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Hindmarsh wins portraiture prize  

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A VIDEO entry has been named the winner of the 2012 Tasmanian Portraiture Prize. Three judges chose Studio Drag, by Laura Hindmarsh, as the winner of the annual awards at a ceremony in Hobart last night.
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Studio Drag is a video representation of an artist struggling with her weighty desk and attempting to align her real-life studio to an image of a studio projected on the opposite wall.

The runner-up was former Glover Prize winner Josh Foley, of South Launceston, for his portrait of Raymond Arnold calling his dogs: Approaching Storm.

This is the fifth year of the portraiture award, which is open to Tasmanian artists aged under 30.

An exhibition of this year’s works will be on show at The Long Gallery, Salamanca, from today until September 22, before moving to the Sawtooth Gallery in Launceston from October 5 to 27, followed by a showing at the Devonport Regional Gallery from November 2 to 25.

Laura Hindmarsh’s video Studio Drag (detail) was named the winner of the 2012 Tasmanian Portraiture Prize last night.

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Harcourt’s Chaplin shoots for gold

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LONDON – Harcourt’s Selley Chaplin and her Australian Gliders team-mates were shooting for gold in this morning’s women’s basketball final at the London Paralympics.
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Australia and Germany took to the court at 6.15am (AEST).

Victory to the Gliders would complete the medal set for Chaplin after Australia won bronze in Beijing, and silver in Athens.

Chaplin celebrated her 28th birthday last Tuesday and has played a key role in the Gliders winning streak in London.

The Gliders withstood a spirited final quarter fightback from the United States to score a 40-39 victory in the semi-final.

Although she did not score a point, Chaplin’s defensive play and three assists were vital.

Australia and the US were 26-all at half-time before the Gliders surged to a 38-28 lead with a quarter to go.

One of the most exciting basketball contests in Paralympic history was not decided until less than two seconds to play.

Glider Kylie Gauci said the team planned to capitalise on Germany’s dislike of “chair-on-chair” play.

“They are polite (but) they do get very cranky at us when we hit them,” said Gauci.

In separate pools in London, Australia and Germany had not played one another since the 2000 Sydney Paralympics.

Meanwhile, Australia’s men’s wheelchair basketball team will play Canada in the duel for gold tonight.

The Rollers beat Canada in the final four years ago, but will face a huge task in trying to limit the impact Patrick Anderson has in the final.

“It will be tough – Canada has a wealth of experience,” Rollers’ veteran Brad Ness said after the semi-final win.

TOUGH SHOT: Harcourt’s Shelley Chaplin aims for the basket in Australia’s one-point semi-final win against the United States. Picture: GETTY IMAGES

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High Court refuses right to appeal

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CONVICTED killer Susan Blyth Neill-Fraser yesterday failed to convince the High Court of Australia of her right to appeal, but her family has vowed to continue their three-year fight to overturn the conviction.
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Chief Justice Robert French and Justice Susan Crennan dismissed the Neill-Fraser family’s bid to appeal the murder conviction for killing Bob Chappell aboard the couple’s yacht moored in the Derwent River in 2009.

The judges ruled that the defence had “not shown she (Neill-Fraser) was denied opportunity on a point of substance”.

Earlier, Michael Croucher, SC, had argued that the defence case was hampered when the trial judge, and subsequently the court of appeal, decided there was no need to recall a witness whose DNA was found aboard the yacht.

“They applied the wrong judgment and, consequently, came to the wrong conclusion,” Mr Croucher said in making their decision.

“Her counsel wasn’t armed with very relevant evidence to her defence until after the witness was gone . . . it was very powerful information and the defence was shut out from developing this.”

Tasmanian Director of Public Prosecutions Tim Ellis said that the 15-year-old witness had already been “bashed by the trial counsel” when there was nothing else to connect her to the victim except the DNA.

He said that in the interests of justice it would not have been fair to recall her “in order (for the defence) to cross examine her, in order to bully her, and to get her to agree to propositions she ought not agree to”.

Outside the court, Neill-Fraser’s daughter Sarah Bowles said that the verdict was disappointing for the family – which would fight on.

“We are extremely disappointed that, once again, we haven’t been able to achieve justice through this court process (although) we always knew that when we got to this High Court level that we would be extremely limited in what we could actually put before the court,” she said.

“But we can hold out hope as we know there’s a lot that hasn’t been able to be presented in the courts given the nature of the High Court federal leave application.”

The family is now seeking legal advice on whether there is a chance of clemency.

The Tasmanian Court of Criminal Appeal dismissed Neill-Fraser’s appeal against the conviction but upheld her appeal against her 26-year prison sentence, reducing it to 23 years with a non-parole period of 13 years. Mr Chappell’s body has not been found.

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Bandits out to finish on top

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SINCE the start of the Albury-Wodonga Bandits’ rags-to-riches SEABL campaign, coach Brad Chalmers has, after each victory, made a point of tearing from a printed pad taped to the locker room wall the number of wins his team has racked up.
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With the final game of the season this afternoon — the SEABL’s championship decider, no less — Chalmers has a chance to sign off on win No.19 for the Border club and a slice of history for perhaps the most unlikely league champions ever.

The Bandits head to the State Basketball Centre in Wantirna for a winner-takes-all clash with the heavily favoured Dandenong Rangers, the only team the North East outfit is yet to beat this year.

Chalmers readily admitted he was under no illusions as to the enormity of the task facing the South Conference champions.

“It’s definitely going to take a big effort,” Chalmers said.

“Defensively is going to be the key, over the past six to eight weeks, Dandenong have had some patches of different form, they’ve had quarters where they’ve struggled and quarters where they’ve exploded.

“So I think that unpredictability about them, we’re just going to have to be really prepared for that and then rebound and be physical with them.

“They’ll throw a fair bit of pressure on us, which you would expect, but if we can manage all those things and keep the game at a tempo we’re comfortable with, I think we’ll be around the mark.”

Chalmers was more than happy to let his squad bask in the glow of its conference championship win over Knox for a couple of days and said he had no problems getting the players to refocus on the ultimate prize this weekend.

“It’s been a good week, we’ve practised pretty well, which is good,” Chalmers said.

“We let the players enjoy the win a little bit but they’re all really motivated, they understand it’s another big game and we want to try to finish off on the right note.

“I didn’t need to prod them much for motivation, it’s been pretty smooth sailing and as to the mental side of it, it’s probably just preparing for a different team now.

“It was definitely in the back of our minds that you have to live in the moment a little bit.

“Yes, we won, but then we have to prepare again and I thought by Tuesday we were on the same page about where we needed to be.”

Despite the satisfaction of claiming a conference title on their home court, Chalmers admitted he had thought about how amazing it would be to tear off win No.19.

“It’d be enormous, last week was a great result but at the end of the day, from the team’s standpoint, we want one more,” Chalmers said.

“We want to be the best team in the league if we can be.

“Yes, it’s great we won our conference and we’re top two but at the end of the day, if we win, we’ll be the best team for 2012.

“I think Dandenong will be in the same boat, they’ve worked hard all year, they probably think they’ve been the best team all year and they probably have been.

“But there’s probably an expectation there from their end that they’ll finish the season like that, which you expect.

“But from our end, our expectations have just grown and grown as we’ve found our way and we’re in the same position now, we expect to get that win and finish the year No.1.

“And if we do, I think it’s a big accomplishment, more Cinderella than it’s already been and that’s the beauty of it, we can still go one step further, which would be enormous for everyone.”

Bandits coach Brad Chalmers is hoping to notch win No.19.

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London calling Belvoir pupils

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STUDENTS at Belvoir Special School were beamed via video link into the athlete’s village in London yesterday for a chat with one of their Paralympic heroes.
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Javelin thrower Madeleine Hogan, who has a left-arm limb deficiency, took a barrage of probing questions from the excited group, giving an great insight into life as an elite athlete and Paralympian.

When asked by one of the students about what was the best thing about being at the Paralympics, she answered that other than the chance to get on the medal podium, the food at the athlete’s village had to be the highlight.

“What do you want? Because I can get it for you,” the Beijing bronze medallist joked.

“Village life is very cool. It’s probably the furthest thing from normality you can expect, with so many athletes from all different countries around — and everything is free.”

This answer was met with great appreciation by the audience, as was the revelation she goes to bed at 9pm or 10pm, and gets up at 5am when she is in an intense-training period.

But her disclosure that she is a Melbourne Demons supporter in answer to a question about AFL allegiances had a more mixed response.

The event was brought to the school by Telstra as part of their Paralympic Education Program.

Belvoir students have a link up with our Paralympians in London.

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Prime site to go under hammer

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THE former Winsor Park Bowling Club site will be auctioned on October 19 for the first time since the NSW Railways acquired the land about 130 years ago.
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The moves open the way for a developer to build up to four storeys on the site if the building doesn’t obscure the view of the railway station too much.

Albury agents Stanley & Martin are not disclosing the expected sale price but the state government asked the SS& A Club for $2 million about two years ago if it wanted to buy the freehold without any restrictions on reselling it.

The club gave up the lease from the NSW State Property Authority on June 30 last year after directors rejected the $2 million request and an alternative offer of paying only $500,000 on condition it was always used only as a bowling club.

A director of Stanley & Martin, Steve Martin, said the Young Street site was a prime location.

“It is zoned B4 Mixed Use, which allows it to be developed for a wide range of activities,” Mr Martin said.

“Retail, offices or even residential may be suitable for the site subject to council approval.”

Mr Martin noted that the site fell within the State Heritage Register boundary for Albury railway station precinct.

Historian Dr Bruce Pennay said he was pleased the city council had previously made clear that whatever replaced the greens and old clubrooms must respect the presence of the elegant railway station.

Winsor Park will be offered on two titles with a total area of just over 8300 square meters.

“This is one of the largest parcels to be offered in the Albury central business district for some time,” Mr Martin said.

“The majority of the site is vacant, which is a huge plus for developers as often the demolition costs of a site can price it out of contention.”

Steve Martin at the Winsor Bowling Club site.

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Nick’s slaying them at Giants

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GREATER Western Sydney says it could not be more impressed by youngster Nick Coughlan after the Scots student was awarded the GWS academy award at the Giants’ inaugural best and fairest count this week.
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Coughlan, 15, was awarded the trophy for excellence at the Kevin Sheedy medal count at Homebush in Sydney on Thursday night.

Giants Academy manager Lachlan Buszard said praised the work ethic shown by the Scots student throughout the Giants’ academy program this season.

“We cannot be more impressed with Nick’s character and commitment to football,” Buszard said.

“He’s a developing key positional player who has the ability to play both forward and back.

“His impressive form for the NSW-ACT Rams at the under-16 National Championships saw him win selection in the AFL-AIS Academy squad.”

Coughlan, who will line-up for Albury’s thirds in its second semi-final clash at Wangaratta today, was recently chosen as part of the Australian Institute of Sport’s next intake of level-one squad members coached by former Brisbane star Chris Johnson.

The squad will tour New Zealand in January.

The Giants academy award is awarded each year to a regional zone player and registered academy member who has represented NSW.

The player must have exhibited exceptional leadership skills, sound physical preparation and consistent performance.

Importantly, they must have the capacity to develop into an AFL footballer.

Albury defender and former Sydney star, Tadhg Kennelly, recently labelled selection for the AIS-AFL academy program as a “huge stepping stone” towards being drafted by an AFL club.

Nick Coughlan was awarded the GWS academy award at the Giants’ inaugural best and fairest count this week

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From the farm to the field

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YOU would think it would be near impossible to switch off from footy in a town that thrives on it, that’s unless you are Brandon Symes.
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Not much fazes the lanky Yarrawonga star with the ginger locks and 195-centimetre frame, one who feels just at home in the cab of a tractor as he does in the middle of the J.C. Lowe Oval with the footy in his hands.

Off a large cropping farm at Lake Rowan, near Tungamah — he also works for the Dowling brothers at Yarrawonga — Symes is one of a handful of Pigeons who come off the land.

And it says a lot about him, too.

Honest, hard-working and reserved to those he doesn’t know, Symes’ lifestyle means he doesn’t think about footy 24/7.

And that’s a good thing heading into today’s big semi-final against Wangaratta Rovers at Norm Minns Oval.

“The farm’s good, it takes your mind off footy,” he says.

The laidback 21-year-old is the prototype for a modern ruckman.

Quick, agile, aggressive, brave and with a leap on him to rival Russell Robertson, Symes is a major reason why Yarrawonga won the minor premiership and is just a win away from a fourth consecutive grand final.

Some believe Symes will feature prominently in the club’s best-and-fairest count on October 5, a statement that would have been hard to believe 12 months ago.

No longer does he have to wait in the wings behind the likes of Sam Keenan and Steve McKee, Symes is now the No. 1 big man at the club.

He had offers to go elsewhere but has been rewarded for his patience and loyalty.

Symes, who was best-afield in last year’s reserves flag, has featured in all 18 senior games this season after playing just five last year.

He has been Yarrawonga’s best in its two wins against the Rovers.

“This year has been my best year,” Symes said.

“I’ve played every game in the seniors which is the first time I’ve done that.

“I’ve cemented my spot now.

“I was always going to stay at Yarra and I’m glad I stayed, especially with the season we are having.”

In one of the most mouth-watering match-ups of the finals series, Symes and Wangaratta Rovers star Karl Norman will go head-to-head today in a pivotal duel that will be well worth following.

Like most involved in the Ovens and Murray league, Symes is in awe of Norman’s talent.

“He’s a gun,” he says.

“He plays as a ruckman as well as an onballer, he uses the ball really well.

“He’s definitely up there with the best ruckmen in the comp.”

As is Symes, you just won’t hear him say it.

Brandon Symes will be a key player for Yarrawonga today. Picture: TARA ASHWORTH

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Former mayor might return

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FORMER Wodonga mayor John Watson is contemplating a return to local government eight years after he departed.
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Mr Watson left Wodonga Council in 2004 when he bought Hungry Jack’s franchises in Albury, Lavington and Wagga.

He was part of the first council elected after the commissioners era in 1997 along with Les Boyes, Bill Buckpitt, Graham Crapp and Ray O’Toole.

Mr Watson said he would declare his hand before the September 25 nomination deadline.

“I am considering it,” he said.

“The council should be still like a board of directors who go in and do the strategic planning.

“I think councils are a bit out of touch with the people. We need to be available to the people and put every issue up.”

The only surviving member of the current Wodonga Council to have worked alongside Mr Watson is Cr Lisa Mahood, who was mayor when he resigned.

He was mayor when the One City debate was ignited and he remained a strong believer in Albury and Wodonga sharing resources.

“The frustration is people are not talking cross-border any more,” he said.

“We do it with sport, we play football and other sports on both sides of the river. But when it comes to local government and other things nothing happens.

“If I went back in I really would want to be hands on.

“Being a people person is important, you’ve got to listen to everyone’s point of view.”

Mr Watson has sold his Hungry Jack’s franchises and now works as a training consultant for The Personnel Group.

He has one son, Dugald, still attending high school, with other sons Digby on a gap year in Vanuatu and George studying veterinary science at Wagga.

He and his wife Christine recently moved off the family property, de Kerilleau.

Mr Watson’s departure from the council caused a by-election and it was taken out by John Mahony.

John Watson is considering a return to local government.

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Voters want to decide mayor

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LET the people vote for the mayor.
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That’s the message from the final instalment of The Border Mail’s online survey ahead of today’s local government elections.

Councillors vote on an annual basis for the mayor and deputy mayor roles, but 73.4 per cent of the respondents to the survey want ratepayers to decide the mayor.

A popularly elected mayor was pushed hard by former mayor Amanda Duncan-Strelec during her time on council.

But the incumbent, Cr Alice Glachan, said her position had changed on the issue since joining the council in 2004.

“There are greater merits for the councillors to select from within,” she said.

“The councillors know each other better than the community knows us. The councillor portrayed in the media can be very different to the person we deal with on a daily basis.

“We as a group of nine councillors need to work as a team.

“It is far better to elect the mayor annually.”

Cr Glachan has served three of the four years of the current council as mayor after taking over from Cr Patricia Gould in 2009.

She has survived challenges from Cr Henk van de Ven in the last three years with Cr Gould also re-nominating for mayor in 2009.

Even if Cr Glachan is unsuccessful in being re-elected she will remain caretaker mayor until the mayoral election.

Albury’s new council will meet for the first time on September 24 and will elect a mayor and deputy mayor.

Les Tomich conducts mayoral ballot. Our online survey has shown voters want to decide the mayor.

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