techtips header

A+ A A-

Features (13)

2016 Senior Australian of the year state winners announced

The extraordinary group of inspiring Australians in the running for the 2016 Australian of the Year Awards is now finalised, with all State & Territory Award recipients announced at a series of events around Australia over the past three weeks... our seniors are celebrated with their own category for each state.  Here are 2016's seniors of the year.

22011677915 16f5417dafVICTORIA

Jack Charles

Indigenous elder and role model

One of the nation’s most respected and enduring actors, Jack Charles is a member of Australia’s stolen generation. Removed from his mother as a baby and raised in a Salvation Army boys’ home, Jack knew nothing of his Indigenous heritage as a child. At 19 he began a career as an actor, but his life was plagued by personal demons. His addiction to heroin and a life of crime saw him jailed. Despite his struggles, he co-founded Australia’s first Indigenous theatre group, Nindethana, meaning ‘place of corroboree’, at Melbourne’s Pram Factory in 1971. His first play, Jack Charles is Up and Fighting, was a runaway hit. Jack has appeared in several movies, including the landmark film, The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith, and more recently Pan alongside Hugh Jackman. He has also toured his own one-man stage show locally and internationally. Now calm and centred, Jack is a strong role model for a new generation of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people.

21407657914 c29317fc27QUEENSLAND

Tim Fairfax AC


One of the country’s most successful businessmen, Tim Fairfax is also one of the most generous. With pastoral interests in Queensland and New South Wales, Tim is passionate about supporting rural, remote and regional communities. The founder of the Tim Fairfax Family Foundation, Tim has gifted more than $16 million since 2008 to community-based arts, music and sporting projects in regional Australia. Tim also chairs the board of the Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation, named after his father, which has donated more than $100 million. A keen supporter of The Ekka, Tim is also Chancellor of the Queensland University of Technology and promotes higher educational opportunities, particularly to students in struggling rural communities. A founding benefactor of the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra, Tim is one of its largest donors.  Sitting on numerous boards and trusts for the arts, Tim is a keen collector and donor of art and is making an extraordinary philanthropic contribution to Australia’s arts community.


Bob Shewring

Repatriation campaigner

Twenty five Australian soldiers killed in the Vietnam War never returned home to Australia. Vietnam veteran, Bob Shewring has spent years lobbying governments to bring home the bodies of these soldiers buried overseas after they were killed in the line of duty. Bob established Operation “Bring Them Home” in 2014 and spent countless hours researching war history and legislation. He garnered more than 40,000 signatures through an online petition before the Australian Government announced in May 2015 it would repatriate the bodies from cemeteries in Malaysia and Singapore back home to Australia, providing the next of kin’s agree. Until February 1966, the government required soldiers’ families to pay for their bodies to be repatriated back to Australia. For Bob, this campaign is personal. Twenty five of the 521 Australians killed in the Vietnam War didn’t make it home and Bob’s mate Reg Hillier is one of them. Bob is determined to see these soldiers finally welcomed home, receive full military honours at “one of the biggest ramp ceremonies in Australia’s history” and to right a terrible wrong from the Vietnam War.

21937874660 091ef70b2fACT

Professor Greg Tegart AM FTSE

Scientist and technology advocate

At 86 years of age, Professor Greg Tegart is a leading advocate for smart assistive technologies that give aged and disabled people independence and a better quality of life. Greg’s distinguished career spans research in metallurgy and materials, and high level executive and policy positions in industry, the CSIRO and the federal government. The extent of Greg’s contribution to Australian science and technology policy over four decades is substantial. He led Australia’s initial participation in climate change assessment through the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and was recognised for his contribution to the awarding of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize to the IPCC. He has been a leader in studies linking technology to the future of society. In recent years, Greg’s world-leading work to promote smart assistive technologies for aged and disability care has enabled many Australians to lead more empowered and independent lives. Greg provides a real-world example of the contribution that older people can make to the Australian community.

22113422192 b413c5f4c2Tasmania

Professor Ian Allison AO AAM


A pioneer of Australia's glaciological research program since the 1960s, Professor Ian Allison is acclaimed internationally as a glaciologist, making a significant contribution to climate science. An outstanding contributor to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Assessment Reports on Climate Change, Ian has worked tirelessly to synthesise global research results. He spent many years with the Australian Antarctic Division, ultimately leading the Ice, Oceans, Atmosphere and Climate program. As co-chair of the International Polar Year in 2007-08, Ian drove a coordinated, intense period of observational research activity in the Polar Regions. Ian’s enduring contribution to Antarctic affairs and the Antarctic community has been recognised with awards and accolades, such as the naming of Allison Glacier on Heard Island. Ian’s legacy also includes the work of the many PhD students he has supervised who have, themselves, made significant contributions to science. Ian’s community-mindedness and willingness to push ahead with fresh ideas has helped Australia build an internationally-respected scientific community.

22264268196 c6f9e6c12aWestern Australia

Graham Edwards AM

Veterans’ advocate

While serving in Vietnam in 1970, Graham Edwards was hit by an exploding mine. Both his legs had to be amputated, but he never let his disability get the better of him. Returning to civilian life, he battled the aftershocks of war and fought discrimination before moving into public affairs and politics. Spending 14 years of service in the WA Legislative Council, including as a senior minister and nine years in the federal parliament, Graham actively contributed to defence, disability services and veterans’ policy. While juggling his parliamentary responsibilities, Graham devoted many hours to his twin passions: the Paralympic movement and veterans’ rights. Today, as State President of the Returned & Services League of Australia, Graham oversees a membership base of 10,000 people, sits by bedsides, lobbies government for funding and organises large events to commemorate the sacrifice made by many, particularly for the 2015 Centenary of Gallipoli. A board member of the Australian War Memorial, Graham is ensuring that the nation’s war heroes gain the recognition they deserve.

22187203029 fb04628618New South Wales

Professor Gordian Fulde


From midnight to dawn, while most people are in bed, Professor Gordian Fulde is presiding over one of Australia's busiest emergency departments. The Director of Emergency at St Vincent's Hospital and Sydney Hospital for more than three decades, Gordian is the longest serving emergency department director in Australia. The doctor on call when disaster strikes, Gordian has seen it all and is passionately outspoken about the scourge of ‘ice’ and alcohol-fuelled violence which delivers a flood of people into Australian hospitals each weekend. While you will occasionally see him appear on Kings Cross ER, Gordian is also actively involved in teaching and training students and staff in many facets of emergency medicine. A member of the Board of the Thomas Kelly Youth Foundation, Gordian also supports many schools and community organisations, sharing his stories of working in an urban warzone, and warning of the dangers of a binge drinking culture, which is overwhelmingly the main cause of injury in Australia’s emergency departments.

22294984180 f036dfc8c9South Australia

Monica Oliphant AO


An inspiring advocate for science and sustainability, Monica Oliphant has influenced the future of energy consumption around the world. Starting out as a laser physicist, she is now recognised internationally as a pioneer in the use of solar photovoltaics and renewable energy.  Monica has devoted her long career – much in her own time and without financial reward – to the promotion of renewable energy both in Australia and overseas. As a senior research scientist with the Electricity Trust of South Australia for two decades, Monica undertook research into renewable energy, with her work enabling grid-connected solar and wind power. Globally-recognised as a leader in her field, Monica has shared her knowledge at conferences in many countries and her work has facilitated development of clean energy policies around the world. Volunteering her time on boards and energy associations culminated in the presidency of the International Solar Energy Society. Monica has maintained a lifelong commitment to improving all people’s access, particularly those of lower socio-economic status, to environmentally and economically sustainable energy.

Billy Elliot The Musical: Fun Facts


Its one of the most successful movie musical adaptations of all time, and has broken records globally, so when the team decided to film the musical of the film, it was one of those occasions where we thought to look into some of the ground breaking record smashing facts that made this production one of our favourites.


Take a flip through our Billy's Fun Facts by clicking next!


The first ever performance of Billy Elliot the Musical took place on 31 March 2005 at the Victoria Palace Theatre, London. The official opening night took place on 12 May 2005. Since then nearly 4.5 million people have seen the show in London.

blogimport 8yd0b5-15af1ktThe first performance of Billy Elliot the Musical outside of the UK took place on 13 November 2007 at the Capitol Theatre, Sydney. The phenomenally successful Australian production went on to play Her Majesty’s Theatre, Melbourne, until June 2009.

Elton-John-Joins-the-Cast-of-BETM-Broadway-on-Opening-Night1The first North American performance of Billy Elliot the Musical had its first performance at Broadway’s Imperial Theatre on 1 October 2008.


The Broadway production ended its incredibly successful, Tony Award® winning run on 8 January 2012 after 1,344 performances, having been seen by nearly 1.8m people.

BIlly-elliot-5The Billy Elliot the Musical North American tour played from October 2010 until August 2013, finishing with a three week trip to São Paulo, Brazil, the first time Billy Elliot played in South America.

Billy480 cap-blogSpanThe first foreign language production of Billy Elliot the Musical was staged in Seoul, South Korea at the LG Arts Centre in 2010 and 2011 gaining a whole new fan base for the show and winning three prestigious Korea Musical Awards.

b13150c0-ff38-56ab-84f4-c80e8a5462fd.preview-300More than 9.5 million people worldwide have now seen Billy Elliot the Musical across five continents including many famous faces. Just some of the famous visitors to the show have included HM The Queen, Hillary Clinton, Nicole Kidman, Bill Gates, Ben Stiller, Michael Jackson, Oprah Winfrey, Anna Wintour, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Hugh Grant, Valentino, Ron Howard, Hugh Jackman, US Vice President Joe Biden, Kevin Spacey, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.

curtain call 198933aSimon Cowell, Sharon Osbourne and Elton John have all made cameo appearances in the show.

elton-john-billy-elliot-musicalSince its world premiere, 36 boys have played the title role in London, 10 have played Billy in Australia, 16 boys on Broadway, 6 in Chicago/Toronto, 13 on tour and 5 in Korea (some played the role across different companies). A total of 73 boys, including Jamie Bell who played Billy Elliot in the award-winning film, have now performed the title role, some having performed in two continents with 8 American boys having played the title role in London.

234219 2 previewActors aged from 6 – 83 have performed in the show since its world premiere.

5   Billy Elliot Mash-up photo Craig SugdenBoys from English, the US, Canada, Australia, Korea, Switzerland, Ireland, Scotland and France have played the role of Billy around the world.

Tony AwardIn addition to appearing in the show itself, the Billys have been kept busy. Not only have they performed by special invitation at both Buckingham Palace and The White House, they have visited the Prime Minister for tea at No. 10 Downing Street, been interviewed on Oprah Winfrey’s couch, performed at Anna Wintour’s prestigious annual Met Ball in New York, sang the US national anthem at a NY Giants game, a NY Jets game and San Francisco Giants game, had their own ten page spread in the September issue of Vogue magazine, performed live across America at the Tony Awards and annual NYC Thanksgiving Day parade amongst countless other TV appearances, met the President of Lithuania, spent time back stage with Hillary Clinton and all while becoming the youngest actors ever to have been awarded both the Oliver Award and Tony Award for best actor in London and New York respectively.

tap shoesIn each show, the performing Billy will wear seven pairs of shoes – one pair of trainers, three pairs of tap shoes, one pair of ballet slippers, one pair of bedroom slippers and one pair of tap covers.

58355Each boy grows out of his shoes at least once, often twice, during his time with Billy Elliot the Musical. Like many speciality shoes, it takes a while to break in, so they try to hang on to them as long as possible.

Olivier-Awards1Billy Elliot the Musical is the winner of 81 awards worldwide including the Laurence Olivier Best Musical Award (London), the Helpmann Award for Best Musical (Australia), ten 2009 Tony Awards including Best Musical (Broadway) as well as multiple Dora Awards (Toronto), and Korea Musical Awards. In 2013, the London production won the prestigious Olivier Audience Award, crowing the show London audience’s favourite musical.


You can win the DVD (until Dec 8, so hurry!)  here.


If There is a Way Into a Mess, There is A Way Out

Oh, no! How did I get into this? How did this happen? My life was ticking along just fine - or maybe not all that fine, but it wasn't like this! It's a disaster!


Does this sound familiar? I'm sure we've all been there. Perhaps that's where you are right now. And if you are, the good news is that if you got into it, you can get out of it. Okay, it's true, there may be some aspects of your situation that you cannot change. If, for example, you're sitting in a car that you just wrapped around an enormous tree a moment ago, you can't rewind about ten seconds and take it all back. After all, life isn't like one big shoelace that you can just undo whenever you want. So you made some choices that have got you all tied up in knots and you don't know where to begin to fix it. First of all, just for a moment, forget where you are.


Forget the fact that you're seriously in the soup and look ahead. Never mind what's wrong just now; what do you want to be right? Come on, push aside all the bits which are upsetting, distressing, disturbing, or fill-in-the-blank. Yes, you CAN. YOU are in control of your thoughts. YOU get to choose what goes on in your head. Your life or the situation may feel out of control at the moment but it's temporary. The only constant is change, so hold onto that knowledge and begin by changing your thoughts.


Set all your worries to one side for a moment. Forget where you are, and see where you want to be. Just close your eyes and focus on what you want. Do NOT think about how you want this or that to stop, because then you're still focusing on what you DON'T want. Be very clear about this. Focus on what you WANT.


This is an extremely important difference and it is vital to your ending up where you want to be as quickly as possible. Firstly, it's because positive thoughts produce hundreds of times more energy than negative ones (so says science), which will make you feel better and get you moving again. Secondly, because the Law of Attraction is at work all the time, whether you're thinking about it or not. So if you focus on what you don't want, you'll only attract more of it.


Once you've got the hang of it, it becomes quite simple to flip negative thoughts into positive ones. Then hold the vision. See what you want. As you're looking to the future and seeing where you want to be, don't be thinking "Thank heaven this situation is over!" - because then you're still focusing on the situation! To demonstrate my point, if you're rushing to get to an important appointment and you're worried that you're going to be late, don't be thinking "I don't want to be late" - because then you're still focusing on being late and you're more likely to trip yourself up with little things that do, in fact, delay you to the point of being late. Instead, be thinking about everything going smoothly so that you arrive on time.


Every time you think of what's wrong, change that feeling, that thought, that image into the vision of what you want and hold onto it for a few moments. Not only will it lift your spirits, it will also keep you focused, feeling positive and moving forward. As for more immediate help with "how to get out of this," find one thing you can do today to take a step toward the way out. Perhaps you've been so distracted by the problem(s), your house is a bit of a disaster or there's a ton of filing or unopened mail waiting for you. Pick just one thing you think you can do today and do it. Make a dent in that mountain of laundry. Tidy up one room. Brush your hair. Something. Anything. Just do one thing that begins to move you toward where you want to be. It doesn't have to be huge - but it can be, if you're up for it.


Do at least one of those 'somethings' every day. If you can do more than one, go for it. That's great! Every one of them will just make you feel better, give you energy. And you know why? Because you'll be taking control of your life again. The more you feel like you're in the driver's seat, the more you'll look through the windscreen and see that vision for your future. Each time you see it, it's not going to seem so far off in the distance. Each time you see it, that vision will become a little clearer. And that will only make it easier for you to know exactly which roads to take and where you need to turn in order to get there.


You might well be in a really enormous mess. But you can unwrap the car from that massive tree trunk. You can get the front end repaired or rebuilt. The tree will heal – and so will you.


Yeah, you got yourself into this. But you can put yourself back behind the wheel and get out of it, too - one mile at a time.


Just see where you want to be. Then hold that vision...


Liberty Forrest is an author contributing to on topics found in her new book "The Power & Simplicity of self-healing" available at online retailers globally now.


Glamping in the Great Outdoors

Warm weather is upon us and that means time to shake the dust off of our camping gear. But what if the very idea of camping sends a shiver of dread down your spine? Love the outdoors, but hate the dirt, the cold, the inconvenience of being away from home?


Luckily, there’s a way to enjoy all that nature offers and still maintain your comfort. Glamping, or glamourous camping, allows you to have your cake…and bake it in an oven, too.


As Australians we are raised to appreciate and respect nature and the outdoors, but for many the idea of roughing it has no appeal. The good news is that a hot shower, heating and even gourmet food are not out of the realms of possibility for some campers. Known as ‘glampers’, they treat camping like it’s a 5 star holiday.


Lionel Mussell from the Australian Caravan Club says modern camping doesn’t mean sacrificing home comforts.


“Once you are settled at a campsite, decking it out with an instant hot water system, a fridge, portable heater and stove couldn’t be easier.


“By travelling with your own caravan or RV, outfitted with a fridge, stove, and hot water run by LP Gas bottles, you’re able to take all the comforts of home with you on the road.”


Glamping is a growing global phenomenon that combines camping with the luxury and amenities of a home or hotel. The range of camping related accessories is extensive enough to satisfy even the fussiest glamper.


“If you think about it, there is nothing you can do at home that you can’t do caravanning!” added Mussell.


It’s not just people that stand to benefit from glamping. By using LP Gas instead of electricity for water, cooking and heating during your travels, you can reduce your greenhouse emissions by a massive 50% to 70%.


Seniors will Overtake Children in global population Figures by 2050

The world's inhabitants in 2012 are an older mix of people than was the case a decade ago, driven by declining fertility and increasing life expectancy. According to new U.S. Census Bureau population projections, by midcentury most world regions, and the United States, will resemble Europe, which in 2005 became the first major world region where the population 65 and older outnumbered those younger than 15.

In the United States, the senior citizen population - those age 65 and older - is projected to grow by 104.3% between mid-year 2012 and 2050. At that point there will be 80.5 million Americans under age 15 and 86.8 million seniors over age 64.

Northern America, which includes Canada and the United States, will have joined Europe in this historic reversal of age group sizes by 2050, as will Asia, Latin America and Oceania (which includes Australia and New Zealand).

Moreover, China is projected to move from having nearly twice as many people in the younger age group than in the older one in 2012, to the opposite situation by midcentury.

These projections come from an update of the Census Bureau's International Data Base, which includes estimates by age and sex to 100 years and older for countries and other areas with populations of 5,000 or more and provides information on population size and growth, mortality, fertility and net migration.

Since April 2012, users of the International Data Base have been able to obtain population in single years of age, allowing them to calculate country-specific populations in particular age groups (e.g. population at selected ages younger than 5, or adolescents).

Between now and the middle of the 21st century, global population will continue aging.

The percentage of population 65 and older will more than double, from 8 percent today to nearly 17 percent in 2050.

This will carry with it well-established changes in the mix of communicable and noncommunicable disease patterns in populations, health care burden, pension systems, the composition and character of the labor force, and other economic variables, such as savings and consumption patterns.

One world region — Africa — will continue to have populations younger than 15 that are much larger than those 65 and older, but even there, the balance will have shifted toward the older group.

Subscribe to this RSS feed