Sunday, 29 November 2009

What’s on in December

  • Transition Town Steering Group Strategic Planning session Sunday 6th 9am-1pm– 23 Whitelock Street 
  •  Monthly meeting of the Progress AssociationMonday 7th 7-9pm,Progress Hall, 197 Skye Point Rd 
  • Landcare- Stansfield Reserves –Thursday 3rd  with LRO Green Team volunteers at  the end of Stansfield Close 
  • Landcare Christmas Party—Thursday 17th  at 11am, Landcare Resource Office, Toronto Road Teralba

Progress Patter

It's been a great and very fast year Progress-wise, moving in some new directions, incorporating more social activities and generally getting back in to the swing of things. It's also the time of year where memberships fall due so look out for the renewal notice coming to a letterbox near you. Included will also be an extra membership form,maybe your neighbour would like to join up.

The Progress Association has been working for the betterment of the Coal Point community since 1946, a long a credible history. There is a role for the organisation as long as there is support from the people it represents. The more members we have the stronger the voice.
Sincerest thanks goes out to all for the support throughout the year and the feedback on how the organisation is travelling. The Progress Association wishes all the community a safe and peaceful festive season, full of fond memories and happiness.

The 7th December monthly meeting will commence at 7pm and discuss the Department of Housing Application at Carey Bay, the Toronto town figs, the leash free dog area, funding options for Landcare projects and hall maintenance projects for a Work for the Dole team?sounds like an interesting meeting.

Coal Point Transition Town Steering Group

The Transition Town Steering group will be having a strategic planning session on Sunday 6th December, 9am-1pm at 23 Whitelock Street, Ian's place.

This meeting is to determine an awareness raising program for 2010, have a look at the skill set of the group, consider the meeting times and look at how we communicate our message to the rest of the community.

All interested people are welcome to attend but there is a catch, you need to have read the Transition Town Primer ,  so that we all have the same understanding of the process and what the big picture goals are, i.e how to create a locally resilient community to address the twin challenges of peak oil and climate change.

The In Transition-the movie screening held in early November was a successful and exciting 1st event for the group. Twenty-four people found out a bit more about the Transition movement, a few more people have joined the growing group, and a super supper was supplied courtesy of Bakers Delight

Toronto's Trees

Where do you stand on the trees of Toronto town?

The Lakes Mail has been raising awareness over the past few weeks on the possible fate of the Toronto figs. The issue has been described as one that will divide the community, but how will it be divided, it's a little bit more than Treehuggers v's treeloppers.

It could be divided by personal comfort factors?
  • People who enjoy sitting in the shade or those that like sweltering whilst they dine in the sun.
  • People who like walking along a shady and cooler boulevard or those that like to tan and feel the heat radiating off the footpath.
  • People who like to window shop with the sun on their back, or those that like to linger longer in the shade.
It could be divided by cost?
  • Business owners whose air conditioners don?t have to work as hard because of the extensive shade coverage or those business owners who like to hear the hum or the air-con cranking, and pay accordingly.
  • Businesses who are prepared to pay thousands of dollars to remove the trees or those that will pay to treat the pipes to prevent root growth and blockages and keep the trees.
Or maybe it will divide along the lines of those with a more natural bent?
  • Those who think a tree lined boulevard is aesthetically appealing and makes Toronto unique or those that don?t.
  • People who appreciate the birdlife and the rarity of the roosting trees or those that see the birds as noise and mess.
On this point there are some places like Currumbin Bird Sanctuary in Queensland and more closer to home the Wetlands Centre that make money off encouraging bird and people interaction, such as breakfast with the birds. Perhaps the Toronto Chamber could investigate getting some funding to promote this rare attraction?

And has anyone considered where will the birds roost if all the trees go? The lorikeets that need these trees are the ones that frequent our gardens and make our backyards buzz with life and are a part of our bushland suburb.

This is a very similar situation to what?s happening with the Laman Street Figs in Newcastle, a quick fix solution is being touted by a few without a full investigation of a variety of options and the impacts on the many who have not been given a chance to voice their opinion.

Make your views known to the Toronto Chamber of Commerce, PO Box 382 ,Toronto 2283,  Phone 4950 5216, Email   and Lake Macquarie City Council Postal Address: Box 1906 Hunter Region Mail Centre 2310 or

This issue will also be discussed at the monthly meeting of the Progress Association on Monday 7th December 7pm.

New Affordable Housing to be built in Carey Bay

Department of Housing has lodged plans to build six one-bedroom units on 48 Excelsior Parade, just a few houses down from Laycock Street intersection. The single bedroom units are social housing usually allocated to frail and elderly singles or couples. 

The units are being built under the Federal Government?s Nation Building Economic Stimulus program.

The local Department of Housing Manager, Donna Hinchcliff will be attending the February Progress meeting to discuss the process of how affordable housing is allocated within the community and address any concerns.

Ms Hinchcliff is keen to hear from the community about any points regarding the design of the units so that the best possible outcome can be achieved.

You can make a phone call, 43 529 655 to talk or send an email to  to ensure all issues are noted and considered.

The plans are currently on exhibition and open for comment at LMCC and details will be available at the Progress Associations monthly meeting for discussion.

Blackalls Against the Mine update, The finish line is in sight,
You may remember:
1. Frank Sartor's 2007 promise to permanently ban new open-cut mines in the Lake Macquarie area.
2. Frank Sartor's claim that he changed the State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP) to enable that promise.
3. Centennial's attempt to circumvent this promise with its Olstan Project.
4. The State Government's refusal to rule on the validity of Centennial?s proposal.
5. The State Government ignoring our two letters to them transmitting the motions moved at BAM's last two meetings.
6. The State Government's recent introduction of a new change to the SEPP, which in our view made it easier to circumvent Sartor's promise.

From the above it is clear that the SEPP is no use in giving the protection Sartor promised. It can be changed at the Planning Minister's whim.
To give us better protection, our local State member, Greg Piper has prepared a Private Members Bill which, if passed will put the open-cut ban into Law as an Act and not just planning policy. This means that if passed, it cannot be changed at the whim of a minister. It will require another piece of legislation, and its attendant parliamentary debate to change.

The essence of the bill is on better definitions of underground and surface coal mining where surface coal mining means the operation of a coal mine that is not an underground mine and underground mine means a coal mine in which persons are employed beneath the earth's surface when the mine is being worked and in which the working environment is completely enclosed by the geologic medium.

The Bill reiterates the prohibition of surface coal mining in Lake Macquarie City except for the existing Westside open cut mine.

To get the Bill passed we need to lobby politicians to vote for the Bill.
Contact  Paul Moors  for more information on how you can help the Bill being passed. Or put pen to paper and send Greg Piper a letter of support to 92 Victory Parade,TORONTO NSW 2283 or Email:
A copy to the surrounding State MPs would also be effective, coal dust doesn't recognise boundaries.
Mr David

Tidy Town Triumphs

Congratulations to Coal Point Public School on winning the Tidy Town Schools Environmental Award for the dry creek bed project. Toronto Tidy Towns won a first place award for the Turning Toronto Green campaign, promoting plastic bag free shopping and were highly commended for the overall Tidy Town Award. The white reusable shopping bags are available for free from the Toronto library.

Historical Film night

Fifty locals attended the highly entertaining and very informative historical film night held recently at the hall thanks to the Hunter Cine-Sound Society.  Some of the films included amazing footage from the Maitland floods, early 1900's Newcastle parades, the role of coal in shaping the Newcastle Region and a more recent documentary on the return of the Catalina sea-plane to Rathmines. A donation of $103 was collected from those present to support the Catalina fundraising campaign. The photographic display from the Historical Society was very impressive too.

The evening also provided a chance for locals to catch up with familiar faces and share some very tasty treats courtesy of Bakers Delight. Another film night will be planned for 2010.


The Landcare Office is now located near the Teralba round about, Toronto Road.  

The phone number is 4921 0392 and email is
Thur 17 Dec: Xmas Party - 11am - Come and share this special day with us.
Fri 18 Dec: Landcare Office Closes for summer break
Wed 27 Jan: Landcare Office Opens - Welcome to a brand new year.

Toronto & Districts Garden Club

The next meeting will be at the Scout hall, 74 Excelsior Parade, Toronto on Thursday, 19th February 2010 from 9.30am to 12.30pm.

There will be a speaker talking about rotating veggies. Don't forget to bring a chair if you can, a mug (no, that doesn't mean your spouse!) and your name badge if you have it at home please ... and of course bring your friends, neighbours and rellies and some goodies for the trading table.

Our next visit out, is to the Constable garden, vineyard and winery at Pokolbin on February 26. It is at 205 Gillards Rd, Pokolbin, with cellar door sales.

Some topics that are being considered for the 2010 program are herbs & their uses, weeds, soil  & preparation, water wise gardening, chooks bees & possums, gardening in pots, propagation beyond ,no -dig garden, fruit trees, succulents, home remedies, roses ,climbers,flowers in a vase, grasses & foliage, landscape design &  architecture,painting flowers and bulbs for warm climes.

Contact Jan Hissey for more details

Landcare For Youth (L4Y)

The Landcare for Youth program aims to support young people from preschool to University to design and implement on-ground Landcare projects to develop an ethic of stewardship towards the land. The project also aims to develop networks for the youth and the teachers/carers supporting them. L4Y is being implemented by Trees In Newcastle.

Anywhere in Lake Macquarie where young people gather is eligible for support, Scouts, Guides, sailing clubs, schools of any flavour, preschools and playgroups. The support comes in the form of onground advice to help design the project and plants to put in the ground.
If you know of a school, preschool, TAFE or youth group in Lake Macquarie that would like to undertake an on-ground project or help to build the L4Y network, let Jenny at TIN know, ph 4969 1500 or There are resource request forms on TIN's website
The L4Y-Landcare For Youth project is funded by the Environmental Trust and supported by Lake Macquarie City Council and Lake Macquarie Landcare Inc

Laman Street Figs

Whether you live in Newcastle or not, most people in the region have visited the Regional Art Gallery, visited Civic Park and been impressed by the colonnade of figs majestically lining Laman Street and framing the backdrop of the cultural precinct, making a cultural statement that trees do have pride of place in this city and in this region.

In two weeks Newcastle City Council is going to vote on a motion to fell the Hills figs on Laman Street. Please make a stand so these figs can stay.

Actions you can take include writing to the Newcastle Councillors, writing a letter to the newspapers, or take 20 seconds to complete an online petition at

The petitions urge and implore council to delay the removal of the trees until a community design panel can be formed by council to consider arboricultural advice, the relevant resources and risk issues and the full range of options available to council and the community to address the future of these trees and make appropriate recommendations to council.

Monday, 2 November 2009

What’s On In November

  • Monday  2nd 7-9pm : Monthly meeting of the Progress Association Progress Hall All Welcome
  • Saturday Nov 7th Coal Point School Fete
  • Saturday  7th 7pm-In Transition the Movie at Progress Hall
  • Sat 7-Sun 8th Smart Energy Expo- Newcastle Town Hall
  • Landcare reserve this month  Gurranba (foreshore) *5th with Green Team
  • Lake Macquarie Landcare Inc. Annual General Meeting Tuesday 10th November 2009 4.30pm to 6.30pm at the new Landcare Resource Centre, Toronto Road, Teralba. Nomination forms and enquiries, ph 4921 0392
  • Transition Town Steering Group meets 3rd Monday of the month 16th Nov 4-6pm
  • Saturday 21st  7-9.30pm Historical Film Night at Progress Hall-All welcome
  • Artists creative and social gathering every Thursday at Progress Hall, 1pm Contact Judy Cummings for more information on 49504680
  • Toronto & District Garden Club meets at 3rd Thursday of the month. 19th November is a ramble through a member’s garden at Arcadia Vale, Bring a plate of food to share for Xmas, a mug and a chair if you can. Trading table and raffle. Contact Jan Hissey 49591382 or Kim Weller 4950 5707 for more location details
  • December Landcare-Stansfield Reserves –*3rd  with Green Team volunteers at  the end of Stansfield Close

Memories, light the corners of my mind, … misty watercolour memories of the way we were. (Barbara Streisand)

Not so much water colour but black and white memories will be on show at the historical film night being held at Progress Hall on Saturday 21st November 7pm- 9.30pm with supper available.

The previously advertised date of the 7th of November has had to be rescheduled to the 21st due to the Newcastle and Hunter CineSound Society, having another booking. They offered their sincerest apologies.

If you’d like to lose yourself in the yesteryears of the 1940-1950s for a few hours, get a glimpse of what was making the news in Lake Macquarie in 1948 and peruse the Lake Macquarie Historical Society’s display, $5 will be all you need to slip back in time and relax.

There’ll be plenty of seats available at the door but if you’d like to sit in the front rows you can reserve a spot. Call Jean 4959 4019 or Barbara 4959 1259

Are you a member?

It’s getting to that time of year when you start to wonder where did it go, what did I do and is the Christmas cake already baked? In the mind of the Progress Association the end of the year is a time of renewal…membership renewal, and with the renewing of memberships is the thought of how to service the membership more effectively.

There has been a bit of discussion around the monthly meeting table this year regarding how to engage and communicate more effectively with the members of the association specifically, and the broader community more generally. There was a strong feeling that there is more that can be done than the monthly print only Chronicles and there are more ways of getting feedback from the community than return surveys.

The new era of social networking that the internet has delivered has amazing potential to connect the community and provide a vehicle to share our common vision for the community and the activities that are available. This year when the membership renewals come out there will also be a request for an email address.

Are you a member…is your neighbour?. At a very reasonable $6/person or $10/family, membership is one way to support the activities of the Progress Association.

A Walkable neighbourhood?

The Coal Point area is a beautiful place with a long history. Over time there have been many tracks created to and through the bushland reserves and numerous points made to access the waterfront. Some are council owned therefore public access ways for community use and others have drainage purposes.

The location of these various places can be a bit of a mystery to those who are new to the area and so there is a project afoot to put together an up-to-date map with the locations of these obscure locations on it so that the community can enjoy all that our area has to offer. This would help to make our community more walkable and support requests to council to assist with identification.

Do you know of any access points of interest?
Do you have any thoughts about letting the rest of the community know?
Do you have any issues you would like to discuss?

The 2nd November monthly meeting, 7-9pm at Progress Hall,197 Skye Point Rd, Coal Point, will discuss this project and is keen to gather the thoughts of the community. If you know a bit of the local history or any mystery locations, or have a picture to include we’d love to hear from you.

Get alon’ little doggy- Leash Free discussion

At the October Progress meeting an initial discussion was had considering the relocation of the Leash Free dog area from Birriban to Gurranba reserve.

Some of the points that were considered included the increasing usage of Birriban reserve and the increasing incompatibility of free ranging dogs in close proximity to cars, trailers, children’s playground and fish cleaning facilities.

A relocation of the leash free area to Gurranba reserve which is larger, has less vehicle traffic but still provides foreshore and toilet facilities is being considered at the November meeting.

If you have any thoughts regarding this proposed change please contact the Progress Association or come along to the meeting on Monday 2nd November, 7pm, at Progress Hall, 197 Skye Point Rd, Coal Point

Transition Initiatives- What are they and how do you do one?

Have you been wondering what The Transition Movement is all about? The Steering group has as well and have come up with some goals for the group.
  • To raise the awareness of people who live in the area about Peak Oil and Climate change,and
  • to get some local initiatives happening and to increase the numbers in the steering group.
The way the group is going to go about this is through a series of film and discussion sessions.

The first film is ‘In Transition-the Movie’, 49 minutes of positive pleasure about how communities all around the world are taking on the challenge to move towards a more resilient community and happier lifestyle.

The discussion after the film will be a question and answer session with members of the local Steering Group about the Transition Town movement and what the local group gets up to.

In Transition-the movie will be shown on Saturday 7th  November at 7pm at Progress Hall, 197 Skye Point Road, Coal Point. Entry is free and supper will be available.

The next meeting of the Steering group will be on Monday 21st November where we discover the wonders of Permaculture at one of the member’s homes. If you’re interested in coming along contact Di on 49 705 695

Coal Point Reserves Workshop - by Robyn Gill Landcare coordinator

The Carey Bay Wetlands, Burnage and Gurranba Reserves were the focus for the Lake Macquarie Landcare Workshop in October.

The progress of major projects in these reserves was shared with fellow landcarers. A feature of this workshop was the management strategies of two significant weed problems as well as an opportunity to admire the great results of our partnership with the Lake Macquarie Council Landscape Maintenance Team for our area in Gurranba Reserve.

Giant Reed, Arundo donax is a major Hunter Catchment issue and has now arrived here in Burnage Reserve. Also known as Elephant Grass, it is a member of the Bamboo family and grows upto 6m high in thick upright clumps. The most likely way it ended up in the reserve is through dumping and the storm water, it is next to the drainage line on the Excelsior Pde side of the reserve.

A weed featured in Carey Bay Wetlands is another garden escape, Campsis (known as Trumpet Creeper) it is a problem in the rapidly growing National Tree Day plantings of the past 5 years. This native of Texas is a self clinging climber which is extremely persistent and hard to get rid of, but the Landcare team is trying. A transformation has occurred in the area which was previously covered with Blackberry and Wild Rose (with other nasties flourishing among them) so we are working hard to stop the new weed which threatens the growth of the natives.

One of the visitors on the field trip was Garth Chapman from Wangi Ridge Preservation Board.  In October Garth was one of 8 people who witnessed and videoed a sighting of a Koala at Watkins Rd, Wangi Ridge, the 2nd sighting in 9 months...Landcare making a difference!
The new reserve signs were much admired and many thanks to Lake Macquarie Landcare for organising the day.

Sensible Transport Forum

At the Sensible Transport Forum held September 24th by Transition Town Newcastle, a group of interested people decided to put together a discussion paper on Peak Oil for the Mayors of the five Lower Hunter Councils to highlight the issue of Peak Oil and the role local government can play. Two Councils in NSW, Coffs Harbour and Marrickville have already adopted Peak Oil Policies.

The premise behind the discussion paper is that ‘we must plan to leave oil before it leaves us’, that Council has a responsibility to respond to the concerns created by Peak Oil and demonstrate leadership by taking practical steps to address the issue.

The paper concludes that ‘the demand for oil is increasing at an unsustainable rate and already demand out-strips supply. Soon we will reach Peak Oil, if we have not already, when production will decline and the cost of petrol will rise perhaps dramatically”

The Sensible Transport Forum Working Group urges Council to consider a range of practical measures to manage a transition into the post oil era that include
  • Reducing Council’s reliance on oil, minimising consumption and dependence and educating the community by demonstrating leadership in fuel economy and the search for alternatives.
  • Promoting alternative fuels e.g hybrids for fleet cars and Compressed Natural Gas or biodisel for garbage trucks
  • Downsizing council cars and reviewing usage
  • Preparing oil vulnerability maps to assist in planning
  • Promoting public transport through higher residential densities along public transport corridors and town centres
  • Preserving and protecting disused rail corridors for future public transport options
  • Promoting walkable neighbourhoods
  • Exploring ways to promote community transport and investigating ways to better utilise the existing small buses serving local retirement villages and creating community carpooling schemes
  • More bus shelters
  • More cycleways
  • Introducing bike racks on the front of local buses
  • Promoting and encouraging community gardens and farmers markets
  • Protecting good agricultural land
  • Working towards integrated public transport ticketing in the Lower Hunter.
What changes would you make to your motoring if petrol was $8/L? What could we do within our community to help each other get around? Any bright ideas, new ways of doing things… this is the sort of thing the Transition group would like to look into locally.

Transition Times Film Festival

The News Year’s Resolution for the local Transition Steering Group is to hold a film festival during January showing a variety of films, 3-4 times a week, covering a variety of time slots each with a discussion theme. This is to enable as many people as possible to see the films and have a chat about what the ‘theme’ could mean to our community.

Some of the films that are being considered include Baraka, An Inconvenient Truth, The Age of Stupid and The End of Suburbia. These are all very powerful films with strong messages about Climate Change and Peak Oil and the effects upon our current lifestyle.

The discussion after the movie has the potential to be equally powerful as we start to create a vision for a more positive future and consider what the changes will mean. 

The Transition Town movement focuses on positive ways to address potential challenges, a great opportunity to create a resilient and community .

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Whats On

  • Sunday 11th –Landcare field trip around Carey Bay Wetlands, Burnage andGurranba Reserves, Morning Tea and Lunch provided
  • Monthly meeting of CPPA Monday 12th October
    Agenda items:Community Action Grant- $5,000-20,000 environmental project,Archiving project for CPPA records,Relocation of leash-free dog area from Birraban to Gurranba reserve
  • Lakelands Carp Catch Wednesday 14th 8.30am-11.30am
  • Climate Code Red Emergency Workshop Wed. 14th 4pm-7pm Newcastle Panthers
  • Transition Town Steering Group Monday Oct 19th  4-6pm at 23 Whitelock St.
  • Artists creative and social gathering every Thursday at Progress Hall, 1pm.
  • Toronto & District Garden Club meets at Toronto 1st Scout Hall, 15th  Oct (3rd Thurs) 930-12.30
  • Wangi Men’s Shed Open Day 23rd October 1pm BBQ, French Rd, Wangi
  • Landcare days-Every Thursday somewhere around Coal Point
    *Once a month additional help from the LRO is provided
    • Focus reserves for the month
      • October- Carey Bay Wetlands
      • November Gurranba (foreshore) *5th
      • December Stansfield Reserves –*3rd a the end of Stansfield Close
  • Monday 2nd Monthly Meeting of CPPA
  • Monday 16th Transition Steering Group
  • Coal Point School Fete- Saturday 7th  
  • Historical Film night at Progress Hall Saturday 7th 7pm-9.30pm

Old time cinema coming to Coal Point

The Newcastle and Hunter CineSound Society in conjunction with the Lake
Macquarie Historical Society will be holding a film night at Progress Hall on
Saturday November 7th at 7-9.30pm .
The films will include three historical films about Newcastle from the 1940-50s, a
comedy and Newsreels of Lake Macquarie from 1948.
There’ll be historical displays from the Historical Society and an old fashioned
supper all for $5. There’ll be plenty of seats available at the door.

Our local history trapped in the pages of time

The Coal Point Progress Association has a significant collection of local
documents that tell a tale. The Association recently received a document from
the Federal Member Greg Combet, Preserving Australia’s Documentary Heritage,
A Starter Kit for community groups. The introduction states “Community
organisations play a major role in making Australia such a vibrant and diverse
place to live. There are over 700,000 community organisations in Australia and
over 65% of Australians belong to one or more of them. For that reason archival
records of community groups represent a very significant part of Australia’s
documentary heritage.
Part of this heritage is comprised of records your organisation creates in the daily
course of its business…Such records document the activities and decisions of
your organisation, tell the stories of your community and are usually
unpublished. This means you are likely to hold the only copies of those
documents, and if they are lost or damaged over time, the history of your
community and its contribution to Australian society may also be lost.”
Are you interested in archiving the Progress Association’s records? You can look
over The Starter Kit on the National Library’s website at or contact Suzanne through the
CPPA, come along to Monday’s meeting, 12th October at Progress Hall, 197 Skye Point Rd,  or catch up at the film night and we’ll see how it goes from there.

Transition Steering Group Update

The Transition Steering group has been meeting regularly and discussing the
process and making plans for the next few months. The group has met with
LMCC’s Sustainable Neighbourhoods Program and deliberated upon their
program and possibilities.
A movie ‘In Transition’ was purchased and reviewed and the logistics of having a
community viewing are being worked upon.
The group went to the Sensible Transport Forum held in Newcastle recently and
learnt that CSIRO projects petrol to be $8/L within the decade, Australia’s oil
production peaked in 2000-01 and since then it has been getting more expensive
to extract the oil, with only 40% of our oil currently supplied domestically.
Some other interesting bits of information were the uncertainty of the OPEC Oil
reserves as they have been overinflated to allow for increased production, OPEC
providing 40% of the world’s oil supply, and 60 of the 90 oil producing countries
already having peaked in their oil production.
The forum highlighted the impact increased oil costs will have on out-lying
suburbs that don’t have adequate public transport infrastructure or pedestrian
options, with the proposition that car travel will become the realm of the
exclusive and air travel very expensive once again.
One of the exciting options for the future was to revise the way we view roads,
not just as car places but also people spaces, where all modes of mobility are
accepted and accommodated, making it safer to ride bikes.
Another speaker provided a perspective on Council operations and how some
Councils have already started planning for oil depletion as an imminent threat, as
‘leaving oil before it leaves us will maximize resilience and liveability’. The
cost of service provision will affect the whole community, especially waste
services. Garbage trucks are big, heavy and do a lot of start and stopping which
uses a lot of fuel.
An option that could be easily adopted even here at Coal Point is to put your bin
out next to your neighbours. If your bins are next to each other the truck doesn’t
have to stop/start so much. It might seem like a small thing but it all adds up.
If your interested in thinking about how a community adapts to a changing world
and what it would have to do the Transition Steering Group meets monthly, 3rd 
Monday of the month. We are meeting in group member’s homes, the next
meeting is at 23 Whitelock St, 19th October 4pm-6pm. All are welcome. If you
can’t make a meeting but would like to follow the discussion there is an online
discussion group. Send an email to and the details
can be forwarded.

Living Greener

Are you looking for ways to reduce your planetary impact, cut your energy costs
or retrofit your house for eco-efficiency but don’t know where to start and how
you’ll finance it?
There is an Australian Government program about at the moment called Green
Loans that can help you to assess your options and fund their implementation.
The three easy steps are 1.apply for a sustainability assessment, 2.get your
report, 3.apply for a Green Loan to fund the action that suit your needs and
budget. The Green loans can be upto $10,000 over four years.
The local Green Loans Sustainability Assessor is Russell Wilcox mob 0488 690
777. Ring for an appointment to start the process.

Feeling inspired to be more sustainable, but not sure where to start looking for
useful tips? The LivingGreener portal ( was
developed to provide a single starting point for Australians to find information
and inspiration on how to live greener. This government site is the perfect
stepping stone to sites detailing energy-saving programs, water and waste
reduction plans and hints on how to choose low-emission transport.
LivingGreener also includes information on the range of assistance and rebate
programs provided by the Government for things like insulation, solar hot water,
and rainwater and greywater tanks.
There are plans to progressively expand the scope of LivingGreener to include
state and territory government rebate information, local government initiatives
and information for schools and businesses.

Climate Code Red Emergency Planning

The Society for Sustainability & Environmental Engineering,
Lake Macquarie City Council and Newcastle City Council
invite you to a workshop on Climate Code Red Emergency Planning
If Australia declared ‘Code Red’ status on climate change and had to reduce
carbon emissions by 50% immediately and at all costs, what would we do? Come
and contribute your ideas in a national series of workshops, taking a fresh look
at options to combat climate change using a light-hearted approach to explore a
serious situation.
Keynote Address by Professor Ian Lowe
Professor Lowe will present a clear and balanced explanation of the current
scientific understanding of global warming, and its effects on Australia’s climate,
land use, energy and water consumption, and on our economy, industry,
agriculture and daily life.
Professor Lowe will also challenge us to address the changes brought by global
warming, and to accept responsibility for planning and creating a sustainable
When: Wednesday, 14 October 2009
4.00pm – 7.00pm
Where: Newcastle Panthers
King Street, Newcastle West
RSVP: Essential by 10 October 2009
Katrina Baker Ph: 02 4926 4440
There is no charge to attend this workshop

Coal Point Public School Fete – Sat 7th November 2009

Coal Point Public School will be holding it’s biannual fete in November. Anyone
wishing to prepare plants for the plant stall, or crafts, including Christmas
themed crafts, may wish to start preparations now. Anyone who may wish to
donate a prize for the raffle, or prizes for the chocolate wheel should contact
P&C representative Kylie-Ann on 0438662484 or phone the principal Ms Kim
Creswell at the school on 49591374

Men’s Shed in the making at Wangi

A get up and go group of men have got together to form the Wangi Men’s Shed
They are having an Open Day to showcase their tools and talent and field any
questions from potential participants on the grounds of the Uniting Church,
French Rd Wangi on  Friday  23/10/09  at 1pm with a BBQ.

Around the reserves

It’s a sign!
It has finally happened…the signs for Threlkeld, Gurranba and Burnage Reserves
are up and awesome. The signs tell a tale of the Landcaring that has been
happening for over a decade on these reserves. The Landcaring journey has also
been about learning about these special places and now that knowledge can be
shared. Many thanks to all the contributors who provided photos, information,
proofing and putting up with a big thank you to Lake Mac Print for making them
look so lovely.

Lake Macquarie Landcare is organising a Field Day around Coal Point Landcare sites on  Sun 11th October 9.30am - 12.30pm
Join us for this exciting field day visiting several of the Coal Point Landcare Groups wonderful sites and learn about weed treatment and creek stabilisation in an urban
environment. Meet at the Carey Bay Wetlands at 9.30am, then to Burnage
Reserve at 10.15am (morning tea) and to Gurranba Reserve at 11pm (lunch at
12pm). Contact the Landcare Resource Office on 4921 0392 or for more
details or to register for catering purposes. See you there!

New additions at Birraban
If you don’t get out to Birriban reserve much you’ve missed the installation of the
fabulous Fish Cleaning table. It shimmers and shines and is big enough to share
a dugong on. Installed along with the pristine piscine piece was a bubbler to
satiate the thirst of the park users. The fish cleaning table was funded from a
Recreational Fishing Community Grants Programme which LMCC applied for on
behalf of the Progress Association. Sincerest thanks to LMCC and the locals who
kept an eye on the progress.

What’s Going on at Gurranba
Apart from the new sign there is lots of activity in the ‘lower 40’ redressing the
insufficient capacity of the stormwater water pipes that became obvious in the
storm of 2007. LMCC are relocating the detention pits, installing larger pipes and
relocating the outflow of the stormwater to prevent flooding of the adjacent
properties. Some of the Casuarinas on the waterfront will be removed to
accommodate the changes and LMCC will replant the site when they’ve finished.

Wild-thing you make my heart sing

The change of season is a reminder to take care when in the bushland. We have a lot of high quality bush about and with it comes a range of native animals.
Living in a bushland suburb has lots of advantages if you're a nature lover and enjoy the birds a-chirping, the bees a buzzing and the possums a-pounding on the rooftops. Whilst the friendly faces of the mild marsupials are cute and adorable, spying a reptilian lovely sunning and slithering can promote a range of feelings from awe to fear.
All wildlife deserve respect and our bushland suburb is also their home. Recently there have been sightings of a Red-belly Black Snake around Threlkeld reserve. “This snake is dangerously venomous but bites are rare because it is usually a placid and fairly docile snake, preferring to enact a lengthy bluff display with flattened neck and deep hisses rather than bite. It is a very distinctive snake because of its simple and unvarying coloration. The upper surface of this snake is glossy black while the belly is light pink to brilliant red.” (
If you know of young people who like to play in the bush some timely advice may be to wear sturdy shoes and long pants, do not reach under logs or stones ‘cause they’re animal homes and do not provoke or threaten wildlife. It may even be worthwhile to go over an emergency response to a snake bite…not to panic, keep as still as possible, get help ASAP.

The Native Animal Trust Fund are the local wildlife carers if you come across an injured animal or need some advice- 0418628483 (0418NATIVE).

Bush dance Bites

The Bushdance was lots of fun and a resounding success with lots of dancing and a swag of supper delights. Many thanks to Bakers Delight for providing a fine selection and also to the local Ladies who cooked up a storm. One of the favourites on the night was the Muesli biscuits.
Mmmm Muesli Biscuits- from Barbara
1 cup muesli
1 tablespoon golden syrup
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons boiling water
1 cup plain flour
1 ½ teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
125g butter
Set oven temperature at slow (300degF -150degC). Combine muesli, sugar and sifted flour in a bowl. Melt butter with golden syrup over a very low heat. Mix boiling water and bicarbonate of soda and combine with butter mixture. Stir into the dry ingredients in bowl.
Place teaspoons of mixture on to greased baking trays and bake in a slow oven for about 20 minutes until golden brown.
Leave on baking trays for a couple of minutes before removing to a cake rack to cool. Makes 4 dozen.

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Bushfire Bushdance Saturday 29th August 7.30pm at Progress Hall

It’s almost here, The Bushfire Bushdance, the first of many family friendly social extravaganzas that the Progress Association will be providing over the coming months.

The doors swing open at 7pm and the dancing starts at 7.30pm at 197 Skye Point Road Coal Point, Progress Hall. Admission is $15pp, $12 conc and children under 16 are free.

Kent Daniel’s Bushfire Band are a treat to behold and if bush-dancing isn’t your cup of tea, maybe listening to some amazing musicians, watching fleet footed folk polish the floorboards, sipping some soup and dipping the dampa is.

The Bushdance is an opportunity to get out locally and meet some other locals, you may find you have something in common and end up being able to put a name to a familiar face.

There are still tickets available and there will be some held at the door if you decide to change your mind at the last minute. To book phone Jean 4959 4019 or Barbara 4959 1259

Toronto Tidy Towns

Toronto Tidy Towns has again entered into the 2009/2010 Keep Australia Beautiful Sustainable Communities Awards with Coal Point projects making a significant contribution in the application. The categories that were entered were:

  • Wildlife Corridors & Habitats Conservation Award
  • Coal Point Biodiversity Boosting, Sediment Stabilisation & Seagrass Monitoring Project – Stansfield Close and Carey Bay Wetlands projects.
  • Schools Environment Award
  • Coal Point Primary School
  • Cultural Heritage Award           
  • Lake Macquarie Light Rail, Onslow Road, Toronto
  • Waste Management & Litter Reduction Award
  • ‘Turning Toronto Green” – reducing the use of non-biodegradable plastic bags
  • in Toronto.
  • and Overall Tidy Town
Earlier this year Henry Wellsmore, came up with the idea of promoting Toronto through a campaign to promote the use of green bags and minimise the use of non-biodegradable plastic bags. The bags are similar to the familiar ‘Green Bags’ but they’re white, have no plastic gusset, retains their shape even after washing and are made  from recycled plastic bottles.

The Toronto Tidy Towns Turning Toronto Green campaign will be jointly launched by Ian Kiernan and Greg Piper MP at 11.00am on Thursday 27 August in Toronto Town Square. At 10.00am a main Street walk will occur to visit businesses and hand out the bags

Around the Reserves

The Carey Bay Wetlands has been a focus of activity recently with a National Tree Day planting and an inspection from Keep Australia Beautiful-Tidy Towns-Sustainable Communities Assessor.

National Tree Day was  tree-mendous  with 140 plants making it into the ground with time enough left over to do a bit of maintenance on previous year’s plantings. This was the 5th year of planting out the bygone Blackberry briar and there was a celebratory flavour to the day with a BBQ feast provided by Joe’s Meat Market, Toronto Square and morning tea and lunchtime pastries and bread provided by Bakers Delights to keep the energy levels up. The site had been well prepared by local Landcarers with assistance from the Landcare Resource Office. All in all a very satisfying morning.

Lots of Action at Birriban-The long awaited fish cleaning table is under construction at Birriban reserve.

Ambrose Street and Yural Reserves will be the focus reserves for September with additional help  on September 10th provided by the Landcare Office.

TIN Turns 20

Trees In Newcastle is celebrating its 20th Anniversary with a combined Open Day with the Newcastle Community Arts Centre from noon till 4pm on Saturday 12th September at 246-252 Parry Street Newcastle West.

On the day there will be a Spring Plant Sale, Botanical illustration classes, children’s bushcraft and stencilling activities, personal portraits by Peter Lewis, games, planting opportunities, tours of 20 years of TIN sites, displays on Native or Weeds, Greywater reed bed filter systems and frog ponds as well as a BBQ. 
At 7pm there’ll be a reunion of past members, supporters and volunteers music by After Three a vintage jazz trio and a magician. Everyone is welcome and an RSVP to 4969 1500 or will assist with catering.

Can Council help…Yes they Can

It’s hard to imagine that in our community there are still some people that believe that they can do what-ever they want , wherever they want without regard for neighbours, the environment or the planning laws that everyone else has to abide by.

The role of Council in addressing community concerns has been highlighted recently in addressing the illegal actions of one person who erected a timber stairway to the waterfront without any planning consent, felled a dozen mature gum trees on a steep slope without any consent, started building a 30m jetty without any consent, erected a fence out in to the lake and piled construction waste on to the foreshore, and constructed a deck and fence which extended on to the neighbour’s land.

The consequences of such actions mean the hillside slides gracefully into the lake because there is nothing holding it together, the foreshore is compromised and neighbourly harmony is non-existent.

This is where Council can help. Lake Macquarie Council has a strong reputation for striving to protect the environment and upholding their planning instruments, it is why they exist. The process also needs community people to raise the issue and instigate the action so Council officers can take action. 

If you see something that you feel is not right, write it down and let Council know. Sometimes you may think what is happening is so outrageous someone must have reported it, but it never hurts to flick a quick email to  or take a photo and record the events as for future reference. 

Sustainable House Day - Sun 13 Sept 09, 10am-4pm

Sustainable House Day started in 2001 as an initiative of the Australia and New Zealand Solar Energy Society (ANZSES). It is an opportunity to visit sustainable houses in your area.
A local sustainable house at Fassifern is an amazing house that will be open on the day 10am-4pm, address details available from 1st September on the Sustainable House website.

Key Features:
  • nine year old double split level - four bedrooms, two living areas, two cellars, three decks, kitchen, garage
  • passive solar,
  • single skin Hebel, high thermal efficiency 
  • not connected to grid, water or sewer
  • 1 kilowatt photovoltaic array
  • 45,000 litre water storage tank
  • dry composting toilets
  • greywater diversion system
  • solar hot water
  • food garden
  • access to public transport and cycleway
  • net zero annual carbon emissions
  • NatHERS 5 Star energy rated -owner designed and owner built

The best thing about this event, is the co-operation of sustainable homeowners who throw open their doors to the general public. In past years, the most positive feedback from visitors has been about the willingness of homeowners to share their stories. Talking about the lessons they’ve learnt – sharing the stories that have worked and the things that didn’t go so well – is just as valuable as looking through the house itself. For more information and to find the details of other houses in our region see:

Landcare Office Mini Muster & Open Day- Saturday 5th September

Awabakal Wildflower Walk- Sunday 6th September


It's important for us Australians, who are already blessed with great climate for agriculture, should keep it in our minds to buy fruit and veggies when they're in season. Not only do they tend to be cheaper because of reduced transport and refrigeration costs, but buying in season means your produce is fresh, local and better for the environment.
So just what should you buy and when?

Coal Point School Seeks Community Canteen helpers

Coal Point Public School Canteen seeks expressions of interest from any community member who wishes to volunteer 2 hours or more per month in our school canteen. 9am – 11am is the best time for anyone who wishes to help prepare sandwiches or home baking of scones and biscuits. Midday – 3pm is an ideal time for anyone who wishes to bake for the next day. If you are interested, please phone Kylie-Ann on 0438662484 or email

Coal Point Public School Fete – Sat 7th November 2009

Coal Point Public School will be holding it’s biannual fete in November. Anyone wishing to prepare plants for the plant stall, or crafts, including Christmas themed crafts, may wish to start preparations now. Coal Point Public School welcomes any assistance available from the local community. The school will be holding a major raffle from September, which will be drawn on fete day. Anyone who may wish to donate a prize for the raffle, or prizes for the chocolate wheel should contact P&C representative Kylie-Ann on 0438662484 or phone the principal Ms Kim Creswell at the school on 49591374

Hype 4 Kids at Carey Bay

When it’s raining and pouring, and inside is boring, bring your little ones down to Hype 4 kids. They can enjoy the soft play and giant inflatable area or race through the 3 tier climbing structure.

The third week of every month is a theme week. September 15th -18th is Princess and Pirates. Ribbons and tulle...eye patches and hats. Children can dress as their favourite themed character and play, participate in games and dance with staff to themed music to set an exciting mood and long term memories. Come as a group or on your own. Every one will have a great time.

It’s nearly time to reserve a spot for the school holiday program. There will be 2 weeks of fun filled days including Hip Hop , Karate, Spa day, crafts and games. Other special guests still to be announced.

Squash is on the rise again. There are 2 courts available to rent or get involved with the squash social. Thursday 5:30-8pm and Saturday 2-4pm.
Weekend Flexi Competition Starts 5th/6th September. For more Info,  please call 4959 8386.


Our next generation of eco warriors now have an online gaming and social networking website to help them learn about protecting the planet and its plants and animals. Habitat Heroes gives children aged 6 to 14 the opportunity to interact with friends from around the world, while learning through education-based games and activities, treasure hunts and puzzles. Along the way, the site aims to empower and teach children about environmental issues such as endangered animals, land care and global warming.