Non-traditional funerals bring compassion and change

Sam Aulton’s husband and young daughters weren’t ready to say goodbye when the 46-year-old died in hospital last December of complications associated with breast cancer.
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Instead of an undertaker ushering Ms Aulton’s corpse away to a funeral home where strangers would have prepared her for cremation and the standard 45-minute chapel service three to five days later, the East Maitland family brought the rock-singer, mother and campaigner home.

“We set up a room for her with candles, picked out favourite clothes, the kids [Maggie, 12, and Ruby, 9] did her hair and her nails, and it was just so beautiful,” said her partner Brent Fairns.

Friends visited and said goodbyes. “We were all in shock at the hospital, and [being at home] was such a beautiful way to process loss,” he said.

Mr Fairns didn’t know that caring for the dead at home until cremation or burial was possible until he spoke to funeral celebrant, Lola Rus-Hartland. She worked with a new online company, Picaluna, to create a funeral that suited the Fairns/Aulton family and its finances.

About 160,000 ns die every year, generating $1.1 billion a year for the funeral industry, including cremations and burials. About 37 per cent of the market is dominated by Invocare, which owns a range of funeral homes, crematoria and coffin businesses.

Now the industry is seeing a range of new players providing greater choice, more transparent pricing, more affordable options, and the promise of doing good for others.

When 89-year-old Petronila Benites died in Sydney on Christmas Day 2016, her daughter Luz Huamanyaure used a new service by the Salvation Army after another company had made her feel stressed when she was sad and grieving.

“He was pushing us, and just wanted business,” she said. The Salvos funeral was beautiful, she said, more affordable than those of her friends’ parents and the extended Peruvian family got what they wanted, a traditional service and the white coffin her mother had wanted.

Research by Greg Inglis, the managing director of Picaluna, of 89 people who had organised funerals with a range of providers found everyone felt exploited.

“They are looking for compassion and clarity, and I don’t think the current industry is providing either,” Mr Inglis said.

Last year Picaluna and Salvos Funerals did a pilot to test the affordable funeral market. They’ve since launched separate businesses. The Salvos promise affordable funerals – including a no-attendance, no-service cremation for $2180 – with profits reinvested back into the charity. Picaluna donates a percentage of its profits to charity, and runs an online portal – with funeral celebrants as guides – so bereaved families can pick and choose what they want.

What a family spends on a funeral is a personal decision, but Mr Inglis said they often wanted something that was affordable, with no upsells or hidden costs.

He claimed most funeral directors will sell an average coffin for $2000, although it only cost them $350, adding that he didn’t see “what value they are adding to make that profit”.

In Port Kembla, the not-for-profit company Tender Funerals has also tapped a real need, organising around 50 funerals since it launched in September. Founder Jennifer Briscoe-Hough said families came to her not because it was affordable, but because it was fair.

“We’re interested in unselling them,” she said. They were encouraged to do their own flowers or help in preparing the body. “I would say “I don’t think your mum would want a lot of money spent on her coffin,” Ms Briscoe-Hough said.

Salvos Funerals chief Malcolm Pitteridge said the motivation for the new affordable funeral service wasn’t to disrupt the market: “But it just so happens there is a real opportunity to serve people really well, and connect and guide them through.”

In contrast, a new online company EziFunerals – which has 600 independent funeral directors who will bid for business – is clear about its goal of challenging Invocare.

“This is a disruptive innovation. This is going to touch a cultural chord. It aggregates the decision making and it gives people a sense of empowerment,” founder Peter Erceg said.

A senior analyst with IbisWorld Andrew Ledovskikh said the concentration of the market meant there was potential for online platforms that provided price comparisons and online quotes had the potential to shock the industry.

“When you have only one major player, you get a lot of complaints from consumers about price gouging and lack of transparency. That sentiment makes larger industry players more vulnerable to competitors that provides more transparency and offers more personalised service,” he said.

Brent Fairns said he wanted others to know there were other options, although he realised his family’s farewell was not for everyone.

“When you spend so long with someone, to have them whisked away in a very clinical and soulless environment, it is just not meaningful. I don’t how our culture evolved this way,” he said.

“Somewhere in the public health system there needs to be facilitator, like prenatal classes, to inform us of all that is possible. And to do it at the other end of life and be guided by what [the family and the deceased] want to do.”

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Candidates front up to become NSW Police Commissioner

Deputy Commissioner Catherine Burn, NSW Police Force and Acting Deputy CommissionerNeil Gauhan, n Federal Police, joing press conference regarding the 5 arrested in joint counter-terror raids overnight. Photographed Wednesday 7tn October 2015. Photograph by James Brickwood. SMH NEWS 151007 Photo: James BrickwoodAfter years of speculation, jostling, at some points infighting, and a two-month application process that culminated with interviews on Friday, an announcement on who will replace Andrew Scipione as NSW Police Commissioner is due within the fortnight.
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Mr Scipione’s long-serving deputy commissioner, Catherine Burn, is the most senior serving officer to be interviewed for the role but her involvement in a long-running bugging scandal may have cruelled her chances.

Ms Burn has rejected adverse findings made against her by the Ombudsman over the scandal.

Former deputy commissioner Nick Kaldas may be the most highly credentialled applicant to ever apply to be NSW commissioner but again, the Ombudsman’s bugging report, and the fact he has left the force on medical grounds may work against him.

Dave Hudson, the other deputy commissioner, was interviewed but is not believed to be among the frontrunners at this stage

Instead, the speculation is that the NSW government may look for generational change and appoint from the assistant commissioner rank or outside the force.

Assistant Commissioner Mick Fuller had been touted as the frontrunner and, as one of the younger candidates, the current Sydney Metropolitan Region chief would signal that generational change.

His fellow Assistant Commissioner Jeff Loy has a reputation as one of the force’s brightest minds.

Currently the Northern Region Commander, Mr Loy has a lower profile than many of the other candidates.

Geoff McKechnie, another Assistant Commissioner, is also in the running and is fancied to fill one of the vacant deputy positions.

Outside NSW Police, the n Border Force chief Roman Quaedvlieg was interviewed for the commissioner’s job on Friday.

If successful, it would be the first time since Peter Ryan’s controversial appointment in 1996 that the NSW force has looked outside its own ranks.

Mr Quaedvlieg’s appointment would also most likely be met with opposition from the NSW Police Association, which wants Mr Scipione’s replacement to come from within the force.

His appointment would most likely bring about changes in the senior ranks with Mr Quaedvlieg believed to have outlined his plans for modest reform within the force during discussions with the government.

The state government has said Mr Scipione’s replacement is expected to be known when he finishes in the role on April 2.

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Minister calls NSW prison statistics ‘a tragedy’

It’s a record, but not one to be proud of: one in four prisoners in NSW jails are Indigenous, a statistic that has risen by 35 per cent since the Coalition government came to power in 2011.
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The Minister for Corrections David Elliott conceded “it is a tragedy”. Aboriginal and Torres Strait islanders represented 24 per cent of the prison population in October 2016, up from 22 per cent in March 2011.

That means the NSW justice system is imprisoning Indigenous people at 11.3 times the rate of non-Indigenous people.

Legal advocates say a mix of tougher bail laws, racial prejudice, better detection methods and under investment in diversionary programs is contributing to the problem, while the Greens blame the major parties’ “law and order auctions” as politicians compete to look tough on crime.

“We have postcode justice,” said Sarah Hopkins, Managing Solicitor of justice projects at the Aboriginal Legal Service.

“Diversionary options are not available across all of NSW, particularly in regional and remote areas, so courts are unable to divert people from prison. This does impact disproportionately on Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander people who live in these communities.”

She points to the rise in convictions of indigenous people for relatively minor offences.

Investment in early intervention and therapeutic treatment programs have been shown to have a far greater impact on reducing recidivism than short prison sentences, she said.

It is also cheaper: a recent study by Deloitte Access Economics found that $111,000 can be saved per year per offender by diverting non-violent Indigenous offenders with drug problems into treatment instead of prison.

In a presentation to the NSW Law Society last week, Dr Don Weatherburn at the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research said that the biggest driver of growth in Indigenous convictions over the five years from 2011-2016 were not violent crimes but regulatory driving offences followed by breach of community-based orders and driver licence offences.

There has been a steady rise in the number of court appearances by Indigenous people since January 2011 (from about 1000 a month to over 1600); and in the percentage of Indigenous defendants refused bail (from 15 per cent to 18 per cent) in the same time period, he said.

The overall prison population has been steadily climbing over the past decade (13 per cent growth between 2006 and 2016) but the Indigenous prison population has grown faster (31 per cent growth).

Dr Weatherburn said that over 95 per cent of Indigenous prisoners are serving sentences of less than two years.

But BOCSAR could not yet say what was driving the increase.

Minister Elliott said “All incarceration has gone up because we toughened the Bail Act up, and we make no apology for the fact that we have the toughest bail laws in the country.”

However, he said, the unrepresentatively high Indigenous incarceration rates are “unacceptable”.

“Which is why I’ve spent $237 million on reducing reoffending. We want to make sure that everyone who goes into jail who the court has said will be released gets every opportunity to be rehabilitated.”

The government is spending $3.8 billion on building 7000 new prison beds across NSW over the next four years to accommodate the growing prison population.

Upper house MP David Shoebridge from the Greens said police discretionary powers such as consorting laws, move on powers and public order offences are disproportionately applied to Indigenous people.

“When you increase discretionary police power and make backward changes to bail laws then you are basically deciding to jail more Aboriginal people, and that’s been the Coalition’s track record over the last six years,” he said.

The Shadow Attorney-General, Paul Lynch, said, “Aboriginal incarceration rates are alarmingly high. The situation is now worse than it was at the time of the Royal Commission into Black Deaths in Custody.”

Mr Lynch said the government was not doing enough in justice reinvestment (redirecting money spent on prisons to preventative community programs) and said Labor had committed to do more if elected.

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Melbourne thrash Fremantle with record AFLW score to keep grand final hopes alive

AFLW Round 7: Melbourne v Fremantle Daisy Pearce of the Demons in action during the 2017 AFLW Round 7 match between the Melbourne Demons and the Fremantle Dockers.
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Emma Humphries of the Demons (left) celebrates with Brooke Patterson of the Demons.

Daisy Pearce of the Demons (centre) celebrates with Shelley Scott (left) and Laura Duryea of the Demons during the 2017 AFLW Round 7 match between the Melbourne Demons and the Fremantle Dockers.

Daisy Pearce of the Demons shakes hands with Ebony Antonio of the Dockers.

Alyssa Mifsud of the Demons is tackled by Stephanie Cain of the Dockers.

Shelley Scott of the Demons (left) celebrates with Daisy Pearce of the Demons.

Daisy Pearce of the Demons is tackled by Stacey Barr of the Dockers.

Gemma Houghton of the Dockers kicks the ball ahead of Brooke Patterson of the Demons.

Amy Lavell of the Dockers in action ahead of Jasmine Grierson of the Demons.

Richelle Cranston of the Demons in action.

Daisy Pearce of the Demons is tackled by Stacey Barr of the Dockers.

Melissa Hickey of the Demons is tackled.

Kirby Bentley of the Dockers in action.

Emma Humphries of the Demons celebrates a goal with Aliesha Newman (left) and Deanna Berry of the Demons.

Aliesha Newman of the Demons (left) celebrates a goal with Madeleine Boyd of the Demons.

Ainslie Kemp of the Demons is tackled by Tarnica Golisano of the Dockers.

Daisy Pearce of the Demons in action.

Ebony Antonio of the Dockers celebrates a goal.

TweetFacebookWhy Melbourne won the gameIt was a pretty clinical team performance. Sure, there were stand-out games from Pearce, Elise O’Dea and Lily Mithen, but the Demons had contributors across the board and across the four quarters. Richelle Cranston, Karen Paxman and Shelly Scott were others to shine.

With eight goals to their credit by half-time and just two majors from the visitors, the match was done and dusted. They were solid and organised in defence.

Melbourne took full advantage of their numerous entries in the forward 50 but most times they had set up their attacks from the defensive half. In contrast, Freoat times looked disorganised in attack.

The play of the gameIt was a wonderful team goal for the Demons at the 10-minute mark of the third quarter that ultimately gave them the highest score by any team this season.

Starting with Pearce in the back pocket, the Dees were nearly blemish-free as they carried the ball forward, eventually finishing in the hands of Paxman who slotted truly. At this point Melbourne had a deadly accurate 10.0 and the highest winning margin was also well within their sights.

Therewere many highlights but this coast-to-coast effort is one worth tracking down on the replay.

The moment that people will talk aboutIt’s a little unfair to single out a Fremantle lapse, but it did reflect the fortunes of the two teams on the day.

The Demons were dominating possession and the scoreboard midway through the second quarter when the Dockers made a rare foray forward. They desperately needed their third goal to somehow get back into the match.

Melbourne was penalised for a deliberate out of bounds, giving Freo’s Kirby Bentley a free kick deep in the left forward pocket. She did the right and creative thing by playing on but then tried too much. After evading her opponent, she should have snapped truly but instead dished off a handball. Opportunity missed.

What the win / loss means for the teamsIt was win number five for the Demons, including their fourth in their final five games, ensuring a positive finish to their regular season. Whether or not they somehow sneak into the season decider, they can look ahead with positivity to next year.

Fremantle’s season was already cooked, of course, but they finish with one win, five losses and one draw.

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Melbourne City put Newcastle Jets to the sword

A-League: Melbourne v Newcastle A City fan plays with a soccer ball before the round 23 A-League match between Melbourne City FC and the Newcastle Jets.
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Jets Keeper Jack Duncan dives for a save during the round 23 A-League match between Melbourne City FC and the Newcastle Jets.

A general view is seen as teams huddle during the round 23 A-League match between Melbourne City FC and the Newcastle Jets.

Tim Cahill of the City heads the ball over John Koutroutmbis of the Jets for a goal.

Bruno Fornaroli of the City kicks the ball for a goal.

Tim Cahill of the City heads the ball against Nigel Boogaard of the Jets.

Bruno Fornaroli of the City kicks the ball at goal against Jets Keeper Jack Duncan.

Bruno Fornaroli of the City kicks the ball for a goal.

Anthony Caceras the City (L) and Alexsandr Kokko of the Jets compete for the ball with Jets Keeper Jack Duncan.

Bruno Fornaroli of the City kicks the ball at goal against Jets Keeper Jack Duncan.

Nigel Boogaard of the Jets receives a yellow card.

Andrew Hoole of the Jets (L) compete for the ball against Josh Rose of the City.

Nicholas Colazo of Melbourne City runs with the ball.

Ruon Tongyik of the City runs with the ball.

Jets Keeper Jack Duncan dives for a save from a kick from Bruno Fornaroli of the City.

Bruno Fornaroli of the City (C) celebrates a goal with Nicholas Fitzgerald (L) and Nicholas Colazo.

Anthony Caceras the City (L) and Nigel Boogaard of the Jets compete for the ball.

Ivan Franjic of the City is helped up by Andrew Nabbout of the Jets after a contest.

Nicholas Fitzgerald of the City (C) celebrates a goal with Anthony Caceras the City (L) Bruno Fornaroli and Nicholas Colazo (R) during the round 23 A-League match between Melbourne City FC.

Andrew Hoole of the Jets is spoken to by the referee.

TweetFacebook A-League: Melbourne v NewcastleHighlights of the round 23 A-League match between Melbourne City FC and the Newcastle Jets at AAMI Park on March 18, 2017 in Melbourne, . Photos: Michael Dodge/Getty ImagesA first-half Tim Cahill header and three second-half goals, one to substitute Nick Fitzgerald and two to captain Bruno Fornaroli, eased Melbourne City to a comfortable 4-0 win over Newcastle Jets at AAMI Park on Saturday night.

The victory –only their second back-to-back win of the season –moves City into a clear third spot on the A-League ladder, three points ahead of Brisbane Roar, who travel to Adelaide on Sunday afternoon.

Michael Valkanis team is keen to try and shore up third place as it will give them a first home final against the team that eventually finishes sixth.

Newcastle, desperate for points to stay in the finals race themselves, began the game in lively enough fashion and had the first two chances of the game before City were able to settle into a rhythm.

Wayne Brown, once of Fulham and Bristol Rovers but now a key player for the Hunter Valley side, dispossessed Neil Kilkenny in the third minute and, spotting Thomas Sorensen off his line, tried his luck with an audacious long range lob, which the Danish goalkeeper managed to get back in time to collect.

There was a far better opportunity a couple of minutes later when a long ball down the flank fell to Jets winger Andrew Nabbout, who bore down on goal.

The ex-Melbourne Victory forward has been something of a revelation with Newcastleand has scored eight times this season, but with just Sorensen to beatand Osama Malik thundering in for a late challenge, Nabbout fired wide.

That was really as good as it got for the visitors as City regained their composure and began to stamp their authority on the game.

City captain Fornaroli is not just a goalscorer, but he is also particularly adept at drawing free kicks for fouls in dangerous areas.

When Andrew Hoole was penalised for an illegal challenge on him early in the game the statistic flashed up on screen to hammer the point home, revealing that Fornaroli had been fouled 86 times so far this campaign with, ironically, Hoole the next most sinned against, with 63 fouls against him.

Fornarolidid not punish Newcastle then, but he did shortly after when he was involved, along with Nicolas Colazo, in the move to set up Cahill’s opening goal.

The ball was played back to Josh Rose, the left-back’s cross being met perfectly by the veteran Socceroo, who beat defender John Koutroumbis and headed wide of Jack Duncan to put the hosts in front.

City then enjoyed a period of domination where they retained possession, recycled the ball well and huffed and puffed but could not find a way to break down the visitors a second time.

Colazo hit the side netting after being set up by Ivan Franjic, then Newcastle captain Nigel Boogarde, one of the league’s serial offenders, picked up a card for tangling with, yes, you guessed it, City’s Uruguayan skipper, who stepped up to direct the resultant free kick just wide.

Fornaroli made space for himself just after the restart but his shot was easily held by Duncan. Ben Kantarovski’s loose clearance was then picked up by Kilkenny, who found Colazo only for Duncan to save his shot.

At the other end Morten Nordstrand, on as a replacement for Aleksandr Kokko, was played through but perhaps lacking game time his touch let him down.

Cahill made way for Nick Fitzgerald just before the our mark and the substitute almost made a speedy impact, jinking in space on the right before firing in a shot, which Duncan saved.

Fitzgerald’s next intervention was even more telling. He drove into the Jets penalty area before back heeling the ball to Anthony Caceres on the edge of the box. Fitzgerald kept running and took Caceres’ delightful chip over the defence first time to lob over Duncan and into the back of the net for City’s second goal.

Shortly afterwards Fornaroli put the game to bed from the penalty spot after another substitute, Bruce Kamau, had been brought down by Daniel Mullen.

He then grabbed a second when the Jets failed to clear Nick Fitzgerald’s cross, lashing home a loose ball from close range.

City now face two tough road trips, away to Western Sydney and Sydney in the next fortnight, but confidence will be high after this win.

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South Sydney Rabbitohs make improved Newcastle Knights pay for second-half lapses

NRL Round 3: Knights v Rabbitohs TweetFacebookSouth Sydney racked up their eighth successive win against Newcastle with a 24-18victory at McDonald Jones Stadium on Saturday.
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The Knights led 12-10 at half-time, despite running into a stiff wind, but paid the price for errors and ill-discipline after the break.

It was nonetheless their best performance against Souths since they last beat the Rabbitohs in 2011, and a vast improvement on some of the hidings they have endured in recent seasons.

Newcastle had Southsprop George Burgess to thank for turning an early 10-0 deficit into a two-pointhalf-time lead.

With his team in possession, Burgess was sin-binned after throwing an elbow and punches during a confrontation with Knights lock Mitch Barnett.

A minute later, Newcastle skipper Trent Hodkinson stepped inside Sam Burgess to score next to the posts, then converted his own try.

Newcastle scored a second try, by centre Peter Mata’utia in the left-hand corner, while George Burgess was serving his penance.

A 38th-minute penalty goal by Hodkinson, after a late hit on Newcastle five-eighth Brock Lamb, put the home side in the lead.

George Burgess capped off a frustrating half when he barged across the line seconds before the siren, only to spill the ball trying to ground it.

Souths drew first blood in the seventh minute when fullback Alex Johnston extended his freakish try-scoring record against Newcastle.

It was Johnston’s 10thtry against the Knights in five games.

When Souths-back-rower John Sutton charged over after a Cody Walker short ball, it was 10-0 to the visitors, who were looking in ominous form.

The Knights, with a howling southerly at their backs, gifted Souths great attacking position at the start of the second half when Lamb inexplicably caught the kick-off, instead of allowing it to go out on the full, and Jacob Saifiti was trapped in-goal.

From the ensuing set of tackles, Walker grubber-kicked and winger Bryson Goodwin was on the spot to score.

Reynolds threw a classy cut-out pass in the 58thminute to gift-wrap a try for winger Braidon Burns, then converted for a 22-12 lead.

Any hopes of a Newcastle fightback were seemingly torpedoed in the 70thminute, when Hodkinson was sin-binned for dissent, apparently after telling referee Dave Munro:”You’ve just cost us the game.”

Hodkinson was reacting after Souths won a scrum against the feed, denying Newcastle a prime attacking opportunity.

But with two minutes left in the game, the Knights gave 15,212 spectators hope when winger Ken Sio scored from a Jamie Buhrer grubber, and Lamb converted from the sideline.

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Regional Express passenger recalls moment propeller disappeared before her eyes

A passenger on a Regional Express plane forced to make an emergency landing after a propeller fell off in mid-air has recalled how she saw what she thought was a bird disappear into the distance after hitting the aircraft.
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“I just happened to be glancing out the window when a large thing hit the plane,” Alyce Fisher said. “At first I thought it was a very large bird which hit the wing and was tumbling off in the distance. But it wasn’t a bird – it was the propeller coming off.”

Ms Fisher, 30, from Albury, said theseparation of the propeller from the engine during flight ZL-768happened in a split second.

It was not until the 34-seat aircraft landed at Sydney Airport and was surrounded by emergency services that the 16 passengers on board began to realise the seriousness of the situation.

“We were quite lucky that it flew off in the direction that it did,” she said.

Earlier, about two-thirds of the way into their journey from Albury to Sydney, passengers felt an intense vibration but, after what Ms Fisher thought at the time was a bird strike, it stopped and the flight was smooth.

Moments after the propeller fell off about 19 kilometres from Sydney Airport, one of the pilots told passengers over the PA system that the plane was down to one engine.

Passenger Alyce Fisher says the events were surreal. Photo: Ben Rushton

“He never said that there would be an emergency landing,” Ms Fisher told Fairfax Media on Saturday. “There was no panic. Coming into Sydney there was a bit of turbulence, which was to be expected.”

After the propeller on the right-hand engine broke away, the pilots declared a PAN, which is one step down from a full-scale mayday. “The prop has just fallen off the aircraft and standby for further instructions,” one of the pilots told air-traffic control.

“We’ve just had uncommanded engine operations and then our propeller has just sheared off. We’ve lost the propeller. We’ve got normal controls; still able to fly; would require one-six right [runway].”

After the Saab 340 landed about 25 minutes later, Ms Fisher said one of the pilots emerged from the cockpit and gazed out a cabin window. “Yeah, it’s really gone,” he said, and moments later passengers responded by cheering and clapping.

“He did an amazing job,” she said, heaping praise on the plane’s crew and Regional Express for the way it handled passengers afterwards.

Ms Fisher said it was a shock to finally see, when the plane landed, where the propeller had separated from the engine. However, the bigger shock for passengers was the large number of emergency services staff who met the plane after it had landed.

“There was no panic on the plane at all. It was not until the plane stopped that we could see where the propeller fell off,” said Ms Fisher, who recently moved to Albury from London. “It really is surreal.”

The turboprop aircraft is certified to land with one engine. Pilots also spend a considerable amount of their training on honing their skills at flying with a single engine.

An aviation investigator, who declined to be named, said it was lucky that the propeller did not hit the fuselage, wing or tail, while a large object falling from 6000 feet posed a huge risk to people in the populated area below.

“It is a very, very rare occurrence to lose the whole lot. It is not a little event – I almost fell off my chair when I heard the news,” he said.

“It is more than likely going to be a one-off maintenance matter or some oddball fatigue crack. It is a [type of] aircraft that is tried and tested and has been operating for a long time.

Swedish manufacturer Saab and plane engine builder General Electric have advised Regional Express to conduct a visual inspection of its fleet of Saab 340 aircraft.

Investigators are still to determine the exact location of the plane when the propeller sheared off but early indications were that it was likely to have occurred above Camden in south-west Sydney.

Despite the drama, Ms Fisher has no fear of hopping on a plane bound for home in Albury on Monday after a weekend of study at the n Catholic University in Sydney.

“I feel lucky every day to be alive. I will continue to live my life and will jump on a plane on Monday to go home,” she said.

The n Transport Safety Bureau has advised anyone who finds the propeller to leave it where it is, and contact its investigators or the police.

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Hasbro ditches iconic boot and wheelbarrow ‘tokens’ and unveils new Monopoly game

This is not the first time Hasbro has used a public marketing campaign to update the game’s pieces. Photo: BloombergConceived as a piece of shallow marketing, the demise of three of the ubiquitous Monopoly “tokens” may yet be seen as a powerful statement of the time in which we live.
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Three of the game’s eight tokens, used by players to represent their movement around the Monopoly board, have been cut: the thimble, the boot and the wheelbarrow.

The fate of the thimble had already been confirmed by Monopoly-owner, the gaming giant Hasbro, but today the boot and the wheelbarrow also got the axe.

The decision was made as part of a branding campaign in which fans of the fame were invited to vote to keep –or remove –tokens, and to determine which tokens might take their place.

Here are the eight game tokens that will be included in upcoming versions of the Monopoly board game. Photo: AP

The tribe, to quoteSurvivor, has spoken.

More than four million votes were cast, Hasbro says, and fans were given 64 options including the existing tokens.

The three winning tokens, which will replace the thimble, boot and wheelbarrow are a T-Rex, a rubber ducky and a penguin.

They will join the five surviving “classic” tokens: the dog, the racing car, the top hat, the battleship and the cat.

Interestingly, however, some of the proposed tokens which did not make the cut include modern cultural images such as the hashtag and the “crying/laughing” emoji face.

There may be hope for the human race yet?

Others which didn’t make the cut included a monster truck, a computer, a bunny slipper and a roller skate.

It is not the first time Hasbro has used a public marketing campaign to update the game’s pieces.

In 2013, a similar campaign saw another long-serving game piece – an iron – replaced with the cat.

Though the game itself was created some years before, metal player tokens were first used in the game from its 1937 edition.

That edition featured a battleship, a cannon, iron, lantern, purse, race car, rocking horse, shoe, thimble, top hat and wheelbarrow.

Three of those – the rocking horse, purse and lantern – were cut in 1942 and replaced with the dog, wheelbarrow and a horse and rider.

The cannon and horse and rider were retired in 2000 and not replaced.

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Man arrested smuggling thousands of beetles, spiders, scorpions from Perth

Rare and beautiful beetles can trade for high prices. Photo: SuppliedA Czech national has been fined $2000 for attempting to smuggle 4226 n native insect specimens – including 27 spiders and seven scorpions – on a flight out of Perth.
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The news comes after a Chinese national arrested attempting to post bobtail lizards to Hong Kong was sentenced to six months in prison on Friday.

Museum of WA entomologists have spent the past few weeks identifying the insect specimens after n Border Force personnel seized them on February 20.

The offender, about to board a flight to Abu Dhabi, admitted the insects were in his bag.

The search revealed them housed in a series of plastic boxes, bags and bottles. Most were packed in wood shavings infused with ethyl acetate, with the exception of a small sample of moths and butterflies in wax paper envelopes in a plastic box.

Some of the specimens collected. Photo: Supplied

While none were protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, 19 beetles of the family Buprestidae, specially protected under the WA Wildlife Conservation Act, were present.

The man was arrested and charged with offences under the Environment Protection and Bio-diversity Conservation Act 1999 and made an initial appearance at Perth Magistrates Court on March 17.

“An investigation into the man’s background revealed he had a keen interest in insects and indications were that he had collected and exported insects from a variety of countries all over the world,” the Border Force said in a statement.

“Native n insects such as these are highly sought after overseas. They can be sold to museums and collectors for a tidy profit. The ABF has an important role in protecting ‘s native wildlife from falling prey to unscrupulous smugglers.”

Specimens of some beetle species such as those pictured can be used for making jewellery in Asian countries and can fetch hundreds of n dollars on sites such as eBay.

Meanwhile, a Chinese national arrested in December after more than twenty native n lizards were found wrapped in socks and hidden in post bound for Hong Kong on Friday received a six-month jail term, backdated to December 13 when he was first remanded, and a $6000 fine.

He will be deported from on completion of his prison time in June.

People with information about the illegal removal of reptiles or who notice any suspicious activity suggesting that reptiles are being illegally removed should call DPaW’s Wildcare Helpline 9474 9055 or the ABF’s Border Watch on 1800 009 623

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Sydney Harbour Bridge celebrates 85th anniversary​

Police officers rush to seize Captain Francis de Groot. There was no television or social media but for eight years the building of the Sydney Harbour Bridge was the biggest show in town.
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On the 85th anniversary of the bridge opening this Sunday, it is perhaps forgotten that people had been arguing about it for years: Henry Parkes contested the seat of St Leonards in 1885 on the slogan “Now who will stand at my right hand And build the bridge with me” while the author Ruth Park wrote of a “vociferous tunnel party”.

So when construction finally started it was prime viewing.

The people of Sydney watched as they tore down Milsons Point and Dawes Point and thousands slept rough in the ruins as the Depression hit. Meanwhile above them, men seemed to defy gravity crawling over the grey steel as it inexorably linked arms across the harbour.

There were no nets, just rope strung between stanchions and if a southerly buster was expected the Observatory would hang out a warning black ball.

“The construction of the bridge was a major event for Sydneysiders at the time. Everyone watched over the years as each day their city changed before their eyes,” says State Library of NSW curator Anni​ Turnbull.

“About 1400 worked on the bridge. Sixteen died – two of them stonemasons getting granite for the bridge in Moruya.

“The bridge was nicknamed ‘the iron lung’ because it was the lifeblood of Sydney. It gave work to thousands across NSW and literally helped many local families stay alive.”

The State Library of NSW is celebrating 85 years of the Sydney Harbour Bridge with the release of an oral history collection of interviews made in 1982 with about70 surviving men and a woman who had built the bridge.

Here is public works photographer William Brindle’s memory of the bridge’s famous chief engineer John Bradfield​: “He was a very demanding fellow. He knew what he wanted and he wanted everything yesterday.”

The National Film and Sound Archive released an online exhibition featuring archival footage over the eight-year construction and controversial opening on March 19, 1932.

Highlights of the exhibition and collection include:

Major Francis de Groot’​s slashing the ribbon with his sword, before the official opening by premier Jack Lang;a recording of the Queen Mother deeming the bridge “one of the wonders of our time”;a 1984 tourism promotion starring former bridge rigger Paul Hogan;the first BridgeClimb​ in 1998;songs about the bridge in the 1930s;and behind-the-scenes photos of the post-apocalyptic bridge fromMad Max: Beyond Thunderdrome.The State Library also has a bridge anniversary display that features an engraved cigarette case presented to de Groot after he was detained at areception house for the insane following his ribbon-cutting exploit, and subsequent conviction for offensive behaviour twodays later. He was fined £5with £4 costs.

The engraving reads: “He is not insane. 21st March 1932.”

HOW THE EVENT WAS COVERED AT THE TIMEFirst published inThe Sydney Morning Heraldon March 21, 1932

The Sydney Harbour bridge was officially opened by the Premier(Mr. Lang) on Saturday in the presence of a vast concourse and amidscenes of pageantry without parallel in Sydney’s history.

On the land and on the water, in brilliant sunshine and amid thesplendour of the illuminations at night, Sydney added another chapterto its history in a great blaze of colourful scenes of swiftly-changingbrilliance.

Cheers swept the crowded scene at the southern approach to thebridge when the Governor (Sir Philip Game) read the King’s message;when, later, his Excellency unveiled a tablet and named the structureSydney Harbour Bridge; when the Premier declared the bridge opened;and when, amid a reverberating Royal salute of 21 guns and the joyoussiren note of the watercraft, the Premier severed the blue ribbon acrossthe southern approach; a majestic air force dipped in salute, palatialliners moved in stately procession under the bridge, and the pageantitself, with its floral and other floats, was displayed in all its magnificence.

Proceedings took a sensational turn when, during the speech by theMinister for Works (Mr. Davidson), a comparatively young man onhorseback, wearing the uniform of a military officer, his breast aglowwith decorations, approached the ribbon on the southern highway,and cut it with his sword, declaring the bridge open. He was arrested.This incident is described in another column.

Political colouring was given to the scene when boo-hooing among asection followed the car occupied by the Prime Minister (Mr. Lyons),following the official party’s return to the dais after the formal entryinto the northern suburbs.

Ribbon cutMr Lang cut the ribbon with a pair ofjewelled scissors. It was a simple ceremony,fraught with significance because, in openingthe highway across the harbour, it representedthe culmination of years of planning, and yearsof work.

The ribbon stretched across the bridge nearthe toll offices on the southern side. MrLang was accompanied to this last frail barrierby the official party, including the Governor(Sir Phillip Game) and the Prime Minister(Mr Lyons).They halted at the ribbon, andan army of photographers poised their camerason the other side. Mr Roland D Kitsonrepresenting Dorman, Long and Company,handed the golden scissors to the Premier;there was a little pause while the voicesof the radio announcers could be heardtellingmillions of people what wasabout to happen. Then the shining blades closed on the ribbon, the halves fluttered to the ground – and thebridge was open.

Immediately wireless signals were sent to the aeroplanes hovering above, and almost as one they swooped in salute over the arch. More signals went to the harbour craft below, and in a second, almost, the air was filled with the din of sirens and the roar of speed boats. Everyone knew that the great moment was over, but the prime movers in the little drama, the Premier and those with him, had to be patient while the photographers had their way with them. Presently they got into their motor cars and were driven across the bridge, while the aeroplanes chased each other in breathless arcs through the sky.

The scissors Mr Lang used were made of n gold, and were mounted with six flame-coloured opals. Flannel flowers, waratahs and gum leaves were hand-wrought on the handles, and in the midst of all thiscraftmanshipwas the Harbour Bridge. The blades were engraved with the following inscription:Presented to the Hon. J.T. Lang, M.L.A., Premier and Treasurer of New South Wales, by Dorman, Long, and Co, contractors, opening of Sydney Harbour Bridge, March 19, 1932.

The pageant through the cheering cityNature contributed magnificently to thesplendour of the pageantry that heralded theopening of the bridge. The sparkling sunshine of a glorious day lent the final gracioustouch that spelt absolute success for such anoccasion.

In glittering legend and symbolism: inbeautiful living figures, and in all the flowers of Flora’s domain, the gigantic tableautold the story of a State that is the cradleof n development, from the far-offdays of the first settlement at Sydney Cove.Foremost in the great scene was a little armyof the State’s sturdy childhood and youth,aglow with the joyful spirit of the hour – awonderfully impressive picture of a youngdemocracy’s goodly and proud heritage.

From every window, every balcony, everyother vantage point, there came bursts ofechoing and re-echoing cheers, as the youngsters marched past, and there came into view,amid the crash of triumphal music, bridgeworkers, who were accorded a magnificentovation, aborigines, and then, in a riot ofcolour, the historical, rural, floral, and otherparts of the pageant.

Vast human tideA vast, moving, colourful spectacle, symbolical of the life of the State in all its phases,the pageant Itself was splendidly conceivedand faultlessly carried out. Looking forward to this break in the gloomof depression as a hopeful augury of a futureof brightening promise, the people, happilyexcited and stimulated by the carnival spirit,gave themselves over to the glamour of theday. Trams, ferries, motor cars – and evenbuses – brought them teeming into the cityfrom all points of the compass.

And then came the ebb. The return of the sightseers to their homes, tired, jostled, but satisfied with all they had seen, and heard, was one of the great spectacles of the historic day. The temper of the home-going crowds was splendid.

Although tens of thousands lined the tram routes near the Quay, swarming on to the cars long before the latter reached their terminal point; although at one time a crowd of several thousands was wedged in a solid mass at St James Station,srivingto reach the underground; although two seemingly unending queues awaited their turn at Wynyard Station booking offices, there was no disorder, no lack of temper. It was a tribute to theequanimnityof that vast multitude, as much as to the efficiency of the officers responsible for the transport facilities that not a single hitch occurred.

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