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Ava is dynamite at debating

TOP TALKERS: Ulladulla High School’s Ava Del Tufo with the state’s best junior debaters at the Junior State Debating Championships at Sydney University. YOU would not want to come up against Ava Del Tufo in an argument.
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The Ulladulla High School student is one of the best debaters in the area, and has honed her skills even further after competing in the Junior State Debating Championships during December.

Ava was one of 50 of the state’s top debaters, who met at Sydney University in the women’s college for the three-day tournament.

The championships were based on a round-robin format and Ava, as a part of the Illawarra South East team, said she and the others “debated like crazy for three days”.

On her fourth debate Ava and her team came up with some tough competitors and unfortunately lost and were eliminated from the competition.

However, “I felt though that I had debated better than I ever had before and I had held my own against some very experienced debaters,” Ava said.

Ava said she learnt a lot about debating during the camp and formed plenty of new friendships.

“The camp was such a learning curve for me as I found completely new ways to debate,” she said.

“I have met such a new variety of people, from the Victorian border to the NSW North Coast, from selective schools to country schools in the middle of nowhere.

“One of the highlights of the camp was on the last night when all of the teams got together and we all stayed up until 1am talking, laughing and, of course, debating.”

Ava said the camp had inspired her to take her debating further and she planned to start learning parliamentary-style debating this year.

“I would like to say a huge thanks to Mr Ramsden, Mrs Taplin and the Milton Ulladulla Lions Club for helping me get to this camp,” she said.

“I could not have gone without their inspiration, encouragement and help.

“I had the time of my life and I will never forget it.”

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Hunter rail fight heading to the courts

THE Christmas and New Year period has produced mixed results in the courts for local rail commuters trying to stop the planned truncation of the Newcastle rail line.
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On Christmas Eve, Supreme Court judge Michael Adams ruled Hunter Development Corporation is defined as a rail infrastructure owner after the NSW government transferred rail assets to the corporation on December 19.

While Justice Adams ruled it was legal for signalling systems, overhead wiring and boom gates to be transferred to HDC by the government, His Honour said rail track could not be ripped up by a rail infrastructure owner unless it was authorised by an Act of Parliament.

The Supreme Court’s decision was welcomed by the Save Our Rail group, among them local commuters from Scone, Muswellbrook, Singleton and Maitland.

These rail travellers have long argued a replacement bus service between Wickham and Civic would be inadequate, pose a risk to the elderly and potentially expose the community to increased crime while they wait at bus stops.

But, on January 2, the NSW Government flagged its displeasure with the Supreme Court decision, filing an application in the NSW Court of Appeal.

The appeal has been listed for directions on March 4 in Sydney.

While the case continues to move slowly through the courts, the NSW Government has implemented part of its changed transport plan even though it is currently prevented from removing rail tracks.

Buses have been introduced to replace the rail service and some rail assets, including overhead wiring, have been removed.

Transport NSW claims security guards are in place to ensure the community is unable to enter the rail corridor.

Social media sites are active with chatter about the transport changes, with some commuters alleging they have waited for long periods before a bus arrives.

LEGAL STOUSH: The Law Courts in Sydney is where Upper Hunter rail commuters are battling the NSW Government over the planned truncation of the Newcastle rail line between Wickham and Civic.

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So much to see at Cootamundra Heritage Centre

So much to see at Cootamundra Heritage Centre Motor Cycle Club THE original Cootamundra Motor Cycle Club was inaugurated on October 5, 1913 at a meeting called by Arthur Bartley. A hill climb on the Temora Hill was one of the first ever events as the club went from strength to strength.
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Coota Jazz Band CHECK out two large boards featuring photographs of the Cootamundra Jazz Band, fondly remembered by many in the district! The photo captions contain the names of many musical men fondly remembered.

Walter Hardy Dray HarnessTHE harness was purchased from a Melbourne brewery by Jack Wise, who drove one of the Cootamundra railway horses, which was a large clydesdale. The harness was too small for the clydesdale and was bought by Wal Hardy, a Cootamundra Municipal Council employee. The CBD streets were swept clean by Mr Hardy for many years.

Baby Health Centre OPENED on October 27, 1949, many will remember the Baby Health Centre.The land for the centre was donated by the CWA in 1946 and a Baby Health Centre erected after a petition was signed by 473 women of the town and district requesting such a facility.

Vintage uniforms THE blue nursing uniform from World War II was presented by Elfie Shelley, while the Australian Women’s Army Auxiliary Service Uniform, also from World War II was presented by Marie Sissian. Both are in spectacular condition and displayed beautifully.

Wedding dress THE wedding dress of Gwendoline Hibberd, who was born on September 5, 1918. Gwendoline was the daughter of a police officer and married Colin Linn on July 19, 1940.

Wine press A wine press owned by Joseph Morton who lived on Morton Vale, Stockinbingal forms part of the villages room. Joseph used his own grapes grown on the property with wife Ethel and children Norah, Irene and John.

Diggers connection SEE the family names listed of those from Cootamundra and the district who served in the armed forces. The men and women are represented by their service photos.

Curiosity CabinetOPEN the doors of the ‘Curiosity Cabinet’ to see great displays of history from the local area. Inside are snapshots of everyday life. A great one for kids to explore!

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Improved access to latest mobile phone network

MOLLYMOOK residents now have extended access to one of the world’s fastest mobile networks, with Telstra switching on 4GX in parts of the region, bringing extreme speeds and extra 4G coverage to customers.
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Mollymook is part of the largest activation of 4GX services across Australia, joining more than 600 new towns and suburbs that have been switched on.

Telstra Country Wide area general manager for the Illawarra, Tricia Wilson, said Mollymook customers in the new coverage areas with compatible devices would be able to instantly pick up the signal and enjoy the new network features.

“We are really excited to be extending the 4GX services throughout Mollymook, as customers are relying on mobile connectivity more than ever,” Ms Wilson said.

“The explosion in apps, shift towards mobile video consumption and use of mobiles for almost anything, means demand for connectivity continues to grow strongly,” she said.

“With Mollymook being a holiday hub attracting tourists all year round, Telstra’s 4GX network will better accommodate growing network traffic.

“The upgrade will increase connectivity and provide improved data speeds for locals and visitors alike.

“4GX is supercharging the Telstra Mobile Network in the area and giving compatible devices access to super fast mobile speeds as they seamlessly transition to the new service.

“This means our customers can enjoy more of what they love – be it video, social media or the internet – in more places and with less buffering.

“But this also has wider network benefits for Mollymook 4G customers without 4GX compatible devices, with traditional 4G services freed up to help manage the ever growing demand for data,” Ms Wilson said.

Mobile coverage continues to be a challenge in the Milton Ulladulla region during the school holidays, as the large influx of tourists results in major congestion in the mobile

network.

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Griffith drummer living rock ‘n’ roll life

BUSY TIME: Damien Jones (front, left,) will tour with Lepers and Crooks in 2015.A FORMER Griffith man is set to hit theroad for his band’s national tour.
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Damien “Damo” Jones, who grew up inGriffith, is the drummer for the popularband Lepers and Crooks.

The band announced its national tocoincide with the release of EP Her Kiss.

The band issued a statement, saying itwas excited about the upcoming tour,which includes more than 50 gigs.

“2014 was an amazing year for us, wehave learnt so much and keep developingour craft under the watchful eye andguidance of CM Murphy and his team.

“We are so excited to get back out on theroad, to re-connect with existing and newfans and perform the songs from our EP,as well as a bunch of new songs we havejust written up in Ballina,” the statementsaid.

INXS manager Chris Muprhy has puthis faith in the five-piece band, which hasbeen described as having “the energy ofMichael Hutchence”.

“They are the whole package: five guyswho were school mates, they are (aged)around 22, they are passionate, honest,hardworking and they have a sense ofhumour, which means they can go on theroad because when things get tough theyknow how to laugh or cry,” Mr Murphysaid.

“They have a distinctive gig and theyplay every gig like it’s their last gig, withthe energy of a Jimmy Barnes, a MichaelHutchence or a Peter Garrett.”

The band performed at Griffith’s TheArea Hotel in October as part of itsBarefoot Alley Raw Tour.

When asked what type of music theband plays, Jones said: “We like to tellpeople we’re a pretty hard-rockingband”.

Jones said the band members werefans of early ‘60s and ‘70s rock.

“Led Zeppelin and The Doors and evenPink Floyd are massive influences andwe love the Arctic Monkeys, the FooFighters and Nirvana,” Jones said.

“We take influences from all of thesebands.”

The band members met at school.

The band will play at The Area Hotelon Saturday, March 7.

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Best wines go on show

TESTING TIME: Fifth generation winemaker David Morris heads the judges at the South Coast Wine Show. THE Shoalhaven Coast is gaining increasing recognition as a wine region, with several of the area’s wineries gaining awards at wine shows all over the country.
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And in coming weeks the local wineries will be pitting their best against wines from the Southern Highlands as they bid for awards at the South Coast Wine Show, sponsored by Hazcorp Pty Limited and Bawley Liquor Barn.

The winners will be decided by fifth generation winemaker David Morris, who really knows his wines.

He has been described as one of Australia’s most outstanding winemakers after having achieved unprecedented show success from his winery Morris Wines at Rutherglen in Victoria.

So when he praises the quality of wines produced in the Shoalhaven and Southern Highlands, it is praised backed by detailed knowledge and an expectation of excellence.

Mr Morris has been chief judge at the past few South Coast Wine Shows, and in 2014 he awarded medals to nearly half of all the wines entered, lavishing praise on the quality of wine being produced in the region.

He is back as chief judge in the 2015 awards, supported by fellow judges Nicole Esdaile from Coombe Farm Estate in the Yarra Valley and Nick O’Leary from Lake George, near Bungendore.

Entries are being collated until Friday, January 9, before judging takes place on Thursday, January 22.

Members of the public will be able to taste the entries and sample the best wines in the region, speak to the judges and also hear from winemakers, during a function at the Mollymook Golf Club from 6pm to 7.30pm on Friday, January 23.

Tickets are $15 and include using a chance to sample all the wines entered in the show, accompanied by Unicorn cheese and finger food, along with enjoying live music from talented young duo Hannah and Monica.

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Skate park on a roll

ABOUT five years of dreaming, organising and waiting have paid off for Harry Douglas.
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When he was in Year 6, he thought a skate park would be a great facility for Aberdeen.

To get the idea rolling, he started to talk to people about its potential, and received support from a number of locals including Fiona Tickle and Hunter Valley Local Area Command youth liaison officer Sheree Gray.

Next Thursday, the new Deen City Skate Park will be officially opened.

Harry, now 16, is pleased to see the facility is already being used by keen skaters and riders.

“It is pretty good – they seem to like it,” he told the Hunter Valley News.

“I think it will get some people out of trouble.”

The project costs $110,000 and Upper Hunter Shire Council provided $60,000, the NSW Government contributed $25,000 under the 2013/14 Sport and Recreation Participation and Facility Grant Program, and Deen City Youth Group, the team which the skate park was named after, raised $25,000.

Members of the public are invited to attend the official opening at the skate park’s Jefferson Park location at 2pm on January 15. And, the person who suggested the chosen name of the skate park will receive a $100 Seven complete skateboard from wiK’ed Frogs Board Room in Singleton at the function.

Aberdeen Lions Club will cook sausage sizzles so those planning on attending are asked to register by contacting [email protected] or 6540 1175.

Upper Hunter Shire mayor Michael Johnsen said Jefferson Park was already a popular location and becoming an ever better recreational destination for all ages.

A concept design for new, existing, and future facilities at Jefferson Park can be viewed at the Upper Hunter Shire Council website.

LONG WAIT IS OVER: Harry Douglas, 16, is pleased to see people are using the new Deen City Skate Park, which will be officially opened next week.

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Around Cootamundra – January 7

Around Cootamundra – January 7 CHRISTMAS JOYNow how special is this photo taken over Christmas when the ‘offspring’ of the late Tom and Ethel Meale all gathered here in Cootamundra, children, grandchildren and great grandchildren (24 in total) to delight in catch up time.AND they are pictured here doing a little retail therapy at our Parker Street stores.
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FISHING ADVENTUREThe McAinsh boys, father David, son Gavin, and grandson Patrick pictured recently having a wonderful weekend fishing. All caught cod with Patrick’s being the biggest at 105cms but they were all caught and released to fight another day. What a great thrill for them all. AND Grandpa had to hold onto Patrick’s life vest so he didn’t end up in the water with the fish, it was SO big

REMEMBERING RUTHIt was with sadness that we report on the passing of Mrs Ruth Hulm.Ruth was a lifetime member of the Cootamundra community, a TOP lady who would do ANYTHING for you.When our children were little we moved to 6 Ursula Street and had as neighbours Ruth and her children (sadly her beloved husband Terry passed away at a very early age) , Barry and Sally Lawler, Albert and Lurle Fenning, the Paul Miers family and Ken and Esme Walsh. AND what happy years were spent there, Our children still recall the HAPPY DAYS of growing up in Ursula Street!AND Ruth’s much loved grandson Zac Hulm, at the age of 18 years, was diagnosed with leukaemia, the prognosis was not good and the doctors set about finding a compatible bone marrow donor. Family members were tested and grandmother Ruth Hulm was a perfect match. The operation went ahead in August, 1997, and the rest ‘is history’ – Zac is now a very fit and well man in his mid 30’s, thanks to his grandmothers gift!!AND of course Ruth’s association with the Cootamundra Rugby League Bulldogs is legendary. One could tell many a fun story of Ruth’s days watching her beloved Bulldogs play and giving referee Tommy Spain HEAPS if he was not doing the job to her liking!SYMPATHY is extended to her children David Hulm, Louise de Britt and Roslyn Hulm at this sad time.Ruth’s ‘farewell’ will take place tomorrow in the Sacred Heart Church, commencing at 11am.In lieu of flowers donations to the Southern Cross Care Cootamundra Retirement Village Auxiliary would be appreciated

ARCHIE’S ARRIVALWhat a gem of a photo – big sister Faith Hulford (aged 9) nursing her new baby brother Archie Thomas Hulford. Archie is the son of Ben and Erin Hulford, of Jilliby, Central Coast, and a grandson for Cootamundra couple Doug and Jenny Hulford. And great grandparents are Robert and Joy Green and Mrs Kay Hulford all of Cootamundra.CONGRATULATIONS to all.

TweetFacebookBOUND FOR PARKESIt’s that time of year when ‘thousands’ gather out at Parkes to commemorate the life of Elvis Presley.

On Friday a train will leave Central Station, every seat taken with fans of Elvis Presley, bound for a phenomenal weekend at Parkes.

If any locals are heading out that way this weekend we would LOVE photos!

MOVIE TIMELooking for something to do TODAY?

Well, in the Tin Shed Theatre at the Arts Centre a splendid movie is showing –

Titled ‘The Invisible Women’ staring Ralph Fines, Felicity Jones and Kristin Scott Thomas.

A great English movie based on the life of Charles Dickens – at the height of his career Charles Dickens meets a younger woman who will become his secret lover until his death.

The times today are 10.30am then again at 7pm, plus Sunday next at 5pm.

And remember that the Tin Shed Theatre is air conditioned for your comfort.

And I will keep you tuned to a TOP movie event taking place on Australia Day (it does sound like SUCH FUN!!)

TAKING A BREAKCC’s at Christ Church Centre, there in Thompson Street, is taking a well earned break and will once again be ‘open for business’ mid month. I will keep you tuned.

US VISITORSHow nice for Marie and Harold Reid, of Cowcumbla Street, having their son Paul and his wife Julie visiting from the USA over Christmas.

Paul and Julie live in Texas where they are at the helm of an aviation business.

TOP RESULTSA number of local students have received excellent HSC results – Mitchell Trinder 93.05 and Joseph Lewis 81 (Mitchell flew out of Mascot International Airport earlier this week to do a Gap Year at a school in Gloucester, England.)

Also gaining top results were local girls Suzie Alderman 93.04, Annabelle Biddulph 97.

Proud grandparents George and Pat Fitzgerald were delighted for their granddaughter Samantha Doolan who attended Hennessy College, Young, and obtained a result of 92.

Greg and Colleen Hines, of Wallendbeen, were thrilled for their granddaughter Daisy Hines (the daughter of Gerard and Berenice Hines) who gained a mark of 99.01.

CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL.

HERE TO STAYAND I am delighted to let everyone know that I will be continuing here this year at the Cootamundra Herald in my capacity as the ‘happy news lady’ writing the Around Cootamundra page.

So bring on a ‘bigger and better’ 2015 as we at the Herald move on to a ‘bigger andbetter’ Cootamundra Herald with our new technology.

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Sydney petrol price drops below $1

Sydney petrol price plunge: The price of unleaded petrol drops below $1 per litre for the first time in six years.
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Port Macquarie, December 31: Whilemotorists in major cities have received some festive fuel pricing respite, Port Macquarie appears to have missed out when it comes to cheaper fuel.

Sydney, January 6:The new year has delivered Sydney motorists a milestone at the bowser, with petrol prices falling below $1 a litre for the first time in six years.

Metro Petroleum is leading the charge, dropping the price of E10 to 99.9 cents per litre at three of its Sydney stations in Tempe, Revesby and Blakehurst at 1pm on Tuesday.

About 20 per cent of all fuel sold in NSW is E10 unleaded.

Metro Petroleum’s pricing officer Elie Dib said he expected the price to hold below a dollar for a week.

“I think everyone is looking for cheap prices again. There’s lots of interest and everyone’s enjoying it again,” he said.

Although one station in western Sydney had a pre-Christmas sale of 99 cent petrol for oneday, the last time Sydneysiders regularly fuelled up at sub-dollar prices was in December 2009.

The last time the average national petrol price was below a dollar was in the week of February 12-20, 2005. It is currently sitting at $1.14 per litre.

The falling bowser price reflects a worldwide glut in oil, which has seen prices drop more than 40 cents a litre from a $1.55 high in July 2014.

According to NRMA spokesman Peter Khoury, motorists could expect the relief at the bowser to continue for “the next few weeks”.

“What we are seeing in the global market right now is something we haven’t seen in a very long time,” Mr Khoury said.”The United States have been increasing production year-on-year now for a few years. As a result, Saudi Arabia has increased production to compete.

“So you’ve got this bizarre situation globally where there is more oil on the market than what we are using, hence the falling prices.”

This global oversupply has seen the price of Brent crude fallen to $US53.25 per barrel overnight, while West Texas Intermediate plunged below $US50 per barrel.

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Art and food combine

FOR THE BIRDS: Artist Sue Nagel puts some of her artwork on display in Mollymook. BIRDS are keeping a close watch on people dining at the Tallwood eatery in Mollymook.
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However it is nothing like an Alfred Hitchcock thriller, as the birds are incredibly lifelike depictions from renowned artist Sue Nagel.

Sue has exhibited her paintings all over the world, and at one stage had an exhibition in London opened by Captain Mark Phillips.

She has also had exhibitions in the USA, Morocco, China, Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Adelaide, and now her 24th exhibition is being held in the acclaimed local restaurant.

Her art adorns the eatery’s walls, providing a strong emphasis on the birds Sue sees around her Kioloa home.

“I just love all animals, and all my life I’ve loved birds,” she explained.

Flowers and bush racing scenes featuring the vibrant colours of the outback are also included in the exhibition that began when the paintings were hung on Monday.

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