Alister Henskens portrait
Alister Henskens portrait

Ku-ring-gai Electorate Cultural Achievements

Big Little Lies Book Cover

Mr ALISTER HENSKENS ( Ku-ring-gai ) ( 12:11 :36 ): Earlier this year, I delivered a private member's speech about a number of Ku-ring-gai natives who have achieved great success in the arts, both in Australia and overseas. One of those was Pymble's own Liane Moriarty, whose books about the darker side of suburban life have sold more than six million copies worldwide and whose novel, Big Little Lies , is a successful Home Box Office miniseries starring Nicole Kidman and Reece Witherspoon. Since my speech, Liane's star remarkably has risen even further. In September, Big Little Lies won eight Emmy awards, including Outstanding Lead Actor for Kidman and Outstanding Limited Series. Those honours have given Liane every reason to believe that there will be a second series— and all this after she was not even expecting the book to be published. But it does not look like ending there. Liane's latest book, Truly Madly Guilty , also a New York Times number one best-seller, seems to be headed for the small screen too. Kidman and Witherspoon have bought the television rights and they plan to give the book the same exposure.

Emma E. Dunch grew up with her three brothers in Fox Valley Road, Wahroonga in the late 1960s so she is delighted to be returning to Sydney next year as the new Chief Executive Officer of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, with whom she first worked 21 years ago. The former Warrawee Public School and Hornsby Girls ' High School student has spent most of the past 20 years in New York, building her reputation as an outstanding arts administrator with several orchestras and music organisations. She was not the only one from Hornsby Girls ' High School to achieve great things in her chosen field: Australia's first MasterChef, Julie Goodwin, was in the same class and Emma is apparently already making plans for the Sydney Symphony Orchestra to collaborate with her old friend Goodwin on some food, wine and music events.

Emma's parents instilled in her at an early age a love of music and attending her first Sydney Symphony Orchestra concerts as a student no doubt had a profound effect on her. However, she is also quick to credit Hornsby Girls ' High School for its music program and for fostering her musical interest throughout her time at school and university. Through her new role at the Sydney Symphony Orchestra Emma is eager to share what captured her imagination as a young girl, with a plan to reduce our children's preoccupation with screens and to enable every boy and girl to experience live orchestral performances. Emma fondly recalls excursions with her family to the idyllic Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park and historic Bobbin Head, as well as the lorikeets, rosellas, galahs and cockatoos that lived in the gumtrees in her backyard. She recently told the North Shore Times that she is happy to leave New York's snowy winters behind and she looks forward once again to swimming in Sydney's beachside rock baths . The Big Apple's loss is undoubtedly our gain.

Los Angeles resident Tammin Sursok apparently will not be returning home to her beloved upper North Shore anytime soon but the talented actress, singer, writer and director never stops thinking about the shops and cafes in Gordon, Wahroonga and St Ives, where she spent so much time as a girl and where her parents still live. The former Ravenswood School for Girls student said recently, "I go back and I can actually breathe again." Tammin won a Logie Award in 2001 for her role as Dani Sutherland in Home and Away, before pursuing a singing career in the United Kingdom and then spending two years on the United States-based The Young and the Restless, for which she was nominated for an Emmy Award.

She subsequently was a regular alongside Miley Cyrus on the Disney television series Hannah Montana, and then was thrilled to be cast as the wildly popular villainess, Jenna Marshall, on Pretty Little Liars, which enjoys worldwide success and is the number one cable scripted television program for females aged between 18 and 34. More recently, Tammin finished filming a feature titled Whaling, a dark comedy that she co-wrote with her husband, Sean McEwen, who also directed it. They had previously jointly written the web series Aussie Girl, which is loosely based on Tammin's own life. Tammin has graced the covers of more than 150 magazines and continues to generate international press with every step of her career. Looking back on her childhood north of the Sydney Harbour Bridge she realises what a blessing that was. I have the distinct feeling that Tammin, Sean and daughter Phoenix will be back one day but she will carry the artistic flame for Ku-ring-gai with distinction until then.

In 2013 Jack Mainsbridge was the school captain of The McDonald College School of Performing Arts, and he is doing everything he can to emulate his idol, Hugh Jackman. They both grew up in Turramurra and are equally adept at acting, singing and dancing. Having graduated from the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in 2016, he recently played a 65-year old on Broadway in Babette's Feast, a stage adaptation by noted Icelandic director Palina Jonsdottir of the well-known Danish film of the same name. Currently, he is writing, producing and starring in his own critically acclaimed web series, Still Got It!, in which he shows his great versatility by playing five different characters in a New York production company. If talent and energy count for anything Jack's future seems assured, as does his ambition to play one of the roles that pushed his inspiration on the road to stardom: Peter Allen in The Boy From Oz. Together, Liane, Emma, Tammin and Jack continue to build Ku-ring-gai's reputation as one of the State's most prolific nurseries of artistic talent.