25 July 2017

Recipe Favourite – Double Bubble Slice

Double Bubble Slice – Have you ever left things to the last minute when you have to take something to a party or even planning your own party for the kids? Or want something easy for the kids to make and enjoy themselves. Well is a very easy recipe for just the occasion.
The Double Bubble Slice will be a hit for both adults and the kids.
You could even whip up a batch or two for your open house if you are trying to sell your home. It’s one way of getting the prospective buyers to remember your house if they are looking at a few houses.
Double Bubble Slice

2 cups rice bubbles
2 cups coco pops
1 cup coconut
1/4 cup chia seeds
1/4 cup seeds mix
1/4 almond slivers
125 grams butter
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup crunchy peanut butter
1/4 cup caster sugar


Mix together in a bowl rice bubbles, coco pops, coconut, chia seeds, seeds mix, almond slivers. Put aside.
Over a low heat, in a saucepan, stir the butter, honey, peanut butter and sugar until the butter melts. Then let simmer for 5 mins not stirring it.
Pour liquid mixture over the dry mixture and gently mix with a spoon until all is mixed together.
Line a baking tray with baking paper (wet first to make it easier to mould to tray, shake off the water) and press the mixture into the tray.
Refrigerate until set.

If you don’t like nuts or seeds mix you can substitute with some sultanas or cranberries. Or just leave them out altogether.
If it is a bit sweet for you consider leaving out the caster sugar.
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Mount Louisa – Top Price Property Winner Of The Week – 28 Kosciusko Way – $590,000

This week’s winner – 28 Kosciusko Way Mount Louisa
Mount Louisa has been a strong performer in the Townsville market for the past 80 years. The sale price of $590,000 is under the highest recorded in this suburb but the owners of this beautifully elevated 4 bedroom executive home have achieved an excellent result in a market flying into tough headwinds over the few years.
The marketing agent, Ms. Lesley Rohan from Ray White Riverside applied an excellent communication and relationship strategy to deliver a “win-win-win” for everyone concerned. We will hear from Mrs. Rohan shortly as she sheds some light on the marketing campaign and the new buyer’s astute purchasing decision and the owners response to pragmatic expert advice.

But why go back 80 years you might be asking?
History of heroes and Hollywood stars
Firstly, the property at 28 Kosciusko Way Mount Louisa has an interesting story dating back to a parallel generation when Mount Louisa was a strategic military post for American airmen and servicemen.

Australian and American friendships are deep and profound in this area of Townsville North Queensland. It is a fascinating and historically significant story for not just Mount Louisa and Townsville but all Australians and Americans alike.
It brings back the legend and legacy of Mount Louisa from an era when visiting Hollywood super stars touched down to build up the spirits of distant hearts with entertainment, music and stories from the “home of the brave and land of the free.”
And another type of handyman to that which is investing in Townsville today used much bigger sheds, garages and plenty of vehicle parking space to service machinery around the foot hills of 28 Kosciusko Way.
Instead of Kosciusko #28, the entire area at the foot hills of Mount Louisa was known as Depot #2, not far from TREN’s top price property of the week winner.

Thriving with aircraft maintenance crews as part of the United States military aviation squadron based here, Mount Louisa has played its part in the story of the war hero and Hollywood star.
Worthy of a Hollywood script, the American superpower erected massive sheds where the servicemen needed to repair and store the flying bombers and transport planes critical to the airborne defence of Australia during the Second World War.
If you can imagine a bustling community of 4000 American air force personnel and over 120 barracks and tents, the American presence in Mount Louisa from 1942 represented half of the current population of 8000 people living in the suburb today.
Like this property, the shed or “man cave” featured prominently across the landscape as did the distinguished service medals of heroes who died with their lives in the sea off the Townsville coastline, eerily visible from the patio and foothills above of 28 Kosciusko Way.
Although a distant memory over nearly a century, 28 Kosciusko Way stands as a small modern day testament to the legends and legacy of what man and machine have accomplished in Mount Louisa.
Just like Depot #2 that stood strong during the dark days of World War II, the signature features of this freshly refurbished home brings grand accommodation for man and machine once again.
Estate agent introduction
Image: Front view of 28 Kosciusko Way Mount Louisa
Photo thanks: Ray White Riverside
This time without the threat of military conflict, but with the functionally of an expansive shed and garage space, it provides the graceful comforts and sophistication of a modern home for an active family.

Over the past 11 years since the house was built, the property has served 4 generations of families. In 2006 the house was built on the 720 m2 of elevated land eventually selling as a 2nd generation home for $655,000. The property sold again in December 2012 for $540,000 as a 3rd generation home and again now for $590,000.

Ms. Rohan said the sellers and buyers were “great families to work with”. In her statement to TREN, the Ray White Riverside marketing agent shared her experience and insights about the property and the parties involved with the sale.
She said, “This has been a very rewarding experience for me and a great result for the vendor selling the home in the timeframe they wanted.”
“The owners needed to sell because of an unexpected work transfer. They were in the process of upgrading and completing their renovations to the property but quickly decided to go ahead with the sale
“The vendors contacted multiple agents to have the property appraised just to be sure. They finally decided to work with me having received a personal recommendation from a friend for whom I had sold 3 properties.
“I was able to establish an easy-going relationship with the property owners who were completely open and transparent about their situation, both good and bad. It helped to be able to position the property in the market to sell.
“The marketing attracted genuine interest as a unique property and unfortunately another interested party ended up missing the opportunity, Ms. Rohan stated.
The property

The previous owners have invested very wisely improving the functionality of the property and the home for buyers seeking to purchase a good quality home. The renovation works were major which included the installation of a shed, kitchen upgrade, painting the exterior and enclosing the outdoor area. If it were not for the timing of the sale, the sellers were planning to paint the interior also. Instead, the sellers negotiated a reasonable sale price with the buyers.

Image: Entry view of 28 Kosciusko Way Mount Louisa
Photo thanks: Ray White Riverside
Situated in a quiet court on the hillside of Mount Louisa surrounded by quality properties, walking into this beautifully presented property brings welcome exuberance like no other in the area.
The modern family, particularly those with teenagers, a car enthusiast or collector will really appreciate this home.
The home provides space for up to 6 vehicles! Wow. The shed has been designed to complement the style of the home perfectly, and it is just great for families to live the North Queensland summer lifestyle.
The home has plenty of additional features to enjoy including:
* Workshop space
* Exterior parking bays
* Security screened large outdoor entertainment area
* Air-conditioned
* Fantastic over-sized Kitchen, cleverly designed with abundant cupboard and bench space – (recent upgrade to the
kitchen appliances and bench top)
* Recently painted exterior
* No back neighbours
Property Description:

* 730 m2 allotment
* 4 bedrooms (en-suite, walk-in robe, private balcony to master suite) upstairs
* 1 study (downstairs)
* 2 bathrooms (upstairs)- (fantastic en-suite with spa bath and separate shower, double basin vanity)
* 3 toilets (3rd ground floor with vanity facility)
* Formal living, dining and family rooms
* Kitchen (when size matters – modern with stone benchtop)
* Casual living/family zone (fantastic) joins the kitchen and opens to outdoor living area and back yard
* Alfresco dining with shade sail
* 2 x garage attached to home with internal entry
* 4 x vehicles shed or garage workshop (e.g. storage for cars, boats, bikes)
* Parking area on property – this is perfect giving off street parking for visitors.
The design layout is brilliant with great use of space throughout the home such as the formal separate living and dining, lavish streamlined kitchen, which is certainly one to impress the chef, and a perfectly positioned indoor outdoor family living and entertainment area.
A home office or study, laundry and 3rd toilet or powder room are all conveniently placed in the design downstairs. All 4 bedrooms on the upper level provide a sense of peace and calm away from the living area below.
The master bedroom is private with a balcony and impressive en-suite and walk-in robe – a perfect parent’s retreat! The timber stairwell adds a smart feature to the home design also.
A garden area to the back of the home has a lovely grassed area with a modern fence designed to allow the natural backdrop of plants from the adjoining bushland to garnish the property. From the living area, the greenery provides a wonderful backdrop. The yard also has room for an in-ground swimming pool.
For the energetic and healthy at heart, head out through the back gate to the exercise and walking tracks that meander through the hillside of Crestbrook Estate and Mount Louisa.
Investment profile


TREN’s research has identified that the suburb of Mount Louisa has a population of 8825 people as defined in the 2016 census. The 2011 census recorded a population of 7992. This represents an increase in population of 9.5% between 2011 and 2016.
The residential increase in the population of Mount Louisa occurred in the mid 1980 to 1990s and again when the Crestbrook Estate development started in the early to mid 2000 to 2010 towards the northern end of Bayswater Road. Between 2001 and 2016, the number of dwellings increased by 1050.

The suburb has a current median house price of $380,000, down approximately -1.6% percent from $386,000 over 12 months ago. Over the past 8 years, the median house price has increased by 10.5% from $340,000.
The sale price achieved for this property of $590,000 will have a positive impact on the median house price in Mount Louisa as it exceeds the current median house price for the suburb.

Image: Google map of 28 Kosciusko Way Mount Louisa
Due to the annual volume of sales, the $210,000 achieved in excess of the current median house price is favourable but unlikely to have a significant impact on the statistics as a lot more sales are completed below the median in the suburb on average.
Approximately 150 house sales have been recorded in Mount Louisa over the past 12 months.
Mount Louisa has an insufficient stock of unit sales to warrant an investment profile. A median price for units could not be derived from such a limited data pool.
Rentals and Yields

The median rental price for houses in Mount Louisa today is $345 per week producing a yield of approximately 4.7 percent based on 365 tenanted properties in last 12 months. The rental yield has been steadily declining since 2011 from 5.9 per cent as the median rental prices had reached $400 per week then.
Today, four (4) bedroom houses have a median rental price of $360 per week. Units have a median rental price of $285 per week however the volumes are insignificant in this category to draw reliable data.
Nearly 97 per cent of dwellings in Mount Louisa are houses. 57 percent of the houses have 4 bedrooms. 19 percent or 544 of the suburbs dwellings are owned outright whilst 43 percent are secured by mortgage. 36 percent of all dwellings in Mount Louisa at the time of the 2016 census were rentals.
Mount Louisa has a desirable lifestyle for couples. Shops and schools and well established. The landscaped streets are breezy in an elevated position approximately 15 metres above sea level on average.
Maturing, established and older couples and their families make up 61% of the population. Independent youth make up 9% and the elderly make up 10% of the population respectively.
Mount Louisa shares a boundary with Garbutt which is one of the most populated industrial areas of Townsville employing many individuals and couples that live in Mount Louisa. The suburb is also conveniently placed off Woolcocks Street and Dalrymple Road with easy vehicle access to the airport, city, shops and schools.
Calvary Christian Collage is approximately 1.2 kilometres from the property. And two of the largest schools in the Townsville district, Kirwan State High School and Heatley High Schools, are approximately 2.5 kilometres from the property.
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American Hollywood Stars And Heroism Tells Story Of Townsville Suburbs

Image: b-25 Bomber serviced by American servicemen Photo: D Sheley Flickr

American Hollywood stars and aviation heroism paints a picture of Depot#2 at Mount Louisa during the second World War where 4000 American airmen and servicemen contributed to the victory over the Japanese invasion forces during the Kokoda campaign in Papua New Guinea, the various South Pacific campaigns and the decisive Battle of the Corel Sea.

Now a sprawling urban suburb of Townsville North Queensland with over 8800 residents and 3300 dwellings, Mount Louisa has blossomed during the 1980s and again in the early 2000s. But the greatest ever population explosion for the suburb occurred between 1940 and 1945.
Back then, American and Australian commanders had a massive task of defending Australia and ensuring supply lines were secured to support the troops fighting in the jungles 1000s of kilometres to the North. The Americans were Australia’s last hope of pushing the Japanese back from Singapore and Papua New Guinea.

The summit of Mount Louisa rises 154 metres above sea level. The mountain was named after a lady acquaintance of Andrew Ball, the first European explorer and founder of Townsville. When the American air force arrived, the mountain offers excellent cover from a likely attack from Japanese aircraft.
Image: Townsville military airstrips at Stock Route Airfield (current day Dalrymple Road) during WW II
Photo: www.ozatwar.com

American Airforce
Mount Louisa became an important landmark during the 2nd World War as the 4th Air Depot, 12th Air Depot and the 15th Air Depot Groups of the 5th Air force of the United States Air Force was based at the foot of Mount Louisa where over 4000 American personnel worked and lived during the war.

Depot #2 was used for assembling, modifying, overhauling and carrying our major repairs on aircraft. A large barracks of buildings and a tent city were erected to accommodate the airmen and servicemen. It was reported that 120 barracks were erected during the war. There was also a sports ground in the area where baseball, gridiron and athletics were played.

Historical accounts from ex-servicemen and aerial photographs during and after the war shows that three airstrips were in the immediate vicinity of Depot #2 at Mount Louisa. One airstrip was located on Dalrymple Road between the current day Duckworth Street and Nathan Street and the other was located where the current day Townsville Airport at Garbutt is located. The 3rd airstrip was located on the western side of Mount Louisa near the Bohle River where the current day Willows residential development is at Kirwan.

Image: Townsville military airstrips at Bohle River (current day Kirwan) during WW II
Photo: www.ozatwar.com
Although Mount Louisa did not face enemy action or any direct attacks during the war, the mountain offered an excellent defensive position for the American air force as a strategic command and supply location servicing the famous Kokoda campaign at Papua New Guinea and South Pacific campaigns including the Battle of the Corel Sea.

Mount Louisa was the location of multiple bunkers for storage of supplies and ammunitions but, perhaps most importantly and fondly remembered by American servicemen, was the open air Helton Hall where meetings and events took place. The hall was named after Master Sergeant James Helton who has killed along with three other Majors from the crash of their B-25 bomber over Rattlesnake Island just North of Townsville.

Hollywood stars
It is reported that a number of famous Hollywood stars appeared in the Helton Hall at Mount Louisa including John Wayne, Joe E Brown, Gary Cooper, Una Merkel and Phyllis Brook and Woody Herman’s orchestra.

The Mount Louisa suburb borders the Garbutt suburb at Banfield Drive and Woolcock Street, Kirwan and Heatley suburbs on Dalrymple Road and the Cosgrove suburb at the end of Bayswater Road.

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24 July 2017

Why Apartment Dwellers Need Indoor Plants

Image: Girl leaning on open window drawing outdoor greenery to the indoors
Photo: Fickr Alexandra-Cohen

Apartment – The number of Australians living in high-rise apartments doubled between 1991 and 2011and that trend has continued since then. The quarter-acre dream is fast disappearing and larger blocks and family gardens along with it. As more people move from country areas to the city and as land to build homes near the city centre becomes scarce, we’re getting further and further away from nature. It turns out this isn’t great for our health.

The change in urban environments because of development, associated with a rapid increase in chronic disease, is a global phenomenon in developed countries. In the past children grew up running on bare soil and grass, explored backyard farms and gardens, climbed trees and were exposed to a high level of bacteria. And the diversity of the bacteria can change if an individual is exposed to different environmental conditions.

One of these conditions is living in a high-rise apartment far away from land, soil, trees and plants. Being close to nature is linked to positive mental well-being – and people living in urban areas have been shown to have a disadvantage in processing stress. This can be at least partially attributed to increased exposure to air pollution and heat stress, and decrease in exercise and fitness through lack of access to a garden or nearby park.

The less exposure to nature we have, the less diverse the bacteria in our microbiota. The microbiota is the community of bacteria, fungi and viruses that live in our gut and on our skin. We need a diverse exposure for our body to fight inflammation effectively.

Alteration in the human bacterial communities, including the disappearance of ancient microbiotic species, is thought to cause inflammation in the body. These ancient species were known to encourage development of cells that regulate the immune system (T-cells). When our immune system stays on high alert all the time, instead of resting when no threats are present, this causes inflammation, which can lead to chronic disease.

Where plants come in

The bacteria we have are similar to those of plants in that we both carry trillions of good and bad bacteria. The diversity of the microbiota is measured by how many families of bacteria are present. We know the diverse plant microbiome influences plant growth, and humans benefit by eating plant foods. An important research question remains: do we gain another benefit simply by having contact with plants?

Plants also remove volatile compounds from the air including ozone and carbon dioxide. They turn the carbon dioxide into oxygen, meaning air quality is drastically improved. Higher oxygen levels inside a small apartment mean well-being may be improved for the occupants. Viewing plants reduces stress and is pleasing to the human eye.

Nature therapy (shinrin-yoku), first invented in Japan, has proven beneficial for our health by lowering blood pressure and boosting mental health. This is done by simply going for a mindful walk in the forest.

It has also been established that plants confer positive changes in the brain’s electrical activity, muscle tension and heart activity.

Some plants that are beneficial in the home

Peace Lily: if this plant is placed in the hallway it will reduce many toxins such as benzene, ammonia, acetone and ethyl and will prevent toxins from spreading between rooms in the apartment.

Image: Peaceful Lilly Photo: Peace Lily. H is for Hom/FlickrCC BY

Aloe vera and Mother-in-Law’s Tongue: these plants placed in the bedroom emit oxygen, which improves sleep quality.

Image: Mother-in-laws tongue Photo: Mark Solarski/UnsplashCC BY

Gerbera Daisy: if placed in the laundry these plants remove formaldehyde and benzene from the air, which are in common household detergents.

Image: Gerbera daisies. Photo: Marcia O’Connor/Flickr, CC BY

Devil’s Ivy (Golden Pothos): this plant can be placed in low light and cool temperatures such as an air-conditioned office or an outdoor garage. It will remove ozone, which is found in car exhaust fumes.
Image: Devil’s Ivy. Photo: DianesDigitals/Flickr, CC BY
How about plants outside apartment buildings?

Outdoor plants such as trees and shrubs help to shade our buildings and streets, cooling our concrete jungles. They also help with water runoff, preventing flooding and nutrient dispersalSuburbs with more canopy cover have a perceived higher quality of living and attract better property prices.

Outdoor plants and soil have an abundance of ecological communities compared to indoor environments, a higher diversity of microbes, and therefore increase the numbers of insects, birds and other fauna. Viewing and being among large parks and green areas has been shown to improve the mental and physical well-being of people living in urban areas.

With backyards becoming increasingly rare, diversity is decreasing in urban areas. In response, the City of Toronto has written into local law that all new buildings must have green roofs that include vegetation, drainage, waterproofing and slope stability. The reasoning for the law was that green roofs provide:

energy savings from better solar reflectivity, evapotranspiration and insulation, green roofs last up to twice as long as regular roofs, and green roofs can beautify and add value to Toronto’s buildings by providing scenic views and recreational areas in dense urban areas.

A similarly bold strategy here would benefit not only the health of our apartment dwellers, but also the environment.
Author:  Danica-Lea Larcombe PhD Candidate in Biodiversity and Human Health, Edith Cowan University from

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The Conversation