Roller derby boom in south-eastern suburbs

Roller derby player and coach Erin Beckett.

Roller derby is gaining popularity in the south-eastern suburbs of Melbourne with three leagues within 10 kilometres making the sport easily accessible for young women.

Erin Beckett, a member of South Sea Roller Derby based in Springvale and East Vic Roller Derby based in Dandenong, said roller derby is popular in the local area as it is “one of those sports and exercises that’s coming along in great booms and something that’s also affordable for middle class people.”

The availability of rinks in Mordialloc, Springvale and Dandenong also contributes to the sport’s increasing popularity in the local area, said Ms Beckett.

The first league in the local area, Kingston City Rollers, was founded in 2009, with neighbouring teams East Vic Roller Derby and South Sea Roller Derby formed shortly after.

According to the 2016 Australian Government’s ‘Girls Make Your Move‘ campaign, young women are twice as likely to be physically inactive than young men due to barriers including self-consciousness and the fear of being judged due to appearance or skills.

One of the primary barriers to female sport participation is feeling uncomfortable exercising in the presence of males, according to the 2016 Physical Activity and Sport Participation Campaign Insights Report, making the female-oriented nature of roller derby appealing for women.

Being a female-dominated sport, roller derby provides a “sense of being together with other females and coming together and accepting who we are and what we look like,” said Ms Beckett.

As a coach of the Junior Derby Program, Ms Beckett said team members may be “very shy and quiet at school and then they come down to training and are completely different.”

With the initiation of a Junior Derby Program in 2016 based in Dandenong for children between 8 and 17, girls and young women who would otherwise not engage in physical activity due to self-consciousness or other factors have the opportunity to participate in a predominantly female sport that encourages body positivity in the local area.

Gemma Duncan, a member of East Vic Roller Derby and founding coach of the Junior Derby Program said she had previously never played sport and was drawn to it because it had “more agency” than other traditionally feminine sports.

Roller derby is “something different- it’s very good exercise”, and provides an alternative to male-driven sport that is also easily accessible in the south-eastern suburbs, said Miss Duncan.

“It’s really good for young girls to see these strong, positive role models with all these different body shapes and I love that everyone is useful in roller derby,” said Miss Duncan, who founded the program for children and teenagers with the purpose of showing them “something different and something positive”.




Electricity price rise expected

Electricity prices are set to rise with the closure of the Hazelwood Power Station, resulting in the loss of 2500 jobs announced at the opening of the largest wind farm in Australia, said the Minister for Energy and Resources.

The Latrobe Valley power station provided 75 per cent of Victoria’s energy supply and was the “biggest greenhouse emitter in the country,” said Lily D’Ambrosio, the Minister for Energy and Resources.

The station’s 2500 workers’ have lost their jobs, and will be retrained “to skill them for jobs in this new carbon-free country.”

Balliang Wind Farm is proposed to provide 200 jobs for locals and power for 200,000 homes for a “cleaner, greener world” by reducing Victorian gas emissions by 8 per cent annually, said Ms D’Ambrosia.

Locals objected to the construction of the wind farm, with 4000 people protesting its proximity to homes in December last year after its announcement in October.






Cat “a fireball” in vet’s worst case of cat cruelty

A cat set alight and described as a fireball is the worst case of cat abuse he has witnessed, says a Keysborough vet.

The feline had been brought to Keysborough Veterinary Practice, South Eastern Victoria, suffering critical injuries after being “doused in some sort of accelerant- probably petrol or kerosene”. It had been set on fire behind Parkmore Shopping Centre late one Saturday night in a horrific act of animal cruelty.

Gemma, a cat adopted from the RSPCA after suffering abuse.

Dr Chris Boemo treated the cat which had “lost a lot of skin progressively over three or four days”, and he had believed the animal “may well survive”, despite substantial injuries.

The cat remained unclaimed and was eventually euthanised, “because of the condition that the cat might eventually suffer from”, said Dr Boemo in reference to incontinence.

The offenders were not identified and could not be charged.

Abuse such as this is not common as “most people respect their animals”, according to Dr Boemo.

In Victoria 2014-2015, over 3,000 felines received by the RSPCA were euthanised, including 527 cats which were euthanised due to medical reasons, such as the prevention of suffering as in the case Dr Boemo cited.

RSPCA Victoria investigated over 10,000 reports of animal cruelty between 2014 and 2015, with the state having the highest rate of charged offenders nationally.

According to the RSPCA’s most recent statistics published in August, over 1,600 reports of cat welfare concerns have been received in the 2015-2016 period so far.

The RSPCA employs Inspectors authorised under the ‘Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act‘ who are responsible for the investigation of reported abuse and the enforcement of the Act, according to Animal Welfare Policy Manager Mhairi Roberts.

If members of the public witness animal cruelty they are urged to report it to the RSPCA, “we strongly encourage people to report cruelty to us,” said Ms Roberts.


Monash students’ construction frustration


The constant thumping and drilling of library building works is causing frustration for Caulfield campus students.

The noise has impacted on students’ ability to focus during classes over the past year, “it’s so loud you have to stop,” said student Leonor Gausachs.

Constant rearranging of book collections in the library has caused students significant difficulty in locating relevant subject material, “it’s hard to have to go and find my way again,” said Ms Gausachs.

Access to walkways and bridges as a means of travelling between classes has been disrupted by construction, “it’s annoying for circulation”, particularly for classes in buildings near the library.

Caulfield student Briana Johnston found the library construction “rather frustrating” and found the noise levels “really distracting”, stating that it has impacted her learning.

The library will be “bigger and better”, said Ms Johnston and Ms Gausachs was certain she will “appreciate the outcome”, acknowledging that the actual construction was not the issue, but rather “just the noise”.

Leonor Gausachs, a Monash Architecture student



Final stages of Watson’s Brownlow inquiry


Jobe Watson has “suffered enough” with his suspension from AFL and public backlash for receiving the 2012 Brownlow Medal in the wake of the Essendon supplements scandal, says Gillon McLachlan.

The AFL President said an inquiry into the stripping of the Essendon captain’s medal was underway and that if Watson “unfairly took performance enhancing drugs which lead to his Brownlow Medal, the AFL should take the medal off him.”

As the medal is strictly “awarded to the best and fairest” of AFL players, McLachlan said that “if it is deemed that what he did was unfair then he should be stripped.”

In regards to the possibility of further consequences for Watson’s involvement in the ongoing Essendon supplements scandal , McLachlan said”if his medal is removed that should be it”, as it is punishment enough.

The formal resolution is in the “final stages of deciding but an inquiry like this should not be rushed”, said McLachlan, who has not been involved in the inquiry’s decision.

Richmond player Trent Cotchin, 2012 Brownlow runner-up, is said to be the recipient of the medal if the decision is made to remove Watson’s Brownlow as he would then be “the best and fairest that year”, according to the AFL President.



Fears for men missing at sea in freezing conditions

This is the post excerpt.



Grave fears are held for three men missing at sea during a fishing trip off Sorrento, Victoria, since yesterday.

Police are reportedly “very pessimistic” about their chances of survival, due to freezing temperatures over night.

Inspector Rod Cathall of Victoria Police, who is leading the search, said: “We hold grave fears for them.”

Local firefighters Fred Smith, John Taylor, and Bill Smith went on a fishing trip in a fibreglass runabout late yesterday and have not returned, with police mounting a dawn rescue search after being alerted at 4am.

Last night was the coldest August night in the state for 23 years with an air temperature of zero and a water temperature of four degrees Celcius, according to the Victorian Bureau of Meteorology.

“It was the kind of weather that kills people,” said Bureau spokesman Hayden Butler.

The three men were senior members of the local tennis club and are due to play in the tennis finals next Saturday.