Social Seen: Housewives, drag queens and chic activewear

You’d be forgiven for mistaking the opening of Napoleon Perdis’ new boutique for a rave when walking past it on Crown Street, Surry Hills, at 10am on Wednesday.
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Despite two floors, the four walls could barely contain dancing guests – including The Real Housewives of Sydney’s Nicole O’Neil and Krissy Marsh, LGBTIQ advocate the Honourable Michael Kirby, and a number of drag queens – who ended up spilling onto the street.

Forget coffee or even mimosas at that time of day, Perdis served champagne to wash down porridge as he celebrated 25 years in the makeup industry and the opening of his 86th store, alongside his bedazzled and bejeweled family, including wife Soula-Marie, daughter and the new face of the business Lianna, 17, and triplets Angelene, Athina, and Alexia, 15.

The family, who live between Athens and Double Bay, had all flown in for the event before jetting back to Europe that evening to get ready for the start of high school after the northern summer break.

Lianna told Fairfax Media that she also used the trip Down Under to partake in a number of photo shoots – the first as a model in her own right outside of the family’s makeup business.

Across town Stylerunner CEO, Julie Stevanja, launched her new range of on-trend activewear New Guard on a rooftop basketball court in Ultimo.

There were no drag queens in sight as guests sipped on flat whites and dined on Mary’s while the retail queen of ‘s activewear scene presented her chic 17-piece collection accompanied by hip-hop dancers.

The range will be sold on the e-commerce site that focuses on fashion-forward sportswear, alongside the 70 other brands Stevanja stocks.

The self-made millionaire, whose business is estimated to be worth $50 million, described the morning as “epic” and thanked “the weather god” for the glorious winter sunshine.

On Tuesday, Firedoor restaurant in Surry Hills was transformed into a cosy English setting, smelling of Robin Hood’s Sherwood Forest in Nottingham, for the launch of Jo Malone London’s the English Oak Collection.

Its lifestyle director Debbie Wild introduced guests, including Kate Waterhouse and Liberty Watson of Sydney-based label Watson X Watson, to two new fragrances that can be worn alone or mixed together.

All that was missing from the “quintessentially British” afternoon were the Merry Men.

Following its successful run at the Sydney Opera House, Julie Andrew’s production of My Fair Lady has returned to Sydney, this time at the Capitol Theatre.

Amid a rainstorm on Sunday evening, former MP Bronwyn Bishop walked the opening night’s red carpet, along with Nine’s Sylvia Jeffreys, who took her father as her date, and Seven’s Kylie Gillies, who brought her mother.

Downton Abbey star Charles Edwards plays Professor Higgins and the Helpmann Award-winning Anna O’Byrne stars as Eliza Doolittle.

Tech-ready, the Yanomami take charge of their message

Romeu Iximaw????teri Yanomami (behind the camera) and?? Silvano Ironasiteri Yanomami to his right, organise Yanomami children for a video shoot. Romeu Iximaw????teri Yanomami (behind the camera) and Silvano Ironasiteri Yanomami to his right, organise Yanomami children for a video shoot.
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From left,?? Ricardo Pukimapiweiteri Yanomami, Silvano Ironasiteri Yanomami and?? F????bio Iximaw????teri Yanomami work on their audio visual skills.??

“The white people come here to take images and do not show them back to us,” says Octavio Yanomami from the Marauia River, where the Brazilian Amazon forest licks the Venezuelan border, as he holds a camera for the first time.

A simple Google search with the keyword “Yanomami” shows more than 50,000 results for videos alone, many of them produced, distributed and commercialised without proper consent or benefit to this indigenous group, often erroneously romanticised around the world as the “last primitive” people of the Amazon.

The Yanomami are native to the northern parts of the Brazilian Amazon forest and the southern parts of the Venezuelan Amazon and are threatened by white people’s diseases and invasion of their traditional and legally protected territories by gold miners, loggers, hunters and cattle farmers.

“Along with white people, the problems arrived. Many negative impacts. With this equipment, we have autonomy,” says Octavio, who is the coordinator of the Xapono Media Centre created to convey the impact of development on the richest ecosystem on the planet.

“It will help us become more proficient, but also as a weapon to denounce, to have proof against invaders and to register our history and our fight.” /**/

Last month, the Brazilian army dismantled a massive clandestine gold prospecting operation on Yanomami land housing around 1000 people. The illegal venture, one of many, generated revenues of around 35 million reais ($12.8 million) a month, the army said.

Illegal gold mining has been taking place on Yanomami land for decades, despite numerous campaigns and laws protecting their territory. Not much has changed since 1990, when Prince Charles described their suffering as collective genocide.

“We have no illusion. We know these [gold diggers] will establish themselves in another place,” General Gustavo Dutra said, referring to Brazilian authorities’ inability to monitor the country’s vast and open borders.

Gold mining heavily pollutes the pristine Amazonian rivers and contaminates their fish with mercury. A 2014-2016 study by the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, which works with the Health Ministry and not-for-profits in Brazil, found mercury contamination in 92 per cent of Yanomami people sampled in 19 villages. Mercury is a highly toxic metal used in gold mining that leads to loss of vision, heart disease and other cognitive and motor impairments. It can cause birth defects.

The Yanomami people came to the attention of the English-speaking world in the late 1960s, when Western anthropologists such as the controversial Napoleon Chagnon depicted them as “the last major primitive tribe left in the Amazon basin, and the last such people anywhere on Earth” living “in a state of chronic warfare”. Such accounts were contested by other anthropologists and the indigenous peoples themselves.

Along with Trobriand Islanders, the Nuer and the Navajo – who became shared points of reference in anthropological textbooks – the Yanomami needed to learn and tolerate the presence of foreigners, with their cameras, recorders and interpretation of culture. But now they are trying to take back control over their own stories.

The Xapono Media Centre seeks to counter misrepresentations and misappropriation of Yanomami image rights and give a voice to the people.

“The Yanomami have a peculiar way of representing us white people, but they also need the means to tell their own struggles,” says Frenchwoman Anne Ballester Soares, who organised the workshops.

Soares has lived among the Yanomami since 1994, organising publications in their language. She believes the Yanomami will be better off communicating autonomously.

“They are not free to express themselves and yet they have so much to tell. Indigenous health is worsening due to misuse of funding. Their own healing methods are not respected and there are new threats from mining prospects … they want to be able to resist,” she says.

Using crowdfunding, the media centre is running two workshops to teach the indigenous community how to use audio and video capture and editing, how to best use language, presentation and analysis as well as scriptwriting, post-production, compression formats and broadcast media.

“We are developing ethnic media to speak from an indigenous aesthetic. The Yanomami have a distinctive way of seeing the world, their vision is educated in different ways,” says Daiara Tukano, radio reporter of the indigenous online station, Radio Yande.

She tells Fairfax Media that apart from independent initiatives, different indigenous peoples are getting together to reflect on their place in the world and develop strategies for survival.

“We are trying to break with the Eurocentric ways of seeing native peoples by showing how dynamic our civilisations are,” she explains.

Shaman and activist Davi Kopenawa Yanomami, co-author of the acclaimed 2013 book The Falling Sky – Words of a Yanomami Shaman, spoke to Fairfax Media over a mobile phone on his way back from visiting neighbouring Roraima to his isolated community further down the Demini River, in the western part of Yanomami territory.

“The Yanomami need to tell their own story to keep Yanomami [culture]. Today is much different from 50 years ago. Today the Yanomami thinking is way too confused. The white men brought diseases, invasion of our land, cutting the forests. They only think of money.”

As a child in the early ’60s, David Kopenawa saw his community wiped out by two successive epidemics of infectious diseases brought by missionaries and government employees. He grew up to condemn the white man’s way.

“They only talk about work or things they want to possess. They live with no joy and get old earlier, always busy and always yearning for new products. Then their hair gets white, they die and the work, that never dies, survives all of them. Then, their children and grandchildren keep doing the same,” he wrote in the book.

Despite adopting the Christian faith, Kopenawa gave it up for what he perceived to be its fanaticism and obsession with sin.

“We will never be white. We refuse to be assimilated. We have our lands and culture. Before we were free to hunt, work, raise children, shamanism,” he tells Fairfax Media.

“The government now wants to oblige us to speak Portuguese, go to school, live in cities. Very complicated. There’s no housing, there’s no one to trust. The government needs to accept our sovereignty, keep loggers, miners and squatters out of our land.”

The interview finishes with a plea: “Please tell the people who the Yanomami are. We are the ones who keep the lungs of the world alive.”

We all belong in the book of names

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – August 29 . Kon Karapanagiotidis with blue book of all the people he has helped over the years seek asylum. Asylum Seeker Resource Centre .August 29, 2017 in Melbourne, . (Photo by Darrian Traynor) Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Peter Dutton addresses the media during a doorstop interview at Parliament House in Canberra on Wednesday 16 August 2017. fedpol Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
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There are two notebooks. The covers are blue, and worn at the edges. One book is falling apart, the spine held together by tape. Both are 168 pages long, and each contains lists of names, one to a line, numbered and dated.

The first entry, back in 2001, records the name of the first person who sought help from the newly-founded Asylum Seeker Resource Centre. The final entry is numbered 7579. The second book, which starts where the first ended in 2012, is filling up fast.

The number of people who have received assistance from the ASRC is now approaching 15,000. Many have also been assisted by a range of other community and church groups.

Each name represents a story, each name a life, a journey.

Kon Karapanagiotidis, founder and chief executive of the ASRC, flips through the pages of the first book. He lights up at individual names.

“Most of the people named in the first book have received their permanent visas, but this one was forced to leave,” he says sadly. “This one has been reunited with family and is thriving. That one has started a business that employs many workers.”

The people named in the second book tell a different story.

Most remain on various forms of temporary visa. To understand their predicament requires a shift from names to statistics. Many are among a group of about 24,500 asylum seekers, who arrived by boat in between August 13, 2012, and July 18, 2013.

“Their lives are on hold, subject to arbitrary policy changes,” says Karapanagiotidis. “They are caught up in a nightmare. Some may be deported in the short term, and others may have to wait for years, if ever, before receiving permanent protection.”

Early this week, the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, as directed by its minister, Peter Dutton, signalled yet another shift in policy. The new visa affects up to 410 asylum seekers who have been transferred to from Nauru and Manus Island at various times since 2013 – for medical treatment, mental health issues, to give birth or accompany sick loved ones. Some of the transferred women had been raped on Nauru. The group includes 50 babies, 66 children, single men and women, and families.

Known as the “Final Departure Bridging E Visa”, the first 65 recipients were summoned to the offices of the department and told they will lose their accommodation within three weeks and be immediately cut off from basic services.

“The aim is to make them destitute,” says Karapanagiotidis, “and make conditions so difficult that they will be forced back to Manus Island and Nauru, and returned to danger, the scene of their trauma.”

On Monday morning, he called a meeting of staff to discuss this latest crisis. Even though the centre’s resources are stretched well beyond its limits, the staff immediately agreed to take on the cases of asylum seekers affected by the new visa.

“We have accompanied some of them to the department’s offices. We’ve also tried to find at least one person willing to tell their story,” says Kon. “They are confused, and too terrified. They fear they will be punished if they go public. They finally felt at home here, and had a chance to breath freely, make new friends, and regain trust. They had found a safe space to tell their story, face to face, with empathetic listeners. Now this. They are shattered.

“The big story is that we cannot hear their story now. Worse still, they have been robbed of their stories and had them distorted. The minister has smeared them as con artists and fabricators, and accused them of robbing pensioners.

“They have been turned into ghosts. It is terrifying.”

There has been one saving grace. Since the ASRC, and other community groups, posted details of the new visa on social media, the public response has been overwhelming. Many have expressed outrage and offered rooms for individuals, accommodation for entire families. Sanctuary. Others have offered employment, material aid, or contributed to the emergency appeal set up to help those affected. Donated 2 weeks housing to @ASRC1 bc despite what Dutton says, my ‘social justice agenda’ as a lawyer is right & moral #[email protected]__K??? Emma (@emmerina) August 30, 2017I just donated @Kon__K because compassion matters and is better than this https://t成都夜场招聘/a4aoxoyzYX??? tarnya widdicombe (@tarnya_widdi) August 30, 2017

Drummoyne’s $12 million mansion sets Inner West record

Hotelier and race car driver Rod Salmon has sold his waterfront mansion in Drummoyne for more than $12 million, setting an all-time new high for the inner west.
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The three-level residence set at the end of Wrights Point was expected to hit the market in time for the start of the spring this weekend, but after being quietly shopped around in recent weeks by at least three agencies it was sold to a local buyer in an off-market deal.

Salmon, a long-time property developer and hotelier who founded the Skwirk online education company in 2005, bought the waterfront mansion in 2014 from fellow hotelier Sam Arnaout.

Arnaout commissioned the palatial residence following his purchase of the 700-square-metre property in 2007 for $6 million.

Salmon’s purchase in 2014 coincided with his sale of the Wentworth Hotel in Homebush and the One World Bar in Parramatta to Arnaout’s Iris Capital hospitality group.

???The three-level house includes five bedrooms, six bathrooms, a four-car garage, a rooftop terrace, gym, home theatre, swimming pool, separate living area with a wet bar, separate guest apartment and a waterfront lawn that extends to Crown Land and the historic Drummoyne Steps.

Related: Annandale’s freestanding homes demanding a premium Related: Ryan Stokes sells Walsh Bay pad for $7.8 million Related: Cricketer Steve Smith spends $1.95 million in Birchgrove

The Drummoyne record ends the Balmain peninsula’s decades long dominance of the inner west’s top sales records, most recently set at $11.8 million in 2014 by the waterfront house purchase in Balmain East by art collector and heiress Paris Neilson.

The previous inner west high was set at $11.5 million in 2008 when Mark Ainsworth, son of billionaire poker machine maker Len Ainsworth, bought a Gothic-style villa on the waterfront in Birchgrove.

While Sydney’s prestige market hot spots are predominantly in the eastern suburbs and lower north shore, the inner west’s top-end market has proved increasingly bullish in recent years as values and wealth across Sydney have risen in recent years.

Danny Cobden, of Cobden & Hayson in Balmain, said the Balmain peninsula’s high-end shoppers tended to be local buyers, not imports from more affluent areas of Sydney.

“Most of these major prestige sales are to buyers who are already established in this area and the purchase is about trading up in their area of choice,” Cobden said.

“But for your Drummoyne buyers they are often drawing from a broader area, so there are Hunters Hill buyers who will look at Drummoyne who won’t go near Balmain, and visa versa.” The Inner West record setters

1. Wrights Point, Drummoyne

Sold $12 million-plus August 2017

2. Gallimore Avenue, Balmain East

Sold for $11.8 million in 2014.

3. Wharf Road, Birchgrove

Sold for $11.5 million in 2008.

4. Wharf Road, Birchgrove

Sold for $11.1 million in 2009.

This house on Wharf Road comes with a view of the Harbour Bridge. Photo: Supplied5. Chalmers Road, Strathfield

Sold for $8.8 million in May 2017.

Chalmers Road, Strathfield. Photo: SuppliedWoollahra $10.1 million jewel

A handful of high-end home shoppers registered to buy a1930s-era Woollahra mansion on Tuesday night, forcing the sale result well above the initial $8.8 million guide to sell for $10.1 million under the hammer.

But after an opening bid of $8 million it was neuroradiologist Jason Wenderoth who 22 bids later claimed the purchase, ending 45 years of ownership by Margaret Allsopp, of the Angus and Coote jewellery family.

The home on Edgecliff Road in Woollahra. Photo: Supplied The auction was a competitive one among some of the east’s bullish buyers in large part driven by the continued lack of high-end stock on the market. There was no reserve revealed by Gavin Rubinstein, of Ray White Double Bay, but the property was already on the market at $9.9 million.

The five-bedroom, five-bathroom residence with a swimming pool and north-facing views of the harbour is set on a battle-axe block of 825 square metres and was sold with DA-approval to build a second residence.

Allsopp, who bought it in 1972 for $126,000, has meanwhile downsized to a $6 million apartment she bought in Double Bay in May.

New hope for Melbourne first-home buyers as spring selling begins

Generic auction signThe Sunday Age Domain Photo CATHRYN TREMAIN23 June 2005/cjt050623.001.004 RICHMOND,AUSTRALIA 29 JULY 2017; Auctioneer Richard Impiombato from Delmege O’Shea in action at 42 Stawell St Richmond on Saturday 29 July 2017. Photo Luis Enrique Ascui
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‘Tis the season for first-home buyers. At least, that’s what economists are predicting ahead of the first weekend of the spring auction market.

Along with other owner-occupiers, young buyers in the market for their first home are tipped to dominate auctions across the state over the coming months.

Emboldened by stamp duty cuts introduced in winter, they are also expected to face less competition from investors, according to ME Bank’s Patrick Nolan.

“This season will be different from previous years in that we won’t see as much investor activity due to n Prudential Regulation Authority regulations curbing the amount of investor and interest-only loans banks can lend,” Mr Nolan said.

“We think there’s going to be much more opportunity for owner-occupiers to really get in there and compete.”

Domain Group chief economist Andrew Wilson said the strongest part of Melbourne’s auction market was in the budget price range.

“Spring will reveal whether that cut to first-home buyer’s stamp duty has really worked,” he said.

Spring is widely regarded as the best time of year to sell property and, as a result, more properties come onto the market. There are 894 auctions scheduled this weekend, forecast to rise to 1100 by mid-September. Related: Winter auctions up on last yearRelated: Families struggle to climb property ladderRelated: Melbourne’s new bridesmaid suburbs

Traditionally, the biggest auction days over the spring period are the weekends before the AFL grand final and the Melbourne Cup. More than 1400 properties can go under the hammer on these so-called “super Saturdays”.

Middle- and outer ring suburbs have recorded heightened auction activity this year, which is tipped to continue into spring, according to the Real Estate Institute of Victoria.

President Joseph Walton named Craigieburn, Reservoir, Dingley Village and Scoresby among suburbs recording above-average clearance rates.

In the past, auctions were typically only popular in the inner-city but Mr Walton said an increase in buyer appetite meant it was now the norm for properties further afield to sell under the hammer.

“Over the course of the past couple of years, there’s been a real spike in auction activity in the outer suburbs,” he said.

Samantha McCarthy, from Hocking Stuart Werribee, said auctions were not a deterrent in the outer west, where it was still possible to buy a freestanding house for less than $500,000.

“There’s on average five bidders per property in the outer west,” she said.

Ms McCarthy said first-home buyers were often bidding against each other, as well as competing with interstate investors.

“The investors are coming from Sydney; Melbourne is so much more affordable than where they are coming from.”

Dr Wilson said Melbourne had emerged as the strongest auction market in the country, tracking higher clearance rates than Sydney. There were 9868 auctions over winter, with an overall auction clearance rate of 71 per cent.

He expected clearance rates in Melbourne to remain above 70 per cent but said, overall, the market may not perform as well as last spring, when buyers were motivated by recent interest rate cuts.

He said the top end of the market had been an underperformer over winter.

“It’s certainly not as strong as the budget market, particularly the inner east,” he said. “There’s a real sense the [inner-east] market has topped out.”