Excited at Appointment
A broad depth of both teaching and administrative experience sees Abigail Sawyer well qualified as the newly appointed principal of Tanilba Bay Public School.
“I'm excited,” she said when we caught up with her during the school holidays as she began to prepare for the term ahead.
“I'm really looking forward to meeting the teachers, parents and children,” she added. “I believe very much in community engagement and will be out and about developing partnerships between the school, business and social groups,” she said. “I'll be on a very steep learning curve!”
Abigail is currently looking at real estate in the area where she plans to relocate from Byron Bay with her partner Paul and two daughters.
Her previous appointment was as a teaching principal. Prior to that she acted as Relieving Director of Education at Lismore and was also part of a leadership team at Varsity College in the Queensland public education service.
Photo: Full of enthusiasm: Abigail settling in at the helm at Tanilba Bay.
Have you ever wondered what those orange plastic balls on the flagsticks of the golf course greens are for? Well, they indicate to golfers where the hole is placed. If the ball is up high on the stick, the cup is at the back of the green. Lower down indicates it is nearer the front. This helps golfers in their choice of clubs when approaching the green. The hole placement is changed regularly to even the wear and tear on the grass.
The one on the 12th green at Tanilba can't be adjusted anymore because it is melted onto the flagstick. Indeed, the pin is charred and the flag shredded. The whole thing had to be replaced. What's more the entire green is now a spider's web of burnt grass. Steve Tucker sent us this photo taken shortly after a violent thunderstorm had swept through Tilligerry recently.
The death of a golfer from a lightning strike at Hawk's Nest some time back sent a dire warning for players to hasten off the course as a storm approaches. Even our pool must be evacuated if a lightning flash is seen up to 30 seconds before a thunder clap. With sound travelling at 343 metres per second this buffer zone can extend to as far away as 10 km.
Photo: Tanilba's 12th green after the lightning strike.
More than just a Shed
With a wide variety of plants and vegetables under cultivation Tilligerry Men's Shed has now expanded the services it offers to the community.
A new green-house has increased the ability of this self help group to grow and propagate a broader range than was the case previously.
It also has a problem: there are too many tools being donated.
A spokesman for 'The Shed' said that the over-supply of duplicate hand and power tools had seen them run their own 'garage sale.'
“We just couldn't cope with the volume of donations from deceased estates and from residents moving to retirement villages,” he said. “Our recent 'make an offer' sale day was very successful in reducing the mountain of surplus tools,” he added.
The Men's Shed is open from 8am 'till noon Tuesdays to Fridays and welcomes new members. They repair furniture and household items and do 'home visits' to effect small repairs at a minimal cost. The public is welcome during opening hours to purchase plants from their extensive nursery and to seek advice on repairs that need doing.
'The Shed' is located by turning in off the main LTP road at Mallabula's Catholic Church and turning right towards the skate park.
Kevin Colman will answer any queries on: 040 7279 844
Photo: Tanilba's Thea Derksen casts her eye over the orchids on sale.
According to Cr Steve Tucker, Mc Cann Park Lemon Tree Passage is to become something of a community hub for the various social and craft groups which are currently scattered around the town.
“We must look forward,” he said. “By relocating the buildings from the Old School Site and the library to Mc Cann Park, we will create a 'Cultural Hub' with high visibility. Clustered together beside the TAG centre in the old fire station, those involved will be able to work together for the betterment of the town, the increasing tourism and the residents,” he stated.
“Purely on a cost based analysis, this will save some two thirds in power water, sewerage and ongoing maintenance costs to PSSC,” he added. “It will also provide an ideal site for village fairs with a larger part of the reserve still available for such events,” he said.
“ All of these buildings are wooden and moving them is very cost effective and easy,” he concluded.
Photos: Old School Centre buildings and the LTP Library – to be relocated to Mc Cann Park.
The Big Honey Sting
With as much as 50% of honey sold at retail outlets being suspect, local apiarists look like having a field day.
Most big brand honey is made from locally blended and imported products but scientific testing focusing on Chinese 'honey' doubts that it is a natural nectar gathered by bees. They believe that it is a synthetic fake.
Supermarkets have withdrawn suspect honey from their shelves but Tilligerry residents are assured of quality locally sourced honey from resident apiarists. Grant Morley can be contacted on 0421 938 047 and Bert Willey has his honey for sale from the 'Habitat'. It costs $12 per kg or $6 for a half kg. His home number is: 0429 442 050.
Local bee keepers look like they may have to move their hives with very little flora left for the bees to collect nectar from since the big bushfire. There is however the clover on the golf course which is unaffected and the big paperbarks (Melaleuca quinquinervia) provide a rich source of strong, dark honey when in full bloom.
Perhaps the most successful honey producers seen on the peninsular were greenkeeper Ken Doolan and his side-kick who kept their hives in the bush beside Tanilba Golf Club. It was the label on the bottles which made their honey walk out the door and it stated:
DOOLAN”S NOCTURNAL NECTAR
This product is guaranteed to cure warts,
piles, ailing hearts, constipation, blood
disorders, gastric reflux, liver dysfunction,
failing eyesight, hearing loss, rickets, acne
and hair loss.
ABSOLUTELY NO RESPONSIBILITY TAKEN
FOR THE APHRODISIACAL SIDE EFFECTS
OF THIS PRODUCT
Photo: Bert Willey's honey on sale at the 'Habitat'.
Killing with Kindness
Bin chickens, tip turkeys, sandwich snatchers or picnic pirates: these are the names given to the ibises which have given over their lives as wading birds to take up urban residence.
Some 11 000 breeding pairs were counted in the Macquarie Marshes in 1998 but not a single pair has been seen there since the year 2000.
This begs the question whether we should free feed native birds at all and the answer from The NSW Office of Environment and Heritage is a resounding “NO!” They argue that even feeding special parrot mix seed is equivalent to avian 'junk food'. Apparently it makes the birds sick and the feeding stations spread disease.
In their eyes, those who want to encourage visitations from native birds should plant natural bushes and trees which they can forrage in.
Possums should be left to fend for themselves as well. Urbanized possums which take up residence in boxes or roof cavities can breed twice in one year due to the abundant food supply. They also develop a fatal skin disease if they are fed yeast products such as bread. On top of this possums are the prime suspects as hosts of the mosquito borne Ross River virus.
So dear reader there you have it! You could well have the best intentions in the world but the simple message is to leave Mother Nature alone and she will look after our wildlife all by herself.
Photos: Daniel Mc's iconic snap of him free feeding a pelican; A parrot feeding station and a resident LTP ibis.....Should we be free feeding native creatures?
“Ecstatic!' This is how Lemon Tree's Mike Stanwell felt after the conviction of former Archbishop Phillip Wilson recently.
It had been a long and lonely road for the former catholic school principal who reported child sexual abuse to church officials some 30 years ago.
Despite assurances that something would be done, nothing eventuated and the priest involved was moved to other areas where he continued to abuse vulnerable children.
It was, however, at the Special Commission of Inquiry that Mike's evidence, along with that of others, exposed the systemic cover up by the church hierarchy of serial abusers. In tandem with the Royal Commission, this lifted the lid on the widespread abuse of the young in many other church groups.
The dogged stance that Mike Stanwell took over such a long time has taken its toll on his health. He now lives in quiet retirement in Lemon Tree Passage.
“I'd like to thank the locals out here and the community support groups who have been with me along this journey,” he said. “ I just told the truth as I saw it and in the end justice has prevailed,” he added.
Through all of this ordeal Mike's Christian faith has not wavered. He is still a regular attender at Mass on Sundays in Mallabula's Catholic Church.
Photo: Mike Stanwell....”I simply told the truth.”
It is with a tinge of sadness that Tilligerry says farewell to Mike and Mary Pitt. The couple is returning to the UK to be close to their family.
Originally from England, they spent most of their working lives in South Africa. A working visa saw them relocate to Western Australia in the year 2000 where they stayed for some two years.
They moved to Tanilba Bay and particularly enjoyed the village atmosphere of the place. Mike involved himself in the Newcastle group 'Computer Pals' of which he was treasurer for two years. Both also joined the local 'Probus' club.
Mary was heavily involved with both the local garden club and the one at Medowie as well. She also volunteered to mentor children at Irrawang High School as well as those at the local 'Good Kids' club. She developed many friendships through involvement with the patchwork group and the mahjong club.
“We will be keeping in contact with you all and thinking of the happy times we spent together,” she said.
Mary and Mike will be living with their son in Surrey until they decide on a permanent residential location.
Photo: Mary and Mike... “We will keep in touch!”
History and Heritage Book
A grant of some $1400 has enabled Port Stephens Family History Society to proceed with the publication of their new book.
Our local Shire Council has financed the project which aims at preserving and expanding the history of the convict constructed homestead at Tanilba Bay.
The society's members are currently examining primary source material to cobble together a detailed picture of the old stone mansion, its original owners, the Caswell family and its subsequent history.
Society president Denise Gaudion said that they had recently uncovered documents which relate to an artefact which was believed to be lost.
“Records show that a breast plate inscribed 'King of Tanilba' was presented to the Newcastle & Hunter District Historical Society. We believe that it was given by the early settlers to 'King Jimmy', a local indigenous leader. Apparently it had been unearthed in the area around the year 1900,” she said. “We will be delving deeper into this historical thread as part of the documented history of the Worimi people and their interaction with the Caswells,” she added.
'History and Heritage of Tanilba House' is planned for publication some time during 2019 and will augument the many books printed by the society over the years.
Those wishing to gain more knowledge about the society, its publications and its membership can contact Denise on: 0422 303 171 or key in 'port stephens family history inc' for more detailed information.
Photo: Researchers Lola Drummond, Sue Jeffreys and Denise Gaudion at their home base, the 'Old School Centre' at Lemon Tree Passage.
STOP PRESS - Closing extended to 12 October!!!!
It's on Again!!!
News of the Area (NOTA) are again linking arms with Tilligerry Adult and Community Education (TACE) to co-sponsor a national short story competition which is now open for entry.
Former school principal and chief judge Lloyd Hogg said that with prize money of over $1000, the competition will draw entries from all over Australia.
“We have emailed over 100 writers' groups in all states and with exposure in the three NOTA editions we expect that many local creative writers will be submitting entries,” he said.
“It costs just $10 to enter one story and $5 for each additional submission,” he added. “There is a limit of 2000 words and writers can send in stories on any topic.”
We want to thank Geoff Walker for his tireless work on these awards for well over 15 years, he has stepped away this year and Sue Hamilton is now the contact.
Full details of prize money and entry conditions can be found on tilligerry.com by clicking on 'Literature Award' in the left hand green side bar.
Entries close on 30th September and results will be announced in November on a date to be advised.
Sailing Season Underway
A start to the sailing season has seen as many as ten catamarans vying for competition points in the waters of Tanilba Bay.
Tanilba Sailing Club is particularly keen to mentor the next generation of sailors and has vacancies for four young people who are keen to become involved.
Commodore Mike Colecliffe said that under a $30 000 state government grant, Tanilba Sailing Club had purchased five 'Bic' trainers.
“It is very much a family thing and a parent must be willing to assist their child with rigging the craft and putting it in and out of the water,” he said.
“Sam Breaden is in charge of the juniors and we have already developed some very promising young sailors,” he added.
Six of the club's catamarans will travel north to Forster for the 'Wildcat Regatta' over the October long weekend.
Those interested in joining the club can contact Mike on 0419 999 785 or call in to the club on race day each Sunday. The entrance is directly opposite the front of Tanilba Bay Public School.
Photo: Junior sailors with their 'Bic' trainers at Tanilba Bay.
Local crabbing identity 'Claws' has been testing the waters and the word is that the mud crabs are back.
“It's been my experience that the run starts around September and ends about May,” he said. For some unknown reason they go off during November but are back with a vengeance shortly after,' he added.
“Anywhere near the mangrove swamps is a good place for your traps and I've found that they come on better when the bigger tides are on the rise,” he advised.
Bait? “Fresh fish frames are ideal and it is wise to run the traps on a daily basis as octopuses will get in and leave you with little more than shells,” he said.
“You can legally keep female crabs but I'm keen to see them multiply so I release them,” he added.
With many rules governing the taking of crabs, wannabe fisher folk should google: 'mud crab rules nsw' to ensure that they comply with the law. Currently, with the retail price at somewhere between $40 and $90 per kg. they are a popular species for illegal crabbers. These people in turn get targeted surveillance from the fisheries officers. Be warned!
Photo: 'Claws' with an early season mud crab.
Using his former racing number of 101 former motorX and superX champion Luke George is powering ahead with new business ventures.
You may very well remember us catching up with Luke at his Salt Ash home track some time back. It was here that he was running a 'Boot Camp' for aspiring young dirt bike riders in the school hollidays. He had also branched out into the production of venison jerky under the 101 lable.
This whole new direction in Luke's life was accidental – literally. In 2009 the then 20 year old suffered a near fatal crash when a 130 feet (40 metre) leap went wrong. This saw him land on his head and hospitalised in an induced coma for seven days.
Sheer force of will had him back on a motorbike in record time and competing but he lacked the 'X' factor that put him ahead of the pack in his glory days. To the amazement of family, friends, sponsors and fans he retired.
Fast forward to 2018 and we now find the seasond businessman and father of two going from strength to strength. His home based jerky business has really taken off big time and the 'Boot Camp' enterprise is just one small part of his dirt bike coaching and mentoring enterprise.
“I've struck a deal with sponsors 'KTM Raceline' and I'm booked out with riders coming from all over Australia, Asia and the USA,” he said. “I'm also working on a clothing range,” he added. “There just aren't enough hours in the day!”
Not a bad effort for a little boy who first saddled up in a dirt bike race at the tender young age of five. Agree?
Photo: Luke (number 101) training dirt bike riders at his private Salt Ash track.
Band now has a Local Identity
Kahibah Brass began as a traditional railway brass band early last century and later became the Kahibah Bowling Club Band.
When, on the verge of collapse some years ago, it was taken over by Lemon Tree Passage resident and musician, Colin Newham formerly of "The Reels", a 1970's music group who converted the band to its modern "Techno Format". They play 50's and 60's music and have performed at Lemon Jam, last year at Tilligerry Festival along with recently at retirement resorts, Palm Lake and The Cove.
Come and hear Kahibah Brass, enjoy some food and have some fun at Club Lemon Tree on Sunday 7 October 2018 from 2pm.
For more information and bookings phone Kathy Davidson on 4982 3567 or email her on firstname.lastname@example.org
A Role Model
Children these days sometimes find it confusing to pattern their lives on adults who display worthy examples of behaviour. The recent bushfires however provided perfect examples of selfless citizens who rose to the challenge and then just simply faded away once the drama had passed.
Our bushfire fighters have always been held in the highest regard by the wider community because they exhibit the values of honesty, commitment, dedication and humility – ideal virtues for the younger generation to emulate.
In the hall at Tanilba School there is an honour board with the names of 'Brooks' Award' recipients proudly displayed. On top of this, in the foyer of the admin block, a framed photo of the man it was named in honour of hangs from the wall.
The 'Brooks' Award' dates back to 1975. It was instigated to keep alive the memory of a tireless LTP Brigade member who died at an early age and it was a very big item at the annual prize giving day. The school principal chose a boy and girl who displayed qualities of ...'industry, community service and consideration for others'....They were awarded a cash scholarship to help purchase school equipment for high school. At a later time it became a joint award from both the Lemon Tree and Tanilba brigades.
Those chosen to present the prestigious award included the Lord Mayor of Newcastle, the OC RAAF Williamtown and the District School Inspector and Education Director. Norm's widow, Eunice, was always in attendance and invited to present one of the school awards.
Sadly, over the years the award has faded somewhat in importance as many other awards and limited time have seen it become just a small part of the overall presentation day activities.
Photo: Eunice Brooks receives her life membership badge from Salt Ash life member Bruce MacKenzie.
Cameron Snags a Job
Jobs with a future in small towns are hard to come by but Cameron Pritchell from Lemon Tree Passage has just hit the jackpot.
The 15 year old has just snagged an apprenticeship at the local butcher shop – and loves it!
Currently he is on three months' trial and his boss Jake Miller is impressed by his his performance so far.
“ Cameron is a quick learner, he shows initiative and has a very engaging manner with customers,” he said. “With dedication he has a bright future ahead of him and he should have no problems handling the three year course,” he added.
Cameron said that it was a good job which he liked and the prospect of earning a regular income very much appealed to him.
Photo: In for his chop..... Jake with Cameron at the shop.
All Smoke and Mirrors
What about 'The Hill?' This is the question being asked by worried LTP residents who were spared by the recent firestorm. This wildfire took out as much as 80% of the bushland on the Tilligerry Peninsula.
'The Hill' refers to the area of scrub between Mallabula and LTP on the northern side of the main road. Even before the big bushfire, two mysterious fires were ignited in this area and any blaze here during the peak of the fire season could be extremely threatening.
Life saving burnoffs these days are almost impossible to do and the procedures required are a source of great frustration to our volunteers.
Take this example:
Worried about the threat to life, property and the environment, Mallabula Parks & Reserves asked PSSC to get the three bushland reserves in the suburb burnt off. They (the council) replied requesting a survey of residents' opinion. This proved overwhelmingly in favour but the council then insisted on three separate environmental surveys. 23 000 words later, they recommended rotational burning every three years. It didn't happen. When asked why 'The Parkway Reserve' wasn't burnt off council said that it had been reclassified as a 'Riparian Zone'. It would not be burnt off because there was a watercourse running through it. More letters and inspections by PSSC and the RFS and they refused to budge saying that it was not a bushfire hazard anyway.
It was only when a young couple applied to build a house opposite the reserve that the sparks started to fly. They were told that they needed to spend $40 000 to 'fireproof' their new house! Bruce MacKenzie and Steve Tucker ended the nonsense but the home owners had already wasted some $15 000!
A report by independent bushfire expert Dr Christine Finlay who measured the fuel loadings saw the RFS and council finally relent. Ten years of effort finally paid off and our volunteers were allowed to do the job.
If, dear reader you think that common sense will prevail you are wrong. There seems little prospect that 'The Hill' will see drip torches before summer. In November 1980 a wildfire roared through this very same scrub. It ended up at the water's edge in LTP. History has a nasty habit of repeating itself. Scary, isn't it?
Photos: 'The Hill' ablaze recently; Dr Christine Finlay measuring fuel loadings and our volunteers burning off the reserve.
In the decade or so since Tilligerry Plaza shut down the abandoned site has become derelict and an eyesore. The building has been a drawcard for vandals, drug users and arsonists.
Corrugated metal hoardings limited the vandalism for a while but recently some of it has been stripped away and the old problems are coming back.
Despite onsite public protests over the years nothing has changed. Recent social media exchanges saw yet another angry crowd of some 60 residents and business owners confront PSSC officers on Thursday 30th August at 4pm.
Ward Councillor Steve Tucker together with PSSC environmental officers Andrew Weeks and Tristan Sullivan explained council's position and answered questions from concerned individuals. Those gathered seemed frustrated by the situation and when a lone loud voice asked:
“Are you satisfied with the answers you've heard?” a resounding “No!” was the reply.
The original plans had the site designated as a public park but PSSC sold it off along with other parks as it was deemed to be 'surplus to requirements.'
At the end of the meeting the council officers said that they would contact the owners and insurers to try to resolve the problem.
Photos: The crowd confronting Cr Tucker and council staff and part of the now derelict structure.
Blues of a Different Hue
Locals and visitors alike may be forgiven for thinking that Lemon Tree Passage has been inspired the Greek island of Santorini.
This jewel in the crown of the Mediterranean Sea has the attraction of being painted totally white with blue domed buildings a drawcard for international visitors.
Currently LTP has a touch of the blues with businesses being painted in different hues of blue.
The Marina Complex, the corner cafe, 'The Poyer's' restaurant over the water and Heather's Place have all colour coordinated their décor and it's purely coincidental.
According to leading businessman Mike Colecliffe, there was no concerted push by the Chamber of Commerce or council to paint the town blue.
“Soft pastel colours give the CBD a welcoming appeal and the shades of blue certainly tone in with the colour of the seascape,” he said.
Photos: Santorini Island, the waterfront shops amd The Poyer's....all looking blue.
The latest fashion option for Tilligerry residents has opened on the LTP waterfront.
Nestled between the pizza shop and the laundromat, 'Carol's Closet' sells high end ladies' fashions, 'fascinators', formal wear, children's garments and shoes.
Former retail manager Carol Purse said that after retiring, she wanted to do something: 'Just for me!' “Fashion has always been a passion for me and the business reflects this,” she said.
“I'll be expanding into men's wear soon and the business will respond to the needs of the locals,” she added.
Currently, “Carol's Closet' is open from Tuesday through to Saturday from 10am to 4pm.
Photo: Alison Walker and daughter Jasmine running an eye over what the store has to offer as Carol assists.
Our Parasitic Pals
Whereas human parasites are seen as pests who bludge off others without giving anything in return, the natural world also has parasites which can be harmful or beneficial.
The channel billed cuckoo is a freeloader which migrates from New Guinea and lays its eggs in the nests of crows, currawongs and magpies during our summer. This leaves the unsuspecting parent birds to rear chicks which are not their own. The hatchlings grow to an enormous size and starve the other chicks as they snatch food from the 'parent' feeders.
If you drive across Pershing Place between Mallabula and Tanilba you will see rows of deciduous plane trees which have been infested by mistletoe. This is not a bad thing, indeed there are some ninety species of this parasite in Australia, nine of which are native. The flowers and fruit are a source of nutrition for koalas, sugar gliders, possums and birds.
After birds have eaten the tasty soft fruit, they wipe the sticky seed off their beaks on a branch. The seed germinates and sends roots into its host tree which it uses as a water source.
Some of the highly infested trees in the Landcom estate have died but most have survived. Many of our natives such as eucalypts, banksias and wattles are hosts to mistletoe but they blend in with the foliage and are hard to see. In Koala Bay during winter they are only too evident as their bright green leaves stand out amid the stark bare branches of the plane trees.
Photos: A Mallabula currawong feeds a parasitic cuckoo chick and a mistletoe infested plane tree in the Koala bay Estate.
Anyone for Tennis?
Feeling sluggish and bored? Sitting around too much watching TV or hooked on the internet? Perhaps it's a touch of the winter blues?
Whatever the case, body movement is essential for both physical and mental health. So is interacting and exchanging ideas with others.
One very active, forward looking happy band of locals is the Tilligerry Tennis Club which caters for everybody.
They function under the umbrella of Tennis NSW and are currently looking for members for their mixed mid-week social group on a permanent or occasional basis. The club is located directly behind the Aquatic Centre at Mallabula. Access is via Strathmore Rd.
The courts are also available for hire and details of fees and key pickup points are to be found on a sign beside the gate. Ruth Hatk can answer enquiries on: 0404 973 342.
The club is in the process of applying for grants to re-surface one of the courts and to refurbish the clubhouse.
Photo: On the net: Wednesday social players at the club.
Habitat Powers Ahead
The new incoming executive of 'Tilligerry Habitat' has settled in and promises a fresh, more open approach with public interaction given top priority.
President elect Dorothea Willey said that the volunteers were currently working on new plantings of vibrant native vegetation near the entrance to make the place more welcoming to visitors.
“Of course, the main drawcard is the free ranging koalas which can be spotted from our boardwalks and nature trails,” she said. “At the moment there are four in residence plus many other native animals, birds and a wide variety of flora,” she added. “We also have literature and photographic displays in our eco friendly main building.”
'The Habitat' has a native plant nursery which has supplied some 3 000 food trees to Port Stephens Koalas. It is open from 9am to 3pm every day and their verandah cafe from 9am to 2pm on the fourth Sunday of the month.
New to the area? Perhaps you have retired and want to 'put something back.' Volunteers are most welcome. Give Dorothea a buzz on:
042 944 2050 for details or drop in during opening times and check it out.
The Jimienez family was thrilled with their first sighting of a wild koala in 'The Habitat'. They also got a taste of Mother Nature's full fury when they were stopped by a roadblock at the golf club by a bushfire.
Photo: The Jimenez family, originally from Columbia, ready for their nature ramble.
For small businesses in small towns good news travels fast. Bad news travels even faster. Word of mouth is everything and it will either make or break a start-up venture.
In the case of 'Heather's Place' on Cook Pde, Lemon Tree Passage, the good news has travelled even faster than the recent bushfire. Heather and her staff have been run off their feet.
We gave the cafe the once-over and found it spotlessly clean and inviting.
It is open seven days per week between the hours of 8am and 5pm.
Heather and her staff provide gourmet sandwiches, wraps, coffee, cakes, drinks, ice cream and fruit juice.
Photo: Huxley and Keane Breaden with Sarah Barber at Heather's Place.
Burnoffs Beat Bushfires
It was about five years ago that wildfires ravaged Tilligerry and at the Williamtown meeting which followed, the Zone Manager and Fire Commissioner were asked why no burnoffs had been done. They ducked the question by saying that these decisions were made by the local fire captains.
In reality, our already overworked, unpaid volunteer captains had so many forms to fill in and so many reguations to comply with that they just gave up in frustration. That's why widespread burnoffs really didn't happen anymore.
Put simply, under the current structure, all we are doing is preserving fuel for the next wildfire. The recent catastrophe was the result of massive ground-fuel buildup and it's not even summer!
The ONLY way to change things is to repeal the Native Vegetation Legislation and The Rural Fires Act 1997 (No. 65) to get rid of the top heavy RFS structure and once again empower the trusted local fire captains to have full control over hazard reductions (burnoffs).
YOU can help by making your feelings known to those in a position to change things.
Troy Grant, Minister for Emergency Services:
email@example.com GPO box 5434 Sydney 2000
Kate Washington MP:
firstname.lastname@example.org ph: 4987 4455
82 Port Stephens St Raymond Terrace 2324.
Without a MASSIVE backlash from YOU,the public, nothing will change.
Do something NOW or don't complain the next time firestorms roar in from the west.
Our local brigade is always looking for committed new members and back-up personnel. Scroll down to our previous story for details.
Never, repeat NEVER donate money over the phone to 'blowers'. Google: 'RFSa scandal' for details. There are collection tins and red hat 'money boxes' on the counters of local businesses.
Finally, some bad news and some good: Two suspicious fires before the big one and a couple small 'spot' fires on Saturday night point to arsonists.
Report any suspicious behaviour around the now remnant areas of unburnt scrub to police.
The good news is that this summer Tilligerry will be immune from unfightable westerly firestorms. On top of this, in as little as a year's time, the busland will explode in a riot of colour as Mother Nature responds to the regenerative trigger of fire. Blackboys will shoot their spears skywards and flannel flowers will carpet the heathland. Christmas bells will blanket the Worimi land and a yellow mantle wattle will sway in the breeze.
Photo Gallery: Anxious residents view the firefront from the Golf Club roadblock; A water-bombing float plane rises from the bay at Mallabula; Evacuees settle in for the night in Henderson Park; The RFS fire footprint and the helicopter base station at Mallabula Oval.
How Much Can They Bear?
Can they survive in the wild? This is the question being asked about koalas in Tilligerry and the answer is probably “No!”
We interviewed Jack Boyd before he passed on as he had a detailed insight into the Lemon Tree bushland and its wildlife. He gained this knowledge as an earthmoving contractor in the 1960s. Jack cleared the scrub with his bulldozer for roadwork and the initial subdivision of the township. He stated that he could, in these years, find a koala for a visitor ...'Anytime'.
A boost for the local koala population came when the then bright-eyed young Ian Hicks helped to release some 50 more. He was sworn to secrecy by Bernie Henderson and Norm Brooks. They turned up in Norm's truck and drove slowly over the fire trail between Mallabula and LTP. Ian took the koala cages off the truck and opened them. On the way back he picked up the now empty containers. Nobody (including Ian) was ever told where the koalas came from.
From these times on there has been an accelerating decline in the koala population. Their three big killers: dogs, traffic and bushfires have all increased and have taken their toll. Fewer are found dead today for the simple reason that there are hardly any of them left.
The first conservation sign: 'TAKE CARE KOALAS' was hand carved by the children at the old LTP school in the 1980s and was erected on the edge of the main road. It made no difference. Neither did the numerous council signs put up since. Nor did the Koala Preservation Society's best efforts have any impact in arresting the koalas' declining numbers.
Some 15 to 20 years ago the National Parks & Wildlife Service freely admitted that with the Port Stephens koala, it was...'managed extinction'.
Efforts by Cr Steve Tucker to have the old Lemon Tree Passage School site turned into a koala refuge came to nothing as did a proposal to fence off the 'Habitat' and create a safe haven for them.
There are both some amusing and tragic tales told about koalas over the years. Look at the fuzzy photo. It was taken by a Mallabula Panthers supporter. When the floodlights were switched on for a night-time training session, a lone koala was caught on the field in the spotlight. He headed for the nearest perpendicular object which, in this case was the goal post. This he shimmied up, coming to rest above the cross-bar. This was no mean feat considering that it was made of smooth tubular steel! Another tale is told of a frightened koala climbing up a tradesman's leg, thinking it was a tree! The trady's sidekick told him to lay down and imitate a log. This he did and the koala let go.
Judy Alexander in the LTP Newsgency saw a koala waddle in and climb up the back corner card stand. Here it became confused when it saw two more koalas in the right angled mirror reflections. Judy ushered it outside with a broom.
At the old boat ramp, one climbed a mooring pole at low tide only to be marooned by the rising waters.
The great bushfires of the 1980s saw the local brigade backburning off the ACI sand mine access road just past the golf club. A confused koala crossed the main road and headed for the scrub between the backburn and the approaching bushfire. None of the firies was game to pick it up after Deputy Captain Clive Dent showed them a nasty scar he'd got from one years before. When a RAAF corporal pulled up in his brand new car, they asked him if he had anything they could throw over the creature to save it. He opened the boot and produced a chaff bag. A firey then covered the koala, picked it up and threw it in the corporal's boot. The RAAF bloke disappeared in a cloud of dust to let it go near the waterfront.
At the same fires a RAAF 'Oshkosh' was called in to help near their bombing range. These fast 'knock down' tankers expel a huge volume of water from a remotely controlled nozzle on the cabin top. A koala was spotted in a tall sapling about to be burnt near the road. They blasted the sapling flat. It sprang back minus the koala.
Not too many years ago after a Tanilba bushfire, a lone figure was spotted wandering through the burnt out scrub dressed in a reflective jacket and hard hat. She held a divining rod in her hand. She explained that she was divining for koalas and to ensure success had attached some koala fur to the end. We kid you not!
Photos: Own goal: The Panthers' koala; A road kill koala and a recent shot of one in Henderson Park LTP.
Roundabout 'Gateway' Statement
With the five-way $1.5 million roundabout now operational at Tanilba's entrance, local councillor Steve Tucker expanded on the project and was keen to clarify issues surrounding its construction.
“Let me make it crystal clear about how we got the roundabout,” he said. “It was a grant by the NSW Government which gifted us $1.5 million under their 'Black Spot' initiative. “We had to apply and if computer records of accidents at the intersection indicated we had more than in other areas, we were considered. We made the cut,” he added.
“ There was no way that this money could be transferred to other roadworks, he said.” “If we get extra funds due to a rate increase and are allocated our fair share of road funding, Avenue of the Allies will be the number one priority with Tanilba Rd Mallabula at number two,” he stated.
“The central island of the roundabout will be landscaped and illuminated with power and water supply available,” he said. “On top of this we (PSSC) will be consulting with local artgroups to construct a welcoming mural – a 'Gateway Statement' which will create a positive impression for visitors as they roll into town,” he said. “We will also be consulting with the RSL sub-branch about installing halyards at street level to hoist flags on ANZAC Day. Currently ladders are needed to scale the pillars to access the flagpoles,” he added.
We inspected the traffic flow after the roundabout was opened and noticed a remarkable decrease in the speed of traffic both entering and exiting the town.The structure acted as as 'traffic calmer'.
Pictures: The newly opened roundabout and Cr Steve Tucker....”Gateway Statement' to be erected.
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 tilligerry.com 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: email@example.com 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.
Have you seen the ads on TV where school kids are showing off their new garden built from logs made out of recycled printer cartridges?
Well, if you would like to help with this initiative you can drop off your used cartridges to the Lemon Tree Passage Library (opposite the motel).
The Library is open six days a week between 10 am and noon. Out of hours you can leave them in a bag or box in the alcove at the front door.
Oh! this recycling facility also accepts spent batteries which can be dropped of at the same time.
Our library always has new stocks of books and FREE magazines donated by readers. They are stacked on a table just inside the door.
We look forward to you helping make our planet just that little bit greener and cleaner.
Photo: TACE volunteer Helen Mizrachi: “We need your old cartridges and batteries!”
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.
Monday 10am to 12 midday Tuesday 10am to 12 midday Wednesday
10am to 12 midday
Thursday 10am to 2.30pm * Friday
10am to 12 midday
Cost to non-members of TACE is $5.00 per hour (minimum charge $1) and printing/photocopying is 20c 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 tilligerry.com send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or ring Sue on 4982 3986.
*Please note that during the school holidays our Thursday hours are 10am to 12 midday.
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 tilligerry.com and have a look and if it suits them they can send their photos and stories to email@example.com 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.