Welcome back everyone - to what we are all hoping will be a much brighter and more positive year ahead.
We trust you had an enjoyable and relaxing Christmas break (albeit different in many respects) and that those who were caught up in the restricted travel bans at least managed to chat with your loved ones (families and friends) via modern technology. Twenty plus years ago it would have been a far different story.
It is hard to believe we are in the last month of Summer. The last fortnight’s rainfall has been a real blessing and the gardens and Reserves everywhere have responded accordingly. It was terribly distressing to experience the “Cherry Gardens fire” but once again, how fortunate are we to live in an area where we have such dedicated volunteers in the CFS and other community Services organisations. We cannot thank them enough.
Our last Newsletter in November was sent out just prior to the 6-day full lockdown in South Australia and so our BAG Public Meeting and AGM had to be postponed. Likewise our traditional Christmas/End of Year Break-up Dinner normally held in December also had to be cancelled due to COVID restrictions.
The BAG General Committee has decided to hold a Public meeting on WEDNESDAY 24th FEBRUARY (see details below). This will be our FIRST General Meeting held in 12 months! Barring any impromptu changes to South Australia’s quite relaxed restrictions we will be holding the Meeting in the Blackwood Memorial Hall (Studio Room at the front of building), commencing at 7.00pm..
BAG’s enthusiastic group of garden volunteers have continued to work on a variety of garden projects around Blackwood whilst our dedicated group of “History-buffs” have been working non-stop on preparing History boards for prominent sites, doing considerable historical research for the monthly Blackwood Times articles and planning Events for the History Festival in May.
We extend a warm welcome to all new Members who have joined BAG over the past 12 months or so. As you are probably aware BAG does not charge an annual Membership fee. All residents and Traders on our database are considered “Members” and are invited to attend our Public Meetings and join us in any of the events and organised activities - see details elsewhere in this Newsletter or on the BAG website or Facebook page. We encourage you to log onto these sites regularly to keep up-to-date with all the happenings in and around Blackwood and the Mitcham Hills in particular.
BAG Secretary and Newsletter Editor
Mob: 0408 117 003
BAG WEBSITE: www.blackwoodactiongroup.org.au
NEXT BAG MEETING
WEDNESDAY 24TH FEBRUARY
7.00 pm @ Blackwood Memorial Hall, Studio Room - 21 Coromandel Parade Blackwood
It will also be our ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING (postponed from November 2020) featuring:
Our President’s 2020 Annual Report
Treasurer’s Financial Report
Election of office bearers (formal confirmation of Elected Members)
Our general meeting to follow will be in the form of group discussions.
TOPICS TO INCLUDE:
“Surviving the COVID” – How BAG coped – and how did YOU cope??
“Looking ahead” - BAG’s future directions? A chance to have your say.
BAG PUBLIC MEETING - Wednesday 24 February - 7.00 pm 21 Coromandel Parade (details above)
COROMANDEL STATION GARDENS WORKING BEE - Saturday 6 March - 9.00am Coromandel Station top car park
“CLEAN UP AUSTRALIA DAY“ - Sunday 7 March 8.45 am Blackwood Station - Pre-Register online or on the day. (Click here for more info)
BLACKWOOD STATION GARDENS WORKING BEE - Sunday 28 March - 9.00 am Blackwood Stationmaster’s shed
BELAIR NATIONAL PARK MASTERPLAN - Community consultation is currently underway for the new masterplan for the national park. Have your say on what should happen to the area occupied by the old golf course. (Click here for more info)
COMMUNITY WARD FORUMS for CRAIGBURN and THE PARK WARDS - 29 March 7.00 pm Blackwood Community Centre 4 Young Street (Click here for more info)
“HAVE YOUR SAY” – STURT RIVER LINEAR TRAIL - Bedford Park to Craigburn Farm alignment. Community Feedback closes 5pm Wednesday 10 March (Click here for more info)
STOBIE POLE MURALS
Regular users of Shepherds Hill Road will be aware that the streetscape is changing rapidly. The Stobie Pole mural project which has been contemplated for many months, is at last taking off.
President Brian has been actively engaging with many local artists from a variety of sources – all of whom will be acknowledged in due course.
Several BAG volunteers have been working non-stop on the preparation of all the cement boards (cutting, undercoating, top coating with a base colour of each artist’s choice, and then given 3 coats of Barricade (an anti-graffiti coating). Installing each board on the selected pole is no mean feat either.
We have poles allocated to artists, on both sides of SHR, from the Precious Cargo Learning Centre to the Colebrook Reconciliation Reserve (next to the Lions Bargain Centre). Students from OSHC will be contributing to poles in front of the Primary School and an indigenous artist will be creating designs for the poles adjacent to the Colebrook Reserve.
If you haven’t checked them out yet you may care to take a leisurely stroll around Wittunga with Autumn fast approaching – and extend your walk to include the “Gallery of Murals”.
AUSTRALIA DAY CELEBRATIONS
The City of Mitcham held its annual Australia Day celebration at St Marys Park again this year. It was a near-perfect day and 50 new citizens from 20 different countries were extended a warm welcome to Australia and Mitcham, by Mayor, Dr. Heather Holmes-Ross. Recipients of the Citizen of the Year Awards for 2021 were recognized prior to the Citizenship ceremony.
Long-serving Bedford Park resident, John Arthur, was awarded Citizen of the Year for his active involvement in the community whilst Tom Morrison was named the Young Citizen of the Year.
Tom created the active “20 Metre Trees” Facebook site in 2017 which aims to educate and promote the importance of tree canopy and large trees in the urban environment. This innovation provides an avenue for our community to learn about the current state significant and regulated trees legislation and its impact on the protection of historic trees. Tom, through his strong and dedicated commitment to the environmental, community and social programs has been a valuable contributor not only within the City of Mitcham but also the wider local, State and National communities.
The Blackwood Action Group is indeed blessed to have Tom in our ranks. He is a valued Committee member with a strong focus on environmental issues and has been the guiding light on many matters involving social media and today’s technology.
CHRISTMAS RED BOWS
Whilst Christmas in 2020 was quite different in many respects to traditional celebrations, the BAG Christmas Red Bows still added colour and a bit of “Christmas spirit” to the Blackwood shopping precincts and many local residential streets.
It was the 19th year Blackwood has participated in this project – the concept was introduced in Blackwood following a similar example by a Neighbourhood Watch Group in the Barossa.
Our special thanks must go to Habitat Blackwood (in the Drakes Supermarket S/C); Fairley’s Shoex (Woolworths S/C) and Local State Member, Sam Duluk, MP., (Young Street) for their continued support.
All profits from this venture go to BAG’s community projects around Blackwood.
People who frequent the Blackwood Station (commuters and local residents) will be aware of obvious changes that have taken place in recent months.
PATHWAY EXTENSION – After many years of pleading by BAG to the Transport Department, the footpath down Station Road was eventually extended through the garden to join with the main platform late last year. With direct access for commuters to the platform (as opposed to crossing the busy and dangerous road behind the Station buildings) this improvement has been widely welcomed
THE HERITAGE WATER TOWER – This significant reminder of the Steam Train era was removed for renovation late last year. There was a suggestion that for public safety reasons, the tower, when restored, would be relocated into the nearby garden area. Many railway enthusiasts objected to this idea and BAG subsequently made represent-ations to DIT who finally agreed that the tower should be reinstated in its original prominent site.
RIGHT OF ENTRY AGREEMENT – Following the demise of The Gooby Goose Café (in late 2019) BAG sort to gain access to the former Ticket/Booking Office again. We are pleased to advise that DIT have now agreed to give BAG an initial 5-year lease on the Ticket Office, the Stationmaster’s galv. shed and rear cottage yard and the northern Station gardens areas. This has been a fitting reward for BAG volunteers who have worked tirelessly to develop and maintain the entire station precinct.
GARDEN GROUP – This dedicated group of “green thumbs” meets on the FIRST SUNDAY in the EVEN months. On the 7 February all the Aggies were dead-headed and the rear yard was given a good tidy-up. This activity was followed by a delicious Morning Tea when we were able to thank Rail Care (represented by Roger Agius) for all their support over the past 5 years.
NEW MINI GARDEN SHED – Following the Government’s recent decision to outsource certain Railway and tram operations, BAG was able to pick up some very handy garden tools. To remove some “clutter” from the main shed we bought a mini (transportable) tool shed. President Brian and Treasurer Peter (a retired engineer!) were able to construct the shed and install it between the Cottage and the main shed. A good job boys!
COROMANDEL STATION GARDENS
Our next Garden Working Bee is scheduled for SATURDAY 6th MARCH. (Coro. Working Bees are held on the FIRST SATURDAY of ODD NUMBERED months). In March we will be concentrating on deadheading all the Aggies along the Station platform and car park gardens
The recent great rains have done wonders for the plantings (old and new).
We are pleased to report that since our volunteers have been involved with the garden projects on a regular basis (at both stations) the amount of annoying graffiti tags seems to have diminished considerably. Many thanks to Marilyn who keeps a watchful eye open for any fresh “art” work - and acts accordingly.
If anyone is interested in joining either (or both) Garden Groups, you will be made to feel most welcome - and you contribution will be greatly appreciated. Just rock up on the scheduled days (details above and on BAG’s Facebook page)
EDEN HILLS STATION STORYBOARD
The History Information Board mentioned in our November Newsletter was installed in mid- November and occupies a section of the Station shelter (northern end). It is a most comprehensive account of the “EDEN STATION’ as it was originally called. This is the 3rd Hills Station on the Belair line to have a history board erected. Others are planned for Coromandel and Glenalta Stations in due course. Our thanks to Pauline Dodd, who was ably assisted by locals Ross Hurley and Neil Stallard in collating the historical photos and background information. If you are not a regular train traveller you may care to head “off the beaten track” in your car one day, and check out this latest contribution. The account of the viaducts and tunnels construction coupled with the numerous local stone quarries and brickyards makes for interesting reading.
WINDY POINT RESERVE UPGRADE
At the 19 January Full Council Meeting unanimous support was given for the installation of one history and two panoramic photo display boards at Windy Point. This is a significant milestone in our quest to improve amenities and attractions at this iconic Lookout for the benefit of tourists and the many local visitors. BAG is now working with Council Administration to determine the most appropriate sites for the boards.
We are indeed grateful for the cooperation and support provided by Mayor Heather Holmes-Ross, our Elected Members and Senior Staff for acceding to some of our suggestions for improvements. We also appreciate the interest shown by our Local State Member, Sam Duluk, MP., and SATC’s Mark Gill. BAG has developed a close working relationship with all these people over the past 12 months and it is hoped that further tourism benefits will be evidenced soon.
WITTUNGA BOTANIC GARDEN
The revised Opening Hours at Wittunga appear to be proving very popular – if the car park is any indication. The Lake Viewing deck, recently completed, is a most attractive addition – looking across to “the beach” and all the new lakeside plantings. And the Nature Play playground is fast taking shape - down towards the Primary School fence. The recent good rains has added to the Garden’s appeal too so if you haven’t been to the Garden for a while we can certainly highly recommend a visit.