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Canberra Today 3°/9° | Saturday, April 13, 2024 | Digital Edition | Crossword & Sudoku

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Raffy and Charlie Sgroi.

Mechanics that service cars and the environment

Car Mechanical Services co-owner Raffy Sgroi says she is committed to lifting the sustainability standards of the automobile industry. 

“As much as we’re supporting the e-vehicle transition and we know this is going to be the future, realistically we have to keep in mind that combustion vehicles are going to still be around for a long time.

“It was up to us to come up with a strategy to create a more sustainable workplace,” she says. 

Raffy says that Car Mechanical Services have implemented a number of changes recently, including the bulk buying of engine oil and investing in specific waste collection. 

“Our oil filters are 100 per cent recyclable, metal we donate to scrap metal guys, so we know it’s not being wasted, it’s being reused,” she says. 

“We used to have 12 collections every year of the big tip bins, we have cut that to six collections.”

Raffy says they have also started to implement educational workshops for clients so they can better understand the costs associated with industry services, particularly with sustainable waste practices. 

“We know that everybody feels the pinch so obviously you’re going to go for the cheaper price, and sometimes they might not understand why there is such a big gap from one place to another,” she says. 

“We want to encourage them to look a bit deeper.”

Car Mechanical Services won the sustainable small business of the year award last year, says Raffy, so customers can be assured their mechanics are putting in the work for future generations.

Car Mechanical Services, 82 Kalgoorlie Crescent, Fisher. Call 6162 4111 or visit

Conference facility with a view

Oaks Ranch is a luxury, 14-room boutique hotel, restaurant, bar, event and conference facility and golf course, says general manager Josh Tyler.

“We are situated on the south coast, five minutes from Broulee Beach on 300 acres, flanked by the Tomago River and Candlagan Creek,” he says.

“The Oaks Ranch first opened in 1970. The current owners closed the hotel in June 2021 to renovate and elevate the property’s offering, before we reopened in February 2022.

“Our conference and event facilities offer everything from boardroom-style to cabaret conferencing, weddings and events with a large alfresco breakout area, stunning views west across the property to the Deua mountain ranges. 

“The venue has high-speed, reliable wifi, a drop-down data projector with audio surround, flipcharts and a whiteboard.”

Josh says the restaurant and bar, Arlo, is a refined casual eating experience, influenced by Australian, Asian and European cuisines.

“For conferencing we offer full or half-day delegate packages, a selection of house-made sweets and savoury snacks for our morning and afternoon teas,” he says.

“Our conference lunches range from gourmet sandwiches on local artisan breads to dining in Arlo. We also offer barista-made coffee, specialty teas, and in-house breakfast for overnight guests.

“Oaks Ranch is a Spanish mission-style property, a rural oasis with a sense of tranquillity, and the sunsets are truly amazing.”

Oaks Ranch, 340 Old Mossy Point Road, Mossy Point, NSW. Call 4471 7403, or visit

Christy Christensen, right, with daughter Chloe of Total Body Contouring.

Industry certified body contouring

Total Body Contouring has been established in Canberra for a few years, but new-owner Christy Christensen only recently took over.

“The community and customer base around the brand appealed to me, as we have so much to offer for the next phase of growth and service offerings,” she says, with 15 years of experience backing her up.

“Total Body Contouring is a place to redefine your silhouette. We help people achieve their goals from reducing cellulite and fatty tissue, assisting with muscle growth, through to lymphatic drainage, and facials that reduce acne scars.”

Christy says Total Body Contouring is about building body confidence without surgery.

“We give a personalised experience and journey, everyone is different,” she says.

“First, we set up a consultation to make sure you get the right specialisation for your needs and wants.

“With industry certification for all our services, your safety comes first.

“We give full transparency to everyone so there are no hidden extras or inflated prices.

“Currently we are offering fat freezing from only $320, and up to 50 per cent off other services booked before the end of March.”

Christy says as a team, satisfaction comes from the results achieved through the Total Body Contouring services.

“But, most of all, it’s the smile on our clients’ faces when they see the results for themselves,” she says.

Total Body Contouring, Shop 3/22 Franklin Street, Griffith. Call 6239 7347, or visit


Family support services dedicated to building community

Sanctuary Aus executive director Kim Hefran-Webb.

Sanctuary Aus is a not-for-profit family support centre based in Holder that is purpose built for Canberra, says Kim Hefren-Webb, executive director.

“We have two goals,” says Kim.

“The first is to provide professional child and family services for vulnerable families. 

“The second is to build community.”

A lot of families parent in isolation in Canberra because it is such a mobile city, says Kim, so building community is important.

“We provide ‘circle of security’ training, which is an attachment based training program for families.

“We try to pick up the families who can’t access the current programs in Canberra, because they’re all during the day, during business hours, so we provide it at home, we’ll go to the families.”

Kim says they provide NDIS services including behaviour support services mainly for kids with autism, intellectual disability, ADHD, oppositional defiance, developmental delays with communication or genetic disorders that have not been labelled.

Kim says they also run support groups, one is Cool Kids, which supports children to manage their anxiety and learn coping skills. 

They also have a club called Club Mojo, which teaches children between seven and 11 how to understand their emotions or others’ emotions.

“And we run a beautiful women’s group each week,” says Kim.

“Give us a call,” says Kim, “we help families with lots and lots of stuff, we do not judge, it’s a really lovely team of people.”

Sanctuary Aus. Call 0431 4498227 or visit

Blast into the past at the National Dinosaur Museum

Carole Arulantu, general manager, National Dinosaur Museum, says she is excited to welcome everyone to celebrate the museum’s 31st birthday on April 6. 

Carole says there are two separate events on the day, with the Family Fun Day event, 10am to 4pm, and the Adults Only Birthday event starting at 6pm.

Normal ticket prices apply for the Family Fun Day event, she says, and include a free sausage sandwich, kids’ activities and an Easter egg hunt, sponsored by La Casa. 

“We can’t wait to see you for our birthday, either for the day event or the special adults-only evening event,” says Carole.

For the Family Fun Day event, participants must be aged between four and 12, and must register online, she says.

The adults-only event tickets cost $30 and includes drinks and games on the verandah, a stroll in the garden and music by the Leanne Castley Duo, says Carole. 

There will also be a lucky draw, and Carole says the winner will receive a bottle of Moët and a Canberra Monopoly board. 

“What great timing,” says Carole, “our birthday present is our Canberra Monopoly with Cooper, our beloved Australotitan featured on our property!

“You can purchase your very own dinosaur token for $5 when you buy a Monopoly Board, exclusive to the National Dinosaur Museum.”

National Dinosaur Museum. 6 Gold Creek Road, Nicholls. Call 6109 8160 or visit

Giving kids a headstart on their schooling

Kidstart Southside Education and Activity Centre understands that the first five years of a child’s life are crucial for development, says owner Kristen O’Connor.

“Kidstart offers classes for children from five months to five years of age to develop them socially, physically, emotionally and intellectually,” she says.

Operating since 1996 and located in Wanniassa, Kristen says Kidstart offers three distinct and age-appropriate programs to ignite a love of learning.

The first program is for children under the age of three, to attend with an adult, and introduces them to music, stories and stimulating equipment.

The second program is a “Pre-Preschool” program for three and four-year-olds to attend by themselves before starting preschool.

“It has been amazing to see 23 years’ worth kids and their families growing, loving, enjoying and benefiting from the program,” says Kristen.

The third program is Preschool PLUS. It’s designed for children to be involved alongside Preschool. The program is centred on phonics based literacy. 

“We use interactive computer sessions to expose the children to the letter sounds, letter identification and letter formation,” says Kristen.

“We are passionate about developing a love of learning in each and every child.

“By allowing them to thrive in an educational setting and experience the joy in exploring and achieving, we hope learning will be a lifelong passion for all our Kidstart kids.”

Kidstart Southside Education and Activity Centre, 65 Sternberg Crescent, Wanniassa. For enrolment enquiries visit

Felicia Darbyshire-Pirie of Pilates Centre Canberra.

Get more out of Pilates with a skilled instructor

Pilates can be considered a cross-partner with any body conditioning modality, says Felicia Darbyshire-Pirie of Pilates Centre Canberra. 

“It can be the support for any other form of sport or fitness, or the sole form of exercise- Pilates makes people feel good!” she says. 

Felicia has been teaching Pilates for over 15 years and says she discovered a love for it at a point in her life when she was fit and keen to have a go at any new exercise. 

15 years on, Felicia says the modality has also supported her through pregnancies and injuries. 

“At the Pilates Centre we have a great network with other professionals including Physiotherapists, Osteopaths, Soft Tissue therapists and Exercise Physiologists,” she says

“I discovered that when you have a properly trained instructor you get very skillful teaching. 

“With Pilates, you should always be able to ask your instructor why you are doing an exercise and learn the reasons, it’s so important to get the exercises right.” 

Felicia says she loves the sense of achievement she gets when meeting the physical challenges. 

“It can be physically hard, so when you get it right it’s a huge personal accomplishment,” she says. 

The Pilates Centre Canberra is also a host site for BASI, the world-leading Pilates instructor training school. 

“The comprehensive course is very personally rewarding, but not nearly as rewarding as working in the industry!”

The Pilates Centre Canberra, 1/11 Colbee Court, Phillip. Call 0438 967379.

Temora Aviation Museum’s aircraft show.

Fun-filled day of aviation celebration

On April 6, The Temora Aviation Museum will host an Aircraft Showcase, says deputy CEO Peter Harper.

“We have 20 aircraft displaying, we have P-51 Mustangs, a P-40 Kittyhawk and a Spitfire, they are all fighter aircraft from the world war two era so they’re quite iconic and quite popular,” he says. 

“We are expecting a PC-21, an aircraft from the current air force, and probably the other recognisable one would be an A-37 Dragonfly, just to name a few.”

Gates open at 10am, says Peter, and the day will start off with one of the pilots, who will be displaying later in the day, doing a Q&A session with Peter.

“Immediately following that, at 11.30am, the flying program commences and it is non-stop flying right through to 1.45pm; almost three hours of non-stop flying displays,” says Peter.

“After the actual flying, when all the aircraft are back on the ground, we position them all on the flight line and then we rope them off and we invite the spectators out on to the flight line, where they can get up real close to the aircraft and we also have pilots on hand to answer any questions and have a chat. 

“For an airshow, it’s quite different, it’s access you wouldn’t normally get.” 

To add further excitement, Peter says they will have recently installed aircraft simulators operating on the day. 

“They’re quite new to the museum, they’ve only been up and running for a few months,” he says.

Peter says there will also be barista coffee and food available to buy throughout the day.

Temora Aviation Museum, 1 Tom Moon Avenue, Temora. Visit

Qualified jeweller Venetia Major.

Custom made jewellery with a timeless elegance

From the first sketch to the final polish, each piece of jewellery is meticulously crafted to symbolise a story, says Venetia Major, owner of Venetia Major – Bespoke Jewellery at Hall. 

“Specialising in custom designed and handmade jewellery, Venetia is your passport to a world of unparalleled beauty, with a focus on creating jewellery that transcends the ordinary,” she says.

“Venetia possesses a rare skill, transforming your unique vision into a breathtaking reality.”

Venetia says customers can choose from an array of ethically sourced diamonds and precious gems, or supply their own, select the perfect metal, and tailor every intricate detail to match their style.

“Our diamonds are of the highest quality, and expertly set to radiate brilliance for a lifetime,” she says.

“Book a Design Appointment or visit the studio in Hall, only 19 minutes from the city!”

Venetia Major – Bespoke Jewellery, 3/8 Victoria Street, Hall. Call 6230 9587, or visit

Courses committed to reducing road trauma

Road Ready Centre is committed to making learner drivers more safe and aware out on the road, says CEO Steve Lake.

Providing a range of courses to improve learner confidence, Steve says learner drivers can get up to 30 hours contributed to their logbook out of the 100 they need to get their P’s, all while becoming more aware of the risks they’ll face while driving.

“The first course we have is called the ACT Pre-Learner Licence course. It’s a 10 hour course that drivers can take before they do their knowledge test to get their L plates,” he says.

“After they’ve got their L’s, our Safer Driver course provides a two and a half hour workshop. Then learners get to go out on the road in an instructor’s vehicle for an hour and get 20 hours counted toward their log book.

“The other course they can do is the Vulnerable Road Users course. It’s a two hour workshop that makes learners aware of who is at highest risk on the road and can contribute up to 10 hours’ credit.”

Steve says courses can be taken both online and in person, and can be booked together for convenience.

“A lot of young drivers come out of the courses surprised at how much space they need to keep in front of them when they drive,” says Steve.

“They come out feeling more confident and aware of what hazards to be looking for and what responses to implement.”

Road Ready Centre, 4/54 Hoskins Street, Mitchell. Call 6103 0463 or visit

Woden’s ‘booming’ architecture team

Arkitex is a firm that has been operating in Canberra since 1997, says director Alessandro (Alex) D’Ambrosio.

“We are a focused firm dedicated to enhancing and improving the local architectural fabric of our immediate local community and surrounding regional areas alike.”

And, Alex says, they’re excited to be expanding to south-east Queensland soon.

But, of course, “Woden is a great place for our office here in Canberra”.

“Woden Valley has experienced something of a boom in renovation, addition and knock-down and rebuild of homes over recent years. This has led to the commute to our office being littered with our previous projects, which is not only rewarding to see from our perspective, but it is a good primer for clients meeting at our office.

“We have a focus on the design development phase, working closely with our clients and meeting as often as required to ensure an outcome that meets or exceeds our clients’ desires as well as achieving an architectural outcome of high quality.

“The experience we have garnered through the projects we have completed informs each project we undertake, applying what we have learned through our many years of providing our services,” says Alex.

“Arkitex architecture is less of a career and more of a lifestyle and passion.”

Arkitex, Shop 5, 24 Torrens Place, Torrens. Call 0413 570599, email or search Arkitex
on Facebook.

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