Foo Fighters bring their stadium rock back to China in 2018

Dave Grohl (centre) will bring the Foo Fighters to in January as part of their world tour. Dave Grohl and great mate Taylor Hawkins thrilled a smallbunch of local rock’n’roll fans recently, but the full weight of Grohl’s multiple Grammy award-winning band will be on show when Foo Fighters tour in January, supported by Weezer.
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After bashing out some old favourites in Hawkins’ cover band Chevy Metal at Sydney’s Oxford Art Factory last month, anticipation around a Foo Fighters tour only heightened with new albumConcrete &Goldalso coming out September 15.

The band’s world tour will bein on January 20atPerth’s nib Stadiumahead ofshows in Adelaide (Coopers Stadium, January 23), Brisbane (Suncorp Stadium, January 25), Sydney (ANZ Stadium, January 27) and Melbourne (Etihad Stadium, January 30).

The tour also touches down in New Zealand at Mt Smart Stadium in Auckland on February 3.

Pre-sale tickets for Frontier members will be available from Tuesday, September 19 and general ticket sales begin on Friday, September 22.

Foo Fighters’ last n tour on the back of their 2105 albumSonic Highwaysplayed to over 250,000 people. The band’ssupport act next summer,Weezer, has sold 10 million albums in the US alone since their self-titled release in 1994. Fronted by singer and songwriter Rivers Cuomo​, Weezer release their 11th studio albumPacific Daydreamlater this month.

Grohl, who played drums in Nirvana, founded Foo Fighters in the mid ’90s and has gone on to make nine Foo Fighters albums, winning 11 Grammy awards on the way and selling more than 25 million albums.

“I wanted it [Concrete & Gold]to be the biggest sounding Foo Fighters record ever … a gigantic rock record,” Grohlsaid.

Local bands will also support Foo Fighters across the country, including Clowns in Melbourne, the Preatures in Sydney and DZ Deathrays in Brisbane.

This Teneriffe home is falling down but it’s still worth a fortune

6 Hastings Street, Teneriffe?? 6 Hastings Street, Teneriffe??
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6 Hastings Street, Teneriffe??

The hazard tape barring anyone from walking up the front steps is the first clue this house isn’t in the best shape.

And it only gets worse at 6 Hastings Street, Teneriffe. The second set of steps is made of up rows of broken brick, and is almost completely obscured by the overgrown front garden.

Inside, rising damp, wood rot, and termite damage all feature heavily throughout.

Abandoned years ago and left vacant since then, this house may be on the verge of being condemned but it’s no basement bargain.

In fact, it will be too expensive for the majority of most Brisbane buyers ??? last week Domain reported Teneriffe as being on the cusp of becoming Brisbane’s first $3 million suburb.

Given its elevated position, city views and 455 square metre land size, n Property Monitors puts the property’s estimate range from $1.51 million to $2.01 million.

Listing agent Ivo Kornel, of Belle Property New Farm, said he couldn’t give a price guide by law because the house will be auctioned on September 30 but said it’s likely the property, once renovated, would be worth $4 million-plus.

“The biggest question right now is what will it sell for? Who knows? I’ve never seen a worse house than this ??? it has serious issues ??? but the fact is, it’s a huge opportunity in a great street in Teneriffe,” he said.

Already firmly cemented as Brisbane’s most expensive suburb after becoming the first to break the $2 million median, data from PriceFinder shows Teneriffe’s median price has skyrocketed by 41 per cent up to $2,685,000, based on 10 sales so far this year. House prices have grown a staggering 71.8 per cent over the past two years. Related: Teneriffe on the cusp of Brisbane’s first $3m suburbRelated: Brisbane suburbs at the end of their life cycleRelated: Brisbane: crazy for run-down renovators

The property at Hastings Street is in pretty dire condition, with several shattered windows, previous occupants’ possessions strewn throughout the house, and a sagging facade and deck.

In fact, prospective buyers won’t be able to step onto the edge of the deck, because of fears it would collapse.

Mr Kornel says while its pre-war era, its condition meant potential buyers could explore the possibility of demolition.

“Either way, this is an opportunity,” he says. “A Shaun Lockyer (architect-designed) house is being built next door and the owners are spending $2 million on the build alone. It’s definitely a case of being the worst house in the best street.”

6 Hastings Street, Teneriffe, will hit the market next week. See domain苏州夜总会招聘.au for more details.

John Cornforth 1917-2013

John Cornforth was awarded a Nobel prize in chemistry in 1975 and is still the only n to take the Nobel in chemistry. That year he was also named as joint n of the Year. Later hen was knighted and still later the recipient of a Centenary of Federation medal for his contribution to society.
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John Cornforth in 1997.

John Warcup Cornforth was born on September 7, 1917 in Sydney, the second of four children of John Cornforth, a Classics teacher from England, and his n wife, Hilda (nee Eipper), a nurse, and grew up in Sydney and Armidale. At 10 he started to go deaf from a condition called otosclerosis, where the bones in the middle ear become deformed and stop transmitting sound. By 20 he was completely deaf, except for the ringing in his ears of tinnitus, a common side effect of the disease.

Luckily, at Sydney Boys High, a young teacher, Leonard Basser, influenced Cornforth in the direction of chemistry, which seemed to the young student to offer a career where his deafness might not be a handicap. And so it proved, he was accepted to the University of Sydney at 16 and because he couldn’t hear the lectures he started reading textbooks, which in those days were mostly in German, so he taught himself German as well. He graduated in 1937 with a bachelor of science, first class honours and University Medal.

Big moment: John Cornforth receives the Nobel prize for chemistry from King Carl XVI Gustav. Photo: AP

After some post-graduate work in , Cornforth was awarded one of two 1851 Exhibition scholarships in 1939 to study at Oxford. In those days there was no facility to do a PhD in chemistry in .

The other winner of the scholarship that year was Rita Harradence, who he had already met in the laboratory when she needed his help. Equipment was so hard to get in those days that Cornforth had taught himself glass-blowing so he could repair things, and Harradence asked him to fix a flask he she had broken.

Cornforth and Harradence arrived in Oxford in 1939, just as the war started, and after they had finished their doctoral work (on steroid synthesis) they became part of the group doing chemical studies of the new drug penicillin (the discovery of which earned the n Howard Florey a Nobel prize in 1945).

In 1949 Cornforth helped to writeThe Chemistry of Penicillin, the record of that work.

Meanwhile, in 1941 Cornforth and Harradence had married and she became his co-researcher and interpreter. They collaborated on 41 scientific papers and he always said that she was ”much better at the bench than I am” and that she did most of the experimental work.

After the war had few openings for research chemists who could not lecture at universities, so the Cornforths stayed in England and he went back to the synthesis of steroids, in collaboration with his PhD supervisor, Robert Robinson. In 1946 Cornforth joined the scientific staff of the Medical Research Council and worked at its National Institute. In 1951 his team was able to complete the first total synthesis of the non-aromatic steroids.

At the Institute he met biological scientists and started work on collaborative projects with several of them. In particular, he shared an interest in cholesterol with the Hungarian scientist George Popjak.

He and Popjak devised a complete carbon-by-carbon degradation of the nineteen-carbon ring structure of cholesterol and identified the arrangement of the acetic acid molecules from which the system is built, work that eventually led to Cornforth’s Nobel prize.

In 1962 Cornforth and Popjak left the Medical Research Council and became co-directors of the Milstead Laboratory of Chemical Enzymology, set up by Shell Research Ltd. There they studied the stereochemistry of enzymic reactions by means of asymmetry artificially introduced by isotopic substitution, and Cornforth continued the work when Popjak left for the University of California.

Over the years, honours came along. Cornforth was elected to the Royal Society and awarded the Chemical Society’s Corday Morgan medal in 1953. He also received the Flintoff medal in 1965. The American Chemical Society awarded him its Ernest Guenther award in 1968 and he took the Prix Roussel in 1972. He and Popjak were jointly awarded the Biochemical Society’s Ciba medal in 1965, the Stouffer prize in 1967 and the Royal Society’s Davy medal in 1968.

In 1975 Cornforth left Milstead to become Royal Society Research Professor at the University of Sussex. Then came the Nobel prize, which he shared with Bosnian chemist Vladimir Prelog for ”their efforts to relate molecular structure to the properties of chemical compounds”.

In an interview in 2006 he recalled the time, after his wife had told him the news that she had heard on the radio.

”I think that’s the day I remember with the most pleasure in my experimental life.

”I was quite surprised. I had estimated my chances at about one in three. I knew that [Robert] Robinson had put me up for the prize.

”As for the ceremony, I couldn’t hear a word of what was said. And so, as usual, I amused myself by looking around at the audience. It was in this sports stadium, an enormous place, because the town hall was being refurbished, but I could see, in the darkness of the auditorium, these flashes of bright light. They kept on like this, and I couldn’t make out what they were. And finally I realised all the women were wearing their jewels, and that was what was causing the flashes of light. That was the thing I remember most of all from the ceremony.”

Cornforth was knighted in 1977, then awarded the Copley medal by the Royal Society of London in 1982. He went on lecturing at the University of Sussex until he retired and also travelled around the world to give lectures. He last lectured in in 1992 for the 75th anniversary of the Royal n Chemical Institute.

There he sympathised with modern students, saying that their study was more difficult than in his day.

”When Rita and I were learning our chemistry here, chemistry was not really very difficult. There was not really all that much to know. Now I am sorry for you people because there really is a lot to know.”

A lot of it, it must be said, because of his original research.

John Cornforth is survived by his children Brenda, John and Philippa, grandchildren Catherine and Andrew, four great-grandchildren and nine nieces and nephews. Rita died in 2012.

Sydney Morning Herald –first publishedDecember 14, 2013

James Ashby photographed flying drone near power station

One Nation staffer James Ashby has been referred to the aviation watchdog after flying a drone near a Queensland power station.
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But Pauline Hanson’s chief of staff said he did not do anything wrong.

Fairfax Media has obtained an image which shows Mr Ashby apparently operating a remote control while standing beside a ute outside the Stanwell power station, near Rockhampton.

It is understood a security guard approached Mr Ashby on July 13 about 5pm after witnessing him using a drone near the power station.

Mr Ashby stopped using the drone and handed over his One Nation business card.

The incident was referred to authorities, with a Civil Aviation Safety Authority spokesman confirming the Stanwell matter was being assessed.

The CASA spokesman said there were no specific restrictions or laws against flying drones over or near Queensland infrastructure, such as power stations, as current laws concerned their use near people or crowded areas.

Contacted for comment, Mr Ashby said no drone operations were performed over the Stanwell power station.

“Recorded vision from that day prove this response,” he said in a text message.

Mr Ashby said CASA officials had confirmed there was no concern of illegal activity and pointed to the CASA Drone Complier website which stated for the Stanwell power station: “You may fly here, but beware of low flying aircraft”.

Mr Ashby told Fairfax Media there was no requirement to seek permission to fly in the area.

Asked for a copy of the drone video, Mr Ashby declined and said the footage was for One Nation purposes when the party discussed electricity.

But he said he believed the footage may have been used in a Facebook video for One Nation candidate for Keppel Matt Loth.

The video contains about six seconds of footage that appears to have been filmed by a drone above a road near the Stanwell power station.

During estimates hearings in July, Stanwell Corporation chief executive Richard Van Breda confirmed an incident where a person flew a drone near the power station south-west of Rockhampton.

“In mid-July we did have an event at one of our power stations,” he said.

“We did observe a member of the public flying a drone in the vicinity of Stanwell power station taking photographs and footage of that site.

“Permission had not been sought for that activity and had not been granted.

“In accordance with our standard procedures, we confronted the person and requested that they stop that activity immediately.”

Mr Van Breda said the matter was referred to police, ASIO and CASA.

More generally, Mr Van Breda said its power station sites were considered critical infrastructure, given their importance in providing security of electricity supply.

“As a result, we treat any unauthorised activity around our sites very seriously and we have comprehensive and very strict procedures in place covering security, communication and escalation of issues,” Mr Van Breda said.

“All our power stations have perimeter fencing and we have security in place and an escalation process to deal with any security issues.”

At the time, Treasurer and Acting Energy Minister Curtis Pitt said the outcome of the case was not yet known, but he believed Stanwell had acted appropriately.

“There is a very good reason why we have all of the regulation in place to ensure that people require permission to approach, to be on premises and to be around such important pieces,” Mr Pitt said.

It is the third drone incident linked to Mr Ashby to make headlines this year.

In June, a drone video was posted on Senator Hanson’s Facebook page including aerial shots of Parliament House.

Vision from news cameras apparently showed Mr Ashby operating a drone.

Last week, Labor Senator Glenn Sterle asked CASA to look into whether the Canberra flight was illegal, with an inquiry due by September 13.

At a Senate committee hearing, CASA officials said using a drone over Parliament House was “not appropriate” because it was within the control zone of the Canberra Airport.

In July, Senator Hanson posted a video on social media of her flying a drone from a balcony over a street in Townsville, and said the drone was owned by Mr Ashby.

Commonwealth Bank should pay price for its silence

A licence to lend money does not give you a licence to break the law and leave others to foot the bill, no matter how big you are.
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When the law is broken, you should be held to account and required to compensate the victims of your wrongdoing, no matter how big you are.

Since Maurice Blackburn announced its class action against the Commonwealth Bank of for its failure to disclose alleged breaches of national money laundering and terrorism financing laws, there has been some fatuous criticism levelled at those pursuing the case including: the bank’s failures to disclose its misconduct were not material and the class action involves shareholders suing themselves.

The argument about materiality stretches credulity.

Everything about this most recent scandal is material. It raises fundamental questions about CBA’s compliance with anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing laws and if it has blatantly disregarded its continuous disclosure obligations to shareholders.

In short, it goes to the heart of whether or not CBA has proper governance and risk systems.

A banking licence should be a guarantee of exemplary conduct. Instead, in CBA’s case, it appears to have been treated as a licence for bad behaviour.

Over a period of nearly three years, 778,370 accounts were allegedly not monitored by CBA for money laundering and CBA is accused of failing to lodge reports in 53,506 separate transactions of more than $10,000 with the regulator.

Significantly, many of the transactions in question are alleged to be attributable to money laundering syndicates and several of these are related to customers who CBA itself assessed as a potential risk of terrorism-related activities.

Adding insult to injury, it is now evident that CBA apparently knew of these breaches in the second-half of 2015 but chose not to disclose their existence to the ASX.

Shareholders, it seems, were deliberately left in the dark for nearly two years.

The contrary argument regarding materiality is that, because the price movement after the news of the Austrac proceedings was less than 10 per cent, it can’t have been material.

The argument is based on a fallacy. There is no requirement under the Corporations Act or the ASX Listing rules for a 10 per cent price movement for information to be regarded as material and therefore disclosed.

Rather the information has to be information that would influence investors to buy or sell shares.

It is axiomatic that finding out ‘s largest bank has apparently failed in its responsibilities to comply with anti-money laundering laws meets that test of materiality. Would anyone other than an apologist for bank misconduct say otherwise?

In any event, all the empirical evidence points to a material price movement: after the news, the decline in the CBA share price was in the top 1 per cent of price movements for CBA shares in the past five years.

Maurice Blackburn’s class action against CBA seeks to hold the bank to account for its sustained misconduct.

Shareholders who suffered losses will be compensated for the results of that misconduct. Some of those who had interests in CBA shares will no longer hold them, so the suggestion they are suing themselves is false.

Nor will any settlement necessarily be paid exclusively from CBA funds. In many instances, companies have insurance and that insurance meets some or all of the payments in shareholder class actions.

So the notion of a money-go-round is also false.

More importantly though, every CBA shareholder will benefit from the bank being properly held to account for its corporate governance failures.

The alternative is to leave Austrac to prosecute the money laundering breaches but ignore the only effective mechanism for holding CBA to account for the cavalier disregard it appears to have shown for its continuous disclosure obligations.

All that would do is send a signal to large corporations that they can ignore their continuous disclosure obligations with impunity. We have continuous disclosure laws for a reason. They promote the efficient allocation of capital by ensuring investment decision are made on the best available information.

No one should sensibly regard an attempt to enforce those laws and obtain compensation for those affected by flagrant breaches of them as a bad thing. The problem here is not the class action but the underlying corporate misbehaviour that caused the class action.

Andrew Watson is national head of class actions at Maurice Blackburn

‘Why are Asian women’s feet so small?’ Discrimination rife in Aussie workplaces

Financial Review Business Summit Jason Pellegrino, MD Google , . Wednesday 8th March 2017 AFR photo Louie Douvis .
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Ming Long, who until recently was group executive fund manager of $2.5 million Investa Office Fund.28th July 2016.Photo: Steven Siewert

“Why are Asian women’s feet so small? So they can stand closer to the sink!” a male employee joked with his Asian colleague, then got angry when she didn’t like it.

“Why are you so uptight?” he asked. “You’re misconstruing what I’m saying.”

She replied: “That’s not it, it’s just that I want to be treated with respect.”

Explicit bias, racist and sexist comments and offensive “jokes” are rife in corporate , according to a report from Diversity Council and the University of Sydney Business School, which asked 230 culturally diverse businesswomen (defined broadly in the report as someone with a non-Anglo Saxon background) about their experiences in the workplace. Women told to ‘move overseas’

The tale above was one of many similar stories featured in the report, Cracking the Glass-Cultural Ceiling: Future Proofing Your Business in the 21st Century. The report found only 12 per cent of culturally diverse women surveyed strongly agreed they had the same opportunities in their workplace as anyone else with commensurate ability and experience.

Some women said “well-meaning” mentors had recommended they move overseas where their “difference” would be viewed as an asset rather than a liability. “They see you as three strikes and you’re out – a woman, a woman with children, and a woman with an accent,” a respondent said.

Male Anglo-Celtic leaders preferred and selected people who dressed, looked and sounded like themselves. “It’s like a voting system that doesn’t work because, well, look who’s voting,” another respondent said.

Muslim women also reported discrimination and intolerance. “Stereotypes about Muslim women result in them being written off as leadership material,” a respondent said. “They see a hijab and think I must be subjugated and I’m submissive and passive and therefore not able to lead.” Not valued

The report found that, while 88 per cent of culturally diverse female talent surveyed planned to advance to a very senior role, only one in 10 strongly agreed that their leadership traits were recognised or that their opinions were valued and respected.

Further, 26 per cent said cultural barriers in the workplace had caused them to scale back at work, including reducing their ambitions and working fewer hours. And 60 per cent of culturally diverse female executives and 79 per cent of senior managers surveyed were considering leaving their employers in the next year.

The report suggests raising awareness about common gendered cultural stereotypes, that leaders and colleagues commit to understanding different cultures, and ensure that unconscious bias training considers this. In the same way companies are setting and reporting on gender-based targets, the report suggests they also report publicly on cultural diversity inclusion and outcomes.

The number of culturally diverse women in ASX100 and ASX200 companies is minuscule. Only 2 per cent of ASX directors are culturally diverse women. In 2015, there were fewer than 25 female ASX200 senior executives, chief executives or chief financial officers, and 10 or less women in each of these positions in ASX100. The numbers of culturally diverse women in these categories were even smaller. Time for quotas?

AMP Capital Funds Management and DCA board member Ming Long, who participated in the research, told Fairfax Media it was time for gender-based quotas, noting they had worked in Sweden. “The case for quotas is getting much stronger because we’re not seeing the pace of change we need for women and, when it comes to ethnic women, we’re still in the dark ages.”

Ms Long said given women were making the bulk of purchasing decisions, it made sense to have more women, including women of non-Anglo saxon backgrounds, on boards.

The report notes that the n “multicultural market” has an estimated purchasing power of more than $75 billion a year, while the global buying power of women is estimated to reach $40 trillion by 2018.

“I’d love to challenge leaders to actually speak to ethnic women they have in their business, get to know them and earn their trust, ” Ms Long said. “They’ve probably been overlooked for leadership. Please, look beyond gender and ethnicity. You might actually find there’s a gem in your midst.”

Google, Aurecon, the Commonwealth Bank and Deloitte also supported the research. Google had to face hard questions following the anti-diversity memo from one of its US-based engineers James Damore.

Google and New Zealand managing director Jason Pellegrino said: “We strive to create an environment where everyone can feel comfortable bringing their best selves to work, so they can be more innovative, creative, and inspired.”

Female ASX leaders with non-Anglo-Celtic cultural origins make up:

??? 15 of all 1482 chief executives

??? 44 of all 2327 senior executives

??? 188 of all 7491 directors

??? 55 of all 1350 chief financial officers.

Follow Nassim Khadem on Facebook and Twitter.

The incredible shrinking sharemarket

A strange thing has been happening on the world’s stockmarkets over the past couple of decades: Despite all of the hype and headlines (mostly justified) about the great new IPOs (new sharemarket listings) here and overseas, the number of public companies has actually been falling.
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Just recently, The Economist reported that in 1996 there were 7322 companies listed on the US bourses; a number which had fallen to only 3671 earlier this year. That’s near enough to a clean halving of companies on those exchanges.

And that’s in the world’s premier capital market. If your business relies on listing fees, brokerage and assorted services, as the NYSE and NASDAQ does, that’s a seriously unwelcome decline.

But the decline has some more important side effects for investors. And not just in the United States. Indeed, one of the biggest recent n IPOs wasn’t on the ASX at all – the tech superstar Atlassian bypassed us altogether and listed directly on the NASDAQ exchange.

Part of the answer is the rise of private equity firms. Not only in number, but in ability to raise previously unimagined amounts of capital.

Put simply, companies – large and small – just don’t need to go public in the same way they once did. And that can present a problem for investors.

Traditionally, small companies either get larger, go broke or get bought out. Which is fine, as long as the flow of new companies continues.

But when our brewers, our food companies, our miners and our financial services businesses are being bought out by bigger local and international rivals – and corporate raiders – without being replaced, that shrinks the pool of potential investments.

Lastly, think about the newest high-profile businesses. They are, by their very nature, winner-takes-most companies. Amazon doesn’t leave much room for other online retailers. There aren’t many other social networks after Facebook. The increasing concentration of market power within many industries makes it harder to compete – and leaves fewer options for investors.

Lest this be only a story of gloom, remember that the world’s stockmarkets have become much, much bigger – in terms of the aggregate value of all listed companies – over the last 20 years.

So while the number of options available to us is receding, the opportunity to earn attractive returns hasn’t taken a commensurate fall. Foolish takeaway

But it does change the nature of investing to a degree, in two important ways. With fewer small companies, those with the time and inclination may need to work a little harder to find the real potential winners. Companies like Webjet, Integrated Research and Corporate Travel Management.

And if you don’t have the resources or interest, find the large companies that are destined to become larger, because they’re increasingly dominating growing industries. Locally, that might be Ramsay Healthcare and Cochlear and, increasingly, you’ll need to look globally, to the likes of Google and Facebook. To the winners go the (increasingly globalised) spoils.

New report: The “blue chips” of tomorrow aren’t the blue chips of yesterday. If you want to look forward rather than backward, we’ve released our three best ideas for 2017. Click here to learn more.

Scott Phillips is the Motley Fool’s director of research. You can follow Scott on Twitter @TMFScottP. The Motley Fool’s purpose is to educate, amuse and enrich investors. [email protected]苏州夜总会招聘

How Ainsley ticked off her travel ???bucket list’ in free accommodation

Ainsley Micallef doesn’t have a fairy godmother, but listening to her travel stories you might think that she does. The 40-year-old recently returned to after spending 12 months in Mexico, Guatemala and Costa Rica; a “bucket list” trip where she lived in a succession of deluxe homes.
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“I stayed in gated estates with pools, gyms and tennis courts, beachfront luxury apartments with rooftop pools, resort-style homes and penthouses,” says Micallef. As an international housesitter, this accommodation didn’t cost her a cent.

House sitting within is booming as people try to save money on living expenses, but online sites also list opportunities to live in other people’s homes overseas. Savvy travellers can create an online profile and connect with home owners in desired travel locations, offering home and pet care in exchange for free accommodation.

Brisbane’s Sue Pearse did just that and has been house sitting in different countries ever since. “We always knew we wanted to travel full-time. We just didn’t know how we were going to fund it,” she says. That changed when she read about international house sitting on a travel blog, and she and husband Dave decided to try it out. She describes the nomadic life they’ve created as “one continuous bucket list tick”.

Particularly close to Pearse’s heart is a three-month stint in a 350-year-old converted barn in the Brittany region of France. Having always wanted to live in a French community they both jumped at the opportunity. “We certainly pinched ourselves … Every day we commented ‘Oh my god, I can’t believe this is the life we have’. It completely fulfilled every dream we had of being in another culture.”

Their house sitting responsibilities were minimal – taking care of a low-maintenance cat and keeping an eye on the place. The rest of their time was spent driving a hired Fiat throughout the region, and getting to know their new neighbours.

For Pearse, making these social connections greatly enriched the travel experience. “Straight away we were getting invitations to lunch and dinner. We were busy!” she says. Socialising with new friends helped them learn more about the culture: “Little things that you don’t know if you’re just there for a day or two.”

This was also the case for Micallef, who made so many friends in the Mexican beachside town of Playa Del Carmen that she sees it as a second home. “I was considered a local in Playa Del Carmen and plan to go back there. I created an amazing group of friends.” Part of this was thanks to the welcoming attitude of home owners, who introduced her to friends and even let her use their bikes and car to get around. Related: A guide to a rent-free lifeRelated: The psychology of house sittingRelated: Awkward house sitting moments

While house sitters reap obvious benefits, the advantages do go both ways. Home owners can engage with house sitters via email or Skype to receive updates on their home and pets, and there’s the added bonus of having someone on site if problems arise. Pearse says she and her husband have repaired fences after a storm, and sorted out a water leak that might have otherwise caused extensive damage to the home.

It’s taking these responsibilities seriously that helps build a good reputation. “I’m very quick to say if you don’t like animals – don’t do it!” Micallef says. “It’s a reciprocal arrangement that needs to put the animals first.”

For those happy to meet these obligations and looking for affordable travel, Pearse has nothing but encouragement for potential house sitters. “I’d say just do it. Read other people’s blogs ??? I’ve got a blog. Every day I’m learning about a new couple or single people who are doing it; people with children are doing it. It’s not just for retired people. Go with your style, go with your heart.”

Inside eclectic retreat of artist David Bromley, just up for sale

An important piece of advice agents give vendors about presenting their house for open for inspections is, remove all autobiographical and personality pieces (photographs etc) and minimise clutter.
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Yet this is exactly what you hope artist David Bromley and his wife Yuge haven’t done in marketing their rambling Hepburn Springs country home near Daylesford.

You want to (respectfully) snoop through the private digs of the most eclectic and inventive artistic couple in ??? who have parlayed their taste, idiosyncratic collector impulses and boundless creativity in all zones of the fine arts into a fascinating commercial empire, Bromley & Co ??? to see if the story holds up on the domestic front?

It so does.

Every wall, surface and incidental space of the former Wyuna Guest House that rambles through big, high-ceilinged period rooms that mutate spatially in and out of each other, are so fully furnished and appointed with paintings by David and other artists, with objects both precious and utilitarian, and so much engaging detail, that it becomes a never-ending aesthetic and Bromley-style biographical adventure.

“It’s got heaps going on,” Hocking Stuart agent Nathan Skewes says. “Everywhere you look, there is another nook.”

The room tally of four to seven bedrooms ??? depending on how you configure rooms ??? also includes four or five bathrooms or bathing pavilions, an out-the-back, semi-detached manager/teenager accommodation option, an undercover barbecue room and a laundry in which the walls, cabinetry and ceilings are decorated by David Bromley.

As part of the built fabric these daubings will stay with the house when the private sale, expected to fetch $1.7 million, is concluded. Related: Bromley brings energy to cutting-edge developmentRelated: A tree change could keep property dream aliveRelated: Best places to buy affordable art

Bromley’s recognisable line-drawn nudes on gaily-patterned canvases, and his Enid Blyton-style paintings of children; his bronze or resin sculptures of giant rabbits, pigs and more gambolling children, have made him a household name and an artist n interior designers love to display in their own houses.

Bought unseen off the internet only a few years ago when the Bromleys decided they’d done their time in Byron Bay and wanted to return to the richer cultural feeding grounds in the south, their family weekender marks the first time the substantial old weatherboard in the 2200 square metre garden has been used as a private home.

It was built in the late 1880s in the heyday of Hepburn as a Victorian spa resort and was later a nursing home. Yuge Bromley says that when the couple actually got to see it in the flesh, “we loved it – we’re tinkerers and we knew we could add our touches to it”.

Without doing what most people taking possession of a period building usually do, and gutting and modernising it out of all recognition, the couple did their interior design thing, their way.

They introduced interesting colour effects (lime green kitchen benches), unexpected room connections – a main “family bedroom” that steps through a huge wood framed circle into a dressing room; quirky inventions, hanging racks made of copper plumbing pipes, and wallpaper made of blown up, black and white images of 1960s rock stars.

“We never set out to reconfigure places. David says ‘there is always a good reason why places were built the way they were’. So what we do instead,” Yuge says, “is add our touch on top of the character that’s already there.”

Having recently installed an exceptional glass mosaic wall that will stay in the outdoor bathing pavilion, the restless creatives and their two young children are selling to move into another house they own locally.

“We realised there was nothing else we could add to the house and we need to keep doing things,” Yuge says.

Mr Skewes says although the house has only come onto the market this week, there is already good interest. It’s certainly an usual proposition, even in a town increasingly popular with wealthy Melburnians taking to it as an alternative retreat destination to the Mornington Peninsula.

The agent can see huge scope for the old Bromley house as “a fantastic holiday rental for group accommodation – hen’s parties, that sort of thing”.


Twiggy, here’s how we can get the Bledisloe Cup back

This is where a mere journalist tries to give a successful billionaire gratuitous investment advice: Mr Forrest, if you really want to help rugby union in Western , don’t throw scores of millions of dollars at the Western Force.
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Andrew Forrest offered the n Rugby Union $50 million to keep the WA franchise in the Super Rugby competition next year. It was a very generous offer, a passionate expression of support for the WA team. The excuse used by the ARU for rejecting the fortune – that the offer was “late”, as if the lockout laws were in force at the ARU boardroom – was lame.

Now “Twiggy” is promising to set up an alternative international competition for the Force This is an extraordinary development, a gesture of Russian oligarch proportions.

It’s a bit like ‘if you won’t let my kids play with you, I’ll hire some other kids who will’.

Twiggy’s “IPL of rugby” would be a second-rate competition without the first-rate sides – i.e. the Kiwis.

There is a not-unreasonable argument that the Super Rugby competition has become more than a little silly in trying to expand to five nations, that it could do better with a two-tier promotion-and-relegation structure. All the n franchises would be in second division at present, but with the hope of making first grade.

But a quick $50 million or $100 million for either a rebel competition or the ARU won’t really help WA or n rugby.

Mr Forrest, you didn’t become a multi-billionaire with a quick cash splash. Some of your earlier, er, “less fortunate” ventures were a bit like that.

You made the very big time by building Fortescue up from zilch. It took time, including some very difficult times, to finally get there.

So it is with n rugby right now. The game they play in heaven is going through hell here. Short-termism and petty fiefdoms have let it down. Those problems can’t be fixed quickly.

You’d be fooling yourself to think n rugby has anywhere near the depth required to be consistently competitive with the very best. One close test every few years does not a Bledisloe Cup make.

Money is certainly needed, but as a long-term investment in the game. Instead of taking money from the kids and amateurs, the professionals have to put money back into the base of the game. In mining terminology, there’s a lot of survey work required, vast mapping and sampling and a comprehensive drilling program before the gold can be mined.

Specifically, rugby has to peg out the kids. It’s been losing them to claim jumpers from other codes. They have to be fought for.

Here’s one simple investment that would eventually pay off more than a “rugby IPL”:

I’m a little rusty but back in the day when coaching junior rugby, only the relatively few elite private primary schools played competitive sport against each other. The state schools, the Catholic schools, did not. That seems not to have changed.

Change it. You can’t rely on parents taking their children to rugby instead of myriad other activities. You have to take the rugby to them. And you have to take it to the children who don’t have the parental support necessary to play any club sport.

(On a sideline once, I met a bloke who said his job was headmaster of a school that had being expelled from another school as its entrance requirement. He said 90-something per cent of his pupils had never played team sport.)

Provide the development officers to coach and organise mixed-team Walla-rugby (touch) competitions that run all winter. Provide the buses and the insurance and the grounds. Capture their sweet little hearts with the unbridled joy of running with and passing a rugby ball, of banding together against a common foe, of competing, of learning to win and lose.

The schools and teachers would love it – someone else taking the kids off their hands. Heavens, they let in AFL types just for catch-and-kick stuff. For reliable, regular, very professionally organised, wonderfully healthy sport for all shapes, sizes, skills and sexes – they’re yours and off to the staff room. The better teachers will want to be part of it themselves.

And the kids, oh, the kids more than love it. I’ve seen it happen twice in primary schools. Unfortunately they were just one-off tournaments, one a knock-out tackle comp, the other a half-day touch festival.

After a few weeks training, the mixed Walla-rugby team went so very close to winning the school a new TV. It was huge, as was the cheer squad.

As for the boys’ rugby, I’d like to tell you a little north shore Catholic school, with a core of club rugby boys bolstered by classmates quickly converted from soccer and Aussie Rules, overcame the odds of drawing a much larger school from rugby league heartland as their first opponents.

But they didn’t. They weren’t disgraced. They were certainly tackled. They were bruised and scraped. They never stopped. They scored tries, but not enough. And with red and green frogs all round after the game, they were happy. They’d all played rugby together. And not all of the heathens stayed with soccer thereafter.

Invest $50 million in rugby by making it cheap and welcoming for primary school boys and girls to play. Make junior club rugby much cheaper than the other codes. Ensure the highest standards of sportsmanship. Make it the game of choice.

Do that and rugby will grow, even in the hard-core AFL states. It will take years, but it would win Bledisloe Cups. Get enough cattle, enough enthusiasm, it will happen.

It’s called long-term thinking, the sort of thing that’s required to find an ore body, prove it up, and eventually mine it.

It’s not going out and buying a team or competition. Leave that to the Russians.