Row boats back on Parramatta river

The Lord Mayor of Parramatta, Councillor John Chedid has brought back row boats to Parramatta River – the first time they have been seen on this part of the River since early colonial days.

“The vintage row boats we have for hire will help bring activity and life to our River foreshore,” Cr Chedid said.

“At the same time, these row boats will give families a fun and healthy activity to do with the kids during the school holidays.

“I’m very excited about having row boats back on our River. We haven’t seen any recreational rowing in this part of the River since our colonial days.

“This is the first time Council has ever run this program but we’ve been talking about doing this for a long time. Finally, we have it up and running.

“At the moment, the plan is to trial it and if it proves popular, we may look into having a commercial operator run this service permanently,” Cr Chedid said.

The row boats are part of Council’s new city activation program aimed at revitalising key areas of Parramatta, including the River and Church Street Mall. They also form part of the Lord Mayor’s Healthy City initiative, designed to encourage a healthier lifestyle in the community.

“Our city animation program is about trialling and testing new projects to revitalise parts of our City; find out what works before we make any significant investments,” Cr Chedid said.

Row Boats on the River details:

When: Hours of operation are 11.00am to 2.30pm and 3.30pm to dark.

Where: Parramatta River, southern bank, between Church Street and Wilde Avenue, Parramatta

Cost: Ten vintage dinghies and two paddle wheelers are for hire, starting at $10 for half an hour.

‘Play Safe, Stay Safe’ in the water

Police and surf lifesavers are calling for extra care to be taken when in, on or around the water with hot weather predicted across NSW this month.
Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to descend on the state’s waterways, with the Bureau of Meteorology predicting temperatures in the high 30s and low 40s for large parts of inland New South Wales and high 20s and low 30s along much of the coast.
Detective Acting Superintendent Darren Schott, Acting Marine Area Commander, said anyone heading in or onto the water needs to exercise commonsense.
“Whether you’re going to the beach, a river, lake or swimming pool, you need to assess the environment and take simple precautions to prevent tragedy,” Detective Acting Superintendent Schott said.
“We have had a number of drownings and near-drownings recently, and unfortunately, many could have been prevented by heeding safety messages of police, lifesavers and maritime authorities.
“This weekend we are expecting large crowds at beaches and local swimming areas, as well as extra boats and pleasure craft on the harbour and other waterways, so it is important for everyone to pay extra attention to their own health and safety on the water,” Det A/Supt Schott said.
NSW Lifesaving Manager, Dean Storey, has praised the efforts of lifesavers and lifeguards so far this summer and has appealed to the public to spread the water safety message.
“We have the best lifesaving services in the world, help us keep you safe by swimming at a patrolled location – if we can’t see you we can’t save you,” Dean Storey said.
Police are also reminding people to look after their health in extreme heat and follow advice from NSW Health to drink plenty of water, keep cool, take care of others and have a plan or point of contact.
For more details on how to care for yourself and others during hot weather go to

BWF Superseries comes to Sydney

Australian Badminton Open

Player in action. /Photo: Austalian Badminton Open
Player in action. /Photo: Austalian Badminton Open

It’s big time badminton in Sydney.

Australia will be one of the twelve host countries for the 2014-2017 Badminton World Federation (BWF) Superseries cycle with venue Sydney hosting the event for the very first time.

The host countries were announced recently by the BWF.

Sydney’s success in securing a BWF World Superseries event from 2014 will effectively see the Australian Badminton Open, currently a Grand Prix Gold rated event, become one of the richest professional badminton tournaments in the world.

The US$750,000 in prize money that will now be up for grabs at the Australian Badminton Open from 2014 will effectively see badminton offering one of the most lucrative sporting prize pools in the country.

Minister for Tourism and Major Events, George Souris, said he was delighted that the Badminton World Federation has included the Australian Badminton Open in the next World Superseries cycle.

“Upgrading the event to a World Superseries tournament from 2014-2017 is a tremendous recognition of the Australian Badminton Open to deliver another world class event for NSW,” said Mr Souris.

“In addition to the increased numbers of fans expected to attend the tournament, the Superseries telecast is expected to reach millions of viewers in key Asian markets, showcasing Sydney as Australia’s premier sporting and major events destination.”

The twelve host nations for the BWF World Super Series 2014-17 are: Premier Superseries (5): China Open, All England, Indonesia Open, Denmark Open, Malaysia Open; Superseries (7): Singapore Open, Hong Kong Open, French Open, India Open, Japan Open, Korea Open, and the Australian Open.

Speaking from the BWF council meeting in Bangkok where the announcement was made, Thomas Lund Chief Operating Officer of the BWF said, “Congratulations to Australia and Sydney for securing a spot for the 2014-2017 Superseries. It is great that there is a Superseries for the Oceania region and I wish every success for Australia.”

With bidding to be part of the world Superseries extremely competitive, Sydney was up against prospective hosts from countries such as China, Indonesia and South Korea who all have a huge supporter base for the sport.

“It is a huge honour to see badminton in Australia elevated to this prestigious level. Every year we are experiencing a strong growth in the sport in Australia and now being named part of the BWF Superseries will give us a huge shot in the arm in terms of international and local prominence for badminton in Australia,” said Badminton Australia CEO Paul Brettell.

“The NSW Government through Destination NSW has played an integral role in helping us secure the World Superseries status and it is a reflection of their ongoing commitment to the sport following the inaugural Australian Badminton Open in Sydney earlier this year,” added Paul Bretell.

Before the kick off of the 2014 BWF World Badminton Superseries at Sydney Olympic Park, the city will once again play host to the Yonex Australian Badminton Open, with the event returning to the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre (SCEC) at Darling Harbour in 2013, running from Tuesday April 2 – Sunday April 7 with a prize pool of US$120,000.

Sydney played host to the Australian Badminton Open for the first time this year as one of the Grand Prix series (one level below Superseries), with the success of the event putting the world badminton spotlight on Australia with 26 countries participating.

More information about the 2013 Australian Badminton Open can be obtained from the tournament website

The China Garden at the Nurragingy Park in Doonside

Shades of Migration in Oz

The new Chang Lai Garden at the Nurragingy Park in Doonside is a testimony to the Australian-Chinese relations, notably the sisterhood of Blacktown City Council and the Liaocheng Municipal Government.

The garden is named the Chang Lai Yuan. This name has been derived by adopting one character from each of the names of Dongchang, the former name of Liaocheng in ancient times, and Blacktown which in Chinese is translated as Bu Lai Ke Cheng. Yuan is the Chinese translation for garden.

The Gallipoli Mosque in Auburn

Shades of Migration in Oz

The Gallipoli Mosque in Auburn is a landmark familiar to many Muslims, particularly Turkish-Australians. T

he Gallipoli Mosque is an Ottoman-style mosque right in Auburn. The first mosque on the same site opened in 1979 but the present mosque as we see now was opened in 1999. The mosque is named after the Gallipoli campaign during World War I which is considered a turning point in the history of relations between Australia and Turkey.

Phone scam warning for visa-holders in Australia


The Department of Immigration and Citizenship urged visa holders to hang up on individuals impersonating departmental officers seeking payment to fix ‘visa irregularities’.

The phone scammers are targeting international communities in Australia, including Indian nationals holding temporary resident visas.

Students from overseas and subclass 457 visa holders in the information and communications technology industry are among those in the fraudsters’ sights.

A departmental spokesman said it was a well organised ruse to con visa holders into transferring a purported ‘penalty payment’ offshore when none is needed.

“DIAC has received information from a number of Indian clients who have been contacted by people claiming to be from immigration-related agencies,” the spokesman said.

“Conmen claiming to be from fabricated ‘Immigration’ or ‘border security’ agencies tell targets their visa details are out of date, specifying an identification number.

“The caller asks them to ‘confirm’ their identification details, then requests an immediate penalty payment to an offshore address, or else their visa will be cancelled and they could be jailed.

“Anyone phoned by people seeking such payments should refuse to pay, tell the caller you are aware of their scam, that you will be reporting the matter to police, and then hang up,” the departmental spokesman said.

“It is important to report such incidents to the relevant state or territory police and to the Immigration Dob-In Line on 1800 009 623.”

[A media release from, December 2012]