Monthly Archives: August 2019
A file photo of a samurai sword. A MAN found in possession of a large samurai sword and a sawn-off shotgun at Salt Ash has been sentenced to a maximum of 12 months in jail in Raymond Terrace Local Court.
Shane Peter Bowling, 41, claimed to be a collector of weapons intent on repairing the firearm to its former glory.
But Bowling, of Troman Parade, Raymond Terrace, was nervous, constantly fidgeting and couldn’t stand still when police spoke to him inSalt Ash Avenue about 8.15am on December 9 last year, court documents state.
Police had received a call about a suspicious man and arrived to find Bowling standing next to a grey Holden Commodore.
The car had broken down, Bowling explained, and he didn’t want to leave it.
He had been there a few hours, he said, and had earlier been accompanied by a mate.
But when quizzed about this mystery man, Bowling couldn’t remember his name, where he lived or how long before he had left the location.
Police checked Bowling’s lengthy criminal history and saw that he had recently been spoken to about stolen property.
They assumed he was nervous, and didn’t want to leave the vehicle,because there was stolen goods hidden somewhere in the car.
But when police searched his car they found a backpack that contained a green Woolworth bag wrapped around a double-barreled shotgun.
When asked what the item was, Bowling replied: “A shotgun barrel. “It’s just a collectible. It doesn’t fire or anything. I was just going to restore it.”
Police kept searching and found a large samurai sword in the boot of the car, court documents state.
Bowling was arrested and initially refused bail by Port Stephens police due to his lengthy criminal history and the seriousness of the charges.
But after spending the day in custody, he was granted bail in Maitland Local Court on December 9.
He had pleaded guilty to possession of a shortened firearm without authority, a charge which carries a maximum of 14 years, and custody of a knife in a public place.
Bowling remained at liberty until Magistrate Caleb Franklin ruled the offences deserved a custodial sentence.
He jailed Bowling for a maximum of 12 months, with a non-parole period of eight months for the firearm offence.
Bowling will be eligible for parole on October 26.
WINNING COMBINATION: Margan’s horticulturalist Pat Hansson with owner and restaurateur Lisa Margan.
The Hunter Region won gold, silver and bronze at the annual Qantas n Tourism Awards in Darwin last week.
Margan Wines & Restaurant, at Broke, won the highest honour for Excellence in Food Tourism for the second time, having previously taken home gold in 2014. Sand Dune Adventures came second in theExcellence in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Tourism category and Château Élan at The Vintage took home bronze for Business Events Venue.
The Qantas n Tourism Awards is the tourism industry’s premier awards event and recognises outstanding industry achievements across 25 categories. The awards draw together more than 800 tourism business representatives from across the country along with federal and state tourism ministers, CEOs of state and regional tourism bodies and tourism industry leaders.
Margan’swin was a testament to itspopularrestaurant,agri-dining focus and vineyard and wine tasting operations, as well as its food experiences which range from cooking schools tokitchengarden tours.
“It’s a privilege and honour to receivethisaward as it recognises the focus we have at Margan on delivering anexcellent food and wine experiencehere in the beautiful Hunter Valley, ‘s oldest and most visited wine region,” Lisa Margan told the Newcastle Herald.
“We give huge credit to our team at Margan who share our passion, vision andcommitmentto excellence.
“ has many quality food and wine regions, all doing great things, and these national awards are therefore very competitive. We are proud to fly the flag for NSW and for the Hunter whose food and wine scene gets better every year.”
This latest award for Margan adds to its already impressive list of accolades:SMH Good Food Guide –One Chef Hat 2016;Andrew Margan –Viticulturist of the Year 2015;Winner – Best Winery, NSW Tourism Awards Hall of Fame; Winner –Excellence in Food Tourism, NSW Tourism Awards Hall of Fame; Winner –Excellence in Food Tourism, n Tourism Awards 2014 and 2016;Winner –Hunter Valley Cellar Door of the Year 2013;5 Star Winery James Halliday Wine Companion 2009-2017.
The Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, Steven Ciob MP, congratulated the 25 winners and more than 200 finalists for their dedication to ’s tourism industry.
“’s export tourism industry is now more valuable to the national economy than coal or rural exports,” he said.
“The continued passion and commitment from the hard-working ns honoured at the awards is crucial to further growth and attracting more visitors to .”
Theatre reviewUltra Swing Lounge
Hunter Lifestyle, at the Civic Theatre, Newcastle
February 24 and 25
THE five years that have passed since the previous Ultra Swing Lounge show was staged have done nothing to reduce the style and pleasure of this bright and lively tribute to the swing-style musical shows that dazzled audiences in the 1930s and 40s. And while singers Daniel Stoddart and Steve Hudson, who have been with the shows since the first in 2004, joked at an early stage about putting on weight, their performances are as svelte as ever.
They and the other member of the singing trio, Rob McDougall, showed when presenting numbers such as Call Me Irresponsible and I Did It My Way just how timeless such numbers can be. And while they generally wore dinner suits, the colourful Latin American style garb they had in I Go To Rio, especially that of Stoddart, added to the amusement. Stoddart’s later red coat adornment in Mac the Knife was in line with the street delivery of the ballad in The Threepenny Opera, with two dancers as agile passers-by.
The ballroom dancers, Aric Yegudkin and Masha Belash, and Julian Caillon and Daria Walczak, added to the charm when all on stage in numbers including In the Mood, and as pairs and individuals. Tap dancer Tristan Fletcher never put a foot wrong in his pieces that included dancing to the band number Bojangles. Guest singer Amy Vee, performing with the male singers, certainly showed They Can’t Take That Away From Me. And the skills of the 22 band members, under musical director and pianist Greg Paterson, came through in the accompaniments, including McDougall’s moving I’ll Be Seeing You, which was predominantly backed by strings and piano.
Producer and director, Phil Collins, kept the show moving briskly along, with the brief comments and jokes delivered by the male vocal trio between numbers adding to the fun, and charming actions that included Hudson, accompanied by a female dancer, moving among women in the audience and handing them bunches of flowers, during the rendition of The Way You Look Tonight. Set and lighting designer Scott Travis had the stage as an elegant multi-level verandah, with two marble-like pillars on the top level and a backdrop of a starry night sky, with the colours changing to match the nature of each song.
Whitley student accommodation, Melbourne. Photo: Nick Lenaghan Renders of the new Scape student accommodation on the CUB site on Swanston Street in Melbourne Photo: Nick Lenaghan
Booming numbers of international students coming to to study are underpinning developer enthusiasm for the accommodation projects needed to house them.
While prospective “bedspace” numbers are ramping up fast in the next couple of years, local players reckon there still won’t be enough to meet student needs.
The 7625 bedspaces delivered to the n market this year is a 65 per cent increase on last year’s total, according to research by Knight Frank.
While another 9102 bedspaces are promised in 2018 and a further 11,422 in 2019, numbers trail off after that.
But the election of Donald Trump in the US and the Brexit vote in the UK are combining to create even greater demand for ‘s university places, according to players in the space.
Scape Student Living executive director Craig Carracher has just returned from China where he found great enthusiasm for in the face of the Brexit and Trump votes in the UK and US.
“Whether it’s uncertainty in Europe, whether it’s Trump, whether it’s Brexit, is seen as a safe haven,” Mr Carracher said. “In the next year or two, we will start to see it flow through.”
The current ratio of international students to bedspaces is running at nine-to-eleven students per bed, he said.
“In the UK, it is three-to-four to one which creates some competition on prices. But if all the beds are delivered that are planned in we still wouldn’t satisfy demand.”
Recently released figures from the Department of Education and Training show the number of international students in grew by 11 per cent last year as 554,179 full-fee paying students took up places in local educational institutions.
New enrolments were up 10 percent on 2015 figures, outpacing the 10 year average of 7.1 per cent.
Chinese students made up 27.5 per cent international students, an increase of 15.7 per cent since 2015. But the fastest growing source of new international students is South America: the number of Colombian students increased 22.4 per cent to 17,190 and Brazilian student numbers grew by 19.6 per cent to 29,440.
More than half (57 per cent) of student accommodation projects have opened in Melbourne, where Knight Frank director Paul Savitz said it is easier to find the sites.
“I’m fielding a lot of queries from overseas groups looking to come into the market. A big European group was in town last week and another group is coming next week,” Mr Savitz said.
“A lot of groups are looking in Sydney but it’s very, very difficult to get sites. The residential and office markets are so hot especially in areas where student accommodation providers want to be – railway stations especially,” he said.
“That’s why they’re focusing on Melbourne.”
Mr Carracher said Scape, which has $1 billion of projects in the pipeline for Melbourne alone, said overseas players would need to partner with locals to understand the domestic market.
“They’re coming to look at the market but they’re not executing deals,” he said.
His group is backed by European and Asian investors and has $1 billion worth of projects underway. Brisbane-based Blue Sky has a pipeline of 3000 beds in a joint venture with Goldman Sachs.
“There’s a whole range of considerations that apply to students and this market has different states, different insurance, different universities and different rules in every city.”
As the new academic year gets underway, industry focus is on acquiring new sites and getting up new projects but the outcome of the Campus Living Village’s 40,000 bed portfolio sale remains a hot topic.
The portfolio, expected to fetch around $2 billion, includes 70 properties in the UK, USA and and is regarded as a very complex acquisition.
And even CLV is looking at the future. A spokesperson said, “At the moment we are not building in but we are looking closely with our university partners. It’s a very buoyant and exciting market.”
Earnings from extensive property holdings spiked 91 per cent, largely from revaluations. Photo: Scott BarbourHarvey Norman’s $2.6 billion property portfolio continues to underpin the group’s profitability, generating a $75.74 million value uplift and another $71 million in income.
The retail giant’s record half-year results show runaway property values and blistering summer weather helped drive its total profits from property, furniture and whitegoods 39 per cent higher to $257.29 million.
While the retailer is best known for its sprawling electronics and furniture stores, its earnings from its extensive property holdings spiked 91 per cent, largely from the revaluations.
Without contributions from revaluations, the retailer’s profit after tax was up 19.7 per cent to $204.27 million off the back of franchise sales, which grew 5.2 per cent to $2.86 billion.
The result reflected strong retail spending in NSW and Victoria as well as the “wealth effect” of higher house prices and hot weather along the eastern seaboard powering sales of airconditioning units.
Billionaire retailer and chair Gerry Harvey said revaluations would push up to $3 billion in the near future.
Mr Harvey would not provide any details on exactly how many of the Harvey Norman stores are owned by the group, except to say an “awful lot”.
Mr Harvey rejected suggestions the business had purchased any of the former Masters sites.
“We had a look at all of them and but we haven’t got any interest in any of them. For good reason, they are not in the right areas or we have stores nearby,” Mr Harvey said.
The Harvey Norman property empire spans 238 stores in and 85 shops in New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia, Croatia and Ireland.
The large-format, multi-tenanted Harvey Norman franchise stores, along with a diverse mix of third-party tenants, accounted for nearly half the group’s earnings – 54 per cent of its total asset base and about 40 per cent of profits before tax.
At each reporting period, one-sixth of Harvey Norman’s investment property portfolio are independently valued, while the remaining five-sixths are reviewed for fair value by the directors.
The entire portfolio is independently valued every three years, the group said.
The retailer said there was no further write-down on its mining camp investments, although it booked a $4.62 million impairment loss on the project.
Over the previous two periods the group has become another casualty of the fading mining boom, writing off $13.2 million from its initial $60 million investment in building transportable accommodation units or “dongas” to house mining camps in remote parts of .
The joint venture between Mr Harvey and unnamed partners ploughed large sums into the dongas just as the resources boom was ending.
Another of Mr Harvey’s pet projects, a 49.9 per cent investment in Victorian dairy farm and pedigree breeding operation, Coomboona Holdings, also racked up losses of $3.26 million for the half year.
In the previous corresponding period its losses were $1.79 million.
Future growth is expected to come from Harvey Norman’s overseas network as well as its new start-up ventures including the fledgling School Locker business in .
Harvey Norman has recently acquired a property in Dublin and plans to open a signature store there in the next few months and Mr Harvey said the Singapore-Malaysia market could support as many as 30 more stores.