March 7 - 13, 2021: Issue 486

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

Pink Flush Across Blue Mountains

Pink flannel flowers (Actinotus forsythii) only bloom a year or so after a bushfire. 

They're known as bushfire ephemerals because their seeds lay dormant for years on end without any reports. Until the right mix of fire and rain bring them back to life. 

Take these flowers' recent appearance in the Blue Mountains. The 2019-20 fire season damaged 80% of the area. But rainfall in the region then enabled these flowers to bloom.

Photos taken at State Mine Gully Rd, Lithgow -  by and courtesy Kerry Smith

new short course teaches you how to innovate like a startup founder

March 1st 2021

TAFE NSW and Sydney School of Entrepreneurship have launched their first collaboration to deliver an online short course available to people across the state.  
Innovate Like A Startup Founder’ begins March 23 and is the first online short course from the TAFE NSW and SSE partnership that is available to anyone who wants to step out of their comfort zone and into the innovation space.
Sydney School of Entrepreneurship (SSE) is an unprecedented collaboration between all 11 NSW universities and TAFE NSW. SSE offers short courses and work-integrated learning experiences focusing on innovation, design thinking and entrepreneurship skills. 
SSE CEO Dr Sarah Jones said the one-week course is designed for those who want to develop an innovative idea and turn it into a real-world project or business. 
“Entrepreneurial education builds capability, enhances employability and contributes to the innovative advancement of communities,” Dr Jones said. 
“SSE and TAFE NSW are natural partners to offer this new short course to anyone interested in taking the next steps to further their career or developing their interest in innovation and entrepreneurship.” 
SSE alumnus Stephen Cooper worked as a photographer for 30 years before discovering an appetite for entrepreneurship. After starting his own photography company, Stephen decided to enrol in a Certificate IV in New Small Business at TAFE NSW. 
Stephen discovered SSE and jumped at the chance to enrol in two additional online short courses in innovation, Ideation and Structuring for Success.
During the courses, Stephen continued to combine his passions and developed the beginnings of an interactive app that gives users hands-on experience of photography in a real-world environment. 
“I made an app in Ideation which is something I hadn’t done before that took the knowledge that I had, my photographic knowledge and added different learning outcomes to create something unique,” Stephen said.  
It was through these short courses that Stephen learnt how to harness different entrepreneurial tools and skillsets to enhance his own business. Stephen is encouraging others to step out of their comfort zones and into the innovation space. 
“It’s not something to be scared of – it’s a great opportunity to look at the world in a different way. Being a short course, you’re able to achieve something in a short period of time, go outside your comfort zone and come up with something new.”
Students who complete the Innovate Like A Startup Founder course will receive a TAFE Statement of Attainment in Innovation Fundamentals. To enrol visit

Future Leaders In Focus For Women Of The Year

March 3rd, 2021
A nine-year-old who sewed pouches for bushfire-affected joeys is the youngest of nine rising stars in the newest category at the 2021 NSW Women of the Year Awards.

Minister for Women Bronnie Taylor praised the cohort of 7 to 17-year-olds in contention for ‘The One to Watch Award’ which highlights the efforts of girls and young women in NSW.

“Each and every one of these young women can be incredibly proud of themselves for standing up and standing out at such a young age,” Mrs Taylor said.

“From the nominees to the finalists, each of these future role models has had a look at the issues affecting the community around them and set their minds to making a real, practical difference.

“I was really touched to read the nominations that were submitted on behalf of these young girls, which came from teachers, employers, parents and neighbours, who spoke passionately about kindness, strength and determination.”

“These young girls are playing a significant part in helping us build a safer, stronger NSW for themselves, their families and the communities they are growing up in.”

Among the finalists are young women who supplied farmers in drought with groceries, led a robotics team and someone who represented Australia in acrobatic gymnastics.

The finalists represent much of the state including Sydney, the Hunter, Riverina, Western Plains, Central Coast and Illawarra regions.

The winner will be announced on 9 March during NSW Women’s Week 2021, ahead of the NSW Women of the Year Awards ceremony.

The awards, which are in their 10th year, provide a comprehensive and targeted approach to promoting gender equality. They are an initiative of the NSW Women’s Strategy 2018–2022 and form part of NSW Women’s Week held from 8-15 March.

  • Khawlah Asmaa Albaf (14), Young - Khawlah Asmaa Albaf embraced country life and represented a minority group through the NSW Regional Youth Taskforce and United Nations youth programs.
  • Daniya Atif Syed (16), Bardia - Daniya Atif Syed’s enthusiasm for technology saw her lead a robotics team and work on projects including a bionic hand to assist people with disabilities.
  • Charlotte Childs (14), Heddon Greta - Charlotte Childs is the president of an Interact Club, a youth section of Rotary, which runs wellbeing and fundraising projects for her school and community.
  • Molly Croft (15), Dubbo - Molly Croft displayed courage and strength through her journey with cancer, while actively participating in fundraising, mentoring and sporting initiatives.
  • Izabelle Kelly (9), Dubbo - At just nine-years-old, Izabelle Kelly sewed and donated more than 100 pouches for bushfire-affected joeys and encouraged her peers to support native wildlife.
  • Annabelle Kingston (17), Tootool - Annabelle Kingston launched the not-for-profit, ‘Fetch it for a Farmer’ to provide grocery vouchers for more than 20 farming families battling drought.
  • Zara Matthews (13), Kariong - Zara Matthews launched an annual mufti-day at her school to raise more than $20,000 for Kenyan orphanages and is also a Fred Hollows Foundation ambassador.
  • Amelia Munday (16), Berkeley Vale - Amelia Munday started a medical science university degree at the age of 13 and used her love of science to create accessibility apps such as an AUSLAN interpreter.
  • Ella Treanor (17), Oak Flats - Ella Treanor showed immense resilience to overcome an extensive hamstring injury and go on to represent Australia in acrobatic gymnastics.

Funding Boost for Councils for Youth Week 2021

March 2nd, 2021
Children and young people across the state will enjoy more opportunities to engage and participate in their communities thanks to a funding boost from the NSW Government ahead of Youth Week.

Minister for Families, Communities and Disability Services Gareth Ward said local councils will receive a share in $335,000 to help run events in their communities.

“Now more than ever it is so important for our young people to stay connected. COVID-19 has presented so many challenges and Youth Week gives young people an outlet to avoid social isolation,” Mr Ward said.

“Youth Week provides young people a chance to share ideas, attend events, voice their concerns, showcase their talents and connect with others.”

The NSW Government will support local councils across the state to run locally led community events, including an additional $76,000 provided to rural and remote councils to encourage even more young people from these areas to participate.

Councils will jointly fund events in their communities and young people will be involved in all aspects of planning, development and management of activities.

Minister for Local Government Shelley Hancock said councils play an important role in creating the next generation of leaders and Youth Week events are an opportunity for young leaders to get involved.

“Events will be organised by young people, for young people,” Mrs Hancock said.

“Young people will have a say on what activities are important and beneficial to them and will develop skills they can carry into their adulthood.”

In 2019, an estimated 73,900 young people participated in over 740 events held during the week.

The theme of NSW Youth Week 2021 is “Together more than ever” and will be celebrated from 16 to 24 April.

For more information and to register for updates, visit

NSW Premier's 2021 Reading Challenge Opens

March 1st, 2021

The annual bookfest that encourages a love of reading kicks off today.

Page turner: Students can now log their reading as part of the Premier's Reading Challenge.

Students from Kindergarten to Year 9 are being encouraged to jump into reading with the NSW Premier’s Reading Challenge opening today for 2021.

The challenge encourages students across NSW to read between 20 and 30 books for leisure and pleasure, depending on their challenge level, from a reading list of quality literature.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said last year almost nine million books were read during the challenge, a 5 per cent increase on previous years.

“It's important for children to discover what books have to offer because we know a passion for learning will set them up for the future," Ms Berejiklian said.

“Whether it’s picking up a book to boost your knowledge, relax at the end of a hard day, or look for inspiration from great figures, reading offers so much for anyone at nearly any age.

"I would love to see as many children as possible develop an interest in reading like I did when I was at school.”

Education Minister Sarah Mitchell said last year an additional 38,000 books were read and 165 more schools joined the challenge.

“It’s not too late for schools and students to join the Premier’s Reading Challenge. All you need to do is register, pick up a book and start reading,” Ms Mitchell said.

“The ability to read well is one of education’s greatest gifts, and everyone involved should be proud that the challenge continues to grow and encourages all students to explore the many benefits that result from a love of reading.”

There is a particular focus in 2021 on ensuring representation on the reading list of literature by Indigenous authors and illustrators, with Bundjalung woman, author and illustrator Dr Bronwyn Bancroft providing this year’s promotional artwork.

More information about the Premier’s Reading Challenge and reading lists can be found on the challenge website at:

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NSW Youth Advisory Council 2021 applications now open

What is the NSW Youth Advisory Council?
The NSW Youth Advisory Council (YAC) plays an important role in advising the NSW Government on issues that are relevant to young people across the state.

Membership of the YAC is open to all children and young people between 12 and 24 years of age residing in NSW. Applications are sought from diverse locations, backgrounds and life experiences.

The 12 member YAC provides a direct avenue of communication between young people and the NSW Government. 

The YAC meets regularly throughout the year to provide advice to the relevant Minister, and the NSW Advocate for Children and Young People, on issues, policies and laws that affect children and young people in NSW.

Who is eligible to apply for the Youth Advisory Council?
All young people living in NSW from 12 to 24 years of age may apply. Applications are sought from diverse locations, backgrounds and life experiences.

What is required of me?
Council members meet once every 4-6 weeks throughout the year to discuss a range of topics and monitor and evaluate polices and legislation affecting children and young people.

Members also consult with children and young people, community groups and government agencies on issues concerning children and young people; and conduct forums, approved by the Minister on issues relevant to children and young people.

Tips for completing your application
Once you start your application you will need to complete it in one go, so you might like to prepare your answers in a word document and then copy and paste them into the application when you are ready. Make sure you answer all questions. The whole application process should take no longer than 10 minutes.

The main questions to prepare for are:
  • Question: What do you think are the important issues affecting children and young people in NSW? Please explain why you think these issues are important. (As a guide, your answers should be no more than 250 words.)
  • Question: What life experiences have you had which would assist you in contributing to the Council’s work?
  • Question: Details of any current or past voluntary or community activities you have been involved in.
  • We'll ask a few questions about you and your background.
Applications close March 14th.

Applications now open for Y NSW Youth Parliament

Applications are now open for the YMCA NSW (Y NSW) Youth Parliament: the state’s premier youth political empowerment program.

Aimed at young people in years 10, 11 and 12 or equivalent age, Y NSW Youth Parliament provides a platform for young people to have their voices heard through legislative debate and decision making.  

Y NSW is seeking representatives from all 93 NSW State Electorates to participate.  

Y NSW CEO Susannah Le Bron said it was exciting to be back following the program’s suspension in 2020 due to the pandemic. 

“COVID-19 has brought the direct impact of political decisions on young people’s lives and futures sharply into focus,” Mrs Le Bron said. 

“There’s never been a more important time for young people to stand up and be heard, and the Y is incredibly proud as an organisation to bring these voices directly to the seat of power in NSW.”  

Youth Parliament consists of an eight-day camp where participants are split in committees and develop policy positions ahead of four days of debate on the floor of NSW Parliament. Following the event, passed bills are formally presented to the NSW Government. 

Since its beginning in 2002, approximately six pieces of Y NSW Youth Parliament youth legislation have been passed into NSW Law, including the recent Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme.

Former NSW Youth Parliament participant, Hamani Tanginoa, encouraged young people across the state to apply. 

“Youth Parliament is an amazing opportunity for young people to have their voices heard and get their ideas on the board. If they’re looking to do more representation in their community or to get into politics it’s a perfect first step to get their name out there,” he said. 

“It helped me get a spot on the NSW Youth Advisory Council and support from past participants helped me secure the Youth Premier position in 2019. Youth Parliament kept the fire burning, and since then I’ve been able to continue speaking out on issues young people are facing on TV and in printed media.” 

Applications are open now and will close March 12 at 5pm.

Young people will be notified of the outcome of their application on March 22 ahead of an online introduction to the program on April 26 and finally, Residential Camp from July 3 to Saturday 10 July. 

NSW Youth week 2021: 16 to 24 April

Youth Week began as a NSW Government initiative in 1989, and has since grown to be a celebration of young people in every state and territory across the country.

It is organised by young people, for young people, in communities across NSW and Australia. Following the success of the NSW Youth Week program, Youth Week became a National event in 2000. National Youth Week is jointly supported by the Australian Government, State and Territory Governments and Local Governments.

National Youth Week is an opportunity for young people to:
  • share ideas
  • attend live events
  • have their voices heard on issues of concern to them
  • showcase their talents
  • celebrate their contribution to the community
  • take part in competitions
  • have fun!
The NSW Government invites all Local Councils in NSW to jointly fund Youth Week activities in their area. As part of their funding agreement with the NSW Government, Councils agree to involve young people in all aspects of Youth Week, including the planning, development and management of activities.

Youth Week is managed at a state level by the Youth Week Coordinator (located in the Youth Strategy and Participation Unit, Participation and Inclusion, Department of Family and Community Services) in conjunction with the NSW Youth Week Committee. The Committee is responsible for providing advice on the management and operation of Youth Week in NSW.

Express Yourself exhibition 2021

The talent and creativity of more than 40 HSC Visual Art students on the Northern Beaches will be on display for the annual Express Yourself exhibition at the Manly Art Gallery & Museum (MAG&M) from February 19th until March 28th 2021. 

The winners of the $3,000 Manly Art Gallery & Museum Society Youth Art Award and $5,000 Theo Batten Bequest Youth Art Award will be announced on Friday 19th of February. These two awards are granted annually to students featured in the exhibition.  

Artist statements will be displayed alongside the artworks describing the inspirations and influences that informed the works and the students’ creative journeys.  

Visitors are encouraged to vote for their favourite artwork in the KALOF People’s Choice Award which is announced at the end of the exhibition period. 

Express Yourself is also part of Art Month Sydney, March 2021. 

Exhibition: 19 February - Sunday 28 March 2021, 10am - 4pm daily (excluding Mondays) 

Teachers' preview: Friday 19 February, 5 - 6pm. Bookings essential via Council’s website 

Art Walk and Talk: Saturday 27 February, 3 – 4pm: Artists walk through the exhibition and discuss their works with the curator. Bookings essential via Council’s website

Half of our unis don't have bullying policies for students. This is what they need to protect them

Antonio Guillem/Shutterstock
Zoe Vaill, Queensland University of Technology

Students are heading off to universities around Australia, whether for the first time or as returning students, with expectations of a year of learning, making friends and enjoyable socialising. For some students this will not be the case. Bullying by other students continues to be a serious but neglected problem at Australian universities.

Our recent study of 39 Australian universities found 20 did not have an anti-bullying policy relating to students. The other 19 had a mix of student-specific policies and staff policies with students added on.

Read more: Bullying in regional universities is a serious problem that needs addressing

Internationally, researchers have identified bullying at universities as a problem. Students have reported both traditional bullying and cyberbullying.

With growing numbers learning online, it is more important than ever to ensure universities are properly protecting their students. Students need accurate, relevant and usable information to counter bullying.

First, a little context

Despite the evidence of the harm bullying in universities does, it hasn’t received the same attention as bullying in schools or workplaces.

Australia has laws to ensure workplaces and schools have anti-bullying policies for employees and students. Each state’s department of education provides a template and guidelines on what must be included in school policy and how it should be communicated to staff, students and parents.

Read more: Not every school's anti-bullying program works – some may actually make bullying worse

Policies are a great prevention and intervention strategy as part of efforts to stop student bullying. The problem is this government-based approach to bullying has not included tertiary education.

So what are universities doing?

The support provided for students who are bullied varies from university to university. But, overall, policy-based support is lacking.

The numbers found in our recent study are worrying. Only 66% of university policies defined bullying and 69% mentioned cyberbullying. Only 23% provided contact details for students to report the bullying to their university.

The study assessed universities’ policies for quality and usability of content. This revealed an important problem in addition to the overall lack of information. Where these policies exist, they lack accurate and usable information.

Young man upset by a message on his phone
Cyber bullying is on the rise but it isn’t mentioned in nearly a third of university anti-bullying policies. aslysun/Shutterstock

How useful are these policies?

We checked the information provided against a list of 37 items, including:

  • definitions of bullying

  • practical information on how to report and what support is available

  • usability of information – is the policy easy to find and understand?

  • overall prevention and intervention strategies.

On average, universities in Australia included only 15 of the 37 items in their anti-bullying policies. This means the existing policies are not providing important information to students about bullying and what to do if they are bullied.

Analysis of the content universities provided to students in each state and territory clearly shows how widespread the issue is. All on average included less than half of the items they should have included. The averages were:

  • 9 of 37 in Australian Capital Territory, Northern Territory and Tasmania

  • 14 of 37 in Victoria and Western Australia

  • 17 of 37 in Queensland and New South Wales

  • 18 of 37 in South Australia.

As well as the information left out, the information provided by anti-bullying policies was often incorrect or contradicted by the university’s other policies, procedures or information pages. This is especially true of the definitions of bullying. The words bullying, harassment and discrimination are often used interchangeably.

Read more: Sexual abuse, harassment and discrimination 'rife' among Australian academics

The usability of these policies is another issue. Some are hard to find. The policies also do not use student-friendly language and are difficult to understand.

Many policies do not use student-specific examples of bullying behaviour. This is especially true of staff policies that have had students added on. Information about reporting the bullying, and who they should talk to for advice and support, is often relevant for staff only.

How can this situation be fixed?

These problems should be tackled on several fronts, including:

  • state governments mandating that each university has a student-specific anti-bullying policy using a provided template so information is accurate and consistent across all universities

  • universities drawing on well-developed policies and practices such as those in the UK, which use online reporting forms and have student advice lines

  • universities actively promoting a bully-free culture on campus and online, and ensuring students know of the policies and their options.

Universities have a duty of care to students. This mean they must make sure students can learn in a safe and supportive environment. Universities must take a firm stance on bullying and ensure students know how to identify and report bullying, and trust their university to believe and support them when bullying does occur.

Read more: Brutal rituals of hazing won't go away — and unis are increasingly likely to be held responsible The Conversation

Zoe Vaill, PhD Candidate Faculty of Education, Queensland University of Technology

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

Youse wouldn't believe it: a new book charts the 11-year making of a 'people's dictionary' for Australia

Even the dictionary entry defining lamingtons proved controversial … shutterstock
Roslyn Petelin, The University of Queensland

Review: More Than Words: The Making of the Macquarie Dictionary by Pat Manser (Pan Macmillan)

In 1973 Pat Manser answered an advertisement in the Sydney Morning Herald seeking a research assistant to work on phonetic transcriptions for a dictionary of Australian English.

Now, nearly 50 years later, she has published her monumental account of the making of this dictionary, which in the words of Thomas Keneally, “paid the Antipodean tongue the great compliment of taking it seriously”.

If you’re a word aficionado, you’ll love this book. I could not put it down until I had read through to the end of the final section, which contains the wonderful launch presentation speeches for all eight editions of the Macquarie Dictionary.

Read more: Gogglebox and what it tells us about English in Australia

The beginnings

John Bernard, a chemist who was appointed Associate Professor in the Department of English and Linguistics at Macquarie University in 1966, had published a paper in Southerly in June 1962 about the need for a dictionary of Australian English. He argued that we need

a dictionary of our own because our idiom, usage, invention and especially pronunciation are sufficiently different from those of other Englishes.

In December 1969, Brian Clouston, who had founded Jacaranda Press in Brisbane, agreed to fund a dictionary that would be

aggressively Australian, not to be encyclopedic, not to be illustrated, to be in one volume, and to be ready in two years.

Bernard’s colleague at the university, Professor Arthur Delbridge, was appointed chair of the editorial committee to compile the book. He argued for a “people’s dictionary” that would “hold up a mirror directly to contemporary Australian speech and writing”.

The critical decision at the outset was whether to describe how people use the language or prescribe how people should use the language.

Should the new dictionary describe how language was used or prescribe its use? shutterstock

The father of English lexicography, Samuel Johnson, whose prescriptivist A Dictionary of the English Language was published in 1755, felt “the duty of the lexicographer was to correct or proscribe”. The Oxford English Dictionary, published in 1928, had also been prescriptive.

However, the Macquarie editorial committee was “adamant that its dictionary was to be descriptive”, a move now standard in English language dictionaries. The committee wanted as comprehensive a dictionary as possible, so spoken as well as written words were included.

Johnson’s dictionary took seven years to compile. The Oxford dictionary took 70 years. Rather than two, Macquarie’s dictionary took 11 years.

The Macquarie lexicographers had started work in 1970; the first edition was published in 1981. The 8th edition, published in 2020, and its thesaurus contain more than 300,000 Australian words and definitions.

It is no surprise there were controversies to contend with in the years it took to compile the first edition.

Read more: Togs or swimmers? Why Australians use different words to describe the same things


The test for inclusion of words and expressions is currency. How often do you hear people say, “I’ll see youse later”? That particular Australianism is included in the dictionary because, as an entry explains:

English you does not distinguish singular from plural. The form youse does provide a plural, contrasting with singular you, but there is strong resistance to it, in spoken as well as written language, and it remains non-standard.

Other tests include whether a word is accepted by the language community, whether it’s used extensively, or whether it’s too individual or specialised. Is it likely to stand the test of time? Is the entry well supported by citations?

Language is forever changing, so the challenge for a dictionary is its capacity to remain up to date. Manser amusingly illustrates the growing acceptance of “literally” to be understood as “figuratively” with a quote from Amanda Vanstone:

But I can assure you that we are literally bending over backwards to take into account the concerns raised by colleagues.

Amanda Vanstone poses (literally) for a photograph for Australian Women’s Weekly in 2006. Tim Bauer/AAP

As the recipient of elocution lessons in my early education I was fascinated to learn about the dictionary’s engagement with spoken English pronunciation. Then there is the fraught question of the description of iconic foods. Should Lamingtons be dipped only in thin chocolate icing and coconut? Not necessarily. There are pink jelly lamingtons and, more recently, Tokyo lamingtons, which have apparently landed with flavours of matcha and black sesame.

Manser’s least favourite word is mansplain, Word of the year in 2014. She hoped it would be ephemeral … but it was recently just nudged out by “fake news” for word of the decade.

Read more: The horror and pleasure of misused words: from mispronunciation to malapropisms

A cocktail

The dictionary was launched on 21 September 1981 as The Macquarie Dictionary because it would “add prestige to the dictionary to be associated with a university”, as the Oxford one was.

A special cocktail, the Macquarie, was created to mark the occasion: “Champagne, mango juice, Bitters, Grand Marnier, and a whole strawberry to float on the top”.

The reviews were glowing, except for one condescending and scathing review by the editor of the second edition of the Oxford English Dictionary. Robert Burchfield, a New Zealander, accused the committee of a “charming unawareness of the standards of reputable lexicography outside Australia”.

The new dictionary sold very well: 50,000 copies in its first year and another 50,000 copies over the next 18 months. Within ten years there were 23 spin off editions.

Malcolm Turnbull avails himself of a dictionary in 2008 during parliamentary question time. Alan Porritt/AAP

Currently, there are more than 150 spin offs. There was even a Macquarie Bedtime Story Book for Children. There are, of course, other dictionaries of Australian English, such as Oxford University Press’s Australian National Dictionary, a dictionary of Australianisms first published in 1988. There was also an Australian version of the Collins British English Dictionary, which the Macquarie staff regarded as essentially British.

In 1976, the Macquarie offices moved to a former market gardener’s cottage on the campus of Macquarie University. Called “the cottage”, it sounds reminiscent of James Murray’s scriptorium in Oxford, where he oversaw the creation of The Oxford English Dictionary. In 1980, Macquarie Library Pty Ltd became the publisher and has held the copyright ever since, though Macmillan bought the dictionary in 2001.

Macquarie embraced Indigenous Australian issues with Macquarie Aboriginal Words in 1994 and the Macquarie Atlas of Indigenous Australia in 2005. As Ernie Dingo put it at the time: “This book is a White step in the Black direction”.

Manser, who went on to become a high-level public servant, has done painstakingly detailed research for this book, with great support from former colleagues. It is well written in short chapters. I would have liked to see an index and a time-line, but I hesitate to quibble in the face of such a splendid historical document.The Conversation

Roslyn Petelin, Course coordinator, The University of Queensland

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

Cat in a spat: scrapping Dr Seuss books is not cancel culture

Christopher Dolan/The Times-Tribune via AP
Kate Cantrell, University of Southern Queensland and Sharon Bickle, University of Southern Queensland

Let’s start by putting aside the bugbear that it is even possible to “cancel” children’s author Dr Seuss.

As Philip Bump wrote yesterday in The Washington Post,

No one is ‘cancelling’ Dr Seuss. The author, himself, is dead for one thing, which is about as cancelled as a person can get.

Laying aside a multimillion-dollar publishing business, tattered copies of Dr Seuss books clutter children’s bedrooms around the globe. Parents still grapple nightly with the tongue-twisters of Fox in Socks, Horton Hears a Who! or Hop on Pop, and try their best to keep their eyes open through a 20th reading of Green Eggs and Ham.

However, on Tuesday (what would have been Dr Seuss’s 117th birthday), the company that protects the late author’s legacy announced its plan to halt publishing and licensing six (out of more than 60) Dr Seuss books.

Few would know some of the discontinued titles, like McElligot’s Pool and The Cat’s Quizzer. However, many will recognise If I Ran the Zoo and And to Think That I Saw it on Mulberry Street, which have been criticised for racist caricatures and themes of cultural dominance and dehumanisation.

In If I Ran the Zoo, young Gerald McGrew builds a “Bad-Animal Catching Machine” to capture a turbaned Arab for his exhibit of “unusual beasts”.

“People will stare,” Gerald marvels, “And they’ll say, ‘What a sight!’”. Chinese “helpers” with “eyes at a slant” hunt exotic creatures in the mountains of Zomba-ma-Tant.

A reading recorded for Dr Seuss Day in 2019, removes the racist taunt. Instead of helpers who “wear their eyes at a slant”, the helpers “all wear such very cool pants”.

Nevertheless, pervasive racial imagery and subservient typecasting remain. That doesn’t mean Dr Seuss books should — or can — be scrapped altogether. Instead, these books present an opportunity to build awareness and teach young readers about history and context.

Portrait of man on colourful wall
The visage of Theodor Seuss Geisel, known as Dr Seuss, at the Massachusetts museum that honours his legacy. AP Photo/Steven Senne, File

Read more: In Dr Seuss' children's books, a commitment to social justice that remains relevant today

Censorship in children’s titles

Children’s books are among those most often banned or censored. In this case, removing the Dr Seuss titles recognises that he was writing in a time and place when racial stereotyping was commonplace and frequently the focus of humour.

Elsewhere, controversy over golliwogs as racist caricatures was confrontingly played out in Enid Blyton’s Noddy stories. In her original telling of In the Dark, Dark Wood, Noddy is carjacked by three golliwogs who trap him, strip him naked, and leave him crying. “You bad, wicked golliwogs!” Noddy says. “How dare you steal my things!”

Similarly, in the first edition of Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the Oompa-Loompas are African pygmies who have been “rescued” by Willy Wonka and enslaved in his factory. When Charlie says, “But there must be people working there,” Grandpa Joe responds, “Not people, Charlie. Not ordinary people, anyway.”

Read more: Abused, neglected, abandoned — did Roald Dahl hate children as much as the witches did?

In his political cartoons, which appeared in a New York newspaper in the early 1940s, Dr Seuss ran the gamut of racist depictions, from African-American people as monkeys to Japanese characters with yellow faces and “rice paddy” hats.

In the now-suspended The Cat’s Quizzer, there is “a Japanese” depicted in conical hat and stereotypical dress. On Mulberry Street, a Chinese man with bright yellow skin wears geta shoes and carries a bowl of rice.

In early editions, the caption underneath reads “A Chinaman who eats with sticks”. In 1978, over 40 years after the book was first published, the character’s skin tone and braid were changed. The caption was changed from “Chinaman” to “Chinese man”.

Pages from a children's book
An earlier 1964 edition of And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street features a character described as ‘a Chinese boy’ with yellow skin and a long ponytail, while a 1984 edition changes the character to ‘a Chinese man’ and alters his appearance. Christopher Dolan/The Times-Tribune via AP

If I ran the library … by today’s standards

Dr Seuss’s work contains racism and xenophobia, but should we judge him by today’s standards?

Children’s literature has always been subject to socio-historical shifts. It is a product of its time and the context in which it is created. Viewed through the changing lens of history, childhood itself is an unstable concept.

In other words, it is impossible to separate children’s literature from the ideological structure of our world, and from the particular historical moment in which it is produced.

While Dr Seuss’s best-loved characters — the Cat in the Hat, Horton the elephant, the Grinch — have earned their place in the canon, what we should be concerned about is the question of diversity in children’s literature.

We know from numerous studies that white children dominate children’s books, with talking animals and trains outnumbering the representations of First Nations, Asian, African and other minority groups.

Read more: Empathy starts early: 5 Australian picture books that celebrate diversity

No quick fixes

Although never perfect, other beloved children’s literature series have sought solutions to similar dilemmas.

Enid Blyton’s stories have been continuously revised since the 1990s. Noddy is now carjacked by goblins, and, in the Faraway Tree series, Dame Snap replaces Dame Slap, with Fanny and Dick getting a makeover as Frannie and Rick.

More recently, Richard Scarry’s books were updated to depict Daddies cooking and Mummies going to work, while the latest film adaptation of The Witches cast actor of colour Jahzir Bruno as the boy protagonist.

Not surprisingly, queer representation in young adult fiction is still problematic, with most queer stories authored by writers who do not identify as queer.

On one level, the decision to discontinue half a dozen Dr Seuss books because “they are hurtful and wrong” seems a simple gesture (and one with relatively small financial impact). Racism permeates the Dr Seuss catalogue, including The Cat in the Hat’s origins in blackface minstrel performances. Like Dr Seuss’s Yertle, it’s turtles all the way down.

Instead, finding meaningful ways to contextualise these historical aspects for young readers today might be a better focus, rather than withholding a few and letting more prominent titles slide by.

Kids and teens, like adults, need to see themselves in the books they read, and young white readers need to see other cultural groups as something more than illegal, or violent, or criminal.

As chidren’s literature expert Perry Nodelman notes: “Stories structure us as beings in the world”. In the same week a Lowy study found one in five Chinese Australians have been threatened or attacked, it could not be more important to invest in an inclusive future for our kids.

‘I literally know The Cat in the Hat by heart without the book,’ said Donald Trump Jr. Stephen Colbert’s segment finishes with suggested books by authors of colour.
The Conversation

Kate Cantrell, Lecturer in Writing, Editing, and Publishing, University of Southern Queensland and Sharon Bickle, Lecturer in English Literature, QLD rep for Australian Women's and Gender Studies Association, University of Southern Queensland

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

This week's news has put sexual assault survivors at risk of 'secondary trauma'. Here's how it happens, and how to cope

Mary Iliadis, Deakin University; Bianca Fileborn, The University of Melbourne, and Rachel Loney-Howes, University of Wollongong

The continuing media coverage of rape and sexual assault allegations faced by current and former political figures has put many sexual abuse survivors at risk of being traumatised all over again.

Widespread media attention features near-constant social media updates and extensive commentary. It means many sexual violence survivors are directly exposed to triggering and retraumatising content that resurfaces the pain of their own past experiences.

The impacts of sexual violence are often long-lasting and hard to overcome. How an individual survivor is affected can depend on a range of factors, including the level of trauma that a person has already experienced in their life, their relationship to the perpetrator, and whether the violence was prolonged or repeated.

Sexual violence can affect survivors in a many different ways: emotional, physical, psychological and social. The list of common impacts is vast, and includes fear, shock, grief, shame, confusion, denial, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), insomnia, nightmares and other sleep disturbances, intrusive thoughts and flashbacks, nausea, loss of appetite and gastrointestinal issues, reduced libido and/or difficulty engaging in consensual sexual activity, anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts, sexually transmitted infections or blood-borne viruses, unwanted pregnancy, social withdrawal, and difficulty trusting others.

All sexual violence survivors will respond in different ways. They may experience some, none or all of the impacts described here. These effects may ease over time, especially with appropriate support. Healing and recovery from sexual violence is certainly possible.

As an aside, we should note here that it is simplistic to view sexual violence purely through a trauma lens. This is not to deny the very real harms experienced by survivors, but rather to point out that framing sexual trauma as a series of symptoms requiring treatment puts the onus on individual survivors to “fix the problem”, and allows society to avoid grappling with the underlying causes of sexual violence.

Read more: Sexual assault: what can you do if you don't want to make a formal report to police?

What is retraumatisation?

Retraumatisation (also known as “secondary trauma” or “secondary victimisation”) is a common experience for many survivors. This can happen when a survivor is exposed to a “trigger” that reminds them of past sexual violence, causing the body to go into a fight, flight or freeze response. In other words, the body responds as if there is a direct and immediate threat.

Survivors can be triggered in many ways, and by things specific to their individual experiences or by more general exposure to discussions of sexual violence. This can occur at different stages, depending on each survivor’s individual recovery journey.

A woman sits on a bed looking out the window.
Retraumatisation is a common experience for survivors of sexual abuse. Shutterstock

The role of the media and authority figures

Saturation media coverage of stories involving sexual violence can also trigger retraumatisation. This is particularly the case when people in power, including senior members of the government, publicly deny, downplay or refuse to act on allegations of sexual violence.

The rapid dissemination of information through media platforms re-exposes survivors to a stream of violence. It also reinforces how the structures of society sustain men’s power and privilege over women.

There are guidelines for news media outlets reporting on violence against women. These include respecting the dignity of survivors and their families, and providing details of appropriate support services at the end of a story.

Media outlets need to be mindful that many survivors will be exposed to their content. Respect and dignity should be extended to these survivors as well as those featured directly in the story.

Comments that seek to apportion blame to survivors, or which suggest they may be lying or exaggerating — evident in the media coverage of the historical rape allegations against federal Attorney-General Christian Porter, which he has denied — do not just discredit one survivor, but all who have been treated similarly.

Read more: Complex trauma: how abuse and neglect can have life-long effects

Retraumatisation can also be exacerbated by false myths and stereotypes, such as Australian Defence Force chief Angus Campbell’s advice, widely criticised as victim-blaming, that female cadets should avoid alcohol, going out alone and being “attractive”.

All of this serves to challenge the credibility and truthfulness of survivors, and intensifies the barriers that women encounter in having their stories heard in male-dominated institutions. This might remind survivors of their own experiences of being blamed or disbelieved, and thus minimise and silence their voices.

How to guard against retraumatisation

Self-care strategies can help individual survivors manage their trauma during times of heightened media reporting or exposure to other triggers.

There are comprehensive guides available for survivors, and those who support them, outlining effective strategies for coping with trauma.

A young woman meditates in a park.
Self-care strategies can help. Shutterstock

Some common suggestions for self-care include:

  • limiting exposure to media content (and other triggers) on sexual violence

  • meditation, breathing and grounding exercises

  • speaking with a trusted friend or professional

  • writing about what you are feeling, such as in a personal diary or journal

  • taking care of your general health and well-being, such as through exercise and healthy eating

  • engaging in enjoyable and calming activities, such as cooking, being outside, reading, or spending time with a pet.

Read more: Speaking out about sexual violence on social media may not challenge gendered power relations

As renowned Black Feminist Audre Lorde said:

Caring for myself is not self-indulgence. It is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.

Self-care is an act of resistance in a world that is all too often hostile towards sexual abuse survivors. By engaging in self-care, we can continue to do the important (but difficult) political work of fighting for change to the underlying structural and cultural causes of sexual violence.

If this article has raised issues for you, please contact 1800 RESPECT through their toll-free national counselling hotline or online. You can also find support through Lifeline on 13 11 14.The Conversation

Mary Iliadis, Senior Lecturer in Criminology, Deakin University; Bianca Fileborn, Senior Lecturer in Criminology, The University of Melbourne, and Rachel Loney-Howes, Lecturer in Criminology, University of Wollongong

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

I asked hundreds of people about their biggest life decisions. Here's what I learned

Adrian R. Camilleri, University of Technology Sydney

You make decisions all the time. Most are small. However, some are really big: they have ramifications for years or even decades. In your final moments, you might well think back on these decisions — and some you may regret.

Part of what makes big decisions so significant is how rare they are. You don’t get an opportunity to learn from your mistakes. If you want to make big decisions you won’t regret, it’s important you learn from others who have been there before.

There is a good deal of existing research into what people regret in their lives. In my current project, I decided to approach the problem from the other end and ask people about their life’s biggest decisions.

What are life’s biggest decisions?

I have spent most of my career studying what you might call small decisions: what product to buy, which portfolio to invest in, and who to hire. But none of this research was very helpful when, a few years ago, I found myself having to make some big life decisions.

To better understand what life’s biggest decisions are, I recruited 657 Americans aged between 20 and 80 years old to tell me about the ten biggest decisions in their lives so far.

Each decision was classified into one of nine categories and 58 subcategories. At the end of the survey, respondents ranked the ten decisions from biggest to smallest. You can take the survey yourself here. (If you do, your answers may help develop my research further.)

The following chart shows each of the 58 decision subcategories in terms of how often it was mentioned (along the horizontal axis) and how big the decision was considered in retrospect (along the vertical axis).

In the upper right of the chart we see decisions that are both very significant and very common. Getting married and having a child stand out clearly here.

Other fairly common big life decisions include starting a new job and pursuing a degree. Less common, but among the highest ranked life decisions, include ending a life – such as that of an unborn child or a dying parent – and engaging in self-harm.

Of course, the results depend on who you ask. Men in their 70s have different answers than women in their 30s. To explore this data more deeply, I’ve built a tool that allows you to filter these results down to specific types of respondents.

Read more: How to help take control of your brain and make better decisions

What are life’s biggest regrets?

Much can also be learned about how to make good life decisions by asking people what their biggest regrets are. Regret is a negative emotion you feel when reflecting on past decisions and wishing you had done something differently.

In 2012, Australian caregiver Bronnie Ware wrote a book about her experiences in palliative care. There were five regrets that dying people told her about most often:

  • I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me
  • I wish I hadn’t worked so hard
  • I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings
  • I wish I’d stayed in touch with my friends
  • I wish I had let myself be happier.

This anecdotal evidence has received support from more rigorous academic research. For example, a 2011 study asked a nationally representative sample of 270 Americans to describe one significant life regret. The six most commonly reported regrets involved romance (19.3%), family (16.9%), education (14.0%), career (13.8%), finance (9.9%), and parenting (9.0%).

Although lost loves and unfulfilling relationships were the most common regrets, there was an interesting gender difference. For women, regrets about love (romance/family) were more common than regrets about work (career/education), while the reverse was true for men.

What causes regret?

Several factors increase the chances you will feel regret.

In the long run it is inaction — deciding not to pursue something — that generates more regret. This is particularly true for males, especially when it comes to romantic relationships. If only I had asked her out, we might now be happily married.

Poor decisions produce greater regret when it is harder to justify those decisions in retrospect. I really value my friends and family so why did I leave them all behind to take up that overseas job?

Given that we are social beings, poor decisions in domains relevant to our sense of social belonging — such as romantic and family contexts — are more often regretted. Why did I break up my family by having a fling?

Regrets tend to be strongest for lost opportunities: that is, when undesirable outcomes that could have been prevented in the past can no longer be affected. I could have had a better relationship with my daughter if I had been there more often when she was growing up.

The most enduring regrets in life result from decisions that move you further from the ideal person that you want to be. I wanted to be a role model but I couldn’t put the wine bottle down.

Making big life decisions without regrets

These findings provide valuable lessons for those with big life decisions ahead, which is nearly everyone. You’re likely to have to keep making big decisions over the whole course of your life.

The most important decisions in life relate to family and friends. Spend the time getting these decisions right and then don’t let other distractions — particularly those at work — undermine these relationships.

Seize opportunities. You can apologise or change course later but you can’t time travel. Your education and experience can never be lost.

Read more: Running the risk: why experience matters when making decisions

Avoid making decisions that violate your personal values and move you away from your aspirational self. If you have good justifications for a decision now, no matter what happens, you’ll at least not regret it later.

I continue to ask people to tell me about their biggest life decisions. It’s a great way to learn about someone. Once I have collected enough stories, I hope to write a book so that we can all learn from the collective wisdom of those who have been there before.The Conversation

Adrian R. Camilleri, Senior Lecturer in Marketing, University of Technology Sydney

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

Women are (rightly) angry. Now they need a plan

Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales and courtesy SEARCH Foundation
Michelle Arrow, Macquarie University

Australian women have been most effective, politically, when they have harnessed their collective rage and turned it into action. They need to do it again now.

Like many Australians, I was delighted when activist Grace Tame was named the 2021 Australian of the Year. Tame is a powerful advocate for survivors of child sexual abuse, drawing on her own experience of being groomed and abused by a paedophile when she was just 15.

Tame’s #LetHerSpeak campaign, which she created with journalist Nina Funnell and Marque lawyers, has overhauled gag laws that silenced victims of sexual abuse. Tame turned her anger into action and made change.

Accepting her award, Tame declared she was:

using my voice, amongst a growing chorus of voices that will not be silenced. Let’s make some noise, Australia.

Tame’s bravery inspired former political staffer Brittany Higgins to make some noise of her own. The revelation of her alleged sexual assault in a ministerial office and subsequent treatment by her employers has appalled observers.

Australian of the Year Grace Tame used her rage to effect change – and inspire others to do the same. Mick Tsikas/AAP

Most recently, it has been alleged a man who is now a federal cabinet minister (revealed on Wednesday to be Attorney-General Christian Porter) raped a 16-year-old girl in 1988. The response that best reveals the prevailing political culture was when Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who was sent a letter outlining the allegation, airily admitted he hadn’t read it. He added that because the minister has “vigorously denied” the allegation, there were “no matters” that required his attention.

In a defiant press conference on Wednesday, Porter denied the allegations. He refused to call for an inquiry or stand aside from his role, saying

if I stand down from my position as Attorney-General because of an allegation about something that simply did not happen, then any person in Australia can lose their career, their job, their life’s work based on nothing more than an accusation that appears in print.

Read more: View from The Hill: No satisfactory way to resolve historical rape allegation against minister

To say Australian women are angry about the events of the past few weeks is an understatement. In a powerhouse address to the National Press Club on Wednesday, Tame stressed the importance of turning that rage into action:

One voice, your voice, and our collective voices can make a difference. We are on the precipice of a revolution whose call to action needs to be heard loud and clear.

Australian women’s collective rage is not without precedent.

The women’s movement of the 1970s was born, in part, out of anger. Women were angry that they couldn’t always control their fertility, or parent their own children. They were angry they were paid less than men for the same jobs. They were angry childcare was hard to access. And, frankly, they were angry at men. Activist Kate Jennings articulated this rage in a speech at an anti-war rally in 1970:

There are a lot of people who feel strongly about the Vietnam war. But how many of you, who can see so clearly the suffering and misery in Vietnam […] how many of you would get off your fat piggy asses and protest against the killing and victimisation of women in your own country.

The women’s movement drew strength from talking. Sharing their experiences in consciousness-raising groups, they realised their problems were not personal but structural, demanding structural solutions.

It didn’t take long for the movement to articulate its core demands: free abortion and childcare, equal pay, equal job opportunities, and an end to media sexism. While they did not limit themselves to activism on these issues, they focused and shaped their work.

A Women’s Electoral Lobby March in 1975. The Whitlam government had been elected in part because of WEL’s advocacy. Women's Electoral Lobby

By early 1972, the Women’s Electoral Lobby, the movement’s moderate wing, ingeniously placed women’s issues on the political agenda by inaugurating their candidate survey. WEL members in every Australian electorate interviewed all political candidates. Not only did the survey train women in political lobbying, it laid bare the views of the (mostly) male candidates on women’s issues. It also gave women a political voice.

When the Whitlam government was elected, in part because of WEL’s advocacy, the women’s movement used their new leverage to achieve reforms on equal pay and contraception, and later made important gains in childcare, the funding of women’s refuges, and family law.

Whitlam appointed to his staff a women’s affairs adviser, Elizabeth Reid, who worked to make government more responsive to women’s needs. She, and subsequent feminists working inside the state, could not have exerted the influence they did without an active women’s movement agitating for change.

Surprisingly, violence against women was not initially a primary focus of the women’s movement. It emerged through consciousness-raising and so too did feminist methods of addressing it: rape crisis centres and women’s refuges.

Activism around sexual violence moved to centre stage: women marched against male sexual violence in Reclaim the Night Marches from 1978, and in the early 1980s feminists marched on Anzac Day “in memory of all women raped in all wars”.

Today, feminists are still campaigning against male violence against women. Over the past few years, we have mourned hundreds of women who have died due to family violence. We have witnessed royal commissions into family violence and into institutional responses to child sexual abuse. We have admired the courage of survivors like Rosie Batty. We gasped as serial sexual predators were exposed under the banner of #MeToo. But too little has actually changed.

Read more: Yes, the culture in Parliament House is appalling. But there are systemic problems that also need urgent reform

Women are angry and they are tired. Tired of mansplainers and misogynists, and those who bleat #NotAllMen instead of asking #WhySoManyMen? Tired of women who have benefited from feminism yet refuse the label of “feminist”. And tired of having to once again fight the battles that women in the 1970s and 1980s thought they had won.

Rage is politically potent, and useful. You only need to look at the ways Donald Trump fuelled his army of supporters to understand that. But if the lessons of second wave feminism are any guide, women not only need to get angry, they need to get organised.

The women’s movement was energised by its collective nature and common goals. Today’s female rage is fierce, but it is not yet harnessed to a clear agenda for action. Women need to create this agenda together, and then work out how best to achieve it.

We know so much more about women’s oppression today than women did in the 1970s, especially the ways in which different types of discrimination overlap and combine. We are perhaps more sceptical of the ability of institutions to effect change. And we are painfully aware that neo-liberalism has shrunk the state and limited the possibilities for activism.

But our scepticism, and our lack of attention, has extracted a cost. In the 1980s, government policy was routinely audited for its impact on women. But in the 1990s, feminist policy “machinery” was steadily dismantled.

Today’s Office for Women has a tiny staff and a low profile. It was not consulted on any of the major COVID-related policy shifts, like JobKeeper or changes to superannuation.

If our parliament is full of men who ignore, belittle and disrespect women, and women who enable these men, it is because we, the voters, have put them there. But we can also vote them out.

A women’s candidate survey, ready to roll out at the next federal election, is just one strategy from the women’s movement of the 1970s that might be worth reviving today. Women need to maintain their rage, but they need to turn it into political action, too.The Conversation

Michelle Arrow, Professor of History, Macquarie University

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

Friday essay: hidden in plain sight — Australian queer men and women before gay liberation

A mug shot of Neville McQuade (aged 18) and Lewis Stanley Keith (aged 19), taken at North Sydney Police Station in June 1942. Sydney Living Museums
Peter McNeil, University of Technology Sydney

It’s Sydney Lesbian and Gay Mardi Gras festival time. LGBTQI people are enjoying what some call “gay or lesbian Christmas”. It’s not quite the same in the era of COVID, but a contained version of the famous street parade will be beamed into living rooms on Saturday.

The public face of Mardi Gras, which began in 1978 with a protest parade, is remarkable in a nation that has been deeply prejudiced toward gay and lesbian people. Part of the power of Mardi Gras for older generations was that it removed queer sexualities from the “secret” confines of semi-legal bar and club locations and private parties to the public street. Being on the front page of the newspaper no longer meant you might be going to jail.

Still, Australian queer people did not suddenly emerge in the 1960s and 70s, the years of gay liberation. Where were they before and how can they be identified? Because male homosexuality was criminalised, much can be discovered from the press and crime reports. Letters, memoirs, diaries, art, photographs and the memories of gay, lesbian, and transgender people also provide clues.

From the bush to the boudoir

The Australian colonies were marked by a shortage of women and the dominance of homosocial environments. Francis Forbes, former Chief Justice in the colony, when questioned at the so-called Molesworth inquiry into convict transportation in the 1830s, had to admit Sydney “had been called a Sodom”. Sodomy in the Tasmanian coal mines was also the subject of a British government inquiry.

Read more: Debauchery on the fatal shore: the sex lives of Australia's convicts

Andrew George Scott, alias Captain Moonlite. Wikimedia Commons

There is evidence of what historian Robert Aldrich calls “conjoined” same-sex male couples in 19th-century Australia, including the famous bushranger Captain Moonlite (Andrew George Scott). As he waited to be hanged in Darlinghurst Jail in 1880, he wrote of his fellow ranger James Nesbitt: “We were one in heart and soul, he died in my arms and I long to join him …”

Homosexuality was often associated with foreigners and cosmopolitan affectation. George Francis Alexander Seymour, future Marquess of Hertford, lived in Queensland briefly around 1895. Likely inspired by international dance sensation Loie Fuller, he shocked locals by wearing sequins and a veil for “skirt dancing” performances in front of “kanakas” (South Pacific men coerced to work in the canefields).

George Francis Alexander Seymour, future Marquess of Hertford, dancing. National Library of Australia.

William Lygon, later 7th Earl Beauchamp — the governor of New South Wales for a short time from 1899 — travelled with a retinue of good-looking footmen and lavished praise on the natural grace of Australian athletes and lifesavers.

He was disgraced as a homosexual by his brother-in-law in 1931 and became the subject of the famous statement by King George V: “I thought people like that always shot themselves.”

He subsequently inspired the famous novel by Evelyn Waugh, Brideshead Revisited.

Interwar life: fashion and fancy

In the inter-war years, there was a marked queer presence in the worlds of Australian art, design, entertainment and retail. This was the period of art deco and Australian “genteel modernism”. Art Deco (called moderne or futurist style at the time) was inseparable from fashion and fantasy and frequently derided as an effeminate style — it has even been called the “International Style in drag”.

Cultural nationalist and the director of Melbourne’s National Gallery of Victoria from 1936–1941, J. S. MacDonald, claimed this type of art and design had been promoted by women and “pansies”, meaning homosexual men.

Smith’s Weekly, The Bulletin and the New Triad mocked the “wasp waists” and “goo goo boys” who worked in retail and enjoyed theatre.

Some queers worked as entertainers or drag queens. In NSW this was a summary offence of indecency (still used by police in the 1970s). Drag queens and cross-dressers had to wear male underwear or else risk arrest.

Cross-dressing was also associated at the time with street prostitution. A police mugshot from 1942 shows two cross-dressed male sex workers wearing women’s coats, one with huge rabbit-fur-trimmed sleeves, as well as a turban and makeup. The men still look very male and defiant, suggesting a part of their sexual charge came from precisely this lack of ambiguity; it was clear they were not women.

Clearly annoyed, one of the pair remarked to the tabloid Truth:

We were bundled out of the police cell, and snapped immediately. My friend and I had no chance to fix our hair or arrange our make-up. We were half asleep and my turban was on the wrong side.

Gay male artists and commercial designers in Sydney lived their queer lives discreetly on moderate incomes. The flower painter Adrian Feint, who lived in Elizabeth Bay, produced many bookplates depicting languid young men with a queer mood.

His disguised self-portrait etching of a dandy entitled The Collector (1925) carried the suggestion of eye and lip makeup, depicting archaic Edwardian dress, a top hat, a cane, plaid suit and cape.

Adrian Feint’s disguised self portrait. author provided

His remarkable cover for the upmarket magazine The Home (July 1929) featured a “Rum Corps” officer whom Feint transformed into a languid, heavily made-up beauty, recalling both the Ballets Russes, who were touring Australia, and the famous queer movie star Rudolph Valentino.

Cover of The Home journal, Volume 7 No.10. July 1 1929, designed by Adrian Feint. Wikimedia Commons

The culture of hedonism, promiscuity, heavy drinking, pub life and mixed-class socialising that characterised life in the colonies pervaded Australian gay life until recently. Pubs and clubs were crude, brash and fun. Bohemian ideas were also important. All sorts of behaviour were excused at the Artists’ Balls, which were held in Sydney from the 1920s until 1964. Gay balls were often accompanied by a blind orchestra (not unusual at the time due to war injuries) so the goings on could not be observed.

A 1925 sketch by Mandi McCrae of one such ball in The Home, September 1925, delineates a transsexual, two men with arms akimbo, and several gender-indeterminate figures. The press loved running stories of cross-dressed men whose dresses were so large they had to arrive in delivery vans. One told of a live bird in a cage worn as a Marie Antoinette-style headdress.

A sketch of an Artist’s Ball from The Home, September 1925. Author provided

Urban subcultures

In the interwar years, a queer urban subculture coalesced for the first time in Sydney around art deco sites and buildings: city hotels, the Archibald Fountain by night for cruising, and the new high-density housing of Kings Cross, Potts Point, Darlinghurst and East Sydney.

High density housing helped foster the bachelor life. Peter McNeil

Boonara, a middle-class block of flats in Woollahra, built by a widow and a “spinster” in 1918, was let only to women and one male artist, William Lister Lister. Restaurants catering to a homosexual clientele included Madame Pura’s Latin Cafe in the now demolished Royal Arcade.

Many Australian artists and writers became expatriate in this period to escape wowserism, censorship and the anti-art tenor of Australian society. They included Nobel winning novelist Patrick White, who conducted one of the great same-sex love affairs with Manoly Lascaris from 1941 until White’s death in 1990. White spent his youth in England, writing from a desk designed by the queer interior decorator and later famed artist Francis Bacon.

Back home in the 1940s, a group of queer artists, dancers and designers lived in Merioola, a run-down mansion in Edgecliff known then as “Buggery Barn”. They included artists Donald Friend and Justin O'Brien, acclaimed costume designer Loudon Sainthill and his partner, the theatre critic and gallery director Harry Tatlock Miller. The landlady was the butch looking Chica Lowe. She provided a set-like stage on which residents performed their counter-cultural lives.

Wealthier queers conducted their lives at private dinners, where ironic cross-dressing provided entertainment. They used camp girls’ names such as Connie, Simone, Zena and Maude. Cross-dressing was a popular diversion for groups of gay friends, who hired country and beach houses for private parties around the country.

A queer sensibility can tell us as much as a queer identification at a time when non-binary sexuality could lead to financial ruin for both women and men.

Australia’s first interior decorator, Margaret Jaye, was almost certainly a lesbian, and one of the nation’s first industrial designers, Molly Grey, was photographed in 1935 with a Sapphic hairstyle and severe dress of oversize mannish collar, bow tie, and cuffs. Interior design, being connected to domesticity and the home, was one of the few professions where married women and gay men could work undisturbed.

Molly Grey photographed in Potts Point Sydney by Harold Cazneaux circa 1935. State Library of New South Wales

The author Eve Langley (who changed her name to Oscar Wilde by deed poll in 1954) and her sister June cross-dressed in country Gippsland when young, where they were known as the “trouser women”. Eve continued to wear mannish attire in her old age in the Blue Mountains.

Sydney: from port to gay city

World War II was a watershed for Australian queer identity. Historians such as Garry Wotherspoon have noted how port cities such as Sydney and San Francisco threw large numbers of young men together, away from their families, in new types of housing such as bachelor flats. These cities were the ones that later developed the first large homosexual communities, often in neglected inner-city areas, in the 1960s and 1970s.

World War II also threw into the mix female impersonators who performed for the forces. The Australian armed forces had 20 concert party groups and gave 12,000 shows in Australia, the Middle East and the Pacific. The Kiwi (New Zealand) Concert Party wore drag made from muslin, dishcloths and silver paper as well as real fashions. They continued to perform for nine years after the war ended.

Official war artist Roy Hodgkinson captured a moment of revelry among Australian military forces at a New Guinea Concert Party in 1942. Australian War Memorial

Academic Chris Brickell has made the important point that although many of the performers pretended to be co-opted for their roles, most were more than willing. Their drag acts “drew from, and subsequently inspired, gay civilians’ own drag performances”.

Lance-Corporal J. C. Robinson adjusting the wig of Private G. J. Buckham, female impersonator in the dressing room of the Kookaroos Concert Party, Torokina, Bougainville, 1945. Australian War Memorial

Read more: 'I didn't know that world existed': how lesbian women found a life in the armed forces

1950s Australia saw an increasing witch hunt around queer sexuality, fuelled by the churches, the demands of the police and Cold War anxiety about Communist inflitration. The tabloid press continued earlier sensational reporting: (“Degenerate Dressed up as a Doll … St Kilda Sensation—Man-Woman Masquerader”) with headlines such as “Police War on this Nest of Perverts”. Even the famed 1950s American muscle culture magazines were banned under strict censorship here.

Lesbian butch and femme subcultures had emerged by this time, in which one partner was styled in a hyper-feminine way, the other donning trousers and shorter hair. Writer Gavin Harris notes that Lillian Armfield, NSW’s first policewoman, claimed department stores blacklisted lesbians who were trying to “recruit” from among their “innocent” customers.

Blak and queer

Queer Indigenous people have been prominent for several decades in art forms such as dance, where they contribute to new formulations of ideas of “blak beauty,” blak being a term consciously deployed by contemporary queer visual artists, including Brook Andrew.

The biography and survival story of Indigenous dancer and choreographer Noel Tovey (born 1934) charts a trajectory from abandonment and abuse to a life as a successful actor and dancer in London in the 1960s. Here Tovey mixed with gay circles and gained resilience and self-esteem.

Tovey described in his autobiography Little Black Bastard the Artist’s Ball in Melbourne as “the only night of the year when the police turned a blind eye to the number of drag queens looking for a cab”. Characters who might turn up there included “Puss in Boots” or a reclusive “Greta Garbo”: the latter refused to talk to anyone all night. Tovey was later involved with the spectacular Awakenings opening dance sequence at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games

From blending to assertion

William Yang has been photographing queer Brisbane and Sydney since 1969. In that year, he photographed David Williams, or Beatrice, who performed in drag at the Purple Onion Club, Sydney (opened 1962), singing “The Sound of Mucus” and “A Streetcar Named Beatrice”. The clothes matched the crude titles: synthetic crinolines and huge feather hats.

Yang also photographed gays who wished to blend, whose clothes appear very ordinary, with a slight edge that can only be read through the focus on casual softness.

Calls for an end to the criminalisation of homosexuality in Australia appeared by the early 1960s, following the UK Wolfenden Committee report of 1957, which recommended decriminalisation. The concept of “gay liberation” spread from activism in Sydney with the formation of CAMP Inc group in 1970, and at the University of Melbourne in 1971, into the wider public domain.

Sydney’s notorious street protest, the first Sydney Gay Mardi Gras (later Gay and Lesbian), took place in 1978. The first march was notorious for the arrests and the violence directed at the participants at the old Darlinghurst Police Station (now closed) and created a catalyst for further activism. Many more bars, clubs and community organisations opened and provided relatively safe spaces for LGBTQI to gather.

Read more: Friday essay: on the Sydney Mardi Gras march of 1978

In recent decades we have witnessed a massive shift from situational, private and criminalised sexualities to open, liberationist and perhaps also commodified ones.

But there are gays and lesbians everywhere if you look carefully in the past, even if not all were as striking or spectacular as the ones outlined here.The Conversation

Peter McNeil, Distinguished Professor of Design History, UTS, University of Technology Sydney

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

Book of the Month March 2021: The boy travellers in Australasia : adventures of two youths in a journey to the Sandwich, Marquesas, Society, Samoan and Feejee islands, and through the colonies of New Zealand, New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, Tasmania, and South Australia

by Thomas Wallace Knox, 1835-1896; Harper & Brothers. pbl. Publication date 1889

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:

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


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.

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.


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

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.


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.


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


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.


The Green Team

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

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:

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:

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

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 -

lifeline australia - 13 11 14 -

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:

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: