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The Outback Way Podcast
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The Outback Way Podcast

Author: Helen Lewis

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The Outback Way is Australia's longest shortcut spanning 2700km from Winton in western Queensland to Laverton in Western Australia. The Outback Way Podcast is your travel guide, history book and documentary series about the people, places and purpose of this great Australian roadtrip. There's truly something for everybody on The Outback Way: dinosaurs, art, treasure hunting, heritage and culture, all set against the backdrop of stunning natural landscapes. You'll learn what you need to prepare to have a safe trip, discover the events and attractions in the towns along the road, and hear the stories of locals and visitors alike. Buckle up as we take you on Australia's longest shortcut, a journey through the heart of Australia.
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In this episode, Helen chats with Adele Dyson from Caravanning with Kids, a website and online shop dedicated to sharing stories, tips and recommendations about caravanning with kids. Adele tells Helen how her family got started caravanning and why they started the website. There is now also two large Facebook groups, Aussie Big Lappers and Caravan Homemaker’s Hub which you can find via their Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/caravanningwithkids/ Adele shares some recommendations and suggestions for families travelling with kids, including some school options for kids when on the road, and advice for caravanning with pets too. Adele and Helen finish their discussion talking about top tips for people getting started caravanning with kids. Connect with Adele at https://www.caravanningwithkids.com.au/ or on Facebook or Instagram at @caravanningwithkidsau You can find all notes and links on our website, www.outbackway.org.au where you can subscribe to our newsletter, buy our guidebook and download the app if you haven't already. Join us on Facebook and Twitter @OutbackWay1 Send your questions, comments and travel stories to info@outbackway.org.au and if you share your story, we may even feature you on this podcast! Thank you for joining us through the heart of Australia, on Australia's longest short cut. The Outback Way Podcast is produced by Perk Digital.
In this episode of the Outback Way Podcast, Helen speaks with David Elliot, the Executive Chairman of the Australian Age of Dinosaurs in Winton. They discuss the history of how the museum came to be, after discovery of dinosaur fossils in the area, and the potential for regional Queensland and ongoing opportunities for the town of Winton. David tells us about the different types of fossils they’ve got and the work they are doing to develop it as a destination as Australia’s Natural History Museum, plus why the Outback Way is so important to them. There is also a short interview with 12-year-old Isobel at the end of the episode, who shares her experience visiting the Australian Age of Dinosaurs. Connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter @OutbackWay1 You can find all notes and links on our website, www.outbackway.org.au where you can subscribe to our newsletter, buy our guidebook and download the app if you haven't already. Join us on Facebook and Twitter @OutbackWay1 Send your questions, comments and travel stories to info@outbackway.org.au and if you share your story, we may even feature you on this podcast! Thank you for joining us through the heart of Australia, on Australia's longest short cut. The Outback Way Podcast is produced by Perk Digital.
In this episode, Helen chats to Laurinda Hill, the Manager of the Great Beyond Centre at Laverton in WA. They’ve had a brand new extension put onto the Visitor Information Centre and have really enhanced a lot of their tourism attractions over the last 18 months - 2 years. Laurinda updates us on the refurbishments and expansion of the centre, including the activities available now and the audio tour, the cafe and gift shop, the Explorers Hall of Fame and the interpretive garden that reflects the history of the region. Helen and Laurinda also discuss updates to events and attractions in Laverton generally, including the Aquatic Centre, the Historic Police Station complex, the history of outback graves, the Golden Quest Discovery Trail, the Laverton Art Galleries and Laverfest which will be in September. Content Warning, this episode does have a brief mention of suicide. If you or someone you know needs help, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14. Follow on Facebook and Instagram @TheGreatBeyondVisitorCentre or email greatbeyond@laverton.wa.gov.au Connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter @OutbackWay1 You can find all notes and links on our website, www.outbackway.org.au where you can subscribe to our newsletter, buy our guidebook and download the app if you haven't already. Join us on Facebook and Twitter @OutbackWay1 Send your questions, comments and travel stories to info@outbackway.org.au and if you share your story, we may even feature you on this podcast! Thank you for joining us through the heart of Australia, on Australia's longest short cut. The Outback Way Podcast is produced by Perk Digital.
The National Portrait Gallery is putting on an exhibition in Winton from 21st May 2022 to 21st of June. Helen speaks with Creator of Exhibitions for the National Portrait Gallery, Penny Grist about this significant exercise. Connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter @OutbackWay1 You can find all notes and links on our website, www.outbackway.org.au where you can subscribe to our newsletter, buy our guidebook and download the app if you haven't already. Join us on Facebook and Twitter @OutbackWay1 Send your questions, comments and travel stories to info@outbackway.org.au and if you share your story, we may even feature you on this podcast! Thank you for joining us through the heart of Australia, on Australia's longest short cut. The Outback Way Podcast is produced by Perk Digital.
In this episode, Helen has a great conversation with Alex Chalmers, one of the co-owners of Gemtree on the Plenty Highway. Gemtree is a mixed business, offering accommodation, gem fossicking and setting, tours and the famous Camp Over Dinners. Helen and Alex chat about the mix of visitors to Gemtree, both long term fossickers and interstate visitors, keen to experience fossicking. Alex shares what kind of stones you can find at Gemtree, about the tours, as well as what facilities are there for people to sort their stones and get jewellery made. Alex and Helen discuss the accommodation options for people to stay at Gemtree, including the great Camp Oven Dinners on Wednesday and Saturday night. Alex also shares about the history of his family and how they came to be at Gemtree as pioneering men and women. For more info go to Gemtree.com.au or call 08 8956 9855 or email gemtree@gemtree.com.au Connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter @OutbackWay1 You can find all notes and links on our website, www.outbackway.org.au where you can subscribe to our newsletter, buy our guidebook and download the app if you haven't already. Join us on Facebook and Twitter @OutbackWay1 Send your questions, comments and travel stories to info@outbackway.org.au and if you share your story, we may even feature you on this podcast! Thank you for joining us through the heart of Australia, on Australia's longest short cut. The Outback Way Podcast is produced by Perk Digital.
In this episode Helen has a chat to Julie Woodhouse, the Community Services Manager at Boulia in Western Qld, all about the updates and attractions in the town. A revitalised and refurbished Min Min Encounter is waiting for you to visit! Helen also shares some announcements, including the amazing news from February 2022 of an extra $678 million to complete the sealing of the Outback Way. Connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter @OutbackWay1 You can find all notes and links on our website, www.outbackway.org.au where you can subscribe to our newsletter, buy our guidebook and download the app if you haven't already. Join us on Facebook and Twitter @OutbackWay1 Send your questions, comments and travel stories to info@outbackway.org.au and if you share your story, we may even feature you on this podcast! Thank you for joining us through the heart of Australia, on Australia's longest short cut. The Outback Way Podcast is produced by Perk Digital.
In this episode, Helen shares the 7 Principals of the Leave No Trace approach to travelling the Outback Way, which is so important to protect our beautiful country for the future. There are many designated camping and caravanning sites along the length of the Outback Way and Helen lists them, as well as the Visitor Information Centre contact details for help planning your trip. The Visitor Information Centres on the Outback Way are: Laverton (08) 9031 1361; Yulara (08) 8957 7324; Alice Springs (08) 8952 5800; Boulia (07) 4746 3386; and Winton (07) 4657 1466. For help planning your trip you can also grab our Travel Journal at outbackway.org.au/shop Helen also shares an overview of the Outback Highway Development Council’s work and plans over the next 12 months in regards to the road development, funding submissions, industry networks and telecommunications review. You can find all notes and links on our website, www.outbackway.org.au where you can subscribe to our newsletter, buy our travel journal and download the app if you haven't already. Join us on Facebook and Twitter @OutbackWay1 Send your questions, comments and travel stories to info@outbackway.org.au and if you share your story, we may even feature you on this podcast! Thank you for joining us through the heart of Australia, on Australia's longest short cut.
Helen shares a bit about the realities of driving the Outback Way, especially in light of the stretches of bull dust that you can encounter. The Outback Way is 2700km long however much of it is not sealed and is in fact a gravel road only suitable for 4WD vehicles and off road campers/caravans. At the time of recording in September 2021, the gravel sections are from Laverton in WA through to Kata Tjuta in the NT, and then again from Hart’s Range in the NT through to Boulia in QLD. While there are some short sealed sections around the townships, there are hundreds of kilometres of gravel. The gravel sections can deteriorate quite quickly and pose a very real danger to travellers in unsuitable vehicles or who don’t know how to navigate bulldust. This is why the Outback Way is really only suitable for 4WD or high clearance all wheel drive vehicles and off-road campers and caravans. This is also why the Outback Highway Development Council is working hard to secure funding to seal the rest of the Outback Way, which is a large national infrastructure project expected to be finished in 2027/2028. In this episode Helen shares some suggestions on how to drive safely through bulldust sections and what is suitable for a successful trip on the Outback Way. Please take the necessary precautions, we want you to have a safe and wonderful trip on the Outback Way but we also want to ensure that you’re aware of some of the hazards that you may confront when you’re driving such a wonderful route. We want to be realistic about how the road can deteriorate and we want to warn you so can have the best possible trip You can find all notes and links on our website, www.outbackway.org.au where you can subscribe to our newsletter, buy our travel journal and download the app if you haven't already. Join us on Facebook and Twitter @OutbackWay1 Send your questions, comments and travel stories to info@outbackway.org.au and if you share your story, we may even feature you on this podcast! Thank you for joining us through the heart of Australia, on Australia's longest short cut.
Helen speaks with Robyn Stephens, the Event Coordinator for the Winton Outback Festival which in 2021 is happening from the 21st to 26th September in Winton, QLD. Robyn tells us about the action packed program, including all the family events, the sporting and music events, the many workshops on offer and the special historical milestones coming up. Helen and Robyn discuss the whip cracking Little Swaggies event for children, the Australian Dunny Derby which is now in its 30th year, the Sunset Charity Dinner celebrating 100 years of Qantas flight and much more. With next year being the 50th year of the Outback Festival, Helen and Robyn also talk about the history of the festival and how it’s evolved over the years. Find out more about the festival here: https://outbackfestival.com.au You can find all notes and links on our website, www.outbackway.org.au where you can subscribe to our newsletter, buy our travel journal and download the app if you haven't already. Join us on Facebook and Twitter @OutbackWay1 Send your questions, comments and travel stories to info@outbackway.org.au and if you share your story, we may even feature you on this podcast! Thank you for joining us through the heart of Australia, on Australia's longest short cut.
Today’s episode is a panel discussion held at the recent Outback Highway Development Company Annual General Meeting. We hear from Tannis Godfrey, from Tobermorey Station; Kerryn Santucci, the Logistics Manager for Oz Minerals in Western Australia on the Great Central Road; Mike Batchelor, the Business Development Officer for Qube Logistics; David Elliot, Chairman of the Australian Age of Dinosaurs at Winton in Queensland; and Ben Hewitt, the Chief Operations Officer for Hewitt Cattle Company. They all talk about the Outback Way and the value a sealed road will provide to their businesses or the tourism expansion, and also some of the issues they’re currently facing due to the gravel. So it’s a fascinating discussion for both the pastoral industry, the mining industry, logistics, tourism and the cattle industry. You can find all notes and links on our website, www.outbackway.org.au where you can subscribe to our newsletter, buy our travel journal and download the app if you haven't already. Join us on Facebook and Twitter @OutbackWay1 Send your questions, comments and travel stories to info@outbackway.org.au and if you share your story, we may even feature you on this podcast! Thank you for joining us through the heart of Australia, on Australia's longest short cut.
In this episode, Mel Forbes, the project manager of the Building Better Regions Outdoor Art Gallery Project, shares some additional information about the project. This diverse exhibition showcases the artistic talent across the Outback Way from photography, indigenous art, sculptures, abstracts and landscapes. The billboards are all positioned on the majestic background of the East MacDonnel ranges in Central Australia. Mel outlines what’s on each billboard in order from West to East, if you were driving from the Queensland side of the Outback Way, up the Plenty Highway heading towards Alice Springs. Then we hear from 5 of the featured artists who share a bit about their artworks for the Outback Way Outdoor Gallery. In order of being Amy Dennis, Helen Dennis, Ann Britton, Karen Stephens If you are interested in being involved in the Outback Way Outdoor Gallery there is contact form on the website. Head to https://outbackway.gallery to view the works, order prints or perch, and get in touch. You can find all notes and links on our website, www.outbackway.org.au where you can subscribe to our newsletter, buy our travel journal and download the app if you haven't already. Join us on Facebook and Twitter @OutbackWay1 Send your questions, comments and travel stories to info@outbackway.org.au and if you share your story, we may even feature you on this podcast! Thank you for joining us through the heart of Australia, on Australia's longest short cut.
In this episode, Helen speaks with David Bradley, an optometrist based in Brisbane. For many years David has been servicing the Ngaanyatjarra lands out at Warburton and Warakurna on the Great Central Road with Optometry services to those Indigenous and remote communities. David tells us about the background of the optometry services he provides to the Ngaanyatjarra communities, including the training program for university optometry students that he facilitates, and what he’s seen change over the years. Helen and David discuss how important continuity of service delivery is to the health and education outcomes of remote communities, as well as how sealed road access impacts the health outcomes of the people that live there. You can find all notes and links on our website, www.outbackway.org.au where you can subscribe to our newsletter, buy our travel journal and download the app if you haven't already. Join us on Facebook and Twitter @OutbackWay1 Send your questions, comments and travel stories to info@outbackway.org.au and if you share your story, we may even feature you on this podcast! Thank you for joining us through the heart of Australia, on Australia's longest short cut.
This episode is all about the economic value for industry throughout and along the Outback Way. The Outback Highway Development Council (OHDC) has been running some industry briefing Zoom meetings updating people who have people businesses about the value that the Outback Way, when sealed, will deliver for those businesses and communities. This episode is a recording of one of those industry briefings held in early June 2021. The speakers you will hear are Helen Lewis, host of the Outback Way Podcast and General Manager of the OHDC, and Patrick Hill, Chairman of the OHDC and Shire President of Laverton Shire, Western Australia. You can find all notes and links on our website, www.outbackway.org.au where you can subscribe to our newsletter, buy our guidebook and download the app if you haven't already. Join us on Facebook and Twitter @OutbackWay1 Send your questions, comments and travel stories to info@outbackway.org.au and if you share your story, we may even feature you on this podcast! Thank you for joining us through the heart of Australia, on Australia's longest short cut.
This episode is about the Outback Way Outdoor Gallery, which is a project we’ve been working on for the last couple of years and it will be launched in July 2021. It has been an enormous project with lots of twists and turns but we have finally finished and it is actually now ready to view. So if you have been travelling along the Plenty Highway you may have been wondering what these billboards are, and this episode will give you a bit of background. This is a pre-recorded episode from back at the very beginning of the Outdoor Gallery Project, in November 2019. Helen speaks with Mel Forbes, the project manager of the Building Better Regions Outdoor Art Gallery Project. This project is an exciting and original concept that takes art out of the traditional gallery spaces and into the landscape of the Eastern MacDonnell Ranges, around the communities of Atitjere and Engawala, on the Plenty Highway located between 170 and 230kms from Alice Springs. Billboard sites will be dotted along the Plenty Highway, around and some located in the Engawala and Atitjere communities. In this episode, Mel shares a bit about her background and where the idea for the project came from. These billboards will showcase the artwork from all the communities along the Outback Way and the Regional Art prizes in WA, NT and Qld. Visit https://www.outbackway.org.au/outdoor-gallery/ to see the entire exhibition and purchase originals, prints & merchandise. You can find all notes and links on our website, www.outbackway.org.au where you can subscribe to our newsletter, buy our guidebook and download the app if you haven't already. Join us on Facebook and Twitter @OutbackWay1 Send your questions, comments and travel stories to info@outbackway.org.au and if you share your story, we may even feature you on this podcast! Thank you for joining us through the heart of Australia, on Australia's longest short cut.
This episode is about the Queensland Boulder Opal Association Opal Festival which in 2021 is on 9-10 July. This is a pre-recorded episode from the 2018 festival, but this will give you a great sense of what the festival is like. Helen interviews Alison Summerville about the beautiful and unique Queensland Boulder Opal. Alison is the secretary of the Queensland Boulder Opal Association in Winton in western Queensland, and comes from an opal mining family. In this episode, Alison shares how she became involved with opal mining and the QBOA, as well as why the Boulder Opal is so unique. Australia's national gemstone, Queensland opals are in high demand worldwide. Alison and Helen discuss how opals are made, the various different kinds of opals and why the opal mining industry is so important for Winton. Find out more about the festival and the Queensland Boulder Opal Association at QBOA.com.au/tradeshow, call (07) 4657 0082 or email qboa@bigpond.com You can find all notes and links on our website, www.outbackway.org.au where you can subscribe to our newsletter, buy our guidebook and download the app if you haven't already. Join us on Facebook and Twitter @OutbackWay1 Send your questions, comments and travel stories to info@outbackway.org.au and if you share your story, we may even feature you on this podcast! Thank you for joining us through the heart of Australia, on Australia's longest short cut.
This episode is about the Alice Springs Beanie Festival which in 2021 is on 24th June. This is a pre-recorded episode from the 2018 festival, but this will give you a great sense of what the festival is like. Helen also outlines the upcoming events along the Outback Way in 2021 and excitingly, has an update about the Outback Way Outdoor Gallery launch in June. Helen interviews Jo Nixon about why Alice Springs is the Beanie capital of the world! Jo shares a bit about the background of the Beanie Fest and how she came to be involved. What began 22 years ago as a simple party to try to sell 100 beanies has turned into a weekend full of colour, warmth and joy, with 7000 beanies on display at the Araluen Arts Centre. There’s a beanie competition, live music and a range of textile workshops too. Find out more about the Alice Springs Beanie Festival, including the program, history and story of the festival, at www.beaniefest.org or follow along on Facebook @beaniefestival to get updates and tasters of beanies to come! You can find all notes and links on our website, www.outbackway.org.au where you can subscribe to our newsletter, buy our guidebook and download the app if you haven't already. Join us on Facebook and Twitter @OutbackWay1 Send your questions, comments and travel stories to info@outbackway.org.au and if you share your story, we may even feature you on this podcast! Thank you for joining us through the heart of Australia, on Australia's longest short cut.
This episode is about The Middleton Pub, and Lester Cain who is the great publican out there. Please stop off if you're planning your trip between Boulia and Winton, or between Queensland and Alice Springs. There's some great historical items to visit out there too. In other news, the Outback Way Travel Journal is now available through the website at outbackway.org.au/shop We've also been down to Canberra for further lobbying with a delegation and Helen shares a bit about that. Helen speaks with Lester Cain, from the Middleton Pub. Lester tells us where Middleton is (170km from Winton and 190 km from Boulia), a bit about the town's history and how he came to be there. Helen and Lester discuss what's on offer at the pub, in the local area and the events that bring visitors to Middleton. You can find all notes and links on our website, www.outbackway.org.au where you can subscribe to our newsletter, buy our guidebook and download the app if you haven't already. Join us on Facebook and Twitter @OutbackWay1 Send your questions, comments and travel stories to info@outbackway.org.au and if you share your story, we may even feature you on this podcast! Thank you for joining us through the heart of Australia, on Australia's longest short cut.
Helen interviews Paul Ah Chee, The director of Engagement and Culture of Northern Territory Major Events. Paul and Helen chat about the amazing light show called Parrtjima, which is happening again in Alice Springs from the 9-18 April 2021. Parrtjima is a free event run over 10 days, featuring amazing light displays in the evenings and some workshops and activities during the day. It's a great family event for all ages. Helen and Paul talk about the history of Parrtjima, which started in 2016, what the word 'parrtjima' means, and what to expect when you to to the event. Find out more at the website https://www.parrtjimaaustralia.com.au/ or check out the Facebook and on Instagram @parrtjimaaustralia Connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter @OutbackWay1 You can find all notes and links on our website, www.outbackway.org.au where you can subscribe to our newsletter, buy our guidebook and download the app if you haven't already. Join us on Facebook and Twitter @OutbackWay1 Send your questions, comments and travel stories to info@outbackway.org.au and if you share your story, we may even feature you on this podcast! Thank you for joining us through the heart of Australia, on Australia's longest short cut. The Outback Way Podcast is produced by Perk Digital.
In this episode, Helen does a bit of a recap of 2020 and what has been a very homebound year for tourism, obviously. Helen gives some updates about the Outback Way projects, including the sealing of sections in WA, plus the Travel Journal and Outdoor Gallery. The Travel Journal will be available by mid-February 2021, you can pre-order here: outbackway.org.au/shop/ Helen shares a bit about the Travel Journal and how it helps you plan your trip on the Outback Way. The Outback Way Outdoor Gallery will be installed in March 2021. Catch up on the previous podcast episodes about that. And in the meantime you can go to gallery.outbackway.org.au/shop to check them out and buy prints! There will also be a Summer Campaign, so keep an eye on our social media in early January 2021, there will be some prizes and lots of info for those of you planning your trip. Helen then shares the events on the Outback Way for 2021. We really hope you get out there and enjoy the hospitality, the events, the peace and quiet, the big open spaces and the quintessential spirit of outback Australia. Winton: •Australia Day Ceremony 26th Jan. •North Gregory Turf Club Races 27th March •Easter 2nd - 5th April •Waltzing Matilda Day April 6th •Way Out West Fest 6th - 11th April •Motorsport Association 1/8 Mile Drag Races 11th April •Thrive and Survive Festival/Agricultural Expo 22nd-23rd April •Anzac Day 25th April •Gem of the West Campdraft (TBC) April 31st - 2nd May •Winton Show Ball (TBC) 22nd May •Winton P&A Show 5th June •Outback Writers Festival 22nd - 24th June •Vision Splendid Outback Film Festival 25th June - 3rd July •QBOA Opal Festival 9th - 10th July •Camel Races (TBC) 24th July •Corfield Races (TBC) 7th August •Diamantina Open Golf championships 14th - 15th August •Variety Bash (TBC) 29th - 31st August •Nort Gregory Turf Club Races (TBC) 18th September •WBTA Junior Bush Poetry Competition 16th September •QBOA Opal Festival 20th September •Outback Festival 21st - 25th September •Winton Motorsport Association 1/8 Mile Drag Races (TBC) 4th October •Melbourne Cup 2nd November Boulia: •Australia Day painting workshops 23/24th January •Australia Day Ceremony 26th Jan. •Movies first Saturday of every month Feb-November •March Get to know your neighbour Day Urandangi •Easter races, rodeo and campdraft 1st-3rd April •Anzac Day 25th April •June Ladies Pamper Day Urandangi •Boulia Camel Races 3rd weekend in July •CWA spring Fair TBA September •Diamonds and Dust Ball TBA November •Remembrance Day 11th November Alice Springs: •FAB Alice Festival- 13 March •Partjima Light Festival- 12- 16 April •Alice Longest Desert Lunch 15th May •Alice Springs Street Festival 11th June •Tatts Finke Desert Race 11th - 14th June •Beanie Festival - from 24th June •Red Dirt Poerty Festival 29 June •Camel Cup 17th July •Henley on Todd 21st August •Desert Song Festival 10th September Laverton: •Opening Refurbished/Redeveloped Great Beyond Centre End March/ April TBA. •Laver Fest 24- 27th Sept Thank you for tuning into the Outback Way podcast. If you are enjoying our podcast, please leave us a review. And if you're really enjoying our podcast, you may like to become a contribut...
The #outbackwaypodcast has been doing a series on the economic value of the #outbackway. Today Helen shares exactly how much benefit the Outback Way delivers to Australia. Thank you for tuning into the Outback Way podcast. If you are enjoying our podcast, please leave us a review. And if you're really enjoying our podcast, you may like to become a contributor: through our Outback Way store for $5 you can help with the production of our podcast. Connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter @OutbackWay1 You can find all notes and links on our website, www.outbackway.org.au where you can subscribe to our newsletter, buy our guidebook and download the app if you haven't already. Join us on Facebook and Twitter @OutbackWay1 Send your questions, comments and travel stories to info@outbackway.org.au and if you share your story, we may even feature you on this podcast! Thank you for joining us through the heart of Australia, on Australia's longest short cut. The Outback Way Podcast is produced by Perk Digital.
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