The year is 2021 and we’re all deserving of a little bit of luxury.
Enter the Hawkesbury River’s new wilderness retreat, Marramarra Lodge. It’s the kind of place where you can kick back, soak up curated wines, spend an entire day lounging out at the in-house day spa, partake in daily sunset canapes, take a helicopter ride to the Hunter Valley, or even frolic along on an oyster expedition. If that’s not the dream, we don’t know what is.
Framed by the stunning Marramarra National Park, this newly-built luxury lodge is only accessible by boat from Mooney Mooney and Brooklyn and hits about the one-hour mark if you’re driving from Sydney. You’ll kind of feel like you’re on your very own private island at Marramarra—the property caters exclusively to a max of 28 guests and when you book a stay here, you can expect an all-inclusive approach so you won’t have to worry about a thing.
At Marramarra, you’re in for two different types of accommodation. The first is a Peninsula Tent, a river meets safari get-up that overlooks the water. The second is the Hawkesbury Bungalow, a minimalist cross-industrial lodging nestled deep into the bushland—and boy, is it giving.
If you can bring yourself to step out of the comfort of Marramarra’s digs, you’ll find Lyora, a day spa loaded with some seriously god-tier treatments like aromatherapy massages, hot stone massages, deep tissue massages, Sodashi skin therapies, mineral facials, and a whole heap more.
You’ll also be able to cop a number of add-ons if you’re keen to spruce up special occasions or just treat yourself like no one’s business. You can arrange private helicopter charters with private wine tastings in the Hunter Valley, opt for a local pearl farm tour, hit up a botanical gin distillery day trip, go bush foraging with a Dharug Elder, or go on a crabbing or oyster expedition like the adventurer you are.
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A prominent Sydney landmark, derided by some as being one of Australia’s ugliest buildings, is on the cusp of a $150 million revamp.
Developers have said they intend to “retain, restore and re-imagine” the Sirius building which sits alongside the southern approach to the Sydney Harbour Bridge in the suburb of The Rocks.
The concrete, Lego-like former public housing block, which overlooks the harbour, has long been divisive.
Built in 1979, fans lauded Sirius as a distinctive example of Australian brutalist architecture and a reminder of The Rocks’ working class heritage. But detractors called it an ugly carbuncle that spoiled the harbour foreshore and should be replaced with a modern creation.
It was ahead of its time. Richly designed community spaces were built in, all flats had access to the outdoors, palms lined rooftop gardens and units for elderly residents sported alarm bells to ensure help could come quickly.
But by the late 2010s it had come to be seen by many as an unnecessary eyesore rearing up on motorists as they crossed the Harbour Bridge into the CBD.
By 2017, only two residents remained in Sirius. The magnificence of her Opera House view was lost on 91-year-old Myra Demetriou.
“I’m blind, so I’m lucky if I can make out a ship,” she told news.com.au at the time.
The NSW Government’s denial of heritage listing Sirius put it at serious risk of demolition.
“Whatever its heritage value, that value is greatly outweighed by what would be a huge loss of extra funds from the sale of the site,” then NSW Environment and Heritage Minister Mark Speakman said in 2016.
It kicked off a vigorous campaign to save the building which including Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore among its many supporters.
Sirius backers conceded the building was confronting.
“Sirius is a bit like Madonna; people either love it or they hate it, but at least they notice it,” Shaun Carter, the former NSW president of the Australian Institute of Architects and the head of the Save our Sirius campaign told news.com.au.
“I used to see it when crossing the Harbour Bridge. I would sit on my dad’s knee when he was driving and I’d see it as we came into the city. It was one of the buildings that made me fall in love with architecture.”
Mr Carter compared Sirius to Sydney’s much-loved Queen Victoria Building, which in the 1960s was itself threatened with demolition to be replaced with a car park.
“The only way we knew how to value these buildings was through a financial model and a car park stacked up pretty well,” he said.
“I get that to try and understand brutalism is a struggle because it’s not the architectural orthodoxy. But these buildings have grand gestures, they are like medieval castles built as utilitarian structures.
“If we spend time with these buildings, like the QVB, we can learn to love them all over again.”
Mr Carter said if Sirius wasn’t saved there would have been no guarantee an architectural masterpiece would have replaced it.
“Be careful what you wish for because we could get another Meriton block.”
The first of the new generation of Sirius tenants are due to move in next year.
News.com.au contacted Save our Sirius for the group’s view of the development of the building it fought so hard to save.
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Hackett grew up in the adjacent suburb of Mermaid Waters. He said the opportunity to buy the home six years ago was too good to resist.
“I decided to move back to the Gold Coast in 2014. Who doesn’t want to move to the Gold Coast and live on the beach?” Mr Hackett told Domain.
“It’s a perfect spot. Steps away from the beach and I absolutely fell in love with it straight away.”
In the last four years, the gold medallist known as one of Australia’s best long-distance swimmers has relocated to Melbourne with his family.
They have used the Gold Coast property as a holiday home since then and have decided it is time to sell.
“There’s no news yet but our family is growing down here in Melbourne,” Mr Hackett said. “We want to get a bigger property down here in Melbourne.
“When we do go up [to the Gold Coast] we are spending all our time with our family. It doesn’t make sense to hold such a beautiful property any longer.
“From our perspective, we’re sad to see it go but I’m sure someone else will get some pleasure out of it.”
The home, which has a total space of 331 square metres, spans four levels and has a double lock-up garage in the basement plus visitor parking.
The property has open-plan living and dining rooms that showcase the beach views.
It also has a private internal lift to take residents up to the fourth-floor rooftop terrace with panoramic views of the Coolangatta coastline back to the mountains.
Selling agent Troy Dowker of Kollosche said he anticipated the luxury modern villa would be in high demand.
“A luxury style villa is few and far between,” he said. “You get rockstar views from the rooftop terrace. It is a pretty amazing space.”
The property last sold for $1.5 million in 2014, records show.
It is scheduled to go to auction on May 30 at 9am.
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A Gold Coast dog owner is prepared to fight his body corporate in the High Court to keep his two cocker spaniels in his Southport high-rise.
Dog owner Kerry Hayes has been stuck in Europe for five months after nearly dying of COVID-19
Lawyer Clayton Glenister says Rivage Royale property owners are allowed one pet if it is approved by the body corporate
Dog owner Kerry Hayes says he will explore every legal avenue including the High Court of Australia
Last week an adjudicator from the Office of the Commissioner for Body Corporate and Community Management ordered Kerry Hayes to remove his dogs, Scooby and Bolli, from the Rivage Royale building.
The deadline was last Saturday but the property owner said his dogs were still in his apartment.
“I nearly died and can’t get clearance to fly back so I am in the process of doing that now.
“I’ve got some dog minders in there, a husband and wife looking after my babies … so really I’ve got nowhere to take them and had to leave them there.”
Dogs are ‘my family, my babies’
The engineer has been stuck in Austria since December and said he has daily video calls to Bolli, 6 years and Scooby, 5 years.
Kerry Hayes accepted he was breaking the adjudicator’s decision and said he was lodging an appeal.
“Subject to acceptance of the appeal they will allow me to keep the dogs in the building until the appeal decision is heard and that could take up to a year,” he said.
“It’s very stressful … everything said against my dogs was simply not true.
The dog owner said he went through an extensive application process for six months before he moved into the luxury riverside high-rise.
“They declined and asked for more information and I supplied more information,” he said.
“In the end .. I just moved in anyway.”
The managing partner of MBA Lawyers, Clayton Glenister represented the Body Corporate for Rivage Royale body and said owners were allowed to have one pet in the building.
“The owners moved those two dogs in without body corporate consent and the body corporate took issue with it.”
“Pets are a very emotional issue and so if a body corporate says ‘no’ then the lot owners often take that further.”
Advice for owners
Clayton Glenister said people wanting to buy or rent in a building needed to ensure they can comply with the body corporate by-laws.
Mr Glenister said people needed to consider if it was ‘no-pet’ building, or a ‘pet-on-conditions’ building, and then work through those conditions.
“Take the process seriously so that you’re not just seen to be flagrantly disregarding the by-laws.
“Make the application ahead of time and get approval from the committee before you actually purchase.”
Kerry Hayes said he will explore every legal avenue to keep his pets in his Rivage Royale apartment.
“The second appeal process is the High Court and although it is very expensive, I am well and truly ready to go through that,” he said.
Mr Hayes said he was hoping to be back in Australia in late May.
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They are often considered a luxury, but access to allied health services for older Australians can mean the difference between ageing well at home, being institutionalised or worse.
Marji Durward, almost 92, is able to access allied health services because she is entitled to as a veteran
The royal commission into aged care said allied health had not been prioritised
It said allied health could help older Australians live at home for longer and improve the health of those in aged care
Allied health services, which include specialist therapies like physiotherapy, podiatry, psychology and occupational therapy, were found to be severely lacking in aged care by the recent royal commission into the system.
It made recommendations to change that and put the focus on preventing illness where possible to keep people in their homes for longer.
Marji Durward, who is almost 92, lives at home in Adelaide’s inner north-east with her Maltese-poodle cross Tilly and her son.
Without a band of allied health services she expects she would not still be here.
“I’d probably be up there or down there,” she said, indicating to the sky and the ground.
“I don’t know what I’d be without any of them.”
Ms Durward has Parkinson’s Disease and a range of other health concerns, she has also survived cancer and two strokes.
Her son Jeff Durward has been her full-time carer for 13 years and is quick to point out how fortunate she is, as a war widow, to have a gold card from the Department of Veterans Affairs, which gives her access to health services.
It covers treatment for all her medical conditions, including access to a physiotherapist and an occupational therapist who works with her on preventing pressure sores and providing equipment like a suitable mattress, electric bed and recliner chair.
“Unfortunately, people who don’t have a gold card fall into a category of, ‘Well, this is how much you get a year and this is what you can have’, and it’s really not enough for an elderly person to function properly in their own homes,” he said.
‘You don’t see preventative care’
Tracie McInness, managing director of Living to the Max occupational therapy services in Adelaide, said there was work to be done to ensure people receive the funding they need through in-home care packages, that the funding is transparently used and providers are accountable to their clients.
“We just see it all the time, if you don’t have access to other health services through other means and you’re purely reliant on the health care system, you don’t get any services.”
“You might get some support for shopping, cleaning and some care, but preventative services just don’t get funded,” she said.
Instead, she said, allied health care like occupational therapy, physiotherapy and the like are the “icing on the cake”.
“We see people under a higher package, they [people without higher-tier care packages] are not getting preventative services and if they do, it’s seen as a luxury.
“If you don’t have access, you have to follow a pathway that’s provided, rather than looking at preventative [care] — it’s more reactive.”
Royal commission found allied health had not been prioritised
The royal commission into aged care found providers had not prioritised allied health care services and that there was limited access to them for people in the system.
The final report recommended that residential aged care include allied health services, funded and matched to the needs of each resident.
“People receiving aged care do not get access to services they need to maintain their function and health,” it said.
“They should have access to a wide range of allied health services to maintain or improve their capacities and prevent deterioration as far as practicable.”
It also said assessments for care at home should identify and fund any allied care needed to restore a person’s physical and mental health to the highest level possible, to maximise their independence and autonomy.
Denying access is ageism, professor says
Denying access to preventative health services is ageism and contributes to premature institutionalisation and ill health, according to Professor Gregory Kolt from the Australian Council of Deans of Health Sciences
“It’s really discrimination on the basis of age, particularly where it relates to health care around the ageing process, what’s appropriate for people as they age and what services may or may not be appropriate from a healthcare perspective,” he said.
He argued there should not be caps on numbers, or barriers to accessing, a diverse range of services that older people desperately need.
“The longer we can keep people in their more usual and comfortable home environment for a whole range of areas for the ageing process, if we can concurrently support those people in that home-based environment I think we will see a reduction in emergency room admissions as well.”
Ageism is a theme that came through repeatedly during the aged care royal commission, on society’s attitudes and assumptions about older people and in effect how we treat people as they age.
In its final report, the royal commission noted “Commissioner Briggs considers that ageism is a systemic problem in the Australian community that must be addressed”.
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A bomb explosion at a luxury hotel in the Pakistani city of Quetta has killed at least four people and wounded 12.
The Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan is suspected to have been the target of the attack in the car park of the Serena Hotel, correspondents say.
He is understood to be in Quetta, the capital of Balochistan province near the Afghan border, but was not present at the scene at the time.
The Pakistani Taliban have claimed the attack, without giving details.
In recent months the group, and other militant organisations, have stepped up attacks in tribal areas near the border with Afghanistan.
Footage of the blast was shared on social media in the aftermath, showing a fire raging in the hotel’s car park.
The Serena Hotel is the best known in Quetta, and provides accommodation for government officials and visiting dignitaries.
Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmad told Pakistani broadcaster ARY News TV that “a car that was full of explosives exploded in the hotel” while news agency AFP cited him as saying it was “an act of terrorism”.
He added that the Chinese ambassador, Nong Rong, was at a function at the time and so was not at the hotel.
A Taliban spokesman confirmed to Reuters that “it was a suicide attack in which our suicide bomber used his explosives-filled car in the hotel.”
Balochistan’s provincial Home Minister Ziaullah Lango told reporters that Mr Nong was “in high spirits” and that his visit to Quetta would conclude on Thursday.
One of Pakistan’s poorest provinces, Balochistan is home to several armed groups, including Islamic extremists and separatists.
Militants want independence from the rest of Pakistan, and oppose major Chinese infrastructure projects in the area.
The separatists were also blamed for an attack two years ago on a hotel at Gwadar, a port project funded by China.
They accuse the government and China of exploiting Balochistan’s gas and mineral wealth, and strategic position with little benefit to local people.
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Demand for luxury homes across Queensland’s most prestigious coastal hideaways is rising as southern buyers pour millions into glamorous holiday abodes in lieu of a European getaway.
Off the back of the global pandemic those oft-tumultuous markets from Port Douglas to the Gold Coast have become the playground of high-end home-hunters from Sydney and Melbourne who are fleeing more than just strict lockdowns, but a tropical escape where elite homes cost less than their southern counterparts and come with white sand just metres from their opulent steps.
The wave of multimillion-dollar sales has breathed life back into key coastal spots such as Port Douglas and Whitsunday Islands, where in years gone by hurricanes and financial crises have all but crippled them.
Some property punters are now reporting price rises of up to 20 per cent in the past year alone with sale numbers tripling in what they’re calling a gift from the pandemic.
Ray White Whitsunday principal Mark Beale said while his patch of tropical paradise had always been popular with Brisbane buyers, the virus had sparked Victorian and NSW home-hunters to look beyond Byron Bay, resulting in a buyer tidal wave.
“Right now, Airlie Beach is where it’s at and in the past six months alone we transacted 16 sales above $1 million. The 12 months before that we only sold five,” Mr Beale said.
“Southern buyers perceive it as a bargain here and it’s very cheap in comparison. We spoke to a buyer who sold his little place in Bondi for $5 million and bought a luxury home up here for $2 million.
“And, it’s mostly Sydney and Melbourne buyers, rather than spending $50,000 on a European holiday they’re thinking ‘let’s buy here’.
“Now to see a $5 or $10 million yacht in the harbour isn’t abnormal.”
It was that rejuvenation that led Mr Beale to clock $6.5 million for the off-market transaction of the “Hogs Breath” mansion at 3/188 Mandalay Road, Whitsunday, in September last year – with dozens of multimillion-dollar homes sold by his team since.
The three-storey mansion, which belonged to Hogs Breath Cafe co-founder Don Algie occupied a jaw-dropping slice of the pristine island and was bought by horse racing personality Alan Galloway.
It was the Whitsunday mainland’s highest sale in years, with Mandalay estate holding the record after it clocked $14 million in 2018.
Interest remains for new prestige properties coming on the market including a three-bedroom home with expansive water and rainforest views in Airlie Beach being sold by Ray White Whitsundays.
“Sydney has now discovered us. We used to find that it was always just Melbourne but the last few [multimillion-dollar sale] have come from Sydney,” Ms Wolveridge said.
“And, it makes sense. Look at places like Noosa and we are still very achievable.”
Ms Wolveridge, who this month sold the five-bedroom avant garde mansion at 15 Wharf Street, Port Douglas alongside the nearby masterpiece at 1 Wharf Stree,t for between $7 million and $9 million each, said 95 per cent of her sales were still holiday homes for southern buyers.
Today a six-bedroom home with tennis court , stunning views and a price guide at $10.8 million, at 1 Island Road, Port Douglas, is attracting further interest.
On the Gold Coast, Ray White Sovereign Islands agent Edin Kara said the $5-$6 million market was again on the move in the city’s exclusive pocket thanks to the interstate buyer swell.
“We used to rely on Chinese buyers but now we have a lot of Sydney and Melbourne people and this is a permanent move for them,” Mr Kara said.
“This is because of the lifestyle here and prices have absolutely increased by 20 per cent just here on Sovereign Islands over the past 12 months.
“Before the pandemic we were struggling to sell properties over $5 million but now we are getting four times the usual level of inquiry. It’s the best market I’ve seen in 10 years.”
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This filtering effect can happen overnight. In the case of 10 Clay, a nonprofit was able to snap up a luxury building before leases were signed. At about $240,000 a unit, that housing didn’t come cheap. But with new affordable housing in Seattle costing roughly $300,000 a unit to build, in many cases it’s cheaper for affordable-housing agencies to simply buy up and convert existing market-rate units into income-restricted housing. Down the coast, in San Francisco—where each new unit of affordable housing runs about $750,000—letting luxury development rip while buying up and restricting some of it to low-income residents might be the only scalable way to produce affordable housing.
Even without the fancy financial footwork of a project such as 10 Clay, we don’t have to wait a century for luxury housing to add to the affordable supply. In a 2019 study, the economist Evan Mast found that even pricey development in wealthy neighborhoods sparks a chain reaction that extends all the way to the bottom of the housing market, as richer residents vacate older units for newer ones. The data suggest that for every 100 market-rate units built, as many as 48 moderate-income households can move into nicer housing. If this more subtle form of filtering is as robust as these findings indicate, luxury housing may quietly be generating a lot of affordable housing as soon as the first residents move in.
None of this is to say that high housing prices aren’t a problem—far from it. But any given luxury development is a symptom of—and in a small way, part of the cure for—a broader set of issues. As the urbanist writer Daniel Herriges suggests, what makes new housing expensive is not so much the amenities that brokers like to gush about, but the lack of supply in certain locations. In a context of extreme scarcity, anything that gets built in a fashionable neighborhood such as New York’s SoHo or L.A.’s Venice will be exorbitant. The solution is not to stop developments with granite countertops, but to build many more like them, particularly in affluent areas.
Better yet, local policy makers could simply stop driving up the price on new housing with ill-considered zoning codes. Minimum parking requirements, for instance, which condition the construction of new housing on the provision of off-street parking spaces, can easily add $50,000 to the cost of each new condo, regardless of whether the prospective residents want or need parking. Rules of this nature abound in zoning codes, including mandates requiring large homes and prohibitions on the construction of inherently affordable duplexes and fourplexes.
Houston, a city that has attracted nearly 500,000 new residents over the past 20 years, reveals what easing land-use rules might actually look like: Back in 1998, facing early warning signs of an impending housing crunch, city planners dropped the minimum lot size needed to build a home from 5,000 to 1,400 square feet, such that developers could turn any given ranch-style home into three townhouses. As a result, more than 25,000 new townhouses were built in neighborhoods with easy access to transit and jobs, helping keep Houston one of the most affordable cities in America. Many of the new townhomes are quite nice. Some even flaunt granite countertops and stainless-steel appliances. But the best-kept secret about luxury is that, if you keep building it, eventually there’s enough for everyone.
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“With him in the team, one of the greatest players of all time, it takes you to another level,” Parker said.
“Hopefully we can continue to build on what we’re doing at the moment and hopefully he can build some consistent form and fitness, which would be great, and we’ll keep flowing with the confidence.
“We’re not relying on four or five guys to get the job done each week, which previously we’ve done. The workload’s probably spread across the team a lot more, the forward line’s thriving off each other kicking goals and not the individuals. The midfielders are sharing the load a lot more, and the defence is just a really tight unit.”
Thursday nights aren’t the most spectator-friendly timeslot – particularly in Sydney – but with stadium capacities back at 100 per cent, a palpable buzz building around the Swans, and Franklin back on deck, there are hopes of a huge crowd at the SCG.
Parker is doing his best to enjoy the fairytale ride without being swept up in it. The 28-year-old midfielder has been in the AFL system for too long to expect the good times to simply just keep on rolling – and with such an inexperienced team, he is bracing for bumps and potholes in the road ahead.
But some moments have to be savoured. Saturday afternoon was one of those, with seven members of Sydney’s 22 – including red-hot rookies Errol Gulden, Braeden Campbell, Logan McDonald and Chad Warner – tasting victory in their first match at the MCG, against the reigning premiers no less.
“It was incredible,” Parker said when asked to describe the scene in the Swans’ change rooms immediately after the siren.
“A team that plays there almost every week – we play there maybe twice a season. To go down there and get the job done, the rooms afterwards, it’s a special moment.
“You forget the young guys, the experiences they go through the first time playing on the ‘G or kicking a goal on the ’G. Those moments have really just energised this group this year. We’re riding those waves with those boys. It’s really exciting to be a part of.
“Having the team that we’ve got, you’re always wary of the consistency. The great thing the boys are doing at the moment is they’re just playing team football … noone’s trying to do anything too special, everyone’s getting their moment. For us it’s just about continuing to build that belief.”
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Among Potter Projects previous developments was the ‘Miami Man Caves’, located within a fully gated secure complex of seven units with 24 hour CCTV surveillance. Picture: Potter Projects
Cashed-up apartment dwellers looking for somewhere to park the boat, helicopter, collector cars, jetskis and bikes are driving millions in sales of new-age luxury industrial ‘mancaves’ and ‘she-sheds’ on the coast.
The Southport upmarket warehouse product Central on Case is now 100 per cent sold for $13m.
Owner occupiers were the driving force behind the $13m sellout of 22 units at one site alone in Southport by Potter Projects – spearheaded by director Zac Potter, son of Gold Coast veteran developer John Potter.
The Central on Case development, which is due for construction completion in July, has self-storage units, showrooms, warehouses, office space and a cafe, ranging in size from 70sqm up to 180sqm.
Lisa Brown inside her highend storage unit in a file picture from one of the earlier developments. Picture: Jerad Williams
Demand is so “overwhelming, Mr Potter has multiple projects on the go to meet it. There are 14 more such upscale units on the drawing board in the $10.5m redevelopment plan for the Gold Coast’s iconic ‘Iceland’ Skating Rink at 15 Strathaird Rd, Bundall. He bought the site for $2.8m late last year. He also has 22 low impact, strata-titled industrial warehouses in Burleigh Heads due for completion this month.
Mr Potter has put in excess of 50 mancaves and showrooms on the market in the past year across the Gold Coast and Byron Bay.
An artist impression of man caves plans for a development led by Zac Potter.
Professionals in multimillion-dollar apartment towers were among the most keen, looking for upmarket units where bulky luxury items like boats, cars and motorbikes could be safely stored and easily accessed.
The 2 Case Street commercial development saw “unprecedented demand”, Mr Potter said.
“The response was particularly strong from owner occupiers looking for a prime location to operate their business headquarters from or storage options,’’ Mr Potter said.
Potter Projects director Zac Potter.
Darren Mealing of Potter Projects who marketed the project said enquiry levels continued even after the Southport site sold out.
“I put the success of this project down to the prime location, quality of the product delivered and our past success in this space” Mr Mealing said.
The sales see the Gold Coast reputation as a haven for the millionaire set continuing to be cemented despite strong competition from the likes of Byron Bay and Noosa in recent years.
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