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Greatest hits: A guide to Dea Jolly’s signature style

One of the best things to come out of our participation on two series of The Block has been starting our own design and construct business, D + D Home.
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As a couple obsessed with real estate, construction and design, a move into building and designing our own projects, as well as taking on clients, was our dream at the end of Darren’s football career. We have been very lucky to have a steady stream of clients wanting to engage us.

Every client has their own vision for their home but the ones who have approached me for interior design advice have decided that they love certain things about my style and would like to replicate that aesthetic in their own homes.

These are the most requested styles and trends that I am asked to create for clients. Bathrooms

Our first bathroom on The Block was my favourite and one that has inspired many since. I think that is because it was timeless and, considering how expensive it is to renovate or build a new bathroom, following trends that will date in a year or two is not smart.

I always specify a neutral palette of white, greys, charcoal, navy and timber – colours that never date.

Quality fixtures and finishes are a must and nothing that is too on-trend. For example, I’m careful with metallic taps; I love them but they do go in and out of fashion. Related: Don’t overlook this area of your homeRelated: How many pillows is too many?Related: Dea Jolly’s tips for the ultimate master suite

Stick to chrome or black and stay current with less expensive and easily changed items such as towels.

Feature tiles are a great way to make a statement as long as they are not overdone. Choose one or two walls, or the floor, for a marble mosaic or patterned tile and keep the rest of the space simple and clean with large format tiles to avoid distracting grout lines. Marble bench tops give that beautiful hit of luxury. Kitchens

Kitchens are the most expensive space to fit out in most homes and another one where a classic approach is a good choice.

I like to create warmth with timeless hard finish and colour choices. Once again my palette for kitchens is neutral with plenty of white, mixed with warm greys, putty, pale green and timbers.

I love to add interest with simple shaker door profiles and either a small handle or none at all. Open shelving or glass fronted overhead cabinets are always my preference over solid overhead cabinets.

Functionality is crucial so I spend a lot of time working out how clients use their kitchens, how much storage they need and that all the right appliances are included. Final flourish

Texture is an important part of the aesthetic clients ask me to deliver.

Grass cloth wallpaper brings a sophisticated, elegant feel to any room and looks especially good in dark colours if you are brave enough.

Wall panelling is another of my favourite applications that can create either a casual look or a high end, period style.

Herringbone or chevron timber and tile floors are a beautiful choice and work best with simple design.

18/03/2019 0

Madeleine West’s character-filled South Yarra home for sale

Not surprisingly, the kitchen is the heart and soul of the Melbourne home of celebrity chef Shannon Bennett and his partner, actor Madeleine West. But there is so much more to their inner-city mansion with its character-filled rooms and dreamy contemporary extension, now listed for sale.
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While Bennett, West and their six children are moving to Toorak, their South Yarra mansion, Barwon, is an inspiring example of how a historic house can be reinvented for today’s high-powered, busy lifestyles.

The original 1881 house features a mix of Italianate and Georgian influences. Colonial architect Edmund Ovey designed the house for himself while he was helping create the villas and churches of marvellous Melbourne.

Luckily, the drawing room still has the original eye-popping painted walls – an unusual feature for the period. Also the historic hand-painted panels in the hallway frieze have survived the passage of time.

It was no easy task to revitalise the mansion in a sensitive way but architects Jackson Clements Burrows have created an extension that adds verve, style and warmth to make this a wonderful stylish family home without being opulent or over the top.

“It’s a great family home, a great house to share with friends and a great house to be private in,” says Bennett, who heads up the Vue de Monde restaurant empire and straddles the small screen on the Channel Nine’s Masterchef series.

West, who originally made a name for herself on Neighbours and now plays breakfast host Erica on Network Ten’s The Wrong Girl, says: “Once behind closed doors, the home is the perfect sanctuary.”

She says the architect has “given the house a clean, streamlined modernity that not only sympathises with but actually complements the historical aspects of the home”. Related: The unusual product our homes could be made fromRelated: How this kitchen went from derelict to dreamyRelated: What n home design gets wrong

A grand entrance hall opens on one side to the spectacular painted drawing room with frescos, marble mantelpiece and fireplace. Across the way is a masculine study in moody tones. Next, the formal sitting room is a bright, elegant room with bay windows looking on to the garden.

This is West’s favourite retreat. “We have strived to create a space to escape to, to share with friends, to dream a little,” she says.

It’s a perfect place for some quiet time for West and Bennett, the parents of five daughters and one son. She has written a book on parenting called Six Under Eight.

For a change of pace, step into the present century with the contemporary kitchen and inviting living area, which were designed in 2013. The palette is restrained with charcoal cabinets, a sculptural white benchtop and a stainless-steel bench containing a sink and Miele induction stove tops. Other practical pluses include three ovens, a Mastercool fridge and a built-in coffee machine.

This is a fully functional kitchen – almost like a stage – where the next owner can dream of acquiring just a fraction of the culinary skills of the present one.

It was updated a couple of years ago (again by Jackson Clements Burrows) to Bennett’s precise specifications.

A horizontal window behind the kitchen frames a bamboo-lined courtyard. The kitchen area also opens to a deck with outdoor cooking facilities (including a pizza oven).

One of the lovely features of the house is the choice of various outdoor dining areas – a green courtyard, an al fresco deck or pool dining – what takes your fancy?

There are also several balconies upstairs – perfect for hiding away with a good book.

The family room is a place to snuggle up alongside a floating fireplace, timber-lined wall, vaulted ceiling and muted tones.

Upstairs the colour palette is continued in the contemporary parents’ retreat with its dark tones, automated window shutters, walk-in wardrobe and spacious en suite in marble with a double shower.

The children’s bedrooms are in the original house. All have beautiful proportions with high ceilings, period fireplaces and built-in desks. There’s a small study facing out front and a family bathroom (matching the en suite) with a freestanding oval bath and shower.

The renovation was about unlocking the ability of the house to function as a contemporary family home, says architect Jon Clements, of Jackson Clements Burrows.

“We designed an extension that is different to the original building so they reinforce the presence of each other,” he says. “We used dark materials to relate back to the darker detailing of the original house, the wrought-iron balustrades and so forth.” The living room is essentially a “pavilion in the garden”, he says.

Of course, there are some bells and whistles hidden away. Look out for the cinema room (cleverly converted from a former garage), underground temperature-controlled wine cellar for 3000 bottles, a solar-heated pool and a fully kitted-out gym.

A subtle studio with fold-down bed and en suite bathroom is handy for guests and you can park your cars in the connecting garage or front yard. On top of the garage is a rooftop garden with perennial herbs and vegetables.

One of the big surprises is the size of the block, about 1250 square metres, which has been attractively landscaped. Now mature, the garden offers lovely unexpected vistas from various rooms and screens the house from its neighbours, creating a real sanctuary in the city.

Listing agent, from Kay & Burton, Ross Savas says: “It’s an incredible renovation, extending the existing traditional home while maintaining the warmth and charm of its era. This home has a great balance of formal and informal rooms that are beautifully proportioned.”

Barwon is a successful combination of a historic, character-filled home and a stylish, intelligent extension.It’s not just the best of both worlds, it’s the best of all worlds.

Barwon, at 38 Cromwell Road in South Yarra, is for sale through Kay & Burton’s Ross Savas. Expressions of interest close at 5pm on November 21, with price hopes of $7 million to $7.7 million.

18/03/2019 0

The best properties on show in Melbourne

47 The Grove, Coburg
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$3 million-$3.3 million 5 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, 2 car spaces

Waratah is a boom-era beauty, one of a semi-detached pair of the grandest imaginable c1890 townhouses with ornate brickwork, a tower, iron-lace-trimmed return balcony and magnificent internal period detail. Original features are complemented by a Peter Corrigan renovation, a more recent interior makeover and elegant landscaping and an outdoor zone on its 900-square-metre block. Bedrooms are upstairs, some with annexed rooms that suggest potential for en suites.

Expressions of interest: close 5pm, November 21Agent:Nelson Alexander, Jacqui Knapsey 0418 592 509 20 Camp Street, ChelseaPhoto: Hocking Stuart

$3.2 million-$3.5 million 8 bedrooms, 7 bathrooms, 8 car spaces

There’s room for a big family, plenty of guests and holiday-house options at this generous 2001 home built on a stretch of family-friendly beach frontage between the pier and the surf lifesaving club. The house, on 618 square metres of land, can be one home or two, with an upper-floor abode of five en-suited bedrooms enjoying bay views and a smaller ground-level pad alongside the triple garage. It’s a three-minute walk to the train or a 40-minute drive up Nepean Highway to the CBD.

Auction: 11.30am, November 12Agent:Hocking Stuart, Daniel Wright 0414 788 828 1/1 Alexandra Avenue, South YarraPhoto: Abercromby’s

$1.55 million-$1.7 million 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, 1 car space

The triple-A ring to this address underlines its enviable location on a prominent corner. The elevated ground-floor apartment, newly renovated, looks west from an enclosed sunroom to the Botanic Gardens and north, from a secure porch and through the living room’s picture window, to the 1899 Morell Bridge over the Yarra. Step from the kitchen to a courtyard with pool and barbecue area shared with others in the boutique 1920s building.

Auction: 11.30am, November 18Agent:Abercromby’s, Ada Taylor 0428 058 880 12 Athol Street, PrahranPhoto: Urban Angles

$1.65 million-$1.75 million 3 bedrooms, 2 bathroom, 1 car space

This double-fronted Victorian exudes heritage charm and is perfectly positioned between Fawkner Park, Greville Street boutiques and the train station. Prahran Market is an eight-minute walk away. Three bedrooms, each with a fireplace, are off the central hallway leading to a bright and functional open-plan kitchen, dining and living zone. Green thumbs will enjoy the courtyard and garden.

Auction: 1pm, November 18 Agent:Biggin & Scott, Tom McCarthy 0418 326 897 139 Hoddle Street, RichmondPhoto: Jellis Craig

$1.7 million-$1.87 million 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, 1 car space

This solid-brick cottage facing East Melbourne and with its back to West Richmond station, was built in 1855, just 18 years after surveyor Robert Hoddle laid out the CBD grid. Adding to its heritage appeal is bespoke silk wallpaper, a coffered sitting room ceiling and a Tuscan garden setting. Rooms are large, there’s a basement cellar and parking off Jika Place.

Expressions of interest: close 6pm, November 16Agent:Jellis Craig, Elliot Gill 0411 863 603 134 Park Street, St Kilda WestPhoto: Marshall White

$3.8 million-$4.1 million 5 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, 2 car spaces

“Cutting-edge Edwardian” is not an oxymoron but a statement of fact at this prize inner bayside address.

Boasting an expansive studio/guest house with en suite, this property embraces the 21st century with a seamless extension to a private bluestone terrace.

French doors from the formal lounge open to a secluded side terrace. Fully retractable sliding glass panels maximise the “open air” feeling of this home.

A slick gourmet kitchen is stocked with porcelain benches, a butler’s pantry and Smeg and Miele appliances plus a Liebherr integrated fridge.

Fine bespoke cabinetry has been cleverly designed.

Four bathrooms, an automatic watering system and tank, plus a double garage via a rear laneway just a block from the beach make this inner south residence a dream home.

Auction: 1.30pm, December 2Agent:Marshall White, Adrian Wood 0404 861 508 4 Victoria Terrace, South YarraPhoto: Image Factory

$2.25 million-$2,475,0002 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, 2 car spaces

Finished to an impeccable standard, this multi-level townhouse with a glass atrium and terrace, en suites in the two bedrooms, private lift and lobby, is inner-city living at its most enviable.

Auction: 11am, November 18Agent:Kay & Burton, Nicole Gleeson 0414 809 221 14 Dundas Place, Albert ParkPhoto: Bruno Cocozza

$3.3 million-$3.6 million 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms

A recent architectural addition and a minimalist fit-out. Timber panelling, on-trend lighting and a subdued palette renew this handsome double-fronted Victorian residence. Downsizer interest will zoom in on its main-bedroom/study combo, compact north-facing garden with a come-thither cabana, and two-room bluestone basement cellar. Albert Park village is at the end of the street and Albert Park Lake and the beach are but a stroll away.

Auction: 12.30pm, November 18Agent:Greg Hocking Holdsworth, Greg Hocking 0418 329 961

18/03/2019 0

This Toorak penthouse is set to smash the apartment record

The penthouse at 29 Washington Street, Toorak, was originally going to market in the off-the-plan way of so many other upscale apartments. Domain editorialised in 2014 that the penthouse in the boutique development of only six apartments would bring a new level of luxury back to Toorak, a suburb with more than a passing acquaintance with the concept. But then developer Orchard Piper had a lightbulb moment: you don’t sell off the plan something so uniquely out of the box.
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Three years later the penthouse is shaping up to smash the suburb’s apartment record.

Washington Street, where we lay our scene, is wide and grand. Como Park sits at the eastern end. From the penthouse’s north-facing terrace (the main terrace, not the terrace with the heated pool-spa, dining and barbecue) you could probably lob a tennis ball over to the Royal South Yarra Lawn Tennis Club.

That’s assuming the views of the city skyline didn’t work their mesmerising spell on you beforehand – a big assumption, because it’s an uninterrupted sweep of Melbourne’s inner suburbs to the CBD’s towers, a view equally arresting during the day and into the evening when the city lights “pop” against the night sky.

That view, incidentally, will never be built out thanks to the area’s height restrictions. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves.

Let’s properly introduce what is destined to be an iconic Melbourne address. Its vital statistics include Jolson Architects, landscape designer Rick Eckersley and interior designer Edwina Glenn. The rugged travertine blocks lining the shared front entrance are full of character. Above hangs a sculptural chandelier from New York lighting design superstar Lindsey Adelman.

But that’s it for sharing. A private lift deposits you directly in your entrance gallery on the third floor, where the soaring white walls have been designed with significant artworks in mind.

Part of the beauty lies in its scale. Imagine 1000 square metres of indoor and outdoor space. Related: How to prove you’ve made the big timeRelated: Toorak mansion set to break sales recordRelated: This triple-A suburb can be affordable

Conceived as an elevated pavilion sitting on the shoulders of its neighbours, it’s an eyrie, surrounded on all sides by natural light, gardens and stunning views.

Agent Marcus Chiminello says his imagined buyers are aspirational downsizers. Downsizers with exquisite taste, it goes without saying. The attention to detail is meticulous to the point of obsessive. The palette is of chocolate travertine, oak floors and veneers and marmorino polished plaster. Sleek, discreet cabinetry is by Poliform.

A sophisticated but understated den sits off the formal living room with its enormous open fireplace, and aids a logical flow through to the wine appreciation room and 1300-bottle cellar accessed through silently opening automatic glass doors.

Above the dining table hang bespoke blown glass pendants from Murano glass manufacturer Venini. Full-height doors throughout – some with leather handles – and three metre-high ceilings add to the sense of space and grandeur.

The main suite personifies the luxe experienced at the pointy end of a five-star hotel. It houses a vast sitting room, individual dressing rooms, en suites and a gymnasium with a sauna.

A second and third bedroom, a world unto themselves thanks to clever zoning, are no second and third-placegetters; each has its own dressing room and en suite.

The state of the art kitchen integrates the technology of a commercial kitchen and the style expected of Toorak. Butler’s pantry? Of course. There’s also a separate entrance for service staff.

One more essential piece of information is the option to purchase it with the furniture package. Imagine. Just turn the key, and call this home.

This feature is part of a Domain Deluxe package.29 Washington Street, ToorakPhoto: Marshall White

$20 million-plus 3 bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms, 4 car spaces

Agent:Marshall White, Marcus Chiminello 0411 411 271

18/03/2019 0

Sydney’s top three open homes to see this weekend

A European-inspired residence, a funky warehouse conversion and a coastal bolthole have caught Domain’s eye this week.
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Head to Turramurra, Newtown or Maroubra this Saturday to catch a viewing. Turramurra

$5 million

Having featured in Home Beautiful and Vogue Living, this elegant property can now add Domain to its list of fans as it hits the Turramurra market.

From formal living rooms with lofty ceilings to an outdoor terrace with Travertine pavers, the home evokes a feeling of an earlier time.

Di Jones Real Estate North Shore agent Tim Fraser has scheduled the auction for November 25. Travertine pavers lead to an in-ground pool. Photo: Supplied

See more of 11 Warrangi Street hereRelated: Three of Domain’s favourite open homesRelated: Inside Darlinghurst’s ‘groundbreaking’ nano padRelated: The ‘scruffy’ suburb in full transformation modeNewtown


This former warehouse is a blank canvas ready to be transformed into an upsizer’s den, a base for a budding family, or an executive couple’s dream digs. 68 O’Connell Street, Newtown NSW. Photo: Supplied

With lofty ceilings, a sitting area and two bedrooms in the upstairs retreat, and a poolside courtyard, this property is fun and practical.

BresicWhitney Darlinghurst agent Maclay Longhurst will lead the property to its November 18 auction. Lofty ceilings add to the warehouse conversion’s character. Photo: Supplied

See more of 68 O’Connell Street hereMaroubra

$3 million

After a long day at the office, coming home to this coastal hideaway will be a breath of fresh air. 6 Duncan Street, Maroubra NSW. Photo: Supplied

Soak up the ocean views from the verandah, potter around in the level yard, or stroll down to Maroubra Beach for a dip.

A custom-designed kitchen is the centrepiece of the home.

Doreen Wilson of Phillips Pantzer Donnelley has scheduled the auction for November 18. The interiors are fresh and light. Photo: Supplied

See more of 6 Duncan Street here or download the Domain app for more open homes across Sydney

18/02/2019 0

Denis O’Neil buys Vaucluse house for $5.5 million

Property developer Denis O’Neil and his wife Charlotte have bought a new forever home on the clifftop at Vaucluse to replace the $28 million Addenbrooke estate in Bellevue Hill they sold to billionaire Bob Ell in 2013.
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The Jensen Avenue house is expected to be another renovation for Charlotte, whose interior design skills have made good the Woollahra homes where they’ve been slummin’ it in recent years.

Settlement will reveal the exact purchase price paid by the O’Neils, given no disclosure on the result. However, Ray White Double Bay’s Elliott Placks and Ashley Bierman were asking $5.5 million, and it’s likely they would have been required to cough up more than that to secure the home ahead of the scheduled auction.

The three-bedrooom house with a pool and uninterrupted ocean views last traded in 1995 for $722,000. The three-bedrooom house last traded in 1995 for $722,000. Photo: Supplied

Home-owners on the South Head clifftop have done well since police raided the clifftop house of “Teflon” John Ibrahim in August and left without laying charges.

Celebrity accountant Anthony Bell set a Dover Heights record of $11.5 million in September when he bought the clifftop house of his mate, Morning Show co-host Larry Emdur.

Speculation has it Bell bought it for his estranged wife Kelly Landry, leaving him the Watsons Bay waterfront with its private jetty access. Police search John Ibrahim’s home in Dover Heights. Photo: Janie Barrett.

Meanwhile, a sold sign has gone up on the Vaucluse home of Westpac senior executive Michael Correa and his stylist wife Heidi Carter.

Ray White’s Elliott Placks declined to reveal the buyer, rumoured to have paid $7.15 million, but the result is well up on the $4.9 million they paid three years ago from former prima ballerina Darcey Bussell and her fund manager husband Angus Forbes.

Correa and Carter aren’t going far. Sources have dobbed them in as the almost $8 million buyers of the Gibsons Beach home of former Deutsche Bank managing director Matt Milsom sold through Ray White’s Gavin Rubinstein. Stylist Heidi Carter (above) and Westpac senior executive Michael Correa have sold in Vaucluse. Photo: Supplied by Ray White Related: No mansions bought by foreigners this yearRelated: Mad Max actor cashes in on $1.3m saleRelated: Lowy buys beachfront neighbour for $14.2m

18/02/2019 0

Historic Marrickville cottages with towering sewer vent on the market

Two adjacent unremarkable heritage-listed worker’s cottages have come onto the market in Premier Street, Marrickville, but it’s the structure in between them that will leave a lasting impression.
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Also heritage-listed is a tall brick sewer vent, resembling a chimney, which is impossible to miss.

While the houses are within metres of the heritage stack, it is separated by a fence and a narrow strip of land on both sides, and remains the property of Sydney Water.

Built in 1898, the vent sits above the junction of three sewer mains, which originally led to a sewage farm at Rockdale. Editions of both The Daily Telegraph and the Sydney Morning Herald make reference to its planned construction in 1897, with the tower to be 90 feet (27.4 metres) high and expected to cost around ??600 at the time.

It was built by the Public Works Department for the Western Suburbs Sewerage Scheme and put into service between 1898 and 1900, with the adjoining cottages intended as accommodation for employees – although Sydney Water records state “in the recent decades they were leased through independent property management agencies and were not tenanted exclusively by Sydney Water employees”.

“They’re original homes … one has the old stove in it. The kitchen has been updated at some point,” said agent Spiro Deligiannis, from Ray White Marrickville. “There’s tunnels beneath the stink pipes that the workers used to go under.”

Mr Deligiannis noted that while they were selling both, the properties were on offer individually with a price guide of $1.1 million each.

And the vent itself has been well looked-after, he said. “It’s been refurbished – they have been working on it for months and months. They’ve used some of the bricks from the walls from the properties. It’s solid.” Related: The perfect Saturday in MarrickvilleRelated: Mosman home with WW2 bomb shelterRelated: How Sydney looked 40 years ago

The stack was refurbished in 2000 but is no longer in operation, with the vent shaft reduced in height earlier this year.

Mr Deligiannis said the stack had its own entrance at the front, so owners would not need to worry about workers potentially needing access via the property’s yards.

The Marrickville Sewer Vent is not the only one in Sydney – another, similar tower built in the same year can be found at the corner of Falcon Street and the Warringah Freeway in North Sydney. Sydney Water records note that Lewisham,Stanmore,Glebe and Bellevue Hill also house these unique, heritage-listed structures.

A property at 125 Corunna Road, Stanmore, which had a heritage listed stack in the front yard, was sold at auction earlier in 2017 by the Sydney Water Corporation for $1,405,000.

Heritage records for the Stanmore stack note that it and the vent on Premier Street in Marrickville “appear to be the only ventilation shafts ever built in NSW that feature associated accommodation facilities”.

18/02/2019 0

‘You can beat’ Amazon, says powerful Aussie tech investor

The most powerful and celebrated Aussie investor in Silicon Valley says fears of Amazon’s dominance in e-commerce are overblown.
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Jeremy Liew, who was propelled into the top echelon of US startup investors earlier this year when his early bet on Snapchat paid off spectacularly, told Fairfax Media over coffee in San Francisco this week that Jeff Bezos’ $US500 billion ($628 billion) plus e-commerce giant should not be seen as invincible.

“The narrative of you can’t compete with Amazon, it just looks like it is wrong,” he said.

His comment comes as Amazon prepares to finally launch an online retail offering in , as soon as this month. The Seattle-based internet conglomerate, which has had a presence in via its web services business for years, is holding a seller summit in Sydney next Monday.

Despite Amazon’s perceived dominance of online retail, Liew points out that in recent years there have been a string of successful e-commerce companies in the US and Europe that have either listed on stockmarkets or been acquired for billion-dollar prices.

These include Chewy, a petfood delivery firm acquired by brick and mortar rival PetSmart for $US3.5 billion, subscription razor blade business DollarShave, which was acquired by Unilever for $US1 billion, and Zalando, a German online electronics retailer whose market cap has nearly doubled since listing.

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18/02/2019 0

Looking for gold: What betting on horses can teach us

I spent the early part of this week involved with horses. Mind you it was nothing to do with the Melbourne Cup, although I “dips me lid” to Rekindling and his/her connections.
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My involvement with horses concerned the great heritage of the working horse, rather than the racing nags.

You see, I have a little place in the mountains where the famous 1982 movie The Man From Snowy River was filmed.

In fact, my near neighbour, Jack Lovick really was right in the middle of it. Jack is the legendary horseman who bought all of his horses together for the movie.

He also taught Tom Burlinson as Jim Craig how to ride for that incredible scene when the Man from the Snowy charges down an impossibly steep mountainside to capture the brumbies and take them home.

The movie put our little town of Merrijig on the map, as it did its investors. The $3 million production grossed $17 million at the box office.

But as an infamous Governor General once slurred at the presentation of the cup at the great Melbourne race ” it’s all about the horse” and indeed it is.

Humans love horses and whenever I have international visitors to my shack by the Delatite River I always get Charlie Lovick to ride a team of stock horses through the river waving the n Flag. The visitors love the feeling of being part of a living history, and they are.

One guest Stephane Martin, the great Director of the Musee du Quai Branly in Paris, reckoned he preferred watching Charlie pounding through the river bed than the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.

And then there was the memorable visit of Sir Andrew Davis, Chief Conductor of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and formerly of the BBC Proms.

As our man from Snowy river plunged into the water I told Andrew that it was tradition to feed the horse an apple. Charlie’s great quarter horse Dobbin, knew how to play the game.

We gave Andrew the apple and told him to grip it between his teeth and explained that the only way the now 16-year-old Dobbin would eat it would be him chomping it directly from Andrew’s mouth.

“Cripes,” says Louise, “Couldn’t you have got a foot-long carrot for the poor chap to offer?”

But Andrew came away smiling and with photos to send home showing how the mountain men of down under feed their animals.

And of course, there was lots of feeding of all kinds going on out at Flemington Race Course on Tuesday. I had years of firsthand experience when our company used to have a marquee for the entire spring carnival.

Many secrets were revealed over the champers and chicken sandwiches. Being a nondrinker, I usually found that the business reconnaissance steadily improved as the champagne dwindled.

But my best memory was hosting actor Willem Dafoe after his appearances in the 2001 Melbourne Festival. As a New Yorker, he expected a heavy mafia presence and no women.

His mood changed as he moved through a very friendly and heavily female crowd to place a bet while the whole crowd was whispering in bubbly breaths “I know that face” until one woman shrieked “Its Willem” and charged at him as if he was the finishing line.

But back to the Man from Snowy River for a moment. It’s a complicated story of love, adventure and doing the right thing.

Kirk Douglas was here playing the dual roles of Harrison and Spur, two brothers in love with the beautiful Matilda; the mother of Jessica, played by Sigrid Thornton. Matilda declared that out of the two men vying for her love she would marry the first to make his fortune. Spur went looking for gold and Harrison bet his life savings on a horse race. Harrison became rich overnight when the horse won, and he went back to win Matilda.

It seems that betting on horse races has been in our blood right from the beginning. So has looking for gold. My fascination with horses continues and as our political and business environment swirls around like dust kicked up by a herd of wild brumbies, I think of the lessons that the equines can teach us.

Like never stand behind a horse, because it has a kick you’ll never forget. And make sure you clean up after yourself, because what horses leave behind is messy.

Sadly, I think the events of this week in Canberra should have had someone walking behind with a shovel. There’s been far too much of it left on the ground.

And finally, as Charlie Lovick says, “never change horses mid-stream”.

But looking for gold and betting on a horse are still part of our n character – and let’s hope it is forever.

18/02/2019 0

ING to scrap international ATM fees

The fight over ATM fees is expanding overseas, with ING offering fee-free withdrawals from every ATM in the world to customers who conduct their main banking business with the digital bank.
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The move comes as banks face pressure to roll back unpopular fees, while ING is seeking to bulk up its share of the market by targeting regular overseas travellers or shoppers at foreign websites.

As well as scrapping ATM fees internationally, it will also remove international purchase fees from its credit and debit cards – which were previously 2 per cent of the purchase price.

To qualify for the offer, customers will need to deposit at least $1000 a month into the account, and make at least five card purchases each month.

It is a response to growing demand for overseas purchases, and part of a strategy by the lender to win over more customers who use ING for their main transaction account.

The Dutch-owned bank has recently moved into credit cards and insurance, from its roots in savings products and loans, and the transaction account is highly valued by banks because it allows banks to sell other products.

“We are seeing some significant changes in customer behaviour,” head of retail banking Melanie Evans said.

“We’ve got one in three ns leaving the country each year to travel internationally, we’ve got almost half of ING customers shopping online from their living rooms.”

Managing director of payments consulting firm The Initiatives Group, Lance Blockley, said it typically cost banks $1 to $2 when a customer withdrew money from an ATM overseas.

“Depending on the number of their cardholders accessing overseas ATMs, it could be a reasonable expense, but a very good marketing move,” he said.

The removal of ATM fees has also come at a time when customers are turning away from cash – ING said overseas withdrawals by its customers fell 12 per cent last year.

At the same time, however, foreign digital transactions are growing strongly. The bank’s average customer’s overseas spending has lifted by 17 per cent in the past three years.

“There’s nothing worse than coming home from a holiday or potentially doing your shopping for Christmas, and seeing not just the transaction move out of your bank account, but the 2 per cent fee come through after that,” Ms Evans said.

Ms Evans said the bank would not profit from the exchange rate offered for transactions made on the card.

The move will also help ING keep a key point of difference. Since 2009, it has offered fee-free ATM withdrawals across all cash machines in by refunding the fees banks charged customers of other institutions for making withdrawals.

After the big four banks recently abolished their ATM fees for customers of other banks, most customers have far more access to fee-free ATMs. ING will also have saved money because it no longer needs to reimburse customers for the fee.

Even so, Ms Evans said the recent changes by banks to remove ATM fees affected only about 40 per cent of the ATMs in .

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