ACT News

Private Capital
License article

Val books up decades of service

People like Val McLaughlan are the lifeblood of Canberra.

The 86-year-old great-grandmother from Kaleen recently retired from volunteering for ACT Library’s Home Library Service after a stint of nearly 30 years.

She started delivering library books to the aged, ill or otherwise incapacitated in 1984.

A former school assistant at Canberra High School for 20 years, Val started with the Home Library Service in her retirement.

“I loved seeing the people, they sort of became your friends. Some would ask you in for a cup of tea,” she said.

Val was reluctant to be made a fuss of, but we reckon she deserves it. Partial to an Australian novel, she can now enjoy reading in her own garden with little dog Sam by her side.


Ifield due for honour

Legendary singer Frank Ifield will be honoured with a lifetime achievement award at  this weekend’s Canberra Country Music Festival at Hall.

Ifield, who turns 75 on November 30, is best remembered for his hit I Remember You, which was released 50 years ago this year.

The crooner told us from his home in Dural  that the smash-hit song, which went to No.1 in the United Kingdom, allowed him to fulfil his lifelong dream of performing at the London Palladium.

Ifield reckons it was luck that allowed him to release the song at the right time.

“I really don’t know why [it was so successful],” he said. “I think it had that I/you relationship, that personal relationship. I think a lot of people liked the yodel inflection which was unusual at the time.”

Still singing, Ifield said his advice to young performers was to stay true to themselves.

“I decided at the end of the day to stick my neck out and do what I wanted to do and sing what I wanted to sing,” he said.

Also performing at Hall this weekend will be Nicki Gillis who won the 2009  Frank Ifield International Spur Award, which helps expose Australian talent to overseas markets.

As for his lifetime achievement award, Ifield was thrilled.

“I think that’s wonderful,” he said.

The festival also includes the Canberra Ute, Car and Truck Muster at the Hall showgrounds today and tomorrow.

Serve Salt for a quote

KPMG Partner Bernard Salt is an expert at the quotable quote.

Speaking this week at a function for the ACT chapter of the Property Council of Australia, Salt had fun, as he always does, with the latest Census figures.

On the question of religious belief, Salt pointed out that the “most godless place in Canberra” was O’Connor with 50 per cent saying they had a belief (compared to a national average of 75 per cent). Nicholls was the most devout location, with 78 per cent saying they had a religious belief.

“So clearly the road that links O’Connor with Nicholls, Northbourne Avenue, as you move out, Northbourne Avenue is like your very own road to Damascus. You find salvation as you move out towards Nicholls in Gungahlin,” he told the crowd.

Votes add up for film festival

The 16th Canberra International Film Festival has finished up but not before awarding gongs to the top three genre winners, as voted by 5774 festival-goers.

Artistic director Simon Weaving announced at a special members’ event at Dendy Canberra that the best feature went to The Hunt, a Danish drama about an innocent man whose life is threatened by a child’s lie.

The best documentary was Searching for Sugar Man, a Swedish/UK film which followed two music lovers who set out to find their long lost rock hero, Sixto Rodriguez.

The best retrospective was, no surprises, The Shining, directed by Stanley Kubrick and starring Jack Nicholson.

Quench your thirst at National Museum

A Night at the Museum is not quite about gamboling around the National Museum of Australia after-dark Ben Stiller-style. It’s more about giving the cool kids somewhere new for after-work Friday drinks.

The National Museum of Australia is staging its first A Night in the Museum on Friday between 5pm and 8pm.

The museum's manager public programs Heidi Pritchard told us she was expecting a “young public service crowd” to take advantage of being at the museum after closing hours, mingling among the grand-scale treasures and having a drink while listening to live music from Goji Berry Jam and Doctor Stovepipe. Curators will also be talking about what goes on behind the scenes.

And to avoid the seriously bad traffic jam of the Silk Road markets in June, the museum will have a free shuttle bus operating from 4.45pm to 8.30pm ferrying people between the Civic Interchange (bay six); Parkes Place between the National Library and Questacon; Brisbane Avenue bus stop outside the Pharmacy Guild of Australia and the museum.

The museum is also encouraging people to carpool, ride a bike or take public transport.

Simon looks set for show

The rumoured concert by Paul Simon at the National Arboretum Canberra next year appears to be gathering pace.

Michael Chugg, the man behind Chugg Entertainment, which is bringing Simon to Australia, visited the arboretum when he was in Canberra this week for the Elton John concert.

And he was apparently impressed with the arboretum as a music venue.

What’s on

  • The Canberra Roller Derby League is staging the 2012 Double Header Grand Final today at the Australian Institute of Sport. Doors open 3pm. The playoff for third between the Brindabelters and Surly Griffins starts at 4pm. The grand final between the Black ’n’ Blue Belles and Red Bellied Black Hearts starts at 6.30pm. Tickets are through Ticketek.
  • A mini-carnival to raise funds for Camp Quality will be held at Yerrabi Pond at Amaroo from 11am to 3pm today. There will be a barbecue, jumping castle, live music, face painting and more. It’s off Wunderlich Street.