Literature Award Winners 2020 

Our judges are currently assessing the entries in the 2020 Port Stephens Literature Awards and the results will be posted in the left green sidebar of this page later in November or early December. The initial judging panel reads each short story and comes up with a short list of the top 20. The three finalists' judges then independently rate them and add up the scores. All of the twenty finalists will receive cash prizes or certificates by mail.

The top three will be notified by phone as well.  

Photo: Coordinating judge Lloyd Hogg assessing entries.

The Quarryman 

A great advantage for the development of Tilligerry was that we had our own quarry. This meant that the cost of the roadbase was very low and the damage to our main road was minimal because there were no heavy long haulage trucks breaking it up. 

The remains of the old quarry are still there and can be accessed from behind the Marine Rescue Base Station on top of Whitbread Drive. You can also get there via a track behind the Industrial Estate which winds its way to the old tailings dam at the bottom of the site . Kids used to fish for yabbies there. They probably still do. 

We were also very lucky to have a large deposit of conglomerate rock. This formed an excellent foundation for our roads. It had large rounded stones inside it and broke up easily after being ripped by a bulldozer and run over by the  tracks. 

Jack Boyd held the lease to the quarry with PSSC having a small interest as well. He used the rock to put in most of the town's roadworks for a real estate developer in the 1960s. They even named a road after him. He also had a sand pit along the rutile road between Tanilba Bay and Oyster Cove. On top of this, he had the contract to mine the sand dunes behind Tanilba Golf Club for ACI, a glass maker, which processed the sand at Tanilba Bay. 

Like his father, Jack served as a councillor on Port Stephens Shire. He was also president of the Lemon Tree Passage Volunteer Bushfire Brigade. He retired and sold both his quarry lease and his ACI contract in the 1980s and spent his later years deep sea fishing, a lifetime passion of his. 

If you wander around the foreshore you may come across some large boulders which comprise sandsone mixed with rounded rocks. These have come from our old quarry and were put there to help control foreshore erosion, many years ago.

Pictures: Jack in later years....A conglomerate rock ...and Boyd Ave LTP, named after the bloke who built it.


The Covid Connection

 In some ways the Covid 19 crisis has had a positive impact on the Real Estate market as Coastal's Kaylah McIntosh explains: 

“There is a much greater level of inquiry since the pandemic has hit Sydney,” she said. “People are looking to escape the stress levels of the major population centres to relocate to smaller coastal towns,” she added. 

Rodney Keers from Portside Real Estate agrees:

“We have had increased sales to those wanting to purchase holiday homes with a view to retiring here ,” he stated. “Prices are stable but listings are getting fewer,” he added. 

Both agree that there is upward pressure on rents as there are very few houses available for lease at the moment. 

Vacant. flat land is at a premium with asking prices somewhere between $260 000 and $300 000 according to the two agencies. 

Photos: Portside and Coastal Real Estate agencies......Covid 19 has had an impact on local real estate


Foreshore  Refreshments 

Dale James' refreshment van has taken up station on Tanilba's foreshore and promises to be very popular with locals and visitors alike. 

By strategically placing the van opposite the end of President Wilson Walk, he is not only highly visible, he is mid point between the western end of Tanilba Bay and Mallabula. This is the most favoured walking track for dog exercisers, fitness fanatics and day trippers getting out and about. Indeed, the COVID 19 lockdown has seen a flood of Newcastle day trippers swarm into the area. 

Formerly from Gunnedah, Dale will initially be open seven days per week between the hours of  7am and 11am.  He will most probably extend the hours during summer. 

He sells tea, coffee, soft drinks and has a 'Slushy' machine at hand for the warmer weather. 

Dale is also available for events such as parties and carnivals. He can be contacted on: 04 100 412. 

Photo: 'Cheers'....Locals  Kay and Paul Murdoch , regular customers at the van. 


Caswell Concerns 

Caswell Reserve Mallabula has always been the target of vandals with the old amenities block being constantly trashed. On numerous occasions, tiles were ripped off, doors smashed from their hinges and fires lit inside

That's changed now with the new, relocated modern facility being brightly lit and erected closer to the watchful eyes of neighbours. 

Arson is still a problem however with youths torching garbage bins and picnic tables, particularly late at night of a weekend. They also light fires along the foreshore boardwalk and on the decking of the viewing platform at Billy's Beach. 

Residents are asked to note details of cars parked in the area late at night and to take down  their number plates and report them to police. 

Two decorative high quality bins were recently torched at a replacement cost to the ratepayer of $4000. On top of this, council's insurers have forked out countless thousands of dollars over recent years to rebuild burnt out sections of boardwalk. 

Residents' assistance with this problem would be most appreciated. 

Photos: The torched bins and their replacements and local firey Dave Knight at a foreshore boardwalk fire. 

Oysters Weather the Storm 

The lockdown of interstate and overseas destinations to travellers has given our local oyster industry a boost. 

Holidaymakers have flocked to Port Stephens and other seaside destinations and are determined to enjoy themselves by making the best of the options available to them during the Covid-19 restrictions. They also eat out in the cities and spend their recreational dollars in fine dining. 

Whatever the case, our oyster farmers are achieving good prices for their product and in some cases find it hard to keep up the supply. 

But it isn't all plain sailing as one local grower explains: 

“ Continuity is everything to us and with shut-downs due to weather events or possible pollution concerns we can find it very difficult to run an effective business,” he stated. “Should we be out of action in the peak demand weeks leading up to Christmas, our retailers will go elsewhere and just might not come back,” he added. “Our expenses don't stop and we still have to pay wages and pay other bills without a cash flow,” he said. 

Most oyster farmers believe that they collectively need to have more input with the regulatory authorities to work out a better way forward. The general feeling at the moment is that there is too much of a gap between the growers and those who control their industry. 

Photos: Grower Richard Hamlyn-Harris at his Lemon Tree Passage depot and  a dozen prime quality local oysters.


Rocky Road 

The various stone structures around Tilligerry have an interesting history and Tanilba House has more than its fair share of them. 

The original homestead was built from stone retrieved from the site itself or close by around the foreshore. Burnt oyster shell was used as mortar to point it up. 

The arched gates, those at the main road, 'The Temple' and other features were added in the 1930s by legendary developer Henry Halloran with a certain Mr Crawley, a local, carting rock to the construction sites. 

If you look closely, there are two types of stone used. The rounded rocks are part of the family of 'conglomerates' which are cemented into a sandstone-like material which can be easily broken up. Along Tanilba's foreshore you can still see large conglomerate boulders put there in earlier efforts to control foreshore erosion. 

The other type is an igneous rock and this was blasted from a quarry behind the Vince Woodman oval at Mallabula. This type of rock is hard and brittle. When struck with a sledge hammer it actually sends sparks flying. 

The last time stone was extracted from this site was in the 1980s when the local fire brigade needed some decorative rock to build a garden in front of the fire station in Lemon Tree Passage. A friendly RAAF demolition officer agreed to blow it up for them but he needed an excuse to do the job.

Bernie Henderson, the fire captain, rang the base reporting a suspicious object in the old quarry which looked like an unexploded bomb. Out came the experts and a huge explosion rocked the town. 

So much stone was blasted that the firies had enough not only for their station but plenty left over for paving and edging at their own homes. The edging  still surrounds a little garden outside the old station which is now an arts and crafts centre. 

Another quarry operated in Lemon Tree Passage for many years. We might tell its story some time down the track.

Photo: 'The Temple of the Story' below Tanilba house...built in the 1930s.

Books Galore

During the lockdown local residents turned to books to escape the worries of the world as Tilligerry had many outlets. The council delivered books from its stockpile direct to doorsteps when the mobile library and the LTP facility closed during the crisis. Since then we are more or less back to normal with a wide array of options available to avid readers.

Both of our charity stores keep books at give-away prices and our RSL sub-branch has a library of its own. On top of this, The Senior Citizens Centre has a well stocked library.

A big problem is what to do with excess books. Our council library in Lemon Tree gets a huge volume of donated books but there is just not enough shelf space to house them. Even two book fairs couldn't shift the mountain of surplus stock. Some 500 Coles bags full were sold and the residue was sent to New Guinea in a container.

We now have a new kid on the block in the form of a 'street library' whereby a resident has erected a weatherproof box with free books inside. Anybody can take them or replace books with ones they no longer need. 

Interested? Our men's shed will knock you one up at a minimal cost. They will even carve you a sign. Alternatively, you can use your handyman skills to do the job yourself.

Photos: A Mallabula street library box and the obliging men's shed blokes who can help you.


 Avian Invasion 

If you thought that the invasion of ibises (bin chickens) was bad, think again. Tilligerry has been inundated by corellas as this inland species, for whatever reason, has flocked to the coast in record numbers. 

So vast is their population in seaside areas that some councils are considering culling them. Alternate control measures can see predatory falcons introduced to reduce their numbers. 

They feed mainly in grassy areas as our photo of a flock browsing on the RSL oval testifies. They also make good pets. You can teach them to talk and they live for as long as 50 or 60 years. 

It is, however, important to feed them a diet that mimics their natural food which includes green grass seeds and tubers and roots which they prefer. A standard bird-seed diet is not enough. 

The explosion of corella numbers can be put down to the supply of food from grain crops and the vast expansion of nut trees. In urban areas they love to pull loose nails from from roofs and the noise from roosting flocks can drive urban neighbourhood residents crazy. 

Their preferred nesting sites are hollows in trees and they breed before long periods of wet weather which will ensure feed for the fledglings. 

Photos: Corellas foraging on the RSL oval and a close up shot of one.


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.

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.