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Canberra to host Walkleys

It’s not quite the Oscars. But it will have a red carpet. And a cavalcade of stars from the world of news.

The Walkley Awards for journalism will be held in Canberra on November 30 for the first time since 1984.

The 57th annual awards will be held at Parliament House after a 28-year absence in a nod to Canberra’s centenary in 2013.

The awards presentation and broadcast on SBS will be hosted by SBS World News Australia’s Anton Enus and ABC-TV’s national affairs correspondent Heather Ewart.

The Voice finalist Darren Percival will be performing.

The Hamster Wheel’s Chas Licciardello will be on the red carpet.


Out-takes from Annabel Crabb visiting the homes of Australian politicians in her series Kitchen Cabinet will be shown.

Among the luminaries presenting the awards on the night will be Finance Minister Senator Penny Wong, former journalist and Opposition spokesman on communications and broadband Malcolm Turnbull and director of Sydney Theatre Company’s The Wharf Revue, Jonathan Biggins.

The Project’s Carrie Bickmore, Dave Hughes and Charlie Pickering will be presenting an award but recorded from the show’s set, not on stage in Canberra.

A special Canberra edition of The Walkley Foundation’s annual media conference What’s the Story will also be held at the National Film and Sound Archive on November 29 and 30.

The conference features speakers including New York Times founding interactive news editor Aron Pilhofer, ABC director of news Kate Torney and The Canberra Times editor-at-large Jack Waterford.

Both the gala dinner and conference are sponsored by the ACT Government’s Centenary of Canberra project.

The awards’ will be broadcast on SBS One on November 30 from 9.40pm.

Return of the rocket man

Legendary promoter Michael Chugg could look no further than Canberra’s public relations maven Coralie Wood to help out with the Elton John concert in the national capital on Wednesday.

She was also there in 2007 when 8000 fans braved thunder, lightning and torrential rain to watch Sir Elton last perform in Canberra on  Stage 88 in Commonwealth Park.

“I’ve never seen so much rain. My hair went everywhere. My eyelashes went everywhere,” Wood said with a laugh.

But the show did go on.

Wednesday’s concert is another mainly outdoor event at Canberra Stadium, with 5000 seats also to be set up on the grass. The weather forecast so far is for a not-too-scary possible afternoon shower.

Wood said working on the Canberra leg of the Elton John extravaganza was exciting and she found the man himself to be “very personable”.

Not that he’s the only big name she’s worked with. Her favourites have been Cliff Richard and Peter Allen. “They were gentlemen,” she said.

And you’ve got to love the promotion for the Elton John concert when put on hold at Canberra Stadium. “Opportunities like these are like candles in the wind” the line went, referring to watching the concert from the luxury of the balcony of a corporate box. There are still tickets for sale from Ticketek.

Bison charges ahead

Bison ceramic homewares, made at Pialligo, have featured in all the glossy magazines and were even used to decorate the set of the top-rating United States NBC Today Show during the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.

Now Brian Tunks, the man behind the label, is launching a new collection – and branching into timber. We also hear there will be a fabric line. Stay tuned.

Farm favourites at Yass

The cute factor is sky high out at Lualto Alpaca farm at Yass. It will be holding an open day tomorrow to share the love.

Graham Lugg and Tim Toshack, owners of 250 alpacas at Lualto Alpacas, with Ann and Barry Ranyard  of Marchmont Park Alpacas, will be on hand to explain the benefits of farming the very cute and productive animals.

The open day is 10am to 4pm at Lualto Alpacas, 130 Davis Lane, Yass. Directions are available from or 6227 3158 or 0429 783 575.

Pegasus pony scheme takes flight

Canberra financial management consultants The Analytics Group used Melbourne Cup Day this week to announce it had adopted a pony from Pegasus Riding for the Disabled organisation.

Pegasus earlier this year relaunched its Adopt-a-Pony program which allows businesses and the wider community the opportunity to assist in the upkeep of its ponies.

The program helps guarantee riders with a disability in the Canberra region ongoing programs and facilities at the  Pegasus farm.   

The Analytics Group partner Scott Alexander said the business decided to adopt its pony, Little Joe, to make a difference to the lives of children in the riding classes.

“It’s amazing to see the bond between a rider and their horse,” he said.

Pegasus executive director Margaret Morton said it had 17 ponies, with sponsors for four so far.

There were 100 people with a disability wanting to take part in the riding program.

Morton has only just assumed the role of executive director. She was previously the chief executive officer of the Carers Association of the ACT and a previous CEO of Canberra law firm Williams Love and Nicol. She is relishing her new role.

“I’m very committed to people with disabilities and their families,” she said.

Silly socks for Olivia

The memory of Olivia Lambert lives on in Canberra.

The eight-year-old died in August as a result of the aggressive childhood cancer  neuroblastoma after a brave six-year battle.

Her family established the Olivia Lambert Foundation to support financially disadvantaged families with children who are suffering neuroblastoma or other aggressive forms of cancer.

It is also continuing to support the Children’s Cancer Institute Australia – not least through Silly Socks Day which will be held on Friday.

All you have to do is wear your silliest pair of socks to school or work and make a gold coin donation. The official silly-sock-wearing day is Friday but it can be any day in November.

For her family, Olivia is never far away.

“Olivia was and always will be our inspiration and our hero and we will continue to be inspired by her love, strength and courage and continue supporting her legacy,” her mother Kirsty said.

Donations for Silly Sock Day can also be made at


The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall are due to arrive at Fairbairn airport this morning at 11.25am. They will go straight to Parkes Place on the southern shore of Lake Burley Griffin near the international flag display and the public should be in place no later than 11.30am. The public can also catch them at the Australian War Memorial. Be in place no later than 3.30pm to see them. The royal couple will also be attending meetings at Government House from 12.40pm.

Dean Jones and Michael Bevan go head-to-head in a community cricket match at the opening of the Crace Recreation Park today.The opening is at 10.30am and the cricket starts at 11am on Abena Avenue, Crace.

Works from some of the region’s best jewellery designers and artists will be showcased at the Old Bus Depot Markets’ annual Jewel of Canberra theme day tomorrow. The markets are open from 10am to 4pm tomorrow on Wentworth Avenue, Kingston.