Devonport car explosion had enough force to injure

Sunday, 22. July 2018

AN EXPLOSION that rocked the quiet streets of Devonport on Saturday night had enough force to injure anyone in its vicinity according to Western District Police Commander Locky Avery.

The explosion in Steele Street was caused by an unknown explosive device attached to the personal vehicle of a Devonport policeman.

The senior sergeant, who has worked in Devonport CIB, and his young family were at home at the time of the blast.

RELATED: Pat Allen hits out at ‘cowardly attack’ on officer’s car

The explosion caused the vehicle to catch on fire and blew out a portion of the windscreen.

Commander Avery said forensic tests indicated the explosive device was placed on the outside of the vehicle near the windscreen and detonated, which caused the windscreen to blow out.

He said it was too early yet to tell what kind of explosive device was used in the attack, which is the second incident in a month on the 2001 silver Nissan Patrol.

An unknown flammable liquid was poured onto the car and set alight on November 19.

It was extinguished by the senior sergeant at the centre of the attacks before any serious damage could be incurred to the vehicle.

Commander Avery said both instances were being thoroughly investigated by a special taskforce set up specifically to deal with the attacks.

The family at the centre of the attack have been placed under special police protection.

Commander Avery said considerable police security had been placed around the family and the house.

The attack was similar to several fire bomb attacks that occurred in Devonport in 2007,but Commander Avery dismissed notions that the attacks were connected.

“There’s nothing to indicate any great connection [to 2007] but at this stage we are approaching it [the investigation] with an open mind,” Commander Avery said.

Tasmania Police were keeping tight lipped on the identity of the police officer at the centre of the attacks and said they wanted to protect the privacy of him and his family.

“It’s unacceptable that his family would have to deal with this at this time, it’s the worst Christmas present they could receive,” Commander Avery said.

Commander Avery said the senior sergeant was still on duty at work at the Devonport Police Station.

He said preliminary blast and forensic testing had been conducted and was expected to be completed in the coming days.

The car was being held at the Devonport Police Station as it undergoes the forensic tests.

Commander Avery said the special taskforce was pleading with the public to come forward with any information and said anonymous calls to CrimeStoppers would be welcomed.

Forensic officer senior constable Melle Zwerver looks for fingerprints on the vehicle owned by a Devonport police officer. It had a device strapped to the windscreen and detonated on Saturday night. Picture: Jason Hollister.

If you have information about the incident call Tasmania Police on 131 444 or anonymously on CrimeStoppers on 1800 333 000.

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Yuulong Lavender Estate a purple patch for new owners

Sunday, 22. July 2018

A simple web search about soap-making ended with New Zealand’s Debbie Macfarlane buying the Yuulong Lavender Estate in Mt Egerton.

Along with her brother Tony Jury and his wife Sharyn, the trio left everything they had in New Zealand to revamp the lavender estate.

“We sold everything,” Ms Jury said.

“We were ready to make a change into the lavender industry.”

The trio assumed ownership of the 10-acre property on May 31 and have already made big changes.

“We’ve removed the admission fee to the estate,” Mr Jury said.

The interior has also been revamped and fitted with a new cafe.

Instant coffee has been swapped for an espresso machine, and lavender-inspired snacks are on the cafe menu.

Mr Jury hosts 30-minute tours of the Lavender Estate, while Sharyn and her two sons lend a hand in the garden.

And, to Ms Macfarlane’s joy, the estate makes and sells lavender soaps.

“I had a 14-year-old daughter who was keen to get into soap making,” she said.

“And she’s still doing it today.”

Big change: Owners of the Yuulong Lavender Estate Sharyn Jury, Debbie Macfarlane and Tony Jury. PICTURE: KATE HEALY

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Cathedral Park restoration open

Sunday, 22. July 2018

IT holds more secrets than anyone knows, but the mysteries of what lie beneath and above it are now ready to be explored.

Gone are the waist-high weeds which once dominated the historic Cathedral Park which lies between Christ Church Cathedral and King Street in Newcastle. In their place are brand new walking paths, restored gardens and revitalised historic corners of the city which few knew existed.

All up, more than 3300 people are said to have been buried in the historic park and cemetery, but an ambitious project spearheaded by Newcastle City Council has only been able to map out about 258 graves.

Among them is the grave and memorial of James Hannell, Newcastle’s first mayor. There is also a mass grave containing 31 members of the Cawarra shipping disaster – 60 people died when the boat sank off Stockton beach in 1866.

It also contains the graves of local magistrates John Bingle and Major Archibald Innes, and former mayor James Kemp. The 1826 grave of Mary Martin is thought to be the oldest.

In the early 1970s one of the stone retaining walls fronting King Street collapsed, exposing many of the bones and skeletons that had been buried deep beneath the surface for more than 100 years.

‘‘The cemetery was mainly for important people,’’ council project officer Mark Woolley said. ‘‘But there were many, many more people buried here by family members who couldn’t afford proper burial spaces, so the graves were never marked.

‘‘Sometimes people would just come up here at night, dig a hole only 300 millimetres deep and bury a young child which had died.’’

Specialised undergound imaging carried out by heritage officers shows where most of the people are buried.

But many of the bones have moved around over the years, making it hard for the researchers to plot the graves, match headstones or identify who is buried where.

During the park refurbishment project, 84 graves have been relocated, and many of the headstones restored.

Stage two of the project has been completed, with paths and walkways allowing people to stroll through the site and take in the magnificent views of the city afforded from the top, near the cathedral.

Future stages include a viewing platform which will replicate the old Mulimbah Cottage which once stood on the site, and a natural amphitheatre which might one day host open-air concerts or movie nights, but funding for those stages is still being negotiated.

Newcastle City Council project officer Mark Woolley shows the recent works near completion in the Cathedral Park, The Hill. Picture Darren Pateman

Newcastle City Council project officer Mark Woolley shows the recent works near completion in the Cathedral Park, The Hill. Picture Darren Pateman

Newcastle City Council project officer Mark Woolley shows the recent works near completion in the Cathedral Park, The Hill. Picture Darren Pateman

Newcastle City Council project officer Mark Woolley shows the recent works near completion in the Cathedral Park, The Hill. Picture Darren Pateman

Newcastle City Council project officer Mark Woolley shows the recent works near completion in the Cathedral Park, The Hill. Picture Darren Pateman

Mariners re-sign Bernie Ibini

Sunday, 22. July 2018

“Everyone that has watched the A-League over the past few seasons knows exactly what Bernie Ibini is capable of”: Mariners coach Phil Moss. Photo: Brendan EspositoCentral Coast Mariners have formally agreed to let go attacking midfielder Michael McGlinchey on loan for the next 12 months but will regain former favourite Bernie Ibini in his place.

McGlinchey will join ex-Mariners coach Graham Arnold at J-League club Vegalta Sendai for the 2014 J-League season, meaning he will miss the start of the next A-League season. He is eligible for the next two Mariners’ matches before departing.

However, his position will be filled by Ibini, sold by the Mariners for $650,000 just six months ago. His Chinese club, Shanghai East Asia, agreed for him to return to Australia after the death of his father in November and have now allowed him to rejoin his former club until June.

McGlinchey’s loan fee from Vegalta Sendai – said to be around $70,000 – will pay for Ibini’s loan fee, which stood at $65,000, a figure that put off other clubs, including Sydney FC.

“Of course it is not ideal for us to lose a player of Michael McGlinchey’s quality mid-way through the season, but when an opportunity to move to a league such as the J-League presents itself, players naturally want to head abroad and test themselves,” said Mariners coach Phil Moss.

“‘Mikey’ is headed to Vegalta under Arnie for a season and will return as a Central Coast Mariners player when the J-League season concludes.”

Moss said the club wanted to make sure that if the talented New Zealander was lost to the club that they were able to replace him with a similar talent.

“Throughout our negotiations with Mikey and Bernie’s representatives, as well as Vegalta and Shanghai, we were clear that we were not willing to let Mikey go on loan unless we were guaranteed to get a high-quality player back in return,” he said.

“Everyone that has watched the A-League over the past few seasons knows exactly what Bernie Ibini is capable of, and we know he will be an important member of our squad for the remainder of the domestic season as well as our 2014 Asian Champions League group stage campaign. We’re delighted to welcome Bernie back to the club.”

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Rail must run down Hunter Street: McCloy

Sunday, 22. July 2018

Main street only, says lord mayor Jeff McCloy. ONE OPTION: An artist’s impression.


ANY light rail line linking Newcastle’s west end with its beaches must run down Hunter Street, key civic leaders said yesterday.

Lord mayor Jeff McCloy led the charge, saying that a critical mass of people would use the light rail system only if it went to the shopping strips and services they wanted to go to.

The Newcastle Herald yesterday revealed the state government’s latest move on the contentious heavy rail line project, promising to build a new transport interchange at Wickham and producing two options for a light rail link between Wickham and the city’s east. One option runs along Hunter Street, the other along the existing heavy rail corridor.

‘‘It has to run down Hunter Street,’’ Cr McCloy said.

‘‘It needs to expose people to the shops and the businesses in Hunter Street. If it runs along the existing corridor, we’ll still have to cross two barriers to get anywhere.

‘‘The heavy rail corridor just needs to be landscaped with turf and fountains, and equipped with paths for people and bikes.’’

The Property Council of Australia’s Hunter chapter also backed the Hunter Street option, with regional director Andrew Fletcher saying the line must go to ‘‘the places where people want to live, learn, work and play’’.

‘‘We need to put the [light rail] line in front of the shops and reactivate the whole strip,’’ he said.

‘‘The Hunter Street option will accelerate the re-use of our beautiful heritage buildings and create a city centre that is authentically Novocastrian.’’

Mr Fletcher, who also welcomed the decision to build the new interchange at Wickham, said putting light rail through the old heavy rail corridor would be ineffective and would likely become a ‘‘transport white elephant’’.

‘‘We need to cater for 10,000 new jobs and 6000 new dwellings by 2036 – the vast majority will be along Hunter Street,’’ he said.

‘‘Embedding the light rail infrastructure along this dominant axis will launch a vibrant city centre that offers a range of experiences to residents, workers and visitors.’’

Hunter Business Chamber president Richard Anicich also backed the announcements.

‘‘Delivering a public transport system that boosts, not inhibits, urban renewal is vital for our CBD,’’ he said.

Hunter Development Corporation chief executive Bob Hawes said a Wickham interchange would also boost interest in its undeveloped land at Cottage Creek and encourage private sector investment.

‘‘It won’t necessarily shift land values but having the transport movements there, and projects like the courts [precinct development] and the university campus will help underwrite the demand so that people can actually make an [investment] decision,’’ Mr Hawes said.

While the state government has yet to give any time frame for the work, reports commissioned for the former Labor government said the removal of the rail and construction of a Wickham interchange could be done within three years, if the Newcastle branch line was closed for six months.

That plan was based on removing the tracks and substantial remediation, while the current proposal is expected to entail covering over the lines.

Labor’s plan, although never adopted, also included stabling yards west of Hamilton to support the interchange at Wickham and flagged the possibility the new terminus could be built as a public-private partnership.

Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian said yesterday the government would consider options for the construction of the interchange after detailed plans were completed.

It is expected the Hunter Street light rail route would prove more expensive, but may enhance The GPT Group and UrbanGrowth’s city redevelopment plans, for which development applications are expected to be lodged by mid next year.

Labor transport spokeswoman Penny Sharpe questioned whether a Wickham interchange would mean ‘‘really massive development around that area’’ and said the government was failing to plan services for the rest of the region.

‘‘This is just one piece of the transport puzzle for the Hunter and there’s still no details of a promised regional transport plan,’’ Ms Sharpe said.

Environment Minister and Maitland MP Robyn Parker said it was ‘‘vital we get this once in a generation project right for all Hunter residents’’.

‘‘I urge everyone to participate in the consultation.”

Extra funds for elective surgery at three Ballarat health services

Sunday, 22. July 2018

THREE Ballarat health services will share in $489,000 state government funding to cut elective surgery waiting lists.

Ballarat Health Services, St John of God Health Care Ballarat and the Ballarat Day Procedure Centre will all receive funds to provide extra operations early next year.

The money is the third stage of the government’s $101 million Competitive Elective Surgery Funding Initiative, with $15 million provided statewide this round to fund an extra 2200


BHS received $2.165 million in the first stage of funding, which was just for public hospitals, and BHS, St John of God and the Ballarat Day Procedure Centre shared $1.101 million in the second stage.

State health minister David Davis said the first two stages provided for an extra 16,960 operations.

“Victoria is doing its bit with the rollout of this initiative to maximise the number of people receiving their surgery,” Mr Davis said.

“Because it is over and above their normal surgery lists, the hospitals can provide this extra surgery at a competitive and efficient cost.

“This means more operations and more people having their elective surgery.”

The initiative was announced in the May 2012 state budget to counter the loss of $50 million in federal elective surgery funding.

“This funding is honouring that commitment and a further round is to follow.”

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MCG wicket ready for Boxing Day Test

Sunday, 22. July 2018

Roll on: MCC curator David Sandurski. Photo: Wayne TaylorThe man in charge of the pitch for the Boxing Day Test knows there is a certain amount of pressure that comes with the job.

”There’s definitely pressure to get it right with 90,000-odd turning up,” said Melbourne Cricket Club curator David Sandurski.

”They want to see a good contest and obviously I control a lot of that with the wicket I produce. That’s something I’m fully aware of.

”I just approach it like any other game and try to make the best wicket I possibly can.”

The showers that swept over Melbourne on Monday might make batting trickier against the new ball on Boxing Day, but Sandurski is confident his early preparation and a forecast of fine weather will make for a fair pitch.

”We started a couple of days early because we knew this was a chance of happening,” he said.

”About three days before the Big Bash [game on Friday night] we got onto the wicket and gave it about three good days of rolling. We got ourselves ahead of the game a bit. It’s not ideal, but we’re still in a good position.

”I’m aiming for a wicket that’s got a bit in it for the bowlers, a bit of pace and bounce for them, but that also helps the batters – the ball comes onto the bat so they can play their shots – and hopefully some spin on day four and five.

”Obviously the more rain there is around, there can be more in it. But we started a couple of days earlier so we can get ourselves into a good position for it not to be too spicy.”

Sandurski, whose ground staff spent much of Monday morning pulling covers on and off the Test pitch and the practice wickets, was curator at Allan Border Field in Queensland before he joined the MCC, and is getting ready for his second Boxing Day Test.

He knew when he took on the role that his festive season would be consumed by work.

”Christmas Day we’ll be here minimum from 7:30[am] to four o’clock; this year with the rain we may have to stay back a fair bit later on Christmas Day to make sure it’s spot on,” he said.

”Once the first over is away and you realise the wicket’s bouncing, it makes you a lot happier. If the weather’s fine, we can sit back and enjoy it.”

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Doug Bollinger is back in form and waiting for a chance at Test cricket again

Sunday, 22. July 2018

The millstone that kept Doug Bollinger out of Test selection contention for the past three years has been shed.

While the 32-year-old will play on Boxing Day only if Ryan Harris’ temperamental knee worsens, his retention in the Australian squad for the second consecutive Test marks his redemption in the eyes of selectors.

Bollinger’s stocks fell more than any other player during the preceding home Ashes series in 2010-11, when he laboured his way to 1-130 from 29 overs in hot conditions in Adelaide.

One of Andrew Hilditch’s final acts as chief Australian selector was to admit the left-armer’s exclusion from the squad for a mid-2011 Test series in Sri Lanka was because he had lost the confidence of selectors.

”It was a difficult season for Doug in lots of respects.

”He obviously broke down in India in a Test match. He then, we thought, was … not quite ready for Test-match cricket in Adelaide and wasn’t quite ready to bowl at full intensity for a whole Test match … and then had the [foot] injury which brought him home from the World Cup,” Hilditch said, justifying Bollinger’s exclusion.

”He’s a very talented bowler and we think he can still get back to playing Test cricket, but we need to be satisfied that he can do so at full intensity.

”That’s just critical at the moment because we’re playing in an era where back-to-back Test matches are virtually inevitable.”

In the first two years after John Inverarity replaced Hilditch, the only time Bollinger earned selection was for a three-day tour match against India in late 2011.

Bollinger remained out of favour despite a decent 2012-13 Sheffield Shield season, in which he claimed 28 wickets at an average of 27.32.

It was during last season that Bollinger received a significant financial blow when his Indian Premier League team Chennai, for whom he had been a prolific wicket-taker during the 2011 and 2012 tournaments, released him from his annual $US700,000 contract.

Without an overseas playing deal, Bollinger demonstrated a marked improvement in his pre-season training regimen in Australia, so much so that it gained the attention of Cricket Australia’s on-field hierarchy.

”I ran a lot and there were other things like dry July and dry November,” Bollinger explained earlier this month. ”It helped, not drinking beer. But I’ve realised doing all the little and simple things right is what counts … [it] goes a long way.”

The benefit of that punishing routine was demonstrated in NSW’s opening shield match of the season, when he claimed 6-62 at home to Tasmania.

His season record of 17 wickets at an average of 25.18 from his four matches was enough to get him elevated to a standby player in Perth, where he regularly exerted himself in training. He conspicuously did so again on Monday at the MCG.

Australia’s Test bowling coach, Craig McDermott, who recently returned to the position after a 17-month absence, said on Monday he had been impressed by Bollinger’s improvement in fitness.

”Dougie has always been a skilful bowler, no doubt about that, but he’s in better shape than he was three years ago during the Ashes here,” McDermott said.

”Like any bowler, it’s about how you bowl late in the day, not the first spell of the day, so we’ve got to make sure anybody who comes into this side is in top physical nick and can bowl for five days.”

Bollinger’s ability to produce devastating bursts of fast-bowling has never been in doubt, but his ability to maintain pace throughout a full day has been since he admitted he had been ”cooked” against England in Adelaide.

Proof of Bollinger’s improved endurance is that he has bowled at least 14 overs in a day on six occasions for NSW this season.

While Mitch Johnson, Ryan Harris and Peter Siddle remain in front of Bollinger, his performances with the ball have eased selectors’ doubts about his readiness for a recall.

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BC3 could lose training facility as long list of creditors step forward

Sunday, 22. July 2018

The embattled BC3 Thoroughbreds, formerly run by punting club operator Bill Vlahos, may lose its $3 million Surf Coast training facility, Grace Park.

Documents filed with the corporate regulator show one of Vlahos’ companies, Noble Edict, has allegedly failed to keep up repayments on a $1.6 million loan used to buy the property.

The documents show BC3’s collapse has sent shockwaves through the racing industry, with trainers, vets and employees out of pocket.

BC3 owes vets $84,000, much of it spent keeping Australia’s most expensive yearling, Black Caviar’s $5 million half-brother ”Jimmy”, alive.

Noble Edict poured $3.2 million into developing stabling and training tracks at Grace Park, which housed BC3’s large team of racehorses. Many of those horses have been repossessed by bloodstock firms Magic Millions and Inglis.

Magic Millions, which is owed $1.36 million, has announced it will sell nine former BC3 horses at its January sale on the Gold Coast.

No reserve price has been set for the seven two-year-olds and two yearlings, which are already listed in the Magic Millions catalogue.

Inglis, which also holds security over Jimmy, plan to sell eight BC3 horses by private treaty.

Inglis managing director Mark Webster said that until this year, BC3 had paid its bills on time.

The collapse of BC3 has hit Inglis hard, because the bloodstock agent advanced Vlahos’ operation a line of credit worth $5.9 million to buy horses this year.

Horses for sale by Inglis include Jimmy, who remains at the Werribee Veterinary Hospital after developing laminitis, a highly debilitating hoof disease, after a suspected spider bite.

BC3 owes the University of Melbourne Veterinary Hospital, which runs the Werribee facility, almost $33,000. An additional $51,000 is owed to the Flemington Equine Clinic, which was represented at a creditors’ meeting on Thursday by Dr Tom Brennan. Leading trainer Mick Price is owed $26,000.

Other trainers hit by the collapse include Jayne Davies, owed $30,000, and Melbourne Cup-winner Mark Kavanagh ($6000).

BC3’s accountants, Emerson Randell Young, are owed more than $365,000.

Noble Edict agreed to buy Grace Park from owners Christopher Andrews and Shane Morrissy in September 2011.

Andrews and Morrissy agreed to finance the sale and the transaction has yet to be completed.

On December 10, the day after Vlahos was allegedly beaten and a ute set on fire at the property, Andrews and Morrissy served a legal notice on Noble Edict alleging ”failure to pay interest payments pursuant to the vendor financing contract”.

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Graeme Swann triggers war of words

Sunday, 22. July 2018

England is edging closer to self-destruction after the fallout from Graeme Swann’s sensational exit interview plunged its unhappy Ashes campaign from disarray into farce on Monday.

Facing a fourth consecutive Test defeat and potentially another embarrassing Ashes whitewash on Australian soil, England’s tour reached a new low after Swann took a dig at his former teammates.

Swann’s remarks triggered talk of dissension among the ranks and sparked a row with former captain Michael Vaughan.

Having already surrendered the urn, had a senior player return home and a stalwart retire mid-tour, England’s turmoil is rivalling the soap opera that was Australian cricket earlier this year, consigning its Ashes success only four months ago to history.

”This tour for England was already a disaster … now it’s a bloody joke,” Vaughan tweeted on Monday.

The latest controversy to dog England’s tour started with an interview Swann gave to the English media in which he said: ”Some people playing the game at the minute have no idea how far up their own backsides they are.

”It will bite them on the arse one day and, when it does, I hope they look back and are embarrassed about how they carry on.”

The comments appeared to be a thinly veiled swipe at Kevin Pietersen, whose leadership Swann criticised in his 2011 autobiography after an ill-fated tenure as captain.

Pietersen has been horribly out of form on this tour and attracted criticism for the cavalier nature of his dismissals.

Swann’s remarks were reported by some British media outlets as being about players in the England dressing room, though the spinner denied they were directed at any individual.

Although Vaughan did not disagree with Swann’s sentiments, he was unhappy with the timing of the outburst.

”So @Swannyg66 says some England players heads are up their own Arse???? Which ones exactly??” Vaughan tweeted.

”As a respected senior player in the dressing room @Swannyg66 .. Why didn’t you sort players out who got too big for themselves ??

”I agree with @Swannyg66 that some players are getting ahead of themselves but I don’t think he should have said it the day after retiring.”

Swann responded by tweeting: ”@MichaelVaughan don’t jump to conclusions Vaughney. I wasn’t talking about the England dressing room or anyone in it. You too bbc.” The tweet was later deleted.

But Vaughan was not swayed, telling Swann he had erred. ”We all make mistakes @Swannyg66 .. I make plenty … I am afraid on this occasion you have made one.”

Monty Panesar, Swann’s on-field replacement, said he was unaware who his fellow spinner was alluding to. He even suggested Swann’s angst was driven by a soccer team back home.

Swann is a diehard fan of English Premier League club Newcastle United.

Panesar said the England Test team remained fully behind Swann’s decision to retire.

”Swanny knows who he’s referring to, but in terms of the dressing room and the teammates, we’re right behind him,” he said.

”We loved him to bits when he played with us, he had great character and his sense of humour was good. We all back him as a team.”

Panesar denied the tour had become a joke, as Vaughan had suggested.

”We still have two Test matches to show our hunger and determination,” he said. ”Come the Boxing Day Test match we want to put a very good performance in and try and show some fight and character.

”We’re a very hungry and determined dressing room to make the most of our next two Test matches.”

■ Swann’s sudden retirement has prompted English cricket to call up two fellow spin bowlers for the last two Ashes Tests. Leg-spinner Scott Borthwick will join the squad for the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne. The ECB will also send off-spinner James Tredwell to Sydney for the last Test of the series. Panesar will take Swann’s place on Boxing Day.

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