In pictures: Rare ‘orange’ monkey born at Sydney zoo


An endangered monkey has been born at Sydney’s Taronga Zoo – and he’s orange.

The new male François Langur,was born on March 22 and has now been unveiled.

Like all François’ Langur babies, Manchu as he has been named was born with vibrant orange fur, an contrast to his mother Meli and the rest of the troop who are black.

The Zoo said it’s believed the striking colour makes it easy for adults to identify and look out for infants. 

Taronga Zoo is the only place Australia caring for the endangered species, and now has 11.

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Another rare blood clot case in Australia is ‘likely’ linked to the AstraZeneca vaccine



The Vaccine Safety Investigation Group, which advises the Therapeutic Goods Administration, announced the “likely” link between the blood clots and the vaccine on Tuesday morning.

An Australian woman in her 40s is believed to have developed blood clots after receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine. 

The Vaccine Safety Investigation Group, which advises the Therapeutic Goods Administration, announced the “likely” link between the blood clots and the vaccine on Tuesday morning. 

It is the second Australian report of a case of rare blood clots after a 44-year-old Melbourne man developed the condition following his AstraZeneca vaccination last month.

The case occurred in a woman in her 40s who was vaccinated in Western Australia,” a statement read. 

“The person remains in hospital receiving treatment and is in a stable condition.”

Expert advisers to the TGA have concluded the latest incident is similar to blood clotting cases seen in Europe and the United Kingdom.

There have been about 700,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines administered in Australia, so the two cases equate to a frequency of one in every 350,000 people.

The United Kingdom has found the overall risk of these rare blood clots was approximately one in 250,000 people who received the vaccine.

People who have received the AstraZeneca vaccine have been asked to look out for symptoms including severe or persistent headaches, blurred vision, shortness of breath, chest pain, leg swelling or abdominal pain.

Symptoms also include unusual skin bruising and pinpoint round spots beyond the site of injection.

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Rare mid-century modernist Iwan Iwanoff masterpiece house up for grabs


One of the late Bulgarian-born architect Iwan Iwanoff’s earliest designs – a mid-century modern home in Perth’s Mount Lawley – has hit the market for the first time in three decades.

Known as Golowin House, the three-bedroom home was designed in 1959 for the Russian-Jewish Golowin family. Mr W. Golowin’s own building company – Golowin Bros, which was also Iwanoff’s builder of choice – constructed the home.

Iwanoff, who died in 1986, became one of Perth’s most famous architects and was well-known for his brutalist style, his use of concrete blockwork and timber, and other trademark features including futuristic letterboxes designed to be part of the house.

Many of his architectural gems from the 1960s and 1970s can be found in Dianella, Floreat and City Beach.

7 South View Road, Mt Lawley
Iwan Iwanoff gem hits the market

In the 31 years Jane Gray and her family have lovingly called Golowin House home, they have spent $1 million on sympathetic renovations, including adding a new bathroom, modernising the kitchen and restoring the terrazzo flooring.

“It was built for a builder so everything is so solid and there is not a crack in it after 61 years or however long it’s been,” Mrs Gray said.

Back when Mrs Gray and her husband Paul bought Golowin House, she and a friend –  who was a draftsperson for Iwanoff – used to drive around Perth and admire the architect’s designs.

7 South View Road, Mt Lawley
Iwan Iwanoff gem hits the market

“I just loved them and thought they were amazing,” she said. “I lived in Mt Lawley and I saw this Iwanoff was about to go on the market and it was way out of my price range so I put the first bid in – two-thirds of the sale price. [It was] a bit cheeky and, a year later when nobody wanted it …. I put another bid in at the same price and they accepted it.

“At the time, it was very unfashionable and not well looked after. To me, I had never seen a house so beautiful. The woodwork … was just fabulous, so that was what prompted me to buy it 31 years ago.”

The split-level home is set on a corner, elevated 883-square-metre block and features two open-plan living areas, parking for six cars and expansive use of glass to maximise natural light and ventilation.

7 South View Road, Mt Lawley
Iwan Iwanoff gem hits the market

Selling agent Danielle Geagea, of Zsa Zsa Property, has been inundated with buyer interest and said Golowin House was a fine example of mid-century modern architecture and would suit someone who appreciated good architecture and design.

“We expect Golowin House will get snapped up quickly – an opportunity to buy an Iwanoff home close to the city is rare,” she said. “Golowin House is a real entertainer’s home and features an incredible pool and pool house.”

Ms Geagea said its distinct Iwanoff design features included an emphasis on an open plan and connecting its residents with the outdoors, as well as a wonderful use of natural materials such as granite, wandoo, copper and concrete.

7 South View Road, Mt Lawley
Iwan Iwanoff designed Golowin House hits the market for the first time in 31 years

Ms Gray said she was sad to say goodbye to Golowin House, but the time had come for a new owner to enjoy it.

“It’s always a place of people and joy and laughter and it’s incredibly beautiful to live in,” she said.

“You see the sky wherever you go. At night time you can track the moon right across the sky and it has just been this incredible space where everyone who comes in has this amazing time.”

The home is being sold via an offers campaign.

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Rare giant burrowing frog in world-first captive breeding program at Melbourne Zoo


When PHD student Danielle Wallace ventured into the East Gippsland bush last August, she set off a chain of events that led to Melbourne Zoo scientists trudging out of the same forest with tadpoles in their backpacks several months later. 

Now for the first time, the critically endangered and quite clandestine giant burrowing frog is being monitored in captivity at Melbourne Zoo, with an aim to protect and rebuild the population of this mysterious species.

Ms Wallace, a PHD student in veterinary sciences at Melbourne University, is studying amphibians. Finding the giant burrowing frog in far East Gippsland was a mixture of good luck and knowing exactly what the rare frog’s call sounds like.

“It was really quiet so I turned off my torch and all of a sudden a frog starts calling, ‘Boop boop boop boop,'” she said.

“Over the next five minutes all these different frogs started calling, which was just amazing because these frogs are so hard to find hardly anyone hears them.

“We kind of ran around the creek all excited and found at least five other frogs calling from their burrows.

“Then here was this gorgeous male calling from his burrow and I picked him up and showed him to my workmate and burst into tears because I was so excited.”

Arthur Rylah Institute researcher Nick Clemann has helped with the field work to locate the population that Ms Wallace found.

It’s this ground work that has led to Melbourne Zoos’ recent tadpole retrieval process.

“It’s incredibly hard to find and incredibly unpredictable, ” Mr Clemann said.

“When someone finds one, that same person can go back to the same spot, and in the same conditions, and won’t find a thing.

“If they don’t need to be out and about, then they won’t be.

Zoos Victoria threatened species biologist Deon Gilbert said it was challenging finding the tadpoles and then transporting them from the forest to the zoo.

“Before we headed out we didn’t actually know if we’d find anything,” he said.

“The ponds that the tadpoles develop in can actually dry out pretty quickly.

“We hiked out to one of the few breeding sites. It’s really quite confronting going out to these breeding sites because they’re in heavily-logged areas.

“It’s not that typically pristine picture you paint of this really pristine forest. The forest has been heavily disturbed on numerous occasions.

“Fortunately enough, the third pond we found had some large, well-developed tadpoles sitting in it. Many of these field scientists had been out to these ponds and never seen a tadpole.

Giant burrowing frog tadpoles can grow to almost 8 centimetres in length. This is a helpful clue when identifying them but, Mr Clemann says, “it’s not easy ID-ing taddies”.

The group of scientists then put the tadpoles into plastic bags and hiked out of the bush.

“The tadpoles are all healthy and going well,” Mr Gilbert said.

“What we’ve learned about them so far is that they are hungry, they chomp food 24/7.”

Ms Wallace said she was happy that her discovery meant more would be learned about giant burrowing frogs and how best to protect them.

“Knowing these tadpoles are safely at the zoo, knowing the species could be protected, it means so much to me and probably to the frogs too,” she said.

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Rare water spout spotted on Sydney’s east coast


A video taken across the Rose Bay Area shows the rare weather phenomenon occurring off the coast of Bondi in Sydney’s east.

A waterspout is a rotating column of water that contains an intense vortex similar to that of a tornado.

Waterspouts usually occur over warm tropical ocean waters and appears as a funnel-shaped cloud descending from the sky.

A very high chance of showers is forecast in Sydney this afternoon with the possibility of a thunderstorm in the evening.

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Ancient Aboriginal technology unearthed in rare bone discovery on Ngarrindjeri country


A rare glimpse into ancient Aboriginal technology has been uncovered in the form of a bone artefact on Ngarrindjeri country, along the Lower Murray river system in South Australia.

Found at Murrawong near Murray Bridge by Flinders University researchers, in collaboration with the Ngarrindjeri community, the bone is believed to have come from a macropod, an animal from the marsupial family.

Radiocarbon dated to be between 5,300 and 3,800 years old, the bone was detected in amongst a midden site that was excavated in 2008, but has only just been processed and recorded.

It has been labelled as a rare find because the last bone object uncovered in the Lower Murray River Gorge was in the 1970s.

This bone point was found on Ngarrindjeri country and researchers say it sheds more light on traditional technologies.(

Supplied: Flinders University

)

Research leader and Ngarrindjeri man, Dr Christopher Wilson, said the find builds upon the present understanding of traditional practices and potential uses for the bone tool.

“Even one find of this kind provides us with opportunities to understand the use of bone technologies in the region and how such artefacts were adapted to a riverine environment,” he said.

Bone builds ancient picture

While this particular bone is broken on one end, it is believed it would have been used as a point for piercing soft materials, such as serving as the pin on a possum fur cloak or potentially even as a projectile point.

Professor Amy Roberts, who was also involved in the archaeological project, said bone artefacts were a significant discovery because they had not been studied as much as ones made out of stone or other materials.

A group of people kneeling, sitting and standing around a sectioned off bit of land. The two kneeling are digging in the ground.
Bone artefacts are usually found in excavations, while stone artefacts and shell middens are more likely to be discovered on the surface.(

Supplied: Flinders University

)

“We are still learning a lot and thinking about where they sit in the chronology of the past and if they more prevalent at different times,” she said.

“It reminds us the material of the culture of the past and up to the present is really important … and the [need to] care for Aboriginal heritage in this country.”

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Families of children with rare form of epilepsy, Dravet Syndrome, want greater awareness


When Liz Sinclair’s son was seven months old, she found him grey during a long nap.

A number of seizures, countless doctors and a few years later – Cooper was diagnosed with a rare and catastrophic form of epilepsy called Dravet Syndrome.

“It’s like he’s walking around with a ticking time bomb in his head,” his dad, Anthony Sinclair, said.

“You never know when it’s going to go off — what’s the severity of it? What’s the next seizure going to bring? Is there going to be a fall? Are we going to miss it?

“Those things are … in the back of your mind 24/7.”

For every 500 children with epilepsy, one or two have Dravet Syndrome.

Cooper, 12, has intellectual and developmental delays.

Since his epilepsy started, the central Queensland boy has not gone more than four months without a seizure.

“He had four seizures last week and five seizures the week before that,” Ms Sinclair said.

“When he was little, they were two or three a week, and then we had the VNS [a pace-maker-like device to reduce the frequency and intensity of seizures] put in in 2013 and that lasted for seven years.”

The unpredictable nature of his seizures means Cooper lives with the permanent shadow of his mum, dad, brother, teacher or carer.

“Everybody goes and takes their kids out to the park or to the beach and for us, it’s this massive contingency plan that we have to make in case something happens,” Ms Sinclair said.

“You go to a party and you can’t just let your kid run around and have fun, you have to physically be within arms’ reach of him at all times.

“You’re just waiting for it to really happen, so that makes it really stressful in social situations.

“We tend to go places where there’s no-one around.”

Porsha Pitman’s 11-year-old daughter was diagnosed with Dravet Syndrome at 18 months old.

“Skyla is very resilient, it doesn’t really faze her much except for when she misses out on doing things because of having seizures,” Ms Pitman said.

“Swimming is something she really loves, which I find hard to do with her now because of how many times I’ve had to resuscitate her and give her CPR – but we do have some amazing support workers that help out with that.”

While both families have learnt to live with the constant risk, they said there was a lack of understanding and awareness about epilepsy.

“We’ve had situations in shopping centres and car parks and everywhere where Cooper’s had seizures and people are like, shock horror,” Anthony Sinclair said.

Epilepsy Action Australia said about 250,000 Australians have been diagnosed with epilepsy.

Epilepsy Queensland said one in 10 people will experience a seizure in their life and there are more than 40 types.

“It’s actually quite physically confronting for people so they get scared of that because it doesn’t look very good when someone has a seizure,” Mr Sinclair said.

“It is a problem. There’s a lot of people in the community that suffer from [seizures], a lot of people shy away from schooling and different activities because of epilepsy.

“If you can build that awareness and break down those barriers then people aren’t so scared of it.”

As part of Purple Month – a global awareness and fundraising initiative supported by Epilepsy Queensland – the Sinclairs are running an easter-egg-drop fundraiser.

Chief executive of Epilepsy Queensland Chris Dougherty said the organisation aimed to raise awareness and improve diagnosis.

“People don’t need to be afraid of seizures, what they need to be is informed,” he said.

“We often say epilepsy doesn’t discriminate but people do and that comes from the basis of people fearing the unknown, so we encourage people to get educated.

“As a neurological condition, it’s not contagious – the jury is still out on whether it’s genetic but it’s definitely not contagious.”

Porsha Pitman said the community’s willingness to learn more about epilepsy had made Skyla’s tough journey a little more bearable.

“There’s a lot of myths about seizures and what they may look like,” she said.

“If you do see somebody having a seizure, try and lend a hand if you can.”

Epilepsy Queensland said first aid included timing seizures, protecting the person from injury, reassuring and re-orientating them, and staying with the person.

“It’s a really helpful thing for people to understand seizures and seizure first aid because it could change someone’s life,” Mr Dougherty said.

Cooper and Skyla’s siblings know exactly what to do when their loved ones have a seizure.

Kyan Sinclair, 14, also educates his friends and gives presentations to classmates.

“Most of my friends have known Cooper for as long as they’ve known me, so I don’t really have to explain it to them, but anybody that I meet now, I just tell them that he has epilepsy,” he said.

While some encounters have been disheartening, the kindness of strangers, family, friends and support from the Rockhampton North Special School have helped Cooper and Skyla do what they love.

“If he knew that there were other things that he couldn’t do, then that would be really, really painful for us,” Mr Sinclair said.

“But the fact that a good day for Cooper is painting, singing and dancing and getting his favourite food — that makes him happy, that makes us happy.

“If he doesn’t have a seizure on that day, it’s a great day.”

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Vital Metals on track for Q2 rare earths production




Subiaco-based Vital Metals will use $43 million raised from a share placement to complete the construction of its rare earths project in Canada.

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Rare Zulu war medal heads for auction


A rare military campaign medal awarded to a British soldier at the famous Battle at Rorke’s Drift in South Africa, is expected to fetch thousands of dollars when it goes to auction in Sydney next week.

The battle was immortalised in the hit 1964 movie, ‘Zulu’, starring Michael Caine, which depicted how a small British force, outnumbered 40-to-one, held off thousands of Zulu warriors.

Their feat was marked by the award of 11 Victoria Crosses (VC) to Rorke’s Drift defenders – the highest military award in the Commonwealth.

A small contingent of 150 British troops held off a Zulu army of three to four thousand men at Rorke’s Drift. (Alphonse-Marie-Adolphe de Neuville)

Seven of those were awarded to soldiers of the 2nd/24th Foot, South Welsh Borderers regiment – the most VCs ever given for a single action by one regiment.

A campaign medal awarded after the battle to Lance Sergeant John Key, of the 2nd, 24th Foot Regiment, will go under the hammer in Sydney next week.

Sydney auction house Noble Numismatics said medals awarded to the Rorke’s Drift defenders are highly sought after and have been sold for as much as $356,000.

‘Garage sale’ Chinese bowl sells for six figures

The John Key medal is in a collection of Anglo-Zulu War medals that is estimated to sell for at least $80,000.

The sale will be held at the Dixson Room, State Library of NSW, Macquarie Street, Sydney, from Tuesday, March 23 to Thursday, March 25.

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Strong rains uncover rare Greek treasure


Persistent rainfall has helped archaeologists make a rare discovery at the archaeological site of Olympia in Greece, uncovering a 3000-year-old bronze statuette of a bull.

An archaeologist saw the statuette poking out of the mud after strong rains had swept away parts of the ground, the Greek Culture Ministry said on Friday.

The little icon, which is said to date back to between 1000 and 750 BC, was then cleaned and stored, the ministry said.

The archaeological site in Olympia also hosts the foundations of the former temple of Zeus.

In ancient Greece, people who wanted to make a wish to the gods often brought small statues to the temples as offerings.



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