Peter Le Breton from Pillar Valley, returned from firefighting duty in Canada with the National Parks and Wildlife Service.
Peter Le Breton from Pillar Valley, returned from firefighting duty in Canada with the National Parks and Wildlife Service. Adam Hourigan

Year in review: Biggest headlines of September

SEPTEMBER 1: FOR the first time in New South Wales, the traditional owners of our country have been handed offshore rights. Yamba's Pilot Hill became a Federal Court yesterday for the second time in just over two years as Justice Jayne Jagot solidified the Yaegl people's Native Title claim beyond the coastline, up to 350m out to sea.

An emotional Billy Walker receives a hug on Pilot Hill following the Native Title determination on August 31, 2017.
An emotional Billy Walker receives a hug on Pilot Hill following the Native Title determination on August 31, 2017. Clair Morton

"The significance of the recognition of these rights of the Yaegl People, the first consent determination relating to the sea in New South Wales, cannot be overstated," she said.

SEPTEMBER 2: GRAND final footy fever swept across Grafton and South Grafton, as the Ghosts and Rebels prepared to face off against each other in the Group 2 grand final.

It was the second year in a row the two arch rivals would meet in the last game of the season, and anticipation was riding high for the clash.

SEPTEMBER 4: THE Grafton Ghosts finished the 2017 season undefeated yesterday when they were crowned the Group 2 premiers, defeating the South Grafton Rebels 30-12. Grafton Ghosts captain-coach Danny Wicks said it was a privilege to lead his junior club to a grand final win.

Action in Group 2 first grade grand final between Grafton Ghosts and South Grafton Rebels.
Action in Group 2 first grade grand final between Grafton Ghosts and South Grafton Rebels. Adam Hourigan

SEPTEMBER 5: AN ELDERLY woman from Tucabia become the fourth person killed on Clarence Valley roads in two weeks. The 77-year-old was critically injured in a single car crash at Clarenza about 7.45am yesterday morning.

Police, ambulance, SES crews, Fire and Rescue NSW responded to the site, about 400m south of Centenary Dr, where the driver and sole occupant of the white Toyota Camry sedan was trapped after her southbound vehicle left the road and crashed into a culvert.

SEPTEMBER 6: GIRAFFES are known for many things, but saving lives, not so much. Until now. About 26 years ago, Life Education's iconic Healthy Harold giraffe gave a little piece of information to 10-year-old Jimmy Morrison that would change his life forever.

Ben Darcy and child sex abuse survivor Jimmy Morrison (right) ran seven marathons in seven days to raise awareness of abuse against kids.
Ben Darcy and child sex abuse survivor Jimmy Morrison (right) ran seven marathons in seven days to raise awareness of abuse against kids. Richard Gosling

"I wasn't aware that I was suffering sexual abuse," Mr Morrison, now 36, said. "It wasn't until we had a visit from Healthy Harold... he explained about people touching your body and all these things started to line up.

Bravely, the youngster put a plan in place to make sure the abuser would nevertouch him again.

SEPTEMBER 7: ADRIAN Richard Attwater and Paul Eric Maris were found guilty of crimes relating to the manslaughter of Lynette Daley.

After less than an hour, the jury of 11 found Attwater guilty of manslaughter and aggravated sexual assault. Maris was found guilty of aggravated sexual assault and hindering the discovery of evidence.

Ms Daley bled to death aged 33 after having rough sex when camping with Attwater and Maris on Ten Mile Beach, north of Iluka, in January 2011.

Adrian Attwater and Paul Maris enter Coffs Harbour Police Station for the last time before being found guilty in the death of Lynette Daley at the Supreme Court trial on Wednesday, 6th November, 2017.
Adrian Attwater and Paul Maris enter Coffs Harbour Police Station for the last time before being found guilty in the death of Lynette Daley at the Supreme Court trial on Wednesday, 6th November, 2017. Frank Redward

 

SEPTEMBER 8: AFTER listening to every harrowing detail in the trial of the two men who sexually assaulted her before her death, the family of Lynette Daley expressed delight and relief at the guilty verdicts for the pair.

SEPTEMBER 9: THE DIRECTOR of the Department of Public Prosecutions needs to apologise for the six and a half year delay in the bringing the matters surrounding the death of Lynette Daley to trial, says a family member.

Ms Daley's stepfather Gordon Davis said while the family was delighted with the guilty verdicts handed down to Adrian Attwater and Paul Maris in the Supreme Court in Coffs Harbour on Wednesday, the length of the delay rankled the family.

SEPTEMBER 11: A SURFER is lucky to be alive after he was bitten on the hip by a shark, believed to be a 3.5m-long white pointer, while surfing at Iluka's Main Beach. Suffolk Park man Abe McGrath, 35, was in the water with a friend when the attack happened about 6am yesterday.

He told police his board was hit from underneath with a force so hard it snapped the board and sent him flying through the air.

SEPTEMBER 12: SUPPLYING water to the new Grafton jail site will greatly improve water pressure for nearby residents, says Clarence Valley Council.

Council water cycle manager, Greg Mashiah, said the water would come from the council's Nymboida supply, but the mains connecting it to the jail would be built by the jail consortium. He said the main to the jail would go from Ulmarra to the jail site.

SEPTEMBER 13: CLARENCE Valley businesses have expressed their concerns the NBN will fail to live up to the hype in a recent statewide survey.

Sixty-five businesses responded to the survey conducted by the NSW Business Chamber, which asked whether their business was currently connected to the NBN, with 75% responding that they were not. Respondents also estimated delays and disruptions in the roll-out of the NBN are costing NSW businesses, on average, more than $9000.

SEPTEMBER 14: TWO white pointers have been caught on SMART drumlines installed at Yamba and Angourie, just three days after a surfer's run-in with one at Iluka.

In the wake of the attack about 200m from the Iluka breakwater on Sunday morning, which left 35-year-old Suffolk Park man Abe McGrath with injuries to his hip, the Department of Primary Industries has undertaken research work around Iluka, Yamba and Angourie using SMART (Shark-Management-Alert- in-Real-Time) drumline technology.

SEPTEMBER 15: LOCAL hospital emergency departments are busier than ever, but the time taken to treat the most seriously ill patients is dramatically decreasing according to newly released statistics.

SEPTEMBER 16: A HORRIFIC dog attack, which left a Lawrence mum with 30 stitches and $1800 worth of vet bills to save the life of her staffy, has sparked a plea for people to be responsible pet owners.

The incident has left both her and her beloved pet traumatised, and reluctant to go for a walk in the neighbourhood, while the animal responsible had to be put down.

SEPTEMBER 18: HOUSEHOLD debt in the Clarence Valley is reflecting the alarming figures revealed nationally in the latest report on income wealth and expenditure.

Local support agencies like Anglicare and neighbourhood centres are reporting a big increase in the number of people to coming to them for support because they cannot afford to buy food for themselves or their families.

SEPTEMBER 19: CHRONIC lung disease sufferer Kevin Burton is used to having to catch his breath - even a short walk can leave him gasping for air. But the theft of the 72-year-old Grafton resident's portable oxygen tank last week truly knocked the wind out of him.

Kevin Burton with daughter Kirsty White - Kevin's oxygen tank was taken from him outside Grafton Shoppingworld last week.
Kevin Burton with daughter Kirsty White - Kevin's oxygen tank was taken from him outside Grafton Shoppingworld last week. Adam Hourigan

Now the family has appealed for the person who took the tank to hand it in, if only for the fact that without its battery charger and connections, it would be of no use to them at all.

SEPTEMBER 20: THE rollout of the National Disability Insurance Scheme has only just got underway in the Clarence Valley, but already experts on the North Coast are expressing their fears that not everyone will reap the full benefits of the much-hyped reform.

SEPTEMBER 21: ASSAULTING police, drink driving and drug offences - these are just some of the charges that appear on the rap sheets of the two men convicted over the sexual assault and death of Clarence Valley woman Lynette Daley.

In documents released by the Supreme Court this week, it was revealed Adrian Attwater and Paul Maris weren't strangers to the NSW court system when the Daley trial began in August, with 39 prior convictions between them.

SEPTEMBER 22: ESSENTIAL Energy's inaction on the Regional Water Supply Heads of Agreement is a "bloody disgrace", says Clarence Valley councillor Richie Williamson.

During the 2013 major flood in the Clarence Valley, the Nymboida Power Station suffered a catastrophic failure when one of the two pipes which drew water out of the Nymboida River blew from the pressure of flood waters. That was the beginning of the end for the hydro plant, which was closed due to the damage.

In 2015, Clarence Valley Council, the Member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis and Essential Energy signed an agreement which stated who was responsible for several structures in the area.

SEPTEMBER 23: WORK on the new Grafton Correctional Centre moved forward with the announcement a contract worth $20 million for temporary plumbing and electrical works was awarded to Laser Plumbing and Electrical Lismore.

Paul Fuller - director of Valley Earthworks - local business to benefit from $20m contract for early works on new Grafton Correctional Centre.
Paul Fuller - director of Valley Earthworks - local business to benefit from $20m contract for early works on new Grafton Correctional Centre. Adam Hourigan

The contract was awarded in partnership with other local businesses, including Valley Earthworks, Tradelink Grafton and Clarence Earthmoving.

SEPTEMBER 25: A LISMORE man has died and a Halfway Creek man has been severely injured in two separate crashes on Clarence Valley roads in what was a tragic weekend.

Just before 9pm, emergency services were called to the scene at Warragai Creek following reports a tow truck had hit a pedestrian, causing the closure of the highway for several hours. NSW Ambulance paramedics treated the 62-year-old, but he died at the scene.

SEPTEMBER 26: THE death of a well-known Grafton man in a horrific head-on collision at Port Macquarie has sent shock waves through the Clarence Valley.

As well as being a loving father of two, Peter Ashenden, 43, was the Clarence Valley Council's senior design engineer for more than a decade and was involved in several local clubs, including the Grafton Rowing Club. His life was tragically cut short on Friday afternoon when a silver Nissan Pathfinder and grey Ford Territory collided on Hastings River Rd in Port Macquarie.

SEPTEMBER 27: CLARENCE MP Chris Gulaptis has declared the NSW Government has no intention to change its coal seam gas plans, despite a call from the Prime Minister for the state to be more open to gas exploration. Malcolm Turnbull has said Australians face an electricity price hike in coming months, with the nation facing a gas shortfall three times bigger than was expected six months ago.

SEPTEMBER 28: A MAN who allegedly "branded" a woman in Grafton has been extradited from Queensland over serious domestic violence charges including grievous bodily harm.

On September 22, Coffs/Clarence detectives began an investigation into allegations of domestic violence, including the alleged branding of a 43-year-old woman by a 24-year-old man.

SEPTEMBER 29: JUST 35km north-west of Grafton is a block of private land with the potential to change the face of Clarence Valley's industry as we know it.

Mt Gilmore, which lies between Fine Flower and The Gorge, has been revealed to be home to several deposits of high-grade cobalt. Now Western Australia-based company Corazon Mining is trying to work out just how big that deposit is, and whether it's worth mining.

SEPTEMBER 30: IT WAS a big weekend of events in the Clarence Valley, with the Bridge to Bridge, Goanna Pulling and Eat Street all highlighting a massive long weekend.



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