Greek Central Archaeological Council lists Megara as preservation site

Source: Ekathimerini

The Greek Central Archaeological Council (KAS) on Wednesday unanimously voted for an area of 4,000 hectares in the western Attica region of Megara to be listed for protection as an archaeological site.

Located in the northern section of the Corinth Canal opposite the island of Salamina, Megara was a significant trading hub in antiquity, with the new archaeological area including two ancient ports.

Despite initial concerns regarding the size of the site and the difficulties that its full excavation would entail, KAS on Wednesday said that the protection of significant antiquities found at the site merit its full protection.

Such significant finds include Roman-era baths, an aqueduct, impressive fortifications, graves containing valuable burial offerings and an ancient agora, among others.

The decision by KAS will mean that all the separate excavation sites that have emerged at intervals from the 1930s to the present will be encompassed in the 4,000-hectare zone.

Documentary: First Aboriginal in the Battle of Crete


“Odyssey of a Warrior” is a documentary about Reg Saunders, the first Aboriginal Officer who took part in the battle of Crete currently being filmed and produced by journalist Michael Sweet.

Saunders’ Cretan years, where he experienced the selfless courage of the Cretan people, are central to the film and informed his views on social justice ever after. The film will use footage already shot in Crete – where Saunders’ daughters recently met the villagers who saved their father’s life – a deeply emotional and dramatic event – symbolizing a powerful contemporary multicultural message of kinship.

About this film
The story of Reg Saunders MBE (1920-1990) – the Australian army’s first Aboriginal Officer is a story of courage, humility and huge adventure.

This film tells Saunders’ life story – from growing up in Lake Condah Mission in western Victoria to leaving Melbourne on a troopship as a 19-year-old Digger in the opening days of WWII. It tells of his time in Crete in 1941 – fighting the Nazis, and then going on-the-run – an extraordinary chapter in his life, when, with the help of mountain villagers, he evaded capture for a year.

Deliverance from the hands of the Germans in Europe meant that he would go on to fight in the jungles of New Guinea, and after WWII in Korea. In each case, his return to civvy street was a harrowing indictment of Australian society at the time.

This war hero – loved by those he led, who fought for his country out of a sense of duty and pride – returned to a society blighted by injustice.

Out of uniform he suffered the indifference and outright hostility of a society where institutional racism was endemic.

After challenging the genocidal evil of the Nazis, the Japanese as they advanced towards Australia, and the communist uprising in Korea – Saunders had one last opponent to fight – Australia’s own inequitable system of entrenched racial prejudice.

As the nation’s social conscience and political system began to evolve and intervene on the welfare of all Australians, in 1969 Saunders took up a position in the newly-created Office of Aboriginal Affairs as one of its first liaison officers.

There he helped change the behaviour of the Australian public service in its interactions with Indigenous people.

A multi-layered story this drama-documentary will use rarely-seen archive material, dramatic reconstruction, and sequences filmed in Greece and Victoria.

The film will use footage already shot in Crete – of Saunders’ daughters recent meeting the villagers who saved their father’s life – a deeply emotional and dramatic event – symbolising a powerful contemporary multicultural message of kinship.

In Crete, Saunders witnessed the selfless courage of another ancient rural people. The experience informed his views on social justice ever after. His experiences in Crete are central to the film.

This documentary is made with the assistance and support of the Saunders family and has exclusive access to personal records, documents and photographs.

AUD $100000
AUD $140000
40 minutes

This film is about the importance of strong, mutually supportive multicultural retionships in Australian society – it is about the evolution of Aboriginal rights, but it is also a story of Australia’s rich history of South European migrant culture that stemmed from the bonds created in war.

Reg Saunders is an important role model and his story has never been documented on a canvas it deserves for the screen.

A deeper knowledge of the story of Reg Saunders and his legacy. Measurable outcomes relate to the educational outreach activities related to the production including monitoring the level of distribution of the film on DVD. The producer will approach Australian broadcasters with a view to acquiring the film when complete.

The intention would be for the film to be comercially distributed on DVD/Blu-ray as well as broadcast. The producer will seek distribution in schools as a teaching material for Australian High schools’ curriculum.

Writer/Director Mike Sweet is a former documentary director and producer of BBC TV documentaries. He has also made radio documentaries for the ABC (ABC Radio National).

Full details of Mike Sweet’s broadcast documentary productions can be found at

Mike Sweet’s work for the BBC (The Slate arts series) was nominated for a ‘Race in the Media Award’ by the UK’s Commission for Racial Equality. His other broadcast and production credits include:

The Slate – Six Postcards from Another Wales. [BBC]
The Slate – William’s Story. [BBC]. Both films dealt with multicuturalism in the UK.

Double Dragons – Hong Kong Handover special [BBC]
La Musique du Salon Deben Bhattacharya. [ETV – Bangladesh/France coproduction]
Witness 19.2.42: The bombing of Darwin [for Darwin City Council/Dept of Veterans’ Affairs]
Target Darwin [Online/iPad production for Fairfax Media]

ABC Radio National documentary production credits:
Producer: By Design: ‘Searching for Beni’. Hindsight: ‘The Road to War’.
BBC Radio credits: ‘A Different Dragon – Hong Kong Handover’.
South Asia Today.

See more at:

Braith Anasta leads Greece to victory

Braith Anasta leads Greece to victory

By Terry Liberopoulos
at Mac Stadium, Budapest

Wests Tigers’ Braith Anasta showed why he is a quality player after he led Greece to a 90-0 whitewash over Hungary at Budapest on Sunday.

Anasta piled on 46 points for the Greeks, who included eight players from the Greek Rugby League domestic competition. He scored four tries and kicked 15 goals from as many attempts, many of them wide out.

“I was really nervous before the game. I talked to my mum and brother before the game and I was emotional,” said Anasta.

“To play for Greece was a proud moment for me, for my dad and grandparents. It was the first time I was in Greece and I loved it.”

Greece took just three minutes of play to open their account when Sebastian Sell scored after a backline movement.

It was 12-0 after 10 minutes of play after Kristian Aroutsidis scored wide out. Anasta kicked the conversion from the sideline.

Terry Constantine scored two tries in three minutes, Mitchell Zampetides scored a brace and Anasta went over for his first of his four pointers as Greece established a 42-0 lead at half-time.

Anasta scored two quick tries early in the second half before Nake Ioannis, one of the eight players chosen from Greek domestic competition, burrowed over from dummy half to score in the 52nd minute. Anasta added the extras and Greece were cruising at 60-0.

Adam Bouris added two tries while Terry Conastantinou crossed for his third try of the game.

Sell scored in the 73rd minute and it was fitting that Anasta finished the scoring when he latched onto an intercept to score with two minutes remaining.

The positive to come out of the game was the way the local Greek players performed.

“The European and International Federation need to put resources into countries like Greece and Hungary,” said Anasta.

“The passion for the game in Greece was incredible. They want to play Rugby League and we need to help them.”

Greece 90 (Braith Anasta 4, Terry Constantinou 3, Mitchell Zampatides 2, Sebastian Sell 2, Adam Boris 2, Nake Ioannis , Kristian Aroutsidis tries; Anasta 15 goals) d. Hungary 0 at Mac Stadium, Budaprest, Hungary.
Referee: Radoslav Novakovic. Half-time: Greece 42-0. Crowd: 1013.

‘In Time’: 20th Century Fox sued by Greek screenwriter

Source: digitalspy

A screenwriter has filed a lawsuit in which he alleges that 20th Century Fox stole his idea for the 2011 film In Time.

The science fiction thriller, which stars Amanda Seyfried and Justin Timberlake, shows a future in which people stop ageing once they reach 25. Time then becomes currency, which they must purchase in order to survive.

Justin Timberlake in 'In Time'

© PicSelect

Justin Timberlake in ‘In Time’

The lawsuit, which was obtained by TMZ, claims that Odysseus Lappas wrote a screenplay in 1996 entitled Time Card.

Lappas claims that he had registered his script, which tells the story of a world in which humans must buy more time or they will die aged 25, with the Writers Guild of America.

He states in his filing that he gave the script to 20th Century Fox, who offered him $80,000 (£50,000) for the rights. However, Lappas turned the offer down after the studio refused to let him direct or produce the film.

The studio then went ahead and made In Time, which was “uncannily similar to Time Card“, the Greek screenwriter’s suit alleges.

Lappas is seeking damages worth $4.5m (£2.8m) from the studio.

With a budget totalling $40m (£25m), In Time has grossed $173m (£107m) worldwide to date.

Watch Justin Timberlake talking to Digital Spy about In Time below:

Pictured: Camille Grammer’s injuries ‘revealed as she’s granted restraining order against Greek lover who beat her for an HOUR as she recovered from cancer surgery’


Camille Grammer has been granted a restraining order against her former boyfriend after claiming she was attacked for up to an hour in a brutal hotel room assault.

The 45-year-old former Real Housewives Of Beverly Hills star made the abuses allegations on Twitter on Monday – but did not name the alleged perpetrator.

Now in the latest turn of events, Grammer – the ex-wife of Frasier star Kelsey Grammer – filed a declaration to a judge accusing her Greek boyfriend, Dimitri Charalambopoulos, 36, of pulling out clumps of her hair, leaving her battered and bruised, and fearing for her life.

In the documents filed with a California court, which she supported with photographs of her injuries, Grammer said she was left with bruising on her wrists, a large contusion on the side of her head and scrapes and abrasions to her face and arms.

Offering up evidence: Camille Grammer has supplied pictures of her injuries to a court in a declaration seeking a restraining order after claiming she was assaulted by her Greek boyfriend Dimitri Charalambopoulos

Offering up evidence: Camille Grammer has supplied pictures of her injuries to a court in a declaration seeking a restraining order after claiming she was assaulted by her Greek boyfriend Dimitri Charalambopoulos

Bruised: A judge at a California court granted the restraining order on Tuesday following the alleged incident, which happened almost two week ago in a Houston hotel room, days after she underwent cancer surgery
Bruised: A judge at a California court granted the restraining order on Tuesday following the alleged incident, which happened almost two week ago in a Houston hotel room, days after she underwent cancer surgery

Bruised: A judge at a California court granted the restraining order on Tuesday following the alleged incident, which happened almost two weeks ago in a Houston hotel room, days after she underwent cancer surgery

The incident happened almost two weeks ago at the luxury ZaZa hotel in Houston Texas, just days after the reality star underwent surgery for endometrial cancer.

It's over! Camille seen with Dimitri here at an event in Los Angeles last year last yearIt’s over! Camille seen with Dimitri here at an event in Los Angeles last year last year

Victor Senties, a spokesman for Huston Police Department, confirmed to MailOnline the assault was reported at around 3.30am on October 16.

He said Grammer was the alleged victim of an assault by a male. Investigations continue and no charges have been filed at this stage, said the spokesman.

In the meantime, Grammer filed a four-page declaration at the Superior Court Of California in Santa Monica on Tuesday, detailing her ordeal.

The pair began rowing after Charalambopoulos received a series of texts and a phone call from a woman, who ended up screaming at him down the phone, Grammer states in the court documents.

Charalambopoulos allegedly grabbed Grammer by the hair, twisting it around his hand, before knocking her head against the bed and headboard, with the declaration stating how he was ‘repeatedly slamming my head and face into the furniture and completely immobilizing me’.

Grammer also claimed that Charalambopoulos – who is a lawyer by profession and has also worked as a fitness instructor – ‘squeezed my nose between his finger and pushed upward forcefully, covering my mouth in an attempt to silence me to prevent me from breathing’.

The mother-of-two detailed how she feared for her life, begged him to stop and alleged the attack went on for between 40 minutes and an hour.

Exhibit: A smashed iPhone and clumps of hair, which Camille says her lover pulled out in clumps during the course of the alleged assaultExhibit: A smashed iPhone and pieces of hair, which Camille says her lover pulled out in clumps during the course of the alleged assault

Photographic evidence: She also said she was left with bruising on her wrists, a large contusion on the side of her head and scrapes and abrasions to her face and armsPhotographic evidence: She also said she was left with bruising on her wrists, a large contusion on the side of her head and scrapes and abrasions to her face and arms


Police investigation: A photograph of Camille's wrists in another photograph supplied as part of the declarationPolice investigation: A photograph of Camille’s wrists in another photograph supplied as part of the declaration

When she tried to call for help, he smashed her iPhone, it is alleged. Houston Police told MailOnline the pair ‘broke each other’s cell phones’ during the course of reported altercation.

As Charalambopoulos left the room he threatened to knock her out if she moved from the bed, the declaration states.

A judge has now granted a temporary restraining order, prohibiting Charalambopoulos from going within 100 yards of Grammer or her two children.

Meanwhile, according to RadarOnline, Camille has been recently spotted with various bodyguards.

A source told the site: ‘As soon as Camille returned from Houston, she hired the bodyguards.’

‘Security has been significantly increased at her home and Camille will keep the security detail in place for the foreseeable future. She isn’t taking any chances.’

Grammer and Charalambopoulos began dating in late 2011 and are now said to have split up, according to RadarOnline.

A source told the website: ‘Things between them had been bad for awhile,’ and that Camille called time on the relationship ‘because she was over his antics’.

Taking to Twitter on Monday, Grammer said she planned to press charges against a man – not named by her at the time – who ‘belonged behind bars,’ adding: ‘Info will come out today that is jaw dropping. And women can’t be silenced after being physically abused!’

‘Getting my strength back now that I am at home and wasn’t able to deal with talking about it after my cancer surgery or what had happen [sic],’ she added.

Grammer was inundated with questions from her fans, including whether she was hurt.

‘Yes,’ was all she replied.

Marked up: The photos show what look to be reddish bruising on her armsMarked up: The photos show what look to be reddish bruising on her arms

Court documents: Grammer details her ordeal in a four-page declaration to which she attached photographs of her injuriesCourt documents: Grammer details her ordeal in a four-page declaration to which she attached photographs of her injuries


Detail allegations: A portion of the four-page statement the TV personality's lawyer filed to the Superior Court Of California on TuesdayDetail allegations: A portion of the four-page statement the TV personality’s lawyer filed to the Superior Court Of California on Tuesday


In another tweet, she revealed the alleged abuse happened shortly after her cancer surgery.

‘Yes, it was horrible what had happened to me two days out of the hospital,’ adding, ‘I feared for my life.’

She also claimed to be pressing charges against the alleged perpetrator.

‘Yes, working with lawyers and the police. This man should be behind bars,’ she wrote.

Camille underwent what is known as a ‘radical’ hysterectomy after being diagnosed with early stage endometrial cancer.

Scene of incident: Police were called to the ZaZa hotel in Houston where Camille was allegedly attackedScene of incident: Police were called to the ZaZa hotel in Houston where Camille was allegedly attacked


Getting my strength back now that I am at home and wasn’t able to deal with talking about it after my cancer surgery or what had happen.

— Camille Grammer (@TheRealCamilleG) October 28, 2013

The reality star reportedly had a greater risk of contracting cancer due to genetic issues.

‘The surgery went well and she is expected to make a complete recovery following a significant recuperation period,’ her rep, Howard Bragman, told People magazine earlier this month.

Camille was famously married to actor Kelsey Grammer from 1997 until 2010,while their divorce was finalised in early 2011.

The couple welcomed two children – daughter Mason and son Jude – via surrogate, both of whom she retained primary physical custody.

In the past: Camille was famously married to actor Kelsey Grammer from 1997 until 2010,while their divorce was finalised in early 2011, pictured in NYC in 2010

In the past: Camille was famously married to actor Kelsey Grammer from 1997 until 2010,while their divorce was finalised in early 2011, pictured in NYC in 2010

Two Mt Druitt properties sells for more than $1 million

Source: DailyTelegraph

68 Wehlow St, Mt Druitt sold for $1,066,000 at auction by Laing + Simmons Mt Druitt.

68 Wehlow St, Mt Druitt sold for $1,066,000 at auction by Laing + Simmons Mt Druitt. Source: Supplied

MT Druitt’s property market is smashing the million dollar mark, with the suburb recording two residential sales of more than $1 million in less than a month.

Known as an entry-level suburb for families in Sydney, the recent sales are a sign that Mount Druitt is on the move as its big blocks attract interest because of their development potential.

On September 30, a property at 28 Paull St was sold for $1.1million and on Saturday, a home at 68 Wehlow St, Mt Druitt sold for $1,066,000 at auction by Laing + Simmons Mt Druitt.

The Wehlow St home is modest in size, between 50 and 60 years old and currently returning just $300 a week in rent, but 80 people turned up for the auction and nine registered buyers battled for the property.

The house is on 2024sq m of prime land a few hundred metres from the heart of Mt Druitt and close to a train station, hospital and a Westfield shopping centre.

Lang + Simmons sold another home on Wehlow St in July for $780,000, smashing the previous suburb record of $569,950, set in May.

Lang + Simmons sold this home on Wehlow St in July for $780,000. Source: Supplied

Selling agent Basel Nahas, licensee of Lang + Simmons Mt Druitt , said for the house to achieve more than $1 million was a sign of of confidence in the area.

He said Mt Druitt prices were increasing steadily and buyers could not rely on its affordability to continue.

“Prices are going through the roof. By the time you sell something, the next month when you try and use it as a comparable, it looks like it’s worth more,” he said. “Prices increase month by month.”

The median house price in Mount Druitt is $371,000 and in five years, values have increased by 21.6 per cent. In the greater Sydney metropolitan area, the suburb ranks in the bottom 15 per cent for median house prices.

A typical Mt Druitt street.

A typical Mt Druitt street with smaller, older homes on large blocks of land. Source: News Limited

Mr Nahas said the Wehlow St property attracted attention from long-term investors because of the large block, equivalent to about two standard blocks, and its location.

“It had development significance to it. It was massive – (Blacktown) council had a draft zone on it to eventually put units on it. The minimum is 3000sq m to build units so it’s an investment.”

Mr Nahas said the investor who bought the property would continue renting it, but may buy homes next door in the future to develop and realise the land’s full potential.

“It’s in a good spot in what will be a high capital growth area and position,” he said.

He said the vendor was extremely happy with the result.

Neighbour Mark Eattell lives in a townhouse opposite the property and was at the auction.

“I was surprised but then again it’s a large block so obviously it will be redeveloped,” he said.

Mr Eattell said he expected unit developments on the street in the future, similar to other parts of Mt Druitt.

Mark Eattell

Mark Eattell Source: Supplied

Neighbour Kelly Barton said while she doubted the old house was worth much, the buyer got good value based on the land size.

“If it was a smaller block I would have been shocked but for that block, when you divide it and look at the price I think it’s OK for what they (the buyer) got,” she said.

She said the area was popular and Wehlow St residents were prepared to sell to investors and developers if the price was right.

Lang + Simmons sold another home on the street in July for $780,000, smashing the previous suburb record of $569,950, set in May.

Mr Nahas said strong demand in Mt Druitt would eventually impact its affordability but for now houses and units were still the cheapest in Sydney although “too many buyers are buying so there is a shortage of properties.”

Units prices, which had averaged around $220,000-$230,000, had increased by about $60,000, he said, and prices were likely to rise again next year with no signs of stabilising.

“Mt Druitt is a good suburb… for it to have all its amenities with good rentals and vacancy rate and the M7 and M4 – it all plays a big role,” he said.

Eight of the scariest, haunted places in Australia

Source: News

 By day, the Monte Cristo homestead at Junee looks like any other grand manor.

By day, the Monte Cristo homestead at Junee looks like any other grand manor. Source: Supplied

By night, it's Australia's most haunted house. Spooky.

By night, it’s Australia’s most haunted house. Spooky. Source: Supplied

REGINALD Ryan and his wife Olive had just moved into a beautiful homestead in Junee, NSW, when they drove downtown for supplies one foggy night in 1963.

When they turned up their driveway on the return trip, a brilliant fierce light was streaming out of every door and window of the house.

They thought they were being burgled, but as they drove cautiously closer to the house, the lights suddenly switched off and the house was again lost in the ghostly fog and darkness.

The Ryans had no idea the Monte Cristo homestead was the country’s most haunted home. And it doesn’t seem to have fazed them – they still live there.

Reginald’s nephew and his wife once visited Monte Cristo and were looking for the loo late one night. A young woman dressed in white appeared before them, whispered “Don’t worry, it will be all right” and vanished.

Olive once found dead and mutilated cats in the kitchen. Visiting children inexplicably throw tantrums around the staircase, where a child once died. There are phantom footsteps, strange apparitions and haunting noises.

It’s little wonder the home’s ghost tours are booked out months in advance.

But Monte Cristo isn’t the only haunted place in the country, of course. Here are seven more of our spookiest.



The eerie house at dusk.

The eerie house at dusk. Source: News Limited

On October 15, 1909, in the grounds of the then Camden Grammar School, 14-year-old Ray Blackstone drowned in the dam after failed rescue attempts by his school mates, tells us.

His body was placed in the cold, dark cellar of the school until his burial.

Three decades later, while living in the transformed school house, 13-year-old Noel William Gregory – son of Twentieth Century Fox sales manager Arthur Adolphus Gregory, died from appendicitis.

It’s believed that the spirits of both boys play together and remain in the house as a constant reminder of their tragic lives.



The disused tunnel is said to be haunted by a death that occurred in 1914.

The disused tunnel is said to be haunted by a death that occurred in 1914. Source: News Limited

Emily Bollard entered a railway tunnel at Picton (no longer in use) and met the oncoming train. It didn’t end well.

Emily’s ghost is said to wander the tunnel.



The National Film and Sound Archive in Canberra. Fine by day, but would you wander around at night?

The National Film and Sound Archive in Canberra. Fine by day, but would you wander around at night? Source: Supplied

In its current incarnation, this grand art deco building in Canberra is a living archive of important images and sounds deemed worthy of preservation.

But until 1984, it operated as the Australian Institute of Anatomy, where notable body parts were kept and collected.

Some people believe the spectres of the dead haunt the hallways.

The downstairs corridor, which once housed hundreds of human skulls, is said to be a hive of poltergeist activity.

And a contractor claims to have been pinned against a wall in the basement by an unexplained presence.



The Boggo Road Jail, in Brisbane's inner-south, has a checkered history of violence.

The Boggo Road Jail, in Brisbane’s inner-south, has a checkered history of violence. Source: News Limited

It’s one the country’s most infamous prisons – known for tough inmates and even tougher wardens.

Boggo Rd was a place of execution until 1913, and held some of Australia’s most dangerous men and women including the Whiskey Au-Go-Go firebombers James Finch and Andrew Stuart, and the only woman hanged in Queensland, Ellen Thomson.

Given its long history of rooftop riots, executions and fatal overcrowding, Boggo understandably has a ghostly folklore surrounding it.

No longer running as a prison, the historic site is now open to ghost tours.



A bustling cultural hub today. A lunatic asylum in the past.

A bustling cultural hub today. A lunatic asylum in the past. Source: Flickr

Before this 150-year-old building was Fremantle’s home of live music and weekend crafternoons, it was the local insane asylum.

It’s believed to be one of the southern hemisphere’s most active haunted places.

Visitors have reported all the spooky hallmarks of a haunted house: cold spots, ghostly touches, apparitions, moving lights and generally strange feelings.

Ghost hunters investigated it recently and heard creepy voices saying creepy things like “Those are chains” and “It’s not cold”. CREEPY.



Ghost tours operate at Port Arthur.

Ghost tours operate at Port Arthur. Source: Supplied

Hundreds of men died during Port Arthur’s first decades as a convict settlement, and many people believe those lost souls have hung around.

Tour guides show interested rubber-neckers around the spooky historic town, convinced that the wall separating the worlds of the living and the dead is at its thinnest in Port Arthur.

Some of the local accommodation houses even have an “Unusual Occurrence Form” that guests can fill out when they’ve seen something ghostly.

Recurring visions include the Lady in Blue – apparently the weeping spectre of a young woman who died in childbirth.

More than 2000 apparitions have been lodged in the past two decades.



The grand old dame of Melbourne's theatre scene in 1908.

The grand old dame of Melbourne’s theatre scene in 1908. Source: Flickr

In March 1888, the baritone Frederick Federici was performing a scene from Faust when he had a sudden heart attack and died.

It’s said his phantom still haunts the opera, and for many years a seat was reserved for him in the third row of the dress circle. Touching. But creepy.

A big thank you to Steve and Rosa Prapas who organised and raised $14,000 to go to Bear Cottage, Manly


A BIG THANKS goes to Steve and Rosa Prapas together with their family and friends for their huge effort on the day.

A wonderful tea charity event was organised at St Nicholas Church at Marrickville on the Sunday 27th October, 2013 to raise much needed funds for Bear Cottage at Manly.

A lot of work was put into the planning and running of the event to raise money towards Bear Cottage, Manly.

Peoples’ generosity ensured that all raffles, money board games, auction items were sold in record time.

Steve and Rosa Prapas are extremely pleased to announce that $14,000 was raised for Bear Cottage in Manly which will directly go to the children of the cottage in an effort to make those beautiful smiles even bigger.

The huge donation to Bear Cottage would not have been possible without the generous donations from businesses and individuals that supported the event through cash or donation of prizes.

The day was a huge success with 220 supporters from the Marrickville Greek community and as well as non-greek residents of the area.


Rosa Prapas


Reverend Christodoulos Economou



Penelope Tserpes talking about her experience at Bear Cottage


Rosa Prapas watching slides of Rita’s experience at Bear Cottage


Reverend Christodoulos Economou, Reverend Father Nicolaos Bozikis, Rita’s grandfather and mother and Narrelle Martin (Hospice nursing unit manager, Bear Cottage)



People couldn’t get enough of buying tickets


Rosa Prapas on a roll in starting the auction items








Coffee and cake time


What is bear cottage?

A little bit about Bear Cottage

Bear Cottage is the only children’s hospice in NSW, one of only two in Australia, and the only one in the world affiliated with a children’s hospital. It is a very special place that’s dedicated to caring for children with life-limiting conditions and their families.

Planning began for Bear Cottage almost 20 years ago, when Dr John Yu and Dr Michael Stevens from The Children’s Hospital at Westmead decided to enhance the hospital’s palliative care program.

Located on Sydney’s Northern Beaches, in Manly, Bear Cottage is like a home away from home – as far removed from a hospital environment as possible. Here staff do not wear uniforms, no medical procedures are carried out in the bedrooms, the children’s rooms are designed to like a normal bedroom, and we even have a family pet, Frankie, our adorable Labrador. That said, Bear Cottage is set up to provide excellence in paediatric medical care 24 hours a day, and our affiliation to The Children’s Hospital at Westmead means we have access to some of the best medical resources in the world.

The facility was established entirely through community support, at a cost of $10 million, and was officially opened on St Patrick’s Day, 17 March 2001,

Bear Cottage does not receive any recurrent government funding and so continues to rely on donated funds and community support to raise over $2.9 million required to operate each year.


Who benefits from Bear Cottage?

Bear Cottage provides support, respite and end of life care for children with life-limiting illnesses and their families.

We care for children from across Australia, regardless of where they receive their primary care, although the majority of families that access the service are from NSW. The children who visit Bear Cottage will range from newborn infants to 18 years of age; however accommodation is also available for parents, as well as siblings, of the children staying.

When these families are told that their child’s life will be cut short, their everyday existence takes on a monumental change. As they embark on such a terrible journey, there are limited options available to help them get through each day, and answer the many questions that arise. Having Bear Cottage available to them for care and support enables these families to focus on the important things, such as spending quality time together and making every moment count.

Most families staying at Bear Cottage will come for respite; with the average length of stay is around one week to ten days. Families are generally able to visit Bear Cottage around 4 times a year for general respite, however for end of life care this can be open ended.


The Facts and Figures

Estimates suggest there are well over 5000 children aged 0 – 19 years across Australia requiring palliative care. In the last year alone we have cared for well over 200 children with a life-limiting illness. There have been 16 children this year that have come to Bear Cottage for end-of-life care – where they can be surrounded by love and support, in a happy, safe environment, right until the end. And in the last 10 years we have supported around 600 families, both current and bereaved, as they go through their heart wrenching journey.


Why is Bear Cottage special?

Whilst staying with us, our families can do as little or as much as they like. We have staff and volunteers on hand to do the cooking and cleaning, allowing families to forget about the stresses of everyday life, if just for a short time. We are fully medically assisted, so our nurses are available 24 hours a day to administer medications and support and guidance; and Frankie, our resident dog, is always around for a cuddle. We have full-time play and music therapists, and volunteers are there so mum and dad can spend time together or with their other children – often something that is forgotten when you’re caring for a terribly ill child.

Bear Cottage is there for every child, parent, or family who needs us, and they will never have to pay a cent. With one, and sometimes both parents, giving up work to care for their child, many of our families are simply not in a financial position to pay for anything that is not absolutely necessary.

By having Bear Cottage available to them at no charge means they can take a break and re-charge their batteries, safe in the knowledge that their child is being cared for by the best staff available. They can enjoy time with one another without having to worry about the housework and cooking. Most importantly though, they can spend quality time together and create special memories that will last long after their child has passed away.


Goals for Bear Cottage – 2013

It currently costs more than $2.9 million a year to keep the doors open at Bear Cottage. With no recurrent government funding, we rely entirely on community support to raise these funds.

Our goal for 2013, as with every year, is to raise sufficient funding to keep Bear Cottage available for the very special kids and their families that rely on it. We also aim to give the children that visit Bear Cottage as many special memories as possible – because although we can’t add years to their lives we can add life to their years.

All funding makes an incredible difference to Bear Cottage and the children that come here. It allows us to continue providing vital services such as:

  • paying for daily medication for patients
  • funding important kid and parent camps
  • providing a play therapist for the children
  • ensuring that vital equipment is available for treatment and care
  • help fund families to stay at Bear Cottage for respite and end of life care
  • help pay for a specialised paediatric palliative care doctor

For many people, Bear Cottage is perceived as a sad place. But for those families who visit here, the staff who work here and the volunteers and community who support us, it is an incredibly special and happy place, where lasting memories are created.

Source: Bear Cottage

Bear Cottage - An initiative of The Children's Hospital at Westmead

Underwater Marmaray tunnel linking Europe and Asia via Istanbul opens

Source: News

Turkish President Abdullah Gul (3rd R), Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan (4th R), Somalian President Hasan Sheikh Mahmud (2nd R) and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (R) listen to the train driver at the Uskudar Marmaray station.

TURKEY has opened world’s first underwater tunnel connecting two continents, fulfilling an Ottoman sultan’s dream 150 years ago in a three-billion-euro mega project.

The Marmaray tunnel runs under the Bosporus, the strait that connects the Black Sea to the Sea of Marmara and divides Istanbul between Asia and Europe. The tunnel is 13.6km long, including an underwater stretch of 1.4km.

It is among a number of large infrastructure projects under the government of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan that have helped boost the economy but also have provoked a backlash of public protest.

“I wish from God that the Marmaray that we are inaugurating will be a benefit to our Istanbul, to our country, to all of humanity,” Mr Erdogan said at the opening ceremony.

Officials hope that with up to 1.5 million passengers a day, the tunnel will ease some of Istanbul’s chronic traffic, particularly over the two bridges linking the two sides of the city. A more distant dream is that the tunnel may become part of a new train route for rail travel between Western Europe and China.

The underwater portion of the tunnel wasn’t dug, but was dropped in sections to the sea bottom – the immersed-tube method used around the world.

Turkish officials say that at more than 55m deep, it is the world’s deepest railway tunnel of its type.

Turkey is for the first time connecting its European and Asian sides with a railway tunnel, completing a plan initially proposed by an Ottoman sultan about 150 years ago.

Started in 2005 and scheduled to be completed in four years, the project was delayed by important archaeological finds, including a 4th century Byzantine port, as builders began digging under the city.

Rejecting any fears that the tunnel could be vulnerable to earthquakes in a region of high seismic activity, Turkish Transportation Minister Binali Yildirim said that it is designed to withstand a massive 9.0 magnitude quake. He calls it “the safest place in Istanbul.”

The tube sections are joined by flexible joints that can withstand shocks.

Ottoman Sultan Abdulmejid is said to have proposed the idea of a tunnel under the Bosporus about a century and a half ago. One of his successors, Abdulhamid, had architects submit proposals in 1891, but the plans were not carried out.

The tunnel is just one of Mr Erdogan’s large-scale plans. They include a separate tunnel being built under the Bosporus for passenger cars, a third bridge over the strait, the world’s biggest airport, and a massive canal that would bypass the Bosporus.

The projects have provoked charges that the government is plunging ahead with city-changing plans without sufficient public consultation. The concern fueled protests that swept Turkey in June.

Officials hope the tunnel will eventually carry 1.5 million passengers a day, easing some of Istanbul’s chronic traffic problems.

Tuesday’s ceremony on the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Turkish Republic was attended by Mr Erdogan and other officials, including Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, whose country was heavily involved in the construction and financing of the railway tunnel project.

Japan’s Seikan tunnel linking the Japanese islands of Honshu and Hokkaido is the world’s deepest, getting 140 metres below the seabed and 240m below sea level. The Channel Tunnel linking Britain and France is as much as 75m below sea level.


The inauguration of the ambitious scheme – dubbed “the project of the century” by the government – coincides with the 90th anniversary of the founding of modern Turkey.

The idea was first floated by Ottoman sultan Abdoul Medjid in 1860 but technical equipment at the time was not good enough to take the project further.

However the desire to build an undersea tunnel grew stronger in the 1980s and studies also showed that such a tunnel would be feasible and cost-effective.

Mr Erdogan, a former mayor of Istanbul, revived the plan in 2004 as one of his mega projects for the bustling city of 16 million people – which also include a third airport, a third bridge across the Bosphorus and a canal parallel to the international waterway to ease traffic.

His ambitions were one cause for the massive anti-government protests that swept the country in June, with local residents complaining the premier’s urban development plans were forcing people from their homes and destroying green space.

Mr Erdogan’s critics accuse him of bringing forward the inauguration of the Bosphorus tunnel in time for municipal elections in March 2014.

The project will not be fully operational immediately and construction is expected to continue for several more years.

Construction of the tunnel started in 2004 and had been scheduled to take four years but was delayed after a series of major archaeological discoveries.

Some 40,000 objects were excavated from the site, notably a cemetery of some 30 Byzantine ships, which is the largest known medieval fleet.

But these unexpected finds eventually frustrated Mr Erdogan, who complained two years ago that artefacts were trumping his plans to transform Istanbul’s cityscape.

“First (they said) there was archaeological stuff, then it was clay pots, then this, then that. Is any of this stuff more important than people?”

Transport is a major problem in Istanbul, and each day two million people cross the Bosphorus via two usually jammed bridges.

“While creating a transportation axis between the east and west points of the city, I believe it will soothe the problem… with 150,000 passenger capacity per hour,” said Istanbul’s mayor Kadir Topbas.

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