24 December 2020

2020 Year in Review: Community

| Kim Treasure
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At About Regional, we are all about community. We love telling the stories that bring us together to laugh, cry, reminisce or celebrate.

In 2020, we had a mix of all those things, as well some issues that got you thinking and talking. Take a look back at our most popular community stories from throughout the year.

12. Stumpy Family back to give treemendous thanks to bushfire volunteers

Tree stumps dressed up as the Stumpy Family.

On the road to Moruya Heads, the Stumpy Family dressed to thank volunteers in January 2020. Photo: Alex Rea.

You’ve probably heard of Pooh Bear’s Corner on Clyde Mountain, but have you heard of the Stumpy Family?

A group of tree stumps beside the road to Moruya Heads has been putting smiles on the faces of thousands of residents and visitors since Easter 2019. The Stumpy Family, which has its own Facebook page, was created by a nearby resident – who likes to be known as ‘The Stumpy Carer’ – to keep a little mystery in the minds of the many young people who wave and smile as they go by.

11. Anger rises over Kenmore neglect, vandalism

Exterior of the former Kenmore Hospital's main administrative building in Goulburn.

The main administration building at the former Kenmore Hospital in Goulburn. Photo: Supplied by Leone Morgan.

Four years ago, the new owner of Kenmore Hospital in Goulburn, Australia China International, pledged to revive the place, involve the community and be transparent.

Member for Hume Angus Taylor stood alongside company representatives and said, “Everyone here would love to see Kenmore developed and it is my job to see what the government can do to support that.”

However, frustration and anger is now boiling over in Goulburn at the rampant vandalism and neglect of the historic former psychiatric hospital, now known as Kenmore Gardens.

10. Yass community rallies to buy iconic Liberty Theatre

Exterior of Liberty Theatre in Yass.

The Friends of the Liberty Theatre group hopes to buy the iconic building on the main street of Yass. Photo: Supplied.

A community group in Yass hopes to save the town’s Liberty Theatre by purchasing the iconic building through a cooperative.

The Friends of the Liberty Theatre group proposes to purchase and restore the 700-seat Art Deco theatre through philanthropic funding.

9. South Coast doctor leads emissions-reduction campaign to protect our health

NSW South Coast doctor Michelle Hamrosi.

Surf Beach doctor Michelle Hamrosi is calling for action on climate change. Photo: Supplied.

Medical professionals in the Eurobodalla have signed a petition seeking action to reduce emissions to protect public health as part of a national campaign kickstarted locally by general practitioner Dr Michelle Hamrosi, who works at Surf Beach Surgery, near Batemans Bay.

The Australian Conservation Foundation has coordinated the petition and open letter to Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

8. Meet the drovers a town adopted

Drovers Luke Morris and Nikita Hayes.

Drovers Luke Morris and Nikita Hayes were adopted by Young district residents during their eight weeks on the road. Photo: Edwina Mason.

If you want to see community at its best, take 400 head of cattle to Young and see what happens.

Doors opened, dinners were cooked, cans of beer handed out, even pizza delivered to Luke Morris and Nikita Hayes after they rode into the district from Cootamundra earlier this year.

As the pair of contract musterers clung to local roads with their mixed-breed mob, they met just about everyone in the district.

7. Lost husky found 220km away after two years and Australia’s worst bushfires

Indie the husky dog.

Indie the husky was been returned to her family after two-and-a-half years away. Photo: BVSC.

Indie, a beloved husky from Nowra, went on a 220km walk two-and-a-half years ago and was finally reunited with her family after being found in Bermagui.

The paw-fect reunion came to be after a council ranger found Indie and her two new pups and took the dogs to safety before realising she was missing after checking her microchip.

6. Cobargo bands together to rebuild sustainable, fire-resistant homes

Burnt bushland with regenerating growth.

As the rugged terrain regenerates, bushfire victims return to their land to rebuild and are considering the next fire. Photo: Elka Wood.

As NSW South Coast residents returned to their bushfire-damaged properties, a group of Bega Valley locals banded together with construction company Atomic 6 to enact a plan to be in new homes by the end of 2020.

“We are dreaming of having a permanent structure on our burnt land in Yowrie when our insurance-paid rental runs out on 31 December,” said Felicie Vachon, who has spearheaded the idea locally.

5. Driveway death the catalyst for national safety campaign

Emma and Peter Cockburn.

Emma and Peter Cockburn. Photo: Supplied.

The death of 15-month-old Georgina Cockburn in a driveway accident spurred her parents, Peter and Emma from Young, to raise awareness of this household danger. Nine years later, their campaign has gone national.

4. How farmer Jock built a superhighway to the world

Jock Graham on rural property.

The ingenuity of Coolac farmer Jock Graham has improved the lives of thousands of people living in rural parts of the Riverina and South West Slopes. Photo: Supplied.

It took one farmer with an idea to change the lives of thousands of rural people living in the South West Slopes, Southern Tablelands and Riverina.

Jock Graham took a look at the issues facing farmers and came up with an innovative tech solution.

3. Farewell Ken Connley, a legendary high country cattleman

Ken Connley on horseback working as a stuntman.

Ken Connley (left) worked as a stunt rider on The Man from Snowy River. Actor Jack Thompson told Region Media that his relationship with Ken endured as a result of their friendship on the set. Photo: Supplied.

Back in June, Australia lost one of its most colourful characters in Ken Connley, a cattleman, family man, rodeo rider, ladies man, stuntman, actor and – above all – a buck runner. You may not have heard his name, but his life exemplified the traditions of cattlemen living in the Australian Alps.

Catching brumbies was the best sport he knew. At this, Ken was exceptionally skilled, notching up well over 1300 brumbies in his time.

2. Doctor urges whole town to mask up to prevent COVID-19 spread

Staff wearing masks at The Health Care Centre in Crookwell.

Staff at The Health Care Centre in Crookwell are encouraging the town’s community to wear masks. Front: Dr Johanna Kovats. Back (from left): Sally Galland, Heidi Ehmann, Kristen Lawton, Sally Gamble and Megan Williams. Photo: Hannah Sparks.

A Crookwell doctor was on a mission to mask up her NSW regional town to prevent the spread of COVID-19 before cases spiked.

Dr Johanna Kovats started the Mask Up Crookwell campaign with the support of the town’s four other doctors.

1. Time is up for Braidwood’s historic poplar avenues

Golden poplar trees flanking the highway on the northern entrance to Braidwood.

The northern entrance to Braidwood is flanked by historic golden poplar trees. Photo: Alex Rea.

The longstanding saga of Braidwood’s historic highway entry lined with golden and Lombardy poplar trees is progressed to the next stage. Transport for NSW emailed some residents with plans to replace the ageing poplars with new saplings.

The poplars have been deemed a roadside hazard because they are too close to the highway, and there have been several fatalities on the straight stretch of road over the years.

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