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SSC Newspaper : February 2012
“ February 2012 news 4 Strathfield Scene In Brief locals awarded Australia Day honours Ray Wilson, tireless charity worker and Strathfield golfing pro, was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia in the 2012 honour roll. Homebush doctor Appupillay Balasubramaniam – or Dr Bala, as he is known – received an Order of Australia. He has been honoured for his 40 years of service to the Hindu and Sri Lankan communities. He is also founding president of the Sri Venkateswara Temple in Helensburgh. HelPInG THe HelPers Bendigo Bank lends a hand Staff from the Homebush Bendigo Community Bank were given the chance to pick five organisations that have done outstanding work in the community and give each a $500 donation as part of new manager Emmanuel Vatalis’ push to re-engage with the community. Strathfield Meals on Wheels, the Strathfield SES, Westmead Children’s Hospital, the Feza Organisation and St Ahanasious Church Welfare in Rookwood all received the special awards. scHool For sTars Opera-tunities McDonald College student Alex Chorley and teacher Marcus Bortolotti were selected as part of the cast of Opera Australia’s production of Turandot. Made famous by Luciano Pavarotti, this is one of Opera Australia’s grandest productions. Bortolotti will sing in the male ensemble. Turandot is on at the Sydney Opera House until mid-March. cHIld resTraInTs Safety checks Strathfield Council is offering a free voucher to people who live or work in the area to have their child’s car restraint fitted or checked by a local authorised Roads and Maritime Services fitter. The restraints, harnesses and booster seats will be checked for safety and correct fit. Vouchers are limited. For more details, call Strathfield Council’s road safety officer on 9748 9999. By Bernadette Chua and Peter Lynch The fate of Camden Lodge, the $2.5 million heritage home owned by the mayor of Auburn and exten- sively damaged in a mystery fire, now rests with an engineer’s in- spection. After police complete a report into the late-night blaze, a struc- tural engineer will recommend whether the 96-year-old house is to be demolished, rebuilt or re- paired. Owner Ronney Oueik told the Scene this week he was very con- cerned about the state of the house in Burlington Road, Homebush. “I am very concerned. I would like to thank the police and fire service for their help,” Oueik said. He added he could do nothing until police had reported on the matter. He said he had felt all along that the house was unsafe and therefore should be demolished. “Any per- son seeing it would tell you it was unsafe,” he said. Steve Apps, fire investigator from Fire & Rescue NSW, said: “The cause of the fire is undetermined. There was no indication that it was deliberately lit and we had our ca- nine detectors inspect the property but nothing was found.” Apps added that it appeared the fire started in the roof cavity. “At the time of the incident, the house had been unoccupied for a period of time, but the electricity was switched on,” he said. “ The investigation is now a po- lice matter.” A police spokesman told the Scene: “At this stage we can’t com- ment on the process of the investi- gation. Currently, the fire is still unexplained but we are still inves- tigating the cause.” Firefighters were called to the five-bedroom Federation home about 11.30pm on January 30 after neighbours spotted flames leaping from the chimney. Despite efforts to stop the blaze, part of the roof collapsed. One Burlington Road resident, who wished not to be named, said: “I saw what looked like lightning coming out of the chimney of the house. When I looked properly because my house overlooks Cam- den Lodge, I saw the house was on fire.” Camden Lodge was been in the headlines ever since Oueik ac- quired it and declared he wanted to redevelop the site on the grounds the house was unsafe. In October 2010, Oueik told the Scene he had no intention of de- molishing Camden Lodge when he bought it. “I love heritage – that’s why I bought this house. But it’s not safe to live in,” he said. The following month he ap- pealed to the Land and Environ- ment Court to bulldoze the house, an application that was de- nied after angry residents took up a petition. Residents complained that lead- light w indows and shrubbery had been removed. Oueik said the win- dows had disappeared after he opened them because of bad smells in the house. Local resident Marlene Doran said: “It’s absolutely devastating that such a beautiful home has been destroyed. “All the hard work and time we’ve put into saving and protect- ing this home, which is such a jew- el in the precinct, has literally gone up in flames.” Strathfield Council general man- ager David Backhouse visited the house shortly after the fire to see for himself what had happened. “It was a true landmark to the Strathfield area and was once owned by [retail butchers] A.J. Bush and Sons,” Backhouse said. “The residents around here will be furious over the loss of this property.” Built in 1916, Camden Lodge was owned by the Bush family un- til 2007. Camden Lodge: “It’s absolutely devastating,” says resident Marlene Doran. 96 years of heritage up in smoke Exclusive: inside the remains of Camden Lodge in Homebush, ravaged by a mystery fire; above, owner Ronney Oueil.