TOP 10: The moments over the past 10 years that shocked, rocked and touched our Rose City.
TOP 10: The moments over the past 10 years that shocked, rocked and touched our Rose City.

10 Warwick stories that defined a decade

WHILE Warwick may be known as a peaceful rural town that doesn't mean it hasn't had its own share of shocking news.

Making national news and hitting the community to its core, here are 10 times over the past decade where the community has been left reeling by the headlines:

 

Images from 2010 Warwick floods, with damaged roads on The NewEngland Highway. Pic Nathan Richter
Images from 2010 Warwick floods, with damaged roads on The NewEngland Highway. Pic Nathan Richter

 

FLOODS, FIRE AND NATURAL DISASTERS

Perhaps the past ten years can be best categorised by the natural hardships that struck our proud region.

In 2010, Warwick was cut off for days as floodwaters hit the town, and again in 2013, when massive rain deluge ran through homes and businesses.

More recently, in 2019, we came face-to-face with horrifying bushfires that decimated the Granite Belt, and left Warwick skies ash and smoke ridden for months.

Reliant on the land for our huge portion of our economy through agriculture, natural disasters have a way of affecting the Rose City like no other tragedy.

Which brings us to this next one.

 

Greg and Sue Free who had water donated to their farm near Warwick during the height of drought. Pic Peter Wallis
Greg and Sue Free who had water donated to their farm near Warwick during the height of drought. Pic Peter Wallis

 

WORST DROUGHT ON RECORD

Worthy of its own listing, the decade has also been plagued by unparallel dry conditions for producers.

In fact, many Southern Downs farmers deemed this drought worse than the 1965 drought, considered by many, Australia's last bad dry spell.

Forcing countless families off the land and others into desperate times, it was a hardship that rippled throughout our community no one unscathed.

However, heading into a La Nina season this spring, things seem to be slowly looking up for our rural sector.

 

150 YEARS DOWN

Not all doom and gloom, this decade also brought with it the 150 year anniversary of Warwick becoming a municipality.

The big day was even celebrated with Warwick born politician and then premier Anna Bligh tagging along for festivities.

 

Vince O'Dempsey leaving the Southport watch house in 1989.
Vince O'Dempsey leaving the Southport watch house in 1989.

 

O'DEMPSEY JAILED

It made papers all over the nation when Vince O'Dempsey was finally found guilty of murder in 2017.

Forty-three years after Barbara McCulkin and her two young daughters went missing, Vincent O'Dempsey was found guilty of murdering the family and sentenced to life behind bars.

 

The Warwick community rallied behind heartbroken parents Tick and Kate Everett as they fought for better anti-cyber-bullying measures. (AAP image, John Gass)
The Warwick community rallied behind heartbroken parents Tick and Kate Everett as they fought for better anti-cyber-bullying measures. (AAP image, John Gass)

 

DO IT FOR DOLLY

When tragedy strikes, our community has a way soldiering through together.

This was the instance in one unforgettable 2018 heartbreak, when Scots PGC student Amy 'Dolly' Everett tragically took her own life.

The community rallied around her family, eventually igniting a worldwide anti-bullying campaign and platform.

 

Action at the Polocrosse World Cup in Warwick.
Action at the Polocrosse World Cup in Warwick.

 

POLOCROSSE WORLD CUP

Of course, it wouldn't be a fair list without mentioning one of our proudest sporting achievements.

When the Adina Polocrosse World Cup came to town in 2019, our region was placed under an international spotlight.

The event ended up pumping more than $5.6 million into Warwick's economy as more than 44,000 visitors descended on the city, visiting shops, supermarkets and hidden tourist gems.

 

Image grab from video. Two-year-old Connor Horan died in August, 2018 from multiple head and internal injuries
Image grab from video. Two-year-old Connor Horan died in August, 2018 from multiple head and internal injuries

 

THE DEATH OF CONNOR HORAN

Making national news this year was a police investigation into the death of Warwick toddler Connor Horan.

Connor died in 2018 while in the care of his babysitter, a family friend.

Connor's family made a public appeal in January for anyone with information to speak with police, and in February, said babysitter Lisa Rose Halcrow was charged with murder and grievous bodily harm.

Halcrow appeared before the Warwick Magistrates Court just last week, remaining in custody until her next appearance on October 12.

 

Neville Fanning, the former Warwick Show and Rodeo Society president was charged for indecent treatment of a child under 16.
Neville Fanning, the former Warwick Show and Rodeo Society president was charged for indecent treatment of a child under 16.

 

NEVILLE JOHN FANNING CHARGED

The guilty verdict of former Warwick Show and Rodeo President for underage assault sent shockwaves throughout the community.

In 2017, Fanning, then 74, was found guilty on one count of indecently treating a child under 16, after the mid-1980 event resurfaced.

"The other side of the coin is of course that it was that position of respect in the community that seems to me emboldened you to act the way that you did because you had contact with these people who were keen on horses - young children keen on horses - and that actually gave you the opportunity to offend," Judge Deborah Richards told Fanning in his trial at the time.

Fanning was made eligible for parole on May 31, 2018.

 

family member Lyn McMillian with Gail Lynch could finally some peace after the court case.
family member Lyn McMillian with Gail Lynch could finally some peace after the court case.

 

GAIL LYNCH'S MURDERER JAILED

It took three years to finalise, but eventually Ian Hannaford was found guilty of Warwick grandmother Gail Lynch's murder in 2015.

In 2012, Ms Lynch went to the shops, paid her rent and returned home where she deleted Hannaford's contact details from the dating site where they had met.

They are her last known movements and the body of the loved Warwick grandmother has never been found.

The Toowoomba man was sentenced to life behind bars and will not be eligible to apply for parole until 2027.

 

Warwick Credit Union CEO Lewis Von Stieglitz leads the way with sanitiser earlier this year, as the community continues to grapple with COVID-19.
Warwick Credit Union CEO Lewis Von Stieglitz leads the way with sanitiser earlier this year, as the community continues to grapple with COVID-19.

 

THE PANDEMIC HITS OUR TOWN

A decade of unexpected news, no one could have predicted anything quite like 2020, and the arrival of the coronavirus pandemic.

With many iconic events cancelled, businesses in dire straits and lives put at risk, this year will certainly be one to remember for the history books, even if it seems hard to look ahead right now.

 

Know of any stories we should include for a part two? Contact us at edir@warwickdailynews.com.au