The Daily Advertiser

January 2018 - December 2019 and September 2020 - Present

Baptism by fire. Those are the three words that I would use to describe my first full-time job in the field of journalism. My first two years in my dream role saw me build up the What's On round from scratch, take on being the crime reporter, interview hundreds of people and write countless stories. It was incredible. 

It turns out I loved it so much I would return. I have recently taken on the role of the court reporter and features writer for The Daily Advertiser. Stay tuned for some work in this space. 

Riverina man escapes jail time over 'silly mistake'

A Riverina man has escaped time behind bars after drink-driving in Tolland. Mitchel Ray Makeham represented himself at Wagga Local Court on Tuesday morning, pleading guilty to three charges, including a mid-range drink-driving offence and driving while suspended. Court documents show that on August 18, the 33-year-old approached an intersection of Bourke Street, Tolland and when turning left lost control of the car and smashed into a tree. Police received multiple calls about the crash and arriv

How an online order to Coolamon sparked landmark Aus Post change

A Coolamon resident's one-woman-mission to see First Nations place names included in postal addresses has taken off. Rachael McPhail moved to the town in 2018 and is currently studying social work at Charles Sturt University. Throughout her classes, lecturers encourage students to broaden the way they analyse issues, a lesson Ms McPhail took to heart. "They teach us to look at the big picture, so the way big systems impact minority groups such as First Nations groups," she said. "I am always try

Tourism in Riverina booms with 'great escape' to the regions

With the borders shut, dreams of flying off to Paris or New York in the near future have been dashed. But local businesses say the good news is there are plenty of gems in this very region that are worth the visit. Operators from Wagga to the Snowy Valleys and beyond are benefitting from a shift to inland tourism as residents plan their holidays. Richie Robinson, general manager at Destination Riverina Murray, said the leisure tourism in regional areas had seen a strong rebound. "People are look

Outrage at four-year delay for Wagga truck bypass study

A LONG-DELAYED study into the possibility of building a bypass to divert heavy vehicles away from Wagga's city centre is finally set for a belated release early next year. The NSW government-funded Wagga Urban Highway Study was originally due to be handed down by the end of 2016. In light of National Road Safety Week, mayor Greg Conkey expressed frustration that he was yet to hear the findings. "It's a waste at the moment," he said. "It was completed some time ago, so where is it? We don't know?

New health care model aims to improve access in Snowy Valleys

In a push to solve the problem of accessing health care in regional areas, towns in the Snowy Valleys will host a "first-of-a-kind" trial. The model will create networks of GPs, nurses, and allied health professionals to deliver services in Tumut, Tumbarumba, Batlow and Adelong. Director Service Delivery at NSW Rural Doctors Network Mike Edwards, said Tumut was an ideal location to trial innovative approaches to health workforce solutions. "A key enabler of success for this trial will be alignin

Quest for good health: Spotlight on rural health problems

There is no silver bullet that could fix all the problems in regional and rural health systems, but rather a more nuanced approach is needed. That is according to Mark Coulton, the federal Minister for Regional Health. The Parkes MP sat down with The Daily Advertiser to discuss some of the most prevalent issues facing areas such as the Riverina when it comes to accessing vital services. As 2020 comes to a close, mental health has been a central talking point as regional areas recover from drough

Wagga child sexual assault counsellor service 'in demand'

A COUNSELLOR who witnesses first-hand the devastating impact of sexual abuse on children has urged for more awareness around the issue. Rachel Corcoran has been working as the child and adolescent sexual assault counsellor for Wagga Family Support Services, which was previously known as Linden Place, for 14 months. In her role, she works with children up to the age of 18 who have been sexually abused. While the issue can often be overlooked as it makes people uncomfortable, Ms Corcoran said ther

Wagga's roads witness to 579 crashes in just four years

In just four years, there have been more than 500 crashes on Wagga's roads resulting in 11 lives tragically taken too soon. Large yellow ribbons are being prominently displayed at Wagga Civic Centre and along several roads across the city during National Road Safety Week 2020, until November 22. This year's theme is Drive So Others Survive. Wagga Highway Patrol acting sergeant Jamie Mooney said as a part of the campaign they will be targeting driver fatigue, speeding and distraction offences. "T

Father's mission to make sure that 'everyone gets home safe'

Peter Frazer often drives past the spot where his daughter was killed, and eight years on he still advocates for Sarah was on her way to Charles Sturt University in Wagga when she died in a crash on the Hume Highway. The 23-year-old's car broke down and she had pulled into the breakdown lane and while the tow-truck driver was hooking up her car, a truck side-swiped the broken-down car killing both Sarah and the tow-truck driver instantly. Her family started the Safer Australian Roads and Highway

It's the season for strawberry picking in Wagga

After a tough year, 2020 has become the time to appreciate the little things in life. And, the owners of Bidgee Strawberries and Cream said picking strawberries under the sun is the perfect way to have a little fun. Kylie Cashen said there are 20,000 plants with three different varieties of strawberries that are all grown at the Wagga farm just off Narrung Street. "One of the best parts is that because we don't spray our plants with chemicals, there is no need to wash them," she said. "People ar

'Unique opportunity' for aspiring restaurant operator

Ever dreamed of owning a restaurant but the startup costs of equipment, rent, and fit-out seem insurmountable? Well, one Wagga motel is waiving all those hurdles in the hopes of a passionate chef taking up residence. Tammy McManus, owner and operator of the Australian Homestead Motor Lodge, said she and her husband took over the business in September last year and went about finding someone to set up in The Rivergum Restaurant. A keen restaurant operator moved in at the beginning of the year, bu

Australia's favourite purple puppet comedian returns to Wagga

Australia's favourite purple puppet returned to the region to share the stage with some local talent. Randy Feltface was back in action at the Riverina Comedy Club, his first performance in the city since last year's Wagga Comedy Festival. "It is so great to be back in Wagga," the puppet told The Daily Advertiser. "I love it here so much. It is the best." The organiser of the monthly comedic event, Dane Simpson, said it was great to have Randy back. "To have somebody on that calibre come to Wagg

Wagga home-based food businesses boom during pandemic

In the face of a pandemic, two chefs have taken their passion for food and love for their culture to start up businesses out of their homes. Maria Vicencio was a chef in Chile, and her favourite food to cook (and eat) was paella. When she moved to Wagga with her husband, she was shocked to find the dish was rarely available in the city. So with the help of her mother, who was visiting, Ms Vicencio decided to chase the dream she always wanted - starting her own business. "After my second baby was

Cafe blends old with new at heritage-listed train station

After a job loss and a switch to working from home, a young couple has chased after their dream of becoming business owners. Jess Inch and James Morgan opened up The Station Collective last Friday at the town's train station. "My husband is a chef, and he lost his job at the beginning of COVID like so many people in that industry, and I was sent to work at home like most of the country," Ms Inch said. "All of a sudden, we had time and space to think about what we wanted and what was important to

Council cancels Wagga's New Year's Eve celebrations

In yet another blow to the events calendar, Wagga City Council has announced that the New Year's Eve community celebration for this year has been cancelled. Mayor Greg Conkey said the decision was made for the public's safety and in compliance with current NSW public health orders as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. "We realise this will be disappointing for many in the community, but we are confident everyone understands the challenging circumstance we, along with the rest of the nation, a

Call to 'support businesses' in wake of NYE event cancellation

In yet another blow to the events calendar, Wagga City Council has announced that the New Year's Eve community celebration for this year has been cancelled. Mayor Greg Conkey said the decision was made for the public's safety and in compliance with current NSW public health orders as a result of coronavirus. "We realise this will be disappointing for many in the community, but we are confident everyone understands the challenging circumstance we, along with the rest of the nation, are facing," h

Dynamic duo gear up for spectacular Christmas light display

For more than 10 years, Shirley and Robert O'Brien have constructed a mammoth display of festive cheer. The dynamic duo have been lighting up Lyndoch Place and their Christmas light shows are only getting bigger. "It all started because people on our street were doing it and we thought we might as well join," she said. It takes the pair couple of good weeks to get the house and other decorations ready. So, the O'Briens have already started to sift and sort through the garage full of reindeers, l

Boy flown to Sydney after freak jumping castle accident

A young girl and boy remain in a serious but stable condition after being dropped from a jumping castle that blew away. The two children, a 10-year-old boy and 10-year-old girl, were airlifted to Wagga Base Hospital from Griffith on Sunday at 6.00pm. A spokesperson for the Murrumbidgee Local Health District said both were in a serious but stable condition on Monday afternoon. The 10-year-old girl remains at Wagga Base Hospital, whilst the 10-year-old boy has been airlifted to Sydney Children's H

Life in the Spotlight takes to the stage for charity

Lights, camera, action! While the coronavirus pandemic may have delayed the Specialist Medical Resources Foundation fundraising event, the cast has rallied. Charity manager and show director Angela Boulton said while the number of performers has been reduced in line with COVID-safe rules, the show itself has not been compromised. "The show is very high energy with big, bright, beautiful costumes and music from all eras," she said. "It's a two-hour showcase of singing and dancing with songs that

Children in serious, stable condition after jumping castle carnage

A young girl and boy remain in a serious but stable condition after being dropped from a jumping castle that blew away. The two children, a 10 year boy and 10 year old girl, were airlifted to Wagga Base Hospital from Griffith on Sunday at 6.00pm. A spokesperson for the Murrumbidgee Health District said both are in a serious but stable condition. The 10-year-old girl remains at Wagga Base Hospital, whilst the 10-year-old boy has been airlifted to Sydney Children's Hospital this afternoon for furt
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