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    Musicians unite for flood aid concert

    2019 - 04.21

    Country musician Jason Carruthers has teed up more than 20 artists to perform in a flood relief concertThe communities of Maitland and Dungog mean a lot to Jason Carruthers.

    He grew up in one and lives in another.

    So when the country music artist started hearing the stories of those affected by the recent storms, hedecided to do something about it.

    “This has affected so many people that I just couldn’t sit back and not do anything,” Carruthers, of Aberglasslyn, said.

    “This was a once in a lifetime flood, but it has devastated so many people.”

    Carruthers, 45, has garnered the interest of more than 20 artists to take centre stage for The Dungog Maitland Flood Relief Concert.

    “If we can all chip away and do something it will help someone,” he said.

    “There are people out there who have lost their livestock, others have lost kitchens, and some have lost their homes.

    “Really, our lives have been turned upside down, but I think everyone wants to help and this concert will be the place to come and do it.

    “But the concert is also about ­getting people together to celebrate the fact we can do something to help ­people.

    “We’re sad about it but we are also happy that we can do something about it.

    “There has been a lot of negativity, so this will be a positive thing and hopefully this will pick people up.”

    The flood relief concert at Maitland City Bowls Sports and Recreation Club is on May 24 from noon to 7pm.

    Tickets cost $10 at the door.

    Half of the money raised will come directly to the Dungog flood appeal organised through the Dungog Shire Community Centre.

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    Movement gives works life

    2019 - 04.21

    Peter Steller with the bronze cast of his wooden sculpture Flamenco Fire, inspired by a flamenco dance performance at QPAC. Photos by Chris McCormack

    Peter Steller s wooden sculpture Twirling through the Forest to be exhibited at the Brisbane Sculpture Festival on May 15 to 17.

    Peter Steller’s wooden sculpture ‘She’ to be entered in to the Brisbane Sculpture Festival on May 15 to 17. Photo by Chris McCormack

    WELLINGTON Point wood sculptor Peter Steller puts his heart and soul into every piece of wood he sculpts and the results are breathtaking.

    He began his journey into the realm of art 13 years ago when he took up woodturning.

    After a while he grew bored with woodturning and craved something more in his work.

    “After you have turned a few hundred bowls, a bowl is a bowl is a bowl is a bowl,” he said.

    “I started cutting out sections in the bowls and entered that in the RNA competition and won first prize.

    “It’s just one of those things that you gradually morph into.”

    Peter, a retired physiotherapist, said he had an appreciation for the form of the human body.

    “That’s why I like to make things now that always have a sense of movement,” he said.

    “It is the essence of the sculpture and it has got to be seen from different angles.”

    Peter said he had found inspiration from a number of influences, including a performance he went to at QPAC called Flamenco Fire.

    “Just a phenomenal performance and I could not get over how beautiful it was,” he said.

    “It was the swishing of the shawls, the dresses and the stamping of the feet and jumping in the air and the like.”

    That performance inspired his award-winning sculpture Flamenco Fire.

    His favourite woods to work with were from jacaranda and Moreton Bay fig trees.

    “To me the Moreton Bay fig is the essence of Queensland,” he said.

    “It is a beautiful tree on the outside, but inside the tree is even more beautiful.”

    Peter enjoyed entering competitions because it helped him improve his work.

    “Competition picks out your flaws and you can build on that,” he said.

    “Each year I think ‘what can I do now that is even better?’.”

    Peter said he would enter six of his sculptures in the upcoming Brisbane Sculpture Festival at Mount Coot-tha Botanical Gardens Auditorium.

    His work can be viewed from 10am to 4pm daily from Friday, May 15 to Sunday, May 17.

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    Scarecrow ball to secure future of Milton event

    2019 - 04.21

    BELLE OF THE BALL: The staff at Bella Coastal Property Lucy Cairns (left) and Jodie Cliff have thrown their support behind the Milton Scarecrow Festival’s fundraising ball and are working on their vintage scarecrow creation.The first Glad Rag, Sad Rag Ball is shaping up to be a colourful, fun-filled night out as well as ensuring the future of the Milton Scarecrow Festival.

    The fundraising ball will be held at the Ulladulla ExServos on Saturday May 30, with Milton’s own Escalators band sure to have everyone on the dance floor for a foot-stomping good time.

    Scarecrow festival coordinator Bedelia Wilson is encouraging friends to get a table together and dress in their best glad rags or their rattiest scarecrow attire for the inaugural event.

    She said, as well as loads of fun on the dance floor, there will be raffles, a host of prizes and a good old fashioned country feast,complete with beef and lamb on a spit, roasted potatoes and corn cooked on the fire.

    Vegetarians and people with special dietary requirements will also be catered for.

    “Grab some friends and get a table together for a great night out with fabulous music dancing and some delicious food roasted on the spit,” she said.

    The Scarecrow Festival has limited funding this year and Bedelia said funds raised would ensure it runs smoothly on June 6 and for years to come.

    “This is ball is to save the festival,” she said.

    “Not only will be it be a great night out, but it will make sure we can keep running the festival that is so loved by the community.”

    With the ball just around the corner and the festival only weeks away, local families, businesses and community groups are starting work on their vintage scarecrow creations.

    The vintage 40s, 50s and 60s themed scarecrows will be judged by a panel of Milton CWA ladies, with tonnes of prizes on offer.

    More than 30 of the best creations will line up in Wason Street on Saturday June 6 for judging, with a new people’s choice category added this year.

    Bedelia helped kick start the festival 21 years ago and she said she would hate to see it fold.

    She is rallying community support and hopes the 2016 will be the best ever, with a full weekend of activities for the whole family.

    “We cannot lose this festival – it’s too important for our community,” she said.

    Scarecrow entry forms are in Wednesday’s print edition and can be dropped off the Akwa Surf, the Milton Newsagency or Ulladulla Dry Cleaners.

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    Clothing bank for Dungog flood victims inundated

    2019 - 04.21

    Tammy Zanardi sorting through clothes in the pavilion at Dungog ShowgroundThe response to Dungog’s recent devastating floods was overwhelming with clothing, household goods and furniture arriving by the truckload.

    Tammy Zanardi, who was the volunteer in charge of the depot at Dungog Showground, said the response from outside the area was unbelievable.

    “There were donations from all around the Hunter, Sydney and western NSW,” she said.

    “People brought trucks, 4WD and car loads of stuff to help out the people in town affected by the floods.

    “The centre was set up barely two days after the floods and it was only last week that people were starting to come up here and get what they needed.

    “People are starting to get homes to go to and it now they realise what they don’t have.”

    Ms Zanardi said volunteers Bernadette Skuse, Anne Hugo, Emma Picker, Jenni Denniss and Jacqui Wilkinson spent a lot of time at the centre.

    “Two ladies – Mel and Amanda – came down from Muswellbrook last weekend and bought a team of volunteers with them,” she said.

    “They organised us and helped out and we are really grateful for their help.

    “But we still have plenty of stuff here for those affected by the floods.”

    The centre will finish operating on Sunday, May 17 and will be open from 11am to 3pm and will be open to all the community across the shire and Stroud area.

    For a donation of $5 people can fill a bag with clothes and $10 will get you a boxful.

    “All the money raised on that day will go to the flood fund,” Ms Zanardi said.

    “It will be our final day here and everything has to go.”

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    Donation stuns Dungog flood victim

    2019 - 04.21

    Colleen Jones, left, with best friend Nicole Lancaster, who nominated her for the Today Show, $10,000. Photographed at the Bank Hotel, Dungog where the owner has allowed flood victims to stay and with her dogs, from left Nipper, Kinky (being held) and PriscillaAnother 10 minutes and Colleen Jones and her three foxy-cross-Jack Russell companions could have died in her home as it was swept away down Dungog’s main street last month.

    The 59-year-old will never forget standing chest deep in flood water in her front yard and screaming for help with the three dogs held strongly in her arms.

    She was standing next to a large tree for some protection from the current, and she knew the strength of the water would soon carry her and her dogs away.

    Moments earlier she had re-entered the house, after helping her mother escape with her daughter, to get her dogs. There was no way she was leaving her “babies” inside.

    It was still dark, and the three of them were stranded on the raised half of the electric bed in her mother’s room. They looked terrified.

    As Ms Jones grabbed them tightly in her arms and headed for the door, the entertainment unit collapsed, and she found herself wading around furniture to get out the front door.

    It was then she made her way to that tree, thinking it could be the end.

    Luckily her 26-year-old son, Keegan, and neighbour John Edwards came to her rescue and they made it to safety.

    But what happened next still shocks her to the core. Her weatherboard house, which was at least 120 years old, floated off its piers and was swept away.

    It was the third house to disappear on that street as floodwater lashed the town. Her son’s house and the house Mr Edwards was living in also disappeared.

    “We all could have been washed away,” she said.

    Each time the near-tragedy replays in her mind she is emotional. But on Friday she had a reason to smile.

    Perched at the local pub since April 21 in a room that faces the balcony, so the dogs can be with her and her husband, Stephen, she had an unexpected visitor, Channel Nine’sToday Showcrew.

    Presenter Stevie Jacobs handed Ms Jones $10,000 to help her rebuild, and Keegan was also given $10,000.

    “I’m still in shock, I’m speechless,” Ms Jones said.

    “I’m amazed at their generosity and the fact that they came here knocking on the pub door to tell me.

    “I’m also so thankful for the generosity of the Dungog community.”

    Her friend Nicole Lancaster contacted the show after it advertised a competition to help a deserving mum, and she kept the secret for almost a week.

    “She is a wonderful person. I’m not sure how we became friends, but we have been friends for a long time,” Mrs Lancaster said.

    Ms Jones wants to buy a house in Dungog that will not be touched by floodwater.

    “In 2007 the water was knee deep in the house, and I said if it ever happens again, we will move,” she said.

    “It’ll be sad that we won’t live across the road from Keegan any more, but at least we won’t have to go through anything like this again.”

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