Monthly Archives: May 2016

Old Rigs Crawl Highway 31

The Heritage truck movement in Australia is alive and well, if the successful bi-annual running of Crawlin’ the Hume, held in mid-March, is anything to go by. A convoy of 235 vehicles travelled from Melbourne to Albury along the old Hume Highway on 16 April, passing through towns including Wallan, Euroa and Chiltern, all of which have long been bypassed by the modern Hume Freeway.

With trucks over 25 years old being eligible for the historic run, vehicles spanning over 60 years of transport heritage made the run north, with many truck brands no longer regularly seen on Australia’s highways being represented.

These included Deutz, Foden, Commer, Diamond T and Atkinson, with a number of prime movers hooked up to bogie and spread-axle trailers and loaded with historic cars and machinery. Some old transport names were also represented by participants with rigs sporting signage and paint schemes from Post’s Transport, Ansett Freight Lines and Vaughan Transport.

Crawlin’ the Hume is intended as a casual friendly event, with participants making the 300-odd kilometre trek at a steady pace. After assembling at the Ford factory on Sydney Road in Campbellfield the convoy made its way out of the Victorian capital and up over Pretty Sally at Wallan on to Kilmore and up to Seymour.

Participants stopped at the Winton Motor Raceway just out of Benalla for a lunch stop, which drew plenty of interested onlookers. Continuing north the group made its way up through Springhurst, Chiltern and Barnawartha to the Albury Racecourse for the overnight stop.

Early on the Sunday the morning air was disturbed by the brutal sound of air-starters firing up the trucks as participants made their way home, with almost half coming from Sydney, along with other participants as far afield as Brisbane and Tasmania.

Kelvin and Rodney Boyle, from Western Victoria, ran their Cummins Big-Cam powered Atkinson and they enjoyed the run up Highway 31. The refurbished Atkinson has not long been back on the road and were making their first Crawlin’ the Hume run with the father and son team hauling a Massey tractor and 1953 Bedford on a trailer, both of which have also been restored in their workshop in Mepunga.

“We thought we would put the truck and the tractor on the back to give her a bit of traction!” grinned Rodney Boyle.

Historic truck enthusiast Rob French, who owns a 1964 Peterbilt, along with Roger Marchetti and Trevor Davis put together the 2016 event, the third such one held, and was delighted with the turnout, with over 100 more participants than the last run in 2014.

Whilst not affiliated with any particular truck club, celebrating transport heritage and the old days of the Hume Highway is one of the aims of the organisers – “The whole idea originally was to unite the truck clubs” Rob said. We try to get every club’s colours here, it doesn’t matter what truck you have, it’s just to get together and have some fun.

“The Crawlin The Hume team work closely with the New South Wales based Haulin’ The Hume group, who stage a similar run from Sydney to Yass every other year, whilst a new event being organised by the Wauchope Yesteryear Truck and Machinery Club, from Beresfield to Wauchope, Pacin’ The Pacific is scheduled for later this year.

After the success of the 2016 event, the next Crawlin’ the Hume event is scheduled for April 2018 and planning has already begun. “We’re planning now…it began last night!” smiled Rob French on the Sunday morning, as a B-Model Mack growled its way past out of the Albury Racecourse on its way home.

EPA and Wangaratta Council test for lead in groundwater

THE Wangaratta Clay Target Club is believed to be the cause of contamination that prompted closure of the neighbouring sports complex.
Tests to determine whether lead contamination has reached water supplies in the area are expected to produce results within the next three days.

The environmental hazard came to light little more than two weeks ago when Wangaratta Council moved to close down the city’s Clay Target Club and North Wangaratta Sporting Complex.

It is unlikely the Hawks Football Netball Club will be able to use its home facilities for the rest of the season.
Alternative venues for games and training purposes have been sourced through AFL North East Border.
The Environmental Protection Authority could not determine the risk to community members who had previously used the venues until further testing had taken place.
The two sets of soil sampling taken by the authority both returned a lead presence above the recommended level on the eastern side of the field.

The council tested water samples from rain water tanks and bores at the Vine Hotel and Wangaratta Rifle Club, which were both negative for lead contamination.
The EPA also took water samples from bores within a one kilometre radius of the football oval late last week, with the results expected in the next few days.
EPA North East manager Clare Kiely said groundwater was now the focus.
Residents who used bore water were being advised to seek further advice.

“While some testing of water bores and rain tanks at the adjacent gun club and hotel have come back clear of lead, as a precaution, a number of bores within a one kilometre radius will now be tested,” Ms Kiely said.
“Goulburn Murray Water has told EPA bore water is not treated for human consumption and that advice should certainly be heeded while EPA’s investigations into lead contamination at the site are ongoing.”

The council has been liaising with users of both facilities and posting regular updates on its Facebook page.
Both sites remain cordoned-off with danger signs, road blocks and fact sheets at the direction of the Department of Health and Human Services.

For more information about the lead contamination, visit the council’s website at

Police appeal after hotel armed robbery near Newcastle

Police are appealing for information after an armed robbery at a licensed premises near Newcastle last night.

About 10pm (Sunday 29 May 2016), a male armed with a firearm entered a licensed premises on Lake Road at Argenton.

Police have been told the armed male threatened staff, before taking cash and leaving in the direction of Lake Road.

There were no shots fired during the robbery and there were no reports of injury.

Officers from Lake Macquarie Local Area Command attended and a crime scene was established.

Detectives would like to speak to a male who may be able to assist with their inquiries.

He is described as being of Caucasian appearance, about 180cm tall and of solid build.

Anyone who was in the area of has any information about the incident should contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Police search for missing camper near Murrurundi

Police will co-ordinate a search for a man who went missing while on a camping trip in the Hunter Valley region yesterday.

The 43-year-old man was last seen about 4am (Saturday 28 May 2016), when he walked away from the Timor Caves Camping Ground near Murrurundi.

His group became concerned after he failed to return and they conducted a search of the area without success.

Police were contacted about 7pm.

A co-ordinated land search will commence at 7am today (Sunday 29 May 2016), utilising officers from Hunter Valley Local Area Command, the Dog Unit, PolAir, Northern Region Operations Support Group, Murrurundi State Emergency Service and Murrurundi Volunteer Rescue Association.

The missing man is described as being of Caucasian appearance, 180cm tall and about 70kg. He has blonde hair and blue eyes and was last seen wearing jeans and a jumper.

Anyone with information should contact Muswellbrook Police Station on (02) 6542 6999 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Truck driver jailed over death of elderly man on Hume Highway

It was a fine day for driving. The air was clear and road dry, and the driver could see 200 metres ahead, to where the road began to curve upwards.

But Gerard Christian Degroot, 47, did not see the two cars pulled over, one after the other, on the side of the Hume Highway at Yass. He did not brake, or slow down, a court heard, but swerved to the right at the last minute.

It was not enough to avoid a collision, and the front left corner of his prime mover hit the first car and then 83-year-old Francis Paterson, who was leaning on the driver’s side, talking to the man behind the wheel.

His wife was in the first car, and his wife’s sister and her husband in the second.

Mr Paterson died as a result of the injuries he sustained on the morning of March 11, 2015.

On Friday, Degroot was sentenced to prison for two years and three months, with a non-parole period of 15 months. He will be eligible for release on August 26 next year.

In sentencing, Justice Phillip Mahony rejected a pre-sentence report that suggested Degroot did not feel remorse for the offence, and instead found him truly remorseful.

The report also said Degroot blamed in part the victim for the accident, for not pulling over far enough out of the left hand lane.

But Degroot pleaded guilty early on, and the court heard that in cross-examination he said: “I killed a man, and I am guilty.”

He said if he could replace the deceased, he would.

The accident was not the result of a momentary lapse of attention, the court heard. It was not because of speed or illicit substances, though cannabis and methamphetamine were detected in his blood. And it was likely not because he was on his phone, though he had been earlier on and while driving.

It was caused by a significant period of inattention or distraction, by a heavy vehicle licence holder who had driven the Hume Highway six times a week for 20 years, the court heard.

Degroot failed to keep a proper look out, Justice Mahoney said, and because of his experience there was a greater moral culpability.

A victim impact statement was tendered by Mr Paterson’s wife, and Justice Mahony said it was common sense that the loss of him would have had a significant impact on the lives of his family.

Degroot had a number of supporters who attended the District Court sitting in Queanbeyan on Friday, and he mouthed “I love you” to them as he was escorted from the court.

Man charged with supplying drugs to students – Toronto

Police have charged a man with supplying drugs to students at a high school in the state’s Lake Macquarie region earlier this week.

A man attended the school at Toronto on Monday (23 May 2016), and allegedly supplied students with muffins containing cannabis.

Two students fell ill and were taken to John Hunter Hospital for treatment.

Police were alerted and officers from Lake Macquarie Local Area Command commenced an investigation.

Following inquiries, police attended a home on Milford Street at Toronto just after 12.30pm today (Saturday 28 May 2016), where they arrested a 19-year-old man.

The man was taken to Belmont Police Station where he was charged with supply prohibited drugs.

He was given conditional bail to appear at Toronto Local Court on 19 July 2016.

Teens charged after alleged attempted robbery – Charlestown

Two teenagers have been charged after an alleged attempted robbery near Newcastle last weekend.

About 4.50pm on Sunday 22 May 2016, an 18-year-old man was walking along Charlestown Road, Charlestown when he was approached by two males – aged 15 and 17.

Police will allege the 15-year-old boy, demanded the man’s phone and wallet.

When the man tried to run away, it’s alleged the 15-year-old and 17-year-old assaulted him, before he was able to escape.

The man was treated at the scene by NSW Ambulance Paramedics for minor grazing to his arm.

Police from Lake Macquarie Local Area Command were notified and commenced an investigation.

Following inquiries, on Monday 23 May 2016, a 15-year-old boy was arrested and charged with demand property with menaces with intent to steal in company.

He was refused bail to appear before a children’s court on Monday 6 June 2016.

Today (Friday 27 May 2016), a 17-year-old boy was arrested and charged with demand property with menaces with intent to steal in company.

He was refused bail to appear before a children’s court on Monday 30 May 2016.

Police charge man over alleged drug, firearm possession – Tamworth

Police have charged a man for alleged drug and firearm offences following a search warrant in Tamworth yesterday.

About 11.20am (Thursday 26 May 2016), officers from the Tamworth Target Action Group stopped man driving a Mazda utility on Robert Street, South Tamworth.

Police searched the man’s vehicle. During the search, police will allege drugs and ammunition were located. The 28-year-old man was arrested and taken back to Tamworth Police Station.

About 12.38pm, officers executed a search warrant at a home on Hall Street, East Tamworth.

During the search, police will allege a hydroponic setup, 4 cannabis plants, cannabis leaf, cannabis seed, ammunition, a firearm were located. All items were seized and will be forensically examined.

The man was charged with cultivate prohibited plant, five counts of possess prohibited drug, possession of equipment for administering prohibited drug, possess unregistered firearm, possess shortened forearm, use, supply, acquire or possess defaced firearm, and two counts of possess ammunition without holding licence/permit.

He was refused bail to appear at Tamworth Local Court today (Friday 27 May 2016).

Man charged following alleged indecent assault – SCC Child Abuse Squad

A man has been charged after allegedly indecently assaulting a young girl in the Riverina.

On Wednesday 18 May 2016, police from the Child Abuse Squad commenced an investigation following a report an 11-year-old girl had been indecent assaulted.

It’s alleged the 11-year-old girl was indecently assaulted when staying with family friends last year.

Detectives from the State Crime Command’s Child Abuse Squad were alerted on Wednesday 18 May 2016, and began an investigation into the alleged incident.

Following their inquiries, a 29-year-old man was arrested at Wagga Wagga Police Station yesterday (Wednesday 25 May 2016), and charged with indecent assault of person under 16.

He later appeared at Wagga Wagga Local Court and was granted bail to reappear at the same court on Wednesday 20 July 2016.

The Child Abuse Squad is comprised of detectives who are specially trained to investigate crimes against children, including sexual assault, physical abuse and serious cases of neglect.

Man charged following alleged sexual assault – Wagga Wagga

A man has been charged following an alleged sexual assault, involving two personnel, at a federal government facility in Wagga Wagga yesterday.

Between 6.30pm and 7pm (Wednesday 25 May 2016), a 20-year-old woman was in the laundry of the facility when it is alleged she was approached by a man.

It is further alleged the man forced her to the ground and sexually assaulted her before leaving.

The incident was reported to police and an investigation commenced.

About 2.30am this morning (Thursday 26 May 2016), police arrested a 26-year-old man. He was taken to Wagga Wagga Police Station and charged with sexual intercourse without consent.

He was refused bail to appear in Wagga Wagga Local Court today (Thursday 26 May 2016).