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  1. Number of homes lost in bushfire rises to 49

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    September 21, 2019 by admin

    The number of houses destroyed in this week’s devastating bushfires near Coonabarabran has been revised up to 49, as firefighters brace for another wave of heat to hit the area on Friday.
    Nanjing Night Net

    The Rural Fire Service said the number of homes razed when a fire tore through the Warrumbungle National Park on Sunday had risen from an initial estimate of 33 to 49 on Thursday morning, and there was a possibility it could rise further.

    “As people are allowed to return to their properties, they’re identifying whether their houses have been destroyed,” an RFS spokesman said.

    “Obviously it’s very hard to determine initially between houses and sheds that have been destroyed in a fire.”

    The grim news comes as firefighters prepare for more extreme conditions on Friday, with the temperature expected to soar to 39 degrees in Coonabarabran. A change in wind direction is expected to hamper firefighting efforts and potentially expose more properties to the threat of fire.

    Sydney also is expected to swelter, with a forecast top of 38 degrees in the city and 42 degrees in the west on Friday, before cooler conditions for the weekend.

    On Thursday morning, the fire in the Warrumbungle National Park was burning in the Bugaldie area, one kilometre south of Bugaldie village and eight kilometres west of Coonabarabran.

    More than 200 firefighters are battling the 42,000-hectare fire, the worst in NSW for more than a decade.

    “Currently the fire is moving slowly to the east through private property under moderate winds,” the RFS said in a statement.

    “Firefighters are backburning to strengthen containment lines in the south-eastern part of the fire between Timor Road and Baradine Road. This is to protect isolated properties on the outskirts of Coonabarabran, as well as the Needle Mountain Communication Facility, ahead of deteriorating weather conditions today and into Friday.”

    By Thursday afternoon, properties in the Bingie Grumble Road and Carrington Lane areas, along with isolated rural properties along Tanabah Road, may be threatened due to increased wind speed and a change in wind direction.

    Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Francois Geffroy said north-westerly winds of between 20-30 km/h were forecast in the Coonabarabran area on Friday, before a south south-westerly change was expected to move through the area some time on Saturday morning.

    “Temperatures are going to be pretty warm at this point in time across most districts,” he said.

    Isolated showers and thunderstorms are expected to develop in the west and south of the state, extending to central parts by Friday evening.

    Increasing showers are forecast in Coonabarabran throughout the weekend.

    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.


  2. Gillard visits charred ‘moonscape’ of Coonabarabran

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    September 21, 2019 by admin

    Click here to learn how to help the fire recovery effortPrime Minister Julia Gillard today flew into Coonabarabran to witness first-hand the devastating effects of the bushfire that claimed at least 51 homes.
    Nanjing Night Net

    She drove through the Timor Road in Warrumbungle National Park, the epicentre of the inferno, which opened Wednesday for the first time since the fire for residents to see the extent of their losses.

    Ms Gillard surveyed the charred countryside and blackened forests described by the Rural Fire Service as a “moonscape”.

    She saw the ruins of the home in which Bob and Jeanette Fenwick had raised four children.

    The Fenwicks also lost 33 cows and 250 sheep in the blaze.

    Their property is in the valley below the Australian Astromical Observatory where accommodation was destroyed, the site of which the Prime Minister also visited on Thursday.

    Mr Fenwick told Ms Gillard that when he arrived at the property there was nothing to be done to stop the flames.

    “We couldn’t do anything here. It was over. It was so fast,” he said.

    “Unbelievable really, isn’t it,” the Prime Minister replied, touching his arm.

    “I was up at the [Siding Springs] Observatory talking to people up there about how they looked out to see a narrow plume of smoke and then it’s just – whoosh and they are leaving as quickly as they can with flames at the height of the observatory tower. It was an amazing firestorm.”

    She said it was clear that sometimes residents just needed to get out and look after themselves.

    Ms Gillard added: “I have been looking at some of the houses as we have been coming up including ones that obviously had a huge firestorm behind them but because of the wind they have survived. There is just a randomness to it. It is hard to explain. You need to know a lot more about fire than I do to explain it.”

    Asked what they needed, Jeanette said, “Rain. Gentle rain.”

    HOW YOU CAN HELP

    Warrumbungle Shire Mayor’s Bushfire Appeal: Warrumbungle Shire Council has set up a bushfire appeal to ensure donations from the community reach their intended target. Donated money will be used to help residents who have lost everything as a result of the fire.

    The council has set up a special purpose bank account to accept donations via EFT:

    Account Name: Warrumbungle Shire Council Mayor’s Bushfire Appeal

    BSB: 062-524

    Photo: JACKY GHOSSEIN

    Vincent Morrissey surveys the damage in front of what used to be his home in Timor Road, Coonabarabran. The fire front now extends for 158 kilometres. Photo: JACKY GHOSSEIN

    Account: 10133579

    Bank: Commonwealth Bank

    Donations will also be accepted by cheque or payment at the council’s Coonabarabran and Coolah offices or at all Commonwealth Bank branches.


  3. Stosur slammed out

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    September 21, 2019 by admin

    OH DEAR.
    Nanjing Night Net

    Oh, really. Just, oh. Sam Stosur’s latest Australian Open has ended early, disastrously and distressingly for another year, the ninth seed losing the last five games and her second-round match, 6-4, 1-6, 7-5 to China’s Zheng Jie. Did she choke? There could be no denying it, and she didn’t. ”I don’t know. Whatever word you want to put on it, at 5-2 up in the third, double-break, probably is a bit of a choke, yeah.”

    Stosur twice served for the match after leading 5-2 in the third set, but tightened up horribly when the finish line was within stumbling distance. Not for the first time, but this was awful to watch, and the double-fault to end – her ninth, among 56 unforced errors to 29 winners – was truly hands-over-the-eyes ghastly.

    And so, after a torturous two hours, 42 minutes, another summer ends for Stosur, in shockingly disappointing fashion, with one scrappy win from her four matches in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne. The same tally as last year, but with a similar, perhaps even more discouraging, lament.

    ”You make an error and you tighten up a little bit, but you try and reset and refocus before that next point,” she said of her third-set disintegration. ”Unfortunately, it just kept happening, point after point after point. Then crazy things start popping into your head, and before you know it, you’re back on even terms and really lost a lead that with two breaks in the third should never go away. Oh, I think it’s a hundred per cent [mental]. I got tight and then you start missing some balls. You probably think a little bit too much. You do it over and over and over again, and then, yeah, you start not wanting to miss rather than wanting to make the winner. Instead, it’s, ‘I don’t want to make the error’.”

    History suggested the match was decided early, for Stosur has won all 54 of the grand slam singles matches in which she has won the first set, but only six of the previous 37 in which she has fallen behind. This time she trailled, then levelled, then led, handsomely. But, for the second consecutive week, was unable to finish off her persistent Chinese opponent after leading 3-1 in the decider.

    The Queenslander had conjured an unconvincing straight-sets win over Kai-Chen Chang in the opening round, but met a higher-calibre opponent in Zheng, the world No. 40 and two-time grand slam semi-finalist. It was thought that the Chang win, just that, might be enough to help restore Stosur’s shaky confidence. Instead, it will be Zheng who plays German 18th seed Julia Goerges in the third round.

    ”Today I feel Sam Stosur is play much better [than] last week,” said Zheng. ”Kick serve and the big forehand. Also backhand slice is give me the big trouble. But today I try to play more aggressive. I try to go to the net, give her some pressure. I think this is my coaches tell me, give her some [of] the pressure, and this way is the key [to] win this match.”

    Stosur has reached a French Open final and two semis, and won the US Open just 16 months ago, beating the great Serena Williams in New York. But the 28-year-old now has two fourth-round appearances to show from her 11 Australian Opens, and it seems there will be no dislodging the hefty rhinoceros from her muscular shoulders any time soon.

    ”It’s difficult,” she admitted. ”It’s just hard no matter where you’re playing. You obviously want to play your best. I know I haven’t been playing my best. I’ve been trying to get to that point. Now, unfortunately, the summer is over as quickly as what it started again.

    ”I’ll do what I always do and keep playing and keep trying hard. I know I’m going to get over it. It’s just you want it now, not tomorrow.”

    So no happy ending. Just a terrible emptiness. And another chance gone.

    Oh. Just oh.

    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.


  4. Ben Stewart’s Italian dream

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    September 21, 2019 by admin

    WINDSOR footballer Ben Stewart grew up playing rugby league with the Windsor Wolves, not knowing his family heritage would one day give him the chance to play international football.
    Nanjing Night Net

    Stewart has been representing the Italian national rugby league team for the past five years after former NRL player and Italian coach David Riolo asked him if he’d like to represent an Italian side at a rugby league carnival in Sydney several years ago.

    From there, he has gone on to help the national team to qualify for the World Cup later this year.

    Stewart’s Italian blood lies in his mother’s side of the family and he said playing international rugby league was the furthest thing from his mind while growing up as a youngster with the Wolves.

    “I never really gave it a thought because I didn’t even think Italy played rugby league, I just assumed it was all soccer and rugby union.

    “They’re trying to promote the game in Italy through the Australian-based players which will help strengthen the game over there and help the guys in Italy who aren’t too familiar with the rules of the game.

    “When we go overseas we get together with a lot of the Italian boys to show them a few skills and techniques so we can promote the game as much as possible.”

    Stewart was a part of the successful World Cup qualifying campaign that took him throughout Europe, playing against other hopeful nations in a bid to play on the world stage – and against the best players in the game.

    The Windsor Wolves club captain said making the World Cup had given the game a massive boost as it tries to compete against the might of football and rugby union.

    “We’ve probably advanced the game in Italy by 10 years just by making the World Cup. In the qualifiers we had one game in Italy and it was good to see the crowd out there supporting us,” Stewart said.

    “If we can get enough interest in the game it can be massive over there. Just by making the World Cup, it’s going to be in the newspapers in Italy and it will be in the news.

    “I’ve been able to play over in England, Wales, Scotland, Serbia and we went over to Italy twice, so it’s been a good way to see parts of Italy and the world while doing something I love.”

    Stewart played his role in the qualifying process – scoring a crucial try in Italy’s 19-all draw with Lebanon which was enough to see them through to the World Cup.

    Now that they’ve qualified for the tournament, Italy is going about strengthening its team even further and Stewart even predicted they could surprise a few of the more fancied sides when the tournament kicks off in England in October.

    “Because we’ve made the World Cup, they’ve scouted all the NRL, Queensland Cup and NSW Cup players that are Italian so they can get the strongest side,” Stewart said.

    “There’s a lot of good players in the NSW and Queensland Cups in the squad, along with a few NRL players.

    “Depending on how many NRL-based players they get, I think there’s a dozen eligible to play, I think they have a really strong chance and could make the quarter-finals.”

    Stewart urged any footballers to check up on their heritage, believing there was plenty of players out there who don’t realise the opportunities the modern game is providing them with.

    “Italy has an under-16s team and they’re really trying to promote the game and get the young Italian players together so they can start representing Italy,” Stewart said.

    “A lot of the other European countries are starting to do it, too, and realise there’s an avenue for young players to represent their heritage. It’s helped me play better. Being around NRL players and seeing how they conduct themselves at training and before games and seeing the environment has helped my game.”

    Ben Stewart helped Italy qualify for this year’s rugby league World Cup. Photo: Kylie Pitt

    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.


  5. Free ride could be their last

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    September 21, 2019 by admin

    tSource: The Advocate
    Nanjing Night Net

    Train surfers are at serious risk of being crushed to death within seconds, a Tasmanian train driver says.

    “It can only take one moment,” TasRail driver Grant Youd said.

    Mr Youd was speaking out after a recent incident that saw two train-surfing teenagers caught hitching a ride on a Burnie to Ulverstone train on Sunday.

    Mr Youd was not driving the train on this occasion, but it triggered a stark reminder of a similar incident when he was behind the controls.

    “I was driving south from Burnie and I had a notification from train control that there was a chap riding on the train,” he said.

    Mr Youd said the train surfer jumped off the train after it had been brought to a controlled stop, knowing he’d been spotted.

    “They jump into the scrub when the train stops and then when you take off, they jump back on again,” he said.

    “It is very frustrating because we are just trying to do our job.

    “We have different terrain and geography to negotiate, there are so many variables and we don’t want to have to contend with this as well.”

    Mr Youd said train surfers would normally hop on a train when it was travelling at a slower speed, therefore miscalculating the danger.

    “They have no knowledge of the trains and they don’t realise the carriages can move quickly and violently,” he said.

    “If they (the train surfers) fall, they will be run over.”

    He warned that trains were similar to cars in some ways, in that varied speed limits applied in different sections of the track, ranging from 15km/h to 60km/h.

    “At 50 or 60, there are some fearsome forces built up.”

    Mr Youd said drivers were instructed to bring trains to a controlled stop when required.

    “We can’t just slam on the brakes because trailing loads are not conducive to slamming on the brakes _ it could cause a derailment,” he said.

    Mr Youd said it was concerning there were still people who were struggling to grasp the message of safety around trains.

    He had experienced a number of near misses in his time as a train driver, he said.

    He said drivers reported all incidents, including the registration numbers of cars where possible.

    Mr Youd was at a loss to explain what further action could be taken to try and minimise these incidents.

    Mr Youd encouraged members of the public to continue to speak out if they saw incidents of dangerous behaviour.

    “I would ask the public to keep reporting these incidents,” he said.


  6. World titles set for Hawkesbury River

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    August 21, 2019 by admin

    THE Hawkesbury River is the stage for many great boat races but in May a world championship event will be seen at Windsor Marine Stadium.
    Nanjing Night Net

    Fastwater Promotions will host a world championship race in the unlimited displacements and six-litre displacements along with an Asia-Pacific SST120s championship.

    The event was passed by council late last year and will take place on May 18 and 19.

    Race director Tony Walsh said the event will be unique to the Hawkesbury.

    “It will be a different atmosphere because a lot is on the line – they’re racing for world championships,” Walsh said. “Everyone wants to be number one in the world and there’s plenty of preparation that goes into it.

    “They go at 260km/h and are tough to drive and expensive to maintain.”

    The weekend will feature plenty of racing and Council voted unanimously in favour of giving the event exclusive access to Governor Phillip Reserve for the two days.

    “This event is a world championship, international event and it’s a one off event,” councillor Porter said. “I think we should be supporting it, especially in terms of boosting tourism and the economy in the Hawkesbury.”

    Councillor Christine Paine was also in support and couldn’t wait for the event to arrive in Windsor.

    “I support this event if it’s anything like the Bridge to Bridge ski race we had here recently,” Cr Paine said.

    “I was gobsmacked and had goosebumps watching the event at Governor Phillip Reserve and seeing how well it was organised.’’

    The event will be a great advertisement for the Hawkesbury, with fans from around the world tuning in to watch the racing.

    “We’ve got international teams coming and a world-wide audience of about 300m people,” Walsh said.

    “Windsor is a good stadium-type course and the crowd will be close to the action. They will feel a part of it.”

    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.


  7. Tears and triumph as Daley honoured

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    August 21, 2019 by admin

    IN 1975, Laurie Daley stepped onto Willow Park as a junior Junee Diesel, last Friday, he walked onto the ground having captained the nation’s team, the state team and as a member of the 1986 premiership winning Diesels.
    Nanjing Night Net

    An official ceremony marked the renaming of Willow Park to Laurie Daley Oval.

    PICTURES AND VIDEO: Laurie Daley Oval opening

    “It’s just a great honour and a tremendous feeling given that you don’t play footy for these things and you don’t expect these type of honours,” Daley said.

    “When they told me it was going to be done, I thought ‘that would be great’ but I don’t think it hit me until today, I was overwhelmed with emotions I think.”

    Moved to tears by the honour, Daley signed autographs and greeted supporters with a huge smile on the very ground where he fell in love with rugby league.

    It was the perfect 70th birthday celebration for Frances Daley, as Junee honoured her only boy as the town’s favourite son.

    Growing up with seven older sisters, Daley learnt a thing or two about remembering his humble roots in Junee and the proud mother of eight admitted how important it was her son had stayed so grounded despite his success.

    “It was lovely, so emotional, so beautiful,” she said. “But, he has seven sisters and I’m proud of them all the same.

    “I don’t like to single any one of them out for their achievements.

    “They kept him in line when he was growing up – that’s for sure.”

    In front of hundreds of supporters and well-wishers, NSW Rugby League chief Geoff Carr described Daley as a “tremendous sportsperson” and credited his humble attitude to growing up in Junee.

    One of Daley’s first coaches, Terry Sykes, said it was a “magic day”.

    Sykes, who spearheaded a renewed push with Terry Seton to rename Willow Park, said he was glad the oval now bore Laurie’s name.

    Last Friday also marked the official opening of the new broadcast box and canteen.

    Daley said he hoped the refurbished grounds would go a long way to inspiring the next generation of rugby league stars to sprout in Junee.

    “I know there’s young players like I used to be out there, with dreams like I did to play for the Diesels, and then go on to the NRL and play for NSW and Australia,” he said.

    “I’ll be the first one to congratulate that kid.

    Laurie Daley and his mother Frances look out over the field named after one of Junee’s most famous exports. Picture: Oscar Colman

    “I was lucky enough to do what I was able to do, I hope this ground gives kids some hope that it doesn’t matter if you come from a country town, you can achieve anything.”

    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.


  8. Ned Kelly to be laid to rest

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    August 21, 2019 by admin

    Source: The Border Mail
    Nanjing Night Net

    Ned Kelly’s burial next to his mother on Sunday is expected to be painful for many of his descendants.

    Just over 132 years after his death, Kelly will finally have his wish granted to be buried in consecrated ground alongside family in the small town of Greta, in northern Victoria.

    This will follow a full requiem Mass for Kelly in Wangaratta tomorrow.

    Kelly’s grave, like that of his mother, Ellen, won’t be marked.

    The family is acutely aware of the public interest but yesterday made several pleas for privacy.

    “We don’t want it to become a circus — it is a private family burial,” said Joanne Griffiths, the great-granddaughter of Kelly’s sister Grace.

    “There’s a lot of pain involved, particularly for the elders of the family.

    “These are people who have kept quiet for generations.”

    Kelly’s burial became possible after his remains — minus his still missing skull — were positively identified two years ago.

    His skeleton was unearthed in 2009 at the old Pentridge Prison site, where it had laid undisturbed since being re-buried there 80 years earlier.

    Kelly had been buried at the Old Melbourne Jail after his execution on November 11, 1880.

    The identity of his skeleton was confirmed after DNA extracted from the bone was matched to mitochrondrial DNA from the blood of Melbourne art teacher Leigh Olver, a direct descendant.

    Damage to the skeleton also matched injuries Kelly suffered during his capture at Glenrowan.

    Hundreds of relatives — including at least 200 from three direct lines of Kelly’s parents, John “Red” Kelly and Ellen Kelly — are expected to attend the service and burial.

    The service will be held at St Patrick’s Church and is expected to begin about midday.

    “Our wishes are that it is private, it is for family,” Ms Griffiths said.

    “But of course with churches you don’t usually shut doors, certainly not in the heat.”

    A statement released by the family yesterday drew attention to a letter dictated by Kelly — he couldn’t write because of a gunshot wound to his right hand — the day before he was hanged.

    In his letter to the governor he asked for his mother to be released from jail before he died, then pleaded to be granted permission “for my friends to have my body that they might bury it in consecrated ground”.

    Kelly’s request was refused.

    The family decided to hold the service and burial on separate days in the hope that the latter, at the very least, would be accorded greater privacy.

    “Obviously it is a family member we are burying here, someone who was loved,” Ms Griffiths said.

    “We want to give him the most respectful and dignified mass and burial we possibly can — that’s what any person would want for their family member.”


  9. End of the line for family’s rail bond

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    August 21, 2019 by admin

    WHEN Keith Jenkins retired at the end of last year it closed the book on more than 150 years on the railway by the Jenkins family.
    Nanjing Night Net

    Keith and his four brothers – Robert, Barry, Raymond and Henry – all worked for State Rail and later Pacific National, all beginning their careers in Junee.

    The last of his brothers to retire, Keith finishes after more than 42 years.

    None of the Jenkins brothers have less than 15 years service with State Rail, each playing their parts as drivers, firemen, roster clerks and call-boys.

    “It’s not a bad effort for one family,” Keith said.

    Originally working on a farm, Keith joined the national service in 1968 and trained to drive armoured personnel carriers with the Army’s Second Calvary Regiment in Sydney.

    When he completed his time in the national service, Keith returned to Junee.

    “When I came out of the army I wanted to go back on the land, but because of the drought there was no work,” he said.

    Joining State Rail at the Roundhouse, Keith slowly worked his way through the ranks over 14 years to become a locomotive driver.

    Over the years he did every job from preparing trains to fueling locomotives to eventually becoming a co-driver or fireman, and finally becoming a driver.

    “My favourite part of it was as long as you did your job properly, you didn’t have anyone breathing down your neck,” Keith said.

    Keith said he loved the job which had him travelling the Riverina countryside and wasn’t cooped up inside an office or building.

    “I tried being an apprentice baker, but I slept in too much,” he joked.

    Always more comfortable in freight trains, Keith also drove the Southern Aurora and Spirit of Progress and has travelled along almost every branch line in the Riverina.

    In control of more than 1.5 kilometres of metal, he said knowledge of the railroad was the key part of the job – especially when it came to stopping.

    “It takes two kilometres to pull a 1500-metre train up … you’ve got to know your route,” he said.

    After 18 years as a driver, Keith has helped train many younger drivers in learning the “road” and said instead of the 14 years it took for him to become a driver, it was now only two years.

    Working full-time since he was 15, Keith now has plans to enjoy his retirement catching fish, working on his house and growing bearded irises.

    Keith Jenkins is the last of his four brothers to retire after collectively working for 150 years on the railway. Picture: Declan Rurenga INSET: (From left) Barry, Raymond, Henry, Keith and Robert Jenkins outside their home in 1965.

    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.


  10. Halal housing touted for Riverstone

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    August 21, 2019 by admin

    WHILE Hawkesbury residents last week received a letterbox drop protesting against a 10,000 plot Muslim cemetery proposal in Blaxlands Ridge, residents of Riverstone are facing their own controversy surrounding a Halal housing project in the heart of the close knit community.
    Nanjing Night Net

    Qartaba Homes has announced subdivision plans to build 150 residential lots in Riverstone and 30 in Schofields, despite the fact plans are yet to be lodged with Blacktown City Council.

    The company promotes the land to be 100 per cent Halal housing, which offers interest-free lending for interested buyers from any faith or denomination.

    However there are claims that almost all the land has been booked by interested buyers already.

    The interest-free offer means Islamic buyers avoid ‘‘riba’’ or debt with interest, which is against Islamic law.

    Member for Riverstone Kevin Conolly said he felt concern on the matter was premature with Blacktown Council yet to receive a development application.

    However he did say he would only support a development that was made available to an entire population.

    “We all know that right through Riverstone there will be new developments, new subdivisions and housing, and most people within the community are looking forward to that,” Mr Conolly said.

    “If this application is in fact lodged with Council it will have to meet stringent planning requirements and laws, there is no doubt about that.

    “I do however believe this kind of development would need to be available to the whole population, not just some and not others.

    “Qartaba Homes said they do in fact plan on making the land available to anyone, so if they keep their word I can’t see any concern with the development.

    Residents around Blaxlands Ridge received a letterbox drop urging them to send submissions to Hawkesbury Council regarding an application for a 10,000 plot Muslim cemetery in Packer Road.

    The flyer reminds residents the period for public comment had been extended to January 25.

    The unnamed publishers of the flyer “strongly oppose” the application for various reasons including that the site is a sandstone region; water runoff will affect wildlife and the fact the proposal was opposite Wollemi National Park.

    Qartaba Homes has annuonced subdivision plans to build 150 residential lots in Riverstone and 30 in Schofields.

    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.