Parkes year in review - 2019 | Photos

Join us as we take a look back on a year of ups and downs for Parkes in 2019.

Like previous years, the Parkes Champion Post covered a diverse range of stories over the last 12 months - from the beginning of yet more major projects - not only locally, but regionally and nationally - to a destructive summer storm, massive historical, personal and sporting achievements, to the loss of some much loved members of our community.

Among the biggest stories to come out of Parkes this year was indeed the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing and the Parkes Radio Telescope's role in the historic event in July, and most certainly the closure of birthing services at the Parkes Hospital in June, that to this day has not been restored.

And entertainment-wise the little town of Tullamore played host to Australian rock legend Jimmy Barnes in November that was on the brink of cancellation because of a bad wind and dust storm, and this year's Parkes Elvis Festival attracted a record-breaking crowd of 27,000 people, as well as more awards.

The Melbourne to Brisbane Inland Rail project was still in the headlines this year, with the last delivery of steel for the Parkes to Narromine section taking place in March and Pacific National opened its $35 million, phase one, logistics terminal in Parkes at the end of October.

$100 million funding was announced for the Parkes Newell Highway bypass, which construction is expected to begin in February 2020 and the master plan for the regional NSW first special activation precinct and inland port at Parkes was released in October.

And construction on the long-awaited new state-of-the-art fire station, which will be located behind the 95-year-old station, in Hill Street began in August.

On a local government level, construction on the Recycled Water Rising Main, which began in November 2018, was complete, with recycled water now flowing to Parkes' parks, sporting ovals and golf course.

Work on the new multipurpose centre in Cooke Park and the lower Clarinda Street upgrades began in July, and construction on the extension and renovations of the Parkes Library in September.

The new community centre at the old Parkes Hospital site was opened in February.

And who can forgot that this year the Parkes Shire had five community treasures honoured with OAMs - Ellie Hetherington, John Pizarro, May Collier (Trundle), Kath Swansbra and Antonia Francis (Peak Hill).

On the sporting front, we had two representatives in Australia's first teams for the Indoor Masters World Cup in Hong Kong in February, and another two selected to compete at the 2020 Masters Hockey World Cup in South Africa.

Kurt Lovett and Mariah Williams were named on the Kookaburras and Hockeyroos 2020 squads respectively in November, and Parkes is home to a world silver medallist in wheelchair basketball who is just 13 years old. Victoria Simpson debuted for the Australian Under 25s women's side that won silver at the 2019 World Championships in May.

The Trundle Boomers made country footy and Woodbridge Cup history by claiming their third-in-a-row premiership in September.

And in the midst of it all, Parkes and the rest of the state have been battling through the worst drought in living memory that has seen government funding sent our way to support farmers, the appointment of a drought relief officer, and the community and country doing what they can to help farmers, be it through donations of money, hay, food and Christmas gifts.

Check out the gallery for the major stories we covered this year.


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