Monument honours Indigenous soldiers Reply

By Ripu Bhatia


‘Yininmadyemi: Thou didst let fall’ by Aboriginal artist Tony Albert to acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men and women who served in the nation’s military. Photograph courtesy Sydney City Council

A marble and steel structure entitled Yininmadyemi: Thou Didst Let Fall, was designed by Indigenous artist Tony Albert as a symbol of the historical mistreatment of Indigenous service men and women. The sculpture was unveiled in Hyde Park last month to honour Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander soldiers.

Tony Albert’s sculpture, located opposite the War Memorial, is comprised of four bullets and three fallen shells.

Aboriginal scholar Daniele Hromek who attended the opening ceremony, says the historic and continuing role of Indigenous people in the Australian Army does receive enough recognition today. Ms. Hromek says the sculpture as a step forward in honouring Indigenous soldiers.

“There is a lacking of recognition for Aboriginal people in all areas of society and this is mirrored in the army,” she says. “I suspect most people don’t know there were Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who fought and died in the First and Second World Wars.” More…

Low cost food and hospitality a local initiative Reply

By Jennifer Haines

Riverside Corner Store opening

Brian Willoughby, Corner Store Manager; Emily Dennis, Riverside Church Community Worker; and Reverend Justin Campbell, Pastor of Riverside Church, at Riverside Corner Store. Photograph: Jennifer Haines

“It is important for churches to give a damn about people in their time of need,” says Reverend Justin Campbell at the official opening recently of Riverside Corner Store, an initiative of Riverside Church to provide low cost food and hospitality to residents in the Ermington area.

Councillor John Chedid, of Parramatta City Council, says the project “provides a vital service to the local community that is made more significant because it is done by locals”.

Riverside Corner Store was developed in response to a Community Needs Assessment Study, conducted by the Church, that identified poverty as the most significant issue facing residents in the Ermington area. Australian Bureau of Statistics data confirms that Ermington has a higher than average unemployment rate and lower than average income levels.

“The Corner Store project is a tangible way we can help families who are struggling,” Reverend Campbell says. More…

Vivid Sydney’s Musify+Gamify turned punters into performers Reply

By Thomas Williams

Ensemble Offspring

Ensemble Offspring performing a set of musical games at Musify+Gamify. These champions of innovative new music are driven by rules more akin to gaming than classical composition where explore dynamic and fluid musical environments. Image courtesy of Ensemble Offspring

Interactive art event Musify+Gamify gave everyone at this year’s Vivid Sydney celebrations the chance to perform alongside some of Australia’s most forward-thinking musicians, video game designers and artists.

Curated by Sydney University researchers Dr Lian Loke and Dr Oliver Bown, Musify+Gamify hosted two concerts and a free exhibition during its 11-day residency at Chippendale’s Seymour Centre in May.

The event featured a performance from Hans van Vliet, the brains behind Brisbane “indie bitpop band” 7bit Hero, whose mobile app lets audience members interact with the group’s live show.

“We have multiplayer games that are timed up with our music,” says Mr van Vliet. “There are lots of visuals and lots of boss battles, and then everyone works together to take them down while I provide a soundtrack for it.”

Dr Bown says Mr van Vliet’s interactive performances — which also emulate 8-bit Gameboy sounds — work at the edge of what’s typically acceptable when it comes to audience participation. More…

Young Australians march to move in with Mike Baird Reply

Young protesters

Youth protestors gather at Parliament House. Photograph by Casey Guevara

By Sarah Yahya

Equipped with furniture and other household items, a large group of young people marched to Parliament House on March 11 to protest about housing affordability.
Organised by Sydney Alliance and supported by the Uniting Church Synod, the protest ‘Hey Mike, We’re Moving In With You!’ called on the NSW Premier Mike Baird to address the lack of affordable housing for young people.

Holding up a sign that read ‘What’s your plan for affordable housing?’, Michael McClurg, 23, said he considered the possibility of moving outside NSW but concluded, “It’s not realistic for me to be living in Sydney but the work is here. There are more opportunities here.” More…

Glitter, Coffee and Party Reply

By Jana Bohlmann

Morning glory hula hoop by Jana

Happy partygoers starting the day off with some hula hoop fun. Picture by Jana Bohlmann

The room is full of people dressed in bright colors dancing to energising music produced by a live DJ in the middle of Alexandria, Sydney. It is 6.30 in the morning. Glitter sparkles on their faces. On the other side of the room, there is a yoga class while smoothies and coffee are being served. Massages are also on offer. It seems like an odd combination of activities – party and breakfast and meditation practices – but it works. It is Morning Gloryville.

Morning Gloryville was started by Samantha Moyo and Nico Thoemmes in London in 2013 as an early morning dance party for sober partygoers. It ran on weekdays from 6.30-9.30am. Samantha and Nico came up with the concept because they were looking for a way of conscious clubbing, but could not find any parties where they were not surrounded by alcohol and drugs. Since then the event has evolved into a global movement operating in 19 cities worldwide. More…

Football tournament keeps memory alive Reply

In memory of Martin

Martin Knezevic: a football tournament honours his memory. Photograph: Visnja Begovic)

By Tiana Vitlic

There are many ways to remember a life lost through fond memories, photographs, stories. The life of Martin Knezevic is celebrated with all those – and a football tournament.
Martin, who died 19 years ago aged 22, was a local coach for Hurstville Zagreb FC. He was a team member, a team player, someone who was “fun loving, with a cheeky smile you could see for miles”. He was a friend, a brother, and a son. Several months after his death, his team decided to honour Martin with a tournament in his name.

“People from all over Australia come to Carss Park every February to participate,” says Visnja Begovic, Martin’s older sister. Since its beginning, the Martin Knezevic Football Tournament has grown from eight teams and 300 attendees, to 36 teams with thousands of attendees. It is a fun-filled event where people come enjoy a barbecue, catch up with friends, and participate in the sport Martin loved most.

“The first round begins at eight o’clock in the morning. It then continues throughout the day with knock out games,” Visnja Begovic says. “Usually it finishes by seven or eight o’clock at night.” More…

When talk of homosexuality is a crime Reply

By Jana Bohlmann

Gay love pic

The voice of the people. Photograph by Flats used under Creative Commons licence

Whether you are gay or straight, by next Sunday you will be a criminal in Kazakhstan if you talk about homosexuality. Russia adopted a law banning any promotion of homosexuality  two years ago. Now Kazakhstan is following its neighbour’s lead. While other countries legalise gay marriage, discussing homosexuality will be forbidden in Kazakhstan.

Kazakhstan, the country which borders Russia to its north and west, is mainly under Russian influence. Its draft bill was passed through the senate on the 19 February this year and now only requires presidential signing off. The Kazakh president, Nursultan Nasarbajews, who has held onto office since the country’s first election in 1990, is strongly opposed to the gay movement. More…

Endometriosis now an aggressive epidemic Reply

By Annette Tyrrell


One in 10 women will end up with endometriosis. Image courtesy of Endometriosis Australia

It is an epidemic out-stripping diabetes and asthma. Endometriosis is an often-painful condition affecting the quality of life, productivity and fertility of one in 10 women at reproductive age, according to Endometriosis Australia.

While there is currently no known cause of endometriosis, if you ask Doctor Geoffrey Reid what causes it, you’ll get a frank answer. Speaking to a gathering of sufferers at the Endo March Sydney Yellow Cocktail Evening recently, Doctor Reid said, “To a certain extent it’s the doctors causing endometriosis. We are facilitating the propagation of a genetic condition by assisting these women to reproduce.” More…

Rethinking the unthinkable Reply

By Christian Berechree

Xanthe Mallett pic

Forensic anthropologist Dr Xanthe Mallett. Picture by Steve Baccon

Shows such as Bones and CSI have done the seemingly unthinkable: they’ve made forensic science cool, sexy even. On television, every scientist is beautiful, always impeccably dressed and groomed, and witty to boot.

It seems unlikely this would be the case in the real world of forensics. Charisma, good looks and a biting sense of humour are hardly required skills for lab work.

However, in the case of forensic anthropologist and a
uthor Dr Xanthe Mallett, it would seem that TV isn’t too far off the mark. Dr Mallett looks as though she’d be just as comfortable at Paris fashion week in a designer dress as she would behind a microscope wearing a white coat.

Xanthe Mallett has become a public face for forensics, appearing on television shows like Wanted and History Cold Case. Her camera-ready looks and engaging conversation style make her an easy person to pay attention to.

She attributes much of her transition from scientist to media personality to her creative background. She trained as a dancer throughout her early life. More…

From poster to paper to crime novel Reply

By Sylvana El-Khazen

Virginia Peters pic

Virginia Peters felt compelled to write the story of the murder of 25-year-old Simone Strobel.

The plaintive expression on a young German backpacker’s face in a missing person’s poster haunted author Virginia Peters and would ultimately change her life. In the local café she frequented most mornings in Byron Bay, she found the poster of 25-year-old Simone Strobel who had had been missing from Lismore for six days.

The magnetic pull of Simone’s face would result in a tumultuous nine-year journey that would place Virginia Peters at the centre of an unsolved murder and the publication last year of her book, Have You Seen Simone? The Story of An Unsolved Murder.

“I kept staring at the picture,” she says. Simone seemed so familiar, like the writer had known her in some way. This was back in 2005, when a week after Simone was reported missing, she was found dead under a pile of palm fronds 90 metres from the Lismore Caravan Park. She had been staying there with her boyfriend of six years Tobias Suckfuell, his sister Katrin and a friend, Jens Martin.

Virginia Peters’ attendance at Simone’s inquest was the catalyst for the writer to begin her own investigation into Simone’s murder. She also decided she was going to write a book, despite having never been interested in true crime cases or books. More…