Christmas Day at one family home in western Sydney this year was a flick of the wrist away from going horribly wrong, after a child found a sharp, rusty blade resembling “something from a prison” inside a bon-bon.
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The McNeilage family was sitting down to lunch at Northmead on Monday afternoon when 11-year-old Bobby alerted the adults to what he had discovered after ripping his bon-bon in half with his older brother.

“I pulled it out and I tipped it upside down to get it out onto the table,” Bobby told Fairfax Media. “I noticed that it was a knife thing, so then I showed everybody else.”

The “knife thing” was a large, sharp, rusty blade, wrapped in tape at one end. Did it scare him? “Kinda.”

Bobby’s mother, Melissa McNeilage, said at first the family thought it was a prank. But when they realised the blade had come from inside the bon-bon, they were stunned.

“I was just shocked to think there was that in there, it’s a dangerous weapon,” she said. But the mother-of-four added that her biggest concern was what could have happened if the bon-bon had been pulled by a younger child, or if the blade had flown out and hit someone.

“How many times when you pull the toy open does something come flying out? If it flew out it could have been heaps worse,” she said.

“If it got into the wrong hands of a little kid, something drastic could have happened. It looked like something from a prison.”

Ms McNeilage, from Blacktown, said her sister, who was hosting Christmas this year, had purchased the “Woodland 6-pack” of bon-bons from Woolworths in Winston Hills. The product was manufactured in China.

“I don’t think [my sister] will be buying Woolworths bon-bons again after that. She felt bad that she’d put these bon-bons in front of my kids.”

A Woolworths spokesperson said the company and its suppliers “have a responsibility to provide high-quality products and services to our customers and we take this responsibility very seriously. We are investigating this incident as per our product safety incident protocol.”

“The customer has been contacted and has been provided with a refund in the form of a gift card that has been issued out to her.”

Erin Turner, director of campaigns and communications at CHOICE, said “if you cracked open a bon-bon and got an unwelcome surprise you have the right to a remedy, like a refund or replacement”.

But she also said it was “not good enough” that the law only requires companies to act after something goes wrong.

“There is no general legal requirement for companies to make sure all products are safe before they hit the shelves,” she said.

“We’re calling on the federal government to pass a new law – a general safety provision – to stop dodgy items before they make it to Australian homes.”

“Such a provision would mean a big company like Woolworths would have to do basic checks to make sure that what they are selling won’t harm their customers.

“These laws are already in place in the United Kingdom and Canada – it makes sense for Australian consumers to have the same level of protections.”

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Jarryd Hayne quietly slipped back into Sydney on Thursday morning, a week after travelling to Israel for the second time in a month.
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The 29-year-old had previously been to Jerusalem and to the Jordan River before returning to Sydney for his daughter’s birthday – but jetted out of Sydney again just before Christmas, and landed in Tel Aviv a week ago.

But just as he ignored questions from a reporter in Israel last week, Hayne remained silent as he made his way quickly through Kingsford-Smith Airport and into a waiting car.

Hayne will be grilled by the NRL’s integrity unit over an alleged 2015 rape, when he was a member of the San Francisco 49ers in the National Football League. Police in the US refused to press charges because there was insufficient evidence, but the plaintiff, known only as ‘Ms V’, is pursuing a civil suit against the former running back.

A usually prolific social media user, Hayne has not posted on his Twitter or Instagram accounts since the case came to light on December 20, and has not used his Facebook account since November, when it was announced he was leaving the Gold Coast Titans to return to the Parramatta Eels.

The only statement on the case has come through his legal representative, Ramy Qutami from Madison Marcus Law Firm, who said the two-time Dally M winner “unequivocally and vehemently” denied the claims.

“Mr Hayne and his management are aware of recent media speculation in relation to a civil complaint filed in the United States of America making certain allegations in relation to an event which allegedly occurred in 2015 whilst playing for the San Francisco 49ers,” Mr Qutami said.

“Mr Hayne has not been served with any proceedings or formal complaint relating to the incident.

“Mr Hayne previously addressed a complaint made to the District Attorney’s office in the County of Santa Clara, California in 2016 and the District Attorney did not proceed any further with the matter due to insufficient evidence to substantiate the allegations. Mr Hayne provided all reasonable assistance to the District Attorney with that investigation.

“Mr Hayne unequivocally and vehemently denies the allegations which are the subject of the civil complaint. Mr Hayne will not be making any further comment in relation to this matter.”

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Every year, locals and visitors flock to Sydney’s Harbour to celebrate the new year by watching one of the world’s most iconic fireworks displays.
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This year’s spectacle of colour and sound is dedicated to celebrating marriage equality, in light of Australia’s recent Yes vote outcome and the 40th anniversary of Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras in 2018.

Pet Shop Boys’ song ‘Go West’ will play as rainbow fireworks tumble from the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

New Year’s Eve in Sydney. Photo: Wolter Peeters

Regardless of where you are in the city, here is where you can send off 2017 with a bang this new year’s eve: The City

Harbourside City Parks: Lay a picnic blanket at Embarkation Park, Potts Point (opens 6am), Pyrmont Bay Park, Pyrmont (opens 1:30pm), or Dawes Point (Tar-Ra) Park, The Rocks (opens 12:30pm) and watch the fireworks light up the sky at 9pm and midnight. While Observatory Hill Park may not boast waterside views, it offers good view of the western side of Sydney Harbour Bridge, and opens early at Noon. But if you were planning on toasting to 2017 with a glass of bubbly you may need to reconsider as alcohol is strictly prohibited at these locations. While BYO isn’t allowed at Pirrama Park, Pyrmont, drinks are available for purchase; plus, for Sydneysiders with accessibility needs, the park offers a designated accessible viewing area.

Inner-City vantage points: For those who can endure standing amongst the NYE crowds for several hours, claiming a spot at a harbourside vantage points provides the chance to witness the night’s most iconic event up close. The Sydney Opera House offers a popular vantage point with an accessible viewing area, but anyone hoping to make it in better get there early – gates open at 7:30am, and the venue reached capacity around lunchtime last year. East Circular Quay, West Circular Quay, Mrs Macquaries Point, The Rocks, and Campbells Cove all boast viewing areas and open at 9am, 12pm, 10am, Noon and 9:30am respectively. Families can enjoy some added festivities at Darling Harbour: from 7pm, patrons will enjoy a light show and party vibes, before watching the official fireworks. Much like at the parks, though, BYO alcohol is not allowed at any of these City of Sydney registered locations. Drinks will be available to purchase on site.

Pirrama Park: Not much for queuing? You can enjoy a guaranteed spot and two course meal from Jimmy Liks Catering – one of the instigators of Sydney’s modern Asian dining revolution – at Pirrama Park with this limited ticketed event. Join long-table dining or flop into a deckchair and enjoy the music and fireworks sound track from KISS 106.FM radio. Tickets are $176 (GST incl) for adults or $154 (GST incl) for kids, and include a glass of sparkling wine or soft drink. A cash bar means the drinks can keep flowing throughout the night.

The Royal Botanic Gardens: Ever wanted to soak up the Harbourside views at Sydney’s idyllic botanic gardens after closing hours? Well, you’ll have to act quickly because a few other thousand Sydneysiders do too apparently. Tickets have already sold out for three of the Royal Botanic Gardens’ NYE parties, but you can still step right up for Harbour Hoopla – an all-ages vintage circus-themed event. Along with partial views of Sydney Harbour, party-goers will enjoy a personal picnic box, live DJ and dance floor, performances and access to a cash bar. Tickets start at $325, making Harbour Hoopla one of the city’s pricier NYE options. The North

Aside from being home to a handful of very much-loved NYE viewing points, including Manns Point, Blues Point Reserve, Mary Booth Reserve (with a designated viewing area), North Head, Bradfield Park, and Cremorne Point, Sydney’s North Shore will also host some of the night’s hottest events, including several local beachfront fireworks displays.

Pittwater, Dee Why, and Manly Cove:Those who don’t feel like travelling to the city can still kick off their year with a bang. Northern Beaches Council, in partnership with local businesses, is hosting its own free fireworks displays at 9pm and midnight at Pittwater, Dee Why Beach, and Manly Cove. Alcohol is prohibited in these areas every night, and NYE is no different. Those planning on attending should be mindful of road closures and clearways surrounding each location.

Bradleys Head provides a great view of the fireworks. Photo: Janie Barrett

Bradleys Head: Starting at $17.43 a ticket, NYE celebrators can secure a spot atop Bradley’s Head in Sydney Harbour National Park – Athol Lawn. While the park’s tree canopy blocks some Harbour views from Athol Lawn, you can avoid the stress of finding and claiming your spot in one of the city’s open venues. Marketed as an “ideal family viewing area for the Sydney New Year’s Eve Fireworks”, alcohol and glass is strictly prohibited at Athol Lawn for the night and bags will be searched upon entry. Interested parties should get in quick – two other ticketed events at Bradley’s Head have already sold out. The East

Darling Point: Locals can head to McKell Park, Yarranabbe Park or Rushcutters Bay Park east of Sydney city to secure a spot overlooking the bay from noon. While the former two boast Harbour Bridge views, visitors to Rushcutters Bay Park will only be able to catch the fireworks once they hit the night sky due to limited city views. Alcohol prohibited.

Double Bay & Point Piper: Free entry starts at noon and 2pm for those hoping to nab a spot at Duff Reserve and Murray Rose Pool & Blackburn Gardens, respectively. The latter only offers glimpses of the harbour, but you can get a clear view of the bridge from Duff Reserve. Alcohol prohibited.

Rose Bay & Watsons Bay: Visitors can catch decent views of the Harbour Bridge from Rose Bay Foreshore, Dumaresq Reserve, and Robertson Park. Tickets are also still available for the Waverley Council’s family-friendly part at Dudley Page Reserve, Dover Heights. With tickets starting at $18.35, kids can take to the jumping castle, have their face painted, run around the playground, and dance as a DJ spins tracks. There will also be a licensed bar for parents and food stalls to suit everyone’s taste buds if you don’t feel like packing your own picnic.

Coogee: For anyone who thinks staying up until midnight is overrated, enjoy the 9pm family-friendly Coogee Sparkles NYE fireworks. Hosted by the Randwick City Council, members of the local community and visitors are invited to grab their picnic baskets, make a day of swimming in the waves, and gather along the beachfront to watch a 20 minute fireworks display. Pets, smoking and alcohol is banned on Coogee Beach, so leave the dog and stubby holder at home. The West

Balmain East:The popular inner-west suburb is going to get a lot more popular come NYE, with Simmons Point, Lookes Avenue Reserve, Thornton Park and Illoura Reserve offering close-up views of the Harbour Bridge. Elkington Park sits to the far left of the inner-west harbour area, but offers views to the western side of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Alcohol prohibited.

Birchgrove: Birchgrove has plenty of vantage points from which to enjoy Sydney’s world-famous light display: visitors have a direct view of the western side of the Harbour Bridge from Mort Bay Park, Birchgrove Park and Yurulbin Park. You’ll have to plan ahead if you want to get a spot at one of these locations; each one opens at 8am is is expected to reach capacity before nightfall.

Parramatta: Paramatta’s skyline will sparkle with light and colour on NYE 2017 as the suburb hosts one of Sydney’s largest NYE celebrations within the World Heritage-listed Parramatta Park. Join in as singers Frank Bennett, Grant Galea and Catherine Hunter belt out the classic with a big brass band, before watching fireworks erupt from three firing locations at 9pm.

Liverpool: Liverpool Council is hosting Light up the Lake at Chipping Norton. Free shuttle buses will run from Liverpool and Warwick Farm stations. The event is alcohol free and will include fireworks, live music, $2 rides and food trucks. The South

Brighton Le Sands: Stretch out along the beachfront running from Kyeemagh to Ramsgate, before watching fireworks light up the sky courtesy of the Bayside Council. For the best view, head to Lady Robinsons Beach to watch the 9pm lightshow. Drivers: be aware that there will be significant road closures and clearways in the surrounding area so parking may be difficult.

Miranda: Sydney South-siders who book a table at on the Westfield Miranda’s Kingsway or Rooftop restaurants for NYE will be privy to their own private 9pm fireworks display. Have your face painted, indulge in gelato cones, and enjoy balloon benders, light displays, live music, fire dancer, dancers and glow in the dark fairy floss.

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A popular Port Stephens beach was evacuated on Thursday morning following a shark sighting.
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A shark surveillance helicopter with a NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) aerial team on boardspotted a tiger shark at Birubi Beach about 7.43am.

The aerial team notified authorities and swimmers were pulled from the water.

The shark was reported to be one to 2.3m in length.

Read more: Shark sightings in the Hunter

Port Stephens lifeguard supervisor Phil Rock said the beach has been operating as normal from 9am when lifeguards came on duty.

Swimmers are now able to return to the water at the beach.

A tiger shark was reportedly sighted from the DPI helicopter at Birubi Beach on Thursday morning. Picture: Twitter/@NSWSharkSmart

A helicopter flies along the coastline between Birubi Beach and Crowdy Head once a day each day of theschool holidays as part of the NSW Government’s shark management plan.

Authorities are alerted by the aerial team if ashark is deemed to pose a risk to beach-goers

The aerial team have had a busy morning of sightings in the Great Lakes waters, which joins with Port Stephens.

A whaler shark one to 2.3m in length was sighted in Providence Bay off Yacaaba Head, across from Tomaree Head, about 8am.

Shortly after, a great white shark one to 2.6m in length was spotted off Jimmy’s Beach near Tea Gardens.

Additionally, a tagged great white shark has been pinged swimming around Bennetts Beach since 12.30am on Thursday.

DPI aerial report: 1x 2.3m Tiger Shark at BIRUBI, Port Stephens at 07:43 am on 28 Dec 2017. Authorities Notified.Beach Evacuated. pic.twitter南京夜网/Tphm7RHPnj

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MARINA NEILKurri Kurri Bush Fires – January 24, 2017
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For me it shows the true intensity of what bush fires can do.

The flame height was like nothing I’d seen before.

The tiny RFS guy at the bottom of the frame shows the scale of this bush fire and what they may face when heading out.

League Tag Grand Final- September 16, 2017

The celebration these ladies had after winning the first Ladies League Tag GF was awesome to capture.

The emotion and passion they had when singing the team song would have rivaled any men’s team celebration I had photographed.

NAIDOC week celebrations in Cessnock – July 8, 2017

This was an assignment for the Cessnock Advertiser –NADOC week march and celebrations.

The reason I selected this photograph was because of the colours and tones.

It’s not a posed or contrived image.

Usually we have to deal with messy backgrounds but this time I was lucky, the colours and tones in this image are my favourite.

Dungog Rodeo – April 15, 2017

I never leave the Dungog rodeo disappointed.

It is always a great event to photograph, full of colour and movement.

This photograph I took this year stands out for because it captures in one image what bull riding is all about.

It’s extreme, it’s dangerous.

Here you can see the rider being thrown off, an 800 kilogram animal, with the clown running in from the left to assist the rider.

It all happens in a matter of seconds.

MAXMASON-HUBERS Our photographers’ favourite 2017 photos John Fenwick and his wife of 74 years Muriel share a moment in their home. This was for a Remembrance Day preview.

The lady mayoress and other dignitaries saluting sailors from HMAS Maitland just after they had passed, at the end of their Freedom of the City ceremony and march.

Two guys mud wrestling during Hard Grime dance festival at Maitland Gaol.

Guilherme Noronha celebrating after his appearance in two TV commercials – for Toyota and KFC.

TweetFacebookJONATHAN CARROLLSaturday, February 11, 2017

There was extreme hot weather accross the Hunter that weekend.

This picture shows Dylan Newton swinging off a rope into the Hunter river, Maitland.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Groovin the Moo –I’ve never had so many young, scantily-clad girls throwing themselves at me.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Real NRL action at Kurri Kurri sports ground –Kurri Kurri Bulldogs vs South Newcastle.

It was a pretty warm, sunny afternoon.

One of the players, I don’t recall who, was kicking from the sidelines, so I thought it would be a good opportunity to shoot backlit with my wide angle lens and get a nice silhouette.

It was shot on F22 to get the sun’s star-like rays.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

It was the netball grand final between George Tavern, in green; and Hills Solicitors, in dark blue and pink.

This picture shows George players celebrating the win.

At the end of the game, I made my way onto the court to try to get some of the jubilation.

The champagne popped without warning so, instinctively, I ran into the spray.

SIMONE DE PEAKBird Sale Cessnock, May 7, 2017

I liked the daily life aspect of this image asAmy Baker was absorbed in looking at her iPad while under a table as her dad Dean Baker was selling a bird to customers atHunter Valley Avicultural Society annualbirdsaleatCessnockToyota Stadium.

Marie Anntoinette, February 28, 2017

I was taken with the quirkiness of this scene and project.

Helen Hopcroft dressed as Marie Antoinette doing a cross fit class in Thornton, from May 1, 2017, she began a project called My Year as a Fairy-Tale.

Postie Burnout, September 23, 2017

The light as the end of day nears added a sense of drama and intrigue as Wayne Heaver did a burnout during the burnout section of the postie bike challenge at Maitland.

AmorelleDempster, December 5, 2017

Amorelle Dempster is the leader of Slow Food Hunter Valley.

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