parramatta Archives - The Westies

Rebecca O’Hearn

Rebecca O'hearn Styling fabulous women over 45

Rebecca O’Hearn worked for many years on some on Australia’s best known magazines including FHM and Womens Day, with the publishing industry going mostly online Rebecca saw a gaping hole in the market and has started a blog – Smart. Casual. Classic. – which provides styling advice to women 45 and over. This is a demographic that is often overlooked, and yet is one of the fastest growing groups in the country – after working for many decades and now having adult children who are no longer dependent on them, these women have a bit of extra cash and most importantly, time to look after themselves.

Rebecca grew up in the West and now lives and runs her business in Parramatta. When she sent me a message prior to our chat, she started with “I love what you’re doing. I grew up in Toongabbie and am really excited to see the West being celebrated ” and so we instantly jumped at the chance to chat with someone who loves the place as much as we do.

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Usman Iftikhar – Catalysr

Usman Iftikhar

Not that many years ago, Usman Iftikhar migrated to Australia, completed his Masters in Engineering Management, graduating with honours. Despite a double degree and plenty of experience in his field, he was unable to find meaningful work and his dream of a better life started to fade with every can he stacked on a supermarket shelf.

With nothing to lose other than a string of unfulfilling casual jobs, Usman decided he needed to change tactic and create his own employment. He signed on to take part in an social enterprise incubator that saw the birth of Catalysr; a business that supports migrants and refugees to start their own business and gives them the tools to get it done. Not only has it changed Usmans path, it has now changed the path for a group of Migrapreneurs who are going on to create change and contribute to society in ways they never even considered before beginning their migrant journey to Australia.  

Last month Usman was awarded Commonwealth Young Person of the Year presented to him by everyone’s favourite prince, Harry. Usman recently chatted with The Westies about how starting a business that helps others has helped himself the most.

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Peter Curnovic – Beatdisc Records

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Surviving as a small business is tough. Surviving as an independent record store is close to impossible. Running that business for over twenty three years is nothing short of a miracle.

Peter Curnovic has been working at Beatdisc Records for over twenty three years and has just celebrated 10 years as owner. When you consider more than 60% of small businesses shut their doors within three years of opening and 80% in the first five, then add into the mix that Beatdisc Records is located in an area with no dedicated live music venues in an arcade that you are likely to never stumble across without some good directions, as far a statistics go you have a bit of a problem on your hands .

Chatting with Pete, it became clear that his passion for music and community are the well laid foundations that have kept him in a business that not only survives but thrives. Beatdisc is an institution that deserves to be celebrated at every turn. First, read the interview, then pay yourself a visit to the shop in Parramatta – directions are below. This is one well kept secret that we need to start shouting from the rooftops.  

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Julie Owens – Member for Parramatta

Julie Owens Same Sex

The right for same sex couples to marry passed in the senate last week and from January 9th it will be legal for all couples to wed. It’s taken a lot of arguments and completely avoidable hurt to get there. The Australian public were asked and returned a national decision of YES with 61.6% voting in favour of marriage equality.

However, when the results were broken down the majority of NO votes came from Western Sydney – which is simply no surprise whatsoever.  The result reflects what we already know – that many people who live in this area have strong religious beliefs, which include marriage being only between a man and a woman. While that is not the opinion of all people in Western Sydney, here it does reflect the majority.

A few days before the bill passed through parliament we spoke with Julie Owens, Member for Parramatta – who although her electorate returned a majority NO vote, chose to vote YES. Read on to find out why. 
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Lauren LaRouge – Nail Artist

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“Do what you love!” A sentence that is thrown around more than a cricket ball at a test match, however living in one of the world’s most expensive cities can mean having to take a job that you love less and despise more. Getting stuck in an office with grey walls, slogging away with zero creative inspiration led Lauren LaRouge to get creative and start bringing some colour to that drab office using her nails as tiny canvases. She has now managed to nail doing what she loves, literally. No longer confined to a boring office Lauren spends her days creating handfuls of artworks, taking nail art up a notch or ten.  

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ALL GIRL ELECTRONIC – THE PLOT

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All Girl Electronic is a program run by Information Cultural Exchange (ICE) in Parramatta, launched in 2016 to combat the lack of women in electronic music. The program has quickly ballooned from eight participants on their pilot program last year to twenty-eight girls who are benefitting from being mentored by an all-female team in an environment that is not only improving their skills but allowing self-esteem and confidence to soar. We chatted with program manager Julia and a couple of the participants Alex and Sara to find out why this program is so important and the opportunities it has opened up.

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DJ SOL – THE PLOT 2017

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At the age of 14, you will find most boys on the soccer field or in front of a computer screen but you’ll have to look behind the DJ booth to find DJ Sol, who has been mixing tracks since he was only nine years old. Surrounded by music from an early age, artists such as Michael Jackson and Timbaland have influenced DJ Sol who is now DJing house music with a level of maturity well beyond his age. The support of his parents and mentors, such as L-Fresh the Lion, have led to DJ Sol landing some impressive bookings, such as Splendour in the Grass and THE PLOT, back for the third year running later this month. You can catch DJ Sol playing on the local 2150 stage at THE PLOT on November 18th,  we caught up with him for a quick chat ahead of his gig.

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Toufick Chami – Meraki Merchants

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Meraki Merchants cafe has quickly become a favourite of The Westies, serving up Parramatta’s best coffee – yep, we called it-  and good quality simple food that never disappoints. Owner, cook and barista Toufick Chami is constantly experimenting and developing new additions to the menu, proving space is not something you need to make a delicious meal. In this small cafe a strong sense of wonder, a cup of ambition and a serving of friendly hospitality are the ingredients that make for a great cafe experience – that and the cakes (home baked by Toufick’s mum – YUM!)  Continue Reading

Danny Elacci

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After following the conventional (read safe) path of going to uni, getting a degree and then starting his own business in security, Danny Elacci decided it was time to follow is real passion. Acting – which had been something that attracted him since he was in school and after seeing a friend perform on stage – he changed direction and headed down the acting path with a bag of determination and healthy dose of life experience. With a short film that has just been screened at Cannes, a couple of feature international films in the works and most recently playing the role of Ali in Urban Theatre projects Home Country, Danny may have started later then some but is coming out leaps and bounds ahead of the rest.  Continue Reading

LIFE’S SWEET ON EAT STREET!

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Parramatta’s Eat Street is always a hub of activity over the weekend, with people spilling across crossings and out of restaurants onto streets, revelling in the weekend, the incredible mix of restaurants and the beautiful weather that we have been having lately. But you know what isn’t so great and picturesque? Car parks.

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