Loving Vincent: A cold-case murder investigation, one frame at a time

There are almost 65,000 frames in the feature film Loving Vincent, each one of them painted by hand in oils.
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Animation is always an arduous process, but “ours was the slowest form of animation ever invented”, says Hugh Welchman, co-director and co-writer of the film. “Everything you see in the film is a photograph of a painting – we weren’t using different layers [as happens in most animation], it was very purist.”

Welchman, an Englishman who won the Oscar for best animated short in 2008 for Peter & the Wolf, spent six years working on this tale about the last days of Vincent van Gogh. His co-writer and co-director Dorota Kobiela, who is Polish, spent even longer on it.

“She spent seven years on it,” says Welchman of his wife. “She’d already got the grant to do this as a short film, but in Poland you have to wait three or six months until the money comes into your account. So in the interim she applied for a job at my company, and I disrupted her plans.

“We fell in love, I got her to work on my film [Peter & the Wolf] and while we were doing that we talked about Loving Vincent and visited lots of galleries. And as we were doing the research I realised how huge his following is around the world, and so we decided to make it as a feature film.”

There are two distinct visual styles in the movie: van Gogh’s trademark heavy brushstrokes, thick textures and bold colours; and a black-and-white realist style informed by 19th-century photography. In both, some of the characters seem vaguely, and sometimes instantly, recognisable – their scenes were played by actors including Chris O’Dowd, Aidan Turner and his Poldark co-star Eleanor Tomlinson, and Saoirse Ronan.

Their performances were captured on film, and that footage was used as a reference point for the painters to render them in either van Gogh or photo style.

“The painter would have a monitor at eye level, then they’d have a canvas underneath, and they’d just paint what they could see, but they’d have to reimagine it into van Gogh style,” explains Welchman. “Once they’d done the first frame, they were using that for reference. They’d reimagined it, so they had to stick with that, and they had to not only reference their own frames, but what others had done in the same scene or with the same character.”

Such a labour-intensive process necessarily demands a lot of labourers. Luckily, in Poland Welchman and Kobiela knew there was a suitably skilled (and relatively cheap) workforce, because of the country’s strong tradition in art training. From 1000 applicants, they picked 65 painters. But putting together the finance for the project was almost as arduous as making the thing, so they were only able to hire about 20 at the outset.

By the time the funding came together, they were massively behind schedule and they felt they’d exhausted the talent pool in Poland – given the pay, about $1000 a month, it’s likely many had moved on to more lucrative offers – so they put the message out internationally. They couldn’t believe the response.

“We had this teaser on our website, and a fan of one of the actors put it on Facebook and within 24 hours we had 2 million views and within three months we had 200 million views. As a result of that we closed the finance, and we got 4000 new applications from painters around the world.”

They hired another 60 painters – from , Japan, North America, South America, India – and it gave the production the boost it needed. “A lot of our painters had been working on it for a year and a half and were pretty exhausted, and then all these painters descended from all over the world and were terribly excited,” says Welchman. “They were only there for six months, so they managed to maintain their enthusiasm to the end.”

Andrew Grimmer was the sole n who worked on the project, contributing about 12 seconds of footage (at 12 frames a second, that’s about 140 paintings), mostly of an exchange between the central character Armand Roulin (Douglas Booth), who investigates Vincent’s death, and Dr Mazery (Bill Thomas), who has a controversial theory about it.

“I made three or four frames a day, six days a week for over five months,” says Grimmer, a skilled portraitist from the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria. “It doesn’t equate to much of the movie, but I’m happy with the quality I achieved while having to paint at such speed.”

Grimmer heard about the project when a friend sent him a link, with the words “this could change your life”. He applied, heard nothing for three months, then one day opened an email. “You’ve been chosen to test in Poland, we will Skype tomorrow.”

Three days later, the production got in touch and offered him a spot. He’d need to be in Gdansk, joining a team of 65 painters in a studio, in two weeks. “I had no passport, no money, and my partner and two-year-old child were in ,” he says. “But I agreed.”

It was hard work, Grimmer says, but “the comradeship was beautiful and I made life-long friends. There were 15 or more of us living together in a hostel and we grew very close.” He would do it again in a heartbeat.

Despite the challenges, Welchman would too. In fact, he and Kobiela are already plotting a new movie in a similar style.

“We’re going to do a painted horror filming, based on the late paintings of Goya,” he says. “You’ve got to set yourself a new challenge in life.”

Loving Vincent is in cinemas now.

Facebook: karlquinnjournalist Twitter: @karlkwin Podcast: The Clappers

City star praises Victory striker ahead of Melbourne derby

W-League star and Matilda Kyah Simon has earned plenty of plaudits for her goals over the seasons.
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But the Melbourne City forward is full of admiration for her opposite number at Melbourne Victory, Natasha Dowie, who will be doing her utmost to ensure Victory continue City’s miserable start to the season when the pair clash in the first Melbourne derby of the new W-League season this Friday night.

Dowie, an England international, and Simon are former teammates and the n star knows just how dangerous the big Victory forward and captain can be.

“She’s a great player, a great striker and a great leader within the group. They have definitely recruited well and are continually getting better,” Simon said of her Victory opponents.

“Tasha is a quality player. I played with her in Boston [in North America’s NWSL].

“One of her great traits is no matter how bad the team is playing around her, she’s always upholding herself in such a high manner and is able to score goals when the run of play is going against her.

“I have played with and against her, and she is a quality striker, she can score goals at any time.

“If the team gets better around her then there’s no doubt that with any player they are going to excel in the environment that they are in as well.”

City crashed to a 4-1 defeat in the opening round, a grand final rematch with Perth Glory.

But there were extenuating circumstances.

First-choice goalkeeper Lydia Williams was unavailable – she will be back between the posts on Friday night, Simon said on Tuesday – and reserve goalkeeper Emily Shields broke a hand in the warm-up, meaning 18-year-old Emily Kenshole was pressed into action at short notice.

Simon equalised after Perth took the lead, but City conceded three goals in the last 15 minutes. But the Matildas stalwart saw enough in the performance to give her confidence for the rest of the campaign.

“We outpossessed them in a lot of the game. We took a lot of positives away, I think we played some quality football in the game,” she said.

“They had five chances and finished four of them, we had about 20 chances and only finished one.

“I was happy and feeling pleased with how my body felt. I can only take the positives having had two major surgeries and coming back and doing what I love again, that’s being out there with the girls and playing football. I am hoping each week that goes by match fitness will get better.

Council rejects Christian Lobby’s LGBT grants objections

As the national marriage equality postal survey entered its final week, a leading organisation behind the “no” campaign zeroed in on a Sydney council’s annual grants program, urging councillors to reject the funding of LGBT programs.
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But the bid by the n Christian Lobby proved unsuccessful on Tuesday night, as a majority block of the Inner West Council voted to approve more than $67,000 in funding for 13 LGBT programs for the upcoming year.

“We are giving out several hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants to a wide range of organisations, some of which are LGBT organisations. So what?” mayor Darcy Byrne said.

The Inner West Council, which includes within its boundaries the gay-friendly suburb of Newtown, has been vocal in its support for marriage equality.

The Christian Lobby’s NSW director Kieren Jackson wrote to each of the 15 councillors on Monday, asking them to re-evaluate the use of ratepayer funds towards LGBT organisations in favour of prioritising “the most vulnerable in society, the sick and those with disabilities”.

The lobby group drew a link between the grants program and the postal survey, suggesting the council’s judgment had been compromised by its support for marriage equality.

“The question that needs to be asked is whether the Inner West Council’s energetic support of the ‘Yes’ campaign in the current postal survey is colouring the council’s judgment when it comes to being responsible with ratepayers’ money,” Mr Jackson said in a statement on Tuesday.

The Inner West Council has promoted a public position in favour of marriage equality – a position supported by a majority block of the councillors, who were elected in September.

As one of its first acts, the new council voted to allow same-sex couples free access to community facilities and halls for wedding ceremonies for 100 days if same-sex marriage is legalised following the postal survey.

The LGBT programs funded on Tuesday night accounted for 10 per cent of the total funding package of $742,847, which was shared between 127 community projects as varied as domestic violence support groups and music therapy programs for deaf children.

The programs were recommended for funding approval by assessment panels for each of the council’s six grant programs.

Mr Jackson took aim at the funding of $6500 towards a breast cancer awareness picnic hosted by ACON, an HIV prevention organisation, ahead of an unsuccessful $14,000 funding request from Royal Prince Alfred Hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

A council spokesman said the hospital’s grant application did not meet the eligibility criteria, which “clearly state that state or federal government departments or projects which fall under the responsibility of another tier of government are not eligible”.

“These are local grants, not designed to subsidise the state government’s public hospital system to purchase medical equipment.”

ACON chief executive Nicolas Parkhill said funding for the picnic was important because lesbian women experienced “higher risk factors relating to the development of breast cancer, and are an underscreened population for this type of cancer compared to heterosexual women”.

Other LGBT programs that received grants included $19,000 for a “Rainbow Tapestry project”, which aimed to reduce social isolation through weekly events, $7500 for a “Queer Formal” for high school students, and $4500 for an art exhibition by Aboriginal artists from the LGBT community.

Independent councillor Pauline Lockie rejected the Christian Lobby’s claim that the council was funding LGBT projects ahead of those for vulnerable people as “a misleading, dog-whistling political smear”.

“LGBTQI people are more likely to experience abuse, violence, discrimination, prejudice, and social and mental health issues than their heterosexual counterparts,” she said.

The council’s grants program did not receive unanimous support from the elected representatives.

Deputy mayor Julie Passas, a Liberal councillor, told Fairfax Media she could not “justify one certain group of people being singled out when there are more needy issues to be addressed”.

“I cannot see that gays are being treated badly,” she said.

“As far as I’m concerned, gay people aren’t different from me. I don’t believe the gays need help. What is the pressing need? A picnic, I don’t think, is pressing.”

Following a heated debate, the grants program was approved by a majority of 11 councillors, while the two Liberal councillors, Cr Passas and Vittoria Raciti, and independent Victor Macri voted against it.

This That Festival throwback: Scenes from the festival 2015 – 2017

THROWBACK THURSDAY: This That Festival through the years INSTA @melissa_webster Yesterday was just 👌🏼✨ #thisthat
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This That music festival, Newcastle Foreshore. Picture: Marina Neil

This That music festival, Newcastle Foreshore. Picture: Marina Neil

This That music festival, Newcastle Foreshore. Picture: Marina Neil

This That music festival, Newcastle Foreshore. Picture: Marina Neil

This That music festival, Newcastle Foreshore. Picture: Marina Neil

This That music festival, Newcastle Foreshore. Picture: Marina Neil

This That music festival, Newcastle Foreshore. Picture: Marina Neil

This That music festival, Newcastle Foreshore. Picture: Marina Neil

This That music festival, Newcastle Foreshore. Picture: Marina Neil

This That music festival, Newcastle Foreshore. Picture: Marina Neil

This That music festival, Newcastle Foreshore. Picture: Marina Neil

This That music festival, Newcastle Foreshore. Picture: Marina Neil

This That music festival, Newcastle Foreshore. Picture: Marina Neil

This That music festival, Newcastle Foreshore. Picture: Marina Neil

This That music festival, Newcastle Foreshore. Picture: Marina Neil

This That music festival, Newcastle Foreshore. Picture: Marina Neil

This That music festival, Newcastle Foreshore. Picture: Marina Neil

This That music festival, Newcastle Foreshore. Picture: Marina Neil

Photo @pennyp10 THIS THAT FAM

This That music festival, Newcastle Foreshore. Picture: Marina Neil

samara.n.b This and that 🎶🍺 #thisthat #newcastle #festival

This That Festival today. Newcastle what’s good? – photo by @themarcaida

Photo by @lauradurnin ‘Dis dat’ #thisthat

Photo @thisxxthat triple j Unearthed winners and local heart-throbs RAAVE TAPES are ready. #thisxxthat @raave_tapes

@thisxxthat #thisxxthat

Photo by @lilywhitton_ Ready to get downnnn ✨✨ #thisthat

@duncanshumack That or this, you know the rules

@tegan_briana This that

Photo by @becbailey__ Bit of this bit of that #thisthat

@lee.britton On our worst behaviour 😈 #ThisThat

@raave_tapes LOOK WE HAVE LANYARDS It’s a wonderful day to GET UP IT

Photo @__bec bunch of loons 😎 #thisthat

Photo @janismegan ‘When the drinks are flowing’ #Newcastle #thisthat #pres

@shayahnvanbeveren A little bit of THIS, a little bit of THAT!

kaypring_ 🍻 #thisthat #worstbehavior

@_teganscott #thisthat #Newcastle

INSTA @rhianna_tobin Talented 🙂 #thisthat

INSTA @georgieee_xx Between this that and bitter and twisted i was not feeling the 5am alram this morning, couldnt have asked for a better weekend or company 💓 #thisthat #bitterandtwisted

INSTA @rachaaelrussell My number 1 gal.💕 @britthoward_ #thisthat#favgal

INSTA @hayley.eve Smiles don’t get much bigger 😆 #thisthat #iamthelizardqueen

INSTA @beaucharlton @chadashton 🌞🍺💃 #thisthat

INSTA @jessicalindgrenxx Best day with the best people ☀️🎶❤️ #thisthat

INSTA @katemackawaymua Face paint stall at This That Festival

INSTA @sus393 Bit of this and a bit of that 👅💟💋 @demimcdonald_ #thisthat #loveyou #thisgirltho

INSTA @kiramccaig We sure knew how to boogie ✌🏻️ #thisthat

INSTA @isabel_navarr0 Keeping it old school Overalls and all 😍👯 #thisthat

INSTA @rhianna_tobin Talented 🙂 #thisthat

INSTA @kate_broekman When you find Bae at #thisthat 😍 #surprises #fave

INSTA @jackekert This that certainly done a number on me but I’d happily do it all over tomorrow 👌 #thisthat

INSTA @lokchapman Yeah the Boys #thisthat @mitchcrow89 @jamesgregreed

INSTA @haary_w Love this little mermaid! @elenasavovski #thisthat2016 #thisthat

INSTA @alexandrasmith_ Pretty much went downhill after this for me 🍻💃 #thisthat

INSTA @jimgardiner_83 THIS THAT spam 😈 . Don’t get out much but days like this I’m all for !!! #sickday #catchups #needmoreof #picoftheday #loose #thisthat

INSTA @lachlan.andrews19 #ThisThat #Newcastle #Festival #GoodMates

INSTA @reace_louise Gotta love my Rox 💕 #lastoneIswear #soz #thisthat

INSTA @kaylavictoria26 Would definitely dress hippie for any festival… being a different person for the day is the most fun experience!! ✌🏼️👸🏼💃 #hippie #thisthat #amazing #curlyhair

INSTA @chriss.iee Just hangin’ out #thisthat #thisthatspam #sorrynotsorry #pumpthosebeats @emilyhegney

INSTA @lokchapman This That 2016 🎉 🍻 🎤 #thisthat @justineefranklin

INSTA @lucie__94 #thisthat 🎉

INSTA @elenasavovski 🌟✨🌙🌜so much love in the air ☁️☁️☁️ #THISTHAT

INSTA @ghazi.bafakieh When the bass drops we drop our problems with it … and our dignity #buckethat #thisthat

INSTA @zoe_leem Monday why do you have to come around so quick!? Take me back to Saturday 🌞🌿 . . . #thisthat #newcastle #triplej #monday #mondayblues #sunnydays #spring

INSTA @casey_r94 Good tunes at This That 💃🏼🎶🎙🎸🕶☀️ #thisthat #newcastle #boogietime #weekendvibes

INSTA @teeemmusic The vibes were perfect #thisthat #newcastlelive #musicfestival

INSTA @tysonpotts #thisthat #squadontour #5thwheeling 🔥😎

INSTA @taylahgaul #thisthat @ash.marinovic 💕

INSTA @kirstiebegbie Tamara in her prime 🌭#thisthat #happy21stbirthday ❤️

INSTA @patarmstrong Solid day with this one #thisthat

INSTA @tyler_bridges14 This That giving the goods 👌🔥 #thisthat #newy #flowercrown #sunburn

INSTA @matt_parsell Twas a good day #ballparkmusic #thisthat

INSTA @caramellokellow #thisthat

INSTA @teddyscott_ Loved listening to them sweet tunes almost as much as I love youuuu #tuneeeee #thisthat 👯🌺🍹

INSTA @tiahneeeaston_ Chixxxxx 💃🏼💁🏼💖 #squad #friends #girls #galpals #chicks #thisthat2016 #thisthat #thisxthat #love #drinkdrankdrunk #chicksareon #yeahthegirls

INSTA @meli__07_ THIS THAT 🎶 #festival #thisthat #love #tigheshillfamily #myloves #newcastle#nobbysbeach #australia

INSTA @maximus13333 Another fessi down ! #thisthat #2016 #topday #newcastle

INSTA @katiecchandler When @hamishlorang just wants a photo with his sandwich but I sneak in too 💁🏻 #prioritiesinorder #couplegoals #thisthat

INSTA @link_callo 🌶Such a lewse day at #thisthat I managed to #bunningssnag a photo of Childish Gambino on Dizzee Rascal’s shoulders! #ytb

INSTA @b_elllle ⬅️this ⬆️ that 👯✨#thisthatfestival #thisthat #newcastle #newcastleforeshore

INSTA @braddboyle A few guys who hate to festival. Absolute despair and depression written all over our faces. #thisthat

INSTA @caitlin_marsh Before I lost every single person I knew✨ #ThisThat

INSTA @laurengrieve Great weekend with great people 🌞😘 #thisthat #vanlife

INSTA @alexandramareeross thanks for being the best chix alive @jessshanley @trudylee96 💕 #bestfriends #thisthat

INSTA @foyboy777 This that yesterday was lit with these legends #thisthat #glitter #pimms

INSTA @immypreston Sparkles and flares ✨✨ #thisthat

INSTA @lilymaytownsend_x Daym she’s delicious @laakyn 🔥💦 #thisthat #newcastle #thisthatbullshit #rig

INSTA @breekorteman Weekend in Newcastle went too fast! #thisthat #newcastlensw ☀️☺️

INSTA @kylesabroe Almost as blurry as my memory 👻 #thisthat

INSTA @lucie__94 #thisthat 🎉

INSTA @emilycrearmua A bit of this, a bit of that and some makeup crap… -This That makeup crew- #festivalmakeup #theotherempire #themaskacademynewcastle #makeup #braids #festival #festivalfashion #makeupartist #squad

INSTA @casey_r94 Good tunes at This That 💃🏼🎶🎙🎸🕶☀️ #thisthat #newcastle #boogietime #weekendvibes

INSTA @teeemmusic The vibes were perfect #thisthat #newcastlelive #musicfestival

[email protected] playing ping pong earlier before his set #ThisThatpic.twitter成都夜总会招聘/93QOCFHJj4

— DJ Smitty (@DJSmittyAus) November 5, 2016

Electronic acts Peking Duk and Hermitude were popular headliners, and sent revellers home happy and, in many cases, exhausted.

Los Angeles hip hop star ScHoolboy Q had performed on the main stage after dusk – with Fort Scratchley as a backdrop – to a jumping, vocal crowd.

Earlier, the rapper had joined festival-goers playing table tennis in the VIP marquee, flanked by a giant security detail.

Fans had also packed in for well-received sets by Perth rapper Drapht, laconic Brisbane indie rockers Ball Park Music and Canberra electro-pop act Safia.

Spierig brothers’ take on horror franchise cuts familiar terrain

Jigsaw film poster 2017.
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FILM JIGSAW ?????? (MA) General release (92 minutes)

Ah, memories. The first Saw film became a surprise hit in 2004, when torture was what we’ve since learned to call a trending topic – especially after scandals broke involving the treatment of prisoners at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay.

Thirteen years and seven sequels on, it can’t be said the theme has lost its resonance. But this latest instalment in the 21st century’s most successful horror franchise adds little to what has come before.

Saw was originally cooked up by a couple of ns, director James Wan and writer Leigh Whannell. But they’ve taken a back seat on the sequels, this time handing directing duties to another n duo, brothers Peter and Michael Spierig, who showed some flair for the outlandish in their 2014 science-fiction thriller Predestination.

As in every Saw film, we’re introduced to a group of semi-anonymous victims, to be guided through various sadistic “games” by the evil mastermind Jigsaw (Tobin Bell), who died several instalments ago but hasn’t let this slow him down.

Meanwhile, a team of detectives launch an investigation, pausing regularly to explain Jigsaw’s backstory for the benefit of newcomers. Typically for the series, this double plot is a kind of trap, but aficionados will be able to guess quickly how it functions – in essence if not in detail.

With dingy lighting, relatively few locations and no big names in the cast, Jigsaw,like its predecessors, is essentially a modern B-movie. This allows it a disreputable edge that nowadays is usually missing from mainstream horror; nobody is especially sympathetic, anyone could die at any moment and the moral lessons taught by the villain are transparent excuses for sadism.

As ever, the main attraction is the spectacle of Jigsaw’s victims caught in his gruesome homemade traps. There are whirring blades, syringes filled with acid, sharp objects that fall from above – and there’s the horror of being forced to choose between willed self-mutilation and something even worse.

Though the Spierigs don’t hold back when it comes to gore, they seem less than fully invested in the challenge of thinking up new, ingenious ways to hurt people. Still, the nasty set-pieces are visualised vividly enough to trigger the mixed reactions that have been the point of the series: fear and revulsion as we imagine ourselves trapped in this manner, followed by a flood of relief that it’s happening to someone else.

QUICK SINGLES: Belmont and Valentine Eleebana strengthen club ties across Newcastle competitions

JOINING FORCES: Belmont first grader Toby Gray was a Valentine Eleebana junior. Picture: Jonathan CarrollBELMONThave officially strengthened ties with neighbouringValentine Eleebana in a move hoped to benefit both clubs.
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The announcementwas made this week with senior players now able to switchbetween the Newcastle district and Newcastle City and Suburban competitions minus transfers or clearances while also providingjunior pathways for grade cricket.

It’s not a formal amalgamation and there will be no name change, but presidents Craig Slavek (Belmont) and David Bliss (Valentine Eleebana) have reached the agreement to be trialed for the rest of 2017-2018.

* STILL at Belmont and Kent County Cricket Club’s Jan Graywill make his first grade debut this weekend after arriving from England.

The 18-year-old, a right-hand batsman and leg-spin bowler, is part of Kent’sacademy set up and has played some second XI.

ROUND 6: Charlestown v Belmont; Hamwicks v Wallsend; Toronto v Wests; Waratah-Mayfield v Stockton; Cardiff-Boolaroo v Merewether; University v Newcastle City.

* A FEWanomalies came out of the first grade ladder following the fifth and final one-day round on Saturday with Merewether and Wests progressing to the Tom Locker Cup decider despite both being beaten by runners-up in their respective pools –City and Charlestown.

Furthermore, City remain the only undefeated team in the entire competition while Charlestown won an extra gamethan Wests.

A wash outand bonus points played a major part.

* THE newly introduced second grade one-day finalwill feature Charlestown and Merewether at Kahibah Oval next Sunday (November 12).

* NSW PSSA Championships for girls wrap up at Maitland Park on Thursday with Riverina and Polding among the final contenders.

The founders of veteran Newcastle label High Tea With Mrs Woo buy a block in Islington and launch The Fernery

HELLO HUB: Angela, Juliana and Rowena Foong [inset] and their partners have created The Fernery at Islington. Main picture: Alexander McIntyreTHE three sisters behind successful Newcastle label High Tea With Mrs Woo have bought a run-down Islington block with their partners in view of forming acreative community hub.
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The 84 Fern Street lot was bought by Rowena Foong and her partner artist Brett McMahon, Angela Foong and her architect partner Matt Travis of Shac, and Juliana Foong and her artist-jeweller partner Ben Gallagher. Already fans of Islington, where High Tea has its factory, the group decided to pool their finances.

“We are all self-employed creativesand the difficult thing about that is to be able to get a loan financially and be financially stable,” Angela says.

Sister act: Juliana, Angela and Rowena Foong created High Tea With Mrs Woo and are now driving The Fernery in Islington with their respective partners. Picture: Alexander McIntyre.

“We couldn’t do it individually because none of us earn enough so we thought if we teamed up together and as a family we might be able to do something collectively.”

The 208-square-metre site had little more than a “weird” storage shed on it, however the appeal lay in itsB4 mixed use zoning, with council viewing the area as a future urban density hub.

For now, the group is reactivatingthe space as The Fernery: McMahon has already moved his studio into one half of thework shed; there areplans to turn the other side into a showroom and workshop area; and on Fridays, Retro Kombi serves coffee from 7am to 11am before the Red Belly Gourmet truckserves lunch from 11.30am to 2.30pm.

“We are providing a quirky space for people to have coffee and lunch and meet up with their friends, so it feels like the street is vibrant and it’s a test to do it,” says Angela.

“Theidea is that thisFerneryis a place to meet and gather and host events and to promote design and art and creativity.”

The group’s long-term vision is to design and build “a very small and interesting commercial and residential mixed development that pays homage to the neighbourhood rather than being something that doesn’t fit”.

“We’ve seen so many changes in Newcastle, what we don’t like is all the big developments, you lose the quirky characters that are down low,” says Angela.

“So if you can do things that are small and interesting and create hubs then it keeps the neighbourhood local and safe and interesting and that’s the sort of place we want to live in.”

University of Newcastle officially opens defence and aerospace innovation hub at Williamtown

Eric Johns with his electronic engineering masters project – a search and rescue robot that is controlled by virtual reality equipment. Picture: Nick BielbyThe idea of a defence and aerospace innovation hub might conjure images of high tech equipment and whiteboards full of mathematical equations.
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But the University of Newcastle wants to work with businesses and the community to turn knowledge and research into social and economic benefit.

The university officially opened its new defence and aerospace innovation hubat Williamtown on Wednesday –the fourth centre in aroll-out of five to six facilities.

Dubbed DSA-18, it will foster research and development of new defence and aerospace-related technology.

Professor Kevin Hall, the University of Newcastle’s deputy vice chancellor of research and innovation, said the key focus of the hubwas to engage with businesses and the community.

“They’re not just for the university, they’re not just for students and researchers,” he said.

“They’re for people and businesses to come and collide together and really look at how we can take the knowledge and create either economic or social opportunities.”

Inside the centre, the product of an innovative Hunter mind was on show.

Eric Johns has developed a search and rescue robot that can becontrolled by virtual reality equipment, as part of his electrical engineering masters project.

University of Newcastle vice chancellor Caroline McMillen with Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter Scot MacDonald at the opening of the hub on Wednesday.

The robot, a small vehicle equipped with a camera and two arms with pincers, is similar to otherrobotsused in emergency situations that pose a risk to human rescuers –like mine disasters, nuclear or chemical incidents and searching potentially unstable buildings after earthquakes.

But to pilot Mr Johns’ machine, the operator wears a set of goggles tosee through the eyes of the vehicle, while handheld controls make the device’s arms mimic the movement of the driver’s arms.

“It translates the exact human movements into robot movements,” he said.

“It’s trying to allow search and rescue personnel to do their job without actually being there [in the danger zone].”

University of Newcastle vice chancellor Caroline McMillen said the hub would provide a “boost to the growing cluster of businesses and defence-related activities at Williamtown”.

“Around the world we have seen that thebest innovation ecosystems are those where new industries, jobs and opportunities are created when research, business, government and community forge strong alliances,” she said.

Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter Scot MacDonald said the state government had contributed $1.5 million to the university’s innovation hub program so far.

“The University of Newcastle is conducting exciting research in a range of areas relevant to the defence, security, and aerospace sectors and the DSA-18 hub … will allow academics to work directly with business and industry,” he said.

High-density living more harmful than suburban sprawl

Generic Haymerket scenes. Constructions, cranes, apartments, apartment, housing, mortgage, lending, crane, CFMEU, builders, industry. Tuesday 4th July 2017 AFR photo Louie Douvis .Living in a high-rise tower in the city is much less environmentally sustainable than moving to a house in the suburbs and adding to the urban sprawl, a shock new study has found.
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In a revelation that challenges the long-held assumption that it’s more efficient to reside in a vertical village than a horizontal one, the three-year US study shows that apartment dwellers consume more energy, spend more of their time travelling and use their cars more.

“The findings are a little surprising to us all,” says Dr Anthony Wood, executive director of the Chicago-based Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH), a research professor in the college of architecture at the Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago, and co-author of the landmark report.

“We’ve all grown up thinking that urban density and verticality is a good thing but there has never been a study that has really looked at this in any detail; they’ve all been generic studies, based on large sets of generalised data. So we thought we should undertake a more focused study to prove it. And the results have been quite the opposite to those we thought we would find.”

The study, Downtown High-Rise vs Suburban Low-Rise Living, minutely examined the lifestyles, movements and energy bills and usage of 249 households living in high-rise towers in the city of Chicago. At the same time, it collected the equivalent data for 273 households residing in houses in the suburb of Oak Park, 11 kilometres from the CBD, and compared the two.

The outcomes, released on Tuesday at the annual international CTBUH conference this year being held in , were staggering.

Downtown high-rise residents were found to consume 27 per cent more electricity and gas per person than the suburban residents, and on a square metre of space average, they consumed 4.6 per cent more.

Despite the fact that some of the energy use in high-rise was from the lifts in buildings and common lighting, pools and gyms, suburban homes have a far greater surface-to-volume area, with high ceilings, unattached walls and large roofs, and most of the houses in the study were large, wooden-framed and, on average, 98 years old. Related: One apartment for every two housesRelated: From McMansions to higher densityRelated: Sydney sprawl reaching limits

In terms of embodied energy – the quantities and specifications of materials used in the construction of both types of housing – high-rise fared even worse. The project found that high-rise buildings required 49 per cent more embodied energy to construct per square metre, and a stunning 72 per cent more on a per person basis.

“That was astonishing,” says Dr Wood, who undertook the research with Dr Peng Du, China office director and academic coordinator at CTBUH, and a visiting assistant professor at Illinois. “To see that on a square metre basis that the high-rise took up almost half as much energy again to build as low-rise took us, again, by surprise, and we would expect these kind of results to be the same in other cities around the world.”

Traditionally, it’s believed that one of the reasons people move into city apartment buildings is so they don’t have to spend so much time travelling, particularly on a daily commute to work. But here, again, the study delivered another bombshell, showing that downtown residents spent 11 per cent more time travelling a year.

Although they did spend less time travelling to work – 37 per cent of the total travel distance against 62 per cent of the suburban residents – it’s thought the travel times may be longer because city residents walk and bicycle more, and because they are spending a greater proportion of their travel time going to shops, restaurants and entertainment.

In addition, they spend more time visiting friends and family, possibly because those people still live in suburban houses and haven’t made the move to the city with them. “But the whole thinking of the industry is that if you’re living in town, you spend less time travelling,” says Dr Wood. “And that’s not really the case at all.”

High-rise residents were also found to own more cars (0.6 cars per person as against 0.5 in the suburb) and travel longer distances in them, 9 per cent further per year.

On the plus side for city centre high-risers, they were discovered to use less water – 73 per cent of the water used in suburban households, they took fewer separate journeys a year (92 per cent of those taken in the suburbs), and they walked and cycled nearly three times more.

One factor that may have skewed the findings is that high-rise city residents were generally older than those in the suburbs with an average age of 51 compared to 31.8, and were wealthier.

“With more than a million people moving into cities around the world each year, it’s always been assumed that it’s much more sustainable for them to move into high-rise towers than into suburbia,” says Dr Wood, who is now hoping to conduct a much bigger study, involving more households in different areas.

“But this has shown that it’s not enough to say, yes, we have increasing density, so more sustainability, job done. We need to put more work into understanding how high-rise residents are living, and how their buildings work.”

Newcastle District Cricket Association: Wallsend batsman Josh Forsyth hits six off first ball in last-over thriller

MAXIMUM: Wallsend’s Josh Forsyth hit a six off the first ball he faced on Saturday to help the Tigers score 17 from the last over in a thrilling one-run victory against Belmont at Miller Field. Picture: Jonathan CarrollFirst balls are traditionally about settling nerves and getting your eye in.
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Not so forWallsend’s Josh Forsyth.

The 22-year-old, in his second game back from a stint with Scottish club Dumfries, wasted no time in clearing the fence to help the Tigersdefeat Belmont in a thrillingNewcastle first grade encounter at Miller Field on Saturday.

When theNo.7 reachedthe middle the visitors needed 17 to win off the final over.

He was at the non-striker’s end but fromthe opening three deliveriesWallsend teammate Ben Herringscored the last eight of his 28-run cameo, including a maximum, before being dismissed.

Herring and Forsyth crossed while the skied catch was taken.

Now called upon to deliver himself, Forsythsmasheda six over long on from the first ball he faced.

“I didn’t really think about it too much, Ijust knew it had to go,” Forsyth said.

“I watched the ball swung as hard as possible and connected, which was lucky.”

Forsythfollowed up withthree down to vacant fine leg before he and new partner Matt Wicks managed to scramble two off the last ball of the innings andfinish one ahead of Belmont’s 8-189.

“I cant say I’ve ever been in a position where we’ve needed 17 off the last over before, and it endedup being quite tight,” Forsyth said.

“It was pretty much one of the highlights of my Wallsend career. Asa team and player as well. Beingout there for a finish like that, is a pretty good feeling.”

Forsyth has ridden the highs and lows at Wallsend since joining the club around six summers ago, makingjust one top tier semi-final campaign andplaying in three under-21 deciders for two titles.

But the Jesmond bottle shop employee can feel the tide turning in 2017-2018 with three wins from the opening five rounds almost matching last season’s efforts and putting them seventh on the overall standings.

“We’ve had a couple of tough seasons, not making the finals, but a couple of close wins now has been good for us,” he said.

Forsyth knows the return of captain Nathan Price for Sydney has been a major factor both on and off the field.

“Not just game day stuff either,” he said.

“He’s basically runningtraining sessions and just driving the whole club as well as being first grade captain.”

Forsyth has experienced his own personal change as a cricketer as well, trading in the wicketkeeping gloves to focus more on his batting.

“I was a keeper-batsman but my knees have unfortunately made me give away the gloves this season,” he said.

“I think it will only benefit my game, it certainly worked over in Scotland.”