20 December 2023

2022 Year in Review: The news that kept you clicking

| Kim Treasure
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From protests to caterpillars, new pools to talented pupils, 2022 turned up some remarkable stories around the region.

Here are 10 of the stories that caught your attention this year.

10. Countdown on for Batemans Bay arts and aquatic centre opening as waterslides get mayoral tick of approval
by Anna Maskus

Former Eurobodalla Mayor Liz Innes, Bega MP Dr Michael Holland, Gilmore MP Fiona Phillips, NSW Arts Minister Ben Franklin, Eurobodalla Mayor Mathew Hatcher, Australian Government Senator Jim Molan and former Bega MP Andrew Constance officially open the Bay Pavilions arts and aquatic centre. Photo: Eurobodalla Shire Council

Former Eurobodalla Mayor Liz Innes, Bega MP Dr Michael Holland, Gilmore MP Fiona Phillips, NSW Arts Minister Ben Franklin, Eurobodalla Mayor Mathew Hatcher, Senator Jim Molan and former Bega MP Andrew Constance officially open the Bay Pavilions arts and aquatic centre. Photo: Eurobodalla Shire Council.

The new $69 million Batemans Bay Pavilions arts and aquatic centre is now open to the public but earlier in the year the waterslides passed their first test – getting the mayoral tick of approval.

9. RFS mourns death of veteran firefighter ‘Doubles’
by Sally Hopman


Officers and volunteers from the Rural Fire Service are mourning the loss of their mate, David “Doubles” Doblinger, who died this year. Photo: Nathan Heerey, Queanbeyan City Rural Fire Brigade.

David “Doubles” Doblinger, who died suddenly this year, was the sort of bloke you wanted on your side – whether as your mate relaxing after work or on an active fireground where lives were at risk.

But as much as he was a people person, he was also a devoted family man, to partner Wendy and his children. The couple had recently moved down to Tuross from Queanbeyan for what his boss and friend, South-East Commander with the NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS), Chief Superintendent Paul Simakoff-Ellims, said was a sea-change.

8. Convoy to Canberra protester and former Eurobodalla mayor warns: ‘this is not going away’
by Max O’Driscoll

Protesters with AuUstralian flags next to a bus

Protesters clash with a bus driver near the Civic Bus Interchange. Photo: Screenshot.

Convoy to Canberra protester and former mayor of Eurobodalla Shire Liz Innes warned that the protests were “not going away” as protesting activity picked up across the ACT.

Ms Innes said the weekend protest ahead of the Federal Budget on 29 March was an event she “wouldn’t miss … for the world”.

7. Future of shearing industry now riding on young people’s backs
by Sally Hopman

Female shearer

Cowra shearer and fifth generation farmer Jo Treasure at work in the sheds. Photo: Supplied.

A critical shortage of shearers in today’s sheds has sparked a call by NSW Farmers for more young people to take up the age-old profession.

NSW Farmers’ Wool Committee chair Helen Carrigan said the click of shears was part of our proud agricultural history.

6. Can the community save Nelligen’s iconic Steampacket Hotel?
by Zoe Cartwright

Steampacket Hotel

The Steampacket Hotel at Nelligen is a welcoming sight for motorists coming down the Clyde Mountain. Photo: Supplied.

After 150 years, it could be last rounds for Nelligen’s Steampacket Hotel unless the local community follows Grong Grong’s example and buys their own pub.

The iconic local pub is on the market and, if no one puts their hand up to take it on, its owners fear it will be snapped up by developers.

Licensee Joel Alvey, with mum Heather, wife Melissa and brother Greg, moved from Tullamore in Central Western NSW to take over the historic business in 2017.

5. 11-year-old Candelo Primary School student selected as featured artist in major state showcase
by Evelyn Karatzas

Harper Grae

Harper has been selected as a featured artist in this year’s School Spectacular showcase. Photo: Michael Jessop.

An 11-year-old from Candelo Public School has been selected as a featured artist at the NSW Schools Spectacular.

Eleven-year-old Harper Grae Jessop said the acheivenment “means the world to me because I’m doing and sharing something I love to do”.

4. Australia’s highest suspension bridge opens path to alpine tourism
by Edwina Mason

Bring over river

Australia’s highest suspension bridge, which crosses the Snowy River between Guthega and Charlotte Pass, now forms part of the Snowies Alpine Trail. Photo: NPWS.

Amid Australia’s loftiest peaks lies the country’s highest suspension bridge, freshly minted and ready for walkers to test their boots as part of an ambitious new tourism venture.

Standing 1627 m above sea level, the bridge spans the Snowy River between Guthega and Charlotte Pass in Kosciuszko National Park.

It’s part of a recently constructed 9-km track along the upper Snowy River, forming the second stage of a world-class multi-day walk.

3. Goulburn Council ‘at the start of a long road’ as it tries to force the sale of St John’s Orphanage
by Max O’Driscoll

St John's Orphanage

St John’s Orphanage has had the same owner since 1999. That may be set to change, as Goulburn Mulwaree Council goes to court in an attempt to force a sale. Photo: Robyn MacRae.

Having owned the building for 22 years and seen various proposals for its redevelopment come and go, St John’s Orphanage owner John Ferrara faces the prospect of being forced to sell the former heritage building with the Goulburn Mulwaree Council taking the issue to court.

Mr Ferrara purchased the property from the Catholic Church in 1999 for $450,000 and since that time has proposed several different plans for the site including a retirement village, units and homes.

2. Binalong caterpillar’s journey now a global phenomenon
by Edwina Mason


Eric the Caterpillar is a social media sensation. Photos: Leanne Heffernan.

Eric, a tiny green caterpillar in Binalong, captured the world’s attention and offered escape and hope in troubling times.

1. Disease killing South Coast king parrots – how you can help save them
by Sally Hopman

King parrot

How an Australian king parrot should look. This one was photographed in Canberra, perched high in the gum tree with bright coat and eyes. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

A fast-spreading disease is believed responsible for the death of dozens of king parrots on the NSW South Coast.

Local WIRES wildlife volunteers have been called out to the Bega Park area, opposite the showground, to try and save the remaining sick birds showing signs of the fast-spreading disease known as Spironucleosis.

Dead or dying parrots have also been found at Cobargo.

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