Southern Highlands - 949 Power FM

A new type of festival to celebrate the Highlands' best food and wine

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The Southern Highlands Food and Wine Festival that was planned for later this month has been cancelled amid continued uncertainty about whether all people are able to attend major cultural events.

But in its place a different sort of festival will be held at the Moss Vale Showground at the end of February.

Katrina Hill-Cooper from the Southern Highlands Food and Wine Association said the February event was all about re-setting after the difficulties of the past couple of years, and making a fresh start.

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It will also celebrate the best food and wine the Southern Highlands has to offer.

"What we wanted to do was to do something post-COVID to try and get everybody, sort of, back on track, something a little bit exciting," Ms Hill-Cooper said.

"It's the last weekend of summer, it's just before uni goes back in March, so we wanted a food and wine catch up event."

Ms Hill-Cooper said the event on the weekend of February 26 and 27 would have a different feel to the region's usual food and wine festival.

"It will have new experiences, there'll be a focus on food and locally produced providores and restaurant experiences and purchasing tickets and going to the providores of your choice - it's quite a different format," she explained.

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Association president Jean-Marie Simart said the food and wine festival was "an ideal way to start 2022".

“Already considered a must-do annual pilgrimage for food and wine disciples, the festival has been re-imagined with a wonderful new layout to make it more enjoyable than ever to engage with our growers, winemakers, chefs, distillers and brewers."

He said the new format in the wide open spaces and fresh air of Moss Vale Showgrounds would offer a backdrop of rolling green hills, giving a real sense of why so many growers were passionate about farming in the Southern Highlands.

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The alfresco experience will include an avenue of restaurants, picnic grounds, brewers’ garden and produce marketplace, as well as free, live entertainment and Olssons Salt Sessions chef workshops.

Images: Destination NSW, Southern Highlands Food and Wine Association

Abandoned Moss Vale home damaged in fire

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An abandoned house in Moss Vale has been severely damaged by fire on Thursday afternoon.

Fire and Rescue units from Moss Vale and Bowral attended the fire at the end of Lytton Road, and arrived just after 2pm to find the home well alight.

Moss Vale Fire and Rescue Captain Ian Thorpe said the roof collapsed as fire fighters worked to extinguish the blaze.

The scene has since been handed over to police for investigation into the fire's cause.

Image: Graeme Day

Andrew's stepping out to help those who can't walk

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How far would you go to help someone?

For Mittagong's Andrew Mevissen, the answer is 100 kilometres, all by foot as he steps out this weekend to raise money to help people with cerebral palsy as part of Steptember.

On Saturday he's walking from Mittagong to Goodman's Ford, then on Sunday to Paddy's River via Berrima and Canyonleigh for a total of 100km, with 2000 pushups and 1000 squats thrown in for fun.

He said the walk was all about challenging himself, at the same time as helping people who needed assistance.

"I've got a passion for helping people who can't walk, and that's the people with cerebral palsy, and it's part of Steptember to raise money for people with cerebral palsy," he said.

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"They've raised about $10 million so far and I've contributed about $2000 of that."

Andrew hopes to raise more, and all the money he collects will be used to buy mobility aids for people with cerebral palsy.

Andrew said he had always been a fan of walking, but had never tackled any distance close to 100 km.

"It's not a massive effort that I'm doing but it's my personal challenge and it's important to me and it's a great feat for me to do physically, but also empotionally by being able to help others as well," he said.

You can add to Andrew's fundraising tally via the Steptember website.

Images: Andrew Mevissen

Art gallery now open to the public

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The new Southern Highlands Art Gallery is now open to the public.

A small gathering took place yesterday which was attended by representatives of the Aboriginal community, local artists and the media.

The project has been in the making for some 25 years and has been made possible thanks to the fundraising efforts of Ben Quilty, the community and government grants.

Mr. Quilty said the gallery will be open seven days a week.

"Entry is free to public and everyone is welcome,"he said.

The gallery is situated at the old dairy in Retford Park.

Image: Angela Walsh

Berrima Gaol to be sold

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The NSW Government has put the old Berrima Gaol on the market.

The facility opened in 1839 and has since had a number of uses including being a German prisoner camp during World War I,

It has also been used as a training centre and a male minimum-security prison that was later converted to house women.

The property features two historic cottages, a tennis court, industrial shed and commercial kitchen,

In addition to the gaol’s 60 cells there's a watch tower, guard offices and commercial space.

Member for Goulburn Wendy Tuckerman said the gaol was retired last year as it was no longer fit-for purpose and surplus to Corrective Services’ requirements.

“This is a rare opportunity to express an interest in a 1.9-hectare site that’s rich in history, stories and heritage charm in the heart of the bustling township of Berrima,”she said.

The Expression of Interest Campaign is being managed by Colliers.

Image: Denisbin/Flickr

 

 

Berrima now Australia's top small tourism town

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Another accolade for the small village of Berrima.

After being named NSW'S Top Tourism Town in the category of 5000 residents or less, the village has gone onto win Australia’s Top small Tourism Town award.

Australian Tourism Awards Chair, Daniel Gschwind said the awards are celebrating towns throughout Australia that demonstrate outstanding commitment to encouraging tourism and increasing visitation to their destination.

"As we get closer to all interstate borders re-opening and enjoy a renewed focus on domestic tourism, these awards put the spotlight on our tourism communities and the amazing experiences that can be had throughout Australia,” Mr Gschwind said.

The town of Mudgee took out the Top Tourism Town award.

Image: Destination Southern Highlands

Big award for Artemis Wines

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Artemis Wines in Mittagong has been recognised in the largest officially recognised wine competition in the world.

The winery's 2019 'Close Vine' Pinot Noir received the AWC GOLD medal for 2021.

This wine is hand picked with half the yield of conventional vineyards, and expresses intense notes of cherry, mushroom, herbs & forest notes.

The tannins are soft and lingering with red fruits and spice and premium French oak.

More than 1600 producers from 44 countries took part in the awards.

Image: Artemis Wines

Car and caravan crash at Sutton Forest

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A car towing a caravan at Sutton Forest has crashed.

The incident took place on the Hume Highway near the Belanglo State Forest just after 4pm.

All southbound lanes are currently closed and vehicles are slowly passing the crash site using the breakdown lane.

No reports of injuries at this point.

Image: Live Traffic

Change a chook's life and find a feathered friend

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Anyone looking for a feathered friend has a chance to change a chook's life on Saturday when a Rescued Chicken Adoption Day is held by Let The Ladies Go organisation in Mitttagong and Goulburn.

The charity re-homes chickens and gives them a life away from breeding and continuous egg-laying.

The chickens up for adoption are 18 months old - an age at which they are usually sent for slaughter.

Let The Ladies Go is a charity that has rescued and re-homed about 50,000 chickens over the years, putting them up for adoption.

Founder Tania Daykin said chickens were intelligent and curious creatures that deserved better than the battery cages and endless, unnatural egg production.

To free a new feathered friend you need to register via the group's Facebook page.

Image: Alexas Fotos / Pexels

Children's Services starts Wollondilly Cultural Precinct development

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Construction has begun on a new children’s services building funded by Wollondilly Council and the Federal and State Governments.

It is the first step in development of the Wollondilly Cultural Precinct development, including a refurbished Shire Hall, a performing arts centre, government services building, village green and a new library.

The State and Federal Governments have each committed $814,784 to the new fit for purpose children’s services building, with Wollondilly Shire Council contributing a further $1,268,470.

Federal Infrastructure Minister Paul Fletcher said the new children’s services facility would provide high quality childcare services, and play a role in the broader Picton town centre revitalisation.

NSW Jobs Minister Stuart Ayres said the children’s services building was a significant step in the overall delivery plan.

"This building will see the relocation of council’s existing 30-place before- and after-school care and  vacation care services,” he said.

"The building also has capacity to accommodate a future 30-place preschool in a contemporary and functional facility.”

Wollondilly Council CEO, Ben Taylor, said the start of construction showed the Wollondilly Cultural Precinct was becoming a reality.

"Congratulations to the Mayor and councillors, who I’m sure are delighted to see construction begin on the children’s services building, and are looking forward to seeing the project take shape over the next 12 months,” Mr Taylor said.

"This is a great investment for our community, with the delivery of a practical space for families who live or work in the Shire."

The children’s services building project is expected to be finished in mid-2022.

Image: Wollondilly Shire Council.

Christmas comes to Bundanoon

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The Christmas spirit is well and truly alive in Bundanoon.

Wingecarribee Council has installed a large eight metre Christmas tree opposite the Primula Cafe and bus shelter, which is a very first for the village.

Bundanoon Community Association President Andy Carnahan said the village is also holding a get together next month to welcome the festive season.

"Just very casual in the hall on Saturday December 11, starting with a kids movie,

There'll be pre -dinner drinks for the early birds and hopefully a bit of music on the street,''Mr. Carnahan said.

Image: Andy Carnahan

Community pleads to be consulted on Berrima Gaol's future

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The Berrima community is pleading with the State Government to be consulted before any decisions are made about the future of the old Berrima Gaol.

Berrima Residents Association secretary Eric Savage said there was an opportunity for the community and government to get together to decide the 182-year-old gaol's future, in a way that would benefit the entire Southern Highlands.

"It could be used for the benefit of all the Berrima community and the Southern Highlands, and in fact be an important economic and tourist attraction for the whole of the state," he said.

He said the setting was ideal for a social or cultural institution, or even as a focal point for the region's tourism.

One of the association's members suggested the gaol could be used as an outpost for Carriageworks in Sydney, and Mr Savage said that would be an ideal use for the iconic buildings.

"The attraction of Carriageworks doing it would be that the site could be used for rotating exhibitions, and Carriageworks has a wonderful farmers' market, and we think that with the wonderful food and wine that the Highlands has, it would be a terrific place to showcase what is available," Mr Savage said.

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While that was just one of the possible options for the historic site, Mr Savage said the most important thing was the government listen to the community.

"We think it's important that the government seriously engage with, not only us in Berrima, but more widely with the council and the food and wine association and other people to look at all sorts of creative opportunities that the gaol could be used for," he said.

The community push to be consulted on the gaol's future comes after the State Government reportedly engaged real estate agents to deal with the site, and more recently discussed re-using several former gaol sites across NSW, including Berrima.

Mr Savage insisted the gaol's closure presented a one-in-a-lifetime opportunity to create an exciting legacy for the people of NSW that was respectful of its past and of lasting benefit to the community into the future. 

"Berrima Gaol is an iconic building that is listed on the NSW Heritage Inventory as an item of state significance," Mr Savage said.

"During its 182-year history it has many stories to tell."

images: supplied

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Escape bags for victims of domestic violence

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A new initiative has been developed across the Southern Highlands to help victims fleeing domestic and family violence.

Escabags has teamed up with GIVIT to provide free tote bags filled with the necessities that a victim of abuse and their children may need when initially escaping a dangerous or abusive situation.

That includes SIM cards, toiletries, nappies and vouchers.

Kirsty Bender from GIVIT said they already have a number of businesses on board.

"There are more than ten stockists in the Southern Highlands, including community centres, pharmacies, hairdressers and cafes,"she said.

For further details click here 

Image: Escabags Facebook

 

 

Financial statements show deficits

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For the first time, in a long time, Wingecarribee Council has recorded financial losses.

The 2020/21 annual financial statements show a deficit of more than $700,000 and the General Fund also reported a deficit of $4.3 million.

Below are a number of factors which havelead to this:

* Cattle put through at the Southern Regional Livestock Exchange down due to COVID ($446k)

* Tulip Time revenue down due to COVID ($400k)

* Unplanned terminations & redundancies ($893k)

* Refunding fees received from Welcome Centre ($121k)

* Independent Reviews and Audits ($115k)

* Workers compensation insurance premium increases (by $500k to $1.9 mill).

Image: Wingecarribee Council 

 

Gallery opening delayed

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The official opening of the new Southern Highlands Art Gallery in the old dairy at Retford Park has been pushed back.

It was meant to be happening tomorrow, but the lockdown has got in the way of those plans.

Gallery Director Megan Monte said they're being guided by the advice from NSW Health.

"We're ready and waiting to welcome everyone to Ngununggula,''she said.

Ngununggula means 'belonging' in the traditional language of the Gundungurra People.

Image credit: Southern Highlands Regional Art Gallery

Get on board for Seniors Festival in Wingecarribee

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The 2022 NSW Seniors Festival is being held at the end of March, and Wingecarribee Council is looking for community groups, businesses and organisations that want to be involved.

Each year council coordinates a program of events focusing on keeping seniors healthy, active and social, including community and council-led events.

This year’s theme is Reconnect and council is looking for community-led activities that help connect all community members.

Council’s Director Corporate Strategy and Resourcing, Carmel Foster, explained the importance of the festival for the shire’s seniors.

"It provides an opportunity for seniors to develop new skills, meet people with similar interests and find out how they can get involved with other events throughout the year," she said.

She explained reconnecting could take a range of formats.

“Whether it’s an in-person, virtual, or hybrid event, we want to hear from people and organisations interested in participating.”

Expressions of interest must be received by 4 pm on Friday, November 19.

To apply, visit www.wsc.nsw.gov.au/seniors or contact Wingecarribee Shire Council on 4868 0888.

Wingecarribee Shire’s 2022 Seniors Festival program of events is expected to launch early next year.

Image: Kampus Production/Pexels

High praise for Highlands wine entries

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The quality of wines submitted for the annual Australian Highlands Wine Show has been praised by the judges.

A total of 33 wine producers from right across Australia entered 126 wines in the awards that were judged this week at the Loch in Berrima.

And head judge Toni Patterson said the quality was exceptional.

"It's always a pleasure to judge at this show, because wine from the highlands, from the higher altitude vineyards of Australia, have a beautiful quality about them and seeing all the pristine fruit characters just makes it an absolute pleasure to judge," she said.

Ms Patterson said there were many highlights in the wines that were put to the test .

Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc, Shiraz and Cabernet varieties all offered outstanding quality, but she said a couple of varieties stood out above all the rest.

"There's really beautiful, beautiful pristine Riesling that we see in the competition with beautiful floral, aromatic citrus characters, so that was a highlight, Pinot Noir another highlight, absolutely," Ms Patterson said.

Some of the wines entered in the show will end up with gold, silver and bronze medals, when the winners are announced in December.

Image: Southern Highlands Food and Wine

Highlands ceramic artists rise from the ashes for open weekend

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The Black Summer bushfires came at the worst possible time for Steve Harrison.

Just before the fire destroyed his Balmoral Village studio, he was one of three ceramic artists given the Willoughby Bequest from Sydney's Powerhouse Museum, but he hasn't been able to make the work for the museum's collection.

"I'd love to make those pots and earn that money, so I'm keen to get back into it," he said.

"I was going to make a series of porcelain bowls, but that may change now seeing that I've lost all the porcelain clay that I'd dug and prepared - it all got lost in the fire so it's a bit up in the air now exactly what I'm going to do.

"I'll have to renegotiate with the curator - what I can do and what they'd like," Mr Harrison said.

His porcelain clay was just one of the things lost on the fire, which also destroyed works worth tens of thousands of dollars.

But not all Mr Harrison's work was destroyed.

"Just before the fire I was told there was a collector who wanted to purchase quite a large body of my work," he said.

That resulted in pieces being taken into the house so they could be measured, photographed and catalogued for the collector, and the house survived the fire.

"I had all the best pieces in the house when the fire came, so I lost all my other work but I had just those few pieces in the house."

It proved fortunate, as the saved pieces were bought during the first year after the fire when Mr Harrison and partner and fellow ceramic artist Janine King were going through the difficult task of cleaning up what remained after the blaze.

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"During that first year the Art Gallery of NSW purchased 12 pieces of my work for their permanent collection in Sydney - that was another honour which I was really pleased about," Mr Harrison said.

It was also during that time that Mr Harrison received encouragement, support and even financial donations from people all over the world - including some he had not heard of before.

Despite the heartbreak of the fire and the difficult, two-year process to rebuild and get back to creating, Mr Harrison said there was never any thought of giving up.

"I love making my ceramic work so there was no chance of giving up, it was more a case of 'How can we get back into this quickly'," he said.

The time off also meant lots of experimentation with new rocks and substances found close to home, particularly when health restrictions meant they could not travel more than five kilometres from their residence.

"We're just beginning so we're making a lot of experiments with the local rocks that occur around here to make our glazes out of local stones. So I go fossicking and there's a bit of a basalt extrusion at Hilltop, which is just up the road from us," Mr Harrison said.

"I collected the basalt from Hilltop and brought it home and ground it up and crushed it to a powder and made it into glazes. It's nice to use local material to make the glazes.

"There's still more work required. It takes a long time to develop the chemistry for glazes, to test them and perfect them."

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The results of Mr Harrison and Ms King's work will be on display over the weekend when they open their  Loopline Pottery to the public as part of the 9th annual Australian Ceramics Open Studios.

Also open on both days will be Meg Patey Ceramics in Colo Vale, with both studios open 10am to 4pm each day.

Mr Harrison said the display on the weekend would not be extensive.

"We'll have a range of just very simple things - bowls and cups and mugs and platters. We've only been back at work for a month and we're working as quickly as we can."

Images: Meg Patey Ceramics

 

Industrial action could affect train commuters

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Train commuters heading up towards Sydney are being asked to check the real time app before they head off today.

That's because the Rail Tram and Bus union is carrying out further industrial action.

Sydney trains will run to a reduced timetable and some will be cancelled.

NSW Train Link CEO Dale Merrick said there could be issues with connecting services.

"For the Southern Highlands our customers will see regular diesel services up into Macarthur and Campbeltown,

"However the connection to the suburban network will look a little different,''Mr. Merrick said.

Image: Denisbin/Flickr

Julia Zemiro to host koala karaoke in the Southern Highlands

TOD TV Julia Zemiro's Home Delivery - Julia Zemiro

Koalas have started singing from tree tops throughout the Southern Highlands, serenading each other at the start of their breeding season.

To help mark the occasion Wingecarribee Council is hosting a world-first koala karaoke party later this month, when it will report the results of microphones in trees that last year recorded 10-thousand hours of koalas singing.

Although council's environment officer Margot Law said singing might not be the best term for what the koalas did.

"Singing probably gives them a little bit too much credit," she said.

"It's more grunting or bellowing, sounding like a tree pig. that would probably be the best description of their singing ability.

"And it's a sound that the males make to either attract females or scare off other males during the breeding season," Ms Law said.

“Eligible bachelor koalas will announce their availability to potential partners and warn off competition by bellowing or singing from treetops.”

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While the koalas use their voices for a biological purpose, they also help the Southern Highlands Koala Conservation Project tocalculate annual koala population trends and compare the results to climate and land use data.

“We have microphones listening for koalas all over the Wingecarribee Shire, from Kangaloon to Wombeyan Caves and Balmoral to Wingello,” Ms Law explained.

Hosting the koala karaoke Zoom party on September 28th is Rockwiz host and Bowral local Julia Zemiro who knows a thing or two about music, albeit usually produced by individuals slightly less fluffy than koalas.

“We’re absolutely thrilled Julia has agreed to join us to help spread the message about koala conservation,” Ms Law said.

Joining Julia will be koala experts from Wingecarribee Shire Council and the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment.

Ms Law said the evening promised to be  “an informative, slightly wacky but massive fun night in.”

"We'll go through the results of our monitoring survey, and then Julia Zemiro is going to be interviewing us on the Southern Highlands Koala Conservation Project and what's going on with koalas in our area, and then we're going to round out the night with a karaoke party where we're all going to sing a few songs together, and we might mix a few koala bellows into those songs as well."

Anyone wanting to join the free online fun must book via koalakaraokeparty.eventbrite.com.au.

images: supplied

Kevin the calf rescued by Highlands SES crews

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A day and a half old calf called Kevin can thank his lucky stars for the skill and determination of  Wingecarribee and Moss Vale SES units.

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Kevin had slipped down a steep embankment into a creek shortly after he was born and Southern Highlands SES crews were called in the rescue him from his predicament.

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Although a bit cold and tired, the little bloke was reunited with his mum in a warm sunny paddock, none the worse for wear.

Images; Wingecarribee SES

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Labor's plan to tackle scammers

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Member for Whitlam Stephen Jones says the Government must to do more to protect people from being scammed.

The issue is costing Australians $33 billion dollars a year and Labor is promising to set up an anti scam centre that acts in real time and which also hold banks, telecommunication companies and social media platforms to account.

Mr. Jones said older people are particularly at risk.

"I know the Southern Highlands has been a hot spot for scammers and they generally like to attack more vulnerable communities and people they think have got a bit of money,

"What we know is that someone who has been scammed once, will very likely get scammed again,"Mr. Jones said.

Image: Office of Stephen Jones

Major COVID rule changes for NSW schools

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Despite hundreds of schools across NSW including a handful in the Shoalhaven and Southern Highlands having confirmed COVID cases in recent weeks and kids under 12 not eligible for vaccination, from Monday schools will no longer close if there's a positive case and close contacts won't have to isolate.

The NSW Government said from November 29, students who are close contacts of a positive case will be required to get a PCR test as soon as possible after being notified of exposure.

If the PCR test is negative, the student may return to school immediately, so long as they provide negative Rapid Antigen Home Test (RAHT) results for the next seven consecutive days.

In line with community settings, schools will no longer need to close while contact tracing occurs due to successful cohorting of year groups on school sites.

The only exception would be if there are multiple cases at a school or complex settings in place.

NSW Health has also advised that schools do not need to close for deep environmental cleans as the enhanced cleaning in place at schools is sufficient.

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Mask rules remain the same, meaning they are required for all staff and high school students, and are recommended for primary school students.

From Monday, restrictions on music will also been lifted, with instruments that rely on breath and singing and chanting allowed outdoors, within cohorts, and in line with other COVID-safe school settings.

Minister for Education and Early Childhood Learning Sarah Mitchell said students already in isolation can return to school from Monday under the new approach.

"I'm delighted we can reduce the disruption for students and families, while still maintaining the safety measures for students and staff on school sites," Mitchell said.

The government said the changes were made following recent Doherty Institute and NSW Health advice.

Images: NSW Department of Education Facebook and pixabay / educadormarcossv

More bushfire vegetation removal funding

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Wingecarribee Council has secured a $4.59 million dollar funding grant from the Environment Protection Authority to clear thousands of tonnes of bushfire damaged trees.

Council was one of 15 regional councils to receive funding and the focus will be on the Shire’s bushfire-impacted villages including Balmoral, Bundanoon, Exeter, Wingello, Penrose and the Wombeyan Caves area.

Director of Communities and Place, Geoff King said the grant would help the Shire’s bushfire impacted communities continue to move forward.

“A massive amount of green waste was generated right across our Shire,

“The ongoing clean-up will continue to take years and while much has already been done, this funding will go a long way to clearing thousands more burnt trees,”Mr. King said.

Image: Wingello Village Store

More funding for Picton to Colo Vale rail line project

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A further $9.1 million dollars has been made available from the State Government for the 32 kilometre Picton to Colo Vale Rail Line project.

The funding will enable the line to have a 23 tonne axel loading giving it the ability to take any steam train from the Thirlmere Rail Museum.

Our Member for Wollondilly Nathaniel Smith was able to secure the funding from the State Government's $3 Billion Infrastructure and Job Acceleration Fund.

He said it will provide a big boost for tourism in the region.

"Once we get the line to Colo Vale, we'll look at other funding possibilities to get it to Mittagong.

"The Rail Museum at Thirlmere has the largest collection of heritage trains in Australia," Mr Smith said.

Image: Office of Nathaniel Smith 

More industrial action

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More interruptions are possible for train commuters on the Southern Highlands line today due to further industrial action.

Trains will run at a reduced frequency on some lines in the network to minimise the impact of the planned disruption.

Services will also be restricted to travelling no faster than 60 kilometres per hour.

Commuters are being asked to check the transport NSW website before they travel.

For further details Click here.

No new COVID cases in Southern Highlands

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There were no COVID cases in the Southern Highlands, none in Kiama and only one in the Shoalhaven reported in today's figures.

The Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District recorded 46 new COVID-19 cases for the 24 hours to 8pm last night.

Of those, 28 are from Wollongong local government area including eight linked to known cases, 17 are from  Shellharbour including  five linked to known cases, and one from the Shoalhaven.

The source of the Shoalhaven case is still being investigated.

Photographic book about black summer bushfires

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A new photographic book about the Black Summer bushfires is being launched at the Southern Highlands Botanic Gardens on Sunday.

"Photo Voice'' is all about renewal and resilience, with proceeds going back to locals who are still affected by the disaster.

Chair of the Southern Highlands Foundation Shelley Boyce said there are some amazing pictures.

"They were taken mostly by people who were there, including firefighters,

"Some of them are extraordinary photographs,''Ms. Boyce said.

The launch starts at 11:30am for a midday start.

Due to covid restrictions you need Click here to register.

Image: Bodhi Todd

Police pursuit passes through the Highlands

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An alleged carjacking and pursuit which started in Victoria and passed through the Southern Highlands has resulted in a man being charged with alleged drug, driving and weapon offences.

Just after 3am on Saturday, a man was picked up by a ride sharing service on Inglis Avenue, Seaford, in Victoria.

Police have been told about 15 minutes into the trip, the 30 year old asked the driver to stop,

He then allegedly produced a handgun and threatened the driver, before demanding he leave the car.

The driver complied and the man drove from the scene, leaving the ride share driver on the roadside.

Victoria Police contacted NSW Police after receiving information the man may have crossed the NSW border.

Following inquiries, NSW Police detected the vehicle – a black Audi sedan – travelling north on the Hume Motorway near Pheasants Nest later that morning.

PolAir tracked the vehicle as it travelled along the Hume Motorway, onto Narellan Road, and through suburbs including Spring Farm, Narellan and Bringelly.

About 12pm (Saturday 21 November 2021), operatives from the Tactical Operations Unit intercepted the vehicle at the intersection of Cowpasture Road and Camden Valley Way, Leppington, and the man was arrested.

During a subsequent search of the man and vehicle, officers from Camden Police Area Command located a knife, a resealable bag containing a substance believed to be methylamphetamine, and counterfeit cash.

The items and vehicle were seized for forensic examination.

The man was taken to Narellan Police Station where he was charged with 11 offences including:

* drive manner dangerous,

* drive under the influence of drugs,

* take and drive conveyance without consent,

* fail to pay (x 2)

* drive whilst suspended,

* custody of knife,

* possess prohibited drug,

* enter inclosed lands without consent,

* goods in custody, and

* possess counterfeit money.

To view the arrest and pursuit click here

The Victorian man, from Cranbourne, was refused police bail and appeared at Parramatta Local Court on Sunday (20 November 2021), where he was formally refused bail and will reappear at Liverpool Local Court tomorrow (Tuesday 23 November 2021).

Image: NSW Police

 

Power outages in the Highlands

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Endeavour Energy is trying to restore power to a number of homes in the Southern Highlands.

At last count, there were 250 customers affected at Burrawang, 183 at Wildes Meadow, 136 at Robertson and 100 at Fitzroy Falls.

Endeavour Energy Spokesperson Janine Cullen said crews are out there at the moment trying to find the cause.

"It was probably fallen trees or powerlines and we're trying to get power restored as soon as possible,"she said.

Image: Endeavour Energy Facebook

 

Quilty to address mid week economy

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A number of guest speakers will be making an appearance at the Moss Vale and Rural Chamber of Commerce's next gathering at the Bowral Rugby Club on December 1.

That includes Wingecarribee Council's General Manager Lisa Miscamble and Southern Highlands Art Gallery Founder Ben Quilty.

Chamber Spokesperson Brigid Kennedy said they want to talk about how the new gallery can interact with local business.

"It's imperative that we all work together and we want to look at ways of improving the mid week economy,"she said.

For further details about the event click here

 

Regional travel to resume at 80 per cent vaccination

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Travel from Sydney to regional parts of New South Wales will go ahead once the state reaches 80-percent covid vaccination.

That will likely be around the start of November and will mean the Southern Highlands Food and Wine Festival will go ahead.

It's scheduled to take place at the Moss Vale Showground on November 27 and 28.

However Food and Wine Association President Jean Marie Simart is still concerned about businesses being responsible for checking if people are fully vaccinated.

"I think there will be a lot of problems and I don't think businesses are properly equipped to deal with it," he said.

Image: Southern Highlands Food & Wine Festival

SH Botanic Gardens coming to life

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The Southern Highlands Botanic Gardens is holding its first event, post lockdown this Saturday between 9am and 3pm.

The Spring Plant and Produce sale will be the first proper fundraiser for the year, following the covid layoff.

Director Chris Webb said the gardens are looking spectacular.

"If anybody just wants a day out, come and have a look, because the gardens are in full swing for Spring,

"There's lots of things happening, we've just put in a new pathway network and we've planted another 42 trees,"Mr. Webb said.

Image: Southern Highlands Botanic Gardens

Showers and thunderstorms forecast for entire week

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You might want to keep your umbrella handy, with the Bureau of Meteorology forecasting showers and storms for the entire week.

The conditions will settle slightly tomorrow, but another trough is expected on Thursday and Friday.

Forecaster Stephen Stefanak said rainfall amounts could be varied.

"We can expect a few millimetres each day for the remainder of the week, but there's the potential of storms bringing in 30 to 40 millimetres,"he said.

In the 24 hours to 9am last Thursday, Moss Vale recorded nine millimeres of rain and 21 millimetres the following day.

 

Southern Highland exposure sites listed

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A Bargo business has been added to the list of potential COVID-19 exposure sites after a person who visited for three successive days later tested positive for Coronavirus.

The person attended the Bargo BWS between 2.30 and 3pm on September 27, 28 and 29.

Anyone who was at the Railside Avenue business at those times needs to get tested immediately and self isolate until a negative result is achieved.

The same health advice applies to anyone who visited Woolworths Mittagong or Hayters Timber and Paving of Mittagong at the listed times.

The venues and times of concern are:

Bargo:

BWS Bargo, Railside Avenue, 2.30 - 3pm on Monday, September 27, 2.30 - 3pm on Tuesday, September 28, 2.30 - 3pm on Wednesday, September 29.

Khan's Supa IGA Bargo, 4.20 - 8.20pm on Monday, September 20.

Mittagong:

Woolworths Mittagong, Highlands Marketplace, 8.45 - 9.45am on Wednesday, September 29.

Hayters Timber and Paving, Cavendish Street, all day on Saturday, September 18 and Sunday, September 19.

 

Southern Highland's bushfire Response, Recovery and Resilience Expo

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It is day one of the Southern Highland's online bushfire Response, Recovery and Resilience Expo.

Wingecarribee Shire Council has joined with Wollondilly Shire Council to host the three-day Expo to help residents prepare, recover, and re-build in the face of natural disasters.

Wingecarribee Shire Council’s General Manager Lisa Miscamble said the free Expo had been organised to provide residents of the adjoining Shires with support and advice leading up to the summer months.

“Both the Wingecarribee and Wollondilly Shires suffered significant losses during and following the Black summer
bushfires,” she said.

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Head of Resilience NSW, Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons and Disaster Recovery Expert Anne Leadbeater will both
speak at the event.

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Issues to be covered include disaster preparedness, recovery assistance and rebuilding advice.

Ms Miscamble said, “No one ever wants to see a repeat of this catastrophic event and we want to ensure our residents are as best prepared as possible leading into this year’s bushfire danger period.”

Images: NSW Rural Fire Service 

 

 

Southern Highlands gives a taste of its generosity

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A taste of the Southern Highlands' treats, along with its generosity, is being sent to people in need in Campbelltown.

More than 150 hampers are being packed full of treats from a range of Southern Highlands businesses, ready for donation to people who have been struggling under the weight of continued lockdown and restrictions.

Wingecarribee Tourism coordinator Izabella Lane said the initiative was suggested by Bowral business Active Therapies, and coordinated by Destination Southern Highlands.

"Active Therapies put a call out to their clientele  and asked if there was any interest in purchasing a local produce hamper that could be donated to someone who is less fortunate or maybe struggling," Ms Lane said.

The response was massive, and community donations funded more than 150 hampers full of the Southern Highlands' finest produce that will be used to bring smiles to the faces of people struggling with the continued restrictions.

Ms Lane said the initiative showcased the region's generosity, and also put money into the pockets of several local business operators.

"It's a real win-win," she said.

"The hampers are valued at $75 and they contain local jams, honey, local lavender products, local nougat, local biscuits, local chutneys, so there's a whole myriad of products that's gone in."

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She said the gifts had brought some recipients to tears.

Wingecarribee Shire Council’s General Manager, Lisa Miscamble, said the benefits of the initiative were twofold. 

“As well as being neighbourly, the hampers showcase the best of what our region has to offer,” she said. 

“We hope that this small gesture goes a long way in promoting the businesses and spirit of the Southern Highlands community.”   

The hampers are being distributed to the most needy by Campbelltown City Council.

“It’s heart-warming to see the generosity of our neighbours in the Southern Highlands, who have reached out during this difficult time to support some of the most vulnerable in our community,” said Campbelltown Council’s General Manager, Lindy Deitz.   

Images: Destination Southern Highlands

Spanish Ambassador to open Moss Vale restaurant

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After 18 months of battling through COVID restrictions, Moss Vale's Spanish-themed restaurant Carca Restobar is finally about to have an official opening.

And what an opening it will be, with the Spanish Ambassador to Australia, Her Excellency Alicia Moral Revilla, accepting an invitation to do the honours on December 10th.

Chef and co-owner Ian Armstrong said the night will feature Spanish guitar, flamenco dancing and some food surprises in a three-course banquet.

"Half-way through the main course will be what we recall the parade of pigs, which is where the chefs come out with the suckling pigs that they've cooked for the night, nd we expect to be cooking three or four pigs for our guests," he said.

This is the fourth attempt at an official opening for the restaurant that Mr Armstrong and and co-owner Angelo Oyales opened during the first COVID lockdown in April last year and went straight into takeaway and home delivery service.

“It was a precarious time to open a restaurant back then," Mr Armstrong said.

"Friends said we were mad, but we believed in what we were doing and were committed to realising our dream of having a Spanish inspired venue here on the Highlands,” he said.

Mr Oyales had nothing but praise for the locals who supported the restaurant since the opening.

“Truly, if it was not for the great people of the Highlands, those that came by to order take away or have the opportunity to dine with us, we would have closed the doors,” he said.

Image: Carca Restobar

Taxi industry under threat

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Support for the taxi industry is gaining momentum with the issue now gaining national media attention.

The state government is planning to scrap taxi licenses and leave drivers thousands of dollars out of pocket.

Southern Highlands Taxis Managing Director Laurie Stewart said his 18 licences were valued at $4 million dollars before Uber came along.

"What the Government wants to do now is pay just $90,000 for two licences.

"Then we have to lease licences back if we want to stay in business,"Mr. Stewart said.

Image: Southern Highlands Taxis

Three new COVID cases in the Shoalhaven

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The Shoalhaven has recorded three new cases of COVID-19 as part of the figures reported today, with one linked to a known case.

There was also one new case in Kiama, which is still being investigated.

They are among 36 in the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District, including 19 in the Wollongong local government area, with 11 linked to known cases.

There are also 13 new cases in Shellharbour, with five linked to existing cases.

A total of 538 people have tested positive to COVID-19 in the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District since June.

The Southern Highlands was clear of new cases, however an earlier instance was reassigned to the Southern Highlands, taking its total since June to 24.

Time to light up Wollondilly after a tough year

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Recent hail storms topped off what has been a difficult year for people living in the Wollondilly area.

However Wollondilly Council hopes the annual Christmas lights competition will help change the mood a little, as people light up their homes, gardens, streets and businesses in line with the festive season.

Established in 1998, the Christmas Lights Competition has been held annually for more than 20 years, with residents and businesses from right across the shire repeatedly lighting up their properties to embrace the Christmas spirit.

Council is calling for entries by November 28, before judging in the first week of December, and prizes are presented on December 10.

This year the categories include:

* Best Lit Small House and Garden 

* Best Lit Large House and Garden

* Best Lit Senior Citizen House

* Best Lit Commercial / Retail Premises

* Best Lit Street

* People’s Choice Award

For more information, contact the Community Projects & Events team on 4677 1100, or visit Council's website at https://www.wollondilly.nsw.gov.au/events-andcommunity/annual-events/christmas-lights-competition/

Image: Wollondilly Shire Council

Train derailment at Moss Vale

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Authorities can't say at this stage how long it will be before passenger rail services will resume from Moss Vale after a freight train derailed this morning.

The train jumped the tracks and took out a line of fencing.

The Australian Rail Track Corporation is currently on scene

As a result of the derailment, no trains are running on the Southern Highlands Line between Moss Vale and Campbelltown.

Passengers are advised to allow plenty of extra travel time, listen to announcements and check information displays for service updates.

Image credit: Graeme Day

Two more COVID cases in Southern Highlands

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Two new COVID cases have been detected in the Southern Highlands, to 8pm on Sunday.

They take Wingecarribee Shire's total to 60 cases since June.

Across the state there were 623 new COVID cases in the 24 hours and six deaths linked to the virus including one person in their 40s, three in their 60s, one in their 70s and one in their 90s who was the only one to have received two vaccine doses.

Three people were from south-western Sydney, two were from western Sydney and one person was from the Nepean Blue Mountains area.

The state's cases also included 11 in the Queanbeyan-Palerang region, of which eight are linked to known cases.

Two of those are in Queanbeyan, seven are in Karabar, one is in The Ridgeway and one is in Wamboin.

The Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District recorded 77 new cases in the 24 hours.

 

Wingecarribee Council the eighth most complained about

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New figures show Wingecarribee Council spent $81,000 dealing with code of conduct complaints about councillors in one year.

There were 12 code complaints against councillors during the 2019-20 year, making the council the eighth most complained about for the year.

However investigations found only one of the complaints resulted in a breach of the rules governing councillor conduct.

Shadow Minister for Local Government, Greg Warren, said a major overhaul of the Model Code of Conduct was need to ensure the system was efficient, effective and not used for political point scoring purposes at the expense of councils and their communities.

“There is no doubt that some people use code of conducts as a way to score cheap political points at a significant cost to the council and their community,” Mr Warren said.

“A lot of time, effort and expense goes into investigating these complaints but the reality is the investigation often results in very little action taken.

“It’s councils and their communities who are counting the cost of an ineffective and inefficient Model Code of Conduct.”

Work starts on new Bowral Hospital renal unit

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Hard work and fundraising by the Southern Highlands Renal Appeal Organisation is coming to fruition, with construction underway on a new renal unit as part the next stage of the Bowral Hospital’s redevelopment.

South Western Sydney Local Health posted on its Facebook page that the unit is expected to open in early 2022.

The clinic is being built to enable further expansion to meet future demand, helping to ensure locals can receive care closer to home.

The expanded service has been made possible through the support of the Southern Highlands Renal Appeal.

Image: SWSLHD

Zero species extinction plan for NSW National Parks

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An ambitious Zero Species Extinction goal has been set for NSW National Parks.

NSW Environment Minister Matt Kean said the National Parks and Wildlife Service Threatened Species Framework is about protecting and improving the health of threatened and iconic species for future generations.

“Australia has the worst mammal extinction rate in the world," he said.

Among those animals offered additional protection are Koalas and Brush Tailed Wallabies.

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Mr. Kean said, "Just as set a not zero emissions target, we now have a target of zero extinction of species on our National parks estates and are aiming to improve and stabilise the status of threatened species".

221 sites have been gazetted across NSW triggering legal protections and conservation plans, targeting feral animals such as cats and foxes.

66 plant species and 27 animals including 13 mammals, four birds, seven frogs, and three reptiles are being given special protections.

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More than 31,000 hectares of the Southern Highlands have been designated safe areas.

  • Guula Ngurra National Park (Koala)
  • Wollondilly River Nature Reserve (Koala)
  • Bangadilly National Park (Koala)
  • Upper Nepean State Conservation Area (Koala and the Mittagong Geebung)
  • Budderoo National Park (Carrington Falls Grevillea)
  • Budawang national Park (Budawangs Wallaby Grass)

An interactive map of all Assets of Intergenerational Significance sites can be found HERE.

Images: NSW National Parks