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Diverse 2015 Victorian Premiers Literary Award Shortlist features itinerant novelist Ceridwan Dovey

Ceridwen Dovey. Photo: Peter Rae Ceridwen Dovey. Photo: Peter Rae

Ceridwen Dovey. Photo: Peter Rae

Ceridwen Dovey. Photo: Peter Rae

Itinerant novelist Ceridwen Dovey’s imagined stories of animals living with humans joins a diverse fiction shortlist for the 2015 Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards.

In one of the first major arts announcement by the new Victorian Labor government, with Creative Industry Minister Martin Foley announcing the 21-title shortlist across five categories, with a total prize pool of more than $200,000.

Dovey is in company with multiple-award winner Sonya Hartnett for Golden Boys, former National Gallery of Australia curator Mark Henshaw for The Snow Kimono, short-fiction specialist Wayne Macauley for Demons, poet John A. Scott for his speculative historical thriller N and former winner of a Vogel award for unpublished manuscript Rohan Wilson for To Name Those Who Lost.

Dovey grew up between Australia and South Africa and lived in New York before settling in Sydney. With her second work of fiction, Only the Animals, she has been hailed as part of a new generation of Australian literary voices that also includes Hannah Kent, winner of the 2014 Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards.

Notably half of the books nominated in this category come from independent outfits – Text Publishing and Brandl and Schlesinger, publisher of literary magazine Southerly.

Editor of The Saturday Paper Erik Jensen has been shortlisted for his colourful biography of the late Sydney artist Adam Cullen, Acute Misfortune.

Two titles from academic publisher NewSouth are also in the non-fiction shortlist: The Europeans in Australia: Volume Three:Nation by Alan Atkinson and Darwin by Tess Lea. Yet Sophie Cunningham’s Walkey long-listed book on the city up north has been ignored by judges, Warning: The Story of Cyclone Tracy.

Don Watson’s The Bush, a well-reviewed exploration of our regional obsessions and Julie Szego’s breakdown of the troubling conviction of a young Somali man in The Tainted Trial of Farah Jama are also listed for non-fiction.

Unlike other categories, the drama prize is solely populated by locals: Alison Croggon for a libretto on Stalin’s favourite poet, Mayakovsky, Angus Cerini for abstract work Resplendance and Daniel Keene’s defence force collaboration The Long Way Home.

Justine Larbalestier’s historical thriller Razorhurst gets a gong in the young adult category along with solid crowd favourite Jaclyn Moriarty (The Cracks in the Kingdom) and Inky Award-listed Claire Zorn (The Protected).

Small publisher Puncher and Wattman will be celebrating too, with two titles in the poetry shortlist, Jill Jones’ The Beautiful Anxiety and Andy Kissane’s Radiance. Susan Bradley Smith’s Bed For All Who Come has also been nominated, following positive international reviews.


Only the Animals by Ceridwen Dovey (Penguin)

Golden Boys by Sonya Hartnett (Penguin)

The Snow Kimono by Mark Henshaw (Text Publishing)

Demons by Wayne Macauley (Text Publishing)

N by John A. Scott (Brandl & Schlesinger)

To Name Those Lost by Rohan Wilson (Allen & Unwin)


The Europeans in Australia: Volume Three: Nation by Alan Atkinson (NewSouth)

Acute Misfortune: The Life and Death of Adam Cullen by Erik Jensen (Black Inc.)

Darwin by Tess Lea (NewSouth)

Where Song Began by Tim Low (Penguin)

The Tainted Trial of Farah Jama by Julie Szego (Wild Dingo Press)

The Bush by Don Watson (Penguin)


Resplendence by Angus Cerini (Cerini/Doubletap)

Mayakovsky by Alison Croggon (Carriageworks/Sydney Chamber Opera)

The Long Way Home by Daniel Keene (STC)


Bed For All Who Come by Susan Bradley Smith (Five Islands Press)

The Beautiful Anxiety by Jill Jones (Puncher and Wattman)

Radiance by Andy Kissane (Punchman and Wattman)


Razorhurst by Justine Larbalestier (Allen & Unwin)

The Cracks in the Kingdom by Jaclyn Moriarty (Pan Macmillan)

The Protected by Claire Zorn (UQP)

Telstra chief David Thodey backs government’s piracy plan

Blessing: David Thodey has urged the industry to ‘step up and put a code together’.Telstra chief executive David Thodey has backed the federal government’s latest plan to tackle illegal downloading, which gives internet service providers 120 days to propose a code of conduct.

Mr Thodey said the government’s decision to handball the onus of tackling piracy back to the telecommunications companies was correct, when speaking at an American Chamber of Commerce in Australia event.

“The industry should step up and put a code together, that’s both sides – Foxtel and the telecommunication companies,” he said.

“The question is who should be responsible for policing the illegal downloading of information.”

On Wednesday Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Attorney-General George Brandis issued a letter to industry leaders saying the code must be registered with the Australian Communications and Media Authority.

It must also include “a process to notify consumers when a copyright breach has occurred and provide information on how they can gain access to legitimate content.”

The telecommunications companies have until April 8, 2015, to develop the code of conduct.

Mr Thodey said the industry needed to work with rights holders to find a “workable solution”.

“The big issue is around who pays and I think we have to find some complementary way to do that,” he said.

“This is a big issue and I think a lot of people aren’t aware necessarily what’s going on in the home. There are serial offenders, but there are also people who just don’t know it’s going on.”

If the telecommunication companies fail to agree on a code within 120 days, the government will impose binding arrangements of its own prescription.

The government will also be able to block overseas websites with pirated content if rights holders obtain a court order, under amendments to the Copyright Act.

Mr Thodey said he did not want to have to block websites, but the government had the right to do so.

“The reality is there are sites which propagate illegal behaviour and the government has a right to do that,” he said.

In his speech Mr Thodey also announced Telstra’s newest network 4GX would be available to 94 per cent of the population by mid-2015.

In late November Telstra switched on the 4GX network in Melbourne, giving some customers access to “extreme speeds” with its 700Mhz spectrum.

Mr Thodey said customers would have speeds of 70 to 100 megabytes a second and it would have a peak of 350 megabytes a second.

“We need to keep building this core technology because your consumption and your expectations around when you use a mobile phone is that it just goes like that, no matter where you are,” he said.

He said the network would cover 250,000 square kilometres.

Research by Credit Suisse last month said Telstra would start losing its mobile market share and profit growth to Sing Tel-Optus and Vodafone Hutchinson Australia.

Credit Suisse telecoms and media equity research director Fraser McLeish said Telstra currently made 53 per cent of the mobile market’s total revenue and that this would grow in 2015, but he predicted this would start to fall in 2016 because of greater price and network competition.

Telsyte managing director Foad Fadaghi said Telstra would need to continue to maintain its network leadership to keep dominating the market.

“Currently Telstra has a clear advantage with non-metro Australians,” he said. “People outside of metro areas are by and large on Telstra networks.

“But it has to be first to have Wi-Fi handover and it has to have the fastest network in Australia to maintain its position.”

Boo Weekley leads Australian PGA Championship on Gold Coast

 As it happened: Day one blog

There is a lone deer that has been loitering around the fringes of Boo Weekley’s Florida property that should be feeling very nervous.

Next week, the American will head home, put down the driver and pick up a rifle. This is a shotgun start of the most menacing kind.

Before he indulges his passion for hunting – “I like smelling gunpowder” – Weekley has a golf tournament to take out.

On a rain-interrupted first day of the Australian PGA Championship on the Gold Coast, the 41-year-old made the most of early conditions to card a six-under 66, good enough for two-stroke lead over a group that included defending champion Adam Scott.

After a pair of 15th-place finishes at the Australian Masters and the Open, Weekley found conditions to his liking in Queensland. The kind of humidity that makes the air feel like a woollen jacket reminded him of his native South, while Royal Pines shares similarities with the resort courses he encounters in the American version of the Sunshine State.

He would eagle the par-four 17th, holing out an eight iron from 135m, before a more conservative approach paid off on the new drivable eighth, a deliciously tempting hole sure to undo some of the bigger-hitting contenders over the weekend, or those in search of rapid birdies.

Weekley had set himself a goal to finish in the top 20 of all three of his Australian events. He is two from two on that front and now finds himself in the box seat at the PGA in a tournament that looks certain to be plagued by storms and torrential rain throughout the weekend.

With three hours of play lost on day one and the forecast looking dire, a Monday finish remains in play.

“It’s very similar [to Florida], the way the weather is right now, it’s hot and steamy and feel like it’s going to rain again. I played well. I struck the ball solid, kept it in play, hit one bad drive and kind of got away with it. I kind of kept my game or my momentum going on the backside,” Weekley said.

“It felt like it all came together. The first week I didn’t make no putts, hit it pretty solid, just didn’t make no putts and the next week made some putts but to me didn’t hit my irons as well. So now it was kind of like they both came together.”

With his penchant for calling journalists “sir” and his endearing southern drawl, Weekley has become a media and fan favourite since he touched down in Melbourne for the Masters. And while he has enjoyed his time in Australia, his trigger finger has started to itch as he plans a post-golf hunting trip with friends and family.

With sponsors such as Federal Premium Ammunition, it’s no secret Weekley enjoys blasting away on the open range just as much as the driving range. It’s a hobby that won’t be to the taste of many Australians but something Weekley has grown up with since he was a boy.

“I like smelling gunpowder. You know, people got drug problems – that’s my drug problem,” Weekley told some slightly bemused reporters. “I can shoot something up to 500, 600 yards [away]. It all depends on what we’re shooting.”

Scott birdied his final hole to remain firmly in contention, saying he was more than content to find himself in the mix early after sluggish starts over the past few weeks in Melbourne and Sydney.

“It was a pretty solid start. I can always find reason to be better but I think I’ll take that, considering the starts I’ve got off to the last couple of weeks,” Scott said.

“It’s certainly not quite as demanding a golf course as what we’ve seen in the other weeks and we had beautiful conditions this morning, so somewhat taken advantage of that,”

Marc Leishman and Nick Cullen looked to be the likely duo to make up some ground after play resumed at 4.30pm but neither man could close the gap with Weekley.

Leishman, the tournament second favourite, briefly moved to four under with a birdie on 11 but gave it back two holes later. Cullen followed a similar path, while both men will have to make up four holes on Friday after their round was cut short.

South Australian Tom Bond was the other late mover, sinking three straight birdies to be three under after eight holes before rain and storms ended play for good.

Friday’s groups are scheduled to be out at 5.30am local time to try and make up for lost time but with rain and storms on the radar, it shapes to be another day of start-stop golf.

Ian Rixon quits as Maitland Liberal conference boss after Steve Thomson set to be candidate

Steve Thomson will be the next Liberal candidate for Maitland. Maitland state electorate conference president Ian Rixon is quitting his post, saying he could not support the party endorsing a brand new member who only moved to Maitland a couple of years ago. THE president of the Maitland state electorate conference has quit his role and the Liberal Party altogether to help an independent campaign for the seat against the party’s candidate.

It emerged on Wednesday businessman Steve Thomson would be the next Liberal candidate for Maitland, after two other nominees withdrew before a preselection ballot could be held.

On Thursday, Maitland state electorate conference president Ian Rixon advised the party’s state director he would be quitting. He was a member for about seven years.

‘‘I was proud to help Robyn Parker MP though her treatment by the Premier and decision not to run again are part of my reasons,’’ Mr Rixon’s letter, seen by the Newcastle Herald, said.

‘‘Mainly I cannot support the party endorsing a brand new member who only moved to Maitland a couple of years ago.’’

Mr Rixon will instead support independent Philip Penfold, who himself previously resigned from the party. Under party rules, Mr Thomson is unable to comment on his preselection until officially endorsed.

The former president of the Maitland Business Chamber has lived in the area about three and half years, but is understood to have joined the party in October.

Sitting MP Robyn Parker announced that month she would be retiring at the March election. She was dropped from cabinet earlier this year when Mike Baird became Premier.

Newcastle City Councillor Lisa Tierney withdrew her nomination for candidate last week for family medical reasons.

Port Stephens Councillor Ken Jordan is believed to have withdrawn on Wednesday because he wants to nominate for the seat of Port Stephens instead, after sitting MP Craig Baumann announced he would not stand as the party’s candidate there.

A boundary redistribution has reduced the Liberal margin in Maitlandto less than five per cent.

In 2007, the anti-Labor vote split between prominent independent Peter Blackmore and Liberal candidate Bob Geoghegan, helping Labor’s Frank Terenzini over the line.

He lost his seat to Ms Parker amid the state swing to the Liberals in 2011.

Businesswoman Jenny Aitchison is contesting the seat for Labor this time.

Giant nudibranch heads Nelson Bay Nudi festival

Giant nudibranch heads Nelson Bay Nudi festival SEA SLUG: Nellie the Nudibranch will push the conservation message at the Nelson Bay Nudi festival on Saturday. Picture supplied

SEA SLUG: Nellie the Nudibranch will push the conservation message at the Nelson Bay Nudi festival on Saturday. Picture supplied

SEA SLUG: A real nudibranch. The north side of Port Stephens is home to some of the best shore diving in Australia,and it’s not hard to find nudibranchs there. Picture supplied.

TweetFacebook Sea slug stars at festivalADD it to the list of big things.

This three-metre-long painted nudibranch, or sea slug, named Nellie, in Nelson Bay is the latest addition to the nation’s obsessive collection of comparatively large objects.

Set to be unveiled on Saturday, it’s the headline act of the ‘‘Nudi Festival’’ being held in the Bay for the first time.

The festival, part of a push to help conservation efforts of the invertebrate sea slug, includes contests for the best nudi spotter during the festival, and prizes for divers who take the best photographs of the invertebrate.

The east side of Port Stephens is renowned for having some of the best shore dive sites in Australia, and the slugs’ bright colours and intricate patterns regularly draw divers from throughout the country.

In December last year researchers from Southern Cross University and the Port Stephens-Great Lakes Marine Park began working to officially record nudibranch diversity in the surrounding region, recording more than 200 species in the process.

Talks on the nudibranch will be held at the Tomaree Library in Salamander Bay at 6.30pm and 7.30pm on Friday, and Saturday, while touch tanks and other nudibranch displays will be at d’Albora Marinas from 11am-3pm on Saturday.

World-renowned nudibranch expert, Dr Richard Willan, curator of molluscs at the Museum and Art Gallery of Northern Territory, will also give public lectures.

Share you Nudibranch festival pictures on Instagram @newcastleherald

Robert Heathcote has high hopes for Buffering in Hong Kong

Hong Kong hopes: Robert Heathcote with Buffering. Photo: Tamara Dean Hong Kong hopes: Robert Heathcote with Buffering. Photo: Tamara Dean

Hong Kong hopes: Robert Heathcote with Buffering. Photo: Tamara Dean

Hong Kong hopes: Robert Heathcote with Buffering. Photo: Tamara Dean

His horse “couldn’t walk” 48 hours earlier, but there was more than a little swagger about Robert Heathcote leaving Sha Tin on Thursday.

Why wouldn’t there be, when Buffering’s stocks in Sunday’s $2.8 million Hong Kong International Sprint appear to be rising by the day as Heathcote plots an Australian heist in one of international racing’s biggest days on Sunday?

“Without a doubt [this would be Buffering’s biggest success],” Heathcote said of his four-time group 1 winner in Australia after he drew favourably in barrier eight for the rich sprint. “Not only for the horse, but his trainer as well.

“I’m just proud to be here and the day is going to come in the not too distant future where I’ll retire him, but he’ll tell us that. We’ve raced him very sparingly the past two years and he’s rewarding us with 100 per cent effort every time he races.”

After his well-publicised battle with a hoof abscess earlier in the week, Buffering’s long-held Hong Kong plans were righted on Thursday with a sharp gallop at Sha Tin.

Facing the might of the local brigade, including Lucky Nine and Aerovelocity – plus Irish-trained George Ryder winner Gordon Lord Byron and Singapore star Spalato – Buffering could ill afford anything to go wrong. It didn’t.

But while admitting there was still a sense of caution about the Brisbane-based veteran’s chances in his first start outside of Australia, Heathcote hinted he was winning the battle with Buffering’s injury and Sha Tin’s Fort Knox-like quarantine requirements.

“I guess there’s still an element of caution there because on Tuesday morning he couldn’t walk … it’s a simple as that,” Heathcote said. “The staff here are brilliant –the vets and the farrier – we drained the abscess and the relief to the horse was basically instantaneous. Even the farriers and vet couldn’t believe he was walking as well as what he was within an hour of the abscess bursting.

“I chose not to work him for two days, mainly to allow the hoof to settle down. Fitness is not really an issue, but I had a smile on my face [Thursday] morning after I worked him as he felt brilliant. He didn’t put in a bad step. He was strong, keen, enthusiastic and I will give him a little breeze up on the grass [on Friday] and we’re going into the race with a degree of confidence.

“I guess you can never be super confident, and because it’s such an even field … luck is going to be a factor. If my horse runs up to his best he will certainly be in the mix.”

So too Australia’s only other representative at the international race day in Criterion after the Australian Derby winner’s new trainer David Hayes plucked out barrier nine in a field of 12 for the $3.8 million Hong Kong Cup.

Criterion almost skipped boarding the plane with Buffering bound for Hong Kong last week after reacting to a shampoo he was treated with in order to pass quarantine regulations, but Hayes was bullish about his chances after a barrier draw he described as a “six out of 10”.

“Luckily the plane was two hours late and it gave us two hours longer to debate,” Hayes said of last week’s will-he-or-won’t-he plane drama. “As it turned out, it wasn’t colic – it was a storm in a teacup – and was only a reaction to a shampoo he had to have to come in here.

“He’s a thin-skinned horse and it just reacted badly. The symptoms were of colic, but that’s sorted and he’s really good now.”

Three-time Melbourne Cup runner-up Red Cadeaux drew barrier eight in the Hong Kong Vase, the same race he won en route back to Ed Dunlop’s British base in 2012.

A new build in Adelaide blends ‘old’ with new

A heritage-style exterior opens to a modern, light-filled home in this new build for a family in Adelaide.With its stone walls, deep verandah with tessellated tiles and traditional garden with hedges and cottage plantings it would be easy to think you are looking at one of Adelaide’s traditional sandstone homes.

It looks lovingly preserved and looked after, as if it has stood the test of time through the past century.

But old it is not. This new home was built to fit in with the established tree-lined streetscape.

The owners, who appreciate the classic Victorian style, collaborated with Adelaide’s Heritage Building Group to build a home that would sit effortlessly amongst the existing beautiful century-old villas.

Ben and Laura’s brief to James Wagner and his team was simple: Provide a home filled with natural light that they would then fill with contemporary artwork and soft furnishings to provide a modern and contemporary feel behind the heritage frontage.

It also had to be child friendly and be able to adapt to a growing family. They share the heritage-style home with their two daughters Lilla, 3, and one-year-old Eva.

“Before deciding to build a home we were originally looking to buy an old villa to renovate, however we then found the Heritage Building Group who build beautiful, authentic replicas and decided to build from scratch instead,” Ben says. “Wanting to keep true to style, we designed and built a very classic facade keeping the front of the house true in style to a classic villa, then opening into a modern ‘extension’ for the rear of our home.”

After 18 months of hard work, the professional couple are ecstatic with the results and can envisage raising their family here for years to come.

“We purchased the land before having children,” Ben says. “We commenced the building process and then moved into our home when our eldest daughter had just turned one.”

A heritage home, but not as you know it A heritage-style exterior opens to a modern, light-filled home in this new build for a family in Adelaide. Photo: SUPPLIED.

A heritage-style exterior opens to a modern, light-filled home in this new build for a family in Adelaide. Photo: SUPPLIED.

A heritage-style exterior opens to a modern, light-filled home in this new build for a family in Adelaide. Photo: SUPPLIED.

A heritage-style exterior opens to a modern, light-filled home in this new build for a family in Adelaide. Photo: SUPPLIED.

A heritage-style exterior opens to a modern, light-filled home in this new build for a family in Adelaide. Photo: SUPPLIED.

A heritage-style exterior opens to a modern, light-filled home in this new build for a family in Adelaide. Photo: SUPPLIED.

A heritage-style exterior opens to a modern, light-filled home in this new build for a family in Adelaide. Photo: SUPPLIED.

A heritage-style exterior opens to a modern, light-filled home in this new build for a family in Adelaide. Photo: SUPPLIED.

A heritage-style exterior opens to a modern, light-filled home in this new build for a family in Adelaide. Photo: SUPPLIED.

TweetFacebook A new home pays homage to the past.The owners wish-list included a modern, open-plan interior.For Laura the bright and airy open plan at the rear of the home is ideal for raising children. From the stone benchtops in the kitchen the mother of two can look across the dining and living area and through a wall of windows that allow for a welcome view on to the outside living space that is also an entertainer’s delight.

Through clever design the folding ‘wall’ of glass can be pushed back to bring the outside in, maximising the use of all living areas. The doors are one of their favourite items used in construction of the home.

“The sliding doors allow the whole space to be opened right up for a free-flowing indoor-outdoor living space,” Ben says.

Laura describes her decorating style as classic and elegant. She chose a neutral colour scheme for walls and trims and provide the ideal backdrop for a pop of colour in vibrant art works. Living room furniture was deliberately chosen to be oversized and plush to entice you to sit and enjoy the home. Hardwearing large format semi-gloss tiles were chosen for the family areas with timber floorboards adding warmth to the grand hallway befit with chandelier, partially glass ceiling and heritage archway.

Many decor items throughout the home were sourced from One Rundle Trading Co, one of the couple’s favourite stores in Dulwich, South Australia

Building from scratch did have its challenges, Ben says, however the project remained on schedule despite being “slightly over budget”.

“For a custom built home, it went mostly to plan with a couple of areas needing reviewing along the way,” he says, adding that while they both had input into the design it was Laura who managed the project build.

“Our first ‘must-have’ was an extremely functional design,” Laura says. “We also wanted a butler’s pantry which closes off from the main kitchen and living area and also the resort-style master suite.”

And it’s this grand yet soothing space with its replica Victorian look with modern amenities of ensuite bathroom and built-in wardrobes that is the ideal place for the couple to relax.

“We created a ‘sanctuary’ for ourselves, away from our busy family and lifestyle,” Laura says. “Our master bedroom overlooks and opens up onto our pool area giving a relaxing, resort feel. The luxurious ensuite with freestanding stone bath is also a plus.”

But as it is a family home, the couple say it is the large open-plan family room that is their favourite part of the house.

“Our large open plan living room is so functional,” Ben says. “We have the kitchen, meals and dining, lounge and study nook sharing this one space that overlooks the pool and backyard.

“The design allows us to spend the majority of our time in this space working, cooking and entertaining, but also keeping an eye on the children.”

The couple believe they have achieved a successful combination of old meets new that will stand the test of time along with its neighbouring heritage homes.

Build and Design: Heritage Building Group