Help us find our Mum

Marilyn Grubb

The distraught family of a missing local woman believe she has been to her home in Broken Hill, but hasn’t been heard from or seen since.

The Grubb family is asking all locals to keep an eye out anywhere for their missing mother Marilyn Anne Grubb.

The 65-year-old has not been seen since she left a station property near Broken Hill on Sunday.

Her daughter Beth Ashton said they believed she had been to her home in Morgan Lane, but don’t know where she went from there.

“She left the property saying she was going to call me. She has been to the Broken Hill house as she left her thongs there. Then just nothing,” Beth said yesterday.

“We are all so stressed and worried about her, my brother has come from Sydney, my sister from Dubbo.

“They are just driving anywhere to look for her.” Originally, the family thought Ms Grubb might have been travelling to Adelaide or Dubbo.

She is believed to have been driving in her Holden Adventra, which is a grey-blue station wagon and has a SA registration of S048BON.

Police broke news of Ms Grubb’s disappearance just after 9am on Monday morning by posting a statement and photographs of her on Facebook.

Her family posted her disappearance on Sunday evening after they hadn’t heard from her.

“We have been in contact with a lot of stations and they all have their people looking too,” Beth said. “It’s very out of character for her.

“By now she could be anywhere but we haven’t had anything on her accounts.”

Beth said they were thankful for the hard work of police and emergency services but encouraged everyone to check their surroundings.

“I’m extremely grateful for the police and SES but the more people look the better coverage we get. “We just want to know that she is safe, and each day gets harder.

“The police and SES have searches going and we are just asking everyone please check footage and check their property and tell everyone to check.”

Police call for camera footage

Police last night urged anyone with dash camera or CCTV footage that may help the investigation into the disappearance of Marilyn Grubb to contact the local station.

Police understand that Ms Grubb left a property on the Menindee Road, about 50km from Broken Hill, on Sunday afternoon in her vehicle and may have travelled into Broken Hill to a house in Morgan Lane.

Police last night confirmed there had been no sightings of the 65-year-old, despite another full day of searching by police, SES volunteers and local pilots.

“Police have door knocked around Broken Hill in relation to any information about Marilyn,” Detective Inspector Michael Fuller said last night.

“We would ask that anyone who may have travelled along the Menindee Road, between Broken Hill and Menindee, on Sunday, December 30, and has dash cam footage to make contact with Broken Hill detectives,” he said.

He also asked anyone with CCTV or dash cam footage around Morgan Lane or the surrounding streets on Sunday to call detectives.

He thanked the community and media for widely sharing images and information about Ms Grubb. She is described as being of Caucasian appearance, about 160 to 165cm tall, with a medium build, green/hazel eyes and brown hair.

Her car is a grey/blue 2005 model Holden Adventra stationwagon with SA registration plates S048BON.

2019 travel trends

Broken Hill Hello World owner Cheryl Cuy revealed the patterns and trends surrounding Broken Hillites and their travel preferences as we enter 2019.

It seems a pattern has already emerged when it comes to travel destinations in 2019.

“We’ve got lots of Pacific Island cruises, we also have a lot of European river cruising happening at the moment,” said Cheryl.

“I think that’s sort of the trend at the moment, European river cruising is a lot of people prefer at the moment because you’re not in a suitcase every day you just get on the cruise and put you clothes in your wardrobe and away you go.”

Pacific Island cruises and European river cruises appear to be the two main holidays but Cheryl said that Canada and Alaska are always really popular, as well as Fiji.

Fiji was the most popular place for the people of Broken Hill last year. “Fiji was really popular, we are always really busy with cruises,” said Cheryl.

“We’ve been busy and the last eighteen months it’s probably the busiest we’ve been for a long time, people are starting to spend some money and go on holidays.”

Cheryl believes that their layby system could be to thank for more people booking holidays.

“I think it has also helped that we offer a layby system as well, people usually pay what upfront fees have to be paid and then they can pay it off.

“We have people planning holidays two years in advance so they just pay it off, you don’t notice it that much.”

The local Hello World store is in the process of acquiring an After Pay facility which will be beneficial to customers, allowing them to pay off their holidays without all the added fees of using a credit card, along the same lines as their layby system.

Cheryl predicts that 2019 will be a great one for travel with their advanced bookings 2019 travel trends made in 2018 for this year already up on those from last year.

“I was surprised the number of people that came in, we were really busy for those few days between Christmas and New Year booking holidays.

“It actually surprised me because usually it’s that quiet period, but we were really busy and we’ve already got extras so I’m thinking 2019 will be even better than 2018.”

It seems that the time for travel has shifted here in Broken Hill. In previous years people opted for a Christmas holiday but now holidays are being booked all throughout the year.

“Before we would say that Christmas is peak season but now with the mines the way they are with people seven on, seven off a lot of people like to go June/July to get away from the cold,” she said.

“We find that you get a lot of people wanting to do America in June/July or a cruise to get a bit of warm weather, so there is no actual peak time anymore.

“People spread their holidays out now, not everyone goes at Christmas time they like to have Christmas home and they might go mid-January especially before school goes back if they’ve got kids.”

Cheryl stressed the fact that Hello World is a local travel agent.

“We employ local people, we can do everything that a capital city or online agency offers and we’d like the local people to give Broken Hill a go,” she said.

“We’ve had a lot of awards throughout the course of 2018 that we’ve never had before … that shows that we are up there with the best and we can do exactly what people think that the city agent deal can get them.

“We can match just about every deal that they see online or in the paper, advertised anywhere.

“So come in, give them a go they’re all fully qualified they’ve been around for a while so they know the short cuts and places to get the specials, so we can help anyone.”

When milk went to pigs, and pubs to the dogs

Argent Street in the 1940s. (Picture from the city’s Outback Archives)

We’re having a heatwave, but imagine it without air-conditioners and not being able to get a milkshake or a beer, even a hot one.

Now imagine you’re travelling to Adelaide for the Christmas holidays, it’s nudging 43 degrees, the air-conditioning isn’t working and a dust storm hits.

Yes, we’re in a heatwave now but count your blessings, because all of the above happened in Broken Hill in December, 1945.

The terrible events were rediscovered by a regular BDT correspondent, Des Kennedy, while searching for evidence about a story he had heard of the time when the city ran out of ice.

Mr Kennedy first came across a Sydney newspaper report from December 18, 1945 that said Broken Hill was in a heatwave and short of water, milk and beer.

The newspaper also reported that in Sydney that day it was 100 degrees (37.7 Celsius) at 11am.

From there Mr Kennedy followed a link to the city’s afternoon paper, The Barrier Miner, and found the original story – “Citizens Suffer from Extreme Heat” – dated Monday, December 17.

“Meagre water supplies due to a breakdown on the gravitation main from Umberumberka Reservoir, exhaustion of milk supplies, near famine conditions in beer supplies and an abnormal demand for cool drinks, ice cream and ice sum up the position in Broken Hill as a result of one of the hottest weekends for some years,” it read.

That weekend had followed a week of temperatures above the old century mark.

“Approximately 1200 gallons of milk, which arrived from South Australia on Saturday in bad conditions had to be sent to piggeries,” the story continued.

“Employees of the Zinc Corporation and their families who left for Adelaide by picnic trains on Saturday and Sunday travelled in the worst possible conditions.

“Saturday’s conditions were bad enough with carriages brought to an oven-like heat in a temperature of 111 degrees, but yesterday’s conditions were almost unbearable, the train pulling out in the height of a dust storm.”

The Miner reported that the Broken Hill Ice and Produce Co., lost its consignment of milk from SA because no refrigeration van was available on the train between Terowie and Broken Hill.

“As a result of the milk deteriorating the company was unable to supply a large order for the Zinc Picnic Committee for distribution on yesterday’s picnic train.”

Stocks of ice, solid blocks of which ran the fridges of the day, had also been depleted and BH Ice and Produce was working “24 hours” to cope with the “abnormal” demand.

Fruit and vegetables from SA had also spoiled in the heat but there was good news for the children – no shortage of ice cream.

For many adults, however, the situation was desperate.

“Most of the city’s hotels were out of beer early on Saturday, some closing by lunch time,” the paper reported.

“With their regular haunts out of supplies, thirsty customers embarked on a Cook’s tour over the weekend in search of revivers.

“Per medium of car, lorry or bicycle most of the likely places were visited, but it was no go. The well was dry.”

Cafes, milk bars, and cool drink shops also had an “almost unprecedented demand for thirst quenchers. Factories have worked at top pressure to keep shops supplied.”

On Friday and Saturday it had been 111 degrees (43.8). On Sunday it was a bit cooler at 106 (41.1) but then a heavy dust storm struck the city from the south.

“Many sought the coolness of lawns and verandas until a late hour,” said The Miner story which ends on a very familiar note:

“Although there were indications of rain last night with thunder and lightning, only a few spots fell.”

Rain crucial in 2019

Property owner Ruth Sandow took aerial photos of the dry landscape that has become the Corner Country during the current drought. PICTURE: Ruth Sandow

The New Year has brought a hopeful sign to the north-west of the state after Tibooburra received 2.2mm of rain in two days.

But the rain is still in very short supply, according to Pimpara Lake station owner Ruth Sandow.

“I’ve been up here quite a bit in the last couple of weeks,” Ms Sandow said.

“Whereever you go it’s not pretty.”

Thunderstorms swept across the northwest on New Year’s Day, dropping a few millimetres of rain across the barren landscape.

Ms Sandow said she didn’t know how much rain they received and doubts the storms provided a significant amount to create any real change.

“Nothing has changed,” Ms Sandow said.

“There’s a really serious drought on, there’s a really serious water crisis on and it’s got nothing whatever to do with the Darling River.

“It’s to do with lack of rain.

“Many people have either completely destocked or are back down to just a handful of cattle, sheep or whatever stock they run.

“Most of them are being hand-fed, it’s a really difficult situation.

“You just hope that 2019 brings some pretty useful rain fairly quickly because I don’t think any of us want to go through another year like the last one.”

Even with a vast amount of north-western properties under pressure from the “big dry”, the recent rain did bring some joy.

“It sounded good and it felt good,” Ms Sandow said.

2019 technology trends

As robots replace humans and artificial intelligence becomes entwined in everyday life, tech expert Michael Bancroft is brimming with optimism about the opportunities new technologies are opening up.

Co-host of Globalive Media’s television series Beyond Innovation, Mr Bancroft interviews everyone from scientists and software engineers working towards what could become remarkable inventions.

Recently he spoke with someone who is researching technology that has the potential to reverse the effects of diabetes, and another who is using nanotechnology to modify brain stem cells.

“This is useful in fighting brain diseases, imagine if we could cure Alzheimer’s in the future when this technology is further developed.”

“There are so many things AI could help cure in healthcare, it’s about making it for good use and the governance around that,” Mr Bancroft said.

As the new year gets into full swing, Mr Bancroft predicts AI technologies and robotics will continue to grow at a rapid pace, as well as what’s been labelled “the internet of things”.

This includes any device connected to the internet which sends and receives data such as a Fitbit or a set of remotely controlled smart speakers.

While the application of these “things” are normally designed to be used in isolation, in the new year their integration will be far more cohesive.

Robots will also become more implemented in scenarios working side-by-side with humans. “Take scenarios like disaster relief, where the robot can navigate hostile situations first, even helping to find and save people,” Mr Bancroft said.

“They aren’t taking these jobs away from people, we still need the humans there to help, but the robots and humans will start working together for better outcomes.”

The introduction of autonomous vehicles has already been realised in self-driven monorails, and in the near-future automation is bound to take up even more space in the workforce.

For those wanting to adapt, Mr Bancroft recommends early training and education in rapidly expanding fields like data mining, a global race Australia is falling behind in.

“About 2.5 quintillion bites of data are created everyday, it’s a scary thing that we are still trying to wrap our head around, people now have to work out how to mine it,” Mr Bancroft said.

“And that’s where AI has a huge part to play.”

Almost one life lost each day on NSW roads

NSW’s road toll fell by 35 in 2018 but one person still died almost every day on average with 354 lives lost over the 12 months.

Roads Minister Melinda Pavey on Wednesday said it was “heartening” that the road toll had dropped but warned drivers not to become complacent.

“Road safety is a two-way street, we all need to be our best selves when driving,” Ms Pavey said in a statement when releasing the toll figures.

The reduction of 35 was the biggest year-on-year drop in NSW since 2013. Road toll figures for other states were released on Tuesday.

In Victoria, road deaths dropped significantly to 214 in 2018. That was 45 fewer than in 2017 and down 29 from the previous record low of 243 in 2013.

In South Australia, the toll fell to just 80, down from 100 and six fewer than the previous record low of 86 in 2016. Road deaths fell from 34 to 33 in Tasmania and a slight dip was also expected in Western Australia based on preliminary figures with 158 deaths by December 30.

Queensland posted its third lowest toll with 246 lives lost which was one lower than the previous year.

Community centre well connected

South Community Centre volunteer Kelly Beavan (back, far left), Patton Village chairman Larry Angell, centre volunteer Marg Brennan and W2BH team member Eoghan Deane, with youngsters (front, from left) Jasper Daddow, Makenzie Schrader, Abbie Kelly and Tennesse Schrader, with laptop computers donated by the W2BH delivery team. PICTURE: Supplied

Finding a computer to work, study or play games on just got a lot easier at the South Community Centre, thanks to a donation from the W2BH Pipeline delivery team.

The team building the Wentworth to Broken Hill Pipeline donated five laptops to the centre in Patton Street, more than doubling the number of computers now available to users of the popular community hub.

The donation of the laptops, which were previously utilised on the project, are a great help to the Patton Village Committee, which runs the centre and relies on volunteers, donations and fundraising activities to keep the doors open.

Sophie Angell, the committee’s treasurer, said the centre was previously a library and in the past year televisions and computers had been added to make it more relevant to the increasing number of younger users.

However, three of the five computers were already outdated and needed replacing, according to Ms Angell, who said the addition of the laptops meant that more children would now be able to access a computer to do their homework after school.

“A lot of kids don’t have computers at home,” Ms Angell said. “They often play games on them but also do school work.”

Patton Village chairman, Larry Angell, also welcomed the donation, and said the committee was keen to develop the centre into a place where school students could go to complete assignments or homework.

“This is a wonderful boost for us because we want to make the centre a homework hub,” Mr Angell said.

The W2BH Pipeline delivery team has provided assistance to a number of other initiatives and events in the Broken Hill and Wentworth regions since the pipeline project commenced at the beginning of the year.

This has included sponsorship of the inaugural Youth Forum at Buronga, the construction of a carpark at the Wentworth Showground and the purchase of a semi-trailer load of hay for graziers near Broken Hill from the Buy a Bale of Hay campaign.

Material and labour have also been provided to Outback Rugby League to improve the condition of the E.T Lamb Memorial Oval, to the Sulphide Street Railway Museum to improve its facility, and to the Dareton Local Aboriginal Land Council for its Yarning Circle.

Asian Cup arrives this weekend

THE Asian Cup will be kicking off this weekend as the Socceroos aim to win back-to-back trophies after a successful home tournament four years ago.

A lot has changed since then, with successful 2015 Asian Cup coach Ange Postecoglou now coaching in the Japanese League, with former Sydney-FC coach Graham Arnold currently in charge of the Socceroos.

A World Cup has come and gone since then as well, where the national side were coached by Dutchman Bert van Marwijk. Throughout last year’s winter tournament the Socceroos played admirably against the likes of eventual-winners France and group rivals Denmark.

A lack of quality up front was clearly evident however as they finished bottom of their group after a poor performance against Peru.

With the 2019 Asian Cup now approaching and with record goal scorer Tim Cahill having retired, a quality striker still remains the biggest issue surrounding the team before they begin their campaign in the UAE.

Hibernian striker Martin Boyle recently hinted that he could be the answer to our striking woes after scoring two and linking play well in the friendly victory over Lebanon in November.

However a knee injury on the eve of the tournament has ruled the striker out.

With Boyle out alongside key midfielder for club and country Aaron Mooy (Huddersfield Town) and young star Daniel Arzani (Celtic), who excelled whenever he came on during the World Cup, there’s plenty of challenges facing this Socceroos team as they prepare for their first game against Jordan on Sunday.

Mooy’s set-piece deliveries, raking passes and overall midfield play will be sorely missed as well as Arzani’s blistering pace and skill on the wing.

In their absence, I’m hoping players like Celtic’s Tom Rogic and Hertha Berlin’s Mathew Leckie shine throughout the tournament.

Leckie was brilliant throughout the World Cup having a particularly great game against the Danes where he was able to constantly get past their wingbacks and put in some good deliveries for the strikers.

Hopefully we see more of that during the Asian Cup. Rogic is undoubtedly a talent, perhaps our most skilful national player and key for his Scottish team Celtic as well.

He’s scored a number of fantastic goals for them over the past several seasons, has great control of the ball and provides quality assists every so often as well.

In spite of that, his form for the Socceroos is not as good as it possibly could be, so here’s hoping he has a stellar tournament to further cement his talent. I also look forward to seeing how young players like Chris Ikonomidis and Awer Mabil go, both having good seasons for their respective clubs Perth Glory and Denmark’s FC Midtjylland thus far.

Goalkeeper Maty Ryan comes into the tournament with great form as well, having played an integral part in Brighton’s season in the English Premier League (EPL) so far.

His shot-stopping has been excellent throughout the season and that quality will be needed throughout the Asian Cup as well.

Stepping away from Australia for a moment, one player I’m really looking forward to watching is South Korea’s Son Heung-Min.

Son, who plays for my favourite team Tottenham Hotspur in the EPL, has been fantastic for the English side in the past four seasons.

His pace, trickery and finishing are all top class and it was his 91st minute equalising goal in the Asian Cup final four years ago that made for an incredibly nervy finale.

He scored several goals in last year’s World Cup as well, including the goal that sent reigning champions Germany out of the tournament.

With some quality young players emerging within the Australian team and tough opposition from teams like Japan, Iran and South Korea, I hope we get a great tournament with a couple of surprise results as well.

Just a shame there’s no free-to-air broadcaster for the games.

* Australia’s first game against Jordan will be on Fox Sports 5 this Sunday from 10pm AEDT.

Carrett’s an all-round Magpie champ

Jon Carrett batting for Central earlier this season. PICTURE: Tyler Hannigan

Opening batsman, left-arm pace bowler and occasional wicket keeper, Jon Carrett has been one of Central’s most important players over his five years in Broken Hill.

Carrett played cricket for the Illawong Cricket Club which boasts former Australian fast bowler Jason Gillespie and suspended Aussie skipper Steve Smith as its alum. He played junior and senior cricket for the southern Sydney club.

Having been a key member of a quality Central Cricket Club side for the last five seasons, Jon Carrett will leave a huge hole as he heads back east for work.

“I loved cricket in Broken Hill,” he said. “You get to know the opposition well and there’s some great characters. It’s only a five-minute drive to the game and also no two-day cricket.”

Carrett made his debut for Central in 2014 against South and was a key member of the club’s premiership sides in 2014/15, 2015/16 and 2016/17 as well as the team that went down to North in last season’s grand final.

“My best memories are obviously the grand final wins in ‘15, ‘16 and ‘17,” he said. “Plus the country carnival road trips to Mildura and Port Pirie.”

His best season with the bat came in 2015/16 with 275 runs at an average of 45.83 and a high score of 75.

With the ball his best return was 14 wickets at 8.79 in 2016/17 and in 2017/18 he took eight catches behind the wicket showing his all-round ability.

As a part of those dominant Central sides, Carrett shared the field with some of Broken Hill’s best cricketers.

“As for favourite teammates it’s hard to say,” he said. “I’ve been lucky enough to play with some great mates. The funniest would be Brett Hannon and Cam Wells. “The best I’ve played with is JP (Jarred Paull), followed by Justin Heath while the best I’ve played against would be Codie Howard, closely followed by Tobias Hack.”

Central’s form over the first nine rounds in 2018/19 has been below-par to say the least.

The Magpies have won only one game and will battle it out with West for third spot on the ladder over the final six games.

What has made Central’s slide even more surprising was that the team they’ve had throughout most of the first half of the season isn’t that different to the one that made last season’s grand final.

Unfortunately, a lot of those players are out of form with the bat. With just 51 runs in six innings, Carrett among those batsmen but he says that they can still be a contender.

“In my opinion, Central is the best bowling and fielding team in the comp,” he said.

“If they can become more consistent with the bat, they will go close.”

25in25 ready for new year

Community group 25in25 aims to hire an executive officer, engage City Council and be a voice for locals in the new year.

Chairman of the group, Peter Nash, said they were waiting to hear about a funding application to hire an Executive Officer.

“The committee believes this person can be the conduit between the three levels of government to work with all to help fast track job creation, housing development and land release for new industries,” Mr Nash said.

“25in25 wants to be the community voice that all levels of government acknowledge as the middle ground of public opinion.

“Not all residents will agree with our vision but we do believe the overwhelming positivity of our social media page is grounds to suggest we are very much capturing the passion of the majority.”

Mr Nash said the group has made big strides with a new logo designed around community and infinity, which is fitting with Broken Hill’s future.

“We all need to pull together and strive for Broken Hill’s sustainable future,” he said.

“In early 2019 we will be looking to engage council in discussions and also hold public forums to brainstorm positive initiatives to drive population growth.

“Broken Hill for too long has not had a community voice and 25in25 plans to change that in a positive proactive approach to finding solutions not problems.”

Mr Nash said there was demand for Imperial Lakes to reopen and petrol costs needed to be addressed.

“The last week has clearly demonstrated why we need to have the Imperial Lake firmly on the agenda.

“Our climate demands we have a significant water facility for all of Broken Hill to enjoy that’s on our doorstep and not 200km and $30 in fuel to get to.

“Speaking of fuel on two recent weekend trips to Adelaide over Christmas fuel in Yunta was 35 cents per litre cheaper than Broken Hill.

“That is totally unacceptable and something needs to change with our petrol pricing.

“It is unfair to locals and tourists will spread the word to avoid Broken Hill for fuel also.

“The Imperial Lakes debate needs to continue, we as a community should not be fobbed off because it might leak.

“In today’s world there is a solution to all engineering problems if the desire is great enough.

“The ball is with our Local Member Kevin Humphries and Industry Minister Niall Blair who recommended we apply for a full time funded position.

“They now need to deliver for 25in25 and for Broken Hill and the Far West.”

Toxic algae spreads along Darling River

Toxic algae is now blooming along almost the entire length of the Darling River. Late last month WaterNSW declared a series of red alerts to the presence of blue-green algae in the Menindee lakes, the river at Menindee and up to Tilpa and Louth.

On Monday it posted another alert for Tolarno Station, about 40 kilometres downstream from Menindee.

The poisonous algae thrives in the heat and in stagnant and low-flowing water, the conditions now found right along the river.

The Menindee lakes are down to four per cent of their capacity and what is left is being pumped into Copi Hollow for Broken Hill’s supply.

This will have to last the city until at least April when the pipeline from the Murray River at Wentworth is scheduled to come into operation.

In the Central Darling Shire, property owners who rely on the polluted river for their household water are being supplied by a truck carrying 18,000 litres.

The water carting began on December 7.

Essential Water is supplying the treated water and the shire council is selling it for $2 per kilolitre.

Lachlan Gall, the president of the Pastoralists’ Association of the Far West, said he was not sure if any graziers in the Wilcannia or Menindee districts were seeking to have water carted to them.

“Graziers away from the river are pretty much self-reliant on their own water supply infrastructure,” Mr Gall said.

“Having said that, there are a lot of properties getting very low on rainwater or have run out, including in the unincoporated area,” he said.

“I understand that some properties on the Lower Darling are receiving water from the Wentworth Shire.”

Labor could take Barwon: Candidate

Labor Barwon candidate Darriea Turley has been listening to the electorate’s concerns and aims to utilise that feedback to secure a seat in NSW parliament.

Mrs Turley said she has been busy travelling around the electorate to hear out their concerns and what they would like achieved.

“My campaign has been running since November 2017, I think it’s been the longest campaign out of the candidates,” she said.

“I’ve been going from town to town holding community forums and I’ve received a great response.

“Every town has different concerns and when you go to each town you see what priorities are greater for them.

“Most towns feel the National Party has let them down. That the party is too focused on Sydney and has forgotten about the bush.

“I had one traditional National Party person say to me, ‘They’ve had the seat for 35 years and look at it, we’re dying out here’.”

Mrs Turley said she has received a lot of support from head office and they will be employing a full time staff member to help her.

“I’ve been extremely lucky, I’ve had a lot of shadow minister’s travel with me. “Last week, I had Penny Sharpe with me; Chris Minns and Daniel Mookhey as well.

“Polling looks very good for the seat of Barwon.

“It’s an exciting time.”

Mrs Turley said it was about ensuring the electorate was in a better position.

“Members of this electorate feel the National Party have their priorities wrong and are worried about TAFE, health services, a loss of community and a loss of industry.

“They feel it is going to change.

“It’s going to be tough, but the fact that the general public are not at all happy gives the possibility of swinging the seat to Labor.

“People want change.”

Mrs Turley said she was focused on her campaign right now and would wait and see in March what changes she would need to make in her life.

“Let’s wait and see until March, that’s the big thing.”

She said the campaign has been eye-opening.

“I would like to thank everyone for sharing their concerns.

“Until you are out in the whole area, you don’t realise how much people are struggling.

“I realised what was happening in Broken Hill, but you don’t realise how tough everyone is doing it.

“The community has joined together to say they have had enough of the National Party.

“It’s all about listening to the concerns of the community.

“I would like to give a continued thank you to the local community for inspiring the fight for water to go on.”

Water report kept secret

The Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder (CEWH) kept secret a report that found it was open to being defrauded.

The independent report, commissioned last year, was not published and was only brought to light in December by the persistent efforts of two minor party senators, the Greens’ Sarah Hanson Young and Rex Patrick of the Centre Alliance.

Senator Patrick visited the Menindee Lakes and the Lower Darling just before Christmas.

The CEWH keeps water saved under the Murray-Darling Basin Plan and decides where it should be used to maintain the health of the rivers and significant wetlands in the Basin.

The CEWH manages $3.2 billion of environmental water and six months ago it dispatched 23 gigalitres to reconnect the dry stretches of the Darling.

But an internal audit has found that the body dealt with the states and private landholders by way of verbal and other non-legally binding agreements.

The audit, by the firm Ernst & Young, found this presented “unique fraud risks” because the CEWH had no statutory authority to stop environmental water being used for other purposes.

Senators Hanson-Young and Patrick were eventually able to obtain the Internal Audit Report last month after four separate requests, the first of which was made in July.

The Australia Institute in Canberra also lodged a Freedom of Information request in August but this was denied by the Department of Environment and Energy.

Senator Patrick, from South Australia, said he was disturbed by the CEWH audit’s findings.

“Everything is based on a handshake and goodwill rather than any ability to force them to conduct their charter,” he told the BDT.

“Can they really control how it is used?” Senator Patrick said he would continue to pursue the matter.

“I have an obligation, from an oversight perspective, to ensure environmental flows are examined properly. It is a national system. You can’t just look at it from the South Australian border.”

Maryanne Slattery, senior researcher for the Australia Institute, has now compiled a report on the audit which showed that $178 million of environmental water for the ailing Coorong never made it past storages in SA.

“Since Four Corners aired allegations of large-scale water theft in July 2017, there has been a barrage of examples of mismanagement and malfeasance in the implementation of the Basin Plan,” Ms Slattery said.

“It is likely that CEWH’s efforts to stop the audit report becoming public were attempts to avoid further criticism of the Basin Plan implementation, particularly at a critical time for Basin Plan negotiations.”

Last month the Basin states met with the Commonwealth, after which the Federal Water and Agriculture Minister, David Littleproud, declared that the Plan was finally settled.

“It is likely that CEWH has attempted to conceal the report to avoid jeopardising it and its staff’s relationships with South Australian counterparts,” said Ms Slattery.

“The publication of the Audit Report and subsequent scrutiny of the management of the environmental water in the Lower Lakes and Coorong prior to that meeting could have jeopardised those negotiations.”

Dust and thunderstorms see fireworks canned

New Year’s Eve may come again to several regional NSW towns after dust and wet weather forced firework displays to be cancelled across the state. A dust storm hit much of the central west and rolled in over Dubbo on Monday afternoon, causing the town to call off its annual fireworks which attracts up to 8000 people.

Newcastle and Maitland also cancelled fireworks shows after being hit by storms.

The cloud of red dirt in Dubbo, caused by a combination of dry, strong winds and loose soil, sparked safety concerns for people and property if the fireworks were to go ahead.

“Any other night except that would have been better but that’s just how the cookie crumbles sometimes and everyone is going to remember that New Year’s Eve,” Dubbo mayor Ben Shields said.

While the cancellation of the fireworks was disappointing, the committee of volunteers which runs the event was left no option, the mayor said.

Cr Shields said he believes the appearance of the dust storm caught a lot of locals by surprise.

“You could see these giant clouds rolling closer and closer and it was just extraordinary how it approached the city; it was something you’d see out of a Hollywood movie,” he said.

While the celebratory pyrotechnics haven’t been rescheduled yet, Dubbo Fireworks Committee is already hinting at the possibility of the fireworks making a bang in the future, pointing locals to their Facebook page for announcements next week. And while it’s up to the committee to decide the fate of the fireworks, Cr Shields is hopeful a new date for the event can be found.

“From a council point of view I’d be very keen to see them go ahead and do this community event or New Year’s Eve mark two maybe we’d call it,” Cr Shields said.

“Dubbo people are always in the mood for a party, whether it’s Prince Harry coming or the fact that our New Year’s Eve celebrations don’t, we’ll find something to celebrate, don’t worry about that,” he said.

Newcastle is already planning to reschedule its fireworks in late January.

“It wasn’t quite the pyrotechnics spectacular we had planned but Mother Nature certainly put on a show this evening,” the City of Newcastle posted on Facebook along with photographs of lightning strikes over the region.

New Year’s Eve in Sturt Park, Broken Hill

More than 1000 people witnessed a spectacular fireworks display in Sturt Park on Monday night to usher in the new year. City Council’s action-packed evening was a huge success despite a lingering heatwave keeping temperatures around the mid-thirties.

Fears for welfare of missing woman

A photograph of Marilyn Grubb taken a year ago.

A missing woman has not been sighted since she left an outback property near Broken Hill on Sunday morning, despite a widespread social media campaign to locate her.

Marilyn Anne Grubb (65) – who has worked as cook, cleaner and bookkeeper – was last seen at a property on the Menindee Road about 50 kilometres from the Silver City.

Police broke news of Ms Grubb’s disappearance just after 9am on Monday morning by posting a statement and photographs of her on Facebook.

The post has since been shared more than 1100 times by various people across Australia.

People who shared the post commented with their postcodes to let others know where the post was circulating.

Police updated their Facebook page again last night with current photographs of Ms Grubb and her vehicle taken from CCTV footage before she disappeared.

Marilyn Grubb’s blue Holden Adventura.

Detective Inspector Michael Fuller yesterday said public assistance to help find Ms Grubb was crucial, particularly sightings so police could narrow down a search area.

After leaving the Menindee Road property, it was believed Ms Grubb drove into Broken Hill where she has a house in Morgan Lane, but she did not arrive. Police, State Emergency Service volunteers, police trail bike riders and local pilots have searched the district over the past few days, but have not discovered any clues.

The most recent photograph of Marilyn Grubb.

“Police, along with her friends and family, hold serious concerns for her welfare and are appealing for the community to come forward with any information regarding her whereabouts,” DI Fuller said.

Ms Grubb was described as Caucasian in appearance, about 160 to 165cm tall, with a medium build, green/hazel eyes.

At the time of her disappearance, she was driving a blue Holden Adventura station wagon with SA registration SO48BON.

“We will continue developing our search plans as information comes in,” DI Fuller said.

“At this point, it is a very large area with no sightings to assist police to narrow down the search location.”

Police began investigating the case as soon as it was reported, DI Fuller said.

“You don’t have to wait 24 hours, if there is concern about a missing person, you can report straight away,” DI Fuller said.

Anyone with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or nsw.crimestoppers.com.au

Stars of Christmas in Broken Hill

Keith and Judy Everett in front of their Dundas Avenue Christmas lights display.
Keith and Judy Everett in front of their Dundas Avenue Christmas lights display. PICTURE: Michael Murphy

One Christmas lights display that has shone as bright as the star of Bethlehem for almost 40 years belongs to the Everett family.

Keith and Judy Everett, of Dundas Avenue, put up their first display in 1980 when their first grand-daughter was born.

“We were not real flush in those days, and we started off doing three or four strings of lights,” Keith said.

“And each year it grew and I kept saying ‘well, that’s it, I’m not doing any more’ but then it grew and grew, and I ended up doing a lot of cut-outs.”

Keith painted them and placed them all over the front lawn. There were six white Boomers, Father Christmas in a sleigh being pulled by reindeers, a nativity scene and lots of elves.

He also made a Father Christmas in a chimney on the roof.

“One of the ones I did was the three wise men, and after putting them out for about five years they started to fade being in the sun and everything,” Keith said.

He was working with City Council’s disability services at the time, working with clients at the woodwork shop at the hospital.

“So I asked Ron Hammond who was running the show up there would it be alright if I took a couple up there to get them to paint because we were running out of things to do,” Keith said.

“He said ‘yes’, so I took three of them up there, three different cut outs.”

When he bought them home three weeks later he didn’t take much notice of them until he pulled them out for Christmas.

“When I put them on the lawn, I got the three wise men out, and they had sneakers on.

“They painted sneakers instead of sandals.” Keith and Judy, who are celebrating 60 years of marriage next year, are traditionalists when its comes the Christmas.

They have three children, eight grandchildren and seven great, grandchildren, all of whom will be at Everett’s Dundas Avenue home for Christmas.

“Many of the parents in their 30s and 40s would possibly remember their parents driving them around to view the Christmas lights displays,” Keith said.

“They may also remember the traffic jams in Dundas Avenue in the late 90s and early 2000s. “The traffic was so dense that many people had to park up to two blocks away and walk down the avenue to see the lights. “Even our son and daughter-in-law who travelled home from Adelaide each year on many occasions had to park blocks away then go to retrieve their car when the traffic thinned out.”

It was even suggested at on stage that Dundas Avenue be made one way to ease the congestion. For several years on Sunday evenings at No. 10 the public were treated to not only the great light and cut-out display, but also members of the Silver City Line Dancers strutting their stuff in the driveway.

As the years rolled on the displays became bigger and better, which Keith says, unfortunately caused the demise of many of the smaller displays because parents started taking their children to see the biggest ones.

Keith and Judy said they will continue decorating their house and garden for as long as they can because they love to hear and see the delight on the faces of the young, and not so young, when they see the decorations.

Besides, they still have small great grandchildren running around. Judy had some advice for young couples thinking of putting up a Christmas light display.

“Go for it.”