Home in time for Christmas

A YOUNG Mandurah boy is lucky to be alive after contracting a staphylococcal infection with doctors saying a splinter in his foot was the likely culprit.

Eight-year-old Conor Fahey’s ordeal first started on November 11 when he had an aching pain in his left hip that wouldn’t go away.

His mother Yvonne said she took him to Peel Health Campus (PHC) the following day but he was sent home after a few hours and told to take paracetamol.

Mrs Fahey said Conor’s pain got worse overnight so she took him to their family doctor who said he needed to go back to hospital.

This time PHC did a number of scans and blood tests before telling the family to go home again and come back if it gets worse.

“A few hours later Conor was in acute pain so we went back and they called an ambulance to take him to Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH),” Mrs Fahey said.

“His pain just kept getting worse and worse.

“He was on morphine in the ambulance and was admitted to orthopaedics.

“He went to ICU and he went downhill rapidly.

“His organs started failing and it was just one thing after another.”

Conor spent six days in ICU under the eye of five teams before the diagnosis of a staphylococcal infection.

The infection gave him left pyroformic myecitis which sent shooting pains down his leg, he had staphylococcal septicaemia in his blood, bilateral pleural effusions and the lower left lobe of his lung collapsed.

“He was an extremely sick boy,” Mrs Fahey said.

“He had blood tests every six hours and his body temperature reached 41.8 degrees.

“His throat started closing up one night.

“Every few hours something would happen and there were moments when I thought the worst.

“There was no let up.”

She said it had been a difficult few weeks.

“The situation was quite dire but you just cope because it’s your child,” she said.

“It was difficult for his sisters to see him going through it, though.”

Mrs Fahey said community support had been “amazing” with classmates and soccer team-mates sending Conor gifts and well-wishes.

“It’s one less thing you have to worry about with the community behind you,” she said.

“Just the smallest things helped to bring a smile to his face and take the pressure off us.”

Mrs Fahey said doctors believe the infection was caused by a splinter.

“One doctor started looking at his fingers and his toes and he found a splinter in his foot,” she said.

“He said that was the most likely cause.

“It’s surreal to think all of this was caused by something like a splinter.”

Conor was discharged from hospital on December 6 but his ordeal is not over yet.

“His body has been through a lot and he’s lost a lot of weight and conditioning,” Mrs Fahey said.

“He started physio this week and it will be a few weeks before he can start running.”

As for Conor, he said it had been a “painful” few weeks but he was looking forward to getting back on the soccer field with his friends.

Eight-year-old Conor Fahey, pictured with mum Yvonne, is lucky to be alive.

Conor in hospital.

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Lawsuit over death of jillaroo student adjourned

FAMILY: Juliana and Mark Waugh, whose daughter, Sarah, died in a horse riding accident, with their son, Jonathan, outside Glebe Coroners Court in Sydney in December last year. Picture: JANIE BARRETT Sarah Waugh, 18, who died after falling from a horse in Dubbo in March 2009. She was doing a Jillaroo course with Dubbo TAFE ahead of vet studies and was given a former racehorse to ride.

LAWYERS for TAFE’s Western Institute are still examining evidence from the inquest into the death of Newcastle teenager Sarah Waugh, a Newcastle court heard yesterday.

Members of Ms Waugh’s family are suing the TAFE after the former Newcastle Grammar School student suffered fatal head injuries when she fell from a horse that bolted during a jillaroo course on March 24, 2009.

The civil case was mentioned during a district court callover yesterday where counsel for the TAFE, Michael Weightman, said there was a significant amount of ‘‘liability evidence’’ from the coronial inquest that still needed to be examined.

The case has been adjourned to March next year.

Deputy State Coroner Sharon Freund was damning of TAFE when she delivered her findings on Ms Waugh’s death in December last year.

Ms Freund said the TAFE did not properly assess the suitability of horses for beginner riders that were supplied by a contractor and made ‘‘no meaningful risk assessment’’ of the contract with the supplier.

Ms Freund called for an audit and overhaul at the TAFE after stating that the college failed to properly investigate the death.

Ms Waugh, 18, took part in the course near Dubbo as part of her efforts to become a country vet, the inquest heard.

She was riding a four-year-old thoroughbred, that bolted, causing Ms Waugh to slip from the stirrups and fall.

Ms Freund ruled the horse was not suitable for beginner riders.

As well as the civil suit, WorkCover is investigating the institute’s role in the death and may prosecute the college under the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

The jillaroo course has been suspended.

The civil case, where several of Ms Waugh’s family, including her mother Juliana, are suing the TAFE, was adjourned to allow the institute time to serve evidence on the Waughs.

Fanny’s site has thousand tales to tell

PRINCE: As heard on Fanny’s dance floor in 1984. REPUTATION: Newcastle’s infamous Argyle House has stood the test of time.

STICKY carpet, a secret show by Chisel, romances blooming and dying, pumping local and global dance acts, dance-floor pashes, biffs inside and out, at least one glassing, and the ocean yacht Windward Passage II parked high and dry next door.

There’s not much that Fanny’s nightclub hasn’t witnessed since it opened for business in 1984.

That year the man still known as Prince had a global No.1 hit with When Doves Cry and Fanny’s was primed to build a reputation as the riverside spot to be on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday nights.

For a venue that was set to shake the foundations of Newcastle’s social set for better and worse, it’s probably lucky it chose a rock-solid site.

The now heritage-listed Argyle House, an amalgamation of a group of historic buildings, was the headquarters of the Australian Agricultural Company from 1857 until 1965.

It was the nerve centre of the huge land company that quickly forged a coal monopoly in Newcastle. And since the company moved on, Argyle House has been used as offices, a restaurant and nightclubs run by several owners.

Australian Hotels Association Newcastle president and hotelier Rolly de With said he learnt the tricks of his trade when he got a job there in 1984, then rose to be its manager and owner.

‘‘It was my introduction into the entertainment scene in Newcastle, and about the time I started the Bay City Rollers played – I’ll never forget the queue out the front of people dressed in tartan skirts and bobby socks,’’ he said.

Mr de With noted that love had bloomed and fizzled within the nightclub’s four walls.

Member for Charlestown Andrew Cornwell first visited Fanny’s after finishing his final HSC exam in 1987, and seven years later he was there when he met his future wife, Samantha.

‘‘Back then the crowd was an unusual mix of rowdy 18-year-olds and slightly more staid 40-year-olds and we were caught somewhere in the middle,’’ he laughed.

Mr Cornwell said Fanny’s had had its ups and downs, gone broke and bounced back and yet somehow always survived despite its ‘‘awkward’’ location on the corner of Wharf Road, Argyle Street and Centenary Road.

‘‘It’s only in recent years, with the development of Honeysuckle, that its location became a strength and not a weakness,’’ he said.

Mr Cornwell also believes Fanny’s needs another facelift.


Top 100 Billboard

1. When Doves Cry, Prince and The Revolution

2. What’s Love Got to Do With It, Tina Turner

3. Say Say Say, Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson

4. Footloose, Kenny Loggins

5. Against All Odds (Take a Look At Me Now), Phil Collins

6. Jump, Van Halen

7. Hello, Lionel Richie

8. Owner of a Lonely Heart, Yes

9. Ghostbusters, Ray Parker Jr.

10. Karma Chameleon, Culture Club

POLL: Fanny’s nightclub to close

CLOSING TIME: Bonnie Semetka and Rianna Beentjes. Picture: Simone De Peak Fanny’s site hasthousand tales to tell

ICONIC Newcastle nightclub Fanny’s will literally rock out on New Year’s Eve, with its owner confirming yesterday he will close the colourful and controversial venue.

‘‘Fanny’s will always hold a special place in Newcastle history but the city we live in now is different and lifestyles change,’’ said owner Russell Richardson, who plans to give the heritage-listed building a facelift before relaunching the venue – probably with a new name – to appeal to a broader market of revellers.

‘‘We have watched as the foreshore has grown and developed outside our door, as Newcastle turned from coal town to vibrant cosmopolitan centre, and we are heavily investing in seeing Newcastle thrive and maintain that level of growth.’’

To celebrate the end of a heady era lasting almost three decades, Fanny’s will go out with three bangs: Sneaky Sound System plays at the venue tonight, the final raucous student night falls on Boxing Day and it will host a ‘‘last dance’’ extravaganza on New Year’s Eve.

News of Fanny’s closure – which comes one month after it topped the state government’s 2011-2012 most violent venues list with 28 incidents, and days after its licensee, Greg Mathew, was fined $500 over a licensing breach – will prompt a trip down memory lane for many locals.

Australian Hotels Association Newcastle president Rolly de With, who started his career at Fanny’s as a barman in 1984 and bought the business a decade later before selling it to Mr Richardson, said Fanny’s would be missed.

‘‘Times have changed but it’s gone through a number of changes to appeal to different people over the years,’’ said Mr de With, adding that the nightclub had both entertained and employed thousands of locals.

‘‘It does have a soft spot with Novocastrians – a lot of people started their relationships there and quite a few probably ended them there too.’’

Mr Richardson, who owns the King Street Hotel and is on the Newcastle Entertainment Precinct alliance that has helped curb night-time violence in the city, said the renovation would respect the 1860s-era heritage of the building.

Council is still assessing the application; however a Statement of Environmental Effects document states the facelift will address ‘‘current deficiencies’’ including a lack of internal smoking areas.

‘‘This causes management problems and issues in the public domain as patrons have to go into the street to smoke and [this] often leads to anti-social and violent behaviour,’’ according to the environmental document.

‘‘This proposal is a major step in redressing these issues and moving the nightclub into a different patron demography and with broader public appeal, without intensifying the operation.’’

The document also raises the ‘‘strong and real potential’’ for a cafe or ‘‘street cart’’ operation at the site on week days only.

‘‘While Fanny’s is a long-term iconic commercial resident of this area, its ongoing presence and response to local residents as an amenity and a successful economic venture is important in keeping the centre of Newcastle active and vibrant,’’ it says.

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Gangs linked to gun, fraud case

A NEWCASTLE man charged with gun and fraud offences was allegedly seen visiting the western Sydney home of a bikie associate who was under surveillance by the state’s gangs squad, court documents revealed yesterday.

In July, Michael Lockyer, 36, was allegedly recorded attending the home of a man who police say is an associate of the Bandidos, Hells Angels and Rebels bikie gangs.

The house was under surveillance by strike force detectives investigating the manufacture and supply of drugs by bikie gangs in western Sydney, a police spokeswoman said.

Mr Lockyer, of Willai Way, Maryland, allegedly drove on July 21 to the home in a HSV GTS Commodore with number plates ‘‘TLK2ME’’ while his licence was disqualified, a police statement tendered to Newcastle Local Court stated.

He is accused of attending the home again on July 31 in the same car, allegedly driven by Newcastle jockey and two-time group 1 winner Darryl ‘‘Digger’’ McLellan, the statement said.

Police attempted to stop the car on the F3 Freeway near Warnervale at 6.30 that night, but the car sped off and reached speeds of up to 220km/h before it exited the freeway onto the Doyalson Link Road where it drove over a median strip onto the wrong side of the road, the statement said.

Witnesses saw flames coming from the wheels before the car was later found deserted, and destroyed by fire, in Bushells Ridge Road.

Police found two loaded guns – a revolver and a semi-automatic pistol – between the front seats of the car, the statement said.

Mr Lockyer’s mother, who was the registered owner of the Commodore, reported the car stolen and later lodged an insurance claim. Mr Lockyer allegedly lodged a claim for jewellery worth $44,000 that he said was destroyed in the fire.

Gangs squad detectives arrested Mr Lockyer on Thursday and charged him with driving while disqualified, possessing unregistered guns, fraud and possessing steroids.

He did not enter pleas yesterday and was refused bail.

The case was adjourned to next month.