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Days get longer, cold gets stronger

Days get longer, cold gets stronger
My winter view: the derelict MV Catela on the Huon River, Franklin, Tasmania.
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Hot stuff in your inbox. Welcome to Galah Weekly, our newsy newsletter keeping you up to date with regional headlines that matter, plus other delightful things from life beyond the city. By Michelle Crawford, who is waiting for the fog to lift while writing this newsletter.

Regional news round-up

Nuclear Reaction

It’s been an interesting week watching the fallout from the opposition’s leader Peter Dutton’s nuclear policy announcement. What’s clear is that it’s splitting communities and fuelling the already volatile climate wars. Here’s a highlight of some of the coverage from the papers this week. The Australian is pulling no punches when it comes to supportive coverage. The Guardian went to regional Victoria's Latrobe Valley and asked locals what they thought, and Sky News headed west to Collie and found mixed reactions. This piece from the ABC asks if solar panels are the flaw in the Coalition's nuclear plans. And The Conversation reckons deep scepticism over Dutton’s nuclear plan is warranted here.

And speaking of scepticism, according to this French poll, only 60% of Australians believe climate disruption is caused by humans, ranking Australians among the most sceptical around the world. That’s well below the global average of 73%. Meanwhile, the decision by a handful of volunteer CFA brigades to "strike" against attending fires on renewable energy infrastructure – that's wind farms, solar farms, or transmission lines – prompted volunteer firefighter Cam Walker to respond by highlighting the importance of community. Read more

Newsletter partner

💕 Lonely hearts: Galah seeks partner 

Independent regional media brand with GSOH and 14,000+ engaged newsletter community seeks newsletter partners with like-minded interests. Must suit Galah’s community-minded subscribers with an interest in arts, culture and regional issues, who prefer to purchase locally made, high-quality brands that stand the test of time. 📧 Contact Lyndsie to discover if we’re a match: lyndsie@galahpress.com

Bird Flu outbreaks, and do I need to start hoarding eggs? 

After watching Clarkson’s Farm, I feel I’m across the highly contagious bird flu outbreaks and the devastating consequences it has for farmers. It’s grim. Here in Australia, outbreaks have now affected 10 farms across NSW, the ACT and Victoria, leading to over one million chickens being destroyed.

Bird flu, or avian influenza, is a highly contagious viral disease with a high mortality rate in birds. Despite the outbreaks, authorities assure that poultry supplies remain safe for consumption, provided that proper cooking guidelines are followed (ditch the medium-rare chicken).

To manage stock delays, Woolworths has implemented a two-pack purchase limit on eggs in NSW, the ACT, and Victoria – and we can expect prices to rise. There’s no need for panic buying just yet, but having no eggs in the house makes me anxious, so I’ll be grabbing an extra dozen and hoping they nip this outbreak in the bud. Read more

A “big stick” for supermarkets 

In a win for accountability for the big supermarkets, on Monday the Albanese government will set in motion the recommendations outlined in Dr Craig Emerson's report on the Food and Grocery Code of Conduct. The report addresses the imbalance of power between supermarkets and their suppliers. Among the 11 recommendations are hefty penalties for serious breaches of the code – offenders could face fines of up to $10 million or 10% of their annual turnover.

For retail giants like Coles and Woolworths, each raking in over $40 billion annually, a breach could cost billions. This isn't just a slap on the wrist, it's a game-changer in regulatory enforcement. The National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) is happy to hear it, with Acting CEO Charlie Thomas supporting the changes. 

“This is a significant step in our campaign to level the playing field for farmers,” Mr Thomas declared. “We’ve always said that to protect growers, we need a code with strong enough deterrents to influence behaviour in the supply chain.”  A billion-dollar fine should do it.

Whether this means lower prices for consumers remains to be seen, but a better deal for farmers? We're all for it. Read more 

Pissing with Picasso 

Hobart’s Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) has put its Picassos in a new ladies loo in response to a court order to shut down its Ladies Lounge. Mona was found to be discriminatory when it refused a New South Wales man entry to its women-only Ladies Lounge in April this year. (Full story

Ladies Lounge creator and MONA curator Kirsha Kaechele took to social media on Monday to announce a new exhibition at MONA just for ladies. "We never had female toilets at MONA before, they were all unisex," she said. "But then the Ladies Lounge had to close thanks to a lawsuit brought on by a man and I just didn't know what to do with all those Picassos." Read more

Regional Australian Olympic superstars 

With the countdown to Paris 2024 ticking, it’s heartening to see so many regional Australian athletes take up places in the Olympic team despite having fewer resources than those in bigger cities. We’re fans of 14-year-old skateboarder Arisa Trew and her Gold Coast teammate Keegan Palmer, who this week shored up their Paris medal prospects in Budapest. But it’s in the pool that we’re most excited about, and Tasmanians are thrilled beyond measure that young Hobartian Max Guiliani has qualified for a spot on the team, joining fellow Tassie swimming legend Ariarne Titmus. 

And while we all can’t reach the heights of Olympic competition, we can all have a go, as I used to tell my kids. I absolutely loved this initiative from Gilgandra High School in western NSW, where female students were provided with free sports bras to boost their participation in sport. Read more

Galah goss

As Issue 10 rolls off the presses, much of the team is away on holiday, so I’m taking over the newsie reins for the next few weeks. Having just returned from my walking holiday in the Scottish Highlands, I’m feeling refreshed and ready to jump in. This was my first multi-day hike, and I have discovered the joys of walking for miles every day. There’s nothing to do except admire the landscape, push through any aches and pains, keep walking and think about what’s for dinner. You simply focus on your next step. It's incredibly soothing for the soul. Now, I’m dreaming of my next multi-day hike. The Overland Track? The South West Track? The Heysen Trail? The Camino? It’s my new obsession.

Meanwhile, at our pared-back editorial meeting this week, Annabelle and I reminisced about the old blogging days after Jane Smith @theshadybaker shared a biscuit recipe from my old blog on the ‘gram. Galah trivia for you: that’s where Annie and I first met – online, when we both had blogs, and small children. Mine was called Hugo and Elsa; Annie’s was called The Dailys. What a time that was. Creating words and pictures for pleasure, posting what you wanted, when you wanted. Compared to the hustle of today’s social media landscape, blogs seem somewhat nostalgic, quiet and slow. You’ll find the biscuit recipe here.

The Issue 10 with its glorious Jenny Kee cover will be landing in subscribers' letterboxes from mid-July. If you haven't already become a subscriber, please do. Select "include current issue" to get the Jenny Kee goodness as part of your subscription.

Galah issue 10, with Jenny Kee's glorious waratahs

What's On

The New Boy, part of Joondalup’s Aboriginal Film Festival 

Aboriginal Film Festival 

Celebrates the many achievements of Aboriginal film-makers, actors and storytellers, with five free screenings of renowned and award-winning movies. Part of Joondalup’s Naidoc celebrations throughout July. Perth, WA, 8-12 July. Read more

Gympie Region Studio Trails 

Explore the private studios of the Gympie region’s artists and discover a hidden side of this beautiful region. For each weekend in July, selected artists will open their studio doors and welcome you inside for a rare glimpse behind the scenes. Across Gympie, Qld, 6-26 July. Read more

Festival of Voices 

Celebrating the transformative power of singing that brings people together. Inspired by the age-old tradition of gathering around a fire, this Tasmanian winter event series has become Australia's leading singing festival. Hobart, Tasmania, June 28-July 12. Read more

In the Flock

Image: Andrew Northover

Si Billam, graphic and type designer, art director and casual haikuist

Interview by Emma Hearnes

You won’t have any luck getting Si Billam to list off his impressive resumé. So allow me to do it for him. Originally from England, and now living in Gippsland in regional Victoria, the self-described “local-to-global thinker” has worked for everyone from local small businesses like The Mast to global brands such as Coca-Cola, Nike, FIFA, Playstation and MTV. Currently, he balances his creative focus among his positions as senior designer at The View From Here (where he is lead designer and art director of Gippslandia), and founder of Type, Something; and OFFFICE.xyz.

Tell me about how you ended up in Gippsland. 

Gippsland became home purely by chance, a serendipitous moment during a visit from Melbourne, where I was living after moving from England, that resulted in an employment opportunity. I had planned to stay here for just a couple of years, but nine years later I’m still here. Mañana Mañana. I grew up by the sea in England – albeit a darker, shittier-looking sea – so I love the connection to water I have, living by the coastline of Gippsland.


Tell me about some fellow Gippsland creatives you’ve collaborated with.      

Everyone needs collaborators like photographers Andrew Northover and Lauren Murphy. Andy is a machine – an actual machine – and will push you beyond your limits. His precision and technical know-how make him more AI-like than AI itself – and he’s so much fun to work with. Lauren is a constant reminder that empathy and emotion belong in commercial work and that it’s not just about marketing targets, sales conversions or social content. Lauren’s work ALWAYS has this human connection that never fails to stop me in my tracks.

What has been occupying your creative focus lately?

My focus is generally occupied by my two kids and their extracurricular activities, but in between that, I’ve had some great momentum in my personal work over the last six months, after a really difficult two years managing critical family health issues. During that time, all I could muster up was words – I was constantly writing words or phrases in my Notes app.

I’ve often started articles I write for Gippslandia with a haiku. I find it sets the tone for my writing style – dry wit with a sarcastic undertone. So as a form of therapy (unbeknown to me) at the backend of 2023, I wrote a collection of haikus using all the notes I made and designed a ‘book’ to house them in using custom typefaces from Type, Something;’s back catalogue. This book really laid it all bare and seemed to be the catalyst to find my focus again.

This last question is for my personal validation… As a typographer, what is your professional opinion on Comic Sans?

Fuck that Comic Sans.

For Karen’s office signage. 

It’s a joke really.

One last thing

Days get longer cold gets stronger 

We may have passed the winter solstice but the old saying “days get longer cold gets stronger” rings true and the recent frosty weather that has seen many Australians wearing their puffer jackets indoors. This Canadian expat’s rant about how cold Australian houses are went viral this week, underlining how tough winters in our poorly insulated houses can be. Read more.

In more cold-busting news, the ABC shared tips on how to defrost your windscreen, which led readers to respond with some tips of their own, including er, not living in a place where your windscreen freezes in the first place. Stay warm, flockers! Read more.

What’s new(s)?

We’d love to hear about the news, events and people that should be making the headlines in the Galah Weekly newsy. Share what’s new(s) in your neck of the woods with us at newsie@galahpress.com