An aquathon will be held at Lambton Pool

Let’s make one thing crystal clear. Aqua aerobics is not for oldies only.

No offence to oldies, of course. Oldies should do all the aqua aerobics they like. 

Topics does a bit of aqua aerobics. We don’t attend a class, as such. But when we hit the pool, we do all sorts of stretching. It’s the anti-gravity effect of the water, you know. Sorts out all those football injuries.

Which brings us to Hannah Hartley. To say she’s passionate about aqua aerobics would be an understatement. 

“It’s an incredible workout for the body and mind,” she said.

Hannah is an aqua aerobics instructor. She loves this job so much that she’ll host an event at Lambton Pool on Saturday, as part of the World Wide Aquathon.

The event will raise money for the national depression initiative Beyond Blue and demonstrate the benefits of exercising in water. 

The Hawaiian-themed event will include things like surfing safari, aqua zumba and a flash mob of synchronised swimmers.

It’ll be a vibe of community spirit and happiness, Hannah said.

“I’ll be flanked by two other instructors who are full of flair.

“I am hoping to fill the Lambton Olympic pool with joy and people, and put Newcastle on the world aqua aerobics stage.”

Topics can hardly argue with that.

Hannah is also a screen and media teacher at Hunter TAFE.

“I’m making a documentary about a synchronised swimming group with students from TAFE,” she said.

“I worked in the television industry for 17 years as a first assistant director on programs such as Water Rats, Home & Away and All Saints,” she told Topics.

She was also the co-ordinating field producer of the Survivor reality TV series. She worked on 10 series in many different countries, managing film crews of up to 450 people.

In one series in Fiji, the show went on during a coup.

Topics politely inquired whether she could give us the lowdown on how reality TV shows are rigged.

Hannah insisted Survivor wasn’t rigged, but admitted the contestants “smell really bad”.

Anyhow, she moved to Newcastle a couple of years back for a sea change.

She thought of Newcastle as a “small city full of opportunities and a healthier lifestyle by the sea”.

“I couldn’t be happier here. Now I’m using my skills from the film and television industry to motivate others,” she said.

The event runs from 9am to noon.

Off the Rails

Reader Jim was not a happy chappy after catching the train to work in Newcastle on Monday.

“I caught the 8.22am train from Cardiff into Newcastle. It was full of commuters and school kids,” Jim said.

“When I got on, most of the seats were full with kids with school bags taking up extra room on purpose.

“When we reached Hamilton, the automated voice on the train said something like: ‘All out. This train terminates. Buses will stop at Wickham, Civic and Newcastle’.”

Thing is, the message was outdated. There were no buses waiting at Hamilton.

School kids piled out for their stop, (thankfully) taking their bags with them.

“As I looked down the carriage, I realised others had stayed on board, ignoring the message,” Jim said.

“Of course, a couple of minutes later the voice came back on and said, ‘next stop Newcastle interchange’. The train got underway and went to the new Newcastle station.”

With all the major transport changes, you’d think somebody would have gotten the basic message clear, Jim said.

“If you were from a foreign country, or anywhere else in Australia, you would have got off the train at Hamilton, thinking it was going to terminate, then watched from the platform as it proceeded to Newcastle.”

Ah, the NSW Government, it really is one of a kind.

Bodgies and Widgies

Topics has recently been writing about youth subculture in Newcastle.

First, surfing guru Chris Tola told us about the surfers and revheads in Novocastrian subculture in the ‘70s and ‘80s.

Then New Lambton’s Ross Greig told us about the rivalry between the surfies and rockers in Newcastle in the early 1960s.

Reader Pat said we shouldn’t forget the bodgies and widgies from the 1950s.

The rebellion of the bodgies and widgies was similar to the rocker culture in the UK or greaser culture in the US.

“The bodgies were males and the widgies were their girlfriends,” Pat said.

The bodgies had the James Dean, Elvis Presley or Marlon Brando look of  leather jackets, muscle T-shirts and jeans. They slicked their hair back into a quiff.

Records show this youth culture created tension between generations, triggering a wave of moral panic in Australian society.