The year that was in ArmidaleMEGA GALLERY

The year that was in Armidale | MEGA GALLERY Freya Smith and Paul Giddings enjoy A Day on the Green in March.
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Greg and Tracy Konig, of Brisbane, having fun at A Day on the Green in March.

Magistrate Karen Stafford, centre, at the new Armidale Courthouse that opened in January.

Max Model shows his best swing at a tennis tournament in January.

Ian Watson and Tess Southeron survey the dwindling feed at the Campdraft foodlots in January.

Families flocked to Dumaresdq Dam in January as record temperatures scorched the city.

A last-minute rescue package saved Armidale’s art gallery in the Beardy Street Mall from closing in February, allowing artists such as Terry Cooke to hang his works.

Children took to the Monckton Aquatic Centre in the summer school holidays to help cool off.

This year’s Armidale Show boasted the largest ferris wheel in regional Australia.

Children at Newling Public School got their hands dirty to create a wall with a message of reconiliation in March.

Uralla residents gather for a weekend lunch in March.

Armidale Dumaresq Mayor Laurie Bishop, left, with Poh Woodland and Doug Hewitt at the launch of Armidale’s sesquicentenary book.

When two tribes go to war … mock Medieval war games were held at the Pine Forest in April.

These Easter bunnies don hand-made hats for the festive season.

In April, The Express celebrated its 1000th “like” on Facebook. We’re way past that milestone and continue to grow.

Armidale Dumaresq Councillor Colin Gadd surveys Dumaresq Dam, where campers were banned, sparking a rise in vandalism there.

Cadet firefighters put in some practice at Armidale HQ.

New England Conservatorium of Music celebrated a Night of Music in June.

The Shakespeare Festival brought fun and frivolity to Armidale’s CBD for three days in June.

Armidale Dumaresq councillor Chris Halligan at the Allingham Street site where his vision of a youth centre would be built.

Work begins at the new college at the University of New England in July.

The success of Bernie Shakeshaft and his BackTrack team continues to grow throughout the year.

Moves were afoot in July to bring a Peter Allen festival to the streets of Armidale. The late entertainer was a student at Armidale High School.

After weeks of speculation, Professor Annabelle Duncan was confirmed as the incoming Vice-Chancellor at the University of New England.

The annual Relay for Life kicked off at Armidale Showground in September, raising funds for Cancer Council research.

Superair manager David Boundy celebrates his company being named Business of the Year at the annual Armidale Chamber Business awards.

The first pickings of the season at Puddledock.

It’s been a busy year for these members of Uralla’s Country Women’s Association.

The Armidale branch of the RSPCA’s Emma Clark with rescued rabbit Zuzu in October.

Businessman Rob Taber reflects on a tough year for cockies as the drought bites hard.

The Autumn Festival attracted more than 100 floats and thousands of residents who turned out to watch the spectacle.

Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall, left and Uralla Mayor Michael Pearce shake over a deal to provide more bins in Uralla.

Armidale’s social scene scored a new wine bar in November on the site of the old car yard in Marsh Street.

Walcha’s Cathy and Anna Lisle brought the My Kitchen Rules juggernaut to the district in February.

From left Holy Smoke’s Toby Partridge, Everett Marchant and Father Anthony Koppman prepare the fireworks to welcome in January 1, 2014. They’re expected to take out the gig again this year.

Former NSW governor Marie Bashir gave a rousing speech to the boys at TAS earlier this month.

Armidale off-duty nurse Darlene Saladine received a commendation for bravery from NSW Ambulance commissioner Ray Creen.

This year’s Swithcing on the Lights festival in Armidale Mall attracted more than 1000 people and was one of the most popular.

Storms rumbled across the Northern Tablelands and Armidale last in November, with hundreds of lightning strikes as captured in this photo looking out from North Hill.

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Big seas drive surfboats inland

Calm conditions: The ocean surf was too rough but the lake was smooth for the Pacific Palms Carnival.WAUCHOPE-Bonny Hills Surf Life Saving Club (WBHSLSC) boaties travelled to Pacific Palms last weekend to contest another two rounds of the North Coast Surfboat Series.
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Rounds five and six were set to be run at Elizabeth Beach in the Booti Booti National Park. Unfortunately wild weather conditions in the days leading up to the carnival meant that the surf was deemed too dangerous for all the crews to safely compete.

Saturday conditions saw a surf hazard rating of 26, which meant we moved from the beach to the lake. All the workers had us set up and running with minimum delays.

The lake rowing was a good opportunity for a pre-Christmas comparison as to where we all are with fitness and technique. A lot of close finishes kept everyone pushing hard to the end, which was healthy for the competitive spirit.

Several people commented on how fantastic it was to see the camaraderie shining through, with clubs assisting each other to get to and from boats. Everyone should be congratulated for once again showing why our series is so strong and loved.

It was also good to see so many supporting the host club for the delicious seafood and the Christmas cheer. Our contribution to the club for the weekend has put them one big step closer to completing their goal in their campaign against alcohol related violence.

For a bit more detail, they are working with a local film-maker in producing a DVD which will be added to the curriculum of all local high schools. The script has been approved and they are also hoping to have it accepted state-wide.

A total of 41 crews took to the water. The Queensland clubs were missed and we hope they all did well at the Maroochydore carnival on the weekend.

WBHSLSC took the senior men, senior women, junior men and masters women’s crews and rowed hard in the flat water (and shallow, muddy conditions).

All divisions were close on points at the end of the day and several divisions were decided on countback – the closest of which was the open women, with the top three crews finishing the day on equal points.

Sunday saw the surf hazard rating again too high to compete in the ocean and the decision was made to postpone the round rather than return to the lake.

Our next carnival is not until the Australia Day long weekend in Sydney for the Manly-Freshwater carnival.

Our crews will continue to train and do beach patrols over Christmas and the New Year. Merry Christmas to all our boatie families and supporters!

This Friday we will be holding a Boaties Christmas party at the Wauchope-Bonny Hills Surf Club from 5pm. All boaties past, present and future are welcome. There will be a BBQ as well as fresh seafood and refreshments! See you on the beach!

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Local band ViperLove head overseas

ViperLove band members (LtoR) Rowan Christie, James McRorie, Daniel Hore-Smith, Tom Bennett and Christopher Stroh are looking forward to their upcoming tour of IndonesiaAll their Christmas wishes seem to have come at once for five young local musicians who have been invited to tour Indonesia this January.
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James McRorie and Tom Bennett from Yerong Creek, Daniel Hore-Smith and Christopher Stroh from Henty and Rowan Christie from Holbrook are all in their early twenties and are members of a Southern Rock/Hardcore band called ViperLove.

Daniel, James, Rowan and Chris all met in high school (Billabong High in Culcairn) and started jamming together in 2008.

Daniel and James are both on vocals with James also playing bass, Rowan plays guitar and Christopher is on drums.

They originally formed a band called The Warhorse. After getting a set together they gigged regularly in Wagga and Albury and earned a solid spot in the local scene as a fun and energetic band to watch.

They soon discovered that the band name had too much competition in web searches due to the movie, play and many other bands with the same name so decided to change it.

“We wanted a name that sounded right for the party/Southern Rock/gritty sound of the band,” said James.

“Viper just seemed to fit our sound to a tee but it was still missing something so we added the word Love to make it our own.

“ViperLove gave a kind of 80’s pub rock/dirty metal band feel – which we love.

“Also nobody else in the world is stupid enough (sic) to have a band, movie or play called ViperLove, so now when you search on Google or YouTube you find us straight up which makes life a lot easier for us gaining exposure” James added jokingly.

In 2012 the boys decided that they wanted to really make something out of the music they loved to play. Tom Bennett, another guitar player joined the band and the four-piece became five.

The band then started polishing original material ready for recording.

They released their first EP (extended play) with nine original songs in late 2013 and by mid- 2014, with the release of a new single, the band was playing shows around the country.

An old song off their 2013 EP can be found on YouTube – ViperLove – Callin’ the shots.

Recently ViperLove was approached by an Indonesian record company called First Blast Records who asked these five local lads to do an international tour of their country commencing in January 2015.

This was an offer they jumped on.

“We are all best friends who love playing music and travelling, so now we get to tour Indonesia playing shows and have a holiday as well,” said James.

“2015 is a big year for ViperLove.”

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Herald Breakfast – December 17

Instagram’s @daz219 caught this shot of waves crashing into the Bogey Hole.Weather: Wind easing but mostly sunny in Newcastle (24 degrees) while warm and sunny in Scone (37 degrees) and Maitland (29 degrees).
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Trains: No trackwork or delays on the Newcastle and Hunter lines.

Traffic: No incidents reported on Hunter roads.

Beachwatch:The wind will be from thenorth at first but will head south to south-east early. The swellis from the east around 1 to 1.3 metres with wave conditionsvarying with the wind.

Morning Shot: Instagram’s @daz219 caught this shot of waves crashing into the Bogey Hole.

Newcastle port deal “cover-up”allegations: THE state government has been accused of a ‘‘blatant attempt at a cover up’’ after two ministers claimed the other was responsible for answering questions about whether a secret cap exists on the number of containers that can be moved though the Port of Newcastle.

The straw that broke Sydney siege gunman’s back:GOSFORD solicitor Manny Conditsis must have been one of the last people in Australia to hear about the Sydney siege on Monday, but one of the first to think the gunman was Man Haron Monis.

Nile inquiry: report recommends Boxing Day delay:A PARLIAMENTARY inquiry into planning decisions in Newcastle is set to issue an interim report recommending that the Boxing Day truncation of the city’s rail line be put off because of a flawed case for the project, including the lack of a cost benefit analysis.

Troy Palmer sells Merewether home:FORMER Hunter Sports Group chief executive Troy Palmer has sold his Merewether home for $3.25 million.