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Foxground artist’s Dreaming of Dharawal Days opens at GLaM
Foxground artist’s Dreaming of Dharawal Days opens at GLaM

20 April 2024, 11:00 PM

“It’s finally my turn to shine,” laughs Foxground artist Robyn Sharp. “I’ve always been the director's wife, now I’m the star.”The director Robyn refers to is her husband Lindsay, the former head of Sydney’s Powerhouse Museum and world-renowned museologist. While her comments are tongue-in-cheek, the curation of this show, held in the Gerringong Art Gallery adjacent to the Gerringong Library and Museum (GlaM), is all Robyn’s with her husband happily following directions on where to hang her stunning artworks. Paintings and drawings which use a range of mediums, including pencil, acrylic and charcoal and capture the beauty of the Australian bush in all its variations; fire, flood and in full bloom.It is the elements that have inspired Robyn’s third show Dreaming of Dharawal Days, which officially opens tomorrow. Much of her recent work focuses on the local landscape, at Bundanon, Jervis Bay, Moreton National Park, and of course her beloved Foxground - home to the hidden gem that is her Cedar Ridge Art Studio.It is where Robyn and Lindsay watched in terror as ash from the 2019 bushfires rained down on them, and a raging inferno edged ever-closer to their property. Thankfully their home and Robyn’s studio was spared.“But after the fires I had to create a lot of artwork to get it out of my system, I dealt with the trauma through art,” she explains, pointing to a detailed depiction of a grass tree.“This is one of my favourites. I painted it shortly after the fires when Lindsay and I went for a walk in the Moreton National Park. The bush was deathly silent, there were no birds, no animals but the grass trees were in full flower. It was so heartening to see such beautiful regeneration after the fires. It gave me hope.”Hope is something we could all use more of, given the extreme weather events that have lashed the coast in recent years.“With climate change comes more intensive weather systems and we get flooded in on our property at least once or twice a year now,” says Robyn. “When you live in a beautiful place you are often at the mercy of the elements.”But she wouldn’t trade her picturesque studio for any other in the world, and she has had a few; in the United States, Canada, England and a “little flat in Paris”.“One of the benefits of being the director’s wife is that I could go to art school in Chelsea (during Lindsay’s stint as the director of London’s National Science Museum in the early 2000s). I had some incredible teachers and mentors who shared their knowledge of figurative drawing and sculpture during that time,”But Robyn credits the free university scheme under Gough Whitlam’s government for kickstarting a long and illustrious career as an artist.“I won a scholarship to the National Art School in Sydney, under the then Whitlam Government’s free university education scheme. I had a living allowance of $10 a week for food and board, can you believe it,” she asks incredulously. It is this sense of wonder, of how far she has come as an artist, that endears the artist to members of the community who poke their head into the gallery as she sets up her Dreaming of Dharawal Days exhibition, the first show to be held in the Gerringong gallery space. A husband and wife offer to help Robyn hang one of her works and walk away with a breathtaking landscape before her show has officially opened. Dreaming of Dharawal Days will be on display at GLaM to April 24, before moving to Cin Cin’s Wine Bar May 7.

Remembering the rationing
Remembering the rationing

20 April 2024, 11:00 PM

Coupons and rationing are things many young people know nothing of, but everyone who is old enough to remember the Second World War can recall strict regulations on food and clothing only too well.Elva, of Gerroa, remembers rationing and coupons which we used to buy everything from sugar, butter, meat, petrol and clothes. Elva and her husband, Clive, were married in 1947 and Elva said her husband had to buy his suit for the wedding with ration coupons. “If memory serves, about 56 coupons were enough to buy one suit or one overcoat per person, per year.”“Clive had to buy his suit for our wedding with coupons and I was lucky that one of our bridesmaids had an uncle who was a lace importer.”“My wedding dress was made out of cotton lace and the bridesmaid’s dresses were made out of the same lace, but we dyed them different colours,” Mrs Emery said.“I remember sitting in front of a large tub with dye all over me and worrying that the lace might shrink or warp”“Even my honeymoon bedroom attire was purchased with coupons and the whole situation was quite traumatic for a bride-to-be,” she said. “When we returned from our honeymoon, we lived on Clive’s father’s farm at Foxground for about three months.“Like many farming families in Gerringong, we were lucky to have eggs, milk, cream and meat, but there were other items which were difficult to have a plentiful supply of because of the rationing,” Mrs Emery said. “There were four hungry men on the farm, Clive’s mother and myself and somehow, like more people, we had to make do with what we had. “One of Clive’s brothers, Clifford, had served in the Army and he was used to very big meals. “All the men on the farm were accustomed to large meals and lots of cakes and treats and unfortunately, they had to get used to smaller portions,” she said Mrs Emery said that the Gerringong community would always hold a dance or a ball whenever a serviceman returned from war, even if it was only for leave. “Those balls really tested the ingenuity of the ladies of Gerringong because women had to make do with the small amount of food available.“The ladies would have to make the limited butter and sugar go as far as possible and I believe we all did a very good job,” Elva said. Mrs Emery added that she realised Gerringong residents were luckier than most because of the number of people who lived on farms and contributed coupons for the dances whenever they could.“It is amazing what qualities are drawn out of people during hard times,” she said. “Everyone pulled together because they had to,” Mrs. Emery said.

Ageing with Grace tackles elderly isolation with volunteer visitors scheme
Ageing with Grace tackles elderly isolation with volunteer visitors scheme

20 April 2024, 4:30 AM

Formerly known as the Community Visitors Scheme, Ageing with Grace is combating loneliness in the elderly community with their Aged Care Volunteer Visitors Scheme (ACVVS).The program is funded by the Australian Government and is available to anyone receiving government funded aged care services in an aged care facility of their own home. Through this funding, Ageing with Grace is able to offer this service free of charge, with a strong focus on social support to those who need it. The scheme matches an elderly individual lacking social interaction to a volunteer who provides compassion and companionship.Loneliness is a growing concern among Australia's elderly population, with one in five reporting feeling isolated, this figure rises to one in three for older people living in aged care facilities. Social isolation and loneliness have detrimental effects on both mental and physical health.By matching volunteers with older people based on shared interests, hobbies and geographical proximity, the program works to create meaningful and lasting connections. A Kiama local, Shirley, is one such participant in the program who found comfort and friendship with her match, Tania. Tania is a dedicated volunteer who heard about the visitor scheme on the radio and felt compelled to lend a hand. She has a long history of lending a helping hand in her community, and her efforts are truly commendable.She is a caring and generous person who travels each week to spend time with Shirley, usually in her home. Shirley loves flowers and her cat and together the pair spend time talking and catching up, reading magazines, doing jigsaw puzzles and much more. The pair have great plans to get Shirley out and about in the future. Tania’s regular visits to Shirley’s home have blossomed into a heartwarming friendship, acting as an exemplary scenario of how the scheme can help. Shirley’s daughter shares her gratitude for the program, emphasising the positive impact it has had on her mothers’ wellbeing. “Tania’s enthusiasm to help and her understanding of my mother’s situation has been amazing,” she said. “She is committed to providing support and friendship to my mum. We are grateful to the scheme and to both Tania and Annie.”Annie Lucas, the aged care program coordinator for the Illawarra Region emphasises the rewarding aspects of the scheme for both participants. One such example is a 19 year old woman paired with a 91 year old woman. These visits have prompted a long awaited cinema trip for the elderly woman, who had not been to the movies in 50 years. In turn, she is teaching her young volunteer how to crochet, a skill she had been hoping to develop. Annie is passionate about her work, citing the number of successful matches that have stayed in touch with each other, even once the pair have parted. Many still send letters, postcards, and call each other regularly. There are innumerable benefits involved in the program and the ACVVS aims to improve quality of life for the participants. Shown to increase self esteem, sense of purpose, increasing independence and overall wellbeing, the program is successfully working toward a sense of connectedness in the community. ACVVS is always seeking volunteers over the age of 18. If you’re seeking a rewarding way to occupy your time, why not consider being a part of something life changing? Volunteers like Tania play a crucial role in enriching the lives of the elderly community.National Volunteer Week is coming up between 20-26 May 2024 and what better time to contribute to your community and make a positive difference in the lives of those who need it.For any further information you can contact Annie Lucas, who covers an area from Bulli to Ulladulla, by email at [email protected] or by phone at 0459 542 227.

Jamberoo Flood Hero
Jamberoo Flood Hero

20 April 2024, 12:00 AM

Jamberoo tradie Mitchell (Mitch) Rosser is being hailed as a hero after rescuing a man from the flash floods which occurred during the torrential downpours in the early hours of Saturday 6 April. But he doesn’t want this story to be about him. He wants to make sure it never happens again.On inspection, it’s very hard to see how the man survived at all. In the pitch dark, the flood water running over the paddocks picked up his car and smashed it through an iron gate on Jamberoo Road, just out of town near Turpentine Creek. All the electronics in the car had died. However, by some miracle, the power window wound down, and he managed to get out of the car as it was being swept into the creek. The car was later found badly damaged a good kilometre further down Turpentine Creek, ending near the 12th hole of the Jamberoo Golf Course. The location where the incident began is approximately 50 metres from the waterway. Driving in the dark, there is no reason to assume that there would be floodwater in that location. Local plumber, Mitch, was out filming the water running through his garage and feeling concerned about protecting his young family when he heard a cry for help.“It was terrifying. The whole yard was under water,” he recalls. “I said to the missus, oh yeah, the front lawn is flooded again. Our gate was gone, a road sign ripped out. It was pissing down. There’s always water when there's 100mm of rain, but I have never seen anything like this.  “I was trying to get all the tools off the floor in my shed, and I heard him screaming out for help. I just heard him yelling, help, help, help. We rang 000, but there was no way they could get there.” Mitch’s house backs onto Turpentine Creek. They could hear the man, but they couldn’t see him in the torrential rain and darkness.“I yelled to my wife, get me a torch. I could hear him screaming for help. I ran along the back fence, trying to find his voice. I was yelling, where are you? He shouted back, I am over here, help me, the water is rising.”Mitch says the only reason he saw him was because he had a reflective strip on his work shirt. “He just had one arm hanging on to a branch, and water was up to his chest. He was grabbing stuff, and it was belting down. I told him, hold on. He was in the bushes. Í could see where he was but the water was smashing through. I couldn’t reach him.“I ran to my shed, looking for a power cord, something, anything he could hold on to. I got the pole for the pool scoop.I tried to pull him out through the scrub. Eventually we locked arms, and managed to get him out.“He was shaken, rattled, and then hugged me. You saved my life, he said. I said, we need to get you inside. The neighbour’s a paramedic.”The Bugle understands the man does not wish to be identified.Mitch himself is shaken up by the event.    “If we hadn’t heard him, he was gone. He’s the luckiest man alive. It gives me chills even to think about it. I just keep hearing him screaming.” And there is one thing Mitch is certain of, and that is this man is very lucky to have survived. The power had gone in the car, but for some reason the power window wound down. His two year old son is an early riser, so for that reason the family were all awake. But if Mitch hadn’t gone out into the backyard at that exact time, they would never have heard him yelling for help. And if he hadn’t been wearing a high-viz shirt, they would never have been able to locate him. One thing is for sure, and that is Mitch never wants to see it happen again. “Every local knows that Turpentine Creek floods, but there is no signage, nothing. And this man was not a local. That is what I hope will come out of this story, to stop it happening again.“An hour later, people were out driving, and two of us were out with flashlights telling people not to drive through. Screaming, stop stop stop!” Local member Gareth Ward said he would be asking Council to install a flood metre at the site and looking at what other warning signage is required to ensure people are aware of the dangers of this section of road. “Based on the experience of locals and feedback I have received, we don’t want this to happen again. I want to consult with Council traffic engineers on what they believe is necessary, and raise the feedback from the community. “I want to commend Mitch for his heroism, and I believe this bravery should be officially recognised. If it wasn’t for Mitch’s quick thinking and heroism, the man would be dead.”Contacted for comment Kiama Council issued the following statement: Kiama residents with concerns about safety and other signage on our local roads to lodge a Customer Request for Maintenance (CRM). These CRM’s regarding road safety are provided to our Manager Design, and then to Council’s Traffic Committee.”

10 Kid-Friendly School Holiday Activities
10 Kid-Friendly School Holiday Activities

19 April 2024, 11:00 PM

As children at New South Wales public schools hit the halfway point of school holidays, carers will be scratching their head for ideas, especially on rainy days when the family feels housebound. Luckily, Kiama has no shortage of activities for the second week of Autumn holidays, and many of them are free. Here are our highlights:1.Build a Lego SpaceshipOn the 23 April, anyone (aged 5 to 105) is invited to join the World Lego Space Challenge, a free event at Kiama Library, which runs from 4.30 – 6.30pm. Working alone or as a team, design and create a space vehicle that could take you across the galaxy. Visit library.kiama.nsw.gov.au2. Inflatable FunIn week two, Kiama Leisure Centre will holding three sessions of their popular school holiday program on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Children aged 5 to 12, can be dropped off at the Leisure Centre for four hours of fun, which includes gymnastics, games and pool-time with inflatable toys suitable to a child’s swimming level. Cost is $31.50 per child. Visit kiama.nsw.gov.au3. Minnamurra Rainforest by TorchlightOn 24 April, see Minnamurra Rainforest at you’ve never seen it before as Budderoo National Park opens after-dark. Join an experienced guide as you explore Lyrebird Loop Walk by torchlight, navigating the suspension bridges and elevated walkways. The tour begins at 6pm and cost $25 per adult and $15 per child. Visit nationalparks.nsw.gov.au4. Family Roast PicnicDiggies Kiama will be holding a Family Roast Picnic every Friday during the school holidays. Enjoy live music in the courtyard, free kids lawn games, and tennis with a delicious roast, cocktails and ice cream at a table or take away on a picnic rug. Visit diggies.com.au/kiama5. Holiday Train RidesOn April 23, Illawarra Light Railway Museum will hold school holiday train rides from 10am to 2pm. Ride trains hauled by a heritage steam or Diesel locomotive and make the most of the picnic area with free wood-fired barbeques. Prices start at $11 for children and $16.50 for adults. Children under three-years-old are free. Visit ilrms.com.au6. Outdoor CinemaOn 24 April from 6pm, pack a picnic and head to the Waterfront, Shell Cove, where there will be a free screening of the family-friendly movie, Migration, shown on a big screen on the lawn near the kid’s beach. This event is weather-dependant. To find out more, visitshellharbour.com.au7. Kiama Farmers MarketTake a break from cooking and head to Coronation Park for Kiama’s Wednesday afternoon farmers market, where the whole family can enjoy live entertainment, delicious local produce and a range of food trucks that will satisfy tastebuds of all ages. Visit kiamafarmersmarket.com.au8. Take a Playground TourAlthough Hindmarsh Park upgrade is still a work-in-progress, there are plenty of local alternatives. Parents know, the best playgrounds are close to a good cup of coffee. Popular pairings are Penny Whistlers café and Black Beach foreshore, and The Grumpy Bunny café and Coronation Park. Or, go further afield to Boongaree Nature Play Park in Berry.9 Go ThriftingA great opportunity to talk about sustainability, Kiama’s local second-hand stores can be an exciting place for children, with clothes, books, toys and jewellery that can be purchased for pocket-money. Local op shops include Salvos and Vinnies on Terralong Street, and Kiama Presbyterian Church Op Shop. 10. Surf Skate & MeditateGerringong Surf School is back with the unique school holiday program, Surf, Skate & Meditate. During the three-day program for children aged 4-15, participants will learn to surf on Seven Mile Beach, Gerroa, acquire safe skateboarding skills and be introduced to a gratitude breathing meditation. Cost is $200, including equipment and morning tea. Book at gerringongsurfschool.com.au

On interviewing the last surviving Anzac
On interviewing the last surviving Anzac

19 April 2024, 10:45 PM

After decades in mainstream journalism, and having written literally thousands of stories, there aren’t too many things I haven’t written about.But there was one story about the world’s last survivor of the Gallipoli campaign, Alec Campbell, that has stuck in my memory all these years. Alec lied about his age in order to enlist in World War One, claiming he was 18 years and five months old. Throughout his extremely colourful life, Alec used to joke that because he was in fact only 16 when he went to war, he could become the oldest surviving Anzac. But thus it came to pass. He passed away in 2002 at the age of 103. I was working at The Australian as a general news reporter when, on the occasion of Alec officially becoming the last surviving Gallipoli veteran, I was directed by the Chief of Staff to do a phone interview. Most people, particularly the elderly, are pretty chuffed if the national newspaper rings them up over one honour or another. Not Alec.In the first instance, Alec’s protective wife said she wasn’t sure if he would feel like talking. An old carpenter, he was way down the back shed “banging away at things”, as she put it, and didn’t usually like to come to the phone.Alec took his time, that was for sure. He hung on the phone for a good 20 minutes or so. And when Alec did finally make it to the phone, he wasn’t honoured. He was grumpy that he had been disturbed. My generation grew up during the Vietnam War and many of us are decidedly anti-war. As a young reporter, I was very reluctant to interview old soldiers. I didn’t want to hear their war stories. But the opposite is true. There is no one more anti-war than a returned soldier. They have seen their mates die in front of them in often pointless conflicts, and do not want to relive the moment, or see anyone else go through the harrowing times they themselves have endured. I found Alec well, taciturn; utterly dismissive of politicians, proud of his union background, “up the bosses”, and contemptuous of the military commanders who had sent his comrades to their deaths in their thousands, the terrible slaughter he had witnessed firsthand.Alec refused to march on Anzac Day until very late in life because he didn’t want to glorify a lie: that war was a noble enterprise. He almost never spoke about his experiences at Gallipoli. There were better, more positive things in life.He joined what was then known as the Australian Imperial Force in July of 1915 and promptly earned the nickname “The Kid”. He arrived at Anzac Cove in November that same year and was wounded in the fighting at Gallipoli. He caught a fever and suffered facial paralysis as a result. He was invalided home and discharged in 1916, a veteran at the age of 17. Unlike many Australian veterans, who never recover from their wartime experiences, Alec got back to his home state of Tasmania and simply got on with life.Alec worked many different jobs, as a stockman, carpenter, railway carriage builder and, in his later years, researcher and historian. He gained an economics degree at the age of 50. His love of life extended to an enthusiasm for sailing, and he also circumnavigated Tasmania.On his deathbed, Alec pleaded: “For God’s sake, don’t glorify Gallipoli. It was a terrible fiasco, a total failure and best forgotten.”He was survived by nine children, 30 grandchildren and 32 great grandchildren.On the occasion of his death in May of 2002, I was also drafted to write a story headlined “Tributes and praise pour in for an ordinary hero”.Then Prime Minister John Howard’s media office had done a fine job of polishing up the Anzac myth for public consumption: “On behalf of the nation, I honour his life. Alec Campbell was typical of a generation of Australians who, through their sacrifice, bravery and decency, created a legacy that has resonated through subsequent decades and generations.“All Australians will forever be in debt to the Anzacs. Not only for what they did for us, but for the legend, for the tradition, for the stoicism under fire, sense of mateship and all those other great ideals that, increasingly, young Australians see as part of their Inheritance.”Then Governor-General Peter Hollingworth said Alec’s death was an occasion to reflect on the passing of the generation that helped give us our identity and character as a nation.    “Having recently returned from Anzac Day at Gallipoli and Anzac ceremonies in France, I have a renewed sense of the utter futility of war, which was such a constant message of the Anzacs like Alec Campbell.” Veterans Affairs Minister Danna Vale said Gallipoli held a unique place in the hearts of Australians.   “With Mr Campbell’s passing, we have lost our last living link to the birthplace of the Anzac spirit, which is a great loss,” she said. “Mr Campbell and his fellow Anzacs fought with the kind of courage, integrity and honour that we will never forget. It is a legacy that will live on.”   Alec, it is fairly safe to say, would have been contemptuous of the political sycophancy that accompanied his death, and disapproved of Australia’s involvement in America’s endless wars, including Afghanistan, Iraq and now Ukraine. Lest We Forget.

King of the Keys Review
King of the Keys Review

19 April 2024, 4:00 AM

On Thursday 11 April, the electric Liam Cooper brought his show, King of the Keys, to the Shoalhaven Performing Arts Centre. The interactive show gave the audience the chance to vote for who they thought was the King of the Keys. Read on to hear who won!Liam’s infectious energy had the audience singing and dancing to old favourites. Billy Joel, Stevie Wonder, Elton John, Freddy Mercury, Ray Charles and many more. With over 40 songs in the set, the band was as tight as Liam’s jeans. My personal favourite was Liam’s rendition of Isn’t She Lovely, which he dedicated to his little fur baby, Millie. His powerful and nuanced vocals helped with flawless transitions through clean belts and controlled falsettos. The versatility enabled him to tackle notoriously challenging tracks like Take On Me and Crocodile Rock, daring even to jump the octave on the last note of ‘Bohemian Rhapsody,’ as if it isn't challenging enough already!In the spirit of Freddie Mercury’s (alleged) famous quote "Do what you want with my music, just don't make it boring", Liam embraced creativity together with his guitarist, Noah, who stood upon the piano as if it were a stage during his stunning Bohemian Rhapsody guitar solo. The Beyonce effect was in full swing, as Liam brought out a leaf blower to get Noah’s long locks spectacularly blowing in the wind.The band was phenomenal with an especially strong horn section. The trumpetist, Angus, deserves a special shout-out, as he had some show stopping solos. Liam himself showed off his multi talented musical skills on harmonica, kazoo, keytar and of course piano.Liam, obviously a well seasoned performer, reacted calmly and humorously to the pyrotechnics not turning off and seamlessly let the backstage crew know to unplug the fire hazard. Not only did Liam put on a fabulous show, but he did it all in heels. So, who won the grand title of King of The Keys? Drumroll please … Elton John! Liam closed the show with Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me and I'm Still Standing as a tribute to the ‘Rocket Man’. The standing ovation from the crowd was well deserved. 

Kiama Community Garden brims with joy
Kiama Community Garden brims with joy

19 April 2024, 2:00 AM

“We love compost here,” declares a jubilant Peter Maywald, a staunch member of the Kiama Community Garden.But that’s not all that the dedicated members of the garden are in love with at the moment. A sense of jubilation surrounds the dedicated crew at the Kiama Community Garden, which until recently were certain they were under a death sentence. Now they’ve had a reprieve. The Kiama Council considered selling off the land, which is attached to the Blue Haven Aged Care complex. The latest performance improvement order from the NSW Minister for Local Government to the Council included the requirement that the garden, as a community resource, be separated out in a subdivision prior to the sale of the Blue Haven complex.“We were under threat,” says Peter. “The Council was talking about selling. We were certain a developer would just get rid of the garden. The Council has now publicly committed to subdividing, so this garden will be preserved. We are very relieved, actually we are thrilled that the future of the garden is now assured.”It is no exaggeration to say that the Kiama Community Garden is a community resource. The dedicated group, which boasts 49 financial members but is open to the public and welcoming to all comers, serves multiple functions, including teaching locals about what plants can be grown in the Kiama climate and how to improve their own gardens. They also hold courses explaining how people can make their own compost.  The site is known as a peaceful place where people can come just to relax. One group comes to paint. Other groups include scouts, school children’s groups, and people participating in The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award (the Duke of Ed). “The Garden is important to a lot of people,” says Peter. This week, the Gardens were important for a group of excited children from the Outside of school hours care (OOSH). “I love connecting with the gardens. It is good for the kids. Many of them don’t have backyards. Lots of kids whinge about eating vegetables, but when they are actively involved in the garden, pulling out carrots, picking snow peas, munching on celery, they are far more willing to try. They learn food doesn’t just arrive in a packet, it is part of a natural cycle,” says founder Sabrina Kelly.Also involved with this week’s OOSH group was music therapist Kathleen Lawson, who has just penned a new song, to the tune of John Williamson’s Home Among the Gum Trees:“There is a garden in KiamaIt’s permacultureA place to be, a community.There’s lots of things to do, And you can join us tooFun for Everyone!”“The idea of combining music therapy with the garden is that it makes it accessible to a whole range of people, young and old,” Kathleen says. “Music and nature go hand in hand. They both have healing qualities, and allow you to commit to new and different things.”“I like that the garden is big and you can play in it. I like to hide. Sometimes you can eat the lemons. I have them in my garden too. I like gardening, I am going to get chooks in my garden,” an excited James Little, 7, told The Bugle.“I like that it is a nice peaceful place and that you can come to relax. It is really peaceful and somewhere nice,” Hannah Mensforth, also 7, says.Once a dumping ground, Kiama Community Garden now resides in people’s hearts. The strawberries have finished for the year, the fig trees have been pruned back and the pumpkins are running wild. But as we prepare for winter, carrots, cauliflowers and spinach are all flourishing. Julie Howe came to the official opening in 2011, promptly fell in love and has, as she puts it, “never left.”A Minammurra local, Julie describes herself as a “gardening tragic.” “This was designed as a permaculture garden, and we continue to maintain the garden on permaculture principles.”She points to a sign overhanging the communal area: Earth CarePeople CareFair Share“They are the principles of permaculture, and that is the basis of our garden. One of the best things about the garden is I have met some wonderful people I would never have crossed paths with otherwise.” “It is the atmosphere. Ability, agility, knowledge, it is all about the community, that is so important.”Unlike some community gardens, participants are not assigned their separate plots but all muck in together.Asked if there are ever any arguments, she smiles broadly: “It is all about collaboration, cooperation and community. You learn so much here. Some people say it has helped them to fit into the Kiama community, others that it has helped with their mindset, calmed them down.”Earth CarePeople CareFair ShareYou could create a happy, fulfilling life just on those principles alone. Viva the Kiama Community Garden!

Kiama rugby season opener draws record crowd
Kiama rugby season opener draws record crowd

18 April 2024, 5:00 AM

The Kiama Rugby Football Club couldn’t have asked for a better start to the 2024 season. In the season opener on April 13, against the backdrop of a sunny blue sky, a huge crowd had gathered at the Kiama Showground to see both grades win against the Tech Waratahs.The first grade beat the Tahs 45-13. Try scorers were: Mick Taylor, Nico Cowley (2), Manu Ahokovi, James Asquith, Smiki Lufe and Jack Hobbs.The second grade won 29-12. Try scorers were: Rory Lawrence, Sione Lufe, Daniel Grehan, Tonga Tonga, and Manu Ahokovi.“Both grades gave a great performance,” says players rep for the Kiama Rugby Football Club, Jack Smith. “We’re looking to go that extra stage with first grade and make the grand final.”“We saw improvement with the second grade. They’re off to a great start. Missed the final last year with two, three games,” he says. Kiama player, Scott Duncan, donned his black and white gear for his 300th game. He’s the seventh player in club history to pass the milestone.“Scott is a massive part of Kiama, on and off the field. You can chuck him in anywhere on the field, in any position. He’s a top-level player,” says Smith.He adds the crowd was the best that he’d seen in a long time for a home game, with approximately 300-400 people in attendance.The under 16s girls game unfortunately got cancelled due to the other team being stuck in traffic.But game day wasn’t quite over yet. The Kiama Blowhards celebrated their 35th in the evening, with 130 turning out for the reunion. Club members and former Wallabies Gary Grey, Alex Pope and Brian Weir also attended.“It was awesome. All the guys came. Two, three guys came down from Queensland and some over the mountains,” says James Regan.

Golden Times in the Golden Valley
Golden Times in the Golden Valley

18 April 2024, 4:38 AM

After three years of planning and dispute, the Golden Valley Subdivision, set on an old dairy farm just outside Jamberoo, has finally been approved. The proposal is for 50 houses on 850 square metre blocks. As land releases are rare around Jamberoo, and the area increasingly sought-after, the Golden Valley Road development is expected to attract considerable interest amongst buyers. The Kiama Council “settled at the doors of the court,” so to speak, with the matter headed for the Land and Environment Court in mid-April. Director of the developers, the Fountaindale Group, Jennifer Macquarie, said she was pleased the development application had been successfully resolved.“It’s a shame that it took three years and a court case to achieve a development consent,” she said. “This subdivision was recommended for approval by Council staff last year, and had it been endorsed by Council back then, both sides could have saved the substantial cost of the appeal process.”Ms Macquarie said it was a fair estimate that the combined legal costs between the Council and Fountaindale would be in the order of $500,000.“As an applicant, our relationship with the Council was fine, it all progressed as normal. But it was really a political issue, and we had to roll with where Council decided to go.” “There was definitely some negativity from the neighbours, and the councillors responded to that, while the planning staff were happy with it, and recommended its approval.” “It was purely the local politics that stood in the way. It had nothing to do with the technical complexity.”Ms Macquarie said they already had a substantial list of interested buyers. “We will be communicating our intended construction and sales program with the public in the next week or so,” she said. “It's fantastic to be offering 50 families the opportunity to become new members of the Jamberoo community.”While some local residents think the development will be good for the Jamberoo community, others do not. Garry Cochran, whose back fence borders the housing project, was one of six original objectors and spoke publicly about his issues at the Jamberoo Valley Ratepayers and Residents Association.Garry was concerned about increased population, increased road usage, increased demand on facilities, schools, open areas and changes in the country atmosphere.He told the meeting there were complicated water, waste, access and traffic problems. “Once it happens, there is no turning back! Here we have a developer whose only concern is maximum yield and profit, not what is best for residents and future residents.“Why do people want to come to Jamberoo to live and visit? For what it is now: Peaceful, happy, friendly and attractive housing and beautiful green countryside.”Ms Macquarie responded, “While it’s understandable that some people prefer things not to change around them, the reality is that change is constant. When I was growing up in Jamberoo in the 1970s, the population was around 600. Since then, the village has grown progressively to its current population of around 2000 people.”“It happens for any new development in Jamberoo, but over time those new places and the people who move there settle in to become part of the fabric of the village. They provide new students for the primary school, become customers of local businesses, join sports clubs, and become volunteers for local organisations.”Kiama Council Director for Planning Ms Jessica Rippon said: “Given the application had originally been recommended for approval by staff, the focus through the court process was on resolving some of the community concerns with lot layout, heritage, detention basin maintenance and vehicle movements within the subdivision, and this has been achieved.”“Legal fees for this matter did create a burden for Council and ratepayers, and we arepleased that the matter is now resolved and further costs will be avoided.”“We are pleased to see 50 additional lots being delivered for the Kiama Local Government Area, particularly in light of the market supply.”

Council officially halts West Kiama development proposal
Council officially halts West Kiama development proposal

17 April 2024, 11:03 PM

Following a ‘Cows or Concrete’ petition signed by 642 local residents, Kiama Council officially and unanimously rejected a proposal for a residential development on a West Kiama site to proceed to the Department of Planning for Gateway Determination. Disappointed yet undeterred developers, Traders In Purple, believe this project they coined ‘Springside Hill’ could have provided significant relief amid the current housing crisis.  Traders in Purple had proposed a rezoning and subsequent development of approximately 1000 new homes on the 114 hectares of rural land, located 1.7 kilometres west of Kiama train station at 177 Long Brush Road, Jerrara, 33 Greyleigh Drive and 103 Jamberoo Drive, Kiama. It was anticipated that 25 percent of these homes would be allocated to locals, key workers and affordable housing. Furthermore, a portion of the land would potentially house additional facilities such as shopping and recreational spaces, school and place of worship. The proposal lodged earlier this year swiftly became quite the bone of contention among the community. In a statement released by Council on 23 January, Chief Executive Officer, Jane Stroud, explained that the planning proposal had been made public at an earlier stage than standard procedure to ensure the community remained fully informed given its scale and scope. The matter was discussed at the Public Access meeting on 15 April, including input from Karen Fowler, who spoke on behalf of the Cows or Concrete Action Group. Fowler reiterated that the petition was not about the community being resistant to change and growth, but rather rallying for development to take place in the right areas. “Our petition was driven by a desire to protect the significant environmental, heritage and rural landscape values of the upper Spring Creek catchment and the Spring Creek wetlands. The key issue for us was that the West Kiama planning proposal was not consistent with the Kiama Local Government Strategic Planning Statement 2020 or the Illawarra Shoalhaven Regional Plan 2041,” explained Fowler. “The site was not one of the greenfield sites identified in these strategic planning documents for potential residential development. These planning processes reinforced the view to the community that the upper Spring Creek Catchment and outside the western boundary of the Kiama urban area would remain protected for at least the next 20 years.” She concluded at the Public Access meeting “that any justifiable need to extend the western urban boundary of Kiama into this catchment should be determined through the Growth and Housing Strategic Planning Process and not via this rezoning application.”For similar reasons, all councillors supported the recommendation to halt the project from proceeding to Gateway at the general meeting held the following evening, 16 April. Councillor Imogen Draisma commended the community for the work on the petition and their ‘reasonable and considerate’ advocacy. “I think the community’s concerns are very much echoed by the correspondence we have received by various state government departments in regards to the proposal in its current form. And a number of questions still remain. Given the size and the scope of the proposal, I cannot in good faith as a counsellor support the merit of this proposal at this point in time,” said Cr Draisma. Largely due to the proposal’s inconsistency with planning documentation, it was subsequently determined that it did not currently satisfy strategic merit and site-specific merit tests. It was therefore recommended that Council ‘actively work with the proponent through the Growth and Housing Strategy process to consider this land, along with other sides for future potential urban expansion, in conjunction with the Urban Development Program’. “As this site hadn’t been identified in any of council’s planning documents, I think it is prudent that we let it go for the time being until we have got our Growth and Housing Strategy in front of us and we can all see exactly where Kiama’s development is likely to progress to rather than have surprises like this come to us,” said Cr Kathy Rice.In a statement released on 17 April, Traders In Purple said they remain hopeful of this development coming to fruition. They claimed that had the proposal not been halted, the first homes – and therefore relief to those among broad demographics feeling the weight of the housing crisis – may have been delivered by 2027.“Clearly, a situation where the average house costs 15 times the median income and private rental consumes more than a third of wages is not sustainable. It is already forcing locals, particularly those wanting to buy a home and raise a family, to leave town, leaving Kiama without essential workers and the next generation of families,” declares Traders In Purple Chief Executive Officer, Brett Robinson. “It is a myth that every Baby Boomer is sitting on property wealth. Many of the most valuable people in the Kiama community, who have spent a lifetime working in essential but poorly paid jobs, face a grim future in which they can never afford to retire. They desperately need the affordable, secure housing that Springside Hill will provide.”Robinson also expressed concern regarding purportedly inaccurate reporting prepared by council, which may have influenced councillors’ decision. He believes the report contained factual errors regarding timeframe, contributions, utility infrastructure and government agencies. “The report wrongly states the timeframe for delivery of housing is 10 to 15 years, when in fact the project could commence immediately,” says Robinson. Additionally, “contrary to the report’s claim that no contributions plan has been provided, Traders In Purple has submitted an offer to fund the necessary infrastructure to support development of the site at no cost to council.”Robinson also states that “proposed standalone sewerage system is not, as the report claims, an undesirable outcome. It is a proven sustainable solution to managing wastewater and our delivery partner is authorised to provide water services across NSW, servicing 25,000 dwellings. The views of key government agencies are misrepresented as unsupportive of the proposal, whereas their responses indicate a request for further information.”Traders In Purple remain hopeful of continuing their partnership with Housing Trust in working alongside Council and the community in reviving their plans to address the current housing shortage and subsequent affordability crisis as part of Council’s Growth and Housing Strategy. Whether the developer takes the application to the State Government for review and how this proposal therefore takes shape remains yet to be seen. 

Minnamurra Lions encourages new members of broader demographics
Minnamurra Lions encourages new members of broader demographics

17 April 2024, 11:00 PM

The Minnamurra Lions Club received an impressive turnout for their recent prospective new members evening at Kiama Golf Club on Tuesday 9 April, with the inclusion of women for the first time. The Lions are well known for their sausage sizzles. But the club contributes so much more to the lives of members and the community, which long-term members Denis Beynon and Ken Horspool expressed with obvious wholehearted gratitude during the evening.Approaching its 25th anniversary, the Minnamurra Lions Club was established in November 1999 with 38 members. In fact, Beynon was one of those original chartered members. Over the years, the Minnamurra Lions have kept their member numbers fairly stable. As the original members are inevitably getting older, Beynon emphasised the need for younger members to keep the community thriving. “When we were chartered, I was 51. We were a relatively young Lions Club compared to some others. But, 25 years later, I am not that young, middle-aged person anymore. All of us are going to get older, less agile, which impacts our service work,” says Beynon.“There is also now an emphasis on attracting women to join. Lions was historically an all-males service club, but the decision was recently made to reach out to female members.”Whilst their biggest revenue comes from the traditional snags and bacon and egg rolls at Black Beach’s Seaside Markets, the Minnamurra Lions actively raise funds for various charities and support the community via several other means. “We ran the parking at Killalea markets for many years because people running the markets needed help parking the cars. We raised quite a lot of money through that. It wasn’t just about making money, though, but also helping to keep a community event going,” recalls former president Ken Horspool, who joined in 2002.“Another initiative we try to help promote is ‘The Man Walk,’ aimed at men’s mental health. It is very early days, and we would like to get more people along to spend an hour with us having a walk and talk, perhaps a coffee.”Other contributions over the past year have included construction and maintenance of the whale watching platform and helipad at Minnamurra, offering $10,000 to bushfire relief along the south coast and allocating funding to Triple Care Farm, Kiama SES, and Illawarra Suicide Prevention & Awareness Network, among other organisations in need. On a national level, the Minnamurra Lions have also supported Camp Quality, Cancer Care Trust, CareFlight, Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute, Royal Flying Doctor Service and melanoma research. Whilst the Lions are primarily to serve their local community, Beynon says they have the capacity to reach out on an international level.“We are a part of a Lions Association, and there is a national and an international. In the event of a major international weather event, for example, Lions Australia have the ability to donate major contributions – particularly to developing countries.”Naturally, giving back to the community and beyond in a voluntary capacity inspires a sense of satisfaction and contentment. When Beynon and Horspool are queried as to why someone should volunteer as a member of the Minnamurra Lions, both have a genuine and infectious twinkle in their eye. “As a member of Lions, you get to mix with like-minded people and bring skills that you accumulated over a lifetime and apply them,” says Horspool. Similarly, Beynon expresses gratitude for the opportunity to make lifetime friends through his Lions association. “Lions introduces you to people of different careers, talents and life experiences, which I think helps personal growth. We have volunteers from all walks of life bonding together with a common goal of community service.”Are you keen to help keep our community thriving and make some fabulous new friends along the way? If so, visit Join The Lions Club or perhaps grab a friend and head along to an upcoming meeting held every second and fourth Tuesday of every month at the Kiama Golf Club. All potential Lions – young and senior, men and women – are welcome. 

Golden Valley Subdivision Approved
Golden Valley Subdivision Approved

17 April 2024, 6:38 AM

Fountaindale Group’s proposed subdivision on Golden Valley Road, Jamberoo has been approved by the Land and Environment Court today, more than three years since the development application was lodged.Negotiations between the applicant and Kiama Council reached a successful conclusion just prior to the commencement of the formal court hearing which was scheduled for the second half of this week.Jennifer Macquarie, Director of Fountaindale Group, said she was pleased to have the development application successfully resolved “It’s a shame that it took three years and a court case to achieve a development consent.Jennifer MacquarieThis subdivision was recommended for approval by Council staff last year, and had it been endorsed by Council back then, both sides could have saved the substantial cost of the appeal process. We are happy to put that behind us and look forward to moving forward with the development”.In order to ensure the 50 new home sites in Golden Valley Rd have an adequate sewer service, Fountaindale will be required to upgrade the sewer main that services Jamberoo. The larger sewer main will be designed to accommodate additional dwellings within the existing Jamberoo village as well as the Golden Valley subdivision.New land releases in Jamberoo are rare, and with the lots sized at 800m2, the Golden Valley subdivision is expected to attract a lot of interest from home buyers. Fountaindale already has a substantial list of interested parties. “We will be communicating our intended construction and sales program with the public in the next week or so.It's fantastic to be offering 50 families the opportunity to become new members of the Jamberoo community” Ms Macquarie said.The Bugle has previously reported on the pros and cons of the development.Golden Valley Subdivision

Disappointed but not deterred: Springside Hill planning continues
Disappointed but not deterred: Springside Hill planning continues

17 April 2024, 4:40 AM

Traders in Purple have released a statement in response to Kiama Councils decision last night not to support Springside Hill development. ----------The decision by Kiama Council to not support the planning proposal for Springside Hill will disappoint locals and key workers pinning their hopes for an affordable home on an immediate solution to the housing crisis.Despite the setback, Traders In Purple remains determined to work alongside council, community and the NSW Government to progress plans for Springside Hill.The Springside Hill proposal seeks rezoning of land west of Kiama township for around 1,000 homes, 25 per cent of which would be reserved for locals, key workers and affordable housing.Had Kiama Council supported the proposal proceeding to Gateway at last night’s Council meeting, the first homes could have been delivered by 2027, providing immediate relief to address the housing shortage that has seen Kiama house prices soar beyond the reach of locals and essential workers.Traders In Purple CEO Brett Robinson said it was not the end of the road for Springside Hill and the many locals who had expressed support for the proposal should remain optimistic.“We are naturally disappointed but we realise that Springside Hill is by far the largest proposal that the Council has been called upon to consider,” said Mr Robinson.“Together with our expert consultants, we have had the benefit of several years investigating solutions to the Kiama area’s current and future housing needs whereas Council has spent only a few weeks considering the merits of the Springside Hill proposal.“Clearly a situation where the average house costs 15 times the median income and private rental consumes more than a third of wages is not sustainable. It is already forcing locals, particularly those wanting to buy a home and raise a family, to leave town, leaving Kiama without essential workers and the next generation of families.”Mr Robinson said it was concerning that the report prepared by Council staff, which formed the basis for Council’s decision, contained factual errors, including:• Timeframe: The report wrongly states the timeframe for delivery of housing is 10 to 15 years, when in fact the project could commence immediately.• Contributions: Contrary to the report’s claim that no contributions plan has been provided, Traders In Purple has submitted an offer to fund the necessary infrastructure to support development of the site at no cost to Council.• Utility infrastructure: The proposed standalone sewerage system is not, as the report claims, an undesirable outcome. It is a proven sustainable solution to managing wastewater and our delivery partner is authorised to provide water services across NSW, servicing around 25,000 dwellings.• Government agencies: The views of key government agencies are misrepresented as unsupportive of the proposal whereas their responses indicate a request for further information. Mr Robinson said the housing crisis was not confined to the young and impacted older workers in the private rental market.“If you are renting a home in Kiama and contemplating retirement on a pension there is little prospect of being able to age with dignity,” said Mr Robinson.“It is a myth that every Baby Boomer is sitting on property wealth. Many of the most valuable people in the Kiama community, who have spent a lifetime working in essential but poorly paid jobs, face a grim future in which they can never afford to retire. They desperately need the affordable, secure housing that Springside Hill will provide.“Traders In Purple, together with Housing Trust, looks forward to working with Council to ensure Springside Hill forms part of its Growth and Housing Strategy.”

Building work approvals delays headspace Kiama opening
Building work approvals delays headspace Kiama opening

17 April 2024, 2:00 AM

COORDINARE and Grand Pacific Health are collaboratively rectifying unforeseen issues surrounding building work approvals that have resulted in the delayed opening of headspace Kiama. The facility anticipates opening its 11/65 Manning Street doors in the coming months to provide young people aged 12-25 years with support for mental health issues, alcohol and other drug abuse as well as work and study support. Commissioned by COORDINARE, the South Eastern NSW Primary Health Network, and funded by the Australian Government’s national headspace program, the service will be operated by Grand Pacific Health. Progress is well underway, with building plans submitted and builders contracted. The facility is expected to be up and running within approximately 10 weeks of approvals being received to commence building works. Prudence Buist, CEO of COORDINARE, assures that all parties are working to get the new facility operational as swiftly and effectively as possible, with resources ready to roll once the green light is given.“There has been consultation with young people on the look and feel of the service to ensure the service will be one of a kind. Plus, there has been a consortium of partners formed and ready to assist in delivering services at headspace Kiama,” says Buist. “All headspace Kiama staff have been recruited and are working from headspace Shellharbour until headspace Kiama site opens.” Until headspace Kiama becomes operational, telehealth services via phone or video are available. Additionally, Kiama-based young people can access in-person support at headspace Shellharbour, and Kiama High School students are provided with onsite support.“From Term 2, headspace Shellharbour will be offering services onsite at Kiama High School for Kiama High students. These arrangements will stay in place until headspace Kiama is operational,” says Buist. The Bugle will continue to provide updates on the much-anticipated opening of headspace Kiama. In the meantime, if you or someone you know needs support, please phone headspace Shellharbour on 02 4225 5670 or pay them a visit at 162-172 Shellharbour Road, Warilla.   

Glamorous ‘new’ Gerringong venue embraces its rich local heritage
Glamorous ‘new’ Gerringong venue embraces its rich local heritage

17 April 2024, 1:00 AM

Gerringong’s Co-Operative Dairy Society was established in 1888 so that individual local dairy farmers could, by joining together, create stronger bargaining power for the group around pricing, based on larger combined quantities. The Co-Op first operated from a timber building where Gerringong Uniting Care now stands. At that time, it wasn’t possible to send whole milk to the cities and cream was skimmed off to make butter. Thanks to the rich local pastures, Gerringong's butter was known for its quality, and commanded a high price. From Boat Harbour, shipments were sent as far as to England and South Africa.Gerringong Station opened in 1893. In 1908, after a rail siding was built, the Co-Op moved to its current location near the railway station. The siding’s subsequent extension facilitated the transfer of milk to the South Coast Milk Train. A short, preserved section of siding with buffers remains in front of the Co-Op buildings today.In 2004, the Co-Op was renamed Dairy Farmers Limited, and at that time managed over 1,400 local farms. Until the doors closed in 2007, the factory was Australia’s oldest continually running dairy Co-Op.The Miller family was one of the Co-Op’s original founders. Fast forward to present day, and current owner Melissa Matters (née Miller – at the time still a prominent local dairy farming family) reminisces about her fond childhood memories of visiting the Co-Op. “As children, we just used to love it. It was such an event to go there and meet up with everyone,” she says.Melissa and her husband Dean, who own and run Gerringong’s popular Hill Bar & Kitchen and Gather by the Hill, bought the heritage-listed Co-Op complex in 2020 with local friends, investment banker David Phillips and his wife Charlene Dawson.In early 2022, Kiama Council approved the DA for the $5 million plus redevelopment, revitalisation and repurposing of the Co-Op precinct, into an events, dining and wedding destination. The owners are seeking to recreate its past role as a vibrant community hub. While perfectly-located for visitors – right at the train station – they aim to make it an enjoyable gathering place for the local community.The team has collaborated with heritage advisers to restore and enhance the building. The restoration has seamlessly integrated the Co-Op's original features – like exposed steel beams, and a gabled roof with trusses – with new, stylish, and luxurious elements and touches. Stage One of the three-stage development is now complete. The venue is taking bookings and planning events with the expectation that it will very soon be ready to host weddings and sophisticated events in its multi-purpose indoor events space (originally called the Truck Room). A stunning mirror wall, full bar, beautiful lounge area and indoor fireplace add to the atmospheric ambience. The indoor space is complemented by a north-facing lawn, coastal garden and new amenities block. Stage Two, on which work is likely to begin later this year, will include a:courtyard beer garden with Italian alfresco style dining;state-of-the art commercial cooking facilities, including Traegar smokers, Argentinian grills and a pizza oven; children’s play area;sunny deck and fire pits;indoors dining and a bar, with double sided fireplaces, andindoor meeting or private dining room and a cocktail bar (featuring craft beers).Stage Three is as yet to be advised.The Co-Op precinct is multi-purpose and versatile. It is expected to become a sought-after wedding venue, a vibrant hub for live music, a picturesque setting for filming and photo shoots, and a pleasant and well-located space for business gatherings and leisure activities.Upcoming events include the Sam Matters Cup in May, Distilled in June and Christmas by Candlelight in July. For more details, visit The Co-Op Gerringong.

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