Features

Vietnam veterans remember those who did not come home

“It’s our day, today,” Vietnam veteran Ned Fisher said. Mr Fisher served in the second tour in the tracker platoon with labradors in Vietnam. “We were around the Long Tan rubber when they brought in the Long Tan Cross, that was in 1969, August 18th. The assault pioneers put the cross in the ground as […]


Relaxation Centre helps people discover inner strength

Stepping into the Relaxation Centre of Queensland is like driving along the highway and rising over a crest to see the wide expanse of beautiful blue ocean ahead of you. Another world opens that has the potential to unshackle, calm and free the mind, heart, body and soul from life’s burdens, tragedies and illnesses. The […]


Challenging times ahead for Gladstone as roller-coaster ride continues

Industry is the Gladstone Region’s life blood and has been considered for decades as the centre of Queensland’s sporadic industrial prosperity. But the intermittent cycle of industrial projects in Gladstone creates instability within the region’s economy and often leaves local businesses struggling to survive. The Gladstone Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) recently released their […]


A less travelled road in a remote corner of Vietnam

I learnt the literal meaning of the term ‘take the road less travelled’ about half-way through our 12km walk to our host family’s house in Sapa, Vietnam. The quaint town is 350km northwest of Hanoi and borders China. After a windy five-hour taxi ride, our queasy group was eager to jump out to get some […]


Paris lifts the spirits of jaded travellers

One would think that after seven hours in the company of 50 sniffling noses, sore throats and tired heads there would not be much excitement in the air. However, even viewed through a bus window, Paris is magical. We had been travelling around Europe for 20 days together, hitting cities for two days at a […]


Stoic optimism brings hope in Slovenia

No hardship can crush the hopes of two million people. “Freezing winters, communism, war… all these we endure,” Ljubljana’s Helena said. The red-haired university lecturer stood and watched passers-by stroll through the the main square of Slovenia in southern central Europe. Despite a struggling economy and a ballooning refugee crisis, Helena is optimistic about the […]


Former billionaire works as tour guide

Djelko starts his free walking tour atop a park bench beside a busy street in Belgrade. Behind him, expensive cars speed noisily by. Overhead, the sky is blue, cloudless. The young Serb is lanky, thin faced and bespectacled. He wears sneakers, baggy jeans and a green t-shirt that says ‘Save the Earth – it’s the […]


Future bright for Khalid after tough start

From civil war in Somalia to the lazy Central Coast suburb of Wyoming, Somali-born Khalid Ugaas’s life has been dramatically split between two continents, cultures and lifestyles. The softly-spoken 30-year-old business student has come through harsh circumstances to find peace in Australia. Finally, the skies look bright. Khalid, one of 11 children to Ogaden-born parents, […]


Peace and serenity at Lake Maroon

“How’s the serenity” Darryl Kerrigan from the ever so famous Australian flick, The Castle, said. And he was right, I don’t know about Bonnie Doon but I do know about the peacefulness of the Australian landscape. A visit to Lake Maroon Holiday Park near Boonah was a camping trip I will never forget. It was […]


Young artist dreams of top prize

Winning an Archibald prize is a dream of young artist who made her mark at 2015’s Adelaide Fringe Festival of the Arts. The very articulate and softly-spoken Tsering Hannaford, 27, whose ultimate goal is to develop a reputation and career in portraiture, has been working as a full-time professional artist since 2013. “I guess I […]


Accident survivor couldn’t bear to look in the mirror

It was 1995 and Ellen Harper was out with a friend. They were having a coffee at Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast. Ellen knows now she never should have driven home. On her way to Tallebudgera Valley the 18-year-old began to feel tired, so she wound down her window. Just under a kilometre from […]


Arty Melbourne

Australia’s best known cities seem to have their own signature. Sydney – the music venture. Brisbane – a business kind of vibe, where even the Apple store looks like a colonial treasury. But Melbourne – an indulgence of art. Whether it’s the graffiti walls on Hosier and Rutledge Lane across from Federation Square or the […]


Swinging into bliss at Wongi

Supported from a rather fragile-looking euclupt hangs a rope from which adults and kids alike swing into the refreshing cool water of Wongi Waterhole. The deep waterhole is in a peaceful setting as campers hang their towels from the rustic wooden rails and day-tripping families spread picnics on tables and grass. A 25km drive from […]


Brave journalist risks her life to tell the truth

Imagine what it is like to live in a corrupt country where the people are not free and the society illiberal. An unlucky country where people have bullets rained down on them for asking questions. This is what is like to be a journalist in Cambodia. Now let me introduce the remarkable young woman named […]


Fiery Khadija fights the horror of genital mutilation

“A-lo!” She shouted down the line. (A mutual friend had warned me that the Sierra Leone-born Australian was “full-on”, “fiery”.) I took the phone away from my ear and placed it on speaker so I could better hear the electric mix of loud, bouncing West African intonations and subtle Australian inflexions bubbling from the phone. […]


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