Tom Melville [00:00:00] Hello, I'm Tom Melville and welcome to Voice of Real Australia. Each episode we bring you people, places and perspectives from beyond the big cities. In this episode...
Hannah Goldspink [00:00:10] I was just playing with my two daughters at home, actually, when I had the thought to create something, say, just as they will play, you know, I started verbalising and saying some words as I will play just to myself to see what they sounded like and thought, Oh, they sound okay. Started jotting things down.
Tom Melville [00:00:26] We'll hear from a pre-school teacher in the Riverina who's written a children's book to help explain the COVID pandemic to kids. We'll also visit the quirky town of Dimboola in the Wimmera region of western Victoria.
Tim Skyrme [00:00:36] Just because it's a nice piece of timber. So I can sort of scoop it out and then figure out how to make it, because I don't have a bloody clue.
Tom Melville [00:00:50] But first, Lake Macquarie is south of Newcastle in New South Wales. It's Australia's largest coastal estuary covering about 110 square Ks. Tourists love to boat and fish in its crisp blue waters. And much of the shoreline is undeveloped, providing a rich habitat for fish and birdlife. The lake is bordered by residential, rural and industrial land, as well as two of the biggest coal-ash dams in the country. Legacy of ongoing electricity generation on the lake's shore.
Laura Corrigan [00:01:17] I'm glad I wore my gumboots.
Tom Melville [00:01:22] Producer Laura Corrigan followed a group of community members taking water samples at Lake A roaring in the Lake Macquarie region.
Jo Lynch [00:01:31] Glove, glove Up. It's painful to be an environmentalist and go through so many gloves and plastic things, but thats for the greater cause. So we'll start with this stuff.
Laura Corrigan [00:01:55] What is that?
Jo Lynch [00:01:55] This is a basically a P.H. metre, but it's P.H. and EC, which is salinity.
Tom Melville [00:02:01] They're testing for traces of various heavy metals such as mercury and arsenic. And the fear is that the nearby coal ash dam at a roaring power station could be harming the local environment.
Jo Lynch [00:02:14] Whoa okay. We're checkign the salinity and its reach its upper limit, which, this little P.H. metre only takes readings up to 4000 microSiemens. And this is right at the upper limit. So this is some super saline water right about now.
Laura Corrigan [00:02:27] So can you just introduce yourself, please?
Neil Wynn [00:02:30] Neil Wynn and I've lived on Lake Macquarie all my life. Fifty years just recently. I've grown up under Vales Point power station and watched the environmental vandalism that's taken place over the years. I've seen the the ash dam spills into Wyee creek so thick you couldn't even walk on it. Fish kills in the creek, even, you know, even in primary school teachers forced to close all the windows during a hot summer's day because of the smell from the power station.
Jo Lynch [00:03:03] So that's that and now we'll grab a unfiltered sample.
Lee Rogers [00:03:06] I'm Lee Rogers and I'm a Dora Creek resident and member of the Coal-Ash Community Alliance. I used to swim in Dora Creek. You know, I would never let my grandkids swim in this lake. Now, we used to catch fish and crabs, and I'll never eat fish out of here again. It's heartbreaking, it's heartbreaking.
Tom Melville [00:03:28] Neil and Lee, a part of the Coal Ash Community Alliance, a group of Lake Macquarie residents concerned about the management of the region's ash dams.
Various [00:03:35] There's people fishing over them. I wouldn't want to eat it, but..
Tom Melville [00:03:39] Coal-ash or fly-ash is the waste product of coal electricity generation, and the ash is stored in dozens of dams around Australia. Two of the biggest are on the banks of Lake Macquarie, storing over 60 million tonnes of ash from the Eraring and Vales Point power stations. I asked consultant Peter Healy to explain.
Peter Heeley [00:03:57] My name's Peter Heeley. I'm professional engineer, working in the power industry, and I've worked in materials and fly-ash for about the last 30 years. If you imagine when you burn wood in a wood fired stove, you end up with ash and charcoal and stuff at the end of burning your fire. So the same thing happens when you burn coal in a furnace in a power station. You end up with an ash, which is a material that's left after the coal has combusted. It's the non-combustible stuff.
Tom Melville [00:04:23] Power stations have been fined repeatedly for the poor management of coal-ash. In 2016, the EPA fined Origin Energy after ash dust from the Eraring power station was blown into surrounding suburbs. And that same plant was fined for excessive dust pollution again in 2019. The Mayuna Bay Sports and Recreation Centre in Lake Macquarie, was shut down in 2019 because of the risk the nearby ash dam posed in the event of a major earthquake. Origin Energy is footing the bill for a new camp at a different site. And it's around the proposed site that the Coal Ash Community Alliance was doing the water testing, to see for themselves if the area is polluted.
Jo Lynch [00:05:03] Alright going in for sediment. These little bits of reeds will be really annoying and not what we want, but we'll see if we can get below it. And you kind of scrape along the bottom. I usually sit out and let Paul do this.
Tom Melville [00:05:16] Coal ash makes up about a fifth of Australia's total waste. And at this stage, less than half of that is reused, while other countries are able to use a lot more, such as in Japan when 97 percent of the waste is repurposed. Joe Lynch was leading the water testing.
Jo Lynch [00:05:31] My name's Jo Lynch. I'm the co-ordinator at the Hunter Community Environment Centre. Which is a not for profit grassroots organisation based in Hamilton, Newcastle.
Tom Melville [00:05:39] I spoke to her in studio about the coal-ash dams in Lake Macquarie.
Jo Lynch [00:05:43] If you look at a bird's eye view of the lake, they're really close to the shores and they look a bit like a moonscape. The coal-ash is grey, kind of a cementy texture. Areas are partly rehabilitated. There's a bit of grass growing on them and things, but they're kind of scars on the landscape.
Tom Melville [00:05:57] Is there anything unique about the Australian coal-ash dams?
Jo Lynch [00:06:01] Generally in Australia We have poor management practises of coal-ash waste. One of those key issues besides delay reuse rates is the fact that none of the dams are lined. Best practice recommends that there should be an impermeable membrane to prevent coal-ash from coming into contact with water and groundwater. But at the moment in Australia, all the coal-ash dumps are in touch with groundwater. So there's a risk of pollution if they're not contaminating at the moment. That is a big concern and the reason that we're seeing high levels of heavy metals in waterways near to coal ash dumps.
Tom Melville [00:06:32] The discharge of metals from ash dams has been linked to deadly and sublethal effects on fish, including reduced growth and reproduction. In 2018, the state government found elevated concentrations of heavy metals in Lake Macquarie fish. The Hunter Community Environment Centre's own water testing found concentrations of heavy metals exceeding Australian aquaculture guidelines.
Jo Lynch [00:06:53] There have been government studies, too. Department of Primary Industries fishing along with the EPA and the OEH have carried out some studies to get a better handle on how much heavy metals are accumulating in the fishing Lake Macquarie. And we suspect that that's going to be lowering the populations of these fish overall. And that's a concern for recreational fishers and biodiversity enthusiasts alike. And then birds as well. There's a lot of research into the toxicological impacts on birds from heavy metals, and it again affects their ability to read their young and population declines over time are one of the biggest risks.
Tom Melville [00:07:26] US studies have linked human consumption of large amounts of coal-ash heavy metals to cancer and nervous system impacts.
Jo Lynch [00:07:33] The toxicological impacts of exposure to heavy metals in certain levels are there. It's a real risk for human health and also for the populations of native species. The species that we're concerned about are going to cop the most issues are fish in lakes and estuaries nearby because the way the heavy metals behave is that they're in water and some of them settle down into sediment and then bottom feeding fish and like crabs in and bottom feeding organisms take in some of the sediment and take in their heavy metals. And then predators feed on those organisms and the heavy metals move up through the ecosystem that way. And of course, humans being the predators that we are, we eat fish. And there is a current health warning on the consumption of fish from Lake Macquarie due to the high selenium levels in the fish there.
Tom Melville [00:08:20] But Peter Heeley says the Australian coal ash dams are up to scratch.
Peter Heeley [00:08:23] One of the things that we're fortunate in Australia is that there are ashes have a very low level of mineral trace elements. So unlined lagoons have been very common for a long time. I am not concerned by being close to an unlined lagoon even if I was living close by, that's not something I'd be troubled by. If you were building a new power station today, then there probably would be a slightly higher environmental standard. But at the time they were built, that was very much the common standard and its performance has been satisfactory.
Tom Melville [00:08:56] Delta says its monitoring at Vales Point has found no influence of the ash dam on the groundwater and avoids dust events by keeping uncapped reservoirs wet. Origin says its monitoring of the Eraring ash dam goes beyond the requirements of its EPA licence. It says the risk of environmental impacts on Lake Macquarie and the local community are low. The Hunter Community Environment Centre and the Coal Ash Community Alliance want to see less waste, and they want the ash that is produced to be put to good use. Joe says the ash can be used to make construction materials.
Jo Lynch [00:09:27] So coal ash waste can be used as a supplement to material for limestone in the manufacture of cement. It's a much stronger, longer lasting material. Coal-ash has some unique properties. There are a couple of different business people who would like to... they have technology and patents, and they've been working for a long time designing technology to facilitate the safe, reuse of coal-ash and the manufacturer of building products, lightweight aggregates and those sorts of things. Across the globe, there's a lot of companies who are using coal-ash in big quantities and we'd like to see something like that, a similar setup happen here. Ideally, something like an onsite manufacturing plant for coal-ash waste on the current industrial sites. Power stations have been operating for many decades. They're big industrial sites and employ a lot of people, it will be great to see an industry dedicated to reusing a waste product beneficially saving on the need for other materials, having to be mined elsewhere and other environments being impacted. So there could be exciting things on the horizon for Australia's manufacturing and building products industry with all this coal ash lying around.
Tom Melville [00:10:30] Coal ash is not classified as a hazardous waste product. And this means that there are fewer restrictions for its disposal, transport and reporting. This exclusion was created, in part, to encourage the reuse of coal ash. Yet Australia's reuse figures are low. Vales Point and a Eraring plants only use 25 percent of their ash. Peter Heeley says ideally, more coal-ash would be used to make concrete and building materials. But that you can't force a product onto market.
Peter Heeley [00:10:58] My view is that it's up to the industry to come up with product that consumers actually want and to make them economically viable. At this stage there are opportunities with ash which aren't exploited because the economics don't stack up properly. But do you design an economic system that favours that particular product? Someone else could argue, well, why aren't you favouring our product instead?
Tom Melville [00:11:20] The regulatory environment could be a limiting factor in the expansion of fly ash products. Four cement companies in southeast Queensland were fined by the ACCC for anti-competitive conduct over contracts entered into with power stations. Jo Lynch says the government should be doing more to encourage the reuse of coal-ash.
Jo Lynch [00:11:38] To establish a new market for coal-ash, some government input and a lot of collaboration and cooperation needs to happen. But again, we think it comes back to the incentive for coal fired power stations to work with other business interests and whoever they need to to reduce the amount of coal-ash they're dumping. At the moment, there's no real incentive for power station companies to deal with this issue in a rigorous manner.
Tom Melville [00:12:01] Peter Heeley, again.
Peter Heeley [00:12:02] Ideally, it's always nice with waste products to see them reused and recycled in as large a way as possible. And so ideally, more of it would be used than is at the moment. There's an opportunity to use at least the 50 or 60 per cent that's not being used currently. And that would be a good thing. It would be better if I didn't have to be stored. But ultimately, when people turn on the lights, it requires the power to be generated somewhere. And that requires at the moment some coal to be burnt, which produces some ash. And you've got to put it somewhere.
Tom Melville [00:12:33] A 2019 New South Wales government inquiry into coal-ash was put on hold because of the COVID pandemic. It will look into current regulatory regimes as well as the economic and employment opportunities associated with coal-ash's reuse. Delta and Origin, who own the Lake Macquarie power stations, say they are investing substantially in increasing coal-ash reuse.
Various [00:12:55] What are you collecting? Black feathers. They're wanting to look at, to see if they can find the, if there's any heavy metals in the feathers of black swans. I'll grab you another bag.
Tom Melville [00:13:13] Back at the lake, Lee Rogers from Dora Creek reflects on how birdlife in the area has changed since the power stations were built.
Lee Rogers [00:13:20] The mangroves at Muddy Lake when I was a kid were chockablock full of birds. You couldn't see a branch without a bird on it. Now there's still some birds there, but I estimate probably at least 80 percent of the birdlife that used to live on Muddy Lake is now gone. And it's heartbreaking.
Tom Melville [00:13:46] Here's Neil Wynn again.
Neil Wynn [00:13:47] You just have to wait until a westerly breeze and you see it blowing across the lake and you can be over near Swansea, Belmont or Nords Wharf. And you just see this massive big plumes coming from Eraring ash dam.
Tom Melville [00:13:58] That's Neil Wynn there. And I know that rivers and lakes were a huge part of my childhood. I do hope our waterways remain healthy for a long time to come. Now, the town of Dimboola in the Wimmera region of western Victoria is going through something of a renaissance. UPSOT ACM journalist Alex Darling writes for the Wimmera Mail Times, The Ararat Advertiser and the Stawell Times News. UPSOT. He takes us on a tour of Dimboola.
Garry Price [00:14:27] Surname Alex?
Alex Darling [00:14:27] Darling, like the river.
Garry Price [00:14:32] Yeah I've got a good mate in Sydney, Fred Darling.
Alex Darling [00:14:34] I'm afraid don't know any guys in Sydney.
Alex Darling [00:14:37] You hear a lot about how regional Australia's population is in a state of constant decline with emigration to big cities. And as you drive through the nondescript town of Dimboola in north west Victoria's wheat belt, you'd assume as much. It has a modest population of 1700, an IGA, a school, a hospital, quaint single storey houses with large front verandas, terra cotta and corrugated roofs. But look closer. It's not like every other small town.
Garry Price [00:15:06] I've only sold to four locals in the last three years. The rest of them have all been mainly metropolitan Melbourne buyers.
Alex Darling [00:15:12] Garry Price, is a Dimboola real estate agent. He used to own the Dimboola Hotel back in the 70s and showed me around one of his listings, a grand two story house that used to be a bank and a solicitor's office.
Garry Price [00:15:25] A lot of people are finding now that there's no better place to live in regional Australia. I think people are sort of moving away, if I can, from bigger centres and they move out into Australia into these regional centres. And I think you can see a lot more of it.
Alex Darling [00:15:43] So is it people from Melbourne that are buying more at the moment?
Garry Price [00:15:46] All over the country. Melbourne. Geelong. Interstate, Western Australia.
Alex Darling [00:15:55] In the centre of town is the National Bank of Australasia building. It's a proud structure dating back to 1909. But the last transaction took place years ago. Two stories with a cream and burgundy facade chimneys. The exterior sounds and looks like something out of a Wes Anderson film. So does what's inside. Since last year, most perplexingly it's been an imaginarium full of niche collectables and curiosities such as a German medical skeleton, Japanese pencil erasers, steampunk clocks and hot air balloons hanging from the ceiling. Oh, and that's Bonza, the pet turkey who greets people out front. Chan Uoy is the co-owner of the Imaginarium with his partner Jamie. They moved to town from Melbourne last year where Chan used to have a restaurant. They wanted to start a business where they could express themselves more.
Chan Uoy [00:16:54] Can you hear the turkey from here.
Alex Darling [00:16:55] I heard it.
Chan Uoy [00:16:56] So the the turkey's been really popular because you don't expect to see that in the middle of town? And the shed's quite dramatic, too. I mean, when you think that's where Sidney Nolan painted. And also where they used as food storage for, during World war Two.
Alex Darling [00:17:11] Chan and Jamie eventually want to turn their second level into a bed and breakfast.
Chan Uoy [00:17:16] The community has really been quite interesting. Once they know we're doing something,you know that we're passionate about some things. And we contribute. As you can see from the historical room because otherwise it's just sitting in the house. And becasue we're called The Imaginarium I think people are aware that whatever we do we really want to be playful and imaginative.
Alex Darling [00:17:46] Mel Obst is an artist and high school art teacher who, in her words, has lived a seminomadic lifestyle much of her adult life. She was born down the road and went to school in town. She now lives 40 minutes south in Natimuk, but Dimboola is home. This is part of the reason she opened the arts and crafts store Tilley and Mango here in May.
Mel Obst [00:18:06] So I always kind of had a bit of a pipe dream to just have a little, not a gallery space, but a really informal space people can come in and whether it's original art or prints or, have lots of different price points but just. I'm a teacher too, I only teach two days a week and it's kind of my plan.
Alex Darling [00:18:25] Down the street from Chan and Mel is the Dimboola store. The cafe was opened in April 2019 by John and Alex O'Halloran, who split their lives between Dimboola and Ocean Grove near Geelong. They do a mean Philly cheesesteak, incidentally.
Alex Darling [00:18:49] I'm standing in the backyard shed of Dimboola local Tim Skyrme, wood shavings and sawdust cover every surface, and the walls are lined by ornate instruments made from offcuts and recycled treasures like kitchen sink strainers.
Alex Darling [00:19:02] Excuse me. Are you Tim?
Alex Darling [00:19:06] Tim has been making cigar box guitars for several years. He's made guitars from donated skirting board scrapped during home renovations. His instruments are made to order and for sale in Chan and Jamie's Imaginarium, and he calls his venture Bare Foot guitars a nod to his preferred footwear.
Alex Darling [00:19:28] It looks like I've caught you in the middle of a work session there.
Tim Skyrme [00:19:31] Yeah I've got a big stack that I'm doing up at the moment.
Alex Darling [00:19:35] There you go.
Tim Skyrme [00:19:36] I've just started and I've got all these done.
Alex Darling [00:19:40] Wow, are these guitars the only thing you make or?
Tim Skyrme [00:19:45] Pretty much I started on an alaia, but I don't really, just becasue it's a nice piece of timber. So I can sort of scoop it out and then figure out how to make it, becasue i don't have a bloody clue.
Alex Darling [00:20:05] Tim used to live in far north Queensland and came to Dimboola with his partner four years ago, drawn by the Wimmera River.
Tim Skyrme [00:20:13] We lived on acreage which had kangaroos and trees, and that was it, nothing else. And it wasn't suitable for anything else. And so we sold up to become mortgage free. And then we had to look for a place to live. And we'd been through here a few times. So we came and had a look all over the area actually. But we camped here one night. I woke up in the morning, went to walk up and back in the van. There was a river. I didn't realise that there was a river here at that stage and I wanted a river because I swim a lot in the summertime and it was a beautiful river.
Alex Darling [00:21:01] Back at his listing, Garry tells me he's excited about the influx of people to his beloved Dimboola. Gary thinks it's only going to get more popular.
Garry Price [00:21:18] I think it will be accelerated by the pandemic once this is all closed down. I'm absolutely certain. I mean, I had 20 years in real estate in Portland and and even I'm talking to my colleagues and mates in Portland. And the same thing is happening in Portland. And I think it's it's happening generally all over Australia. And I think it's a good thing. I think what it's doing is freeing up a lot of family homes in the metropolitan city area and allowing retirees to come out here and retire. And what a better place to retire. I mean, you are on the Wimmera River. Its quiet. And a wonderful lot of people live in this town. I had the hotel here in the 70s and the big hotel that burnt down.
Tom Melville [00:22:02] Alex Darling's musical prowess on show there, as he reported from Dimboola in western Victoria. And lastly, it's been tough to keep on top of the COVID pandemic with a seemingly endless parade of new figures, restrictions and guidelines. So if you think it's hard for us, think of the children. Tumut pre-school teacher Hannah Goldspink realised she needed a way to explain the pandemic to her students. She couldn't find any resources, so she made her own. A children's book. Producer Laura Corrigan spoke to Hannah.
Hannah Goldspink [00:22:35] So when COVID first started to break out and we were heading into lockdown, I could see that the children that were coming to pre-school were starting to look a bit confused about the changes that were happening. There were a lot less children at pre-school. One stage I only had six children in our class and usually we would have about 19. We were meeting the children at the gate and bringing them down into the pre-school rather than their parent or guardian. We were taking them straight into wash their hands before they could play. We were taking their temperatures on arrival and then taking their temperatures throughout the day. We could just see that they were obviously confused about what was happening, why these changes had been made. We had talked about what was happening a little bit, but I just felt like I needed something that was going to help explain these changes in a way that wasn't going to scare the children in an in a way that they would understand. Children really relate well to songs and stories. So I thought, well, I'll try and write something that's going to help support what I am saying. And it developed into The World Caught A Germ.
Laura Corrigan [00:23:43] And so why a children's book? Why not write a teacher's pamphlet or something like that?
Hannah Goldspink [00:23:48] To me, that is what I felt able to do. So it really didn't take me very long. I was just playing with my two daughters at home, actually, when I had the thought to create something. So just as they were playing, I started verbalising and saying some words as they were playing just to myself to see what they sounded like and thought, Oh, they sound okay and started jotting things down. There were only one and two so they didn't really care that I was mumbling things to myself. So I wasn't playing anything in particular with them that was related to the book. But it was just a comfortable space to be in to start putting some words together.
Excerpt [00:24:24] The world has caught a germ, Sam. The germ is near and far. We won't be able to do some things like visit Nan and Pa. We don't have the germ right now but many people do. And if we go and visit them, we might catch it, too.
Laura Corrigan [00:24:40] And so then how did you realise that this could be an actual thing that you do? How did you go from those initial ideas to a book?
Hannah Goldspink [00:24:48] My husband was working from home at the time. And I went out to him and I said, I, I just wrote a book or I just write a poem. And he said, What do you mean? And I read it to him. And he thought it was amazing. So I then read it to my mum and my sister, and they also thought it was great. The next step, I shared it with all my colleagues at work who also thought it was great. And it just went on from there. So I put some images to the words from Google Stock and put it out mostly just to help in the local community to explain what was happening. But it just started to go viral. So I thought, well, let's try and get it published.
Excerpt [00:25:25] Penny's mum is a clever nurse. She really is a hero. She's helping all the doctors get the number down to zero. Penny's dad is a hero, too. He's as busy as a bee. He's stocking all the grocery shelves with food for you and me.
Hannah Goldspink [00:25:40] One of my co-workers, I actually job share with her, she did the illustrations. She's very artistic. So she was able to do the illustrations and we put them together and got it published.
Laura Corrigan [00:25:50] And what was it like working with her?
Hannah Goldspink [00:25:53] It was so easy. You know, we're friends as well. We're not just co-workers. So we put a bit of pressure on Brooke, the illustrator, to get them done. But she got it done in the timeframe that we needed. And she did an amazing job. She's really brought the words to life and it's done the words justice. So I'm really grateful for her for doing that.
Laura Corrigan [00:26:10] And how did your preschoolers respond to the book?
Hannah Goldspink [00:26:13] They really enjoyed it. I think it made a lot of sense to them. There's lots of information in there about making sure you wash your hands and how we can't see germs. We've used the term bubble space, which we were using anyway but, to try and explain more about social distancing, especially to little children, is really difficult. So Brooks Dunn, an illustration in the book of the two characters, Penny and Sam, with bubbles around them.
Excerpt [00:26:39] We have a special bubble, which is called our bubble space. If you keep your bubble big and round, germs can't jump upon your face.
Laura Corrigan [00:26:47] So other preschoolers a little less confused now that you've been able to read this book to them.
Hannah Goldspink [00:26:53] Yeah, I think so. And a lot of families have also said that their children at home are really responding well to it and understanding why we were in lockdown, why some children were still at pre-school or at school, and the importance of handwashing. So I think they are a little less confused from reading the book.
Laura Corrigan [00:27:12] And your own children, how have they responded to the book?
Hannah Goldspink [00:27:15] They've still quite young. My... She's now three. When I wrote the book, she was two, so she's now three, but she does love reading it. She's especially loves looking at the pictures that Brooke has drawn of the germs on the hands. And she understands that handwashing is very important. So, yeah, it's helped her as well.
Excerpt [00:27:33] Miss May said my friends were staying home to stop more people getting sick, but she told me I was safe here and showed me a little trick. Sam, if you wash your hands with soap, those germs just cannot stick. But you must do it very slowly washing hands is never quick.
Laura Corrigan [00:27:49] And it was a book to help children to understand, but what have you learnt from the experience?
Hannah Goldspink [00:27:55] I've learnt a lot. I had never imagined publishing a children's book before. That's not something that has never crossed my mind. But I've realised that, you know, anyone can do it. It's quite an easy process, really. And just to go with your gut, so I knew that I needed to make something to to help the children in my class. And that's what I did. And a lot of people have been very grateful for what we have created to help support them as well.
Laura Corrigan [00:28:25] Now, you've done the book. What's Next?
Hannah Goldspink [00:28:27] I would love to continue writing children's books on tricky concepts. I've actually drafted one on the bushfires. My parents-in-laws lost their house during the bushfires. So I've written one from the perspective of their grandchildren. I would love to get it published, but I will just see how The World Caught A Germ goes first before I go on to publish any more. But it is something that I would love to do.
Excerpt [00:28:52] We'll have to stay at home a while. So more people don't get sick. Although we cannot see the germ. We know it loves to stick. The germ is very sneaky. It can live in lots of places. It's so very contagious, Sam. There are more than one hundred cases.
Tom Melville [00:29:07] The World Caught a Germ by Hannah Goldspink, illustrated by Brooke Bond, is available in hardcover, paperback and for Kindle on Amazon Australia.
Tom Melville [00:29:20] And that's it for this episode of Voice of Real Australia. Thank you so much for listening. Subscribe on Apple podcast, Spotify or your favourite podcast app. I'll be back in two weeks time with more. Voice of Real Australia is recorded in the studios of the Newcastle Herald. It's produced by Laura Corrigan and me, your host Tom Melville, with reporting this week from Alex Darling. We're a new podcast. So if you like what you heard, please share with your friends or give us a five star rating on Apple podcasts and also tell us what you think on our Facebook page. Facebook dot com forward slash voice of real Australia. Special thanks this week to Juanita Greville, Jessica McLaughlin, Matthew Kelly, Janine Graham, Rachael Thornett, it Gayle Tomlinson and Chad Watson. This is an ACM podcast.