The RiotACT took another solid step in 2018 towards becoming the primary source of digital regional news for people in Canberra and surrounding areas of NSW.
With Canberrans closely connected to the South Coast and the Snowy Mountains, stories from the region bookended the top ten this year, coming in at number ten and as the top story under the community banner.
This year’s most read community articles covered an eclectic range of topics, from animal-related tales including the perennially popular reports about swooping magpies to the saga of a popular resident tomato bush that fell foul of the ACT Government.
Ian Campbell’s article about dry times in South East NSW pushing local farmers beyond their own farm gate and out on to the “long paddock” of the Monaro Highway kicked off the top ten community posts for 2018.
It was the first of several animal-related articles that made this year’s list, reporting on the 500 cattle munching and chewing their way along the roadside, grazing on grass and nutrients their home paddocks have lost.
Jane Speechley’s whimsical story about the region’s greyhounds rocketed into the top ten in December. She shared the news of a delightful phenomenon sweeping through the region – rescue greyhounds in their new forever homes going crazy for oversized plush rainbow caterpillars.
Ian Bushnell had his tongue firmly in his cheek when he wrote that a mixture of outrage and grief had gripped Hawker Shops after their popular resident tomato bush fell foul of the ACT Government.
Restaurant Olive at Hawker posted a video on Facebook showing the thriving bush, dubbed Tom the Tomato, being unceremoniously ripped out by a ghostbuster lookalike, writing:
“It is with great sadness that we write to inform you that Tom The Tomato was ripped out and killed by the ACT Government. We only ask WHY??? How can someone do this to poor Tom. You will be truly missed by all RIP.”
Glynis Quinlan entered this year’s top ten list of community posts with her story about a cheetah being brought up by humans who has a dog for a best friend.
The celebrity duo – Solo the cheetah and Zama the Border Collie/Belgian Malinis – celebrated their first birthday early in November at the National Zoo and Aquarium.
Ian Bushnell made the top ten list again with another transport story, with the news that former pride of the Canberra Railway Museum’s heritage fleet, the Beyer-Garratt 6029 locomotive, is in private hands and will remain at the NSW Rail Museum in Thirlmere. He reported that Phil Davis, a former steam train driver and Bathurst-based rail enthusiast, and former president of the Australian Railway Historical Society ACT Division David Sommerville, acquired 6029 for an undisclosed amount as part of the ARHS liquidation.
There’s no denying RiotACT readers love a swooping magpie story. This year, Glynis Quinlan’s article about swooping season hitting Canberrans hard – and often in the head – came in at number five.
Glynis reported that by halfway through spring, there had already been 467 reported magpie attacks in the ACT – a number of which had drawn blood.
Two Canberra women with a love for books who are uncovering a secret treasure trove in Canberra came in at number three on the list in 2018. The duo started a Facebook page listing the locations of the 46 Lil Street Libraries in Canberra/Queanbeyan and document their journey visiting each one through photos and video tours.
Ian Bushnell wrote of growing concerns that Gungahlin’s infamous traffic tangles will be replicated in the new district of Molonglo, and RiotACT readers were quick to react.
The area will eventually contain 45,000 to 50,000 people and not have any major employment, prompting concerns about traffic congestion and calls for the Government to bring forward plans for the Molonglo Group Centre and the bridge across the Molonglo River.
When Monaro Mall opened in 1963, it was Australia’s first three-story, fully enclosed and air-conditioned shopping centre, and more than 50 years later, its refurbishment project has garnered a national award.
Genevieve Jacobs’ article invited readers to share nostalgic memories of the iconic building over the last fifty decades, providing a trip down memory lane for many and a glimpse of days gone by for others.
River Cottage Australia continues to build a fan base via SBS TV and showcase South East NSW to a national audience, but now fans are asking what’s next? Ian Campbell set off to find out, and his article about the Tilba property in the lush foothills of Gulaga and the future of host Paul West was the most clicked-on story under the community banner in 2018.