By Dominic Geiger
Reports have surfaced suggesting several Condobolin residents with Commonwealth Bank accounts were able to access more money than they actually owned from ATMs around town.
The timing of the reports coincides with a glitch the Commonwealth bank encountered with its online system across NSW.
The Condobolin Argus can confirm the Condobolin Shell Service Station received an influx of people wishing to use its ATM last Tuesday, March 1st, with many people using the ATM more than once.
The Commonwealth Bank has neither confirmed nor denied the fact people were able to access more money than actually existed in their accounts.
Rather, a spokesperson has said the bank will be working closely with people who encountered problems using their accounts.
“During the course of the day some customers have reported withdrawing up to their daily card limits via ATMs,” the spokesperson said.
“Where accounts have been overdrawn, the bank will seek to recover those funds.”
The spokesperson was also unable to confirm whether the bank would be pursuing legal action against those who received more money than they owned.
“We’re not going to speculate on case by case scenarios,” the spokesperson said.
However a NSW police statement released on the same day the bank experienced problems said several men from Merrylands had been charged with “dishonestly obtaining financial advantage by deception” after using a faulty ATM.
“Police are reminding the public that fraudulently obtaining money through an ATM is an offence that can lead to serious criminal charges,” the release stated.
The problem with Commonwealth’s banking system was resolved several hours following its discovery.
By Dominic Geiger
Practice Manager at the Melrose Street Medical Centre Lindy Hall will soon be giving up her post to pursue a business opportunity in the centre of Condobolin.
Lindy said for some time now there has been a need for a menswear store in the town so people would be able to buy locally.
“I’ve been talking to people around town and they say the need is there for the store and I’m going to do all I can to support the local community,” she said.
“I think the last menswear store shut down around six months ago, so there’s definitely room in the marketplace.”
Lindy said the range of clothes available would include everything from surf wear to work wear.
“We also won’t be limiting ourselves to menswear, as we’ll have some ‘teenware’ ranges as well.”
“Obviously, I’m quite sad to be leaving the Melrose Street practise, I’ve been there 10 months and it’s a great place.
“The main reasons I’m doing this is because I think there’s a need in the community for this, as well as I’ve always had a dream to own my own business.
“We’ve got an idea for where the store will be; it’ll definitely be in Bathurst Street but the exact site of the store isn’t confirmed yet.”
Compiled by Olivia McInnes
The Condobolin Argus recently welcomed a new journalist to its ranks. You may have seen him around town, notebook in hand and nose to the ground for the latest happenings.
Here is an official introduction and an ‘up close and personal’ peak into the life of Dominic Geiger.
Name: Dominic Geiger
Hometown: Brisvegas (Brisbane, QLD).
Qualifications: Mass Communications degree from Queensland University of Technology majoring in Public Relations and Journalism with a minor in French.
Professional experience; Community radio current affairs program host 1 year (2 different stations), Scene music magazine journalist/writer 1 year, copywriter/marketing assistant at Link International (motorcycle parts wholesaler) 6 months.
Other interesting life experiences: Dominic spent two months in Morocco teaching English to school children in the poorer areas of the capital city, Rabat.
What are your interests/hobbies: “Listening to good music, travelling, fishing and reading good books (preferably all at the same time if possible).”
If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be and why? “I don’t know, West Africa is pretty cool but I don’t like couscous that much. Probably the North Coast NSW, near Yamba”.
When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? “When I was in year one I wanted to be a marine biologist. I still kind of do, but I’m going see how this journo thing works out. Maybe one day I can combine both interests.”
Who is your idol/who do you look up to? “Warren Zevon’s my hero”. (American rock singer-songwriter and musician).
What events led you to Condo? “Had a big night at the casino in Brisbane. Woke up here, decided I needed a job and the Argus were the only people crazy/nice enough to hire me. Nah, I finished uni, wanted a job in journalism and The Argus was hiring. Condo seemed like the sort of place I could get some really hands on experience and take a break from city life for a while”.
What were your first impressions of Condo? “HOLY CRAP EMUS!”
What are your impressions now? “Condobolin’s actually a lot bigger than it seems once you realise there are real people living and working in all those little buildings. It really just feels like a suburb in Brisbane that isn’t anywhere near anything else. Like, rather than having a neighbouring suburb with people and buildings, there are neighbouring sheep and cows”.
What would you like to bring to the Condobolin Community through the Argus? “Balanced, unbiased reporting on topical issues affecting people in town. I also want to encourage people to let me know if they’ve noticed any major/controversial/humorous issues around town they want to see covered in the paper. Beyond that, I hope some of the things I contribute to the paper are entertaining and, where possible, give people a bit of a chuckle’.
Dominic is too unassuming and polite to tell you he beat over 70 applicants into the position at The Argus – but we will.
The Argus conducts a very stringent selection and induction process including sponsoring applicants to attend a practical session over a two day period of tough reporting assignments. You may have seen applicants around town during December and January.
Dominic is a delightful young man who has a tremendous attitude towards himself and those around him and a keen sense of providing quality service to community.
There are stringent criteria attached to Argus reporting. We welcome Dominic to our small team of Argonauts (as we know you will welcome him to our community) confident his contribution will positively impact our ongoing endeavour in providing a professional news service and helping and promoting growth in local organisations and businesses.)
Cartoon: Karen Tooth www.karentooth.com
Garry and Connie Venable’s of Innes Grove Nursery Condobolin would like to announce the opening of a cafe within the nursery.
As of Saturday the 12th March, they will be serving a range of fresh ground bean coffee as well as cold drinks including juice, iced coffee’s and iced chocolates.
Of course there will also be a range of delicious cakes, slices and cookies to perfectly complement your beverage.
The peaceful garden setting of the nursery provides the ideal spot for a quiet cuppa away from the hustle and bustle of the main part of town.
So take some time out of your busy day to drop in and see Garry and Connie for some time out and great coffee.
The cafe will be open seven days a week from 10-5 pm and 1-5 pm on Tuesdays. Take away’s are also available.
A Precision Agriculture Information Seminar was held at the Condobolin Sports Club last Thursday.
The presentation focused primarily on introducing new computer technology developed in order to make farming practices in the Central West more efficient.
Organiser Neil McMillan used the concept of ‘auto steer’ technology in tractors as an example of one of the many ways precision agriculture was helping farmers.
“With this technology a tractor will be able to go in an exact straight line, within a 2 cm margin of accuracy,” he said. “In this way, someone can go back the following year and use the exact same tracks to make sure you don’t compact the soil and avoid disturbing the plants’ roots.
“Precision agriculture is a big area, with a lot of science focusing on it at the moment. It has a lot to do with how to address soil variability, and matching various chemicals to the soil type.”
The presentation met a responsive and enthusiastic crowed, with a buzz of conversation surrounding the room during the lunch break.
Ian Menz from Industry and Investment NSW said he thought the information on yield mapping would be of particular interest to many farmers.
“The technology gives an incredibly detailed measurement of how much yield is coming off the crop at any set point in the field,” he said. “This then allows for extremely efficient use of resources. You would, for example, concentrate your fertilizer use in areas with low yield while spending less time on areas that produced a high yield.”
How does following the sun around Australia for the rest of your working life sound?
For Graham and Chris Gardiner, owners and sole workers at Safari Signs and Graphics, this idyllic lifestyle has been a reality for the past fourteen years.
Having set up camp briefly in Condobolin last week, the Gardiners are now taking their brightly coloured van to the Murray River region before heading north to avoid the southern winter.
“We go where there’s work and we go where it’s warm,” Graham said.
“We try to stick to the outback because I can’t stand traffic and we generally find the people friendlier.
“We also stay away from cities because they often have well established sign designing businesses already there; we find there is low supply and high demand for our services in regional towns.”
Chris said the best part of the job was seeing the incredible contrasts of the country as she and Graham travelled from place to place.
“You have the desert moonscape of Coober Pedy, the rainforests of the tropics and the mulga country of the Central West,” she said.
“We’re not going to settle down until we’re too old to drive.”
Having found a moderate amount of work in Condobolin designing signs and menu boards for the Condobolin Hotel, Chris and Graham said they may come back through the town on their way north after visiting the Murray River.
“We love our lifestyle and we love to go back to the towns we’ve visited before,” Chris said.
“We make our travel decisions by looking at a map, looking at the population of the town and looking at the weather.
“We’ll never run from work; as long as there’s work in a town we’ll stick around.”
By Olivia McInnes
As an incorrigible horse enthusiast myself, and one which is regularly out and about on the roads of Condobolin, it has been brought to my attention that there needs to be a reinforcement of safety precautions in our community.
Some people will slow down, and some won’t. Some will speed past you smiling and waving wildly as your horse throws itself into a hysterical panic attack, while others will speed past and pretend not to see you at all. The fact is, any kind of speeding past a horse on a road is an accident waiting to happen in which someone could get seriously injured or even killed.
Horses, as most know, are unpredictable creatures which possess a natural instinct of ‘fight or flight’. This means that when one becomes frightened or suddenly unsure of its surroundings, it will choose to either fight whatever confronts it, or (and more commonly) to get away from the situation at whatever cost. Even if it’s attempts at fleeing lands it in the path of a speeding car.
Some readers are probably at this point thinking, well why don’t these horse people just stay off the road? Well, for the most part I and others are more than happy to. However, with pony club season beginning again, there will be an unavoidable increased number of horse riders on our public roads.
The RTA road users hand book specifies the following in regards to sharing the roads with horse riders; Horse riders and horse drawn vehicles also have rights to share our roads. Watch out for ridden, driven or led horses. When you come across horse traffic remember:
• Horses can be unpredictable so slow down and give them plenty of room.
• Never sound your horn, rev your engine or pass a horse at high speed.
• Slow down or stop if a rider is having difficulty with a horse.
These guidelines apply also when you encounter a horse rider crossing a bridge. Instead of trying to squeeze your vehicle past the horse at breakneck speed, please wait at the foot of the bridge until the horse is safely across the bridge. Generally we horse people are an obliging breed and won’t hold you up unnecessarily.
State regulations stipulate that it is a ticketable offence for a driver not to slow down when passing a horse on a public road. It is also law that upon encountering a horse rider crossing a bridge that a driver stop and wait at the foot of the bridge until the horse is safely across it. Fines apply to motorists who fail to do so. In addition to this, horse riders who encounter any motorists behaving irresponsibly are encouraged to report the driver’s registration number to the police.
On the other hand however, there are also some precautions that horse riders must take to maximize their safety on public roads. Firstly the rider must determine whether they are capable of controlling a horse on the road. It is difficult for an inexperienced rider to see the dangers and also understand their own skill limitations.
Where possible keep off the road and road shoulder by riding on the verges. If you do need to ride on the road itself, ride on the left side with the flow of traffic.
Always listen for approaching traffic and constantly visually scan the surrounds, noting what is coming from all directions which may potentially upset the horse. Not only large, loud and fast approaching traffic, but obstacles and other animals can unsettle even the quietest of horses.
By Dominic Geiger
The Wilcannia-Forbes Diocese Swimming Carnival was held last Friday at the Condobolin Swimming pool.
St Joseph’s school did remarkably well with several first places including the Junior Boys Relay Team.
Organiser for the event Shannon Haase said over sixteen schools had come from around the diocese to compete in the day’s races.
“It’s all gone quite well, really smooth sailing,” she said.
“A lot of St Joseph’s kids performed really well so there’ll be a fair few going to the Polding Swimming Championships in Homebush on the 21st of March.”
Shannon said the day wouldn’t have been possible without all the help from local volunteers.
“We’re really lucky at St Joseph’s because we have so many parents with kids in the swimming squad who help us out at events like these,” she said.
“It’s been a great day and it’s great to know Condo’s got a few kids going to Sydney.”
By Dominic Geiger
‘What’s The Time Mr Wolf’ isn’t usually a game you’d associate with horse riding.
But for the beginner’s class at the Condobolin Pony Club’s first meeting of the year, it was an excellent way to begin learning how to control and understand their horses.
Pony Club Secretary, Sarah Jacobson, said the best part about the club was that students were able to have fun with their friends while preparing for dressage and various equitation events.
“There probably won’t be any beginners competing at the next event, but they’re still learning the right sort of things,” she said.
“They’ll eventually be up against kids from all around the state.”
Instructor, Dianne Jones, said the intermediate class was currently learning how to walk, trot, canter and stop with their horses.
“In general they’re just learning how to control their horses over the next couple of weeks in the lead up for the first rally day of the year,” she said.
“They’ll be competing for ribbons and points.”
By Dominic Geiger
Tearing down the road at 100km/hr on the back of a Harley Davidson and seeing a black snake go under your feet sure beats any car trip.
And with so many people lined up outside the Condobolin Hotel for rides last Saturday as part of the annual Condobolin Picnic Races Charity Bike Ride event, it’s easy to see it’s a sentiment shared amongst the community.
‘Split’, one of the founding members of the annual event, said the bike riders came to Condobolin every year to help out a needy local charity.
“This year we’re helping out the Fairholme Rural Fire Service,” he said.
“We started coming here on the way back to Sydney from Jingellic to visit Greg at the Condo Hotel, and thought it was such a friendly town we’d do something for the community.
“This year’s the record for the most bikes; we’ve got 57 riders altogether and 54 bikes.
“They’re mostly Harleys but there are two Triumphs and a few others.”
Chris Simmonds, Representativefor Moonbi Recreation Hall, said he felt very privileged to think the Condobolin Hotel had chosen the organisation as the recipients of this year’s charity donation.
“All small communities are battling to make ends meet at the moment around here,” he said.
“We’re out here today to offer information as well; we’re sharing knowledge about rural fire issues, and we’re talking about the situations we face on a daily basis.”
By Dominic Geiger
A slight downturn in numbers wasn’t enough to dampen peoples’ spirits at this year’s Condobolin Picnic Races.
With good weather, good food and a busy bar, the Condobolin racecourse was a hive of activity from the first to last race on Saturday.
Despite most people having a good time, there were several complaints from race-goers that new licensing laws restricting BYO alcohol had resulted in many people deeming the races too expensive for a family day out.
Leanne Hall, Secretary for the Condobolin Picnic Races Committee, said the numbers in the crowd had definitely suffered due to the event losing some of its former ‘picnic’ atmosphere.
“Everyone who did come still seemed to have a good time; it was a happy crowd,” she said.
Sue Mitchell, who is one of the members of the racing committee, said there was nothing that could be done to change the liquor licensing laws to allow BYO again.
“There are no races in New South Wales where people can bring their own alcohol,” she said.
“Hopefully people will realise the law has changed and we can’t do anything about it.
“I think a lot of people had a fantastic time anyway; everyone had a great sense of fashion, and the book keepers were saying the punters were the real winners of the day.”
There was some controversy in the main race of the day, with a protest occurring and the second place jockey accusing the winner of interfering with him at the 200 metre mark.
After a tense wait, the protest was over-ruled and the Condobolin RSL Picnic Cup was awarded to horse ‘Shot Putt’, ridden by Ben Duggun and trained by Kevin White.
Members of the Condobolin branch of Rotary International (above) met on the night of 23rd February to celebrate the Rotary’s 106th birthday.
The event, which was held at the Condobolin RSL, featured presentations to people who had made outstanding contributions to the Condobolin community.
President of the Condobolin Rotary Club Dave Carter said the awards were a sign of Rotary’s appreciation for people who had gone above and beyond their responsibilities to other people in and around the town.
“The recipients were presented with a small gift, a certificate and all the meals were provided by Rotary,” he said.
“These people help with everything around town; they’re real community minded people.”
Rotary’s coveted Paul Harris Fellow Award was also presented on the night to Dave Carter as recognition of his recent philanthropic work. D.G.
Kimberley Metals has appointed a new General Manager to its mining operation at Mineral Hill.
Mick Hanlon, who comes directly from Wollongong, but has also spent just over three years managing the Tritton Copper mines at Nyngan, said he was excited to once again be working at a mine site in the Central West.
“There’s a lot of opportunity to be had in this region and particularly at Mineral Hill” he said.
“There have been mining operations here for a long time, and I expect they’ll continue much further into the future, especially with the new developments we’re seeing in the mining industry.”
Mick said he was impressed with the work done to date at Mineral Hill but could see that there were several big challenges which needed to be addressed.
“The biggest and most pressing issue is to find professional staff such as geologists, surveyors, environmental coordinators and mining engineers to fill key positions,” he said.
“Unfortunately there are not many people with these qualifications residing in Condobolin at the moment so we’ve had to conduct an Australia wide search.
“Our policy will be to employ as many locals as possible, with those who are already employed by Kimberly Metals making an invaluable contribution to getting the plant refurbished in preparation for the recommencement of operations.
“We’ve also identified issues such as accommodation for staff and electrical infrastructure as potential problems.”
To help alleviate some of the issues associated with staff, Mick said the company had a number of plans.
“There will be opportunities for apprenticeships and traineeships in the near future,” he said.
Mick said he and his wife were looking forward to living in Condobolin and becoming part of the community.
By Dominic Geiger
Residents of the Lachlan Valley are being urged to send any photographs of traditional Aboriginal tree carvings they might have to the State Library of NSW as part of a public display to begin on April 18.
Anyone who knows of a still standing carved tree is also encouraged to notify the State Library.
Ronald Briggs, exhibition curator and a Gamilaroi man from Moree said many of the photographs about to be put on display were of carvings from the Condobolin area, though he believed many more to exist.
“We’re calling on communities out west – where a lot of the carvings were photographed by amateur anthropologist Lindsay Black – to send us images of any existing carved trees in their area, and share any information about their history,” he said.
“It was a practise mostly restricted to the area now known as New South Wales; of course there were a few others here and there, but the majority of tree carvings have come from places inside New South Wales.”
Trees with carved patterns on them were generally used as grave markers in the areas Wiradjuri people inhabited, such as around the well known King’s Grave to the west of Condobolin.
Mr Briggs said the exact meaning of the symbols had mostly been lost over time, though people could still appreciate the intricate and carefully carved designs for the skill it would have taken to create them.
“They’re beautiful designs,” he said.
“The photographs we have are among the few surviving records of this forgotten art form.”
Anyone with images of carved trees or who wishes to alert the NSW State Library to the location of a still standing tree should contact the State Library directly or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Condobolin Health Service Manager Kevin Ryan is encouraging members of the Condobolin community with an interest in the future of health services to nominate for appointment to the Condobolin Health Council.
Health Councils provide an opportunity for individual members of the community to work with health managers and planners to identify, from a consumer perspective, the needs of their community and services that are required.
“Council members are committed to giving the community a voice on issues that affect the health and wellbeing of its citizens,” said Mr Ryan.
“Health Councils provide good planning advice to the Western NSW Local Health Network based on our local knowledge and also to seek answers to questions and concerns being expressed by the community regarding the current running and planning of the health service,” he said.
Health Councils can bring health issues to the attention of the Western NSW Local Health Network and participate in planning and service development, quality assurance activities, policy development and review.
Training in such activities is provided as appropriate. The extent of participation in such activities is voluntary but if participation by members incurs costs such as travel, accommodation or child care, then approved activities are funded or resourced by the Health Service. At a minimum, membership requires attendance at monthly meetings of the Health Council, but there is opportunity for wider participation in committees and workshops associated with areas of personal interest.
Mr Ryan said members can come from all sorts of backgrounds and do not need to have health professional experience.
“In fact, applicants without a health professional background are most welcome as they are able to bring a truly independent consumer perspective to their role.”
By Dominic Geiger
The Shadow Minister for Primary Industries and Energy Duncan Gay has accused the NSW Government of planning to shut down twelve agricultural stations, including the one at Condobolin, as part of spending cuts to the primary industries sector.
Mr Gay said the NSW Liberals & Nationals received a copy of a ‘Cabinet in confidence’ document prepared by high ranking officials from Treasury, the Department of Premier & Cabinet and the Department of Industry & Investment, which details plans of the proposed closures.
The document states a previous review “identified a cluster of 12 research stations which are subscale relative to other sites, based on the number of projects and employees supported.”
A spokesperson for Steve Whan, Minister for Primary Industries, said the document in question had already been rejected and “no research stations were ever considered for closure by Cabinet, the Minister or the Premier.”
Minister Whan said the document was just a Treasury bureaucrat’s proposal for savings, which was put to a budget committee.
“I argued (against the proposal), and I won the argument,” he said.
“If Duncan Gay is ever given the privileged to govern, I challenge him to make public every savings plan that is produced by treasury bureaucrats, because anyone who has run
Government is exposed to all manner of savings proposals as a matter of course.”
Mr Gay refuted these claims, and said the document was “still current” and nothing in the document had been “ruled out.”
“These plans are still very much under consideration,” he said.
“The (Condobolin Agricultural Station) is incredibly important considering the work they do with broad acre farming and climate change, so I’m ruling out closure of these areas if we see a Coalition Government.”
March 2009, the NSW Labor State Government announced closure of the Condoblin Agricultural Research Station (CARAS). A surge of public protest culminating in a rally in Condobolin’s main street reversed that decision.
By Olivia McInnes
The Don Brown Memorial Merino Ewe Competition and Field Days were a huge success again this year. The aim of the event is to promote, maintain and improve the Merino breeding standards in the wool industry.
The ‘Don Brown’ competition and field days was held early last week, with 15 competitors from the Condobolin district entering the competition. The event is held over two days, in which spectators have the opportunity to travel around the Condobolin district and view the entrant’s flocks. There is also a chance for discussion and debate at each stop, which is one of the main attributes of the ‘Don Brown’. Condobolin representative for Moses and Son, Craig Davis said, “It’s all about learning and the sharing of ideas and information, and moving forward”.
One hundred and fifty spectators took advantage of the two day tour. Long term organiser of the event Carol-Ann Malouf said the event was “exceptionally successful. We had the biggest in years which one could say is indicative of not only the high standard of Merino breeding in the Condo district, but also the current prosperous economic climate for the Merino”.
Judges for the two days were: Tom Ashby, president of the Australian Association of Stud Breeders, Gulnare, SA; Drew Chapmen, Hinesville Merino and West Plains Poll Merino Studs, Delegate, NSW; and associate judge Cameron Cox, 2010 winner of the RAS/ASC Merino sheep state judging competition at the Sydney Royal, Mudgee, NSW.
The winners of the ‘Don Brown’ for 2011 were announced on the second evening of the event, at the Condobolin Golf Club. Awards for the Condobolin District Sheep Breeders Association and the Condobolin PAH & I Association Crop Competition were also presented on the evening.
Guest speaker for the presentation dinner, and CEO of the Australian Wool Industry Stuart McCullough said ‘I am always impressed with what I see out here (Condobolin), and it’s great to see a bit of a change this year with everything so green and lush, the dams full, and the wool prices increasing. The producers out here have endured the hard years and have stuck with it. They deserve the rewards they are now getting. Let’s hope these rewards continue to flow’.
The 29th Don Brown Memorial Merino Ewe Competition 2009 results:
WINNER: Mark, Carol and Brad Jones, ‘Booroola’, Lachlan Merinos blood.RUNNER-UP: Paraway Pastoral Company, ‘East Borambil’, Co. Manager Matt Browning, Pooginook blood
THIRD: Crouch Brothers PTY LTD, ‘Milby’, Harold and Barry Crouch, ‘Milby’ bred.
Charinga Award for Productivity in 2010: Fletcher International Exports, ‘Kiagarthur’, Sims Uardry blood.
The John Coy Award and Charles Mills (Uardry) Pty Ltd Award for Achievement: Ian and Jane Menzies, ‘Moonbah’, Woodpark blood.
The Ian Munro Memorial Perpetual Award for a Short Wool Flock: Stuckey Brothers, ‘Murtonga’, Willandra blood.
Classer’s Award: Glen Rubie, Lachlan Merinos, Forbes.
The Condobolin Argus would like to extend our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Andrew L’Estrange; a truly tragic loss for our community.
The NSW Office of Water has announced an amber level blue-green algae warning for the Lachlan River at Condobolin and Lake Cargelligo.
Though not yet a threat to swimmers or livestock, a spokesperson for the NSW Office of Water said it was important for people to report any sightings of blue green algae infestations to their local council.
“The council will be treating the sites with activated carbon and conducting regular testing in the area,” the spokesperson said.
“If people notice a green tinge in the water and a musty, earthy taste and smell it’s important to report it.
“Blue-green algae may also be present in water that hasn’t been tested by council so it’s important just to be careful.” D.G