“Off the Cuff” with Entrepreneur, Greg Nicholls

Greg Nicholls

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA—Nicholls Technologies managing director, Greg Nicholls, has a passion for taking new and innovative products & services to market. His insatiable curiosity and entrepreneurial skills have led him to build multiple start-ups in Australia since emigrating in 1997. These include Australian Graphic Supplies, Xanita, Triga Systems, Virtualize and of late, Lifdek— wood-free, corrugated fiberboard pallets which assemble in 30 seconds. JournoNews chats with Greg.

My secret pleasure is … unplugging and going for a kneeboard surf.

My first job was … Emergency Paramedic.

My most annoying habits are … checking email before breakfast.

Sardinia Bay

A clear childhood memory is … fishing in crystal clear gulleys at Sardinia Bay, Port Elizabeth.

What makes me really nervous is … fear of failure.

The best advice my parents gave me was … The Lord is my Shepherd.

If I wasn’t an entrepreneur, I’d be … sailing around the world.

I’m most thankful for … my beautiful wife and two children.

My favourite meal is … Seafood.

I know it’s good for me, but I hate … Cauliflower!

A book I love is … What would Google do?: Reverse-Engineering the Fastest Growing Company in the History of the World

A song that resonates is … U2 Beautiful Day

My ‘happy place’ is … anywhere in the ocean.

My most embarrassing memory is … stage fright in an interview with Peter Switzer.

My hidden skill is … African dancing.

If I was a dog, I’d be a … German shepherd.

It’s a bit corny but I love … being corny with my brothers.

I’m most at peace when … in the ocean.


Country I’d love to visit … Botswana.

Favourite quote … “Friction-free capitalism” by Bill Gates.



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Aussie, actually now in Kindle and Audible version

South African born, Lois Nicholls and her daughter Lara, have produced a book on the trials and tribulations of migrating to Australia from South Africa.

Called Aussie, actually, the book is an honest and humorous account of life as new Australians. “My intention was to relay our 12-year sojourn through a series of thoughts and anecdotes to help other migrants realise they are not alone.

People often assume the transition from one country to another is seamless, but there are many difficulties one encounters along the way. There are also many humorous episodes when misunderstanding language or cultural norms.
My Boston-born American sister-in-law lived in Australia for three years before returning to Los Angeles and found some of the Australian quirks very amusing. She couldn’t believe, for example, that people actually froze their chicken carcasses in summer so they didn’t propagate a bin full of maggots!” says Lois.
Lara illustrated each chapter with cartoons after she was given a brief outline of the content.“I’ve always loved drawing so my mum asked me to have a go at sketching some cartoons. It was great fun coming up with different drawings and I really enjoyed seeing my pictures when the book was printed.” says Lara.
Aussie, actually also captures the heartache of leaving familiar surroundings, family and friends to make a new start in a foreign country. Written from Lois’s personal perception as a young migrant wife and mother, it tells the warts and all story of the family’s journey.

“Some may say it’s too honest but from the feedback I’ve received so far, people have found it funny and poignant. Migrants of all nationalities have said they relate to the struggles and triumphs. They say they appreciate the honesty as so many people don’t speak about their tribulations – they put on a brave face.” says Lois.

A NEW updated eBook edition with five extra chapters, is now available on Amazon.

It’s also available on Audible.com

Aussie, actually, was originally published by Impact Unlimited Books in Australia in 2008 – www.loisnicholls.com.au

“Off the Cuff” with visionary, Tich Smith

COTTONLANDS, KZN―Former Natal rugby player and cricketer for Natal and South Africa, Tich Smith and his wife, Joan, are the founders of Lungisisa Indlela Village (LIV) in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa. LIV  is a place of hope and restoration for orphaned children and continues to transform young lives in a mighty way. Tich shares his human side with JournoNews.

My secret pleasure is … reading the Bible and spending time with my grand-children.

My first job was … packing books at Adams Book Shop for R60 per month.

My most annoying habits are … speaking harshly to other people when I don’t really mean it.

A clear childhood memory is … scoring my first 100 in a cricket match when I was seven.

What makes me really nervous is … preaching the Word of God.

The best advice my parents gave me was … to treat others how you would like to be treated.

If I wasn’t a visionary, I’d be … dead.

I’m most thankful for … God’s saving grace and mercy upon my life.

My favourite meal is … fish, salad and rice.

I know it’s good for me, but I hate … people who are so perfect, thorough and pedantic but I know I need them more than anything.

A book I love is … Father To The Fatherless: The Charles Mulli Story and Out of the Black Shadows: The Amazing Transformation of Stephen Lungu

A song that resonates is … ‘Jesus, you are my friend’ (sung by the children at the Village).

My ‘happy place’ is … LIV Village.

My most embarrassing memory is … going into the record books as one of the few first class cricketers that got a ‘pair’ and only faced one ball.

(A ‘pair’ in cricket refers to when a batsman is dismissed without scoring in either innings)

My hidden skill is … don’t have any …

If I was a dog, I’d be a … Labrador.

It’s a bit corny but I love … my wife, Joanie.

I’m most at peace when … I’m in the quiet place with my Father (God).

Country I’d love to visit …  Australia.

Favourite quote … “I’m a little pencil in the hand of a writing God, who is sending a love letter to the world.” – Mother Theresa







Mother Theresa

Dynamic Decorator launches in Brisbane

Interior decorator, Nicci Freeman, has launched her Brannic Interiors website in Australia.

With her years of experience working for a range of clients in South Africa, Nicci brings an exciting new element to Brisbane’s interior decorating scene.

Her love of fabrics and textures, and above all, her ability to transform a home into a sumptuous haven is a hallmark of her creativity.

Whatever your requirement – renovating, starting a room from scratch or simply needing decorating advice – remotely via email or through a personal consultation, visit www.brannicinteriors.com.au

Ph: 0413 445 628 (Australia), +61 413 445 628 (International)
Email: info@brannicinteriors.com.au
Twitter: www.twitter.com/niccifreeman
Facebook: Brannic Interiors


It’s the season for ticks

 Tarna in her paralyzed state, days after being bitten by an Australian paralysis tickWildlife of Greater Brisbane manual, removal should be with ‘fine forceps’. The idea is to grip hold of the head and ‘ease it out’. Squeezing should be avoided as ‘this causes the tick to inject a large dose of saliva into the host body in its attempt to detach’.

My dog had been wearing a tick collar ever since moving to our acreage property.  It was, the vet assured, merely one of several deterrents including a two-weekly application of costly tick and flea repellent.

I watched anxiously as grumpy Leo became a helpless invalid. Paralysis sets in after several days of the tick feeding on the poor unsuspecting mutt. Our own dog seemed to have survived a tick one week prior—a dose of anti venom tick serum seemed to pull her through.

Then the next week, she failed to rise from her bed. Usually keenly interested in catching our chickens, or barking at the noisy early morning magpies that steal her food, she couldn’t even muster the energy to lift her head. Even breathing seemed difficult.

We headed off to the vet once more and our fears were realised—another tick, this time found large and engorged at the base of her back. I berated myself for not finding it but her thick coat had made my mission near impossible.

Paralysis Tick - Courtesy www.dog-world.com.au/images/Paraly8.jpgTicks can be totally elusive. A previous neighour’s dog became increasingly ill, and the vet couldn’t find the obvious cause—there were symptoms of paralysis but no tick could be found. Blood tests and expensive treatment was administered, all to no avail. The pooch was close to death. Finally, the vet searched one last time for a tick and found the offensive parasite in the gravely ill maltese poodle’s nose. Little Max miraculously survived but he was pretty close to death when the tick was discovered.

So noxious is the poison injected by the tick’s saliva, that it attacks every muscle in the body including the heart, bladder and bowel. On our first trip to the vet, a farm cattle dog—normally a robust breed—was lying immobile, unable to move a muscle.  The vet didn’t hold out much chance at all.

Our own dog continues to slowly recover—it took five days for her to empty her bladder on her own – prior to that she had to be carried and literally manually assisted. We anxiously await her first bowel movement. And there was great excitement when she gave an attempt at a hoarse bark early this morning.

Mostly, she lies inside sleeping on her bed, with the comforting lull of ABC Radio for company.

Dogs of her size are said to take six weeks to become active once more.

I take heart, however, that when I returned to the vet a week after the cattle dog’s admission, it had returned home.

“He survived—I really didn’t think he’d pull through,” admitted the vet, adding, “he surprised us all”.

Promising news—I hold out hope for our beloved pooch.

Just don’t warn the magpies.

Art on Cairncross

Jane Caraffi and Tony

Story fea­tured in Coun­try Style Mag­a­zine, 2009

Jane Caraffi grew up surrounded by books on art history and recalls being “dragged” around London galleries while her school friends were off on exciting holidays.

It was only much later, on the other side of the world, that she came to fully share her father’s passion for art and to open her own gallery, Art on Cairncross, in the south Queensland town of Maleny.

Jane describes her initial move to the area as “pure happenstance”. Having trained as a nurse, she began travelling and reached Queensland in 1993. When she settled in Maleny, art supplanted nursing as a preferred occupation and she found herself running a gallery.

A shared interest in photography introduced her to Tony Gill, a former hospitality worker who had also turned to gallery management in nearby Montville. The shared interests blossomed into romance and marriage — and when the opportunity arose to buy their new premises and combine forces, the decision was simple. Maleny’s physical attractions would have played a part.

Set in lush, tropical bushland on the Blackall Range, the little town has breathtaking views overlooking the hinterland to the Sunshine Coast. “Within 45 minutes, we can be sipping lattes in Noosa’s Hastings Street,” says Tony, then adds that the big-city attractions of Brisbane are a mere 90 minutes drive south.

But the traffic is far from one way, with many visitors stopping at Maleny. Two popular restaurants flank Art on Cairncross, and Jane and Tony have noticed that after a leisurely lunch, few tourists can resist popping in. Some even walk away with a painting — “It’s amazing what a couple of glasses of chardonnay can do,” says Tony with a laugh.

Jane Caraffi's Quote
The couple are passionate about the work they present and have developed strong relationships with its creators. The gallery has a stable of around 50 artists, many of whom live in the area. Nan Paterson is their doyenne, still — at 86 — producing exquisite oils and portraits to rival the two paintings she has hanging in the National Library of Australia.

Ceramicist Johanna de Maine is another local who has achieved national and international accolades, with one of her pieces being presented to Denmark’s Prince Frederik and Princess Mary as a wedding gift.

Aspiring to an international audience might have been futile in days gone by for a small regional Australian gallery. But as the internet shrinks the globe to a computer screen window, Art on Cairncross has built an impressive website that can connect with international buyers.

As Jane says, “The art produced in Australia is unique — there’s an incredible diversity of colour and clarity of light one doesn’t see in paintings anywhere else in the world.”


Art on Cairncross is at 3 Panorama Place, Cairncross Corner, Maleny, Queensland.

Telephone (07) 5429 6404 or visit Art on Cairncross

Copy­right © 2009 Lois Nicholls [Story fea­tured in Coun­try Style Mag­a­zine]