IN my mid-teens, back in 1954, I joined the police boys' club when it flourished on two floors of the Wickham School of Arts building in Hannell Street, best known these days for its connection to Henry Lawson. The sap was running, I was full of adventure and brimming with the joy of life. The club offered great opportunities to me and many young Newcastle men in those days. One friend worked out there for months trying to lengthen his body by half an inch to qualify for the police force.
At first I enrolled in wrestling and in body building. I wanted to be like Reg Park, the great English bodybuilder, who goes down in history as an inspiration to both me and Arnold Schwarzenegger. In my late teens I vacated the muscle field to clear the way for Arnie. Instead I took up trombone, and returned to the club as a member of the Police Boys Brass Band. This was a formative part in my development as a lifelong music educator, just as it was in the lives of many young people who developed music skills in the band. The band was famously directed by Frank Simm and managed by his wife Dora. For many years the Simms fostered music in the Police Boys Club where Frank earned an OAM and together they earned reputations as local Newcastle identities.
The Wickham School of Arts building has hosted a long tradition of arts and youth activities. It played an important role in my life and others. I support its retention as a vital link to Newcastle's past ('Words to save history', Newcastle Herald 11/9).
Roland Bannister, Newcastle
Pattern of tragedy is too common
IT is disturbing to learn that domestic abuse and violence numbers have increased due to lockdown and people working from home.
Olga Edwards and her two children, Jennifer and Jack, suffered years of abuse at the hands of Olga's husband and the children's father, John Edwards. This case is very sad and a tragic reminder of what can and does happen in far too many Australian homes.
There were warning signs and many incidents were reported but on most occasions Olga was brushed off, disbelieved and not taken seriously ('Edwards girl's lawyer defends decisions', Herald 14/9).
What does it take to keep a woman and children safe? Rather than having to state whole strings of incidents in order to convince, domestic abuse and violence should be seen as a pattern of behaviour within a relationship that occurs because of an underlying attitude problem that is present 24/7.
Behind it is the husband or partner's inability to participate in equal, loving relationships within a family setting. In an equal relationship no-one owns anybody, no-one is another's possession. In a loving equal partnership there is no controlling, bullying, threats or violent behaviour.
There are too many women like Olga who constantly walk on eggshells, too many women and children who live constantly with fear. I fear that any women will read about her and be discouraged from reporting by this case.
Julie Robinson, Cardiff
Put licence rules in the firing line
I AM pretty certain that most of us are feeling the same way as we hear more about the tragic Edwards case currently before a coronial enquiry ('Edwards girl's lawyer defends decisions', Herald 14/9), and asking how could this guy get a firearms licence?
I've never held a gun, never owned a gun, and certainly never shot a gun so obviously I'm not a gun guy. However, I would've thought that any mention of a person on the Central Name Index, no matter how trivial and no matter how long ago the offence, should immediately disqualify you from being granted a firearms licence. I know that sounds harsh, but apart from wanting to join a gun club I believe there is really no justifiable reason to own a gun in an urban environment. My advice to those people would be to find another hobby; lawn bowls, for example.
Tony Bennett, Broke
It's a gas, but it's not a solution
THE Liberals claim that market forces are best for deciding our future, until the market abandons their sponsors. Scott Morrison's announcement in Newcastle threatening to build a gas power plant in Kurri Kurri ('Hitting the gas', Herald 16/9) was a childish bully-boy tactic attempting to bring the power industry to heel.
Gas may have been a viable transition fuel 20 years ago, but now it is a threat to humanity. There are better and quicker solutions to the need for cheap energy and it seems everyone, including AGL, understands this. Stick to your guns, AGL; we do not need massive investment in a white elephant pipeline. We do not need the Narrabri gas field development. If these projects were viable, they would not have been languishing for 10 years. Fund our future, not gas.
Lynn Benn, Mulbring
We must carry on as we always do
WHAT funny times we are living in. Three years ago my darling father passed away and I was in a very dark place for a long time. I missed my best friend and still do. I wrote to him every day for two years as a form of diary and tried to call on his genes to convey sensible answers to my problems and solutions to life's challenges.
His beautiful wife, who loved and cared for him in the last months, turned 90 years young recently and though she misses her mate every day, she is living alone and very much on the ball. Dad would be proud. She has lovely friends and neighbours who check on her daily along with family.
What would dad have said about COVID-19? As I did the HSC in 1970, young guys at school were being conscripted for Vietnam. Over the last 100 years there have been all kinds of challenges, so what do we do? We carry on. We look at life positively and know that the world will eventually become a place to enjoy and carry on until the next challenge. Most of all, we are kind to our fellow human beings.
Suellen Hall, Wallsend
Don't let history leave the station
AS previous workers at the Broadmeadow Locomotive Depot, we would like to see a Rail Heritage Centre established, with the relevant rail heritage locomotives and carriages (20 in total) retained in Newcastle, and the remaining 50 being sent to Chullora for refurbishment and long-term storage.
This is the desired outcome of many former rail staff from Broadmeadow, Port Waratah and Cardiff, and no doubt of Transport NSW staff in the region. There will be no shortage of skills and volunteers for refurbishing and maintaining items in the collection, and we look forward to passing on our skills to the younger generation.
It is planned that one of the most important locomotives (3203), built in 1891 and one of a few remaining examples and which has been assessed as capable of returning to service, is to be transported to Cooma and used as a static display in a park, exposed to the weather.
This should be opposed. It should remain at Broadmeadow as part of the collection, saving a major transportation cost. Our region has a very early history in railways, particularly for haulage and industrial use, and this should be properly recognised. The future deserves no less.
Peter MacGuigian, Lambton
SHARE YOUR OPINION
Email email@example.com or text 0427 154 176 (include name and suburb). Letters should be fewer than 200 words. Short Takes should be fewer than 50 words. Correspondence may be edited and reproduced in any form.
BRAD Hill (Short Takes, 16/9) says that the protesters have to stand up for their freedom and liberties. That's fair enough, but these people also have responsibilities, not only to their own health but everyone around them. These people seem to be ignorant about that. They just want to get out on the street and yell and scream about what they want, but don't want to be responsible for any consequences that may result from their actions. That's not standing up for your rights; that's just being irresponsible.
Barry Reed, Islington
I'M sick of all this rubbish coming out of the pandemic. It's not a conspiracy, it's a deadly virus. Some people die, some people get very sick and it can affect your life for years and many get over it just like the flu. For the time being, sanitise, keep your distance and wear a mask if you cannot be 1.5 metres apart. Hopefully a vaccine will eventually arrive and most, not all will take up the vaccine. Life will not be normal for a couple of years, but it will be better than being dead. Looking forward to the future.
Peter Selmeci, Murrays Beach
TO the people who are alarmed at the gas fired power station announced by the Prime Minister ('Hitting the gas', Newcastle Herald, 16/9), the ones that are against fossil fuel use: don't be alarmed. It is an announcement or promise. Delivery is another matter.
Fred McInerney, Karuah
IN response to Carl Stevenson (Letters, 16/9) I doubt that the relatives of the 200,000 Americans who have died of COVID-19 would be happy to have them classified as collateral damage. The Melburnians protesting for freedom are actually asking for the freedom to be infected and the freedom to pass the virus on to others.
Joan Lambert, Adamstown
I COULD support Dave McTaggart (Short Takes, 15/9) and Scott Morrison over their bullying claims of Annastacia Palaszczuk had they also criticised Gladys Berejiklian's border closures with Victoria. Without this impartiality, their comments look nothing more than blatant politics and electioneering.
Colin Fordham, Lambton
A WAY for Victorians to take control of their state and lives; all bottle shops collectively close. The rewards would be tenfold.
Brad Hill, Singleton
COME on, Newcastle. Our maritime history needs a home for posterity ('Society faces wind up', Herald 17/9). Help is all we need.
Sue Burrough, Carey Bay
SHOULD council take custodianship of the Maritime Museum collection?
Yes 85%, No 15%
SHOULD John Barilaro stand down as NSW Deputy Premier?