FLASHBACK GALLERY: 10 years ago in the Illawarra

Emergency services at the scene of the accident at Port Kembla Sewage Treatment Plant.
Emergency services at the scene of the accident at Port Kembla Sewage Treatment Plant.
Well-known businessman Ron Tabak died when he fell 9m into an empty tank at the Port Kembla Sewage Treatment Plant.

Well-known businessman Ron Tabak died when he fell 9m into an empty tank at the Port Kembla Sewage Treatment Plant.

Hindu priests carry offerings into the Sri Venkateswara Temple in Helensburgh. The temple, Australia's largest was consecrated.

Hindu priests carry offerings into the Sri Venkateswara Temple in Helensburgh. The temple, Australia's largest was consecrated.

Riding on the platform of a cherry picker, Hindu priests pour holy water to consecrate the new 30m towers of the Sri Venkateswara Temple at Helensburgh.

Riding on the platform of a cherry picker, Hindu priests pour holy water to consecrate the new 30m towers of the Sri Venkateswara Temple at Helensburgh.

St George Illawarra captain Trent Barrett and wife Kylie are the proudest of parents after the arrival of daughter Romy.

St George Illawarra captain Trent Barrett and wife Kylie are the proudest of parents after the arrival of daughter Romy.

Illawarra Mercury Novotel Northbeach Sports Star of the Year winner Katy Jarochowicz was stunned by her award.

Illawarra Mercury Novotel Northbeach Sports Star of the Year winner Katy Jarochowicz was stunned by her award.

Mt Warrigal’s George Lane, fed up with the closure of Lake Illawarra’s entrance, is digging a channel to let the sea in.

Mt Warrigal’s George Lane, fed up with the closure of Lake Illawarra’s entrance, is digging a channel to let the sea in.

Myer Wollongong sales assistants Gregory Piper and Sandra Cooper will help to change the ticketing and signage as the store ceases trading as Grace Bros.

Myer Wollongong sales assistants Gregory Piper and Sandra Cooper will help to change the ticketing and signage as the store ceases trading as Grace Bros.

Bernie and Minnie Mahy still love cuddling and kissing after 60 years of marriage. They were joined by family and friends for an anniversary dinner at the Normandie Restaurant, North Wollongong.

Bernie and Minnie Mahy still love cuddling and kissing after 60 years of marriage. They were joined by family and friends for an anniversary dinner at the Normandie Restaurant, North Wollongong.

Short but fierce: golf ball-sized hail batters the Illawarra.

Short but fierce: golf ball-sized hail batters the Illawarra.

She'll be white: Samuel, 3, plays in a white carpet of hail.

She'll be white: Samuel, 3, plays in a white carpet of hail.

Senior Constable Denise Mair shows how easy it is for a thief to get close enough to slip a mobile phone off a cafe table.

Senior Constable Denise Mair shows how easy it is for a thief to get close enough to slip a mobile phone off a cafe table.

Going, going, gone: the 10,000sqm Dwyers car year site in the city's CBD is believed to have been sold to a developer for $23 million.

Going, going, gone: the 10,000sqm Dwyers car year site in the city's CBD is believed to have been sold to a developer for $23 million.

Jim Eddy says Jamberoo Recreation Park is going great guns despite other theme parks, including Sydney's Wonderland, closing.

Jim Eddy says Jamberoo Recreation Park is going great guns despite other theme parks, including Sydney's Wonderland, closing.

Lighthouse Christian Centre's Paul Bartlett was among 500 religious leaders who watched The Passion Of The Christ.

Lighthouse Christian Centre's Paul Bartlett was among 500 religious leaders who watched The Passion Of The Christ.

An arsonist firebombs a family's dream home, the first to be built on the controversial Sandon Point site. Opponents of the development denied knowledge of the attack.

An arsonist firebombs a family's dream home, the first to be built on the controversial Sandon Point site. Opponents of the development denied knowledge of the attack.

After 30 years of running the Illawarra's only continental cake shop, the Tonnito family calls it a day.

After 30 years of running the Illawarra's only continental cake shop, the Tonnito family calls it a day.

Shooter, a five-month old freshwater crocodile, is introduced to his new home at Symbio Wildlife Gardens.

Shooter, a five-month old freshwater crocodile, is introduced to his new home at Symbio Wildlife Gardens.

The historic Regent Theatre runs its last reel. Projectionist Michael Kelly, of Figtree, worked at the Wollongong cinema for nearly 40 years.

The historic Regent Theatre runs its last reel. Projectionist Michael Kelly, of Figtree, worked at the Wollongong cinema for nearly 40 years.

Former WWII artillery signaller John Garland with the howitzer to be installed at MacCabe Park in time for Anzac Day.

Former WWII artillery signaller John Garland with the howitzer to be installed at MacCabe Park in time for Anzac Day.

Windang man Allen Lewis is organising Australia's biggest naval reunion, to be held in Sydney. He expects more than 50,000 people from half a dozen countries to attend.

Windang man Allen Lewis is organising Australia's biggest naval reunion, to be held in Sydney. He expects more than 50,000 people from half a dozen countries to attend.

Tarrawanna mum Yvonne Haynes with daughter Breeanna, 3, whose life was saved by a liver transplant.

Tarrawanna mum Yvonne Haynes with daughter Breeanna, 3, whose life was saved by a liver transplant.

One of the region's highest ranking female police officers, Inspector Anne Cooney, is encouraging women to apply for senior positions within NSW Police.

One of the region's highest ranking female police officers, Inspector Anne Cooney, is encouraging women to apply for senior positions within NSW Police.

The Kiama bypass bridge construction site where workers walked off the job for 48 hours.

The Kiama bypass bridge construction site where workers walked off the job for 48 hours.

Voyager disaster survivors Peter Howis, John Hannay and Duncan Fletcher at Huskisson.

Voyager disaster survivors Peter Howis, John Hannay and Duncan Fletcher at Huskisson.

US-based Bill Grundy, who returned for the commemoration of the Voyager sinking, spoke of the feelings of guilt felt by survivors of Australia's biggest peacetime tragedy.

US-based Bill Grundy, who returned for the commemoration of the Voyager sinking, spoke of the feelings of guilt felt by survivors of Australia's biggest peacetime tragedy.

Wollongong council environment officer Mike McKeon and Dapto Salvo Store supervisor Heather Cunningham inspect rubbish dumped at the charity.

Wollongong council environment officer Mike McKeon and Dapto Salvo Store supervisor Heather Cunningham inspect rubbish dumped at the charity.

University of Wollongong graphic artist Sandy Houston with the City of Wollongong Eisteddford logo he created.

University of Wollongong graphic artist Sandy Houston with the City of Wollongong Eisteddford logo he created.

Wollongong City Gallery director Peter O’Neill with Eugene Von Guerard’s View of Lake Illawarra with Distant Mountains of Kiama.

Wollongong City Gallery director Peter O’Neill with Eugene Von Guerard’s View of Lake Illawarra with Distant Mountains of Kiama.

Twins Amazing (top) and Miracle couldn't wait to start kindergarten at Warrawong Public School.

Twins Amazing (top) and Miracle couldn't wait to start kindergarten at Warrawong Public School.

Fairy Meadow ugg boot manufacturer Stafford Davis led a handful of dedicated supporters on a rally in Wollongong to protest the move by American giant Deckers to ban Aussie companies using the word "ugg".

Fairy Meadow ugg boot manufacturer Stafford Davis led a handful of dedicated supporters on a rally in Wollongong to protest the move by American giant Deckers to ban Aussie companies using the word "ugg".

Dedicated Primbee residents at a rally outside Wollongong council to protest Burwell Technologies' plans to remove copper slag from Korrongulla Swamp.

Dedicated Primbee residents at a rally outside Wollongong council to protest Burwell Technologies' plans to remove copper slag from Korrongulla Swamp.

Enjoying the attention of sharing a name are Dapto's Emily Elise Smith, Emily Jo Smith and Emily Rae Smith.

Enjoying the attention of sharing a name are Dapto's Emily Elise Smith, Emily Jo Smith and Emily Rae Smith.

Brothers Stan (left) and Aaron Crinis celebrate the opening of their new North Beach cafe Diggies.

Brothers Stan (left) and Aaron Crinis celebrate the opening of their new North Beach cafe Diggies.

Crown Street Mall 2003 Retail Awards: Ian Spight, Chantel Bryant, Tania McGuire, Paul Spight, Kerrin Strachan and Kelli Willis after Travel Advantage took out the Leisure and Entertainment Award.

Crown Street Mall 2003 Retail Awards: Ian Spight, Chantel Bryant, Tania McGuire, Paul Spight, Kerrin Strachan and Kelli Willis after Travel Advantage took out the Leisure and Entertainment Award.

Employee of the year runner-up Lisa Broad, of Boost Juice, TV personality Susie Elelman and Employee of the Year Jan Gamble (right) of SureSlim at the 2003 Crown Street Mall Retail Awards.

Employee of the year runner-up Lisa Broad, of Boost Juice, TV personality Susie Elelman and Employee of the Year Jan Gamble (right) of SureSlim at the 2003 Crown Street Mall Retail Awards.

Battle of the saxes: Edmund Rice sax students Chris Irvine, Aktan Aktas, James Williams and Aaron Wilson, with Sergeant Gary Caira from Camouflage.

Battle of the saxes: Edmund Rice sax students Chris Irvine, Aktan Aktas, James Williams and Aaron Wilson, with Sergeant Gary Caira from Camouflage.

Friday was a big night for the Boost team when the store picked up three awards at the 2003 Crown Street Mall Retail Awards.

Friday was a big night for the Boost team when the store picked up three awards at the 2003 Crown Street Mall Retail Awards.

Novotel Northbeach's conference sales director Marie Georgeou presented the Footwear Award to Arthur Devenish, Wendy Devenish, Rachel Magennis and Brett Magennis of The Athletes Foot at the 2003 Crown Street Mall Retail Awards.

Novotel Northbeach's conference sales director Marie Georgeou presented the Footwear Award to Arthur Devenish, Wendy Devenish, Rachel Magennis and Brett Magennis of The Athletes Foot at the 2003 Crown Street Mall Retail Awards.

Hayley Miller and Juanita Spaleta of Babes for Women walked away in style with the Female Fashion Award at the Crown St Mall 2003 Retail Awards.

Hayley Miller and Juanita Spaleta of Babes for Women walked away in style with the Female Fashion Award at the Crown St Mall 2003 Retail Awards.

Daniella Peros and brother-in-law Teri Peros tasted victory when Piata was named winner of the Cafes and Restaurants Awards at the 2003 Crown Street Mall Retail Awards.

Daniella Peros and brother-in-law Teri Peros tasted victory when Piata was named winner of the Cafes and Restaurants Awards at the 2003 Crown Street Mall Retail Awards.

Jaz Cizaloski and Luana Castro of Tramps for Men were on hand to accept the Male Fashion Award at the Crown St Mall 2003 Retail Awards.

Jaz Cizaloski and Luana Castro of Tramps for Men were on hand to accept the Male Fashion Award at the Crown St Mall 2003 Retail Awards.

Ten years ago, a well-known Wollongong businessman died when he fell 9m into an empty tank at the Port Kembla Sewage Treatment Plant.

Deputy State Coroner Carl Milanovich found the death of Ron Tabak on February 10, 2004, was a "tragic and avoidable" accident which occurred because he was diligent about the safety of others.

The Berkeley man had been preparing a quote to line the tank and returned to the top of the tank to reposition the covers over access holes. 

"Mr Tabak died because he was doing the right thing in relation to other workers that he envisaged might enter the site," Mr Milanovich said.

The coroner's findings at the inquest into Mr Tabak's death included only a single recommendation - for WorkCover to develop a safety guideline to prevent similar accidents. Mr Milanovich found that when the accident occurred, the plant was not properly supervised and not safe.

Following the tragedy, the NSW Ambulance Service and NSW Police conducted critical internal reviews. Police stepped up rescue training and added equipment to rescue trucks, including a concrete drill. The Ambulance Service produced a two volume report with 43 recommendations for change. Among the changes, the Illawarra-based CHC rescue helicopter was staffed with a doctor.

Click here for pictures from January 2004