Walcha gets ex-Sydney Swans lighting

Ian Notley
Ian Notley

Walcha Oval now has state-of-the-art lighting thanks to some quick action by a local businessman and a Stronger Communities Programme grant.

When the Sydney Swans training ground Tramway Oval received a lighting upgrade as part of the move to make way for the Sydney Light Rail construction Walcha benefited.

The existing poles and next-generation metal halide lights were offered to local tree changer Ian Notley who, along with his wife Trudi and their sons Mark, Matthew and Luke, became a permanent resident of Walcha eight years ago.

A representative from the international lighting behemoth Musco Lighting, who supplies Mr Notley's business ETE ( Earthworks, Transport and Electrical) Services contacted him to see if he knew of a sports ground in need.

"They were supposed to go to Cootamundra, but the Council was unaware of the arrangement and went ahead and purchased other lights," Mr Notley said.

"So when Musco contacted me I said we'd take them, collected them and approached Walcha Council."

Walcha Council received a grant of $108,774 from the Federal Government Stronger Communities Program to upgrade the Walcha Oval lighting and irrigation and contributed $59,301 towards the total project cost of $168,075.

Mr Notley donated his time and expertise to install the poles and lights.

"I'd say Council has saved about $60,000 which is the value of the donated lights, poles and installation," Mr Notley said.

"These new lights are metal halide next-generation lighting. Each light fixture uses 1500 watts compared to the old lights which used 2000 watts each, so you're saving 500 watts per fitting and getting a larger light output- meaning you need less energy and get more illumination."

Walcha Mayor Eric Noakes said the donation will make night time use of the ground a greater experience.

"Council and the community would like to thank Ian and Trudy Notley and family for the donation that made this possible," said Mr Noakes.

"Upgrades like this are expensive and generally out of reach financially for Council's such as Walcha, so this makes this generous donation all the more valuable.

"This, plus the irrigation upgrade, revamping of the change rooms and kitchen along with the inclusion of a new public address (PA) system has made this facility much more user-friendly. The Rugby League and Rugby Union Clubs both contributed financially to the PA system and Ian and his son donated their time to do the installation."

The new lights took ten days to install and were finished last month in time for the doubleheader footy games which played into the evening.

Before moving to Walcha, Mr Notley had a large electrical contracting firm in Gosford, and he still does work in regional NSW and QLD. He says the North American company Musco Lighting is the largest lighting manufacturer and supplier in the world and he continues to work with them on bigger jobs. While 95 per cent of his work is local excavation work and roading Mr Notley says living in Walcha does not impede him taking bigger electrical contracting jobs.

Recently ETE Services completed a $1million lighting installation for three ovals in North Queensland. Two months ago Mr Notley completed a $500,000 installation at Grafton for three soccer ovals and last week he was in Parkes working on a $350,00 cricket ground installation.