Monthly Archives: September 2018

Does Australia really have a housing shortage?

Australia’s housing shortage is hotly contested by some. Photo: Erin JonassonScarcity is the fundamental economic problem.

If humans possessed the ability to produce all the goods and services they desired in a cheap and easy fashion, there would be no scarcity and no need for economists.

But scarcity does exist, in both time and in resources. And it’s one of the most powerful influencers of price.

Products that are not particularly scarce, like televisions, can be produced and sold at a price not too far above the cost of production. A consumer desires a television, so she chooses from the abundant supply of makes and models and  buys one. If lots of consumers suddenly desired a new television, television manufacturers could respond with increased supply, which would limit any price increases.

But what about diamonds? Diamonds are little pieces of rock. They are very hard and so are quite useful for cutting other rocks. But that’s not why most people own them. Consumers pay high prices for diamonds because they are rare.

So, are houses like televisions or diamonds?

The answer is they are a bit of both. Building a house is like building a television, there are plenty of builders willing to work to build a property, so long as you pay them a bit over their costs of production.

But the land on which houses sit is more like diamonds. Particularly in our cities, where there is a fixed supply of residential land in central areas. There is some flexibility of supply on the fringes, but supply is quite restricted where most people want to live.

Demand for housing increases  annually with population growth – driven by migration and babies – and the formation of new households. Australians are living in smaller households than ever before, due to ageing singles and young people delaying marriage. This increases the demand for housing above the growth in the overall population.

What about supply?

Well, the number of new homes being completed is easy to measure. Of course, many new homes are built in the place of old homes, so to accurately measure new housing supply, you must subtract any houses demolished in the process. It also matters if there are changes in the stock of vacant homes, perhaps because more investors are buying homes and sitting on them for tax purposes.

So put it all together and what have you got? Well, that depends which economic modeller you ask.

The ANZ Bank recently released an analysis putting the shortage at 250,000 houses nationally.

That analysis is challenged  in modelling by LF Economics titled, The Australian Phantom Housing Shortage: The Myth in Every Bubble, which estimates a housing oversupply of about 220,000 homes.

The difference? LF Economics starts  its cumulative tally of the housing shortage/oversupply in the mid 1990s, while ANZ starts  its in the mid 2000s.

That is highly significant. It is clear from both analyses that during the decade from the mid 2000s, Australia failed to build enough new homes to keep up with demand. But in the decade before, Australia did build enough new homes to match demand and often exceed it comfortably.

So, if you start your tally in the mid 1990s, the most recent shortage just depletes the massive oversupply that already existed. But if you start counting only a decade ago, you get only shortages.

The two analyses also differ in the assumptions they make about the rate of new household formation and the rate of demolitions.

Which approach is correct? That is open for debate.

Most economists tend to think the massive growth in house prices over the past decade is  a symptom of undersupply. And given the relatively fixed supply of land, it is not hard to see why houses might exhibit diamond-like price properties.

But homes are not diamonds. Land can be subdivided – if the price is right – and apartments can be built. The supply response to price increases may be “inelastic”, or slow, but it is not non-existent.

Which is exactly what is happening, particularly in inner Melbourne and Sydney. This new housing will ease pressure on home prices in those areas.

But prices will be underpinned by the extent to which there is pent-up demand for new housing. How big that pent-up demand is is anyone’s guess.

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New life for Pisces fish farm

FISH FARMERS: Frances and Peter Bender, co-founders of the Tasmanian-based Huon Aquaculture, hope to operate a fish farm with NSW DPI off the Port Stephens heads. Picture: Peter MathewAN INACTIVE fishfarm off the Port Stephens heads will receive a newlease on life if a joint application seekingto modify how and where it operates is approved.

NSW Department of Primary Industries and the Tasmanian-basedHuon Aquaculture plan to operate three sea pens inProvidence Bay, where Pisces Aquaculture once operated its fish farm, to researchfarming methods forYellowtail Kingfish.

“We will work closely with the NSW Department of Primary Industriesand the Port Stephens Fisheries Institute to carefully monitor the health, welfare and performance of fish,” a statement byHuon Aquaculture co-foundersPeter and Frances Bender said.

“At Huon, we believe a commitment to research and development is crucial to a sustainable and successful aquaculture industry. Since 1986, we have championed aquaculture research in Australia and are internationally recognised for the technology and systems we have developed.”

Pisces Aquaculture was granted consent in 2001 tooperate a commercial fish farm in the Bay, close to Hawks Nest.It folded in 2004 after storms damaged the farm’s pens, stock escaped and a move to raise funds on the Newcastle Stock Exchanged failed.

In 2013 NSW DPI was granted consent tooperate theMarine Aquaculture Research Lease in Providence Bay, adjacent to the Pisces lease site.NSW DPIcalled forresearch partner EOIsin2013-2014 and Huon was selected. Itbought thePisces lease in 2014.

“NSW DPI submitted a joint modification application with Huon Aquaculture to move both the NSW DPI research lease and the Huon lease,” aNSW DPI spokesperson said. “If the modification application is successful, NSW DPI and Huon plan to initially operate three sea pens on the research lease to evaluate Yellowtail Kingfish production.”

In its joint application to theDepartment of Planning and Environment,NSW DPI and Huonproposeto move the twoaquaculture leases from about 3.5 kilometres to 7 or 9km offshore.

It also proposes toincrease the size of fish cages from 80-120 metres in circumference to 168m, increase thesize of the development from 20-30 hectares to 62 hectares,install permanent feed barges at each siteandincrease production from a maximum standing stock of 998 tonnes to 1200 tonnes.

“Trialing production in offshore sea pens is an exciting opportunity to develop this industry and create sustainable seafood production,” the NSW DPI spokesperson said.“Moving the sea pens further offshore and adopting the latest aquaculture technology will result in better environmental outcomes, better production performance and moves the leases away from the Hawks Nest community.”

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Councillor pay rise looms | poll

SINGLE-MINDED: Maitland Mayor Peter Blackmore said he would be “horrified” to see a hike in allowances for councillors if a merger with Dungog goes ahead. Picture: Marina Neil

COUNCILLORS could be in line for a pay riseif proposed amalgamations between Port Stephens and Newcastle,and Dungog and Maitlandgo ahead.

In financialmodelling for the stategovernment,KPMG made the assumption that “all newly elected councillors (metro and regional) will receive a fee of $30,000.”

“The $30,000 is acknowledged as an assumption and is based on the need to remunerate for potentially increased responsibilities associated with bigger councils,” a KPMG spokesperson said.

The final decision will be made by the local government remuneration tribunal, which sets maximum and minimum rates of pay for councillors across nine categories each year.

However followingcouncil amalgamations inQueensland in 2008, the state’s remuneration tribunal permittedcouncillors and mayors to adopt sizableincreases in pay.

Newcastle councillors are currently the best paid in the region, receiving$25,574 this financial year. Port Stephens and Maitland councillorswill receive $18,380 andDungog councillors will take home$8,330.

In its submission to the state government’s delegate, Wyong council argued councillors should receivean allowance of $50,000.

Mayor Doug Eaton said anything less wouldn’t be a“fair” sum for the time and workload involved, and would restrict the role to retireesor people with flexible working hours such as public servants and the self-employed.

Maitland Mayor Peter Blackmore was staunchlyopposed to any post-amalgamation fee increase. Hedescribed the idea of a $30,000 allowance for councillors as “absolutely ridiculous.”

“We’re not here for the money. You’re doing it to represent the community. I’d be absolutely horrified if there were councillors that accepted that,” he said.

Mayor of Port Stephens Bruce MacKenziesaid some councillors were “probably worth” $30,000 but for others “there’s no way in the wide world they are worth that amount of money.”

april 9 planner 1

SATURDAYA Little Bit of Italy in BrokeSaturday and Sunday. Aweekend filled withcooking schools, master classes and demonstrations. Meet Hunter Valley growers, makers and chefs; sample premium wines with traditional Hunter Valley varietals alongside Italian varietals; relax among the vines and olive groves enjoying Italian entertainment and games; and indulge in wood-fired pizza, porchetta, antipasto, Italian cheeses, gelato and espresso. Go toitalyinbroke苏州美甲美睫培训学校419论坛.

Motorcycle RacingSaturday and Sunday. The27th annual Trackmasters meeting isat Barleigh Ranch Raceway, 10am start both days.Hunter Motor Cycle Club.

Garden RELEAF 2016 Saturday and Sunday. Heritage Garden Centre, East Maitland, and Country Elegance Gardens & Gifts, Dungog, arerunning fun events to get everyone into their gardens tosupport their healthand also help to raise funds for beyondblue.

Jazz In The Grove Enjoy a picnic and live jazz bands amongthe poplar grove with award-winning Stonehurst Wines. 11am to 5pm,1840 Wollombi Road, Cedar Creek.

Hunter Valley Steamfest Saturday and Sunday. maitland.Historic steam train trips, vintage machinery displays and demonstrations, live music, interactive heritage walks and displays, vintage car display, market stalls, food stalls, children’sactivities and more. Go tosteamfest苏州美甲美睫培训学校419论坛.

Richmond Vale Steamfest Saturday and Sunday.Enjoy steam train rides, steam models and miniature train rides. Richmond Vale Railway, Leggetts Drive, Kurri Kurri.

Harry’s House Charity ShieldGold coin donation helps Harry’s House Family Retreat. Lynn Oval, Stockton, 12.30pm to 4.30pm.Stockton Sharks vs Dungog Warriors. Pony rides, BBQ, aerobatic air show, a Scottish pipe bandand more.

Outdoor Cinema WatchThe Intern under the stars as part of Cessnock Youth Centre and Outreach Service’sYouth Week.Free barbecue and a live band. Bring your own chair or rug. Arrive at 6.30pm for the movie at 7pm.East Cessnock Oval.

Hunter Valley Gardens Saturday and Sunday. The Minions are taking overHunter Valley Gardens at Pokolbinthis April. Meet and greet Kevin, Bob and Stuart.

Hunter Valley Wine Food & Film Festival Saturday and Sunday. A celebration of Australian film at Pokolbin matched with the Hunter Valley’sbest wines and food.Visitaroundhermitage苏州美甲美睫培训学校419论坛 for details. Ticket deals are available.

Household Chemical Clean OutGet rid of common household chemicals safely at chemicals atthe Indoor Sports Centre, Muswellbrook. 9am to 3.30pm. Includes paints, pesticides, motor oils and pool chemicals and other wastes such as batteries, fluorescent tubes and gas bottles. No cost.

Newcastle Jockey Club will host the Ryan Ansell Investment Solutions Race Day at Broadmeadow Racecourse. Two-course lunch; prizes.

SUNDAYEco Chic Fashion Pop-Up EventEco fashionista, Rachel Prest, founder of Raid My Wardrobe, is bringing a unique shopping experience to Foghorn Brewhouse. Each participatinglocal eco-luxe fashion designer hasoriginal and unique products for a fun night of shopping and dining. 218 King Street, Newcastle, 5pm to 8pm, free entry.Phone4929 4721to book your table.

Newcastle Knights Voice for Mining Family DayHead to Hunter Stadium for the round six NRL clash between the Knightsand Wests Tigers. Kick-off is at 4pm.

MARKETSCarrington Village Markets Saturday, 9am to 2pm. Afund-raiser for Carrington Public School featuring talented local designers, artists and artisans.Face painting, a jumping castle, live entertainment and plenty of food options,too. Carrington Public School, Young Street, Carrington.

Handmade in the Hunter Markets Saturday, 9am to 3pm. Grown, made and crafted by Hunter Valley artisans. Kevin Sobels Wines,5 Halls Road, Pokolbin.

Kurri Kurri Community MarketsSaturday, 8am.Rotary Park. Hampden Street, Kurri Kurri.

The Impossible “Foodie Feast”Markets Sunday, 4pm to9pm.Anewkindoffoodevent showcasing decadentindulgence rather thanpantrystaples. Free entry. The Edwards, Newcastle West.

Newcastle City Farmers Market Sunday, 8am to 1pm. Fresh produce, gourmet food, handmade goods and more. Newcastle Showground.

SAVE THE DATETocal Field Days April 29 to May 1.

Severe weather and subsequent safety concerns last April cancelled Tocal Field Days for the first time in its 33-year history, however the popular event is back in 2016, and promising to be bigger and better than ever.Exhibitor applications are open and 200 have already been confirmed.Visitors, exhibitors, farmers and sponsors will be treated to returning favourites such asBake or Burn, ute musters, piglet races and free craft for kids, along with new initiatives such as Talent at Tocal, billy boiling competitions, quad bike demonstrations and cattle dog demonstrations.Go to tocalfielddays苏州美甲美睫培训学校 for more information. Fun for all ages.

MUSIC5 Sawyers Saturday,DJ ShotsFired.

Argyle House Saturday, Running Touch.

Australia Hotel CessnockSaturday,TheBadandtheUgly.

Avon Valley InnSaturday,Xyz.

Bar 121 Saturday, Tommy Gun.

Bar Petite Saturday, Emmy Rose. Sunday, CrocQ.

Bay HotelSaturday, Lounge Lizards.

Beach HotelSunday, Go Stereo.

Belmont 16 Footers Saturday,ElvisToTheMax starringMaxPellicano,Cruzers,BobbyC. Sunday,PhillipCrawshaw.

Belmont HotelSaturday, The Hummingbirds.

Belmore HotelSaturday, Hard Grime presentsIan Munro&DJ I-Dee.

Beresfield Bowling ClubSaturday, The Smarts.

Bimbadgen EstateSaturday Chris Isaak, James Reyne,Richard Clapton,Thirsty Merc.

Blackbutt Hotel Saturday,Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.

The Bradford Saturday, Unlocking The Doors. Sunday, Frets With Benefits.

Burwood InnFriday,DaneFitzsimmons.

Cambridge HotelSaturday,Craze Nightclub launch featuringOski,Trey-Y,Amir.

Cardiff RSLClub Saturday,Loko.

Carrington Place Saturday, The Royal Key.

Catho PubSaturday,Angie. Sunday,Unlocking The Doors.

Central HotelStroudSaturday,Greg Bryce.

Cessnock Rugby League Supporters ClubSaturday, Counterpart.

Charlestown Bowling ClubSaturday,


City HallSaturday, Sarah Blasko.

Club AzzurriSunday, Latinova.

Club Kotara Saturday, Solid Gold Party.

Colliery Inn Saturday, Pete Sneddon.

Commercial Hotel Morpeth Saturday,PeteGelzinnis.

Country Club Hotel Shoal Bay Saturday, Shivoo, Dave McCredie. Sunday, JamieMartensDuo.

Criterion Hotel WestonSaturday, Sam Russell.

Duke Of WellingtonSaturday, The Big Bang.

East Cessnock Bowling ClubSaturday,CathyCannon. Sunday, Boney Rivers.

East Maitland Bowling ClubSaturday, Boney Rivers.

Edgeworth TavernSaturday,Jackson Halliday.

Exchange Hotel Saturday, Alias.

Finnegans HotelSaturday, Luke La Beat.

Firestation HotelSaturday, The Royals.

Foghorn Brewhouse Saturday,Hot Cop. Sunday,Crazy Old Maurice.

Grain StoreSaturday,Ryan Daley. Sunday,JJ King.

Gunyah Hotel Saturday,GenR8.Sunday, Blues Bombers.

Harrigan’s Pokolbin Saturday, Aqwa, Misbehave. Sunday, Kristn Lane Duo.

Honeysuckle Hotel Saturday,Adrianna MacTrio. Sunday,MickJones,TheLamplighters.

Hotel Jesmond Saturday, Kim and Mik. Sunday, Michael Mills.

Iron Horse InnSaturday, Purple Rain.

Jewells TavernSaturday,The Way.

The Junction Hotel Saturday,Mike Horzbac.

Kent Hotel Saturday,Fox Catapult. Sunday,Giant Blues Band.

King Street Hotel Saturday, Samuel James. Sunday, Any Given Sunday.

Kurri Kurri Bowling ClubSaturday, ShirazandDiamond.

Lake Macquarie TavernSaturday, October Rage.

Lake Macquarie Yacht ClubSunday, Bob Allan.

Lakeside Village TavernSaturday,TheV Dubs.

Lambton Park HotelSaturday, Daley Holliday.

Lass O’Gowrie Saturday,Truman Smith Band,Michael Mason.

Lizotte’s Newcastle Saturday,First Ladies of Soul.Sunday,The Rehab Brass Band.

Mark HotelSaturday, The Gaudrys. Sunday,TheJungleKings.

Mary EllenSaturday, Love That Hat.

Another two lives lost on Rutleys RoadINTERACTIVE

DEADLY STRETCH: Trees and ditches remain close to the edge of the driving pavement along some sections of Rutleys Road between Doyalson and Wyee. Picture: Fairfax Media

DESPITE millions of dollars having been spent improving the condition of Rutleys Road in recent years, the notorious“death corridor” has claimed another two lives.

An 82-year-old man and his wife, 84, died when their car left the road and crashed into a ditch at Mannering Park on March 29.

Eight people have now lost their lives on Rutleys Road in as many years.

The road stretches for nine kilometres from Doyalson to Wyee, and is split by the Lake Macquarie and Wyong Shire boundary.

Wyong Shire Council has spent2.5 million on Rutleys Road since March, 2014.

“This funding has allowed significant upgrading to the road pavement, tree clearing, new signage and line marking, new pavement on the shoulder as well as the provision of safety fencing along the road to improve driver safety,” a council spokesperson said.

Improving road safety through major works and driver education was a priority for the council which was committed toreducing the road toll, they said.

Lake Macquarie City Council has also spent millions improving the road.

Locals say millions of dollars more is needed to fix the route properly, and some have called for the road to become astate government responsibility.

But Lake Macquarie MP Greg Piper said money alone would not solve the problem.

“While it is distressing to learn about last week’s accident, there is a whole range of things going on here and not all of them are related to the road which has been significantly improved in recent years,” Mr Piper said.

“My advice on this particular case is that a medical condition was the major contributing factor.

“But I also recognise that if a car leaves Rutleys Road the adjoining terrain is very unforgiving. The question is why are they leaving the road, and the answer is mostly related to speed, distraction and other factors which have little to do with the road’s condition.

“Speeding has always been a problem on that road which is naturally winding and rural in nature, but the strongest point I can make is that people need to drive to the conditions.”

Council given deadline

PORT Stephens Council has been given a 5pm Wednesday deadline to withdraw a key defence document in its multi-million dollar battle over drainage at a Nelson Bay housing estate after its own barrister conceded in court there was “a question as to whether it remains a live issue”.

The concession came during a hearing in the NSW Supreme Court on March 17 afterJustice Michael Pembroke noted the council’s reliance on a 2011 document as a defence “appears difficult to maintain”.

In a letter on March 30 Lagoons Estate developer David Vitnell gave the council until 5pm Wednesday to withdraw the document –a 2011 deed of agreement between a previous Lagoons Estate owner and the council in which the previous owner agreed not to take any further legal action against the council over drainage issues.

Mr Vitnell, who launched Supreme Court against the council in November in an attempt to force it to carry out drainage works it was ordered by the NSW Court of Appeal to undertake in 2006, said the deed was not a valid defence for the council to make because he was not involved with the 2011 agreement.

“Your client would appear to have no prospect of success,” he advised the council’s solicitor on March 30.

Not happy: Lagoons Estate residents (from left) Bill Park, George Pagacs, Gloria Grayson, Randall Grayson, Ron Ricketts and Roy Johnson.

Mr Vitnell warned the council he would seek to have the deed of agreement struck out of the council’s defence if the council did not withdraw it by 5pm on Wednesday.

The likely withdrawal of the deed of agreement leaves the council arguing it has complied with the 2006 Court of Appeal orders. This gave the council 18 months to complete drainage works tostop stormwater from nearby Dowling Street and adjoining Seabreeze housing estate from running across Lagoons estate into the lagoon that gave the estate its name.

But the council faces difficulties after three water engineers in relatedNSW Land and Environment Court proceedings in March 2015, including the council’sexpert, said the Court of Appeal decision required drainage works where “therewould be no drainage surface water directly to” the Lagoons Estate, except in an extreme rainfall event.

On March 17 Justice Pembroke directedMr Vitnell and the council to agree on an expert to determine if surface water flows from Dowling Street and the Seabreeze estate to the Lagoons estate, or he would appoint one.

Justice Pembroke told the court he was “a little troubled by the (council’s) attitude in general”, after the council argued against the need for an expert opinion about the surface water before other issues raised by Mr Vitnell and the council were settled.

In a statement of claim lodged against Port Stephens Council in November Mr Vitnell sought a declaration that $1.3 million in drainage works undertaken by the council after the 2006 Court of Appeal decision had failed to stop stormwater containing high levels of nutrients and waste from entering Lagoons estate and ending in the lagoon.

He also sought an order that the council complete required drainage works –costed at between $4 million and more than $30 million –within 12 months of a decision, and a declaration that further on-site works at Lagoons estate were not needed because their purpose was to cope with stormwater from outside the estate.

The cost of works to repair damage from significant stormwater runoff alleged to have entered the estate was more than $120,000, Mr Vitnell said in the statement of claim.

His evidence will include a March report by water hydrologist Drew Bewsher concluding that “very significant surface runoff volumes were being diverted onto Lagoons estate” from Dowling Street outside the estate, and the adjoining Seabreeze estate.

This included significant surface runoff after a January 5 rain event he described as “not particularly heavy rainfall”.

“In my opinion the presence of stormwater runoff entering the Lagoons estate on at least three occasions in the past 12 months indicates the council has not complied with the (2006) court order,” Mr Bewsher wrote.

The council drainage works, thatattempted to collect runoff from roads and footpaths and infiltrate it into the ground without causing surface discharges, would have complied with the court order if it had been successful.

He concluded the design of the drainage works, construction, maintenance, or a combination of the three, meant the works had not succeeded in stopping surface water from entering Lagoons estate.

Port Stephens Council general manager Wayne Wallis and mayor Bruce Mackenzie did not respond to questions last week about Mr Vitnell’s action against the council. The Newcastle Herald has sought responses from the council to the 5pm Wednesday deadline.

Councillor Geoff Dingle, who last week said the Lagoons case had so far cost the council $9 million over years of court proceedings and drainageworks, called on other Port Stephens councillors to ask questions about the council’s handling of the case.

“This is a very serious case. We’ve been provided with little detail where it’s going and the risk ratepayers currently face, and I’m concerned councillors have no idea what’s potentially coming down the line.”

Cr Dingle said estimates in 2006 of the need for many millions of dollars to complete the drainage works were a major concern for the council if it lost the case, and his own experience of the volumes of water that entered the estate left him extremely concerned.

“We’re always told Port Stephens is a rich council. We might be asset rich but if we all of a sudden have to find millions of dollars to complete these works, that’s a very serious problem,” he said.

Lagoons estate residents who have joined Mr Vitnell in the action against the council say the nutrient-rich stormwater entering the lagoon was a serious environmental concern.

Swans draft in Hunter trio

FLYING HIGH: Jess Cassidy, Alison Parkin and Amy Hessell will play for the Sydney Swans women’s academy against the GWS Giants on Saturday. Picture: Marina Neil

JESS Cassidy first kicked a Sherrin at Grossmann High Schoolfour years ago.

On Saturday, the 21-year-old will line up for the Sydney Swans Academy side against GWS Giants at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

A strong performance there will put the defender in contention for a place inthe inaugural national women’s league.

Cassidy, who plays for the Maitland Saints,and Gosford duo Alison Parkin, 28, and Amy Hessell, 23, have been drafted into the Swans side from the Hunter-Central Coast Academy.

“Jess is a Maitland product and only started playing seniorAFL last year,” Hunter-Central Coast development manager Craig Golledge said.“She is a great example of our Swans Cup schoolgirl competition. I remember when she was captain of Grossman High and helped take them through to the state knockout final. We saw the potential in her then and she has really developed.

“Alison and Amy have been playing in the Sydney competition in recent years for Gosford, who have joined the Black Diamond competition,and are two of the more experienced players involved in the academy.”

The Hunter-Central Coast academy is one of five in NSW along with Sydney, Western Sydney, Canberra and Wagga.

“We have 28 players ranging from age 15 to 31,” Golledge said.

Parkin and Hessell were a part of the Swans side which beat the Giants by five points at Moore Park last month. Newcastle City’s MeaghanMcDonald also played in that match but missed selection for Saturday.

A NSW team will be selected after Saturday’s game whichis a curtain raiser to the AFL blockbuster between the same teams.That team will take on South Australia later in the season.A 10-team national women’s league kicks off next year.

“State representatives will certainly be of interest to the teams competing in the national league,” Golledge said.

Golledge said he had been blown away at the skill level of the women in the first match between the Swans and Giants.

“To go to the next level was a bit of a shock for some of our girls, not only for the women’s team, but the girls involved in the youth game,” he said. “They realise they have a lot to learn and a lot more development to get up tothe level of the Sydney, Canberra and Wagga girls.”

Meanwhile,Greater Western Sydney captain Callan Ward says his team are grown men who should no longer be slapped the tag of the Swans’ “little brother”.

The derby count is a lopsided 7-1 in favour of the Swans but the gap between the two clubs is narrowing.

Their days of using inexperience as an excuse are also numbered. The team the Giants fielded against Geelong last week had played a total ofonly 31 fewer games than the Swans round two side.

“We’re all grown men now, our average age isn’t too much lessthan what they are,” Ward said.”Everyone talks about big brother, little brother it’s not reallythat anymore,we’re out there to play games.We’refully grown men now, we’re really happy just to take the Swans on now and play like grown men.”

The Giants have been dealt ablow with promising young defender Caleb Marchbank ruled out for six to eight weeks with an anklesyndesmosis injury.

Cheers to  historic Rutherford Hotel revamp| PHOTOS

RENOVATION RUMBLE: Rutherford Hotel’s new owner Stephen Hunt has big plans for the highway landmark. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers.It is a western suburbs landmark, few realising its historical significance and its former name The Union Inn.

Rutherford Hotel is a huge part of Maitland’s history, a watering hole with a colourful past and a business about to undergoa massive facelift.

The hotel and adjoining land has recently been purchased for an undisclosed sum by SJH Hospitality, the same owners of The Kent and CBD hotels inNewcastle.

SJH Hospitality CEO Stephen Hunt has big plans for the iconic highway pub and wants to retain its heritage.

In a bid to find out more about the hotel’s past Mr Hunt contacted Maitland Historical Society.

The hotel was built as an inn in 1851 known asThe Union Inn and was renamedRutherford Hotel when publican Miles Kelly took it over in 1875.

The Maitland Mercury reported in 1909 that “important additions and alterations” werebeing made to the hotel consisting of the construction of an upper storey and the remodelling and complete renovation of the original building.

The work was carried out by W Taylor and Sons to plans and specifications prepared by architect James Warren Scobie.

The additions of brick, the walls plastered, with pine ceilings and new rooms were constructed in accordance with the Liquor Act along with a balcony along the front supported on cast iron columns with “handsome brackets and frieze”, The Mercury report said.

Mr Hunt, who lives in the Maitland area, said the latest round of renovations will include an internal refit and rebranding.

He declined to reveal how much was being spent on the project but said the overall plan would be three to fouryears in the making.

“Rutherford Hotel has great potential and thispart of town is such a huge growth area,” Mr Hunt said.

“Each armof the hotel’s business will be getting a bit of love,” he said.

“The bottle shop will be revamped and rebranded with new signs and logos, there will be new uniforms for the staff and we will be spicing up the menu a little,” Mr Hunt said.

“The building will have a complete repaint but we don’t want to modernise it too much, we just want to pay homage to its historical significance so heritage colours will be used where possible.”

The pub’s gaming room will be relocated with a focus on more interior function space.

Improvements will start as soon as the changes are officially rubber stamped by the Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing.

Rugby league great and St George Dragons life memberEddie Lumsden is a former Rutherford Hotelpublican andstill visits the hotel. Hewore 15 Test caps for Australia from1959 to1963.

PEEK back through the archives at how the region’s pubs and patronshave transformed.

Cheers to  historic Rutherford Hotel revamp| PHOTOS Largs Hotel 1993 pub wins award Around the table at Largs Hotel Ron Lawler (drinking) 44years, Peter Robinson 10 years, Basil Andrews 30 years, Tom Salter 30 years, and Doug Cook 25 years toast the pubs success taken by Waide Maguire 6-7-1993

Bellbird Hotel Cessnock. Publican David George (right). Date 10th May 1984.

Kent Hotel 1991 Public Bar Kent Hotel Hamilton Photo by Dean Osland 6-6-1991

Harry Jackson of Maryville looks over the match striking plates in the Kent Hotel Hamilton Photo by Waide Maguire 16-8-1990

Cambridge Hotel. Bill Anderson from Hobart and Leila Hendler from Merewether.Date 8th March 1988.

Interior of the Imperial Hotel, Maitland, in July 1987. Picture by John Herrett

Iron Horse 1991 Iron Horse Inn Cardiff

Iron Horse 1991 Iron Horse Inn Cardiff HUNTER PUB LIFE photo by John Herrett 5-6-1991

Kent Hotel 1991 Kent Hotel Hamilton Bistro – bar area Photo by Dean Osland 6-6-1991

Kent Hotel 1990 Const Dale Gollan and Pauline Stirling part owner of the Kent

Lass O’Gowrie Hotel 1991 Wickham HUNTER PUB LIFE Photo by John Herrett 4-6-1991

Kent Hotel 1993 Lyn M’Crohan and bar manager Frank Sottovia and a regular Photo by Ken Robson 12-1-1993

Largs Hotel 1994 AHA Award for excellence “Outstanding Community Service & achievment John Galea and Vicki Galea owners photo by Eddie Cross 1-12-1994

Lass O’Gowrie Hotel 1982 PHOTO BY gEORGE sTEELE used NH 4-1-1982

Kent Hotel 1990

1992 Renovated hotel Hunter on Hunter photo by Darren Pateman 27-8-1992

Junction Tavern 1991 Junction Tavern Main Bar Photo by Anita Jones

Peta Longue, Benjamin Gilmour and Alex Blanning. Leopard Lounge. Date 18th february 1999.

Cambridge Hotel. Peta Longue, Benjamin Gilmour and Alex Blanning. Leopard Lounge. Date 18th february 1999.

The Brewery Queens Wharf. Date 15th March 1990.

Bushwacker Hotel. Date 28th November 1975.

Clarendon Hotel. Licence 100 years. Graham Peate from Merewether been drinking there since he was 18 and Miss Vi Lane licencee dressed in gown 100 y.o.. Date 30th October 1991. Copy Photo by PHIL HEARNE

The Brewery Queens Wharf. Dave Williams.Date 25th February 1988.

Bunnan Hotel. Stan Scaysbrook, Sexy the duck and Margaret Scaysbrook. Looking on Albert Bramley.Date 26th February 1986.

Clarendon Hotel rear. Date 26th April 1984.

The Brewery Queens Wharf. .Date 18th November 1988.

Blackbutt Hotel. Dining area. Date 6th December 1978.

Bunnan Hotel. Margaret Scaysbrook followed by Sexy the duck. Date 26th February 1986.

Bunnan Hotel. Margaret Scaysbrook. Date 26th February 1986. Copy Photo by PHIL HEARNE

The Brewery Queens Wharf. Date 18th November 1988.

The Brewery Queens Wharf. Date 9th December 1991.

Clarendon Hotel. Date 28th March 1991.

Clarendon Hotel. Licence 100 yers. Miss Vi Lane licencee lighting the candles. Date 30th October 1991.

Bunk House, Stan Scaysbrook. Date 26th February 1986.

Blackbutt Hotel. Date 18th May 1986.

The Brewery Queens Wharf. Date 9th December 1991.

Cambridge Hotel. Manager Steve Northey.Date 7th May 1998.

Albion Hotel Wickham.

Caves Beach Hotel. 12th December 1997.

Caves Beach Hotel. Eatery Date 12th December 1997.

Gunyah Hotel. Kiel Emerton and Terry Brain partners at Gunyah Hotel. Date 20th March 1998.

Caves Beach Hotel. Restaurant Date 18th January 2000.

Caves Beach Hotel. 12th December 1997.

David Gazzoli and Ron Lindsay. Date 12th November 1999.

Caves Beach Hotel. 12th December 1997.

Beach Hotel Merewether. Jocelyn Bell serves a sub zero. Pic by Ron Bell. 27th December 1995.

Clarendon Hotel. David Gazzoli and Ron Lindsay. Date 12th November 1999.

Clarendon Hotel. Ron Lindsay. Date 23rd Feruary 2000.

Beach Hotel Merewether. Jocelyn Bell serves a sub zero. Pic by Ron Bell. 27th December 1995.

Caves Beach Hotel. Eatery Date 8th May 1998.

Albion Hotel Wickham. Patricia and David Sylvester have recently sold the hotel. 18th April 2000.

Beach Hotel Merewether. ‘Miss Lovely Legs’. Date 25th December 1999.

Caves Beach Hotel. Glen Herivel and Lee McWilliams.12th December 1997.

Caves Beach Hotel. 12th December 1997.

Cessnock Hotel. Terry Petersen Assistant Manager. Date 16th March 1998.

Beach Hotel Merewether. Extensions to the Beaches Hotel Merewether. John Twohill Owner/Lic. Photo by Dean Osland. Date 1964.

Albion Hotel Wickham. Nicole Ryan and Nicole Egan. Date 28th April 1986. Photo by Quentin Jones.

Bushwacker Hotel. Max Stead. Date 28th November 1975.

Albion Hotel Wickham. Date 3rd May 1986. Copy Photo by PHIL HEARNE

Cessnock Hotel. Date 10th February 1999.

Cambridge Hotel. Lorelle Baker (niece), Joseph Baker (Proprietor) and Debbie Baker (daughter). Date 5th December 1988.

Albion Hotel Wickham. Date 10th May 1990.

Albion Hotel Wickham. Dining room interior. Date 10th May 1990.

Albion Hotel Wickham. Fay the Barmaid. Date 28th April 1986.

Beach Hotel Merewether. Outside Beach hotel. Pic by George Steele Date 9th January 1983.

Albion Hotel Wickham. Date 3rd May 1986.

The Brewery Queens Wharf. Linda Masters from Merewether, Ian Smith from Elemore Vale and Bar person Roslyn Boyle.

The Brewery Queens Wharf. Date 18th November 1988.

The Brewery Queens Wharf. Date 18th November 1988.

Albion Hotel Wickham. Picketers at Albion Hotel.Date 6th May 1986.

Bayside Tavern Wine Fair. Maree and John McRedmond, James Roddy. Date 10th November 1994.

Belmont Hotel. Date 29th July 1993.

Beach Hotel Merewether. Outside Beach hotel. Pic by George Steele date 9th January 1983.

Agriculture Hotel Singleton. Allan and Sue Watham toast to the success of the hotel dining room. Photo by PETER STOOP. Date 23rd November 1992.

Bellbird Hotel Cessnock. Mathew and Stacey Ryan. Date 20th July 1989.

The Brewery Queens Wharf. Partners Russell Elkin and John Byrnes. Date 26th November 1990.

Albion Hotel Wickham. Gerry Wells with his dolls in footy colours. photo Wicks. Date 10th May 1991.

Bel-Air Hotel Kotara. Drinkers in front bar – Punters bar. Steve Donehue from Adamstown Heights, Greg Felthan from Adamstown Heights, Norm Hopkins from Kotara, Frank Nicholson from Adamstown Heights and barmaid Trish from Bar Beach. Photo by A. Maclean. Date 2nd April 1987.

Bunnan Hotel. Albert Bramley and Stan Scaysbrook. Date 26th February 1986.

Blackbutt Hotel. Kel Davis, Ron Eastick and Gary O’Brien

Bel-Air Hotel Kotara. Sign behind bar. Photo by Steve Tickner. Date 3rd April 1987.

Caves Beach Hotel. Brian Sanotti (right) and Chef Gordon Soo. Date 20th January 1993.

Albion Hotel Wickham. Dolls in footy colors.

Adamstown Hotel. Dick Robinson from Adamstown and Brian Brunner from Hamilton South. Photo by Andrew Maclean. Date 21st July 1987.

Bayside Tavern. Date November 1994.

Bayside Tavern Wine Fair. Judy Hall (right) helping customers Noel Huxley and Terry McGuiness. Date 9th November 1994.

Bayside Tavern Wine Fair. Maree and John McRedmond, James Roody. 10th November 1994.

Grand Hotel Newcastle 1990 Pluto’s night spot New space ship for D J Grand Hotel Newcastle HUNTER PUB LIFE photo by Darren Pateman 19-10-1990

Cricketers Arms Cooks Hill 1983 photo by David Johns 18-3-1983 Police outside the Cricketers Arms Hotel Cooks Hill after complaints from residents about people on footpath

HUNTER HOTELS ARCHIVAL REVIVAL Gunyah Hotel Belmont 1973 used NMH Lake Herald 25-1-1973 Part of the lounge section of the Gunyah Hotel, pictured during lunch hour rush, where patrons can pursue culinary delights on offer amid a strong atmosphere of colonial style furniture and a large mural of an old lake Macquarie scene.

Gunyah Hotel Belmont 1973 used NMH Lake Herald 25-1-1973 A scene of the Hotels terrace from the public bar windows. The terrace is a place of fresh air and shade where family groups can enjoy the cool bonhomie as well as a fine view of the lake.

Duke of Wellington 1983 photo by George Steele 4-8-1983

Grand Hotel Newcastle 1985 Restauran in Grand Hotel Newcastle Helen Connell Co-ordinator Ron Simpson Speacialist cook Jane Lander Cook for restaurant guide photo by Stuart Davidson 21-6-1985

Cricketers Arms Cooks Hill 1982 Hundreds stand on footpath photo by Quentin Jones 10-12-1982

Crown & Anchor 1990 HUNTER PUB LIFE photo by David Wicks 5-6-1990

Denman Hotel Abermain 1991 Hotelier Ralph Collins photo by Eddie Cross 7-3-1991

Gunyah Hotel Belmont 1992 a good view and relaxed atmoshere photo by Darren Pateman 4-12-1992

Commercial Hotel Boolaroo 1991 6-12-1991 Agnes Hales and Maxine Wood photo by Darren Pateman

1988 Cocktail mixing competition 17-5-1988

General Roberts New Lambton 1992 Fiona and Sue at the new Goldrush room november 1992

General Roberts New Lambton 1991 Tanya Linquist and Jan Wilkes Photo by Darren Pateman 8-3-1991

Gates Hotel Adamstown 1987 Gates Hotel Adamstown photo taken 10-10-1995

General Roberts New Lambton 1991 Bob Wilkes in the new bar Photo by Darren Pateman 8-3-1991

Gunyah Hotel Belmont 1992 Sharyn Foley serving Tracy Lynn a drink 4-12-1992

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Beth soars at Bluebird

MAKING HAY: Beth Brown performing on reality TV show, American Pickers, in Nashville last November.TO play Nashville’s Bluebird Cafe you need to possess some serious songwritingchops.

Global pop sensation Taylor Swift was discovered there, country megastar Garth Brooks honed his craft on its stage and Blacksmiths’ Beth Brown hopes her performances at the Bluebirdleadto her careerbreakthrough.

TAKING A CHANCE: The career of Blacksmiths singer-songwriter Beth Brown is bearing fruit following her move to Nashville 10 months ago.

For the past 10 months the indie-pop songstress has been based in Tennessee’smusic mecca plying her trade and developing her songwritingwith some of America’s best.

Last week Brown released her cinematic trackDream Coat on SoundCloudfrom her debut EP of the same name, due out later this year.

After spending several years in Melbourne fronting blues rock band, BB and the Holy Rollers, Brown said playing at the Bluebird and Americana Fest had expanded her creativity.

Beth Brown – Angels and Beasts (Live)“I’ve learnt so much,” Brown said from Nashville. “Before coming to Nashville I’d never co-wrote before. It gives you the advantage of seeing how other wonderful people put together a song.

“I think the gap is bridging for people who want to make music in the US. People see your passion and talent and I’ve been surprised how welcoming they are.”

In Nashville she has co-writtenwith respectedsongsmithsJohn Hadley, Shannon Sanders and Jerry Salley, who have previously worked withJohn Legend, Chris Stapleton, Patti Griffin and Emmylou Harris.

Rocking up in a foreign country expecting to book gigs sounds like a daunting step, but Brown said it was quite the opposite.

“Americans love Australians and I found there were opportunities to play from the very beginning,” she said. “Although it’sthe most competitive music industry in the world, the locals will generally give you a shot to prove yourability.”

BORKING UPBUDDING promoter Brock Perrington hopes Saturday’s inaugural BorkFest can become an annual part of Newcastle’s calendar to give metal fans of all ages amusical outlet.

The Small Ballroom will host the mini-festival, which will be headlined by Newcastle metal band Trophy Eyes and features another 11 acts. Originally BorkFest was scheduled for the Newcastle Tennis Club, before it was shifted to minimise security costs.

Perrington hatched the idea six months ago following the demise of Hunter Street’sHombre Records. The all-age venuewas quickly replaced by Drone, who hosted the BorkFest’s battle of the bands in recent weeks to earn a slot of the festival bill.

“Now that we’ve got Drone, I thought what else can we do,” Perrington said. “I had BorkFest starting, so I thought let’s kept it going.”

FUNDING SUCCESSFRIENDSof the late Simon “JimmyNolan” Lambert of Newcastle are ecstatic that they have reached their goal of $8500 in three weeks to fund the mastering of an album of Lambert’s songs. The gofundme campaign topped $8500 this week. Every extra $650 raised will go towards adding another Lambert song to the album.

Friends and acquaintances involved in the project will perform the songs on the album live at a Newcastle venue in August. Lambert died after he fell sleepwalking in March 2009.

ROCKINGROOMTHE premise is simple. Provide the stage, sound production, lighting and house band then import a impersonator and you have amobile music show known as the Rock Room.

A group of Newcastle musicians, known as Mighty Rock,began the Rock Room last Augustplaying gigs around the Belmont area. On April 17 they hosttheir 10thgig, a Cold Chisel show at Belmont Bowling Club, featuring Jimmy Barnes impersonator Carter Roser.Other Rock Room performances have includedRod Stewart and Midnight Oil tributeacts.

MONSTER FREEMAITLAND’S Groovin The Moo maybe sold out, but unfortunately there will be no Of Monsters and Men.

The Icelandic folk band, who are famous for their huge hit Little Talks, were added to the Bunbury leg of GTM only this week. It followed the cancellation of US acts Mutemath and Vic Mensa last week.

BELLO IT OUTAMERICAN bluegrass hero Willie Watson will headline the secondBello Winter Music Festival in Bellingen from July 7 to 10.

Joining the OldCrow Medicine Show founder will beJeff Lang, Kylie Auldist, Tijuana Cartel, Mojo Juju, L-Fresh The Lion, Jaaleekaay, Bullhorn, Jazz Party, Allensworth, Inga Liljeström and King Tide.

Willie Watson – Mexican CowboyA LITTLE SUPPORTCOUNTRY folk duo Little Georgia will support Americansinger-songwriter Ryan Bingham at his Lizotte’s show on April 24.Ashleigh MannixandJustin Carter have toured relentlessly since launching debut albumBootleglast year.