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Biologist Searches Remote South Pacific Island for Slime Molds

Friday, August 02, 2019

Norfolk Island is an isolated island in the South Pacific located between New Zealand and Australia. The island is quite small, with a total area of only about 14 square miles. Norfolk Island is known for two things. First, it is the native habitat for a tree known as the Norfolk Island pine, which is widely planted throughout subtropical and tropical areas of the world. Second, the descendants of the Tahitians and the mutineers from the HMS Bounty (from the famous incident referred to as "mutiny on the Bounty") were resettled on Norfolk Island from Pitcairn Island in 1856.

The first known inhabitants of Norfolk Island were Polynesians, but they were not present when Captain James Cook "discovered" the island in 1774. Great Britain first settled Norfolk Island a few years later in 1788. The island served as a convict penal settlement during much of the period between 1788 and the middle of the 19th century. At the present time, the population of the island is approximately 1,700, and the largest town is named Burnt Pine. 

Steve Stephenson, a research professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, and his wife Barbara, an instructor in the Department of Mathematical Sciences, spent two weeks on Norfolk Island in June. The purpose of their visit was to survey for myxomycetes (commonly referred to as slime molds). No previous survey for this group of fungus-like organisms had been carried out on the island.

Stephenson has been interested in long-distance dispersal and the biogeography of myxomycetes on isolated islands, and previous expeditions have taken him to Macquarie Island in the Southern Ocean, Ascension Island in the Atlantic Ocean, and Christmas Island in the Indian Ocean.

 Stephenson's studies of myxomycetes over the past 40 years have taken him to all seven continents, and he has collected these organisms in every major type of terrestrial ecosystem. He is the author or coauthor of thirteen books and more than 400 book chapters and papers published in scientific journals. Many of these deal with the distribution, ecology and biology of myxomycetes.

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EULOGY - Nicholas Andrew - 1969-2019

Friday, May 24, 2019

The following is the Eulogy for Nick Andrew, peacefully laid to rest on Tuesday 21st May 2019.

This is a joint family collaboration about the life of Nick, our son and brother, written by Rosemary, Michael, Sylvan and Cassie. The following is an account of Nick's life relayed in the words of his Sister, Cassie.

Possibly not so many of you knew Nick well; he was quiet and reserved. For the people that truly knew my brother, you would remember the deep sense of humour he occasionally displayed, the loyalty and absolute love he had for his family and the affection he had for animals, especially his beloved dog Nitro. Nick was kind and thoughtful and a good friend. He moved to Norfolk Island on the 9th May 2007, some 12 years ago. He passed away as quietly as he had lived, without fuss.

Nick was born in the downstairs front room of the family home in Bedford, England. A home birth was common practice in England as the birth was expected to be without complications for our mother, Rosemary. He was born in the early hours of a very cold winter February morning, delivered by a midwife.

Our father Mike was an Australian from Melbourne, living in London when Mum first met him (Mum says she thought he was a bit annoying when they first met, loud and brash, until she discovered the more ‘cultured’ side of him). Dad wanted to say a few words: please know that my son was a contented man who loved the work he did, especially where he lived where no one could disturb him, unless he wanted the company. He was unbelievably reliable, helpful and kind. He had no financial worries, a permanent job, loved all of us and knew we all loved him. He felt whatever he did here meant something to others. Yes, it is very sad that he went too soon, but he was neither miserable, unhealthy, nor hurting in any way when he did. Our hurt, grief, and pain comes from simply missing him.

Nick's early upbringing was spent in Chiswick, London, and travelling by Ferry to go on holidays to the Isle of Wight where his maternal grandparents lived. In 1975, Michael, Rosemary and Nick moved to Ankara in Turkey as Dad was on assignment working as a Computer Engineer for the Turkish Army. Nick was schooled at the French Embassy School; he was not quite fluent in French, but his Turkish language comprehension was impressive. The school was across the road from their apartment and when it snowed in winter, Nick took ages walking home, gathering and rolling a huge snowball as he sauntered along. There is a photo of him in yellow moonboots, so toasty when snow fell.

Because of visa restrictions, an exit & re-entry from Turkey every 6 months was necessary. So it was back and forth to England, via France or Italy where Dad's parents lived. Or for a change, an exit and re-entry via Syria or Iran or Afghanistan; countries which were safe to travel in then. A highlight for Nick was always the border between countries, with the barrier signs 'STOP!  HALT!' and armed guards patrolling with real rifles!

Mum and Dad tell stories of how they travelled on these long drives with Nick playing so happily in the back seat of their old Volvo, Nick lining up his toy soldiers from various battalions having battles in the back window. No seat belts then!

In 1978 Dad was homesick for Australia, so the family relocated to Sydney. Mum was expecting Sylvan at this time, so it made sense to leave then. The family moved to Marsfield, and lived in a real Aussie neighbourhood of boys Nick's age. Nick had a very strong British accent, His friends’ parents praised him for his pronunciation. When hearing Nick's accent now….who would have guessed that?  Nick went to Normanhurst Boys High School. He was fanatic about sports; swimming, tennis, football…whatever. He played Aussie Rules for Pennant Hills, followed the Cronulla Sharks and the Demons, but his true love was for Essendon Bombers; he remained true to them through thick and thin. Much to Dad’s regret because Dad could never forgive the bombers beating St Kilda in the 1965 Grand Final.

Nick’s Brother Sylvan was born in 1978 with a 9 year age gap between them. However, that made no difference, they became the best of friends. Sylvan wants you all to know the following about his brother: A friend of the family sent me the condolences ‘Nick was a stand out guy with few words but a great heart.’ I think that’s a pretty good description of my brother Nick, other than the saying ‘still waters run deep’. Nick and I would spend a lot of time with each other sometimes barely saying a word and often when I left to go home I had the strange feeling it was one of the best conversations I had. The two of us had a special connection where often we didn’t need to speak and just hanging out watching tv together was more than enough. Maybe people don’t understand that but for me it was one of the most special things in the world a person could have and I’ll miss that special bond beyond words.

My brother was always a gentleman, he was kind, and he had a beautiful gentle soul. He was quiet and reflective, but he also knew how to have a good time. Some of my best memories are with him after drinking too many beers and watching the sun come up after a big night out. Some of his worst memories with me would probably be the time I gave him wrong directions and we ended up driving through South Central Los Angeles in a bright painted rental car. I was lucky enough to have many adventures with my brother and I would have liked and expected to have had many more with him.

Nick was always a bit of a dark horse and someone to look up to for me growing up and always will be. He drove a Torana, was a star at AFL, surfed, bmx-ed and had an awesome 80’s mullet at one stage. But I knew he could converse in Turkish and French and he told me once that he remembered how scary Iranian border guards were. One of the family jokes is about how one day when Dad was working overseas and was suddenly being questioned by an intimidating Turkish solider who kept repeating a question in Turkish aimed at my Dad who couldn’t understand him. Nick who was there and was very young, piped up and said to Dad, “he is asking if you would like a cup of tea or coffee?”  But that was Nick too, he was always very humble and free of ego. Every time we retold the story he would pretend he couldn’t remember it, but his special smirk said he did.

He was the greatest and most beautiful caring brother a person could have. A part of me hopes I’ll stay forever in shock because the thought that he really has gone sometimes is too much.

Nick loved Norfolk Island and the Community very much. I know he had some of the happiest days of his life here. Thank you to his friends and to the Community for the incredible compassion and kindness you have shown my family during this time.

I am Nick's sister Cassie, born in 1983.. Having a little sister with a 14 year age gap was never a problem to Nick, he always went to his little sister's girlie birthday parties. I have very fond moments of him arriving at these parties, me in pink from head to toe with excited girlfriends in best birthday dresses and Nick rocking up as a 20 year old cool dude with the latest girlfriend; he was never embarrassed, always very proud of his little sister.

My brothers Nick and Sylvan and I had what only close siblings can describe as a tight bond that was shared only amongst the three of us. Nick and I took immense pleasure in ganging up and teasing Sylvan - that was "our thing" - often over his particular clothing style. Then Nick and Sylvan had a brotherly bond in finding it humorous to retell stories of how they teased me or picked on me as the very much annoying younger sister. When we were together as siblings, which wasn't very often over the last few years, we loved it without even having to mention it.....Sylvan and I know how very deeply special these 'meet ups;' were for Nick, as Nick loved us very much and vice versa.

This remained a constant throughout his whole life, Nick didn't forget anyone's birthday, Mother’s Day or Father’s Day. He could always outdo Sylvan and I with the best worded and most thoughtful cards. His gifts were always wrapped so perfectly in the Sydney Morning Herald.

In Nick's adult years, he worked for Hornsby Council for over 16 years. Mostly outdoor maintenance, He loved concreting for some reason. He made loyal firm friends there, but left for Norfolk Island in 2007 to be with his family and help Dad with the Chook Farm. Nick only left Norfolk once in the twelve years he lived here. This was for a short catch up with his friends, particularly Jim and Nerida. And we are thankful that Nerida and her brother Matt who went to school with Nick, are here with us today. The main reason for not leaving for a holiday sooner was his fear of leaving Dad to 'muck up the eggs' and he also had a small fear of flying.

Nick loved and was loved by his sister-in-law Marielle, and he absolutely adored his three nephews, River, Lukas and Seth. He became great friends with my husband Kenny (which was a bit of an honour for Kenny, as Nick was very much my protective older brother). He also adored my children, his nephew Jimmy Nicholas and his only niece Rosie.

It would be remiss not to mention that Nick was besotted by his succession of dogs, Floyd, Pigsy, Kero and now Nitro. Nick always took Nitro on egg deliveries, he was definitely his best friend. Nick also kindly took on two of my cats at different times, he pretended he wasn't too happy about it, but secretly loved being asked to help out. Plus he had two pet ducks...Darth & Vader. The ducks accidentally became his pets when he fed them one night....they just kept pecking at his window, night after night until he relented.

We will all take comfort in his humour and family time memories we all shared together. Nick's passing was sudden, but he didn't have any prior pain, he was peacefully asleep.

We would like to thank on behalf of the Andrew Family, my husband Kenny, who has been The Incredible Rock to us all. Above and beyond anything asked for or even thought of. Thank you to our extended family, the Christians, for all their love and support. We know that our extended family in both Holland and Guernsey are with us in thoughts at this sad time as well. Thank you to Sam Sheridan for being there within 5 minutes after Dad needed him to help at the Chook Farm at short notice. For Nick's usual hang out at the RSL, for the Thursday night footy tips, thank you to all his buddies. Thanks to my Wilde Rose team for being there for me and to our clients for their understanding of my absence. Parks and Wildlife for allowing Kenny to be our Rock for the last few weeks. I want to thank all the places Nick delivered eggs to over the years. He loved his customers. Over the last few weeks I have taken on the role as Egg Farmer and it is so humbling to find out how you all felt about Nick's passing and how much he will be missed. Thank you for telling me your stories of Nick & Nitro's egg deliveries. Mark Hayes for helping us at the Chook Farm. Candice for giving Nitro a really good pampering session. The St. John Ambulance team. The Hospital Staff. The Radio Station Staff. The kindness and compassion shown by the Norfolk Island Police Force (especially the 'tall one'). We could not have coped without your calm reassuring manner and diplomacy. Rev. David Fell from the Church of England for his kind words, knowledge and advice. Tardy for driving the hearse. Shane, Dean and The Grave Diggers. The Pall Bearers. The lovely ladies at the Usual Place. Jodie for the beautifully put together program, and Milton for the P.A. System.

I apologise if we have forgotten anyone.... everyone has been just so unbelievably kind, we have had so many offers of help; it has been amazing and comforting to know we are in your thoughts... Lastly to the most wonderful community that is Norfolk Island, for your kindness, kind thoughts, and generous offers of has been truly overwhelming! Thank you and Bless You All.


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Murwillumbah Philharmonic Choir Visit Norfolk Island

Friday, May 10, 2019

What a wonderful pleasure it has been for Rebecca, Maria and all at the Norfolk Island Travel Centre to welcome a group of fifty five singers and supporters of the Murwillumbah Philharmonic Choir to the Island this week. Not only are they enjoying a holiday together in this their 40th Birthday year, but also performing for the local community and visitors.

For those who attended their performance of Treasured Shores – Norfolk and Tweed on Wednesday afternoon they were treated to a simply lovely time, enjoying both classical and modern songs within the peaceful atmosphere and beauty of St. Barnabas Chapel. Thanks go to David Rogers for the use and set up of his keyboard and amp and helping with rehearsals and performances. Great thanks also to the choir themselves who arranged for this to be a charity performance for The Sunshine Club by donating all the ticket proceeds.

This Sunday the choir will also perform prior to a Combined Church Service at All Saints Church starting at 4.30pm. At this performance it has been agreed that all the collection proceeds will go to Youth Ministry on Norfolk Island. Sincere thanks to David Fell for arranging for both performances, and also Elaine Sanders at the Uniting Church for supporting this Sunday’s performance. Further generosity from our community has come from David at Eldoo, donating the use of a van for the group to use during the week.

We certainly hope that everyone in the group has enjoyed their holiday together. Your generosity in performing for us as well as donating to our local charities has been very much appreciated. From all at the Norfolk Island travel centre we hope your final days on Norfolk are relaxed and happy, and wish you a safe journey back home on Tuesday.

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Meet Dr Jamie Christie - Independent for Bean

Friday, March 29, 2019

I've never been a member of any political party, or even been to a political meeting.

I've been a salaried community hospital doctor for 30 years.

I'm resigning to stand as an Independent in the Federal Election in the ACT.

I know a bit about Canberra.

I don't know much about Norfolk Island, but I'm coming to try and find out.

I'll be at 

The Bowling Club Tuesday April 2nd 

The Paradise Deck Wednesday April 3rd

The RSL Thursday April 4th 

from 5:30 -7:30, or longer if people want to talk.

Hope to meet you there.

Jamie Christie

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Bernie 90th Birthday

Thursday, March 07, 2019

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Meet Clive and Lorelle Plater

Friday, July 06, 2018

Clive and Lorelle have been regular visitors to Norfolk since 1984 and were recently here for Bounty Day, their 16th time to Norfolk and their forth in as many years. Clive and Lorelle are great supporters of Norfolk Islanders in their quest for self-determination. Many readers may be familiar through Facebook with the signs they have erected on their 10 acre property at Eudlo, Queensland. Clive also takes every opportunity available to write letters and articles for local newspapers to raise awareness of the issues facing Norfolk Islanders.

Clive and Lorelle were first attracted to Norfolk because it was a safe place to bring young children. On their first visit their daughter was three years old and Clive’s mother and father came along. A son had come along by the 1988 visit then four grandchildren by the family’s 2013 visit for Clive’s 60th birthday. Clive said, ‘Norfolk is like home to us, especially with all the friends we have made over recent years having spent many hours at the ‘Tent Embassy’ during our past three visits’.

A highlight of this year’s visit was viewing construction of one of the new lighters by John Christian-Bailey and his team. ‘No matter how many times one visits Norfolk there is always something to see, I have taken thousands of photos over the years and say on each visit that I won’t need to take many photos but 2018 saw another 600 photos taken’, Clive said.

Clive retired from civil engineering in October 2017 after 47 years in the industry and Norfolk is now ‘locked in’ for an annual visit. For 2019 Clive and Lorelle are planning to commemorate ANZAC Day on Norfolk. One of Clive’s uncles was killed in World War II and for the past 30 years Clive has driven veterans in one of his Jeeps at the Nambour ANZAC Day parade but he has ‘taken leave’ for a few years to experience ANZAC Day at other locations.

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