ACT News

License article

Circus makes presence felt

Here’s one way to get around the ACT’s anti-billboard laws – put a ruddy great inflatable clown in someone’s backyard or business. Or put it up in Queanbeyan.

The Great Moscow Circus certainly made its presence felt in the national capital.

The circus’ general manager Greg Hall said they put up the clowns in around eight locations including people’s backyards and businesses in return for complimentary tickets to the circus.

“It’s part of the circus coming to town,” he said.

And it seems some homeowners don’t want to see them go after the circus leaves town after its last show on Sunday.

“People have little clown parties and the kids want to have photos with them. It’s been quite a little social event. We’ve had people as us if they can buy them,” Hall said.


Hall remembers one of the clowns was stolen when the circus was in Alice Springs. The theft was reported to police but to no avail and the circus had to move on without it. Two weeks later, the clown was located fully inflated on the Alice Springs golf course, complete with a note complaining about its working conditions.

“So someone had a sense of humour but then we had to pay to get it from Alice Springs to Broome,” he said.

A spokeswoman for the Environment and Sustainable Development Directorate said certain temporary signs were permissible within areas of the city, particularly commercial zones.  Generally, however, signs weren’t allowed in residential areas without the consent of the government.

And while the clowns apparently got the green light, the circus did get into a bit of strife with Territory and Municipal Services. Rangers impounded 60 Great Moscow Circus signs, most on April 4, before the circus opened.

The signs were generally attached to ACT property including fences, trees and street signs. Signs were collected from Fyshwick, Narrabundah, Phillip, Lyons and Gungahlin. 

The circus had to pay an “impound fee” and was “made aware of their responsibilities to comply with the relevant code of practice for moveable signs”.

Hall said the circus always tried to work with local authorities and the signs were part of some forward advertising. Once the circus was aware of the regulations, it complied.

My Kitchen Rules chasing local talent

Babe – want to be on the next series of My Kitchen Rules?

The producers of the hit cooking show say they’re not just buttering us up – they really want a team from the ACT for the next series.

One of the series producers, Matt Apps, told us that there would be a big effort to get some Canberra home cooks on the next season.

“In actual fact, we’ve never had the ACT represented in our show so we’re kind of wanting to do right by the people of the ACT and represent them in the next series, should they be the right team, of course,”Apps said.

“But we are making a concerted effort to look in the ACT for this upcoming season. There should be some great talent down there.”

And if you think your kitchen isn’t up for scratch for TV, never mind. Alternative locations are found – which probably explains why some teams always seem to have problems with their oven in the instant restaurant rounds.

“First and foremost, identifying the appropriate cast in terms of cooking ability and them as a duo is the important thing,” Apps said.

“The location for us to shoot the instant restaurant, we will always work out with that team. Generally it’s a family member’s or something like if their house isn’t suitable. By no means does it rule anyone out if their home is not suitable.”

Australian Capital Tourism director Ian Hill said Canberra had a growing foodie reputation so there were great hopes that the national capital could also produce a home cook worthy of national exposure.

“High-profile shows like My Kitchen Rules obviously rate extremely well and I think it’s great to have the Canberra community represented in  those sorts of shows and from our perspective, it would be wonderful to secure them to come down and film something here,” he said.

The all-Queensland grand final of this series of My Kitchen Rules will be broadcast on Prime at 6.30pm on Sunday. The last show was actually filmed just before Christmas and all involved had to sign confidentiality agreements.

Siblings Jake and Elle will be up against loved-up couple Dan and Steph for the finale of what has been a ratings smash for Seven.

“We’re all rather chuffed and a bit humbled by it all really,” Apps said, adding “And thank God there are such loveable teams in the grand final”.

Battle of the bands

The Smells Like Centenary Spirit competition is a good old battle of the bands organised by the Centenary of Canberra and MusicACT.

Canberra musicians aged from 14 to 22 are invited to compete in heats in September, with the finalists to perform in November.

Expressions of interest are being taken from Saturday (April 26) at Saturday will also see a youth concert at the Woden Youth Centre in Corinna Street from noon to 7.15pm.

Meet the athletes

Star athlete Lauren Boden and multiple Paralympic gold medallist Evan O’Hanlon will be meeting and greeting with the public at the Australian Institute of Sport open dayfrom 9am to 3pm  on Sunday. There will be free tours, showbags, a sausage sizzle, live music, a reptile display, face painting and plenty more. 

Beautiful Brook to focus on fundraising

She might cringe at the reference but Canberra’s Miss World hopeful Brook Leslight really does embody beauty and brains.

The 21-year-old from Belconnen recently graduated with a degree in medical science from the University of Canberra and is working part-time in the pathology lab at Calvary Hospital.

The former Batemans Bay local plans to study medicine at the Australian National University, hoping to eventually become a surgeon.

In the meantime, Leslight has taken a year off study to work part-time and focus on her Miss World fundraising commitments.

Miss World is raising money to provide basic living needs and education in remote indigenous communities, with the focus on the Lilla Community in the Northern Territory.

With another seven years of study ahead of her, Leslight might be forgiven for taking it easy during her year off but she wouldn’t want it any other way.

“I’ve always enjoyed helping people and working with the community,” she said.

With no ACT category, Leslight will be working to be chosen as the NSW contestant for Miss World, which will be decided in a few weeks.

And she is hosting a glamorous fundraising event in Canberra on Saturday night (April 27).

The charity fashion show at the Ostani Bar at the Hotel Realm will feature a fashion show styled by Loveage magazine, live music performed by Stephen Reinhart, a complimentary glass of wine and lucky door prizes. Tickets are $30 and available at or at the door.

Standing up and out for animal welfare

How cute is this?

This installation of 49 white dogs – and one black dog – will be popping up at different locations around Canberra to promote the RSPCA ACT’s 2013 Million Paws Walk.

It “symbolises standing out and up for animal welfare”.

The dogs have already appeared this week at Regatta Point and over the next month will be making a few other appearances.

RSPCA ACT chief executive officer Michael Linke is obviously keen to get even more than the 15,000 people who attended last year’s event.

“The idea behind the installation is to say to the community that you don’t need a dog to walk in Million Paws Walk and support animal welfare.  You just need to stand out from the crowd and come along and support animal welfare,” he said.

 “We expect 4000 real dogs on the day, so there will be plenty of dogs for people without dogs to see, pat, cuddle and walk with.”

This year’s Million Paws Walk will take place from Stage 88 at Commonwealth Park on May 19. To register go to

What’s on

The Kingston Miniature Railway will be operating from 10.30am to 3.30pm on Sunday. Rides are $3 each or an all-day ticket is $15. The railway is in Geijera Place, Kingston. 

The Jerrabomberra Wetlands open day is on Sunday from 9.30am to 2pm. The wetlands are at 2 Dairy Road, Fyshwick. There will be displays, guided walks, face painting, coffee stand and sausage sizzle. Bring your binoculars to spot a variety of native birds and get some bird-watching tips from the experts.