TOP 10: 2020 moments that shocked Warwick

2020 HAS proven a year of ups, downs, and tumultuous change for the Warwick community, with a huge number of shocking moments shaking up the town.

From the coronavirus pandemic to violent crimes and near natural disasters, this year has been an unpredictable and formative one for Rose City residents and the wider region.

These are the biggest 2020 moments that truly shocked Warwick:

1) Flash flooding hits Warwick

After seemingly endless months of drought, Warwick residents were forced to quickly adapt when the town saw rainfall totals exceeding 140mm in one day in early February.

Major roads across the Rose City, Stanthorpe, and Goondiwindi were cut off, with the Condamine River, Glengallan Creek, and Dalrymple Creek seeing vertical rises between three and four metres.

Click here to see a full gallery of flash flooding and wild weather across Warwick.

2) Bolzan Quarry Dam bursts

It was a month of wild weather for Warwick residents, with hundreds of Talgai residents advised to evacuate on February 14 when water started gushing from a huge hole in the Bolzan Quarry Dam.

Emergency services worked tirelessly to minimise the risk the water gushing from a 5m hole in the large irrigation dam, with areas across Talgai and near Allora affected.

The situation escalated the next day when water flowing from the dam began spilling into neighbouring creeks and engineers were still unable to determine residents were safe to return.

After nearly two days of investigation and emergency repairs, residents were able to return to their homes on the evening of February 16.

3) Alleged murder on Glen Rd

Warwick’s first major crime of the year allegedly occurred when Benjamin James Nunns, 30, shot a 38-year-old Warwick man.

Police allege Mr Nunns, his alleged victim, and their partners were having “casual drinks” at a Glen Rd residence when the two men got into an altercation, which soon escalated to violence.

It is alleged the 30-year-old hit the other man over the head repeatedly with an undisclosed object before shooting him in the face.

Mr Nunns’ charges have been brought before the Warwick Magistrates Court on numerous occasions.

He has not yet entered a plea and remains in police custody until his next court appearance.

4) New council elected

This year’s local government election changed the face of the Southern Downs Regional Council, with several new councillors, a new mayor, and even a new CEO stepping in.

Only three incumbent councillors in Cameron Gow, Jo McNally, and Sheryl Windle were re-elected, with new or returning faces Ross Bartley, Andrew Gale, Marco Gliori, Cynthia McDonald, and Stephen Tancred joining their ranks.

Long-time representative Vic Pennisi replaced Tracy Dobie as Southern Downs Mayor.

Shortly after, former CEO David Keenan stepped down to eventually be replaced by current chief executive David Burges.

5) Coronavirus pandemic sparks mass change

Arguably the most defining theme of 2020, the coronavirus pandemic swept through the Warwick community, impacting nearly every facet of residents’ lives.

From Warwick’s first confirmed case of the virus, the temporary move to working and learning from home, and the economic impact of hospitality, retail, and business closures, daily life in the Rose City looked very different for months on end.

Even with the widespread cancellation of iconic Warwick events such as Jumpers and Jazz and the Warwick Rodeo, the Rose City seems to be both on the recovery to a brighter, albeit different, 2021.

6) Wattles struggle with club theft

The Wattles Warriors Rugby League Club were left shocked after two people were charged with stealing more than $30,000 from the organisation.

Police allege Timothy James Gleeson, 63, and Joanne Waterhouse, 47, were working in positions of trust at the Clifton club when the theft occurred.

The couple were released on bail following their first appearance in Warwick Magistrates Court.

Neither of the accused has entered a plea.

7) Another alleged murder shakes Warwick

Warwick man Dwayne Thomas Andrew Watts, 29, was charged with murder in September over the alleged murder of fellow resident Mark Ireland.

The 54-year-old victim sustained fatal wounds to his face and head from a “long-bladed weapon” on the evening of September 16.

Police allege the two men had spent the afternoon together at a Hope St residence when an argument started, leading to a physical altercation in which Mr Ireland’s injuries were inflicted.

Mr Watts will remain remanded in custody until his matter next appears in Warwick Magistrates Court on December 7. He is yet to enter a plea.

Images from scene of the Wood St crash that claimed the life of community figure Greg Newey.
Images from scene of the Wood St crash that claimed the life of community figure Greg Newey.

8) Two tragic road fatalities in two months

The Warwick community was shaken to its core this year, with two horrific car crashes claiming the lives of three residents.

Community figure Greg Newey, 76, was killed in a two-car crash on Wood St on September 14, with his wife Beth sustaining significant injuries.

Warwick 22-year-old Brock Jules Harmer was charged over the incident, and will be remanded in custody until his next court appearance on December 7.

The Warwick and Southern Downs communities were again in mourning last week, after a tragic crash into a dam near Brisbane tore a Pratten family apart.

Warwick High student Leo Larsen, 13, and younger sister Mia, 4, lost their lives in the horrific accident, with parents Mel Martin and Dylan Wadley and their two younger siblings also sustaining injuries.

Tributes have flowed for all three victims and their families, with the community coming together to pay their respects and support those left behind.

9) Human remains found in forest

The Warwick community received a somewhat gruesome surprise in October when police discovered a woman’s remains in the Durikai State Forest near Karara.

Police investigations are ongoing, though it is at this stage understood the bones could have been in the area for more than a decade.

A Queensland Police Service spokesperson stated the bones will undergo scientific testing and DNA cross-referencing in an attempt to identify them.

10) Leslie Dam shooting

The alleged shooting of a 35-year-old man at Leslie Dam in November was another shocking moment for the Warwick community, with two residents facing charges over the incident.

Police allege Scott Richard Allen, 25, and Monique Sarah Deighton, 37, were at the Saddledam Rd address where a conversation “developed into a physical altercation” with the alleged victim.

Mr Allen allegedly returned to his car and grabbed a firearm, with which he shot the 35-year-old in the leg.

The co-accused, believed to be in a romantic relationship, will both remain remanded in custody until their next appearances in Warwick Magistrates Court.

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