Des Manwaring

OAM for Des Manwaring

Condobolin’s Des Manwaring was awarded a Medal (OAM) of the Order of Australia on the Queen’s Birthday Honour List. KP

By Melissa Blewitt

Former long serving Councillor and Mayor of Lachlan Shire Council Des Manwaring, has been recognised with a Medal (OAM) of the Order of Australia on the Queen’s Birthday Honour List. Mr Manwaring was awarded the OAM in the General Division for service to Local Government and the Lachlan Shire Community.
He still lives in the Condobolin area with his wife Jeanette, and they are both still part of a thriving family farming business, which has grown over many years.
His connection to Condobolin began in 1967, when he began share farming on 3,000 acres. He, along with wife Jeanette and his family, now own around 50,000 acres.
“You never do things for acknowledgment, but all I have ever wanted to do was to give a little something back to the community that has given my family so much,” he said in 2015, when he was awarded the Paul Harris Fellowship. It was the first time a Paul Harris Fellow has not been connected to the Condobolin Rotary Club itself.
“The first years were a bit rough, but Jeanette and I knew there was no other place like Condobolin, so we knew this was going to be home for us and our family.”
Lachlan Shire Mayor, John Medcalf, said the award was “very much deserved” and was acknowledgement of Mr Manwaring’s commitment to the local community.
“I want to say a big congratulations to Des, it is very much deserved,” he stated.
“He has long served his community with dignity and respect. He spent 30 years in Local Government advancing the causes of the Lachlan Shire and was a true gentleman. He truly has made an outstanding contribution to Condobolin and the Shire.”
Mr Manwaring became a Councillor in 1984, where he remained until his retirement from Local Government in 2016. He was mayor from 2006 until 2015, and held the Deputy Mayor’s position on two occasions – From 1997 until 2005, and then again in 2015 to 2016.
His other service includes: Member, Lachlan Senior Management Team, NSW Rural Fire Service, current; Representative to the Lachlan Service Agreement Committee; Member, Mid Lachlan Valley Team Bush Fire Management Committee, since 2007; Deputy Group Captain, Lachlan District, 2000-2003; Group Captain, 1980-2000.
He was the Senior Deputy Captain of Vermont Hill South, from 2004 to 2006, and has been a member since 1958. Mr Manwaring is a Master, Masonic Lodge Condobolin, Freemasons from 1989 to 1991, and has been a member of the organisation since 1984. He is a continued supporter of the Condo 750. He is current Chairman of Western Plains Regional Development Inc in Condobolin. Mr Manwaring has received the Emeritus Mayor, Local Government NSW, 2014; 30 Years Service, Local Government NSW, 2014; Long Service Medal and Clasps, 50 Years Service, NSW Rural Fire Service, 2014; 2015; and Outstanding Service Award for 20 Years Service, Shires Association of NSW, 2005.

Order of Australia for former Deputy Mayor

Four-time Deputy Mayor of Lachlan Shire Council, Noel Bennett, received an Order of Australia on the Queen’s Birthday Honour List on Monday.

• Noel Bennett, pictured in 2006 during his time as Deputy Mayor of Lachlan Shire Council, was awarded an Order of Australia on the Queen’s Birthday Honour List on Monday. KP

By Lara Pearce

Four-time Deputy Mayor of Lachlan Shire Council, Noel Bennett, received an Order of Australia on the Queen’s Birthday Honour List on Monday.

Mr Bennett was awarded the OAM in the General Division for services to local government and the Lachlan Shire community.

“I was thrilled, I was humbled, I was honoured,” said Mr Bennett of hearing the news. “I have always had a desire to make things better for people and if that is what I have been able to achieve, then I am very happy.”

Mr Bennett, who lives in Tottenham, was a Councillor from 1991 until 2008, serving four times as Deputy Mayor, as well as spearheading a plethora of community organisations.

“A couple of people approached me in 1990 and asked me to stand for Council,” he said.

“The roads in this area particularly were a key concern – we had never had a sealed road out of Tottenham. We fought hard. Now, we have all sealed access out of Tottenham.”

“I tried hard as a Councillor for all communities. If people came forward with a concern and were prepared to put some money or some time into it, I would support them.”

Lachlan Shire Mayor, Des Manwaring, worked alongside Mr Bennett during his seventeen years on Council and offered his congratulations on the announcement.

“It is very well-deserved,” he said. “Noel was a man who once he took something on, he got into it teeth and all and never gave up until he achieved what he set out to achieve for his community.”

“He is a great ambassador for Tottenham and the Lachlan Shire. Particularly in Tottenham, he was involved in nearly everything that moved in some way or another. It is a real credit to him.”

Mr Bennett was also responsible for starting the Lachlan Advisory Group based in Condobolin in the 1980s, serving as the organisation’s inaugural President.

“In the early 80s it was a very difficult time for people on the land,” he said. “This is when interest rates were up over 20%. 81/82 were drought years and some changes in income tax laws were having an effect.”

“I had some very, very sad calls from women who were in tears – when you start getting those phone calls, you know people are pretty desperate.”

“With Fran [Rowe]’s expertise and her continual negotiations with the Government, we were able to get some guidelines put in place for people with their finances.”

The Mayor commended Mr Bennett for initiating the group, which is still running today.

“Noel had seen that there was a great need,” Clr Manwaring said. “It was the first of its kind in NSW. His foresight there was spot on.”

Among the achievements Mr Bennett is most proud of is the new Tottenham Multi Purpose Service (MPS), which was built in 2009.

“I was Chairman of the local hospital board,” he said. “We worked to get funding to build a new MPS with allocated aged care beds. Before that, our aged care patients had to move towns, which is disgraceful. Now, there are six nursing home beds and four acute care beds and they are always full.”

At 76 years old, Mr Bennett remains an active member of the town’s Progress Association, the Tottenham Golf Club and the Tottenham Health Advisory Council.

He was a founding member of the Tottenham Tidy Towns committee in 1996. In 2008, he was named Tottenham Citizen of the Year.

Mr Bennett says that his one regret in accepting this recognition is that his late wife, Margaret, is not here to share it with him.

“I wish she was here,” he said. “I lost her two years ago and she was a terrific support to me. I just hope that she is up there looking down at this.”

He also offered his thanks to all those who have supported him over the years. “I have had a lot of support from the different volunteer organisations and the people who work on those organisations,” he said.

“I would also like to thank the people who nominated me, whoever they are.”

NSW Govt to shore up Condo’s water supply

The NSW State Government has pledged almost $4 million in funding for Condobolin’s town water supply.

• Lachlan Shire Mayor Des Manwaring accepting a cheque for $3,900,000 from Minister for Water, Kevin Humphries. LP

By Lara Pearce

The NSW State Government has pledged almost $4 million in funding for Condobolin’s town water supply.

Minister for Water, Kevin Humphries, was in Condobolin on Monday, where he presented Lachlan Shire Mayor, Des Manwaring, with a cheque for $3,900,000. The money will be used to build three new bores to ensure Condobolin’s water supply during future dry periods.

The Mayor gratefully accepted the cheque. “We have a bore close to town but it only produces about a [megalitre] a day,” Clr Manwaring explained. “A few years ago, the river actually stopped running and that created a lot of problems.”

This is the first stage of a $12.2 million water supply project for the town.

“This project will help to improve economic growth and productivity in the region,” Mr Humphries said.

“Condobolin has had a long history of water restrictions. The new bores […] will complement the existing water supply from Goobang Creek.”

“Water is the lifeblood of our regional communities.”

The long-term goal is to extend the pipeline to link up with the regional network supplying towns in the Lachlan river system, if a sufficient amount of water is discovered.

The money is part of the NSW Government’s $366 million Water Security for Regions fund.

Local Government Areas of Walgett, Cobar and Brewarrina also received State Government funding boosts on Monday.

The Mayor of Cobar Lilliane Brady received just over $1 million. The Mayor of Brewarrina, Angelo Pippos, accepted a cheque for $320,000 for emergency water backup, and the Mayor of Walgett, David Lane, received just under $2 million for regional roads.

Mr Humphries noted that the road developments would also have flow-on benefits for the Lachlan Shire in facilitating the more efficient transport of goods.

Condo celebrates outstanding local Aussies

Nature put on quite a show for Condobolin residents and visiting guests this Australia Day.

• Australia Day award recipients (L-R) Ray Peasley standing in for Michael Timmins, John Dopper, Liz Goodsell standing in for Lewis Goodsell, Vickie Tyson representing the Condobolin Picnic Race Club and Leonie Parker with Dawn Johnson, Australia Day Ambassador Andrew Heslop and (back) Mayor Des Manwaring and Kevin Humphries MP. KP

By Lara Pearce

Nature put on quite a show for Condobolin residents and visiting guests this Australia Day.

With the sun shining, the grass lush and green from recent rain and the sound of birds in the trees, the community gathered early in Memorial Park for that classic Australian tradition – a barbeque.

The Men of League Club served up quite a spread for breakfast, including sausages, eggs, bacon and fried tomatoes, while Rotary Club members handed out hot tea and coffee and cold drinks.

After breakfast, the official presentation ceremony commenced with Councillor Graham Scott leading the proceedings.

In a break with tradition, there were two Citizens of the Year this year – local Women’s Nurse and multi-award recipient Leonie Parker and community volunteer and President of the Condobolin Sports Club, John Dopper.

The Community Service Awards went to long-serving pharmacist and activist for community health, Michael Timmins, and Pipe Band Major of forty years, John Costello.

Lewis Goodsell was recognised as a young role model and all-round achiever, winning Young Citizen of the Year, while the Condobolin Picnic Race Club was named the Community Event of the Year.

Australia Day Ambassador for the Lachlan and award-winning keynote speaker, Andrew Heslop, presented the award recipients with their framed certificates and prizes. He also spoke on the importance of strong communities and how regional Australians define the national identity of strength, resilience and community spirit.

“Don’t wait until there is some kind of disaster or emergency threatening your community to recognise that you have one,” he urged the crowd. “Don’t wait for your community to come to you. Don’t forget that the other women and men, the other boys and girls, standing next to you today are your community.”

Mr Heslop created Neighbour Day in 2003 – a day designed to develop stronger communities and encourage people to be good neighbours. He concluded his address with a similar message: “Our communities are only as strong as the people who live in them.”

As a part of the Australia Day presentation, young local singer Tessa Noll led the crowd in the Australian anthem and Dawn Johnson presented the Welcome to Country, recognising the traditional custodians of the land, the Wiradjuri people.

Special guest Kevin Humphries, who is the Minister for Western NSW and the Minister for Natural Resources, Lands and Water, also spoke on the importance of the Australian identity. “If we don’t celebrate our identity, we tend to lose it,” he said. “Freedom is very hard won but easily lost – it is very important that we celebrate this.”

Mayor Des Manwaring also spoke, thanking the special guests and the community. “I think it is very appropriate that our Australia Day Ambassador was NSW Volunteer of the Year because communities – especially regional communities – live on volunteers,” he said.

Andrew Heslop was then presented with a framed photograph of a cockatoo taken by local bird photographer Warren Chad.

Mayor and Deputy re-elected

Councillors Des Manwaring and John Medcalf have both been re-elected to their positions as Mayor and Deputy Mayor of the Lachlan Shire Council.

• Clr Des Manwaring was been re-elected as Mayor of the Lachlan Shire for the ninth time in a row. KP

Councillors Des Manwaring and John Medcalf have both been re-elected to their positions as Mayor and Deputy Mayor of the Lachlan Shire Council.

• Clr John Medcalf will also continue in his role as Deputy Mayor. KP















By Lara Pearce

Councillors Des Manwaring and John Medcalf have both been re-elected to their positions as Mayor and Deputy Mayor of the Lachlan Shire Council.

Councillors voted at their September meeting held last Wednesday 17 September. Clr Manwaring defeated Clr Graham Scott in the ballot for mayor, while Clr Medcalf defeated Clr Dennis Brady.

These positions go up for election annually. Clr Manwaring of “Wylona”, Condobolin, has been on the council for 29 years and this is his ninth election as Mayor.

Clr Medcalf is a farmer from Tottenham and has been on the council since he was first elected in 1991.

A circle of achievement

The Wiradjuri Study Centre gardens were a fitting setting for the Lachlan Shire Council's NAIDOC Week celebrations last Wednesday.

• One of the Kalary dancers, Ngarra Williams, performs for the crowd at the Lachlan Shire Council’s NAIDOC celebrations. LP

By Lara Pearce

The Wiradjuri Study Centre gardens were a fitting setting for the Lachlan Shire Council’s NAIDOC Week celebrations last Wednesday.

Councillors, community members, students, teachers, and Indigenous elders sat in the large circular space to hear General Manager of the Shire, Liz Collyer, speak, see NAIDOC awards presented, and see Wiradjuri culture on display.

In a mark of unity and communal spirit, partner council Penrith City Council joined in the NAIDOC celebrations.

Awards were presented to a number of Indigenous locals for their contributions to the community, including Aboriginal elder Lois Goolagong, Joe Flick for his work overseeing the Knockout Health Challenge, a number of Indigenous teachers across the Lachlan Shire and the Wiradjuri Study Centre for its work uniting the community.

Penrith City Council Mayor Ross Fowler and local Mayor Des Manwaring joined in presenting the award recipients with their framed certificates. Clr Manwaring also presented the Mayor of Penrith with a woven artwork by local Wiradjuri artist, Bev Coe, as a gesture of friendship between the two councils.

Local Wiradjuri man Dick Richards and his granddaughter Danielle presented the Welcome to Country to the large crowd.

NAIDOC Week is a time to celebrate Indigenous culture and achievements, and as a mark of this, both the local Dindema dancers and the well-known Kalary dancers performed contemporary and traditional Wiradjuri dances.

Kalary dancer and didgeridoo player, Lewis Coe, and dancer Roy Peterson grew up in the Condobolin area, while fellow dancer Ngarra Williams calls the higher Lachlan region of Cowra home. After performing two dances for the crowd, they got many of the primary school students present on their feet and joining in as kangaroos and emus. “It wouldn’t be NAIDOC without you young people dancing,” said Mr Coe.

Ms Collyer wished the crowd a happy NAIDOC and assured them that Wiradjuri culture would continue to be celebrated throughout the year. “There are lots of reasons for celebrating Aboriginal culture, not just NAIDOC,” she said.

“Devastating” cuts to Lachlan Shire Council

Local councils in New South Wales will be $288 million worse off under changes announced in the Federal Budget, with the Lachlan Shire and other rural communities predicted to be the hardest hit.

• Lachlan Shire Council Chambers on Molong Street. LP

By Lara Pearce

Local councils in New South Wales will be $288 million worse off under changes announced in the Federal Budget, with the Lachlan Shire and other rural communities predicted to be the hardest hit.

In the Federal Budget last Tuesday, Joe Hockey announced a three year freeze to Federal Government assistance grants to local councils. Rural and regional councils such as Condobolin will be most affected due to their heavy reliance on Federal Government assistance.

The Mayor of Lachlan Shire, Clr Des Manwaring, says he is disappointed with the decision. “Previously [the grant freezes] have only ever been for one year,” he said.

The Mayor noted that only around 25% of the Lachlan Shire Council’s income comes from ratepayers – a much smaller percentage than councils in major centres. “We’ve got a big area and not a lot of population,” he explained. “The Federal Government grants have been reducing in real terms by about 1% per year for the past 20 years, and these reductions will be about another 2.5%, and that doesn’t include inflation.”

“It just means we have got to tighten our belts a bit more. We’re battling to balance our books at the moment, so it will probably mean a reduction in services somewhere along the line.”

Local Government NSW President, Keith Rhoades, condemned the Federal Government’s measures. “A lot of smaller rural councils rely heavily on those Federal Grants. This is a devastating blow for them,” he said.

He also noted that the current system of council rate pegging left the councils with few places to turn.

In NSW, the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal determines the amount by which councils are allowed to increase their rates, and this increase often lags behind inflation. This means council rates can decrease in real terms each year.

“This rates increase is in no way going to make up for what was handed down in the budget,” he said.

The Federal Government has defended the cuts to local councils, instead touting the National Stronger Regions Fund as a major boost for regional communities. Under the scheme, over $1 billion of funds will go towards infrastructure in regional areas across Australia, in line with the Government’s pre-election promise.

“This funding will support priority projects which create jobs and support economic growth in regional Australia,” Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Develop Warren Truss said.

The 294 community projects currently being processed under the Community Development Grants program include $200,000 of funding for a skate park in Cobar, $4 million for a regional museum and cultural square in Orange and airport development in Parkes.

However, none of the projects currently under development in the scheme are in the Lachlan Shire.

Mayor, Clr Des Manwaring, said that councils in rural areas such as the Lachlan Shire had additional services they were expected to provide, without being allocated any additional funding.

“We have the most road of any council in New South Wales – 4,500km of road and no major highway. The only bit of road we don’t have to pay for is between [Condobolin] and Ootha,” he said.“We supply houses and cars for the doctors at the Medical Centre, and we provide the Medical Centre, which has been rent-free up until now. These are things we do to encourage doctors to our towns.”­­

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