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Monday, July 28, 2008

Tribute to local Olympians

A SMALL but interesting display featuring two Derwent Valley Olympians has been set up in the foyer of the New Norfolk Library by Sue McLaurin. The display features Ms McLaurin's fellow Molesworth residents Kate Hornsey and Anthony Edwards, who are both in the Australian team for next month's Olympic Games in Beijing, China.

Included are personal items from their respective sporting careers, as well as promotional material about China and the Olympics. Edwards and Hornsey are both associated with the New Norfolk Rowing Club and a third club member, Kerry Hore, of New Town, will also be rowing for Australia in Beijing.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

No decision on Ward 7

THE Tasmanian Heritage Council considered the case for the preservation of New Norfolk's historic Ward 7 at its last meeting but made no decision. In a media release this week, chairman Michael Lynch said representations over the proposed heritage listing of the building were evenly split, for and against.

The matter arose last month when the company North Hobart Constructions Pty Ltd applied for permission to redevelop the site. Ward 7 is one of only two buildings on the former Royal Derwent Hospital site to have an unusual below-ground security wall - mistakenly referred to as a Ha-Ha Wall.

"At Ward 7, the wall was designed to confine mentally ill patients within a secure yard. Very few remain in Australia," Mr Lynch said. "The Heritage Council is still to determine a current development application to demolish Ward 7 and the Ha-Ha Wall," he said.

Erected in 1965, Ward 7 is a unique part of Tasmania's built-heritage as well as an integral element of the 180-year history of mental health care in New Norfolk.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Restaurant re-opens

NEW Norfolk's most talked-about restaurant has reopened after a lengthy hiatus. The popular Verandahs in the Valley opened last Friday with a new Italian theme. The Burnett St venue is open seven days a week from 5pm for licensed a la carte dining and takeaway meals. Phone 6261 4461.

Monday, July 21, 2008

News not good for Ouse hospital

THE Upper Derwent Valley did not get the news it was expecting last week, when a consultant recommended against establishing a multi-purpose centre at the Ouse District Hospital - effectively voting for its closure. Central Highlands Mayor Deidre Flint says the community will keep fighting for its hospital. ABC Radio had this report. Other comments:
  • Liberal MHA Rene Hidding said the review had "stated emphatically that the Ouse District Hospital is no more or no less safe than any other country hospital in Tasmania. So the community have a very valid question for Premier David Bartlett – why us?"
  • Greens MHA Tim Morris said the community had a "reasonable expectation that their local hospital be retained given the consultant's report stated that the problems being experienced in attracting staff are no different to any other rural hospital in Tasmania."
  • Health Minister Lara Giddings said she was "disturbed to hear that instead of accepting the expert independent advice the Liberals and Greens are playing politics with a health and safety issue that should be above politics."

Friday, July 18, 2008

Highway works 'waste of money'

ROADWORKS on the Lyell Highway near Granton have been described as a waste of money by Lyons Greens MHA Tim Morris. Speaking in Parliament last month, Mr Morris said the $14 million government election promise had turned out to be a case of overkill.

“After watching the road project that is being undertaken on the Lyell Highway … I have not seen such a waste of money in a long time, as far as I am concerned. This is overkill in the extreme,” Mr Morris said in Parliament on June 11.

Contractors have now spent several months on major excavations in the vicinity of Limekiln Point. “It is great work for the engineers and the boys with the Tonka toys, but in terms of road safety outcomes, I believe that there is going to be delivered minimal improvement for a lot of money,” Mr Morris said.

“We are seeing thousands of cubic metres of rock having to be broken up to take one little corner off to improve the sight distance marginally. I believe the same safety outcome could have been achieved by applying a little bit more to the road pavement width to provide some more sealed shoulder, he said.

“I am not complaining about the upgrading of the culvert but moving the 80km/h sign 200 metres would have probably achieved the same, if not a better, road safety outcome than something like $1 million worth of rock removal. I cannot believe that that was necessary.

“I was involved with the planning study for the in 2001 and I am also seriously disappointed about the lack of provision for cycle lanes on that highway.”

Mr Morris’ remarks did not draw any government response, other than former Infrastructure Minister Jim Cox’s observation that Mr Morris was “particularly touchy”.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

UPDATED: More success for concert band

THE Derwent Valley Concert Band has earned another accolade, winning the community band section of the International Freestyle Parade Competition in Monza, Italy, on Sunday. Official results showed the band tied on 85.1 points with the Bishop Grandin Marching Ghosts from Calgary, Canada, but in fact the 135-member Canadian band was competing in a different category. Bands taking part in the event held at the famous formula-one racetrack were judged on music repertoire and performance, form and style, choreography and general effect. Most band members are expected home at the end of the week.

Meeting on hospital's future

AN important meeting about the future of the Ouse District Hospital will be held in the Ouse Hall at 6pm on Thursday, July 17. The Central Highlands Council’s medical services committee has urged a good turnout for this meeting, which will hear the final findings of a review of future services at the hospital. The State Government last year moved to downgrade the hospital to a community health centre but the council and community’s preference is for a multi-purpose service similar to that operating at Campbell Town.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Death of historian Rita Cox

NOTED Derwent Valley historian Rita Cox has died, aged in her 80s. A long-time resident of Magra, her books on the history of New Norfolk and districts can be found in libraries throughout Tasmania.

Her works included New Norfolk Pioneers and Homes, Series I (1981) and Series II (1982), New Norfolk's History and Achievements (1986), St Paul's Uniting Church (formerly the Methodist Church) New Norfolk (1986), Centenary of St Peter's Church (1987), Historic New Norfolk - St Matthew's Church Burial Records (1993), Historic New Norfolk - North Circle Public Cemetery Records (1995), Memoirs of J.J. (Joe) Cowburn (1998) and Historic New Norfolk - From New Norfolk to Back River (1998).

The widow of returned serviceman and public servant Reg Cox, Mrs Cox had also been prominent in community affairs. For a time she was the New Norfolk correspondent for the ABC. In 1983 she was named the New Norfolk citizen of the year and in 1999 she received an RSL Australia Day achievement medallion for her dedication to researching and recording the history of New Norfolk.

Born in 1924, Mrs Cox died at the Royal Hobart Hospital on July 11, 2008. She is survived by son Leigh, daughter Faye, and eight grandchildren.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Marching on to world titles

AFTER tasting success at the European Band Championships last week, the Derwent Valley Concert Band has moved on to the World Marching Band Championships in Monza, Italy.

Musical director Layton Hodgetts says highlights of the first week of competition included the first leg of the first leg of the world titles in Belgium, marching for three hours through a 17th century French town with more than 500,000 lining the route, and winning the open concert band section of the European Band Championships in Germany.

"While overall there are more than 50 bands competing with 2200 musicians, the Derwent Valley Concert Band has received a great deal of attention in both Belgium and Germany as the first Australian band ever to perform in the regions," Mr Hodgetts said.

"We have been highly successful on a number of fronts with Chris Rice receiving the silver Drum Major award for the European Marching Championships, while I received the gold medal conductor's award. It has been an outstanding effort from everyone in the band," he said.

"The results suggest they are performing at their absolute peak. The results have exceeded our greatest expectations, but have come at the end of a very intensive and long preparation period by everyone in the band."

The international championships in Monza conclude on July 13.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

New push for Neighbourhood Watch

A MEETING last week to discuss concerns about the local crime rate has resulted in a move to re-establish the Neighbourhood Watch program in New Norfolk. Tasmania Police say 11 members of the public attended the July 2 meeting at the New Norfolk Police Station.

A further meeting will be held at the same venue at 7pm on July 16 with a view to establishing a Neighbourhood Watch committee.

Neighbourhood Watch is a community-based crime prevention program, aimed at minimising the incidence of "preventable" crime within a defined area.

In a statement, Inspector Glen Woolley of Tasmania Police said the Derwent Valley Chamber of Commerce had offered to provide funding to establish Neighbourhood Watch in New Norfolk, and the office of the Federal Member for Lyons, Dick Adams, would assist with the photocopying of monthly newsletters.

All interested members of the community are invited to attend the meeting. More information can be obtained by calling Sergeant Brett Adlard of New Norfolk Police on 6230 4241.

Monday, July 7, 2008

UPDATED: Band of champions

THE Derwent Valley Concert Band has won first place and its director Layton Hodgetts received a gold medal at the European Band Championships in Germany (not the world championships as originally reported). ABC Radio has the full report and an audio link.

The band was established in 1993, to provide a forum for young people to continue their musical careers after graduating from New Norfolk High School. The band's first overseas trip was to Japan in 1994. Participation in the Calgary Stampede in Canada was a great honour in 1997, followed by China in 1999, Europe in 2001 and a return to China in 2006.

For many, the highlight of the band's history was the honour of being invited to perform at the wedding of Crown Prince Frederick of Denmark and Tasmanian-born Mary Donaldson in 2004.

This latest achievement proves yet again that the Derwent Valley Concert Band is something for all Tasmanians to be proud of.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Tit for tat

TASMANIA'S politicians have been expressing an unusually high degree of concern for each other's safety in recent weeks. In Parliament on June 19 Labor Braddon backbencher Bryan Green took two opportunities to allege that Lyons Greens infrastructure spokesman Tim Morris had ventured onto a railway line without permission and without wearing appropriate high-visibility safety clothing.

This week Mr Morris - New Norfolk resident and former Derwent Valley mayor - released a photograph of Infrastructure Minister Graeme Sturges posing in front of heavy machinery on a worksite on Maydena's main road.

“Two weeks before I raised my concerns in Estimates regarding the Jordan River Rail Bridge and was criticised for failing to wear safety equipment on a vacant railway track, Minister Sturges visited Maydena to inspect the State-funded Mainstreet Makeover and posed for a photo on an active worksite without wearing work boots, a hard-hat or hi-visibility vest,” Mr Morris said. PHOTO: Faces have been pixellated to preserve the privacy of those photographed with Mr Sturges.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Extra paramedics promised

HEALTH and Human Services minister Lara Giddings has announced her plan to deliver on last year's promise to double the number of paramedics in the Derwent Valley. Ms Giddings last week said funding had been provided in the 2008-09 State Budget to recruit additional paramedics to New Norfolk.

commitment to provide two additional paramedics at the New Norfolk Ambulance Station was made in 2007 as a trade-off following the decision to close the Ouse District Hospital. While the future of the hospital remains in the balance, the doubling of the staff at the ambulance station will mean there is a paramedic on duty 24-hours a day without the need for on-call arrangements. Recruiting will take place over the next year, either via a student intake in February 2009 or the hiring of already qualified staff.

Tasmanian Ambulance Service branch stations such as New Norfolk are staffed by paramedics supported by Volunteer Ambulance Officers.
For information about becoming a volunteer, call at the New Norfolk Ambulance Station, Circle St, or phone 6230 8570.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Boost for road safety

THE Derwent Valley Council will share in state funding to improve road safety through speed reductions and traffic calming. Infrastructure Minister Graeme Sturges today told State Parliament that this was the latest initiative under the Government's 10-year Road Safety Strategy.

“For the next four years projects will be awarded funding on an annual basis, with the government allocating a total of $500,000 each year. With the local councils contributing dollar for dollar there will be $1 million each year for the program,” Mr Sturges said.

The first councils to have projects selected for funding by the Department of Infrastructure, Energy and Resources were Derwent Valley, Clarence, Glenorchy City, Hobart, Kentish and Latrobe, with work due to be completed during the 2008-09 financial year.

“Traffic calming is an effective way of reducing travel speeds in urban areas and lower travel speeds provide protection for vulnerable road users including children, pedestrians and cyclists,” Mr Sturges said. “Over the past five years in Tasmania, speed has been a contributing factor in 26% of all serious casualty crashes in areas with a speed limit of 60km/h or less.”

The minister's statement did not itemise the individual projects.

New Norfolk turns 200

THE picturesque valley town of New Norfolk celebrates its 200th anniversary in 2008. The town was established in 1808 by settlers evacuated from Norfolk Island to Tasmania, making it one of the oldest localities in Australia. At the time of New Norfolk's founding, mainland Australian capitals including Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth did not exist. The bicentenary is being commemorated in a variety of ways but the major celebration was at the annual Derwent Valley Autumn Festival on April 6, 2008, which was attended by about 15,000 people. PHOTO: Period dress was a highlight of the bicentenary celebration on April 6, 2008.