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Memories of a ‘forgotten war’

LEST WE FORGET: Hunter Valley District Council of RSL sub-branches president Brian Boughton.Unlike many airline passengers, Basil Stemp was happy when Qantas crews went on strike shortly before his proposed trip.
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Mr Stemp, from East Maitland, was a bren gunner in the Australian Army, destined to fly to Japan for intensive training before heading to fight the communists as part of the United Nations forces in Korea.

After being held up for some six months while the strike continued, Mr Stemp and 500 other members of his battalion finally made it to Korea – just in time for the ceasefire to be declared on July 27, 1953.

He stayed on in Korea as part of the Australian Army’s United Nations forces, patrolling the demilitarised zone and in constant danger.

“But the main fighting was over, which of course was a good thing as far as I was concerned,” Mr Stemp said.

Mr Stemp spoke to the Maitland Mercury on Friday when about 50 men and women had gathered at Maitland Park’s memorial garden in remembrance of servicemen who did not come home from the “forgotten war”.

Three-hundred-and-thirty-nine Australians lost their lives during that war and hundreds of others returned wounded.

After serving in Korea with 4RAR, Mr Stemp later served in Vietnam.

“Looking back at the Korean War, I believe we really did something to help that country to maintain its independence and to achieve the living standards it has now,” he said.

Hunter Valley District Council of RSL sub-branches president Brian Boughton addressed the service and said the young men of Australia had demonstrated to the world during the Korean conflict that their country was “truly a nation in partnership with the United Nations allies for a common cause”.

“We think of every man in those crucial years who died so the lights of freedom and humanity might continue to shine,” Mr Boughton said.

“We nurture too the obligations of showing gratitude for the peace we enjoy and the responsibility of ensuring the freedom and liberty so costly won is not lost by our own indifference.

“So let us mourn with pride, but let us also remember with equal pride those who served and who still live.”

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Two hurt in police pursuit accident

A man who led police on a chase through Rutherford will appear in Maitland Local Court today.
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The pursuit began on Saturday about 5pm when police attached to the Central Hunter Target Action Group tried to stop a stolen Holden Commodore on Justine Parade, Rutherford.

The Commodore crashed with a Mitsubishi sedan driven by an L-plater at the intersection of Weblands Street.

The Mitsubishi was pushed into a utility travelling in the opposite direction.

The driver and passenger of the Mitsubishi were treated for minor injuries.

Resident Barry Wiseman saw the incident unfold and said police had blocked entry to Weblands Street at both ends as the Commodore came down Dunkley Street.

He said police cars immediately surrounded the Commodore after the crash and drew their guns on the man before putting him to the ground.

Police took the man to Maitland Hospital for treatment to facial injuries.

“It looked as though [the

driver of the Commodore] was going to hit the school gates [of Rutherford Public School] and try to run away.

“I don’t know how someone didn’t get killed.

“The car was a write off and the ute was badly damaged too.”

The street was blocked until 10pm.

The man was later taken to Maitland police station and charged with leading police on a chase under Skye’s law, dangerous driving, stealing and driving a car, driving in a manner dangerous, never having been licensed to drive, malicious damage, two counts of resisting arrest and breach of bail.

He was also charged for a previous break-in and theft.

He was refused bail yesterday.

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Couple calls for doctors’ fees to be regulated

UNFAIR CHARGES: Frances and John Dunn want the federal government to regulate GP consultation fees. Frances and John Dunn want the federal government to regulate GP consultation fees after they incurred what they said was an unfair charge at the Lochinvar Medical Centre.
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Mrs Dunn, of Lorn, had been a patient of Dr John Goswell for almost nine years and had always received the non-smoker’s discount.

But when her husband, a smoker, took her to the surgery on July 3, the practice manager Felicity Goswell told Mrs Dunn she would no longer receive the discount because she lived with a smoker.

“We were sitting in the waiting room when Mrs Goswell came to the door of the waiting room and asked if my husband was still smoking,” Mrs Dunn said.

“He said he had given it up for three months but had started smoking again.

“[Mrs Goswell] got down on her knees and asked him: ‘Would you let me help you give up smoking please, please, please?’

“He said he had the patches and was going to give up again.”

The Mercury contacted Mrs Goswell who said she recalled the case but would not comment further.

Mrs Dunn said she questioned Mrs Goswell’s actions when she paid for the consultation, but said she was refused the discount.

“I don’t smoke and I never have,” she said.

“I’m angry because I have been penalised because I live with a smoker.”

This follows Rutherford woman Joanne Dennis’ outrage after she visited the surgery earlier this month and was charged the full consultation fee because she was a smoker.

Mrs Dunn has changed doctors and written to the NSW Health Care Complaints Commission to express her concerns.

The NSW Health Care Complaints Commission told the Mercury it was up to each surgery to set their own policy.

“Patients concerned about the fees could make a complaint to the commission but there was nothing they could do unless the health and safety of the patient was affected,” a spokeswoman said.

The NSW Fair Trading is powerless, as is the Department of Health and Ageing.

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Abuse victim unforgiving

A sexual abuse victim has told Sydney District Court he will never forgive the man who betrayed his trust.
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The man’s victim impact statement will be used in the sentencing of a paedophile who was found guilty of 21 charges of indecent and sexual assault by a jury in May.

“I hate him for what he has done and I hate him for what he has done to me – God might forgive you but I never will,” the man told the court on Friday.

He was one of the male victims, aged between eight and 14, assaulted by the paedophile whose name and profession cannot be revealed for legal reasons.

During a trial in April the court heard the paedophile was a friend and mentor to many boys he saw regularly through his career.

The victims were all experiencing difficulties at home or school when the man befriended them and later abused them in a number of regions in NSW.

Focused and with his voice wavering only slightly, the man said numerous attempts at counselling had failed and ultimately he did not want to forgive his abuser.

He said at times his life was out of control, he suffered mood swings,

inactivity and constant fits of crying that he would try to hide from people.

The paedophile sat composed in the dock and 15 of the his supporters listened from the back of the court as the man spoke of avoiding questions about the past for fear his abuse would resurface.

“I am ashamed I let this happen and that I did not stand up any earlier,” he said.

He said he was resentful that his trust had been betrayed and years later the events had caused an irreversible impact on all his relationships.

“I have trouble acknowledging that there are good people out there.”

He spoke of lost jobs opportunities and the abuse of drugs and alcohol to help cope with the shame.

A sentencing hearing will be held next month.

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Train ‘robbery’ must be resolved

Whatever may or may not be happening with Maitland’s trains needs to be resolved – and quickly.
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Save Our Rail has claimed that two diesel trains have been removed from the Hunter to provide extra trains between Bathurst and Sydney.

The group claims the trains were sent to Eveleigh Rail Yard in Sydney – one after a collision and the other for maintenance – and have not been returned.

RailCorp, on the other hand, has stated unequivocally: “No trains have been diverted from the Maitland line (Hunter line) for the new Bathurst to Sydney service.”

But it does concede: “The trains for the Bathurst

service will be sourced from Eveleigh Rail Yard in Sydney.”

The statements clearly do not marry – perhaps

unintentionally.

But in order for public confidence in Maitland’s train system to be restored there needs to be some sort of resolution to this situation.

What is not in question is the need for an adequate train service for Maitland.

We all know that Maitland is one of the fastest growing cities in regional Australia; we also know that our roads are overly congested.

Few people would dispute that, for the sake of our roads and the environment, more people must be encouraged on to public transport.

If Save Our Rail’s claims are correct and the Hunter’s line’s capacity has been reduced by 15 per cent, then

this has been a poor decision and one that must be immediately reversed.

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Rams ready for stern test

Tobin Bush.An under-strength Maitland Rams face the toughest test of the season so far when they host top four rivals Norths on Sunday.
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Maitland will be without player-coach Nathan Baker and Brett Gallagher, who are in Nowra representing Newcastle over 35s.

The Rams are looking to bounce back from their 3-1 loss against Souths last time out, but won’t find the going any easier against the perennially strong Norths team.

Last week’s results have seen the table turn into a logjam with Norths a point behind The Entrance at the top, with Souths a point back in third and Maitland a further point adrift in fourth.

Baker believes the competition is the closest in recent memory.

“It’s probably the tightest the comp has been since I came back from Sydney four years ago,” Baker said.

“Everyone is taking points off each other, we’ve beaten everyone except Norths and we’re probably due for a win against them.

“Traditionally we’ve been good against them at home, I think it comes down to our mindset and taking our chances.”

Baker said that his team needed to improve on some mental aspects that let the Rams down against Souths.

“I think the level of intensity let us down a bit last week, our mindset when we went a goal up was too defensive,” Baker said.

“The boys went a goal up and Souths kind of came back at us, we spoke at halftime that we couldn’t just defend it.

“It’s a mental thing, once we get put under pressure by these top teams we seem a bit cautious and sit back.

“We need to take it to them this week and have a red hot go.”

Baker said his squad will be able to cover him and Gallagher in their absence and their unavailability provides second grade players with the chance to step up.

“We have some really good guys from seconds who have played all year off the bench,” Baker said.

“They’ll step in and I think we’ll be OK.”

The match starts at noon at the Maitland Hockey Centre.

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Allen inspires Mustangs

Andy Allen.The Maitland Mustangs will be looking to the winning habits of one of their teammates away from the court to inspire them in their hunt to revitalise their season.
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Maitland have lost five of their last six games and travel to Sydney to take on Manly-Warringah on Saturday night after slipping outside the top six and are now in danger of missing out on the play offs.

But coach Luke Boyle is hoping their point guard Andy Allen’s success in becoming Australia’s latest MasterChef can arouse his players to end their slump.

“It’s quite an achievement for him, but it sums up Andy’s attitude towards everything,” Boyle said.

“As he said himself, no one would have picked him to win it at the start but he worked hard and got himself a massive win.

“That’s what he does, he persists and persists and persists until he gets the job done.”

While Boyle would love to

have Allen back on deck for the Mustangs charge toward the post season, he was realistic in his chances.

“It’s going to be hard, we’d love to have him back because at his best he’s probably the best point guard in the league,” Boyle said.

“To get him back would be a boost but with his responsibilities I’d say it’s a fairly slim chance, but there’s no doubt that he’s always welcome.”

Maitland will also be without Keiran Gleeson and JJ O’Brien for Saturday night’s road trip, with Boyle expecting to blood some younger players from the Mustangs State League team.

Tip off is at 6pm.

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Blacks looking up

Adam Perkins.Maitland Blacks coach Geoff Golledge is heading off any complacency going into Saturday’s trip to take on Nelson Bay.
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Bill Strong Oval hasn’t been a happy hunting ground for the Blacks in recent years and Golledge said his team wouldn’t be taking the Bay lightly despite their position on the table.

“We certainly won’t be (taking them lightly), we’ve always struggled up there against them except for last year where we got away from them early,” Golledge said.

“It’s always a hard battle against them and I’m not expecting any different this week, they’ve got a pretty big forward pack and some reasonable backs. They certainly haven’t been anybody’s bunnies this season.”

Maitland won the round five encounter against Nelson Bay at Marcellin Park 34-12 and Golledge feels the week off has freshened up his team sufficiently for the run in to the finals.

“The guys came back from the last break well and training on Tuesday was energetic and enthusiastic,” Golledge said.

“The break came at the right time for us with the run in to the semis, we definitely needed it with a lot of hard games coming up.”

Maitland are fifth on the table with 36 points and while Golledge said his team had suffered some setbacks in 2012, the Blacks are more concerned with looking up the table rather than behind at the chasing pack.

“At the start of the year people might have looked at the roster and just thought it was going to happen but teams need time to gel,” Golledge said.

“We’ve had a lot of injuries again this season, Michael Howell has only played two games since coming back from the ACT.

“Our expectations are very high, we want to win every game and finish as high as we can and hopefully build that momentum before the finals.”

Maitland will be without two-time Anderson Medal winner Adam Perkins with a shoulder ligament injury, with Golledge deciding to be cautious with the veteran forward.

“Adam is out which is a blow, he suggested to me he could play but we’ve erred on the side of caution,” Golledge said.

Dave Currey comes in for Perkins in an

otherwise unchanged line-up from the team that drew with Wanderers two weeks ago.

Kick off is at 3pm.

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Porter back for Pickers

NSW Country halfback Jade Porter.Maitland Pickers coach Ron Griffiths hopes the return of NSW Country halfback Jade Porter gives his team a necessary attitude adjustment when they host South Newcastle on Saturday.
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Maitland have been without their 2011 grand final hero for three weeks, with Porter travelling to Samoa to represent NSW Country.

Since then Maitland have scored gritty wins against Port Stephens and Central Newcastle, while also losing a gripping derby against Kurri Kurri.

Griffiths is pleased to have Porter back on deck to help his troops tame the Lions at the Maitland Sportsground on Saturday afternoon.

“Yes, he’ll [Porter] be back,” Griffiths said.

“He’s obviously a quality player so it’s good to have him available.”

Souths were the winners when the two teams met back in round seven, claiming a 34-22 win at Townson Oval.

Griffiths believes an improvement in attitude from that encounter will be the catalyst for Maitland claiming the right result come Saturday afternoon.

“It’s going to be a very tough one, they’re only one point behind us and have been going well of late,” Griffiths said.

“They’re certainly going to turn up wanting to win, so we have to go into it with the right attitude.

“When we played them at the start of the year we were way off the mark attitude wise. I think they just wanted it more than we did on the day.

“We need to fix that. Attitude is a very hard thing to instil in your players, but it’s the most important thing.”

Griffiths is confident his team can show the level of improvement required from recent weeks to build enough momentum to ensure the reigning premiers make the 2012 finals.

“We need to improve everything, it’s about individuals getting the little things right,” Griffiths said.

“Hopefully we stick to our game plan; we need to improve a little bit every week from here on in.”

While the Pickers are delighted to have their number seven back in action, Griffiths has some selections concerns and will be without fullback and former Penrith Panther Ryan Walker and Vern Mason through injury.

“Ryan won’t be available and Vern has a niggling knee injury that he’s been carrying all season and he won’t be right,” Griffiths said.

First grade kick off is at 2pm.

In other Pickers news, the club will host a Maitland Pickers Tribute Dinner at Maitland Town Hall on Saturday night, coinciding with the club’s second Old Boys Day of the season on Saturday afternoon.

Several Pickers legends will be in attendance at both events and all former Maitland players and supporters are welcome.

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Ndaira re-signs with Bulldogs

Kurri Bulldogs player-coach George Ndaira.The Kurri Kurri Bulldogs have been given a massive boost on the eve of their biggest game of the season with the club announcing the re-signing of player-coach George Ndaira for the 2013 season.
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Ndaira, a former St George-Illawarra, South Sydney and Newcastle Knights player in an NRL career spanning five years, has agreed to lead the club beyond the 2012 campaign and will look to celebrate with a win over the top of the table Goannas on Saturday.

Kurri secretary Jeff Polglase said the club were delighted to have Ndaira on board next season.

“When we initially signed him we were hoping he’d be a long-term coach,” Polglase said.

“Our goal of stabilising the club with someone of George’s ability and profile has worked for us; he’s happy to stay with us and we’re obviously very happy to have him go round again.”

Ndaira has helped take Kurri from a team on the periphery to genuine premiership contenders with his guidance and experience.

His ability to direct the team around the park, along with his exceptional short-kicking game sees the Bulldogs sit fourth on the competition table, four points behind first placed Cessnock.

Polglase believes Ndaira’s profile has helped retain former NRL players at the club and is happy that local juniors have also been given a chance to shine in first grade.

“We’ve got a competitive team for the fans to come and watch now, we’ve built up our crowd with our Old Boy’s section down in The Shed,” Polglase said.

“George has been in the player market already to add to the players we’ve acquired the last few years.

“We’ve picked up one NRL player a year for the last few years, it started with Abes [Daniel Abraham] then Reegan [Tanner], Jesse [Royal] after him and then George.”

Kurri take on Coalfields rivals Cessnock at the Cessnock Sportsground after the game was transferred from Kurri on Thursday afternoon because of a sewage leak.

The Bulldogs are still without captain and prop Royal with an ankle injury he suffered representing Newcastle, but otherwise can choose from a full strength squad.

Cessnock won the round seven battle between the two teams earlier in the season

24-16 in a game that could have gone either way.

Kick-off is at 3pm.

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