September 17 - October 7, 2023: Issue 599

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

School holidays break

We're taking a break from Sunday September 17 - BUT - we'll be back on Sunday October 8th. 
We hope you all have a great Spring break too making great memories with friends and family. 
Please look out for and after each other and take some time out to curl up with a book or movie or get in the water or bush and relax.

Picnic at Freshwater photographer possibly Arthur Phillips, Australia, 1895 Courtesy Powerhouse Museum 

Kitchener Park lighting upgrades completed

It’s the biggest sporting field in Mona Vale spanning two hectares with two full sized soccer fields and a recent upgrade to the ground’s lighting means increased energy efficiency and greater light distribution for users.

The ground, which is home to the Pittwater RSL FC, is used in the winter season for both junior and senior soccer and in the summer season it is used for cricket.

The installation of six new light poles with efficient LED lights means the lights are now up to current Australian Standards for soccer.

The lights are centrally controlled allowing users to switch to a training mode which reduces the energy output.

President of Pittwater RSL Football Club Ben Collock said the new lights were a monumental stride forward for the club.

“The enhanced visibility and coverage that these new lights provide have allowed us to fully utilise the ground. It’s an incredible sight to see every section of the pitch filled with kids playing in a well-lit, safe and fully accessible environment.

“Teams can now access sections of the ground they have never been able to access before. This allows us to have more room to meet the incredible demand for sport on the Northern Beaches.

“It’s also the first time we’ve ever been able to host a competitive match at the ground, with our Women’s Premier League and Women’s 13/1’s playing the clubs first ever night matches. We couldn’t be more thankful to have Council and Government investment directed at this significant community benefit.” Mr Collock said.

This project was made possible thanks to a $150k grant from the NSW Government’s Football Legacy Fund, Office of Sport and Council. 

More in: 

Eight sailors selected for 2023 Pacific Games in Solomon Islands including Evie Saunders

The Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) has announced the selection of an eight-strong sailing team for the 2023 Pacific Games.

Local sailor and 2022 Australian Sailing Youth Sailor of the Year Evie Saunders joins Ellen Sampson, Thomas Farley and Isaac Schotte who will each contest the one-person dinghy, while Amelia Wilson, Charlotte Wormald, Jarrod Jones and Lachlan Vize will compete in the sailboard class.

The young team, ranging from 15 to 19 years old, will be part of an expected 80-strong Australian Team  competing with more than 5000 athletes from the Pacific region.

Olympic champion Kenny Wallace, Chef de Mission for the Australian Team at the Pacific Games, congratulated the athletes on their selection.

"This is a fantastic achievement for each of the eight sailors to make this Australian team," Mr Wallace said.

"The Pacific Games is a great environment for the athletes to gain valuable experience in a multisport team environment and I know they will represent their sport, their families and their country with pride.

"Congratulations on your selection, I look forward to seeing you in action at the biggest multisport event in the Pacific region."

Australian Sailing has already shown their support for the Games, in conjunction with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, providing boats, training and mentoring to the Solomon Islands to help grow the sport in the Solomon Islands ahead of the Games.

"Australian Sailing and the support of the Australian Government's PacificAus Sports Grant program have already demonstrated the spirit of these Games," Mr Wallace said. "Donating boats and providing training and mentoring to grow the sport of sailing in the Solomon Islands shows the power of sport to bring people together."

Seventeen-year-old Evie Saunders has already shown her racing class, winning silver at the 2022 World Youth Championships, named Australian Youth Sailor of the Year in 2022. Evie commenced sailing when aged 8, with her family, at Manly Yacht Club.

Fresh off competing at the senior World Championships in the Hague, Netherlands, in August, Evie was thrilled to be named to the team.

"I'm really excited to represent Australia in sailing at the 2023 Pacific Games," Evie said.

"It's a unique opportunity to consolidate on my learnings from the European season and to finish the year with a solid performance."

Evie Saunders Photos; Sailing Energy and Australian Sailing

Australian Sailing High Performance Director Iain Brambell OLY welcomed the announcement.

"We are exceptionally proud of the eight sailors selected to represent Australia at this year's Pacific Games," Mr Brambell said. "These are some of the best young sailors in Australia across their classes, and we are particularly pleased with the depth across the female classes where selection battles were incredibly competitive."

"We would like to thank the Australian Olympic Committee for their support in leading this team to Honiara. The Pacific Games are an exciting and invaluable opportunity for young athletes to gain the experience and learnings of representing Australia at a multisport games. 

"Australia has a strong record of success at the Pacific Games, and we wish this group of sailors all the best in continuing that tradition."

Australia will send a team of around 80 athletes across the sports of Archery, Athletics, Boxing, Beach Volleyball, Judo, Sailing, Taekwondo and Weightlifting. The 2023 Pacific Games offer a direct Paris 2024 qualification opportunity for boxers and the mixed archery team, as well as world ranking points vital for qualification and international experience across other sports.

The Pacific Games  will see more than 5000 athletes and officials from 24 nations compete across 24 sports in the Solomon Islands capital Honiara. 

Solomons 2023 is the third time Australia has participated after first being invited to compete in several sports at Port Moresby 2015.

The 17th Pacific Games, also known as 2023 Pacific Games and SOL2023, is hosted by Solomon Islands from Sunday 19 November – Saturday 2 December 2023.

“For every four years the Pacific comes together in friendship to celebrate the Pacific Games, a multi-sport event that is by its very design of and for the Pacific. A celebration of sport and culture in common bonds acquired through a shared physical geography and community,” the Pacific Games Council said.

Alternating between different countries of the Pacific Region, Solomon Islands will host the Games in its capital city Honiara. 5,000 participants (including athletes, technical officials and support staff) from 24 countries will compete in 24 sports. This will mark the second time in the history of Solomon Islands to host the Games, with its first experience in 1981 hosting the Mini Pacific Games.

SOL2023 welcomes you to a conglomeration of Challenge, Celebrate, Unite.

Keep up with all the action at:

8 student-backed study tips to help you tackle the HSC

By University of Sydney: Last updated 6 July 2023

Our students have been through their fair share of exams and learned a lot of great study tactics along the way. Here they share their top study tips to survive and thrive during exam time.

1. Start your day right

Take care of your wellbeing first thing in the morning so you can dive into your day with a clear mind. 

“If you win the morning, you can win the day,” says Juris Doctor student Vee Koloamatangi-Lamipeti.

An active start is a great way to set yourself up for a productive day. Begin your morning with exercise or a gentle walk, squeeze in 10 minutes of meditation and enjoy a healthy breakfast before you settle into study.

2. Schedule your study

“Setting up a schedule will help you organise your time so much better,” says Master of Teaching student Wesley Lai.

Setting a goal or a theme for each study block will help you to stay focused, while devoting time across a variety of subjects will ensure you've covered off as much as possible. Remember to keep your schedule realistic and avoid over-committing your time.

Adds Wesley, “Make sure to schedule in some free time for yourself as well!”

3. Keep it consistent

“Make studying a habit,” recommends Alvin Chung, who is currently undertaking a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws.

With enough time and commitment, sitting down to study will start to feel like second nature rather than a chore.

“Do it every day and you’ll be less likely to procrastinate because it’s part of your life’s daily motions,” says Alvin.

4. Maintain motivation

Revising an entire year of learning can seem like an insurmountable task, which is why it’s so important to break down your priorities and set easy-to-achieve goals.

“I like to make a realistic to-do list where I break down big tasks into smaller chunks,” says Bachelor of Arts and Advanced Studies student Dannii Hudec.

“It’s also really important to reward yourself after you complete each task to keep yourself motivated.”

Treat yourself after each study block with something to look forward to, such as a cup of tea, a walk in the park with a friend or an episode of your latest Netflix obsession.

5. Minimise distractions

With so many distractions at our fingertips, it can be hard to focus on the task at hand. If you find yourself easily distracted, an “out of sight, out of mind” approach might do the trick.

“What helps me is to block social media on my laptop. I put my phone outside of my room when I study, or I give it to my sister or a friend to hide,” says Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Laws student Caitlin Douglas.

While parting ways with your phone for a few hours may seem horrifying, it can be an incredibly effective way to stay on task.

“It really helps me to smash out the work and get my tasks done,” affirms Caitlin.

6. Beware of burnout

Think of the HSC period as a marathon rather than a sprint. It might be tempting to cram every single day but pacing out your study time will help to preserve your endurance.

“Don’t do the work for tomorrow if you finish today’s work early,” suggests Daniel Kim, who is currently undertaking a Bachelor of Commerce and Advanced Studies.

 “Enjoy the rest of your day and save the energy for tomorrow,” he recommends.

Savouring your downtime will help you to avoid burning out before hitting the finish line.

7. Get a good night's sleep

Sleep is one of your greatest allies during exam season.

“I’ve found that a good night’s sleep always helps with concentration and memory consolidation,” says Bachelor of Science (Medical Science) student Yasodara Puhule-Gamayalage.

We all know we need to be getting around 8 hours of sleep a night to perform at our best, but did you know the quality of sleep also matters? You can help improve the quality of your sleep with some simple tweaks to your bedtime routine.

“Avoid caffeine in the 6 hours leading up to sleep, turn off screens an hour before going to bed, and go to bed at the same time every night,” suggests Yasodara.

8. Be kind to yourself

With exam dates looming and stress levels rising, chances are high that you might have a bad day (or a few!) during the HSC period.

According to Bachelor of Arts and Advanced Studies student Amy Cooper, the best way to handle those bad days is to show yourself some kindness.

“I know that if I’m in a bad state of mind or having a bad day, I’m not going to be able to produce work that I’m proud of,” she says.

For Amy, the remedy for a bad day is to take some time to rest and reset.

“It’s much more productive in the long run for me to go away, do some things I love, and come back with a fresh mind.”

Immerse yourself in a mentally nourishing activity such as going for a bushwalk, cooking your favourite meal, or getting stuck into a craft activity.

If you feel completely overwhelmed, know you're not alone. Reach out to a friend, family member or teacher for a chat when you need support.

There are also HSC Help resources available at:

Wednesday 11 October, 2023:  HSC written exams start.

School Leavers Support

Explore the School Leavers Information Kit (SLIK) as your guide to education, training and work options in 2022;
As you prepare to finish your final year of school, the next phase of your journey will be full of interesting and exciting opportunities. You will discover new passions and develop new skills and knowledge.

We know that this transition can sometimes be challenging and the COVID-19 pandemic has presented some uncertainty. With changes to the education and workforce landscape, you might be wondering if your planned decisions are still a good option or what new alternatives are available and how to pursue them.

There are lots of options for education, training and work in 2022 to help you further your career. This information kit has been designed to help you understand what those options might be and assist you to choose the right one for you. Including:
  • Download or explore the SLIK here to help guide Your Career.
  • School Leavers Information Kit (PDF 5.2MB).
  • School Leavers Information Kit (DOCX 0.9MB).
  • The SLIK has also been translated into additional languages.
  • Download our information booklets if you are rural, regional and remote, Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, or living with disability.
  • Support for Regional, Rural and Remote School Leavers (PDF 2MB).
  • Support for Regional, Rural and Remote School Leavers (DOCX 0.9MB).
  • Support for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander School Leavers (PDF 2MB).
  • Support for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander School Leavers (DOCX 1.1MB).
  • Support for School Leavers with Disability (PDF 2MB).
  • Support for School Leavers with Disability (DOCX 0.9MB).
  • Download the Parents and Guardian’s Guide for School Leavers, which summarises the resources and information available to help you explore all the education, training, and work options available to your young person.

School Leavers Information Service

Are you aged between 15 and 24 and looking for career guidance?

Call 1800 CAREER (1800 227 337).

SMS 'SLIS2022' to 0429 009 435.

Our information officers will help you:
  • navigate the School Leavers Information Kit (SLIK),
  • access and use the Your Career website and tools; and
  • find relevant support services if needed.
You may also be referred to a qualified career practitioner for a 45-minute personalised career guidance session. Our career practitioners will provide information, advice and assistance relating to a wide range of matters, such as career planning and management, training and studying, and looking for work.

You can call to book your session on 1800 CAREER (1800 227 337) Monday to Friday, from 9am to 7pm (AEST). Sessions with a career practitioner can be booked from Monday to Friday, 9am to 7pm.

This is a free service, however minimal call/text costs may apply.

Call 1800 CAREER (1800 227 337) or SMS SLIS2022 to 0429 009 435 to start a conversation about how the tools in Your Career can help you or to book a free session with a career practitioner.

All downloads and more available at:

Word Of The Week: spring 

Word of the Week returns in 2023 simply to throw some disruption in amongst the 'yeah-nah' mix. 


1. the season after winter and before summer, in which vegetation begins to appear, in the northern hemisphere from March to May and in the southern hemisphere from September to November. 2. an elastic device, typically a helical metal coil, that can be pressed or pulled but returns to its former shape when released, used chiefly to exert constant tension or absorb movement. 3. a sudden jump upwards or forwards - dated/innformal; an escape or release from prison. 4. a place where water or oil wells up from an underground source, or the basin or flow formed in such a way. 5. an upward curvature of a ship's deck planking from the horizontal. 6. a hawser laid out diagonally aft from a ship's bow or forward from a ship's stern and secured to a fixed point in order to prevent movement or assist manoeuvring. 7. (rare)a flock of teal.


1. move or jump suddenly or rapidly upwards or forwards. 2.originate or arise from. 3. (especially of wood) become warped or split- (of a boat) suffer splitting of (a mast or other part). 4. pay for; Archaic - spend (money). 5. INFORMALAUSTRALIAN - come upon (an illicit activity or its perpetrator).

From: Old English spring (noun), springan (verb), of Germanic origin; related to Dutch and German springen . Early use in the senses ‘head of a well’ and ‘rush out in a stream’ gave rise to the figurative use ‘originate’.

NB: language warning for one word

Are crows really that clever?

Mélissa Berthet, University of Zurich and Sonya Kaiser, Sorbonne Université

It’s no secret corvids are endowed with remarkable cognitive abilities.

Internet is awash with videos of crows imitating voices or solving complex brainteasers. But are these birds as intelligent as they are made out to be?

The nutcracker puzzle

One of the most quoted studies to back up the thesis of a superior intelligence in corvids is that of crows using cars as nutcrackers. In 1978, researchers in California noted that American crows would throw nuts on the road, wait for a car to crush them and then feast on the shattered fruit.

Despite being widely circulated by the media and even by other scientists, the study is a textbook example of how studying animal behaviour can lead us, often unintentionally, to anthropomorphise – i.e., assign animals abilities or thoughts similar to humans’, when their behaviour is actually explained by different processes.

American crow calling. Walter Siegmund/Wikimedia, CC BY

In 1997, researchers at the University of California took a closer look at the crows’ behaviour to check whether they did indeed use cars as nutcrackers. They hypothesised that if crows really understood that cars could pry nuts open, then the animals would place their nuts on the road and not remove them when a car approached.

However, the academics found that the crows did not throw their nuts onto the road when a car was approaching any more than when the road was empty. What’s more, out of the 200 cases studied, the researchers never saw a car crush a nut. This showed that the theory that crows were consciously using cars as nutcrackers was in fact false: crows drop their nuts on hard surfaces to crack them (such as roads) and a car sometimes crushes one. This is a happy coincidence for the crow, which does not, however, make the connection between the car and its meal.

Proven cognitive abilities

More recent research that was carried out with methods specifically designed to limit anthropomorphism is restoring corvids’ reputation for smarts. For example, it was long thought that only primates knew how to use tools. But since the 2000s, a host of studies has shown that several other species are capable of reproducing this feat, including dolphins, octopuses, corvids (crows included) and even pigs.

Corvids also appear to be highly sophisticated tool wielders thanks to their ability to choose and even manufacture tools of the right length and diameter for the task they want to accomplish, such as twigs. For example, New Caledonian Crows have a track record of producing hooks by bending materials.

They also have an impressive memory for faces. Researchers at the University of Washington, Seattle, tested this ability by donning a mask to capture and then release American crows. Wild birds would go on to aggressively scream every time they saw the masks, more than two years after they were caught. Even crows that had not been captured learned to recognise and avoid this threatening figure by observing the behaviour of their companions. This study is the first to show that wild, non-domesticated animals can recognise a human by their face and can remember it for several years, passing on this information to their fellow animals. The extent of this recognition is quite remarkable, both in temporal and social terms.

Master Raven and self-control

In another experiment, Rachael Miller and her colleagues at the University of Cambridge compared the self-control of Caledonian crows with that of children aged 3 to 5. Self-control is what enables us, for example, to reason with ourselves when we want to watch the last episode of a series so as not to be tired the next day. It’s an aspect of executive control, which enables us to make good decisions and plan for the future. Adults are generally able to use self-control without too much difficulty, but children only start to develop this ability between the ages of 3 and 5.

The experiment tested a specific aspect of self-control: delayed gratification, which occurs when you have to choose between a mediocre but immediate reward and a much better reward that is not immediately available. A typical example of delayed gratification is the marshmallow experiment.

In Miller’s experiment, children and crows were presented with a slowly spinning tray containing two rewards (different stickers for the children, and sweets for the crows): one of the two rewards was more interesting to the subject, either because it was bigger or because it was of better quality. As it rotated, the tray made the less valuable reward accessible to the subjects, who could then grab it. If they succumbed, the tray then stopped spinning. However, if they waited for the first reward to pass, then the second, much more interesting one, became accessible to them.

The experiment included two tests: one in which the two rewards were visible all the time, and another where they only came into view when the tray started to spin. In the second trickier test, the second most coveted reward was not visible while the first passed in front of the subjects, who then had to use their memory on top of self-control. In the first test, both the crows and the children were able to wait for the best reward. But in the second one, the children outperformed the crows, because the latter were unable to wait for a reward they could no longer see.

In fact, this experiment is one of the few that has attempted to directly compare animals and children in terms of cognitive ability, using the same task for both species. Such results are therefore very interesting and give us a better perspective on the intelligence of crows.

However, we must bear in mind that animals are often tested on abilities that we, as humans, find important and in which we excel. Our biased view of the abilities of other species leads us to believe that we are the most intelligent creatures on Earth. But if crows were to test us in areas where they are highly intelligent, such as visual memory, navigation in 3D space or perception of the Earth’s magnetic field, would we be able to compete?The Conversation

Mélissa Berthet, Docteur en biologie spécialisée en comportement animal, University of Zurich and Sonya Kaiser, Dual Masters in Brain and Mind Sciences, Sorbonne Université

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

Are we about to see a rare green comet light up the sky? An expert on what to expect from Nishimura

Jonti Horner, University of Southern Queensland

Of all the objects in the Solar System, perhaps the most spectacular are the great comets that occasionally grace our skies. If you’ve been on social media in the past few days, you’ve probably seen articles proclaiming we have such a comet in our skies right now: C/2023 P1 (Nishimura).

As I write this, comet Nishimura is swinging past on its first visit in more than 400 years. Japanese astronomer Hideo Nishimura discovered the comet on August 12. Soon after, pre-discovery images of the comet dating back to January were found, allowing astronomers to determine its path.

They quickly realised Nishimura would swing closer to the Sun than the orbit of Mercury this month. Given the comet’s brightness at the time of discovery, it could become bright enough to see with the naked eye. So, will it be a spectacular sight in our skies? Probably not.

Unfortunately, Nishimura’s path will keep it close to the Sun in the sky as observed from Earth. While it’s definitely bright enough to be visible to the naked eye in dark skies, at best it will hug the horizon just after sunset – almost lost in the Sun’s glow.

Still, astronomers across the globe are excited. Even a hard-to-spot naked-eye comet is worth observing. And as science writer and astronomer David H. Levy once said:

Comets are like cats: they have tails, and they do precisely what they want.

There’s a chance Nishimura might brighten unexpectedly. If it does, we might see something special in the couple of weeks. If not, there’s always next year – but more on that later.

Recipe for a bright comet

When they are far from the Sun, in the icy depths of space, comets are essentially dirty snowballs: lumps of ice, dust and rock left over from the Solar System’s formation.

As a comet approaches the Sun, its surface begins to heat up. The ices near the surface get hot and “sublime”, turning to gas and erupting outward from the comet’s surface. This gas carries dust and debris, shrouding the nucleus in a diaphanous cloud of gas and dust called a “coma”.

The solar wind then blows the gas and dust away from the Sun, which gives the comet its tail (or tails). The tails always point away from the Sun.

The comet we see is sunlight being reflected from the gas and dust in the coma and tails – the nucleus itself is hidden from sight. A comet’s brightness, therefore, is typically determined by three things:

  1. the size of the nucleus: a bigger nucleus typically means a larger active area (though some comets are more active than others) and more gas and dust production
  2. distance to the Sun: the closer the comet is to the Sun, the more active (and brighter) it will become
  3. distance to Earth: the closer the comet is to us, the brighter it will appear.

What about Nishimura?

That brings us to comet Nishimura. It seems likely Nishimura isn’t that large – otherwise we’d have spotted it sooner – nor is it particularly close to Earth. It is, however, passing relatively close to the Sun and is expected to be very active around perihelion (its closest point to the Sun).

Were it possible to view in a dark night sky, the comet would be quite impressive. Sadly, even at its best Nishimura will be close to the Sun in the sky.

On top of that, it just so happens the comet and Earth are located at about the worst orientation for viewing: Nishimura will stay close to the Sun as it recedes from us, remaining buried in the star’s glare.

A short window to see Nishimura from Australia

Nishimura will soon peek above the western horizon after sunset, but only just. The best chance to see it from Australia comes in the week of September 20 to 27, when the comet’s head will set around one hour after the Sun. It will be farthest from the Sun in the evening sky on September 23.

As twilight ends, Nishimura will be very close to the western horizon, about to set. That means it will probably be lost in the Sun’s glare.

But remember, comets are like cats. Some comets fall apart when at their closest to the Sun, in which case they often brighten significantly. If that were to happen to Nishimura, it could become much easier to spot.

Unfortunately, the comets most likely to fragment are those visiting the inner Solar System for the first time, moving on very long-period orbits of tens or hundreds of thousands of years. Nishimura is a seasoned visitor, with an orbital period of around 430 years. It has likely swung past the Sun many times and survived, which lowers the odds of it breaking apart.

Nonetheless, while the head of the comet might be lost in the twilight, the tail might still be visible as the sky darkens. Before the comet was lost in the glare to northern hemisphere viewers, observers put its tail at around six degrees in length – and it will likely grow as the comet swings closer to the Sun.

If you’re lucky, you might spot the tail standing proud above the horizon as the sky darkens.

The next great comet

If Nishimura doesn’t turn out to be the show you hoped for, there’s a chance another comet could put on a truly spectacular show next year. Comet C/2023 A3 (Tsuchinshan-ATLAS) was discovered at the start of this year. It’s currently almost as far from the Sun as Jupiter.

Over the next 12 months it will continue to fall sunward, coming closest to the Sun in late September 2024. Tsuchinshan-ATLAS is looking promising. If it behaves as expected it could be a spectacular sight – but just remember: comets are like cats! The Conversation

Jonti Horner, Professor (Astrophysics), University of Southern Queensland

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

Photo: This is a image of C/2023 P1 (Nishimura) taken on 25.8.2023 @ ~6:20 (UTC+2). From Trevinca-Skies on Spain, image courtesy SomeAstroStuff -

Brand-backed influencer campaigns can be hard to spot – how to tell if a company is behind a social media post

Abhisek Kuanr, University of Essex and Debasis Pradhan, XLRI Xavier School of Management

Nearly three-quarters of Generation Z (people born between 1996 and 2010) follow at least one influencer on social media platforms and 44% buy things based on influencers’ recommendations.

This age group is estimated to comprise as much as 30% of the global population, so marketers sit up and take notice when influencers become popular among this age group. Having a popular influencer talk about your product on social media can make your brand go viral.

Companies understand this and many are prepared to rejig their marketing plans to collaborate with influencers to boost brand awareness and sales. But it’s reasonable to be suspicious of such collaborations.

Some research shows 45% of marketers want to control the content and aesthetics of this type of influencer post. More specifically, 39% of US and UK and 55% of German marketers want complete control over the creative content of the influencers they work with, just like with other types of ad.

An unvarnished opinion

But part of the appeal of an influencer is that they are supposed to be a real-life person trying out a product and giving their natural reaction. So followers typically expect influencers to provide genuine information rather than to succumb to the control of a brand. Blatant promotion of unrealistic or unsustainable lifestyles, or the misrepresentation of facts by influencers, could result in a flood of unfollows.

Our research shows Gen Z consumers are more intolerant towards influencer campaigns perceived to be explicitly marketer-controlled versus more natural recommendations by social media personalities.

And people are more likely to “punish” social media influencers with larger follower numbers for sharing biased and fake campaigns, according to our research. Companies sponsoring the campaigns are not insulated from the ire of the followers either. We found that brands seen to be sponsoring these campaigns can suffer as a result.

Volvo’s influencer marketing campaign in collaboration with Chriselle Lim, a beauty, fashion and lifestyle influencer is a good example of this. Lim partnered with Volvo in 2015 to create a professional video highlighting that the brand is environmentally responsible and safety conscious, which was significantly different from her usual beauty content. Her followers reportedly questioned the credibility of the tie-up as a result.

Woman in yellow top and blue jeans, white shoes sitting cross-legged with phone and disapproving expression.
Fed up with influencers. Roman Samborskyi/Shutterstock

Of course, some posts are clearly marked as ads for a brand. Some influencers will even sign up to be an official spokesperson for a brand. But it’s not always very clear that an influencer is a front for a corporate campaign. The UK Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) provides guidance for influencers but its research shows social media users still struggle to tell advertising content apart from non-advertising content on social media.

So how can you tell a brand-backed campaign from a real-life review?

1. Sponsorship Tags

Campaigns that are marketer-controlled are evident by sponsored tags on some platforms. Meta has “sponsorship disclosures” for its platforms, Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram. Influencers must declare whether their campaigns are sponsored through a “paid partnership” or not. Meta says it will remove any posts that violate its rules on sponsored content.

Some influencers will also use an “in collaboration with” tag for certain campaigns to make their claims credible and authentic if a platform doesn’t have its own official tag. In a marketer-controlled campaign, the brand is often tagged multiple times, making it more of a “brand prominence” post than a typical influencer post.

Without an official sponsorship tag, an influencer could very successfully push biased views and surreptitiously promote brands’ messages for them.

2. Different types of posts

During our research, we found that brand-backed influencer posts are sometimes quite different from their regular posts. Influencers act or behave in a different way than their normal content, or the creatives of the posts – how they look and sound – are different. In such situations, a brand becomes the hero of the post rather than the influencer.

Taking this too far can make it very apparent to followers that the influencer is trying to push the agenda of the brand rather than giving their actual opinion on a product. Such unnatural partnerships put the authenticity and credibility of the influencer at stake.

Rachel Arons, a Gen Z influencer, explains how online personalities remain authentic when she says: “We go on camera and speak like we’re on Facetime with a friend, which is probably less cringe” than a edited brand campaign.

Making posts more transparent

To keep their followers happy and engaged, most influencers need to remain real and give their unbiased opinions. They should always make it clear when they are partnering for a campaign or risk losing followers – not to mention customers for the brand. Voluntarily disclosing partnerships could even help build brand credibility.

In fact, brands should partner with influencers to come up with interesting and realistic product depictions instead of just trying to push their own message. Advertising standards should also be more consistent, bringing all platforms accessed by consumers under similar rules – perhaps even those used for advertising and promotions in print and TV ads.

Followers trust these influencers and engage with them and this trust should be protected.The Conversation

Abhisek Kuanr, Lecturer in Marketing, University of Essex and Debasis Pradhan, Professor of Marketing, XLRI Xavier School of Management

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

How video games like ‘Starfield’ are creating a new generation of classical music fans

The London Symphony Orchestra has performed music from video games like ‘Starfield’ and ‘The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.’ Tristan Fewings/Getty Images
J. Aaron Hardwick, Wake Forest University

Starfield” is one of the most anticipated video games in recent history.

The game, which was released on Sept. 6, 2023, allows players to build their own character and spacecraft, travel to any one of a thousand or more planets and follow multiple story arcs.

The soundtrack is equally epic, with audio director Mark Lampert describing the game’s music as a “companion to the player,” with a “sense of scale” that “had to be totally readjusted,” in a recent interview about Starfield’s sound design.

Soundtracks for outer space have appeared in many films – “Star Wars,” “2001: A Space Odyssey” and “Interstellar,” to name a few.

But the interactive music of “Starfield” by composer Inon Zur does something different: Utilizing a palette of musical language that cultivates a contemplative soundscape, it launches the listener into the vastness of space while remaining curious, innocent and restrained. If you close your eyes, you can imagine it being performed in the concert hall.

That’s exactly what happened prior to the game’s release, when the London Symphony Orchestra performed the “Starfield Suite” before a sold-out audience at the Alexandra Palace Theatre, one of the world’s most prestigious concert halls.

As a conductor, musician and educator, I’m excited about games like “Starfield” because they’re drawing people to symphonic music like never before.

Classical music becomes exclusive

Before recording technology, the only way to hear music was to experience it live. Throughout early history, music functioned as an integral part of cultural life: It was played at festivals, accompanied religious services and even served as a means of communication.

During the time of the Renaissance, around the middle 15th to 16th centuries, there was a shift from music as function to music as art and entertainment.

Soon, live vocal and instrumental music became a form of popular entertainment, and people clamored for bigger and better sounds. In the 16th century, the marriage of art, drama and music was consummated in opera. During the 17th and 18th centuries, instruments continued to evolve, large concert halls and opera houses were built, and composers explored new ideas that pushed boundaries.

What’s now known as “symphonic music” was born: music that was performed by a symphony orchestra. A symphony is not only a large group of musicians, but it is also a piece of music written by a composer containing multiple movements.

To hear a performance of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, you had to witness a symphony orchestra play it, and crowds clamored to gain entry to concert halls hear the newest and most acclaimed composers’ works.

During the 18th and early 19th centuries, however, a set of social rules calcified around this music: how to listen, what to wear, where to sit and when to applaud. As tastes and technologies began to change in the late 19th century, the masses were drawn to new forms of music like jazz. Concert halls, meanwhile, became the realm of high culture, high art and high society.

A clear divide between popular music and what became known as “classical” music emerged. That divide still exists today.

Many argue that the classical music world is no longer accessible to most people – it’s seen as too intimidating and too stuffy, with works that are too long and tickets that are too expensive. Meanwhile, symphony orchestras around the world are scrambling to diversify their music and ranks within a tradition and culture that was long reserved for the highly educated, wealthy and white.

With symphonies working to be more inclusive in their music education and program offerings, I see video games as a key way to bridge this divide.

From ‘bleeps and bloops’ to symphonic music

Due to limitations in hardware, early video games utilized synthesized “bleeps and bloops.” However, these constraints spurred programmers to think about creative ways to make games more immersive through sound.

Today, video games do not have the same limitations. Composers have the agency to create soundscapes that utilize the most advanced hardware and software, and they can employ some of the best musicians in the world to record award-winning soundtracks.

In a 2021 interview, video game composer and conductor Eimear Noone said, “More young people listen to orchestral music through their game consoles today than have ever listened to orchestral music in the history of music.”

She’s probably right. There are over 3 billion gamers around the world, and people between the ages of 18 and 25 spend the most time playing video games. A 2018 poll conducted by the U.K.‘s Royal Philharmonic Orchestra found that more young people are exposed to classical music through video games than through attending live performances.

The fusion of advanced technology and scholarship has forged worlds like those found in the “Assassin’s Creed” franchise, which can act as time machines that allow players to explore ancient Greece, with historically informed soundtracks accompanying them on their journeys.

In Activision’s “Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice,” composer Yuka Kitamura used traditional Japanese instruments to craft a sound informed by Japan’s Sengoku period; the music of “Civilization IV” contains tracks influenced by composers throughout history; and many of today’s most popular video game titles feature classical music.

“Thanks to video games,” Boston Globe music writer A.Z. Madonna wrote, “I fell in love with classical music.”

Getting the recognition it deserves

Today’s video game music is more interactive and nonlinear than traditional concert hall and film music. This means that composers think differently when writing for games. Tools, technologies and education for composers and musicians are changing.

The increasing complexity of video games means composers are once again pushing boundaries through expanded sound palettes. Like “Starfield,” many modern game titles incorporate symphonic music needed to provide the emotional and atmospheric underpinning of the game experience.

As the gaming industry continues to expand – it’s projected to earn US$533 billion globally by 2027 – video game soundtracks have become more and more popular. When a game is released, music streaming platforms routinely release an accompanying soundtrack.

The classical music world and symphony orchestras may finally be catching on.

In 2022, the BBC Proms, a daily summer concert series that features classical music in London, included video game music performed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra for the first time in history. In 2023, the Grammys recognized “Best Video Game Soundtrack” as an official category for the first time. Its inaugural winner was Stephanie Economou for her work on “Assassin’s Creed Valhalla: Dawn of Ragnarök.”

Today, there are a number of symphonic concert series – GameOn!, Game Concerts, Distant Worlds and VGL – that feature live video game music performed by top orchestras.

“Starfield” will be marked by beautiful graphics, interactive game play and a compelling story, but holding it together will be the gravity of its sonic landscape. Video game music has come a long way from its first “bleeps and bloops.” Symphonic music will continue to accompany players’ video game journeys, and like “Starfield,” the sky is no longer the limit.The Conversation

J. Aaron Hardwick, Orchestra Director and Assistant Professor of Music, Wake Forest University

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

What Manchester Museum’s return of 174 Indigenous artefacts tells us about the future of museums

Manchester Museum
Mike Jones, University of Tasmania

Manchester Museum has formally handed over 174 cultural heritage items to a delegation of women from the Anindilyakwa community of Groote Eylandt, an island in the Northern Territory.

Last week’s event was the result of three years of collaboration between the museum, the Anindilyakwa Land Council and the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS).

The returned items included arm bands, turtle shell maps, baskets, a model canoe, spears, spear throwers and 70 Dadikwakwa-kwa (shell dolls).

The director of the Manchester Museum, Esme Ward, emphasised repatriation is:

a gain, not a loss. Once you understand that it is about building relationships, it changes everything.

Since her appointment in 2018, Ward has championed these approaches, seeing museums not just as places to care for objects and collections, but as “empathy machines” that generate ideas and foster relationships.

This focus on relationships is relatively new in museums, and remains far from universal. But if museums are to remain relevant, trusted institutions they need to move beyond traditional models of authority.

The museums of the future must become socially engaged platforms where diverse voices and perspectives come together in productive new ways.

Slow waves of change

Through the 19th and early 20th centuries, museums positioned themselves as authoritative spaces for the enlightenment of the people. Indigenous artefacts, ancestors and cultural heritage were taken, traded and studied, resulting in thousands of collections held by institutions around the world.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were objects of curiosity and study, with no say in how their history and cultural knowledge were managed or represented.

A sandstone building.
Museums around the world – like the Manchester Museum – treated Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as objects of curiosity and study. Shutterstock

Change started slowly in the 1970s. At international meetings and conferences, professionals from colonial countries emphasised the need for more engagement with communities. There were growing calls for the repatriation of ancestral remains.

The first repatriation by an Australian museum came in 1976, when the remains of celebrated palawa leader Trukanini were returned to Tasmanian Aboriginal Community members after years of lobbying.

In the years since there have been many repatriations, though there are still many more to go.

New relationships

The past decade has seen an interesting shift in museum practice toward a focus on relationships.

Community involvement has gradually changed the ways First Nations cultures and histories are represented in exhibitions. There are more First Nations museum professionals working in the sector than ever before, though there remains more work to do.

While Manchester Museum has returned artefacts to other communities before, its head of exhibitions and collections, Georgina Young, saw last week’s return as unique. This return was facilitated through relationships formed when Young and her colleagues visited Groote Eylandt to meet and work with Elders and community members.

For the Anindilyakwa community, awareness of the now-repatriated dolls has already helped revitalise culture through a contemporary art program, the Dadikwakwa-kwa Project, led by women from Anindilyakwa Arts. Two of the artists were part of the Manchester delegation.

Staff and visitors to the Manchester Museum had the opportunity to hear First Nations voices and stories. The repatriation and associated public programs created a space where people could experience not just historic collections, but living Anindilyakwa culture.

Australian museums are also reconsidering how they can engage with community.

Museum Victoria’s Yulendj group (from the Kulin word for “knowledge and intelligence”) was formed during development of the museum’s First People’s exhibition, installed in 2014.

The group has helped foster strong and deep relationships between the museum, its staff and community members. Aboriginal Elder Esther Kirby (Wiradjuri/Yorta Yorta/Yitha Yitha) characterised the results as like “one of those patchwork quilts. Everybody’s got a different story and them patches all join together”.

The Australian Museum’s 2021 Unsettled exhibition responded to the 250th anniversary of Captain Cook’s arrival on the Australian mainland. First Nations curatorial team Laura McBride and Mariko Smith engaged with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples before exhibition planning had begun.

Smith describes how they wanted to embrace the role of “curator” as a conduit for First Nations voices. The resulting exhibition gave a genuine sense the curators were holding themselves accountable to community-centred relationships.

Unsettled provided visitors with new and sometimes uncomfortable perspectives on the complex history of Australia since European invasion.

Building the future

Still, many large institutions remain resistant to change.

Conservative commentators, politicians and museum directors have expressed concerns that repatriation sets a dangerous precedent and risks opening the floodgates.

But political scientist Pierre Losson has analysed the return of cultural heritage objects from “universal museums” in North America and Europe.

He has found the return process can result in new trusted relationships. These relationships can form the basis of a model for the future: networks of related institutions and communities, rather than singular sites of preservation and display.

Thousands of First Nations objects are still held in institutions around the world. Despite the resistance of some, the hope is more museums will see these collections as opportunities for empathy and relationship-building.

For communities, reconnecting with artefacts provides new opportunities for cultural resurgence. And for the institutions involved, the relationships created provide new opportunities for public programming and exhibitions featuring diverse voices and perspectives, connecting their visitors not just with artefacts and artworks, but with living cultures.

As Ward said following the ceremony in Manchester:

We believe this is the future of museums. This is how we should be.The Conversation

Mike Jones, Postdoctoral Fellow—Indigenous and Colonial Histories, University of Tasmania

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

Ancient shoes: tracks on a South African beach offer oldest evidence yet of human footwear

Charles Helm, Nelson Mandela University

When and where did our ancestors first fashion footwear? We cannot look to physical evidence of shoes for the answer, as the perishable materials from which they were made would no longer be evident. Ichnology, the study of fossil tracks and traces, can help to answer this unresolved question through a search for clear evidence of footprints made by humans who were shod – that is, wearing some kind of foot covering.

But this is no simple endeavour, as our research team from the Cape south coast ichnology project in South Africa recently reported. Over the past 15 years we have identified more than 350 vertebrate tracksites along the Cape coast. These include a number of tracks made by humans who were clearly walking or jogging barefoot, as evidenced by toe impressions. But we also noticed similar trackways, seemingly well preserved, that contained no toe impressions. Realising, too, that very little research has been done about when humans first fashioned footwear, we decided to investigate further.

To do so, we studied relevant research from various parts of the world, using our knowledge about milestones in human technological development such as when and where our ancestors had the technology to create bone tools which could have been used for sewing.

We also considered the areas where ancient hominin tracks have been reported. This revealed that there are two prime places on the planet to look for footprint evidence of early shod hominins: western Europe and the Cape coast of South Africa. We followed up with a little crafting of our own to create the types of footwear that might have been worn. Most of the tracksites we have found are between about 70,000 years and 150,000 years in age, so that is the time period we focused on.

Our findings, recently published in the journal Ichnos, suggest that there are at least three tracksites on the Cape south coast that might have been made by shod humans (a fourth site unfortunately rapidly deteriorated in quality and slumped into the sea). The global record of sites attributed to shod trackmakers is sparse. Until now, only four sites older than 30,000 years have been postulated, all from western Europe, including a Neanderthal site.

Though the evidence is not conclusive, we are excited about our discoveries. They support the notion of southern Africa being one region where human cognitive and practical ability developed a very long time ago.

The study

We considered the published studies on possible shod-human tracks from western Europe, and searched the Cape coast for similar sites. Today, the ancient dune surfaces our ancestors walked along are cemented and preserved as aeolianites. We have previously reported on the tracks of our barefoot Homo sapiens ancestors along this coastline and now focused on three sites which appeared to be of hominin origin and were crisply outlined, but contained no evidence of toe impressions.

Next, we drew on our knowledge of sandals used by the indigenous San people on the sands of the Kalahari desert to give us ideas about what ancient footwear might have looked like. After studying museum specimens, depictions of footwear in the San rock art record and the oldest surviving examples of footwear, it was time to do a little cobbling.

We crafted various types of footwear and used them to create trackways on the beaches and dunes of the Cape south coast; then we analysed them.

From these experiments it became clear that an open, hard sole design, with tracks made on moist, moderately soft but nonetheless cohesive sand, best fitted the findings at the three fossil tracksites.

Preservation and clarity

Usually, to identify hominin tracks, the presence and alignment of toe impressions is a crucial factor. Clearly such features are unlikely to be present in the tracks of ancestral humans using footwear. We needed to ensure that the findings suggesting shod hominins were genuine rather than being due to poor preservation, or erosion, or that the tracks had simply been made in soft sand by barefoot humans.

Crisp track margins therefore became an essential feature at our three sites. Tracks had to have an approximate hominin footprint outline. Strap attachment points, if they left marks in the tracks, formed a welcome bonus.

None of the three sites has been dated at this point, although nearby dated sites suggest that they range in age from around 70,000 years to more than 130,000 years old.

While our evidence is suggestive, we do not consider it conclusive as yet. We’re searching for further sites which ideally, in addition to displaying good preservation, would contain long trackways to allow for detailed analysis.

Why make footwear?

One obvious question stemming from this research is why our ancestors would have elected to create footwear, whereas up until that point they had survived barefoot.

Perhaps once they had developed the means to create complex clothing through bone tools, footwear might have been a logical addition. Anyone who has tried to forage on the Cape coast today knows how sharp some of the rocks are and how easy it is to suffer a laceration if not wearing shoes. In the Middle Stone Age, about 130,000 years ago, an infected laceration might well have been a death sentence.

Protection from extremes of heat and cold might also have been incentives, and the use of footwear might initially have been occasional or intermittent.The Conversation

Charles Helm, Research Associate, African Centre for Coastal Palaeoscience, Nelson Mandela University

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

Possible shod hominin tracks in the Garden Route National Park, South Africa. Credit: Charles Helm

Does running water really trigger the urge to pee? Experts explain the brain-bladder connection

James Overs, Swinburne University of Technology; David Homewood, Melbourne Health; Helen Elizabeth O'Connell AO, The University of Melbourne, and Simon Robert Knowles, Swinburne University of Technology

We all know that feeling when nature calls – but what’s far less understood is the psychology behind it. Why, for example, do we get the urge to pee just before getting into the shower, or when we’re swimming? What brings on those “nervous wees” right before a date?

Research suggests our brain and bladder are in constant communication with each other via a neural network called the brain-bladder axis.

This complex web of circuitry is comprised of sensory neural activity, including the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. These neural connections allow information to be sent back and forth between the brain and bladder.

The brain-bladder axis not only facilitates the act of peeing, but is also responsible for telling us we need to go in the first place.

How do we know when we need to go?

As the bladder fills with urine and expands, this activates special receptors detecting stretch in the nerve-rich lining of the bladder wall. This information is then relayed to the “periaqueductal gray” – a part of the brain in the brainstem which constantly monitors the bladder’s filling status.

The periaqueductal gray is a section of gray matter located in the midbrain section of the brainstem. Wikimedia/OpenStax, CC BY-SA

Once the bladder reaches a certain threshold (roughly 250-300ml of urine), another part of the brain called the “pontine micturition centre” is activated and signals that the bladder needs to be emptied. We, in turn, register this as that all-too-familiar feeling of fullness and pressure down below.

Beyond this, however, a range of situations can trigger or exacerbate our need to pee, by increasing the production of urine and/or stimulating reflexes in the bladder.

Peeing in the shower

If you’ve ever felt the need to pee while in the shower (no judgement here) it may be due to the sight and sound of running water.

In a 2015 study, researchers demonstrated that males with urinary difficulties found it easier to initiate peeing when listening to the sound of running water being played on a smartphone.

Symptoms of overactive bladder, including urgency (a sudden need to pee), have also been linked to a range of environmental cues involving running water, including washing your hands and taking a shower.

This is likely due to both physiology and psychology. Firstly, the sound of running water may have a relaxing physiological effect, increasing activity of the parasympathetic nervous system. This would relax the bladder muscles and prepare the bladder for emptying.

At the same time, the sound of running water may also have a conditioned psychological effect. Due to the countless times in our lives where this sound has coincided with the actual act of peeing, it may trigger an instinctive reaction in us to urinate.

This would happen in the same way Pavlov’s dog learnt, through repeated pairing, to salivate when a bell was rung.

Over our lifetimes we may become conditioned to associate peeing with running water, due to the concurrence of these events. Shutterstock

Cheeky wee in the sea

But it’s not just the sight or sound of running water that makes us want to pee. Immersion in cold water has been shown to cause a “cold shock response”, which activates the sympathetic nervous system.

This so-called “fight or flight” response drives up our blood pressure which, in turn, causes our kidneys to filter out more fluid from the bloodstream to stabilise our blood pressure, in a process called “immersion diuresis”. When this happens, our bladder fills up faster than normal, triggering the urge to pee.

Interestingly, immersion in very warm water (such as a relaxing bath) may also increase urine production. In this case, however, it’s due to activation of the parasympathetic nervous system. One study demonstrated an increase in water temperature from 40℃ to 50℃ reduced the time it took for participants to start urinating.

Similar to the effect of hearing running water, the authors of the study suggest being in warm water is calming for the body and activates the parasympathetic nervous system. This activation can result in the relaxation of the bladder and possibly the pelvic floor muscles, bringing on the urge to pee.

The nervous wee

We know stress and anxiety can cause bouts of nausea and butterflies in the tummy, but what about the bladder? Why do we feel a sudden and frequent urge to urinate at times of heightened stress, such as before a date or job interview?

When a person becomes stressed or anxious, the body goes into fight-or-flight mode through the activation of the sympathetic nervous system. This triggers a cascade of physiological changes designed to prepare the body to face a perceived threat.

As part of this response, the muscles surrounding the bladder may contract, leading to a more urgent and frequent need to pee. Also, as is the case during immersion diuresis, the increase in blood pressure associated with the stress response may stimulate the kidneys to produce more urine.

Some final thoughts

We all pee (most of us several times a day). Yet research has shown about 75% of adults know little about how this process actually works – and even less about the brain-bladdder axis and its role in urination.

Most Australians will experience urinary difficulties at some point in their lives, so if you ever have concerns about your urinary health, it’s extremely important to consult a healthcare professional.

And should you ever find yourself unable to pee, perhaps the sight or sound of running water, a relaxing bath or a nice swim will help with getting that stream to flow.The Conversation

James Overs, Research Assistant, Swinburne University of Technology; David Homewood, Urology Research Registrar, Western Health, Melbourne Health; Helen Elizabeth O'Connell AO, Professor, University of Melbourne, Department of Surgery. President Urological Society Australia and New Zealand, The University of Melbourne, and Simon Robert Knowles, Associate Professor and Clinical Psychologist, Swinburne University of Technology

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

Google Chrome just rolled out a new way to track you and serve ads. Here’s what you need to know

Chris Yang/Unsplash
Erica Mealy, University of the Sunshine Coast

Late last week, Google announced something called the Privacy Sandbox has been rolled out to a “majority” of Chrome users, and will reach 100% of users in the coming months. But what is it, exactly?

The new suite of features represents a fundamental shift in how Chrome will track user data for the benefit of advertisers. Instead of third-party cookies, Chrome can now tap directly into your browsing history to gather information on advertising “topics” (more on that later).

In development since 2019, this change has attracted a great deal of controversy, as some commentators have deemed it invasive in terms of privacy.

Understanding how it works – and whether you want to opt in or out – is important, since Chrome remains the most widely used browser in the world, with a 63% market share as of May 2023 (Safari is in second place with 13%).

Wait, what is a cookie?

In 1994, computer engineer Lou Montulli at Netscape revolutionised the way we browsed the internet with his invention of the “cookie”. For the first time, web pages could remember our passwords, preferences, language settings and even shopping carts.

This method was supposed to be a private exchange of information just between a user and a website – what’s known as a first-party cookie. But within two years, advertisers worked out how to “hack” cookies to track users. These are third-party cookies.

You can think of a first-party cookie like a shop assistant who listens to your preferences and is happy to hold your bags or clothes while you make your selection – but only while you are inside their store.

A third-party cookie is like a bug from an old spy movie. It listens to everything in your room, but only shares the info with its allies. The “spy” can place this cookie on other people’s sites, to record what you visit and what data you enter. If you’ve ever wondered how Facebook has served you an ad about something related to a news story you just read, chances are it’s because you have third-party cookies enabled.

Unregulated online tracking and surveillance via cookies were the default until 2018, when the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) were introduced. If you have noticed more pop-ups notifying you of cookies and asking for your informed consent, you have the GDPR and CCPA to thank.

The first browsers to turn off support for third-party cookies were Apple’s Safari in 2017 and Mozilla’s Firefox in 2019.

But Google is also a major online advertising company, with ads making up 57.8% of Google’s revenue as of 2023. They have been slowest off the mark in turning off third-party cookies in Chrome. With the introduction of the Privacy Sandbox, they now hope to start turning cookies off sometime in 2024.

How is the Privacy Sandbox different from cookies?

The details on how the Privacy Sandbox collection of features works are rather technical. But here are a few of the most important aspects.

Instead of using third-party cookies to serve you ads across the internet, Chrome will provide something called advertising Topics. These are high-level summaries of your browsing behaviour, tracked locally (such as in your browsing history), that companies can access on request to serve you ads on particular subjects.

Additionally, there are features such as Protected Audience that can serve you ads for “remarketing” (for example, Chrome tracked you visiting a listing for a toaster, so now you will get ads for toasters elsewhere), and Attribution Reporting, that gathers data on ad clicks.

In short, instead of third-party cookies doing the spying, the features these cookies enable will be available directly within Chrome.

Is user tracking necessarily bad?

While Google pitches the Privacy Sandbox as something that will improve user privacy, not everyone agrees.

If these features are switched on, Google – one of the world’s biggest advertising companies – is essentially able to listen to you everywhere on the web.

Tracking technology can arguably benefit us as well. For example, it could be helpful if an online store reminds you every three months you need a new toothbrush, or that this time last year you bought a birthday card for your mum.

Offloading cognitive effort, such as reminders like these, is a great way automation can assist humanity. When used in situations where pinpoint accuracy is required, it can make our lives easier and more pleasant.

However, if you are not comfortable with surveillance, the alternative to third-party cookies may not necessarily be the new Privacy Sandbox in Chrome.

The alternative is to completely disable tracking altogether.

What can you do?

If you don’t want your online activities to be tracked for advertising purposes, there are a few straightforward choices.

By far the most private browsers are specialist non-tracking browsers that prioritise no tracking, such as DuckDuckGo and Brave. But if you don’t want to get that nerdy, Safari and Firefox already have third-party cookies blocked by default.

A screenshot of a Chrome settings page listing Ad topics, Site-suggested ads and Ad measurement
The tools found in Google Chrome are nestled under Settings - Ads privacy. You can toggle each section on or off individually, and click on them to look at more details. Screenshot via The Conversation

If you don’t mind some useful targeted advertising, you can leave the Chrome Privacy Sandbox settings on.

If you want to adjust these settings or switch them off, click the three dots in the upper-right corner and go to Settings > Privacy and Security > Ad privacy. It’s unclear if toggling these features off will stop Chrome from collecting these data altogether, or if it just won’t share the data with advertisers. You can find out more details about each feature on the Google Chrome Help page.

Lastly, it’s good to remember nothing truly comes for free. Software costs money to develop. If you’re not paying towards that, then it’s likely you – or your data – are the product. We need to revolutionise how we think about our own data and what value it truly holds.The Conversation

Erica Mealy, Lecturer in Computer Science, University of the Sunshine Coast

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

book of the month September 2023: Australia circumnavigated : the voyage of Matthew Flinders in HMS Investigator, 1801-1803

by Flinders, Matthew, 1774-1814, author of Volumes I and II

As this is actually two books it will stay up for the first month of Spring 2023 too - enjoy!

This two-volume work provides the first edited publication of Matthew Flinders' journals from the circumnavigation of Australia in 1801-1803 in HMS Investigator, and of the ’Memoir’ he wrote to accompany his journals and charts. These are among the most important primary texts in Australian maritime history and European voyaging in the Pacific. Flinders was the first explorer to circumnavigate Australia. He was also largely responsible for giving Australia its name. 

His voyage was supported by the Admiralty, the Navy Board, the East India Company and the patronage of Sir Joseph Banks, President of the Royal Society. Banks ensured that the Investigator expedition included scientific gentlemen to document Australia’s flora, fauna, geology and landscape features. The botanist Robert Brown, botanical painter Ferdinand Bauer, landscape artist William Westall, Pittwater and Broken Bay indigenous man Bungaree and the gardener Peter Good were all members of the voyage. 

On this long voyage Bungaree used his knowledge of Aboriginal protocol to negotiate peaceful meetings with local Indigenous people.

Years later, in A Voyage to Terra Australis (1814), Flinders wrote that Bungaree's "good disposition and open and manly conduct had attracted my esteem". Flinders described the affectionate relationship between Bungaree and the cat Trim who sailed on Flinder’s ships: ‘If he [Trim] had occasion to drink, he mewed to Bongaree and leapt up onto the water cask; if to eat he called him down below and went straight to his kid, where there was generally a remnant of a black swan. In short, Bongaree was his great resource, and his kindness was repaid with caresses.

After landfall at Cape Leeuwin, Flinders sailed anti-clockwise round the whole continent, returning to Port Jackson when the ship became unseaworthy. 

After a series of misfortunes, including a shipwreck and a long detention at the Ile de France (now Mauritius), Flinders returned to England in 1810. He devoted the last four years of his life to preparing A Voyage to Terra Australis, published in two volumes, and an atlas. Flinders died on 19 July 1814 at the age of forty. The journals, edited, comprise a daily log with full nautical information and ’remarks’ on the coastal landscape, the achievements of previous navigators in Australian waters, encounters with Aborigines and Macassan trepangers, naval routines, scientific findings, and Flinders' surveying and charting. The journals also include instructions for the voyage and some additional correspondence. The ’Memoir’ explains Flinders’ methodology in compiling his journals and charts and the purpose and content of his surveys.

a few Extras From The Pages Of The Past


On Thursday arrived His Majesty's Ship INVESTIGATOR, Captain MATTHEW FLINDERS; she sailed from hence in July last, to continue the survey of the coasts of New Holland. After being entangled among the reefs, and having grounded, owing to Capt. Flinders's anxiety not to leave any material part unexamined: He surveyed the East coast, as far as Cape Palmerston, and found two harbours, which the distance that Capt. Cook passed along that part did not allow him to observe.

The Investigator afterwards found a practicable and expeditious passage through the Strait between New Holland and New Guinea (for an account of which see the preceding Column); and then surveyed the Gulph of Carpentaria very minutely, finding many Islands and good harbours there. The decayed state of the ship obliged the Commander to return to this Port sooner than he otherwise intended; and after an unsuccessful search for the Trial Rocks, he passed on the South side of King's Island, through Bass's Straits, on the 1st instant.

The Officers and Ship's Company have generally been very healthy, until a short time before their arrival, when getting into cold weather, after being so many months in the Torrid Zone, they were generally attacked with a Dysentery, which we are sorry to say carried off Mr. Charles Douglass, Boatswain, a very good Officer; Serjeant James Greenhugh of the Royal Marine Forces, a very valuable Non-Commissioned Officer; W. Hilner and John Draper, Quartermasters; and C. Smith, a seaman; the loss of whom is much lamented by Capt. Flinders. Twelve sick seamen were landed on her arrival, of whose recovery there is every hope.

Capt. Flinders having thus far ascertained the existence of a safe passage for Ships through Torris' Straits, (which he performed in three days), will greatly facilitate and shorten the intercourse between this Colony and our Possessions in India: He is very particular in his cautions respecting the war-like disposition of the inhabitants of the Islands lying in these Straits, which will require vessels going this passage, to be in some measure armed and prepared for any hostile attacks.

We are sorry to add, that the future advantages expected from Capt. Flinders's Perseverance and Activity in his pursuits, are likely to suffer a delay, owing to the state of the Investigator's hull, which will be surveyed as soon as possible. His Excellency having given Captain Flinders Permission to take Eleven Seamen, Prisoners, on a Provisional Emancipation, we are happy to state, from Captain Flinders's authority, that their conduct has given him and his Officers great satisfaction; especially that of Francis Smith, who received a Free Pardon on the ship's anchoring in the Cove. 

At day-light yesterday morning sailed His Majesty's armed Tender Lady Nelson, Lieut. Courtoys Commander, for Risdon Cove, Van Diemen's Land. On board that Vessel were embarked, John Bowen, Esq. appointed to command and superintend the settlement in-tended to be formed at that place; also, Mr.  Jacob Mountgarrett, appointed Surgeon, with Three Privates, Ten Male, and Six Female Prisoners. The Porpoise was also to sail on the same service, with the remainder of the Soldiers, Settlers, Prison-ers, Provisions, and Stores; but the decayed state of the Investigator requires the Commander of the Porpoise being on the survey of that ship, which, when completed, the Porpoise will sail for the above destination.

SHIP NEWS. (1803, June 12 - Sunday). The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1803 - 1842), p. 4. Retrieved from

HM Sloop Investigator: etching by Geoffrey Ingleton, 1937, courtesy State Library of New South Wales


June 10, 1803.
" SIR,

"Judging that it may be very useful to Ships bound to India from this Port to know that the TORRES' STRAIT is both practicable, and may be expeditiously made, I have to inform Your EXCELLENCY, that in His Majesty's Sloop under my Command I safely passed from the South Sea to the Indian Ocean by it in Three days, lying at anchor each night, in Tolerable safety. It is not in my power at present to furnish Your Excellency with a Survey, or with so much Information concerning this important Passage as I hope hereafter to do; but judging that such Information as we have collected may be of some immediate advantage, I inclose the heads of it under the form of Directions to a Vessel wishing to try the Passage and I have the honour to be

"Your Excellency's most obedient Servant,


Small reefs having been seen and many others probably lying some distance to the eastward of the Strait, it is necessary to run cautiously from the eastward for a day or two, before making the body of the reefs. Enter them by a Passage in latitude 9° 18' South, and longitude 145° 6' East; and which, according to the Pandora's Chart, is 3 leagues wide. Steer for Murray's Island, which lies in 9° 53' South, and 144° 18' East, and may be seen at from 6 to 10 leagues distance ; but as there is a Reef to the East-ward of the Island, it will be necessary to go round this. The Investigator passed to the North side, approaching the island from the North-East ; but it would be more direct to pass on the south side of the Reef, should it be equally free from danger. Pass on the North side of Murray's Island, and steer as straight for the North-eastern most of the Prince of Wales Islands in 10° 31' South, as the Reefs will allow ; a ship will, however, be obliged to run four or five leagues on a more Westerly course before this can be done, sometimes over strong ripplings of tide, and through Passages of not more than a mile in width. We were at first very cautious of these ripplings, but afterwards paid them little attention when the water was not dis-coloured. On making the Prince of Wales Islands, pass close to their North ends in 10° 31' leaving a Reef which is dry at low water, on the starboard hand ; Booby Isle, which is low and white will then be seen to the W. S. W. ; and except the two Reefs in Captain Cook's Chart, lying to the North-westward, I know of nothing afterwards to prevent a ship from steering directly towards Timor.

During the passage through the Strait, a trusty Officer at the mast-head should direct the ship's course ; the lead should be kept going, and in the first part of the passage a boat should go ahead with sounding signals, the ship following at an easy rate. At least two hours before dark, look out for an Island or Reef, under the lee of which the ship may be each night at anchor ; Murray's Island will usually be one of these, but it is necessary to be guarded against the Natives who appear to be numerous and warlike.

With these precautions I judge that a ship will pass from the South Sea, through Torres' Strait in Two, Three, or Four days, any time between the first of April and the end of October ; and it is likely she might pass the contrary way in as short a time, from the middle of November to the end February; but for this I know of precedent.

JUNE 10, 1803.

SOME DIRECTIONS FOR SAILING THROUGH TORRES' STRAITS. (1803, June 12). The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1803 - 1842), p. 4. Retrieved from

On Wednesday last His Majesty's Ship Porpoise hauled along-side the Investigator at the New Moorings, when Mr. SCOTT was Superseded at his own Request in the Command of the Porpoise; and Lieut. FOWLER, of the Investigator, was appointed to command her. Captain MATTHEW FLINDERS put the Investigator out of Commission, by discharging most of that Ship's Crew into the Porpoise, for whom room was made by the greater part of the Porpoise's People being Discharged the Service at their own Request ; Seventeen of whom immediately shipped on board the Bridgewater ; and Five of those who come from England in the Porpoise were allowed to become Settlers, on the same Conditions as the Reduced Soldiers of the New South Wales Corps.

The Porpoise is now Fitting for her Voyage to England, and will probably sail about the 5th of next Month. 

Dr. BROWN, Naturalist; Mr. BAUER, Natural History Painter; and Mr. ALLEN, Miner to the Voyage of Discovery the Investigator was employed on, remain in the Colony, until it is determined whether another Ship is sent to complete the Object of the Investigator's Voyage. SYDNEY. (1803, July 24). The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1803 - 1842), p. 2. Retrieved from


CAPTAIN FLINDERS, late Commander of His Majesty's Sloop Investigator, and Mr. PARK, Commander of the Ship Cato, arrived at Government House at half past 3 in the Afternoon of the 8th Instant, with the following disgreeable Intelligence, as communicated in the following LETTER to His EXCELLENCY.

Sydney, New South Wales,

Sept. 9, 1803.


"I have to inform you of my arrival here yesterday, in a Six-oar'd Cutter belonging to His Majesty's Armed Vessel PORPOISE, commanded by Lieut. FOWLER; which Ship, I am sorry to state to Your Excellency, I left on shore upon a Coral Reef, without any prospect of her being saved, in Latitude 22° 11' South, and Longitude 155° 13' East, being 196 miles to the N. 38° E. from Sandy Cape, and 729 miles from this Port : The Ship CATO, which was in Company, is entirely lost upon the same Reef, and broken to pieces without any thing having been saved from her ; but the crew, with the exception of Three, are with the Whole of the Officers, Crew, and Passengers of the Porpoise, upon a small Sand bank near the Wrecks, with sufficient Provisions and Water saved from the Porpoise to subsist the whole, amounting to 80 Men, for Three Months.

"Accompanied by the Commander of the Cato, Mr. JOHN PARK, and Twelve Men, I left Wreck Reef in the Cutter with Three Weeks' Provisions, on Friday, August 26th, in the morning, and on the 28th in the evening made the Land near Indian Head ; from whence I kept the coast on board to this place.

I cannot state the Extent of Wreck Reef to the Eastward, but a Bank is visible in that direction six or seven miles from the Wrecks. In a West direction we rowed along the Reef twelve miles, but saw no other dangers in the Passage towards Sandy Cape.---There are several Passages through the Reef, and Anchorage in from 15 to 22 fathoms upon a sandy bottom, the Flag-staff upon Wreck-reef Bank bearing South-East to South-South-West, distant from three quarters to one-and-quarter mile.

"After the above Statement it is unnecessary for me to make Application to Your Excellency to furnish me with the means of Relieving the Crews of the two Ships from the precarious situation in which they are placed, since your Humanity and former un-remitting Attention to the Investigator and Porpoise are Sureties that the earliest and most effectual means will be taken, either to bring them back to this Port, or to send them and myself onward towards England.

"I inclose to Your Excellency a Letter from Lieut. Fowler upon the occasion ; and as he refers to me for the Particulars of the Wreck, an Account thereof is also inclosed. 

I think it proper to notice to Your Excellency, that the great exertions of Lieut. Fowler and his Officers and Company, as well the Passengers belonging to the Investigator in saving His Majesty's Stores, have been very praiseworthy; and I judge that the precautions that were taken will exonerate the Commander of the Porpoise from the blame that might otherwise be attached to the Loss of His Majesty's Armed Vessel.

I have the honour to be 
Your Excellency's Obedient humble Servant, 

*** We hope to state the Particulars of this untoward Event in our next Week's Paper. 

POSTSCRIPT. (1803, September 11). The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1803 - 1842), p. 4. Retrieved from

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: