Brand champion makes global strides

An entrepreneur with the Midas touch … Clyde Davenport.He’s well known for his smalls, but entrepreneur Clyde Davenport says his latest venture has the potential to be mammoth.
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The Melburnian, who left his advertising job in the late ’80s to follow a dream of creating his own business, still has his surname on undies around Australia, despite selling the company he built from scratch, Davenport, for $15.3 million in 2003.

But these days the 57-year-old is more concerned with technical sportswear company 2XU (“two times you”), which he says has the potential to become a billion-dollar operation.

He started the business in 2005 with former world triathlon champion Jamie Hunt and Aidan Clarke.

“The 2XU thing happened a little bit by accident in a sense,” says Davenport. “I was approached by two young Kiwi guys to start a brand. They had good ideas and I liked what they had to say.”

Aimed primarily at elite athletes, 2XU is best known for its compression tights, which it supplies to athletes at the Australian Institute of Sport. Davenport says the tights help blood circulation, flush lactates, provide stability for muscles and aid in recovery.

In seven years, 2XU, based in Hawthorn, Melbourne, has become a global success, exporting 70 per cent of its products to 42 countries.

“We’re a niche. Australia is not big enough for the niche we’re in,” says Davenport.

“Our biggest market is the US. That’s probably more the size of the opportunity. We do really well in Scandinavia for the size of the population. We’re in a number of countries in Europe and a number of countries in Asia.”

When starting their business, Davenport and his co-founders felt Australia was famous for its sporting achievements and surfing, but not for any world-beating sportswear label.

“Our aim was to be Australia’s first truly global sportswear brand,” he says.

Using triathlon as a “wedge” to enter the elite sportswear market, 2XU has since expanded its product offering to other sports and its efforts are paying off with 25 per cent growth year-on-year.

Almost 12 months ago, 2XU sold close to 30 per cent of the business to the private equity arm of investment bank Lazard. A key reason, Davenport says, was to increase its global networking opportunities.

Back to the beginning

Long before the idea of 2XU had taken shape, Davenport was making a name for himself in the competitive underwear industry.

Leaving his advertising job in the late ’80s, about the same time his first child was due, Davenport agreed with his wife Debbie to take 12 months off and have a crack at starting his own business.

“When I started Davenport, my wife and I had savings of $100,000,” he says. “I remember in the early days going to China. I had a little office in Bouverie Street in Carlton. I’d leave for two weeks in China and put the answering machine on and come back to three messages.”

The entrepreneur saw an opportunity in creating sleepwear that wasn’t “dull and boring”.

That idea didn’t really take off, but with a few fabric offcuts Davenport decided to have some boxer shorts made.

Trend spotter

He knew boxers had become popular in Europe and the US, and predicted the trend would continue in Australia.

“When we first started the boxer-short business, boxer shorts represented something like 1 per cent of total underwear and we had the majority share,” says Davenport.

“Unfortunately, 1 per cent of not much is still not much, but within a few years it grew to about 20 per cent and we still had about 70 or 80 per cent market share, so we were very fortunate.

“We had glow in the dark, we had musical boxer shorts, we had all the character designs, Disney and Warner Bros … things like South Park.”

Davenport says he came within about six weeks of throwing in the towel, but the boxer-short sales saved him.

‘No for now’

Knowing he needed to keep adapting, he decided to vie for the Australian and New Zealand distribution rights for the biggest underwear brand in the world at the time, Calvin Klein. His first attempt was met with a resolute “no”.

“I just took ‘no’ for ‘no for now’. I went the following year and they said no again. I went back the following year and I got the licence.”

Davenport says that victory changed big retailers’ perceptions of his business – from one that sold goofy boxer shorts to a serious operation.

After 15 years, he and his wife decided it was time to sell.

“I didn’t seem to be able to find any general manager or senior management that I could hand over to, and I was just getting sick of it,” he says.

“If you lose that passion about something, in my view it’s time to get out.”

While his name will now forever be associated the brand, Davenport says he would do things differently if he had his time again.

“In hindsight … I would have never called it my surname, because I was never a designer. I thought I was more a stylist or a creative businessman rather than the traditional designer.”

What it really takes

Like other entrepreneurs, Davenport says the only sure thing in business is change.

“Where you start never seems to be where you finish. I started in sleepwear but I would have gone broke if I had stayed in sleepwear.”

With his underwear company, the businessman decided to stick to the market he knew best – Australia.

With 2XU, it’s a global strategy, which comes with the problem of more competitors, with enormous marketing budgets.

“If we’re going to be successful, we can’t compete the way our larger competitors compete because they will smash us,” Davenport says.

‘We can get some of the up-and-coming athletes, we can get some of the bright new stars. We have to be very clever, very tactical.”

2XU’s number one priority is making sure its product is right, followed by value for money, distribution and advertising and promotion.

Global growth

In a major win, US mega chain Dick’s Sporting Goods is trialling 2XU products in 170 of its more than 500 stores.

Davenport says 2XU will turn over about $55 million this year, but that’s just a drop in the ocean.

“If we’re truly going to be one of the global brands in this category, we look to $500 million to a billion dollars because that’s the scale. If you take a brand like Adidas, I think they’re about $14 billion. Nike are $25 to $30 billion,” he says.

“The scale we’re looking at is probably going from where we are to 200 [million] to 500 [million] and up to a billion dollars.”

Clyde Davenport’s five tips for entrepreneurs

1. It starts with an idea. I think you have to think hard whether that idea is scalable.

2. You have to be passionate about it and you have to be persistent because it’s not going to be smooth sailing all the way. So if you get a no, it’s no for now, it’s not no for ever.

3. Keep it simple, don’t try to overcomplicate things.

4. Just have a go, don’t procrastinate.

5. Don’t mistake delegation with abdication. It’s fine to delegate, because you can’t do everything. But once you delegate you can’t abdicate.To read more Entrepreneur Secrets profiles click here.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.

Former barrister becomes a defendant

FROM barrister to barista, John Hart managed to put his past as a defender of petty criminals behind him to reach the summit of Engadine’s culinary scene.
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He emerged from an investigation by the Independent Commission Against Corruption in 2010 to buy the favourably reviewed Jack of Harts and Jude cafe in an arcade off the Old Princes Highway last year.

But the allegations that were the subject of the ICAC inquiry – judge shopping, false promises to clients and the extraction of a dubious payment – are nipping at his heels.

The ICAC made adverse findings against Mr Hart and sent the brief of evidence to the Department of Public Prosecutions.

Police have now charged Mr Hart with 11 counts of attempting to pervert the course of justice.

They allege that in 2008 and 2009, Mr Hart engineered to have the cases of three clients moved to courts in which the magistrate was perceived as more lenient.

First, he allegedly moved charges of mid-range drink driving and failing to stop at a red light against Bradley Wheaton from the Downing Centre Local Court to Camden Local Court, providing allegedly false testimonials to the court that his client was working and living at Oakdale.

Then he allegedly moved a mid-range drink driving charge against Jessica Smith from Sutherland Local Court to Wagga Wagga Local Court, where he allegedly falsely told the court she worked locally as a special needs teacher to disabled children.

He allegedly also succeeded in moving proceedings against Benjamin Bleckman, who was charged with mid-range drink diving, from Bankstown Local Court to Sutherland Local Court, and allegedly lied to the court that Mr Bleckman had lost his Saturday job and moved back in with his parents in Engadine.

Police allege that in each of these cases, Mr Hart thought he would achieve a more favourable outcome for his clients in distant courts.

Mr Hart’s dealings with another client, Jason Kelly, were even more fruitful, according to court documents.

Mr Hart allegedly told Mr Kelly that he could make the charges against him disappear if Mr Kelly were to furnish him with a sum of money, which would be forwarded to an officer of the Department of Public Prosecutions.

Although the officer had no knowledge of any such promise having being made, and never contemplated accepting such a payment, Mr Hart nevertheless obtained $12,000 from his client, according to court documents.

Mr Hart has not entered a plea, and his case in the Downing Centre Local Court has been adjourned to December 12.

Mr Hart declined to comment.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.

Littbarski’s ‘unfinished business’ at Sydney

SYDNEY FC chairman Scott Barlow might not know it but arguably the best candidate for the club’s vacant coaching job is only a phone call away.
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Fairfax understands that Pierre Littbarski, the man who guided the Sky Blues to their championship triumph in season one of the A-League, is willing to make a move back to the harbour city.

Sydney FC’s board will meet on Saturday morning in Brisbane where a list of candidates will be presented by chief executive Tony Pignata, who has been flooded with inquiries from around the world.

Names linked with the vacant position so far include former Melbourne Victory coach Ernie Merrick, ex-Chelsea boss Avram Grant and one-time coach of the Socceroos Frank Farina.

However, Littbarski boasts the rare combination of understanding the demands of coaching Sydney FC, an international pedigree and a desire to work here.

After being informed the Sydney FC position had become open following Ian Crook’s departure, Littbarski said he was “very interested” in returning to Sydney and – most tantalisingly – that he had “unfinished business”.

Getting the 1990 World Cup-winning midfielder to come back would be a significant coup for the club as he remains a well-regarded coach with a reputation for being highly-organised and for having a strong tactical background.

He would need to negotiate a release from his contract at Bundesliga club Wolfsburg, where he is chief scout. However, this is

thought to be a formality should Sydney FC make an offer. The 52-year-old was assistant coach at Wolfsburg between 2010 and last year. When manager Steve McClaren was sacked in February last year, Littbarski briefly took over in a caretaker role before Felix Magath was appointed.

After leaving Sydney, the former FC Koln star coached in Japan, Switzerland and Iran before joining the staff at Wolfsburg. Still regarded as the best coach to have taken the reins at the Sky Blues, Littbarski made a surprise exit after the first season, despite agreeing to new terms on a return for the second campaign.

In season one, he turned a squad brimming with big names – which earned the club the tag ”Bling FC” – into a battle-hardened unit, one that would go all the way and win the title.

Ironically, his assistant at the time was Crook, whom he would replace this time around.

Crucially, Littbarski was able to handle the hype that came with managing Sydney FC and embraced all elements of the role, including the off-field distractions that accompanied being the A-League’s glamour club.

The German coach proved a deft touch at handling the larger-than-life personality of Dwight Yorke and got the best out of the former Manchester United star – so much so that the club was able to sell him for $500,000 to Sunderland after one season.

If Littbarski were to take the job, that experience would hold him in good stead to deal with the interest surrounding Italian star Alessandro Del Piero, who has put Sydney FC on the global map since joining the club at the start of the season.

Perhaps the biggest stumbling block is money. Littbarski earned $700,000 in his first season with the Sky Blues but would have to accept much less this time around.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.

The geek queen: Marissa’s on a mission to save Yahoo

 There comes a moment in every very ambitious person’s life when she sees with perfect clarity that the path before her is blocked. For Marissa Mayer, Google employee No. 20 and Silicon Valley’s reigning “geek queen”, this moment occurred last year, when her former boyfriend, Google co-founder Larry Page, kicked her off the company’s elite operating committee, to which she had been appointed the previous year.
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Page had taken over the running of Google’s day-to-day operations from Eric Schmidt, the company’s longtime CEO, in April 2011, and immediately launched a major renovation of the company’s structure and priorities. Mayer was bruised in that reshuffling. For about a dozen years she had presided over “search” – which is to say everything the user saw, felt and experienced when navigating Google – but now she was shunted away from that core business and put in charge of “local” – maps, restaurant recommendations and the like. This was arguably a demotion – at best, a lateral move. And when Page overhauled the operating committee, or “OC”, Mayer’s reduced status was made both explicit and public. Mayer was not happy, according to people who know her. “Marissa is very, very, very driven,” says Brian Singerman, a former Googler who is now a partner at Founders Fund, a venture-capital firm. But at the office, she kept her cool. “She was a trouper,” is how someone familiar with the situation described her. “She worked through it.”

Google loyalists said the move was part of the reorganisation, plain and simple. Others said it was political, a punishment for Mayer’s inability to play nicely with other VIP Googlers, and bloggers began to wring their hands anew over the larger question of sexism in tech. Two other people removed from the OC were also women; one of them, Shona Brown, who ran business operations, “is a freaking Rhodes scholar”, says a former Googler, “another one of these rock stars”.

Although some of Mayer’s former colleagues insist her affair with Page had no bearing on their friend’s corporate profile, others disagree. “It’s got to have some impact,” says Dave McClure, a venture capitalist in Silicon Valley who knows Mayer slightly. “I don’t know too many other senior female executives who went out with the CEO who were still there after they stopped going out.” Page got married in 2007. Two years later, Mayer married investor and lawyer Zachary Bogue.

She may have been stymied at Google, but Mayer, at 37, was already one of the most visible tech personalities in Silicon Valley. She was popular with the press for her accessibility in an industry notorious for its reclusive, or stammering, geniuses. She threw parties at her penthouse atop The Four Seasons hotel in San Francisco to which everyone yearned to be invited. And throughout Silicon Valley and among the groupies drawn to its idiosyncratic nerd glamour, she was as well known for her hobbies – notably a taste for high-end fashion and a large collection of Dale Chihuly hand-blown glass – as she was for her tech cred. In a world still struggling to leave behind that age-old bias – girls can’t do maths – Mayer was everyone’s favourite exception, fully girl and fully geek, a former ballet dancer who stayed up all night writing code. And one who seemed driven to make her own path when the men around her wouldn’t oblige.

In July, less than a year after news broke of her being sidelined at Google, Mayer was named president and chief executive officer of Yahoo Inc, making her one of 20 female CEOs of Fortune 500 companies and the only one to take the job while pregnant. Yahoo is a foundering brand suffering from a dramatic talent drain and years of chaos on its board and in its upper ranks. Its second-quarter results for 2012 were grim, with US search queries down 17 per cent from a year ago and time spent on its content pages down 10 per cent. Yahoo stock is worth about half of what it was five years ago. Mayer has to turn this around – and fast.

Her first child, a boy, was born on September 30. “Name TBD,” she wrote in an email she sent to a large circle of friends. “Suggestions welcome!” The email was signed, “With love and happiness, Marissa & Zack.” It is, perhaps, a blessing that she doesn’t think much, she has said, of the high-achieving mother’s mantra, “balance”.

In celebration of the new arrival, Mayer’s friend, former Googler Craig Silverstein, is thinking about building Mayer a homemade “diaper cake”: three tiers of nappies in three different sizes, stacked around an empty cardboard tube and decorated all over with toys, onesies and burp cloths. Mayer has made them for many of her friends’ babies and at the tippy top she likes to put a plush toy octopus. Silverstein calls the diaper cake “the perfect Marissa baby present”, saying, “It has usability at its core.”

Now that the US’s most notable geek girl has become its most visible CEO mum, there’s quite a bit of talk among professional women about how she’ll manage. So far, she’s not showing any interest in the conversation. No high-profile CEO in crisis-management mode wants to appear distracted; were Mayer a man, she’d surely be expected to hand out cigars and get back to work. So it’s difficult to begrudge her reluctance to air her dirty diapers in public. (Mayer has declined to speak publicly about the birth; “Marissa is focusing her energy internally,” a Yahoo spokes-person tells me.)

Since her arrival at Yahoo, Mayer has hired some people – a new CFO, marketing chief, head of human resources and publicist, plus one of Google’s top advertising executives, Henrique de Castro – and fired some others. She freed up US$4 billion in cash, holding money from the sale of part of Yahoo’s stake in the China-based e-commerce site Alibaba instead of returning it to shareholders, creating expectations that she’ll soon announce major acquisitions. She’s announced the closure of Yahoo’s South Korea branch. And she’s focused on boosting morale, giving employees free food in the Yahoo cafeteria and making quality-of-life improvements at the corporate gym and the parking lot.

But what little she has said about her domestic plans has been endlessly masticated. When Yahoo announced Mayer’s appointment, the internet was cautiously pleased. But when, in a carefully orchestrated manoeuvre later that same night, Mayer tweeted that she was expecting a baby, interest in her blew up. “My maternity leave will be a few weeks long,” she later told Fortune magazine, “and I’ll work throughout it.”

The debate was as immediate as it was inevitable: was this good for working women or bad? Does Mayer’s display of ambition at the very moment of her blossoming motherhood show that a woman can, indeed, have it all? Yes, wrote Hanna Rosin for Slate上海夜网m: “Yahoo for Yahoo”. But others were not so sure. Mayer’s disregard for the preciousness of the mother-infant bond would not only harm her child – “Poor Marissa,” intoned a Christian blog called Wise Family Living – but also set a terrible precedent. Even a member of Angela Merkel’s cabinet felt compelled to weigh in: “I respect this personal step being taken by Ms Mayer,” said Kristina Schröder, Germany’s family minister. “But I regard it with major concern when prominent women give the public impression that maternity leave is something that is not important. Maternity leave is absolutely important and not just from a medical point of view.”

Sheryl Sandberg, the chief operating officer of Facebook, might agree. Sandberg has been promoting a message recently that is, for her, somewhat new – that women must be able to integrate their identities as mothers with their identities as professionals or they’ll never be happy at work. And then they’ll never succeed at the highest levels. “Before this,” Sandberg said in a speech at Harvard Business School earlier this year, “I did my career like everyone else does it. I never told anyone I was a girl. Don’t tell. I left the [office] lights on when I went home to do something for my kids. I locked my office door and pumped milk for my babies while I was on conference calls.”

For all her bravado, Mayer seems to be playing by Sandberg’s old rules, and while her reluctance to air her inner conflicts may reflect strategic concerns, it’s also a big part of who she is. Since her earliest days at Google, and despite a canny performance of her own “girliness”, Mayer has refused to make the Woman Question part of her public persona. She doesn’t want to talk at all about how being a woman – in tech, or at Google, or in upper management – makes her different from the guys in the room or deserving of any kind of special consideration. “I’m a geek,” is what she always says. She expresses gratitude to high-school science teachers who praised her aptitude and never added, parenthetically and destructively, that she was unusual for it. She insists that in college she never noticed that she was often the only female in the advanced computer-science courses. In Mayer’s view, the reason so few girls grow up to be computer scientists is that too few high-schoolers of any gender are exposed to computer science. If it turns out that after widespread exposure to computer science, “we still have an imbalance, we can deal with that then”, she said in an interview earlier this year.

Recently, that kind of compartmentalisation has become harder to pull off. At a tech conference in San Francisco in September, Mayer was on stage judging a competition among start-up companies looking unmistakably female – which is to say, hugely pregnant. She wore it well, in a black dress and slides, managing to appear chic-er, neater and more petite than her rumpled and slouching male counterparts. Indeed, the most notable thing about Mayer’s appearance that day was the extent to which her body language failed to corroborate her physical condition. She indulged in none of the posture shifting, belly caressing and back massaging that so often signals late-term discomfort. As puppyish entrepreneurs from seven start-ups paraded before her pitching their products – an electric car, an online apartment-rental service, an app that listens in on phone conversations – Mayer sat ramrod straight in a massive leather chair wearing expressions that ranged from blank to dyspeptic and doling out infrequent, grudging smiles. She asked fewer than five questions. “Can you talk about integration with [Apple’s] Passbook?” “How are you planning on scaling?” “What kind of accuracies are you seeing?” Then, flanked by bodyguards, she retreated behind a velvet curtain, helped to decide the winner (an online service that sends car mechanics on house calls), and was whisked off into the cold, damp night.

Yahoo has had several CEOs in recent years. Before the board settled on her, it had, according to news reports, already courted David Rosenblatt, of DoubleClick fame, and Jason Kilar, of Hulu. And so, despite its public pledges of support for Mayer the mum, the Yahoo board wasn’t really showing its feminist side in hiring her so much as it was praying Hail Mary. “People – men and women both – are more likely to put a woman or minority candidate into a top position when the company is distressed,” Eric Ries, author of The Lean Startup, says, referring to a phenomenon called the “glass cliff”. “This is a job that kind of nobody wants. The company sucks.” Mayer may have what it takes to run Yahoo, in other words, but her appointment is also a gimmick. She doesn’t want to talk about being a woman, but being a woman – and a pregnant one at that – probably helped her get the job.

Mayer first entered the job market in 1999, after graduating from Stanford with an esoteric major called “symbolic systems”, a mixture of philosophy, brain science and artificial intelligence. From several offers she chose Google, starting as an engineer before soon becoming a product manager; she was one of the earliest guardians, in other words, of the Google brand. In particular, Mayer was charged with protecting the home page – that iconic, blank, seemingly immutable interface between the powerful Google search engine and its public.

Over the years, Mayer oversaw dozens of large and small changes that improved the user experience at Google: the ability to type in queries in foreign languages; the enlarging of the search box; the graphical doodles that occasionally grace the logo (like the guitar that played when you ran a mouse over its strings); and, eventually, universal search, which allows users to see results in all categories at once. As she rose through the ranks at Google, she data-tested everything. She tested infinitesimal variations in the amount of white space between the Google logo and the first answer in a search-results list, finding that users liked less white space better. She tested the light-blue backgrounds on Google ads against a yellow hue and found not just that yellow worked better but that yellow ads made users happier with the site overall. In an effort to create coherence among all the different blues on different Google pages and products, Mayer once famously tested 41 shades of blue. “Design,” she said at the web-developer conference Google I/O, “has become much more of a science than an art.” This philosophy, more than anything else, led Google designer Doug Bowman to quit in 2009. “I won’t miss a design philosophy that lives or dies strictly by the sword of data,” he wrote in a blog post.

Those who succeed under Mayer tend to share her cutthroat world view: winners win. “She will outwork you; she will outwork anybody,” says Dylan Casey, a former professional cyclist who rode on the US Postal team with Lance Armstrong and later worked with Mayer at Google for half a dozen years. Indeed, Mayer has said that she pulled 250 all-nighters in her first five years at Google, and has been dismissive of people who, as she puts it, “want eight hours of sleep a night, three meals a day”. Casey remembers sitting in Mayer’s office, worrying about office politics – how was he going to get around so-and-so, what would so-and-so say, that sort of thing. The entire time, Mayer was facing away from him, answering email on her computer and nodding her head. Finally, she spoke. “Why are you running around the organisation looking for people to tell you ‘no’?” she asked. “You know what to do. Just go do that.” It was an empowering directive, Casey says. As a manager, Mayer lays out expectations, then allows people to sink or swim, he adds. “If you achieve excellence, you’ve met expectations,” Casey says. “You should be relieved, not elated.”

When people don’t like her, friends say, it’s because they find her manner “too transactional”. And it’s no surprise that an executive so dismissive of excuses would be so uncomfortable with acknowledging the compromises or conflicts of her own life choices. For her, parenthood is not a special category of extracurricular activity. Mayer’s approach to questions of work-life balance is to give everyone – male, female, married, single, with children or without – the freedom to leave work for the things that matter most, whether it’s dinner with friends or marathon training or being on time for the soccer game.

“I think that burnout happens because of resentment,” she has said. “That notion that, ‘Wow, I worked 100 hours last week, and I couldn’t even have this thing that I really wanted.’ ” As one of the most senior Googlers on staff, Mayer was notorious for demanding the respect of her peers and not taking kindly to arguments or disagreements from anyone, says another person who knows her. “She doesn’t listen as well as she speaks … I think she’s going to be a tough mom.”

Around the time that Mayer was booted off the OC at Google, another high-powered woman was being kicked around at Yahoo. Carol Bartz is, like Mayer, a female geek with a tough exterior. Bartz had been hired in 2009 to rescue the company; on a call with analysts soon after her arrival, she promised to “kick some butt”. Yahoo’s problems then were not so different to today: a depressed stock price; an exodus of the best talent to competitors, especially Facebook; a bloated organisational structure; a rudderless sense of mission and purpose. Bartz was supposed to change all that. “She presented a take-no-prisoners image and was touted as someone with a reputation as a professional manager who could clean up the place,” wrote Kara Swisher in the tech-news blog AllThingsD. Two years into her tenure, after rafts of lay-offs, Yahoo’s stock price was only slightly up and the board was at odds over whether or not Bartz had the vision to pull off the kind of dramatic rescue it thought Yahoo needed. A year ago, she left the company after blasting the following email company-wide: “I am very sad to tell you that I’ve just been fired over the phone by Yahoo’s chairman of the board.”

Bartz’s replacement, Scott Thompson, resigned after five months in the wake of revelations that he had embellished his resumé. So just how troubled is Yahoo? Nine months ago, the woman who was to be anointed Yahoo’s latest saviour couldn’t even remember its name. At the Computer History Museum in January, Marissa Mayer took questions. “In 1999, who were Google’s competitors in the search space?” one person asked. Mayer approached the question as if it were a parlour game and she were being asked to name the seven dwarves. She screwed up her face and began counting on her fingers: “Oh, let’s see. AltaVista. Lycos. Infoseek. Dogpile. Ask Jeeves. GoTo.” Here she stopped and paused. For two full beats, she was stuck. And then: “Oh! Yahoo!” Mayer laughed. She has a husky voice, but her laugh is pure dork, a hybrid of giggle and snort. “That’s embarrassing.”

So far, despite a vow of “radical transparency”, Mayer has revealed very few specific plans to revitalise the company. Trained at Google – where the ethos is to launch products early and often, then fix them later – Mayer is expected to break through the bureaucratic layers that have ossified at Yahoo and draw fresh talent, especially into the ranks of engineers. “Tech people respect her,” says Sarah Milstein, a social-media consultant. It would not be an exaggeration to say that the most optimistic Yahoos hope that with her technical chops and her celebrity heat, Mayer can somehow transform drab Yahoo into thrilling Google.

So far, however, investors are less impressed. On her hiring, the stock price barely budged. “I guarantee you 100 per cent that if you put Mark Zuckerberg in that job, the stock price would have gone up,” says Eric Ries. On the day after her son’s birth, the value of the shares actually fell.

Over the past few years, Mayer has transformed herself from a woman who looked, dressed and talked like a graduate student into a femme-bot tech exec deserving of a spread in Vogue. Indeed, Mayer’s true genius lies in the constant cultivation of her own celebrity via new iterations of her geek-girl persona.

Mayer is the most fashion-conscious executive in Silicon Valley, a place where fashion hardly matters. She continues to insist that she’s just a geek, even as she pays $60,000 at an auction to have lunch with Oscar de la Renta. Last year, at a Fortune cover shoot, Mayer was photographed in three simple outfits, all suitable office wear. But she wanted to be shot in an Alexander McQueen gown she happened to have with her. And in September, on the day after Yahoo completed the first stage of the Alibaba sale, Mayer tweeted a photo of herself at the opening night of the San Francisco Symphony, wearing a maternity gown by “my friend and brilliant designer Erdem”.

She travels the San Francisco party circuit and hosted President Obama at her house for a fund-raiser, but in 2009 she protested to The New York Times that she was “not a girl about town”, saying she spent her weekends playing with electronics. Before audiences at Google headquarters, she has interviewed Lady Gaga and Martha Stewart.

This newest version of Marissa, the mum-geek-CEO, will surely test Mayer’s powers, for she’s playing to a tougher crowd, one that won’t be placated by tweets, Manolos and rapturous praise for pineapple malts. Scrutinising her every move are the rest of Yahoo’s activist board, 11 (mostly) men who will surely fire her if she can’t bring up the company’s share price. And back at home there’s Baby Boy Bogue, eventually named Macallister, who doesn’t care about anything except when he next gets fed.

Edited version of an article that originally appeared in New York Magazine.

Lead-in photograph by Art Streiber/August/Raven & Snow.

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The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.

PROPERTY: Sales

POPULAR: 89 Tooke Street, Cooks Hill, sold for $1.04 million. BLIND BUY: 1/2a Beverley Crescent, New Lambton Heights, was bought unseen.
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It is a rare event when a buyer walks into an on-site auction and becomes the successful bidder without having seen the property before, let alone doing due diligence such as pest and building.

Raine & Horne Newcastle agent Josh Manna said he had just that scenario play out recently when he auctioned a two-bedroom townhouse at 1/2a Beverley Crescent, New Lambton Heights.

The buyer bought the property at auction without ever seeing it before, paying $337,000 on the fall of the hammer.

‘‘There were five registered bidders,’’ Mr Manna said.

‘‘He had missed out on a property that morning; he walked in and had a quick look and was ready to go.

‘‘It happens once in a blue moon. Hence the reason we do auctions, because anything can happen.’’

Mr Manna also sold 383 Glebe Road, Merewether, prior to its scheduled auction last weekend for $492,500.

He said vendors sold prior to auction if the money was right and the offer was unconditional.

‘‘It was pretty much what the owner was happy with,’’ he said.

The Glebe Road property was one of 18 scheduled for auction last weekend, as reported to Australian Property Monitors.

Of those, another five sold prior to auction and four sold under the hammer – a clearance rate of 55.55per cent.

Another sold prior was Elbrook – the Bar Beach house belonging to Knights chief executive Matt Gidley and his wife Larissa, which fetched $1.76 million through PRDnationwide agent George Rafty.

Mr Rafty also squared away two others prior to last Saturday’s scheduled auctions – 16 Pindari Close, Charlestown, for $745,000 and 89 Tooke Street, Cooks Hill, for $1.04 million.

The large number of properties sold prior could indicate a willingness by vendors or buyers to get a deal settled before Christmas, considering it can be difficult to find solicitors and conveyancers over the Christmas/January holiday period.

But George Rafty said he didn’t believe it was just the run-up to Christmas motivating buyers,citing a busy market over the past six months.

‘‘Ever since March, it has been incredibly busy – as busy as I have seen it,’’ he said.

‘‘We had a record month last month of sales, there has been other big months this year, but last month was the biggest.’’

He said numbers at open houses were very strong.

There were more than 20 attendees at first inspections and some properties sold at the first open home, for instance.

‘‘Although the [first-home owners] grant has lapsed, we are still getting a lot of people looking at that cheaper end of the market,’’ Mr Rafty said.

He said confidence was now also flowing into the mid- and upper-range markets as well.

People in the upper end of the market believed, he said, that now was the time to be buying.

Obeid associate ‘told to lie’ to journalist

Eddie Obeid … associate “told to lie” to journalist.The Obeid family instructed an associate to lie to The Sydney Morning Herald, a corruption inquiry has heard.
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Justin Kennedy Lewis, who runs the courier company Yellow Express, told the Independent Commission Against Corruption that when he received an email from the Herald journalist Anne Davies in May 2010, he took it straight to the Obeids’ business headquarters at Birkenhead Point in Sydney.

The sons of the ALP powerbroker Eddie Obeid, at the time a member of the upper house, took it upon themselves to lie to Ms Davies.

“There’s a few truths in there, and a couple of lies as well,” he said of his emailed reply.

Mr Lewis told the ICAC that the Obeids instructed Mr Lewis to say that he did not know there was coal under his property when he purchased it in 2008.

Giving evidence today, Davies said that when she rang Eddie Obeid in 2010 while researching her article, Mr Obeid said that if he had known there was going to be an exploration licence over his property in Bylong, “I wouldn’t have bought it”.

His son Moses Obeid told Davies the family was intending to “fight off” the potential coal miners The inquiry has heard Mr Lewis bought his property in November 2008 for $3.5 million but on the same day, he was entering into a deal with the Obeids to on-sell it to a coal mining company for $17 million.

When asked why he had agreed to give the Obeids 30 per cent of the profit from the sale, he replied: “If they made me a whole bunch of money, I’d be happy to give them an earn.”

The commission is examining the circumstances under which the Obeid family used inside information from a government coal licence tender to enrich themselves to the tune of $100 million.

Evidence has been given that the Obeids and two of their associates, including Mr Lewis, bought farms in the Bylong Valley knowing that Mr Obeid’s colleague Ian Macdonald, the then mining minister, was going to announce a coal licence over their properties.

Mr Lewis admitted today that he did have prior knowledge from the Obeids that there might be a coal licence granted over the land. However, he maintained that his primary interest was still farming. Mr Lewis prompted laughter when he was asked about the kind of cattle he wanted to run on his Bylong property. The kind that “walk around and eat grass”, he said. And of farming in general, he offered: “To my way of thinking, how hard could it be?”

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.

Icy dives find light in Antarctic depths

Light fantastic … images captured by the remote camera. Frozen world … vision from beneath the Southern Ocean.
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Australia’s Antarctic researchers have taken a rare look at the luminous world under the polar sea ice, and brought it home.

A remotely operated underwater vehicle was sent into the frozen depths of the Southern Ocean about 3400 kilometres south-west of Hobart to find vibrant light under the jumbled pack ice. It came back with an abstract artist’s palette of blues and greens.

“The ROV’s icy dives transported us into a different world,” the voyage’s science leader, Klaus Meiners, of the Australian Antarctic Division, said in Hobart on Friday.

On the late-winter voyage the icebreaker Aurora Australis punched into the ice and stayed fixed while researchers fanned out to gather data.

They drilled a hole in the ice beside the ship to lower the ROV through, then operated it by a joystick as its cameras took them on an under-ice ride.

“The subsurface of the ice was like a badly eroded mountain range, with Antarctic krill and patchy areas of algae,” Dr Meiners said.

Satellite observation by the British Antarctic Survey and NASA recently showed the Antarctic sea ice was expanding slightly, in contrast to the Arctic’s dramatic loss.

More powerful winds accompanying climate change appear to be blowing the ice away from Antarctica’s coastline in some areas.

But Dr Meiners said climate models predicted sea ice in Antarctica could decline by 35 per cent in volume by the end of the century.

“So understanding the distribution of sea ice algae will enable us to assess the impacts of climate change on the Antarctic marine ecosystems into the future,” he said.

The researchers also used a high-volume water pump to capture live krill for the division’s aquarium in Hobart.

“Most krill research has been conducted on adult krill during the Antarctic summer and only a few studies have focused on the larval stages during winter,” AAD krill aquarium manager, Rob King, said.

This time the ice pack also caught the Aurora Australis, holding it for 10 days before the ship was able to punch itself free and return to Hobart.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.

Mariner makes play for surfwear brand Globe

Corporate investment group Mariner has made a $19.7 million scrip takeover bid for struggling surfwear group Globe only two days after the surfwear group received a second strike against its remuneration report which spilt the board.
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Mariner told the Australian Securities Exchange today that it had the offer to the Globe board, offering 47.5 cents per share for each Globe share, totalling $19.7 million for the company’s 41.463 million shares.

However, the offer is not a cash bid. Mariner will offer 5 fully paid Mariner shares for every 4 fully paid Globe ordinary shares. Based on the closing prices of Mariner and Globe shares yesterday, Mariner said its offer represented a 21.8 per cent premium to the Globe closing price of 39 cents on November 15.

Globe shares were unchanged at 39 cents this morning.

Mariner said in a statement to the Australian Securities Exchange today it was making the offer because Globe had performed poorly for many years and it believed there was appetite among Globe shareholders for a change.

It said by converting their stock to Mariner shares Globe investors had the opportunity to become part of a growing and successful Australian investment company.

“Mariner’s objective is to become a substantial shareholder of Globe, seek board representation and implement strategies to bridge the gap between Globe’s NTA and Globe’s current share price,” the company said.

Globe’s NTA was $26.5 million at June 30 against a market capitalisation of $16.6 million.

“Mariner has a proven track record,” the company said in its statement.

“We create value for Mariner shareholders by driving change in the companies in which we invest. Investors who want to unlock value for their Globe shareholding should become Mariner shareholders.”

Globe chief executive Matthew Hill and his brothers Peter and Stephen hold a 67.8 per cent stake in the company and will be the key to the takeover’s success or failure. Globe has yet to release a statement on the scrip takeover offer from Mariner.

It has been a troubled time for Globe and its major shareholders, the Hill family.

On Wednesday retail billionaire Solomon Lew and fund manager Kidder Williams triggered a spill of the Globe board at its annual meeting after voting against its remuneration report for a second consecutive year. Mr Lew has a 5.9 per cent stake in the company and Kidder Williams holds 2.3 per cent.

Globe’s net profit fell to only $62,000 last financial year, down 95 per cent from $1.09 million in the previous year. Revenue was down slightly to $83 million.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.

Manufacturing not dead, just dieting

Here’s a surprise: amid all the headlines about the demise of Australian manufacturing at the hands of our strong currency, militant unions, interfering governments, poor productivity and the solar eclipse, employment in the manufacturing sector actually grew in the year to the end of August.
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What’s more, productivity also has been improving and is now running at a bit above the average of recent years – admittedly faint praise. It still adds up to the standard liturgy chanted by the high priests of business being as dangerously outdated as the Catholic Church’s celibacy and men-only rules.

The accompanying graph from the Reserve Bank’s quarterly statement on monetary policy showing growth in the manufacturing workforce is indeed a surprise, running against a decade-long trend of falling employment as manufacturing slipped from being the nation’s number one employer to fourth place. It also is a minor exception to the general rule of a weakening labour market, especially for males.

“Total male employment has been little changed over the past two years, and the ratio of male employment to male working-age population has fallen to around the same level as its trough in mid 2009,” observes the RBA. “This has coincided with a decline in the participation rate of both prime working-age males and males aged 15 to 24 years. Consistent with this, employment has been particularly soft in male-dominated industries such as construction and transport, postal & warehousing. In contrast, female employment has grown in line with the female working-age population in recent years.”

What the graph also shows is the diversity of our labour market, that we are not the one-trick pony – or mine site – that popular media and the more hysteric commentary sometimes pretends.

The non-resources construction industry has had the worst of it, with the slowdown in building activity wiping out about 7 per cent of that industry’s jobs. Various governments hitting their fiscal walls with staff reductions are having the predictable result in the public administration sector and even mining “recorded a small decline in the three months to August, its first quarterly decline since mid 2009”.

On the other hand: “Employment growth has remained relatively strong in a number of business and household services industries, including professional services, health care and education. Recent data also suggest that manufacturing employment has increased slightly over the past year after falling sharply during the first half of 2011.”

That increase is indeed slight in light of the previous falls, but at the fall in manufacturing employment has outpaced manufacturing output: our productivity has lifted as manufacturers who want to survive have invested in best-practice machinery and smaller, more-skilled workforces. Manufacturing sector private capital investment rose in the last financial year.

The days of less-than-best-practice manufacturing are over and gone in Australia and even with the best machinery, the reality of being an expensive country undergoing massive restructuring is painful and financially dangerous. But we’re also doing better than indicated by the steady diet of headlines about job losses here and factory closures there. You never have to worry about missing out on bad news, but you have to search for the good.

That good doesn’t change the softened outlook, particularly with the working age population growth picking up again. The RBA summarises it thus:

“Labour market conditions continue to vary across states. Trend employment growth has slowed in Western Australia and Victoria since earlier in the year. In Queensland, the level of employment has fallen since the start of 2012, while it appears to have stabilised in South Australia and Tasmania.

Employment growth has picked up a little in New South Wales from the low levels seen earlier in the year.

“Leading indicators of labour demand have generally remained subdued, and point to only modest employment growth in coming months. The ANZ job advertisements series fell for the seventh consecutive month in October, to be around 15 per cent lower over the year. In contrast, the ABS measure of job vacancies increased in the three months to August, though this only partly reversed a fall in the previous three months. Reports from the bank’s liaison suggest that businesses in many industries are cautious about hiring more staff.”

Michael Pascoe is a BusinessDay contributing editor.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.

Shane Watson named in squad for Second Test

Shane Watson celebrates taking Darren Bravo’s wicket earlier this year.Injured all-rounder Shane Watson has just under a week to prove he has overcame a calf injury after being provisionally named in Australia’s 2nd-Test squad.
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The vice-captain has missed Australia’s past seven home Tests due to injury. Despite his inclusion in the 13-man squad, he is far from certain to return at Adelaide Oval against South Africa because selectors have made it clear they need him to be able to bowl as well as bat.

Batsman Rob Quiney, who came into the Test team for Watson in Brisbane and even had to assume some of his bowling duties, held his place.

Chief selector John Inverarity said Watson was making good progress in his recovery but warned it was “too early to determine if he will be fit to come under consideration for selection”.

The bowler passed over for the recent Gabba Test, NSW left-armer Mitch Starc, kept his place in the squad. Starc pressed his claims for inclusion into the team with a four-wicket haul for the Blues against Victoria in the rain-affected Sheffield Shield match at the SCG.

South Africa will make at least one change for the match due to J.P. Duminy’s series-ending Achilles tendon injury. Batting all-rounder Dean Elgar has replaced Duminy in the squad but the Proteas 12th man from Brisbane, Faf du Plessis, is expected to be chosen ahead of him.

Leg-spinner Imran Tahir is also likely to earn a recall, probably for seamer Rory Kleinveldt.

Australian players are currently in their home cities but will reconvene in Adelaide on Sunday, with the match to begin on Thursday.

The three-match series is currently at 0:0 after the opening Test was drawn at the Gabba. Despite that result, Inverarity said selectors were encouraged by the performance of the team, especially due to its “indifferent opening day”.

“They were put under pressure early, but showed great composure to not only regroup but then put considerable pressure on South Africa,” he said.

Selectors have yet to decide whether tall NSW seamer Josh Hazlewood, a shadow member of the squad in Brisbane, will reprise that role in Adelaide.

SQUAD: Michael Clarke (c), Ed Cowan, Ben Hilfenhaus, Mike Hussey, Nathan Lyon, James Pattinson, Ricky Ponting, Rob Quiney, Peter Siddle, Mitch Starc, Matthew Wade, David Warner, Shane Watson.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.

Heart joins growing queue to secure Beckham

Fox Sports tweets Beckhams’ iminent announcement. Soccer Superstar David Beckham from L.A Galaxy trains at Carltons home ground in Melbourne before his game against Melbourne Victory.
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David Beckham pleases the kids, in Newcastle, November 2010.

MELBOURNE Heart and Perth Glory are the first of two A-League clubs to have formally registered an interest in bidding for superstar David Beckham after it was confirmed that the former England captain was interested in continuing his career in the A-League.

Western Sydney Wanderers and Brisbane Roar, the defending A-League champion, are also reckoned to be potential candidates to snare his signature.

Lou Sticca, the Melbourne-based sports management consultant who has close links with Beckham’s management team through his business dealings with LA Galaxy, is the point man in Australia for any deal. Sticca negotiated to bring Galaxy out to Melbourne last year when Beckham played against Melbourne Victory at Etihad Stadium.

Football Federation Australia has confirmed that it has received an approach from an agent representing Beckham’s management ”in relation to an A-League club acquiring Beckham’s services in season 2012-13”.

FFA says ”discussions are at an early stage and FFA is exploring the options available”.

While Melbourne Heart immediately threw its hat in the ring – chief executive Scott Munn talked of the club offering the superstar equity in the team and the chance to leave a legacy by having some ”skin in the game” – the league’s biggest team, Victory, quickly ruled itself out.

Coach Ange Postecoglou said he would not be pursuing the ex-Manchester United and AC Milan star.

”That’s great if he is [interested in playing in Australia]. Would we be interested? No.”

With Sydney FC already hosting the biggest name in the A-League, Alessandro Del Piero, the Wanderers suddenly loom as a far more realistic option for Beckham.

Also on the Wanderers’ side is that the FFA owns the club – meaning that the money could come directly from chairman Frank Lowy.

Brisbane would also be in the mix because it’s believed its billionaire owners, the Bakrie Group, would see Beckham as the ideal way to put Brisbane Roar on the map globally – and to fill out the 52,500-seat Suncorp Stadium, something it has only ever done when hosting the grand final.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.

GALLERY: The week in focus

A collection of the best images captured by Newcastle Herald photographers during the past week.
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Rehearsal for the play A Christmas Carol. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Hunter Valley Gardens opens its Christmas lights display. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

The Baby Animals at A Day On The Green. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Headliners The Hoodoo Gurus at A Day On The Green. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Roz Holme of Cedar Creek Wombat Rescue. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Long-table charity lunch for Soul Cafe. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

The Orange Tree Tapas Bar, Maitland. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

NSW Wheelchair Rugby League. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Ben Kennedy and James Virgili re-sign with the Jets. Picture: Ryan Osland

Angie Di Lorenzo with foster dog Misty. Picture: Ryan Osland

Beach volleyball match at Nobbys Beach. Picture: Dean Osland

Renovators Karstan Smith, Maxine Stokes and their dog, Duke. Picture: Dean Osland

Ann-Maree Putney, who is off to represent Australia for a 12th time. Picture: Simone de Peak

Womens All Star Rugby League representative Nakia Davis-Welsh with her dad Paul Davis. Picture: Simone de Peak

Elly-Rose Okeno and Taylor Scanlon with a disco ball at the Morisset PCYC. Picture: Simone de Peak

Westpac Rescue Helicopter arrives at John Hunter Hospital. Picture: Simone de Peak

Newcastle Herald cartoonist Peter Lewis with Jerry Ray. Picture: Marina Neil

Nippers event at Blacksmiths Beach. Picture: Marina Neil

Nippers event at Blacksmiths Beach. Picture: Marina Neil

James Brown and Taylor Regan clash at Jets training. Picture: Peter Stoop

Scene of fatal collision near Muswellbrook. Picture: Peter Stoop

Riding for the Disabled volunteer Michelle Bullen with Rider of the Year Jordan Brown and Horse of the Year, Wedge. Picture: Peter Stoop

Hot chips at Nobbys Beach. Picture: Peter Stoop

Ozzy Towers at the SIDS Car Cruise. Picture: Peter Stoop

Champion archer Laura Salter. Picture: Peter Stoop

Australia’s Marlboro Man, Bruce Adams. Picture: Peter Stoop

PROPERTY: Snippets

Stage one land is now available in Apple Tree Grove Estate at West Wallsend.
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A development by Roche Group, which owns Hunter Valley Gardens, the estate has been designed in keeping with the turn-of-the-century character of the West Wallsend village.

Land is being offered off the plan and work is expected to be completed on the site in May or June 2013.

At present the land is not registered, which gives buyers the opportunity to buy on a 10 per cent deposit with nothing more to be paid until registration is complete, allowing them more time to save.

For sale through LJ Hooker Belmont agent Rob O’Brien and Street Property Group agent Pat Mitchell , first-home buyers are taking advantage of the state government’s incentive to

buy and build a new home in the estate as they receive a grant of $15,000 plus the added bonus of exemption from stamp duty.

A Woolworths Shopping Centre, 40 specialty shops and a Harrigan’s Irish Pub will be constructed on George Booth Drive near Withers Street, about one kilometre from the site. Mr Mitchell said interest in the estate had been very strong, with 15 blocks of land sold within the first two weeks.

Lots are priced from $119,000 and are open for inspection today and tomorrow at Appletree

Road, West Wallsend, from 1pm to 2pm.

Holiday retreat for sale

LANDMARK Dungog property Crooks Park, arguably one of the Hunter’s most significant rural properties, is for sale.

The asking price is $2.75 million for the circa-1873 homestead.

On Clarence Town Road, Crooks Park is the original estate of early pastoralist James Hooke. Hooke family members are believed to be the first European settlers in the district.

The property has two residences and is on 85 hectares with stunning views and more than one-kilometre frontage to the Williams River.

Marketed as an executive holiday retreat, the extensively renovated and restored main house has five bedrooms, two bathrooms and wide, covered verandahs on the northern, southern and eastern sides.

Set in manicured lawns and delightful gardens, anin-ground swimming pool and clay tennis court offer excellent entertainment options.

A fully restored original dairy (1832) next to the homestead serves as a wine cellar.

Set away from the homestead, Bagnall’s Cottage is a four-bedroom weatherboard and iron home with 3.5-star accommodation.

The property has a carrying capacity of 50 breeders. There are three dams plus a 120-megalitre irrigation licence, delivering water to all 12 paddocks.

It is for sale through McElwaine Hunter Valley agent Natasha McElwaine.

History made here

HISTORIC Stroud property Peach Trees is for sale.

The 97-hectare property is nestled in the sought-after Mill Creek Valley and was originally part of the Australian Agricultural Company’s land grant from the NSW government.

Peach Trees was also the subject of the book, The Letters of Rachel Henning, which gave a personal day-to-day account of living in the 1800s in Australia.

On the market for $990,000 through R&R Propertyagent Denise Haynes, 1140 Mill Creek Road has a three-bedroom weatherboard home. Mill Creek flows along one boundary.

An attached portion of the house was one of the original dwellings and would be perfect as a guesthouse or artist’s studio.

Ms Haynes said the property could carry about 64 cows plus calves and two bulls.

Solid cattleyards plus RPM vet crush and calf cradle, shedding and good fencing are also on the property.

There is DA approval to subdivide the land into two lots.

Grand terrace on market

ONE of The Hill’s quintessential grand Victorian terraces will go to auction early next month.

The first open house will be held today at 24 The Terrace, at 11.15am.

The five-bedroom, two-bathroom, brick-and-tile house on more than 314 square metres is the

home of the University of Newcastle’s Laureate Professor Rob Sanson-Fisher, recognised this year by the Cancer Institute NSW for his cancer prevention work.

Overlooking King Edward Park, the two-storey terrace has original details, a beautiful faux marble fireplace, a large formal dining room, high patterned ceilings and large rooms.

Set back off the street with a private courtyard garden, there is also side access allowing entrance to the rear garden.

It will be auctioned on site at 10am on December 8 through Sonia Walkom, of Walkom Real Estate, and George Rafty, of PRDnationwide. Offers over $1million are expected.

Federation beauty

A GORGEOUS Federation classic in Mayfield formerly owned by Harriett Winn, of the Arnott’s-Winn family, is for sale.

Named Bencluna, the three-bedroom brick house at 120 Hanbury Street, Mayfield, positioned on an elevated corner block of 677 square metres has a return verandah, kauri pine polished floors, open fireplaces, 11-foot ornate ceilings and picture rails.

It is for sale for $588,500 through Robinson Property agent Mike Flook.

The property is open today from 1.30pm to 2pm.

NOSTALGIC: Appletree Grove Estate will be developed along the lines of a turn-of-the-century village. Fifteen blocks have already been sold off the plan.

GETAWAY: Crooks Park, Clarence Town Road, Dungog.

FRUITY: 1140 Mill Creek Road, Stroud.

GRAND: 24 The Terrace, The Hill.

BENCLUNA: 120 Hanbury Street, Mayfield.