August 2 - 8, 2020: Issue 460

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


Pumice Washed Up On Our Beaches This Week + Turimetta Beach Erosion + Puffer Fish Washed Ashore - The World Where You Live!

The storms that began on Sunday, last weekend, have brought what is called 'pumice' onto our beaches by Wednesday.

Pumice is igneous rock with a foamy appearance. The name is derived from the Latin word "pumex" which means "foam". Throughout history pumice has been given many names because its formation was unclear. In former times it was called "Spuma Maris", meaning froth of the sea in Latin, because it was a frothy material thought to be hardened sea foam. It was also known as "écume de mer" in French and “Meerschaum” in German for the same reason. Around 80 B.C., it was called "lapis spongiae" in Latin for its vesicular properties. Many Greek scholars decided there were different sources of pumice, one of which was in the sea coral category.

Pumice, called pumicite in its powdered or dust form, is a volcanic rock that consists of highly vesicular rough textured volcanic glass, which may or may not contain crystals. It is typically light colored.

Pumice is created when super-heated, highly pressurised rock is violently ejected from a volcano. The unusual foamy configuration of pumice happens because of simultaneous rapid cooling and rapid depressurisation. The depressurisation creates bubbles by lowering the solubility of gases (including water and CO2) that are dissolved in the lava, causing the gases to rapidly exsolve (like the bubbles of CO2 that appear when a carbonated drink is opened). The simultaneous cooling and depressurisation freezes the bubbles in a matrix. Eruptions under water are rapidly cooled and the large volume of pumice created can be a shipping hazard for cargo ships. The pores of pumice and pumicite can have sizes from a wide range. 

Pumice has been used in the medicinal industry for more than 2000 years. Ancient Chinese medicine used ground pumice along with ground mica and fossilised bones added to teas to calm the spirit. This tea was used to treat dizziness, nausea, insomnia, and anxiety disorders. Ingestion of these pulverised rocks were actually able to soften nodules and was later used with other herbal ingredients to treat gallbladder cancer and urinary difficulties. In western medicine, beginning in the early 18th century, pumice was ground into a sugar consistency and with other ingredients was used to treat ulcers mostly on the skin and cornea. Concoctions such as these were also used to help wounds scar in a healthier manner. In approximately 1680 it was noted by an English naturalist that pumice powder was used to promote sneezing.

Pumice has been used as a material in personal care for thousands of years. It is an abrasive material that can be used in powdered form or as a stone to remove unwanted hair or skin. In ancient Egypt skincare and beauty were very important to all classes and makeup and moisturisers were widely used. One common trend was to remove all hair on the body using creams, razors and pumice stones. Pumice in powdered form was used to whiten teeth in ancient Rome. Nail care was very important in ancient China; nails were kept groomed with pumice stones and to remove calluses. It was discovered in a Roman poem that pumice was used to remove dead skin as far back as 100 BC and likely before then. It has been used throughout many eras since then, including the Victorian Era. 

Today, many of these techniques are still used; pumice is widely used as a skin exfoliant. Hair removal techniques have evolved over the centuries, however abrasive material like pumice stones are still used. "Pumice stones" are often used in beauty salons during the pedicure process to remove dry and excess skin from the bottom of the foot as well as calluses. Finely ground pumice has been added to some toothpastes as a polish, similar to Roman use, and easily removes dental plaque build up. Such toothpaste is too abrasive for daily use. Pumice is also added to heavy-duty hand cleaners (such as lava soap) as a mild abrasive. Old beauty techniques using pumice are still employed today but newer substitutes are easier to obtain.

One of the Pittwater Online regular contributors, Joe Mills, sent in some photos of beach erosion at Turimetta Beach and a Puffer fish this week too - they run below so you can see how these big waves bring so much debris on to our shores and also take big sections of same back out to sea - which they will eventually return to those same beaches.

Pufferfish are scaleless fish and usually have rough to spiky skin. All have four teeth that are fused together into a beak-like form. Diet. The diet of the pufferfish includes mostly invertebrates and algae. Large specimens will even crack open and eat clams, mussels, and shellfish with their hard beaks.

Pufferfish washed ashore at Narrabeen - photo by Joe Mills

Information from Wikipedia - pumice photo by A J Guesdon, 2020 - taken at Avalon Beach, south end near the pool.

Turimetta Beach erosion and Pufferfish photos by Joe Mills. 

Mona Vale Photography Competition

Local amateur photographers are being invited to enter a photo competition at Mona Vale Hospital, to have their work included on the walls of the new Geriatric Evaluation Management and Palliative Care facility.

Acting General Manager, Jennifer Parkin said it was a fantastic opportunity for staff and the community.

“Art can help deliver welcoming and dynamic spaces for the care and wellness of patients, carers, staff and the community and the competition provides a great opportunity to help brighten the walls of the new facility,” Ms Parkin said.

“We have two great prizes on offer - first prize is a $250 Westfield voucher and second prize is a 2hr private session with professional photographer, Steve Turner,” she said.

Judges are after the best photographic images that capture the local natural environment in Mona Vale and surrounds. The successful entries will be displayed in the main corridors within the new facility when it opens.

The photography competition is open to staff, patients and family, volunteers, consumers, students, residents and community members.

Details on how to enter can be found on this entry formEntries close 5pm, 14 August 2020.

Construction of the new Geriatric Evaluation Management and Palliative Care Unit is expected to be completed in September 2020, with operational commissioning to follow.

'A wake-up call': why this student is suing the government over the financial risks of climate change

Jacqueline Peel, University of Melbourne and Rebekkah Markey-Towler, University of Melbourne

As the world warms, the value of “safe” investments might be at risk from inadequate climate change policies. This prospect is raised by a world-first climate change case, filed in the federal court last week.

Katta O’Donnell – a 23-year-old law student from Melbourne – is suing the Australian government for failing to disclose climate change risks to investors in Australia’s sovereign bonds.

Read more: These young Queenslanders are taking on Clive Palmer's coal company and making history for human rights

Sovereign bonds involve loans of money from investors to governments for a set period at a fixed interest rate. They’re usually thought to be the safest form of investment. For example, many Australians are invested in sovereign bonds through their superannuation funds.

But as climate change presents major risks to our economy as well as the environment, O'Donnell’s claim is a wake-up call to the government that it can no longer bury its head in the sand when it comes to this vulnerability.

Katta O'Donnell smiles at the camera in a long-sleeved black top.
Katta O'Donnell is bringing the class action lawsuit against the Australian government. Molly Townsend

O'Donnell’s arguments

O’Donnell argues Australia’s poor climate policies – ranked among the lowest in the industrialised world – put the economy at risk from climate change. She says climate-related risks should be properly disclosed in information documents to sovereign bond investors.

O'Donnell’s claim alleges that by failing to disclose this information, the federal government breaches its legal duty. It alleges the government has engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct, and government officials breached their duty of care and diligence.

This is a standard similar to that owed by Australian company directors. Analysis from leading barristers indicates that directors who fail to consider climate risks could be found liable for breaching their duty of care and diligence.

O'Donnell argues government officials providing information to investors in sovereign bonds should meet the same benchmark.

Climate change as a financial risk

Under climate change, the world is already experiencing physical impacts, such as intense droughts and unprecedented bushfires. But we’re also experiencing “transition impacts” from steps countries take to prevent further warming, such as transitioning away from coal.

Combined, these impacts of climate change create financial risks. For example, by damaging property, assets and operations, or by reducing demand for fossil fuels with the risk coal mines and reserves become stranded assets.

This thinking is becoming mainstream among Australian economists. As the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority’s Geoff Summerhayes put it:

When a central bank, a prudential regulator and a conduct regulator, with barely a hipster beard or hemp shirt between them, start warning that climate change is a financial risk, it’s clear that position is now orthodox economic thinking.

Why safe investments are under threat

Sovereign bonds are a long-term investment. Katta O’Donnell’s bonds, for example, will mature in 2050. These time-frames dovetail with scientific projections about when the world will see severe impacts and costs from climate change.

And climate change is likely to hit Australia particularly hard. We’ve seen the beginning of this in the summer’s ferocious bushfires, which cost the economy more than A$100 billion.

Read more: With costs approaching $100 billion, the fires are Australia's costliest natural disaster

Over time, climate risks may impact sovereign bonds and affect Australia’s financial position in a number of ways. For example, by impacting GDP when the productive capacity of the economy is reduced by severe fires or floods.

Frequent climate-related disasters could also hit foreign exchange rates, causing fluctuations of the Australian dollar, as well as putting Australia’s AAA credit rating at risk. These risks would reduce if the government took climate change more seriously.

Already, some investors are voting with their feet. Last November, Sweden’s central bank announced it had sold Western Australian and Queensland bonds, stating Australia is “not known for good climate work”.

Unprecedented, but not novel

O’Donnell’s case against the federal government is an unprecedented climate case, even if its arguments are not novel.

Australia has been a “hotspot” for climate litigation in recent years, but the O'Donnell case is the first to sue the Australian government in an Australian court.

Previous cases suing governments have often raised human rights, such as the high-profile Urgenda case in 2015 against the Dutch government – the first case in the world establishing governments owe their citizens a legal duty to prevent climate change.

The O'Donnell case is also unique in its focus on sovereign bonds. But cases alleging misleading climate-related disclosures are themselves not new.

In Australia, shareholders sued the Commonwealth Bank of Australia in 2017 for failing to disclose climate change-related risks in its 2016 annual report. The case was settled after the bank agreed to improve disclosures in subsequent reports.

Read more: Climate change is a financial risk, according to a lawsuit against the CBA

In another headline-making case, 23-year-old council worker Mark McVeigh is taking his superannuation fund, Retail Employees Superannuation Trust, to court seeking similar disclosures.

The O'Donnell case builds on this line of precedent, extending it to disclosures in bond information documents. As such, courts will likely take it seriously.

What precedent might it set?

If the O'Donnell case is successful it could establish the need for disclosure of climate-related financial risks for a range of investments.

At a minimum, a ruling in O'Donnell’s favour may compel the Australian government to disclose climate-related risks in its information documents for investors. This might make people think twice about how they choose to invest their money, especially as investors seek to “green” their portfolios.

It could also give rise to litigation using the same legal theory in sovereign bond disclosure claims against other governments, much in the way that the Urgenda case has spawned copycat proceedings from Belgium to Canada.

Whether the case provides the impetus for further government action to improve the effectiveness of Australia’s climate policies remains to be seen.

Still, it’s clear climate-related financial risks have entered the corporate boardroom. With this case, they’ve now come knocking at the government’s door.The Conversation

Jacqueline Peel, Professor of Environmental and Climate Law, University of Melbourne and Rebekkah Markey-Towler, Research assistant, University of Melbourne

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

Perseverance: the Mars rover searching for ancient life, and the Aussie scientists who helped build it

The Perseverance Rover (Mars 2020) installed within the upper stage of the United Launch Alliance rocket that will send it to Mars from Florida this week.
David Flannery, Queensland University of Technology

Every two years or so, when Mars passes close to Earth in its orbit around the Sun, conditions are right to launch a spacecraft to the red planet. Launches during this period can complete the seven-month voyage using a minimum of energy.

We are in the middle of one such period right now, and three separate missions are taking advantage of it. The United Arab Emirates’ Hope mission and China’s Tianwen-1 have already launched. NASA’s Perseverance mission is set to take flight tonight (on July 30, at 9:50pm AEST).

Between them, the missions will study the atmosphere and surface of Mars in unprecedented detail, collect samples that may one day come back to Earth, and tell scientists more about whether our neighbouring planet ever held life.

Instruments carried aboard NASA’s Perseverance Rover. NASA JPL/Caltech

Read more: Our long fascination with the journey to Mars

What do the Mars missions aim to achieve?

The UAE’s Hope orbiter will study the atmosphere of Mars using infrared and ultraviolet light.

In a truly international effort, Hope’s instruments were developed by scientists at the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre in Dubai, working with the University of Colorado, Boulder, and Arizona State University in the United States. Hope was carried from Dubai to Japan by a Russian-operated Antonov aircraft, and launched from Tanegashima Island on July 19.

Hope has no doubt already achieved its primary goal of inspiring the youth of the Arab world. Like most deep space missions, Hope’s goals are a combination of cutting-edge science, technology demonstration, and stimulating the local knowledge economy.

Although accompanied by less fanfare, China’s Tianwen-1 mission is also an extraordinarily ambitious effort driven by clear scientific goals. Building on the success of China’s lunar exploration program, Tianwen is the country’s first attempt at a Mars rover. If Tianwen succeeds, the China National Space Administration (CNSA) will become the second space agency after NASA to operate a rover on Mars.

Tianwen-1 undergoing testing in China.

Both the rover and accompanying orbiter will bring instruments that address key questions of the global scientific community.

Tianwen will carry a ground-penetrating radar that will let geologists peer beneath the dusty surface to examine the rock beneath the landing site. It will also carry the first mobile instrument that can sense variations in the magnetic field, which may tell scientists a lot about how fit for life Mars was in the past.

Tianwen-1 launched on July 23 from Hainan Island. Unfortunately, mission scientists were forbidden from talking to media beforehand, and live videos of the launch were banned (though some snuck out online).

The launch of China’s Tianwen-1 Mars mission on the 23rd of July, 2020.

China has now demonstrated a super heavy launch system to deep space, and if it succeeds with a soft landing on Mars and deep space operations, it will be close on NASA’s heels in Mars sample return. The idea of a Chinese Mars mission getting the first answers to big questions in planetary science, which would have seemed unlikely only a few years ago, may well become reality in the coming months. Both the Chinese and American programs have plans to return Martian samples to Earth in the 2030s.

Perseverance and the search for ancient life

For now, NASA is still the player with the most experience and the best resources. The Perseverance rover, scheduled for launch from Florida on July 30 at 9:50pm AEST, will be the most complex object ever sent to Mars. The new rover will search for evidence of ancient microbial life in Jezero Crater.

Read more: Ancient life in Greenland and the search for life on Mars

Perseverance is the first in a series of missions that NASA hopes will culminate in bringing samples of the Martian surface back to Earth. A novel system will collect samples selected by a globally distributed team of experts and cache them for future collection. These rocks will likely be studied for decades, like the samples of Moon rock brought home by the Apollo missions.

Italy, Norway and Denmark are among the smaller nations contributing hardware to Perseverance. The scientists and engineers who participate gain experience with deep space systems, share in discoveries and increase the overall scientific gains of the project.

How Australians are involved

Artists impression of the Planetary Instrument of X-ray Lithochemistry aboard the Perserverance Rover, led by Australian scientists, analysing rocks on Mars.
Microbial fossil stromatolite in Western Australia (left) sampled by prototype rover drill hardware in a collaboration with NASA JPL. The stable carbon isotope composition of microfossils captured in the drill core was measured using secondary ion mass spectrometry (right).

Several Australians are also involved in the Perseverance mission.

Brisbane-born geologist Abigail Allwood, based at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in California, leads the team who developed an instrument on the rover’s arm capable of detecting signs of past life. Australian planetary scientist Adrian Brown is also working on the mission, bringing his experience using remote sensing to study Australian rocks that resemble those on Mars.

I worked on this mission at NASA JPL for several years and, although I have returned to Australia, I continue to serve as a long-term planner leading the mission’s science team and as an instrument co-investigator. The Queensland University of Technology is contributing software that will analyse data returned from the rover, with opportunities for Australian students and academics to contribute to the science investigation.

The geology of Jezero Crater mapped by the Perseverance mission science team including Australians bringing expertise studying similar rocks in Western Australia. NASA JPL/Caltech

The future

Australia is well placed to make important contributions to the future of Mars exploration. But to do so we must collaborate across national borders and find our place in the international scientific framework.

The planning of the nascent Australian Space Agency has largely focused on creating jobs and nurturing industry, but it needs a list of scientific priorities to guide investment in space missions. Otherwise, we risk building a car that is missing the driver’s seat.

At successful space agencies overseas, engineers and private industry work with scientists who conceive and operate spacecraft in pursuit of truth. Employment and innovation come from scientific projects, not the other way around. By following this model, Australia too may join the exploration of the universe, spurring technological innovation and inspiring the next generation of humans in the process.

Read more: Why isn't Australia in deep space? The Conversation

David Flannery, Planetary Scientist, Queensland University of Technology

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

10 things we do that puzzle and scare horses

Kenny Webster/Unsplash, CC BY
Paul McGreevy, University of Sydney and Cathrynne Henshall, Charles Sturt University

Horses, like our dogs and cats, are familiar to many of us, be they racehorses, police horses, or much-loved pony club mounts. So it might surprise you that horses, in Australia, are more deadly than snakes, and indeed all venomous animals combined.

An equine veterinarian is more at risk of workplace injury than a firefighter. Does horses’ apparent familiarity lead us to misinterpret or misunderstand their behaviour?

Read more: 8 things we do that really confuse our dogs

Some of our interactions with horses correspond to interactions between horses themselves. Giving our horse a scratch on an itchy spot or allowing them to rub their head against us, while frowned on by some trainers, mimics how horses behave together.

But there are many other interactions which, from the horse’s perspective, are unusual or downright rude.

The culture clash between horses and humans can trigger defence or flight responses that can leave us badly injured. Here are ten common challenges we present to horses:

1. Invasive veterinary care

There are many veterinary practices we impose on horses to keep them healthy. Some of them, such as injecting or suturing, are invasive or painful. Horses’ natural reaction to pain is to flee. If they can’t, they may resort to aggression, such as biting or kicking.

Horses don’t know veterinary treatments are meant to help them, and hence vets who treat horses are at more risk of injury than those treating other species. Equine vets sustain more workplace injuries than construction workers or firefighters.

Hand gently pats a horse's nose
Wes Mountain/The Conversation, CC BY-ND

2. Patting them

Many horse people routinely pat their horses as a reward for a job well done. But horses have not evolved to find this rewarding. They don’t pat each other – instead, they scratch or gently nibble each other as a form of bonding.

A recent study showed patting increased horses’ heart rates, whereas scratching lowered them and was associated with behavioural signs of relaxation and enjoyment.

3. Picking up feet, hoof trimming and shoeing

An important task in horse-keeping is hoof care through regular cleaning, trimming or shoeing. This requires us to pick up a horse’s foot and hold it aloft for several minutes. This practice of immobilising the hoof restricts the horse’s ability to flee if it perceives a threat, which may be why many horses find hoof-handling stressful. Training a horse to accept having its feet and legs held requires patience to prevent injury to both the horse and the handler.

Read more: Dressing up for Melbourne Cup Day, from a racehorse point of view

4. Grooming sensitive areas

Horses in groups regularly groom each other, favouring areas that aren’t sensitive or ticklish. We like to groom our horses all over. Grooming the sensitive groin, inguinal and perineal regions is likely to be unpleasant for horses. This may account for the tail-swishing, agitation and even biting of the handler often seen when people groom these taboo areas.

5. Pulling or clipping hairs and whiskers

Many horse owners like to impose strict order on their horses’ body hair, including pulling out “excess” hair from the mane and tail, and trimming or removing body hair, facial whiskers and the protective hair inside the ears. These activities are frequently resented by horses. Some European countries have banned whisker trimming altogether because of the importance of whiskers to horses in detecting the proximity of surfaces and foraging outside their field of view.

Can of horse flyspray
Wes Mountain/The Conversation, CC BY-ND

6. Spraying them with chemicals such as flyspray

Spraying fly repellent is common enough for many humans. But it creates a strange noise and may also be perceived as aversive when it lands on sensitive skin. The strong scent of the chemicals can also be aversive to horses, given their highly sensitive sense of smell. Patient training is often needed to counter-condition horses so they stand quietly while being sprayed.

7. Feeding by hand or from a bucket

As grazers, horses do not feed each other (except when nursing foals) and in free-roaming situations, aggression over food is rare. In contrast, food aggression is often seen in domestic horses. We provide highly palatable foods and treats that can bring out unwelcome behaviours because horses are highly motivated to eat these foods.

Some learn to mug their carers, for example by knocking the feed bucket out of their hands. In such a situation, crime really does pay and the horse can swiftly learn to repeat the behaviour. Of course, the horse’s confusion increases and its welfare plummets if it is punished for this.

Unhappy horse in a trailer
Wes Mountain/The Conversation, CC BY-ND

8. Putting them in a trailer or horse box

Horses are claustrophobic and have 320° vision, so our practice of loading them into dark, narrow spaces with unstable footing, such as into trailers (floats) and horse boxes, is often a challenge for a species that has evolved to avoid such spaces. Difficulties with loading and with dangerous behaviours during transport are routinely reported. These responses are generally manifestations of panic and include rushing off the trailer and pulling back when tied up.

9. Branding

Searing a permanent mark onto the skin of horses is often required for identification purposes. The use of super-cooled brands or firebrands is unpleasant because they cause a third-degree burn and require the horse to be restrained, either in stocks or via chemical sedation. Thankfully, less invasive methods of identification, such as microchipping, are gaining increasing acceptance among breed and competition societies.

10. Stabling and other forms of isolation

Putting horses in stables might seem benign, and many horses voluntarily enter stables because that is where they are fed. But stabling prevents horses from engaging in most of their grazing and social behaviours. Horses rarely voluntarily isolate themselves from other horses, and prolonged social isolation can lead to behavioural problems such as separation distress, rug-chewing and stereotyped behaviours such as weaving and stall-walking.

Read more: Is your horse normal? Now there’s an app for that

If you’d like to benchmark your horse or pony against thousands of others that we have gathered data on, consider using the Equine Behavior Assessment Research Questionnaire. Understanding why horses find so many procedures unpleasant, frightening or painful is the first step to cutting them some much-needed slack.

They do not defend themselves out of malice but from fear. Taking a walk in their hooves allows us to make them happier and safer to be around.The Conversation

Paul McGreevy, Professor of Animal Behaviour and Animal Welfare Science, University of Sydney and Cathrynne Henshall, PhD Candidate, School of Animal and Veterinary Sciences, Charles Sturt University

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

We are what we steal: the New South Wales Police Gazette and charting histories of crime

Rachel Franks, University of Newcastle

In January 1788, a small floating society — eleven ships carrying crew, crooks, some military men and a few passengers — sailed into the body of water the colonisers called Port Jackson.

In the long term, there were ambitious plans for this new outpost of the British Empire. In the short term, this colony of thieves was all about crime and crime control; the details of which, from the mid-1800s, were published in what came to be known as the Police Gazette.

This fascinating record is the subject of a new online experience hosted by the State Library of New South Wales.

Sydney-based data visualisation designer and developer Brett Tweedie, has produced an extraordinary new data visualisation of almost 20 million words published in the Police Gazette from 1860 until 1900.

This new project, We Are What We Steal, was undertaken as a Digital Drop-In (a kind of small-scale Fellowship) at the State Library of New South Wales’ innovation unit, the DX Lab.

As this work shows, our desire for the details of crimes is nothing new. We see in the Police Gazette, and we see more clearly through Tweedie’s visualisations, the types of crime details that were important to capture in colonial New South Wales.

Horses, Albert Chains, Tweed and Brooches. Brett Tweedie
Visualising peaks of mentions of certain words and phrases in the Police Gazette
We Are What We Steal

Early efforts to police the colony

Australia’s first civilian police force, the Night Watch, was formed by Governor Arthur Phillip in 1789. This unit was made up of the 12 best-behaved convicts, who had been selected to assist in the keeping of law and order in Sydney Town.

It was not ideal to have convicts monitoring other convicts, but the marines stationed in the new colony were few. The military would supervise prisoners for certain purposes or tasks, but the work associated with constables and gaolers would have to be undertaken by others.

Botany Bay, New South Wales, ca 1789, by Charles Gore. State Library of New South Wales

In 1796, the constables were reorganised by Governor John Hunter and divided into regions. Another reorganisation, ordered by Governor Lachlan Macquarie in 1810, resulted in a more formal, though still problematic, system of policing. The convict-as-constable model continued to reveal cracks in the system. Another effort to improve law enforcement was the Sydney Police Act 1833 (NSW) which was designed to regulate

the Police in the Town and Port of Sydney and for removing and preventing Nuisances and Obstructions therein.

Sydney Cove, 1842, by O.W. Brierly. State Library of New South Wales

Crime, of course, extended beyond the boundaries of Sydney. Containing lawbreakers in metropolitan and in regional and remote areas, was an ongoing issue for colonial authorities as the early crimes of insolence and petty thefts were placed into scale by more serious offences such as bushranging and murder.

One response to increases in crime was to establish specific types of police. There were various services across the colony, including the Row Boat Guard, the Border Police, the Mounted Police and the Gold Escort.

The Police Regulation Act 1862 (NSW) radically changed policing by amalgamating all the colonial police forces to establish the New South Wales Police Force.

Read more: Enforcing assimilation, dismantling Aboriginal families: a history of police violence in Australia

The New South Wales Police Gazette

One of the most important tools of policing in colonial-era New South Wales was the Police Gazette. First published in 1854, as Reports of Crime, it was distributed to police stations across the colony.

The New South Wales Police Gazette and Weekly Record of Crime. State Library of New South Wales

These reports contained

details of crimes committed, persons to be apprehended, descriptions of stolen property and rewards offered, lists of regimental and ships deserters, and other police notices concerning recovery of property, apprehension of suspects previously sought, and dismissals of police officers for unsatisfactory conduct.

Published from 1862 as the New South Wales Police Gazette and Weekly Record of Crime, this vital tool for crime control became the Police Gazette in 1974 and appeared until 1982 (you can read issues of the Police Gazette, up to 1930, on Trove).

We are what we steal

In We Are What We Steal, Tweedie has concentrated on people, places and things.

In this data visualisation, the men who captured details through the Police Gazette reveal themselves not just as constables on the lookout for criminals, but as storytellers.

Mentions of moustaches, the 19th-century gold rush town Gulgong and cabbagetree hats. Brett Tweedie

Favourite crime fiction authors and popular true crime writers often use stereotypes to serve as shorthand for their readers. Police officers also routinely relied on creating and using stereotypes to tell crime stories to each other.

Yet, stereotypes have severe consequences in the real world. In the case of the Police Gazette, a publication designed to make society safer could also make society more unequal through reinforcing common prejudices.

Crime is timeless and universal, but the contexts for crime are fluid. As Tweedie writes, we can see numerous stories in the Police Gazette, including:

Changing fashions, new technologies, new modes of transport, the establishment of new towns, increasing wealth, all this is recorded in the gazette — along with the racism of the day — as a by-product of reporting the crimes (and other police matters) that occurred.

Tweedie prompts us to interrogate crime by focusing on a single element of criminal acts. From age to gender and through to the drunken state of offenders. In a colony known for thieving, we can also look at what was stolen, from jewellery to clothing and, as times changed, bicycles.

People, Places and Things. Brett Tweedie

The history of policing reflects the values of a society and what, and who, is being protected.

Similarly, the stories of the men and women known to police in 19th-century New South Wales tell us, not just about crime, but about every aspect of society: who held power, who was vulnerable and how people lived.

A case study of crime on the streets of Sydney’s central business district. Brett Tweedie

Read more: Whores, damned whores and female convicts: Why our history does early Australian colonial women a grave injustice The Conversation

Rachel Franks, Conjoint Fellow, School of Humanities and Social Science, University of Newcastle

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

Book of the Month August 2020: Life of Charles Dickens

by Mackenzie, R. Shelton (Robert Shelton), 1809-1880; Dickens, Charles, 1812-1870

Publication date 1870

Stay Healthy during the HSC

In any ‘normal’ year the HSC requires dedication and focus as well as the support of friends and family.

This year hasn’t exactly panned out to be a ‘normal’ year, with announcements about changes to the HSC due to COVID-19.

Despite all the goings-on, students across NSW are continuing to study for their HSC with focus and determination, and we at NESA are here to help.

This year we are partnering with mental health organisation ReachOut to deliver news, information, guidance and advice to support all HSC students.

You’ll hear from experts, teachers, parents and other students as well as some inspiring spokespeople. This year we are planning to lighten your mental load with practical tips and tricks for staying active, connected and in charge of your wellbeing.

ReachOut’s Study Hub has heaps of info about taking a proactive approach to your mental health or where to go if you need more support. ReachOut’s Forums are great for sharing what’s going on for you and get ideas about the best ways to feel happy and well.

So follow and use #StayHealthyHSC for regular health and wellbeing updates and information.

View our range of social media images, posters and flyer to help you get involved and share the Stay Healthy HSC message with your community.

BirdLife Australia 2020 Photo Comp

The BirdLife Australia Photo awards are now open! Special theme this year is Fairy-wrens, Emu-wrens, and Grasswrens. The Comp is open til August 3rd.
⁠For more on our judges, categories
This stunning image is of a pair of White-throated Grasswrens, by Laurie Ross. 

Bird of the Month photography by Michael Mannington of Community Photography and Pittwater Online News Features Photographer.

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: