On Saturday 16 January 2021, just over one year on from the devastating Gospers Mountain megafire, our community of Wolgan Valley came together to officially form the Wolgan Valley Association.
The formation of this community group came about off the back of the Wolgan Valley Community Bushfire Recovery Group, an informal email group that was formed to assist our community during the important stage of recovery post bushfires. Whilst the recovery group played a critical role in increasing the profile of our community to all levels of government and several government agencies, it was felt that much greater progress would be made if the group became an Incorporated Association.
On the 27 January 2021, the Wolgan Valley Association was officially registered with the NSW Department of Fair Trading as an Incorporated Association. As an Incorporated Association we function under a constitution, WVA Constitution which sets out the following objects:
To provide an organisation by which landholders and residents in the Wolgan Valley can take collective action which they believe is in the best interests of protecting and promoting the natural, scenic, cultural, economic, and social values of the Valley for current and future generations, (the Principal Object).
In pursing the Principal Object, the Association shall endeavour:
- to build collegiality and goodwill amongst its members, as well as other landholders and residents in the Valley,
- to operate in a manner that respects the rights of members, as well as that of other landholders and residents, to make decisions in their own best interests,
- to advocate to government and others for services to the Valley, such as in relation to the maintenance of reliable road access, which promote the Principal Object,
- to co-ordinate land management initiatives between landholders, including seeking funding and support for such initiatives, especially where those initiatives involve multiple properties,
- to work respectfully with the traditional owners and other Aboriginal people who have a connection with the Valley,
- to advocate to government in relation to existing or proposed planning controls and other regulatory measures that promote the Principal Object,
- to advocate and promote the natural, scenic and cultural values that make the Valley so unique,
- to work constructively with local, State and Federal governments, including agencies such as Local Land Services, the National Parks and Wildlife Service, the Rural Fire Service, and Forestry Corporation,
- to be a model of community led effective conservation and land management excellence, and
- to act as a trustee of any charitable fund established to promote one or more elements of the Principal Objects.
President | Sarah Denmead
Wolgan is the perfect place to grow up. As kids Mum and Dad let us roam safe in the knowledge that eventually we would be stopped by a cliff… most of the time. Generally, we found it easier to climb up than down, but knew a family member would rescue us by dinner (if we yelled loud enough). We learnt to drive Curly’s (Ian Coates) ute the minute our toes could touch the peddles, named the cattle and ate chicken chips at the Newnes Hotel. At the end of the day we all slept in the Hut at the Corn Paddock listening to a chorus of snoring.
Darren and I have lived from Margaret River to Cairns but when it came time to start our own family, we returned to Wolgan to provide our children with similar opportunities, experiences and values, that Mum, Dad and Wolgan, have gifted to me.
Vice President | Martin Krogh
My name is Martin (pictured), and I am the Vice President of the Association.
I am a relative newcomer to the Valley but I was inspired by the efforts of the WVA members following the bushfires and the way they kept the community informed and organised through their email group and website. How could I not offer to help when others were doing so much for the Valley and its residents and visitors.
The Wolgan Valley does not need a sales pitch it’s simply a wonderful place to spend time. The welcome, openness and friendship of the people in the Association makes you feel like you are a part of something really special.
As soon as I drive down the hill from Wolgan Gap, I feel a sense of calm and awe at what nature has on offer.
In one of those strange twists of fate my grandmother used to live at Newnes in the early 1900’s. She was married to a coal miner and she used to look after the horses at the mine. When you visit Newnes now it’s hard to put it in perspective of those earlier times, how remote the area once was and how difficult life must have been. Nature is gradually healing itself at Newnes and that is an optimistic symbol for our future.
Treasurer | Dawn Bower
My connection to the valley was through Michael Coates, Ian and Gail Coates eldest son. We visited the Coates in 1989 and they brought us down to the valley. Ian thought that there might be an unsold block in the subdivision which included their property. We contacted the owner, Vic Bates, and purchased the property in 1989.
We came from Avoca Beach. People came from everywhere to live in Avoca Beach and the Central Coast, whereas it seems the majority of people have lived in Lithgow for generations. There is a sense of community. I joined the committee because I agree with the Objects of the WVA. I don’t want the amenity of the Valley to change. I hope that the combined strength of an organisation will have greater influence than that of an individual when it comes to approaching government authorities and the like. I love my splendid isolation in the ‘right end’ of the Valley – could be a million miles from anywhere but is only thirty minutes from town.
Secretary | Angela Martignago
Public Officer & Committee Member | Paul Bower
Dawn and I purchased Cape View in 1989. The relative isolation and rural lifestyle appeals to us and with Lithgow only half an hour away the area provides is with a comfortable lifestyle.
I believe Wolgan Valley in particular and the Lithgow LGA generally have a spectacular potential which, carefully managed, will provide a sustainable and beneficial future lifestyle for generations to come.
Committee Member | Eddie Martignago
My wife Ange and our two children first experienced the magic of the Wolgan Valley when venturing out to Newnes for a family camping trip over 10 years ago. The drive into the valley from Wolgan gap was nothing short of breathtaking, and the trek that preceded it along Blackfellows Hand Trail (Maiyingu Marragu) had us travel through what felt like a place from ancient times.
We immediately felt a profound connection and attraction to this incredible place. The dramatic escarpments, wilderness, peace and presence of the Valley had us returning time and time again.
As a family we have always enjoyed seeking out new places that offer a unique and back-to-nature experience. Our camping trips and travels have shown us many beautiful places, but none more than the magnetic force we felt when experiencing the Wolgan Valley.
Since finding a little place within this hidden gem we are now so lucky to be a part of, our connection with the Valley has only grown stronger. We have also been further inspired by the kind nature and experiences shared with our amazing neighbours who have welcomed us, lent us a hand and made us feel so at home. Through the knowledge of our resident Wolgan Valley Tours guide Kristie, we now have an even greater appreciation of the local wildlife which we cherish and are so lucky to experience on a day to day basis.
I hold an overwhelming respect and gratitude for this place. It is clear that many in the Wolgan Valley community hold similar values for this special part of the world and this has clearly been reflected in their efforts, dedication and support in ensuring that it remains so for generations to come. As such, I felt a need to contribute wherever possible to the objects, goals and vision of the WVA. It really is a privilege to be a part of such an inspiring community.
Committee Member | Bill Lawler
We discovered the Wolgan Valley in 2000 when my wife Julie and I brought our young family down to Newnes for an Easter of camping, bushwalking and exploring. We were awestruck by the natural beauty and grandeur of the valley and vowed that weekend to buy some land in the valley. A year later we did exactly that.
Since then we have built an off the grid place and the valley has become our second home…and sometimes our first home. The magnificent escarpment walls, the open paddocks, the dense woods, the wildlife and the changeable weather act as a magnet to our hearts and soul.
It is now time for me to return something back to this wonderful place through the committee of the Wolgan Valley Association. Of all the destruction and sadness of the bushfires one beneficial thing emerged – a strong valley community now working together to preserve the beauty and uniqueness of the valley while making it a safe and enjoyable place to visit. I’m all for that.
Become a member
We encourage everyone who is eligible under the constitution to join the Association. We are incredibly privileged to have custodianship of such a wonderful area and the Association is an important means of ensuring that all can participate collectively in protecting and advancing what makes the valley so special.
The Committee has been struck by the spirit of collaboration and comradery that exists and the desire of everyone to work respectively for the common good.