Famous Heart Surgeon, Panayotis Spyrou, Dies at 76

Renowned heart surgeon Panayotis Spyrou has passed away at the age of 76 years after suffering from health problems for a number of years.

He had founded the clinic for thorax cardiac surgery at the Papanicolaou Hospital in Thessaloniki in 1983, the first of its kind in the country.

Soon, it became the preferred transplant center in Greece.

The first open-heart surgery, the first heart transplant in Thessaloniki, the first placement of a mechanical heart in Greece, heart-lung transplants and lung transplants were some of the pioneering operations that were held in the unit-norm.

At that time, the clinic had 17 doctors and three to four heart surgery operations were held per day,a long with transplants of all kinds.

Spyrou conducted the clinic until 1997, when he became Professor at the University of Thessaly, a position which he later left.

MILLIONS of tonnes of sand have been stripped from the Hunter’s iconic Stockton Beach in recent months

Source: NewcastleHerald

Stockton beach disappearing

MILLIONS of tonnes of sand have been stripped from the Hunter’s iconic Stockton Beach in recent months resulting in the most dramatic change to its shape in four decades.

The National Parks and Wildlife Service is considering introducing camping restrictions over summer to protect visitors from high tides that now reach several hundred metres into the rear dune area.

A barrage of fierce storms since June has destroyed most of the frontal dune on the 22 kilometre beach that stretches from Stockton to Birubi.

‘‘The beach is lower and steeper now,’’ National Parks and Wildlife Service regional manager Robert Quirk said yesterday.

‘‘The fundamental change for people driving on the beach is that for two hours either side of high tide you can’t traverse the beach. So when we get the king tides in summer it’s going to be really challenging.’’

The southerly that hit the beach in June is estimated to have done equivalent damage to the beach as the famous 1974 Sygna storm.

Several follow-ups have prevented the beach from rebuilding itself.

‘‘We were really lucky in the June storm because no one was camped on the beach. One of the hut owners in Tin City actually woke up with the waves breaking on his hut,’’ Mr Quirk said.

He said access to camping areas, which are presently closed, was under review for the summer holiday period. ‘‘Last weekend it was a 3 metre sea on a 1.6 metre tide and it broke through the frontal dune in about 25 places, he said.

‘‘They are all the places where more recently people have had tents pitched.’’

The storms have also exposed a large area of remnant soil containing Aboriginal cultural material.

National Parks and Wildlife Service officers are working with Worimi Aboriginal owners and archaeologists to protect the sites.

University of NSW coastal geomorphologist Dr Rob Brander said the Stockton Beach erosion was symptomatic of La Nina, which has been the dominant weather cycle for the past five years.

‘‘When you have the frequency of storms we have had in the last few years it [erosion] just gets exacerbated,’’ he said.

‘‘We are entering into a El Nino event where we tend to get less storms and beaches tend to enter into a recovery phase.’’

Dr Brander said the breakwalls on either side of the entrance to the Hunter River had made Stockton particularly susceptible to erosion.

‘‘Stockton has suffered because of the large trading walls coming out of the Hunter River,’’ he said.

‘‘There’s a reason why Nobbys Beach exists; all of that sand should have been heading up the coast.’’


Source: ABC

Palaeontologists think climate may have played a bigger role than they earlier thought in a giant marsupial becoming extinct.

They have been working to recover a diprotodon skeleton in the mid-north of South Australia.

It is hoped there will be a complete fossilised skeleton once the work has been completed on a sheep station in the Burra region.

The giant wombat-like creature is believed to have died about 50,000 years ago.

Rod Wells from the South Australian Museum said the sediment around the bones indicated the climate was very dry and windy at the time the creature died.

“That suggests they were sort of living in rather harsh conditions and one starts to wonder whether climate may be playing a fairly important role in their extinction, not necessarily the sole role but a more important role than has been given credit to in the past,” he said.

Associate Professor Wells says about 500 hours of painstaking work had already been done, but the retrieval effort was only about half finished and more volunteers to help would be welcome.

“You just walk around the museum and see these beautiful displays and you know it’s an assumption that they just sort of dug it out of the ground and glued it together, but there’s a lot more work that goes into it than that,” he said.

Media Release: Cleaner, Faster, Quieter – The City of Canterbury’s New Waste Service


Ανακοίνωση Τύπου
19 Σεπτεμβρίου 2012

Πιο καθαρή, πιο γρήγορη, πιο αθόρυβη – Η νέα υπηρεσία αποβλήτων της Πόλης του Canterbury
[City of Canterbury]


Ο Δήμαρχος του Δήμου Κάντερμπερι [City of Canterbury], Δημ. Σύμβουλος Brian Robson, είπε ότι προσβλέπει οι κάτοικοι να Πετούν Λιγότερα, ν’ Ανακυκλώνουν Σωστά, να Κάνουν το Μέλλον Λαμπρό καθώς η νέα υπηρεσία απορριμμάτων του Δήμου λειτουργεί πλέον πιο αποτελεσματικά.

«Η νέα υπηρεσία αποκομιδής απορριμμάτων της τελευταίας λέξης της τεχνολογίας έχει γίνει καλά αποδεχτή από τους κατοίκους της περιοχής, αλλά τώρα τους χρειαζόμαστε να σκεφτούν διαφορετικά για τ’ απορρίμματα και την ανακύκλωση για μεγιστοποίηση των δυνατοτήτων της υπηρεσίας,» είπε ο Δήμαρχος Brian Robson.

«Η ανακύκλωση είναι ένας από τους καλύτερους τρόπους για τους κατοίκους της περιοχής να επιφέρουν θετικό αντίκτυπο στον κόσμο στον οποίο ζουν.

«Η ανακύκλωση είναι σημαντική τόσο για το φυσικό περιβάλλον όσο και για εμάς, κι έτσι πρέπει να συνεχίσουμε να δρούμε για να διασφαλιστεί ότι η κοινότητα που θα αφήσουμε πίσω εξακολουθεί να είναι ένα εξαιρετικό μέρος για να ζει κάποιος για εκείνους που έρχονται μετά από εμάς.

«Η νέα υπηρεσία αποκομιδής συνεχίζει τη δέσμευση να διατηρήσουμε και να προστατεύσουμε το τοπικό περιβάλλον μας και επιθυμούμε να διασφαλίσουμε ότι οι κάτοικοι μας Πετούν Λιγότερα, Ανακυκλώνουν Σωστά, Κάνουν το Μέλλον Λαμπρό.

«Ο Δήμος σε συνδυασμό με την επιμορφωτική ομάδα Cleanaway για να τρέξει το νέο επιμορφωτικό πρόγραμμα Απορριμμάτων για την πρωτοβάθμια σχολική εκπαίδευση για να εξασφαλιστεί ότι η νεότερη γενιά μας γνωρίζει τη σημασία της ανακύκλωσης.

«Μέχρι στιγμής η επιμορφωτική ομάδα Cleanaway έχει επισκεφθεί μια σειρά από τοπικά σχολεία πρωτοβάθμιας εκπαίδευσης και παρείχε εργαστήρια σχετικά με τα απορρίμματα, την ανακύκλωση και την πρόληψη των απορριμμάτων.

«Ο Δήμος έχει επίσης ένα λειτουργό ανάκτησης πόρων που απασχολείται πλήρως για να βοηθά στην παρακολούθηση της ορθής χρήσης των κάδων ανακύκλωσης στην περιοχή και να βοηθά στην μείωση της μόλυνσης από το υλικό που συλλέγουμε.

«Το σύστημά μας αποκομιδής απορριμμάτων σε τρεις κάδους (κόκκινο – για γενικά σκουπίδια, κίτρινο – για ανακυκλώσιμα υλικά και πράσινο – για τα απορρίμματα κήπων) έχει μειώσει σε ετήσια βάση την ποσότητα των σκουπιδιών που αποστέλλονται σε χώρους υγειονομικής ταφής.

«Με τη χρήση των κίτρινων κάδων ανακύκλωσης και των πράσινων κάδων για φυτά του κήπου έχουμε καταφέρει σωστά να μεταφέρουμε το 42% των απορριμμάτων μας μακριά από τις χωματερές μας. Αυτό είναι ένα μεγάλο αποτέλεσμα, αλλά τώρα είναι η ώρα να αρχίσουμε να κάνουμε περισσότερα.

«Ο Δήμος συνεχίζει να επενδύει χρόνο και χρήματα για να διασφαλιστεί ότι προσέχουμε το περιβάλλον της περιοχής μας, έτσι τώρα είναι η στιγμή για όλους τους κατοίκους να συμμετέχουν πιο ενεργά και να Πετούν Λιγότερα, ν’ Ανακυκλώνουν Σωστά, να Κάνουν το Μέλλον Λαμπρό!» είπε ο Δήμαρχος.




Media Release
19 September 2012

Cleaner, Faster, Quieter – The City of Canterbury’s New Waste Service

The Mayor of the City of Canterbury, Cr Brian Robson, said he is looking for residents to Waste Less, Recycle Right, Make the Future Bright as the City’s new waste service kicks into top gear.

“Our new state-of-the-art waste collection service has been well received by local residents but now we need them to think differently about waste and recycling to maximise the service’s potential,” Mayor Brian Robson said.

“Recycling is one of the best ways for local residents to have a positive impact on the world in which they live.

“Recycling is important to both the natural environment and us, so we must continue to act to ensure that the community we leave behind is still a great place to live for those that come after us.

“The new collection service builds on Council’s commitment to preserve and protect our local environment and we want to ensure our residents Waste Less, Recycle Right, Make the Future Bright!

“Council has combined with Cleanaway’s education team to run the new Waste primary school education program to ensure our youngest generation knows the importance of recycling.

“So far Cleanaway’s education team have visited a number of local primary schools and provided workshops on waste, recycling and litter prevention.

“Council also has a full time resource recovery officer to help monitor the correct use of recycling bins in the area and help to reduce contamination in the material we collect.

“Our three-bin waste collection system (red – for general garbage, yellow – for recyclables and green – for garden waste) has annually reduced the amount of rubbish being sent to landfill.

“By using the yellow recycling bins and green garden vegetation bins correctly we have managed to divert 42% of our waste from landfill; that is a great result but now is the time to start doing more.

“Council continues to invest time and money to make sure that we look after our local environment so now it is time for all resident to come on board, and Waste Less, Recycle Right, Make the Future Bright!” the Mayor said.


Greek American Superstar Concert Performer Yanni to tour Australia

Yanni_Announce Release_FINAL





FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE : Sunday 14th October, 2012


Chugg Entertainment are pleased to confirm that legendary composer and performer, Yanni, is set to continue his World Tour throughout into early 2013 with dates in Australia.  The tour will begin in New Zealand on Saturday 12th January  at Vector Arena, before travelling to Australia to begin at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre on Tuesday 15th January, Sydney Entertainment Centre on Thursday 17th January, Melbourne’s Palais Theatre on Saturday 19th January, Adelaide Entertainment Centre on Wednesday 23rd January and finishing up at the Perth Arena on Sunday 27th January.

Yanni’s contemporary symphonic music has inspired millions of fans around the world.  In concert, his passionate, soaring melodies and lush orchestration create a spirited and uplifting musical experience like no other.  Yanni kicked off a world tour on April 17 with an 80 date North American itinerary including highlights such as: Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, CO (13/7), Nokia Theatre at L.A. Live in Los Angeles, CA (20/7) and Santa Barbara Bowl in Santa Barbara, CA (21/7).

Following the completion of the North American dates, international touring plans for 2012 and 2013 will include Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Russia, China, Hungary, Thailand, U.A.E., Oman, among others.

On tour, Yanni and his stunning 15-piece orchestra will play favorites from throughout his career, as well as selections from his latest album, Truth of Touch (2011).

The 17 April start date for Yanni’s world tour coincided with the CD and DVD release of Yanni: Live at El Morro, Puerto Rico (Sony Music), capturing two sold-out concerts in December 2011 at the historic 16th-century Castillo San Felipe Del Morro in San Juan, Puerto Rico.  The dates were the first-ever performances at this recognised UNESCO Heritage Site, and the shows were filmed in high-definition and recorded in Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound.  Performing at the castle represented a 20-year dream come true for Yanni, building on the legacy of iconic global sites that have played host to his concerts including the Acropolis in Greece, the Taj Mahal in India, and the Forbidden City in China (he was the first western performer to play at the latter two).

Yanni: Live at El Morro, Puerto Rico also made its nationwide PBS debut on 3rd March, 2012. Yanni is one of public television’s all-time top fundraisers, and this latest special marks his 10th collaboration with PBS.

On 9th April, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) announced a collaboration with Yanni, aimed at raising awareness of giant panda conservation noting that “what we do to earth, we do to ourselves. –Yanni.”  Yanni was inspired to help protect giant pandas after he “adopted” a two-month old panda cub at the Chinese Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding in October 2011. Yanni was the first western artist to be given the honor of symbolically adopting one of Chengdu’s pandas (a privilege reserved almost exclusively for nations, rather than personalities and is considered one of China’s highest honors). He named the panda “Santorini” after one of the most beautiful islands in his native Greece. “Santorini” is also one of Yanni’s most well known compositions and contains the word “Irini,” which means “peace” in Greek.  He views his adopted panda as “the beautiful panda of peace.”

As part of the collaboration, WWF and Yanni have created a $50 Limited Edition “Santorini” Panda Adoption, allowing supporters to symbolically adopt a panda. As a thank-you to those individuals who support WWF’s efforts through this program, supporters will receive a symbolic adoption kit that includes a plush panda, a photo of Yanni and Santorini, a DVD with exclusive content (including footage of Yanni and Santorini), a certificate of adoption, a re-useable tote bag, and an information card with a panda photo.

To symbolically adopt a panda, and for additional information to learn about the full story, please visit: www.Yanni.com/Santorini.

The North American tour commenced in Houston, Texas where Yanni connected with NASA, toured their facilities and met some of their leading scientists and astronauts. At the end of every concert, Yanni speaks about space and what the earth looks like from above, noting that there are no lines on the map. Yanni was honored with a plaque of appreciation from Mission Operations and continues to support NASA and the work they accomplish.






Saturday 12th January
Vector Arena, Auckland



Tuesday 15th January
Enterainment Centre, Brisbane

www.ticketek.com.au 132 849


Thursday 17th January
Entertainment Centre, Sydney

www.ticketmaster.com.au 136 100


Saturday 19th January
Palais Theatre, Melbourne

www.ticketmaster.com.au 136 100


Wednesday 23 January
Entertainment Centre, Adelaide

www.ticketek.com.au 132 849


Sunday 27th January
Perth Arena, Perth

www.ticketek.com.au 132 849



For more information go to:




For tour information contact Bruce Pollack at Pollack Consulting

bruce@pollackconsulting.com or 02 9331 5276


Bruce Pollack

Pollack Consulting

47 Elizabeth Street, Paddington, Australia 2021

Telephone: (61 2) 9331 5276

Facsimile: (61 2) 9331 5355

Mobile: 0418 331 527 (61 418 331 527)

Email: bruce@pollackconsulting.com

Web: www.pollackconsulting.com


Facebook: www.facebook.com/brucepollackconsulting

Australians attend Bali bombing memorial services with eternal unity and spirit

Remembering Bali

Six of the 88 Australians who perished in the Bali bombings were Greek Australian. Ten years later, we remember those who lost their lives

Remembering Bali

Maria Kotronakis (L) who lost her sister in 2002 Bali bomb attact places flowers during a commemoration ceremony inside the Australian Consulate in Denpasar, Bali. Photo: AAP Image/Made Nagi, EPA Pool.

Sylvia Dalais, Christina Betmilik, David Mavroudis, Luiza Zervos and sisters Dimmy Kotronakis and Elizabeth Kotronakis were the six Greek Australians who lost their lives in Australia’s worst overseas terror attack and were remembered as part of memorials all over the world to mark the ten year anniversary of the Bali bombings.

Friday marked the ten year anniversary of the bombings in Kuta, Bali which killed 202 people – 88 of which were Australian.

The mother of the two Kotronakis sisters and their sister Maria went to Bali to commemorate the deaths of Maria’s twin sister Dimmy, 27, and older sister Elizabeth Kotronakis, 33.

The two girls were in Bali celebrating the wedding of their sister, who was also in Bali with her then husband Kosta Elfes.

The sisters died in the now infamous Sari Club alongside the two Greek Australians Christina Betmalik, 29, of Croydon Park, and Louiza Zervos, 33, of Marrickville, who were bridesmaids at Maria’s wedding.

The group had been out for dinner when Maria and her former husband, then newlyweds, turned in for the night, while the other four women went out to the Sari Club.

After the tragic incident, more than 800 mourners packed into Blacktown’s Hellenic Orthodox Church for the sisters’ funeral weeks after the tragedy.

All over Australia – and all over the world – tributes flew in abundance for the 202 lives that were lost that fateful day.

In Bali, thousands of family members and friends of the deceased, survivors and politicians have flocked to the commemorative monument that lists the name and country of each and every person that lost their life that day.

A service was held Friday in Kuta, Bali to remember the fallen, and was attended by Prime Minister Julia Gillard, former prime minister John Howard, along with Opposition Leader Tony Abbott.


United in grief, hundreds gather in Bali

Ten years on from the horror in Bali, hundreds have gathered at a moving service in Kuta to honour the dead.

Australia will not be beaten – Bryce

G-G Quentin Bryce says Aust has shown it cannot be beaten, marking 10 years since the 2002 Bali bombings.

Touched by the Bail bombings

Australians speak with AAP at the Bali Bombing Memorial Centre in Kuta, Bali, ten years after the bombings. (AAP/Gianrigo Marletta)


Heroine Hannabeth recalls Bali terror

SHE came to the worlds attention for the iconic image of her helping a fellow Aussie from the bombsite that also claimed the life of her bo…

Family and friends gather in Bali

Bali bombing 10th anniversary ceremony services at Garuda Wisnu Kencana Cultural Park where family and friends came to pay their respects. Picture: Brad Fleet News Limited

FAMILIES of those who lost their lives in the Bali bombing have attended an emotional 10th anniversary in Bali.

Ten years on from the horror in Bali, hundreds gathered at a moving service on a hill high above Kuta to honour the memory of the many lives lost in the 2002 bombings.

A separate service was also to be held on Friday night at the memorial in Kuta across the road from where the Sari Club once stood.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard welcomed those attending the Bali service and thanked many of those who were involved in the rescue and recovery process in the aftermath of the bombings.

Patrick Carlyon: Invitation to express, to cry or show emotion not needed

Every seat for families at the service had a flower arrangement of wattle and frangipani placed on it – symbols of Australia and Bali. And bags contained tissues.

Photos: Australia remembers Bali victims at memorial services

As Ms Gillard talked about the medical rescue effort that began, she said the attack brought Australia and Indonesia together.

‘It was a time for heroes’ – Read the PM’s speech in full

“A remarkable medical rescue effort swung into place. A thorough policing effort methodically dismantled the terrorist network responsible. And our two countries drew closer than we ever had before,” she said.

As she talked about the pilgrimage Australians have made to Bali for the service, she acknowledged the “inner journey is wrenchingly hard” for everyone who would feel a variety of emotions from anger to unamended loss, to forgiveness among other emotions.

“Nothing can replace the empty seat at your family table, the graduations and christenings you’ll never know,” she said.

“Terrorists have killed and maimed thousands around the world. But they will never sunder or displace a single ideal.


PM Gillard in Bali

“So today we return here in remembrance, but we also gather in quiet defiance.

“We will never forget all that we lost. We will hold fast to that which remains: to our determination as a free people to explore the world unbowed by fear, to our resolve to defeat terrorism, and to our duty to care for each other.”

The prime minister reflected on the shock of seeing the tragedy of the 2002 Bali bombings unfolding, having only returned to Australia from a holiday on the resort island the day before the blasts.

“We were actually here in the lead-up. We returned to Australia on the Friday and then the events of the weekend unfolded,” said Ms Gillard, who was 41 at the time and had been on holiday in Bali with her sister, nephew and one of his friends.

“So it was very sharp for us because we literally had got back home and you were still dealing with the dirty washing out of the suitcase when the news came through.

“You could just imagine yourself being in that streetscape.”

“You could very much visualise exactly where this had happened and I spent a lot of time ringing my sister and just talking it through as the news just kept coming through because we’d just been here.”

Ms Gillard said former prime minister John Howard “was a steadfast reassuring voice” at the time for all Australians.

She also reflected on former Indonesian President Megawati Sukarnoputri and Indonesian police who worked with Australian police including Commissioner Mick Keelty who “gave us confidence that justice would be done”.

“There are at least some fragments of comfort, there’s peace in this island and millions still come here for the same reasons your loved ones did.”


Guests arrive at memorial service in Bali

“They did not undermine Indonesian democracy, though our vigilance is greater we’ve not surrended our freedoms,” she added.

“We prevail because our beliefs endure.”

Mr Gillard also said there is likely to be a memorial for the second wave of terrorist attacks in Bali similar to the service marking the 10th anniversary of the 2002 bombings.

The second bombings, in Jimbaran and Kuta on October 1, 2005, claimed the lives of 20 people and injured more than 100 others.
Four Australians were among the dead.

“I do believe it is important that when we reach the 10 years of the second Bali bombing, that we have those families who lost loved ones and the people who were injured offered a similar opportunity to come and to mark the 10 years,” Ms Gillard said.

“The decisions beyond that depend on discussions with the survivors, discussions with their families.”

Former prime minister John Howard followed Ms Gillard and gave his reflection on the attack.

“That terrible night and the days that followed tested the character of our nation, Australia, and it passed that character test with flying colours.


Memorial service in Bali

“We saw in those days, those two great qualities that our nation has – strength but also tenderness, the gentle efficiency of those who medically evacuated in 37 hours 66 badly injured people.

“Those who were responsible for this terrible deed may have hoped a number of things; they may have hoped that they would have driven Indonesia and Australia further apart.

“Instead of that, they brought Indonesia and Australia closer together.”

Mr Howard, speaking afterwards, said a terrorist attack on Australian soil is less likely now in many respects than 10 years ago.

“I don’t think the likelihood of it now is any greater than it was 10 years ago. In some respects it’s less than it was,” he said.


Memorial service in Bali

After Mr Howard spoke, Danny Hanley, who lost his two daughters, gave a moving, honest tribute to them.

“I lost my two daughters in the Bali bombing. My eldest daughter Renee was right at the front door of the Sari Club when the blast occurred.

“She was one of the first to lose her life.

“My youngest daughter Simone was already inside the club. She was the last Australian to die after spending 58 days in Perth Hospital’s burns unit.


Memorial service in Bali

“When I hear of the 88 Australians that died I always shed a tear because my beautiful daughter Simone was number 88.”

Every name of every victim who died was then read out before a minute’s silence was held. The hymn Amazing Grace was then sung before John Williamson sang Flower on the Water.

Those who lost family and friends were invited to light a candle in the Remembrance Pool from countries including Australia, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Ecuador, Germany, France, Great Britain, Greece, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, The Republic of Korea, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan the USA, and all religious faiths.

As the service ended, music was played, which was chosen by the families attending the service.

When the families arrived some of the families walked solemnly by boards of photos containing the faces of their love ones lot on the bombing.

They are the photos which tell the story of lives cut short by terrorism on a holiday island.

An early tropical rain shower subsided and the hot sun began shining over the service as the choir sang and the Indonesian gamelan music played.

Defense chaplain Ian Whitley, who helped the injured in the aftermath of the bombings started the service, which will include Muslim and Hindu prayers as well.

Father Whitley told the audience and families: “We are here today to prove that although we come from different countries and religious groups we are united against terrorism and refuse to be intimidated even when confronted by such great loss.”

“Some of you come bearing an irrevocable grief and loss and this is one of those occasions where it is fitting and appropriate to express those feelings, to cry, and join with others who share a similar loss.”

Before the service, survivor Hanabeth Luke, who will read some of the names of victims, said it was going to be a difficult morning.


Memorial service in Bali

She said that this same morning 10 years ago, before Bali had been bombed, had been a beautiful day too.

“That was a perfect morning as well,” she said.

“It is going to be a difficult day. I’m looking forward to jumping in the ocean afterwards.”

She will go for a surf to reflect on the anniversary, she said.


Bali Bombings 10th Anniversary

“Our Australian spirit is strong, it is resilient”

Her voice almost breaking with the emotion of remembering the courage of her patients, Dr Fiona Wood paid tribute to the victims of Bali a decade on from the terrorist atrocity at the national service in Canberrra today.

Dr Wood treated victims with burns at Royal Perth Hospital and today recalled at a memorial service in Canberra how their suffering was like the drop of a pebble with the ensuing wave devastating their families.

She recalled the inspirational resilience of her patients and how the pain of saving them had been worth it so they could go on and make the most of life.


Bali memorial

“I see within those hearts resilience that is inspirational, love that is selfless and an energy that as we work in our field to make sure the quality of the outcome was worth the pain of survival,” she said.

She added: “We can pass on a history that we are proud of, an Australia that we are proud of born of strength, resilience, love and raw human energy, doing the best we can for each other.”


Memorial service in Canberra

She also recalled the story of a young triathlete injured in the bombings.

“A young woman whose injuries were beyond comprehension. The first thing she said when she came out of her coma was ‘I’ll never run – will I walk again?’

“I said ‘You will walk, you will run, you will race’

“And in 2008 she beat me in an ironman at Busselton. I only rode the bike and she did the whole thing and her bike time was faster than mine.

“There wasn’t a dry eye in Busselton that day as we all hugged coming over that finish line.”


Dr Fiona Wood delivers an inspiring speech

She ended her tribute with a moving quote from George Bernard Shaw: “Life is no ‘brief candle’ for me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.”

A moving photo tribute was also made to each of the 88 Australians who lost their lives in the bombings in Canberra, against a Balinese musical backdrop of soft chimes and a beating drum.


Bali memorial

In solemn procession to the calming, gentle sound of a harp, those at the memorial in the Great Hall at Parliament House have added floral tributes to a wreath to remember the 88 Australians lost in the bombings.

Many held hands or shed a tear.


Bali memorial service in Canberra

Governor-General Quentin Bryce was first invited to speak at the service in Canberra, which marked the 10th anniversary of the moment which changed all of our lives.

In her speech, she said loved ones who were lost would never be forgotten.

“Our Australian spirit is strong, it is resilient.”

Frangipani and wattle have been used to symbolise the ties between the two countries.

“This morning the waft of frangipani and wattle bloom connects our two people and places,” Ms Bryce said.

“Today we share the familiar sites and sounds of Bali once more and together we remember. Lest we forget.”

“They are etched in our memories.”

“202 precious lives lost, hundreds injured, all of us left changed forever.”


Memorial service in Canberra

Representing the Prime Minister, Senator Chris Evans said the memorial service was a time for “all Australians reach out to those in pain”.

“Those who lost loved ones we remember,” he added.

In her speech, Deputy Leader of the Opposition Julie Bishop said that while we grieve, we also give thanks to the 88 loved ones we lost on the bombings.

“Joy and woe are inseparable emotions, while we feel grief and sadness, we give thanks for their lives and the love we share,” she said.


Bali Bombings 10th Anniversary in Sydney

Thousands gather at memorial services to remember loved ones

The clouds parted at Sydney’s Dolphin Point where Foreign Minister Bob Carr and Premier Barry O’Farrell joined hundreds of people at the Bali memorial in Coogee, holding flowers handed to them as they walked up the hill to Dolphin Point.

‘Tom is with me on every wave’

Mates remember those lost in Bali at Coogee

Three waratah flowers, the emblem of NSW, have been placed at the base of the Bali memorial sculpture, as well as boxes of white doves ready to be released.

Amongst the crowd are victims’ families and friends, and survivors.


Bali memorial service in Sydney

Tia Byron, who lost her 15-year-old daughter Chloe, said she came to the service every year.

“It’s lovely, I like coming here, they are always very sensitive,” she said.

“I would rather come here than go to Bali.”

Ms Byron said the service was an opportunity to catch up with other families and see how they were going as the years passed.

Jessica Symes was at the service to remember her friend Debbie Borgia and Ms Borgia’s daughter Abbey who were killed in the bombings.

She said she always found the service overwhelming.


Bali memorial service in Sydney

“I’m here to support my friend and to remember,” she said.

The ceremony opened with a guitarist singing John Lennon’s Imagine.


Doves released in Sydney

Victoria remembers: “This event rocked our nation”

In Melbourne, people gathered families and friends of those who lost their lives joined politicians and religious leaders at a multi-faith service at Victoria’s Parliament House.

Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu, Opposition leader Daniel Andrews, Speaker of the Legislative Assembly Ken Smith and President of the Legislative Council Bruce Atkinson helped mark the occasion.


Australians remember in Victoria

A single wreath adorned the front of parliament’s Queen’s Hall as the solemn tunes of the Salvation Army’s brass band greeted mourners filtering into the dimly lit hall.

Karyn Rigley of the Salvation Army offered a opening prayer at the service.

“We are extremely sad at what today represents for so many,” Major Rigley told the service.

“We think of those who have lost loved ones … and those who support loved ones.”

MC Ian Henderson said many of those killed were local people and holidaymakers drawn to the beauty of Bali and its friendly people.

“Today we remember all of those who were injured and all for whom 2002 remains a time of hurt and loss,” he said.

“In particular we’d like to remember the 22 Victorians who never came home.”

Each victim had a story and a family, Mr Henderson, before reading out the names of the Victorians who died.

Two high school bellringers, Rose Muller and Viet-Nham Bui, tolled a bell in honour of each victim before singer Bridget Davies, clad in black, performed a haunting rendition of Amazing Grace.


Australians remember in Victoria

Premier Ted Baillieu recalled how Victorians inundated the front of Parliament House with flowers after the bombings occurred.

“The gentle gesture from a Victorian Melbourne radio station led to thousands and thousands of others bringing flowers,” he said.

“It was a flower bed of love.”

Mr Baillieu said the tragedy brought Australians together.

“We must never forget what was meant to shatter us strengthened us,” he said.

“What was meant to divide us brought us together.”


Memorial service in Perth

In Perth , a dawn service has been underway where Premier Colin Barnett and Opposition Leader Mark McGowan gathered with hundreds of others in Kings Park.

Many laid flowers at the memorial and grieved together.

The names of 16 West Australians, who were among the 88 Australians killed, were read out to the gathering.

Candles were been lit and as dawn broke, a lone bagpipe player marched down Fraser Avenue towards the city’s memorial to the 202 victims of the terrorist attack, killed in two bombings at the Bali nightclubs, Paddy’s Bar and the Sari Club, this time 10 years ago.


Memorial service in Perth

“It was a senseless and brutal act,” West Australian Premier Colin Barnett said.

Mr Barnett said he hoped the 10th anniversary would bring closure to the families who lost loved ones in the bombings.

“They would want you to live their life to the full in their memory.”

Floral tributes were laid at the memorial by Mr Barnett and Mr McGowan to the strains of Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here.

Families of the fallen then followed, touching the names of their loved ones engraved on the stone wall of remembrance, this time accompanied by John Lennon’s Imagine.


Memorial service in Perth

Celebrant Kevin Clune ended the ceremony by inviting those grieving to leave the darkness behind and find the time to heal.

“Let us use this new dawn to remind us of what we have … cherished memories that are ours to keep,” Mr Clune said.

“Love and wonderful memories outlast the pain of grief.”

In Adelaide, the local memorial service remembered those who died including three South Australians were among the 202 killed – Angela Golotta, 19, Joshua Deegan, 22, Bob Marshall, 68. Deegan and Marshall were on an after-season trip with the Sturt Football Club.


Adelaide remembers those lost in Bali

The brother of Bali bombing victim Josh Deegan says his family’s loss still feels raw 10 years after the tragedy.

Nick Deegan says it doesn’t feel like a decade has passed since the bombing.

“It feels like it was only yesterday,” he told reporters in Adelaide.

“You learn to live with what’s happened, you acclimatise and adjust.

“But I guess on a day like today it’s still a little bit raw.”

Federal government minister Kate Ellis, South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill and Opposition Leader Isobel Redmond are among those attending the service at St Augustine’s Anglican Church in suburban Unley.

St Augustine’s Reverend Brenton Daulby has told the service those who died were taken while doing a very Australian thing – “having a good time”.

Mr Daulby said after the bombing Australia came together as a nation and “our character was not found wanting”.

In Queensland, the day will be marked with a peaceful sunset ceremony on the Gold Coast from 5pm.



Ana Avilesr
Gerardine Buchan
Jane Corteen
James Hardman
Gayle Airlie
Jake Young
George ‘Joe’ Milligan
Karri Casner
Billy Hardy
Rebecca Cartledge
Megan Heffernan
Jodie Cearns
Steven Webster
Bronwyn Cartwright
Simone Hanley
Byron Hancock
Robert McCormick
Nicole Harrison
Jenny Corteen
Angela Gray
Craig Dunn
Shane Foley
Michelle Dunlop
Renae Anderson
Jared Gane
Dean Gallagher
Angela Golotta
Abbey Borgia
Dimmy Kotronakis
Belinda Allen
Paul Cronin
Matthew Bolwerk
Christine Betmalik
Andrea Hore
Debbie Borgia
Elizabeth Kotranakis
Aaron Lee
Donna Croxford
Justin Lee
Adam Howard
Stacey Lee
Danny Lewis
Tim Hawkins
Peter Basioli
Steven Buchan
Chloe Byron
David Kent
Francoise Dahan
Kristen Curnow
Joshua Iliffe
Josh Deegan
Sylvia Dalais
Anthony Cachia
Carol Johnstone
Andrew Dobson
Lynette McKeon
Scott Lysaght
Corey Paltridge
Bob Marshall
Brad Ridley
Sue Maloney
Linda Makawana
David Mavroudis
Jenny Murphy
Ben Roberts
David Ross
Cathy Seelin
Amber O’Donnell
Marissa McKeon
Jodie O’Shea
Julie Stevenson
Sue Ogier
Jessica O’Donnell
Kathy Salvatori
Bronwyn Ross
Greg Sanderson
Lee Sexton
Anthony Stewart
Tom Singer
Jason Stokes
Nathan Swain
Behic Sumer
Clint Thompson
Tracy Thomas
Robert Thwaites
Charles Vanrenen
Jonathon Wade
Vanessa Walder
Shane Walsh-Till
Robyn Webster
Jodi Wallace
Annika Linden
Charmaine Whitton
Christian Redman
Marlene Whiteley
Gerard Yeo
Chris Bradford
Christopher Kays
Daniel Braden
Clive Walton
Louiza Zervos
Marco Antonio Farias
Alexandre Moraes Watake
Lucy Empson
Marc Gajardo
Ian Findley
Michael Standring
Annette Jensen
Edward Waller
Peter Record
Stephen James Speirs
Thomas Edward Hanby-Holmes
Laura France
Rick Gleason
Laerke Cecilie Bodker
Paul Hussey
Douglas Warner
Nathaniel (Dan) Miller
Jon Ellwood
Tim Arnold
Mervin Popadynec
Marcillo Ana Cecilia Aviles
Lise Knudsen
Natalie Perkins
Anthony Jean Underwood
Emma Fox
Neil Bowler
Destria Bimo Adhi Wibowo
Lionel Henri Erisey
Guillaume Breant
Alexandra Koppke
Gede Badrawan
Udo Paul Hauke
Aris Munandar
Elly Susanti Suharto
Dimitris Panagoulas
Angelika Kohnke
Manuel Mordelet
Bettina Christina Brandes
Marjanne Van Lijnen Noomen
Marie-Cecile Wendt
Agus Suheri
Claudie Dietlinde Theile
Gusti Artini
Norbert Edgar Freriks
Mark Antonio Schippers
Sander Harskamp
Ati Savitri
Achmad Suharto
Jonathan Simanjuntak
John Juniardi
Imawan Sarjono
Kadek Beni Prima
Made Wijaya
Made Sujana
Made Wija
Kadek Ngartina
Mochamad Khotib
Mawa Nyoman
Kadek Sukerna
Ketut Sumarawat
Ni Kade Alit Margarini
Ketut Nana Wijaya
Ketut Cindra
Lilis Puspita
Rahmat Arsoyo
Made Mertana
Komang Candra
Rudy Armansyah
Salwindar Singh
Tata Duka
Sulaiman Endang
Craig Harty
Wayan Sukadana
Wayan Tamba
Roberto Antonio Sbironi
Godfrey Fitz
Eun-Jung Moon
Johanna Bergander
Linda Kronquist
Eun-Young Moon
Karin Maria Urika Johansson
Carina Rafling
Diogo Ribeirinho
Kosuke Suzuki
Ulrika Louise Gustafsson
Yuka Suzuki
Mark Parker
Gian Andrea Ruup
Danuta Beata Pawlak
James Wellington
Pascal Michael Dolf
Sereina LieschKuo Hui-Min
Deborah Lea (Debbie) Snodgras

Greece’s unemployment rate in July rose to 25.1 per cent from a revised 24.8 per cent in the previous month

Source: Kathimerini

Unemployment rises to 25.1 per cent

Unemployment rises to 25.1 per cent

Greece’s unemployment rate in July rose to 25.1 per cent from a revised 24.8 per cent in the previous month, according to data provided by the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) this week.

The number of employed amounted to 3,763,142 persons.

Τhe number of unemployed amounted to 1,261,604 while the number of inactive to 3,356,276, data showed.

ELSTAT said the number of employed decreased by 329,086 persons (or 8 per cent) compared with July 2011 and increased by 5,364 persons (or 0.1 per cent) compared with June 2012.

The number of unemployed went up by 377,991 (or 42.8 per cent) compared with July 2011 and by 23,255 persons (or 1.9 per cent) compared with June 2012, ELSTAT said.

Inactive persons – that is, persons that neither worked or looked for a job – decreased by 2,236 persons (or 0.1 per cent) compared with July 2011 and by 3,406 persons (or 0.1 percent) compared with June 2012.

A-League champions Brisbane made it a very unhappy return to Lang Park for former coach Ange Postecoglou


5-0 win for Roar leaving Victory stunned

5-0 win for Roar leaving Victory stunned

Brisbane Roar striker Besart Berisha celebrates his goal against Melbourne Victroy.

A-League champions Brisbane made it a very unhappy return to Lang Park for former coach Ange Postecoglou, dishing out a 5-0 drubbing of the Victory on Saturday night.

Postecoglous watched on helplessly as Brisbane Roar silenced the Victory fans. In his first match against the team he mentored to two titles Ange no doubt felt the pressure on Saturday night.

Two goals came from Striker Besart Berisha while fellow stars Thomas Broich, Erik Paartalu and Mitch Nichols all found the back of the net.

Victory’s defence was well and truly down.

It was the first time in Victory’s history they suffered a 5-0 loss, and after last weeks loss to rivals Heart, this was the salt added to the early season wound.

Roar veteran Shane Steffanuto said the Roar’s focus during the week was more internal than worrying about Postecoglou’s return.

Stepping out of Ange Postecoglou’s shadow was always going to be hard for the Brisbane Roar.

However they put their best foot forward and came home with a win.

Public backlash over the cost of Greek touring artists is felt by promoters all over Australia

The real cost of Greek singers

Source: Neos Kosmos

Promoters who bring Greek singers to Australia are the subject of backlash from concert goers who claim that ticket and drink prices are too high, however, promoters say that the prices are fair in regards to the overall cost of a tour.

The cost to bring a Greek artist to Australia for a tour is causing promoters to run at a loss, rather than the profit assumed by the public.
At the tour for Panos Kiamos in Melbourne in February 2012, general admission tickets alone were $180 and the drink prices included Johnnie Walker Red for $185, Grey Goose for $240 and a bottle of water on the night cost $10. In response to this, concert goers created the Facebook group ‘Against being ripped off by Greek singers and promoters visiting Australia’ as a place to vent their distress at high ticket prices and drinks.

On Facebook concert goer Toula Orfanou said “maybe our little group has made an impact, Marinella and Theodoridou concert tickets are starting at $149 a table and $69 seated, a massive difference from the ‘normal’ fees”.

However, concert promoter Kosta Tangalakis told Neos Kosmos “9 out of 10 of these shows are unprofitable”. He says fees the entertainer charges, airfares, visas, insurance, accommodation, food allowance per day, venue, lighting and sound hire all amount to a costly tour.

“The expenses are horrific to bring a whole entourage to Australia” says Mr Tangalakis, and the cost per person exceeds well over $200. He said that people who pay under or between $140 to $160 for a concert ticket is undervalued for the promoter, and results in them making no profit on their return.

Promoters who spoke to Neos Kosmos claim that money is made from selling out the first three rows of a show, and from the fourth row back it runs at a loss and that prices are already lowered in order to get people attending the shows.

“Anything after the third row costs us money so we then depend on the sales of drinks and flowers to cover costs. I however charge my drink prices the same as I do at Kinisi [a popular Greek venue in Melbourne],” Mr Tangalakis said.

The gamble promoters take is the possibility of not selling out a show. Bringing a show from Greece doesn’t guarantee success. If it’s a big name show chances are promoters will break even or make a slight profit tour promoter, Kosta Athanasiou said.

Promoters claim that their first objective of bringing a show from Greece is to get their money back so that they don’t make a loss. “As a promoter I don’t wake up in the morning and think how I am going to rip off the greater public” said Nikos Theodorakopoulos.

“This isn’t a charity, it is a business and like any business profit needs to be made” Mr Tangalakis said.

However a promoter in Sydney who remains unnamed said they haven’t suffered the backlash that Melbourne’s promoters have, their aim is to keep the prices as affordable as possible for every singer that comes to Australia.

Gogos Entertainment, who recently toured George Dalaras and Haris Alexiou say they rely on ticket sales only to promote their tours, “the shows we promote are concerts held in theatres rather than cabaret or bouzoukia venues, therefore we need higher ticket prices are part of the solution, but getting a lot of people to attend these shows is the real solution. It is a hard industry to work in and harder to keep everyone happy” said Director and Publisher of this newspaper, Christopher Gogos.

Another issue faced in the industry is the increase of promoters, which has seen more singers heading to Australia, making it harder for concert goers to pick who they will see and who they won’t. “It should be seen as a positive that so many singers are coming to Australia and keeping the Greek scene alive” says Nick Theodorakopoulos, who recently promoted the Ploutarhos tour.

Mr Theodorakopoulos told Neos Kosmos, “this industry is open for anyone to take part in and bring singers down. If others can put on a concert cheaper then what we are currently offering, why don’t they”.

In the last couple of years promoters are claiming that they are running at a loss due to the lowering of ticket prices. With increasing costs and fees, it’s a wonder how promoters still manage and want to keep bringing singers down.

However, lovers of Greek music all over Australia are still attending these tours, a positive sign that live Greek music will live on in the main capital cities and promoters will continue to entertain us with the Greek singers they bring to our shores.

Australia’s best scenic drives

Source: News

great drives escape

A car hangs from a tree in the area between Beaudesert and Rathdowney In Queensland. Picture: Kevin Bull

great drives escape

The Great Ocean Road curls around by Lorne. Picture: supplied

TAKING a road trip in Australia can be totally liberating and you never know what you might see – from kangaroos to rainforest, lighthouses and incredible sunsets. The Carsguide team show you the best on offer.

Mt Glorious

There aren’t many glorious mountain roads right on a capital city’s doorsteps but Queensland’s Mt Glorious is a wonderful exception.

Just 15 minutes from Brisbane’s CBD, the road starts its climb through Brisbane Forest Park as Mt Nebo Rd.

It winds up along a ridge that takes it 40-odd kilometres through Mt Nebo and Mt Glorious villages, changing its name to Mt Glorious Rd, through cooling subtropical forest, and steeply down the western side, where it again changes its title to Northbrook Parkway, emptying out to the wide expanse of picturesque Lake Wivenhoe.

Along the way there is every conceivable type of corner; on and off camber, opening and tightening lefts and rights, blind and open corners, switchbacks and sweepers, up and downhill hairpins, and corners with crests and dips.

Adventure rider and actor Charley Boorman of TV’s Long Way Round described the famed forest road as “incredible” after riding a motorcycle to the glorious summit while here for a promotional tour for one of his books.

“What a great road,” Boorman enthused. “I love the smell of the eucalyptus trees as you ride through the forest. It really was something special.”

The roller-coaster road requires 100 per cent attention from the driver or rider, not only for the blind crests and curves but also for the slow-moving weekend tourists in their family sedans, as well as boy racers cutting corners on their Rossi-replica machines.Motorists will also need to be alert for occasional gravel spills and slippery moss on the sides of the tar leading to precipitous drops into the valley below.

Passengers can relax with glimpses of Brisbane or Samford valleys wherever there is a break in the forest.

Drivers should take time out to cool down, suck in some fresh air, absorb the echo of bellbirds and whipbirds, and capture the panoramic views at one of the many scenic outlooks along the way, some of which have barbecue facilities and toilets.

Jollys Lookout offers wide-angle views toward Moreton Bay and on a clear day you can see the sand dunes on Moreton Island.

If you haven’t packed a picnic, there are many cafes at Mt Nebo and Mt Glorious that make bold claims such as the best milkshake, coffee or scones in Brisbane. There is also Brisbane’s Vineyard, where you can sample local antioxidant-rich wines or the tingling ginger punch.

Grab a national parks brochure that points out the many bushwalks that run off the main road, but take a walking partner as some tracks can be steep and tricky, mobile phone reception is weak and there are plenty of snakes.There are also short, kid-friendly walking tracks at Maiala, where you can see owls, possums and even the rare yellow-bellied glider.

On the western side at Cedar Flats there are two big parks with barbecue and toilet facilities and open areas for picnics.

Here, road and creek intertwine, crossing each other on many occasions, offering open sweepers and treacherous knee-down 90-degree turns that claim too many risk-takers.

At the T-intersection with Splityard Creek Rd, your options are to turn left and follow Wivenhoe Dam to pretty Fernvale and its cafes and trinket shops or right through sweeping farm vistas to Somerset Dam.

Lions Road

Long before State of Origin footy clashes between NSW and Queensland erupted, there was a clash of governments at the border that has yielded one of the greatest drives in Australia.

In 1969, the NSW government rejected calls for a shortcut to link the communities of Kyogle in northern NSW and Rathdowney in southern Queensland.

That’s when the Kyogle and Beaudesert Lions clubs stepped in and decided to use the expertise of members and their community to build their own road up and over the craggy McPherson Range via Richmond Gap.

They’re still maintaining the road with help from governments and private business and there is a donation box at the border, which grateful motorists should patronise.

In the past decade, the final gravel sections have given way to a full tarmac surface, although it is patchy and often in need of repair.

It’s a road in two parts: the northern side is an extension of Running Creek Rd with roller-coaster skylines and popular camping spots, while the lusher southern side lined with magnificent hoop pines turns off Summerland Way on Gradys Creek Rd and plaits a course where road, rail and creek cross each other every few hundred metres over some one-lane wooden bridges and modern yet narrow concrete structures.

There is a host of picnic, camping and swimming areas on either side of the range, but only one cafe –  Ripples on the Creek  – where the seafood chowder is to die for.

Four-wheel drivers can turn off at Simes Rd and head up the gravel into the Border Ranges Park or take the little dirt detour at Cougal, where the trail crosses the creek several times and bathers delight in the cool running waters beneath Roman-style aqueducts.Moss and gravel create slippery surfaces, while frequent potholes and corrugations on the inside of corners test the best of suspensions.

Some of the farms are unfenced, so cattle can occasionally be encountered around blind corners in the valleys. Wallabies are more common higher up in the forest areas.

Car clubs and recreational bikers frequent the road at weekends and there are few opportunities to pass those who want to take in the sights.

Those sights include the heritage-listed Spiral Loop railway line, which can be viewed from the Lions Rd, especially the aptly named Spiral Loop Railway lookout. The serpentine rail line includes two tunnels  – a 1.6km tunnel at the summit and a shorter one that passes under itself.

Lions Rd and national park maps, brochures and train times are available from the Kyogle Visitor Centre at the northern exit of town or tourist centres in Rathdowney or Beaudesert.

Old Glenn Innes Road

River oaks stand like sentries next to Mann River, which slices its way down from the New England Tableland to join the Clarence River on the flood plains of the Northern Rivers district of NSW.

In shady grottos, icy cold waters churn over granite rocks, leaving a frothy trail down the creek beds.

In long, straight stretches, the cascading creek fattens into a wide, slow-moving river.

And by open banks, there are white-quartz “beaches” with tourists sunning themselves between refreshing plunges into deep rock pools.

This is the land of the Bundjalung, Gumbaingirri and Ngarrubal people.

And these are the idyllic settings accessed by a stretch of road known as Old Glenn Innes Road by some, Old Grafton Road by others or simply as “The Old Road”. It runs almost from Glenn Innes to Grafton, parallel to and south of the Gwydir Highway.

Just outside Grafton, the Old Road turns left off Gwydir Highway and runs through some scrappy countryside, changing to gravel after about 30km. As it joins the river, the scenery becomes more pleasant and there is a picnic area to stop and grab some photos as well as catch up on information about the history of the road, the vegetation and bird and animal life.

The dramatic valley scenery includes a short 20m drive through Dalmorton Tunnel, blasted out of the side of a mountain in the late 1800s.

The region was in an economic boom in the 1830s, so Archibald Boyd and Gother Mann explored it looking for a route to transport tablelands produce to the Clarence River to be shipped out from Lawrence, near Grafton.

In those days, bullock teams took up to 12 weeks to haul gold, wool, timber and other produce along the 125km route. Horses did it in a week.

You can cover the distance in less than two hours or take plenty of stops for photos, picnics and swimming.

In 1866, David Houison surveyed the present road, which required 50km of cuttings into sheer granite cliffs, a marvellous feat of engineering for its day. It was officially opened as a main road in 1876.

Back then, towns such as Dalmorton had thousands of residents, four churches and many hotels. It is hard to fathom so much activity where now there is nothing but tranquillity; black cockatoos and the occasional 4WD and motorcycle to disturb the peace.

Kangaroos and rock wallabies dart across the road, while motorists are often accompanied by livid-coloured parrots, lorikeets and corellas.

Despite once being a main road, there is very little traffic now, but it pays to slow down on blind corners. The gravel can be fairly corrugated leading into and out of corners and the surface a little slippery in places.

It’s suitable only for 4WDs, motorcycles with all-terrain tyres or high-clearance vehicles.

However, if you come in from the west end, most vehicles, except caravans, would be able to access the Mann River Nature Reserve picnic and camping area, which is at the start of the gravel. Here, weekenders are fishing, swimming, bushwalking, bird-watching and just relaxing to the tune of the burbling waters.

Great Ocean Road

Bitumen that snakes its way around cliffs and stunning sea vistas make the heritage-listed Great Ocean Road in Victoria a must-do drive.

Understandably, it’s also on every tourist’s list –  about eight million people visited it last year –  which is why there are so many signs reminding drivers that Australians progress on the left side of the road. Not confidence inspiring –  and there’s a solid police presence to enforce the 80km/h speed limit.

Cyclists insist on masochistic rides here, too, making this the motoring equivalent of a scenic stroll rather than an all-out automotive assault.

That being the case, it pays to reward the passengers by stopping at some of the idyllic coastal towns.

The 243km stretch officially starts at Torquay, the site of the annual Bells Beach surfing contest and the origin of the Billabong and Rip Curl brands synonymous with the surfie subculture.

Aireys Inlet is worth a stop if there are kids in the car. The Split Point Lighthouse is the home of the Round The Twist TV series –  and the views from the 70m cliff atop which the white stone beacon is perched are as out of this world.

Back on the road and Lorne beckons, but spare a thought for the returned World War I Diggers who lived up to their nickname by hewing the road from the cliffs with shovels and pickaxes between 1919 and 1932.

It rates as one of the great engineering feats and is the world’s longest war memorial.

A 10km detour at Lorne will take visitors to the Erskine Falls, a 30m cascade set amid massive ferns and temperate rainforest.

Apollo Bay is the next destination  – and the entrance to the Great Otway National Park, where you can figuratively get lost bushwalking, mountain bike riding or just lying back and indulging in down time. It is also where the road leaves the cliffs overlooking Bass Strait, but the inland run offers some of the best corners of the stretch. Drivers smart enough to give themselves some room from the vehicles ahead can genuinely have fun on this twisty section without breaking the speed limit.

The road returns to the sea at Princetown and passes the Twelve Apostles on the run to Port Campbell. There are only eight left, as the waves erode up to 2cm of the limestone stacks each year, but they still rate as one of Victoria’s most popular tourist destinations.

Technically there’s still another 55km of the Great Ocean Road to travel before it officially ends at Allansford, just out of Warrnambool.

A better route for Victorian-based drivers is to head inland on the Port Campbell Rd (C164) until it hits the Hamilton Highway. Another route less travelled is to backtrack to Lavers Hill and take the Beech Forest-Lavers Rd (C155) run to the Princess Highway.

Both are tidy, twisty bits of tarmac that run through forests and farms that will have the biggest petrolhead showing some appreciation for nature.

Ferguson Valley

You can’t go to Paradise but you can pass close by. And if the spring light is right and dapples the trees in all shades of yellow and green, you may think you have arrived.

This is a part of the world where things are not quite what they seem. Paradise isn’t a precise dot on the map yet Gnomesville  – remarkably, where gnomes actually live –  is real.

No need to take a tablet and have a nice lie down. If you take a trip through this compact section of Western Australia’s southwest, there are such surprises at most turns in the road.

The Ferguson Valley is a fertile east-west trench sliced through the earth, opening at the quaint town of Dardanup in a meander towards Lowden or, depending on the turn, Wellington Dam.

It has been farming country since 1838, when settler Thomas Little arrived under the direction of Charles Princep of India to establish a horse-breeding venture to supply India. The venture failed but Little stayed on, establishing Dardanup Park farm and, as a staunch Roman Catholic, attracting an Irish Catholic community to the area.

The early settlers in the district were farmers leading a largely subsistence living. Some produce, such as vegetables and meat, was sold to the Bunbury township, about 15km to the west.

So not a lot has changed. Ferguson Valley remains a food haven and, to the road traveller, scenic drives through an area renowned for its arts and crafts, wines, beers, cheeses and pastries. It also has bed and breakfast accommodation.

This all melds at the annual Bull and Barrel Festival held each October to celebrate the area’s dairy and wine industries.

If you start from Perth, allow a day for the Ferguson Valley drive. That will give time for a wander, some lunch and a return. Dardanup to Perth is 180km, which equates to a leisurely 2 1/2 hours.

Our drive from Perth in a Volkswagen Touareg diesel SUV covered 692km.

The road from Dardanup to Lowden is only 30km. But it’s a slow route thanks to its twisting and undulating path that follows the Ferguson River through farmland, past vineyards and orchards. Most of the road is 80km/h and the double-white line ensures there’s no passing –  so if you cop a tractor, be patient.

It passes the Moody Cow boutique brewery and the Aidan, Carlaminda and Hackersley Estate wineries and crosses the 600km Perth to Manjimup section of the Munda Biddi off-road cycle trail. This trail will extend to Albany next year and then claim the title as the world’s longest, continuous, off-road cycle trail.

Gnomesville –  see, I wasn’t kidding –  is merely a roundabout on the Upper Ferguson Rd on the way to Lowden.

Some time around 2000 someone either made a home for an unwanted suburban garden statue or one world-weary gnome found his final resting place.

Since then, about 3000 concrete gnomes have been placed by the side of the road. Most come from Australian homes but many are from overseas visitors.

The site is frequented by travellers drawn to the peculiarities of the display and some because of the publicity in 2007 of the “Gnomesville Massacre”  – the result of vandals attacking the community.

The drive from Gnomesville to Lowden is about 6km but is set high on a ridge overlooking farmland.

Optional is a drive back to the Wellington Forest Discovery Centre –  about 4km of mostly gravel road –  which displays information about the jarrah forest and has details of a self-guided walk through the forest.

The loop road then passes the Wellington Dam  – with a kiosk and picnic areas  – then the Collie River and Honeymoon Pool, a pretty camping and picnic area on the river that has a cafe, toilets and tents-only camping.

This drive is about 20km and returns to Pile Rd to link back to Dardanup. Pile Rd has adjoining mountain bike trails, the Wild Bull boutique brewery and five wineries.

And Paradise? You probably don’t need to go there because Ferguson Valley is about as picturesque as WA’s southwest gets. But for those who have never seen it, Paradise Rd is about 8km northeast of Dardanup.


If variety is the spice of life, Tasmania is topographical saffron. From desolate mountains to temperate rainforests, historic sites and salt-white sand beaches, the Island State has it all.

And linking these picturesque panoramas are some of the best roads in the nation. As Targa Tasmania competitors will attest, the bitumen is just as diverse as the natural beauty.

One of the best routes to combine challenging roads with jaw-dropping scenery meanders from Launceston. In Launceston, take the Blessington Rd (C401) towards Ben Lomond.

If the clock isn’t ticking, detour up the mountain via the series of switchbacks known as Jacobs Ladder.

The payback is an amazing view that, depending on the season, includes a waving riot of colour as the wildflowers bloom and obscure what is usually a rock-festooned lunar landscape.

Turn right back on the main road and keep going  – the name changes to Mathinna Rd (B43)  – but stay on it until you reach the T-junction in Fingal. The historic town was established in 1827 as a convict settlement but the 400 folk who live there today earn a living from agriculture and the Cornwall Coal Company.

The main strip is Talbot St – stop in at the Fingal Hotel and soak up the history. The building is home to a staggering 340-odd brands of whisky, which is said to be the largest collection in the southern hemisphere.

Head for St Marys on the Esk Highway (A4) and turn right on to Elephant Pass Rd once in the town. The pass famous for its 9km of curves –  is just ahead. The road is tight and often littered with bark and leaves, so moderate the pace to appreciate the views.

And a stop midway for pancakes is just about mandatory.

The entire Elephant Pass Rd is a driver’s delight, but it comes to an end at the Chain of Lagoons on Tasmania’s east coast. There’s a tough call to be made here: turn left and head for St Helens, or veer right to visit Bicheno.

The Bicheno loop will add 56km to the journey but is worth it for the seafood and entertaining the kids with a penguin tour or a visit to the Blowhole: an opening in a rock shelf that can erupt with a fountain of water up to 20m high.

Retracing the drive back to the Chain of Lagoons brings another decision: keep going on the Tasman Highway (A3) or head back up for another crack at the pass. If the drive experience is the priority, go for plan B.

Not only will you traverse Elephant Pass in both directions but a right turn back in St Marys will add St Marys Pass to the itinerary. The views aren’t quite as spectacular but the road is just as windy. Both passes were carved out of the cliffs by a crew of 300 convicts more than 150 years ago.

Either route will take you to the seaside fishing town of St Helens. A detour to the Peron Dunes  – hectares of rolling sandhills  – is a good way to wear out the kids, while the Bay of Fires, named after the orange lichen-covered boulders that dot the otherwise pristine white beach, is a spectacular sight.

Keep on the Tasman Highway heading for Scottsdale. It’s a highway in name only  – the road is a twisted ribbon of bitumen complete with off-camber corners, suspension-lightening dips, postcard-potential farmland and dense bush. After 30km, keep an eye out for St Columba Falls Rd.

The falls are a 94m cascade set amid sassafras and myrtle forest and the ever-present ferns that mark this corner of the northeast.The road is also the route to the Pub in the Paddock. It’s a great place to have a beer  – and share it with one of the resident pigs. They like the taste and I like the way they taste when their beer days come to an end.

Back on the A3, aim for Scottsdale, specifically the road just out of town which is known as the Sideling. It’s a 7km strip of asphalt that tests driver and machinery. The rest of the run back to Launceston is exhilarating.

In all, the journey will cover about 420km and take about seven hours, so, an overnight stop in St Helens or Bicheno is recommended.

A pass is needed to access many of Tasmania’s parks. By far the smartest option is a $60 “holiday pass”. It is valid for eight weeks and gives up to eight people unlimited access to all venues. A daily pass costs $24, but access to Cradle Mountain is $41.25 for a family.

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