As 2016 comes to an end, The Advertiser is taking a look back at our biggest stories of the year.
Here’s a reminder of what made front-page news in Cessnock in 2016, and the stories that had the most pageviews on our website each week.
Check out the front page photos in the gallery above, and click on the links in blue to read the original stories.
A ceremony in Kurri Kurri marking the 100th anniversary of the Wallabies Recruitment March during World War I feature on the front page of our first edition of the year.
The January 6 edition also carried a story about Cessnock Council’s $950,000 dollar-for-dollar grant for the CBD upgrade project.
The biggest story on our website for the first week of the year was the coverage of a massive deluge that hit the town on the night of January 5, flooding parts of town and causing many road closures.
The aforementioned storm caused the closure of Testers Hollow for the fourth time in nine years, leading to renewed calls for a solution to flooding on the main road between Cessnock and Maitland.
The most-viewed story on our website that week was about Cessnock woman Margaret Condran becoming a great-great-grandmother.
Testers Hollow made the front page once again, as did the beleaguered Frame Drive bridge – but it was good news this time, with Cessnock Council securing a $2 million grant to replace the bridge.
The most popular story on our website that week was a gallery of school holiday photos.
Cessnock’s Australia Day ceremony was the biggest news of the week, making the front page and topping our web traffic.
Nulkaba resident Peter Torenbeek’s name appeared on Australian player Aaron Finch's shirt during the one-day series against India as part of Victoria Bitter’s ‘Earn a Place in the Australian Cricket Team’ promotion.
Our top story online that week was a reader-submitted gallery of Back to School photos. We love to see your photos!
East Cessnock’s flying fox colony made the front page for the first of many times in 2016. Residents and MPs raised their concerns about health issues, but a local vet said the risk of being attacked was ‘extremely low’.
The 2015 Cessnock City Sportsperson of the Year finalists were announced that week, and a gallery of the contenders was the most-viewed story on our website that week.
The front page story covered a rally that was held at Donaldson Abel Mine at Black Hill to protest against new agreements that affect employee entitlements.
The most-viewed story on our website that week also occurred at Black Hill – a woman was taken to hospital in a critical condition after a head-on crash on February 14.
We couldn’t resist running a cute dog photo on the front page! Mount View High School introduced animal therapy into its counselling program, with great feedback from the community.
The most popular story online that week was also school-related – our School Leaders of 2016 feature.
The Cessnock Show made the front page and also topped our web traffic for the week.
Also making front page news was Joel Fitzgibbon’s announcement that he would contest the seat of Hunter at the July federal election, and Meryl Swanson’s pre-selection bid for Labor in Paterson.
Our front page featured a call for action to upgrade Lovedale Road after a fatal crash near the railway underpass at Allandale, which claimed the life of police Sergeant Geoffrey Richardson.
A plan for a new levee bank to alleviate flooding at South Cessnock also made the front page.
The most-viewed item on our website that week was the story of Gabby, the last dog remaining at the Hunter RSPCA after an adoption drive the previous weekend.
Our front page showed Kurri Kurri girls preparing for the town’s biggest weekend of the year, the 2016 Nostalgia Festival.
A flashback gallery from the 2015 Nostalgia Festival gained the most pageviews on our website that week.
The NSW Government’s Draft Hunter Regional Plan also made front page news that week, when Cessnock MP Clayton Barr criticised the plan for “ignoring” the Hunter Expressway.
The final plan, released in October, included “investigating the region-shaping potential of the Hunter Expressway” as one of its priorities.
There was movement at the station – the old ambulance station, that is – when the new commercial centre Cessnock Central opened for business.
Plans to make Cessnock Correctional Centre the biggest prison in NSW were announced that week.
The most popular story on our website that week was the 2016 Kurri Kurri Nostalgia Festival photo gallery.
A Kurri Kurri girl’s harrowing ordeal after she stood on a discarded needle was our front page story this week.
Easter hat parade photos were a hit with our online audience that week; as was a look inside St Philip’s Christian College’s junior school building (which includes a slide!).
A taxidermy exhibition was one of the variety of activities enjoyed across Cessnock City during Seniors Week.
Calls to reduce the speed limit in Pokolbin in a bid to prevent kangaroo deaths was met with a mixed reaction from Advertiser readers, with many calling for a ‘roo cull.
A robbery at a Cessnock butcher shop on April 1 was the most-viewed article on our website that week.
The excitement was building for the inaugural Cessnock Stomp Festival, which was previewed on our front page that week.
Cessnock Council’s plans for a new aquatic centre at Turner Park also appeared on the front page and was our most-read article online that week.
Our front page featured the story of a Weston family who still hadn’t moved back into their home, one year after it was inundated with floodwater during the April 2015 superstorm.
The Cessnock Stomp Festival also featured on the front page and was the most popular article on our website that week.
Anzac Day commemorations around Cessnock City made the front page and were also the most-viewed item online that week.
The front page also carried a story highlighting Samaritans’ concerns about housing affordability for vulnerable residents.
The Anzac Day photo gallery topped our web traffic for the second week running.
Our front page featured the story of Emily Teasdale, who gave birth to her daughter Maci in the car park of Cessnock Hospital.
A preview of the 2015 Cessnock City Sportsperson of the Year awards (which included a gallery of the finalists) had the most pageviews on our website that week.
Check out the awards night coverage here.
An article about the car crash at Bill Shorten’s Testers Hollow media stop was the most-read item on our website that week.
The East Cessnock flying fox saga returned to the front page when the colony was set on fire three times in a fortnight.
A story and photo gallery from fundraising dinner Dine 4 Charity was the most-viewed article on the website that week.
The Hunter Valley wine industry honoured its top achievers and contributors at its annual Legends awards, while the bats once again featured on the front page with the news that Cessnock City Council had received $10,000 towards a flying fox camp management plan.
A photo gallery from The Today Show’s live broadcast at Hunter Valley Gardens on June 2 was the most popular article on our website that week.
The Today Show visit made the front page the following week, and flying fox funding continued to make headlines after the South Coast town of Batemans Bay received $2.5 million from the State Government to deal with its bat problem.
A flashback to the Hunter Vintage Festivals of the 1970s and ‘80s was the most-viewed item on our website that week.
Australian Citizens Radio Emergency Monitors chief commissioner Martin Howells raised concerns that a UHF channel designated for emergencies was blocked during a severe weather event earlier that month.
Cessnock mourned its ‘go-to guy’ for community events with the sad and sudden passing of Damien Wallace, with dozens of readers leaving tributes for ‘Damo’ on our website.
The Federal Election campaign was in full swing, with Labor promising $10 million towards fixing the flooding problem at Testers Hollow.
Cessnock Correctional Centre made the front page again, with plans announced for 620 new beds at the prison.
The most popular story on our website was once again related to the new Cessnock Aquatic Centre, with the plans going on public exhibition that week.
The pool plans made the front page of the following week’s paper, and Testers Hollow featured again, with the Liberals one-upping Labor with a $15 million pledge for Testers Hollow.
The most-viewed article on our website that week was a photo gallery from the Australian Teenage Expo’s visit to Kurri Kurri High School.
The Jungle Juice Cup also dominated our web traffic that week, along with the search for missing Cessnock man Dylan Dickie.
NSW Premier Mike Baird’s decision to ban greyhound racing in the state sent reverberations around the Hunter region. While animal rights groups lauded the decision, it had some trainers fearing for their family’s futures.
Child sex abuse survivor Paul Gray shared his story with the Advertiser in the hope of encouraging other survivors to come forward ahead of the Royal Commission in Newcastle in August.
The most-clicked item on our website that week was a flashback gallery featuring pictures of Cessnock’s most recent ‘snow day’ – July 18, 1965.
Cessnock man Ian Olsen made the front page after he achieved the impressive feat of completing the world’s six major marathons.
The Buchanan mosque development application went to Cessnock City Council that night, and our live coverage of the meeting was the most-read item on our website that week.
Cessnock Mayor Bob Pynsent was pleading for calm after the council’s decision to approve the Buchanan mosque.
Also on page one that week, Hunter Valley pastor Bob Cotton was calling for harsher penalties for people who cover up sex offences against children.
On a lighter note, a junior netball photo gallery was the most-clicked item on our website that week.
Cessnock Pistol Club members Daniel Repacholi and Blake Blackburn were preparing for the Rio Olympic Games, while the Cessnock Correctional Centre expansion returned to the front page.
A photo gallery from Cessnock Rugby League Club’s Black and Gold Ball was the most popular item on our website that week.
The jail expansion was once again on the front page, after a fiery community meeting at Cessnock Leagues Club.
Meanwhile, a stabbing at the jail was the most-viewed article on our website that week.
A police call for community assistance regarding shoplifting incidents at Cessnock and Greenhills was the most-read item on our website that week.
Tyrrell’s Wines dominated the 2016 Hunter Valley Wine Show, while Cessnock’s high rates of hospitalisation for heart disease also made the front page.
A photo gallery from the Holy Spirit Infants School science day was the most-viewed item on our website that week.
A record crowd attended the Hunter Valley Spring Fair at St Philip’s Christian College on August 28. This was our front page photo and the most-viewed article online that week.
A news story about a rise of influenza cases in the Hunter Valley also appeared on the front page.
The Cessnock Customer Service Awards photo gallery was the most-clicked item on our website that week.
Cessnock celebrated the arrival of spring with the Spring Awakening festival drawing hundreds of people to the CBD on September 9.
The council election was held the next day, with Labor’s Bob Pynsent securing another term as mayor.
Cessnock psychic Suzie Price’s win at the International Psychic Association’s Australian awards was the most popular story on our website that week.
The new council lineup was finalised and ran on our front page alongside a story about a charity bike ride for infant loss support organisation Bears of Hope.
The most-clicked story on our website that week was another flashback gallery, this time looking back at the dust storm of September 2009.
Dylan Dickie’s family issued another plea for help – three months after he went missing after leaving his Cessnock home on a motorbike.
Cessnock was counting down the weeks until the Australian Postie Bike Grand Prix, with a launch event held at Peden’s Hotel.
Historic photos continued to prove popular with our online audience, with the gallery of hospitals and nurses of the Hunter generating the most pageviews on our website that week.
The news that the former Wollombi Public School has been earmarked for sale made this week’s front page. Australian tennis legend John Newcombe was among those calling for the property to remain in public ownership.
Yet another Throwback Thursday gallery topped the online pageviews for the week – this one looking back at the Hunter’s kids through the ages.
Another search of bushland near Millfield failed to find any sign of missing Cessnock man Dylan Dickie.
This story, and that of a sickening incident in which a horse’s tail was cut off, were among the most-read articles on our website that week.
Our front page previewed the 2016 Cessnock Relay For Life.
Cessnock Relay For Life made the front page again after raising more than $80,000 for the Cancer Council. It was also our most-viewed online item that week.
Our front page also carried a story about the increase in earthquake activity in the Hunter Region this year.
The inaugural Pokolbin Pride festival was hailed a success and was featured on our front page this week.
A stoush was brewing between businesses over plans for a medical waste incinerator at Kurri Kurri.
Online, the Kurri Kurri Community Festival photo gallery was the most-clicked item of the week.
The Australian Postie Bike Grand Prix once again drew thousands of people to the Cessnock TAFE grounds. It was our front page photo and the most popular item on our website that week.
Cessnock Jail returned to the front page with news that the Lindsay Street entrance was expected to be closed, with the Review of Environmental Factors due to be released later that week.
The outcome of the Cessnock Jail review did not include the closure of Lindsay Street entrance as expected, and was met with outrage by Cessnock MP Clayton Barr and Mayor Bob Pynsent.
The biggest story of the week, however, was a large bushfire that threatened homes at South Cessnock, Aberdare and Kearsley and burned through more than 1000 hectares over the weekend.
Messages of thanks for the firefighters flowed in the week after the bushfire crisis, and was featured on our front page.
A Throwback Thursday gallery featuring school formals from around the Hunter was the most-viewed item on our website that week.
A roller derby double-header drew a huge crowd to Cessnock Toyota Stadium, and the Cessnock Correctional Centre returned to the front page with the news a development application for a new permanent access road would be submitted early next year.
The most popular item on our website that week was the 25 years of Miss Cessnock City photo gallery, which accompanied the story that the quest will return in mid-2017.
The city was gearing up for Carols in the Park and the Great Cessnock Christmas Elf Challenge, and the Wollombi School Community Education Trust’s pleas to keep the school publicly-owned made the news again.
The Miss Cessnock City gallery topped the web traffic once again this week, followed by the story about Kurri Kurri woman Amanda Barrass and how the community has rallied around her as she battles breast cancer.
Christmas spirit was on show in Cessnock with about 1500 people turning out for Carols in the Park, including almost 400 dressed in red-and-green for the Great Cessnock Christmas Elf Challenge.
It was our front page story and the most-viewed article on our website that week.
Culture Club’s performance brought glitz, glamour and ‘80s nostalgia to Hope Estate – and to our front page.
The front page also reported that about 40 Cessnock residents had received fail-to-vote notices, despite claiming they had voted at the Cessnock Council election.
Coverage of Abermain-Neath bushfire, which broke out shortly before the Advertiser went to press on December 13, was the most popular item on our website that week.
The Abermain-Neath bushfire was front page news after it was revealed police were on the hunt for a firebug.
It was the final print edition of the Advertiser for the year.
The most popular story on our website that week was the public debut of Hunter Valley Zoo’s new white lions, Kovu and Nala.
WANT MORE? See The Advertiser’s Year in Sport gallery here.
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