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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.