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Wolgan Valley Association

About Us

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:

  1. to build collegiality and goodwill amongst its members, as well as other landholders and residents in the Valley,
  2. 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,
  3. 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,
  4. to co-ordinate land management initiatives between landholders, including seeking funding and support for such initiatives, especially where those initiatives involve multiple properties,
  5. to work respectfully with the traditional owners and other Aboriginal people who have a connection with the Valley,
  6. to advocate to government in relation to existing or proposed planning controls and other regulatory measures that promote the Principal Object,
  7. to advocate and promote the natural, scenic and cultural values that make the Valley so unique,
  8. 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,
  9. to be a model of community led effective conservation and land management excellence, and
  10. to act as a trustee of any charitable fund established to promote one or more elements of the Principal Objects.

Committee Members

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.

President | Sarah Denmead
President | Sarah Denmead

 

Vice President | Kristie Kearney

My husband John, son Seamus and myself have been living in the valley since 2010. Growing up in Wallerawang I spent quite a bit of time camping and exploring Newnes and Wollemi National Park with my Dad and Mum – Peter and Lorraine. I also operate a small local ecotourism business called Wolgan Valley Eco Tours.

For me being on the committee is a continuation of the work of the Wolgan Valley Community Bushfire Recovery Group which Sarah Denmead and myself started in the aftermath of the 2019-20 Gospers Mountain fire. I’ve been involved in a few community groups over the years and a big believer in volunteering your time to help either improve conditions or shape the future of communities.

My hope for the Association is that it will be a strong voice for landholders, residents and Association members. The bushfires were a real eye opener particularly with regards to how government agencies and the like perceive the valley and this misconception that there is no community here. I think the Association will play a vital role in changing that perception.

Vice President | Kristie Kearney
Vice President | Kristie Kearney

 

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.

Treasurer | Dawn Bower
Treasurer | Dawn Bower

 

Secretary | Andrew Chalk

The Wolgan has held a lifetime of attraction for me. Some of my earliest memories of cold derived from winter camping at Newnes (and Glen Davis) as a pre-schooler. Later, the joys of occasional terrors of exploring the cliff faces and canyons of the valley down the Colo wilderness. The forests and pagodas, the gorges and canyons, towering rock faces, mesas and labyrinths, the rock art and ruins, and the pastoral stillness on a summer’s afternoon on the Valley floor; it’s as magical as any place can be.

Our family feels both the privilege and responsibility for our little part of heaven. One exciting thing about the Association is knowing that this feeling is shared with so many others, and that collectively we have the ability to protect and care for the place for current and future generations. It is the desire to ensure that the Valley remains a wonderful place for everyone to enjoy without being spoiled that is driving the Association and makes it a really worthwhile venture.

Secretary | Andrew Chalk
Secretary | Andrew Chalk

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.

Public Officer & Committee Member | Paul Bower
Public Officer & Committee Member | Paul Bower

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 | Eddie Martignago
Committee Member | Eddie Martignago

Committee Member | Nigel Webb

Nigel and his family have a long connection with Wolgan Valley dating back to the 1930’s running sheep and cattle on their beloved property Wolgan Homestead prior to its sale to Emirates in 2006. Having grown up in the valley, Nigel knows it like the back of his hand from bushfire history and response all the way through to the unique weather patterns that arise in different parts of the Valley at the changing seasons.

His decision to become a member of the committee is a continuation of the strong commitment and dedication that he and his family have to the valley and those on the land particularly with organisations such as the NSW Rural Fire Service, Wild Dog Board and the former Pastures Protection Board (now Local Land Services). As a property holder and community member, Nigel hopes that the Association will play an important role in the betterment of the Valley through the improvement of roads and services.

 

Committee Member | Nigel Webb
Committee Member | Nigel Webb

Newsletters

A regular newsletter is published to keep members updated on the work of the Association as well as information relevant to the valley.

February 2021 Newsletter

April 2021 Newsletter

July 2021 Newsletter

September 2021 Newsletter

November 2021 Newsletter

January 2022 Newsletter

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.

If you have any questions about membership or the Association, please do not hesitate to contact the President Sarah Denmead on 0432 912 341 or , or any of the other members of the Committee.

Membership Form

 

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