GALLERY: Year in Review - January

January 1: Lake Canobolas was in line for a face-lift as Orange City Council suggests family style accommodation would boost tourism at the site. As part of a 10-year tourism strategy to make the area more appealing to visitors, a suggestion was made to research the idea of eco-cabins and perhaps a camping ground. 

January 2: Fire crews worked through the night to try and contain an out of control 75-hectare fire north of Orange. The blaze was believed to have been caused when a man lit fireworks at a property near Mullion Creek, and was just one of the 13 fires that Orange Fire and Rescue responded to over New Year's Eve and early New Year's Day. 

January 4: In 11 days of Operation Safe Arrival police breath tested more than 4,100 drivers in Orange and Cowra areas, and were disappointed that the message was not getting through, as locals were still tempted to drink and drive. The alarming number of drivers in a hurry was also appalling, with 146 people in the area booked for speeding. 

January 5: A family waits for answers following the sudden death of a toddler after seeking medical assistance at Orange hospital. Two-year-old Nicholas Charnock stopped breathing on the morning of December 17, and it was believed a virus had affected his heart. 

January 8: Thousands of dollars damage was caused when vandals attempted to remove aircraft from Orange airport. When unsuccessful, two private helicopters and a ute were set on fire and sprayed with graffiti. Police said patrols would be increased in the area. 

January 11: Orange City Council was forced to consider the possibility of a by-election just four months after the general election after a legal challenge questioned the eligibility of councillor Kevin Duffy. The Orange Ratepayers Associations wrote to the Electoral Commission claiming that Cr Duffy lived in Borenore, not in the Orange local government area. 

January 14: A study complied by Bowel Cancer Australia found that Orange rated poorly when it came to weight management. We found out half of Orange's residents are obese or overweight, and its largely to do with what we're eating, but that we need to find the time to exercise.

January 15: New laws forcing taxi drivers to wear a seatbelt divided the local cabbie community with some welcoming the new safety measures and other drivers saying the move will increase their chances of being assaulted. NSW was the last state to join the rest of the country where taxi drivers were already bound by seatbelt laws.

January 16: Police warn residents to ensure their windows and doors are locked, after thieves run riot in north Orange. There were concerns with the high volume of break-ins, and residents were robbed as they slept.

January 17: Complaints about the quality of the work done on the Northern Distributor pile up as issues are brought up by residents. In addition to the faded lines on the road, two trucks overturned on the Leeds Parade intersection in six months. 

January 18: In a tough month for backpackers in Orange, two German visitors to the area were threatened with a syringe and needle and robbed. The two men were sitting in their car when they were approached by two men who pointed a syringe through the open window of the car.

The robbery follows unrelated incidents on New Year's Eve where French backpackers had their tents burnt to the ground, and an ongoing payment dispute between backpacking fruit pickers and an employment contractor. 

January 21: Residents and councillors alike push for more public toilets in Orange. Sites that are suggested include Robinson Park and the under-utilised Esso Park, with the idea that tourists will benefit just as much as locals from having easy to find amenities.

January 22: According to breastfeeding professionals, Orange came through with flying colours when it came to attitudes towards public breastfeeding. An overwhelming 88.3 per cent of Central Western Daily readers were in favour of public breastfeeding. 

January 26: The city's mayor, among other locals, was on the Australia Day honours list for 2013. John Davis received a Medal of the Order of Australia for services to local government and the community. 

January 28: A young man was left baffled that Orange hospital staff did not know what to do when he arrived after being exposed to the HIV virus. The 20-year-old hoped to be administered the PEP or post exposure prophylaxis, but had to wait for 3 days for an appointment at the sexual health clinic.


1. Isolated residents told to pack up or defend

2. Grandfather's anguish at baby's death

3. Thieves run riot in North Orange

4. Long Point bush fire grows larger

5. Second truck rolls over at roundabout

6. Pickers claim they're owed money

7. Man in critical condition after collapsing in heat

8. Man charged with Long Point fire

9. Black mark: fading lines the latest Northern Distributor complaint

10. Australia Day in Orange



WHILE some people ushered in 2013 with a drink and a sore head the next day, many of Orange's volunteer firefighters were faced with a headache of a different kind.

Last New Year's Eve, a man accidentally started a huge fire when lighting fireworkson a property two kilometres south of Long Point Crossing near Mullion Creek.

One of the fireworks fell over and shot across the river to dry scrubland, which caught alight.

As a reporter, the need to accurately cover a growing bushfire emergency in our paper, as well as online, is vital.

Fires move, wind speed and direction changes and fire crews are constantly adapting to deal with the situation.

Within 24 hours of the blaze being accidentally lit, it had grown to 75 hectares.

During the next few days the fire ripped though inaccessible terrain and, by day four, seven helicopters were on scene waterbombing from above.

Over the fire's duration I was in contact our local NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) firefighters on the ground and personnel in the fire control office.

Through countless phone calls and emails, these people, many of whom are volunteers, were only too happy to provide details, photos and information to me to help keep the public informed.

No matter who I spoke to from the Canobolas Zone, from manager David Hoadley to administration officer Liz Lewis, they all helped me to report the fire as easily as possible.

The fire eventually grew to 475 hectares and came to within 500 metres of homes.

With another bushfire season well and truly upon us, this story from a year ago is a timely reminder of how something so little can grow to impact so many lives.

During these times, when many people are enjoying their summer holidays, we can be thankful for the 2,500 volunteers across the Canobolas Zone who give up their time to help.

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