Meet our New Principal 

Pauline Smith is the new principal of Tanilba Bay School.

It is not the first time she has been there as it was her first appointment as a classroom teacher some 22 years ago. 

Ms Smith said that she was looking forward to the challenge with enthusiasm. 

“I was made feel welcome by the staff, students and families,” she said .  “I am passionate about public education and believe that a school should provide a learmning environment where every child matters every day,” she added. 

 “I am looking forward to working alongside the staff and families to improve the academic, social and emotional outcomes for our amazing students,” she stated. 

Former Principal Lloyd Hogg, now retired and living in Tanilba Bay was impressed by Pauline all those years ago. 

“Pauline was an outstanding teacher and I feel that she has the ability and dedication to be an excellent principal,” he said. “I wish her all the best for the future,” he added. 

Photos: Pauline flanked by student leaders Jayden Breaden and Georgina Clarke......and Lloyd Hogg (front centre) in an old staff photo.


Dirty Rotten Dumpers 

Recently down Oyster Cove Rd an individual was fined $100 000 for the illegal dumping of asbestos waste. 

It is therefore unbelievable that people still risk heavy fines by dumping, particularly when council will pick it up and dispose of it for free with their kerbside collections. 

There was a time when our tip at Lemon Tree Passage was open 24/7/365 and the problem was far less. Today it is a transfer station with restricted hours and limits on the types of rubbish that they will take. 

This has led to the dumping of rubbish in the bush which costs council and owners of properties a fortune to dispose of. 

So brazen were dumpers that a few years back a houseload of furniture was actually dumped near the boatramp in Henderson Park in full view of nearby homes. 

But, dear readers, spare a thought for the dopey dumpers who went out of their way to get caught by leaving their unsaleable trash up against the fence of our Vinnies charity store at Tanilba Bay. 

Pleading illiteracy cuts no ice in court as the rubbish was actually dumped beneath a sign which warned of a hefty fine and stated that the site was under surveillance. 

It costs a fortune for charity shops to clean up the unwanted mess dumped outside the stores or in the collection bin. Therefore,donors are asked to visit the store in business hours and have their items assessed by the staff before they leave them. 

Photos: The dumped rubbish in Henderson Park......The latest dumping underneath the warning sign.......The sign in the window says it all.....and....Staff with unwanted items.


Memories of the Plaza 

A bare lunar landscape with just one pile of masonry and another of scrap metal are all that is left of the once bustling centre which was once the social and shopping hub of Tilligerry. 

It was very much a people friendly place where traders looked after one another and locals could socialise and interact. 

The wide, tiled forecourt with two entrances lead down to Bi Lo and the newsagency. Shoppers made friends with the business owners along the way. You could more or less get anything you wanted which kept cash in the town as there was really no real need to leave the peninsular. 

Some of the businesses included a hot bread shop, two banks and a building society, a couple of real estate agencies, a fish shop, a cafe, dress shops, a men's wear, a shoe shop, a butcher, a greengrocer and others. There was also a chemist and a haberdashery and a flower stall. A music shop and a jeweller traded for a while. 

Before the electronic age swamped in, few people had personal computers and mobile phones were more or less unknown. This left a need for internet access and Port Stephens Shire Council stepped in and kick started TACE (Tilligerry Adult and Community Education) a shopfront which was more or less an internet cafe where residents could use computers, photocopy and be taught the new age technology. They could also practise art and crafts. 

TACE relocated to the LTP Library when the plaza was vacated. It is has more or less shed the name TACE with the various groups and clubs which operated under its umbrella now operating out of the Old Lemon Tree School Site. 

Free lessons in electronic gadgetry are still given each Thursday and free Wi Fi  is on tap six morning each week. our own online news service is still put together there which gives residents local news which they can't get anywhere else. At its peak it had as many as 2000 'hits' each month and could be viewed from anywhere in the world. The advent of social media has somewhat decreased the readership. 

Photos: The Plaza site after demolition, and Lynley Keers and Heather Hargreaves from our Lions Club handing over a cheque to TACE volunteers Mary Kay, Sue Hamilton and Carole Walker.

Reefs Not Needed 

The construction of wild oyster reefs in Port Stephens is not needed according to industry insiders. Instead, they believe government funding should be spent on what the growers need and want. 

One farmer puts it this way: “ Our farms provide perfect nurseries and foraging havens for marine creatures in the food chain,” he said. “What's more, our oysters, being filter feeders, play a huge role in creating a better water quality,” he added. 

“We operate under a strict quality assurance regime so that  Port Stephens Oysters have a reputation for consistent quality,” he stated. 

Oyster farmers are very careful to maintain their leases at a high standard. Indeed every year they set aside one day where they gather to clean up the foreshore and mangroves. This also brings them together for a lunchtime barbeque near the boat ramp in Henderson Park, Lemon Tree Passage. 

Last year it coincided with a State Government initiative to clean up the coastal esturine systems after the big floods. 

Contractors set up their base station in the park and retrieved material washed up on the foreshore,the islands and items still floating in the bay causing navigational hazards. This included dinghies, logs, tyres and oyster baskets which they gave to the farmers. The rest went to the tip. 

Port Stephens already has man-made reefs and nursery areas in the form of marinas, breakwaters and groynes. Other areas however still need oyster reefs to establish colonies and Sydney Harbour is a prime example. 

With this in mind, Tilligerry growers have donated, at cost, tonnes of oyster shell for this purpose. It came from dead oysters which fell victim to QX disease and were stockpiled at their depots beside the creek. 

 The rejuvenation of the harbour is already working, resulting in fish numbers increasing and apex predators such as sharks and seals returning.

 “ If government agencies want to help us,” said one  farmer, “they should devote more resources to policing our leases.” 

“There are hefty fines for people mooring on our white boundary markers or entering the lease itself. More patroling is needed,” he remarked 

“We were almost wiped out when a bushfire swept down on our depots a few years back despite a request to the Lands Dept. to burn off the fire hazard. Nothing was done. We once again remind them of the risks of litigation should lives or property be lost,” he added. 

On a brighter note, Fisheries are constantly developing new disease resistant oysters in an effort to combat the crippling infections which have plagued the industry for years. As well as this, new technology for the efficient growing of oysters means costs are coming down. 

Finally, more good news: Very high prices were paid for oysters over the festive season. This lifted the spirits of an industry which has suffered a series of setbacks over recent times. 

Photos: Two million dollars worth of dead oysters which were the result of QX disease......The same oyster shell being readied for transport to Sydney for recycling as reefs.....and state government officers and oyster growers at the annual cleanup day.


Plaza  Progress 

The Tilligerry Plaza, once the shopping and social hub of the community has gone. 

Before its opening in 1983, just two corner stores served the immediate needs of the area. Both of them had groceries, a post office and bank together with a liquor licence and a petrol pump outside. They also sold and delivered newspapers. 

The opening of the Plaza meant that people no longer had to drive Nelson Bay or Raymond Terrace for their weekly shopping and no longer did they have to take 'eskies' with them to keep dairy products cool. 

In the new complex, Bi Lo was the supermarket drawcard with a newsagency, bakery, two banks, a building society, a chemist, a butcher, a fruit shop, a cafe and other variety shops catering for the needs of residents. 

On top of this, another strip of shops included a medical practice, an optometrist and a dentist. 

The construction of the new centre on the main road with Coles at its focal point sounded the death knell for the Plaza and slowly the businesses closed or relocated. 

Sadly the old building fell into disrepair and became derelict with vandals trashing the centre. Vermin infested the place and the fire brigade had numerous callouts to deliberately lit fires. 

Despite onsite meetings with council officials, where the public called for its removal, nothing happened until last year when 'The Caswell' retirement complex was announced at a public meeting at historic Tanilba House. The company involved announced the construction of a quality retirement village. 

The first stage is more or less complete with the last of the old building now little more than piles of rubble and twisted metal ready to be removed. 

Work on the 54 unit retirement village is expected to be complete by the

end of this year. Those who are interested in the details can find them on the website:  which includes pictures, unit plans and the village layout.        

Photos: An onsite protest meeting about the old derelict site.......A working drawing of the proposed retirement village.....and the last of the plaza is demolished.

More on Mangoes 

Since our last story on the bumper mango season, locals are coming forward with their own mango tales. 

One family picked some 200 but another lady most certainly holds the record. She has so far harvested 1500 (and that's not a typo). What's more, there are still some left on her one and only tree! 

Every flat area in her downstairs is covered with them and her air-con is in overdrive as she tries to keep them cool while she gives them away. 

The tree which we showed you a picture of in the previous story is now bare. Thieves or the owner have stripped it.It has always been a target as it is close to the nature strip in his front yard. 

Photo: This tree is now bare of fruit. 

Swans Draw Tourists 

The biggest drawcard in Tilligerry for tourists used to be koalas. Sadly, most of them are now gone and a sighting of one in the wild is rare. 

There are however, many other native creatures to be seen along the bush tracks and boardwalks that rim the waterways. Kangaroos, echidnas, goannas, and a huge number of bird species abound and at the moment black swans are here in large numbers. Around 50 of them have taken up residence in the shallows of Tanilba Bay and Mallabula where they browse on the ribbon weed at mid tide. 

Their life cycle is similar to that of the pelican as they migrate to the inland marshes to nest and rear their cygnets. 

One rarely known fact is that some 25% of the males (cobs) are homosexual. That's right! Apparently they hunt the females (pens) off their clutch of 4-8 eggs and rear the young as their own. 

Another lesser know thing about them is that they were hunted to extinction in New Zealand by the Maoris when they arrived. Since then they have been reintroduced and thrive. So have the Aussie possums which now number around  28 000 000 and attract a bounty. 

Swans are rather wary and keep their distance from humans and particularly dogs which chase them in the shallows. 

Recently they have been gathering on the beach at Tanilba and there is a reason for this. You see they need fresh water and get this from a stream which comes out of the big easement which spills onto the sand flats opposite Peace Pde. 

They are also sensitive to wind and rough water so they relocate to Oyster Cove and Tilligerry Creek when these areas are more tranquil.   

Photos: 'Heather' one of the last wild koalas in Tanilba. She has since died....and wild swans  drinking fresh water on Tanilba's sand flats.

Mangoes Looking Goo

Locals who have mango trees are looking forward to a better than average season as the fruit  starts to firm up. They are ready for picking around mid February. 

There are however problems as possums like to dine out on them and fruit bats from Snapper Island fancy them as well. Indeed one waterfront home owner with several trees along the fence line has at times been driven mad by mangoes raining down on their single storey tin roof at night. This prompted him to pick all of the overhanging fruit and give it to friends. “It was like living in a kettle drum,” he said. 

The local record for a crop was held by Reg and Peg Petitt from Tanilba Bay. They had an old fashioned 'turpentine ' mango in their front yard. They counted some 1200 fruit on the tree one year but there was a problem as Reg explained. 

 “I would hear 'plop,plop,plop' at night as people dropped them into buckets,” he said. “I didn't mind them taking the fruit as long as they asked first,” he added. 

Another local with a tree close to his front boundary was sick of the thieves so he propped up a sign against the trunk stating that the tree had been sprayed with poison. This stopped the pilfering. 

We cropped the photo of the mango tree so that potential pickers could not identify where it was. 

Photo: A local mango tree with this season's crop.


The  Firey Fisherman 

There's really no need for expensive boats, fish finders and travelling miles to sea to catch the big ones. 

Fish come to where the food is and good fishing can be had in and around the marina at Lemon Tree Passage, the Passage itself and even on Bull Island.

Big jewfish have been caught in the Passage, usually at night and on slack water. Bream and flathead are lurking under the marina and on the big tides fish follow the channels right into the centre of Bull Island. 

In winter, blackfish congregate in and around the swimming pool and amongst the marina piles and a wreck on the edge of the island. 

On top of this, blue swimmers are caught in the Passage and the mangroves  circling the island are the home of mud crabs. 

Keith Wiseman was an old time fisherman in the '70s who specialised in garfish. He'd mesh for them over the weed beds but he also used fire to get stuck into fish inside Bull Island. 

Keith would wait for a bumper high tide at night and row his clinker built boat into the entrance of the main channel which flowed into the island more or less opposite the old police station. He'd then mesh it off from side to side with a gill net and keep rowing into the centre of the flooded island. 

Our intrepid fisherman would then pour petrol onto the water and light it with a match. The blinding flash would spook the fish and they would dash for the deeper water of the channel. 

It was then a just matter of hauling in his gill net and collecting the fish. Simple as that. 

Believe it or not , cattle were also grazed on the Island and a windmill run bore supplied them with fresh water. The Kelly family tells stories of catching mullet and prawns inside the flooded shallows of the island and an of an aggressive bull which lived there. It had to be shot but attacked them  when they turned up with their rifle. They ended up in a tree but despite five bullets in the forehead it still didn't fall over!    

Alan Gibson's magnificent drone footage will give you an idea of the Island at full tide. You can view it by punching in 'alan gibson drone lemon tree passage 2'. 

One more thing: You can't fish off the marina itself  unless it's from your own boat which is berthed there but you can anchor nearby and flick your line in amongst the piles. 

Photos: freeze frame from Alan Gibson's drone footage....Alan and his drone....and Ron Gunness fishing for blackfish inside the old tidal pool and a one kg blackfish he caught there.

Eagle Zulu 36 

Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Delta, Eagle, Foxtrot: These are the first six call signs  in the phonetic alphabet and are essential for radio operators of Marine Rescue to learn. 

With over 10 000 hours of service and 32 rescues under his belt, the late Charlie Casey was very familiar with them. Indeed his own call sign 'Eagle Zulu 36' is still remembered by old time mariners to this day. 

But, dear reader we are perhaps getting ahead of ourselves. We need to backtrack to the 1980s to trace the history of the formation of the Coast Guard in Lemon Tree Passage – and it wasn't all plain sailing! 

Foundation members met in the old fire station. Indeed the building could be used by anybody as all the locals chipped in to erect it. 

It was used as a kindergarten, a baby health centre, a cinema, a party venue and even as a makeshifr morgue when a body was fished out of the bay and laid out on the pool table. 

The Coast Guard had their own locked beer fridge but the firies would sometimes tap out the hinge pins and help themselves to the odd freebie. 

Private boats were used for rescues and one early vessel hit a submerged log and had to be beached. 

The first radio shack was built on private property near the creek . They even had their own helipad when Bernie Henderson had hundreds of tonnes of rock dumped into the waterway. A RAAF Iriquoi helicopter did a test landing on it. 

A silver salver was awarded to the boat crew one year when they made a dangerous rescue in stormy seas. 

They have now been rebranded as Marine Rescue and work under strict protocol of training and procedures which are linked to other emergency services Australia wide. 

To honour the memory of Charlie, a granite rock was set in the middle of a garden in the turning circle behind the boat ramp. His name and details were inscrided on a brass plaque fixed to the rock. 

Want to know more? Our local history book gives an in depth look at the Coast Guard. 

Recently the plaque disappeared and it was thought that it had been stolen. 

 This wasn't the case as it was refurbished , put back in place and the boulder relocated to the top of the new boat ramp which was named in his honour. 

Bernie Henderson was also remembered with the fire station being named in his memory. 

When it closed, the memorial sign was given to the Henderson family as a memento of a great citizen who put the community's need well ahead of his own. 

Want to know more? Our local history book is a wealth of knowledge. 

Pictures: Charlie's plaque relocated at the new boat ramp.....Lisa Henderson at the fire station named after her father.....and our local history book.

The  Snake 

Those who think that the big waterfront makeover at LTP is finished are wrong. You see, the Piazza will not be left just bare with reflections from the concrete adding to the heat. It will be painted or stencilled with a 'cooler' colour to make it more user friendly. More shade sails will be added. 

On top of this, a new amenities block will be constructed  and the old one given over to Marine Rescue for storage. Their base station atop of Whitbread Drive will remain in full operational mode. 

But there's more! 

The final link in the chain of walkways and boardwalks circling the peninsular is almost finished with the last strip of Rudd Reserve being formed up and made concrete pour ready. 

It has been made more interesting by being designed in a serpentine style which is environmentally friendly as it snakes its way around the reserve and existing trees. At the very end it curls back to Cook Pde so that users can then walk or cycle anywhere they choose. 

They ten have the option of continuing along the foreshore to Mallabula, heading up the hill to Marine Rescue or taking any of the fire trails that lead to the water tower and the BoM 'golf ball' and the ridgeline back to the stairway from the main road. 

No doubt, the coming holiday season will see these walkways and trails given a thorough workout. 

The foreshore walkway is wide enough for cyclists and will incorporate a static exercise station  and shaded seating. 

Photo: The 'snake' pathway approaches the small parking area in Cook Pde.


The Widest Street in Town 

Residents of Avenue of the Allies Tanilba Bay should thank developer Henry Halloran for the 'free' eight metres of land in front of their homes. 

You see, land was very cheap in the 1930s and he made the road extremely wide. This means that Council is rebuilding the road to the standard width and leaving a wide grassy verge between the pine trees and residents' front boundaries. 

Originally there was a rough gravel strip between the stone pillars and the arched gateway. The road was later sealed. 

As the suburb grew, the archway proved to be a problem and was struck by tall trucks and buses. It had to be raised. 

Currently, the  $4 000 000 rebuild is about one quarter finished with drainage in place and kerbing and guttering complete up to about the Clemenceau Crescent intersection. 

The roadbase has been compacted and awaits the arrival of the tar sealing crews and their machines. By April 2024, with favourable weather,  the whole rebuild should be done and dusted. 

Cr. Steve Tucker who spent years lobbying to get funds allocated for the rebuild said that the work was on schedule with no real engineering challenges. 

“The sandy base means no problems with excavation and by diverting traffic down side streets there will be minimal impact on residents,” he said. 

“With the isolation of each of the four stages, there is no need for costly traffic control measures,” he added. 

“In tandem with the new landscaped roundabout, the upgrade will make something of 'Gateway Statement' for those visiting our peninsula,' he stated. 

Photos: Ready for resealing, Ave Allies today.......As it was in the '50s.....The arch being raised in the '80s.....and  Steve Tucker: Thumbs up for the makeover.


Pampering  the Pines 

The felling of Norfolk Island pines in Avenue of the Allies at Tanilba Bay may at first glance seem an act of wonton vandalism. Not so. It's all part of the grand plan to upgrade the thoroughfare and conserve the vegeation. 

These towering trees were planted either side of the road many years ago. Those on the southern end died due to poor drainage. They were replaced by paperbarks which suit waterlogged areas. Those at the arched gate end thrived in the sandy soil. 

The first mention of these trees was by Captain Cook in 1744 and he suggested that they were ideal for ships' masts and spars. They weren't as the wood was too soft. 

They did however make excellent decorative trees for foreshore boulevards and walkways as they were wind and salt tolerant and suited the lighter soils. 

After inspection by an arborist, two of the pines were found to be diseased and were cut down. Another died some years ago and was removed. They will be replaced after the roadwork is finished. 

Meanwhile, to protect the trunks from accidental damage, fence palings, secured by strap iron have been put in place until the heavy machinery moves on. 

Landcom, in developing its Koala Bay estate, planted them at the entrance to Fairlands Rd Mallabula some 15 years ago. One is now around ten metres tall while others, closer to the water table are more stunted.   

Photos: The lopped trees beside those with protective sheathing....and the thriving pine at Fairlands Rd.

Trees Can Think 

Did you know that trees can think? Well, not really but they do respond to stimuluses that make them appear to have brains. 

For example, if trees think they are going to die, they put all their energy into reproducing fruit or seed to the detriment of growth. This gives their species a better chance of proliferation. 

Fire is also a perfect trigger to kick start the regenerative cycle in our native plants. They shed seed into the nutrient rich ash and the sunlight penetration through the open canopy starts the cycle, particularly after rain. 

If you look around the town there is one native tree that is in full blossom at the moment. That's the angophora costata which is closely related to the eucalypt. It's a coastal tree with pinkish bark which it sheds in summer. 

They also drop limbs easily and form many nesting hollows for birds and mammals. Some years there is little or no blossom which bats feed on but this season it's unlimited. Parrots also feed on the seed pods. 

Our Xmas trees are also having an early season. This native tree loves sandy soil and a certain Mr Crawley in the 1930s made it his mission to preserve them. Indeed his acreage around Crawley Ave in Lemon Tree Passage has many of them thanks to his fencing the area and using pigs to reduce the understorey and thus fire risk. 

Another tree in full bloom at the moment is the jacaranda which is a native of South America. Wood turners prize it and it even retains its bark on the lathe and thus an interesting patina. 

Photos: Trees making a statement: The jacaranda, angohora and the Xmas tree.



How Our Foreshore Has Changed 

By the time you read this story, the great waterfront makeover of the Lemon Tree Passage foreshore will be a reality, ushering in a new future for the town. 

On the other hand it will create a degree of nostalgia for those who liked it the way it was in the 'good old days'. 

The following is a story of how things developed and gives us an insight into what life was like before the two-stage $4 000 000 upgrade. 

Backtrack some 80years or so and life was so very different for the 30 odd souls who called the place their home. The foreshore had swampy inlets which only disappeared when the suburb was developed in the 1960s.  Indeed the road opposite Henderson Park is still below the level of king tides. Mosquitoes and sand flies were in plague proportions. 

There was the corner store and a hand connected telephone exchange at a house down the end of Cook Pde . It was then called 'Kooindah'. There were  clinker built boats for hire and very narrow weekender fishing shacks built out over the water. 

The last fishing shack to disappear was that of Skipper Jewel. Skipper had an idyllic life. You see, his house was right in the middle of the park. He had access to the toilet block and had food and beer delivered . A pet cockatoo acted as a watchdog and he did very well out of his crabbing business. Skipper would row out into the Passage and run out a sunken, baited gill net. The blue swimmers he meshed up would be cooked in his 'backyard'. Skipper would then hang a painted 'fresh crabs' sign over the verandah rail. They went very fast. 

After he died, the council was ready to bulldoze the shack but suddenly, out of nowhere his brother appeared and laid claim to the building. 

Rather than upset the locals, council waited for him to pass on before getting rid of the structure and making it part of the park.     

Of all the 'one off' characters who hung around the foreshore, little Willy Rooke was one of the most colourful. He would cash in soft drink bottles at the corner store. The owner put them in crates out the back. Willy would then pinch them a few days later and cash them in at Reggie Carey's fruit shop. These too were put behind the shop and our budding entrepreneur would once again recycle them at the corner store. On and on it went. 

To sell the blocks of land in the big 1960s subdivision, the company flew up prospective buyers in a flying boat from Sydney. Those purchasing land got the flight for free. The agents would pick high tides for the sales day as it was hard to get ashore at other times. 

People who wish to know about the early history of the town can borrow a copy of our local history book from the library. 

The photos give some idea of the changes from the early days up to the present. 

Photos: Local children on the foreshore in the '50s.......The old jetty and tidal pool......the last picture of the wharf demolition....and the completed piazza today.


 Link to the Stars 

After being shown mobile phone footage of some 20 bright shining objects in the night sky over Mallabula, we did some digging. 

It turns out that these celestial orbiters are actually some of the 5000 'Starlink' satellites which are part of the 'SpaceX' initiative. 

When at full capacity there will be around 42 000 of them and they will generate a projected $30 billion in revenue. 

They can be manoeuvred  and the ones seen on 11th November  were arranged line abreast and more or less evenly spaced. 

Keep an eye out for them and tell your friends. With Xmas coming it might be a good idea to show the kids and tell them that it's Santa and his helpers checking them out. If they've been good, he and the reindeers will drop in Xmas eve. If not....well, they might just zoom past. 

Photo: A freeze frame from video of the lights.


 Council Seeks Help 

Port Stephens Council seeks the public's assistance in identifying those responsible for the deliberate removal of trees in public reserves and parks. 

This was highlighted recently when many she-oaks (casuraina equisetifilia) were sawn off in a forested area beside the tidal drain near Henderson Park, Lemon Tree Passage. This drain runs from Cook Pde, under a new footbridge and then into the bay. Other newly planted trees in the car park have suffered the same fate and when replaced they too have been either uprooted or snapped off. 

After inspecting the damage, council officers posted warning signs and letterbox dropped the street. The signs have since been torn down. Council will replace them. 

The deliberate and long term problem of poisoning or chopping down of trees to improve water views has seen council plant new trees, festoon the larger dead branches of poisoned trees with bunting or even by placing shipping containers to block the view of the suspected culprits. 

It's not a one-way street however with greenie activists planting trees in reserves to obstruct residents' views . Such was the case in Tanilba Bay where 'koala trees' (eucalyptus robusta) were planted in between existing paperbarks (maleleuca quinqinervia) and swamp mahoganies. They mysteriously 'disappeared.' 

Council asks any residents who see those chopping down trees or poisoning them to record it on mobile phones or dash-cams as evidence which will secure a prosecution. 



Photos: Destroyed she-oaks in Cook Pde LTP.....replanted damaged trees in Henderson Park …..and illegally planted trees in Peace Pde Tanilba Bay.

Million Dollar Makeover 

When Port Stephens Shire Council  found out that they were eligible for a state government grant to improve foreshore facilities, they jumped at it. 

Local Councillor Steve Tucker puts it this way: “We grabbed it with both hands, submitted plans and got around $1 300 000 for improving the Lemon Tree Passage waterfront in Henderson Park. Indeed, this was the second big grant, the first being for the construction of the tidal pool, the public wharf and the boat ramp”, he said. 

The work is now nearing completion with all kerbing and guttering, pathways and landscaping  now finished. On top of this, the concrete serpentine walkway along Rudd Reserve has crossed the new bridge over the tidal inlet and is headed towards the far end. 

In the near future, the old amenities block will be given over to Marine Rescue and a new facility will be constructed. 

“It's win, win , win  all round,” said Steve. “Businesses will prosper from the increased traffic and the piazza will become the focal point of the development. This section will be completeted in the next few weeks and be open for the peak summer season,” he stated. 

Tilligerry has become very popular for locals and visitors alike with the upgrading of both the Tanilba foreshore and Caswell Reserve at Mallabula.

Indeed, with the new pathway, the option of circling the the peninsular is now a reality. 

Steve sums it up like this: “From the end of the new walkway there are many options for trekkers. They can follow the rough bush track to Tom's Beach  Mallabula or they can find their way to the Marine Base station at the top of Whitbread Drive. There are fire trails to The BoM weather dome  and  across the ridgeline to the main road. Alternatively, the unmade section of Tanilba Road will lead them to the boardwalks in Tanilba and up to historic Tanilba House, he said. “I can envisage a council sign being erected to show the options available,” he concluded. 

Footnote: Henderson Park was named after the legendary fire captain Bernie Henderson who built the old marina.  Rudd Reserve keeps alive the memory of nursing sister Jenny Rudd who died tragically young and Caswell Reserve is named after Lt. William Caswell who constructed Tanilba House in the 1830s. 

Photos: In the beginning: Cr. Tucker discussing plans with PSSC officers........Work in progress........The last concrete pour....and....All done and dusted.

Our Soccer Star

 Local historical societies like to keep alive the memories of local people and events that add to the richness of our social fabric. 

Port Stephens Family History, Society based in Lemon Tree Passage, is one such group of researchers and over the years they have documented some outstanding citizens who have lived here. 

Dr A A Doyle our first doctor comes to mind as does decorated war hero Grant Lindeman. Another was Wally Clayton, a master spy for the Russians. 

Recently the spotlight has been shone on Reg Date who spent his childhood here and went on to be the highest scoring soccer player Australia has ever seen. 

Perhaps, dear reader we are getting ahead of ourselves and it would be wise to backtrack to the 1920s. At that time Reg's mother ran the general store in Lemon Tree Passage and his father was a professional fisherman. Things were not very happy in the Date household. Reg's father was prone to drunken rages and at the age of eight, Reg was sent to Wallsend to Live with his grandmother to escape the violence. 

It was here that he took up soccer and became something of a star at school. He went on to play for Wallsend and Canterbury Bankstown clocking up a total of 578 goals (and that's not a misprint!) He represented Australia five times, three of which as captain. Reg also turned down an offer to play in England. 

In the year 2000 Reg was enshrined in 'The Team of the Century' and his record goal score will never be eclipsed. 

Soccer was a relatively minor game in the early days but today, particularly after Australia's meteoric rise in the World Cup, it is attracting new players in droves. Indeed Tilligerry has around 20 competitive teams and expect more in the future.   

Pictures: Reg Date in later life....Grant Lindeman war hero...and the infamous Russian spy Wally Clayton.

Changing of the Guard 

A celebration of some forty years of community service on Thursday, 1st June marked not so much the end of  TACE (Tilligerry Adult and Community Education)  but a chance to take on new directions for community needs in these fast changing times. 

But, dear reader, we are getting ahead of ourselves and to understand things in perspective we must backtrack to 1983 when the Lemon Tree Passage School closed and moved to the brand new Tanilba Bay site 

The old LTP buildings were then used for computer lessons, as a baby health centre, a library and by various arts and crafts groups. 2001 saw a chance to relocate when a vacated doctors' surgery/bank became available in the Tilligerry Plaza. At this time the use of personal computers was starting to take off, so much so that an internet cafe had been established in the Kooindah centre. Mobile phones were very expensive and were the size of a brick. TACE catered for this growing need. 

Another move, forced on TACE came when the Plaza closed and they then shared the library in Lemon Tree Passage. Our local Lions Club which had  already fitted out the Plaza Office came to the rescue by building computer desks in the library. Volunteer workers doubled up as librarians and harmony was the name of the game. The rest of the groups still operated out of the Old School Centre. 

The whole set-up came under the umbrella of Port Stephens Council but administrative problems were increasing. Something had to be done so it was decided to disband TACE and make each individual group responsible for its own operation and answerable to Council. 

This change saw PSSC  provide computers for the library and operate a free wi-fi service and provide computer access. Sue Hamilton will still be giving free assistance of a Thursday for those residents who find their electronic devices challenging and the Tilligerry Lions have taken over the 'Port Stephens Literature Awards'. 

Reflecting, Sue said that TACE over the years not only assisted the locals but also saw holiday makers and visitors copying documents and catching up on their email. 

“It wasn't unusual for sailors in yachts to wander in from the marina to sort out their affairs,” she said. “ We had some $250 left in our kitty and decided to pass this on to the Tilligerry Lions Club which has supported us for so many years,” she added. 

Photos: Matthew Elvins and Dorothy Putica at the old Plaza site.......Helen Mizrachi and Sue Hamilton  being recognized for their efforts.....and Lions Kevin and Jan Colman receiving their cheque.


Lift for Library 

But where is it? This is most asked question by those wanting to borrow books in Tilligerry. 

The town public library is situated on the main road opposite the Lemon Tree Passage Motel and when open, has a 'library' flag fluttering from a pole in front of it. 

It's been there for decades and is staffed by volunteers and operates from 10am until noon six days per week. (Monday to Saturday). 

A big makeover a couple of years back saw new carpet, reader friendly furniture and a slick paint job spruce it up. 

What's more, a heavy cull of the least read books and an injection of new stock has something for everyone, including children. 

Tilligerry Men's Shed workers have just removed the old overgrown sign and have carved  a new one which is much more visible. 

Business is more or less back to normal after a year or so of roadwork disruptions and the construction of a new police station two doors away. Council have taken over the computer access and has 2 brand new computers. A new scanner is on order and you will now be able to print A4 colour pages.

The library augments the mobile service which visits the villages of Tanilba Bay, Mallabula and Lemon Tree Passage on a rotational basis. 

Both services have now recovered from the Covid lockdown restrictions and are back up to pace. 

Photos: The LTP Library after the makeover......and the new sign giving it better visibility.



Book Donations



Tilligerry Community Library has always enjoyed the support of the community donating their books. Whilst we do appreciate them, we can only accept them with prior consultation. Our hours are 10-12 noon Monday to Saturday and our phone number is 4982 3477 if you wanted to call up or pop in and check with us before bringing them in. Please don’t leave them at the door.








More than Just a News Service

You've seen our illuminated sign '' beside the main road near the golf club as you drive into town at night.

With news services moving away from the print media, for over 10 years now has moved with the times and gives local residents the news that they can't get anywhere else. Indeed, those travelling around Australia or internationally can keep up to date with a click on a mouse or a mobile phone.

Before our 'hit meter' broke down we were averaging around 2000 views each month. We have a few businesses supporting us but we really don't want advertisers as we are a not for profit community service.

That's not all! Each year we run a national Literature Award (a short story competition) with the support of PSSC, Club Lemon Tree and News Of The Area.

On top of this we offer the public internet access, assistance with the operation of electronic devices and photo copying.

It gets even better. There are constant requests, usually from residents new to the area, for general information about available services and organizations out this way.

We now have an extensive community directory listing some 80 of these which includes: churches, clubs, social groups, cultural events, schools, tourist information, community support, JPs, medical services, play groups and pre schools.

For more details scroll to the bottom of this page or click on 'Literature Award' and 'Community Directory' in the left hand green side bar.

Photo: more than just news.

              1. elebrating the re-opening.

New Community Directory

As the Tilligerry community expands and changes, there is the need to provide residents (particularly newcomers) and tourists with a directory of service groups, clubs and businesses. With this in mind, TACE (Tilligerry Adult and Community Education) will be compiling one in the near future.

It will be available in both an online and printed format.

TACE works under the umbrella of PSSC and coordinates community groups such as art, lead lighting, family history and mah jong. It has its home base at the LTP library. It also publishes our local online news service which has grown to be the major source of local news for residents .Most months it gets over 1500 'hits'. The Port Stephens Literature Awards, a national short story competition, is another initiative of TACE and is run by volunteers.

If you would like to publicise your club, social group or business, email basic contact information to: and it will be considered for inclusion. There will be no charge for this service.

Photo: TACE volunteers Helen Mizrachi and Sue Hamilton at the library.


Tilligerry Adult & Community Education Inc. (TACE)

Don't forget that we have the only public internet/computer access open 5 days per week. We are located in the community library (opp the Motel) at Lemon Tree Passage.

Normal Hours

Monday         10am to 12 midday
Tuesday         10am to 12 midday

10am to 12 midday

Thursday       10am to 12 middal

10am to 12 midday



Cost to non-members of TACE is $5.00 per hour (minimum charge $1) and printing/photocopying is 25c per sheet (black and white only)


Thanks to Club Lemon Tree and Tilligerry Lions for assistance in keeping our equipment up-to-date. We have 3 computers running Windows 7, MS Office 2010, 1 computer with Windows XP and MS Office 2003 and a Brother printer/fax.


If you have any stories you want to put on the send an email to or ring Sue on 4982 3986.


The local Tilligerry Adult and Community Education  (TACE)  volunteers headed by Sue Hamilton has got the site up and running. They welcome all community groups to send in their news or details of upcoming events.


Sue Hamilton said that online news was the way of the future. “It is very hard to promote the activities of community organisations these days so we have decided, as a community service, to provide a site for all to access.  I’d ask people to go onto our website at and have a look and  if it suits them they can send their photos  and stories to for consideration.  Photos should be of low resolution and news items brief, non political and edited. This is a free service run by volunteers and supported by Port Stephens Council.”


 Photo:-   Check it out – Sue Hamilton at the TACE office in the LTP Library.