Monthly Archives: April 2020
Brendan Vollmost’s blood was found on a baton taken from his shed, a murder trial has been told.The blood of a Sydney man allegedly murdered by four so-called Blood Brothers was found on a baton, and in his shed, a court has been told.
Jamie Michael Tilley, 36, and Jack Davies, William Patrick Thomas and Mitchell James Bentley, all aged 27, have pleaded not guilty to kidnapping and murdering Brendan Vollmost, 23, at South Windsor in March 2015.
Giving evidence at a NSW Supreme Court trial on Tuesday, DNA expert Jeremy Watherston told the jury Mr Vollmost’s blood was found on a steel baton taken from his shed as was the DNA of Thomas.
The baton was extendable with a foam handle. Mr Watherston said the blood was not visible to the human eye.
Mr Vollmost’s blood was also found on a number of tools and elsewhere in the shed, the DNA expert said on Tuesday.
Under cross-examination from Thomas’s lawyer, Nicole Carroll, Mr Watherston said he could not be certain when or how the DNA ended up on the baton.
Mr Watherston said he also found the DNA of a number of other individuals on the baton and at the crime scene.
The jury has seen CCTV footage from outside Mr Vollmost’s home showing him running through a gate toward the backyard shed, followed by four men, before his body is carried out by two men.
He hasn’t been seen since.
The Crown alleges the four men wanted to recover a drug debt and “obtain the gratification of demonstrating they were a group to be respected”.
The men, who belonged to a group called the Blood Brothers and respectively had the nicknames Coach, Captain, Medium and Smallsie, also deny assaulting Mr Vollmost’s friend, Ronald Byrnes, and neighbour Alex Gorman.
The court has heard that one of Mr Vollmost’s friends said in the months before disappearance he was worried the gang had placed a $20,000 bounty on his head.
The trial is continuing.
Sunrise over the Cocoparra Range, near Griffith. Image: Trevor Dreighton.It’s quite appropriate that one of the main highways linking Canberra with the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area is named the Burley Griffin Way after the renowned American-born architect who is probably best known for having designed the n capital.
It’s less well known that before picking up that commission, Water Burley Griffin designed the NSW Riverina towns of first Leeton, then Griffith, and it’s certainly been suggested that they constituted practise runs for what came later.
Certainly there are similarities in radial road patterns and the concentrations of public art and buildings in the town/city centres.
A powerful reminder of the art-deco era … Leeton’s famous Roxy Theatre. Image: Destination NSW.
But it’s probably their Italian heritage more than design and planning that set Griffith and Leeton apart.
It’s thought, for instance, that some 60 per cent of the population of Griffith can claim an Italian heritage.
Many of the Italians came to the district because of the possibilities opened up by irrigated farming. They planted vegetables, oranges and grapevines, and value-added by producing wine and retailing what they grew.
Winemaker Robert Fiumara pours a sample of his famous ‘sticky’ at Leeton’s Lillypilly Wines. Image: Destination NSW.
A classic example was provided by the late Pasquale Fiumara, who among other things founded Lillypilly Wines at Leeton. He started selling his fruit and veg from a barrow beside the main road. That barrow has grown into the Golden Apple, one of the district’s largest supermarkets.
Not that the Italian influence has always been benevolent. One of the statues in the centre of Griffith remembers Donald Mackay, a prominent anti-drugs campaigner murdered, supposedly by Mafia connections, in Griffith in 1977.
A bust of the late Donald Mackay in Griffith … the Italian influence hasn’t always been benevolent. Image: Destination NSW.
The talk on the streets certainly indicates that the influence of criminals has dwindled substantially.
The Italian influence on drinking habits has been profound, and much of that influence has come from Griffith and Leeton.
Historically, the quality of Riverina wines has been tarnished, with most of them relegated to the bulk ‘plonk’ market. A couple of things have changed that perception — technology, which has enabled the district’s producers market much better wines, and the chance discovery by Darren De Bortoli that the area could make some of the world’s best botrytised sweet whites.
Quite a few others have made their presence felt in this market for ‘stickies’. The afore-mentioned Lillypilly stands out, but there are plenty of others as well — Calabria, Toorak, Westend and Casella among them.
Most of the district’s wineries offer great experiences for the visitor, and Griffith and Leeton should always be considered prime targets for both the casual and serious wine enthusiast.
But you shouldn’t stick just with Italian influences on the Riverina wine scene. McWilliams, for instance, have been producing wine there for 130 years, and their iconic Hanwood Barrel is a district institution. They’re producing some great wines.
The iconic Hanwood Barrel at McWilliams Winery. Image: Destination NSW.
Restaurant-wise, there is an absolute plethora of Italian food to choose from in Griffith, from family-friendly momma’s fare, to the very classy experience in Limone, where Luke Piccolo and his team from Piccolo Farm are reported to be producing absolutely sensational food.
Perhaps the best time to visit is in October when the area hosts its annual Taste Riverina festival, with particular focus on the long weekend.
That’s the time that the district really polishes up its glasses and plates, and shows off the absolute best of what it can produce — and, believe me, that can be very special indeed.
Birds take off at the Fivebough Wetlands, near Leeton. Image: Paul Foley.
And you can, of course, easily drive yourself there, but vintage train from Sydney is also an excellent option for the October long weekend. That’s run by Cruise Express (visit www.cruiseexpress苏州夜总会招聘.au).
IF YOU GOwww.riverinatourism苏州夜总会招聘.au
The testimonial match for Cameron Smith and Johnathan Thurston is not your average pre-season trial.He admits coach Paul Green will deny it but backrower Gavin Cooper says the North Queensland Cowboys will be out to “do it for JT” in Friday’s blockbuster NRL trial against the Melbourne Storm.
Before his final NRL season, Cowboys playmaker Johnathan Thurston will be honoured along with good mate and Storm skipper Cameron Smith in what promises to be a 2017 grand final re-match to remember.
Cooper conceded the Cowboys could not treat the Thurston-Smith testimonial, in front of what is expected to be a bumper Suncorp Stadium crowd, as just “another trial”.
No matter what Green says.
“You will hear Paul saying ‘it won’t be about doing it for JT, it’s about putting your best foot forward’ (but) it will mean a lot,” Cooper said.
Queensland State of Origin back-rower Cooper said simply pulling on the testimonial match jersey, specially designed by Thurston and his wife Samantha, would be an honour.
“A lot of thought has gone into the jersey and there is a big story of course behind JT and Smithy’s careers and it is (important) for Queensland and Queensland sport,” Cooper said.
“I don’t want to say there is pressure there but everyone will be giving their best.”
The match will celebrate the glittering careers of Thurston and Smith, who first met as 10-year-olds in the Brisbane junior competition.
It will be the first time North Queensland tackle Melbourne since they were thumped in the 2017 NRL grand final.
“We can talk about it being another trial but..it’s the first time we have faced each other since the grand final,” Cooper said.
“I am not too sure if that will be talked about but players remember big games and hopefully this is one I will remember.”
Thurston had a rusty return from an eight-month injury layoff in last weekend’s NRL trial loss to the Wests Tigers in Cairns.
But Cowboys and Maroons forward Coen Hess said Thurston had still made a major impact at the club since returning from shoulder surgery.
“It’s good just having him in and around the team,” Hess said.
“A few of these young boys have never really had the experience of playing alongside him.
“They get to see how he goes about his business.
“For myself and them it (Thurston’s return) is a massive confidence boost.”
A Taste of Flinders … celebrating a paddock-sea-and-garden-to-plate philosophy. Image: Chris Crerar.Having started out first as an online marketplace, A Taste of Flinders has moved into the real world, opening up as a marketplace for showcasing seasonal local produce, and the island’s home-cooked delights, preserves, coffee, water and boutique liquors.
There might be only 800 locals, but they’re a talented bunch when it comes to creating quality produce.
Founder and Flinders Island local Jo Youl wanted to celebrate what she calls a paddock-sea-and-garden-to-plate philosophy.
The store is in Whitemark, and visitors will find coffee, lunch and dinner, fresh produce, wine and honey, as well as local surprises.
Guests can even fly in for the day, ferried via helicopter or light plane from Bridport or Launceston, taking in the stunning view before landing at the Killiecrankie airstrip to explore.
Zebedee thermal springs … an El Questro highlight.
El Questro, in the stunning Kimberleys, has announced its 2018 season-opening offer, inviting guests visiting for two nights or more to stay an extra night for free.
The bonus night will mean more time for guests to take in the stunning natural beauty of the property and more time for activities, whether it be a hike to the viewing platform on Saddleback Ridge or a morning in the Zebedee thermal springs.
Visitors may choose to base their stay at either the safari-style tented cabins of Emma Gorge, home to one of ’s best swimming holes, or the air-conditioned bungalows of El Questro Station, both of which give them access to 700,000 acres of untamed beauty in the heart of the Kimberley.
The offer also includes complimentary breakfast for two.
Those looking for all-encompassing luxury can take advantage of the offer at the private and exclusive Homestead, and receive a 15 per cent discount on accommodation and a complimentary helicopter tour for two to the secluded Miri Miri Falls.
To take advantage of the special offer, bookings must be made before April 30.
Season dates for 2018 are March 29 to October 20 for Station/Homestead; May 1 to September 28 for Emma Gorge.
Grand American Adventures … offering accommodation that’s out of the ordinary.
Small-group adventure specialist Grand American Adventures is offering a range of tours based on accommodation that’s different to what is normally experienced on an American holiday.
An Appalachian Trail itinerary based on traditional huts, for instance, is priced from $2889 per person twin-share, including six breakfasts, six lunches and six dinners.
For over 125 years, hikers have enjoyed hiking the Appalachian Trail, walking from one spectacular location the next and staying in authentic huts en route.
The highest and most visited hut, Lakes of the Cloud Hut, is considered an essential bucket-list stop on the back-country walking trail, and is one of the many spectacular stops included.
Phone 0800 238 368 or visit www.adventureworld苏州夜场招聘.nz
Prague … recently named Europe’s most affordable capital city for a cultural experience.
With the Czech Republic this year celebrating 100 years since the Republic of Czechoslovakia was formed and 25 years since Czechoslovakia peacefully split into the countries of Czech Republic and Slovakia, it is a great time to visit the landlocked European country.
On Foot Holidays is offering an inn-to-inn walking tour of the northern edge of the republic, providing an ideal way to explore its meadows, pine forests, fairytale castles and soaring rock towers.
On Foot Holidays also recommends guests spend a few nights in Prague – recently named Europe’s most affordable capital city for a cultural experience – where they can explore some of the anniversary celebrations taking place in the beautiful historic city, including an international music festival, special exhibits and a fringe festival, and also see some of Prague’s most famous sites refurbished for the centenary.
Including six nights accommodation, all breakfasts, and all luggage transfers the ‘Bohemian Paradise’ walk costs from about $895 per person twin-share.
Seabreeze Resort Samoa … substantial savings at the adults-only resort.
Seabreeze Resort Samoa has launched a series of deals and bonuses featuring savings that can amount to more than $1000 per couple.
The deals at the adults-only resort are on sale until March 31 this year and valid for travel until April 30 this year and between November 1 this year and March 31 next.
The deals include: stay a minimum of five nights and receive one night free and a one-way arrival airport transfer for two people; stay a minimum of seven nights and receive one night free and return airport transfer for two people; and stay a minimum of 10 nights and receive two nights free and return airport transfers for two people.
Also included are regular features such as a la carte breakfast daily, nightly turndown service, complimentary mini-bar replenishment daily, use of new smart phones during stay, complimentary food platter in room for arrivals after 9pm and before 7am, and complimentary use of glass bottom kayaks and snorkelling equipment.
The deals are priced from $1526 per room.
Newcastle Men Of Football celebrate 40 years of national league history and remember Jets championship
KB United’s David Jones knows Men of Football’s double Newcastle anniversary celebrations will be a weekend to remember.
LOOKING BACK: Shane Pryce (Breakers), Joel Griffiths (Newcastle Jets) and David Jones (KB United) don their respective jerseys ahead of Men of Football’s celebrations. Picture: Simone De Peak
A win, though, overthe Sky Blues, 40 years after an opening home loss to Sydney’s glamour club, would top it off nicely.
Jones will be among the many former players celebrating 40 years of national league football for Newcastle and the 10-year anniversary of the Jets’ A-League grand final win over Central Coast.
The Men of Football, an organisation dedicated to raising funds for those in the game in need, is having a luncheon on Friday, March 2 at Merewether Surfhouse and holding a players’ day function in a corporate box at the Jets versus Sydney FC game the following day at McDonald Jones Stadium to mark the milestones.
Jones, whocame from England to be part of Newcastle’s second national league season in1979,was looking forward to catching up with players from all clubs who represented the region. And he hoped for a bit of revenge.
“KB’s first home game was against Sydney Hakoah [Hakoah Eastern Suburbs] and they were the so-called glamour club of that era,” Jones said.“They had a team of internationalsand they beat us 4-1 in front of 15,000.
“Hopefully it’s 4-1 to the Jets this time. But I just hope the Jets win, that will really top the weekend off.”
Jones said “it’s all come together well” for the celebrations, given the second-placed Jets’ success.
“It’s very good now.A lot of teams went to the wall over the years but now the Jets definitely have their act together,” he said.
The March 2 luncheonfeatures a Newcastle football history display and Jets coach Ernie Merrick as guest speaker. Tickets are $100 throughProTicket orcontact Brad Robb on 0401 020 716.
All ex-players are welcome at the Jets game function, which carries a $20 fee including gate entry.
The Adelaide Fringe … a simply fantastic time to visit the city. The Adelaide Fringe is the second-biggest fringe festival in the world, the largest open-access arts festival in the Southern Hemisphere, and ’s biggest ticket-selling arts festival.
It completely takes over Adelaide and its surrounds from February 16 to March 18.
Venues big and small, pop-up and permanent, house thousands of artists from all over Adelaide, and the world.
Around most of Adelaide’s corners, whether in an alleyway, a tent, a pub, a laundromat, or an abandoned hospital, you’ll be bound to find Fringe goodness in some shape or form.
Canowindra presents a mass of spectacular colour and action during its annual balloon challenge.
Each year the skies above Canowindra come alive with the roar of the burners and the visual spectacular provided when mass hot-air balloons take off in competition, joy and commercial flights.
During the Canowindra Balloon Challenge, which this year will be held from April 21-29, the town receives over 10,000 visitors to see the balloons.
The wide-open spaces, ideal weather conditions, and friendly local people make this an ideal area for hot-air ballooning.
The challenge is just one of a raft of activities to be held this year in Central NSW. See www.visitcentralnsw苏州夜总会招聘.au
Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse … panoramic ocean views from a new observation platform.
The experience at Western ’s Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse has dramatically improved following extensive renovations worth over $1 million, with visitors able to take in panoramic ocean views from a new observation platform.
Other improvements include landscaped lawns, availability of refreshments from the new café in the restored lighthouse-keeper’s cottage, and a nautical-themed playground.
The café offers expansive decking, featuring old wooden pylons from the Busselton Jetty, overlooking the playground. Nestled in the playground’s sandpit is a 1930s wooden clipper boat, restored with the assistance of the Dunsborough Men’s Shed.
Half-hour guided tours of the lighthouse are available for $15 per adult.
A new interactive interpretive centre, housed in the remaining lighthouse-keeper’s cottage, is scheduled to open this July.
Oaks Lagoons in Port Douglas … the quintessential tropical resort destination.
Oaks Hotels & Resorts is offering deals at a range of n properties with price tags less than $50 per person per night.
Properties available include Oaks Oasis Resort on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, Oaks Embassy in Adelaide’s West End, and Oaks Elan Darwin overlooking Darwin’s harbour.
A stay at Oaks Lagoons in Port Douglas is priced from $49.50 per person per night based on two guests and a minimum two-night stay in a spa apartment.
It’s the quintessential tropical resort destination, blending deluxe, self-contained accommodation complete with private balconies, outdoor spas and swim-out facilities, plus six lagoon pools.
All the specials are available for selected nights in February.
Leisure Inn Penny Royal … incorporates an adventure park.
Leisure Inn Penny Royal, at Launceston, is offering packages in conjunction with the adjacent Penny Royal Adventure Park where you can enjoy cliff walks, rope bridges, and indoor and outdoor rock-climbing walls.
The offer includes free wi-fi, $80 worth of Penny Royal Adventure Park Vouchers so you can enjoy all of the on-site attractions, and a pre-paid discount off the best flexible accommodation rate.
Ambulance Vic CEO Tony Walker says figures show more cardiac arrest patients are surviving (File).A record number of Victorian patients are surviving cardiac arrests, with paramedics reaching them sooner.
The 2016/17 state-wide ambulance response times to cardiac arrests had patients being defibrillated on average within 9.2 minutes, one minute faster than the previous year.
“There’s a jumbo jet of people alive today as a result of the work that our paramedics, firefighters, bystanders and others do,” Ambulance Victoria chief executive Tony Walker told reporters on Tuesday.
“Three-hundred-and-seventy-nine Victorians survived last year, 20 more than the year before.
“And this is one of the hardest measures we have, these are people who are clinically dead.”
Paramedics treated 6034 cardiac arrest patients, the most ever, with the survival rate for patients in a shockable rhythm the highest ever at 34 per cent and increasing to 37 per cent when a bystander intervenes.
Prof Walker says the increased number of patients is in line with ‘s ageing population and is not cause for concern.
“The reality is we have an ageing community, cardiac arrest is occurring out there in the community as people, and also the community is growing, so I think on a per capita basis the number of cardiac arrests are about the same,” he said.
Meanwhile, Premier Daniel Andrews says he doesn’t think Victoria’s growing infrastructure construction, which is impacting on traffic congestion, will prevent ambulance responses.
“We’ve had a pretty busy infrastructure program over the last three years and each of those years we’ve seen response times come down,” he told reporters.
“I’m very confident Ambulance Victoria can manage both the infrastructure challenge and also with extra resources … we’re going to keep working hard to drive those numbers down even further.”
Broncos prop Matt Lodge played 12 NRL games for the Wests Tigers before his off-field issues.The NRL has defended its decision to register Matt Lodge’s contract but warned the controversial Brisbane prop he’s on his last chance.
Lodge has divided opinion after being thrown a career lifeline by Broncos coach Wayne Bennett and is set to resume his NRL career in 2018.
He was in danger of being banned for life after an alcohol-fuelled rampage in New York in 2015.
Similarly to Wests Tigers prop Russell Packer, Lodge was forced to spend a year in reserve grade before being allowed to sign with an NRL team.
He resumed playing with Brisbane’s feeder club Redcliffe last year and the NRL said he had exhibited a willingness to change and be rehabilitated.
However, the NRL said any further indiscretions would not be tolerated.
“The NRL has worked very closely with the Broncos through this process – the club requested a contract be registered last year but that request was rejected,” an NRL spokesman said.
“We have seen a huge change in him in terms of his attitude and determination to rehabilitate.
“Needless to say he needs to ensure there are no more transgressions. But all the signs are that he has changed his attitude.”
It emerged that the 22-year-old has yet to begin paying the $1.56 million in damages awarded in a US District Court case to the victims of his home invasion.
Lodge said he has turned his life around, sworn off alcohol and begun studying at university.
While his signing has polarised opinions, the 116kg prop shapes as a key recruitment for the Broncos, who have been criticised for lacking size over the past several years.
Broncos great Gorden Tallis said he believed Lodge could make a positive impact.
“He’s a big kid and everybody deserve a second chance,” Tallis told AAP.
“I’m not privy to all the conversations they had with (NRL CEO) Todd (Greenberg), whether he has ticked all the boxes.
“He did spend 12 months in the Queensland Cup, I didn’t hear anything bad come out.
“Does he have to spend 12 months or two years out of the game? That’s not my decision.”
Great food, great wine and great company.Angullong Wines has a beautifully appointed and admirably located cellar-door/shopfront in the charming Central-Western NSW village of Millthorpe, not far outside Orange.
That’s just as well, because, though it has the largest vineyard in the Orange district, it’s at the end of the road to woop-woop, at a location called Panuara, on the slopes of Mt Canobolas near Cadia.
But once a year, during the October Orange Wine Week, Hatty Crossing, her sons James and Ben, and their families, who between them run Angullong, share this prized grape-growing location with the public during a long-table lunch called ‘Outstanding in the Vines’.
Nothing like a glass in hand on the way to lunch.
And outstanding it really is. The lunch location and setting are fabulous — on white-clothed tables between two of the property’s dams and offering simply fabulous views over the surrounding vines.
It is a smart move by the Crossings to organise buses to bring their guests from Orange Railway Station.
The long and winding road may take a toll on the way in, and almost certainly will on the way out.
Especially given the vineyard’s proximity to nowhere, the standard of food presented over the past couple of years has been superb.
Angullong’s ‘Outstanding in the Vines’ … a chance to share a magnificent location.
In 2017, for instance, the menu comprised: hors d’oeuvre of smoked trout paté on crostini, mini Yorkshire puddings with venison, goats-cheese-and-beetroot tarts, spanakopita, and cheese-and-rosemary sables with roast tomato; followed by shared platters of beef fillet with chilli-lemon and cumin, crispy-skin herbed chicken, asparagus with aioli, chunky potato gratin, and pear-pea-and-parmesan salad with creamy mint dressing.
And then there was dessert — absolutely delectable lemon-curd cheesecake and chocolate berry mousse.
Plenty of time to let the hair down.
Winewise, there was plenty to choose from, starting with regularly topped-up glasses of NV Chardonnay Pinot Noir and 2016 Sparkling Rosé, with 2017 Pinot Grigio for when the bubbles started to overwhelm.
With the main course there was 2017 Fossil Hill Rosato, 2016 Chardonnay, 2016 Fossil Hill Tempranillo and 2016 Fossil Hill Sangiovese, while dessert was accompanied by 2016 Fossil Hill Riesling, 2013 Botrytis Semillon and 2016 Fossil Hill Barbera.
The Hip Replacements … have guests searching though nostalgia banks.
And the band, — one of various incarnations of the Hip Replacements — will be back in 2018, playing just so many songs that have guests searching though nostalgia banks.
And, quite remarkably, the Studebaker truck the band uses as a stage still carries grapes from vineyard to winery at vintage time.
No shortage of bubbly at Angullong.
Those interested in attending the 2018 event, and others on the Wine Week calendar, should visit www.angullong苏州夜总会招聘.auand www.brandorange苏州夜总会招聘.au
Sparke Helmore gears up for anniversary TEAM: Makenzie Scott (cycle), Gabi Sainsbury (swim) and Kari Armitage (run) at Queens Wharf. Picture: Josh Callinan
TweetFacebook Newcastle City TriathlonPictures by Josh CallinanMakenzie Scott did her first triathlon as part of a school team.
The Fennell Bay 18-year-old hasn’t stopped cycling since, but this Sunday she rejoins the three-discipline sport as the old Sparke Helmore Triathlon celebrates a milestone.
The event, now known as the Newcastle City Triathlon, turns 25 and Scott will be part of the action alongside Hunter Hurricanes water polo player Gabi Sainsbury and Merewether runner Kari Armitage.
This trio will be called the Quarry Mining Guru Girls when they combine forces for the Olympic distance teams race, featuring a 1500 metre swim, 35 kilometre bike ride and 10km run in and around Queens Wharf, Nobbys Beach breakwall and King Edward Park.
“I did two in a relay triathlon as part of the All Schools carnival, which is how I got into bike riding,” Scott, now a successful Hunter District Cycling Club member, said.
“But this will be my first Sparke Helmore.”
Scott, who also trains at Dunc Gray Velodrome in Sydney, will target a “calendar-full of events” in 2018 featuring the Oceania Road Cycling Championships in Tasmania next month.
The apprentice fitter works at Quarry Mining with Armitage, who has previously run in various Newcastle City Triathlons. Kahibah 27-year-oldSainsbury debuted in the swim leg last year.
In the main raceMerewether’s Will Dawes is expected to defend his men’s crown while reigning women’s champion Holly Khan won’t be following up her 2017 success.
Event organiser Paul Humphreys said on Tuesday he expected up to 1000 participants while the course remains the same following last year’s shift further up Newcastle Harbour.
”The feedback from last year was overwhelmingly positive, as the Queens Wharf venue allowed better access for the harbour swim as well as improvements to the bike and run courses,” Humphreys said.
Online registrations close at midnight on Wednesday. Late entries can be taken at Queens Wharfon Saturday. Action from 6:45am on Sunday.The local charity partner for 2018 is the Lauren Parker Foundation.