The year that was

December 27, 2017













April 5: Energy Cost Crisis — One of Benalla’s largest employers DR Henderson said they may have to scale back production and employment if energy prices continued to skyrocket.

Executive director David Henderson slammed the state government for closing the Hazelwood power station without offering businesses alternative renewable energy solutions.

April 12: Immortalised — Artist paints ‘‘Tree’’ as part of Wall to Wall. Leonard ‘‘Tree’’ Wilhelme is as down to earth and solid as his nick-name would suggest.

Asked how he ended up on the old SEC building, Tree told The Ensign Wall to Wall festival director Shaun Hossack was looking for a ‘‘character’’.

April 19: Super Saints dominate Cats — The Saints got their season off to the perfect start this week with a comprehensive 62-point victory over Mooroopna.

Before the match, Saints head coach Luke Morgan said the only acceptable start to the season was a convincing win and that is exactly what his side produced.

April 26: Never forgotten — He might be 96 years old, but Colin Handcock has not forgotten his four years serving in World War II.

A young Colin Handcock was sent to PNG to construct a series of box girder bridges so that the Australian armed forces could get men and tanks through the often impenetrable jungle.


May 3: Another one bites the dust — Wayne Maxwell attained a double victory at the Winton Motor Raceway in the Superbike Championships.

He had to hunt down and overtake Troy Herfoss in both races to put himself in contention to be the 2017 Yamaha Motorcycle Champion.

May 10: Flashmob Fun — A group of 80 teenagers spent two days this week writing a song, composing the music and choreographing a dance routine.

They then performed a ‘‘flashmob’’ in Bridge St to stunned bystanders.

May 17: Saints post maiden win — The Benalla Saints women’s side won its first ever match in a thrilling win over the Shepparton Bears.

Co-coach Darren Skelton said the whole side played well, but some players led from the front to ensure the victory.

May 24: Touring Car crash — A multi-car crash saw the second Touring Car Masters race of the weekend abandoned at Winton.

With at least seven cars caught up in the crash, officials immediately red flagged the race, which was not restarted.

May 31: Tragic Discovery — Deep concern turned into a nightmare this week as Benalla mother and daughter Isabel and Judy Stephens’ bodies were found near Samaria.

The pair was found in thick bushland about a kilometre away from Isabel’s car, which was found near Exton Rd.


June 7: Traumatic Event — Peter Goldsmith nearly died, struck down by a mystery infection, and neither he nor his doctors understood how he contracted it.

The Benalla farmer had contracted parrot fever. Incredibly Peter survived, but the near-death ordeal scarred him and his family.

June 14: Newton to contest state title bout — Young Benalla boxer Tom Newton was looking to make a statement when he stepped into the ring for a state title fight. Newton, 18, had been training with local legend Lennie Griffiths.

June 21: Taking flight — The redevelopment of Benalla airport was officially completed with the unveiling of a plaque at the Benalla Aviation Museum by State Member for Northern Victoria Jaclyn Symes and Benalla Rural City Mayor Don Firth.

Ms Symes said the project represented a major opportunity for the town of Benalla and would create new jobs.

June 28: Club frustrated — The Gliding Club of Victoria said it might move to another airfield because of mounting frustrations with Benalla Rural City Council.

Gliding Club president John Switala contacted The Ensign claiming the project was not completed satisfactorily and coupled with the council’s increase in hangar leases, he was investigating alternative airfields.

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