Inside The Magic Garden

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If you want to brighten up the place and bring colour into dull winter spaces, a terrarium is the right thing for you. These small zen-like gardens are ideal for people who sometimes forget about the importance of watering their plants. Terrariums require little maintenance and will live even if you forget to water them every now and again. Terrariums are all the rage lately, and for those who are still unsure on what they are, a terrarium is a miniature landscape of small plants that are, usually, grown in a transparent container. One benefit is that they’re not as hard to maintain as a Bonsai…

These spectacular gardens can be grown in absolutely anything. Items from around the house can be recycled and used. Anything from mason jars, vases and fish bowls can be used for your next project. Keep in mind that a container with a wide mouth makes it easier to plant. Terrariums are so appealing to many because they can be so different and so unique. The most common type of terrarium is one in an ‘open’ container, but ‘closed’ terrariums are favoured by some. If you would prefer to build a terrarium that has a lid, make sure to use plants that favour humid environments. Open terrariums can take almost every type of cactus, succulent and small houseplant.

Making a terrarium is super easy! They take very little time and are very inexpensive. All you need is:

  • A glass container
  • Plants
  • Small stones
  • Activated charcoal
  • Potting mix

After scouring high and low for the perfect, aesthetically pleasing glass container, you will need to add roughly 3cm of stones to the bottom. On top of that, add around 1-2cm of activated charcoal. These two layers are known as drainage layers and work together to soak up any excess water and help to avoid any rotting of plants. Add around 5cm of potting mix to your container, and plant as you wish. The amount of stones, charcoal and soil can be adjusted depending on the size of the container that is being used.

Caring for a terrarium is one of the easiest things to do. Make sure to place it in moderate to indirect sunlight. To water, it is best to use a spray bottle and pay mind to idea that terrariums do not need a lot of water. Every couple of weeks, or when the soil is looking especially dry, water until just damp. Don’t soak the soil, as this can lead to your plants rotting. Avoid fertilisers so excessive growth isn’t encouraged. There’s not much excess space in those things! If you favour a closed terrarium, make sure to take the lid off at least once a month to air it out. If you see condensation or over water it, leave the top off until it has had time to dry out.

A Little Slice of Paradise | Bendalong Point Tourist Park

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Bendalong Point Tourist Park, located on the south coast of New South Wales, is the perfect location for your next holiday adventure! It attracts anyone who is interested in surfing, fishing, swimming, bushwalking and relaxing. There’s really something for everyone. Located just 218km from Sydney and 135km from Wollongong, it’s the South Coasts own version of paradise.

Bendalong Point, situated on Red Point Headland, is home of some the most beautiful beaches Australia has to offer. Inyadda, Washerwomans and Boat Harbour beach are the main attractions for many when they visit Bendalong. Inyadda beach is renowned for it’s surf breaks and is ideal for those looking for the best place for surf swimming. Washerwomens and Boat Harbour beach are known more for their calm waters and sheltered beach swimming. Boat Harbour has an easily accessible boat ramp. Boat Harbour beach is also home to a colony of giant stingrays- but don’t worry, they’re just there to steal all the scraps from the local fishermen. A walk around these beaches will provide you with authentic Indigenous rock art, rock pools and caves.

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There is plenty of accommodation on offer when you arrive at the park. Self-contained cabins (anywhere from $150/night to $460/night*), powered sites- some with waterfront, some with ensuites ($40-$60/night*) and unpowered camping sites ($30/night*) are available. One of the main advantages and disadvantages of unpowered camping is being able to take up as much space as you please. It’s great during the off-season, but can be a real pain when it gets to the busy summer months.

Bendalong Point Tourist Park is a regular attraction for my family and myself. We have visited during both the summer and winter months. We made the short trip from the Southern Highlands with our camper trailer in tow and they’ve become some of the most memorable family trips. There’s nothing quite like waking up to the sun streaming through the canvas and birds chirping in the distance. Being self-sufficient, we stayed on one of the unpowered camping sites. The park has many BBQ shelters available for campers that need it. The only thing Bendalong Point Tourist park lacks is amenities. For such a large place that relies heavily on campers, there are only three blocks of amenities throughout the park, one of which is located in the camping grounds.

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There is plenty for the kids to do, with a playground, jumping pillow and aquatic playground readily available. During the school holidays there are planned activities such as plaster painting available during the week.

Although there isn’t much on offer in the town of Bendalong, there are plenty of options in Milton and Ulladulla when it comes to dining. Pubs, pizzerias, cafes and restaurants are available in these surrounding towns. The bakery, and milk van, the seafood, and fruit truck frequently visit the tourist park. During peak season, a coffee van and food truck can be found towards the centre of the park.

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*Prices are subject to change. Off-season pricing for two people.

#DontShoot

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The death of Freddie Gray broke the string on the camels back for a large portion of American citizens. There has been an outbreak of rioting in the US city of Baltimore following the funeral of Gray. Gray died on April 19 after suffering a spinal injury while in Baltimore Police custody. Unfortunately this isn’t the first time the black community has been subjected to these acts of self-described systematic racism.

What started off as peaceful protest quickly grew violent, according to Baltimore Governor Larry Hogan. Hogan activated the National Guard and introduced a weeklong curfew to try and control and reduce the issues that were occurring to the citizens and the landmarks of the city around them. Stores were being looted and set on fire, and cars were being vandalised… but was this all that was happening?

It is reported that a large majority of these protestors became violent, but witnesses claim that it was only a small minority of individuals. Out of the 2,000 people who marched, only around 100 were responsible for the acts of violence. Traditional media sources, such as The Baltimore Sun, took it upon themselves to publish pictures that showcased all of the chaos and the violence that was occurring, as opposed to what was really going on. Photos from unrelated events and made up stories were being published by these ‘trusted’ news sources. This time around, accounts on social media were participating in the peaceful protests, where they could, to spread the word around, in a positive light, to people all around the world.

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 The response on social media has been astounding. Hashtags, such as #BlackLivesMatter, #DontShoot and #NoTheOtherOne, have been shared around by individuals all over the world, to create awareness on the issue and with hopes to work together to resolve these often unlawful crimes. #BlackLivesMatter has gone on to be more than a trend on social media. The movement was created in 2012 as a response to the murder of Trayvon Martin and the harmful anti-Black racism that is present in society. The major goal for this protest movement has been to get justice for the victims of police killings. Although, in some cases, police have been held accountable, the Black Lives Matter movement hasn’t been won.

 This issue isn’t really prevalent in Australia, but there has been a case or two that has had the nation questioning the motives of police officers. In 2004, Thomas ‘TJ’ Hickey was killed when he lost control of his bicycle and became impaled on a fence in Redfern. It was alleged that police, who, either directly or indirectly, played a big role in the outcome of this situation, were following Hickey. The Aboriginal community were known to be victimised by the police force, and were often subjected to harassment and provocation. This incident caused a 9-hour riot, in which Redfern station was set on fire and police were showered with rocks, bottles and bricks. Social media didn’t exist around the time of this case, so members of the public only had what the traditional news sources were saying. Although they were able to form their own opinions about what was currently happening in suburban Australia, not all of the facts were being presented. The police were saying one thing, the Redfern locals were saying another, and the media was just cutting bits and pieces together.

Ever since the death of 18-year-old Mike Brown, the pleas and protests of bystanders are getting louder and louder. Mike Brown was shot and killed by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson after he was identified as matching the profile of someone involved in a liquor store theft. Wilson pleaded, after the fact, that he was afraid for his life after Brown allegedly charged at him. The cases of Brown and Gray are very similar, in which they both began as peaceful protests. As the protests spread from Ferguson to all the way around the country, the police responded by bringing in military weapons.

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Even though this has been happening in the US for many years, news outlets around the world didn’t cover it as much as you would expect. The cases of Eric Harris, John Crawford and Akai Gurley, just to name a few, had little to no coverage on international television and radio stations. It wasn’t until this unfortunate day for Brown, in 2014, that struck a change. Social media sites blew up in outrage and everyone did what they could. Blog posts, status’, and movements were being written to engage the international community and get as much support as possible.

The legal responses to this brutality enacted upon by law enforcement have been a bit of a hit and a miss. Out of the eight most recent cases, four cases have had the offending officers charged, and the other four have had no repercussions. Peter Liang was indicted, after turning himself in, for the manslaughter of Akai Gurley. Michael Scott was charged with the murder of Walter Scott after a video showed up online, which contradicted his earlier police report. Robert Bates was charged with the shooting of Eric Harris. Six Baltimore police officers (Caesar Goodson Jr, Edward Nero, Garrett Miller, William Porter, Brian Rice and Alicia White) have been charged with crimes that range from second degree murder and manslaughter to misconduct against Freddie Gray. Police officers involved in the shootings of Eric Garner, John Crawford and Darrien Hunt were not indicted for their actions. After a three-month inquiry, the St Louis County grand jury decided not to indict Darren Wilson over the death of Mike Brown, as witnesses who authenticated his account were found to be more credible than the ones who incriminated him. Prosecuting attorney Robert McCulloch expressed that the testimonies of these eyewitnesses were inconsistent. The authenticated eyewitnesses told the courts that Wilson never stood over Brown’s fallen body, despite multiple photographs being shared around on social media showed otherwise.

This issue is far from being resolved, but through the efforts of individuals and the power of social media, change should be well on its way.

As of Today… Alex Seton | A Review

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Sydney-based artist Alex Seton plays with the familiar in unfamiliar ways. Seton’s artistic practice incorporates elements of photography, video, sculpting and installation to investigate the complex relationship between form and substance. He is best known for marble carving and applying it to unexpected forms, whether that is blankets, hoodies, inflatables and national flags. This recreation of ordinary things in marble, disturbs the original purpose of the objects and its textures. Seton’s sculptures are intended to make us think about things, people and moments in time that societies choose to memorialise.

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The artwork in question is Alex Seton, As of today… 2011-14, 41 sculpted flags in marble with halyard ART96049.001 – ART96049.041. As the title suggests, this installation piece houses forty-one sculpted flags that each represent an Australian soldier who was killed while serving in Afghanistan. Presented appropriately at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, there is no accompanying entry fee. There are free curator led tours of the exhibition offered throughout the week.

Upon first glance of the works, I was confused. I knew nothing of Alex Seton, and the methods and materials he worked with. Walking into the room the piece was installed in; I thought, “Why are there towels on plinths?” I soon found the artists’ statement and was left speechless. What was originally thought to be towels was actually marble, and what they represented was extraordinary. Sculptor, Seton, originally intended this work to be “… as much a testament to our ability to forget or disconnect as it was to the Australian soldiers killed while serving in Afghanistan.” Although there were forty-one of the same things being presented, each one was its own work of art. Each sculptured flag represented a different soldier and the struggle they endured. Each sculpture had different lines and creases that made it its own.

The nature of the room embodied what this was all about. The installation took up an average size room, consisting of four walls and an entryway. The sculptures took up three of these walls, leaving the fourth to showcase the artists’ statements and house handouts for members of the public to take. Being the only objects in the room, ones eye was drawn directly to it, meaning the audience didn’t have to search for any hidden messages or meanings. Soft lighting was used overhead to place emphasis on the plinths and what they held.

This installation relies on the audience being informed about his previous work, to avoid initial confusion. The artists’ statement provides shock factor for audiences who were unaware what this was about in the first place.

 “Initially I thought this work was about us- how easily we forget- but it is not about us at all. It is about those who gave their lives and whose memory we now preserve”

Choreographing Life | A Profile

Dance enthusiast Emma White juggles her passion for learning and her passion to dance on an everyday basis. Just seventeen years old, she spends her days studying for her upcoming HSC exams and participating in five separate dance classes to set herself up for the future. Although she has struggled a bit with finding time to attend school, dance, work and maintain a social life, she has a lot of people surrounding her that help her live out her dreams.

Dance may run through Emma’s veins but she is passionate about many other things as well. In her very limited spare time she enjoys singing, acting, drawing, styling and photography. One of the things she loves most of all is learning- about everything and anything. She believes that having knowledge is one of life’s most powerful tools. This can be seen through Emma’s schooling and the classes she is taking for her final years at high school. Utilising both the academic and creative sides to her personalities, Emma is currently studying English, Mathematics, Modern History, Music and Drama.

“I’ve always had issues throughout my schooling with putting my thoughts to paper… Dance is my way that I get to show people what I’m feeling…”

Even though she has been involved in many different styles of dance throughout her life (technique/ stretch and strength, jazz, contemporary, hip-hop, troupe, tap, ballet and Broadway jazz) she names contemporary and hip-hop as her absolute favourites. Although the two styles are almost polar opposites, Emma believes that they’re the yin and yang that make her up. “I guess I just feel that those two genres sit comfortably on me and I really just love the concepts of those two styles in general. With hip-hop, I love that there is so many sub-types of it. I love that one minute you could be doing a routine with lots of relaxed, liquid-like movements and grooves and the next, be dancing so big and hard out to a gangster song. The best thing that I enjoy about contemporary is that it allows me to let out and relinquish any frustrations or negative experiences through my movements… Contemporary allows me to be the softer, vulnerable and more feminine side of myself, whilst hip-hop just lets me groove to a really awesome song and connect with the stronger part of myself.”

Up until the age of ten, dancing was a monotonous; draining activity that Emma wanted no part of. After moving and enrolling to countless dance studios, Emma was just about to quit. Something that she started when she was three years old had lost all appeal and was no longer as fun as it should have been. That is until she went to her current studio. She says, “Something ignited within me”. All of a sudden she was trying harder, and as her passion grew, so did her need to be good. Looking back now, Emma believes it was a combination of a new location and new teachers that played such a big role in igniting that passion for dance.

“I knew at 10 that I loved this beautiful art so much that all I wanted to do was do it as often as I could and that I had to make something of it”

Even though she is still so young, Emma has a couple of highlights under her belt when it comes to her dance career. After hundreds of eisteddfods and a couple of thousand hours dancing, Emma says her biggest achievement would have to be the time she flew to Queensland and performed her solo routines at Showcase National Dance in 2013. These performances were unlike the ones she had previously participated in as this happened to be one of the most prestigious dance competitions in the country. “I placed 4th overall with my lyrical solo in a big section and received a double platinum gold, [I also] placed 1st with my hip-hop and won the National Champion of Hip-Hop for 2013 title”

“I don’t think I’ll ever not be nervous before I go on stage, ever. While I perform I feel an adrenaline rush. I love to entertain people and tell a story or send a message. I usually feel energetic and super happy to be on stage doing what I feel most comfortable doing”

Emma’s biggest challenge to date would be accepting that everybody makes mistakes. She believes it is important to “always look back and see and appreciate how far you’ve come” as the task can become mentally exhaustive. Emma described her self as a perfectionist and says that she is known to set high expectations for herself, which can cause her to become overwhelmed with disappointment. This stopped her from choreographing for a long time as she thought that the result wouldn’t be as good as the image she had created in her mind. The idea of choreographing dances for herself freaked Emma out but she found that improvising was something that comes quite naturally to her. Thinking of movements to piece together was not the issue in this case… It was the idea of setting the routine in stone that had her doubting whether or not another step looked better, or if there was a different technique she could utilise.

“Different aspects of different people inspire me. I either see a personality trait, or the way someone moves when they dance. I like to take those parts that I love about other people and incorporate them within myself”. Emma names her mum and grandparents as people who inspire her, as they’ve been the most supporting and encouraging people in her life. Naming her dance teacher and close friend as her biggest influence, Emma says that “She has not only believed in me when I didn’t give myself that, but she’s taught me a lot about who I am and who I want to be.”

“Dance fills me with hope and determination. It requires an extreme amount of hard work and commitment to succeed. If I can stay committed to this art for twelve years, it reminds and inspires me that the mind is much more capable than we think. It motivates me to never want to stop learning as a dancer or a person. I feel the more that I grow as a dancer, the more that I grow as a person too. I have realised so many things about myself because of dance”

For someone so young, Emma has a great outlook on life. She doesn’t see the point in creating goals in relation to her career, as a job she envisages may not exist in a few years. All she wants out of life, post HSC, is to be happy and successful wherever she ends up. Her career is yet to officially start but Emma is taking it upon herself to audition at some of the top performing arts schools for a placement next year, and although she doesn’t know where that will eventually take her, there are a multitude of opportunities that have caught her eye in the dance industry. “…commercial dancing and being an artist’ backup dancer, or in a music video. Or I would love to be apart of a hip-hop crew, or participate in different courses and companies in Australia and overseas, just to name a few…” With so many opportunities floating around Emma is keeping an open mind about where she could possibly end up, and what paths she could potentially follow. She remains optimistic and excited for the future and whatever life ends up throwing her way. She continues to believe that everything happens for a reason.

“I’ve always wanted to make a difference, whether big or small, and be an instigator for change”

Naming her dance teacher as one of her biggest influences and having her current studio take dance from a hobby to something much greater, Emma understand how important it is to teach the younger generations. Although she is currently is taking a break from teaching and assisting the junior students due to her heavy work load, she spent a good three years choreographing and instructing them. Emma did mention that she found it difficult to choreograph for herself, but found it was an entirely different story when it came to a class full of seven year olds. “This choreography was simple and quite easy, so it wasn’t too hard to think of something”. One of the most rewarding things to her about teaching is watching the journey each student takes. “I get to pass my knowledge on, make corrections and assist in their growth”

One of Emma’s most recent achievements is being offered a scholarship to attend Brent Street for a workshop. Brent Street is one of Australia’s leading performance arts centres situated in Sydney. It’s one of the most reputable and the most commended that there is available in the country. It’s most known by their one-year full-time triple threat dance courses that offers a certificate IV when you graduate. Brent Street was the home to a large number of extras in The Great Gatsby and had students in various roles in the production of Annie: The Musical. Emma says she’s looking forward to taking classes from some of her potential choreographers, if she is accepted into their full-time program next year, and experiencing what one-week of full-time dance will be like.

Pride Of The League | What Is Hidden?

This project originally started as an exploration of identity and the inability to stereotype sport fans by their looks, but as the interview process went on, it slowly started to change. After listening to Jason talk about his childhood and his memories of what it was like growing up in the heartland of the red and green, it became apparent to me that maybe memory was the hidden thing I was supposed to be exploring. It was the little things, like his facial expressions, that had me thinking that only you, the individual, know how you felt at any given time. Sure, people can say they relate, but the two feelings may be completely different.

The South Sydney Rabbitohs, one of the oldest rugby league teams, continues to have one of the largest supporter base in the NRL. With around 32,000 members in the 2014 season alone, it is almost guaranteed that no two individuals had the same experience. If a handful of people were randomly selected to describe a game they attended or to share an experience, a large majority would have different answers.

As seen throughout the video linked above, passion and pride is one thing that Souths fans do not hide. From moments like the march to their most recent win at the grand final, the club can always count on their fans to turn up loud and proud.

“We’re a special kind of family… The red and green type” – Lauren

“We know the meaning of determination and passion. It’s been a roller coaster but it has been worth the ride” – Jackie

Growing up in Sydney’s South in the 1980’s, Jason and a lot of others were living in a suburb that had very little. Redfern was a place where housing commission was evident. Many people turned to the local football club to liven their spirits. Like today, being able to see their favourite football players meant the world to adults and children alike. I can’t imagine Redfern feeling any different back then than it does now. Walking through the streets, being engulfed by South Sydney culture, really makes you feel apart of something special.

By sharing memories and the feelings that came along with particular moments, individuals are choosing to break down barriers and no longer hide. Through this project I learnt new things about my family and the passion they have when it comes to this football team.

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