September 19 - October 2, 2021: Issue 511

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

Spring School Holidays!

Time to fluff those tail feathers and dance around - or just take a break; curl up with a good book under your favourite tree.

Have a great two weeks off - we'll be back Sunday October 3rd.

headspace Day 2021!

Join us online Wednesday the 6th of October at 12pm via Instagram and Facebook Live!

We have an epic line up with a vibing set from our youth reference group member DJ Max, music mashup trivia and healthy headspace and lockdown tips! 

DJ Max will also be lighting the decks up with an evening set at 5:30pm!

To register for the chance to win some epic prizes through the music mashup trivia, send us your name and email address to: 

Looking forward to celebrating with you all!!

2021 HSC enrolment snapshot released

September 14, 2021

An analysis of the this year's HSC cohort reveals what courses are the most popular and even how many twins will sit the exams this year.

Popular subject: Around one-quarter of all HSC students undertake a VET course.

The release of the 2021 HSC enrolment snapshot by the NSW Education Standards Authority this week shows that 68,710 students are working towards the 2021 Higher School Certificate.

Minister for Education Sarah Mitchell said most of this year’s cohort started Kindergarten in 2009 and will finish their 13-year schooling career in the next few weeks, before exams begin on 9 November.

“Each year, the HSC enrolment snapshot gives us some insight into the students who are studying an HSC course, which areas of study students are interested in and how enrolment has changed over time,” Ms Mitchell said.

“Enrolment this year is consistent with previous years, with Mathematics, Biology and Business Studies attracting the largest number of students for nine years running.

“We’ve also seen a promising increase of 19% in Science Extension enrolment, which was first examined in 2019. It’s great to see students, particularly young women who make up 54% of this year’s enrolment, taking on the new research-based course.

“This year, we have 898 sets of twins and 15 sets of triplets and quadruplets spread across NSW cities and regions.”

Around 26% of the total cohort (20,234 students) are enrolled in at least one HSC Vocational Educational and Training course, with Hospitality (7,274), Construction (3,663) and Business Services (2,564) continuing to see the highest number of enrolments.

“My message to students is to be proud of the resilience you have shown so far, look after yourself and each other. You now have eight weeks to prepare for your exams,” Ms Mitchell said.

“The entire NSW community is behind you as you prepare for your final exams. It is not too late to ask for help, either for your study preparations or for your personal wellbeing,” Ms Mitchell said.

Starting with English on 9 November and ending on 3 December, 76,400 students will sit at least one of the 110 HSC exams.

View the full 2021 HSC enrolment snapshot

Full HSC to go Ahead

September 10, 2021

Minister for Education Sarah Mitchell today announced that students will be able to sit their HSC exams and receive their results in time for university offers to be made.

The NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) has issued a revised timetable, with 110 exams taking place over 19 days, ending on December 3rd.

Students will receive their ATARs on 20 January 2022, with their HSC results released on 24 January.

Ms Mitchell said that after a disruptive and stressful year, students now have the certainty of the timetable and eight weeks to focus on preparing for their exams.

“Being able to sit all their exams safely is the best and fairest outcome for our HSC students,” Ms Mitchell said.

“Whether our students go on to university, vocational training or take on employment, it is important all of them are able to sit their exams and demonstrate what they know.

“I know that teachers, families and friends are supporting our HSC students every step of the way, and that the whole NSW community is wishing them well after a tough 18 months.”

Chair of the NESA Board Professor Peter Shergold said that providing a fair, equitable and safe opportunity for students to receive the HSC in 2021 continues to be at the forefront of every decision made by NESA.

“Revising the timetable to start on 9 November and deliver results on 24 January required the reconfiguration of a massive logistical operation involving over 100,000 people,” Professor Shergold said.

“I am grateful to the NSW Vice Chancellors Committee and the Universities Admission Centre (UAC) for their support, and for working with us to deliver an outcome which will see students receive their results and their university offers in a timely way.”

Strict COVID safe protocols supported by NSW Health will be in place to protect students, exam supervisors and school staff when HSC exams start on November 9 2021.

The protocols for a COVID-safe HSC require exam supervisors to be fully vaccinated and strongly encourage eligible HSC students to receive two vaccine doses before exams start.

Other safety measures include:

  • Mandatory face masks for students and staff, indoors and outdoors
  • Check-in and health screening protocols for students and staff
  • Physical distancing between students and staff at all times
  • Minimising mingling of student groups
  • Keeping exam group sizes as small as possible
  • Desks spaced a minimum of 1.5 metres apart and exam rooms well ventilated
  • Hygiene marshals and regular cleaning of exam rooms.

An illness and misadventure process is available for students who are unable to attend an exam due to having a positive COVID-19 test result, or being a close contact.

68,710 students are on track to receive the HSC in 2021, according to the HSC Enrolment Snapshot which will be released on Monday by NESA.

View the 2021 HSC exam timetable:

NESA Media Statement: HSC Major Projects

The NESA COVID-19 Response Committee has extended the COVID Special Consideration Program to most HSC major projects being completed by HSC students across the state.

This means teachers will provide a mark or estimate for their students’ major projects in:
  • Drama
  • Textiles and Design
  • Design and Technology
  • Industrial Technology
  • Visual Arts
Students will need to submit their projects by the published due dates and teachers will have until 22 October to submit marks to NESA.

When providing a mark or estimate, teachers will take into consideration any impact of COVID-19 restrictions on students’ work.

Teacher provided marks will be moderated by NESA to ensure equity across the state.

The decision was made to limit the movement of NESA markers within and beyond Greater Sydney and is in line with Health advice for protecting the health and safety of everyone involved in the HSC exams.

The following major projects (that are submitted online) will continue to be marked online by NESA markers (unless an application for special consideration is made):
  • English Extension 2
  • Music 1 (compositions)
  • Music 2 and Extension (compositions and musicology)
  • Society and Culture Personal Interest Project
The Special Consideration Program is already in place for students completing language oral and performance exams across the state.

Written exams will go ahead from October 19 and NESA is working closely with NSW Health to ensure strict COVID-safe protocols are in place.  

For up-to-date advice about the 2021 HSC, visit NESA’s COVID-19 advice.

Manly Warringah Touch Association Congratulations

Huge congratulations to the following players who have been named in squads for the upcoming National Youth Trans Tasman Series being held next year in Auckland. 

Players will be invited to attend a selection camp in January 2022. Six teams will be selected including 20s boys, girls and mixed and 18s boys, girls and mixed. 

Well done and good luck to the following players! 

20s boys
Cuban Porter-Sheen
Oskar Warner

20s Girls
Maddie Binding
Macy Carrothers 
Millie Durdevic
Bella Geros
Sara Ryan
Tia Young

18 Boys
Josh Turner

18 Girls
Imogen Sayer

HSC Online Help guide

REMINDER: there's a great Practical Guide for Getting through your HSC by Sydney Uni at:

Stay Healthy - Stay Active: HSC 2021

Stay active, keep connected and look after yourself during the HSC this year! 
Find helpful study tips, self-care resources and guides for students and parents at

Machu Picchu - as it may have looked when was a home for people.

Mookaite is an Australian Jasper which comes from Mooka Creek in the Kennedy Ranges of Western Australia.  It is a variety of Chalcedony, which is a microcrystalline variety of Quartz.

TAFE Fee-free Online Courses available for 16-24 year olds

The JobTrainer program provides young people and job seekers with low cost and fee-free* training courses to help you develop new skills, improve job prospects and kickstart your career. JobTrainer’s fee-free training programs are available in various industries and include full qualifications and skillsets.

TAFE NSW fee-free* JobTrainer short courses (Statement of Attainment – SOA), certificates and diplomas are currently open for enrolment, so you can enrol now and upskill faster. Exciting new training courses are being added all the time, so check back regularly.

*Eligibility criteria apply.

To be eligible for a fully subsidised place you must meet Smart and Skilled eligibility guidelines which are:
  • live or work in NSW
  • be an Australian Citizen, a permanent resident, a New Zealand citizen, or a humanitarian visa holder
  • have left school
AND meet one of the following criteria:
  • aged from 16 - 24 inclusive, or
  • in receipt of a Commonwealth Government benefit, or
  • an unemployed person, or
  • people expected to become unemployed
Have a look at the lists at:


changing of the guard

Australia farewelled its iconic Antarctic icebreaker RV Aurora Australis in 2020. Over 31 years the ship completed 150 research and resupply voyages for the Australian Antarctic Program.

So how does its replacement, RSV Nuyina, compare?

Australian Antarctic Division Director, Kim Ellis, said Nuyina extends our operating range and gives us additional days of scientific activity in the Southern Ocean.

“It also allows us to work in collaboration with Australian and international science organisations, to deliver answers to some of the really big questions about climate, biology, and other ocean issues that are so important to us at the moment,” he said.

Shipping Officer, Leanne Millhouse, said the ship's enhanced cargo and fuel-carrying capacity also provided the capability of resupplying and refuelling more than one station at a time.

“That's something that we've not had the ability to do before,” she said.

According to Nuyina's science coordination manager, Jono Reeve, some of the ship’s key differences compared to Aurora Australis are its ‘Silent R’ rating and its advanced ‘dynamic positioning’ system.

The Silent R rating means the ship can operate extremely quietly, when not in icebreaking mode, allowing scientists to use acoustic instruments in the ship's hull and drop keels to map the sea floor, or detect schools of fish or krill.

“If you’re silent you can hear really well and you can hear what’s out there,” Mr Reeve said.

“And if you’re silent you can be stealthy, so that means that the fish don’t go 'what’s that?'. They don’t know you’re there so they keep on doing what they’re doing and you don’t affect them.”

The ship's dynamic positioning system - known as 'DP2' - allows the ship to hold position in bad weather.

“We can have 40-knot winds, currents against us, and big seas, but we can still stay there doing scientific research, rather than waiting for the weather to improve. And operationally it's going to revolutionise our resupply of Antarctica,” Mr Reeve said.

“DP2 means that you can have big things go wrong and it's fine; it can stay there with all its spare thrusters holding it in position, even if something's broken on the ship, so you can assure yourself of the safety, that you're not going to go aground, or something is going to go wrong and dangerous in your operation.”

Nuyina also has the only watertight room of its kind – a 'wet well' for collecting krill and other fragile marine creatures in perfect condition.

Australian Antarctic Division krill biologist, Rob King, said the wet well could process 5000 litres of seawater per minute, allowing scientists to collect healthy, intact specimens that can be transferred to an on board aquarium for immediate research.

“The wet well opens up the opportunity to work on the physiology and the behaviour of specimens that have only ever been available before to teams of divers,” Mr King said.

Perhaps the most apparent difference between Aurora Australis and Nuyina though is the size of the new ship. At more than 65 metres longer than its predecessor, Nuyina will be an unmissable addition to its home port of Hobart.

“I know that when Nuyina comes into Hobart a lot of people are going to be so excited. All of Hobart is going to be just a bit surprised at how big it is,” Mr Reeve said.

Antarctic icebreaker to contribute to global ocean map

September 17, 2021

Australia’s new Antarctic icebreaker, RSV Nuyina, will soon be contributing to international efforts to map the global ocean seafloor.

Data collected by Nuyina’s multibeam echosounder will be used to develop navigational charts and detailed maps of the Southern Ocean seafloor, off Australia’s Antarctic stations and between Australia and Antarctica, as part of a newly signed agreement with the AusSeabed initiative.

Geoscience Australia and the Royal Australian Navy’s hydrographic survey team have previously mapped seabed features in some locations off Casey and Davis research stations. Nuyina’s acoustic capability will be used to extend this detail [click to see full map]. Photo: AADC

These charts and maps will in turn feed into the Nippon-Foundation-GEBCO Seabed 2030 project, which aims to develop a definitive map of the world’s ocean floor by 2030.

The Antarctic Division’s Data Centre Manager, Johnathan Kool, said the ship’s deep-water echosounder directs pings of sound at the seafloor, which bounce back to reveal what it looks like.

“We can map more than 10 kilometre-wide swaths at a time, collecting as much information as we can while Nuyina is in transit to Antarctica, undertaking science in the Southern Ocean, or operating near our stations,” Dr Kool said.

“The raw data from the ship will be stored in the Antarctic Division’s systems, and our collaborators through AusSeabed, such as the Australian Hydrographic Office and Geoscience Australia, can turn this into navigation charts or bathymetric maps for research purposes, and integrate these into a larger national collection.”

The data will assist the Australian Antarctic Program’s and the broader Antarctic community’s research and operational activities.

“The navigational charts will improve the safety of vessels and anchorage planning around Australia’s Antarctic and sub-Antarctic stations,” Dr Kool said.

“Seabed bathymetry provides information about habitat that can be used in managing Southern Ocean fisheries, or in research planning – such as where to deploy seafloor instruments to study krill.

“And better bathymetry also leads to better ocean models, which leads to better climate projections.

“This is a great example of national and international collaboration that will help address problems that are too big for any one country to solve.”

How Winston Churchill's Speeches helped to win WW2

Published 2021 by the Imperial War Museum (UK)

Winston Churchill has many famous speeches. From 'We shall fight on the beaches' and 'Their finest hour', to 'Blood, toil, tears, and sweat' and 'The few', Churchill's words have shaped how we remember the Second World War.

In the dark early days of the Second World War, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill had few real weapons. Allied armies were in full retreat before a powerful Germany Army and invasion of Britain seemed very likely. Never one to shirk a challenge, Churchill did battle with words instead. 

The speeches he delivered at that time were some of the most powerful ever given in the English language. His words were defiant, heroic and human. They reached out to everyone in Britain, across Nazi-occupied Europe, and throughout the world. As journalist Beverley Nichols wrote, 'He mobilised the English language and sent it into battle.’ 

He also spoke and wrote after that conflict:

”…no boy or girl should ever be disheartened by lack or success in their youth but should diligently and faithfully continue to persevere and make up for lost time.” –Speech, University of Miami (Florida), 26 February 1946, Winston Churchill

But what made his speeches so special and how did his words affect the outcome of the Second World War?

How do nuclear-powered submarines work? A nuclear scientist explains

US Navy/Wikimedia Commons
AJ Mitchell, Australian National University

The Australian government has just declared an historic defence agreement with the United States and United Kingdom that will see a new fleet of nuclear-powered submarines patrol our shores and surrounding waters.

Research into nuclear-based propulsion of marine vessels began in the 1940s with the dawn of the “nuclear age”. Since then, only six nations have owned and operated nuclear submarines: China, France, India, Russia, the UK and the US.

Considering Australia has just torn up a A$90 billion contract to construct a new arsenal of conventional submarines, yesterday’s announcement will probably come as a surprise to many.

Read more: Australia to build nuclear submarines in a new partnership with the US and UK

So what is “nuclear” about a nuclear submarine? The first thing to say is that a nuclear-powered submarine is not a nuclear weapon.

On the surface, they look like any other submarine. The key difference lies in the way they are powered.

In the early days of atomic research, scientists rapidly realised the huge amounts of energy released by “splitting the atom” can be harnessed to generate electricity. Nuclear reactors inside power stations have been powering homes and industry across the world for 70 years. Similarly, each nuclear submarine draws power from its own miniature onboard nuclear reactor.

At the heart of every atom is an atomic nucleus, made of protons and neutrons. The number of protons defines what chemical element that atom belongs to; nuclei with the same number of protons but varying numbers of neutrons are called isotopes of that element.

Some very heavy nuclei are highly susceptible to a process known as nuclear fission, whereby they split into two lighter nuclei with a total mass less than the original nucleus. The remainder is converted to energy.

The amount of energy released is immense, as we can see from Einstein’s famous equation, E = mc², which tells us the energy is equal to the change in mass multiplied by the square of the speed of light!

Reactors in a nuclear-powered submarine are typically fuelled with uranium. Natural uranium mined from the ground consists mainly of an isotope called uranium-238, mixed with small amounts (0.7%) of the key isotope uranium-235.

For the reactor to work, the uranium fuel has to be “enriched” to contain the desired proportion of uranium-235. For submarines, this is typically about 50%. The degree of fuel enrichment is a crucial factor in maintaining a chain reaction that gives a consistent, safe level of energy output.

Inside the reactor, uranium-235 is bombarded with neutrons, causing some of the nuclei to undergo nuclear fission. In turn, more neutrons are released and the process continues in a so-called “nuclear chain reaction”. The energy is given off as heat, which can be used to drive turbines that generate electricity for the submarine.

Diagram of nuclear fission chain reaction
Conceptual diagram of a nuclear fission chain reaction. ANU, Author provided

What are the pros and cons of going nuclear?

One huge advantage of nuclear-powered submarines is they do not require refuelling. When one of them enters into service, it will be commissioned with enough uranium fuel to last more than 30 years.

The high efficiency of nuclear power also enables these submarines to operate at high speed for longer periods than conventional diesel-electric submarines. What’s more, unlike conventional fuel combustion, nuclear reactions do not require air. That means nuclear submarines can stay submerged at deep depths for months at a time, giving them better stealth capabilities and allowing for longer, more remote deployments.

The downside is the eye-watering cost. Each nuclear submarine typically costs several billion dollars to build, and requires a highly skilled workforce with expertise in nuclear science. With its dedicated training programs offered by world-class universities and government agencies, Australia is well situated to meet the increasing demands in this space, and will also benefit from existing UK and US expertise through the new trilateral security pact.

At this stage, details on where the fuel would be sourced are unclear. While Australia has an ample supply of uranium in the ground, it lacks the capacity to enrich or fabricate the reactor fuel, which could be sourced from overseas.

What will happen to the spent fuel? The 2015 Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission found commercial viability for long-term radioactive waste storage and disposal facilities in South Australia. Whether this eventuates will doubtless be subject to deliberations at local and federal government levels for years to come.

Read more: Why nuclear submarines are a smart military move for Australia — and could deter China further

Popular misconceptions

I’ll say it again. This is not a call by Australia to deploy nuclear weapons in our waters. For uranium to be designated “weapons grade”, it needs to be enriched to upwards of 90% uranium-235 - the fuel for a nuclear-powered submarine doesn’t come close.

In any case, Australia has never produced a nuclear weapon, and it is a party to nuclear nonproliferation treaties and international export control regimes, including the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Initiative.

The tactical advantage of submarines comes from their stealth and ability to pinpoint targets secretly without detection.

Maintaining safety, for both crew and the natural environment, is crucial onboard any sea vessel. Hollywood movies such as K19: The Widowmaker, in which a nuclear submarine malfunctions on its maiden voyage, play on our emotions and our instinctive fear of nuclear radiation.

But advances in modern safety controls and procedures mean reactor accidents in submarines are hopefully now consigned to the past.

The strategic and geopolitical outcomes of this policy decision are yet to be seen. But one thing is already clear: Australia’s latest foreign policy venture is also a firm embrace of nuclear science.The Conversation

AJ Mitchell, Research fellow, Australian National University

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

Pregnant male seahorses support up to 1,000 growing babies by forming a placenta

Jessica Suzanne Dudley, Macquarie University and Camilla Whittington, University of Sydney

Supplying oxygen to their growing offspring and removing carbon dioxide is a major challenge for every pregnant animal. Humans deal with this problem by developing a placenta, but in seahorses — where the male, not the female, gestates and gives birth to the young — exactly how it worked hasn’t always been so clear.

Male seahorses incubate their embryos inside a pouch, and until now it was unclear how the embryos “breathe” inside this closed structure. Our new study, published in the journal Placenta, examines how pregnant male seahorses (Hippocampus abdominalis) provide oxygen supply and carbon dioxide removal to their embryos.

We examined male seahorse pouches under the microscope at different stages of pregnancy, and found they develop complex placental structures over time — in similar ways to human pregnancy.

Male pot-bellied seahorses have large fleshy pouches where embryos develop during pregnancy. by Aaron Gustafson

Read more: Curious Kids: Is it true that male seahorses give birth?

A pregnant dad gestating up to 1,000 babies

Male pregnancy is rare, only occurring in a group of fish that includes seahorses, seadragons, pipehorses and pipefishes.

Pot-bellied seahorse males have a specialised enclosed structure on their tail. This organ is called the brood pouch, in which the embryos develop.

The female deposits eggs into the male’s pouch after a mating dance and pregnancy lasts about 30 days.

While inside the pouch, the male supplies nutrients to his developing embryos, before giving birth to up to 1,000 babies.

Male pot-bellied seahorse filling his pouch with water in a mating display. by Kymberlie R. McGuire

Embryonic development requires oxygen, and the oxygen demand increases as the embryo grows. So too does the need to get rid of the resulting carbon dioxide efficiently. This presents a problem for the pregnant male seahorse.

Enter the placenta

In egg-laying animals — such as birds, monotremes, certain reptiles and fishes — the growing embryo accesses oxygen and gets rid of carbon dioxide through pores in the egg shell.

For animals that give birth to live young, a different solution is required. Pregnant humans develop a placenta, a complex organ connecting the mother to her developing baby, which allows an efficient exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide (it also gets nutrients to the baby, and removes waste, via the bloodstream).

Placentae are filled with many small blood vessels and often there is a thinning of the tissue layers that separate the parent’s and baby’s blood circulations. This improves the efficiency of oxygen and nutrient delivery to the fetus.

Surprisingly, the placenta is not unique to mammals.

Some sharks, like the Australian sharpnose shark (Rhizoprionodon taylori) develop a placenta with an umbilical cord joining the mother to her babies during pregnancy. Many live-bearing lizards form a placenta (including very complex ones) to provide respiratory gases and some nutrients to their developing embryos.

Our previous research identified genes that allow the seahorse father to provide for the developing embryos while inside his pouch.

Our new study shows that during pregnancy the pouch undergoes many changes similar to those seen in mammalian pregnancy. We focused on examining the brood pouch of male seahorses during pregnancy to determine exactly how they provide oxygen to their developing embryos.

A Pot-belly seahorse (Hippocampus abdominalis) floats in water
By viewing the seahorse pouch under the microscope at various stages of pregnancy, we found that small blood vessels grow within the pouch. Shutterstock

What we found

By viewing the seahorse pouch under the microscope at various stages of pregnancy, we found that small blood vessels grow within the pouch, particularly towards the end of pregnancy. This is when the baby seahorses (called fry) require the most oxygen.

The distance between the father’s blood supply and the embryos also decreases dramatically as the pregnancy goes on. These changes improve the efficiency of transport between the father and the embryos.

Interestingly, many of the changes that occur in the seahorse pouch during pregnancy are similar to those that occur in the uterus during mammalian pregnancy.

We have only scratched the surface of understanding the function of the seahorse placenta during pregnancy.

There is still much to learn about how these fathers protect and nourish their babies during pregnancy — but our work shows the morphological changes to seahorse brood pouches have a lot in common with the development of mammalian placentae.

Read more: The secret sex life and pregnancy of a seahorse dad The Conversation

Jessica Suzanne Dudley, Postdoctoral Fellow, Macquarie University and Camilla Whittington, Senior lecturer, University of Sydney

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

New analysis shows Morrison government funding won’t cover any extra uni student places for years

Mark Warburton, The University of Melbourne

The federal government’s promise to deliver more student places through its Job-ready Graduates Package was hollow rhetoric, as research released today demonstrates.

From university funding agreements, we now know the maximum subsidy payable to each university from 2021 to 2023.

My research shows the total amount made available isn’t enough to provide subsidies for any extra student places, let alone the extra 30,000 this year announced by Treasurer Josh Frydenberg in his budget speech in May.

Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg delivers the budget in May.

One year ago, the government legislated major changes to higher education funding, marketed as Job-ready Graduates. In selling these changes, the then education minister, Dan Tehan, said:

“[…] our government wants more Australians to have the opportunity to benefit from a university education. Because of the surge in demand caused by the COVID-19 recession we need those additional places from next year. Doing nothing for one or two years will not help the year 12s of 2020 and the Australians looking to retrain in 2021. Deferring our economic recovery helps no one and risks scarring a generation.”

The changes meant that, on average, student contributions should increase while government subsidies for student places decrease. An increase in student places was one of the major reasons given for accepting these changes. If we could rely on the government rhetoric about its policy, then every year this decade we should have seen more working-age Australians able to enrol in higher education than ever before.

Read more: The 2021-22 budget has added salt to universities' COVID wounds

What did the government promise?

The Job-ready Graduates promise was to increase the total subsidy for student places over time. This growth was in recognition of the extra demand that would arise in areas of high population growth and from the “Costello baby boom” generation reaching university age.

The government promised 27,000 extra domestic student places in 2021 and nearly 100,000 by 2030. In 2019, there were 627,545 Commonwealth-supported student places.

Table from government response to questions on notice about how many new Commonwealth-supported places there will be each year.
The government response to questions on notice about how many new Commonwealth-supported places there will be each year. Commonwealth Parliament

The government doesn’t fund a set number of student places. Under the Job-ready Graduates arrangements, it sets the maximum subsidy it will pay to a university for student places. Each student place attracts a set subsidy, with the amount varying depending on its discipline.

Each university is free to decide the number and mix of student places it provides. But it is paid the subsidy for student places only up to the maximum amount set for it by the government. If it provides places beyond its subsidy cap, it receives only the student contribution. This would usually not be enough to cover costs.

Read more: 3 flaws in Job-Ready Graduates package will add to the turmoil in Australian higher education

I advised the Senate committee inquiry into the changes that it was a mystery how the government had produced its estimate of the number of student places to be created. We now know the maximum subsidy payable to each university from 2021 to 2023 from the publicly available funding agreements of universities. We also know how this maximum amount is proposed to increase each year to 2030.

Unis continue to be short-changed on subsidies

With Job-ready Graduates, the government appeared to radically change its attitude to funding student places from the previous three years. In 2018 and 2019, it froze funding. In 2020, subsidies increased by less than inflation. These decisions effectively reduced the number of government-subsidised student places.

By 2019, there were 27,800 places in the system from which the government was withholding over A$322 million in subsidies.

Universities were bearing that cost when COVID-19 hit in 2020. The government response to the pandemic, notably closing the borders to international students, continues to reduce the revenue universities receive.

Read more: Universities lost 6% of their revenue in 2020 — and the next 2 years are looking worse

Hidden in the detail of the transition to Job-ready Graduates is another source of subsidy shortfall that will further limit universities’ ability to provide student places. “Grandfathered students” are students who started their courses before the changes took effect in 2021. They are protected from having to pay higher student contributions. To ensure funding for their places is not severely cut, the old, higher government subsidy rate continues for them.

In reality, university subsidy limits do not adequately allow for these grandfathered students. The shortfall is likely to be around $300 million over the time they take to complete their courses. Around $200 million relates to the period from 2023 to 2025.

Shortfall exceeds $1 billion by 2024

The total amount of government subsidy over the next decade is shown in the chart below.

The amount made available in 2021 is not enough to provide subsidies for any additional student places. The combined effect of the changes since 2018 is that, in 2021, the government has underdelivered on its promised subsidy level by the equivalent of 39,000 student places – the 27,000 extra places promised under Job-ready Graduates and 12,000 places in the system since 2019 that remain unsubsidised.

While the shortfall reduces over time, by 2024 the government is still subsidising around 14,000 fewer student places than it promised. It would need to provide about $1.1 billion more in subsidy from 2021 to 2024 to honour the claims it made to the public and the parliament.

The government explicitly set student contributions to influence student choices. It was trying to encourage students into disciplines that it considered would make them job-ready. If students respond as desired, they will shift from disciplines with low subsidies into more highly subsidised disciplines.

If successful, however, this policy would increase the average cost of subsidy per place. And that would reduce the number of subsidised places that universities could provide within their maximum subsidy level.

Read more: The government would save $1 billion a year with proposed university reforms — but that's not what it's telling us

If the government was serious about ensuring universities were able to support Australia’s economic recovery, it could have adopted a policy that was both more effective and simpler. As a first step, it could have provided the subsidies to support the student load already in the system in 2019. It could then have increased subsidy levels so that from 2021 to 2023 working-age Australians have the same opportunities to undertake higher education that they had from 2014 to 2017 before the funding freeze.

In the long term, the rate of growth in subsidies may restore these opportunities, but that time is two elections away. By then, reducing government debt may be the priority. If the government of the day decides to abandon the policy of increasing subsidies each year, it will not require any legislative change.

Read more: Big-spending 'recovery budget' leaves universities out in the cold The Conversation

Mark Warburton, Honorary Senior Fellow, Centre for the Study of Higher Education, The University of Melbourne

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

I asked historians what find made them go ‘wait, wut?’ Here’s a taste of the hundreds of replies

‘That physicians in the Anti-Vaccine Society (England, early 19th C) were concerned that Jenner’s smallpox inoculation gave people bovine-like features.’ – historian’s tweet in reply to author asking about memorable finds. Twitter/Wellcome
Evan Smith, Flinders University

Often when historians visit an archive or conduct research, we are not sure what we’ll find. With the help of archivists and librarians, we may know broadly what is contained in an archival record or a database, but we never know what may or may not be useful to us. Approaching our research material with a particular set of questions or analytical framework, what we actually find may leave us surprised, confused or taken aback in another way.

On Twitter, I asked a simple question: Historians, what is the thing that made you go ‘wait, wut?’ in the archives or in your research? The response was overwhelming – over 300 replies and 450 quote tweets at last count.

Historians, archivists and other researchers got in touch with great stories of their archival finds and tales of bizarre research moments. These ranged from the quirky to the disturbing to the profound.

Below I have chosen a handful that fall into each category to give an idea of the wide spectrum of what historians have come across in the field.

The quirky

Many of those who responded told stories of bizarre (and sometimes amusing) finds in the archives. Some were actual objects, such as Robert Cribb finding “17 tubes of processed opium, ready for smoking, in the Dutch archives from 1946 Indonesia”, Daniel McKay coming across “negatives of an early Australian prime minister naked on holiday”, and “300 love letters from woman to woman around 1760, partly written in blood”, located by Susanne Wosnitzka.


Others found interesting correspondence. A.J. Bauer gave the example of transcripts of phone-sex calls in the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, after a politician wrote to Reagan to intervene against “dial-a-porn”. Yasmin Dualeh uncovered a “letter from Prof Phillip Hitti calling out his Princeton colleague Albert Einstein for spreading false rumours about him to students”. Maurice Casey told of a letter written to Soviet leader Josef Stalin by a New York University debating team “seeking help with their upcoming debate on capitalism”.

More strange tales emerged from newspaper reports and transcripts of speeches that historians discovered in their research. Xesc Mainzer mentioned a 1970s story in a Majorcan newspaper of “an elderly Belgian woman loosing [sic] her denture when she bit a policeman’s leg”. In the Gerald Ford Presidential Library and Museum, Dustin Jones “came across a speech given by John Wayne at a charity dinner Ford also attended making absolutely one of the least accurate predictions I saw in my studies”. What was the movie actor’s prediction? That “Watergate will be a footnote” in future history books.


The disturbing

Historians also attested to the disturbing material that astounded them in their research, with the often bureaucratic and sterile nature of archival documents belying the troubling matter unearthed.

Lachlan Clohesy found notes of a talk by British nuclear physicist Sir Ernest Titterton about Australia’s potential nuclear arsenal. This talk “included making the point that if we had nuclear weapons, the cost of killing per man, woman and child would be cheaper than conventional warfare”. Clohesy added that Titterton’s notes included the actual prices.


On a similar topic, Stephen Schwartz found that US Army Lieutenant General James M. Gavin had told Congress in 1957 that to win a nuclear war, the United States would need 151,000 nuclear weapons. Also on the topic of calculating deaths, Pépé Roswaldy came across a Dutch colonial magazine promoting native land resettlement in Indonesia in the 1930s (which resulted in a number of deaths) and reporting an officer as saying: “The death number is just okay, nothing unusual.”

There were also more gruesome discoveries. Gabe Moshenska told of finding a description by famous Egyptologist Sir John Gardner Wilkinson of “his own diseased penis” in the papers of Thomas Pettigrew at Yale. Narrelle Morris mentioned an encounter in the National Archives of Australia with “a rusty razor that a Japanese suspected war criminal tried to commit suicide with”, stating: “I drew it to the archivist’s attention.”

Screen Shot at pm. Twitter

The profound

There were also the surprising finds that were of particular importance to the historians and to our understanding of the past. Becky Erbelding from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum came across the only known photos of Nazi doctor Josef Mengele at Auschwitz-Birkenau, when a photo album was sent to the museum.

Peter Job told of a document that Indonesian intelligence provided to an Australian diplomat in Jakarta in 1975. This document, Job explains, was a list of members of Fretilin, the East Timorese independence group, to be targeted after an Indonesian invasion. Job argues that this “[s]hows level of pre-invasion complicity” by Australia.


For Adam Rothman, it was an 1866 US Senate report on “rumors that newly freed people in the US were being kidnapped and sold into slavery in Cuba and Brazil”. This led to Rothman writing a whole book based on this realisation.

Other historians also revealed that a chance find led them to new research projects. For example, Anna Hájková heard of a story of a forced relationship between a German women’s guard and a young female prisoner during the final year of the second world war. Intrigued by a tale from an oral history recording, Hájková developed this story into a ground-breaking work of queer history.

These are only a few of the many stories that people revealed in reply to my tweet. As we do research into the past, historians are often confronted or surprised by what we come across. Some findings can be amusing titbits on the side of our research. Others greatly shift our knowledge of certain events or people.

Nearly every historian has a story of a research find that made them pause and, via Twitter, we were able to hear of so many.The Conversation

Evan Smith, Research Fellow in History, Flinders University

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

Ray-Ban Stories let you wear Facebook on your face. But why would you want to?

Ben Egliston, Queensland University of Technology and Marcus Carter, University of Sydney

In partnership with eyewear brand Ray-Ban, Facebook has released its first pair of smart glasses, offering wearers the ability to capture photos and videos without even needing to pull out their phone.

The glasses, called Ray-Ban Stories, are now available for A$449 and are functionally similar to devices already on the market, such as SnapChat Spectacles. They allow users to capture images and video and upload them to their social media accounts, via an app called Facebook View.

Users will be able to share content on Facebook and other Facebook-owned platforms, including Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger, as well as non-Facebook apps such as Twitter, TikTok and SnapChat. Besides two 5-megapixel cameras, the glasses have three microphones and built-in speakers, so they can respond to voice commands and also be used for calls.

The glasses are the latest step in Facebook’s initiative to develop wearable tech. As chief executive Mark Zuckerberg puts it, such devices represent “a future where phones are no longer a central part of our lives”.

It’s not augmented reality (yet)

Facebook has stressed the glasses do not have any augmented reality (AR) functionality – that is, the ability to overlay one’s view of the physical world with digital images.

That said, during his product launch video, Zuckerberg presents the glasses as a stepping-stone to more fully realised forms of wearable AR — something Facebook has repeatedly hinted at over the past few years. As he puts it, “glasses are going to be an important part of building the next computing platform”.

Mark Zuckerberg revealing Ray-Ban Stories.

With its 2014 acquisition of virtual reality (VR) company Oculus – and numerous other startups in areas such as computer vision – Facebook’s VR and AR development wing, Facebook Reality Labs, has grown so much it now reportedly employs 20% of Facebook’s workforce.

As we argued in a recent paper, Facebook sees AR and VR as a central component of its future, and envisions this technology having a similar impact to the mobile computing revolution of the past decade or so.

This was most recently exemplified in the company’s framing of its social software and hardware in terms of the “metaverse” — a seamless blending of the real and virtual worlds.

Read more: What is the metaverse? A high-tech plan to Facebookify the world

These future computing platforms might look something like the company’s announcement of Project Aria — an internal Facebook research project testing the viability of wearable AR smart glasses. Facebook has also been attempting to further integrate AR features into its Oculus VR technology.

One problem for prospective users is that these technologies will require intensive data capture and processing of our bodies, homes and other intimate data.

‘Designed with privacy in mind’

Even without AR functionality, there are still clear privacy concerns associated with a Facebook device that can record whatever you’re looking at.

Perhaps attempting to pre-empt a backlash, Facebook has developed a dedicated privacy policy for the new technology, assuring us:

Ray-Ban Stories smart glasses and Facebook View are ads-free experiences, so you won’t see ads when using the glasses or app. And we don’t use the content of your photos and videos for personalised ads. If you share content to any other app, that app’s terms will apply.

But as with previous forms of smart glasses, such as the widely derided Google Glass, the main privacy issue isn’t protecting yourself from unwanted ads, but protecting other people from being surreptitiously recorded.

Ray-Ban Stories features a small light on the side of the frame, which is illuminated when recording. But it can easily be covered over, and while this would violate Facebook’s terms of service, it’s hard to see how Facebook would realistically stop anyone doing it.

Ultimately, Facebook has put the onus on users to behave responsibly. As outlined in the Stories privacy page, Facebook’s suggested “best practices” include not using the device in private spaces, and advising users not to “engage in harmful activities”. (Facebook’s responsible innovation principles for its AR development staff are similarly vague.)

Facebook’s guidelines for responsible use of its Ray-Ban Stories smartglasses.

What does Facebook expect to achieve?

Smart glasses have always been a tricky sell. Google Glass was an abject commercial failure because of privacy concerns. Despite being just down the road from Silicon Valley, some bars in San Francisco reportedly banned anyone wearing them, and some residents even reacted with violence.

Given this ignominious track record, what is Facebook hoping to achieve here? We believe — based on Facebook’s broader investments in VR and AR technologies — the ultimate aim is to gradually normalise wearable surveillance technology many people currently have deep and understandable reservations about.

Read more: Shadow profiles - Facebook knows about you, even if you're not on Facebook

By branding them as a Ray-Ban product rather than a Facebook one, with classic styling rather than a high-tech look, and able to upload to many different social media platforms, the company is trying to sell us on the concept of “smart glasses”, rather than “Facebook glasses”. But if video Ray-Bans become mainstream, who knows what other data-intensive gadgets are lurking just around the corner?The Conversation

Ben Egliston, Postdoctoral research fellow, Digital Media Research Centre, Queensland University of Technology and Marcus Carter, Senior Lecturer in Digital Cultures, SOAR Fellow., University of Sydney

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

Bringing woolly mammoths back from extinction might not be such a bad idea — ethicists explain

Julian Koplin, The University of Melbourne and Christopher Gyngell, The University of Melbourne

US startup Colossal Biosciences has announced plans to bring woolly mammoths, or animals like them, back from extinction and into the frosty landscape of the Siberian tundra.

Colossal has received US$15 million in initial funds to support research conducted by Harvard geneticist George Church, among other work. The proposed project is exciting, with laudable ambitions — but whether it is a practical strategy for conservation remains unclear.

Colossal proposes to use CRISPR gene editing technology to modify Asian elephant embryos (the mammoth’s closest living relative) so their genomes resemble those of woolly mammoths.

Asian elephants
The Asian elephant is an endangered species found across the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia. Shutterstock

Read more: What is CRISPR, the gene editing technology that won the Chemistry Nobel prize?

These embryos could then theoretically develop into elephant-mammoth hybrids (mammophants), with the appearance and behaviour of extinct mammoths. According to Colossal, the ultimate aim is to release herds of these mammophants into the Arctic, where they will fill the ecological niche mammoths once occupied.

When mammoths disappeared from the Arctic some 4,000 years ago, shrubs overtook what was previously grassland. Mammoth-like creatures could help restore this ecosystem by trampling shrubs, knocking over trees, and fertilising grasses with their faeces.

Theoretically, this could help reduce climate change. If the current Siberian permafrost melts, it will release potent greenhouse gases. Compared to tundra, grassland might reflect more light and keep the ground cooler, which Colossal hopes will prevent the permafrost from melting.

While the prospect of reviving extinct species has long been discussed by groups such as Revive and Restore, advances in genome editing have now brought such dreams close to reality. But just because we have the tools to resurrect mammoth-like creatures, does this mean we should?

Siberian tundra landscape
Mammoth-like beasts with thick fur and dense fat would in theory be able to survive the harsh polar climate of the Siberian tundra. Shutterstock

A cause worth considering

De-extinction is a controversial field. Critics have referred to such practices as “playing god” and accused scientists in favour of de-extinction of hubris.

A common worry is that bringing back extinct species, whose ecological niches may no longer exist, will upset existing ecosystems. But when it comes to mammophants, this critique lacks bite.

Colossal says it aims to recreate the steppe ecosystem (a large, flat grassland) that flourished in Siberia until about 12,000 years ago. It has been estimated the total mass of plants and animals in Siberia’s tundra is now 100-fold less than when it was a steppe.

Simply, this ecosystem is already compromised, and it’s hard to see how reintroducing mammophants would lead to further damage.

Reintroducing species can transform ecosystems for the better. A well-known example is the reintroduction of wolves to Yellowstone National Park in the 1990s, which started a cascade of positive changes for local flora and fauna. Mammophants may do the same.

Furthermore, climate change is one of the great moral challenges of our time. The melting of the Siberian permafrost is expected to accelerate climate change and exacerbate ecological disaster.

This is such a serious problem that even ambitious projects with a low probability of success can be ethically justified. Often our moral intuitions are clouded when considering new technologies and interventions.

But technologies which originally seemed scary and unnatural can slowly become accepted and valued. One tool that is sometimes used to overcome these tendencies is called the reversal test, which was originally developed by Oxford philosophers Nick Bostrom and Toby Ord as a way to tackle status quo bias.

This test involves assuming the new thing already exists, and the novel proposal is to take it away. Imagine an endangered population of mammophants currently inhabits Siberia, where it plays an important role in maintaining the ecosystem and protecting the permafrost.

Few would argue attempts to save these mammophants are “unethical”. So if we would welcome efforts to save them in this hypothetical scenario, we should also welcome efforts to introduce them in real life.

So according to the reversal test, the key ethical objections to Colossal’s project should not relate to its aims, but rather to its means.

The main ethical concerns

Let’s look at two ethical concerns related to de-extinction. The first is that de-extinction could distract from more cost-effective efforts to protect biodiversity or mitigate climate change. The second relates to the possible moral hazards that may arise if people start believing extinction is not forever.

1. Opportunity costs

Some critics of de-extinction projects hold that while de-extinction may be an admirable goal, in practice it constitutes a waste of resources. Even if newly engineered mammophants contain mammoth DNA, there is no guarantee these hybrids will adopt the behaviours of ancient mammoths.

For instance, we inherit more than just DNA sequences from our parents. We inherit epigenetic changes, wherein the environment around us can affect how those genes are regulated. We also inherit our parents’ microbiome (colonies of gut bacteria), which plays an important role in our behaviours.

Also important are the behaviours animals learn from observing other members of their species. The first mammophants will have no such counterparts to learn from.

Rendering of woolly mammoths on field.
If mammoth-like beasts were introduced to Siberia today, they would not have parents from which to learn behaviours. Shutterstock

And even if de-extinction programs are successful, they will likely cost more than saving existing species from extinction. The programs might be a poor use of resources, especially if they attract funding that could have otherwise gone to more promising projects.

The opportunity costs of de-extinction should be carefully scrutinised. As exciting as it may be to see herds of wild mammophants, we shouldn’t let this vision distract us from more cost-effective projects.

That said, we also shouldn’t rule out de-extinction technologies altogether. The costs will eventually come down. In the meantime, some highly expensive projects might be worth considering.

2. Broader implications for conservation

The second concern is more subtle. Some environmentalists argue once de-extinction becomes possible, the need to protect species from extinction will seem less urgent. Would we still worry about preventing extinctions if we can just reverse them at a later date?

Personally, however, we are not convinced by these concerns. Extinction is currently irreversible, yet humans continue to drive an era of mass extinction that shows no sign of slowing. In other words, moving towards increasing extinctions is the status quo, and this status quo is not worth preserving.

Also, de-extinction is not the only conservation strategy that seeks to undo otherwise irreversible losses. For example, “rewilding” involves reintroducing locally-extinct species into an ecosystem it once inhabited. If we welcome these efforts — and we should — then we should also welcome novel strategies to restore lost species and damaged ecosystems.

Read more: WHO guidelines on human genome editing: why countries need to follow them The Conversation

Julian Koplin, Resarch Fellow in Biomedical Ethics, Melbourne Law School and Murdoch Children's Research Institute, The University of Melbourne and Christopher Gyngell, Research Fellow in Biomedical Ethics, The University of Melbourne

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

Book of the Month September 2021: my brilliant career

by Stella Maria Sarah Miles Franklin (1879–1954), published 1901

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

Fined Out: Practical guide for people having problems with fines

Legal Aid NSW has just published an updated version of its 'Fined Out' booklet, produced in collaboration with Inner City Legal Centre and Redfern Legal Centre.

Fined Out is a practical guide to the NSW fines system. It provides information about how to deal with fines and contact information for services that can help people with their fines.

A fine is a financial penalty for breaking the law. The Fines Act 1996 (NSW) and Regulations sets out the rules about fines.

The 5th edition of 'Fined Out' includes information on the different types of fines and chapters on the various options to deal with fines at different stages of the fine lifecycle, including court options and pathways to seek a review, a 50% reduction, a write-off, plan, or a Work and Development Order (WDO).

The resource features links to self-help legal tools for people with NSW fines, traffic offence fines and court attendance notices (CANs) and also explains the role of Revenue NSW in administering and enforcing fines.

Other sections of the booklet include information specific to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, young people and driving offences, as well as a series of template letters to assist people to self-advocate.

Hard copies will soon be available to be ordered online through the Publications tab on the Legal Aid NSW website.

Hard copies will also be made available in all public and prison libraries throughout NSW.

Read the resource online, or download the PDF.

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: