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Sylvester Bros bakery’s future bleak

GUTTED: Nicholas Sylvester with some of his staff in front of the Sylvester Bros. Bakery, which was destroyed by fire on Monday night. The family is not sure what the future holds for the business that started in 1919. – Picture by Dean Osland 1948: The Sylvester Bros. Bakery delivery cart.
Nanjing Night Net

IT has been delivering bread to Hunter Valley and Central Coast people for more than 90 years, but, sadly, Sylvester Bros. Bakery could soon be little more than a memory.

Monday night’s fire has all but destroyed the Wollombi Road building but, despite the institution’s bleak outlook, the Sylvester family is counting its blessings.

The fire was the second to rock the close-knit Coalfields family. But, this time, lives were spared.

In 1971, Dennis Sylvester was killed when fire swept through the family’s Branxton bakery as he slept in the upstairs living quarters he shared with his father, Paddy.

Family member Jeremy Sylvester said yesterday that his mother, Monica, who lives next door to the Cessnock bakery, was holding up well under the circumstances and was thankful that no one had been injured.

‘‘Mum took a call from the Drayton family today,’’ Mr Sylvester said.

‘‘When you look back at their winery tragedy we are extremely lucky.

‘‘The support and best wishes from the community has been overwhelming.’’

That support is not surprising considering the bakery has given hundreds of Coalfields people a job, whether in the shop front, baking bread or bagging rolls.

‘‘It was hard yakka working here and if you could work at the bakery you could work anywhere,’’ Mr Sylvester said.

The cause of the fire was still being investigated late yesterday, but it was believed to have started in the baking area.

‘‘It has caused a great deal of structural damage and it’s not looking good in terms of resurrecting what’s here,’’ he said.

‘‘It’s still too early to call whether or not the bakery will be rebuilt in any form.’’

The bakery had been the family’s life for decades.

‘‘Not just my family but my uncles’ families and all their sons. Dad was one of nine children and he and mum had 10 of us,’’ he said.

Mr Sylvester said locals had been recalling the fond times.

‘‘We had a call from someone saying they remember coming here and sitting on the bakery roof during the ’60s and ’70s to watch Cessnock play rugby league on the nearby oval,’’ he said.


1919 Sloane’s Bakery opened on Wollombi Rd, Cessnock

1928 Clarrie Watkins takes over bakery

1947 Brothers Cyril, Paddy, Leo and Barry Sylvester buy bakery

Late 1960s Family opens Sylvester Bros. Bakery at Branxton

1971 Dennis Sylvester, son of Paddy, killed in bakery fire

2011 Fire all but destroys the Wollombi Rd bakery

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Tourism industry ‘needs rate rise’

APPEAL: Sheridan Ferrier wants support for the industry.LAKE Macquarie’s $362million tourism industry will be under threat if the city council does not increase rates considerably, Tourism Hunter executive manager Sheridan Ferrier says.
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The council will disband its economic development department, close its visitor information centre at Swansea and stop all tourism expenditure if it only maintains rates at the cost of living (option one, right).

‘‘This could be the end of tourism for Lake Macquarie,” Ms Ferrier said.

‘‘Without the promotion and marketing of Lake Macquarie, visitors will head to other destinations.

‘‘Cafes, restaurants and accommodation operators will be hit hard.’’

She said Lake Macquarie attracted about 1million domestic visitors a year, who stayed an average of 2 nights and spent $145 a day.

Without a visitor information centre, services would be lost, including phone support, reservations, a website and marketing.

‘‘Tourism Hunter urges the community to consider the rate increase to ensure tourism can continue to contribute significantly to Lake Macquarie’s economy,’’ Ms Ferrier said.

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Increased flows give trout levels nice boost

TROUT in Brumbys Creek and the linked lower Macquarie River were energised on New Year’s Day by increased Hydro flows from the Poatina power station.
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With trout in other rivers lying low in thin, warm water, such flows should offer anglers alternative venues if they continue.

Up top, recent rewards for many trolling Great Lake have been scanty and anglers have often needed persistence.

Conversely, flyfishers spotting trout cruising up wind lanes in mid lake found floaters productive.

Just westward, several others wading Lake Augusta were pleased with the first morning of the new year.

Using dry flies in a sheltered bay, they netted six nice browns.

Arthurs Lake remains high but mayflies have been scarce.

More trout than expected are said to lack condition, and while some are reddish inside, others are unusually pale.

The new year’s first outing for Launceston Angling Club members will be at Arthurs Lake, from Friday, January 13, to weigh in at noon on January 15 at the Jonah Bay car park.

Some members were lucky at their Christmas party – here’s hoping all anglers are this Friday 13.

Northern disabled anglers will be anticipating this new year.

With Four Springs Lake so popular and handy for many, some have already made good use of the jetty built for them on its south-western shore.

Unfortunately, this resource is not freely accessible – unlike the original jetty beside the boat ramp opposite.

As previously mentioned, this is the one to be adapted to also cater for disabled anglers.

Modifications will be done by Westbury Fishing Club members, aided by a community grant from the Meander Valley Council and Inland Fisheries advice.

While widespread at Bridport like sore heads, flathead are localised in Anderson Bay, often down 20 metres.

Although not large, many are takeable and most boaters putting in the time have been getting a feed.

Others based to the east at Tomahawk speak of flathead considerably bigger.

Also reported farther east off St Helens are good catches of albacore tuna over the 100-metre mark.

Patchy in Georges Bay too, one place for sizeable flathead was off Parnella while lure anglers boated nice cocky salmon, along with the trevally and bream also coming from Grants Lagoon near Binalong Bay.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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Rain helps quell fires around the state

EARLY morning rain has helped firefighters quell 10 vegetation fires burning around the state.
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Tasmanian Fire Service state operations officer John Holloway said the brief, heavy downpour had also dampened the fire risk for the rest of the week.

He said there were no reports of new fires started by lightening strike this morning.

”The rain has certainly allowed us to bring all of these fires under control in faster than we could have in the conditions yesterday,” Mr Holloway said.

”Yesterday was the day that we were worried about -for the rest of the week the weather should us keep all of these fires controlled.”

It remains a high fire danger day for areas of the state north of the line between Burnie and Hobart. The risk in the rest of the state is low to moderate.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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Hunter patients wait longer for care

ONLY half of the patients in Hunter hospital emergency departments are being treated within recommended time frames, with some waiting up to four times longer for care, a report released today shows.
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The Bureau of Health Information’s analysis also reveals that for urgent elective surgery, waiting times are longer and the percentage of patients treated on time is lower in the Hunter than the rest of the state.

The bureau is an independent organisation that monitors the public health system.

Its latest report provides information about the performance of NSW public hospitals from July to September 2011.

The bureau said experts recommend a maximum waiting time in emergency departments until treatment begins of 10 minutes for patients with imminently life-threatening conditions, such as chest pain and severe burns.

In the Hunter New England Local Health District, half of patients in this category started treatment within seven minutes.

But it took up to 38 minutes for 95 per cent of patients to be treated, the report said.

For potentially life-threatening conditions, such as moderate blood loss and dehydration, the maximum recommended waiting time is 30 minutes.

Half of Hunter patients started treatment within 22 minutes, and 95 per cent were treated within 127 minutes.

About 50 per cent of patients with potentially serious and less urgent cases were treated within suggested times, but it took longer than recommended to attend to most patients.

The bureau does not report time to treatment for the less than 1 per cent of patients with immediately life-threatening conditions.

Bureau chief executive Diane Watson said winter months put extra pressure on emergency departments.

In Hunter New England, the median wait for urgent elective surgery was 12 days, compared with 11 for NSW, the report said.

At Calvary Mater Newcastle, the wait was 19 days, and at Belmont Hospital it was 13.

In the region, 91 per cent of patients requiring urgent elective surgery were treated on time, compared with 93 per cent state-wide.

At the Mater, 72 per cent of these patients were treated on time, while at Maitland Hospital it was 88per cent and at John Hunter 91 per cent.

Last month the Newcastle Herald reported that surgery waiting lists had blown out at some Hunter hospitals to almost four times longer than the national average according to public health data.

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Why so keen to tan your hide?

When I was about 10 years old, my best friend introduced me to the concept of deliberately burning ones skin.
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Back then I was horrified – but by the time I hit my teens, tanning was easily the most popular after-school activity on the Sunshine Coast. While the guys surfed, the girls spent hours on the beach slathered in SPF 0 tanning oil. To speed up the process, many would also visit solariums and spray tan salons every other week. The growing popularity of these practices was obvious during graduation, when the girls glowed under the stage lights and smelled faintly of coconuts and cat pee.

Spray tan shades and smells seem to have improved since then – and an entire industry has continued to grow around the demand for brown skin. But this has done little to curb the enduring popularity of a real tan. Despite growing up with slip, slop, slap on the television and skin cancer education in schools, young people are still avoiding proper skin protection. The Cancer Council’s latest National Sun Protection Survey found 45 per cent of teens aged 12 to 17 preferred a tan despite the dangers, with one in five getting sunburnt on a typical summer weekend.

But what’s so great about a tan? To many of my friends, it’s absolutely necessary to have one before a night out. They say a tan gives them confidence and makes them look healthier, thinner and more attractive. Apparently, darker skin also makes their eyes pop, their teeth look whiter and their muscles more defined. To me, they just look brown.

So many teens and twenty-somethings are deliberately ignoring a lifetime of sun-smart campaigns, traumatising their skin cells and risking cancer to appear healthier. What more can sun safety and cancer organisations do?

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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Saving old trains from the scrap heap

HONOUR: Bryan Hicks with his beloved trains.BRUCE Agland and Bryan Hicks are happy to concede they are just ‘‘two big boys playing with their trains’’.
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The pair is part of a team that has taken out a state award for their service to the Rail Motor Society, based at Paterson.

Mr Agland and Mr Hicks, along with Claire and Ted McKellar of Taree, have received Rail Heritage Volunteer Awards for their work at the society and its preservation of five rail motor diesels.

The society received three awards, the premier award being the 2011 Heritage Conservation Award for the society’s conservation of Rail Motor No. 3.

‘‘The restoration and return to service of Rail Motor No. 3 is a significant event for the rail heritage movement of NSW,’’ Mr Agland said.

‘‘No. 3 entered service with NSW Government Railways in December 1923 and has a service life of more than 60years, coming into our possession in 1984.

‘‘We are honoured and very pleased to receive this award to recognise the immense contribution of our volunteer workforce in this conservation effort.’’

Other awards received by the society for 2011 included the Lifetime Achievement Award for society secretary and life member Mr Hicks of Cardiff and the Customer Service Award for society members Mr and Mrs McKellar.

Both Mr Agland and Mr Hicks said they were proud to have saved their five diesels from the scrap heap.

‘‘They’re still motoring along nicely and they come out for events like Steamfest,’’ Mr Hicks said.

The Rail Motor Society is an accredited main line heritage rail operator and was established in 1984.

It offers rail tours throughout NSW.

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Ponting out for 134

RICKY Ponting has been dismissed for 134, falling victim to the second new ball.
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Ishant Sharma finally removed the former skipper who squeezed a catch to Sachin Tendulkar.

Ponting received another standing ovation as he left the Sydney Cricket Ground after scoring his first Test ton in nearly two years.

The 37-year-old shared a 288 run partnership with captain Michael Clarke, who came to the crease with Australia reeling at 3-37.

Clarke earlier reached 150 and is continuing to take the match away from India.


Ricky Ponting has reached his first Test century in almost two years after being stuck on 97 during the lunch break.

Ponting received a standing ovation from the SCG crowd that included his wife Rianna who was nursing their second daughter Matisse Ellie.

However, the 37-year-old would have been run out on 99 if the fielder had hit the stumps when Ponting pushed a quick single.

It was the former skipper’s first Test ton since a double century in January 2010 at Bellerive Oval against Pakistan.

Captain Michael Clarke reached his century in the last over before lunch but could not get his former boss back on strike.

Ponting faced the first over after lunch and went from 97 to 99 with a push off his pads then sent Clarke back from attempting a disastrous run on the last ball of the over.

He finally reached the milestone in the fourth over after the restart with a push to mid-on and a dive to try and make his ground.


Former skipper Ricky Ponting will endure a nervous lunch break, stuck on 97 runs in the second Test against India.

Captain Michael Clarke reached his century with a beautiful drive through cover in the last over before lunch but could not get Ponting back on strike.

It will be the 37-year-old’s first Test century in almost two years if he can find the three more runs when play resumes.

Ponting began this morning on 44 with Clarke on 47. The pair piled on the runs to be 3-236 at lunch on day two.


Ricky Ponting has made a half century alongside captain Michael Clarke as Australia looks to press its advantage in the second Test against India at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

Ponting posted his 61st half century and will be keen to convert it into his first Test century in nearly two years. The 37-year-old has scored 1390 runs at the SCG in 16 Tests at 66.19, including five hundreds.

Clarke and Ponting resumed this morning on 47 and 44 respectively with Clarke the first to pass 50. Australia is 3/136 in reply to India’s 191.

More to come …

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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Austar coalmine fined

FINED: Austar coal.THE Chinese-backed Austar underground coalmine near Cessnock has been fined more than $115,000 for a septic tank spill into nearby Bellbird Creek in July last year.
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The NSW Environment Protection Authority took Austar to the Land and Environment Court, where the company pleaded guilty.

It was ordered to pay $75,000 toward an environmental rehabilitation project as well as more than $42,000 in legal costs.

EPA chief environmental regulator Mark Gifford said detergent, nutrients and faecal matter from the mine’s bath-house facilities washed into the creek from a 90-year-old septic system.

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Our first iPhone assignment winner

MELANIE Orpwood received a belated Christmas present from The Examiner yesterday – a shiny new iPhone 4S.
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Ms Orpwood, of Blackstone Heights, was the winner of the inaugural iPhone app ”assignment” competition, picked out of hundreds of entrants.

The Examiner’s iPhone app was launched last month and has seen thousands of people download it for free.

The first assignment was to take a photo that embodied the spirit of Christmas.

Ms Orpwood’s picture of 11-week-old daughter Isla in a Santa suit under a Christmas tree covered in blue and silver baubles was the winner.

Ms Orpwood entered the competition, using a friend’s phone, because she didn’t have an iPhone and wanted to be able to play ”words with friends”.

Thousands have downloaded The Examiner app since it was launched last month.

The Examiner is giving readers another chance to win an iPhone 4S with its new assignment -Summer living in Tassie.

To enter, download the free app and click the report button at the top of the screen, select the assignment and follow the prompts.

Send in your best summer pictures.

Remember to put a contact number so we can call you if you win and send only photos taken on the phone using no enhancement programs and no photos of photos.

The competition runs until February 2.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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