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Making news this week: Alice, energy and agrihoods

Making news this week: Alice, energy and agrihoods
Documentation image of the exhibition Transformations - The Art of the Scott Sisters. Image: Stuart Humphreys, Australian Museum
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Anna Rogan
Anna Rogan Tallarook, Victoria
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Making news this week: Alice, energy and agrihoods. Welcome to our newsy newsletter keeping you up to date with regional headlines that matter, plus other delightful things from life beyond the city.

Regional news round-up

Alice emergency

The Northern Territory Government declared a state of emergency in Alice Springs on Wednesday—announcing a two-week curfew for people under 18 and the deployment of an additional 58 police officers and liquor inspectors. The announcement follows a series of violent incidents including an attack on a local pub and a public fight involving 150 people on Tuesday. NT Police Commissioner Michael Murphy said some of the unrest is linked to the death of a local 18-year-old man whose memorial was held earlier in the day (full story). Violent crime is an ongoing challenge for Alice Springs with widespread alcohol abuse, chronic social disadvantage, and intergenerational trauma in Indigenous communities all contributing factors (full story).

Newsletter partner

Helen Kaminski is thrilled to present Sun Chaser. Inspired by languid days spent by the Mediterranean coastline, the Spring Summer ‘24 collection is a vibrant celebration of the season’s intoxicating beauty and a transport to idyllic, sun-soaked moments by the sea.

Discover the collection

Sunny future for Australian energy

Speaking of sun chasing, the former Liddell coal-fired power station in NSW Hunter Valley is set to become a solar power manufacturing hub as part of the $1 billion Solar SunShot program announced by Prime Minister Anthony Albanese on Thursday (full story).

Earlier this month, Federal Opposition Leader Peter Dutton announced his alternative to renewables such as solar power and proposed a nuclear power policy that would include converting coal stations to nuclear reactors (full story), costing as much as $387 billion (full story). The Coalition has previously cited concerns that regional communities will be negatively impacted by the construction of new renewable energy projects and infrastructure (full story). 

More energy news

It was a banner week of energy news as Australia’s largest solar farm opened in outback Qld (full story), Australia’s first carbon-neutral cattle sale took place in Gloucester, NSW (full story), and gas shortages are predicted across Australia’s southern states (full story) even as new gas plants are being built (full story), and a new offshore gas bill was passed (full story).

In the agrihood

Queensland developers are searching for a site to launch Australia's first agricultural neighbourhood in Far North Queensland. The proposed development would incorporate up to four farming operations, including a diverse mix of horticulture and livestock. Arkadian Developments founder Steve Grist said the agrihoods are “redesigning human settlements and reintegrating farms and agriculture back into human living systems". Full story.

Image: Arkadian Developments via ABC News online

Queenslanders can legally access pill testing for the first time at the Rabbits Eat Lettuce festival in Warwick this weekend. The festival will provide onsite testing for substances including MDMA and cocaine, as well as medical staff, and designated safe spaces for drug users. Queensland is also set to become the first state to introduce permanent pill-testing clinics; the first opens in Bowen Hills next month. Full story.

Room for men in women-only clubs

At the WA Country Women’s Association's 100th annual conference later this year, the group is set to vote on a proposal allowing membership of men. CWA state chief executive Trish Langdon said "Men won't get a vote in terms of how the organisation is run, it's more of a recognition of their support… the suggestion came from members themselves; it was supported." Full story.

Meanwhile, Tasmania’s civil and administrative tribunal is considering whether Mona’s Ladies Lounge can legally deny entry to men based on their gender after an anti-discrimination complaint was made against the Hobart museum. Following a hearing on Tuesday, Mona’s lawyer, Catherine Scott said, “There is the participatory element of allowing women and denying men… We’re looking at the role that art can play in promoting equal opportunity... by not just experience, but by conversation, and specifically redressing the past exclusion of women.” Full story.

It’s a bird, it’s a plane…

No, it’s a ghost bat aircraft! For the first time in more than 50 years, a military combat aircraft has been designed, developed, and built in Australia. Boeing’s MQ-28 ghost bat aircraft will be manufactured at Wagner Corporation’s Wellcamp Airport in Toowoomba. Wagner chairman, John Wagner said the move “will cement Toowoomba and Wellcamp Business Park as a nucleus for aerospace and defence advanced manufacturing, creating global export opportunities for Australia’s supply chain.” Full story.

This week's newsletter is sponsored by Helen Kaminski

Tell us about it

Kate, an on-the-ground Galah from Gippsland, responded to the supermarket pricing shenanigans in last week’s newsletter: “As a nursery grower, I agree Bunnings should be included in the inquiries!”

Meanwhile, Vince Heffernan of Moorlands Biodynamic Farm told ethical butcher Feather and Bone: “The supermarket paradigm is one governed by profit and competition and the one we inhabit is driven by the goal of holistic well-being. Which isn't to say we don't want to make a fair profit - to run sustainable businesses - but economic profit at any price isn't what drives our businesses… I'll never be as rich as a supermarket executive - if there was a word that described how I live it would be enoughness”. Full story.

Heffernan is the second farmer featured by Feather and Bone in its series on supermarkets and why some farmers are opting out of the system. Read more

Galah goss

Food, frocks, and fun were the order of the day at the Galah book launch

Hop to it

It’s Easter Sunday as this newsletter hits inboxes and for most of the Galah team, this means one thing—chocolate. Plans for the long weekend include cousin hangs (Lyndsie), devising elaborate egg hunts (me), and feasting on fresh pecans (Annabelle).

Yes, chef!

The first edition of our monthly foodie newsletter, Yes, chef! launched on Friday. It features Eilish Maloney and her surprisingly versatile fermented jalapeños recipe, in an interview with Galah food-writer extraordinaire Sophie Hansen. If you missed it, you can read Yes, chef! here.

Long lunch

In other delicious news, the Galah book launch was a big success, with everyone raving about the long lunch menu. Hard to believe steak tartare would ever come to Tenterfield, but Stonefruit made it happen. A big thank you to the team for hosting Galah and to Goondiwindi Cotton for supplying Annabelle’s frock.

To catch Annabelle and hear all about the new Galah book, you can find her at the Goondiwindi Show on Saturday 4 May (read more) and in Barwon Heads, where she’ll be joined by Sophie Hansen, on Tuesday 28 May (read more).

And if you’d like your own copy of the Galah book, grab it in a bundle with Galah magazine Issue 09 here.

What's on

Documentation image of the exhibition Transformations - The Art of the Scott Sisters. Image: Stuart Humphreys, Australian Museum

Transformations - The Art of the Scott Sisters

In the mid-1800s, Australian sisters Harriet and Helena Scott created pioneering scientific illustrations and intricate watercolours that featured in landmark publications of their time and are still used by scientists today. The stunning collection of their historically significant pieces are displayed at the Yarra Ranges Regional Museum on 6 April - 26 May. Read more.

York Motorcycle Festival

From Harleys to Cafe Racers and everything in between, fans of the two-wheeled thrill machine are set to enjoy moto magic in York, WA. Enter in the Show and Shine display, watch daredevil riders on the stunt track, take in the Harley concert and enjoy kids activities, vintage markets and food trucks at the York Motorcycle Festival 6 - 7 April. Read more.

Young Galahs

We're three days into school holidays and my young Galahs have had approximately 300 hours of screen time and eaten about as many chocolate eggs. If, like me, you’re looking to assuage your parental guilt with some wholesome activities, most regional museums across Australia offer school holiday programs.

WA: Western Australian Museums

QLD: Cairns Art Gallery

VIC: Shepparton Art Museum and Tarrawarra Museum of Art

TAS: Burnie Arts Centre

SA: South Australia Museum

NT: Museum and Art Gallery Northern Territory

In the flock

"Art and making are surely defining aspects of being human," says Josephine Jakobi. Image credit: Jackson Gallagher

Josephine Jakobi, artist, kayaker and caretaker

Interview by Emma Hearnes

Award-winning artist Josephine Jakobi is just as happy to exhibit her works to big crowds in big galleries as she is to abandon them in wild and remote places. In this week’s In the flock, Jakobi describes how nature is her greatest collaborator and tells us what she's working on now at Bung Yarnda (Lake Tyers).

What’s the most bizarre thing you’ve done in the name of art?

It all seems pretty normal to me, so I asked my family and they said my Abandoned Art Project where I take my work to faraway places is a bit odd. I’ve left my art on the edge of the sea, in remote parts of the Barkly Tablelands, and the Simpson Desert.

Who has been your most fascinating collaborator? 

In recent years, the glorious estuary Bung Yarnda (Lake Tyers). I put lengths of linen into the water and leave them for a month while I camp by their side. I am asking the lake to make the first mark on the fabric and then I make mine.

What’s something about your profession that you don't understand?

The idea that art and artists are somehow "different". Art and making are surely defining aspects of being human.

What's been absorbing your attention lately?

My long association with Bung Yarnda (Lake Tyers) and FLOAT (a community-owned floating art studio) where I’ve been working with a team of artists and engineers to create tan artwork that functions as a floating waste treatment plant.

One last thing

Sarah Wheeler's Outback Long Ride map.

Beneath the brim

If you're in central NSW or Qld when Sarah Wheeler passes through on her nine-month, 6,000 km Outback Long Ride, she'd love to chat with you.

The 25-year-old hopes to meet as many rural and regional Australians as possible on her journey. 

“It’s something my mum would love me to do,” says Wheeler, who planned the long ride to honour her late parents and raise awareness and funds for cancer research. “The power of rural communities is unparalleled in this country—and I’m already seeing that before I depart on this trek. It’s deeply humbling,’’ she says.

Wheeler will start in Rowena, NSW, in May, heading north to Mt Isa, east to Charters Towers, south to Wagga Wagga, and west to Hay before heading north to home again. 

Ride with Wheeler, and her horses, Shifty and Sally, or get involved in the Outback Long Ride with sponsorship and support—turns out horses and humans need a lot of feed for such a trek. Read more.

You can also donate to help expand patient and carer support programs and fund research into the early detection and treatment of gastrointestinal cancer. 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.