TODAY is the first day of Spring (do I hear a hallelujah?) but for those among us who lived through a past era in our valley the date is far more significant than just a change of seasons.
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The First of Spring this year is the 50th anniversary of both tragic and dramatic events that for an older generation will not easily be forgotten. Spring was dawning back in 1970 when an electrical fire quickly took hold of the old Bracey department store in what was arguably the biggest and one of the most deadly property fires in the city's history.
Hours later with the building reduced to a charred shell the grim reality emerged that a young employee had been trapped in an upstairs office and had no way of escape.
A new Bracey store emerged from the ashes to years later become today's Dimmeys. But the fire was just the beginning of a dramatic Spring weekend.
While firefighters were still mopping up the smouldering ruin the first snow flurries began to swirl, marking the arrival of a freak weather event such as that predicted for a week ago but which never really came to pass.
By the Sunday morning the city and surrounding region was disappearing under what was described as one of the three biggest snowfalls of the 20th century - verging on a repeat performance of the record dump of just six years earlier and both of them not predicted.
Greater Lithgow was totally cut off from the outside world for two days and forced to endure the chill without the comfort of electricity. All part of our 20th century history and a reminder not to be fooled by a calendar declaration of Springtime.
It really is early days yet.
THERE'S and emerging sense of unease in sections of the community regarding the future of the old Mort Street TAFE college. Many months down the track since the first ambitious announcements of a new life for the old girl as some sort of supported accommodation there has been little recent sign of activity part from more broken windows.
With the sprawling building our biggest and most prominent eyesore the community can be forgiven for hoping this will not be another case of third time unlucky. Our Council may well know the current state of play but they're not good at keeping the community informed on these things.
IN the last NSW election the battle lines were drawn around the cash splash on stadiums around Sydney and the debate got fairly ugly.
You don't need a crystal ball to predict that next time around the NRL wish list for gold plated stadium facilities in every suburb will still be around but the real debate already simmering will be on the government's generous support for overseas manufacturers with a few savings preferable to providing Australian jobs. And there's fertile ground for the Opposition. Off the shelf purchase of Korean trains that later required millions more to be spent on rail infrastructure as the trains wouldn't fit on the Blue Mountains Line. That really was an oops!' moment that Gladys and her crew are hoping will go away by election year when the trains are running.
Gladys was quoted when the issue re-emerged last week as saying ''we're not good at building trains in Australia'. Really? Now river ferries that were built in Indonesia that threaten to knock down Parramatta River bridges with passengers' heads.
WHEN the snow attracted hundreds of visitors to our region last week there was a great deal of unseemly vitriol on social media directed at the "out of towners''. Some of the language was quite disgusting and highlights all that is wrong with what has increasingly become anti social when bogans, bores and outright dopes are given a pulpit to play with. Must be time to tune out.
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