Featured / News / Social / Community / 11th January 2023
Looking back on 2022
The year didn’t fly by; rather it floated past on swollen rivers, flooded roads and potholes that became billabongs. Thankfully, there were some good news stories too!
Twelve months ago when we rang in 2022, many of us considered it a fresh start, a chance to put the previous few years of drought, mice plagues and COVID-19 behind us.
But as it got deeper into the year we realised that wouldn’t be the case.
This time around it was floods. Towns like Bylong were virtually washed away and many others are still counting the cost of the destruction.
However, through it all the Aussie spirit shone, in comments heard around town like, “Oh well, it could be worse,” or “better to have more water than not enough!”
After ringing in 2023 recently, it got me questioning, “what next?” but at the same time, knowing that whatever we face as a country, state, shire and town, we will get through it together – because that’s what we do.
So while we anxiously and excitedly wait to see what the new year brings us, here’s a look back at the big stories of 2022 and how the year panned out.
The year began with an absolute bang for the town of Coonabarabran when one of Australia’s largest cannabis hauls was uncovered on a Dandry property.
It was estimated to be worth in the vicinity of $67 million and directly linked to a Vietnamese crime syndicate.
Police arrested five men and a woman aged between 23 and 42 and charged them with numerous drug related offences.
JANUARY: Police seized over 20,000 cannabis plants in one of the largest and most commercial cannabis drug busts in NSW history.
The concept to improve the river conditions between the top and bottom weirs in Coonabarabran took a positive turn when it was announced that funding of $900,000 had been approved.
Several community groups came together for the common cause of cleaning up the Castlereagh River system to make it more user friendly.
FEBRUARY: Some work on the river banks began with community groups working on eradicating noxious weeds.
Warrumbungle Shire lived up to its nickname of ‘What a Bungle’ when it was revealed the long-awaited Stop and Play park in Coonabarabran was closed to public for safety reasons a day after it was opened.
Apparently, throughout the entire planning and construction stages no one looked up to notice the high-voltage powerlines directly above the park.
It wasn’t until after the first day of it being open that the realisation set in about the dangers and the park was closed to the public.
The issue left Council red faced.
Remediation works to make it safe, which involved transferring the powerlines underground, have since been completed and the park was re-opened to the public just before Christmas.
MARCH: For the safety of the community, Council closed the Stop and Play park one day after it opened due to the presence of high-voltage powerlines.
April saw the Coonabarabran celebrate Easter with the annual Bunny Bazaar carnival filling the main street with food stalls, markets and even vintage cars and motorbikes.
In April, towns across the Shire came together for more solemn occasions such as the annual ANZAC Day march and commemorations.
APRIL: On ANZAC Day 2022, a large crowd gathered in the main street of Coonabarabran to pay their respects to the service men and women who served Australia in the armed forces.
Community member Brett England first sprouted his idea about forming a Community Garden in Coonabarabran.
Mr England identified an area and even drew up comprehensive plans. However, the initial site fell through.
He soon came up with another option at the end of Robinson Street. Mr England and a number of like-minded residents are still in the planning stages and are working with Council to see the idea come to fruition.
MAY: Brett England has been working with fellow green-thumbed residents to create Coonabarabran's first Community Garden.
The Baradine Magpies Rugby League Football Club celebrated its 100-year anniversary in style with a ball (the dancing kind, not the passing and kicking kind!).
Keeping the news in Baradine, a man was arrested in an early morning raid by the Australian Federal Police.
He was arrested and charged in connection to a murder that took place in Canberra.
JUNE: The house in Baradine where a man was arrested and charged with murder by members of the Australian Federal Police last June.
The Huntsman Telescope was unveiled at the Siding Spring Observatory.
It is unlike other telescopes in the way that it uses a cluster of Canon camera lenses.
Principal investigator, Doctor Lee Spitler said large photography lenses are being used with “astronomy specific” cameras behind them.
He said it allows for the capture of faint images of distant galaxies.
JULY: Macquarie University PhD student and the Huntsmen Telescope operator, Sarah Caddy.
What’s in a name?
The Coonabarabran Times revealed that prior to 1967 our town was actually spelt with an extra ‘r’ Coonabarrabran.
Local historian John Whitehead said there was very little information available as to why and exactly when the changes were made.
August marked 55 years since the name had been changed and shortened.
AUGUST: The month we leaned some shocking news: Coonabarabran was once spelled with an extra 'r'!
The Coonabarabran Times grew by an extra three team members this month.
Jimmy Whalan joined the team as our Indigenous Affairs Reporter, Emma Harvey joined the crew and has lifted our Facebook and digital presence as our Online Content Creator and Jayne Murphy joined as Sub Editor.
The three new recruits have lifted the brand to unexpected heights and we hope you are as proud of the product we deliver each week as we are.
SEPTEMBER: Jane Murphey, Jimmy Whalan and Emma Harvey joined our rag-tag team.
It was a couple of great months for the Coonabarabran Times.
Not only did we welcome new staff in September, but we came away with both a major award and a runner-up citation at the prestigious Country Press Awards held in Sydney.
Times owners Max and Lynne Estens were present to receive the Best Print Advertisement for the Dark Sky Awakens Festival full page ad and runner-up in the Best Advertising Feature category for the coverage of the Baradine Magpies 100-year anniversary.
Wattle was in full bloom around the Shire and also in the Coonabarabran Times office, with the launch of the new wattle magazine – a special publication devoted to sharing the stories of people that call the Warrumbungles home.
Launched in style at the Coonabarabran Visitor Information Centre, the stunning photography and interesting yarns had everyone wanting a copy of wattle for their coffee table.
OCTOBER: Our new magazine was launched, featuring a diverse range of talented creatives from all over the region
November was a dramatic month, with an armed 12-hour siege at a residence in Binnaway.
The incident climaxed when a man, who had barricaded himself in his home, fired shots at police.
In a positive turn of events the man was eventually arrested and no one was hurt.
The ground around the Shire shook when the Black Sorrows rocked a massive crowd at the Bungle Rumble music and food festival in Coonabarabran.
NOVEMBER: Thousands of people attended Bungle Rumble festival with many residents now calling for it to become an annual event.
The Coona Cup finally went ahead after it was postponed in October due to torrential flooding.
Just two days before Christmas, the event was dubbed the ‘Coonabarabran Bowling Club Christmas Race Meet’.
The event was a perfect opportunity for businesses to celebrate their work Christmas parties and a great way for the community to come together and close the calendar on a very eventful year.