Archive for 2018

Chinan Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority staff trial e-working from home

AGENCY MOVE: Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce at the opening of the interim office in Armidale earlier this year. Photo: Madeline LinkRegulatory scientists no longerhave tomove to Armidale despite the pesticides authority’s promise to see 100 specialist jobs relocated to the city.
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Staffwill be able to work from home under the agency’s new e-working policy.

“We’re running a trial on that particular policy and we’ve had an expression of interest for staff to say‘yes they’d like to participate in that trial’,” APVMA CEO Dr Chris Parker said.

Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce announced the pesticides authority’s move from Canberra to Armidale in November last year.

It’s since been plagued with record staff resignations and historic slumps in on-time approval rates.

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Empty desks at Armidale HeadquartersAPVMA facing ‘national crisis’APVMA performance has ‘long way to go’Twenty regulatory scientistsand an additional 28staff members, with 204 years’service between them,left the agency between July and February.

The Opposition’s Agriculture Minister Joel Fitzgibbon has condemned the move since the get-go.

“It was a poorly thought out proposal, something that Barnaby Joyce hasn’t been able to progress simply because the key staff at the APVMA are highly qualified regulatory scientists and lawyers who have their spouses in Canberra, their children embedded in Canberra schools and can easily secure another job at a similar level,” he said.

A report released by the agency in 2016said the initial target was to have 100 people operating out of Armidale but so far only six have relocated.

The Opposition Agricultural Minister Joel Fitzgibbon.

But Dr Parker said while regulatory scientists may “be more able to” work from home, e-working won’t suit all roles.

“I think it’s pretty clear that there will be roles that aren’t suitable for e-working in the APVMA which will be very much based in Armidale,” he said.

Dr Parker said “client-facing” roles would be required to be based in Armidale.

“E-working will be an important tool but we won’t have half the organisation e-working, there’ll be a small number of specialists positions that will e-work,” he said.

APVMA CEO Dr Chris Parker.

“I don’t have any concerns one way or another.

“We will have a mix of scientists based in Armidaleand a mix of scientists who work for the APVMA from home in an e-working arrangement.”

The trial will run for three months in the new year.

“We’ll get some learnings about what technology works best, what sort of arrangements work best,” he said.

“There will be roles that will be very suitable for e-working.”

Mr Joyce’s office referred Fairfax Media to the APVMA’s media team when asked to comment.

A spokesman from the pesticides authority saidfour regulatory scientists, a business manager and an administrative assistant currently make up the Armidale workforce.

“When he’s not in Canberra, our CEO is also working from the Armidale office,” the spokesman said.

“In January 2018 there will be 10 to 12 staff, depending on the outcomes of recruitment action.

“By February we’re likely to have a full complement of 15 staff, 10of whom are regulatory scientists.”

The spokesman said by2019, the majority of the workforce will be located in Armidale.

“We envisage up to 150 APVMA employees will work from the permanent premises in Armidale,” the spokesperson said.

“A small number of specialist scientific positions will be eligible for e-working and will support our operations throughout the transition.”

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Our Marie ready to let them eat icy poles

LET THE HEAT BREAK: Helen Hopcroft cools off in her full Marie Antoinette regalia. She is seven months into the year-long project to dress as the French monarch in support of arts in the region. Picture: Max Mason-HubersAUSTRALIAN summer is tough on a French aristocrat.
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SUMMER IS HERE: Helen Hopcroft cools off in Maitland Pool while dressed as Marie Antoinette. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Seven months into her year as Marie Antoinette, Maitland’s Helen Hopcroft is starting to feel the heat.

“You turn into survival mode,” she said. “When the temperature gets high you have to ask yourself if five petticoats and a bumpad is really worth it.

“I’ve only got one wig and it’s starting to look like a mangyPekingese.”

With a 40-degree dayset to hit Maitland on Thursday, Ms Hopcroft has just one plan to survive the heat.“I think I’ll stay home and cuddle the air-conditioner,” she said.

Ms Hopcroft began the My Year as a Fairy Taleproject on May 1 –a year dressed as lastQueen of Francebefore theFrench Revolution in support of the arts in Maitland.

The year-long project has come with challenges though –Ms Hopcroft has had to attenda funeral and visit the GP, all in 18thCentury attire.

“It means you’re late for everything,” she said. “There are days you just do not want to do the supermarket run.

“Any sort of responsibleadult thing, it naturally sends it straight towards comedy. It’s absolutely ridiculous and that’s the whole concept.”

Newcastle itself will dodge the worst of Thursday’s swelterwith a high of 31 degrees due in the city and at Nelson Bay according to the Bureau of Meteorology.

Despite the coastal relief,the city’s western suburbs will bear the boil.

40-plus conditionsare forecast in Wallsend, Maitland, Muswellbrook and Singleton on Thursday before slightly lower temperatures in the following days.

Showers will increase on Thursday into the weekend, with temperatures pegged to stickto the 30s.



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Macka’s Sand and Soil fined by state government over unauthorised truck movements

FINED: Macka’s Sand and Soil owners Bruce and Robert MacKenzie on a sand dune that forms the basis of their business.FORMER Port Stephens mayor Bruce MacKenzie’s family business has been fined $15,000 as part of an investigation into unauthorised truck movements to and from Macka’s Sand and Soil.
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The Department of Planning and Environment issued the $15,000 fine, after an investigation found there were about 1000 unauthorised truck movements on Salt Ash roads, a breach of the development conditions for the quarry.

The department said compliance officers investigated the quarry’s records and found that the company breached the limit 300 times, leading to an extra 989 truck movements on the roads over the 11 months between January and November last year.

The department’s executive director of resource assessments and compliance, Dr Oliver Holm, said the development conditions limited the number of truck movements for safety.

“These road safety conditions protect lives and must be strictly adhered to,” Dr Holmsaid.

“Our compliance officers investigated the quarry’s records and found that the company breached the limit 300 times, leading to an extra 989 truck movements on local roads over an 11-month period between January 2016 and November 2016.

“In response, the company has addressed issues with its truck logging software so that vehicle movements can be tracked more accurately at the site.”

Dr Holm said the department’s compliance officers routinely monitored major project sitesto ensure companies meet their development conditions.

“We also encourage the community to reach out to the Department with concerns about major projects near them,” he said.



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‘I thought, this is it, he could go’: Hardwick reflects on Tiger year

Damien Hardwick has reflected on Richmond’s premiership-winning season, paying tribute to his captain and highlighting the importance of Brownlow medallist Dustin Martin.
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Speaking on The Hen House podcast, the Tigers coach also said there was a nervous period when it hit home that they could lose the midfield star to another club, but thought all parties had handled the negotiations well.

“It was a nerve-wracking period towards the end, especially when Dustin flew to New Zealand to speak to his dad,” Hardwick reflected.

“That was probably the first time I thought ‘geez, this is it, he could go’, and to Dustin’s credit he turned down a life-changing amount of money to stay at our footy club.

“Don’t get me wrong, he’s getting paid very well, he’s worth every cent, but he turned down a lot of money to stay loyal to our footy club.”

After months of speculation, Martin eventually signed a multi-year deal with Richmond on the eve of the finals. When asked whether the Tigers would have won the flag if Martin hadn’t signed, Hardwick said it was a “tough question”.

But he said once a player crossed the white line, whether they knew they were staying or going, they were “all in” for the jumper that they were playing in.

“It’s funny, you put yourself in the same situation and it’s easy to say you’d stay but if we’re talking about a life-changing amount of money … he chose the love of his teammates and the love of his club over the endorsement of money.”

Hardwick said people see the way Martin looks and the way he plays the game and can underestimate him as a person.

“I think Trent sums it up best … Dustin’s learnt a little bit off us but we’ve learnt a hell of a lot off Dustin.”

Hardwick was also full of praise for his skipper’s September performance.

“Trent really led from the front … he was enormous that finals series. His effort, his intent, his physicality at the contest throughout the finals series was as good as I’ve seen.

“I’ve been around footy a hell of a long time, seen some wonderful players play but his finals series was as good as I’ve seen from a captain.”

Hardwick said he had been confident of victory in the grand final from half-time, but being confident didn’t mean he was relaxed.

“We thought we had a really good plan in place,” he said. “It’s easy in hindsight … but we felt very confident. Especially at half-time when we were nine or 10 points up at that stage and we sort of knew that our best footy was in front of us … we were very confident at half-time that we were going to win.”

He said the moment he knew the grand final was sealed was when Dan Butler kicked a goal with about seven minutes remaining in the last term.

“I thought ‘geez we’ve won this’,” he said, adding that he then realised he would have to think about a speech. “It didn’t feel like an easy win in the end.”

Hardwick acknowledged that there would be comparisons to the Western Bulldogs’ premiership win in 2016 – and their subsequent premiership hangover and slide down the table in 2017.

“You certainly learn off your competitors,” he said, adding that he was confident in the “mature” Richmond leadership group.

He also said that competition for spots in the team was important for a successful year – and the Tigers, whose VFL side came runners-up in the grand final, would have just that, with players such as Connor Menadue and Sam Lloyd pushing for a place in the senior side.

Hardwick said he was pleased with the way his players had returned to training.



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Prized Freo recruit gets a contract extension … after three weeks

Andrew Brayshaw has been at Fremantle for less than three weeks, and is months away from playing his first senior AFL game, but the Dockers have already signed their top draft pick to a two-year contract extension on top of his initial two-year deal.
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The 18-year-old, who was taken at pick No.2 in November’s AFL draft, has signed with the Dockers until the end of the 2021 season, with the club keen to lock in the talented player and his potential leadership.

“I heard that the club was interested in re-signing me and I’ve been treated really well here and everyone’s been really welcoming, so I just snatched it up as quickly as I could,” Brayshaw said in a Fremantle statement on Tuesday.

“I definitely feel there’s something special going on at the club and I’m really excited for the next few years and I definitely want to be a part of that.

“At a lot of other clubs, there’s only two or three draftees but having us 10 who most have moved from interstate, it’s been really great to work off each together and sort things out together.

“It’s been a great experience so far.”

Fremantle’s list manager Brad Lloyd, in expressing the Dockers’ delight at the contract extension, said that Brayshaw had immediately shown the qualities that had made him a prized draftee.

“He’s been really upbeat and he’s attacked everything the club’s thrown at him. He’s spent some time living with Nat Fyfe. He’s been on a training camp already, where he displayed a lot of his qualities and he’s settling in really well,” Lloyd said.

“He’s an exciting young player, we love his football and he’s also a quality person.

“We’re thrilled with the leadership he’s shown. We’ve had 22 young players enter the football club in the past two off-seasons, so to have a young player like Andrew show his commitment to the club with a two-year extension on top of an initial two-year term, it’s a really good sign and a show of faith by Andrew.”



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Geordie Malone sure loves his Christmas T-shirts

A Christmas T-shirt a day in December | PHOTOS, POLL Festive Spirit: Geordie Malone feeling the joy in his super stylish Christmas T-shirts.
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Geordie Malone and Eartha Smith.

Geordie Malone.

Geordie Malone and Eartha Smith.

Geordie Malone and Eartha Smith.

Geordie Malone and his son Howlin’ Jack Watt.

TweetFacebookSo how did this Christmas T-shirt thing come about?

“Basically it came about because Eartha thinks it’s really funny to make me wear Christmas T-shirts and take weird photos of me wearing them,” Geordie said.

Plus, he likes to make her laugh.

“She tells me it’s a modern-day love story, but I’m not so sure,” he said.

“The first year we had the shop, she made me wear one every day of December and it just became a tradition from there.

“I do love Christmas and I think the T-shirts are really funny, but it has also been pretty cool to see that some people really get joy from seeing me wear them – even though I look dorky.”

Eartha collects Christmas T-shirts for Geordie whenever she sees one.

“She loves to find the old ones made by someone’s grandma with heaps of glitter and stuff,” Geordie said.

“Now other people have got involved and gifted me a few choice ones.

“The dream is to reach 24, so I never have to wear one twice.”

They’re getting close to achieving this remarkable goal.

Hay SantaSpeaking of all things Christmas, Kurri Kurri’s Col Maybury spotted thisSanta and reindeer made of hay at Maitland, just south of Fishery Creek Bridge.

A Santa made of hay at Maitland.

For some reason, this reminds us of the Kevin Bloody Wilson Song, Hey Santa Claus.

It goes like this: Quite often I get to thinking how as kids we got by;Like at Christmas time at our house we couldn’t even afford a fire;But we made do with what we had back then when I was young;Dad used to suck a peppermint and we’d all sit around his tongue.

We couldn’t afford no sparkling tinsel for our Christmas tree;So we’d just wheel old grandad in and make the old [bloke]sneeze.

We shan’t be repeatingthe rest.

Let’s just say it’s an insightful [but filthy] commentary relating to the selfishness that tends to afflictsome spoiled youngsters at Christmas in this day and age.

Aussie ChristmasTopics has been listening to Aussie Christmas with Bucko and Champs on Spotify.

Have a listen to this old record.

Remember theold classic, Aussie Jingle Bells. Here’s some of thelyrics to get you in the Aussie Christmas spirit:Dashing through the bush in a rusty Holden Ute;Kicking up the dust, esky in the boot.

Kelpie by my side, singing Christmas songs;It’s summertime and I am in my singlet, shorts and thongs.

Oh, jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way; Christmas in on a scorching summer’s day, Hey!Jingle bells, jingle bells, Christmas time is beaut;Oh what fun it is to ride in a rusty Holden Ute.

Engine’s getting hot; we dodge the kangaroos;The swaggie climbs aboard, he is welcome too. All the family’s there, sitting by the pool, Christmas Day the Aussie way, by the barbecue.

Come the afternoon, grandma has a doze;The kids and Uncle Bruce are swimming in their clothes.

The time comes ’round to go, we take the family snap; Pack the car and all shoot through before the washing up.

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Newcastle residents wake to find hot air balloons hovering over Harbour

Balloons wake up Newcastle TAKE OFF: Launched from Horseshoe Beach just after sunrise, the three balloons took staff from company ‘Balloon Aloft’ on a joyous 45 minute flight. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers.
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The balloons move over the Harbour early on Tuesday morning. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers.

The Balloons lofted across the Harbour down towards Hamilton where they landed on a cricket field. Pciture: Max Mason-Hubers.

SUNRISE: The view from one of the balloons as captured by Herald photographer Max Mason-Hubers.

The Fearney Dawes Athletic Centre. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers.

A spectacular view high above the city of Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers.

The sunrise in the background as the balloons loft over the Harbour. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers.

The view from inside one of the baskets as captured by our Herald photographer. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers.

Picture by Dave Anderson

Picture by Dave Anderson

Picture: Jan Lowe

Picture: Jan Lowe

TweetFacebookWe just woke a lot of people up, which they all seemed to enjoy.

Balloon Aloft General Manager David BainBalloons in Newcastle Harbour this morning, definitely quieter than supercars pic.twitter苏州夜总会招聘/XA0CIpzBQF

— Christine Prietto (@47damselflies) December 11, 2017

The unexpected marketingmanoeuvre brought pleasant intrigue fromearly risers with aflurry of social media posts capturing the moment.

“No one [knew], we alerted Williamtown obviously that we’d be flying in the area, but other than that not too many knew about it,” Mr Bain said.

“We just woke a lot of people up, which they all seemed to enjoy.”

Did you spot the balloons? Send your photos to [email protected]苏州夜总会招聘.au



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Black Jack beats Wild Oats XI to win Big Boat Challenge

Super maxi Black Jack made an early statement ahead of this year’s Sydney to Hobart, finishing 43 seconds clear of fierce rival Wild Oats XI to take line honours in Tuesday’s Big Boat Challenge.
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Wild Oats XI skipper Mark Richards, who was joined in the crew by Crown Prince Frederik and Princess Mary of Denmark, was quick to promise his boat would improve ahead of the 73rd ocean classic before taking a swipe at the lack of competitors in the only lead-up race on Sydney Harbour.

Just four boats contested the annual Big Boat Challenge, which raises money for the Safety Of Life At Sea (SOLAS) trusts, established after six competitors lost their lives in the 1998 Sydney to Hobart. There were eight starters in the race last year.

Beau Geste was third across the line while 66-footer Wild Oats X finished fourth, although it did win the Big Boat Challenge on handicap.

Of the other super maxis entered into the Sydney to Hobart, LDV Comanche didn’t contest Tuesday’s race because most of the crew is still in the United States, while InfoTrack, formerly Perpetual Loyal, was not yet ready to compete. But it was a conspicuous spectator as skipper Christian Beck took it out for a practice sail.

“This was a fundraising event for the SOLAS foundation, which is a big deal, a foundation that really supports us as sailors at sea more than any other foundation in the whole industry,” Richards said. “To be not supporting that I think’s a real shame.

“It’s the second biggest spectator boat fleet on the harbour apart from the Sydney to Hobart every year. A lot of people are interested in the race, a lot of people are out there giving to charity, there’s a lot of functions on before the event for charity, the positions on the boats raise a lot of money for the foundation, and to have a small fleet is pretty disappointing.

“We had a few issues on board. The Black Jack guys did a better job today and they got the result.

“I’m a bit of a perfectionist. Having mistakes on board isn’t great, I’ve forgotten them already.

“It’s the difference between crossing or not crossing that can be the boat race and that’s just the way it goes. We had a few too many little things today. That’s life. The guys know what the problems were, and we’ll be better tomorrow for it and away we go.”

Wild Oats XI hadn’t lost a Big Boat Challenge since 2009, when it was beaten by the same yacht, at the time under the guise of Alfa Romeo.

Alfa Romeo went on to win that year’s Sydney to Hobart before being sold to European interests. Peter Harburg bought the boat earlier this year and brought it back to with an eye to the Sydney to Hobart, but was quick to play down Tuesday’s mini-victory of Wild Oats XI.

“We finished in front of Ricko [Richards] but, until we did that last jibe across the line, we hadn’t won it,” Harburg said.

“They got so close at times. I think I saw the whites of his eyes.

“It’s a lot nicer to win than come second and we’re very pleased with that. One swallow doesn’t make a summer, that doesn’t really prove anything. We know these guys are going to come back stronger than ever.

“Wild Oats has ruled the waves here for so many years now and it’s so good to be able to come and compete with them. We’re very happy with the performance, very happy with what the guys have done with the boat and very happy with the crew.”

The two yachts have clashed several times already this year. Wild Oats XI enjoyed a narrow win in the Sydney Gold Coast race, before Black Jack took line honours in the Cabbage Tree Island race.

Both boats won a race apiece last weekend in the CYCA Trophy Series.



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Wunderkind Dastyari’s fall over China links has a silver lining

Sam Dastyari announces his resignation at a press conference in Sydney. 12th December 2017 Photo: Janie Barrett Leader of the Federal Opposition Bill Shorten (right) in his seat of Maribyrnong with NSW Senator Sam Dastyari . Photo: PENNY STEPHENS. The Age. 9TH AUGUST 2016
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Ironically, the manner and timing of Sam Dastyari’s departure has achieved some important things his ongoing presence in the Senate had compromised.

First, by yielding to what in the end was unbearable political pressure, he has reinforced to Beijing, and to its wealthy business and political surrogates here, that will safeguard its sovereignty as jealously as does China.

Second, via his high profile rise and fall, the 34-year-old wunderkind has provided a brutal human lesson. Politicians seen to be influenced by a foreign power will be of no durable value to that government because their credibility will evaporate, and their sponsors exposed and neutralised.

And third, despite being personally crushed, Dastyari has departed without rancour thus salvaging some honour – given his pitiable circumstances. He did this by rejecting (for the record) doubts over his n patriotism, reaffirming his commitment to the ALP, and thanking the leadership that had persevered with him.

Of course, Bill Shorten and Penny Wong had done so in the fervent hope that the young senator would do the right thing.

That judgment proved correct, but not before Shorten’s otherwise stellar year tumbled headlong into the Dastyari-China-national security quagmire.

The Labor claim that Dastyari had already paid for his Huang Xiangmo links because he’d been dropped as deputy opposition whip in the Senate, was always hopelessly inadequate.

These were serious allegations and included the revelation that even after his demotion for soliciting money from the billionaire benefactor to cover travel costs, Dastyari had visited Mr Huang and advised inter alia about n security agency surveillance.

Despite his huffing, Shorten had been left looking impotent, fuelling the suspicion that Dastyari’s power in the infamous New South Wales Right, exceeded his – that the leader could not sack the junior senator because of what it might cost him.

The government was never going to allow that to go unremarked, much less the suggestion of shadowy Labor links to the cashed-up Chinese Communist Party.

In recent days, Coalitionists had ratcheted up their attacks using hyperbolic terms such as “treasonous” and “double agent”.

A final observation. By falling on his sword before Christmas, Dastyari has stemmed Shorten’s bleeding. That much is good for Labor in 2018 but the affair, on the eve of the Bennelong byelection has also reminded Sydney voters of the ugly side of New South Wales politics where business types, hefty donations, and murky dealings are all too common. iFrameResize({resizedCallback : function(messageData){}},’#pez_iframeTT’);



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Helen Hopcroft plans for the summer heat 7 months into her year as Marie Antoinette

Marie, let them eat icy poles SUMMER IS HERE: Helen Hopcroft cools off in Maitland Pool while dressed as Marie Antoinette. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers
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SUMMER IS HERE: Helen Hopcroft cools off in Maitland Pool while dressed as Marie Antoinette. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

SUMMER IS HERE: Helen Hopcroft cools off in Maitland Pool while dressed as Marie Antoinette. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

SUMMER IS HERE: Helen Hopcroft cools off in Maitland Pool while dressed as Marie Antoinette. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

SUMMER IS HERE: Helen Hopcroft cools off in Maitland Pool while dressed as Marie Antoinette. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

SUMMER IS HERE: Helen Hopcroft cools off in Maitland Pool while dressed as Marie Antoinette. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Helen Hopcroft ahead of a fundraiser event in July for Maitland Regional Museum called Let Them Eat Cake. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Helen Hopcroft ahead of a fundraiser event in July for Maitland Regional Museum called Let Them Eat Cake. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Helen Hopcroft dressed as Marie Antoinette visiting the Versailles exhibition at the National Gallery of on Friday, March 16

Helen Hopcroft dressed as Marie Antoinette doing a cross fit class in Thornton. Picture: Simone De Peak

Helen Hopcroft dressed as Marie Antoinette doing a cross fit class in Thornton. Picture: Simone De Peak

Helen Hopcroft dressed as Marie Antoinette doing a cross fit class in Thornton. Picture: Simone De Peak

TweetFacebookMy Year as a Fairy Taleproject on May 1 –a year dressed as lastQueen of Francebefore theFrench Revolution, who the phrase “let them eat cake” has been famously attributed to.

Despite the hot days ahead, Ms Hopcroft is committed to her craft, with the aim of using the costume to promoteMaitland as a creative city. It seems to be working.

“There’s certainly been a number of creative projects pop up this year,” she said.

Theartist-run Inside Out exhibition currently on displayat Rutherford and East Maitland Libraries, cafe poetryprogram Verses, portable puppet showFrank’s Fantastic Fairy Tale Theatre which will feature in The Levee next year and an upcoming micro-film festival areseveral examples of Maitland’s thriving cultural scene she mentioned.

“I’m not going to take the credit, but I hope I’ve been a little bit ofa catalyst,” she said.

The year has come with challenges though –Ms Hopcroft has had to attenda funeral and visit the GP all in 18thCentury attire.

Helen Hopcroft dressed as Marie Antoinette doing a cross fit class in Thornton. Picture: Simone De Peak

“It means you’re late for everything,” she said. “There are days you just do not want to do the supermarket run.

“School things are interesting –I promised my daughter I’d never wear the wig to school. Luckily I haven’t been pulled over for speeding yet.

“Any sort of responsibleadult thing, it naturally sends it straight towards comedy. It’s absolutely ridiculous and that’s the whole concept.”

It is worth it though for Ms Hopcroft, who wants to see a purpose built space for the city’s regional museum as well as a centrally located art space in Maitland before her year as Marie Antoinette is finished.

“If either one of those happens, I think it’s a year well spent,” she said. “The arts are important,you’ve got to fight for them.”

Ms Hopcroft also said the experience had allowed her to build resilience.

“I’m excited to see what happens –the shift in the psyche. How does that change you?

“It toughens you up. I feel like I’m capable of anything.”

Passers-by have also generally been supportive and joined in the fun.

“I’ve been bowed and curtsied to a lot,” she said.

“The reactions range from playful engagement to absolute terror.

“But most people know I’m genuinelytrying to do something to help Maitland along. I’m trying to get stuff to happen here.”

Ms Hopcroft hosts a monthly event for local creatives called Creative Coffee. The next one will take placeat The Hunter Artisan Gallery & Cafe on Monday.



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