including Otford and Darkes Forest
Charli Simons is a name to remember - this 19 year old songbird from Helensburgh has been paying her dues by assisting with local community events in the Northern Illawarra and is now seeking to climb her way to top with your vote - you can help Charli to become;Unsigned Female Artist of the Month
"I have been singing ever since I can remember." says Charli. "I started in a children’s choir when I was 5. I sang in choirs right throughout primary school and high school and I have had vocal lessons in Jazz and classical since the age of 7 years."
Charles Harper Park in Helensburgh has some tall trees that are now reaching the end of their lifespan - it is no secret that these are being removed for safety reasons, but in their absence comes the menace of sun damage.
"I have two young school age kids, one only just in kindy - their grandfather died of skin cancer, and their dad has already had surgery to remove squamous cell carcinoma." said Helensburgh resident, Sonia Gregson.
Helensburgh Netball Courts will be transformed this Sunday into a pop-up car boot sale. You’ll find fresh coffee, home made cakes baked fresh by the netball mums, and new and used goods at bargain prices.
All proceeds from the markets will be put towards getting the netball courts resurfaced. Estimated to cost up to $40,000 to resurface, they are looking beyond chocolate box sales for fundraising revenue.
Following on from another successful fundraising event last month for 'Operation Peace Warriors', comes the 'Helensburgh Magical Mystery Tour' on Wednesday 18th June - a travelling party for the whole family on 'The Britstop', a vintage London double decker bus."We held a big party night at the Burgh Workers on the 23rd May thanks to great assistance from Jackie and the staff, I had two live bands, the giggle booth and Pommy Andy trivia", said Simon Reynolds, ex Para Commando Senior Sergeant in the British Army, and now Helensburgh local. "This helped us to climb above the $4000 mark in our fundraising efforts."
With Mothers Day around the corner, it's time to step up from the usual flowers, or box of chocolates, and really spoil the Supermums in your life with the gift of laughter and fun.
Happening on May 18, 'MotherLove' is a unique yoga and meditation retreat day designed specifically for mums, by mums. The retreat gives mothers something they really need - a well deserved soul nourishment.
It aims to provide mothers with a rare opportunity to have a fun, invigorating day to themselves.
The Southern Joint Regional Planning Panel has been asked by the Minister for Planning and Infrastructure to review two Planning Proposals for the Helensburgh and Otford areas in the Wollongong Local Government Area.
Due to community interest in this matter, the panel chair has requested a public meeting be held to listen to the community’s views on the planning proposals. This meeting will be held on Tuesday 6 May at 4pm at Helensburgh Workers Club (24 Boomerang Street, Helensburgh).
Helensburgh and District Historical Society extends an invitation to visit the Old Mine Surgery, 78 Parkes Street, Helensburgh on Saturday 12 April 2014. This Open Day is being held as part of Australian Heritage Week which is an annual national celebration of Australia’s unique heritage. The Old Mine Surgery is the building that Dr. Cox consulted from during his time as Mine doctor and GP in Helensburgh from 1910 to 1942. It was originally located in front of his house in Robertson Street.
A four man team of former British and Australian Commando Soldiers and athletes will attempt to complete the Kokoda Track, 'Army (Hard Routine) Jungle Patrol style', in six days, with minimal support and carrying all of their own equipment, food, water and safety stores in order to raise money and awareness for 'Enough Is Enough' anti violence movement and counselling services.
On March 13, Sara Oliphant gave birth to naturally conceived triplets at St Vincent's Private Hospital Melbourne, 1 girl and 2 boys, Indianah, Brooklyn and Jacoby. After 2 weeks in the Special Care nursery, all 3 healthy babies were taken home from hospital this week.
Back in the 60's and 70's, 21 blocks of land were bought in Otford, probably with the dream of a rural lifestyle just minutes from the beach.
But that wasn't to be and for more than 40 years, these blocks have remained uninhabitable.
When the 21 lots were sold, pre-1970, the two-hectare subdivision rules were in place and a 'country dwelling' was OK on the land. But in 1971, the minimum lot size increased, meaning the owners could no longer build on their blocks. And it's been that way ever since, until now.
Wollongong Council is making plans to repair the land that used to be Helensburgh Waste Depot.
The good news is, work will begin shortly on rehabilitation of the 40 year old tip.
Council has currently put management of the job out to tender with work set start in June and run through until the end of the year.
Wow! What an amazing year in the Northern Illawarra ;)
On behalf of myself, Dean and Juzz at Sea Cliff Coast, we would like to wish you and your family the very best over the festive season - we have thoroughly enjoyed promoting our amazing local community and getting to you know personally.
We have published over 400 local articles, and conducted over 100 interviews in the past 12 months, fostering the Northern Illawarra identity and encouraging greater prosperity through a sense of connection with each other.
We look forward to returning at the end of January 2014, but will continue to share content through our social media in the meantime, and encourage you to get connected at What's On Gong to stay in touch with all the best gigs in the Gong.
Before we go, here is a quick snippet of our recent excursion to the South Pole to help Santa get the presents sorted ;)
Until next year!
Scott James SmithEditor
As part of their community consultation process, Medicare Locals will be in Helensburgh so you can have your say about Health Planning. They will be conducting a survey for the general community through which the community gets an opportunity to voice their health concerns and express their opinions regarding aspects of their health service access and availability.
Findings from the survey will be used to enable the planning and implementation of timely, appropriate and effective primary health care services within the ISML catchment.
The Helensburgh Uniting Church continues it's seven year tradition of guided bushwalks through our amazing coastal regions, kicking off again in Febraury 2014.
"Helensburgh does have a great variety of tracks around the place, and what we've tried this year is to give a great example of the variety of different walks that we have available both locally and not that far away." said Steve Wright, coordinator.
"This year we've got some old favourites, like the Wadi Wadi track which is a very tight track because it hasn't been maintained only is very beautiful."
2012 saw the launch of a Christmas market in Helensburgh in the newly developed car park area of Sunrise Nursery - the Twilight market returns again for Christmas 2013, on Thursday 12th of December from 4:30 to 8:30pm.
"We were very pleased with the turnout last year - lots of local people, they brought lots of friends, it was full of stallholders and it was a great night for everyone." said owner, Nick Szewcow.
"The Sunrise shop will be open, which has a great range of homewares as well, but we have a few ladies fashion stalls, there's candles, jewellery, kids activities, BBQ from one of the local fire brigades, food stalls, coffee, Christmas hampers, plus a couple of local producers."
It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas and Sea Cliff Coast is offering an amazing special offer for local businesses seeking a festive boost!
Expose your local business, to your local customers 10,000 times, through your local Network in the Northern Illawarra before Christmas, with 100% of the funds going to local 2508 networking group, The Mama Tree to help with the Pop Up Shop initiative.
Local businesses and start-ups are encouraged to take advantage of this powerful exposure in the lead-up to the New Year, by placing an online ad with Sea Cliff Coast - its a great way to grow your business, the community, and feel good about it! =)
Local creative enterprise Wild Rumpus have a bunch of fun classes coming up: DIY Handmade Christmas: Learn something new, give something from the heart, live a sustainable life.
"Wild Rumpus is all about DIY, sustainability and creativity" said Caitlin Marshall, "At Christmas there's a lot of fun to be had, there can be very stressful with all that shopping, and there is a real interest in people making stuff themselves and giving something that they've made. We wanted to make that easier, so we've put together some classes that are all about a DIY handmade Christmas."
From baking to natural soap-making, fun printing to sewing, Wild Rumpus has some classes which will help you to create beautiful things as gifts and save money, landfill and reduce consumption at the same time!
Hope Church 2508 has taken a proactive approach to serving the local community, providing direct support through powerful projects like the Food Pantry, which assists low income families to put food on the table, for whatever reason. They also step up to address issues in our community that have a tangible benefit to our way of life, such as the Lions Club Community Sign at the top of parkes Street in Helensburgh.
"There was a wooden sign that had the word Helensburgh on it, and it had rotted and decayed away, so we took down that old sign and mounted it on some aluminium so that we won't have those problems again." said Lionel.
"We've had a great year, and we've seen a lot of new people joining our church, so we've almost tripled in size and now outgrown our current building."
The Bushland Chapel at Helensburgh continues to evolve as a resource for the arts in the 2508 area, with the next instalment of 'Arts at The Chapel' on the 6th and 7th December from 8pm, delivering two great nights of entertainment.
"It's a studio space and a chapel and the triple billing in this case is a good use of that space." said chairperson of the Chapel and artistic director of Playscript, Geoffrey Sykes. "We're starting with a dance programme which is around 25 to 30 minutes, called Homage to Place with Lisa McDonnell and Darren Braun."
The former NRMA building on the corner of Parkes and Walker Sts in the very heart of Helensburgh is currently vacant.... but potentially not for long.
Expressions of interest are being sought from businesses that may wish to connect with the Mama Tree network to occupy this premium retail shopfront in the run up to Christmas.
For an individually negotiated fee you would get:
Table/rack/wall space in a prominent retail space
The opportunity to sell and promote your products in the busiest retail period of the year
A dedicated salesperson to sell your products
Promotion through The Mama Tree website and Facebook pages as well as other local media
The opportunity to negotiate an ongoing lease or walk away obligation free
Placement of business cards/flyers/other promotional material
Entry into The Mama Tree online Business Directory
On the eve of the full moon this month comes the launch of a new venture from Glenbernie Orchard called Darkes Cider and their first offering promises to fulfill the most jaded beer drinkers dreams with something at first sweet, but with a bit of bite... prepare yourself for "Howler".
"I'm really excited because this Friday we are launching our new cider" said Joanne Fahey, from Glenbernie Orchard, "We have great apples on our farm, so we thought, why don't we have a go at making cider, and making something that is better quality product then some of the others that are available that are imported."
"Howler has beautiful, crisp apple flavours - when you drink it you get a sweetness, and then you get the apple flavour, and then you get the tannins kick in, because we've used a lot of red apple in it. It's got just the right amount of sweetness, but it's also got a bite."
An open letter to the 2508 community from Aaron West, Captain at Helensburgh Rural Fire Brigade...
"On behalf of the Helensburgh Rural Fire Brigade I would like to extend my sincere thanks to the community of 2508 for your generous support and kind words over the past 2 weeks.
2013 has seen one of the earliest starts to the fire season in recent times and so far we have seen devastation and destruction on a scale similar to 1994 and 2001 fires. Even though the communities of 2508 have not been directly impacted by bush fire so far this season you have got behind our volunteers whether they are dealing with local incidents or travelling out of area to fight fires in the Southern Highlands.
The Helensburgh Historical Society are now distributing their heritage calendar for 2014.
"This is the first calendar we have produced in conjunction with the towns celebrations of the Metropolitan Colliery's 125 Years." said Jenny Donohoe, Research Officer and Project Coordinator at Helensburgh Historical Society, "Besides having a few historic photos of the mine we have also including up to 26 historic photos from around 1890-1920s."
"This is truly a collectable item and we are offering it for sale at only $15 including P & P."
To order please send a cheque to PO Box 150, Helensburgh 2508 or contact the Historical Society.
The mining industry attracts its fair share of bad press relating to environmental issues - lately there has been a publicised issue between the miners and Peabody Energy at Helensburgh. There is currently a peaceful protest at the gates of Peabody as the miners seek to demonstrate their rejection of various terms in their agreement with their employer.
"It all started when we were due to renew our enterprise agreement - it ran out at the end of the financial year." said Helensburgh CFMEU Lodge President Andy Davey.
Fighting bushfires in hungry work - long hours in the field and at the fire station mean that our protectors can sometimes be left wanting. Sarah Rayner of Helensburgh, has been actively supporting the fire fighting efforts of our local volunteers by making sure they always have plenty of fuel for their own fires.
"It's important to make sure they are well fed," said Sarah, "With the long campaigns, they can't just nick down to the local take-away shop - so I thought ok, let's cook up a storm and see what we can give them to make their day a bit brighter."
The Helensburgh Country Fair is on Saturday 26th October, and one of the highlights of this annual event is local favourite, Jackie Dee and band performing in Charles Harper Park from 2pm.
Jackie has been returning to the event for some years now, all the while recording and releasing her music, such as acclaimed first EP, Tide and also growing her career with nomination in the upcoming MusicOz awards.
"The MusicOz awards are kind of like the Aria's for independent artists," said Jackie, "I've been nominated as a finalist in the country music category, which means I will be at the awards ceremony on the 7th November at Star Casino in Sydney."
The Helensburgh Workers Club are ramping up their annual Xmas market with more than 80 stalls on Saturday 23rd November plus great entertainment for the whole family."We've got eight kids rides, plus a variety of food stalls plus some live entertainment on the balcony from 1pm including Jackie Dee and Pete Thomas," said Jackie Mulligan from the Workers Club, "We have wine, beer and cider tasting on the day too."
The Helensburgh District Historical Society will be holding a talk at the Helensburgh Library on Thursday 24 October, between 2-3pm on the Metropolitan Mine Doctor Frederick Henry Cox.
Dr Cox was one of the early mine doctors, employed by the miners and also the local GP in Helensburgh from 1910 to 1942. His story is an interesting one on the early trials doctors faced in the early period of a developing townships; heavy industry and a transient populations of railway workers. Dr Cox was a dedicated professional that worked a 24/7 week as well as using his professional skills to developing the Helensburgh township.
To learn more about his 32 years in the Illawarra please come along to our talk by Jenny Donohoe. Following the talk afternoon tea will be available at the Old Mine Surgery, 78 Parkes Street, Helensburgh from 3.30-4.30pm where an exhibition of the Cox family will be on display.
A healthy sign of growth in business confidence in Helensburgh is the launch of another dining venue - 250ATE Eatery promises to bring a new dimension to the local scene with an emphasis of freshness."We want to bring something a bit different to Helensburgh" said Amanda Hamer, "We've introduced Sushi and wraps, and everything we have is quite fresh.""We are kid friendly too - we understand how when you go out with children, it's a little bit hard sometimes - so just having that little area for kids gives the parents a couple of minutes to enjoy a coffee and something to eat. No one is worried about a little bit of noise from the kids."
An alternate CBD has sprung up in Helensburgh - the Helensburgh Business Park in Cemetery Road is the brainchild of Andy Offord (from Offord Contracting) who is currently completing stage two of this ambitious project.
As part of stage one, a space was dedicated to a cafe, built at the entrance to the estate, and this has recently been taken up by Helensburgh couple, Massimo and Emile Bernardini, and have now launched it under the banner "Big Sister Horsie".
"My good friend in Italy owns three gelaterias, so I spent a lot of time there with him - he is now very famous." said Massimo, "We moved here to Helensburgh in 2010, when our first child was born, and it was a good move."
Tradies such as painters, face serious injury or death without the correct safety measures, and new work cover legislation ensures that home owners are not at risk of the consequences of these tragedies.
Toby Potter is a painter in the Northern Illawarra with impressive qualifications, specialised skills and successful projects. Coming from a building family, Toby's father and grandfather were both painters and decorators.
"I cut my teeth working on heritage painting projects in the UK before moving to Australia about ten years ago." said Toby, "Since then the regulations are a lot more stringent, particularly working at heights."
Spring has sprung and the first of Symbio Wildlife Park’s new family has arrived just in time for the school holiday’s. Early September the zoo welcomed new Cotton Top Tamarin twins adding to this popular tiny monkey family and strengthening a critically endangered population.
The Cotton Top Tamarins are critically endangered monkeys and are part of an international breeding program which Symbio Wildlife Park participates in.
Mum Bella and Dad Mitu are relishing in their successful parenting with the new twins being the fourth set for mum and dad, who were paired in 2009 and have since proven to be a successful breeding matchup.
The picturesque little school in Otford will be once again hosting its biennial School Fete on Saturday 19 October 2013 from 10am till 3pm.
Following on from the wonderful Artisan Fair in 2011, organisers are carrying over the tradition of “handmade, homegrown & organic.” Stall holders from the local area will bring an fabulous range of hand-fashioned crafts and homewares, from candles and soft furnishings to jewellery and clothing. Green thumbs will love the plant stall and bargain hunters can always ﬁnd their treasure at the White Elephant.
You’ve probably heard about the benefits of meditation for calming the mind and reducing stress, but how many of us actually do it?
‘Many people have the perception that meditating is difficult,’ says Louise Charman-James, who teaches beginner’s meditation at Govinda Valley Retreat Centre in Otford. ‘But at heart it is simply taking a few moments to let go of your cares and worries, so that your brain and your body have a chance to slow down and relax.’
Time for a spring clean so head down to the Bushland Chapel on Friday 20th September from 10:30am for the Spring Swapethon hosted by Megabatch 2508.
Megabatch is a meal swapping, recipe sharing, friend making, culinary repertoire expanding network. The 2508 branch is for anyone who lives locally and would like to get involved. It is a great way to meet new people, broaden your cooking horizons and eat some delicious home cooked food.
Lucy Lee, founder of The Art Box, seemed destined to work with art and nature. Her mother was passionate about craft and Lucy recalls making her own dolls and dollhouse at a young age. Originally from Geelong, she remembers family picnics in the Dandenong Ranges where the children would gather twigs, moss and chestnuts and create a display of their treasures when they got home.
Lucy went on to study Visual Arts at Curtin University, also working part-time as a curator in a small Aboriginal Art Gallery and an art technician in a girls’ college. She started creating artworks out of old books and music sheets, including paper flowers and decorative notebooks. Her philosophy of using recycled materials as a starting point for creating art is evident in the classes she runs at the Bushland Chapel studio in Helensburgh.
This years Helensburgh Country Fair on Saturday 26th October promises to be the beginning of a new era for this annual event, as it makes a welcome return to the town centre - some 15 years ago, it was banished from the main street, and existed only in Charles Harper Park. This year the event will not only sprawl around the town centre, with the inclusion of market stalls around the pub, but also all the way along the main street, with 28 stalls planned for Walker Street.
Along with this change comes a need for the 'country fair' to live up to the expectation for wholesome, family entertainment - not quite what you may relate to Jimi Hendrix and Lemmy from Motorhead, but our interview reveals a distant connection.
Aussies love a good yarn - everyone has a ripper story to tell and Otford welcomes you to share it on Friday 11th October! Great speeches or presentations are built around interesting stories, they give us a different perspective of issues that affect our own lives.
"The idea evolved from hearing about some other storytelling events, which has taken off globally, and I think it helps people get engaged with talking to other people." said event coordinator, Phil Preston, "A lot of people are scared of speaking, getting up and talking about something in a formal sense, however storytelling is something that is a lot more accessible."
Helensburgh has a proud 25 year history of netball and 2013 has yet again, been a stellar season for the club with half of the sixteen teams claiming grand final victory in the Illawarra competition earlier this month.
"We've got a team of nine girls ranging from 10 to 11 years, and out of the nine girls, probably five of them have never played netball before." said Kathy Scullion, co-coach of the Helensburgh Swifts 11D's, "They've come a long way and were undefeated this year - we're very proud of them."
A dry economy mixed with an abundance of new technology has created the perfect environment for entrepreneurs - now more than ever, we need a network that helps to support, promote and bind together a broad assortment of start-ups that represent our rich resource of creative minds in the Northern Illawarra. One such network has emerged - The Mama Tree.
"The Mama Tree is a network of predominantly local mums in the 2508 area." said iShbel Compagnoni, founder of the group, "It started as a Facebook Group consisting of my mothers group, from when I became a mum, and it's grown organically through word of mouth to other mums, and now we have around 430 members."
'Springfest' is a festive day of music and happy celebration marking the return of spring in 2013 and an opportunity for the friendly folk at Govinda Valley to say a big thanks to everyone who has supported them throughout the year - clients, volunteers, local members of the community and other special friends.
"We're opening our doors to the community, in case they have not had a chance to come here before." said Esperanza Gonzales, head chef and volunteer manager at Govinda Valley, "There is entertainment, great food, a really relaxed environment, and it's free."
On Saturday 21 of September, the Otford Community and Garden Association is happy to invite you to celebrate Spring with a great shared lunch around their new community garden.
"In Paris, people try to have one day each year for a neighbourhood lunch - this was done to humanise the city, to get everybody in the community to meet their neighbours and get to know each other."
There will be 40 seats only, locally cooked paella and apple crumble and salads... mostly from the Otford Community Garden - products will be sourced locally or the local providers will be able to tell their story.
Landcare Week is 2nd to 8th September 2013, and celebrates the people, places and projects all over Australia who are making a difference.
Landcarers everywhere are working together to maintain the health of their local environments, but the time has come for everyone to help maintain the balance of L.I.F.E by becoming involved and thinking about their actions each and every day and the impact they have.
On Thursday 8 August, Helensburgh & District Landcare Group was very grateful to receive assistance from a team from Conservation Volunteers Australia. The team battled rain, cold and slushy mud to work on removing weeds, branches and rubbish from the old Helensburgh Railway Station, and adjacent cutting and Heritage tunnel.
Helensburgh and Otford Rural Fire Brigades invite the local community to watch firefighters in action, see how your local Rural Fire Station works and meet your local volunteers at the annual NSW Rural Fire Service (NSW RFS) Open Day on Saturday 28 September.
"Once a year the Rural Fire Service puts on an open day and encourages local brigades to open their doors to the community." said Troy Gersback, Brigade Community Safety Officer at Helensburgh RFS, "We're going to be putting on a few demonstrations as well as putting a strong focus on the volunteers - we want the community to get to know us, who we are."
The upcoming election on 7th September sees the debut of a Helensburgh local on the political scene with John Bursill stepping up to represent the Katter Australian Party.
John is a father of two young girls, who resides in the village of Helensburgh, surrounded by his country, the Dharawal (Illawarra). John’s father Les Bursill OAM is an Elder and expert in the history and language of the Dharawal.
"I've always been a community minded person right from when i was a young man, and then in the army reserve for ten years." said John, "In general I am interested in workers rights, employment for the people of the Illawarra, maintaining our beautiful and natural surroundings, and calling government to account."
If you live in Stanwell Park, Otford, Helensburgh or in any of the surrounding suburbs you should be concerned.
New changes proposed by the O'Farrell Government will leave local residents with a dismal train service as of October 2013. The proposed changes virtually eliminate train services to the Stanwell Park and Otford areas in the mornings and evenings meaning commuters will have to drive to Helensburgh train station.
"It appears that the government is proposing to change the train services to our local area, to Stanwell Park, to Otford, to Helensburgh, and reduce the already minimal services that we have." said Tatiana Day, a concerned Stanwell Park resident, "As anyone knows that commutes from these areas, we are already on the train for long enough, and our services are far and few between, so to reduce those services is going to have a severe impact upon the locals in the area."
Les Kiddle was the Station Commander in Helensburgh for NSW Fire Brigade for more than 20 years and has recently retired, allowing him to pursue other interests including a new found passion for biking... after an article was recently published about the noise and congestion problems at Bald Hill and surrounding areas, Les offered some helpful insights.
"We are looking for a holistic approach that covers everyones concerns, harnessing that positive point for the community of drawing tourists to the area, but break them up so they are not herding in one spot." said Les.
"They could perhaps come up to the Southern Gateway Centre at Bulli Tops, which is pretty much not used the way it was designed to be used. They have a great facility that is in a position that could redirect some of the riders to other sites within the Northern Illawarra."
The attraction of the Grand Pacific Drive and Royal National Park is under threat from car hoons and speeding motorbikes, according to residents and visitors to the Northern Illawarra who are fed up with excessive noise and dangerous driving.
Residents from Otford, Stanwell Tops and Coalcliff met with Heathcote MP Lee Evans on Saturday, August 3, to discuss the issues, which have become increasingly worse in the past two years.
Helensburgh Girl Guides will be holding a fundraiser on Saturday 24th August 2013 from 10am until 7.30pm. The 'Bird on a Wire Cafe' will be held at the Guide Hall, 4 Chippendale Place Helensburgh.
Unlike a real cafe, the cafe will run within various "sessions" and will offer the choice of attending a morning or afternoon tea, lunch or dinner session. The Guides and Brownies will be assisting with the cooking, serving and cleaning up. All funds raised will assist the Guide and Brownie Units in their camps and other activities for the rest of the year.
On Friday morning, 16th August, Little Athletics NSW Coaching & Development Officer and State Team Coach, Darren Wensor, will be visiting Holy Cross Public School on behalf of Helensburgh & District Little Athletics as part of the Little Athletics NSW “Desire to Inspire” school visit program.
His itinerary will feature some dynamic presentations to large groups of school students, as well as some coaching sessions, which are sure to create a lot of excitement. “The presentations and coaching that I do are very interactive and lots of fun”, Wensor said. “Many of the students have recently been involved in school athletics carnivals and are really keen to hear about the great opportunities that Little Athletics provides.”