Top five drone video tips from a pro drone videographer – DroneDJ

The other day, we posted a video we quite liked from Thailand. It included some great drone and photography shots, so we thought we’d track down the person responsible. Turns out that quest led us to Australia, where — after negotiating the crazy time difference from Toronto — we got a chance to speak with Max Harach. And Max had some great things to say, including some tips for drone videographers!

It was the look of Max Harach’s work that caught our attention. The framing was great, the exposure perfect – and the videos edited with a great sense of pacing, transitions, and music. So we figured: Who is this person? How did he develop these chops? Might he have some tips that could benefit others? We figured the answers to all of these questions would be a “Yes” — and connected with Max for an online chat. We’re glad we did, and we think you’ll be pleased as well.

Max Harach, on location in Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India

Turns out that Max is, as suspected, a visuals pro. He works in the television industry and has been on contract as a video editor for Australia’s Special Broadcasting Service, or SBS. It’s a diverse, multicultural network that dedicates itself to inclusion, equality, and cohesiveness.

SBS is a modern, multiplatform media organization with a free-to-air TV portfolio spanning five distinctive channels in SBS, NITV, SBS VICELAND, SBS Food, and SBS World Movies; an extensive radio network providing 68 communities with services in their own language; and an innovative digital offering, including SBS On Demand, available to audiences anytime and anywhere.

SBS Website

Editor

Max’s primary job is as an editor, pulling together raw shoots into programs. He’s worked on documentaries, including a lot of work related to Australia’s Aboriginal population. It’s a position that has given him a window into other cultures — something that comes in handy during his frequent travelling.

Anyway, Max simply decided one day that he wanted to explore more of the visual side of things. So he went out and bought himself a Sony a7S (he now has as a7 III).

I kind of got sick of being the guy that puts it together. A few years ago I just bought a camera and thought: ‘I can do this.’ I was always into photography but never got around to cameras for filming. But I have a passion for camera work, and I love traveling. So I try to put both passions together.

Max Harach, Australian visuals pro

First a camera, then a drone

As Max progressed with a camera, he knew he wanted to take that extra step and capture some visuals from the air. And so, about two years ago, he purchased a Mavic Pro. It soon became his constant companion on trips like this one, to Vietnam:

Max Harach shot this with his trusty DJI Mavic Pro

Top five tips

We asked Max if he could pull together some tips for those who shoot video with their drones. He was kind enough to oblige:

  • Safety first, respect the area and people around you.
  • Find a private place to take off so you can really focus and concentrate without distraction.
  • Be experimental: Try multiple angles and you will eventually nail the shot, while discovering new shots in the process.
  • With moving shots, hold the shot as long as you can. It will help with the edit process and allow space for effects and transitions in post-production.
  • Practice a range of movement and motion. If you can nail a nice smooth, steady movement hitting a range of angles — you’ll get good shots every time.

Good tips!

We couldn’t agree more with those tips — especially the first two. As it turns out, some of Max’s regular contract work is on hold at the moment due to COVID-19. That’s given Max the impetus to start doing more of his own commercial work. If you’re in Australia and need some work done in the Sydney area, check out Max’s Facebook page and get in touch!

What about you? Which of Max’s tips do you like best, and why? What tips might you offer to someone wanting to improve their aerial videography skills? Let us know in the comments below.

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China pursues ‘all-around influence’ in Australia – The Australian

Just four years ago, the Chinese went close to pulling off what would have been a masterclass in propaganda.

To mark the 40th anniversary of the death of Mao Zedong — the man responsible for the deaths of millions of people during the Cultural Revolution — plans were in place for a Chinese troupe to perform a series of concerts at two of Australia’s most prestigious venues, Sydney Town Hall and Melbourne Town Hall.

Organised by the International Cultural Exchange Association of Australia, a group with close links to the Chinese Communist Party, the optics of such an event would have been irresistible to Beijing powerbrokers: an overt celebration of Mao at revered locations in Australia’s two biggest cities, at a time when President Xi Jinping was publicly breathing new life and status into the decades-old United Front, describing it as the country’s “important magic weapon”.

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The diplomatic and social coup was cleverly orchestrated right under the nose of the Australian government. But the event never went ahead, scuttled at the last minute by the emergence of the Australian Values Alliance — a small group of Chinese-Australians critical of the Chinese Communist Party — horrified by the insensitive attempt by the CCP to rehabilitate the reputation on the foreign stage of a man who was responsible for so much human misery.

And, while those concerts in 2016 were kiboshed, the blueprint under Xi was set.

In the years since, dozens of Chinese cultural performance troupes have visited Australia each year to sing, dance and invariably complete their performance with a proud rendition of the Chinese national anthem. Free tickets are given to the Chinese diaspora in Australia, local politicians are encouraged to attend and, as was the case with the cancelled Mao anniversary concerts, the use of prominent government buildings is especially prized for propaganda purposes in Beijing.

For China, it’s the pursuit of so-called “all-around influence” in Australia — economic, cultural, diplomatic and personal — where every advantage is taken to tell a good China story, sway local opinion and take control.

It all fits with China’s United Front framework, which links back to the very creation of the Chinese Communist Party, founded in 1921.

“United Front means every possible force towards the target,” says former Chinese diplomat and political refugee Chen Yonglin, who was consul for political affairs in Sydney’s Chinese embassy from 2001 to 2005.

Former Chinese diplomat Chen Yonglin. Picture: Vanessa Hunter

China might well be run by communists but it has always been a tough-guy hierarchy with a keen understanding of blunt power, political leverage and financial persuasion.

“Chinese people will look around and ask, ‘Who is my friend? Who is my relative?’. If there is no relative or no friend they will create one by [showering someone] with money,” says Chen.

This is the context in which Australia’s 1.2 million-strong Chinese diaspora has been targeted as a key part of the CCP strategy to break the dominance of the US and realise Xi’s dream of Chinese global leadership by the middle of the century.

The diaspora, however, is a complex beast.

The Weekend Australian has met with scores of membersof Australia’s Chinese diaspora as part of a series sponsored by the Sydney-based Judith Neilson Institute, a philanthropic backer of journalism. The newspaper found a diverse and vibrant community with a mainly positive attitude towards their adopted country and mixed views about the communist regime in their cultural homeland.

The diaspora is not homogenous; it has evolved over waves of migration that have brought labourers, gold-fever miners, refugees and a new breed of Chinese global citizen who has benefited most from the Asian giant’s recent decades of prosperity.

But the shadow of the homeland looms large, now more than ever.

About 40 per cent of the diaspora have come to Australia directly from the mainland. Of these, more than half have arrived in Australia in the past eight years.

Most people within the diaspora rely on social media app WeChat and have access to Chinese-language news and television. This means many Chinese-Australians are being monitored by CCP censors and fed a steady diet of communist party propaganda.

‘All-around influence’

As global tensions rise over trade and security, and Xi steps up efforts to expand China’s power, influence and reach, United Front activities require fresh scrutiny.

Its operations have long been present in Australia, but the presence of the all-encompassing strategy has become increasingly overt in recent years.

The system was originally adopted from Russia and is at the core of China’s communist control apparatus. Under Xi, it has been given heightened status to include authority over religious, ethnic and Chinese diaspora affairs.

Chinese officials routinely dismiss claims of United Front activity. But in 2015, Xi described United Front as “an important magic weapon” for strengthening his party’s rule, and central to the aim of realising the dream of the “Great Rejuvenation of the Chinese Nation”.

The inside view of Xi’s bold plans is that the CCP was surprised at the short time it took to break international sanctions placed on China after the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989.

Within three years Western sanctions had been removed.

At that time, Chen Yonglin was working in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs within the Department of North American and Oceanian Affairs based in Beijing.

Internal discussions with China’s top leaders at that time focused on the need to exploit the once-in-a-generation opportunity that had opened for the country, both at home and overseas.

“The massacre was supposed to be the most difficult time since 1979, when Deng Xiaoping returned to power, but the sanctions were so easily broken,” Chen says.

“It was considered there was an opportunity window that would last about 20 years.”

Where Deng developed a strategy of “hiding our capacity and biding our time”, Xi broke cover to declare that China did not need to hide anymore but must make some achievements. In a three-hour speech in 2017, Xi declared China had entered a “new era” and should “take centre stage in the world”.

The global Chinese diaspora everywhere has been encouraged to further the party aims, via the United Front.

It must first overcome the big differences in opinion and relationship with the mainland that exist within the diaspora.

Australian Strategic Policy Institute analyst Alex Joske says the CCP’s ultimate aim is to collapse the “diverse” diaspora into a single “homogeneous and patriotic” group, united under the party leadership. To achieve this, Joske says, the CCP seeks to co-opt, control and install “leaders” in community groups, business associations and media across foreign countries — with Australia high on the list of targets.

Joske says the CCP’s strategy is to wedge the party between ethnic Chinese communities and the societies they live in, expanding its control of those communities’ channels for representation and mobilisation.

“The fact that United Front is a political model means that its overseas expansion is an exportation of the CCP’s political system,” he says. “As governments begin to confront the CCP’s overseas interference and espionage, understanding the United Front system will be crucially important.”

According to Joske, in countries like Australia where United Front work has been long established, it has proven difficult for politicians to avoid associating with affiliated groups and implicitly legitimising them as representatives of the broader Chinese community.

He cites the fact that both major party candidates for the seat of Chisholm during the 2019 federal election had reportedly either been members of United Front groups or had travelled on United Front-sponsored trips to China. The seat was won by the Liberals’ Gladys Liu.

Both contenders for leadership of the NSW Labor Party in 2019 — the winner, Jodi McKay, as well as Chris Minns — had also attended events run by United Front-linked groups in the lead-up to last year’s state election.

It is a reflection of China’s “all-around influence” agenda, says Joske. Figures associated with the political strategy typically deny any links to it, but ethnic Chinese communities are fertile ground for the work of United Front.

Suppressing dissident movements within those communities, building support for a takeover of Taiwan, intelligence-gathering, encouraging investment in China and facilitating technology transfer — it’s big-picture stuff, at a grassroots level.

Shaky ground

Over the past 20 years, the CCP has established more than 100 sister-city and state relationships with Australia. It has forged close relationships with former top government officials, many of whom are not averse to the lavish hospitality afforded to visitors with something to offer China.

For seasoned China watchers, this is one context in which the Andrews government in Victoria allowed itself to be seduced into its Belt and Road Initiative heads of agreement with the CCP.

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, however, the Chinese government’s attitude towards Australia has changed markedly, with diplomatic niceties giving way to a more aggressive stance.

A few months ago, a strongly worded editorial in Chinese state-run media was published under the byline Zhong Sheng or “Voice of the Centre” — which is known to reflect the views of Xi — blasting Sydney’s Daily Telegraph newspaper for publishing an image of the coronavirus with the Chinese flag.

“By politicising the pandemic and labelling the virus the newspaper has discarded justice, broken through the bottom line of morality, and gravely hurt the feelings of the Chinese people,” the editorial said.

For the Chinese diaspora in Australia, the message was clear: Australia is a racist country that is not welcoming.

China was further enraged by the Morrison government’s decision to scrap its extradition arrangement with Hong Kong and offer sanctuary visas to residents wanting to escape mainland China’s security clampdown there.

This week’s Australia-US ministerial meeting in Washington will have cemented China’s view that Australia stands with the US to protect its global hegemony. The talks between Foreign Minister Marise Payne, Defence Minister Linda Reynolds and their US counterparts, Mike Pompeo and Mark Esper, focused almost entirely on the growing regional threat posed by China.

The two countries agreed to combat Chinese state-sponsored disinformation campaigns through a new joint working group. China’s Global Times newspaper said in an editorial following the talks that Australia was a “barking dog”. “Tied to the US, Australia is barking at China,” it said.

John Fitzgerald, Swinburne University Emeritus Professor at the Centre for Social Impact, says Australia’s loyalty to the US puts the relationship between Australia and China on shaky ground.

Following Australia’s call for an independent inquiry into the COVID-19 pandemic, Fitzgerald says China had given up on Australia. A campaign to brand Australia as an “irredeemably racist country, in thrall to US hegemony, was being implemented methodically across many arms of China’s government”, he tells The Weekend Australian.

“The Zhong Sheng editorial signalled a high-level central party decision concerning Australia to every government ministry and to officials running China’s state-owned enterprises at home and abroad, along with tourism and education agents in China, that people around Xi have adopted a hostile approach towards Australia.”

But, while the pronouncement in the editorial might have resonated with some Chinese-Australians, it is also viewed by many others as a further reflection of instability within the Xi regime.

“The China society now is not normal, the Communist Party is acting like a mafia,” one dissident, who says he has been the subject of “strict surveillance” in Australia by the communist regime, told The Weekend Australian. Further anecdotes suggest the business community is shifting large amounts of money out of China, including Hong Kong, and seeking a safe haven for family members overseas. The fear is that having built the economy with capitalist incentives, the Xi regime is preparing to return to the CCP’s Maoist roots and seize control of private wealth.

This would fit with the grand narrative in which Xi has conceived a series of centenary milestones for China and the CCP — next year marks the 100th anniversary of the formation of the CCP as both a political party and revolutionary movement.

Improving relations

It seems the mainland government in China has increasingly been looking to a new generation of Chinese migrants to build its influence in Australia.

This includes the wave of “post-Tiananmen migrants” and the more recent influx of wealthy Chinese who have profited from the mainland’s economic transformation. Chen says the mainland government has focused a lot of attention on the Tiananmen refugees. Many speak English but are not particularly wealthy, and therefore could be more vulnerable to threats and exploitation.

As China’s prosperity has increased over the past three decades, many of the migrants saw the opportunity of a business connection with the mainland, Chen says.

Junxi Su arrived in Australia 27 years ago, from mainland China. She is the president of the Federation of Chinese Associations and runs a dumpling and coffee shop near the Melbourne Cricket Ground. She claims to represent 156 Chinese organisations, under the umbrella of the FCA.

“Our aim is unity of the Chinese community … to promote Australian multiculturalism and at the same time promote Chinese heritage and culture,” she tells The Weekend Australian.

“Our objective is to improve the relationship between Australia and China.”

Su, a former deputy mayoral candidate in Melbourne, supports local Chinese cultural performance groups and has been outspoken in support of China’s security law intervention in Hong Kong. In September 2017 she attended the 6th General Assembly of China Overseas Exchange Association held in Beijing but says she is not particularly familiar with United Front activity.

“In Melbourne I don’t think they (United Front) are very active. We don’t have much contact with them, probably one or two people,” Su says. “I think their focus is about Taiwan, we want to have a unified country.”

As for the Beijing conference, Su says it was “just some kind of community leaders gathering to exchange experience about how they develop the local community in the country where they live”.

“We do have a photo session with the top leaders who say they care about the Chinese overseas,” she says.

One of Su’s groups is Chinese Performing Arts Development.

Federation of Chinese Associations president Junxi Su at her Melbourne cafe … ‘we don’t have much contact with United Front’. Picture: Vanessa Hunter

Dancer Ting Ting Wang came to Australia as a student 17 years ago and is settled with two children. “When I joined the Chinese performing arts I got confidence and when I am on stage I can show the Chinese cultural dance to my friends to my family and to Australia,” she says.

Li Zhang is president of the Chinese Community Council of Australia, which has been embroiled in controversy over the Victorian government’s agreement with China for Belt and Road projects.

Li says her group’s key goal is “to ensure local Chinese-Australian community interests are protected during the policymaking by different governments”.

Chinese Community Council of Australia Victorian president Li Zhang.
Australian Values Alliance spokesman John Hugh … ‘not all Chinese are the same’.

“My main focus in politics is multiculturalism and anti-discrimination, and I simply hope my son and other ethnic kids will be treated fairly and have same opportunities with others,” she says. “Most Chinese diaspora have a more peaceful and happier feeling if our country has a good relationship with our motherland, which is just human nature.”

Fitzgerald says United Front is an increasingly well-resourced and powerful CCP network of influence but warns care must be taken in not tarring all Chinese community groups with the communist brush. “Showing how it actually works on the ground involves a lot more than harming reputations by association,” he says.

John Hugh is the spokesman for the Australian Values Alliance, the group spawned in response to the planned Mao concerts in 2016.

He says use of the Sydney and Melbourne Town Halls for the Mao concert would have represented a huge propaganda win for the CCP.

Hugh says the AVA is not anti-China; rather, it seeks to build a bridge between the Chinese-Australian communities and the mainstream. “We want to educate the mainstream that not all Chinese are the same,” Hugh says.

His battle is not just with petty prejudice and discrimination, but the orchestrated efforts of mainland China and the CCP.

Superpower dream

In Xi’s dream for China, the new year will mark the time in history at which China will finally boast living standards on par with those in the West.

He says that by 2025, Chinese will have made the transition from low-end manufacturing to hi-tech, with Chinese standards applying worldwide for computer technology, telecommunications and artificial intelligence.

In 2049 it will be the centenary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China.

Under Xi’s vision, by this date, China will be the world’s premier superpower. And if that comes to pass, the “China Dream” will be realised, and the United Front will have done its job.

Environment Editor

Sydney

Graham Lloyd is a fearless reporter of all sides of the environment debate. A former night editor, chief editorial writer and deputy business editor with The Australian, Graham has held senior positions nationa…

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What’s On July 31 – August 7 – Neos Kosmos

ONLINE

FREE ONLINE LECTURE: BIZIM PAOK – OUR PAOK: REFUGEES, SPORTS, AND VENIZELISM IN INTERWAR THESSALONIKI
The Greek Community of Melbourne is hosting an online lecture as part of their Greek history and culture seminars program. The lecture will be presented by French-Greek historian at the École Normale Supérieure Lukas Tsiptsios, who aims to do a social history of Thessaloniki in the Interwar period through PAOK, by following the paths of the Constantinopolitan elite that founded the club.
When: 6 August 7:00pm
Info: (03) 9662 2722 or info@greekcommunity.com.au

ONLINE SETTLEMENT SERVICES FOR NEWLY ARRIVED PEOPLE
In an effort to support the newly-arrived immigrants settle and find job opportunities in their new home, Pronia is continuing the project “Settlement Services for Newly-Arrived People” online, with morning and afternoon English language workshops.
There will be separate classes for people with intermediate, limited and no English language knowledge.
Info: Contact Pronia on 03 9388 9998

ANTIPODEAN PALETTE 2020
Titled In Isolation, the exhibition presents the work of 15 past Antipodean Palette participants during this time of physical distancing and self-isolation…Those wishing to view works created by the artists can now do so through the online gallery, hosted through Instagram, Facebook and the GACL’s website. Selected works will also be featured in the bilingual Antipodes Periodical 2020 edition which will be dedicated to the Antipodean Palette visual artists.
Info: Instagram – @gaclmelbourne and www.gacl.com.au

NATIONAL MENTAL HEALTH MONTH LAUNCH
National Mental Health Month is an initiative of the Mental Health Foundation Australia to advocate for and raise awareness of Australian mental health. At this launch, presentations will be made to the winners of the Schools’ Creative Writing Competition and Art Competition 2020. There will also be an opportunity for you to sit in on formal addresses, on the Victorian government’s plans for mental health into the future and the current Royal Commission into mental health.
When: 1 October, 6:30pm – 8:00pm AEST
Where: Virtual on Zoom

AUSTRALIAN MULTICULTURAL FESTIVAL 2020
This year the Mental Health Foundation Australia (MHFA) is excited to bring the festival magic at the comfort of your home. Presenting the Virtual Australian Multicultural Festival a package of incredible music, breath taking performances all just a click away. Prepare your festival outfits, stock your fridge, gather your crew virtually and get ready for #Australianmulticulturalfestival2020. To make your festival experience even better, you can also be involved, by partnering, sponsoring or performing in the event, for more info email admin@mhfa.org.au.
When: 3 October, 11:00am – 2:00pm AEST
Where: Virtual on Zoom
Info: admin@mhfa.org.au

VIC

GREEK CYPRIOT YOUTH OF MELBOURNE
Membership applications for GCYM are now live. The organisation promotes shared Cypriot and Greek culture and creates a platform for youth to socialise with the community
Contact: tinyurl.com/joincypriotyouth or email cy.apostolosandreas@gmail.com

NSW

GREEK LESSONS
Greek lessons for adults via Zoom or small classes organised at Greek Bilingual Workshop.
When: Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Beginners to advanced intermediate. Reading groups, conversation and vocabulary. Skype lessons available
Costs: Group lessons from $25; $65 at the bookshop, $75 from home
When: Lessons held Mondays, Tuesdays Wednesdays
Where: Online or 837 New Canterbury Rd, Dulwich Hill
Contact: info@bilingualbookshop.com.au or call 0400 436 079

DARLING HARBOUR CULTURAL FESTIVALS EXPRESSIONS OF INTEREST
Place Management NSW continues to celebrate Sydney’s rich cultural diversity and a multicultural Australia by revitalising the series of vibrant Cultural Festivals at Tumbalong Park and inviting community groups to express interest in participating in a new program from 2021. Applications for Season 1 (February 2021 to April 2021) are now open and must be submitted by close of business Monday 3 August 2020
For more info: Email jenna.mcmurray@property.nsw.gov.au or call (02) 9240 8768

KIDS OF SPIRIT: Hello library, goodbye teacher – Daily Examiner

St Joseph’s Primary School South Grafton

WELCOME back to Term 3! It was wonderful to see the students return full of excitement and enthusiasm.

ST JOSEPH’S NEW LIBRARY UP AND RUNNING!

Our beautiful library is now complete and the students and staff are so excited to use this wonderful resource. There are comfortable seating areas, fabulous display shelving and as well as our existing assortment of books, a huge collection donated by Mrs Denton. A quiet, welcoming space to journey into the world of imagination and discovery!

St Joseph’s Primary South Grafton enjoy their new library

At the end of Term 2 the Catholic Schools Office together with Fr Joe, announced that Mrs Lee Denton had been appointed principal of St Joseph’s commencing 2021. Lee has held the position of acting principal this year. We are so excited and blessed to have Lee lead our school. She brings with her a gentle, faith focused, innovative and driven approach to all facets of teaching and learning, as well as a wealth of knowledge and experience, particularly in the area of Literacy. Congratulations Lee!

Stage 3 have completed a science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematical (STEM) project in class. They were required to identify a challenge impacting people and design a solution for the problem. The students were very excited and proud to showcase their constructions and speak with the leadership team during judging. There were two students taking out first place – Max and Ivy, closely followed by runner-up, Kyra. Max designed a river rescue to clear waterways from pollution and plastic, Ivy created a flying fox for people with a disability, and Kyra made a fireproof house with a robotic chair. Congratulations and well done Stage 3!

Kindergarten and Stage 1 teachers have been assisted in setting up investigation tables for the children to begin the Walker Learning approach. This is a pedagogy, meaning ‘the way we teach’. It is based on developmentally appropriate practice and builds student empowerment, ownership, engagement and motivation. The children have the opportunity to become active participants in their learning through creative and hands-on investigation, be reflective of themselves and others, and build skills to become stronger communicators. Teachers guide, direct and scaffold students while exploring and constructing learning, based on their interests.

Fr Joe celebrated Mass at St Joseph’s with Stage 2 last week and Stage 3 at the end of Term 2. Stage Masses will be held at school every fortnight and we thank Fr Joe for enabling this to happen. It is wonderful that we can once again gather to share Mass.

Ulmarra Public School

ENROLMENTS are now being taken for our River to Sea Transition Program. A fully qualified teacher and SLSO deliver a program developed to support children in their transition to school. Classes are held on Tuesday during Term 4 from 9am to 3pm in the school Transition Room. Please contact the school if you require an enrolment form for your child or for further information.

Transition students at Ulmarra Public School

This year, Education Week will run from Monday August 3 to Friday August 7 and the theme is Learning Together. It’s a theme that reflects an incredible year for NSW public school students, staff and parents, and the partnerships that have been strengthened in response to the drought, fires, floods and COVID-19.

Transition students at Ulmarra Public School

We look forward to celebrating Education Week with a range of activities throughout week 3.

Take a leisurely stroll down The Link at Grafton Shoppingworld during Education Week to see our student’s art work on showcase.

Wednesday August 5 is our Wheelathon. All students are invited to bring their “wheels” to school on this day where they will participate in activities regarding bike education and safety, all of which will be conducted at school.

Transition students at Ulmarra Public School

All students have been given a sponsorship form that needs to be returned with money on the day. We have some great prizes to be awarded on the day for various categories. We look forward to a fun filled day!

Yamba Public School

HAPPY retirement to Mr Clifford! The following photos are of Mr Clifford’s send off from the students of the last day of last term.

Yamba Public School students say goodbye to Mr Clifford.

Mr Clifford first starting working at Yamba Public School in 1998 and has spent 22 years here.

We would like to welcome Mrs Sandy Sonter who will continue to teach the intensive maths classes until the end of this year.

Yamba Public School students say goodbye to Mr Clifford.

South Grafton Public School

SOUTH Grafton Public School welcomes all our students back to Term 3. We hope all of our families had a relaxing and enjoyable holiday. We are looking forward to a very exciting term where our students will have the opportunity to participate in a number of school based initiatives.

This term beginning week 2 we will be operating a Breakfast Club on our Infants campus as well as our Primary campus which is very exciting for our students and our staff. The Breakfast Clubs will operate Monday to Thursday and are a free service for our families. Our thanks to Mrs Shorrock and Mrs Dodd for their organisation of this terrific initiative in our school.

South Grafton Public School students show off their artworks.

In Week 3 all NSW Public Schools will be celebrating Education Week. The theme is Learning Together.

In this year of bushfires, floods and COVID-19, the key messages of Education Week 2020 are:

  • Schools are the cornerstone of communities.
  • Parents and carers are our partners in learning. Schools and families benefit from strong, respectful relationships where responsibility for student learning is shared.
  • Change and resilience.
  • Our teachers and students are lifelong learners, collaborating in a positive learning environment to achieve their best. Learning together makes us strong and creates resilient communities.
  • Connect better and learn together.
  • Our school staff are dedicated professionals who know, value and care for all students.

Technology enables learning together anywhere, any time.

During Education Week we normally invite our parents to visit our classrooms and our students perform in a wonderful concert. Unfortunately this year we are not allowed to have parents visit our school in large numbers. Our staff will still be participating in a number of activities throughout this week to recognise and celebrate Education Week 2020. Take a leisurely stroll down The Link at Grafton Shoppingworld during Education Week to see our students art work on showcase. From August 3-9.

South Grafton Public School students show off their artworks.

Last week our new school cricket pants arrived to support our boys and girls cricket teams. Our teams will look very smart when they represent our school in these new navy pants which will match with our school polo shirt.

This term our Primary campus will be participating in the annual Premier’s Sporting Challenge which runs for 10 weeks. All students have received log books which they use to record their daily physical activities in 20 minutes blocks. The log books daily entries accumulate to a weekly result which may be bronze, silver, gold or diamond award. Each student tracks towards an average final award level at the end of 10 weeks. Next term students will then receive a certificate which records their overall result.

This term we have organised a large number of initiatives to support our staff and students. Many of these activities you would recognise as our normal Term 3 activities but they will be operating under the NSW DEC guidelines. We will be highlighting these activities with photos for our parents on our Facebook page, website and in our newsletters.

South Grafton Public School students show off their artworks.

Listed below is a calendar of events for Term 3:

Tuesday July 28 – AFL, Monday August 3-7 – Education Week the theme is ‘Learning Together’, Wednesday August 12 – Rugby League, Tuesday August 25 – Hockey boys and girls, Wednesday August 26 – Performing Arts Concert for students and staff only, Tuesday September 1 – Book Character Parade, Friday September 4 – Multicultural Public Speaking School Finals, Tuesday September 8 – Soccer girls and boys, Friday September 18 – Infants Sports carnival, Tuesday September 22 – Netball, Thursday September 24 – Primary Athletics carnival – Barnier Park

Term 4

Tuesday October 20 – Basketball girls and boys, Tuesday November 17 – Cricket girls and boys

We are very excited we can offer our wonderful students these excellent opportunities and we will continue to endeavour to provide as many activities as possible.

This week our primary students will be participating in Littlescribe’s Mini Writing Festival. This is a unique opportunity to interact with 13 of Australia’s most treasured children authors. Each day students will participate in a workshop where they will meet a new author, focus on a specific writing theme and be given a writing challenge. Some of the authors include Andrew Daddo, Jackie French, Wendy Orr and Deborah Abela.

Canteen Roster

PRIMARY

Tuesday Julieanne Parente, Riley Burton

Wednesday Kelly Gavin, HELP NEEDED

Thursday Belinda Wormald, HELP NEEDED

Friday Trudy clydesdale, Suellen Davies

INFANTS

Tuesday Barbara Tibbett, Rhonda King,

Wednesday Suellen Davies, HELP NEEDED

Thursday Jasmin Wyse, Rebecca Milligan

Friday Simmone Skinner, Sara McClymont

Arts for all – The ArtsHubbub looks at making the arts more accessible – ArtsHub

In the seventh episode of The ArtsHubbub we look at how the arts can support all artists regardless of their cultural background or their level of ability. We wanted to hear directly from artists and arts leaders who are working to make our sector more equitable, more diverse. We know there are more voices to hear from and many more issues to unpack; this episode aims to start a conversation for arts organisations rather than being the final word on the matter.

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We start with Jacob Boehme, a multi-disciplinary theatre maker and choreographer of the Narangga and Kaurna Nations. Boehme believes there’s a degree of nervousness in how we approach questions of race and culture in the arts, especially in regards to the demonstrated hesitance audiences and even some presenters display when it comes to engaging with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art and performance.

‘I think really what it comes down to a lot is just basic fear. Fear that the presenter is going to get it wrong and from the audience, fear that they’re going to get it wrong, they’re not going to get it. Which rather than jumping in and making mistakes, generally tends to kind of do a whole 180 and turn people into, well, it just turns people into freezing, freezing and not trying at all just because of the, the fear, really,’ Boehme said.

Veronica Pardo – CEO of Multicultural Arts Victoria – gives us a perspective on organisations that are creating change. Pardo believes that systemic change has to start at the top and necessarily comes at the cost of power. She told us: ‘Reputation, income, title, all of these things that represent, you know, how we express power within … the arts and cultural sector, if you’re not prepared to concede these at all, then I really questioned whether your allyship is real.’

Developing good allies is an important part of long-term change. Lena Nahlous, Executive Director of Diversity Arts Australia, thought her organisation needed to go one better. In partnership with The British Council, they created an anti-racism toolkit.

‘Often we operate in systems that we take for granted and the Creative Equity Toolkit reminds us that these systems are often created to exclude many people and only include an elite few. So this toolkit provides resources to empower people of  color and culturally and linguistically diverse people and allies and organisations with the tools they need to make substantive, long term change and get to the root of systemic discrimination in the arts,’ said Nahlous.

DIsability and ACCESS

Disability can come in many forms – some less visible than others. Neurodiversity is also often invisible, but for too long has hindered some people’s equal access and engagement in the arts. For playwright and academic Fleur Kilpatrick, her dyslexia has become an important part of her teaching.

‘So instead of now doing things that are all about me reading massive things, I was like, well, let’s be more creative about this. We do videos, we do podcasts, we do presentations, we do so many different forms of assessment now because of my dyslexia. Because I’m looking out for me, the students get more creative assessments,’ Kilpatrick told us.

Working as the Access Inclusion Coordinator at Melbourne Fringe, appearance activist and writer Carly Findlay has developed practical guidelines to assist independent producers make their work more accessible. Such guidelines include practical aspects, e.g. organising Auslan interpreters and budgeting for accessibility, but she also advocates for the importance of promoting within communities.

‘One of the things that is really important is when you’re doing when you’re doing accessible shows, when you’re creating accessible art, you need to reach those people. And so many people might think that it was a waste of time in … making the shows accessible because no one came, but then they didn’t reach out to those people in the audiences in the communities,’ Findlay said.

We also introduce the new CEO of Access Arts Australia, Matthew Hall, who had only been in the role for three days when we spoke with him. Even at this early stage of the job he emphasised that lived experience was valuable, particularly in his organisation, where identifying with a disability was mandated for senior leadership roles.
Hall told us, ‘I think it’s critically important to be able to bring to the role and to the interaction with other people, lived experience and an empathy and irrespective of what my experience is, which will be no doubt very different to the lived experiences of other people, it still it still enables me to have an understanding.’ 

This episode was supported by the Australia Council’s National Arts and Disability Awards 2020 which recognise the achievements of established and young artists.
Nominations close 1 September.

What’s On 24 July – 30 July – Neos Kosmos

ONLINE

FREE ONLINE LECTURE: BIZIM PAOK – OUR PAOK: REFUGEES, SPORTS, AND VENIZELISM IN INTERWAR THESSALONIKI
The Greek Community of Melbourne is hosting an online lecture as part of their Greek history and culture seminars program. The lecture will be presented by French-Greek historian at the École Normale Supérieure Lukas Tsiptsios, who aims to do a social history of Thessaloniki in the Interwar period through PAOK, by following the paths of the Constantinopolitan elite that founded the club.
When: 6 August 7:00pm
Info: (03) 9662 2722 or info@greekcommunity.com.au

ONLINE SETTLEMENT SERVICES FOR NEWLY ARRIVED PEOPLE 
In an effort to support the newly-arrived immigrants settle and find job opportunities in their new home, Pronia is continuing the project “Settlement Services for Newly-Arrived People” online, with morning and afternoon English language workshops.
There will be separate classes for people with intermediate, limited and no English language knowledge.
Info: Contact Pronia on 03 9388 9998

ANTIPODEAN PALETTE 2020 
Titled In Isolation, the exhibition presents the work of 15 past Antipodean Palette participants during this time of physical distancing and self-isolation…Those wishing to view works created by the artists can now do so through the online gallery, hosted through Instagram, Facebook and the GACL’s website. Selected works will also be featured in the bilingual Antipodes Periodical 2020 edition which will be dedicated to the Antipodean Palette visual artists.
Info: Instagram – @gaclmelbourne and www.gacl.com.au

NATIONAL MENTAL HEALTH MONTH LAUNCH
National Mental Health Month is an initiative of the Mental Health Foundation Australia to advocate for and raise awareness of Australian mental health. At this launch, presentations will be made to the winners of the Schools’ Creative Writing Competition and Art Competition 2020. There will also be an opportunity for you to sit in on formal addresses, on the Victorian government’s plans for mental health into the future and the current Royal Commission into mental health.
When: 1 October, 6:30pm – 8:00pm AEST
Where: Virtual on Zoom

AUSTRALIAN MULTICULTURAL FESTIVAL 2020
This year the Mental Health Foundation Australia (MHFA) is excited to bring the festival magic at the comfort of your home. Presenting the Virtual Australian Multicultural Festival a package of incredible music, breath taking performances all just a click away. Prepare your festival outfits, stock your fridge, gather your crew virtually and get ready for #Australianmulticulturalfestival2020. To make your festival experience even better, you can also be involved, by partnering, sponsoring or performing in the event, for more info email admin@mhfa.org.au.
When: 3 October, 11:00am – 2:00pm AEST
Where: Virtual on Zoom
Info: admin@mhfa.org.au

VIC

GREEK CYPRIOT YOUTH OF MELBOURNE
Membership applications for GCYM are now live. The organisation promotes shared Cypriot and Greek culture and creates a platform for youth to socialise with the community
Contact: tinyurl.com/joincypriotyouth or email: cy.apostolosandreas@gmail.com

LIVE ONLINE CULTURAL WORKSHOPS
Join series of free online workshops that celebrate the diverse arts and crafts of Victoria’s multicultural communities hosted by the Victorian Multicultural Commission. The workshops are also suitable for older primary school and secondary school learners.
When: Throughout July
Contact: Telephone (03) 7005 1267; or email: contact@vmc.vic.gov.au to get a programme and register for each event

NSW

LIVE COMEDY PRODUCTION
The Greek Stage Theatre presents four performances of the comedy Ζωή Μετά Χαμηλών Πτήσεων (Living Flying Low / Flying Through Life Grounded) by the anonymous Greek playwright Arkas, every Saturday in July.
Where: Greek Orthodox Community of New South Wales premises, 206-210 Lakemba Street, Lakemba
When: 25 July 6:00pm
Contact: 0450 724 600
Tickets: $35 including meal
Social distancing rules apply

GREEK LESSONS
Greek lessons for adults via Zoom or small classes organised at Greek Bilingual Workshop.
When: Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Beginners to advanced intermediate. Reading groups, conversation and vocabulary. Skype lessons available
Costs: Group lessons from $25; $65 at the bookshop, $75 from home
When: Lessons held Mondays, Tuesdays Wednesdays
Where: Online or 837 New Canterbury Rd, Dulwich Hill
Contact: info@bilingualbookshop.com.au or call 0400 436 079

NORTHERN TERRITORY

GREEK FESTIVAL (ST PANTELEIMON)
The Kalymnian Brotherhood Darwin and the Greek Orthodox Community North Australia (GOCNA) and the Cyprus Community are holding a Festival to celebrate the Feast of St Panteleimon. Food, drink and dance, children’s activities
Where: Kalymnian Brotherhood, 64 Batten Road, Marrara
When: Saturday, 25 July, starting at 10:00am until late

Outstanding efforts at 2020 Local Government awards – Mirage News

The outstanding work of Liverpool City Council staff members has been recognised by two local government awards panels.

Council Administration Officer Elizabeth Pirolo has won the Young Achievers’ Award in the 2020 Minister’s Awards for Women in Local Government.

The Minister’s Awards are organised by the Office of Local Government.

Liverpool City Council’s focus on innovation, improving liveability and celebrating cultural diversity has also been recognised at the NSW Local Government Excellence Awards run by Local Government Professionals Australia.

The Liverpool City Centre Public Domain Master Plan, Council’s 10-year plan to improve its city centre was Highly Commended in the category of Community Partnerships and Collaboration.

Five of council’s initiatives were nominated as finalists for three categories this year including three projects in the category of Community Partnerships and Collaboration.

Liverpool Mayor Wendy Waller said the annual award results demonstrate Council’s commitment and hard work to supporting its people and Liverpool’s growing economy.

“Firstly congratulations to Elizabeth Pirolo,” Mayor Waller said. “The Award she won recognises the achievements of outstanding women aged 25 and younger who are undertaking traineeships or apprenticeships in the local government sector.

“It’s an outstanding result for her. I hope this will encourage other female staff members to aim high and see what a rewarding career they can have in local government.

“I am also delighted that the Liverpool City Centre Public Domain Master Plan was highly commended in the NSW Local Government Excellence Awards.

“I am aware that staff worked long and hard to design and envision Liverpool as a city of the future,” Mayor Waller said.

“Staff worked closely with the community through face to face consultations and online community feedback surveys to come up with a blueprint for our CBD that includes dedicated cycleways, better lighting, more street trees and vegetation and wider footpaths.

Minister’s Awards for Women in Local Government 2020

Award winner for the Young Achiever’s Award – Elizabeth Pirolo. An outstanding trainee/apprentice (under 25).

NSW Local Government Excellence Awards

Award finalists in the category of Community Partnerships and Collaboration:

Liverpool City Centre Public Domain Master Plan – Highly Commended

This 10-year plan will guide future development and include enhancements of public space in the Liverpool city centre. Wider footpaths, dedicated cycleways, more street trees and vegetation, public art, better furniture, lighting and paving materials are among the improvements suggested in the plan.

Centre for Civic Innovation

The Centre for Civic Innovation, run as a pilot between October and December 2019, was established in a vacant shop space in Liverpool CBD for community members to turn ideas to improve the community into an initiative, a not-for-profit or a business. Fourteen people shared their ideas for potential innovation activities or projects, with two incubated and one developed into a viable business.

CALD Social Board Games

Run in partnership with STARTTS Liverpool, this regular workshop held at Liverpool City Library invites people of all cultural and language backgrounds to come together for social board games such as chess, cards and backgammon.

Award finalist in the category of Local Economic Contribution:

Local Jobs for Local People

This ongoing project will provide pathways for local jobs in South West Sydney. As part of this initiative, Council is now developing a digital platform to connect people with local jobs.

Award finalist in the category of Special Project Initiative:

Eat Your Heart Out Liverpool

Council’s signature CBD event celebrates the city’s multicultural harmony in a one-night street fiesta that combines a tantalising array of food, live music and performances, markets and plenty of art into a feast for the senses, activating different areas of the Liverpool city centre each year.

Images:

https://we.tl/t-EwplKHBUNx

Award winner for the Young Achiever’s Award – Elizabeth Pirolo

Liverpool City Centre Public Domain Master Plan – Highly Commended

/Public Release. View in full here.

How To Get Ghost Of Tsushima’s Two Trickiest Trophies – Press Start Australia


Note: The following information references some mid-to-late-game content and we recommend it only be used as a guide if you’re already attempting these trophies and need help. Read ahead at your own risk. 

Sucker Punch’s massive samurai epic Ghost of Tsushima has finally been unleashed on the world, and as fans start to pick up the game and explore the beautiful island of Tsushima they’ll find a healthy list of PlayStation trophies waiting to recognise their progress.

While the overall list is fairly straightforward and quite achievable, there are a few that we anticipate might stump some players. If you’ve clicked through to this, that likely applies to you, so allow us to talk you through both the Honour the Unseen, and Cooper Clan Cosplayer trophies to help you on your journey to Platinum. 

It probably goes without saying but the following will go over content in the game that might be considered spoilers, including some things you might want to discover on your own. We’d recommend you only read ahead if you’re already at a point where you’re actively trying to pop these trophies.

How To Get The Honour the Unseen Trophy

This trophy is an interesting one; once you know what to do it’s incredibly easy to achieve, but knowing what to do is half the battle. 

For starters, the game doesn’t really ever draw attention to the fact that you can make Jin bow at any time by swiping down on the DualShock 4’s touch pad. That’s lesson #1 on your way to Honour the Unseen. 

With that knowledge in your back pocket, it’s time to find these ‘hidden altars’, another little extra that the game leaves to players to discover. Hidden altars are found all throughout Tsushima, some in obvious places and some cleverly hidden. Unlike the game’s Inari Shrines and Shinto Shrines, these ones aren’t marked on the map or tracked in any menu, and they can often embody very different physical forms. 

The primary way to recognise a hidden altar is to spot a wooden signpost depicting a person bowing, these are placed next to (most) hidden altars. The altar itself could be a statue, a tree, a natural formation, even a body of water, but as long as you’re standing next to the sign when you use the aforementioned bow command the altar should ‘activate’. Most (but not all) of the time, you’ll know it’s worked because something will happen. We won’t spoil that for you here, though. 

The trophy requires doing this at ten unique hidden altars, which is easy enough given there are far, far more than ten throughout the game world. If you’re keeping in mind to look for the signposts as you play through the game you’ll likely find enough to satisfy the trophy requirements long before the credits roll. That said if you missed finding them or need extra help we’ve highlighted some of the earliest/easiest ones to find, and more than enough to get you the bronze trophy:

– At Tadayori’s Rest in Izuhara, which you go to during The Legend of Tadayori Mythic Tale, it’s a hidden mountain cemetery in the middle of Houren’s Pasture, Kuta Grasslands and Winding Trail.

– At the cemetery outside of Komatsu Forge in Izuhara, on the east side

– At the Isonade Coast in Izuhara, early on the path to the Mending Rock Shrine, you’ll see a frog statue by the cliffside

– At a fishing pier on the east side of Kechi Fishing Village in Izuhara, on see a square section of walkway sticking out

– At the river near Kishi Village in Izuhara, on a small wooden pier outside of a building

– At Kashine Hills in the north part Kashine in Izuhara, there’s a large house with a small lake in front, at the back of the lake by a tree is a fox statue and a hidden altar sign

– At a large tree in the middle of Izuhara Clearing in northeast Hiyoshi in Izuhara

– In the hollow of a giant tree in North Kashine forest in Izuhara

– At the very edge of the shore of Kaneda Inlet in north Hiyoshi in Izuhara is a Pillar of Honour

– Outside a fishing hut on a riverbank southeast of Old Kanazawa Marsh in Toyotama, you’ll see the sign on the small wooden deck next to a boat

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– Just south west of Old Kanazawa Marsh in Toyotama in a large field is a Pillar of Honour that also doubles as a hidden altar

– At Omi Lake in south west Kubara in Toyotama, there’s a pier next to a duelling ring down a path from Omi Village

– On the way to the shrine on small island off the coast of Rebel’s Last Stand in Yarikawa in Toyotama, just behind one of the large Torii gates on the path are two large frog statues, there’s a sign next to one of these

– Two for one! On the path to the Cloud Ridge Shrine at the cove north of Urashima’s Village in Toyotama, after doing some climbing and entering a mountain path you’ll see a statue of three frogs at a forked path, that’s one. Immediately to the right of this one is another, lone frog statue that is also a hidden altar

How To Get The Cooper Clan Cosplayer Trophy

Now, for the one that I’m betting most players will have come here for. The description for this trophy reads ‘Dress up as a legendary thief’ which, if you’ve been following Sucker Punch’s output long enough you should recognise as a reference to their Sly Cooper series. Even if you happen to catch the reference though, the exact method around popping this trophy is pretty murky.

Luckily, we’ve done the work for you and figured this one out, so if you’re stumped and want the easy way to discovering this neat little easter egg then read on:

Step One – Progress Enough To Access The Entire Map

You’re going to need access to two things to start your journey for this silver trophy. The first is the Mythic Tale questline, The Unbreakable Gosaku. This is important because you need to acquire Gosaku’s Armour to fulfil the trophy requirements. You’ll also need to have played through enough of the game to access the entire map in order to find the other pieces of this puzzle and also because you need to have unlocked Jin’s ‘grappling hook’ to reach certain places.

Step Two – Acquire The Right Gear

Once you have Gosaku’s armour, you’ll also need to head to a dye merchant and acquire the ‘Ocean’s Guardian’ colour scheme for the armour.

Following that, you need the following pieces of vanity gear found at these locations, both of which are in the northern section of the map in Kamiagata:

Crooked Kama Headband: Found at the top of a tall temple building at Jogaku Temple in Jogaku at the very north of the map. You can get up there by grappling to the corners of the temple’s roof on each floor

Sly Tanuki Sword KIt: Found at a Pillar of Honour at the peninsula east of Iwai Village in Kin

Step Three – Wear It!

This final step is pretty straightforward. Head into the menu and equip Gosaku’s Armour with the Ocean’s Guardian colour scheme, the Crooked Kama Headband and the Sly Tanuki Sword and voila! Your Sly Cooper cosplay is complete and the trophy should pop. That was simple enough, right?


Hopefully that’s helped you clear off a couple of Ghost of Tsushima’s trickier trophies. If you find yourself with more questions, throw us a message on our socials or you can bother our resident Ghost of Tsushima platinum-haver on Twitter at @thebirdprince. Happy hunting! 

Why Tal Kanety moved from Israel to Armidale region – Armidale Express

Necrobarista Review – Delight in Melbourne’s Dark Corners – Press Start Australia

It’s hard to imagine anything more destined for cult following status than Necrobarista. They’ve got the recipe right: unique, oddly relatable characters, a world oozing with style, and a banging theme song accompanying its title sequence. If Scott Pilgrim was set in Melbourne and swapped band practise for necromancy, you’d be pretty close to what Route 59 Games has accomplished.

Necrobarista is many things, but it is not a game like you know it. Falling into the somewhat niche genre of 3D visual novels, don’t expect typical mechanics you may associate with other video games.

But sure, there are hallmarks of other games. Built-in the Unity game engine, the coffee shop is explorable from the first-person perspective between episodes. In these moments, you’ll briefly use WASD on your keyboard, finding tangental stories unlocked using keywords collected from the game’s main plot.

The story is mostly experienced as a visual novel however, clicking through scenes and on-screen dialogue without decision making or interaction with the world. Player agency isn’t what it’s about; the focus is solely on the story Route 59 has sought to tell. They overtly shrug off potentially more profitable game design choices in favour for championing this lesser-known genre, peeking through the fourth wall with the line, “I just feel like everything’s a battle royale these days.”

Ultimately the discussion surrounding its status as a video game is reductive and distracts from the magic contained with Necrobarista. However light it is on gameplay, Necrobarista more than makes up for it with a double shot of emotive storytelling.

With its musings on life, death and letting go, Necrobarista is a heart-wrenching story set within the space between this world and the next. Choosing a back alley coffee shop in the inner-city suburb of Carlton as limbo seems oddly apt. The nihilistic pontification between its characters is indicative of the brunch time conversations you might hear between a gaggle of Melbournites. As a local myself, I was very excited to see a milk crate dragged out as a chair.

Australian references don’t end there. A bro-ey interpretation of the infamous outback outlaw, Ned Kelly, is a central character and slang such as ‘tradies’ and ‘goon’ are frequent. I’d recommend an international audience keep Urban Dictionary close to hand.

But Necrobarista is an example of cultural hybridity at its finest. Blending style and aesthetics inspired by Japanese anime with a generous helping of Australian culture and history, the resulting mixture is something fitting of Melbourne’s multicultural roots.

Despite the supernatural and mysterious Terminal cafe setting, a coffee shop somewhere between this world and the next, the world is strangely believable. If an underground alchemist/necromancy scene does exist within Melbourne, I’d imagine it’d be exactly like this.

The characters and equally convincing and relatable. From the cafe owner and lead necrobarista herself, Maddy Xiao, to the eccentric, knife-wielding teenager, Ashley Capek, I quickly felt a connection with the coffee-obsessed crew. That renders their heartache, as they struggle to deal with the transitory nature of life and an inability to escape consequence, all the more painful.

Necrobarista is exceptionally well-written. Route 59 perfectly capture those pointless conversations you find yourself as you skate around the elephant in the room. But when characters do open up, boy do they tug at your heartstrings.

No amount of caffeine will soften the punch packed into the game’s self-described “heavy” moments. Touching, sometimes all-too-real dialogue punctuates an expertly told, very human story interspersed between moments of typical Melbourne cynicism. Bouts of introspection setup thought-provoking monologues that playfully bounce into witty banter, much of which I’ve captured in a folder of screenshots. There are brilliant lines in there I’d refer back to in my own moments of self-doubt or repurpose as a meme in a group chat.

It’s also laugh-out-loud hilarious at times.

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This oscillation between deep personal reflection, one-liners and puns does bear a degree of whiplash, but none too different from that you’d expect to see within an anime or a comic.

It gets away with it thanks to the brilliant score composed by the BAFTA-nominated composer of Florence, Kevin Penki (who’s making a habit of scoring the Millennial Melbourne existence), with contributions from Jeremy Lin the indie-pop group Soft Science. From the very-anime title sequence to the punchy beat the accompanies the commentary between Ashley’s sentient robots at the end of each story chapter, the music contributes greatly to the game’s mood at any given moment. I’m not typically the type to listen to game soundtracks in my own time – with Hotline Miami‘s the only exception – but I’m glad to see that the tracks already on Spotify.

Sadly, on the topic of sound, Necrobarista is almost entirely reliant on its soundtrack. Sound design is sparse to non-existent. Bar some occasional ambience in the cafe, and the odd sound effect here or there, without a recorded dialogue – which is all told through text – tracks are reused time and time again. The mix from scene to scene isn’t always flash either. If the soundtrack wasn’t as strong as it is, it would’ve bothered me a lot more than it did.

Visually speaking, there’s a lot to commend. The heavily stylised 3D presentation creates a unique, immediately recognisable aesthetic. Equally so, the character and environment design deserve to endure in whatever form Necrobarista next presents itself. It’s low poly and occasionally a little rough looking – with the infrequent bit of clipping – but I was able to mostly overlook minor issues as I became enthralled in the narrative.

It’s still incredibly cinematic too, even with minimal camera movements and very infrequent character animation. I’d like to have seen more movement in the scenes, but clever tricks used with dialogue text and the character’s designs and posing are sufficiently expressive. 

What’s most exciting about Necrobarista though is what is yet to come. And no, I’m not talking about the fan fiction this first tale from the Terminal will inevitably brew.

Necrobarista is destined for more. Battling burnout and the ‘grind’ that was its development – I hope they appreciate that shocker of a pun – Route 59 Games have succeeded in setting up a world Netflix would be lucky to have. You can’t just go throwing about mentions of the Council of Death without creating more questions than you can answer in a tight, five-hour experience well worth the price of admission.

Thankfully, for now, Route 59 Games have more in store. If scenes and characters never realised but teased in the title sequence aren’t enough evidence, their promise in December last year for “post-launch feature updates and significant content additions” has me excited.

THE PC VERSION OF THIS GAME WAS TESTED FOR THE PURPOSE OF THIS REVIEW. A DIGITAL REVIEW CODE WAS PROVIDED BY THE PUBLISHER.

Conclusion

Necrobarista tells a beautiful, heart-wrenching story of the human experience expertly told with dialogue that resonates more than once. I was enthralled by the world and enamoured with its characters, despite minor complaints with the polish of an otherwise impressive visual style. In crafting their 3D visual novel, Route 59 has gambled on a niche genre, eschewing more marketable mechanics and pursuing passion over potential profit. With a brew this good, you can be sure I’ll be back for more.

Positives

Exceptional writing

Beautifully cinematic

Banging soundtrack

Ace characters and setting

Negatives

Visual polish

Sparse sound design

Room for more mechanics