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BAG Newsletter - January 2020

Updated: Feb 15

A HAPPY NEW YEAR to all our readers.

And what a start to 2020 it has been! The extent of raging bushfires across our entire continent has to be the worst ever experienced. Our thoughts go out to all those people who have lost loved ones, property and livestock. We are very grateful for all of the support we received recently in our fundraiser, purchasing tables to aid wildlife recovery in conjunction with Minton Farm.

On a more sober note, BAG believes the Mitcham Hills could see some significant changes in 2020. The long-awaited upgrade to the Hewett Sports Ground Clubrooms and change room facilities is nearing completion and the Blackwood Footy Club’s attractive new change rooms are now a going concern. The Waite Street Reserve Nature Play playground is taking shape and we have our fingers crossed that an announcement will soon be made by Council regarding the planned Blackwood Community Hub and the Shopping Plaza project to connect Young Street with the Drake’s Supermarket Car Park (and Shepherds Hill Road).

As mentioned in our Christmas Newsletter, the BAG Committee has decided to change our Public Meeting format to QUARTERLY this year - which means our Meetings will now be held on the 4th Wednesday of February, May, August and November. The first Meeting is scheduled for Wednesday 26th February commencing at 7.00pm in the Blackwood Memorial Hall “Studio Room” (see details below).

As always we extend a warm welcome to all residents and Traders in the Mitcham Hills to join us at our public meetings and encourage you to participate in the many events and activities BAG organises throughout the year - as advertised in our Newsletters and through our website and Facebook pages.

With best wishes for a rewarding year ahead

Geoff Bartlett

BAG Secretary and Newsletter Editor

Mob: 0408 117 003



At the Blackwood Memorial Hall, “Studio Room” 21 Coromandel Parade Blackwood commencing 7.00 p.m.

GUEST SPEAKER: DALE THOMPSON – SA CFS Sturt Group Captain and Director of Fire and Rescue Australia Blackwood.

All local hills’ residents & traders are invited to attend this important meeting to hear Dale discuss some significant bushfire topics including:

  • CHANGING WEATHER PATTERNS - now and into the future.

  • THE CHANGING NATURE of bushfire behaviour

  • THE PARTICULAR RISKS in the Blackwood area (covering neighbouring suburbs)

  • THE IMPLICATIONS of a personal decision to stay and defend, or leave.

There will also be an opportunity to ask questions about other relevant matters of concern.

A light supper will be served at the close of the meetings - all welcome

Upcoming BAG Events

BAG cordially invites you to join other dedicated residents at any of the functions/events below. NEW MEMBERS are invited to join us - you will be made to feel most welcome.

  • BLACKWOOD STATION WORKING BEE - Sunday 2 February | 9AM – Blackwood Station

  • BAG PUBLIC MEETING - Wednesday 26 February | 7PM - 21 Coromandel Parade, Blackwood (details above)

  • CLEAN UP AUSTRALIA DAY - Sunday 1 March | 8:45AM - Blackwood Station

  • COROMANDEL STATION WORKING BEE - Saturday 7 March | 9AM - Coromandel Station

A CALENDAR OF PLANNED BAG EVENTS is attached for your future reference.


The following COMMUNITY EVENTS have come to our notice. You are encouraged to attend these local events/activities where possible.

  • AUSTRALIA DAY - Sunday 26 January | 8AM to 11AM - St Mary’s Park Laura Street, St Marys. FREE EVENT - Citizenship Ceremony, Citizen of the Year Awards, Kids Activities, FREE BBQ brunch, Musical Entertainment. For more information visit Council website:

  • MITCHAM HILLS PLANNING STUDY - Saturday 1 February | 10AM to 2PM - Blackwood Post Office - Discuss plans with Members of DPTI’s Project Team on proposals for Old Belair Road, Belair and Shepherds Hill Road/Main Road, Blackwood (details below)

  • COOLER, GREENER SUBURBS - Wednesday 5 February | 6.30 to 9.00pm - Domain Theatre, MARION CULTURAL CENTRE 287 Diagonal Road Oaklands Park. Contribute to the new Planning and Design Code, which has the potential to contribute to the development of cooler, greener neighbourhoods. FREE WORKSHOP (Booking required – click here for details). DISCUSS – site coverage/reduced hard paved surfaces, minimum landscaped areas, minimum tree planting for shade and amenity, enhanced biodiversity, rainwater tanks and other stormwater runoff management solutions.

  • MITCHAM HILLS PLANNING STUDY - Thursday 6 February | 3PM to 8PM - Blackwood Community RSL

  • BANGKA DAY MEMORIAL SERVICE - Sunday 16 February | 10AM - Women’s Memorial Playing Fields, Shepherds Hill Rd, St. Marys - To honour the women in the Radji Beach massacre.



This month’s story with an “historical” flavour

Stone walls at Marble Hill show charring from the 1955 bushfire. Credit: ABC News | Malcolm Sutton

Whilst having never personally experienced the wrath of a bushfire, I distinctly remember the “Black Sunday” bushfires in 1955, when I had just turned 16. We were holidaying in Victor Harbor and could not get home as all roads to the City were closed. ~ Geoff

The following is a brief summary of that memorable day (courtesy of Wikipedia).

THE BLACK SUNDAY BUSHFIRES were a series of bushfires that broke out across South Australia on 2 January 1955. Extreme morning temperatures coupled with strong north-westerly winds contributed to the breakout of numerous fires in the Adelaide Hills, Jamestown, Waterloo, Kingston and Millicent. Most were caused by sparks from power lines in the wind.

Around 1,000 Emergency Fire Service volunteers from 60 brigades were tasked to the fires but were overwhelmed. At 10am, the EFS head office requested urgent public assistance. Around 2,500 citizens volunteered. The fires were contained by 9:30pm, thanks largely to a fortuitous change in the weather and widespread public assistance.

The fires resulted in two deaths, destroyed 40 homes and numerous other buildings, and caused more than four million pounds' worth of property damage, most notably the destruction of the Governor's summer residence at Marble Hill. Governor Sir Robert George, his family and staff were lucky to escape with their lives. The Premier, Sir Thomas Playford, also narrowly escaped death, sheltering with five other men in a patch of hoed earth near Cherryville. The burnt area was estimated at as much as 600 square miles (160,000 ha) stretching from One Tree Hill to Strathalbyn.

NOTE: Ironically this was the same month and year that Sir Thomas Playford turned on the last valve on the Mannum-Adelaide pipeline - allowing water to flow into Warren Reservoir. Sir Robert George and Lady George were residing in Government House when the worst earthquake hit Adelaide in March 1954, causing considerable damage and a year after the bushfires, in mid 1956, the biggest floods on record occurred on the River Murray!


THIS will be the 10th year BAG volunteers have contributed to this worthwhile campaign. AS USUAL, we will be meeting at the Blackwood Railway Stationmaster’s shed at 8.45 am and then cleaning up the 3 main road approaches to the Blackwood hub (Main Road, Shepherds Hill Road and Coromandel Parade).


  • ALL VOLUNTEERS are required to be registered PRIOR to commencing work. (You can do this on-line at or at the Blackwood Station Check-in point on arrival.

  • CAR PARKING is available in the normal Station Car Parks or in Station Rd/Station Ave

  • VOLUNTEERS will be divided into 3 Groups with a Team Captain, and will be concentrating on an allocated area.

  • ALL PARTICIPANTS are invited to join us at the completion of the Clean-Up for our traditional FREE BBQ “brunch” in the Stationmaster’s rear yard.

  • This is a fun event for all ages. We would love you to join us in this local Community environmental initiative.


THE Australian and South Australian Governments are jointly undertaking $40m. improvements to the Mitcham Hills road corridors. As part of this commitment, a Planning Study has started for Old Belair Road and Shepherds Hill Road/Main Road.

The Study will focus on opportunities to improve access, travel times and safety for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists:

  • Along Old Belair Road – with a focus on the intersections of Main Road/Russell Street and Old Belair Road/James Road

  • Along Shepherds Hill Road (between the Blackwood Roundabout and Brighton Parade/Waite Street) and Main Road (between the Blackwood Roundabout and Edward Street/Carr Street).

You can participate through an on-line survey which is open until 14 February 2020 at and by meeting with members of DPTI’s Project Team at one of the pop-up Information Sessions listed below.

The Project Team will be providing Information Sessions at the following locations:

  • SATURDAY 1 FEBRUARY from 10 am to 2 pm at the Blackwood Post Office corner (262 Main Road Blackwood)

  • THURSDAY 6 FEBRUARY from 3 pm to 8 pm at the Blackwood RSL (1 Brighton Parade Blackwood)

  • SATURDAY 8 FEBRUARY from 10 am to 2 pm at the Belair Community Centre (1 Burnell Drive Belair)

FOR MORE INFORMATION and to provide feedback, comments or register your interest for project updates: Ph. 1300 794 880 or visit:


Bringing the Community together

MITCHAM COUNCIL’S Grant towards the 2019 Blackwood Action Group’s Christmas Tree Festival was certainly a worthy investment in enhancing community spirit.

Over 1300 visitors experienced an enchanted forest of Christmas trees proudly created by nearly 60 Mitcham Hills community groups and businesses involving over 900 people. Many of the trees were donated for sale, raising funds for two local charity groups – Minton Farm and BEACON.

Local community craft groups and Mitcham Community Shed volunteers helped create wonderful gifts, including life-size wooden reindeers, twisted twig and vine trees, knitted plum puddings and stockings. very generous support also came from many local businesses and Service Organisations.

To support our theme, nine community groups helped promote ways we can each do something to care for our environment and protect our native flora and fauna. Belair Guides. Eden Hills Scouts and Bellevue Heights Primary students helped us paint election corflutes, repurposed as mini Christmas trees, which decorated the Blackwood business district. Many of the Christmas tree decorations were created from recycled materials.

Pauline Dodd - Festival Coordinator

The event would not have been possible without the enormous effort by over 120 other local volunteers. New friendships were formed and workers experienced a shared sense of significant achievement of goodwill towards their local community.

This community, in which we live, is truly amazing. The generous donation of gifts left under the Giving Tree for BEACON to distribute to struggling families, was very much appreciated. In addition to the substantial amounts of money, generated from the event, given to BEACON and Minton Farm Animal Rescue, a donation of $500 worth of supplies to help with the recovery of Kangaroo Island koalas, kangaroos and possums was also made.

Our thanks to Pauline Dodd, BAG’s Christmas Tree Festival Coordinator, for bringing this special Blackwood event together.


If you reside in the Mitcham Hills you will surely be aware of the bright red colour spectacle that transforms the main approach roads to Blackwood at Christmas time each year. 2019 was the 18th year Blackwood has participated in the Christmas Red Bows project, which was started by the former Blackwood Neighbourhood Watch Group of volunteers.

The Red Bow packs are prepared each year at a Working Bee of BAG volunteers and then distributed to 3 local outlets who kindly sold packs to the public. Our thanks go to Habitat Blackwood (Drake’s Foodland S/C); Fairley’s Shoex (Woolworths S/C) and Sam Duluk, MP., (Young Street) for their support. All monies raised go to BAG’s “greening” projects around Blackwood.

BAG’s Community Links Group, which organised the very successful Christmas Tree Festival (see story above), erected a number of colourful corflute cut-out Christmas trees along the Main Road and in verge gardens and Parks. We believe the “trees” further enhanced the Christmas spirit in Blackwood.

Many thanks to all residents who joined in the spirit of Christmas by tying a Red Bow or two to trees, front fences etc on their properties and a big “thank you” to Joan and Adrian Beech for all their behind-the-scenes efforts in organising this project.


As mentioned in “BAG Stuff – Coming Events” above, our bi-monthly garden Working Bees will be conducted at BLACKWOOD STATION (north end of station buildings) on Sunday 2nd February, and COROMANDEL STATION (northern car park) on Saturday 7th March – both commencing at 9.00am.... for 2 hours no-so-hard labour! We would love to see you if you can make it on either, or both, of those two days. All tools, gloves, safety vests etc will be provided.

THE MAIN ROAD and SHEPHERDS HILL ROAD Planter Boxes are looking great – thanks to the regular watering efforts of Joan and Adrian Beech, Brian Ferris and Kay Leverett. This week’s beautiful rain is a real bonus! Roll on Autumn! Even the miniature Ficus trees outside Nicks Coffee Lounge have responded to Joan’s TLC – when all appeared lost!



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