Marking the border

There are some places in the world where you barely know that you’re crossing a border – even an international one – such as when driving on the M1/A1 between Dublin and Belfast in the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom respectively. The only indication that you’ve crossed into another country is a road sign stating that speed limits are now expressed in miles per hour or kilometres per hour, depending on which direction you’re travelling. There are historical and political reasons for this, of course.

Australian state borders, on the other hand, tend to be clearly marked. Within the twin towns of Tweed Heads NSW and Coolangatta QLD, apart from the usual signs, there is the following marker on Boundary Street.

NSW–Queensland border marker, Boundary Street

The majority of people crossing the border, however, bypass the towns and instead see this abstract sculpture on the M1 Pacific Motorway.

NSW–Queensland border, M1

I suppose it has to be obvious, in case the poorly designed Queensland road signs (one of which is visible above) don’t clue you in to the fact that you’ve crossed the border!

How not to get elected

Ballots closed recently for the Pharmacy Council of New South Wales 2013 election. Voting as a registered pharmacist in NSW, I was only familiar with a few of the candidates and so had to rely on the Candidate Information Sheet that was sent out. I’ve reproduced page 4 below (de-identified)…

Page 4, Candidate Information Sheet, Pharmacy Council of NSW election 2013

The nomination paperwork clearly indicated that the “candidate information” section would be reproduced exactly as submitted… The candidate at the top of the page did not get elected.

Outdoor smoking bans in NSW

Amendments to the Smoke-free Environment Act 2000 (NSW) will come into force next week, further restricting tobacco smoking in public areas in New South Wales.

Smoking is already banned in enclosed public areas in NSW.

From 7 January 2013, smoking will also be banned in the following outdoor places:

  • within 10 metres of children’s play equipment in outdoor public places
  • public swimming pools
  • spectator areas of sports venues
  • public transport stops/platforms (including bus stops and taxi ranks)
  • within 4 metres of entrances to public buildings

Furthermore, from 6 July 2015 smoking will also be banned in commercial outdoor dining areas (i.e. al fresco).

Australia is a world leader in tobacco harm reduction. It’s good to see further action being taken to protect public health through reducing exposure to second-hand smoke.

More information: health.nsw.gov.au/tobacco/Pages/smokefree-areas-faq.aspx

NAPSA Congress Sydney 2008

I was asked to take the official photo for the National Australian Pharmacy Students’ Association (NAPSA) Congress 2008, this year hosted by the Sydney University Pharmacy Association (SUPA) – both organisations with which I have had a fair bit of involvement over the years.

NAPSA Congress Sydney 2008 official photo
NAPSA Congress Sydney 2008 official congress photo
(click on image for full-size version)

To achieve this image, I borrowed a Canon EF-S 10–22mm f/3.5–4.5 USM ultrawide zoom lens from a friend and performed a perspective correction during post-processing in Adobe Photoshop. A commercial Fujifilm Frontier Digital Minilab was used to prepare 30 cm x 20 cm prints, which were distributed to congress delegates.

It was also a great honour to have had the opportunity on the day to meet Her Excellency Professor Marie Bashir, Governor of New South Wales and Chancellor of the University of Sydney. As an adolescent psychiatrist, Professor Bashir is highly regarded amongst medical students at Sydney Medical School and I found, during our conversation, that her reputation is indeed very much deserved.

Update (10 Feb 2008): Full-size NAPSA Congress Sydney 2008 photo now available for download.

Alphanumeric route numbering in NSW

A couple of months ago I noticed new A2 route markers at various points on Old Windsor Road (and M2 markers on some of the signs on the Hills Motorway), replacing the hexagonal Metroad 2 markers.

A2 route marker
A2 route marker at the intersection of Norwest Blvd and Old Windsor Rd

The new alphanumeric numbering system replaces the existing mixture of Metroad, State and National route markers in NSW. It’s based on the British system where the letter denotes the road category and the number designates the route. Interestingly, this means that both the Sydney–Newcastle “F3” Freeway and Southern “F6” Freeway will be designated M1.

Metroad 2 transition to M2 and A2

The Westlink Motorway was the first major length of road in NSW to use the new system when it opened in 2005, being signposted with M7 alphanumeric markers, but the rest of Metroad 7 retains the previous designation for now.

M7 route marker
M7 route marker on Norwest Blvd (note the Metroad 2 marker in the background)

According to Ozroads, the transition to alphanumeric route numbering in NSW has been underway since 2004 – particularly in rural areas – with other states (except WA) mostly in more advanced stages of transition. I think that the new road numbering system is great because it provides more road information to drivers, while reducing potential confusion through rationalisation and national standardisation of route markers.

Update (May 2014): Statewide implementation of alphanumeric route numbers was completed during 2013 (along with further rationalisation and renumbering of routes). To avoid potential confusion with M1, the Sydney–Newcastle Freeway and Southern Freeway were renamed Pacific Motorway and Princes Motorway respectively.