THE YEAR THAT WAS
It was another busy year in news. We’ve brought you the highs and lows of 2018. From all of us at the Great Southern Herald we wish you a merry Christmas and happy New Year.
It was another eventful year in news in Katanning and surrounds. The significant changes to operations at the historic Katanning Co-Op dominated headlines for much of the year while the turmoil surrounding live export also hit the region. The opening of the restored Katanning Flour Mill as a Dome cafe and hotel was a major boost for the town, drawing tourists from across WA. Deaths continued on local roads across the Great Southern, while local sports stars continued to impress locally and nationally. Here is the year that was in 2018 . . .
A group of children damaged Tambellup Primary School before vandalising a nearby home because they were bored.
The Shire of Dumbleyung fought to save its two bus runs after the State Government cancelled one of its bus routes.
Gnowangerup farmers suffered stock losses, with thieves stealing more than 300 sheep. A man was killed in a fiery crash in Conroy Street, which left the community in shock.
Katanning playgroup faced closure in December, however after a summer of community campaigning, the group recruited 10 new members to save the playgroup.
Gnowangerup’s only remaining bank shut its doors in April, but the Shire said there was potential for a Bendigo Community Bank to replace the old bank.
O’Connor MP Rick Wilson and Member for Roe Peter Rundle’s offices in Narrogin were graffitied after rejecting calls in Parliament to ban live exports.
The WA Government passed historic changes, removing the three-year statute of limitations that prevented Katanning child abuse survivor Todd Jeffries to seek legal action against paedophile Dennis McKenna, who abused him at St Andrew’s Hostel.
An engaged couple from Wagin were accused of attacking two country police officers during a traffic stop, causing them cuts and bruises that needed hospital treatment.
Investigation into historic sexual assaults in the region by the Great Southern Herald revealed a rise in sex assault charges in the region.
The State Government has requested the Shire of Katanning to return $278,000 interest accrued on the scrapped Super Town fund, which has been put towards building a new administration building.
Farmers were left counting the cost as live export dramas with Emanuel Exports continued to rumble the sheep industry.
State Agriculture Minister Alannah MacTiernan was booed and heckled by almost 1000 farmers at a live export rally in Katanning after telling producers a “plan B” needed to be found to deal with a potential live export ban.
After six years of planning and renovation, the 127-year-old Katanning flour mill was transformed into a 22-room boutique hotel and was officially opened.
Katanning BKW Co-op announced its decision to enter into administration after operating in town for more than 98 years.
Close to a fifth of all residents in Katanning do not have access to the internet, according to recently published research by Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre.
Despite community efforts to save its coop, Katanning BKW Co-operative shut its doors for the last time after its liquidators rejected an offer from a local buyer to keep the business operating.
A spike in car break-ins in Katanning prompts a police plea to remind residents to make sure no valuables are left in their vehicles.
Katanning records its lowest September rainfall on record, with just 12mm recorded and growers crossing their fingers the heavens open up.
A Katanning family have been left heartbroken after a fire started by a candle believed to have shattered from the heat, destroyed their home.
St John Ambulance opened the doors at its renovated Katanning sub centre.
The rollercoaster ride to save the 98year-old Katanning Co-operative shop has taken another loop, with the shop expected to reopen its doors next year after a local buyer purchased the store.
O’Connor MP Rick Wilson made an impassioned plea to Federal politicians to visit Katanning and see firsthand how crucial the live export industry was to its economy. Katanning Regional Hospital’s capacity to meet community demand was questioned in Parliament as Member for Roe Peter Rundle asked Minister for Health Roger Cook if he was aware of the lack of GPs and doctors in Katanning hospital emergency department.