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The Correspondent November-December 2003 PDF Print E-mail
The Correspondent
(Journal of The Foreign Correspondents' Association)
November-December 2003


Newsletter Index Dining for a good cause by Kirsten Fogg
Now that the FCA has an official sponsor, it's time to share that goodwill with others less fortunate. That was the logic that prompted member Jimmy Pozarik to suggest a charity dinner for the Sydney Children's Hospital cancer ward, where he's been a volunteer for two years.
In New South Wales, about 100 new children diagnosed with cancer each year are referred to the Sydney Children's Hospital. That's about 40 percent of the children diagnosed with cancer in the state, said Dr Richard Cohn, head of Clinical Oncology at the hospital.
While the government supplies the staff and the physical structure, the ward relies on the community and donations for many other items.
The $600 raised at the charity dinner (including donations from Jimmy's friends and FCA members not able to attend) will most likely be put towards buying toys used in therapy to teach the children about their procedures and medical issues, Dr Cohn said. ``Every little bit helps,'' he said. ``We're very grateful to everybody who supports us.''
Dr Cohn suggested FCA members who want to see what a difference their donation makes, come to the hospital to ``see the smiles on the faces of the children.'' There are usually about 16 in-patients in the ward at any one time, with about four of those undergoing bone marrow transplants. Many more use the out-patient therapy ward, sometimes for as much as eight hours a day, said Dr Cohn, who's worked in clinical oncology for more than 20 years.
Hosts of the charity dinner, Jimmy and his wife Lee, not only opened their home on Sunday November 2nd to 21 FCA members and partners, but they spent three days cooking the elaborate meal. That's after they'd already spent days planning and buying the ingredients, borrowing furniture, cutlery and glassware.
FCA Dinner
Photo credit: JIMMY POZARIK
Guests were greeted with champagne and canapés, then escorted to the balcony for magnificent ocean views of the North Head from Dover Heights. The wine accompanying entrée and the main, Jimmy's original Mediterranean stuffed chicken breast, was provided by Orlando Wyndham.
Lee's fresh fruit pavlova and melt-in-your-mouth brownies topped off an excellent evening. All that was left at the end was a question mark over the next charity dinner. ``Hopefully this tradition will continue, whether at my place or someone else's,'' said Jimmy.

Newsletter Index Pass the shovel, James by Mark Chipperfield
Celebration was in the air when members of the Foreign Correspondents' Association gathered at the Malt Shovel Brewery, Camperdown, on October 15.
The function was held to formally launch BridgeClimb Sydney's sponsorship of the FCA website (www.foreigncorrespondents.org). The deliberately relaxed evening began with a tour of the historic brewery, followed by short speeches by FCA president Agneta Didrikson and the managing director of BridgeClimb Todd Coates. Under the sponsorship deal, BridgeClimb will provide funding for the next 12 months, thereby allowing the FCA to redevelop and extend its existing website.
"This is a first for us," said Mr Coates. "Although we support many charities, this is the first time in five and a half years of operation that we've entered into a sponsorship arrangement with anyone." He praised the FCA for pursuing him in such an assiduous fashion: "It's taken a long time, but you just never gave up!"
According to Mr Coates the new relationship was a natural fit, given BridgeClimb's focus on the international market a large percentage of climbers come from abroad, especially Britain and Europe.
For her part, the FCA president said that she was delighted to have the support of BridgeClimb, a company which was so strongly associated with the image of Sydney. "BridgeClimb was always our number one choice," she said. "So we're delighted that you're here tonight. Welcome on board." By a happy and well-planned coincidence Sydney brewmaster Dr Chuck Hahn was on hand to personally introduce the excellent range of James Squire handcrafted beers made at the brewery. Apart from James Squire porters, pilsners and ales, FCA members were given a special preview of the company's new Colonial Wheat Beer.
Dr Hahn told the gathering that this style of beer was very popular during early days of the Botany Bay colony when the original James Squire, Sydney's first professional brewer, plied his craft. "This cloudy beer is brewed in antique copper kettles from a blend of fresh wheat, malted wheat and pale malted barley," he said. "In the tradition of Hefeweizen, its subtle notes of tropical fruit and spicy clove are created by imported wheat beer yeast, rather than by adding spices in the style of Belgian wit beers."
Todd Coates, Agneta Didrikson & Dr Chuck Hahn
Managing Director of BridgeClimb Todd Coates with FCA president Agneta Didrikson and the Sydney brewmaster Dr Chuck Hahn
Photo credit: URS BUCHER
Dr Hahn said Colonial Wheat Beer was both an excellent quaffing beer -- as FCA members demonstrated -- and a fine accompaniment to barbecued prawns, blue swimmer crab frittata or cold smoked chicken. Once the formal part of the evening was concluded, guests were invited to drink at the brewery's well-supplied bar. A generous supply of boutique meat pie, cheeses, biscuits and olives were on hand.
A special word of thanks to PR maestro John Savage, who helped to arrange the function, and to his crew at Savage Communications -- and to the amiable brewery staff who stayed on after work to pour beer and chat with correspondents.
The James Squire website www.malt-shovel.com.au contains useful information about upcoming events at the brewery, such as beer tastings and lunches; as well as details on how to join the Malt Shovel Beer Club (it's free).

Newsletter Index Recipe to becoming a Board member by By Agneta Didrikson
You don´t have to be an Arnold Schwarzengger to become President of the FCA. Although it would probably help because with his physique you´d definitely be noticed. Noticed by other members and by incumbent Board members.
Because that´s how most of us now on the Board got there! During the last year members have asked "How do you get on the Board of the FCA? How do you become an office-bearer and how can you make it to the President's coveted post"? The simple answer to the first question is "Get involved!" And the next two questions will find answers later on.
Most of the persons on the Board today started their FCA-career, if there is such a thing, by taking part in FCA arrangements, press conferences, social meetings and trips. That is how you get to know other members including the Board. That is how you can show your peers that you are "Board Material". And when the time comes to nominate the Board members usually in May/June somebody will ask you to stand. Or you will tell some friends that you would like to and surely get nominated.
During my five years on the Board, the queue of those wanting to be Board Members has not been long at all. But we have had a few difficult years so maybe the attraction to take part in Board work has not been too big.
Now, however, the FCA is sailing in much more interesting waters. Our functions are well chosen and well visited. The community around us has noticed us and the fact that members now want to serve on the Board is very stimulating.
So if you think you can make a contribution to the FCA, make yourself seen and heard. Start by coming to our events - both social and work-related. Let Board Members know you are interested in serving the FCA.
And you will be on your way to becoming the next President in no time!

Newsletter Index More amazing finds in the Blue Mountains by Sid Astbury
It's an amazing thought that a couple of hours' drive from Australia's busiest city there are places where no one has been for generations. They are in the Wollemi National Park in the Blue Mountains and they have proved a happy hunting ground for international rock art specialist Paul Tacon.
Dr Tacon, a researcher at the Australian Museum in Sydney, recently shared with the FCA his delight in finding in the Wollemi a gallery of 203 drawings and stencils. The best of them are on the walls of a remote cave now known as Eagle's Reach.
The Wollemi didn't give up its treasures easily. The cave art was known about in 1995 but it wasn't until May this year that Tacon and his party reached and documented a trove of rock art that could stretch back 4,000 years.
Flash floods washed out their first attempt at validating the find. Then came drought, which meant there would be no drinking water for the adventurers. Next this being Australia bush fires cancelled their plans.
Reaching Eagle's Reach was a feat in itself. There was no room for a helicopter landing. The team had to drag equipment up steep slopes. The ruggedness of the country has served as a sentinel for the rock art. It was untouched over generations. And so it will remain. The location is secret.
There were suggestions the reports of rock art must be false because the Wollemi is such a wild and inhospitable place. Tacon and his chums found the reports were true.
Dr Paul Tacon
Dr Paul Tacon, rock art specialist and a researcher at the Australian Museum in Sydney
"This never was a true wilderness," Tacon told us. "There were a series of cultural landscapes within it."
The hostility of the terrain begs an obvious question: Why did Aborigines bother with the cave walls in the Wollemi when there were much easier locations for cultural expression?
We don't know. It's likely that it was at least a century ago that the last Aborigine visited Eagle's Reach.
Aborigines that visit now are glad that the rock art has come to light. "Universally people have been very happy that their accomplishments are being recognised, and it's being recognised that they were everywhere in this country," Tacon said. "It's like their ancestors are getting back in touch with them and the whole world is getting to know them."
What are we to make of the stencils of hands and the drawings of eagles, wallabies, koalas, lizards, boomerangs, axes and half-human figures? Tacon doesn't reject the notion that what is on show is graffiti. "It's a signature," he said. "It's a statement: I was here, this is my country it's like tags."

Newsletter Index Veni, Vidi, Vici by Greg Ansley
"I love free speech," US President George W. Bush declared as his speech to a joint sitting of Australia's federal parliament was interrupted by Greens Senator Bob Brown.
Bush appeared to be one of the few sharing that sentiment during his brief stopover to thank Australia for joining the war in Iraq, and to steel Canberra's support for his continuing campaign against terrorism. Bob Brown was certainly not free to speak. He was silenced then ordered to leave the House of Representatives, along with fellow Greens Senator Kerry Nettle. Both were banned from the following day's speech by Chinese President Hu Jintao.
The legality of that decision is now being seriously questioned by Senate officials.
More galling for journalists was the intensity of the security surrounding Bush less so for Hu and restrictions applying to Australian news organisations but not to the supremely arrogant White House press corps.
Canberra, as expected, had been screwed down so tightly that very little could move anywhere near Parliament House or the US Embassy, which sits on the slopes of a hill just across the road.
RAAF FA/18 Hornet jets flew day and night during the Bush visit; helicopters paced Bush's grandly isolated motorcade and patrolled at other times; armed police and troops covered every road, bridge and access point.
The dilemma for small news organisations such as the NZ Herald's person-and-a-half bureau was the logistics of being penned inside a locked-down Parliament House to hear Bush while demonstrators were massing outside.

There was the further complication of limited space in the House. Those reporters unable to gain one of the seats in the press gallery had to follow events on TV, filmed supposedly exclusively by the in-house government broadcasting service.
And there were the ubiquitous US Secret Service agents, with their sunglasses, ear radios and apparent absolute power over who went where, regardless of previous accreditation and approvals, and of official Australian protests to the contrary.
In one well-reported incident, Australian doyen Paul Kelly, who had only days earlier interviewed Bush in the White House, had to argue for 30 minutes with US agents before being allowed in to hear the Bush speech. He had been wearing a parliamentary pass rather than the larger national visitors pass. The Americans refused to accept previously agreed pass protocol and would not recognise the security-checked parliamentary pass.
The White House press corps, meanwhile, was given its own separate accommodation.
More was to come. Under parliamentary rules only the in-house broadcaster is allowed to film parliament, with tight restrictions on what it can show. This meant Australian broadcasters missed the fracas involving Brown and Nettle.
Chinese President Hu Jintao and US President Bush
Chinese President Hu Jintao and US President Bush.
But an American CNN crew was able to "slip" past the Secret Service, smuggle a camera into the House, and film the entire proceedings, including the Brown-Nettle affray.
Later, when Bush laid a wreath at the War Memorial, Australian news crews were ordered out of their pre-assigned spot because the White House corps had decided it wanted the location.
Hu's visit, in contrast, was a model of decorum Brown and Nettle's absence notwithstanding with far less security and a greater level of access.

Newsletter Index Jacob's Creek - best seller by Joëlle (Andréoli) Dietrich
As far as media presentations go, this special wine-tasting of Jacob's Creek best selection had a nice surprise for the participants. FCA sponsor Orlando-Wyndham, producer of the Jacob's Creek brand, offered liquid prizes in the form of 2-bottle packages to the journalists who would ask the best questions.
FCA stalwart Christopher Zinn won the 1st prize (a heavenly Jacob's Creek 1998 Limited Shiraz Cabernet and a vibrant 2003 Reserve Riesling) for his pertinent question about what was being done to cure the diseased Portuguese corks which have been affecting bottled wine all over the world.
I'm sure it helped that he kept a clear head by using the spittoon rigorously while I deliberately mistook it for an ice-bucket. Still, I won the 2nd prize just by asking as many questions as possible (without having to spit once!)
While a 20 + contingent of FCA wine lovers were diligently tasting their way through 11 varietals of Jacob's Creek, Orlando-Wyndham's winemaking and viticulture director Phillip L. Laffer (Pictured) delivered an informative lecture on the history of wine-making in Australia, the wine-export business and the evolution of Australian consumers' tastes, from beer and fortified wines to the present trend for vintage Merlot.
Phillip is a graduate in Oenology from the Roseworthy Agricultural College in South Australia who has worked in the industry since 1963 and has been named Australia's Winemaker of the Year for 2002 Australia, he informed us, is no longer a beer-drinking country. Australians now consume on average 24 litres of wine per person a year still a far cry from the 56 litres p/p, p/y, the French slip down behind their ties. I confess that a somewhat misplaced national pride made me foolishly rejoice that the French had once held the world record of wine consumption with a yearly average of 100 litres p/p!
While Australian wine-drinking climbs steadily, European consumption has been declining recently. Despite strained overseas markets, Australia's wine exports continued to surge over the past year. In fact, export volumes rose 24.2 per cent for the 12 months to August 31 this year. The success of Australian wine keeps growing as quality improves with innovation and investment. Other factors, such as cheaper land, the absence of regional rules for grape-growing and strict hygiene control, have also helped.
Of all the Australian wines, it is fair to say that Jacob's Creek is the best known brand internationally. It is the number one bottled wine brand in the UK (its largest buyer), New Zealand, Ireland, Scandinavia and Asia. The brand's consistent quality and clever marketing strategy have been a leading factor in Australia's spectacular wine export growth.
Phillip L. Laffer
Phillip L. Laffer

The international success of Jacob's Creek started unwittingly 150 years ago when Johann Gramp planted his first wine cuttings on the banks of Jacob's Creek in South Australia. The Bavarian settler could never have imagined that his modest vineyard marked the birth of Australia's leading wine region, the Barossa valley, and would one day be the best-selling Australian brand around the world.
The vineyard and cellar, established in 1847 and later named Orlando, was acquired by the French spirits giant Pernod-Ricard in 1989. The following year, Pernod-Ricard bought the Wyndham estate and formed the Orlando-Wyndham group, Australia's most successful wine exporter. Orlando-Wyndham decided in 1976 to name a Shiraz Cabernet Malbec wine from its 1973 vintage after the site of Johann Gramp's first vineyard on the banks of Jacob's Creek. This brand has become the most popular wine in Australia for more than a decade, with over 5.3 million cases sold in 2001. In the past 10 years, it has won over 1,500 show awards including 33 Trophies and 200 Gold medals.
 
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