Things I have learned from The Courier

The Ballarat Courier is my local paper. I tend to read it online and usually read the print when I’m at a cafe or while waiting at the fish and chip shop for our order. It can be interesting and enlightening at times…

Pole dancing is a sport.

I must have been living in a bubble, or  probably don’t go out that much, which is why I didn’t know. I have The Courier to thank me for this bit of information as there is a regional pole dancing competition happening in Ballarat at the George Hotel next month. Money raised from the competition will go to aid flood victims in Victoria and Queensland.

For those that pooh pooh the idea of a sport happening somewhere other than a gymnasium, or a playing field,  just remember the esteemed games of darts and pool are played quite regularly in pubs.

Yet somehow, I think the predominantly male, beer-guzzling audience would be more appreciative of toned ladies with amazing upper body strength slithering up and down a pole than watching predominantly male sportsmen with beerguts stab a defenceless corkboard with darts or chase balls around a green table  :).

Don’t ride on tram tracks unless you want to have an accident

Wendouree Parade, which circles Lake Wendouree is a popular destination for the recreational cyclist of all types, from the casual rider to the lycra clad riders with the spiffy bikes. For a stretch the riders have to negotiate trame tracks upon which vintage trams travel on holidays and the weekends. Riders have to cross the tracks at one point  as the tracks veer off to the Tramway Museum. It’s at this point that cyclists have their accidents with astonishing regularity- astonishing in hat you would think they would learn.

The latest idiot victim was a GP who regularly treats patients who have come a cropper on the tracks. Riding  early in the morning after a damp, misty night, he thought he was going okay after riding over the tracks at least three times. The fourth time he did the circuit however, he fell off.

The Council have spent $15,000 trying to rectify this issue. There are some residents who want the tracks ripped up, while there are other ‘commentators’  (aka those who make online comments on The Courier’s website) who have nothing but vitriol for the cyclists who dash around on their skinny wheels and carbon frames.

If I were a cyclist, I’d rather go somewhere where there wasn’t any tram tracks, and if I were going over tracks, I wouldn’t try and emulate Cadel Evans…

History is more than the Gold Rush in Ballarat

History is big business here, and it’s not just the Eureka Stockade. Heritage issues pop up regularly, whether it’s to do with houses being demolished to make way for Bunnings, or a new ugly facade being placed over a local bank.

Signage of a service station has recently been uncovered during a buidling redevelopment just down the road (it’s actually next to my local dry-cleaners). The article is quite cursory, but the real gold is in the comments, with people contributing snippets of information about the building and making comments about other buildings whose previous tenants have been rediscovered. The most recent comment was from the son of the actual owner of the service station:

This was my father’s building. (Frederick T Batt). He owned it and as well as selling petrol and oil, there was a workshop at the back where some 8 or so men were employed. 2 Office girls were also employed there. My mother ran it during the war while he was employed doing war work. He reconditioned motors as well as grinding pistons and other things as well. He also owned the service station cnr Drummond and Sturt sts. He sold out to Shell in maybe the mid to late 1950’s. It was a real thrill to see this emerge and just as I remembered the building.

I always get a kick out of reading comments (mainly for the creative spelling and grammar- grammar nazi guilty as charged), but this was particularly lovely to read the reminiscences of people who managed to tell us more than the paper had managed to discover.

It was reading something like this that made me feel warm and fuzzy about living here in Ballarat.

I do however, have no intention of becoming Miss Pole Dancer. My sporting talents lie elsewhere…



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