Home owners save by building up

Jack O’Kane in the attic bedroom his father, Jamie, built recently. Picture: SYLVIA LIBER Textile artist and teacher Fiona McKay in the artspace that was once an unused area under her Mangerton home. Picture: ROBERT PEET
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A house under construction at Keiraville that has a multi-purpose garage with a room on top. Picture: ROBERT PEET

Home owners could help their bank balance and the environment by using existing space around the house rather than extending or moving, a Wollongong architect said yesterday.

Architect Andrew Conacher said creating rooms in roof and foundation cavities or garages saved money, and had the potential to minimise the urban sprawl that was robbing cities like Wollongong and Sydney of productive farming land.

“Using this type of space is a growing trend and should be encouraged,” Mr Conacher said.

“It’s one of the ways to reduce the housing footprint that is already encroaching on previously good farming land at places like West Dapto and Gerringong.

“I cringe when I travel through Gerringong and see the urban sprawl, which makes me wonder what artist Lloyd Rees would think of the landscape he once painted.”

Mr Conacher said many major cities – Wollongong included – knew land was running out 25 years ago, and it was time they started using existing residential developments more creatively.

He converted the empty space under his house at Mangerton into an art room for his wife four years ago. It was a success, and as a spare bedroom saved “significantly” on an extension.

Jamie O’Kane from Corrimal recently turned roof space in his duplex into a third bedroom for his two-year-old son, Jack.

“My wife, Bree, is having our second baby, so I was lying awake at night worrying about either moving or putting on an extra room, and we can’t really afford either at the moment,” he said.

He built a bedroom, a small office for his wife and a set of permanent stairs to safety specifications for his young son.

“We are really pleased because it came in at about $6000 compared to a major renovation of about $100,000 or the cost involved in moving to a bigger house,” Mr O’Kane said.

A Wollongong City Council spokesman said any conversion of roof or underfloor space would need to comply with the Building Code of Australia in terms of issues such as head clearance, light, ventilation, access and exits.

Development applications would be needed in some but not all conversions of this type.

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Pair found guilty of Matthew Digby kidnap and murder

Matthew Digby.A jury has found two people guilty of kidnapping and murdering Wollongong man Matthew Digby.
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Richard James Walsh, of Dapto, and Lauren Mae Batcheldor, of Albion Park Rail, will be sentenced on November 2 after the NSW Supreme Court handed down guilty verdicts today at 12.20pm.

They had been deliberating since 1.15pm Wednesday.

The body of 35-year-old Digby was found inside a smouldering car at Mount Murray on January 25, 2010.

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Warwick & District Junior Rugby League 2012 Grand Finals

Warwick & District Junior Rugby League 2012 grand finals in Tenterfield. Warwick & District Junior Rugby League 2012 grand finals in Tenterfield.
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Warwick & District Junior Rugby League 2012 grand finals in Tenterfield.

Warwick & District Junior Rugby League 2012 grand finals in Tenterfield.

Warwick & District Junior Rugby League 2012 grand finals in Tenterfield.

Warwick & District Junior Rugby League 2012 grand finals in Tenterfield.

Warwick & District Junior Rugby League 2012 grand finals in Tenterfield.

Warwick & District Junior Rugby League 2012 grand finals in Tenterfield.

Warwick & District Junior Rugby League 2012 grand finals in Tenterfield.

Warwick & District Junior Rugby League 2012 grand finals in Tenterfield.

Warwick & District Junior Rugby League 2012 grand finals in Tenterfield.

Warwick & District Junior Rugby League 2012 grand finals in Tenterfield.

Warwick & District Junior Rugby League 2012 grand finals in Tenterfield.

Warwick & District Junior Rugby League 2012 grand finals in Tenterfield.

Warwick & District Junior Rugby League 2012 grand finals in Tenterfield.

Warwick & District Junior Rugby League 2012 grand finals in Tenterfield.

Warwick & District Junior Rugby League 2012 grand finals in Tenterfield.

Warwick & District Junior Rugby League 2012 grand finals in Tenterfield.

Warwick & District Junior Rugby League 2012 grand finals in Tenterfield.

Warwick & District Junior Rugby League 2012 grand finals in Tenterfield.

Warwick & District Junior Rugby League 2012 grand finals in Tenterfield.

Warwick & District Junior Rugby League 2012 grand finals in Tenterfield.

Warwick & District Junior Rugby League 2012 grand finals in Tenterfield.

Warwick & District Junior Rugby League 2012 grand finals in Tenterfield.

Warwick & District Junior Rugby League 2012 grand finals in Tenterfield.

Warwick & District Junior Rugby League 2012 grand finals in Tenterfield.

Warwick & District Junior Rugby League 2012 grand finals in Tenterfield.

Warwick & District Junior Rugby League 2012 grand finals in Tenterfield.

Warwick & District Junior Rugby League 2012 grand finals in Tenterfield.

Warwick & District Junior Rugby League 2012 grand finals in Tenterfield.

Warwick & District Junior Rugby League 2012 grand finals in Tenterfield.

Warwick & District Junior Rugby League 2012 grand finals in Tenterfield.

Warwick & District Junior Rugby League 2012 grand finals in Tenterfield.

Warwick & District Junior Rugby League 2012 grand finals in Tenterfield.

Warwick & District Junior Rugby League 2012 grand finals in Tenterfield.

Warwick & District Junior Rugby League 2012 grand finals in Tenterfield.

Warwick & District Junior Rugby League 2012 grand finals in Tenterfield.

Warwick & District Junior Rugby League 2012 grand finals in Tenterfield.

Warwick & District Junior Rugby League 2012 grand finals in Tenterfield.

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Wollongong: Man charged over drug and cash stash

A man will face court next month after police allegedly discovered cannabis and more than $15,000 in cash, believed to be the proceeds of crime, at a Wollongong home.
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An investigation into drug supply in the Illawarra led police to a Market Street property about 9pm last night.

Inside the home, they allegedly found cannabis and the cash, which is believed to be the proceeds of crime.

A 40-year-old man was arrested and later charged with supplying cannabis and dealing with the proceeds of crime.

He was granted bail to appear in Wollongong Local Court on September 5.

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Children threatened with knife: police

Police are appealing for information after a man approached two teenage boys at Lake Heights.
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About 2.30pm yesterday, two boys aged 12 and 14, were walking along the cycleway between the Warrawong and Berkeley.

Officers have been told a man approached the boys and produced a knife.

After a short conversation, both boys ran east along the cycleway and spoke to a cyclist.

Investigators from Lake Illawarra Local Area Command are investigating the incident but have not yet spoken with this cyclist.

Police are appealing for the cyclist to contact them to help with their investigation.

Detectives also want to speak to a man who may be able to assist with their inquiries.

He is described as being of Caucasian appearance, 20-30 years old, 180 centimetres tall, with a thin build. At the time he was wearing a white hooded jumper with the hood over his head, a dark baseball cap and sunglasses and grey coloured tracksuit pants.

Anyone with information is urged to contact Lake Illawarra Police Station or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

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United facing a tough run-in

Wollongong United players Joel Taddeo, Rick Goodchild and Marcelo Guerrero train on Thursday night. Albion Park are looking to upset Wollongong’s top-five chances at Terry Reserve today. Picture: ANDY ZAKELI
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Beware the carefree Albion Park: that’s the message from Wollongong United skipper Ricky Goodchild as the White Eagles look to puncture the finals chances of their Bert Bampton Cup nemesis.

Out of contention for the Illawarra Premier League finals, a free-flowing Albion Park delivered a blow to Dapto Dandaloo’s title hopes in an entertaining 2-2 draw last weekend.

Now they have their sights set on wrecking Wollongong United’s post-season plans as the one-time competition leaders cling to a top five berth.

“They’ve got some quality players,” Goodchild said. “At the start of the season I definitely thought they would be top four or five easily.

“When they click they’re going to be very dangerous.

“I watched them against [Dapto] Dandaloo on the weekend and they could have won that game. We have to be on the top of our game to get the points there.”

The trip to Terry Reserve forms part of a testing run-in for Wollongong United, who will play last season’s grand finalists Dapto Dandaloo and Tarrawanna in the final two rounds.

Steve Micevski’s men currently occupy a finals spot – four points ahead of sixth-placed Wollongong Olympic whose finals chances have plummeted in recent weeks.

“We’ve got a little bit of a gap now, but we’ve got a very hard run in with Albion Park, [Dapto] Dandaloo and Tarrawanna,” Goodchild said.

“It’s definitely not sewn up and we just have to go into this weekend looking to get the three points against Albion Park at their home ground.”

Wollongong United snapped a four-match losing streak in the league with a comprehensive 3-0 win over Wollongong Olympic last weekend.

It was a match Goodchild hopes will set a trend defensively for the rest of the season.

“We’ve always scored goals, but as a team defensively we haven’t been at our best and have given away cheap goals,” he said.

“We’ve led games and then we’ve let it slip and lost. That’s probably been our downfall, so it was really good to keep a clean sheet.”

Title contenders Dapto Dandaloo, Bulli and Tarrawanna will also be in action today.

Cringila and Port Kembla kicked off round 20 last night.

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‘His first attack was fatal’: cyclist Robbie Williams dead

Died while training … Robbie Williams. Photo: CYCLING NSWThe cycling world and Shoalhaven sporting community has been shocked by the sudden death of local award winning and multiple race winning cyclist Robbie Williams.
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Mr Williams, 27, the son of well-known local doctor Bruce Williams and his wife Sue, died in Canberra on Tuesday morning during a bunch training ride, the South Coast Register reported.

An ambulance crew attended to the cyclist on the scene on Gungahlin Drive near Belconnen Way just after 6am.

He was then transported to Calvary Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

An autopsy revealed the star cyclist suffered sudden fatal cardiac arrhythmia (an irregular heartbeat or abnormal heart rhythm).

Mr Williams, the 2007 Goulburn to Sydney winner, was a stalwart of the domestic cycling scene in the mid 2000s and a multiple champion of the Nowra Velo Club.

Starring as a junior triathlete, he won the Shoalhaven Sportstar of the Year award in 2000-2001 but made his name riding for the Drapac Cycling squad, in which he flourished as an all-rounder and included a win in Australia’s second longest race, the iconic Goulburn to Sydney.

Williams rode with the DFL-Cyclingnews南京夜网-Litespeed team in Belgium before joining the Melbourne-based Drapac Porsche squad in 2007.

His father Dr Williams said the sudden fatal cardiac arrhythmia was impossible to foresee.

“We are just devastated,” he said.

“Some people are lucky they get warnings and can have things investigated, unfortunately for Robbie his first attack was fatal.

“The heart stops beating normally and therefore stops pumping blood.”

While unsure of what his son would have actually felt Dr Williams said they have been told Robbie had just pulled a turn on the front of the training group ride.

“Apparently he pulled off a little bit earlier than normal and went to the back of the group,” he said.

“Whether he felt funny or not, perhaps dizzy, short of breath, we’ll never know.

“I would say he would have been unconscious on the bike and dead before he fell off.

“The group said and all they heard was a crash – there was no car involved, no obstacles, no black ice – they just heard a crash.”

Mr Williams said his son was wearing a helmet at the time of the accident.

“It is something totally unforseen and unpredictable.”

It is a condition that has struck down two elite level footballers in recent months.

Italian Piermario Morosini succumbed to it in April while weeks earlier Fabrice Muamba survived a similar episode in London while playing in the English Premier League.

“They are fit and well, it is an undiagnosable condition,” Dr Williams said.

“At least [Robbie] died doing what he enjoyed. Certainly, we would all like to go that way.”

He dismissed reports that his son had a pre-existing medical condition.

“He was a fit as a Mallee bull and always was,” he said.

“While he had not competitively raced since 2010, he always maintained his fitness and was riding regularly.”

Mr Williams had not long become engaged to his fiancee Claerewyn and the pair planned to be married on New Year’s Eve.

The couple were living in Yass, with Mr Williams working in Canberra for RBS Morgan after having completed a commerce degree at the University of Wollongong.

There was talk of him possibly relocating back to Nowra to further his financial career.

A service to celebrate his life will be staged this Saturday from noon at his grandparents’ property at 226B McMahons Road, North Nowra (right at the end of McMahons Road) to which all are welcome to attend.

The family plans to hold a private service later in the week.

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Attempted abduction at Albion Park

Police are appealing for public assistance following the attempted abduction of a girl at Albion Park yesterday.
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A group of students left Albion Park High School in Church Street about 1pm to walk to a nearby location for sport.

Two girls aged 13 and 14, who left a short time after the main group, were approached by a man as they walked through an alley leading onto Beveridge Street.

Police said the man grabbed the younger girl by the wrist and attempted to pull her away.

She managed to break free and both girls ran to the sporting grounds and told the teacher.

The man has been described as being 183 centimetres tall, aged in his 50s, of thin build with grey hair. He was wearing a black hooded top and black tracksuit pants.

Lake Illawarra Local Area Command is investigating.

Meanwhile, the incident has prompted police again to encourage parents to reinforce the ‘‘Safe people, safe places’’ messages with their children, including:

– Make sure your parents or another adult you know knows where you are at all times.

– Always walk straight home or to the place you are walking to. Walk near busier roads and streets, or use paths where there are lots of other people.

– Know where safe places are – a shop, service station, police station, library or school. If you are ever frightened, you should go to one of these places and ask them to call the police.

– Learn about safe adults you can look for and talk to if you need help – police officers, teachers at school, adults you know and trust.

– Don’t talk to people you don’t know and never get into a car with someone you don’t know. If a car stops on the side of the road and you don’t know the person inside, do not stop.

– If you are scared and can use a phone, call triple-0 and tell them you are scared.

– If someone tries to grab you, yell out, ‘‘Go away, I don’t know you.’’ This lets other people know you have been approached by someone you don’t know.

Anyone with information about this incident should call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or use the Crime Stoppers online reporting page: https://www1.police.nsw.gov.au/. Information you provide will be treated in the strictest of confidence. We remind people they should not report crime information via our Facebook and Twitter pages.

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Bede Murray toasts 50 years

… with wife Edie at Kembla Grange … … their son Paul Murray…
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and with his first group-class winner Hussar’s Command.

Bede Murray and his star galloper Universal Prince …

For a man who has been around horses almost his entire life, only once has Bede Murray felt completely out of place.

“I went to Melbourne with no hope,” he said of a 1983 expedition with Hussar’s Command.

“I’d never been to Melbourne before.

“When I drove over the top of Flemington and saw the size of the track I thought, ‘God, what am I doing here?’ We had to run fourth or better in the Hotham Handicap (now Lexus Stakes) to get a run in the Melbourne Cup.”

Considering Murray’s long and distinguished career, it was no surprise how Hussar’s Command fared.

“He was in front past the clock tower [200 metres pole] and just got nabbed on the post and ran second,” Murray said.

“He was automatically in the Melbourne Cup.”

History has Hussar’s Command leading the Melbourne Cup field into the straight that year.

He eventually wilted to finish eighth, providing Murray with a “great memory”, as Kiwi stormed from second-last on the turn to win the race that stops a nation.

Fast forward almost 30 years and Murray is again celebrating a remarkable milestone.

It’s taken a fair bit longer to achieve than his first Melbourne Cup runner, but it’s noteworthy nonetheless.

Today the Illawarra Turf Club will make a special presentation to Murray on the eve of the 50th anniversary of his first winner at Kembla Grange.

First winner

Murray remembers it like it was yesterday.

“You always remember your first,” he said.

The horse was Corn Vista, the day was August 29 and the man Murray is forever thankful to was Ted Latta. On the verge of taking out his trainer’s licence after riding as an amateur on the “number nine picnic circuit”, Murray was persuaded to head to the sales by Latta where they purchased Corn Vista.

“He came down and I said he’s very fat and out of nick,” Murray recalled.

“I worked him and he did well and he ran third at his first run and we went back to Kembla his next start and he won.”

The ill-fated Corn Vista won multiple times in the city before being involved in an ugly five-horse fall at Warwick Farm in Sydney.

Nevertheless, he had provided the springboard to the former dairy farmer’s career and Latta was keen to send more horses in his direction.

“I ended up having six to eight horses while trying to do the dairy so I ended up training horses full-time,” Murray said.

“Luckily it worked out.”

Top gallopers

Elkalyn, Hussar’s Command, Universal Prince, Victory Vein, Half Hennessy, Coniston Bluebird – all names synonymous with Murray’s success.

Hussar’s Command really put the South Coast horseman on the map, winning the 1982 Villiers before snaring the Doomben and Ipswich cups.

“Hussar’s Command in the ’80s was my first group winner,” Murray said.

“I was pretty lucky right throughout the years as I’ve usually had one horse that’s a city-class horse and kept me at the forefront a bit.”

And Murray was definitely front and centre at the turn of this century when Universal Prince, Victory Vein and Half Hennessy burst onto the scene.

A winner of almost $3 million in prizemoney, Universal Prince pinched the Spring Champion, Canterbury Guineas, Australian Derby and Ranvet at group 1 level.

Champion juvenile Victory Vein cut her opposition to shreds during a stellar two-year-old season which had her a head short of claiming the Triple Crown.

Half Hennessy was the second of three Murray-trained horses to win a derby after claiming the Queensland version in 2003.

Coniston Bluebird completed the trifecta in New Zealand six years later.

Country and

family influence

Despite all the horses who have come and gone, two things have never changed in Murray’s operation – the family and country always come first.

“The country lifestyle – that’s my style,” Murray said on why he had never taken up offers to train at a metropolitan track or overseas.

“Twenty years ago we bought stables at Kembla. We’ve run it with the farm and it’s been a very good combination.

“I was probably one of the very early ones and a lot of other trainers have followed suit with a property in conjunction with their training stables.”

Behind the scenes all along has been Murray’s wife, Edie, who has run the administration side of the business.

And then there are sons Graeme and Paul, thrust into the racing life much like Bede was when father Bill rode against his barely teenage son at a bush racing carnival.

“The pressure of training and handling good horses has been nothing new to him and Graeme.”

The future

Think Murray is ready to retire? Not quite yet.

Even considering that he’s closer to 80 than 70 now.

“I haven’t got any physical problems and I enjoy what I do. I think that makes a big difference – if you enjoy what you do.”

Regardless of whether he has a winner today, Murray will toast a victory just by being at the track.

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Bones unearthed in Southern Highlands backyard

Police are conducting tests to determine if bones unearthed in the backyard of a Southern Highlands home are human.
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Officers were called to the Aylmerton home about 10.30am yesterday after landscapers uncovered skeletal remains in a garden bed.

A crime scene was established and several bones were taken away to be tested.

Initial results from a number of small bones indicate they belong to an animal, but police are waiting on results from larger bones to determine if they are human.

Anyone with relevant information is asked to contact Bowral police on 4862 9299 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

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