About Sally Hopman

Long time Canberra journalist Sally Hopman will be familiar to readers from her years at The Canberra Times, where she wrote extensively about Canberra and the Capital Region before joining the National Library.

She began her career as a cadet journalist in Nowra and claims to have worked on some of the best and worst newspapers in the country - and learned rather a lot in the process.

When not writing, Sally collects snowdomes, take photographs of trees (mostly the same one), lives and breathes life on a Yass Valley sheep farm, volunteers at Vinnies and rounds up Beswick china animals and real rescue dogs – not necessarily in that order.

All Articles

In a perfect world, why dogs deserve to take the lead
When I win Lotto, which I will if I ever buy a ticket, I'm going to go to the RSPCA and empty all the dog cages. I'll work it so the dogs have direct access to the limos waiting outside, equipped with signs saying "No Standing, Lying Down Only" on the fluffy, cocoon-like dog beds they advertise on television. The...
Memories bring life of Canberra legend Bobbie Llewellyn galloping back
When we lose loved ones, we can also lose what made them special to us in the first place: their stories. Born on 17 May in 1908, Mrs Mhyrra "Bobbie" Llewellyn was one of Canberra's real characters. Best known in Canberra's early horse riding circles as Mrs Llew, she ran Llewellyn's Riding School in the valley below where the Royal...
Yass Valley Council to take its message to the streets – and people
Yass Valley Council members are hitting the road later month to speak to locals about what they want, need and see for their region - and have their say on its future. Mayor Allan McGrath will lead the executive management team and his fellow councillors on a series of visits to the Valley's towns, villages and hamlets, answering questions ranging...
Why Yass Valley reckons this barber is a cut above the rest
Wayne Dawe strikes you as the sort of bloke who would never tell you if he were crook. But back on 8 March, he knew something was wrong. He was short of breath and felt a lump in his throat when he swallowed, although he couldn't feel it on the outside. He went to the GP who told him his...
Boxing helps Jennifer McKenna punch above her weight in life
There was something missing in Jennifer McKenna's life. Then the devoted mother, grandmother, and volunteer found it in something she usually kept clear of - the digital world. It was a small Facebook post calling for people interested in keeping fit. Not through lawn bowls, tennis, or gentle walks along the river, but through boxing. For Jennifer, 64, it was...
Historic Yass hall is now Murrumbateman home for the Ellerys
Myrna and David Ellery see themselves as custodians of the many houses they've bought, restored and sold over the years. There have been houses across the country for banker Myrna and journalist David, but there's been one that has really become a "home". It's a house in Murrumbateman which, ironically, used to live in Yass. The Yass Temperance Hall, built...
520 kg waste diverted from landfill: Bega volunteers have sustainability in the bag
On the NSW South Coast, it looks like they have the notion of perfect recycling in the bag - literally. Using an idea developed in Queensland, Bega woman Dorte Planert and her small band of helpers are making Boomerang Bags. Boomerang Bags are made by volunteers from fabrics otherwise destined for landfill. Today the grassroots environmental movement operates in more...
NSW honours early Yass entrepreneur with Blue Plaque
Arthur Triggs was to sheep what Sir Sidney Kidman was to cattle: both giants in their respective paddocks. But until now, few have known much about Triggs or his advancements to the early Australian agricultural industry, particularly in the Yass Valley. Member for Goulburn Wendy Tuckerman said Triggs' significant part in the state's rural history has been acknowledged with one of...
Here’s to the sweet old days, best not to waist them
Any Smarties out there old enough to remember little white bags, a 20c piece and everyone's best friend, Cobbers? Specifically how, for 20c, you could fill one of those little white bags with enough Cobbers to make you violently ill. Sigh, those were the days. Have you noticed how, today, you can buy a Cobber but will get scant change...
Tables turn on legendary Gundaroo storyteller … what are your memories of him?
It's been known by many names over the years - from the Commercial Hotel when Noah Cheeseman opened its doors in 1872 to the Star Wine Saloon, then Gundaroo Wine Bar and, most recently, Gundaroo Inn. But, for almost anyone who has ever dropped by, it was simply known as Crowe's and, as of this year, it marks its 150th...
Courting the good life, just remember to mind your manners
Thank heavens for second-hand book shops, "modern" manners and a sense of humour. Where would we be without them? Illiterate, rude and probably really cranky. Back in 1950, Ray Allister wrote a book that, no doubt, made life a much better place for everyone who read it. Called Manners for Moderns, it was billed as a "much-needed book of up-to-date etiquette",...
Spotlight set to shine on main street of Yass
The main street of Yass is undergoing something of a rural renaissance with the first stage of the historic Commercial Hotel restoration underway and plans afoot to bring the town's Liberty Theatre back to centre stage. The recent removal of the Commercial Hotel's derelict verandah has given a new face to the old pub which locals and visitors had been...
Bernardoffs shut up shop in Braidwood after 25 years
When Olivia Bernardoff saw the "funny old garage" on Braidwood's main street about 25 years ago, it was little more than a ruin - but there was something special about it. Today that garage is better known as Bernardoff's - the place to go in Braidwood if you love furniture and authentic collectibles. Selling everything from rare antiques to one-off...
The Tallong Apple Festival – a-peeling to the core
What's On
When the Tallong Apple Day festival started about 15 years ago it was all about family, community and, of course, apples. Long-time resident Kerry Lawrence remembers the first one clearly. "It was just a few families in the park having a barbecue," she said. "But it's changed a bit since then." A 90-minute drive from Canberra, Tallong boasts a population...
How to grow up and be productive: an idiot’s guide
For things to grow, flourish and be useful, I've learned it's best if I keep my distance from them. With all the rain we've had, things are surfacing from the garden and from trees that I've never met before - things that other people tell me are good. Like apples and figs. Turns out that behind my cottage, which is...
Gunning woman opens her heart, and shop, to people in need
When a person takes their own life, it can shake their community to the core. When it happens in a small town - where everyone knows everyone else - it hits particularly hard. When Gunning's Irene Barrera heard someone had died by suicide in a nearby rural village, she knew she had to do something. She said in a village like...