Serious concerns held for woman missing in Lake Macquarie

A large search is underway for a woman missing in the Lake Macquarie region as serious concerns are held for her welfare.

Ashly Bates, aged 37, was last seen on Wednesday (13 February 2019) at a home in Whitebridge.

Police were alerted when she failed to contact her family. Her mobile phone was then located by a member of the public near Dudley Bluff.

Police from Lake Macquarie Police District are conducting a large search of the area for Ashly, with assistance from PolAir and the Dog Unit.

Ashly is described as being of Caucasian appearance, approximately 168cm tall, with dark shoulder-length hair, fair complexion and tattoos on the inside of her wrists.

She was last seen wearing a black long-sleeved shirt and pyjama pants.

Anyone who sees her or believes they know her whereabouts is urged to contact police immediately.

Man wanted on outstanding warrant – Hunter region

Police are appealing for public assistance to locate a man wanted on an outstanding arrest warrant in the state’s Hunter region.

Dwayne Perry, 32, is wanted on an outstanding arrest warrant over an alleged stabbing on Sunday 3 February 2019.

He is described as being of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander appearance, of a slim build, with tattoos of the words ‘MAY’ on his neck and ‘Perry Brothers’ on his back, and with brown hair and blue eyes.

Dwayne Perry is believed to be frequenting the Raymond Terrace and Hunter Valley areas.

Anyone who sights Mr Perry is urged not to approach him but to contact Triple Zero (000) immediately.


Federal Member for Newcastle Sharon Claydon has joined in solidarity with the recently sacked workers from Newcastle and surrounds at rally in Canberra to save Australia’s shipping industry. The seafarers are among 80 who lost their jobs when Bluescope and BHP dumped the last two Australian-crewed coastal bulk iron ore carriers last month.

“The treatment of these hard-working seafarers has been utterly shameful – they were on the high seas thousands of miles away from home without any support or union representation when they found out they’d lost their jobs,” Ms Claydon said.

“Many of these seafarers have families and mortgages. Now they’ve been kicked in the guts, and will almost certainly be replaced by foreign workers on as little as $2 an hour. This is corporate greed at its most corrosive.”

Tighes-Hill based seafarer David Grant was in the middle of the China Sea on the MV Mariloula  when the email came through to the ship saying BHP had cancelled the ship’s contract and the crew had lost their jobs.

“It came out of the blue. And it didn’t help that we were in the middle of the ocean with terrible internet so it was really hard to get any information or contact our families,” Mr Grant said.

“We took a two-year wage freeze because they said they couldn’t afford to pay us. Now, when they’re recording bumper profits, they turn around and sack Australian workers.”

Mr Grant, who had worked on the MV Mariloula for three years, said he’d love to stay working on the water.

“I’ve been on the sea for seven years and that’s what I want to continue doing. But if we keep going this way, we’re not going to have an Australian shipping industry – full stop,” Mr Grant said.

“I’d like to see a cabotage model that prioritises Australian workers with Australian conditions on Australia’s coast. You can’t bring a foreign worker to run goods by road. Why are they allowed to do it on the Blue Highway?”

Ms Claydon said the Morrison Government is totally complicit in these job losses.

“Since the Liberals came to power they have relentlessly attacked the Australian shipping industry and tried to install legislation that would encourage companies to sack their Australian crew and hire foreign workers on as little as $2 an hour,” Ms Claydon said.

“The Morrison Government needs to stop granting temporary licences for routes like the ones travelled by the MV Mariloula and MV Lowlands Brilliance that are clearly permanent. This is a blatant abuse of the intent of the legislation.”

Ms Claydon said the revitalisation of Australia’s shipping industry would be a core priority for Labor if it wins Government.

“Aussie seafarers are among the best in the world but the Liberal Government has worked tirelessly to do everything they can to undermine these jobs.

“As the largest island nation, a strong national shipping industry is critical to the environment, to our skills capability and to our national security.”

City launches convenient civil works mapping tool

ity of Newcastle (CN) has today launched a new interactive mapping tool to help residents track the latest civil works projects happening across our LGA.

From large road maintenance activities to major development projects, the interactive map provides a location and overview of the types of activities the City is delivering – all on the one page.

Its intuitive design makes it easier for people to stay informed and in touch with the City’s 2018-19 Civil Works Program.


“This online mapping tool will streamline communication to residents and fastrack important information about the current projects that have commenced,” Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said.

“By simply logging on to the City’s Civil Works Update page, users can get an instant snapshot of the various works that are taking shape across the City in real time.”

A number of significant projects which will be delivered before 30 June include a $7.1 million upgrade of local bridges, $8.2 million towards Newcastle’s Smart City program, $8.1 million to renew and upgrade the existing storm water network and $7.9 million on a solar farm to be built at the Summerhill Waste Centre.

Renewing parks, open spaces and sporting facilities ($5.4 million), allocating money to our cultural facilities ($5.1 million) and increasing cycling links around the City ($2.6 million) are also included in the delivery program.

To take a look at the online map, visit

Teacher charged with grooming Hunter schoolboy

A teacher will be in court today charged over the alleged grooming and indecent assault of a 15-year-old schoolboy at a high school in the Hunter region.

On Wednesday (13 February 2019), officers from Lake Macquarie Police District were told a 26-year-old female teacher had allegedly been sending explicit images of herself to a student at a high school where she was employed.

Following inquiries, the woman was arrested at a home in Wyee at 11pm yesterday (Thursday 14 February 2019), and taken to Toronto Police Station.

She has now been charged with,

• Groom child for unlawful activity

• Aggravated indecent assault – victim under the age of 16

• Aggravated sexually touch another person (three counts).

The woman has been refused bail to appear in Toronto Local Court today (Friday 15 February 2019).

Charges laid after two men assaulted during alleged carjacking – Newcastle

A man will fact court today charged after two men, aged 72 and 83, were allegedly assaulted during a carjacking in Newcastle.

As a 72-year-old man went to enter his car, parked in Wood Street, Newcastle West, he was approached from behind and allegedly assaulted by a 32-year-old man just after midday yesterday (Thursday 14 February 2019).

The older man fled the area and sought assistance from a nearby business.

The younger man then allegedly entered a vehicle parked directly behind, before assaulting an 83-year-old man sitting in the passenger seat.

The 32-year-old man drove the car to Hunter Street and ordered the older man to leave the vehicle, which he complied with.

Officers from Newcastle City Police District initiated a pursuit, which was terminating shortly after for safety reasons.

Detectives, with assistance from the Dog Unit, arrested the 32-year-old man a short time later on Brown Street, Raymond Terrace.

He was charged with stalk/intimidate intend fear physical harm, assault with intent to take/drive motor vehicle (x2), and police pursuit – not stop – drive recklessly.

The man was refused bail to appear at Newcastle Local Court today (Friday 15 February 2019).

Man charged with murder following death of baby boy in the Hunter region

A man will face court today charged over the alleged murder of a baby in his care in the Hunter region at the weekend.

Police and emergency services were called to a home on Fairfield Avenue, New Lambton, just after 4.30am on Saturday (9 February 2019), following reports a six-month-old boy had gone into cardiac arrest.

The child was taken to John Hunter Hospital in a critical condition. Despite the efforts of hospital staff, the boy died late on Sunday (10 February 2019).

Detectives from the Child Abuse and Sex Crimes Squad and Newcastle City Police District, assisted by the Homicide Squad, established Strike Force Wandearah to investigate the circumstances surrounding the child’s death.

A post mortem examination determined the child died as a result of a traumatic head injury.

Following extensive inquiries, police arrested a 28-year-old man at Budgewoi about 12.20pm yesterday (Wednesday 13 February 2019).

He was taken to Wyong Police Station, where he was charged with murder and reckless grievous bodily harm.

The New Lambton man was refused bail to appear at Wyong Local Court today (Thursday 14 February 2019).

Investigations are continuing.

The Child Abuse and Sex Crimes Squad is comprised of detectives who are specially trained to investigate matters against children and adults, including sexual assault, serious physical abuse, and extreme cases of neglect.

Anyone with concerns about suspected child abuse or exploitation should call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or use the Crime Stoppers online reporting page:

Information you provide will be treated in the strictest of confidence. People should not report crime information via our Facebook and Twitter pages.

Man charged as investigations into drug supply continue – Newcastle

A man has been charged as part of ongoing investigations into drug supply in the Newcastle area.

Strike Force SERMELFI was established in September 2018 by officers from Newcastle City Police District Target Action Group, to investigate prohibited drug supply in the Newcastle area.

Following inquiries, about 12.10pm yesterday (Tuesday 12 February 2019), police stopped a vehicle on Chatham Road, Broadmeadow, and arrested a 36-year-old man.

Officers searched the vehicle and seized a quantity of substance believed to be methylamphetamine.

A short time later, police executed a search warrant at a home on Georgetown Road, Georgetown, where they located a 44-year-old man, and two women, aged 21 and 50.

During the search warrant, officers seized a quantity of substance believed to be methylamphetamine and property suspected to have been stolen.

The trio were all issued Future Court Attendance Notices for the offence of possess prohibited drug.

The 50-year-old woman will appear at Newcastle Local Court on Thursday 7 March 2019.

The 44-year-old man and 21-year-old woman will appear at Newcastle on Thursday 28 March 2019.

The 36-year-old Georgetown man was taken to Waratah Police Station, where he was charged with supply prohibited drug (x28), and ongoing supply of prohibited drug.

He was refused bail to appear at Newcastle Local Court today (Wednesday 13 February 2019).

As inquiries by Strike Force SERMELFI continue, police urge anyone with information to assist investigations to come forward.

Art Gallery welcomes most visitors in a decade

World-class exhibitions, increased youth engagement and the growing appeal of the lucrative KILGOUR PRIZE has helped catapult Newcastle Art Gallery’s visitation numbers to their highest levels in 10 years.

Close to 77,000 people walked through the doors of the Gallery in 2018, up 14,000 or 23 per cent on 2017 and five thousand visitors more than in 2008.

“We’re absolutely delighted with what we were able to achieve for our local community and visitors to the city,” Gallery Director Lauretta Morton said.

“High quality exhibitions take time to develop, and what our visitors experienced last year was the culmination of years of hard work from the dedicated Gallery team.”
Insidelauretta.jpgLauretta Morton credits the gallery’s success to hard work and forward planning from her team

Twelve diverse exhibitions from a range of local and internationally recognised artists are behind the success.

Just two were toured from other venues, while the remaining 10 were developed inhouse by the Gallery and only exhibited here in Newcastle.

Highlights included the current OLSEN ORMANDY: a creative force exhibition (which opened in November 2018 and is on display until 17 February) and the KILGOUR PRIZE 2018 featuring winning artist Natasha Walsh.

“This artist followed her KILGOUR PRIZE 2018 win with the Brett Whiteley Travelling Art Scholarship and the Mosman Art Prize – which of course have all significantly bolstered her career as a young artist,” Ms Morton said.

Regarded as one of Australia’s major art prizes, the Kilgour’s annual figurative and portrait painting prize awards $50,000 to an outstanding contemporary work of art. Last year, 400 entries were made by artists aged 18 to 90 from every state and territory. Applications for this year’s KILGOUR PRIZE 2019 have just opened.
Ormandy-(1).JPGOLSEN ORMANDY: a creative force exhibition is on display until 17 February

Social media has also been key to the Gallery’s success.

Last year its Instagram account surpassed 10,000 followers – Facebook is not far behind – as growth in online engagement and other important initiatives – such as the Youth Reference Group – helped ensure relevance to the next generation of visitors.

“Building engagement with young people is really important to us,” Ms Morton said. Through our Youth Reference Group, the Gallery facilitates peer-led programs and events that this targeted audience want to see incorporated into the Gallery’s schedule.”

Ms Morton said  FLORIBUNDA: from the collection opens this weekend, and SODEISHA: connected to Australia – opening Saturday 2 March.

“We were recently awarded the Dobell Exhibition Grant, funded by the Sir William Dobell Art Foundation and managed by Museums & Galleries of NSW,” Ms Morton said.

“This funding is often shared across several projects and I am thrilled that we successfully secured the entire $40,000 to support the important SODEISHA: connected to Australia landmark exhibition project.

sodeisha-(2).jpgSODEISHA: connected to Australia is on display from 2 March – 19 May 2019

“This exhibition is the first opportunity for Newcastle Art Gallery to develop an international, cultural partnership project based on the city’s collection. It’s testament to the strength of the city’s collection and the Gallery’s exhibition and program development.”

Next month’s state election could deliver $14 million towards the Gallery’s expansion after Newcastle MP Tim Crakanthorp pledged the money should Labor win.

Expansion has also been endorsed in an updated state government Cultural Infrastructure Plan 2025, which identifies the redevelopment of the Art Gallery precinct as a regional opportunity.

A new gallery would include more exhibition and storage space, a secure loading dock and a cafe.

To view details of the upcoming FLORIBUNDA: from the collection 9 February – 21 April and SODEISHA: connected to Australia 2 March – 19 May 2019, or any other exhibitions from the 2019 collection, visit

Two men arrested, officer assaulted – Wallsend

Two men have been arrested after a road-side altercation with police that saw an officer assaulted.

About 11:10pm (Monday 11 February 2019), officers from Newcastle City Police District stopped a black Holden ute on Walford Street, Wallsend after it was seen driving erratically.

As police approached the driver’s side of the car, the driver, a 44-year-old Wallsend man, pushed the door open and allegedly lunged at the officer and assaulted him.

Two men, an 18-year-old Wallsend man and an 18-year-old Maryland man, then got out of the vehicle and allegedly began yelling abuse at the officers.

The driver continued to act aggressively and was arrested with the use of an electronic control device and OC spray.

The 18-year-old Wallsend man was also arrested after he too became aggressive.

The two men were taken to Waratah Police Station where the driver underwent a breath analysis which returned a positive result of 0.183.

The 44-year-old man was charged with negligent driving, assault officer in execution of duty, resist officer in execution of duty, destroy or damage property, drive with high range PCA, and learner driver not display “L” plates as prescribed.

He was refused bail to appear at Newcastle Local Court today (Tuesday 12 February 2019).

The 18-year-old man was charged with wilfully obstruct officer in execution of duty and use offensive language in/near public place.

He was granted bail to appear at Newcastle Local Court on Thursday 7 March 2019.

A senior constable was treated at the scene by NSW Ambulance paramedics before being taken to the Mater Hospital for treatment to a back injury and a minor head injury.