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Open day celebrating Elmhurst Playgroup’s 30th birthday

stock photoELMHURST Playgroup will celebrate its 30th birthday this weekend with an open day for all families in the Elmhurst, Ararat and wider regions.
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The celebrations will involve a jumping castle, Kim and Jamie’s Mobile Zoo, Playgroup Victoria craft activities and games and food and drinks.

Playgroup representative Sally Roberts said while Playgroup is for children aged from birth to preschool, families with children of all ages are welcome to attend, as over the past 30 years families from Crowlands, Ararat as well as Elmhurst have participated, and all past and present members are invited.

“People who went to playgroup as kids are coming back with their kids,” Ms Roberts said.

The open day will be held on Sunday from 10am to 2pm at the Mechanics Institute in Elmhurst.

“The 30th birthday is special thing, especially for a small town,” Ms Roberts said.

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‘Railway house’ fire shocks community

GUNNEDAH man Don McDonagh is lucky to be alive after his iconic house burnt down this week.
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The house after the fire this week.

The Chief Havoc Hotel remains standing after the fire.

Don McDonagh with his collection earlier this year. Picture: Northern Daily Leader

Mr McDonagh was in hospital when the fire broke out at his Barber Street home early on Tuesday morning, destroying the house and badly damaging the well-known miniature railway in his yard.

The Gunnedah community has reacted with shock to the fire.

Mr McDonagh’s son, Bill McDonagh, who lives just two doors down, said flames were billowing “30 feet” out of the front windows.

“The heat was unbelievable,” Bill McDonagh said.

“Nothing could have been done. The trains all got melted.”

Bill McDonagh said the first he knew of the fire was when his dog started to bark and run around the house.

“It’s bloody lucky Dad was in hospital,” he said. “He wouldn’t have lived if he was there.”

He said his father had kept war medals and historic documents in steel cabinets which had remained largely undamaged by the fire.

For close to 30 years, Don McDonagh’s elaborate model railway and miniature town have been visited by thousands of children.

The house has now been cordoned off but the railway remains in the front yard. Bill McDonagh said there had been more damage to the railway than they had at first thought.

Gunnedah Mayor Owen Hasler said the family property was a huge loss for not only the family but the town as well.

“It’s a tragedy and no doubt he will be extremely upset and traumatised,” he said of Don McDonagh.

“It’s an obvious attraction in the town, and it would be a great loss if it couldn’t be salvaged or erected in another place.

“It has certainly been, like Don, an iconic feature of our community, and it would be sad to see it not resurrected in some form for our community,” Cr Hasler said.

Investigators and detectives have sifted through the remains of the ferocious blaze and have found no suspicious circumstances.

News of the fire brought a flood of comments on the Namoi Valley Independent’s Facebook site.

Rhonda Delander Eade wrote: “That is so terrible. Poor Don. I hope Gunnedah rallies around to help him.”

Niss Hill wrote: “So sorry to hear of this thinking of you Donny.”

Others, such as Dylan Ison, Susan Reid and Tristan Browne remembered visiting the house as a child.

“Horrible news, Don. Thoughts are with you and any help needed we will be there old mate,” wrote Matthew Hannay.

The famous working model railway was constructed by Mr McDonagh at the suggestion of his wife during Australia’s bicentennial celebrations in 1988.

It was originally meant as a “little train around the tree for the grandchild”.

Later, the model included two linked scale model towns with a whole range of houses and stores.

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BFL elimination final: Golden Square v Eaglehawk

Golden Square and Eaglehawk meet on Saturday night in the elimination final.BFL QUALIFYING FINAL: SANDHURST V GISBORNE
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GOLDEN SQUARE v EAGLEHAWK – 6pm Saturday at QEO.

Since 1995: Golden Square 27; Eaglehawk 19.

Last final: 2013 qualifying final – Golden Square10.9 (69) d Eaglehawk 8.17 (65).

This year’s meetings:

Round 7: Golden Square 20.12 (132) d Eaglehawk 9.9 (63).

Round 16: Golden Square 15.10 (100) d Eaglehawk 8.18 (66).

GOLDEN Square’s aspirations of a record-equalling sixth Bendigo Football League premiership in a row go on the line on Saturday night in the elimination final against Eaglehawk at the QEO.

The Bulldogs have won the past five flags, but there’s no safety net of a double chance this year after finishing fourth.

It has been an up-and-down season for the Bulldogs, who haven’t been able to win more than two games in a row, but they’ve had the measure of the Hawks in both their meetings by 69 and 34 points.

The Hawks were the talk of the BFL last week when they stunned Sandhurst at the QEO by 19 points to climb to fifth.

The Hawks had been given little chance of defeating the Dragons and they’ll again carry in the underdog tag on Saturday night against the Bulldogs, who are 13-0 in finals since losing the2008 grand final to Eaglehawk by a goal.

Bulldogs’ star Corey Jones has been a major thorn in the side of the Hawks both times this year, kicking nine goals and potentially earning six Michelsen Medal votes, while onballers Ben McPhee, Brodie Collins, Kevin Archbold and defender Brenton Conforti have all been pivotal for Eaglehawk the past fortnight.

COACHES COMMENTS:

Nick Carter (Golden Square) – “We’re in a different situation to the past few years and the opportunity for us is to build momentum.

“You never hit your straps in the first week of finals… finals footy is a different game and we’re going to come up against a side that has a similar motive to us in that they want to take the game on with quick transfer of play and attack on the footy.

“It’s going to be a red-hot game and an opportunity for both the seasoned and younger guys to step up.”

Luke Monaghan (Eaglehawk) – “We’ve been up against it after finals were taken out of our hands a few weeks ago, but we’ve just gone out and played footy and let the results take care of themselves.

“Fortunately, we got a good result last weekend to get ourselves in there and we hit finals full of confidence and belief.

“That’s on the back of winning two in a row for the first time this season against Maryborough at home, which is a difficult task, and Sandhurst at the QEO when they were vying for top spot.

“Two weeks ago it didn’t look like we’d be finals contenders, but we now get a crack on Saturday night and we’re keen to make the most of it.”

TALE OF THE TAPE

Golden Square:

Won: 10. Lost: 8.

Average for: 93.8. Against: 78.4.

Quarters won: 40/72.

Eaglehawk:

Won: 9. Lost: 9.

Average for: 83.6. Against: 79.3.

Quarters won: 37/72.

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State of the art wheelchair brightens former Paralympian Goldfinch

Queanbeyan former Paralympian Murray Goldfinch with his new sports wheelchair. Photo: Joshua Matic.SINCE 2008 former Queanbeyan Paralympian Murray Goldfinch has been on the shy side, and has kept himself away from the public domain, but last Monday he was able to light up again after he received his first sports wheelchair.
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Potentially one of the largest wheelchairs of its type in the world, Murray will now look forward to playing sport again with his $8599 wheelchair, which he will use to play wheelchair basketball for the Canberra Chargers in the NSW Wheelchair Basketball competition.

As well as using funding from his Independent Accomodation Support Package, the Snow Foundation and Partners in Recovery from the Disability Trust came on board to sponsor Goldfinch for his new wheelchair.

But it has been a very hard past six years for the Sydney 2000 double bronze medallist Paralympian.

In 2008 he was bashed with a baseball bat, suffering spinal injuries, and unable to walk properly, was forced into a wheelchair.

The ordeal also brought on mental illness, and while he was still able to train in wheelchair basketball with his normal wheelchair, he was unable to play in matches as he did not have a sports wheelchair.

Due to his large build, he needed to specially-made wheelchair, and with the funds raised, he was finally able to purchase one this year.

Goldfinch said having his new equipment would raise his spirits dramatically.

“After my assault I became very depressed, as I had always played sports, and was no longer able to,” he said.

“Now that I can play, my dream is to make the Australian team, and hopefully be able to play in the Paralympics again.”

A separate injury ended the 30-year old’s shot put and discuss career in 2007, and a seven year full time stint at the AIS.

His disability was intellectual, but after Sydney 2000, intellectual disabilities were removed from the Paralympics, but he was still able to set a world shot put record in Canberra in 2005.

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Narooma Blues Festival – young talent to shine

When The Judds sang Maybe Your baby’s Got The Blues they could have been talking about the bold, young talent taking to the stage at this year’s Great Southern Blues Festival in Narooma.
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The festival that gave the John Butler Trio its first East Coast festival gig has gained a formidable reputation for fostering young artists and in October the latest generation of musicians will shine.

Leading the charge is The Montgomery Brothers, a band of teenagers led by 21-year-old guitar virtuoso Ryo Montgomery.

Hailing from Cairns and playing in the style of the Emmanuel brothers and Chet Atkins, the band is starting to make inroads in the industry with two albums and a recent tour of the USA.

Joining them at the long weekend event will be blues trailblazers the Johnny Rieger Band who will perform as part of an Australian tour.

Playing their own mix of modern blues and rock ‘n’ roll that has been called the new generation of blues, the German trio will combine with Australian soul and blues artist John McNamara to produce a thumping set.

Adding texture to the festival is South Coast artist Genevieve Chadwick who has been gaining exposure on the back of her debut album Riding The Wind, Forgetting Time.

Likened to Janis Joplin and Melissa Etheridge, Chadwick produces poignant songs through a mix of blues and roots music with her songs defined by rich melodies.

Winner of the 2013 People’s Choice Award at the Telstra Road to Discovery Finals in Tamworth and one of only three Australian artists selected for the global Playing For Change music project, Chadwick has the ability to touch the soul of her audience whenever she performs.

Rounding out the new generation of blues artists is the Perch Creek Family Jug Band, five energetic multi-instrumentalists and vocalists, four of whom are siblings.

Described as a psychedelic jug band with fearless spirit and imagination, the band has learnt its trade on the global stage and is making its debut in Narooma.

These great young acts will join a popular array of national and international artists performing on two stages throughout the three-day festival.

The Great Southern Blues Festival is being held on October 3-5 at Smyth Oval, Narooma.

General advance tickets are on sale and attendees are encouraged to book early as the festival has strictly limited capacity. Two-thirds of tickets have already been sold.

Tickets can be purchased for the full weekend or as individual day passes. For full information, pricing and purchase, go to www.bluesfestival.tv or call (02) 4476 4848.

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Esperance letters: Wind farm lifespan questioned

I READ with a deal of despair the announcement by Synergythat they intend to close the wind power farm at Esperance, after a mere 20 years service providing sustainable energy to the community.
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Which begs the analysis:Is the system worn out, or not the money-earner that Synergy envisaged?

The Irish Sea has copious numbers of wind power generators supplying to Ireland’s mainland as do the Danish in their surrounding oceans. Wind generators sunk into the ocean floor like pylons for an oil/gas rig.

Not with a piffling 20 year life span on dry land but in place forever save standard replacement parts.

Subsequently the Esperance life span is looking decidedly shaky on several fronts, for example if Western Power only ever meant the wind farms to last 20 years – why?

Why was a sustainable long term power supply system given such a short lease of life when wind farms all over the world are in a system that goes on for decades, the list is endless.

It would appear sustainability has been shuttled off to play with the fairies at the bottom of the garden!

John Bain

South Bunbury

What do you think? Send a letter to the editor: [email protected]南京夜网.au

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Brakes on bull bar blitz

THE NSW government has announced a two-year period of exemption for motorists who have been issued with defect notices or have concerns about the legality of their bull bar.
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Following a recent blitz by NSW Police in the New England and Western regions and the resulting anger from many bull bar owners, Roads Minister Duncan Gay directed the NSW Vehicle Standards Working Group to conduct a detailed examination of rules for bull bars last Friday.

On Tuesday, a Ministerial Order was issued, which allows concerned owners to drive their vehicle for the two-year period, allowing time for anyone who is unsure about their bull bar compliance to have an inspection through Roads and Maritime Services (RMS).

“In recent weeks it’s become obvious five-post bull bars get entangled in Australian Design Rules for vehicle frontal protection systems,” Minister Gay said.

The current NSW-only rules were enacted in January, 2003.

“I have genuine concerns that people have purchased bull bars in good faith and are now subject to a police compliance campaign,” Minister Gay said.

A local property owner, who didn’t wish to be named, said the situation is “disappointing” but at least the Minister has taken action.

“The whole original situation coming to light via police booking people and not an actual campaign by Roads and Maritime Services is disappointing,” she said.

“Most of the information has come from social media, with other disappointed people posting and reporting information regarding defects on five-post bull bars.

“As an owner of a five-post bull bar why should the fault be on me? I purchased the bar with our new vehicle, which was fitted and passed for rego before I had the keys.

“If the bull bars haven’t been compliant since 2003 why are they still manufactured and passed for rego?

“I’m guessing it will be expensive to fix if we have to remove it and replace with another type of bull bar.”

The concerned landholder said safety was her biggest concern when purchasing the bull bar and it has been well “worth the money”.

“My husband was heading to work early in the morning and hit a large buck kangaroo, without such a well made bull bar, our utility would have been a write-off,” she said.

“When we were looking to purchase the bar we wanted something to protect our new vehicle and us.”

Any owners who are unsure or who have already received a defect notice for a bull bar they believe should be exempt, should then have their vehicle inspected at an RMS Authorised Unregistered Vehicle Inspection Station.

The relevant agencies have been made aware of the Ministerial Order and will work to address outstanding infringement notices.

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Queanbeyan Yowies to start women’s state league finals campaign

Queanbeyan Yowies women’s state league assistant coach Emma Anderson.THE Queanbeyan Yowies women’s side will aim to make their first ever NSW State League grand final when they take on the Newcastle Hunters in semi-final action at the Maitland Federation Centre on Saturday.
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They played their best season since 2011 in finishing second on the ladder and suffering just two losses, and assistant coach Emma Anderson believes her side is in the best position it has been to win a maiden title.

It will be a must-win game, and Anderson said her women were confident, despite losing to Newcastle a fortnight ago, but inflicting minor premiers Coffs Harbour’s first loss in two years.

“We’ve always bombed out at the semi-final stage, so this year is the chance to win the first game and make it to the grand final,” she said.

Besides Tegan Kettles, who has moved to the USA on a college basketball scholarship, the Yowies will be at full strength.

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Feels like home …. Oak LeaPhotos

Feels like home …. Oak Lea | Photos FOR SALE: Prime grazing land, graceful homestead and lovely views.
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FOR SALE: Prime grazing land, graceful homestead and lovely views.

MOVING ON: Lifeline Central West CEO Alex Ferguson is selling Oak Lea, a 113-hectare property south of Bathurst that he has called home for the past 12 years.

FOR SALE: Prime grazing land, graceful homestead and lovely views.

FOR SALE: Prime grazing land, graceful homestead and lovely views.

FOR SALE: Prime grazing land, graceful homestead and lovely views.

FOR SALE: Prime grazing land, graceful homestead and lovely views.

FOR SALE: Prime grazing land, graceful homestead and lovely views.

FOR SALE: Prime grazing land, graceful homestead and lovely views.

FOR SALE: Prime grazing land, graceful homestead and lovely views.

FOR SALE: Prime grazing land, graceful homestead and lovely views.

FOR SALE: Prime grazing land, graceful homestead and lovely views.

FOR SALE: Prime grazing land, graceful homestead and lovely views.

FOR SALE: Prime grazing land, graceful homestead and lovely views.

FOR SALE: Prime grazing land, graceful homestead and lovely views.

FOR SALE: Prime grazing land, graceful homestead and lovely views.

FOR SALE: Prime grazing land, graceful homestead and lovely views.

FOR SALE: Prime grazing land, graceful homestead and lovely views.

FOR SALE: Prime grazing land, graceful homestead and lovely views.

FOR SALE: Prime grazing land, graceful homestead and lovely views.

FOR SALE: Prime grazing land, graceful homestead and lovely views.

FOR SALE: Prime grazing land, graceful homestead and lovely views.

FOR SALE: Prime grazing land, graceful homestead and lovely views.

FOR SALE: Prime grazing land, graceful homestead and lovely views.

FOR SALE: Prime grazing land, graceful homestead and lovely views.

FOR SALE: Prime grazing land, graceful homestead and lovely views.

FOR SALE: Prime grazing land, graceful homestead and lovely views.

FOR SALE: Prime grazing land, graceful homestead and lovely views.

FOR SALE: Prime grazing land, graceful homestead and lovely views.

FOR SALE: Prime grazing land, graceful homestead and lovely views.

TweetFacebookAs part of our Feels Like Home property feature we’ll be taking a look inside some of the city’s premier properties and talking to the families who live there.

A RARE chance to secure prime grazing land at The Lagoon has come up, but the present owner won’t be going far.

Lifeline Central West chief Alex Ferguson and wife Ceilia have purchased the property next door and are selling to make the move.

Bathurst Real Estate’s Julian Stambe has listed Oak Lea at Tannis Mount, 2044 Lagoon Road, for offers over $990,000.

It’s a 113-hectare (281-acre) parcel and comes with a three-bedroom, two-bathroom and double garage homestead, as well as a machinery shed which even has its very own granny flat. There’s also a large hay shed, stables, chook pen and large cattle yards.

Just a 20-minute drive for Bathurst, Oak Lea presently runs cattle, and all 11 paddocks are superbly fenced with the 13 dams effectively drought-proofing the property.

Mr Ferguson said he purchased Oak Lea 12 years ago after looking around for more than six months for something suitable.

“We were after 30 acres with a home that needed renovating and established garden,” he said. “But we got 280 acres, a new home and no garden.

“I started with a bulldozer and put the dam in front of the house, which is spring fed and was able to capture the best views in the region.

“We’ve never been short of water, even in the worst of droughts. The house has a 25,000 gallon drinking water tank.

“A lot of our time is spent living on the balconies, but we love the garden and our orchard has 70 fruit trees planted with just about everything known to man.”

Mr Ferguson said the property would be suited to anyone heading towards retirement or looking for a weekender.

“All the hard work has been done and the house is very solid,” he said. “I just love this part of the world and it’s so close to town, 17 minutes to be exact. But it’s not as though we are leaving, we’re only moving next door.”

Mr Stambe said he believes The Lagoon area is “underrated … big time”.

“The price point is fantastic because a property like this just down the road at O’Connell would be listed at $1.5 million. You really have to see what it’s like out there to realise the potential the area has,” he said.

Julian says the main bedroom at Oak Lea has a walk-in robe and en suite, with other bedrooms being double in size.

“The kitchen has all the electric appliances you could ever want, with a near new wood heater to warm the house for the colder months,” he said.

Feels Like Home … The Elms at Wentworth EstateFeels like home … built to perfectionFeels like home … Blue Ridge Drive sophisticationBruce Bolam’s new CBD Apartment_____________________________________

Do you have an amazing home?It doesn’t matter what kind of house you have – whether is architecturally designed or a straw house you built yourself – we’re keen to take a look inside. If you would like to have your house featured in Feels Like Home contact chief of staff Brian Wood on 6330 2323 or email him on [email protected]南京夜网.au

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Liberal Party backs Josh Morris for Western Victoria

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Josh Morris.

THE Liberal Party has chosen Josh Morris to be the new Liberal candidate for the Western Victoria Region.

The Party’s Administrative Committee endorsed the 31-year-old on Monday from a field of 12 candidates.

Mr Morris is currently the Mayor of the City of Ballarat, the youngest person to ever hold that position.

“I’m honoured to have been chosen as the new Liberal Party candidate for the Upper House seat of Western Victoria,” Mr Morris said.

“As a husband and father of four children, I understand the challenges facing families, balancing the household budget and wanting the very best in community in which to raise your children.

“As part of Denis Napthine’s team I will be working hard to represent the views of the many communities across the Western Victoria Region.

“In the lead up to the November election, I will be reminding people that only the Napthine Government is delivering for all Victorians, particularly those in rural and regional areas.”

Having been pre selected Mr Morris will need to broaden his scope and interest beyond Ballarat to take in towns including Ararat and Stawell.

He has confirmed he will step down as Mayor of the City of Ballarat to become the Liberal Party’s candidate.

Mr Morris, who was elected to City of Ballarat in 2012, said he has had the privilege of working with an incredibly passionate and driven group of councillors during that time.

“As a group we have achieved great things for the local communities where we live and raise our families,” he said.

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