Australian News

The Great Race’s first winner Frank Coad remembers a rough, hand-laid track, and a car that dealt with it

The Bathurst 1000 is arguably Australia’s most famous race, the equivalent of the footy grand final for rev heads.

The smell of high octane fuel, burning rubber, and the sound of the supercars screaming past continues to draw thousands of spectators back to the Mount Panorama Circuit in Bathurst, Victoria, every year.

But the epic supercar race Australians have come to know and love looked very different when the first cars crossed the start line back in 1960.

For the first two years, not only did the race have a different name, but it was held in a different state.

Frank Coad and his co-driver John Roxburgh were the first winners of The Great Race, then named the Armstrong 500 and held on Phillip Island in Victoria.

While Mr Roxburgh sadly passed in 1993, Mr Coad is 90 years old and living in a retirement home in Bendigo, Victoria, with his wife Zena.

An older man wearing a hat and glasses standing in between two women.
1960 Armstrong 500 winner Frank Coad with his two daughters Susan Owen, left, and Julie Tyrrell.(Supplied: Susan Owen)

Preparation was key

He remembers the race as clearly now as it happened, 60 years ago.

“We felt pretty confident,” he said.

“John Roxburgh was my co-driver, he started off the race, he did 40 something laps, then I took over and did 40 odd laps, then he took over another 40, then I finished off the race.

“A fortnight beforehand we’d done a full 500 mile under race conditions.”

The car they won the race in was a Vauxhall Cresta, a six-cylinder sedan.

It certainly was not the race favourite.

But as Mr Coad will attest, it was all about preparation.

“We’d put in about three or four months of work getting ready for it,” he said.

“We had the car so finely tuned.”

He said the car clocked 98 miles an hour at race day, the equivalent of about 157kph.

“We had it sewn up pretty much after the first pit stop,” he said.

A black and white photo of the Vauxhall Cresta during the race at the 1960 Armstrong 500.
Frank Coad’s Vauxhall Cresta at Phillip Island during the 1960 Armstrong 500.(Supplied: Susan Owen)

Mr Coad said the drivers, brothers David and John Youl, brought the car over from Tasmania and did not know enough about the Phillip Island grand prix circuit — hand-laid using buckets of cold mix bitumen.

“We’d done all our preparation, we knew how far we could go on our front tyres without any troubles, and they didn’t.

“They went through the first pit stop and they carried on with the original tyres hoping they’d get another run out of them.

“But it didn’t happen.

“A tyre blew, they turned it over and wrecked it.”

The rough track was the reason the race was moved, as the bridge access to Phillip Island made it difficult to get the right equipment in to fix it.

Five men stand in front of cars.
Phillip Island legends Craig Lowndes, Peter Brock, Frank Coad, Russell Ingall and Mark Skaife meet in 2002.(Supplied: Susan Owen)

Mr Coad said he tuned in to watch Bathurst every year, but it was not the same race he remembered.

“That disappeared by about 1964.

“It’s all changed, it has done over the years — as everything does.”

Racing was ‘bad business’

Mr Coad said General Motors, the parent company of the Vauxhall brand, considered racing “bad business” and didn’t want the Melbourne Vauxhall dealership to be involved in the race.

“They weren’t into motor racing in those days,” he said.

A man and a woman stand wearing sunglasses in front of a car in a black and white photo from the 1960s
Frank Coad said his wife Zena Coad was a great supporter of his career and a fantastic passenger.(Supplied: Susan Owen)

He said when the Melbourne Vauxhall dealership opened after the race, the demand for the Cresta model went through the roof.

“They didn’t want to buy a Velox, they wanted to buy a Cresta and they couldn’t get enough Crestas to sell,” Mr Coad said.

He said the prize money for first place was a far cry from the amount the Bathurst 1000 winner would take home today.

“I was married with three little children. My wife was nursing a six-week-old baby when I won it,” he said.

Reviving history

Mr Coad’s daughter Susan Owen lives in Kalgoorlie-Boulder in WA’s Goldfields region.

She reached out to the ABC after hearing an off-the-cuff comment about the upcoming Bathurst 1000 race on local radio.

Ms Owen said she wanted Australia to hear her father’s story.

“A lot of people don’t know The Great Race started in Phillip Island and that’s the sad part, I suppose,” she said.

Since being stuck in lockdown, Mr Coad has not been able to get behind the wheel, but he still loves to drive.

“I drive around in a 1995 Holden ute today, but it’s done 430,000 kilometres,” he said.

He said he had always driven fast, and racing is in his blood.

He said there was only one thing holding him back.

“There’s too many police around,” he said.

Watch Brock: Over The Top at 8:30pm on Tuesday, November 3, on ABC TV+iview

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Australian News

Richmond’s win over Port Adelaide more proof of the killer instinct that is making it a truly great AFL team

One of the easiest ways to tell the quality of a team is to look at how disliked it is by neutrals.

Any successful team in any sport will attract a certain level of scorn from rival supporters, mostly borne out of frustration and begrudging jealously.

But the truly special teams go to another level of unpopularity, their very existence, let alone audacity to continuously play well and win, is enough to set keyboards on fire and turn otherwise rational people into foaming messes of tribal fury.

Oftentimes, the hate is justified. That’s because for a team to reach that next level of greatness, to elevate itself to the very upper throngs of a sport’s history, to outlast all the challengers and all the obstacles, it needs to be at least a little bit nasty.

Enter Richmond, circa 2020.

The Tigers’ era started with the 2017 shattering of a glass ceiling, a breakthrough win that brought with it a healthy amount of goodwill — Matthew Richardson was happy, the MCG was loud as anything, the song was great and the Kath Day-Knight clip was used liberally.

Then came the wounding shock of 2018, before a gradual and eventually brutal bounce back in 2019. By the end of last season, nobody was left in any doubt how good this Richmond team really was, but were perhaps getting weary of the constant convincing.

This year, forced into captivity and relentlessly poked and jeered by those outside the cage, the Tigers have become something else entirely.

Richmond is mean. Richmond is unrelenting. Richmond will do whatever it takes to get any advantage it possibly can over the opposition.

Richmond is good. Richmond knows its good. Richmond knows that no matter who it is playing in any given day, it has this untouchable, almost invincible mode right within reach.

Richmond knows how much you hate it. Richmond doesn’t care.

Jack Riewoldt's face can be seen as he hugs Daniel Rioli and Dustin Martin, whose backs are to camera
The Tigers have earned a crack at a third flag in four years.(AAP: David Mariuz)

Against Port Adelaide, in a captivating preliminary final that so easily could have ended in fawning for the Powers’ precocious young guns or talismanic Robbie Gray, the Tigers embraced the role of villain and set out to spoil South Australia’s party.

Port went hard at Tom Lynch — whose fondness of the sorts of cheap shots that light up Twitter but are always a whisker short of suspension-worthy made him public enemy number one — and Lynch laughed it off.

Coach Damian Hardwick has never publicly endorsed Lynch’s less palatable antics, but he has always cheekily defended them with a knowing wink. That edge, when kept in balance, is what makes the Tigers so horrible to play against.

Of course, we’re only talking about on-field personas here. None of these are bad people, as Lynch’s post-match gesture with a despondent Port fan proved conclusively. But you have to play your part once the siren starts, and these guys wear it well.

Above all, none of this would matter if the Tigers couldn’t back it up on the field. Yet again, this team was absolutely phenomenal once crunch time arrived in the biggest game of its season so far.

There’s almost no point going through who played well, you already know who it was. Dustin Martin doing the usual? Check. Noah Balta locking down like crazy on Charlie Dixon? Check. Trent Cotchin and Toby Nankervis owning the last quarter? Check and check.

That very predictability might also account for some of that burning feeling you have in your stomach when Richmond wins. It’s like when your alarm goes off every morning — you knew damn well it was coming, and somehow that just makes it more horrible.

A number of Richmond players congregate around Kane Lambert and give him a hug
Kane Lambert kicked two crucial goals in the last quarter.(AAP: David Mariuz)

And so Richmond stands on the precipice of history, and a third flag in four seasons. A win away from sparking genuine conversations about this team’s place in this history of Australian rules football, if it isn’t there already.

The Tigers are battle-hardened and entirely unafraid of the grand final stage — in fact, they’ve generally saved their best for that day. Their potent mix of slop and skill is absolutely made for the helter skelter of a grand final, and perhaps the move to a PM time slot helps them even further.

Martin might win another Norm Smith Medal. Maybe Bachar Houli will get his this time. Cotchin has a Brownlow, and could join Dusty in a pretty exclusive club if he turns it on this time round.

Or they could lose the grand final. That remains a possibility regardless of who the opposition ends up being, even if the glow of Friday night makes it hard to imagine.

But if you are one of the many who shudder at the thought of another shower of yellow and black confetti, or another year of AFL promos with Cotchin and Hardwick holding the cup, you should probably start bracing yourself now.

These Tigers are a unified force, becoming more frightening with each passing week. They will be favourites to win the grand final next week, and they will play with the same magnificent arrogance and, to borrow a moniker, unsociability reserved for the very best teams this game has seen.

And they will love every minute of it.

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Local News - Victoria

One river still rising as SES work to stop homes flooding on Great Ocean Road

Warrnambool Incident controller Alfred Mason said on Saturday morning that no Warrnambool homes were yet inundated, but four homes had so far been flooded in the Port Fairy.

“Unfortunately we weren’t able to stop that water going through,” he told ABC Radio South West.

He said there were about 40 crews of both SES and CFA volunteers between Warrnambool and Port Fairy still out on Saturday morning sandbagging and pumping water to protect homes from flood waters.

“The Hopkins River is still rising and we’re monitoring that in case it has an affect on Allansford,” he said.

Allansford, near Warrnambool, was already experiencing inundated homes on Thursday.

Mr Mason said the Moine River was becoming stable, but would continue to be high and would drop very slowly due to the high sea levels at the moment.

“It’ll only drop 300 mm from a high tide,” he said. “So water will actually be around now probably at least in these area through to tomorrow”.

He asked residents not to drive through flood waters at all, as it could create a “wake” and push water over the top of sandbags and into people’s homes.

Residents of Warnambool and Port Fairy and its surrounding areas were told by the State Emergency Services on Friday to decide whether to evacuate, with a number of road closures and flooding above floor level of a single story home expected. The emergency warning remains in place as of Saturday morning.

Warrnambool received 84.2mm of rain across Wednesday and Thursday, with more rain falling in two days than the region usually receives during the whole month of October. 93.6mm fell in the Grampians at Mt Williams, and 62mm in Camperdown.

Port Fairy recorded 66mm across two days, with no rain falling in the town from 9am on Friday.

Keris Arndt, senior forecaster at the Bureau of Meteorology, said the impact of Wednesday and Thursdays rains was delayed and the coastal towns were only now bearing the brunt of flooding.

“Flood waters take a fair while to move down the river catchments,” Mr Arndt said.

In Warnambool, areas adjacent to the the Merri River, including Dennington and Woodford are currently flooded after the river peaked at 8.132 metres on Friday morning.

Russells Creek peaked late on Friday, with drone footage shared by a local SES unit showing a vast low lying residential area inundated near Wentworth street.

Both the Merri River and Russells creek systems are expected to very slowly recede today.

In Port Fairy, the Moyne River, Murray Brook, Reedy Creek and Belfast Lough all flooded overnight., with low lying properties in surrounding areas likely to be impacted by flooding.

Mr Mason said the floods affecting the Great Ocean Road towns were a one in 10 to 20-year event and were likely to have greater impacts than an August 2010 flood event, which resulted in more than 167 properties impacted by flooding.

The weather bureau says Sunday and Monday will be more “settled” in the south-west, with generally drier conditions before a wet cold front overnight into Tuesday would bring showers again to coastal towns.

The SES says those who choose to evacuate their homes should remember to take pets, mobile phone, spare clothes and medications.

Travel to the home of family or friends who are in a safe location, away from flooding and to be aware of any road closures when you leave.

For those travelling, be aware of road hazards including mud, debris and damaged roads or bridges and never drive, walk or ride through floodwater.

There is still a moderate flood warning in place for the Ovens and King Rivers in the north north-east of the state, while there are minor warnings issued for the Glenelg River, Goulburn RIver, Macalister River and the Seven and Castle Creeks.

Initial minor warnings are also out for the Barwon River, Broken River, Kiewa River, Werribee River and Yarra River.

Melbourne will enjoy a relatively warmer day on Saturday compared to earlier in the week, with a maximum temperature of about 20 degrees.

Mr Arndt said there was a chance of a shower up to 1mm mostly in the outer north eastern suburbs, which would take Melbourne up to it’s annual rainfall average total for the year already.

As of Saturday morning Melbourne was .8mm away from hitting the 648 millimetre yearly average, which will be the earliest it’s done so in 24 years.

Mr Arndt said there would be a “weak front that moves in overnight Saturday across Melbourne meaning Sunday would be slightly cooler than Saturday with a top of 17 degrees.

“It’ll be pretty warm early next week,” he said, with Monday set for a top of 24 degrees, and 21 on Tuesday.

To stay up to date with local warnings:

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Local News - Victoria

Senior students back at school for the great GAT

Principal Sheereen Kindler said the students walked out “beaming”, despite the stakes being higher this year.

Each student’s results in the GAT will help assess how much special consideration due to COVID-19 they should be given on their overall VCE results.

“They were relaxed, which was wonderful. I think it was really nice and they were able to see each other for the first time in a long time and then go in and do the exam,” Ms Kindler said.

There were other differences this year. Students wore masks and were spaced 1.5 metres apart. While students traditionally don’t study for the test, many did practice exams over the holidays to maximise their score.

Glen Eira co-captain Bridie Skinner said she felt ready to get through the rest of the year.


“I’m actually really excited knowing that we’re getting to the end and knowing we’ll be back at school with everyone next week is really motivating,” she said.

Victorian Premier Dan Andrews stressed on Wednesday that year 12 students would be supported this year and beyond.

“Everyone knows this is a really important year and I’m confident that with particularly the special consideration arrangements we have put in place, we’ll get our year 12s through,” he said.

“I’ve spoken to enough vice-chancellors to know that they are very, very confident, that they’ll be able to … have all their first-year students at the end of 2021 ready to go into second-year uni,” he said.

“Our TAFEs will make sure that anyone who has to do catch-ups will get that done.”

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Australian News

We asked for your memories of cricketing great Dean Jones. These are the stories you shared

The cricket world has reacted with shock and sadness after the death of Dean Jones, who died this week aged 59.

Legends of the game and fans have shared heartfelt tributes to the test batsman, dubbed a “true legend of Australian sport.”

We asked our Facebook Messenger subscribers for their most treasured memories of Dean Jones throughout his stellar decade-long playing career and beyond.

This is what they said.

“Deano the unconventional. He changed the one-day game — he seemed the first to run hard and put pressure on fielders. But who could forget the day he asked Curtly Ambrose to remove his white sweatbands… What was he thinking, upsetting the biggest and fastest West Indian bowler… All it did was fire up Curtly to take five wickets, but we remember the drama it brought the game even years later. Thanks for the memories.”
– Reece W 

A Former Australian Test cricketer poses for a photograph in training gear.
Australian and international cricketing greats have paid tribute to Dean Jones after his death.(AAP)

“At the Gabba when there was a weather delay, groundsmen rushed on to put the covers on. Started hailing. DJ ran out onto the field with helmets to protect the guys on the field. Thoughtful and amusing.”

– Bob T

“I grew up watching him with my mum and dad and two brothers! I loved him big time, with pictures on my bedroom door of him, Lillee, Marsh, Alderman, Yardley…  He will be dearly missed by many. A true champion of the game!”

– Suzanne T

“I remember the 200 against the West Indies. I was a kid and Dad had organised a BBQ with friends to watch the test. Seeing that tenacity really had an effect on me. I went on to idolize him in the game of cricket… Charging down the pitch and making cricket fun. My Kookaburra bat had his signature. Dad and I went to many one dayers to watch him live. I have such fond memories.”
– Rob J

Black and white photo that shows Dean Jones wearing a white hat, stump in hand going to embrace Allan Border.
Dean Jones played 52 Tests and 164 one-day internationals for Australia.(AP: Liu Heung Shing)

“I wasn’t old enough to have seen him play but I was raised on the story of his innings in Chennai where he had to be taken to the hospital after one of the best knocks of his career. To me he epitomised giving your all. Some people think they are, and then there’s people like Dean Jones. Couple that with his easy going manner and humour on commentary, where my own first hand memories are from, and he is a wonderful example of what Australian cricket should be.”

– Jordan A

“To get a text with the news of Dean’s death…. well, beyond the shock, it just brought a flood of memories and emotions. Oakleys. Hitting Srinath for six at the Gabba in the 1992 World Cup. Wide-legged stance. Sweatbands. Being given out by Ross Emerson in 1996 for Aus A v the Windies when he was trying to force his way back into the side for the 1996 World Cup. I could go on… but, frankly, he was the reason I fell in love with the game as a wide-eyed 7-year-old.

“The first time I ever ‘met’ him was at the SCG during that Aus A game in 95-96, a key game for him. He signed my bat, hat and shirt at the boundary’s edge — all while missing a drinks break so so he could sign as many kids’ bats as possible.


“But this picture was when I first ‘properly’ met him, when he came to HK to commentate on the first HK T20 Blitz in 2016 (you even can also see a very young Sandeep Lamichhane there in the background!).

“Even though I was CEO and surely supposed to put on a professional front… and was definitely not supposed to show just how excited I was…. I still worded up someone to please take photos of my talking to my hero for the first time.”

– Tim Cutler

“I’d watch any match, or a replay of a match if Dean Jones was playing.  He genuinely always seemed like a good bloke. He was exciting to watch and good to look at. Because he was so encouraging to local cricket clubs, I think a scholarship should be named in his honour.
– Elizabeth E

Cowan receives his baggy green from Jones
Dean Jones hands a baggy green to Australian opener Ed Cowan ahead of the Boxing Day Test in 2011.(Getty Images: Hamish Blair)

“I remembered Deano scoring 216 as a spectator at the Adelaide Oval against the almighty West Indies team in 1989, in a partnership with Merv who also scored 72. This was a time when South Australians weren’t too enamored with Victorians, but the applause Deano received when he brought up his 200 was the loudest I’ve ever heard. Revolutionized the way the game was played. Would have been a natural T20 player in the current era.”

Tim J

“I loved him because he bucked the cricket conservative system and there was nothing they could do to stop him, because it was for safety and common sense. Take the sunglasses. It’s common now.”

– David V

Former cricketer Dean Jones walks on a stadium green with his wife and two young daughters all wearing matching shirts
Dean Jones is survived by his wife Jane and daughters Isabella and Phoebe, pictured here in 2003.(AAP/Paul Miller)

“My memories of Deano were at Mt Waverley High School. He was a couple of grades higher and an inspiration even then, a role model. Deano was an accomplished sportsman not only in cricket but also Aussie Rules. He will be sadly missed but remembered fondly.”

– Leigh W

“He was all that any game wants and now cricket desperately needs, a character that made you smile whenever you said his name.”

– Brad H

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Australian News

Australian cricket great Dean Jones dies in India of heart attack aged 59

Australian batsman Dean Jones has died of a heart attack in India aged 59.

Indian TV network Star Sports announced Jones’s death in a statement.

Jones was overseas to commentate on the Indian Premier League, which started this week.

“It is with great sadness that we share the news of the passing away of Mr Dean Mervyn Jones AM,” a statement from Star India said.

“He died of a sudden cardiac arrest. We express our deep condolences to his family and stand ready to support them in this difficult time.

“We are in touch with the Australian High Commission to make the necessary arrangements.

“Dean Jones was one of the great ambassadors of the game.”


Jones, regarded as one of the finest batsmen of his generation, played 52 Tests and 164 one-day internationals for Australia in an international career that spanned 10 years between 1984 and 1994.

He scored 3,631 runs in Tests at an average of 46.55 with 11 hundreds and 14 half-centuries and over 6,000 runs in ODIs with seven centuries and 46 fifties.

After his retirement, he worked as a coach and commentator and was inducted into the Australian Cricket Hall of Fame in 2019.


Cricket Australia chair Earl Eddings said Jones would be sorely missed.

“Anyone who watched cricket in the 1980s and 1990s will fondly recall his cavalier approach at the crease and the incredible energy and passion he brought to every game he played.

“Although many remember him for his brilliance in the 50-over game, arguably Jones’ finest moment in the national team came in scorching conditions in Chennai in 1986, where his selfless and courageous innings of 210 helped Australia to a famous tie against India.”


Mr Eddings said Jones remained a popular figure in Australian and Victorian cricket throughout his life and was a much-loved columnist and commentator in every corner of the cricketing world.

“Our thoughts and best wishes are with his wife Jane and daughters Isabella and Phoebe.”

Top former and current players have paid tribute to Jones on social media, including the Indian great Sachin Tendulkar, current Indian captain Virat Kohli and former Australian captain Michael Clarke.

More to come.


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The hard-hit university sector is still a great fit for curious minds

How long have you been doing this job and what first sparked your interest in this area?

I’ve been at UTS as a full-time academic for 18 years now. I was inspired by my honours supervisor. He saw my passion for teaching students and suggested I leave the accounting firm where I worked to pursue a career in higher education.

What do you like most about the job?

I love my students: the lightbulb moment of getting a tough concept, helping them develop new skills and new ways of thinking, and having their input on how I can help them learn and master the subject area.

What is the most unexpected thing you have had to do in your job?

I pitched the idea of a short film to help students become aware of academic integrity and academic misconduct. It was an amazing experience and the project won an Australian screen-writing award.

How transferable are your skills?

If I didn’t work at a university I could consider a career working in educational development at a professional association or a big firm.

What advice do you have for people wanting to get into this career?

You don’t need to decide about a career in academia straight away. Try out any subjects or an honours program that will allow you to have a taster of what research is like. Apply to be a peer tutor to have a taste of what teaching is like. It is a big step, but there are so many career options once you have a PhD – many outside of the walls of a university. I found that having professional work experience in accounting helped build my academic career. I could share my real life experiences and help bring the content in a textbook to life. I’ve also been able to bring my industry connections into the classroom.

The starting point for all accounting careers is a university or TAFE qualification in accounting. Then work on building experience through internships or volunteering and be sure to build your network through activities offered by the professional accounting bodies.

What should they study and what experience do they need to get into this field?

A PhD is the standard qualification for a full-time academic role in most universities these days. While you’re completing your PhD, I always recommend students try and get experience as a tutor to help build the teaching skills they’ll need in a general academic position. I also recommend undergraduate students take advantage of internships and vacation roles within practice (for example, accounting) so they can bring some real-world flavour to their research and classroom.

What personal skills do they need?

Self-direction is critical in higher education – you set your agenda in research and developing the educational offering that you teach – so you need to know what makes you curious. Compassion is also crucial as an educator, especially in pandemic times, where we help provide stability and belonging for students.

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How America fell into a great coin shortage

In yet another 2020 plot twist, coins aren’t making their way through the economy, with the repercussions rippling from the upper echelons of the federal government down to ice cream shops and bank teller windows. With more people staying home, buying less and shifting their spending online, the natural flow of pocket change through banks, restaurants and retail stores has dried up.

Coin issues can be a big deal. In the early 1960s, a shortage of silver helped usher in the passage of the Coinage Act of 1965, which removed silver from circulating coins. (Although, for those keeping score, the US Mint says this is not a coin shortage or supply problem. The mint says it’s a circulation bottleneck that can only be cleared up with the public’s help.)

Whatever it’s called, this lack of coinage seems to be a challenge that ever-divided government, businesses and Americans can unite behind. There’s even a new coin task force, complete with its own hashtag: #getcoinmoving.


Businesses heavy in coins are helping businesses without. A Chick-fil-A in a South Carolina mall is inviting people to bring in their rolled coins in exchange for cash and a free sandwich. Casinos are trying to tempt would-be gamblers to empty jingling pockets in exchange for free slot play.

For its part, the US Mint is actually on track to produce more coins this year than it has in almost two decades, having ramped up production to fill the void. Like everything else about this pandemic, the coin shortfall is unprecedented, at least for modern times.

“There is no comparison to previous events,” said Michael White, spokesman for the US Mint.

It’s a significant issue. We’ve got a lot of resources on it.

Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell

Simply making more coins won’t completely solve the problem – hence the US Coin Task Force, established in July to pinpoint how to kick the supply chain back into gear.

At the table are exactly those who you’d expect: the mint, the Fed, bank and retail industry groups, plus representatives for the big armoured carriers that drive the money around, coin aggregators and federal credit unions. Among the group’s preliminary recommendations: financial institutions could give out free coin-rolling kits, and parents could use this weird time in history as a “teachable moment” for young ones learning about money.

But when it comes to getting coins flowing through the economy once again, the solution will depend on swaying Americans to change new habits developed during the pandemic.

For some businesses, getting enough coins in circulation is key to staying alive. Brian Wallace, president and chief executive of the Coin Laundry Association, said 56 per cent of laundromats take quarters as their only form of payment. Back in June, Wallace said his association was getting calls from members saying they were limited in how many quarters they could get from banks and wondering if other businesses were in a similar spot.

The Federal Reserve, which manages America's coin inventory, says coins aren’t being circulated because businesses are closed and sales are down during the pandemic.

The Federal Reserve, which manages America’s coin inventory, says coins aren’t being circulated because businesses are closed and sales are down during the pandemic. Credit:AP

‘If we can’t make change, we can’t make money’

“At the front end of the pandemic, we were deemed to be an essential business because we’re providing a basic public health service,” Wallace said. “And this was sort of a curveball. In some instances, it made it more challenging to deliver on that service. If we can’t make change, we can’t make money.”

In August, the US Mint put out a public service announcement, with the head of the mint asking Americans to use exact change when making purchases and to turn coins in for cash at coin recycling kiosks. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin tweeted out a call for people to “help get coins moving!” by spending any extra change they have at home or depositing coins at a bank.

In a hearing on Capitol Hill this summer, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said the central bank was quick to realise that the flow of coins had more or less come to a stop. At the time, Powell said the expectation was that as the economy started to reopen, coins would be back on the move.

“It’s a significant issue. We’ve got a lot of resources on it,” Powell said at a July news conference.

Earlier in the pandemic, the mint scaled back the number of employees working shifts to allow for social distancing, White said. By mid-June, the mint had ramped back up to full production.

“This is not a coin supply problem,” White said. “It’s a circulation problem, and we need the public’s help to solve this. . . . Every little bit helps.”

‘Every little bit helps’

The Fed, for its part, is allocating coins to depository institutions – such as credit unions, commercial banks and community banks – to ensure a fair distribution of lower-than-normal inventories. The Fed has been able to increase allotments of coins at different points this summer. But overall, Fed coin deposits are still much lower than their normal levels, according to the Federal Reserve.

Earlier this summer, officials at First Citizens Bank in Iowa were initially worried they wouldn’t be able to get their full coin orders, said Tara Kruckenberg, vice president of teller management.

That didn’t turn out to be much of an issue, but Kruckenberg said the bank still sought out anyone who could bring in idle coins to help the bank and its customers, such as restaurants, grocery stores, convenience stores and laundromats, that rely on coins for daily business.

“Internally, we asked co-workers if they had change,” Kruckenberg said. “It was also just word of mouth. For me, personally, we’ve had gatherings or we’re at ball games this summer, and people would say, ‘What’s with this coin shortage?’ And we just say that we need coins and to bring it in.”

Tweaking prices

At Sundaes Restaurant and Tasty Freeze in Grand Gorge, New York state, owner Andy Mumbulo hasn’t had issues getting the coins he needs from his bank. But he is taking precautions, just in case. The restaurant posted a sign asking customers to use exact change, if possible, and offering cash in exchange for coins.


Mumbulo is thinking about tweaking the prices on his menu so that after taxes, his items would come out to whole dollar amounts. For example, he might raise the cost of a $US2.50 soft drink (including free refills) to $US2.78, so that the final bill is an even $US3.

So far, the coin issues haven’t forced Mumbulo to alter his prices. So much depends on how long the pandemic lasts and whether the economic dominoes continue to fall.

“You have to go figure out, what if they want cheese or extra bacon?” he asked.

On the other end of the saga, this crisis is creating some coin heroes, too. When Johnson went on his 10-hour coin expedition, he met Peter Mayberry in Nebraska, who exchanged thousands of dollars in quarters he didn’t need.

Mayberry’s small chain of Omaha-based laundromats runs largely on dollar coins. He’s put calls out in Facebook groups so people can set up their own swaps. And he recently dropped off $US5000 in quarters at his bank.

“Anybody that wants to buy quarters, I’ll sell them quarters,” Mayberry said. “I feel like some people are afraid to ask. Don’t be!”

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Australian great Lisa Sthalekar inducted into ICC Cricket Hall of Fame

Lisa Sthalekar has become the 27th Australian to be inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame.

Sthalekar, a key member of four World Cup-winning squads, is the fifth Australian woman to achieve the honour.

The all-rounder scored 3,913 runs and claimed 229 wickets across a decorated international career that featured eights Tests, 125 one-day internationals and 54 Twenty20 internationals for Australia.

She was awarded the Belinda Clark Medal — recognising Australia’s best women’s international cricketer — in 2007 and 2008.

Sthalekar was one of the world’s elite spin-bowling all-rounders.

Since retiring from her playing career, the 41-year-old has established herself as a leading broadcast commentator and she serves on the board of the Australian Cricketers’ Association.

“Never in my wildest dreams did I believe that I would ever get to join such an illustrious group of players,” Sthalekar said during an induction show broadcast around the world via the ICC digital channels.

“I was fortunate enough to learn from the best when I entered the Australia team — Belinda Clark, Karen Rolton and Cathryn Fitzpatrick, all of whom have been inducted into the Hall of Fame, and rightly so.

“The guidance from them and other teammates along the way kept me focused but also ensured that it was a fun environment.”

An Australian cricketer plays a batting stroke to the off side against West Indies in 2009 Women's Cricket World Cup.
Sthalekar starred for Australia across the three formats at the international level.(AAP: Paul Miller)

Cricket Australia (CA) congratulated Sthalekar after she became the ninth woman included in the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame.

“Lisa is a legend of Australian and international cricket and this honour from the ICC recognises that,” CA chairman Earl Eddings said in a statement.

“On behalf of everyone in the Australian cricket family, we congratulate Lisa on a wonderful accolade.”

Brilliant South African all-rounder Jacques Kallis and stylish Pakistan batsman Zaheer Abbas were also named as inductees by the ICC.


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AFL’s frenzied fixture blocks are great, but the league shouldn’t get too radical beyond 2020

The AFL’s announcement of another frenzied fixture block is surely welcome news to housebound footy fans under Stage 4 restrictions in Melbourne.

Personally, I’ve found the footy each night a healthy source of escape from what is a highly restrictive existence, one that combines the challenge of work and home schooling with an unfortunate propensity for regular bouts of cabin fever.

It’s all completely necessary, but it isn’t much fun.

While daily footy games have provided rare enjoyment during these difficult COVID-19 times, I’m not convinced mid-week matches are a sustainable piece of the fixturing jigsaw beyond 2020.

In normal seasons, footy tends to follow a largely cyclical pattern with games typically played from Thursday through to Sunday. A few days a week without the game allows us to reflect on what we’ve witnessed, to discuss the round that’s been with friends and family, to engage in banter and to look ahead.

It’s a long-engrained ritual in the life of the footy fan.

Season 2020 is rapidly becoming a blur. With one round rolling into the next, it’s increasingly hard to remember who played on what day and on which ground. And good luck remembering when to get your tips in.

An AFL executive in a suit speaks at a press conference.
Gillon McLachlan says there have been features of the 2020 fixture that may be used in coming seasons.(AAP: Michael Dodge)

On Friday, AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan told ABC Radio the industry had surprised itself with its capacity to cope with the 2020 season’s unprecedented challenges.

He suggested elements of the revolutionary fixture could be adopted into the future.

“I don’t think we’re going to see Tuesday, Wednesday football regularly but is there going to be a footy frenzy equivalent at some point in the fixture next year? … We’ll sit down and work through it,” McLachlan said.

“Some things we never thought we could do [with] four-day breaks or the uncertainty or the level of change.

The COVID-19 crisis laid bare the depth of the reliance on television networks to fund Australia’s major sporting codes. The opportunity to add new time slots to the fixture has the potential to bring additional broadcast revenue and could even lead to new broadcast partners coming on board.

In weighing up the future, the AFL will need to find a delicate balance between what is financially good for the game, what is beneficial for broadcasters and most critically, what is best for the fan.

To play too regularly runs the risk of diluting the product by removing context and relegating the game to mere wallpaper. As T20 cricket star Chris Lynn bemoaned in relation to the Australia’s domestic competition — the Big Bash League — it is possible to cook the golden goose.

I think it’s inevitable the added flexibility of the rolling fixture is here to stay with the AFL and broadcasters, who are enjoying a ratings boom and are increasingly keen to ensure prime-time slots are occupied by clashes of consequence.

The AFL’s fixturing team has done an extraordinary job given the myriad challenges — including border closures and quarantining requirements — to keep the season going, sometimes needing to release the upcoming games in line with the old footy cliche of one week at a time.

When life and football return to normal, a rolling fixture will help ensure there are fewer late-season matches in marquee timeslots that have little appeal and meaning. But again, the league shouldn’t get too radical.

A locked in 23-round fixture has its benefits for fans in regional areas and for those who travel from interstate to attend matches. They can target specific games and make their plans well in advance.

I’m not opposed to a rolling fixture provided a significant number of matches — maybe the first 12 to 15 rounds – are locked in initially.

Queensland deserves AFL grand final

This season’s most significant fixturing decision is still ahead for the AFL as it negotiates with the Victorian Government for an MCG leave pass. For the AFL grand final to played at an empty stadium would be farcical and, frankly, won’t happen.

On Friday, McLachlan essentially listed all the major stadiums outside of Victoria as having compelling cases to host the competition showpiece.

But in truth, the AFL is obligated to stage this year’s grand final at the Gabba. Queensland saved the AFL season. Without games, the league would have suffered a far more crippling financial loss with broadcasters turning off the tap on the millions they pour in.

Richmond Tigers players lift the premiership trophy and point forward
The case is building for the AFL grand final to be played in Queensland.(AAP: Michael Dodge)

To play the grand final outside of Queensland would demonstrate a complete lack of gratitude and could rightly be perceived as a cash grab.

In the long-term, holding a grand final in Queensland could deliver greater financial benefits given the state is seen as a growth market, a market where rugby league is still very much the dominant code.

Add to that, the Brisbane Lions and Gold Coast Suns are both enjoying productive seasons while Queensland’s NRL teams — the Cowboys, Titans and Broncos — all languish.

As Gil said on ABC Radio, I think there’s opportunity.

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