COVID-19 ADVICE: The following links provide official advice and information about the virus known as COVID-19.
Australia's state and federal governments are taking action to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Use the links above to source the latest advice about what you can do to protect yourself and others. Washing your hands for 20 seconds is one of the most effective forms of infection control. Do this after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing; after close physical contact with anyone who is unwell; after using the toilet; before and after eating; before, during and after preparing food; and after feeding or touching a pet.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Ouse on bushfire alert

THE Upper Derwent Valley town of Ouse is on alert tonight as a large bushfire rages at nearby Cleveland, about 3km west along the Lyell Highway. The Tasmania Fire Service has placed Ouse on the "watch and act" alert, recommending that householders start taking action to protect themselves and their family (more details below).

The Ouse fire and three others in the Upper Derwent Valley have cast a pall across southern Tasmania tonight, as far north as Bagdad. The Ouse fire was reported at about 6pm and has not yet been brought under control. The fire service advises that the fire danger rating in the area is high to very high and fires under these conditions can be difficult to control.

The fire may affect the community of Ouse within the next 6-24 hours. It is currently creating spot-fires up to 1-2 km ahead. These may threaten homes earlier than the predicted main fire front. There may be embers, smoke and ash falling on Ouse.

A large amount of fire service resources have been directed to assist the community and will maintain a presence and will patrol overnight. There are 27 vehicles on site, including 12 light tankers, four medium tankers, five heavy tankers, one car and three personnel carriers.

What to do if you live at Ouse:

  • Start taking action now to protect you and your family.
  • Check your bushfire plan now; well constructed and prepared homes are defendable in these conditions.
  • If you don’t have a bushfire plan or your plan is to leave, prepare to leave for a safer place, such as a relative or friends place away from the area.
  • Consider leaving the affected area if conditions worsen if the path is clear.
  • Non-residents should stay away from the affected areas. Stay informed in case conditions change.
  • Monitor ABC Radio and for further instructions.

CONSIDERABLE resources are also on the scene of a 1600 hectare vegetation fire at Wayatinah Rd, Wayatinah. Reported at about 3.30 this afternoon, the fire is being held but remains uncontrolled and is expected to continue spreading slowly in an easterly direction overnight towards Ouse. A predicted ease in weather conditions overnight is expected to assist operations. There are two strike teams, 22 fire crews and numerous other resources from Norske Skoge and private contractors in attendance.

TASMANIA Fire Service and Forestry Tasmania crews are working to contain and bring under control a fire under control in a forest plantation at Broad River, Dawson Rd and Ellendale Rd, Repulse, which was reported at around 5.45 this evening.

FORESTRY Tasmania and Parks and Wildlife Service crews are patrolling a 51 hectare fire at Snake Rd in the Franklin/Gordon Wildrivers National Park, which was reported at about 2.30 this afternoon.

These three fires are all at the "advice" alert level, which indicates that a fire has started but there is no immediate danger.

If there is any fire activity causing you concern, report it to the Tasmania Fire Service calling 000.

Australia Day gallery

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Planter boxes on borrowed time

THE unpopular planter boxes in Burnett St may soon be a thing of the past. The Derwent Valley Council last week agreed to an investigation into various options for the removal of the boxes and the relocation of the trees planted in them.

Cr Damian Bester said the planter boxes had been a major issue during the recent council election campaign, with frequent calls for their removal. "The main issue of concern appears to have been the placement of the boxes (and their large stature) into the middle of the road rather than at the edges of the carriageway," he told last week's council meeting.

Councillors voted unanimously to endorse Cr Bester's plan of action for the appropriate council staff to investigate:

  • The incorporating of the relocation and replacement of the planter boxes into the forthcoming resurfacing of Burnett St.
  • The removal and storage of the planter boxes for re-use elsewhere.
  • The replanting of the trees into circular pots (such as an up-ended concrete pipe of suitable diameter).
  • The installation of the circular pots in the ground if it can be shown this will not result in future root-damage to the road surface.
  • The installation of the circular pots at the edge of the road, straddling the footpath and the carriageway.
  • The total number of trees available for planting/replanting.
  • The cost of the above proposals.
  • The impact of this proposal on the grant funds originally received for the project.
Cr Bester said his main concern with the boxes was not their appearance, but their safety. In particular, the height of the planter boxes posed a danger to both motorists and pedestrians - children in particular.

Deputy Mayor Craig Farrell agreed with the proposal and said it was the correct process to follow. He said there had been some benefits associated with the installation of the boxes, in that they had caused people to drive more slowly and carefully. They also provided a refuge in the middle of the road, he said. "It has not been all bad, but it certainly could be improved upon," Cr Farrell said. He said the experience had also highlighted a problem with parking in Burnett St and this must also be addressed.

Cr James Graham said Cr Bester had provided a "fantastic document to springboard from". "A lot of the people who voted for me were in my earhole about Burnett St," Cr Graham said. "This is not about undoing everything, it is not looking for blame."

"Cr Bester has hit the nail on the head," was the opinion of Cr Scott Shaw, who said three out of every four people he spoke to during the election campaign had wanted the planter boxes removed.

"I agree with all this," Cr Barry Lathey said. "I struck the same thing when standing for election." Cr Lathey bravely said he had to accept some of the blame, as he had voted in favour of the original proposal. "They are too big and have become a hazard. They have been successful in slowing traffic, but I don't know how there hasn't been a major accident," he said. "The majority of the public don't want them and it's pretty plain why."

Cr Narelle Molan said it had been hoped the planter boxes would make it easier for small cars to access places such as the council car park at Woolworths, but the opposite had occurred.

Cr Judy Bromfield endorsed Cr Molan's view and recalled her own near-miss when a collision was narrowly avoided. "It is an eyesore," Cr Bromfield said. "Three different committees looked at this and we still got it wrong," she said.

Cr Bester thanked his colleagues for their support of his proposal and said he looked forward to the streetscape works being modified for the benefit of all users of the thoroughfare.

Australia Day accolade for local radio

THE official launch of Tyga FM - Derwent Valley Community Radio - has been named the municipality's Community Event of the Year.

The new radio station was launched on December 14, 2009, and that celebration was attended by about 50 people. Broadcasting at 98.9 on the FM band, the station is housed in temporary facilities at the Valley Vision office in High St while a purpose-built facility is being erected at New Norfolk High School.

Congratulations to all the volunteers associated with Derwent Valley Community Radio on their hard work and perseverance since 2005, and also to those who laid the groundwork through their earlier efforts working to the same aim.

Marie Scott - our Citizen of the Year

LACHLAN resident Marie Scott has been serving our community for more than 35 years and has been named the Derwent Valley municipality's Australia Day Citizen of the Year for 2010. Her good work has included membership of the Lachlan CWA, Lachlan Community Hall Committee, Corumbene Nursing Home Auxiliary, Derwent Valley Autumn Festival Committee and more.

Joining the Lachlan branch of the Country Women's Association 35 years ago was Mrs Scott's introduction to volunteering in our community. The group is no longer active but its decades of good work are commemorated in an annual award presented to students at New Norfolk High School.

Mrs Scott joined the Lachlan Hall committee 30 years ago, selling raffle tickets and cooking for soup and sandwich lunches, trade tables, afternoon teas and catering ventures, as well as making cakes for High St stalls. She is described as being the first to take responsibility for ensuring any facilities being used would meet hygiene standards.

One of the original members of the committee responsible for organising New Norfolk's successful Autumn Festival, Mrs Scott has only recently decided to hang up her apron after enjoying many years of preparing afternoon teas and serving them either at Willow Court or the Esplanade, along with cleaning of the venues and other preparations for each event.

Supporting Corumbene Nursing Home for the Aged is one of Mrs Scott's more recent activities. This involves catering and raising funds for resident of the home for personal and hygiene items and gifts. Funds raised are also used to assist with the purchase of larger items for the comfort of residents of the home.

Many of Mrs Scott's friends who assist the Magra CWA, Cancer Council or New Norfolk Red Cross often enlist her support and of course there must be something prepared to help with the catering or trade table. It is not the done thing to turn up empty-handed.

Congratulations Marie Scott - a most worthy Derwent Valley Citizen of the Year.

Sam Wright - our Young Citizen of the Year

HIGH school student Sam Wright is a busy young man who has been named the Derwent Valley's Australia Day 2010 Young Citizen of the Year. His major community activities include membership of the Derwent Valley Youth Future Action Team (D'FAT), the Leo Club of New Norfolk and the Derwent Valley Access Advisory Committee.

Sam is also a journalist and photographer for the Loop project which publishes a monthly page in the Derwent Valley Gazette.

He has also been a participant in community events such as Clean Up Australia Day, Salvation Army Red Shield Appeal, New Norfolk Christmas Parade, National Tree Day, National Youth Week, Derwent Valley Autumn Festival, Youth Health Expos and Derwent Valley Community Radio.

Wendy Hickman - our Sportsperson of the Year

WELL-known Macquarie Plains resident Wendy Hickman is the Derwent Valley's Australia Day Sportsperson of the Year Award winner for 2010.

Wendy was honoured in particular for her selection to represent Australia at the 2009 World Masters Games in Sydney, where she won three gold medals in badminton. Wendy had also performed well at previous games.

Wendy is a trained and accredited active-after-school sports leader at Glenora District High School, where she delivers sports programs to primary school-aged children in an area where there is little opportunity for organised children's sports. She is also a member of the school's early years team, encouraging young families and parents to be more physically and socially active in their community.

Anthony Adams - our Junior Sportsperson of the Year

AT a young age, allrounder Anthony Adams has already travelled the world in pursuit of excellence in his chosen sport of eightball.

Also a talented golfer and cricketer, Anthony has decided to focus on eightball and has already represented Australia at an international event - the World Eightball Pool Championships in England in 2009.

At the Derwent Valley Australia Day celebration on Tuesday, Anthony was named the municipality's Junior Sportsperson of the Year and he appears to have a bright future ahead.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Local citizens honoured

LACHLAN'S Marie Scott has been named the Derwent Valley Citizen of the Year for 2010. At the local Australia Day observance held at Tynwald Park this afternoon, Mayor Martyn Evans congratulated Mrs Scott on more than 35 years of community work. Mayor Evans also announced the selection of New Norfolk High School student Sam Wright as the Young Citizen of the Year in recognition of his active participation in a number of youth activities in the municipality.

National badminton player Wendy Hickman was named the Derwent Valley's Sportsperson of the Year in recognition of her selection for the World Masters Games held in Sydney in 2009, as well as earlier events. Champion eightballer Anthony Adams is our Young Sportsperson of the Year for 2010, after a worldwind 2009 which saw him represent Australia at the World Eightball Pool Championships in England.

Photo: Derwent Valley Mayor Martyn Evans, left, with local Citizen of the Year Marie Scott, Young Citizen Sam Wright and and Young Sportsperson of the Year Anthony Adams.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Photo memories of Maydena's magic moment

Rail riders help get Maydena back on track

THE newest tourism venture at Maydena is on track to provide a unique pedal-powered experience of the state’s forests with the official launch of the Railtrack Rider by Derwent Valley Mayor Martyn Evans on Saturday.

Believed to be an Australian first, the Railtrack Rider consists of six four-wheeled, lightweight vehicles powered by pedal action along a 2.5km section of disused rail track between Maydena and the site of the former station in the Florentine Valley.  Forestry Tasmania and the Tasmanian Community Fund financed the development of the attraction through the Maydena Community Association.

The Railtrack Rider further diversifies the range of attractions at Forestry Tasmania's newly established "Maydena Adventure Hub", which offers a full day of activities including tours to the spectacular Eagle's Eyrie, trike tours and day walks into the South-West Wilderness.

Stopping points on the Railtrack Rider include the former silos that contained cement brought down by train from Railton and delivered from the silo by trucks 24 hours a day to build the hydro dams at Strathgordon and Scotts Peak. A further peek into the past reveals the spur line that originally had wooden rails and the remains of bridge over which logs were carried from the Florentine Valley in the early 20th century to be processed at Maydena. There is also an unusual hollow tree with ferns growing from it and which has been nicknamed the Tasmanian Tiger Kennel.

The Railtrack Rider was developed by the Maydena Community Association which worked with project coordinator Geoffrey Williams and Piers Hooper. Mr Williams said the project was testament to the skill and ingenuity of the local community. “Brett Johnston (a former Boyer fitter and turner) from New Norfolk Mowers and Cycles made the axles and fitted them as well as the modified disk brakes,” he said. “The frames were welded by Former InCat worker Terry Edwards who is a neighbour of mine, and the seats have been recycled from the Maydena Primary School.”

Mr Williams developed the independent suspension using modified recycled valve springs from car engines. “The riders are a bit like big billy carts on rails,” he said. “They are completely safe and provide a great ride.”

The Railtrack Rider is part of a range of exciting forest adventure activities on offer at Forestry Tasmania’s latest tourism venture, Maydena Adventure Hub.They include stunning views at Eagles’ Eyrie Lookout 1100 metres above sea level, travelling in the all terrain four wheel drive bus, trike hire, tracking the Tassie tiger, wilderness and day walks, and gourmet lunches.

Tickets for the Railtrack rider are $18 for adults and $10 for children between 8 and 15. Bookings are required. Phone 1300 720 507 or 6288 2288, or book online at

Mayor congratulates Maydena

DOGGED determination had produced a first-class tourist attraction at Maydena, Derwent Valley Mayor Martyn Evans said when opening the Railtrack Rider on Saturday. "Maydena has always been a community that could stand on its own two feet," Councillor Evans said.

"As far back as the early 1990s, with a willingness to look after its own, it took ownership of the community hall, swimming pool, playground, tennis courts and football ground from ANM, now Norske Skog. Through the 1990s the then Maydena Community Development Association focussed on economic and social development, engaging in dialogue with the Derwent Valley Council, government and the Derwent Valley Business Enterprise Centre," Cr Evans said.

"During this current decade we have seen a community with a focus, a vision and a willingness to succeed. We have seen a community seize opportunities and show a dogged determination to reach goals. Council
has enjoyed a strong partnership with Maydena, resulting in the upgrade of televisions services, radio, streetscape, development of an evacuation plan and lobbying for mobile phone service upgrades. It has supported a number of other initiatives and provided community grants and other funding for the maintenance and operations of community assets. It has provided countless hours of in-kind support.

"In 2005 the Maydena Community Association approached then Premier, Paul Lennon, for funding to develop a plan for the future. The Premier was receptive to this request and subsequently a two day "value management workshop was held to explore opportunity for the way forward. This most successful workshop saw the development of a town plan and Maydena brand. This has been the foundation for economic and social development and has led to strengthened partnerships with organisations such as Norske Rog, Forestry Tasmania, National Parks & Wildlife and the Department of Infrastructure, Energy and Resources.

"I am told that the Railtrack Rider was originally the idea of Piers Hooper and Geoff Williams with the MCA picking up and running with the venture. A business plan was developed and dialogue commenced with various state government departments to gain lease of the railway line. Full credit must go to the MCA executive who persisted when told it would be easier to move a mountain than get authority to use the rail line.

"A lot of water has passed under the bridge since the original idea, to gaining all the necessary approvals to now operate a tourist business. It was on September, 3, 2007 that the MCA passed a motion that it formally adopt the Railtrack Rider project as a business enterprise to encourage economic development for the Maydena township.

"With this foresight and a hell of a lot of work in both manufacturing the riders and ensuring administrative processes were in check, we can see the fruits of your labour. My congratulations go to all who have been involved this project and I hope it gives benefit to Maydena for a long time to come. It now gives me great pleasure to formally launch the Railtrack Rider Pty Ltd." At this point, Mayor Evans called on Mr Williams and Mr Hooper to join him in unveiling a commemorative plaque before the mayor and his son Campbell set off on a ride over a short stretch of the track.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Willow Court visitor attraction moves closer

THE Derwent Valley Council this week unanimously supported a proposal to develop a plan to have the Willow Court historic site open to visitors as soon as possible. The recent resignation of the council’s economic development staff at Valley Vision had created a need for the temporary employment of a consultant or contractor to consolidate the many studies, plans and reports relating to the Willow Court site, Cr Damian Bester said.

In particular, a business plan was urgently needed, to increase the council's chances of obtaining grants to aid the development of the site. "A comprehensive Business Plan and Development Strategy are essential components of any future grant application or request for government or corporate support," Cr Bester said.

"I have brought forward this suggestion after spending quite some time trying to adapt an earlier Willow Court grant application in order to make it suitable for the now-closed RCLIP grants," Cr Bester said. "Unfortunately, many of the documents required for a such a grant were simply not available to us. This includes a Business Plan for Willow Court, which is an essential component of almost any grant application."

"An updated Development Strategy will also provide Council with the necessary directions to undertake a step-by-step development of the site in the event major funding is not immediately forthcoming," Cr Bester said.

Cr James Graham supported the move, said it was evidence the council had heard the concerns of the public. He hoped there would be scope to extend the successful applicant's contract in the event they showed a capacity to co-ordinate the larger development project.

Deputy Mayor Craig Farrell said the funding of the short-term position was not a major budget issue, as the council was no longer paying the wages of two staff at Valley Vision. "This is an important role and this is the right move," Cr Farrell said.

Cr Narelle Molan agreed with the urgent need to develop a business plan. She also expressed a desire to see Willow Court developed as a place people would want to visit again and again, rather than just once.

Cr Scott Shaw also expressed his support for the move. "It is good to have a fresh approach," he said. He looked forward to the successful applicant reporting back with someething suitable for the council and the community.

Cr Judy Bromfield said she agreed with most of the recommendations but was concerned Cr Bester was suggesting too many duties for the new position. "We can't do all this in three months if we haven't been able to do it in nine years," Cr Bromfield said.

Cr Barry Lathey agreed with the recommendations but remarked that he was disturbed there was not already a business plan for the barracks. Cr Lathey also advised there was a report from the Willow Court Working Party, letting the council know of its agreement to become a Friends group under the council's auspices.

General manager Stephen Mackey said he would like to see the successful consultant report to the council on a monthly basis and this met with general agreement.

The matter was put to the vote and carried unanimously.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Councillors urged to smarten their appearance

ALL eyes will be on the personal appearance of the male members of the Derwent Valley Council at tomorrow night's monthly meeting of the council in the New Norfolk Courthouse at 6pm.

At last month's meeting, Cr Jim Elliott expressed his concern at the declining dress standards of male councillors, and asked whether there was a dress code. Mayor Martyn Evans said he would investigate.

A quick survey of the sartorial state of play at the meeting showed:

Mayor Evans - business shirt and tie
Deputy Mayor Farrell - business shirt and tie
Councillor Elliott - business shirt and tie
Councillor Lathey - business shirt and tie
Councillor Shaw - business shirt without tie
Councillor Bester - polo shirt, no tie
Councillor Graham - kilt and open-necked shirt

At the councillor workshop held a fortnight later, in the presence of three members of the public, Mayor Evans advised Cr Elliott that the council did not have a dress code, although it was expected that all councillors would dress suitably for the monthly meeting.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Australia Day returns to Tynwald Park

THE local Australia Day observance in New Norfolk returns to Tynwald Park this year, after several years on the Esplanade. The day kicks off at 11am when the annual fun run sets off. The rest of the program includes music by the Derwent Valley Concert Band, flag raising, presentation of medals to fun run place getters, announcements of Australia Day award recipients and an Australia Day address by the Australia Day Ambassador, Dennis Smith. The New Norfolk Lions Club will host a free Australia Day barbecue and the local St John Ambulance volunteers will be in attendance.

Program - January 26, 2010

10.30am:   St John Ambulance in attendance
11am:        Fun Run/Walk (starting at Tynwald Park, Oast House end) Entries close 30 minutes prior. See Stan Harrex.
                  Croquet demonstrations with the Derwent Valley Croquet Club

11.30am:   Fun & games with D'FAT (Derwent Valley Youth Future Action Team) staging children's races including sack race and tug-of-war.
                  Free BBQ & soft drinks hosted by the Lions Club of New Norfolk
                  Derwent Valley Concert Band musical performances

Noon         National Anthem played by Derwent Valley Concert Band   
                  Flag-raising ceremony by the New Norfolk Scouts

12.15pm    Fun run presentations

12.30pm    Welcome to Australia Day Ambassador by Woolworths New Norfolk representative
                  Australia Day Ambassador's Address by Dennis Smith

12.40pm    Australia Day Awards presented by Mayor Martyn Evans

Giant morning tea this Thursday

THE good folk at the New Norfolk Lions Club are holding their annual "All Day Morning Tea" at their clubrooms at Willow Court this Thursday, January 21. The club extends an open invitation to anyone wishing to attend this function, which will be held from 10am–4pm will all proceeds going to the Cancer Council's "Relay for Life" in support of cancer research.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Friends and family farewell Helen

THERE was a large congregation at the Helen McDiarmid's funeral at St Paul's Uniting Church last Wednesday morning. The mourners included a large representation of Helen's Derwent Valley friends, as well as her family from Queensland and friends from various other stages of her life. The service started with the Derwent Valley Community Choir singing Homeward Bound by Marta Keen.

Helen's sister Annette delivered the eulogy, starting with a reference to Passions, the High St cafe operated by Helen and Mark, remarking on Helen's passion for music, good food, beautiful things, Stanton, her dog Sam, the Derwent Valley, and people. "Helen loved people, and people loved Helen," Annette said.

Helen was born in Brisbane in 1961. At school she excelled in English and French, and appeared on the television quiz show It's Academic. She learned the piano and cello from an early age and later joined the Queensland Youth Orchestra. She went to work at the Commonwealth Bank in Brisbane, later returning to university to study a commerce degree. It was there she met Mark McDiarmid and they were married in 1980. They moved to Hobart for several years and lived in the house where Errol Flynn was born.

After returning to Queensland in 1985, Helen enrolled at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music and majored in the harpsichord. She later joined the state police as a clerk.

By 2003 the couple was yearning to return Tasmania. They found the old Stanton manor house at Magra and set about converting it into a bed and breakfast. After many years as a teacher, Mark undertook a career change and joined Tasmania Police as a trainee police officer. In 2006 Helen was diagnosed with breast cancr.

In 2007 the couple took over Passions coffee shop in New Norfolk and introduced monthly art exhibitions to the venue. At the same time, Helen made time for community activities with Derwent Valley Regional Arts, Magra CWA, Rivers Run Touring Route, Australia Day Committee and more. Helen made many friends in the Derwent Valley and in 2008 she was presented with a patchwork quilt made by those friends, who each contributed one square to the project. "Helen was left speechless for the first time in her life," Annette said.

In August 2008, Helen's cancer returned. The following March, her mother succumbed to the disease. Late in 2009 Helen and a friend set off on a final trip to the UK. She was admitted to hospital on her return, and came home to Stanton on Christmas Eve.

Family friend Kevin spoke of the many friendships Helen had made throughout her life time, and what they had meant to her.

Husband Mark spoke briefly, and thanked everyone for their attendance. "We came to New Norfolk with one thing in mind - to bring Stanton to life, and she did," Mark said. He also touched on Helen's many friendships and remarked "she used to talk about you all, all the time."

It is a shame that applauding is not the done thing during a church service. The Derwent Valley Choir, Helen's sister Annette, and her brave husband Mark, all deserved a sympathetic round of applause last Wednesday morning.

A new start on Willow Court development

A NEW new phase is about to start in the redevelopment of the Willow Court historic site at New Norfolk. The Derwent Valley Council has this weekend called for tenders to redevelop the oval precinct of the former Royal Derwent Hospital site.

“There is a great opportunity at this site for the right development to lead the way forward in the future utilisation of the entire site” Derwent Valley Mayor Martyn Evans said. “Any development will need to fit within Heritage guidelines and illustrate a real benefit for the community”

Mayor Evans said there was already strong interest in the 1.5 hectare sportsground, including suggestions that its sale could open up an extension to the town's central business district. The whole precinct is 2.8 hectares in size and is only one block from the New Norfolk CBD and is immediately adjacent to the town's major supermarket.

Mayor Evans said the council had been working in partnership with the Tasmanian Heritage Council to make the land and buildings an attractive development opportunity. "The council is on board; the community is on board; and now we are asking the business sector to get on board," he said.

If the ouncil accepts a development project the funds from the sale of the oval area will go towards the restoration of the Barracks which pre dates any buildings at Port Arthur and is one of Tasmania’s significant early buildings.

The above photo shows Derwent Valley Mayor Martyn Evans, left, Councillor James Graham, Deputy Mayor Craig Farrell and Councillor Scott Shaw and his assistance dog Scotty, on site at the Willow Court oval today.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Fire brigade's busy year

2009 was another busy year for the New Norfolk Fire Brigade, with the volunteer-based crews responding to 220 calls between January 1 and December 31.

The new year is already proving equally busy, with the brigade responding to three calls in the first three days of the year. Earlier this afternoon two units responded to a direct alarm call from Corumbene Nursing Home (pictured) which upon investigation turned out to be a false alarm.

New Norfolk is fortunate to have a highly-trained urban fire brigade under the leadership of brigade chief Colin Triffitt and his officers and members. Established 70 years ago, the brigade responds to all types of emergencies from structural fires to vegetation fires and providing support to police and ambulance as required. Membership is voluntary and training is at 7pm every Tuesday at the fire station, Back River Rd. New members are always welcome. For information about volunteering, send an email to:

The Derwent Valley is also well served by fire brigades in several surrounding districts. For information about volunteering with the Collinsvale, Molesworth, Magra, Lachlan, Gretna, Bushy Park, Westerway, Ellendale, Hamilton, Hollow Tree, Ouse or Bothwell brigades phone 6230 8400 or email

Football club's identity crisis

THERE seems to be some sort of identity crisis going on at the New Norfolk District Football Club. Since about 1947 or thereabouts, that title has been the club's official name (and trading name) and for most of those years, the various teams have been nicknamed the Eagles.

About a year ago, the club appears to have started referring to itself as the New Norfolk Eagles Football Club. No public statement has been made about the change and the NNNewsBlogger let it pass as a minor administrative thing.

But now, both "clubs" have advertised separate annual general meetings to be held this month. What's more, the press advertisement for the "NNEFC" states quite clearly that only members will be admitted to its AGM. Who the "members" are is not known. Perhaps the members of the "NNDFC" are also members of the "NNEFC" but this looks uncertain as the "district" club does not appear to be restricting its meeting to "members only".

Even curiouser, the NNEFC AGM on January 15 will be held in the meeting room at the New Norfolk Library, while the NNDFC AGM on January 22 will be held at the clubrooms as usual.

The New Norfolk News invites comment from the NNDFC, NNEFC, or both.

Vale Helen McDiarmid

WELL-KNOWN and well-loved New Norfolk businesswoman Helen McDiarmid lost her battle with breast cancer last week. Helen and husband Mark arrived in the Derwent Valley a number of years ago, settling in the historic Stanton homestead at Magra. In 2005 the couple opened Stanton as a bed and breakfast. Helen soon took an interest in community affairs and the council in particular.

It is now several years since Helen and Mark took over Passions coffee shop in High St, New Norfolk, earning a much deserved reputation for their warmth and hospitality. Mark has posted a notice on the shop window, advising of Helen's passing last Wednesday. He invites all friends to attend the funeral at St Paul's Uniting Church this week.

UPDATE: Helen's funeral will take place on Wednesday, January 6, at 11am.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Another view as the smoke clears (click for full image)

Vegetation fire shrouds New Norfolk in smoke

A VEGETATION fire which cast a pall of smoke over most of New Norfolk this afternoon has now been extinguished by local firefighters. Reported at about 1.30pm, the fire was near McLeod St on the outskirts of town.
Three units from the New Norfolk Fire Brigade attended the fire and quickly brought it under control. The large cloud of smoke has now cleared.
Meanwhile other fires in the Derwent Valley are still in progress at Uxbridge, Ouse and Lake Gordon. A vegetation fire at Hollow Tree is now under control.
The volunteers of the New Norfolk Fire Brigade also attended a rubbish fire in High St at about 2.30 this morning. After a hot night in the town, the local temperature exceeded 30 degrees again today.