Condo 750 – roaring success

• The Condobolin contingent of bike riders - glad to have made it to the end. Overall bike winner is Rod Faggotter, second Damien Grabham and equal third Matthew Fish and Condobolin'sThomas Jacobson. KT

By Karen Tooth

This year’s wet conditions provided a change from the dry for the competitors of the 2011 Slattery Auctions Condo 750 with the resultant high grass, thistles and soft dirt making for a very demanding event.
The event received high praise from competitors for the professional running, the hard work put in by volunteers and the friendliness of the people of Condobolin.
Driver of the outright winning car – number 75 (Mitsubishi Pajero), Steve Riley (Victoria) said, “When the Condo 750 first started I twice won it [the 750] on a bike and now to have won it in a car is fantastic!”
“It’s always a great event – we make the pilgrimage to Condo with the family staying at the caravan park and have a great time.”
Steve’s navigator, John Doble (Sydney) said, “The 750 is demanding event from the navigator’s perspective and it is really easy to get lost – there are lots of instructions to follow. The driver really has to concentrate on what the navigator says!”
In second overall position, local competitors Driver Jason Pearce commented, “This is one of the hardest navigation courses we’ve had along with the long grass that was really thick. We had a good run and nothing went wrong. It was the first time we won a stage.”
Event Director (cars) Alan Wells said the event went well: “There were no real dramas; bent a few vehicles but no injuries. It was tough but they all enjoyed the course.”
Bill Logan, Chairman Condobolin Sports Promotions, was very happy with how the event went. He said, “Two bike riders were taken to hospital – Orange and Parkes but there were no major injuries.”
Bill went on to add that having St. John’s Ambulance and a helicopter in attendance were two firsts for the 750. The helicopter was multifunctional with first response medical and a photographer and video cameraman.
The helicopter was sponsored by Slattery Auctions and piloted by Paddy Slattery.                                                                    Former Condobolin resident, Luke Buckland, who gained a third in the H1 bike section, said, “It was great to get to the finish!
“I found the course very intertwined which made it too easy to make mistakes and get on the wrong course.”
“Thumbs up to the committee for all their hard work.”
“This year it was especially good for spectators which is what this sort of racing needs – especially from a sponsors point of view.”
“The Condo 750 is always good fun – I didn’t need any medical attention!”

Language seminar held at Wiradjuri Study Centre

By Dominic Geiger

Wiradjuri Condobolin Corporation (WCC) recently held a Wiradjuri Language Seminar at its Condobolin study centre.
Event facilitator, Terry Williams said the aim of the seminar was to develop a “draft scaffold teaching plan” which would allow for Wiradjuri languages to be taught in all schools within the Wiradjuri region of NSW.
“Today we’ve been developing resource materials and utilising the resources we have in the hope the language will become a formal part of the school curriculum as part of language development,” he said.
“In the same way students in the past have learnt French or Chinese, they would now learn Wiradjuri.
“We think our goals are extremely realistic; the language is already taught in many schools.
“As long as schools teach the language as part of a consolidated and continuous teaching program it will be successful.”
The Wiradjuri language is no longer in general use, however there have been significant efforts made in recent years to revive the language.
Wiradjuri Elder Stan Grant Snr, who was at the seminar, released ‘A First Wiradjuri Dictionary’ in conjunction with Dr John Rudder in 2005.
Terry said Uncle Stan Grant Snr had played an incredible role in reviving the language.
“He is a fluent in both speaking and teaching the language,” Terry said.
“He has been instrumental in taking a spoken language and turning it into a written language.”
The seminar attracted people from all around the Wiradjuri nation including Dubbo, Wagga Wagga and Parkes.
Terry said it was likely another seminar would be held in the coming weeks.

New doctor for Condobolin Aboriginal Health Service

•Dr May El-Khoury and her daughter Stephanie.

 

By Jessica Symonds and Dominic Geiger

Condobolin Aboriginal Health Service will welcome a new doctor in the coming weeks, with Dr May El-Khoury set to start work on May 2.
Despite this good news, the move comes at a loss for the town of Trundle in neighbouring Parkes Shire, where Dr El-Khoury has been working at the Brookview Street Medical Surgery for almost five years.
Dr El-Khoury spent her final day at the Trundle surgery last Friday before setting off on a three week holiday.
She said the decision to move towns was based on a need to take a new path in her professional life.
“I’m looking for a change, for different challenges, as most professionals do during their career,” she said.
“I’m hoping that I can provide a good service to the community, and take care of people.
“I’m looking forward to working as part of the team in Condobolin and trying to make a difference for all those who come to the centre.”
Dr Rick Newton, who is currently based in Tullamore, will briefly attend the Trundle Surgery for one week beginning May 2.
Dr Newton said he was confident a new doctor would be found for the Trundle surgery, despite a lack of medical professionals in country areas.
“Trundle will be in strife for a while, but I’m going to do my best and we’ve got a few doctors who are interested in the position that I’m in contact with at the moment,” he said.
“They’ll have to jump through a few hoops before they can be approved but we’ll probably have a new doctor there in one or two months.
“I’m going to spend the first week of May at the Trundle surgery, and I’ll be increasing my hours in Tullamore after that to help with the increasing demand.
“Dr El-Khoury and I will both continue to service the Trundle aged care home over the coming months.”

Family Support hosts Youth Sports Day

By Dominic Geiger

The Family Support Centre in Condobolin hosted a Youth Sports Day on Tuesday April 12 with over 85 young people and 40 adults attending the event.
A busload of children and their guardians also drove from Lake Cargelligo to partake in the day’s activities.
The project was funded through the Federal Government’s Youth Week initiative in conjunction with Arrive Alive and Condobolin Family support.
Project Manager at the WPRD, Heather Blackley, said the day was comprised of a variety of sporing competitions.
“We set up teams so the kids could play oztag, touch footy, netball and volleyball,” she said.
“We also had a really big barbecue with lots of parents and guardians helping out.
“The idea behind the day was trying to get the two communities together and getting the kids to work and play with each other.
“It was about providing an active day of fun and entertainment and trying to puff the kids out a bit.”

Dusting off their gloves

By Dominic Geiger

A grudge match of epic proportions is set to take Condobolin by storm this May, with ‘Little’ Mark Pawsey and Brendon Smith once again taking to the ring to fight it out for the Condo Heavyweight Title.
The ‘Condo Dust Up’, which is scheduled for May 7 at the Condobolin RSL, will see the two heavyweight contenders face off for the first time since Brendon got the better of ‘Little’ Mark in the ring last December.
Fight Promoter and professional fighter, Mark ‘The Condo Kid’ Pawsey, said ‘Little’ Mark would be hungry for revenge.
“The last fight was very entertaining,” he said.
“Mark came out and knocked Brendan on to the canvass, then Brendan got up and knocked Mark out in a K.O. finish.
“Brendan’s fitness really won it for him at the end of the day.”
Mark said the fight would also feature the long awaited return of trainer Desmond Ritchie to the ring.
“Desmond will be up against Hicky Solosie from Griffith,” he said.
“He’s also been training all the other Condo fighters, including Shannon Sloane, who got a taste of the fight game last Condo fight night and he’s hungry for more.”
The night will also feature a number of local match-ups, including Luke Howith vs Julian Ingrim, with many more still to be announced.
Mark said he thought the Condobolin community would really enjoy the night.
“Fights are great for the community because boxing requires discipline and dedication and allows young people to strive for something more,” he said.
“The support we had last fight night was great and we hope to see everyone there again.”
The fight is set to begin at 7pm on May 7 at the Condobolin RSL.
Tickets can be purchased from the venue.

Making history at the Murie

• Arron Pawsey and Brandan Singh help build a shed at the Murie.

By Dominic Geiger

Condobolin High School students are helping provide labour for a project aimed at revitalising the area that once belonged to the Murie Aboriginal settlement just south of Condobolin.
Students have constructed a fence around the old cemetery and are in the process of building two sheds which will be used as information and entertainment areas.
Wiradjuri Elder, Evelyn Coe, said the project was about sharing Aboriginal history and culture with the whole community.
“There are a lot of happy memories from that place,” she said.
“We want teachers to take the kids out there, not just Aboriginal kids, and have some lunch and learn about the old ways.
“Like how we used to catch yabbies and fish from the creek, and how we weren’t allowed to do a lot of the things the kids these days take for granted.”
Wiradjuri Elder, Shirley Merritt, said native plants would be used to show people how to cook with wild food.
“We’ll have to get the young kids to plant them though; it’s a bit difficult for us these days,” she said.
“We’ll also be creating a booklet for the sheds that will contain old pictures so people can learn about what life used to be like.
“It will be good for the old people to come and sit and just remember how it was growing up there.”
Steven Karaitiana, coordinator of the Murie project, said the initiative was helping to expand the minds of the school kids working at the site.
“We’re just teaching them skills, like how to build sheds and fences,” he said.
“Projects like this help with their self esteem and give them options about what sort of jobs they can do after school.”

Increase for Lachlan Valley GS Irrigators

Compiled By Jessica Symonds

NSW Water Commissioner David Harriss announced an increase of 9% in water allocations for Lachlan Valley general security irrigators last week.
General security irrigation applies to those farmers who use their allocation for pasture irrigation.
Mr Harriss said the increase in water availability had come as a result of significant inflows into Wyangala Dam and tributary flows further downstream of the dam.
“With inflows in the valley being above the long term average this year, general security licence holders are now able to access full allocations and can also look to setting water aside for use next year,” he said.
“The improvement has enabled an increase for general security licence holders to 117 per cent of entitlement.”
According to NSW Water, Wyangala Dam is currently at 92 percent capacity, holding 1,117,000 megalitres.
The dam peaked at 93% in mid-January and has averaged above 90% since December last year.
Mr Harriss also said the Water Sharing Plan for the Lachlan Valley, which has been suspended since 2004, will be recommenced on 1 July 2011.
According to the NSW Water website, the Water Sharing Plan for the Lachlan Regulated River Water Source includes rules relating to protecting the environment, water extractions, managing licence holders’ water accounts, and water trading in the plan area.
The plan includes Ivanhoe, Booligal, Hillston, Lake Cargelligo, Condobolin, Forbes, Parkes and Cowra and incorporates the Lachlan River system including Willandra Creek and Merrowie Creek.
The New South Wales Office of Water provides further information on water allocations and the reintroduction of the Water Sharing Plan at www.water.nsw.gov.au.

Inaugural Car Display at Slattery Auctions Condo 750

Slattery Auctions Condo 750 held over the Easter long weekend will host an inaugural Car Display which will line Bathurst Street in Condobolin from 3.30pm on Friday 22 April.
Friday morning will kick start with a prologue to place competitors in their starting positions for the competition. The prologue will be held approximately 5km north of Condobolin with a designated viewing area for spectators.
At 3.30pm following the prologue, competitors will locate in Bathurst Street Condobolin for the inaugural Car Display of motor bikes and rally cars. The Car Display will be a unique sight for rally car and motor bike lovers to enjoy and an opportunity for spectators to learn more about the event by talking first hand to the competitors.
Event Director Allan Wells believes the Car Display is a great way for spectators to get a new perspective on the event.
“The Car Display will give spectators an up close perspective of the motor bikes and rally cars and more importantly, an opportunity to meet and hear firsthand the experiences of the competitors,” said Mr Wells.
The 2011 course is set to test driver and rider endurance, machinery reliability and navigation skills being approximately 750km long. The major sponsor for 2011 is Slattery Auctions who will be providing a helicopter for use as a medivac unit. Other sponsors include ARB, PWR, PJL Equipment, Pirtek, Lachlan Shire Council, Chamen’s Supa IGA, Shell Autoport, Wheelers- The Friendly Food Store and Honda.
Entries are already confirmed from Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia, Victoria and the Northern Territory as well as competitors from our local community and region.
For more information please visit the website http://www.condo750.com.au/index.html or email info@condo750.com.au

Lachlan Shire sheep numbers on rebound

By Jessica Symonds

Lachlan Shire farmers are gradually seeing an increase in sheep numbers following a record low in the national flock last year.
Robert Barker, Meat Market Analyst at Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA), said during 2009, sheep numbers dropped to 68 million.
“That’s an incredibly rapid decline from 170 million in the national flock in the late 1980s,” he said.
“This fall was due, primarily, to the ten year drought experienced in New South Wales, where we saw a combination of low wool prices and bad environmental conditions effect the national flock.
“There now appears to be a fair intention to rebuild stock numbers, with higher marking rates and a lower proportion of stock turn-off (that is, selling lambs to abattoirs or live exporters).”
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Australia saw a 6% decrease in flock numbers in 2009-10, which resulted in the lowest numbers since 1905.
Despite this, numbers are now on the rise, with Sylvia Athas, MLA Senior Economist, saying the Australian flock is projected to increase by 2% this year.
“As the favourable seasonal conditions continue, we should see the eastern states produce exceptional lambing rates and continue to stimulate strong demand for restocking and ewe retention,” she said.
According to Dr Mike Ewing, former Research Director at Future Farm Industries CRC, lack of sheep in eastern Australia was due to a shift towards pasture production, which has outperformed the number of sheep eating it.
Last year New South Wales, along with Western Australia, saw the largest reported decreases with New South Wales flock numbers falling by 5%, (1.2 million head), and Western Australia declining by 7%, (1 million head).
Lachlan Shire sheep producer and member of the Condobolin P. A. H. & I. Society, Tom Kirk, said during the drought many farmers he knew had switched sheep for pasture, which would make it very difficult for them to re-enter the market with the high price sheep are now fetching.
“We wanted to keep breeding through the drought,” he said.
“We tried to keep our sheep numbers steady, but many people I know in the industry got sick of the low returns on sheep,
“We’ve been selling wether lambs for slaughter, but preserving and building up our ewe numbers.”

Condobolin and District carbon seminar

By Dominic Geiger

Condobolin and Districts Landcare held a ‘Carbon Seminar’ last Monday afternoon with a number of local and national speakers giving presentations on how climate change would affect those living in and around the Lachlan Shire.
Kate Kirk, Support Officer for Condobolin and District Landcare, said the speakers included representatives from the NSW Department of Primary Industries, the National Farmers Federation, WoolProducers Australia, and local beef producer Jean Cowles.
“The speakers gave an overview on where they think the climate is at; regardless of whether or not climate change is man made or naturally occurring,” she said.
“The fact is the climate seems to be changing and farmers in particular need to prepare for it.
“We’re going to be coming up against possibly a 3 degree increase in summer temperature and increased frost in winter so crops need to be managed accordingly.”
Kate said many of the speakers stressed the fact autumn and spring weather patterns would appear less noticeable and summer and winter would become more extreme in the coming years.
“Particularly in agricultural regions, we need to prepare for extreme temperatures and seek out opportunities where they exist,” she said.
“For farmers, this could come through the carbon farmers initiative as part of an emissions trading scheme.
“I think opportunities for the future will be limited, though we’ll hopefully find ways to manage.
“The meeting didn’t provide good news but it was definitely interesting.”

River stakeholders meet with MDBA Chairmen

By Dominic Geiger

Stakeholders representing various communities along the Lachlan River met with the Murray Darling Basin Authority Chairman Craig Knowles as he toured the region on Monday March 28.
Mr Knowles and the various representatives, which included mayors, landowners and Aboriginal groups, boarded a bus in Forbes which took them to a dairy farm east of the town.
Mayor of the Lachlan Shire Des Manwaring said Mr Knowles listened closely to the concerns voiced during the bus trip and at the farm.
“He said it was a fact finding mission for him; he was trying to get his head around the issues of the Lachlan River,” he said.
“He told us he had no pre-conceived views on what should be done here.
“The main thing (the stakeholders) told him was that the Lachlan is a closed system; it very rarely flows into the Murrumbidgee at all.”
Mary Ewing, Executive Officer at Lachlan Valley Water, said the Lachlan River flowed into a large marshland area which was usually cut off from the Murray Darling system.
“The Lachlan ends in the Great Cumbung Swamp near Oxley,” she said.
“The only time the river joins the Murrumbidgee is during a major flood.”
Des said the consensus amongst the stakeholders was that too much water had already been ‘bought back’ from the Lachlan and the tougher water allocation allowances had placed social and economic burdens on Lachlan River communities.
“There has been almost no water for ten years with the drought and people are just starting to recover,” he said.
“The Mayor of (The Carrathool Shire) got the point across that growth had slowed in Hillston since the water allocations were reduced in the town.
“Towns are on a limited supply of water as it is and we’re trying to entice people from Sydney to move here; there’s no way we’ll be able to do that if our water allocation is cut.”

Landholders encouraged to help native fish

The Lachlan Catchment Management Authority (CMA) in conjunction with Industry and Investment NSW (I&I NSW) are encouraging landholders in the Lachlan Shire with creeks on their property to make all weirs and road-crossing fish friendly.
A recent audit on the Mid-Lachlan creeks near Condobolin found 42 weirs and road-crossings in the region were having a severe impact on fish movement.
I&I NSW Senior Conservation Manager, Sam Davis, said native fish populations in the Murray-Darling Basin have declined by 90% over the past 200 years.
“What we’re now doing is encouraging landholders who might have a structure on their property that’s inhibiting fish movement to apply for grant money which is available to make the structure fish friendly,” she said.
“Even things like fences going through creeks can have an adverse effect on fish that need to travel up and down stream to feed and breed.”
Ms Davis said although there were other factors contributing to a decline in native fish numbers, such as competition from introduced species, it was important to first fix habitats to give native species a chance to increase their numbers.
“It’s all about putting together the pieces in the puzzle,” she said.
“Once the habitats improve, native species will be able to compete against introduced species.”
For more information about a weir or crossing on your property, contact Michelle Crossley at Lachlan Catchment Management Authority on 6967 2897.

Lachlan irrigator calls for new dams to be built

By Dominic Geiger

Irrigator on the Lachlan River and former Forbes Shire President, Charlie Francis, has been causing a stir in recent weeks with a media campaign aimed at encouraging people to reconsider the need for new dams in the Central West.
Mr Francis had an opinion piece published in The Land Newspaper last fortnight and was featured on the front page of the Forbes Advocate last week.
Mr Francis said he believes new approaches to water conservation are ignoring what has been learned from people working on rivers in the region for over 100 years.
“We need to listen to the stories our grandfathers taught us about irrigation,” he said.
“The Lachlan is not fully conserved; we need to conduct a feasibility study on the river to determine what percentage of the river’s flow can be placed in dams to ensure water security.
“I’m not taking a view that the environment isn’t important; let us determine the allocation necessary for the environment and conserve what’s left in dams.”
Professor Stuart Bunn, Director of The Australian Rivers Institute, said all the signs in the Murray-Darling Basin pointed to a series of rivers under stress due to current over allocations of water.
“My understanding of the Lachlan is that it’s in a relatively poor condition,” he said.
“Proposals now to increase the level of consumptive use of water from the river would be inconsistent with returning river flows to healthy levels.
“We’re in the middle of a wet patch at the moment and the temptation is to believe it will stay that way but we’ll be back to dry conditions before we know it.”
Lachlan Shire Councillor, Les Saunders, said it made more sense to consider new regulation weirs on the Lachlan rather than new dams.
“The Condobolin West Weir was suggested back in 1986; if it had of been built it would have backed water for fourteen miles up the Goobang creek and ensured a water supply for the entire town,” he said.
“The environmental impact of a new regulation weir would be less than a dam because the water would stay within the banks of the river.
“If you were to put a regulation three gate weir in it wouldn’t have an impact on fish stocks either because fish could travel under it.
“The problem with a dam is there’s no place to put it.”

Red flags wave on LSC roads

By Dominic Geiger

A number of roads in and around the Lachlan Shire have been ‘red flagged’ as part of the NRMA’s campaign to raise awareness about the poor state of regional country roads in NSW.
Roads which have been flagged so far include sections of the Henry Lawson Way, as well as William and Lachlan Streets in Condobolin.
The project encourages people to report any roads in their local region they think are in serious need of repair.
NRMA’s director for Western NSW Graham Blight said the person who flagged the Henry Lawson Way went through a particularly arduous experience before submitting his complaint.
“The poor fellow had just been in the hospital for appendicitis and had to go along that road to get home,” he said.
“The red flag project is about demonstrating there is a problem and something needs to be done.”
Mr Blight said the issue of poorly maintained roads was far from being limited to an issue exclusive to the Lachlan Shire.
“It’s the biggest problem in the Central West; everywhere you go you notice roads are in a shocking condition,” he said.
“We estimate regional roads in NSW are under funded by around $6 billion dollars.
“This project is about letting the state government know we want some long term funding for these communities.
“The important philosophy here is that no major country has ever embarked on an economically successful future unless it gets its transport right.”

Hospital mergers set to downgrade Forbes facilities

By Dominic Geiger

The potential merger of basic services including maternity wards at Forbes and Parkes hospitals has prompted an angry outcry from politicians, medical service workers and members of the public over the past week.
This proposal will significantly impact on Lachlan Shire women preparing to give birth following the closure of the Condobolin Health Service’s maternity unit in 2004.
In the most recent development, a spokesperson from the Western Local Health Network said no decision would be made on which services would be moved until further consultations with local doctors took place.
“There are more meetings planned with local doctors to address the issue,” the spokesperson said.
Earlier this month the Western Local Health Network had released a statement which said there has been a “proposed model (of hospital integration) presented… which details a suite of different but complimentary services which would be provided at either X and Y facilities.”
Mayor of Forbes Shire Council Phyllis Miller said the Western Local Health Network was a “toothless tiger” and under no circumstances would the Forbes or Parkes maternity ward, emergency service or surgical service shut down.
“In planning the services that will be merged, the Western NSW Local Health Network is flagging maternity as a possible option,” she said.
“The chances of this happening are nil; strategically speaking, it’s crucial to maintain both Forbes and Parkes.
“We are more than happy to negotiate other services, but we refuse to negotiate on emergency, maternity and surgical services.”
On the 14th of this month, ABC online reported several doctors at Forbes Hospital were threatening to quit if the merger of any of the three above mentioned services went ahead.
The staff member who was interviewed, Doctor Greg Whittaker, said he and other doctors at Forbes Hospital would be likely to leave within the year if the merger went ahead.
Ms Miller said the reason facilities such as maternity wards couldn’t be shut down was because having just one hospital servicing the needs of such a heavily populated region was completely unsustainable.
“It’s about having a holistic health service,” she said.
“We are entitled to the sustainability of both towns and we need both Parkes and Forbes Hospitals fully operational.”

Public Service Medal awarded to Lake Cargelligo resident

Barry Orr of Lake Cargelligo has been nominated for a Public Service Medal. Picture: K. Tooth

By Dominic Geiger

Nobody ever told Lake Cargelligo resident Barry Orr he’d been nominated for a Public Service Medal (PSM).
“The first thing I knew of it was a letter from the government saying I was in the running to receive it and then next thing I know I received another letter saying the medal had been awarded to me,” Barry said.
“I felt very happy when I got that letter; turns out my senior officer nominated me.”
Barry was awarded the PSM for a lifetime of work helping State Water deal with floods and drought along the lower Lachlan River.
“Mainly my job was working as a Senior Assets Officer,” he said.
“Basically that means I was looking after all the structures along the lower Lachlan.”
As for recommendations for the future of the river, Barry champions an argument that’s often unpopular for many living along the Lachlan.
“I think the river is being managed very well at the moment,” he said.
“For the region to go through a drought like the one we’ve just experienced and for hardly any towns to have run out of water, you know somebody’s doing a pretty good job.”
Now retired, Barry said he plans on making the trip to the awards ceremony to be held in Sydney in the coming months.
“There was a function for the recipients earlier this year but I couldn’t go,” he said.
“I’ll definitely be making the awards ceremony though.”

Lachlan Shire and Penrith City Council: a great partnership

LSC represented at Australia Day in Penrith: l-r - Alan Stoneham, General Manager of Penrith City Council, Councillor John Medcalf, Lachlan Shire Council;Councillor Kevin Crameri OAM, Mayor of Penrith City and Mario Fenech, Penrith’s Australia Day Ambassador. Contributed.The importance of the interchange between Penrith City and Lachlan Shire councils was highlighted with this year’s Australia Day celebrations as council personnel swapped locations: LS Councillor John Medcalf and his wife Jane represented LSC in Penrith while Deputy Mayor Jim Aitkin OAM, his wife Pam and daughter Elizabeth along with Glen Schuil and partner Colette Woods did the town rounds in Lachlan Shire.
The relationship between Lachlan Shire Council and Penrith City Council goes back to February 2006, when correspondence was received from Lachlan Shire Council requesting that the communities of Penrith City and Lachlan Shire consider developing a relationship that would lead to them working closely together to undertake a series of sporting, cultural and educational exchanges as well as Council to Council activities.
The historic signing of the Friendship Agreement between Penrith City and Lachlan Shire Councils occurred on Wednesday 23 August 2006, with a delegation from Penrith City, including the Mayor of the day Councillor John Thain, representatives from the both communities and the former Minister for Local Government Kerry Hickey.
Mayor Des Manwaring said of the relationship, “It is very important as it benefits both councils: we get a broader view of the massive workings of a city council which has more specialised personnel while they get to understand the importance of community. One thing they have really benefitted from is the importance of public relations – people here are not just a number as can be the case in metropolitan areas.”
The alliance has seen benefits as far as filling staff positions and gaining expert advice.
When Penrith City Council officer Glenn Schuil stepped in as Acting General Manger for 6 months during a vacancy period, the action demonstrated how ties between city and country councils can help save ratepayers’ money and meet the challenges of skills shortages and training and development.
“At Penrith we have just one grader driver. On work exchange, he came to Condo where there are 11!  The diversity and experience he had with the conditions in Lachlan Shire saw him come back as a better grader driver and with a different attitude,” said Penrith City deputy Mayor Jim Aitkin. Jim has a place in his heart for the Lachlan Shire as he grew up in Bogan Gate and Tullamore and still has family at Parkes.
Other exchanges have involved: other staff such as town planners; the third joint team in the Local Government Challenge event; the Mayors harness racing cup in Penrith; Junior Rugby League Clubs  between Condobolin and St Marys; the Lions Clubs of Condobolin and Emu Plains; the Baptist Church of Lake Cargelligo and Penrith; the Swimming Clubs of Condobolin/Lake Cargelligo and Penrith;  Rural Fire Service Cadets – Condobolin and St Pauls Grammar; Information Displays – Tourist Information Centres of both Condobolin and Penrith; and school relationships.
Currently Lachlan Shire is looking forward to an upcoming theatrical performance from a troupe from the Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre based in Penrith plus several carloads of Penrith visitors for the Annual Condobolin Picnic Races.
Much harder to achieve in the city is the sense of community and friendly connection to each other that draws visitors to our region.
Jim went on to add, “Australia Day at the Penrith Lake – you are there with 30,000 of your closest friends! It is impossible to get to know them where as in Condobolin you live and work with people so you know them personally and value those relationships more. Understanding those different values is an unique experience.”
Feedback so far is that the partnership is invaluable to both councils and communities – from the work related interchange it has lead to stronger personal ties, a social and cultural mix, which can only be of benefit to our regions.
John Medcalf thoroughly enjoyed his experience on Australia day and believes the agreement is working really well: “Penrith City has a population of 180,000- they had 61 Australian citizen confirmations on Australia day and they do between 60 and 80 every month. The connection with Penrith can only help us.”
Lachlan Shire’s  General manager George Cowan said, “This partnership has great potential for further development both culturally and economically. We have a great deal to offer city folk and I encourage every group to take advantage of the opportunity.”

Country boy turns back to his roots

Former Bogan Gate and Parkes resident and now Penrith City Council Mayor Jim Aitken attends Australia Day in Lachlan Shire. K.P.Old timers around Bogan Gate and Parkes probably still remember little Jimmy Aitken.
They might have heard the whispers of his dad’s drunken rages, seen bruises on his mum. They would remember back when the old man left his young wife and three kids and how the family were finally kicked off the farm and relied on the goodwill of the townsfolk for food.
The old timers would also remember when the family up and left the area and may wonder what happened to them.
Well, Little Jimmy made good.
After moving in with his grandparents in Parkes in 1959, the family shifted to the western Sydney town of Penrith. There, Jim worked his way out of poverty, starting with a paper round at age 11.
During the years he founded many successful small businesses including a skip bin hire service and house relocating and was a butcher.
Jim is now renowned throughout the Penrith area as a real estate and businessman and for his charity work and as a long-term Penrith councillor. He has been mayor and is now deputy mayor. He is also known as a loving father and husband.
But Little Jimmy hasn’t forgotten his roots. Every now and again you’ll see him around the area with the people he says he feels most comfortable with.
Jim’s story is one of eleven included in a new book by couple Ellen and David Hill, about everyday people who have overcome adversity.
‘People Like You’ covers a range of topics, from poverty and abuse, disability and grief to anxiety and mental health, and drug abuse and learning difficulties.
However Ellen said ‘People Like You’ was not a self-help book, nor was it a book about people who had become rich, famous or powerful, although some had. “We were only interested in people who had achieved things that were realistic to average people. Fame and great fortune is unattainable to most people. The eleven people in this book themselves prove that wealth really isn’t the key to happiness and success.”
Jim Aitken said: “You see people with a bit of wealth and they measure themselves on their worth, and that’s the worst thing you can measure yourself on. Those people, when they lose it, they lose everything.”
“If I lost all my wealth I’d have lost nothing. I’ve enjoyed this sort of life, I enjoyed life when I had nothing.”
The couple hopes ‘People Like You’ will encourage readers to take a second look at others and wonder why they are the way they are, consider how their actions affect others and then try to make a difference in the world in which they live.
“We also hope they take inspiration and hope from these eleven people,’’ Ellen said. “After all, they are people you pass unnoticed in the street, your friends and neighbours, local business people. They are People Like You.”
‘People Like You’ (RRP$49.95) is available through www.deephill.com.au and The Turning Page Bookshop, Springwood, 4751 5171.

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