‘Quite intense’: Heavy falls forecast as stable weather pattern starts to break

A storm building over the Murrumbidgee River near Gundagai. Photo: Stephen BurnsWidespread late-spring falls are predicted to soak muchof ‘s south-east in coming days, with conditions described as “tropical” in areas used to much milder conditions.
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The combination of a low pressure system and associated troughs will bring rain to inland Victoria and NSW from Friday onwards, Tom Hough, a meteorologist from Weatherzone, said.

Thunderstorms are possible before then, with storms a chance for Tuesday afternoon in Sydney. They may return onFriday and Saturday.

“There’s a fair amount of instability and moisture around,” Mr Hough said, adding that localised falls could reach 60 millimetres or more on Saturday for areas near Canberra.

“Rainfall rates could be quite intense,” said James Taylor, a senior meteorologist with the Bureau of Meteorology’sextreme weather desk. “There’s some risk of riverine flooding.”

“To get a rainfall event like this at any time of the year of the year is certainly unusual,” Mr Taylor said, adding that spring is the most likely season for such weather.

For now, the heaviest falls are expected in north-eastern Victoria, and the south-east inland areas of NSW, such as the Southern Tablelands and the Riverina, Mr Taylor said.

The latest model runs are paring back the rainfall totals for regions such as Sydney, with mostly showers and the chance of a thunderstorm predicted for Friday and Saturday at this stage.

Still, those planning outdoor activities this week will probably want to pack an umbrella, particularly ifthey are in the alpine regions, and keep an eye out for thunderstorm warnings. (See eight-day rainfall chart below from the Bureau of Meteorology.)

Hot and coolA large blocking high pressure system in the Tasman Sea has kept temperatures on the cool side for much of eastern but brought much more humid and warm conditions further south.

“We’ve had tropical moisture broadly across the continent for several weeks now,” Mr Taylor said.

Sydney, for instance, will come close to posting its first below-average month for maximum temperatures in almost six years. A slightly warmer than usual end to November, though, may keep the streak alive.

The tale is different for sites further south, with Melbourne and Hobart on course for their warmest Novembers onrecord.

“The November heat is a record in multiple regions,” Mr Taylor said.

The Victorian capital had nine days in a row of at least 28 degrees, beating the previous record of six such days, Mr Hough said.

A couple of days in the low 30s are forecast to end the month.

Hobart will also end November with a burst of warmth, with hot and humid conditions tipped for Thursday and a top of 32 degrees – warmer than Cairns in far north Queensland is expecting for any day in the coming week.

Instability, though, is starting to develop further north, bringing more thunderstorms to NSW on Tuesday.

#Thunderstorms possible across much of the state today. #Severe thunderstorms likely about the Upper Western as a surface trough and humid airmass combine. Heavy rain and damaging wind gusts are possible. Keep an eye on the latest warnings at https://t苏州夜场招聘/JEtz9REW28pic.twitter苏州夜总会招聘/XuXkQDuXNx

— Bureau of Meteorology n Capital Territory (@BOM_ACT) November 27, 2017Breaking up?The coming rain event may break up the weather patterns that have dominated the country’s south-east of late.

“This system looks like it is clearing things out,” Mr Taylor said.

What happens after then remains unclear, with one possibility that another blocking high sets up in the Tasman.

Still, the comingsoaking rains shouldease back the fire risk in Victoria and southern NSW that was already looking likely tomoderateas a weak La Ninatakes hold in the Pacific.

“It will definitely help push things back somewhat,” Mr Taylor said.

Fire authorities,though, last week stressed that the dry runthrough much of winter and into spring meant an above-average fire season is still expected for most of Victoria and a large swathe of NSW including Sydney.

Sydney Morning Herald.

Origin Energy aims for $500m a year APLNG cuts

Origin Energy will cut more than half a billion dollars in annual costs over the next 18 months at its Pacific LNG (APLNG) joint venture.
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Speaking at an investor day on Tuesday, Origin executives outlined the company’s goal of slashing both operating and capital expenditure at APLNG as it focuses heavily on the project following the divestment of subsidiary Lattice Energy in September.

Origin’s executive general manager for gas, Mark Schubert, said the group was targeting reduced operating costs of $1.30 per gigajoule in fiscal 2018 to $1 a gigajoule from June 2019 by applying lessons from the US shale boom to APLNG.

“We’re influenced by best practice we saw in US shale, we go to the US because we want to see that parallel universe best practice,” Mr Schubert said.

“We’ll unashamedly copy that and bring it back here.”

He said the focus was on removing goldplating from its engineering at the project.

Origin is also aiming to reach an operating breakeven of less $US24 a barrel of oil equivalent, below its current guidance of $US30/boe.

RBC Capital Markets analyst Ben Wilson said the targeted reduction at APLNG would have a major impact on its valuation.

“Our very quick take from looking at our model is that reducing breakeven to these levels would add in the region of 60 to 70 cents a share to our APLNG enterprise value and increase our Origin DCF valuation to ~$9.30-9.40/share, up from from $8.67 per share,” Mr Wilson said.

“Management are targeting significant APLNG cost savings and productivity to keep momentum going in this story and we look ahead to a potential return to dividend distributions from CY19.”

APLNG is a joint venture between Origin Energy, US giant ConocoPhillips and China Petroleum & Chemical Corp (Sinopec).

Last month, Origin announced it would increase APLNG’s levels of domestic gas supply, bringing the company’s total commitment to 186 PJ for 2018, representing almost 30 per cent of n east coast domestic gas market demand.

Origin said APLNG was “exceeding performance expectations” as it reiterated the project’s full-year 2018 guidance, as well as full-year earnings guidance for the group.

The Sydney-based company took on additional debt to build APLNG, which it said would be trimmed to below $US7 billion by the end of fiscal 2018.

The group also said it was examining further renewables investment.

Origin executive general manager Greg Jarvis said it was “looking heavily into pumped hydro” at Shoalhaven in NSW.

“We’re doing feasibility studies now,” Mr Jarvis said.

Its shares jumped 3.7 per cent to trade at $8.905 at midday.

with Reuters

Chad Butterworth pleads guilty to assaulting, attempting to rob cash transit guard outside Westpac Bank at New Lambton in 2014

INVESTIGATION: A computer generated image of the armed robber.
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CHAD Butterworth needed a haircut.

He had just seen a computer-generated image of a manwho had badly bashed a covert cash transit guard over the head with a metal pole in an attempted armed robbery and suddenly he felt like a change.

“Can you cut my mullet off?” Butterworth asked his girlfriendduring a conversation recorded by police.

Butterworth, then 21, and two other men had confronted the guard, who was carrying $80,000 in cash, outside the Westpac Bank at New Lambton about 3pm on December 19, 2014.

Butterworth, dubbed the ‘Bogan Bandit’,had actually been shot in the left shoulder by the then 45-year-old guard, who despite nearly losing consciousness managed tosqueeze off one round as he was being repeatedly bashed in the head.

But no one except the robbers knew Butterworth had been hit.

He managed to escape the scene in a stolen white Ford Laser sedan, affixed with stolen number plates, received medical treatment and evaded arrest for the best part of 18 months.

But a pair of sunglasses would lead to his downfall.

In February, 2016, police found images on Butterworth’s Facebook page that showed him wearing a pair of “mirrored” sunglasses similar to the ones left at the scene by one of the robbers.

Police then began tapping his phones and listening into his conversations at home before releasing the computer-generated image of one of the armed robbers.

Detectives were listening in as a flustered Butterworth discussed how much the image looked like him.

“Do you think it looks like me?” he asked. “What if I cut my hair off. “Can you cut my mullet off? “Well I fit the description. 180cm tall. Except that I am 185. And Caucasian, early 20’s. With a mullet style haircut. Yeah, cut if off.”

When police arrested Butterworth in May, 2016, they took a DNA swab and photographs of scars on his left shoulder.

Butterworth’s DNA profile matched a swab taken from the right arm of the sunglasses found at the scene and a forensic pathologist opined that the scars were such that it was “very likely Mr Butterworth had been shot with a handgun”.

Due to face a trial this week, Butterworth pleaded guilty to his role and will be sentenced in Newcastle District Court in April.

Newcastle company Source Separation Systems wins contract to help Lake Macquarie residents embrace composting

Green theme: Source Separation Systems founders Peter Cruwys and Melanie Barstow at their Boolaroo warehouse. Picture: Marina Neil“I’VE got two young kids, and if I can’t do anything and you can’t do anything, then what will be left for them and their kids?”
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Peter Cruwys is up front about what drives he and wifeMelanie Barstow in business, and their commitment to encouraging us all–fromindividualsto corporates–tolive more sustainably is paying off financially and, they hope,environmentally.

The couple’s multi-million-dollar company, Source Separation Systems, is based in Boolaroo and makes the Compost-A-Pak range of plastic-free, organic bags, made from natural starch-based polymer sourced from corn.

While most of their business is to corporate, commercial and government, the bags are sold on their website and in retailers like Woolworths and Coles.

The company recently won a contract with Lake Macquarie Council to supply households with a seven-litre organic waste bin and a roll of 150 compostable bags.

“Every residentcan recycle food waste from their kitchen by scraping theirplate into the bags and put it in their green waste bin which council picks it up and takes to [the tip] and composts it then uses that compost to put on local parks and gardens,” Mr Cruwys says, adding that the contract will initially generate three new jobs in his company, another 22 during the bins’ delivery and possibly another five full-time jobs afterwards.

Raised in Coffs Harbour and a2000 graduate of a business and marketing degree at the University of Newcastle, Mr Cruwys’ passion for the environment was ignited after returning home froma five-year stint as national sales manager for a coffee company inIreland.

“In Europe, recycling systems were sophisticated and when I got home I was in a taxi going from North Sydney to Randwick races and I saw Sydney Harbour as we came over the hill and it was amazing,and I was thinking how we take it for granted,then I get to Randwick and people are dropping crap everywhere,” he says. “It spurred me to help us as ns recognise how easy it is to do what they do in Europe. If youas the disposer of the waste can take ownership of it and put it in right bin, it’s easy to continue at the back end of the business.”

A former Telstra executive, Ms Barstowdrives operations and the brandwhile Mr Cruwys focuses on business and product development.

Mr Cruwys still riles at the sight of single-use supermarket bags, which Coles and Woolies will soon phase out: “If you take our bags and put them in a commercial compost facility it takes 30 days for them to break down and be eaten by bacteria,but a bag made from petrochemicals, well it will be there long after you and I die,” he says.

‘Deplorable’ former Hockeyroo sentenced over faked cancer claims

A former Hockeyroo who used forged medical certificates as part of a claim she had cancer has been fined more than $2600 and given a good behaviour bond.
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Kathryn Hubble, 33, worked for the cancer charity Redkite in June and July this year when she gave them medical certificates claiming she was undergoing immunotherapy, may faint at work, and would have to work from home each time she was treated.

She was paid about $1300 in sick leave after giving the certificates.

When the charity’s HR department began to investigate the documents Hubble had given, they contacted the Sydney-based doctors named and both said they had never heard of her.

Hubble pleaded guilty in October to four charges of making and using false documents to obtain a financial benefit.

Appearing in Downing Centre Local Court on Tuesday, Hubble’s lawyer Michael Bellingham continued to claim his client has been diagnosed with cancer and submitted several testimonials to the court to say Hubble had undergone chemotherapy.

However, he did not provide any supporting medical evidence, saying an oncologist was “not in a position to write a report today”.

Magistrate Greg Grogin said the case was “most unusual” and labelled Hubble’s actions “deplorable”.

“There is absolutely no medical evidence whatsoever before the court that Ms Hubble has been, is being, or will be diagnosed with any cancer-related illness,” Magistrate Grogin said.

“I don’t know whether to treat Ms Hubble as a long-term liar or a person who deserves sympathy because she is suffering from cancer. I have no evidence. What I do have is evidence she did lie in relation to the falsification and production of false medical certificates.

“What that has done, it has taken money out of an organisation which is a charity, a charity which is there to help people.

“All I can say is the behaviour is deplorable. It doesn’t matter if it was for $1000 or $10, if the money was meant to go to people who need it, Ms Hubble, you should be thoroughly ashamed of yourself.”

Magistrate Grogin sentenced Hubble to a fine for each of the four offences, totalling $2620, plus two good behaviour bonds of one year each.

Mr Bellingham said Hubble was diagnosed with cancer in 2015, but the court heard there are ongoing “police matters” in Western relating to medical certificates forged in the same year.

“That’s subject to a charge now,” the police prosecutor said.

Hubble showed no emotion when she was sentenced and remained silent as she left court with her lawyer.

The road to a royal engagement: A look back at Harry’s past loves

Prince Harry is officially off the market after announcing his engagement to American actress Meghan Markle, after being linked in the past to several women including a law student, charity worker, rock singer and Real Housewife.
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After dedicating a decade in service to the British Army as well as charity work, and stepping up into his royal duties on behalf of the queen, the 33-year-old royal first indicated he was ready to settle down after publicly announcing his relationship with Suits’ Markle in July 2016.

The 36-year-old actress was not the first girlfriend who Prince Harry went public with. His longest and most famous previous on-and-off relationship from 2004 to 2011 was with Zimbabwe-born lawyer-turned-jewellery designer Chelsy Davy was very much in the public eye, with the pair unafraid to show their affection during public events including at Wimbledon.

The daughter of a former Miss Rohesia and a millionaire safari businessman, she met first met Harry when was attended Stowe School in Buckinghamshire, before meeting again in Cape Town in 2004.

While Prince Harry labelled his former flame “amazing” it was noted that the 2007 law-graduate was not accustomed to the long separations that came with his military career and the constant media and public scrutiny. She became known as the ‘one that got away’ after the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in 2011.

The 32-year-old Davy insisted in an interview with The Sunday Timesthat they “will always be good friends,” before admitting the difficult nature of that public attention that came with being involved with a royal. “It’s not something you get used to,” she told the publication. She labelled the scrutiny “crazy and scary and uncomfortable”, adding, “I couldn’t cope. I was trying to be a normal kid and it was horrible.”

A year or so after their breakup and a reported fling with model Florence Brudenell-Bruce, it was reported widely that in 2012 Prince Harry dated actor and dancer Cressida Bonas, who modelled for British fashion labels Burberry and Mulberry at the time, after being introduced by Princess Eugenie in May 2012. A descendant from the Curzon banking dynasty, and daughter of former it-girl Lady Mary-Gaye Curzon, Bonas is also the half-sister of Isabella Anstruther-Gough-Calthorpe who once dated Prince William.

RH Prince Harry and Cressida Bonas at WE Day at Wembley Arena shortly before they broke up. Photo: Doug Peters/AP

The pair were labelled a ‘well-established’ couple after showing affection at her sister’s wedding and public events including the cinema, Glastonbury festival and the musical The Book of Mormon according the Sunday Times. The pair split within a few weeks of publicly kissing at a Wembley Arena charity event after two years of dating. It is believed unwanted media attention was a reason for the split.

In an interview with BBC Radio following the romance, Bonas said she felt ‘pigeon-holed’ because she was dating a royal, something she found ‘incredibly frustrating’.

Rumoured dates and flings have circled the Prince, which is what you would expect from an eligible famous bachelor.

Other noted flames include singer Ellie Goulding after they were spotted in a PDA session at a Polo event in May 2016 after singing for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding, TV presenter Caroline Flack who called it off after their “story got out,” pop star Mollie King, Norwegian rockstar Camilla Romestrand and TV Presenter Natalie Pinkham. Reportedly our very own n singer Natalie Imbruglia dated Prince Harry a few months during ‘a break’ from Davy in 2009. The pair, who met through mutual friends, were spotted attending a Killers concert, bowling and at Imbruglia’s birthday together.

In 2016, Prince Harry revealed in an interview with BBC that he hadn’t had many opportunities to “get out there and meet people.”

“At the moment, my focus is very much on work. But if someone falls into my life, then that is absolutely fantastic,” he said. “If or when I do find a girlfriend, I will do my utmost to ensure we get to the point where we are actually comfortable with each other before the massive invasion into her privacy.”

He apparently made these comments around the time he met Markle, while promoting the Toronto Invictus Games in 2016.

Later the palace would release an unprecedented statement asking for the public to respect his girlfriend, Meghan Markle’s privacy, the pair were officially spotted during the Invictus event earlier this year, sparking rumours that their engagement was imminent.

Power boost: How China will avoid summer blackouts

The chance of major summer blackouts has been cut as energy operators have found extra power for the east coast.
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The n Energy Market Operator has added almost 2000 megawatts of additional power for the summer ahead, which it says will more than replace the 1600 megawatts taken offline after Victoria’s Hazelwood brown coal-fired power station closed in March.

The situation in Victoria was heightened by the recent failures of two generating units at the Loy Yang and Yallourn power stations, which removed a further 1300 megawatts of power from the state.

This drop in available coal-fired power forced Victoria to import large amounts of energy from South , Tasmania and NSW and burn more gas, contributing to recent spikes in the wholesale energy price.

AEMO has now secured additional power to plug these forecast energy holes, and prepared the National Electricity Market – comprising Tasmania, South , Victoria, Queensland, and NSW – for the summer ahead.

“AEMO is confident that we have taken all the necessary actions – and then some – to make sure we are ready,” AEMO chief executive Audrey Zibelman said.

“We now have a range of dispatchable resources that can be used to strategically support the market as required, including battery storage, diesel generation and demand resources,” she said.

This extra power includes switching on three previously closed gas-fired power generators in South , Queensland and Tasmania, adding 833 MW of energy, as well as keeping diesel generators in South and Victoria prepared to meet increased demand.

More than 1000 megawatts of generation has been secured through demand response programs and the Reliability and Emergency Reserve Trader (RERT) mechanism, which encourage major power users to reduce their energy consumption during peak demand times.

Home consumers have also been encouraged to reduce their consumption, although AEMO expects demand to stay stable.

“The latest trends suggested consumers wouldn’t change their behaviour to reduce their energy use, and therefore their demand from the grid, by as much as we had thought,” AEMO stated in its report.

Last summer the NEM saw the combination of exceedingly hot weather, power generator failures, and massive storms cause rolling power outages across the region, hitting its peak on February 11, 2017.

Transmission company TransGrid chief executive Paul Italiano said the power outages seen last February could have been worse in NSW.

“If February 11th was a weekday and not a Saturday, we would have seen massive blackouts affecting the state,” Mr Italiano told Fairfax Media.

He said TransGrid has prepared by ensuring network resilience on the supply side and will work with AEMO and the n Energy Regulator to provide power where it is needed. State of the states

The states are also taking actions to ensure the lights stay on.

New South Wales has created an energy security taskforce and enacted legislation to prepare the state for increased power demand.

It gives the NSW Premier wide-ranging ability to act quickly and declare a supply emergency, directing power where it is needed.

“By giving the Premier authority to declare an electricity supply emergency, it means we can immediately react, should we need to,” NSW energy minister Don Harwin said.

“Speed is key should the need arise. This move is just another step in ensuring we are as prepared as we can be for whatever summer might bring”.

“The reality is this legislation will only be implemented as a last resort at the time of an electricity emergency,” Mr Harwin added.

South has also had help from Tesla in managing its energy demand for the summer ahead.

Tesla has installed the world’s largest single battery unit in the state, and begun testing the system.

“The world’s largest lithium-ion battery will be an important part of our energy mix, ” South n premier Jay Weatherill said.

Tasmania is also investigating the potential of an additional energy pipeline connecting the island state to the mainland, allowing Tasmania to provide increased renewable energy to Victoria and the NEM. Power to the people

The Bureau of Meteorology has forecast a La Nina weather pattern for this summer, as opposed to the hotter, dry summer of last year.

This means an increased likelihood of heavy rain, floods, strong winds, and storms hitting the east coast.

The 2017/18 summer will still likely be the third warmest on record – behind the last two years – based on data that goes back to the 1880s.

However, the drier spring means much of the water will drain away, leaving the ground dry and vulnerable to bushfires.

This is creating a wide list of variables which networks will have to respond to in order to ensure the lights stay on.

However, it is not just AEMO’s preparation plans that matter ahead of summer.

The distribution and transmission networks have also been preparing for the seasons ahead.

Ausgrid chief executive Richard Gross said it is ready for what will be a summer of mixed weather conditions.

“Managing the risk of bushfires and storm activity is our current priority,” Mr Gross said.

Power can be interrupted by lightning strikes near our equipment, trees falling on powerlines or powerlines clashing in strong winds.”

Endeavour Energy, whose network covers 2.4 million people in Sydney’s west, the Blue Mountains, and Illawarra region, has invested more than $1.32 billion in ensuring its network has capacity, which was pushed to its limits last summer.

“Endeavour Energy’s record peak load was 4,084 MW on 30 January 2017 as Western Sydney sweltered in 43 Celsius plus temperatures,” an Endeavour Energy spokeswoman said.

“This compares to our average load on a hot summer’s day of 3,400 MW.”

Much of this is driven by increased air conditioning usage in Western Sydney.

Essential Energy, who provides power to more than 800,000 homes across regional and rural NSW, said it also includes additional load factors caused by tourism-related population growth expected in the summer season.

“Robust planning and load forecasting procedures are in place to identify emerging network constraints that may be impacted by the higher demand for electricity experienced over summer and winter periods,” an Essential Energy spokeswoman said.

spill

LIGHT AND SHADE: Artist James Drinkwater at lunch with Scott Bevan (Picture: Jonathan Carroll). Above, Drinkwater and wife and fellow artist Lottie Consalvo in Germany, where they lived and worked. “I remember waiting for the model to come out, I was just shitting myself;‘Please don’t take your clothes off, please don’t take your clothes off’,” he says. “She came out, and with the first few drawings, [she was] draped. Thank God!After three or four drawings, the gown just fell to the floor. I was just mortified …I’ve still got the drawings. [The classes]became a religious thing for me, part of my training, two nights a week for about eight years.”
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By the end of high school, being a painter seemed a given for Drinkwater. He wasaccepted intothe National Art School in Sydney. It may have been “an incredible course”, but it didn’t hold his interest. He quit after a year.

“I was just eager to get a studio and start expressing myself, book a room, and have a show,” he says. “To me, it [art school] was just getting in the road of that ambition.”

Yet he deviated off that road for a time. He pursued music. Ever since he was a small child, James and his brother learnt music from their mum, who played guitar and piano. For about five years from the age of 19, Drinkwater was a musician. He moved to Melbourne and, along with brother Nick, wasin a band called Dirty Pink Jeans, which recorded and toured. For Drinkwater, being in a band wasn’t about the fame or the money –which didn’t come –but “it was that brotherhood, that camaraderie, that total faith; it’s an incredible rite of passage”.

One night at a gig in Melbourne, he meta young woman he thought was stunning in every way. Her name was Lottie Consalvo. He went to an after-show party at her apartment. She showed him her art portfolios. But she wasn’t doing much painting then. He showed her images of his paintings. Not that he was doing many new works, even if he had a little studio in his bedroom and he took drawing books with him on tour.

“I did a drawing of her really quickly and she said, ‘Why are you not painting?’…. You’ve got to paint, you’ve got to do this’.And I said, ‘Well, why aren’tyou painting?’. At that stage she was doing a degree and other things. So I think we created something there together, we almost made a pact to get back to that.”

James Drinkwater broke up his band to return to the journey of being a painter.But it was no longer a solo journey. He and Lottie became a couple. They increasingly devoted their lives to painting and even measured the cost of living in paint. Apint of beer, for example, equalled half a tube of paint.They married and decided to move to Berlin to be full-time artists: “There has to be that moment where you lose the safety net and back yourself.”

After three years in Germany, their art and reputations were blossoming. They could have gone anywhere.They chose Newcastle. Lottie also had family connections here,and it was her idea to move to James’ hometown.

“There was a little bit of caution – ‘Are we dropping off?’ – but again we backed ourselves, thinking in tubes of paint,” hesays. “And looking at friends in Sydney working multiple jobs, here we could just paint.”

They have continued to journey far and wide. After winningthe Brett Whiteley Travelling Scholarship in 2014, Drinkwater, and his young family, spent three months in Paris. They have also travelled to Tahiti, and Drinkwater has recently been on a painting expeditionin Central with another Novocastrian who opens eyes with his vibrant abstract expressionism, John Olsen.

Whilethose locationsmake their way into Drinkwater’spaintings, hisart is not strictly about place. It is about finding place. It is about celebrating his placein the world, and those he shares it with. In the past few years, with exhibitions in Sydney and Melbourne,London and Singapore, the world has beenopening up for James Drinkwater. Yet James Drinkwater’s world is very much at home.

“The best week I can ever have is a clear Monday to Friday, where we get to do normal nights with bath,dinner and books [with the children], seeing what Lottie made that day in the studio;that’s the richest thing I could possibly experience,” he says.

From December 9, the art of Lottie Consalvo and James Drinkwater will be on show at The Lock Up in Newcastle. They may be a supportive and creative couple, but they are individual artists, so there will be two exhibitions, two different visions, in the space. Drinkwater explains he and his wife had explored different ways to collaborate for the show, but ultimately “that felt too obvious”.

“A lot of artist couples don’t work, because there’s a lot of jealousy,” he says. “We’ve never had that. We just celebrate. As long as we can potter around, doing what we’re doing, we’re blissfully happy.”

The challenges of designing a stylish room around a TV

For interior designer Michelle Hart, a small space held big challenges. Here’s how she resolved them.
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Tasked to transform an empty space into a stylish family-friendly living area, Hart, of Bask Interiors, was given two prerequisites – all decisions must be run by a Feng shui consultant and the focal point was to be a television.

“I was presented with an empty space to zone into a dual-purpose room that included a relaxation zone and dining area,” Hart says, “so the brief was quite open, but the stipulations certainly presented challenges.”

The first hurdle was the focal point of the room. “The client had Samsung’s The Frame television in their sights,” she says, “and they asked that the whole room be designed around it.”

To accomplish this, Hart first had to resolve the room’s proportions. “The space is square and open and flows beautifully on from the kitchen,” she says. “On the left are windows and a sliding door that opens out onto an al fresco area. On the back wall are two windows and on the right, very high highlight windows. It was tricky!”

It also presented another obstacle. “None of our furniture suited the space’s dimensions,” owner James Fong says. “Our old classic furniture needed to be replaced with clean and contemporary pieces, so we decided on a Scandinavian vibe.”

The Fongs contracted a Feng shui consultant to channel positive energy and create harmony in the space. “It had a big and positive impact on how the property feels and functions,” Hart says. “It was an interesting process, but it does throw restrictions at you in terms of layout, furniture placement and colour palette.”

Fong and his family had complete faith in Hart. “We gave her the keys and told her as long as she adhered to Feng shui principles, she could go crazy.”

Informed by the existing window and door placement, Hart carved out a dining zone leading out into the alfresco area. She defined it with a dining table and light pendants. The adjoining living area was mapped out with a large rug and a small wall next to the sliding doors was designated for the television.

“I didn’t want the TV sitting on a cabinet top,” Fong says. “I wanted it mounted and I knew the Samsung’s The Frame was launching soon, so I asked Michelle to make space for it and design around it.”

With the capability of switching between TV and art mode, The Frame, when not in use, appears as a piece of art. “It has 100 embedded works of art to choose from, or you can upload your own,” he says. “It makes a real statement, so the styling needed to complement the television perfectly.”

Beneath the television, Hart installed floating horizontal cabinetry featuring aesthetic V-grooves with deep drawers designed to house various devices such as a PlayStation and DVD player.

“The TV’s single cable runs behind the wall, through a small hole in the cabinetry, and into the Samsung Smart Hub, which is connector for all your devices,” Fong says, “so there isn’t lots of excess cabling to deal with.”

Next to it, Hart put in narrow, vertical open shelving, all in American oak. “We chose a similar finish for the television’s frame work,” Fong says. “There is not a lot of gap between the wall and television, so when the TV is switched off, it actually looks like a well-integrated piece of artwork.”

To complement, Papillion Furniture customised an L-shaped modular sofa for comfy viewing. “It’s quite a big sofa, but fits the space well,” Hart says. “It’s crafted in bistro denim which is durable, hard-wearing and easy to maintain. We chose oak legs and placed a small coffee table in the same materiality in the centre of the rug. The windows offered a view of the neighbour’s house, so we installed some stylish white shutters to let light in but block the view. It all works and blends beautifully.”

Hart says the colour palette was informed solely by Feng shui principles.

“All ideas were run past the consultant,” she says. “We had to avoid red and dark greens and stick to shades of blue, aubergine, grey and pastels. Luckily it’s a palette that works well with Scandinavian styling.”

In the dining area, Hart opted for a slimline Globe West table and elegant La Forma chairs that can be pushed right into the table to make access around it effortless. “The pendent lights above were crafted by Mark Douglas, who picked out the colours of the room, then added beautiful brass hardware.”

Fong says the high level of customisation installed solved all their dilemmas. “It made all the difference,” he says. “Buying off-the-floor is difficult for a space with unusual dimensions. Everything here looks just right. We put trust in our professional and it worked.”

James Drinkwater finds love in art and family

PORTRAIT OF AN ARTIST: James Drinkwater talks about life, family and painting in Newcastle. Picture: Jonathan CarrollJAMES Drinkwater wears his heart not on his sleeve but on his skin.
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Tattooed on hisleft arm is afamily crest, and on the right is a rendering of John Lennon’s self portrait and the word “Imagine”. So inked ontohis bodyare the two pillars of James Drinkwater’s life and being: family and art.

He may cherish what those two images stand for, butDrinkwater is notentirely comfortable with all of histattoos. He had most of thework done in his late teens, “so great years for a man to make life decisions!”.

“I’ve made peace with my tattoos,” he shrugs, as he sips on a glass of organic red wine through his bushranger’s beard at Pino Italian restaurant in Islington. “I don’t baulk at barbecues with bankers and collectors anymore; this is who I am.”

However, he has proudly added to his skin art collection recently. His young son Vincenzo pennedhis name, along with a small doodle, on his Dad’s upper left arm. Drinkwater wentstraight to the tattoo parlour.

“It’s clearly the most meaningful tattoo on me,” he explained, adding when his baby daughter Hester is old enough to scribble on her father’s skin, Drinkwater will repeat the process on his otherarm.

The marks that James Drinkwater maketend to come not from the outside onto his body but from under his skin, deep within. The results –beautiful, vigorous andlife-affirming –in turn can leave a permanent mark on the viewer’s memory.

CREATING: James Drinkwater working in his home studio earlier this year.

WHENEVER her little boy was being restless in church, MichelleDrinkwater knew the best way to distract James was to give him a notepad. The two-year-old would sit still and draw the Catholic iconography all around him.

“That’s the clearest memory I have,under five,” Drinkwater says.“When I think of that, it’s very abstract, but that is my sense of self.”

By the time he was in primary school, creating pictureswas more than a distraction to James. When he was about 10, he would repeatedly borrow from Newcastle library a documentary about the nlandscape painter Fred Williams.

“It just flicked a switch,” Drinkwater says.“At that stage, I couldn’t describe why. Now I think it presented a whole other way of existing and viewing your world.”

In the family’s Hamilton Southhome, Drinkwater’spassion for art in a city that was still largely industrial was warmly encouraged. Born in 1983, Jameswas the youngest of four children. Hereckons he wasa little spoilt by his parents, who were teachers. Even when James took over the garage and fashioned it into a studio, that was fine.

“Dad used to sit in there after work, having his ‘unwind coffee’, and just rejoice in it,” Drinkwater recalls.

“I think I was the kind of young boy who could carry being different, because I was loved by my mother and father so incredibly much. That gives you a level of confidence. And I liked being different. That was part of the allure.”

The boy found the potential for creation in everyday activities. Each night, he would watch his mother preparing dinner, revelling in “all those rituals of chopping; it’s the same as squeezing out colours and preparing a surface”.

BRUSHING UP: A teenage James Drinkwater, photographed in 2000.

His observations at home as a child helped shape the artist he has become. Earlier this month, Melbourne fashion label Alpha60 unveiled a collection of wearable art, created in collaboration with Drinkwater. A large part of the reason he became involved in this project was because of childhood memories of his mother dressingup for a dinner party or ball.

“All the ceremony, the powder, the perfume and the hairspray, the lights and the mirrors,” he reflects. “I think ceremony is a big thing that attracted me to painting.”

Yet a lot of hard work also led him to painting. As a boy, Drinkwater’s art training was both formal and casual. He learnt at school –“I was fortunate to have incredible art teachers” –and by observing his mother’s sister, who would paint landscapes on her kitchen table in Broadmeadow.

Drinkwater would ride his bike to visit Anne von Bertouch’s gallery in Cooks Hill. He also attended Ron Hartree’s art school in the city, delightingin sketching and painting in a warehouse filled with music,the aromas of food and coffee, and an intoxicating atmosphere of creativity: “It presented bohemia, I suppose.”

Although he can still summon that feeling of mild terror when Hartree recommended to Mrs Drinkwaterthat her boy was ready for life drawing classes.

“I remember waiting for the model to come out, I was just shitting myself;‘Please don’t take your clothes off, please don’t take your clothes off’,” he says. “She came out, and with the first few drawings, [she was] draped. Thank God!After three or four drawings, the gown just fell to the floor. I was just mortified …I’ve still got the drawings. [The classes]became a religious thing for me, part of my training, two nights a week for about eight years.”

As a teenager, he also “apprenticed” himself to an Italian-n painter in Hamilton. James had noticed an ornate fresco on the ceiling of the painter’s home andknocked on the front door. The school kidintroduced himself as “an artist” and asked to see this man’s work. After that, Drinkwater turned up at the man’s house every day after school for about six months. More than learn new painting techniques, Drinkwater muses it allowed him to connect with part of who he is. His mother’s heritage is Italian.

James Drinkwater photographed in 2002, after being accepted in the National Art School.

By the end of high school, being a painter seemed a given for Drinkwater. He wasaccepted intothe National Art School in Sydney. It may have been “an incredible course”, but it didn’t hold his interest. He quit after a year.

“I was just eager to get a studio and start expressing myself, book a room, and have a show,” he says. “To me, it [art school] was just getting in the road of that ambition.”

Yet he deviated off that road for a time. He pursued music. Ever since he was a small child, James and his brother learnt music from their mum, who played guitar and piano.

“I learnt three chords and I could write a song, so I disappeared to my bedroom, and my brother would stay and learn scales,” he says. “For me, it was a tool with which to make something.”

For about five years from the age of 19, Drinkwater was a musician. He moved to Melbourne and, along with brother Nick, wasin a band called Dirty Pink Jeans, which recorded and toured. For Drinkwater, being in a band wasn’t about the fame or the money –which didn’t come –but “it was that brotherhood, that camaraderie, that total faith; it’s an incredible rite of passage”.

Drinkwater as the lead singer and guitarist for Dirty Pink Jeans.

One night at a gig in Melbourne, he meta young woman he thought was stunning in every way. Her name was Lottie Consalvo. He went to an after-show party at her apartment. She showed him her art portfolios. But she wasn’t doing much painting then. He showed her images of his paintings. Not that he was doing many new works, even if he had a little studio in his bedroom and he took drawing books with him on tour.

“I did a drawing of her really quickly and she said, ‘Why are you not painting?’…. You’ve got to paint, you’ve got to do this’.And I said, ‘Well, why aren’tyou painting?’. At that stage she was doing a degree and other things. So I think we created something there together, we almost made a pact to get back to that.”

James Drinkwater broke up his band to return to the journey of being a painter.But it was no longer a solo journey. He and Lottie became a couple. They increasingly devoted their lives to painting and even measured the cost of living in paint. Apint of beer, for example, equalled half a tube of paint.They married and decided to move to Berlin to be full-time artists: “There has to be that moment where you lose the safety net and back yourself.”

Living and working in Berlin in a two-room apartment, showering with buckets, and having to haulcoal for heating sounds a little grim, but in Drinkwater’s memory, “it was incredibly romantic, and I bought into all that.

“It was just magic, and that was our apprenticeship,” he reflects. “I think that’s where we cut our teeth properly.”

James Drinkwater and wife and fellow artist Lottie Consalvo in Germany, where they lived and worked for three years.

After three years in Germany, their art and reputations were blossoming. They could have gone anywhere.They chose Newcastle.

Lottie also had family connections here,and it was her idea to move to James’ hometown.

“There was a little bit of caution – ‘Are we dropping off?’ – but again we backed ourselves, thinking in tubes of paint,” hesays. “And looking at friends in Sydney working multiple jobs, here we could just paint.”

They have continued to journey far and wide. After winningthe Brett Whiteley Travelling Scholarship in 2014, Drinkwater, and his young family, spent three months in Paris. They have also travelled to Tahiti, and Drinkwater has recently been on a painting expeditionin Central with another Novocastrian who opens eyes with his vibrant abstract expressionism, John Olsen.

Whilethose locationsmake their way into Drinkwater’spaintings, hisart is not strictly about place. It is about finding place. It is about celebrating his placein the world, and those he shares it with. In the past few years, with exhibitions in Sydney and Melbourne,London and Singapore, the world has beenopening up for James Drinkwater. Yet James Drinkwater’s world is very much at home.

LIGHT AND SHADE: Artist James Drinkwater at lunch with Scott Bevan. Picture: Jonathan Carroll.

“The best week I can ever have is a clear Monday to Friday, where we get to do normal nights with bath,dinner and books [with the children], seeing what Lottie made that day in the studio;that’s the richest thing I could possibly experience,” he says.

From December 9, the art of Lottie Consalvo and James Drinkwater will be on show at The Lock Up in Newcastle. They may be a supportive and creative couple, but they are individual artists, so there will be two exhibitions, two different visions, in the space.

Consalvo’s exhibition is titled “Final Remembering”, while her husband’s is “In the Halls of My Youth” and, according to its creator, “my show is about my family”.

Drinkwater explains he and his wife had explored different ways to collaborate for the show, but ultimately “that felt too obvious”.

James Drinkwater in his studio in 2016.

“This is the most significant way we’ve been put together,” he says. “Although it is two solos, side by side, we do stand together. Until we’re lying six feet under, I dare say this will be the last time we’ll be shown so closely. I don’t think it’s something we’d rush into again.

When asked why, he replies, “Because we are our own people, as well as a union.”

And it is a strong union, as Consalvo and Drinkwater create a fulfilling life for themselves and their children in their Mayfield home, and in their studios.

“A lot of artist couples don’t work, because there’s a lot of jealousy,” Drinkwater says. “We’ve never had that. We just celebrate. As long as we can potter around, doing what we’re doing, we’re blissfully happy.”

James Drinkwater