It’s nearly time to bring out the Christmas crackers and start thinking about New Year’s resolutions.
But before you settle in for the silly season, come on a journey with us – through time and space, and the year that was 2013.
The big news
Perhaps one of the biggest stories of the year was the collapse of the Rare Coin Company in July, leaving the financial futures of many investors in limbo.
The site of Albany’s old Esplanade hotel has also been a hot topic, with the site now sitting vacant for 6 years.
The murder of Charmaine Winmar in Narrogin horrified the community, and the untimely death of Dumbleyung Shire CEO Henry van der Ende shocked the region.
Later down the track in Albany, local man Brian Attwell was found guilty of attempting to hire a hitman to murder his daughter-in-law.
In August, snow fell on the Stirling Ranges, and ABC’s Andrew Collins decided to climb Bluff Knoll to see what all the fuss was about.
We spent much of this year covering both the WA state election in March, and the Federal election in September.
Locals around the regions told us their tips for the election, shared their thoughts about what they want from government, and went to the polls twice.
The State election held few surprises for the region, with the Nationals Terry Waldron keeping his seat of Wagin, and ALP member Peter Watson retaining Albany.
In the Federal election, Nationals MP Tony Crook opted out of his seat after only one term, leaving the O’Connor electorate for the taking.
Liberal candidate Rick Wilson won the seat, narrowly beating Nationals MP Chub Witham.
The turnaround in seasonal conditions after a very dry June lead to the biggest harvest in West Australian history.
Early rains set the season up, crops were sown well on time, but the dry spell in June was foreboding – however, late winter and early spring rains meant an excellent year for farmers in most areas.
Growers have surpassed the 15.06 million tonne record in 2011/12, and harvest isn’t over yet.
After a fairly average 2013, this year’s season was very welcome.
Embracing the arts
It’s no secret that the South Coast and Great Southern regions are savvy and unique in their approach to arts, music and culture.
Recently, we stumbled across the farm gate art project in the Ravensthorpe area, showing off works from farmers and locals around the region.
Earlier in the year, we spoke with a scrimshaw artist, scoped out the scene in Lake Grace, collected your shelfie photos, and spoke with local musos.
Children’s book illustrator Ellen Hickman also dropped by to share her story, and we held a wildflower photography competition, receiving some amazing shots.
Port to starboard
The Clippers yachts sailed into Albany for a few days in November and sailors took the town by storm, regaling locals with tales of terrifying storms and drinking the bars dry.
Clippers cinematographer Brian Carlin dropped by to show us the storm first hand, and photos came in thick and fast from locals.
During their stay, journalist turned hobby sailor Nigel Brennan told us his extraordinary story of being held for ransom in Somalia for 17 months.
Opening the conversation in the community
ABC Open went out into the community and heard your stories, creating videos, photos and written word yarns to show to the world.
We cracked 100 stories for the 500 words project and held some fantastic events around the South Coast and Great Southern.
Local man Tim Overhue’s passion for soils was broadcast to the nation on ABC News 24, and two photographers from Denmark had their work featured in national exhibitions.
And, of course, who could forget the Blokes Camera Club?
In your own backyard
This year, you welcomed us into your backyards, and showed off your green thumbs.
We learned how to make chorizo, how to breed goats, and why some pigs are vegetarians.
We also went hunting for ghosts and spoke to some ex-whalers.
Our very own John Cecil also released a CD known as ‘Tractor,’ a project aimed at addressing suicide prevention for men in rural Australia.
And last, but not least, thank you for listening, reading, liking, commenting, viewing, and engaging.
–Top Twitter To Follow: