Animal activist Raye rejects ‘hate’ charge by hunter

Vocal opponent of hunting: Sylvia Raye says she will not be silenced. Picture: Chris LaneST GEORGE resident Sylvia Raye has had her critics over the years but never before has she been accused of peddling hate.
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The entertainer and animal activist was referred to as the ‘‘high priestess of hate’’ in a recent online post about hunting by blogger Garry Mallard for her vocal opposition to hunting.

After the post was published Ms Raye received intimidating emails.

She said she would not be silenced and would continue to oppose hunting.

‘‘I’m pretty courageous and I’m going to continue fighting against shooting in the national parks,’’ she said.

Ms Raye was targeted for her comments regarding Game Council chairman Robert Borsak, who gained notoriety after shooting an elephant in Zimbabwe.

‘‘It is absolutely ridiculous – Robert Borsak is the one who shot the elephant, not me,’’ she said.

‘‘I’ve been to a war zone and seen what guns and violence can do; surely we should be aiming for a kinder world without unnecessary killing going on.

‘‘I will speak out for injustice, that’s what I do.’’

Mr Mallard said that Ms Raye had promoted her personal causes and philosophies broadly through social media.

‘‘Freedom of speech does not include the right to demonise or vilify a cultural group, and many hunters identify themselves as people preserving skills and practices as part of their cultural heritage,’’ he said.

‘‘As a man who grew up in the shire, I am proud of the hunting heritage passed down to me by my grandfather and father, both also long-term and socially responsible, contributing residents of the shire.

‘‘I refute that I have ever associated Ms Raye or her activities with acts of terrorism.

‘‘[But] when people peddle messages of hatred in a manner that dehumanises their target, such messages [can] incite irrational and often extremely violent acts in response, the inspiration for which they are quick to deny all responsibility for.’’

Do you think hunting is cruel or a legitimate sport?

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Abbott rides his way into the SE

FEDERAL Opposition Leader Tony Abbott emphasised the importance of a strong economy when he visited the SE earlier this week.
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Asked whether the electorate of Barker had been taken for granted due to being a “safe” Liberal seat, Mr Abbott said the best thing the government could do was provide a strong economy.

He said throwing money at electorates in order to “buy” their votes was not the right way to go about it.

“A government that tries to buy votes rather than earn votes is invariably a bad government,” he said. “A government that is throwing money at local monuments as it were is a government which is invariably going to be bad at managing the economy.”

Mr Abbott was in Barker taking part in the Pollie Pedal ride, raising money for Carers Australia.

Showing the years of sitting in Parliament have not affected his fitness, Mr Abbott said he felt fine following the ride from Meningie to Kingston on Monday – more than could be said for one of his fellow riders.

“It’s bloody sad we had a wretched feral deer jump out in front of one of our riders (Wayne Heathcote) today,” he said.

“It’s not absolutely clear what damage he suffered but it looked like a broken collarbone and a pretty badly smashed-up ankle. He’s probably going to be off his bike for three or four months I suspect.”

After a meet and greet at the Kingston Community School Mr Abbott held a community forum at the town’s football clubrooms and answered questions about subjects such as foreign ownership of Australian land and the live export trade.

He supported foreign ownership, saying Australians should get the best price possible on their land, regardless of who is buying.

He also supported the live export of Australian livestock with Indonesia – describing the suspension of trade on the back of a television expose as “one of the biggest foreign policy blunders in Australian history.”

Mr Abbott also reiterated his plan to get rid of the carbon tax if he were made Prime Minister.

After the forum he spoke with the Herald about the National Broadband Network and the differences between Labor’s plan to connect fibre-optic cables to homes and the Coalition’s proposal to link them to existing infrastructure.

“The government’s NBN is not coming near here any time soon – it’s really just a pipe dream as far as communities like Kingston are concerned,” he said.

“Our NBN will ensure every single community gets access to 25 megabits per second download speeds – that’s five times the current national average maximum download speed – by the end of 2016.

“So you’ll get faster broadband more quickly under the Coalition and the cost to the taxpayer will be vastly less – we think we can save $60 billion by doing it our way.”

He also responded to Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s announcement on Monday regarding a revenue shortfall of $12 billion in the Federal budget.

“It’s not an announcement, it’s an excuse,” he said. “She is basically saying ‘we’re not going to be able to keep our commitments because the revenue has collapsed’.

“That’s nonsense – the revenue hasn’t collapsed at all, it’s just all her spending commitments are growing exponentially and she’s trying to make excuses for the fact she can’t manage the budget.”

Mr Abbott threw his support behind Barker’s Liberal candidate, Tony Pasin.

“He’s a local, he’s very able and very energetic,” he remarked. “I think that makes him an outstanding candidate and I think it means if he gets elected he’ll be a really good member.”

He said he was “inevitably” sad to see outgoing member Patrick Secker go but it was for the best.

“Sooner or later your time is up,” he said. “Of course I am disappointed, but in the end all of us have to answer to our party as well as to the wider electorate.”

Liberal candidate for Barker Tony Pasin (left) and Federal opposition leader Tony Abott in Kingston on Monday as part of the “Pollie Pedal” ride.

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Hottest summer ever? Yes it was, say experts

Western Sydney has just had its hottest summer on record and scientists say it is undoubtedly a result of human-induced climate change.
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But much of the heat has dissipated from debate on how to dampen the effects of climate change.

In Parramatta at least, a grass-roots conference of residents, activists, politicians and community groups has kept climate change on the agenda and will meet again next week.

“Climate change is here – that’s the word from climate scientists,” climate change activist Fred Fuentes said.

‘‘And it’s going to be worse for western Sydney.

‘‘The Climate Commission has shown that the number of hot days in western Sydney has increased by 60 per cent (since records started).

‘‘It’s critical that we act now, to reduce carbon emissions and replace fossil fuel-driven energy with sustainable, renewable forms.’’

Mr Fuentes said increasing temperatures in western Sydney were exacerbated by large islands of concrete and asphalt that absorbed and radiated heat from the sun.

‘‘The conference will be a crucial opportunity for those in Sydney who are concerned to stop the slide into runaway climate change to get together to discuss the way forward,’’ he said.

Speaking at the conference will be journalist and author Simon Butler, anti-coal seam gas activist Jess Moore, and Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon.

The advocacy group, Beyond Zero Emissions, will give a presentation on the possibility of powering the economy solely from renewable energy.

Details: The second annual Climate Change Social Change Conference, Parramatta Town Hall on Saturday, May 11.

■Summer 2012/13 was the hottest on record;

■Parramatta experienced its hottest temperature, of 45.5 on January 18;

■Australia’s average maximum temperature on January 14 was a record-breaking 40.33;

■In March the Climate Commission said there was a 500:1 chance the number of broken records was a natural event.

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Network scrutinised

Residents in Bourke, Louth, Wanaaring, Cobar, Nyngan, Girilambone, Coolabah, Hermidale and surrounding areas can expect to see low-flying aircraft inspecting powerlines from the beginning of May through to the end of July, as Essential Energy carries out its annual aerial maintenance inspections.
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Weather permitting, these inspections will operate every day during daylight hours.

Essential Energy’s regional general manager far west and water operations, Guy Chick said the inspections were an important part of Essential Energy’s annual maintenance program to provide a safe and efficient electricity supply to customers.

“Aerial inspections are the perfect tool for patrolling and inspecting overhead powerlines.

“It is a fast and effective method and is not dependent on ground conditions or powerline access,” Mr Chick said

“Taking to the sky allows us to systematically assess the electricity network and easily pinpoint potential weaknesses, including faults, areas where the network has suffered damage from storms or where there is vegetation overhanging powerlines.

“Once identified we are then able to send in an Essential Energy crew directly to the site to address these problems,” he said.

“The inspections are carried out by fixed wing aircraft, fitted with high-resolution digital cameras, GPS equipment and computers which improve visibility, allowing our team to get a better snapshot of our network,” he added.

Essential Energy’s comprehensive check of the network includes the scrutiny of poles and wires from above as well as from the ground, ensuring the network is in the best possible condition to provide safe and reliable power supply to customers.

“Owners of sensitive animals should also advise Essential Energy on 13 20 80 if they require a no-fly zone so arrangements can be made prior to aerial inspections starting,” Mr Chick said.

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No, they aint war games

‘‘Yes, we really kicked ass..’’
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So said a young Australian at Gallipoli, now a must-visit on any tourist itinerary on the grand tour of Europe and environs.

There it is in two: the ignorance of history and the tragic Anzac story, and the innappropriate Americanism ‘‘kicked ass’’.

Ladeez and gentlemen, for your entertainment: the Roosters v the Dragons and Anzac Day.

No surprise that Anzac Day—football has become an entertainment extravaganza: it’s all showbiz now in the computer age.

Thus we had Brad Fittler and Ben Hornby descending in a helicopter before presenting the inaugural Ashton-Collier Cup to an Army representative.

Fittler said it was ‘‘awesome’’ and humbling.

We had commentators with the obligatory sprigs of rosemary and making the point that a rugby league game couldn’t be equated with the Anzacs, as the pre-match extravaganza rolled on.

Then we had the Ray Warren-Phil Gould contradiction: saying as veteran Roosters fullback Anthony Minichiello sprinted away for a try: ‘‘Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. Lest we forget.’’

AFL coach Mick Malthouse is aware of a world outside of football. He once made reference to Kofi Annan, the then United Nations secretary general.

But Malthouse also once got into trouble for berating his team for not showing some of the Anzac spirit on Anzac Day. Only a game of football.

At least St George Illawarra coach Steve Price didn’t berate his team with Anzac spirit references after the Dragons were beaten.

Older Roosters-Dragons fans might remember other times and other Anzac Day matches.

A time when the game was played at the Sydney Cricket Ground and was preceded by a simple performance by a military brass band, unaccompanied by helicopter arrivals, hype and television.

A time when old Diggers went to the football or the Randwick races and when two-up was permitted just for the day.

A time when everyone had fathers and uncles who had seen war service.

A time when if they weren’t marching, fathers sat in front of black-and-white televisions and watched the Anzac Day march, every minute of it, and weren’t to be disturbed.

Silence was understood.

It was a solemn day. That was understood too.

It was also a less diverse, more monochrome, more repressive Australia accused of apathy by those who decried its provincialism.

Was that apathy better than the flag-waving American-style aggressive nationalism of now, the type that would have been anathema then?

It’s a moot point.

Few travelled overseas then, most couldn’t afford it, and packaged tours to Gallipoli were beyond imagining.

Better times now.

The Kontiki-style packaged tour to Ypres-Gallipoli-El Alamein and all points in between can’t be far away; there’ll be the Papua New Guinea five-day special, and for the adventurous, the Kokoda Track abseiling-bungee jump tour.

For those who want to travel in leisurely five-star luxury, who could beat the Islander cruise, incorporating the Coral Sea, Solomon Islands, Guam and Wake Island and ending at Pearl Harbour.

If you want to kick a goal, now that’s a kick-ass holiday.

It’s called progress.

Entertaining as the Gai and Tom Waterhouse-John Singleton melee-brouhaha-contretemps-controversy is, with special guest appearances by colourful identities such as Andrew Johns and Allan Robinson, a couple of developments have been overlooked.

First More Joyous, the catalyst for the controversy, should be retired.

It’s obvious the great mare aint what she used to be and it would be only a shame if her record should be tarnished, and the memory of how good she was be dimmed, if she races on.

Second, and more disturbing, has been the retirement of Waterhouse’s Pierro and the imminent one of John Hawke’s All Too Hard, Black Caviar’s half brother.

This is predictive of a European-style future in which young stallions are whisked off to stud at three and four, as soon as they’ve won a group-one race that establishes their sire value.

Racehorses have always been bred to race, but it’s doubtful if stallions will now race on for season after season, proving their greatness and being compared with the greats.

In a moment of hyperbolic extravagance, Gai Waterhouse said Pierro was the best horse seen in 50 years.

Perhaps. We’ll never know.

All that could be said is that Pierro has been a genuine and gutsy runner of high class in his mere 14 starts, but there have been perhaps 50 three year olds of similar potential at the same stage of careers in the last 50 years.

Interestingly, Pierro’s sire Lohnro had a full racing career before retirement.

Fellow three year old All Too Hard may go to England for the Queen Anne Stakes in June.

This seems to be the new template: establish stud value in Australia, then consider whether to embellish it if the horse can win a group one overseas.

The Hawkes have intimated they’d prefer the horse to race on, that he could be as good as Lohnro.

Long odds of that.

Big prizemoney on offer but bigger prizes at stud for the owners.

Romance of the turf?

That’s pretty much fiction now. Little chance for the little man among the big boys in this lucrative worldwide game.

The biggest losers are racelovers who will ask: Pierro-All Too Hard, how good might they have been?

And a big cheerio to Glenn Maxwell.

The Big Show has been a no-show for nine Mumbai matches in the Indian hit-and-wiggle aka the cauldron aka Twenty/20cricket. He hasn’t been picked.

Nice non-work if you can get it for a lazy million.

Time for any prospective footballer to pick up a bat and ball. Beats getting smashed every weekend for a fraction of the dough

Weather holds for show success

At the time of writing this column a very successful first day of the Nyngan 2013 Show had occurred with ideal show weather.
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Good support was evident for all the ring events with all the horse stalls full.

Our local schools should be commended for their attractive displays in the Wye Pavilion.

Other first day features like the Speed Shearing, Poultry and Wool Pavilion, Animal Nursery, Yard Dog Trails, dog races and jumps seemed well-supported with the biggest crowd for many years attending the rodeo.

Thanks to president Chris Elder and all members of the show committee and stewards who have rolled up their sleeves again to ensure everything possible was done to prepare and stage this year’s show.

Also appreciation is extended to all involved from Bogan Shire Council who have prepared the grounds to a very high standard and have done a lot of work to ensure all the recent events at the showground (Easter Rugby League Carnival, Small Schools Camp, Equestrian Events, Pony Club Camp and Anzac Day Races Meeting) were well catered for.

Our community continues to give excellent support to the yearly Anzac Day Services and March, with the large turnout from our local schools in holiday times, a significant part of the formalities to remember all those who did not come home.

The local RSL Sub-branch has commenced planning for Anzac Day 2015, as we join all other communities to remember the centenary of Gallipoli, coinciding with the 25th anniversary of Nyngan’s 1990 flood.

Congratulations are extended to our neighbouring Shire of Brewarrina as it celebrates its 150th anniversary this year.

We attended a combined church service last Sunday,

followed by the launching of two books to commemorate the 150th anniversary by state governor, Professor Marie Bashir AV CVO, who also presented the mayor Wulf Reichler with his OAM.

StormCo were back in town last week with lots of local children attending their sessions.

They seem to enjoy coming back to Nyngan regularly each April holidays as much as our

children enjoy participating in their games and organised activities.

I am sure many families join Council in thanking them for the enjoyment they bring, and

positive role models they are for all who have contact with them.

A number of draft legislation papers and reports have recently been released by state government.

The “White Paper” on planning legislation seeks to streamline planning approvals and speed up considerably the time taken to approve Development Applications to motivate the construction of new homes.

Councils and communities are to be extensively involved in forward planning what developments they want on their respective areas.

The first lot of recommendations to the Primary Industries Minister from the reference panel helping to plan the makeup of Local Land Services have been sent to the minister.

This new organisation will replace the existing Catchment Management Authorities, Livestock Health and Pest Authorities and parts of the Department of Primary Industries. Most of Bogan Shire will be in the Central West zone from here to Lithgow, one of 10 areas planned statewide.

The section of Bogan Shire in the Western Division will be in the large western area.

The boards will have three elected members and four ministerial appointed members from the same area.

Another recommendation is to lower the size of the holdings to be rated down to two hectares and maintain the current rating system currently used by Local Health and Pest Authorities until the new boards are elected early next year.

A Treasury Corporation report into the financial sustainability of the 152 Councils in NSW showed Bogan Shire to be in the mid range or moderate zone for financial performance and sustainability both at present and for our 10-year outlook.

Our financial performance and debt levels were well ahead of most of the surrounding Councils in the Orana region.

Council will provide a separate report on the options contained in its discussion paper released last week by the Independent Panel looking at all areas of state local government titled “Future Directions” once a detailed study of it has been carried out.

Congratulations to Noel and Nerida Wright on their 50th wedding anniversary, and Don and Betty Munro on their 60th wedding anniversary.

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Anzac Day marked

Ex-servicemen and women gathered at the Bogan Shire Cenotaph for the 6am Dawn Service on Anzac morning before going to the Nyngan RSL Civic Club to enjoy breakfast provided by the RSL Women’s Auxiliary and cooked to perfection by Scott and David Bartley and Steven Spicer.
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At 9am there was a service conducted by Elwyn Trothe at the Nyngan cemetery, then it was back to the RSL Club to assemble and wait for the march to begin.

Pupils from Nyngan Public, Nyngan High School, St Joseph’s, Girl Guides, Police Department and the Fire Brigade assembled outside the RSL Club along with the ex-servicemen and women, many of whom were wearing with pride their own or family medals along with symbolic sprigs of rosemary.

People gathered the full length of the main street to catch a glimpse of the Diggers as they proudly marched along.

Elwyn Trothe led the service at the Cenotaph, inviting Rev Graham McLeod and mayor Ray Donald to address the crowd.

Imogen Wardman spoke on behalf of the Nyngan High School and was very interesting to listen too. Well done Imogen.

Locals, groups and schools then laid wreaths, followed by a minute’s silence, which was solemnly broken by a stirring rendition of The Last Post.

The Diggers then marched back to the Nyngan RSL Club to enjoy a delicious dinner prepared by the RSL Women’s Auxiliary, which was very much-appreciated by all those present.

After lunch the Diggers relaxed and reminisced, remembering fallen comrades, telling a few yarns and generally catching up.

Many thanks to the Bogan Shire for its support and assistance on the day, to the organisers, staff and volunteers at the RSL Club for making the day run smoothly.

The Nyngan Jockey Club held a well-attended race meeting in the afternoon with six races on the program and a free luncheon.

Prizes were on offer for the ‘Best Dressed Lady’ over 25 years sponsored by Jazz Em Up Hair Salon and was won by Angela Bush.

‘Best Dressed Lady’ under 25 years, sponsored by Fifi Hair Salon was won by Naomi Whitehurst from Cobar. The gentlemen on the course were not forgotten with a prize for the Best Dressed Man which was won by Dean Spicer.

What a big day out for Nyngan. After a great day at the races for those not wanting to go home too early there was the ever-popular two-up which completed a long and memorable Anzac Day in Nyngan.

o Jonathon Grant and Garry Owen were the youngest Diggers marching at our Anzac Day parade. Both have served in Iraq. Jonathon has served in Banda Aceh and Garry in Afghanistan.

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Budding shearers have a go

IT is described as “the toughest job in the world” but shearing is definitely a viable career option.
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Budding young novice shearers from the SE and western Victoria were given a taste for the job last week at Lukeburn, near Kybybolite.

They were trained in the art by Victorian company Shearer Woolhandler Incorporated through experienced instructors Darren Smith and Stuart Grigg.

Mr Smith said the students had picked up shearing well, even the younger ones in the group who were around 15. He said teenagers who wanted to leave school and get a trade could earn good money after finishing a Certificate II in Shearing or Woolhandling.

Depending on the amount of work, a young shearer could shear 120 sheep a day after a couple of weeks’ training. “Once they can already shear a sheep, they’re fine,” Mr Smith said.

He said contractors usually started youngsters in woolhandling – hence their training in that – then gave them a chance to shear a little with help, then moved them up to crutching and eventually full shearing.

He said there was plenty of work around for local shearers.

“In the main shearing season around here it’s all guns blazing,” Mr Smith said.

“That’s mainly in the spring but there’s an autumn season as well.”

A Certificate III came with on-the-job training, he said, and government subsidies applied for students aged under 20 with no other qualifications.

The 13 shearing instructors at Shearer Woolhandler put on 14 shearing schools a year ranging from novice through to professional.

He said Shearer Woolhandler would hold a local school at the same time next year, depending on numbers.

He also said they would also like to run another novice school.

For more details, contact Mr Smith on 0488 508 837.

The instructors thanked Steve Chaston for supplying the sheep and Gary Smith for donating the venue and power for the day.

Instructors Stuart Grigg (left) and Darren Smith demonstrate correct technique last Thursday during a shearing workshop at Lukeburn.

Ben Lively “pens up” to get the sheep ready to be shorn.

Nathan Skinner takes part in the shearing training at Lukeburn last Friday.

Young Naracoorte shearer Blake Hindmarsh gets started on a sheep.

Ollie Chaston has a go.

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Jenna Strauch lives the dream as city move pays dividends

SACRIFICE comes in many forms for elite athletes.
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There’s countless hours of intense training, constant criss-crossing of the country to attend major meets, missing out on precious time with family and friends – all for the sake of sport.

Bendigo teenager Jenna Strauch, who moved to Melbourne 14 months ago to further her rapidly rising swimming career, knows all about the challenges of aiming for the stars.

In fact, the most difficult part of her move to the city has nothing to do with swimming at all.

“The hardest thing was adjusting to the change in our family structure and completely changing the way both myself and my family went about our day,” Jenna says.

The daughter of former footballer Dean Strauch is referring to the fact that while she now lives in the suburbs with mum Jane and brothers Ryan and Tom, her dad is still based in Bendigo during the week for work and drives down on weekends to be with his family.

And with her own 4.15am starts daily, the demands of swimming 50-plus kilometres every week, and year 10 study commitments to meet, there barely seems time for Jenna to breathe.

But she never dwells on the negatives and adopts an ever-upbeat approach to her busy life.

“People say I sacrifice a lot of things to do what I love, but to me I’m not sacrificing anything,” says Australia’s fastest female breaststroker of her age.

“I am getting to do a lot of other things that 16-year-olds don’t. I’m doing something that makes me happy, the thing that I love. I’m living my dream.”

Over the past year, that dream has included representing her country at two major swimming meets, including the Australian Youth Olympic Festival where she claimed two individual gold medals in her pet events, the 100m and 200m breaststroke, both in record-breaking time.

Jenna wore the green and gold in a Trans Tasman carnival against New Zealand, won her first open age national medal (bronze in the 200m breaststroke at the Australian short course titles) and took out the 100m-200m breaststroke double at the national age championships.

She also competed at the Australian open long-course meet, which doubled as the trials for the London Olympic team, swimming in a star-studded field that included household names like Leisel Jones, Leiston Pickett and Linley Frame.

It was an amazing experience for the former Bendigo East Swimming Club member, who only began racing seriously in 2009, but soon had local officials rewriting the record books.

In mid-2011, she switched to the elite Melbourne Vicentre squad based at the Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre under the guidance of respected Australian Olympic coach Ian Pope and former South African Olympian and national coach Craig Jackson.

Jenna was named the Bendigo Sportsmen’s Association Junior Sports Star of the Year in December 2011 – the same month the Strauches made their big move south.

It was a difficult decision, but everything is turning out, well, swimmingly!

“Dean and I have the philosophy that opportunity only knocks once, so take it and see what evolves,” Jane Strauch says.

“The move required our family to split during the week and come together on the weekends. This has been the most difficult part, although we deal with it positively.

“Jenna’s brothers enjoy visiting their friends in Bendigo, while loving the experience of meeting new people in Melbourne. We are fortunate that we live near the beach and spend a lot of time enjoying the area.”


Jenna receives her Bendigo Sportsmen’s Association Junior Sports Star of the Year award in December 2011. She is surrounded byTavish Eenjes, Callum King andIsaac Buckell.


As luck would have it, the Strauches also live across the street from former Hockeyroo and Olympic gold medallist Claire Mitchell-Taverner, who has become a family friend and valuable mentor for Jenna.

“When we moved in, she was pregnant at the time and we introduced ourselves,” Jenna says.

“We have got to know her more and sometimes now I talk to her about things like juggling school and finding the right balance.

“It’s good to have someone like that – she is more of a friend than anything, but it’s nice.”

This year has got off to a busy start for Jenna and shows little sign of slowing down.

In January, she attended Swimming Australia’s invitation-only national training camp on the Gold Coast – the first major event as officials look towards the 2016 Olympics in Rio. While there, she worked in a group of six elite breaststrokers, half of whom were Olympians.

Earlier this month, she was in Sydney for the NSW open championships, swimming the 50m, 100m and 200m breaststroke and the 100m and 200m individual medley. She brought home silver in the 200m breaststroke behind Olympian Sally Foster.

Over coming weeks, Jenna will again be in action on the national stage in events that could further cement her reputation as a future star of Australian swimming.

She travels to Adelaide this week for the national age titles, where she will compete in the 16 years category for the first time after celebrating her birthday on March 24.

They wrap up on April 13, but the Australian open long-course championships, also in Adelaide, begin just a fortnight later.

The meet will be used as selection trials for the 2013 FINA world championships, to be held in Barcelona in July and August.

Jenna’s approach to her future is to take things as they come.

“I am just aiming to reach the highest possible level that I can,” she says emphatically.

“I’m lucky to have a really supportive family and a good inside circle of support staff and friends around me and I feel like I have already achieved a lot in such a short time.

“I am doing things I couldn’t have dreamed of just three years ago.

“I have been given so many opportunities and it’s nice to know that everyone is behind you.”

As she prepared for the two major national long-course carnivals in April, Jenna Strauch found time to tell Women in Sport about her amazing journey so far:

When did you start swimming and what led you to take it up?

I first did swimming lessons at 18 months old, but only started competing at 11.

It started as something special that my dad and I would do together – we’d get up early and I would go and swim with him. I always completed my laps earlier than dad, so I used to watch a squad that trained at the same time. A friend and I decided we would give swimming squad a go and I have never looked back since.

Did you excel immediately or was it a while before you became serious about your swimming?

I was lucky enough to qualify in my first year of competitive swimming for the 2009 Victorian Country Championships in Sale.

I swam a PB and came home with a silver medal. This was my first experience of racing at a higher level. The success motivated me to want to race at this level and above constantly.

What exactly do you love about swimming? And what motivates you to keep going?

I love the energy and the adrenalin of racing, which is my favourite part of swimming.

I love the feeling that you get when you get something right in training – I love the way I go to training and I always leave the pool with a smile, it makes me happy.


Click to read Jenna’s achievements so far.


I get this feeling from swimming that I can’t get from anywhere else.

Sometimes it gets hard, as you have disappointment, but it’s the disappointment that makes me stronger. Disappointment makes me more determined to move forward.

The biggest thing that I love about swimming is the never-ending opportunities that arise!

How difficult was it being based in Bendigo while trying to reach the elite level?

I was fortunate enough to be introduced to the sport and given a good base while training in Bendigo. My performances qualified me for both national open and national age championships.

From having these experiences, I realised that to further my aspirations I would need to move to a capital city.

What has been the biggest challenge regarding the move?

The biggest challenge actually had nothing to do with swimming. My transition in terms of changing swimming programs was smooth and effective.

The hardest thing was adjusting to the change in family structure and completely changing the way both myself and my family went about our day. At the start, it was about changing the way I think and look about my life.

Are there things you really miss about Bendigo?

The biggest thing I miss are my Bendigo friends, family and the memories I have there. But I think that life can never stay exactly the same, things change, but the memories will always be there.

I have made some wonderful friendships in Melbourne so I am very lucky and I still make the most of my time with my connections in Bendigo when I have the chance.

Have your times improved much in the year you have been based in the city?

My times improved immediately when I transferred to Melbourne, as the focus for training at Melbourne Vicentre was aimed at the elite level. Skill sets such as turns, dives and timing were of utmost importance.

My coaches not only worked on my pet event, breaststroke, but made me focus on my non-preferred strokes, swimming longer distances and building my core strength.

This variation in training provided a stronger base for my breaststroke and general swimming, so my times improved.

How do you juggle swimming with studying, family life and being a teenager?

I belong to an amazing swimming club that encourages and provides friendships and team building opportunities.

I also go to Korowa Anglican Girls School in Glen Iris and I am one of many elite athletes at the school.

My friends understand my commitments and although I often miss many social occasions, the girls often change times of events so I can be included or they simply invite and include me anyway. I feel privileged to be a part of a strong friendship base.

Studying and homework is difficult, but I allow Saturday afternoon to be my relaxation time and I complete homework all day on Sunday.

You must have a hugely supportive family…

My family support me and assist me with daily processes, which I appreciate.

My brothers and mum live with me and we spend a half hour or so each night chatting and discussing our days. I speak to my dad every night before bed as he lives and works in Bendigo during the week and drives to live with us on the weekends.

Dad, mum, my brothers and I always find time on Saturday to chat and do something together.

Who is your swimming coach? What about other mentors you’ve had over the years?

Ian Pope is my present coach. He is an Olympic and national swimming coach for Australia and the head coach of Melbourne Vicentre Swimming Club.

He served on the Australian Olympic coaching staff in 2000 and 2008 and has been selected every year since on the national team..

His knowledge, skills and methods for coaching are sensational, with me having access to the latest and most superior training possible.

Craig Jackson is my distance coach. His “can do”, “nothing’s too hard” strong work ethic motivates me to produce the best swimming my body can produce and I thrive under his guidance.

When it comes to mentors, Mark McGrath has been travelling my journey with me. He gives solid, clear advice and guidance to ensure my wellbeing and body development. Teamed with Aaron Anderson, of Movement Squared Osteopathy in Bendigo, my body is stronger, fitter and well prepared for the rigors of training and racing.

Do you have any sporting role models who inspire you?

Sally Pearson – I admire her hard work ethic and determination to win.

Rebecca Soni – she is the top breaststroker in the world

What do you rate as your career highlights so far?

Swimming Australia National Events Camp selection (Australia’s elite swimmers training camp, working in a group of six breast- strokers, including three Olympians, trained by Australian coaches).

Swimming Australia team for the Youth Olympics Festival (winning a gold medal in both 100m and 200m breaststroke and breaking both records).

Jenna Strauch has made many sacrifices to advance her career. Picture: Swimming Victoria

Bronze medal in the 200m breaststroke at the Australian Short Course Swimming Championships in Perth last year.

What constitutes a “good swim” for you?

I have the thought pattern that every swim is a “good swim” as long as you learn from it.

All swimmers have “bad swims” but I think through a “bad swim” and determine what I can learn from it and make it a “good swim”!

Do you have any advice for young Bendigo swimmers about how they can reach their potential?

Strive for your best, maintain a strong work ethic and take every opportunity that arises.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

The great attachment-parenting con

It is 11.49pm and I have just breastfed my10-month-old daughter to sleep for the third time tonight.
Nanjing Night Net

To sayI’mdreading the sound of her wakingup again would be an understatement.I’mactually fearful of it – I startedtrying to put her sleep at 7pm.

It’s not just a night-time problem. She won’t sleep during the day either – unlessshe’s in the car or in bed with me. She literally won’t sleep for more than 10minutes unlessI’mlying down next to her.

She won’t sleep in a cot, my husband and I havegiven up on self-settling and, six weeks out from her first birthday, the onlyway to get her to sleep at night is to put her “on the boob”.

It’s exhausting, it’s demanding and it’sfrustrating. When other mums I know have their babies fast asleep by 7pm everynight and are sitting down to a civilised dinner with their partners, it’s hardnot to feel as though somewhere along the lineI’vegone terribly, terriblywrong.

So, how did we get here? Well, we got suckedin by whatI’venow coined, “The Quick-Fix Guide to Surviving Those First FewMonths With Your Baby”, otherwise known as attachment parenting.

Attachment parenting, it’s a touchy-feelyapproach which can see parents wearing junior in a sling, spending as littletime away from them as possible, responding to every cry, co-sleeping andbreastfeeding on demand. Advocates claim it not only leads to happier, moreemotionally stable children but makes parenting a more enjoyable experience allround.

Like many first-time parents, we fell intoattachment parenting by accident. It started when we put our daughter – who wasunsettled – into bed with us one night. Of course it worked a treat and ateight weeks seemed like a fairly harmless, inconsequential thing to do. Infact, it was beautiful. We loved having her close to us, and it was easier. Sowe kept doing it.

From that night we also became more laxabout putting her in the cot during the day. She went to sleep more easily andslept for longer when she was being held or lying next to me on the bed.

I’ve never enjoyed following convention sowhile other mums were going through the hard yards of bassinette-to-cottransition, trying every trick in the book to get their babies to self-settle,I airily announced we were putting Leila in with us at night.

“Yes”, I agreed when met with anynay-saying, “It might create problems down the track but we’ll cross thatbridge when we come to it.” Hmmm.I’mnot so much crossing the bridge as dragging myself over it with two brokenlegs, a blindfold and a 60kg rucksack balanced on my head, all while dodgingenemy fire.

When Leila got to six months and startedsleeping diagonally between us, alternating between kicking me in the head andwaking up for two-hourly comfort feeds, we decided we’d had enough.

It was time for our child to start sleepingin her cot at night. Ha! Because it was always going to be that easy, right?When neither of us could take the screamingany more we started finding excusesto put her back in bed with us “just for tonight and then that’s it.” I don’tthink either of us wanted to admit it, but we were well and truly trapped.

Fast forward a few months and Leila’snew-foundmobility posed the next problem. It was no longer safe to leave herasleep on the bed alone – even for a few minutes – in case she woke up andtumbled off. We dismantled the cot and replaced it with a single mattress onthe floor, complete with sheets and a fluffy pink doona.

Fortunately – or unfortunately, dependingon how you look at it – the mattress serves another purpose. It enables me tolie down next to her and “shush” her to sleep. However, these days, unless Iphysically restrain her she simply crawls away. Tizzie Hall would have a fit.

At three weeks old Leila successfully fedfrom a bottle of expressed breast milk. Unfortunately, wedidn’tpersist. Ilove breastfeeding, it’s been an incredible experience but now I’d do anything for my child to take abottle.

She won’t let a plastic teat or formulanear her which has limited the amount of time I can spend away from her, seriouslyimpacting on my freedom. Nights out for my husband and I are now virtuallyimpossible.

Don’t get me wrong – my daughter is my veryheart and soul. She has enriched my life so much I feel I could burst with lovefor her. None of this is her fault. Sheknows what she knows – sleep is something that happens when she’s lying next tomum, or on dad’s chest or in our bed. Milkcomes from mum and mum only. It’s the “normal” that we have created for her.

This rut we’re stuck in has left mefeeling guilty, icky and, yes, like a bad mother. And that’s my point.Attachment parenting will set you up for -I’mnot going to say failure – butfor a very difficult time.

In the short term, it works. You will havea content baby. It’s a quick fix but you’re not actually fixing anything. Indeed, you’re creating problems. And one day it dawns on you – you have a 10-month-oldwho won’t settle in her cot, will hardly sleep during the day and whodoesn’tlook like being weaned until high school.

Such is the insidious nature of theproblems caused by attachment parenting. Yet the idea of it is so appealing tomany parents.

What new mumwouldn’twant to hear that constantlyholding her baby, breastfeeding him on demand and by-passing sleep-time dramasby co-sleepingisn’tall part of a legitimate, tried and tested parentingstrategy that will safeguard his emotionalwell-beinglater in life and make himan all-round better person?

Pfffft! Take it from me, when it’s 11pm andyour baby is a screaming, over-tired mess whodoesn’tunderstand why you won’tjust put her on the breast like you usually do, you won’t feel like you’refostering any kind of emotional stability in your child at all.

Attachment parenting has its place. If youhave absolutely nothing else to do but parent – no job, no housework, no sociallife, no other children to look after and no marriage or relationship to maintainthen what are you waiting for – attach away. But the reality is that in thisday and age, either by choice or necessity, most mums do have other things todo. The least we can do for ourselves is make it a bit easier to wear ourdifferent hats.

My advice – don’t think that by familiarisingyour baby with a bottle, insisting on cot-sleeping, self-settling and movingthem into their own room at six months you’ll be depriving them of love andnurturing. In fact, I think the opposite is true. There’s nothing wrong with abit of routine, order and discipline. You’ll be sparing yourself a lot ofstress, screaming and lost sleep down the track which will ultimately leave youin a better frame of mind to do your best parenting.