A BELATED “Happy New Year” to everyone. We hope you had an enjoyable Christmas and New Year celebrations with family and friends although for many it would have been a much different and quieter experience. The Times certainly Are A-Changin
As we go to Press it is hard to imagine that the Ash Wednesday devastating bushfires occurred on this day – 39 years ago! Those dramatic images and experiences will be everlasting memories for some.
On a brighter note it is encouraging to learn that some COVID restrictions are being relaxed – at last. The drama associated with Novak Djokovic’s ban from the AO was largely overshadowed by Barty’s amazing performance in the Women’s Open Final. What a great ambassador she is for her people - and Australia generally.
Whilst BAG experienced some disruptions in 2021 there were some highlights which gave us a ray of hope for the future. Some of these are reported in the following pages.
PLEASE NOTE: Due to several factors, the BAG General Committee has decided to CANCEL the planned PUBLIC MEETING scheduled for this Wednesday, 23rd FEBRUARY. We hope you will understand. If all goes according to plan, our first Meeting for 2022 will now be held on WEDNESDAY 25th MAY.
As always, a warm welcome is extended to ALL Mitcham Hills residents and local Traders to attend our Public Meetings and participate in any of the many BAG Events and Activities organised on behalf of our great Community. Further details can be found on the BAG Website or Facebook page.
On behalf of the BAG President, Brian Ferris and all our dedicated Committee Members, I would like to extend our best wishes to you all, for a most rewarding and exciting year ahead. 2022 could be a year of many changes. Watch this space.
Geoff Bartlett BAG Secretary and Newsletter Editor
26 February - “SAUSAGE SIZZLE” on Drakes’ verandah - 9AM to 1PM | Please drop by for a ‘snag’ if you are in the vicinity and support this BAG fundraiser.
5th March - COROMANDEL STATION WORKING BEE – 9AM to 11AM | Meet in the northern Car Park. You are invited to join us for a general clean-up of station surrounds and garden maintenance. A good social get-together. All tools, visi vests etc. are provided.
3 April - BLACKWOOD STATION GARDENS WORKING BEE – 9.00AM to 11AM | Meet in northern car park at rear of galv. garage for 2 hours general cleaning up and maintenance work – and join in the yummy morning tea afterwards.
1 March - “MEET THE WAITE CANDIDATES” – 6:30PM to 9:30PM - BLACKWOOD UNITING CHURCH at The Roundabout. A chance to meet all the Candidates for the forth-coming State Election – and ask questions. ALL WELCOME - but it is a requirement that ALL ATTENDEES REGISTER their attendance. Click here to to get an Entry Ticket via EVENTBRITE.
CLEAN UP AUSTRALIA DAY – SUNDAY 6th MARCH
THIS will be the 13th year in which BAG has contributed to this most worthy community event.
As usual, from 8.45am, we will again be meeting at the BLACKWOOD RAILWAY STATIONMASTER’S REAR SHED (bottom of Station Road) for REGISTRATION PURPOSES. Volunteers will then be split into THREE groups to clean up litter and rubbish along the 3 main approaches to the Roundabout (Main Road, Shepherds Hill Road and Coromandel Parade).
PLEASE NOTE THE FOLLOWING:
ALL VOLUNTEERS are required to be registered PRIOR to commencing work. You can do this online or at the Blackwood Station Check-in point on arrival.
CAR PARKING will be available in the normal Station Car Parks or on Station Road/Station Avenue
VOLUNTEERS will be divided into THREE GROUPS, each with a Team Captain, and will be concentrating on a specific area.
At the completion of the Clean-Up effort, ALL PARTICPANTS are invited to join us for our traditional FREE BBQ brunch (in the Stationmaster’s rear yard) commencing around 10.30ish.
ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING for BLACKWOOD ACTION GROUP
BAG’s AGM was held on 24th November, following our Guest Speaker, Mitcham Council’s CEO, Mr. Matthew Pears’ enlightening and well-informed presentation on some of the Council’s decisions, that were of particular interest to the Hills’ community.
The following Residents were elected, unopposed, to the BAG General Committee for 2022.
PRESIDENT – Brian FERRIS
VICE PRESIDENT – Bernie MORGAN
SECRETARY – Geoff BARTLETT
TREASURER – Bernie MORGAN
Adrian BEECH (Christmas Red Bows Coordinator)
BLACKWOOD’S CHRISTMAS TREE FESTIVAL
THE 2021 Festival was the fourth since the concept was re-introduced by BAG in 2016 – and it was proclaimed “the best yet”!
Due to potential “Blackwood Hub” work commencing on the Community Centre in December, a new location needed to be found. The Uniting Church (on the roundabout) came to the rescue - and the venue proved a real winner! As luck would have it the threat of COVID did not interfere with the huge amount of planning which went into the Event. BAG is extremely grateful to the Uniting Church leaders who granted permission for the Festival to be held in their premises.
BAG’s Community Links Group, led by the irrepressible Pauline Dodd, engaged with over 1300 locals who helped create the Event, including over 800 people from 13 community organisations - Bush Care, Circle of Friends Support for Refugees, Guides, Scouts, Zonta, View Club etc. and a host of school/pre-school/ OSHC/Child Care groups, businesses, and local Service groups.
So many others were involved, like the Mitcham Community Shed Group and CFS volunteers. The primary aim of the Event was to hold a fun and imaginative Christmas time function that engaged with residents and help develop a stronger sense of belonging to a caring, vibrant, giving and connected community.
In these somewhat challenging times, we believe these goals were well and truly met as the Festival helped strengthen a sense of community and civic pride - as expressed by so many on social media.
A substantial amount of money was raised through door donations, tearoom sales, Christmas tree and crafted items sales enabling $5,000 to be donated to BEACON and $3,000 to Treasure Boxes to support the work they do in helping less-fortunate families.
Our thanks must go to the Festival Coordinator, Pauline Dodd, and her willing band of helpers, for bringing this special Blackwood event together.
BLACKWOOD’S CHRISTMAS RED BOWS
MANY people we spoke to, leading up to Christmas, expressed the thought that “it doesn’t feel like Christmas this year”. …….. NO Adelaide Christmas Pageant through the City streets, NO Blackwood Christmas Parade, NO Christmas Fair in Waite Street Reserve, NO Christmas Carols event on Hewett Oval nor Christmas Music vibes in our shopping precincts. In many ways we had to agree with them.
The many colourful wooden Christmas Trees erected around the District (promoting the Christmas Tree Festival) certainly added a real touch of vibrancy to Blackwood’s streetscapes.
BAG at least tried to contribute to that old “Christmas spirit feeling” again by tying their traditional Christmas Red Bows around the shopping precincts and encouraging residents to purchase a pack or two from Habitat Blackwood (Drakes S/C), Fairley’s Shoex (Woolworths S/C) or Local State Member, Sam Duluk. MP’s Office (Young Street). We offer our special thanks to these outlets who have continued to support this initiative.
2021 was the 20th year BAG has participated in this project and the sales indicated that the concept is still very popular. A BIG “thank you” to all residents and Traders who supported BAG in this initiative and a special word of appreciation to Joan and Adrian Beech who once again coordinated this whole project.
RAILWAY STATION GARDEN WORKING BEES
BLACKWOOD STATION held its first Working Bee for 2022 earlier this month, and it was good to see such a good roll-up of volunteers. It was an opportunity to say “farewell and thanks” to Roger Agius (our Rail Care Rep.) and “Meet and Greet” Roger’s replacement, Scott Baily. Welcome Scott.
With a dozen workers spread out over the whole area we were able to make a considerable improvement to the well-established landscaped gardens. We all “downed tools” around 11.00 and partook of a delicious Morning Tea in the former Ticket Office (courtesy of Lis).
We are greatly encouraged by the whole appearance of the Blackwood Station precinct.
A few years ago, the station screamed of neglect but through our regular working bees, and the introduction of the Dicker’s Red Hens in an upgraded purpose-built “rail yard”, plus the painting of murals on various railway infrastructure, vandalism and graffiti have virtually been removed. We hope this trend continues.
COROMANDEL STATION gardens are now largely self-supporting and the irrigation over most areas has been of real benefit. As mentioned above, the next CORO Working Bee is set down for SATURDAY 5th MARCH, commencing 9.00am. A small band of dedicated volunteers dead-headed about three quarters of the Aggies a couple of weeks ago so the back of that job has largely been broken!
We would still love to see a good roll-up of volunteers on the 5th to welcome Scott to “the best-looking station on the Belair line”!! Lis will be sending out a “reminder” in the coming weeks.
STOBIE POLES MURALS PROJECT
The murals project has grown from strength to strength since the first boards were installed on 16th December 2020. Shepherds Hill Road is nearly covered (down to the Lions Bargain Centre entrance on Colebrook Drive and Tiparra Street opposite) and Coromandel Parade has had quite a few stunning art pieces installed in recent months. The final stage of this project is currently being planned for Main Road (from Edward Street to The Belair Hotel – both sides of the road).
We are regularly being contacted by established artists (and budding artists) asking if they can be involved in the project. It is rewarding to know that in some small way BAG is providing enjoyment not only for all these artists - but also the wider community.
Some Members of an Art Group which meets at the Coromandel Valley Community Centre (Weymouth Oval) created images for about 8 poles along Main Road near the CCC. BAG volunteers prepared the boards with 3 coats of anti-graffiti material and installed them on the selected poles. All costs incurred were met by the Onkaparinga Council. Check them out the next time you are travelling down that way.
We trust that you are enjoying the addition of colour and vibrancy all the murals are contributing to our streetscapes – and just hope that all the Election corflutes (about to be put up) do not damage or interfere with the artwork!
CLICK AND CONNECT
DID YOU KNOW?
Mitcham Council has set up a user-friendly Website which enables ratepayers to contact them about a whole range of issues or general enquiries, without having to go through the process of speaking to a front-line staff member, explaining in detail what your problem is, and then being re-directed to a Department - which may, or may not, be able to answer your query. This can be quite time consuming and frustrating.
In lots of ways, it is like the “Snap, Send and Solve” app, but the Council site, “Click and Connect”, covers just about every conceivable local Council-related topic (see a few of the subjects below). “Click and Connect” is easy to access - just follow the prompts. It even allows you to include photos of the relative issue - if the circumstances require an illustration.
After pressing the “SUBMIT” panel you will get a “Tracking number” IMMEDIATELY. This provides you with an opportunity to follow up your Report, should you consider further action is needed.
Once the issue is resolved you will receive a message from Council to that effect.
A good example of of the recent Council innovation occurred last week when our “head gardener”, Joan, observed that the planter boxes on Shepherds Hill Road were all looking very dry - and the plants appeared to be suffering. A report was sent off to Click and Connect and the problem was immediately fixed that day.
Thank you Council.
It really works! Why don’t you give it a try? Click here to check it out.
I read the “motto” somewhere this week and thought it was quite appropriate for BAG when reflecting on all the various (small) changes and projects we have undertaken – and how they have made a BIG difference to the Village appearance over the years (through our consistent efforts).