Borders came down as life returned to resemble pre-COVID normality thanks to an ever-increasing vaccine uptake, but new cost-of-living pressures continued to cause difficulties. Albany mourned its share of deaths; people that drove the region forward, ones that worked quietly without much thanks and those who laid it all on the line for their town and country. But there is always something to look forward to; big projects on the horizon, new developments to follow and untold possibilities. The Advertiser takes a look back at some of the big stories which made headlines in 2022. January — Tragedy stuck early in the year when a Perth man visiting the region fell 20m to his death when rock climbing in West Cape Howe National Park. — State Emergency Service volunteers were praised by emergency services leaders following a busy start to the month in which they responded to a number of incidents. — Sisters Maya and Samara Dunkerley rescued two men in their 80s after their dinghy capsized in Wilson Inlet. — Nicole Link was named Albany Citizen of the Year for her efforts rescuing and rehabilitating marsupials, and Amali Nizam Wood was named Young Citizen of the Year for fundraising for the Big Sleepout. February — Tourism Australia’s list of the country’s best beaches was topped by Albany’s Misery Beach. — The Regional Joint Development Assessment Panel granted approval for the Albany Motorsport Park development to go ahead at its preferred site in Drome after a marathon meeting. — Four homes were lost and 53 were saved when an inferno burnt through about 2150ha near Denmark over a three-day period. — More than 4500ha were scorched and homes were lost from Hopetoun to Newdegate when 68 fires were sparked by dry lightning during a busy weekend for emergency services across the region just a week after the Denmark blaze. March — The Great Southern’s Covid bubble burst when at least nine cases in the region were confirmed by the WA Health Department at the start of the month, the first cases since April 2020. — Petrol prices climbed to more than $2 per litre as regional WA started to feel the impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. — Child care availability in Albany reached an all-time low with centres reporting waitlists nearly double their capacity, which led to some parents giving up work to stay home with their children. April — An Albany couple were reunited with their daughter who fled her Ukrainian home following Russia’s invasion of the country. — Foodbank reported locally that demand had grown by nearly 50 per cent over the past 12 months thanks to a “perfect storm” causing disruptions to supply and the rising cost of living. —Albany Ring Road reached a major milestone when the bridge over Albany Highway was officially opened to traffic. — Spearfisher Ray Dufall lived to tell the tale after facing down a great white shark near Walope. May — The housing crisis impacting much of WA led a 75-year-old woman to take to Albany’s main street with a sign pleading for help for a home for her grandchildren and their mother. —Two Mira Mar homes torn apart by a slow-moving landslip were demolished under advice from a State Government-commissioned geotechnical report. — Incumbent Liberal MP Rick Wilson was re-elected to the represent O’Connor for a fourth term at the Federal election, but Labor claimed victory overall to form government. — The first drinks were served at the Premier Hotel since the 130-year-old establishment was gutted by fire in 2016 in an arson scam that landed five men in jail. — Tributes flowed for the legacy of Albany entrepreneur Paul Lionetti whose death shocked the City at the end of May. June — The new owners of the White Star Hotel revealed plans for Albany’s first rooftop dining area and a new beer line to be brewed in house. — A 90km/h speed limit trial was introduced on a deadly stretch of Albany Highway in response to an impassioned road safety campaign by the Narrikup community. — A man was sentenced to more than five years behind bars after he chased and repeatedly rammed his partner’s car while their two eight-week-old babies were in the back seat. — Hundreds of residents lined York Street as a funeral procession made it’s way up the City’s main street to pay a moving final farewell to Paul Lionetti. July — A prominent Great Southern farmer warned foot-and-mouth disease could destroy Australia’s economy if it makes it into the country after confirmed cases of the disease were found in Bali, which heightened concerns in Australia’s agriculture sector. — Albany’s Bob Rees rocked Town Hall with a live performance of his debut album The Journey, which featured songs after the loss of his wife who was fatally injured in a crash that also left him paralysed from the waist down. — Frankland River cemented its status as a “world-class wine region” after emerging as as stand-out performer in Ray Jordan’s 2022 Top 100 Reds List. — A controversial “unauthorised” suburban treehouse narrowly avoided being torn down after City of Albany councillors clashed over two alternative motions to decide its future during a robust debate that lasted more than 1 1/2 hours. August — Chester Pass roundabout was named the riskiest regional intersection in the State for the second time running with WA drivers calling for traffic lights, but Albany Mayor Dennis Wellington and Main Roads WA say traffic lights are not a suitable solution. — Albany mourned the loss of Nicole Weeden after she was killed in a horror head-on collision as she headed south on Albany Highway just 15km from the city. — Plans for a $30 million Middleton Beach Hotel featuring eight cascading storeys, draping greenery, a rooftop beer garden and a pool overlooking the ocean were revealed during a visit by Premier Mark McGowan. — Local teenager Luke Pascoe credits his mate Conner Shirley for saving his life after he carried him to safety and drove him to hospital following after an encounter with a shark near Mistaken Island. — Albany Youth Support Association and Advance Housing revealed plans to establish a multimillion-dollar, purpose-built youth accommodation facility in a bid to tackle homelessness. — The City mourned the loss West ward councillor and its inaugural Mayor Alison Goode when she died at the end of the month. September — Tourism bodies looked like they were finally ready tap the City’s unrealised potential after it was identified as a “significant tourism demand driver” in document set to help determine the direction of the State’s tourism ambitions. — Paramedics called to semi-rural property in Redmond could do nothing to save the life of a 77-year-old man fatally injured in a kangaroo attack, which was believed to be the first in nearly 90 years. — A spate of serious crashes in the region put members of the public on edge and prompted “frustrated” police to ramp up patrols. — An Albany man was sentenced to four years and eight months in prison for terrorising relatives and strangers while he was high on methamphetamine and armed with a gel blaster “identical” to an AR-15 rifle. October — The Albany RSL made an impassioned plea to council for more funding and decreed there could be “no guarantees” about the standard of next year’s service without more support. — Denmark filmmaker Rob Castiglione was been remembered as a “gifted” creator who “changed the Australian arts scene”after his death. — A group of Perth highliners broke new ground in the Stirling Range when they completed a jaw-dropping high line walk at nearly 900m above sea level. — Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan hoped on-site work on an independent geotechnical investigation into the Mira Mar landslip would start “within a month” following the appointment of contractors. — Prime Minster Anthony Albanese was a big hit when he dropped into town to make an announcement about NBN funding. — Former State MP and long-time advocate for the Albany and the Great Southern Thomas Knight— and one half of an extraordinary power couple — died at the age of 87. November — Cameron Caravans, a family business established in Albany in the 1970s was named the 2022 Great Southern business of the year at the Great Southern Business Awards. — Tributes flowed for Mt Barker man Max Mollan after he died following an altercation near the Plantagenet Hotel. — Albany lost one its last World War II veterans when Evan Hobley died at the age of 101 just three days before Remembrance Day. — Advance Housing revealed plans for a central housing project set to cost more than $10 million that it says will create 25 new homes and refresh existing commercial spaces. — International Walldog mural artists converged on Mt Barker for a big Mountains and Murals festival. December — Fire authorities praised the quick work of firefighters to help stop an out-of-control bushfire in Kalgan which burnt through 475ha and forced evacuations. — Albany’s wait for a first big cruise ship visit is set to extend to three years after two big liners had to bypass the port due to weather conditions in early December and late October. — An Albany man was jailed for more than seven years for raping a woman on York Street last year, in what a judge described as a “horrible ordeal” that left the victim “naked and cowering in fear”.