Shark rescues, a hero brother, a cold case murder rexamined & a $10,000 painting that sold for $20

When your brother becomes a hero

By: Joanne McCarthy

On July 17, 2016 my brother took the boys fishing at Erina Creek on the Central Coast.

A report of the day even records the time and where on the creek they were fishing. It was 9.45am, a Sunday, and they had thrown in a line off the wharf.

Joanne McCarthy is a journalist at the Newcastle Herald.

Joanne McCarthy is a journalist at the Newcastle Herald.

If my young nephews are anything like my three sons when they went fishing as children, a more likely story is that the boys threw in multiple lines which became entangled, snared or hooked on bushes or people, and Bill spent his time disentangling, unsnaring and unhooking the boys’ lines from bushes or parts of his body.

A report of what happened on that day as Bill and my nephews fished, which was made public by the Royal Humane Society after a ceremony at Government House in Sydney on October 20, notes that shortly after 9.45am a car stopped at a boat ramp near the wharf.

Suddenly the car drove straight into the water, where within a very short time it sank, becoming submerged,

‘Look at us now!’: Following twins from Kindy to graduating their HSC

By: Helen Gregory

Georgia O’Sullivan was still in kindergarten when she set her sights on becoming Australia’s first female prime minister.

Twins Georgia and Jacinta O'Sullivan, Maxine and Alexis Regan, Kristan and Tiani Kolbas reunited. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Twins Georgia and Jacinta O'Sullivan, Maxine and Alexis Regan, Kristan and Tiani Kolbas reunited. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

She had reached year five when Julia Gillard took the top job after the leadership spill and brought Labor to the 2010 election, which led to a hung Parliament. 

“It was the worst moment of my life,” Georgia joked. “I decided then I’d be the first to be elected by the people.”

Fast forward 12 years and Warners Bay High school captain Georgia is preparing to sit her last Higher School Certificate exam, economics, on Monday. 

The Thrill of it All: Sam Smith on life, love lost and new music

By: Nathanael Cooper

When singer Sam Smith rocketed to international fame at 22, he found himself catapulted into "a very thrilling life"

"But," he admits, "when something is thrilling it can be really bad for you ... It was dangerous for my heart." There's a hidden depth and reflectiveness to the title of his just released second album, The Thrill of it All, which delves into the impact of fame on his romantic and family relationships and on "just me as a person. It's about that period in my life when I wasn't looking after myself."

Smith's latest album, The Thrill Of It All, draws on the breakdown of a relationship.

Smith's latest album, The Thrill Of It All, draws on the breakdown of a relationship.

The painting worth thousands, sold for $20 at a boot sale

By: Mario Christodoulou

The Lismore car boot market, known locally as "The Booty", is a treasure trove of the old, the rare and the downright oddball.

On a summer's morning in 2013, the booty didn't disappoint for local artist Stefanie Bassett. While flicking through a plastic sleeve of old sketches she paused on a striking little painting that caught her eye. A small signature in the far right corner read "Olley, 1947"

Artist Margaret Olley, pictured in her Paddington home Photos Ben Rushton Wednesday August 25 2010. Photo: Sydney Morning Herald

Artist Margaret Olley, pictured in her Paddington home Photos Ben Rushton Wednesday August 25 2010. Photo: Sydney Morning Herald

Bassett said she knew she had found something special.

"I was transfixed," she said. "I felt sick with excitement like I had just unearthed an ancient treasure."

She remembers, the store owner's asking price was just $20.

‘Why I followed in my father’s footsteps’: Gai Waterhouse in conversation

By: Jane Rocca

My dad, Tommy J. Smith, was one of Australia's most widely recognised and greatest horse trainers. I am an only child and my memories of him are very vivid. He was always in the papers or on the phone speaking to the prime minister, the NSW premier and horse owners.

He managed 150 horses, and publicly was a bloke at the top of his game, with a dynamo personality.

At home, I recall a very quiet man.

Lanolin in his blood: 86 years-old but it’s business as usual for Linton Bradley at the Wagga sheep sale

By: Nikki Reynolds

On Thursday Linton Bradley was hard at work at the Wagga sheep and lamb sale drafting up the lots to be sold. The day before he celebrated his 86th birthday.

Linton Bradley has been attending sheep and cattle sales in Wagga for more than 50 years. Picture: Nikki Reynolds

Linton Bradley has been attending sheep and cattle sales in Wagga for more than 50 years. Picture: Nikki Reynolds

Buyers and vendors at Wagga would recognise his well-known face and he is present at the sales in his role as a livestock agent with RH Blake and Co most weeks.

In fact, his career in the livestock industry around Wagga and southern NSW spans more than 50 years.

A cold-case murder re-examined could reframe family histories

By: Michael Parris

Late on the afternoon of Thursday, January 31, 1878, Allan McAskill, the semi-retired manager of Booral Wharf, was brutally murdered on his way home from nearby Stroud.

The 73-year-old’s bloodied body – the skull was beaten so badly it was soft to the touch – was thrown into a gully, where it came to rest against a stump. A fowling gun, broken into five pieces, and a ramrod were found nearby, as were two sets of boot prints.  

Eight hundred metres away, McAskill’s wife, Mary, was burning to death inside the flaming ruins of their house. Both she and the house had been doused in kerosene.   

The gravestone of Allan and Mary McAskill in the grounds of St John's Anglican Church in Stroud. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

The gravestone of Allan and Mary McAskill in the grounds of St John's Anglican Church in Stroud. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Beersheeba: The battle that changed us

During World War I the line from Gaza across to Beersheba was all important. On October 31, 1917, instead of yet another attempt to take Gaza, it was decided to attack Beersheba.

After three nights trekking through the desert, the Light Horse troops joined British divisions in the attack.

With an hour of daylight left, General Harry Chauvel gave the order for the Anzac 4th brigade to line up and charge.

Musical healing: How a chance meeting and the ‘worst pick-up line of all time’ forged a life-long bond

By: Scott Bevan

From the moment he read her name badge, Stanley Chen’s heart sang. It was at a large gathering of musical medicos in 1993, and Stanley saw the young woman standing there. She was just what he had been looking for.

Judy and Stan Chen talk about their medical careers and musical passions with journalist Scott Bevan over lunch. Picture: Simone De Peak

Judy and Stan Chen talk about their medical careers and musical passions with journalist Scott Bevan over lunch. Picture: Simone De Peak

Judy Kermode. North Fitzroy. Cello.

Perfect. He really needed a cellist for his ensemble. And as luck would have it, he lived just near her in Melbourne.

“We had every single instrument, but no bass player, no bass instrument,” he recounts as we sit in Hamilton’s Fortunate Son cafe. “I was desperate to find a cello player somewhere.”

Why self-love is now considered crucial for our health

By: Jacinta Tynan

As a teenager, I went out of my way to display no confidence. This applied to everything from my looks (no risk there: I knew that pale skin and freckles were the least appealing combination possible), to any talents that started to reveal themselves, however mild (see, there I go again). I batted away compliments with frantic, forced humility. I played small – smaller than I could have done – so as not to draw attention. Self-worth of any kind just wasn't a good look.

"Don't get too big for your boots," adults would caution. A friend's mum would tell her to "play it down" (her intelligence, that is) lest she become a target for other kids who thought she might think she was a step up the ladder.

The crucial difference is that authentic self-love needs no outside validation. Photo: William B. Smith/Stocksy

The crucial difference is that authentic self-love needs no outside validation. Photo: William B. Smith/Stocksy

This story 10 longform stories you have to read this weekend first appeared on Newcastle Herald.