Monthly Archives:August 2018

A crane driver killed in an industrial accident at Rutherford was an ‘‘easy-going, kind-hearted man’’ who leaves behind a pregnant wife and two children.

Aberdeen man Warren Black, 37, was loading drill rods on to his truck on Friday afternoon when one of the rods fell from a forklift, knocked him to the ground and fell on top of him.

He died instantly.

Mr Black, a contractor for Boom Logistics, was remembered as a popular colleague by workmates yesterday.

Boom Logistics chief executive officer Brenden Mitchell said the company and its employees were ‘‘deeply saddened’’ by the accident.

‘‘Warren was well-liked by everyone at Boom and this comes as a great shock to everyone,’’ Mr Mitchell said.

‘‘Boom’s priority is to support Warren’s family and colleagues.’’

A manager and a close workmate from Boom Logistics visited Mr Black’s wife, Alethia, and his two young boys on Friday evening.

Mr Black’s sister, Diana Black-Straker, was one of many family members and friends to post messages on Facebook after the accident.

‘‘We are all in shock at the tragic death of my brother Warren yesterday,’’ Ms Black-Straker said.

‘‘Thoughts especially to his pregnant wife Alethia and their children Liam and Bailey.

‘‘Rest in peace little brother, you are greatly missed already xxxx.’’

A number of colleagues also posted about Mr Black.

‘‘The world has lost one of its best today,’’ wrote former colleague Sara Barlow.

‘‘I am devastated that we have lost such an easy going, kind-hearted man.’’

WorkCover and detectives from the Central Hunter police command have examined the accident site, J & S Engineering in Racecourse Road, and will continue investigations into the accident.

Warren Black.

ONE of the Hunter’s most significant heritage homes, Anambah House near Maitland, faces residential development on a scale its owner says is far too dense and will threaten its character.

Tomorrow Maitland City Council will consider a proposal to allow 80 lots to be developed in the Anambah urban release area.

The development would bring houses to about 650 metres from the state-listed heritage house, owned by Jann Zappacosta.

Mrs Zappacosta bought the JWPender-designed house in 2011 from well-known heritage consultant Stephen Berry, who long-campaigned to protect the Anambah Lagoon, which the house overlooks, from development.

Mrs Zappacosta said under the plan the lagoon would be ‘‘lost’’ because of the closeness of the new houses.

A report to the council says the land will be developed as low density.

It says flooding and changes to the visual amenity are the two biggest constraints to the site. Plans show landscaping is intended to soften the impact on the house.

Mrs Zappacosta said 50 houses would have been suitable but 80 was too many.

The council report said the proposal supported the provision of housing for Maitland’s growing population.

Mrs Zappacosta is restoring the house for accommodation, weddings and other events.

Anambah House was built by grazier John KMackay for his son William.

Construction began in 1889 and ended in 1906.

Opera diva Dame Nellie Melba sang Home Sweet Home on the staircase in 1908, and Australian performers of the 1950s, such as Roy (Mo) Rene and Jack Davey were guests of the then-owners, radio star Hal Lashwood and his wife, a member of the Mackay family.

In 1993 it was the setting for the movie Country Life, starring Greta Scacchi and Sam Neill.

Mrs Zappacosta said another bigger proposed development to the west was also putting pressure on the house.

CLOSE UP: Anambah House.

As fans sat down in their seats at Hunter Stadium yesterday afternoon they could have been forgiven for holding lofty expectations.

The Newcastle Jets kicked off their Hyundai A-League campaign at home against a travel-weary Adelaide United side who had just returned from Uzbekistan.

Yet hopes were dashed in the first minute when Dario Vidosic poked home an easy goal to stun the home crowd into silence and from then on the Jets never looked like getting in the game.

The crowd stuck with their team though, and although most would have gone home frustrated, the healthy attendance of 14,868 bodes well for growth of the game.

Large sections of the crowd were dominated by blue and red merchandise and membership caps were out in force under the hot sun.

All eyes were on star signing Emile Heskey and many fans donned their number nine jerseys in a show of support.

One keen fan even sported ‘‘Del Heskey’’ on his back, perhaps hoping the former Liverpool front man could merge his skills with Sydney FC’s marquee signing Alessandro Del Piero.

Debutant goalkeeper Mark Birighitti added to the crowd’s woes midway through the second half when he was sent off for handball after a rash foray out of his box and Iain Ramsay soon finished off the match to send the home crowd off in a sombre mood.

Brian Loxley and his family bought memberships for the first time this season but he wasn’t too deflated by the result.

‘‘I don’t think they played too badly,’’ he said.

‘‘Even when they went down to 10 men the players were still pushing and the crowd tried to lift them.

‘‘But I guess it was just one of those days.’’

Brian and Kelda Loxley with sons Kade, 7, Hunter, 3, and Eli, 9, who were cheering on the the Jets from the stands. Pictures: Peter Stoop

Jets fans at the opening match of the A-League season at Hunter Stadium. Picture: Peter Stoop

Jets fans at the opening match of the A-League season at Hunter Stadium. Picture: Peter Stoop

Jets fans at the opening match of the A-League season at Hunter Stadium. Picture: Peter Stoop

Jets fans at the opening match of the A-League season at Hunter Stadium. Picture: Peter Stoop

Jets fans at the opening match of the A-League season at Hunter Stadium. Picture: Peter Stoop

Jets fans at the opening match of the A-League season at Hunter Stadium. Picture: Peter Stoop


Before they sit down to address the issues of the city, Newcastle’s new councillors have had to solve a disagreement about where they will sit.

At a ‘‘mock’’ council meeting last week, councillors stood divided on whether the chamber’s seats should be arranged according to the city’s ward representatives, or based on political groupings.

Labor councillors wanted to sit together and argued that being separated would potentially require recesses to allow them to discuss unexpected motions or amendments.

Lord mayor Jeff McCloy and his supporters argued for a City Hall seating arrangement based on the four wards.

After a few rounds of musical chairs, the Labor councillors conceded.

Cr McCloy said he was positive about the prospects of the new council and that the seating issue ‘‘was solved in a nice and humorous way’’.

‘‘It’s important that we all work together,’’ he said.

The seating arrangements were apparently discussed at an informal meeting of councillors last month that most Labor councillors were unable to attend.

Cr Nuatali Nelmes said her colleagues had spent too much time ‘‘worrying about where the Labor Party is going to sit, to the point of holding secret meetings’’.

After two terms where perceived dysfunction and indecision overshadowed other aspects of the city’s government, the working relationship between the councillors will be in the spotlight.

The first meeting tomorrow night will include an election for deputy mayor, with Labor and the Liberals expected to provide viable candidates.

It will debate the gifting of childcare centres to community operators.

Newcastle lord mayor Jeff McCloy.

Stella Potts is just two days old, but her father Luke already has a riveting tale to tell on her 21st birthday.

Baby Stella was born in the car park of a Lambton service station, on the front seat of her parents’ car, just minutes from the hospital.

Mother Danielle Potts went into labour about 3am on Saturday morning.

Two hours later, Mr Potts was rushing his wife towards Newcastle Private Hospital.

‘‘The contractions were pretty close together as we were in the car,’’ Mr Potts said.

‘‘Danielle said to me, ‘you’re going to have to stop’.’’

The nearest place was the 7 Eleven service station on Croudace Street at Lambton. Mr Potts said he parked the car, called 000 and was given advice on how to deliver the baby.

Just nine minutes later, at 5.41am and moments before ambulance paramedics arrived, Stella was born.

‘‘I didn’t do much, I just caught her as she popped out,’’ Mr Potts said.

‘‘I made sure the cord wasn’t wrapped around her neck, wrapped her in a blanket at put her on her mother’s chest and then the ambulance turned up.’’

Baby Stella is the couple’s second child. Charlie, 2, was born when they were living in rural Victoria and had to travel a considerable distance to hospital.

Friends had advised the family, who live at Maitland, to be packed and ready.

But neither Mr or Mrs Potts, who was in labour for eight hours with Charlie, expected their daughter to be so eager to enter the world.

‘‘She’s doing fine, which is the main thing,’’ Mr Potts said. ‘‘It will make a great story for her 21st.’’

Stella with parents Luke and Danielle Potts and brother Charlie. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers