Archive for the ‘Photojournalism and Media’ Category

 
There is no other place I would rather be on Australia Day.

Saltwater Freshwater Festival 2014

Uncle Martin and friends dancing to the music of Troy Cassar-Daley


For me personally Australia Day is about paying my respect to Australia’s first peoples, a people who have survived and contributed so much to society with little recognition.

I admire the bonds of family within Aboriginal communities, something that seems to be frequently disappearing from mainstream society. I love the welcome I receive for acknowledging Aboriginal people and culture.

For the past four years I have had the wonderful honour of photographing three of the Saltwater Freshwater Festivals. Port Macquarie, Taree and this year at Kempsey.

2014 was the year for the Dunghutti people of Kempsey  to showcase their local Aboriginal Culture and Heritage.

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Rhys Waite

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Dunghutti dancer Auntie Thelma Kelly

As a photographer it is a perfect location with colour, subject and entertainment  all together in one location.

Photographing the festival is exciting and entertaining but the greatest satisfaction comes from sharing and participating with Australia’s first peoples. The friendships, the conversation and the opportunity to engage and communicate with the local Aboriginal community is a wonderful experience for all Australians.

 

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Troy Cassar-Daley

Troy Cassar-Daley, the headline act for the festival, had the audience up and dancing below the stage. He had already had a big week at the Tamworth Music Awards. I had great admiration for Troy as he signed autographs and had photos taken with his fans for an hour and a half following his performance.

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From Kempsey band Sages Muse

As with previous years the team at Saltwater Freshwater Alliance had put together an amazing line-up of artists on stage. They included fresh new sounds from local band Sages Muse, a powerful bluesy performance by Amos Morris, haunting melodies from Jess Beck and great dance beats from hip hop duo Supafresh.

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Wagana Dancers

The dance place had performances by the Dreamtime Sistas led by Auntie Thelma Kelly, the Gumleaf Band, the Wagana Dancers and Steve Donavon with the flash mob.

One of my fondest memories will be of the opening Kempsey Australia Day awards and a yarn that will make me smile for awhile:

While photographing the awards the odd big green grape would land with precision accuracy on the crown of my head. Despite several unsuccessful attempts to discover the source, the mischievous perpetrators had beaten me with their stealth and no doubt a well deserved giggle.

Loved it!

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Uncle Martin Ballangarry

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Amos Morris with an awesome bluesy performance

Steven Donavon leading the Flash Mob

Steven Donavon leading the Flash Mob

The Gumleaf Band

The Gumleaf Band


Wallaby Kempsey area

Wallaby Kempsey area

Possums, sugar gliders, wallabies and quolls are just some of the many native animals  injured in bushfire, car accidents and severe weather events. Many of these animals including native and migratory birds end up in the care of FAWNA Mid North Coast.

On Sunday the 17th October 2017 FAWNA volunteers gathered in the Theatrette Room at Sea Acres Rainforest Centre for the annual Bryce Laut Awards.

Bryce Laut was a NPWS Fire Management Officer tragically killed in 2008 when a tree fell on him during a cleanup operation following a bushfire. The fire was believed to have been deliberately lit. He worked closely with FAWNA and was responsible for training volunteers in wildlife rescue in the fire ground shortly after bushfire events. A donation was made to FAWNA in memory of Bryce Laut leading to the creation of the annual awards for wildlife volunteers .

Area manager Manning Hastings National Parks and Wildlife Service Steve Atkins with FAWNA President Meredith Ryan.

Area manager Manning Hastings National Parks and Wildlife Service Steve Atkins with FAWNA President Meredith Ryan.

FAWNA receives an average of seven calls a day related to injured wildlife. Some of these animals need veterinary and rehabilitation care.

Area manager for the Manning Hastings National Parks and Wildlife Service Steve Atkins presented the awards with FAWNA president Meredith Ryan. Mr Atkins thanked all volunteers on behalf of NPWS and described their commitment for rescue, rehabilitation and release as fantastic. He said ” without your assistance there is a lot of wildlife that would not be out there now”.

FAWNA President Meredith Ryan presenting local vet Sarah Bennett with a lifetime membership award

FAWNA President Meredith Ryan presenting local vet Sarah Bennett with a lifetime membership award

This year’s awards saw Sarah Bennett of Oxley Highway Veterinary Hospital receive an Honorary Life Membership. The award was presented to Sarah as recognition of skilled veterinary services and dedication to injured, orphaned and displaced wildlife in the Port Macquarie Hastings region. A willingness to advise and guide FAWNA volunteers in the rescue and rehabilitation of wildlife was also acknowledged. FAWNA volunteer Wendy Pfeil expressed her gratitude for Sarah’s help during wildlife emergencies.

Meredith Ryan, Sarah Bennett, June Le Pla and Wendy Pfeil

Meredith Ryan, Sarah Bennett, June Le Pla and Wendy Pfeil

Dianne Waterhouse and Neville Elford were recognised for their 20 years of work with FAWNA at Kempsey including the rehabilitation and release of Red-neck wallabies on their property.

The runner up of the Bryce Laut award was Pat Davey a member since 2001 with six years duty on the 24/7 phone and rescue line. Pat has been been a carer and release member of macropods while training and mentoring FAWNA’s phone staff. Her recognition was for dedication to FAWNA and ensuring telephones were maintained.

Meredith Ryan, June Le Pla, Pat Davey and Steve Atkins.

Meredith Ryan, June Le Pla, Pat Davey and Steve Atkins.

First place award went to June Le Pla for rescue and rehabilitation work along with fund raising efforts.

Ist Place award winner June Le Pla

Ist Place award winner June Le Pla

Steve Atkins said June has rescued and rehabilitated more animals than most in her two decades of service to FAWNA. Undertaking regular patrols of Hastings coastal areas June has taken responsibility for rescuing seabirds. June is not selective in the animals she cares for and has added flying foxes and bats to her skill sets which also include possums, gliders and seabirds.

Also in attendance was FAWNA’s patron Dr Mary E White (AM).

Follow the link below to read and see more about Dr White.

https://brettdolsenphotography.wordpress.com/2013/11/03/dr-mary-e-white/

One of the oldest continuous surf competitions in Australia “The Bird Rock Memorial Surf Classic” began in 1981.

Originally the contest began in memory of Port Macquarie surfer Mark Edwards who was fatally injured in a car crash while living on the Sunshine Coast. It is believed the competition was co-ordinated between the Sunshine Coast Boardriders and The Hastings Valley Competition and was known as “The Mark Edwards Memorial” (Eddy) prior to becoming the Bird Rock. Since then it is unfortunate that a growing number of names have been added to the memorial to be remembered annually by fellow surfers. This year marked the 33rd annual event and was held at Bonny Hills NSW Australia.

Friday 17th May Town Beach Bird Rock Memorial

Friday 17th May Town Beach Bird Rock Memorial

Organiser and president of the Bird Rock Committee is Barry Drewwit who with his family business work tirelessly for the event including the making of all trophies. Other committee members are Garry White secretary, Collene Charters treasurer, Jeff Forrester vice president and George Watt chaplain who dedicates his work to families in need.

President of the Bird Rock committee Barry Drewwit competing in the Over 40's Retro Event.

President of the Bird Rock committee Barry Drewwit competing in the Over 40’s Retro Event.

Geoff Branch an organiser of the event saw the photo (below) of five juniors at the Friday Night Memorial and said “I reckon this crew might be some of the future Birdrock committee”.

Possible future Bird Rock Committee Friday night 17th May 2013 Memorial Town Beach Port Macquarie.

Possible future Bird Rock Committee Friday night 17th May 2013 Memorial Town Beach Port Macquarie.

Geoff, who lost a son Mick Branch to leukemia in 2005, has been surfing in the Bird Rock since the early 80’s and has also won a title. He has a paddle each year in remembrance of his son. Geoff said ‘The event is helpful to all that have lost loved ones’.

Organiser Geoff Branch competing in the Over 40's Retro.

Organiser Geoff Branch competing in the Over 40’s Retro.

The 2013 Bird Rock Memorial Surf Classic came to a close at 4.30 pm Sunday 19th May 2013.

Each year the spirit of that first event lives on. Over recent years the event is a highlight for many local surfers in the Port Macquarie Hastings area. This year some surfers postponed trips overseas so they would not miss competing in the Bird Rock.

The event began on Friday evening with a gathering of friends and relatives at the memorial overlooking Town Beach. It was a night of remembrance, heralding a weekend of competition and entertainment.

Organisers' George Watt (left) and Geoff Branch during moments of reflection at the Friday night memorial.

Organisers’ George Watt spiritual leader (left) and Geoff Branch during moments of reflection at the Friday night memorial.

Saturday morning was as good an Autumn morning as can be seen on the mid north coast with clean offshore conditions and waves around the one metre mark. Competition began around 8am with preliminary heats extending throughout the day. There was some very radical surfing amongst the juniors and opens with tubes, airs and vertical re-entries. An extremely difficult task for the judges over the entire weekend.

The conditions early morning as the heats were about to begin on Saturday 18th May 2013.

The conditions early morning as the heats were about to begin on Saturday 18th May 2013.

This year saw a return from Marcus Brabant, a respected surfer both locally and internationally during the 1980’s. Together with an old friend Andrew McMahon they played extras in a movie “The Third Wave” filmed on location at Port Macquarie Town Beach. Marcus surfed in the Over 40’s Retro Event and Andrew in a Masters Event.

Marcus Brabant surfing in the Over 40's Retro event at the 2013 Bird Rock Memorial Surf Classic.

Marcus Brabant surfing in the Over 40’s Retro event at the 2013 Bird Rock Memorial Surf Classic.

Andrew McMahon(pictured) together with Marcus Brabant appeared in the movie" The Third Wave".

Andrew McMahon(pictured) together with Marcus Brabant appeared in the movie” The Third Wave”.

The remembrance ceremony saw many surfers paddle out and form a circle of remembrance for the growing list of lost surfing souls.

The remembrance ceremony saw many surfers paddle out and form a circle of remembrance for the growing list of lost surfing souls.

Sunday finals started to another beautiful morning with excellent conditions similar to Saturday. During each final the competition was fierce with every finalist going for that prestigious title.

Extreme competition at the 2013 Bird Rock Memorial Surf Classic.

Extreme competition at the 2013 Bird Rock Memorial Surf Classic.

The finals continued down to the last. The Open Men’s saw four of the best from the mid north coast compete wave for wave for the title. They were Michael Campbell, Ian Bell, Darren O’Rafferty and Mitch Vanderveer who gave O’Raff a run for the title, settling for a close second.

The ultimate winner was Darren O’Rafferty at his home break, securing the win with a down the line wave moments from the buzzer. The Open Women’s final was won by Melanie Pretorius with a great selection of waves and style.

Darren O'Rafferty WINNER of the Open Men's Event at the Bird Rock Memorial Surf Classic.

Darren O’Rafferty WINNER of the Open Men’s Event at the Bird Rock Memorial Surf Classic.

An outstanding weekend of events closed with the awards ceremonies held in the fading afternoon sunlight at Bonny Hills. The event concluded successfully having reached its ongoing goals of remembrance and friendships. Organisers were ecstatic about the success and all looking forward to 2014.

The Winners in Pictures. (Mouse over for names or click on image for slideshow)

Link to 2013 Bird Rock Surf Classic Galleries – Mouse over link at top of page for individual events. https://brettdolsenphotography.wordpress.com/2013-bird-rock-memorial-surf-classic-images/

2013 Winners

Opens A Darren O’Rafferty
Open B Tom Howard
Open Women’s Mel Petrorius
Open Kneeboard Shane Whitehouse

Cadets Ben Howard
Juniors Jack Germain
Retro 0’40’s Grant Mckenzie
Masters Shaun Weston
Grand Masters Anthony Donohoe
Legends Joel Kolehmaiden
Grand Legends Bob March
Best Tube Mitch Sykes
Best Reo Mick Michael Campbell

Ben Howard The Mark and Kim Windon Award for outstanding surfing over the weekend.
Mick Branch Hammer n Tong award Marcus Brabant
Ryan Chelman retro board won by Michael Riordan
Brad McCarthey Board won by Chelsea Green
The Birdrock Mid North Coast Girls Surfing award Gracie Monaghan

The "Henry Lawson" aground at Harrington Breakwall NSW Australia

The “Henry Lawson” aground at Harrington Breakwall NSW Australia

Friday 12th April 2013

Around 5am Thursday April 11th 2013 the trawler “Henry Lawson” ran aground on rocks adjacent to the ocean end of Harrington breakwall. The three crew managed to get safely ashore at daylight.

Later that day attempts to retrieve the vessel failed due to cables breaking. Early Friday morning, with the aid of two bulldozers, the trawler was pulled from the rocks and eased towards the beach.

Recovery attempt using bulldozers to pull the Henry Lawson of rocks and onto the beach.

Recovery attempt using bulldozers to pull the Henry Lawson of rocks and onto the beach.

A representative from Taree Manning Council said that a close eye was being kept on environmental disturbance and restoration during the recovery process. The hull has been severely damaged and unlikely to be salvaged. It will be relocated to a point away from the beach where it will be dismantled.

The Henry Lawson sailing into Port Macquarie 2012

The Henry Lawson sailing into Port Macquarie 2012

Heading up the road to Red Hill, the Pteradactyls of the past may be replaced by the sight of a Wedgetail Eagle followed by the breathtaking views along the east coast of Australia.

Red Hill Road Telegraph Point NSW Australia

Red Hill Road Telegraph Point NSW Australia

Glenn’s artistic lifestyle and location can be seen as a refuge from a new era of development that he left behind in the distant view of Port Macquarie where he once lived.

Over the years Glenn has played a pioneering role in local history preservation including The Maritime Museum and Douglas Vale Vineyards, as well as expressing his voice on environmental issues.

Like many kids growing up on the coast Glenn was an accomplished surfer. However his lifestyle soon changed as his love of drawing and painting developed during his high school years, followed by further studies and world travel.

Glenn Dick - The Painter

Glenn Dick – The Painter

He would later paint his early years and friends in works like “Sharkmates and Jamtarts and Delinquents”.

A family history that dates back to the early settlement of Port Macquarie is reflected in a series of artwork titled “Dreams Nightmares and Reality” which can be seen as a collection of seldom heard local stories invaluable to Australian history.

The tone of Glenn’s voice takes on the seriousness of a university lecturer as he narrates the events behind these works.

Over the last twenty years, the surrounding Australian landscape has provided inspiration for many of the forms seen in his landscape works. Grass Trees and the unique textures and colours of Gum trees feature prominently on Red Hill. Wildlife is abundant on Red Hill and sinister birds will appear within his brush strokes.

Link to Gallery Slideshow of Glenn’s Works http://youtu.be/0E0nbShZhnM

Link to an Interview with the Artist http://vimeo.com/45612760

I have been acquainted with Glenn for around 30 years now but only in very recent years viewed and came to appreciate his work. It has been a memorable experience and one I would recommend it to art and history lovers.

The Birds

The Birds

At a remote location hidden near Guyra, the New England Brumby Sanctuary was the venue for an Open Day. Photos and story by Brett Dolsen.

Brumbies at the New England Sanctuary near Guyra NSW.

Brumbies at the New England Sanctuary near Guyra NSW.

The sanctuary was established in 0ctober 2008 to care for Brumbies removed from Guy Fawkes River National Park and to conduct a breeding and adoption program to preserve blood lines of horses under the management of STB, or Save the Brumbies. A second sanctuary managed by STB is near Bellingen and cares for horses not suited to adoption.

On arrival, visitors were greeted by Jan Carter, founder and Chief Executive Officer of Save the Brumbies Inc. tax deductible charity (STB) and a small team of volunteers dedicated to the saving and protection of wild Australian horses known as Brumbies. The word Brumby may have originated from James Brumby, who in the early 1800s released horses into the wild; however, the Aboriginal word ‘baroomby’ also means wild horse.

Jan, a professional musician, who plays both classical guitar and harp, was outraged when confronted with the news in the year 2000 that aerial shooting had slaughtered 600 wild horses  in the Guy Fawkes River National Park near Armidale. Some horses were wounded, only to die some time later from their wounds. Jan had previously ridden trails in the area and seen the wild horses in their natural environment. As a result, Save the Brumbies Inc. was established and following negotiations, a Steering Committee was set up leading to horses being removed from the parks and placed in the care of interested horse groups. It should be noted that wild horses are still regarded as feral animals in Australia – unlike the USA, where Mustangs are protected and heritage valued.

After a long day at Guyra Jan feeding the horses  at the Bellingen Sanctuary

After a long day at Guyra Jan feeding the horses at the Bellingen Sanctuary

Jan has personally produced a music CD titled Run with the Wind, with moving arrangements of classical guitar and harp dedicated to the Australian Brumby. Proceeds from sales of the CD are just one of the fundraising methods used for the charity. She will not own a mobile phone, as her precious time is taken up with caring for the horses and maintaining the property; however, each day includes responding to enquiries by email, as well as keeping sponsors updated on their horses.

The Bellingen Sanctuary homes on average around 15 horses cared for by Jan. These horses are in need of high care due to being orphaned, injured, down in condition or aged. The care for these horses is provided by sponsorships, where sponsors can visit and be kept updated on the progress of their chosen animal. It is a highly rewarding and personal way to help the wild horses. During the recent floods at Bellingen over $20,000 of damage occurred to the Bellingen property, but it failed to meet criteria for flood relief.

Jan and STB have also been involved with organisations and governments in other states, including Queensland, where aerial slaughter is still permitted.

Horses are still being shot, or trapped in National Parks and consigned to abattoirs for slaughter. Driving into the New England sanctuary to the right were four mares with their young foals on a large field of healthy grasses, benefiting from good rain falls throughout 2011. To the left were two Apsley Gorge Brumbies (Tictoc and Safina), transported to the Open Day by the Oxley Heritage Horse Association. A little further along could be seen Brigitte Bardot, a Palomino sponsored by the actress of the same name. Parking in the undefined space near the homestead, one could see four young yearlings in another field – three ready for adoption and one still undergoing training.

STB Mrs Brown with STB Master James Brown

STB Mrs Brown with STB Master James Brown

The horses at the sanctuary are Guy Fawkes Brumbies, whose bloodlines can be traced back to a stallion named Saladin from the early 1900s. These same bloodline horses were used by the Australian infantry in both world wars and made famous by the Lighthorsemen. In another larger area of some 200 acres were three stallions not seen on the day due to the rugged country. The sanctuary was chosen due to terrain that best replicated the environment the horses came from when captured. The generosity of several people led to the availability of the 1,375 acre Guyra property, and all funding comes from private sources and fundraising by STB.

So far there have been over 200 horses adopted from the STB program and many others sponsored. There are many people on the waiting list for horses; however, due to the higher than usual rainfalls of 2011, few horses are currently being removed from the Guy Fawkes National Park, where it is estimated that around 500 horses roam. Of concern is that with strong growth within the park, breeding may be higher than usual. It is National Parks policy that all horses will be removed within 5 years – a concern to STB, as government policy may revert to earlier unacceptable management and controls.

Jan Carter and the STB would like to see two full-time experienced horsemen employed by National Parks rather than the Park Rangers, already fully occupied with other duties, being used. This, she feels, will be the best management, ensuring the government achieves its goals and that all horses are saved and humanely relocated to appropriate groups.

The NSW Deputy Premier Andrew Stoner is Patron of the New England Brumby Sanctuary.

During the Open Day, visitors were given a display on the handling and training of young horses who are part of the breeding and adoption program held at the sanctuary. In a heartwarming display, Megan Hyde, working with the young colts and fillies, showed her skills in preparing the young horses. The colt STB Basil was touched for the very first time by human hands.

Megan Hyde,  Secretary and Welfare Officer of STB with STB Cloud and STB Lachlan.

Megan Hyde, Secretary and Welfare Officer of STB with STB Cloud and STB Lachlan.

As new horses arrive in the sanctuary, both Megan and Jan are excited to name the new residents based on themes that have included music, historical figures and characters.

The small and very select breeding program ensures the conservation of the blood lines of the Guy Hawkes Brumbies. As a result, the Australian Brumby Horse Register has been established and horses are now seen at selected shows. It costs around $1,200 for a horse to be prepared for adoption, and each horse is carefully matched to his new owners. The horses are always in good condition, disease free, and Brumby owners will swear by their loyalty, trust and trainability.

Maybe one day we will even see these Heritage Horses play their role in Anzac Day Marches, working with children and people with disabilities and as an attraction for local and overseas tourists.

The future for the Guy Hawkes Brumbies is unclear and with organisations such as Save the Brumbies Inc. the founders are also getting on in years. As a charity and volunteer based program, not only is financial support needed, but also suitably dedicated individuals to carry on this work into the future and to preserve this wonderful Australian icon. Of course, this may all become a lot easier if both Federal and State Governments recognise the Brumby as an integral and important icon in Australian History and provide funding and protection to our beautiful wild horses.

Under special care, a Brumby from the Bellingen Sanctuary.

Under special care, a Brumby from the Bellingen Sanctuary.

For further information and programs visit  http://www.savethebrumbies.org/

Link to article in New England Focus Magazine http://focusmag.com.au/ne/featured/save-the-brumbies

Link to a slideshow of my trip to the New England and Bellingen Sanctuaries 

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It is well over 30 years since I moved to Sancrox on the outskirts of Wauchope. With my momentary ties to this small country town, I decided to head inland for this year’s ANZAC Day dawn service at Wauchope.

Arriving at the cenotaph early, I set up my camera ready for the proceedings due to begin at dawn. It wasn’t long before the haunting sounds of the distant bagpipes and the beating of the drums filled the night sky.

The surreal mood was further enhanced by the flocks of Lorikeets squawking loudly overhead as if alarmed by  the abnormal melody.

The silhouetted figures of the pipe band and the veterans soon appeared in the blackened shadows of the cenotaph. The band stopped and there was silence to welcome the Dawn Service.

It was a moving experience listening to a variety of speeches from representatives of the community. There was song and hymn along with the customary solitary bugle. The ceremony came to a close with “Advance Australia Fair”.

It was wonderful to see so many Aussies young and old, paying their respects to the many that had fallen at war and to the veterans who have passed on since.

I returned for the late morning service and was overwhelmed by the number of people that filled the main street. Once again it was great to see so many from younger generations who will keep the spirit of Anzac Day alive.

Short Film Anzac Day Wauchope 2013 http://vimeo.com/65106572