School bell tolls for retiring teachers

EDUCATORS: Jan Milliss, left, and Janelle Smith have spent a combined 86 years teaching. Picture: Brock PerksMOST students can’t wait to put school behind them.
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But for Janelle Smith, 62, and Jan Milliss, 64, it’s taken 86 years between the two of them to finally say enough is enough.

The pair, who began as primary school teachers at Merewether Heights Public in the 1970s and 1980s, are this week celebrating their retirement from the school, a decision that did not come easy.

‘‘It was hard for me to acknowledge that it was my time to leave, as I have built some amazing friendships and memories over the years,’’ Mrs Smith said.

‘‘However, when you know, you know. It was my time to leave.’’

During their time, the two have seen drastic changes to the education system, including the introduction of smartboards and iPad as tools for teaching children.

Mrs Smith said amid change, many things stayed the same.

‘‘The foundations of the education system that I started out in are the same: supporting our children to be the best that they can be.

‘‘As a teacher, there is nothing better than watching that lightbulb moment with children, where they work something out for themselves.’’

The pair don’t anticipate leaving the school completely.

‘‘I would love to come back one day and do a bit of volunteer work, help out with a reading group or wherever I can,’’ Mrs Milliss said.

‘‘If the school is ever in need of some extra helping hands, I’ll be there,’’ Mrs Smith agreed.

■ A NEW principal has been appointed to St Philip’s Christian College Port Stephens Campus.

Dr Timothy Petterson will take over the 750-student school in 2013 following the unexpected passing of founding principal Chris Walkling from a heart attack in July.

Dr Petterson is year 7 housemaster at The King’s School, Parramatta and teaches business studies and commerce.

Celebrate the New Year!

PARRAMATTA will welcome the new year with a bang.
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Residents and visitors to this year’s fireworks display will welcome 2013 with an action-packed New Year’s Eve party on the Parramatta River foreshore.

Last year up to 20,000 people turned up to cheer in 2012, and the lord mayor of Parramatta, John Chedid, said this year they were expecting up to 25,000 people to attend the night.

“Parramatta’s New Year’s Eve event is perfect for those who don’t want the hassle of travelling into Sydney,” Cr Chedid said.

“There will be loads of family-friendly entertainment with activities for children, early fireworks, a comfortable and relaxed atmosphere and an easier journey home.”

There will be plenty of entertainment for the whole family, including roaming street performers, rides and a variety of delicious foods.

Attendees will have the opportunity to watch jet- skis and skiers in a choreographed performance on the river featuring fireworks and flares.

Cr Chedid said the fireworks display for Parramatta’s New Year’s Eve event is always unique and impressive.

“This year we’ve got an incredible show featuring fireworks right along the river as well as fireworks mounted on the jet-skis, which will be synchronised with music and lighting,” he said.

“The high aerial fireworks combined with the

fireworks shot from the jet-skis lets you be very close to the action and see the whole sky

come alive with colour all at the same time –

an exciting way to celebrate New Year’s the Parramatta way.”

There will be entertainment throughout the evening, with live music from cover bands Phonic and Superstitious.

The children won’t be forgotten: The Amazing Drumming Monkeys show will ensure kids can party as well.

Bring your picnic basket and blanket and arrive early to ensure you get a good spot for live entertainment and fireworks watching.

The celebrations will start at 6pm on Monday, December 31.

Details: Parramatta City Council, phone: 8839 3311, website:

CELEBRATE the end of 2012 and welcome in 2013 in style.

Here are a few suggestions as to how you may wish to spend the evening:

■ Wentworthville Leagues Club

Welcome in the new year at a dinner at the Starlight Room at Wenty Leagues with a sumptuous three-course meal and dance the night away with the tribute band Abbalanche.

Details: 8868 9200.

■ Club Merrylands

Celebrate New Year’s Eve at Club Merrylands with Groovology.

The band plays a variety of music including top 40 hits, pop, blues, jazz, R’n’B, disco, funk and rock’n’roll.

Prices start at $25 for members and $30 for guests.

Prices includes a meal.

Details: 9637 9099.

■ Guildford Rugby League Football Club

Sing in the new year with karaoke at Guildford Leagues.

Karaoke is from 9pm to 1am.

Details: 9780 1333.

■ Merrylands RSL

Dance in the new year with tribute band, ABBAs Back.

Hear all your favourite ABBA songs.

Tickets cost $22 for members and $27 for guests.

Details: 8868 7777.

■ Parramatta Leagues Club

Celebrate the new year at the NYE Party at the Firehouse in Parramatta Leagues Club.

Free entry and live entertainment on the night.

Details: 8833 0702.

■ Smithfield RSL

The band the Rhythm Cats will bring in the new year with their catchy beats.

They will perform from 8.30pm for a free show.

Details: 9604 4411.

■ Blacktown Workers Club

See in 2013 with Jade Hurley performing the classics from Buddy Holly, Elvis, Jim Reeves and Johnny Cash and more.

Tickets cost $45 for members and $50 for visitors.

Details: 9830 0600.

New Years celebrations planned for Parramatta CBD

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New Karnup station plan unveiled

A TRAIN station will be built at Paganoni Road in Karnup if the Labor Party wins the State election next year.
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As part of Labor’s recently announced Metronet rail service, the proposed Karnup station will service the northern suburbs of Mandurah including Lakelands and Madora Bay.

The station is designed to lure traffic from the over-crowded Mandurah station from suburbs such as Singleton, Golden Bay and Secret Harbour.

With Paganoni Road already an established road connecting the northern Mandurah suburbs to the Kwinana Freeway, the move is the right one according to Member for Warnbro Paul Papalia.

“For us the State must move forward,” he said.

Opposition Transport Minister Ken Travers said the Metronet announcement highlighted Labor’s commitment to public transport and the Peel region.

“With the amount of people using public transport, trains are the backbone of the network; not light rail,” he said.

“Corridors with increased activity will be serviced by the train system.”

With developments across Singleton, Golden Bay and Secret Harbour, plus extra housing areas in Madora Bay and Lakelands, the northern corridor of Mandurah is only expected to increase in size; which Mr Papalia said was why this station was essential.

Mr Travers said the network would not be an overnight job and expected the project would take two terms of government to really make progress.

Mandurah MLA David Templeman welcomed the rail plan as a “huge boost” to the region.

“We finally get a new station north of Mandurah which will take the parking pressure off our only station at the Mandurah terminus,” he said.

Mr Templeman also praised the proposed extension of the Armadale line through to Pinjarra.

“The proposal to extend the rail line through to Pinjarra in the Murray Shire is outstanding,” he said.

Mr Travers said given Mandurah and the southern suburbs of Perth were major growth areas the Kwinana Freeway could only be expanded so far to cater for the growing demand.

Mr Travers said recent figures showed by 2026, 2.3million people will call WA home, up from 1.7million now.

Plans had been originally drawn up in May 2009 to build a station at Karnup to keep up with the population demand but nothing eventuated from there.

Minister for Transport Troy Buswell was contacted for comment.

Member for Warnbro Paul Papalia and Opposition Transport Minister Ken Travers at the proposed Karnup train station site.

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First fatality of holiday driving season

POLICE are investigating the circumstances of the crash that killed an 82-year-old woman at Brandy Hill, near Seaham, yesterday.
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Emergency services were called to Clarence Town Road about 1.30pm following reports a car had struck a power pole.

The woman died at the scene, making her the state’s first holiday fatality this Christmas.

A report will be prepared for the coroner and anyone with information is urged to contact Raymond Terrace police on 1800333000.

The tragic accident marks the beginning of the busy period on the Hunter’s roads, with traffic expected to ramp up with last-minute shoppers and travellers in the coming days.

Bottlenecks at Kempsey and Macksville flared early yesterday, with police patrols beginning in earnest as part of Operation Safe Arrival.

Double demerit points will be enforced for speeding, restraint and helmet offences until January 2.

Among the first charged in the lead-up to Christmas was a Tighes Hill woman, 40, who police allege blew six times the legal limit in a breath test.

Police said the woman was stopped on Sunnyside Street at Mayfield about 7pm Thursday where she returned a positive breath test.

She was arrested and taken to Waratah police station, where a breath analysis recorded a 0.303 reading.

The woman’s licence was cancelled and she will face court on high-range drink-driving charges in January.

Traffic and Highway Patrol Command Inspector Phil Brooks said the woman’s alleged actions put every road user at risk.

“This woman allegedly told the officer she’d consumed two bottles of red wine and three schooners of beer during celebrations for a friend’s birthday,” Inspector Brooks said.

“To get behind the wheel after drinking any alcohol – let alone the large amount of wine and beer this woman had allegedly consumed – is extremely dangerous.’’

HOLIDAY TRAFFIC: Drivers are urged to allow plenty of time to get to their destination, and to drive with care. Picture JONATHAN CARROLL

HOME: Good vibes in Eleebana

Tucked deep into Eleebana’s horsey haven is a delightful little slice of Australia, where a creek forms a natural boundary and a rooster crows out the back.
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A huge old coral tree spreads its shady limbs around the eastern side of a verandah that stretches from the front to the back of Jeff and Jan Marshall’s house.

To step inside the front door instantly evokes feelings of warmth.

And the owners know it.

‘‘If people keep their houses nice generally, if they care about their yard, then they care about themselves and if they’ve got horses, well they are very special!’’ says Jeff.

A former milko and a compositor for the Newcastle Herald, Jeff dabbled in training and breeding racehorses for a while, among other equine pursuits.

Nowadays the septuagenarian is still very active – kicking up dust daily out the back astride a pure bred Connemara mare, who is ‘‘coming along nicely’’.

Another passion is his chooks.

‘‘We’ve had chooks and a dog ever since we’ve been married,’’ Jan Marshall says.

The beautiful gardens that surround the house are her domain.

The centrepiece is that coral tree with its huge girth and long green beans that prove irresistible to the lorikeets.

The verandah it protects is one of the few things the Marshalls have added to the Federation-era house in their 44 years of ownership.

Like many homes of its time, regrettably its original history has been lost.

What is known about the house is that it started life in New Lambton and that it may have been built for a cordial manufacturer.

The signature sunrise emblem on the front dates its construction at around or just after Federation.

Jeff and Jan are unsure why, but at some point in its past previous owners decided to saw the old house in half and move it to Eleebana.

Their home has seen children come, grow and go over the years it has been in their ownership.

As well as the verandah, a family room has been added onto the back, an old kitchen was replaced, but the majority of the house is essentially the same as it was.

It’s a lucky thing because the original features of the house are outstanding and of a type rarely seen in such good condition.

The rich hues of beautiful timbers adorn walls, doors and windows, and are preserved beneath Estapol, rather than painted over.

Stunning leadlight windows on the western side of the house capture gorgeous afternoon sunset rays through the trees and send them into the lounge and dining rooms.

Aesthetically, this is a very inviting house.

That was one of the reasons why the Marshalls bought it in the first place.

‘‘There are none of those fancy things you get like the modern new houses, but it feels warm and it is,’’ Jeff says.

They paid just $12,000 for the place all those years ago – which at the time Jeff felt was a bit too much.

But hindsight is a wonderful thing.

‘‘There are a lot of good memories here and there are not many people who have come here and not said ‘What a nice place’.

‘‘I just wish we knew more about it.’’

Do you know any history about this house?

Do you know a house we could feature?

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Picture: Peter Stoop

Picture: Peter Stoop

Picture: Peter Stoop

Picture: Peter Stoop

Picture: Peter Stoop

Picture: Peter Stoop

Picture: Peter Stoop

Picture: Peter Stoop

Picture: Peter Stoop

Picture: Peter Stoop

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.
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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.
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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.
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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
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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.
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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.