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Major claim in investigation into deadly house fire that killed five children

<p>The grandmother of five children who died alongside their father in a tragic house fire has spoken out, claiming her daughter had "begged" their landlord to fix the smoke alarms in the house.</p> <p>In August last year, Wayne Godinet, 34, died along with his four-year-old twins Kyza and Koa, his three-year-old son Nicky, and his stepsons Zack, 11, and Harry, 10, in a <a href="https://oversixty.com.au/news/news/6-beautiful-souls-family-break-silence-after-tragic-house-fire" target="_blank" rel="noopener">horrific blaze</a> in Queensland's Russell Island. </p> <p>Mr Godinet and his sons became trapped upstairs of the two storey home after he raced back into the house to save them, while the children's mother, Samantha Stephenson, 28, and her sister were able to escape the fire.</p> <p>On Wednesday, the owner of the rental property, 61-year-old Donna Rose Beadel, was charged by police over her alleged involvement in the tragedy.</p> <p>The family has spoken out in anger, with the grandmother of the five boys, Rebecca Stephenson, claiming that her daughter had spoken to the landlord about updating the smoke alarms in the property just one week before the fire. </p> <p>Ms Stephenson told the Courier Mail, “The week before it happened, Sam texted the landlady and asked for the smoke alarms to be updated.”</p> <p>She claims she knew of at least three times her daughter had asked for the smoke alarms to be fixed.</p> <p>“It was the first thing you noticed when you walked into the house, a smoke alarm hanging from the ceiling and then a marking of one in the kitchen that had been painted over,” she added.</p> <p>Police allege that Ms Beadel's property did not have compliant smoke alarms when the fire broke out, with police further alleging that she wasn’t present when the fire occurred.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Facebook</em></p>

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How baby boomers are benefiting from Australia's "worst financial mistake"

<p>A financial expert has explained how baby boomers have remained largely unscathed by the ongoing housing crisis in Australia. </p> <p>ABC finance guru Alan Kohler described the crisis as Australia's "worst financial mistake", as Adelaide has now become the country's second least affordable city. </p> <p>The South Australian capital, which has long been known as one of the more affordable places in the country to live, has skyrocketed in price, as the median price for houses and units in Adelaide was $721,376 in January, which is 7.9 times higher than the state's average full-time salary of $91,026.</p> <p>"There are a couple of things that might surprise you: Adelaide became the second, least affordable Australian city last year," Mr Kohler explained.</p> <p>"Adelaide has just taken over from Hobart in second place."</p> <p>"What's going on: put simply, incomes in Adelaide, Hobart and Brisbane are not keeping up with house prices, which are being pushed up by fast-rising population and by first-home buyers."</p> <p>Mr Kohler, a baby boomer, noted that when he and his wife bought their first home in Melbourne for $40,000 in 1980, he was earning $11,500 as a journalist, meaning his home cost just 3.5 times his income before a mortgage deposit.</p> <p>"When my wife and I bought our first house in 1980, the average house price was 3.5 times average income," he said. "Now, it's 7.5 times and rising."</p> <p>"That didn't have to happen: it's Australia's worst, economic mistake."</p> <p>Mr Kohler said parents were increasingly propping up the mortgage deposits of first-home buyers, as first-home buyer subsidies from the federal government only pushed up property prices.</p> <p>"Despite rising prices and crushing interest rates, first-home buyers were the fastest-growing type of borrower," he said.</p> <p>"The Bank of Mum and Dad coughing up early inheritances and politicians showering them with grants and concessions, desperate to appear to be doing something about affordability while actually making it worse."</p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock / ABC</em></p> <p class="mol-para-with-font" style="font-size: 16px; margin: 0px 0px 16px; padding: 0px; min-height: 0px; letter-spacing: -0.16px; font-family: graphik, Arial, sans-serif;"> </p>

Money & Banking

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Kochie's brutal message to Baby Boomers

<p>David Koch has shared his brutal thoughts on the housing crisis and rising interest rates, claiming millennials have been dealt the "short end of the stick", while boomers have been spared. </p> <p>The former <em>Sunrise</em> host, who is now the Economic Director at Compare the Market, said young borrowers are copping the brunt of rising interest rates and soaring inflations. </p> <p>“If you bought your home in early 2022 under the pretence that interest rates would stay low for longer, you’ve now been lumped with the short end of the stick,” Mr Koch said.</p> <p>He went on to say young people had difficulty generating any decent savings due to record rental prices and cost-of-living, and those that can scrape together a deposit on a home now face onerous interest charges.</p> <p>Recent data from Compare the Market found homeowners who bought their homes at the peak of the market in early 2022 were far worse off compared to those who bought three years earlier. </p> <p>Those who also bought property before the Covid lockdown have also benefited from a rise in their equity, as property prices have significantly increased over the past four years.</p> <p>Kochie said the repayment hike as a result of rising interest rates was a "tough pill" for young Aussies who had no time to accrue a strong savings buffer.  </p> <p>Given these factors, Kochie said many Aussie baby boomers have been spared the pain of rising interest rates.</p> <p>"Meanwhile, a lot of mature Australians have missed this pain altogether after selling their properties at the peak and having reaped the benefits over more equity for years," he said.</p> <p>"A lot of mature Australians have been shielded from the rate rises, and it's already widely believed that their spending drove inflation."</p> <p>A recent report from CommBank iQ found that baby boomers spending on luxuries appears to be further fuelling Australia's inflation crisis as millennials are forced to cut back on essentials.</p> <p>This goes a long way to explaining why the current cycle of interest rate rises are not dampening inflation as expected, as the new big spenders are older people who own properties outright and are therefore unaffected by rate rises.</p> <p>Boomers are are going on holidays and dining out more often, while millennials, battling higher rents and mortgage repayments, rare being forced to reduce their spending to cope with the worst cost of living crisis in a generation.</p> <p>Koch said, "It's time policy-makers should be asking: how could the pressure be more evenly spread?"</p> <p>Aussie baby boomers have long claimed that they had to make the same sacrifices when they were buying their first homes, given the home loan rate in 1989 to 1990 was at 17 per cent, compared to today's six per cent variable rates.</p> <p>However, Kochie debunked this claim, saying current house prices are far higher when measured against average salaries, and that level was only accelerating, far outpacing wages growth.</p> <p>"Back in the 80s, the average cost of an Aussie house was $70,000, now it's $700,000 - ten times more expensive," he said. </p> <p>The financial guru explained how in the 1980s the average salary was $19,000, compared with $94,000 in 2023.</p> <p>"So in the 80s, the price of a house was four times the average person's income," he said.</p> <p>"In 2023, it's eight times the average Aussie salary."</p> <p>Kochie urged mortgage holders hit with higher repayments to call their banks and explore whether refinancing to a lower-rate loan is possible. </p> <p>"We urge people in mortgage pain to reduce the interest on their repayments as much as possible by shopping around for a better deal," Koch said. </p> <p>"When every dollar counts, 2024 should be the year of the new lender."</p> <p><em>Image credits: Compare the Market </em></p>

Money & Banking

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"Is this legal?" Residents outraged over demanding aircon letter

<p>Residents in a Sydney unit complex were left outraged after they were asked to turn off their air conditioners overnight.</p> <p>A letter placed inside the elevator of the 18-floor apartment building states that the utility can only be used “during the following times."</p> <p>“Weekdays 7am to 10pm, weekends and public holidays 8am to 10pm,” the letter said.  </p> <p>“At other times than this, please turn off your air conditioners, especially after 10:00 PM every day.”</p> <p>The letter, which was posted on Facebook, received a lot of backlash from other residents and renters</p> <p>One resident who lived in the 1960s building for a decade said it was the first time she had heard of such a request.</p> <p>“Can anyone please let me know if this is legal? Can they actually force people to not run their own AC units?” the person asked. </p> <p>Many other renters expressed their annoyance, with one joking that they'd have to pry the aircon off their dead hands. </p> <p>“Anyone else feel like we are in a Nanny State?” one wrote. </p> <p>“To be honest with 30°c nights they can pry my aircon from my cold dead heads,” another quipped. </p> <p>One Facebook user also commented that building developers might be to blame. </p> <p>“I think the strata builders got a bit cheap and installed less expensive aircons and therefore they are too loud. Bet if they had decent ones, the tenants wouldn’t have to suffer hot nights because of the noise,” they said. </p> <p>A few others commented that it might not just be a request from strata, but local councils that are enforcing new noise pollution restrictions which affect aircons. </p> <p>City of Sydney, Inner West, and Penrith councils, are a few of the local governments which require the airconditioners to be turned off 10pm to 7am during the week and until 8am on the weekend, the same time requested on the laters. </p> <p>The local governments also recommend that residents and developers purchase high-quality airconditioners that won't cause noise pollution or disturb neighbours. </p> <p>“Even if you’ve been told that it complies with noise requirements, it doesn’t mean it’s going to suit every location all the time,” the Inner West Council website read. </p> <p>The letter comes as Sydney battles its second heatwave in the span of a week. </p> <p><em>Images: Facebook/ Getty</em></p>

Legal

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9 things you should never touch in someone else’s house

<p><strong>A hands-off approach</strong></p> <p>Nothing like a global pandemic to critically alter your lifelong and intrinsic sanitary practices, huh? And while we know coronavirus does not spread easily from surfaces, there are still plenty of other germs and bacteria that do. And it’s not always a matter of good hygiene – sometimes it’s just a matter of good manners!</p> <p><strong>The door </strong></p> <p>Of course, you can actually touch the door, but you should never do so to let yourself into someone else’s home without them, or without being invited. Always knock or ring the bell, even if it’s been left unlocked, unless someone has expressly told you that you don’t have to.</p> <p>And please, don’t show up knocking earlier than expected – it could be a huge inconvenience to your host.</p> <p><strong>Their bathroom </strong></p> <p>As with most of the things on this list, you should avoid this unless you’re specifically invited. Try not to stray after your trip to the bathroom for a look around – it’s definitely off-limits if you don’t have permission or are going in without your host knowing. Of course, there are exceptions, as it may not be so serious an offence if you know the person very well, or if one lives in a shared living space, a studio, or an apartment with limited space.</p> <p>And on that note, it’s best to wait until you’re invited to sit or relax on someone’s bed. Many people also find that a bedroom is a convenient place to store coats if there are guests coming over, but wait until they offer instead of assuming it’s OK.</p> <p><strong>The floor - with your shoes on</strong></p> <p>Depending on personal preferences or cultural norms, many households have a no-shoes-inside policy. Take the tip from your host – if they’re wearing shoes in their house, you can probably assume it’s OK for you. When in doubt, ask what they would prefer.</p> <p>Another place you shouldn’t be putting your feet? On the couch or coffee table. I can think of five good reasons you should ban shoes in the house, period.</p> <p><strong>The fridge and cupboards </strong></p> <p>This one might sound like it should go without saying, but some might not realize just how rude it is to help yourself to someone else’s food. If you’re hungry, let your host know, or suggest going out to eat. If you’re staying for a long time, your host will probably prepare and shop for food accordingly, but it’s a good idea to offer to bring or buy some groceries yourself. And if you came for dinner, eat what’s been prepared for you, and offer to bring a dish or wine to share.</p> <p>If you have a restricted diet, let your host know beforehand and prepare a dish to bring if it’s difficult to accommodate. Offer to help cook, and lend a hand with the dishes and cleanup. Countertops are absolutely one of those things you should be cleaning every day, regardless.</p> <p><strong>The windows or thermostat</strong></p> <p>Always let your hosts set the thermostat number – it’s their house, after all, and they’re the ones paying the bill for it. If you’re really too cold, a better option might be to ask to borrow a jumper, or extra blankets if you’ll be staying overnight.</p> <p>Too hot? Suggest an activity to help cool off, like going to a place with air conditioning. If you have a medical condition that makes you particularly sensitive to heat or cold, you should always inform your host ahead of time so you can make plans accordingly.</p> <p><strong>Drawers and cabinets</strong></p> <p>This one is definitely invasive of your host’s privacy. Don’t go rummaging for anything that’s not in plain sight or in the rooms your host is expecting you in. You might find it tempting to snoop, but the medicine cabinet is certainly off-limits.</p> <p><strong>Workspaces, mail, or bills</strong></p> <p>To go along with the last one, it’s always best to avoid snooping. In some homes, a guest bedroom might also double as a home office, so steer clear of using these spaces to store your things. You have no idea how they might have organised their things, so try to leave it as is. Not going through someone’s mail is basic manners!</p> <p><strong>Cigarettes or e-cigarettes </strong></p> <p>Unless your host is doing the same and gives you permission, you should never, ever start smoking a cigarette or e-cigarette in someone’s home. This rule is especially inflexible if there are children in the house. Not only can you expose them to the harmful ingredients and chemicals in cigarettes, but the effects – and the smell – can linger long after you’re gone.</p> <p>If you can’t wait, excuse yourself to go outside, and try to move away from doors and windows so it doesn’t waft into the house. Removing the cigarette and cigar smell is quite the cumbersome task. </p> <p><strong>The Wi-Fi</strong></p> <p>Try to refrain from asking for the Wi-Fi password unless you’re a long-term guest or a very frequent visitor. If you’re asking at the beginning of a dinner party, it’s sending the message that you’d rather be on your phone. Try to stay off of your phone as much as possible to really have quality time when you’re visiting.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/true-stories-lifestyle/9-things-you-should-never-touch-in-someone-elses-house" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Reader's Digest</a>. </em></p>

Home & Garden

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Baby boomers fight back against "self-entitled whingeing generations"

<p>Angry baby boomers have hit back at young Australians for continuing to blame the ageing population for the current housing crisis. </p> <p>A group of disgruntled seniors have shared their thoughts with the <a href="https://www.smh.com.au/national/blaming-baby-boomers-for-your-money-woes-is-unfair-lazy-and-wrong-20231127-p5en21.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>Sydney Morning Herald</em></a> about the "self-entitled" young Australians, who are facing never-before-seen financial and social barriers to break into the housing market. </p> <p>The open letters come in the wake of Census data showing empty-nesters are hanging on to their big homes in inner-city suburbs, while young families are struggling to find suitable housing while also battling mortgage stress and renters are getting relentlessly price-gouged. </p> <p>Despite the current system disproportionately affecting younger Australians, boomers have hit back at universal claims that they had it easier back in the day. </p> <p>"We bought and paid for these homes; it's not our job to house the next generations, it's the government's," explained Kathleen Kyle in a letter to the <em>Sydney Morning Herald</em>. </p> <p>"Nobody questions people who spend their money on lovely cars or antiques, or suggests that they don't need them any more."</p> <p>In another letter, Kathy Willis from Kew near Port Macquarie wrote, "Boomers have worked very hard to get what they have, having brought up their families in these homes."</p> <p>"I suggest the discourse be directed to people such as town planners, local councils and state governments for their lack of vision in the past, and what the present authorities are going to do about it – and of course, the taxpayers' expense."</p> <p>Suzanne Hopping from Redfern, Sydney, wrote that she could no longer stay silent on "boomer bashing" from "self-entitled whingeing generations".</p> <p>"I bought my first home when I was 39 in an undesirable suburb. Buying a home (at 17.5 per cent interest) was as difficult then as it is today."</p> <p>"When I left home I had no expectations of ever being able to afford to buy a place of my own."</p> <p>"Self-entitled whingeing generations, if you don't like what you see, do something positive about it. Each generation has its unique problems, stop the moralising."</p> <p>Wendy Cousins from Balgownie NSW wrote that "boomer bashing" is futile, adding, "Why encourage resentment of boomers because many choose to stay in their homes? This will not free up any housing."</p> <p>"Many have already downsized and those who haven't, have a variety of reasons why they don't. We have enough division in our society without the constant boomer bashing."</p> <p>Despite the views of many disgruntled boomers, University of Melbourne Professor Allan Fels, an economist and mental health advocate, said figures show beyond a doubt that life is much tougher for the younger generation, and basic economics prove it is much harder for them to buy a house.</p> <p>"We baby boomers have had it a lot easier than the new generation of young people," he told <a href="https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-12793605/Boomers-hit-self-entitled-whingeing-young-Aussies-reveal-theyre-not-blame-housing-crisis.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>Daily Mail Australia</em></a>.</p> <p>"They face a future of much less home ownership and associated mental health stability. The mere fact they are missing out is a cause of stress."</p> <p>"The trend of rising prices adds to the stress because many used to think that they could buy their own house but they keep missing out because prices are continually rising just beyond their grasp."</p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p>

Money & Banking

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Why Dave Hughes didn't buy the final Block house

<p>David ‘Hughesy’ Hughes was the surprise guest at this year's <em>The Block</em> auctions, and the Aussie comedian was keen on buying the final home to go on auction <span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">– </span><span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;"> Leah and Ash’s house. </span></p> <p>Hughes was one move away from buying House 2 - which was passed in after it failed to hit reserve - but his wife blocked him from buying the home. </p> <p>“I was accosted as I left the auction, trying to get out of there, because one house didn’t sell and I said, ‘I’ll go talk to my wife’,” Hughes said on KIIS FM’s <em>Hughesy, Ed &amp; Erin </em>on Tuesday morning. </p> <p>The radio host then called his wife Holly live-on-air so she could explain the reason why they did not buy House 2. </p> <p>Holly revealed that she "was being asked by students and teachers,” about whether or not the couple bought the <em>Block</em> house. </p> <p>“You [Hughes] came home and as we were getting into bed, you said, ‘How would you have felt if I just bought that house?’ And I said, ‘Furious’," Holly revealed. </p> <p>She then called out her husband, claiming that he only wanted to buy the house to "show off". </p> <p>“If you bought a third house [in Melbourne] without consulting with me …” she said. </p> <p>“He never expressed any interesting in investing in that part of Melbourne, it’s so random, he would’ve just been buying a house to show off.</p> <p>“He had not looked at the houses or anything. He hadn’t watched an episode.”</p> <p>Although Hughes didn't get a property this season, his <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/finance/money-banking/dave-hughes-sets-the-record-straight-over-famous-block-house-purchase" target="_blank" rel="noopener">previous <em>Block</em> buy</a> in 2017 was a huge success.</p> <p><em>Image: Nine</em></p>

Money & Banking

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Tiny house, big dreams: How to take a trip and give back at the same time

<p dir="ltr">When it comes to getting away over the summer, there is no one size-fits-all option to accommodate everyone’s unique needs. </p> <p dir="ltr">Some of us may prefer an off-the-grid adventure to the bush to reconnect with nature, while others just can’t pass up an opportunity to lay on the beach and frolic in the ocean. </p> <p dir="ltr">But if there’s one thing every holiday goer can agree on, it's the absolute need to relax. </p> <p dir="ltr">Luckily, <a href="https://reflectionsholidayparks.com.au/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Reflections Holiday & Caravan Parks</a> has something for everyone this summer. </p> <p dir="ltr">From blissful camping and caravanning sites to luxurious tiny homes and creature-comfort cabin accommodation, Reflections is proud to be New South Wales’ largest holiday park operator, showing 2 million visitors a year the magic of the outside.</p> <p dir="ltr">You can feel good about your stay with Reflections, as the company is the first and only holiday park group in Australia that is certified as a <a href="https://www.socialtraders.com.au/news/what-is-a-social-enterprise" target="_blank" rel="noopener">social enterprise</a>.</p> <p dir="ltr">That means the profits from the parks go back into the Crown land nature reserves the company manages to protect and nurture the land, for their lasting preservation and the community’s enjoyment while also giving back to local areas.</p> <p dir="ltr">A holiday here is essentially giving back to the local environment and community.</p> <p dir="ltr">I was lucky enough to be invited for a trip away with Reflections, and stayed in a charming Tiny House at the Jimmy’s Beach park in Hawk’s Nest on the mid-coast of NSW. </p> <p dir="ltr">Despite bringing the dreary Sydney rain with me up the coast, my stay with Reflections was nothing short of a dream. </p> <p dir="ltr">The tiny house provided all the comforts we needed on an overcast weekend, with the cosy atmosphere providing the perfect place to fully unwind from busy city life. </p> <p dir="ltr">Despite being, by name, a tiny house, the one bedroom home provided everything we needed, including a comfy bed, spacious shower, a large lounge and TV, as well as everything you could need to cook your own meals. </p> <p dir="ltr">A spacious deck was also most welcome, giving you the chance to sit in the sun and take in the picturesque nature around you, while spotting the best of Australia's wildlife. </p> <p dir="ltr">As the sun came out, we were able to indulge in all that Reflections had to offer, including bush walks, trips to the beach and even a dip in the pool. </p> <p dir="ltr">The sense of community in Reflections holiday parks is palpable, as making friends and meeting new people is encouraged and fostered, with a welcoming environment making it easy to hear the life stories of others as you cross paths in communal areas. </p> <p dir="ltr">The holiday parks are also perfect for families, with playgrounds available for the little ones, and even an ice cream truck making the rounds while playing Waltzing Matilda to signal the arrival of delicious treats. </p> <p dir="ltr">So, when booking your summer trips away, whether you’re after a quiet beach stay, a family-friendly destination, or an exploration off the beaten track, a stay at a Reflections Holiday Park is sure to leave you refreshed, reconnected, and ready for whatever comes your way.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Supplied</em></p>

Domestic Travel

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Dave Hughes sets the record straight over famous Block house purchase

<p>Dave Hughes has hit back at long-standing rumours that he grossly overpaid for his house in Melbourne at <em>The Block</em> auctions. </p> <p>The radio host addressed the speculation on <em>2DAY FM’s Hughesy, Ed & Erin</em> breakfast show, as his co-host Erin Molan queried him about how the investment property was performing. </p> <p>In 2017, Hughesy bought the five-bedroom home in Elsternwick, built by contestants Josh and Elyse on Nine’s long-running reno show, for $3.067 million: a whopping $447,000 over the reserve. </p> <p>Given the steep increase of the price, the purchase of the house led to a lot of talk that Dave Hughes had overspent. </p> <p>Molan told her co-host on-air that a recent value estimate of the property that she’d found online put the home at $3.4 million.</p> <p>Six years on from his purchase and with inflation, stamp duty and other factors weighted, Hughes noted that that $300,000-odd increase in value would actually put him at a loss.</p> <p>However, Hughes said he had recently had the house valued himself, and the news was much better: He was told it is currently worth around $5 million.</p> <p>After the purchase of the house, even Hughes himself conceded that he may have spent much more than what the house was worth. </p> <p>In an interview with <em>Stellar</em> magazine in February 2018, he said that the bank had valued the property at “much less” than he paid.</p> <p>“I went to get a bank loan the other day and they haven’t valued it the same as I paid for it, which is fine, but annoying because there were five bidders,” he said.</p> <p>He said it was “enough less that it made me annoyed”.</p> <p>“For f**k’s sake … I just think it’s good value and in a few years’ time people are going to be going, ‘Well, f**k, didn’t he do well with it!’ I am playing the long game, all right? That is what I say to my wife, anyway.”</p> <p>In September of 2018, he told his then-co-host Kate Langbroek that he’d “copped so much flak” over the purchase.</p> <p>He said, “It was ridiculous and it’s gone on and on and on. A lot of experts weighed into my purchase … There are articles that have been written all year having a go at me. One article from one mob called Property One or something, they had a dinner party discussion about how I paid too much.”</p> <p><em>Image credits: Nine</em></p>

Money & Banking

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Sydney Opera House at 50: a public appeal, a controversial build, a lavish opening – and a venue for all

<p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/michelle-arrow-45">Michelle Arrow</a>, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/macquarie-university-1174">Macquarie University</a></em></p> <p>It is one of the most famous buildings in the world. It has an instantly recognisable silhouette that adorns tea towels, bottle openers and souvenir sweatshirts.</p> <p>Miniature versions huddle in snow domes. You can build your own from <a href="https://www.lego.com/en-us/product/sydney-opera-house-10234">Lego</a>. Bidjigal artist and elder Esme Timbery constructed a replica in her trademark <a href="https://recollections.nma.gov.au/issues/volume_7_number_2/papers/displaying_the_decorative">shell art</a>. Ken Done put it on doona covers and bikinis. If you search the hashtag on Instagram, you will see over a million posts.</p> <p>Fifty years ago today, after a prolonged and controversial period of construction, the Sydney Opera House was officially opened by Queen Elizabeth II in a lavish ceremony.</p> <p>Spectators carrying flasks of coffee and cushions watched from the sidelines. More than 2,000 small boats viewed the ceremony from the water.</p> <p>After the national anthem was played and nine F111 aircraft roared overhead, the crowd heard a didgeridoo and Aboriginal actor Ben Blakeney delivered a prologue “representing the <a href="http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article110753207">spirit of Bennelong</a>”.</p> <p>In her speech, the Queen remarked the Opera House had “captured the imagination of the world”.</p> <p>The opening festivities gestured both to Australia’s deep Indigenous roots and white imperial origins. The building itself symbolised a new era of state investment in cultural infrastructure. This was a hallmark of the “new nationalism” in the 1970s: the arts were regarded as essential to Australia’s newly confident sense of national identity.</p> <p>Today, the Sydney Opera House reminds us Australia can value culture for its own sake. But what did the Opera House mean to Australians when it opened 50 years ago?</p> <h2>Building the Opera House</h2> <p>The campaign for an Opera House in Sydney was initiated by Sir Eugene Goosens, who came to Australia as conductor of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra in 1947. He found a sympathetic ear in Joe Cahill, the Labor premier who committed Bennelong Point to the project and launched an international competition to design the building in 1955.</p> <p>This part of the story is well-known (indeed, there was even an <a href="https://www.theeighthwondertheopera.com">opera</a>). Danish architect Jørn Utzon’s bold, avant garde design won the competition and construction began in 1961, funded – in a democratic touch – by the NSW government’s Opera House lottery.</p> <p>Construction was plagued by difficulties and expanding costs. Utzon famously resigned from the project in 1966; Australian architect Peter Hall oversaw the construction of the interior.</p> <p>In spite of the jokes and doubts, by the time the building was finished, Australians had embraced the Opera House as their own.</p> <p>The Queen tactfully acknowledged the building’s construction delays in her speech at the opening ceremony, <a href="http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article110753207">suggesting</a> “every great imaginative venture has had to be tempered by the fire of controversy”.</p> <h2>Cringe and strut</h2> <p>As historians Richard White and Sylvia Lawson <a href="https://trove.nla.gov.au/work/35026797/version/50553486?keyword=symbols%20of%20Australia">note</a>, while the Opera House was intended for all performing arts, the centrality of opera – with its expense and small audiences – made a symbolic statement a “new, more sophisticated Australia” had arrived.</p> <p>As Australia sought to find an identity independent of Britain, the Opera House became a symbol of this new nationalist turn.</p> <p>Some fitted the Opera House into older narratives of Britishness: in his book Sydney Builds an Opera House, Oswald Zeigler remarked we needed to thank Captain Arthur Phillip “for finding the site for this symbol of the Australian cultural revolution”.</p> <p><a href="http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article110752757">Gough Whitlam declared</a> it was "a magnificent building, Our civilisations are known by their buildings and future generations will honour the people of this generation […] by this building."</p> <p>In spite of this, there was still cultural cringe. The <a href="http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article110753207">Canberra Times</a> reported the British media believed the Opera House was a sign that “the country had turned a corner artistically”. It was a telling sign of cultural cringe that their opinions were sought at all.</p> <p>The Opera House was part of an Australian cultural renaissance in 1973. The ABC broadcast an adaptation of Ethel Turner’s beloved Seven Little Australians. The bawdy Alvin Purple was a box-office smash. Patrick White became the first (and so far, only) Australian to win the Nobel Prize for Literature. The new wave of Australian drama was in full swing, and the Opera House’s opening season included a play by new wave star David Williamson alongside Shakespeare’s Richard II.</p> <p>Historians have nominated many emblems for the new nationalist mood (from the new national anthem to The Adventures of Barry McKenzie) but I would suggest the Opera House embodies it best: the soaring sails, the bold, rich colours of the interiors, and John Coburn’s glorious, confident curtains for the performance venues.</p> <h2>For the elite or for the people?</h2> <p>There were always objections on the grounds that government investment would be better focused elsewhere, rather than on a performance venue for “elites”. These arguments are wearyingly familiar today.</p> <p>Premier Joe Cahill rejected this charge from the outset: in <a href="https://mhnsw.au/stories/general/sydney-opera-house-the-gold-book/">1959 he declared "</a>the average working family will be able to afford to go there […] the Opera House will, in fact, be a monument to democratic nationhood in its fullest sense."</p> <p>Cahill’s insistence this was a building for everyone to enjoy and be proud of has been fulfilled by its creative use ever since. School children regularly perform; new audiences have been drawn by musicians of all genres, from punk to Prince. But the Opera House has also been a place for creative experimentation and innovative performance – as it should be.</p> <p>Today, 50 years from its opening, the Sydney Opera House reminds us the state still has a role to play in supporting the performing and creative arts in Australia. This radiant, soaring building belongs to all of us: a great reason to celebrate its birthday.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/213252/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/michelle-arrow-45"><em>Michelle Arrow</em></a><em>, Professor of History, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/macquarie-university-1174">Macquarie University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/sydney-opera-house-at-50-a-public-appeal-a-controversial-build-a-lavish-opening-and-a-venue-for-all-213252">original article</a>.</em></p>

Domestic Travel

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9 tricky ways to clean your house while you sleep

<p><strong>1. Soak a showerhead</strong></p> <p>Mineral deposits can clog a showerhead and affect its pressure over time. To clean, fill a plastic bag with vinegar. Place the bag around the showerhead, submerging it in the liquid.</p> <p>Secure the bag to the neck of the showerhead with a twist tie and leave overnight. The vinegar will break down the buildup by morning.</p> <p><strong>2. Remove stains on pots and pans </strong></p> <p>If a batch of cookies left your baking sheet gunky, let a dryer sheet clean it overnight. Place the sheet on the pan and fill with warm water.</p> <p>Cleaning agents in the dryer sheet will help loosen stuck-on grime and stains. In the morning, easily wipe off with a sponge.</p> <p><strong>3. Polish stove grates </strong></p> <p>Cleaning greasy, food-splattered stove burners can be a tiresome chore. Before you go to bed, seal each burner in a large plastic bag with ¼ cup of ammonia.</p> <p>The overnight soak will make it easy to wipe off the surface with a sponge the following day.</p> <p><strong>4. Banish rust on tools </strong></p> <p>If your rusty tools have seen better days, fill a tray with Coca-Cola. Submerge the tools, allow to soak overnight, and scrub clean with a stiff brush in the morning.</p> <p>The soda’s phosphoric acid will help loosen the gunk.</p> <p><strong>5. Eliminate wet messes </strong></p> <p>If your sofa or carpet became the victim of an icky, wet mess (say, vomit or urine), mix a paste of baking soda and water to soak it up.</p> <p>Use a spoon to spread the paste over the soiled area. Allow to dry overnight, then vacuum in the morning.</p> <p><strong>6. Descale a kettle </strong></p> <p>Limescale can build up from calcium carbonate deposits in water, leading to an off-white, chalky deposit in your kettle.</p> <p>To clean, cut a lemon into large slices, place in the kettle, and add water. Bring to a boil, then take the kettle off the heat and leave overnight.</p> <p>The lemon’s citric acid will loosen the limescale. Toss the fruit and water mixture in the morning and rinse before using your newly cleaned kettle.</p> <p><strong>7. Clean bath toys</strong></p> <p>To make grubby rubber duckies, boats, and other bath toys new again, mix one gallon warm water with ¾ cup vinegar. Soak the toys overnight. Rinse thoroughly and allow to air dry.</p> <p><strong>8. Make diamonds sparkle</strong> </p> <p>Quickly polish a diamond ring by filling a bottle cap with Windex. Soak the ring overnight and dry with a soft cloth in the morning to remove grime and add shine.</p> <p><strong>9. Remove red wine stains</strong></p> <p>If red wine marked up your favorite garment, sprinkle the stain with salt and cover with club soda. The salt absorbs the stain while the club soda’s carbonation and sodium helps lift it. Leave overnight before laundering.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/diy-tips/9-ways-clean-house-your-sleep" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Reader's Digest</a>. </em></p>

Home & Garden

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Why is a messy house such an anxiety trigger for me and what can I do about it?

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/erika-penney-1416241">Erika Penney</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-technology-sydney-936">University of Technology Sydney</a></em></p> <p>Do you ever feel overwhelmed by the sight of clutter and mess in your home? Have you walked in the door only to feel overloaded by scattered papers, unwashed dishes and clothes in disarray? Maybe you’ve even had arguments because it bothers you more than it bothers you partner or housemates.</p> <p>You’re not alone. Many people report a messy house can trigger feelings of <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0146167209352864">stress</a> and <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0272494421000062?via%3Dihub">anxiety</a>.</p> <p>So why do clutter and chaos make some of us feel so overwhelmed? Here’s what the research says – and what you can do about it.</p> <h2>Cognitive overload</h2> <p>When we’re surrounded by distractions, our brains essentially become <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21228167/">battlegrounds</a> for attention. Everything competes for our focus.</p> <p>But the brain, as it turns out, <a href="https://psycnet.apa.org/record/1994-43838-001">prefers</a> order and “<a href="https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnhum.2015.00086/full%22%22">singletasking</a>” over multitasking.</p> <p>Order helps reduce the competition for our attention and reduces mental load. While some people might be better than others at <a href="https://www.pnas.org/doi/full/10.1073/pnas.1523471113">ignoring distractions</a>, distractable environments can overload our cognitive capabilities and memory.</p> <p>Clutter, disorder and mess can affect more than just our cognitive resources. They’re also linked to our <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23907542/">eating</a>, <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0360132318307157?via=ihub">productivity</a>, mental health, <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1207/s15374424jccp3401_9">parenting</a> decisions and even our willingness to donate <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23907542/">money</a>.</p> <h2>Are women more affected than men?</h2> <p>Research suggests the detrimental effects of mess and clutter may be more pronounced in women than in men.</p> <p>One <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/0146167209352864">study</a> of 60 dual-income couples found women living in cluttered and stressful homes had higher levels of cortisol (a <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19596045/#:%7E:text=After%2520controlling%2520for%2520the%2520individual,and%2520poor%2520self-rated%2520health.">hormone</a> associated with stress) and heightened depression symptoms.</p> <p>These effects remained consistent even when factors like marital satisfaction and personality traits were taken into account. In contrast, the men in this study seemed largely unaffected by the state of their home environments.</p> <p>The researchers theorised that women may feel a greater responsibility for maintaining the home. They also suggested the social aspect of the study (which involved giving home tours) may have induced more fear of judgement among women than men.</p> <p>We will all live with clutter and disorganisation to some degree in our lives. Sometimes, however, significant clutter problems can be linked to underlying mental health conditions such as <a href="https://beyondocd.org/information-for-individuals/symptoms/ocd-related-hoarding#:%7E:text=Examples%20of%20hoarding%20in%20the,are%20not%20needed%20any%20more">obsessive-compulsive disorder</a>, <a href="https://beyondocd.org/information-for-individuals/symptoms/ocd-related-hoarding#:%7E:text=Examples%20of%20hoarding%20in%20the,are%20not%20needed%20any%20more">hoarding disorder</a>, <a href="https://psychcentral.com/depression/messy-room-depression#does-it-exacerbate-symptoms">major depressive disorder</a>, <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0005796704000531">attention deficit hyperactivity disorder</a>, and <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0887618510001647">anxiety disorders</a>.</p> <p>This raises a crucial question: which came first? For some, clutter is the source of anxiety and distress; for others, poor mental health is the source of disorganisation and clutter.</p> <h2>Not all mess is a problem</h2> <p>It’s important to remember clutter isn’t all bad, and we shouldn’t aim for perfection. Real homes don’t look like the ones in magazines.</p> <p>In fact, disorganised spaces can result in increased <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23907542/">creativity</a> and elicit fresh insights.</p> <p>Living in constant disorder isn’t productive, but striving for perfectionism in cleanliness can also be counterproductive. Perfectionism itself is associated with feeling overwhelmed, anxiety and <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28026869/">poor mental health</a>.</p> <h2>Mess makes me anxious so what can I do about it?</h2> <p>It’s important to remember you have some agency over what matters to you and how you want to prioritise your time.</p> <p>One approach is to try to reduce the clutter. You might, for example, have a dedicated de-cluttering session every week. This may involve hiring a cleaner (if you can afford it) or playing some music or a podcast while tidying up for an hour with your other household members.</p> <p>Establishing this routine can reduce clutter distractions, ease your overall mental load and alleviate worry that clutter will spiral out of control.</p> <p>You can also try micro-tidying. If don’t have time for a complete cleanup, commit just five minutes to clearing one small space.</p> <p>If the clutter is primarily caused by other household members, try to calmly discuss with them how this mess is affecting your mental health. See if your kids, your partner or housemates can negotiate some boundaries as a household over what level of mess is acceptable and how it will be handled if that threshold is exceeded.</p> <p>It can also help to develop a self-compassionate mindset.</p> <p>Mess doesn’t define whether you are a “good” or “bad” person and, at times, it may even stimulate your <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23907542/">creativity</a>. Remind yourself that you deserve success, meaningful relationships and happiness, whether or not your office, home or car is a mess.</p> <p>Take comfort in <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0013916516628178">research</a> suggesting that while disorganised environments can make us susceptible to stress and poor decision-making, your mindset can buffer you against these vulnerabilities.</p> <p>If clutter, perfectionism or anxiety has begun to seem unmanageable, talk with your GP about a referral to a <a href="https://psychology.org.au/psychology/about-psychology/what-is-psychology">psychologist</a>. The right psychologist (and you may need to try a few before you find the right one) can help you cultivate a life driven by values that are important to you.</p> <p>Clutter and mess are more than just visual nuisances. They can have a profound impact on mental wellbeing, productivity and our choices.</p> <p>Understanding why clutter affects you can empower you to take control of your mindset, your living spaces and, in turn, your life.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/211684/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/erika-penney-1416241">Erika Penney</a>, Lecturer in Clinical Psychology, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-technology-sydney-936">University of Technology Sydney</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/why-is-a-messy-house-such-an-anxiety-trigger-for-me-and-what-can-i-do-about-it-211684">original article</a>.</em></p>

Mind

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Even in a housing crisis, Australians can’t get enough of renovation stories on TV. Why?

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/ella-jeffery-1459839">Ella Jeffery</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/griffith-university-828">Griffith University</a></em></p> <p>The Block has begun its 19th season this month, <a href="https://9now.nine.com.au/the-block/2023-season-block-confirmed-location-details-scott-cam-season-19-explainer/b4d5fa4e-690f-4755-90da-caba77925836">billed as</a> “a Block that’s entirely relatable to people right around Australia”. This year, contestants renovate five “authentic ’50s dream homes” in “the perfectly named Charming Street, in Melbourne’s Hampton East”.</p> <p>But if the median price for a four-bedroom house in Hampton East is <a href="https://www.domain.com.au/suburb-profile/hampton-east-vic-3188">around A$1.6 million</a> and the nation’s <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2023/aug/03/more-than-1600-australians-pushed-into-homelessness-each-month-as-housing-crisis-deepens-report-finds">housing crisis</a> shows no signs of easing, who is The Block relatable to? And why do audiences keep coming back to renovation stories?</p> <p>Home ownership is becoming <a href="https://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Parliamentary_Departments/Parliamentary_Library/pubs/BriefingBook46p/HomeOwnership">less accessible</a> and more people than ever are renting, but stories about renovation on TV, in film and in literature continue to have a powerful effect on us. Why?</p> <p>One reason they can be so captivating is that they invoke the idea of the dream home.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/KadU7z8GHoE?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe><figcaption><span class="caption">Season 19 of The Block promises to ‘transform these little time capsules into two-storey mansions’.</span></figcaption></figure> <h2>Home makeovers are ultimately about us too</h2> <p>Ask anyone you know about their dream home – something I did regularly when I was <a href="https://eprints.qut.edu.au/122955/">writing my PhD</a> on renovation stories – and you’ll get an incredible array of different styles, sizes, locations. Maybe it overlooks the ocean, maybe it has the newest appliances, maybe it has a pool, maybe it’s just a house without a <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2022/apr/29/this-isnt-safe-nsw-renters-fight-twin-battles-against-mould-and-landlords">mould problem</a>.</p> <p>The idea of the dream home is deeply rooted in our shared imagination. The philosopher Gaston Bachelard wrote in <a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13269.The_Poetics_of_Space">The Poetics of Space</a> (1958) that our houses – both the ones we live in and the ones we dream of – “move in both directions: they are in us as much as we are in them”. Bachelard suggests that in even “the humblest dwelling” our memories, desires and dreams are gathered, and this is why houses are so central to who we are.</p> <p>If houses can be expressions of self, our dream houses say a lot about our desires. While it might no longer look like a <a href="https://www.domain.com.au/news/is-the-aussie-dream-of-a-quarter-acre-block-dead-1221913/">house on a quarter-acre block</a>, the dream still exists. Renovation stories are so compelling because in them, as <a href="https://us.sagepub.com/en-us/nam/ordinary-television/book205099#contents">researchers</a> have noted, home improvement often represents self-improvement – a dream life, not just a dream house.</p> <p>This is especially important in programs like <a href="https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0388595/">Extreme Makeover: Home Edition</a> (2003–20) and <a href="https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0243688/">Backyard Blitz</a> (2000–), which often focus on people presented as hard-done-by whose lives are changed by renovations that solve their day-to-day problems.</p> <h2>Better house, better life</h2> <p>Reality TV isn’t the only place we find this type of story about transformation and self-improvement. In Frances Mayes’ bestselling memoir Under the Tuscan Sun (1996), Mayes travels to Italy and buys an abandoned villa, Bramasole, which she renovates. In the process, she gains a new outlook on life.</p> <p>There’s a similar story in Peter Mayle’s A Year in Provence (1989). Mayle, a UK advertising executive, buys a 200-year-old farmhouse in France and renovates it.</p> <p>Both books were exceptionally successful, inspiring an entire genre of renovation memoirs about wealthy middle-class people able to travel abroad, buy charmingly rundown properties in beautiful locations, and renovate them while enjoying the local lifestyle. In them, renovation is a clear symbol of self-transformation, if only for people rich enough to afford it: renovating houses leads to a greater appreciation of life’s pleasures and a new way of seeing the world.</p> <p>This idea of the renovated life can be especially compelling in a world that increasingly feels <a href="https://theconversation.com/the-doomsday-clock-is-now-at-90-seconds-to-midnight-the-closest-we-have-ever-been-to-global-catastrophe-198457">frightening and overwhelming</a>. Researchers like <a href="https://catalogue.nla.gov.au/catalog/4273551">Fiona Allon</a> argue that renovation stories allow us to turn away from the alarming outside world – with its violence, looming recessions, pandemics, climate crises – and focus on the smaller, more controllable world of the home.</p> <p>Maggie Smith’s viral poem <a href="https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/89897/good-bones">Good Bones</a> (2016) plays with this idea. The poem is about a mother trying to convince her children (and herself) that despite being a scary place, the world can be improved. To do this, she uses the analogy of a real estate agent selling a fixer-upper. The poem ends with lines that present renovation as an opportunity for change: "This place could be beautiful, Right? You could make this place beautiful."</p> <p>This optimism is what makes renovation excellent fodder for love stories. In the Nancy Meyers rom-com It’s Complicated (2009), Meryl Streep plays a divorcee looking for a fresh start, who renovates her home and falls in love with her architect, Adam. In The Notebook (2004), Ryan Gosling’s Noah transforms an old plantation estate into his lover Allie’s dream home, a gesture that reveals his enduring love.</p> <p>Renovation stories are always about change (although in <a href="https://www.imdb.com/title/tt5109784/">some</a> the change doesn’t last). Even if, as may be the case for the increasing number of people who are renting, having a house of our own is itself a fantasy.</p> <h2>Renovate? In this economy?</h2> <p>Many renovation stories can be seen as escapist media that trade on the image of the dream home to sell ideas about wealth, taste and style to audiences unable to afford such things. The Block may involve contestants from a range of backgrounds, but few people can afford the multimillion-dollar houses they build.</p> <p>The Block’s viewership has had ups and downs in its two-decade history, but the show (and many others) continues because, despite being about <a href="https://thenewdaily.com.au/entertainment/2023/03/29/the-block-controversy-grand-designs/">profiting from the housing market</a>, it sells the idea of transformation and change, not just in our houses but in our lives.</p> <p>Renovation stories invite audiences to indulge in a fantasy where we become our best selves living in dream homes that protect us from a volatile and threatening world. The dream home might remain a dream, but in renovation stories we escape reality and envision life in a Tuscan villa, or having a butler’s pantry or plunge pool, or simply owning a house of our own.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/211334/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/ella-jeffery-1459839">Ella Jeffery</a>, Lecturer in Creative Writing, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/griffith-university-828">Griffith University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Instagram - The Block</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/even-in-a-housing-crisis-australians-cant-get-enough-of-renovation-stories-on-tv-why-211334">original article</a>.</em></p>

TV

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Little House on the Prairie star passes away

<p>Hersha Parady, renowned for her role in <em>Little House on the Prairie</em>, has passed away at the age of 78.</p> <p>According to a statement provided to <em>The Hollywood Reporter </em>by her son, Jonathan Peverall, Parady passed away at her residence in Norfolk, Virginia on Wednesday August 23. Her son had been actively seeking financial assistance before her demise, as Parady had been diagnosed with meningioma, a prevalent type of brain tumour.</p> <p>Peverall initiated a <a href="https://www.gofundme.com/f/helping-hersha" target="_blank" rel="noopener">GoFundMe campaign</a> with the intention of aiding his mother's escalating medical expenses. In a heartfelt plea on the fundraising page, he recounted how the illness had depleted her vitality, memory and vibrant demeanour, rendering her predominantly bedridden and struggling with day-to-day tasks.</p> <p>Relocating his mother to his own home, Peverall worked diligently to ensure she received the necessary medical attention. He emphasised that the associated costs extended beyond medical procedures, encompassing aspects such as moving expenditures, at-home nursing care and medical equipment.</p> <p>"While we contemplate a surgery to potentially ameliorate her condition, the path to recovery is an arduous one," he stated, acknowledging the substantial financial burden posed by these circumstances. Balancing a full-time job and caring for his three children added to the challenge, yet he reassured that they were providing the best care they could, regardless of external contributions.</p> <p>"Rest assured, we are taking care of her to the best of our ability, and we will continue to do so, regardless of any contributions made here," Peverall wrote. "This GoFundMe is about improving my Mom’s quality of life and giving her the support she needs during this difficult time. It's also about showing her that she is not alone in her fight.</p> <p>"Her family and friends have been here supporting her through everything, but there is only so much help she is willing to accept from the people she loves. My Mom has always been a fiercely independent woman, and asking for help isn't in her nature. That's why I'm stepping in to do it on her behalf."</p> <p>Peverall expressed his gratitude and urged supporters to rally around Parady, demonstrating that her on-screen "Little House" family was united in this battle, just as she had been a presence in their lives through the show.</p> <p>In an update dated August 1, Peverall shared that his mother had undergone a "successful" surgery. However, complications arose as Parady developed pneumonia during her recovery, leading to her admission to the intensive care unit. Unfortunately, her condition deteriorated to a point where she couldn't regain full consciousness. The medical team at the hospital launched an investigation into her condition.</p> <p>Peverall maintained ongoing communication with the medical professionals, seeking insights to guide the best decisions for her care. Despite the trying circumstances, he expressed hope and called upon others to remain optimistic.</p> <p>Parady embarked on her career in theater after graduating from Berea High School in 1963. Her journey took her to Los Angeles, where she secured a role opposite Jon Voight in a production of <em>A Streetcar Named Desire</em>. Subsequently, she transitioned to the silver screen, featuring in an episode of <em>Bearcats!</em>.</p> <p>However, it was in 1977 that Parady achieved widespread recognition for her portrayal of school teacher Alice Garvey in the fourth season of <em>Little House on the Prairie</em>. Appearing in 35 more episodes, her character, Alice, met a tragic end in season six, perishing in a fire. The actress also appeared in other shows including <em>Kenan & Kel</em>, <em>The Phoenix</em>, and <em>The Quest</em>, and movies like <em>The Break</em> and <em>The Babysitter's Seduction</em>.</p> <p>Parady is survived by her son Jonathan Peverall and her three grandchildren.</p> <p><em>Images: GoFundMe / Instagram</em></p>

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Loved ones gather to mourn father and children killed in house fire

<p>Loved ones have gathered to remember the loving father and his five children who were killed in a house fire in Brisbane earlier this month. </p> <p>Wayne Godinet, and his five children – Zac, 11, Harry, 10, Kyza, 4, Noah, 4, and Nicky, 3 – were killed in the deadly blaze on August 7th on Russell Island. </p> <p>On Wednesday, family and friends travelled from interstate and from New Zealand to remember the five children and Wayne, who died trying to protect his kids. </p> <p>"The actions of Wayne on that fateful day I think was indicative of the love he has for his children," a spokesperson for the family said at the memorial</p> <p>"A lot of us really feel that he died a hero."</p> <p>The children's mother, Samantha Stephenson, was unable to attend the service, leaving her sister Christina to step in to deliver a personal eulogy. </p> <p>"If you could leave here with a message from our family today it would be to be grateful for your children's messy room, for taking your child to their soccer game, for chasing your kids around the park," she said. </p> <p>Samantha has been left <a href="https://oversixty.com.au/lifestyle/family-pets/update-on-distraught-mother-who-escaped-deadly-house-fire" target="_blank" rel="noopener">devastated</a> by the tragedy, with family friend Simon Gordon telling <em>Sunrise</em> how dedicated she was as a mother. </p> <p dir="ltr">“She was a loving mother to the children,” Gordon told <em>Sunrise</em>. “What she is going through is unbelievable.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“Every time I ever met the family, the kids came first. They love the kids.”</p> <p>Police are still working tirelessly to determine the cause of the devastating blaze, but said the fire is not being treated as suspicious. </p> <p><em>Image credits: Nine</em></p>

Caring

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The rental housing crisis is hurting our most vulnerable and demands a range of solutions (but capping rents isn’t one of them)

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/andrew-beer-111469">Andrew Beer</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-south-australia-1180">University of South Australia</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/emma-baker-172081">Emma Baker</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-adelaide-1119">University of Adelaide</a></em></p> <p>Roughly <a href="https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/people/housing/housing-occupancy-and-costs/2019-20">one in three Australians</a> rent their homes. It’s Australia’s fastest-growing tenure, but renting is increasingly unaffordable. From 2020 to 2022, our <a href="https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=4253168">research</a> found a large increase in the proportion of renters who said their housing was unaffordable.</p> <figure class="align-center zoomable"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/542737/original/file-20230815-25187-p7vxqo.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/542737/original/file-20230815-25187-p7vxqo.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/542737/original/file-20230815-25187-p7vxqo.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=217&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/542737/original/file-20230815-25187-p7vxqo.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=217&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/542737/original/file-20230815-25187-p7vxqo.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=217&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/542737/original/file-20230815-25187-p7vxqo.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=273&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/542737/original/file-20230815-25187-p7vxqo.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=273&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/542737/original/file-20230815-25187-p7vxqo.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=273&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="horizontal bar chart showing changes in Australian renters' assessments of affordability form 2020 to 2022" /></a><figcaption><span class="caption">Change in Australian renters’ assessments of affordability from 2020 to 2022.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Baker, Daniel, Beer, et al, forthcoming, The Australian Housing Conditions Dataset, doi:10.26193/SLCU9J, ADA Dataverse</span></span></figcaption></figure> <p>Australians are concerned about the <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2023/jul/05/rents-rise-again-across-australia-with-sydney-seeing-fastest-rise-in-20-years">pace</a> of <a href="https://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/how-much-has-rent-increased-around-australia/8ljlnf0zm">rent rises</a>. Prime Minister Anthony Albanese <a href="https://www.pm.gov.au/media/national-cabinet-meeting">says</a> increasing housing supply and affordability is the “key priority” for tomorrow’s national cabinet meeting.</p> <p>The crisis has impacts well beyond affordability. The rental sector is where the worst housing accommodates the poorest Australians with the worst health.</p> <h2>The unhealthy state of rental housing</h2> <p>Forthcoming data from the <a href="https://dataverse.ada.edu.au/dataverse/ahcdi">Australian Housing Conditions Dataset</a> highlight some of these parallel challenges:</p> <ul> <li> <p>it’s often insecure – the average lease is less than 12 months, and less than a third of formal rental agreements extend beyond 12 months</p> </li> <li> <p>rental housing quality is often very poor – 45% of renters rate the condition of their dwelling as “average, poor, or very poor”</p> </li> <li> <p>poor housing conditions put the health of renters at risk – 43% report problems with damp or mould, and 35% have difficulty keeping their homes warm in winter or cool in summer</p> </li> <li> <p>compounding these health risks, people with poorer health are over-represented in the rental sector. Renters are almost twice as likely as mortgage holders to have poorer general health.</p> </li> </ul> <p>Measures that potentially restrict the supply of lower-cost rental housing – such as rent caps – will <a href="https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=4253168">worsen these impacts</a>. More households will be left searching in a shrinking pool of affordable housing.</p> <h2>It’s all about supply</h2> <p>Fixing the rental crisis needs more than a single focus on private rental housing. The movement between households over time between renting and buying homes means the best solutions are those that boost the supply of affordable housing generally. No one policy can provide all the answers.</p> <p>Governments should be looking at multiple actions, including:</p> <ul> <li> <p>requiring local councils to adopt affordable housing strategies as well as mandating <a href="https://www.ahuri.edu.au/analysis/brief/understanding-inclusionary-zoning">inclusionary zoning</a>, which requires developments to include a proportion of affordable homes</p> </li> <li> <p>improving land supply through better forecasting at the national, state and local levels</p> </li> <li> <p>giving housing and planning ministers the power to deliver affordable housing targets by providing support for demonstration projects, subsidised land to social housing providers and access to surplus land</p> </li> <li> <p>boosting the recruitment and retention of skilled construction workers from both domestic and international sources.</p> </li> </ul> <h2>The biggest landlord subsidy isn’t helping</h2> <p>More than <a href="https://data.gov.au/data/dataset/taxation-statistics-2020-21/resource/ebbd32e3-4556-41e1-a8b9-33387457d518">1 million Australians</a> claim a net rent loss (negative gearing) each year. Even though negative gearing is focused on rental investment losses, it is not strictly a housing policy as it applies to many types of investment.</p> <p>The impact of negative gearing on the housing system is untargeted and largely uncontrolled. As a result, it’s driving outcomes that are sometimes at odds with the need to supply well-located affordable housing.</p> <p>The most impactful action the Australian government could take to deliver more affordable rental housing nationwide would involve refining negative-gearing arrangements to boost the supply of low-income rentals. These measures may involve</p> <ul> <li>limiting negative gearing to dwellings less than ten years old</li> <li>introducing a low-income tax credit scheme similar to the one in the United States.</li> </ul> <p>We can learn much from the US, where the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (<a href="https://www.huduser.gov/portal/datasets/lihtc.html">LIHTC</a>) scheme subsidises the acquisition, construction and renovation of affordable rental housing for tenants on low to moderate incomes. Since the mid-1990s, the program has supported the construction or renovation of about 110,000 affordable rental units each year. That adds up to over <a href="https://www.taxpolicycenter.org/briefing-book/what-low-income-housing-tax-credit-and-how-does-it-work">2 million units</a> at an estimated annual cost of US$9billion (A$13.8billion).</p> <p>This scheme is much less expensive per unit of affordable housing delivered than Australia’s system of negative gearing.</p> <p>Closer to home, the previous National Rental Affordability Scheme showed the value of targeted financial incentives in encouraging affordable housing. This scheme, available to private and disproved investors, generated positive outcomes for tenants. The benefits included better health for low-income tenants who were able to moved into quality new housing.</p> <p>A <a href="https://cityfutures.ada.unsw.edu.au/documents/81/Next_moves_report.pdf">raft</a> of <a href="https://apo.org.au/node/260431">evaluations</a> have <a href="https://www.ahuri.edu.au/research/final-reports/267">demonstrated</a> the achievements of this scheme.</p> <h2>Crisis calls for lasting solutions</h2> <p>Short-term measures such as rent caps or eviction bans will not provide a solution in the near future or even the medium or long term. Instead, these are likely to worsen both the housing costs and health of low-income tenants.</p> <p>Reform focused on ongoing needs is called for. Solutions that can be implemented quickly include the tighter targeting of negative gearing and the introduction of a low-income housing tax credit.</p> <p>Talking about change, as the national cabinet is doing, will begin that process of transformation, but it must be backed up by a range of measures to boost the supply of affordable housing. This, in turn, will improve the housing market overall as affordable options become more widely available.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/211275/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/andrew-beer-111469">Andrew Beer</a>, Executive Dean, UniSA Business, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-south-australia-1180">University of South Australia</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/emma-baker-172081">Emma Baker</a>, Professor of Housing Research, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-adelaide-1119">University of Adelaide</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/the-rental-housing-crisis-is-hurting-our-most-vulnerable-and-demands-a-range-of-solutions-but-capping-rents-isnt-one-of-them-211275">original article</a>.</em></p>

Real Estate

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Update on distraught mother who escaped deadly house fire

<p dir="ltr">A heart-broken mother has been left “hysterical” after her five sons and their “excellent” father were <a href="https://oversixty.com.au/news/news/6-beautiful-souls-family-break-silence-after-tragic-house-fire" target="_blank" rel="noopener">killed in a house fire</a> in north Queensland on Sunday. </p> <p dir="ltr">The family home was engulfed in flames, with the blaze claiming the lives of Zackary, 11, Harry, 10, four-year-old twins Kyza and Koah and Nicky, 3, and their father Wayne Godinet. </p> <p dir="ltr">The children’s mother, Samantha Stephenson, was able to escape the fire, with witnesses saying Godinet ran back into the home to save Stephenson and the boys when he became trapped.</p> <p dir="ltr">In the wake of the tragedy, family friend Simon Gordon said the “kids came first” for Godinet and his partner. </p> <p dir="ltr">“She was a loving mother to the children,” Gordon told <em>Sunrise</em> on Tuesday.</p> <p dir="ltr">“What she is going through is unbelievable.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“Every time I ever met the family, the kids came first. They love the kids.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Another family friend, Peter MacLoughlin, told <em>7NEWS</em> Godinet was an “excellent father”.</p> <p dir="ltr">“The people in this community will miss him walking the children to school,” he said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“They loved those kids.”</p> <p dir="ltr">He went on to say that Stephenson was “hysterical” as the tragedy unfolded.</p> <p dir="ltr">Gordon said Stephenson was being supported by a “close-knit network” of loved ones, while Godinet’s family travelled from New Zealand and other parts of Australia to Russell Island. </p> <p dir="ltr">He said the family wanted to express gratitude to first responders to the emergency, including members of the community, some of whom are volunteer firefighters.</p> <p dir="ltr">“With the limited resources we’ve got on the island, people need to remember that the first people on the scene were the neighbours ... and the volunteer firefighters,” he said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Some of these firefighters were friends of the family. Their kids know their kids. They were on the scene and they must be going through hell right now.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Facebook</em></p>

Family & Pets

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"6 beautiful souls": Family break silence after tragic house fire

<p dir="ltr">The family of a man and five children who tragically died in a house fire have broken their silence after the devastating incident. </p> <p dir="ltr">On Saturday, Wayne Godinet and his five children, aged three to 11, were found dead after a home on Russell Island, southeast of Brisbane, went up in flames. </p> <p dir="ltr">Emergency services were called after the house caught fire, and spread to two neighbouring homes. </p> <p dir="ltr">The children’s mother Samantha Stephenson, 28, and a 21-year-old female relative were able to escape the property after it was engulfed in flames. </p> <p dir="ltr">Relative Emma-Lee Headrick took to social media on Monday to mourn the loss of Mr Godinet and her “beautiful” nephews. </p> <p dir="ltr">“I stayed awake, mourning the loss of 6 beautiful souls. Waynie boy and my nephews,” Ms Headrick wrote.</p> <p dir="ltr">“We have suffered a great loss. I find comfort in knowing you rest peacefully in the arms of the Lord.” </p> <p dir="ltr">“With Grumpy and Nicky. To my whanau in Queensland, I feel your pain and aroha. I’ll be there soon.”</p> <p><iframe style="border: none; overflow: hidden;" src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fwww.purpleberry%2Fposts%2Fpfbid05VtAmAb9wpSyvGDxM9XTAwo1EUgph7o851giWK6R46Rai8A1GJciiBK1jzLVWwjgl&amp;show_text=true&amp;width=500" width="500" height="471" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></p> <p dir="ltr">Another relative, Dawn Williamson, wrote on Facebook on Sunday that the family were in shock and thanked first responders for their efforts. </p> <p dir="ltr">“We would like to thank everyone including the ambulance, police, firefighters, SES and all others that were in attendance at the fire,” she said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“A special thanks to Kylie Purtell and Peter Mac, but also to those that offered food, drinks, hugs and help.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“My family are in shock and devastated, and we kindly ask that you respect our privacy until we regroup as a family.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“We will update as we sort through this tragedy. We appreciate the kindness shown by all.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Queensland Police Regional Crime Co-ordinator Superintendent Andrew Massingham said police had not determined if the fire was suspicious, as they continue their investigation. </p> <p dir="ltr">“The establishment of the investigation centre is because there are some elements of this incident that do require closer scrutiny,” he said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“It‘s important that I tell you that we are keeping an open mind with respect to this matter.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“And, as I say, no determination has been made, but there are some aspects of it that require further investigation.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Facebook / ABC news</em></p>

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House of Hope: Fresh start for Kelly's kids

<p>Gold Coast mum Kelly Wilkinson, who tragically passed away two years ago, has left behind three young children between the ages of two and nine.</p> <p>Her life was cut short in April 2021, allegedly at the hands of her estranged husband, Brian Earl Johnston. The horrific incident resulted in Kelly's body being found badly burned in her Arundel home's backyard, while Mr Johnston was discovered nearby with severe burns to his hands and airway.</p> <p>Since then, Kelly's children have been under the care of her sister, Danielle Carroll, and her husband Rhys. The Carroll family, along with their five children and Kelly's three kids, have been living together in a cramped four-bedroom house, where living spaces were converted into sleeping quarters. The challenges of accommodating such a large family in limited space have been immense, and at times, they find themselves with five people sharing a single bed.</p> <p>However, their situation took a positive turn when businesswoman Tamika Smith, a relative of Mr Carroll, heard about the tragedy and decided to lend her support.</p> <p>The founder of My Bella Casa and Top 100 Women launched a campaign called "I Stand With Kelly" shortly after Ms Wilkinson's passing. The campaign aimed to build a new home for the 10-person family.</p> <p>With the help of an anonymous contributor, Ms Smith secured a plot of land, and the renowned homebuilder, Metricon, generously donated an entire house for the cause.</p> <p>After two years of hard work and dedication, the family's fully furnished new home was finally revealed to them.</p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/CvGO3pfBjbH/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"> </div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"> <div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style="width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;"> </div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/CvGO3pfBjbH/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by Tamika Smith (@tamika_stephanie)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>Mr Carroll expressed his excitement about the new house, especially for Kelly's three children, as it will provide them with a fresh start and a place they can call their own. While the loss of their mother is deeply felt, the children are constantly surrounded by love and care from their extended family.</p> <p>Kelly's kids have not forgotten their mother, and though they miss her dearly, they understand that she is no longer with them.</p> <p>“They know she’s gone," Mrs Carroll told A Current Affair. "They constantly say that they miss her. The two year old does ask for mum but they know she’s not coming back.” </p> <p>The Carroll family, along with their own children, have written heartfelt letters to thank the builders for their incredible efforts in creating this new home.</p> <p>The house not only represents a new beginning for Ms Wilkinson's children and the Carroll family but also serves as a reminder of the love she brought to her family before her untimely passing.</p> <p>Though the pain of her loss remains, the community's support in building this new home has been a heartwarming gesture, one that Kelly's family deeply appreciates and will surely treasure forever.</p> <p><em>Images: Today Show / Instagram / GoFundMe</em></p> <p> </p> <p> </p>

Family & Pets

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What do the different colours of mould mean in my house?

<p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/michael-taylor-228803">Michael Taylor</a>, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/flinders-university-972">Flinders University</a></em></p> <p>You may be interested (or possibly horrified) to discover you ingest and inhale thousands of tiny life forms on a daily basis.</p> <p>The air and surfaces around you are home to multitudes of <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/B978012394805200004X">bacteria, fungi, viruses</a>, mites, algae and <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0043135400004206">protozoa</a>. Your skin isn’t much better, with a complex ecosystem of organisms called commensals which aren’t necessarily good or bad, but will shift in their composition depending on <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/nature11053">where you live</a>, <a href="https://www.mdpi.com/2079-9284/6/1/2">the products you use</a> and <a href="https://elifesciences.org/articles/458">the pets you have</a>.</p> <p>Most of these creatures are generally undetectable due to their microscopic size and low concentrations. But when they find a niche they can exploit, you might notice them by their smell, or the appearance of unwanted staining and colour changes. A lot of this fungal growth is what we call mould.</p> <p>We’ve all been disappointed in ourselves at one time or another, lifting a neglected orange out of the fruit bowl to discover the bottom half is covered in a velvety blue-green growth.</p> <p>But what do the myriad colours that appear on our stuff tell us about the world we try not to think about?</p> <h2>Black</h2> <p>Often black staining is quite a disturbing occurrence. The concept of toxic black mould is one many people have become aware of due to <a href="https://theconversation.com/fungi-after-the-floods-how-to-get-rid-of-mould-to-protect-your-health-111341">flood impacts</a>.</p> <p>A quick online search will likely terrify you, but not all black discolouration is due to the same organisms, and almost none of it will outright cause you harm.</p> <p><em>Stachybotrys</em> is the one known as toxic black mould. It often turns up on <a href="https://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/doi/pdf/10.1289/ehp.99107s3505">building materials that have been wet for a long time</a>.</p> <figure class="align-center zoomable"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/533907/original/file-20230626-67275-zxd3ah.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/533907/original/file-20230626-67275-zxd3ah.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/533907/original/file-20230626-67275-zxd3ah.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=384&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/533907/original/file-20230626-67275-zxd3ah.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=384&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/533907/original/file-20230626-67275-zxd3ah.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=384&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/533907/original/file-20230626-67275-zxd3ah.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=483&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/533907/original/file-20230626-67275-zxd3ah.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=483&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/533907/original/file-20230626-67275-zxd3ah.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=483&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="A severely mouldy wall covered in grey and black blotches" /></a><figcaption></figcaption>When the grout in your shower turns black though, that’s a different fungus called <em><a href="https://www.ajol.info/index.php/ajb/article/view/130453">Aureobasidium</a></em>. It’s slimy, sticky and somewhere between a filamentous mould, which grows threadlike roots through whatever it’s eating, and a yeast, which prefer a free-floating, single-celled style of life.</figure> <p>Bleaching will often kill <em>Aureobasidium</em>, but the dark pigmentation will likely hang around – harmlessly, but stubbornly.</p> <figure class="align-center zoomable"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/533894/original/file-20230626-19-68wsem.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/533894/original/file-20230626-19-68wsem.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/533894/original/file-20230626-19-68wsem.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=338&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/533894/original/file-20230626-19-68wsem.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=338&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/533894/original/file-20230626-19-68wsem.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=338&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/533894/original/file-20230626-19-68wsem.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=425&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/533894/original/file-20230626-19-68wsem.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=425&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/533894/original/file-20230626-19-68wsem.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=425&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="A close-up of white grout between grey tiles with black spots on it" /></a></figure> <h2>Blue</h2> <p>That blue orange I mentioned before, you can thank <em>Penicillium</em> for that. The organism that <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0168160512000852">gives us blue cheese</a> and the antibiotic penicillin is also responsible for producing a dense growth of mould that almost looks like smoke when disturbed, spreading millions of spores onto the rest of your fruit bowl.</p> <p><em>Penicillium</em> is a big group with <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0166061620300129">hundreds of species</a>, ranging from recognised pathogens to species yet to be named. However, the ones that turn up in our homes are generally the same “weed” species that simply cause food spoilage or grow in soil.</p> <figure class="align-center zoomable"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/533895/original/file-20230626-107392-7jinnz.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/533895/original/file-20230626-107392-7jinnz.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/533895/original/file-20230626-107392-7jinnz.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=400&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/533895/original/file-20230626-107392-7jinnz.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=400&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/533895/original/file-20230626-107392-7jinnz.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=400&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/533895/original/file-20230626-107392-7jinnz.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=503&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/533895/original/file-20230626-107392-7jinnz.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=503&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/533895/original/file-20230626-107392-7jinnz.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=503&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="Close-up of a bright orange with a fuzzy blue mould spot on it" /></a></figure> <h2>Yellow and orange</h2> <p>We often think of fungi as organisms that thrive in the dark, but that’s not always true. In fact, some need exposure to light – and ultraviolet (UV) light in particular – to complete their life cycle.</p> <p>Many plant pathogens use UV light exposure as a trigger to produce their spores, and then protect their DNA by <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1134/S0003683814020094">hiding it behind melanin-containing shells</a>.</p> <p><em>Stemphylium</em> and <em>Epicoccum</em> turn up in our homes from time to time, often hitching a ride on natural fibres such as jute, hemp and hessian. They produce a spectrum of staining that can often turn damp items yellow, brown or orange.</p> <figure class="align-center zoomable"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/533948/original/file-20230626-15121-eh3869.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/533948/original/file-20230626-15121-eh3869.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/533948/original/file-20230626-15121-eh3869.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=450&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/533948/original/file-20230626-15121-eh3869.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=450&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/533948/original/file-20230626-15121-eh3869.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=450&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/533948/original/file-20230626-15121-eh3869.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=566&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/533948/original/file-20230626-15121-eh3869.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=566&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/533948/original/file-20230626-15121-eh3869.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=566&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="A piece of wood laminate with yellow patches on it" /></a><figcaption></figcaption></figure> <p>We’re all fairly familiar with the green spots that turn up on mouldy bread, cake and other food items. Often we try to convince ourselves if we just cut off the bad bit, we can still salvage lunch.</p> <p>Sadly that’s not the case, as the roots of the fungi – collectively called mycelium – spread through the food, digesting and collecting sufficient nutrients to pop out a series of tiny fruiting bodies which produce the coloured spores you see.</p> <p>The green tuft is often from a group of fungi called <em>Aspergillus</em>. Under the microscope they look rather like the puffy top of a dandelion gone to seed.</p> <p>Like <em>Penicillium</em>, <em>Aspergillus</em> is another big fungal group with lots of species that turn up virtually in every environment. Some are <a href="https://academic.oup.com/mmy/article/43/Supplement_1/S87/1748298">heat tolerant</a>, some <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/21553769.2015.1033653">love acid</a> and some will happily produce spores that <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1749461311000406">stay airborne for days to months at a time</a>.</p> <p>In the green gang is also a fungus called <em>Trichoderma</em>, which is Latin for “hairy skin”. <em>Trichoderma</em> produces masses of forest-green, spherical spores which tend to grow on wet cardboard or dirty carpet.</p> <figure class="align-center zoomable"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/533897/original/file-20230626-160496-7cuh4q.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/533897/original/file-20230626-160496-7cuh4q.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/533897/original/file-20230626-160496-7cuh4q.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=400&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/533897/original/file-20230626-160496-7cuh4q.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=400&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/533897/original/file-20230626-160496-7cuh4q.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=400&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/533897/original/file-20230626-160496-7cuh4q.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=503&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/533897/original/file-20230626-160496-7cuh4q.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=503&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/533897/original/file-20230626-160496-7cuh4q.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=503&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="A pile of green grains on a small round tray" /></a></figure> <h2>Pink, purple and red</h2> <p>There are plenty to speak of in this category. And there is also a common bacterium that makes the list.</p> <p><em>Neurospora</em>, also known as the red bread mould, is one of the most studied fungi in scientific literature. It’s another common, non-hazardous one that has been used as <a href="https://bsapubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.3732/ajb.1400377">a model organism</a> to observe fungal genetics, evolution and growth.</p> <figure class="align-center zoomable"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/533913/original/file-20230626-24-eh3869.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/533913/original/file-20230626-24-eh3869.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/533913/original/file-20230626-24-eh3869.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=400&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/533913/original/file-20230626-24-eh3869.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=400&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/533913/original/file-20230626-24-eh3869.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=400&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/533913/original/file-20230626-24-eh3869.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=503&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/533913/original/file-20230626-24-eh3869.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=503&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/533913/original/file-20230626-24-eh3869.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=503&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="A block of orange mouldy substance sitting on a banana leaf" /></a><figcaption></figcaption><em>Fusarium</em> is less common indoors, being <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0261219416302794">an important crop pathogen</a>, but will sometimes turn spoiled rice purple. It also occasionally turns up on wet cement sheet, causing splotchy violet patches. <em>Fusarium</em> makes large, sticky, moon-shaped spores that have evolved to spread by rain splashes and hang onto plants. However, it is fairly bad at getting airborne and so doesn’t tend to spread very far from where it’s growing.</figure> <p>Finally in this category, that pink scum that turns up around bathroom taps or in the shower? It’s actually a bacterium called <em>Serratia</em>. It will happily chew up the soap scum residue left over in bathrooms, and has been shown to <a href="https://journals.asm.org/doi/full/10.1128/AEM.02632-10">survive in liquid soaps and handwash</a>.</p> <figure class="align-center zoomable"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/533900/original/file-20230626-98733-ggql6s.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/533900/original/file-20230626-98733-ggql6s.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/533900/original/file-20230626-98733-ggql6s.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=337&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/533900/original/file-20230626-98733-ggql6s.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=337&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/533900/original/file-20230626-98733-ggql6s.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=337&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/533900/original/file-20230626-98733-ggql6s.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=424&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/533900/original/file-20230626-98733-ggql6s.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=424&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/533900/original/file-20230626-98733-ggql6s.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=424&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="Close-up of white tile grout covered in a pink translucent film" /></a><figcaption></figcaption></figure> <h2>White</h2> <p>When fungi were first being classified and were eventually given their own phylogenetic kingdom, there were lots of wonderful and not strictly categorical ways we tried to split them up. One of these was hyaline and non-hyaline, essentially referring to transparent and coloured, respectively.</p> <p>One of the interesting non-pigmented moulds you may well catch sight of is a thing called <em>Isaria farinosa</em> (“farinosa” being Latin for “floury”). This fungus is a parasite of some moths and cicadas and is visible as brilliant white, <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/09583150802471812">tree-shaped growths on their unfortunate hosts</a>.</p> <figure class="align-center zoomable"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/533911/original/file-20230626-72187-xubf6k.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/533911/original/file-20230626-72187-xubf6k.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/533911/original/file-20230626-72187-xubf6k.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=450&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/533911/original/file-20230626-72187-xubf6k.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=450&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/533911/original/file-20230626-72187-xubf6k.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=450&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/533911/original/file-20230626-72187-xubf6k.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=566&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/533911/original/file-20230626-72187-xubf6k.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=566&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/533911/original/file-20230626-72187-xubf6k.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=566&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="A dead bug on a green forest floor with white and yellow growths sticking out of it" /></a><figcaption></figcaption></figure> <p>So when you notice the world around you changing colour, you can marvel with your newfound knowledge at the microscopic wonders that live complex lives alongside yours. Then maybe clean it up, and give the fruit bowl a wash. <!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/207737/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em>Image credit: Getty / Shutterstock</em></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/michael-taylor-228803">Michael Taylor</a>, Adjunct academic, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/flinders-university-972">Flinders University</a></em></p> <p>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/what-do-the-different-colours-of-mould-mean-in-my-house-207737">original article</a>.</p>

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