Hills to Hawkesbury Community News
At last, after three postponements in 18 months, the Salvos’ Edwards Road church and facilities at Nelson were officially opened and dedicated last Saturday 2nd April.
Ray Williams MP, State Member for Castle Hill, (who deputized for Alex Hawke, Minister for Immigration) presented the Australian and Aboriginal flags to former leaders of the Rouse Hill congregation, Majors Nigel and Sandy MacDonald, and Major San Holland.
Two plaques were unveiled – the first, a memorial plaque recognizing a generous bequest to the building project by the late Denise Cobcroft, a widely known and highly respected identity in Australian horse racing circles.
Commissioner Janine Donaldson, National President of Women’s Ministries and joint spiritual leader of the Salvation Army Australia with her husband Robert, unveiled the Foundation plaque and dedicated the building to be a place of hope, acceptance, and spiritual awakening of all people without discrimination.
A flag parade led the large crowd of spectators into the church building where a civic greeting from The Hills Shire Council Mayor, Dr Peter Gangemi, was delivered by Deputy Mayor, Clr. Mark Hodges.
He said: “I like to refer to our Salvation Army volunteers and personnel as “undercover angels” doing extraordinary things.
“Your well-known uniform and your message of hope are the proud proof of your generosity, strength, and compassion.
“Just recently our outstanding Salvos answered calls for help after our most recent flooding crisis – also the second flooding event we’ve had in the Hawkesbury-Nepean catchment in the past 12 months.
“In the current floods they’ve served hot meals to first responders and evacuees, and also handed out more than 1000 support hampers to those who had lost absolutely everything.
“They are working with 20 other relief agencies in the Hills, Hawkesbury, Blacktown, Hornsby, and Gosford shires to support those who have been affected by this natural disaster.
“The new accessible church and community facility is a great benefit to the people of the Hills and Hawkesbury, and further beyond.
“I also encourage those who are in a position to volunteer, to look at ways they can get involved with The Salvation Army.
Councillor Hodges, solicitor, and former police officer added:
“The presence of your chaplains in our courts brings help and hope to many who would be lost without your people there. They bring light and life into many dark situations.”
Commissioner Robert Donaldson, National Commander of The Salvation Army Australia, said: “We gather here today on the land of our First Nation’s peoples, with civic, and state leaders, working together to change the world for good.
“We have Salvation Army members and volunteers who help us serve God and our society and we have a clear mandate to fulfill our mission statement to ‘Encounter God, Encourage People, and Engage Society’.”
After spending a week helping local residents at Wisemans Ferry gather donations of food and supplies for those stranded along the Hawkesbury during the flood, I’m in awe of this truly amazing group of people. But I’m also angry that yet again, this Coalition Federal Government leaves it to the local community to keep each other alive.
It’s not good enough and this election, we have the opportunity to change it. With our climate crisis, housing crisis and cost-of-living crisis, many are rightly worried about their children’s future. But we have solutions to the problems this government ignores.
Ensuring billionaires and corporations pay their fair share of taxes will help fund the transition to renewable energy, inclusion of dental and mental health in Medicare, free tertiary education and providing affordable housing for essential workers.
Australians need a government that will urgently act on climate change, that isn’t beholden to coal, gas and lobbying industries because of the donations they receive, who won’t hand over $10 billion dollars in subsidies to prop up fossil fuel corporations every year. We need a government that cares with a focus on a fairer Australia for everyone. Voting The Greens into the balance of power will help achieve this. We have the answers if you’ll give us the opportunity.
IF YOU’RE TIRED OF THE SAME OUTCOMES AND EXCUSES, THEN IT’S TIME TO CHANGE YOUR VOTE.
The club Committee recently held their first fundraiser in support of our brave men and women at the Rouse Hill Rural Fire Service, matching the money raised on the day.
The fundraiser was held as a part of their annual presentation at the Hills Centenary Park, where the club runs its very popular Little Athletics program every Friday between September and March through summer.
Club president Bob Gribbin said they decided on a colour run for the fund raiser, and he was one of several officials who ended up with more colours on their face and clothes than a rainbow.
“It was a wonderful event. We threw a lot of coloured chalk in the air and the little athletes run through changing colour as they progressed,” Bob said. “We had a large turnout of more than 350 children with parents to raise the money for the Rouse Hill RFS who do such a great job. We have been very encouraged by the support shown by our members and it won’t be the last fundraiser Rouse Hill Rams Little Athletics will host.”
Bob said the event raised $500 and the club doubled it before handing over the cheque to the Rouse Hill RFS recently.
Rams Little Athletics hold their events on Fridays from 6.30-9pm September through March with the youngsters competing in different events, including running, long jump, high jump, discus, shot put and javelin.
“I started with the club around 10 years ago when my son James began athletics,” Bob said.
Incidentally James Gribbin still holds the club’s Boys U15 400m record 59.70 seconds set in October 2013.
At the 2022 NSW LA Championships at Homebush in March, Alexander Benaforte brought home Ram’s only gold medal in the boys U12 long jump with a huge leap of 4.77m.
His team-mate Ethan Odelle proved his versatility with four medals in the U11-12 age group: silver in the multi class discus and bronze medals in shot put, 200m multi class and 800m multi class. In all, 22 athletes represented Rams Little Athletics at the Homebush event.
The generous donation capped a mixed season for Rams Little Athletics with several members being affected by the recent floods, an interrupted schedule, and cancelled events. Many athletes missed the 2021 zone, region, and state championships due to Covid-19.
“While we had a somewhat difficult year, we wanted to end on a high by helping another local not-for-profit and we know the Rouse Hill RFS have been working hard helping out locals in the floods,” Bob said.