Powered by Szhhouse!

Caring contribution in atrocious conditions

FRONT: Sister M J Hubbard prepares a patient for an operation at the 1st Australian Casualty Clearing Station, France, in 1917. Picture: Australian Official Photograph Collection CONGRATULATIONS to theHeraldfor its coverage of our valiant forefathers over the past 12 months and in particular the current weeks. A total of61,000 Australian soldiers sailors and airmen lost their lives in fouryears, 100 years ago. Half of them in 1917on the Western Front, exactly 100 years ago.
Nanjing Night Net

We all know of the pompous and irresponsible stuff ups of the British High Command of the early years of the war but almost nothing has been said of the wonderful contribution, despite unbelievable hardship, deprivation and pompous disregard again by the British, of the Australian matrons and nurses in particular, and doctors who volunteered and worked under atrocious conditions and saved thousands of lives, in many cases under shellfire and with casualties themselves.

I have recently read a book by Susanna De Vries which chronicles the lot of the Australian nurses from the Siege of Antwerp through Gallipoli, the Island of Lemnos (hell hole), in the front line and hospitals of the Western Front, including nurses being trained as anesthetists–doing 25-30 operations a day without loss and being the only nation at the end of the war to exclude them from practicing in Australia by the Australian medical fraternity.

The book is titledAustralian Heroines of World War Oneand is based on actual diaries kept by a series of nurses throughout the war. The stuff ups by British hierarchy are monumental and from Gallipoli and Lemnos are unbelievably horrendous and contributed to the very high loss of Australian lives.

Paul Atkinson,BelmontRemembering AnzacsTHE 25thof April isAnzacDay.Our government failed, and the Diggers made to pay.

On that day the beaches of Gallipoli ran red.Covered by wounded soldiers, and their dead.

Cape Tepe is where they should have landed.But an unknown bay is where they were stranded.

A dreadful mistake, and a massacre known.So a legend started, and that name has grown.

At dawn we assemble, around Cenotaphs in droves.Or we gather at that bay, renamedAnzacCove.

We honour the memory of those that fell.And too make sure, their story we must tell.

John Matthews,Belmont NorthNo concern for coal jobsTHE Australia Institute seriously expect people to believe they are concerned about the jobs of Hunter miners, as part of their campaign against a proposed Queensland coal mine (‘Black hole’,Herald,24/4).

The Australia Institute is a known public opponent of the Hunter coal industry, constantly lodging submissions against coal projects proposed through the NSW planning system.

We will take the Australia Institute’s concern for the local coal industry seriously when they stop lodging their submissions opposing Hunter coal projects and the thousands of jobs they provide.

If the Australia Institute had its way, every coal miner would be out of a job, regardless of where their mine was located.

Stephen Galilee, chief executive,NSW Minerals CouncilMateship will endureTHE enduring ANZAC legacy and the ideal of mateship are more important than ever before.Mateship is an integral part of the Australian identity. It’s an ideal that defines our nation’scharacter – this idea of looking out for each other, through the good and the bad. The Salvos have served alongside Australian troops in both World Wars and supportedthem on deployments in Korea and Vietnam. Today, we are present in military bases across thecountry.

We’ve been there providing support to our troops – giving them a hand upand a listening ear. We recognise why mateship is a vital part of the Australian spirit. Mateship is thecommon thread that unites us and something that will always endure.

As we enter these uncertain times, I encourage all Australians to reflect on the Anzac spiritand the strength and hope it brings, and remember why mateship is an ideal still worth fightingfor.

Lieutenant Colonel Kelvin Pethybridge,chief secretary in charge, The Salvation ArmyBlokes like BillWEleft when we were young and free,brave young men like you and me, gave a gun and told to kill.

Every war has been the same,scared young men who kill and maim.

They say we fight for freedom, but I am yet to see,how the murder and the carnage will help to make us free.

Today I lost my best mate,I just want to scream and cry, he lost his life for this country,but what about his wife?

Will the killing ever end?

I guess it never will, and when the war is over, I will remember Bill.

He’s like so many otherswho paid the price of war. There are no easy answers, for all the blood and gore.

How do I escape this hell, I just want to run away, from the shells that buzz around my head all through night and day.

And now the war is over and everything is still, we’ve put away our guns now but what of blokes like Bill.

I still see Bill lying there,his eyes so open wide, they say he was a hero but what about his bride?

I’ll never forget you Bill old mate, you know I never will, and I hope there are no more wars because of blokes like Bill.

Nev Lavender,WindaleBasic vision for allNOTHING Alan Squire writes (‘Council in box seat to keep light rail in the corridor’, Herald,21/4) explains why Newcastle has been cut fromthe exploding economic Sydney universe rail system. Arealigned corridor, dropped, or raised on single stanchions, for services worthy ofthe nation’s leading distance passenger trunk corridor, would have meant the best of all worlds. Bedrock for a truly “smart city”.

Tony Brown’s letter (Letters, 20/4)points allthis out. How silly, to change to travel the route trains once did. Light rail is never part of an inter-city rail transport system. So, why swap inter-city for local transport, especially with the two cities involved. Displacement of the inter-city rail corridor asset weakens the foundation for the best deal for all travelers and livability. Like light rail, wireless trains for short distances cannot be far off. It is about not snookering yourself for the future. Simple matter of basic vision for all.

Graeme Tychsen,Rankin Park

Comments Off on Caring contribution in atrocious conditions

Ignoring medical errors only increases pain

HUMAN: Failing to admit medical errors can cause long-term suffering for patients, with one correspondent calling for both acknowledgement and support for victims.HAS Damon Cronshaw bravely stepped where no man has gone before (‘Medical errors swept under the carpet as victims suffer’,Herald, 19/4)?
Nanjing Night Net

There may be hundreds, perhaps thousands, of similar cases of medical malpractice across Australia over the years but we will never know for the reasons he rightly states. I would argue in most cases victims never got to take civil action because there was no one – doctors, hospitals, medical staff – prepared to support them publicly. Whilst in quiet corners and hospital corridors they whispered of the wrong that is where it stopped. Perhaps it is only of late when we as a society have become more forthright and aware of our rights that there has been some claims by those prepared to take on the seemingly impossible. Looking back we were far too trusting. With a wealth of business and life experiences behind me now what I would give to put this head on those young shoulders.

Our family’s case was over 35 years ago and the so-called specialist is probably long gone. Yet despite both parents working within the confines of a hospital and medical practice and having what they surely felt were friends as doctors and specialists, no one was prepared to back them. And the suffering is still there, both physically and mentally, as a result of one man’s negligence and now it is passed onto the victim’s own family to bear. One can’t help but think it might be a much different scenario for all of us if one person was honest, caring and courageous enough to support us.

There is no doubt doctors are exceptional people and the world is a better place because of them. But they are human and can make mistakes and that’s nothing to be ashamed of.When it does happen all we really want is acknowledgement and acceptance to move forward. For our family it is too late but I pray Mr Cronshaw has opened the door that will make it easier for victims in the future.

Name and address suppliedA housing fixTHE government can fix the housing problem in this coming budget by removing the negative gearing and capital gains concessions from July 1, 2017.

The market would be flooded with cheap houses by the speculators andtax freeloaders whohave been rorting the system and who cannot afford to be “investors” at the expense of first home buyers.

Greg Fall (Letters, 20/4)did not clearly state that he used negative gearing. Maybe, in accordance with that Aussie expression, “Pleezeggsplane” he can enlighten us.

Bruce Brown,Marks PointPlan now for raceWE have had a lovely sunny Easter over this school holidays. Trips with the family down to Nobbys and Newcastle beaches, bicycling, scootering, swimming and enjoying the park.The Supercars race in November and the reconstruction required willchange much of thisby Easter nextyear. Our park will be smaller, access to the beaches will be more limited, new buildings will have appeared in the park, possible human tragedies may have occurred and many people both the race watchers themselves and the local residents may be noticing difficulties with their hearing.

In the four-month period prior to the race, roads will be resurfaced, pedestrian crossings gone. This work will not only be being done during the day but also at night. Traffic will be rerouted in that time and there are already long slow line ups of cars along Shortland Paradeand Zaara Street as they have become one way.

Can this be ameliorated? There are as many as 200 trees and shrubs scheduled to be cut downbut new ones could be being replanted now further back from the track. All the planned new buildings could be fitted with solar panels and batteriesto lessen the impact of the consumption of petrol. All houses and flats along the route could be offered by the council planted geranium boxes to soften the appearance of the track.

Let’s hear some positive planning from our city council, starting now.

Gillian Turner AO,NewcastleMissed opportunityTHIRTY-storeys on The Store site – a great idea. It’s a pity the government has waited until now. Imagine if this had happened before the rail line had gone in? We could have a building that went from Hunter Street, across the rail line to Station Street, making use of the air space above Beresford Lane and the rail line. Perhaps foundations could still be placed under the rail line to support such a building?

What could we have in such a landmark construction? Alarge part of the ground level could be double height space to accommodate buses out of the weather with a similar arrangement for cars and taxis on the Station Street side.

What are we missing in Newcastle? I’m sure various agencies would have suggestions as to how many apartments would be needed for dedicated crisisaccommodation.What are we losing in Newcastle? How about 10 or 12 floors above Beresford Lane and the rail line be used for parking?

The area is supposed to be a transport hub. How about a helipad?We could have interested the federal government as they seek todecentralise. They’d have offices plus a helipad. Ministers would have a legitimate reason to ride in a helicopter.

Instead,the NSW government will flog off the site to he highest bidder and move the money to Sydney projects.That leaves us with our steel lattice work to help us feel good about what the government is doingfor us. Sorry, I mean ‘to us’.

Rick Carter,Blackalls ParkTrying to save LiberalsLIBERAL MPs whinging about Tony Abbott’s criticism of the party and Mr Turnbull in particular are to be pitied. In fact, they’re getting a dose of reality therapy. They’ve been cocooned in their safe politician bubble but reality has crept in – courtesy of their own failed leader.

They’ve stood meekly behind Mr Abbott as he blow torched the Labor Party and One Nation. The tables have turned dramatically now with Tony seeming to undermine the party that stabbed him in the back.

Mr Abbott’s criticisms should be seen for what they are; a genuine attempt to point out the failures and shortfalls of a party in deep trouble in the polls. He’s also pointing the gun at a leader who is little more than a retailer for an out of touch far right party. In fact, Mr Abbott is trying to save the Liberals, a party he believes in despite their betrayal.

John Butler,Windella Downs

Comments Off on Ignoring medical errors only increases pain

Are speeding fines about dollars or danger?

FOCUS: One motorist, fed up over reports of an increase in speeding fines, believes police should turn their focus to safe driving rather than using “dopey phrases”. WHILE trying to make intelligent comment on road safety, it’s interesting how poorly reasoned the police and politicians can be(‘Buckling up but failing to slow down’,Herald,19/4). While noting that major crashes were down by 75 per cent, the police lamented the number of speeding fines issued over the Easter holidays. A reasonable conclusion might be that the speeding for which they’re fining motorists may have more to do with raising revenue than road safety. Might the limits in some places be so inappropriate that they make good catch places for the police?
Nanjing Night Net

If as many people are criminal as are suggested by the level of traffic fines, we have a very dodgy populace, which I think is not the case. Intelligent appeals for safer driving go over better than dopey phrases like ‘Operation Tortoise’. If we all went that slowly, we’d all still be out there, going to sleep at the wheel.When they gleefully pass on to the media instances of drivers and riders being caught at high speeds, it doesn’t seem to dawn on them that high speed doesn’t kill. It’s stopping that does it.

Will Hagon,BellbirdVaccination choiceAS usual it’s the unvaccinated who are vilified by the Health Minister, but as yet the vaccine status of each of the cases hasn’t been reported (‘Warning on vaccinations as measles outbreak worsens’, Herald,19/4).

How did measles go from being a normal childhood illness which strengthened overall immunity when treated properly, not feared in our society, to now be creating so much hysteria in the government? One of the often-ignored facts of these outbreaks is that the highest number of cases is usually represented by vaccinated people.

Instead of spitting bile at those who make the choice to not vaccinate, maybe it would be better to test everyone coming in from countries that have measles.

Sharon Bailey,New LambtonPerfect spot for enterpriseAUSTRALIA is to get an Amazon distribution centre. The state governments of NSW, Victoria and Queensland no doubt will be planning how to attract this business to their capitals. But wait a minute – NSW has the advantage of a perfect regional centre to locate Amazon’s enterprise. Of course it is Newcastle/Port Stephens with road, rail, port and airport coming together with a good deal of available and affordable land right where it’s needed and scope to expand. We have an excellent case to make.Are our NSW government working on this additional business case? I hope so, but who knows.

Luke Taper,GeorgetownEthics and IQNEITHER Ron Gibbins (Letters, 18/4) nor Peter Dolan (Letters, 17/4) appear to understand the concept and research involved in ethics classes. Classes provide an opportunity for students to test, by discussion, the evidence supporting their own views on an open-ended question against the evidence used by others to support a different view. A trial was conducted at Clackmannanshire in Scotland and the report is available in Australia among the documents in the files of Online Opinion. Search using Clackmannanshire. I have an electronic copy.

Students aged 11-12 in different classes discussed such questions and a similar match group were used as a control. At the start each group has an identical IQ reading. After about 50 hours of otherwise identical education, the IQ of the students subject to discussion improved by six points, whereas there was no change in the control group. Follow up testing after three years showed the gain had been more than maintained.

If you would like your child to be intellectually stimulated you should abandon SRE and make sure that ethics classes are available at your local school. There is an impediment.Your school is not allowed to advise you that ethics classes are an option until you have opted your child out of SRE. That rule is in place courtesy of Fred Nile MLC. Does that seem ethical?

John Turner, Carey BayBelievers have reasonDON’T worry Anne Killen (Letters, 19/4). There are plenty of secular zealots in public schools, taking up more than the 30 minutes (not one hour) usually devoted to SRE. And if Noah’s Ark is the most subversive thing children learn about I would be very surprised. As for Galileo, he remained a faithful Catholic all his life. His mistake was teaching the Earth orbiting the sun as certain fact, which in his time could not be demonstrated, rather than as a hypothesis. And he was wrong about the immobility of the sun.

Anne is right to say that a belief in something does not prove its existence, but it is also true that non-belief in something does not prove its non-existence. Anyhow, many people of faith claim reason to believe.

PeterDolan,LambtonFreedom from religionPETER Dolan (Letters, 17/4) claims Education Minister Rob Stokes found no widespread evidence of problems in scripture in public schools. If that is true, maybe it is unsurprising because Minister Stokes has a diploma in bible studies from Ministry Training College at Oxford Falls (a Pentecostal organisation), and is thus likely to be supportive of the present situation where students have to opt out of scripture, rather than opt in.Peter also implies that I am a secular zealot – one who is carried away by excessive zeal for my claim that there is no place for religious zealots in public schools.Being aware of some of the nonsense that religious zealots preach, I make no apology for my claim that scripture in today’s public schools is an anachronism.

My position as a secularist is that in Australia at least, there should be freedom from religion as well as freedom of religion. If parents want their children to receive religious indoctrination as an integral part of their schooling, then they should enrol them in one of the many religious schools. But our nation’s secular public schools should teach evidence-based curricula exclusively.

Kevin McDonald,BalickeraPraise for top careI WANT to congratulate the staff of the John Hunter Hospital for their professionalism and the degree of care and compassion they showed to my wife.Sometimes we hear criticism being leveled at this great institution for minor inconveniences suffered by a few. I was greatly impressed by the tasks performed and the number of patients benefiting from a wonderful team of nurses, doctors and administrative staff.

Sid Gray,Newcastle East

Comments Off on Are speeding fines about dollars or danger?

Aw snap! – another saltie caught in Katherine

SNAPPED UP: Senior wildlife ranger John Burke helped pull the 2.7 metre male saltie from Donkey Camp, north of Katherine, this morning. ANOTHER dangerous saltwater crocodile was trapped in the Katherine River today.

A 2.7metrecrocodile was pulled from Donkey Camp, north of the town, this morning to become the fourth saltwater crocodile trapped in the Katherine region this year.

Northern Territory Wildlife rangersonly set the trap up last week.

“This croc would have swum through the Low Level and Knotts Crossing to get to where it was caught,” ranger Clare Pearce said.

Donkey Camp is where Katherine draws its fresh water for treatment from the Katherine River.

Rangers later took the crocodile for a show and tell at Kintore Street School.

Edith capture late last weekRangers removed a3.1 metre male crocodile in a trap at Leliyn/Edith Falls on Thursday.

This is the first saltwater crocodile caught in the bottom pools of the Edith falls.

Senior wildlife ranger John Burke today said he sawa group of men swimming with their dogs at the Low Level crossing last week.

“It was a disaster waiting to happen,” ranger Burke said.

GOTCHA: Four saltwater crocodiles have been caught already this year.

The return of the traditional wet season has seen river levels reach 15 metres at downstream Katherine and almost reach minor flood levels at the gorge.

“Last year we caught four or five, but this yearwith the river levels rising a lot higher, there is a greater chance a lot more salties are around,”rangerBurke said.

“We can’t get to the traps during the wet season to check them, so we start to put the out towards the end, around now.”

Many locals were surprised with the capture of the male crocodile in a trap at Edith Falls on Thursday.

This is the first saltwater crocodile caught in the bottom pools.

“That is the first one caught in the plunge pool,” ranger Pearce said.

‘Their natural habitat’“But that is its natural habitat, people can expect to find them in any Top End waterway.

“There is always going to be crocodiles moving in and out of this area, particularly in the wet season,” she said.

“There have been signs of crocodiles in this area before and there have been freshies in here forever it is just the first time one has been caught.

“It just goes to show that the crocodile management plan is working,” ranger Pearce said.

CROCODILE TRAP: Rangers nabbed a 3.1 metre male crocodile in a trap Edith Falls on Thursday.

With four saltwater crocs trapped already this year,Katherine is on track to beat its crocodile capture number of six,from the whole of last year.

Only nine saltwater crocodiles have been taken from Nitmiluk Gorge since 2006.

Two of those were caught this year.

A3.7m saltie wastrappedand removed on February 17and asecond. a 3.4m croc, was trapped on March 24.

To report saltwater crocodile sightings in the Darwin region phone 0419 822 859 or in the Katherine region phone 0407 958 405.

Comments Off on Aw snap! – another saltie caught in Katherine

Hunter soldiers reflect bravery and fear in Anzac letters

The Battle of Lone Pine during the Gallipoli Campaign, 1915.“PEOPLE at home have not the faintest idea of what war is. If they got but one glance at things as they are it would be the greatest shock they ever had.”

So wrote Private Thorold Toll, of Wickham – a scion of the great transport business family – after witnessing the reality of the war on the Western Front in 1917.

“Since last writing to you I have gone through several of the most horrible days of my life,” Private Toll continued in a letter to his family.

“Our company had six killed and twenty odd wounded – 20 per cent casualties. Our section officer was wounded in the leg as we were making our way up to the front line. He was directly between me and the bursting shell and only for his leg intervening it would have got me. The shellfire is awful and the saps are very shallow and filled with dead.”

Private Toll had few more chances to describe the war. He was captured by the Germans on April 11, 1917, and made a prisoner of war. A few weeks later he and three other prisoners were killed instantly when an Allied shell exploded nearby while they were unloading ammunition from a train.

But his eyewitness testimony lives on, along with hundreds of other first-person accounts by letter-writers and diarists from every corner of the Hunter Region. Sometimes their observations are humorous. Sometimes they are grim. Mostly they are sombre and sad, particularly when modern-day readers pause to recall that most of these diarists were scarcely more than boys when they left their homes to face some of the most hellish conditions imaginable.

In the new book, The Hunter Region in The Great War, first-person accounts have been used to bring the stark reality of the war into focus. Some contributors offer just a few poignant lines, like the young Carrington man – soon to be killed – who writes to his mother urging her not to mourn when the time comes.

Others are spared for the whole war, and offer clear and terrible commentary on battle after battle, from Gallipoli to the Armistice. Among the diarists are some particular stars.

Salt Ash gunner James Dalton, for example, writes with penetrating analysis of the bigger picture of the war, while commenting pointedly on many small and interesting sidelights.

Consider these remarks of Dalton, while still in camp in Egypt, about the possible deployment of Australia’s troops:

“No announcement has been made, nor probably will be made, so that our officers are divided in opinion. The majority think the south of France, but I have an idea that we are going against the Turks. We learned from the papers of steady bombardment of the forts on the Dardanelles by our ships and it seems unlikely that they would content themselves with this, but that the reducing of the coastal forts must be followed by an invasion of the country. This means men, and we are the only available force.

“They are going to have trouble with our chaps under fire but it will not be to get them up – it will be to hold them back. They are going to fight like devils.

These men are not going back. They will go on or die fighting, for all realise they have a name to make for a new nation.”

Private Ben Champion, who became a leading Hunter local historian after the war, wrote extensively of his battlefield experiences until 1918, when he was wounded and lost a leg.

Here’s how Private Chapmandescribed his introduction to Gallipoli in November 1915, as the campaign was winding down:

“Surely these men were not the spic and span soldiers we had seen leaving Australia a year before! Nearly all had beards or had not shaved for weeks; all were dirty, their breeches hacked off at the knees, and few were wearing puttees.”

Lance Corporal Robert Kerr wrote home to Maitland in early 1916 summing up his sad feelings after the withdrawal from Gallipoli and delivering his own blunt assessment of the operation:

Lance Corporal Kerr wrote: “We were all very sorry to leave Gallipoli after the enormous sacrifice of good lives there, but the whole thing was a mistake right through, I reckon.”

The prescient Gunner Dalton, after some time on Gallipoli, wrote home with an almost perfect prediction:

“We are going to lose a lot more men. The real figures when they are compiled at the end of the war will be staggering – and the work will take some time, very much longer than the majority of people expect, but I think if we do not relax our efforts we will come out on top, although possibly the complete overthrow of Germany that is contemplated at present may be found to be beyond our reach.”

Ben Champion described his first view of a proper Western Front battlefield, at Pozieres:

“Heaps of used ammunition, shells and war litter of all kinds, broken rifles, equipment, guns, boxes of biscuits and ammunition were strewn everywhere. Soon we came to an area with the sickly smell of dead bodies, and half-buried men, mules and horses came into view. Here was war wastage properly. Germans and British mixed together, lying in all positions, and there wasn’t a man but thought more seriously of what was ahead.”

Private Albert Avard was also at Pozieres, and he wrote to his parents in Thornton from an English hospital, describing the symptoms of shell shock:

“There are about fifty cases here, and you can see shell shock in all its forms. Some, like myself, have a trouble to speak; some cannot speak at all. Some cannot hear; others have twitchings in the face, and are in a constant shake all over. Anyhow, the cure is a matter of time generally, as a lot of cases end as suddenly as they start, through some excitement or such like.

Our battalion got a pretty good doing at Pozieres. The night we went in there were about 1100 men in it, and they came out in five days time with 120.”

Lance Corporal Robert Kerr: “We were all very sorry to leave Gallipoli after the enormous sacrifice of good lives there, but the whole thing was a mistake right through, I reckon.”

Australia’s official war historian Charles Bean – who later described Pozieres as “more densely sown with Australian sacrifice than any other place on Earth” – wondered how the Australians stood it:

“Take even a Central District farmer or a Newcastle miner, take the hardest man you know and put him to the same test and it is a question whether the ordeal would not break even his spirit.”

It wasn’t just the fighting, but the climate too that hurt. As if to prove Bean right, here are the words of Lambton miner Peter William Johnson, of the 45th Battalion, in a letter to his mother during the winter of 1916:

“It was terrible cold. Everything was frozen and when we wanted water we used to get hold of a couple of sand bags to carry it up as the water was all ice. We went in the line on the 17 February and it started to rain and that started all the frozen ground to thaw. We were up to our waist in mud and slush it was a marvel how we took to it with the cold and mud. We was wet through for a week and no sleep and a lot of our chaps got trench feet and for myself I was praying for death to get out of the misery of it.”

Private Bob Gibson of Knorrit Flat: “If I ever have the good fortune to get away from this war, I shall never forget what I have had to go through over here and dreadful sights I have seen.”

Private Bob Gibson, from the small settlement of Knorrit Flat, pulled no punches in describing the horror of the war. Here’s what he wrote after the battle of Messines:

“I saw my best mates smashed and battered that way it made me sick to look at them. The Germans got it bad from our shellfire and they got no quarter from us. A man will do things in the madness of battle that he will never think of doing any other time.

“Well Mother, for five days we fought and worked and then came out for a few days rest. I was sleepy, tired and sick from gas and other horrible smells from dead men who had been lying about for weeks. When we went back to the trenches we had to bury hundreds of dead that had been lying about for three weeks. You can just imagine what it would be like. It used to make one sick every time.”

After the hell of Passchendale in October 1917 Gibson wrote:

“If getting killed by the thousands is glorious, it was glorious in the Ypres battle. My battalion came out 200 strong out of a thousand. It breaks my heart when I think of it.

“If I ever have the good fortune to get away from this war, I shall never forget what I have had to go through over here and dreadful sights I have seen. The whole thing from start to finish seems like some horrible nightmare.”

· The Hunter Region in The Great War, by Greg and Sylvia Ray, is available for $49.95 from the Herald and other Hunter Fairfax publications, and from participating newsagents and bookshops.

Comments Off on Hunter soldiers reflect bravery and fear in Anzac letters

Cessnock City Council’s Black Hill rezoning paves way for commercial precinct

A site map showing the land between Black Hill Road (bottom yellow boundary) and John Renshaw Drive (top yellow boundary).

A SWATHE of land near Black Hill has been rezoned to make way for a Hunter freight hub and industrial precinct spruiked as a new home for up to 1000 jobs.

The formerly ruralzonewill now be available for industrial use after planners gave thegreen light this month, several years after the change was first.

The Maitland-Newcastle Catholic diocese propertyis now earmarked to become a Hunter freight hub under the long-term Lower Hunter Regional Strategy. It waschosen to make the most ofits location at the nexus of major highways.

The plan divides roughly 300 hectares between John Renshaw Drive and Black Hill Road into three classifications. Two thirds will become industrial andthe remainder is divided between rural living and environmental conservation.

Cessnock City Council first applied for the change five years ago but submitted an amended plan in November. Mayor Bob Pynsent said at the time the change was“about creating jobs and promoting growth” for the Cessnock area.

Black Hill Environment Protection Group’s Terry Lewin said on Tuesday hisgroup was disappointed with the approval for a project itbelieves is in the wrong place. He saidrezoning on adjacent lands had already created a large supply of Black Hill property tagged for industrial use.

“It has a high likelihood of becoming a white elephant,” he said.The land is flagged for a freight hub in the Lower Hunter Regional Strategy, a provision Mr Lewin dubbed a “flaw” in the document.

Cessnock City Council’s November applicationstatesthe mooted freight hub would create numerous flow-on opportunities for other businesses to emerge in its wake.

“Additional employment lands at…Black Hill will directly support the freight hub,” Cessnock City Council wrote in its final proposal.

The Maitland-Newcastle Diocese acquired the land in 2003 to build a school before changing plans.

Diocese vice chancellor administration Sean Scanlon said on Tuesday the church was thankful to the council “for its vision and support in seeing this approved”.

“The diocese has owned this land since 2003 and welcomes this rezoning to allow for future use as an industrial hub, creating many jobs for people of the lower Hunter region,” he said.

The rezoning’s next stage, adjusting Cessnock’sdevelopment control plan, will handle the finer details of the zoning changes.Mr Lewin said opponents would be seeking to keep development away from Black Hill Road as the plan progressed.

“In the DCP stage it will be a matter of trying to do as much as possible to actually protect the Black Hill community,” he said.

Comments Off on Cessnock City Council’s Black Hill rezoning paves way for commercial precinct

‘She died doing what she loved’: WA shark victim identified as Laeticia Brouwer

Esperance shark attack victim identified Laeticia Brouwer lost her life in a shark attack near Esperance. Photo: Supplied.

Laeticia’s mother and two sisters were on the beach when she was attacked by a shark. Photo: Facebook.

The Brouwer family are keen surfers. Photo: Facebook.

Photo: Caitlyn Rintoul.

Photo: Caitlyn Rintoul.

Photo: Caitlyn Rintoul.

Photo: Caitlyn Rintoul.

TweetFacebookFairfax Media understands the family was in Esperance for the Easter long weekend when the attack occurred.

Laeticia was believed to have been unconscious when she was pulled from the water around 4pm at Kelp Beds – approximately 3km east of Wylie Bay.

She was seriously mauled on one of her legs, leading to massive blood loss, while surfing with her father.

Her mother and two sisters were reportedly watching on from the beach as she was attacked by the shark.

A family spokesman, on Tuesday morning, was emotional as he read a statement from the family to media in Esperance.

“We are terribly heartbroken and saddened by this tragic accident,” he said.

“We take comfort in the fact that Laeticia died doing something that she loved – the ocean was her and her family’s passion.

“Surfing was something that she treasured doing with her dad and sisters.

“Laeticia will be greatly missed by her friends, family and everyone that knew her.”

A spokesman at the Esperance police station said the attack occurred while Laticia and her father were surfing “not a long way off-shore” where waves were breaking.

“He obviously tried everything he could to help his daughter but sadly he wasn’t able to save her…he brought her to shore,” he said.

“She seemed like quite a competent surfer.”

Her parents’ Facebook page showed photos of ‘Teesh’ – as she was affectionately known – and her sister surfing at a number of beaches with their father.

She also played netball at a local Mandurah club.

Esperance Police, St John Ambulance, Esperance Marine Rescue and the State Emergency Service rushed to the scene where they treated Laeticia on the beach.

Esperance Express reporter Caitlyn Rintoul, who was one of the first on the scene, said a woman was being hugged by a paramedic as the girl was given CPR.

“Our local paramedic was giving her CPR and calling on bystanders to come over and lift her onto the next stretcher,” she said.

#BREAKING: A 17-year-old girl has died from her injuries, after a shark attack at Kelp Beds in Wylie Bay. #[email protected]南京夜网/kVXn9s8Aq6

— Caitlyn Rintoul (@caitlynrintoul) April 17, 2017

Laeticia was then taken to Esperance Hospital in a critical condition, where she died shortly after.

Wylie Bay Beach has been closed by local authorities until further notice.

Water Police have urged people to avoid the water in the Wylie Bay area for at least the next 48 hours.

The Department of Fisheries said it would monitor the beach on Tuesday but has not issued an order to deploy drum lines.

Kelp Beds, also known as “Kelpies”, is a popular surf break in a remote area also used for camping and four-wheel driving.

It is just east of Wylie Bay, where Sean Pollard was attacked by two great white sharks in October 2014. The Bunbury man lost his left arm and right hand in the attack.

Last year there were two fatal shark attacks in WA.

In May Ben Gerring, 29, died following an attack at Falcon Beach, near Mandurah, while a month later 60-year-old Doreen Collyer died after a great white attack in Mindarie, just north of Perth.

WAtoday, The Esperance Express

Comments Off on ‘She died doing what she loved’: WA shark victim identified as Laeticia Brouwer

Malcolm Turnbull to abolish 457 immigration work visas

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull at India Gate in New Delhi, India on Tuesday 11 April 2017. Photo: Andrew Meares Photo: Andrew MearesThe Turnbull government has cracked down on foreign worker visas and adopted an “Australians first” approach to skilled migration, scrapping the controversial 457 visa program and announcing a much stricter replacement.

Two new temporary skills shortage visas will impose tougher English language tests and stricter labour market testing, and require at least two years of work experience and a mandatory police check.

In an extraordinary piece of timing, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s announcement came hours before US President Donald Trump prepared to unveil a “buy American, hire American” executive order that will crack down on guest worker visas and require more US goods to be purchased locally – putting in to practice the “America First” rhetoric of the presidential election.

Both the Turnbull and Trump policy decisions will appeal to the nationalist wings of their respective centre-right parties.

In Australia, the number of jobs eligible for the two-year and four-year visa streams has been cut dramatically, with 216 occupations – ranging from antique dealer to fisheries officer to shoe maker – axed from the old list of 651 professions eligible for a 457 visa.

But nurses and cooks, for example, who are commonly brought in on 457s, will remain eligible for a visa under the new scheme.

“We are putting jobs first, we are putting Australians first,” Mr Turnbull said. “We are an immigration nation, but the fact remains that Australian workers must have priority for Australian jobs.

“Australian workers must have priority for Australian jobs, so we are abolishing the 457 visa, the visa that brings temporary foreign workers into our country. We will no longer allow 457 visas to be passports to jobs that could and should go to Australians.”

In a later radio interview, Mr Turnbull said the 457 program had become a “rort” under Labor.

“Bill Shorten had people coming out here on 457s to flip burgers at McDonald’s,” he said. “This became a rort and it basically displaced a lot of Australians from entry-level jobs.”

Asked why the government had not axed the program earlier, Mr Turnbull said: “The important thing is we’re getting it done now.”

Labor leader Bill Shorten – who has vowed to “crack down on dodgy” 457 visas and who backed a tightening of the rules under the Gillard government, which was criticised by the Abbott opposition – suggested “the only job Malcolm Turnbull cares about saving is his own”.

One Nation leader Pauline Hanson claimed credit for the changes, arguing “the government will deny their tough talk on immigration and plan to ban 457 visas is because of One Nation, but we all know the truth”.

Australian Conservatives senator Cory Bernardi also claimed credit for the populist pivot.

Business groups broadly welcomed the changes as a way to restore faith in the system, though accounting giant KPMG said “there is no evidence the current system is not working”.

The union movement, which has argued for years for reform of 457 to stamp out rorts, said the move was “more spin than substance”.

Mr Turnbull dismissed suggestions the changes amounted to little more than a rebranding exercise – and rejected Ms Hanson’s attempt to claim credit – arguing it was “a decision of my government … this has been a careful exercise in policy development”.

People currently on a 457 visa, which lasts for four years, will be exempt from the new regulations.

Application fees will rise from a flat $1060 to $1150 for the two-year visa and more than double to $2400 for the four-year visa.

Less than 1 per cent of Australia’s 12 million-strong workforce, or 95,758 people, held a primary 457 visa as of September 30, 2016. List of occupations removed from 457 scheme by MathewDunckley on Scribd

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said that, under the two-year visa stream, which could be renewed once for two years, “there won’t be permanent residency outcomes at the end of that. In relation to the medium-term stream which, as the Prime Minister pointed out, is targeted at higher skills, [there will be] a much shorter skills list.”

He said the government would work with companies to ensure they met labour market testing requirements, and warned “there will be a particular focus on companies that have an unnecessarily high proportion of 457 or foreign workers in jobs as well. There will be a number of ways in which we can clamp down.”

Accommodation, food services, information, media and telecommunications are among the top sectors that use the 457 visa scheme, which was introduced by the former Howard government in 1996-97.

The main countries from which 457 visa holders come are India, Britain, China and Ireland. The labour market testing requirement will not be mandatory where Australia has obligations, as it does with China, under a free-trade agreement.

KPMG’s national leader of immigration practice, Michael Wall, said: “It is a demand-driven program, and the number of 457 visas has been on a decline over the last few years.

“This move does not align with Australia’s stated commitment to increasing innovation, and causes uncertainty for foreign companies considering investing or doing business here.”

Business Council chief executive Jennifer Westacott said it was crucial that the government worked with business “to get the details right and ensure industry’s ability to fill genuine skills shortages is enhanced, not degraded”.

The ACTU’s Ged Kearney said: “It doesn’t matter what you call the visa scheme itself, what matters is that Malcolm Turnbull puts an end to the exploitation of workers and of work visas.”

Australian Industry Group chief executive Innes Willox welcomed the decision to axe the “high-value” program, because of “exaggerations of its misuse”.

“Ending that visa category, adding limits and more clearly defining its successor visas will help draw the focus back to the program’s primary purpose: addressing the pockets of skill shortages that persist in our economy,” he said.

Fairfax Media revealed last year that the Turnbull government was contemplating a major overhaul of Australia’s visa system.

Follow us on Facebook

Comments Off on Malcolm Turnbull to abolish 457 immigration work visas

Iron ore plunge a sticky situation for Australia

Speculative traders are betting aggressively that iron ore prices will continue to drop, placing the Australian government in a sticky situation ahead of its May budget.

The price of Australia’s largest export has dropped sharply in recent days, falling 3.5 per cent on Tuesday to $US66.25 a tonne and 30 per cent down from its mid-February high.

“The iron ore market definitely isn’t as tight as it was a month ago,” says Daniel Morgan, commodity analyst at UBS. “Speculators are looking at the composition of the market and are taking an aggressive view that iron ore is going to drop.”

Stockpiles of 62 per cent ore have emerged at Chinese ports as steel mills switch back to low-grade, cheaper stock.

At the same time, the wet season in Western Australia and Brazil is drawing to a close, signalling that the supply of further high grade material is coming back into the market.

Combined with a pollution crackdown in China and a roaring coking coal price, speculative traders are trying to get ahead of the market fundamentals and have sent the spot price of iron ore tumbling.

“The combination of all of those things has prompted the price to go into freefall,” says Mr Morgan. “But speculators can only take the price away from the fundamentals for so long, ultimately the supply-demand balance will dictate the price.”

The raw material for steelmaking entered a bear market this month as a wave of analysts, Australia’s government and even some miners said gains to 2014 highs were unsustainable.

While Australian and Brazilian mines are poised to push further high-grade supply into the market, low-grade content from the likes of India and West Africa are also placing downward pressure on spot prices.

“But the marginal cost of iron ore is about $US70-$US75 a tonne,” says Mr Morgan. “So if the price gets too far below that level, over the course of the next month, you should see the price tracking back towards that.” National accounts

Vigorous demand for high-grade iron ore has kept iron prices artificially elevated in recent months, setting the Australian government up for a healthy windfall ahead of its May budget.

However, three weeks out from the budget’s release and a plummeting iron ore price could skew outward looking forecasts.

Generally, Treasury will average the iron ore price out for the previous eight weeks and use that as a forecast.

“But the iron ore price certainly has been moving around a fair bit so it will be interesting to see what the price the government uses will be,” says Kerry Craig, global market strategist at JP Morgan.

“It’s likely they’ll have a healthier windfall from higher prices than this time last year, but the question is really whether that gets put towards paying down debt or spent in the economy.”

While a lift in commodity prices will give the government some further wiggle room, the potential loss of its AAA status is plaguing Treasury in the lead-up to the budget.

Standard & Poor’s has previously pointed to the government’s failure to enact its repeated promises to find new budget savings and increase revenue measure to reduce the deficit, as the catalyst for a potential downgrade.

Should Australia lose its AAA rating, there are concerns around what it might mean for funding costs.

“It’s hard to keep a AAA status for your financial sector when your government doesn’t have it,” says Mr Craig.

“So there might be some knock ons to the banking sector if they lose it, but materially, it would be better for the economy to spend any commodity windfall on infrastructure.”

Comments Off on Iron ore plunge a sticky situation for Australia

Stories from the Lake

THROUGH YOUNG EYES: Performers from Tantrum Youth Arts rehearse for Mapping the Lake.IT’S not surprising, given that the show’s name is Mapping the Lake, that audience members will be handed a map of the performance area when they arrive in the Booragul foreshore park that houses Lake Macquarie City Art Gallery.

The school student cast members will guide the watchers as they move between the six places where the action takes place, with the story telling including song and dance, amazing and amusing action, and multi-media installations.

The venues will appropriately include an Aboriginal site known as “the meeting place”, a jetty, a flat piece of ground adjacent to moored boats, a garden, and a significant sculpture near the gallery, with a large ground map of Lake Macquarie that was put together by an art gallery team at the final place.

Mapping the Lake, which looks at the ways young people see the lake and the impact it has on their lives and thoughts, was developed by Tantrum Youth Arts in partnership with the art gallery, and support from Toronto High School, Valentine Public School and Ngarrama Productions. Eighty young people were involved in putting it together, with guidance from emerging and professional artists, including a technical team from Hunter TAFE theatre production students. The show features 45 young performers.

Tantrum’s artistic director, Lucy Shepherd, came up with the concept of Mapping the Lake two years ago. Shepherd, who works at Toronto High School, received enthusiastic support from Lake Macquarie Youth Advisory Council when she put the idea to its members.

The show has four young storytellers, who serve as the audience guides, with each delivering a short monologue arising from their experiences when they greet the watchers.

Meghan Mills, a storyteller first seen in a tree, reveals the lessons she learnt growing up near the lake. Asha Osborne talks about camping on the shore and trying to find mysterious creatures people have told her live in the lake. Taylor Reece, who is fond of fish and chips, explains how compelling it is to map out where all the fish and chips shops are around the lake. Summer Kelso looks at climate change and its impact on the lake today and in the future.

The background work done by young people included Valentine Public School students developing colourful self-portraits that are seen by the audience.

The professional involvement in the 90-minute show, will include lighting at each site by Lyndon Buckley and music composed by Hugh Jones.

Mapping the Lake can be seen nightly at 5.30pm and 7.30pm from April 28 toApril 30. Tickets: $25, conc/child/student $15. Bookings:stickytickets南京夜网南京桑拿.

Comments Off on Stories from the Lake

Popular Netflix series slammed for graphic suicide scene

One of Australia’s peak mental health organisations has issued a warning about graphic scenes in the new Netflix drama 13 Reasons Why.

The television series, which revolves around the aftermath of a teenage girl’s suicide, was made available in Australia last month.

Youth mental health foundation headspace said it has received a growing number of calls and emails from parents and young people concerned about the program’s content.

The series revolves around a teenage boy who discovers a series of cassette tapes. They contain recordings made by a young woman who suicided and detailed the reasons why she self-harmed.

In the show’s final episode, viewers were confronted with the suicide itself. The scene was highly graphic and controversially depicted the method of suicide, which research suggests can be of potential risk to vulnerable people and those impacted by suicide; and has been associated with increased rates of suicide and suicide attempts.

The head of headspace’s online counselling service, Dr Steven Leicester, said his clinicians have been dealing with a constant stream of concerned individuals since the TV show made its Australian debut.

“There is a responsibility for broadcasters to know what they are showing and the impact that certain content can have on an audience – and a young audience in particular,” he said in a statement.

A manager for headspace’s school support service said exposing young viewers to distressing content could lead to “suicide contagion”.

Mindframe, a national initiative at the Hunter Institute of Mental of Health that educates media companies about suicide prevention, has also been fielding enquiries from concerned individuals, according to a spokeswoman. Mindframe’s media guidelines strongly urge against including explicit content, method and location details about suicide.

Hunter Institute director Jaelea Skehan has numeorus concerns with 13 Reasons Why’s “graphic, drawn out and hard to watch” final episode.

“While there is a warning on that final episode (and the one before that depicts the rape scene) – people may not turn off from watching the final two episodes because of a warning,” she said in a statement.

“The premise of the series sends an inaccurate message that there are clear and linear reasons why a person would contemplate or complete suicide. Often things are not so clear for people and often an individual (including a young person) can feel despair without an obvious reason. The show almost sets the tone ‘of course she would want to die with so many reasons’, but perhaps that does little to legitimise the feelings of others who were not bullied, not raped etc.

“The impact that suicide has on others is displayed, but almost as a sub-theme – e.g. the anguish of the parents, the impact on teachers (although this was displayed as minimal) and the fact that most kids were upset about the tapes more than Hannah’s death. Towards the end it hints that a second young person dies by suicide, but doesn’t draw out or explore the impact that exposure to suicide has as a risk factor to others??? including this show.

“For anyone who has lost someone to suicide, the guilt factor in the series is high. That is, had just one person did something different she would still be alive. In fact, it is one of the final messages. This is something that haunts people affected, so it would be quite concerning for them and their loved ones.

“13 Reasons Why does not encourage young people to involve and talk to adults or to seek help through counsellors or services. None of the young people in the show talk to an adult about what is going on – either when Hannah (or others) were experiencing issues and dealing with difficult things, and also not following her death. In fact they went to great lengths to keep information hidden from adults. When adults were displayed, they seemed too busy, uninterested or unable to help. The one time Hannah did seek help – in her words ‘one last chance at life’ the counsellor did not handle the situation well.

“The leaving of the tapes and the narrative that ‘people will be sorry for what they did’ plays into the idea that you can make people sorry or teach them a lesson through suicide. With Hannah’s voice echoing throughout the series, it is almost like she is watching this unfold. But she is dead and tapes or no tapes, Hannah will not get to see or witness people’s reactions to their mistakes.”

13 Reasons Why is rated MA 15+ in Australia. It is based off the New York Times bestselling young adult novel of the same name.

It is understood the show’s executive producers consulted with several mental health professionals during production. Meanwhile, the show’s more explicit episodes contain a content warning at the beginning of each episode.

When visiting the drama’s website, there is also a pop-up containing the contact details for the relevant crisis counselling services.

Reaction to the TV series has been mixed online. Some have praised the show for bringing a discussion about youth suicide into the mainstream, while others have slammed it for being “irresponsible”. “13 Reasons Why” might be the most irresponsible tv program in history.??? General Bonkerz (@GeneralBonkerz) April 18, 201713 Reasons Why is fine if youre watching from Clays pov but if you’ve dealt with suicide/depression and relate to Hannah it’s kinda terrible??? Thalia Cruz (@asdfghjkliaa) April 18, [email protected] is probably one of the most socially irresponsible shows on air right now. Completely infuriating.??? Katarina (@Katarina_MV) April 17, 2017Wow #13reasonwhy .. I’m just so thankful someone made a educational and realistic show to make an important point and spread awareness ??? em (@thisisemilymcd) April 18, 2017Finished #13reasonwhy-so surreal to see the truths behind teen suicide #ThirteenReasonsWhy#somanyemotions#bepresent#bekind??? Shelby Dawson (@Shelby__Dawson) April 18, 2017

Comments Off on Popular Netflix series slammed for graphic suicide scene

RBA flags ‘drastic action’ to curb ‘dangerously dumb’ house prices

Generic Reserve Bank of Australia Finance Money Rates Pic Sasha Woolley SPECIAL 0000 AFR 6 Oct 2008 Photo: Sasha WoolleyThe Reserve Bank has warned regulators could take drastic action to slow Sydney and Melbourne’s runaway housing markets.

In the minutes of its April meeting, released Tuesday, the RBA said the Council of Financial Regulators regulators could clamp down on home loans and “consider further measures if needed” to maintain financial stability.

The council, which includes the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), Treasury, and the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA), would keep a watching brief on the market as it responds to its previous warnings to keep investor loans and interest only loans in check.

“Developments need to be kept under review … depending on how the system responds to the [previous] measures,” the minutes stated.

The RBA also appeared to take aim at “particular features of the tax system,” including negative gearing, which the Turnbull government has all but ruled out tinkering with in the lead up to the May budget despite its influence on increasing loans to investors.

“Members observed that a number of factors make interest-only loans attractive in the Australian context,” the minutes stated.

“In particular, interest-only loans allow investors to take greatest advantage of particular features of the tax system.”

The RBA reiterated it was concerned by the level of housing credit, particularly in Sydney and Melbourne where house prices have risen by 18 per cent and 13 per cent over the past year respectively.

“Growth in housing credit to owner-occupiers had moderated slightly over the preceding six months, while growth in housing credit to investors had increased, although investor loan approvals had declined in February,” the minutes said.

On Tuesday, Deloitte Access Economics’ quarterly business outlook noted Australia had overtaken Denmark to become the world’s second-most indebted households in the wake of “dangerously dumb” house prices that were “threatening to blow”.

“The seeds of future slowdown are already well and truly sown. The better that NSW looks now, the greater the troubles that this state is storing up for the future,” the outlook warned.

“The joy of rising wealth eventually gives way to the pain of servicing gargantuan mortgages. Interest rates are beginning to rise around the world and although official interest rates in Australia may not follow suit until 2018, that augurs badly for the disposable incomes of Sydneysiders.”

Outside of housing, RBA board members noted conditions in the global economy had continued to improve over 2017.

“Survey measures of business conditions in both the manufacturing and services sectors were at high levels and growth in industrial production had increased further,” the board found.

On the domestic economy the RBA noted that conditions in the labour market had been somewhat weaker than had been expected.

“The unemployment rate had increased to 5.9 per cent in February and measures of underemployment – which capture workers who are willing and available to work more hours – had remained high,” the board found.

“Overall, the ongoing spare capacity in the labour market was contributing to low wage growth outcomes.”

The board concluded by noting that “developments in the labour and housing markets warranted careful monitoring over coming months”.

JP Morgan analyst Ben Jarman said this was an unusually specific remark following previous observations that current policy settings are “consistent with sustainable growth in the economy”.

“If an interest rate move is to be made in the near term, down is much more likely than up, so today’s shift in guidance can only feasibly be read as the RBA opening the door to a possible easing,” he said.

Comments Off on RBA flags ‘drastic action’ to curb ‘dangerously dumb’ house prices

Jack Stockwell growing in confidence after backing from Newcastle Knights in 2017

No-nonsense forward Jack Stockwell wants to just keep doing his job for the Newcastle Knights.

HARD YARDS: Knight Jack Stockwell sporting the wounds from his clash with the Roosters last Friday night in Newcastle. Picture: Getty Images

And knowing he has the backing of his bosses has made all the difference in 2017

Stockwell was named on Tuesday on the Knights’ bench in a 21-man squad to take on North Queensland at Townsville on Saturday. Anthony Tupou was pickedto return on the extended bench to replace the injured Joe Wardle, who started in the second row last Friday night against the Roosters after Jamie Buhrer broke his foot at training.Sam Stone moves into the starting side against the Cowboys for Wardle.Josh King and Lachlan Fitzgibbon were added to the extended bench.

For 25-year-old Stockwell, selection continues a strongstart to 2017. He has featured in every match this season after playing only six games last year. So much out of favour was Stockwell in 2016 that Newcastle looked to off-load him halfway through his three-year contract.

However, losses in Newcastle’s forward stocks and a determined pre-season from the former Australian Schoolboy have helped turn around his fortunes.

“Obviously you can’t dwell too much on what happened last year,” Stockwell said.

“I just kind of had the mentality that I had to put it in the past and what happened, happened. If you think on it too much it’s just going to affect all your mentality and how you are physically as well.

“My goal in the pre-season was just don’t worry about it, and that’s what I’ve taken into this year so far, and I haven’t thought about it at all.

“I thought I haven’t started the year too badly, like I said, I want to keep building on that. But it’s good to have that boost in confidence and know I’ve got the trust of that coaching staff to do the job and that’s all I want to do. I just want to do my job.”

The Knights, beaten 24-6 by the Roosters last round,have just one win from seven games but meet a Cowboys side reeling from back-to-back defeats and the loss of Test stars Johnathan Thurston and Matt Scott to injury.

”Obviously they haven’t had the best couple of weeks but I think we still need to be on guard,” Stockwell said.

“They are obviously a very good team. Not having JT and Matty Scott there is certainlya blow to them but I reckon they will bounce back this week and we’ve got to be prepared.”

North Queensland named winger Antonio Winterstein to return against Newcastle from an arm injury suffered in round two. The Cowboysalso announced John Asiata andMichael Morgan would swap positions in the halves. The Knights’ star signing for 2018, Kalyn Ponga, was named at fullback.

Comments Off on Jack Stockwell growing in confidence after backing from Newcastle Knights in 2017