The Goss: Cardinal George Pell lets his hair down
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The Goss: Cardinal George Pell lets his hair down

Cardinal George Pell is facing prosecution for alleged historic child sex offences, but he is still finding time to let his hair down.

Cardinal George Pell.

Cardinal George Pell.Credit:AP

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As he awaits trial on the charges he denies, the former third in line to Pope Francis attended a party in Cherrybrook, north-west Sydney, last month to celebrate the engagement of Brigid Meney, the daughter of Chris Meney, chancellor of the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney and a staunch supporter of Pell.

Many guests commented on the Cardinal's attendance, which made some feel awkward. However, the man, who has been described as having a "several rhinoceros thick" hide, apparently looked as if he enjoyed himself.

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He mingled mostly with guests his own age, but did venture out the back of the family home with the rest of the twenty-something party-goers to toast the soon-to-be-married, young couple.

One unlikely guest that the Cardinal crossed paths with on the night was Alisha Aitken-Radburn, who left Bill Shorten's office to star on the upcoming series of The Bachelor.

Since being dumped by the not-so-charming Nick "The Honey Badger" Cummins, this year's "Bachelor villain" has been seeking out #AusPol job opportunities, but her CV is being kept on file until it is clear how she behaved on the show.

An only-in-Sydney whodunnit

Journalists are a gobby bunch and tales about those in the industry tend to spread like wildfire.

This makes the secrecy surrounding the story of the "28-year-old female lifestyle journalist" who accidentally knocked down and almost killed a cyclist while test-driving a McLaren (said to be worth over $500,000) during a media drive day all the more interesting.

A stock image of a McLaren.

A stock image of a McLaren.Credit:Drive

The incident happened on Wednesday morning, May 9, at Akuna Bay near the Hawkesbury River.

The victim, a member of the Waratahs Masters Cycling Club, had been out on the road popular with cyclists when he was hit by the vehicle that can go from 0 to 100km/hr in 3.5 seconds.

He was seriously injured and spent over a week in ICU, undergoing a number of operations, including a seven-hour procedure on his back. He is still recovering.

The accident was not relayed to some motor journalists who were taken out later that day for the same test drive, which has helped minimise publicity.

The estimated scene of the accident between the McLaren and the cyclist.

The estimated scene of the accident between the McLaren and the cyclist.

"It's unbelievable how they have been able to keep the driver's name and story so quiet," an insider, who asked not to be named, said.

"If this was a traditional motoring journalist everyone would know their name within an hour."

Despite two months of endless speculation and hearsay (which includes motor industry top brass pointing fingers at female journalists with motoring connections who look 28-ish), details have been kept unusually hush-hush.

The silence means that Noelle Faulkner, a well-known and respected motoring journalist, is being unfairly accused.

"It has been embarrassing and, of course, incredibly frustrating ... This is why I posted a tweet asking people to stop messaging me," Faulkner said. "I think it's because there aren't all that many female motoring journos out there it made me an obvious choice."

Organisers DEC PR directed The Goss’ questions to the police, who said there had been "no charges yet" and inquiries were continuing. They said they could not reveal the driver’s name.

You're terrible, Helpmanns

The art of losing gracefully looked to some like it was lost on Carmen Pavlovic, the producer that brought Muriel's Wedding to the stage, at this week's Helpmann Awards (Australia's answer to the Tonys).

The stars of Muriel’s Wedding the Musical.

The stars of Muriel’s Wedding the Musical.

After the ABBA-drenched tale of Muriel Heslop's escape from Porpoise Spit lost out on the coveted best musical and best actress gongs to Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, a defeated looking Pavlovic looked as if she let her thoughts be known to Beautiful producer Michael Cassell, according to an eye-witness.

Esther Hannaford with the best actor award for Beautiful: The Carole King Musical at the Helpmann Awards on Monday.

Esther Hannaford with the best actor award for Beautiful: The Carole King Musical at the Helpmann Awards on Monday.Credit:AAP

But Pavlovic said those surrounding them at the Capitol Theatre on Monday night have the wrong end of the stick.

"What I was upset about, in fact wild about, was the way Kate Miller-Heidke and Keir Nuttall [who won best original score] had been treated. I thought it was a disgrace that their award category was shoved into the inauspicious event of the night before, the night of the 'technical awards', and the 'backstage awards', while there was a ridiculous award category at the main event for someone like Paul McCartney to win and that our industry got to hear from him and celebrate him, while two home grown artists, who had pulled off the near impossible with a new musical, were barely given the time of day," the Global Creatures CEO said.

"That is what I was 'spotted' saying to Michael ... I have very strong feelings about the lack of support for new work in Australia, but that has nothing to do with Michael." Michael Cassell declined to comment.

While Pavlovic was not having the time of her life, best actress winner Esther Hannaford was.

She debuted her new relationship with Steve Toulmin, a highly regarded local composer and sound designer. The pair were two of the last to leave the eventful after-party at Town Hall.

Trunfio's daily reminder of her late father

Nicole Trunfio returned to Sydney for the first time in two years this week to promote her first modelling gig since having her two children Zion, three, and Gia, six months. She is the new face of Chadstone shopping centre in Melbourne.

Nicole Trunfio, the new face of Chadstone.

Nicole Trunfio, the new face of Chadstone.

The model, 32, from Merredin, WA, is now Texas-based with her Grammy-award winning husband, Gary Clark Jr. She said she had stayed away from Australia as it felt "too raw" to return home after the death of her father from cancer in June 2016.

But sitting with The Goss in a suite at the InterContinental in Double Bay, bouncing a giggling "Gigi" in her arms, Trunfio said her daughter was a daily reminder of him.

"I think Gia is a reincarnation of my dad and he believed in that too. It might be hard for some, but that's what I think," she said. "She is named after him too, Giuseppe. Gia for short and she is so like him."

Amy Croffey writes The Goss and Social Seen columns for The Sun-Herald and is an entertainment reporter for Fairfax Media.