RELATABLE: Alexandra Jensen and Jack Twelvetree in Do Your Parents Know You’re Straight?IMAGINE a world where homosexuals are the norm and heterosexuals are in a minority and have to keep their sexual nature a secret. That’s the situation in Do Your Parents Know You’re Straight?, a comedy-drama by Newcastle playwright Riley McLean.
The story’s central character, Casey Miller, is a straight teenage schoolboy trying to work out how he can make his sexual preference known and win acceptance for it. To help him attain that, Casey creates in his stories an imaginary friend, Riley, an awkward lesbian in a heterosexual society. She acts as his reflection as he documents twisted versions of his reality through her eyes.
Do Your Parents Know You’re Straight? has its premiere season at Newcastle’s Civic Playhouse from May 3 to 6. It is being staged by Eclectic Productions, a company formed in 2015 by Riley McLean and other teens who had graduated from high school the previous year. The company presents plays that have young people trying to sort out problems in their lives, and won acclaim from audience members of all ages for its first two productions, American comedy-dramas One Good Thing and Rumours of Polar Bears.
The concept of Do Your Parents Know You’re Straight? arose from a conversation between Riley McLean and a fellow acting student at Newcastle TAFE’s Regional of Institute of Performing Arts in 2015. They were talking about reality television shows and the other student said how funny it would be if there was a show in which everyone was gay.
McLean used that as the basis for a 10-minute play, Do Your Parents Know You’re Straight?, which was part of the students’ end-of-year festival of new works. It was subsequently accepted for the Wild Cards category in the 2016 Sydney Short+Sweet theatre festival, winning the People’s Choice vote for the week it was staged. That led to a decision to develop a longer play, with feedback provided by a large audience at a reading of the draft script in Newcastle late last year.
The cast of the Eclectic production is headed by Jack Twelvetree as Casey and Alexandra Jensen as Riley, Parisse Lattimore, Grace Hughes, Joseph McHugh, Sam Hawkins, Chris Shanko, Chris Henderson, Taylor Reece, Dakota Dunlap, Hannah Richens, Samantha Lambert, Jamahla Barron and Genevieve Lawson in other roles, including Casey’s two fathers, a supportive teacher, and a school bully. Most of the actors double as real life gay people and the heterosexuals in Casey’s stories. Riley McLean directs, assisted by Cassie Hamilton.
Jack Twelvetree notes that the characters are very real and very relatable.
Do Your Parents Know You’re Straight?can be seen at the Civic Playhouse nightly at 7pm from Wednesday, May 3, to Saturday, May 6. There is also a 2pm Saturday show. Tickets: $30, concession $25. Bookings: 4929 1977.
Why treechange destination Orange has almost got it all
Here’s what it’s like to live in Wagga Wagga, NSW’s biggest inland city
Purchasing a home is fast becoming a receding dream for many Sydneysiders. The bleak prospect of escalating house prices is a depressing state of affairs pushing the first home deposit goal further out of reach.
There is a silver lining if you cast your search further and consider greener pastures.
An increasing number of young city professionals are thinking outside the box – by that I mean further than greater Sydney – and purchasing in regional NSW rather than being pushed to the city fringes.
Rural life doesn’t mean a village in the middle of nowhere. The flourishing population in certain towns of regional NSW illustrates a diversifying, dynamic economy that will continue to gentrify as the area grows. To be honest many resemble a Sydney suburb – yes, they have cafes.
The dismal uptake of the now-scrapped NSW regional relocation home buyers grant introduced in 2011 illustrates the difficulties of creating a policy designed to relieve prices in metropolitan areas.
At the end of 2011, the median house price in Sydney was a mere $634,786. Home values have almost doubled since, with a median of $1,128,759 at the end of 2016. We are all waiting with bated breath for Sydney house prices to cool but this hasn’t happened despite regulatory measures in place to help contain risks.
A social engineering scheme, like the 2011 policy, would probably be grasped with both hands by struggling first home buyers today. Realistically, under the current market conditions, housing affordability is no doubt the biggest forced incentive encouraging city tenants to purchase in the bush.
The median price of a home in Sydney could purchase at least two homes in certain parts of regional NSW. The large price differential between metropolitan and regional areas is encouraging enough.
One million dollars could purchase a rural family home and a regional coastal home with money to spare for an overseas holiday every year.
Let’s put this into perspective, the median house price in Dubbo is $360,000, in Coffs Harbour $456,000 and Albury a mere snippet of Sydney’s at $331,000. It is no doubt regional area home values are at a far more palatable price point.
Purse strings may become looser from a regional property purchase but there are other added benefits to rural living. Many families choose to move out of the rat race to take advantage of the more relaxed lifestyles on offer.
A close friend recently fled the city to Bowral for a “remote lifestyle”.
The family adjusted from a daily two-hour round trip commute to 20 minutes that included a drop-off at daycare. A predicament we all wish we had. As prices steam ahead in Sydney, it is likely more residents will decide to embrace regional life.
Time magazine has unveiled its 100 most influential people of the year, with a list that includes the likes of Samantha Bee, Chance the Rapper and Ivanka Trump. Australia’s Margot Robbie also made the cut.
The list includes artists, business types and icons.
In keeping with tradition, the magazine had other influential people write their new Linkedin bio for them, with a paragraph on what makes them so influential.
And the best part was reading the woman-to-woman affirmations from one famous woman to another, an important thing to note when the gender pay gap exists even in Hollywood and women can sometimes struggle to be heard. It’s kind of like the magazine version of the ‘amplification’ strategy that women on Barack Obama’s team used when he was in office to make sure they had a seat at the table/didn’t have some average dude getting all the credit simply because he spoke up in the brainstorm session.
According to the Washington Post, ‘amplification’ worked like this.
“When a woman made a key point, other women would repeat it, giving credit to its author. This forced the men in the room to recognise the contribution ??? and denied them the chance to claim the idea as their own.”
“We just started doing it, and made a purpose of doing it. It was an everyday thing,” one former Obama aide told the reporter.
And it worked. President Obama called on women and more junior staff more often.
Then there’s ‘shine theory’ which is, as described by writer Ann Friedman, all about surrounding yourself with women that you admire and revelling in their gloriousness, rather than feeling intimidated or jealous of them.
“When you meet a woman who is intimidatingly witty, stylish, beautiful, and professionally accomplished, befriend her. Surrounding yourself with the best people doesn’t make you look worse by comparison. It makes you better,” writes Friedman.
So back to that Time list. Below are some of the best things that famous women – arguably the shiniest of them all – had to say about each other.
Emma Stone, by Brie Larson
“Emma takes on significant roles off-screen as well. The selfless friend. The wise psychiatrist. The fearless leader. The coolest girl at the party. (She’s even the intense soccer mom, cheering you on, no matter what, at the top of her lungs.) I know that she has played all of these roles in my life. And for that I’m lucky to call her my friend.
But what I really admire about Emma the person???as well as Emma the actor???is that she is never afraid to show us the most difficult thing you can show the world: yourself.”
Viola Davis, by Meryl Streep
“???Viola has carved a place for herself on the Mount Rushmore of the 21st century – new faces emerging from a neglected mountain. And when she tells the story of how she got from where she was to where she is, it is as if she is on a pilgrimage, following her own footsteps and honouring that journey. Her gifts as an artist are unassailable, undeniable, deep and rich and true.”
Melinda Gates, by Sheryl Sandberg
“Her vision for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has helped lift the lives of millions of people. Its work reflects her impatient optimism. Her ability to think big and move fast. Her love of numbers. (Bill’s not the only data geek in the family.) Her passionate commitment to empowering women and girls, seen in the foundation’s support for increasing access to contraceptives in developing countries. Her fundamental belief in human dignity. It’s all there, woven tightly into the DNA of one of the most ambitious and generous philanthropies in history. And with the launch of her new organisation, Pivotal Ventures, Melinda has yet another avenue to effect meaningful change.
“Her impact will be felt for generations to come.”
Simone Biles, by Leslie Jones
“Simone is a very extraordinary person, and she’s going to be a very extraordinary grownup.”
Demi Lovato, by Arianna Huffington
“Demi Lovato is a remarkably talented artist and performer. But her courage, honesty and willingness to use her own experiences to help others are what make her a true star.”
GOALS: Jenna Kingsley scored for Warners Bay in their 1-0 win over South Wallsend on Thursday night. Picture: Jonathan CarrollWarners Bay player-coach Cassidy Davis said there remained plenty to work on out of their 1-0 midweek win over South Wallsend but felt the performance proved a confidence boost for the defending Herald Women’s Premier League champions.
The rescheduled round-four match was played at Lake Macquarie Regional Football Facility on Thursday night and Davis said the smooth surface was conducive to the fluidity of their attacking combinations.
“I thought we played really well … and now I think the girls realise they can play football, that they can do things that they haven’t been able to this season,” Davis said.
The win put the Panthers on level terms with unbeaten Merewether at the top of the league ladder but Davis said finishing needed to be better and they must show more urgency in defence if they want to continue to be one of the competition pace-setters.
They host Mid North Coast at John Street Oval in round-seven action on Sunday.
“Scoring goals is one thing,” Davis said. “We created a lot of chances [against South Wallsend] but only finished the one.
“Imo [Imogene Tomasone] is a good keeper and everyone knows that she can stop anything that comes at her, so we need to be better in front of goal.
“We also need to make sure that we don’t let Soph [Sophie Jones] and Shannon [Day]turn and run on the ball,because they’re dangerous with the ball at their feet.
“And we need to be a bit tighter at the back. We’re still working on attacking the ball and not letting their striker come off and receive the ball and turn and run.”
Merewether travel to Thornton to take on the winless Redbacks. The match is the first of three in eight days for United, who are still without key midfielder Jane McDonald through unavailability and suspended goalkeeper Alison Logue. They do however welcome back W-League striker Rhali Dobson, who missed the past couple of matches as she was overseas.
Adamstown play their first game in three weeks when they take on Wallsend at The Gardens.
It is the first of three matches in seven days for Rosebud, who play Merewether in a rescheduled fixture on Wednesday night.
Six degrees of Bob: celebrating an AFL legend Bob Murphy of the Bulldogs poses during AFL Captains Day 2017 at the MCG. Photo: Michael Dodge/Getty Images
Easton Wood and Bob Murphy with the trophy during the Western Bulldogs AFL Grand Final celebrations at Whitten Oval. Photo: Getty Images
Bob Murphy celebrates a win. Photo: Getty Images
Bob Murphy celebrates that 2016 Grand Final win. Photo: Getty Images
Robert Murphy of the Bulldogs leads the team off after the final siren during the 2017 JLT Community Series match in February 2017. Photo: Getty Images
Bob Murphy celebrates during the 2016 AFL First Preliminary Final match between the GWS Giants and the Western Bulldogs at Spotless Stadium. Photo: Getty Images
Bob Murphy and Easton Wood embrace after the 2016 AFL Grand Final win. Photo: Getty Images
Bob Murphy of the Bulldogs holds up the premiership cup with Easton Wood. Photo: Getty Images
Bob Murphy is embraced by team mates as he heads onto the stage to receive his 2016 Premiership medal. Photo: Getty Images
Bob Murphy and Easton Wood of the Bulldogs celebrate with the trophy after the 2016 grand final. Photo: Getty Images
TweetFacebook The faces of Bob Murphy +10MORE GALLERIES
facebookSHAREtwitterTWEETemailwhatsappPaul Kelly, Wil Anderson, friends, even his publican on what Bob Murphy means to them as the Western Bulldogs captain prepares for his 300th match.PAUL KELLYMusician, songwriterDear Bob,
In show business, things aren’t always within your control. So it was that I found myself flying home from Dublin via Abu Dhabi last grand final day. We were three hours from landing when the game started. I paid for a wi-fi connection and managed to get score updates that clicked over every couple of minutes. By the last quarter a large swathe of passengers around me were tuned in to my announcements. With five minutes to go I called it for the Dogs just before all electronic devices had to be switched off as the plane prepared to land. Jubilation all round.
That night I watched every second of the replay on TV and, like many others, I suspect, wept as Luke Beveridge draped his premiership medal around your neck. Like many others, too, I’d been barracking for you and your brothers throughout your seemingly Quixotic finals campaign.
You’ve been called the “spirit of the club”. It’s a cliché overworked. But, in your case, perfectly apt. Cruelly injured for the whole season and unable to join your brothers in the heat of the final battle you were the animating force, the touchstone, the one everyone turned to and sought out.
Rockdogs: Bob Murphy and Paul Kelly at the Community Cup in 2012. Photo: Craig Johnstone
Before the grand final youwrote about the loch locked inside of you, the secret sorrow at the deep heart of joy. You and Keats. “Ay, in the very temple of Delight veil’d Melancholy has her sovran shine.”
Things may not have turned out the way you imagined in your childhood dreams, your adult hopes. But something bigger, wider, deeper happened. Your particular trial made the whole a greater triumph. Your absence from the field made you even more present in the story. Your constraint generated enormous power.
Congratulations, Bob, sprite of the club. (Sprite – a legendary creature with magical powers). Congratulations, tough elf, on 300 bone-jarring games. Congratulations and thanks for it all, the great long story you’ve told. Your story isn’t done yet. It will run long after we’re gone.
WIL ANDERSONComedianI remember distinctly the first time I saw The Artist Formerly Known As Robert Murphy play for the Dogs. As a fellow Gippslander I was excited to see this player who had been described as having the skill of a young Robert (Robbie not Bob) Flower.
But when young Robert took the field wearing the number 22 on his back, it seemed like the club was so poor they had got him a guernsey two sizes too big in the hope he would grow into it.
Physically he probably never did – I have a theory the reason he ended up wearing number 2 was, when they took the jumper in, his shoulders weren’t wide enough for two numbers – but 300 games later he is a giant of the club and the game.
Sometimes as footy fans I think we are disappointed when the way someone plays on the ground doesn’t represent who they are off it. But that has never been the case with Bob.
On the field his greatest skill is that he makes those around him better, and in turn makes the game better. And that’s what he’s like off the field too. A unique individual who loves being part of a team.
So congratulations, Murph. As Bulldogs fans, we’ve had way more than our two Bob’s worth. In fact there’s an idea, is it too late to clone him?
JOHN SCHULTZChampion Footscray ruckman, 1960 Brownlow Medallist, mentorI first met Bob during the pre-season of 2000 when I was fortunate to act as a mentor at the induction of the 1999 draft players. Former players are often asked to speak to inductees to explain what they can expect. We, past players, are always interested in the composition of the team each year and when you speak at an induction you forever have a special interest in these players. I found Bob to be a particularly interesting person; he certainly thinks outside the square and is, in many ways, not your typical league footballer. I recall him lobbying to retain the old tree stump in the property room, the stump that the boot-studder had used for many years as a support when he worked on the boots. I think Bob thought it had historical significance.
What a draft year that was for the Western Bulldogs. Bob, Daniel Giansiracusa, Lindsay Gilbee, Mitch Hahn, Ryan Hargrave and Nathan Eagleton. They formed lifelong friendships and Bob and Gia, who is now a Bulldogs coach, still do part of Bob’s pre-game warm-up together.
Class of ’99: draft buddies Daniel Giansiracusa and Robert Murphy Photo: Sebastian Costanzo
When Bob seriously injured a knee in the dying minutes of an exciting game against the Hawks on Sunday May 10, 2016, he only needed five more games to achieve the dreamed-of footballer’s goal of 300 games. It was an especially cruel blow because Bob had a similar injury in 2006 and he knew the hard work that the recovery would entail. His dilemma was whether to retire then or at his age try to recover the fitness and form that would assure him of a place in the side. Thankfully he decided to play on and what a joyous celebration it will be when he runs onto the ground on Saturday.
DIEGO ORTUSOOsteopathIn 2008 we struck a deal with a handshake, a so-called gentleman’s agreement, Bob and me. “I will get you to 200, but you have to get yourself to 250.” Back then he was injured, low, uncertain, hurting – but I knew he would get better, he just needed to become whole again. He couldn’t even see himself making it to 150 games, but he worked hard – physically, emotionally and mentally.
I used to tell him in those dark days, “I begin the treatment and will help bind your wounds, but it’s you who finishes it and heals them.” He is smart. He understood what needed to happen. He trusts me and I trust his health. This is the basis of our relationship. He bestows upon me the great privilege of caring for that which is most precious to him – his health. Even more importantly, the health of those he loves most – his family.
Murphy has had two knee reconstructions, 10 years apart. Photo: Martin Philbey
You can judge the size of the man by the size of the things that bother him, and recent setbacks have changed the way he views the horizon. But Bob understands perspective. In treatment we talk all sorts of things – about his body, what worries him, what’s on his mind and what’s in his heart. He’s not a tortured artist, though – he loves stories and he laughs easily, which can only be a good thing in the magnified world he exists in.
They also say you can judge a man by the company he keeps. Bob is wise enough to realise you only become better if you surround yourself with people who are better than you. He definitely has that in Justine. She is his wife, adviser, confidant, right-hand woman, the mother of his children and the real captain in his most important team. My wife describes Bob and Justine best. “When I’m around them I just feel like hugging them all the time.”
I’m proud to have watched the young rebel become a wise leader. Proud that he picked himself up from the ashes again. Proud that he stands up for what he believes in. Proud that on the field he can once again “move like Jagger”. Proud to call him my friend.
BEN HUDSONFormer teammateHe cares for people, and that’s probably something not as common in footy circles. He’s the first to admit he’s not your typical footy nut, but you can see how the young players at the Bulldogs admire the way he goes about things, and he shows that care and empathy that goes beyond when they cross that white line.
I was lucky enough to share car rides with him to training, so I got to listen to his music and see what he wore into training. His fashion is left of centre and his music is the same, but that’s what makes Bob unique and such a loveable character. He’s pretty quiet and likes to keep to himself. Probably, in all honesty, he hates all the attention he’s copping his week.
People’s beard: Murphy has described Ben Hudson as one of his his favourite teammates, while “Gia” is like family. Photo: Paul Rovere
When Luke Beveridge gave him his premiership medal, that’ll go down as one of the greatest sporting moments. When Beveridge let him lift the premiership cup, it was very emotional, but at the same time you could see the passion and care and what it meant to him, but also to all the supporters in the west. For that iconic moment, he got to share that moment that not many captains or players get to do. You’d have to ask him how he felt about not being able to play, but I reckon, at that split second, he didn’t care.
PATRICK WALSHPublicanI’ve always said that if somebody was going to marry your sister you’d be pretty happy if it was Robert Murphy, and if you needed someone to find a target on their non-preferred side you’d be equally pleased.
We met for the first time in my pub, not long after he wrecked his knee for the first time. I was struck by him from the start – he was interested and interesting. Always admirable qualities, but especially so for someone who lived in the rarefied air of AFL. I felt like we were from a similar place. We talked about music, travel, love, family, writing, Guinness and sunscreen, occasionally arguing about football despite the vast difference in our qualifications.
An osteo (Diego Ortuso), a publican (Patrick Walsh) and a footballer (Bob Murphy).
We’ve covered a fair bit of ground since then and my understanding of a footballer’s life has changed how I watch the game. What hasn’t changed is that I’m very proud of my friend.
Usually after Christmas we have a kick, where he does all the running. I have never got a better appreciation of how good he is than in these moments. It’s like standing in the straight as the ponies head for home. If we get interrupted by his kids, or someone else’s, his football face goes and the other Robert seamlessly appears. Then it’s back to business, and just so you know, even when he’s easing into it, the ball smacks into your hands well before but exactly where you expect.
How to budget for a home on a low incomeHow to save money on food, and save for a house insteadSimple lifestyle changes that help you save money
When we find our dream home it’s so easy to get swept away with emotion. We love it so much we absolutely have to have it, so we’ll pay whatever it takes.
And in this market it often takes a lot, since property is not exactly cheap.
But then reality hits. You’re living in a home you love but you’re probably not thoroughly enjoying it because you’re working so hard to make ends meet.
Then a holiday period like Easter rolls around, and after putting in the hard yards since returning to work in the new year you feel like you just really need to get away. But how can you, with no spare cash?
To lower your mortgage repayments and give you some financial breathing space you could switch to interest-only for a short time if you’re currently paying principal and interest. This will give you a little extra money to play with.
It’s not a great idea in the long run though because you won’t make any headway into your mortgage, making future holidays even less likely.
Perhaps a more clever way to pay for the break you need is to rent your home out on a short-stay accommodation platform such as Airbnb or Stayz while you go away.
It will give you the cash injection you need to holiday yourself, with the added bonus of having a pseudo house sitter that pays you, rather than vice versa.
It’s unlikely renting your home like this will cover the entire cost of a holiday. It really depends on what you want to do – it may cover camping, but jet-setting overseas might be a different story.
According to Airbnb, the average amount earned by those renting out their homes in Australia is $3700, with an average rental period of 30 nights. The average earned in Sydney is $2400 a year, and in Melbourne it’s $4500.
But you’ll need to determine how much cash you’ll be left with after you’ve paid costs such as commission, insurance and tax to see whether it will actually be worth your while.
It’s taxable income so you’ll need to forfeit some of the gains (especially with the Australian Taxation Office checking up on undeclared income) although you can claim costs as a deduction.
With many short-stay websites around it’s easy to put a listing up, but first consider whether you have a home that will actually be in demand from fellow holiday makers, with those by the beach some of the most popular.
Easter is a great time to rent your home on a short-term basis, as well as other popular holiday times including Christmas and long weekends, and during major events such as the Australian Grand Prix or Mardi Gras.
Another great – but less common – option if you want to holiday but don’t have the cash is doing a house swap.
This will take care of one of the biggest holiday costs – accommodation – but you’ll still need to foot the bill for travelling and spending costs, and membership fees for house swap sites.
If you’re unsure about opening your home up to strangers, you can simply explore options for more affordable holidays, such as camping, or search for cheap airfares.
While you might be desperate for a holiday, don’t be tempted to borrow money or put it on the credit card. It will take you so long to pay off you’ll be sipping cocktails in Hawaii strictly in your daydreams for the foreseeable future.
They were the American backpackers who made headlines around the world after crash-tackling a would-be terrorist armed with an AK-47 on a crowded European train.
Now, Clint Eastwood wants to immortalise the story of the three men who risked their lives to save their fellow passengers.
The Hollywood veteran has decided to produce a movie based on the real-life survival story and subsequent book The 15:17 to Paris: The True Story of a Terrorist, a Train and Three American Heroes.
Eastwood has directed a string of action movies in recent years, including Sully and American Sniper. The latter snapped up more than $700 million at the box office worldwide and a string of Oscar nominations, including one for Best Picture.
The demand for the genre doesn’t appear to be dying down, with Eastwood currently working on a film about an aid worker who is kidnapped by Somali pirates, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Anthony Sadler, Spencer Stone and Alex Skarlatos’ quick-thinking on the Paris-bound train fits with Eastwood’s love for stories about ordinary people who are forced to do extraordinary things.
On the day of the thwarted attack, the three mates – who grew up in California together and were in Europe to celebrate Mr Skarlatos’ return from a tour of duty in Afghanistan – attacked the gunman while he was cocking his assault rifle.
Mr Stone choked the man while Mr Skarlatos hit him over the head. The would-be terrorist was armed with an AK-47, pistol and box cutter and one of the men almost lost their thumb in the process.
Mr Stone also had to stick his fingers into an injured man’s neck to stem the bleeding until paramedics arrived.
The trio were awarded French Legion of Honour medals by president Francois Hollande after the ordeal.
Goulburn home combines historic charm and modern luxuries
Beyond Sydney: Bush getaway in Goulburn could be the business
The rural landmark Bishopthorpe Manor near Goulburn is up for sale, complete with “monks quarters” and a chapel in the original stables.
Built in 1870 for Bishop Mesac Thomas, Goulburn’s first bishop, the historic bluestone manor boasts an impressive provenance since then, including a stint as a girls’ school, the home of Yarralumla Station owner Frederick Campbell in 1913, a conference centre, boutique guest house, host of the 2005 Celebrity Overhaulreality television show and now as home to Marshal Baxter, of Baxter’s Boots fame.
Baxter, who bought the 21-hectare property a decade ago for $2.3 million, is himself from a notable part of our national history, managing one of the earliest Australian businesses. What began as William Teece’s boot business in 1850 was bought by Henry Baxter in 1885, and is now run by his great-grandson Marshall Baxter.
Baxter bought Bishopthorpe in 2007 from the liquidators acting on behalf of Franklin Winkler’s Huka Investment company.
Winkler’s son Maurizio Winkler had overseen an extensive renovation of the property into a boutique guest stay following their purchase of it in 2003 for $2,975,000.
Winkler’s renovation wasn’t the first. Previous owners, keen huntsman Ray Willmott and his wife Marjorie, had also undertaken a major renovation into a B&B following their 1999 purchase for $1.33 million, although they sold it four years later.
Barry McEntee, of First National Real Estate Goulburn, has the listing.
What’s the most popular name in the Hunter? Sought-after: Sally Thompson said she “didn’t have any issues” with the popularity of her sons’ names, William, Thomas and Oliver. “The other names I liked are also on the list.” Pictures: Max Mason-Hubers
Common thread: Alana Macklin and Ben Clacher with Kyson and Anekah considered Kiara, but decided on Keana. “I like that all three kids have a K sound.” Picture: Max Mason-Hubers
Family ties: Lynn Stewart said she decided her daughter Bobbi’s name as soon as she found out she was having a girl. “It’s unique, not everywhere, but not weird.” Picture: Max Mason-Hubers
facebookSHAREtwitterTWEETemailwhatsappWHEN Sally Thompson and partner Glenn chose the name William for their first born, they were alsodecidingthe types of names they would give to any future children.
“I was really big on us all sounding like a family,” said Ms Thompson,of New Lambton. “We have real 1970s names, but we both liked older English names and wanted to keep with that tradition.”
William, 9, is now big brother to Thomas or Tommy, 7, and Oliver or Ollie, 4.
“I felt they would not age –they’re timeless and lovely strong names for boys.”
The couple’s carefully chosen monikers have also resonated with parents across NSW, with all three appearing in the Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages’ (BDM) 10 most popular names 2016.
The list is topped by Anglo-Celtic names spelt traditionally; Oliver and Olivia (variation Olive is the 92nd most popular girls name), followed by classics William and Charlotte, Jack and Amelia, Noah and Ava, Lucas and Mia, James and Chloe, Ethan and Emily, Thomas and Grace, Alexander and Isla and Leo and Ruby.
BDM data for the five most-populated suburbs in each local government area shows Olivia was pipped by Emily in Newcastle,Mia in Lake Macquarie, Emma in Maitland and Charlotte in Port Stephens,although Oliver stood firm in the top boys spot.
Frederick was the 10thmost popular boys name in Newcastle, but didn’t make the NSW top 100.
Neither Oliver or Olivia cracked the top 10 in Cessnock, where Levi and Ruby were the most popular names. Lydia was the 10thmost common girls name in Cessnock, but also didn’t make the statewide cut.
The Herald’s Babies of 2016 magazine published last month offereda glimpse of somebubs given rare names including Bede, Bentley, Boston, Brayton, Corbin, Ezra, Garratt, Harlow, Kallarney, Khaleesi, Kruz, Kylerah, Kyden,Lhotse, Maverick, Ohkiah, Otisand Vance.
Ms Thompson, a paediatric nurse who worked for three years at The Royal London Hospital, said both her career choice and time overseas could have contributed to her preferences.
She had been considering Harry for her third son, “but then realised I couldn’t have both William and Harry from the royal family”.
“I don’t think I realised at the time the nameswere as popular as what we’re seeing now, not that that would have changed my mind at all,” she said.
“Even though they are popular, William, Tommy and Oliver don’t have anyone else intheir schoolyear orpreschool with the same name.
“We seem to have found a pocket that doesn’t have too many.”
For Lynn Stewart of Kurri Kurri, her newborn daughter’s name is a link to her ancestors.
She gave birth on Wednesday morning to Bobbi Vica, named after her husband Wayne’s late father Robert and her mother Vica.
“It was important to us to have a meaning and this is keeping my father in law’s memory alive,” she said.
“He was an important man in the family and very loved. It’s important for us she learns about him and who he was.”
Alana Macklin and Ben Clacher of Salamander Bay chose the name Keana for their daughter, born Wednesday night. Keana joins older brother Kyson, 5, and Anekah, 10.
“I like quite different and unique names,” Ms Macklin said.
“Growing up I did not know any other Alanas and at the time I probably didn’t like it as much, but now I enjoyhaving this name.”
While Oliver, William and Jack and Olivia, Charlotte and Ameliahave been in the top 20 for the past 10 years, BDM data for the past 60 years tracks the changing tides of choosing a child’s name.
The most popular names in 2006 were Jack and Chloe, in 1996 Joshua and Jessica, in 1986 Matthew and Jessica, 1976Michael and Rebecca, 1966David and Karen and 1956 Peter and Jennifer.
Similarly, the Hunter suburbs producing the most babies have changed significantly, even in the past decade.
The BDM list of top baby suburbs based on mother’s home address at time of birth had Blacktown in first place in 2016 with 840.
Charlestown was the highest ranking Hunter suburb (77th) with 196 babies, followed by Cessnock (87th) with 180, Muswellbrook (96th) at 177 and Rutherford (100th) with 176.
Blacktown topped the 2006 list with 693 births, followed by Singleton (71st) with 207 births, Muswellbrook (73rd) with 205 births, Raymond Terrace (92nd) with 179 births and Mayfield (95th) with 176 births.
On the Road: NRMA chairman Kyle Loades at the M1 Motorway at Beresfield. The NRMA has welcomed plans to make the motorway safer and more efficient. Picture: Jonathan Carroll. Design work on a major upgrade of the M1 Motorway at Beresfield is set to be completed in June, Roads and Maritime Services said.
The project includesreplacing the roundabout with traffic lights at the Weakleys Drive and John Renshaw Drive intersection.
About 4000 vehicles use the roundabout every hour in peak periods.
The intersectioncannoteffectively cope with this level of demand, an RMS document said.
It’s unclear when construction work on thisproject will start.
However, work is set to begin onwidening thebusy and sometimes dangerous 12-kilometre stretch between Doyalson and Tuggerah to three lanes in each direction.
Thiswork includes rebuilding a 9-kilometre section of the road to provide a “smoother and more durable surface”.
The first stage of work on the Tuggerah to Doyalson section involves geotechnical investigations, withlane closuresfrom April 30.
This work will be done at night and is expected to be completed in a week.
Major work on the Tuggerah to Doyalson project, which will cost$145 million,is expected to start mid-year.
Itispart of a $400 million motorway upgrade program, which includes the Beresfield project and widening the route between the Kariong and Somersby interchanges.
NRMA spokesman Peter Khoury welcomed plans to make themotorway “safer and more efficient for traffic flow”.
“It’s such an important motorway and the importance will only increase,” Mr Khoury said.
Readers reacted to the motorway plans on the Herald’s Facebook page.
Carol Buttsworth backed plans for an upgrade at the end of the motorway at Beresfield.
“The current roundabout is an absolute joke,” she said.
Alison Smith said the motorway was “a disgrace”, with its “sunken, broken up pavement”.
Tracey Cambourn said the plans were “great news”, whileSean Moloney added“about bloody time”.
Some motorists said poor drivingcontinued to be a bigproblemon the route.
NRMA chairman Kyle Loades previously told the Herald that his organisation would like to see the phrase ‘‘please get home safely tonight’’ used on electronic message signs on the motorway.
Some motorists expressed concern about how the roadworks would affect their commuting times.
An RMS document relating to the Beresfield plan saidthere would be delays during construction.
“We would build the upgrade in stages and work with road users to ensure any adverse impacts or delays were minimised,” it said.