The Age news stories

The Age , 2010

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I was an intern at The Age Newspaper for two months in 2010. Below are some of the stories I had published.

STEVE Gibson says his experience of being homeless and sleeping through freezing Melbourne winter nights will never leave him.
The 22-year-old said the difference between the summer and winter months was extreme.
''I have memories of waking up at 3 or 4 in the morning chilled to the bone,'' Mr Gibson said.
''In the summer I could sleep on St Kilda beach, but winter is traumatic.''
Mr Gibson's story is not uncommon. Melbourne Citymission's manager of Front Yard Youth Services, Brett McDonnell, said his organisation had already seen 400 more clients for the first half of this year than the same time last year.
''Youths don't have homelessness history and are not equipped to deal with the cold,'' Mr McDonnell said.
''Certainly in the last two days there has been more of a response for material necessities like jackets and rugs.''
While Melbourne this week experienced its coldest June day in a decade, charities and support services contacted by The Age said they were seeing a surge in demand and were aware of the dangers winter presents.
St Vincent de Paul chief executive John Blewonski said older homeless people are more resourceful, while youths are less experienced in dealing with the extreme weather.
''They know how to meet the challenges of winter on the streets, while the young are attracted to the city for their first winter,'' Mr Blewonski said.
Formerly homeless, Russell Kelly, 24, was yesterday helping workers at the Citymission. He said the St Vincent de Paul food vans that supply the homeless with warm meals are vital to survival during the winter months.
''The food vans are a godsend but if you weren't there in the first half an hour, you weren't going to eat,'' he said.
''Waiting for so long in the cold [for warm food] is kind of a contradiction though.''
Melbourne Citymission's winter appeal starts in August.
For more details or to donate visit melbournecitymission.org.au
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Back in 1910 this frail construction of wood and wire was state of the art.
Its creator and pilot, John Duigan, referred only to photos, articles and an unreliable textbook in order to build the first Australian designed and piloted powered aeroplane to take flight from home soil.
Now, 100 years later to the day, Museum Victoria is celebrating that short controlled hop of 12 metres with a rare glimpse of this significant part of Australian history.
Though a replica has pride of place in the museum the original is considered too delicate to put on display.
The centenary of flight is also marked by the release of a book about the first Australian aeroplane which gives the full story of the flight and what it meant for aviation.
“It seems obvious to say that its great achievement was that it actually flew but at the time most planes like this failed to leave the ground,” said the book’s author and Museum Victoria’s Engineering and Transport Curator David Crotty.
“The progression of technology increased exponentially after that first flight,” he said.
Mr. Duigan was an electrical engineer who built motorbikes and cars but his real passion was flying. It took him 6 months to build the plane with the help of his bother Reginald.
Duigan donated the plane to Museum Victoria in 1920, after many successful flights.
Dr Gwynne Duigan, John Duigan’s niece in law, said it’s fantastic the flight is finally getting the recognition it deserves.
“Every Australian knows about the Wright brothers but not about John Duigan and I think that’s just wrong,” said the 91-year-old. Duigan’s flight took place less than seven years after the world’s first flight in America.
Museum Director Dr Robin Hirst said the plane is a rare and treasured object which represents a significant part of our country’s history.
The delicate aircraft will stay preserved in the Museum Victoria Collection Store but a replica will feature at the celebrations in Mia Mia, where the flight took place, at the end of this week.
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While grown-up MPs move towards a stricter asylum seeker policy, their youthful counterparts mounted a spirited defence of a more open and compassionate stance.
The 16-25 year-olds yesterday took over Parliament House for the 24th Victoria Youth Parliament. It included several students from asylum seeker families.
Dina Yousif’s family are refugees from Iraq who came to Australia in 1997. She said more sympathy needs to be shown to asylum seekers coming from war torn countries.
“There’s a lack of compassion when talking about this issue and sometimes people forget the human dimension of the debate,” Ms Yousif said.
Jessica Le’s family migrated to Australia from Vietnam during the Vietnam War because they feared for their safety. She deals with the realities of strong views on asylum seekers every day at school.
“Sometimes I hear people say that it’s our land and they (refugees) should go back to their countries. I try to explain that those people are risking injury and death,” Ms Le said.
Along with compassion, the youths also called for a more common sense approach to the issue.
“It is an area of discourse that is seriously lacking reason,” said last year’s Youth Premier, Oliver Tripoti.
“We accepted more than 160,000 immigrants last year and only 2,400 of them were refugees. That’s such a small percentage and when you look at it like that it’s easy to see the fear mongering used by the government,” Mr Tripoti said.
Emmanuel Giakoumakis, the 2010 Youth Premier, said that talk about population growth in relation to asylum seekers is a deflection by the government from the real issue.
“The thing that’s being ignored is that our population density is extremely low. We are a well off country and we have the resources to provide for these people,” Mr Giakoumakis said.
All four 17-year-olds agreed that sending asylum seekers away goes against Australian principles.
The Youth Parliament will debate 16 pieces of proposed legislation over the three day event.
Topics under debate include the removal of glass from entertainment venues; lowering the blood alcohol content for drivers and internet censorship.

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