Literature Awards 2020 Open for Entry

Look at the picture. That's Phil Murray receiving his Literature Award from judge Lloyd Hogg and Cr Steve Tucker some years ago. Phil went on to write a book about his legendary father 'Gelignite' Jack Murray.

Jack was an all round sportsman and took part in the 'Redex' trials in the outback. 'Redex' was a red fuel additive which was supposed to enhance a car's performance.

Jack took with him sticks of gelignite which he used to blow up hazards which got in his way and some say to blast holes in the tracks behind him to slow his competitors down.

We all have stories to tell and with the lockdown it's a perfect time to sit behind the keyboard and have a go. 

To get all of the details of our annual short story competition (now in its 16th year) go to the left green sidebar of this page and click on 'Literature Award' and all will be revealed.

Deafening Silence 

The furore generated by the proposal to demolish a house in Lemon Tree Passage and put a police station there has died down. 

The problem is that there has been no response from the police property section or the NSW State Government despite requests from residents, local councillor Steve Tucker and a TV news appearance from Doreen Bradley and MP Kate Washington. 

It has been widely known for years that a section of RAF Park Tanilba Bay was the preferred site after inspections by police ministers and politicians. This site would be gifted to the police by PSSC as was the Ambulance and RFS sites. 

For some unknown reason, the police property section wanted a 'quick fix' so they bought a house at 50 Meredith St Lemon Tree Passage and proposed to place a tiny 'off the rack' station there. 

Steve Tucker can't understand why:

“I've approached the General Manager who can see no problem in fast tracking the transfer of the land,” he said. “ People don't like their taxation money wasted and to press ahead with the current proposal means that at least $500 000 of the $1 500 000 budget goes straight down the drain,” he added. “For $1 500 000 we could get a quality station, not one of the little dog boxes that arrive on he back of a truck,” he stated. 

“More than anything ,we want to engage the Police Minister and get the  station site back on track. A public meeting with him attending is the way to go. We now have two police working out of  the rented property in Lemon Tree Passage. Residents don't mind waiting a bit longer as long as we get the type of station we want on the site which was promised.” he said. 

CAN YOU HELP US? We need the general public to swamp those in power to get this issue back on track. If you don't get involved, we will see the HALF A MILLION dollars wasted and a little 'DOG BOX' office dumped in Lemon Tree . PLEASE contact David Elliot Police minister by googling his site and filling in the form. Also, email the police commissioner: with your concerns and contact Kate Washington  and ask her what she's doing about it.   

 Photos: The house which was purchased....and Steve Tucker... “ RAF Park, the preferred (and free) site.”

Police Seek Hoons 

'hoon....noun....a lout or hooligan who drives recklessly.' This is the dictionary definition of  the very type of individual local police are seeking. 

They have been increasingly a problem lately as evidenced by the number of burnout marks left on roads and  in council carparks. Illegal trail bike riders are also active.   

Want to help? Dash-cam and mobile phone videos forwarded to police will greatly assist in tracking them down as will the noting of car number plates. 

Other anti-social activity is also on the rise with the torching of Council rubbish bins. The cost of a replacement bin is $2000 for the unit alone with fitting costs to be added. 

With the warmer weather approaching, residents are also asked to note and report any suspicious behaviour in bushland, particularly in the scrub around Tanilba Bay School and the foreshore boardwalk areas. This location has a long history of deliberately lit bushfires. 

According to Port Stephens Council and the RFS, it can't be burnt off for environmental reasons with the result that the bushland and boardwalks, time and again, fall victim to wildfire. 

Photos:  Torched bins in Caswell Reserve and Bob Hunt helps out at a deliberately lit foreshore fire.


Bathurst Racer Remembered 

This year's Bathurst 1000 will be remembered for two reasons: it was almost devoid of spectators – due to the COVID 19 pandemic –  and it will also mark the end of the Holden team's entries which have dominated the event for many years. 

Tilligerry has long had an association with the Mt Panorama circuit through the legendary car racer John Snow. He lived on the waterfront at Tanilba Bay and, along with his wife Judy, ran two real estate offices bearing the family name. 

John Snow was born into wealth being the son of Sir Sydney Snow and travelled the world buying for the family emporium. Along the way he bought the latest English and European racing cars which he resold and raced himself around the primitive circuits in Australia. 

He was both prominent as a competitor at Bathurst and active as a driver's delegate in trying to improve the quality and safety aspects of the mountain raceway in the 1930s and '40s. He also owned a manufacturing business in the town. 

After giving away the racing game, he involved himself in several business ventures before getting into real estate in Port Stephens. You can spot the family home on Peace Pde Tanilba Bay. It's different from  the other two storey properties as the lover level has three metre ceilings. It was built that way to accommodate the unusually tall grandfather clock which was passed down to him. 

John Medley, a racing enthusiast, has kept alive the remarkable story of this racing legend in a book: 'John Snow Classic Motor Racer' (2010) for those interested in the history of Australian car racing. 

Photo: Racing legend John Snow – memory kept alive in Medley's book


More Burnoffs Planned 

Following two strategic burnoffs in Lemon Tree Passage, Tilligerry RFS plans to do more when conditions are favourable. 

A bushfire buffer zone has been created by a burnoff from the ridgeline fire trail to the water tower and down to the Industrial estate. Another smaller burnof saw the local firies take out a small section of scrub between the access track to the old school site and the back fence lines of homes on the eastern side. 

Captain George Brandenburg said that more will be done as conditions permit and landowners request them. 

“There is a set protocol for doing burnoffs and we must comply with the rules.” he said. “Once all the boxes have been ticked we will become active,”he added. “The Covid 19 requirements have somewhat slowed us down this year. This has impacted on our training and response capabilities,”he concluded. 

Residents and landowners who want dangerous overgrown scrub on or near their properties burnt off should contact the Lower Hunter RFS to initiate the process. 

Photos: The recent burnoff at the Old School Site in LTP. 

Open Invitation 

Tanilba sailing Club has issued an open invitation to the general public to use their picturesque waterfront site  at Tanilba Bay to relax and watch the sailing. 

Club stalwart Steve Breaden said that the foreshore boardwalks were linked with a concrete path across the club grounds and the shaded mown area was an ideal spot to forget the worries of the world and wind down. 

“Why not bring your deck chairs and a picnic hamper?” he said. “We like to see visitors and the area is protected from both the sun and wind” he added. 

Tanilba Sailing Club is a family oriented club and caters for beginners with lessons from experienced sailors in training sail-boats. The racing flotilla is made up of catamarans and new members are most welcome. Their 2020 – 2021 season has already begun and the club has produced many national and state champions over the years. 

They sail of a Sunday from 11am. Access is from the turning circle opposite Tanilba Bay School and each year they host sailing titles in various categories. More details can be found on their facebook page. 

Photo: Jigging with the rigging........Steve Breaden and Mike Colecliffe preparing for some action.

Beach Boats Banned 

In the second wave (pardon the pun) of foreshore clean-ups, boats and other craft not stored in council racks are to be removed. 

Boats (usually dinghies) left on the grassy verge will have a luminous sticker fixed to them giving their owners fair warning that they will be removed and disposed of within a certain time-frame. 

Commenting on the initiative, Cr Steve Tucker said that Tanilba Bay would be targeted as part of Port Stephens Council's second sweep of beaches to improve public access and 'clean up' the public parks and reserves. 

“Council has boat racks available at a nominal cost and these are where the dinghies are to be stored,” he said.” There is no place for the storage of larger craft such as sailing boats,” he added. 

“Our foreshore reserves are becoming incredibly popular of a weekend and during school holidays as tranquil places to escape from the lockdown restrictions. We want to present them in the finest state of upkeep,” he stated. 

 Photo: Boats to be removed from Tanilba Bay.

Local Distillery Opens 

“Shaken not stirred.” This classic one-liner is a catchphrase of the legendary James Bond and you too can use it when asking for a cocktail at our new distillery. You see cocktails become much colder when shaken and it mixes in the flavours much better. 

The Lemon Tree Passage Distillery has recently opened on the  waterfront. It is located beside Henderson Park with outdoor seating so that patrons can relax in the ambience of panoramic views of the bay. 

Susan and Mark Green have pioneered the venture after Mark had extensive training in a renowned Tasmanian distillery. 

Susan said that patrons have their choice of locally distilled gin or vodka and can order drinks by the glass. Alternatively they can purchase full or half sized bottles to take away. Wine can be supplied by the glass and they are currently negotiating to become an outlet for a Hunter craft beer. They also plan to develop a unique liqueur, 'Limoncello' in the near future. 

“Currently we are open from Thursday through Saturday from 11am to 7pm and of a Sunday between 11am and 4pm,” she said.“Patrons are also welcome to bring their own food and nibblies,” she added. 

Why not check it out? Even during the first few days they drew quite a crowd. Cheers. 

 Photo: Raising a glass.....Susan and Mark celebrating the opening of their new business venture. 



New at the Jade Court 

The Su family are the new proprietors of the Jade Court Restaurant at Tanilba Bay. 

Sam Su said that the family was seeking a quieter lifestyle than that of Western Sydney. 

“We ran 'The Oaks' Chinese restaurant in Campbelltown for three years and when this business opportunity presented itself, we decided that it suited us,”he said. “Our family migrated from Guandong, mainland China in 2010 and Australia is a great place which rewards people who work hard,” he added. 

As for the restaurant, the kitchen has been refurbished and the new owners will be eager for feedback from the locals. 

“Our menu will be very much based around what our customers want and we are only too happy to meet their needs,” he said. 

For the past month or so the family has been cooking all the meals at the restaurant as part of the changeover. We wish them well. 

Photo: Sam flanked by his parents 'Uncle Mao' and 'Aunty Lin'.

How Venona Caught Wally 

Lemon Tree Passage Library gets many quality donations of books to augment their extensive range. Without doubt, the most interesting came from a Tanilba resident, Peace Clayton around 30 years ago. Her husband Wally had died some time before at their Salt Ash property and after taking up residence in Lloyd George Grove, the frail elderly lady was moving to a care facility. 

A library volunteer collected the unwanted books and amongst them was a copy of 'Australian Spies and Their Secrets.' What's more it was signed by Wally. 

This in itself is unremarkable apart from the fact that the thin, quiet, elderly Michael Drive resident happened to be none other than Australia's master spy for the Russians. 

Both Peace and Wally were committed communists and it was only after the partial decryption of the Russian secret code that a ring of spies in the UK, America and Australia was exposed. 

Project 'Venona' was run by the American Secret Service and its operation  continued for some 40 years. By wading through the mountains of coded messages collected throughout the war years, the dedicated team of codebreakers exposed the 'Cambridge Five' headed up by master spy Kim Philby. It also showed that secrets were coming from Australia. 

This prompted the Australian Federal Government to form ASIO. Walter (Wally) Clayton, known as agent 'KLOD' by the Soviets was identified as the one who gathered information from other spies and passed it on to the Russians. 

Despite enormous pressure put on Wally, he failed to crack and retreated to Port Stephens where  he became a successful professional fisherman. A secretly recorded death bed confession, thought to be lost, proved once and for all Wally's role in espionage.   

As for Peace, she passed on and, never wavering in her convictions, left her entire estate to the much depleted Australian Communist Party. 

And the book? It was thought to be stolen or lost during the recent upgrade of the library. Fortunately, it has resurfaced and takes pride of place on the shelves and despite its great value it is still available for the general public to borrow. 

Photos: A freeze frame from ASIO surveillance footage of Peace and Wally.... The recently refurbished Lemon Tree Passage Library.......and the Soviet hammer and sickle. 

Fitness and Fun

The Tilligerry Aquatic Centre is emerging from its winter slumber and is offering up a broad range of activities for locals and visitors alike. 

Actually, the two months' annual closure didn't happen this year and there was a reason for this. Aside from the Covid -19 lockdown, Tilligerry became the only pool open because both Tomaree and Lakeside were out of action for technical reasons. This saw dedicated swimmers and squad training transfer to Tilligerry. 

Currently, Aqua-Fitness classes are up and running and Learn to Swim lessons will follow. The water is a warm 26 degrees C and lap swimmers  are coming out of hibernation. For a bit over $1 per day season passes are available. 

All details can be had on 49  824 730 or you can call in to the pool before 12 noon seven days per week and find out what's on offer. 

Photo: Fitness instructor Vicky Farrell (and friend) limbering up at the Doreen Bradley Pool.

Anglerz Corner

 No, our spelling hasn't lapsed! 'Anglerz Corner' is the new bait and tackle store recenly opened in the LTP waterfront complex just two doors up from 'Kippy's'. They stock a wide range of fishing gear as well as a limited amount of basic convenience items such as fruit, bread, and milk. They also stock ships' chandlery. 

Proprieter Arthur Smiley said that the brined bait was much more popular with anglers than the frozen variety. 

“We stock pilchards, worms, squid, pippies and other baits,” he said. “This site presented us with an ideal business opportunity. It will dovetail well with our online sales of angling gear, particularly lures,” he added. 

Interested? Drop in at any time and have a look around. Alternatively, check out their facebook site for more details. 

Photo: Anglerz NOW.

Visitor Numbers Surge 

Port Stephens is becoming an increasingly popular destination for holiday makers and tourists and we have COVID 19 to thank for this. 

With overseas travel and Queensland in lockdown, city residents are turning to coastal regions for holidays and day trips to escape the cities and their problems. 

Reports from Nelson Bay show solid bookings and Tilligerry is becoming a very popular destination for Newcastle and Hunter residents. 

Henderson Park in Lemon Tree Passage is awash with day trippers of a weekend as is the refurbished Caswell waterfront reserve at Mallabula. 

The 'Habitat' foreshore nature reserve and its interactive tourist centre is also emerging from lockdown. It was closed because Sydney visitors from 'hot spots' were seen as a threat in spreading the virus. 

Now open, the nature trails and boardwalks give visitors a chance to see koalas in the wild and other native flora and fauna in their natural setting.Spring is the ideal time to visit as the blossoming wildflowers are a sight to behold. Standard protocol of social distancing and contact details are needed in the centre which has a unique 'hay bale' eco-friendly construction base. Entry is free. All details of their centre and its offerings can be found  by entering 'tilligerry habitat' in a search engine. 

Photo:  A 'resident' koala at the nature reserve.

Pelican Problems 

Look at the two photos. One is of a local pelican roosting above the garbage bins near the boat ramp in Lemon Tree Passage. The other is of a car whose owner left it parked below another waterfront light pole in Port Macquarie. We urge  residents to steer clear of the area close to the bins and the fish cleaning tables in Henderson Park for obvious reasons.






Baby Steps 

The first baby steps in the long awaited start on a $1 300 000 rebuild of Tanilba Rd Mallabula have been taken. 

A team of council officers recently visited the surrounding scrub to do an environmental assessment which is required before the heavy equipment gets to work. 

The field trip was headed up by Craig Dews and Natalie Nowlan. They were particularly keen to note the type of native flora and fauna which is found in this area as well as the hydrology of the watercourses. Their recommendations will be considered as part of the design process for the roadwork and drainage systems incorporated into the upgrade. 

Over the years this same native bushland has been the focus of numerous paper wars between the local residents, Parks and Reserves Committees, The Rural Fire Service and Port Stephens Shire Council. 

In being classified a 'Riparian Zone', it was never to be burnt off. Furthermore, the RFS stated that it was not a fire hazard yet a young couple building a home nearby was required to spend some $45 000 in fireproofing their home. 

Intervention by councillors Bruce Mc Kenzie and Steve Tucker saw common sense prevail. The home owners saved $25 000 and our local firies were able to burn it off. 

The big question is: when will the heavy equipment turn up and start work? Next year seems to be the starting date.....but don't hold your breath. 

Photos: 1. Craig Dews and Natalie Nowlan (kneeling) with the survey team and  2. Tilligerry RFS burning off the adjoining scrub.

Power Rebate for Seniors 

Remember how the state government dished out $250 petrol cards for seniors?  Well, there are more goodies just a phone call away for those golden oldies who possess a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card. 

You can now get an annual $200 rebate on your power bill and it's only a phone call away. True! Just dial 13 77 88 and follow the prompts. 

We do, however have some advice from people who have gone through the process: 

Have your Health Card , the THIRD page of your electricity bill and your bank account details at hand as they will be needed to complete the process. 

There could also be some more benefits to be had. Just ask the operator to check if there are any more concessions you are entitled to. He/she will then connect you to another officer who will make a phone appointment to check all your details and see what's available. 

Of course, if you have the time, you can do it all online but you'd much prefer to use the time you have left skydiving, white water rafting of deep sea diving, wouldn't you? 

Photo:  $200 power rebate available to seniors.

Jade Court Changes Hands 

The Jade Court is in the process of changing hands with the new owners of the business currently learning the ropes in the kitchen of the popular local restaurant. 

The Chong family will shortly be moving to Sydney to pursue other business interests. 

Speaking on behalf of the family, Helen Chong said that they would like to thank the locals for their support over the last five years and  that they will greatly miss their regular customers. 

“Our main reason for leaving is that my husband and I would like to spend more time with our young children. We just don't have have near enough free time working in the restaurant," she said. 

We will do a feature on the new owners after they are settled in. On a separate note, the Soo family who still own the property are well settled back in Sydney and have opened another business. 

NOTE: The Jade Court is once again open for dining -in meals after the Covid 19 shutdown restricted their business to takeaways only. 

Photos: The Chong family: moving on....and Lyn and David Soo.... New business opened in Sydney.   

Club Saves the Day 

It looked like the annual Port Stephens Literature Awards would be put on ice this year. You see, sponsorship had fallen away due to the current recession and despite prize money being reduced it was expected that it would not break even. The awards (now in their 16th year) are for short stories up to 2000 words on any subject. 

Despite being closed for months, Club Lemon Tree has seen its way clear to support the awards despite a cash flow problem. 

Club President Kevin Colman explains: “We see ourselves as very much a partner in community development and support,” he said. “In good times we have distributed around $50 000 annually to worthy community groups,” he added. “ This year the Covid 19 crisis has meant that we have had to cut back our community contributions to around $24 000. As one of our long term beneficiaries, Tilligerry Adult and Community Education (TACE ) will still be included,” he said. 

TACE coordinator Sue Hamilton said that it was a great relief to see the awards funded for 2020. 

“The $300 first prize will now be named the 'Club Lemon Tree Award', she said. “Our judges are already assessing the early entries,” she stated. 

Full details of the awards and entry conditions can be found on by clicking on 'Literature Award' in the left green side bar. 

Photo: Club President Kevin Colman OAM …..Happy to continue sponsorship of Literature Awards.

Quirky Quilters

 'Quirky Quilters' is a group of ladies which meets at the old Lemon Tree Passage School site each Friday between 9.30 am and 12 noon. 

They have just completed a group project which has resulted in the residents of Tanilba Shores Retirement Village being presented with some 39 single bed quilts and nine knee rugs. 

Lynley Keers explains how it came to be: “We were given the  quilt tops and material by a lady who had been a long time quilter,” she said. “We then supplied the wadding and backing and put it all together,” she added. 

“Recently our  group presented the finished quilts to Tanilba Shores,” she explained. “The handover had to be outside, as the village is under strict rules due to the COVID 19 threat,” she said. 

Accepting the quilts on behalf of the residents, Admin Officer Michelle Nash was overjoyed. “What a wonderful gift;”she remarked. “It will brighten the lives of our residents and form a bond with this caring group of local ladies,” she said. 

Note: Ladies interested in quilting can just turn up at the Old School Site at the times designated to find out more details of the group and its activities. 

Photo:  Jan Colman and Lynley Keers presenting the quilts to Tanilba Shores' Michelle Nash.

Character Building

Want to see your children grow up with a sense of responsibility? Want to get them involved in healthy character building activities which lead to positive lifestyle options? Perhaps you would like to have them develop leadership skills and be aware of other cultures and the environment. 

If these are some of the qualities you would like imparted to your children, the the Tilligerry Scouts are just the thing for your family to become involved with. 

Currently they are looking for people to become group leaders and for boys and girls between the ages of five and 18 to join the movement. 

Interested? Give Ralph Francis a buzz on 0414 474 612 for all details. 

Recently, community worker Sue Hamilton was notified by Chief Commissioner Neville Tompkins OAM that she was to be honoured with the Special Services Award at a date to be fixed. Sue served as treasurer for several years. 

Photo: Sue Hamilton with her award notification.

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.



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.

Normal Hours

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

10am to 12 midday

Thursday       10am to 2.30pm *

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 send an email to 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 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.