Netflix binges and reality TV – our changing lifestyle in 2020

Kim Treasure 24 December 2020

Nothing says 2020 quite like Netflix and reality TV. When have we had more time for binge watching? And when have we more craved the restorative powers of wildlife and travel?

E-scooters also made their appearance on the Canberra landscape, delighting some and angering others.

This year, we brought you stories touching on all those things and more. Read through to see what was the most popular lifestyle story of the year.

13. A new home for Trove

Dr Marie-Louise Ayres at National Library of Australia.

National Library of Australia director-general Dr Marie-Louise Ayres unveiled the next chapter of Australia’s world-leading culture and research portal, Trove. Photo: Region Media.

Say goodbye to the old green and grey font and say hello to a new look and a more user-friendly interface. Trove – Australia’s much-loved resource, which is home to millions of documents, manuscripts and newspapers – has been reborn.

A collaboration between the National Library of Australia and hundreds of partner organisations around Australia, Trove is the nation’s world-leading culture and research portal. The online library database includes archives, images, newspapers, official documents, archived websites, manuscripts and other types of data. It is one of the most well-respected research services in Australia, with ore than 68,000 daily users.

12. Dawn Waterhouse recalls a bygone era and rich memories of Canberra’s past

Esther Paterson's 'Civic Square Canberra 1947'.

Esther Paterson’s Civic Square Canberra 1947, on loan from Dawn Waterhouse. Image: Supplied.

More than 90 years ago, Dawn Waterhouse came to Canberra as a toddler. Those were the days when a few thousand people lived in the national capital, when you rode a bike to the Cotter for a picnic and sweated your way back, or cantered across the paddocks from Deakin to Woden to take tea with a friend.

In 2020, Dawn – who still lives here – spent a wonderful hour at Canberra Museum and Gallery (CMAG) recalling her childhood at Calthorpe’s House and her young adult years.

The event was part of the Seeing Canberra exhibition at CMAG.

11. The good oil helping to reinvigorate a Yass landmark

Charlie de la Barre de Nanteuil and his wife, Julia, standing outside The Globe Inn.

Charlie de la Barre de Nanteuil and his wife ,Julia, outside the Garden Room at The Globe Inn. Photo: Michelle Rowe.

Charlie de la Barre de Nanteuil and his wife, Julia, are more than the new custodians of Yass’s Globe Inn, they’re bringing new life to the 173-year-old landmark with olive oil, vinegars and a raft of fresh ideas.

The elegant old guesthouse has seen more transformations than Madonna, but remains a landmark in Yass, just 45 minutes’ drive from Canberra.

10. Black Mountain: a Canberra icon and a wilderness in our midst

Telstra Tower at Black Mountain.

Telstra Tower, the Canberra icon that almost wasn’t. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

Black Mountain is a landmark for Canberrans, but it’s also a relatively intact slice of wilderness, right in the middle of the city. Naturalist Ian Fraser lived at the foot of Black Mountain for 27 of his years in Canberra.

The renowned local naturalist (and regular RiotACT columnist) has co-authored Black Mountain: A natural history of a Canberra Icon with plant ecologist Dr Rosemary Purdie.

9. If the cap fits, share it: How a Gungahlin sports fan used lockdown to build a side hustle

Tom Falco at home with sports clothing.

American sports clothing fan Tom Falco is bringing fashionable items to Canberra. Photo: Supplied.

Working from home gave many of us the chance to live in our old clothes, but one Canberran decided to instead use the lockdown to sell clothing.

After returning from the US, Tom Falco knew there was a market for fashionable clothes from many of the top American sporting teams.

“It’s a business idea I’ve had for a while, but never had the time to properly establish,” he told Region Media. “But thanks to COVID-19, I was given the time to really have a crack at it.”

8. Screen legend Max Cullen: From glitz and glam to a rundown theatre out bush

Max Cullen and his wife, Margarita Georgiadis, in The Picture House Gallery.

Max Cullen and his wife, Margarita Georgiadis, in The Picture House Gallery in Gunning. Photo: Hannah Sparks.

In 2003, Max Cullen and his artist wife, Margarita Georgiadis, walked away from the glitz and glamour of Sydney and moved to a rundown theatre out bush.

Their former city neighbours relished the peace and quiet after living next to what was the 3 am ‘local’ for Cullen and Georgiadis’s actor and artist friends. But ironically, the couple has settled into the Southern Tablelands village of Gunning without any qualms.

7. Scooting off to try Canberra’s newest craze

Lottie Twyford riding a Neutron scooter.

Buckle up! Lottie Twyford taking the Neuron scooter for a spin. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

You’ve seen Neuron’s unmissable bright orange e-scooters around town, and now they have been joined by Beam’s purple fleet. But have you been brave enough to take one on?

Lottie Twyford’s decided lack of enthusiasm for a walk home after an evening out in Braddon – coupled with her relentless pursuit of public interest journalism – was enough of an excuse to hop on.

6. Netflix bingeing or working from home: Canberra’s data demand the highest in Australia

Joe Exotic with tiger from Netflix series Tiger King.

Joe Exotic, the central character of Netflix’s hit series, Tiger King. Photo: Netflix.

Could it be that the highest trending series on Netflix about a gay man who kept tigers drove Canberra’s thirst for internet, and internet congestion, as we stayed at home and isolated because of COVID-19?

While there is anecdotal evidence that just about everyone with Netflix was binging on the Tiger King series, research by Monash University and NBN Co showed Canberra and Melbourne had the worst average internet congestion in the country because we were doing the right thing and working from home (although Tiger King may have been on in the background).

5. Farmer Wants a Wife: Border closes on love for Neil and Justine

Karissa, Farmer Neil, Megan and Justine from Farmer Wants a Wife.

Farmer Neil, from Seven Network’s Farmer Wants a Wife, with the reality show’s final three contenders (from left) Karissa, Megan and Justine. Photo: Seven Network.

Love didn’t quite go to plan for Farmer Wants a Wife‘s Neil Seaman of Crookwell and his chosen wife, Justine Adams, from Queensland, after filming of the reality television show ended. The COVID-19 pandemic threw a spanner in the works, closing the NSW and Queensland border just one week after the pair’s reunion.

4. Lightning strikes gold for award-winning Canberra photographer

Image of Black Mountain during a lightning storm.

This image of Black Mountain during a lightning storm on 30 January, 2019, won first prize in the Nature Photographer of the Year category at the 2020 International Photography Awards. Photo: Ari Rex.

When the night sky lit up with multiple lightning strikes over Black Mountain in January 2019, Canberra photographer Ari Rex knew he had a spectacular shot which has now won first prize in the Nature Photographer of the Year category at the 2020 International Photography Awards.

His image was chosen from around 3000 other photographs in one of the most popular categories in the awards, which received more than 13,000 submissions in 13 categories showcasing some of the most outstanding images from around the globe.

3. Remembering iconic underground music venues from Canberra’s past

Guitarist airborne while performing onstage.

Magpies City Underground hosted local bands as well as international touring acts. Photo: Supplied.

The COVID-19 crisis has made it abundantly clear just how important music venues are to their communities. Hayden Fritzlaff took a look back at some of Canberra’s legendary underground music venues which have closed their doors in recent years.

2. Black cockies make for a good day when they visit Canberra

Female yellow-tailed black-cockatoo eating in tree.

Female yellow-tailed black-cockatoo (with white bill) munching on banksia seeds. Photo: Ian Fraser.

The sight of black cockatoos always gladdens Ian Fraser’s heart. Witnessing the powerful birds munching their way through bark to reach their favourite grubs is remarkable, but did you know that two species visit Canberra?

Yellow-tailed black-cockatoos are widespread, with small flocks of huge birds rowing purposefully across the sky and descending to feed. There are also, very rarely, smaller glossy black-cockatoos which occasionally visit to feed exclusively on the dust-tiny seeds of casuarinas, especially on Mount Majura.

1. ‘I have people telling me I should end my life’: Love Island and Farmer Wants a Wife stars call out online bullies

Justine Adams, Neil Seaman and Grant Crapp.

Justine Adams and Neil Seaman of Farmer Wants a Wife, and Grant Crapp of Love Island (2018). Photos: Supplied.

Two years on from his appearance on Love Island, Canberra electrician Grant Crapp still receives death threats on Instagram.

“To this day, I have people telling me I should end my life for what I’ve done to women, that I shouldn’t be breathing,” he told Region Media.

Appearing on reality TV was always going to be life-changing for Justine Adams and Neil Seaman (Farmer Wants a Wife, 2020) and Grant. What they didn’t expect was persistent and vile online abuse.


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