After a longer-than-expected maternity leave, the sole remaining original host of The Project returns to the show this week.
By James Manning
Like Dave Hughes and Charlie Pickering before her, Carrie Bickmore has thought about ending her time on the show too, but as she explained to Mediaweek:
“I have loved The Project from day one and I genuinely feel like I have one of the best jobs in TV. I love news and I have always worked in the comedy space even though I am not a comedian. I just love laughing with and at people and I love a chat. This job is perfect.”
Bickmore said the only way she would leave the show would be if it became untenable for family reasons. “Every time my contract has rolled around for any of my jobs I sit back and ask myself how it is fitting in with my life. I have done that my whole career.
“To be honest I thought three kids might have been a little easier than it has been. I remember people telling me going from two to three was easy, but it has been really challenging and that is why I have taken longer and not rushed back.
“I want to get back to the desk and see how it goes with the family. But because I have been away for so long I am chomping at the bit to get back.”
Bickmore has attracted other job offers.
“Throughout my whole career I have constantly had lovely people saying to me if you are ever interested in doing other things there is something we would love to do with you.
“It’s lovely to think there are other opportunities, but right now I’m happy doing what I’m doing.”
The show reaches a key demo attractive to advertisers, and it continues to win awards. The Project added to its trophy cabinet a week ago with another Logie win.
“It was a nice little surprise and we certainly weren’t expecting it,” said Bickmore who collected the Most Popular Panel or Current Affairs Program award at the Logies on the Gold Coast.
Bickmore and co-host Waleed Aly have both won Logie Gold and Silver, and the show has won multiple times too.
“They steal my Gold Logie to use for comedy purposes on the show. I don’t even know where my Gold Logie is right now.” [Laughs]
After a significant time off caring for her bigger family, Bickmore confided she is “a bit worried” about her daily schedule.
“The first few weeks might be a bit of blur managing it all. It should look like what I was doing before I left.
“I get into 10 around lunchtime and start with meetings for The Project. I then do the radio show, more meetings for The Project, jump on set for a rehearsal and then the show.
“Ideally I would be in about 11.30am and home about 8.30pm. I’m not sure if it’s going to be easy or hard to adjust, having to leave my six-month-old daughter. I am going to make it work.”
For her initial weeks, Bickmore will be doing three days a week on air at The Project and then building extra days in when she feels comfortable. “That’s what I did when I had my daughter Evie, but Adelaide was quite challenging at the start so there was no chance for me to come back. It ended up being eight months, which was never planned from the outset.
“10 have been very good about it, let me keep my options open.”
While Bickmore missed working with The Project family every day, she got to see plenty of them including regular catch-ups with Pete Helliar and Aly.
“I feel very fortunate that I get to sit on The Project desk with genuine friends. I couldn’t do this job if I had to sit next to people whose company I didn’t enjoy. Doing live TV you need to have a lot of trust in the people you work with. And I certainly trust all of them.”
As a viewer, Bickmore said it was very different watching The Project while she was away compared to being on it. “It’s really quite helpful watching the show because you realise what it is like for our audience. At that time of night I can be juggling one baby and dealing with the other kids wanting things.
“Many people who watch are not sitting in a quiet room by themselves, they can be in the kitchen. I understand much better why executive producer Craig Campbell is obsessed about the graphics and the explainers on the screen.
“It would be rare for people to catch every minute from 6.30pm to 7.30pm. They pop in and pop out.”
When it comes to career management, Bickmore is one of the star attractions at Aran Michael Management, also the home of Adam Zwar, Daniel Macpherson, Dr Chris Brown, Margot Robbie and many more.
This week in Mediaweek – Festival of Carrie:
Tuesday: Bickmore on her Hit Network radio show – broadcasting from “the cupboard”
Wednesday: The latest TV controversy and why it is OK to feel the way you do
It’s been a big few days in Perth radio. First the new MD of ARN 96FM, Gary Roberts, hires a former colleague, and now he has put back together the most successful breakfast team in Perth in recent times.
Mediaweek forecast back in April that Roberts at 96FM would be a game-changer for the market.
These are the two announcements that are changing the game and rocking radio in the WA capital:
ARN appoints Daniel Underhill to the role of 96FM content director
Dan Underhill is a radio industry veteran with a strong history in Perth and enviable track record. For the past eight years, he has held the role of program director at Nova 93.7 and prior to that was the station’s creative director. In his time at Nova he was instrumental in helping the team grow cumulative audience to 615,000, an all-time record for the market.
A five time finalist for Program Director of the Year at the Australian Commercial Radio Awards from 2013 to 2018, Underhill will help drive 96FM’s growth strategy in Perth.
ARN’s national content director Duncan Campbell said: “The addition of Dan Underhill as content director further strengthens 96FM as we continue to focus on growing our audience and becoming more competitive in the Perth market. Dan is an experienced programmer who knows and understands the market, he has worked with Gary Roberts for many years and I look forward to him joining ARN and being part of the team at 96FM.”
Underhill can’t go anywhere just yet though, he will be on gardening leave until his compete clause runs out.
Botica’s Bunch is back as radio legends return…to another station
96FM has moved to reclaim its Perth heritage with Botica’s Bunch for Breakfast – hosted by arguably the best voice in the history of Perth radio, Fred Botica (pictured), and his long-term radio partner Lisa Shaw.
He duo officially joined the 96FM breakfast slot with a surprise show this morning, delivering their passionate brand of music, entertainment and compelling local content that Perth listeners love.
Botica and Shaw have been on-air together since 1997, having earned their place as the most successful breakfast team in Perth radio history, together winning a record 100+ consecutive surveys in Perth.
Botica began his Perth radio career in 1986 to work with 96FM and Channel 7 Perth as their voiceover artist, and as the voice of the 96FM Skyshow in its bicentennial year.
Botica went on to lead Mix 94.5’s breakfast team to become Perth’s highest rating breakfast show with Botica’s Bunch, which he co-hosted with Lisa Shaw from the late 90s.
Showcasing his remarkable and colourful career, Fred also released a book this year covering his history in radio, Sure Beats Working.
Shaw also spent years at Mix 94.5, co-hosting the record-breaking Botica’s Bunch alongside Fred. Lisa’s The Shaw Report is renowned in Perth for her unbeatable knowledge of entertainment, music and celebrity news.
Of the new show, 96FM’s managing director Gary Roberts said: “It’s a massive coup for 96FM, to have Botica’s Bunch back for breakfast in Perth. Botica’s Bunch for breakfast is a true reflection of the heritage of the 96FM brand and will be complemented by a change in positioning for the station to ‘Real Music’.”
Fred Botica said: “How could I say no to the opportunity to return on 96FM with my partner-in-crime, Lisa! Listeners can look forward to the chemistry we have developed in the two decades we’ve worked together on-air, and some interesting new ideas and angles we have in store. Bring on Botica’s Bunch for Breakfast!”
Lisa Shaw said: “I’m so excited to be teaming up again with Fred for 96FM’s Botica’s Bunch for Breakfast. As probably the biggest entertainment lover in Perth, I can’t wait to get back into that Breakfast hot seat and share everything that’s entertaining and important to our listeners.”
Following the success of the New Idea’s Royals mini magazine, Pacific has today announced the launch of a dedicated monthly title for all things royal.
On sale from July 11, New Idea Royals contains 100% royal content from news to fashion, food and everything in between. Edited by Rebecca Hyde, the title will call on the expert insights from contributors including New Idea’s long-time royal expert Angela Mollard, UK-based Phil Dampier who has been writing about the royal family for 30 years, London-based reporter Kietley Isrin and Pacific entertainment editor Zoe Burrell.
The magazine responds to unprecedented demand for royal content and joins the highly successful suite of New Idea royal output including the New Idea Royals podcast which attracts up to 33,000 listeners per episode, an online dedicated royal vertical and the rapidly-growing Facebook page, New Idea Royals, which has reached in excess of two million people in the past 28 days alone.
The launch of New Idea Royals follows soaring sales of New Idea’s royal one-shot publications.
The Royal Wedding Issue saw a 35% increase in newsstand sales and in the past 12 months, more than 161,000 royal collector’s special issues have been sold. The launch will be supported by a campaign across Seven West Media assets including a TVC which will air on Seven and promotion via New Idea’s 5.4 million touchpoints .
Pacific’s group content and brand director Louisa Hatfield said: “Our readers can’t get enough of New Idea’s royal coverage, so it makes absolute sense to launch a regular monthly title that meets this demand. New Idea is the undisputed number one brand for royal content generating a deep loyalty from readers and New Idea Royals is set to attract this same loyal following.”
New Idea Royals will be on sale July 11 in supermarkets and newsagencies.
JCDecaux Australia & New Zealand and Scentre Group have announced an exclusive partnership that will see JCDecaux develop and manage a premium portfolio of external roadside advertising touchpoints at Scentre Group’s Westfield living centres in Australia and New Zealand.
The new partnership is based on a 10-year agreement which will see the two companies work together to introduce world-class signage and technology, giving marketers an exciting new opportunity to reach audiences and communities.
Scentre Group’s 41 Westfield living centres are strategically located in key growth corridors across Australia and New Zealand. With 65% of Australians and New Zealanders living within 30 minutes of a Westfield living centre, they play an important role as essential social infrastructure in their local communities.
The unique location of these roadside advertising assets will offer advertisers a new opportunity to reach audiences at scale, via high-impact formats utilising world-leading digital technology, such as high-resolution, transparent digital screens.
Under the agreement, JCDecaux will secure planning approvals, and manage the development and maintenance of the signage.
Steve O’Connor, chief executive officer, JCDecaux Australia & New Zealand, said: “Our relationship with Scentre Group is a very strong one, founded on mutual respect, and we are delighted to be working together on these significant new opportunities in Australia and New Zealand.
“The environment around Scentre Group’s portfolio represents a powerful marketing opportunity, giving advertisers an unrivalled platform across the 41 Australia and New Zealand centres, reaching major commuter and living centre audiences as they come to shop, dine and play.
“Our new partnership includes several locations that offer unique reach into areas not previously covered by outdoor advertising,” O’Connor said.
Scentre Group general manager, partner experience, Bill Burton, said: “We are pleased to partner with JCDecaux to build on our strategic mix of marketing and advertising assets across our premium platform of 41 living centres in Australia and New Zealand. JCDecaux is the right partner to bring global expertise in outdoor media, community and stakeholder engagement.
“This partnership is testament to the value and reach of our Westfield living centre platform, which sees customer visitation of more than 535 million each year,” he said.
• Singles: New Ed Sheeran can’t stop Lil Nas X from week 11 at #1
By James Manning
For 22 of the 27 weeks this year the chart has had just four artists on top – Post Malone (three weeks), Arianna Grande (five weeks), Jonas Brothers (three weeks) and now Lil Nas X.
It’s now 11 weeks at #1 for Lil Nas X and the much loved Old Town Road. It first charted 15 weeks ago at the end of March with a modest ARIA chart debut at #47, climbing to #18 in its second week. Old Town Road then went #2 and #1 in its fourth week, sitting there for four weeks, dipping to #2 and then back to the top where it has spent the last seven weeks at #1.
This now puts the American rapper on par with Bryan Adams’ Everything I Do (I Do It For You) (#1 July 1991), the Spice Girls’ Wannabe (#1 November 1996) and Drake’s God’s Plan (#1 February 2018) for weeks spent in the top spot.
Old Town Road hasn’t been out of the top two for 13 weeks.
The only tune to interrupt its weeks at the top was Ed Sheeran’s I Don’t Care with Justin Bieber.
This week the only artist threatening Little Nas X for top spot was Sheeran again – his Beautiful People with Khalid was new at #4. It’s the third song to chart from his album No. 6 The Collaborations Project, which is released July 12.
The only other change to the top 10 was the arrival of Guy Sebastian with Choir, which jumped from #20 to #10 in its fifth week. The song benefited from a memorable TV Week Logies performance and also his coaching performance on The Voice finals week. It is Sebastian’s first time in the top 10 in just under six years.
Two other songs made it into the 50 on debut:
#20 Chris Brown with Don’t Check On Me featuring Justin Bieber
#34 Kygo and Whitney Houston with Higher Love. The Norwegian producer has teamed up with the Whitney Houston estate for the release of this version of the Steve Winwood song.
ARIA Hall Of Fame member Kylie Minogue landed her sixth #1 on the ARIA Albums Chart with Step Back In Time: The Definitive Collection. The 42-track compilation features all 10 of her Australian #1 singles, as well as duets with Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Jason Donovan and Robbie Williams, and the new track New York City. Kylie Minogue has previously hit #1 on the ARIA Albums Chart with Light Years (#1 October 2000), Fever (#1 October 2001), X (#1 December 2007), Kiss Me Once (#1 March 2014) and Golden (#1 April 2018). She entered the ARIA Hall Of Fame in 2011.
In a prolific career, Minogue has released 14 studio albums and a staggering 13 compilations without counting live albums, reissues, EPs and two box sets.
Four other albums charted inside the top 50 on debut this week:
#3 Chris Brown with Indigo. The US singer’s ninth album is his sixth top 10 on the ARIA Chart.
#4 The Black Keys with Let’s Rock. The US rock band’s fourth top 10 album and their first in five years.
#26 Daniel Caesar with Case Study 01. Second album from the Canadian singer-songwriter.
#49 Lang Lang with Piano Book. New album from the Chinese concert pianist.
• The Voice Grand Final makes it over 1m and wins Sunday for Nine
• Boy George coaches Diana Rouvas: “Australia’s Barbra Streisand”
Sunday Week 28 2019
• Seven News 1,083,000
• Nine News 1,027,000
• ABC News 648,000
• The Project 241,000/421,000
• 10 News First 287,000
• Insiders 272,000
• Offsiders 187,000
• SBS World News 118,000
• Sunrise 272,000
• Today 190,000
House Rules saw work wrapping on the outdoor areas with 694,000 watching after 720,000 a week ago.
Sunday Night then did 489,000 after 437,000 a week ago.
Million Dollar Cold Case followed with 276,000.
The Voice Grand Final just made to 1m metro, a number that was strong enough to power Nine to a primary and network share win. The final of the 2019 season recorded an audience of 995,000 for the episode and then climbed to 1.123m for the Winner Announced. That figure is just up on last year where the Grand Final episode did 987,000. The most-watched episode of The Voice this year was the Sunday episode in week three with 1.105m watching.
Sydney powerhouse Diana Rouvas was been crowned winner of The Voice 2019.
Nine has reported it was the closest voting results in the history of The Voice Australia, with Rouvas, a returning All Star, edging out runner-up Daniel Shaw, and the other two finalists, Zeek Power and Jordan Anthony.
Her winner’s single, Wait For No One, was available after the episode went to air.
Rouvas is the first winner of The Voice to be coached by Boy George, who said: “Diana makes me cry when she sings. She has a voice that is a gift from above and I’m super proud to have coached and been touched by her amazing talent.
“I can’t wait to perform with her again. She is Australia’s Barbra Streisand and I don’t say that lightly.”
In winning The Voice season eight, Rouvas has earned a recording contract with EMI Recorded Music Australia and $100,000 in prize money.
60 Minutes then did 542,000.
Suburban Gangsters featured the armed robbers Russell “Mad Dog” Cox and Ray Bennett. The series didn’t get a start until around 10.30pm and had an audience of 189,000.
The Project featured Mark Ronson the day before his second Nova Red Room. The episode did 421,000 after 7pm.
On MasterChef the top seven arrived in Perth via chopper. Although they were promoting WA tourism, the first episode was conducted inside Perth Stadium – the MasterChef logo looked good on the scoreboard and the ground signage. The Sunday number was 638,000.
Two episodes of FBI followed on 234,000 and 177,000.
Brian Cox’s The Planets started in the 7.40pm timeslot with 499,000.
Harrow then continued at 8.30pm with 457,000 after 467,000 a week ago.
A repeat of Scotland: Rome’s Final Frontier did 203,000 at 7.30pm.
After the Tour de France Stage 1 had an audience of 152,000 on Saturday night, Stage 2 started later last night with 107,000 and then continued on SBS Viceland.
SBS flicked the switch to the Women’s World Cup final at 12.30am for pre-match coverage with the game underway from 1am with 46,000 watching the first half.
|ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY||2.8%||7TWO||4.8%||GO!||5.0%||10 Bold||2.7%||VICELAND||1.3%|
|ABC ME||0.5%||7mate||4.7%||GEM||1.7%||10 Peach||2.1%||Food Net||1.2%|
|7Food||0.8%||SBS World Movies||0.7%|
|ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY||2.6%||7TWO||6.8%||GO!||4.7%||10 Bold||1.8%||VICELAND||0.9%|
|ABC ME||0.4%||7mate||3.1%||GEM||3.7%||10 Peach||2.1%||Food Net||0.9%|
|7Food||0.4%||SBS World Movies||1.4%|
|ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY||2.4%||7TWO||3.3%||GO!||2.9%||10 Bold||3.5%||VICELAND||1.0%|
|ABC ME||0.3%||7mate||4.0%||GEM||2.5%||10 Peach||1.5%||Food Net||1.0%|
|7Food||0.5%||SBS World Movies||1.2%|
|ABC||Seven Affiliates||Nine Affiliates||10 Affiliates||SBS|
|ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY||2.4%||7TWO||4.2%||GO!||4.0%||WIN Bold||3.7%||VICELAND||1.1%|
|ABC ME||0.9%||7mate||4.8%||GEM||3.8%||WIN Peach||1.5%||Food Net||1.1%|
|ABC NEWS||1.2%||7flix (Excl. Tas/WA)||2.0%||9Life||2.5%||Sky News on WIN||0.7%||NITV||0.4%|
|7food (QLD only)||0.9%|
|SUNDAY METRO ALL TV|
Friday Top 10
Saturday Top 10
Shares all people, 6pm-midnight, Overnight (Live and AsLive), Audience numbers FTA metro, Sub TV national
Source: OzTAM and Regional TAM 2018. The Data may not be reproduced, published or communicated (electronically or in hard copy) without the prior written consent of OzTAM
The founding boss of Facebook in Australia believes there is a business argument for the technology platform to be broken up globally but doubts the need for a competition regulator to make the move, reports The Australian’s Leo Shanahan.
Ahead of the release of the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission’s final report on digital platforms and their impact on Australian news media, Stephen Scheeler said the Australian regulator would find it impossible to break up Facebook alone but there could be a good argument to split the company.
“Look at the US and that’s where Facebook has some sort of power to do that, and you broke Facebook into parts – look, if you are an investor, there’s probably more value,” he said.
Scheeler, who led Facebook as managing director from its foundation in Australia, said he did not think sanctioning media organisations or social media platforms was the answer.
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has warned Facebook and Google to expect stricter curbs on their market power in the clearest sign yet that the Morrison government is determined to tackle the might of the US tech giants and boost competition in the $8 billion digital advertising market, reports David Crowe.
Frydenberg told The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald that the growing power of the internet meant there were “genuine competition issues” to address in an imminent report on the digital economy to be released by the competition regulator.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission handed the final results of its digital platforms inquiry to the government last week. The report examines the impact of Google and Facebook’s market dominance on traditional media companies and consumers and has been closely watched by regulators and tech companies around the world.
Frydenberg was briefed on the findings by ACCC chairman Rod Sims last Thursday ahead of the release of the formal recommendations and a public debate over the huge changes in the online economy.
Executives from Amazon have been in Australia meeting with local content providers and broadcasters to scope out what content may be available for its channels streaming business, but the US e-commerce giant faces challenges in building the service locally, reports The AFR’s Max Mason.
In June, three Seattle-based Amazon content executives came to Australia and took meetings with a range of local media executives in broadcasting as well as content, such as NBCUniversal, BBC and Discovery, with a view to see who could be signed on for a potential launch of Amazon Channels.
Amazon Channels essentially acts as a hub for third-party channels and streaming services, much like Foxtel or Fetch, without hardware such as a box. It is an additional product on top of subscription video on-demand service Amazon Prime Video, which is a standalone service with its own content, both original and licensed.
Foxtel is currently in negotiations with many of its channel providers, such as BBC, Discovery and NBCU. Despite the pay TV giant pushing for more rights but for less money, it still remains a major and long-time contributor to those businesses earnings in Australia.
The NSW Supreme Court has flagged a major legal showdown with US tech giant Google, directing that a contempt charge be issued against the media behemoth after it ignored a court order on Friday to take down a series of damning Google reviews against a Sydney businessman, reports The Australian’s Deborah Cornwall.
The high-profile businessman, whose name has been suppressed, launched legal proceedings on Thursday against the California-based company after it failed to respond to his repeated requests to take down a series of “seriously defamatory” attacks against him on Google reviews.
In a statement from Google yesterday, a spokesperson insisted that the company had taken the court orders “seriously” and had responded “in a timely manner”.
Defamation and media law expert Michael Douglas said that charging Google with contempt signalled the growing frustration of Australian courts with global media companies such as Google, Facebook and YouTube which continued to argue that they were not bound by Australia’s defamation laws.
The ABC has complained to the Morrison government about a plan to give $17 million to commercial television networks to bring Australian shows to the Pacific Islands, with the public broadcaster arguing it should receive the funding instead, report Nine publishing’s Jennifer Duke and Broede Carmody.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the three year, multi-million dollar funding initiative with FreeTV Australia in January and negotiations between the government and the commercial television group are underway.
The program, called ‘Amplifying Australia’s Voice’, aims to bring 1000 hours a year of television content until 2020 to broadcasters in the South Pacific to “promote Australia and our values and help balance an increasing regional media presence of other nations in our region”.
The television shows that will be included have not been decided yet, sources said.
Merrick Watts, half of one of FM radio’s most dynamic 1990s duos, is tipped to replace Steve Price at nights on 2GB, reports News Corp’s Annette Sharp.
Following the breakdown of talks between afternoon show host Chris Smith and 2GB management last week – prompting Smith’s immediate departure from the station – radio bosses, sources claim, are looking to employ funnyman Watts to help attract a new and younger demographic to the top-rating but old-skewing station.
2GB CEO Adam Lang confirmed on Saturday he had been in talks with Watts for “six to eight months” about finding a permanent spot for him on 2GB.
“We love Merrick and we’re delighted to have him on next week,” Lang, who first worked with Watts while in management at Triple M, said.
“I started talking to him six to eight months ago and started booking him to do shows then – initially in guest roles on both Ben Fordham and Ray Hadley’s shows, then as a stand-in for Ben when he went on leave. Merrick is great talent and a delight to work with.”
Radio broadcaster and television identity Steve Price says he won’t be like his star colleagues Alan Jones and Ray Hadley after taking a new prominent afternoon spot on Macquarie Media’s major stations, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Jennifer Duke.
Price, who has hosted the network’s night show for seven years, will now lead the afternoon show on Sydney’s 2GB and Brisbane’s 4BC as part of a reshuffle of the timeslot in a bid to attract a younger and more diverse audience.
The Steve Price Show will be on air from noon to 3pm on weekdays and Price will be joined by News Corp columnist and Sky News host Rita Panahi who has been a regular on his nightly show.
Price established himself at Macquarie Melbourne station, 3AW, but will not be broadcast in the Victorian capital.
“There’s already an arvo show in Melbourne that rates really well,” Price said, referring to Denis Walter‘s 3AW program.
The boss of Sydney’s 2GB and Melbourne’s 3AW radio stations Adam Lang has threatened media giant News Corp with legal action after a newspaper article described him as a “smiling assassin” and suggested his job was under pressure, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Jennifer Duke.
A front page article in News Corp’s Sydney masthead The Daily Telegraph on Thursday claimed the Macquarie Media chief executive no longer had a working relationship with the station’s star host Alan Jones.
In an open letter to about 600 staff members on Friday, Lang slammed the story as “a farcical construction of false claims, inaccuracies and unverified assertions that slander me and this company in such a way that I cannot let it pass without comment”.
“Legal action is also under way,” he said.
Exactly 165 years ago – on July 5, 1854 – Hobart is Australia’s third largest town, the editor of News Corp’s The Mercury, Chris Jones, told his readers at the end of last week.
It has been just half a century since Europeans settled on the beautiful lands of the Muwinina people, and already 23,000 have made their home here – and constructed 4000 buildings, two-thirds of which are permanent structures of stone or brick.
This 19th century Hobart Town is a place that will soon be described by visiting American author Mark Twain as “the neatest town that the sun shines on”.
“In Hobart all the aspects are tidy and all a comfort to the eye,” Twain will write during his tour of Australia in 1895.
“It sits on low hills that slope to the harbour … while back of the town rise highlands that are clothed in woodland loveliness, and over the way is that noble mountain, Wellington, a stately bulk, a most majestic pile.
“How beautiful is the whole region, for form, and grouping, and opulence, and freshness of foliage, and variety of colour, and grace and shapeliness of the hills, the capes, the promontories; and then, the splendour of the sunlight, the dim rich distances, the charm of the water glimpses!”
This, then, was a Hobart that would be familiar to any of us today.
This is also a town served by 10 local newspapers — a publication-to-population ratio that would be equivalent to 100 today.
And yet on this crisp mid-winter morning, Wednesday, July 5, 1854, another one is added to that selection: the Hobarton Mercury.
The front page of the first Mercury, issued on July 5, 1854.
Its founder was John Davies, a former journalist and convict turned NSW police officer who saw a need in Hobart for an independent publication – one not tied like most of the others to political parties or certain partisan causes.
As the newspaper grew – becoming a tri-weekly in 1855 and then a daily from 1857 – Davies saw parallels between the growth of his newspaper and that of Hobart, and what was – after 1856 – Tasmania.
Best-selling author and beauty entrepreneur Zoë Foster Blake has been accused of plagiarising parts of her celebrated novel The Wrong Girl, reports News Corp’s Fiona Byrne.
Melbourne author Kari Jade Brennan has launched legal action in the Federal Circuit Court alleging parts of her novel, Playlist, were “adapted and reproduced” in Foster Blake’s 2014 bestseller.
Foster Blake is one of Australia’s most popular and versatile authors having written the novels Air Kisses, Playing the Field, The Younger Man and The Wrong Girl as well as a dating book, Textbook Romance, a beauty book, Amazinger Face, relationships book, Love and Breakup Boss, and the children’s book No One Likes A Fart.
The Wrong Girl was made into a TV series for Channel 10 starring Madeleine West, Jessica Marais, Christie Whelan-Browne and Craig McLachlan.
TV sports reporter Mark Beretta has joined the army, reports News Corp’s Jonathon Moran.
The Sunrise presenter has entered the Australian Army Reserves and concedes he initially thought he might be too old at the age of 53.
“Even as an older fella, you’ve still got to meet all the basic physical requirements,” Beretta told Confidential.
“You have got to do all of the sit ups and push ups and get the right score on the beat test for running. It was a bit of a challenge but I’ve really enjoyed it.”
Beretta started the recruitment phase mid last year and received the green light that he had been accepted and ranked Captain, working at the Australian Army’s Forces Command in Sydney from earlier this year.
His commitment is to serve a minimum of 20 days a year as a Public Affairs Officer.
“I go in and work at Vic Barracks in Paddington [Sydney], which is convenient,” he said. “The most impressive part is the people. I have just been enthused by them. They are proud of their country and like the whole concept of serving; there is a real family feel to it.”