Incredible achievements, stories of survival, practical tips, new playgrounds, where to take your jet ski, a powerful healing corroboree, and the surprise visit of a luxury cruise ship in Batemans Bay were just some of the stories we brought you under the banner of community in 2019.
Take a look back over the year that was in the About Regional community with the stories below. They showcase the people, stories and events that exemplify the spirit of the area we are fortunate to live in.
In February we brought you the news that a Statement of Attainment in Relief Milking is being offered in semester one at TAFE NSW Bega, a collaboration with Bega Cheese that aims to give local dairy farmers an extra pair of helping hands and perhaps the chance to have a break.
“In Taiwan, we say stand up from where you are falling,” says Shen Lo.
It took three years, but Shen Lo, 28, has returned to where he fell during a serious snowboarding accident in 2016 to reclaim the life which was interrupted. The 2019 ski season saw Shen return to Perisher and a job as a chef at The Sundeck Hotel.
Born a few months ago in a casual family church operating out of the Wolumla Hall, the Soup Ute in Bega is the work of Chris and friends Greg and Carol Gillen, who wanted to do something productive to help the community and address the inequalities they saw.
“This is it, this is the Soup Ute,” Chris says with a broad smile. “We have canned soup heated up on a gas camp stove and bread rolls and we’re here between 6 and 8 pm on Thursdays. And that’s it – we wanted to keep it simple so that we could keep doing it every week and be consistent.”
A little preschool in the deep, some say remote part of the southern Bega Valley was identified as one of the best in the industry in 2019. Rocky Hall Preschool has been rated as ‘Exceeding the National Quality Standard’.
“An overall rating of Exceeding NQS is given to services that go above and beyond the requirements of the NQS in at least four of the seven quality areas,” Rocky Hall Preschool Director Jodie Dickinson says.
The good days in Tathra will always outnumber the bad days, which have weighed heavily on the town of 1,657 people in recent times. While the bushfires of March 18, 2018, have left a permanent mark on the town, life is going on. The Tathra Wharf to Waves weekend is the proof.
A family visiting the Snowy Mountains during the ski season last year turned a holiday trauma into an act of support and activism for a local community group. Devastated by the number of dead animals they encountered on their trip to Thredbo, the McAlester family from the lower Blue Mountains turned their experience around by doing something to help local wildlife group LAOKO (Looking After Our Kosciuszko Orphans – Snowy Mountains Rescue) which rescues and cares for injured and orphaned wildlife in the region.
In July, we met Vanessa Parsons, who at the age of 44 was delighted to have landed her first job, and with an international civil construction company no less – John Holland. She is is part of the new team building the $274 million Batemans Bay Bridge over the Clyde River.
“It changed my life,” Vanessa told About Regional.
In May we brought you the news that Cooma performer Vendulka Wichta had been selected to perform on Channel Nine’s popular singing competition The Voice, and perform in front of superstar coaches Kelly Rowland, Boy George, Delta Goodrem and Guy Sebastian. And it wasn’t her first time on the reality TV stage: she made her television debut as a 14-year-old on X-Factor.
In October, we reported that Grace Brennan had started the Buyfromthebush initiative, hoping to encourage people to support small rural businesses struggling in the severe drought by buying their Christmas presents from the bush. The idea was simple: provide an easy way for city people to support their country kin who are doing it tough. The campaign went viral, as shoppers jumped online to get behind the campaign.
In one of the most excellent tales of 2019, we shared the incredible story of a lost surfboard and how it was found. The tale took in Sydney’s Northern Beaches, Dubbo, Bermagui and the wonderful web woven by social media. Here’s a recap of the story, which delivered good will, good luck and good vibes.
Join us again tomorrow as we reveal the top property stories that had you talking in 2019.