Hoeft helps put scrum on a firm footing

Could an answer to the game’s most problematic area, the scrum, be on the horizon?
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Just maybe, says former All Blacks loose-head prop Carl Hoeft. And it involves fewer collapses, easier decisions for referees and, crucially, rewards for superior technique.

Hoeft’s voice is important for three reasons. First, he is not long out of his playing career. Second, after winning 30 All Blacks caps he spent six and half seasons in France and understands and respects the scrum mentalities in both hemispheres. And third, he’s at the coal face.

In his job as scrum coach for the Chiefs’ development side he has been working under an IRB trial that reduces the impact of the scrum “hit”.

Hoeft likes what his sees, and his feedback will go directly to the governing body.

“There is a lot less impact in the hit, so in that regard it’s a lot more stable and you’re not finding as many collapses, and it gets the game started quicker,” Hoeft says. “It will take props back to really having to use technique rather than sheer momentum on the hit.”

Hoeft has been mentoring his props in the Pacific Rugby Cup, an IRB competition involving emerging talent from the Australian and New Zealand franchises against development sides from Japan, Fiji, Samoa and Tonga.

In an attempt to clean up the scrum, which has increasingly left players, coaches and fans confused and exasperated, the IRB has been trying out a new engagement process that requires the props to “pre-bind” – effectively engage – rather than charging at each other like crazed bulls.

“The difference is that you’re a lot closer,” Hoeft says. “On the ‘touch’ [call] you get a pre-bind, so your head is almost half in already.”

The result is simple. The impact of the “hit” has been reduced – significantly. In fact, All Blacks scrum guru Mike Cron recently said 25 per cent of its impact had disappeared, along with all the instability that brought.

Has the new process removed some of the guesswork from officials if a scrum does go down?

“I think so,” Hoeft says. “If you get a bad hit, the way the rules are currently, there’s actually an opportunity for props to take the scrum down. This way it becomes a lot more obvious if you take the scrum down when you’re setting up bound-up already.”

Of course, there will always be suspicions, especially from the northern hemisphere, that any attempt to change the scrum is a sneaky ploy from the south to depower it. But Hoeft, with his respect of French scrummaging fresh in his mind, makes it very clear that he would not endorse anything that would take away the contest.

“At the beginning … any change is a bit hard to take, and you wonder what it’s all about, whether they are trying to depower the scrum, are we trying to make it like a league scrum,” Hoeft says.

“[But] if you are a prop that knows your technique, knows how to work angles, within the boundaries of the law of course, there’s still scope to work there.”

In fact, the new process might even play to northern hemisphere strengths.

“After playing in France for six and half seasons, a lot of work [there] is done after the hit,” Hoeft says.

“They rely on working angles, body positions, after the hit … the same with the English props and Irish and Scottish and Welsh, they have got pretty good technique.

“Over there, scrums probably last a bit longer. In the southern hemisphere they are working on speed of hit, quick feed and gone, where over in the northern hemisphere you’ll find there will be double shunts, triple shunts, holding the ball in. It’s become a bit of a lost art here.

“I can’t see it [the new process] detracting from what the northern hemisphere sides do already, because they are good at working angles.”

Any change to the rules at elite level take time. Often, change occurs at what seems a glacial pace. But Hoeft says it might not be too far away: “From what I’ve heard they may be trialling it at the end of year tour.”

He believes it is an overdue step in the right direction.

“It makes the props become more technical, rather than just working on size and smashing against a brick wall,” he says.

The vast majority of supporters would say amen to that.

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Untimely Logies are letting down the players and the public

Smile for the cameras (but no audience) … Asher Keddie wins the ultimate prize, the Gold Logie. Photo: Malcolm Fairclough Complicating the schedule … The Voice
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When iconic music journalist Molly Meldrum walked onto the stage at the 55th annual TV Week Logie Awards at a quarter to ten last Sunday night, 1.463 million people were tuned.

Appropriately enough, perhaps, it was the peak audience of the telecast.

When the curtain came down almost three hours later, after Bert Newton had handed Asher Keddie the night’s top award, the Gold Logie, roughly a quarter of that audience was still watching: a paltry 387,311 people.

In some respects those numbers, and the almost absurd notion that the night’s most important moment is, by default, watched by the smallest audience, illustrates the heart of the many challenges the Logies now face.

2013’s awards, the 55th held annually since the awards were created by TV Week magazine, have become the watershed in the history of Australian television’s night of nights.

For the second year running, News Ltd has leaked the winner online before the telecast had concluded.

Technical glitches are to blame, but in the new media world of less manpower and more automation, such mistakes are a frustrating reality. In the future, such mistakes will only become more likely.

The fallout from the leaks has pushed TV Week to the point that it will no longer provide print media outlets with the winners list in advance, the so-called “embargoed list”.

The magazine’s publisher, Jayne Ferguson, said she was “extremely disappointed”, particularly because News Ltd had given a guarantee the error would not be repeated.

“In light of this, moving forward, all media outlets will find out [the winners] in line with the telecast,” she said, in a statement issued this week by TV Week’s publishers, Bauer Media Group.

But there is a bigger problem facing the Logies than the battle of print embargoes and the flattering glow of front-page coverage in the nation’s papers the following morning.

The broadcaster of the awards, Channel Nine, no longer uses them as a single program in its schedule for the first Sunday after the Easter non-ratings break. For the last two years the telecast has been bundled with the premiere of The Voice.

There are a number of reasons for that, notably that the audience overall for the Logies, like most TV award telecasts such as the Oscars, Emmys and Golden Globes, has softened over the years.

But the knock-on effect is that the Logies telecast has been pushed later into the night. Previously they kicked off around 7pm. This year it was closer to 9pm once The Voice and the red carpet package were played.

In the past it look a serious overrun to push the Gold Logie winner announcement past midnight. Now, with a fairly lean telecast – that is, the awards and speeches interrupted only for several musical performances and the In Memoriam segment – the winner’s announcement falling past midnight is the norm.

The pressure will now be on TV Week to make the Logies “live”, rather than the hour (roughly) delay that currently exists, though in real terms that will not solve the major issues, nor deal with the challenge of print coverage, or the warped reality that using social media during the telecast is actually discouraged in an era where it should serve as the engine to the night’s marketing.

In truth, any change to the structure of the night needs to be led by the broadcaster. Nine, whose contract to broadcast the awards runs for at least one more year, needs to start the Logies earlier, air them on a different night, or air them on a different channel.

The government, when not handing the commercial networks back (most of) the money they pay for their licences, has also handed them a wad of free spectrum to launch digital channels. Perhaps among Nine’s suite of sweet little earners, a channel can be found for the Logies?

In truth, however, the whole event needs to be turned on its head.

It needs to start in the late afternoon, and live, like the Oscars, Emmys and Golden Globes do. The red carpet, which draws a larger audience overall than the telecast itself, needs to be blown out from a paltry package of highlights to a proper multi-hour telecast.

Television is hungry for that kind of content, so why not feed it?

The awards need to start earlier. Some of the awards, such as children’s TV, should be hived off to a pre-Logie night event, to trim some runtime. Think about it this way: the idea of announcing the best children’s TV show at 11pm on a school night – long after the kiddies’ bedtime – is plainly strange.

And the Gold Logie needs to given out when more than a fraction of the audience is still watching. People like to make jokes about the Logies, and the Gold Logie, but if you sift through the nonsense and take an honest look, there is more that is good than bad about them.

The history books record Gold Logies for Graham Kennedy, Bert Newton, Ray Martin and Jana Wendt. Hector Crawford and Reg Grundy, Playschool and Four Corners are in the Logie Hall of Fame. There were Logie Awards for Blue Murder, Sunday, Frontline, Foreign Correspondent, Sigrid Thornton and Maxine McKew.

From this year’s awards alone we can add to that list: Redfern Now, Deb Mailman and Bonita Mabo, Lateline, Brian Henderson and Howzat! Kerry Packer’s War.

That’s a glorious legacy. It’s time to get them right.


8:42pm Bruno Mars sings Locked Out of Heaven 1.33m

8:46pm Hamish and Andy opening proceedings 1.35m

9:02pm Julia Morris delivers the night’s best speech 1.46m

9:15pm Joel Madden collects his Logie 1.34m

9:45pm Molly Meldrum appears on stage 1.463m

10:18pm Mike Munro introduces Brian Henderson 1.24m

10:59pm The award for children’s TV is presented 846,834

11:57pm Deborah Mailman and Bonita Mabo on stage 584,000

12:21am Asher Keddie wins the Gold Logie 548,561

12:27am The closing credits roll 387,311

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Dead mother’s cut wrists ‘not significant’, son tells inquest

Jerry Schwartz: signed his mother’s death certificate. Photo: Supplied Eve Schwartz, left, with her best friend Magda Wales. Photo: Supplied
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The Sydney cosmetic surgeon who signed his mother’s death certificate has told an inquest he omitted reporting that she had cuts on her wrists because he “did not think they were significant”.

But the inquiry has heard that photos were taken on the day Dr Jerry Schwartz allegedly discovered the body of his mother, Eve Schwartz, showing him displaying her injured wrists to the camera.

Dr Schwartz was giving evidence to the ongoing coronial inquest into the August 2005 death of his mother, the co-founder of the Schwartz Hotel Group, which owns more than a dozen luxury hotels and resorts across the country.

The inquest is also examining the death of Magda Wales, Ms Schwartz’s best friend, who died approximately three weeks later.

The inquest has previously heard that 79-year-old Ms Schwartz was suffering from advanced lung cancer, but that her death occurred in “unusual circumstances”, with “slash” injuries to her wrists not reported by Dr Schwartz when he filled out her death certificate, and a certificate for her cremation.

But Dr Schwartz told the Glebe Coroner’s Court on Thursday that when he discovered his mother’s dead body early on the morning of August 21, 2005, the injuries he saw were mere “scratches”, and he did not think they had contributed in any way to her death.

“I did not think they were significant on that Sunday morning,” he said.

The inquest then heard that there were a series of photos of Dr Schwartz holding his mother’s hands with her injured wrists and forearm seemingly displayed to the camera.

There were small stains on the bed sheet in the background which resembled blood.

But Dr Schwartz said he had not requested that photos be taken of his mother’s injuries.

He said that his de facto partner at the time, Liliane Viselle, had instructed him to hold his mother’s hands in this way, but he didn’t ask why.

“I did not arrange for the photos to be taken of my mother’s wrists,” Dr Schwartz said. “I just thought I was having a picture holding my mother’s hands.”

He said that the photos had been among a number of images taken after the discovery of his mother’s body “so that we could have a lasting memory of my mother”.

Among these images, the inquest heard, were pictures of Dr Schwartz and his relatives with Ms Schwartz’s dead body.

In a written statement tendered in the hearing, Dr Schwartz said that photos of his dead mother’s wrists, which showed a series of slash marks, did not accurately depict the injuries.

“If there had been serious [wrist] injuries I would not only have recalled this, but I would have conducted a thorough exam to determine whether or not such injuries were related to her death.”

Dr Schwartz’s barrister has previously asserted that the pictures – which are crucial evidence in the hearing – were digitally altered in a bid to incriminate his client.

The inquest has previously heard that Dr Schwartz, who works as a cosmetic surgeon in addition to leading the hotel group, also signed the death certificate for Ms Wales.

He told the inquest on Thursday that he had been “one of Ms Wales’ treating doctors”. However, he did not believe there were any records of their consultations because his surgery destroyed all records after seven years.

The inquest continues.

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Drug giant to probe deal with CSIRO spin-off

Global drug giant Novartis has confirmed it has begun an “internal investigation” into a five-year deal it signed with a CSIRO spin-off company to buy an anti-counterfeit technology which the CSIRO and its partner knew could be compromised.
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Novartis purchased what it was told was a custom-designed invisible “tracer” which would protect millions of ampoules of injectible Voltaren, widely sold overseas but not in Australia, from the threat of the booming blackmarket trade in counterfeit medicines.

But a Fairfax investigation on Thursday revealed that DataTrace DNA Pty Ltd, a joint venture between the CSIRO and public company DataDot Technology Ltd, instead issued Novartis with widely available tracer material it had bought from China and which it was warned was insufficient for a pharmaceutical application.

Alexandra Suvajac, a Novartis Australia spokeswoman, said the company had a number of measures to ensure the safe use of its drugs which were “not compromised by the allegations around the use of this technology”.

“I can confirm we are undertaking an internal investigation of the matter,” she said. “Novartis is aware of the story reported today and cannot comment further on the ongoing investigation.”

The CSIRO has tweeted that “the allegations raised by Fairfax this morning are new to CSIRO. We’re making enquiries to establish the facts.”

Shares in DataDot Technology have been put into a trading halt until Monday.

The company’s company secretary Graham Loughlin requested the halt as a result of “press coverage today of allegations regarding DataTrace DNA Pty Ltd, a subsidiary company”. DataTrace was half-owned by the CSIRO when it sold the anti-counterfeit technology to Novartis, which had sought a method to protect its injectable drugs, manufactured in Egypt, Slovakia and Switzerland.

In a series of assurances to Novartis, DataTrace had assured the drugs giant that the tracer was manufactured under secure conditions in a CSIRO laboratory in Melbourne.

In fact, the company issued it with phosphor-based tracer it had previously purchased from a lighting supplier in China which was considered sufficient only for low-security applications, such as batch and stock control or sorting industrial commodities.

Organised crime gangs have been dumping bootleg medicines in poor economies around the world at enormous profits in recent years. Last year an Interpol task force arrested 80 people after an international taskforce seized 3.75 million units of fake drugs worth $US10.5 million.

Hundreds of people around the world have died from being administered fake medicines.

“If there is a serious counterfeiting threat to the Novartis ampoules, then this code risks being quickly and easily cracked,” the project’s chief scientist, Gerry Swiegers, warned months before the deal was announced to the market. Dr Swiegers had begun work on the project while still a CSIRO employee, and then after a bitter falling-out with the organisation, he had joined DataTrace full-time.

“Serious questions could then be raised, especially if the successful counterfeiting attack resulted in injury or death.”

Mr Loughlin told the market this morning that “these matters require a response from the parent company”, which is DataDot.

“In order for the facts to be assembled and the response to be prepared we request a trading halt in our shares until the market opens on Monday 15th April or until DataDot Technology Limited makes an announcement to the market on this subject, whichever is sooner.”

The CSIRO remains a minority shareholder in DataDot.

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This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Hacker currency bursts mainstream

With $US600 stuffed in one pocket and a smartphone tucked in the other, Patricio Fink recently struck the kind of deal that’s feeding the rise of a new kind of money – a virtual currency whose oscillations have pulled geeks and speculators alike through stomach-churning highs and lows.
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The Argentine software developer was dealing in bitcoins – getting an injection of the cybercurrency in exchange for a wad of real greenbacks he handed to a pair of Australian tourists in a Buenos Aires Starbucks.

The visitors wanted spending money at black market rates without the risk of getting roughed up in one of the Argentine capital’s black market exchanges. Fink wanted to pad his electronic wallet.

In the safety of the coffee shop, the tourists transfered Fink their bitcoins through an app on their smartphone and walked away with the cash.

“It’s something that is new,” said Fink, 24, who described the deal to The Associated Press over Skype. “And it’s working.”

No borders, no change fees

It’s transactions like these – up to 70,000 of them each day over the past month – that have propelled bitcoins from the world of internet oddities to the cusp of mainstream use, a remarkable breakthrough for a currency which made its online debut only four years ago. When they first began pinging across the internet, bitcoins could buy you almost nothing.

Now, there’s almost nothing bitcoins can’t buy. From hard drugs to hard currency, songs to survival gear, cars to consumer goods, retailers are rushing to welcome the virtual currency whose unofficial symbol is a dollar-like, double-barred B.

Advocates describe Bitcoin as the foundation stone of a Utopian economy: no borders, no change fees, no closing hours, and no one to tell you what you can and can’t do with your money. Just days ago the total value of bitcoins in circulation hit $US2 billion, up from a tiny fraction of that just last year.

But late Wednesday, Bitcoin crashed, shedding more than 60 per cent of its value in the space of a few hours before recouping some its losses. Critics say the roller coaster currency movements are just another sign that Bitcoin is a bubble waiting to burst.

Mysterious background

Amid all the hype, Bitcoin’s origins are a question mark.

The mechanics of the virtual currency were first outlined in a research paper signed Satoshi Nakamoto – likely a pseudonym – and the coins made their online debut in 2009. How coins are created, how transactions are authenticated and how the whole system manages to power forward with no central bank, no financial regulator and a user base of wily hackers all comes down computing power and savoir faire.

Or, as Nicholas Colas, chief market strategist for the ConvergEx Group, describes it: “genius on so many levels.”

The lynchpin of the system is a network of “miners” – high-end computer users who supply the Bitcoin network with processing power needed to maintain a transparent, running tally of all transactions. The tally is one of the most important ways in which the system prevents fraud, and the miners are rewarded for supporting the system with an occasional helping of brand-new bitcoins.

Those bitcoins have become a dangerously hot commodity in the past few days.

Rising from roughly $US13 at the beginning of the year, the price of a single bitcoin blasted through the $US100 barrier last week, according to Mt. Gox, a site where users can swap bitcoins for more traditional currencies.

On Tuesday, the price of a single bitcoin had topped $US200. On Wednesday, it hit $US266 before a flash crash dragged it back down to just over $US100. By early Thursday, bitcoins were trading for $US160.

The rebel currency may seem unstable, but then so do some of its more traditional counterparts. Some say Bitcoin got new momentum after the banking crisis in Cyprus pushed depositors there to find creative ways to move money.

Fink, the Argentine, favours bitcoins because he believes they will insulate him from his country’s high inflation. Others – from Iranian musicians to American auto dealers – use the currency to dodge international sanctions or reach new markets.

Internet’s dark side

But the anything-goes nature of Bitcoin has also made it attractive to denizens of the internet’s dark side.

One of the most prominent destinations for bitcoins remains Silk Road, a black market website where drug dealers advertise their wares in a consumer-friendly atmosphere redolent of Amazon or eBay – complete with a shopping cart icon, a five-point rating system and voluminous user reviews.

The site uses Tor, an online anonymity network, to mask the location of its servers, while bitcoin payments ensure there’s no paper trail.

One British user told AP he first got interested in Silk Road while he was working in China, where he used the site to order banned books. After moving to Japan, he turned to the site for the occasional high.

“Buying recreational drugs in Japan is difficult, especially if you don’t know people from growing up there,” said the user, who asked for anonymity because he did not his connection to Silk Road to be publicly known.

He warned that one of the site’s drawbacks is that the drugs can take weeks to arrive “so there’s no spontaneity.”

Drug dealers aren’t the only ones cashing in on Bitcoin. The hackers behind Lulz Security, whose campaign of online havoc drew worldwide attention back in 2011, received thousands of dollars’ worth of bitcoins after promising followers that the money would go toward launching attacks against the FBI.

A report apparently drawn up by the bureau and leaked to the internet last year said that “since Bitcoin does not have a centralised authority, detecting suspicious activity, identifying users and obtaining transaction records is problematic for law enforcement.”

It went on to warn that bitcoins might become “an increasingly useful tool for various illegal activities beyond the cyber realm” – including child pornography, trafficking, and terrorism.

The FBI did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

Late last month, the US Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, or FinCen, announced it was extending its money-laundering rules to US bitcoin dealers and transfer services, meaning that companies that trade in the cybercurrency would have to keep more detailed records and report high-value transactions.

Growing e-commerce usage

Many in the Bitcoin community are frustrated at the attention paid to the shadier side of the virtual economy.

Atlanta-based entrepreneur Anthony Gallippi said the focus on drugs and hacking misses the “much bigger e-commerce use for this that’s growing and that’s growing rapidly.”

Very few businesses set their prices in bitcoins – the currency swings would be too jarring – but an increasing number are accepting it for payment. Gallippi’s company, BitPay, handles Bitcoin transactions for some 4,500 companies, taking payments in bitcoins and forwarding the cash equivalent to the vendor involved, which means that his clients are insulated from the cybercurrency’s volatility.

Gallippi said many of the businesses are e-commerce websites, but he said an increasing number of traditional retailers were looking to get into the game as well.

“We just had an auto dealership in Kansas City apply,” he said.

In March, BitPay said its vendors had done a record $US5.2 million in bitcoin sales – well ahead of the $US1.2 million’s worth of monthly revenue estimated to have coursed through Silk Road last year.

Even artists accept bitcoins. Tehran-based music producer Mohammad Rafigh said the currency had allowed him to sell his albums “all over the world and not only in Iran.”

Gallippi said the cybercurrency’s ease of access was its biggest selling point.

With Bitcoin, “I can access my money from any computing device at any time and do whatever the heck I want with it,” he said. “Once you move your money into the cloud why would you ever go back to putting your money in the bank?”

‘Trading tulips in real time’

Many Wall Street veterans are skeptical – and they may feel vindicated after Bitcoin’s latest tumble.

“Trading tulips in real time,” is how longtime UBS stockbroker Art Cashin described Bitcoin’s vertiginous rise, comparing it to the now-unfathomable craze that saw 18th century Dutch speculators trade spectacular sums of money for a single flower bulb.

“It is rare that we get to see a bubble-like phenomenon trade tick for tick in real time,” he said in a note to clients last week.

One Bitcoin supporter with a unique perspective on the boom might be Mike Caldwell, a 35-year-old software engineer based in suburban Utah. Caldwell is unusual insofar as he mints physical versions of bitcoins at his residence, cranking out thousands of homemade tokens with codes protected by tamper-proof holographic seals – a retro-futuristic kind of prepaid cash.

Caldwell acknowledges that the physical coins were intended as novelty items, minted for the benefit of people “who had a hard time grasping a virtual coin.”

But that hasn’t held back business. Caldwell said he’d minted between 16,000 and 17,000 coins in the year and a half that he’s been in business. Demand is so intense he recently announced he was accepting clients by invitation only.

Some may wonder whether Caldwell’s coins will one day be among the few physical reminders of an expensive fad that evaporated into the electronic ether – perhaps the result of a breakdown in its electronic architecture, or maybe after a crackdown by government regulators.

When asked, Caldwell acknowledged that Bitcoin might be in for a bumpy ride. But he drew the analogy between the peer-to-peer currency enthusiasts who hope to shake the finance world in the 2010s with the generation of peer-to-peer movie swappers who challenged the entertainment industry’s business model in the 2000s.

“Movie pirates always win the long game against Hollywood,” he said. “Bitcoin works the same way.”


This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Rolling updates: Essendon supplements crisis

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James Hird says he wants to clear his name after claims he took banned substances and will do so once ASADA and AFL investigations into Essendon’s supplment use are completed.

Chairman David Evans has read a statement to a press conference at Windy Hill in which he said Hird would not be judged until the club’s investigation and the ASADA probe are completed.

Patrick Smith ofThe Australian, speakingon SEN, and 3AW’s Neil Mitchell suspected that Hird would step down as Essendon coach for the game against Fremantle on Friday night. But it appears Hird will remain in place until the investigations are finished.


Andrew Demetriou addresses the media on a doorstep in inner Sydney.

He says the various investigations must be allowed to run their course.

He describes the accusations against James Hird and Essendon as “very serious allegations… I can’t think of anything more serious.”

He reiterates that Essendon came forward with its concerns about possible drug use by its players, is co-operating with all investigations and launched its own probe.

But Demetriou is worried about the possibility of practices which affect the “health and welfare of young men”.

“As a parent and not just as the CEO of the AFL, the issues as reported surrounding the potential use of various substances … are disturbing, very disturbing…”

Demetriou says he hasn’t spoken to James Hird, and says the Bomber coach must not be pre-judged and should not be stood down from his position.

“We’re at the mid-point of an ongoing investigation, the investigation needs to continue…”

He says the AFL will not make decisions based on newspaper reports.

Essendon coach James Hird accused of injecting a WADA-blacklisted drug smh南京夜网.au/afl/afl-news/h…

— smh南京夜网.au (@smh) April 10, 2013

However, Demetriou says “If any coach or official puts the duty of care of their players at risk, then they will be held accountable.”

He says a coach can be caught under the WADA code if he is influencing players to take illegal substances.

And defends the AFL’s reponse, saying the league took the matter seriously and responded immediately.

The league boss admits that he is unsure of the ramifications of the scandal for his sport, terming it “horrible” and “terrible”.

His last words? Asked about the man making many of the accusations, Demetriou said: “I will not comment about Stephen Dank.”


AFL CEO Andrew Demetriou is due to address the media in Sydney at 2pm.


Chloe Saltau reports that Essendon training this morning, which went for all of 20 minutes, was light and relaxed, as was coach James Hird, who was laughing and joking with players. All relevant Bomber parties have now left for the airport for their flight to Perth. They play Fremantle at 8.30 EDT Friday night, and getting on the field to kick and handball might offer the greatest relief in the midst of all this conjecture and doubt.


Chloe Saltau reports on the press conference of David Evans at Windy Hill:

Essendon will not make a decision about the coaching future of James Hird until investigations have run their course, chairman David Evans has said.Evans described the allegation against Hird, published by Fairfax Media, as “extremely serious and distressing”. Hird is accused of injecting a WADA-banned drug in a program where his players were given another substance that anti-doping regulators now believe should be banned.Evans backed the ASADA investigation and urged caution in regard to the allegations.”This investigation will take its time and that is taking a toll on our club. But I repeat we must give them the time and space they need to come to the conclusions about what happened and how,” Evans said in a prepared statement at Windy Hill.”They (the allegations) are of course very serious but I want to urge caution here. The board will not be making a decision about these allegations today. It is extremely important that James and the others be afforded the opportunity to talk to ASADA and the basic right to natural justice.”James Hird is a person of great respect at this club and in the broader football community and the board will not be taking decisions about the next steps until the process of the review and the investigation have taken their course.”However, he said anyone who had failed in their duty of care to players would be dealt with.”The board has made it clear the health and safety of its players is paramount and if anyone has breached their duty of care the board will act.”Hird presided over a light training at Windy Hill and is due to fly to Perth with the team on Thursday afternoon. Evans did not take questions, and did not directly respond to rumours that Hird would stand aside. But he gave no suggestion that he would not take the coaching reins against the Dockers.


A horde of media are waiting for the press conference at Windy Hill with Essendon chairman David Evans, with suspicions that Hird will in fact coach the Bombers this weekend. But this saga is changing by the moment.


Caller Al summed up the feelings of the overwhelming majority of talkback response to the crisis by reading what appeared to be a prepared statement, attacking the media and Stephen Danks and finishing with “In Hird We Trust”.

Essendon training was brought forward to 10am from 10.30, and a very light session ended after little more than half an hour.

10.40am Chloe Saltau reports from Windy Hill:

Essendon chairman David Evans has declared the allegation that coach James Hird injected a substance prohibited by WADA as “extremely serious and very distressing”.In a statement on the club’s website, Evans did not broach the question of whether Hird would coach against Fremantle on Friday night. The chairman is due to face the media at Windy Hill at 11am.”The allegations today are extremely serious and very distressing,” Evans said.

He added that if anyone was found to have failed in their duty of care to players “we will make the appropriate decisions on behalf of the Essendon Football Club.’”Hird presided over a light training session on Thursday morning.”The Board is aware of irregular practices, and that is why we self-reported to ASADA and to the AFL,” Evans said.”The ASADA investigation commenced in early February, and we were advised by ASADA investigators that the club should not be doing our own investigation into the supplements program, but to leave the investigation and interviews with staff to ASADA. We have complied with that request and encouraged all our staff to cooperate with ASADA.”In the meantime, the board has commissioned Ziggy Switkowsky to examine Essendon’s governance.”I want to repeat that these allegations are very serious, and we want the ASADA investigation and its outcomes to be done as quickly as possible to assist us in making decisions.

“On behalf of the Board I want to make it clear that if any person at our club has failed in their duty of care to the players then we will make the appropriate decisions on behalf of the Essendon Football Club.”


Essendon skipper Jobe Watson was quizzed about his reaction to the crisis on Fox FM’s Matt and Jo show this morning. He said players were briefed yesterday that the story was coming.

Watson says he never saw James Hird inject anything. He was asked how the story would impact on the team’s preparations for its game against Fremantle on Friday night.

“Well…obviously when we arrive at the club, there’ll be media there and when we go to the airport, but unfortunately over the last six to eight weeks, we’ve become quite good at crisis management as a playing group.

“So, I think it is a distraction at the moment… but I think that by the time we get over there, we spend some time with each other and we’ll get ready to play and we’ll play.”

However Watson admitted that the saga is having an impact on Hird and the players.

“It’s a horrible situation for him to be in, as strong as any person is, and Hirdy is probably one of the strongest people I’ve met with the highest integrity. It affects everyone. I’m sure that he’s in a very unpleasant space at the moment, and it would mainly be because of the effect that it’s having on his family.”

And what does he think of former sports scientist Stephen Danks, who is making the acusations?

“Well, I’m not really sure what his thought process is going through. I think that he is probably under a lot of pressure himself about his name and his reputation, and he’s not governed by the same rules that we are under the AFL and ASADA investigation.”


AFL Coaches Association chief executive Danny Frawley said judgements should be reserved until the on-going investigations were completed.”I think people just need to take a deep breath. Surely coaches should be given at the very least the opportunity for the natural course of justice to be served before they’re hung out to dry. I think as Australians, whether it’s sport or family life, everyone is innocent until proven guilty and I’ve got total faith and the association’s got total faith in ASADA and the AFL coming up with the right processes in place and then let the judge make his decision.”

Frawley said his association has the utmost faith in James Hird and the coaches and Essendon until proven otherwise.

“He is everything to the AFL, look at Melbourne it was determined the club board knew nothing about actions prejudicial to the game yet they were fined $500,000 and two officials were suspended following the tanking investigation. If in the eyes of the AFL, Essendon has brought the game into disrepute, then God help the Bombers.”

The “god help” line echoes what Kevin Bartlett said less than an hour earlier.


Radio talkback response is overwhelmingly supportive of James Hird, with many emotional Dons fans insisting their coach is a victim of ‘trial by media’. Most are completely opposed to him standing down as coach.9.46amEssendon has released the following statement from James Hird on its website:”These claims are horrifying to me, and are being made by a person or people who appear determined to destroy my reputation.”I have at all times fully adhered to, and promoted the WADA code and the AFL rules, and the code of ethics of the Essendon Football Club. I would never do anything to put the players of the Essendon Football Club or the club at risk. As I said in February, I am shocked our club is facing this situation.”I will make no further comment at this stage as I am committed to assisting the ASADA and AFL investigation.”9.45amAFL legend and commentator Kevin Bartlett on his editorial this morning:”This latest twist is the long-running investigation is damning to the AFL and head office would be horrified at the damage to the game …”The image of the game is taking an absolute hammering, what would people in the game and outside the game be thinking that Dank says he gave the players peptides from an extract of pigs’ brains.”We know that image is everything to the AFL, look at Melbourne it was determined the club board knew nothing about actions prejudicial to the game yet they were fined $500,000 and two officials were suspended following the tanking investigation. If in the eyes of the AFL, Essendon has brought the game into disrepute, then God help the Bombers”


“I just can’t wait to get in to talk to the AFL and ASADA … I can’t wait to clear my name.”

So said Essendon coach James Hird Thursday morning, responding to questions about explosive allegations by former Bomber sports scientist Stephen Dank that he took WADA-blacklisted drugs.

Hird released a statement late on Wednesday denying the accusations, and Thursday said he would not make any further statements until the league and drug watchdog investigations are completed. Essendon is also investigating the scandal.

“Once those are completed … I will respond to these upsetting claims,” he said.

Essendon chairman David Evans was at the club’s Windy Hill base before 8am, saying the club would release a statement later in the day addressing the crisis. Essendon is due to train this morning ahead of a flight to Perth to prepare for its round three Friday night game against Fremantle.

Unsurprisingly, the front-page news about the extent of Essendon’s “supplements” usage was dominating the media landscape on Thursday morning, with journalists camped outside Hird’s home and at Windy Hill.

At 7.20am the AFL’s mouthpiece, afl南京夜网.au, was not reporting any of the allegations.

But on the SEN radio morning program, where former Essendon captain Tim Watson, father of Brownlow Medallist Tim works, the topic dominated the airwaves from the outset at 6am.

Watson disagreed that James Hird should have to stand down as coach, saying that the club should not react until its internal inquiry, run by former Telstra boss Ziggy Switkowski, brings in its findings.

However, the three-time premiership winning Bomber reiterated his concerns about the sports science practices at his club, asking whether “renegade, maverick” elements had hijacked player welfare at Essendon.

Last night, Watson’s wife attended another meeting for parents of players addressed by chairman David Evans.

Watson expressed his concerns in discussions withThe Age’s Jake Niall,

“I think that’s where the club has left themselves extremely open to all sorts of concerns of player welfare and that type of thing and I think that is probably as damning as anything in this whole episode.”

“Those products have been approached overseas but they haven’t been approved … here in Australia for human consumption.”

Watson questioned whether Hird would be in any state to coach the team on Friday.

“This must be taking a toll on him,” Watson said. “You pick up a daily paper, everyone is talking about this today, you see your picture there, the story relating to you, all the rest of it.

“I reckon Essendon must be monitoring his mental state to determine whether or not he is capable of fulfilling his duties as a coach.”

After two hours spent combing through the implications ofThe Age’s revelations, Watson sought some light relief.

Detailing the range of exotic animal-based products allegedly taken by Bombers players, including extract of cow’s first milk and pig’s brain peptides, Watson asked: “How long will it be before a vet is added to the coaching staff of an AFL club?”

Former ASAD chairman Richard Ings said even if the allegations were proved, Hird may not have broken any anti-drug code.

“Under the anti-doping policy there are no sanctions in place if a coach is personally using a performance enhancing drug, only if they’re giving it to players or injecting it into players.”

However, Hird could be found in breach of the AFL code of conduct covering coaches and officials, and he could be suspended by the league if found in breach of such standards.

Essendon Coach James Hird at Tullamarine Airport today before boarding a flight to Perth. Photo Joe Armao

Essendon’s coach James Hird leaves for the airport. Photo: Sebastian Costanzo

Essendon’s coach James Hird leaves for the airport. Photo: Sebastian Costanzo

Essendon’s coach James Hird leaves for the airport. Photo: Sebastian Costanzo

Essendon’s coach James Hird leaves for the airport. Photo: Sebastian Costanzo

Essendon’s coach James Hird during training Thursday morning. Photo: Sebastian Costanzo

Essendon’s coach James Hird during training Thursday morning. Photo: Sebastian Costanzo

Essendon Coach James Hird at Tullamarine Airport today before boarding a flight to Perth. Photo Joe Armao

Essendon Coach James Hird at Tullamarine Airport today before boarding a flight to Perth. Photo Joe Armao

Redland drug ring linked to network: police claim 

Source: Bayside Bulletin
Nanjing Night Net

Police have cracked an organised drug network with interstate links trafficking high quality dangerous drugs allegedly operating from houses in Redland Bay and Victoria Point.

The drugs allegedly trafficked into Queensland via Melbourne and Sydney had an estimated street value of $10million and were destined for nightclubs in the South East Queensland nightclubs.

Police swooped on a house in Point Halloran Road, Victoria Point, after arresting a 27-year-old Victoria Point man at Brisbane Airport on March 26. He is alleged to have been carrying one kilo of ice, or crystallised methylamphetamine, in his hand luggage.

The man 34-year-old brother was arrested at the Victoria Point house, where police found 2kg of crystallised methylamphetamine along with 4000 MDMA pills and a large quantity of cash.

MDMA pills have a street value of up to $35 each, and the pills were tested to be 70 to 80 percent pure.

On the same day, police raided a house in Scott Street, Redland Bay. A 19-year-old man was subsequently charged with possession of 1kg of crystallised methylamphetamine along with a large wad of cash stashed in his wardrobe.

Police claim the Redland drug ring was part of an organised drug network.

State Crime Operations Commands Detective Superintendent Steve Holahan told a press conference yesterday the Redland addresses were used as drug storage sites that were connected to large drug suppliers in Melbourne and Sydney, where two 36-year-old men were arrested yesterday.

Both men are due to appear in Brisbane Magistrates Court today. Det Supt Holahan said the arrests were made after State Drug Investigation Unit detectives raided houses in suburbs across Redland city yesterday, including Thornlands and Birkdale, to find the source of the drugs during the 19-month Operation Juliet Cheshire.

“We were very surprised at the age of many people that were caught, many were young including the 19-year-old man,” he said.

He said the operation heavily focused on the distribution of the drugs in Brisbane nightclubs. “(The supply and demand of the drugs) is probably a reflection on the culture of society, particularly young people, they’re certainly not risk adverse,” he said.

“(Clubbing) is one of those environments where you can meet hundreds of people (drug dealers). We’re trying to disturb the distribution so it doesn’t end up in the hands of young people.”

The operation resulted in a total of 89 people charged on 352 offences, including 40 charges of trafficking dangerous drugs.

Police have cracked an organised drug network with interstate links trafficking high quality dangerous drugs allegedly operating from houses in Redland Bay and Victoria Point. File Photo

The two men from Victoria Point and the Redland Bay man will appear in Brisbane Magistrates Court on May 6, charged with drug trafficking, possession of dangerous drugs and possession of the proceeds of crime.

End of rainbow crossing decried on social media

Cover-up: the rainbow pedestrian crossing is no more. Photo: Dallas KilponenSydney awoke to the end of the rainbow on Thursday, and those who took to social media overwhelmingly decried it as a golden opportunity wasted.
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More than 600 people were talking about the issue on Facebook on Wednesday, with more comments flooding Twitter as the government defended the decision to remove the landmark overnight.

“I think the rainbow crossing being taken down was foolish. It could have been a great tourism/political statement for Sydney. Shame,” said @DavidCampbell73.

Melbourne-based @malvage also took to Twitter to share the sentiment: “Last trip to Sydney I missed out on the giant duck in the harbour; next one I’ll be missing out on the #rainbowcrossing Disappointing.”

The “Save the Rainbow Crossing” Facebook page, which attracted more than 500 supporters, documented its Wednesday night removal. A series of photos showed the pedestrian barriers and work crews moving in before the colours disappeared under a fresh layer of asphalt.

“So sooo sad and unfair! Not to mention the waste of the tax payer money,” said one commenter, Susana Moris.

Roads Minister Duncan Gay, who cited safety concerns in ripping up the paintwork installed temporarily for Mardi Gras, drew much of the online fire.

“Painting the rainbow black symbolises exactly what Duncan Gay and like-minded MPs are doing to Sydney … Filthy,” said @duongdustin.

“Colours on a road pose a safety risk. Shooters in National Parks don’t. NSW today,” said @journeytime.

@lizknits99: “Imagine if The borough in London ripped up the crossing in Abbey Road because it was a safety risk.”

Only one of 246 pictures on Instragram that used the “rainbowcrossing” hashtag showed images of people lying down on the Oxford Street landmark.

But @DigitalMediaBoy reported: “Twice during the #rainbowcrossing trial I saw 1 tourist & 1 Aussie lie down on rd during green light. I want x’ing too but…”

The crossing debate, which attracted international attention, also prompted at least one overseas call for Taylor Square pedestrians disgruntled by the decision to wait for the signal, cross, and now move on.

“I need Sydney-based volunteers who are willing to smack sense into people mourning the rainbow loss on my behalf,” New York-based @mostlyFilth said.

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Senior public servant accused of ‘act of foreign interference’

Australia’s domestic spy agency has lost a legal battle to censor the details of alleged foreign espionage activities by a friendly nation.
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But the Federal Court in Canberra has kept a gag order in place for a fortnight to give ASIO time to appeal the decision.

Read the court’s full decision

Justice Lindsay Foster, in a judgment published on Thursday, found keeping details of the espionage secret could not be justified as the information would not affect Australian national security.

The legal stoush relates to the case of Yeon Kim, a senior Commonwealth public servant who had his decade-long secret security clearance revoked by ASIO in 2011 amid allegations he had unreported contact with foreign spies.

Kim was accused of an “act of foreign interference” in allegedly passing information about top level negotiations between Australia and country X – which still cannot be named – concerning a bilateral trade agreement.

The judgment noted that while country X was generally friendly, its economic interests often rivalled Australia’s.

Without the security clearance, Kim’s career in his field would end, so he took the matter to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal and then the Federal Court to get a review of the adverse security assessment.

The appeal has not yet been fixed for hearing.

ASIO applied to keep from the public information that would reveal the name of country X, the name of the intelligence service of country X or the names of the intelligence officers working for that intelligence service.

The spy organisation said it had discovered that agents located in Australia from country X had taken steps to cultivate Australian officials and public servants to obtain sensitive information relevant to government-to-government negotiations concerning matters of trade.

In a confidential affidavit, ASIO’s chief, David Irvine, said the agency had addressed the issue and believed that the inappropriate activities had ceased.

The affidavit said country X had asked ASIO to do all in its power to prevent public disclosure of the fact that its intelligence service had been acting within Australia.

“The [Director-General of Security] said that disclosure of the activities of the intelligence service of country X in Australia would have a detrimental impact on the ongoing relationship between the two countries,” the judgment said.

“He said it would have an impact on the level of co-operation received from that country.

“In addition, he said that revealing the names of the relevant intelligence officers of the intelligence service of country X would effectively prevent them from ever acting in such a capacity in the future.”

But Kim’s lawyers, Colquhoun Murphy, argued the purpose of ASIO’s application was political or diplomatic and had been sought to avoid embarrassment for country X.

They noted that publication of his name would leave little doubt about which foreign country was involved.

“If the motivation for the orders sought by [ASIO] is in fact to avoid some kind of political or diplomatic embarrassment, then it is reasonable for the court to consider carefully why and how the avoidance of such embarrassment is necessary for the ‘security’ of the Commonwealth,” Kim’s written submission said.

“A reasonable observer might well take the view that it is a matter of legitimate interest to citizens of Australia to know if agents of friendly nations have engaged in activities inconsistent with diplomatic cover involving an attempt to cultivate a senior public servant in Australia.”

Kim also argued an excess of secrecy applied to his case meant he had been unable to defend himself adequately and resulted also in him remaining in the dark about precisely what it was he was alleged to have done.

Justice Foster ruled that keeping the information secret could not be justified.

“It may well be that the unnecessary imposition of secrecy on material ultimately works to the prejudice of the applicant in the two sets of proceedings which he has brought in this court. The court should do everything in its power to prevent such an outcome,” the judge said.

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Mosman waterfront with skyline views

Flying high: The waterfront Mosman property of Steve and Lorraine Padgett comes with a landmark boat shed. Second-chance draw: The Howard Tanner-renovated hosue of Louise and David Glen, on Ocean Street, Woollahra.
Nanjing Night Net

Sun sets on Sundorne: The long-held Bellevue Hill mansion.

The late Claire Dan.

Around the Blok: Wrights Point.

Around the Blok: Wrights Point.

Wunulla Road, Point Piper.

Wolaroi Crescent, Tamarama.

Claraville, St Peters.

One of the most tempting listings to hit the autumn market is Curraghbeena House, the Mosman waterfront home of Alliance Aviation Services founder and chairman Steve Padgett and his wife, Lorraine.

Set at the tip of Curraghbeena Point, between Mosman Bay and Little Sirius Cove, the property is a landmark due to its Chinese-style timber boat shed, one of only two of this type on the harbour – the other is at Point Piper. With unobstructed harbour views to the city skyline, the meticulous restoration of the circa-1905 residence was overseen by architects Gary Barnes and

Mike Blakeney. Rebuilt in keeping with its architectural integrity, the four-bedroom, four-bathroom residence features an elegant formal reception hall with panoramic harbour views. Previously, the house had been split into three apartments purchased by the Padgetts between 1996 and 2004 for a total of $2,295,000.

While being sold as one dwelling, the three-level building retains its existing strata approval – and the versatile layout could be configured as three luxurious apartments. With landscaped terraced gardens and a staircase leading down to a sandstone-wall harbour swimming pool, the property is expected to fetch more than $7 million at auction on May 30 through Kingsley Yates of Ray White Lower North Shore.

Second-chance draw

Lingering on the market, since it passed in on a $7 million vendor bid at auction three weeks ago through McGrath agent Ben Collier, is a Woollahra residence owned by Louise Glen, wife of David Glen, managing director of ATM company Banktech. The two-storey Victorian residence, on a 765-square-metre block in Ocean Street, near the corner of Trelawney Street, was extensively renovated by architect Howard Tanner after it last traded for $4.9 million in March 2009. The property is for sale because the Glens have moved to another Woollahra house bought for $9 million in late 2011. The Edgecliff Road residence had been the home of bankrupt Keddies solicitor Scott Roulstone.

Sun sets on Sundorne

The Bellevue Hill home of the late Claire Dan, AM, OBE is set for auction on May 22 with price hopes of more than $11 million-plus through BHR Estate Agents and Sydney Sotheby’s International Realty. Named Sundorne, the Victoria Road residence was the matrimonial home of Dan and the late transport magnate Sir Peter Abeles, who bought it in 1958 from the Simpson family for about £60,000. After divorcing in the late 1960s, Dan retained a life tenancy of the

six-bedroom mansion on a 2550-square-metre block. It has a floodlit tennis court and swimming pool. A prominent arts philanthropist for four decades, Dan was founder of the Sydney International Piano Competition and managing director of Cladan Cultural Institute of Australia. She died in October 2012.


Who snapped up the Point Piper home of Barbara Moran, a daughter of the late healthcare tycoon Doug Moran and his wife, Greta, for more than $6 million during Easter? Sold through Brad Pillinger, the Wentworth Street residence (on a 601-square-metre block with north-easterly views across Rose Bay) had been renovated since the Wieder family sold it for $6 million in 2007.

 Which food industry executive’s wife has bought at Hunters Hill for $5.8 million? Sold through McGrath’s Tracey Dixon, the five-bedroom residence is on a 2676-square-metre block two minutes’ walk from Alexandra Street shops.

Around the Blok: At Drummoyne

In a prominent north-facing position on Wrights Point, the three-level residence was built after the property sold for $6 million in late 2007 to the Arnaout family.

Of palatial proportions and built with no expense spared, it has five spacious bedrooms (including a private main bedroom wing), formal and casual living and dining areas, a state-of-the-art kitchen, gymnasium, sauna, wine room, four-car garage, guest apartment, rooftop terrace and a lift.

For sale through Adrian Sereni and Warwick Williams of Warwick Williams Real Estate, the property has a swimming pool and a level lawn leading to the historic Drummoyne steps for direct harbour access.

The Arnaout family’s Iris Hotel Group bought the Hunters Hill Hotel in 1995 and then built a portfolio of pubs valued at $350 million during a 12-year period. Their hotel ventures have included the Clovelly Hotel, PJ’s Irish Pub in Parramatta and PJ Gallaghers at Drummoyne.

Healthy result

A Point Piper mansion sold for more than $7 million two weeks ago through agent Alison Coopes. The deal on the Wunulla Road residence, owned by medico Simon Wertheimer and his wife, Lorraine, was stitched up on the weekend before its scheduled auction.

The circa-1900s residence has six bedrooms, seven bathrooms, beautiful formal living rooms, a huge modern family room, a three-room attic and harbour views. Named Arn, the property last traded for $3.03 million in 2000. Two weeks before the sale of Arn, Coopes (in conjunction with Savills) notched up the highest auction price of the year when a Bellevue Hill residence sold under the hammer for $7.7 million. The Victoria Road residence had been renovated by a group of developers including Tony Petersen.

Barbosa Bonanza

Also in the eastern suburbs, the long-held Tamarama home of recruitment consultant Anne Barbosaand her husband, Luis, has sold for more than $5 million through Blacket & Glasgow agent Peter Blacket. Set high above the beach in Wolaroi Crescent, the four-bedroom house has spectacular north-easterly beach and ocean views.

The Barbosas bought the 382-square-metre property for $310,000 in 1986. Five years ago, Blacket negotiated Tamarama’s $11 million residential record price of a Thompson Street house sold to Marco Rossi, managing director of the construction company Built. And three weeks ago Blacket negotiated the sale of the Strauss family’s 1162-square-metre Bellevue Hill estate for more than $6 million. The Bulkara Road property last traded for $820,000 in 1986.

St Peters record

The inner-west suburb of St Peters has a new residential record of $2.15 million following last weekend’s sale of the home of the late artist David Boyd and his late wife Hermia. Named Claraville, the 1500-square-metre property in Silver Street is the suburb’s largest residential landholding. The six-bedroom Victorian mansion, which had been the Boyds’ home since 1988 when it traded for $250,000, sold through agent Brad Pillinger. More than 300 groups inspected the house.

Beautiful original features include stained-glass windows and timber joinery. Behind the house are stables used as an artist’s studio. A member of the Boyd artistic dynasty, David Boyd was a son of artist William Merric Boyd and grandson of Arthur Boyd. The late Hermia Boyd is best known for her work as a sculptor and potter.

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