Catalina bought for Rathmines musuem

LIKE a wartime fighter plane coming out of the sun, the news that a historic Catalina aircraft had been bought in Puerto Rico specifically for display in Rathmines came out of the blue.
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Rathmines Catalina Memorial Park Trust registrar Penny Furner delivered the news on Anzac Day.

“We are just a small group and nobody else knew we were buying a disused Catalina though we had been looking for seven years,” Ms Furner said.

“We always wanted a static display Catalina but until about a month ago it was just a wish. It has happened very fast.”

Several groups, including Lake Macquarie City Council, the Catalina Flying Memorial, Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club and Ms Furner’s Rathmines group are signatories to a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to create a Catalina museum, including a hangar and an operational aircraft, on the famous wartime airbase at Rathmines.

“I was an RAAF brat and my father was a CO at the base and that’s basically the reason for my interest in the project,” Ms Furner said.

Funds generated by the annual Catalina Festival have already helped the Richmond-based Catalina Flying Memorial acquire a Catalina in Portugal and fly it to Australia.

But the new Catalina, a rare PBY-5A and a model that operated from Rathmines, will not displace the operational aircraft.

“The new static aircraft will complement it,” Ms Furner said.

“Our MoU was to provide a hanger at Rathmines so the Flying Memorial’s operational aircraft could be based here but clearly it would not be practical to have the public tramping through it every day whereas our static display aircraft will be perfect for just that, though it will mean we will need a slightly bigger hangar.”

Ms Furner said it will cost about $40,000 to ship the aircraft.

“We have the aircraft and we have the funding to bring it home which we expect to achieve later in the year,” she said.

“But now we need to really get cracking on funding and completing the hangar.”

PLANE TO SEE: This disused Catalina in Puerto Rico has been bought for an upcoming museum static display in Rathmines.

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Vandals hit park: Arsonists destroy Bellevue play equipment overnight

More than $60,000 damage to Mudgee’s Bellevue Estate Playground will keep it out of action for several weeks after fire destroyed the site yesterday.
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Arsonists set fire to the playground’s Pirate Ship, destroying the structure along with nearby slide, stairs, cargo net, and the ground-level wooden boundary.

Mid-Western Regional Council and local residents were quick to voice their frustration across social media yesterday as news broke via pictures on several Facebook sites.

Council was beyond disappointed and said acts such as this made it hard to provide quality facilities and services for the community.

On first look at the damage, council’s business manager resources and recreation, Julian Geddes, described the scene as “devastating”.

“Council puts a lot of effort in to maintain parks and playgrounds for the region at about $80,000 per annum and to see vandalism ruin all that makes it disappointing,” he said.

“The playground is closed for the immediate future and we have reported the incident to police.”

The arson is likely to be an insurance claim but there will be added costs to ratepayers. Council will now have to allocate staff to fix the site which may be a timely and expensive process.

“All of the equipment will have to be replaced as it’s clearly not repairable,” Mr Geddes said.

“It’s a shame, because this is a growth area of town and it will be an inconvenience to surrounding families who use the park.”

The playground is about three to four years old and it’s not the first time it has experienced vandalism.

“We were about to repair the shade sails at this playground. They too were destroyed by vandals,” Mr Geddes said.

“This is one of the only facilities of its kind up this end of town. It was pretty popular as it was unique and attracted plenty of children.”

Visitors to the Mudgee Local Area Command’s Facebook page described the incident as “horrible and pointless”.

Anybody who has information about the fire is encouraged to contact Mudgee Police at the station on 6372 8599 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

BURNT OFF: Mid-Western Regional Council business manager resources and recreation, Julian Geddes, was devastated to see Bellevue Park destroyed by vandals on Tuesday morning. PHOTO by DARREN SNYDER

Julian Geddes examines the damage at Bellevue Park. PHOTO by DARREN SNYDER

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ALP turn up pressure over cuts to pump out subsidies

NSW Opposition Leader John Robertson has called on the O’Farrell Government to drop plans to scrap a subsidy that will shift sewage pump costs from the State Government to Blue Mountains residents and ratepayers.
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Seventy-two Blue Mountains homes not on the sewer system currently enjoy the subsidy which sees them pay about $600 a year for pump out costs. This will rise to $4900 after the State Government told Blue Mountains City Council in March it will start to wind back the program from July 1 and it will be phased out completely by 2016.

Previously Blue Mountains City Council staff undertook the activity, but it was funded by the State Government.

“The O’Farrell Government has gone mad with its cost-cutting,” Mr Robertson said during a visit to the Blue Mountains last Friday.

“This decision was made without any consultation and is a total surprise to families in the Blue Mountains. We are appealing to the O’Farrell Government to reconsider its plan and restore the Blue Mountains septic pump out scheme,”he said.

Labor spokeswoman for Blue Mountains Trish Doyle said “the community is very concerned and struggling families will find it almost impossible to find an extra $4000 a year”.

Labor Councillor Mick Fell said the subsidy cut was “a blatant attempt to shift the cost for sewerage treatment in some of the most sensitive areas to a handful of individual households and to council”.

“Individual households are unlikely to be able to afford the extra thousands of dollars per year that this move would cost them and any cost shifting to council would severely impact on our ability to provide a range of services,” he said.

But Blue Mountains MP Roza Sage said the subsidy was “only ever intended as a temporary measure” and Sydney Water would continue to “work with customers and Blue Mountains City Council to try to minimise the impact of the price increases as much as possible”.

Mrs Sage said the subsidy program “was designed to protect the environment and public health in the period before reticulated sewerage became more widely available”.

“Fourteen thousand properties in the Blue Mountains have now been sewered at a cost of $300 million,” she said.

“The subsidy that the small number of remaining customers receive for their septic pump out service will be phased out over three years. This provides time for customers to consider their options and during this time Sydney water will continue to update them and investigate ways to minimise the impacts of this change. Sydney Water has also met with Blue Mountains City Council regarding this matter.

“I would ask the leader of the opposition if he would then be in favour of applying a subsidy to all the many other areas of NSW where there is a pump out service?”

NSW Opposition Leader John Robertson with Blue Mountains Labor spokeswoman Trish Doyle and (back) Upper House MP Helen Westwood, Labor water spokesman Walt Secord and Ward 3 Clr Mick Fell.

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LETTER: Objectionable cartoon

Dear editor,
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I count myself as a fairly tolerantindividual and my line of work has taught me that treating everyone I meet withfairness is the way to go. However I find myself unable to contain my disgustat the Zanetti cartoon in Friday’s Yass Tribune.

I believe any journalist or commentatorwho tries to link the Anzac story to modern life is treading in a minefieldstrewn with the debris of some very serious miscalculations.

Linking Anzacs to border security is avery long stretch, in my opinion, as they fought in a place very far from homeand the strategic purpose of that conflict had little relevance to our ownnational borders.

At best the cartoon makes a veryquestionable statement about the arrival of asylum seekers by portraying anethnically stereotyped individual sneaking off a boat. Are you implying byincluding this cartoon, as Tony Abbott did with his ill-fated sign in WA thisweek, that asylum seekers are actually illegal?

The current LNP federal opposition hasnot been corrected in the mainstream press regarding this misrepresentation andit seems your newspaper is not going to do it either.

We have been treated to editorialopinion in recent times about balanced reporting and I suppose this cartoon isrepresentative of one side of an argument but I believe you also have aresponsibility to present the truth and this effort fails miserably.

However people may view the arrival ofpeople from other countries who are seeking a better life in a prosperouscountry, international law protects the rights of them to do so and does notregard them as criminals. In law they are within their rights to come hereregardless of what individuals here may think.

Perhaps Zanetti should have placed hissubjects in an airport where vastly more people enter the country and simplyfail to leave, compared to those making the perilous journey by boat. But thatwould not work nearly as well as it bypasses popular misconceptions.

To link this sad untruth to the Anzaclegend just compounds the damage.

Phillip Armour is upset and disgusted about the Zanetti cartoon in last Friday’s Tribune.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.