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Life in Gerringong for farm boys and girls 100 years ago
Life in Gerringong for farm boys and girls 100 years ago

13 July 2024, 9:00 PM

So, your children are complaining about how hard life is nowadays. Get them to compare their life with this account, written by Clive Emery, from when he was a child about 100 years ago:The education of a country boy or girl is not limited to the classroom. In my own experience, a lot of learning took place beyond textbooks and school curriculum. Experience, a great teacherThis is an area where the country child had an advantage over their city cousin, as we discovered when they were visiting us during school holidays. Some of the duties we performed filled them with horror, like the killing and skinning of calves and the beheading, plucking and cleaning of roosters for the baking pan, but a quite ordinarily part of life in the country. The milk they drank came out of a bottle, and they shook with excitement or terror to be asked to touch a cow's teat and draw forth a few drops of milk.There were farm duties, which simply had to be done: the milking, the washing, the cleaning, the gathering of the cattle, the feeding of cows, of calves, of pigs and horses and the ploughing of land and the sowing of crops all done in all weathers. Not just on one day, but every day in rain, hail or sunshine.This was much self-discipline in getting out of bed at the crack of dawn each morning and dressing oneself ready for work. When the milking was finished, there was the separation of cream from the milk, the turning of the separator, 55 turns per minute exactly – almost one per second – or the butterfat test would be low. That was where I learned to count, every minute of every day. And so apportion time to my greatest and smallest task, which led me to believe there was not a minute to be lost and life was too short to waste a day, forever timing myself in all occupations.The understanding schoolmasterCalf-feeding time, with a dozen heads poking through bars of a gate, straining, eager, hungry. Two heads to a bucket of frothy separated milk: The bunting, the sucking of ears or fingers afterwards, the satisfaction of feeling you were needed. The calves were dependent upon your ability to satisfy their appetite, you were their master and that was a responsibility, a trust if you like, and also a joy! It was the same with all the animals and poultry. Each boy was allotted his own tasks to manage and to discharge.Breakfast on school mornings was usually eaten as the school bell was ringing. Neither my brother nor I was ever in the playground to hear it ring, despite our efforts. The schoolmaster never demanded a note when we sat in class late, and we were given time to copy the chalked message from the board. The only notes taken were to explain our reason for missing school days, and they were exceptional.Saturdays may be a holiday from lessons at school, but it was not a holiday on the farm. There were fences to repair, ferns to brush, tussocks to dig or cattle to muster – perhaps all four, depending on the day and the urgency. We had a boundary of about eight kilometres of fencing to maintain, and it fell to me most Saturdays to service these fences, carrying hammer and staples and a small roll of barbed wire, in case of need.Adventures in the mountainsSundays between breakfast and lunch were often spent climbing the mountain forests, if the farm work was up to date, we scaled the cliffs for rock lilies in the spring, called the Wongas in the dank forest, or listened to the shrill calls of the lyrebird, or sat by a mountain stream to wait for the birds or foxes or native cats coming to slake their thirst. In the grassland, we set snares where the hares had their running tracks and trapped the rabbits on their favourite mounds. We sat by the mountain moses watching the bees watering, and then followed them to their nests, often trying the methods the black used. That of attaching a piece of thistledown to the sucking bee to make it more visible on its way to the nest, with little success, however.Then it was back home for a quick wash and dress for Sunday school before milking time, walking another mile to the church; perhaps a chance ride with Mr. Rankin in his Sulky, if there was room, mostly not for our troop of four or five was too large. After the psalms, it was back to bring the herd in for milking.The world at our feetWe always ran a garden throughout the year, learned the vegetables and their seasons for cropping and harvesting, and were applauded for our results by the household in general.  We participated in exhibitions and competitions with moderate results, always striving for excellence in type and taste.We fished the creek for perch, mostly at night, with tiny lanterns with light enough to see to bait the hook, while the owls hooted, and the flying foxes screeched as they fed in the big Moreton Bay Fig nearby.Before we left school, we were ploughing fields, erecting three-rail fences using axe and adze and mortising axe, riding horses and laying concrete.We could identify birds by their call, if not by sight, and trees by their fruit, if not by their flower. We collect the eggs of the water goanna and hatched them on the verandah floor in the sun for a lark, saw the leathery egg begin to wriggle then split open and the lively youngsters make immediate haste to the shelter of a garden bed of flowers within seconds of their birth.The world was at our feet in the valley! It was alive with life, possibilities and places for experiment and achievement. We indulged in family and competition sports at every opportunity and read books by E.S.Ellis and Zane Grey, which whetted out appetites for adventure, believing everything was within reach if one only stretched out one's hand for it.

The legacy of Blue Haven: preserving Kiama's gifted assets amid controversy
The legacy of Blue Haven: preserving Kiama's gifted assets amid controversy

13 July 2024, 8:00 PM

For nearly half a century, Blue Haven Terralong has been a sanctuary for Kiama's elderly residents. Now, this institution faces an uncertain future as the council debates its future.The Blue Haven project was a cornerstone of Kiama's residential aged care and independent living amenities. Some of the land it occupies was gifted to the community by a prominent local family in the 1970s. This article tells the history, financial impact, and community sentiment surrounding Blue Haven, highlighting the significance of preserving its legacy.Blue Haven Terralong is the independent living residential development at the top of Terralong Street, opposite Woolworths.Local businessman Tony Freedman, who owned the quarry site opposite, donated the land for the former nursing home and Stage 2 of Blue Haven, to provide residential aged care and independent living amenities for the community.Several town clerks played instrumental roles in establishing aged and residential care in the municipality. Among them, Tony Materson was pivotal. Successive Mayors including Neville Fredericks, Brian Petschler, and Sandra McCarthy and General Manager Michael Forsythe, paved the way for Blue Haven Terralong.Local resident Allan Holder raised his concerns to The Bugle: “Driving this community’s finances into a perilous state by previous poor decisions, for which no one has taken responsibility, and with a mayor who refuses to investigate, Council is now considering selling this gifted asset to shore up its bottom line.” The old Havilah Place nursing home has been vacant since November 2019, when its residents were moved to the newly built Bonaira Nursing Home, as planned.Mr Holder finds the idea of selling this donated asset morally unacceptable, as do many in the community. He advocates for demolishing the Havilah Place buildings and constructing more Residential Independent Living Units, ie. Stage 6 of Blue Haven.In April, The Bugle's front page story, “Old Blue Haven Care – site empty as rents soar”, highlighted the need for more residential aged care units for Kiama. The story cited Clr Karen Renkema-Lang, stating that the Council would investigate how the land could be used for crisis accommodation. So far, there has been no news on this front. Mr Holder pointed out that Stage 5, completed in 2009, was a success due to the foresight of a competent council. The sale of units in Stage 5 yielded a $3 million profit for the council, which, combined with a government grant, funded the construction of the Pavilion on the Showground headland. This profitability has continued, with each resident entering an Independent Living Unit paying between $200,000 and over $1 million, and the council retaining 30 percent of that payment over five years. The council also benefited from the capital increase when units were resold.Despite these financial benefits, some councillors are pushing to sell the asset, especially with the nearly completed redevelopment of Woolworths, making the land more valuable. This land is prime real estate and attractive to developers.Tony Freedman, who originally donated land for the nursing home, remembers the excitement around the land acquisition, despite the challenges of its quarry location. The Council's strategic purchases and grants enabled the project's progress.Fast forward to 'Stage 5', when General Manager Michael Forsyth and Mayor Sandra McCarthy decided to construct the 88-unit complex in one go, rather than in stages, to expedite unit availability and avoid prolonged construction. At that time Ms McCarthy emphasised, “We built it in one hit and made it higher to free up more land for beautification and gardens. Stage 5 elevated Blue Haven to another level.”Remarkably, Stage 5 was completed during the 2007/08 Global Financial Crisis, yet Manager Steve Dawson successfully filled the units.“It is a shame that the Freedman family's generosity might be sacrificed because a few councillors prefer aiding developers over preserving a 50-year legacy that has served this community so well,” concludes Holder.This article underscores the need for preserving community assets and respecting the original intent behind such generous donations, ensuring that decisions made today honour the past and benefit future generations.

A story waiting to be told
A story waiting to be told

13 July 2024, 8:00 PM

It’s taken Helen Laidlaw nearly ten years to research and write her book about the Wadi Wadi people, the First Nations who once lived in the area on the South Coast now boarded by Kiama and Gerringong. On Wadi Wadi country – From the mountains to the sea, explores a little known part of Kiama history. But it’s a story well-worth telling.Putting a face, and a history, to the name“I come from a line of old ladies who like to make cakes,” remarks 85-year-old Laidlaw as she rummages around in her kitchen and brings out a lemon and blueberry. With the cake at hand, she sips her coffee and begins talking about the book, which traces the lives of several local First Nations people. Their destinies, still mostly unknown – both to indigenous and non-indigenous Australians, are deeply intertwined with that of Kiama and the surrounding areas. “It’s about stitching pieces together, and I’ve managed to stitch these families together,” she says.Just the other day Laidlaw spoke to a descendant of the Longbottom family, who had read the book. There’s a whole chapter on them as well as the Dixon, the Weston/Johnston and the Pike families.“It was hidden from them. You see, people didn’t know,” she says, referring to a time not too distant when one’s Indigenous heritage was never openly discussed. For the relatives, and there are quite a few around, Laidlaw wanted to make the people real as opposed to just being a name. “So many were valued by the rest of the clan,” she emphasises. With a keen interest in indigenous history and the Pacific, Laidlaw, a former university librarian and teacher who’s also worked in Tonga, set out to capture these stories before they are lost.“Aboriginal people have been treated quite badly. That’s why they’re all so excited about this book. Because it details their stories,” she says.Laidlaw included the line, From the mountains to the sea, three years ago when she named the book. It comes from the Wadi Wadi/Dharawal language place name for Illawarra (or Elourera, Allowrie), which means “where the mountains meet the sea.”“We’re all equal”When asked what she hopes readers will take away from the book, Laidlaw goes quiet. Then she says softly, “Surprise.”“Because I think Australia is a racist country, still. Anyone who has grown up with Aboriginal people knows that it is.” Her father, the headmaster of Bomaderry Public School, immediately desegregated the school when he began in 1947.“He was respected for it,” Laidlaw says. “Because he was a strong Christian, he just quoted Saint Paul in the Bible, we’re all equal.” Laidlaw says that she thinks the town of Kiama has wanted to acknowledge its Aboriginal heritage for some time.The younger generation, such as her grandchildren, embraces it while she finds that outdated views about Indigenous people still exist among some of the older generation.“But surely they realise, well I make that point in the book, that in 1917 these guys went off and got shot for being Australians,” she states. “They didn’t get recognised and they didn’t get a vote for fifty years.”One Jimmy CarlsonThe book, which spans from the first settlers to WWII to the Kiama tornadoes in 2013, came about through six degrees of separation.“I have lived in Kiama for over 40 years and thought I knew most of the important things about town and yet, page after page, left me gasping as I found new and fascinating things about the town and the surrounding area. It is a book that everyone who lives in, and cares about, this area should devour.” - Bruce ElderJulie Farquhar Nicol, a teacher at the Noogaleek Children’s Centre, an Aboriginal preschool at Berkley – and also Laidlaw’s good friend – enjoyed talking to Jimmy Carlson, an Aboriginal Elder, who drove the bus for the children’s centre. One day, while chatting about Carlson growing up in Kiama, they realised that the small farm cottage where he used to live in the 1930s was close to Laidlaw’s house in Willow Gully.Tucked away in a beautiful corner of Kiama, featuring native vegetation and still frequented by echidnas, wallabies and ringtail possums, Willow Gully holds a rare area of original sub-tropical rainforest, unique for this area.Laidlaw invited Carlson over, who then in his seventies, began sharing memories of his parents and grandparents along with photos and newspaper clippings. Carlson’s grandmother was a Dixon from Crooked River, and before too long, Laidlaw found herself trying to find out everything she could about the family.“I discovered one of his grandmother’s brothers came and lived here. There’s a whole chapter on that crazy guy,” she says. In the process of researching, she discovered several other local Indigenous families and their ties to Kiama’s past and present.The “queen of research”Laidlaw became intrigued by some of the descriptions, such as that of Captain Brooks (Muhhag), a local poet and singer. “Someone described him, very impressed, he didn’t look like a lot of others. He was so dark with aquiline features. Suddenly, you got a picture of somebody that you wouldn’t have otherwise. That’s why it’s all been included in the book” she says.As far as stories go, she found the most amazing ones to be about King Mickey and Queen Rosie. “She was such a character,” Laidlaw notes.Queen Rosie, the last surviving member of the Illawarra tribe, also features on the front cover of the book. The Sydney Morning Herald took the black-and-white portrait of Rosie, smoking a pipe, in 1927.Laidlaw is upset that her English publisher chose to cut some of the images out because they weren’t clear enough.“I tried to explain to them, these were people who didn’t have anywhere to store photos. And the ones I got, of Aboriginal people, were miraculous,” she says.Because the photos depict Indigenous people who have passed away, Laidlaw received permission from their relatives to use them.“Jimmy is now in his 80’s, and the photo is of his mother as a child. It’s remarkable that they were still available,” adds Laidlaw. It’s raining hard now, streaming down the windows, on her house in Willow Gully – a special space where this truly remarkable story began.Book launchDate: Sunday, 28 JulyTime: 3pmPlace: Kiama Uniting Church Hall, Manning StreetTo be launched by Julie Farquhar-Nicol (former teacher at Noogaleek Aboriginal Preschool). Followed by a glass of wine, nibbles and book sales & signing.Date: Saturday, 17 AugustTime: 2pmPlace: The Kiama Library, hosted by the Kiama Historical Society.To be launched by Bruce Elder (author of Blood on the Wattle). Followed by a glass of wine, nibbles and book sales & signing.

The Life and Times of Daisy the Decorated Dairy Cow
The Life and Times of Daisy the Decorated Dairy Cow

13 July 2024, 2:31 AM

Just outside of the Old Fire Station Community Arts Centre there is a cow. You may have noticed her. The cow’s name is Daisy. You’ll often see her playing with kids or painted in various styles which reflect what is going on in the Kiama community.  Former Mayor Sandra McCarthy once wrote about Daisy, “It’s funny to think a paper mache cow, that stands solitary and rather longingly on a main street, can embody a town’s community spirit and culture. But that is exactly what ‘Daisy the Decorated Dairy Cow’ does.”  Daisy with no art in 1991. Source - - Kiama Arts and Culture FacebookBut where did Daisy come from? What’s her story? In 1991, a crazy haired Italian born sculptor named Ernesto Murgo created Daisy, using paper mache and wire, for the Seaside festival that ran in October of that year. He based her on a real cow called ‘Meadowhaven Daisy the 47th’ who was a breed of cow that was popular on the dairy farms of the Illawarra and was owned by Jamberoo farmer Tom Walsh. Sue Blanchfield was the first artist to paint Daisy at the Seaside Festival saying, “Rather than having the cow in the landscape, I’m going to put the landscape on the cow.” Somewhere along the way Daisy was given a tougher outer skin of plaster and sisal by Grahame Kime. Kiama council bought Daisy from Ernesto after this, and she has since become a reflection of the town. A cultural and historical, ever-changing piece of art. If there was some sort of time lapse video showing each one of Daisy’s designs throughout history, you’d be presented with a pretty thorough history of Kiama since 1991. Sue Blanchfield reunited with Daisy in 2010. Source - Kiama Arts and Culture FacebookShe has been covered in musical notes for a jazz festival, words for a poetry happening, butterflies, lilies, daisies and she has even been a conduit for protest. She was dressed to resemble condoms to warn against aids, a private part of her anatomy was highlighted to spread awareness about chlamydia, she has been pink for breast cancer awareness and had a red nose for cot death appeal. She is covered in hearts for Valentines Day, covered in tinsel at Christmas, green for St Patrick’s Day, flagged for Australia day and she’s been a cheerleader for sports teams. In a classic story she was also once cownapped by high school students.  Most recently she was painted to represent NAIDOC week and then for the Kiama Winter Festival weekend. The Expressive Art Experience is inviting the Kiama community to paint her. “We’re all going to paint Daisy the Cow. We’re inviting the community to come, and we’ll give them a little pot of paint and a paintbrush and there’s lots of different spaces they can paint on Daisy,” says artist and Experience Art facilitator Michelle Springett.  Ernesto Murgo and the inspiration for Daisy. Source - Kiama Arts and Culture FacebookDaisy has seen a lot in her almost 35-year-old life, but she has never abandoned her post or her town. She sits there day after day absorbing new information and reflecting it back to the world. She is an unofficial mascot for the town, and she will be an important piece of Kiama history for years to come.

Jamberoo Player To Become First Woman to play 200 games for Group 7
Jamberoo Player To Become First Woman to play 200 games for Group 7

13 July 2024, 2:10 AM

Alicia Dooley will make history on July 13 when she runs out for the 200th time in the Group 7 Competition. Dooley will not only be the first woman to do this in Group 7 history, but she has also done it at the same club and will therefore also be the first woman to play 200 games for the Jamberoo Superoos. “I didn’t think it would be me, there’s been a lot of players that have probably played just as long, or started before I did, but it just feels pretty good to be able to do it for one club. I think it's a big thing because in Group 7 people move around a lot. So, it's a pretty unreal feeling, but it's good at the same time,” says Dooley. Alicia Doolan winning the 2016 premiership. Credit - Gameface PhotographyShe began her career playing League Tag in 2013 when there was only one competition and since then women’s involvement in rugby league has only grown with there now being two competitions, a tackle competition and now a junior competition. “It's really good for the game and it’s great for women to be able to get out and feel included in something that used to be a very male dominated sport,” says Dooley. Dooley has won the Group 7 premiership four times in her 11 year career and counts the first one in 2015 and the most recent one in 2023 as the most special. But she says winning is only a small part of why she keeps coming back year after year. “I’ve made a lot of friendships within sport that you don’t make anywhere … You have that undying connection with different people from different places and different walks of life. In our club alone we have a lot of people from out west, so our connections span far and wide. And that's what you always come back to: the friendships you make and the social side,” says Dooley. Dooley’s Jamberoo Superoos captain coach Aimee Barnard has played alongside Alicia for many years and would describe her as the perfect team and club member.  “Alicia possesses all the positive traits that make her such an integral part of the team. She is passionate, supportive, competitive, dedicated, levelheaded with a team first mentality,” says Barnard. Member of the Jamberoo club, David Hall, echoes this sentiment about Alicia and says its people like her that make him proud to be a part of the club. “It's just a really good little club and its people like Alicia who just make it really special. She’s loved in the club and who knows how many she’ll play until she retires,” says Hall. On July 13 Doolan will make history playing against the Kiama Knights at Kevin Walsh Oval and she is adamant that her 200th won't be her last. “I probably just want to continue to play until I can’t anymore and maybe one day bring my kids to the club and get them to play too,” says Doolan. The Bugle congratulates her and wishes her all the best with her future.  

The Future of Bombo Quarry - A Community-Driven Vision
The Future of Bombo Quarry - A Community-Driven Vision

12 July 2024, 10:00 PM

Opinion by Lynne Strong For over 75 years, Bombo Quarry has been a cornerstone of the local economy, supplying essential materials across New South Wales. As the quarry operations wind down, we are presented with a unique, once-in-a-generation opportunity to reimagine this iconic site for future generations. The draft Master Plan for Bombo Quarry outlines a vision for a sustainable, vibrant community that celebrates the site's rich heritage and offers diverse housing, job opportunities, and cultural amenities.The redevelopment plans for Bombo Quarry did not materialise overnight. Significant groundwork has been laid by community members like Peter O’Neill, who proposed the Kiama Epicentre. His vision for a permanent festival and event site within the quarry exemplifies the potential economic and cultural benefits such a redevelopment can bring to Kiama.Peter O’Neill's proposal for the Kiama Epicentre is ambitious, aiming to create a multi-functional space that hosts major events, generates local employment, and boosts the economy. His efforts have provided a solid foundation for current plans, highlighting the importance of integrating cultural and community-focused elements into the redevelopment.While the draft Master Plan is a promising start, the success of Bombo Quarry's redevelopment hinges on active community participation. It's crucial for local residents to take an active role in the design process to ensure the project reflects the community's needs and values. This involvement can take many forms:Staying Informed: Keeping abreast of updates and developments regarding the project is the first step. Websites like Unlocking Bombo Quarry provide valuable information and regular updates on the progress of the Master Plan.Participating in Consultations: Community meetings and public consultations are opportunities for residents to voice their opinions, concerns, and suggestions. This feedback is vital to shaping a plan that truly benefits the community.Supporting Local Advocacy: Join local groups and initiatives that advocate for sustainable development and community engagement. These groups can amplify residents' voices and ensure their interests are represented in the planning process.Community involvement is more than just a box-ticking exercise; it is the bedrock of a successful and inclusive redevelopment project. When residents engage with the planning process, they help create a space that reflects their needs and aspirations. This participatory approach fosters a sense of ownership and pride, leading to a more cohesive and resilient community.Moreover, the diverse perspectives brought by community members can lead to innovative solutions and improvements to the plan. Residents often have unique insights into the area's challenges and opportunities, which can be invaluable in creating a well-rounded, effective Master Plan.As we move forward with the redevelopment of Bombo Quarry, let us not forget the groundwork laid by individuals like Peter O’Neill and the importance of community engagement. By acknowledging past efforts and actively participating in the planning process, we can ensure that Bombo Quarry becomes a beacon of sustainability, culture, and community spirit.Together, we can shape a future for Bombo Quarry that honours its history, embraces its natural beauty, and meets the needs of current and future generations. Let's seize this opportunity to create a thriving coastal community that we can all be proud of.

Local talent shines at South Coast Readers and Writers Festival
Local talent shines at South Coast Readers and Writers Festival

12 July 2024, 10:00 PM

From Greek mythology to rock music, fairytales to family drama, the South Coast Readers and Writers Festival has it all, including an insider’s look at the publishing business for aspiring scribes trying to break into the industry.The festival, at Thirroul Community Centre from July 13-14, features award-winning local novelist Helena Fox, lawyer-turned-author Bri Lee discussing her debut as a fiction writer, legendary Australian music writers Stuart Coupe and Jeff Apter and journalists Caroline Baum, Malcolm Knox and Mitch Jennings.The jam-packed weekend, with more than 22 sessions, will cover genres including poetry, literary fiction, suspense, biography, memoir, historical fiction and First Nations writing, said festival director Sarah Nicholson.Dr Nicholson, who is head of the South Coast Writers Centre and a University of Wollongong academic, said 60 percent of writers talking at the festival are locals. “We are excited to showcase more than 40 authors, poets, academics and journalists, who will cover everything from the literary classics to the pressing issues of current affairs," she said."It will be a weekend filled with captivating stories, thought-provoking discussions, and inspiring conversations. We encourage people to come along and discover some of the local literary talent hiding on the coast."Australian historical fantasy author Kell Woods, Emma Darragh, who has a PhD in creative writing from the University of Wollongong, and Illawarra Mercury journalist Mitch Jennings will debut new books at the festival.Established award-winning writers including Catherine McKinnon, Kirli Saunders and Helena Fox will also host talks. Dr Nicholson, co-author of Heroines An Anthology of Short Fiction and Poetry, will discuss her writing in the ‘Crimes of the Cross’ session. The festival will be held in the Thirroul Community Centre for the first time this year. “It’s close to a public transport hub and gives festival guests easy access to Thirroul’s great cafés,” Dr Nicholson said.“We’ve partnered with Wollongong City Libraries to present two free Young Readers and Writers sessions in the Thirroul Library and Collins Booksellers will also feature festival books for sale.”Dr Nicholson said the festival is a community event, with organisers giving it a rebrand in its third year to include readers in the title.  “We renamed ourselves the South Coast Readers and Writers Festival so that it is clear to the many readers in our community that this festival is for them,” she said.“This isn’t a festival only for writers. It’s a festival with writers that is designed for readers. It’s a place for book lovers to hear writer’s insights, to learn about and find new books, and to hear about the process behind their creations.”Ge the program and tickets here - https://southcoastwriters.org/festival

Elevate your mood
Elevate your mood

12 July 2024, 9:00 PM

Maintaining a positive outlook on life can sometimes feel like a challenge, but incorporating small, everyday actions can make a significant difference in lifting your mood. Here are some practical tips and insights on how to boost your happiness and well-being.A little activity every day: Engaging in small activities daily can greatly enhance your mood. Opt for the stairs instead of the lift or take short breaks to stretch your legs if you're seated for long periods. These minor adjustments not only improve your physical health but also boost your mental well-being.Connect with friends: Meeting a close friend for a walk or making a phone call if they are far away can work wonders for your mood. Conversations with someone you care about can make you feel supported and less stressed. According to research, such interactions can strengthen your immune system, improve heart health, and overall enhance your mood.John Hopkins Medicine emphasises that taking steps to improve physical health can help boost mood and ward off depression.Here are some QUICK tips to lift your mood:Chat! – Engage in a real conversation with a cheerful friend.Smile! – Simply smiling can lead to a positive mood.Laugh! – Find something that makes you laugh.Think positively! – Focus on positive thoughts.Meditate – Take time to relax and clear your mind.Get moving! – Physical activity is a great mood booster.Look at old photos! – Reminisce happy memories.Listen to happy music! – Play your favourite upbeat tunes.Play with your pet! (or some else’s) – Spending time with pets can be very uplifting.Have a little dark chocolate – A small treat can improve your mood.Go outside and exercise – Fresh air and exercise are vital.Eat something healthy – Nourish your body with healthy foods.Have sex – Physical intimacy can boost mood.Rest – Ensure you are getting enough sleep.Take a break or a holiday – A break can rejuvenate your spirit.How to fix a low mood and overcome sadness:Acknowledge what’s happening: feel and observe the sadness – It’s okay to feel sad. Acknowledge your emotions and your feelings. Identify what makes you unhappy. Share with friends, family, or a health professional.Take care of yourself – Prioritise self-care and make simple lifestyle changes in order to feel happier. Physical activity can improve mood.Embrace the present – Live in the moment. This removes anxiety.Maintain connections with others – Stay in touch with loved ones.Raise your self-esteem and be kind to yourself – Practice self-compassion and be gentle with yourself. Work on feeling better about yourself.Perform regular aerobic activity – Keep your body moving. Great for the circulation too!Seek professional help – If sadness persists, consult a professional. Make an appointment with a counsellor, because talking through your concerns can provide relief.Ways to increase joy:Do something joyful! – Engage in activities that bring you joy.Develop gratitude – Appreciate what you have. This is powerful indeed!Dedicate yourself to others – Helping others can bring joy. Mum lived by that maxim and was one of the happiest people I’ve ever known.Connect with your spiritual side – Explore spiritual practices.Discover something new – Learn and grow.Take moments of pleasure – Enjoy little moments of happiness.Pay attention to the good – Focus on positive aspects of life.Limit negativity – Reduce exposure to negative influences.By integrating these practices into your daily routine, you can significantly enhance your mood and overall quality of life. Remember, small steps can lead to big changes.If you are having suicidal thoughts, please contact Lifeline for immediate help (13 11 14).

Kiama community wants answers on Blue Haven Terralong vacancies amid housing crisis
Kiama community wants answers on Blue Haven Terralong vacancies amid housing crisis

12 July 2024, 8:00 PM

At the independent living units at Blue Haven Terralong (BHT) there are 23 vacant units in the complex and buyers are being told there are no available units, according to some residents. Some renovations are being worked on - mainly those needing extensive rectification work, but the units with basic renovation - a quick turnaround - are not being worked on.Council has indicated that renovations for these vacant units won’t begin for months. In the midst of a housing crisis, particularly for the aged, it's baffling that these units remain unoccupied while there is significant interest from potential residents. The units vary in price and go up to $1.2 million. Normal turnover of units is 10 percent, which would fund the bottom line. The renovation costs are borne by council as the sale proceeds are separate.The Bugle was told that the income from levies sustained the running costs of the complex. Graham Touhy, a current resident and former contractor at BHT for more than 21 years said, “Terralong ILU is 100 percent self-funding - with no cost to the community. This year will be its first loss in 40 years as it is not being run to its true potential.” Several residents told The Bugle that they overheard a council officer telling a group of businessmen, "We are preparing Blue Haven Terralong for sale." This contradicts the Council’s resolution from an extraordinary meeting on 13 October 2022, when it decided to sell Blue Haven Bonaira Residential Aged Care Facility, Bonaira Independent Living Units, and Blue Haven Community Services, but would retain the Blue Haven Terralong Independent Living Units. Lynda Henderson sought clarification on the Kiama Community Facebook page about the status of the Terralong Street units. Graham Touhy responded, “Blue Haven Terralong has been put in limbo. There are 21 units empty Mr Touhy said with council not actively turning them over for months. That’s over TEN MILLION DOLLARS that are not being sold. Why?” Touhy said. “Because they (council) can say as of this financial year, ‘Terralong lost money’. Then cry SELL. Next financial year will show a huge profit for an easy sale. BHT has been profitable for the community every year, contributing to community works. Once sold these funds are no more and lost forever,” Touhy said. In that thread Councillor Stuart Larkins said there was a lot of “misinformation and disinformation on social media regarding this topic.” Clr Larkins said that council’s position was to retain BHT but also said, “pending dilapidation and subdivision reports” and the desire to separate the Kiama Community Garden from the BHT site in case of future changes to Council’s position.” Does this mean that as soon as the Performance Improvement Order is lifted, and with a new council in place, they will then push for a sale? It is understood that BHT’s finances have not been separated from council's finances but is underway. The resale of vacated units minus costs is considerable and partly funds community assets.  How long can we run this way at a probable loss when the problem has been known for a long time and the rectification process is still ongoing?” he asked, adding, “Is it the State Government holding it up? I don't know.”In light of this question, The Bugle asked State MP Gareth Ward for his thoughts. “I am not aware of any state government policy that could be slowing the renovation of units controlled and managed by Blue Have. Further, I have not been approached by Blue Haven or Council about any NSW Government policy causing a delay. Given The Bugle has raised this with me, I will approach the council and make further inquiries,” he said - which he has now done and is waiting on a reply. “Council resolved to keep Blue Haven Terralong and I support its retention. The independent living units actually make money for council and I would be opposed to any sale given they are self supporting and sustainable. “I am concerned to hear reports that there may be several units vacant. These should be renovated and filled as a matter of priority. We have a shortage of housing options for older people and we need to provide these homes to people who urgently need them,” Mr Ward added. The Kiama community, along with current and prospective residents of Blue Haven Terralong, seek transparency and clarity on the future of these independent living units.Coinciding with the start of the new financial year, The Bugle has learned that refurbishments are set to resume around Blue Haven Terralong.

Vale Voytek Lewandowski
Vale Voytek Lewandowski

12 July 2024, 8:00 PM

On Monday July 1, Kiama community members united in urgent solidarity when a patron at Penny Whistlers stopped breathing.Voytek Lewandowski, a regular diner at the cafe, was having lunch when he began choking. A tourist applied the Heimlich manoeuvre whilst customers rang emergency services, and Penny Whistler barista and local surf instructor, Kane Presland courageously stepped in to apply CPR.Fellow diners helped Kane keep rhythm on his compressions until an ambulance arrived. Bhanu Rathore, owner of Penny Whistler provided support to those impacted by the traumatic event. Tragically, Voytek could not be revived. Voytek Lewandowski grew up in Poland under communist rule and emigrated to Australia on a whim, and immediately set about learning English and establishing his own business. He trained in Film and Television Production in his home country, but was unable to break into the industry in Australia. He moved into the food technology industry and opened his own factory producing roasted capsicum long before it became popular, and was a passionate proponent of yoga and Vipassana meditation. In 2011, he suffered a traumatic brain injury from a car accident.In 2015, Voytek moved to Kiama and wished he had made the move earlier, having a deep appreciation for the Australian birdlife, animals and the ocean. The south end of Kendalls Beach, the Continental Pool, the sauna at the Leisure Centre, and Penny Whistler were places he frequented and felt at home.His sparkling eyes and open smile were easily recognisable, and inviting to those who knew him or strangers that he would meet along his journey. Voytek passed unexpectedly at a place he loved and frequented regularly. July 4th was his 63rd birthday, and his loved ones celebrated enthusiastically and passionately at Penny Whistler to remember him and honour his life.Voytek’s partner Madeleine wishes to hear from anyone who was present or provided help to express her gratitude and support. You can reach out to The Bugle to get in contact with her.

The Bugle View - it's time
The Bugle View - it's time

12 July 2024, 7:00 PM

A week is a long time in politics. Especially local politics in Kiama, it seems. Over the last week we have witnessed one of the most objectively shocking episodes in the history of our town.  As disclosed on Kiama Council’s website, the CEO Jane Stroud referred Councillors Karen Renkemba-Lang, Jodi Keast and Kathy Rice to the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC), under Section 11 of the ICAC Act.  Referring a public official to ICAC to the Independent Commission Against Corruption is a relatively simple matter. According to the ICAC Act, when a principal officer (like a CEO of Council) makes a referral against a public official they do not need proof – they only need to ‘suspect on reasonable grounds that corrupt conduct has occurred or may occur’. As such, referrals are supposedly quite commonplace in Sydney where dirty deeds are done, not on the cheap. However, for our fair town, this is not common at all, and is symptomatic of the dysfunction that the community has experienced for the better part of three years since this Council came in. In addition to these ICAC referrals, how can we forget: Councillor Mark Croxford and Councillor Renkema-Lang being censured over breaches of conduct with a third under investigation,Councillor Renkema-Lang taking Council to court over the aforementioned censure, which was eventually ruled invalid, The enormous budget blow out and eventual sale of Blue Haven Bonaira (with settlement to occur within two months, the sale price still remains undisclosed)A revised Performance Improvement Plan (as a result of the botched Bonaira affair) from the NSW Local Government Minister Ron Hoenig which undoubtedly foreshadows more asset sales, possible special rate levies and a perilous financial situation,A $5 million legal bill. It’s quite a CV from a bunch of individuals who are supposedly representing us with our best interests in mind. With representatives like these, no wonder there have been multiple calls from the community for Minister Hoenig to call in an Administrator. Glen Humphries at the Mercury said it best: “Now, if all that doesn’t make this time the worst in the council’s history, it’s hard to imagine what else has to happen to make it so”. Mayor Neil Reilly points to a lot of angst between councillors which has obviously bled into the operation of Council. Take for instance, these ICAC referrals. Whilst a referral to ICAC does not constitute guilt or corruption, and all three councillors have come out and vigorously denied the allegations, the fact that we even know about the referrals is the most curious part of this sordid saga. The Bugle does not dispute that the CEO had a duty to report to ICAC and make the referral. However, when ICAC states that it ‘generally prefers’ that referrals are not made public ‘as it may prejudice any action (ICAC) take. Furthermore, a failure to handle reports to the ICAC confidentially may cause unnecessary damage or embarrassment to individuals’. It seems that to someone in Council, causing damage or embarrassment was entirely necessary and intentional.  “It’s Time” was a highly successful political campaign during the 1972 federal election where Gough Whitlam led the Australian Labor Party to victory, after 23 years of a conservative Coalition government.  Whilst the time period is only three or so years, and Labor councillors are part of this debacle at Council, The Bugle’s View is that it’s time: It’s time for a completely new direction for our Council and representatives,It’s time for more current councillors to announce they will not run for re-election,It’s time for change. 14 September 2024 is the local government election for Kiama – it’s time. 

Loves Bay Watch
Loves Bay Watch

12 July 2024, 3:47 AM

A highly controversial development overlooking the dramatic landscape of Loves Bay will proceed, despite numerous objections from local residents, who have strenuously objected to the upmarket proposal.A judgement on the matter was handed down by the NSW Land and Environment Court on 10 July.For those who have never been there, the development is at the end of Elanora Road in Kiama Heights covering two blocks which look down upon the turbulent waters of Loves Bay and the Kiama Coastal Walk which threads along the steep cliffs and headlands down to Gerringong. Commissioner Timothy Horton upheld an appeal by the Forte Kiama Heights Development Pty Ltd against a decision by the Kiama Municipal Council to block modification of the development, which was originally consented to in 2022. The developer sought to modify the roof shape, height, internal layout, balcony projection, pool shape, landscape and driveway contained in the original consent. A mandatory conciliation conference was presided over by the Land and Environment Court at the end of May, beginning with an onsite meeting between representatives from both the developers and the representatives of the Council. The conciliation conference continued in the Court, where an agreement was hammered out. Loves Bay development image. Photo credit: Tony Owen Partners.In terms of the height of the proposed development, which exceed the standard 8.5 metres by 450 millimetres, Commissioner Horton declared: “I have considered the Visual Impact Statement and photomontage analysis and I have considered the additional height to be reasonable when regard is had to the elevated views from properties on the opposite side of Elanora Street, and from a position below the site, closer to the foreshore. From both vantage points I accept the development as proposed to be modified is in keeping with the desired scale and character of the street and local area.”Controversy over the Council’s original approval of the development escalated after celebrity architect Tony Owen posted on the Forte Sydney Property Group’s site: “Kiama Tourism Accommodation approved. Inspired by the Art of Matisse, this oceanfront hotel will push the boundaries of luxury.” As the area is zoned residential, Councillor Jessica Rippon declared: “In reviewing this information it clearly suggests that the applicant and associated consultants have potentially been deceitful in their interactions with Council through the application process.”Residents of Elanora Street have previously recorded their upset over the upscale nature of the development clashing with the nature of the area, including increased visitation and parking problems. Residents spoken to by The Bugle earlier this month remain hostile to the development. One local, who did not wish to be named, said: “The Council pushes conditions against the locals, makes them adhere to rules and regulations, but for foreign developers they seem to approve anything. I hope it doesn’t go ahead. It is going to destroy my amenities in the street. If one developer breaches the regulations, it sets the precedent that they can be breached by anyone.”The back of the house, currently sitting on the development site.Although approached, the Forte property group declined to comment.A spokesman for the Kiama Council said amended plans for the site were assessed by Council experts. "A view analysis accompanying the amended plans demonstrated the increase in view impacts, compared with the original plans, would be minor," the Council experts concurred that the amended plans were within the realms of areasonable modification of consent. The Court has now issued the agreed Modification Approval."

Council on track to be in black by 2026-27
Council on track to be in black by 2026-27

12 July 2024, 12:15 AM

While it’s early days, a newly elected council combined with prudent financial management, will see Kiama Council’s budget go into the black by 2026-27, without asset sales or capital grants, as per the NSW Government Performance Improvement Order (PIO).Council will record an operating deficit of $5.4m in 2024-25, excluding grants and assets sales. This is forecast to improve to an operating deficit of $2.7m in 2025-26, before returning an operating surplus of $700k in 2026-27.This is a major feat when in 2019-20 the budget deficit was $8.1m – a 35 percent improvement to the bottom line.There were swings and roundabouts for council finances in May, according to the July 16 business papers. Revenue is down against budget by $5.5m (5.9 percent) and expenditure is over budget by $2.6m (3 per cent) but these figures are highly variable month-to-month.Council’s cash balance increased during June from $46.6m to $48.1m.General operations contributed $408k in revenue over the budget.Public fees and rents for the Kiama Showground and Blowhole Points Reserve added $222k.The Leisure Centre’s budget went into the red by $279k but cooler weather (seasonality) and patrons going on holidays, may explain part of that.Due to high material and service outlays, the council commissioned and reviewed a report on its services as part of the PIO. One of the areas council focused on was the Leisure Centre.Key challenges in the report for the centre were:The need for a clear strategic long-term direction and market focusInternal expertise and skills in aquatic and leisure managementThe age and deteriorating condition of the leisure centre assets and facilitiesResourcing the extensive range of services currently providedWorkplace culture, operations management and structure“The report shows it’s time for big decisions,” CEO Jane Stroud said. “The Centre is showing its age, our operations need some changes, and overall, a more modern approach to managing the facility is required.”Mayor Neil Reilly and CEO Jane Stroud The report offered three options for the Leisure Centre's future:Maintain the status quoImplement upgradesPursue redevelopmentCouncil received 725 submissions from a customer survey last year, which showed the centre was highly valued by the community.“Now that we also have this report,” CEO Stroud said, “we need to go back to those customers, and to the wider community, to further discuss the future of the Centre.”

Bridging nations: Danielle Heinecke's path from Kiama to High Commissioner
Bridging nations: Danielle Heinecke's path from Kiama to High Commissioner

12 July 2024, 12:00 AM

Former Kiama High School student Danielle Heinecke, has recently taken up residence at the High Commissioner’s residence in Kuala Lumpur, marking a significant milestone in her illustrious career. As a senior career officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Heinecke was most recently the First Assistant Secretary of the Pacific Melanesia Division and now serves as the High Commissioner to Malaysia.Danielle Heinecke's academic credentials are as impressive as her career trajectory. She holds a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of New South Wales, a Master of Arts in International Relations from the Australian National University, and a Master of Economics from the University of New England. With these qualifications, Heinecke entered the Australian diplomatic corps and has since served in various roles in Timor-Leste, Indonesia, and Papua New Guinea. She is proficient in Tetum and Tok Pisin, languages spoken in these regions.Australia and Malaysia enjoy robust economic ties. In 2022, Malaysia was Australia’s second-largest trading partner in ASEAN and the second-largest source of foreign investment from the region. The two countries are also close defence and security partners, collaborating under the Five Power Defence Arrangements and the Malaysia–Australia Joint Defence Program.In her role as High Commissioner, Ms. Heinecke oversees 46 departments, including Agriculture, Financial, Tourism, and Intelligence. Her extensive experience and leadership skills make her a pivotal figure in maintaining and enhancing the Australia-Malaysia relationship.On a recent overseas trip with his partner, Councillor Matt Brown took the opportunity to visit his old friend and former schoolmate Danielle Heinecke in Kuala Lumpur. During his visit, he reminisced about their shared history, including memories of Danielle’s mother, Ros Thomas, who was his science teacher at Kiama High School. Brown maintains regular contact with the Heinecke family, noting that Danielle’s father continues to work in Kiama.Danielle Heinecke’s journey from a local high school student to a significant diplomatic role exemplifies the far-reaching impact of dedication and education. Her story serves as an inspiration to many, illustrating how local roots can lead to global influence.

Coolangatta Floor Sanding: transforming homes and businesses
Coolangatta Floor Sanding: transforming homes and businesses

11 July 2024, 11:00 PM

Coolangatta Floor Sanding (CFS), a family-owned and operated business, has proudly served the Shoalhaven region for 26 years, establishing itself as the premier local floor sanding and polishing company. Under the new leadership of Dane Hamill, who recently took over from his father Glen following his retirement, the business continues its tradition of excellence and quality service.Dane, who has been perfecting his craft since graduating high school in 2006, brings extensive expertise in floor sanding, cleaning, and timber maintenance. His proficiency includes providing valuable advice and performing restoration work to repair scratches and recoat floors, significantly enhancing their longevity and overall lifespan.CFS collaborates with contractors, builders, and architects across Shoalhaven and its surrounding suburbs, including Berry, Nowra, Shoalhaven Heads, Kiama, Kangaroo Valley, and Jervis Bay, to deliver exceptional service and expert guidance. Dane proudly notes their use of state-of-the-art European sanding and buffing equipment, which features large belt sanders for expansive areas and smaller edging sanders for intricate work in corners and alongside boards."I have witnessed remarkable transformations in the homes we've worked on," Dane shares. "The results significantly enhance the property's value, as polished floors are a highly sought-after feature in real estate marketing."Homeowners not only seek to improve their living spaces for aesthetic appeal but also to protect their investments. "Our entire team takes great pleasure in seeing our clients' reactions to the finished product," Dane adds.Dane is also knowledgeable about the 'whitewash' technique, which can be applied in various ways. Floors can either be painted with full coverage white paint followed by a clear coat in matte, satin, or gloss finish, or a light tint can be added to the coating to prevent sun-induced discoloration. Additionally, other colour options are available.Whether for domestic or commercial applications, Dane and his team at CFS are invaluable resources for expert advice and floor improvement potential. It is highly recommended to get in touch with them for a quote and experience their exceptional service firsthand.

New Australian film holds mirror up to toxic male behaviour
New Australian film holds mirror up to toxic male behaviour

11 July 2024, 9:00 PM

We are 12 minutes into Australian directors Jack Clark and Jim Weir’s debut feature film Birdeater when the title finally appears on screen. In those masterful first 12 minutes we are introduced to a couple.Most nights he, Louie, lies and says he is going to his dad’s place when really he is going to a golfing range. And she, Irene, for some reason never leaves the house at all, and is sleeping most of the time.All of this is conveyed through little dialogue, repetitive sequences, montage and spectacular cinematography. And even though not much is happening in the film, you’re on the edge of your seat. Something is off here…“We started with this relationship. Having a relationship where the couple had separation anxiety … We have this couple that need to be around each other and eventually you separate them and see what happens,” says Weir.And what better way to separate a couple than at a buck’s party. So the main plot of Birdeater unravels as Louie, breaking tradition, invites girls to his bucks party. And the film basically roars on from there.“As soon as we had the buck’s party element then we had almost a new genre of film that we were looking at and that's when it really became what it is. Taking a close look at how groups of men behave and how groups of men react to bad male behaviour,” says Weir.In April, The Australian Institute of Criminology’s National Homicide Monitoring Program found that 34 women were killed by an intimate partner in 2022-23, an increase of 28 per cent on the previous year.And although Birdeater doesn’t concern itself with these extreme cases, it aims to explore the problem of toxic male behaviour at its root. With murderers, it is easy for men to detach themselves from the behaviour of those characters whereas with Birdeater the duo wanted to force men to confront themselves.“We wanted to try and hit closer to the bone, go after the more kind of insidious types of abuse that we think is actually common with guys that we grew up with and went to school with,” says Weir.“So we wanted basically a shifting scale of different kinds of men in our ensemble in a way where, hopefully, no guy watching this would feel totally safe. Everyone would be able to see themselves in some way depicted on screen and have to reckon with that.”Birdeater was filmed in the small village of St Albans in Hawkesbury, NSW and despite exploring such universal themes, the film still feels very Australian and this is a translation of the duo’s individuality and identity which is daring in a film culture that is led by other countries.“We have this idea of mateship in Australia which is something that we build a lot of our identity around,” says Clark. “But it does feel like it's somewhat exclusionary to women - it feels like it's structured around men being friends.”“So the film was a little bit about how that makes people outside of that circle feel, and people are able to really easily translate that into a similar part of their own culture. So by finding something specific to Australia, which I think it is, that specificity helps.”Weir and Clark met each other whilst studying at AFTRS, a film school in Sydney, and they say that it is through their collaboration, that this film was such a success.“Often we will be arguing about something and we essentially never compromise - we never really meet in the middle we try and work out which idea is better and quite often that means that there's actually a third idea that neither of us have thought of and it ends up being what we go with,” says Weir.The film will be released in cinemas on July 18. The characters are interesting, the ideas are thoughtful, the score is inventive and the overall look of the film is mesmerising. Even though it is Clark and Weir’s first feature film, Birdeater shows that they have a strong command of their ideas and know how to communicate them visually in creative and stunning ways.Birdeater

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