News

2019 Year in Review – News

Amy McPhillips 31 December 2019

In 2019, About Regional continued to bring you dynamic and engaging online news, offering deep coverage about the local issues that matter to the people of the Eurobodalla, Bega Valley and Snowy Monaro regions.

Here’s a look back at some of the top news stories of the year.

10. Greedy Smith plays last gig in the Bega Valley – “he was like family.”
by Ian Campbell

Greedy Smith leads Mental As Anything at Band Together, Saturday, November 30. Photo: Ian Campbell.

In December we shared the news that Australian music great Greedy Smith had died, after what turned out to be his last gig in a community described as his adopted second home. We reported that the Mental As Anything frontman suffered a heart attack in his car in Sydney just a day or so after playing at the Band Together Music Festival at Wolumla in the Bega Valley.

“This was a place he always looked forward to coming back to,” says Darren Jones of Jam Event Management, Band Together organisers.

9. Lochiel man given community sentence for death of Merimbula cyclist
by Ian Campbell

Louise Brand, outside Bega Local Court. Photo: Alasdair McDonald & Ian Campbell.

Louise Brand and supporters, outside Bega Local Court. Photo: Alasdair McDonald & Ian Campbell.

Back in February, we reported that thirty-seven-year-old Lochiel man Nathan Cumming had been given a 12-month Intensive Correction Order, fined $5,000, and ordered to complete 200 hours of community service for his undisputed role in the death of a 72-year-old cyclist on Mount Darrah Road west of Pambula last year.

In handing down his sentence in Bega Local Court, Magistrate Doug Dick said he was prohibited from considering a charge of manslaughter and that the crime was “properly categorised as road rage.”

Editors note: The story above may upset and distress some readers.

8. Life and death on the Humpback Highway, dead whale at Tathra Wharf
by Lisa Herbert

Photo: David Rogers.

A reminder of the cycle of life washed on to rocks near Tathra Wharf in August – what appeared to be a dead juvenile Humpback Whale. It was a sad but natural twist on the usual joy surrounding traffic on what is known as the Humpback Highway.

7. Bega Valley family shares their pain with Australia. Health service says the system is better now
by Ian Campbell

Kieran Reynolds at home with his parents Suzanne and Mick. Photo: ABC, Four Corners.

Kieran Reynolds at home with his parents Suzanne and Mick. Photo: ABC, Four Corners.

During 2019, an episode of Four Corners on ABC TV rattled the Bega Valley when a tragic mistake at the old Bega Hospital was included in the program’s investigation of rural and regional hospital care.

6. Wallagoot Lake fish kill not seen in at least 25 years
by Ian Campbell

Poor water quality as the suspected cause of this weeks fish kill at Wallagoot Lake. Photo: Doug Reckord.

Poor water quality is the suspected cause of this week’s fish kill at Wallagoot Lake. Photos: Doug Reckord.

A large fish kill at Wallagoot Lake between Tathra and Merimbula has been blamed on poor water quality, with fears more marine life could die, we wrote in February. Thousands of dead fish including beautiful good-sized snapper and leatherjackets were reported washed ashore at various locations around the lake within the Bournda Nature Reserve.

A spokesperson from the NSW Department of Primary Industries, says “ongoing investigations by DPI Fisheries and Bega Valley Shire Council have confirmed poor water quality as the suspected cause.”

5. 19 year old charged following Tura Beach Kangaroo carnage
by Ian Campbell

Police believe the callous event took place between 10:30 pm and 11:30 pm on Saturday (September 28) in and around Dress Circle and Headland Drive. Photo: ABC South East NSW, WIRES.

Police believe the callous event took place between 10:30 pm and 11:30 pm on Saturday (September 28) in and around Dress Circle and Headland Drive. Photo: ABC South East NSW, WIRES.

In September we reported that Bega detectives had arrested a 19-year-old man from Bega and were expecting to lay further charges regarding the brutal death of around 20 kangaroos.

The ease in which the iconic Australian animals moves around the coastal village north of Merimbula was shattered when kangaroos of various ages were run over and killed by what police have described as a heavy 4WD ute.

4. There is no missing swimmer at Gillards – it’s a massive hoax
by Ian Campbell

Police say the search has been downgraded tonight and will be reassessed in the morning. Photo: Bega Valley SES Units.

Police, SES, and Surf Life Savers comb Gillards Beach, Aug 15. Photo: Bega Valley SES Units.

The time, energy and concern of emergency services looking for a missing swimmer on the Far South Coast over two-and-a-half days has been a huge waste, we reported in August. It turns out there was no missing 42-year-old man at Gillards Beach, and the story was fabricated in an attempt to escape fraud charges.

3. “They will honour my legacy and do it proud” – Sally Padey, Mogo Zoo
by Ian Campbell

Sally Padey. Photo: Mogo Zoo.

Sally Padey. Photo: Mogo Zoo Facebook.

Mogo Zoo without Sally Padey?! At the end of November that became a reality. It’s something Sally herself is coming to terms with, and she shared her thoughts about leaving her home of the last thirty years.

“The sound of the lions roaring, it just resonates right into your soul – I am going to miss that so much,”
Sally told ABC South East NSW.

2. Tough new drink driving laws now at play in NSW. Will it change your “I think I am okay to drive” behaviour?
by Elka Wood

Under Mr Constance's new law, even low-range drink driving offenders will lose their licence for three months if arrested. Photo: NSW Traffic and Highway Patrol.

Under Mr Constance’s new law, even low-range drink driving offenders risk losing their licence for three months if arrested. Photo: NSW Traffic and Highway Patrol.

Tough new laws that came into effect in May mean that designated drivers are more important than ever, and that decision based on – I think I am okay to drive, now carries extra weight, just in case the thought of killing someone wasn’t scary enough.

All drink driving offenders will now immediately lose their licence under tough new penalties introduced by the Minister for Transport and Roads (and Member for Bega) Andrew Constance.

Under the new law, even first-time, lower range offenders will receive an immediate three-month licence suspension, as well as a $561 fine.

1. “We can’t stop this fire” – Ken Hall, Rural Fire Service
by Elise Searson

Long Beach Rural Fire Brigade

Long Beach Rural Fire Brigade. Photos: Elise Searson.

There were mixed feelings at the Long Beach Rural Fire Brigade early in December as residents of northern Eurobodalla villages were told to prepare for the approaching Currowan Fire, we reported.

The news from Rural Fire Service Deputy Incident Controller Ken Hall was grim.

“We can’t stop this fire. It is so dry out in the bush, it will keep jumping over our control lines,” Mr Hall said.

Join us again tomorrow as we reveal the top environment stories that had you talking in 2019.

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