Monthly Archives: December 2018

Ararat Rats netballers to have big presence in Wimmera finals

Ararat shooter Jakki Gibson in action during the Rats big win over Stawell in the final round of the Wimmera Netball Association home and away season. Picture: MARK MCMILLIANARARAT will have five of its six netball sides compete in this year’s Wimmera Netball Association finals, with B grade the unlucky side to miss out on September action, finishing the home and away season in six position just one win out of contention.
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The all conquering A grade team heads into another finals’ campaign eager to taste premiership glory for the first time since 2009.

The Rats will take on the Warrack Eagles at Murtoa tomorrow in the qualifying final with plenty of confidence following last Saturday’s 43-goal smashing of Stawell.

Ararat got out of the blocks quickly against the Warriors with a 17-goal to three opening quarter, before extending the buffer to 23 by the main break.

Stawell managed to restrict the Rats in the third term before the flood gates opened in the fourth quarter. The visitors piled on 20 goals to the Warriors’ four to run out convincing winners 67 to 24.

Rats’ coach Rebecca Skrabl said the final term blitz was the perfect lead in to week one of finals.

“It was definitely a step up from where we have been the last couple of weeks,” she said.

“We had two really good quarters, which were the first and the fourth. We were a little bit flat during the second and third quarter, but to finish off the way we did I am really happy we are lifting to where we need to be heading into finals.

“When we were hitting our high during the start of the season that was really the standard we were playing at, so it is a promising sign to see that coming back.”

Skrabl highlighted Ararat’s drive down the court as one of the biggest positives of the match, with best on court Kate Bligh the main orchestrator in centre.

“Kate is always a really solid contributor and she was just instrumental with our movement into attack,” she said.

“Also her defensive abilities around the ring were great, she picked off a lot of balls.”

Ararat has faced the Eagles twice during the home and away season, defeating the third placed team by a margin of eight goals in round six and 22 in round 13.

Skrabl said on both occasions the Rats weren’t at full potential, but will take their strongest line-up into tomorrow’s clash.

“I don’t think our previous two games against Warrack have been our best, particularly we had a bit of illness in the team the second time around,” she said.

“We are definitely looking forward to this game and ready for the challenge that we know we will get from them.”

The curtain fell on Ararat’s B grade season last Saturday, with the Warriors handing the Rats a 66 to 25 thumping.

The visitors went into the game with hopes of playing finals still mathematically alive, however without three of its midcourt players Ararat’s cause wasn’t helped.

Jacqui Scott stepped up from the 17 and unders and was a good contributor in wing attack and centre, passing well into the goalies and getting her hands to a number of loose balls.

Joint-coach Kara Cunningham stepped out of defence and into the midcourt as well to help fill the void and showed strong leadership.

Ararat’s 17 and unders produced a four quarter performance against the higher placed Warriors, which saw the Rats come away with a 52 to 28 goal win and a confidence booster ahead of Sunday’s rematch against Stawell in the do or die final.

Maddi Batchelor and Georgia Fleming dominated in goals with their accurate shooting, fantastic movement and team work.

The defensive pressure applied by the team all game created numerous scoring opportunities as the Rats built a lead at every change to record the 24-goal win.

The Rats’ 15 and under A team came out firing in the first half of its clash, gaining a 24-goal lead by halftime.

In the third quarter coaches Lauri and Brooke Williamson mixed up the side to rest some of the players that usually wouldn’t have a break, which meant re-adjusting to the changes making the third quarter (Ararat five goals, Stawell four) the closest.

Ararat’s two shooters, Tayla Borrelli and Rachael Fratin were stand out performers in the eventual 30-goal victory, with strong passing and an accurate conversion rate.

In previous weeks, the Rats haven’t had their full contingent of players in the 15 and under Bs, but started to get back to full strength at the weekend.

Coach Megan Shea said Ararat had a tough practice match against its Tatyoon counterpart in the lead up to the Stawell match, which proved a good opportunity to ‘blow out the cobwebs’.

The midweek hitout worked, with the Rats claiming a 48-goal win.

Lilly Sewell shot consistently and led strongly in the goal circle, while Briony Cann passed confidently down the court.

Karly Griffits was also recognised for her efforts in centre and wing defence.

Ararat’s 13 and unders stepped onto the court with plenty of enthusiasm, starting the first quarter against the Warriors on fire to lead by three goals at the first change.

The Rats maintained the lead at every change, with Katelin McDonald again picking up numerous intercepts and propelling the ball down the court, where Racquel Scott was waiting.

Scott has slotted beautifully into goals in recent weeks and is an important player in the attacking end.

The Rats and Warriors will meet again this Sunday in the elimination final.

Coach Kate Bligh said after losing the last encounter between the two sides by 18 goals, last weekend’s 33 to 32 win ‘is a huge confidence booster coming into finals’.

Wimmera finals

Saturday, August 30 – Murtoa Rec. Reserve

A grade: Ararat vs Warrack Eagles

15 and under A: Ararat vs Horsham Saints

15 and under B: Ararat vs Horsham Saints

Sunday, August 31 – Horsham City Oval

17 and under: Ararat vs Stawell

13 and under: Ararat vs Warrack Eagles

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Baird: Parramatta North to be transformed

Premier Mike Baird made the announcement at Fleet Street at Parramatta North today. Picture: supplied.
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NSW Premier and Minister for Western Sydney Mike Baird and Planning Minister Pru Goward today announced the historic heart of Parramatta North will be the focus of a major urban transformation project.

Mr Baird said the NSW Government was demonstrating its commitment to the project by declaring Parramatta North a State Significant Site. This will facilitate the preservation and enhancement of the precinct’s numerous heritage sites, while fast-tracking the delivery of thousands of new homes and jobs, providing a major economic boost for Western Sydney.

“The Parramatta North precinct is home to some of the state’s – and indeed Australia’s – most important heritage locations and assets, including Australia’s first farm and first water mill, Parramatta Female Factory and the Old Kings School,” Mr Baird said.

“The site also borders Parramatta’s commercial core, and the Westmead Health specialised precinct.

Mike Baird made the announcement at Fleet Street at Parramatta North today. Picture: supplied.

“There is such fantastic potential for the community to benefit from the showcasing of Parramatta’s multi-layered heritage, both Indigenous and colonial.

“We will be guided by heritage experts to ensure that the most significant buildings are preserved – this is our first priority, and early heritage and infrastructure works will commence within the year.

“It is critical that we find an appropriate adaptive reuse for these buildings, including community, cultural and commercial uses.

“The project is of such significance to the future of Australia’s second oldest city, we need to ensure all agencies are working together to manage land ownership complexities, heritage assets, and environmental concerns.

“The development will include improvements to local parkland and open space, as well as restoration of the Parramatta River bank and the creation of a river walk towards Lake Parramatta.

“Parramatta MP Geoff Lee has been a passionate advocate for Parramatta North and I thank him for his dedication and work on this project.”

As well as preserving Australia’s and Sydney’s important heritage, the project has the capacity to provide about 6,000 new homes for Parramatta’s growing population, and create 2000 permanent jobs.

Ms Goward said the NSW Liberals & Nationals Government will transform a 146-hectare parcel of Government owned land at Parramatta North, on the banks of the Parramatta River, into a vibrant new area that will create new housing and employment opportunities, while at the same time honouring the important heritage of the area.

“The Parramatta North project is an opportunity to create a wonderful place, preserving some of Australia’s most important heritage assets, and making them accessible to the community,” Ms Goward said.

“NSW Labor allowed Parramatta, which is as significant to our heritage as the Rocks, to fall into disrepair, but we aim to transform it, just as we are doing with other parts of Sydney and NSW.

“Parramatta North contains some of the country’s most architecturally significant sites, and we must act to preserve and enhance these convict era buildings.

“Getting this project right will mean a vibrant new place to live, side by side with some of Australia’s oldest buildings, and right on the beautiful Parramatta River.”

UrbanGrowthNSW has been leading the Parramatta North project, and extensive consultation has been undertaken with the local community, heritage and business groups, government agencies, Parramatta Council, and Parramatta MP Dr Geoff Lee.

The Parramatta North Urban Renewal area is comprised of four precincts, each with its own distinct character, including Parramatta Park, Cumberland Precinct, Sport and Leisure Precinct, and the Old Kings School Precinct.

The first priority is to begin the early heritage and infrastructure works which will commence within the year. It is also anticipated that a rezoning application will be lodged in September and the first development applications will be lodged in six months’ time.

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Youth services at your fingertips

THE search for information about youth services in the Upper Hunter has been simplified thanks to a collaborative effort between Muswellbrook Shire Council, Upper Hunter Community Services (UHCS) and BHP Billiton Mt Arthur Coal.
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The group has put together a comprehensive and easily accessible collection of data that focuses on health, education and training and employment services for young people aged between 12 and 24.

As part of the four-year Community Capacity Building Project, youth services were identified as a priority area for the partnership.

Providing the public with quality and accessible information about the services available to young people was seen as an area in particular need of support.

The material is available in a range of formats, including an information report entitled Youth Demographic and Support Service Snapshot 2014: Muswellbrook Local Government Area, a brochure and a webpage hosted by UHCS.

The brochure and webpage, developed in consultation with the Upper Hunter Youth Interagency Committee, cover the entire Upper Hunter area, while the information report, developed in consultation with local service providers, covers Muswellbrook Shire.

UHCS senior community development officer Cindy Milton said it was evident there was a need for such a resource in the area.

“We are increasingly being asked for this kind of information by various individuals and groups, so it’s great that our community can now be directed to one single point of reference,” she said.

“Together, the tools will be a great resource for our youth, parents, decision makers, professionals in the youth field and new residents of our area.

“I hope that the resources will be helpful to the community, particularly those looking to assist young people,” added council’s community services officer Sandra Vlacci.

BHP Billiton Mt Arthur Coal is investing more than $1.3 million over four years in the Community Capacity Building Project through which council and UHCS are working together to build a strong, sustainable and resilient Muswellbrook Shire community.

The initiative was developed in response to community feedback received through Mt Arthur Coal’s Sustainable Communities Project.

Copies of the information report and brochure are available on the council and UHCS websites: and

COLLABORATION: Representatives from Muswellbrook Shire Council, BHP Billiton Mt Arthur Coal and Upper Hunter Community Services, from left, Cindy Milton, Lakin Agnew, Deirdra McCracken-Tindale and Sandra Vlacci.

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George Smith rolls up his sleeves to lend a hand

DURING the recent National Blood Donor Week, Red Cross encouraged people to donate blood.
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However, it was also a great time to also acknowledge those who have been dedicated to donation for decades.

George Smith has been giving blood since the 1970s and has donated 51 times.

The Muswellbrook resident’s long list of contributions was originally inspired by his late wife Judy Smith.

“My wife was a nurse and she was already giving blood so I decided to as well,” he told the Chronicle.

When Mrs Smith was diagnosed with breast cancer she was no longer able to donate, but Mr Smith has since kept the tradition.

“I feel good to know I’ve been able to help and, whenever I can, I give blood,” he said.

“We’re here to try to help people who are ill to get better.”

Together, Mr and Mrs Smith have saved more than 282 lives through their donations and Mr Smith plans to continue adding to that number.

Australian Red Cross Blood Service’s Donna Treseder commended Mr Smith and other donors on their willingness to lend a hand.

“It takes a lot of years of commitment to get to that level [like Mr Smith],” she said.

“The thing I admire about donors is they don’t know the details of where the blood will go but they come in trusting [Red Cross].

“It’s all for people they’re never going to meet.

“It could be used as early as the next day and the amount of people one can help with each donation can be quite a lot – every time you help at least three people.”

Mr Smith hopes to encourage people who may be undecided about giving blood to visit staff members at the Donormobile to discuss it.

“If [people] are hesitant at all, come on down and see what happens and do some good,” he said.

“The system here in Australia is very safe.

“Flu season and other things can stop regulars from donating so we need others to come in to cover the regulars.”

Another Muswellbrook resident, Heather Murphy, has also passed the 50 donations point.

The Red Cross Blood Donormobile will be back in Muswellbrook from Monday, October 20, to Thursday, October 23, at the Muswellbrook PCYC car park.

For more blood donation facts, or to book a donation session for October, visit www.donateblood南京夜网.au or phone 131 495.

RED-DY TO HELP: Australian Red Cross Blood Service’s Ros Armstrong and regular blood donor George Smith at the Donormobile in Muswellbrook.

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Planting the idea

LOCAL green thumbs will be delighted to hear plans for a Muswellbrook community garden are growing by the day.
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Muswellbrook Shire Council’s Kirsten McKimmie and Tracy Ward are calling on anyone who may be interested in helping the concept take root.

Ms McKimmie was inspired to begin planning when she saw another town’s community garden.

“I just thought, ‘wow, that’s great, we need to have that in Muswellbrook’,” she told the Chronicle.

“Some people feel Muswellbrook doesn’t have that community feeling and we’re hoping to bring that to Muswellbrook.”

Mrs Ward was involved in the organisation of Denman’s community

garden and saw how rewarding it was for participants and its ability to bring people together.

The women said the garden will be for the entire Muswellbrook community – all ages and skill levels.

They are hosting an information evening at the Muswellbrook and District Workers Club next Tuesday, September 2, at 6pm.

Interested locals are encouraged to attend and put their hand up to be a part of the committee.

Ms McKimmie said there were currently no rules or guidelines for the garden – and it was up to the residents to share their suggestions and get behind the project.

“While it is a council initiative, this will be community-driven not council-driven,” she said.

They are hoping to have the first sod turned at the Sustainability Fair in late November.

The garden will be at Lions Park and council is currently working with Muswellbrook Lions, among others in preparation for its establishment.

“This is part of the Sustainability Street initiative which is funded by Coal & Allied,” Mrs Ward said.

Refreshments, including local produce, will be served at the meeting.

For more information, contact Kirsten or Tracy at Muswellbrook Shire Council on 6549 3700.

GREEN REVOLUTION: Muswellbrook Shire Council’s Kirsten McKimmie and Tracy Ward are planning a community garden for Muswellbrook.

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