CONTRARY to the opinion expressed by Darryl Stevenson, (Letters, 7/9), there is a regional botanic garden, the Hunter Region Botanic Gardens, within 30 minutes' drive from the Newcastle CBD. Australian Geographic magazine thought enough of HRBG to include it in the top 10 regional botanic gardens in Australia.
The gardens' creation was due to a small committee formed to investigate the possibility of creating a botanic garden in Newcastle. The committee researched possible sites and had lobbied councils in the Hunter area to get support. There were no other sites found or offered except for the Heatherbrae site.
Mr Stevens quotes Royal Sydney Botanic Gardens and Kings Park in Perth as being something that Newcastle could achieve in National Park but appears to have little concept of the millions of dollars spent over many years to establish these capital city gardens or the amount of area they cover.
Botanic gardens are facilities that have multiple uses: horticulture, education and research among them, as well as providing a peaceful and pleasant place to visit and relax or learn. The annual visitation to the Hunter's gardens is between 25,000 and 30,000 and it is supported by between 150 and 200 volunteers that give a great deal of time and expertise to ensure the gardens remain a peaceful and attractive place to visit.
It is difficult to understand how a comment could be made that "not many from Newcastle have visited the shared botanic gardens or even heard of it". HRBG has been open to the public since 1985, there is signage on the highway and social media sites and webpage. All give valuable insight into the many features of the gardens.
They are managed and maintained entirely by volunteers and are not funded by councils or either state or federal government apart from grants for specific projects. In order to maintain the gardens, it is necessary to charge an entry fee and it is this with the cafe, gift shop and plant sales alone that enable the gardens to remain open.
It would seem to be more beneficial to support the botanic gardens already in existence and perhaps lobby for more parkland in the Newcastle area than make off-handed negative comments that are most unhelpful to a group of volunteers who are already struggling to keep this most important regional facility open.
Kevin McDonald and Kevin Stokes, Hunter Region Botanic Gardens foundation members
PM's trip was not clandestine
AS soon as I heard about our PM going home on Father's Day I knew all the whinging Labor voters would be writing furiously. To get home he had to get the OK from the ACT Chief Minister to enable his return, which he got. This was available to all members who resided in certain states. And Michael Hinchey, (Letters, 10/9) said "he tried to hide it" and he was "deceiving the public"!
What a load of hogwash. Does everyone in Canberra have to announce to us when they are heading home? No, so grow up and get used to ScoMo, for he has many years ahead as our PM with Albo as Labor's leader.
Don Fraser, Belmont North
Visit stood out for wrong reasons
DEBRA Forbes, (Short Takes, 9/9), I too think it was a joke that the Prime Minister deemed it acceptable to fly to Sydney to see his family on Father's Day when millions of Australians are unable to do the same due to the lockdown. Personally I was peeved that whilst Scott Morrison made a round trip of approximately 600km for Father's Day, I was not able to visit my father who lives less than four kilometres from me.
To make matters worse, the $4500 per hour private jet flight was paid for by taxpayers, just like Mr Morrison's numerous professional photo shoots which I think a large percentage of Australians might agree are nothing more than vain and unnecessary self-serving publicity stunts.
Out of nine Australian prime ministers who have been in office during my lifetime, I honestly don't believe that I have ever witnessed one who lacks self awareness as much as Mr Morrison.
It seems this latest stunt has not proved popular at all, just like another holiday that Morrison took during another national crisis. To me he is nothing more than a national lampoon who learned nothing after taking his Hawaiian vacation.
Adz Carter, Newcastle
Bright side of past is shining
DURING this period of lockdown, I, along with I am sure many other over 70s, have had much more time to reflect on our history. In particular the part of our history that may not have been particularly funny at the time but will now bring the odd smile or three.
In my case, playing cricket and being accident prone provide me with memories that now cause me amusement. I would add that it has been my experience that we baby boomers take ourselves far less seriously than later generations.
At cricket, my captains would have liked me to bat at number 12, but this was not possible in an 11 a side game. I only took a bat out because they told me I had to.
As I entered the field to bat the air would fill with the heady smell of diesel fumes as the groundsman started up the heavy roller. However, what hurt my feelings more than anything else was that as I came in to bat the opposition opening batsmen would leave the field to pad up.
True to say, I took a lot more wickets than I scored runs.
As far as being accident prone goes, I know of no other footballer (soccer) who broke a leg in the warm-up prior to the game starting.
On a freezing day in Hereford England, I was playing goalkeeper for my local team. As was the norm, a player would cross the ball into the penalty area just to give the keeper a feel for the ball. After jumping to catch the ball I landed awkwardly and broke my leg. Carried off on a stretcher and into an ambulance before the referee could blow his whistle to start the game.
Mike Sargent, Cootamundra
Responsibility must be shared
WHERE does government responsibility start and finish in managing the COVID-19 drama?
Surely when all have had the opportunity to be vaccinated, regardless of numbers, the government should step back, wash their hands and say we have done our job.
The rest is up to you.
You control your own destiny, and you accept the responsibility of your decision to not be vaccinated.
Yes, the virus will continue to be spread whether vaccinated or not and all the shutdowns, restrictions and threats won't stop it from being circulated or make it disappear. Essentially I believe it's just another bug we have to learn to live with.
People should have the option to mask up or not, eat out or not, because it will be up to them how they live their life and the risks they take, not the government.
Yes, some people may die, but that's life. Life must go on regardless, because this virus could be just one of more to come.
Carl Stevenson, Dora Creek
IF a horse breaks a leg it is humanely euthanised; if a cat or dog breaks a leg you take it to a vet and get it fixed. But woe betide if you are a human being needing a hip or knee replacement, and you can't get a replacement because of COVID and the government has shut down doing these operations, yet many people like myself have to suffer with excruciating pain. It is inhumane to let people suffer like that.
Andy McFadden, Warners Bay
CAN you tell me why the state members for Newcastle are not doing anything to stop people from Sydney coming here and spreading COVID in Newcastle and stopping us from getting back to work?
Warren Hardy, Mayfield West
THE knockers of Queensland's Annastacia Palaszczuk and Western Australia's Mark McGowan should compare their death and case numbers to NSW. Those premiers have done a wonderful job.
John Bonnyman, Fern Bay
IF John Davies is such an avid reader of Speedcafe he will note that there is a story on Supercars fans and officials and volunteers needing to be double vaccinated to attend this year's event at Sydney Motorsport Park. Then if he is so worried about Newcastle East why then can't the same restrictions apply to the Newcastle event and to all future sporting events?
Mark Creek, Adamstown
SPOT on, Carl Stevenson, (Short Takes, 12/9), regarding certain letter writers to the Herald and their expressed anger and hate. Talk about being one eyed.
Ian King, Warners Bay
BUSINESS: We must open up at 70 per cent to save businesses. Health: We should only open up after 85 per cent, preferably 90, to save lives. Premier: 70 per cent it is then.
John Arnold, Anna Bay
THE fat lady has sung, the plug has been pulled. What is that old saying, if you can't take the heat get out of the kitchen? And she did. Bye Gladys, I will miss your daily updates.
Darryl Tuckwell, Eleebana
PRIME Minister Scott Morrison's denials of tardiness in dealing with Pfizer and dismissal as "hindsight heroes" by those who have called him out with the email evidence is shameful. Good leaders admit when they make a mistake. Plainly, the PM doesn't have what it takes.
Martin Frohlich, Adamstown Heights
IT seems 12-year-old Sydney kids could be vaccinated before the rest of NSW.
Bruce Cook, Adamstown
THANK goodness we don't have to see NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian every day.