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Former Ballarat school staffer caught with 15,000 child porn images

A BALLARAT father and former employee of a local secondary school, caught with almost 15,000 child pornography images, mostly of young boys, also discussed grooming tactics with other online predators, a court has heard.
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A covert police operation revealed in 2012 that Lee Terrence Clarke, 42, of Wendouree, was also in possession of 388 child pornography videos, many featuring young boys involved in sex acts with older men.

The County Court at Ballaraton Thursdayheard Clarke, a father of two boys, had been the member of an online “peer to peer” file sharing network and that he shared his collection of child porn with 250 other users.

Commonwealth prosecutor Andrew Sprague said Clarke often discussed grooming techniques with other users.

Detailing some of Clarke’s online discussions, Mr Sprague told the court of one occasion in which a fellow user commented on Clarke’s large collection of child porn.

“It took a while to get it all, never stop trying,” the court heard Clarke wrote to the user.

The court heard Clarke, who also worked with local youth in his role with the air force cadets, “preferred” boys between the age of 12 and 16, but that much of his collection included pre-teen boys and girls.

Clarke was arrested by Ballarat police on October 31, 2012,after Clarke let a covert officer access his child porn while online.

The court heard police quickly alerted the principal of the secondary school about Clarke’s charges.

Defence barrister Michael Stanton said Clarke had been employed at the school since 2012, with his duties including a supervisory role on school camps.

Clarke pleaded guilty to charges of accessing child porn using a carriage service and making child porn available using a carriage service.

The defence barrister said Clarke initially told police he had no idea why he had engaged in such conduct, adding he made full admissions and was cooperative with investigators.

Mr Stanton said Clarke became exposed to pornography in 2011 while suffering relationship troubles, adding it was then that he “ultimately sought out child porn”.

He said Clarke had since engaged in counselling with a psychologist, adding the offending had cost Clarke his career and second marriage.

Mr Stanton said Clarke had never tried to justify the offending.

Judge Frank Gucciardo will sentence Clarke onSeptember 9.

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GALLERY: Parramatta girls’ topical HSC art

GALLERY: Parramatta girls’ topical HSC art Imogen King with her innovative self portrait. Picture: Gene Ramirez
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Meegan Armstrong with a clay figure from her installation ‘Migration’. Picture: Gene Ramirez

Claudia Stafrace with her portraits of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and Edward Snowden. Picture: Gene Ramirez

Picture: Gene Ramirez

Digital skateboard designs by year 10 students at Our lady of Mercy College, Parramatta. Picture: Gene Ramirez

Picture: Gene Ramirez

Picture: Gene Ramirez

Picture: Gene Ramirez

Picture: Gene Ramirez

Picture: Gene Ramirez

Picture: Gene Ramirez

Picture: Gene Ramirez

Picture: Gene Ramirez

Picture: Gene Ramirez

TweetFacebook Migration, about the plight of refugees.

‘‘I went onto the United Nation’s refugee agency website and read a lot of articles about how they were treated —badly in certain instances,’’ she said.

‘‘I wanted to bring awareness.’’

Claudia Stafrace, 18, painted portraits of Julian Assange and Edward Snowden after exploring the power of technology, government censorship and the dangers associated with sharing personal information online.

They were hung at her school’s annual art exhibition on August 20, two days after Assange announced he would leave the Ecuadorian Embassy in London where he has stayed for two years to avoid extradition.

‘‘My concept was to explore the power and paradox of technology — basically that knowledge can be limitless with the internet but there are different ways it can be used such as as a means to control people.

‘‘I invite the audience to question ‘Is the disclosure of information by private organisations really of benefit to society or is it actually damaging?’’’

Imogen King, 17, painted a self portrait inspired by Australian artist Brett Whitely’s Alchemy.

‘‘My work is an attempt at a self portrait without ever depicting the physical version of me and [to discover] how does one encapsulate personality and the way that one views oneself within the world,’’ she said.

‘‘It’s quite hard because you feel like this work should … show everything that you are and everything that you’re capable of. You become incredibly emotionally invested in it.’’

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North Wagga sign Chad and Kirk Hamblin as co and assistant coach

Chad and Kirk Hamblin enjoy their first training run with North Wagga on Thursday night. The brothers will co-coach and assistant coach the Saints for 2015. Picture: Michael FrogleyFarrer League
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RESURGENT Farrer League club North Wagga hopes two brothers hold the key to premiership success.

The Saints have secured the services of Chad and Kirk Hamblin for the 2015 season.

Chad, 28, has signed on to co-coach the club alongside Nathan Dowdle, while younger brother Kirk will act as assistant coach.

Both siblings boast impressive football resumes.

Chad won three senior premierships at Ganmain-Grong Grong-Matong, before switching to Collingullie-Ashmont-Kapooka where he won three more in 2008, 2009 and 2010.

In 2010 he won CAK’s best and fairest medal and was named best on ground in the Farrer League grand final.

Chad Hamblin playing for CAK in 2010, when he won the club’s best and fairest medal.

Chad then travelled north for work, and returned home two years ago to coach Hume League club Culcairn.

Kirk, 25, won four flags with GGGM before jumping ship to Culcairn to play under his brother for the past two seasons.

North Wagga co-coach Dowdle played with Chad at CAK and pointed the Saints in the direction of the two brothers.

“Dowds contacted me about six weeks ago and I had to put it on the back burner until I made up my mind,” Chad explained.

“North Wagga has a young playing group with a lot of potential, they just probably need that little bit of experience on top.

“Hopefully Kirk and I can provide that.”

Chad will become the playing coach at the club after confirmation Dowdle has torn his anterior cruciate ligament and is facing the prospect of spending an entire season on the sideline.

While Dowdle’s immediate playing future is in doubt, he says he is looking forward to working alongside Chad and Kirk.

“Chad and I can work well together and bounce ideas off each other,” Dowdle said.

“Both those boys have been around very successful football clubs and know what it takes to win premierships.

“And the best thing is they are really nice people, and a really nice family which we are bringing to our club.”

Dowdle revealed the Hamblin signings could be just the start of a big off-season recruitment drive for the Saints.

Kirk Hamblin playing for GGGM in 2012.

He confirmed the club is “chasing some more guys” as it fights to become a Farrer League power.

North Wagga president Greg Fox was rapt to announce the arrival of Chad and Kirk.

“We knew we were probably short one or two experienced players,” Fox said.

“We’ve been chasing a couple of experienced players for a couple of years now, but you need a bit of winning form behind you to attract guys to the club.”

With North Wagga’s season over, the Saints will begin preparing to kick off pre-season later this year.

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Elders to start community garden in NarrominePoll

An unused and overgrown patch of land in Burroway Street will be transformed into a community garden, thanks to a partnership between Narromine Shire Council and the Ngarru Mayin Elders Aboriginal Corporation.
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Council will lease part of the area behind the Narromine Museum to the Elders for a peppercorn rental so that they can establish a community garden.

Narromine Shire Mayor, Councillor Bill McAnally said community gardens were a great way for people to socialise and to develop a sense of community.

“Council recognises that with the involvement of Councillor Ruth Carney and the Ngarru Mayin Elders Aboriginal Corporation, this garden will not only clean up a neglected area, but will have significant community and educational benefits,” Clr McAnally said.

“It has the added benefit of educating people in traditional bush tucker and the types of native plants that can be grown alongside common vegetables”.

“Council can see that this is both a worthwhile use of the land and a great way for the young and old to integrate and for the Elders to pass on lessons about traditional Aboriginal foods and culture. Several schools and community groups have already pledged their support”.

“There is no question that the Ngarru Mayin Elders Aboriginal Corporation has transformed the old Historical Museum and brought it back to life, so we are excited about what they might be able to achieve with the garden.”

The Narromine Men’s Shed has indicated its support for the project, after cleaning up the old blacksmith’s shop at the back of the museum and cataloguing all of the items.

Council will lease the area to the Elders for $1 for the first year and they will use drip irrigation for watering.

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It’s all or nothing: Heelers

IT’S what local rugby dreams are made of.
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Tomorrow, at Highbrook Park, neighbouring clubs Muswellbrook Heelers and Singleton Bulls go head-to head in not one, but two, major semi-finals.

The fierce arch rivals meet in the first and second grade encounters, with the winners moving through to the 2014 deciders in a fortnight’s time.

As a sidebar, the Wanderers and Cessnock face off in an 11.50am Hunter Cup curtain-raiser.

“We are proud that we’ve been selected to host the major semi,” Heelers president Tim Pike said.

“And, having three games of rugby, it does not get much better.

“I invite everyone up to Highbrook Park tomorrow to cheer on the Heelers.

“The canteen and the bar in the clubhouse will be opened.”

Muswellbrook’s first grade outfit finished the season in top spot, defending its 2013 minor premiership, while the seconds were just behind Singleton on the ladder.

“Unfortunately, due to a couple of forfeits at the end of the year, we were robbed of the chance to get the club championship,” Pike said.

“Both clubs have been very competitive this season with only a few points separating them.”

Going into tomorrow’s feature clash, Muswellbrook and Singleton share the spoils with each boasting two triumphs.

However, in the last outing, the Bulls prevailed.

“This was only after the Heelers gave away too many penalties and had players sent to the sin bin,” Pike explained.

“We’ll have to get our discipline under control if we’re to not only win but move straight into the grand final.

“The lead-up to the semi hasn’t been ideal either.

“Our last game was forfeited, giving the first grade team only one match in the past three weeks.”

Pike is confident some handy reinforcements will boost the Heelers.

“The return of hard-hitting Isaac Scholes to the forwards, after a stint overseas, will strengthen the pack,” he said.

“He’ll be ably supported by his brother Caleb and Matt Gallagher.

“Allan Johnson, at halfback, will lead the backline which is full of fast runners and finishers such as Lewyn Rapana and Pana Ravouvou.

“This will be a good, entraining game.”

Pike expects to witness another close encounter in second grade.

“We’ll have to produce our best form as Singleton has one extra win on us,” he told the Chronicle.

“The Bulls boast an older and experienced pack, so Heelers’ players like Scotty Almond and Alex Whylie will need to contain their forwards.

“Pat Kirkwood, playing arguably his best rugby, should dominate at the breakdown.

“We’ll also be relying on Edwin McTaggart, who has scored tries in his past three games.

“If Muswellbrook can get a fair share of ball, and get it to the backline, that is where we can win the match.

“Ethan Cridland and his brother Nathan have both shown a clean pair of heels on their way to the tryline this season.”

BIG OCCASION: Muswellbrook Rugby Club president Tim Pike (second from right) with Heelers, from left, Ben Hoffman, Brad Smith and Will Harvey, who are primed for tomorrow’s major semi-final at Highbrook Park.

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The rain falls ahead of spring

Gunnedah district farmers can look forward to a promising harvest after the heavens opened to dump up to 95mm of rain in some areas.
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It was perfect timing after an earlier fall 10 days ago, when growers received a much-needed 20-40mm.

The biggest downpour on Tuesday and Wednesday this week was around Goolhi where there was up to 95mm of rain and some hail, while parts near Boggabri recorded 55mm.

Areas around Emerald Hill saw falls of more than 30mm, Gunnedah 28.4mm, Carroll 15.5mm, Tambar Springs 15mm and Breeza 13mm.

Warren Hobson recorded 90mm on the property “Quia”, between Boggabri and Mullaley on the Gunnedah side of Grain Valley Road. It was very patchy, with the house gauge showing 57mm just 2.5km away.

“It’s real handy,” Warren said.

“It will give everything a big lift.

“Most of the crops received a big drink out of it and we’ve certainly got the base there now for a crop this year.”

Closer to Gunnedah, the Loveridges at Emerald Hill received 35mm.

“It was quite a surprise,” Peter Loveridge said.

“It will delay us irrigating [durum wheat] for a few weeks and save us some time and money in the short term.”

On the NVI Facebook page, Geoff Dawson wrote: “33mm at the Skinny Lizard Longhorn Ranch at Emerald Hill”. Susanne Riley recorded 55mm just out of Boggabri on the Gunnedah side, while Phil Glover posted he had 32mm out on Orange Grove Road.

Areas on the Liverpool Plains like Bundella and Premer looked to have missed out on the big falls – unable to snatch a mere 10mm.

The downpour, however, arrived just in time to boost crops like wheat, barely and canola that in some cases were beginning to show signs of stress.

“It’s perfect rain. The crops have definitely turned a corner,” Gunnedah Pursehouse agronomist Matt Roseby said.

“It’s going to mean we’re going to get at least average yields now.

“A lot of paddocks were looking at not achieving average yields or even getting the header out so hopefully we’ll get some more follow-up rain.”

With spring arriving on Monday and the weather starting to warm up, the rain could not have been better timed.

“As it’s warming up, the crops will begin to mature and they are going through a high water use phase,” Mr Roseby said.

“As they’re maturing they’re looking for moisture so it’s ideal rain for that.

“We’ve got legumes and canola that’s starting to fill grain so it’s perfect for that.”

Those farmers that received around 90mm should now make it through to harvest, while others that recorded 30-40mm or less would benefit from more follow-up rain in 10 days time.

This week’s falls will be a definite boost for the soil moisture profile for farmers looking to plant summer crops like sunflowers and corn in the next 3-4 weeks.

While growers are rejoicing, the rain hasn’t really had an impact on bushfire conditions in the lead-up to the summer season.

The bushfire danger period will still come into force on Monday.

“It will hold things back for a few weeks which in some ways is good, but in other ways it is holding back our hazard reduction burns as well,” Liverpool Range Zone Rural Fire Service (RFS) Operations Officer, Mark Murphy said.

“We’ll never knock the rain back where we can get it, but we really haven’t had enough to help with groundwater. There’s still very short supplies.”

The RFS is still trying to carry out hazard reduction burns before the bushfire danger season start on Monday and could even go into October if the conditions are right.

Landholders are also being reminded that they can still burn but will need a permit from next week.

The Bureau of Meteorology is forecasting a slight chance of a shower for Gunnedah next Tuesday. The longer term outlook for spring is there are equal chances of getting above or below average rainfall.

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Las Vegas-like Christmas light and sound show headed to The Hills

DA concept design from ChasClarkson.The Hills Council will spend about $500,000 on a Las Vegas-like light and sound show over Castle Hill Main Street this Christmas.
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Inspired by the Fremont Street Experience in Las Vegas, the Sydney Hills Christmas Light and Sound Spectacular will combine a visual lights show with audio recordings of student performances from local music schools.

In the council report it says ChasClarkson won the tender for $464,672.

A 40m x 10m LED light canopy will be installed on Main Street during December to enhance the Christmas experience and attract thousands of visitors

Mayor Dr Michelle Byrne said she is very excited about the concept.

‘‘This is a unique experience that won’t be found anywhere else in Sydney and will draw thousands of visitors to our shire,’’ Cr Byrne said.

‘‘It’s about celebrating Christmas, celebrating the end of the year and providing a memorable experience for our residents — one they won’t have to travel into the Sydney CBD for.’’

Main Street will be closed for a few hours every night so that residents and visitors can walk under the canopy and enjoy the show and atmosphere.

‘‘We’re still working out the finer details of this concept but I’m really excited about it and I think it will be something the community will love,’’ she said.

Very conservative estimates suggest the light and sound show could provide a $750,000 boost to the local economy.

“We think this is something that people from all over Sydney will travel to The Hills for and that’s great news for Main Street restaurants, cafes and retailers,’’ she said.

‘‘The fact that the show runs each night will help enhance the already busy night time economy.’’

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Supporters will lift Denman Devils

TOUGH-as-teak Denman Devils forward Ben Hagan believes a big support base will lift the side in Sunday’s Hunter Valley Group 21 grand final.
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Although the first grade decider against the Greta Branxton Colts is being played at Greta Central Oval, Hagan said the ground held no fears for his team-mates.

“We’ve beaten them there once this season,” he told the Chronicle.

“We’ll have a massive crowd behind us too – I think you’ll see just as much, if not more, purple among the spectators this weekend.

“With our under-18s also playing on the day, it’s great for the club.”

After a shaky start to the season, the defending premiers have flown under the radar in recent weeks.

“No-one expected us to do too much against Muswellbrook in the minor semi,” Hagan admitted.

“Then we sent Scone packing.

“But, the boys believe in themselves.

“We’re coming together at the right time.

“We lost captain-coach Dean Amos and a number of players this year, so it took some time for everyone to gel.

“We struggled to get guys to training, due to work rosters.

“However, things have changed the past six weeks.

“Everyone’s made a commitment and training numbers have been good.

“I’m pretty confident about Sunday; I think we can win it.”

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Ararat SES presents annual awards

SES regional manager Stephen Warren presents Steven Stacpoole with his 15 year National Medal.AT the Ararat unit of the State Emergency Service annual dinner a number of awards were presented to dedicated members including long service awards.
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Former controller Russell Graham was awarded for 35 years of service with regional manager Mid West Region Stephen Warren presenting him with a 35 year medal, while Steven Stacpoole was awarded his National Medal for 15 years service by Mr Warren.

Margaret Dunmore, Jan Rilloraza and Gwenda Allgood all received their five year certificates.

At the annual awards presentation Steve Stacpoole was also awarded Member of the Year.

The 2014 SES award winners Jade Collins Junior Member of the Year, Tina Collins Recruit of the Year, Frank Connellan Encouragement Award and Member of the Year Steve Stacpoole.

Controller Donna Dunmore said Mr Stacpoole is a long serving member who over the last 12 months has assisted with extensive training of the unit’s new members in particular.

“He is always available for working bees, and is always a reliable member to assist anyone in need, he is very good at seeing what needs doing and just getting it done,” Ms Dunmore said.

Jade Collins was awarded Junior Member of the Year.

“Jade joined the SES in early October last year and since then has thrown himself into training, attended a number of training weekends including the regional training weekend that is held annually in Halls Gap, and is always around to assist with Driver Reviver and PR events when required,” Ms Dunmore said.

Russell Graham (centre) was acknowledged for his 35 years of service by John Casey director of corporate services and SES regional manager Stephen Warren. Pictures: PETER PICKERING

The SES awarded Recruit of the Year to Tina Collins, who joined with her two sons in October and has since made herself available for most training nights, Driver Reviver, working bees, joined the training committee and completed a Community Educator Facilitation course as well as attending the usual call outs when available.

This year the unit also presented an encouragement award, to new member Frank Connellan.

“Frank has only been a member of our Unit since October. During December he broke his toe while rock climbing and spent three months back at his home in Melbourne,” Ms Dunmore said.

“During this time he persisted with what training he could do and attended training sessions in Melbourne that he was able to, and since being back he has worked really hard to be trained up in time to complete his General Rescue and is currently part of our next group to be trained in Vertical Rescue.”

Seven members were awarded for completing their General Rescue which is one of the main competencies that members require to be able to proceed with most other more specific courses available.

The members who completed this qualification included Tina Collins, Tameeka Cann, Frank Connellan, David Smith, Jade Collins, Chloe Dunmore and Joel Hughes.

Margaret Dunmore, Jan Rilloraza and Gwenda Allgood with their five year Certificates of Service

Daniel Benson, Sally Bond and Jan Rilloraza were also recognised for becoming the unit’s newly accredited vertical rescue team, trained by Geoff Dunmore.

“We are very lucky in Ararat to have Geoff to teach interested members their Vertical Rescue as there are only three SES instructors in our State, with only five SES units in the State that have a Vertical Rescue team,” Ms Dunmore said.

The Ararat unit is also fortunate to have a number of new junior members since the junior age limit was reduced to 15 years.

New members include Tameeka Cann, Jade Collins, Chloe Dunmore, Joel Hughes and Mitch Richards.

Tina Collins, Tamika Cann, Frank Connellan, David Smith, Jade Collins, Chloe Dunmore and Joel Hughes completed their General Rescue Assessment

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Rachel Coverdale covets hard slog on hills training

Rachel Coverdale.
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A MORE aggressive attitude to training rewarded fitness instructor Rachel Coverdale with a satisfying win in the five kilometre David O Jones Stawell Mitre 10 Handicap at Stawell last Saturday.

From her back mark, she could see the entire field stretched out in front of her as she began one of the steadier climbs through the Ironbarks.

She had momentum on her side and gradually picked off the front markers one by one to have the race in control for the last kilometres.

Sven O’Flynn, still not fully fit, showed courage to edge out Robert Freeland for second place in a desperate drive for the line with Rhonda Rice showing improved form by battling into fourth place.

Coverdale lacks little in fitness, conducting eight group training sessions per week at Stawell YMCA as well as putting a number of her personal training clients through their paces.

Her race times with the Stawell Amateur Athletic Club had stagnated until she began challenging herself at Stawell’s Big Hill every Wednesday with waif-like clubmate Meggy Boan whose work ethic is relentless.

“I’m fitter, I’m stronger and have a lot more stamina since I’ve been running the Big Hill,” Coverdale said.

“To run hills effectively you have to train on them. It’s given me confidence and I’m able to finish off my races with more strength than I have before.”

She plans to run in the Stawell Hospital half-marathon on October 3 and is hopeful of a personal best from her third attempt at the 21km.

Horsham’s Nitschke brothers made a worthwhile trip down the highway for a one kilometre dash in the sub juniors races with Jordan prevailing to win bragging rights over Jay Jay and Lily O’Flynn splitting the pair.

A tougher challenge awaits in the eight kilometre Stawell Toyota Handicap at Stawell tomorrow with race distances building towards the 16 kilometre Hyperno Marathon warm up on September 13.

Fun runners are welcome.

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