Wombats seconds confident

OUT OF MY WAY: Mudgee Wombats’ David Walton avoids Trangie defence in round 5.Saturday presents itself as an opportunity for the Mudgee Wombats’ second fifteen to lift themselves from the bottom of the Australian National Field Days Cup northern division ladder.

The Wombats’ second side has showed improvement in the past month and another win appears to be just around the corner.

The side travels to Cumnock this weekend in search of their second win for the season and coach Angus Rae believes his squad can get the job done.

“We had about 10 or 11 players at training on Tuesday night and I’m sure there will be more tonight [Thursday] and I’m confident of taking a full team down there. If we can do that we’ll give it a good shake,” he said.

“We beat Cumnock here at home and they are a bit like us and can be short one of two players at times. However because they are at home I expect them to have a full squad and they’ll be better prepared.”

Rae said he is proud of the way his side has been improving, particularly in the past three weeks, but there is still plenty to work on.

“Our defence has been pretty good but Yeoval scored twice through big gaps last week and that’s what undid us. I have addressed it along with work on our rucking and mauling because ball security has to be your number one priority,” Rae said.

The Wombats’ second coach said he was happy to often have a selection of younger players in his side because they were enthusiastic.

He said the older players were helping to guide younger ones and it could be seen by the improvements on the paddock each week.

Mudgee Wombats’ first fifteen also play away this weekend to second placed Trangie.

After scoring no points against Coonabarabran last Saturday the Wombats will be looking to make amends and take away a surprise win from the Tigers.

Firsts coach George Hamilton said his side will be looking to bring a “hail storm” to Trangie.

“I’d really love to beat them. We beat them earlier this year so I know we can do it. We need to run hard, tackle low and score points. It’s simple but it works,” he said.

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Guardian journalist wins national award

Mudgee Guardian journalist Darren Snyder has received the Sir Harry Budd Memorial Award for Country Journalist for his coverage of the closure of the Cement Australian plant at Kandos.Mudgee Guardian and The Weekly journalist Darren Snyder has been awarded the 2012 Sir Harry Budd Memorial Award for Country Journalism.

The winning entry, which also won the prestigious award’s best issues category, was based on a series of articles which highlighted the impact that the closure of Kandos’ cement plant would have on the local community.

Darren broke the story of the Cement Australia closure on the Mudgee Guardian website prior to the official announcement. He spent the day after the announcement in Kandos interviewing residents and business owners about the effect of the closure.

Darren’s coverage helped residents assess the full extent of the closure including the service station owner who lost half of his diesel sales due to the closure. The reports also led to feature articles highlighting the attractions and businesses of Kandos and neighbouring Rylstone; to encourage people from elsewhere in the region to visit and support the towns.

TThe winning entry highlights the important role a regional newspaper plays in the community.

Darren, from Green Point on the NSW Central Coast, has been at the Mudgee Guardian for three years. Prior to his appointment at Mudgee, Darren studied sports journalism at Charles Sturt University in Bathurst.

The winning entry highlights the important role a regional newspaper plays in the community. Judges were impressed with Darren’s efforts to tell the story through the eyes of the community rather than through corporate spin.

The winners of the other categories in this year’s Sir Harry Budd Award were Best News Story: Glenn Ellard, South Coast Register; Best Rural Story: Annie Hesse, Katherine Times and Best Sport Story: Damien Johnson, Cowra Guardian.

The award, which recognises outstanding journalism, is open to all journalists employed by Fairfax Media regional and agricultural non-daily newspapers throughout Australia.

The award was established in 1981 by the widow and family of Sir Harry Budd to honour his life and work as a prominent and influential editor, businessman and parliamentarian.

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Mines should stop playing ‘hard ball’ over Ulan Road

Andrew Gee.Member for Orange Andrew Gee has urged the mines of the Mid-Western Region to make a fair contribution to the maintenance of Ulan Road.

Under constant heavy traffic from Ulan, Moolarben and Wilpinjong coal mines, the road has deteriorated and become a source of concern for ratepayers and council.

Mr Gee said Mid-Western Regional Council was negotiating with the three mines to help fund the road’s repair, which was a condition of the mines’ development approvals.

“I’m concerned because I’ve been informed that the mines may not be as forthcoming in terms of funding as the community would expect them to be,” Mr Gee said.

He said the mines were “playing hardball” in their negotiations with council, at a time when the community should be able to trust them to be “open and generous” and to consider their staff and other residents and road users.

It shouldn’t take a tragedy out on that road to jolt the mines into action.

He said the mines should recognise that their own employees and vehicles were at risk on Ulan Road.

“If the negotiations result in a situation where Mid-Western Regional Council is not able to pay the amount that the coal mines want them to, [council] won’t be able to pay for the work, and the road won’t be properly upgraded, and there will be a tragedy,” he said.

“It shouldn’t take a tragedy out on that road to jolt the mines into action.”

Mr Gee said Mid-Western Regional Council had limited funds and should not have to bear the full cost of the road’s upgrade.

“It’s the mines that should be paying the great majority of the cost,” he said.

“The mines do very well out of the region commercially, and the Ulan Road is starting to become a flashpoint.

“The anger and concern about this road will continue to build if the mines aren’t putting in their fair share.”

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Wolves chase goals at business end of season

ON THE BALL: Jesse Tomlinson has been one of the Mudgee Wolves’ standouts in season 2012. He is pictured at the Western Challenge earlier this year.Mudgee Wolves’ first grade captain Craig Mitchell is asking for more of the same from his side on Sunday.

Coming off a bye Mudgee’s firsts will be looking to show their momentum has not changed from the comprehensive 5-2 win against CSU Stags a fortnight ago.

The firsts are playing Bathurst 75 Gunnas, a side that has caused them a couple of hiccups already during the season.

“We’ve had two nil-all draws against them and we just haven’t converted our opportunities,” Mitchell said.

“But this is something we’ve been working on at training and if you look at the last match the work paid off and hopefully it can be the same on Sunday.

“We’re looking to build on the back of some good wins in the lead up to the semi-finals.”

Currently the Gunnas sit bottom of the Bathurst District Football first grade competition but Mitchell said this does not mean his side will be taking them lightly.

The Wolves firsts sit in third position and one point behind second placed Young Lions.

In a big day for the Wolves, all five men’s and ladies senior teams will play at Glen Willow Sporting Complex on Sunday.

The Wolves’ second and third grade men’s sides will want to make amends for their last round losses.

Second grade went down 1-0 to Macquarie United after the winning goal was scored late in the game. This places extra pressure on Mudgee, as United is now only one point away from the Wolves in fifth place. The second grade side will be playing competition leaders Bathurst City Colts on Sunday.

A late penalty goal saw the Wolves’ third grade side lose 2-1 to CSU Stags in Bathurst last weekend. On Sunday they play Oberon United at Glen Willow.

For the ladies teams, first grade play CSU Vixens and fourth grade are up against Scots Spirit.

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Six Mudgee wineries earn five-star ratings in Halliday guide

Robert Oatley Vineyard cellar door manager Amanda Lyons with James Halliday’s 2013 Australian Wine Companion, in which the winery receives a red five-star rating, and the 2011 Robert Oatley Great Southern Riesling, which the book awarded 94 points. 310712/Oatley/28Six Mudgee wineries have achieved five star ratings in James Halliday’s bestselling Australian Wine Companion for 2013, with Robert Oatley Vineyards earning five red stars, the book’s highest rating.

Robert Stein Vineyard, Quilty Wines, Lowe Wines, Logan Wines and Huntington Estate have been rated five star wineries, and Robert Oatley Vineyards’ red five-star rating signifies consistent excellence and five-star quality over the last three years.

The red five-star rating is awarded to just 4.9 per cent of more than 1400 wineries profiled in the book.

To earn the honour, a winery must have maintained its five stars for two years and must have at least two wines rated at 94 points (Robert Oatley Vineyards has eight).

“ROV first appeared in his 2008 edition, with three and a half stars, evidence that the gradual, yet rapid improvement in wine quality is due in no small part to the winemaking talents of Larry Cherubino and his team, along with smart vineyard and regional grape sourcing,” said Darren Jahn of Robert Oatley Vineyards.

Winemaker Jacob Stein of Robert Stein Vineyard said it was an impressive result for Mudgee, doubling the number of five-star wineries in the region compared to the 2012 guide.

“A 100 per cent increase would have to be one of the best nationwide,” he said.

He also noted that the great results had been achieved in years of difficult conditions, both in the wine industry and in the Mudgee region’s weather.

The “best of the best” Shiraz list includes a 2009 Huntington Estate Special Reserve Shiraz scored at 96 points out of 100.

“We’ve done it in vintages that haven’t been the easiest to make wine,” he said.

Robert Stein Vineyard’s 95-point Reserve Shiraz, for example, which is still unreleased, was produced in the challenging 2010 season, which Mr Stein said showed what good work was done in the winery.

He said winemakers and wine lovers should not underestimate the significance of James Halliday’s rating, which would draw the attention of wine connoisseurs to the Mudgee wine region.

He said Robert Stein Vineyard’s visitation numbers jumped dramatically as soon as the winery received its first five-star rating in the 2011 edition.

A 2007 Passito from Di Lusso Estate is included in the book’s ‘best of the best’ list of sweet Semillon and other white wines, and Lowe’s 2009 Mudgee Zinfandel, which already holds three trophies, is included on the “best of the best” of other reds.

The “best of the best” Shiraz list includes a 2009 Huntington Estate Special Reserve Shiraz scored at 96 points out of 100, with a 2006 Huntington Estate Signature Tim Stevens Shiraz and 2010 Robert Stein Reserve Shiraz both close behind at 95 points each.

Robert Oatley Vineyards, Robert Stein Winery and Huntington Estate all maintained their five star rating from 2012, while Logan Wines and Lowe Wines rise from a four star rating in 2012 and Quilty Wines from four and a half.

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Lamond: we can do a theatre for less

Council candidates Bob Lamond has rejected Mid-Western Regional Council general manager Warwick Bennett’s costing of $4.7 million for buying and re-opening The Regent Theatre.Mid-Western Regional Council candidate Bob Lamond has rejected general manager Warwick Bennett’s calculation of the cost of restoring the Regent Theatre and has renewed calls for council to buy the building and re-open it as a multi-purpose entertainment centre.

Mr Lamond, who has so far based his campaign for council on the sole issue of re-opening the Regent, said both the $4.7 million cost estimate and council’s alternative proposal for trial screenings of movies in the renovated Town Hall Theatre were “ridiculous”.

“What films will he show, how often and how will he persuade major film distributors to give him current releases?” Mr Lamond asked.

“Under [this] proposal we will still be driving to Bathurst or Dubbo to see current films.”

In a report to Mid-Western Regional Council last month, Mr Bennett put the cost of converting the Regent into two 100-seat cinemas, with a stage for live performances, at $4.7 million.

He believes a cinema could be run for less than council’s “Rolls Royce” model using volunteers, as community-run theatres elsewhere have done.

The estimate, based on a purchase price of at least $700,000, included design, consultant and application fees ($70,000), construction of theatrettes ($150,000), external lift for accessibility ($250,000), upgrading toilets ($200,000), general maintenance and upgrade including painting and carpet ($400,000), theatre fit out including equipment and seating ($530,000), kiosk ($100,000) and airconditioning, electrical upgrades and fire safety ($300,000).

The theatre would also need to be fitted with digital projection equipment, as new release films will no longer be available on film from 2013.

Items including the lift, accessible toilets, electrical upgrades and fire safety are required to meet legal standards required for a public building.

Mr Lamond said in comparison to the cost of Glen Willow Regional Sporting Complex, his proposal for the Regent could be a good deal.

Although he has not put forward his own estimate of costs, Mr Lamond has previously stated the Regent could be bought and re-opened for $1.3 million.

He believes a cinema could be run for less than council’s “Rolls Royce” model using volunteers, as community-run theatres elsewhere have done.

“Yes, Mr B, their volunteers clean toilets and they have hundreds of volunteers, especially their youth and young adults,” Mr Lamond said in response to Mr Bennett’s statement that movie lovers would not want to clean toilets.

“Our community deserves the opportunity to work together with council to bring back movies at the Regent and develop over time a viable not-for-profit multi-purpose entertainment centre.

“Sure, we are going to have to ‘crawl’ and put up with no air conditioning, no heating system, the old seats etc etc.”

“Council, you must allow our community the chance to ‘Give it a go’.”

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Coolah artist’s exhibition inspired by scrap

COSMIC: Coolah blacksmith David Sherlock with a heavenly sculpture.Renowned Coolah blacksmith and metal sculptor, David Sherlock’s solo exhibition Transformation will be held from August 1 to September 23 in the Gilgandra Art Gallery which is located at the Cooee Heritage and Information Centre, Newell Highway Gilgandra.

The official opening will be held on Saturday, August 4 at 11.30am and everyone is welcome to attend the opening.

Mr Sherlock has put together an exciting and unusual exhibition comprising sculptural pieces depicting animals, insects, birds, abstract forms and functional pieces.

Transformation refers to the use of recycled steel, mainly from old agricultural machinery or wrought iron from wagons and other waste metal and turning it into beautifully decorative and functional objects that suit the home and garden.

He has always had a fascination with the natural world and the recent Transit of Venus drew his attention to the universe and inspired his sculptures of shooting stars, rotating planets and falling stars.

Back on earth, his sculptures include a cheeky piglet, a honeyeater bird and an ancient guardian piece to protect your garden.

David’s large accumulation of scrap metal is where he draws his inspiration from.

“I will find a special piece that triggers my imagination and then comes the fun part, looking for all the other pieces that I need to make the sculpture.

“It takes many hours to create an artwork. Using an angle grinder or oxy, it’s often reshaped in the forge, cleaned and then welded together.

“Some work is finished with a high quality clear varnish, some pieces are coloured with a baked on linseed oil treatment, whilst others are left rustic.”

Mr Sherlock started making artwork 30 years ago. He has exhibited a sea eagle at Sculptures by the Sea at Bondi and is well known in the local region for the bird sculptures in the park at Dunedoo and for his magpie sculpture at Baradine.

“I just love what I do. It’s rare that I repeat the same thing. Like all good artists, you are forever changing, growing your skills and stimulating your imagination. I try to put life, expression and movement into my work,” he said.

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Farmers seek MPs’ support in rates battle

The Mudgee District Council of the NSW Farmers Association has called on Member for Orange Andrew Gee and Member for Bathurst Paul Toole to support their push for a review of farmland rates in the Mid-Western Regional Council.

Local NSW Farmers branches have asked the local MPs to seek a meeting with the Minister for Local Government to consider options for obtaining a “more reasonable and equitable rate distribution”.

The Mudgee District Council lobbied unsuccessfully to have Mid-Western Regional Council reduce its farmland rate to a level comparable to neighbouring shires in its 2012/13 budget.

The farmland rate in the dollar is $ 0.061 compared to rates of $0.023 to $0.042 in other Central West shires.

In a letter to Mr Toole and Mr Gee, Mudgee District Council chairman Mitchell Clapham said based on Australian Bureau of Agriculture and Research Economics (ABARE) statistics, farmers in the Mid-Western Region were paying on average three per cent of gross income in council rates.

“In comparison, coal mines in the area have approval to mine 45 million tonnes annually (increasing to 51 million tonnes),” he said.

“Based on annual coal mining production of say 30 million tonnes with a gross value in excess of $3 billion, and an annual rates bill of $1.55 million, coal mining would be paying aproximately 0.05% of its gross income in rates,” he said.

“To put this in perspective, for every lamb that a fat lamb producer sells, he will pay in excess of $2 in rates.

“For every tonne of coal a coal mining company sells, they will pay $0.05 in rates.”

Mr Clapham said the NSW Farmers could see no future in continuing to lobby council and was seeking members’ support.

Mid-Western Regional Council has blamed the rates increase on the recent revaluation of regional properties and urged affected landholders to seek a review of their property valuations.

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Club Mudgee members $26,000 richer

BIG CASH PRIZE: Michelle Skinner picked the top suitcase containing $15,000 at Club Mudgee on Wednesday night. She is congratulated by (from left) Director Jenny Wallis, CEO Maureen Heywood, Director Wayne Marskell and Kellie Gant.Club Mudgee gave away a total of $26,000 on Wednesday night as they brought some game show flair to the evening.

Wednesday was the culmination of the club’s 16-week ‘Crazy Cash Promotion’ where members filled a barrel with tickets.

On the night 12 tickets were drawn and the lucky ones picked had their choice of 12 suitcases each containing a mystery amount.

The suitcases were designed to look like those that form the basis of hit television game show Deal or No Deal.

The suitcase everyone wanted to have had $15,000 inside, others had a cool couple of thousand and the range scaled down to $200.

The tension built as one by one participants had their suitcases unlocked by Club Mudgee CEO Maureen Heywood to reveal the monetary figure held.

Several openings in and the big money went off as the $15,000 was found to be hiding in the suitcase picked at random by member Michelle Skinner.

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New medical students in Mudgee

University of Wollongong medical students Vanessa Hewitt, Alice Thomas and Michael Stone will take on duties at Mudgee Medical Centre and South Mudgee Surgery for the next year. The three students are pictured with program co-ordinator Dr Gary Moore and are the fourth intake of students from UoW for the region. Patients at Mudgee Medical Centre and South Mudgee Surgery will once again have a few new faces to get used to with medical students from the University of Wollongong starting work in Mudgee earlier this month.

Michael Stone and Alice Thomas will be on-hand to help at Mudgee Medical Centre, while Vanessa Hewitt will hone her skills at South Mudgee Surgery over the next year.

This is the fourth year the University of Wollongong has sent its students to Mudgee as part of their course and all three admitted that Mudgee was high on their list of placement preferences.

“Mudgee was actually the first preference for all of us,” said Vanessa.

While here, the students will take part in parallel consulting with the doctors at each practice. Patients who consent to parallel consulting will have their case looked over by Michael, Alice or Vanessa first before a patient’s doctor attends the consultation and listens as the students present the patient’s case.

Regional academic co-ordinator for the medical school, Dr Gary Moore, says the students are near the end of their training, come with a lot of experience and hence become quite useful in both the hospital and the medical practices.

“It’s a real benefit for those in the community as well as the students,” he said.

“The placement gives them time to become engaged with the community. It also gives us the chance to promote rural general practice as a career path.”

Michael, Alice and Vanessa all agreed that feedback from previous students was one of the main reasons they had chosen Mudgee.

“The previous three years have all had good things to say about Mudgee. We haven’t heard a bad word about it,” Michael said.

“And so far everything they’ve said has been true,” Alice added.

The culture surrounding the Mudgee region was another draw for the three students, with each looking to “immerse themselves in the community” according to Michael.

“I think we’ll have a really good work/life balance while living here,” Alice said, something that all three agree is hard to find whilst living and working in the city because of the different workloads of the doctors there.

“They come to the community for a year and we really hope that because of their experiences while here that they’ll come back in the future”, Mudgee Medical Centre Practice manager Colleen Best said.

“It’s a fantastic experience for them.”

Mrs Best says that with many of the Mudgee region’s doctors thinking about retirement within the next five years, the region has to make sure we have doctors for the future.

While in Mudgee, the three students will be staying in the University of Wollongong student doctor house on Lions Drive

“The house has made it all the more welcoming,” Michael said.

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