I remember the olden days when Newcastle looked beautiful. Said no one.
The Kingsley at the old Council chambers looks fabulous. Sorry Ray Dineen ("City's new look is not too flash", Letters, 5/7), with a good scrub and a new flying saucer look on top this place now oozes style and charm. The refurbished Town Hall adds a new sparkle to this precinct in our city.
The city has never looked better. The old sad shopping precinct called Hunter St mall is now being turned into our own High St.
Yes there are empty shops but yes there are new restaurants opening. The dirty old train has been replaced by green and new buildings are popping up all over town.
Please peeps open your eyes and see a city blossoming before our eyes. Stop complaining about the new additions and start embracing the change in our city. Newcastle belongs to the Hunter, not just a small number of chain rattling elite.
Andrew Whitbread-Brown, Cardiff
Freedom of speech is safe
THE continued frenzy about the former Nationals Party leader Mark Vaile's decision to decline the position of Chancellor of the University of Newcastle is really becoming ridiculous (Letters, every day).
Calls of "cancel culture" and "McCarthyism" are ludicrous. It has not been declared that Mark Vaile's name should never be spoken again. He has not been accused of being a communist ("Yet the McCarthyist attack on Vaile was as ugly as the old black and white film trials of those old USA inquisitions" fumed one outraged correspondent who should know better).
Freedom of thought or speech is not being challenged. All that happened is that after Mr Vaile's appointment was announced a significant number of academics, student leaders, community members and philanthropists raised concerns about the possible conflict between Mr Vaile's leadership of Whitehaven Coal and the university, as well as his previously-declared scepticism about human-induced climate change.
When faced with these concerns Mr Vaile made the honourable decision to decline the Chancellorship. Perhaps he could have resolved the dilemma by making a clear acknowledgment of human-induced climate change and resigning as Chairman of Whitehaven Coal.
This 65-year-old ex-politician still has his generous, indexed parliamentary pension, he still has his generous stipends as chairman or director of several listed companies (Whitehaven and Servcorp alone bring him in more than half a million dollars a year), so he won't exactly be queuing up at Centrelink. And I am not sure that, as Paul Scott suggests ("Activism is not one-sided in Vaile discourse", Opinion, 28/6), Mark Vaile's historical association with a political party that seems to be doing its best to self-destruct under its latest leader would have provided the access to government that the University Council was hoping for.
John Ure, Mount Hutton
Wildlife at risk
THE proposed basketball stadium for Charlestown/Hillsborough will cause loss of habitat for the wildlife near the proposed site. Living in the bush near the site are numerous birds such as the black cockatoo, eastern rosellas, rainbow lorikeet and laughing kookaburras. The mammals in the area are the bushtail and ringtailed possums and five different bat varieties. The endangered species of powerful owl, grey-headed flying fox and squirrel glider are also found to have habitats in the proposed site.
The residents living in the area listen to and watch these beautiful birds and mammals daily. Their habitat can't be destroyed to make way for the proposed stadium.
Wendy Marr, Hillsborough
New chapter in church shame
THE Catholic church is in the news again for all the wrong reasons and it seems we are not finished yet ("Graves at second Canada indigenous school", Herald, 24/6).
Vulnerable people have been targeted by the church for centuries. Women, often the victims of rape and incest or those who went too far with their boyfriends ended up in Ireland's Magdalene laundries. Exposed, fearful and pregnant they were punished for their sin and made slaves.
In 1993, a mass grave of 155 bodies was found near one of these houses of horror.
Throughout the world and here in Australia, it was found that Catholic priests and brothers were sexually abusing children in their care. Perpetrators were transferred from one diocese to another which allowed abuse to continue unchecked. Many priests and brothers have never faced justice for their crimes.
Now, Canada's Truth and Reconciliation Board has released its findings regarding a century of abuse in Indian Residential Schools run by the Catholic church. Indigenous children were forced to attend these boarding schools as part of an assimilation program. They were subjected to all forms of abuse and deprivation. Recently hundreds of unmarked graves were discovered near these schools. Women and children have served the Catholic Church wholeheartedly and in return many have suffered all kinds of abuse. The history of the church seems one of denial, damage and darkness rather than one saturated in the light, love and truth of its leader, Jesus Christ.
Julie Robinson, Cardiff
Keep searching the sky
TOPICS on Monday July 5 reported on the possible sighting by a young Carey Bay boy at 5pm on June 6 in the north-west sky of what he and his mum thought might be a UFO. While I am encouraged to see this young man showing an interest in the wider world and universe, I suggest he and his mum have a look at the website https://www.heavens-above.com/main.aspx.
There they will find that at 5pm on June 6, Venus and Mercury were both visible in the north-west sky in the area where the young man is pointing in the photo accompanying the article and that the sun had just set.
I believe he has managed to photo Venus but I encourage him to keep searching and by using sites like Heavens Above to become familiar with the sky. It's full of amazing things and yes as the US Office of National Intelligence reported on the June 25, 2021, there have been objects sighted and photographed by US Navy pilots that not even the US Intelligence Services can explain. So, keep searching the night sky young man and maybe you will find that UFO.
John Davies, Newcastle East
Inaction only barrier to reef health
UNESCO has recently released a draft decision stating that the Great Barrier Reef should now be listed as "in danger" as a World Heritage Site due to the threat of climate change and pollution.
UNESCO has further stated that Australia must take rapid action by transitioning from fossil fuels to clean energy and take greater action to reduce pollution. I see very little chance of the Australian federal government meeting the requests of UNESCO with Barnaby Joyce being the Deputy Prime Minister. This is a disgraceful situation for the Australian federal government to be in.
Brian Measday, Myrtle Bank
REGARDING David Rose ("Pump some money into a Carrington icon", Letters, 5/7). In my 61 years of living in our city I have learned not to hold my breath waiting on broken promises. It's a sad form of life that our beautiful city has been forgotten so many times. In conclusion a thought comes to mind: "After all it's only Newcastle or perhaps who?"
Daphne Hughes, Kahibah
GERRY Gamble (Short Takes, 5/7) may be relieved to know South Australia in 2002 set a target of 26 per cent renewable annual power by 2020, but actually achieved 62 per cent. With around 1 gigawatt of additional renewable energy in progress, that should increase significantly in 2021. Their new targets are 100 per cent by 2030 and 500 per cent by 2050. Shows what we can do with a vision, planning and no coal-dependent electorates.
Richard Mallaby, Wangi Wangi
A HEADS-UP for those who want or need a COVID-19 immunisation history for travel or work is to download the Express Plus Medicare app to your smart phone and follow directions by logging in from your MyGov account.
Alan Hamilton, Hamilton East
JOKE of the month: in England when a government member is caught cheating on his wife he resigns. In Australia they make him Deputy Prime Minister.
Robert Green, Georgetown
PEOPLE from Sydney are still defying stay at home orders and travelling to the regions. May I suggest anyone caught breaking the rules be locked in a cage in the town square of the region for a week so the locals can poke them with sticks?
Steve Barnett, Fingal Bay
CAN anyone tell me what is the present tally of COVID deaths in China? Do they have an antidote for this plague. No one is coming out with the stats, and for one, I would like to know.
Dennis Crampton, Swansea
REGARDING the Hawks Nest koalas, if the private land that makes up part of the koala colony at Hawks Nest is sold for development the fragmentation of the colony will put their survival at risk. The government, which supposedly has tens of millions of dollars in a fund to protect koala habitat, should either buy the land or compulsorily acquire it, with just compensation. They're quick to do this when they need someone's property for a road or infrastructure.
Jan Phillip Trevillian, Fennell Bay
SERVICES NSW has once again been told to enforce rules not available through their offices. It's not up to us to inform you of this, they say, but you should have found out for yourself. I refer to an unrelated matter some time ago, but same result.