Harvey-Waroona Reporter’s year in review - A look back at the biggest headlines of 2021
Divisive council decisions, bush fires, lockdowns and elections swept through 2021 and caught everyone’s attention. These are some of the biggest moments that made headlines throughout the Shire of Harvey from beginning to end.
Gone but not forgotten
After half a decade Yarloop residents believed not enough had been done to reduce the risks of another town wipe out and called on authorities to take action.
Farm theft trauma
A Yarloop grandmother lost $30,000 worth of jewellery and heirlooms after her farmhouse was ransacked in a callous burglary just days after Christmas.
A 73-year-old grandfather embarked on a 681km journey from Yarloop to Esperance, but Rex Piggott didn’t use a car, van or bus — he took to the road on his trusty tractor.
The great divide
After conceding there was a great divide between the northern and southern ends of the shire, councillors considered changing the name of The Shire of Harvey.
WA had a rude case of deja-poo when toilet paper was wiped from the shelves in a panic buying marathon sequel starring COVID-19.
Teen rescues truckie from cab
Brunswick teenager Anthony Carbone helped drag a truck driver “hanging” from inside his vehicle after a collision with a train in Benger.
Bales of kindness
Farmers from across the South West and Peel regions united again to help deliver hay to bushfire victims in Perth, after a devastating loss of 86 homes in the Perth Hills.
Local pair join blaze fight
Two Leschenault volunteers were among the brave troops sent out to help save lives and homes in Wooroloo. The catastrophic blaze was one of WA’s worst since the Yarloop-Waroona fire.
Dealt another blow
A Waroona winery suffered more than $100,000 of damage after a fire swept through the vineyard on Wednesday afternoon — just three weeks before the grapes would have been harvested.
Grilled in the hot seat
While young Liberal leader Zak Kirkup may have conceded defeat against Labor leader and favourite Mark McGowan, the race for the seat of Murray-Wellington was closer than ever.
Police investigated whether a fallen tree branch contributed to the death of a man in Harvey. Major crash investigations were under way, however the mess left behind at the scene indicated a fallen branch may have caused the crash.
Town pumped to get heart
While the Peel town of Waroona may be filled with colourful characters, public art and facilities, long-time calls to establish a community “heart” that had previously gone unanswered finally gained traction.
The Shire of Harvey and Murray-Wellington Liberal candidate Michelle Boylan became caught up in a fake pamphlet scandal days before the State election.
Murray-Wellington MLA Robyn Clarke won her seat with ease, beating Liberal hopeful Michelle Boylan, with two-thirds of the votes in the two-party preferred system.
Shire rated ‘F’
Ratepayers reached for the red pen to whack the Harvey Shire Council with a big fat F, in a review which indicated it failed to respect community views, understand the community and communicate a clear vision for the area.
Don’t have a cow, man!
Murray-Wellington MLA Robyn Clarke didn’t mince her words in a response to farmers who last week criticised her for endorsing a pro-vegan group while representing a large agricultural electorate known for its beef and dairy.
That’s out of line
The Waroona Shire was shifted into the Forrest Federal electorate under proposed changes being made by the Australian Electoral Commission.
Tree blue for mental woes
The iconic skeletal tree at the entrance to a Myalup brewery was given a makeover to help raise awareness about mental health, with blue trees sprouting throughout the South West.
Between a broc and a barred place
A broccolini grower in the South West that supplies produce to major supermarket chains across WA led calls for the State Government to reverse its decision to cancel international flights carrying 140 workers from Vanuatu because of the potential impact on the horticulture industry.
Waroona peeled off by snap lockdown
The Peel town of Waroona was the southern most community to be included in a snap three-day COVID lockdown during a long weekend after a man became infected with a highly transmissible UK strain.
The $14m question
Shire of Harvey councillors decided whether to back a report outlining the proposed details of a $14 million transformation of the Leschenault Leisure Centre.
Sports grounds get the nod
Plans to develop two major sporting precincts within the Shire of Harvey took a leap forward, when both proposals were given the nod by councillors.
Cabbie puts brakes on fond journey
He’s the man you call after a big nightout. He can drive you to and from medical appointments, and he might even get paid with sausages but on June 25, Harvey Taxi owner Ian Munro hung up the keys for the final time.
Police ask for violence tag
A South West meth addict who choked his partner in front of their child narrowly escaped being labelled a serial offender despite a 10-year history of breaching family violence restraining orders.
Border woes set to stay
Waroona Shire president Mike Walmsley was leading calls for border checkpoints to be shifted south if the Peel region was to be plunged into another COVID-19 lockdown to prevent residents of one coastal town being cut off from shops and amenities.
No FIFO staff to see here
Contractor Monadelphous rejected union claims it was using interstate fly-in, fly-out workers instead of local workers on Albemarle’s Kemerton lithium hydroxide plant project.
Time to put Waroona on the map
A promise to pump $1.3 million into breathing new life into Waroona took a big step forward after a visit from Premier Mark McGowan last week.
Don’t walk the plank
Question marks were still hanging over a timeline for reopening the six-decade-old Australind Jetty after it was closed to the public at the beginning of the year.
Fight to save RSL
The Waroona-Hamel RSL sub-branch is at risk of closing its doors for good after 102 years of service if its membership does not increase in coming months, according to the group’s out going president.
Life in the slow lane
The stretch of South Western Highway through the Peel town of Waroona was slashed to 40km/h after years of calls from residents and civic leaders.
Lodge under fire
The daughter of an elderly man who died from severe dehydration and pneumonia believes her father was not given water in his final days at the Hocart Lodge Aged Centre.
Ponzi ‘victims’ share stories
Harvey’s modest Amana Inn became a meeting point for a multitude of normal, hard-working people — from Harvey, Bunbury, Busselton, Australind, Perth and elsewhere — coming to terms with the brutal facts that the earnings from those years of hard work were gone.
All out of lock
Streets were bare, hospitality venues were empty but community spirit still shone through once again as Waroona was included in the third Peel and Perth lockdown.
Tough game for Hughes
Ethan Hughes returned to the Fremantle Dockers team after 11 weeks, but the defender struggled as his side was outclassed by Geelong.
No kids allowed
Harvey’s only dedicated youth centre — which aimed to keep children engaged and off the streets — was forced to close its doors.
It’s time to get tough on crime
Installing a better CCTV network, strengthening ties with police and improving lighting on the streets were all part of the Shire of Harvey’s five-year plan to stamp out crime and keep the community safe.
Harvey netball product Donnell Wallam decided not to take the option of a second year at the Leeds Rhinos to move back to Australia and be closer to family.
‘Lion King’ to leave pride
Harvey-Brunswick-Leschenault mutually parted ways with coach John Baggetta after being booted out of the SWFL finals in straight sets for a second consecutive year.
No need to vote
The Shire of Waroona’s new look council was decided without an election after just four people stood for the same number of vacancies.
A neighbourly dispute about a gate which had stretched on for more than five years was finally slammed shut by the Waroona Shire council.
Break down the walls
Former Harvey Bull’s star Kaine Ah Chee spoke to the Harvey-Waroona Reporter on the eve of Mental Health Week about the importance of breaking down the stigma surrounding mental health.
Gillett: The Best a Man Can Get
The Harvey community showed its faith in Shire president Paul Gillett by re-electing him to the council.
Waroona and Brunswick put on a show
The region held its two biggest agricultural shows — with thousands flocking to Brunswick and Waroona to embrace the festivities.
Here for all to sea
Waroona Shire voted to adopt the Preston Beach Foreshore Management Plan — including an ocean-view lookout.
Back on the horse
Perth Cup-winning jockey and Myalup product Lucy Warwick returned to the saddle after she was hospitalised due to a fall.
Hough to the Eagles
Harvey’s Brady Hough was picked up by the West Coast with pick 31 of the AFL Draft — heading to the club he had supported since he was a boy.
Waroona on track for rail stop
Plans to include Waroona as a stop on the potential Perth-to-Bunbury fast rail line are steaming ahead after Waroona Shire chief executive Mark Goodlet met with the Public Transport Authority.
Waroona police slammed drink drivers in the region after three men were caught driving under the influence across a single weekend, with one officer warning a license can disappear “as quickly as a middy”.
Games berth on the cards
Calvin Rodgers was named in the five-person vision-impaired lawn bowls squad to trial for the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games.
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