20 December 2023

2023 Year in Review: The news that kept you clicking

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From snow to sharks, developments to a disappearance, 2023 turned up some remarkable stories around the region.

Here are 15 of the stories that caught your attention this year.

15. Traffic to begin flowing over the Nelligen Bridge
by Kim Treasure

Nelligen Bridge

The new Nelligen Bridge next to the old one. Photo: Transport for NSW.

All traffic moved onto the new Nelligen Bridge in February as work on the $148 million project drew to a close.

14. $30 million towers unveiled as police rejig new Goulburn station
by John Thistleton

police recruits

Probationary constables Mary Betell from Port Stephens, who has been appointed to Sydney’s eastern suburbs, Lane Cove’s Lauren Pauley, who has been appointed to Chatswood, and Kyle Hutchins of Campbelltown, who has also been appointed to the eastern suburbs, after an attestation parade in Goulburn. Photo: John Thistleton.

Accommodation worth $30 million for a “world-class” NSW Police Academy has opened but a new Goulburn police station in the same location will fall short of what was planned.

Goulburn’s $25 million police station was due to be completed this year, but fresh tenders were called for a redesigned station because of a blowout in building costs.

13. Men’s Shed project goes full toot at the head of Tumba rail trail
by Edwina Mason

people with restored train guards' carriage

Showing off the guards’ carriage after its restoration are (from left) Katie Fowden, Bruce and Bernadette Alleyn, Kerrie Downes, Grant Harris, Ron Sommer and Terry MacGregor. Photo: Hyne Community Trust.

A single train carriage, donated by a NSW scrap-metal company in 2020, will act as the centrepiece of a smart old, but new, addition to the Tumbarumba to Rosewood Rail Trail.

A museum train platform, railway line and the carriage, housing a small museum, will now greet visitors and locals about to embark on the popular 21-kilometre hiking and biking trail that winds through the beautiful sub-alpine countryside and farmland characteristic of the Snowy Valleys.

12. Deadly disease spreading among dogs as vets struggle with vaccine shortages
by Keeli Royle

Dr Kevin Calleja performing examination on sausage dog at Greencross vets.

Dr Kevin Calleja urges people to act quickly if their pet is unwell. Photos: Keeli Royle.

A disease that can be potentially fatal to our beloved pets has been detected in the Illawarra and Shoalhaven as veterinary clinics continue to struggle with vaccine supply.

Greencross Fairy Meadow vet director Dr Kevin Calleja said sporadic cases of leptospirosis have been reported among dogs in the region, with parts of the Shoalhaven considered hotspot areas.

11. It’s official: trains are returning to Cooma
by Gail Eastaway

Cooma Monaro Railway Inc has announced it has received approval to get trains back on the tracks.

Trains will return to Cooma Railway Station and work has begun on track upgrades. Photo: Gail Eastaway.

After almost a decade, Cooma Monaro Railway (CMR) is excited to announce that tourist trains will be returning to the rails of the Monaro.

The Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator has notified CMR that its application to be accredited as a rail infrastructure manager and a rolling stock operator had been approved.

10. $500 million Bango Wind Farm officially opens, powering 144,000 homes
by Edwina Mason

man on wind turbine

Dr Andrew Forrest atop one of the 200-metre turbines near Boorowa last week. Photo: Squadron Energy.

As Andrew Forrest climbed to the top of a huge turbine to open the Bango Wind Farm, it was also a proud moment for some Boorowa farmers – not only because it will prevent 543,000 tonnes of carbon emissions from being released into the atmosphere.

9. Towering developments likely on key Batemans Bay site
by Kim Treasure

The former Batemans Bay Bowling Club site

A development up to 70 metres high has been proposed for this gateway site in Batemans Bay. Photo: Kim Treasure.

Motorists driving into Batemans Bay could be met by a development almost four times the height of the nearby IRT building if current proposals are given the green light.

Eurobodalla Shire Council has approved the sale of the former Batemans Bay bowling club site, with general manager Warwick Winn to engage in talks with two different developers; however, it can’t progress until Batemans Bay’s building height limits are reviewed.

Proposals for the site require heights ranging from 30 to 70 metres. The IRT building near the Village Centre stands at just 18 metres, the current Local Environment Plan limit.

8. Pro fisherman says sharks are ‘cruising around our beaches like tadpoles’
by Katrina Condie


A great white shark pictured off the Sapphire Coast. Photo: Trapman.

A Bermagui-based professional fisherman says, with a noticeable increase in shark numbers, he’s surprised there hasn’t been a serious attack on the South Coast.

Jason ”Trapman” Moyce has been fishing off the Sapphire Coast for 13 years and says each year he has seen more sharks, and larger specimens, in our waterways and near local beaches.

7. It’s snow joke: cold front brings flurries of snow and hail to southern NSW
by Lizzie Waymouth

Snowy roadside in the Brindabellas

More than 10 cm of snowfall was recorded in the Brindabellas in May. Photo: ACT Weather Watch Twitter.

A cold front brought snow and hail to some parts of the ACT and NSW in May, with temperatures dropping to single digits across the region.

Across NSW, temperatures were between 2 and 5 degrees below average, and some locations in the Snowy/Monaro countries also saw their coldest May day on record, according to BOM, including Bombala and Cooma.

6. Police begin investigations after historic Yass hotel is gutted by ‘suspicious’ fire
by Claire Sams

The damaged Commercial Hotel with a Fire and Rescue NSW truck, with blue sky above

More than 30 firefighters, police officers and emergency service workers took on the blaze. Photo: Sally Hopman.

Investigators appealed for information after the historic Commercial Hotel was extensively damaged by a suspicious fire in Yass.

Fire and Rescue NSW attended and extinguished the early morning blaze however the building was extensively damaged. One neighbouring property suffered water damage but the fire was contained to the hotel site.

5. $1.2 million loss in nine months since opening for multi-million Batemans Bay facility
by Claire Sams

The Bay Pavilions facade

The facility has recorded a $1.2 million loss since opening in 2022, according to a review by KPMG. Photo: Eurobodalla Shire Council.

A multi-million facility in Batemans Bay clocked in a $1.2 million loss in nine months.

A review carried out by KPMG has examined the financial performance of the Bay Pavilions precinct since it opened in June 2022 to 31 March 2023.

It found the precinct lost $1.2 million against the baseline financial model’s forecast loss of $563,000.

4. The day a near extinct bird wandered onto Lake Cargelligo’s main street
by Edwina Mason

Found on the main street of Lake Cargelligo by Neil Hart and his grandson Harper, the rare Plains Wanderer was swiftly rescued

Found on the main street of Lake Cargelligo by Neil Hart and his grandson Harper, the rare plains-wanderer was swiftly rescued and is now safely housed at Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo. Images: Bec Van Dyke.

Space junk may be falling from the sky, China’s sun bears might be suffering an identity crisis, but nothing compares to what recently turned up in Lake Cargelligo.

The small northern Riverina town of about 1400 people was minding its own business when an unusual quail-like bird was spotted squatting on the main street by Harper Hart, grandson of local, Neil Hart.

Not just any bird – but a very rare, on the brink of extinction species of bird, way too far from its regular stomping ground.

3. Missing woman’s body found in Yass River
by Sally Hopman

Woman smiling

Tina Quinn, 34, disappeared on 16 July. Photo: NSW Police.

Police have identified a body found in the Yass River as that of Tina Quinn, 34, who was last seen at a property on Yass River Road on 16 July.

Ms Quinn was reported missing to officers from the Hume Police District on 17 July.

2. Iconic Goulburn cyclist dies in weekend collision
by John Thistleton

Man judging green apples at a show

Con Toparis (centre) judged the produce section of the Goulburn Show each year (with volunteers Kevin Sasse and Joan Oliver in 2022). Photo: Graeme Welsh.

The tragic death of Goulburn bike riding pioneer Con Toparis shocked the cycling communities of Goulburn, Canberra and further afield.

Taking an opportunity for a ride after serving other cyclists coffee at his cafe earlier one morning, Con was travelling south on Crookwell Road, Goulburn.

Police said the 57-year-old collided with a motorbike rider and his female passenger. The rider and passenger were uninjured. Con died at the scene before the ambulance arrived.

1. NSW Government seeks pig-hunter-in-chief as things get feral across the state
by Chris Roe

Pig numbers are out of control and the NSW Government is looking for candidates to become the first State Feral Pig Coordinator

Pig numbers are out of control and the NSW Government is looking for candidates to become the first Feral Pig Coordinator. Photo: File.

The hunt is on to find the ideal candidate to lead NSW’s war on feral pigs.

With porcine populations exploding over several wet years, the State Government has opened applications for the state’s first Feral Pig Coordinator.

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