Heather Blackley

Funding success

• Vad Carey (Condobolin Community Centre), Heather Blackley (WPRD), Federal Member for Parkes Mark Coulton and Anne Coffey (WPRD) were all smiles last Thursday. Mr Coulton was in town to congratulate community groups on successful funding applications for Volunteer Grants. MB

By Melissa Blewitt

The Condobolin Community Centre will benefit from a $4,200 funding boost through the Federal Government’s Volunteer Grants program.
The funding will be used to purchase a reverse cycle air conditioner for the facility, which will be installed into the Pottery Room. Western Plains Regional Development assisted the Condobolin Community Centre in writing the grant application.
Community Centre spokesperson Vad Carey said the new air conditioner would enable the potters to be comfortable in both winter and summer.
Federal Member for Parkes Mark Coulton visited Condobolin last Thursday, to congratulate the Community Centre on securing funding.
“The grants of between $1,000 and $5,000 enable organisations, like the Condobolin Community Centre, to better support their volunteers by purchasing much-needed equipment, training and transport,” he explained.
“The energy, expertise and time our volunteers give to our community supports those most in need and represents what Australian communities are all about – giving a helping hand.
“I’m glad to see that local organisations in Condobolin and around the Parkes Electorate, will have this support to continue their valuable work.”

The ugly truth about domestic violence

Peter Garrett, who did the voice over in the film and introduced the film at the launch, and Senior Constable Daniel Greef, LAC Crime Prevention Officer who assisted in the making of the film. MB

The Lachlan Domestic Violence Committee who initiated the film made by Earthstar Productions, with Peter Garrett and Daniel Greef. MB

 

Peter Garrett, Police, the Lachlan Domestic Violence Committee and Fran Dobie, with Amadeo Marquez-Perez, from Earthstar Productions who directed and produced the film.MB

Editorial by Melissa Blewitt.

‘Little Towns, Big Voices’ is a film that lays bare the ugly truth of domestic violence. It showcases the harrowing experiences of local people and the effects it has on their families. It is 28 minutes of raw and confronting truth, which portrays the brutality of domestic violence unflinchingly.

There is no other label, other than monster, that is befitting of the man who inflicted years of physical and mental torture on the woman, whose experiences are the main focus of the documentary.

The abuse began on her wedding night. “He had too much to drink and gave me a hiding,” she said in the documentary. From there it only got worse, and she tried to protect her children as much as possible. She recalled how one night, her husband “had too much to drink” and began arguing with the children about what was on the television.

“I knew what was coming, so I asked him to take it out on me instead of the kids. And he did.” She said he never really touched her face, but chose areas that could be concealed under clothing.

He was a “good looking” man, and this often blinded outsiders to the extent of his sadistic nature.

“When I went to doctors, they never once told me to go to the Police. I wondered later why they never told me to,” she said on the documentary.

If she was two minutes late getting home from work, he would have the masking tape sat on the top of the fridge waiting.

He would tie her up on a chair and inflict unimaginable horror on her body.

Not content with belting her, he would also throw steaming hot cups of coffee over her, as she lay in agony from the beatings.

There came a point where she became “dead inside”. There is no way many of us could understand what it feels like to get to such a point. Why didn’t she leave? “Where would we go?,” was her answer.

On the night she worked up the courage to leave, she took her daughter out of the front door and across the paddock and walked up the road. “I contacted my son, and he told me to hide in the grass, so he couldn’t find me. So I did.

He came and told me that his girlfriend was following him, and that we should get in her car, as he was going to sort him out.”

Not content with the mental and physical pain he inflicted, her husband burned the family home to the ground after she had gone.

“There was nothing left.” “It took the Police two days to find him, and when it went to Court his mother hired a barrister and he got off with 200 hours of community service.”

The fear of him returning haunts her every day. “He always said, if I left him he would come back and finish me. I have a local policeman on speed dial, because I believe he will.”

I want to congratulate the Lachlan Domestic Violence Committee on their brilliant documentary. It just goes to show what a DV Committee in a small town can achieve if it puts its mind to something.

This has been a 10-year long project, which began with a vision to create a film on domestic violence and the effects it has on women, families and children.

And now it has become a reality. What an amazing achievement. A special mention for Heather Blackley, whose determination and commitment ensured the project came to fruition. She is a community force to be reckoned with. Thanks must also go to Director Fran Dobbie, Producer Amadeo Marquez-Perez, Earthstar Productions, LAC Crime Prevention Officer Daniel Greef, NSW Police and Western Plains Regional Development.

It is hoped that a major network will pick up the film and get the message into mainstream media. The DV Committee is now also in the process of having the film put through the Australian Teachers of Media for a study guide, which will then be able to be implemented into all schools PD/H/PE curriculum. This was made possible by donations from Aboriginal Strategic Direction Crime Prevention Grant, NSW Police Force; House With No Steps, Forbes, Forbes Evening CWA Branch and Begderabong CWA Branch.

Domestic Violence can happen anywhere in any home.

It could be happening next door to you.

It took so much courage for this particular woman to come forward and share her story.

I ask, now that the community also have courage, and report any incidents of domestic violence to Police.

We must all speak up to ensure that those that need our help most, know that there is hope.

We must not hide the ugly truth of domestic violence any longer.

MB

Breaking the Silence

• Condobolin may be a small town, but it has big plans to help break the silence on domestic violence with a powerful documentary highlighting the stories of local people.The premiere of ‘Little Towns, Big Voices’ was launched by activist, and former Labor Minister, Peter Garrett in Condobolin, last Thursday. The stark reality of the impact domestic violence has on families and communities was showcased in the confronting 28-minute film. It unflinchingly lets local residents share their harrowing experiences of domestic violence. ‘Little Towns, Big Voices’ was the brainchild of the Lachlan Domestic Violence Committee, and it is hoped that the film will be a step in decreasing domestic violence Australia wide. MB 

By Melissa Blewitt

Confronting. Harrowing. Raw. Honest. Unflinching. These are all words that could describe the powerful 28-minute documentary, ‘Little Towns, Big Voices.’
It tells of the stories of several victims, men and women, who have been victims or witnesses to domestic violence. The material is shocking and at times distressing. However, the main objectives of the film is to create change and promote action on domestic violence across Australia.
The documentary was launched by activist, and former Labor Minister, Peter Garrett at the Condobolin RSL Club last Thursday.
An interview with Mr Garrett became the documentary’s narration. He believed he was already involved in the cause, and was the father of three daughters.
Mr Garrett said while he had long been involved in anti-domestic violence campaigns, he was moved by the stories of those portrayed in the film.
“It’s really good to be out here seeing this community joining together to lift the covers off domestic violence, which has been an issue for far too long. It deserves to be seen by as many people as possible,” he said.
It is a project that is the brainchild of the Lachlan Domestic Violence Committee, and has taken over 10 years to bring to fruition.
The Domestic Violence (DV) group started a basket weaving class to help women relax, provide a safe place to talk and learn a new skill.
“The DV group also had men and women from the Work For the Dole program at the same time making White Ribbons for White Ribbon Day (25 November). During these programs we had a vision to create a film on domestic violence and the effects it has on women, families and children,” Senior Project Officer with Western Plains Regional Development said.
She added the DV group, in conjunction with project partners NSW Police, had seen the need to break the silence on domestic violence.
Unfortunately, the three Local Government Area within the LAC are all in the top 20 NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOSCAR) rankings for the reporting of domestic assaults. Forbes is ranked at 11, Lachlan at 16 and Parkes at 17.
Superintendent Chris Taylor said Police would not resile from using all the tools that they have available to bring perpetrators of domestic violence to account for their actions.
“Congratulations to all those involved in the concept and production of this very worthwhile endeavour,” he said at the launch.
“It is an excellent production, which although made here in Condobolin, is not location specific but applies right across Australia and has relevance as an education tool.
“Nowhere is immune from domestic violence. I wish the Lachlan DV Committee all the best in their production of this resource.”
It is hoped that a major network will pick up the film and get the message into mainstream media. The DV Committee is now also in the process of having the film put through the Australian Teachers of Media for a study guide, which will then be able to be implemented into all schools PD/H/PE curriculum. This was made possible by donations from Aboriginal Strategic Direction Crime Prevention Grant, NSW Police Force; House With No Steps, Forbes, Forbes Evening CWA Branch and Bedgerebong CWA Branch.

Game on for 2015 Show

Friendly rivalries are igniting as the 2015 Condobolin Show draws closer, with fierce competition in many of the exhibits seeing passionate entrants get busy in the kitchen, the yard and the work shed.

• Leanne Anderson eyes off Heather Blackley’s quince paste recipe. Both women are entering their quince paste in this year’s Condobolin Show. Contributed

By Lara Pearce

Friendly rivalries are igniting as the 2015 Condobolin Show draws closer, with fierce competition in many of the exhibits seeing passionate entrants get busy in the kitchen, the yard and the work shed.

Heather Blackley and Leanne Anderson have started a “quince-off” after winning two separate titles at the Show last year.

In her very first year of entering, Heather was named queen of the quince jelly and Leanne won in the quince paste section.

The two ladies met recently to inspect the competition, with Heather showing off her recipe for quince paste. She is entering both categories this year and is determined that this time she will reign supreme.

“I have been experimenting with recipes and my quince paste is beautiful,” she said. “So get ready Leanne, because mine is going to beat yours!”

Both women say they would love some more competition, encouraging locals to get cooking and see what they can come up with.

“Quinces are in season at the moment, so now is the time to be making your quince jellies and pastes,” Leanne said.

If quince is not your area of expertise, there are a huge range of other categories including pickles, relishes, chutneys, jams, sauces, preserves and baked goods. Now is also a good time to get peeling, cutting and stewing on marmalades, as oranges are highest in pectin when only just ripe.

The Condobolin Show will be held on the 28 and 29 August this year and entries must be in by 11am on Thursday, 27 August.

Lift for Community Centre on the way

After more than two years of planning and fundraising, the Condobolin Community Centre is expected to have a lift by the end of March 2015.

• The Condobolin Community Centre will soon be accessible to all with the installation of a lift early next year. LP

By Lara Pearce

After more than two years of planning and fundraising, the Condobolin Community Centre is expected to have a lift by the end of March 2015.

Director of Community Services and Governance at the Lachlan Shire Council, Gordon Thomson, says the development application for the project should be resolved by early next week.

“It is a longstanding project that has had a series of setbacks, largely due to the nature of the Community Centre itself, the building fabric, the difficulty in getting suitable materials and the heritage considerations,” he said.

The lift will be a standalone lift, positioned at the rear of the building and opening upstairs near the kitchen, allowing for the easy transportation of cooking supplies for community functions.

The community has been fundraising for a lift since 2012. An additional $20,675 in funding through the State Government’s Community Building Partnership program was announced last Friday, securing the financial position of the project.

Funding has also been provided by the Council, the Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation and a number of community groups.

The Lachlan Shire Council owns the building, which is run by a committee composed of local community members Heather Blackley, John Hassan, Vad Carey, Fay Boys, Rex Press and Gail Copeland.

Committee members say they are very pleased that the lift will soon be a reality.

“Lots of community groups have worked together and donated money, ranging from the Garden Festival to the Condobolin Drama Group and […] there is still some money out in the community that people have pledged,” Heather Blackley said.

“The building needs to have access for the elderly and young people with prams. We also need to have access for catering purposes so people can get the food and everything upstairs to the kitchen and to the gallery area.”

“It is actually stopping us from having lots of functions because people are finding it really difficult. [The lift] will enhance the building and make it easier to use.”

Not only will the Centre be getting a new lift; the heritage-listed building, the original part of which was built in the 1890s, will also be getting a facelift. New stainless steel sinks and benches will be installed in the ground floor kitchen, the upstairs balcony will be repainted, doorways will be widened to facilitate wheelchair access and fret work will be reinstalled in the coming year.

There also has to be structural strengthening work done to the building to allow for the installation of the lift.

“It is one of those jobs that have taken a long time to bring to completion, but I think both the Community Centre committee and the community generally will be really pleased with the end result,” Mr Thomson said.

He acknowledged the community’s efforts in helping make the lift a reality. “Without their support, the project would have had difficulty in proceeding,” he said.

Further information on the project will be released early next year.

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