Ben Hornby desperate to play last home game

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He was a conspicuous absentee at training but retiring Dragons captain Ben Hornby is desperate to play in his farewell game at WIN Stadium tonight.

Hornby ruled himself out of the Dragons’ final session in Wollongong yesterday ahead of the round-25 stoush with the Warriors, and officials later said he had come down with the flu.

His bout with illness comes after the veteran halfback sat out most of Wednesday’s training run with an ankle sprain.

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Despite the injury alarm, Dragons five-eighth Jamie Soward said the team was focusing on sending Hornby and Dean Young out on a winning note.

“It’s a big occasion, we all understand that,” Soward said.

“There’s been so much made of it, we just want to get out there and play now – and get them across as winners.”

Hornby and teammate Young will call time on their illustrious careers against Parramatta next week but both are determined to keep their emotions in check and aim for a triumphant finale.

“We just want to finish off the year the best way we can,” Young said.

“We’ve put a lot of hard work in since the pre-season and things haven’t gone to plan, but we want to finish off strong. To get a couple more wins on the board would be nice.

“It is going to be emotional just before we run out. I made my debut here in 2003 … we were raised in Wollongong, we played our junior footy through the Steelers, so playing on this ground for the final time, I suppose it will be a little bit emotional.

“For me and Benny, we’re heading in a new direction and a new chapter of our life.”

While the Dragons are reluctant to reflect on the legacies of Hornby and Young until season’s end, forward Dan Hunt said the pair had taught him plenty.

“I’ve definitely learnt that you have to do the hard work and do the extras,” Hunt said.

“You have to do more than what everybody else is doing.

“Just doing everything you can off the field to get 100 per cent out of your ability.”

The Dragons boast a formidable 8-2 record at home this year, while the Warriors are staring down the barrel of a seventh straight loss.

It’s hoped newly appointed caretaker coach and former Kiwi international Tony Iro can remedy the side’s recent collapse under sacked mentor Brian McClennan.

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Watchdog poses Port Kembla lease hurdle

A legal firm has flagged problems that could arise in the leasing of Port Kembla port.The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission could stand in the way of a consortium keen to lease Port Kembla port, according to an international law firm.
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In July, the NSW government signed off on a plan to lease the port for 99 years. Port Botany will also be leased for the same time, with both ports possibly going to the same private consortium.

Legal firm Norton Rose Australia has acted in matters relating to various ports around Australia, including the privatisation of Geelong and Hastings ports in Victoria.

In a legal update released in April, the firm flagged problems that could arise in the leasing of Port Kembla port.

The legal update raised the possibility that the ACCC could be worried about “a substantial lessening of competition”, depending on the shareholders of the consortium granted the lease.

“Concerns could arise, for example, if one of the consortium parties was a potential or actual acquirer of services at the port, such as a stevedore,” the update said.

In such circumstances, the report suggested that the ACCC may be concerned about the potential for the lease-holder “to discriminate in favour” of its own port activities.

This would be to the detriment of other users of the port facilities.

However, the legal update from Norton Rose Australia stated that a port user in a consortium “is not necessarily fatal to any ACCC clearance”.

“The port user or associate could have an immaterial shareholding or role that gave it no practical influence,” it said.

It added that the NSW government could pre-empt competition concerns by following the lead of the Queensland government, which imposed cross-ownership restrictions in the privatisation of the port of Brisbane.

Those restrictions meant port users and associates were limited to a 20 per cent stake in the successful consortium.

NSW Treasurer Mike Baird said the ACCC would be involved in granting any lease over Port Kembla.

“As is usual for transactions such as this, the ACCC will be responsible for looking at any potential competition issues as the process develops,” Mr Baird said.

“Any successful bid would have to have regulatory approval from the ACCC.

“Treasury expects to have ongoing engagement with the ACCC throughout the transaction process to ensure it has the information it needs to assess any potential competition issues which might arise.”

He said the “transaction process” was expected to start in the fourth quarter of 2012, with the planned handover of the port to the leaseholder to be in the first half of 2013.

Meanwhile, a public rally organised by the Save Our Ports Committee opposing the privatisation of Port Kembla will be held tomorrow at the boat ramp end of Foreshore Road at 2pm.

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Our forgotten tuberculosis cemetery

The council has not touched the site since 1967, leaving it to fall into disrepair. Wollongong City Council staff inspect graves at the overgrown Garrawarra Cemetery. Pictures: WOLLONGONG CITY COUNCIL
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Death has done little to restore the dignity of thousands of tuberculosis victims whose remains have lain forgotten in a deserted cemetery north of Wollongong for more than 50 years.

In an apparent bureaucratic bungle dating to the late 1960s, Wollongong City Council has only recently become aware of its role as guardian to the isolated Garrawarra Cemetery, north-west of Helensburgh.

The cemetery, unrecognisable in its current state due to overgrown bush and repeat vandalism, is home to the remains of an estimated 2000 men, women and children who died from tuberculosis between 1909 and 1957.

The victims were patients at the nearby Waterfall State Sanatorium for Tuberculosis, now known as the Garrawarra Hospital.

The complex was converted to an aged care facility in 1957.

The NSW Government gave the council custodianship of the cemetery in 1967, but historic records indicated no work had been done at the site since, leaving it to fall into a state of disrepair.

A staff report to next Monday’s council meeting described the situation as “unintentional neglect” on the council’s behalf, and questioned whether the 1967 aldermen and then-council administration had ever properly acknowledged the responsibility.

However, the report does say that the council was notified of its responsibility in 2000 by historians Carol and John Herben but “little action was taken in response to this notification”.

The matter was again flagged in 2011, in part by the Helensburgh Historical Society, and also during the council’s review of land zonings in Wollongong’s far-northern suburbs.

Council staff who visited the site earlier this year found it was heavily overgrown with vegetation and barely recognisable as a cemetery.

They also believed several fires has swept through the area, burning all traces of wooden crosses and timber markers in the cemetery.

Council officers were able to identify only 43 graves of the estimated 2000 believed to be on the site.

The report said an experienced archivist was attempting to compile a complete burial register for the site using records stored in the basement of the hospital.

Meantime, council staff have urged councillors to plan a course of action aimed at rectifying the mistakes of their forebears.

The staff have recommended a three-stage approach, which includes having a conservation management plan drawn up, estimated to cost about $10,000.

Staff have suggested the council organise a “Friends of the Cemetery” group.

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Meet the flag man of Coledale

Cleaning contractor and surfboard repairer John Wooldridge outside his Coledale home. Picture: KIRK GILMOURWith a different flag for every week of the year, he has become known as the flag man of Coledale.
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But things didn’t go all that well for John Wooldridge at first.

“My first – the Eureka flag – didn’t last 24 hours,” he recalled.

“Somebody pinched it – and they took off with the pole, as well.”

Undeterred, he went out and bought the same type of flag and has never had one stolen since.

Mr Wooldridge started collecting and flying flags three years ago from a specially built platform in a prominent position in his backyard above Lawrence Hargrave Drive, overlooking Sharkeys Beach.

“I was inspired by an old guy up near Coledale Hospital who only ever flew two flags – the Australian and the smiley flag,” he said.

Mr Wooldridge’s collection numbers about 70, with mainly British, Australian and novelty flags.

Most were bought over the internet but one was given to him by a passing motorist from Norfolk Island who wanted the island flag in the collection.

“They all get their turn during the year but the one the kids love is the skull and crossbones.”

Only one in the collection has attracted the thumbs-down – “the bird” flag.

“People find it a bit offensive but I fly it with the finger pointed outwards and I tell people it’s giving sailors the wind direction,” he said.

Mr Wooldridge, a sailor himself, said he uses the flags to help him assess wind strength.

“If the flag is a bit floppy then I wait a while until conditions improve.”

His plan is to erect a second flagpole to fly the Australian flag and Mr Wooldridge’s favourite sailing flag permanently.

Turn to Domain today to find out why Mr Wooldridge, a cleaning contractor and surfboard repairer, would never call anywhere else but Coledale home.

Coledale is one of Illawarra’s best property performers, with median house prices double that of the region.

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The pain of BlueScope continues

One year after BlueScope stunned the Illawarra with its cut-backs, the human and financial wounds are still smarting.
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As illustrated by our stories today, for the workers who lost their jobs, life after BlueScope has been a mixed bag of pain and success.

Some have retired rather happily.

Others have found work but, sadly, many have not.

The company, too, continues to struggle, this week posting its second successive $1 billion loss.

Meanwhile, the future – and, indeed, even the present – remains unclear.

Resources Minister Martin Ferguson says the boom is over.

Others disagree, including some of Mr Ferguson’s own colleagues, Reserve Bank governor Glenn Stevens and many independent economists.

When politicians and economists cannot even agree on what is happening now, it is difficult to hold any optimism about the future.

Whatever the truth of it, we can be sure that one day the boom will end, and if manufacturing is to have a future, it must start to look at other opportunities beyond providing goods for resources developments.

In the meantime, we can only hope that those who still suffer the pain of BlueScope’s troubles will soon find relief in new work.

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Stingays fired up for semis

Kim Bonilla, Ann Mayo and Blake Miller of the Illawarra Stingrays will be seeking revenge in tomorrow’s qualifying semi-final against Sydney University. Picture: DAVE TEASEPayback is high on the agenda for the Illawarra Stingrays in tomorrow’s qualifying semi-final against Sydney University.
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The Stingrays missed their chance at a fourth straight minor premiership but are determined to make amends by claiming a fourth consecutive crown.

Victory tomorrow would set up a major semi-final duel with top-ranked Macarthur.

Illawarra know Uni won’t roll out the welcome mat.

The Stingrays lost both of their meetings 1-0 during the season.

The players didn’t give a true account of themselves in either of those performances and are grateful for a shot at redemption.

“We definitely want some revenge. We have nothing to lose, so the pressure is more on the other team,” Illawarra’s American striker Kim Bonilla said.

“Unfortunately we didn’t have our best performances the two times we played against them.

“We have that in mind and we’re going towards this game with a lot of fire and determination.

“We know we didn’t give it our all and now is the time to prove to ourselves that we can do it and make up for some of the mistakes we’ve made in the past. This is like another opportunity’s been given to us so it’s exciting.”

The Stingrays warmed up for the play-offs with last week’s season-ending 8-0 drubbing of Blacktown.

“Everyone’s feeling good. We had a good session on Wednesday and there’s a really good vibe,” midfielder Ann Mayo said.

“We’re all pretty focused on the win because we’ve lost to Sydney Uni twice, so we really want to get up on them this weekend.

“In the first game against them we just had a bad day and weren’t clicking, but the second game we played well. We could’ve won but just couldn’t put our chances away. Hopefully this weekend those chances go in and we score some good goals.”

Falling short of a fourth successive minor premiership initially disappointed the Stingrays.

But they have regrouped and believe they can ease their pain with a fourth grand final triumph in as many years.

“Most definitely. We really want to retain the title,” Mayo said.

“We’re out to prove that we may not have won the [minor] premiership but our focus now is on making the grand final and winning it.”

Bonilla believes the Stingrays’ vast experience in finals matches will be crucial.

“People are feeling more comfortable in their positions and we’ve got people back from injury, so I think that will make a difference as well,” she said.

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Waterfall train tragedy on stage

Redfern playwright Alana Valentine’s new theatre work Dead Man Brake, about the Waterfall train disaster, is in development with Merrigong theatre company. Picture: C. MOORE HARDY The scene of the 6.24am Central to Port Kembla train tragedy.
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A theatre work about the Waterfall train disaster is being developed as the 10th anniversary of the tragedy looms.

Alana Valentine closely studied the accident and its aftermath and penned a short play after hearing of a teenage survivor who escaped the train wreck and dialled triple-0, only to be mistaken for a hoax caller.

“I became interested in the human side. Seven people died, but so many others were affected – the guard, the wife of the driver [who was killed],” Valentine said.

The playwright’s full-length work, Dead Man Brake in reference to a braking mechanism that failed to prevent the January 2003 disaster, is being developed with Illawarra professional theatre company, Merrigong.

It pairs verbatim material with imagined, poetry and dream sequences. The plot is carried by the character of a chaplain, who falls in and out of sleep in the waiting room of the public inquiry into the disaster, as he waits to give evidence.

Valentine hopes to make contact with people personally affected by the tragedy.

Those impacted – and the general public – will be able to see the fledgling work at IPAC next month and potentially shape the final product.

“I am less interested in why the disaster happened than in … how a community copes and the lasting impacts on a community of that disaster,” she said.

The in-progress performance on September 8 is part of Merrigong’s Ruff! program, which showcases developing works and invites feedback.

Dead Man Brake will be the seventh in-house production by Merrigong since 2006, when the company began seeking out stories “with local relevance and universal resonance”.

Another home-grown story, Table of Knowledge, on Wollongong’s sex and development scandal, was co-produced by the company.

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Cost of Unanderra lifts rises by $5.1mil

The cost to install lifts at Unanderra railway station has jumped to $16.5 million, RailCorp has revealed.
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The figure is $5.1 million more than the amount committed by the then NSW Labor government in 2009 when it announced $11.4 million for a station upgrade that included new lifts.

However, those campaigning for the new station access said yesterday the costs increase should not be used as an excuse not to install the lifts.

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The state government’s $770 million Transport Access Program has already provided funding for a new $39 million station at Flinders and upgrades at Dapto, Albion Park, Kiama, Oak Flats and Gerringong stations.

A RailCorp spokeswoman said the original upgrade at Unanderra station, due to take 18 months, was announced in June 2009, before detailed studies had been undertaken.

In September 2010, water, gas and signal cables were discovered under the planned lift pits, resulting in the need for a redesign and increased project cost.

“RailCorp completed a redesign for Unanderra station in September 2011 and found the estimated cost of the project would need to increase to approximately $16.5 million,” she said.

The spokeswoman said all station access projects were reviewed by the newly formed integrated transport authority, Transport for NSW, as part of the establishment of the Transport Access Program.

“The program ensures decisions about future access upgrades are integrated and based on evidence-based criteria.”

Wollongong MP Noreen Hay said yesterday she had never been told the lifts would now cost $16.5 million.

“No-one had suggested there was a cost blow-out … but quite frankly if it is $16 million then so be it,” she said.

“You can’t argue patronage when you obstruct patrons getting on the train.

“The reality is aged, frail and disabled have to get taxis to Dapto or Wollongong to access the train.”

South Coast Labour Council secretary Arthur Rorris said $16 million was “a small price to pay” to get around a ridiculous situation. “If that train station was built by anyone else it would be condemned,” he said.

Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian said she was unable to meet with Mr Rorris or fellow campaigners regarding the Unanderra railway station upgrade.

However, she said the station was another example of Labor announcing projects without doing its homework.

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Revenge time: Butchers V Tigers

Tigers Chris McBride (left), Jarrod Bremner, Wayne Boyle, Andrew Dallalana and Grant Smith. Picture: ANDY ZAKELIThirroul will be out to avenge a late loss to Helensburgh in the Illawarra Coal Cup qualifying final when the two sides meet again in the final at WIN Stadium tomorrow.
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The Butchers were ahead 18-6 before the Tigers snatched victory a fortnight ago with three tries and a conversion, all in the last nine minutes.

All the Tigers’ tries were scored as a result of wide bombs or floating chip-kicks mainly in the direction of aerial specialist, winger Wayne Bremner.

Thirroul go into the final on the back of a 40-14 win over Collegians in the minor semi-final last Saturday while Helensburgh lost to premiers Wests 26-16 in the major semi-final last Sunday.

Again the Tigers came home with a wet sail but this time the leeway was too much to make up.

Wests led 26-4 but the Tigers scored two converted tries in the last three minutes. So it’s never over when the Tigers and the Butchers play as both have a history of playing hard right to the full-time whistle.

The final is expected to be another close encounter between these two northern Illawarra rivals for the right to play Wests in the grand final next Sunday.

“It’s a replay from last year, down to the same three sides again and the same result. We’ve come back through the back door and we play Helensburgh who’ve just been beaten by Wests,” Thirroul coach Phil Ostwald said.

“So it’s the same scenario as last year.

“The last few times we’ve played Helensburgh there’s been nothing in it.

“It’ll be the same again. There’s not much between the two sides really. Very close.

“Obviously they scored some good tries off some good kicks. Our defence was pretty good that day but in saying that we need to limit their opportunities in our half.

“To do that we need to have good defence and also some good ball control.”

Ostwald described last week’s win over Collies as a good confidence booster.

“To come away with a good solid win was good. It had to be won. We had to work hard to get the result, which we did,” Ostwald said.

“It was good for the blokes’ confidence which is good at this time of the year.”

The up-front clash will pit the Burgh’s Ian Donnelly and Mark McLennan against Thirroul captain Bryce Forrest and Shane Grady while both sides have strong, mobile back rows in the Tigers’ Brock Gilmour, Steve McCallum and Regan Hyde and the Butchers’ Aaron Beath, Mark Sheppard and Matt Gallagher.

Rival hookers, Tigers player-coach Wade Humphreys and Thirroul’s best all season Joel Johnson, will play a crucial role in determining the outcome, especially from dummy-half. Also, the kicking in general play by Burgh halves Andrew Dallalana and Jarrod Boyle, especially across-field in the direction of Bremner, presents a danger.

Johnson is in some doubt and a final decision on whether he will play will be made today.

Wests and Corrimal will meet in all three lower-grade finals.

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Speed planting: dating trend for green singles

Landcare Singles Day participant Ailee Calderbank hopes friendship will bloom on September 1 at Rose Valley. Picture: KIRK GILMOURAilee Calderbank isn’t into speed dating, but speed planting is another story.
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She is among up to 50 environmentally conscious singles joining Landcare’s first foray into the region’s “dating for a cause” scene next month.

Instead of meeting at a bar over a drink, singles will congregate at Rose Valley, Gerringong, and share conversation while helping bush regeneration.

Organiser Megan Rowlatt said participants would be grouped according to age and given seedlings to plant, and questions to encourage conversation, not that prompting should be necessary in the relaxed atmosphere created by planting.

“It loosens people up and they sort of lose themselves in what they’re doing,” she said.

About half the 50 intended participants have registered for the September 1 event.

Ms Calderbank, 52, of Gerringong, said she was not focused on finding a partner but on meeting like-minded people.

“When you’re single, you really want to hang out with other single people just for the company, because people in couples don’t go out very often and they don’t invite you to dinner parties very often,” she said.

“I’ve never been to any singles thing ever but, because it’s Landcare … everything they run is worthwhile.”

Registrations can be made at [email protected]南京夜网 or 0412 532 817, before August 29. The seed planting starts at 11am, and the after-party at 5pm.

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