Year in Review: October to December

By Benalla Ensign


October 2: Thousands of punters flocked to the Benalla Racing Club for the Benalla Gold Cup, where local Bridie Willan took out the best-dressed lady for Fashions on the Field.

Hangman won the $125 000 Benalla Gold Cup, while local trainer Russell Osborne qualified to race in Caulfield later in the year after his horse If You Will won the Comfort Inn Benalla Grand Handicap. 

Gallery: A Very Cooinda Christmas

Zak Best finished fourth in the Super3 Series after the final round came to a close at Sandown.

October 9: A hit-and-run horror on Kilfeera Rd left 72-year-old cyclist Peter Brown hospitalised.

Benalla Saints and Benalla All Blacks held their best and fairest award evenings, with Will Martiniello and Sam Newton taking home the senior title at their respective clubs, while Chloe Hill and Rhiannon Teichert reigned supreme in the A-grade netball counts.

October 16: Benalla's Ray McPherson broke the Australian Masters record in the 90-94-year-old 1500m walk in Adelaide.

The Benalla Equestrian Centre’s upgrade continued with the new arena roof raised.

Benalla’s Chrissy Purcell geared up to take on the New York Marathon.

Benalla Breakers made club history, fielding their first female team in the Country Basketball League. 

Local cafés unite in bushfire fundraising efforts

October 23: The Benalla Agricultural show returned to the Benalla Showgrounds with plenty of fanfare.

Benalla Bushrangers A-grade cricket team failed to get off the board in its opening match of the Geoff Welch Cup, losing by 113-runs to Delatite.

Junior athlete Charlotte Quilliam qualified for the Victorian State Championships in hurdles and the 200m sprint.

October 30: FCJ College and Cooinda teamed up for a lip-sync video to a Ray Charles’ classic, Shake Your Tail Feather.

Benalla’s Will Martiniello re-signed with the Saints for the 2020 season.

Benalla’s Ron Waddell was named Pony Club Victoria’s Coach of the Year.


November 6: Joseph William McDonald was charged with the death of his infant son, seven-week-old Lucas.

Benalla Breakers’ men’s team won their first-ever CBL match after 16 games and two seasons in the league.

Benalla Lawn Tennis Club held its 94th annual tournament, as players flocked from around the region to contest a number of events. 

Former Benalla actor Tom Long passes away aged 51

November 13: The Benalla Festival came to a close after two weeks of festivities.

Benalla residents gathered at the town’s cenotaph to commemorate Remembrance Day.

A police bomb squad unit attended a Melrose St address in Benalla after an explosion was reported.

Benalla held its first parkrun with more than 150 residents taking part in the 5km timed run.

November 20: Tragedy struck Benalla when the body of a man was recovered from Benalla Lake by police and SES.

Councillor Danny Claridge was unanimously elected the new Mayor of Benalla, taking over the role from councillor Scott Upston.

Hundreds of dressage competitors descended upon the Benalla Equestrian Centre for the Top Team Trophy (TTT) event.

November 27: Benalla’s Kerri Leask took home a Victorian Open Bowls Championship title in this year’s Triples final held in Shepparton.

A permanent memorial to Siva Singh was unveiled on the Lake Benalla foreshore.

After five straight losses, Benalla Bushrangers A-grade side won their first game of the Geoff Welch Cup, defeating Ovens Valley United by 26 runs.


December 4: Nine employees of Benalla timber mill Ryan & McNulty took part in a rally outside Victorian Parliament to protest changes to native timer logging laws.

Benalla was announced as the location for the 2021 Pony Club Australia National Championships.

Commonwealth Games high jump gold medalist Brandon Starc joined in at a Benalla Little Athletics meet as part of the Coles Little Athletes Big Dreams program. 

Races to help fire appeal

December 11: Benalla’s Second annual Window to Window Festival caused controversy after an image of young climate activist Greta Thunberg was painted on the side of the Benalla Rural City council building.

Benalla Breakers' under-14 team qualified for the Country Championships next year.

The best and brightest of Australian engineering was on show at Winton Motor Raceway for the 20th annual Formula SAE-A event.

December 18: A Benalla woman was one of four division-one-winning TattsLotto entrants, pocketing more than one million dollars.

Benalla students celebrated receiving their ATAR scores, with Joshua Kubeil, Maeve McGann, Willow Plex and Lucy Asquith among local high achievers.

Teen soccer star Meagan Webster signed with State League One club Moreland Zebras for 2020. 

Estia Christmas raffle raises money for Benalla’s Men’s Shed

December 24: Benalla’s Robyn Smith received an Australia Institute of Sport Award for her work with the recent International Sports Federation Games in Brisbane for Persons with Intellectual Disability.

Summer racing fans flocked to Benalla Racing Club for its annual Twilight Races, with local trainer Russell Osborne taking out race two with horse Eagle Point.

Benalla Hockey Club announced they were seeking funding for a brand new, all-weather, synthetic hockey field.

Eleven Benalla youth female football players were selected in the Murray Bushrangers’ 2020 under-18 and under-16 squads.