SATURDAYReads That Chill and Thrill –Five n Authors in Conversation2.30pm to 3.30pm, Cardiff Library Programming Space, Shop 13, Cardiff Marketplace. Peter Doyle, Karen M .Davis, Pip Smith, Chris Allen, Jaye Ford. Cost: library members $10, non-members $15.
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NRL Newcastle Knights vs Auckland Warriors, McDonald Jones Stadium, Broadmeadow. Gates open 12.30pm, main game kick-off 3pm.

The Newcastle Knights take on Auckland Warriors on Saturday at Broadmeadow. Picture: AAP

Hoyts Rewind 6pm, Hoyts Charlestown.The Fifth Element.

Swim League Heat vs Pirates, 4.30pm to 6.30pm, Coughlan’s Swim Centre, Warners Bay.

PSTD Public Forum 2pm to 5pm,Banquet Hall, Newcastle City Hall, King Street, Newcastle.Free public forum on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. RSVP to 4913 8178 or [email protected]

Local Meets Global3pm, Maitland Regional Art Gallery. A celebration of five exhibitions and more than 80 complementary events and workshops. Meet a plethora of artists as they share their ideas, their inspirations and how they work. Entry is free, all welcome.

Local Meets Global at Maitland Regional Art Gallery.

Iced Novo6pm, Croatian Club, Wickham. Community festival with three stages of entertainment, market stalls, barefoot bowls and food. Entry is by gold coin donation with all proceeds going to the Awabakal women’s legal fighting fund to save the Butterfly Cave at West Wallsend.

SUNDAYBeach Clean Up 11am, Dixon Park Beach, Newcastle.

Hunter Wedding Expo 10am to 2pm, Newcastle Exhibition Centre. Cost $10 per person.

Nature Play Adventure –Winter 10.30am to 12.30pm, Belmont Wetlands State Park. Encouraging children aged four to eight to cultivate a deep connection to nature.

Winterfest at Toronto8am to 10am, Toronto Sailing Club.A mid-winter paddling event for kayakers, stand-up paddleboardersand outriggers. Cost$25 per person.

Dungog Dash and Dawdle 7.30am to noon, Dungog Showground. Cross country fun run, BBQ and fun activities for the kids. A fund-raiser for The Dungog Shire Community Centre.

Bengalla Cup Day 11am to 8pm, Muswellbrook Race Club.

On Stage –Songs From the Musicals 2pm,Harold Lobb Concert Hall, Newcastle Conservatorium of Music. Newcastle University Choir,young performers from Hunter Drama and CONDA Award-winning soloist Rachelle Schmidt-Adnum. Cost: $30 adult, $25 concession, $15 student, family ( 2 adults + 2 children) $60.

SAVE THE DATEThe annual Wallsend Winter Fairis on next Sunday, August 13, 9am to 3pm, with singing, dancing, market stalls, food, rides and more.

MARKETSThe Olive Tree Market CANCELLED due to weather.Saturday, 9am to 3pm, Civic Park, Newcastle.

Genuine Farmers Market Saturday, 8am to 1pm,Anzac Park, Marine Drive, Tea Gardens.

Farmers and Artisan Market Saturday, 8am to 1pm, Toronto Foreshore.

Church Garage Sale Saturday, 8.30am to 12.30pm,St John’s Presbyterian Church Hall,corner Hanbury andMacquarie streets, Mayfield.

Newcastle FlowerMarkets Saturday, 9.30am to noon, Rural Drive, Sandgate.

Hunter Valley Fine Food Markets Saturday, 8.30am to 12.30pm, Tyrrell’s Wines, 1838 Broke Road, Pokolbin.

Hunter Street Organic Food MarketSaturday, 9am to 3pm, Hunter Street Mall, Newcastle.

Hamilton Clocktower MarketsSaturday, 8am to 2pm, James Street Plaza, Hamilton.

Hunter Wine Country MarketsSaturday, 9am to 3pm, De Bortoli Wines, 532 Wine Country Drive, Pokolbin.

Adamstown Lions MarketSunday,8am to noon,corner Glebe and Brunker roads, Adamstown.

Newcastle City Farmers MarketSunday, 7am to 1pm, Newcastle Showground, Broadmeadow.

Maitland Markets Sunday, 8am to 2pm, Maitland Showground.

Broke Markets Sunday, 8am to 1pm,McNamara Park, Broke.

ARTNewcastle Art Gallery Kilgour Prize 2017. Until October 15.

Art Systems WickhamLife Passion, by John Langley, Stephen Berry and Jon Wilks. Ends Sunday.

The University Gallery, NewcastleShadowlands II Exhibition, byPenny Dunstan. Ends Saturday. The Phantom Show. Until August 20.

Old Fireshed GalleryLaguna Art Group. Ends Sunday.

Timeless TextilesHandstand, by Sylvia Watt. Until August 13.

Maitland Regional Art GalleryFertile Ground, by Gaye Shield and Julie Hosking. Until October 22.ATLAS; Play, by Sylvia Ray. Until October 8. Fiona Foley. Until December 3.Derek Kreckler: Accident and Process. Until September 3.Make A Face; Showcase 4 Exhibition. Until September 10.Lionel’s Place: Lionel Lindsay from the MRAG Collection. Until April 8, 2018.

Cessnock Regional Art GalleryNgani Barray This Country: Wonnarua artist Lesley Salem; This Place In Me, by Lorraine Hall. Until August 13.

Lake Macquarie City Art GalleryDiane Arbus: American Portraits; Artist Focus: Pablo Tapia and Your Collection: Photo i.d. Until August 20.

Newcastle MuseumOne Million Stars To End Violence;RAD Exhibition; n of the Year Awards 2017; Shadows of Sacrifice.

Watt Space Student GalleryThe Balancing of Colour: Robyn Pedley;Shards:Lynette Bridge;A New Perspective: Emma Wilks;The Other Woman: Chloe Hey.

Muswellbrook Regional Arts CentreContemporising the Modern: nmodern and contemporary photography;Travis De Vries: Lost Tales – Walking with Gods. Until August 27.

The Lock-UpStitched Up. Ends Sunday.

Gallery 139Big Bad Land. Ends Sunday.

Gloucester GalleryFilaments, by Michael Kolbe, Donna Cavanough, Helene Leane. Until August 13.

Newcastle Studio Potters & Back to Back GalleriesVervacity,bySandra Burgess, Sharon Taylor, Steph Berick, Jill Campbell, Clare Felton, Bev Leggett Simmons, Jackie Maundrell-Hall. Until August 13.

Cooks Hill GalleriesLagoon Series: Susan Sheridan. Until August 14.

Acrux Art GalleryStormy Weather, by Julie Bowe.

Timeless TextilesHandstand Exhibition: Sylvia Watt.

Hunter New England Health Waratah CampusArt For Waratah Exhibition –The Beauty of the n Alps.

CStudiosArt Gallery Duende, an exhibition by Hunter Women Artists. Until September 2.

Curve GalleryThe Maximalists Garden,by Vera Zulumovski. Until August 12.

THEATRECats (abridged)Andrew Lloyd Webber’smusical about cats meeting and talkingabout their lives. Young People’s Theatre, at its Hamiltontheatre. Saturday at 2pm and 7pm, and Sunday at 2pm.

Love and InformationEnglish playwright Caryl Churchill looks at the ways people’sgrowing reliance on technology for information has impacted on relationships. StoogedTheatre, at Catapult Dance Studio, Newcastle West. Saturday at 7.30pmandSundayat 5pm (final shows).

Play in a Day 8Teams write and stage short plays in a 24-hour period, with an audiencegetting to see an interesting program of works at this annual event. Newcastle TheatreCompany, at the NTC Theatre, Lambton. Saturday at 8pm.

The Hoarders Next DoorNeighbours interact with an old couple who are reluctant to throwthings out because of the memories they hold. Newcastle and HunterCatholic Schools Aspire Performing Arts, at the Civic Theatre, Newcastle. Saturdayat 7pm.

MUSIC5 Sawyers Saturday, AK Morris. Sunday, Marissa +1.

Argyle HouseSaturday, Hotel Motel.

Hotel CessnockSaturday, Outerphase.

Bar PetiteSaturday, Gerda +1. Sunday, Brien McVernon.

Battlesticks BarSaturday,Entity akaEddy Tolhurst.Sunday,Robbie Long.

Belmont 16s Saturday, Emily Smith, Loko. Sunday, The Blue Water Cowboys.

Belmont SportiesSunday, Sami.

Belmore HotelSaturday, Soundabout.

Beresfield Bowling Club Saturday, DV8. Sunday, Red Dirt Country Band.

Blackbutt Hotel Saturday, Hornet.

The BradfordSaturday, Blue On Black.

Burwood InnSaturday, DJ Surian.

Cambridge Hotel Saturday, Thy Art Is Murder, Alphawolf, Cured Life, Deadlights (Glasshouse), Matt Meler,JacquesK,Jake Small, Ben Pailas, B2BTomek.Sunday, Foley,Rort Menance,Treasuretroves,Underachiever.

Catho PubSaturday, Grace Fuller.Sunday, Spy V Spy.

Central Charlestown Leagues ClubSaturday, Gareth Hudson.

Central HotelStroudSaturday, Darren Rolling Keys.

Cessnock Leagues ClubSaturday, Davis & Jayne.

Charlestown Bowling ClubSaturday, Jon Matthews.

Clarendon Hotel Saturday, Pistol Pete.

Club KotaraSaturday,Mark Wells Trio.

Club LemonTreeSaturday, Jackson Halliday.

Club Maitland City Saturday, The Fedz.

Commercial Hotel MorpethSaturday, Spank N The Monkey.

Country Club HotelSaturday, Bandditts.

Criterion Hotel CarringtonSaturday, Arley Black. Sunday, Ben Travis.

Criterion Hotel WestonSaturday, Half Drive.

Croatian Wickham Sports ClubSaturday, Iced Novo ft.Jamie Hay, Zachari Watts King of Singing, Fux and the Sound, Throw Me To The Wolves, Obat Batuk, Plague, Su Morely, The Grounds, Nick Rachke, Ian Papworth, Alana Mundi, Wayne MeGregor, Trancemission.

Crown & Anchor HotelSunday, Alias.

Customs HouseSaturday, Bonny Rai. Sunday, Jordan Fleming.

Cypress Lakes Saturday, Tom Christie.

D’Albora MarinaSunday, Jason Bone.

Denman HotelSunday, Lennie Live.

Duke Of Wellington Saturday, Dean Kyrwood.

East Maitland Bowling Club Saturday, The Smarts. Sunday, Peter Stefanson.

Edgeworth Bowling ClubSunday, Boney Rivers.

The EdwardsSaturday, Marissa Saroca. Sunday,Audie Franks.

Exchange HotelSaturday, Misbehave.

FinnegansSaturday, Steve Zappa.

FogHorn BrewhouseSaturday, Adrianna Mac Duo.

Fort ScratchleySaturday, Raave Tapes, Taki Local.

Gateshead TavernSunday,Kevin O’Hara.

George TavernSaturday, Gen-R-8.

Grain StoreSaturday,HowardShearman.Sunday,JJ King.

Great Northern HotelSaturday, Kaylah Anne.

Greta Workers ClubSaturday, Duplexity.

Gunyah HotelSaturday, The Remedy. Sunday, The Years.

Hexham Bowling ClubSaturday, 2GoodReasons.

Honeysuckle Hotel Saturday, Tre Soul. Sunday, Anyerin, CrocQ.

Hotel DelanySaturday, Paperoy.

Jewells TavernSaturday, Paparazzi.

The Junction HotelSaturday, Bobby C.

King Street HotelSaturday, Scndl.

Lake Macquarie Yacht ClubSunday, Arna Georgia.

Lambton Park Hotel Saturday,Compadre Diablo.

Lass O’Gowrie Saturday,As of Sky,Vanishing Shapes,Jono B Smith.

Lochinvar HotelSaturday, Reg Sinclair.

Maitland Leagues ClubSaturday, Triple Zero.

Mark HotelSaturday, Kim & Mik. Sunday, Loko.

Mary Ellen Saturday, The Cassettes. Sunday, Matt McLaren.

Maryland Tavern Saturday, The Faves.

Mavericks On The Bay Saturday, Jordan Fleming. Sunday, Greg Bryce.

Mavericks On Darby Saturday, Matt McLaren.

Metropolitan Hotel MaitlandSaturday, Full Throttle. Sunday, Leroy & The Rats.

Mezz Bar at Wallsend DiggersSaturday,The Years.Sunday, Melbourne Street.

Murray’s BrewerySunday, Karen Soper.

Nag’s Head HotelSaturday, Chad Shuttleworth.

Neath HotelSaturday, Phonic.

Nelson Bay DiggersSaturday, Witchery. Sunday, Just Jade.

Nelson Bay Golf ClubSunday, James Osborn.

Newcastle Cruising Yacht ClubSunday, Daniel Arvidson.

Northern Star HotelSaturday,Jye Sharp.

Pedens CessnockSaturday, Ash Mountain.

Pippis At The PointSaturday, Mardmax. Sunday, Jesse Fildes.

Premier HotelSaturday, Jade Holland Band. Sunday, The Jungle Kings.

Prince of Wales Hotel Saturday,Nicko.

Queens Wharf Hotel Saturday, Georgina Grimshaw, The Rumour, MotownSoul Night. Sunday, Phonic, Wharf Life.

Raymond Terrace Bowling ClubSunday, Big Pete.

Royal Hotel SingletonSunday, Gaz N Gaz.

Royal Motor Yacht Club TorontoSunday, Darren Rolling Keys.

Rutherford HotelSaturday, John Larder.

Seabreeze HotelSaturday, Gen-X. Sunday, Georgina Grimshaw.

Shenanigans at the ImperialSaturday,Zac & Ben.Sunday,Deanna Rose.

Shortland Hotel Saturday, Zane Penn.

Snake Gully HotelSaturday, The Twangsters.

Soldiers Point Bowling ClubSaturday, Snape Brothers.

South Newcastle Leagues ClubSaturday, Brendan Murphy.

Stag and Hunter HotelSaturday,Mike Elrington. Sunday, Paul Greene.

Star HotelSaturday, The Big Bang. Sunday, Bruce Mathiske.

Stockton Bowling ClubSaturday, Steve Edmonds Band.

Sunnyside TavernSaturday, Ashley Knight.

Swansea HotelSunday, Chad Shuttleworth.

Swansea RSLClubSaturday, The Jumpin’ Jukebox Trio.

Tea Gardens Country ClubSaturday, The Brown Bull.

Tea Gardens HotelSaturday, Max Jackson.

Tilligerry RSL Saturday, All Access 80s.

Toronto WorkersSaturday, KR Duo. Sunday, Arley Black.

Town Hall HotelSaturday, Jim Overend.

Victoria Hotel HintonSaturday, Kevin O’Hara. Sunday, Zane Penn.

Wangi Wangi RSLClubSunday, Jackson Halliday.

Warners At The Bay Saturday, Frick N Orson.

Wests CardiffSaturday, La Bomba.

Wests New LambtonSaturday, Big Night Out. Tuesday, Angamus.

Wickham Park HotelSaturday,Plastic Voyage,Spy v Spy,Voodoo Express.Sunday,Codi Kaye, Fishfry + Pow Wow.

Windsor Castle HotelSaturday, Ryan Daley.

MOVIES20thCentury Women(M)The story of a teenage boy, his mother, and two other women who help raise him among the love and freedom of Southern California of 1979. (Regal)

A Dog’s Purpose(PG)A dog looks to discover his purpose in life over the course of several lifetimes and owners. (Regal)

Charlize Theron and Sofia Boutella in a scene from Atomic Blonde.

Atomic Blonde(MA)An undercover MI6 agent is sent to Berlin during the Cold War to investigate the murder of a fellow agent and recover a missing list of double agents.

Baby Driver(MA)A getaway driver meets the girl of his dreams and sees a chance to ditch his criminal life.

Cars 3(G)Lightning McQueen sets out to prove to a new generation of racers that he’s still the best race car in the world.

Chicken People(PG)Follows the trials and tribulations of those who breed exotic birds in the world of competitive poultry. (Lake Cinema)

Despicable Me 3(PG)Balthazar Bratt, a child star from the 1980s, hatches a scheme for world domination.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul(PG)Greg convinces his family to take a road trip to attend his great grandmother’s 90th birthday, so he canattend a nearby gamer convention.

Dunkirk(M)Allied soldiers from Belgium, the British Empire, Canada, and France are surrounded by the German army and evacuated during a fierce battle in World War II.

Going In Style(M)Desperate to pay the bills and come through for their loved ones, three lifelong pals risk it all by embarking on a daring bid to knock off the very bank that absconded with their money. (Lake Cinema)

My Cousin Rachel(PG)A young Englishman plots revenge against his mysterious, beautiful cousin, believing that she murdered his guardian. (Regal)

Spider-Man: Homecoming(M) Ayoung Peter Parker/Spider-Man begins to navigate his newfound identity as the web-slinging superhero.

The Big Sick(M)A couple deals with their cultural differences as their relationship grows.

The Eagle Huntress(G)Follow Aisholpan, a 13-year-old girl, as she trains to become the first female in 12 generations of her Kazakh family to become an eagle hunter. (Lake Cinema)

The Met Opera: Der Rosenkavalier(E)Renée Fleming sings one of her signature roles as the Marschallin, opposite Elina Garanca in her first North American performances as Octavian, the impulsive young title character. (Tower)

The Promise(M)Set during the last days of the Ottoman Empire, it follows a love triangle between Mikael, a brilliant medical student, the beautiful and sophisticated artist Ana and Chris, a renowned American journalist based in Paris. (Lake Cinema)

The Sense Of An Ending(M) A man becomes haunted by his past and is presented with a mysterious legacy that causes him to re-think his current situation in life. (Regal)

Their Finest(M) A former secretary, newly appointed as a scriptwriter for propaganda films, joins the cast and crew of a major production while the Blitz rages around them. (Regal)

Viceroy’s House(PG)Lord Mountbattenis tasked with overseeing the transition of British India to independence. (Regal)

War for the Planet of the Apes(M)A nation of genetically evolved apes led by Caesar becomes embroiled in a battle with an army of humans.

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20-24 Wyee Road, MorissetA duo of freestanding warehouses in a tightly held pocket of Warners Bay offer owner occupiers the chance to operate their business from one building – and collect an income from the other.
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Standout: Knight Frank agent Michael Boom said interest in the Tons of Tiles site had been strong “given the property’s exposure to Macquarie Road”.

Tons of Tiles is closing its doors after serving the region’s tilers, tradies, home owners and renovators for the past 37 years and is holding a closing down sale to clear its ceramic, porcelain, stone and mosaic products.

Michael Boom and Dan Barry from Knight Frank Newcastle have listed the metal clad warehouses on 3862 square metres at 246 Macquarie Road for expressions of interest, closing 4pm on August 31. “It’s zoned B7 business park zoning, which is quite flexible,” Mr Boom said. “It may go to a warehouse distributor or hardware and building suppliesbusiness, but the zoning also allows for a medical centre, respite day care centre, take away food and drink and a child care centre.

“Warners Bay is a very tightly held market andpropertiesof this size don’t come to market that often.”

The first building measuring around 769 square metres includes a 200 square metre ground floor showroom and a 569 square metre warehouse. The second building measuring 1305 square metres comprises a 175 square metre ground floor showroom and a 1130 square metre warehouse.

The property has space for 15 cars to park and also has drive through access.

MORISSET ON MOVEDEMAND for industrial and commercial land in Morisset is at a “record high”, according to Colliers International’s Ben Curran, who is marketing two developments in the suburb. “Average industrial land values in Morisset for blocks below 7000 square metres have increased 55 per cent since 2013,” Mr Curran said. He is marketing 10 hectare subdivision, Morisset Business Parkat 20-24 Wyee Road, and said two thirds of stage one was under offer.“We are seeing the demand come from local businesses looking to expand, investors speculating on growth in the area and Sydney based occupiers looking for better value than the inflated Sydney market.” He is also looking for an anchor tenant for a large format retail development at 76 Mandalong Road.

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A Mayfield house painstakingly transformed by fruit and vegetable wholesaler John Rarity has hit the market for the first time in two decades.
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Timeless: The Mayfield house on the corner block is a short walk to buses and the village hub and is zoned for Mayfield East Public School. A Coles supermarket is planned for the end of the street.

First National Newcastle City’s Andrew and Renee McKiernan have listed the three bedroom house on 309 square metres at 61 Havelock Street for between $600,000 and $650,000, which they said was “the right price bracket” for first home buyers. “We had at least 20 email inquiries in its first two days on the market,” Mr McKiernan said. “We’re thinking it’s going to be really well received at the open. It’s in the right bracket for first home buyers and ticks all the boxes and is full of character. Mayfield is still fairly affordable and is going to see growth over time.”

The Rarity Wholesale foundersaid he bought the more-than-100-year-old house about 20 years ago. He renovated and lived at the property for about 15 years, before leasing it for about five years. He has spent the past six months doing internal and external painting, addinga new kitchen with floating floor and installingnew carpet. “The best feature for me is the timber decking off the dining area,” he said. “The French doors open up and it’s always nice to have a summer day’s shade in the afternoon, plus the breeze coming through. It’s a double brick home and has really good insulation, it’s cool in summer and warm in winter. It’s got great karma and a good feel about it.” The house also has a lounge room;family, dining and kitchen area;a rear covered entertainment area overlooking private lawns; and a stand alone garage. It is open from 2pm on Saturday.

MASTERPIECEA five bedroom sanctuary boasting a tropical inspired courtyard and lap pool has been listed for between $2.25 million and $2.495 million. RobinsonProperty’s Ben Robinson and LyndallAllan will open67 Frederick Street Merewether, which is just 300 metres from the beach, from 12pm on Saturday. “Knock down rebuild blocks of a similar size close by are selling for up to $1.9 million,” Ms Allan said. “You could not replace what’s there for this sort of price.”

Sleek: The architecturally designed and custom built Merewether house on 278 square metres was constructed 10 years ago. The owners are building elsewhere.

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The hum is thick in the air as we arrive at George Sofronoff’s place deep in the silvery-gold winter landscape of the Queensland’s cool-climate Granite Belt region.
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Bees are at work on tall spires of blue flowering rosemary and in bright clouds of honey-scented wattle.

It’s a picture of abundance not uncommon across the botanically endowed greater Darling Downs region, of which the wine and fruit-producing Granite Belt forms a southern border.

George Sofronoff, and Elsa, with fresh Granite Belt truffles. Photo: Wendy Hughes

But we are not here on this historic day to see the usual flora and fauna, rather a genus all its own, a trick of nature that has beguiled food lovers for eternity and is suddenly rising up through Queensland soil. This is a truffle hunt.

It’s actually George’s fourth year with the trufferie – the English and American oaks were inoculated with the spores 10 years ago by the previous owner – but it’s the first year he’s felt ready to share his secret stash, perhaps sell a few beyond the small circle of local chefs who’ve been in the know until now. The trees are reaching their full potential as they mature, now producing around a kilo each in the winter and he’s considering putting in more.

The nobbly black shapes are mysterious and magical, rising up through the earth as they ripen, loosening the soil around them and wafting a wild sweet-earth pungency.

Despite being a purveyor of one of the world’s most prized foods, George himself remains incredibly down-to-earth about it all.

“I don’t actually eat them,” he says matter-of-factly, although he’s grown used to the aroma his cans of beer take on in the fridge.

George Sofronoff with fresh Granite Belt truffles. Photo: Wendy Hughes

Before Elsa the dog came along, he went on hands and knees sniffing the soil to find the truffles.

He marvels that the only tools of the trade he requires are a toothbrush to clean the dirt off, and a paper towels to wrap them in, which helps to draw moisture away from the tubers when they are stored.

Elsa bounds along George’s side towards the fenced trufferie the day we arrive. I’m visiting with a luminary of the Queensland food scene, the applauded and awarded chef Amanda Hinds, who has spent thousands on truffles from Tasmania and Western over the years for her menus at Bundaberg’s Indulge, the cafeshe owned and ran until late last year, and for special event dinners.

Amanda is sharing some of the region’s secrets as a representative of Tourism Darling Downs, a new private enterprise geared towards shining a brighter light on the region’s treasures, particularly its many culinary attractions and wineries. Amanda is among the many recently excited to discover that Queensland’s first truffles are seeing the light of day.

Inside the trufferie, Elsa begins to dig excitedly at the base of a tree and looks to George for her reward – some ball time – and he kneels to finish the dig she has started. He grabs a handful of soil and sniffs, digs again and voila – a golf-ball-sized specimen appears and the aroma rises up to meet us before we even get a chance to bend down.

It’s a joy to see.

George says his best score was a tennis-ball-sized truffle he gave to his mum. Unlike her son, she’s a fan.

George’s truffles are priced according to size and weight and shape, starting about$1500 a kilo. Premium examples around frequently reach near the $3000 mark.

What makes them so precious?

The dish at The Barrelroom, Ballandean Estate, featuring Queensland truffles. Photo: Wendy Hughes

Partly their incredible but fleeting aroma. It lasts a few weeks if kept properly and cannot be replicated. Scientists have tried to preserve it but that aroma in your truffle oil will be a chemical compound that replicates the truffle’s scent, not the real thing. Which means truffles fresh from the ground – not flown in from other states – are indeed an exciting new feather in the cap of Queensland’s tourism and food industry.

We buy some of George’s truffles before heading off and visiting chefs Travis and Arabella at the Barrelroom restaurant at Ballandean Estate. Like Amanda, Travis notes the sweet molasses-like notes in the freshly dug truffles which he shaves over a chicken dish, with a fennel soubise and root vegetables. What a delight to hear Travis add ” … and local truffles” as the dish lands at our table.

Stanthorpe’s McGregor Terrace Food Project and Varias restaurant at the College of Wine Tourism have also been using the local truffles.

George can be contacted on 0484 758 197.

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The new Mantra Hotel at Sydney Airport … obviously a pent-up demand for more rooms on the airport’s doorstep.Get an upper-level room at the front of the new Mantra Hotel at Sydney Airport and you’re in plane-spotters’ heaven, watching plane after plane take off from a runway so close you feel you can almost reach out like King Kong and grab the next flight.
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Not that the runway proximity is at all obtrusive. The excellent glazing takes care of that, well before the airport’s curfew kicks in.

The new Mantra Hotel at Sydney Airport … plane-spotters’ heaven.

And not that you have to be a plane-spotter to find reason to book into the new 136-room property. In days of nightmarish Sydney traffic, anyone with an early-morning flight will easily envision missing that last boarding call while stuck on the Princes Highway, the Campsie bypass or in the M5 tunnel.

There’s obviously a pent-up demand for more rooms on Sydney Airport’s doorstep. You only have to look at the new hotel’s advance bookings to figure that one out.

A studio king room … functionality and the needs of road warriors foremost.

Mantra Hotel at Sydney Airport has only been open for a couple of weeks yet there have been nights when occupancy exceeded 85 per cent. Bookings for July exceeded 1300 room nights, with the hotel picking up an additional 50 or so rooms per day.

I’m sure there have been moments when staff paddled like crazy under the water while maintaining a veneer of serenity, but those moments certainly didn’t show during a two-night stay that coincided with the hotel’s official opening by NSW Tourism Minister Adam Marshall.

Cutting the ribbon to open the new property … from left, Sydney Airport MD and CEO Kerrie Mather, NSW Minister for Tourism and Major Events Adam Marshall and Mantra Group CEO Bob East.

Everything seems to work. Accessing the carpark out the front is a breeze, check-in is speedy, the beds are comfortable and the rooms smallish but extremely well designed, with functionality and the needs of road warriors foremost.

Internet access is free and fast — as indeed it should be. When it isn’t I’m always reminded of a young boy’s reported conversation with his mother: “What do you mean there’s no WIFIwhere we’re going. It’s just in the air, isn’t it?”

There’s even a bulletin board in the restaurant, providing latest details of airport arrivals and departures.

And talking of the on-site restaurant, the menu is limited but well chosen, with entrées such as salt-and-pepper squid and pirri-pirri king prawns, and with the main courses including beer-battered flathead and eggplant parmigiana.

On-site dining … a limited but well selected range of dishes.

On separate occasions I tried a steak and prawns with linguine. The verdict on both occasions was clearly an appreciative thumbs up.

Regarding access to T2 and T3 domestic terminals, they really are within walking distance. I timed it and the walk took me just 15 minutes along well paved footpaths without any major road crossings.

There’s also a regular shuttle service that will suit those who have luggage. It’s available at a reasonably nominal charge and can be arranged through reception.

Rates start at $159 per night.

Phone 1300 987 604 or visitwww.mantra苏州夜总会招聘.au

John Rozentals was a guest of Mantra.

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Pictured (from left) Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins, Universitities Chief Executive Belinda Robinson and Nina Funnell, End Rape on Campus ambassador.University students are experiencing “unacceptable”rate of sexual assault on campus, a survey of 31,000 n students has found, afterstudents reported being assaulted on the way to university, inside residential collegesand by the staff supervising them.
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The report, released by the Human Rights Commission on Tuesday, found 2100 students [6.9 per cent]were sexually assaulted during the past two years, while more than half of alluniversity students were sexually harassed in 2016, with 21 per cent of those in a university setting.

“The unavoidable conclusion of the data we have gathered across all 39 n universities is that incidents of sexual assault and sexual harassment are occurring at unacceptable rates at n universities,” said Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins.

The report found women were four times more likely to have been sexually assaulted than men in a university residence, while post-graduate studentswere more likelyto have to have been harassed or assaulted by a staff member.

Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins has urged universities to ensure they have adequate support services in place. Photo: Paul Jeffers

Despite decades of reports ofsexual assault on campus,many victimsremain unaware of where to report their assault.

Only 6 per centof students surveyed thought their university was doing enough to provide clear direction on sexual harassment procedures and support services.

Of students who were sexually assaulted in a university setting, 87 per cent did not make a formal report.

Universitities Chief Executive Belinda Robinson Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

On Tuesday, MsJenkins released nine recommendations for reform, including establishing a sector-wide independent investigation into residential colleges.

“We found that college settings are a particular area of concern, particularly for women who were four times as likely as men to have been sexually assaulted in this setting,” she said.

In February,universities were accused of “actively covering up sexual assaults”after it was revealed there had been justsix expulsions in the past five years despite more than 500 official complaints, includingcollege students referring to an oval as a “rape oval”, calling cask wine “slut juice” and residential quarters “slut alley”.

Universities has also taken aim at colleges in its 10-point action plan, released on Tuesday, while developing new principles for postgraduate staff and student interaction in response to the new figures.

Chief executiveBelindaRobinson said the peak body would also be extending first responder training to frontline university staff.

“We know that the way a disclosure of sexual assault is handled in the very first instance can make all the difference to the recovery of the victim or survivor,” she said.

“This work will help ensure that all students will receive a compassionate and supportive response if they choose to disclose their experience to a university staff member.”

Nina Funnell, End Rape on Campus ambassador Photo: James Brickwood

But sexual assault advocates have condemnedthe peak body for failing to mention either perpetrators or disciplinary measures in its response.

“Universities’s complete silence on offenders and disciplinary reform makes victim-survivors question just how committed they really are to taking firmer steps towards making campuses safe for students,” said End Rape on Campus ambassador Nina Funnell.

“Implementing trauma-informed reporting channels is all well and good but if universities have no intention of ever disciplining offenders there is little incentive to report.”

University administrators have been awaiting the survey’sfindings since the survey was launched in November. All 39 institutions are set to releasetheir individual results on Tuesday morningfollowing reports from Fairfax Media.

Universities and the Human Rights Commission had previously been accused of “unconscionable research” and “betraying” the students who participated in the survey because they would not release data on individual universities.

The figures are set to have an impact on ‘s third largest export, the $20 billoninternational student market.

Donaldson Law director Adair Donaldson said unless universities fundamentally changed their culture of dealing with sexual assault, a wave of victims could come forward seeking damages due to breaches of duty of care.

“Universities must be prepared to acknowledge and support survivors of sexual assault and abuse, or the result to these academic institutions could be serious financial distress due to legal claims,” Mr Donaldson said.

“My experience working with survivors of institutional abuse is that nobody wants to embark on aggressive and protracted legal action, there is an opportunity for the universities to work together with survivors, rather than against them.”

If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault or family violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732. In an emergency contact 000.

Universities has also established a new university dedicated counsellinghotline on1800 572 224.

The Age

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Reserve Bank governor Philip Lowe. Photo: Louie DouvisThe Reserve Bank has kept its cash rate on hold at a record low of 1.5 per centfor the eleventh consecutive month, providing little indication of when it will allow rates to rise.
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The decision at Tuesday’s board meeting comes ahead of the release of the bank’sQuarterly Statement on Monetary Policyon Friday which is expected to explain more of the board’s thinking.

It came as the n dollar climbed back above US80¢, the second time in two weeks it has broken the threshold to trade at a two-year high.

The statement by Reserve Bank governor Philip Lowe saidthe bank’s forecastsfor the n economy was largely unchanged.

“Over the next couple of years, the central forecast is for the economy to grow at an annual rate of around 3 per cent. The transition to lower levels of mining investment following the mining investment boom is almost complete, with some large liquefied natural gasprojects now close to completion. Business conditions have improved and capacity utilisation has increased. The current high level of residential construction is forecast to be maintained for some time, before gradually easing.”

Governor Lowe said one source of uncertainty for the domestic economy was the outlook for consumption. Retail sales had picked up, but slow growth in real wages and high levels of household debt were likely to constrain growth in spending.

Employment growth was picking up, but againstthis, wage growth remained low and was likely to stay low for a while yet.

The higher exchange rate was expected to contribute to subdued price pressures in the economy. It was also weighing on the outlook for output and employment. An appreciating exchange rate would be expected to result in a slower pick-up in economic activity and inflation than currently forecast.

The bank signalled it was notparticularlyworriedabouthousing prices, saying they wererising briskly in some markets, although more slowly.In some other markets, they were declining.

“In the eastern capital cities,a considerable additional supply of apartments is scheduled to come on stream over the next couple of years. Rent increases remain low in most cities and investors in residential property are facing higher interest rates. There has also been some tightening of credit conditions following recent supervisory measures to address the risks associated with high and rising levels of household indebtedness. Growth in housing debt has been outpacing the slow growth in household incomes,” thestatementsaid.

In recent monthsmortgage rates have been edging higher, particularly for investors and interest-only loans.

Tim Lawless, head of research at the property data firmCoreLogicsaid higher mortgage rates against a backdrop of record high household debt were taking some heat out of the housing market without the Reserve Bank needing to act.

“With headline inflation tracking slightly below the 2 to 3 per cent target range, labour markets tightening and the economy continuing to grow, albeit at a pace below trend, the chances of a rate cut appear to have diminished,” he said, adding that rate hikes might be some way off as well.

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THE decision by McDonald Jones Homes to sell a 40 per cent stake to a Japanese contract builder could leadthe Hunter-founded firm to move into manufacturing.
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MJH group managing director Andrew Helmers declined to put a value on the deal that the company, founded by Bill McDonald 30 years ago, had inked with Tokyo-based custom homes builderAsahi Kasei Homes (AKH).

Under the deal, Mr Helmers, Mr McDonald and director Peter Durbin’s individual shareholder stakes of 33 per cent are reduced to 20 per cent each, with AKH taking a 40 per cent holding.

Mr Helmers said the decision would not affect the operations of MJH, which operates on the eastern seaboard, and that the capital injection would allow it to aggressively pursue its growth strategy. MJH is the sixth largest residential homes group in the country and wants to be within the top five firms.

“Growth requires capital and in the past we have always had to make choices on how it is spent and this investment allows us to implement multiple strategies at once,” Mr Helmers said.

Mr Helmers said the company’s priority in the mid-term was land development and movinginto the supply chain of supply houses.

“We are a contract builder but [we are looking into] getting into manufacturing components, frames, kitchens, maybe finance offerings to our customers, potentially new software and business operating systems,” he said.

Growth strategy: McDonald Jones Home managing director Andrew Helmers.

Asahi Kasei Homes manufactures its components and Mr Helmers saidMJH would investigate tapping into its manufacturing skillset to boost its product offering and increase housing affordability for its customers.

He said AKH had approached McDonald Jones to expand its global footprint due to the shrinking new home market in Japan.

Three AKHexecutives have been in the Hunter for the past month and Mr Helmer said it was business as usual:“We remainmajority owned and operated by Hunter-based people.” He said the new homes market was “strong” with good land supply and low interest rates.

Custom made: A sample of a home delivered by McDonald Jones Home, which champions the use of steel frames.

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CHARLES Monks was not distracted or under the influence of drugs or alcohol when he drive on the wrong side of the road, before crashing into another car, killing Muswellbrook’s Nicole Rayner, Newcastle District Court has heard.
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Mr Monks, 23, is accused of dangerous drive occasioning death after his ute collided with Ms Rayner’s caron December 29, 2015, on the New England Highway at Whittingham.

Mr Monks’trial heard on Tuesday that the central issue would be whether the Singleton Heights man suffered a seizure in the moments before his Volkswagen Amarok struck the Holden Barina head on.

The 23-year-old had been returning home from a fishing trip on the Central Coast, the court heard.

He was travelling with three others when he had the collision, with all escaping with minor injuries. Ms Rayner, 29, died at the scene.

There is no dispute that Mr Monks failed to negotiate the “sweeping left hand bend” on the section of the New England Highway at Whittingham.

However, the defence will argue Mr Monks may have suffered a seizure in the lead-up to the collision, brought about by a lesion on the 23-year-old’s brain, and the crash was potentially the result of “involuntary” actions.

Crown prosecutor Michael McColm said the abnormality on Mr Monk’s brain made the seizure a “possibility”.

But Mr McColm noted that there was “no evidence of [Mr Monk] having a seizure before or since” the crash.

The court heard from several witnesses, including Mr Monks’ uncle, who was sitting in the front passenger seat of the car at the time of the collision.

Under cross-examination, Mr Monks’uncle said he noticed no difference in the 23-year-old’s appearance, presentation or demeanour before the crash.

Judge Roy Ellis said there was “no evidence” to suggest the accused was distracted or under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the crash. The court will hear expert testimony as to the likelihood Mr Monks suffered a seizure on Wednesday.

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SOBERING FIGURES: University of Newcastle student Lucinda Iacono and Vice-Chancellor Caroline McMillen at the NeW Space campus on Tuesday, after the release of the Human Rights Commission’s report. Picture: Jonathan CarrollIT’Sthe footageof a passed-out young womanthat’stellingforLucinda Iacono.
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The scene isa University of Newcastle student residenceparty, inavideo called “TEDS GEE UP 2015 Extended Cut”, that brieflyinvolvesthewoman and a young man.

“She’s knocked out,” he says over the music.

But he looks unmoved as she slumps to the floorand, as an afterthought, hetakes the cup from her hand.

“Save your drink.”

“Teds” is Edwards Hall, the oldest residence at the University of Newcastleand home to 383 students. “Gee up” videos areput on YouTubeto generatebuzzfor upcoming parties andMs Iacono, a student and former Women’s Convener at the university, was shownthis one by a Teds fourth-year studentat a bar.

Spliced through the party footage ofthe pool, games roomsand dorms of Teds are male students’ party comments like“I said, who do you reckon’s gonna get their t–s out?”.

At one point, a male student is shown rubbing his genitals in the face of another male who appears to be lying unconscious on his bed.

“Be a lion, don’t be a liOFF,” reads the caption.

Lucinda Iacono, former women’s convener at the University of Newcastle, on assault statistics pic.twitter苏州夜总会招聘/1mt7pS9f2X

— Newcastle Herald (@newcastleherald) August 1, 2017It’s probably the most obvious example of rape culture that Newcastle university has.

Former university women’s convener Lucinda Iacono, on a campus residence party “gee up” video.

The university’s 21 per cent of male student respondents who said they had been sexually harassed is “higher than our community might expect”, Professor McMillen said, but it is unclear whether the figureindicates a prevalence of hazing, other types of male-on-male harassment, or harassmentby females.

From a low statistical base, Newcastle students responding to the Human Rights Commission survey said they had been subject to “repeated or inappropriate advances” by email, social media and online chat rooms at more than twice thenational rate.

That doesn’t include a University of Newcastlesubgroup of students who reported, at three times the national rate, encountering“other unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature”.

“It tends to be female students who have that experience,” Professor McMillen said.

“Our approaches to education and prevention have to include the online space.”

Nationally, the surveyfound women were four times more likely to have been sexually assaulted than men in a university residence, withpost-graduate studentsmore likelyto havebeen harassed or assaulted by a universitystaff member.

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