November 29 - December 5, 2020: Issue 476

Our Youth page is for young people aged 13+ - if you are younger than this we have news for you in the Children's pageNews items and articles run at the top of this page. Information, local resources, events and local organisations, sports groups etc. are at the base of this page. All Previous pages for you are listed in Past Features

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

 

'Schoolies 2020 - but we must be COVID-Safe': police warn school leavers ahead of end of school celebrations

‘This year is different, this is not schoolies as you know it’ – that’s the message from senior officers at Tweed/Byron Police District ahead of 2020 end of school celebrations.

School leavers from across NSW and interstate are due to arrive in Byron Bay and other parts of Northern NSW from today (Friday 20 November 2020), and are expected to stay into December.

While there are no formal events associated with ‘Schoolies 2020’ occurring in the Byron Bay area, police are expecting thousands of school leavers to descend on the coastal town to mark the end of their 13 years of schooling.

In anticipation for the large crowds, Tweed/Byron Police District will conduct an extensive and high-visibility operation for the duration of the ‘schoolies’ period, assisted by the Richmond Police District and other Northern Region commands, the Public Order and Riot Squad, Northern Operational Support Group officers, the Mounted Unit, the Police Dog Unit, Traffic and Highway Patrol, and the Youth Command and PCYC.

Tweed/Byron Police District Commander, Superintendent Dave Roptell, said this year’s celebrations must be conducted in a COVID-safe environment, with officers to enforce all current Public Health Orders and conduct regular business compliance checks.

“We know this has been an extremely tough year for HSC students, and we appreciate that school leavers want to have a memorable time. However, these are not normal times, so we ask anyone coming to the far North Coast to be respectful – we have come this far in managing COVID-19 in our regional communities, let’s not undo all our hard work now,” Supt. Roptell said.

“With the NSW and Queensland border now re-open to regional NSW, Byron Bay is included in that zone. And with the border between NSW and Victoria to re-open early next week, we are expecting thousands of school leavers to come to our area.

“The NSW Police Force continues to work closely with health officials and other government agencies, businesses and the community to manage the COVID-19 crisis and minimise the spread of the virus.

“In saying that, we have a very clear message to those choosing to come to Byron in 2020 – this year is very different, there will be no large gatherings, no dance parties in the park. Social distancing is the new normal, and we all have to do our bit to stop the spread.

“The risk of community transmission is still present here in Australia, and with people from interstate expected to come to Byron, school leavers need to be extremely aware of the dangers of COVID-19.

“Public Health Orders currently state that no more than 20 persons can be inside a home at any one time – this includes short-stay accommodation. The orders also state that up to 30 people can be gathered in a public space at any one time, this includes places such as parks, beaches, etc.

“While we will be enforcing the Public Health Orders, police want to remind school leavers that we aren’t here to ruin the fun – our officers are here to protect you and keep you safe; approach police or authorities if you are in danger, if you feel threatened or you are a victim of any type of crime.

“Not only will police be ensuring Public Health Orders are being followed, but officers will be targeting drug and alcohol-related crime, as well as anti-social behaviour.

“Drugs and alcohol impairs your judgement and can lead to risky behaviours or choices which can impact the rest of your life. Know your limits and look out for your mates.

“With the increase in activity in the Byron town centre, we are urging all visitors and locals alike to plan ahead; those not joining in the celebrations are asked to watch out for increased pedestrian activity and keep an eye out on the roads.

“As always, if you’re planning on drinking – you need a Plan B to get yourself home,” Supt. Roptell said.

The NSW Police Force continues to work closely with the Schoolies Safety Response agencies, which include Byron Youth Service and Red Frog volunteers, alongside all health officials and other government agencies, businesses and the community to minimise disruption and maintain a COVID-Safe environment.

For all information related to schoolies during COVID-19, visit the website: https://www.schoolies.com/covid-19-faq

Anyone who has information regarding individuals or businesses in contravention of a COVID-19-related ministerial direction is urged to contact Crime Stoppers: https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au. Information is treated in strict confidence. The public is reminded not to report crime via NSW Police social media pages.


Byron Bay Lighthouse, Beach and Hinterland Aerial Shot by K Pravin

Program helps skill up school leavers over summer

The NSW Government's Skilling for Recovery program offers fee-free training places for school leavers, young people and job seekers.

Hundreds of fee-free training courses are now available for school leavers, young people and job seekers, as part of the NSW Government’s Skilling for Recovery initiative.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the courses came from the $320 million committed to delivering 100,000 fee-free training places across the state.

“There are more than 100,000 fee-free training places available for people in NSW as the workforce looks to reskill, retrain and redeploy in a post-COVID-19 economy,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“It doesn’t matter if you are a school leaver or looking for a new career path, I encourage everyone impacted by the pandemic to see what training options are available to them.”

Minister for Skills and Tertiary Education Geoff Lee said enrolments were now open for in-demand skills leading to career pathways in areas such as aged care, nursing, trades, IT, community services, logistics and accounting.

“We are not training for the sake of training, we are training for real jobs with real futures and equipping the people of NSW with the skills they need to thrive in a post-pandemic economy,” Mr Lee said.

“There are hundreds of providers right around NSW who are ready to deliver this important training.”

As part of this Skilling for Recovery initiative, school leavers have the unique opportunity to experience a range of skills to find out what suits their passions using the Summer Skills program.

Minister for Education Sarah Mitchell said some Year 12 school leavers were still deciding what they wanted to do next.

“In designing the Summer Skills program, the NSW Government has ensured the training on offer is aligned to local industry needs,” Ms Mitchell said.

“We need to provide opportunities that help the 2020 Year 12 school leaver cohort to find their feet during these uncertain times. That’s why we’re delivering practical, bite-sized and fee-free training opportunities this summer.”

The Summer Skills offered will cover a range of industries including agriculture, construction, conservation, fitness, engineering, coding, communication and digital literacy.

You can find further details of the courses on offer as part of Skilling for Recovery and the Department of Education Summer Skills program on the respective websites.

Sydney Harbour Bridge 80th Anniversary (2012)

Video depicting the journey through the ages covering the highlights, major events and milestones of the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Green front gardens reduce physiological and psychological stress

Over a year, the addition of plants caused a 6% decrease in stress levels. Jeanie333/ Shutterstock
Lauriane Suyin Chalmin-Pui, University of Sheffield

There is growing evidence that being in natural spaces – whether while gardening or listening to bird song – has a positive effect on mental health. Being in nature is also linked to improved cognitive function, greater relaxation, coping with trauma, and alleviating certain attention deficit disorder symptoms in children.

However, most of these studies have specifically looked at the effect of public green spaces, rather than private gardens. During a time when many people are at home due to COVID-19 restrictions, private garden spaces have been the most accessible green spaces for those who have them. But do these small green spaces have the same benefits for our mental health?

Although conducted prior to the current pandemic, my recently published study has shown that having plants in domestic front gardens (front yards) is associated with lower signs of stress. Given that front gardens are increasingly being paved over by developers, we wanted to chose to look at front gardens specifically to understand what their value and impact was both mentally, socially, and culturally. Front gardens are also a bridge between private and public life. Because they’re visible to neighbours and passersby, they may be able to contribute to the wellbeing of the community, too.

Our experiment evaluated physiological and psychological stress levels before and after adding plants to previously bare front gardens in Salford, Greater Manchester. We took measures of participants’ cortisol concentrations (sometimes referred to as “the stress hormone”) in their saliva, as well as self-reported perceived stress. Participants ranged in age from 21 to 86 and 64% of them were women.

We added two planters with ornamental plants – including petunias, violas, rosemary, lavender, azaleas, clematis, and either an amelanchier (snowy mespilus) tree or a dwarf juniper tree. These were chosen for their ease of maintenance and familiarity to most people in the UK. We also provided the 42 residents with compost, self-watering containers, a watering can and a trellis. The research team did all the planting to ensure that all the gardens were similar. Participants were given advice on how to maintain and water their plants and were permitted to add further plants or features. The new additions were as low maintenance as possible.

Lower stress

Over a period of one year, we found that having plants in previously bare front gardens resulted in a 6% drop in residents’ perceived stress levels. This scale measures the degree to which situations in life are considered to be stressful by taking into account feelings of control and the ability to cope with stressors. The 6% decrease is equivalent to the long-term impact of eight weekly mindfulness sessions.

We also found statistically significant changes in participants’ salivary cortisol patterns. Cortisol is the body’s main stress response hormone, which can activate our “fight or flight” response, and can regulate sleep and energy levels. We need cortisol every day to be healthy, and typically concentrations peak as we wake up, and taper down to their lowest level at night. Disturbances to this pattern indicate that our bodies are under stress. We found that 24% of residents had a healthy daily cortisol pattern at the beginning of the study. This increased to 53% three months after adding the plants, suggesting better mental health in these participants.

A pot of pink and purple petunias.
Petunias were just one of the types of plants added to participants’ front gardens. Sebastian Janicki/ Shutterstock

Reasons for these changes can be explained by what participants told us during interviews. Residents found that the gardens had a positive influence on their outlook on life, with strong themes developing around more positive attitudes in general, a sense of pride, and greater motivation to improve the local environment. The gardens were also valued as a place to relax.

These aspects are likely to contribute to people’s personal resilience to stressful situations – and over time, have had an effect on their physiological response to stress, as measured by the cortisol concentrations. A small addition of a few plants in the front garden was a positive change to their home environment and the street.

All these wellbeing benefits of green spaces are understood to be based on two environmental psychology theories: attention restoration theory and stress reduction theory. Both psycho-evolutionary theories are based on Wilson’s biophilia hypothesis that humans have an innate affinity with the natural environment.

Attention restoration theory proposes that exposure to natural environments restores our ability to concentrate on tasks that require effort and directed attention. Spending time in natural environments demands less “brain power” so to speak, as we don’t need to focus as much on specific stimuli or tasks nor on suppressing distractions. Nature also provides us opportunities for reflection. Stress reduction theory proposes that natural environments provoke instantaneous emotional responses and fewer negative feelings than non-natural environments.

Our study’s results show the importance of even small green spaces for reducing stress, and may be important considerations in local planning, urban development, and health and social care. Integrated thinking between the built environment, environmental and health sectors is necessary.

The findings from this project also support the social case for more street-facing gardens and green spaces. For example, biophilic building standards, environmentally focused urban strategies, and walkable street initiatives could be significant ways of achieving this. Importantly for landscape architects and other professionals working with designed green spaces, there is scope for considerable impact on human perceptions, health and wellbeing.

For residents who have a front garden space, planting designs can be low maintenance without taking up too much space. Container plantings may be most appealing for renters. But for those without access to an outdoor space, there is some evidence that indoor houseplants also provide mental health benefits.The Conversation

Lauriane Suyin Chalmin-Pui, Wellbeing Postdoctoral Fellow with the Royal Horticultural Society, University of Sheffield

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

How will sharks respond to climate change? It might depend on where they grew up

Shutterstock
Culum Brown, Macquarie University and Connor Gervais

They may have been around for hundreds of millions of years — long before trees — but today sharks and rays are are among the most threatened animals in the world, largely because of overfishing and habitat loss.

Climate change adds another overarching stressor to the mix. So how will sharks cope as the ocean heats up?

Our new research looked at Port Jackson sharks to find out. We found individual sharks adapt in different ways, depending where they came from.

A Port Jackson shark swimming on the sea bed
Port Jackson sharks in Jervis Bay may be better at responding to climate change than those from The Great Australian Bight. Connor Gervais, Author provided

Port Jackson sharks from cooler waters in the Great Australian Bight found it harder to cope with rising temperatures than those living in the warmer water from Jervis Bay in New South Wales.

This is important because it goes against the general assumption that species in warmer, tropical waters are at the greatest risk of climate change. It also illustrates that we shouldn’t assume all populations in one species respond to climate change in the same way, as it can lead to over- or underestimating their sensitivity.

But before we explore this further, let’s look at what exactly sharks will be exposed to in the coming years.

An existential threat

In Australia, the grim reality of climate change is already upon us: we’re seeing intense marine heat waves and coral bleaching events, the disappearance of entire kelp forests, mangrove forest dieback and the continent-wide shifting of marine life.

The southeast of Australia is a global change hotspot, with water temperatures rising at three to four times the global average. In addition to rising water temperatures, oceans are becoming more acidic and the amount of oxygen is declining.

Any one of these factors is cause for concern, but all three may also be acting together.

Coral bleaching
Oceans act like a heat sink, absorbing 90% of the heat in the atmosphere. This makes marine environments highly susceptible to climate change. Shutterstock

One may argue sharks have been around for millions of years and survived multiple climate catastrophes, including several global mass extinctions events.

To that, we say life in the anthropocene is characterised by changes in temperature and levels of carbon dioxide on a scale not seen for more than three million years.


Read more: We've just discovered two new shark species – but they may already be threatened by fishing


Rapid climate change represents an existential threat to all life on Earth and sharks can’t evolve fast enough to keep up because they tend to be long-lived with low reproductive output (they don’t have many pups). The time between generations is just too long to respond via natural selection.

Dealing with rising temperatures

When it comes to dealing with rising water temperature, sharks have two options: they can change their physiology to adapt, or move towards the poles to cooler waters.

Moving to cooler waters is one of the more obvious responses to climate change, while subtle impacts on physiology, as we studied, have largely been ignored to date. However, they can have big impacts on individual, and ultimately species, distributions and survival.

Juvenile Port Jackson sharks
Juvenile Port Jackson sharks from our study. Connor Gervais, Author provided

We collected Port Jackson sharks from cold water around Adelaide and warm water in Jervis Bay. After increasing temperatures by 3℃, we studied their thermal limits (how much heat the sharks could take before losing equilibrium), swimming activity and their resting metabolic rate.

While all populations could adjust their thermal limits, their metabolic rate and swimming activity depended on where the sharks were originally collected from.


Read more: Photos from the field: these magnificent whales are adapting to warming water, but how much can they take?


With a rise in water temperature of just 3℃, the energy required to survive is more than twice that of current day temperatures for the Port Jackson sharks in Adelaide.

The massive shift in energy demand we observed in the Adelaide sharks means they have to prioritise survival (coping mechanisms) over other processes, such as growth and reproduction. This is consistent with several other shark species that have slower growth when exposed to warmer waters, including epaulette sharks and bonnethead sharks.

Two brown, spiralled shark eggs: one is about half the size of the other
The smaller egg to the left is from Port Jackson sharks near Adelaide, while the right egg is from sharks in Jervis Bay. Connor Gervais, Author provided

On the other hand, a 3℃ temperature rise hardly affected the energy demands of the Port Jackson sharks from Jervis Bay at all.

Threatening the whole ecosystem

Discovering what drives responses to heat is important for identifying broader patterns. For example, the decreased sensitivity of the Jervis Bay sharks likely reflects the thermal history of the region.


Read more: Sharks: one in four habitats in remote open ocean threatened by longline fishing


Australia’s southeastern coastline is warmed by the East Australian Current, which varies in strength both throughout the year and from year to year. With each generation exposed to these naturally variable conditions, populations along this coastline have likely become more tolerant to heat.

Populations in the Great Australian Bight, in contrast, don’t experience such variability, which may make them more susceptible to climate change.

So why is this important? When sharks change their behaviour it affects the whole ecosystem.

The implications range from shifts in fish stocks to conservation management, such as where marine reserves are assigned.

Sharks and rays generally rank at the top or in the middle of the food chain, and
have critical ecosystem functions.

Port Jackson sharks, for example, are predators of urchins, and urchins feed on kelp forests — a rich habitat for hundreds of marine species. If the number of sharks decline in a region and the number of urchins increase, then it could lead to the loss of kelp forests.

The top of a swimming Port Jackson shark
Port Jackson sharks feed on feed on urchins in kelp forests. Connor Gervais, Author provided

What’s next?

There’s little research dedicated to understanding how individuals from different populations within species respond to climate change.

We need more of this kind of research, because it can help identify hidden resilience within species, and also highlight populations at greatest risk. We have seen this in action in coral bleaching events in different parts of Australia, for example.

We also need a better handle on how a wide range of species will respond to a changing climate. This will help us understand how communities and ecosystems might fragment, as each ecosystem component responds to warming in different ways and at different speeds.

Steps need to be taken to address these holes in our knowledge base if we’re to prepare for what follows.


Read more: One-fifth of ecosystems in danger of collapse – here’s what that might look like The Conversation


Culum Brown, Professor, Macquarie University and Connor Gervais, Connor Gervais

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

My favourite detective: Trixie Belden, the uncool girl sleuth with a sensitive moral compass

Ebay
Tanya Dalziell, University of Western Australia

In a new series, writers pay tribute to fictional detectives on page and on screen.


Trixie Belden, girl detective, does not rank in the world’s pantheon of cool sleuths. She’s unlikely to appear in a Coen brothers’ film (à la Marge Gunderson in Fargo (1996)), for example. Nor did she issue from the pen of hardboiled, mid-century crime writer Chester Himes.

Instead, she was the creation of Western Publishing — the American maker of Little Golden Books who wanted to market low-cost mysteries and adventures to children after the second world war — and Julie Campbell, a writer and literary agent who responded to their call.


Read more: My favourite detective: Kurt Wallander — too grumpy to like, relatable enough to get under your skin


Campbell wrote the first six books in the series from 1948 to 1958. The rest, some 30 or so, were composed by ghostwriters between 1961 and 1986 and published under the pseudonym, Kathryn Kenny.

As a child, I had no inkling of this origin story. So far as I knew, Trixie Belden was from Crabapple Farm, Sleepyside, in the Hudson River Valley. She had three brothers (two older, one younger) and her best friend was Honey Wheeler, met in the original book, The Secret of the Mansion (1948), which I read more than 30 years after it was first published.

Friends like these

Trixie Belden book cover. Two girls peek through curtain.
Goodreads

Honey was rich and beautiful. So was Diana, who turned up a bit later in the series and was memorably said to have violet eyes. Trixie was neither of these things.

In the first book, at the age of 13, she found her detective vocation by uncovering the fortune of a deceased recluse. She also met its beneficiary. Jim Frayne, a runaway with a brutal stepfather, would become Honey’s adopted brother, Trixie’s blossoming love interest, and a member of the Bob-Whites, Trixie’s club of friends who formed the support cast for the Belden-Wheeler Detective Agency.

Whether searching for a lost weather vane or tracking down an arsonist, Trixie was at the centre of all the mysteries, which I avidly read and reread.


Read more: Friday essay: Alice Pung — how reading changed my life


My attraction to Trixie was not a matter of projection or identification; my world was clearly unlike hers.

I did not anticipate that I would come across a rabid dog; rescue a pilot from a burning aeroplane; or have to suck blood from my brother’s toe to prevent his poisoning by a copperhead. (And that was all in only the first book of the series).

Trixie was obsessed with horses, I was more interested in her setter dog, Reddy. Trixie was terrible at maths, which had yet to cause me trouble.

The differences between us didn’t matter so much as our shared interest in “running all the information through [our] mental computer” (from 1977’s The Mystery of the Uninvited Guest). I wanted to figure things out, just like Trixie. She nonetheless had many amateur sleuth competitors on my primary school reading list.


Read more: The kids are alright: young adult post-disaster novels can teach us about trauma and survival


Tips for young detectives

I had the non-fiction Detective’s Handbook out on constant library loan. It was instructive in disguise-wearing and decoding. Then there was Enid Blyton’s The Famous Five and The Secret Seven, and also Nancy Drew.

Children's book about detective work
Amazon

The child-groups constituting the two former titles were like the Bob-Whites insofar as they also formed detective communities. Although to my mind they put inordinate value on passwords, badges and boarding school holidays.

Nancy Drew was undeniably admirable in her older sophistication but a little too polished for my still-developing taste. She was confident and self-contained, which is surely why Hollywood created movie versions of her and why the intrusion of the Hardy Boys franchise into her narrative made no sense to me. It wasn’t like she needed any help.

By contrast, Trixie Belden was more accommodating and needing of others. She sometimes said mean things, and would then regret them and apologise.

She knew she wasn’t as pretty as Honey or Diana and, while that worried her a little, she shrugged it off and had far more interesting existential doubts. In the 17th book, The Mystery of the Uninvited Guest, she speaks of feeling as if she were inside a glass box:

All the people of the world march past me … I know that when I can tell just one person who I am, the glass will melt and I can join the parade.

I’m sure at the age of eight or nine I had only a vague idea of what she meant, but it sounded a lot like what growing up was all about.


Read more: Friday essay: why YA gothic fiction is booming - and girl monsters are on the rise


Smart and sensitive

Sticky situations, mistaken identities and stolen jewels were always worked out, revealed or returned to their rightful owners in the end. And the motives behind these events weren’t always nefarious.

Book cover: Trixie Belden girl detective mystery
Goodreads

Reassurance was offered in the sympathetic knowledge that circumstances, rather than moral flaws, can bring about bad deeds, and that detection itself trod a fine ethical line.

Trixie’s conscience was pricked by her practices of eavesdropping, surveillance and occasional breaking-and-entering. At times she determined that the status quo, which her detective work ostensibly upheld, was not right.

Maths might have stumped her, but as Honey appreciatively recognised of her friend:

Trixie was a down-to-earth person, keenly aware of information gathered by all of her five senses — plus that extra sense called horse sense.

She might not be cool, today or then, but — well-surpassing her intended pulp-fiction status — Trixie Belden was smart and sensitive in the ways that mattered.The Conversation

Tanya Dalziell, Associate Professor, English and Literary Studies, University of Western Australia

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

Saying more with less: 4 ways grammatical metaphor improves academic writing

Vinh To, University of Tasmania

Young children often write as they speak. But the way we speak and the way we write isn’t quite the same. When we speak, we often use many clauses (which include groups of words) in a sentence. But when we write – particularly in academic settings — we should use fewer clauses and make the meaning clear with fewer words and clauses than if we were speaking.

To be able to do this, it’s useful to understand specific written language tools. One effective tool in academic writing is called grammatical metaphor.

The kind of metaphor we are more familiar with is lexical metaphor. This is a variation in meaning of a given expression.

For example, the word “life” can be literally understood as the state of being alive. But when we say “food is life”, metaphorically it means food is vital.

Grammatical metaphor is different. The term was coined by English-born Australian linguistics professor Michael Halliday. He is the father of functional grammar which underpins the Australian Curriculum: English.

Halliday’s concept of grammatical metaphor is when ideas that are expressed in one grammatical form (such as verbs) are expressed in another grammatical form (such as nouns). As such, there is a variation in the expression of a given meaning.

There are many types of grammatical metaphor, but the most common is done through nominalisation. This is when writers turn what are not normally nouns (such as verbs or adjectives) into nouns.


Read more: 4 ways to teach you're (sic) kids about grammar so they actually care


For example, “clever” in “she is clever” is a description or an adjective. Using nominalisation, “clever” becomes “cleverness” which is a noun. The clause “she is clever” can be turned into “her cleverness” which is a noun group.

“Sings” in “he sings”, which is a doing term or a verb, can be expressed by “his singing”, in which “singing” is a noun.

In these examples, the adjective “clever” and the verb “sings” are both expressed in nouns — “cleverness” and “singing”.

Grammatical metaphor, which is often done through nominalisation like in the examples above, typically features in academic, bureaucratic and scientific writing. Here are four reasons it’s important.

1. It shortens sentences

Grammatical metaphor helps shorten explanations and lessen the number of clauses in a sentence. This is because more information can be packed in noun groups rather than spread over many clauses.

Below is a sentence with three clauses:

When humans cut down forests (clause one), land becomes exposed (2) and is easily washed away by heavy rain (3).

With grammatical metaphor or nominalisation, the three clauses become just one.

Deforestation causes soil erosion.

“When humans cut down forests” (a clause) becomes a noun group – “deforestation”. The next two clauses (2 and 3) are converted into another noun group – “soil erosion”.

2. It more obviously shows one thing causing another

Grammatical metaphor helps show that one thing causes another within one clause, rather than doing it between several clauses. We needed three clauses in the first example to show one action (humans cutting down forests) may have caused another (land being exposed and being washed away by heavy rain).

A pencil drawing a bridge between two chasms, with people running over it.
Grammatical metaphor shortens sentences and makes room for more information. Shutterstock

But with grammatical metaphor, the second version realises the causal relationship between two processes in only one clause. So it becomes more obvious.

3. It helps connect ideas and structure text

Below are two sentences.

The government decided to reopen the international route between New Zealand and Hobart. This is a significant strategy to boost Tasmania’s economy.

Using grammatical metaphor, the writer can change the verb “decided” to the noun “decision” and the two sentences can become one.

The decision to reopen the international route between New Zealand and Hobart is a significant strategy to boost Tasmania’s economy.

This allows the writer to expand the amount and density of information they include. It means they can make further comment about the decision in the same sentence, which helps build a logical and coherent text. And then the next sentence can be used to say something different.

4. It formalises the tone

Using grammatical metaphor also creates distance between the writer and reader, making the tone formal and objective. This way, the text establishes a more credible voice.

While there have been some calls from academics to make writing more personal, formality, social distance and objectivity are still valued features of academic writing.


Read more: We should use 'I' more in academic writing – there is benefit to first-person perspective


It’s taught, but not explicitly

Nominalisation — as a linguistic tool — is introduced in Year 8 in the Australian Curriculum: English. It implicitly appears in various forms of language knowledge from Year 1 to Year 10.

It becomes common across subject areas in the upper primary years. And it is intimately involved in the increasing use of technical and specialised knowledge of different disciplines in secondary school.

But the term “grammatical metaphor” is not explicitly used in the Australian Curriculum: English and is less known in school settings. As a result, a vast majority of school teachers might not be aware of the relationship between grammatical metaphor and effective academic writing, as well as how grammatical metaphor works in texts.


Read more: Writing needs to be taught and practised. Australian schools are dropping the focus too early


This calls for more attention to professional learning in this area for teachers and in Initial Teacher Education (ITE) programs. This will help equip student teachers and practising teachers with pedagogical content knowledge to teach and prepare their students to write effectively in a variety of contexts.The Conversation

Vinh To, Lecturer in English Curriculum and Pedagogy, University of Tasmania

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

2020 Eureka Prizes go to a 'milkshake for malaria', ABC's Coronacast and an energy-making sewerage system

Noor Gillani, The Conversation

From potential new diabetes therapies, to an environmentally friendly sewage treatment system, this year’s Eureka Prizes have acknowledged a diverse group of brilliant minds tackling pressing global problems.

University of Technology Sydney researcher Qilin Wang received the Prize for Outstanding Early Career Researcher, for developing a technology that can transform energy-intensive, high-emission sewage treatment plants into low-emission plants that produce energy instead. The technology is currently being commercialised.

The Prize for Excellence in Data Science was awarded to Sydney University of Technology Professor Dacheng Tao. His research into artificial intelligence and deep learning theory led to the development of innovative algorithms that allow improved object detection and image enhancement, such as is required for self-driving cars.

Monash University Professor Mark Febbraio has been recognised with the Prize for Scientific Research, for his discovery of a compound that could improve glucose metabolism.

This would allow the development of new drug therapies for people with diabetes. There’s currently no treatment that can fully halt or reverse the disease’s progression.


Read more: Top science prize for 2020 goes to Aussie physicists who helped detect distortions in space-time


Also from Monash University, the Monash Pharmaceutical Milkshake Team received the Prize for Innovative Use of Technology for their novel approach to producing drug formulations.

The team developed a synchrotron-based method for studying the interactions between milk and drugs. They have produced the first single-dose malaria cure — dubbed the “milkshake to cure malaria”.

Malinda Salim and Professor Ben Boyd
Dr Malinda Salim and Professor Ben Boyd are part of the Monash Pharmaceutical Milkshake Team. Supplied

A deep dive into the health of reefs

The Eureka Prize for Applied Environmental Research has gone to a team from The Nature Conservancy Australia (James Cook University, University of Adelaide and University of Tasmania).

They tracked the decline of almost extinct shellfish reefs across southern Australia, gaining significant insight into how these reefs might be restored.

Person swimming in ocean with canoe.
The 2020 UNSW Eureka Prize for Excellence in Interdisciplinary Scientific Research went to a team that tracked reef conditions across 46 countries. Supplied

Excellence in reef research continued with the Social-Ecological Research Frontiers team, which was awarded the Prize for Excellence in Interdisciplinary Scientific Research.

This group compiled an extensive dataset (the largest of its kind) on the condition of more than 6,000 reefs across 46 countries — with a focus on “bright spots”. These are areas in which reefs seem to thrive despite intense human and environmental pressures.


Read more: Combating cancer, finding frogs, building bones, and capturing carbon all recognised at 2019 Eureka Prizes


Moving the public to make change

The Prize for Innovation in Citizen Science went to the people behind the Victorian Coastal Monitoring Program (University of Melbourne, Deakin University, Propeller Aerobotics and the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning).

This program enlists citizen scientists to help predict how beaches will respond to storms and rising sea levels which, in turn, helps guide coastal management and policy decisions.

Also instilling a passion for science in the public is the CSIRO Indigenous STEM Education Project team, which received the Prize for STEM Inclusion.

This project, rolled out across every state and territory, boosts Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students’ participation in STEM. It has engaged more than 22,600 students since 2015.

Praise for science writing and leadership

Other prizes went to recipients from a variety of backgrounds, including:

ABC Coronacast presenters Tegan Taylor, Norman Swan and producer Will Ockenden — Science Journalism

The ABC team’s Coronacast podcast has helped listeners make sense of the world as it goes through a pandemic. Physician Norman Swan and health reporter Tegan Taylor offer comprehensive, evidence-supported answers to important questions. The podcast has quickly become one of the country’s most trusted sources of coronavirus news.

Author Ceridwen Dovey — Long-form Science Journalism

Dovey’s essay Mining The Moon, published last year in The Monthly, casts a critical light on private industries’ urgency to commercialise and normalise space activity and mining on the moon.

University of Sydney Associate Professor Alice Motion — Promoting Understanding of Science

Chemistry researcher Alice Motion is a public figure who, through extensive public engagement, has touched millions of Australians with her passion for chemical education.

Alice Motion on stage.
Associate Professor Alice Motion is a chemist and science communicator based at The University of Sydney. Supplied

Kirby Institute Professor Gregory Dore — Infectious Diseases Research

Professor Dore’s work has supported drug users affected by hepatitis C, by leading the first international trials to include these marginalised individuals. While members of this demographic are vulnerable to the disease, they’re often assumed to have poor compliance and are therefore excluded from therapy trials.

University of Sydney researchers Benjamin Eggleton, Eric Mägi, Moritz Merklein, Alvaro Casas Bedoya, Yang Liu and Australian National University Associate Professor Stephen Madden — Outstanding Science in Safeguarding Australia

Professor Eggleton and colleagues have invented a compact microchip that’s ushering in a new era of microwave signal processing. The technology allows improved performance, efficiency and cost for signal processing.

Wesfarmers Centre of Vaccines and Infectious Diseases Associate Professor Asha Bowen — Emerging Leader in Science

Professor Bowen is an esteemed early-career researcher who specialises in infectious diseases, specifically skin disease. Her efforts have driven breakthrough policy changes that have reduced skin infections among Aboriginal children in remote communities.

University of Sydney Professor Robert F. Park — Leadership in Innovation and Science

Professor Park has led major efforts to develop cereal varieties with inbuilt resistance against genetic disease. His work continues to have a substantial impact on the economic viability of global cereal production and food security.

Robert F. Park
The Prize for Leadership in Innovation and Science went to University of Sydney Professor Robert F. Park. Supplied

Woolcock Institute of Medical Research and University of Sydney Professor Carol Armour — Outstanding Mentor of Young Researchers

Professor Armour’s longstanding work has contributed greatly to the country’s research capacity. Among other contributions, she has introduced several programs inspiring the next generation of researchers.The Conversation

Oak Flats Primary School students Scarlett P. and Scarlett O. received the Primary Sleek Geeks Science Eureka Prize. Their video submission explains how hot water turns into ice and how “supercooling” works.

Noor Gillani, Deputy Editor, Science and Technology, The Conversation

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

Not just hot air: turning Sydney's wastewater into green gas could be a climate boon

Shutterstock
Bernadette McCabe, University of Southern Queensland

Biomethane technology is no longer on the backburner in Australia after an announcement this week that gas from Sydney’s Malabar wastewater plant will be used to power up to 24,000 homes.

Biomethane, also known as renewable natural gas, is produced when bacteria break down organic material such as human waste.

The demonstration project is the first of its kind in Australia. But many may soon follow: New South Wales’ gas pipelines are reportedly close to more than 30,000 terajoules (TJs) of potential biogas, enough to supply 1.4 million homes.

Critics say the project will do little to dent Australia’s greenhouse emissions. But if deployed at scale, gas captured from wastewater can help decarbonise our gas grid and bolster energy supplies. The trial represents the chance to demonstrate an internationally proven technology on Australian soil.

pipeline at beach
The project would turn Sydney’s sewage into a renewable gas. Shutterstock

What’s the project all about?

Biomethane is a clean form of biogas. Biogas is about 60% methane and 40% carbon dioxide (CO₂) and other contaminants. Turning biogas into biomethane requires technology that scrubs out the contaminants – a process called upgrading.

The resulting biomethane is 98% methane. While methane produces CO₂ when burned at the point of use, biomethane is considered “zero emissions” – it does not add to greenhouse gas emissions. This is because:

  • it captures methane produced from anaerobic digestion, in which microorganisms break down organic material. This methane would otherwise have been released to the atmosphere

  • it is used in place of fossil fuels, displacing those CO₂ emissions.

Biomethane can also produce negative emissions if the CO₂ produced from upgrading it is used in other processes, such as industry and manufacturing.

Biomethane is indistinguishable from natural gas, so can be used in existing gas infrastructure.


Read more: Biogas: smells like a solution to our energy and waste problems


The Malabar project, in southeast Sydney, is a joint venture between gas infrastructure giant Jemena and utility company Sydney Water. The A$13.8 million trial is partly funded by the federal government’s Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA).

Sydney Water, which runs the Malabar wastewater plant, will install gas-purifying equipment at the site. Biogas produced from sewage sludge will be cleaned and upgraded – removing contaminants such as CO₂ – then injected into Jemena’s gas pipelines.

Sydney Water will initially supply 95TJ of biomethane a year from early 2022, equivalent to the gas demand of about 13,300 homes. Production is expected to scale up to 200TJ a year.

Two women look over the Malabar plant
The project involves cleaning and upgrading biogas from the Malabar Wastewater Treatment Plant. Sydney Water

Biomethane: the benefits and challenges for Australia

A report by the International Energy Agency earlier this year said biogas and biomethane could cover 20% of global natural gas demand while reducing greenhouse emissions.

As well as creating zero-emissions energy from wastewater, biomethane can be produced from waste created by agriculture and food production, and from methane released at landfill sites.

The industry is a potential economic opportunity for regional areas, and would generate skilled jobs in planning, engineering, operating and maintenance of biogas and biomethane plants.

Methane emitted from organic waste at facilities such as Malabar is 28 times more potent than CO₂. So using it to replace fossil-fuel natural gas is a win for the environment.


Read more: Emissions of methane – a greenhouse gas far more potent than carbon dioxide – are rising dangerously


It’s also a win for Jemena, and all energy users. Many of Jemena’s gas customers, such as the City of Sydney, want to decarbonise their existing energy supplies. Some say they will stop using gas if renewable alternatives are not found. Jemena calculates losing these customers would lose it A$2.1 million each year by 2050, and ultimately, lead to higher costs for remaining customers.

The challenge for Australia will be the large scale roll out of biomethane. Historically, this phase has been a costly exercise for renewable technologies entering the market.

A woman cooking with gas
Biomethane will be injected into the existing gas network and delivered to homes. Shutterstock

The global picture

Worldwide, the top biomethane-producers include Germany, the United Kingdom, Sweden, France and the United States.

The international market for biomethane is growing. Global clean energy policies, such as the European Green Deal, will help create extra demand for biomethane. The largest opportunities lie in the Asia-Pacific region, where natural gas consumption and imports have grown rapidly in recent years.

Australia is lagging behind the rest of the world on biomethane use. But more broadly, it does have a biogas sector, comprising than 240 plants associated with landfill gas power units and wastewater treatment.

In Australia, biogas is already used to produce electricity and heat. The step to grid injection is sensible, given the logistics of injecting biomethane into existing gas infrastructure works well overseas. But the industry needs government support.

Last year, a landmark report into biogas opportunities for Australia put potential production at 103 terawatt hours. This is equivalent to almost 9% of Australia’s total energy consumption, and comparable to current biogas production in Germany.

The distribution of reported operational biogas upgrading units in the IEA Bioenergy Task 37-member countries.
Current use of biogas in Australia.

A clean way to a gas-led recovery

While the scale of the Malabar project will only reduce emissions in a small way initially, the trial will bring renewable gas into the Australia’s renewable energy family. Industry group Bioenergy Australia is now working to ensure gas standards and specifications are understood, to safeguard its smooth and safe introduction into the energy mix.

The Morrison government has been spruiking a gas-led recovery from the COVID-19 recession, which it says would make energy more affordable for families and businesses and support jobs. Using greenhouse gases produced by wastewater in Australia’s biggest city is an important – and green – first step.


Read more: 'A dose of reality': Morrison government's new $1.9 billion techno-fix for climate change is a small step The Conversation


Bernadette McCabe, Professor and Principal Scientist, University of Southern Queensland

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

Friday essay: 5 museum objects that tell a story of colonialism and its legacy

This wooden dish from Broome, pre-1892, was made by Yawuru people, collected by police and later presented by the Commissioner of Police, Colonel Phillips, to the WA Museum. Courtesy of the WA museum
Alistair Paterson, University of Western Australia; Andrea Witcomb, Deakin University; Gaye Sculthorpe, The British Museum; Shino Konishi, University of Western Australia, and Tiffany Shellam, Deakin University

Two new Australian museums are emerging from old ones as the year draws to a close.

The new Chau Chak Wing Museum at the University of Sydney assembles rich collections from across the campus, and the WA Museum Boola Bardip (Noongar for “Many Stories”) has opened in Perth. Museums remain relevant in a globalised world where stories of objects and collecting connect people, institutions, places and ideas.

Our Collecting the West Project, in collaboration with the Western Australian Museum, the State Library of WA, the Art Gallery of WA and the British Museum, explores the history of collecting in WA since the late 1600s.

We are tracing the role of collecting in histories of empire, exploration and colonisation; the relations between natural history and ethnographic collecting; the role of state instrumentalities and private individuals; and the networks between them.

Here, we highlight five objects, some displayed in Boola Bardip’s Treasures Gallery, to reveal how they can provide us with insights into history, values, emotions and power.

One of the new exhibition spaces, the Ngalang Koort Boodja Wirn gallery at Boola Bardip. c Michael Haluwana Aeroture

1. Everything was contemporary once — Corona Smoking Bucket, 2020

On March 26 2020, the WA government suspended tourist operations on Rottnest Island (Wadjemup) to support the government response to the pandemic. Australian citizens aboard the Vasco de Gama cruise ship were directed to be quarantined on the island from Monday March 30.

Whadjuk monitors Ben Ugle and Brendan Moore were on the island to support conservation works at the heritage site — a prison that once held Aboriginal people from all over WA, where many died.

The two Whadjuk men chose to perform a smoking ceremony for the island’s transition to pandemic quarantine facility. Smoking ceremonies are often conducted to cleanse a place spiritually, such as after a death, to welcome people, and as a sign of respect to people including past elders.

Corona Smoking Bucket: a metal beer bucket used for a smoking ceremony. Courtesy of Wadjemup Museum Collection.

A metal tin was found for the smoking ceremony — given the unplanned nature of the event, the only suitable vessel they could find was a Corona beer bucket. Seeing the irony in the serendipitous use of this object, the “Corona Smoking Bucket” was collected for The Wadjemup Museum on Rottnest Island in March 2020.

Like many objects, this bucket symbolises several histories: the fact of its collection, the impact of a global pandemic at a local level, growing recognition of Indigenous cultural practices and the connection between an Indigenous smoking ceremony and the island’s dark history of Aboriginal incarceration (circa 1838-1931).

These histories compete also with the island’s later use — as the site of decades of annual school leavers’ celebrations, reflected in the presence of the Corona bucket.


Read more: Indigenous medicine – a fusion of ritual and remedy


2. Collections carry emotions — Shell, Shark Bay, 1820

This watercolour and ink drawing of a beautiful shell — the Volute ethiopienne — was drawn from a specimen brought back from Shark Bay in 1820 as part of the French Freycinet expedition. It can now be found in the State Library of Western Australia.

Shells from WA were prized for their beauty, part of the Enlightenment’s love affair with discovering the diversity of the natural world.

Drawing of Volute ethioienne specimen, Shark Bay, 1820. A. Provist. Freycinet collections, State Library of Western Australia, ACC 5907A/12.

Aboriginal people have long valued shells for ornamentation and exchange. Shells were also attractive items for some of the earliest European explorers of the WA coast.

In 1697, for instance, Willem de Vlamingh, a Dutch sea captain working for the Dutch East India Company, collected a number of shells from Shark Bay, including a nautilus and a conch. He failed to find the shipwreck he was searching for, but helped to chart the coast. The English explorer William Dampier arrived in 1699 and some of the shells he collected in Shark Bay ended up in Oxford’s Ashmolean Museum.

French explorers followed. Nicolas Baudin’s expedition took a considerable number of shells back to Paris, where they can now be seen at the Museum National d'Histoire Naturelle.

In his journal of the Baudin expedition, the naturalist François Peron described a mussel he found on the shore:

Of all the species of mussels known so far, the one that I discovered [in Shark Bay] is incontestably the most beautiful. Stripped of its marine coating, it shines with the most vivid colours of the prism and precious stones; it is dazzling, if I may say so.


Read more: Friday essay: the voyage of Nicolas Baudin and 'art in the service of science'


3. Mokare’s place — Spear-thrower, King George Sound, (Albany), c.1831

This spear-thrower was collected by Alexander Collie, the government resident at King George Sound between 1831-33, who formed a close friendship with Menang Noongar man Mokare.

Such historic objects remind us that many collections of plants and objects were formed with the expert assistance of Aboriginal people who knew the land intimately.

Spear-thrower, Albany. British Museum, 1613225872

The spear-thrower also highlights how objects can embody moments of unexpected friendships, such as the close relationship that developed between Collie and Mokare. Mokare lived with Collie in his hut in the settlement of Albany in 1831, and when near death, Collie asked to be buried beside his friend.

Collie had worked as a naval surgeon and sent objects he collected back to the Royal Navy’s Haslar Hospital Naval Museum at Portsmouth, to assist in naval education. In 1855 the admiralty disbanded the museum, depositing the spear-thrower and other objects in the British Museum.

In 2016-2017, the spear-thrower, along with other objects collected by Collie, returned to Albany to be displayed in the Yurlmun exhibition, which focused on the meaning of these collections to Menang Noongar people today. Despite these objects being only a temporary loan from the British Museum (where they are now in storage), the Menang people viewed their arrival as a “return home to country”.

The objects collected by Collie point to the role of the Royal Navy as a key network of colonisation; the agency of individual Aboriginal people in processes of colonial collection and the potential of these collections to highlight not only the role played by Indigenous people such as Mokare but also the cultural knowledge contained in the objects themselves.

A portrait of Mokare by Louis de Sainson (1833). Wikimedia Commons

A much earlier collection of weapons, also from Albany, hints at the complexity of collecting practices undertaken within colonial contexts. A Royal Navy surveying expedition, captained by Phillip Parker King, visited King George Sound in December 1821. The crew were engaged with the Menang people in a prolonged and intimate trading exchange for two weeks. In exchange for ships’ biscuit, the crew collected:

one hundred spears, thirty throwing sticks, forty hammers, one hundred and fifty knives and a few hand-clubs.

By contrast, at Hanover Bay on today’s Kimberley coast, a few months earlier, a cache of Worrorra weapons and artefacts were taken as a retaliatory theft for the spearing of the crew’s surgeon.

The crew members related this theft in their journals with the language of revenge: “taking possession of”, “riches”, “spoil”, “prize” and “treasure”, where they took pleasure in “capturing” an Aboriginal “depot”.

These collecting moments reveal different kinds of intimacies — of friendships and violence, trade and exchange — that occurred during early coastal encounters. They also explain why there is no early material from WA in Western Australian collections — most went to Britain as a result of these imperial networks.

4. Colonialism never dies — Wooden dish, Broome, pre 1892

This small wooden bowl carries a history that hints at the role of colonial state instrumentalities in collecting. It is part of a large collection at the WA Museum known as the Phillips Collection.

Wooden dish from Broome, pre-1892, made by Yawuru people, presented by the Commissioner of Police to the WA Museum. Courtesy of the WA museum

George Braithwaite Phillips was the commissioner of police between 1887-1890. His family was amongst the first colonists to emigrate to the Swan River Colony (now Perth), coming from Barbados, where they owned sugar plantations.

Phillips had been a high profile civil servant and the commandant of the Western Australian Military Forces. From those positions he was able to commandeer a large network of policemen throughout the colony to collect both Aboriginal material culture and human remains.

Many of the Aboriginal objects collected by police, though not the ancestral human remains, were displayed at International Exhibitions in Paris, Glasgow and Melbourne.


Read more: The violent collectors who gathered Indigenous artefacts for the Queensland Museum


The collection, which included this bowl from Broome, made by Yawuru people, helped form the new Western Australian Museum and Art Gallery in 1894. (The bowl can now be seen at WA Museum Boola Bardip.)

Bernard Woodward, the museum’s first director, continued to ask Phillips for help in sourcing both ethnographic objects and human remains, many of them destined to be exchanged for natural history specimens and ethnographic material from other parts of the world.

So, this bowl is a powerful object. It speaks to Aboriginal cultural practices, the police as active agents of colonisation, and the complex terrain of colonial encounters and their aftermath that form part of the museum’s own inheritance — now slowly being addressed in consultation with relevant communities.

5. Collections are commodities — Red figure hydria, 350-320BC

This red figure vase (circa 350-320BC), probably from Bari — then a Greek colony — was, according to the museum’s first art and craft register, given by Professor E H Giglioli in 1902. Giglioli (1845-1909) was the Director of the Museo Zoologico in Florence — a zoologist and anthropologist remembered as the father of Italian science.

Red figure hydria (water jar), Bari, Apulia, southern Italy. Courtesy of the WA Museum.

He visited Australia in 1867, writing a book on Australian Aboriginal people. Giglioli understood the uniqueness of WA’s flora and fauna, seeking valuable specimens with which to build his own collection and to trade for other specimens from elsewhere in the world.

Giglioli sent Roman and Etruscan antiquities he acquired in Italy to Perth in exchange for natural history specimens, human remains and ethnographic material.

Collections circulated through collecting institutions, often exchanged or bartered. Giglioli exchanged the WA material with the Smithsonian Museum.

In Australia, antiquities from Europe had their own rarity value. Widely understood as the foundation of Western culture and aesthetics, antiquities were hard to come by in colonial society.

In 1904, Woodward wrote:

it is of paramount importance that the local craftsmen should have good examples to study, in order that they may successfully compete with their fellows in the older centres of civilisation.

The notion of civilisation was especially important in a young nation. Colonial societies, wanting to demonstrate their rightful place amongst civilised societies, often purchased copies of originals.

So it is not surprising Woodward wanted to exchange Western Australian natural history and ethnographic specimens for objects representing the high end of European artistic production or material representing the birth of European civilisation.

This was part of his effort to educate Western Australians into what they thought was the best that Western civilisation offered.

While this was a way for museums around the world to build their collections, it also involved practices that are totally discredited today and which many find deeply distressing. It is important to know about this history and address its legacies. 

The collections made by early explorers and settlers, sometimes in collaboration with Indigenous peoples, are important for their role in the development of knowledge about WA, opening up areas of scientific discovery and knowledge about First Peoples, the richness of the state’s flora and fauna and our shared historical experiences.

They are also tangible symbols of colonialism and its legacy today.The Conversation

Alistair Paterson, ARC Future Fellow, University of Western Australia; Andrea Witcomb, Professor, Cultural Heritage and Museum Studies, Deakin University; Gaye Sculthorpe, Curator & Section Head, Oceania, The British Museum; Shino Konishi, ARC Research Fellow, University of Western Australia, and Tiffany Shellam, Senior Lecturer in History, Deakin University

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

Book of the Month December 2020 - January 2021: The aborigines of New South Wales

by John Fraser, of New South Wales; New South Wales. Commissioners for the World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago, 1893

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: http://www.birdlife.org.au/documents/Shorebird_ID_Booklet_V3.pdf

Paper copies can be ordered as well, see http://www.birdlife.org.au/projects/shorebirds-2020/counter-resources 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: http://www.birdlife.org.au/projects/shorebirds-2020/shorebirds-2020-program

The world at your finger tips: Online

With current advice to stay at home and self-isolate, when you come in out of the garden, have had your fill of watching movies and want to explore something new, there's a whole world of books you can download, films you can watch and art galleries you can stroll through - all from at home and via the internet. This week a few suggestions of some of the resources available for you to explore and enjoy. For those who have a passion for Art - this month's Artist of the Month is the Online Australian Art Galleries and State Libraries where you can see great works of art from all over the world  and here - both older works and contemporary works.

Also remember the Project Gutenberg Australia - link here- has heaps of great books, not just focused on Australian subjects but fiction works by popular authors as well. Well worth a look at.

Short Stories for Teenagers you can read for free online

StoryStar is an online resource where you can access and read short stories for teenagers

About

Storystar is a totally FREE short stories site featuring some of the best short stories online, written by/for kids, teens, and adults of all ages around the world, where short story writers are the stars, and everyone is free to shine! Storystar is dedicated to providing a free place where everyone can share their stories. Stories can entertain us, enlighten us, and change us. Our lives are full of stories; stories of joy and sorrow, triumph and tragedy, success and failure. The stories of our lives matter. Share them. Sharing stories with each other can bring us closer together and help us get to know one another better. Please invite your friends and family to visit Storystar to read, rate and share all the short stories that have been published here, and to tell their stories too.

StoryStar headquarters are located on the central Oregon coast.

NFSA - National Film and Sound Archive of Australia

The doors may be temporarily closed but when it comes to the NFSA, we are always open online. We have content for Kids, Animal Lovers, Music fans, Film buffs & lots more.

You can explore what’s available online at the NFSA, see more in the link below.

https://bit.ly/2U8ORjH


NLA Ebooks - Free To Download

The National Library of Australia provides access to thousands of ebooks through its website, catalogue and eResources service. These include our own publications and digitised historical books from our collections as well as subscriptions to collections such as Chinese eResources, Early English Books Online and Ebsco ebooks.

What are ebooks?
Ebooks are books published in an electronic format. They can be read by using a personal computer or an ebook reader.

This guide will help you find and view different types of ebooks in the National Library collections.

Peruse the NLA's online ebooks, ready to download - HERE

The Internet Archive and Digital Library

The Internet Archive is an American digital library with the stated mission of "universal access to all knowledge." It provides free public access to collections of digitised materials, including websites, software applications/games, music, movies, videos, moving images, and millions of public-domain books. There's lots of Australian materials amongst the millions of works on offer.

Visit:  https://archive.org/


Avalon Youth Hub: More Meditation Spots

Due to popular demand our meditation evenings have EXPANDED. Two sessions will now be run every Wednesday evening at the Hub. Both sessions will be facilitated by Merryn at Soul Safaris.

6-7pm - 12 - 15 year olds welcome
7-8pm - 16 - 25 year olds welcome

No experience needed. Learn and develop your mindfulness and practice meditation in a group setting.

For all enquires, message us via facebook or email help@avalonyouthhub.org.au

BIG THANKS The Burdekin Association for funding these sessions!

Green Team Beach Cleans 

Hosted by The Green Team
It has been estimated that we will have more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050...These beach cleans are aimed at reducing the vast amounts of plastic from entering our oceans before they harm marine life. 

Anyone and everyone is welcome! If you would like to come along, please bring a bucket, gloves and hat. Kids of all ages are also welcome! 

We will meet in front of the surf club. 
Hope to see you there!

The Green Team is a Youth-run, volunteer-based environment initiative from Avalon, Sydney. Keeping our area green and clean.

 The Project Gutenberg Library of Australiana

Australian writers, works about Australia and works which may be of interest to Australians.This Australiana page boasts many ebooks by Australian writers, or books about Australia. There is a diverse range; from the journals of the land and sea explorers; to the early accounts of white settlement in Australia; to the fiction of 'Banjo' Paterson, Henry Lawson and many other Australian writers.

The list of titles form part of the huge collection of ebooks freely downloadable from Project Gutenberg Australia. Follow the links to read more about the authors and titles and to read and/or download the ebooks. 

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.

Cyberbullying

Research shows that one in five Australian children aged 8 to 17 has been the target of cyberbullying in the past year. The Office of the Children’s eSafety Commissioner can help you make a complaint, find someone to talk to and provide advice and strategies for dealing with these issues.

Make a Complaint 

The Enhancing Online Safety for Children Act 2015 gives the power to provide assistance in relation to serious cyberbullying material. That is, material that is directed at a particular child with the intention to seriously embarrass, harass, threaten or humiliate.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION 

Before you make a complaint you need to have:

  • copies of the cyberbullying material to upload (eg screenshots or photos)
  • reported the material to the social media service (if possible) at least 48 hours ago
  • at hand as much information as possible about where the material is located
  • 15-20 minutes to complete the form

Visit: esafety.gov.au/complaints-and-reporting/cyberbullying

Our mission

The Office of the Children’s eSafety Commissioner is Australia's leader in online safety. The Office is committed to helping young people have safe, positive experiences online and encouraging behavioural change, where a generation of Australian children act responsibly online—just as they would offline.

We provide online safety education for Australian children and young people, a complaints service for young Australians who experience serious cyberbullying, and address illegal online content through the Online Content Scheme.

Our goal is to empower all Australians to explore the online world—safely.

Visit: esafety.gov.au/about-the-office 

The Green Team

Profile
This Youth-run, volunteer-based environment initiative has been attracting high praise from the founders of Living Ocean as much as other local environment groups recently. 
Creating Beach Cleans events, starting their own, sustainability days - ‘action speaks louder than words’ ethos is at the core of this group. 

National Training Complaints Hotline – 13 38 73

The National Training Complaints Hotline is accessible on 13 38 73 (Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm nationally) or via email at skilling@education.gov.au.

Sync Your Breathing with this - to help you Relax

Send In Your Stuff

Pittwater Online News is not only For and About you, it is also BY you.  
We will not publish swearing or the gossip about others. BUT: If you have a poem, story or something you want to see addressed, let us know or send to: pittwateronlinenews@live.com.au

All Are Welcome, All Belong!

Youth Source: Northern Sydney Region

A directory of services and resources relevant to young people and those who work, play and live alongside them.

The YouthSource directory has listings from the following types of service providers: Aboriginal, Accommodation, Alcohol & Other Drugs, Community Service, Counselling, Disability, Education & Training, Emergency Information, Employment, Financial, Gambling,  General Health & Wellbeing, Government Agency, Hospital & GP, Legal & Justice, Library, Mental Health, Multicultural, Nutrition & Eating Disorders, Parenting, Relationships, Sexual Health, University, Youth Centre

Apprenticeships and traineeships info

Are you going to leave school this year?
Looking for an apprenticeship or traineeship to get you started?
This website, Training Services NSW, has stacks of info for you;

It lists the group training organisations (GTOs) that are currently registered in NSW under the Apprenticeship and Traineeship Act 2001. These GTOs have been audited by independent auditors and are compliant with the National Standards for Group Training Organisations.

If you are interested in using the services of a registered GTO, please contact any of the organisations listed here: https://www.training.nsw.gov.au/gto/contacts.html

There are also some great websites, like 1300apprentice, which list what kind of apprenticeships and traineeships they can guide you to securing as well as listing work available right now.

Profile Bayview Yacht Racing Association (BYRA)
1842 Pittwater Rd, Bayview
Website: www.byra.org.au

BYRA has a passion for sharing the great waters of Pittwater and a love of sailing with everyone aged 8 to 80 or over!

 headspace Brookvale

headspace Brookvale provides services to young people aged 12-25. If you are a young person looking for health advice, support and/or information,headspace Brookvale can help you with:

• Mental health • Physical/sexual health • Alcohol and other drug services • Education and employment services

If you ever feel that you are:

• Alone and confused • Down, depressed or anxious • Worried about your use of alcohol and/or other drugs • Not coping at home, school or work • Being bullied, hurt or harassed • Wanting to hurt yourself • Concerned about your sexual health • Struggling with housing or accommodation • Having relationship problems • Finding it hard to get a job

Or if you just need someone to talk to… headspace Brookvale can help! The best part is our service is free, confidential and youth friendly.

headspace Brookvale is open from Monday to Friday 9:00am-5:30pm so if you want to talk or make an appointment give us a call on (02) 9937 6500. If you're not feeling up to contacting us yourself, feel free to ask your family, friend, teacher, doctor or someone close to you to make a referral on your behalf.

When you first come to headspace Brookvale you will be greeted by one of our friendly staff. You will then talk with a member of our headspace Brookvale Youth Access Team. The headspace Brookvale Youth Access Team consists of three workers, who will work with you around whatever problems you are facing. Depending on what's happening for you, you may meet with your Youth Access Worker a number of times or you may be referred on to a more appropriate service provider.

A number of service providers are operating out of headspace Brookvale including Psychologists, Drug & Alcohol Workers, Sexual Health Workers, Employment Services and more! If we can't find a service operating withinheadspace Brookvale that best suits you, the Youth Access Team can also refer you to other services in the Sydney area.

eheadspace provides online and telephone support for young people aged 12-25. It is a confidential, free, secure space where you can chat, email or talk on the phone to qualified youth mental health professionals.

Click here to go to eheadspace

For urgent mental health assistance or if you are in a crisis please call the Northern Sydney 24 hour Mental Health Access Line on 1800 011 511

Need Help Right NOW??

kids help line: 1800 55 1800 - www.kidshelpline.com.au

lifeline australia - 13 11 14 - www.lifeline.org.au

headspace Brookvale is located at Level 2 Brookvale House, 1A Cross Street Brookvale NSW 2100 (Old Medical Centre at Warringah Mall). We are nearby Brookvale Westfield's bus stop on Pittwater road, and have plenty of parking under the building opposite Bunnings. More at: www.headspace.org.au/headspace-centres/headspace-brookvale

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 to 70 who enjoy playing the beautiful game at a variety of levels and is entirely run by a group of dedicated volunteers. 
Profile: Pittwater Baseball Club

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

Year 13

Year13 is an online resource for post school options that specialises in providing information and services on Apprenticeships, Gap Year Programs, Job Vacancies, Studying, Money Advice, Internships and the fun of life after school. Partnering with leading companies across Australia Year13 helps facilitate positive choices for young Australians when finishing school.

Driver Knowledge Test (DKT) Practice run Online

Did you know you can do a practice run of the DKT online on the RMS site? - check out the base of this page, and the rest on the webpage, it's loaded with information for you!

The DKT Practice test is designed to help you become familiar with the test, and decide if you’re ready to attempt the test for real.  Experienced drivers can also take the practice test to check their knowledge of the road rules. Unlike the real test, the practice DKT allows you to finish all 45 questions, regardless of how many you get wrong. At the end of the practice test, you’ll be advised whether you passed or failed.

NCYLC is a community legal centre dedicated to providing advice to children and young people. NCYLC has developed a Cyber Project called Lawmail, which allows young people to easily access free legal advice from anywhere in Australia, at any time.

NCYLC was set up to ensure children’s rights are not marginalised or ignored. NCYLC helps children across Australia with their problems, including abuse and neglect. The AGD, UNSW, KWM, Telstra and ASIC collaborate by providing financial, in-kind and/or pro bono volunteer resources to NCYLC to operate Lawmail and/or Lawstuff.

Kids Helpline

If you’re aged 5-25 the Kids Helpline provides free and confidential online and phone counselling 24 hours a day, seven days a week on 1800 55 1800. You can chat with us about anything… What’s going on at home, stuff with friends. Something at school or feeling sad, angry or worried. You don’t have to tell us your name if you don’t want to.

You can Webchat, email or phone. Always remember - Everyone deserves to be safe and happy. You’re important and we are here to help you. Visit: https://kidshelpline.com.au/kids/