Category Archives: State and Local

Drowning deaths in Australia up 71% over summer holiday period


A recent report from the Royal Life Saving Society of Australia shows a dramatic escalation in the number of drowning deaths this summer.

In the period from the 24th of December to the 12th of January, 41 people drowned – a 71% increase on the same period 12 months ago.

Royal Life Saving’s CEO Rob Bradley said thousands of people have been affected by these 41 drowning deaths, which he described as deeply troubling.

Surf lifesaving flag at Kingston Beach

Surf lifesaving flag at Kingston Beach

“Frankly, we are horrified and we remind people to make sure you are swimming at a recognised swimming location.  Do not over-estimate your ability,” he said.

Mr Bradley said the drownings happened at many different water locations.

“A common misconception is that most drownings happen at the beach. Inland waterways are very treacherous. Rivers and lakes may appear on the surface to be calm and tranquil but can be very dangerous,” Mr Bradley said.

In Tasmania, 10 surf life saving clubs provide volunteer patrol services on weekends from December to March.

Kingston beach, in the south of the state, is patrolled during these months on Sundays and public holidays.

Kingston beach patrol captain Phil Leishman said swimming between the flags is the safest way to go, but that not everyone heeds that message.

“The parents will bring the younger kids in here, but the teenagers will always go outside because it’s not cool, they don’t think it’s cool to swim between the flags,” he said.

Watch chair and surf lifesavers on Kingston Beach

Surf life savers on Kingston Beach

Kingston Beach with flags

Kingston Beach on a public holiday

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Filed under Health, National News, State and Local

Lee Troop and Hanny Allston triumph in inaugural Hobart Run the Bridge

The inaugural Hobart Run the Bridge was won today by interstate athlete Lee Troop, and Tasmanian Hanny Allston.

Troop covered the hilly 10 kilometre course in a time of 29minutes 41 seconds, finishing ahead of Shane Nankervis and Mark Tucker.

Troop smashed predications that the hilly course would be difficult to run under 30 minutes.

“I made the call that the race would be decided by the top of the bridge, and I think from that point it was,” he said.

Asked about his tactics for the race, Troop said “the gun went off, and I ran like I stole something.”

Runners at start line of Hobart run the Bridge

Runners at start line of Hobart run the Bridge

World champion orienteer Hanny Allston won the women’s event in a time of 35minutes and 24 seconds, followed by two other Tasmanians: event ambassador and Olympic steeplechaser Donna MacFarlane, and Australian 3000 metre champion Mel Daniels.

Allston said she was happy with her time and enjoyed the course.

“Yeah it was good, it’s so scenic, but obviously it was tough with the hills,” she said.

The event began at Bellerive Oval, before taking runners across the Hobart bridge, where lanes of traffic were closed for the first time for a running race.

The event then passed through Hobart’s waterfront before finishing in Salamanca place.

Over 1300 runners and walkers took part in the event, which supported the charity Variety.

World champion axeman David Foster and former Australian cricketer David Boon led walking teams in the event.

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Tasmanian athlete Ryan Foster breaks Australian indoor 800m record

Ryan Foster competing

Ryan Foster (right) racing in the US

(300 word version)

Tasmanian athlete Ryan Foster has broken the Australian indoor 800m record, which has stood for 41 years.

Foster won the race at the Penn State National Meet in the United States on the weekend, his time of 1:47.48 four tenths of a second faster than the previous record set by Olympic gold medalist Ralph Doubell in 1968.

Foster said he knew he could do a good time, but predicts he might even be able to go faster.

“The race went nearly perfectly. In hindsight I didn’t press hard enough once [my pacemaker] Kevin stepped off the track,” Foster said.

“I can definitely go faster by working a little harder earlier,” he said.

Foster’s time meets the qualifying standard for the world indoor championships, although it falls outside the qualifying period.

This is the second national record for Foster this year, after he ran 2:19.60 over 1000m in January.

Foster is on a scholarship at Penn State University, and trains under coach John Gondak.

He said his training has been different to that in Tasmania, that he is more relaxed about training now, and has full trust in his coach.

“I do a lot more aerobic work, and less workouts,” Foster said.

“I used to need to write everything down, and then always strive to beat past workouts. Now I just have faith that Gondak is going to get it right,” he said.

“I attribute my performances now to all of the work that I have done over the last seven or eight years,” Foster said.

“I am finally starting to realize the results of the hard work I have been putting in. I think just physically maturing has also helped,” he said.

Foster said he is now aiming for the Commonwealth Games and Olympics.

“Commonwealth Games is a little difficult because the trials fall during my school year, but I am working on a way to be able to return home and run them,” he said.

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Filed under Sport, State and Local, World News

Tasmanian athlete Ryan Foster breaks Australian indoor 800m record

(100 word version)

Tasmanian athlete Ryan Foster has broken the Australian indoor 800m record, which has stood for 41 years.

Foster won the race at the Penn State National Meet in the United States on the weekend, his time of 1:47.48 four tenths of a second faster than the previous record set by Olympic gold medalist Ralph Doubell in 1968.

Foster, who is on a scholarship at Penn State University, said he knew he could do a good time, but predicts he might even be able to go faster.

“The race went nearly perfectly. In hindsight I didn’t press hard enough once [my pacemaker] Kevin stepped off the track,” Foster said.

“I can definitely go faster by working a little harder earlier,” he said.

This is the second national record for Foster this year, after he ran 2:19.60 over 1000m in January.

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Kingborough youth discuss transport issues

A story about issues or problems in the community.

The Kingborough News is actually a Kingborough Council newsletter, so should be read with that bias in mind. But I found the article on page 2 of the December newsletter interesting. The council initiated a project to take a red couch around the Kingborough area, and invite young people (defined as 10-25 years old) to sit on the couch and talk about transport in Kingborough. Unsurprisingly, they identified issues with public transport (mainly, a lack of it).

This problem is only going to get worse as Kingborough continues to grow, so hopefully some useful changes will be made very soon. (And better bike lanes too please, while you’re at it!)

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Stuff the planet, give me a sports car

Here’s a special interest story. About cars. Which wouldn’t normally interest me, but in this case it was quite timely.

I think you can find a survey to support any particular point of view you want. And I actually know this, in this instance, because for my last uni assignment I had to market a hybrid car and had to find a survey that showed the exact opposite to the one in this article.

Apparently we’re all saying “stuff the planet, I want to go fast, look cool and be able to tow my big boat around with me”. According to this market research company, the factors that were most important to people buying a new car were prestige, performance and the ability to tow. Apparently last year, people rated environmental responsibility, but this year it’s gone out the window.

Oh joy.

New Mazda MX5

New Mazda MX5 photo: The Australian

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Filed under Environment, State and Local

Paige dances into spotlight after open-heart surgery

An inspirational story about a girl who had open heart surgery a year ago to fix a hole in her heart. She is now about to perform in her local dance studio’s graduation concert.

Story on the Advocate website here.

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