Sydney set for ‘Awesome August’

SYDNEY is the place to be this August when it will host more than eight major events including The Bledisloe Cup, Supercars Super Sprint, an inaugural American football match – the Sydney College Football Cup, the opening of Disney’s Aladdin and Dame Julie Andrew’s directed My Fair Lady, which will commence an exclusive Sydney season.

NSW Minister for Trade, Tourism and Major Events and Minister for Sport Stuart Ayres said “Sydney continues to set the benchmark as Australia’s major events capital, securing some of the world’s most prestigious events, in fact over half of the major events during the month will take place during a packed 8-day period from August 20.

“The Bledisloe Cup and the College Football Sydney Cup alone are anticipated to attract more than 30,000 domestic and international visitors to Sydney – an influx which is estimated to inject more than $17 million in visitor expenditure into the local economy.”

Destination NSW Chief Executive Officer Sandra Chipchase said that major sporting events, musicals and exhibitions continue to attract visitors to our state where they can enjoy a range of other great experiences Sydney and NSW has to offer.

“There’s no better place to take a break than in Sydney, and with a packed calendar of events in August to suit any taste, it really is a great time to stay and play. In addition to these spectacular events, we also have world-class hotels, dining, shopping, and a range of breath-taking natural attractions in and around the city and across the state for visitors to explore,” Ms Chipchase said.

From fashion to sport, entertainment and more, the calendar of major Sydney events in August has something for every visitor.

FOR THE SPORTS ENTHUSIASTS

  • AUGUST 20: The ultimate trans-Tasman rivalry returns to ANZ Stadium when the Qantas Wallabies face the All Blacks in the World Cup Final rematch for the first rugby union match of the 2016 Bledisloe Cup series
  • AUGUST 26 – 28: Just six days later the Supercars take to the track at Sydney Motorsport Park for the annual Super Sprint where Nick Percat, James Courtney and Jamie Whincup will battle it out for top honours
  • AUGUST 27: Rounding out a packed 8-day program of major sporting events in Sydney is the inaugural College Football Sydney Cup. From noon, The University of California, Berkeley Golden Bears will play the University of Hawaii Rainbow Warriors in the opening round of the 2016 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division One College Football Championships. A not-to-be-missed, once in a lifetime experience for football fans to get a glimpse of these high-caliber teams as they battle for competition points on home turf.

FOR ENTERTAINMENT LOVERS

  • AUGUST 11: Musical theatre enthusiasts are in for a treat with the highly-coveted Australian premiere of Disney’s Aladdin opening at the Capitol Theatre. Based on the Academy Award®-winning animated film, Aladdin is a musical that sweeps audiences into an exotic world full of adventure, comedy and romance, featuring songs including A Whole New World
  • AUGUST 28: A legend of the stage, Dame Julie Andrews will give fans the opportunity to get up-close and personal when she joins her daughter, Emma Walton Hamilton, for a very special ‘In Conversation’ event. The audience will have a chance to engage with both Julie Andrews and Emma Walton Hamilton in an informal setting, as they discuss Julie’s work as one of the world’s most loved performers, and their work together as critically acclaimed best-selling authors and television creators and producers.
  • AUGUST 30: Following her In Conversation event, Julie Andrews will present the world premiere of her directed adaptation of My Fair Lady, exclusively held in Sydney. The 60th Anniversary production of Lerner and Loewe’s masterpiece recreates the original 1956 Broadway show. The Production will enjoy a two-month run at the Sydney Opera House.

FOR THE FASHION SET

  • CLOSING AUGUST 28: One of Sydney’s most stylish exhibitions, Isabella Blow: A Fashionable Life will come to a close on August 28. The exhibition features the private collection of fashion visionary and magazine editor, the late Isabella Blow, including looks from Alexander McQueen, Hussein Chalayan, Julien Macdonald and more. A Fashionable Life provides a glimpse into a fashion provocateur with more than 45 of Isabella’s bold outfits, hats, shoes and jewellery created by more than 20 of the world’s top fashion designers on display along with images from key fashion photographers
  • ALL THROUGH AUGUST: Visitors to Sydney have more time to explore Collette Dinnigan: Unlaced at The Powerhouse Museum with the successful exhibition extended until Sunday, January 29. Collette Dinnigan: Unlaced displays Collette’s mastery up close on more than 100 garments, and reveals Dinnigan’s inspiration for her delicately embellished couture.

For more information on where to stay and what to do in Sydney, including all major events taking place, where to purchase tickets and travel packaging information, visit www.sydney.com

Australia’s wildest bachelor has high ‘Hope’ for a new bird

MOVE over Bachelors Ritchie, Blake and Tim, Townsville’s wildest bachelor now has his eye on a fine, young bird.

But it wasn’t a buff bloke meeting a svelte young chick in a glam gown slit to the waist, in this show of courtship, it was 33-year-old Yarabah, Billabong Sanctuary’s resident wild cassowary locking eyes — and feathers — with Hope, a three-year-old captive-bred female cassowary.

Jeremy Hurburgh, head bird keeper and Billabong Sanctuary’s own Osher, explained that just like the production of a certain prime-time reality show, match making at the Townsville sanctuary has been going on behind the scenes for some time.

“Cassowaries are a threatened species and with mortality hot spots from vehicle strikes, the problem is only getting worse, so successful captive breeding is vital to the cassowaries’ survival as a species,” Jeremy said.

Bachelor

“Yarrabah is one of the 31 male and 34 female cassowaries on the Southern Cassowary Population Management Program. He has successfully bred and we thought he would be the perfect match for Hope, a three-year-old sexually-mature female who came to the Billabong from Perth Zoo as part of the breeding program.”

In a move to match the fall of the Berlin Wall, the fence separating the resident cassowary pair recently came down allowing avian action to begin and the Casanova cassowary, Yarabah, to show his moves.

It worked. Mr Hurburgh reports that while it took a while for the pair to realise they could cross the now invisible, eventually Hope did trot off to the bachelor’s side of the enclosure and the two have been hanging around together ever since.

“Hope was standing up nice and tall, a sign of dominance and authority. Yarabah was quite submissive, following her around and pecking her back. We have high hopes for an early mating,” Mr Hurburgh said.

In the wild, if a female enters the male territory during mating season, the male displays evident signs of courtship. No roses here, the plumage goes up and the male cassowary begins to slowly circle his love object.

Should our Casanova cassowaries prove lucky, Hope will lay a clutch of light bluish-green eggs in a scrape in the ground and then trot off in a quest for more bachies, leaving Yarabah to do the hard work and incubate the eggs for two months before raising the chicks for a further nine months. During one season, a female cassowary will mate with two or three males.

Yarrabah, aged 33, is a wild-caught cassowary with a heritage from the Aboriginal community of Yarrabah south of Cairns and a proven track record of fertility. He came to Billabong Sanctuary from Currumbin Sanctuary on a breeding loan. He, along with a male from Featherdale Park in Sydney, is the oldest males in the program.

Up until now, a fence has divided the enclosure separating the pair.

Cassowary Management Plan

Cassowaries are a threatened species and with mortality hot spots through vehicle strikes at Mission Beach and dog attacks, the problem is only getting worse, so successful captive breeding is vital to the cassowaries’ survival as a species.

Billabong Sanctuary is one of 32 wildlife parks and zoos Australia-wide in the Southern Cassowary Population Management Program. Historically, there has been a lack of consistent breeding on non-kinship birds in zoological institutions. There are 31 male cassowaries in the program and 34 females and in the past five years only 16 births.

The cassowary breeding season extends from June to October. The breeding age for females in the breeding program has been identified as three – 46 years and for males four to 35 years.

Cassowaries will live in excess of 60 years in captivity.

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