December: Federal Court sits in Urunga

Shardonnae White and Makeisha Donnelly wearing the commemorative T-shirts of the Gumbaynggirr native title determination.
Shardonnae White and Makeisha Donnelly wearing the commemorative T-shirts of the Gumbaynggirr native title determination.

Dec 6: For the third time in a row, Lilypad Luxury Cabins on Hydes Creek Rd, owned and operated by Yvonne and Frank Wynen, won best self-contained accommodation at the NSW Tourism Awards.

New gardens in the centre of Bellingen were vandalised. A recently planted Firewheel tree was snapped in half, a dozen small plants were stolen from garden beds at the Hyde and Oak Street intersection and one of the bollards from the cenotaph area was forcibly ripped from the pavement and stolen.

Dec 13:  Justice Berna Joan Collier of the Federal Court came to Morgo Park in Urunga to hand down a native title determination in favour of the Gumbaynggirr people. The claim, initiated by Aunty Marg Boney in 1998, covered the coastal area south of Hungry Head, taking in Wenonah Headland and extending down to Oyster Creek.

A truckload of cattle worth $50,000 went missing from the Northcott’s Hydes Creek Rd property in Valery.

Dec 20: Former principal of Bellingen High, Bob Stockton, has the school’s Multi Purpose Centre named after him in recognition of the major improvements instigated during his 16-year reign, including the music program, the partnership with Camp Creative and the Aboriginal Learning Resource Centre.

The Bellingen High class of 2017 blitzed its HSC, with 27 Band 6s, 59 Band 5s and 85 Band 4s, and talented all-rounder Meagan Davis earning the highest possible ATAR of 99.95. Dorrigo High also has a significant rise in Band 5s and 6s.