Good Friday AppealMoney flows in for the kids

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Kirsty Rowe lifts her son Henry, 8 months, so he can donate to John Vandeven. Picture: JOHN RUSSELL
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SIRENS and horns gained plenty of attention on the Border yesterday.

Children flew out to the street in their pyjamas, begging for a ride in the fire truck as parents produced coins for the Good Friday Appeal.

The efforts of volunteers and the generosity of residents helped raise about $137,000 for the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne.

Initial counts show Albury contributed $63,518 and Wodonga dug deep — coming up with just over $74,000.

This was through tin rattling alone, with further donations flowing in via the Good Friday Appeal phone service.

While the numbers were down on last year, Albury fire captain John Vandeven said the money tins filled quickly as firefighters offered to wash cars for a $50 donation and people emptied out jars full of coins for the very popular cause.

Mr Vandeven circled East Albury and found the youngest contributor, eight-month-old Henry Rowe.

His mother Kirsty Rowe lifted him up to greet Mr Vandeven.

Ms Rowe had spent the morning waiting to donate to the cause, which was close to her heart.

She stayed in the Royal Children’s Hospital for about a month when she was 12.

“I had major back surgery because I had scoliosis as a kid and had to get a rod in my back,” Ms Rowe said.

“The staff were amazing.”

Meanwhile it was just as busy on the Victorian side of the Border.

About 130 volunteers were rattling tins and by noon were concentrating on the heart of the city.

Wodonga fire brigade deputy group officer Alex Todd said there was a good vibe to the public holiday.

“People want to donate,” he said.

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Litbits, April 4: Omar Musa longlisted for Miles Franklin Literary Award

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Queanbeyan-born poet Omar Musa.CONGRATULATIONS
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Congratulations to Queanbeyan author Omar Musa whose first novel, Here Come the Dogs, has been longlisted for the Miles Franklin Literary Award. The shortlist will be announced on May 18 and the winner on June 23.


Entries are now open for the Australian Catholic University Prize for Poetry, with a total prize pool of $10,000. The theme is Peace, Tolerance and Understanding. Entries close on June 16. Website:  acu.edu419论坛.


The 2015 ABR Elizabeth Jolley Short Story Prize is now open with a total prize pool of $8000. Entries close at midnight on May 1. Website: australianbookreview南京夜网419论坛.


On May 22 from 5 to 7.30pm at ALIA House, 9 Napier Close, Deakin, Hazel Edwards  will talk about her memoir, Let Hippos Eat Cake: Being a Children’s Author or Not? .Cost $25 at the door. RSVP by May 18 to [email protected]南京夜网. Events


April 4: At 2pm Moruya Books is holding a free event at SAGE Community Gardens, 110 Queen Street, Moruya for the launch of The River Cottage Cookbook. Paul West will be in conversation with local identity and president of SAGE, Fraser Bailey.


April 9: At 6.30pm meet Kate Forsyth at Harry Hartog bookshop in Westfield Woden. RSVP: 6232 5832.


April 9: At Paperchain Bookstore Manuka at 5.45pm for 6pm, former Independent politician Tony Windsor will speak about his new book Windsor’s Way. RSVP: 62956723.


April 9: In a Canberra times/ANU meet the author event, Kate Grenville will talk to Marion Halligan about Grenville’s new book One Life. My Mother’s Story at the Copland Lecture Theatre at 6.30pm. Bookings: 6125 4144 .


April 10: At 12.30pm Harry Hartog Woden and Woden Library invite you to meet Kate Grenville at the Heritage Library (upstairs at  Woden Library). She will be discussing  One Life: My Mother’s Story. RSVP:6232 5832.


April 11: River Cottage Australia author and television presenter Paul West will speak with Sydney Morning Herald literary editor Susan Wyndham at the Catalina Country Club in Batemans Bay at noon for 12.30pm. Tickets $45. Bookings:batemansbaywritersfestival南京夜网.


April 14: Editor and author of fiction, non-fiction and children’s books.Irma Gold will read her children’s book Megumi and the Bear at Harry Hartog, Westfield Woden at 10am.


April 14: Goodbye Sweetheart by Marion Halligan will be launched at Paperchain Bookstore Manuka at 5.45pm for 6pm by Carmel Bird. It is a novel about love, the desire for understanding and the messiness of life. RSVP 6295 6723.


April 14: At the Gods Cafe ANU Arts Centre,six Canberra poets will read their choice of Judith Wright and David Campbell’s work in a centenary tribute. Dinner at 6, readings at 7.30pm. Bookings: 62485538.


April 16: Jennifer Bradley’s book Girl With Wings, based on the true story of a young girl growing up in the 1920s with a passion for flying, will be launched at Paperchain Manuka by  Rosemary Follett, at 5.45pm for 6pm. RSVP 62956723.


April 21: Military/history author Peter Rees will be talking about Bearing Witness, on the life of war correspondent Charles Bean, at Harry Hartog, Westfield Woden at 6.30pm. RSVP: 6232 5832.

* Contributions to Litbits are welcome. Please email [email protected]南京夜网419论坛 by COB on the Monday prior to publication. Publication is not guaranteed.

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Ballarat duo off to world titles

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Jared Tallent
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JARED Tallent and Kathryn Mitchell will represent Australia at the 2015 IAAF World Championships in Beijing.

The Ballarat athletes are part of the first batch of 26 representatives named by Athletics Australia to contest the August 22-30 championships at the iconic Bird’s Nest Stadium – the central venue for the 2008 Olympics.

Mitchell was a finalist at the 2013 world cham-

pionships in Moscow, finishing fifth, while Tallent is a two-time bronze medallist in the 50km walk.

Tallent will compete in both the 20km and 50km walks in Beijing.

Former Eureka Athletic Club member Victoria Mitchell has also qualified for the championships and will race in the 3000m steeplechase.

Hurdles champion Sally Pearson is the Australian team captain.


800m – Jeff Riseley, Alex Rowe

110m hurdles – Nick Hough

High jump – Brandon Starc, Joel Baden

Discus – Julian Wruck

Javelin – Hamish Peacock

20km walk – Dane Bird-Smith, Jared Tallent

50km walk – Chris Erickson, Jared Tallent


100m – Melissa Breen

200m – Ella Nelson

5000m – Eloise Wellings (subject to ratification of performance)

100m hurdles – Sally Pearson, Michelle Jenneke

400m hurdles – Lauren Wells

3000m steeplechase – Madeline Heiner, Victoria Mitchell

High jump – Eleanor Patterson

Pole vault – Alana Boyd, Nina Kennedy

Long jump – Brooke Stratton

Discus – Dani Samuels

Javelin – Kim Mickle, Kathryn Mitchell, Kelsey-Lee Roberts

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Jordan Roughead has his say: now, it’s just the pigskin

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Jordan RougheadTHE great unknown: it was a period of drastic change and disturbance.
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At the start of November, we found ourselves in a bit of a pickle down at the Kennel.

No coach, no captain and a raft of experienced players were shaking their collars.

There were a few dark days when some of us were left puzzled, not knowing what was going to happen next.

But what did happen was a beautiful thing and it’s continuing to grow as we go into our opening game of the season just six months later.

One of the challenges of the modern game is achieving balance. Be it the balance between experience and youth, defence and attack, or boldness and caution, it is something that all clubs are trying to achieve.

As we head into our round-one fixture against West Coast on Saturday night, I like to think we have achieved a balance that we can build on.

We’ve appointed a captain who for 16 years has shed blood, sweat and tears for his club in Bob Murphy; a coach who has unified our playing group, supported us to learn through experiment and failure, and forged relationships with numerous assistant coaches, support and administrative staff; and, reinvigorated a relatively inexperienced playing group by creating our own style of play, aimed at allowing us to trust our instincts, to do the things that helped us get to the big league in the first place.

But it hasn’t been without its challenges.

Our chief executive officer Simon Garlick has moved on, our 2014 best and fairest Tom Liberatore has gone down, and we have made headlines for different reasons along the way.

Saturday night is the first chance we have to put that all behind us.

The magnificence of football is that once you cross that white line, nothing else matters, and if things go wrong, you get that chance again seven days later.

While the classic footy cliches get thrown around like confetti at a wedding at this time of year – “our new recruits are flying”, “Brehaut is tearing up the track” – there is a trepidation that raises its head in the lead-in to round one.

Not a fear exactly, but an excited anticipation to see just how far we can take it, to see how far we’ve come.

Despite everything that has transpired in the past six months, this Saturday night, nothing but the pigskin matters.

• Western Bulldogs vice-captain Jordan Roughead was drafted from North Ballarat Rebels in the 2008 AFL Draft and made his AFL debut in round five, 2010. Roughead played his junior football with Lake Wendouree.

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TAC Cup: Rebels’ depth stands firm

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Mass changes to the North Ballarat Rebels this round produced big signs of depth and versatility in the playing group.
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The Rebels made seven changes to their round-one TAC Cup under-18 winning side, due to injury and AFL Academy duties, and each player called to step up made an impact.

Playing against an unknown Bendigo Pioneers outfit in Bendigo, the Rebels secured an 80-point win on Friday.

And that was on a four-day turnaround from their campaign launch against Geelong.

Rebels coach David Loader said those called up had seized their opportunity.

“The new players that came in were absolutely fantastic. It’s great for so early in the year and shows the benefits of a big pre-season,” he said. “These guys came in and played roles for us. Some had midfield roles and were really solid … they’ve really tried to live up to our brand.”

This sets the tone for what looms as more likely mass changes for the Rebels. Loader said there were another five or six injuries from the game, although he hoped a couple of these players would be ready to face the strong-starting Murray Bushrangers in Bendigo next Saturday.

Rebels full forward Shannon Beks was knocked out in a collision early in the game, forcing the Rebels to move debutant Lloyd Meek and Nick Hausler between ruck and forward duties. Meek, from SMW Rovers, was strong in the hit-outs and booted three goals.

Matt Johnston continued his stellar work with six goals.

Johnston and roving half-back Josh Webster were again the Rebels’ standouts.

MATCH DETAILSNTH BALLARAT 2.0 9.4 14.7 20.8 (128)

BENDIGO 2.1 4.2 6.5 7.6 (48)

GOALS – North Ballarat: Johnston 6 Meek 3 Cowan 2 Templeton 2 White Lee Simpson Lusby Beks Hausler Berry. Bendigo: Mutch 2 Simmons Firebrace White Schultz Free.

BEST – North Ballarat: Johnston Webster Templeton Cowan McClure Hausler. Bendigo: Free Fox Ryan Mahony Burke Tardrew.


BENDIGO 4.3 6.8 7.9 14.10 (94)

NTH BALLARAT 1.4 2.5 5.6 7.7 (49)

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Julia Gillard seeks legal advice after forced adoption apology linked to same sex marriage debate

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David van Gend, the president of the Australian Marriage Forum, is described on-screen as a “family doctor”.Former prime minister Julia Gillard has sought legal advice after an anti-marriage equality group linked her apology for forced adoptions to the same-sex marriage debate.
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The advertisement – which depicts same-sex marriage as harmful to children – begins with footage of Ms Gillard’s 2013 apology to victims of forced adoptions.

It then warns that marriage equality would produce a “motherless generation”.

The ad is understood to have been broadcast in Canberra on March 29 during WIN’s telecast of movie Limitless.

The Australian Marriage Forum’s advertisements have previously grabbed headlines due to a social media backlash when aired during Nine and Seven’s coverage of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade in March.

Both broadcasters later dropped the ad, while SBS refused to put it to air.

Ms Gillard and forced adoption victims slammed the forum for hijacking a historical moment to suit its divisive agenda.

But the group’s president defended the ad as an “intelligent contribution to an important national debate”.

A spokesman for Ms Gillard said she had been unaware of the video until The Canberra Times drew it to her attention.

The spokesman said Ms Gillard thought it wrong for her apology to be taken out of context and misused.

“As well as being hurtful to those the subject of the apology, who have already suffered so much, Ms Gillard believes the video is offensive to gay couples, who are parents,” the spokesman said.

“Ms Gillard is seeking legal advice about this matter.”

The videos publication coincided with the start of the Without Consent: Australia’s past adoption practices exhibition at the National Archives, which catalogues the history of, and the damage caused by, past forced adoptions in Australia.

Ms Gillard was in Canberra to open the exhibition last week.

The policy saw about 250,000 newborns forcibly taken from their mothers, and given to strangers purely because of the parents unwed status.

The policy operated on the idea that the newborns would be better off with a white, married Christian couple.

Christine Cole, convenor of the Apology Alliance, which represents people affected by forced adoption, said: “It was for this policy and these dreadful past practices and the damage done to mothers fathers and adopted persons that we received a federal apology.”

“It is deeply traumatising that what was for us a profoundly moving and historical moment, the apology given to us by former prime minister Julia Gillard in 2013, is used out of context and for a particular agenda.”

But AMF president Dr David van Gend – who would only answer questions via email – said the footage had been used “respectfully and in the public interest”.

“We were diligent to make sure the ad accurately conveys the context of Ms Gillard’s quote,” Dr van Gend said.

“Of course we will not remove it or stop broadcast [as] this is an intelligent contribution to an important national debate, which praises the national apology for forced adoption and Ms Gillard’s words unreservedly.”

Dr van Gend said the advertisement focused on how the past injustice had violated the primal bond between a mother and her baby.

“[The ad] says, ‘Don’t do it again! Don’t violate this primal bond between mother and baby by instituting marriage without a woman, which creates families without a mother’.”

“We apply the one consistent principle to two contexts, both clearly depicted.”

He said he expected mothers and children affected by forced adoption would be the first to say don’t do it again.

“We would expect Ms Gillard to see that her noble apology for violating that bond through forced adoption must still apply to not violating that same bond through instating marriage and adoption or surrogacy by two men.”

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BFL: North City’s Luke suspended for four matches

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Ryan LukeDUAL North Ballarat City premiership player Ryan Luke will miss the start of the season for a second-straight year through suspension.
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Luke has been slapped with a four-match ban for front-on contact during City’s practice match with Geelong Football League outfit Leopold at Eureka Stadium late last month.

The sanction follows a two-game suspension for breaching social media guidelines after the 2013 Ballarat Football League grand final triumph, when it is understood he made comments over Facebook towards Sunbury players amid late-night premiership celebrations.

North Ballarat City football manager Stephen Darbin said

it was “doubtful “the club would appeal the AFL Goldfields Independent Tribunal’s decision, and it was disappointing Luke would again miss the start of a new campaign.

“There wasn’t any intent to cause the kid damage and, certainly, if you have a look at his tribunal record, Luke’s got a great tribunal record,” said Darbin, who has contacted Leopold to check on the condition of the injured player.

“He (Luke) is hard as hell, but very fair.”

It is understood vision of the incident was provided for the tribunal to use in its deliberations.

Luke, who helped City to back-to-back flags last year, will be forced to sit out the opening clashes with Redan, Ballarat, Bacchus Marsh and Melton South before again being eligible for selection in the round-six encounter with Darley in late May.

City has a bye in round one of the season, which starts on April 18.

Darbin said Luke, a past BFL interleague representative, was the most professional player at the club.

“From a club perspective, we know he is going to come back in good order. It’s disappointing he is going to miss the start of the season.”

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Hundreds of elderly patients occupy NSW hospital beds in queue for aged care

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Occupied: Doctors blame blockages on the wards for a blow-out in emergency department wait times. Photo: Nicolas WalkerHundreds of elderly people are clogging hospital beds in NSW because they are waiting for beds in overstretched nursing homes, putting further strain on the public health system.
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More than 550 people in acute hospital beds who are fit to be discharged are waiting for placement in a nursing home on any given day in NSW, at vast cost to the taxpayer and considerable risk to their health.

According to documents obtained under Freedom of Information laws, nearly half of them had been in hospital longer than 35 days and 22 people had been there for longer than 400 days at the most recent census.

With the population of people aged over 70 set to boom over the next decade, the Aged Care Financing Authority has forecast an extra 76,000 aged care beds will be required.

Doctors blame blockages on the wards for a blow-out in emergency department wait times, with many hospitals failing to meet their targets while ambulances line up outside.

The NSW chief executive of the peak industry body Leading Aged Services Australia Charles Wurf said industry uncertainty had resulted in NSW providers slowing or abandoning their building works, at a time that the ageing population was booming.

“It’s a substantial problem because it takes us four years to put beds on the ground,” Mr Wurf said.

“If we don’t get going again the crisis will certainly come.”

A census conducted for the Department of Health and Ageing in 2012-13 showed that, nationally, 1197 people aged over 65 had continued to occupy hospital beds after their treatment was complete, down from 1252 the previous year.

NSW and the ACT were the only states that recorded an increase in long stay older patients, by 34 per cent and 49 per cent respectively, which was attributed to a change in methodology in NSW and the redevelopment of several aged care homes in the ACT.

The occupancy rate is currently 93 per cent but Mr Wurf said it was only 70 per cent for low care beds, while high care was running at 95 to 98 per cent.

Council of the Ageing chief executive Ian Yates said occupancy rates varied enormously between aged care providers, with popular centres running at capacity while others had beds available.

But “bed blocking” was regularly an issue in Australia.

“At any point in time you’re going to have a certain number of people in hospital beds who are being moved to a less acute facility and that doesn’t always happen with a click of the fingers … so there’s always going to be  certain number,” he said.

There needed to be more transitional care programs that gave people a half-way option between hospital and home that would remove the immediate need for an aged care place, he said.

“We’ve had a shove-and-forget policy in this country for a long time.”

It is about six times more expensive to look after a patient in hospital than in aged care, at $1200 per day for the average NSW bed, versus $200 for a high-needs aged care bed.

Nearly 55,000 hospital bed days were occupied by long-stay older patients in NSW at the 2012-13 census.

Leading Aged Services Australia, which is lobbying the NSW Government to restore tax exemptions to for-profit aged care centres, has funded research that found the bed day cost to the NSW hospital system on patients who could be in residential care was $21 million.

NSW Health said in a statement that more than 60 per cent of older people with an extended length of stay were waiting for residential aged care.

“The availability of appropriate nursing home beds is a Commonwealth responsibility but the impact of the lack of availability is felt by the NSW Health system,” the statement said.

Its range of specialist services for aged care patients included the Acute to Age-Related Care Services program operating at most major hospitals, which identified how older patients needed to be supported after discharge and eliminated or reduced the time they needed to wait, it said.

The Department of Social Services said the federal government had a plan to ensure the supply of aged care places matched the growth in the aged population, and would reach 125 aged care places for 1000 people aged 70 or older by 2021-22.

HammondCare chief executive Stephen Judd said the government would save money by funding rehabilitation programs in the community under Medicare, instead of putting them in aged care.

These could be done in a short-term stay environment or in people’s own homes.

“They’re cheap as chips,” Mr Judd said.

“And people have got a strong motivation to improve because they’re in their own homes and they probably want to stay there.”

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Gunning Bum Nuts free-range eggs capture Sydney market

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Free-range egg farmers Theresa and Craig Robinson, with two of their children, Alya, seven months, and William, three years old. Photo: Jamila ToderasCelebrating new life with Easter eggs is all the more joyous after a painful journey, like toddler William Robinson’s, which began with a perforated eardrum when he was one.
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His mother, Theresa Robinson, grew tired of commuting from Mount Dixon, the family’s fat lamb and wool farm near Gunning, into Canberra for her public service job, and getting William to and from the doctor and hospital to have his adenoids removed and grommets inserted.

“I would be up during the night, having to drive to Canberra with hardly any sleep the next morning, and ran off the road one day,” Mrs Robinson, a mother of four children, said. “I had a micro sleep, I didn’t injure myself, it was a wake up call that I had to do something else.”

Hatching a plan to work from home and grow food in the backyard, she bought 50 hy-line chooks and fashioned nesting boxes out of broken milk crates. One morning, lo and behold, she came across her first egg. “I raced inside, I was so excited, and showed my husband, Craig,” she said.

Two months later she delivered surplus eggs to a Gunning service station, then more to the village’s cafe. By December 2013, they had ordered another 100 chickens, were selling to a shop in Weston,  and had refined their marketing, starting with an illustration of an egg-laying chook with smoke curling out from its backside.

From the Yass area, Mr Robinson’s family have always called eggs bum nuts. So the couple kicked that theme around before coming up with a chook firing an egg out her rear end under the logo: Gunning Bum Nuts. They were on fire.

“We got another 350 chickens, after that another 1000, then another 1000, and another 1000 and another 1500. We have about 5000 at the moment,” Mrs Robinson said.

“The name, logo and slogan, ‘bloody good eggs from free range happy chooks’ were the drawcard,” she said. “People thought ‘oh, we have to check this out’. Then they have cracked open an egg, noticed how it holds together when you are poaching it. All of our eggs leave this property no later than three days after they are laid.”

Majura Valley free-range egg farmers Nick Weber and Anne McGrath mentored the Robinsons. “They are lovely. You start talking chickens and Nick, you can’t shut him up. He has been a wealth of knowledge,” Mrs Robinson said.

Mr Robinson converted an old caravan into a roosting shed, and has since built mobile sheds, which are rotated around paddocks, giving each chook 10 square metres of space.

On their 377-hectare farm, four people have part-time jobs packing the eggs. Four maremma dogs ward off foxes and two pairs of wedge-tailed eagles. They are all about to get busier, because Gunning Bum Nuts has spread to Sydney. They have a new distributor and will scale up to 10,000 chickens. They expect to be selling 1000 dozen eggs in Sydney. A franchise is beginning too, in Bundaberg, Queensland, under a Bundy Bum Nuts label.

The soothing chatter of thousands of grazing chooks could be smashed soon. A developer wants to use a neighbouring property for a motocross track and spectator facilities for motocross, enduro, minikhana and trail bike riding on Wednesdays, weekends and public holidays.

Upper Lachlan Mayor John Shaw says activities are increasing in the shire, which straddles the Hume Highway, because of high land prices in Sydney, causing people to look inland. Two development applications have been lodged for separate motocross facilities in separate areas of the shire. The Robinsons and neighbours fear noise, dust and biosecurity breaches will compromise their tranquil, productive surroundings.

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Book review: First Fleet Surgeon is a vivid account of a struggling colony

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FIRST FLEET SURGEON: The Voyage of Arthur Bowes Smyth By David Hill.  NLA Publishing.  $44.99.
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First Fleet Surgeon is a beautifully annotated and illustrated edition of a treasure of the National Library, the journal of surgeon Arthur Bowes Smyth on his voyage to Australia in 1787-1788, and his return to Britain the following year. One vivid story gives the flavour of the book.

The first execution in the newly-founded penal colony of New South Wales was in February 1788, and Smyth saw it. Lovell, Hall and Barrett, were sentenced to death for stealing food. The diarist accused the Governor, Arthur Phillip, of running a settlement of “anarchy and confusion”.

The events Smyth recorded in his diary seem to bear this out. Just as the sentence on the three men was about to be carried out Major Ross and Judge Advocate Collins arrived with a 24-hour stay of execution for Lovell and Hall. Next day they were reprieved. Barrett was not so lucky.

At this point the reluctant hangman, himself a convict, refused to proceed with the execution and had to be threatened at gunpoint to force him to obey orders. So Barrett became the first person executed in the new colony and today a plaque marks the site.

But the same Thomas Barrett has another claim to fame. He was a skilled engraver and at Botany Bay Surgeon John White commissioned Barrett to engrave a medal which depicted the ship in which they had both travelled and their route. This survives as one of the colony’s first European works of art.

More than 12 diaries by those on the First Fleet are known, one only rediscovered in 1982. The Journal of Surgeon Arthur Bowes Smyth, a leather-bound volume of 238 pages, is a treasure of the National Library. Historian David Hill has edited this lavishly-illustrated edition.

In his Journal Smyth records the departure of the First Fleet from Portsmouth in 1787 and the long voyage to Australia. His job was to be surgeon to more than 100 convict women on the Lady Penrhyn.

At Botany Bay and Port Jackson, he gives an eyewitness record of the struggle to set up the new colony, the failure of the first crops and encounters with the Aboriginal people. While Smyth is critical of Governor Phillip, most historians think Phillip gave splendid leadership.

After three months in the new colony, Smyth records his departure back to Britain, and to his native village in Essex. In 1790 the surgeon died, but he left behind this diary. It opens a window into our national beginnings.

Robert Willson is a Canberra reviewer. 

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