Joel Fitzgibbon | Cessnock revitalisation continues at Stomp Festival

I spent much of Easter in Bellingen and Sawtell for a family reunion. The towns look little like they did 25 years ago. Tree and sea changers have moved in and coffee shops are the main attractions in busy, vibrant main streets. The buzz isn’t just an Easter thing, I’m assured.

Cessnock has been experiencing a similar revitalisation and that will be evident this weekend when the Stomp Festival will bring thousands to Vincent Street. Like the Postie Grand Prix, the Stomp Festival looks set to be a permanent feature in our calendar and it’s a credit to the Chamber of Commerce, Council, sponsors, stall holders and all involved. 


It was a pleasure to welcome visitors from around the country and to present medals the National Championships being held at the Cessnock Pistol Club last week. We should never under-estimate the value of the work done by those who voluntarily keep our sporting clubs alive and well. 


I agree with Cessnock Council; the chosen location at Metford for the proposed Lower Hunter Hospital is the wrong one. I happen to know it’s not what Hunter-New England Health had in mind and it certainly won’t be a good choice for the Cessnock, Singleton, Muswellbrook, or Upper Hunter local government areas.

Already Cessnock residents often find it necessary to travel to Maitland Hospital.  As sure as night follows day, the current Maitland Hospital will be closed to make way for the proposed Metford Hospital. That means Cessnock residents will find themselves travelling even further. 

Worse, the next push will be for a further down-grading of Cessnock and Kurri Kurri Hospitals because we have a new state-of-the-art hospital in Metford. Tell them they’re dreaming I say!


He’s no spring chicken but legendary Cessnock resident Dallas Wade continues to make his mark.  In January Dallas won gold at the Australian Seniors Tennis Teams Carnival in Adelaide.  Players from every state and New Zealand filled 110 teams for the five-day event so it’s a big achievement. 


It was courageous of my parliamentary colleague Meryl Swanson to be talking-up the relative prospects of the Goannas and Bulldogs in her column here last week.  All I will say is; we shall see!