Extraordinary meeting on Council’s budget

Armidale Dumaresq councillors are reviewing 30 areas of Council expenditure.

THIRTY areas of Council expenditure will be reviewed by Armidale Dumaresq councillors on Monday as they juggle ways of making the books balance.

General manager Glenn Wilcox said councillors had spent the past six months workshopping ways of ensuring a balanced budget for Council.

On Monday, they will vote on recommendations to try rein-in expenditure.

One of the big-tickets items off the agenda is the planned $11 million upgrade of Armidale War Memorial Library.

Also under review are community services such as Armidale Volunteer Centre, environmental management such as weeding and spraying reserves and a return of open space to native vegetation areas.

“Council will work with the community and stakeholders to bring about the necessary changes to operations to achieve these goals [of achieving a surplus in 2019 and 2020],” Mr Wilcox said.

But also touted is Council’s biggest capital works expenditure of nearly $29 million.

Included in this are rehabilitating rural roads ($546,000), resealing roads ($960,000), phase 1of the new landfill ($12 million) and Erskine Street drainage ($890,000).

Monday’s meeting is open to the public and starts at 6pm in Council Chambers in Rusden Street.

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Owners welcome support

OWNERS of Avoca Homestead Ian and Barbara Law have welcomed the support shown to them as their property is considered for heritage listing.

Historic complex: Ian and Barbara Law showcase the Avoca homestead, and (above) the station store.

The couple bought Avoca Station 16 years ago after staying there with a cousin one year.

The property has made such an impression on Mr and Mrs Law, they accepted the offer from the State Heritage Office to apply for heritage status.

“So far we have had a lot of very good support,” Mrs Law said.

“We run Avoca as a hospitality business and people have said to us for quite some time that we should have it recognised as a heritage site.”

Mrs Law said local historian Harvey Johnson had done much of the work associated with applying for the status.

“It’s a lovely old place,” Mrs Law said. “People from all over the world come to stay at Avoca.

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Heritage list bid for Avoca

THE New South Wales Heritage Council is considering listing Avoca Station Complex on the State Heritage Register.

Bygone era: The homestead stables.

The homestead includes a stone and a drop-log dwellings and is located about 24km north of Wentworth township.

The official listing describes Avoca as once a primarily sheep grazing property, and was initially run in association with the neighbouring Popiltah Station.

It said the homestead complex was the hub of the station, providing accommodation and facilities for the pastoral operations.

In 1888, 120,000 sheep were shorn at Avoca with new Wolseley shearing machines.

The wool clip was transported by paddle steamer from the woolshed downstream via the Darling River to the Murray River.

Former owner Daniel H. Cudmore developed the station and installed pumps to irrigate lucerne and other fodder crops next to the homestead.

Mr Cudmore was a leader in the Wentworth region in the 1870s and 1880s.

He was honorary magistrate, and served as sheriff of the county and chairman of the Wentworth District Council and Agricultural Society.

Mr Cudmore helped fund construction of the state heritage-registered St John’s Church in Wentworth and paid its vicar. Member for Murray Adrian Piccoli encouraged district residents to support the application.

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Pierce Brothers on the big stage

LIFE has been getting crazy for the Pierce Brothers.

Pat and Jack started their musical careers as buskers. They now play to festival crowds that number in the tens of thousands.

“We still can’t believe it. It’s crazy that we are getting used to it,” Pat said.

“We still love busking in a place like Bourke Street where you can draw a crowd of 400 people in.

“When an audience like GTM is waiting for you it’s a bit of a mind blow.”

The Pierce Brothers have a new single dropping later in the year as well as a European tour.

“It’s been really hectic and we have been really focusing on the EP,” Pat said.

“We were hoping it would be released for this tour but we had a scheduling problem so we released the single as a little teaser.”

Pat promises the EP will be fantastic.

“We have never had this world class sound before and we’re excited about it,” he said.

“It’s an absolutely new experience working with a major label.

“We took about 19 songs to them and sat down to work out which were the best. It was a really great experience.”

A great experience is also what crowds can expect from the brothers at GTM.

“There will be a lot of energy, a didgeridoo, crowd singing and jumping around,” he said.

The Pierce Brothers play at Bendigo GTM at 11am.

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