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THERE must be an election on the way.
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Newcastle City Council has dodged itsnear-death experience by avoiding a mergerwith Port Stephens,andwith anelection now set forSeptember the city’s Labor and Liberal councillors havewasted no time ratcheting uphostilities.

Liberal councillor Lisa Tierney’s went out swinging on Tuesday, issuing a dramatic resignation letter in which she accusedLord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes of bullying staff, wasting ratepayer money on overseas trips and overseeing a “sham” process in the council’s beleaguered search for a new general manager.

In a lengthy statement MsTierneylisted several concerns over the council’s status quo, declaring she “can no longer be a part of something that goes against everything I believe in”.

“For staff and many councillors it has now reached breaking point,” MsTierney wrote.

“I am resigning to make a stand in the hope the state government will step in.”

Ms Tierney did not respond to numerous calls for comment on Wednesday, and her claims were strongly rebutted by Cr Nelmes, who labelled them “unsubstantiated allegations” and said they were“untrue and defamatory”.

She said she was “deeply hurt by these falsities”.

“While I do love having a civic leadership role that allows me to fulfill my passion to make Newcastle a smart, liveable and sustainable cityI have not enjoyed the nasty politics that goes with this job,” she said.

Ms Tierney’s shock exit –which leaves Newcastle City Council two representatives short–comesafter a barrage of criticism leveled at the lord mayor in recent days, with the Liberals taking aim at her decision to take hernine-year-old daughter on anoverseas trip to Singapore and charge $270 in childcare to ratepayers.

Ms Tierney took aim at Cr Nelmesfor her overseas travel–which has also included trips to Geneva and the United States–in this term, saying it was“a bad look”.

“I have not seen any benefit for ratepayers in any of these overseas trips and I feel very uncomfortable with these types of expenses being billed back to Council,” she said.

But Labor were lining up to defend the besieged Lord Mayor on Wednesday, accusing their Liberal counterparts of entering election mode, and attacking their own record on the council.

Labor councillor Declan Clausen said he had “routinely witnessed”MsTierney’s absence from council meetings, and said her “decision to announce her resignation to a Sydney based News Limited paper with a series of baseless comments demonstrates great disrespect for the people of Newcastle”.

“Newcastle is undergoing a substantial transformation, and this is due to the collaborative approach taken by this Lord Mayor and Labor Councillor,” he said.

“Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes has done an extraordinary job in developing partnerships across political boundaries, government, the business and broader community to end years of infighting and chaos in our city.”

An analysis of council meeting attendances from 2015 and 2016 shows Ms Tierney attended only 60 per cent of meetings –the second worst of the city’s 12 councillors.

TheNewcastle Heraldalso understands that she has recently taken up an expandedposition as the group chief operating officerwith her employer Compass Housing and Liberal Party sources said she had not been expected to recontest her spot on the council.

It comes as more information is released about the fate Newcastle could have faced if the government had pushed ahead with its plans to merge the council with Port Stephens.

A Boundaries Commission report presented to former local government minister Paul Toolelast April reveals that if the government had acted on its recommendations the two councils would have been merged into a 15-councillor, five ward organisation called City of Hunter Coast.

MsTierney’s resignation means the councilis now down to 11after Newcastle state MP Tim Crakanthorp’sresignation.

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$1.9m for a Merewether knock-down SOLD: This property on Coane Street in Merewether is in need of a full renovation or knock-down but sold for $1.9 million under the hammer last week.
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SOLD: This property on Coane Street in Merewether is in need of a full renovation or knock-down but sold for $1.9 million under the hammer last week.

SOLD: This property on Coane Street in Merewether is in need of a full renovation or knock-down but sold for $1.9 million under the hammer last week.

SOLD: This property on Coane Street in Merewether is in need of a full renovation or knock-down but sold for $1.9 million under the hammer last week.

SOLD: This property on Coane Street in Merewether is in need of a full renovation or knock-down but sold for $1.9 million under the hammer last week.

SOLD: This property on Coane Street in Merewether is in need of a full renovation or knock-down but sold for $1.9 million under the hammer last week.

SOLD: This property on Coane Street in Merewether is in need of a full renovation or knock-down but sold for $1.9 million under the hammer last week.

SOLD: This property on Coane Street in Merewether is in need of a full renovation or knock-down but sold for $1.9 million under the hammer last week.

SOLD: This property on Coane Street in Merewether is in need of a full renovation or knock-down but sold for $1.9 million under the hammer last week.

SOLD: This property on Coane Street in Merewether is in need of a full renovation or knock-down but sold for $1.9 million under the hammer last week.

SOLD: This property on Coane Street in Merewether is in need of a full renovation or knock-down but sold for $1.9 million under the hammer last week.

INTEREST: 68 groups were shown through this three-bedroom house at Mayfield within 24 hours. The property sold within four days for $573,000, well above the price guide.

INTEREST: 68 groups were shown through this three-bedroom house at Mayfield within 24 hours. The property sold within four days for $573,000, well above the price guide.

INTEREST: 68 groups were shown through this three-bedroom house at Mayfield within 24 hours. The property sold within four days for $573,000, well above the price guide.

INTEREST: 68 groups were shown through this three-bedroom house at Mayfield within 24 hours. The property sold within four days for $573,000, well above the price guide.

INTEREST: 68 groups were shown through this three-bedroom house at Mayfield within 24 hours. The property sold within four days for $573,000, well above the price guide.

INTEREST: 68 groups were shown through this three-bedroom house at Mayfield within 24 hours. The property sold within four days for $573,000, well above the price guide.

INTEREST: 68 groups were shown through this three-bedroom house at Mayfield within 24 hours. The property sold within four days for $573,000, well above the price guide.

INTEREST: 68 groups were shown through this three-bedroom house at Mayfield within 24 hours. The property sold within four days for $573,000, well above the price guide.

INTEREST: 68 groups were shown through this three-bedroom house at Mayfield within 24 hours. The property sold within four days for $573,000, well above the price guide.

TweetFacebookDomain,had been in the Field family for nearly 100 years.

First home buyers zero in on Mayfield INTEREST: 68 groups were shown through this three-bedroom house at Mayfield within 24 hours. The property sold within four days for $573,000, well above the price guide.

First home buyers are intensifyingtheir search inmiddle ring suburbs,pushing prices well north of half a million dollars.

Mr Rafty said some of the hot spots were Mayfield, Georgetown and Hamilton North, all within fifteen minutes driveof the coast.

Within 24 hours, he took 68 groups through a three-bedroom house at 12 Robert Street, Mayfield. The property sold in four days for $573,000. Another41 groups inspected a homeon Parkview Street, Georgetown.

An open home on Crebert Street in Mayfield attracted such large crowds that some locals mistook the inspection for a sporting event.

Mr Rafty said much of the demand was also coming from Sydney investors “who are happy to buy the property, lease it and then forget about it.”

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LEGEND: Foundation Knights skipper Sam Stewart.
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SAM Stewart joked that the last time he played rugby league, the ball was made of leather.

Nonetheless, the Newcastle Knights legend –who captained the club in its inaugural seasons –is committed to making a comeback within a matter of weeks, at the age of 54.The former Kiwi international, who does not appear to have aged a day since he led the Knights out for their first-ever game, against Parramatta in 1988, has agreed to play for North Newcastle Bluebags in their resurrection campaign.

North were arguably the most famous club in the Newcastle district competition between 1910 and 1989, winning 15 first-grade premierships before merging with Nelson Bay. They have effectively been defunct since, but have now recruited a coach and more than 40 players to compete in the Newcastle and Hunter second-division competition.

BLUEBLOODS: Rebecca Young and Sam Stewart share a joke before North Newcastle’s training session at Carrington on Wednesday. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

They will also field a team in the NSWRL women’s competition that will include a host of Australian representatives, headed by dual international Bec Young.

Next week they will hold talks with Newcastle City Council about securing a home ground.

Stewart said he had agreed to play at least one game as a favour for his friend Gary Callaghan, who is North’s vice-chairman and a former team manager of the Knights.

“Gary and Iwere talking about their plans to put North Newcastle back together,’’ Stewart told the Herald. “He asked if I would like to be involved, and I said maybe I could come and do a training session or run the water out. He asked if I’d pull on the boots again …obviously I said yes, and here I am. We’re still a month away, and anything could happen in a month, but I’m looking forward to it.’’

Stewart said it had been 21 years since he played a game, but he still keeps fit on the Gold Coast throughswimming, mountain biking and other activities.

He attended North’s training session at Pat Jordan Oval, Carrington, on Wednesday to meet his new teammates, and on Thursday will address his latter-day Knights counterparts before their round-one clash with the Warriors.

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BUILT TO LAST: Things of Stone and Wood are performing their classic 1993 debut album The Yearning in full on their latest tour. WHEN looking back throughthe annuals of rock history to the heady days of 1993 many classic albums spring to mind.
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Grunge was ruling the roost, with Nirvana’s tortured revolt against success,In Utero, battling Pearl Jam’s angsty sophomore release,Vs, and The Smashing Pumpkins produced arguably their greatest statement inSiamese Dream.

Greg ArnoldPablo Honey) andBlur (Modern Life Is Rubbish) released quality records.

Back home in Australia an often overlooked masterpiece was also released in The Yearning, by Melbourne folk-rock outfit Things of Stone and Wood. Led by the commercial singles Share The Wine and Happy Birthday Helen, The Yearning becamea precursor to Australia’s roots and folk scene movement popularised by John Butler Trio and The Waifs.

The record also earned Things of Stone and Wood frontman Greg Arnold APRA’s songwriterofthe year in 1993 award and Share The Wine won best new talent at the ARIAs.

Things of Stone and Wood are hitting the road in Marchto perform The Yearning in its entirety for the first time. The band’s debut remains their greatest statement and is littered with fond memories for Arnold.

“When I look back on the album, it was an incredibly emotional record for us as a band,” Arnold says from his home in Geneva, Switzerland, where his wife Helen works for the Red Cross.

Things of Stone and Wood – Happy Birthday Helen“It was big time for the band, we were touring a lot, we were very proud of the record. When I look back it’s all bit of a whirlwind in my memory, but you get a real clear vision of what the band’s all about and what we were doing.

“It’s indistinguishablefrom those good memories touring around with the band and having a record and being very proud of it.”

For a debut record, The Yearning is an incredibly mature and well-conceived body of work. From lyrical content littered with Melbourne references to their layered acoustic instrumentation and flourishes ofviolin, it’s a rewarding listen.

Arnold credits the the band’s manager and producer James Black for the album’s clear purpose.

“I think a lot of that maturity came from him because he helped take the band from being a corner of a pub folk-rock band and got us into the idea of making records,” he says.“When I look back it was the most exciting thing because you could tell we were making a real record and he left no stone unturned in his pursuit of that. It was a really fantastic artistic relationship.

“It was our first album and we tried to make a real statement with that.”

Black willjointhe band on the upcoming The Yearning tour, where songs like the title track and Wrapped will be performed live for the first time in two decades.

Stylistically,The Yearning was worlds away from the grunge movement of the early ’90s and even Australia’s alternative rock scene which produced You Am I and Powderfinger.

Things of Stone and Wood – Share The Wine“When I think about that time there were a lot of different movements,” Arnold says.“Grunge became the real dominant one, but they shared a lot of similar things with the new-age hippie thing we were on and the retro thing.

“They were all looking back to rock music that wasa little more direct. Early in the ’90s there was a look out past the ’80s to the ’70s and ’60s. Even though they don’t sound the same, a lot of those movements share the same ideas and philosophies.”

In 2014 Things of Stone and Wood reformed for a 25-year reunion tour, but the four-piece haven’t performed in Newcastle since 2001.This latest tour plays strongly on nostalgia, but it’s not something Arnold is ashamed to enjoy.

“Because we’ve all done a lot of different stuff since then and we’re all happy looking back,” he says.“For me coming back to Australia and hanging out with my mates for a couple of weeks is fantastic.

“We’re all good friends and it’s a fantastic catch up.

“Having said that, I’m interested in doing some new stuff with Things of Stone and Wood because I feel, even though there’s been big gaps in our band, we’ve never really said that’s it.”

Things of Stone and Wood perform The Yearning at Lizotte’s on March 25.

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CASH BOOST: Newcastle Show Association president Brett Gleeson is relieved after a state government financial lifeline. Picture: Jonathan CarrollTHE state government has declared the Newcastle Show must go on, throwing the iconicbut financially troubledattraction a $40,000 lifeline just days before the gates open.
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Parliamentary Secretary for the HunterCatherine Cusackannounced the 11thhour grant on Wednesday afternoon, having earlier visitedNewcastle Show Association president Brett Gleesonto deliver the news in person.

“I wasn’t surprised–I wasrelieved,” Mr Gleeson said.“It will keep the show alive for another year.”

Organisers had become increasingly worried in the lead-up to Friday’s launch as they were yet toreceive confirmation from the state government the grant had been given the green light.

In January, Mr Gleesonrevealed to theNewcastle Heraldthe show was on the brink: it had just $10,000 in the bank and no reliable source of income.

The grant announced by Ms Cusack on Wednesday will fill a shortfall in sponsorship, Mr Gleeson said, who predicted the showwill now break-even.

As well as announcing a one-off$40,000 in funding, Ms Cusack also committed to a review that would“investigate alternative revenue streams to keep the Newcastle Regional Show afloat beyond 2017”.

She said the show association had“literally suffered from a perfect storm”, with itsfunds“bled dry” by theformer Labor government’s decisionabolish the former Newcastle Showground and Exhibition Centre Trust in favour of Venues NSW, which transferred income from the site to thestate government.

Show association: grant has ‘kept show alive’ Reader and Star giveaway winner Lisa Chawner photos from the show.

Reader and Star giveaway winner Lisa Chawner photos from the show.

Reader and Star giveaway winner Lisa Chawner photos from the show.

TweetFacebook“It would keep the money here rather than sending it to the state government’s coffers,” he said.

Labor haspreviously urged the government “excise the Newcastle showgrounds, including the Entertainment Centre, and return it to the care and control of a Newcastle Showground Trust”.

Newcastle MP Tim Crakanthorp lamented that Venues NSW wasusing the city as a “cash cow”, but thegovernmentargued Labor was to blame for management arrangements.

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BUSY: Local trainer Greg Bennett will have runners at Armidale and Scone on the weekend. Picture: Ben MurphyGREG Bennett is hoping his bad luck ended with a terrifying car accident on his way to Randwick last Saturday as the Scone trainer prepares for a monster weekend.
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On Saturday he takes four of his stable to Armidale with two – Lucky Nic and Taste Of Money – chasing a $40,000 Watson, McNamara & Watt Guyra Cup (1400m) while he has 13 running at Scone Race Club’s HNWRA Country Championship Qualifier meeting on Sunday where he will have three – All Summer Long, Invienna and Sassaby – lining up in the $150,000 CC Qualifier (1400m).

That the Scone trainer is sporting some bruises and bit of whiplash is good luck.

He and stable foreman, Tina Eveleigh, and Barry McDonald were on their way to Randwick last Saturday with Mister Marmalade in the float and a good chance in the Highway Handicap.

“But we got cleaned up,” Greg Bennett said.

“Had just come off Pennant Hills Road and heading down Beecroft Road when this little old fellow came straight thought a stop sign. He hit us and pushed push into a telegraph wall and brick wall.

“We were very lucky really, only ended up with a few bruises and a bit of whiplash. The horse is okay too but the car and float look like being write offs.”

The lack of a car and float is a “real nuisance” for Bennett but he will be able to make do on what is a huge weekend in the HNWRA with almost half a million in prizemoney on offer at Armidale and Scone.

He is hoping he might be able snip a good portion of that with Lucky Nic and Taste Of Money to be ridden by female apprentices Mikayla Weir and Mollie Partridge while Rachel Murray, who won the Highway handicap at Randwick last Saturday, jumping aboard Settle The Future in the $20,000 Armidale Cup Prelude.

“Lucky Nic will go forward at Armidale while taste Of Money will get back and run on. They should both run nice races. It might be my last race meeting at Armidale too so it would be nice to go out with a win or two. But we will have to wait and see how the conditions are too.”

After Saturday Bennett then turns his attention to a massive day at his home track where he has 13 runners across the eight races, three of them in the $150,000 Country Championship Qualifier.

All three – All Summer Long, Invienna and Sassaby – ran well in the Country Championship Preview won by unbeaten Art D’Amour.

All Summer Long was an unlucky second to Art D’Amour, Invienna a close fourth and Sassaby seventh.

The trio pulled up well after that Preview and worked well since.

“They are all fit and healthy, couldn’t be happier with them,” Greg Bennett said.

“Whoever wins and runs second in this heat will deserve it, it’s a good race, some good horses and going to be a good race. The barrier draw will play a major part in it too. Where they draw will determine how the race is run.”

Scone Race Club will be well represented in the race with Rod Northam likely to have two and maybe three in the qualifier with After All That, promising filly L’Elu and maybe Hooge.

Paul Messara also has unbeaten Caerless Choice engaged. The son of Redoute’s Choice won his maiden at Scone, triumphed at Muswellbrook and then won a enchmark 65 at Scone on November 17.

He hasn’t raced since but finished third in a February 17 trial at Scone behind L’Elu and War Hero.

Stephen Jones, who has relocated to Scone from the Gold Coast, also has Unknown Destiny nominated. A five-year- old chestnut gelding son of Zizou he has won four of his 19 starts including a Highway Handicap win back in April last year.

He has had two runs back, the first a 9.7 length 10th to Zestful in the Group 3 Triscay Stakes at Randwick.

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Turnbull Government questioned over Vatican ties Questions: Senator Rachel Siewert with politicians including Nick Xenophon and Greg Hunt at Parliament House in Canberra.
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Calls: Catholics for Renewal president Peter Johnstone.

Concerns: Greens Senator Scott Ludlum is one of a number of Federal Greens Senators asking questions about Australia’s relations with the Vatican.

Culture: Pope Francis. The Catholic Church has been criticised for having a culture that is difficult to change.

Empire: The Catholic Church still shows the cultural legacy of once ruling the world.

Communications: Pope Francis is celebrated as the People’s Pope, but the Vatican under his rule denied documents to Australia’s Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

Vatican: The Catholic Church has many millions of followers.

Abuse: The global child sexual abuse crisis has cast a dark cloud across the Catholic Church.

TweetFacebookThe Federal Government needed to openly discuss how thecommunity felt about senior Catholic churchmen in Australia having diplomatic immunity because Australia announced in 1973 that it had a diplomatic relationship with the Vatican, Ms Siewert said. The announcement was made by the then Labor prime minister Gough Whitlam.

“There’s been such a strong response to the royal commission. People have been horrified by what’s been exposed,” she said.

The community was not happy when Cardinal George Pell did not return to Australia to give evidence at the royal commission, after solemnly pledging to commission chair Justice Peter McClellan that he would, Ms Siewert said.

In 2011 the Vatican recalled its ambassador to Irelandafter the Irish prime minister, Enda Kenny, launched an unprecedented and blistering attack on the church in parliament, following release of adevastating report into child sexual abuse involving the church in Dublin.

The church claimed the move was in response to “excessive reactions” to the report.

A few months later the Irish government closed its Vatican embassy, saying it “yields no economic return”.

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MOVING ON: Andrew Hoole has set his sights on securing a deal in Europe after talks with the Jets broke down. Picture: Getty ImagesHIGH OCTANE winger Andrew Hoole is set to chase opportunities in Europe aftercontract negotiations with the Jets broke down over the club’s hardline stance on a transfer fee.
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The Jets had offered Hoole, their No.1 retention target, anupgraded two-year deal, but the parties were unable to reach common ground on a proposed buyout fee,believed to be between $350,000 and $450,000.

Fellow young guns Steven Ugarkovic and Lachlan Jackson havesimilar clauses in contractextensions they signed earlierthis year.

Hoole’s management had sought asmaller fee with a sell-on clause, but the Jets refused to move and have withdrawn the offer.

“We have rules in place,” Jets chief executive Lawrie McKinna said.“We set a minimum transfer fee, and if they are playing well they will get sold.If we develop them and let them go,that is not a sustainable model.Everybody in the squad is treated the same.It is a business for us.We wouldn’t budge, they wouldn’t budge, so we tookthe deal off the table.We wish him all the best.He will play at the weekend and do what he does.”

Hoole hopes to secure a move abroad at the end of the A-League season and has received interest from clubs in Belgium, Denmark and Norway. Danish Superliga side AaB, where former Jets coach Scott Miller is an assistant, are understood to be among the clubs monitoring the Olyroos’ progress.

“In Europe they don’t sign players until the window opens in July,” Hoole’s agent Joel Grenell said.“Hooley is happy to take a calculated risk but he was also open to re-signing with Newcastle. However, it hadto bein a way that would not kill off any potential deal in Europe.The information out of our [ie sports management] office in London is that the clubs looking at players like Hooleywill not pay high fees,” Grenell said. “If he goes as a free agent the Jets don’t get anything. We don’t want them to get zero.”

Hoolehas thrived since returning to Newcastle midway through a two-year deal in Sydney. The pacey midfielderhas scored five goals, provided two assists and created 41 chances. His efforts havenot been limited to attack. The athletic23-year-old has made 25 tackles, the third most for the Jets, and picked off 16 interceptions.

“Hooley does not have a desireto play for another A-League club,” Grenell said.“This is the right time for him to jump into the deep end of the ocean and try and forge a career in Europe, which is no different to any other aspiring young footballer in the world. There areclubs committed to offering a deal if he continues his good form. At the very least these clubs are committed to getting him over in the European summer and having a look at him in the flesh. It’s an exciting time for Hooley.”

Hoole is one of 10 players off contract at the Jets.

McKinna said Daniel Mullen would be offered a new deal and talks were ongoing with a number of others.

Meanwhile, a second string Jets went down 2-1 to visitingsister club Shenzhen Ledman in a friendly at Speers Point on Wednesday.

The Jets led 1-0 at halftimeafter a superb freekick byDevenate Clut. The senior players were replaced by the youth team at half-time.

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A former Tumut man says his mother’s horrific ordeal is far from over after she was rescued from a “living nightmare” early Monday morning.
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Mel Jones’vehicle had crashed and rolled into a gully,leaving hertrapped on the outskirts ofBathurst andcritically injuredin a crumpled car for11 hours with a flat phone.

Steven Kemp said on Tuesday his mother was in a stable condition and being prepped for surgery at a Sydney hospital.

He said despite the relief, there was still a lot unknown.

Mr Kemp said his Tumut-based motherwas lucky to be alive but there was a long road to recovery ahead.

He said the 43-year old already suffered debilitating chronic pain from a previous back injury and was left unable to work from the young age of 25.

Mr Kemp said he didn’t know how his mother would afford the hospital bill and costs of rehabilitation as she lived week on week from Centrelink payments.

“We were never the wealthiest family,” Mr Kemp said.“She’s done well just to raise we three kids the way she did.”

He said he and his two sisters had set up a gofundme page, seeking financial aid to help their mother through the onslaught of hospital bills.

“It’s all been so crazy,” he said. “It’s our mum– she’s all we really have.”

Mr Kemp said he was grateful for all the assistance they had received to date and especially praised the work of emergency services personnel.

Local police, paramedics, the State Emergency Service and Mr Kemp hadlaunched a search party in the early hours of Monday, scouring the Ilford Sofala Road for Ms Jones’ Toyota Corolla.

Mr Kemp said his mother’s car was so well-concealed from the road they drove past it several times before it was eventually spotted by a NSW Ambulance helicopter.

Paramedics reached Ms Jones on the ground about 20 minutes after she was spotted and crews worked to free her from the crumpled vehicle.

“It took a long time to find her but when we did (emergency services) were hands on straight away –they were amazing,” he said.

“When yousee them in action, you can’t take themfor granted and you can’t say anything bad about them.”

Chifley police inspector Gerard Powell said it would havebeen a very scary situation.

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RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW: Luna, 4, demonstrates nature-connection in action.About nine months ago I received an email from Jane, a woman living on the Central Coast who was looking for ways to connect to nature, both herself, and for her two small children.Having worked in war zones around the world for many years with Médecins Sans Frontières, as well as remote indigenous communities in Cape York, Jane was understandably feeling a little wild-deprived in suburban Australia.Since then, Jane and I have had many rich conversations about how to live a nature-connected life, right where you are. It didn’t take long for Jane to find like-minded other mums in Copacabana who gathered weekly to allow their kids unstructured play time in nature. A couple of bush kindies and playgroups sprung up nearby, reflecting the general upswell of similar initiatives across Australia.
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As well as immersing her kids in the bush, Jane longed for a period of solitude in nature, to reconnect more deeply to both the wild within herself, as well as outside. With her husband’s support, Jane organised to spend 24 hours alone in the bush, with just water and a sleeping bag. I kept vigil from afar as she sat, and was happy to catch some stories on her return.

“I had a glimpseof actuallybeing part of a community of nature – of birds and trees and earth and air. Some of the separation fallsaway when we are quiet enough to just be and listen. I felt like there is so much to learn from all of nature if we are able to be still.”

Jane was inspired to start modelling to her kids the art of being still in nature, and found a spot on the bank of the creek in their backyard to sit in quietude as often as possible. Last week Jane rang me excited – her four-year-old daughter, Luna, had independently begun to take herself outside to sit. “Nature connection in action!” I said.

Jane has come to see what I have also received from my nature connection teachers, that spending time outdoors is only the start of cultivating a deep connection to nature. Pioneers in the field, drawing on anthropological study of indigenous cultures, science, and a long hard look at the effectiveness of environmental education, have found there are core practices that quickly create strong bonds of connection between humans and nature. Simple and repeatable practices such as tracking, bird language, sensory awareness and attuned mentorship are some of the most effective and ancient techniques that exist to enable profound connection with nature, with ourselves, and with each other.By understanding our relationships with animals, plants, the weather and wind, and various aspects of the natural environment, we re-pattern our brain and nervous system to activate what are known as ‘the attributes of connection’ – happiness, vitality, the ability to listen deeply, increase empathy, helpfulness, true aliveness and gratitude for life, compassion, forgiveness and the quiet mind.

Hosted by Jane, I am presenting these practices at a Deep Nature Connection workshop, April 7-9 in Somersby. See naturesapprentice南京夜生活南京桑拿 for more details.

Claire Dunn is the author of My Year Without Matches. [email protected]南京夜生活南京桑拿