Campaspe News looks back at 2016 — January and February—
■ Rochester charity workers reveal residents are driving unregistered cars around town because they cannot afford rising registration costs. It comes as the cost of living jumped in 2016, with energy costs, public transport fares, car registration and postage stamps all increasing. Salvation Army lieutenant David Allman said the increases were “scary” and would place further pressure on residents facing financial stress.
■ Rochester’s Billie Ann Watson becomes the first baby born in 2016 at Echuca hospital. The daughter of Kirstie Gebbie and Brendan Watson, Billie was born eight minutes after midnight on New Year’s Day.
■ Police retrieve a Ned Kelly letterbox which was stolen from outside a home on the Northern Hwy in Rochester on Boxing Day. A 28-year-old man from Delacombe near Ballarat was charged with theft of the letterbox, which had an estimated value of $3500.
■ Ex-Lockington man Nathan Carnie is hailed a hero after rescuing 10 children close to drowning in a Queensland dam. Nathan was supervising a water-based fitness challenge when the group of children gathered to one edge of a concrete pontoon, causing it to flip on top of them. The qualified lifeguard dived in to rescue the children, aged between 11 and 17.
■ Lockington’s Frank Dullard is awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia. The 88-year-old is recognised for various areas of his life, including with Rochester Shire council, Lockington and district Lions Club, St Joseph’s Rochester parish, and as a local historian, farmer and environmentalist.
■ Campaspe Shire council endorses major funding to upgrade Rochester’s town centre. It backed more than $200,000 being poured into Rochester Skate Park and the Moore St road reserve to upgrade facilities and make the two areas more attractive to visitors. But it wasn’t all good news for the Moore St project committee, with just two of its 11 requests being endorsed by council.
■ Anger rises over rubbish being dumped at Rochester’s Salvation Army Op Shop. People too lazy or too cheap to use the tip are turning the donation bins into an easy out for dumping household rubbish. Op Shop manager Ros Jeffries said it happened almost weekly.
■ Rochester firefighter Travis Harris opens up about his battle with depression and thoughts of suicide. The happy-go-lucky Harris was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder after attending a series of road fatalities and battling fires on Black Saturday. He said he wanted to change the culture of emergency services personnel not feeling comfortable to open up about their problems.
■ Lockington swimming pool gears up to celebrate its 50th birthday. A fun day of activities is planned including inflatables, pool games and a barbecue. The celebration comes amid a Campaspe Shire review into the feasibility of keeping outdoor pools open.
■ Ray Larcombe is honoured for 70 years of service to Rochester CFA. The 88-year-old took his first footsteps towards becoming a firefighter at the age of 14 when he joined the Rochester Scouts, before becoming an active firefighter in 1945. The 70-year service medal joins Ray’s other honours, which include a national medal, Queen’s Medal and Rochester CFA life membership.
Billie Ann Watson, pictured with mum Kirstie Gebbie, was the first Rochester child born in 2016.
Former Bamawm man Nathan Carnie became a hero in January, when he saved eight children from a Queensland dam.
Rochester firefighter Travis Harris bravely opened up about his battle with mental illness in February.
Lockington’s Frank Dullard received a Medal of the Order of Australia in January.
Rochester CFA member Ray Larcombe racked up 70 years of service in February.