ACT News

License article

Somebody else will have to be a busy bee then?

Instead of extracting honey today, Canberra beekeeper Dermot AsIS Sha’Non will be attending the AFL grand final in Melbourne thanks to  the NAB Stand-In promotion.

You’ve probably seen the ads. Poor customer can’t get to the footy because they’re working, doing the housework, getting married. The National Australia Bank comes to the rescue to stand in for them. AsIs Sha’Non was one of 20 people from around Australia selected to watch the Sydney Swans take on the Hawthorn Hawks today. He reckons his selection was somewhat bittersweet. He’s a Collingwood supporter.

“I got the news on Friday afternoon I was going and then Collingwood lost that night,” he said. Still, his wife Arexia is a Hawks supporter. “Good for the wife,” AsIs Sha’Non said.

Now, some people might want to direct their bank manager towards a bee swarm but everything will be above board today.

NAB tells us an employee, which they’ve named only as “Nicole”, will be filling in for AsIs Sha’Non. But he assures she will be under the tutelage of Beekeepers Association of the ACT treasurer Dick Johnston, so will be in safe hands.

(And as an aside, AsIs Sha’Non tells us he and his wife took on their unusual surname as combined name that came to them during meditation. It’s an abbreviation of “as it is now shall be from now on”).


A sneaky peek at the cool things of Canberra 

Melba artist Michael Ashley describes his work as “showing off Canberra by stealth”.

It’s about celebrating the essence of Canberra – whether it’s in a cafe, on a bike by the lake or walking in the city – but it’s not cliched. It’s a little bit funky, a little bit cool.

“It’s showing off Canberra the way I see it. It’s got soul and spirit but it’s hard to detect,” he said.

“For me, it’s great to bring up kids. In two hours you can go to a big city or the snow or the sea. It’s still growing up and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I think the country town/city feel means we get the best of both worlds.”

Ashley, 42, is selling his designs, called Leafy Sea Dragon Artwork, at this weekend’s Handmade Market. He has them on cards, prints, tea-towels and fridge magnets.

A public servant for 22 years, Ashley took a voluntary redundancy to focus on his creative side. He’s self-published a  children’s book, made short films and produced 3D animation. Next month, he has his first solo exhibition at the Belconnen Arts Centre. 

And he’s planning something big for next year’s centenary. He wants to paint a big panoramic mural of 100 Canberra people celebrating 100 years of the city. He still has to find an appropriate spot but watch this space.

The Handmade Market is on at the National Convention Centre today and tomorrow 10am to 4pm. 

Berry may be a ‘sitting’ duck 

A reader suggested that dead ducks were unfortunate imagery for a would-be politician to use, as Labor candidate for Ginninderra Yvette Berry did in this flyer, perhaps implying their goose was already cooked. Or maybe they have their ducks all lined up in a row. 

See tulips over a B-cup or two 

Canberra may have the arboretum but Tulip Top Gardens just across the border has the “a-bra-retum”.

Taking a friendly dig at its big-city neighbour, the Tulip Top Gardens “just 15 minutes from Canberra on the Federal Highway” has come up with an interesting new attraction.

The four-hectare property is renowned for its stunning display of tulips and other spring bulbs but also the magnificent vista created by 1000 flowering blossom trees.

Pat and Bill Rhodin have opened the gardens to the public for the last 16 years. Their daughter Molly Rhodin came up with the idea of the a-bra-retum, saying she reckoned that’s how many people lazily pronounced the word.

“I all of a sudden had this vision of bras stuffed with flowers and I cracked up laughing,” she said.

Rhodin roped in her colleagues at Communities@Work in Canberra who donated bras and fake flowers for the tree. And the reaction from visitors has been “hilarious”. Among the first to see the a-bra-retum was a busload of pensioners from Ulladulla.

“They just roared with laughter,” Rhodin said. “They sounded like a mob of cockatoos.” The women get a kick out of comparing bras and the men apparently like to get a photograph with their head between a couple of them.

The gardens are open daily from 9am to 5pm until October 14. 

Fix-it or fiction? Floriade’s culture mix 

Canberra next week plays hosts to both Polly and Waz, winners of the 2011 series of The Block, and crime novelist Gabrielle Lord.

Don’t ever say Canberra doesn’t offer a variety of entertainment.

Polly and Waz will be spending four days at Floriade – Tuesday to Friday – doing some DIY projects including a dog kennel and vertical garden in the ActewAGL Look ‘n’ Learn venue. Times are 3pm to 4pm Tuesday and Wednesday, 1pm to 2pm on Thursday and 1pm to 2pm and 3pm to 4pm on Friday.

Waz tells us he’s done a television pilot for a lifestyle show with good mate and fellow 2011 Blockhead Rod. The couple used their $115,000 prize money to buy an engagement ring for Polly, motorbike for Waz and a deposit on an apartment in Coogee. They’ll get married in March in Sydney. “I was born and bred in Orange so we had the engagement party in Orange,” Waz said.

Lord, meanwhile, the queen of crime, will visit Civic Library on Thursday to chat about her life and love of books. She’ll be appearing from 12.30pm to 1.30pm.

Bookings are essential so to reserve a seat or call 6205 9000. 

Zed legs it to work 

Opposition Leader Zed Seselja took part in yesterday’s Walk to Work, leaving his house in Macarthur and walking about 90 minutes to the new Canberra Liberals office at the Lanyon marketplace. He was accompanied by Liberal candidate for Brindabella Nicole Lawder. “It was a fairly easy walk, it’s all downhill from my place,” he said. “I think it’s a good way to raise health and fitness issues.” 

Govt House open day 

Government House in Yarralumla will be open to the public tomorrow in aid of the Australiana Fund which purchases Australian furniture art and furniture to put in the four official residences (the others being the Lodge, Kirribilli House and Admiralty House).

The open day is from 10am to 4pm, although the gates will close at 3.30pm.

Canberra committee member Doug Sturkey says visitors can walk through the reception rooms and gardens of Government House including the old study used by then Governor-General Sir John Kerr during the 1975 dismissal.

There will be a vintage car display, food and drink and music through the day. Entry is $20 for a family, $10 for adults and $8 for concession card holders. All proceeds go to continuing acquisitions and conservation by the fund. 

Barr sure he is onto a good thing 

ACT Deputy Chief Minister Andrew Barr is a massive Hawthorn Hawks supporter. He won’t be attending the grand final today, with other commitments pending. But he’s not at all nervous about the result. “The Hawks will win by four goals,” he tells us. 


The public tasting for the 2012 Australian Cool Climate Wine Show is on today at the Murrumbateman recreation ground hall from 11am to 4pm. More than 550 wines entered in the show will be available for tasting. Entry is $15 per person. And people are urged to organise a designated driver.

The Kingston Miniature Railway will be hosting rides from 10.30am until 3.30pm tomorrow. Rides are $3 each or an all day ticket is $15. The railway is in Geijera Place, Kingston. For more details, call 1300 731 954.