Home' The Chronicle : Canberra Chronicle 27-10-15 Contents Tuesday, October 27, 2015 - 8
Leo Barnard is the winner of the inaugural Pens Against Poverty competition run for Anti-Poverty Week.
Photo: Jay Cronan
Power of the pen in tackling poverty
A cardboard box is my home,
An optimistic attempt at a shelter
That thin walls and poor ventilation
Might be the palace of a god
This is the opening to a poem, A
Palace of a God, by Canberra
Grammar School Year 8 student Leo
Barnard who won the inaugural Pens
Against Poverty competition for
His entry was chosen from more
than 200 from students writing poetry
or prose about homelessness under the
theme of shelter .
My poem was inspired by the
desire to create a real emotional
connection between the reader and
what it might be like to be homeless
and need shelter, which is why I chose
to write it in first-person, Leo said.
I ve always had an interest in
literature and thought that Pens
Against Poverty would be a great way
to write about the issue and to
highlight that the things we might find
mundane and useless are, in fact, very
useful for the homeless.
The entry by Year 7 student Zunaira
Kahn from the Islamic School was
highly commended. Zunaira has been
in Australia for only six months after
he moved here from Pakistan.
The Islamic School won the school
category with winners in several
Entries were judged by award-
winning children s author Jackie
French and Canberra Times journalist
The competition was run as part of
Anti-Poverty Week and attracted
entries from 19 government, Catholic
and independent schools in Canberra.
Jeremy Halcrow, co-chairman of
Anti-Poverty Week ACT and chief
executive of Anglicare, said one aim
of Anti-Poverty Week was to raise
awareness about inequality and
hardship in the national capital.
In Canberra, the lack of adequate
affordable housing is one of the main
causes of poverty, he said.
We wanted young people to not
merely hear difficult truths such as that
Canberra has the second highest rate
of homelessness in the country, but to
create stories in which they may
empathise with the struggles of others
and imagine a better future for all
people, one where we all have a safe
and secure place to live.
The idea for competition arose
when Canberra Grammar Junior
School head Rosalie Reeves and some
teachers were seeking ways to
promote writing among students.
In a place like Canberra, where
many of us live very comfortably, it is
easy to think poverty doesn t exist,
Mrs Reeves said.
Children are often the most
vulnerable and affected in poverty-
affected parts of our community. As
educators whose primary role it is to
care for the well-being of children, it is
an issue we can t ignore.
At the awards ceremony, students
will read their winning entries in
which some have imagined a reality
very different to their own and others
have drawn on personal experiences.
QUEENS ON THE MOVE Mild weather prompts warning to watch for wasps
Professional gardener Mike Bayly,
from Garden's by Mike, and pest
technician Jim Bariesheff, from
Core Enviro Solutions.
Photo: Jeffrey Chan
Canberra gardener Mike Bayly
describes being stung more than 10
times by queen European wasps as
like having a nail punched into your
He is keen to raise awareness after
his horrific experience to ensure
Canberrans watch out for queen wasps
looking for new homes.
Last year, nearly 1000 nests were
reported to the ACT Government s
European wasp hotline, making it the
capital s worst year on record.
By mid-summer, nests could hold
up to several thousand wasps that
became increasingly protective of their
territory, ACT Government invasive
species officer Jenny Conolly warned.
We could be in for another nasty
wasp season, she said.
We ve had a very mild spring with
little rainfall so that favours the queens
leaving hibernation and setting up
their own nests.
Mr Bayly was looking for the
irrigation line in a Forrest garden last
year when he saw two little buzzy
One stung his hand and he realised
it was a European wasp.
Many wasps chased Mr Bayly to his
car and repeatedly stung his face, chest
and arms so aggressively that he
couldn t make it to hospital.
He stumbled into a nearby chemist s
shop where the pharmacist gave him
antihistamines and painkillers.
I was in sheer agony and was
crying, the owner of Gardens by
You feel the extraordinary pain of
the puncture, like someone has
stabbed you with a knitting needle, but
the ache doesn t go away for days.
Seven people have died from wasp
stings in 20 years, mainly allergy
sufferers without their medication.
Horticulturalist Jim Bariesheff, of
Canberra pest and weed management
company CoreEnviro Solutions, is
used to thousands of wasps swarming
around him while treating nests.
He said they were often mistaken
for honeybees. While they are the
same size, wasps are less hairy and
fold their wings back at rest.
Residents are advised to check their
gardens, wall cavities, sheds and roof
and floor voids for signs of nests. If
they find one, they should call a
professional pest controller.
For more tips and information, visit
The construction of the new ACT
courts precinct will not tie up parking
spaces in the city or force the Supreme
Court to temporarily relocate, the
The $150-million project will see
the long out-of-date ACT Supreme
Court building revamped and joined
with the Magistrates and Children s
Courts building to form a four-storey
complex fronting Vernon Circle.
The major project is expected to
create 350 jobs, and capacity for 22
court rooms, up from the current 17.
Eighteen courtrooms will be
immediately available upon the
project s completion.
The government says the new
building will meet the territory s needs
for the next 50 years.
There were fears of significant
disruptions to court proceedings
during the construction of the
complex, and suggestions that
shipping containers could be used as
pop-up style courtrooms in the
But that option is no longer needed,
the government says, as the
consortium selected for the public-
private partnership, the ACT s first,
has found a way to avoid disruptions.
Attorney-General Simon Corbell
said the consortium s proposal also
avoids the use of any car park space
during the construction.
Juris Partnership was announced as
the government s private partner for
the project last week.
It is made up of Laing O Rourke,
Macquarie Capital Group,
Programmed Facility Management,
and Lyons architects.
The new building will seek to
resolve the constant IT issues plaguing
the courts, and Mr Corbell said
computer systems will be modernised
and renewed regularly.
It will also include private rooms for
lawyers to meet with clients, separate
spaces for vulnerable witnesses and
prosecutors, a mediation hub, and
dedicated space for community and
domestic violence services.
Healthy eating's on the menu for these students
St Thomas More's Primary students
learn all about healthy eating from
It was heads down and aprons on at St
Thomas More s Primary School in
Campbell as students feasted on
culinary tips from some of the
country s most talented chefs.
School principal Margaret Pollard
said it was fantastic to see more than
50 students look the part in chefs hats
as the school played host to the
Australian Culinary Federation s
This year s theme to mark
International Chefs day was Healthy
Kids- Healthy Future.
Student from years 3-6 took part in
workshops about balanced meals,
using a colour chart profile for healthy
It was great to see the children
having so much fun today while
learning the importance of good eating
habits from professional chefs," Ms
President of the Australian Culinary
Federation, Neil Abrahams said
Nestle was hosting more than 80
similar events around the planet.
The ACF are proud to have been
involved in International Chefs Day to
encourage a love of cooking in our
future generation of young chefs.
"It was great to see the children
learning about healthy eating through
cooking, they especially enjoyed
creating the healthy recipes and loved
their chefs hats, he said.
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