Buyers ready, willing for Abeles

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By , 10/03/2019 15:50

Sundorne, the former mansion of Sir Peter Abeles and his first wife, Claire Dan, sold for $15.5 million in May, making it Sydney’s third-most-expensive property at auction. The contents are being sold this Sunday and should attract just as much interest.Slice of life from 1960s going under the hammer

The house is at 23 Victoria Street, Bellevue Hill. Its proximity to Cranbrook, the exclusive private school where the Packers, among others, were educated, gave rise to speculation that the school had bought the property and would transform it into a music centre.

Transport magnate Peter Abeles bought the house in 1958 and handed it to his wife when they separated in 1970. Dan died in October 2012 and indications are that nothing much has been changed inside since the early ’60s.

Andrew Shapiro, from Shapiro Auctioneers, compares the interior to a set from Mad Men.

Ashtrays are everywhere, as is leopard skin. This pattern was used for furniture as well as Dan’s own wardrobe. Her favourite leopard-skin coat and matching hat is included in the sale, with estimates of $500 to $800.

Shapiro has kept estimates low to stimulate bidding, and everything is available without reserve. There are 350 to 400 lots, with bargains literally in the basement – two 1954 bottles of Hardy’s Reserve Bin Show Port ($50 to $100) were in the wine cellar. Much of the time-capsule interior is back in vogue.

Shapiro suspects celebrated designer Marion Hall Best decorated the house about 1962. There’s an emphasis on Scandinavian wood panelling and wicker furniture, plus some Italian design, which includes a Fornasetti waste-paper bin ($200 to $300) and an Aldo Tura glazed decanter ($100 to $200).

The overall effect is eclectic. There are also some personal touches.

Bob Hawke table lamp

Abeles was a friend and supporter of prime minister Bob Hawke and there’s a reminder of this association in a hand-carved table lamp ($1000 to $1500) with Hawke portrayed as if after a long night.

”He was my closest friend, really,” Hawke told the ABC’s PM radio program shortly after Abeles died in 1999. He was one of the last to see him before he passed away. Abeles was not conscious, so he said goodbye by kissing him on the forehead.

Dan was a patron of the arts and her baby grand piano – made by Steinway & Sons, New York (numbered 89119) – is also for sale ($2000 to $3000). A feature of the sale is the extensive private collection of Judy Cassab paintings, including some portraits of Dan.

She and Abeles were strong supporters of Cassab throughout her career. Shapiro has noted that prices for her work have started to rise in the past year. There are about 30 examples throughout the house, with estimates from $500 to about $5000, plus sketches by Charles Blackman and illustrations by family friend George Molnar.

Lovers of vintage fashion will be attracted by Dan’s couture collection of Chanel, Chloe, YSL, Valentino, Jean Patou and Karl Lagerfeld, mainly bought in Europe. Most are estimated at about $300 to $500.

Celebrity auctions are usually very successful. Shapiro has chosen to stage the auction in situ, which attracts lots of stickybeaks, but encourages spontaneous bids from those who suddenly decide they want a piece of Eastern Suburbs history.

The estate of Sydney interior designer Leslie Walford was sold by Mossgreen last November and brought impressive results, with 97 per cent of the lots sold. Viewing was available at Walford’s penthouse apartment in Woollahra, which attracted ”an exceptional number of people”. Most of them also turned up at the auction at the Tim Olsen Gallery, which saw a $541,429 (including buyer’s premium) total, almost double the pre-sale estimates.

Expect the same on Sunday.

The auction will take place at 23 Victoria Road, Bellevue Hill. Viewing is on Friday (10am to 5pm), Saturday (10am to 5pm), and Sunday (9am to 11am). The auction starts at midday. For details, click here.

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The pied pipers of Oz Opera

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By , 10/03/2019 15:50

OPERA would seem to be an unlikely entertainment for primary school children but Newcastle-born performers Ashley Giles and Alex Sefton have found that they enjoy it as much as adults.

Giles and Sefton are trekking around NSW in a 50-minute adaptation of Mozart’s opera The Magic Flute that is being staged by Opera Australia’s touring wing, Oz Opera.

The show will be staged at four Newcastle primary schools this week: at St Columban’s, Mayfield, and New Lambton South Primary today; and at St Joseph’s, Merewether, and Cardiff South Primary tomorrow.

In a second Hunter tour from August 26 to 30, The Magic Flute will play at primary schools at Newcastle East, Elermore Vale, Hamilton South, Gloucester, and St Mary’s, Scone.

Oz Opera, which has been touring NSW schools since 2000, expects 45,000 students to attend this year’s 230-plus performances.

The Magic Flute is an opera with elements of fairytale, with a prince, Tamino, and a bird-catcher, Papageno, joining forces to combat a mysterious and seemingly evil figure, Sarastro, and Tamino finding romance as the two men try to rescue princess Pamina, daughter of the Queen of the Night, from Sarastro and his cohorts.

The title flute is given to Tamino by a mysterious woman who tells him its music has the power to help him in moments of danger.

Ashley Giles is certainly familiar with The Magic Flute. This is the sixth production he has appeared in over 12 years for companies Opera Hunter, Newcastle Festival Opera, Opera Australia and Oz Opera.

He has done more than 1000 performances of the show, frequently as Papageno and sometimes in the chorus.

In the current Oz Opera schools production, he is one of seven actor-singers and alternates with other performers in the roles of Papageno and Sarastro.

Alex Sefton shares the role of Sarastro with him. While the two men grew up in the same city, they were involved in Newcastle musical theatre and opera at different times, and only met on the first day of rehearsals for this staging of The Magic Flute.

Ashley Giles graduated with a bachelor of music degree from Newcastle Conservatorium of Music in 2001 and relocated to Melbourne to study at the Victorian College of the Arts Opera Studio.

He has been based in Sydney since 2004 but has returned to Newcastle to appear in Newcastle Festival Opera productions of Cosi Fan Tutte, The Merry Widow and The Magic Flute directed by his Newcastle Conservatorium mentor, Ghillian Sullivan.

He played Papageno in the latter production, staged in 2009, winning a CONDA nomination for his performance. He was also CONDA-nominated the previous year for his Count Danilo in The Merry Widow.

Alex Sefton, who appeared during his school years in Tantrum Theatre productions, was persuaded by his singing teacher, Annabella Redman, to get stage experience in musical theatre productions after doing the HSC in 2004.

He played an Elvis Presley lookalike in Maitland Gilbert and Sullivan and Musical Society’s Bye, Bye Birdie in 2005, following up as one of the noblemen in the company’s Iolanthe the next year.

In 2009, he was accepted into the bachelor of music in classical voice course at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts, then did the academy’s graduate diploma of music last year after graduating.

His membership of the Oz Opera The Magic Flute company is his first major employment since completing his academy studies, but his record while at that institution confirmed his talent.

He won third prize in the 2010 Joan Sutherland and Richard Bonynge vocal scholarship for 17-to-25-year-old classical singers, and was acclaimed for his leading role of Petruchio in the academy’s Australian premiere last year of a new opera version of The Taming of the Shrew, as well as for his singing as the title character in Mendelssohn’s oratorio Elijah.

A full-length Magic Flute runs for about three hours, so the 50-minute schools version has been heavily trimmed. But, as Ashley Giles notes, there are just five minutes of dialogue in the show, so the performers have to ensure that their singing and acting keep the young audience members attentive and happy.

Giles is used to accommodating changes to the opera. He has performed three different translations of the original German text and in many different venues.

However, appearing each day in different school and community halls means that those on stage have to quickly adjust to changed settings. And school children are among the most demanding of audiences.

Alex Sefton said young watchers ensured that the performers never lost focus, and were quick to voice their feelings if there was a lapse.

But he and Ashley Giles agreed that if those on stage put the necessary passion into their singing and acting, the children reacted enthusiastically, applauding loudly at the end and eagerly asking questions.

Sefton is looking forward nostalgically to the Newcastle school performances. He was a student at both New Lambton South and Hamilton South schools, and attended his first acting classes at the Hamilton South venue at age nine.

BIRD MAN: Ashley Giles as Papageno in The Magic Flute.

Kill rate at pound hits alarming high

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By , 10/03/2019 15:50

SHOCKED: Society of Companion Animal Rescuers’ David Atwell at the now-closed Kurri Kurri pound. Picture: Peter StoopDogs unleash terror on wombats

HALF the dogs and cats handed in to the RSPCA’s Rutherford pound are killed, figures for the Cessnock local government area show.

Cessnock City Council released the figures following calls from animal welfare groups to make them public.

Councillors will consider the matter at a meeting on Wednesday night.

The RSPCA does not release statistics for its Rutherford shelter, which manages the pounds of Lake Macquarie, Newcastle, Cessnock and Maitland councils.

But Society of Companion Animal Rescuers vice-president David Atwell said the Cessnock data would be a good indication of the pound’s overall euthanasia rate.

A Cessnock council report said 152 of 490 dogs and 239 of 311 cats from its area were euthanised at the Rutherford pound in the 2012-13 financial year to date.

This represented an overall kill rate of 49 per cent.

‘‘It is by far the worst performing pound throughout the Hunter Valley, Central Coast, Sydney and other neighbouring regions,’’ Mr Atwell said.

‘‘It is akin to a slaughterhouse.’’

Other pounds that work with rescue groups achieved ‘‘far greater results’’, he said.

Mr Atwell said pounds in Sydney, Singleton, Taree and Gosford had euthanasia rates of 15 per cent or lower.

‘‘Wyong records about 12 per cent and Muswellbrook achieves the state’s best at 8 per cent,’’ he said.

An RSPCA statement said it proactively and willingly helped to ‘‘ensure the number of unwanted companion animals being euthanised every year is reduced’’.

‘‘Along with thousands of rescue groups, animal lovers and animal welfare organisations nationwide, the RSPCA believes the number of companion animals killed each year in Australia is appalling,’’ it said.

A Cessnock council report said the RSPCA worked with numerous rescue groups and had ‘‘released five dogs that originated from the Cessnock area’’ over the year.

‘‘The total number of dogs coming into care has reduced significantly, thanks in part to the efforts of council,’’ it said.

The council report said many euthanised cats had ‘‘a disease or medical condition’’.

Mr Atwell said the kill rate had been better at the council’s old Kurri Kurri pound.

The Companion Animals Act states that before destroying a seized or surrendered animal, councils must consider alternatives.

Huff and puff as Alan Jones leads wind farm protest

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By , 10/03/2019 15:50

Broadcaster Alan Jones at the anti-wind farm rally out the front of Parliament House in Canberra on June 18. Photo: Alex EllinghausenIt was a quiet rally by Alan Jones’ normally rambunctious standards.

Fittingly quiet, considering the protest was over wind farms.

Some people, including much of the scientific community, view the gentle whoosh of turbines as basically harmless while others insist they are an ultrasonic threat to public health and a massive drain on the taxpayer through government subsidies.

The 150-or so people who turned up on the front lawn of Parliament to greet Mr Jones were firmly in the second camp.

The Sydney shock jock, whose last trip to Canberra was the headline-grabbing – if also thin on numbers – “convoy of no confidence”, was delayed an hour by fog at Canberra airport, according to organisers.

“There aren’t a lot of people here,” he acknowledged, taking the stage in the Canberra cold. “They don’t have the time, they don’t have the resources to be able to make the kind of statement they want to make.”

Mr Jones said if there was no health risk posed by turbines, they should be put on Parramatta Road or outside his apartment on Macquarie Street, Sydney.

He took aim at the economics of wind power. “If it is as good as they say it is then, obviously, it doesn’t need our money to subsidise it,” he said. Adding: “This is absurd for a country that’s broke.”

The protest group, drawn mainly from concerned resident groups from country NSW, held placards including, “we are wind refugees” and “stop the spin”.

There were differing views between individual protesters and some of the speakers.

A woman held a placard behind Queensland senator Ron Boswell urging “yes solar, no wind farms”.

At the same time, senator Boswell was lambasting “fraudulent” renewables of all kinds.

“The world belongs to those who turn up and today you have turned up and you are going to make your opposition to this fraudulent wind, solar power, renewable energy … heard,” he said.

Senator Boswell, a National Party member, called the 20 per cent renewable energy target, which the Coalition is committed to along with Labor, as “ridiculous”.

“The wind farms only work 30 per cent of the time, but when you really need the power, in the peak periods, it’s only about eight per cent of the time. So it doesn’t work. In anyone’s language it is just a fraud,” he said.

Organisers of the event included Max Rheese of the Australian Environment Foundation, a front group for the right-aligned, climate sceptic Institute of Public Affairs.

A pro-wind rally held in Canberra’s city centre at the same time drew a larger crowd of up to 500, according to organisers.

Greens leader Christine Milne said the party wanted to see a “100 per cent renewable” target as soon as possible.

“What is extraordinary is wind farm sickness only affects people who speak English. How come the Danes, Spanish and Germans don’t suffer from wind farm sickness?” she asked.

“The renewable industry is providing a solution to greenhouse gas emissions as well as providing new jobs, new industries and giving a better future for our children.”

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Live: Socceroos v Iraq

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By , 10/03/2019 15:50

. jim morrison

Having fun yet? Photo: Getty Images

live match icons

World Cup, you say? Photo: Getty Images

After years watching his beloved Dunfermline play in the Scottish leagues, Jim Morrison brings his unique understanding of Route One football to Sydney as the Socceroos look to book a ticket to the World Cup in Brazil. A win is good enough.

Well, yes. And here we go again.

Welcome to the blog for tonight’s vital World Cup qualifier between the Socceroos and Iraq at ANZ Stadium. Vital, you say? How so? Well, where would you rather be in 12 months’ time – shivering away in your two-bedroom terrace at Bondi Junction or whooping it up in Rio de Janiero at the biggest carnival in world sport?

Because Australia are 90 minutes away from a seat at that most exclusive of parties for a third successive time.

Having experienced the highs of Germany in ‘06 and the not-so-highs (but better there than square) of South Africa in 2010, non attendance at Brazil does not bear thinking about.

The good news is that qualification is in Australia’s hands tonight. Win against Iraq, and we’re on the plane to Rio. That’s all ye know and all ye need to know.

With that in mind, I’d like to present myself to Fairfax’s managing sports editors for active service in Brazil next winter. A tough assignment but I’m willing to take this one for the team.

I’m also 34 years of age – so would fit in nicely with the dad’s army Holger Osieck has assembled.

In all seriousness, the old heads in Osieck’s squad – Lucas Neill, Mark Schwarzer, Mark Bresciano et al – are exactly what’s required for this type of occasion. They’ve been there and done that, having come through the nerve-shredding play-off against Uruguay in 2005 and then the professionally accomplished qualification campaign four years later. There are bound to be a few butterflies at the outset tonight given the high stakes, but this is a transitional and inexperienced Iraqi side which Australia should really be able to take care of.

Indeed, some may say that if the Socceroos cannot beat FIFA’s 98th-ranked team, at home, in front of 80,000 fans, with a place at the World Cup up for grabs, they do not deserve to be there at all… I’m not one of them, but am confidently tipping an Australian victory tonight and a repeat of these famous scenes in 2005:

That’s just my my prediction though – what do you think the outcome will be tonight? cast your vote in our poll or leave a comment at the right.

As noted before, this is a young Iraqi side about which not a great deal is known. By me, anyway. But Fairfax columnist Craig Foster posted an analysis of Iraq’s tactical approach that makes A Brief History of Time look like a kids’ pop-up book earlier this afternoon. Essential reading if, like me, your tactical appreciation starts begins and ends with the long ball. Well, I did grow up watching Dunfermline.

Here’s some more pre-match reading and viewing: Sebastian Hassett on the history of Australia’s World Cup qualification campaigns, with plenty of old footage to get you in the mood, including – apologies – heartbreak against Scotland in 1985.

Fairfax’s attacking triumvirate of Sebastian Hassett, Dominic Bossi and Michael Lynch are covering the big one tonight. Seb has just informed me it’s absolute madness on the trains on the way to ANZ Stadium. If you were planning on leaving it late to get to the venue, don’t bother….

#GREENANDGOLD as far as the eye can see @ANZStadium. Just over an hour til the #AUSvIRQ decider #GoSocceroospic.twitter苏州美甲学校/Uq1XzCAuNH— ANZ Stadium (@ANZStadium) June 18, 2013

As usual in these situations, there are a few different potential scenarios. The easiest equation is that a Socceroos victory = qualification, but here’s a round-up of all the eventualities. If the Socceroos lose tonight, make sure you’ve got your calculator handy while watching the Jordan-Oman match in the early hours of tomorrow morning…

Australia will secure direct qualification if:– They beat Iraq. – They draw with Iraq and Oman fail to win against Jordan in Amman. – They lose to Iraq and Jordan beat Oman with a combined goal difference of fewer than 15 goals.

Australia will finish third and face two play-offs if: – They draw or lose to Iraq and Oman defeat Jordan.– They lose to Iraq and Jordan beat Oman with a combined goal difference of 15. – They lose to Iraq by eight goals and Oman draw with Jordan.

Australia cannot finish lower than third in Group B.

Iraq are fifth, out of contention for a place in the World Cup and cannot finish higher than fourth.

Jordan host Oman at the King Abdullah International Stadium, Amman, at 2am Wednesday, Sydney time.

In the event of a third-placed finish, Iran or Uzbekistan from Group A are the likeliest opponents in the Asian leg of the play-off.

There remains a slim chance of a nightmare clash against South Korea, before a showdown with the likes of Uruguay, Venezuela or Peru … but plenty of water has to go under the bridge before we have to start contemplating that one. Let’s just get the job done tonight, eh?

Kick-off is fast approaching. Fozzie has summed up the feeling around the country better than I ever could in under 144 characters…

Best wishes to everyone, in this together. Players, fans, coaches, volunteers, administrators. Fingers crossed for Oz football— Craig Foster (@Craig_Foster) June 18, 2013

Reports Jason Culina announced at a pre-match function that he’s hanging up his boots:

[email protected] champion Jason Culina has announced his retirement from football. Great career, the end of which was crueled by injury— Sebastian Hassett (@sebth) June 18, 2013

Anthems. Here come the teams. Iraq’s national anthem respectfully observed by the home crowd – as urged by Lucas Neill pre-match – before a spine-tingling, hairs-on-back-of-neck rendition of Advance Australia Fair. ANZ Stadium a veritable sea of green and gold. Get intae them, as we say in Scotland…

Kick-off. Iraq get the game under way.This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on 苏州美甲学校.

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