November 29 - December 5, 2020: Issue 476

Sydney Harbour Bridge 80th Anniversary (2012)

The Rainbow Fish read by Ernest Borgnine

Watch all of our videos at

Classic Wiggles TV Episode 5: Jeff The Mechanic

Published November 23, 2020 by The Wiggles!

Subscribe to our channel for more Wiggly videos:
Visit The Wiggles’ website:

Strawberry Shortcake: High Tech Drama

Published November 25, 2020

Profile: Avalon Soccer Club
Avalon Soccer Club is an amateur club situated at the northern end of Sydney’s Northern Beaches. As a club we pride ourselves on our friendly, family club environment. The club is comprised of over a thousand players aged from 5  who enjoy playing the beautiful game at a variety of levels and is entirely run by a group of dedicated volunteers. 

LEGO AT THE LIBRARY (not at present)

Mona Vale Library runs a Lego club on the first Sunday of each month from 2pm to 4pm. The club is open to children aged between seven and twelve years of age, with younger children welcome with parental supervision. If you are interested in attending a Lego at the Library session contact the library on 9970 1622 or book in person at the library, 1 Park Street, Mona Vale.

Children's Storytime at Mona Vale LibraryMona Vale Library offers storytime for pre-school children every week during school terms. Children and their carers come and participate in a fun sing-a-long with our story teller as well as listen to several stories in each session, followed by some craft.  

Storytime is held in the Pelican Room of the library in front of the service desk. Storytime is free and no bookings are required. 

Storytime Sessions: Tuesdays  10.00am - 11.00am - Wednesdays  10.00am - 11.00am  - Thursdays  10.00am - 11.00am

Profile: Pittwater Baseball Club

Their Mission: Share a community spirit through the joy of our children engaging in baseball.
Profile: Ingleside Riders Group

Ingleside Riders Group Inc. (IRG) is a not for profit incorporated association and is run solely by volunteers. It was formed in 2003 and provides a facility known as “Ingleside Equestrian Park” which is approximately 9 acres of land between Wattle St and McLean St, Ingleside. 
IRG has a licence agreement with the Minister of Education to use this land. This facility is very valuable as it is the only designated area solely for equestrian use in the Pittwater District.  IRG promotes equal rights and the respect of one another and our list of rules that all members must sign reflect this.

 Mona Vale Mountain Cub Scouts

Find out more about all the fun you can have at Mona Vale Mountain Cub Scouts Profile

our Profile pages aren’t just about those who can tell you about Pittwater before you were born, they’re also about great clubs and activities that you too can get involved in!

Profile Bayview Yacht Racing Association (BYRA)


BYRA has a passion for sharing the great waters of Pittwater and a love of sailing with everyone aged 8 to 80 or over!
Avalon Bilgola Amateur Swimming Club Profile

We swim at Bilgola rock pool on Saturday mornings (8:45am till 11:30am). Our season runs between October and March

WilderQuest online fun

The NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service is pleased to present the WilderQuest program for teachers, students and children.

The WilderQuest program includes a website and apps with game and video content, Ranger led tours and activities in national parks across NSW. It provides opportunities for families to experience nature, science and Aboriginal culture in classrooms, online, at events and in national parks. The Teacher portal and free primary school resources have been produced with support from our Environmental Trust partners.

Christmas 2020 Round 4: Carols!

As there aren't going to be too many Christmas Carols in the parks and beside the beach this year we thought we'd share some inspirations for your own at home Carols this week - tra-la-la and fiddle-de-dee! Let's get practising!

There's even one that's just music - so enjoy!

pentatonix - Angels From The Realms Of Glory

Boney M - Little Drummer Boy

Santa Claus Is Coming To Town

ode to Joy - Beethoven

Version 1: from the Vallès Symphony Orchestra, the Lieder, Amics de l'Òpera  and Coral Belles Arts choirs in 2012 in the Plaça de Sant Roc in Sabadell, Spain

Version 2:  the members of the "Hans-Sachs"-Choir and the Philharmonic Orchestra of Nuremberg at the Lorenzkirche (St. Lawrence Church) in Nuremberg, southern Germany on the 14th of June 2014


Come, sing a song of joy
For peace shall come, my brother
Sing, sing a song of joy
For men shall love each other

That day will dawn just as sure
As hearts that are pure
Are hearts set free
No man must stand along
With outstretched hands before him

Reach out and take them in yours
With love that endures
Forever more
Then sing a song of joy
For love and understanding

Come, sing a song of joy
Of freedom, tell the story
Sing, sing a song of joy
For mankind in his glory

One mighty voice that will bring
A sound that will ring
Forever more
Then sing a song of joy
For love and understanding

Come, sing a song of joy
Of freedom, tell the story
Sing, sing a song of joy
For mankind in his glory

One mighty voice that will bring
A sound that will ring
Forever more
Then sing a song of joy
For love and understanding

Sing, sing a song of joy
For mankind in his glory

National Geographic for Australian Kids

Find amazing facts about animals, science, history and geography, along with fun competitions, games and more. Visit National Geographic Kids today!

This week the National Geographic for Kids has launched a new free digital resource platform called NatGeo@Home to entertain and educate children affected by school closures.

The three main categories of content on the NatGeo@Home site aim to educate, inspire and entertain. For parents and teachers, there are also separate resources and lesson plans covering everything from getting to grips with Google Earth to learning to label the geological features of the ocean.

For the main Australian National Geographic for Kids, visit:

For the National Geographic at Home site, visit:

Australian Children's Poetry Website

While looking around for things to share with you we came across this wonderful website where Australian poets who write poetry for children have their work published. There is a 'poem of the week', competitions and interviews and lots of articles. There are also poems written by children there too.

Ask mum and dad or your teacher if you can have a look too - there's some great poems there!


Free General Admission To Upgraded Australian Museum

Visitors to the Australian Museum will soon be able to explore the $57.5 million renovation that has delivered an increase in floor space for exhibitions, the introduction of education facilities, a new museum shop open and a second café.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the NSW Government has made general admissions free to the public until 30 June 2021 to celebrate the reopening of the museum. 

“The Australian Museum is the country’s oldest museum so it is only fitting this world class institution has an upgraded home in the heart of Sydney,” Ms Berejiklian said. 

“We want everyone to have the opportunity to explore the natural wonders of the world, learn about our history and be inspired by our culture.” 

The 15 month renovation, known as Project Discover, was delivered on time and on budget. It included repurposing back-of-house areas to more than 3000sqm of new public space, which will allow the museum to host one major travelling international exhibition or two smaller exhibitions at the same time.

Minister for the Arts Don Harwin said the Australian Museum was an important cultural home for the people of NSW and all Australians.

“Our cultural institutions come alive when we immerse ourselves in them, and the renewed and expanded Australian Museum is for everyone to enjoy. People can meet and spend time together, escape to a space of natural discovery, and explore,” Mr Harwin said. 

“The museum’s transformation has put it firmly on the world stage, yet it remains a truly Australian museum and an iconic part of Sydney’s own backyard.”

The NSW Government contributed more than $50 million to the Project Discover renovation.

The Australian Museum will reopen with free general admission to the public on Saturday 28 November 2020. Visitors will be required to register their contact details on arrival for COVID-19 contact tracing purposes. 

Find out more information on exhibitions at the Australian Museum

The Australian Museum, College Street entrance, Sydney - Photograph by and courtesy Greg O'Beirne

Old Buses at Mona Vale Public School 100 Years Celebrations in 2012


Curious Kids: could dinosaurs evolve back into existence?

Stephen Poropat, Swinburne University of Technology

Will there ever be dinosaurs again? — Anonymous

What an interesting question! Well, technically dinosaurs are still here in the form of birds. Just like you’re a direct descendant of your grandparents, birds are the only remaining direct descendants of dinosaurs.

_3D T. rex rendering_
Tyrannosaurus rex belonged to a dinosaur group called theropods. Shutterstock

But I suppose what you’re really asking is whether dinosaurs like Tyrannosaurus or Triceratops could ever exist again. Although that would be fascinating, the answer is almost definitely no.

While there’s only one generation between you and your grandparents – that is, your parents – there are many millions of generations between today’s birds and their ancient dinosaurs ancestors.

This is why today’s birds look, sound and behave so differently to the prehistoric beasts that once roamed Earth.

Animals evolve to change, but can’t choose how

To understand this, we have to understand “evolution”. This is a process that explains how every living thing (including humans) evolved from past living things over millions, or even billions, of years.

Different animals evolve their own differences to help them survive in the world. For example, 66 million years ago, birds survived the catastrophic event that killed all other dinosaurs and marked the end of the Mesozoic era.

3D rendering of _T. rex_ facing off against a _Triceratops_ herd.
Fossils suggest face-offs between T. rex and Triceratops were common. Shutterstock

After this, a blanket of ash wrapped around the world, cooling it and blocking out the sunlight plants need to survive. Plant-eating animals would have struggled to stay alive.

But birds did, perhaps because they were small even then. They likely ate seeds and insects and took shelter in small spaces. And being able to fly would have helped them explore far and wide for food and shelter.

That said, if the conditions that came after the dinosaur extinction event returned today, no modern animal would evolve back into a dinosaur. This is because animals today have a very different evolutionary past to dinosaurs.

They evolved to have features that help them survive in today’s world, rather than a prehistoric one. And these features limit the ways they can evolve in the future.

Which came first, the chicken or the dinosaur?

For an animal to be an actual “dinosaur”, it must belong to a group of animals known by scientists as Dinosauria. These all descended from a common ancestor shared by Triceratops and modern birds.

Other than birds, Dinosauria doesn’t include any living creature. So for a dinosaur to re-evolve in the future, it would have to come from a bird.

This animation helps paint a picture of how dinosaurs eventually evolved to become birds. (American Museum of Natural History/Youtube)

Dinosauria’s extinct members included sauropods, stegosaurs, ankylosaurs, ornithopods, ceratopsians and non-bird theropods. Modern birds evolved from a small group of theropods. However, since so much time has passed, this link is limited.

Specifically, birds have a very different collection of “genes”. These are the same built-in “rules” your parents passed down to you that decide, for example, what colour your eyes will be.

The more generations that pass between an ancestor and their descendant, the more different their genes will be.

Even if it could happen, what would this take?

Think of how much a bird would need to change to look like Tyrannosaurus rex or Triceratops. A lot.

Dinosaurs had long tails with bones all along them. Birds’ tails are stumpy and have been for more than 100 million years. It’s unlikely this would ever be reversed.

A falcon illustration with its skeleton inside visible.
While some types of birds have long tail feathers, such as falcons (above) and pheasants, on the inside their tails are short. Shutterstock

Also, modern birds walk on their back legs only and (in most cases) have four toes and three “fingers” in their wings.

Compare that with Triceratops, which walked on all four limbs, had five fingers on its front feet (the inner three of which were weight-bearing) and four toes on its back feet.

It may not be impossible for birds to gain two more fingers to have five like Triceratops; some people with a condition called “polydactyly” have more than five fingers, but this is very rare.

There aren’t really any situations where an extra finger (or one less) would be necessary for a bird’s survival. Thus, there’s little to no chance birds will evolve to change in this way.

Diagram showing different types of bird feet
Most birds have four toes and three ‘fingers’ in their wings. Shutterstock

Even if birds did eventually start to walk on all four limbs (legs and wings), they wouldn’t move the same way a Triceratops did because the purpose of a bird’s wings is very different to that of a Triceratops’s legs.

Dinosaurs are history

We know from fossil discoveries that Triceratops and Tyrannosaurus had scaly skin covering most of their bodies. Most modern birds have scaly feet, but none are scaly all over.

Although Triceratops had a ‘beak’ this was very different to a bird’s beak. Stephen Poropat/American Museum of Natural History

It’s hard to imagine what would force any bird to naturally replace its feathers with scales. Birds need feathers to fly, to save energy (by staying warm) and to put on special displays to attract mates.

Triceratops did have a “beak” at the front of its mouth, but this evolved completely separately to the beaks of birds and had two extra bones — something no living animal has.

What’s more, behind its beak and jaws, Triceratops had rows of teeth. While some birds such as geese have spiky beaks. No bird in the past 66 million years has ever had teeth.

Considering these huge differences, it’s really unlikely birds will ever evolve to look more like their extinct dinosaur relatives. And no extinct dinosaur will ever come back to life either — except maybe in movies!The Conversation

Geese with open mouths
Geese don’t have actual ‘teeth’, but they do have sharp points in their mouth to hold onto slippery things. Shutterstock

Stephen Poropat, Postdoctoral Researcher (Palaeontology), Swinburne University of Technology

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.


Curious Kids: Why do adults think video games are bad?

Why not ask a parent to play a problem-solving video game with you? Shutterstock/Alan Ingram
Joanne Orlando, Western Sydney University

This is an article from Curious Kids, a new series for children. The Conversation is asking kids to send in questions they’d like an expert to answer. All questions are welcome – serious, weird or wacky!

I want to know why adults think video games are bad because the adults around my neighbourhood are ANNOYING me by saying “READ A BOOK! NO VIDEO GAMES”. Why can’t they say “it’s time to play video games now”? – Bo, aged 9, Melbourne.

Parents and children can have different ideas when it comes to video games.

Children like video games because they are fun and because they can be challenging. You have to solve problems, work out the best moves for your character, and decide how to use your equipment and supplies in the best possible way. Making all these decisions can be exciting.

Parents want to make sure that their children are safe and healthy. Because of this, they notice different things about video games.

Many worry that playing video games might have a bad effect on the way their child behaves. For example, if a video game has lots of fighting in it, they worry that playing it will encourage their child to be violent.

They are concerned that their child might always choose to play a video game instead of playing outside and getting exercise. Even though you sit still when you read a book, they know that kids can develop good reading skills and learn a lot. Many adults aren’t so sure that kids can learn anything educational from video games.

Sometimes adults think that spending too much time with animated characters is unhealthy for kids. They know it’s important for kids to spend time with “real” people and learn good social skills needed for the real world.

If you do play video games, make sure there are a range of game types in your collection.

What do experts say?

Experts think playing video games can have good and bad effects on kids. New research shows that there are lots of benefits.

One good thing is the video games that children play today often encourage them to work in teams, cooperate, and to help each other. This is because games today are often designed for multiple players, not like old-fashioned video games that were mostly designed for one player.

Video games have changed a lot since your parents were kids.
These ads for old video games show just how much game design has changed.

However, children who are obsessed with video games and play them for a long time can get really competitive and can often try to win at all costs. Experts aren’t sure yet, but they have real concerns that this might lead to kids acting like this in real life too.

One thing you also might like to know is that kids who regularly play video games often get higher grades in maths, science, and reading tests. This is because games require players to solve puzzles. You won’t get higher marks playing any video games, just those that require the player to solve these kinds of puzzles.

Doing more of the good and less of the bad

It’s important for kids to think about what types of games they pick.

Make sure all of your games aren’t fighting games. Instead, choose more games where you need to solve puzzles. These are fun and can also help with your schoolwork. Your parents will be much happier about that!

Think about whether the fighting games you play are affecting how you play with your friends in real life. Only you will know the answer. Flickr/Zorin Denu, CC BY-ND

Also, think about whether the fighting games you play are affecting how you play with your friends in real life. Only you will really know if they are having a bad effect. If they are, you might want to change the games you play.

Why not ask your parents to play a problem-solving video game with you? This will help your parents see that video games are not all bad.

It’s also important that kids and adults don’t spend too much time using a screen. That means kids not spending all their time on technology, and parents not always checking their phone and screens.

What we want to aim for is adults and kids who can spend some of their time on their screens, but also enjoying other kinds of interests and spending time with family and friends.

Hello, curious kids! Have you got a question you’d like an expert to answer? Ask an adult to send your question to us. They can:

* Email your question to
* Tell us on Twitter by tagging @ConversationEDU with the hashtag #curiouskids, or
* Tell us on Facebook


Please tell us your name and age (and, if you want to, which city you live in). You can send an audio recording of your question too, if you want. Send as many questions as you like! We won’t be able to answer every question but we will do our best.The Conversation

Joanne Orlando, Researcher: Technology and Learning, Western Sydney University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.


Books of the month: december 2020 - January 2021 - Sea Sailing + Holiday games and activities

Sea Sailing by Wang Tuoming and Holiday games and activities by Barbara Wnek- simply click opn the links at the base to go to these!

New Shorebird Identification Booklet

The Migratory Shorebird Program has just released the third edition of its hugely popular Shorebird Identification Booklet. The team has thoroughly revised and updated this pocket-sized companion for all shorebird counters and interested birders, with lots of useful information on our most common shorebirds, key identification features, sighting distribution maps and short articles on some of BirdLife’s shorebird activities. 

The booklet can be downloaded here in PDF file format:

Paper copies can be ordered as well, see for details.

Download BirdLife Australia's children’s education kit to help them learn more about our wading birdlife

Shorebirds are a group of wading birds that can be found feeding on swamps, tidal mudflats, estuaries, beaches and open country. For many people, shorebirds are just those brown birds feeding a long way out on the mud but they are actually a remarkably diverse collection of birds including stilts, sandpipers, snipe, curlews, godwits, plovers and oystercatchers. Each species is superbly adapted to suit its preferred habitat.  The Red-necked Stint is as small as a sparrow, with relatively short legs and bill that it pecks food from the surface of the mud with, whereas the Eastern Curlew is over two feet long with a exceptionally long legs and a massively curved beak that it thrusts deep down into the mud to pull out crabs, worms and other creatures hidden below the surface.

Some shorebirds are fairly drab in plumage, especially when they are visiting Australia in their non-breeding season, but when they migrate to their Arctic nesting grounds, they develop a vibrant flush of bright colours to attract a mate. We have 37 types of shorebirds that annually migrate to Australia on some of the most lengthy and arduous journeys in the animal kingdom, but there are also 18 shorebirds that call Australia home all year round.

What all our shorebirds have in common—be they large or small, seasoned traveller or homebody, brightly coloured or in muted tones—is that each species needs adequate safe areas where they can successfully feed and breed.

The National Shorebird Monitoring Program is managed and supported by BirdLife Australia. 

This project is supported by Glenelg Hopkins Catchment Management Authority and Hunter Local Land Services through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program. Funding from Helen Macpherson Smith Trust and Port Phillip Bay Fund is acknowledged. 

The National Shorebird Monitoring Program is made possible with the help of over 1,600 volunteers working in coastal and inland habitats all over Australia. 

The National Shorebird Monitoring program (started as the Shorebirds 2020 project initiated to re-invigorate monitoring around Australia) is raising awareness of how incredible shorebirds are, and actively engaging the community to participate in gathering information needed to conserve shorebirds. 

In the short term, the destruction of tidal ecosystems will need to be stopped, and our program is designed to strengthen the case for protecting these important habitats. 

In the long term, there will be a need to mitigate against the likely effects of climate change on a species that travels across the entire range of latitudes where impacts are likely. 

The identification and protection of critical areas for shorebirds will need to continue in order to guard against the potential threats associated with habitats in close proximity to nearly half the human population. 

Here in Australia, the place where these birds grow up and spend most of their lives, continued monitoring is necessary to inform the best management practice to maintain shorebird populations. 

BirdLife Australia believe that we can help secure a brighter future for these remarkable birds by educating stakeholders, gathering information on how and why shorebird populations are changing, and working to grow the community of people who care about shorebirds.

To find out more visit:

Archive of millions of Historical Children’s Books All Digitised: Free to download or Read Online

Enter the 1: Baldwin Library of Historical Children’s Literature here, where you can browse several categories, search for subjects, authors, titles, etc, see full-screen, zoomable images of book covers, download XML versions, and read all of the 2: over 6,000 books in the collection with comfortable reader views. 

Find 3: more classics in the collection, 800 Free eBooks for iPad, Kindle & Other Devices.