the post.

Miss Cral said the hostel-dwellers were referring to themselves as “orphans” due to being separated from their families this Christmas.

But she said the travellers would get together tomorrow and cook some traditional Christmas dishes from their native countries to ease the homesickness.

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The Early Bird aimed at the Mornington

Saturday, 23. June 2018

GAVIN Groth might head The Early Bird towards a Mornington Handicap at Tamworth after the gelding’s good win at Moree on Saturday.

The Gunnedah trainer believes the 2100m event on Tamworth Cup day might be a right fit for his six-year-old gelding who won his seventh race at Moree.

Groth also trains him for Tamworth Jockey Club’s acting chairman Tim Coates.

“There’s a 2200m at Scone ina couple of weeks (January 24).

“We’ll see how he goes in that and if he does race all right we might have a look at the Mornington.”

Groth finished with a double at Moree on Saturday but doesn’t have a runner at Tamworth’s meeting today.

Sue Bigg, who rode both of Groth’s winners at Moree, has just the one ride today.

She partners the Joe Craig-trained Dysturb in the final race on the seven- race card.

Young Tamworth trainer Jacob Perrett chases a fourth successive win at Tamworth with his smart galloper Capitano.

The four-year-old has won his three starts at Scone (2) and Moree and will jump from barrier two in today’s Freight Specialists Class 3 Handicap (1200m).

He was quoted a $3 overnight favourite.

Sue Bigg and Gavin Groth discuss tactics before registering a winning double at Moree on Saturday. Groth might be aiming at a Mornington Handicap on Tamworth Cup day with The Early Bird. Photo: Bill Poulos

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Fully-fit Govers back for Kookas

Saturday, 23. June 2018


Months of hobbling along the long, hard road to rehabilitation proved to be worth it formerAlbion Park junior Kieran Govers.

Yesterday, he was named in the Kookaburras’ World League finals squad.

Govers suffered a badly torn hamstring in Australia’s qualifying campaign in June and has been running again for only six weeks.

Coach Ric Charlesworth kept the faith in the London Olympian, picking him in an 18-man squad to compete in Delhi in the finals series which starts on January 10.

Fellow Illawarra junior and housemate at the Kookaburras base in Perth, Tristan White continued his remarkable rise with selection in the squad.

‘‘It’s been a hard road,’’ Govers said on Monday.

‘‘You second- guess yourself a bit with the rehab but it’s all worked out. I’ve had time to overcome the wrist and hernia problems I’ve had so I’m the fittest I’ve ever been.’’

Govers and White were relaxing on a Perth beach when they found out about their selection by email on their phone.

‘‘You hope you make it back into these squads but you could easily be told you’re being rested for later in the year, so I’m pretty stoked to be back,’’ he said.

Five-time World Player of the Year Jamie Dwyer was among a host of big names missing from Charlesworth’s squad.

Charlesworth said another consideration before omitting his big names was their involvement in the elite Hockey India League (HIL) which begins immediately after the World League.

In all, 24 Kookaburras players will strut their stuff in the HIL.

‘‘I believe that this team can win it [the World League] although we are missing several players for a range of reasons,’’ he said.

‘‘There’s a load issue with some of the senior guys in particular, who, if selected, would then have eight weeks in India. The World League finals will give us an opportunity to look at some of those less experienced players.’’

Among those are Daniel Beale, White, Tyler Lovell and Aran Zalewski.

The World League finals features the world’s top eight teams.

The Kookaburras are in pool B with world No5 Belgium, Olympic silver medallists the Netherlands and No11 Argentina.

Their campaign starts against Belgium on January 10.

The Hockeyroos made the recent women’s WL finals tournament decider recently in Argentina only to lose 5-1 to Olympic champs the Netherlands.

Kieran Govers.

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Toned win the Busselton Cup at the Bunbury Turf Club

Saturday, 23. June 2018

The field jump from the barriers in the Busselton Cup race. The field in the Busselton Cup race.

Toned claims a two-length victory in the Busselton Cup for jockey Kyra Yuill.

Trainer Mark Bairstow (left) and jockey Kyra Yuill (right) with the owners of Busselton Cup winning horse Toned.

Trainer Mark Bairstow (left) and the connections of Busselton Cup winning horse Toned.

De Spare for jockey Craig Staples claims the Busselton-Dunsborough Mail handicap race.

De Spare for jockey Craig Staples claims the Busselton-Dunsborough Mail handicap race.

RACING: Classy five-year-old gelding Toned showed he deserved to be the favourite with a stunning victory in Sunday’s Busselton Cup.

The field of 14 jumped quickly with the Peter and Matt Giadresco trained galloper Ontrust taking the early lead for jockey Mitchell Pateman and setting a quick pace down the home straight on the first passing of the judge.

Bunbury jockey Kyra Yuill held Toned back to sit in tenth while second favourite Flirt with Time for Bunbury jockey Glenn Smith sat in eleventh.

The pace was dropped slightly as the field ran down the back straight and with 800 metres to go Ontrust lead from Rock Bar and Dirty Flirty.

On the turn for the final straight Ontrust clung onto a narrow lead but weakened and was quickly passed by Dirty Flirty and Backhouse Street.

But Yuill got busy on her mount and the top-weight responded accordingly.

Toned swept down the outside of the field and pulled clear with 100 metres to go to record a comfortable two length win.

Dirty Flirty who sat up on the pace throughout the race finished second while Backhouse Street has a fast-finishing third for jockey Jason Whiting.

The other nine races on the card left punters frustrated with some very rough results.

In race 6, the Busselton-Dunsborough Mail handicap, a blistering pace from Bendit for jockey Chloe Azzopardi blew the field wild open.

In the home straight De Spare burst clear to claim a half-a-length victory for jockey Craig Staples.

The horse had not won since August 2012 and paid any punter lucky enough to be onboard $64.70 for the win and $14.80 for the place.

Jockey Glenn Smith claimed the first race aboard Distant Memory ($25) from short-priced favourite Dawn Approach before Ben Kennedy claimed a riding double in races two and three aboard Fuchsia Bandana ($2) and Dirkbrook Diva ($5.30) respectively.

The photo was called into action in race four with three horses all hitting the line together before Respondent for jockey Chris Parnham was declared the winner by a head and a long head over Western Gunna and favourite Nardini.

The Dankster claimed race five for jockey Jason Whiting while Natasha Faithfull guided Yamunotri to a win in race seven.

Race nine saw Troy Turner ride the second very-rough result of the day as he took victory aboard Invidious ($52.80) ahead of short-priced favourite Blue Palace.

A strong field for the last race of the day was claimed by Low Flying for jockey Ms Bronwyn Mathieson ahead of China Aster, Whatever Trevor and Stellular.

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Double a tonic for Moree father and son

Saturday, 23. June 2018

IT WAS a special day for the Sinclair family and stable at Moree Racecourse on Saturday.

While the Moree Race Club was celebrating its Christmas meeting, the Sinclair stable was also celebrating a day where the George Sinclair Memorial loomed large.

While Peter or Nathan Sinclair didn’t have a runner in a memorial race named in honour of their grandfather and great grandfather, the father and son training duo did have other runners and finished with a double, winning the final two races on the program with Lady Cinnamon and Mind You.

Peter and Nathan weren’t there to celebrate however.

Instead they were in Newcastle’s John Hunter Hospital where Peter had donated one of his kidneys to his son, who has suffered from cystic fibrosis since birth.

That operation was a success too, Peter Sinclair told The Leader this week, while ringing to thank all the well wishers who had contacted his family to pass on their kind thoughts.

“We’re really happy with the way it all went,” Sinclair said.

“Nathan will be here for about another six weeks.

“I’ll hang around for a couple of weeks.”

He said the double at Moree was a brilliant addition.

“I’ve got to thank John Brown, Rob Mather and Tony McCosker up home,” he said.

“They did all the work.

“Dad (Phil) rolled back up on the Friday and then took all the glory on Saturday,” he joked.

“They all did a great job for us – I’m real happy for them.

“It was a good little double as well.

“Lady Cinnamon is raced by a syndicate from Gosford.

“I wanted to retire her but they wanted to give her one more run so they could have a Christmas party.”

Peter Sinclair always organises a tent for the Christmas meeting so he can invite all his stable supporters and workers, friends and owners to celebrate a race day where the George Sinclair Memorial is a highlight.

This year’s George Sinclair Memorial was won by Ron Buckpitt’s Summa Cum Sadie.

It was her second win at Moree and gave Muswellbrook Samantha Clenton another winner in her comeback season.

Gunnedah trainer Gavin Groth won the first two races of the day as well while Walcha’s George Woodward won with Cheeky Express, who was ridden by Matthew Powell.

Scone apprentice Vad Bolozhinskyi rode Lady Cinnamon for Peter Sinclair while Darren Jones was aboard Mind You.

“He was unlucky at Armidale,” Peter Sinclair said of Mind You.

“He’s been going good.

“There is a race for him at Toowoomba coming up on New Year’s Eve.

“It’s for horses who have had to have had five runs at non-TAB meetings and can’t have won a race worth more than $10,000.

“Mind You fits the bill for all that.”

Vad Bolozhinskyi and Rob Mather discuss Lady Cinnamon’s win. Photos: Bill Poulos

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Former Bunbury boys Louis and the Honky Tonk hitting town

Saturday, 23. June 2018

Bunbury boys Louis and the Honky Tonk return to town tonight to bring their psych-pop sounds to the Prince of Wales.

Having released their self-titled debut album in August, made with Ash Grunwald and Novocaines producer James Newhouse, singer Leigh Gardiner chatted to entertainment about the band’s influences, artwork and sounds.

Louis and the Honkytonk has refined their sound over the last few years after recording a couple of EPs in Gardiner’s aunt and uncles’ farmhouse in Ferguson Valley, and has moved forward to play with some established names in Australian music.

“We got to play with the Panics which is a band that all of us have a big interest in,” Gardiner said.

“We played with King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, and we’ve got some exciting gigs coming up which we will be able to announce soon.”

Gardiner compares the band’s sound to Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds and The Doors, with a dark undertone melding with genre-bending psychedelia.

“A lot of the guitar sounds and production is quite sparse and spacey and a bit lush – I guess that’s where the psyche aspect comes from.”

The band will pull out a few Hives, Zombies and Queens of the Stone Age covers, and will have support from fellow Bunbury product Caroline Dale.

Louis and the Honky Tonk play the Prince of Wales on New Year’s Eve.

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Detailed planning funds for Bulli Pass link

Saturday, 23. June 2018

Planning work is due to begin next year on the extension to Memorial Drive, linking it to Bulli Pass.

Shadow minister for the Illawarra Ryan Park previously asked about the status of any further work on Memorial Drive in Parliament.

Yesterday, he got a response from Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) that $500,000 would be spent over the next six months to begin detailed planning work on the extension.

‘‘The previous Labor government invested over $115 million to build the stage from Bellambi to Woonona and since being elected, I have lobbied the NSW government to begin works on the final stage,’’ Mr Park said.

‘‘I am very pleased that we have finally seen the government allocate some initial funds to begin this final stage of a very important road link for the Illawarra community, especially those living in the northern suburbs.’’

The money would be used to carry out a review of past technical investigations as well as looking at preliminary road design, tunnelling and geotechnical investigations.

Mr Park said he was told by RMS that the road corridor had been preserved and no further properties needed to be acquired.

He added that the planning stage would likely include a more detailed idea of the proposed extension, so it was not known yet whether it would include tunnels.

The work would help to provide another entrance to the Illawarra, in addition to Bulli Pass and Mount Ousley Road.

The RMS has previously identified a need to upgrade Bulli Pass at some stage.

‘‘Previous studies have identified that Bulli Pass will need to be upgraded at some point in the future to ensure network integrity between Sydney and the Illawarra and NSW South Coast, as well as to improve road safety and traffic capacity,’’ an RMS spokesman said.

‘‘An improved road crossing of the Illawarra escarpment at or near Bulli Pass would ensure a more stable and reliable alternative route for accessing the Illawarra in the event of Mount Ousley Road being blocked or closed for an extended period of time.

‘‘It would also help facilitate growth in the northern suburbs of Wollongong and provide another route between Port Kembla and Sydney.’’

It will also help to alleviate the heavy traffic flow through Bulli – where Memorial Drive now ends – especially during morning and evening periods.

A section of Bulli Pass.

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