AS IT COULD BE: An artist’s impression of the Market Street lawn, its signal box and the light rail.STATE government plans to redevelop the old heavy rail lineare taking shape with a development application being lodged to reshape almost a hectare of corridor known as the Market Street Lawn.
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AS IT IS: People gathered on the corridor near the signal box, with the old tracks landscaped over. Images: UrbanGrowth.

Revitalising Newcastle program director Michael Cassel said the proposal lodged with Newcastle City Council would transform this section of corridor, linking Scott Street and the Hunter Street mall with Queens Wharf.

The plan included the planting of 100 trees –many of them mature –together with landscaping, a paved plaza, a water feature and a restored, heritage-listed signal box, which could be used as a cafe or something similar.

AS IT WAS: The old rail lines, pictured from the recently moved Market street pedestrian bridge to Queens Wharf.

“As we saw with the twilight fiesta event in December, there’s an appetite to use this space for community events and as a gathering space,” Mr Cassel said. “I’m confident that once it’s fully landscaped and attractive, people will genuinely love using it.”

But while the park preserves the open nature of the corridor, plans for an “affordablehousing” block on a section of line west of Merewether Street are causing arguments even before they have been formally announced.

Mr Cassel unveiled the affordable housing proposalat a recent meeting of Newcastle City Council’s building better cities committee.

The proposal involves pooling$3 million of unused council funds with money from the Hunter Development Corporation to build a block that would then be managed by a community housing organisation.

Greens councillor and building better cities committee member Therese Doyle says the committee was “steamrolled” into endorsing the proposal, which she alone voted against.

“It’s an attempt to force the council’s hand by counterposing public transport with public housing, just as happened with the university proposal,” Cr Doyle said.

Asked about it on Friday, Mr Cassel’sonly comment was to say:“We are considering investigating a affordable housing solution and will be making an announcement in the coming weeks.”

On the Market Street park, Mr Cassel said some of the trees would be planted in “linear clusters”, representing the old heavy rail carriages that once ran on the corridor. There would be a light rail stop outsidethe park.

More than half of the corridor from Worth Place east was proposed as open space.

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Formula One drivers have expressed concern that radical changes to the cars this season won’t necessarily guarantee more overtaking, despite expectations that up to five seconds could be shaved from lap times.
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On the eve of the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne, Red Bull star Daniel Ricciardo has revealed he and his colleagues are still unsure how overtaking will be affected behind the wheel of the revamped vehicles that now boast fatter tyres, more down force and lower rear wings.

A lack of overtaking has long been an Achilles heel of Formula One, while non-competitiveness in the Constructors’ Championship has plagued the sport in recent seasons.

And while Ricciardo was hopeful season 2017 would be a genuine three-horse race between his Red Bull, reigning champions Mercedes and the vastly improved Ferrari, the Perth native wasn’t quite as optimistic about the potential for more overtaking.

“Everyone’s, I would say, a little bit nervous about it,” Ricciardo told Fairfax Media.

“There’s actually a bit more drag on the car because of the aerodynamics. They may be even a little bit slower on the straight, to the human eye that won’t be visible, but the cornering speeds will be visible and that’s going to be where we make up all the time.

“Because the car in front is producing more, let’s say, down force through the corner and because you’re going faster the air is probably coming off the car, let’s say, more aggressively, violently.

“The chance of that affecting the car behind is stronger, naturally, just because of the speed. It’s probably natural that it will create a bit more disturbance for the car behind, we’re hoping that it won’t be too much.

“In the last years it’s still been OK to follow another car. Sure, you do suffer a bit but we’ve still been able to overtake, there’s been some great racing.

“We’re hoping it’s a small percentage and not a big one. We feel that there will be something but I think we’ll still be able to overtake and I think things like DRS [drag reduction system] and that helps, and things like me enjoying a good late braking move will come into favour.”

Three-time champion and Mercedes linchpin Lewis Hamilton this week claimed Ferrari were favourites to win the Constructors’ championship, despite the Italian giants finishing a whopping 367 points adrift last season in third spot.

Ferrari duo Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen are tipped to take giant strides this year after impressing in pre-season testing, but Vettel still believes Mercedes are the benchmark as they chase a fourth-straight title.

Ricciardo agrees with Hamilton that Ferrari will be the big movers this year suggesting they may have already gone past Red Bull, and was hopeful he and teammate Max Verstappen could keep up.

“Ferrari have come out swinging, at least in testing, so it looks like they’re going to be there at least for the first part of the year,” Ricciardo said.

“Mercedes were always going to be there and I think us, I think we’ll be there this weekend but even if we’re not on their level, I definitely believe in our development so we’re going to be there at some point.

“We’ve learned that Ferrari’s quick, Mercedes is going to be quick. They’re the two top dogs at the moment. We’re not far off but we’ve still got a lot of room to grow.

“I’d like to think it [the gap] is less than half a second, it’s hard to say. I don’t think we executed a perfect day of testing, I don’t think we got to show even ourselves our true potential.

“I would be surprised if it’s not a three-horse race.”

Ricciardo and 19-year-old Verstappen are on the verge of their first full season as teammates at Red Bull. Verstappen began last year at Red Bull’s other team Toro Rosso, but switched with Daniil Kvyat after four rounds and made an instant impact, becoming the youngest ever driver to win a Grand Prix when he saluted at Spain on debut for his new team.

The partnership looks Red Bull’s most stable yet after the shaky relationship between Mark Webber and Vettel in years gone by.

“Everyone’s kind of curious how it’s going to play out, you’ve got this young driver who’s expected to win world championships and then there’s me who’s also expected to win one,” Ricciardo said.

“I don’t think necessarily one of us will sink, one of us will swim. I think we’re both going to swim and push each other to hopefully really high levels.

“It’s cool, I like that, the attention and the pressure it puts on both of us. I kind of feel like we’re both the calibre of drivers who thrive off that.

“I believe we are the best driver line-up on the grid. I believe that and I believe the team recognise that, so it’s kind of like motivating and encouraging for everyone that’s involved in it.

“It’s just a good competition. As long as we keep respecting that, sure we’ll race hard but I don’t see fireworks.”

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NEWCASTLE LaborCouncillor Declan Clausen has accusedhis Liberal Party opponents of “gross hypocrisy”after an expense report revealed former councillor Lisa Tierney claimed almost $800 in carer bills during her time at city hall.
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But Liberal Brad Luke has dismissed the claim as “rubbish”and criticised Cr Clausen’s own spending habits, pointing out that the first-term councillorhas racked up the thirdhighest expense costof any ward councillor despite only being elected at the start of 2015.

It comes asfigures to be tabled at next week’s meetingshow the city’s local representatives have racked up a $250,000 expense bill since the 2012 election. By far the biggest spender was Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes, whose $62,000 billequalled aquarter of the perks claimed in the last four years.

Cr Nelmes defended her higher spend, saying the Lord Mayor’s job was“more than full-time job” and her claims were “in line with most preceding mayors”.

The figures were produced at the request of Cr Clausen after recent criticism of Cr Nelmes’spending habits.

In February Cr Luke criticised Cr Nelmes for charging ratepayers $241for childcare while on an overseas junket to Singapore. In March, before her resignation,Ms Tierney accused the lord mayor of“an excessive misuse of council funds to pay for overseas trips”.

But Cr Clausen has used the expense figures to hit back. In an opinion piece published in the Newcastle Heraldhe accused Ms Tierney of “gross hypocrisy”, saying she “used more than three times the mayor’s amount for childcare, despite only attending 60 per centof council meetings”.

“Rather than champion women in local government, Cr Tierney was happy to bill ratepayers almost $800 for childcare and then let her conservative colleague’s deride the Lord Mayor for using far less,” he wrote.

But Cr Luke dismissed the criticism, arguinghe had only said “the public wouldn’t support claiming childcare while on an overseas,councilpaid trip”.

“My comment was solely about claiming childcare while on an overseastrip,that’s very different,” he said.

Cr Clausen also took aim at Cr Luke for having the highest expenses of any ward councillor –$22,655 – accusing him of “lazy politics”.

“Brad Luke is a frequent critic of councillor expenses, particularly for overseas travel [but] despite this, Cr Luke has been one of the largest users of travel entitlements, charging ratepayers a $5,790 for his trips,” he wrote.

Cr Luke said Cr Clausen’s criticism was “surprising”, given his own expenses–$19,500 –were higher than many councillors who served a whole term.

“I’m surprised Declan is the one who asked for the report when the only thing that stands out to me is that his expenses are the same as everyone else’s even though he’s only been on the council half the time,” he said.

But Cr Clausen said a“significant amount” of expenses like the cost of a council mobile, iPad and printer, were fixed.

“Additionally, early in my term I undertook a Company Director course at the urging of the former General Manager,” he said.

“I understand that Crs Luke, Dunn, Osborne, Tierney, Waterhouse and Nelmes had also completed this course.”

Ms Tierney, who did not comment on Cr Nelmes’ carer expenses when the issue was printed on the front page of a Sydney News Corporation tabloid, said Cr Clausen was “diverting ratepayers attention away from the real issue”, of “misuse of ratepayer funds on excessive overseas trips”.

“The way to avoid overseas expenses is to avoid overseas travel,” he said.

“I was not concerned about councillors accessing childcare if needed within policy however I was concerned with the amount of international travel voted and approved at council meetings [including] travel to Geneva, Ecuador, Singapore and the U.S,” she said.

“Overseas travel should be avoided by local councils.

“There are many ways to connect and access innovation without sending staff and councillors across the world.”

Under council rules, councillors are allowed to claim up to $6000 per year in carer expenses.

The rule was introduced to encourage women and other under-represented groups in local government.

But Cr Luke said he didn’t believe“average ratepayers” would have access to the same benefits.

“Do most workplaces get babysitting paid for in order to go to work?,” he said.

“Ithink any political body needs to be careful that the things paid for them are the type of things that would normally be paid for in a workplaceenvironment.

“Weneed to be very careful of giving ourselves benefits that ratepayerswould not normally get.”

Greens Councillor Therese Doyle –who has claimed $14,172 since 2012 –said his comments showed he “didn’t understand the point” of civic office, and said the rules were vital to “give women the opportunityto participate in civic office”.

“The reality is that women stillhave the most responsibilityfor the care of children,” she said.

“I’m not going to complain about anybody claiming childcare benefits, in fact it’s something I want to champion.

“It means being able to represent people if you’re someone who isn’t a developer or someone with a lot of money …it’s about who has access.”

Cr Nelmes declined to comment on the carers issue –other than to say shewas “supportive of mothers or fathers or carers on council” –and that the expense was “a legitimate claim”.

She said that her higher proportion of expense claims had only eventuated after becoming lord mayor.

“My expenses as a councillor are 8 per centand 6.6 per centof the total allocation,” she said.

“As Lord Mayor they reflect the full time role as opposed to a councillor role that can be at minimum only 10 hours per month.”

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Time has moved on but the Hotel Corones is still a sight to behold.In its heyday it was the hub of Charleville society, where life was a swirl of cocktail parties, women in gowns, balls and toasts to the king.
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It has had its ups and downs since then, but the grand old Hotel Corones is still standing proud and, under new owners Bob and Marion Branson, is looking ahead.

The pub, which opened in 1929, was built by Harry “Poppa” Corones, who had risen from a poor 17-year-old migrant to be the first Greek hotel licensee in Australia.

It was built in the days when Australia still rode on the sheep’s back and woolgrowers were men of astonishing wealth.

The author Mary Durack, who was part of that world, described them as “kings in grass castles”. Some of them even lived in the hotel, leaving their properties in the hands of their managers and only venturing out to inspect their properties now and then.

The pub also had a close association with the early days of flight in Australia.

Guests included English solo aviator Amy Johnson, who had a champagne bath there during a stop on her celebrated 1930 England-Australia flight. Poppa being Poppa, nobody was shocked when later he rebottled the 16 bottles of bubbly.

When Sir Hudson Fysh and others decided to form an airline, later known as Qantas, several of their meetings were held at Corones. It was at Poppa’s suggestion that five of the first seven planes were named after the mythological Greek figures Hippomenes, Atalanta, Perseus, Hermes and Pegasus.

Corones was also one of Qantas’s earliest caterers. When planes stopped to refuel at Charleville, Poppa laid on silver-service feasts in the hangar, bringing out the food and staff from the hotel.

During World War II, when US servicemen occupied the local aerodrome and hospital, Poppa held dances every night.

Other guests included Blighty’s favourite songstress, Gracie Fields, who once warbled for the locals in the foyer before sliding down the banister for an encore.

Visitors can get a feel for those glory days on one of the popular tours conducted by guides from by the Charleville Visitor Information Centre.

These take two hours and go behind the scenes to areas not available to the public. On completion there’s an afternoon tea of scones, jam and cream.

A particularly impressive feature of the pub is its glorious bar.

With its Roman mosaic floor, egg-shell mottled tiled walls and counters, and stained glass windows, it still attracts a few handfuls of regulars, says Marion, although she admits the couple are focused at the moment on getting the accommodation and restaurant side of things back on track.

The historic public bar is a cool and refreshing place to bend your elbow

“It’s been a huge undertaking,” said Marion, who bought the pub with Bob in January last year.

“We couldn’t open it until March. The doors had been shut for 14 months and there was a lot of work to do.”

Since then the couple, with the initial help of their daughter and son-in-law, have done a power of work getting the accommodation back in top-top condition.

Upstairs Corones has 25 hotel rooms, reached via a majestic Queensland maple staircase that was rebuilt after the 1990 flood.

They include classic and original rooms with or without ensuite, and a heritage VIP suite complete with a kitchenette and private balcony.

There are also motel rooms with ensuite bathrooms, plus parking outside the door.

The Bransons also pride themselves on the good, hearty and affordable meals provided by chef Angela Keleher. Grey nomads are especially welcome.

The dining room is open for lunch and dinner seven days a week and pizza three nights a week – you can check out the menu at the website, 梧桐夜网hotelcorones.net419论坛

If you’re heading for Longreach and the Australian Stockman’s Hall of Fame from south-eastern Queensland, Charleville is just a one-hour diversion from the highway at Morven.

While there, drop in at the fascinating Cosmos Centre and Observatory and spend an evening gazing at the planets and stars amid crystal-clear conditions.

In Graham Andrews Parklands, you can check out the two remaining Steiger Vortex Rainmaking Guns, an oddity ordered by official meteorologist Clement “Inclement” Wragge in a failed, desperate bid to break the 1902 drought.

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Celebrity chef Bill Granger lists his Tamarama homeHelen Nugent $15 million Bellevue Hill mansionIs Seaforth the best-kept secret on Sydney’s Northern Beaches?
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The Balgowlah Heights beachside neighbourhood has long lured more than its fair share of corporate Australia’s heavyweights, with the high-end sales to show for it.

And this weekend sees the launch of one of the suburb’s best homes to the market with a $10 million asking price on behalf of Macquarie Bank’s senior executive Michael Cook and his wife Barbara.

The couple paid $8 million for the Forty Baskets Beach property in late 2013 from Manly businessman Ian Miller and his wife Jennifer, setting a suburb record at the time. That record was toppled, however, the following year when Caltex chief Julian Segal topped that when he purchased a few doors away for $8.5 million.

Since then the Cooks have undertaken an extensive renovation, making more of the lower levels and adding high-end finishes throughout.

Amid downsizing plans locally, the couple have listed the six-bedroom residence with a swimming pool with Michael Clarke and Cherie Humel, of Clarke & Humel Property, who are taking expressions of interest.

At that price level the most recent comparable sale locally is the $11 million paid last year for the Belgiorno-Nettis family’s long-held modernist home in Clontarf that was bought by Madina Tao and Mongkol Phara, of Cambodia’s ruling families.

In Seaforth, a contemporary mansion on a double block sold for $10 million in late 2015 to Chinese businessman Zhengxing Wang.

Michael Cook’s Balgowlah Heights beachfront home.

The couple paid $8 million for the Forty Baskets Beach property in late 2013 from Manly businessman Ian Miller and his wife Jennifer, setting a suburb record at the time.

The Cooks have listed the six-bedroom residence with a swimming pool with Michael Clarke and Cherie Humel, of Clarke & Humel Property.

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