Annual ritual to remember ‘inland tsunami’ that hit Toowoomba a decade ago


Every year for the past decade, one of Toowoomba’s oldest stores, Rowes, has posted the same photograph on its website on this date.

In it, a sodden lounge chair is wedged upside down on a Russell Street parking meter – an oddity only revealed once the torrent subsided, exposing the damage caused by an “inland tsunami” on January 10, 2011.

An armchair sits impaled on a parking meter opposite Rowes in Russell Street the day after the January 10 floodwaters rushed through the regional city in 2011.Credit:Michelle Szepanowski

The city of Toowoomba sits 691 metres above sea level on a strip of the Great Dividing Range about 119 kilometres inland from Brisbane.

Ten years ago,turbulent floodwaters swirled angrily into the CBD after 160 millimetres of rain fell in 36 hours on top of a month’s record rainfall, turning the normally calm West and East creeks into a frothing, angry river.

That river, at the top of the Great Dividing Range, tragically led to the deaths of two people – mother and son Donna and Jordan Rice – after their car stalled in the rising water.

Across the state, 33 people died and three remain missing from the January 2011 floods, which affected 78 per cent of Queensland and caused $2.38 billion in damages.

Toowoomba’s original main road, Russell Street, arose in the 1850s, and by the 1860s was home to the town’s first post office, police station, pub and public toilet.

Floodwaters roar through Toowoomba's Russell Street on January 10, 2011.

Floodwaters roar through Toowoomba’s Russell Street on January 10, 2011.Credit:Claytonnnn on Twitter 2011

The railway line that crosses it runs parallel to Victoria Street and beneath a small bridge where West Creek dips to meet East Creek.

In the middle of Russell Street is Rowes Furniture Store, where it has been for 129 years, since 1892.

January 2021: Little has changed at the Russell Street and Victoria Street intersection in Toowoomba since the floods of January 2011.

January 2021: Little has changed at the Russell Street and Victoria Street intersection in Toowoomba since the floods of January 2011.Credit:Tony Moore Brisbane Times

Rowes administrative assistant Michelle Szepanowski was working on January 10, 2011, when the dirty brown water flowed through the shop like a river.

“It scares me when there are floodwaters around,” she said.

“I was driving home to Kingsthorpe about 9pm that night [about 30 minutes towards Dalby] and I honestly don’t know how I got home because all of the creeks I’ve always crossed were washed out and flooded.

“When I came back the next day, there was no road there. Ruthven Street, Bridge Street, it just looked like a bomb had hit the place. It was just devastation. Cars were turned over. It was horrible.

“We started off trying to sandbag the front doors because there was a bit of water coming up the street over the footpaths.

Rowe's Furniture employee Michelle Szepanowski. "Furniture was being washed out the front door into Russell Street."

Rowe’s Furniture employee Michelle Szepanowski. “Furniture was being washed out the front door into Russell Street.”Credit:Tony Moore

“It was about two o’clock in the afternoon. It started to come in through the front doors off Russell Street and then suddenly, it was just a huge flood coming in from the back and through the back doors and through the office.”

Eventually the water in the store’s lower display room was almost two metres high and washing heavy furniture out the front door and against the hotel walls across the road.

“All the windows and front doors were smashed, and the furniture was all out in the street,” Ms Szepanowski said.

“I remember calling [owner] Mr Rowe at the time and telling him that all the furniture was washing down Russell Street and going down West Creek and out into the country. He was just flabbergasted.”

Rowes warehouse manager Wayne Miller stands waist deep in floodwater as furniture floats out to Russell Street.

Rowes warehouse manager Wayne Miller stands waist deep in floodwater as furniture floats out to Russell Street.Credit:Michelle Szepanowski

A decade on, most of Russell Street’s shops have remained. The saddlery stayed. The National Hotel stayed. Mike Williams Country Clothing stayed.

Rowes has begun a major $11 million redevelopment, which should be finished by mid-year.

Significant flood recovery work has been completed, however Russell Street itself is now in line for a facelift.

Business retailer Rob Mercer says little has changed in Toowoomba's Russell Street.

Business retailer Rob Mercer says little has changed in Toowoomba’s Russell Street.Credit:Tony Moore

Straight across the road from Rowes, fourth-generation business operator Rob Mercer is waiting for Toowoomba Regional Council to also rejuvenate Russell Street, which was the city’s original “high street”. Today it is Margaret Street.

“At the moment, not a lot has changed. It’s still a situation normal,” Mr Mercer said.

“We haven’t had a lot of [improvement] works done. We have all got back on our feet to continue doing business in Russell Street, but we are waiting for the changes, which begin next month.

“Council comes along next month and begins doing a revitalisation of the street, which is very exciting.

“We will end up getting new footpaths, new underground services, a green treed area, and a softening of the area, which hopefully will bring people back down here again.”

Queensland’s 2010-2011 floods

  • Lives lost: 33
  • Insured cost: $2.38 billion
  • Buildings damaged: 29,000
  • Homes damaged: 3600
  • Evacuated: 5900
  • “When Tropical Cyclone Tasha met an extreme La Niña weather pattern, enough water to fill three million Olympic swimming pools rained down on Queensland. Dams and rivers broke their banks and swamped an area the size of France and Germany combined.”

Source: Australian Institute of Disaster Resilience

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Cricket quiz: What can you remember from the iconic Boxing Day Tests?


Ah, 26 December: a day of family time, leftover turkey sarnies and frantically trying to exchange unwanted gifts.

But down under, a Boxing Day tradition for Australians is to settle back and enjoy Test cricket.

Each year, Australia host a touring team at the 100,000-capacity Melbourne Cricket Ground, with India the visitors this year.

But how much can you remember from Boxing Day Tests in years gone by? Have a go at the 10 questions below and share your results using #bbccricketexternal-link on social media.





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Draws, drama and an anthem to remember forever


A year after the Israel Folau saga, 2020 offered up no shortage of curveballs for administrators, with chief executive Raelene Castle sensationally resigning before the year really got going.

That was just the beginning.

THE WINNERS

The Brumbies once again showed why they are the benchmark of Australian rugby by beating the Reds in Canberra in a truncated 12-week Super Rugby AU competition.

In truth though, COVID-19 was the big reset southern hemisphere rugby truly needed and Australia and New Zealand will be winners in the long run. Super Rugby is all but dead and buried, with a trans-Tasman competition set to take place from 2022, meaning that matches in the middle of the night are a thing of the past.

While it’s hard to argue the Wallabies truly came out on top as winners, Argentina coach Mario Ledesma will be be enjoying a juicy steak with a few bottles of Malbec after helping the Pumas orchestrate a famous win over the All Blacks. What they went through getting to that moment was nothing short of incredible.

Argentina's Santiago Carreras and head coach Mario Ledesma after the Pumas' 25-15 win over New Zealand

Argentina’s Santiago Carreras and head coach Mario Ledesma after the Pumas’ 25-15 win over New ZealandCredit:Stu Walmsley/Rugby Australia

THE LOSERS

Castle lost her job in bitter circumstances, with former Brumbies and Rebels boss Rob Clarke taking over in an interim capacity with a mountain of work to do.

On the field, Australia’s men’s and women’s sevens teams were significantly affected by COVID-19 given all their World Series events were cancelled from March onwards. They missed an opportunity, too, to feature at the Olympics but will hopefully get the chance in 2021.

It was a year to forget for the All Blacks and New Zealand Rugby. While Ian Foster’s men did win the Bledisloe Cup and Tri Nations, they should have been beaten in Wellington, fell at Suncorp Stadium before suffering a humiliating defeat to Argentina at Bankwest Stadium. As for NZR, it lost hosting rights for the Rugby Championship – which then became the Tri Nations – to Australia because of an overly cautious government and astute late pitch from RA, who schooled their trans-Tasman rivals.

Don’t forget the Waratahs. While the Western Force lost all eight Super Rugby AU matches, the Waratahs failed to make the top three of a five-team competition, having already lost five of their six original Super Rugby matches. With a string of high profile players making their way offshore next year, Rob Penney’s young team have a tough 2021 in front of them.

The Waratahs go down to the Brumbies in a narrow loss.

The Waratahs go down to the Brumbies in a narrow loss. Credit:Getty

CONTROVERSY CORNER

It’s hard to go past the leadership saga that plagued Rugby Australia. Castle had come within a whisker of signing a new broadcast deal before COVID-19 but the knives were out in sections of the media and the board was on edge, as were a number of influential figures in the game. RA and the Rugby Union Players Association were also involved in a spat over pay cuts.

Eleven former Wallabies captains co-signed a sensational letter calling for change at the top, prompting Castle to phone interim chairman Paul McLean not long after to say she was out.

Cameron Clyne ended his time as chairman in March. It looked like new director Peter Wiggs would take over as chairman but his push to get Australian Olympic Committee boss Matt Carroll installed as RA chief executive fell flat on its face, so he resigned in dramatic circumstances. A day earlier, Wiggs had pledged not to exit stage left if he didn’t get his way but he spat the dummy and won’t be seen again.

Rob Clarke and Hamish McLennan on the day Australia were awarded hosting rights to the Rugby Championship.

Rob Clarke and Hamish McLennan on the day Australia were awarded hosting rights to the Rugby Championship. Credit:Getty

MAN OF THE YEAR

The duo of Clarke and new chairman Hamish McLennan are hard to split for this one. While they won’t be on everyone’s Christmas card list, given they had to slash costs inside RA and have made life difficult for Super Rugby franchises, the pair have jagged a number of wins. Despite being five weeks behind the NRL, rugby got back on its feet with the introduction of Super Rugby AU. Tests were on the agenda, most of which would have been in New Zealand, before some quick thinking ensured RA jagged hosting rights to the Rugby Championship. Although South Africa later withdrew from the tournament, it was a win to get Test rugby back.

The pair also worked on a significant new broadcast deal, which will see Nine and Stan Sport lead the game into a fresh new chapter, and didn’t bow down to their Kiwi neighbours when negotiations heated up.

SANZAAR boss Andy Marinos will take over from Clarke in February and has a lot on his plate.

WOMAN OF THE YEAR

With Super W play-offs being cancelled and the female sevens program coming to a halt, there wasn’t a great deal of women’s rugby in 2020. Sharni Williams and Ema Masi were the two standouts when they did get on the field.

It is, however, hard not to mention Indigenous teenager Olivia Fox, who …

VIRAL MOMENTS OF THE YEAR

… provided rugby with a moment that could down in Australian sporting history. Her dual rendition of the national anthem was spine-tingling stuff that sparked a national conversation around how it could be done again in the future. Bravo Rugby Australia.

It was also hard to go past footage of Ledesma crying in the coaches box the moment he realised Argentina were about to beat the All Blacks for the first time in their history. The celebrations on the field were wild.

An honourable mention to Reece Hodge’s 55-metre penalty kick in Wellington that hit the post. It would have been Australia’s first victory on Kiwi soil since 2001 and Hodge could have dined out on the lunch circuit for the rest of his days if it went over. He still might.

CRYSTAL BALL

The Queensland Reds will win Super Rugby AU in 2021, the Wallaroos will finish fifth at the Women’s World Cup, Australia’s women’s sevens side will win another gold at the Tokyo Olympics, the Wallabies will come awfully close once again to winning the Bledisloe and rugby’s appeal will increase as a result of more free-to-air exposure.

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Adelaide Hills residents gather to remember bushfire anniversary

Adelaide Hills residents gather to remember bushfire anniversary

Adelaide Hills residents have gathered to remember the one-year anniversary of the Cuddle Creek bushfire, which claimed one life and destroyed more than 80 homes.

December 20 2019 is etched into the memory of David Dobe after the fire destroyed his Lobethal home.

“It’s still a bit raw, there’s certain things that trigger you as feeling a little bit uncomfortable,” Mr Dobe told 9News.

Adelaide Hills residents gather to remember the one-year anniversary of the Cuddle Creek bushfire. (9News)

“There is no other way to describe it will always be in the back of your mind.”

It was unimaginable horror — the bushfire burning through 25,000 hectares and claiming the life of Ron Selth and and destroying more than 80 homes.

The bushfire burned through 25,000 hectares and claiming the life of Ron Selth and and destroyed more than 80 homes.
The bushfire burned through 25,000 hectares and claiming the life of Ron Selth and and destroyed more than 80 homes. (9News)

Today, Hills residents united at the Lobethal football oval to mark the first anniversary, returning to the same location many took refuge at when the town was under threat.

“This was the first place the community united to fight back to what had been served up to it immediately after the fires has gone through,” organiser Adam Weinert told 9News.

Hills residents unite at the Lobethal football oval to mark the sombre first anniversary.
Hills residents unite at the Lobethal football oval to mark the sombre first anniversary. (9News)

In the next month, Mr Dobe is hoping to start building his new home.

“One step at a time as you can see got to start with retaining walls, need to be able to start with getting a shed up, roof catchments for rainwater,” he said.

Adelaide Hills Council say two-thirds of residents who were impacted have lodged applications to rebuild.
Adelaide Hills Council say two-thirds of residents who were impacted have lodged applications to rebuild. (9News)

And he’s not alone, with Adelaide Hills Council saying two-thirds of residents who were impacted have lodged applications to rebuild.

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China strikes again; A November to remember on ASX; Bega’s new era


In retaliation, China has targeted a range of Australian export industries with sanctions. They have mostly been soft commodities exports, but coal has been in the firing line and there is a belief copper could be next. Importantly, the business sector is broadly supportive of the government’s approach to stand up to China on matters of principle.

The one industry China is yet to touch, though, is iron ore. If it were to do so, the relative calm about the situation in corporate Australia would surely dissipate, and quickly.

The key steelmaking ingredient is Australia’s most lucrative export earner. At the moment, there is a prevailing belief that China can’t afford to boycott Australian supply as it ramps up infrastructure projects to prop up its economy in the aftermath of the pandemic.

Yet Chinese state-owned enterprises are rapidly moving to diversify their sourcing through ambitious projects in various parts of the globe, most prominently Africa.

Unless things improve dramatically on the diplomatic front, Australia is going to need to diversify its economic reliance on China just as quickly.

November to remember for stonks

It has been a November to remember for stocks (or “stonks” as the internet meme ridiculing the ebullience of equity markets describes them).

The major US equity indices hit fresh highs this week, and with two trading sessions left in the month the local S&P/ASX 200 is on track for a record month after adding as much as 15 per cent.

Remarkably, that means the local benchmark is back to where it started the year, and just a smidgen below its record peak set in February before COVID-19 erupted into a fully-fledged global pandemic.

Investor spirits have clearly been lifted by the encouraging news about three COVID-19 vaccine candidates and the prospect of more political stability in the United States.

Balanced against this is the alarming resurgence of the coronavirus in the US and Europe and the massive debt overhang that advanced economies including Australia will face when the pandemic is eventually behind us. Not to mention the ongoing trade spat with China.

The strength of share prices in Australia around the world this year serves as a useful reminder of one of the great investing truisms: the stockmarket is not the economy.

For starters, share prices are forward-looking (that said, the future doesn’t look terribly bright at the moment).

The businesses that are publicly listed often don’t reflect the underlying economies where they are listed. In the US, Wall Street and Main Street have de-coupled to the point where the stockmarket is arguably no longer a useful proxy for the world’s largest economy. Small businesses power most developed economies, but they aren’t really represented on stock exchanges.

In Australia, there are also disparities. Mining is over-represented on the local bourse (it accounts for nearly 20 per cent of the ASX 200) relative to the number of people it employs (under 2 per cent of the workforce).

Bega deal heralds new era for agribusiness

One of the more encouraging developments for both the stock exchange and the real economy in recent years has been the revival of the Australian agriculture sector.

After a horror, bushfire-afflicted summer last year, farmers in many parts of the country are preparing for bumper harvests, while livestock prices are also strong. Meanwhile, there are now a handful of genuinely interesting and substantial agribusiness stocks on the ASX for investors to consider.

There is no better example than Bega Cheese. The $1.1 billion, ASX listed dairy business based in a sleepy town on the NSW South Coast has now become a genuine force in Australian food manufacturing with the purchase of the Lion Dairy business for $534 million.

The deal will add the Pura Milk and Yoplait brands to Bega’s portfolio, which includes Bega Cheese and Vegemite (the latter of which it acquired for $460 million in 2017).

Bega now expects to generate $3 billion in annual revenue and will become one of the biggest suppliers to the major supermarket chains. As Elizabeth Knight wrote this week, it is good news for the government which is hoping to strengthen local manufacturing of essential goods after the coronavirus exposed our vulnerability to global supply chain shocks.

On the other hand, it adds more fuel to the fire of the original topic of this article. After all, there is one key reason why this deal happened: Treasurer Josh Frydenberg blocked a planned $600 million purchase of the Lion business by China Mengnui Dairy on national interest grounds last year.

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China strikes again; A November to remember on ASX; Bega’s new era


In retaliation, China has targeted a range of Australian export industries with sanctions. They have mostly been soft commodities exports, but coal has been in the firing line and there is a belief copper could be next. Importantly, the business sector is broadly supportive of the government’s approach to stand up to China on matters of principle.

The one industry China is yet to touch, though, is iron ore. If it were to do so, the relative calm about the situation in corporate Australia would surely dissipate, and quickly.

The key steelmaking ingredient is Australia’s most lucrative export earner. At the moment, there is a prevailing belief that China can’t afford to boycott Australian supply as it ramps up infrastructure projects to prop up its economy in the aftermath of the pandemic.

Yet Chinese state-owned enterprises are rapidly moving to diversify their sourcing through ambitious projects in various parts of the globe, most prominently Africa.

Unless things improve dramatically on the diplomatic front, Australia is going to need to diversify its economic reliance on China just as quickly.

November to remember for stonks

It has been a November to remember for stocks (or “stonks” as the internet meme ridiculing the ebullience of equity markets describes them).

The major US equity indices hit fresh highs this week, and with two trading sessions left in the month the local S&P/ASX 200 is on track for a record month after adding as much as 15 per cent.

Remarkably, that means the local benchmark is back to where it started the year, and just a smidgen below its record peak set in February before COVID-19 erupted into a fully-fledged global pandemic.

Investor spirits have clearly been lifted by the encouraging news about three COVID-19 vaccine candidates and the prospect of more political stability in the United States.

Balanced against this is the alarming resurgence of the coronavirus in the US and Europe and the massive debt overhang that advanced economies including Australia will face when the pandemic is eventually behind us. Not to mention the ongoing trade spat with China.

The strength of share prices in Australia around the world this year serves as a useful reminder of one of the great investing truisms: the stockmarket is not the economy.

For starters, share prices are forward-looking (that said, the future doesn’t look terribly bright at the moment).

The businesses that are publicly listed often don’t reflect the underlying economies where they are listed. In the US, Wall Street and Main Street have de-coupled to the point where the stockmarket is arguably no longer a useful proxy for the world’s largest economy. Small businesses power most developed economies, but they aren’t really represented on stock exchanges.

In Australia, there are also disparities. Mining is over-represented on the local bourse (it accounts for nearly 20 per cent of the ASX 200) relative to the number of people it employs (under 2 per cent of the workforce).

Bega deal heralds new era for agribusiness

One of the more encouraging developments for both the stock exchange and the real economy in recent years has been the revival of the Australian agriculture sector.

After a horror, bushfire-afflicted summer last year, farmers in many parts of the country are preparing for bumper harvests, while livestock prices are also strong. Meanwhile, there are now a handful of genuinely interesting and substantial agribusiness stocks on the ASX for investors to consider.

There is no better example than Bega Cheese. The $1.1 billion, ASX listed dairy business based in a sleepy town on the NSW South Coast has now become a genuine force in Australian food manufacturing with the purchase of the Lion Dairy business for $534 million.

The deal will add the Pura Milk and Yoplait brands to Bega’s portfolio, which includes Bega Cheese and Vegemite (the latter of which it acquired for $460 million in 2017).

Bega now expects to generate $3 billion in annual revenue and will become one of the biggest suppliers to the major supermarket chains. As Elizabeth Knight wrote this week, it is good news for the government which is hoping to strengthen local manufacturing of essential goods after the coronavirus exposed our vulnerability to global supply chain shocks.

On the other hand, it adds more fuel to the fire of the original topic of this article. After all, there is one key reason why this deal happened: Treasurer Josh Frydenberg blocked a planned $600 million purchase of the Lion business by China Mengnui Dairy on national interest grounds last year.

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Jack de Belin trial: Alleged victim too traumatised to remember seeing housemate


The woman who has accused NRL star Jack de Belin of sexual assault was too traumatised to remember a man standing at the door shortly before the alleged attack, a jury has been told.

The three-and-a-half week trial of Mr de Belin, 29, and his co-accused Callan Sinclair, 23, is expected to conclude on Wednesday with the jury to then retire to consider its verdict.

During his closing arguments on Tuesday, crown prosecutor David Scully told the Wollongong District Court that the jury should give little weight to the evidence of Troy Martin.

Mr Martin told the court during the trial that he briefly saw Mr de Belin and the woman, who cannot be named, naked in the bedroom of a North Wollongong apartment in the early hours of December 9, 2018.

Mr de Belin and Mr Sinclair have pleaded not guilty to five counts of aggravated sexual assault relating to the alleged attack of the woman inside the townhouse, which belonged to the St George Illawarra forward’s cousin Jake Lewis.



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A night to remember: Year 12 Trinity Catholic College students celebrate the year that was | Goulburn Post


news, local-news,

With a year full of distractions, Trinity Catholic College year 12 students finally received respite as they enjoyed their graduation dinner on Wednesday, November 18. Here are the photos from the night. Photos are courtesy of the Trinity Catholic College Facebook page. Did you know the Goulburn Post is now offering breaking news alerts and a weekly email newsletter? Keep up-to-date with all the local news: sign up below.

/images/transform/v1/crop/frm/vQaZ3anPUuND9nFzbQxA35/b6e0b5e9-c7ac-4e21-a483-74a1a252bdde.jpg/r64_276_1937_1334_w1200_h678_fmax.jpg





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Moved your business online during COVID-19? Remember these domain name tips


COVID-19 has accelerated the move to online shopping, driving many
brick-and-mortar stores online in the process. Business owners have quickly
transformed their business models to take advantage of the e-commerce boom.

For many, this is the first time their business has operated online. Data from au Domain Administration (auDA) shows that in the six months from April 2020, registrations of new Australian domain names increased by 31 per cent compared to the same period last year – an additional 80,000 new registrations.

Building an online store from scratch and at speed is a major project. Maintaining it is, too. Unfortunately, amidst the user experience and design decisions, some business owners overlook the DNA of their site – its domain name.

Here are my top tips in this area for business owners that moved online during the pandemic (or those considering it!).

Accurate contact details are essential

An essential aspect of domain name registration is keeping your contact information up to date. Most providers (registrars and resellers) use email to contact you and to send out renewal notices.

Unfortunately, from time to time businesses forget, or neglect, to
update information such as email addresses; and not all providers attempt to
use alternate means to contact those businesses.

To avoid missing out on important communications from your registrar or reseller, make sure you’re vigilant in keeping your details up to date – including the email address you use for your registration. If your domain name ends in .au, you can check your email contact details via the WHOIS service at: https://whois.auda.org.au/

You’ll need to renew your domain name

The length of a registration can span one to five years. Your registrar or reseller will send you a renewal notice but it’s helpful to set a calendar reminder for around 90 days before its expiration date so you know the renewal is coming up.

Keep in mind, if your domain licence expires your website and associated services such as emails will stop working. Your licence will also become available to other eligible applicants.

The impacts of this on your business can be significant – ranging from
some temporary downtime of your website to losing your domain name to another
business.

If that happens, it isn’t always possible to recover your original name, which is why it’s important to stay on top of your renewal.

Assuming your email address is up-to-date and you have a domain name ending in .au, you can confirm its expiry date via the retrieval tool at: https://pw.auda.org.au/

The type of domain name you have matters to customers

Now more than ever, Australians are looking to buy local when they shop online, and we know from research that the most common way online shoppers identify a local business is by the com.au domain name.

Businesses using com.au also twice as likely to have their website considered trustworthy and secure than businesses with other common commercial domain names.

So, if you haven’t yet registered a domain name for your business or your licence is coming up for renewal, consider a com.au domain name, which is trusted, reliable and a great option for Australian businesses.

Rebecca Papillo, auDA – the Australian domain name administrator





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Family performs courtroom haka to remember Jack Kokaua


It is believed to be the first time a haka has been performed in the court. The proceedings were streamed to the court’s media room, which quickly became packed with staff from the forensic medicine and court complex. So many people wanted to watch the family’s tribute that a second room had to be opened.

Family members hug outside the inquest.Credit:Wolter Peeters

Mr Kokaua’s mother, Queenie Tana, thanked the Coroner for allowing the family to show their love for Jack. She acknowledged her family in Maori and Tongan, and explained that she said she loved them and “be strong”.

Counsel assisting the Coroner, Kristina Stern SC, previously said Mr Kokaua was Tasered three times in two minutes and CCTV showed “a number of officers with their weight on Jack’s body” for about four minutes before he was rolled onto his back.

The inquest was previously told the first sign anything was wrong was when one of the officers who had wrestled with Mr Kokaua asked, “Is he breathing?”.

One of the shirts displaying the tribute to Jack Kokaua.

One of the shirts displaying the tribute to Jack Kokaua.Credit:Wolter Peeters

In closing remarks, barrister Brent Haverfield – representing three police officers – said one of the wires of the Taser used on Mr Kokaua was broken and it had “no useful application” the second time it was deployed. The third time it appeared not to work either.

Mr Haverfield said the lengthy inquest took weeks to dissect every second of a situation that lasted only minutes. He described it as “a wild, chaotic interaction between a very large person who didn’t want to be controlled” and police officers who were “struggling to cope”.

Barrister Paul Madden, representing three other police officers, said the situation had been “a terrible outcome for Jack and his family” which wasn’t the outcome the officers wanted.

“Jack dictated the police response, not the other way around,” Mr Madden said.

Kim Burke, representing NSW Police, said Mr Kokaua’s cause of death was listed as “unascertained” and the Coroner could not be reasonably satisfied he died as a result of Taser use and positional asphyxia.

The family’s lawyer Paul Townsend said in a closing statement that there was “a storm of systemic failures” in the agencies that were required to care for Mr Kokaua, including community corrections, housing, the mental health system, and ultimately the police.

“Each one contributed in their way to the perfect storm of long-term factors contributing to his death,” Mr Townsend said.

He said the family saw a contrast in the evidence given by RPA staff and the evidence given by the police involved in the final altercation.

“The account of what Jack was like at the hospital was the Jack they knew. In fact, Queenie commented that the hospital witnesses gave her son back,” Mr Townsend said.

“Each one of those witnesses took the time to express and offer their condolences to the family. It struck the family very powerfully that only one of the police witnesses did that.”

Coroner Teresa O’Sullivan thanked Mr Kokaua’s family for attending the inquest and thanked them for the “incredibly moving experience” of performing a haka and singing the song.

“I know it was to honour Jack and you have certainly done that today,” she said. “Thank you.”

Findings are expected to be delivered next year.

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