The Bugle App
The Bugle App
Your local news hub
Get it on the Apple StoreGet it on the Google Play Store
FeaturesThe Bugle: latest issue24 Hour Defibrillator sitesSportsWin StuffKCR
The Bugle App

News


Kiama Readers' Festival 2024, a great success
Kiama Readers' Festival 2024, a great success

23 July 2024, 11:59 PM

The successful 2024 edition of the Kiama Readers’ Festival 2024 attracted almost a thousand book lovers, who braved the wild weather to hear from a wealth of talented authors.A gala dinner with newspaper columnist, social commentator and novelist, Jane Caro was one of the highlights. Foxground journalist and author Diana Plater had the “great privilege” of interviewing Caro to discuss the Walkley Award winner’s wide and varied writing career. Caro discussed her book The Mother, a work of fiction exploring the devastating impact of coercive control and domestic violence on families. Plater also talked to Caro about historical fiction and the writing process, particularly the amount of research required.“I also have elements of history in my books, including my non-fiction and memoir, and I find the research component absolutely fascinating,” says Plater, who is in the midst of writing her second novel – The Cedar-getter’s Granddaughter – based on the South Coast in the 1800s. “But writing a novel is a lot harder than journalism. Anyone who thinks it’s easy to dash off a novel has no idea!”Festival organiser Perrie Croshaw admits her first foray into organising the event, as president of the Friends of Kiama Library, was “a baptism by fire” but says the festival was a great success. The gala dinner and the opening session at Burnetts on Barney, where guest speakers including local author Fiona Weir discussed permaculture, kitchen gardens and cooking from scratch, were both sold out. “The Kiama Leagues Club did a great job serving 150 lucky patrons who secured a ticket for the gala dinner with Jane Caro on Saturday night,” says Croshaw. "We had such high demand for the gala event, we could have done two sittings at the Leagues club. In fact, we could have done two or three extra sessions at Burnetts on Barney Garden Centre as well. So many people want to come to Kiama in winter to hear their favourite authors talk.” Along with avid readers, the Kiama community is filled with talented authors including Diana Plater and Kiama author Ryan Butta, who emceed the gala event with Caro.Plater’s most recently published novel, Whale Rock, is based on her experience as a journalist living and working in Nicaragua in the 1980s and reporting on the aftermath of the Sandinista revolution, where a group of leftist revolutionary guerrillas and intellectuals overthrew the right-wing dictatorship in 1979. Whale Rock was awarded Gold for Popular Literary Fiction in the 2019 Global Ebook Awards. “Whale Rock is about hidden trauma but it is ultimately a tale of redemption and rebirth,” says Plater. “It is about the serious issues facing Australia today – immigration, the state of the media, politics, the environment and giving First Nations People, particularly members of the Stolen Generations, a voice. But it’s also about love and friendship and dancing.” Ryan Butta will release his second non-fiction book – The Bravest Scout at Gallipoli – on July 30. Stay tuned for an upcoming interview with Butta in The Bugle, exploring the inspiring story of the first Australian soldier to be awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal after his heroic actions at Gallipoli.Butta will also be a guest later this year at the Friends of Kiama Library author talks, so keep an eye on the Kiama Library or their socials for more information.“Our Friends of Kiama Library volunteers worked so hard to put on this festival,” says Perrie Croshaw. “If we had just a few more volunteers signing up to help us for the next festival, we could move mountains! In the future we would love to include more author talks over more days, run poetry slams, run writing workshops, get nature authors to take us on birding walks, or watch whales with other nature writers. The possibilities are limitless.” 

Winter with the Werri Beach/Gerringong Garden Club
Winter with the Werri Beach/Gerringong Garden Club

23 July 2024, 5:33 AM

The Werri Beach/Gerringong Garden Club reports that this winter season has brought massive winds, cold temperatures, and plenty of rain, necessitating extra care for both gardens and gardeners. Recently, the club was thrilled to host Andrew Koster from The Rose Tree Garden Centre at their meeting, where he showcased a variety of plants that thrive during the chilly months.Andrew shared his extensive industry experience and highlighted numerous winter-flowering plants he brought along. Among the admired selections were cheerful bright bidens flowers, winter-flowering grevilleas, dwarf philothecas, and fabulous flowering ground covers. The delicate Pretty n Pink protea was another popular choice, adding attractiveness to winter gardens. Additionally, the array of differently colored lavenders, which endure winter beautifully, captured the interest of many attendees. By the end of the meeting, Andrew’s trolley of plants was significantly depleted as members eagerly made purchases.Delicate Pretty n Pink ProteaThis week, the club’s coffee morning in Berry included a visit to The Rose Tree Garden Centre, where members anticipate discovering more tempting offerings from Andrew.Winter need not be a dreary season in the garden, as demonstrated by the vibrant displays of flowers and plants from members’ own gardens at the meeting. This month’s striking showcase featured gorgeous orange aloe arborescents, pretty pink bottlebrush, hibiscus, stunning heucheras, and more. The snowdrops and begonias from Janice’s garden were especially charming.Vibrant Bidens flowersThe Werri Beach Gerringong Garden Club meets on the second Wednesday of each month at the Uniting Church Hall in Gerringong. The next meeting will be on Wednesday, August 14, featuring speakers Ros and John from Zephyr Lavender. Morning tea will be served from 9:30 am onwards, with the meeting starting at 10 am.

Community and business leadership means embracing dissent with transparency and authenticity
Community and business leadership means embracing dissent with transparency and authenticity

23 July 2024, 1:16 AM

Opinion by Lynne StrongEver felt like you are shouting into the void, hoping someone in a position of power might actually listen? These days, it feels like effective leadership is more important than ever. Leaders need to step up, especially in a world where everyone seems ready to clash at the drop of a Facebook comment.It's crucial that our leaders set the right example, showing us all how to handle disagreements with a bit of grace and integrity. And as a community, we need to rethink how we engage on social media. To shut down dissenting voices online isn't just unhelpful—it's harmful. Instead, let's embrace different viewpoints and foster a culture of respectful conversation and collaboration.One of the biggest challenges leaders face is dealing with dissent. It can seem threatening, but the best leaders see it differently. They recognise dissent as a chance to build stronger, more resilient relationships. They do it by being transparent and authentic.At its heart, dissent is just feedback. It's people expressing different viewpoints, criticisms, and concerns. If we ignore it, these issues can grow. Smart leaders know that dissent isn't inherently bad. In fact, it can spark growth and innovation. When handled well, dissent can create a culture of openness and trust.Transparency is the bedrock of trust. Leaders who are upfront about their decision-making processes, intentions, and challenges invite meaningful engagement. This could mean council and community meetings, suggestion boxes, or an open-door policy. It’s also about explaining the 'why' behind decisions, especially unpopular ones. When people understand the 'why,' they are more likely to accept and support the 'what' and 'how.'Let's not forget the power of admitting mistakes. Leaders who own up to their errors and outline their plans to fix them show humility and integrity, boosting their credibility. It’s refreshing to hear a leader say, "I got it wrong, and here’s how I'm fixing it," rather than dodging responsibility.Authentic leadership is about being true to oneself and consistent in values and actions. Authentic leaders show vulnerability, admitting when they don’t have all the answers and seeking input from others. This makes them more relatable and approachable. They also practice what they preach. There's nothing more damaging to trust than a leader who says one thing and does another. Consistency builds respect and loyalty.To value diverse perspectives, including dissenting ones, enriches decision-making and signals that every opinion matters. It’s about creating safe spaces where people feel free to express their views without fear of retribution. Active listening is crucial. Leaders need to listen to understand, not just to respond. This means paying attention to both verbal and non-verbal cues and reflecting back what they've heard to ensure understanding.Responding to dissent thoughtfully and constructively is another key aspect. Acknowledge valid points, address concerns, and involve dissenters in finding solutions. And, perhaps most importantly, follow through. Demonstrating a commitment to addressing dissent by taking action based on feedback shows that the input is valued and taken seriously.For community members, it's equally important to engage from an informed space and address issues rather than making it personal. Constructive dialogue focuses on the problem at hand, supported by facts and a genuine desire to understand and solve the issue. Personal attacks and emotional responses often derail productive conversations and can cause lasting damage to relationships and community trust.In our community, effective leaders have fostered transparency and authenticity by supporting respectful conversations and diverse perspectives. For example, community meetings where everyone is encouraged to voice their opinions create an environment of inclusivity. Leaders who make local resources accessible to everyone and support initiatives that matter to the community build trust and empower collective action.Embracing dissent isn't about avoiding conflict, it is about navigating it with grace and wisdom. Transparent and authentic leadership builds the trust and resilience necessary for any organisation or community to thrive. By addressing the elephants in the room head-on, leaders can turn potential challenges into opportunities for growth and unity.As The Bugle continues to cover the stories that matter to our readers, we commit to promoting the values of transparency and authenticity in all our reporting. Let’s build a community where every voice is heard and valued.

Kiama Labor Announce Council Team
Kiama Labor Announce Council Team

22 July 2024, 1:45 AM

Kiama Labor have announced their team for the upcoming Council elections with a mix of incumbent councillors and new contenders. Deputy Mayor Imogen Draisma and Councillor Stuart Larkins are attempting to hold their positions in the strife torn council.Newcomers are mother of two Lucy Abood, law student Harry Ledger and retired school teacher Clare McInerney.President of the Kiama Branch of the Labor Party Katelin McInerney said the team reflected the need for intergenerational civic leadership and the Labor values of diversity, teamwork and leadership. “As President of the Kiama Branch I’m pleased to commend the Kiama Labor team to the community for the September 2024 Council elections,” she said. “Imogen and Stuart have done a great job on Council in the face of difficult challenges. The additional three members bring both energy and experience to the team.” Deputy Mayor Imogen Draisma said it was important that the new council remained focused on its financial sustainability and governance into the future. “Within the next term of council we will still have the Performance Improvement Order for two years. During our term, Clr Larkins and I pushed hard for transparency and financial accountability as we believe the leaders of our community should be trustworthy, open and honest with constituents. I am seeking re-election, along with Clr Larkins as we believe there needs to be a mixture of returning and new councillors to ensure local decision making stays in local hands and that our Council remains a non-amalgamated entity.”Councillor Larkins said he was running to ensure local government in Kiama remained independent with local democratic control. “I can assure the community that if re-elected I will continue to work tirelessly to represent the interests of everyone in our community,” he said. “I love helping people in our community and I would love to continue doing so in the next term of council.”Third on the ticket, Lucy Abood, said: "As a mother of two young children, ensuring we have quality early childhood education, affordable housing options, and a liveable environment for families is extremely important to me. I will be a strong voice advocating for these issues and more if elected to council."Also on the ticket is Clare McInerney, who has lived in Kiama for the past 35 years. As a retired high school teacher and deputy principal she is a strong advocate for public education.Youngest contender, Harry Ledger, is only 19 years old, which makes him one of the youngest candidates to ever nominate for Kiama Municipal Council. He is currently studying Law. Politics, Philosophy and Economics at the University of NSW. 

Night-time economy advisory council - Ward encourages locals to get involved
Night-time economy advisory council - Ward encourages locals to get involved

22 July 2024, 12:25 AM

Member of Parliament for Kiama, Gareth Ward wants locals to get involved and breathe life back into Kiama’s nightlife scene.  A 24-Hour Economy Advisory Council has been set up following a petition for an entertainment precinct to be established in the town’s centre. The advisory council, which holds significant influence in structuring the future of New South Wales night-time economies across the state, seeks input from community members. Successful members will help shape policies, identifying opportunities and assessing risks associated with the implementation of the night-time economy.  ‘’I encourage passionate members of the community to take advantage of this opportunity in shaping the state’s vision for the night-time economy,’’ says Ward. Ward noted that the NSW Government gravitates towards initiatives in Sydney and that regional communities tend to become an afterthought. “As a musician and a former band member, people want vibrant local communities and I want to see our region represented on this advisory council,” Ward said. To be eligible for the 24-Hour Economy Advisory Council, you must be an Australian citizen or permanent resident, be aged 18 or over, and be a New South Wales resident or be predominantly working in New South Wales. For more information, go to the Expression of Interest - 24-Hour Economy Advisory Council section on the NSW Government website.   

Reflecting on our values and the importance of choosing inspiring leaders
Reflecting on our values and the importance of choosing inspiring leaders

21 July 2024, 4:24 AM

This is an opinion article written by Lynne Strong.As we approach another election cycle, it’s a good time for our community to pause and reflect on the values we hold dear and the qualities we admire in those around us. In a world often overshadowed by divisiveness and conflict, it becomes ever more critical to consider the kind of leadership we want to guide our community forward.Think about the individuals in your life whom you truly admire. These might be family members, friends, mentors, or even public figures who have made a positive impact on your life. What is it about these people that makes them stand out? Is it their integrity, their compassion, their unwavering commitment to doing what is right? Perhaps it’s their ability to listen, to bring people together, or to inspire action in others.These qualities—integrity, compassion, commitment, and the ability to inspire—are not just admirable traits; they are essential for effective leadership. As we reflect on these values, we should consider how they translate into the realm of politics and governance.In the political arena, we often see a different set of behaviours. The noise of personal attacks, sensationalism, and divisive rhetoric can overshadow the more substantive qualities that we should prioritise. Yet, it is precisely during these times that we must strive to identify and support candidates who embody the values we admire.Integrity and accountability:Look for candidates who have a track record of honesty and transparency. These individuals are not afraid to be held accountable for their actions and decisions. They are the ones who, even when no one is watching, will do the right thing.Compassion and empathy:Compassionate leaders understand the struggles and challenges of their constituents. They listen with empathy and make decisions that consider the well-being of all community members, especially the most vulnerable.Commitment to community:True leaders are deeply committed to the community they serve. They are involved in local issues, advocate for positive change and work tirelessly to improve the quality of life for everyone.Ability to inspire and unite:In times of division, we need leaders who can bring people together, inspire hope and foster a sense of unity. These people build bridges rather than walls, finding common ground and encouraging collaborative solutions.As we head to the polls, let’s remember that our votes have the power to shape the future of our community. By choosing candidates who reflect our shared values, we can ensure that our leaders are not just politicians, but true representatives of the people.Take the time to research the candidates. Attend community meetings, ask questions, and engage in discussions with your neighbours. Look beyond the campaign slogans and scrutinise their actions, their histories, and their commitments.I invite everyone in our community to reflect on the values you hold dear and the people you admire. Let these reflections guide your choices in the upcoming elections. By supporting candidates who embody integrity, compassion, commitment, and the ability to inspire, we can build a stronger, more united community. Our collective future depends on the choices we make today. Let’s choose wisely, holding our leaders to the highest standards and ensuring they reflect the best of us. Together, we can create a community that thrives on respect, understanding, and shared purpose. Thank you. Probing questions you could ask of candidates: Transparency: Can you provide examples of how you have demonstrated transparency in your previous roles or in your current campaign?Accountability: How do you ensure accountability for your actions and decisions? Can you describe a time when you had to take responsibility for a mistake or difficult decision?Ethical challenges: How do you handle ethical dilemmas? Can you share an instance where you had to make a tough ethical decision?Community understanding: How do you stay informed about the issues facing different segments of our community? Can you share a story where you helped someone in need?Inclusive decision-making: How do you ensure that the voices of marginalized or vulnerable groups are heard and considered in your decision-making process?Supportive policies: What policies or initiatives have you supported or proposed that directly benefit the most vulnerable members of our community?Local involvement: Can you describe your involvement in local community organizations or initiatives? What have been your key contributions?Advocacy and action: How have you advocated for change in our community? Can you provide examples of successful initiatives or programs you’ve led or supported?Long-term vision: What is your long-term vision for our community? How do you plan to achieve it?Leadership style: How would you describe your leadership style? Can you provide an example of a time when you brought people together to achieve a common goal?Conflict resolution: How do you handle conflicts within the community or among your team? Can you share a specific instance where you successfully mediated a conflict?Building consensus: What strategies do you use to build consensus and encourage collaboration among diverse groups with differing viewpoints?Motivation: What motivates you to run for this position? What do you hope to accomplish if elected?Values and principles: What core values and principles guide your decision-making process? How do these align with the needs and aspirations of our community?Community feedback: How will you gather and incorporate feedback from the community into your policies and initiatives? Can you provide an example of when you successfully did this?

Storm update
Storm update

21 July 2024, 4:14 AM

Power has been restored to more than 16,000 customers across the Endeavour Energy network after gale force winds of up to 100km/h brought down powerlines and trees and caused significant damage. Work will continue throughout on Sunday, 21 July to safely restore power as quickly as possible to the remaining 9,000 customers currently without supply. Most are expected to have power back by late Sunday evening, although due to the extent of the damage, some in outlying areas may remain without power on Sunday night. As the recovery continues, Endeavour Energy crews are asking people to put safety first by staying at least 8 meters from any fallen power lines and other damaged electrical equipment, and to be especially careful of damaged infrastructure hidden by fallen trees, branches, and other storm debris. Endeavour Energy is proactively contacting affected customers via SMS (where the contact details are available) to provide them updates on estimated restoration.Thank you for your understanding as the storm recovery continues. STAYING SAFE: Treat all powerlines as 'live' and dangerous by keeping at least 8m clear of them. Never drive across fallen powerlines! Report fallen powerlines immediately by calling us 24/7 on 131 003.Avoid all contact with wires that are hanging low, on the ground or tangled in trees and other storm debris. If you’re using a portable generator for power, stay safe and avoid deadly exhaust fumes entering your home. For life-threatening emergencies call 000. For emergency and rescue assistance call NSW SES on 132 500

Interior Motives: The warmth of connecting
Interior Motives: The warmth of connecting

20 July 2024, 9:00 PM

If you want to warm up your home in the middle of winter, try immersing yourself in a world of rich brown ochres, enveloping shades of red, and warm charcoals straight from the palette of the world of First Nations art and design. Gratefully there is a wide range of indigenous decor available at your fingertips that can inject both interest and harmony to your space.One of my favourite interior décor businesses is Willie Weston for their superb textiles. They work in partnership with First Nations artists and “celebrate their diverse artistic output” by producing sophisticated and elegant designs for fabrics, rugs, and wallpapers. Artists are paid for every metre of their design that gets printed. Another is Kakadu Plum Co who also partner with indigenous enterprises to bring a wide range of home products to a larger audience. I love them for their colourful cushions that are so easy to layer into room schemes.Indigenous art is already on the world stage, and you may think this puts it out of your price range but never forget there are always new emerging talents that deserve support. Online you can find both websites and bricks and mortar galleries that introduce these new artists. These businesses form and maintain meaningful relationships with their artists and then present a curated selection for buyers to choose from. Sites like Japingka and the Kate Owen Gallery are inspirational and accessible. Locally, check out Kiama’s Sevenmarks Gallery right now for their current exhibition of beautiful works from communities in the Northern Territory.  If you are like me, decorating your own home is motivated by making it more liveable, more beautiful and bringing more harmony to daily life. The warmth and structure of indigenous designs can help cultivate a sense of balance and connection within your home. 

The Gerringong farming story of Bobby the calf
The Gerringong farming story of Bobby the calf

20 July 2024, 8:00 PM

By Clive EmeryJust another day in the life of a farmer - here’s a lovely story about Bobby - a calf that had to be hand reared. It was just a week since I had transferred all my cattle from the Blackhead area to the 'dam' paddock (so called because it was watered by an everlasting spring) constructed 45 years ago during one of the many 'dry' seasons the coast periodically experiences. The dam was situated below this eternal spring.I had waited to do the transfer of the cattle until a matronly beast had calved, and having observed the event was over and a little calf at her side, the cattle were called to the gate and admitted into a new paddock. They had hardly entered before they began to graze on the lush fresh pasture. Returning home, I marked down the date of transfer: 10.12.1995.On the morning of December 17, with breakfast over, I received a call from Vivienne Atkins of Gerroa to say that with the aid of her binoculars she could see a little black and white calf near Shelly Beach, and thought it could belong to me. I thanked her and said I would investigate at once, since I had recently transferred the cattle, and thought the calf could have slipped through the fence.The dawn found me with the cattle, and noted the mother and calf, which was pleasing to all parties. However since Shelly Beach was a considerable way off and the lady had taken the trouble to ring, I felt a thorough investigation should be done. As I crested the ridge and Shelly Beach came into view, sure enough there I spotted a calf resting near the boundary fence under the shelter of a small tree. Hastening down I found a little bull calf well and strong, and upon examination I found it to be a twin! It was apparent the Mother had brought it to life that night after the first birth, and it had slipped under the fence. The two calves had been born 600 metres apart!  Gathering the little fellow in my arms I carried him to the top of the hill to his mother. He could not have had any sustenance for seven days, and was indeed a hungry fellow. His mother was interested in him, but was not going to allow him to have a suck, and kicked him off each time he made an attempt to suckle her.I tried with the two calves, but she would only take her first-born and not the second. It was frustrating for all concerned. It had rained during the seven days, and her 'smell' on the little one was not strong enough for her to admit ownership of him, which is not unusual.I left them to become acquainted in peace, and would come over in the early morning, which is when mothers and babies usually suckle. It is a good time to be on hand to help.  However, the mother was still determined her second calf was not going to suckle her, and after half an hour with my help she consistently refused to cooperate.Gathering the little fellow in my arms once more I placed him in my lorry and brought him home to rear. My wife Elva was not amused at all at us having the responsibility of another baby, but relented rather reluctantly. It was twenty-six years since I had done such a thing, of which she was aware.'Bobby' I called him, and from the first moment he was an eager feeder, relishing the sweetened milk offered. I had an ideal shed for him in the back garden, and in a few days we became quite good friends, and it was not long before he recognised my voice and his own name, and would arise to welcome me immediately I called. While he fed he wagged his tail to demonstrate his enjoyment, and I massaged his back meanwhile, just as his mother would have done licking him, and he bunted the bucket just as he would if he was feeding from his mother.After each meal we would go for a race among the shrubbery in the back garden, with me leading the way. At first I would not try to elude him, but I soon found he could keep pace with me, and we made a game of it. I began to dodge among the bushes and he would take short cuts and catch me up and bunt me.As he grew stronger I changed his diet a little, and gradually encouraged him to eat grass and grain. I bought some calf pellets and introduced them to his diet by putting them in his mouth to chew, and after feeding time leave some in his bucket for later. Yesterday I caught Elva taking a peep at him over the fence and calling his name. She was pleased to see that Bobby was coming along so well.In time he was released into the grass paddock to care for himself, but he would always raise his head if anyone said the word 'Bobby'.I will miss him of course; he was so responsive, but one cannot go on racing about the garden like a madman, can one?

Mission accomplished – clarity about Blue Haven Terralong
Mission accomplished – clarity about Blue Haven Terralong

20 July 2024, 4:08 AM

Following a recent article in The Bugle, “Kiama community wants answers on Blue Haven Terralong vacancies amid housing crisis”, which stemmed from concern among locals who overheard Council officers discussing the potential sale of Blue Haven Terralong independent living units, Kiama Council has moved to clarify the situation. On 19 July, they issued a statement via their website: “Council is not seeking to divest Blue Haven Terralong Village.” This should provide some reassurance to concerned residents.The Council website reported that there are currently 17 vacant units with four under renovation. They explained that a slowdown occurred following the retirement of the last Independent Living Unit (ILU) Manager, a role crucial for sales, coordination, and daily management of over 250 ILUs and their residents. The Council is actively seeking a replacement for this position.They also noted that due to the age of the units, significant repairs such as waterproofing, plastering, and bathroom and kitchen refurbishments are necessary for some units. These repairs are taking longer than expected due to difficulties in securing tradespeople. Additionally, some units and common areas require fire safety compliance work.With 17 vacant units now available, those who previously inquired and were declined might find this an opportune moment to reapply.In contrast, Havilah Place, the former Residential Aged Care facility, is in an advanced state of dilapidation and has been deemed unsafe to enter or occupy. The Council will be installing security fencing around the premises to ensure the area is secure and inaccessible to the public and Council staff, except for official purposes.In line with the NSW Government’s varied Performance Improvement Order, the Council is preparing subdivision plans to explore options for subdividing and divesting the former Residential Aged Care facility at Havilah Place. However, they have not yet indicated whether the original purpose of the facility will be retained.The Council has promised to keep the community informed throughout these processes, including master planning, subdividing, and rezoning land at Havilah Place and the Kiama Sports Precinct. Residents can hopefully expect more regular communication moving forward.For more details, visit the Council’s website and look for the post entitled “Blue Haven Terralong facts.”

Local rugby player chosen for state game
Local rugby player chosen for state game

20 July 2024, 3:48 AM

Kiama Rugby Club gun, Jack Hobbs, has been selected in the prestigious NSW Country Cockatoos team to represent his state. Hobbs was picked in a 39-man squad based on his performance for the Illawarra representative team back in June. Jack Hobbs playing for the Country Cockatoos. Source Jack HobbsOn Saturday July 13 he had his first training session with the squad and from there they will narrow the squad down to just 28. If Hobbs is to pass through this process it will be his fifth time representing NSW. “This is my fifth time in a row. I started in 2019 and played every year since then. Once you’re in, it's a bit hard to get out,” says Hobbs. “As long as you’re playing good footy they want to keep a similar team. But there’s always good young boys coming through and I’ve been lucky.” The Cockatoos will play for the Australian Rugby Shield in the Sunshine Coast in October and Hobbs says that the quality of play is incredibly different from local rugby. “It's an honour to put the jersey on representing our state and I really enjoy doing it. It’s a big step up. I wouldn’t say it's professional, but it's a few steps up from playing first grade local footy. Everyone knows their job and it's a lot faster,” says Hobbs. Hobbs has played at the Kiama Rugby Club for the last two years after moving there from the Wollongong Vikings, and he says it’s helped him grow as a player. “They’ve got a lot of good players at Kiama. We had nine selected in the Illawarra team - the most players out of everyone. It's just good to be playing with other good players and it’s really made me step up and be a bit of a leader,” says Hobbs. President of the Kiama Rugby Club, Mark Bryant, speaks very highly of Hobbs and the qualities he has brought to the club. “Since he joined the club he’s been an absolute workhorse on the field and off the field. He pushes everyone and he’s a very good rugby athlete. His defence is impeccable, he's got attacking skills. He's very classy and he's hard. And there's no malice in his play, it's always clean rugby,” says Bryant. Kiama are currently sitting at third on the Illawarra District Rugby Union ladder and have only lost one game in 2024 to the first place Shoalhaven team, but Bryant is confident they can hit back when they play again next week. “Even though we got beaten in the first round by Shoalhaven, the first 2 tries were lucky, and we won the second half, so we have a real chance to knock them off next week,” says Bryant. Since Hobbs joined the club in 2023 the Kiama team has improved immensely from coming seventh and eighth in 2022 and 2021 respectively. Hobbs is also the brother of Clayton Hobbs and together they run Claytons World which has over 28 million likes on TikTok. You can find their TikTok account here.    

Living in Jamberoo is a Story of Community and Care
Living in Jamberoo is a Story of Community and Care

19 July 2024, 4:09 AM

When the winds howl through Jamberoo, bringing down power lines and plunging us into darkness, it's easy to feel isolated. This week was a reminder to me that when you live in villages like Jamberoo, adversity only seems to draw us closer together. Like over 40 people living on Saddleback Mountain and Wallaby Hill, I'm now on my third day without power, and in my case, without water. A situation that can test anyone's patience and resilience, yet it's during these times that the true spirit of Jamberoo shines through.I've spent these days journaling, writing blog posts, and immersing myself in crime novels on my Kindle. But with each passing hour, the battery on my devices has dwindled, leaving me feeling more disconnected. In desperation, I called one of our local business owners to ask if I could charge my devices at their premises. Their immediate "yes" was a lifeline, a simple act of kindness that meant the world to me.This morning, I headed down to collect my recharged devices. On my way, I decided to treat myself (and get a much-needed coffee) and dropped into my local patisserie. To my surprise and delight, the patisserie was bustling—not just with people buying pastries, but with neighbours collecting their charged devices, just like me. It was a scene that perfectly captured the essence of Jamberoo: a community where we look out for one another, especially in tough times.Standing in line, waiting for my turn to grab a pie (yes, I thought mega calories were justified), I felt a profound sense of gratitude. Here we were, a small village facing a significant challenge, yet everyone was doing their part to help out. Local businesses had become makeshift charging stations, and neighbours were checking in on each other, ensuring no one felt alone.When the winds tear through our town, causing chaos and disruption, they also bring to light the extraordinary care that binds us together. Living in Jamberoo, you know that you are part of a community where everyone genuinely cares for each other. It's this spirit of solidarity and compassion that makes our village not just a place to live, but a place to belong. Special shoutout to Elders and Kings Patisserie. When I accidentally left all my now-charged devices behind in the patisserie, I was reminded how grateful I was to live in a place where your belongings are safe.

Summit Shoalhaven trail run attracts record number of entries
Summit Shoalhaven trail run attracts record number of entries

19 July 2024, 12:55 AM

Once known as the King of the Mountain, the grueling Summit Shoalhaven trail run returns on 28 July. The 2024 version has seen a record number of entries, making it the largest Summit Shoalhaven and King of the Mountain trail run ever held.Seasoned trail runners and weekend warriors alike are drawn to the rugged terrain of Mount Scanzi and Kangaroo Valley.The revival of a historic eventOriginally established in 1966 as the “King of the Mountain” by a dedicated group of running enthusiasts from the Nowra Athletics Club, the trail run has grown significantly since then. After a hiatus over several years, the event transformed into Summit Shoalhaven, keeping the spirit and the challenge of the original run, including water crossings and challenging ascents.40km runners on Illaroo Fire Trail at Lower Bugong at Lower Bugong Rd (2022). Photo credit: Hew Colless/Creative Soup MediaScones and cream are offered at the finish line, courtesy of Bakehouse Delights in East Nowra. This tradition has been a staple since the event’s inception and adds a sweet touch at the end of a hard run.New challenges aheadThe updated courses for the new 54km and 36km routes feature a total gain of 1,158 metres, incorporating more vertical gain than ever before, through the magnificent wilderness of the Shoalhaven. Participants will navigate varied terrains, with over 82 per cent of the course consisting of fire trails, plus some single-track and off-road terrain. The all new courses are continuous loops.Join the adventureWhether you’re aiming to conquer the 54km, 36km, 21.1km, or more accessible 11km, find more information at Summit Shoalhaven.

Writing for The Bugle
Writing for The Bugle

18 July 2024, 12:54 AM

In a world where news is often distilled into quick soundbites and sensational headlines, our local paper offers us all an opportunity to be part of community-focused journalism.It’s a place where we can explore the issues that shape our lives, from local governance to social equity, and everything in between. It’s a forum for voices that might otherwise go unheard, and for stories that reflect the true heartbeat of our community.I write for The Bugle because I believe in the power of informed dialogue. Social justice isn’t some lofty ideal. It’s rooted in the everyday realities we face—access to affordable housing, education, health and wellbeing services, environmental sustainability, and inclusive governance. By engaging with these topics in my articles I hope to spark conversations that lead to real, positive change.The young people I’ve worked with over the last 20 years have taught me so much about resilience, creativity, and the power of community. They’ve shown me that when given the right tools—critical thinking, empathy, and a sense of agency—they can transform not only their own lives but the lives of those around them.Writing for the paper allows me to extend this work beyond the classroom. It gives me a platform to share insights, celebrate achievements, and call for the support for our community to thrive.We’re lucky to have a local paper that values the role of community journalism. In many places, local news is disappearing, and with it, a vital connection to the issues that matter most. Our paper fosters a sense of shared purpose and community spirit.Through my columns, I aim to contribute to this mission. I want to write pieces that are not just informative but also thought-provoking and reflective of our collective values. Together, we can build a community that is informed, compassionate, and committed to social justice.

1-20 of 2539