Highs and lows of 2018 in the Great Southern

Albany Advertiser
The house in Napier destroyed by fire.
Camera IconThe house in Napier destroyed by fire. Credit: Laurie Benson Albany Advertiser

It was another massive year in news in Albany and the Great Southern.

May’s bushfires dominated the headlines with more than 50 fires flaring in a 24-hour period, leaving fire crews strecthed to the brink, one home destroyed, hundreds of livestock lost and bushland razed.

Road deaths to continued to remain in the headlines as did the future of a hotel in Albany at both Middleton Beach and the Albany waterfront.

January

· Former Premier Hotel licensee Graeme Cooper sentenced to 10 years prison for arson.

· Albany photographers were out in force for once-in-a-lifetime super blue moon event.

· State Administrative Tribunal gave Chester Pass Roundabout the tick.

· Goode Beach hotel development hit a hurdle when 2500 people signed a petition against it.

February

· A rare, venomous blue sea dragon washed up on Middleton Beach.

· Rob Jackman jailed for fleecing investors in a $1.8 million ‘deceptive’ plot in an attempt to save his business.

· Reports revealed cost of the Tourism Centre blew out by $350,000.

March

· Racewars car racing event brought thousands to Albany.

· City of Albany confirmed it planned to be powered entirely by renewables within years.

· Jerramungup’s Melanie Baldwin and Denmark’s Parris Laurie were selected to the West Coast Eagles’ female football academy.

April

· Samuel Peter Roth drowns at The Deep at Lowlands Beach.

· Thieves repeatedly targeted bushfire brigades.

· Father of baby found with fractured arm, bite marks and other injuries jailed for 12 months.

May

· First mention of possible mandatory life jacket trial at Salmon Holes, after eight drownings in 10 years.

· Amid winds over 100 kilometres-per-hour, fires tear through Stirling Range National Park, Little Grove and Redmond.

· Albany man Pietro Domenico Borgese, 61, jailed for 18 months for misleading judges about his wife’s death.

June

· Albany Classic returns, drawing thousands of visitors.

· Search for a developer for a Middleton Beach hotel began.

· Proposal made to drop York Street speed limit to 40km/h, but later dropped.

July

· The City of Albany council gave the thumbs up to a holiday apartments development near Lake Vancouver in Goode Beach.

· Shire of Denmark handed the Denmark East River road bridge project to the State Government due to struggling finances.

· Albany Chamber of Commerce chief executive Mark Forrest sacked after six weeks in the job.

· Plans to develop Alison Hartman Gardens announced.

· Matthew Philip Longmore, 33, jailed after going on a meth-fuelled rampage through Albany, stealing a car and speeding at up to 140km/h in a 60km/h zone.

August

· A new wave record was set off Sandpatch at 13 metres tall – taller than a two-storey building.

· Snow fell on Bluff Knoll, drawing enthusiastic hikers who climbed the trail to touch rare West Australian snow.

· Major Albany building firm Tectonic Construction Group entered liquidation.

· Shire of Denmark announced it will begin a kangaroo cull following concerns about airport safety.

· Rick Wilson, Liberal Party vote to remove Malcolm Turnbull as Prime Minister seat.

September

· A magnitude 5.7 earthquake shook the southwest – the biggest in 20 years.

· Commonwealth funding for oncology ward in Albany announced.

· West Coast Eagles won the 2018 AFL Premiership.

· North Albany won fifth straight Great Southern Football League premiership, edging out hosts Railways in an upset.

· A dog or pack of dogs cause concern after attack kills five sheep, two alpacas and a dog in McKail.

October

· The Field of Light: Avenue of Honour display opened, attracting 50,000 people in the next three months.

· Albany man Nathan Gaunt’s ute found abandoned on the rocks at The Gap. He remains missing.

· A group of 22 Albany friends won a $10 million lottery syndicate.

· Hooked on Middleton Beach won best fish and chips in Australia award.

· First images of proposed waterfront hotel revealed.

· Albany man Kenneth Norman jailed for child sex offences dating to the 1970s.

November

· A magnitude 5.4 earthquake rattled the southwest.

· Albany celebrated 40 years since the end of commercial whaling.

· Off-road track linking Perth and Albany opens, but quickly draws government concerns.

December

· Forecasts predicted Albany is on track for its driest year on record.

· Patricia Byrne, 84, went missing in Stirling Range National Park for three days, prompting major land and air search.

· Ice Breakers thrown into spotlight after facilitator is arrested for sale and supply of methamphetamine.

· Mandatory life jacket trial announced for Salmon Holes, starting January 1.

· Fishing banned at Greens Pool.

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