Bathurst Region Year In Review | December 2017

December 1: Metro Petroleum on Rocket Street was announced as the Bathurst collection point for the NSW Government’s Return and Earn container deposit scheme. Although the store hadn’t been provided with an official collection box, owner Raja Kallem said it would start accepting containers for recycling.

December 2: A 100-year-old acacia tree came down on one of Kelso’s historic homesteads during heavy storms. Home owner Di Austin, of Cheshire on Gilmour Street, said a large branch from the tree came down, landing on the roof and damaging original 1860s guttering.

December 4: Essential Energy crews were called to investigate the cause of a massive blackout that plunged more than 1700 homes into darkness. The supply outages hit an area to the north and west of Bathurst, with homes in Windradyne, Eglinton, Mount Rankin, Billywillinga and Duramana affected. The blackout followed thunderstorms that rolled across the Bathurst region earlier in the afternoon.

December 8: Neil Car and Terry Cass were one of the Bathurst couples celebrating the government passing a bill to legalise same-sex marriage. They became engaged nine years ago, but Mr Cass said it had taken until the bill was passed for their engagement to feel real. 

December 11: Police seized $16,500 worth of the drug ice after a car was stopped for a random breath test on Bentinck Street. During the traffic stop, a 25-year-old Bathurst man who was travelling as a passenger in the vehicle was found to be in possession of 33 grams of methamphetamine [“ice”] concealed in a pill bottle. Officers carried out a search of the vehicle and found a number of items of antique jewellery, including one item engraved with a name and the date 1887.

December 13: Bathurst Regional Council finally settled on a new branding logo after a $50,000 search. At their last meeting of the year, councillors voted to endorse a hybrid of two of the designs commissioned from consultants Destination Marketing Store. The despised Forever Young tagline that began the public debate was swapped for Step Beyond, however the stylised B that completed the first logo design remained.

December 14: Year 12 students at St Stanislaus’ College achieved the school’s best ever Higher School Certificate results.  The school recorded 62 Band 6 results across 17 subjects by 29 students, including five Year 11 students under taking studies of religion 1 accelerated. Three students, Oliver O’Toole, Jerome Arrow and Dominic McCrossin, made it onto the All-Rounders list. Jerome also place third in the state for studies of religion, while Darragh Newton and Ethan Coyte place first and second in the state for automotive. 

December 14: Town and Country Rural Supplies proprietor Vicki Wilson was named Bathurst’s Citizen of the Year for 2018 after decades of community work. The Young Citizen of the Year was Denison College Kelso campus student Caroline Harvey. 

December 17: A horror crash on the Mid Western Highway at Evans Plains left a 19-year-old man in hospital in a critical condition and five of his mates with injuries. Emergency services were called to the accident at 4.15am with reports that a utility had left the road. Chifley Local Area Command duty officer Inspector Gerard Powell said, “The driver lost control, left the southern side of the road and collided with an Armco railing, struck a concrete culvert and came to rest on its side.”

December 18: Less than three weeks after the Return and Earn scheme kicked off, Bathurst’s collection centre was full and the store’s owner out-of-pocket. Metro Petroleum owner Raja Kallem said he had received little assistance during the government initiative, having received only a single payment of $100 after already accepting 12,000 bottles and giving $1200 in cash refunds from his “own pocket” to customers.

December 23: WJ Coote & Sons owners Ilona and Sam Coote said goodbye to their store, closing its doors after 114 years in Bathurst. The couple had put the store on the market in an effort to sell it, but a lack of interest made them think the best idea was to close instead.

December 25: Bathurst Base Hospital welcomed three babies on Christmas Day. The first one, an adorable baby girl, arrived at 10.22am. Her parents, Erin and Stephen Goodman, named her Remy Elizabeth.

December 28: Motorists were getting the message about not driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol. From the start of Operation Safe Arrival, on December 15, to the 28th, there had only been seven people charged with PCA offences, while just one returned a positive reading for drugs. These were the results from 3551 random breath tests conducted in the Chifley region. 

December 31: Residents celebrated the end of the year with Party in the Park in Victoria Park. The night featured a range of activities for all ages and live music, before concluding with a fireworks display.